Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday

Dear Braxton

We just celebrated your 2nd birthday in June. I knew that time would fly by and that your days of being a baby would be fleeting.  I thought for sure that with you I would take better photos, and document more.  Reality is that with three children I have even less time to do all those things.  I am excited to start writing these letters to you once a month.

You are becoming a “big boy” more and more each day. Your vocabulary is starting to explode. Everyday you say a new word or phrase.  In between the words we do understand you use lots of gibberish that we can not decipher, but you seem to know what you are saying. We have been calling you a parrot and a “monkey see monkey do.”  That is one reason why we decided on having a money themed birthday party for you.  We celebrated your birthday at the local water park, because your other favorite thing to do is play in water.  All day at the office you are in the back playing with your new water table and the hose.

You had your first real trips to the beach this summer.  For Father’s Day we went to Belmont Park in San Diego and Daddy took you out onto Mission Beach.


Then in July we joined your grandparents and your cousins at the beach house in Oxnard for a end of summer vacation.  The water was very cold so you didn’t really go in the water, You did enjoy playing in the sand with the shovels.

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You love your big brother and sister and missed them while they were gone this summer.  Since they have been home you enjoy following them around and playing. Your favorite game to play with them is throwing balls – footballs, baseballs, bouncy balls – it really doesn’t make a difference.

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The last change this summer has been moving from your crib in our room, to a toddler bed in the room with your big brother.  Most nights it seems to work, but other nights you have a hard time settling down and staying asleep. I think part of it the teeth coming in.  As soon as these last 4 teeth come in I pray it is a while before more try to break through.




Please continue on to the next blogger in the CM Letters to Our Sons blog circle, Mindy’s B

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School

Dear Ellie

My precious one and only daughter.  I am so glad that you are home from your summer visit with your Dad.  I know that we text and talk while you are gone, but those long weeks sure do seem to drag by slowly. I am so glad that you got time in California with him, and that you made a lot of memories at Vacation Bible School, the beach and at the Boys & Girls Club.
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I hope that you had a fantastic time at the beach house with your cousins and grandparents before we arrived.  It was fun getting to walk in and surprise you Wednesday night.  I had tears in my eyes and you squealed with delight and ran to me.  I loved going to the beach with you and exploring Oxnard during our stay at the beach house.  Your grandpa had a blast taking you and your cousins out to fly the trick kite. You were very strong and held on to those handles even though it turned your palms bright red. I was very proud of the questions you asked while we toured the Maritime Museum. You really seemed to absorb all that nautical information.  As we left our tour guide said that I had a sailor on my hands.  Hopefully it is something we can explore more in the future.
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At Open House before school started we learned you had been put into the accelerated 4th grade class. I know that you will work hard this year with Ms. Martin as your teacher. I enjoy seeing you eager to go to school and ready to learn.  You even asked her if you would be learning algebra this year.  I didn't learn algebra till I was in the 6th or 7th grade. Your sense of style is definitely original. You love bright colors and enjoy wearing hats and glasses.
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Please continue on to the next blogger in the CM Letters to Our Daughters blog circle, Jessica Schugardt

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The arrival of my 3rd child, pt 1

My birth story began long before the day my third child was born. For weeks I had been having prodromal labor (lots of regular contractions that don't change), but had not progressed past 3cm and my cervix remained high and thick. At each regular Tuesday appointment my Midwife would remind me to call her if anything changed. I refused to make the "walk of shame" so I never went to Labor & Delivery to be checked between appointments. I kept telling my midwife and husband (and anyone that asked) that the only way I was going to Labor and Delivery was if my water broke, or my midwife told me to go.

On Monday June 13th my midwife called me because she hadn't heard from me over the weekend yet again. She asked for me to come in that afternoon so that she could check me. After my husband got off work we went in. While the midwife was checking the heartbeat with the Doppler she was getting low heart tones. At first she wanted to send me over to L&D to be monitored for a while but I didn't have anything with me and I was afraid they would keep me and I would end up with interventions I didn't want. She checked my cervix and "stirred the pot" which is a nice way of saying that she stripped my membranes. Before deciding if she was sending me to L & D or not she had me lay on my left side and rechecked the baby's heartbeat. While laying on my side they got better and the baby was being active so she let me go home. She did say that if labor didn't start that night I was to come in the next morning (Tuesday) after she got to the office.

Well her "stirring the pot" got contractions going in a more regular pattern. I spent the evening managing my discomfort by using my exercise ball. I had lots more mucus during the evening but nothing that alarmed me. I made sure that the kids packed their bags for Grandma's house and got all my things stacked by the door so they were ready to go. My husband thought it was all in my head and that I was being silly. I had a feeling that the next day would be "baby day” and I wanted stuff ready. I spoke with my mom before I went to bed and told her I would call if anything changed in the middle of the night. I was still able to fall asleep and stay asleep during the contractions, so I woke up Tuesday morning and prepared to have a baby that day.

My husband on the other hand didn't even want to wake up! I got up at my normal time and got ready for work and he was staying home with the older kids. I woke him up before I left and reminded him that a few things needed done in case I was having the baby that day.  He brushed it off yet again, but got out of bed because our oldest son was already awake.  I went into the office for a few hours getting things ready for my absence, then went over to my midwife's office at about 10am. When she checked me she said there was a lot more fluid and mucus and that I had dilated a little more. Even though my cervix was still high and only about 60-70% she said she was sending me over to L&D and would be over at lunch to break my water.

I called my husband to tell him as I left her office to drive over to the hospital and he still didn't believe me. I managed to convince him to at least grab my stuff and the older kids bags, but he still wouldn't pack himself a bag. In fact he wouldn't even shave!

When I got to Labor and Delivery I was standing at the front desk waiting for them to tell me my room was ready when I felt a gush. I knew what that meant! I sent a text to a few friends, it was 11:30 am.  I then realized that I forgot my birth plan in the van so I walked back out to get it before they called my name. As I was walking out DH & the kids got there. DH asked if I was going home already because it was false labor. I laughed at him and said no I just forgot something in the car. I told him I thought my water broke, but he said he couldn't see anything on my jeans. As we walked back in I felt more and more gushes. When we got back to the desk I asked if my room was ready, and it was.
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I had to go back alone, and I also forgot to have my husband give me my bag so I didn't have my own gown to change into. I changed into the hospital gown and got cleaned up. They did all the check in stuff, I had to get a 20 min strip on the monitor so I was in the bed answering questions. They took my blood and didn't place an IV! After they were done with everything they let me get out of bed and my DH & kids came back.
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I was having contractions at this point that came every 5-7 minutes but I was still able to talk through them.  I knew it was going to be a little while until my midwife came up and the kids were already very excited.  While I was getting checked in my husband had taken them to the cafe to get something to eat.  The kids were very excited ... a little too excited.  My husband and I decided to have the friends go over and play with some family friends.  My mom showed up about this time with flowers and I got changed into my own gown!  It was while I changed my gown there was green on the toilet paper when I went to the bathroom. 
My mom had not had lunch so we sent my husband to go to the bakery/deli down the street to get soup for me and sandwiches for them. I got some of the soup down between the contractions and a little bit if bread, it was my first real (and only) meal of the day. I stayed out of the hospital bed and was mainly on my birth ball or walking around the room. I was still able to use my iPhone to text friends and check Facebook, but the contractions started coming more frequently and started getting stronger.  Each time I tried to relax and not focus on the pain.
The next time I went to the bathroom there was more green, and I knew it was meconium, so I told the nurse. I thought my midwife was coming over at lunch, but since my water fully broke on it's own there was no reason for her too. The nurse told my midwife I had meconium staining. My midwife ok'd the nurse to do hourly checks with the doppler instead of having to be on the monitors, so that was nice. The nurse said my midwife would be over after office hours unless I needed her sooner.
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to be continued …

Monday, August 12, 2013

Birth part 2

Mom and I decided to start walking the halls. I showed her how to use my contraction timer app on my iphone and she was really good about ready my cues and being able to start and stop the timer without me even having to say anything. By the time DH got back the contractions were lasting about a minute and coming every 3 minutes. It was getting to be close to 4pm and mom was trying to suggest having the nurse do a cervix check in case we needed to call my midwife, but I didn't feel like I had really hit transition yet. I decided just to wait for her to get there.
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We continued walking the halls until the nurse came to find us that my midwife was there just after 5pm. We were all very surprised when she checked me that I was only 5cm and still only 60-70% and high. She suggested that we get a strip on the baby and then get in the shower on my hands and knees for a while. It was then that I realized I had forgot my tankini top that I had bought. SO I was just totally naked laying over my birth ball in the shower LOL! I am not sure how long I was in the shower but the contractions did not feel as bad with the water hitting my back. I got out just before the shift change so that must have been around 7pm. While I was in there my midwife told me my blood work had come back and that my H&H (hemoglobin and hematocrit) was only 8.8 and that left no room for error if I started bleeding so I had to have an IV.
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20110614-IMG_7067The new nurse was so fabulous. She was from Hawaii and had 4 natural child births and was so excited that we were having a surprise baby because she had as well! We hit it off right away. I was her only laboring mother so she basically stayed in the room with me. My midwife started looking for a vein for the IV and I have horrible veins. I knew it would be hard to find a site. My midwife got one vein in my right forearm, but the vein blew before she could finish setting up the IV. She went to my left arm and found a vein right below my elbow but that one blew as well. If she couldn't get a vein the anesthesiologist said he would place a central line, which I obviously didn't want. Thankfully 3rd time was the charm and she got the IV placed on the back of my right hand. She decided to just hang a back of fluid so the IV would have something running through it. It was a little annoying since I had been drinking so much water to stay hydrated and avoid the IV.
After the IV placement I was able to get back out of bed. My midwife had one other patient in the triage area so she was between the two of us. My midwife brought in some lavender oil to help me relax. My nurse helped me get into a standing position and would have me do a hip sway/squat through the contractions. At about 8pm they started seeing a few decels on the monitor so after some talking we agreed it would be best to get an internal monitor so that they could really see what the baby was doing and see how strong my contractions were. They were now lasting about 1 1/2 min and coming every 2-3 min. We she placed the internal monitors I was still only 5cm. I was trying not to get discouraged, but after 8 hours of labor I was surprised I had not progressed farther.
20110614-IMG_7071I got back up between contractions and the first contraction I had while standing up the baby's heart rate plummeted. I don't know how long it was but the drop was well below the 100 mark on the screen
The nurse let me go through one more contraction standing to see what the baby would do. Sure enough the heart rate dropped right after the peak of the contraction. Into the bed I went. I continued to breath through the contraction an rock my hips as much as I could while laying on my side. The baby's heart rate was better, but was still having decels. After a while of switching back and forth on my sides. My midwife suggested a saline infusion so they hooked that up to see if the decels would stop.20110614-IMG_7072
The longer I was in bed the more my contractions slowed down. They got to about 5 minutes apart instead of 2 minutes. At about 9 pm my midwife came in and sat down by the bed. The decels were starting to happen between the contractions. My contractions were slowing down and I wasn't dilating. She suggested we try an epidural to see if it would relax me enough so I would dilate and birth this baby. I agreed since if a c-section was going to happen it would be better to already have the epidural in place.
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They called for the epidural and started to prepare me, this doctor was very particular about how things are during the procedure. The kids wanted to come see me so we made arrangements for them to come up to the hospital and my Dad would take them home to spend the night. The time should have been perfect for the epidural to be done by the time they got to the hospital.

When the doctor got to the room my mom and DH had to leave the room. I answered his questions and got into position. I held perfectly still just like the nurse had instructed me. At the end of the procedure I felt a stabbing pain up the back of my neck to the top of my head. The doctor said the needle was out and that he wasn't doing anything. He continued to tape up the tubing and finished what he was doing. The numbness was spreading fast. When he finished I was still sitting up. I told my midwife I didn't feel right and everything was very numb. I started to kind if fall over and my midwife helped but then as soon as I was laying down I felt worse. My midwife toon my blood pressure and it was 80/30!!
My midwife called for help and everything got kind of blurry. The kept asking me to squeeze their hands and I couldn't. I would try talk and nothing would come out. They rubbed my chest asking if I could feel it but I couldn't. I was so scared, I had no idea what was going on and there were so many people in the room.

They gave me a shot of epinephrine and raised my head some and my blood pressure came up. They kept telling me that I was breathing even though I couldn't feel that I was. The nurse was reassuring me that the baby was doing fine, even though I wasn't. Just when I started feeling a little better it started happening again. They called for the anesthesiologist to come back in and my midwife called for a shot of something else (they told me later it was to reverse the effects of the epidural) plus a second shot of epinephrine.
After the 2nd episode passed my midwife went out to the waiting room to talk to DH & my mom and brought them back in with her. They officially called "decision time" for the c-section at 10:26pm. The kids never got to come in of course. The doctor I thought would be doing the c-section was actually on vacation so another OB was covering for him. I was disappointed because this OB has no bedside manor ... but he is a great surgeon. The anesthesiologist started talking about giving me more meds for the c-section, but I don't understand why (my midwife and nurse didn't either) because I was already so numb I felt NOTHING below my neck. He settled for only giving me a 3rd of a regular c-section dose. My midwife was concerned that I would have a reaction again. She said that if they had to put in a breathing tube they would put me under general anesthesia and then DH couldn't be in the OR.
There was lots of activity after they called for the c-section. I was still kind of out of it. I don't remember many details. I know I wanted to close my eyes but I was afraid too. I know that mom was making sure all my stuff was packed up. They gave DH scrubs to change into, they were huge LOL. The nurse changed me out of my pretty custom gown and into the regular hospital one again. Then it was time to move me. I remember that nothing happened slowly. Everything was very fast paced.
Once in the OR I remember thinking it was nothing like the movies and the room was very small and white. They made DH wait outside. They moved me to the OR table, I told them I never felt huge during the pregnancy until that moment ... it had to have taken 6-8 people to move me. I felt like I was the size of a whale. After they moved me I felt like I needed to throw up but I had no muscles to get it out. I asked someone to suction it and the anesthesiologist said it would make me gag. I didn't care, I just wanted it out! I think my nurse finally came and did it for me.

It felt like forever before they let DH come in the room. All I remember seeing was his eyes the size of saucers, since he had a face mask and hat it was all I could see. I think they started once he was in the room. They said you might feel some pressure, but I felt nothing at all. The next thing I heard was his cry and then my midwife said "It's a boy" and I started crying. I have no pictures from in the OR because we were not able to take a camera in with us.  I didn’t see my son for hours because they would not bring him to me in my recovery room.  Luckily my mom had kept my camera and took photos of him in the Baby Holding Area.