Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time flies!

*Noah is 2 weeks, 1 day old*

It's hard to believe Noah's already over two weeks old. These last few weeks have been such a blur. The hours and the days run together, and I don't know up from down, but we're trying to enjoy every second of it. I'm not going to lie - it's hard when Noah gets so upset because we don't get him food fast enough or when he won't settle down to fall back asleep after his midnight feeding, but we're learning to cope with it and survive on little sleep.

In general, things are going well. One thing that has been tough has been breastfeeding (BF). Things just didn't start off the way I had hoped, and I think it's been sort of downhill ever since.

Of course, I had imagined having him naturally, and trying to BF him immediately after he was delivered. Well - the c-section got in the way of that. I had read that as long as c-section babies are put to the breast within an hour or two after birth, they'll latch right on. Well - Noah didn't really have a good suck-swallow-breathe pattern initially, so they gave him a bottle of formula. Unfortunately, I was so out of it from the surgery and residual pain, that I wasn't as pro-active as I normally would have been, insisting on BFing and requesting the help of a lactation consultant more quickly.

Then Noah got so sick with the Jaundice, and they put the fear of god in us, saying he could only be out of the Bilibed for 15 minutes at a time. That made BFing damn near impossible, because even a bottle feeding and a diaper change alone took more than 15 minutes. In retrospect, I think I'm glad we stuck to keeping him in the Bilibed as much as we did, as opposed to pushing for more time out for him to BF, because it worked. He got well, was able to come home with us, and has continued to improve. If if the end BFing is sacrificed for his good health, then I'm fine with that.

Once we came home, I tried to exclusively BF, but after having had bottles of formula (mixed with pumped breast milk) in the hospital for nearly a week, Noah wasn't getting enough milk fast enough. He would become so frustrated and impatient waiting for the milk to let down, and once it did, he would get lazy, stop sucking, and fall asleep. We met with a lactation consultant a few days after we were discharged, who gave us some pointers on keeping him interested. It seemed like he was latching well, but was still just very lazy, so we continued to supplement with pumped milk.

I had to take a few days off BFing all together because I developed cracks and blisters (sorry TMI!), and the pain of trying to feed Noah was excruciating. I know he sensed my agony, because he would become agitated. I pumped exclusively for a few days, and we saw a lactation consultant again this past Monday. She gave me some pointers on caring for the cracks and blisters, and suggested I use a nipple shield and continue pumping to supplement.

Noah still gets frustrated and lazy when I try to BF, which is frustrating for me because I know he is the way he is because we weren't able to start things off the way I wanted. I know even just the pumped milk is better than nothing, but in a way I feel like I'm letting everyone down, including myself. BFing is *SO* much harder than I ever imagined it would be. Even after taking a class and reading up on it, things happen that are out of your control, and I realize that, but I really wanted it to work, and now I'm not so sure I have it in me.

One week old, and Noah already found his thumb!

On the upswing, Noah is gaining weight, so we know he's getting enough food! He's up to 8lbs, 12oz and 21.5in! His head size is in the 95th percentile - he's definitely got his daddy's noggin! We saw the pediatrician again yesterday. He wrote us orders for an ultrasound of Noah's hips because he was breech. I mentioned to the doctor that Noah likes to keep his head tipped to one side, and the doctor said he thinks it's torticolis, and suggested we have Noah evaluated by a physical therapist and also get an x-ray of his neck. Poor baby Noah. Like daddy said, how can you be so healthy and have so many problems?? (I think it's just because he's my son...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh what a week it's been...

*Noah is 8 days old*

I know I said I would keep the blog updated, but damn - who knew how exhausted I would be between no sleep and breastfeeding and pumping every few hours...

We've been home since Sunday, and Noah is doing really well. He had severe jaundice when we were in hospital - so much so, the neonatologist was talking to us about the NICU and brain damage. He was in the Bilibed for phototherapy from mid-day Thursday until Sunday morning. They had talked to us about him not being discharged at the same time, but fortunately, his bilirubin levels were coming down consistently enough that he was able to come home with us.

We've been to the pediatrician twice since he came home, and his bilirubin had continued to come down. We can still see that he's yellow in his face, but he's definitely looking MUCH better than he did when the jaundice was at it's worst. The pediatrician and neonatologist think Noah may have the same blood disorder I do, which is called Hereditary Spherocytosis. Because it's hereditary, there's basically a 50/50 chance he has it, but it can't be diagnosed until he's a bit older. We've been referred to Children's Memorial Hospital to see a hematologist for a consultation.

I'm working on uploading some more pictures, but in the meantime, here's a link to some pictures my father-in-law took while we were in the hospital. Enjoy!!'sFirstPhotos/

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Pictures!!

We've had a busy couple of days, so I apologize for the lack of updates. I'll post a bit later with ALL the info. For now, just know that Noah is doing great, despite having pretty significant jaundice. Poor little man can only come out of his light bed to feed, so we're missing giving him lots of hugs, but there's always the rest of his life for that! For now, enjoy a few pictures of our little (yellow) bug!

The very first time I held Noah in the OR recovery room.
Mommy & Noah in our room
Noah in his Bilibed.
Chubby cheeks!!
Daddy and Noah eating lunch today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Noah Taylor Koechling

Noah Taylor Koechling
Born 2:55pm
October 15, 2008

8lbs. 8oz.
19 1/4 inches

Mom and baby are both doing well. Mom's recovering from her C-section surgery. It took a lot more out of her than we both expected. Between all of the emotions, the lost sleep from the night before, and the physical scars we're both pretty exhausted.

Thanks for all the well wishes and words of kindness! We look forward to visiting with you guys soon!


Well, Dr. Carroll came in for an exam about 20 minutes ago and did an ultrasound (at the nurse's urging). She was convinced that Baby K was breach. Well, ultrasound confirmed that she was right. (I told her that's why she gets the big bucks!)

Anyway, I am furiously typing since I need to change into my scrubs. We're headed upstairs to the operating room!

Baby is absoultely healthy, no problems, only problem is we have been talking to his butt for the last 9 months or so! lol

Anyway, it will be at least 4 hours at the earliest before we will be able to see anybody. won't really have the blog to update either, i'll have my cellphone and will be able to contact julie though!

Thanks for all the support!!!


finally - progress!


i didn't sleep much last night. i got the cervidil at 7:00pm and had to lay flat on my back until 9:00. around 11:00, i got lunesta to help me sleep. unfortunately, i really only got four hours of good sleep before i started waking frequently with minor contractions. it felt like really bad menstural cramps, and my hips and lower back were burning with pain. i got another stretch of sleep (maybe an hour an a half) this morning, before the nurse woke me up at 6:00am to remove the cervidil. i took that opportunity to take a hot shower and wash my hair. i felt a lot better after that.

around 6:40, the nurse started my IVF antibiotics, fluids, and pitocin. i started feeling milder contractions that i'd felt before. it was at this point that i started to freak out a little bit.

this is really happening. TODAY.

around 8:15, dr. carroll came to check in on me. he checked my cervix, and while i suffered in pain, he told me it would be my worst exam ever. thank god it can't get worse... anyways, in the end, it was a good exam. the exam broke my water, and he said i was 3-4cm dialated and about 70% effaced (thinned).

now that my water is broken, i'm *definitely* feeling much stronger contractions. (just had one.) i'm doing my breathing from my L&D class, and for now it's helping. i'm not going to try to be a hero either - i'm asking for the epidural as soon as i think i really need it (being in mind that it usually takes a big of time for the anesthesiologist to show up).

i should mention too that the doctor said that it looks like there's meconium in the fluid, and it's probably because i'm past my due date. (meconium is the baby's first bowel movement that usually they're not supposed to make until after delivery.) the neonatologist will be present during delivery just to make sure baby's okay and hasn't aspirated, or breathed in, the meconium.

so that's where we're at for now. thanks for all the well wishes we've received. we truly appreciate everyone's thoughts being with us today! stay tuned!!

The Home Stretch...

*41 weeks*

Be kind, this is my first blog post... EVER!

We're at the hospital, and it's late, but I wanted to get an update out there for everyone. Well to call it an update really isn't fair since there's really no news other than... we're here and things are going fine. We're basically just hanging out and waiting. Julie and Scott stopped by for a couple hours and helped us pass the time. Julie made us laugh and the nurse came in to tell us to knock off all the noise we were making check and make sure everything was alright. I'll have photos of Julie's antics in another update.

The nurse told us that the pitocin will be administered around 6:30am. I really have no idea how quickly things will go from that point. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Well, I need to get some sleep. Here's a picture of us shortly after we arrived.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's official!

*40 weeks, 6 days*

I'm being admitted to the hospital tomorrow at 5pm!! Woohoo!!

We had another NST today and the baby did great. I even had a few contractions during the test (again, could've fooled me...) Still nothing happening with my cervix, but the doctor feels like it's time to induce, which is okay by me!

So, I just got the call that labor and delivery is expecting me at 5pm on Tuesday evening. The doctor said they'll draw some blood and get an IV going. I need to get IV antibiotics started right away because I tested positive for group-B strep, which can be harmful to the baby if not treated during labor. Then the nurses will administer the Cervidil, which will help my cervix thin out and dialate and will also start contractions. The doctor said they'll also give me something to help me sleep tomorrow night - hallelujah! Wednesday morning, they'll start the Pitocin, which will strengthen the contractions and hopefully get things moving!

Stay tuned for updates!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Random thoughts

*40 weeks, 5 days* - 3 days to induction!!

It's been a lazy weekend at the Koechling house. I think I showered on Saturday at about 6:30pm, and today we lounged around watching the Bears lose AGAIN in the 4th quarter. Tonight, we had a "date night" - probably our last for awhile, though we've promised each other we'll still try to take time for ourselves even after the baby comes. We did dinner and a movie, and it was a lot of fun.

It's so weird to think that a week from now our lives will be completely different forever. We stopped at Target tonight and bought a 0-3 month Bears outfit for the baby because it occured to us - he'll be watching the game with us next weekend! Well - we'll be watching (if we can stay awake), and he'll probably be sleeping, eating, or crying. Regardless, he'll be here, in our house, in our arms...

It's starting to freak me out a little bit. It's been SO surreal up to this point. It's been such a long process to get here, and now, after almost three long years since we started this journey, our child - our son - is going to be born in just a few days.

I've watched friends and coworkers have their children over the last few years, and now it's my turn, and I'm scared and thrilled all at the same time. I'm absolutely terrified of the unknown that is childbirth. I'm going to stay as laid back, relaxed, and calm as possible, but I know that induction might not be an easy process and could very well end in a c-section, which is NOT what I had hoped for. But I know that the doctor will do what's best for me and the baby.

In the end, however he's delivered, our little boy will be here. I've dreamed for so long of meeting him for the first time, seeing him with his daddy, seeing the reactions on the faces of the family and friends who have been by our sides on this journey, and who will love and spoil this child just as much as we will. The thought of the first time I see him and the first time I hold him - it brings tears to my eyes. It's almost hard to believe that this is actually, *finally* happening to me!

The girls on my IVF message board have said that seeing their husbands with their newborns has made them fall in love all over again, and I believe it, but I don't necessarily need to see Ben with his son to fall in love all over again (though I KNOW that will melt my heart).

Throughout this process - well, words really cannot describe how grateful I am and how lucky I feel to have such an amazing husband. While no relationship is perfect - of course, we frequently have our disagreements and we've defintely had our share of nasty screaming matches - I truly could not imagine going through the rest of my life with anyone else.

Ben has been my rock. The two years of trying to conceive resulting in heartbreak month after month... the mood swings and emotions of the fertility drugs... the intense regiment of shots, appointments, and procedures... I don't wish our struggles on anyone, but I still can say that I am stronger from this experience, and without a doubt I know that our relationship is stronger too.

I know I haven't always been easy to deal with during treatment and during the pregnancy, but Ben has loved me unconditionally and always made me feel that everything will be alright. He's missed maybe two doctors appointments from the start - once because of work and once because I told him it was okay to not come (I think he was entrenched in yard work). He told me tonight that he has looked forward to and been excited about every appointment, and you have to understand - most appointments during the pregnancy last all of 15 minutes for the doctor to measure my belly and listen to the baby's heartbeat for about 10 seconds. My point is that I am so grateful for his support and involvement. I am so lucky that he is my husband, and even luckier that he is the father of my son.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The end is near

*40 weeks, 3 days* (though I originally typed 50, instead of 40...)

I'm still pregnant! Yep. This little one is super comfy inside of me and is showing no interested in making his grand entry into the world! But never fear - the end is *officially* in sight!

Yesterday, we went back to the doctor for a non-stress test (NST). They hooked me up to some equipment that monitored the baby's heart rate and whether there were any contractions, and I pressed a button every time I felt him move. I'd been instructed to eat something sugary beforehand, and they gave me candy when I got there to get him (and keep him) moving. He passed with flying colors! His heart rate was spot on - Ben said it would go up when he would move - and the doctor said I even had a contraction during the test. Could have fooled me!

So we passed the test, meaning the baby's still thriving and the placenta's still doing it's job. The doctor then measured my belly (still growing) and checked my cervix (still high and closed, but "starting to soften"), and informed me that not much has changed. Duh.

I go back again on Monday (40w, 6d). We're going to do another NST, and the doctor will check my cervix again. Assuming I'm still pregnant at that point, he basically said we'll start the induction process on Tuesday night. I was unclear as to whether the process starts at the office or the hospital. Basically, he'll insert a gel that will help "ripen" my cervix - hopefully getting things moving along, so that Wednesday morning, they can start pitocin, thereby starting contractions.

SO - finally, I feel like the end is in sight. Wednesday, October 15th is it, though I'm not lying to myself in thinking he'll be BORN on the 15th. I'm thinking it'll be the 16th, because I don't see things moving very quickly, given my current state... And I *really* don't see anything happening naturally between now and then. I'm not normally a pessimist, but nothing's happened to this point... Though I was having the weirdest nesting yesterday - I was on a mission to find back massagers and very specific Halloween decorations......

Now we just need to settle on a name for this child...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Due-day!

*40 weeks*

Yes, people. Today is my official due date, there's no two ways about it. There was no "estimating" where this one's concerned. Our son was conceived, albeit in a laboratory, exactly 38 weeks ago today, making today my undeniable due date. I know the day's not over yet, but...

I went back to the doctor yesterday, again not expecting much, as I'm still not having any contractions and have very little in the way of pressure "down there". He checked my cervix, and still - nothing. It's closed and high. No progress, whatsoever.

I had gone in thinking I was absolutely NOT going to leave without an end date - either a date for induction or c-section. At this point, I just want this kid out! But alas, I did not win that battle. I asked the doctor for a "game plan". He told me that me and the baby are healthy and doing well, which PLEASE don't get me wrong. I am so grateful that I have had an awesome pregnancy and that this little man is healthy and strong, especially after everything we went through to get to this point. However, I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I'm am uncomfortable, restless, emotional... and never in my life have I had so much anticipation for anything. The waiting is torturous! (I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir!)

So I go back on Thursday (40 week, 2 days) for a non-stress test, where they'll basically hook me up to a fetal heartrate monitor for 30 minutes or so to monitor his heartrate and movement. If all goes well (which I anticipate it will), I'm guessing I go back on Monday (40 weeks, 6 days) for another checkup. Perhaps I'll get lucky and Thursday the doctor will finally take pity on me... I'm not holding my breath.

Here's the latest belly pic from 38 weeks, 1 day:

Yes, I'm huge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still pregnant

*39 weeks, 1 day* - 6 days til our due date......

So yep. I'm still pregnant. Doctor's visit on Monday was uneventful. I wasn't expecting much, so I guess I was prepared for what I heard. He checked my cervix for the first time. He told me my cervix is closed and said I'm "doing great". Not sure *great* is the word I would use, but okay. I didn't even think to ask whether I was effaced at all, or how long he would let me go past my due date before inducing...

My BP and baby's heart rate are still perfect. I actually gained 2.5 pounds this week, after not having gained any weight in three weeks. Weird, right? It's not like I've eaten any differently this week... I am happy that me and baby continue to be healthy. I feel like crap, but for what it's worth, I am glad that my body is not giving up on us. I'd rather be induced for going late than for my or the baby's health being compromised.

Sleep is a struggle. I'm so uncomfortable in the evenings, and it's very hard to get comfortable in bed. I can't flip from one side to the other very easily, yet I need to switch sides frequently. I get up 3-4 times a night to pee, and I'm surprised I haven't wiped out yet. I stumble to the bathroom every night without turning the light on, and usually have to manuever over a cat or two and all their toys...

Motiviation is also an issue. Because I'm not sleeping well, it's really hard to get going in the morning. Part of it too is that going to work feels like such a waste of time at this point. I have so little to do that I dread going. I had originally planned to start my leave this coming Monday, but I'd *hate* to start leave without a little man to enjoy it with... What if he doesn't come for two more weeks, and then I've "wasted" two weeks of leave?? (Bear in mine, my "leave" is comprised of vacation, personal, and sick time I've saved over the last two years, since I was denied for short- and long-term disability coverage.)

Soon enough, I know. I KNOW he'll be here sooner than later. I've made it this far - it's felt like a freaking eternity and in the grand scheme of things, these last few days are like seconds! But the anticipation is KILLING me!!!

I just so want to meet this amazing little miracle boy that we fought so hard for. It's amazing to feel such love and adoration for someone you've never met, and I just know that we will be overcome with emotion when he's finally here. I used to daydream about the day I'd get engaged, the day I'd get married, and the day I'd learn I was pregnant. Now I daydream about the moment I lay my eyes on my son.... The thought gives me chills, and it will be real in mere days! (BUT WHEN?!?!?!?)