Friday, December 20, 2013

Henry's birth story: part one

This is Henry.

Henry Charles Koechling was born on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:50am.  He was 8lb, 5oz and 21 inches.  This is the story of his birth and first few days thus far:

Julie came to the house to stay with the kids on Monday morning.  We were supposed to get to the hospital by 8:00, but as is our norm, we were running late.  It worked out well though, because we were able to see Noah and Emily in the morning and take a last "family of four" picture.  The kids were well prepared for the day, since we've been talking about the plan for over a week.  They were happy to see Julie and have her help them get ready for the day, and Emily was especially excited to show her our Elf on the Shelf, "Christmas".  "Wook, Juey!" she hollered.

We got to the hospital around 8:30, apologized for being late, and quickly signed consent forms.  My nurse Z (Zardeen, I think?) took us to our labor & delivery room to prep for surgery.  From there, things went pretty quickly.  The nurse who came in to do my IV was my L&D nurse from when Emily was born, Amanda.  I told her that, and she said she remembered me.  BS, but sweet girl, thanks for only poking me twice to get that line in...

Only about ten minutes behind schedule, we headed to the OR shortly after 10am.  Z & I dropped Ben and our stuff in the recovery room, and that's when I got emotional.  I had already warned Z I was a crier.

We walked to the freezing cold OR and, still crying, I sat on the table.  Another nurse tried to engage me, and she gave me a weird vibe, which Z must've recognized because she came over and put her hands on my knees while I was prepped for my spinal.  When it was time for the spinal and I was instructed to curl my back into a C, still crying, I leaned forward and Z put her forehead on mine and held my hands.  Love her.

Within seconds, the spinal made my legs feel warm and heavy and I remember laying on the table reminding myself not to even try to move my legs, because I knew that either the creepy tingly feeling or the complete lack of response would gross me out.  Once I laid down, I started shaking a little.  Not nearly as bad as after my epidural with Noah - that was teeth chattering to the point my jaw hurt.  This might have been slightly med related, but I think it was primarily nerves.  The wrapped my neck and arms in warm blankets, and after a while, I was able to calm myself and the shaking slowly stopped.

I lie on the table staring at the tile on the ceiling, trying to just breathe and relax.  The whole idea of being conscious for surgery is creepy, and add to that the emotion of knowing that your baby is about to be born... it's an overwhelming feeling.  Plus in the back of my mind, I'm trying to stay cognizant of how I am feeling physically.  The anesthesiologist said it was important to let him know if I felt light headed, dizzy, or nauseous.  What I mainly felt was nervous.

Before they started, what was making me the most uncomfortable was something that I did remember from my c-section with Emily, but I didn't really remember how bad the sensation was.  With a spinal, the numbness goes to your chest, and you get the sensation of feeling like you're having trouble breathing because you can't feel your chest rise.  I had a nasal canula in, and tried to inhale the oxygen and keep my breathes steady. The warm blankets on my neck were starting to feel heavy on my throat, and I felt claustraphobic.  Two or three times, I asked the nurses to moves them to a different position, but finally I just asked them to take them off completely.  I was no longer shaking or shivering, and had otherwise calmed down, so the literal weight off my chest helped me breathe more easily.

They brought Ben in and got started.  He grabbed my hand and I think I might have started crying again.  So many emotions, but finally the fear and nervousness were replaced, and I felt a sense of calm and comfort when I knew Ben was there.

From starting surgery to getting the baby out is pretty quick.  We knew it wouldn't be long before he would be here.  Casual talk amongst the doctors and nurses, pressure on my abdomen, the announcement that baby was almost here... and then pressure.  A LOT of pressure.  And then urgency.  Doctor asks for the vacuum, which of course instantly makes me nervous, because I guess I've never thought of the vacumm with a c-section, and a lot of women are fearful of needing a vacuum with a vaginal delivery.  When the vacuum wasn't readily available, I could hear the urgency and frustration in his voice - get the vacumm, why is it not out and ready to go, turn it on, turn it up.  And then an excrutiating amount of pressure, and the assisting OBs elbow literally in my face from the other side of the curtain.  He was pushing, pushing, PUSHING to get the baby out, and it felt like it was taking way too long.  I was scared.  Why was it taking so long and WHY was it so hard to get him out?  Is he okay, is he stuck, is there danger in the fact that I am cut open and they are pushing and pulling to get him out and he is NOT coming?

Finally, a wail.  My baby is out, and he is pissed.  I completely started bawling.  Ugly cry bawling.  He is screaming non-stop and in that moment, it is the greatest thing I think I have ever heard.

Briefly, the assisting OB pops him around the curtain to show him to us, and he is beautiful and loud.  I am happy.

A few minutes later, after inital vitals and APGARS, they bring him to me.  The nurse lays him on my left shoulder, with his head on my chest near my chin.  I reach my right arm across my body and rub his little forehead.  For the first time ever, I am holding my minutes old newborn.  He is so beautiful and perfect.  I am so lucky.

It felt like a brief time but I am grateful for that experience, and I'm pretty sure (at least I hope) there are some pictures.  Holding him for the first time in there was so sweet.  After probably several minutes, Z told me she was going to take Ben and the baby to recovery, and they'd see me soon.  Once they left, I felt tired, suddenly very emotionally exhausted.  I wanted to just close my eyes and rest, but then I thought maybe it wasn't normal to feel like I wanted to sleep in surgery.  I announced that I was tired, and they told me that was normal.  Okay, I thought, then I'll rest.  But then.... nausea.  Gross.  I let them know i feel nauseous - after all they have been pushing with a great deal of force on my abdomen and are currently repositioning my internal organs.... the anesthesiologist gives me a puke bucket and tells me he's giving me Zofran in my IV to help.  Dry heaves and then vomit.  I feel better.

Before I know it, surgery is done.  The nurses move me from the OR table to the bed, and wheel me in to recovery.  I am pretty sure I am crying or about to cry at this point.  I see Ben there with the baby, and I'm definitely crying. 

I felt good in recovery.  It didn't seem like we were there long, but in retrospect I feel like I might have been a little out of it cuz I kind of don't remember a ton now.  I did try to latch him on to nurse, but I don't think he did much in recovery.  (It took several hours before he really showed interest.)  I do know I held him and snuggled him and kissed him all over while Ben took pictures.  I made sure the nurse knew I didn't want him to go to the nursery for a bath because we wanted the kids to meet him right away.  I made sure Ben texted mom and Julie and his parents to let them know we were in recovery and when we were getting ready to go upstairs.  The nurse told us that she had talked to the nurse in Mother Baby and explained that we wanted a brief visit with our family before baby went to the nursery and she was agreeable.  I held Henry as I was wheeled to elevator and up to Mother Baby.

Once settled in our room, Ben texted his parents to see if they were in the unit, since they had been elsewhere at the hospital doing something work related.  Ben and I decided that rather than having just the kids come in, that we would just have everyone come it right away.

The kids came right over to the bed to see their new baby.  I told them (and everyone else) his name was Henry Charles, and they said hi to him and examined his little face.  (I'm looking forward to watching the video of their meeting.)  Poor Emily was clearly ready for nap, but she was a trooper and hung in there.

We asked if they wanted to hold him, and they both scrambled onto the little couch in the corner.  Emily held him first.  She was so sweet and so gentle.  When Ben asked her to give him a kiss, she rested her little cheek on his head.  She gazed at him so sweetly, and in that moment, I knew she understood that THIS was her baby brother, and not my tummy or belly button.

Next it was Noah's turn to hold Henry.  Emily was NOT happy about having to give him up and cried "no, mine".  Noah was equally sweet and gentle, but he's a pro at being a big brother.  Still, it was so sweet to see the way he looked at his new baby.


As the kids were finishing up holding him, the nurse came in and announced that she had to take him to the nursery.  Without so much as letting me take a breathe, she said he'd be back in 45 minutes and whisked him away.  I felt bad that gaga and grandma and grandpa had barely gotten more than a look let alone to hold him, but they all seemed to understand.  I offered for them to stay and wait, but insisted the kids get home to take a nap.  Everyone decided to leave, and I took the next half hour to update the world via text message and Facebook that the boy was here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

one last time as a family of four

there aren't really words that i have for how i'm feeling tonight.  it is 12:23 am.  we have to be at the hospital at 8:00, with my c-section scheduled for 10:00.  i will be 39 weeks, 4 days.

there are times when this pregnancy has flown by and others where i feel like it's gone on forever.  i honestly still think i'm in denial.  i'm clearly pregnant.  the "i didn't know i was pregnant" concept still blows my mind.  my cervix screams everytime this giant child moves, and unlike his big brother and sister, he makes my belly move in the most unreal ways.  tonight we thought for sure he'd punch a hole through my right side and come jumping out.

noah and emily are very excited.  i know noah remembers when emily was born, and i'm fairly certain that emily is only somewhat aware of what is actually happening.  in recent weeks, i do think it has started to make a little more sense to her.  she asked me a few days ago "baby brother is coming out soon?"  clearly we talk about it regularly, and tonight prepped them for how their day and week will go with mommy away.  noah is fine with it.  emily follows his lead.

when i stop to think about the gravity of how life is going to change......  i just paused for about 15 seconds, because i don't really know how to finish that.  infertility was always such a huge part of our story, and i feel like it always will be.  noah asked tonight (for like the 2nd or 3rd time recently) how the baby got in my belly, but quickly shifted to how did he get in my belly and did the doctor put him there.  that is a much easier one to answer, because yes my child, the doctor did put you in there....

i still have friends struggling with infertility and it breaks my heart all over again when someone shares another failed cycle.  but i am reminded that i have paid my dues, four years and four IVF cycles worth, to be exact, and i know that i would do it all again to wind up here, ten hours from having my miracle "freebie" that i never really dreamed possible.

i was so mad after emily was born that my body made the decision that we were done having kids.  did i want three because i really wanted three, or did i want three because i knew i couldn't have three?  but then when three became our new reality, the initial excited "oh shit!", quickly became a terrified "oh shit..." and i feel like i've waivered back and forth between the two in recent days, as i did in those first weeks of my pregnancy.

we've figured out a lot of the logistics- minivan, big kids sharing a bedroom, me going to part time in the spring (20 hours a week - working monday and thursday, and a half day on wednesday), and ben changing his schedule to acconmodate mine and eliminate the need for child care....  money is still going to be tight, and that's something ben and i will have to actively work on and adjust to.  we have the stuff- i kept everything for the big kids and feel so fortunate for that.

it's the physically, mentally and emotionally juggling parenting three kids under five that i'm most nervous about.  i hope my fuse grows longer over the next several months and that noah's recent bratiness and emily's recent two-year-old-ness improve.  i hope i am physically able to keep up with all of them and still have something left at the end of the day.  i hope my RA stays quiet.  i don't want to have to worry about that on top of everything else, especially since last time i saw the rheumatologist was AGES ago, and she encouraged me to wean emily from nursing by 12 months so i could go on some stronger meds.  (for the record, i got pregnant whilst breastfeeding when emily was 15 months old, and didn't wean until she was 20 months and i was 20 weeks pregnant...)

i hope that my emotional state and mine and ben's ability to co-parent, outnumbered, on our new schedule will be strong and healthy and that we won't want to kill each other (and the kids) at the end of each day.

three kids is scary to me in so many ways, but i remind myself that they won't be little forever and then i step back and try to take it all in.

noah's such a kind boy and he really is a good kid.  he is loving and funny and so smart and creative.  lately his thing is telling the story of  "noah's great day" movie.

emily is a fiesty little firecracker who says and does things to get a rise out of you, but then quickly turns on her cute face and pouty kissy lips.  she takes it all in and constantly surprises us with what she knows.  tonight, eating her crescent roll at dinner, she looks at me and say "mmm... licious!"  (delicious)

baby brother - you don't have a name just yet, but i know we'll figure it out in the next few hour or so help me - you aren't even here yet and you have already changed out lives so much.  i never ever dreamed we could have another baby, and even though i have had my fears, i know that you are meant to be a part of our family.  i have always said things happen for a reason, and we have the children we are meant to have.  i cannot wait to meet you and know you and fall even more in love with you than i already am.  you are currently torturing me from the inside - seriously, between the sciatica, the hemmorhoids, and the baby movement slash contractions, this has been my most painful pregnancy of the three.  you move into my right ribcage and i feel like my skin might rip open, and then you burrow down into my cervix and i fear like you're stabbing me with a knife.  i promise not to hold these things against you.  tomorrow, i will complain of the post c-section discomfort, and after that of the booby pain, and after that something else, because it's always something.

but inspite of all of that, you are truly a miracle, in a new sense of the word to me.  i am so grateful for the opportunity to have you in my life and to be your mom.  i'm scared that i won't be great, but i know i will do my best.  we will have good days and bad days, but at the end of each of them, you and your brother and sister will know that i love you all tremendously.  i want you to know that i love you all with my whole heart and that i would do anything for you.  i know you will be amazing and beautiful and smart and strong.

and now, after one last breakfast, one last nap, one last dinnertime, and one last bedtime cuddles as a family of four, it's time for one last sleep before we meet our baby brother.  my youngest child.  my new son. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Six weeks to go...

It's hard to believe this pregnancy is coming to an end. I am due in a little over six weeks, and my last day of work is five weeks from Friday. This little boy will be joining our family so soon, and it still feels like a dream. I sometimes catch my image in the mirror and stop to stare at my belly. I never dreamed I would be so lucky to be pregnant again, to have another child. I am trying to savor each painful moment (more on that...) because I am so grateful for this experience one final time.
The top questions I get right now...

Does he have a name? No, however i personally have a short list. Names are stressful, and that conversation still needs to be has once Ben flips through the name book.

What's my due date/when will I have him? I'm officially due Thursday December 19. The goal is to do a VBAC if by some miracle I go into labor naturally and on time. Now, past experience has been a) my children don't come out on their own and b) they don't come out before their due dates. Noah was induced at 41 weeks, and Emily was a c section at 40 wks, 3 days. Ben however made the valid point that if any of these kids comes out on their own, it'll be this one. Ya know, since he kinda came to be in a different manner... I am hopeful for labor and vbac, however i plan to schedule a c section for earlier in the week I'm due. I definitely have no intention of going past my due date OR spending Christmas in the hospital.

How am I feeling? Meh. This pregnancy has been tough. I'm older, my body is in worse shape in general and due to the fact this is my 3rd pregnancy. I'm completely exhausted because I work full time and then get home and keep going until the kids are in bed (sometimes later if I Get motivated to do dishes or laundry or something). My aches are worse this time. Zero remission of my RA so I'm taking 1000 mg of Tylenol 2-3 times a day. I have horrendous sciatic nerve pain, hemorrhoids, heart burn, and in the last two weeks or so, lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and heaviness in my crotch.

Of course all that aside, there are good things too! This guy is a mover and a shaker, and I love love love feeling him move, even in the moments it makes me lose my breathe a bit. In the last week or so, he's been getting hiccups more consistently, which is just adorable and make him seem like more of a real kid. I appreciate the comments from people telling me how good I look, cuz I am trying hard to look cute, despite my exhaustion.

I'm smitten with the way the big kids (add I now call them) interact with my belly. I'm fairly certain Emily thinks my belly button is Baby Brother, but she talks to my tummy, and gives it his and kisses and puts her hand on it like she has seen others do. Noah knows it's a real baby, and asks regularly when he will come out. He also talks to the baby, kisses my belly, and has been patient enough to feel him move.

I worry about how Emily will do. I really don't thing she gets it. In recent months, she had thankfully started acknowledging babies. It will be a tough transition for her, but I do hope that if we remember to try to keep things as normal as possible and try to balance attention equally, she will be okay. Noah knows what's coming, and I know he will be a good helper and be okay with the baby, I just hope he doesn't feel lost in the shuffle with the obvious amount of attention the baby will need and the extra TLC Emily will be getting.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

potty training a girl

maybe it's emily.  maybe it's me.  maybe it's cuz she's a girl, second child, i'm motivated by the impending birth of number three, whatever, but my girl is awfully motivated to potty train!

today is sunday.  since last monday, emily has peed on the potty almost every day, including twice yesterday, three times today plus a poop!  she is motivated by going (alone, with the door closed), declaring victory, wiping, flushing, washing her hands, and getting a sticker.  the girl is 21 months.  and a half, i guess, but still!  in two weeks, she gets it.  now if only i had a few days to reallllly focus and do it for real, she's be in undies by baby brother's birth day. 

but i don't have the days or the drive right now.  at least i now that when i do, it should be a cinch.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

county fair

last night, we went to the fair with the bergers.  noah and grant rode on several rides, and i was so proud of noah for climbing up and sliding down the giant inflatable slide.  he was so motivated to do it because grant was so excited about it.  i was afraid he'd get halfway up or to the top and freak out, but my big boy did it without hesitation.

then they went on the kiddie roller... you know, the one that looks like a dragon?  after i mentioned it the night before, noah told me yesterday afternoon he wanted to do it.  i told him it would go up and down and be fast, but so much fun.  right before they got on, he gave me an uncertain look when i said it would be about a two minute ride, and then would end.  he nervously asked me how long the ride would be, and i said it would be fun and quick...  i waved at the boys from the other side of the track and hollered at them to hold on, and as they took off on that first turn, the sheer look of terror was apparent on their faces.  oh my god.  i laughed to myself, but inside felt bad for putting my scaredy cat on that ride that i knew might have been too much.  everytime they passed me, i waved and cheered, but i could see grant in tears and noah calling "mommy!"  when the ride ended, i ran over to help them off and praised them for being so brave and going on a big boy ride.  noah was literally shaking when he got off and needed help walking off the ride platform.  i asked him if the ride was fun or scary, and he replied "fun and scary".  i gave him a big hug and told him i was so happy and so proud that he went on the coaster.

from there, we tamed it down with the firetruck-going-around-in-a-circle ride.  then it was onto the kiddie ferris wheel.  noah had been talking about going on the BIG ferris wheel with mom or dad, but we were down to our last two tickets, so ben gave noah the option to ride the big ferris wheel or to ride the little ferris wheel AND the carousel.  of course, he chose the latter (but later wanted to go on the big one...  and of course we had no cash to oblige...)  anyway, he and grant went on the kids ferris wheel, and at first seemed nervous as it went up and rounded the top, but then started laughing and having fun.

it was emily's first trip to the fair and she loved seeing all the animals, and just kind of took it all in.  when we got home, we were talking about everything we saw, and she said "cows".  now, she's a chatty little monkey, and cow is nothing new, but last night was the first time she said the plural form of any word.  (she also said "toes")  she is definitely talking primarily in two and three word phrases now, and asks questions and makes requests.  at 19 months old, it just blows me away, since at this age, noah had maybe two words.  emily is also really coming into her little personality and sense of humor.  she plays off of noah, and makes jokes with him.  (ie. he'll ask "do you like me?" she'll say "no" and laugh)  she copies the funny faces he does or sounds he makes.  sometimes she just gives me a funny face or silly look for no reason at all, and then we both crack up.

Monday, July 1, 2013

the latest

from june 1st:

today marks 11 weeks, 2 days pregnant with baby #3.  the shock is starting to wear off, and reality is setting in.  i saw my OB three weeks ago and literally felt like i might barf on the way there.  i was so nervous!  with IVF, there are hormones, blood test, and early ultrasounds.  what if i needed the drugs to sustain this one?  what a huge relief it was to see the flicker of that little heart beat on the screen when the doctor did my that  ultrasound.  he said he saw it move.  i didn't.  i was focused on that flicker.  that was the thing i needed to feel like, phew.  this is the real deal, and the baby is fine.  it measured two days behind, which could have changed my due date, but doctor is sticking with december 19th.  we talked about scheduled c-section vs vbac.  he did say i am still a candidate for vbac if i go into labor.  i am leaning toward scheduling for early the week i'm due, and if by some miracle, i actually go into labor this time, we'll give it a go.

we told family, friends, and coworker, and went facebook official, so now all the world knows our big secret!  and it was in the nick of time, because my pants haven't fit since i was 7 weeks.  once we went public, i switched to maternity pants and that makes me happy.  :)  i've been feeling okay in general, but started having morning nausea probably around 7 weeks and heard the heartbeat on the doppler around 10 weeks.

summer time

ugh.  why do i suck at blogging?  i don't journal, scrapbook, or keep up on the kids' baby books, and my memory is horrendous.  i sure hope my kids aren't too pissed someday when my answer to their "when was my first _____?" questions come up...

summer is in full swing.  i am just about 16 weeks pregnant, and all things considered, doing well.  when asked, i keep telling people i'm tired, but not cuz of the baby, but cuz of the big kids keeping me on my toes.  haven't felt baby move yet, and don't yet have our gender reveal u/s scheduled, but i'm thinking girl, just because i'm feeling more similar to my pregnancy with emily and because my skin is gross and pimply.  girl hormones, i swear.  i want to know what it is and to feel it move SOON, because despite my growing waist line, it still doesn't feel real to me.  seriously.  i'm pregnant without IVF.  hahahahaha.....

noah finished up his first year at jefferson early childhood center.  he is academically a rockstar, and really a star student.  listens, follows directions, particatipates.  and really, he is great at the academic stuff.  it's the social stuff that's a struggle.  he is very social with familiar people, but almost *too* social.  he doesn't get person space.  he gets loud and pushy and right up in your face.  he's the same with emily.  he loves that gal to death, but seriously doesn't know his own oafiness.  he knocks her down multiple times a day and not usually because he's being mean.  on school days, when i'd pick him up from my in-laws, i'd ask who he played with at school, and he usually said himself, which made my heart sad.  i am not sure that is 100% accurate, but i had to wonder if it was because he was to "aggressive" with the other kids.

that stuff aside, he is taking a dance/creative movement class and a tee-ball class this summer.  he is loving both, and i think because he's not familiar with the other kids, he's still pretty reserved, just listening and following along.  it's hard because it's a fine line.  i want him to be social and outgoing and interact with all kinds of people (because i was not capable of that as a kid), as well as be a good student, but i also want him to learn those social boundaries so that he's not outcast or socially awkward.  we have another year of preschool ahead of us, and for that i am glad.  i've heard people gripe about the cut off date for school, which in illinois is september 1st, or people go ahead and put their kids with eleventh hour birthdays into kindergarten just because they are 5 by september 1st, but i for one, with my particular kid at this moment in time, even with three years of "preschool" under his belt, am glad that his birthday is after the cut off.  i feel sad for kids that don't have the opportunity that he has had to have four years of structured programing to prepare them for kindergarten like he will by the time he goes.

emily is my sweet baby doll.  the terrible twos are definitely upon up, with meltdowns and whining when she doesn't get her way.  i try to remind her to use her words and say please, but it just pisses her off more.  she is like noah in a lot of ways, from her silly sense of humor to her goofy dance moves, but different in even more ways.  she is the daredevil.  climbing things, trying things without a second thought.  for example, first time in a pool last weekend at a hotel in champaign for ben's cousin dave's wedding - noah sat on the stairs of the pool and screamed bloody murder when i held him in the middle of the pool and asked him to try to float.  emily stood on the edge and literally fell into my arms about 20 times.  she put her face in the water and just laughed the few times she jumped to me and i dunked her under water.  she is also stronger with her gross motor skills than he was at her age.  running and trying to jump, attempting a tricycle, and wanting to do everything "brudder" does.  she is a major motor mouth.  it's so bizarre because at her age, we were having noah's speech evaluated, and i knew he was delayed, with only about two words at 18mo.  em on the other hand - i have no idea.  i'd guess 100ish words.  probably more.  lots of "what's that" and "where's it go"  anything plus "peeeees".  animals, animal sounds, body parts, people's names, labeling everything she sees and trying to tell us stories.  we communicate with her with words.  and she imitates things that she thinks are funny.  "bad guy" was a recent phrase that cracked us up.  and her eating.  oh my gawwwwd, her eating.  she loves fruits and sweets, but will eat any and everything we put in front of her.  it is so refreshing!  i will say though, noah has come a long way.  this summer, we have a had a ton of fruit in the house since sis blows through it at a crazy pace, and we've convinced noah to at least try all of it.  light years from gagging down a nibble of watermelon with miss jo, his speech therapist, two summers ago.

on the agenda for the summer:

fourth of july festivities with the family.  fireworks, parade, bbq.  and of course, our 10 year anniversary on the fifth.  i'm off, ben works.  lol.  but i think i'll convince him to take me out to dinner.  :)  aside from that, we are going to south haven, mi, just the two of us next weekend to celebrate our anniversary.  i was initially devastated when our long standing plans to take a 10 year anniversary trip to an island location (ideally, the dominican republic) was squashed by our finances, but alls well that ends well, cuz we had been looking to travel in december.  (and now i'm having a baby in december.)  but ben promised me an anniversary trip, and a weekend on the beach with no kids sounds pretty fabulous too.  :) 

we are skipping the dave matthews band concerts this summer for the first time since 1996 (aside from the ones we missed the night of our wedding, julie & scott's wedding, and the weekend i stood up in anne's wedding).  i was kind of the bad guy on that and just told ben i had no desire to go (this was even before i was pregnant).  to spend that kind of money for the two shows, gas, hotel, food.... just kind of over it.  instead we dropped $200 on justin timberlake/jay z tickets, which has been a long time dream of julie's and mine.  we are going to the show with the bergers and the zemans and considering getting a limo or party bus.

piatt lake is on the calendar once again, this year with family coming from out of town, which noah is stoked about, as am i.  it's so much more fun there with a big group for my own enjoyment, but also for the kids enjoyment and for the family to enjoy the kids enjoying the cabin and the lake.

life feels busier than it actually is these days.  i feel like it's just go go go, chill for a minute, sleep, go go go again.  i will try for my own benefit to blog better and hopefully find more exciting topics to puruse.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

i have a secret

wednesday, april 17, 2013

so.  i have a secret.  it's a big one.  you'll never guess.  well you might, but if you guessed and i answered yes, you'd probably shit your pants.

holy shit.

i am pregnant.  seriously.  i am.  and it happened the old fashioned way.  what?  that actually works for people with diagnosed infertility after four rounds of IVF?  apparently, yes.  it does.

so back up a week....  last wednesday, april 10th, i took the day off to take noah to his hematologist.  after the doctor and lunch, we ran to target.

i picked up a pregnant test.

i'm not even entirely sure why.  i wasn't even "late" yet.

i guess i just felt off.  my pants weren't fitting and i had gained about five pounds recently.  i'd been hungry all the time, tired all the time.  a zit appeared on my face. 

ever since i got my period when emily was 6 months old (boo!), we were sort of trying, without any expectation of anything.  the first few months after she was born, i was so sad about the finality of things.  i was mad that my body was making the decision about this, and not my heart and mind.  if not for infertility and IVF, would i have wanted a third?  i have no idea.  but because i couldn't have another child, i definitely wanted one.

and then one day last summer, i put a bunch of family pictures in a frame we'd gotten for christmas.  a few days later, it caught my eye, and suddenly it dawned on me - this is my family.  i wasn't totally over it, but it got easier as months went on, and i almost feel like i had come to terms with having noah and emily, mommy and daddy, and that being that.

and then this happened.

i got home wednesday and while the kids were watching tv, i peed on that stick.  i've only done that once before, after the nurse called to tell me i was pregnant the first time, so i could show ben that "pregnant" word on the little window.  i laid the stick on the counter and looked at my phone.  two minutes.....  i looked at the test.  a plus sign.  positive.  pretty sure my heart stopped momentarily.

of course i doubted it.  how was this even possible?  how did this happen?  well, i know how it happened.... but seriously?  after trying on our own for a year and a half before moving onto IVF, and then nothing happening for the two years between Noah's birth and Emily's conception...  wow.  just wow.

i thought maybe i'd done it wrong or screwed it up by peeing on the results window, so i took another one, and this time did the cup dip.  two minutes..... again, plus sign.  positive.

how do i tell ben?  what will he say?  how will he respond?  how far along am i?

ben gets home.  dinner.  kids in bed.  he's laying with noah for what feels like a freaking eternity.  sitting on my bed, i finally hear him come out of noah's room.

me: "babe can you come here a minute?"
ben: random chat about noah
me: "can you sit down?  i need to talk to you."
him: "okay"
me: "soooo... you're gonna think i'm crazy..." and i pull the test out of the drawer and hand it to him.

i think the first response was basically, this can't be right, and then really?  and then a smile.  and then i said (at 9:30pm), i'm going to CVS to get more tests.

went to CVS, like some crazy person, bought two more packages of tests, including one of the ones that actually says the word pregnant, no lines or pluses.  peed in a cup, dipped the tests.  two minutes.....  two lines, "pregnant".  ben and i, in shock, denial, disbelieve, amazement.  wow.  just wow.

next morning, panic sets in.  i tell the receptionist at OB my last period was march 14th (though it was kind of weird, so told her i wasn't 100% sure), and she tells me doc will see me at 8-10 weeks.  wait, what?  i don't know how to respond so i just schedule an appt for May 13th.

i get off the phone and freak out.  seriously?  i'm a former IVF patient.  i need a beta.  or two or three!  i need an ultrasound in like a week and a half.  and then the next week, and the next.

and then the thought - i have never been pregnant without IVF and the support of the hormone protocol.  what if i can only be pregnant with those drugs??  calm down.  what to do, what to do?

ben tries to reassure me it will be okay.  i don't feel very reassured.

the next day, (friday) i call the wheaton clinic and get an appt with a primary.  i want a beta to help ease my mind.  i do another pee test.  doctor reassured me everything's going to be okay.  pee test is positive.  congratulations.  blood work ordered and done.

monday morning, i call the nurse and leave a message asking her to call about my blood work.

i finally get the call.  my hcg is 219!  relief.  that's a great number at 4wk 1day.  at the same point, my hcg with noah was 271.

now i continue to wait, holding this secret so tight yet wanting to scream from the rooftops, and only barely starting to discuss finances and buying a minivan with ben.  i hesitate to make any major changes yet though.  i'm too superstitious.  i'm too scared.  where i was feeling pretty good about being a family of four just days ago, i'm now desparate to meet this baby and become a family of five.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Birth story - part two

(I have been working on this for an eternity, but alas!!!  Part two of Emily's birth story!)

After I left the recovery room following my c-section, Emily was taken to the nursery for a bath. In retrospect, we should have just refused it at that time, knowing some family was already in the waiting room and others were on their way. We didn't think much of it at the time, because after all, how long does it take to bathe a baby.

Emily went to have her bath and I was moved to my mother-baby room. We anxiously awaited Emily's return, and looked so forward to introducing her to Noah and the rest of the family. And that's not to mention the rest of the world who knew my surgery was at 9am awaiting text and Facebook announcements!! We waited. And we waited. And we waited. Three times I sent Ben to the nursery to check on her. Turns out she was still having difficulty regulating her temp, and after her bath, they decided to put her under the heat lamp.

Finally after a freaking eternity, they brought me my baby girl!!!! Looking back at Facebook, I posted at 1:51pm "Me and baby girl are doing great! Details to come after she meets the fam! :) she's perfect!!" And then at 3:05 "Thanks for being patient everyone! All is well, details ASAP!" Finally at 4:11, after meeting the whole family, the details went public "Emily Reese koechling. Born 10:24am, 6lb 7oz, 19in. She's perfect!" That goes to show how long she was in the nursery.

First Noah met Emily, with only grandpa and auntie Julie there to document the moment. It was exactly as I'd hoped. He was so sweet and so enthralled with her. Here is the video of their first meeting. :)

Then Julie and Grandpa left.  Our family of four alone, together.  Perfect.  Noah was quite excited to play with the present from the baby, his new Bruder trailer that hitched to his Jeep.

Lastly, Gaga, Julie, Grandma, Grandpa, Katie & Samuel came to meet the baby.  We introduced miss Emily to the family, and gave them all the stats.  Everyone oohed and ahed of course, and I'm pretty sure she was worth the wait.

Despite my having asked the OB before she was even born about check her hemoglobin and bilirubin levels ASAP, the nurses were unconcerned.  It wasn't until the next day when she started looking yellow, and the ped came in and said yeah, I ordered those labs yesterday.... ugh!  I was practically begging them to do bloodwork, and the order was supposed to be in the system!  (apparently, the "system" was brand new, as the hospital had just merged with another one and i guess that meant new computer system)  anyways, once labs were done, it was determined that she did in fact have elevated bilirubin counts.  she was put in a different sort of bilibed than noah had.  it was completely open air, just her, naked, under the lights, and she HATED it.  after a day, maybe a day and a half, i asked the nurses if we could use the kind noah had, and use the little bili "blanket" for when i took her out to nurse.  they switched her and all was good with the world.  where noah was in the bed until the morning we were released, i think emily was in from mid-weds to early friday.  (she was born tuesday and we went home saturday.)  her jaundice was much milder than noah's but of course it indicated to us that she also had the same blood disorder noah and i share, hereditary spherocytosis, or HS.  At some point during her time under the lights, the doctors encouraged us to supplement with formula, as babies pee their jaundice out.  The idea is the more she drinks, the more she pees.  So I think I maybe gave her formula once, and because I just really didn't feel right about it, supplemented with pumped milk a couple times.  Other that that, she was a rockstar at breastfeeding.

I think it was the morning of day 3 (Thursday), when I came out of the bathroom to my find that my nurse that day was Mitchie.  I burst into tears and told her that she surely didn't know me, but she was my nurse with Noah and that she had held a special place in my heart for being so great when he was so sick and was the one who told me the morning I was being discharged that he was going to be able to go home too.  I'll never forget that as long as I live.  That time was so scary, and when she told me that, I burst into tear, sat bolt upright in bed, and gave her a giant hug.  I was so hopeful she would be my nurse again this time, and there she was, both Thursday and Friday!

**warning: the following is somewhat graphic.**

I remember when I was in recovery after my c-section there was talk about blood loss or clots... well something was definitely off that week.  People kept telling me how pale I looked, and I just thought post-op, whatever.  But then I got up one day to go to the bathroom (I think Thursday), and sitting there on the toilet, something felt really weird.  And then it hurt.  A lot.  And then.... I felt something that I'd never felt before come out of me and plop in the toilet.  It was terrifying.  I pulled the emergency cord in the bath room, and in seconds, three nurses were there.  I was hysterically crying, gown around my waist, trying to tell them i just passed something large.  They helped me back to bed and assured me everything was okay.  I was shaken but okay.


Later that day, while Ben's parents were visiting with Noah, I again went to the bathroom, and again, the same thing happened.  There must've been terror in my voice when I called for Ben, because his parents scurried Noah out of the room, and Ben called the nurses in.

Blood work was ordered, and my hemoglobin was 6.1.  On Friday morning, we talked to the OB, and he was not concerned about the blood clots or my low hemoglobin.  In fact, he said low hemoglobin can be normal after a c-section.  I talked to my mom and Ben, and decided to call the OB and request a blood transfusion.  My concern was that I was going to be discharged the next day, and either feel like crap for the next few weeks, home with a newborn through the holidays, or wind up back in the hospital just in time for Christmas. 

I got two units of blood Friday afternoon, and my angel nurse Mitchie even stayed past the end of her shift to make sure I was doing alright.  I definitely felt much better after getting the blood and my count was up a few points. 

The next morning, we got our walking papers, and what started the week as a family of three, went home as a family of four.  <3 br="">

the months that have gone by.

couple things:

i suck.  wow.  i knew i was bad at blogging, but this is reallllly bad.  for a minute i was going to move my blog to wordpress, but below is the one and only post from that site.  change of plans.  guess i'll stay here...

also, it's been a crazy few months!  gosh, let me think.  so noah started preschool, and has loved it.  academically, he is so smart.  i really think he will be great in school.  he loves letters and numbers, and can sound out words (when he is in the mood).  he's done well on the testing they do, but the teacher's most recent comment was about how he doesn't quite understand personal space.  he's touchy feely and gets in your face to get your attention, and 3 and 4 year old don't like that....  it's a prime example of why the school cut off is appropriate.  would noah be ready for kindergarten in fall?  academically, i believe he would love it.  socially or emotionally, no.  he needs to learn personal space and needs to become more independent.  he is a bit of a baby still, and i think that's in part due to him being the first born, and yeah, we kind of spoil(ed) him!  but he also needs to learn to be more independent, and dare i say, take risks?!

emily is thriving.  she is an incredible child, and so different from noah in so many ways.  she is a daredevil.  she is going to be the little monster climbing the shelves and finding her way out of her crib (yikes!).  she started walking right around 14 months, loves crawling up the stairs (yikes), climbs onto her little bike and scoots back and forth across the room.  she is trying to climb onto the couch and LOVES to climb onto noah's little chair at his little table in the family room.  and she is chatty.  oh dear, *this* child does not need speech therapy!  she knows so many animals, animal sounds, says car when she hears a car, says truck, mama, dada, gaga, recently started calling grandpa (who she adores) "pa".  if you ask her a question, like "is that bear or toby?", she'll respond with the last thing you said, pretty consistently.  she will ask to eat, ask for a baba, ask to color ("cu-dor") on her magna doodle, says go-go when she's ready to go.  says hi and bye, waves, blows kisses, gives high fives, gives kisses and hugs and cuddles.  she is sleeping well and eating everything in sight.  i still nurse her twice a day.

in september, i started having a weird pain in my side.  my left side ribcage to be exact.  the first 3-4 days, i thought little of it.  assumed i slept funny.  but when it didn't go away, i googled "left side ribcage pain" (imagine that), and the first thing that came up was enlarged spleen.  and i immediately said "crap".

the kids and i have a condition called hereditary spherocytosis, which basically means the red blood cells are goofy and kind of makes you chronically anemic.  it can also cause problems with the spleen and gall bladder (which i had out when i was 13).  so when i see this pain could possibly be related to my spleen, i pretty much resolved myself to the fact that this was in fact the issue.

i saw a general doc, who wasn't convinced it was my spleen, but sent me for an ultrasound to check it out.  the afternoon i had the u/s, a nurse called me and told me i needed to see a hematologist soon, because my spleen was enlarged.   so i made an appt with a hematologist, who said, yep, spleen's huge, but she wasn't terribly concerned because i wasn't in any sort of hemolytic crisis (ie. my blood counts were normal) and it wasn't ruptured.  however, she recommended surgery to remove it basically for quality of life.  i was having a hard time bending over, picking noah up, and finishing a meal.  it didn't exactly *hurt* but was definitely uncomfortable.  so she then referred me to the surgeon, or hot doc... young, good looking, and definitely younger than me.... and he said they would try to get it laprascopically, but wouldn't know until they got in if it would come out that way.  lap would be 3 days in the hospital, and the other way would be a week.  in either case, i would be out of work for at least two weeks!

i decided to have surgery mid-november.  they did surgery on mondays, and i did not want to have to early vote and spend election night in a hospital!  (i was able to take both kids with me to vote, and both wore their little Obama shirts that day too.  and ben and i stayed up watching returns on msnbc until the president was officially re-elected!)  i was also leary of waiting until the week of thanksgiving (for the obvious reason), and then into december was emily's party, her birthday, and then christmas, so that was out.

i had surgery that 2nd monday of november, and woke up in recovery to hear the nurse telling me they got it laprascopically.  i was so happy.  that afternoon was the one "pump and dump" i did, but after that i pumped the whole time, or a couple times in the evenings actually nursed emily in a sort of upright position.  i think she was so happy to see me, she didn't care.  she just kind of sat next to me on my right side both times (cuz my gross drain and main incision were on the left), and craned her neck up to make it work.  it was lovely.  i did wind up being out of work for two weeks, but the tail end of that time was thanksgiving, so it was kind of nice that it worked out that way.  ben was off work the day of surgery (monday) and the day i came home (weds), and then the entire week of thanksgiving.

in december, emily turned one.  not spoiled at, the girl had a ginormous birthday party with family and friends.  like her brother, she wasn't so sure about her first birthday cupcake, but gave it a whirl.  it's so crazy to think she is 16 months old already, and that it has already been four months since that big day.  on her actual birthday, we had cake and lou's pizza.  :)

in february, i went on a girls weekend to the wisconsin dells with some former co-workers and very dear friends.  it was lovely.  saturday was a spa day, where we got massages and literally chilled in an outdoor hot springs pool.  it was 0 degrees out that day!  saturday night, we did dinner and lots of drinks.  it was a fabulous time.

in march, i went on another girls weekend.  this one was a once in a lifetime trip to long beach, california to meet 20 of my online IVF mommy friends.  i met most of them on an message board in 2007 when we started down the IVF road.  we have been through the lowest lows and highest highs together, and continue to be there for each other on our new facebook group.  it was truly a life changing experience.  to finally hear the voices of these women that i already "knew" and to learn that they all really exceeded my expectations of the people i knew them to be.....  there really are no words.  it was an amazing, amazing experience.

and now, i don't know.... what's next for the koechlings?  just taking it one day at a time.  :)

(here is the lone post from the now defunct, "new" blog)

february 12, 2013:
bad mommy.  i have such mommy guilt over my lack of blogging, journaling, scrapbooking, baby booking….  ugh.  i have pictures upon pictures and facebook statuses that i’m sure will jog my memory in the future…  but for now, a list of emily’s amazing tricks!

body parts: points to her nose, ears, eyes, hair, tummy, belly button and sticks out her tongue
animal sounds: kitty says meow and purr, monkey say “ah ah”, duck (“guck”) say “kahk kahk”, dog says oof oof, dino says “rahr”, sheep says baa, owl says “oo”, elephant sounds with arm for trunk

she waves and says hi and bye, she recently started blowing kisses, points, gives high fives, reaches for uppies, claps and rolls her hands for patty cake

in the past week or so, she has started walking across the room!  she falls gracelessly to her hands and knees, but keep on trying!

new favorite word is “nana” for banana.  she babbles and talks all the time, much of it is jibberish, but she is so communicative.  it’s such a welcome change from noah, who maybe said one word at her age.  she calls “dada, daddy” non-stop, and ben and i are both “dada” with the occasional mama…  she points at pictures of gaga and proclaims “gaga!”  noah is not consistent.  the other day it was na-na, sometimes it’s wa-wa…
in that vein, she is also different from noah in that she will literally eat anything you put in front of her.  it’s amazing to see!  it makes life so much easier.

sleep is still a stuggle, but we did do cry it out the week she turned one.  it was going well at night til recently (maybe past 3 weeks) when her top molars started coming in, poor baby.