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.