Monday, April 14, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 28 and 29

A lot has been going on, but nothing exciting (thankfully – that’s good in a vasa previa pregnancy). This is a pretty boring post as a result, but I want to document everything for myself (and for others with vasa previa who want lots of details).

28 week ultrasound

Tuesday (28 weeks) I went into see the specialist. Baby’s growth has gone up from the 38th percentile to the 42nd!  Wahoo! His stomach is still measuring a week behind (14th percentile), but I think it was 2 weeks behind before, so only one week is good. I guess they only worry about overall weight when they consider IUGR and the smaller stomach is okay. Neither doctor (specialist or regular OB) seemed concerned. In fact, I won’t have another big ultrasound till week 32 (4 weeks from the last one).  Fluid levels look good and the baby was bum down. Both good things!

Unfortunately, it looks like he’s now head down again. Not a huge deal, but it’s better to have a cushy bum near the exposed vessels than a hard head. I have started twice a week nonstress tests (NST), so if his head were to get too close to the vessels and push on them we should be able to catch it.

1-hour glucose test and Tdap

Right after that 28 week ultrasound Tuesday I had an appointment with my regular OB. I had to do the 1-hour glucose test. Yuck, but do-able. I also got a Tdap vaccine. That was unexpected. It’s for whooping cough and most kids have 5 rounds of the DTaP vaccine when they’re little and then adults should occasionally get the booster. I had one when I was pregnant with Emma and I thought I was good for at least 15 years, but apparently you should get one with each pregnancy for the baby. The vaccine crosses the placenta and helps protect the baby from whooping cough until they can start being vaccinated from it themselves (starting at 2 months). Up until the steroid shots, the Tdap vaccine with Emma was the worst shot I’ve had, so I was not happy to find out I’d need to get it again.

First I went and got my blood drawn for the glucose test, then I went in for the Tdap. I hardly felt it! Apparently, after having the steroid shots a few days before, the awful Tdap shot was nothing (besides the sore arm for days later).

3-hour glucose test

Unfortunately, I failed the 1-hour glucose test. Barely. But I still failed. There’s a good chance that it was from having the steroid shots so soon before. They can mess with the blood sugar. Darn.

So today (Monday) I did the 3-hour test. My wonderful mother-in-law watched Logan and Emma for me. They slept over last night since it’s a fasting test and I wanted to wake up first thing and go (Kaylee was at school and then she played at her friends house after). I got to the hospital for the lab work around 8:40. It’s called the 3-hour glucose test, but I was there for 4. First I had to get all checked-in and then they drew my blood to make sure I was ready for the test (from the fast). Once the results of that blood came back I drank the glucose, then waited an hour and they drew my blood at 10:35. Then again at 11:35 and 12:35.

Luckily, Ogden Regional has a private room with a bed for the pregnant women doing this test (and for babies who need their blood drawn… like when Emma had to get some blood tests done). It was lovely! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was still miserable and I was quite nauseous and starving from it all, but I was able to lie down! I read blogs on my phone and napped off and on while eating ice chips they provided me with. I had to do the 3-hour test with Emma at a different hospital and had to be in the waiting room the whole time. I definitely preferred a bed Smile.

Nonstress Test (NST)

The crazy part of today is that I had an appointment for a nonstress test at 12:45. My last blood draw was at 12:35. Good thing they were both at the same hospital (my regular OB is at the other hospital). As soon as I was done with that I rushed to my van to drive around to the other side of the hospital. I ate a fruit/nut bar on the way.

The NST was pretty uneventful. I chatted with the nurse doing the test. She was nice. She works part-time there, part-time up in labor and delivery, so I asked different questions about the hospital and such.

Usually the NSTs are done while the mom is laying back, but I need to do them while sitting up or standing. Not easy for them. The nurse had to hold the monitor on the whole time because it wasn’t going to stay with the bands while I was sitting up. They monitor the baby’s heart for 20 minutes. Everything looked good! They also did a quick ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid levels. That’s good, too. That’s when they saw that he’s head down.

I go back Thursday for another NST. I’ll go every Monday and Thursday just to make sure everything is good. I’m sure it will be.

I was finished at 2:30, which means I was at the hospital for almost 6 hours! And I hadn’t eaten anything besides the fruit/nut bar and tons of glucose since 9:30 the night before. Soooo not okay for a pregnant woman. Blah. But it’s over. And my OB called right after I left the hospital to let me know that the results of the 3-hour test were normal, so no gestational diabetes. Wahoo!

Other

Still no name. This is hard! Let us know if you have any ideas.

I’m not feeling as nervous today. It comes and goes. Just wish I was holding my healthy baby boy in my arms right now. It’s hard to be patient.

I’m pretty sure the rest of the updates will be pretty boring, just like this one. At least I hope. I’ll continue to do the twice a week NSTs and then go into the hospital in 3+ weeks and deliver via c-section around 34 weeks. That’s when there will be big news (and cute pictures!).

(BTW, I’m 29 weeks on Wednesday.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: the steroid shots

This is such a small thing, but because I like reading exactly what people have been through with all of this I’m going to post it.

I had the second steroid shot today (I’m 27 weeks and 2 days) to help baby’s lungs develop and I just have to get on here and say, “ouch!!!” Yesterday’s was unpleasant, but today’s was even worse. Luckily, it passed quickly.

During it, and for about 2 or 3 minutes after, I felt quite nauseous (both days) and worried about passing out. They were intramuscular shots (big needles and they go deep) kind of in my hip/back. Yesterday’s was on the right, today’s on the left. I was told it would be in my bum, so just above it was a little better, I guess.

It stung a lot going in, but really, that pain was all done within 5 minutes. Except today it probably took an extra 5 minutes to walk it off. Not bad, though. Both sides feel a little bruised, but nothing terrible. I’ve been quite tired both days and EXTREMELY thirsty!!! That’s probably the most annoying thing. I can not quench my thirst (having a cold doesn’t help that)!

I’m so so happy to have them done! I’ve felt quite helpless throughout all of this and enduring the pain of the shots made me feel like I was actually doing something to help my baby, so that’s good.

Now here’s to hoping his little lungs are growing big and strong!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 26 and 27

I’m breaking this into sections since this is so long. You can skip to what interests you.

26 weeks: possible small stomach

Last week I had an appointment with the perinatologist at 26 weeks (Dr. Spencer this time). It was mostly uneventful. Baby looks good, was bum down and still not by the cervix (wahoo!). The only thing noteworthy is that the baby went from the 50th percentile at 23 weeks to 38th percentile at 26 weeks. His abdominal measurement was low and brought down the overall percentile. This isn’t serious unless it keeps going down and/or gets below the 10th percentile. It would mean intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) which is where the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It could be from an incompetent or dying placenta or from the vessels between the placenta and baby not working correctly (which could be a problem with velamentous cord insertion, which I have).

I have my next appointment with the specialist in 5 days (Tuesday), so we’ll see how his stomach is then. It could very easily have been a mis-measurement, since the little guy would not cooperate very well. If it was IUGR they often deliver early (once it’s determined that baby will get more nutrients outside of the uterus than inside), but since I’m already delivering early, even if this is an issue it probably won’t change much (you know… besides my hope of a super big preemie…). It should be just fine though. 38th percentile isn’t bad.

27 weeks: appointment plans and steroid shots

Today I had an appointment with my regular OB. I am 27 weeks and 1 day. We took a look at the baby and he looks good. Head-down again, but floating happily away from the cervix.

Next Tuesday I’ll first go to the specialist and then go into my regular OB (their offices are at two different hospitals) and do the glucose test. Yuck.

Starting the following week I’ll go into the specialists (I’m switching off between two) on Mondays and then my OB on Thursdays so they can do non-stress tests on the baby. Make sure he’s not resting on the vessel (apparently it’s quite the large one)!

I can actually choose to go into the hospital starting 28 weeks, insurance and doctor-wise (that’s next Wednesday!) even if my body isn’t doing anything yet. If I needed to for peace of mind I could (after days like today with the kids it’s tempting Winking smile), but unless it’s needed sooner, I’m still planning to go in at 32 weeks with the c-section between 33 and 34 weeks.

I got the first dose of the steroid shot today at the appointment to help baby’s lungs develop. Ouch! I’ll get the second one 24 hours from that one. From everything I’ve read about these shots they make a HUGE difference! I’m so grateful for modern medicine for so many reasons these days!!!

How I’m Doing

Emotionally, I’m okay. I just want him out and safe. With Emma I was quite content to keep her in as long as she wanted (which was one day after he due date) because I knew she’d be safe in there. It’s so different to be anxious to get my baby out (and early!).

I get quite emotional after each appointment, but hey, I’m pregnant, right? It’s to be expected. I keep having nightmares and they certainly don’t help, either. I’m feeling super grateful that I don’t do Braxton Hicks because any pains that feel like they “might” be a contraction puts me on edge. I get why people choose to go into the hospital at 28 weeks, but with 3 kids I don’t feel like that’s an option, plus I think I’d go crazy.  (And again, my body is cooperating thus far, so I should be just fine waiting.)

Joel and I went to London to visit my parents a couple weeks ago and it was exactly what I needed. For the first time since finding out about the vasa previa, I was able to think about other things. Plus, it was just comforting to be around my parents. I still have plenty of moments of anxiety and worry, but that get-away helped a ton! 

Physically, I’m doing well. Round-ligament pain isn’t fun, but it’s eased up the past few days. I’m exhausted a lot, but also get spurts of energy for nesting, which is nice. Nausea isn’t bad at all. Some days it is, but mostly it’s gone now. Yay!

Baby Prep

I’ve got his clothes washed and mostly put away. Need to find a good car seat that goes low in weight. Good timing because the one we have just expired. I’m also going to look into some sort of co-sleeping thing. I have co-slept with all of my babies and felt safe with it, but with having a preemie I feel more comfortable having either a bedside co-sleeper or one of those that go in the middle of the bed. I’m going to get that after he’s born, because with the NICU he might be well sleep-trained and not need it anyway. 

Besides the car seat, the biggest thing we need to do is figure out a name!!!! Not easy! For now he is “Baby” or “Blarglesplat.” Weird, I know Smile. Joel came up with it as a funny knick-name to tease the kids and it’s stuck. Logan (age 4) keeps saying we have to come up with a different name before he’s born because if we name him “Gargelsplat” (how Logan says it”) then he’ll think the baby is ugly. I guess we really need to get on the name Winking smile.

I wish I could end this with cute baby pics again, but he was really not being cooperative. Just like the 20 week ultrasound he had his hands in front of his face. I wonder if that’s how he’ll sleep when he’s here Smile

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: 23 weeks

(To find out more about what vasa previa is and what our original plan was/is click here for the first post.)

We had our second appointment with a perinatologist today. It was a different one than we originally saw because the first one was out of town and we really needed to go this week. I’m glad to get a second opinion on it, though, so it was actually a good thing that we saw someone different.

It was an interesting appointment.

First an ultrasound tech checked baby’s size, the amniotic fluid and such. Everything looked good (baby weighs 1.5 lbs at 23 weeks and is in the 46th percentile)! Then the doctor came in.

He started out by telling us that it really isn’t always necessary to be hospitalized with vasa previa and that he wasn’t sure he would recommend it for me. And that delivering so early (by 34 weeks) might not be necessary either. You’d think this would make me feel better, but it actually kind of stressed me out. The guidelines for vasa previa say that you need to be hospitalized for constant monitoring between 30 and 32 weeks and deliver by 34-35 weeks.

He just seemed very nonchalant about the whole situation.

Then he did an ultrasound and looked at the placenta and blood vessels.

His tone changed pretty quickly.

Apparently from the ultrasound pictures he looked at from my 20 week appointment, the vasa previa didn’t look that bad. After doing the ultrasound himself he started talking about hospitalizing between 30 and 32 weeks (and maybe sooner!) and saying that most likely we’d do the c-section by 34 weeks. Big change from what he was saying when he first came in!

I guess that what’s over the cervix isn’t just a wimpy little blood vessel, it’s a great big portion of the cord. And it’s definitely not going to move. I’m glad to know what we’re dealing with. I’ve read stories where doctors were unsure whether or not there actually was vasa previa and they were just guessing on what to do because of it. Some outcomes were pretty sad because they guessed wrong. It’s good to know for sure and to have both doctors agree on the course of action.

I’ll start being monitored closely as soon as I get back from visiting my parents in London. I’m not sure how often at first, but from what he said it sounded like every week or 2. They’ll monitor the baby’s heart rate as well as check to see if my body is showing any signs of labor. Luckily, my body isn’t showing any signs of it at this point.

I thought that week 28 was when we’d really want to start the big-time monitoring because the baby would be so big. He said 26-27. (Although, when I first asked him, before he did the ultrasound, he said baby’s size probably wouldn’t be an issue and to not worry about it. He changed his mind on this also after doing the ultrasound and baby will be monitored a lot.)

So everything might be moving up, time-wise. Who knows. I’ve never done pre-term labor before and my body really doesn’t do much until the last couple weeks before delivery. In fact, I never had braxton hicks or any contractions until the actual day I went into labor with the other three, so hopefully my body does the same this time.

I asked about pushing back the c-section to 35 weeks (this is common for vasa previa) and he said maybe and that if my cervix wasn’t seeming to do anything at all, then we might, but that in his experience by 34 weeks (and often sooner) parents AND medical staff were so stressed out by the situation that they chose to deliver then. So we’ll see. At this point I’m just hoping for at least 34 weeks. I even bought 2 little preemie pajamas and some preemie diapers this evening (they’re so little it makes me get all teary-eyed). I’m feeling more of a rush to get prepared than I was before this appointment. I also have all of the Easter basket stuff bought and plan to get them put together and ready to go soon, since who knows if I’ll be home or in the hospital then. Crazy!

We did find out that the placenta is on the back, which is wonderful! It’s in the correct position for the c-section. Two of my last three pregnancies the placenta has been anterior (on the front of the uterus), which isn’t a problem, but it’s not the norm either. If it had been anterior this time it would have made the c-section much more difficult because there would have been the risk of cutting baby’s blood vessels while making the incision and of having to deal with the placenta. Phew! (BTW, the placenta should attach at the top and back of the uterus. At least 3 of my 4 placentas have attached in an abnormal place. Weird.)

Both Joel and I liked this doctor (I like the other one, too). He was definitely no-nonsense as far as giving any false hope. He let us know that sometimes, even when you’re in the hospital things can go wrong. He kept talking about lightning striking and how you hope it doesn’t, but you can’t prevent it. He also said that in reality, it would be up to us and how we felt on when we would be hospitalized, but 30 weeks or sooner might give us peace of mind. But again reminded us that just because we’d be in the hospital, it didn’t guarantee a good outcome.

While I didn’t love hearing this, I’m glad he’s being real with us. I understand the risks. They scare me, but I know that whatever is supposed to happen, will. We’ll just do everything in our power to ensure the best outcome. (And we’ll keep praying A WHOLE LOT!)

I also got the impression from this doctor that I don’t necessarily have to take it as easy as the first specialist said. Which makes me feel better. I’ve been taking it easy, and will continue to do so, but won’t stress out about holding Emma or doing regular household tasks as much (or about spending hours walking around London). I think overall I’ve gone from feeling like a ticking-time-bomb that could go off any minute to feeling like a ticking-time-bomb that has at least a month before going off. I’m less worried for right now (which is nice), but more worried for later on (though I’m sure it’ll all be fine).

And I’m still just feeling EXTREMELY grateful that they caught this! While the whole situation is scary and quite a pain, we’re very blessed that we know and can do something about it.

The absolute best part about this appointment was that we got some awesome shots of our sweet baby boy! He was face down with his hands on his face last time. This time he was face up and looked as if he was posing just for us. The ultrasound tech got a bunch of pictures because she said it would be a shame to miss such a great opportunity. Here are a few.

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It was so fun because this is the first time we’ve had a 3D picture of one of our babies.

I love it! 

He’s so so cute! Just look at those adorable lips!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vasa Previa and Our Plan

Hey everyone! I haven't posted in awhile and between Facebook and Instagram don't really feel a need to anymore, but I do want to document this vasa previa stuff we're going through for three reasons:
  1. To be able to keep anyone who's interested updated on everything, but with more info than I would do on Facebook.
  2. I've appreciated reading other women's blogs who have experienced this, so I want to share my experience (it's so rare that it's hard to find much info at all). 
  3. To document all of this for myself. 
Our blog seems like the best place to accomplish these things.

This first post will be a general overview of what it is. In the future I might do more posts about my emotions with it, more facts I've found, what I'm thinking, etc. Who knows. But for now I'll just give this explanation (that way family and friends who are curious about it can find out what it is, but then won't need to come back to read until baby actually comes, but those who are going through this and want all the details - like I have been wanting - can have that).

So, for those who don't already know, at my 20 week ultra sound appointment (I'm currently 21 1/2 weeks) I was diagnosed with a condition called vasa previa. 

Since I've researched this for hours and hours, I feel I have a pretty good handle on what it is, but let's see if I can actually explain it correctly.


Vasa Previa
(I realize a lot of you know what these different medical terms mean, but I'll explain them for those who don't.)


placenta and fetus diagramFirst of all, a normal placenta (the baby gets nourishment through this) and umbilical cord insertion looks like the picture to the right. It is on the upper back of the uterus (where the baby is) and the umbilical cord goes right into the middle of it. The perinatologist (baby expert) said to think of the placenta as a mushroom top and the umbilical cord should go right into the middle of it like the mushroom stem. Mine doesn't look like that.
 
I have what is called velamentous cord insertion. The umbilical cord inserted into the side of the placenta instead of the middle and the blood vessels that are usually fully protected within the umbilical cord are going crazy all over. They are within the fetal membranes (basically what makes up the amniotic sac - what ruptures when the "water breaks").

This wouldn't be a huge problem and happens in 1 out of 100 pregnancies, but my placenta is also lying low, close to the cervix (opening where baby will come out) and so those unprotected blood vessels are between the cervix and the baby, as it shows in the image below. 


What that means is that if the baby were to be born vaginally, his body would break the blood vessels (which contain his blood) and he would bleed out in a matter of minutes. That could also happen if I were just to go into labor and the blood vessels were severed. 
 
Another possible complication is that as he grows bigger he could compress those blood vessels and cut off his circulation and nutrients.
 
The Plan
 
Because of these things there is a plan in place. The plan is that I will be on hospital bed rest at 32 weeks and deliver via c-section by 34 weeks (my due date is July 2 and 32 weeks is May 2). I'll need to be in the hospital for constant monitoring of the baby to make sure he's not compressing the blood vessels and in case I go into early labor. 
 
I also need to "take it easy" this pregnancy, which I will, but in reality there isn't any research saying that this is necessary this early on. It's just being extra cautious. As my OB said, I'm still a mom and have to take care of my kids, but if there's ever someone else around to lift and hold Emma (17 months old), they'll need to do it.

I will be working with both the perinatologist and my regluar OB. They will keep in contact with each other to make the best plan. Luckily, both of them have had experience with vasa previa. From my research I've learned that many have never dealt with this before. It's quite rare. Depending on where you look they say it's 1 in every 2500-3000 pregnancies. So we got lucky ;). One perinatologist on a forum was saying that he sees about 6000 women a year for ultrasounds and such and he sees about one case of this every other year. Crazy! So yeah, I'm extremely grateful that both doctors have experience with this.

I'll be going in for extra monitoring to make sure I don't need to go in to the hospital earlier and to check on the baby's growth. Around 28 weeks they'll do steroid shots to get his lungs growing. Even with this they say to still plan on the baby being in the NICU for at least a week, perhaps longer, who knows. I'm hoping that since my other babies have been so big and healthy that he will be bigger and stronger than the average 34 week old :). I'm also hoping that the doctor will end up deciding that I'll be okay to wait till 35 weeks.

Obviously, things could change as time goes on, but that's the plan for now.
 
As difficult as this is we're mostly feeling extremely grateful for the ultra sound techs who spotted this! It's not a routine thing to check (since it's so rare) and it was barely caught.  If anyone has great ideas for thank you gifts to give them, let me know! So even though things will be a bit complicated/stressful during the month of May and we'll have a sweet little preemie, this is the best outcome for our little boy and we're feeling extremely blessed to have discovered it. 
 
If you have any questions about any of it, feel free to ask! I'm finding it therapeutic to talk about it (especially since it's consuming my thoughts at the moment).

Everything really should work out, but we could still use prayers. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Playing Catch-up

Since I haven’t updated since Emma’s birth (which was Sept. 27, not 26… I need this reminder because I was telling people the wrong date for a few months. Whoops. Glad Joel’s mom is better with dates than I am and corrected me. Now I need to change it at the doctor’s office…) and Emma is almost 6 months old, I figure it’s about time I let those of you who care know what’s going on.

First, an update on my family members because holy smokes a ton is going on with them! (I’m going to update on their kids, spouses, everything for those high school and college friends who know my family, but haven’t heard much in awhile.)

  • In January my parents moved to London. Crazy, I know. Pretty awesome, though. It’s for work and they’ll be there 1-2 years. We miss them, but are so happy they get to have this adventure. Yay for Skype! And for blogs.
  • Kim doesn’t have any big changes happening to her, but that’s okay. Living in Chile with your family for 6 years as an ex-pat gets you off the hook for awhile. Smile Her and Dave now live in Minnesota (gorgeous!) and have 4 darling kids.
  • Brooke and Shaun just had their 5th child, Shaun is graduating from BYU in a few months and they’ll be moving to Texas for his job!!! Crazy, huh? New baby and moving within two months of each other. Exciting stuff! Emma and her new baby, Kenzie, are about 6 months apart. Love that Smile.
  • For those who don’t know, this is where I fit in. We had a baby in September, so that’s pretty exciting.
  • Ryan and Rosa Lee have a cute 2 1/2 year old, Liam. Ryan’s graduating with his masters next month and they’ll be moving to St. George for his job. He’s doing landscape architecture. If you ever want to see some of his work, visit my parents backyard. Amazing!
  • Nathan is a science teacher in St. George. Seriously, how crazy is that?! His students love him and Kaylee loves being able to tell everyone that her uncle teaches science (she’s obsessed with science and wants to be a scientist when she grows up).
  • Paige and Colton had their first baby, Lillia, in January! She has Paige’s eyes and is absolutely adorable. Emma likes to eat her. I do too. Can’t help it when babies are so cute and yummy. They’re living in my parents house while my parents are in London.
  • Kelsi is engaged! Her and Colby will be getting married at the end of April. We really like Colby and are so happy for them. Helping her plan her wedding while my parents are away has been a lot of work, but it is fun. I’m glad to finally be able to get the wedding planning bug out (I was majoring in recreation management with the plan to be a wedding planner for a few months. After a short internship at Thanksgiving Point I changed my mind and did recreation management youth leadership with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation).

Now on to my little family (and this one comes with pictures):

Emma is almost 6 months and as cute as can be! She is a really sweet baby. She just likes to be held all. the. time. Makes it hard to get much done. Good thing she’s adorable! She’s rolling around and getting close to sitting up on her own. She absolutely adores Kaylee and Logan and they feel the same way about her. They even like sharing their stuffed animals with her:
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Kaylee and Logan love going to the library. Logan’s favorite books are the graphic novels (comic books). Joel loves when we get them, as well. IMG_8053

Note: This is the first (and only) time we’ve put curlers in Kaylee’s hair. We put underwear on her head to keep them in place. She thought that was awesome. (The curls turned out cute… we just haven’t had time to do it since).

We went to St. George for our anniversary in February. Emma wore her first swimsuit! It was my swimsuit as a baby. My mom made it Smile. (BTW, we went swimming indoors. It SNOWED that weekend in St. George and the wind was FREEZING! It was still fun, though.)   

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The kids were thrilled to visit Nathan’s classroom! Especially Kaylee, since she wants to be a scientist when she grows up (Kaylee wanted Logan to be her science assistant, but he wants to be a detective, so now her cousin, Connor, is going to be her assistant. Hope he’s okay with that…).  IMG_8128

They’re all going to be good students someday.   IMG_8116

And so is “The Other Dave.”   IMG_8118

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Logan had a hard time figuring out the microscope.  IMG_8133

We hiked on the red rocks at Pioneer Park (love that place!).  IMG_8178

I stayed back with Emma while Nate and Joel took Kaylee and Logan up “the narrows.” The guys couldn’t make it (it’s really, really tight), but the kids were already way ahead of them… so they went up without any of us and Joel and Nate ran around and met them at the top. There were some nice girls in front of them that helped them through. The kids thought it was the coolest thing!  IMG_8162

They loved just climbing all over the rock, too.  IMG_8170

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I was taking pictures on valentine’s day and the kids asked me to take this picture to show that they love each other. IMG_8190

Emma LOVED food the first time she had it. Ate it easily, no faces, no spitting it back out. IMG_8213

Kaylee is weird like her Uncle Dave and a sleep mask doesn’t bother her. Also, check out the book next to her: she’s reading Junie B. Jones. Smarty pants.IMG_8218

Isn’t he handsome? IMG_8074

Just like his daddy SmileIMG_8075

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Besides the things from above, and the big events from the past 6 months (Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, etc) we’ve been keeping busy with every day life. I knew three kids would be busy, but it seems really busy. Not harder or anything. Just much busier! There seems to be at least one kid always needing my attention. It’s good though. They’re good kids.

Kaylee and Logan are in joy school and loving that and the new friends they’ve met there I’m loving it too. Darling kids, good values taught, and awesome new mom friends for me. Joel is keeping busy with work, his calling (elder’s quorum counselor), and Quick Wits. I’ve been running a produce co-op every other week, I teach the 7 year olds in primary (fun calling, especially since I have an awesome team-teacher), planning Kelsi’s wedding with her, and trying to figure out health stuff (if anyone has any favorite paleo recipes, please share!).

Life is good!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Emma’s Birth

Name: Emma Nicole
We chose Emma 1- because we think it’s cute and 2- because we accidentally started a little pattern and decided to sort of keep it going. Joel, Kaylee, Logan, EMma. We tried to come up with “M” names, but Joel’s sister already has a bunch, so we came up with the “Em” sound instead.
Both Joel and I have sisters with the middle name of Nicole (Paige and Jenn) and since Emma Nicole sounds cute, we went with that.

Height: 21.5 inches

Weight: 7.9 lbs (one day after her due date)
Kaylee was 8.8 lbs on her due date and Logan was 8.3 lbs, 2 weeks early. Emma is my small baby.

Labor/delivery details:

Believe it or not, this is the quick version. If you’d like more details (especially if you’re interested in unmedicated childbirth) feel free to ask me.

I had my doctor strip the membranes during my appointment on my due date. I was barely dilated to a 3 at that point. I figured the cramping and contractions would start within a few hours, but they didn’t. Around 8:00 pm I started wondering if maybe I was having contractions, but I wasn’t sure. There were just a few an hour and it felt more like Emma was stretching out, causing my stomach to be firm from her pushing against it and causing a little pain that I figured was from her kicking an organ while she stretched.

Joel and I went to bed around midnight (not smart when a baby is coming, I know). I didn’t sleep great and then at 1:00 I woke up from a contraction. It wasn’t very painful, but it was enough to wake me up. I continued to have random contractions for the next hour. They weren’t painful, but I wasn’t able to get back to sleep.

At 2:00 they started to hurt more, so I searched for and downloaded a contraction tracker app for my phone. I started tracking the contractions at about 2:15 am. Each contraction was around 45 seconds and at first were between 3 and 5 minutes apart. I figured we needed to follow the 411 guide of contractions meaning they are 4 minutes apart, lasting at least 1 minute, for 1 hour (give or take on each of them). At 2:30ish I woke Joel up and told him we should probably call his mom since it would have been an hour of contraction tracking by the time she got here. He called and we started preparing to go to the hospital. By the time we left the contractions were between 2 and 2 1/2 minutes apart and were more painful.

We got to the hospital around 3:50 am. The contractions were worse, but still bearable. Turns out I talk a lot when I’m in pain. They got me up to triage to check me and monitor the contractions. I was at a 6 1/2.

They got me into the birthing room (I was so happy I got it – the hospital only has one) about 30 minutes after we got there. The birthing room is reserved for those hoping to do an unmedicated delivery and is really nice. It is very calming with dimmed lighting and has a big tub in it. I got in the tub for 30-40 minutes. As I laid back, eating a sucker (to help with nausea during contractions), Joel commented that it felt like we were at a spa (the lights were nicely dimmed too). In-between contractions I was actually really relaxed, so I agreed with him during those times. But then the contractions got closer together.

The nurse had me get out when I felt even a slight urge to push. I got on the bed and the contractions started coming one right after the other. I was not prepared for that pain. I’d read books and knew I needed to try to relax, but nothing I did helped. I’d think that maybe changing positions would help, but when I’d move the pain would intensify. Nurses were up on the bed massaging my back while Joel gave me ice chips and honey sticks. I quickly progressed to a 9 (20-30 minutes?) at which time my doctor came in and broke my water. I laid down after he did so and immediately needed to push. I yelled something about how I was going to push and I hoped I was at a 10 because I was pushing no matter what.

The doctor was calmly, but quickly trying to get all suited up and ready. He always had one hand ready to catch her in case he needed to. Luckily, he was ready in time. Then suddenly the contractions and the urge to push stopped. I was still in pain, but it was different. I did feel some burning (“ring of fire” for anyone who has heard of that). It took one or two more pushes and she was out. From water breaking to Emma’s birth it was maybe 3 minutes. Thankfully! I don’t know how anyone can do hours and hours of pushing without an epidural. Emma was born at 5:28 am. Less than 2 hours after we got to the hospital and less than 4 hours from the time I consider I was in active labor. Yay for fast (but not too fast)!

So, I was able to do unmedicated. I keep being asked if I’ll do it again. Here’s my answer. If I had to do it again this month then no. The memory of the transition period (the time I was on the bed) is still too vivid. If I was going to do it again in a year or two, then yes, I think so. I figure the memory will dull a lot by then. Winking smile  Plus, I loved how alert I was during the pushing stage and right after (“alert,” not necessarily “with it”). 

 

I actually wrote this a week ago, but didn’t post it because I hadn’t loaded the pictures onto the computer yet. Here’s what I have to add now:

I for sure want to do unmedicated again next time. It was a really neat experience. Really painful, but cool too. I liked knowing what was going on and not being hooked up to any IV’s. One thing I’ll do differently next time is I’ll have the doctor break my water sooner. Probably right after I’m in transition. Transition was definitely the hardest part and hopefully having the water broken earlier will help that part go faster.

Emma is an amazing baby! She’s really calm and sweet and seriously beautiful! Joel was able to take the week following her birth off of work and it felt like a vacation. I was able to snuggle with Emma the whole time and have been really enjoying this newborn stage.


PICTURE TIME!

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I realized I hadn’t taken any belly pictures the whole pregnancy, so we took this right before leaving for the hospital (in-between contractions, of course).

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First pictures of Emma (this was after we were moved from labor/delivery (everything from right after birth is on video).

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First bath. They did it the next day and it was in my room. I loved that!

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She loved getting her hair washed!

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Being held by Great-Grandma Wilkey. Emma is her 92nd great-grandbaby!

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This one is blurry, but I have to post it because it shows how Logan looked most of the time he was at the hospital meeting Emma. The kids were really cute with her and kept commenting on how little she was.

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First family picture

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Holding her little sister for the first time.  

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Logan wanted to touch her and give her kisses, but he wouldn’t actually hold her because her belly button was “gross.” He was asking to see her hands, feet, and then tummy. He was grossed out by the umbilical cord. (Don’t worry, now that it’s fallen off he loves to hold her.)

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Ready to go home!

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She is seriously so beautiful!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whose Kid is This?

I’ve got to do some bragging about Kaylee for a bit.

Kaylee is 4 1/2 years old. She’ll be 5 on November 14.

This is her “journal.”IMG_7114

She’ll spend a few hours each day writing and drawing in it. It’s quite adorable.

Today she wrote this (don’t worry… I asked her permission to share it with you. It is her journal after all Smile):

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In case you can’t tell what that says, here it is (it goes from the left page to right for three lines then just down the right page. Then it switches back to the left page):

TTODAY I EM FFRITTIN BBI A SPIDDR SO I EM RITEG (stay on right page and go down) BEECUS THAT IS NNOT SCAREE (go back to left page) AND THAT SPIDR IS BLACK AND YELO

Translation:

T-today I am f-frightened b-by a spi-d-der so I am writing because that is n-not scary. And that spider is black and yellow.

(She purposefully put double letters on some words to make it sound like she was stuttering since she was “f-frightened.”)

How adorable is that?! She’s self-taught, too. She just started writing on her own. I don’t practice with her or anything. For someone who hasn’t done any schooling (not even preschool), that’s impressive to Joel and I!

The only things I helped her with was when she asked me if ‘scary’ had a ‘c’ or ‘k’ in it, except she asked it like this: “does ‘scary’ have a ‘c’ like in ‘cat’ or a ‘k’ like in ‘kite’?” And whether ‘black’ had a “c, k, or both?”

Yeah. She’s a smart one. And she still has a full year before kindergarten. I have the feeling she’s going to get bored.

Ok, I’m done bragging now. Smile