Friday, February 10, 2017

Loss and Joy and My Children

It's been nearly 3 weeks since two of my triplets' hearts stopped beating inside me from twin to twin transfusion syndrome.  Their sweet little bodies went from wiggling with joy to being pulled down by gravity, right on top of my cervix, slumping over and starting to curl into little balls. Still recognizable as my sweet little babies, with perfectly formed fingers and toes, just no more flickering of their hearts.  Hope and Hailey were meant for heaven after 16 weeks of love here on earth in my belly. Their identical sister Hannah continued and still continues to grow despite all odds. Medical odds for something so rare that it's hard to fully grasp, but I don't regret being open to life, and saying adamently yes that I want to continue my pregnancy even when we were informed of the dangers and urged to terminate.  The chances of my entire pregnancy being non-viable by 20 weeks was extremely likely, we were told. I hoped we'd beat those odds, but ultimately put my trust in God. He gave us these babies and He knows His plan.  And still, we are beating those odds since one of my identicals is still fighting and growing right now. Just not quite how I had imagined it. 

I check in on Hannah via doppler daily and her movements are becoming more distinct every day.  She, my baby C, has always been on my right side. Once my body released the water from my babies A and B, she was able to move more towards the center of my belly but she still very distinctly is only on my right,  laying transverse and flipping back and forth, sucking her thumb and growing with joy.  On the left lay Hailey and Hope, whose bodies are now slowly hardening within their amniotic sacs. That side of my belly is deflated compared to before, no longer the big triplet tummy I once had. I treasure those few weeks I got to feel all 3 of my babies alive inside me. I continue to be on modified bedrest, and pray that this helps.  Today I'm 18w5d... but who is counting? ;)

God has given me great peace despite how challenging these last few weeks have been.  I've been told by many that I seem to be very calm, and I am, because I can be.  My outer peace doesn't always match my interior, but it often does.  What do I control here? Very little.  I can control how I respond to my family and friends, and still being there for my other children. Being overly consumed by my grief, fears, and anxiety is only going to cause more fears and anxiety surrounding me. God is in control.  He was in control when he put this rare miracle of identical triplets in my belly at conception, and He continues to be in control. All I can do is continue to care for the baby growing in my belly the best I can, and pray she will get to join us outside my belly.  Regardless what happens though, all of our triplets are deeply loved.  ❤💔💔

My sweet children have taught me so much, and as we've had to comfort them as they process losing two sisters, they've all taught us more about love than I can really express here.  I've lost many babies before, but we chose to not tell our kids about those losses at the moment they occurred. Joey was just beginning to understand about his saintly brothers and sisters, as he matured and could understand what a miscarriage was too. But this is different, they were happily expecting triplets and would tell literally any stranger that would hear them that I was pregnant with triplets. The telling of people was one of the hardest things for me, and then I'd think to situations where Joey or Ina were alone and might have to tell a friend or a teacher or anyone about our losses, and my heart broke for them having to do this -- such a painful thing for even an adult to do, and they'd be faced with it too.

When we told our kids that evening, I fully expected sadness. I didn't expect Ina to cry the saddest guttural cry I've ever heard for over an hour -- in fact Joey is my most emotional child, so if I expected it from anyone it was him.  He was of course, too, very sad, but I'll never forget Ina's cries.  I don't think Emmy would have even "got it" that the babies had died, except she was so shocked by Ina's crying and tried to comfort her.  Emmy has always been my very empathic child though, just like I am. In the days coming, the few times we'd see a friend or family member, Emmy was almost always the first to tell them after "hi", "babies died." Most people didn't even know what to say to my little 30lb Emmy telling them this, even though they already knew from us.  In her own 2 year old way, she was processing their deaths differently than my older two.  She does have advanced speech for her age, but she doesn't really have the language skills combined with the emotional ability to ask me questions that she wanted answered, like Joey and Ina did. Instead, her processing the loss of two of her baby sisters that she barely had understood and embraced them growing in my belly came in waves of love and empathy.  A few days after they died, Emmy was innocently playing with her dolls just like she always does when she stopped, looked very sad, wrapped her baby in a blanket and brought her to me. "My baby is dead like the babies in your tummy. She needs you to hold her and rock her. Rock my dead baby." With shock and love, I cuddled my Emmy and her baby and we rocked together.  She'd innocently kiss my belly throughout the day, and she'd stare in confusion and horror when I was puking and ask "Why you puke? Babies dead." I realized a week after on the day of my ultrasound that she had been so consumed by the sadness of our reactions that she didn't realize that one baby was still alive in my belly.  I had gotten home and asked her if she wanted to see pictures of the baby. She looked at me surprised and then looked at the strip of ultrasound photos and said, "One baby is OK?" Thereafter, her phrase she told friends and family was, "Babies died. One baby is okay!" I can't even imagine how confusing this is to process for her, but she's amazing and has done so well. 

One of the things I mentally really struggled with when Hope and Hailey died is the mental horror that I would have to carry their dead bodies inside me for as long as this pregnancy continues. Of course I want Hannah to live, but thinking about the fact that her sweet body is growing next to the bodies of her sisters is hard to mentally wrap my head around.  As she grows bigger and stronger, at the kick of her foot or reach of her hand,  her sisters' bodies are right there, once a vessel for their soul, slowly degrading and becoming more and more unrecognizeable. How can I be both a vessel for life and a vessel for death simultaneously? In the other times I've lost babies in pregnancy, I've felt the beginning of closure and peace when I knew their bodies were no longer within mine.  But I couldn't have that this time -- and of course I don't want it because I want Hannah to grow and thrive.  So I've had to search and pray for peace differently. Emmy brings up Hope and Hailey and Hannah multiple times a day to me, sometimes with sadness, but usually just in passing and sometimes just in complete 2 year old silliness. A few days ago, I had just taken a shower and I was drying my belly and Emmy pokes my belly and giggles and says, "You just took a shower with your dead babies. And your baby alive." She and her sister love the brand dolls "baby alive" and they both recently got their first actual baby alive dolls, so her calling Hannah my baby alive made me giggle. But something else, as much as her saying this again tugged at the sadness in my heart, reflecting on it made me realize what a blessing it is that I get to have Hope's and Hailey's bodies right here, with me, for so long. So often when moms lose a baby in miscarriage, it feels abrupt - I was pregnant and now I'm not and my baby is gone.  So much so that some hospitals use special things like cuddle cots so that moms of stillborn babies can spend more time with them and be with them even longer.  My sweet Emmy has made me realize that I'm blessed to carry their bodies with me in my love as their sister grows.  Just like I was blessed to carry them in perfect form for 16 weeks... I am blessed for each of them. And no longer do I feel a bit of horror when I feel the hardened left side of my belly or pressure on my cervix from their bodies, I only feel love. 

So much of this processing is difficult, but all I can do is just keep moving forward a moment at a time and focus on love and joy and God. I hear Hannah's heartbeat and don't know if it will be the last time, or if it will still be beating hard tomorrow. But for every moment, we are blessed abundantly.

#aschertriplets #growhannahgrow

In loving memory of all our babies that have left this earth too soon - Hailey Marie, Hope Catherine, Louis Paul, Lydia Marie, Simon John, Clementine Sarah, Alexius Timothy and Jude Harper.  I know you all surround our family with love daily and pray for us, especially your siblings here on earth, Joseph Michael, Ina Beth, Emily Louise, Robert Henry, and Hannah Grace. All glory to God for all of his beautiful blessings, may our family continue to be surrounded with love and peace and joy. 

Thank you to all the friends and family that have helped us while we continue to heal and look forward as moments continue to pass, life continues to move, and we just hope and love and pray. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Talk about my Baby Alexius

I've contemplated, prayed about, and thought greatly about what I want to share this month, and I may share more later too. It's hard for me to share about my miscarriages -- there is so much misunderstanding and with misunderstanding, there comes so much judgement that I've experienced alot of, and that makes me want to close up and not share. Other moms need to know that they're not alone though, and the only way that attitudes towards pregnancy and infant loss will change is by talking about it, so here is a tiny bit of my heart.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. I've been that 1 in 4 - many times. I have children that you may never see but I miss and love and think about every day.

Yesterday actually just passed an "anniversary" -- the due date of one of our baby's we lost to miscarriage. Every passing due date I have a moment of pause and think, I'd have another child that would be "x" years old right now, if that pregnancy had gone to term. What would that child be like? Would they like trucks? Or princesses? Would they eat their vegetables? I naturally compare them to my other kids that age, but I know in my heart they would be very different. I also take pause on the passing of my loss date, the day I found out I was miscarrying. Another sad day. When you have so many babies that you've lost to miscarriage like I do, the number of these passing anniversaries end up piling up to being alot of days throughout the year, sometimes it can be overwhelming.

So yesterday was the due date for our baby that we named Alexius Timothy. He was concieved immediately prior to Robin, and lost early in the first trimester. His due date gives me special pause because he would be one... but also, because, if we hadn't lost his pregnancy, Robin wouldn't have ever been concieved. And especially since then Robin ended up coming EARLY, now Alexius' due date and Robin's birthday are actually only like 3 weeks apart instead of the almost 8 weeks they would have been, which is really weird for me when I sat and thought about it yesterday. And so while we of course mourn for our baby that we lost, there's of course the part of my heart that is thankful that God obviously had a plan, because Robin clearly was intended for our family. So... that is just a brief, short, ONE of my angel baby's stories.

If you've experienced a pregnancy/infant loss and you're sitting alone and in silence, please don't. Reach out to someone and talk about your baby. It doesn't have to be me, but if you want it to be me, it can be. I know how much it hurts to sit alone and in silence and to feel like no one understands.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

4 Babies, 4000 Pukes?

Today is Hyperemesis gravidarum awareness day... and half of me thinks 4000 pukes might be an overestimate, but the more I think about it, probably not! I have puked MANY TIMES.  

I have 4 sweet blessed living babies.  They are 9, 5, 2, and 6 months. I have also had numerous heartbreakingly hard miscarriages, some definitely related to HG and some I may never know the cause.

There is no known cause for hyperemesis gravidarum and there is no known cure. That also means that well meaning advice of "xyz simple thing worked for my morning sickness" might be really really hurtful and offensive to a HG mom. If you know someone with HG, please be gentle with your words.

My HG journey really begins with a second trimester miscarriage that I speak of very little.  It's a loss I keep close to my heart. My OB didn't believe that I needed any intervention including anti nausea medications for my constant vomiting since I was an overweight person to begin with, and my body went into ketosis and was in danger very early in the pregnancy.  Since it was my first pregnancy, I didn't tell people early, and lost the baby early in the second trimester likely from malnutrition.

Shortly after,  I was pregnant with my son who is my now 9 year old son.  I had moderately to severe HG with him, and felt I suffered a great deal.  I had multiple ER visits for fluids and lived on Zofran and could not get out of bed without vomiting.  My OB didn't believe me that I had HG until a MFM doctor told her otherwise and at that point i had spiraled so far down with non-treatment, that it was hard to recover.  Most of my pregnancy memories consist of, I went to this place and I vomited there and then I went to this place and I vomited there too... I was really traumatized from his pregnancy.  I puked all over my work multiple times, our car a few times.  I pretty much lost all of my dignity and then some.  I finally gave birth and had my baby, and was in such shock... I suffered greatly postpartum with him from depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all that can be related back into the HG.

Next came our 5 year old,  who was my "easiest" pregnancy.  I only puked at least once daily with her. But I still have many memories of pulling over on the highway and barfing on the side of the road as traffic sped by... as I also peed my pants of course. Yay, reality of pelvic floor and multiple kids! Gah! I mean...gag.

My 2 year old was one of my toughest HG pregnancies. I had home IV fluids, a Zofran pump, and could still barely walk for months.  It was awful, sad, and devastating. I look back on it and think, how did I do that? I really don't know. Somehow God gave me the strength.  I really looked like death in photos though... and after I gave birth I had a few neighbors tell me they thought I was dying or something because of how awful I looked. It is no joke the toll that HG takes on your body.  It is painful and real and life consuming.  It consumes the life out of the mother until the baby is born, and then it takes many years for the mom to heal. I still suffer from vitamin deficiencies from this pregnancy, and many of those deficiencies also contributed in an increase in my anxiety also.

Last, my 6 month old's pregnancy was a difficult HG pregnancy but in a different way from my 2 year old's. I did start out with the home IV fluids and Zofran pump, but developed an allergic reaction to Zofran and had to move to Reglan and Phenergan. After I did this, when I was in my third trimester I had an episode where I vomited in my sleep and aspirated my vomit, causing myself to have aspiration pneumonia. I was lucky I had an excellent family doctor advocating for me. I was hospitalized for nearly 2 weeks with a variety treatments, but even after discharge spent the rest of my pregnancy under treatment for my lungs and ultimately delivered my baby prematurely which may or may not have been related (I also had other health issues, but he was my first premature baby).

I've lost varying amounts of weight with every pregnancy, from 30 to over 100 pounds  (5-30% of my body weight). I've had other miscarriages in between many of my pregnancies, but the details are not HG relevant, so they're not included here.

If you know someone with HG, show up and help them, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem, I promise it does not seem small and insignificant to them.  Some of the smallest acts of kindness are the ones I remember years later. Thank you to everyone who has blessed my family during our pregnancies,  we could not have survived without your support. We are survivors because you helped us!

Please pray for moms suffering from HG, and their babies, and their families.  Something we have to do is advocate for ourselves constantly when we are sick.  It shouldn't be this way but it is.  Many of us are offered "therapeutic abortions" for our wanted, loved babies as a way to end the suffering from HG. Pray for moms who have suffered from HG in the past too, for healing, because the trauma does not just leave your heart when your baby is born.  Healing takes time and effort and work. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Half a year! Robin is 6 months!

Well, we've blinked and now we have a 9 year old, a 5 year old, a 2 year old, and a 6 month old. They are all growing and changing and learning so fast. I do not have all his stats, because his 6 month well check is next week, so I'll update this next week.

Today, Robin is 6 months old.  He has 6 teeth, making him my 2nd toothiest baby. Joey still wins for making it to 6 months with 8 teeth. Teeth 7 and 8 are not far from coming through also for Robin and this mama is eager for that to happen. He is a fast teether, but he is also a biter. He bites while he nurses consistently and it is exhausting.  He also is a saliva factory thanks to teething and his favorite saliva activity is bubble blowing. All day long, he blows bubbles with his spit. He's such a silly baby.  I started calling him "Bubbles" as a nickname a few months ago when he started this and now the kids all call him this and sometimes when other people call him by his actual name they correct him and say, "No, his name is bubbles." Haha. He knows he is Robin though too.

I still am pumping and giving him three fortified bottles a day, and the girls especially enjoy helping with those feeds (not just my girls, but any visiting friends too, hehe). He is thriving and doing great though so hopefully we will be able to cut back on that soon.

He is seriously the happiest giggliest baby I have ever known in all my life. We were at the doctor the other day for me and I had him wrapped and he was just laughing hysterically like a loud crazy hyena. Not for any reason, just because I was smiling at him.

He likes to grab his feet and rub the sides of his belly when he does not have clothes on (I think it tickles) :) Robin loves to be held and loved by all his friends and family. The only person he is still a bit reluctantly cautious about is Emmy and well she is an unpredictable 2 year old that is having to share her Mommy with Robin, so he has all the reason to be cautious! They have their sweet moments too though.

He has just started to roll a little bit.  He does a bit of a half roll.  He will lift his body up when he's on my chest and he is very strong especially for being an early babe and all that he went through! Occasionally when I meet another baby that was born full term around the same time as him, my heart does sink a bit, but he is simply perfection.  He will get there at his own pace, and in the mean time he will snuggle and giggle and blow bubbles at me.  What more could I ask for? :)

He is such love! We are so blessed.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Thank you for the LOVE

As I lay here snuggling 2 of my 4 kids to sleep, it amazes me to think of everything that has happened in the last year. We have been so blessed and our hearts (and often our arms!) are full.

2015 brought us two sweet babies, our new years 2014 baby who went to God too soon, and the other our sweet miracle baby Robin. As we closed out 2014, Emmy was our little baby! How quickly things change...

Joey is 8, almost 9, and transitioned this year (third grade) from homeschooling into the public school system - at a charter school. It was a big change for him, but it has been a very positive experience for him so far. He loves his school and his teacher, and while I don't love everything, I love that he is happy and learning. He loves to read, especially Magic Treehouse books and anything about Pope Francis, the Catholic Church, or the bible! He's such an energetic sweet affectionate boy. He is an awesome big brother. In May 2015, he made his first communion and he eagerly goes to confession and receives communion often and he inspires Rob and me to do the same. Joey spent his first week away this summer at sleep away camp with the order of the Home of the Mother. When I saw him after the week, his growth in reverence and love for Christ brought me to tears. In 2016, he wants to finish ALL his new Christmas books and learn to play the electric guitar.

Ina is 4, almost 5. She had a Dragon Tales birthday party early in the year that she so graciously shared with her baby sister Emmy. She wants to do all things that Joey does and looks up to him so much! She's my little artist. A day doesn't go by where she isn't covered head to toes in an art project. She also loves to sing and has been learning to play the marimba. These two things translate into: she challenges me daily in patience with artistic messes and original songs that she must sing constantly and loudly! Recently, she mastered riding her bicycle without training wheels! She loves to talk and express herself. Ina also has been a sweet mommy to her pet bunny this year - first Spotlight and now her bunny Kate. She sings to her bunny every morning when she opens her hutch and loves her bunny so much! Her favorite thing about having a new baby brother is when she gets to help feed him mama's milk in a bottle. She says in 2016, she wants to practice painting some more.

Emmy is 22 months. I can't believe she's almost 2! I blinked and had another baby and now she's so big, but not too big for our love. Well, actually she's really little but full of personality! She's tiny at only 23 pounds. She continues to be my highest need child, but she knows we all love her so. She's a Mama's girl, and can often be found hanging from my skirt or leg if she isn't in my arms. She had a big Ascher first "accomplishment" this year: first child to break a bone. She's the do it big type, so she had a summer skull fracture at the pool and then added in a few leg fractures at the park. She's thankfully all healed now. She's had a year full of allergies and rashes that have left many doctors puzzled and we're still searching for answers. Emmy loves doc mcstuffins too thanks to her big sister Ina. She's developed a love for Princess Elsa that is all her own. She calls her "ella" because she cannot pronounce the letter s yet. Confusingly, she also calls Cinderella "ella." She loves to dress up and be extra pretty. Emmy loves to be worn still, as often as can be. I thought she'd be most jealous of the baby nursing, but she actually has more jealously over him being worn. Luckily, that's easily remedied, they can both be worn! She glares suspiciously at most people, but there are certain people she will give a special Emmy smile to.

Robin is just over 2 months and he's my tiny 7 pounds of joy. He loves to snuggle and rest, but he's also often watching and observing all of the action from his siblings around him. Joey and Ina call him "Tiny" as a nickname. Robin loves to smile and coo. He's my sweet rainbow baby. He's my miracle baby and such a strong amazing fighter. We're still healing from his birth, which was full of many surprises. He's my easiest baby by far, even including the extra difficult recovery from his birth. He's got an extra special bond with Daddy that our other babies didn't have this early. Robin brings all of our family great love and joy.

Wow... It really has been quite the year. So many things accomplished, yet so many more that we are in the midst of and moving forward and through every moment, hour, day. Every goal may not always come exactly to fruition how we pictured it, but when it comes to love, we have it made. We are so loved and get to give our love so much, and for that, we are blessed.

This post wouldn't be complete without taking the opportunity for thanks to all of the amazing people in our lives. Thank you for loving and blessing us. The list of love we've received this year is truly endless. I might be able to name everyone on a less sleep deprived mind, but names aren't necessary. Thank you for the love - love during and after my miscarriage, love during Robin's pregnancy and HG, love during my hospitalization with pneumonia, love during Robin's birth and my continued recovery, love for my husband and children when I couldn't be there to love them, love through prayers, love for my pets and my home...

Thank you for the love and allowing us to love you. <3 <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baby Robin, our Miracle Baby

Early in this pregnancy, I knew that this pregnancy would be different than the others. I really had no idea how much different though!

In between my pregnancy with Emmy and my pregnancy with Robin, I had an early miscarriage. Before I got pregnant I was seeing a hematologist and then in early pregnancy, I was also diagnosed with an unnamed platelet aggregation disorder.  Basically my blood takes 8x the normal time to clot and behaves as if I'm on high dose aspirin. I knew because of this that I wanted to birth in a hospital. This wasn't my plan, but it was God's. I had appointments with a few recommended ob practices around town, and ultimately wound up at the same one that I was with for Joey's pregnancy. One particular doctor there was highly recommended and had knowledge of my specific medical issues. Plus, with a history of precipitous labors combined with the bleeding disorder, I needed to be at the nearest hospital or I'd likely wind up there anyway in an emergency.

Early pregnancy didn't bring too many surprises for me.  I had moderate to severe hyperemesis gravidarum, depending on who you ask.  I was on home health with a Zofran pump until I developed an allergy to Zofran out of no where. Hives.  Constant hives and itching.  So then I went on Reglan, which caused some abnormalities with my heart on EEG, and I was cautioned to only take it as little as possible. I was also on Diclegis from early on, which really did help take the edge off the HG.

I made it to the third trimester and both the abnormalities on my heart and the baby's heart were gone.  Not gone forever, I was cautioned, but appeared to be gone on testing.  Shortly after the third trimester began, my HG started to increase again and I'd have a few days a week with all day cyclical vomiting.  Most days I only puked 2-3 times and forced myself to eat and drink anything that I could.  I still continued to lose weight.

Then at 29 weeks, I thought I had a cold. My kids all had a cold. The vomiting increased and I was quickly dehydrated enough to need the hospital.  I was seen in L&D, treated for dehydration, and discharged.  The nurse kept telling me to see my doctor as soon as possible because it was likely I had an infection.  Two days later I saw my family doctor, had an xray, and found out I had pneumonia. I often woke up with vomit in my mouth, especially the last week with being so sick so it wasn't that surprising.  It didn't go away with treatment at home, so I was admitted to the hospital for aspiration pneoumonia and stayed there for 8 days. I was very sick.  The respiratory therapist who also worked in the NICU thought that I'd end up having the baby then. Thankfully he stayed in my belly, the pneumonia improved enough to go home and continue treatment at home.  I tried to wean off of the medications for the pneumonia/ asthma symptoms many times but I was not able to. I'd get close and then I'd nearly have to go back to the hospital. Ultimately I had to stay on many medications at low doses. - I had to breathe. 

Since about 33 weeks, I showed signs of preeclampsia many times and did many 24 hour urine and lab work.  My liver numbers were getting worse and worse. My blood pressure was getting higher. At 35.5 weeks, I was officially diagnosed with preeclampsia and was told my liver appeared to be in failure from the lab values. - the liver issues could be from the severe HG, could be from the meds from the pneumonia, or it could be a component of the preeclampsia. I also had gained 9 pounds in a week - with at least 3 days in that week being near constant violent vomiting.  There was no way that weight gain was anything but fluid retention. We discussed induction at this point at 37 weeks.  I was a bit sad, but felt it was completely medically necessary, felt horribly sick, and knew my body could not continue on being pregnant much longer. 

On the day of 36 weeks 1 day, I woke up feeling very very sick.  I had a headache. My vision was blurred and had spots in it.  I chocked it up to exhaustion and convinced the girls to nap with me.  After a very long nap, I felt worse.  My body was heavy and it was hard to walk through the house. For a few hours, I started to feel as if my water had broken. Not a full rupture, but enough that it concerned me, a nice steady slow trickle. I waited for hubby to get home and then took my blood pressure, which was very high. I called my ob and they wanted me to come into the hospital, not surprisingly.

Arriving at the hospital around 7pm, they ran tests on my urine and blood, monitored the baby, and tested for fluid. We waited on the results. Since I had a slow leak of amniotic fluid, and my lab work had gotten worse, so I was being admitted, given medication for my blood pressure and hooked up to pitocin. I had three sweet friends join me, one to take photos and the other two for support as my doulas. They were all able to come, which made me very happy.  :)

I was 3 cm dilated, and the doctor broke my water the rest of the way. She tried to get internal monitoring leads, but was unsuccessful. The nurse continued to try to track Robin with the monitoring on my belly, but he has always been very active, and kept moving away.  After about 20 minutes, she said she knew I wasn't supposed to be checked yet but she wanted to check me. She checked me and my umbilical cord had prolapsed. She immediately paged the doctor, and kept repeating, "I can't reach his head. I can't reach the head." I knew at this moment I'd be getting a csection, but by God's grace, I felt very very calm and at peace about it.  I really felt like, this is how it was supposed to happen and how it would have happened regardless of preceding events. Many nurses came into my room, every single one of them trying to get his head off his cord without success. The anesthesiologist came in and had a brief discussion with me and it was quickly decided that I'd be put under general because of my medical history and she said, "there's no time anyway" in reference for there being time for a spinal. Another very tall nurse tried to reach the head and she couldn't, at which point they said we needed to go and quickly headed to the OR. As they were taking me my hubby asked if the baby was in distress and he was told yes. Surrounded by many nurses, they were trying to push me quickly down the hall, but the nurse with her hand up my cervix wasn't moving fast enough. Another nurse suggested she stand on the wheel.  As she did this, climbing on the wheel gave her enough leverage that she yelled that she got the head - he was finally no longer compressing his umbilical cord. Everyone sighed big signs of relief and they ran the rest of the way to the OR.

I was very quickly prepped for surgery, got moved onto the OR table, and through all this the nurse stood on top of me, holding Robin's head up so he wouldn't compress his cord further.  I felt the ob ready to cut, and the anesthesiologist said three times "just don't forget she doesn't have a spinal!" - and I giggled in my head and thanked her for reminding them that, said a hail mary, and the next thing I knew I was waking up a few hours later in recovery. While I was out, I dreamt about being at adoration - which was likely because we were just having a conversation about adoration with my friends in the room while I was in labor, but it made for a very peaceful "rest" while everyone took care of me and baby

I was told that 2 mins after I was knocked out, my baby Robin arrived screaming with 9 and 9 apgars. The nurse who had gotten his head off his cord had saved his life.  Looking at his umbilical cord blood work later, he was very close to having no oxygen. He was born at 3:15 am on 10-23-15, 36 weeks 2 days,  6 lbs 0 oz and 18.7 inches. Rob got to love on him in the nursery while they finished my surgery.  Robin had some problems with his blood sugar right after birth, but my friends and hubby insisted I'd want to nurse him, so they kept testing and waiting.

When my csection was done, my dr first was going to try to do a low transverse incision, because she felt there was time since his head was being held up off the cord, but after cutting part way noted that my abdomen had fluid from my liver in it.  She then cut me with a classical incision, vertically, and got baby out quickly so that she could save me.  I really feel like this is how I was meant to birth this time, even though it's so far from what we expected.  I can't even imagine if I had birthed vaginally, and then my body had to find a way to heal my liver.  I was given platelets as a precaution, and an amazing precaution at that.  My blood work immediately after the surgery was nearly the same as before surgery, and at 24 hours my liver values were normal again.  I woke up in recovery and looked down and saw my bandages and immediately thought, "no! My henna!" :) haha...

My hubby came to me and told me what pain meds they wanted to give me and expressed concern over using it while nursing.  I told him to look it up in Lactmed on my phone.  The anesthesiologist was like, "we support whatever choice you make, but you've had no pain meds, you are going to be in lots of pain!" While we were deciding about that they called and said I needed to nurse now or the baby needed formula.  I said to bring me my baby.  The nurse explained to me that I was going to be in alot of pain if I moved at all and I said if he needs to nurse bring him here.  They helped me sit the bed up and I got to meet and nurse my sweet baby.  <3 We figured out which pain med we felt most comfortable with and waited for them to bring the pain pump.  I was also still getting a magnesium drip for the preeclampsia which made me feel pretty weak, but I just sat there and nursed Robin as much as he would nurse. After a couple hours, I was brought back to my room holding and nursing baby. 

My OB was so sweet and compassionate and really felt bad that my fourth birth went this way.  She didn't need to be, but it was very sweet. I joked to her that I had almost every birth experience possible now - induced vaginal birth, two out of hospital vaginal births (one a water birth, one not), and now an emergency csection. Ha!

Rob started to feel sick a few hours after I was back in the room.  Ina had been sick with a bug a couple days before and I didn't want him to get me or the baby sick - that's the last thing we needed after all of this! I sent him home.  The nurse told me that since I'm on magnesium for a minimum of 24 hours, if someone else was not present in the room with me they would take my baby to the nursery and bring him to me to eat.  Noooo... you aren't taking my baby! My awesome friends and family quickly worked to help line up a rotation of guests so that baby Robin and I weren't left alone. The nurses all said I was the most popular patient they've ever had, and baby Robin and I were surrounded with love and care. Poor daddy was at home and very sick. It was hard to not have him with me but I'm glad he went home so we didn't get sick.  

I tried so hard to keep him on just breastmilk, mine and others, but ultimately had to supplement with some formula for his blood sugar and also bilirubin. Despite this, my milk started transitioning from colostrum within 24 hours and by 48 hours i had full blown milk.  The hospital had a great pump that had a premie chip in it that helped alot too. One of the tests they required my baby to pass was a 90 minute car seat test. This ended up being the test nightmares were made of.  The nurses weren't putting my convertible seat at the same angle it would be in the car and I couldn't get anyone to listen to me.  They kept telling me to get the base.  It doesn't have a base, but it was a proper seat. When he failed, I was told to buy a new seat without any recommendations or info.  We brought in an infant seat. He actually fit better in my convertible.  But he failed again.  The neonatalogist then admitted him to the nicu, insisting that he must be desating the rest of the time and that I just "wasn't noticing" for the 4 days he was in my room.  I've had a baby with desating issues before, I would have known if my baby was having breathing problems.  Still, we really had no choice. Anytime we questioned the doctor and expected to participate in our child's medical decisions, she threw out "you don't want a DEAD BABY" and talked to us like we were idiots. He stayed in the nicu for 3 days, with every test coming back normal and one excuse after another to keep him there. On the second day she said his body temp ran lower and that this was a "premie thing" and put him in the isolet. That day the nurses who spoke to us were very rude. I wasn't allowed to hold him skin to skin, even though that obviously was why he had no temp regulation problems with me in room, because he was being held and loved by all! Finally on the third day they repeated the test with me at his side and passed. It took them 5 hours after that to discharge us, but we were happy, home with our baby and our other sweet kids. Four weeks earlier than we had planned, but perfect nonetheless. <3 <3 <3 <3

Monday, October 5, 2015

Breathing and baby and more, oh my!

In the world of baby Robin, things have been much less exciting this last week than the week before, but it hasn't been without a variety of hurdles. 
I'm still needing every four hour breathing treatments in order to just function.  My lungs are still really messed up from the pneumonia and even just walking around the house too much sets me into heavy wheezing. Up until the last 24 hours, I was having steady every day improvement, though it was small.  Had a bit of a set back last night as the last cut down of weaning off of steroids was evidently too much for my body to handle and I woke up every 30 minutes or so choking and struggling to breathe.  So, had to talk to the doctor, go back up on those, and do an even slower weaning off them and see how I do.  I'm so incredibly drained from the last 24 hours and I really hope they're in my system enough now that I can rest tonight. 
We had another trip to the hospital last week, this time because the obs sent me. I had very high levels of protein in my urine and my liver function tests were high too, so they were concerned about preeclampsia. I was discharged the same day, as my values went down, but I did more testing today and I'm waiting on those results.  Hopefully it's nothing. I also found out at this visit that I lost nearly another 20 pounds in the last two weeks. Not that surprising considering my ring didn't fit again, but even the nurse was shocked. 
Even through all this craziness and sickness (hubby and all the kids caught bugs too, probably from stress and visiting me at the hospital), the count down to Robin's arrival keeps clicking.  I think it says we have 43 days left now.  Is that all?  Craziness.  I don't know how we will get everything ready and done, but I know it'll all work out.  I've been so incredibly thankful for the kindness and help of friends and family during the crazy time for us. I never imagined being so sick and I'm eager to recover so I can do more again.  But it's a careful balancing act, since I can't really do more without sliding backwards, and I want to keep regaining lung function because well, I like to breathe.
Thank you everyone for all the prayers and know we've been praying for you and offering up all of our suffering through this.  <3