Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wesley's Hospital Visit

When Wesley was 7 days old, he started to feel a little warm to me. I took his temperature with our usual ear thermometer and it didn't show that he had a fever. Besides, Jared said that he felt fine so I figured it was just me. The next day, he was really sluggish and was sleeping a lot. But, you know, newborns do that... they sleep a lot. I took some amateur newborn pictures in the morning and he slept a lot the rest of the day. It seemed like I had to wake him up and kind of make him eat, but he did still eat. Finally at around 9:00 pm when I woke him up to eat, I knew he felt extra warm.

That's when I remembered that they had told me to take his temperature under his arm pit and not his ear. I don't know why I didn't think about it the day before, but you know, sleep deprivation. And all those papers they give you when you leave the hospital about when to call if your baby has a problem? I always just brushed those aside because my babies have never had any of those problems. Until this one. When I finally found the right thermometer and took his temperature it was 102.2. That's when I really started getting worried. I called our doctor and the after hours nurse said to take him to the Emergency Room. That is what I thought, but I wanted some validation.

I took him in at around 10 pm and said that my baby had a fever. How high? 102.2 How old is your baby? 8 days... that's when they immediately took him back to look at him. They began sticking things in every part of his little body--a rectal thermometer, a urine catheter (twice), a nose swab, an IV in his little arm and worst of all, at least for me to watch, a lumbar puncture. I almost passed out when they did the lumbar puncture. Ew. Thankfully, the fluid was clear and didn't look infected. They also did a chest x-ray and gave him two types of antibiotics. At some point the doctor came in and said that it was looking like it was probably a UTI, but that we needed to be admitted to Primary Children's Hospital. It was 3:30 am before we were able to leave the ER. Luckily, they let me drive him myself instead of transporting him in an ambulance (like we need any more medical bills).



Once we got to Primary Children's, everyone that entered the room took great care to wear a mask, cover and gloves every time they saw Wesley. And there were lots of people coming in to look at him. That lasted until the next day. The first time they took his temperature up there it was 104.2! Yikes. At least I felt validated in taking him in. He really was sick. They gave him some tylenol and the fever started coming down. I was so extremely tired after staying up all night with him. I was so thankful when one of the techs offered to hold him so I could sleep a bit. I got 2 hours of sleep that night. When I woke up, Wesley not only had all the monitors on him, but they also had oxygen going. Poor little guy!



For the rest of the day he did not want me to put him down. This was especially hard because I couldn't move much further than the uncomfortable rocking chair because of all the cords he was hooked up to. My phone had died and I didn't have a charger, so somebody found something that would plug into the computer across the room to charge it. But I couldn't reach it while still holding Wesley. The phone in the room had a tiny cord so I couldn't reach that either. Frustrating, especially since I needed to let people know what was going on.

Later that night they moved us to a different room with a more comfortable bed for me. Unfortunately, Wesley still didn't want me to put him down much so I held him most of the time. We ended up being there for four days, and I felt like I couldn't leave him because of nursing. He also seemed to want to nurse every hour for like 5 or 10 minutes. So he was basically just snacking and not getting a full meal. It was so exhausting to me to have to feed him so often. I would sleep with him in the chair as much as I could, but it was very tiring. I was so happy to have Jared and the kids visit, as well as my parents and sister, and some good friends and a sister-in-law come. It definitely helped pass the time and give me a break. Jared took the whole week off to take care of the rest of the kids at home and our neighbors were so kind to make our family dinners that week.

They found out on Monday morning that his blood culture came back positive for E. Coli. They think that he must have first gotten the UTI from stool getting into his urinary tract, and then because he was so little, the infection got into his blood stream. However he got it, I was so grateful to have caught it before something worse happened. The infectious disease team said that E. Coli is one of the most common infections they see in infants and that it would be pretty routine to treat with the right antibiotic. But they wanted to make sure that the bacteria wasn't reproducing and so they needed two new negative blood cultures in order to let us go home. Since each one took 24 hours, we had to stay until Wednesday.


He was definitely responding to the antibiotics because he hadn't had a fever since Sunday and everything else looked good. We were able to take his oxygen off on Monday, but still had a bunch of other wires and cords to deal with. They had to give him the antibiotic through an IV, and since they don't last that long, they had to give him three different IV's.



Before we could leave, they were going to put a PICC line in his arm so that we could give hime the antibiotics at home. PICC lines last longer because they go directly into the main vein near the heart. Since he was so little, they had to take him down to a special area in the hospital where they could look at the line with an ultrasound while it was going in (the vein they used was only 1 mm in diameter). They also weren't sure if they were going to need to sedate him or not. Because of that, he couldn't eat for 4 hours before the procedure. That is so sad for a newborn, especially one that wants to eat every hour! Two hours before he could have 2 oz. of Pedialyte but that was it. Then, when they tried to give the last dose of antibiotics through his IV right before they took him down, his IV started leaking. They called the IV team up to get him a new one and within 5 minutes the team of 3 were there and done. That's all they do all day so they are pretty good at it.

Anyway, it was not easy to leave little Wesley when they were putting in the line. Luckily, they didn't have to sedate him. They only gave him a little sugar water on his pacifier and he stayed still. If they had needed to sedate him we would have had to stay another day in the hospital. He's my only baby that has ever taken a pacifier, even though I tried with all of them. This was a huge blessing in the hospital when he really needed comfort during some rough things he had to go through.



Once we got home, a home health nurse came to teach us how to give him the antibiotics through his PICC line. It was going okay until Friday when we could not get anything through his line. That was kind of scary. We had about 5 nurse visits to resolve the problem. We ended up putting some Cathflow into is line (1 ml was $100!) and then had a nurse come take it out 8 hours later. It is supposed to break up anything, like blood clots, in his tiny line. After that it went a bit smoother. We found that if he is in certain positions or if he is tensed up or or moving at all, then nothing will move through his line. We are very ready to be done giving them to him! Over all we have to do 33 doses, one every 8 hours. Hopefully when we are done, he will be good to go, although they say his immune system may be a bit compromised for a while.

This kid! He really is such a sweet piece of heaven in our home and a very good baby. We all love him so much (but probably nobody more than me!) and hope that he will be healthy from here on out.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Newborn Pictures

These were the pictures I took of Wesley when he was 8 days old. That night was when we took him in to the hospital. I guess I'm glad I got these when I did.








Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wesley's Birth

I guess I would have to start off the story of Wesley's birth at the beginning, when I found out I was pregnant. In the past, I have always had an early ultrasound due to various reasons to tell me when my due date was. Those are usually the most accurate. With this one, I happened to know the date of my last period, but since my cycle is longer than normal and since I always go past my due date, I wanted to get an early ultrasound to find out what the due date actually was. The result of that was moving my due date from Mar. 2nd to Mar. 8th. I know people thought I was crazy for wanting a later due date, but psychologically speaking, I needed the later date. Oh, I still went crazy in the last few weeks, but I wasn't expecting him until after the 8th.

Fast forward to Mar. 9th. I went in to my appointment where the midwife asked if I wanted to have my membranes stripped. YES, anything to get this labor going! Evidently, this is a pretty great way for many women to go into labor. She even called the midwife on call at the hospital to make sure they'd have room for me that day. Ha! I got excited for a little bit, but to no avail. That didn't work for me at all.

Two days later, on Wednesday, I got a stomach bug and felt horrible all day. This was also the day that my neighbor down the street was having her baby, a week before her due date. I always hate it when that happens. But that day, because I was feeling so sick, I couldn't even imagine trying to have a baby in that state. I went to bed and felt much better the next day, even though I was still pregnant.

I had another appointment on Thursday. As I was pushing the button for the elevator, I felt a little trickle (which I now know was my water breaking). But it was the tiniest trickle, so I just chalked it up to the baby pressing against my bladder and me peeing a little. Hey, these things happen. Luckily this was the first day I decided to slap on a panty liner for whatever reason before I left. I went though my whole NST (which I'd been getting weekly) and appointment like normal. At this point I had progressed to 3 1/2 cm and about 70% effaced, which was good progress in my mind. But, I was still only 4 days past my due date. My other babies were 4 days, 8 days, 9 days (induced) and 10 days past my due date. I thought I still could have a ways to go.

After my appointment, I stopped at Wal-Mart for some last minute necessary items, like razor refills, eye make-up remover and a king sized Twix. It was while I was debating over which eye brow pencil to buy when I felt the water dribbling out quite a bit. It wasn't a gush, which was good, but it was definitely more than a little pee, I was pretty sure of that. But my water had never broken before on its own so it was an unusual phenomenon. Since I was in the toiletries section anyway, I thought it would be a good time to grab some pads, make a quick decision about the make up and get going to the checkout and then the bathroom.

The funny thing about my water breaking at Wal-Mart is what happened the Saturday before. I was returning something when the clerk asked when my due date was. I told her it was tomorrow and then she said, "What are you doing here? I'm always afraid you pregnant women are going to have your water break at my check stand or in one of the aisles of the store when you come in here." I told her that would be great because it would mean I'd actually be going into labor. Of course, I never assumed my water would actually break on its own... but that's exactly what happened just days later, in one of the aisles at Wal-Mart. Funny.

I called the midwife on call and told her that I might sound like a total airhead seeing as this was my sixth child, but that I kind of thought my water may have broken. She said that labor usually starts pretty soon after that happens and to give her a call in a few hours to let her know of any progress. But no regular contractions ever began. She called me back later and we discussed our options. Since there is a risk of infection when you go too long with your water broken, we knew something would have to happen pretty soon. She didn't want me to have to come in at midnight to start labor because I'd probably be too tired at that time, so she told me to come in whenever I could that afternoon. I also didn't really like the midwife on call for the next day, but I loved this midwife (she was the same one that delivered Hallie). I told her it would be great to have the baby on the 12th, if possible, since I didn't want Friday the 13th. I thought I would get there at 5 and be able to have the baby before midnight, since my last induction only took 4 hours from beginning to end.



That's not exactly what happened though. By the time I got all settled in the room, it was 5:45. They had to ask me all sorts of questions and stuff, and then they finally checked to see if indeed my water had broken. They have a piece of paper they can stick in it to tell whether it is or isn't amniotic fluid. But, of course, by the time I got to the hospital, it had completely stopped dribbling out and so it showed no amniotic fluid. Nice. I felt really stupid at this point. But, I knew it was happening before. I am not that crazy. I realized that every time I sat down, it stopped, but when I walked around, it would start coming out again. That's when they had me walk around and do some squats, and that's when it finally started leaking out again. Phew. I could not have imagined getting sent home after all that. So at this point, they knew they had to induce with pitocin since I still wasn't having contractions. But, since I was a VBAC patient, the midwife had to get the induction approved by the attending doctor. That took a long time as well. By the time they finally started me on the pitocin, it was almost 8:00. The pressure was on to have the baby before midnight.

I began having contractions every two minutes, but they were definitely contractions that I could talk through. My midwife, Claudia, was really fun to talk to the whole time. She, and HGTV, helped pass the time quickly. Even though the contractions were consistent, I was only progressing 1/2-1 cm per hour. I definitely think they needed to pump up the pitocin faster than they did (it was on a 4 for a long time, and then 8 for a long while), but again, because of the whole VBAC thing, they didn't want to give me more. I do think it's kind of dumb to think that my uterus could have ruptured after I'd already done 4 VBAC's before, including an induction, but protocol dictates sometimes.

At some point, it was clear that I would not have the baby on the 12th. My midwife even left from 11:00-11:40 to help with a C-section because I wasn't that close (I was maybe 5 cm at this point). I could still talk through all the contractions, but I was getting tired. I think it was around 1:00 that they decided to pump up the pitocin past 10. But in order to do this, they had to put an internal monitor next to the uterus to make sure things weren't too strong. Once they pumped it up to 18, that's when things really started getting hard. I rolled over to my side as I entered transition. Here's my philosophy about labor (for me anyway). Nothing is ever hard until transition, and transition only lasts for half an hour. I figure I can handle 30 minutes of pain, and then it's over.

I looked at the clock just after transition started and it was 10 minutes to 2:00. I told myself that I could do 30 minutes. The problem was that it lasted way more than 30 minutes. It just kept going and going and going. I kept expecting each contraction to be the last one, but then it wasn't. I had never experienced transition this bad before. I had never wanted an epidural more.

The midwife began pushing on my knees while Jared pushed on my lower back during the height of the contractions. This was actually sweet relief, kind of. The real relief didn't come until 3:00 after an hour and 15 minutes of transition. I'm convinced that this baby just wanted to be born on an odd hour as well as an odd month, day and year. He had to wait until 3:00. I was so relieved to have pushing contractions instead of transition ones. I pushed 3 or 4 times and he was born at 3:05 am. Jared got to catch the baby for the first time, and he said it was really awesome to do that.

As I was pushing, the midwife realized that the amniotic sac was still stretched over the baby's head. Evidently, the sac had broken up higher and it had to be broken again at the bottom. Kind of weird.

So, despite my weird obsession with even numbers and the fact that all of our other kids have been born on even months, days and years (with one month as an exception), sweet Wesley Owen Daniels was born on March 13, 2015 at 3:05 am... all odds. I guess he's our little oddball. But, I'm pretty sure he has turned Friday the 13th into something lucky.





I think because transition was so long, Wesley's whole head was bruised when he came out. They had to put a little sign on his basinet that said, "I'm bruised" so that the nurses wouldn't think was purple because he had stopped breathing. He was 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 18 1/2 in. long, our second biggest baby. I immediately noticed his chunky thighs and biceps. So cute and squishy. He had some trouble breathing at the beginning so they called one of the nurses up to do some suction. After snuggling with me, he did a lot better. He has a quiet little cry and loves to be held. He seems like such a calm and content baby.




Apparently, there were a lot of babies born in the days before me so there were no rooms for us downstairs. They moved me into a labor and delivery room that night that was hardly ever used. The clock was out of batteries, the computer didn't work, the TV didn't work and the phone didn't work (so no ordering food). Plus, the bed was super uncomfortable. Luckily, they gave me a big foam mattress to put on top. Oh, after I delivered I was starving, but wouldn't you know it... there was no food left for me either. I ate some little graham cracker packets but was still so hungry. They found some cereal and pudding, which I also scarfed down. Right after that they found a real meal, but I wasn't hungry anymore. Since he was born in the middle of the night, I only slept for maybe an hour and a half. So that was the first night.

They had some people leaving the next day so I was able to move down to a regular maternity room. We had our kids visit that afternoon (they had just lifted the restrictions for kids 14 and under the day before--yay!) Everyone just loved little Wes!







Because of the visits, we didn't get any sleep that day either. After dinner, I started feeling kind of sick to my stomach. I kept burping up my salmon dinner and it was so gross. I tried to sleep as much as I could, but feeling sick just kept waking me up. I finally realized that I needed to get whatever was making me sick out of me. I really, really hate throwing up so I prayed for it to come out the other way if possible. Right then, I felt my intestines start gurgling... and I spent the rest of the night and a good part of the next day in the bathroom. I felt so awful! Usually being in the hospital is so great because you can order as much food as you want, but all I could eat was toast, applesauce and Sprite. I let Jared order whatever he wanted instead of me. I just wanted to get home. We broke out of there on Saturday afternoon.


The dumb thing about it was that Wesley slept almost all night and I got no sleep. Then he was up almost every hour the next night when I had hardly had any sleep in a few days. I guess it was nice that I didn't have to deal with feeding him and being really sick at the same time. 

Because Wesley was bruised, they told us he would probably be at a greater risk for Jaundice. We took him into the hospital the next day to get his blood drawn and measure his bilirubin. They told us that he would either need to be under the lights or get some real milk in him. Since my milk hadn't come in yet, we fed him some formula to try to get some liquids in him. We had to go in the next day, and the day after and two days after that to repeat the blood draws. Luckily, he was always on the border of needing lights but never actually required them. And finally on Thursday, we verified that his bilirubin levels were going down and not up. No more hospital visits... (at least for two days. But that is another post).

So it definitely wasn't my easiest birth, or recovery for that matter. But we are all so glad little Wesley is here and love him so much!

I was so tired, but nothing beats newborn snuggles!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waste of Space

I am sitting here in a quiet house in the middle of the day. That never happens, and when it does, I scramble to do whatever I can without interruptions. But not today. Connor and Hallie went across the street to play and I have already taken a pretty substantial nap. It's only 2:00. Thing is, I cannot get myself to do anything today (or for the past week). This pregnancy has been so very good, up until a few weeks ago. Now it just feels like I am in constant pain. Lots of pressure, back pain, etc. And if my past pregnancies give me any indication of when this one will come, I still have a good 4 weeks left. Ugh. I told Jared to put me in a coma for a month, but he just laughed. He could have at least looked into it for my sake. I feel like such a waste of space right now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know 4 weeks is a relatively short time to have to be pregnant and this is my last time and I won't even remember how bad it was and look how good it was at the beginning and blah, blah, blah. But, my last month is miserable!

Where is that nesting instinct anyway? Here's what I've done to prepare: went downstairs and brought up a box of baby boy clothes, then left the box right by my bed, made a short list of meals I want to freeze, then bought some aluminum pans for the eventuality that I might ever make the said meals--that I don't have ingredients for anyway. And that's it. This is the point where I should be tearing apart and organizing every nook and cranny of my home because every pregnant woman knows that you can't bring a baby home if the linen closet is a bit messy, not to mention the baseboards or the inside of the oven. But here I sit alone in a house full of to do's and have no desire to do any of it.

The good news is that I fulfilled my only two New Year's Resolutions (I thought I'd be realistic this year): nail down the baby's name and buy a new car that would fit our family. The name part was fairly simple because we had already kind of decided on one when we found out it was a boy. But come New Year's, Jared said he wasn't quite sure about the name so we went through the top 500 boy names eliminating them for our various reasons and ended up with the exact name that we had before. I always feel like our babies kind of name themselves, like even though we'd never thought of the name before, we just know that's what the name should be.

The car issue was a bit more challenging. I began really searching at the beginning of January. I know there are plenty of 8 passenger cars out there, but I also know that there are a few 9 passenger cars as well. Even though we aren't planning on more kids, I just thought it would be nice to have one extra seat for a friend or family member, I mean as long as we were getting a new car anyway. Every time I went back to thinking about an 8 passenger mini-van or SUV, I just couldn't see us in it. And so many of them have no space at the back. Sure, I wouldn't take my whole family to Costco (I'm not that crazy), but I also didn't want to have to fold down the seats and move car seats just to fit a box of diapers in the back. A lot of them wouldn't even fit my single stroller, let alone the double one. So that left me with the Yukon XL or the Suburban. Originally I was searching for the Yukon, but just so you know, you can't do a search for "9 passenger vehicles" because it doesn't work that way. You have to click on each car's picture to see if it has the 9th seat (the bench in the front). I would say for every 50 cars I clicked on, only 1 would have the 9th seat. So frustrating. Finally, I started looking at Suburbans and found a few more 9 seaters than with the Yukons.

Once we began going to look at them, I felt like I was dating. Some of them just didn't feel right and some of them got sold before we even got to look at them. We called on what seemed like the perfect car and as we were getting off the freeway, they called back and said that someone just bought it. That dashed our hopes. And the guy who bought it was a smoker (ruining our car!--even though Jared tells me it was never actually ours). Then there was the one where the salesman acted so desperate. We were obviously not interested (because it just didn't feel right) when he said, "I'll take $500 off... What can I do to the car to make you buy it?" Um... take off 80,000 miles? He even called back to tell me that I shouldn't buy this other car that we were thinking about because he had looked at the Carfax for it and found some issues, that we already knew about. Seriously! This other salesman asked us to pay half of a repair that the car needed. So pay for something that we haven't even bought yet? No thanks. Where do these people come from anyway?

It was a very frustrating ordeal. I was a bit like a part time job doing this car search. I couldn't think of anything else. I would get online multiple times a day to see if anything new popped up. Finally, I found a Suburban on Thursday night and called to see if it was available. Jared and I went down right then and liked it. It was clean, had the 9th seat and even had a DVD player (something that wasn't on our list but that we knew our kids would love). It needed a small repair so the next day when it was done, we went down to buy it. It was stressful because there were other people on their way to look at it and one guy even offered to buy it over the phone. Sheesh. We traded in our van that night, for a very small trade in value. But, I was so happy to get rid of it. It was a great van, but it had been leaking steering fluid on our garage floor for years, even though we'd tried to get it fixed in the past. I did not want to sell it privately so I was overjoyed to have someone just take it off our hands for $1000.

The day after we bought the Burb, the check engine light went on. We called the dealer back and he said he would take care of it, which he did (catalytic converter?). The day after we got it back, the engine light went on again. The dealer was so nice to continue to work with us and not charge us anything. This time, they had it for over a week so they gave us a loaner car. I hated it! It was a Honda Pilot and it was just not the car for us. They fixed that problem (some timing issue?) and two days after that, guess what? The check engine light went on again. This time all that it required was a new gas cap. Even though all those issues kept popping up right after we bought it, I never felt bad about our decision. You know that kind of sick feeling you get when you know you've made the wrong choice? I never felt that way. Now I feel so grateful that the problems happened so soon after we got the car so that the dealer could just take care of it. And we do love our new (well, 2007) car. Our only problem now is that we can't fit both the Suburban and the truck in the garage at the same time (major first world problem). But, we can fit all of our kids, a stroller and a load of groceries in the car at the same time... and a friend, which is exactly what I wanted. So glad that process is over!

Now I just gotta get through this pregnancy...