Monday, June 28, 2010

2 Weeks Today

Today marks Charlotte's 2 week birthday! Why does it seem like 2 months? She certainly looks like a 2 month old anyway... Overall things are going pretty good. We were doing great, rocking and rolling into a routine early last week and I was feeling like we were making progress from those tough first few days. But, as usual for life with a newborn, we got a curve ball mid-week last week. The lovely reflux reared its ugly head. We went, literally in 24 hours, from a baby who was eating every 4 hours, happy most of the time and in a good night routine - to choking, gagging, spitting up (through the nose), crying for hours and eating difficulties. Not good progress. The thing I hate the worst is seeing her in pain and not being able to do much to console her. That paired with no sleep pretty much puts a new mom over the edge.

Now I am one of those, who foolishly admits now, that thought "reflux" was the new buzz diagnosis for all babies who were fussy or who had gas. I've heard of more newborns on prevacid or other meds in the last year or two than ever and I kind of just thought it was the catch all description of a newborn with digestive problems (and what newborn doesn't have digestive problems). So for all of my friends who have had newborns with reflux please accept my deepest apology for EVER thinking that and belittling it. I have received payback and it's not fun. I was surprised at how quickly it started. We think a lot of it has to do with my milk and how it comes in (fast let down). She actually does much better with a bottle (with breast milk) vs. breast - which just hurts after everything I've been through to successfully breast feed to this point. So for the past few days we've tried all of the doctor directives - more frequent, smaller feedings, changing the way I nurse, keeping her upright, etc. After a sleepless night of crying and misery on Saturday we finally called in a frenzied/maddened state and demanded, "Give us the Prevacid or else..." Of course there is no easy or quick fix, but we have been better the past 24 hours. I guess I was naive - I thought breast feeding meant that the digestive troubles that usually accompany formula would be avoided. It's what kept me going the past week through all of the pain and difficulties I've had with it, knowing that maybe some of the digestive ordeals we had with Lowery (are still having by the way) would be taken care of. I will be honest and say that I've been so tempted to throw in the burp cloth on breast feeding the past couple of days. Why on earth is something that's supposed to be so natural so difficult?? It's frustrating and overwhelming. Most of all, it creates a lot of gray area - how much is she getting, what exactly is the problem with her feeding, which breast do I use, how much should I pump, should I introduce a bottle? And gray areas = nervous breakdown for me.

But I am hanging in there and am not ready to give up just yet. I'm determined to get this thing right. I mean millions of women world wide who don't have double electric pumps, breast shields and mother's love nipple cream can make it, surely I can. But I'm a wimp, I admit it. I'm not known for diligence or patience and this requires both. So everyone please pray for me and pray for Charlotte, that we will both persevere through this.

On a much brighter note, the good news is that despite all of the reflux just the past few days and all of the medicine I am on that creates challenges, we have a very healthy girl. She's grown over an inch, at her 2 week checkup today she measured 21 1/4 long and is in the 90th percentile. She's gained weight and totals 9 pounds, 8 ounces. She has developed some awesome bad habits such as loving the pacifier and being held, but is so precious I can't resist (yes, I hear all of you screaming "you're gonna be sorry"). She looks just like Steve - frustrating to carry and birth 2 children that look nothing like you - and also like Lowery, although I don't think she has Lowery's eye shape. She's very alert and active and, as everyone says, looks more like a 3 month old vs. newborn. Big Sister is helping a lot and adjusting just fine and overall we are making it as a family of 4. Thanks to our parents who have been so much help here driving all over the world, cooking, cleaning, anything/everything - and our new friends, who barely know us but have taken us under their wing providing meals and support. And we miss everyone in Springdale, having this baby makes us want to be home and share her with all of you. Maybe when we get through this reflux bit I will get better at taking pictures and providing updates, maybe...

Oh, and for all who have asked: yes, unfortunately I much prefer a c-section (sorry all of you natural fans out there, refer to above wimp admittance) and yes, she still has the crazy frosted highlights and has not lost any hair. Also, for some fun, I had many true wives' tales with this one: I had major heartburn (hair speaks for itself), fast heart rate and carried her very high (girl). A male employee in Saks saw me walking through a couple of weeks ago and said, "you're having a girl" - guess I was a pretty easy one to predict!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Link to Pictures

Since it's hard to add a lot of pictures to this blog site, I set up another one on shutterfly so everyone can view all of the pictures from the big day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birth Day Favorites

Getting Back to "Normal" Life

I am not sure how a week passes by so fast!! Honestly it seems like a month ago that we were going to the hospital at this time to get ready for Charlotte's arrival. It has been quite a week - it always is with newborns and taking care of a fragile little life! And of course, no matter how prepared I was - or thought I was - you are never really ready.

Steve did a great job on the first post but then we all were just trying to get by in the hospital and fell down on the job of updates and pictures - thought I was prepared to keep those going as well but was wrong on that front, too! Anyhow, the 24 hour stay in the NICU kind of threw us a curve at the beginning and had us off to a chaotic start. A big praise that she was fine, but we had a peace about it the entire time and are just so thankful she never had to get an IV. After that it just seemed like one busy day after another in the hospital. The care there was excellent, I couldn't have asked for anything better. But great care requires a lot of staff - and boy did I have a lot of people taking care of us: my RN, my tech nurse, two nursery RNs, lactation consultant, my ob/gyn - add in hearing screeners, housekeeping and food service and it seems like my door was opening 24 hours a day. Plus, due to her blood sugar problems we had to supplement my breast feeding with formula and that was not easy. All I'll say is that involved a little thin spaghetti like tube that had to be fit into her mouth each time she fed - it took a lot of work! It complicated feeding a great deal so it seemed like all I could do in the hospital was say hello to all of the people in my room, get her fed and try to sleep in the few minutes between. Before I could think twice, it was Friday and we were going home. So apologies for not posting more pictures or giving updates sooner. I always aspire to be that new Mother that takes beautiful photos, has the baby dressed in a different outfit everyday and has hair and makeup donned at all times. So much for my aspirations!

Although I really needed and appreciated my week in the hospital, it felt really good to be home. It does turn up the pressure a bit, but my parents were here to help. I've had my share of the baby blues the past couple of days and am getting used to all of this change - but every time I look at that precious girl's face and hug my Lowery it makes it all worth it. It is so surreal, crazier than I even thought it would be. Trying to get used to "two" after a long five years with "one" is definitely a challenge. I feel so old at times and question whether I can do this. But I know with God's strength I can get through and carry out the plan he has for Charlotte's life!

I am feeling great after the section and am pretty much getting around just fine. I unloaded my first load of dishes today, did some laundry and cleaned up so I am trying to get back to some resemblance of a normal life. I did make it out yesterday - to Central Market - and enjoyed the time out. Today will be busy with Charlotte's first doctor's appointment and Lowery's first swimming lessons. Sometimes I balk at the thought of getting back to normal - I want to stay and soak up every first moment with this girl! But I know it's inevitable and it will be good to be back on a schedule.

Thanks for everyone for their prayers, their well wishes and comments about the baby. It meant so much to us and kept us going when she was in the NICU and throughout the rest of the busy week. I know you all are thinking, "Who cares about this commentary, where are the pictures??" I am getting ready to post nothing but pictures so stay tuned. And, yes, she does look a lot like Lowery - other than her LA Looks highlighted hair. Can't wait for you all to see it in person, it is quite the "do" - love you all!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 2 Update

Long day 1 that feels like a week. We got the hospital at 1:00 yesterday (Monday the 14th) and there wasn't much waiting around as they sent us back to triage to prep. April went back to the OR at 2:30 and they got started around 3:15. Dr. Wells was great and said all the right things to get us through the c-section. April was amazing and kept it together much better than I did :) At 3:21 (contrary to my first Facebook post which was under duress so cut me some slack), we welcomed Charlotte Elle into the world. The final official weight/length was 9 lbs., 1 oz., 19.9 inches and a head of hair that would make any stylist envious.

Charlie and I went back to the triage where we had some good Daddy/Daughter time before they began poking and proding. After about 20 minutes in recovery, April joined us. The pediatric nurse came in shortly after and said that her sugars were low (should have been a 45 and was 30) and the accompanying serum test was below the cutoff (should have been 20 and was at 18), hospital protocol required her to go the NICU and get an IV for 24 hours. That's the last thing the new parents wanted to hear but obviously, that was the best thing for Charlie so Mommy said goodbye as they shipped her down the hall.

April's mom stayed with her and I went with Charlie. We got to NICU and just as they were about to start the IV, the doctor told them to hold off, feed her and then test her blood sugar again. The nurse told me it was a good thing because it would have been really tough to start an IV because her arms were like pork chops (that was my commentary, not an exact quote from the nurse). Her levels were up and they decided that instead of the IV they would just feed her formula and test her levels throughout the night. I spent most of the night going back and forth between April and Charlie and April didn't get much sleep because the painkillers, while effective in relaxing her, didn't help her get much rest. But during the night, she started to really open her eyes so I had some great moments with her. I know Mommy was missing her.

We got up around 6:30a, had breakfast and got April into a wheelchair and down to the NICU about 9:00 to try to feed her. Charlie has Kobayashi tendancies (if you're not familiar with competitive eating, Google it) and has yet to meet a food source that she doesn't like. While we were down there, the pediatrician came down and said they were going to release her. We had just gotten back to the room when they wheeled her in. April's resting now and Charlie's catching a post-breakfast nap as well. Things have calmed down but it was a lot to take in over the course of about 18 hours. Sorry for the delay in updating the blog but it was about 37th on my list of priorities given all was going on. I'll get some photos uploaded shortly so stay tuned.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Today is the Day!

How amazing it was to be laying in bed this morning, feeling baby kick and move (her usual 6 am wake up time) and know that in just a few hours I will meet her face to face. It just reminded me how much a miracle each and every baby is. Everyone has awe-inspiring stories, wonderful testimonies of God's hand in bringing their baby in the world. Our 2nd will be today and we can't wait for it all to unfold and share it with everyone. We truly believe everything is as it should be and we can't wait for this afternoon to come!

My nerves are a little on the jumpy side of course. I have a total peace about everything but I can't stop that exciting, fluttering of the heart when I think about the day ahead. I knew last night would be a little long but having my family here helped a lot. Our parents arrived around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. We visited, talked about baby and re-lived Lowery's birth (reviewing pictures) until around 6, then headed to Outback for my "last meal." I thought a good salad, bread and steak would be a solid all around choice to get me through - since I won't have anything to eat all day today I needed some good protein to help me out. In hindsight I guess I should have pushed for Bob's or Ruth's Chris - I could only dream of Doe's or Sandbar. But Outback sufficed fine and it was a good meal.

We came back here to the house and decided a hot game of trivial pursuit would be the perfect way t0 keep my mind from getting too anxious. It was a great idea, we had lots of laughs and learned a little bit in the process. It was guys against girls - every one one of us pulled out impressive answers at one point or another, I must say. But in the end the guys prevailed (won on some lame question about the 12 Days of Christmas song - who doesn't know what the ladies are doing in that one?) and it was good because it was a long game. We turned on the Arkansas baseball game late but decided we couldn't take another heartbreaker of watching it until 1 am only to lose in a horrible way (which would then require us to lose more sleep because of laying awake fuming about it for a while). After getting up this morning and reading about how it ended it looks like we made a good choice. Lowery had a good night as well - Mom brought her a Littlest Pet Shop care center and that kept her busy and entertained all evening and her "wildness" to a minimum.

I didn't know if I would sleep but actually did pretty well from about 1 - 5 so at least I've had some. I have to take medicine this morning and then maybe I will snooze a little more before we really get going. 1:00 will be here before we know it! I have had such a wonderful time this morning, in the quiet hours with the sun coming up just praying and thanking God in advance of what will happen today. I am excited, over-come with anticipation and have a huge sense of relief knowing that in a few hours baby girl will be finally be here.

This will be the last post I author for a while, Steve will be taking over this afternoon. Gone will be the flowery words and rambling narrative with details. Instead the style will change to: "Baby is born. Everything okay. She looks like me. April had a real easy time" you know, the man version of events. Kidding, Steve's actually better at this than me :) He will likely use Facebook to let everyone know exactly when she gets here since he won't really have access to a computer to post pictures and real information until we get settled into a room after recovery. But we will keep everyone updated as best we can. And, yes, that includes the decision on the name... Love you all, see you on the other side of baby!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last Day of Three

It is so bizarre, knowing that in about 24 hours our little family of three will be changed forever. How exciting! It's just that it's been so long with just myself, Steve and Lowery - we are so settled in our routines. Lowery is so independent these days and we just have the best time together. I keep trying my best to visualize how this little baby is going to impact things but I simply cannot. It blows my mind.

See, to most of you it's a change you can somewhat envision. But you have to remember that Steve and I are both only children. Our parents only had one child each and Lowery has been the only grandchild. That's a way of life for all of us and it's always been that way. Honestly none of us know what this is going to be like. We don't have any idea of how this sibling thing is going to work.

Most days I'm so thrilled to fulfill my dream of giving Lowery a sister. I pray, and know because God has given us this gift, that they will have a special and wonderful life-long friendship. Then I think about diapers, bottle, baby food - POTTY TRAINING and think I'm absolutely nuts to be starting over at this point. But that's the beauty of it. It's not like I planned or thought and it's still (even a day before delivery) such a foreign concept to me. It's not going to be easy or comfortable. But God has a plan and I know his timing is perfect - and that Steve and I can do anything with His strength.

So here we go! I always said when I was pregnant with Lowery that I hoped I wasn't induced because how do you possibly sleep the night before you know your life is going to change forever? But with her I was in the hospital and they gave me a nice little gift called Ambien - and that's the last wonderful night of sleep I had for a very long time. Tonight I'm cold turkey, just me and my faith to get me through. I have a tremendous peace about tomorrow. I mean no one looks forward to surgery and a c-section and all that goes with it (any more than labor) and it's the unknown since Lowery's birth was different. But I know every detailed is covered, already divinely chosen and arranged so now all I have to do is sit back and let the miracle unfold. Looking so forward to sharing the events of the day with everyone tomorrow. Stay tuned. We head to the hospital around 1pm tomorrow afternoon so be looking for updates after that!