Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here at last!

Luke arrived at 4:54 am on the 27th, 7 lbs, 4 ounces and 20 inches long. Blond hair and blue eyes (for now?) And perfect!

(So much for my scheduled 9:45 c-section, more on that another time!)

Here he is:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So, this is it!

I was pretty anxious about the amnio today. Not because of the risks really. And not because of the needle in my belly thing. (After 300+ lovenox injections, I'm kinda over that.) But because this kid has kept us on our toes this whole pregnancy, I kinda figured he'd be in the 5% not ready yet. (My OB assured me yesterday that there was a 95% chance he'd be ready.)

He really was! It wasn't too horrible. I was a little nervous when they told me not to close my eyes, not to hold my breath, not to tense up. (And they had me put my hands behind my head so I wasn't even holding Joe's hand.) I kept my eye on the ultrasound monitor to see what the baby was doing and how far they were from him. I was a little nervous on the way there because without really thinking about it I drank a Diet Dr.Pepper, and he was pretty awake and active as we were driving and waiting in the waiting room. Luckily, when we were in there he settled down and when the needle was in he stayed far away from it. It didn't hurt anymore than lovenox, the only sucky part was that I didn't realize they'd keep the needle in for a full entire minute or so, to get enough fluid. I also didn't realize they took an entire vial full of fluid, for some reason I thought they just took a tiny bit. I had to remind myself to keep breathing. I actually ended up with my third choice doctor doing it, but he was actually nice and funny. He counted down while the needle was in, "1/3 done, 1/2 done...." And then it was over. They sent me to be monitored and OF COURSE our little trickster decided it was naptime so they weren't really concerned about him but he wasn't really active enough so we ended up staying on the monitor for quite awhile. But I said to Joe, "I don't care if they keep us here all day as long as I can hear his heart beating and know he's okay." He perked up after awhile and was nice and active with a good test strip, so they let us go.

They told us that they either do one or two tests with the fluid. The first test only takes about an hour to come back, but it's pretty picky and a lot of times will say lungs are immature when they really are mature. So if that test came back mature, they wouldn't bother with the second one and we could proceed with plans for delivery tomorrow. If that test came back immature, they'd do the second test, which takes about 4 hours. The nurse told me she'd call me after the 1 hour test results were back so we knew the status either way. If his lungs were mature, we had to go back to the hospital to do all of the pre-op paperwork, bloodwork, and talk to the anesthesiologist. If not, wait 4 hours and then maybe go to the hospital.

The cemetery where Olivia is buried is only about 15 minutes from the hospital but 45 or so minutes from our house, so we had already planned to go there today and this worked out perfectly as something to do while we waited for the first results. Coincidentally, while we were driving to the cemetery, the newish song "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" came on (I'm not sure how new it is but a couple of days ago was the first time I heard it. Today was the first time Joe heard it, too.)  Last night we went to dinner at Applebees, and there was a toddler little girl in the booth across from us, sitting behind their booth was a couple with a 2 month old. The toddler girl was infatuated with the baby and new mom was really nice, even letting this random toddler touch her baby's head. Anyway, it was really cute, but also very bittersweet, I kept thinking that we should have a toddler infatuated with her little brother very soon. So when we were at Olivia's grave, I was standing there thinking how excited she would be to meet her baby. And then seemingly out of nowhere, a butterfly fluttered right in front of her grave so we couldn't miss it. We go to the cemetery at least monthly. We've seen lots of deer and squirrels and stuff like that, but I've never seen a butterfly there. Some of my baby loss mom friends are big believers that when they see a butterfly, it's a sign from their baby that they are okay and with them in spirit, sort of thing. I've never really thought much about it either way. But the timing of that butterfly, right at that moment when I was thinking how excited Olivia should be about her baby brother, there it was. And it was only a few minutes after that that the nurse called to tell us that his lungs are mature and his birthday is tomorrow. That definitely made today even better and just gave me a bit of bittersweet peace.

I'm surprised I haven't freaked out all day about Luke moving or not moving. But he's been pretty fantastic, moving rather steadily every once in awhile so I'm reassured that all is well in there even though they took a big chunk of his fluid. He's been a little quieter (still okay, just not quite as constantly active as usual) the last couple of days so I'm very much appreciating him moving steadily. Yesterday, I started noticing my feet were getting swollen and today they are like 3x the normal size. Even the nurse got a little wide eyed, seeing it. Since we're delivering tomorrow and my blood pressure has been okay (up a little but not really high) and I'm not in pain or anything, it should be okay for now, but I think it's a good thing we're delivering tomorrow besides my mental health. My fingers are crossed that I'm not headed toward postpartum pre-eclampsia.

We finally finished up Luke's room (well, mostly, we haven't put together *everything* since we know he won't be in the jumper or exersaucer for awhile. And we haven't set up the monitors and a few things like that which we won't use immediately yet, either.) But it's 90% done.

Anyway, this time tomorrow, he'll be here!

Friday, April 22, 2011


So, we're probably coming home with a baby this time is starting to sink in. (And I don't think I'll be able to get rid of that probably that's always lingering in the back of my mind until we're putting him in his carseat.) Anyway, it's exciting and overwhelming and oy, we have so much still to do. The good part of that is that the days are flying by. The bad part of that is this "nesting" energy I've heard about is seriously lacking. I just want to sleep.

It still definitely feels very surreal. Random people keep asking me when I'm due (someone must be looking out for me because in the 5 or so times I've been asked when I'm due, no one has asked if this is our first, not this week, at least. That almost makes up for the 6 or so times I had to go over that question and my medical history in the 2 days we had our hospital stints a few weeks ago. Funny how they manage to keep track that I'm allergic to penicillin but we have to talk over that our first baby died and why every single time and with multiple people when I was admitted. Even the wheelchair lady who brought me down for the follow up biophysical asked.)

Anyway, this week was mostly uneventful with a few minor touches of excitement. On Monday we had monitoring and I was apparently having some contractions. But I wasn't feeling them so they weren't worried, though there were 2 in 20 minutes. And on Thursday I didn't have any and Luke did great again. Wednesday was my last (hopefully) high risk appointment for this pregnancy. I say "this pregnancy" because both my high risk doctor and my OB have said how much easier my "next pregnancy" will be. And I'm permanently high risk so even if everything ends up better than they could have expected, I'll still be on lovenox and low dose aspirin and have growth ultrasounds and everything. Although high risk doctor said she'll be a lot more mellow with me next time. I'm not really up for even thinking about a next pregnancy at this point, though.

Last Friday at 34.5 weeks, Luke was measuring in at 6 lbs 11 oz or 6 lbs 6 oz, depending on which u/s tech you believe.  (There was one in training who got the smaller estimate and the real tech who got the bigger estimate.) But they both have a margin of error of a pound at this point, so my guess is he was right at 6 lbs and if he's born as scheduled, he'll be right at 7.5 pounds.

Next week I see my OB on Monday. Tuesday I have the amnio (assuming that labor is not threatening and everything else looks stable), we do that around 9 am and I believe we'll know the results for his lungs by the time we leave, afternoonish. I also believe they keep me most of the day on monitors, just to be sure the baby is still doing okay. (The most serious risk for these late term amnios is that it might break my water, which wouldn't be a big deal, they'd just deliver, and it's extremely rare for even that to happen. I have read a story about a baby moving into the amnio needle and they have a little scar on their foot from it, but they do them at the baby's feet and as far from the baby as possible- plus babies usually generally instinctively stay away from needles in that situation-so it's really really unlikely and not a huge problem other than the poor baby got poked in the foot with a needle. It's scheduled for a time when Luke is pretty mellow.) Anyway, I'm told that it doesn't really hurt anymore than the lovenox injections I've put in my belly for 20+ weeks of this pregnancy, (actually they said it hurts a lot less) so I'm not that worried about that part. I am a little worried that his lungs might not be ready to go yet and then we've done the amnio for nothing because they'll just have me deliver at 37 weeks without a follow up amnio. But both of my doctors are really convinced they'll be ready especially since I had steroid shots. My high risk doctor even said she'd "bet money on it." Since she hasn't been wrong about anything this pregnancy, even when I've worried anyway and she wasn't, I mostly believe that he will be ready to come out. But I try to brace myself for the possibility that it might not turn out that way so I'm not really disappointed just in case he's not ready yet.

But, if everything goes as planned, we are down to just 4 days left until we meet Luke!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

34 weeks, nursery in progress pictures

The plan is to pretty much finish decorating the nursery tonight. I still have to wash baby clothes and move all of the baby stuff into the room, but that probably won't happen until next week, we still have a lot to finish up buying and I'm more focused on that than actually organizing the baby room yet (because if I try and then start thinking of the things that I still need to get, it will make me crazy.)
Anyway, this is Monday, @ 34 weeks, I had thought that he had dropped because when he was having hiccups he was so low, but I think he undropped or never dropped at all because I've felt hiccups around my belly button just this morning:

And here is Joe battling with the pain in the butt to put up tree (but we are SO GLAD we decided not to paint it). 

And then he finished the tree (sans leaves) and put up the monkey and tiger:

And I started putting up the leaves, except for the ones I couldn't reach.It was thankfully much easier to do than the actual tree.  Joe finished up the leaves at the top last night. We still have a bunch left that we are still deciding what to do with.
And then we added Ellie the Elephant next to the tiger (I think we're calling him Timo, I said Joe could name him but I forgot the name.) The crib won't really go there in front of them, Joe pushed it out of the way while we were discussing how we are going to hang the letters.
And here's better pictures of the letters:

And this is ultimately what the "mural wall" will look like, although we still have to hang the giraffe and the crib will be under the tree and the monkey against the wall, like it is in the first couple of pictures. (The letters will go above it.)

And then on the wall opposite of the crib, above the window, we added the quote "Angels danced the day you were born". I love the animals and everything, but that's one of my favorite parts of the room, our little touch of Olivia in there. It took MANY pictures and experiments for me to finally get the word "angels" pictured (it shows up great in person, but against the light color and with my camera, it was hard to get it to show up.)

So tonight, Joe gets to put up the giraffe (I think we're giving her a few leaves) and hang the letters above the crib, and then the walls at least will be done. (We decided not to do a valance for the window, #1 because I couldn't find one that I liked really, #2 because then we'd have to buy a curtain rod too, and I think with everything else, keeping the window simple is a good idea.) 

I can't believe it's already Thursday and next week will hopefully be our last full week of this pregnancy. (More on that later.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

33 weeks in pictures

My mom's paraprofessional at school painted our memory box for Olivia with the exact pattern from her dress. (It's not faded, that's just from the flash, the letters are wood and glued on top, this is just the top but the entire box is full of the tiny extremely detailed little flowers.):

She also painted these letters for us for Lucas:

We'll hang them above his crib. I love how they turned out and I also really love that we have something "for" both kids painted by her. I could have had someone paint letters from etsy (love that website) or craigslist, but they feel more special this way.

My baby shower was last Sunday (with my cold and all, and thankfully still pregnant). It was very nice, I had a great time and we got a ton of amazing gifts. My cold is still hanging on, though luckily it doesn't much bother me except for my nose is constantly running. (God bless whoever invented tissues with lotion.)

Also, I'm pretty sure that a certain baby has dropped. (They sort of confirmed it at my Tuesday monitoring appointment, but said he'd drop more so I'm not sure. And when they said he'd drop more I was like "really?" and she was like, "well yeah, when you are in labor!" "Um, no, I'm not going into labor."  This was just a nurse, some of them are kind of crappy, I don't think she even bothered to glance over why I was even there at all. Some of them are really good though, it just depends.)  Anyway, this is 31 weeks in the black and gray shirt vs. 33 weeks. (Also, since 31 weeks I've lost 6 pounds, not that I can tell it from here.)

 I'm also behind in posting baby ultrasound pictures, these were done at 32 weeks exactly, luckily there was still enough room to get decent shots, even though he was definitely measuring bigger than a 32 weeker.

Baby feet/legs and arm:

That's just a shadow and not hair (or a hole) on his least I think.

And the picture below, the cord is in front of his face and making his mouth look a bit strange, but if you disregard that, he looks A LOT like my brother Nick and my dad as babies in this picture:

And he has most definitely mastered the art of thumb sucking. At my last two monitoring appointments when they went to check my fluid levels on ultrasound, he's been sucking his thumb both times again. Last time he was even flexing his fingers out and sucking on two fingers. Hopefully we can interest him in a pacifier when he's here, because that will be a much easier habit to break later (I'm a fan of the "throw them away" method, having worked in daycare), than thumbs which you can't really get rid of...

Friday, April 1, 2011

32+4 week update

I'm still pregnant and have not been admitted to the hospital since last Saturday.And holy cow, we've made it all the way to April! Hopefully Lucas will be here safely by May.

Lucas looked good at monitoring on Tuesday and fantastic today (in fact, the doctor said this must be a different baby.) And the nurse, before she knew about the drama from last week and previously, said, "This test strip is so beautiful! I wish all of our babies looked like this!"  This kid is going to keep things interesting, clearly. When they checked my fluid levels both Tuesday and today, he was breathing, too. So all is well as far as that is concerned, at least for the time being.

Things aren't quite so fantastic on my end, but not horrible either. I've inexplicably lost all the weight I had gained in the last 4 weeks, last week. I thought maybe that could be explained by my amniotic fluid levels measuring 19 cm last Friday morning and by Friday afternoon they were 12. But apparently that wouldn't have made that big of a difference in my weight. So who knows. (It's certainly not because the baby isn't growing, and my diet/activity hasn't changed.) I'm more swollen (not just in my head, high risk doctor pointed it out on Monday) and my blood pressure is still weird but not alarming. I'm pretty sure I managed to catch a cold (hopefully just a cold) from the pediatrician's office- sore throat, check. dizzy and lightheaded, check. suddenly feel like I got hit by a truck, check. Blech, I guess it's always something. I don't really have time to be sick, suddenly April 27th is only 26 days away and there is so much to do, so I hope this is short lived. And really, high risk doctor and I weren't very optimistic about things on Monday with the swelling and my blood pressure being funky (it was high but then they retook it and it was better), she said that if it goes high and stays high, I'll be admitted until delivery, she isn't even going to mess around with home bedrest at this point and with my history. But here it is Friday and things seem mostly normal again. (Monday and Tuesday my blood pressure was up and down all day. Wednesday it kept going up and up and up and was only a couple points away from my call in number. Thursday and today, it's been normal.)  So anyway, I wasn't even all that sure that I'd make it through this week without at least being admitted for good, but here we are.

I got the steroid shots for Luke's lungs on Monday and Tuesday. I'm not sure if it's just a coincidence or those steroids really are working because he's been almost constantly active ever since. Not that he wasn't active before, but now there are very few hours when he's not rolling around. He's also had hiccups 3-4 times a day, which I'm assured is normal and even a good thing.

We found a pediatrician. Actually, it was pretty easy. We really liked the doctor that my youngest brother sees, and he's open to spreading vaccinations out and not following the official AAP vax schedule (and I especially appreciated that he didn't try to lecture us or convince us why we should follow it), so that was good. (Except suspiciously 2 days later, now I feel like crap. Then again, I suppose I could have picked up this cold somewhere else or it could be our freaking crazy weather.) Just having that settled is a huge relief, now that I'm at medical appointments 3-4 times  week, I'm just not up for a big doctor search. I guess supposedly it's recommended to interview several pediatricians and then pick the one you like the most. I'm kind of just doctor'ed out at this point. And I figure we can always change later if we need to.

So all in all, this week has been a pretty decent one. I have new (much better) 3D pictures and stuff to upload later, but for now, I'm going to bed to hopefully sleep off this ick.