Saturday, May 10, 2008

A good day

It was a nice day today. First we went to Maggie's appointment (we have found a new clinic that we REALLY like) and the doctor was great, the nurses were kind, and Maggie has gained 1/2 a lb. over her birth weight. Which is good. The other girls mostly behaved, and the doctor gave them stickers and a book. Very nice. Did I mention how nice everyone was? Yeah. We like this clinic. Which is good, since it would be $326/mo. to add Maggie to Jeff's health insurance, so we won't be doing that, and it will be a year before she qualifies for Healthy Families and can go on Kaiser like her sisters.

Then we all went home and rested. Jeff and I watched some Netflix, while the girls all slept. Everyone got a nice long rest. And there was a package at the door-- Jeff had sent me a Harry and David "Tower of Treats" for Mother's Day! He told me I could open it right then. Since I knew what it was already. ;)

Then we went to Tortas Mexico for our Nauvoo forum get-together. Jan and Jana (our out-of-country guests) were already there when we got there; they walked with Ems and me and Maggie over to Albertson's across the street to see if they had any of Maggie's pacis (they didn't; we picked some up at Vons on the way home) and pick up a few things for themselves, while Jeff got tables together. It was just a very nice day and the weather was beautiful. They were in love with the flowers all over the place (it is, after all, spring.) When we got back people had started arriving, and we all had a wonderful dinner, following which everyone took a turn holding Maggie. It was just as much fun as our get-togethers always are! I am not finding the camera cable right now, but pictures are forthcoming whenever I do get them uploaded. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Today's our first "normal" day...

...since Maggie was born.

Meaning, Jeff is back at work (thankfully just from 8 to 6), we are home, and I'm figuring out how to do this with 3 kids instead of two! For instance, Bridey had to wait to get up from her crib, because I was nursing Maggie and I could go in and talk to her, but can't lift her out (she's big!) with Maggie nursing. And Emma didn't get the oatmeal for breakfast that she wanted (she settled for chocolate milk and a granola bar) because I couldn't find clean spoons and bowls, and didn't have enough free hands and space to wash them right then. Oh, well. We'll figure it out! I did with Bridget, and I didn't have nearly as much time with Jeff helping me with her... Although, admittedly, when you have two kids, you have enough hands to attend to each with one... And I'm more tired this time than I remember being the last two times, for some reason. The sling helps, but I still can't do everything while holding Maggie, and if she wants to eat, I'm even more limited-- I can do a lot of things one handed by now but I can't wrangle toddlers while nursing a newborn!

But overall we seem to all be surviving so far. Bridey is more fussy than usual because she hurt her tooth the other day (we're waiting a week to see if it's broken or if it will "settle." She did NOT like the X-rays they took, and they couldn't definitively tell. They said the gum was too swollen to do anything immediately, anyway.) Emma is grumpy because she wants to play outside and I won't take her (I don't feel like getting everyone dressed right now...)

Ah, well. Like I said, we'll adjust. It just takes time.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Maggie comes home

Here are some coming-home pictures!

I am pleased to say that we did NOT have to get the infant carrier out. The 9 inch bottom slots are even a bit BELOW her shoulders, not just at! (You can't see that 'cause of the infant cushions, but it's true.) The nurse who checked the carseat (who is a certified tech, and also the sweet one who showed me how to make Maggie more comfy by putting blanket rolls on top of the Bilibed cover) had never seen a Radian before and thought it was an awesome seat (and awesome that I'm a carseat geek who knew just what to do with it.) And she was pleased to hear that our other two are harnessed in Radians as well and will be for quite a long time. I love our Radians! So do the kids, they're really comfy in them! Bridey liked the seat rear-facing and still likes it now that she's hit the RF weight limit and has to forward-face. I love the fact that they exceed federal requirements even without the top tether, and do even better with the top tether (which we use) and can even be tethered rear-facing. And they let us get three across in a Corolla, can't ask for more than that!

Anyway, here she is fitting perfectly in the car seat (though the cushions did end up needing a bit of adjusting down):

Here you can see how they fit three across:

And here are the proud big sisters (who also needed their harnesses and such adjusted before we went.)

Finally, here's her first picture at home! I was so glad to see her lay in her own playpen!

Maggie's phototherapy

Maggie didn't LOVE the Bilibed, but she settled pretty quickly in it, though she'd rather be swaddled and held, and it was so much more comfortable for her than a biliblanket or bank of lights and blindfold would have been. Phototherapy for neonatal jaundice uses UV light to help break down the bilirubin that the baby's liver can't clear on its own. My mom says that a nurse discovered it by accident; she noticed that the jaundiced babies near the window did better than the jaundiced babies who weren't. (I don't know the whole story but that's what my mom says.) With my first two that's just what we did, we put them by the window and nursed frequently. Unfortunately, Maggie's jaundice was more severe and her bilirubin levels were higher. (Thankfully, they only had to stick her once a day, not two or three times like they once would, in between they used a jaundice meter that works on light instead of a blood draw to estimate her level and make sure it wasn't rising. Another new purchase since last time I was there.) The way the ABO isoimmunization jaundice works is this-- basically, I'm genotype OO, my husband is AA (we are pretty sure) and our kids are therefore AO, with each pregnancy I react to the baby's blood type by producing antigens which are passed to the baby. It's trying to deal with the antigens that causes all the problems. Unfortunately, it's likely that every baby will have some degree of jaundice, and since the levels seem to get higher each time, it's likely that future babies may require phototherapy as well. So I'm glad the hospital has the Bilibeds and my babies don't have to suffer the other kinds of bililights!

Since she was much more comfy with some confinement of her legs, one of the nurses sweetly showed me how to roll and tuck a blanket or two around them to provide more of a "swaddled" feel in the Bilibed (which is a mesh mattress over a lamp that sits in the hospital bassinet instead of the bassinet mattress, and then is covered with a special kind of blanket-cum-sleeper that snaps on to the mesh mattress and has sleeves, a zip-up place for the legs shaped like a sleep blanket's "sack", and velcro closure up by the neck for a better fit. Oh, and a little duck on the top velcro closure.

Since she has such strong suck needs and I couldn't nurse her longer than just what she needed to empty the breast because she needed the lights, Maggie got very fond of her paci. (That's the RazBaby Keep it Kleen paci, btw; they really do what they're advertised to! She drops it and it snaps shut! We love 'em!) She got used to the routine; I would see her waking, change her diaper, nurse her, burp her, put her back on the lights (usually with a spit pad under her head, she's a spitty baby) and then give her her paci and sometimes sing to her and/or pat her tummy to settle her until she calmed down. Then we'd go back to sleep, usually.

The only time I could hold her during the phototherapy was while I nursed and burped her. So I made the most of it. I had Jeff burp her so he got some holding time, too, if he was around, and would let the kids help by tickling her feet and kissing her head to keep her awake, and Emma even helped Jeff give her a bottle when she needed a little supplementation. But most of the day it was just me and her in a room with the lights.

Maggie with family

More pictures. :)

Emma holds Maggie with Grandma Pam's help:

Bridey holds Maggie with Abba's help:

Grandma Katie (Maggie's great-grandmother, my mom's mom) and Maggie:

Grandma Sheri with Maggie:

Grandpa and Maggie:

Abba burping Maggie during a nursing break from her phototherapy:

A bit late, but finally officially announcing the arrival of Maggie!

We've had a crazy week. But now that we're finally settled in and all safe at home doing well (she's a champion nurser, and at her checkup today had gained 2 ounces in 2 days!), it's time for an official announcement!

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Margaret Nancy (Maggie), born April 24 at 3:19 pm Pacific time, 7 lbs., 8 ounces, 21 1/2 inches.

Here's how it happened:

We went in for our scheduled 39 week induction. The doctor came in to check me, and we decided to break my water (for comfort and also to see if the baby's head would come down, she had floated up a bit.) I was 1 cm, 50 effaced. He left orders to start pitocin and give me an epidural as soon as an anesthesiologist was available (four of them were there but all were in an unplanned c-section. So we waited.) We just kinda hung out and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The nurse checked me before starting the pitocin, and just from her head coming down and hitting the cervix (which happened almost immediately), I had progressed to 2 cm. Adding the pitocin, by the time I got the epidural (there was a little problem; I for some reason had pain when he tried to do it in the usual spot, so he had to move up twice, but once it got in it was a fairly good one), I was 3 cm and 80% effaced. At that point the movie was over and I had decided to listen to music instead. We went through a couple of CDs, and when I was checked again I was at a 5.

So then we watched another movie (The Princess Bride-- I had had Jeff put in Napoleon Dynamite but decided quickly that I wasn't in the mood, ditto Beauty and the Beast) and I actually fell asleep during part of it (which is why I had only packed movies I know by heart.) In about an hour I went to a 6. The movie had ended at that point and I warned the nurse, "Now, with my last two, once I hit 6 I went very quickly to 9 or 10. I won't be surprised if that doesn't happen, but I won't be surprised if it does." She said okay, she'd be back in an hour, and I said, "If I don't drag you in here first!"

Well, sure enough, I called it. In about 20 minutes I started feeling incredible pressure. The contractions were coming harder and closer together. I told my husband, and then all of a sudden I couldn't talk through a contraction, and they were one on top of another, and I said, "I think I feel the head moving down." I had Jeff look to see what was going on when I felt some really intense pain and he saw blood.

I sent him for the nurse and she asked, "Do you want me to check?" I said, "Not right now, but in about 20 minutes I think I'm going to have the baby. So come check me in 15." I don't think she believed me. But she came back in about 10 minutes and sat observing me. I kept saying, "I really feel the head, I really think it's moving down." Every time I would have a contraction it hurt, the epidural was wearing off even though the nurse had upped it, I was numb down lower but could really feel the head, and I would just relax, and breathe, and the baby would slide a little more down-- I really did feel it. When I started snapping at my husband about changing the CD (to Hourglass, Kate Rusby) and about how he was sitting and, well, just about everything, she decided she'd better check me in case I was in transition (duh. Of course I was, I told her I would be!) She reached in looking like she didn't expect much, and then all of a sudden said, "We're at plus 3. I'm calling the doctor." She put my legs together and said, "Keep those together, don't move, and don't push! The doctor is on the way." She went out to call, and a few minutes later was back. She got me in the stirrups, reminded me again to just breathe, no pushing, and swabbed me with betadine. My doctor came in and was chatting while he got on his booties, etc. I looked at him and said, "You need to hurry now." He took one look at my face and raced through the rest of his prep. He came over, said, "Oh, good, the nurse already sponged you and everything, let me see what we're doing here." He took a look and said, "The head's right here." We got me comfortably sitting up and he said, "Now, when you have a contraction and need to push..." I completed, "...take a deep breath, hold it, put my chin on my chest, and push down in my bottom like I'm having a bowel movement." He laughed, as did the nurse, and he said, "Go for it when you feel you need to, just warn us. I think you'll push once." The nursery nurses were coming in at this point and setting up the equipment, but I just ignored them. A minute or two later I said, "I feel a good contraction, and I'm going to want to push." He said, "Go for it!" I did but only got halfway through because I started late in the contraction. He said, "Take a breath now and do it again, one more!" I started to but only just started to push and he said, "That's enough, you can stop!" So I pushed about 1 1/2 times. He said, "Look down!" I did and got to see her sliding out (the first time I've been able to do that! The other two had the cord wrapped too tight; Maggie had it around her neck but just once and loosely so he had already slid it off.) Then he put her right into my arms! That was the first time I had ever done that, too, because my other two were blue! I was thrilled. I held her while they dried her and he stitched me (I had a bigger and more jagged tear than last time-- when he had done perineal massage for me to reduce the tearing-- because she pushed her own way out so far and so fast! She just tore me whatever way she wanted hurrying her little self out!) Then he started poking trying to loosen the placenta, which hadn't come yet. I told him, "If you just wait a minute, I feel another contraction coming that's going to get that out." He said, "Well, I'm just trying to loosen it." I said, "Well, yeah, but that poking hurts." So he stopped and waited, and sure enough, next contraction I pushed a wee bit and it slid out, intact! Another first for me-- my other two shredded and had to be cleaned out. I told him that and that I was curious what it looked like since I'd never seen an intact placenta, only a bloody mess! Once he finished checking to make sure it was intact he was happy to show me my placenta, which I found fascinating. (I was way more alert and happy at this point than with my other two, not really sure why! I was kinda out of it and exhausted and dizzy with them, this time I was just really fascinated with everything going on! Maybe a combination of different epidural and less blood loss.) And he even said it wasn't weird I wanted to see it, that he wished more people were interested. My doctor and I totally get each other. :D He did continue the pitocin, which I had requested, because it really helps my recovery.

As we held her and looked at her we kept saying, "She's so little!" The nurses were laughing at us; they see 5 lb. 18 inch babies every day. We said, "Well, compared to our others!" The doctor glanced back and said, "Oh, I'd say 7 1/2 lbs." They weighed her and she was 7 lbs., 8 oz. EXACTLY! We cracked up and I told him, "It's almost like you've been around babies a little bit or something." I think the real reason she looks little is not only the weight comparison to my other two but that she has a smaller, rounder head than the two of them did. She looks a LOT like me as a newborn, my whole family agrees. In fact, I said that in the delivery room, too!

I held her and nursed her while they got things ready to move me, and it was really funny-- at one point the cd stopped and she started crying. She was fed and swaddled and we couldn't figure out why until I realized the cd was over! I had Jeff start it again and she stopped crying! She always has liked that cd... We called people and let them know she was here. Then Jeff went with her to the nursery for footprinting and such-like. They moved me to my room and soon she and my husband were back with me. It took a little longer than my other two because she was having a little bit of a temperature regulation problem (I had noticed in the delivery room that her feet turned purple as she got cold... I think she has Bridey's and my circulation...) But they said an extra blanket fixed it and put her in the bed with me to snuggle and nurse to keep warm, which she LOVED.

After that, my recovery was pretty normal, except for the anxiety that went with leaving her (which you all know about.) She of course got lethargic and sick from the jaundice and did need treatment (you know about that, too.) We are just so incredibly glad she's home and well. Did I mention she's gaining an ounce a day? That's really good since she got a bit dehydrated with the jaundice and was 7 lbs. even two days after birth, though she had managed to gain back to 7 lbs., 1 oz. by the time she came home.

And now for the pictures! (These are from LDR, more to follow.)