Baby Boston: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Not surprisingly, as soon as I wrote the last post on Monday morning, I called to check on Boston and he had already moved off of the nasal canula to CPAP (a step backward).  Later his nurse told me she was surprised they had gone straight to the nasal canula in the first place — she thought they should have at least gone only to the high-flow nasal canula.  He did OK on the CPAP even though I know it drives him nuts.  It would drive me absolutely insane to have something completely covering my nose and occasionally blowing water up my nose and down my throat (they keep it humid so it doesn’t dry out his nose and throat).  He was not a happy camper but he was also finishing up his last couple days of steroid treatments, so maybe it was just ‘roid rage. Yesterday he seemed pretty irritated so they gave him some Ativan so help him calm down and sleep.  Steroids cause anger issues, apparently (explains a lot of baseball players.) I loved getting to hear him cry since he didn’t have his endotracheal tube from the ventilator.

The this morning (Thursday) Nick and I went in to see him, and he is back on the ventilator.  He had had several pretty big episodes of apnea and bradycardia in the night so they reintubated him. I’m glad I got a video of him crying, since now his vocal chords can’t do anything when he cries with the endotracheal tube back in. They finally gave him a blood transfusion today — he was looking so pale and was super groggy when I held him today so I’m glad that’s finally happening.  They have been trying to feed him 21ml of breast milk on top of his IV feedings, but his tummy was looking pretty poofy when I went to see him today. He has such a hard time tolerating more than 15ml. He still winces a lot and I hope it’s just because of the steroids and that he’ll start feeling better, breathing better, and digesting better soon! They are already trying to wean him off of the ventilator again.  Hopefully this time is more successful than the last two times.

I was feeling slightly discouraged the other day, but one of the practitioners said hi to me the other day and showed me more pictures of her two cute grandkids who were born as early as Boston and are now adorable teenagers, and reassured me (even though I hadn’t even told her I was stressing out) that Boston will leave the NICU someday.  “Do you see any seventeen-year-old kids in here?” she said. “We send all these babies home!” Haha. I know our baby is going to be fine but I just hope he can really turn a corner soon.

I also hope Ava doesn’t get sent home on her first day of kindergarten for talking back to her teacher, and that Nixon doesn’t give up his naps like he is threatening to, and that I can someday not be fully dependent on caffeine to function, and that Jess comes back from California and somehow gets back together with Rory by the time I finish all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls during my midnight milk-pumping sessions, but that might all be asking a bit too much!

We have so many, many things to be grateful for, and I’m grateful for how grateful this experience has made us! We are so lucky to have this little baby in our lives and we will always treasure him a million times more because of how he has come into this world.

Look at me, always rambling on and on and on.  Here are a couple of pictures from this week.

 

xo

 

Jess

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Back on the ventilator, but so so cute. Also, don’t be alarmed: that is my arm, not my boob.

 

Baby Boston: Lots of Good News

I was getting slightly discouraged yesterday because Boston was struggling with digesting his tube feeding increases, as usual, and when I asked whether it will EVER get better the nurse told me they may need to call in the GI surgeon to come look at him.  Bummer. The poor kid’s tummy was so bloated yesterday, and they had to give him a couple of glycerin enemas to get him to poop.

Also I’ve been very nervous about his respiratory stuff.  He’s been doing really well and hasn’t needed much extra oxygen, but last time they moved him to the NIPV and then to the CPAP it REALLY bugged his stomach and it turned out to be too much work for him to have to be on those machines so he had to be re-intubated.

BUT last night some great things happened:

I got to hold him for over an hour yesterday (Sunday)!  That was the third time I have been able to hold him. Yay!  He did really well will it and his vitals stayed nice and steady while I got to snuggle him, so Kari the night nurse recommended that I come hold him twice a day.  She said it should really help him become more relaxed and be able to improve and be able to come off the ventilator — actually, while I was holding him she got the OK from Doctor Minton to extubate him!  It was taking a while for someone to come do it, though, so I went home since it was 11pm.  At 3am, when I had to get up to pump anyway, I called since Kari was still there.  She said that Boston extubated really well and that he was on a nasal canula!  So he skipped all the other machines and went straight to the lowest machine you can be on, so that made me really, really excited!  AND she said that since he has been on that machine (and hardly needing any extra oxygen) that his tummy has been doing much, much better!  I went back to bed so, so happy.  I know there will probably be some backward steps again but this was such good news and I am going to enjoy it for a minute!

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His left eye is STILL swollen shut, dang it.

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Here you can see the incision from his PDA surgery.

His hemoglobin has been pretty low (they take tons of blood for labs every day, darn vampires) so he may be getting a transfusion today.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

Baby Boston: 4 Weeks Old!

Boston is four weeks old today! This means we only have nine weeks until his due date, which is when they are aiming to discharge him from the hospital.

They have recently moved him off of the jet ventilator that was working to help get mucus out of his lungs, which means I should be able to hold him now! I may go snuggle him tonight.  It’s pretty stressful for him to have to be moved in and out of his isolette, so when I do hold him they want me to hold him for at least thirty minutes to an hour, but it’s so good for these little babies to snuggle with their parents that they think it’s definitely worth the hassle.  They think it will help him be a lot less agitated in general and help him start growing more.

They are getting pretty aggressive about increasing the amount of breastmilk they are feeding him, which makes me nervous because he has struggled with big feeding increases in the past.  They are pretty behind on the feeding schedule they want to have him on, though, so that’s why they are trying to get him eating a lot more very quickly, on top of the IV nutrition they are always giving him. I believe yesterday he was at 3 lbs 5 oz.  He’ll be 4 pounds in no time, as long as his poor tummy cooperates!

The eye doctor looked at him a couple of days ago and said that, while his eyes are still quite immature, he’s not seeing any problems (enlarged blood vessels) yet.  They will keep checking on his eyes to see if they need to do laser surgery or anything.

They are hoping to get him off of the ventilator pretty soon as well.  Last time he went from the vent, to the NIPV, to the CPAP, it really didn’t work out so well, so I’m hoping this time around goes better and doesn’t stress his tummy and respiratory system out so much.  Hopefully we can make some progress this week and not so many steps back.

Yesterday some of my relatives who came in to see Boston commented on how peaceful it is in the NICU, saying that it feels very sacred in there — almost like it does in the temple. The NICU is really such a special place and spending time there has been a pretty cool experience.

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xoxo

 

J

Baby Boston: Lungs

Here’s what’s new with Boston:

He is 3 pounds and looking so (relatively) chunky! Yay!

On Monday (7/20) his X-rays were still showing super cloudy lungs.  I thought they looked worse than ever but they tell me he is doing slightly better, if anything. The good news is that his lung secretions are no longer brown/bloody, and while they have been pretty yellow they are starting to be less yellow.  I was feeling pretty frustrated since he has been on antibiotics and the jet ventilator for several days.  The told me they would be starting him on some steroid treatments to liquify the mucus in his lungs to help it drain or whatever. By Tuesday they said his X-rays were looking much better, so either the steroids were already working or the antibiotics were finally working.  He is making progress with his feedings VERY slowly — some times he digests all his food and sometimes he just doesn’t.  They have been feeding him 15ml (half an ounce) every three hours and if they suction out from his feeding tube and there is still 8ml left in his stomach they just put it back down the tube and give him another 7ml.  Kind of gross but I’m glad they aren’t wasting anything!

Today (Thursday) I flat out asked the nurse if his lungs are ever going to get better.  They are improving so slowly — usually they look at X-rays and say that they “think” they look better — and while improvements have been enough to slowly decrease the settings on his ventilator, I’m wondering if all of this mucus will ever really clear out, and whether anything can be done if it doesn’t. The neonatologist assured me that hazy lungs are the norm with babies born this early, but his sweet nurse did tell me that he will probably have chronic lung issues.  I was glad she told me that, because up to this point I’ve kind of been expecting to leave the NICU with a totally healthy baby, and I’m glad she was honest with me so I know sort of what to expect.  She said it could just mean that he will have asthma or something, so that made me feel better, but his lungs are pretty scarred and, frankly, damaged.

Then the nurse told me that the eye doctor will be coming to examine Boston within the next few days.  Apparently being on oxygen for a long time can cause blindness — while it helps these little preemies grow, it can also make blood vessels in the eyes grow too big and eventually burst, if I’m understanding it right.  So basically if that is happening they can laser zap them out! No big deal.  It amazes me how much they are doing for our little guy.

I hope people realize that so far it’s looking like our little guy is going to be totally OK.  I think he will probably have some minor chronic health issues, but I have talked to so many parents of 27-weekers whose kids are totally healthy.  Obviously his lungs are going to struggle for a while, but he has not has any brain bleeding and that is such a huge relief. Also, so many people have expressed so much concern for us and are wondering if we are super traumatized and stressed out by the situation.  Really, we are just tired, and that’s mostly because I get up to pump in the middle of the night and it wakes Nick up.  We don’t spend hours at the NICU (yet) and we are trying to live our lives normally so we don’t go crazy, and for the most part we are doing great.  We have all our normal stresses that we always have and Boston has brought so much joy into our lives.

 

xo

 

 

J

Baby Boston Update: Pneumonia

Boston is doing very well!

Lab results indicated that Boston DID have pneumonia buildup in his lungs, but with antibiotics it is slowly improving.  He is no longer having bloody secretions, but they are seeing a lot of yellow gunk, which is clearing out.  He has a few more days on antibiotics and the jet ventilator, and hopefully after that he can start making more respiratory progress.

He did get that awful arterial line removed from his cute little foot, and I thought they might let me hold him once that came out; unfortunately, they don’t want me holding him until he is off of the jet ventilator.  I’m sure they probably want him to be over the infection as well.

Other than that, not too much is new.  They give Boston half an ounce of breast milk every three hours and he is tolerating it well. The other day a nurse told me he shot poop right out of his isolette and it landed several feet away on the floor.  I was impressed.

When he is awake he is starting to smile (I don’t care if it’s just gas — it’s adorable!) and peek out of his right eye.  It’s so nice whenever he’s not on the bilirubin light for a few days so he isn’t wearing his goggles and we get to see his cute face.  He hasn’t needed pain meds for a few days and it’s nice to see him not grimacing anymore since those few days after his surgery.

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I continue to be so impressed by the NICU team.  They are all the sweetest people on earth.  I get a phone call every morning with an update, and the doctors always check to see if I have any questions.  If I don’t have questions they always remind me that I can call any time if I do, and the neonatologists always ask if there is anything they can do to help our family in any way.  Bless their hearts!

Thank you to everyone praying for us and our sweet little babe, and thanks to everyone who has continued to help us with so many things, including hugs and emoji kisses. This experience has reminded me that there are some dang good people out there, and that we have so many wonderful friends and family members who love us so much. We appreciate it more than you guys will ever know.

 

xo

 

J

 

Baby Boston: Recovering From Surgery

Since Boston’s surgery he has just been really sleepy.  He’s been on Morphine and then gone down to just Adavan and Tylenol.  He looked extra pink, and I asked if they had given him blood, and they said they gave him some blood since his Hemoglobin was still super low after the surgery.  They also had him back on the jaundice light so he was rocking his goggles. They showed me his 2-inch incision, which goes horizontally across his rib cage under his armpit and is glued shut. He still had his tube coming out of his side for air and fluids to drain out of if needed.  They let me change his diaper, and since there wasn’t much else to talk about and I’d already talked to Doctor Minton on the phone that morning, I left and didn’t go back for the rest of the day.  When I call they just tell me he is sleeping, which is good since he would otherwise be pretty agitated.

By Monday lab results had indicated some bacteria in his lungs. Fluid in his lungs is still not clearing out much despite the surgery. At first it looked like it was just harmless staph (apparently there is non-scary staph), and they initially weren’t going to treat it. After getting more lab results back, though it looks like there is a lot of pneumonia-causing bacteria in there, so they’re doing antibiotics for ten days.  He is also switching to a “jet” ventilator machine instead of the ventilator he has been on; the jet makes him take  faster breathes and that should helpfully get the secretions out of his lungs more quickly.  Doctor Minton reassured me that the ductus surgery was definitely necessary, but things are still not draining because of the infection. So he’s on antibiotics specific to the bacteria that grew back from the culture they did. They are hopefully pulling his artery line — which they use to draw blood for lab work — within the next couple of days, which would mean I can hold him again! I have only held him twice so far and I’m getting anxious to snuggle him again.

Even though Boston looked so crazy small the first day I saw him, I’m become really used to it and normal-sized newborns now look freakishly large and weird to me. Luckily Boston is already growing and he is doing great with feedings and digesting the milk they give him!  They increased his feedings to 5ml over the weekend and now he is getting 7ml every three hours — that’s still not much though (an ounce is like 30 ml). By Sunday he was back off of the Bilirubin light (he goes on for a few days and then back on for a few, and it will probably be like that for a while) so his goggles were off and he looked so good! His face isn’t wrinkly anymore and he is starting to look bigger (probably mostly due to fluid retention from the surgery) but I think before we know it he’ll be a big chunky baby.

xo

 

J

 

 

Baby Boston: PDA Ligation Surgery

On Wednesday Boston got a heart echo and it looked like the Tylenol he’s been on wasn’t closing up his ductus. It appeared to be getting smaller very slowly, but his heart just wasn’t looking good, he had fluid in his lungs, and his kidneys hadn’t been doing great for a few days. Also because of the heart situation Boston had to be on fluid restriction so his heart wouldn’t have as much blood to pump.  This meant they had to restrict feedings, which he hasn’t been doing great with anyway.  Because he’s been struggling over the last couple of days they decided to do the surgery ASAP.  So yesterday (Thursday) was surgery day. The doctors assured me that PDA ligation a simple procedure (not open heart surgery!) and that he would begin to improve immediately after surgery and be able to start eating and growing and come off the ventilator in a jiffy.

Pre-op was intense.  The NICU spent the entire morning poking our poor baby, inserting an artery line to make it easier to take blood whenever needed for lab work. They took blood to find out what his blood type is (I’m surprised they didn’t already know) so they could have blood on hand in case he needed a transfusion during or after surgery.  Even though they have given him an injection to help his bone marrow make more red blood cells (I think?) — to help prevent the need for transfusions — his hemoglobin was pretty low prior to the surgery. So right before surgery they brought a big cooler full of blood upstairs.  Yummy. They cleared the other three babies out of Boston’s room and put a curtain across the doorway to his section of the unit — they do the surgery right there instead of taking him to the OR. I got to hold Boston in the morning (someone had told me I’m not allowed to hold him while he’s on the ventilator, but apparently I heard them wrong or they told me wrong, because I asked again and all the nurses were like OF COURSE YOU CAN HOLD HIM! I could have been holding him this whole week! Gah!); it was fun to get to hold him but I’m always afraid I’m going to break him or accidentally pull out his IV or something. It was nice of them to let me hold him while they weren’t busy with him for a minute.

At one point, when they were taping his artery line onto his foot, the tape cut off his circulation and his toes turned white.  I was having a small panic attack but they just readjusted his tape after 2 stressful minutes where I thought my sweet baby was going to lose his teensy little toes! Yikes.

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Pre-op was no fun.

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After hours of pre-op Boston was so exhausted.  He had seemed extra worn out for a couple of days and it was making me worried, so I’m hoping the procedure will help him improve and feel better quickly.  When they were about to do surgery, Nick and I came in.  Poor Boston was just lying flat on his bed with no blankets, his incubator open, wires and tubes all over him, and he was lying so still and looking so exhausted and unhealthy.  It was really sad to see, and my sweet Dad came in to see him before surgery and was pretty emotional to see the little guy like that.  Then Doctor Mitchell, the heart surgeon, came to talk to us.  He was the sweetest guy and looked a lot like my dad with white hair. It was weird but it made me feel good.  I swear everyone who works with Boston looks eerily familiar.  I probably met them in Heaven or something? It’s weird. I’m always trying to figure out where I’ve met them before. Anyway, Doctor Mitchell explained the surgery too us; they would make a teensy incision under Boston’s armpit, go in through his little ribs and clamp his ductus arteriosis shut with a little staple (which they will never take out, but it’s too small to set off metal detectors or anything), and then stitch him up. He told us the biggest risks were bleeding or damage to a nerve that is connected to his vocal chords, and that while the vocal chord damage is very common, fixing it later is very easy.  So I didn’t feel too nervous and everyone had assured us that Doctor Mitchell is amazing and I just felt really good about the whole thing.  After the surgery Doctor Mitchell came to the parent lounge (my dad left to take our kids to Lehi for Asher’s birthday party, and Don went to dinner with his late brother Rick’s wife and kids), and he told us that everything went great!  He gave us a little piece of plastic with a couple of the kind of staple that they used, so we’ll keep that in a little NICU memory box along with Boston’s teensy diapers and stuff so we can show him what the staple inside of him looks like.  We are so grateful to these amazing doctors! Doctor Mitchell told us that even the day after surgery we will be able to see his lungs clearing out on x-rays and that everything is going to improve quickly for Boston.  It’s so nice that they have a heart surgeon right here at Utah Valley so Boston didn’t have to go to Primary Children’s for the surgery.  Doctor Mitchell does surgery on adults normally but has been doing heart surgery on NICU babies for years as well.

This morning x-rays didn’t show that his lungs are learning out yet, which could mean he has pneumonia or some other infection. Thank goodness for antibiotics, if that’s the case. They did another head ultrasound and everything looks great!  The possibility of him having a brain bleed (super common in preemies, since their blood vessels are still so weak) has haunted my dreams so this was a huge relief.

My sweet sister-in-law Ashley has been a saint in helping us lately.  She and Brady took our kids for several days after Boston was born, she brought toiletries and junk food to the hospital for me, and yesterday during pre-op while I was at the NICU she came to the house and helped Don with the kids, stocked my kitchen with much-needed food, bought cleaning supplies and cleaned my kitchen and bathroom, folded laundry, and fed the kids lunch.  Did I mention she has two kids of her own and is extremely pregnant?  Bless her heart. The other day my sister Rachel took Ava to the park while Don watched Nixon and I went to the hospital for a bit to talk to doctors.  My whole family has been so, so helpful, my sweet friends Cailie Ercanbrack and Rachel Moulton have brought me donuts and soda, and people in our ward are still bringing meals, and my sweet friend Jani Bell started a GoFundMe account for us and sent the kids a box of new toys to keep them entertained.  Other sweet friends have shared our story on social media and I am just overwhelmed by how kind people have been. My mom and sister Mel keep asking what we need help with and I can never think of much for them to do since Don has been so helpful by being here and everyone else has helped us with everything we need. My mom did come the other day for several hours and brought tons of little toys for the kids and played with them. My list of people I need to thank is incredibly long and I’m absolutely overwhelmed by how kind people have been to us. Thank you everyone!  I’ll update again soon.

Sorry I don’t have time to actually proofread anything I write. I really need to go back to school to learn how to write correctly. Also, no brain cells.  I blame children.

xo

J

Baby Boston

Baby Boston is doing so well.  So many things happen with his treatment every day , and I don’t always understand medical terms well enough to explain everything correctly, but I’ll do my best.

Long story short: Boston is doing great so far.  Babies born at 27 weeks have a pretty dang good chance of making it.  The biggest concerns are his lung function, his heart PDA, and the risk of brain bleeds, but there are SO many other things they are always checking and working on.

The Internet is being a brat and not letting me upload pictures right now, but if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook that’s where I post all the pictures.

Now here is the long story.  Because I tend to ramble, I’ll highlight the key things.

He wasn’t on the ventilator for long initially, and they quickly moved him onto the NIPV and then the CPAP, but the other day the doctors decided to put him back on the ventilator.  He was making good progress with breathing, aside from occasional Apnea episodes, which is normal, but it got to a point where he was just having to work to hard to breathe on the CPAP and it was putting too much air into his tummy and it was also giving him a sore on his cute little nose.  He has seemed much happier being back on the ventilator so I’m OK with it.  With babies born at 27 weeks it is very common to take a step forward and then two steps back, so we’re not concerned about his respiratory progress at the moment.

I could write about other things that they are doing to treat him but few people may understand and I can’t really explain things with my limited medical knowledge, but they have given him surfactant to coat his lungs, they gave him some antibiotics, they give him caffeine and steroids for his lungs (they don’t think I’m funny when I ask if I can take home a few syringes of caffeine for myself), and he’s recently started hydrocortisone to help lower his sodium levels by helping his adrenal glands do their job, and he’s also recently been started on Synthroid since his thyroid is a little low.  He’s also on Tylenol to hopefully help close his patent (“open”) ductus arteriosus (PDA).

On Thursday they will do a chest x-ray and an echocardiogram and a head ultrasound to check for brain bleeds.  One thing they are slightly concerned about right now is some old blood they are finding in him — not totally sure where it is coming from yet.  He could possibly get pneumonia because of it so they may start him on another round of antibiotics.  Initially they thought the blood could have been from when they re-intubated him and possibly scraped his trachea slightly, but it could be that he inhaled some of the blood from my placental abruption. Blood can be pretty caustic and could be causing some irritation in his lungs if that’s the case.  It’s not too much blood but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  For now they don’t seem terribly concerned but hopefully if it’s pneumonia they figure it out and start treating it soon.  So far his heart PDA doesn’t sound like it’s closing up when they listen to his heart, but after a couple more days on the Tylenol, Thursday’s echocardiogram will show whether it’s closing up.  If it doesn’t close up with medicine he will have to have surgery — they just make a 1-inch incision under his scapula and stitch up the ductus arteriosis.  It’s super common and not really a big deal so I’m not losing sleep over it but we’re still praying that he won’t need surgery.

Initially he wasn’t digesting any breastmilk but they are always giving him IV nutrition so it’s not a big deal if he can’t tolerate feedings for a while.  They’re just giving him 2-3 milliliters every three hours when he seems to be tolerating it and it is getting better.  For a few days his tummy was super puffy and gray and awful-looking, and they are always having to suck the extra air out of his tummy and whenever I would go see him I would beg them to suck more out because it looked so painful and bloated, but over the last couple of days of him being back on the ventilator he looks so much better and happier.  I’m totally fine with him being back on the ventilator too because with the NIPV and CPAP there is always a ton of moisture in the tubes and it runs up his nose and he’s always blowing bubbles and struggling and hating it and it makes me cry.  They like to keep the moisture in there so his throat doesn’t get all dry but it still makes me sad, so I’m enjoying the time that he gets to relax on the ventilator for a few days.  He’s finally pooping a lot, which he wasn’t for several days and food was just sitting in his stomach not digesting so they’d have to suck it back out of his stomach.  His PIC line was causing inflammation and had to be moved from his left leg to his right leg, and then that still went wrong so they gave up and are just using IVs, first in his left hand and now it’s in his left arm, which makes me sad because I just had an IV in my hand and it hurt terribly.

I’ve been reminded recently by several people that there are angels watching over little babies like Boston, and that his Grandma Paula is among them.  I like to thing that a lot of our ancestors are just standing around Boston’s little incubator and helping him through the pain he faces every day and I’m always praying that they will be there helping him while we can do so little for him.  It warms my heart to think that angels are comforting him and helping him not feel so miserable and helping encourage his spirit to fight and stay alive. Nick chose Koa to be Boston’s middle name, because it is a Hawaiian name that means “warrior.” He’s doing so great and I’m glad he’ll have this name to remind him to always be a fighter.

I finally got to hold the little guy for an hour the other day and for the first time I felt like I was really his mom.  It’s hard not to get to hold him and bond with him but I always remind myself that we weren’t going to get to do that for another 3 months.  I hope he still knows I’m his mom and that he’ll recognize our voices like babies do even though we’re not there for him all day like his sweet nurses and doctors and therapists are.

I have gained such an enormous appreciation for medical professionals over the last week and a half.  When you’re just visiting doctors in offices for routine checkups, a lot of them can be really short with you and not seem to take your questions seriously, but the RN from my transport team came to check up on me after I had Boston, and Doctor Melendez showed up to the hospital in his church clothes on Sunday to check up on me after he’d heard that Boston had been born after all, even though I’m sure it was pretty out of his way to come see us, and the doctors and nurses in the NICU call us to give us updates every morning and will always spend tons of time talking to us and explaining things to us and just asking us how we and our kids at home are.  I’m glad they realize how important it is for us to feel like they really care about our sweet little boy and our family and I just love them all to death.

I’ll keep posting about the little guy’s progress and resist the urge to post pictures of the amazing amounts of breast milk I am producing.  I am pretty proud because nursing was a bit of a struggle with my first two babies, and now I am a pretty professional cow.

I can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support.  It means so much that people are praying for us and taking just a few moments to check in with us or make kind comments on Facebook or Instagram.  It may not seem like a big deal but it brightens our day to know people care and are thinking about us and it makes the everyday stresses we face much easier.  So many people have done so many kind things for us and I don’t know how I can properly thank everyone, but for now know that we are super appreciative and we love you all!

xoxoxo

J

 

 

 

Baby News

Our baby came 13 weeks early.

Obviously everyone wants to know what happened, how the baby is doing, and how we’re doing.  I’ll try to answer the first question here, and I’ll update on how our family and the baby are doing in future posts.  Thank you, everyone, for your love and for your prayers.

Sorry this post is so long.  I could probably sum it up in a couple of paragraphs, but for journaling purposes I guess I’ll leave all the silly details.

Here’s what happened:

Friday (June 26th) was stressful. I drove around picking up tools for pouring our concrete fire pit that night, and while Nick, Brady, and Jake were pouring I was taking drinks and pizza out to them and trying to keep the kids out of the way.  So I was hot, hungry, and exhausted, and on Saturday morning I woke up with my stomach hurting.  I had slept until 8, which was not at all normal for me, so I was starving and figured low blood sugar was the reason I felt so yucky.  I started to eat some cereal then felt like I was going to throw up.  I didn’t, but I put my feet up for a bit to try to feel better.  I didn’t eat much. Nick left to play golf in Layton.  I kept resting on the couch and figured this was going to be a pretty boring Saturday.

Then I started bleeding. A lot. Sorry if that’s TMI.  I called labor and delivery and they told me to come right in.

I called Nick, feeling super guilty for asking him to abandon his golf foursome that he had already paid for, especially since he was already in Salt Lake. We’ve had a lot of false alarms with bleeding in this pregnancy; at 5 weeks I ran 2 miles and bled so much I thought I had miscarried, but on an ultrasound the next day there was an egg sac, and I bled on and off for the next month.  A few weeks later I got the flu and had some bleeding, and the after-hours nurse at Valley OB told me to go to the ER rather than just wait until morning to come into the clinic for an ultrasound, then the ER doctor told me I shouldn’t have bothered coming in since I wasn’t really bleeding that much . . . then we got $1200 in bills, and I was so mad at myself for going to the hospital since even if I had been miscarrying there was nothing they could have done. At my 20-week ultrasound the tech said the placenta looked fine — or at least that it was in a good spot, not blocking my cervix or anything, but nothing appeared to be wrong at that time. So I felt dumb going to the hospital this time.

Mel came to the house to watch the kids and I met Nick at American Fork hospital. The nurse was being pretty nonchalant and she found the baby’s heartbeat quickly, and she reassured me that so many women bleed through their whole pregnancy. I figured we would do an ultrasound and find out that once again everything is fine, and then we’d go home with me feeling really stupid and with Nick being super bugged about missing golf.

As we were heading to the ultrasound room Doctor Melendez (who delivered Nixon) came and let me know that they would probably transfer me to Utah Valley hospital because they have a Level 3 NICU. The ultrasound tech took a LOT of pictures but said nothing before he went to talk to the radiologist.  I couldn’t see the monitor while he was looking but Nick said there was a particular spot he seemed to be focusing on.  When Dr. Melendez came to check in the ultrasound tech said that the placenta wasn’t looking good and that there was a large blood clot building up behind it.

By this point Dr. Melendez had already called the transport team to take me to Utah Valley.   It was explained to us that I was likely having a placental abruption, so the placenta was sort of coming loose, but with some bed rest it could possibly re-adhere.  My nurse gave me a steroid shot in my hip to help mature the baby’s lungs in case he needed to come early.  That made me feel much better about the situation.  Then they gave me an IV in my hand, which hurt sooooo bad and only felt worse as time went on.  They started me on Magnesium Sulfate through my IV, which I guess is supposed to sort of relax your uterus and the baby since preemies can have brain bleeding.  I don’t know.  Whatever it was for, it made me feel like crap.  My tongue started to feel hot and I felt nauseated and dizzy. When when the transport team showed up I just started to go really pale either because the stuff in my IV was making me feel super weird or I was having a panic attack because everyone’s shirts said “Life Flight Team” and I did NOT want to go in a helicopter. Luckily we were going in the ambulance.

I started to feel much better by the time I was in the ambulance.  The nurse traveling with the transport team (her name was Shea) was amazing and knew her stuff, and knowing she was super on top of my situation made me feel so much better.  In the ambulance, though, Shea had asked me if I was feeling the contractions I was having (she was watching them on a monitor).  I had just thought they were cramps, but they had started when I was driving to the hospital, and I had noticed they were sort of coming every few minutes.  So that was weird.

Nick drove the truck to the Provo hospital and was right there with us going in the elevator to my room upstairs.  My parents came by with Nick and the kids and by now they were explaining that basically I was going to be in the hospital for several days at least, maybe a week, really probably until delivery or possibly until I stopped bleeding. Everything was up in the air. Nick called our Relief Society president since it looked like he was going to need a LOT of help with the kids for a long time. He told me later that he was getting pretty stressed.  I didn’t know how I was going to sit in a hospital for three months and not be home taking care of my babies.  Suddenly the hum-drum of folding laundry and doing dishes sounded super appealing.  I felt so bad for Nick.

Nick took the kids home and put them to bed. I was STARVING, and they wouldn’t let me eat anything until they were sure I wasn’t going to need an emergency C-section or something. I KNEW I should have eaten before going to the hospital because I knew that would happen, dang it. Finally later that evening, after like 12 hours of no eating or drinking, they let me have Jell-O and Diet Coke. I got NO sleep that night with nurses in and out of my room, and obviously the Diet Coke was probably keeping me awake.

Throughout the night the contractions kept getting worse. So they kept up with the mag sulfate and also gave me morphine, which I wasn’t sure if i wanted to do since the contractions were maybe a 4 or 5 on the dumb 1-10 pain scale everyone is always asking you about, and contractions weren’t lasting very long so it seemed silly to do morphine but they were getting pretty annoying and I really wanted to sleep.  Which I did not.  Also the stupid IV in my hand was KILLING me and pain was shooting up through my forearm and I was constantly rubbing my arm to make it not hurt. I wanted to punch a few people in the face at this point. All night I did not sleep and my blood pressure monitor kept beeping because my blood pressure was low and/or when I would lie a certain way it wasn’t reading, and I would start to feel dizzy and light headed and nauseated and like I was going to go blind and no one would check on me when the monitor kept beeping so I would roll over in bed to find where the heck the button to call the nurse was, call the nurse, tell her to turn off my stupid beeping blood pressure monitor and to please make sure I wasn’t dying, and then she’d be gone again and I’m like, hey, thanks for the help, PS these contractions are really hurting, is anyone concerned? If I pass out is an alarm going to go off? If I pass out and die will anyone know before you come to poke me with another stupid needle in an hour?

Anyway.  I was a little frustrated that they were being so nonchalant.  Looking back I guess it was my fault that I kept telling them my pain wasn’t unbearable, because I just didn’t want to be super drugged for no reason and contractions don’t last very long and I was just breathing through them so I figured I shouldn’t make a huge deal out of it. They didn’t want to check my cervix because my bleeding seemed to maybe be slowing down ever so slightly and they didn’t want to irritate anything and cause more bleeding.  So finally when a different nurse than my usual one came in to check on me around 2:30, I was like, “Hey. You. Psst. My contractions hurt. Like kind of a lot.”  Of course she asked me what they felt like on the Stupid Pain Scale and I said maybe a 6 or 7, because I wasn’t screaming and if something only lasts for 20 seconds I probably don’t need major drugs or something.   But anyway, she said she’d check my cervix just to see if anything was going on. I like her. I am going to write her a BIG thank you card. after she checked my cervix she casually took her gloves off and was like, “Hey, were you going to get an epidural?” I thought that was an odd question.  I mean I knew a delivery was possible within the next few days or weeks if the baby ripped the placenta out and made me start hemorrhaging or something or if the baby’s vitals started going downhill, but I just thought the epidural question was odd. I was like, “Uh, yeah, yeah, I’m planning on that, for whenever that happens.”  So she tossed her gloves in the trash and said, “OK, well, I’ll call the epidural guy, because you’re dilated to a 10.  You’re having this baby right now.”

Ohhhhhh. OK.

So she called Nick, and then apparently my main nurse also called Nick because she didn’t know the other nurse had called, so fortunately he took that as a clue that he should HURRY and he called my parents and headed to the hospital as they were headed to the house, and I was rushed to the OR, saying things like, “Why are we going to the OR? Am I havign a c-section? I can still feel my legs, why can I still feel my legs, turn up my epidural!  Someone feed me ice chips!” And then finally I was sufficiently drugged and asking everyone weird questions, like “So what are your kids names?  I need ideas.” And I think I thought everything I was saying was really hilarious or something, and I kept telling everyone sorry and thank you and stuff. And I was clutching my barf bag and dry heaving. And then a kid named Ariel in hipster glasses, who looked 16, was feeding my ice chips with a spoon, so that was weird, and then Nick came in wearing a white coat and a hairnet, which I just thought was weird because I’ve never given birth in an OR, like I thought that was just for c-sections but I guess we were in there in case I needed an emergency C-section.

The baby was out in two pushes, around 4am (don’t ask me how I even had the energy to push) and I got a glimpse of him upside down and he made a little grunt and I just remember saying that he was so beautiful and perfect and he looked so much bigger than I thought he’d be, and the fact that he looked like an actual baby made me feel like he was going to be OK, and then Nick rushed with the techs into the next room so get him on a ventilator and stuff, and I sort of watched through the window while the docs finished up with me, and I was probably still talking and saying stupid stuff and really annoying the crap out of the people working around me. And then I was so tired and ready to pass out but I still didn’t sleep the rest of the night, I was just so wired and tossed and turned and my mind was racing wondering about the baby.  I didn’t go to see him baby until Sunday night, which felt like three days later.

I’m grateful for how this situation has softened our hearts and changed our attitudes about having another baby.  We were a little stressed about it but I have watched Nick spend so much time in the NICU and talking with Boston’s doctors and nurses and keeping his hospital bracelet on for days and wearing his Red Sox hat every day, and I know he just loves that little boy so much. We are so grateful that he is alive and we can’t wait to have him home, and we are so grateful for everything that’s happened and the love people have shown us over the last week.

This entire pregnancy, I have felt like something was going to be different.  I didn’t know if he would come super early or if I’d go full term only for him to be stillborn, but I knew things were not going to be normal and I just knew I needed to prepare myself for things to not be normal.  It’s hard to explain why I felt that way, but little things would happen or I would hear stories about things going wrong with babies and felt like I was hearing those stories for a reason — not because those specific things were going to happen to our baby, but because something was going to be different and I needed to be ready for anything.  Oddly, just a week before Boston was born, I found myself reading an article on pumping exclusively for your baby, and I wondered why I was reading that article when I still had three months to think about things like that, but I just felt like I should read it. Throughout this pregnancy I’ve felt super grateful for my two healthy children and I knew that I needed to not take their easy arrivals and good health for granted.  I just knew that something different was going to happen this time, so I tried to be mindful so that I could be mentally prepared.  I’m grateful I had that feeling, because when this all happened I never felt freaked out — not when I was running to the bathroom with blood running down my legs, not when they said the placenta was separating, not when they told me I was having a baby three months early. I never felt shocked or confused, and that night in the hospital before Boston came I knew that he would live. I’m so grateful that our baby is alive and I try not to think about what would have happened if it weren’t for modern medicine and these awesome medical professionals.  They are angels.

I’ll write more soon with updates, but for now, know that we are doing OK but definitely appreciate prayers and the yummy dinners people have been bringing us.  Just knowing we are on your minds is so helpful to us, and we appreciate every kind comment on social media.  Don’t be offended if I don’t answer text messages right away 🙂 Nick’s dad is here helping with kids and it’s been so great to have him around to hang out with. We are so grateful for all the help and support we’ve had!

xoxo

 

J