Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Weekly Photo(s)

Yes, I have not posted one of these since before Alice was born! It has been almost a month. Many of the pictures have already been seen, but I have to keep track of these Weekly Photos for my photo book.

Should have been posted on April 6th:

Should have been posted on April 13th:

 Should have been posted on April 20th:
I had to also add this picture of the snow storm we had. My mother-in-law is pictured above with the girls and it was super warm out that day. Later in the week, the day Kim left, it snowed 8 inches! More snow than we have had all winter. It was crazy, but fun!

Should have been posted this past Monday, the 27th:

I am all caught up and should be posting more frequently now!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Had a Baby: part two

I left off with us being moved over to the postpartum rooms and choosing Alice's name. Generally, that is the end of the hospital story, you go home, get less sleep, fall in love with your newborn, etc. However, Alice ended up being in the hospital for five days. Which is really nothing compared to preemie babies, or other babies with serious problems. We are super grateful that we were able to come home as soon as we did. It gave us a tiny taste of what parents go through with babies in the NICU, or children in the PICU or any form of hospital stay families have had to endure. Ours was really inconsequential compared to some, but if you are not familiar with our little story, here it is.

Fairly soon after we were moved over to our postpartum room, we were informed that Alice had low blood sugar. They wanted me to continue breastfeeding her (it is just colostrum at first as the milk does not usually come in until day 3 or sometimes later) and check her blood sugar every three hours. They check a newborns blood sugar by pricking the heel, squeezing the blood out and then testing it on a handheld device. Often, the device did not work or got a poor reading and so they would prick her or try and squeeze blood out again. It was not a pleasant experience for anyone involved, as poor Alice screamed and screamed and I or Tyler did our best to console her. 

Unfortunately, her blood sugar did not go up. So, then they tried to have me nurse every two hours and also supplement with formula while nursing with a SNS (basically there is bottle that holds the formula and it runs down a tiny tube and is put in the baby's mouth while she is breastfeeding). Using the SNS was difficult and Alice did not seem to like it much either. We spent a whole day working with it. They also upped the amount of blood sugar testings to one a half hour before a feeding and one a half hour after. Poor Alice screamed so much from all the pokes she became hoarse. I would say her heels were pricked over 40 times in a two day period. Her heels looked awful! All of us were also getting hardly any sleep as I had to nurse so often (it took forever with the SNS as well), all the heel pricks, and then people coming in to check vitals, ask questions, etc. Sometimes I wonder about the hospital. It is two or three in the morning and we have the lights off, I'm trying to get a tiny rest and then some random doctor comes in and asks me if I have thought about contraception. Why at that hour? Why in the hospital at all, as it could wait until the 6 week check up, right? So, the lack of sleep was hard. We did have a super great daytime nurse, named Jael. I really loved her and she helped out so much. She was there for our two days we were in our room.

After two days of trying to get Alice's blood sugar to normal (her numbers were in the 20s and 30s and the doctor wanted her to be in at least the 40s, but preferably the 60s-70s-80s), it had still not risen. I also had no medical reason to be in the hospital anymore, so they had to discharge me. The doctor decided to put Alice on an IV to give her some sugar. They also had taken some blood and had it tested to see why she had low blood sugar. They found out that she had too many red blood cells (it made her blood thick) and this caused the low blood sugar. It is called polycythemia. Through the IV, they put in the same stuff they were putting in for her blood sugar to dilute the blood and help break up the red blood cells. Since she had an IV, she had to be in the nursery. The hospital has a regular nursery and an intermediate nursery. The intermediate nursery is for babies that have some problems, but not so serious that they have to go to the NICU. Alice was in the intermediate nursery. Mind you, at this time I was having a bit of a hard time. It was at first hard not knowing why she had low blood sugar and seeing her pricked so much. Then, it was hard knowing what she had, because if diluting it did not work, then she would have to be moved to the NICU and have a blood transfusion. I feel like I did fairly well, but the lack of sleep made me a bit more emotional than I otherwise might have been. Tyler was able to give her a blessing, although they would not let me in the nursery to see it, as only two people are allowed in there at a time (you need two people to give a blessing of healing). I heard it was a lovely blessing though and I'm grateful to have a husband with the priesthood.

Her IV was in her head unfortunately.

I am so thankful my mom was able to come to Salt Lake. She took care of Elanor and anything else I needed. Once I was discharged, they could no longer give me food, so she brought food up for me for every meal. Elanor was able to meet and hold Alice while I was in my postpartum room, but once Alice was moved to the intermediate nursery she was not allowed in there so she could not see her. It was a bit hard on her to not see me much, as I had to nurse Alice every three hours and I also held her as much as I could. Adults are allowed into the nursery, so my parents (my Dad flew in on Friday) were able to hold Alice.

My mom with Alice.  In the intermediate nursery we were able to draw curtains around Alice's area so it felt more private which was nice. 
Alice had such low blood sugar so she was very sleepy and I hardly saw her eyes the first few days.  It took all of  her energy to eat and cry when she was pricked. Once she was on the IV, she started to wake up a bit (maybe 10 minutes at a time). This was one of those times.

At this University of Utah Hospital they have what are called "Twilight Rooms" (I'm sure most hospitals have them). They had two Twilight Rooms for parents whose baby is in the nursery. It basically consists of a twin bed, a chair and side table. It was tiny and windowless (our nurse, Jael, called it a "Harry Potter closet"), but free! I had to apply to stay in a room each day, as any other parent whose child was in the intermediate nursery could also apply to stay in one of the rooms. Luckily, I got a room all three nights that we were there after I was discharged. The first night I stayed in there by myself and nursed Alice throughout the night. Every other night, Tyler stayed with me, which was much nicer. Also, Tyler was and is just stellar. He is so helpful, supportive and willing to do anything I need. I chose a good husband.

This is not a great picture of me, but is an accurate one. I was pretty tired, nursed a lot, and spent quite a bit of time in this chair.

By Friday, Alice's blood sugar was normalizing and my milk had also come in, which helped her blood sugar as well. I was a lot less worried and slept a lot better once I knew that the treatment was working (If it had not worked, she would have had to go to the NICU and have a blood transfusion, so we felt very blessed). It had taken some work to get her there, as she needed some extra doses of the dextrose, instead of just the drip through the IV.  Since her blood sugar had stayed in the normal realm, on Saturday they started to wean her off the dextrose. It took 14 hours of her IV being slowly turned down, her blood sugar tested every three hours to see if she had maintained a normal level, and also some blood draws to check her red blood cells.

{Some people that did the heel pricks and blood draws were fairly good and quick, but some were not good and took several attempts! One of the worst was when Alice had to get her blood drawn and they took her into the procedure room and the girl who always had a hard time drawing blood was doing it. I had to stay out of the room, but I could hear her screaming and she screamed for a full fifteen minutes. That is a long time when you're just sitting there listening. The girl had to poke her a few times as she could not get it in the right spot. It was frustrating. }

By the late afternoon on Saturday, her IV was turned off completely and they said she would most likely be able to come home on Sunday.  They just needed to see how her blood sugar would do on its own. So they tested her blood sugar a few more times and took one more blood draw as well to see if her red blood cell level was down. Thankfully, her blood sugar was great (each time she was in the upper 60s and 70s!) and her red blood cells were in the normal range! Since everything looked good, they said we could bring her home on Sunday, which was Easter.

We stayed another night in a twilight room, gave her a bath that night, and in the morning I was able to put clothes on her for the first time! She was so tiny so I put her in preemie clothes. I was so excited for Alice to be discharged from the hospital and to go home!

Alice went home in this little preemie outfit. Thanks Becky!
A family of four and we are so happy to be leaving the hospital.
I missed Elanor's Easter egg hunt and basket in the morning, but was able to make it home for a late breakfast. It was a sunny, warm and beautiful day. It was Easter, General Conference (I missed a lot of it and am still catching up), my parents were there, and my baby was home, so I was pretty happy!
Matching Easter dresses for the sisters! Thanks Mom!

It was really nice to have my parents here and I wish they could have stayed longer. 

Sword fighting with Grandpa!
Both of my brothers are on missions for our church, but it was Ian's birthday on April 10th. My mom wanted to make him a birthday banner with every one important to him holding a letter to spell out "Happy Birthday Elder Scott". Alice was born so much earlier than anyone expected so we were able to add her to the banner. Here she is with letter B (Elanor colored the B in and was pretty proud of herself!).

Just a bit bigger than a piece of paper!

Tyler is a pretty great dad!

My mother-in-law, Kim, came and visited as well when Alice was just a little over a week. It was fun to have her and to have her help!

So serious. 
She has such big eyes!

 Alice is doing great now! At her last check up she was 5 pounds 6 ounces and is probably bigger now. She loves to nurse, really dislikes getting her diaper changed and baths, is generally quite content, but can also scream impressively loud, and is such a tiny, adorable baby and we love her.

Also, thank you to all who helped us out, our family, friends, people who brought food, etc. We feel so blessed to have you all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Had a Baby: part one

I assume most people know I had my baby, but perhaps you don't know the full story! I like to hear/read birth stories, and maybe others out there do as well. This is for those people and anyone else interested. This will be long mind you and I don't usually like reading super long blog posts, so I'll try and keep it as trim as possible. 

I posted last when I was 37 weeks along (on a Saturday). I mentioned in that post that I had had some minor contractions/pressure. On Sunday night, I had quite a few more contractions and they woke me up. However, they were spread out and inconsistent, but they were painful. I did not really want to have my baby that week as I still had a lot to get done and I still had three weeks left! So on Monday, I decided to take it easy. I did not do my usual yoga, or go on a walk, and tried not to do too much. It did not work. My body wanted to go into labor. I had contractions intermittently throughout the day; sometimes with hours in between and sometimes closer together. Around dinner time, my contractions were 15 minutes apart and then progressed to 10 minutes apart and finally to 7. I thought that perhaps this was the real deal! However, when I laid down to go to sleep, the contractions slowed down and were every 20 minutes and then every 30 minutes. I did continue to have them throughout the night and they did wake me up as they were semi painful. 

The next day was Tuesday and Tyler very conveniently never works on Tuesdays. I called my mom in the morning and told her what was going on. We thought maybe it was false labor. I had a doctors appointment already scheduled for that afternoon, which was perfect so I could get checked out and ask my midwife what was going on. I continued to have contractions during the day, but they were about every 20-30 minutes. We decided to run a few errands and pick up a few things we really needed if the baby did decide to make her appearance this week. As we were shopping, the contractions did get a little closer together and a bit more painful, but still not bad at all. In the afternoon, we headed up to the doctors appointment (Elanor was at the Pitchers house). My midwife checked me and said I was dilated to a 3! She thought I could have the baby tonight or in the next few days. She was also concerned because my belly was measuring really small, partly because the baby had dropped, but she wanted me to get an ultrasound to make sure everything was fine (especially check and see if my amniotic fluid was low). She was also concerned because I had a little protein in my urine and slightly elevated blood pressure (still not outside the norm, but was outside my norm). So, we headed up to the hospital for the ultrasound and everything looked fine. The ultrasound tech estimated the baby being around 5 lbs 6 oz or something like that (they are not super accurate). I then went and had my blood drawn for some tests. By this time, my contractions were definitely closer together, maybe every 8-10 minutes.

The doctors appointment and then the ultrasound and tests took quite a long time, so we did not get home until about 5 or 5:30. Once home, I decided to start getting my stuff packed to take to the hospital. Tyler started making me some food and cleaning the house as much as possible. Elanor was home with us briefly as I wanted to see her before we had to inevitably leave. She was a bit concerned as I was now no longer able to talk through my contractions very well. They progressed very quickly at this point and went from 7 minutes apart to 5 to 4 in just 45 minutes or so. They also got very painful. For some reason, the best way for me to handle the contractions was to be on my hands and knees. I'm not sure why and I'm glad I labored at home for awhile so I felt more comfortable.  It was obvious now that I was going to have this baby tonight. So, Tyler packed Elanor a bag for the night and took her back to the Pitcher's house. Tyler wanted to keep cleaning, but by this time my contractions were almost 2 minutes apart and I just felt like we should go to the hospital right then. We had called our family and let them know and my mom got in the car and started driving the 11 hours to Salt Lake as soon as I told her I was in labor. She's pretty great!

We left for the hospital around 6:30 pm and realized on our way up that we had forgot the camera. So, we called the Pitchers to have them bring it up. We had to walk in through the Emergency Room and they wheeled me up to an area where they first check you and make sure you're in labor before admitting you to labor and delivery. They made me sit on a bed, hooked me up to check my blood pressure (which was super high), and asked me questions. My contractions were very painful and it was really hard to sit in a bed and not move while having a contraction. Tyler put pressure on my lower back during a contraction, which helped quite a bit. I had to get an IV put in unfortunately, as I had tested positive for having Strep B (a common bacteria that women sometimes have and sometimes don't, but it can be harmful to the baby). They had an MA do it and she was nice but for some reason could not get an IV in my very large and obvious veins. I got a few bruises from her. So, she called in a nurse and she did it in one try. I rather wish the nurse had done it to begin with as it took about a half hour for the MA to mess up a few times. All the while I am having painful contractions during all the poking. It was not so bad, mostly just a bit annoying.

They checked me and said I was dilated to a 5. We waited for a bit and all the while I felt like these contractions were getting more intense. I did not have an epidural with Elanor's birth and did not want one for this one either. My labor with Elanor was so long and I kept thinking was it this painful only a few hours in with Elanor? Did I really have another 8 hours to go? They finally decided to admit me to labor and delivery (I'm guessing we were there for 45 minutes to an hour) and wheeled me over to a room. The MA asked me if I wanted a birthing ball and my contractions were happening so fast at this point, it was hard for me to talk. Tyler said sure and then she wanted to know what size and he said it did not matter. Our nurse came in and said something and I stood up. All of a sudden, I felt the intense desire to push. I told them I needed to push. They told me I shouldn't and to get up on the bed so they could check my dilation. I told her I could not move. I leaned on Tyler and he helped me stay up. I could feel the baby in the birth canal but could not speak well enough at the time to say anything. I had a contraction and could not stop myself from pushing. The nurse yelled for someone to get a doctor. There were not doctors close by, but there was a Resident. The Resident came in and told me I did not need to move and she could check me where I was standing. She looked down there and said something about the baby coming. I had another contraction and pushed and out came my baby in a flood of water (my water broke as the baby came out--best and easiest way to do it by the way)!

{Mind you, this all happened in a matter of maybe 5 minutes from when I stood up, to when our baby was born.}

The Resident caught her, they said something about the cord being short and needing to cut it and Tyler did.  My baby was screaming (she clearly had a good set of lungs), but was so tiny! They quickly got me on the bed and handed me my baby. She calmed down as she lay on my chest. They covered us in warm blankets and Tyler and I had a lovely moment to look at our new baby. I held my baby and nursed her and cuddled for quite a long time. Tyler let our family know she was born and also called Becky and had her bring Elanor up. Our baby was born at 7:57, so it was not all that late for Elanor.  Elanor was up there by 8:30 and it was wonderful for her to be there so soon after and meet her new sister, which at this point still did not have a name! After Elanor left, we had her weighed and measured. She was so tiny at 4 lbs 13 oz! They measure babies in the hospital from head to toe, instead of heel, so she was 18.9 inches, though really she was 18.5 inches from head to heel.

I was a bit concerned about why she was so small and the Resident told me that I had Preeclampsia. It has several symptoms, but the only ones I had were the protein in my urine and the high blood pressure (it was apparently super high while I was in labor). Preeclampsia is cured when the baby is born, but it can be really dangerous and they induce you if you have it. My body went into labor all on its own early, which was so much better than being induced. The nurse kept saying that my body knew just what to do. The reason our baby was so small was because of the Preeclampsia. It does something where the blood flow between the mom, the placenta and the baby is not very good, so the baby does not get as much food as it should. It only happens near the end of the pregnancy and my body going into labor was exactly what it needed to do for both me and my baby to be safe. I feel really grateful and blessed that it happened this way. Plus, this labor was really easy! Sure the contractions were painful, but it was only really intense for two hours. I also only pushed twice! Granted, she was so small, so that made it easier. I also think that having my water break as the baby came out made it so much easier. So, for anyone out there, don't let the doctor/midwife break your water, let it come on its own!

Once I was cleared as being stable, they moved us over to the postpartum rooms. Once there, there was still a lot to go over and nurses to meet, and vitals to check, etc., but when Tyler and I had quiet moment, we had time to think about names. We had a few names we liked, and a middle name (either Julia or Juliet depending on which first name we went with). I asked Tyler what he was thinking and he said he felt Alice was right. I had been thinking the same thing. We decided on Alice Juliet. It just fit.

So here she is,
Alice Juliet Laurent
born on March 31st, 2015 at 7:57 pm weighing 4 lbs. 13 oz., and 18.5 inches long:
So small!

And there is quite a bit more to the story, as Alice had to stay in the hospital for five days, IVs, twilight rooms, etc. However, this is already plenty long, so more on that later!