Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bulby Baby Booger Things.


I will no longer mock that baby booger bulb thing that comes among the baby supplies.

Brian and Mom left to go pick up his truck today, leaving me alone with Nora for the first time. We had just finished feeding, and I decided to sit with her "kangaroo style" where she is stripped down to her Pampers, I take my shirt off, and we recline with her sitting on my chest, skin-to-skin.

Babies just LOVE this...they fall asleep almost immediately, since they can hear their mother's heartbeat, and it's an instant soother for both of us.

We have never had any trouble with this before, but with no one around, of course that was the time to start spewing milk out of nearly every orifice in her head. Apparently the big belch she gave me after her meal wasn't enough, and she had some more that needed to come up.

I don't even want to know how milk got in Nora's hair on the back of her head, with no discernible trail from the front.

The nurse had shown me how to use it once before, but in my panic, of course the poor child did not get the benefit of a professional booger sucker.

I squeezed the thing right into her face, for starters. Nora of course reacted with what you'd expect -- a rather shocked expression followed by a look that said "What ARE you doing???", then cries, and more kicking than ever.

These bulby baby booger things are too big for her nose...her little teensy nostrils aren't more than an eighth of an inch across, but I did manage to get her still long enough to suck the milk out of both of them. Then I got another syringe and got what was left of the milk out of her cheeks.

We finally settled down to our kangaroo pose, and she slept well. I didn't, because every little "eh eh" noise she made, made me think she was choking again.

But she survived it. And she survived me.

Something tells me this won't be the last time, either.

Lovin' That Zombie Feeling

It is SO great to have Nora at home!

After a few adjustments, we learned that she needs an extra blanket on her, and she's started guzzling her food. After three diapers with just water and no poops, I began to fear what would happen when she finally did go poop -- and I was right on.

That diaper blowout at midnight was fantastic to say the least!

At the hospital, when I was right at her bedside where I had a recliner, it was almost impossible to sleep for more than a nap in it. Now that she's home, I can sleep in the bed next to her, or when she was fussing, I bring her to the middle of our bed, where I lay a hand on her and feel her breathe as she sleeps.
She may look peaceful in still photos like this one, but I have discovered that she makes a lot of grunts, coos, and general eh-eh noises as she sleeps...I learned to put in ear plugs if I want to sleep so I don't wake to every sound...just the bigger ones.

My girl feels beefy at 5 lbs. now...but then I see her in her Daddy's hands, and she looks spectacularly small.

I overslept my 3 a.m. date with the breast pump, and I slept a very special four hours in a row when Brian fed and changed her at 2. Up until I felt like a complete zombie, and know it will go on like this for weeks, and probably feel worse.

But then we're not the type of parents you'll ever hear complain about it. At least not for long, and not very loudly.

We're just happy to have her home!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today is THE DAY! We're going HOME with NORA TODAY!!

I get all choked up thinking about it...I just got to the NICU at 6:30 for a quick check-in, and she ate like a horse while I slept last night. She also passed her hearing test.

I love watching her sleep. She makes these little noises and right now seems like she just might wake up so she's making those cute baby grunty noises...I just can't WAIT to enjoy her at home!

My girl is coming home!


(Repeat to self over and over, but not out loud so people think I'm crazy.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Monitors Are Dark...

They told us this day would come, and that it would sneak up on us. Sure enough, after early Wednesday morning's setback of Nora not finishing her food, she hasn't missed a meal since.

Now she just has to keep eating well through tonight, and we can take her home tomorrow!

The kid has been a champ at eating. I thought she was a champ before, but we were feeding her 40 cc's of bottle (of breastmilk and formula), and today the doctor put her on an "at will" diet where she can sleep as much as she wants (up to 4 hours), wake herself up, and eat what she wants.

Today, she chug-a-lugged 60 cc's in 7 minutes flat. She's eat several 50cc bottles too. It just clicked, and now she's a food hound.

Overnight, she gained 3 oz. She now weighs more than when she was born -- at 5 lbs., 1.1 oz.!

THAT is amazing.

So today the rapid-fire talks started. The nurses showed me a checklist of what we needed to know before we went home.

And then the monitors went black.

Brian went out to check on why the monitors weren't working. For 10 days now, Nora's vital signs have shown up on this screen for us to see.

But the night before release, we fly solo. No monitors. No wires. Just Nora breathing and heart beating on her own.

Tonight during the staffing break when they kick you out of the NICU from 7-8 p.m., Brian and I went to a support group meeting for NICU parents.

The story of one man whose daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Another couple with a baby who was born at 29 weeks. 26 weeks. 27 weeks. 32 weeks.

We left the room feeling so blessed. Of the group, we're the only ones going home soon. Our baby is the biggest, healthiest one in the bunch.

And now it's time to feed our little one!

This Picture Begs The Question...

Can she get any cuter?

I don't think so!

I bought this hat last year when I was pregnant with Jacob. Before we knew he was a boy. Before we found out we would lose him.

I gave up most of my baby things when we lost Jacob, because I never thought I would have another chance to have a baby.

But among Jacob's things, I kept this hat.

Now, I see my sleeping daughter in this hat, and I get all misty eyed. Nora is beyond beautiful. She is perfect to me.

And she's wearing the hat intended for one, but given to her.

And it's ok.

Halfway Towards Home!

Our girl has eaten 8 bottles in a row -- and is on "ad lib" feeding -- which means we give her extra and see if she can eat that too, and it goes towards future feedings where she might be short a bit and they "forgive" it.

I found out today that she has to eat 16 bottles (48 hours worth) of food before they'll send her home. For some reason I thought it was 24 hours, but my brother Jeff assures me he heard 48 hours, so it was just me in my exhaustion not hearing it right.

She's eating like a champ though! If she gets through the end of today eating all her meals and passes her hearing test, we could go home as early as tomorrow! (Friday)
Nora also took the carseat challenge tonight, and passed it with flying colors! Here's a picture right before Brian put her blankets over her. She isn't real thrilled with it, but she's ok...and eventually fell asleep.

As for my milk, it is getting a bit better. I've been eating oatmeal a couple of times a day for the last two days, and I slept a lot this evening so I could do the midnight/3 a.m. feeding with her. Brian will take the 6 a.m. before work so I can then sleep til 9.

Oh and one thing that's just weirding me out -- they are giving me the full court press to give her a Hepatitis B vaccine before she leaves the hospital...and it's so odd to me to think of giving a baby so tiny some shot she could easily get in two months...for a disease that isn't communicable through casual contact. I've asked the docs and nurses "WHY Hep b? WHY now?" and I keep getting this "why are you asking, just do it" attitude, and they all just say the CDC wants to erradicate the virus...which is all fine and good. I'm all for vaccinations, but she's barely 5 lbs...and I'm just not ready for that! Unless someone here can explain it to me, I am waiting til her 2 month appt.

Thank you Aunt Jenny for the carseat/stroller!!! Brian assembled/installed it all today and it's VERY nice!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Performance Pooping


Brian worked today, so my Mom and I hung out with Nora today. I also got quite a bit of sleep this afternoon, which was REALLY nice and very much needed.

Nora is eating like a champ! We had to gavage (tube feed) only one part of one bottle today, and tonight at 6 p.m feeding, she downed 40 cc's of formula in 5 MINUTES FLAT! At this rate, she will probably go home this weekend!

Last night we had a really really GREEN nurse DH and I call "newbie" privately...and then today we had the opposite -- a super bossy nurse who talked to me as if I needed instructions like I just had her yesterday and had never fed or diapered her before. It is funny how quickly I've gotten to know how Nora likes to be held, the best position for burping & eating, etc.

Well, we left her to the nurse at 3 today so I could sleep and when I got back the nurse said "you're right about how she burps so easily!" and then she said Nora loaded up a diaper BIG TIME...and I was so proud of her! I whispered into her ear "Way to go pooping for the nurse down to your socks, girlfriend!"

Tee hee.

Then later, Bestema (my Mom, who's called "Grandma" in Danish, pronounced Best-Ma) held her and boom, she pooped for her too. Unfortunately, I was hooked up to the breast pump so it was Bestema's job to take care of that diaper! That's my girl, pooping for other people, so I didn't have to clean it up today. HA

Mom and I so enjoyed spending the day with her. Mom just LOVES holding her new baby granddaughter!

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Are The Luckiest, Most Blessed People...


There is something insular and other-worldly about a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

We are in a large urban hospital, with many many beds of sick babies in their NICU, and many parents coming and going.

But Brian and I are one of the few who are there almost around the clock.

The kid next to us, we couldn't help but overhear the parents telling the nurse that they were there for "just an hour" and that they couldn't come back until TUESDAY to see their baby again!

I couldn't help but wonder if they were from out of town, or what other impediment there could possibly be to her parents being able to spend time with her.

When I heard this, Brian and I realized just how blessed we are to have all the help, love and support of family and friends so we can spend as much time as possible with our girl.

My Mom has been an absolute champion supporter -- leaving her home down in Sheridan to spend nights with our sister-in-law Julie nearby -- buying us groceries, food, some post-partum clothes for me, and just plain "being there" for us. Anytime, anywhere, Mom's willing and able to help us. She personifies the best Mom an adult daughter can wish for.

My sister Jill, who's visited us every weekend and also helped with so many things...my shower, and again, just being there for us.

Jeff (my brother) and Judy (Brian's sister) who are married to each other, who have moved their schedules around to let Mom go...who moved out of their room so that when Nora comes home with us, we have a nice quiet spot where we can have our first weeks with her.

My niece Miriam, who's grabbed the reins of organizing our nursery. She's been fabulous!

And my mother and father-in-law, who have helped us tremendously with COBRA payments so all of this is stress-free healthcare. Amazing support!

And Julie, my SIL who has had more guests than she can probably count, since her home is five minutes from the hospital. She's done so much for us, and continues to
support us.

Finally, I can't leave out my PALP sisters who call, send cards, and help us out in so many ways!

I've got 5 minutes to get in to feed Nora so I hope I haven't left anyone key out...but just so you know, if you're in our corner, we appreciate all of you!

All of you make it possible for us to be here fully for our little angel! We love you guys.

My Daughter's a CHAMP!


I was up most of the night with Nora...well, we slept in the NICU, but we were together.

She ate 3 bottles in a row last night! She's learning to suck like a champ!

If she eats 8 bottles (she has 8 feedings in 24 hours) she can go home!

She may end the streak here soon, but she seems to be "getting it!"

Plus, she's gained another 2 oz. in one day, so now she's 4 lbs. 10 oz., only 5 more oz. to go and she'll be back at her birthweight...6 more and she's 5 lbs even!

GO NORA!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Nora Video

If this video doesn't make you want a baby of your own, you are officially done or cured!

I took this as Nora had a 3 a.m. feeding on Wednesday or Thursday, and it's taken what feels like FOREVER to get it loaded onto YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5ODr1WkhYM

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We'll be a little scarce for a while...but don't worry!


Nora's doing great -- may go home in 4-5 days, and has graduated to a regular crib in the "big kids" section of the NICU where we aren't watched closely. Today is "Bath day" so she ought to really love that -- NOT. My child is VERY content with letting you know when a severe injustice is being done to her -- like say -- her temperature being taken, or her diaper changed. I can hardly wait to see how she responds when her tiny little butt hits water. LOL

She's eating well, but not every shift so that's why she's still there...needs to eat enough to gain weight and not have to tube feed her anything, and she's not there yet...she did bottom out on her weight at 4 lbs. 5 oz on Wednesday, and this morning she was 4 lbs 8 oz, so she is gaining.

I'm tired, but fine...we're in guest housing across the street from the hospital, but it's hard to do much else in between feedings and pumpings, and of course me trying to get some food and sleep. What a joke sleep is. LOL. We're managing though. Brian and I are so in LOVE with her, and it's absolutely the best thing to watch him and hear him talk about how beautiful HIS daughter is.

It's the weekend so we've had lots of visitors and more coming to see our girl. Brian's folks came down yesterday with Aunt Sarah and Cousin Odette, and it was wonderful to see all four of them!

I'll be in and out because wi-fi here bites in the guest housing. Hmmm, maybe it's the massive power station next door that's frying the signal. I had Brian bring it over from there so I could post this.

If we're scarce on posts, don't panic. Our girl is doing FANTASTICALLY!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nora's First Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9Nt0AMWS4E

Click on the title of this post and it'll take you to Nora's first video appearance. She's got the hiccups! :)

Hitting Our Groove

This morning at 3 a.m., I went to the NICU and this is the face I had to greet me! She actually looked a lot happier, but when the camera came out, I got this little look of scorn on her face. She apparently doesn't like it much, since she's never sure if the flash is going to be used. Miss Nora definitely does NOT like the flash.

But she was pretty cheerful this morning, even through the diaper change, which usually has her screaming.

I had a new NICU nurse who left us alone so quickly that I suddenly realized that Nora and I were alone alone, for the very first time! No one was there to make sure she latched on for nursing, and so I just said "Well, Miss Nora, it's you and me!" and we got going with eating and snuggling.

It was a precious hour of Mommy and Daughter just spending time by ourselves and getting to know each other.

When the nurse came back and heard me singing and talking to her, she said "There aren't any bonding problems here!"

How can you not bond with that face?


I went back to the room around 4 a.m. and slept for several hours before my Mom came in. We went to her 9 a.m. feeding, and Mom tried to disappear to "give us space."

I asked Brian to get her into our room, and that's when I got up and had Mom sit down in my seat...I handed Nora over to her before she could protest too much (Nora technically is only supposed to be held by her parents, why I don't know yet). It was so neat to watch her hold her grandbaby for the first time!

She's wearing a hat my friend Teri gave her, and the onesie sleeper Judy bought for her at Carters. There's very little that we own that's small enough, but she should grow into the rest of her preemie clothes soon.

Nursing is getting easier. Nora is spending lots of time there, and I'm pumping too, so we're getting going with it. It's a very special experience, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to do it or not, so its been a very pleasant surprise that it's worked out as well as it has with a preemie!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nora's Third Day

This will have to be short and sweet...but Nora made great strides in nursing today! Here she is with nurse Linda and me. She was doing most of the work, but boy am I proud of her!


Here Nora is doing her favorite thing -- Kangaroo Cuddling with her Mommy! Skin-to-skin, she hears my heartbeat and calms down so quickly, it's just amazing. We get a few hours a day like this, and we both wish it could be longer, but she has to spend some time just sleeping and getting her bellirubin taken care of (she's under the blue lights for that for a couple of days).


Here Nora is laying quietly with her eyes open, checking out the world while cuddling with her Mommy! She is so precious to us, and this kind of cuddle time couldn't be bought for all the money in the world.

Goodnight!

Nora's Next Night!

We had a great night! DH and I napped in the evening from 7 till bout 10, then I went in with her for a while. Her schedule is to eat/change/do temp, etc. at 9, 12, 3 and 6 around the clock, so I wasn't there to feed her at 9.

Around 10:30 she was fussing, so the nurse gave her to me and we napped together until it was feeding time at midnight. I got to change her diaper, take her temperature, and feed her, and she at most of the 15 cc's of formula from the bottle! She also gave her momma a good burp...it's so amazing what's "cute" but something so small letting out a belch like that IS cute! lol

Around 1 a.m. I went back to the room and did my routine of meds, pumping, etc. Then I went to sleep until 6:30. Brian got up at 3 and fed her at the 3 a.m. feeding, then slept with her in NICU until the 6 a.m. feeding. When I got there, he was feeding her, and she ate 20 cc's!
Nora has been unhooked from the IV feed, since she's eating enough on her own, and after the blood sugar test this morning, she should have the IV port completely removed!

She's also being watched for jaundice since her numbers are showing that might be coming on.

My Mom is staying all this week...I should get checked out of the hospital tomorrow, and I'm not sure yet how much longer Nora will stay. Probably at least through the weekend.

I'm feeling good physically! Sore, but not horrible pain. I just keep reminding myself to take it easy!

Here's our first family photo! Sorry I look like a deer in the headlights, but it's early! :)

Quick Pic

We had a great day today...Nora ate more from the bottle, kept working on breast feeding, and just seemed to get even cuter.

I didn't realize that being born and all would make her so puffy looking, but today her features are standing out more, and I can see some similarities with me too!

I'm too exhausted to type, so it's nap time for me as well, but I couldn't go to bed without sharing a favorite picture of the day. There's nothing quite like being The One that calms our girl down!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nora Update

I an SO proud of Brian...he spent the whole night in the NICU with Nora, so he got to be there for every feeding, changed her diaper, and knows way more than I do about every little procedure. You should see how his talking about her or to her just lights him up. Oh how he loves being a daddy! I saw him around 1:30 a.m., and he came in at 6:30 a.m. again to give us the great news about how she did overnight, since we have big progress about our girl!

First of all, she's OFF the CPAP since they took her off when I was there yesterday eveniing -- so that means she's breathing on her own very well!

At her 9 p.m. feeding last night, instead of a tube, they were able to give her 5 cc's of food through a bottle! She was very tired from it, so she had it put in her tummy after that, but she did great and Brian got to be the one to feed her.

They measure the food in her tummy (pull it out with a syringe then put it back) so they can tell if she's started digesting, and up until 6 a.m., she hadn't digested anything and all her nutrition was coming from the IV. Well, when Brian changed her diapers this morning at 6 a.m., Nora made her very first POOP, AND she only had 5 ccs of the 20 she had put in her tummy in the past 24 hours, so that means she's started to digest too!

I've been trying to pump every three hours since 3:30 yesterday, and still haven't gotten anything. They gave me a big hospital industrial double pump, but aside from a drop there's nothing there yet. I'll talk to the nurse about what needs to be done other than practice!

It's late Tueday morning, and I just got back from a couple hours with Nora in NICU...

I got to change her diaper for the first time.

We sat "Kangaroo Style" (with her skin on skin to my chest), and the first thing she did was to go moving towards my breast. So we went head and let her go for it. She didn't get anything but the experience!

Then the nurse was going to put tube down to feed her and I asked if we could at least try the bottle since she seemed ok with sucking, and she got another bottle down.

Then after burping her she settle in to being held next to me skin-on-skin, we just sat together and napped for over an hour. She is just a little cuddly monkey!
This picture of her is from when Mom & Jill saw her the first time, I just love their smiles!

Her oxygen saturation is 100%, her BP was around 70/50 and her heart rate is right on about 130s, all where it needs to be. She's less swollen around her nose and face, so she's even cuter than she was yesterday! LOL

I just got back to the room so I could eat something, and get my catheter and IV out, take a shower.

Physically, I am doing VERY well. I'm shocked at how effective the drugs are, because it's relatively easy to get around. Of course it's no picnic, but not nearly as painful as I thought it would be. And now I'm heading back to spend the afternoon with our girl!

Thanks everyone, for all the well wishes...We are having the time of our lives!

Jules

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just Got Back from NICU:


I can't believe how wonderful my little girl is. Wowie.

I got to hold her for an hour, and she's doing so well we took the CPAP off and her hat too to see how she did without it. They won't take it off permanently yet -- they figure maybe even tomorrow, but she did wonderfully!
Brian and I got some time alone when the family left, and we marveled at our girl...she even OPENED HER EYES and just gazed and gazed at both of us as we spoke to her.

We are so in love. Brian isn't even sleeping in the room with me tonight. He's going to be in the NICU with her. I guess I have some competition for his heart! :)

Here's our pics from our visit. Check out my daughter...whose full name is now Nora Rachel M.!

She's HERE!!!!

Well, what can I say...I have never seen someone so beautiful. She is amazing.

Our daughter Nora was born at 8:59 a.m. after bleeding off and on all night, and a scuffle with a perinatologist, first who wanted to wait, but later (after a lot more bleeding), got on board.

She weighs 4 lbs 15 oz., is 17.5 inches long, and has some blond hair. I think she looks just like Brian!

Dr. Abel came and assisted with the surgery...in fact Brian watched and said he did Dr. Abel did the bulk of the surgery.

She came out crying, which was of course, the best sound in the world. After a couple of hours in recovery they took me back to see/hold her. Wow. What a feeling. I still can't believe she's ours

Here's a few pictures. I'm on drugs and tired and need to send an e-mail out too. So the rest of the story comes later. We're doing fine though!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Baby Shower I Never Thought Would Happen

After all the baby showers I've been to, or even been through...it was finally our turn to celebrate the coming birth of our baby and have a shower for our baby girl.

As you can imagine, it's been tough to move halfway across the country away from good friends, then to be hospitalized right at the time I was supposed to be shopping for baby stuff, and suddenly we realized we were in no way prepared to have a baby come home with us.

Fortunately for us, our families stepped in and decided to throw us a shower, right here in my hospital room.
Unorthodox? You bet. Miss Manners would probably have a stroke knowing that my family threw one for me, since I have read more than once that they're not technically supposed to.

But then it doesn't really matter since it was an impromptu shower and only family was there for it.
Yesterday was such a fun day. I was so surprised by how "all-out" my family went to throw us the shower. My sister-in-law Julie was "in her element" my Mom said...apparently I'm not the only Julie in the family who's a pathological planner and loves to put together a good time!

She brought balloons and held them down with baby items I found later, like binkies, bibs and other things. A platter of Subway sandwiches and goodies were ordered, and best of all, an ice cream cake!
My sister bought me this cute little fleece outfit from REI (left), my little brother Jer and his wife Stephanie sent this cute little orange T and cammo number from The Baby Gap (above) and Joel sent this red hot chili pepper Halloween costume from New York (below).
My sister Judy brought some clothes and blankets that were heirlooms, from some dresses my Mom and aunts wore as children (made by my great-grandma), to a heritage Broncos crib sheet I had made for them when their baby was small too. Along with diapering supplies, and everything else (the list is just so long), it took hours to open it all!
Did I mention how good the ice cream cake was?

So was the kiss I got for buying Brian a new camera. It was a great surprise, and I think he's really happy with it!

I can't thank everyone enough who sent things to us...it was such an overwhelmingly great day, I think we were all exhausted at the end of it, but we had a great time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shhhhhhhhhh. Wanna Know A Secret?


My husband Brian rarely if ever reads my blog.

He really should start, but hey, you can't make him, right?

Today a lot of my family is coming over to the hospital to do an impromptu baby shower. Brian wasn't sure if he should stick around or if this was one of those "girl things" he should make himself scarce for a few hours.

Well, there will be lots of manfolk around. We Democrats like to get all egalitarian about showers and stuff. Mostly because -- at least in my opinion -- if there's going to be a chance of a game involving clothes pins or plastic babies frozen in ice, then I shouldn't have to go through it alone, and men should share equally in the general misery.

Now, I know today it won't be THAT kind of overdone perky shower that makes people like me want to barf...

But the real reason I want Brian there is because I bought him a present, and he's going to freak out. In a good way.

You see, he has never had a new camera that someone else hasn't used before it was given to him. He was all primed to get my Sony 3.2 MP camera when I dropped it too hard, and it only shot in hues of blue.

Last Christmas, he bought me a beautiful new Kodak Easyshare with 7.2 MP, but he got bupkus for a new camera.

He's even said several times "I have never had a new camera, I always get hand-me-downs."

Us poor middle kids. We always have something that we've never gotten new.

Then the other day when I asked him to take a picture, his 2.0 Sony that I bought back in like 2002 came out. Heck, I don't even know where the card reader is for that camera anymore, not to mention the fact that the pictures come out looking like garbage compared to what new cameras can do today.

So, I got him this lovely Kodak at 50% off on Amazon and had it speed shipped so it would be here today. It's small like he likes them, but with 6.0 MP, and a 1 gig card.

He's going to be in heaven.

And he gets to do it while shooting brand new pictures of his DAUGHTER as early as next week or the week after.

That just makes me smile.

Friday, September 14, 2007

For Teri

It's 3 a.m., nothing's wrong with me except for the fact that I'm awake.

I had a little bleeding yesterday about this time, but this morning I'm fine. Just unable to sleep for a while.

I've learned to stop tossing and turning and just get up. That is, after all, what a laptop with wi-fi is for I'd say. Well, that and a blog.

When I checked my e-mail, I found out my friend Teri's brother Ray had died. My friend Teri is on a camino -- a pilgramage walk through 500 miles of Spain for 6 weeks -- and therefore is too far away to hug, call or do much more than e-mail and let her know I'm sorry for her loss, and hope she gets to a town where she has time to check in at an internet cafe.

It doesn't make much of a difference that her brother had been ill. When you lose someone that close it has to hurt, and when you're overseas when it happens, it's that much harder in some respects. With no one to really share the loss with who knew the person, and unable to share in the rituals of any services and family get-togethers, I imagine it makes it harder as well.

Prayers and positive thoughts for Teri today, as she walks her camino and grieves her loss.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Field Trip Day!

My Mom came up and spent most of the day with me yesterday.

Late in the afternoon, my Mom was leaving the room to go get a chocolate bar (even though we are well-stocked with chocolate in the room), I asked her to check with the nurses to see if I could go on a ride with her downstairs.

Fortunately, Dr. A was right there, and he said we had 30 minutes. It may not sound like much time, and it isn't...but it got me downstairs and outside. First we went to the gift shop, where we tried on the hats. It's been so long since I've been downstairs that the Halloween stuff has come out! It was odd to think I'd been in here long enough...but then I cheered up when I realized I'll be home with our baby before Halloween actually gets here.

Then we headed outside. Mom drove my wheelchair down to the very opposite end of the hospital, where we sat for a few minutes in the sun, looking at a very pretty water fountain. It just felt SO good to breathe fresh air and sit in the sun.
It's amazing how observant you get when you've spent a month staring at four walls and nothing else. Suddenly I realized how much we take for granted in our day-to-day existence as here I was trying to notice every litle flower, plant, and thing that passed in front of us.

As we went back towards the door, I saw a Mom with her two little girls outside. The bigger girl, who looked to be about 3 or 4, had monitors glued on her chest and an IV port similar to mine. She looked as thrilled as I did to be outside, while Mom chased down the baby who was crawling into my path on the sidewalk. I thought about how just 8 months from now or so, I'll be chasing down my little cruiser!

Then it was time to head back. My nurses today, Jean and Judi, were both at the nurse's station as I headed back to my room. Jean checked her watch and joked that I was a minute late (she's an Army Nurse going back for a tour in Iraq soon, so I wasn't going to argue). That's Jean on the left and Judi on the right.

I didn't realize how many rooms away I'd moved until my trip yesterday either. The row I'm on is known as Ante-partum Row, or "Ante-Land" to the nurses. We're all the ones who are on strict bedrest until we deliver and I'm now the most senior girl here. Not just in age, mind you, but in gestational age for the baby and/or the length of time I've been here. I haven't figured that out yet.

It doesn't matter much, except that I'm that much closer to getting out of here, because our girl will be born soon. And I'm all about that!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Things That Don't Go Bump at 4 A.M.

My daughter apparently seems to think that it's perfectly ok to sleep at night.

I'm fast approaching the end of my 8th month of pregnancy, and surprise! it's getting harder and harder for me to sleep at night.

First of all, I'm in a strange bed. You'd think after 30 days in the hole here, that I'd be used to it, but I don't have a queen size bed to hog, and I believe this mattress has a plastic cover on it so it's kinda noisy too.

Plus, I'm just getting to cow-size so rolling over on a 38-inch-wide twin bed is difficult. I can only sleep on the left side or the right, and I can make it to my back, but then I feel like a turtle stuck on its shell with me wanting to wake up Brian and get him to help me get the rest of the way over.

But I'm nice enough not to do that. Yet.

Well, this morning I woke up to go to the bathroom for what must have been at least the 5th time, and when I got back to bed, I realized I hadn't felt the baby so much as flutter, much less kick or punch me for most of the night.

Now, I'm not supposed to panic and all that, or so I tell myself in the fog of my half-sleep I'm in.

Then I start poking my belly, and nothing. She's asleep and apparently does NOT want to be disturbed.

So I poke some more. Not hard, just a little "c'mon, honey. If I can sleep, you can sleep."

Nope. She's still not getting up to satisfy me.

So, out comes the Doppler. Ok, so if I can just hear her heartbeat for one second, I'll settle down. I take it out, turn down the volume, and in a flash, there she is. Slow 138 bpm heart rate of a baby asleep.

I keep my promise and turn off the machine, and go back to trying to sleep.

So guess who wakes up?

Yup.

She's been kicking me ever since this morning.

"Stay Boring, Julie"

It's Day 30 of my incarceration in this hospital. Yeah, some days just feel like incarceration, so I'm telling it like it is.

There is no escaping it today. No walking in the prison yard, no visitors. I have to stay put, and I am willing to bet if I so much as stuck my head out in the hall, it would be told to get back in bed.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it's all good for me and the baby. But some days...

On the brighter side, I had a fourth day and night in a row with no bleeding, so that's good.

On the not-so-brighter side, last night I had a mini-meltdown over the fact that we are not nearly prepared to take a baby home, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Well, almost nothing.

Most people when they have normal babies under normal circumstances, get all this time to prepare. They pick out clothes, diapering "systems" and baby furniture, and get to put it all into place.

Brian was sort of relieved that I was freaking out a bit, because that means movement. He asked me a few weeks ago, early (in the sentencing phase when we weren't sure I'd be on the inside lo these many weeks) if he should get a car seat installed. I said "nah, we'll have plenty of time for that when she's out and spending time in the NICU".

Well, here we are approaching 34 weeks, and it's very possible she won't have much time if any to speak of in the NICU. She could conceivably go home with us when I get out several days after my c-section.

So, I asked my Mom to bring me her clothes that my friend Delois gave me so I can go through them here. I need the box o' baby stuff I bought before getting in here because aside from some Pampers, I can't remember what I bought.

I asked Brian if he'd go down to the house on Sunday and get the baby bed stuff set up, and see about getting a dresser in the house so we can put her clothes away and figure out where the changing table we don't have yet will go. I still need to see what we have to change those infinite dipes.

I guess I was able to put this off for a pretty long time, but suddenly, it feels like it's going to happen RIGHT NOW and we need to be prepared. Brian said last night that he realized maybe the reason I just didn't want to get ready any sooner was because we've always had that feeling of "let's see if it works out"...and now we're at the point where it not only looks like it will, but we need to do something about it.

So we are.

Dr. A just came in and said he had nothing new to say to me.

"You got nothin?" I asked.

"Nope," he said. "Just stay boring, Julie."

Mmmm hmmm. That's me!

Remembering

If you click on the title of this post, it'll take you to a tribute I wrote last year for Fred Cox, Jr., a friend of a friend of mine who died in the twin towers.

It doesn't matter where you were on 9/11 in 2001 when all the world stood still.

Chances are you remember exactly what you were doing, how your heard, and how you felt as you found out that those two planes had slammed into the World Trade Center, then the Pentagon, then that field in Pennsylvania.

If you do nothing else today, reflect upon what happened 6 years ago, and think of those 2,996 who died that day, and the many since in wars and other terrorist attacks.

Your politics aren't important today, just keep the memories of those alive by pausing and giving them some honor in your day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Shift

There's this funny thing that happens with each passing week when the Perinatologists come in.

Each week causes a shift in discussion as our girl makes another important transition of development.

When we first got to the hospital we were 29 weeks, and all they could really tell me was that she was "very likely to be ok" if born that day.

After that, 30 and 31 were met with more reassurances, and the goal of making it to the all-importnt 32.

Last week, it was a celebration of "you made it to 32 weeks" -- a big milestone that meant our girl's odds of survival were as good as a full-termer, only with time in the NICU required.

Today is Sunday, and after the compulsory weigh-in that does nothing but make me do math in my head that no woman wants to do...I am at 33 weeks, and again there was a shift in talk.

Dr. L came in and said some magic words, "Start thinking about dates," he said. "for an elective c-section."

Then he corrected himself. It's not elective, per se, I have to have one, but I could conceivably pick the date after 35 or 36 weeks, depending on how she's measuring.

Of course, that's if they don't have to take her before then...which is what I fully expect.

But just the fact that I can look at this month's calendar and start wondering what a good date would be...well, that's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

All The If's...

If I make it to full term -- 40 weeks -- I only have 50 days left in this pregnancy.

I have absolutely no expectations of that, in fact it's impossible, since no doctor will let me go past 36-37 weeks max.

If I make it to what the doctors WANT me to make it to -- 36 weeks -- I have 21 days.

If I make it as far as I think I will, I have maybe 1-2 more weeks, closer to 34-35 weeks.

If we even make it into next week, our baby will weigh somewhere near 5 lbs.

I've just had too much bleeding this past week to think I'll go much further. I believe it will keep going, and no one here is arguing with me. It's what previas do.

Dr. P. stopped by today. He's my favorite among the Perinatologists because he has a sense of humor, but also tells it like it is. He's a transplant from Denver too, so he automatically gets points with us.

He told me today that now that we're at 33 weeks, they are "a lot less tolerant" of bleeds, since the baby's cooked enough they don't have to go crazy trying to keep me pregnant anymore.

I know that might sound strange, but after 27 days in the hole here, it's oddly comforting.

And for those of you who think I'm being a good sport about all this, I willfully admit that I'm sick of staring at these four walls, and have dreams of escaping this place by dressing up in my husband's clothes and trying to Commando Crawl out of here just long enough to go to the Starbucks up the street, order my own latte the way I like it, and read a newspaper or book in an oversized chair with armrests I can eat a meal off of.

If only for a few minutes...

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Quilt of Loving Kindness

I've never been so touched in all my life.

I know several of my readers are PALP members...many of you have only heard me talk of "my board" or my "online support group for pregnancy loss" that I've belonged to for the past 5 years.

Today, Melinda, one of my PALP friends and who lives nearby and had 3 of her own babies in the very hospital I am in, came by under the guise of bringing my Olive Garden pasta, and in addition to, came bearing some beautiful gifts from Kelly, Michele, and a host of PALP ladies who all contributed to a quilt for my daughter.

Here's the inside of the card:

You often craft quilts
with others in mind;
You give them as gifts
each one of a kind.

But this time for you,
a quilt has been born;
With pieces of fabric
all broke in and worn.

The squares have been cut
from blankets and clothes
That once covered bottoms
and fingers and toes.

Once worn by the babies
of women you know
who gave them with love
to wrap your baby so.

As the poem says, each of these ladies sent an item of clothing, blanket or even a baby bath towel from each of their babies, and Kelly put it all together as a quilt.

Considering all the joy that each of those little babies have brought all my friends, I just cried at the thought of wrapping my own daughter in something so special and so filled with love.

Thank you PALP ladies...you know who you are, and I love you all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Is Someone Growing Something Green In My Basement?

We got a bill from Xcel Energy for $7,986.22 today.

When I opened the eBill, I just about crapped a Twinkie.

According to the power company, we used 99,860 KILOWATTS of power last month in a house we're not living in.

This is enough to power 80 houses for a month.

I called the kind folks at Xcel, and the gal laughed along with me.

A guy is going out to review the new electrical panel and the meter reading.

Hopefully a tad bit more reasonable bill will come to us next week!

Sort of A Wild Night

It's Day 25 In The Hospital Today...And last night I think I had pressed "send" on an e-mail update to most of my friends as well as family practically gushing about how everything was going SO well, when we started in again last night.

This time, the bleed was pretty serious -- starting at 7 p.m., another at 8, and another one in the middle of the night at 2:30 a.m.

Around 8:30 I called my sister-in-law Julia and she came up to the hospital while we waited for Brian to get in from Bend a couple of hours away. I knew if I didn't call Julia, it was one of those Murphy's Law things where I'd have ended up having the baby 15 minutes before Brian could get here...but if I DID call her, all would stop and be fine.

I was right.

There was a point when I thought after my conversation with the doctor that this might be it. But then my body, in its infinite rebellion to predictability decided to calm down. Or maybe it was the anti-contraction drugs. Who knows?

Anyway, Long Legs/Chubby Cheeks is still in her spot, hooked up to a monitor and doing her thing. We are not looking to meet her today.

It does amaze me how each day that ticks by makes me realize we're that much closer...and one of these days I'm going to be staring at those cheeks, getting my finger grabbed by a teeny little hand, and all these days in the hospital will have been worth it.

Friends Willing To Bury Stuff In Your Yard

A special thanks to Doug and Susan (and Louis, Miracle Baby) for burying St. Joseph for us in our front yard in Denver in hopes of getting a quick sale on the house.

You might not know this, but St. Joseph is the patron saint of Family, Home and Real Estate Transactions.

Our friends who like us aren't in the least bit Catholic, didn't let this little fact get in the way, and willingly drove to a Catholic store, bought St. Joseph and said a nice prayer and buried him in our front yard.

We actually got double duty done this weekend, because the one I had already ordered when Susan and Doug offered to do this, also got buried by Brian in a different spot in the yard.

So, when it's over, we'll have to dig them both up and give them a prominent spot in our new home.

Hopefully that will be soon!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Our Girl Has Chubby Cheeks!

We just got done with our ultrasound...Our baby girl has grown over a pound in 3 weeks, and looks like she weighs around 4 lbs., 5 oz.!!

It was cool to find out why she's kicking my liver so hard...we found her feet way up there next to it.

The previa is still there, the cervix is still long and closed as far as I could tell, fluids are good. She's measuring a day or two smaller than her 32.3 weeks on her head, right on with her abdominal measurement, and her legs are LONG -- measuring 34 weeks! Our girl is looking good, and I am looking forward to hearing what the doc says after he gets the official radiology report.

Here's the u/s pic...I hope it looks as clear to you as it does to us...he said her face was kinda smashed since she doesn't have as much fluid around her since she's GETTING SO BIG.

YAY for smashed faces!!! I just can't believe the cheeks that won't quit!

Here We Go Again!

We're doing ok this morning. I had another bleed overnight (why this always strikes at 3:30-5 a.m. I don't know) but I knew I would because I had several irregular but strong contractions yesterday, and our girl was kicking me so much and so hard yesterday I was certain she was knocking stuff loose.

So weird that it's the 5th night since the last one, and here we go again. Even the doctor is impressed with the fact that I called it yesterday and boom -- there it happened again.

So in the middle of the night I got an IV drip that made me stay awake for over an hour because I had to hold my hand "just so" so the IV would work (the saline lock/port is old and will be changed today). I also got some drugs to stop the contractions, and then I slept until breakfast got here.

I am less than thrilled with Army Nurse this morning. Every time I asked about something she forgets or challenges me. Like Brian said after she left "maybe she should read the instruction sheet she has before she comes in." Since all nurses have notes on each of us.

We're both doing fine, the baby as usual seems completely unaffected, which is very good. Dr. P says our new goal is to get her to 34 weeks, so I have new sights to set on. He said we would talk after 34 weeks about when we would deliver, since it sounds like the max they'll let me go is between 35-36 weeks to avoid the possibility of me going into labor on my own (which is bad with a previa).

Last night I had a funny dream. I dreamed I had a 10 lb BOY, and I kept asking if they were sure he was mine, because they told me all along I was going to have a girl, and before everyone got a phone call with bad information, I just wanted to make sure. He was very cute and I was surprised that he was so fat & smiley and he looked like us, but somehow I didn't have a C-section even though I still had a previa. LOL

Brian just got home at 10 p.m. last night from a weekend in Denver with the boys, so that was nice to have him back. He's taking the day off to be with me since we're supposed to have an ultrasound sometime today to check our girl's growth!

And maybe I'll have them do one more gender check just to make sure there really aren't any "twig and berries" in there.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I Found A New Table To Put My Food On...

And Now For Something Totally Hilarious

I can't help this one...it's making fun of my own people, but I had to share:


Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southerner?

The answer can be found by posing the following question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children.

Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner,
locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and
charges at you.

You are carrying a Glock 40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere
seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?
...............................................

Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man
look poor? Or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would
inspire him to attack?

Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids?

What does the law say about this situation? Why am I carrying a loaded gun
anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my
children?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?

Should I call 9-1-1?

Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have paint and weed
day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.

-------------------------
Republican's Answer:
BANG!

-------------------------
Redneck's Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Click..... (Sounds of reloading)

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

BANG!

Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or
Hollow Points?

Son: Why did that dumb SOB bring a knife to a gun fight?

Wife: Don't you dare take that thing to the taxidermist.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Right Next Door

Patient privacy laws being what they are, I shouldn't even know what I do know.

But several days back I was told on the sly that there's a girl in the hospital who's 19 years old, only 26 weeks pregnant with twins, and not taking her bedrest very seriously.

She thinks it's "fun" that she can call a nurse to bring her whatever she wants, and wants to be off her monitoring schedule so she can sneak out for a cigarette.

This knowledge only came from a nurse who was comparing me too someone else, in that I am, I guess, a "low maintenance" patient because I'm taking this bedrest thing seriously, and I'm not punching the nurse call button as if I'm calling the concierge for room service.

I don't know her name, I don't even know which room she's in but I imagine her on the other side of one of my walls, and wonder what it will take for her to wake up and realize what a gift she has growing within.

It always amazes me how some people have such an incredible gift they don't even realize they have. How the pain of losing a baby can make one go from so blissfully ignorant to deeply respectful of what a miracle new life is.

I sure hope she gets it.

Sunday Sweet Sunday

It's Sunday, and more importantly September 2nd!

That means our girl is 32 weeks into what would normally be 40 weeks of pregnancy.

We'd love to make it to 35 weeks at least, but just getting to 32 is a HUGE milestone.

Less chances of complications, more chances of a healthy baby.

We're all about that!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bring In The Clowns

My brothers Jeff and Joel came to the hospital yesterday.

As they were about to leave, I asked to get a picture of us...and my niece Miriam took this pictures while struggling to keep a straight face.

My brother Jeff (funny expression, tummy out, on the left) had been teasing me the whole time whenever I tried to get up.

Joel (the guy with washboard abs pretending to "suck it in" on the right) was trying to NOT look like me. HA.

I love those guys.

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