Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Breastfeeding


I am a breastfeeding mama!! As some of you may know, this is my first time breastfeeding. I just wanted to post this so that others maybe can feel like there is hope for them.  I honestly didn't feel like there was any hope for me in breastfeeding. It was a deep desire in my heart to breastfeed, and I was absolutely devastated when it didn't work out with Samantha. There were a LOT of reasons it didn't work out, and that is okay. It again didn't work out with Jase, but I hadn't allowed myself to be as emotionally invested in it, so it was hard, but it wasn't crushing, when it again didn't work out.  My plan this time around was to wing it. If I felt like giving it a try, I would. If not- then no! :)  Well little Everett came and when the nurses left me alone with him and Jacob I decided that I was NOT going to. I didn't want to deal with the heartache. And Jacob (who, prior to this whole thing said that he would be completely on board and supportive of whatever decision I mad and not be ANYTHING but supportive!!) sad: "Well, it won't hurt to just try once". I wasn't pleased with this, but I kept hearing my mother's words in my head "Just because it didn't work out the first 2 times, doesn't mean it won't work out this time", and just decided to try one time. Wellll I put him on and it went pretty well. I requested a lactation consultant for the next feeding. He was doing great and she gave me some pointers. By this point in life, I'd met with so many lactation consultants on my previous attempts and read so much on it, that there wasn't anything new said to me.. but for some reason this lactation consultant just said things in the right way and helped me so that things really clicked. It went so well! That was my last time to nurse before he got taken away from me to the NICU. I figured it wasn't going to work out, because the hours in the NICU are limited and there is no privacy at all. It was discouraging. I pumped a couple of times, and I got like... half an ounce or so. -I've done the pumping thing before for the other 2 and the one thing I had promised myself this time was that I would NOT put myself through the torture of pumping. Spending 12-14 hours a day between pumping and cleaning bottles and feeding and cleaning pumping equipment was not going to happen this time around. I was thoroughly displeased to be pumping and decided I was done. It was a good feeling, but frustrating too. I started only pumping every 8 hours and was fine with that. Everett got dismissed from the NICU and I decided to put him on just to see. It went pretty well, and I decided to just go with it and see how it went. I pumped at home at night while I was away from him. The first few days of him being in the nursery he had formula and nursed interchangeably, but by the last 2 nights I'd pumped enough that they were feeding him just pumped milk and I was nursing. His NP also came in and gave me some tips. I learned from the lactation consultant and the NP that I have a harder time nursing because of a small physical difference in myself. It wasn't anything I didn't already know, but it was nice to have some validation that not all of my failures are because I didn't try hard enough in the past :).  That week that Everett was in the nursery had ups and downs.  One of my friends told me I just needed confidence. Being postpartum and hormonal I was a little annoyed (she is a nursing pro, and I really admire her, but at that point it was envy! haha!) and stewed over it for a few hours before I came to the realization that she was 100% correct. That was the last factor that I needed- confidence.  When it hurt so bad I was in tears and so frustrated I would think back to all the hard stuff I went through while I was pregnant, which was soooo much worse, and it gave me the strength to push through. I know I can do hard things. And having that knowledge and believing it was the last factor I needed to succeed at breastfeeding. I will say it is much harder to endure pain when it is self inflicted and something you can stop, than much more severe pain that you can't do anything about and just have to deal with. I know there are MANY reasons that breastfeeding doesn't work out, but maybe this will help someone else out there who has struggled with it in the past who wants to give it another shot.  I prayed so hard that I would be able to breastfeed, if it was the right thing for me, and I know that Heavenly Father set everything up for me so that the things would happen that needed to so that I could succeed. I know it isn't right for everyone, and that it doesn't work out for everyone and I know the heartache and depression and frustration and the tears all too well. But there is hope for everyone! Don't be afraid to try again. YOU can do hard things!! And if it doesn't work out for other reasons, that is fine too!! Don't worry about it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

NICU

The evening after Everett was born he had to go to the NICU. Earlier in the afternoon his breathing was extremely fast and he had Stridor breathing.. If you don't know what that is here is a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkaX83H31QY  it's scary! His wasn't as bad as the baby in the video, but much faster. He was at over 100 respirations/min and babies should be 40-50 and should NOT be higher than 60. We didn't really know what was going on with him. So they whisked him away that afternoon and took some blood samples to see if he had an infection. I am group B strep positive so they were Very concerned about that, and worried he had sepsis. Sooo sad. They came back with my sweet little baby (still nameless.. I think at this point we were thinking about Grayson and Oliver) and told me they had to take him to the NICU. He wasn't doing terrible at this point, they just wanted him hooked up to everything and right there in case he got worse. His oxygen was low (they put him on oxygen at first), and they could tell his circulation wasn't that great because he had poor perfusion.  So we called our home teacher and he came and assisted Jacob in giving Everett a blessing.

See the IV in his poor little head on his upper right side? So sad. 
 It was HORRIBLE letting the nurse take him off to the NICU.  I wasn't going to be able to see him until the next day(it was around 8 or 9pm that they took him). I think it was after 10am... I can't remember exactly. It was a long night, stuck in the hospital with no baby. It was very strange! I pumped for him and stressed about him. I had no desire to try breastfeeding him at that point, as I would have had a lot of spectators, so pumping it was.  I was so happy when they finally let me go see him! By the time I got to see him he was no longer on oxygen.  Before we went to see him, my doctor came and talked to me about what had happened (I LOVE my OB and he is in our ward, which is nice). He said that basically what is supposed to happen is while the baby is in the birth canal, all the fluid that is in their lungs get squeezed out with all the contractions and pushing. And what happened is Everett was in the birth canal for such a short amount of time (through one contraction/ 2 1/2 pushes..) that all the fluid didn't get pushed out of his lungs.  This is not uncommon, but usually the body absorbs the leftover fluid in the longs within a couple of hours.  Everett's was in there longer, and somehow he got an infection in the fluid that was left in there. So that was that.



 Everett was in the NICU less than 48 hours so it really wasn't all that bad. They started him on an antibiotic that first evening (Thursday) and he stabilized the next day. He needed to be stable for 24 hours before moving to the nursery. Next I got checked out of the hospital. Luckily my OB is the director of the L&D, so even though they had to check me out in the morning, I got to stick around and use my room and I still even got meals! It was super nice! It was heart breaking to leave him that first night. I had a hard time sleeping and hurried to the hospital first thing in the morning. Ariel (Jacob's little sis) flew out to help and it was such a blessing having her there. I was able to spend the day at the hospital with Everett, and she would bring the kids over for a little while then take them home and watch them. It was nice not having to worry about them or where they were going or who was watching them, or worse having them there with me. I was able to take care of my little boy :)
 At the hospital they get a lot of clothing donations in the NICU, and our nurse sent Everett to the nursery in this cute (but funny) little elf outfit someone crocheted then donated :) It was one of the few things there that was big enough!


After he was stable for 24 hours they released him and he got to go to the nursery!! yay! The nursery doesn't have weird visiting hours, or scary machines, ha :) He had to stay in the nursery until the following Thursday morning so that they could administer his antibiotic through his IV twice a day. That week is a bit of a blur in my mind. I spent a lot of time at the hospital with him and my days consisted of traveling back and forth from the hospital so I could nurse (!! I know! Another post) and see him. It was exhausting. I distinctly remembering repeatedly telling myself it was for the better because he was learning to sleep through noise and lights and I was able to sleep at night straight through. Haha, I think that thinking helped me feel better about it, but looking back I think I might have been better rested had he just been home with me, as I was getting home very late, leaving early, sleeping fitfully, and traveling back and forth so much :)  It was very difficult for me to be away from him. Any mama out there knows that when you have a baby they feel like an extension of you for that first 6 months or so. My heart goes out to any of you out there that have had to deal with babies at the hospital for longer and babies in much more critical condition. I do realize I had it easy!!
Thursday came and I was soooo excited to pick up my little sweety pie and take him home!! I got to the hospital early and we waited and waited for the NP to see him and give him the go ahead so he could come home! And of course he peed all over his take home outfit and ended up going home in donated WV Mountaineers pajamas... Which was fitting :)  haha. He is my whole world (so are my other kids and hubby :)) and I adore him to no end.  I am so grateful to have him as part of our family!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Birth Story

Today Everett is 4 months old! I realized I have not yet written down his birth story (oops!) so here goes! I had a difficult pregnancy with him. There was a lot of sickness and a LOT of pain, and, unfortunately, a lot of anger (anyone else experience pregnancy anger? How did you deal? What helped? I need to figure this out if I'm going to get pregnant again). I was very anxious about having Everett.  I was terrified. I wasn't very nervous about having Sammi or Jase.. I knew I'd love them and I knew I could do it. I have a Lot of love to give, I wasn't concerned about loving Everett as much as my other kids (I know some are concerned about things like that) or anything along those lines. I was just worried about being able to handle 3 kids, and TERRIFIED of colic. Jacob puts in 70-80+ hours/wk into school. It doesn't leave a lot of time for helping. Samantha had colic and Jacob was only gone about 45-50 hrs/ wk and it was sooo nice to catch a break from the screaming when he came home! Turns out Heavenly Father knows what we can handle and I was correct in assuming I couldn't handle colic by myself, haha! Everett is the perfect baby. He smiles and giggles and he only cries is he is wet or tired or if something spooks him.  I don't think he has full out screamed more than twice, and it was less than a minute both times. He is a joy and my little ray of sunshine. It is an almost daily occurrence for me to be extremely frustrated with one of the older kids and feel at my wit's end, when I turn and see Everett just smiling at me happily and my heart is immediately softened. Don't get me wrong, he is a baby so still a lot work, but he has brought a special light to our home.

Well, back to the birth story. At my 34 week ultrasound we saw that baby boy was already about 6 pounds.. ha! That made me nervous! He was estimated to be about 9 pounds if I reached 40 weeks. Sheesh!  I planned everything out with Jacob's little sister Ariel, who was coming to help out. My due date was Dec. 12, the day Jacob would be finishing his finals. I was very concerned about baby boy coming early (I had Sammi at 37 weeks and Jase at 38 weeks) and having no help for Jacob's finals week (a typical finals week for Jacob is him getting up at 4am, going straight to school and coming home 9:30-10ish and going straight to bed), or for him coming DURING finals week. So I decided to plan an induction for 39 weeks (Dec. 5) so that I could be guaranteed to have help during his finals week and also not interrupt his finals with baby boy coming.  My doctor was on board (esp since baby was so big! He doesn't like complications, he likes things to go smoothly) so we scheduled my induction for Dec. 5.  Just like when I was pregnant with Jase, I was dilated to a 5.5 and not very effaced or in labor. Things go really quickly once labor hits, if you're already at a 5.5 :) So Dec. 4 we went in at about 10 to get the cervadil stuff (ripens the cervix), turns out I'd progressed and effaced so I didn't need it.

 They hooked me up to an IV (group B strep positive.. gotta have those antibiotics for at LEAST 4 hours, preferably 8).. and that was horrible!! Ugh!! Sooo I'm pretty sure the girl that was doing the IV was new or just awful at it and practicing on me. I have decent veins on my wrist and I was super hydrated (over 90 oz of water that day!). She was soooooo slow at it and was digging around for forever. If you are a nurse, just get in there and jab it in! Seriously! My stomach still churns thinking about her digging around in there for a vein! I get really anxious when it comes to needles, and she just kept digging around. Then she thinks she has it set up and going and gets it all taped up, then it didn't have a good flow and she announces it had to come out.  Everything started turning black  and spinning (I almost lost my cookies.. except I don't have a gag reflex so I don't throw up, haha! but there was intense nausea) and I said something about not being able to see very well and feeling ill and they reclined my bed and started putting a cool washcloth on my head.. then they had to hook me up to oxygen- haaa! So embarrassing! :)  The same nurse tried AGAIN and failed. She left the room and I told one of the other nurses that somebody else was going for it because that girl was NOT coming near my arm again.. haha.  Third time was NOT the charm, unfortunately. That nurse was a digger too. So they went and got their "IV pro" and she came in, lined up her needle and BAM, fast as can be, she got it in!  Piece of cake. I have GOOD veins, I am telling you! Nurses: digging is bad when your patient gets anxious around needles!  Thank you for all the bruises and puffy veins and soreness. :)

Back to the story.. Well I didn't sleep much, because I was so excited and anxious about everything. In the morning around 7:30 or so they started me on some pitocin. I'm not crazy enough to go drugless on pitocin, so when they started hurting I got the epidural (again, needles make me anxious, so I have to wait until I'm in pain til I can suffer the terrifying epidural) but I reeeeeallly wanted just the lowest amount possible of medicine through my epidural. Just enough to take the edge off. I wanted to be able to feel how hard I was pushing and be able to feel so I can try to prevent a tear.. So I'm all hooked up and ready to go, feeling my contractions and in a little pain, but not a lot. About an hour later they check me and I'm at an 8 and decide to call my doctor, who is 20 minutes away. Less than 10 minutes later everything got more intense and I wanted to push soooooooo badly! So Jacob got a nurse and she checked me and I was complete. I couldn't control my urge to push, so the nurse reached over and pushed my epidural button THREE times!! Immediately everything went numb :( I no longer had the urge to push! So sad! My doctor came about 10 minutes later. I was SOO numb. They could have cut off my body below my rib cage and I would have been none the wiser!

 At this point there were at LEAST 10 people in my room.. Some nursing students had asked to see my birth and they were in there with their supervising nurses, then there were my nurses, and Everett's nurses and Jacob, and my doc.. it was a PACKED room! So doc tells me to push and I push and everyone starts cheering for me and saying how great I was doing! It was funny. And I was just soaking it up, enjoying being the star of the show! haha! My next push wasn't nearly as good cause I was focused on the other people in my room, not on pushing... However, his head had come out and I had NO idea!! So my doctor told me to give one really good push (I was thinking 'The head must be right there, I need one big push to get the head out!') so I pushed with all my might... and Jacob said Everett came flying out like a bar of wet soap. My doctor literally had to catch him.. haha!! I was so bewildered when they said I was done! What???!!  He was born at 9:46 am 8lb 7oz of pure love and joy :)
Next up: His time in the NICU


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