Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Play Date!

Tonight was Olivia's first play date! Beckey, Courtney, and Shayla came over to visit for an hour or so after Beckey got off work. Shayla was born January 30th (Courtney actually went to the hospital on MY due date!), a few weeks early, but she wasn't your average preemie! She has a pound or two advantage over Olivia, but she's still precious! Both babies either slept or ate through most of the visit, but both were bright-eyed for a photo session right before they left.


Obviously since Olivia has only been on this planet for a few weeks, we are experiencing lots of firsts. First bath, first smile, etc... Here are a few more.

Two days ago she turned over for the first time! I'm not too sure if it was an accident or intentional; I just know that when I left the room she was on her belly, and when I returned she was on her back. Now, not to take any credit away from her mad skills, she was at an advantage the way she was positioned on the couch, and she rolled to the lower side. Nevertheless, she turned over, and that's all that matters. She hasn't done it since.

She also had a bath in her blue baby bath tub for the first time. She didn't enjoy bath time any more, but it was much easier on my back because it sits her higher up, so we will continue to use it.
Today she sat in her Bumpo seat for the first time. If you have never seen a Bumpo seat, they are pretty cool. They are made from a plasticky/styrofoamy/pool toy type material that helps babies learn to use their back and neck muscles. I don't think they are designed for babies under two months, but since she's been holding her head up since she was in the hospital, I thought we would give it a try. She liked it for the first few minutes...

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Update...

Because of elevated thyroid levels when O was in the NICU, Dr. Robert's sent us to get additional blood work done over at Northport DCH. We caught up with each other today and I found out that her levels were, in the words of Dr. Robert's, PERFECT! Yay! No additional tests or treatments needed! Praise the Lord!

The Last Link

I never thought I would be sad when the raisin in Olivia's belly button finally dried all the way and fell off, but I really was! This little nubbin was the only link to my baby for nine months, and now that it is gone, she is her own little person. Yes, she does rely solely on us for everything that she needs, but one day soon, she will be helping herself. I have watched her change so much in three weeks that I can already be a little bit sad that she doesn't need me as often as she did when we first got home. It's lame I know, but it makes me sad none the less.

With the nubbin gone, we were able to get a real bath. She still doesn't like it.

The Joys of Colic

After the doctor's appointment last Monday, Olivia started exhibiting the signs of colic. Colic is defined as periods of uncontrollable crying (or, screaming, as in our case) for three or more hours for three or more days a week for absolutely no reason. Although it usually happens in the early evening, it could happen at anytime. JOY. Olivia's starts around 7ish at night, and has lasted off and on until as late as 1:30am. Now, when she was in the NICU they jokingly diagnosed her with "lap colic". She is needy and loves to be held. But what we've been experiencing has not been soothed with us loving on her. We originally thought it was just gas, but the gas drops that we got just didn't seem to be working.
So, last Thursday I just couldn't take it anymore, so we got this stuff recommended by her pediatrician called Gripe Water. It's main ingredient is chamomile, and it seems to be working pretty good. I have learned in the last few days that I must give it to her before she gets too worked up, or else it takes a while to kick in. It seems to soothe her right away, and she seems to like the taste - I don't exactly know why, because when I got a drop on my hand and licked it off, it tasted HORRIBLE. Yuck! long as it seems to be working...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Pictures!

We were playing with the camera while she was in her swing the other day. These are just some pictures of the really cute faces she makes!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The First Doctor's Appointment

We went this morning for our first doctor's appointment with our pediatrician, Dr. Roberts. They covered the basics today. She weighs 8 pounds, 4 ounces - up almost a pound in a week. Apparently this is good as a newborn. She measured 20 3/4 inches, but I don't think that was very accurate because I didn't do a good job holding her in place when the nurse stretched her leg out, so I am thinking that the 3/4 height gain may be more like 1/4 or 1/2 inch instead.
Because of the season, we were advised not to go out too much to places with lots of people. She said that there was a stomach virus that was pretty bad in the community and the obvious cold and flu bugs going around. Before we left we were sent over to the lab at the hospital to have more blood work done. Apparently she had an elevated thyroid level in the NICU, and Dr. Roberts wanted to test her right away in case there was something to be made of it in order to start treatment immediately. Other than that she is in great health. We go back in April for the first round of immunizations. We were advised to bring Infant Tylenol because she would be really cranky following. I'm NOT looking forward to this.

Hanging out with the family!

Because she spent the week in the NICU, she wasn't available to entertain everyone who wanted hugs, kisses, and the such while we were in the hospital. Because of age, Michael's sisters weren't even allowed to go into the NICU to see her up close, much less touch her. Yesterday afternoon was the first time that they got to hold her. We had a great visit and she was up for most of it, but got tired and cranky toward the end and had to take a nap.

Three generations of Harrises

Nana Lisa feeding her lunch

Aunt Zoe and Aunt Jessika holding her for the first time

The First Bath

Just know that her first bath at home was a week ago. I'm just getting around to posting; She hasn't been stewing in her own stink for a week! I mentioned earlier that Mom came over to help me her first day home from the hospital. Included in this help was her first bath. Because of her belly button stubby we're still doing sponge baths, which I had never done before, so Mom was giving me some pointers. Olivia did really well and LOVED the lotion massage at the end. However, I have not been as successful on my own. She likes it much better when Gramma bathes her.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A week in review....

Okay, so I haven't posted in a few days (weeks...). I've heard that some of you have been talking about my lack of blogging - Cut me some slack, I've been a LITTLE busy!!.... However, I am now here to catch you up on everything.

After the apnea episode on Tuesday, we were bound to what we were originally told was another seven days in the NICU. I was not prepared for this. I spent Wednesday and Thursday mainly in tears. Just the thought of leaving my baby in the hospital was enough send me over the edge every time. Friday was an absolute wash. I couldn't begin to count the number of times I sobbed. On top of all of this, I was bound and determined to breastfeed. However, with an unplanned c-section that produced some complications that landed her in the NICU to begin with, I was not allowed to breastfeed within the first critical hour. Actually, I didn't even get to attempt it until Thursday when the IV in her belly button was removed. They couldn't get it in any other vein, so they had to thread it through her umbilical cord stump, which is apparently very fragile. Because of this, I wasn't even supposed to hold her until it was removed, but some of the kinder nurses agreed to help us hold our baby girl. Meanwhile we learned that if there were no more complications, we would probably get to take her home Monday. Even though this sucked because I still was going to have to leave her, it was at least sooner than the original seven days. We arranged to stay at my parent's house because they live just minutes from the hospital. Coaling is a long drive when you are that far from your baby. Let me insert here...I can't even begin to thank my parents for all they did for us while Olivia and I were in the hospital. From carting me back and forth to buying a couch so we would have some place to sleep, words (heck, even gifts) couldn't cover the thanks required to pay them back for everything. I love you guys SO MUCH!! So, Monday rolled around (the longest weekend of my life!) and we were able to bring her home because there were no further problems. We learned that because of her fast breathing right out of the womb that she probably just got tired from it and chose to pause for a minute. She just forgot to pick it back up again. Lazy kid. Monday afternoon we stayed with my parents until Michael got off work and could come get us and take us home. I was not out of the clear emotionally. I don't quite know what was wrong, I just don't think I was ready to have her on my own yet. What was I supposed to do with her now? She was really cute in the hospital, when someone else was really caring for her full time and I could go in there to feed and change her, but those people don't come home with you. I was scared of her.

However, Monday was a good night - she was setting me up, I think. Mom came to stay with me Tuesday so I could rest some. Tuesday night - not so good. She was gassy and was having a hard time pooping. (Yes, I know, TMI. Whatever. It's baby poop. It's still cute.) We were transferring her over from the formula from the hospital to the kind that doesn't cost $25 a can. My mom and grandmother passed off days on Thursday and Friday just hanging out with me. I never thought I would get so lonely, but I was dealing hard with some depression and anxiety still. I don't think it's full-blown PPD because I am doing pretty good now, but it was painful for those few days. All those hormones trying to get themselves back together, I guess. I have been able to talk it out through family and friends, and I really am doing better. Just ready to get on with life. So far, so good!
Hospital pictures:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Episode...

So, we had an episode yesterday...

We learned about 3:30 that Olivia had an apnea episode in her sleep that caused her to stop breathing for about a minute. Apparently (I wasn't actually in the NICU with her at the time) she turned blue for a second, they had to give her some oxygen, and now she will have to be monitored for seven more days in the NICU. I will have to leave the hospital Friday without my baby...I don't know how well I am going to do with that.
About the episode: I have been told since that it is not uncommon for a baby to "forget" to breath. That's fine, but I would rather my baby not forget, especially after we get home. I am fighting feelings of inadequacy and facing the many scary questions on this. What if she does this at home in her sleep when I am asleep? What if I don't see her turn blue (which is the most common way to tell)? AGGHHH!!! I am actually rather calm right now; yesterday was NOT a good day. I dealt with lots of depression and just overall sadness. I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the situation, although not doing great with it.
Now...about how I found out...
So, I innocently call the NICU yesterday to get a reminder of all of her feeding times; her nurse tells me, and then adds, (not in these exact words) OH BTW, you're baby stopped breathing earlier and will be in the NICU for another seven days. Although these weren't her exact words, this really is a close enough interpretation. I had to drag out details (between sobs) and translate medical jargon. She acted like this was no big deal, and even if it wasn't, it was a HUGE thing to me, and sensitivity here was crucial. However, I felt as though we were ignored on something we should have been informed about, and that when they had the time, then they could squeeze this detail in, then treated like a retard when asking questions. I may have sounded "slow", but it was more to keep from an explosion rather than actual slowness. Michael went down to get details that I couldn't relay, because truthfully all I heard was, "stopped breathing" and "seven days". Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty afternoon.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's over!!!

The waiting - that is. Oh, I know...the rest has just begun!!

So this is how it went down: (brace's long!)

After my early morning contractions, I was able to get up, shower, and wait for Dr. Allen's assessment. I had progressed to 2cm with just the Cervadil (we came in Sunday night to boost things). At that time he broke my water (about 8:20) and predicted :) a 5:30ish birth with 3:00 being the earliest. Also at this time, our nurse started the induction process with Pitocin, the most common (I guess) form of induction. I had already been having hard contractions since early morning, but by 10:10 the contractions were extremely painful, so we went ahead and started the epidural - it was wonderful! I went to 3cm shortly thereafter. When Dr. Allen came in about 10:30, they all got concerned (very quickly) that he her heart rate had dropped and had stayed that way for four minutes. He said that if she didn't straighten out in the next minute, literally, that we would be going in for a c-section right away. She did. She was just playin'. It wasn't funny to us. At lunch I had already made it to 5cm, which Dr. Allen said showed significant progress. About 3:20, I started feeling some tightness. It was just uncomfortable at first, but soon it was full-blown, tear-wrenching contractions. I had only had the epidural for less than six hours, and it was gone. The anesthesiologist gave me one, and then another re-dose of the numbing juice, but nothing. So at 4:00 I was getting a new epidural. Yes, TWO epidurals.
Dr. Allen had to leave, so Dr. Chwe took over and said 6cm at 7ish, spoke of possible c-section if no progress, mentioned one other episode of her heart rate dropping, and said they would have to monitor it. I was napping through until the next check because I was EXHAUSTED, but the nurse called Dr. Chwe in a few minutes earlier (8:10) than planned because her heart rate was still not cooperating. With other factors including her heart rate being too low, her being without her amniotic sac for more than 12 hours, me still having no further dilation progress, he suggested a c-section - in 15 minutes. We got our family back together - they had all gone off in respective ways because we thought it was going to be a long night; I had a nervous breakdown because things were happening so fast, but I felt immediately better when Michael bent down over me and just started praying. For me, for the baby, for the surgery, everything. In addition, I kept saying silently to myself that God is in control and that this was all going as He planned. I promise that was the only thing getting me through this because I was so scared. We were back in the OR by 8:30, and the time of her birth was 8:57. The surgery was great, but she was having a few problems. They took her to NICU because of some fluid being in her belly and lungs, but everything was fully matured.

She weighed in at 7lbs and 8ozs and 20 inches long. They have to keep her for the 48 hours in the NICU because of the fluid issues, but everything should be fine!! Look at our beautiful baby girl.


It's almost 4 am, and I have been up solid since around 2:30. My sweet nurse has been coming in every thirty minutes or so, and at around 2:30 she said that my contractions were about 1 - 5 minutes apart. We've been monitoring them since then, and they are steady coming 2 minutes apart now. They are not extremely painful, but are just uncomfortable like really bad period cramps. I was able to get several hours of good sleep thanks to an Ambien, a magic sleeping pill that seems to have worn off...I am hoping that with the steady progression of the contractions that I won't have to labor too long after they start the induction in a few hours. A girl can dream...!
(Well, it was almost 4 am, but with contractions and a not so great Internet connection, this has taken a little while...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It has begun!

I hope to give as much play-by-play as possible if I can - mainly for my remembrance sake more than for anyone else. It is Sunday night, February 1st, and we are now in the hospital because it's three days past my due date. We were able to come in tonight in order to start Cervadil, a drug designed to help me dilate. Which is good, because when Dr. Smith (not my real doctor - Dr. Allen will be here tomorrow) checked me, I was STILL only 1 1/2 cm and 75%. This little girl is just bound and determined to stay in there! So now we are just watching TV and killing time until morning, when Dr. Allen will come in to induce. More in the morning!!