Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 8th - First Day Home

The minute we walked in from the hospital Addison was begging to hold Claire.  We went and introduced Claire to her bedroom and then Addison and Claire sat on the rocker to bond.  Addison just loves her!

Addison then wanted to show Claire her own bedroom and share her toys with her.  She stacked her blocks around and behind her and they will have so much fun learning to play together!  Hopefully it will always be so exciting. 
Claire needed a hat because our house was a little chilly.
Addison refused to be outdone and ran to her room to get her own hat - which she wore until nap-time.  This also documents that Addison drinks her yogurt with a straw.  I got tired of cleaning up the mess of Addison trying to feed herself yogurt and so we switched to her drinking it.  It works WAY better and she actually consumes a hole lot more now that she isn't spooning it everywhere and purposely making a mess and spreading it on the counter.
After nap-time - where everyone in the house got at least two hours of sleep - we decided to go to the park.  We tried out our new stroller and this is also the park where we took Addison on her maiden stroller walk two years ago (you can remember it here).  We are loving our new stroller.  We have been on several family outings this week and it off-roads and on-roads wonderfully.  It was a great purchase.  My favorite feature is the brake :)  Oliver says that's not really a selling point but there is a hand lever that you just flip and the thing is locked in place - AWESOME!

While Addison and dad were playing on the playground and rolling down the hill - I fed Claire and then she napped in Addison's seat reclined.  Like I said - versatile!  Had we known this stroller existed when we were having our first child we would have bought it - it can be a single/double/or triple stroller so it grows with you while you're having kids and then it downsizes with you while you're finishing having kids.  
Addison loves to roll down the hills at the park.  Here she is with her dad having a great time!
More fun adventures to come - but our first day at home as a family was wonderful!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The End of the NICU - Through Day 15

NICU Day 13 (Saturday, Oct 6):
Saturday morning Nana was flying home to Oregon.  We woke up at home and had a package from Aunt Rochelle and Uncle Scott.  They sent a tee-pee for Addison and so we had to assemble it first thing.  It has been a huge hit at our house and Addison loves that Dad can come in with her and that they read together.  

Because of all the things going on at the hospital - our camera has mostly been up at the NICU.  There are very few pictures of Addison and Nana together and they have spent a ton of time together and done a lot of really fun things.  I left the camera one afternoon for my mom, but forgot that I had it set for the light scoop, and she didn't check to make sure it was working.  Sadly - not one picture turned out and, even with Photoshop, not one of them can be salvaged.  Luckily she'll be back one month from today and we'll be able to get more pictures of Addison with Nana.  Here's one I snapped right before my mom and I left for our last trip to the NICU before dropping her at the airport.  Her deciding to come out last minute has been the greatest blessing for our family and she will be greatly missed!
Oliver and I traded off being back and forth to the NICU to do all of Claire's feedings today.  Our neighbor offered to sit at our house during priesthood so that I could go and feed Claire and Oliver could attend conference.  We have watched/listened to various talks off and on today but we haven't been the most diligent.  Luckily, they are so easy to access after-the-fact!  Nothing exciting happened at the NICU today - which we are grateful for!  Just one more day and a little bit and we will be done.  I didn't actually bring the camera to the NICU today at all - but luckily our night nurse is up with the times and has an iPHONE so she let me take some pictures of Claire and emailed them to me.  I would be sad to not have documented one day of this experience but my phone just isn't cool enough to take and send pictures :)
NICU Day 14 (Sunday, Oct 7): 
Oliver and I traded off and on to go the NICU today - except - Oliver's parents graciously came out to our house (after driving back from the St. George Marathon this morning) to play with Addison so that we could give Claire her bath.  Claire always eats well after her baths.
One of the last things that Claire has to do to get out of the NICU is pass her car seat test.  She has to sit in her car seat for 2 hours while being monitored to make sure that she can hold her oxygen levels.  She sat in her seat from 8-10 Sunday night and passed with flying colors.  

After her car seat test, I fed Claire one more time and then it was time for her to receive her ampicillin which is one of the antibiotics she takes.  As I was dressing her for bed I thought her PIC line looked a little strange and asked the nurse to look at it.  She looked at her PIC line site and felt concerned as well and decided that she could give Claire her antibiotics without checking with the charge nurse first who was off assisting with a C-section.  It was already after 11 pm and the only reason we were still in the NICU was for Claire's 11pm and 7am dosage of ampicillin.  Instead of waiting for the C-section to play out and the charge nurse to return, I decided to head home and asked the nurse call me as soon as they decided what to do about her PIC line and how to administer her last two doses of antibiotics.  

I went home feeling frustrated.  I knew they wouldn't move her PIC line for two more doses of antibiotics but I also worried about them sticking her again to find an IV site because I am just tired of the NICU sticking Claire - period!  However, I want her to come home, so whatever makes that possible is also okay.  Oliver actually wasn't feeling well and so he was already in bed when I got home - I lay awake waiting for my phone to ring and playing out possible scenarios.  I got a call about 1:30 am saying they had removed her PIC line and spoken to the neonatologist and decided to give her one dosage of rocephin which is an injection in her leg.  The rocephin is mixed with lidocaine which just made me feel wonderful.  Oh - by the way - we have to mix your daughter's antibiotics with a numbing medicine because it is most likely painful going in and we need to numb her leg for awhile after as well.  AWESOME!  Seriously - couldn't her PIC line have held up for just two more doses!  The nice thing is that the rocephin is a three-day time release antibiotic and so she only needed one dose to replace the two doses of ampicillin.  We were getting so close to being done - now the only thing standing in our way is her hearing test!  I got a few hours of sleep before Monday morning.

NICU Day 15 (Monday, Oct 8):
We woke up to an alarm Monday morning - anxious to go and get Claire.  All Oliver has wanted since this delivery was scheduled - was to come home as a whole family.  We woke up Addison and took her with us to the NICU at 7 am to make that dream possible.  They gave us permission to have Addison come in to room 1 and watch a Dora video while we worked on our discharge paperwork and Claire had her hearing screening.  

Claire's hearing screening went well and she passed in both ears!

I then removed all her leads and got her dressed to come home!
This is the first time she has been un-tethered for 15 days!
After signing a few more papers and agreeing to pay our bill - or trade our house to cover it - we were finally ready to go home.  We took Claire down to room 1 and Addison was waiting to climb into her car seat and give her a kiss.  
We headed down and loaded into the car.
Addison talked to Claire the whole way home and gave us a play-by-play of everything she was doing.  
She was excited to help carry Claire inside.
And we were just glad to finally feel like we're starting life as a family of four!
So - this is the end of the NICU saga and the beginning of our lives with two girls!  We just can't wait!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Errands with Addison and Time with Claire

NICU Day 12 (Friday, Oct 5):
No word about my ultrasound today.  It was necessary to run a few errands with Addison and so I went to the NICU to do the 7 am feeding.  I then went home and got all ready to go.  When Addison put her shoes on she began to fuss and upon asking her what was wrong, I learned that her shoes hurt.  Apparently, while I have been lying in bed over the last month, she has out-grown all her shoes.  Maybe it's just our family, but it isn't really the dad thing to buy her shoes or recognize when we're ready for a change.  It is also fall and she should be wearing something other than sandals anyway.  

She didn't really want to run errands - but off we went.  We stopped at Target to make a return and then we swung into Old Navy to buy socks - she also has no socks that fit!  I picked up a shirt for me and 15 pairs of socks for Addison :)  It's wonderful to not wear maternity clothes and just feel a little less frumpy.  After Old Navy we went to Costco because a dress boutique that I like was having a road show and I also found matching Christmas dresses for the girls.  It is nearly impossible to find matching dresses from the toddler sizes to the infant sizes and so I was happy about that.  Costco already has all their Christmas toys out and I am not ready to decide what I want to buy.  One thing I don't like is that you have to decide now - because when I am actually ready to make a decision about toys for Christmas it will be too late to get anything from Costco - and there are several things I like but nothing that we actually need. 

When we finished at Costco we went home for lunch and to play and then I put Addison down for a nap.  I then spent a quite afternoon with Claire and came home for dinner and to put Addison to bed just to return and spend my evening with Claire and Oliver.  My mom flies home tomorrow and so it is the last night that Oliver and I could just spend together in the NICU.  It has been so great to have my mom here - because while we will be able to trade off for the last two days of our NICU stay - it has been a nice end to our days to have time to just sit and visit and hold Claire and not feel like we're running in a million different directions.  It has been a time for Oliver and I to connect and talk and plan and just be together and it is one of the greatest gifts that came out of my mom coming to town to help.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nana Gives a Bath

NICU Day 11 (Thursday, Oct 4):
Addison spent the night at Grandma and Papa's last night which freed up Nana to spend a day and night with my sister and her kids before she flies home on Saturday.  It also allowed Oliver to accompany me to my ultrasound appointment this morning.  The tech isn't allowed to divulge any information and having an ultrasound of my pancreas, gall bladder, both kidneys, liver, and stomach is far less interesting than having an ultrasound to have a baby.  She said that doctor would call after the radiologist reads the results in a day or two.  I imagine I won't hear anything until next week just because of how the weekend is going to fall.  I also imagine that no news is good news - and hopefully it turns out to be nothing.  The ultrasound was actually kind of painful because of the pain that I am in and the positions I had to lay in - but hopefully they captured what they needed.

As we were pulling in from our appointment, Oliver's mom was pulling in with my mom and Addison.  It worked out beautifully because my sister lives right by Oliver's parents and so his mom was happy to do the shuttling for us.  After a few minutes at home, getting dad off to work, and mom being able to eat breakfast after fasting for her ultrasound we were out the door again.  Anamarie volunteered to watch Addison for me in the morning so that my mom could come and spend a few hours in the NICU.  It has been wonderful because my mom has been so available to us so that Oliver and I can run to the NICU in a moments notice...but it has also meant that she isn't as free to just pop into the NICU to see Claire.  We coordinated with the nurses to allow us to bathe Claire during the day shift instead of the night shift and Oliver graciously gave up witness to one of her baths so that my mom could participate.     

After spending some good cuddle time with Claire, my mom and I went to pick up Addison, had lunch, and then everyone went down for a nap.  After nap we played and then we met up with Oliver at Buy Buy Baby to purchase a double stroller.  We have been testing strollers for the past 5 months, probably because we really hate the stroller we bought when we had Addison and so we wanted to be sure that we would LOVE our double stroller and actually use it!  We have taken the model out to our car to see how it fits and paced the aisles on several different occasions.  After testing Addison in the stroller one final time - we finally took the plunge!

Oliver then went back to work and Nana and Addison went home and I headed back to the NICU to spend my evening.  Oliver had to work VERY late because he took a week off work to have Claire and he was trying to catch up.  But he is also trying to get ahead so that he can take next week off work - which isn't the best timing because of the close - so he ended up working until past 11.  I fed Claire and then stayed between feedings and then fed her again.  In all the hours I have spent at the NICU today she has mostly slept - but of course - when I'm packing my things to head home a little after 11 she decides that she wants to be awake.  My nurse was covering three babies and the one to our left is going through drug withdrawl and having seizures and the one to our right had a failed head IV.  The NICU was in a state of commotion and I felt horrible putting Claire into her bed awake!
Here's the thing - Oliver and I believe in sleep training and think that it's very important to put your children to bed drowsy but awake so that they can learn to put themselves to sleep.  However, when we trained Addison to sleep - we knew that she had been stimulated throughout the day, talked to, played with, and moved about.  Claire is tethered to an IV that allows her less than 3 feet of travel and she has spent her entire 11 days of life living in three different rooms.  The only visual stimulus she gets is staring at beeping monitors and the plastic sides of her bed (that's a slight exaggeration because I had been at the NICU for more than 8 hours today - but it is how it feels).  The thought of lying her in her bed wide awake was distressing and I started to bawl.  I called Oliver to see what he thought I should do - and he felt that I should say her prayers with her and come home.  She and I prayed together and then I put her to bed, drowsy but awake, and bawled the entire way home.  I asked the Lord to comfort her and help her to not be lonely and then I walked out of the NICU feeling like a neglectful horrible parent.  Whether or not I did the right thing is a moment of the past and can't be changed - but I can't express how badly I would like this roller coaster to come to an end! 

I can't wait to bring Claire home and know that she has been talked to, played with, moved about, and visually stimulated.  Then I will feel much better about putting her in bed awake. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Night in the NICU and a Couple Dr. Visits

NICU Day 10 (Wednesday, Oct 3):
I woke up and called the NICU right at 7 to see who my nurse was going to be and have some input for Claire's day.  Luckily, our nurse was Shanda again and we are very comfortable with her.  I waited until I spoke with the receptionist at my doctors before heading to the NICU and scheduled my own doctor's appointment at 10:30.  When I went in to have my incision looked at it turned out that it wasn't leaking blood but that it was leaking serous fluid in a few different places.  When I was laying down and there was no pressure applied it wasn't doing anything - but every time she applied pressure the wound freely flowed.  She said that it wasn't infected, swollen, red, or irritated however, she had some concerns about how it was looking and so she called over to the OB/GYN that actually performed the c-section and he wanted me to come and see him at 1:30.  

I left the office feeling dejected and frustrated because I just didn't need one more thing to deal with.  I was starving and drove through Chick-fil-A and ordered a sandwich, large fry, large drink, brownie, and a cookie and when I drove the window and it felt like the guy was looking to see if there was more than one person in my car - I thought - don't judge me, no there are not two people in my car - and yes I'm going to eat all of it because I'm feeling sorry for myself!  After talking to Meghann and feeling a little less badly for myself I ran back over to the NICU to feed Claire before heading to my second doctors appointment.

He looked at the incision and said it was doing what it should.  Because it bruised so badly it formed a hematoma and it needed a place to drain.  If the incision hadn't opened he would have to cut it open so the fluid could vacate.  Nice!  So it will leak for the next 3-5 days while the hematoma  drains and then the incision will re-close.  As I was laying on the exam table I asked how long the horrible pain in my right side was going to last.  I told him that I was still unable to get in and out of my bed and I can't lay on my right side at all.  I also told him that everyone kept telling me it was gas pains from being opened, having my internal organs extracted, and then being put back together.  He asked if I had the pain anywhere else - which I don't - and then he said "that doesn't seem right to me" referring to the gas pain, "it sounds like something else".  And so, I am now scheduled for an ultra-sound appointment tomorrow morning to check on my gall bladder and liver (both of which are on the right).  I am praying for it to be some random phantom pain associated with the C-section just so that I don't have anything else to deal with.  

After my second doctor's appointment of the day I returned to the NICU to nurse again, went home for dinner and to play with Addison and put her to bed, and then returned to the NICU to spend the evening with Claire and Oliver.  Here are some pictures from our day.  

Claire with a new face.

 A close-up of the PIC line.
Dad feeding Claire.
Claire holding hands with her daddy.
Best buddies.
Getting burped.
Just chilling.
We are finally to double digit days and it feels like the end is so close!  Here's to hoping for a calm and uneventful rest of our week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Frustrating Day

NICU Day 9 (Tuesday, Oct 2):
It was actually a rough day of NICU commuting.  I was feeling stressed about splitting my time - they fed Claire a bottle of formula just moments before I was walking into the NICU to breastfeed - Addison wasn't getting my attention and I WAY OVER DID IT!  Because, well, that's what mom's do best.  I just kept feeling like every time I left the NICU things were happening not exactly the way I wanted them to.  It's not that the nurses aren't gifted or caring or any of that - it just isn't exactly how the mom wants it and it's hard to watch someone else care for your child.  

Plus, since I've been in bed since the end of August, I'm kind of tired of other people raising my children.  Everyone is well intentioned and we have so much love and support from our families and friends - but irregardless - it's hard for me to not just do it myself, my way, on my time.  I was feeling guilty about leaving Claire, guilty about not being home for long enough while Addison was awake, and just frustrated about not being a good mom.  When I had been back and forth twice to feed Claire and played with Addison in between and then sat and rocked Claire for 2 hours while Addison napped - I finally stumbled home at about 3 all prepared to spend the afternoon with Addison as soon as she woke up.  Unfortunately, my body said NOPE!  I was in horrible pain and exhausted - so I laid down on the couch while my mom and Addison did water color pictures at my kitchen counter.  I talked to Addison for awhile and finally fell asleep.  When Oliver got home from work I was still feeling miserable and so he did dinner with Addison and then they had a daddy/daughter date outside while I rested.  Balance is not my strong suit apparently - but putting my own health completely aside to try to do everything for my kids - yep, I have that mom quality down pat!  

Needless to say, when we put Addison down at 7 pm and it was time to head to the NICU I really didn't want to go...But what can I say?  I must be a masochist, it was bath night at the NICU and I couldn't miss that.  Plus, Oliver hadn't seen Claire all day and I like to spend time with him which is currently only happening while we're in the NICU - so off we went.

Here is a photo display of all the effort to give a bath at the NICU.

Unhook and re-hook all kinds of machines and wires to prep for the bath.  
Tape a rubber glove around the PIC line to protect it from the water.
After the bath she got weighed.  Look - she's gained back to her birth weight and then 6.9 ounces more!  She's not lacking in eating at all!
Then she has to be dressed (toga style) in an outift that her mom thinks is totally not fit for bed.  However, the nurses pick the clothes...because I also don't prefer pants with all the cords coming off her foot and out her leg.  Don't worry - first thing in the morning I'll be back and requesting a sleeper instead!  If the nurse wants to deal with the pants for her night shift - more power to her!
Swaddle her up and rock her til she's asleep for bed.  
The NICU nurses were again very nice to us and let Oliver's mom come in and visit with us and help bathe Claire with no regard for the "2 visitor at a time" rule.  The nurses really are what have made our stay much more bearable.

We headed home about 10 and when we got home I went in to use the bathroom - only to find that my incision was leaking in two different places.  After calling the night phone line for my doctor - it was decided that it wasn't bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER and that we would just wait and see what was happening after I called her secretary and made an appointment in the morning.  Really - running to my doctors and dealing with my incision bleeding were not what I considered necessary to add to my to do list.  Yeah - overdoing it and me - we're becoming great friends and enemies!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photo Dump

NICU Day 8 (Monday, Oct 1):
We are on the final stretch in that there isn't any more drama (or so we hope) and we have a finalized plan and now we are just carrying it out.  Today was the first day for me to go back and forth from the house with Oliver at work.  Addison had spent the night with Grandma and Papa and so my mom was able to come up to the NICU for Claire's early feeding. 

This picture shows all the leads that Claire will have until we check-out and head home!  The one taped around her foot is a light that shines through her skin and measures the oxygen saturation in her blood.  The three sticky ones attached to her belly and chest show her heart beat, her respiration rate, and her oxygen intake.  Her right arm is where her PIC line is inserted and she has a continuous drip IV that keeps the line open and then she also receives one antibiotic every 12 hours and a second antibiotic every 48 hours.  It makes holding her and changing her a little awkward - but we're getting very adept. 
Because of her PIC line - Claire has been sporting the toga look.  Our nurse wants to keep her totally in fashion and coordinated so she changed all her bedding to purple with butterflies and found her a coordinating onesie and bow.  She sporting the very popular off the shoulder look and her dad siad in jest that she is already practicing immodesty :)
The greatest excitement of the day came when Dr. Liu came in to meet with me and she said that if we wanted to bring Addison up to the NICU she would make special arrangements to have Claire moved to the consultation room so that she could scrub in and hold her.  I called Oliver while he was at work to let him know the exciting news and he hurried home a little early so we could get to the NICU before they closed at 6.

Dad had to prep Addison on the way upstairs that he would need to help her wash her hands because she is really big into doing everything by herself.  She has a stool in our half bathroom off the kitchen and she washes her hands by herself after every meal.  She was well prepped and let Oliver do all the scrubbing.
She was ecstatic with Claire was wheeled into her room (partially because we told her that she could open her gift after Claire came :)  ).  
It took some coaxing to get her to sit in the chair WITH daddy so that she could hold Claire.
Then she opened her gift from Aunt Emily and Uncle Taylor and we read it to Claire 3 times!  
Afterwards, she wanted to hold Claire all by herself and it took some coaxing directed towards dad by mom for Oliver to be comfortable with the idea. 
But she loved every moment of it!
And then she pushed her dad's hands away and kept saying "I do mmself" and "no touch daddy".  He finally had the courage to let go and Addison was in love and inspection of her new sister.

She exclaimed "cute bow" which she ended up taking home with her.
She also thought it was hilarious that Claire would suck on her finger.  When we get them together again we're going to have to teach Addison that she can't put anything in the baby's mouth because she had no sense of depth during her first experiment and I don't need her shoving plastic toy spoons down Claire's throat.
Lest Uncle Taylor think we are totally irresponsible - I knelt right next to Addison the whole time - you just can't really see me in the other pictures - but here's the proof.
It was the magical moment that we have been long awaiting.  We always wanted Addison to come to the hospital by herself to meet her newest sibling and we really wanted it to be a small and intimate family moment - it was everything we wanted.  The nurses plugged her all into the consultation room and then monitored her from the desk so that we could have some privacy.  Other than extra cords and some intermittent beeping - it was just our family and it was perfect.  We're having the siblings come with every child we have (if we ever have any others!) by themselves because it was such a special sacred moment.  Here's our first family photo - with many more to come!
The worst part of coming and going from the hospital is the empty car seat every time we get into the car.  It's been rough - but I'm pretty sure that soon enough I will be wishing it was empty sometimes :)  Just like a girl to always want for what isn't...