Thursday, January 26, 2012

Callum Avery Lee is here!

I haven't updated the blog since our baby boy was born on October 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm. Our little peanut weighed in at 6 lbs 2 oz and measured 18.5 inches long.

The reason I've taken so long to update is mostly due to the craziness of being a new mom, but also because I had a really hard time writing out our birth story. Finally I have managed a coles notes version.  Some day I may eventually finish the lengthy version, though I'm not sure whether I'll ever post it or not. But here is the short and dirty version of how he arrived.

I was induced on October 28, 2011 at nearly 37 weeks due to high blood pressure and the beginnings of pre-eclampsia. It took a second Cervadil on the 29th to really get labour going. The night of the 29th we went in thinking it was time, but I was only 2 cm dilated. They gave me a morphine shot which slowed down contractions, and I got sent home to get some much needed sleep. The next day, we were to go in and be checked and possibly get another Cervadil. Contractions had picked back up to about 3-5 minutes apart, and my water broke as we walked through the doors of the hospital. Needless to say, I was admitted.

After a nearly impossible IV start (they needed a special ultrasound machine and 2 anesthesiologists to do it), a failed epidural (NO pain relief even after a few top ups; apparently it was put in too low) and about 7 hours of active labour, I was 9 cm dilated. Unfortunately, our baby's head would not descend, and the stronger the contractions got, the more his heart rate began to decelerate. Finally it was too much for baby, so they decided to do a c-section. I received a spinal in the operating room since my epidural did not take, but the anesthesiologist put it in too high and right away I began to feel my arms go numb, followed by my chest. Soon I was having trouble breathing, and the stupid doctor kept telling me I was fine and was just panicking because I was nervous. I wasn't. I was gasping for breath and was trying to say "HELP!" but I couldn't talk by that point. A few seconds later I began to black out from lack of oxygen and he finally took me seriously. The last thing I heard before passing out was him saying "Uh oh, call a code pink and contact NICU!" My last thought was, "This is it. I'm dying." 

Because my heart rate rapidly dropped, our baby was not doing well at all and they had to do an emergency c-section. I was put under general anesthesia after I had already blacked out. My mom and brother were in the waiting room outside the OR while Nate was getting gowned and ready to come in for the c-section, and they said they heard the code being called over the PA and watched as about 12 doctors and nurses came running down the hall. I was the only one in the OR so my poor family and husband were beyond freaked out. They knew something was really wrong. Thankfully, the team of doctors were amazing and Callum was born quickly. My own OB was the one to perform the surgery. Callum emerged with some fluid in his lungs and had a fairly low apgar score due to distress. They rushed him to the NICU and Nate went with him after trying to figure out whether he should stay with me or the baby. My mom assured him that he should go with the baby and that they would stay with me. 
When I woke up, my first question was, "I'm alive??" because I truly thought I died there on the OR table. The second question was of course, "Where's my baby?!" I was told that Callum was stable and doing well by that point, but would need to remain in the NICU for a little while. I was pretty out of it on drugs, but I DO remember the anesthesiologist coming in and attempting to joke with me about how he probably should have listened to me when I said I couldn't breathe. Needless to say he is NOT my favourite person. 

I finally was allowed to see Callum about 8 hours after he was born. I had to wait until the spinal had worn off and I was able to walk. Let me tell you, nothing could have kept me from getting out of that bed.  I practically leapt out of bed when the nurse said I could get up slowly. I was shaking from head to toe as Nate wheeled me to the NICU to see our baby for the first time. I was so excited and nervous. When I finally saw him inside his incubator, I lost it. He was so perfect and tiny and he was ours! I couldn't believe this little person had been inside me for 9 months. When Nate put him in my arms I experienced pure and absolute joy. I fell in love with him right then and there. It didn't matter anymore that we didn't get to bond immediately after his birth. The nurse told me to put him to my breast and he latched like a champ. We were up to see him that day at every possible minute between sleep.

Callum did so well that he only needed to stay in the NICU for about 28 hours. The night he was brought to us, we had fallen asleep waiting for him to arrive in our room. I was woken up at about 1:30 am by a baby's cry that sounded just like him-- in those early days he sounded like a hoarse tea kettle thanks to the tubes he'd had down his throat. I fell back asleep thinking that surely that baby wasn't mine as he was still in NICU. About 20 minutes later, a nurse wheeled him into my room. It WAS my baby I heard! They had been getting him cleaned up for me and he wasn't impressed with being bathed. I remember how excited we were to finally have him sleeping next to us. Our family was complete!

After Callum was out of NICU, we both did fine recovery wise and were able to go home 3 days later. He had a bit of jaundice we had to keep an eye on, and I had an incredibly easy caesarean recovery. Emotionally though, I'd say I'm still recovering. I never thought that the day my baby was born would be the worst AND best day of my life at the same time.

That said, being a mom is the best thing in the world. And no, I'm not just saying that. Is it hard? Hell yeah! But it's also SO worth it. It helps that I have an amazing support system at home with both my wonderful husband and amazing mom. Callum is also a very easy baby. He eats well, and he sleeps through the night. Having him is worth every second of the 6 years of heart ache we had to endure before finally holding him in our arms. My dreams have finally come true!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home sweet home

I am home! I was sent home on Tuesday afternoon, and I have to stay on my BP meds 3 times a day, moderate bed rest (15-18 hours a day of rest), and I also have home care coming in every day to monitor baby and of course my BP.

The home care and rest at home is going well, my BP is in the high range but stable (about 145/95). I like getting the NSTs at home every day; it's very reassuring to see that my little guy is doing well.

As we were leaving the hospital the other day, I started having cramping and back pain that was off and on. Nothing regular or too intense but it lasted all day. Baby's definitely dropped and he's putting tons of pressure on my cervix. One of the doctors at the hospital (and my mother-in-law who worked in L&D) did say I might go into labour a bit early on my own, because sometimes having hypertension causes your body to start the labour process as a kind of protective measure. And, I've heard from a few people as well that women with hypertension often have faster labours. Wouldn't that be nice! No cramping or labour signs since Tuesday though.

Today I was able to get out of the house with my mom for just a bit and it was great. Just walking around for a brief period really encouraged the baby even lower into my pelvis. Now my crotch is sore; feels like I have been horseback or bike riding!

Tomorrow I go to see my OB for my weekly scheduled visit, and we will talk more about my BP and she will check to see if there's anything going on in terms of dilation. I know it doesn't matter as labour happens when it happens, but in case they want to induce its good to know if I've had any progress on my own. I'm 37 weeks tomorrow so I'm technically full term, though if they do want to induce, I'm hoping they will wait until 38 weeks. But our bags will be in the car just in case!

I have to admit that last week I was very scared when it seemed like a real possibility to be induced, or, possibly a section if things got bad fast. But now feeling my body at least preparing itself on its own, I'm not as scared just excited and a bit anxious. Also, reaching 37 weeks has made me feel better about our baby's health, and now that I know it could happen, induction is less scary too.

Stay tuned! Baby Watch begins...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Still here at the hospital

I'm still at the hospital and am pretty sure I will be until at least tomorrow. They have me on 300 mg of Labelotol for my BP. It seems to help, but I feel crappy on it. I'm jittery and shaky, and also nauseous which could be the meds or my BP.

Yesterday they did an MRI to rule out some rare adrenal gland tumor (based on my physical reaction to BP spikes... Shaky, racing heart, sweaty, nauseous) and that was a horrific experience. They did not communicate well to me what would happen during my first ever MRI, and being literally stuffed into that machine with a 9 month pregnant belly was not fun. I couldn't take a large deep breath without my belly being smooshed against the top and I could feel my baby squirming in protest. He was fine I'm sure, but it freaked this momma out! 15 minutes of pure hell I tell you.

The good news is the results came back super fast, and there are no tumors on my adrenals. However they still are doing tests to rule this condition out completely as it can occur elsewhere in the body.

Today I have the worst headache. They are concerned about that of course, because even though my BP is fairly stable it is on the high side. Tylenol barely touched it and every time I cough or move I feel like my head will split apart. The resident I saw today said if things get worse or even stay too much the same, they will induce but they would like to get me to 37 weeks if possible.

So that's it for now! Baby is doing good and is currently trying to bust out the top of my uterus, or so it feels like. ;-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Well THAT was unexpected!

We went to our 36 week appointment on Thursday morning. I was excited because it meant my appointments would now be every week, and it is getting closer to baby time.

They took my vitals, listened to baby, and then I was swabbed for Group B Strep. And then my doc tells me my BP was pretty high so she wanted to check it again. Sure enough it was still high at 150/95; high enough that she was concerned. We were told to head to assessment to monitor how baby was doing and of course my BP. We ended up being there for almost 6 hours! My BP kept spiking, and they couldn't decide what to do with me. Finally they decided I should go home but come back the next day for a BPP ultrasound (Bio Physical Profile of baby's vitals and growth) and another NST. They also arranged for home care to come in and check my BP starting Saturday.

We headed home after FINALLY grabbing something to eat (they wouldn't let me eat all day since they weren't sure what they were going to do with me). I relaxed and had a nap, then woke up at about 9 pm feeling really off. The off feeling got worse... I felt almost panicky for no apparent reason. My heart started racing, I was shaky, nauseous, and sweaty. I checked my BP using mom's monitor, and it was a whopping 198/117! Yikes! We had mom and Nate check theirs to make sure the machine wasn't wonky and it wasn't. So back to L&D I went. This time I brought mom so Nate could catch some sleep.

They monitored me for a bit then decided to send me back home as my BP was more stable. I was told to come back the next day for the NST and BPP.

Mom and I showed up at Assessment in L&D at 7:30 am as instructed. But no one had any clue about the ultrasound that was supposedly booked! They hooked me up to monitor baby, who was doing great and wriggling around like crazy trying to kick the monitor off my belly (and managing to move away from it several times). My BP was still spiking though.

After a while the oncall OB came to see me and decided he wanted to keep me over the weekend for observation. He said if my BP stabilized with rest and medication I would likely go home and be closely watched. If it stayed pretty high, they would likely induce. He also still wanted the BPP to check on baby, so that was scheduled for the afternoon. I was to stay in Assessment on the super uncomfy stretcher until a bed opened up later on.

The BPP went really well. Our little guy was measuring great and looking healthy. Fluid levels and placenta looked good too. He was weighing in around 6lbs 10oz (give or take of course!).

Finally around 4:30 pm a bed opened up in antenatal care. I was put in a semi-private and it is sooooo much better than waiting in Assessment. My room mate is pretty quiet and on strict bed rest, so I have the washroom to myself. Not long after I got here to antenatal care, an OB Med doctor came to see me and take a very detailed history. She has a theory, based on my weird off feelings during a BP spike, that my high blood pressure could be a result of benign adrenal gland tumors. They are doing a 24 hour urine collection test, as an MRI tomorrow to rule it out.

I'm honestly not too sure what it will mean. I think from what I learned baby may need to come soon, and possibly this means a c-section so they can remove the tumors at the same time. I really really hope that's not what I have and it's just a bit of pregnancy induced hypertension.

Either way, I do have a strong feeling baby will be coming soon. I'm not too worried about him as I am pretty far along, but I'm still nervous.

Also, staying in a hospital on bed rest sucks. I just hope this can be resolved soon and both baby and I remain healthy.

Here is my latest belly pic at 36 weeks, the morning we went to the doc. Hopefully not my last one this pregnancy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prenatal class... Check!

So last Saturday Nate and I attended the Capital Health prenatal class. We did a one day class from 9-3, and it was pretty good. I learned a few things, and Nate learned a lot. It was pretty obvious we were some of the more knowledgeable, well prepared first time parents though. We had a group activity answering questions about car seat safety, and thanks to one of our recent Bump Camp sessions with a car seat technician, we totally aced it.

My absolute favourite part was the supported labour positions, massage techniques, and then the relaxation exercise. We lay down side by side with our husbands/partners on padded mats with our pillows from home, then relaxed listening to a guided relaxation CD while our hubbies massaged our backs using a tennis ball, their hands, etc. Nate did such an amazing job and I almost fell asleep it felt so nice. I am so insanely lucky to have such a caring, sensitive, and calming husband. He is going to be the best labour partner and the most amazing dad. Love you honey!!! Xo

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random awww moments

#1. Seeing a perfect outline of a baby knee poke out the side of your tummy, then kind of gently hold it until baby yanks it away. So incredibly awesome.

#2. Watching a very excited Daddy-to-be put together baby's bouncy chair & swing that we received at the shower (with absolutely no prompting or suggesting on my part).

#3. Having the same excited Daddy-to-be kiss my belly and talk to the baby, only to get kicked in the chin and tell baby to "Do it again!!!"

It's not possible to cough yourself into labour, right??

I jest. But seriously, it feels like I might just cough this kid out with this nasty chest cold!

Anyone who has ever been pregnant with a cold knows how bad it sucks. Particularly when it's one of the worst colds you've ever had and you're nearly 9 months pregnant. Total suckage.

My voice is pretty much gone, and what I do have (as kindly pointed out by my mom) sounds like a raspy Rocky from Bullwinkle. I cough all day and night and it's icky and phlegmy.

Thankfully, I don't have a fever and nothing (TMI ALERT) coming out my nose is lime green so it's probably just viral.

But in case anyone else finds themselves dealing with the cold from hell while pregnant and not able to take a heck of a lot for it, this is what I've been doing to try and help:

- Raise the head of your bed with books. This works best if you raise your partner's side too, otherwise you'll just roll towards them all night (and find yourself uncomfortably stopped by your giant belly which is no fun). But it does help the congestion and coughing fits, so highly recommended.

- Steam, steam, steam! I sound like my mom, but for congestion and a bad chest colds it totally helps. Boil some water in a pot (just a few inches so it doesn't take forever) and when it's done boiling, turn off the burner, move the pot to a cool burner, and stand over it with a towel over your head and breathe in the steam until it's gone. Repeat several times a day. At night, I take a nice hot shower (I only stay in a few minutes so as not to raise my temp too high), then get out and leave the shower going for a good 5 more minutes to inhale more steamy goodness.

- Benalin DM (cough suppressant syrup... Be warned it tastes AWFUL). My OB recommended this to use at night, but I am in my 3rd Trimester so always check with your own doctor first. I only take it at night and it helps keep the coughing down to a reasonable level so I can sleep.

- Vick's Vapour Rub. I'm just using this tonight for the first time after checking to see if it's okay and OMIGOD it is helping a lot. Highly recommended. Also, random observation: my cats love the smell of it and I had to physically remove them off of me because they were trying to lick it. Who knew?

- Cool Mist Humidifier. I actually don't know if this is helping at all, but we bought one for the baby so I figured I may as well give it a go.

- Lots of fluids and rest (obviously!). This is harder to achieve than you would think, because more fluids means even MORE peeing, which means you're up even more often. I basically sleep for 2 hours at a time due to the peeing and hacking and general misery. But that's actually par for the course in the third tri anyways (Mommy Bootcamp!!).

Here's hoping tonight is a better night!