Sunday, May 24, 2015

Trial by fire

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Our first two weeks as being parents of 3 were a bit rough.  Jamison was in the NICU for 5 days after he was born, and then home for 2 days, and back into a different NICU for his jaundice for 2 more days.  We were home from the hospital with Jamison for about 6 hours when Abbie broke her arm…  Ugh!

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We were all in the living room and Ben had JUST almost fallen off the arm of the couch on to the tile floor so I was getting on to him about that and Mark walked in to the room.  Abbie was sitting on the other side of the couch and she went to get up and somehow her foot got caught underneath her and she went face first on to the carpet and put her hands out to catch herself.  Mark and I both heard her arm break.  There was no doubt in my mind that she’d broken it.  Mark yelled “God damnit” (which Abbie later asked him why he said that) and I said, she just broke her arm.  Abbie screamed once, and grabbed her arm and then basically stopped everything because she didn’t want to go to the doctor so she was trying to pretend that nothing was wrong.  She only got a little bit of tears while we were in the ER waiting room and of course when she did that, I cried too.  I think I cried more over the whole thing that she did.  My post partum hormones were still in full swing.

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Mark and I got Abbie and Jamison into the SUV and headed to Banner Estrella’s ER to get her arm x-ray’d.  Thank God my parents were here to watch Ben for us.  I don’t think the people at the ER thought she’d actually broken her arm because she wasn’t crying, but she is our tough girl.  She fell asleep on our way to the hospital and that was another clue to us that she was in a lot of pain because that’s typically how she deals with it.  It had swollen a lot by the time we were seen by the doctor in the ER, but he told us he thought it was just a bad sprain.  I didn’t say anything because he’d said that he was going to get an x-ray on it.  As soon as the x-ray tech took the first picture it was quite obvious that she’d broken her ulna on her right arm and it was fully displaced (the 2 parts of the bone weren’t even touching each other).  They put a splint on it and told us to follow up with an orthopedic doctor in a few days.  After she had the splint and sling and a popcicle she was a lot happier.

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The next day we had to do a follow up at the base clinic for Abbie’s arm and the pediatrician and ortho there decided they wanted to send her to PCH (Phoenix Children’s Hospital) to make sure her arm didn’t require surgery or to be set.  So Mark took her across the Valley to PCH to have them look at it.  (If you’re counting, this is the 4th hospital we’d been to with our kids in 28 hours…)  While he was there, I took Jamison back to base to a billirubin test and that’s when we found out his billi count was still going up a little bit.  The doctors at PCH took quite a while trying to decide if they should set it or do surgery or just splint it again, which we appreciated.  They were pretty thorough in their exam and they finally decided to just splint it again and do another follow up in a few days.

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Thank God my parents were here during all of the craziness after J’s birth. It was really nice to not have to worry about anything at home as my mom was taking care of everything.  She knows the kids routines and the dogs routines and handled everything so we didn’t have to worry about anything when we were in and out of hospitals for 2 weeks.  Even once we got home, she still did all the cooking and cleaning and took care of the dogs and helped with the kids.  She would do all the laundry and fold it and set it on our dressers to be put away.  She and my dad cleaned up the entire house when the appraiser came to appraise our house while we were gone.  She and my dad took the dogs for walks and my dad did some of the repairs on our house that need to be done before we leave.  I hope Mark and I will be able to help our kids the same way my parents helped us when our kids have kids.

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Other than the endless doctors appointments (the next week Jamison had appointments Monday, Weds and Friday and Abbie had an appointment to get her cast on Tuesday), the adjustment to 3 kiddos has been MUCH easier than the adjustment to having 1 or 2.  I think that is mostly because Jamison is a super chill baby.  So far he doesn’t seem to have colic like the other 2 did.  He likes to be on me all the time so I feel a bit strapped to the chair sometimes, but I can’t complain too much.  He’s fun to snuggle and he’s a really good baby.  He typically has a fairly good stretch of sleep from around midnight to 2:30 or 3am, although a few times he’s slept past 4am and once he’s slept all the way until 5am.

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The big kids are fascinated with the baby.  Abbie would hold him all day, every day if you let her and Ben always is asking where the baby is and every morning he runs into our room to “pet” Jamison’s head.  So far they have been really gentle with him and if he’s fussy (mostly in the car) they will talk to him from the back seat to try to calm him down.  They love running for paci’s if they think he needs one and they like to check the line on his diaper to see if he’s peed.

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I started out getting up with Jamison when he woke up in the middle of the night.  I would change his diaper and then take him to the glider in our room to nurse him, but I would always fall asleep for a good hour or two while nursing him and wake up with a sore neck.  So then I started just sitting up in bed with him and trying to nurse him, but I would still fall asleep and wake up with a sore neck.  Now I just bring him to bed with me and nurse him laying down.  He usually nurses on one side during his first wake up between 2:30 and 5am and then he’ll wake up and I’ll switch him to the other side somewhere around 6 to 7am.  We usually get up some time between 8 and 9am and he’ll nurse again as soon as we get up.  So far I haven’t had too much of an issue with my supply.  I was pumping the first week we were home, but I don’t have much time to pump anymore with 3 kiddos and my mom not being here, but he still seems to be doing okay.  Mark will normally feed him 2 oz of formula right before we put him to bed for the night between 11pm and 12am, after I’ve nursed him.  If Jamison is super fussy during the day, every once in a while we’ll top him off with a 2oz bottle and let him have as much of it as he wants, but I’m trying to mostly nurse him.  He is a good nurser and has a really strong suck, which makes me sore.  But I’d rather have it this way than it was like Ben where he was just too lazy to nurse.

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In the past few days Jamison seems to be changing a lot!  He’ll coo every once in a while when you’re talking to him.  He tracks with his eyes really well now, even though he still looks a bit cross-eyed at times.  He’ll crane his neck and turn his head to look at things and people.  If I move back and forth in front of him, he’ll track me with his eyes.  I can almost always get him to calm down just by talking to him, at least for a little bit.  He loves watching the kids and is way more content just sitting in his swing or bouncer watching what’s going on around him than the other two ever were.  Last night we were doing tummy time with him and he rolled over 4 times in about 5 minutes.  Three times to the right and once to the left.  He was 25 days old!

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If any future babies were this easy, I definitely would want more.  This has been our easiest transition yet, thankfully.  Jamison has to be somewhat easy has we have a LOT of changes going on in the next month, including 3 6+ hour drives, living in TLF’s (temp lodging facility) three separate times and moving everything to CA.  I think he’ll do just fine!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Our NICU stay(s)

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Everything after Jamison’s delivery was going fairly well, despite the OB mashing on my stomach for 30 mins trying to get all of the placenta out.  I got to hold him right away and they delayed cutting the cord for a little while at my request.  About an hour after he was born, somehow I mentioned something about having gestational diabetes.  I don’t even remember why I mentioned it, but that quickly prompted the nurse to check Jamison’s blood sugar.  She checked it twice, and couldn’t even get it to register on her machine (which went down to 10).  So they immediately whisked him off to the NICU to try to get his sugar back up.  (It should have been above 50 I think, in order for it to have been considered okay.  It needed to be above 80 to be released.)

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Mark went with him while I recovered a while longer in the delivery room.  I honestly don’t even remember how much time passed between when they took him and when I saw him again.  My delivery nurse helped clean me up and helped me get dressed and then we got all of our stuff and she took me in a wheel chair to the nursery.  I hadn’t cried yet, but when I saw him on the warmer table with an IV in his tiny hand, I cried.  He was okay, and Mark said he didn’t even cry when they did the IV, but they gave him a bolus of Dextrose and that brought his sugar up to around 45.

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The NICU nurses at Banner Estrella were great.  We could be with Jamison any time we wanted, except for an hour or so twice a day when they did their shift change.  We had our little curtained room with Jamison’s tiny bed and a reclining chair and another chair.  They let me nurse him as often as he or I wanted to and if I was sleeping in my room, they would call me if he woke up and was hungry.

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It was hard dealing with all the wires connected to him.  He had his IV in his hand for the majority of the time, until that started leaking and then they switched it to his foot.  I noticed that the little cotton ball on his hand was soaked one day and asked the nurse about it right away where she determined that the IV wasn’t good anymore.  I’m glad I noticed it because I’m not sure they would have as it was hard to see that it was soaked with the clear liquid.

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He also had sensors on him monitoring his O2 levels, heart rate, and respiratory rate.  You learn pretty quickly what the norm, but those stupid alarms would go off a lot if the sensors weren’t picking things up correctly.IMG_3919

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There were only supposed to be 2 visitors at a time in Jamison’s little cubicle.  So mostly it was just Mark and me, although the nurses did give us an exception once and let us bring the kids back so they could meet the baby.  I was going to just have them wait until we brought him home because I didn’t want to have to do it one at a time and have either Mark or me miss out on their initial meeting him, but luckily they let us all go back together.  Abbie was totally in awe of him.  Ben was afraid of him.

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They tested Jamison’s sugar every 6 hours before I’d feed him.  He started out at 12 units of Dextrose in the IV and he had to be completely off of it before he could leave.  If his sugar was above 80, they’d drop the Dextrose by 2 units.  If it was above 60, they’d drop it one unit.  He got completely off of it Saturday morning, but then his sugar dropped to around 50 again so they put him back on two units.  But he was off of it again in the middle of the night Saturday night.

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I got discharged on Friday.  (J was born on a Wednesday.)  Luckily they let me stay in a nesting room for 2 more nights so I didn’t have to sleep in the chair in his cubicle.  Otherwise I totally would have slept in the chair there…  I wasn’t about to leave the hospital without him.  Below is my post partum room.

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I think Jamison got down to 7lbs 6oz before we left the hospital.  He seemed SO tiny to us since the other two were born at 9lb9.2oz and 8lb15oz.  Jamison was 2 full lbs less than Abbie was at birth for almost 2 weeks.

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We could tell right away Jamison was pretty chill.  He likes to be held and be cuddly, but he was also okay with sleeping flat in his little bassinet in the NICU, and the other two weren’t like that.

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I would pump a couple times a day in the hospital to try to get my milk to come in and then sometimes Mark would top Jamison off with what I had pumped after I had nursed him to try to help him gain weight.  Mark and I had our first post 3rd baby “date” in the hospital cafeteria which J was in the NICU.

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Jamison got released from the NICU around 1pm on Easter Sunday.  The head nurse mentioned that his billirubin was around 15.6 and she’d said that if it were up to her, she’d keep him a while longer to monitor that, but the pediatrician said he was okay to go.  Looking back, I wish they’d just kept him a little while longer and gotten him on the lights sooner.

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The kids were SO excited when we finally got him home.  They were very interested in him and wanted to be right next to him at all time, hence Ben sitting in the middle of the kitchen table…

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We had a follow up appointment on base to check Jamison’s sugar on Tuesday morning.  His sugar was good, however, his billirubin was up to 21.6 and his pediatrician wanted us to head to Banner Thunderbird to get him under the lights.  I was pretty upset about all of that, partly because I didn’t want J to have to go through that, and partly because I didn’t want to go through that again either.

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So Mark and I went home and I packed another bag for another hospital and we grabbed lunch and headed to Thunderbird.  I was nervous they weren’t going to let me stay with him, but they gave us our own room with a hospital bed for me and he was under the lights.  They put another IV in his poor little arm and his heels looked SO bad from all the pokes he was getting.

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They wanted us to keep him under the lights as much as possible, and that was tough.  When I’d nurse him and take his little portable light that was underneath him and hold it up against him so he was still getting the treatment while I nursed him.  The nurses were constantly telling us to put him back under the lights, but his stupid goggles would come off of his eyes every time he moved his head.  Half the time they were down around his neck, so I didn’t get a ton of sleep because I was worried about those stupid goggles strangling him and would check him all the time to make sure they were on his eyes.  There was one point where he was just done with being under the lights and having his eyes covered.  He just wanted to be held and to be able to see, so I held him in my arms under the lights for 30 mins and just shielded his eyes from the lights with my hand so he could look around.  He was perfectly content when I was holding him.  As soon as I put him back on the table, he was screaming his little head off.  I went and asked at the nurses desk what I could do to help him and one of them said “Some babies just don’t like it and cry a lot”.  Well that’s all good and great, but I can’t and I’m not going to listen to my 6 day old baby scream his head off like that.  I was pretty upset when she said that.  Luckily Mark got there shortly after to calm me down a bit.

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On Thursday morning, his billirubin was down to under 13 so they released us.  We had a follow up appointment to check it on Monday on base, but I took him in on Friday because I didn’t want to worry about it all weekend.  It was up to 14 something on Friday, but they weren’t too concerned.  They did want us to come back on Monday to recheck it though.  The pediatrician at the hospital had told us that if he was acting super lethargic that that was a sign his billirubin could be going back up.  Well he’s a newborn so it was next to impossible to wake him up sometimes, which of course made me worry.  On Monday his billirubin had gone up even more and was now up over 16, so they wanted us to come back on Wednesday to check it again.  Thankfully, on Wednesday it had started to go down again, so that was the last test he needed.  They had said he probably had breastfeeding jaundice and the fact that he was being mostly breastfed was slowing down how his body processed the billirubin.  He seems to be doing pretty well now though!

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