Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whoops

I realize I'm way behind on blogging...my apologies. Taking care of my girls and catching up on sleep gets priority these days. I do have dozens of pictures to post, and lots of great stories. One of these days I'll get to it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Knitting

Natalie asked for a fork and spoon this morning. I give them to her and finish making her lunch. I hear, "look at me, Monnie!" She is in the middle of our living room, rocking, and pretending to knit. LOL! I have NO idea where she got this concept of rocking and knitting, but it was hilarious!

Lexi pictures

I love her in this outfit...so sweet!


Early morning:


These next 3 were taken late last night. She was bright eyed at bedtime and paying close attention to Daddy:




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Settling in

Lexi stayed in the hospital room with us both nights. It became apparent that she had swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid, which she was gagging on and vomiting up. When we walked her down to the nursery at midnight the first night, there were 17 babies in the nursery and only 5 nurses. I told Mike, "she stays with us" and he agreed. The second night Mike went home to stay with Natalie, so Lexi and I partied in the hospital. We slept from 10:30-12:30 that night and that was it. She was up on and off throughout the night spitting up and I stayed up to make sure she didn't choke. The rest of the time I had nurses in my room taking her places to get ready to go home the next morning. (Evaluations, PKU screening, jaundice test, hearing test, etc.)


This is when Natalie discovered Lexi could grasp her finger:


Mike and Natalie came the next morning to take us home. They showed up dressed EXACTLY alike. Both in jeans and a red cardinals sweatshirt. Mike said Natalie wouldn't have it any-other-way. LOL




Being wheeled out of the hospital was a very emotional moment for me. I finally had our baby in my arms, I made it through delivery, and we were both healthy and going home with Mike and Natalie. I was thanking God over and over for our blessings.

Waiting on Daddy to finish loading the car:


Home at last! The pink roses on the left were from Randy and Dorie. The flowers on the right were from Mike:


We settled in at home on Friday, but were concerned because Lexi wasn't urinating but once every 16-24 hours...despite the amount of milk she was taking in. I took her to the pediatrician the next morning after she stayed dry all night again. The pediatrician started to examine her, to find (low-and-behold) a wet diaper. Of course! She told me to keep our apt with our regular pedi on Monday because her jaundice was looking questionable. Lexi finally started having regular wet diapers on Sunday. Not sure what the holdup was, but we are grateful all systems are working. :)

First sponge bath at home was Saturday evening. This little girl has LONG toes. A trait neither Mike nor I have. Even factoring grandparents, my dad is the only one with long toes:


Natalie was eager to help:


She has dark hair like Daddy...and we're pretty sure her eyes will be brown before long too:

After the pedi apt on Monday, we were sent for a blood test to check her bili levels. It was high, but he suspected it was going down. Tuesday morning I took her out (it was 19 degrees outside!) and they confirmed it was dropping. Thankfully, no more testing or treatment is necessary!

Breastfeeding is going wonderfully! I am (again) so grateful I am able to nurse and provide that for her. There is nothing like being able to satisfy a hungry tummy. The only struggle I have had is dealing with a cracked nipple. Ow! I suspect this happened right after she was born when we first nursed. I was too in-awe to make sure it was a perfect latch...and one bad latch is all it takes. It is on the mend, no big deal.

Natalie is adjusting so well here at home!! We are so proud of her. She is very loving and maternal with Lexi. She came down with a cold yesterday and it has upset her so much that she can't hold or kiss Lexi. She has cried several times about this.

My recovery has been awesome. Labor was about as miserable as it was with Natalie, just a little more scary because of the health concerns. Delivery though was MUCH better this time around. Lexi was smaller and didn't cause as much..."damage." :) I also have not had any infections like I did last time with my recovery. As of today (1 week postpartum) I have lost 23lbs. Yay!

We have also been spoiled with meals being provided for us. Three different ladies from church have brought meals for us, and Dorie left us a meal on the first night we were home. To have those, plus leftovers, has been extremely helpful. It's so nice not to worry about fixing meals and cleaning up when we're functioning on such little sleep! :)

Sunday morning after Mike and Natalie got home from church, Natalie bounded up the steps, washed her hands, and plopped on the bed, eager to hold her little sister!


Our sweet Lexi:


Today was Mike's last day home from work. He actually took an extra day off because of Natalie being sick. I have enjoyed having him home SO much! It's been a nice transitional time for us and I appreciate him always being so incredibly supportive and loving to me.

Lexi's arrival

This post is going to be more of a personal journal about Lexi's birth that I'm happy to share with you. However, I won't be censoring myself when I write about childbirth and breastfeeding and everything that goes along with it. I'm letting you know now so you can stop reading if that makes you uncomfortable.

Last Monday was my last OB apt and he offered induction. It is something I really didn't want to do again, but he assured me that because I was already so dilated, it probably wouldn't take much. He called the hospital and scheduled us for a midnight induction on December 1st. Her due date. We only told our parents and decided to let everyone else be surprised.

We drove to the hospital Tuesday night and I had three really rough contractions in the car on the way there. Once they got us into a room, they were coming every 3-5 minutes and were not lacking in intensity.

My 40 week picture (in between contractions of course!)


Instead of starting the pitocin, we walked the halls for an hour and I was then checked to see if there was progress. I was more effaced, but not much more dilated. So we started the pitocin on low and my contractions took off.

At 5am, I was checked again and there was still no progress and I was tired, anxious, and frustrated. The anesthesiologist suggested an epidural so I could rest. Before she even got there I was shaking. It was a miserable part of labor for me. I had the epidural and I'll never forget she told me that I had "crunchy scar tissue" in my back from the last epidural. Ughh. Despite that gross bit of news, this epidural was awesome. My entire abdomen down to upper thigh area was completely numb, but I could still feel and move my legs well. I seriously think I could have walked around if that was allowed.

At 5:45am, the in-house OB and nurse were checking me and I told them my left arm was numb. Specifically, my left hand. My nurse looked at me with wide-eyes and asked the OB if she thought my left eyelid was drooping. They agreed it was, and the RN ran out of the room to call the anesthesiologist. Apparently they were quite concerned. The anesthesiologist knew right away that it was Horner's syndrome. A rare side-effect of the epidural, but nothing to be concerned about. It was annoying to not be able to feel my hand. I was just concerned that I wouldn't be able to hold the baby when she was born.

Around 6:45am, my blood pressure dropped (76/40) and I was light headed, and vomiting. They stopped the epidural for a few minutes until they could push fluids and get me more stabilized. At this time, the bed was rattling so hard from my shaking, I had an oxygen mask on, and bucket under my chin. I was then notified that they had stopped the pitocin because the baby was having late heart decels. I was still contracting on my own every 4-5 minutes.

My OB walked in around this time and I remember him reassuring me that I'd be more comfortable before long. I told him, "I don't care. I can take it, just make sure my daughter is okay." I didn't even make eye contact with him, my eyes were glued to the heart monitor and I was focused on taking deep breaths from the oxygen mask. He explained his plan to get myself & baby stabilized and labor back on track. It worked. :)

At 7:15am my epidural was turned back on once I was pumped full of fluids and my blood pressure was back on track. The shakes were mostly gone, and they scheduled to rupture my water at 8AM. I was resting comfortably and baby looked good.

At 11:30am I was 7cm dilated and at 0 station. They turned the pitocin back on and I labored in and out of sleep. I finally convinced Mike that I was OK, and that he should rest too. I think he rested for awhile, but I mostly remember him sitting next to my bed. My OB came in my room and asked how I was feeling, my answer was a smile.

Around 3pm, I was having intense pressure with each contraction that I couldn't help but push with. The nurses weren't responding with the call light so I sent Mike out to find one. When he came back by himself I don't remember my reaction but I'm sure it wasn't very nice. He turned back around and found someone. Thankfully it was an RN, and not a custodian. ;)

They had me practice push and called my OB in right away b/c I was able to move her down quite a bit. OB came in and we got down to business. Then, baby's heart rate dropped and wasn't coming up much. He called in the pediatric team and we went from having just a few people in the room to about a dozen. They suspected she had a cord around her neck. They slapped the oxygen mask on me between contractions and I pushed with everything I had. I cannot tell you the horrible feeling of not being able to push out my baby on my own, especially when she needed help. My OB got my attention, and told me she would be fine. He put the forceps in place and reminded me we did this together and she would be here within the next contraction. Once again I pushed with all the energy I had, so he wouldn't have to pull her. They told me to stop pushing, the head was out. My first thought was, "really? That was NOTHING compared to Natalie's head!" LOL. (I was told later on that I have a very prominent tailbone, which makes it very difficult for me to push past that point...who knew!?)

There was no cord around her neck (she was probably laying on it) and as soon as she was out, my OB dismissed the pediatric team. She was healthy, turning pink, and was put on my chest right away. The range of emotions cannot be described here. It's just not possible. Everything we've gone through in the past THREE years came back to the surface. Hearing my healthy baby cry in my face was the most powerful trigger to my emotions than I have ever experienced. I wept...and wept. I couldn't even see her clearly.




They took her over to the warming table and Mike took these pictures:




She hated her first mini sponge bath. This was torture to hear her cry and not be able to soothe her:


After she was cleaned up, I was able to nurse her for the first time and we were in awe. Just as we were with Natalie.

I was anxious to get to my postpartum room so I could be free to move around and get settled in:


I was looking forward to seeing Natalie ALL day while in labor. I thought about her non-stop and was so excited to get to hug her when she walked in the room. This is the first time she got to hold Lexi:


Our family of four:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome Lexi!

Lexi Winter Dickinson arrived Weds, December 1st at 3:30PM. She was 7lbs, 6ozs and 20 inches long. She is perfect, and we are over-the-moon in love with her. Natalie is adjusting well and adores her little sister. I will update soon with more details and pictures, but here are just a few for now.

A few hours after she was born:


My sweet hospital roomie:


On our way home: