Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The First Week

Well we have survived our first week with our new baby girl.  Her birth and hospital stay were extremely stressful and emotional, but since we've been home we've just been enjoying every minute.

Thursday 9/22
Shannon and Westin came to visit, but we didn't get any pictures.  When Adeline got up from her nap, I got some snuggle time in with both my girls.
 That night I got some bright-eyed pictures of my little Annabel.

Friday 9/23
Annabel had her initial weight/color check at the pediatrician.  She was down to 7lb 11oz, she had lost 6oz in the hospital, but the doctor wasn't worried since she had gone almost a whole day without me being able to nurse her.  She assured me that Annabel is going to be a normal, healthy little girl.  I spent the afternoon snuggled on the couch with my new love.
 That evening my dad came in town and we took Annabel on her first walk around the block.

 Adeline got very upset when she saw baby sis in her stroller.
 But she was over it soon when she got to push her baby in her stroller with Daddy.
 Our family of 4..
 A few bedtime stretches.  :)
Sleeping beauty...

Saturday 9/24
My aunt & uncle Jana & Barry came in town to meet Annabel and celebrate my birthday.  I turned the big 28!  Shane and Juliet came over for dinner, but I managed to not get any pictures of the celebration.  

Sunday 9/25
We just spent the day lounging and relaxing.
 My heart might explode from all the love I have in it for these three people...
 Bright eyes.

Monday 9/26
Annabel is one week old!  We took Adeline to KDO, then my mom and I ran a few errands.  I spent the whole rest of the day nursing Annabel about every 1.5 hours!  I think she hit her 10 day growth spurt early.  I was exhausted when bedtime rolled around.
We love you, our little sweetheart.  We can't imagine our lives without you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We got to come home today!  Praise Jesus!  At about 1:00 Annabel's neonatologist informed us that he would be discharging us in just a couple hours.  I wanted to do cartwheels or hug him or scream with excitement.  Instead I just cried.

This is what we know:
Annabel has a heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW).  It is an electrical problem of the heart.  The structures of the heart are perfectly formed.  It is an abnormal electrical communication from the atria to the ventricles.  It occurs in .1-.3% of the population.  It is also genetic.  The neonatologist feels that it is what I and all the women on my mom's side of the family have as well.  I've spoken with a few doctor friends and they tell me that it's the least scary heart condition a person can have.  In one of their words, "If you're going to have a heart condition, this is the one you want."  It is almost always controlled by medication, but there is a procedure that can be done to fix the electrical pathway.  Nobody has even mentioned this procedure to me in regards to Annabel.  We meet with the specialist in Little Rock on October 13th.
Specific Prayer Requests:
1) Pray for good news at the appointment. (ie, she has a very mild case & will live a normal life)
2) Pray that she can be treated with medication only & that she only has to take it for a short time.
In the meantime, Annabel is on a very low dose of medication to keep her heart from jumping into SVT.  She takes this every 8 hours.  The neonatologist wants us to take Adeline with us to this appointment as well.  He feels that she probably has the same condition.

The high respiration rate and low oxygen saturation was due to Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn.  It is completely unrelated to WPW.  A lot of newborns have it, especially those born via c-section.  The doctor hinted to the fact several times that he would not have even admitted Annabel to the NICU for this if it hadn't been for the episode of SVT caused by the WPW.  This condition is now fully resolved in Annabel.  It occurs when the fluid that is in a baby's lungs in the womb doesn't clear quickly enough after birth.

Now, let's get to the good stuff!  We are home, we are home, we are home!  The doctor told us repeatedly today that we should not worry.  We are going home with a healthy baby.  Annabel is healthy!

It was so fun dressing her in her going home outfit today, but we didn't get nearly as long of a photo shoot as we did with Adeline and I didn't have a pretty little blanket with me as a backdrop.  
 I think she's peeing in this picture.  :)

While Adeline and my parents waited for us to get home, they took a walk and played with sidewalk chalk.  

These are the things Adeline wanted Pappy to write/draw.  See Ace?

We came home to this in our yard.  I love it!

Adeline has surprised me with Annabel.  She is so sweet and is not acting jealous at all.  She likes to be right next to her and she talks to her in the sweetest voice.  She wants to pet her and always says "nice, soft" when she does.  It just makes my heart melt.

She even shared Ace!

Uncle Shane came to visit for a bit and he got to see his new niece for the first time.

We gave Annabel her first bath at home while Adeline watched.  When Annabel started crying, Adeline was so concerned.  She kept saying, "Oh, don't cry baby!"

Adeline took a bath while I nursed Annabel then I rocked them both.  It was a cup runneth over moment to have both my girls in my arms all clean in their warm pjs rocking them to sleep.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Annabel Update

Today has been much better.  We spent the night going up to the NICU every 4 hours to feed Annabel.  I got very little sleep in between because of nurses, etc checking on me.  At Annabel's 8:00 feeding we were able to talk with the neonatologist.  He informed us they would be turning down Annabel's flow to 1 liter and watching how she did with that until 3pm, at which point they would remove it altogether if she was doing well.  He also told us he was going to disconnect her from the IV drip because he didn't feel that she really needed it and he wanted her to be hungry to breastfeed.  He told me he wanted me up there no less than every 3 hours to nurse her.  I decided I'd try every 2 to try and get my milk to come in.  By 3:00 she was doing great and they completely took her off any flow.  She has been breathing normal room air since and has maintained good stats on everything.  Praise Jesus!
Her sweet face without any tubes.

She had her first poopy diaper today which is great!  She is also a lot more hungry since this afternoon.  Tonight she nursed pretty constantly from about 6-7:30.  I know she's not getting anything that whole time, but she sure is doing a good job triggering my milk to come in.  After that marathon nurse session, she passed out.  She slept in mine & my mom's arms for another hour and a half before we left.  In the meantime, the nurse took all her vitals and she never woke up.
Since she's not hooked up to anything but monitors, we got to dress her in her own clothes!

Tonight I plan to go up to the NICU every 4 hours to nurse her unless the nurse calls to tell me she's fussy and hungry, then I'll go sooner.  Jon spent the evening with Adeline and my dad.  He needed some time away and some time with his big girl.  Now he's back and we're about to go up to the NICU for another feeding before we start the 4 hour night shifts.

They are still telling us we should be able to go home tomorrow no earlier than 3pm.  These are the things that need to happen in order for us to be able to do that:

  1. Her oxygen levels, respiration rate, and heart rate all need to say within normal limits (like they have all day today).
  2. She will have another echocardiogram, chest x-ray, & EKG tomorrow.  Those all need to be normal (or as good as they were yesterday).
  3. She needs to continue to nurse well and urinate.
Please pray for these things.

We have an appointment set up with the specialist in Little Rock on October 13.  Please also keep that in your prayers.  We want this SVT issue to not really be a big concern or worry.  That's what we're hoping to hear in Little Rock.

We are so thankful for all your thoughts, emails, and prayers.  God is listening!  He loves us and He loves Annabel.  The doctor keeps telling us she is healthy and we are so grateful and give all the glory to God!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Annabel Brynn - Please Pray

Our little sweetheart, Annabel Brynn arrived via c-section today, September 19, 2011 at 7:42am.  She weighs 8lbs 1oz and is 20 inches long.  She is absolutely beautiful with big rosy cheeks and a head full of dark dark hair.

Upon arrival in the nursery her vitals were all perfect.  After her bath they checked again and her heart rate had spiked to 240 bpm.  This is twice what it should be for a newborn.  It stayed that rate for approximately 30 minutes, but then returned to normal on its own.  At this point they decided they needed to do an EKG, an echocardiogram, and a chest x-ray.  The EKG measures heart rhythm.  This showed several abnormalities.  The echocardiogram is like a sonogram of the heart.  This showed no physical malformations.  The chest x-ray showed her lungs to be a little wet.  This is normal in a newborn, especially one born via c-section.

They decided that she could be in my room with me on a heart monitor.  I was so happy about this.  She was with us in my room from 11am until 4pm. Then they discussed everything with specialists in Little Rock.  They then decided they could better monitor her if she stayed in the nursery and only came to me every three hours to breastfeed.  She was supposed to come back to me at 6:15pm.  At this point they noticed her respiratory rate went up and her oxygen saturation went down.  Respiratory rate needs to be below 65, hers was a little over that.  Oxygen saturation needs to be 90-100 with the higher, the better, hers was dropping as low as 85.  This is when they decided she needed to go to the NICU to be more closely monitored.  I am not allowed to try to breastfeed her until midnight because sometimes feeding can make a baby's respiratory rate increase which can cause them to aspirate (choke).  Until then she has an IV of fluids to keep her from feeling hungry and I am pumping to keep up or ensure my milk supply.

We just got back from visiting her and she's looking great.  All her vitals are right where they want them to be.  She is on 2 liters of "flow."  She has a tube in her nose pushing in 2 liters per minute of room air, not pure oxygen.  This is a good thing because it means she is able to handle regular air right now, she's just needing a bit more help getting it in.  She is also on a medication to keep her heart rate from spiking again (it happened one other time after the first, but not as high and not for as long).  I will get to try breastfeeding at midnight and if she handles it well, I will get to keep doing that every three hours.  She is in her own private room, so Jon and I can go anytime.

They think the fast heart rate is what they call Supra Ventricular Tachycardia.  I have it, my mom has it, her sister has it, and their mom, and her sisters all have it.  It has never required surgery for any of us or even hospitalization.  It is just an occasional sudden increase in heart rate that could possibly be life-threatening if the heart was not able to resume normal rhythm.  I have always been able to control mine with a breathing technique, except for one occasion when I needed medication to force my heart to beat regularly again.  The doctors here do not feel like this is a huge worry for Annabel.  They feel that most babies with this problem usually outgrow it within the first year of life and also outgrow the need for the medication within that same time period.

The respiratory rate and oxygen saturation is fairly normal in newborns.  The neonatologist told me that if this had occurred in a baby without the SVT issues, he would not have taken them to the NICU.  It is only because she already had the rhythm issue that they wanted to be extra careful and watch this more closely than normal.

However, it still very much worries a momma and I'm just sick that she can't be with me.  I'm exhausted and will rest between feedings and/or pumping, but I wanted to get this out there so people can be praying.  Please, please pray.  Also, we don't really want visitors right now.  We want this time to focus on our family, rest, heal, and pray.  We have specific prayer requests as well.

  1. Pray that her heart rate is controlled by the medication and doesn't require any other intervention.  It needs to stay 120-160bpm.
  2. Pray that her respiratory rate stays below 65 before, during, and after nursing so that I can begin to and continue to breastfeed her regularly.
  3. Pray that her oxygen saturation stays 90 and above, preferably 95 and above.  They will be cutting her down to 1 liter of flow in the morning.  If she handles this well, then they'll try taking her off it altogether.  
  4. Pray that the gradual decrease of flow does not affect Annabel and that she can maintain her saturation above 90 on her own as they do this.
  5. Pray that we can all go home together on Wednesday as planned.  
  6. Pray that Jon and I have peace and calming through this.  
  7. Pray that we can trust in God to give us healing and care.

She is beautiful and we are so in love.  My heart is just aching for her, though.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh Dear!

I'm not sure what has happened to my perfect sleeper, but she's gone.  Since eight weeks old she has slept through the night and napped very well.  Since then she has always been able to soothe herself to sleep.  Something has happened this week.  Praise Jesus she's still sleeping well at night, but she is REFUSING to nap!  Wednesday she screamed for about 20 minutes before I went to get her.  Thursday, she fell asleep for about 10 minutes, but woke herself up from coughing.  I decided to take her to the doctor at this point.  She'd had a runny nose for a while, and with the cough getting worse I wanted to make sure she didn't have something right before Annabel gets here.  He said only allergies, but prescribed some meds anyway just in case.  Friday she started crying hysterically within 10 minutes of me leaving the room.  I decided to let her cry it out because I thought I had just spoiled her from the two previous days.  She cried for an HOUR!  At that point I just got her out of bed as if naptime was over.  Saturday I had the bright idea to leave and have Jon put her down for a nap.  She cried for an hour again.  Today I thought I'd sit in there with her and pat her back as long as she'd lie there and not cry.  It worked for about 20 minutes until she started wanting to play and talk to me.  So then I got books and took them to her crib and told her it was quiet time and she could read and play with her stuffed animals until her music went off then Mommy would come get her and quiet time would be over.  She's screaming hysterically again.  What am I going to do?!?  I NEED for her to rest, or at least play in her crib quietly for an hour.  Any suggestions?  I know this too shall pass, but I am stressed to the max.  I have no answers or ideas.

On another note, I have a few pictures to share from the past few days.

We took her prescription to be filled on Thursday, then went to play and eat ice cream at CFA while we waited for our meds.  She almost had the whole place to herself.

Friday morning she was watching me put on make-up and just had to have some for herself.  Don't worry, this brush has no actual mascara on it.  :)

Side note, she then went to Boingo Bounce and had a play date with Westin, so she was sufficiently worn out, but still refused the nap!

After she got up from her hour long cry-fest she was completely covered in snot & tears so I gave her bath.  Then we got a package in the mail from Aunt Ashley!  She loves Annabel's Super Frog and promises to take care of him until Annabel is old enough to play with him.  :)  

Yesterday it rained off and on all day.  Jon worked out in the garage some and Adeline enjoyed pushing around her lawn mower when we had a bit of a break in the rain.

Yesterday afternoon we all went to see The Lion King in 3D!  I thought it'd be a fun family outing to do as a special treat while we're still a family of three.  It was a bit of a struggle, but we made it through the whole movie.  Adeline ate almost a half of a medium bag of popcorn!  

We go in to the hospital tomorrow to have Annabel!  We are so excited and are so looking forward to having two sweet little girls.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pre-Baby Maternity Leave

So I decided to take maternity leave a week before my scheduled c-section.  Work was getting extremely difficult and I wanted/needed a week with Adeline to devote lots of love and attention before her world is turned upside down.  I also thought I'd get a some rest in for myself.  I thought wrong.  Adeline has been soooo clingy.  It's like she knows Annabel is coming and is trying to soak up every last ounce of my attention before she gets here.  I don't blame her, but it is wearing me out!  Monday she went to Kid's Day Out at church and that's the only day I've been able to relax.  I went and got a facial with a gift card Jon got me for Mother's Day.  It was so nice!

When I picked Adeline up from KDO, they told me she hadn't napped.  I decided I'd try to get her to sleep when we got home.  It was a no-go so I let her get in our bed & watch Elmo for a little bit.
Big mistake, because she's not wanted to nap the rest of the week!  Tuesday she did fine, but yesterday was AWFUL!  She screamed, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, hold you, please!" for 10-15 minutes before I caved.  When I went to get her I took her into our room to rock her and when she calmed down I asked if she was ready to go back to her bed.  That started the hysterical crying all over again.  I asked her what she wanted and she said, "rock" so I told her I'd rock her but she had to close her eyes.  I thought to myself that was wishful thinking on my part, telling a 22 month old to close their eyes, but it worked!  She was asleep in no time, but after 30 minutes I tried to stand up with her and she was wide awake.  Now she's in bed standing up, sitting down, rolling around, but at least she's not screaming.  I'm really hoping she falls asleep soon.  Why is my perfect sleeper doing this right before a new baby comes?  I'm going to be in for it next week!

Speaking of sleep, on Tuesday when Adeline did nap, I tried to catch a few Zzzs myself.  As soon as I closed my eyes, I hear all kinds of commotion coming from the house next door that lasted about an hour.  That evening, I did some snooping.  First of all, the FOR SALE sign now says SOLD and this is what was being installed during my nap time:
A weirdly placed chain-link fence!  Looks like a dog run to me.  Oh no!  Not more noisy dogs!!

And speaking of dogs, at least someone around here has been enjoying some lazy time...

Yesterday we had no plans other than my weekly doctor appointment, at which I found that I've made no progress.  Anyway, Adeline and I did a little shopping at Barnes & Noble afterwards and I treated myself to a yummy pumpkin spiced latte (one of my favorite things about fall).  Since I've been home this week, Adeline has not let me out of her sight.  She had gotten pretty good about playing by herself for about 30 minutes at a time, but not this week.  If I'm not right beside her, she comes and grabs my hand and says in the sweetest voice, "mere" or "mon" as in come here or come on.  Then she pulls me in to the playroom.  She then pats the floor & says, "sit, sit."  We had fun having a tea party yesterday.  Little girls are such a delight!

Then we got out some of the more difficult puzzles she got for her birthday last year and I made a small obstacle course.  She amazed me at how well she did.  I would tell her at the beginning that I wanted a sheep or whatever animal, then she would slide down the slide, crawl through the tunnel, get the puzzle piece and bring it back to the puzzle!  I would say she remembered correctly about 70% of the time.  
She makes me so proud!

Now comes the "Keeping it Real" part of my post.  Please do not call DHS on me.  Since she wouldn't nap yesterday, I decided to get some grocery shopping done before Jon got home.  I do not ever strap her in to the cart.  The straps are usually too big and I don't feel like messing with them.  Plus I'm usually always right in front of her.  So enough excuses, I'm a bad mom, I know.  Anyway, we were in the baby section looking at the newborn Halloween costumes.  I was having a hard time deciding what size to get, so I called my mom.  In the meantime, Adeline proceeds to stand up.  I tell her to sit on her bottom, she tries, but misses and falls flat on her back into the cart part of the buggy!  It was absolutely terrifying!  I throw my phone down so my mom is probably freaking out too because she can hear Adeline screaming and I'm not saying anything.  Then a worker comes running over to ask if she's bleeding.  Finally after I assess the damages and realize it's just a bruise and Adeline calms down, we continue our shopping.  However, Adeline refuses to get back in the cart and my 38.5 week pregnant self can NOT carry a toddler and push a buggy throughout wal-mart, so I'm THAT mom with THAT kid that's running down the aisles almost colliding with every innocent shopper she meets.  I'll be strapping her in from now on.  

Then, today, she's climbing in to the little stool thing we have at our kitchen island (that was made specially for kids to be able to stand at the kitchen counter and see what's going on) and she bumped her back on the part that's designed to keep her from falling out.  
The little bruise at the top is from the shopping cart incident, the knot is from the kitchen stool.
Now the knot is just a bruise and she's acting just fine.

See?  She's alive and well and I promise I'm not a neglectful, abusive mom.