And PS, the ring sling was great. Sammy slept through the whole thing!
Monday, August 18, 2014
And PS, the ring sling was great. Sammy slept through the whole thing!
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I had been dealing with mild pre-eclampsia for a week or two and finally after a L&D scare over the weekend, so my OB and MFM decided I would be delivering a week early via scheduled c-section. I got the call on Monday, July 21, 2014 to be prepared for a July 22, 7am delivery. The nurse was so sweet and ended the call with "you're going to have your baby in your arms tomorrow!" I hung up and cried tears of joy.
I made a few phone calls to my work, to the dog daycare, family, etc, to get all of my affairs in order. We dropped the dog off later that evening and Kevin and I laid in bed in awe telling one another that our lives would be forever changed the following day. We set our alarms for 3:45am because we had to arrive at the hospital at 4:45am.
I laid in bed feeling like a kid does waiting for Christmas morning - well, that times a million. I knew that the following day would be magical and there was no way I could get a wink of sleep leading up to it. So I decided I'd go out into the family room and watch TV. We had to "wake up" (but I couldn't sleep lol) at 3:45am and I only had about four hours to kill.
I watched some guilty reality shows, some Top Chef reruns, and around 2:45am I went to the restroom only to realize my underwear was soaked. Huh? Pregnant ladies are known for having bladder accidents, but this was a lot. Then, more gushes came. It took a minute to register, but it finally hit me - my water broke. What in the world are the odds of that just an hour before we were supposed to get up for the hospital anyway? It wasn't at all like I expected it to be. I didn't feel a pop, a large gush, I just happened to notice I was all wet and had to put it all together in my head.
I woke Kevin up and said "you'll never believe this, but my water broke. So let's get this show on the road a little earlier than planned. I'm sure contractions are coming." He couldn't believe it! He jumped out of bed, took a quick shower and we got all of my packed bags in the car and headed to the hospital. By the time we got there, I was already feeling some contractions and speed bumps in the parking lot hurt. A lot.
When we arrived to L&D we told them I had a planned c-section but we there just a bit early due to my water breaking. All of the nurses stopped what they were doing and laughed. They couldn't believe the timing either!
I was put into a pre-op bed and monitors were strapped on me. Contractions were coming every seven minutes or so. They tried to get an IV placed in my arm, but due to my deep veins they ran into issues. I'm not normally a fainter and have had plenty of blood draws and needle pricks in my life, but I passed out twice (horrible, horrible feeling) when the third try they finally got the IV in. Thank goodness.
I was running on no sleep and tried to rest a bit before everything picked up around 6:30am. I had a myriad of people come in and introduce themselves to me, but honestly, I can't remember much of who because of how tired and how uncomfortable I was. But finally a few minutes later, they said it was time to go to the OR. Kevin put his surgery outfit on, had a big smile on his face, and I was taken into the operating room and was told he'd follow shortly thereafter.
They had me step up onto the operating table and lean forward so the anesthesiologist could insert the spinal. I actually was more nervous about this moment than the surgery itself. But with his careful instruction, this was a breeze. I only felt a pinch as the pain numbing medication went in. I've had fertility treatments hurt more than that! Once it was in, they had me flip my legs onto the table where I felt this warmth come over them. It was welcomed because I was starting to feel a little chilly. During this whole time, I was barely speaking. They asked if I was okay, and I was. I was more than okay. I was just in utter shock. That's the best word I can use to describe it. I was in shock that our little girl was about to be born and the emotions were overwhelming. It was overwhelming and sacred.
I laid on the table taking in all of the emotions, sounds, and sights around me and Kevin came in. He held my hand. I could feel them taping me with drapes.
Most of what happens next is a blur - out of sheer emotion I can't remember it, but it still brings tears to my eyes. After some really hefty tugging, pulling, and pushing, I heard the doctor say "wow, she's big!" and a few seconds later I heard her cry.
I don't know why her cry surprised me, but it did. I get that babies cry at birth, but for some reason I didn't register that would be happening. But hearing it was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard.
Kevin said "that's our little girl! that's our little girl!" We both cried for this moment we waited for our whole lives. The doctor held her over the curtain where I saw her open her big eyes and look down at me!
She was quickly taken about 10 feet away to the warming table where Kevin followed. I could see her little hands and legs kicking.
She quickly grasped Kevin's finger and held on tight.
They cleaned her up, bundled her, and brought her over for me to see again.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
While Sammy sleeps, I've been knocking out to-do items like phone calls to insurance, tidying the house, etc and feel like I'm finally getting in a bit of a groove. I'm actually feeling hopeful that this VLCAD issue will end up being a false positive. Maybe that's the Zoloft talking, or maybe it's just the fact that the second screen did come back as normal. Either way, living without paralyzing anxiety has been a nice change. I can't believe how debilitating that kind of anxiety is and I'm glad I got help for it when I did. I do feel better. If any of you find yourself struggling with postpartum anxiety or depression, please don't hesitate to ask for help. I'm not ashamed to talk about it and neither should you.
As far as tests go, we still haven't received the results for both the DNA test that will tell us which embryo batch Sammy is from, nor have we received the definitive DNA sequencing for the VLCAD results. I hope to at least get the embryo batch DNA test back this week, and if not, I'll be making some calls. We could get the VLCAD results this week, but probably next.
Can I tell you how much I love this little girl? I don't ever want to lay her down. I want to hold her all day and all night. Of course, that's not realistic but it's what I would do if I never had to sleep, eat, or shower. I could just stare at her beautiful face all day long and tell her how much she is loved and was prayed for. I love our 'girl talks' we have after she's fully fed, changed, and happy as a clam. She's my Sammy snowflake and I always want her to know how special she is. Kevin and I tell her we love her at least 100 times a day, and that's probably not an exaggeration.
We've noticed she's got a red hue to her hair....
I never expected Sammy to be born with red hair, but I think it's a wonderful surprise. Of course I would love her no matter what color hair she has - red, blonde, black, green - it doesn't matter! But I feel like there's a nod from my mom in that hair color somewhere because she always said Kevin and I would have a baby with red hair. And when we discovered my infertility, I had to grieve that red-haired child would never come to be. I wrote a blog entry about it long ago you can read here: The ghost of a red haired child.
When she's laughing in her sleep, which she does often, I think it must be my mom tickling her in her dreams! What else could a newborn baby be laughing at? ;-)
She's beautiful beyond comprehension. And not only do I feel overwhelming love for her, I also can't describe the overwhelming gratitude for the donor family who made it possible for her to be ours. We are so, so blessed.
I thank God for embryo adoption.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
We were all waiting on the edge of our seats for the following tests to come back for VLCAD: A repeat state screen, a urine test, a first blood panel, and the final genetic test.
Today at our appointment, we found out that the urine sample was lost. Our pediatrician was so mad and apologized profusely to us for it, even though it wasn't her fault. We were frustrated about this too because it's hard to get urine from a tiny baby. They have to tape this little bag around her private parts, shove a cotton ball in her behind, and then wait. Not fun for anyone. But it is what it is.
But we did find out that the results for the first blood test had come back. They were "slightly abnormal." What does this mean? It could mean she has full blown VLCAD, is a carrier for it, or doesn't have it. So it doesn't tell us anything, really, other than cause me to worry. And while we tried to get more urine from Sammy in the pedi office, she ended up peeing all over the table instead of into the bag. That level of frustration nearly sent me over the edge into tears (Zoloft isn't quite working dependably yet.) The pedi decided to call the geneticist to see if this urine test even mattered, and it turns out it doesn't much so we were able to skip it. The true diagnosis really hinges on that final genetic test that will say whether she has two copies (full blown VLCAD) one copy (a carrier) or none (neither.) So I'm really not sure why we even did the other tests, but we did and that's all in the past now.
But almost directly after we left the appointment, I got a call from the pediatrician saying the newborn screen test actually had come in and it came back normal. This is the same test that flagged us into this situation to begin with. I seem to think I have read somewhere that false negatives are possible the later out in an infant's life it is taken, but I took it as a small glimmer of hope anyway. So long story short, we have some test results in but are still left to wonder until this genetic screen is back in two weeks. More information, but not much we can do with it.
It's going to be a whole other kind of two week wait. I hope we survive with our sanity in tact.
Monday, August 4, 2014
We're still here, surviving the past couple of days.
Despite my optimistic post a few days ago, I'm still incredibly anxious about this possibility of VLCAD. Who am I kidding? There's no question I was already suffering from a low level of postpartum anxiety, but having the possibility of this life-threatening and rare disease looming overhead has taken me to a nearly unbearable level of worry. I'm always watching Sammy for signs of metabolic distress. Was that jerky movement a seizure? Is she sleeping too much? Is that the lethargy I'm supposed to watch for? Has she eaten enough? If not, is there a phone nearby to call 911?
I mean, it's just maddening, really.
I realized after a good cry the other morning while holding her and pleading with God to please let her be healthy that it was time for me to take a Zoloft that my OB prescribed in the hopes to take the edge off of the anxiety. I know it can take a few days, but the first day it did seem to help a decent amount. Placebo effect? Maybe, but I'll take it. But now I"m noticing a few side effects. I'm having a harder time sleeping, muscle twitches, and yesterday morning I blacked out for a brief moment while laying in bed. I think the blackout was a combination of sleep deprivation, not eating well myself (it's been so hard to figure out when to eat a midst everything and trying to catch up on sleep) and my blood pressure meds. Apparently Zoloft taken with my type of BP med can increase the impact on my BP. After the mini blackout, I took my BP and it was indeed low. Kevin kept an eye on me and I'm hoping today is a better day!
But anyway, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm suffering from postpartum anxiety that has been immensely fueled by this newborn screening result. And I'm not afraid to say I need some help for it. I'm just hoping this help will help soon, and these side effects decrease ASAP. I just want life to normalize - to whatever degree it will be. I just want the dust to settle already.
We've done the DNA test to find out which embryo batch Sammy came from and are awaiting the results. I have no idea which day those will come back but once the genetic families know the results, I'll post them here too.
Sammy is just a joy beyond comprehension. I love holding her, watching her make her little faces, seeing her smile in her sleep. She even laughs in her sleep, and I know I'm not imagining things because it's happened multiple times and in front of others too. Just a joy and I love her more than anything! Kevin has been calling her chubby-cheeks-cheddar-burger which cracks me up. But it's fitting. :)
I just wish I could enjoy being a new mom to it's fullest without the cloud of uncertainty that is looming with these tests. I appreciate the continued prayers for peace, and for all of these tests to come back as a-ok and we can put all of this behind us.
Friday, August 1, 2014
We just love this little girl!
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Yesterday morning, I tried to make an appointment with the specific geneticist we were referred to, but I found out the earliest that he could see us was October. I just about lost my mind. I felt like I was in no mans land - just enough information to scare the life out of us but no one could help us get answers. I ended up calling the pediatrician's office and asked if they could get ahold of the geneticist and make something happen sooner.
As we waited for the call back, we took our precious little Sammy girl into the children's hospital to have her blood drawn. I was running on no sleep, and watching them pin her down, tourniquet her tiny little arms until they were white and poke her while she shrieked, was a little piece of hell for me. I know parents watch their kids go through far, far worse things and that this is nothing. But to me, I was just sickened and it was awful.
|Our sweet, little Sammy sleeping at home after the blood draws earlier in the day.|
We also got some answers as far as timelines and tests go. Sammy had a urine collection done on Monday and her blood draw yesterday. The geneticist recommended a third test, which would require a blood draw to check for some enzyme or something (I think?) Because we had just returned from the lab, we will have to go back on Friday to have poor Sammy poked again for more blood. But that should be the end of it, I hope.
We should have the urine and first blood test back within 10 days or so and those results should be pretty telling about where we stand with this disorder being legitimate or a false positive. And the final blood test will take a month but will seal the deal either way. I pray that these initial tests are so blaringly clear that we won't have to worry for that last test and it's just final confirmation that this truly is nothing.
Anyway, there's my update on her health and I am so, so grateful for the kind words, prayers, and encouragement from my blog readers. I know that this is what being a parent is all about - being worried because you love your baby so very much. But I had no idea we'd be going from the typical new-parent kind of worrying about things like colic, weight gain, sleeping etc to being thrust into knowing which signs to watch for in the event of a seizure, or that we must take her to a particular children's ER in the event of an emergency from the VLCAP situation.
And on the breastfeeding front, I hired a lactation consultant to come over last night. Ever since the news of the genetic test results, Sammy hasn't been latching. I figured she could sense my stress. She roots really well, hops on, but then gives up after a few seconds after attempting to latch. We've been frustrated and have been supplementing with formula while I pump. Despite that, my supply has been growing and the LC was pleased with where I was at with it. And as far as the newly developed latch issue, it turns out that we just have to entice her with a little milk on me first before she latches and she will get going on it! The LC said that once we introduced bottles, she got used to immediate reward with the milk coming out. On the breast, she has to work for it and has gotten impatient so gives up when nothing comes out in a suck or two. Why work for something when it comes out so easily from the bottle? T his baby girl is just too smart for her own good. :) I had no idea how intelligent such a tiny little baby could be, but I'm learning every day!
We weighed her and she's finally gaining weight and her jaundice has all but disappeared. We also have clear guidelines on how much she should be eating every day - something we've been clueless about. We've also rented the LC's very sensitive scale that can tell how much she's consuming. I feel in control of breastfeeding again and it's a really wonderful feeling. I have no problem supplementing or using formula if we need to go there, and still need to top her off from time to time, but I am so glad we are back on track with it.
I'm well rested today, on my BP meds and feeling better, and I hope to finally tackle her newborn pictures to share with you all.
Again, thank you for all of the support and prayers, and please continue to pray that we aren't in the 5% of these screens that are not false positive after all. I still do worry.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Yesterday started like any other day. We had our first pediatrician well check, and all that was on our minds was Sammy's mild jaundice and moderate weight loss. I've also struggled with breastfeeding, I feel clueless.
We left, came home, went about the day when the phone rang. It was the pediatrician. He told us that one of Sammy's state genetic screens had come back "out of range" and needed us to come into the office right away. Nothing in my life has been so terrifying. He didn't answer many of my questions over the phone.
The genetic problem is called VLCAD. I guess it's a problem where babies can't process fats properly, something about lacking an enzyme. But if they go without eating for long periods of time (beyond 3 hours or so) they could go into metabolic distress and need hospitalization, or could even die. It's something that is treatable but terrifying because without strict management could cause serious, serious issues.
No mom wants to get news like this. No dad wants news like this. I hung up the phone and cried and cried.
We rushed Sammy into the pedi and I felt like we left with more questions than answers. We were referred to a geneticist at the local Dell Children's hospital here in Austin. They collected urine and will be getting blood this morning. I'm just sick of the thought of these tests alone, let alone the outcome. Like I said, having left the pedi with more questions than answers, I've been left to look it up online. I guess another confirmation test is to do a skin biopsy on her leg.
Do you all realize how tiny this little girl is? The idea of them doing these tests sickens me. She looks up at me and smiles with her big cheeks, she doesn't understand. I don't understand why this is happening.
With my stress levels high, I've been unable to breastfeed. She's not latching. I'm waking up every 2 hours to feed her formula and then follow with pumping. Even if this screening turns out to be nothing, we probably won't know for a very long time - months even. I have no idea since I still have so many questions lingering. My blood pressure was sky high yesterday after returning from the peditrician. I already felt like I had a level of post-partum anxiety due to how much I feared something hapening to our little girl, then I get news like this. I don't have words to describe how sick I am over it. I'm terrified for our future. I'm horrified by the thought of watching her go down this testing path. I just wanted to spend these first few weeks like a normal family, with our beautiful baby girl.
Why does God keep testing us?
Please pray that this screening turns out to be a false positive. Please pray we get the results quickly. Please pray for our mental health in the meantime. We are not doing okay.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
We made it through our first night. Kevin and I are taking shifts the best we can while I pretty much nurse her around the clock. I have some minor issues with breastfeeding but am pushing through them with the support and help of friends and taking naps every opportunity I can.
I'll try to type up a birth story in the next few days while our little angel sleeps (wish us luck) with lots and lots of pictures.
And like many of you said, I couldn't be prepared for the amount of love I'd feel for this little girl - you were right and then some. I love her so much my heart just aches, in a good way. Like it's going to explode all over the place. I can't wait to get to know her and love her and see her grow. I don't want anything to happen to her and would do anything for her. Kevin feels the same way.
Here are a few pictures to share in the meantime until I can write more. I also hope to do a newborn photo session with her tomorrow and capture her in all her sleepy sweetness while I can. Lots more pictures will come your way, I assure you all!
|Kevin having a heart-to-heart with his brand new little girl|
|Hi, world! Here's a picture of Sammy as she officially turned one day old. :) I could eat those cheeks up!|
|Cracking a smile for daddy. (Or probably gas, but we can always pretend because she's too cute not to share!)|
|More smiles (gas lol)|
|One of the happiest moments of our lives. Strapping this beautiful girl into her carseat and heading home with her. She's ours!|