Thursday, March 28, 2013

Evan's First Week

Thursday March 14
I was finally able to stop the morphine and got to feeling better immediately.  They tried to give me some Percocet but I knew I would be so sick on it.  I just stuck with Ibuprofen.  I chatted with my cleaning lady that cleans my room every morning.  she said she saw me as they rushed me to the OR and wast so worried for me,  she told me that she usually mops the halls at 12 but for some reason that day she hesitated and did something else first. Then she saw them rushing my bed down the halls that would have been pretty wet at that time.  She was very very sweet.  David took me on some hall strolls before going to see Evan.   They had to put the iv in his head and I felt so badly for him. This was the first time I got to hold him. I put him on my chest and it was so good to have some bonding time with him. He wasn't as scary as I  thought he would be.  He was small but I still felt so comfortable holding him; my sweet baby boy. I  held him for about an hour and then I was worn out.  We went back to my room and I took a nap. 

After dinner we went back upstairs to be with Evan.  There we met Dr. Allaire.  David had met her the day before because she was the Dr that worked on Evan after he was born.  I asked her to tell me about his birth since neither David or I witnessed it.  What she told me devastated me.  She said that when he was born he was completely lifeless.  His skin was devoid of all color and he wasn't breathing.  Now some of the things I had heard the nurses say made more sense.  They had commented that he hadn't cried when he was born and things like that.  But I had no idea how bad it was.  Dr Allaire said that when she first saw him she wasn't sure he was going to make it.  However as soon as they put the breathing tube in him he snapped right back and was responsive.  She said Evan was doing remarkably well considering his traumatic beginning. I couldn't really process everything she was saying because I was a bit I shock.  My baby had almost died and I had no idea,  I would have never met him, held him or smelled his sweet baby smell. When the Dr left David and I were very quiet.  Then we heard the Dr next door telling another mother that her baby was very sick and they might want to let nature take its course.  David and I were dumbfounded and couldn't believe we had this miracle baby while other parents were being given the worst possible news.  It was very humbling.

Friday March 15
Today is when everything finally hit me and I was pretty much an emotional wreck for most of the day.  I called my mom to tell her what I had found out from the Dr.  I was crying so hard she could barely understand me.  I needed to ride the emotional wave so that I could begin to process what had happened.  I was feeling good and walking around better so we ditched the wheelchair and I walked to the elevators and to the NICU.  We visited with Evan and we were told his jaundice levels were rising a bit. This was to be expected.  They put him under the lights for a bit but the Dr turned them off because she didn't think he needed them quite yet.  Later that afternoon we went up again and my mom came to hold him for the first time.  At that time we got the great news that Evan was being moved out of the ICU and into the intermediate care nursery.  He would have his own private room and he would stay there until he goes home.  I was so happy to hear that.  My mom and I headed downstairs to hang out with the girls for awhile; they loved seeing me up walking around.  I had told David to give them each $1 so they could experience picking something out of the vending machine.  That was super exciting for them!

 Today Evan had a permanent IV installed--a PICC line.  This will give him some extra fluids and fats and they won't to keep moving the IV and re-sticking him.

That night David and I hung out watching old tv shows and just laughing-that HURT.  However as soon as the lights turned off I started reliving Wednesday's nightmare.  David had already fallen asleep but my sobbing woke him up.  He crawled into my bed and held me until I was calm and could finally sleep.  I am so blessed to have such a man to love and care for me.  He commented the next day that he had never heard me cry like that before.  Usually I am a private crier since I try to be so strong!  He told me not to hide it anymore. :)  I am one blessed wife.

Saturday March 16
This was such a great day. We got to see Evans new room.   It's so nice having space to take care of him.  His jaundice levels had risen again so they decided to put him on the billy blanket.  This meant we didn't get to hold him much-only 30 minutes at a time, 

David left and took the girls swimming and came back after lunch.  Alison came by for a visit. She brought me new pajamas-awesome!  We all went up to see Evan. It was time for his feeding and they wanted to see how he would do with a bottle.  I got to feed him and he sucked done the entire thing!  I was shocked and so so happy!  They didn't really expect him to have the suck swallow breath reflex yet but he was a champ!

That night David got take out from a local Mexican restaurant so we could celebrate our final night in the hospital!  

Sunday March 17
My nurse today was Sandy, the one who helped save my baby by her quick actions-holding the cord in.  I was so glad to see her.  She took care of me and got me all ready for discharge.  We went up and visited Evan for his 9 am cares and told him good-bye for the day. 

The girls were so happy to see me!  Coming home was a bittersweet event.  I was so happy to see my girls and my house but a piece of our family was definitely missing.  Anna plopped herself next to me and didn't want to leave my side.  The girls showed me all the treasures that Grandma had bought them.  Cyrena showed off her hula hoop skills.  It was so fun.  I headed upstairs and was asleep within minutes of laying on my bed.  The entire afternoon and evening I was very tears and missing my baby but trying to be bright and cheery for the girls,  David and I put them to bed-it was so nice to be able to do that again.  Anna of course really wanted me to pick her up and hold her and didn't understand why I couldn't.  After they were settled in bed David and I got in the car to head back to the hospital.  As soon as we pulled out of the driveway I let out all the tears I'd been holding in.  It had been a hard, long day.  We got to the hospital and the first thing the nurse asked me was " how was the homecoming?"  And I lost it again and couldn't even answer her!  She was so sweet and understanding.  That night Evan was back to his birth weight of 3 lbs 12 oz.  The lowest he had been was 3 lbs 9 oz.  We just got to hold him for about 30 minutes so he could go back on the UV blanket.  By that time I was exhausted anyway and ready to sleep in my own bed.

We're home!!

Monday March 18
 Today Evan started taking all his feelings through the bottle.  It was amazing!  All the nurses were surprised since babies don't usually do that at 32 weeks.  We started our new schedule today.  David helps me get the kids up and ready and Cyrena off to school.  Usually he's gone way before then but his work is being very understanding.  Then he and I both leave the house just after 8.  I head to the hospital and he heads to work. My dad drove me today and my mom picked me up.  I don't know what we would do without their help!  I arrive for Evans 9 am cares and then 'kangaroo' (skin to skin holding) with him for about 2 hours.  Then I put him in his bed, pump, use the restroom, eat my snack then do his 12 pm cares.  Then I stay and hold him after he eats before I head out so i am home by about 1:30. I'm home all afternoon for when Cyrena gets home and the family is all together.  Then we put the kids to bed and drive back to the hospital for his 9 pm cares and David 'kangaroos' with him for about an hour while I update this journal.  We get home around 11:30 and fall into bed exhausted!  Evan gets weighed every night and I watch the scale like a hawk!  Today he gained 2 oz so he is now at 3lbs 14 oz.

Tuesday March 19
 Evan continues to do well with his bottles.  His nurses say he seems to think he's older than he really is!  They keep asking if my due date was wrong but I know it wasn't.  I know this is due to all the prayers and faith of our friends and family,  his weight today was 4 lbs even!

Wednesday March 20
 Evan is 1 week old today and what a cutie he is!  My parents both drove me today and the girls went to the Larson's house.  It was time for Grandma and Grandpa to go home.  They had given us 2 full weeks of help and it was so appreciated!  It was hard to say good-bye; lots and lots of tears.  It was so reassuring knowing that my girls were being loved and cared for while I was in the hospital and couldn't be there for them.  I owe them a debt of gratitude for sure!  Evan continues to do well and weighed 4 lbs 1oz today. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Evan's Birth

Wednesday, March 13
I woke up feeling hopeful.  I hadn't slept well but I had a plan for the day and that always helps.  I was going to rest in the morning and then work on the crocheting while I watched a movie.  The baby was monitored from 9-9:30 and was active and healthy as always.  Around 10 I turned down the lights to try and get some rest.  I didn't really fall asleep but just kind of zoned out while paying attention to the baby's movements.  He wasn't super active but I figured he was just resting like me.  

Just before 12 I got up to use the restroom.  I felt something strange between my legs and when I went into the bathroom I realized the imbilical cord was hanging out at least 3 inches!  It was kind of a surreal moment.  I hesitated just a second and then pulled the emergency cord in the bathroom.  That brought 3 nurses rushing in.  I was still a bit in shock and barely squeaked out "I think the cord is out"  They ordered me onto the bed, threw my pajamas off and confirmed the cord had prolapsed (meaning it has preceded the baby through the cervix).  By some divine intervention my assigned high risk doctor (Dr. Spence) was sitting at the nurses station just outside my door.  They called her and she rushed in and shoved the cord back in and checked to make sure it was pulsating and the baby still had a heartbeat.  She ordered Sandy, my nurse, to climb on the bed and hold the cord in place while everyone else got my bed ready to move. 

I tried to grab my cell phone to call David but they ripped it out of my hand and said they would call him. So we are rushing down the hall and again I'm thinking that this cant be happening, not to me.  My life is boring and predictable-just how I like it!  People that know me know that I am not spontaneous and I don't like surprises.  However, this was actually happening so I was fervently praying the entire ride to the operating room.  While we were riding down the hall Dr. Spence asked Sandy if the cord was still pulsating.  The nurse said "yes, it's at 60"--so low!!  His heart rate was usually in the 160's. I was still in a state of shock and not processing the entire thing.   I've never had any sort of surgery before- besides my removing my wisdom teeth.  So when they wheeled me into this sterile room with bright lights overhead and people rushing here and there, it was terrifying. 

Right away they tried to get an IV going but it took them three tries because I'm a "hard stick" according to them.  It ended up in the crook of my arm- the worst spot possible.  While they were putting in the IV the anesthesiologist started me on the sleepy stuff while muttering that she couldn't find me in their computer system!  I wanted to say "Who cares? My baby is dying, get him out!"  And while those 2 things were going on they were also putting in a catheter.  It was major chaos. Finally they directed me to scoot onto the operating table.  I was on my way out by then so they had to guide me with their voices. That is the last thing I remember.  I was told they began the c- section at 12:14 pm and he was born at 12:16 pm.  The entire ordeal from when I had pulled the emergency cord to when he was born was just about 15 minutes- amazing.

When I woke up it was about 2 hours later.  I could hear voices but I couldn't open my eyes.  Eventually I did and I saw David.  I knew he was worried about me.  I felt so badly for him- it must have been frightening to get a phone call that your wife was going into emergency surgery.  He stayed with me for a bit then they came and got him to check on the baby. He returned and reported to me that the baby had a breathing tube for about an hour after birth but was now on oxygen through his nose.  He told me that his apgar score had been a 1 when he was first born but then once they got a breathing tube in him it changed to an 8.  We didn't know the whole story at this point- that came later.

Soon they wheeled me back to my original room.  This would be my postpartum room.  I was glad not to have to change and get to know new nurses.  It was another tender mercy.  I was so tired and the morphine made me feel a bit funny.  I don't do very well with narcotics. They had to give me some anti-nausea medicine as well. I rested while David went back and forth between me and the baby, giving me reports each time.  It was so hard not to see my baby but I was so glad David could. During one of his reports we made the final decision to name him Evan Randall. They scheduled his first bath for 1:00 am.  So my nurses and I decided that I would get up at midnight and take my first post surgery stroll around the halls.  Afterward they would clean me up and then I could head upstairs to meet my baby.  The stroll went well, I even did 2 laps!

Meeting Evan for the first time was a bit surreal.  I felt so disconnected.  I know it was largely due to the morphine and exhaustion.  We stayed and watched his bath,  I don't remember much of it.  All  I remember is him wrapping his hand around my finger thru the window on his incubator.  The nurse asked if I wanted to hold him but I had to say no because I was feeling so weak and out of it. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Evan's Journey part 1

So much has happened since I posted last.  I did journal about it and will post the journal entries here for posterity's sake. :)  It will probaby be boring to read but I wanted to record it since I have an awful memory. 

Tuesday, March 5
I woke up around 4 am thinking I was leaking some fluid. I went to the bathroom and realized my garments were wet. I changed and then told David what was going on and I tried to go back to sleep. However a few minutes later I felt more leaking and when I stood up there was a gush of fluids. I knew it was time to head to the hospital. My first reactions were anger and fear. I was upset that my body was not doing it's job and was worried about the time ahead. I quickly called Alison while I threw some things in a bag and started to cry a little.

We got to the hospital (Banner Gateway) just before 5 and they checked to confirm that my water had ruptured. It had, so they prepared me to be transferred to another hospital that handles premature deliveries and infants. While they waited for transport they got an IV started and gave me magnesium to stop any contractions. They also tilted my bed so my head was down and feet were up. This caused me to feel nauseous and David had to help me sit up so i could breathe and cough into a bag. The magnesium made me really hot and my vision a little blurry. They checked my cervix and thought I was about 2 centimeters dilated. David game me a very quick and very comforting blessing.

The transport arrived and they transferred me to a gurney for the ambulance ride to the hospital. The entire time I kept thinking that this couldn't be happening, not to me. This just can't be happening. But it was, so I tried to put on a brave face. All the medics and nurses kept commenting to me that I am handling this so well. When we arrived at Banner Desert they took me straight to a delivery room. They hooked me up to monitor contractions and the baby's heart rate.

I was really tired and not feeling great because of the Magnesium. I was holding it together until a nurse practitioner came to talk to me. She was super nice and emphasized again and again that this was not my fault and I did nothing to cause this. She said I needed to let go of the mommy guilt then and there.  That's when I started to cry a little. It felt good to let a few emotions go. Tender Mercy #1.

Dr Cook came to visit and he outlined the plan. He said there were certain goals we wanted to make. The first was to get both sets of steroid shots. I received one at Banner Gateway before transport and I would get another in 24 hours. He said the steroids begin to take effect immediately so any he gets will benefit him. Also I would be on the Magnesium for 24 hours after the second steroid shot. The next goal would be to make it to 32 weeks. At that point they will check the baby's lungs and if they are mature they will induce labor.

After that I was stable so they transferred me to the antepartum ward on bedrest. By this time it was about 1 pm. The girls were taken care of, my parents were on their way and Tara was coming to sleep at my house and watch the girls the next day. That night David brought the girls to see me. Natalie climbed right into my bed.  Anna just watched warily. The girls were just excited to watch cable. Cyrena climbed in bed next to me too and we just hung out until it was time for David to take them home and get them bathed and in bed.  He met Tara there and came back to stay with me for the night. The night passed uneventfully.

Wednesday, march 6
I didn't get much sleep but the baby was still active and I was just feeling pregnant, not in labor. I got my second shot of steroids so everything was looking really good. David went to work for awhile and then my parents came through on their way into town. I was so glad to see them arrive and knew the girls would be so excited to see them. David got Cyrena after school and took her to football practice then they all got some dinner and came back here for a visit. The girls were cute, Anna was especially excited to see me, she was so adorable. We hung out for awhile. I was still seeing double a little because of the Magnesium. Before they left to go home I asked David and my dad for a blessing, it was not only a blessing for me, but also for our baby boy. It was very comforting and I appreciated it so much. I know The Lord is preparing us to be taught many lessons in the coming weeks. I was getting so many texts and emails from loved ones and ward members, it was wonderful.  I know our names were in many temples--even Hong Kong since my uncle Rick was there on business!  There were a lot of prayers being offered on our behalf.  That night passed uneventfully as well and I slept a little more. The baby was barely active at all so I kept making them check him. They said the magnesium would make him tired just like me so that's probably all it was. His heart rate has been fine this whole time.

Thursday March 7
I was looking forward to getting off of the magnesium so I could feel a little more normal. They ended up taking me off mid-morning. I immediately started feeling better. And the baby's activity level returned to normal. I took a shower. Then they ended up taking the iv out completely so that was exciting. The rest of the day was normal. Around 5:00 I started feeling faint contractions. I was a little nervous but not too worried. I finally texted David around 5:45 and told him to come even though he was already on his way!  For the next couple of hours the contractions came about 5 minutes apart but weren't too painful.
They called the dr in and she checked me. I was still at a 2 and about 70% effaced. The monitor wasn't picking up the contractions but I was definitely feeling them. They did an ultrasound and the baby was breech (bum down) so a c-section was eminent. I was terrified! All along I've been planning on a natural childbirth without an epidural or anything and now they're telling me that I have to have surgery?
They started up another iv and kept the heart rate and contraction monitors on me. David and I tried to get some rest but every time I rolled over they would have to come adjust the monitors. It was exhausting. Eventually around midnight the contractions subsided and were gone by the middle of the night so they took the monitors off and I could sleep.

Friday March 8
Nothing much happened today. I felt completely fine and didn't have any contractions. I think I may have just been dehydrated so the iv fluids helped stop the contractions, it was really rainy all day and cold. Of course I just had to take everyone's word for that!

Saturday March 9
David hung out with me a lot today. He spent the morning with me then he met up with my parents and the girls at the dinosaur museum. He came back afterward for the afternoon and then headed home to play with the girls and eat dinner.  Later he came back again to sleep with me. The only change for me today was that my fluid changed colors. Up until this point it had been clear and pale yellow. But this day it turned an obvious pink. That was a little concerning but not bad, they said as long as its not red or active bleeding they are ok with it. They get concerned if its red or if it turns green or smelly. Other than that the day passed with nothing too significant. The baby continues to be super active and his heart rate is perfect. Today Anna learned how to climb out of her crib! This was not welcome news, I hadn't planned on transitioning her to a big bed until July or so. The last thing I want to have happen is her doing this while I am in the hospital! David rigged up kind of a cave to block her in but I'm trying to find a crib tent.

Sunday March 10
David was gone most of the day because of church and being with the kids. I took a long shower, shaved my kegs and did my hair! He brought just the older girls by during Anna's nap. He said everyone at church was concerned about me and asking all kinds of questions. Many people shared their preemie/NICU stories so that was very comforting to us. Then when he was ready to go Melinda Mullins showed up for a visit and then MaryJo and Nicole Levi came. It was good to have some distracting adult conversation. That took care of the evening and then David came back to sleep with me.

Monday March 11
This was the hardest day so far. David left for work and after I ate breakfast I was just struck with immense sadness, I miss being with my kids, I'm worried about the coming weeks, and feel like I'm not doing my job as a mom. Now logically I know I'm doing the most important mom work right now but I just needed a pity party. So I turned out the lights, grabbed some tissues and let the tears flow. I felt much better afterward! The only thing was the baby was kicking down low really hard and it was quite uncomfortable. But feeling him move is the most reassuring thing, After lunch Ashley Johnson came by for a visit. She is pregnant with a baby boy due in June. Again it was a good distraction and helped pass part of the afternoon. Everyone has been so nice and supportive. I know that their prayers and faith are helping, I can feel it.  Everyday the baby stays in and I am bored is better for his health! The plan is to check my fluid on Thursday to see if his lungs are developed. If they are then they will induce or do a c-section depending on the baby's position. If his lungs aren't ready then they will check again in a week. I have mixed feelings. On one hand I want to be done with bedrest but on the other i know the longer he stays in the better. But also the longer I go the more there is a risk of infection from the ruptured membranes. It's all a gamble. They said if his lungs are mature then it's safer for him to be delivered sooner rather than contract an infection and be born sick. That makes sense. So I guess we'll just see what happens Thursday.
Tuesday March 12 
Today has been a great day. The morning flew by. I set up some play dates for the kids and was glad to know they would have fun. They took my iv out. I should be able to keep it out until I deliver! I usually try to take a little nap before lunch since I'm not sleeping super great at night. After that I ordered lunch and then Alison Spencer showed up for a visit. She brought a bag of tricks. She brought me yummy chicken salad for lunch and some homemade kettle corn-yum! She also brought a hat she had crocheted for the baby and then brought me some thread and yarn to work on crocheting some burp cloths. She stayed for a couple of hours. After she left I took another hot shower, it was great to be able to fully use both hands! My mom, David and the kids came for a visit around 6:30. I usually try to plan my meals for when they are there so they can share some of my food. They love that. The nurse also brought each of them a popsicle! My mom got me started crocheting some burp cloths so that will give me something to do tomorrow. David painted my toenails and then Natalie painted some clear sparkles on top of that.  Then David took everyone home. He's going to stay home tonight-it will be our first night apart. He said he would turn his phone on LOUD! We found a crib tent and David picked it up earlier. I hope it works to keep Anna in!! The baby has been really active, I hope he moves positions so we don't have to do a c- section.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A male heir?

I have completely neglected to announce/record that I am pregnant and due May 9!  This pregnancy has been a super busy one and has flown by.  In fact, David and I are feeling like time is passing so quickly and while we're really excited about another baby we feel like we need more prep time. Since the other babies have come early, we kind of have a mid-April deadline in mind.  Lots to do between now and then!

We found out just before Christmas that we are gong to be blessed with a baby boy.  The first grandson that will carry on the Dean name.  We were very surprised and very excited.

Does that look like a boy to you??  I kept asking the technician if she was sure and she just said "you're seeing what I'm seeing."  Which I interpreted as "it's pretty obvious crazy lady"  And then he stuck his hand 'down there' and she said "oh yeah, definitely a boy!" There's still that tiny lingering doubt in the back of my head so we'll see what happens on delivery day!

I had a low-lying placenta mid-way through the pregnancy but that has cleared up.  However, now my blood pressure has become elevated so they are watching that.  I had some scary, painful contractions about a week ago but they disappeared and I'm hoping the next 6 weeks or so will be UNEVENTFUL!  I can't wait to hold my very own baby boy.

Cyrena's 1st grade Program

Cyrena had her first grade program and it was all about Arizona.  They sang songs about the desert and native animals/plants.  She was in the coyote group and LOVED all the songs they sang.  Natalie was super excited the entire program because Cyrena had been singing her all the songs every night before they went to sleep.  I think we all had the songs stuck in our heads the next day!

 Cyrena with her best friend Robyn

She memorized her speaking part quickly and delivered it well!  And lucky her, Grandma and Grandpa Lemmert were in town and got to see her perform!

Day of Love 2013

The week of Valentine's Day we have a few traditions.  We make love note mailboxes, play Don't Eat Cupid, and have a fancy dinner

Our mailboxes of love.  My favorite tradition.  I put the filled out notes all around after they'd been read so we could see the love grow!

Anna hiding while we choose 'cupid'

She shoved the m&m's in as quickly as she could before we could yell "don't eat cupid!"

 Our 'fancy dinner'  We always have steak, baked potatoes, salad, etc.  And usually a nice dessert.  This year we opted for Cheesecake Factory cheesecake for David and I and cheap chocolates for the girls! hehe.

 Progression of a first time caramel eater...

 I could hardly take a picture at this point I was laughing so hard

 A satisfied valentine

Fruit of the harvest

 We had a large grapefruit harvest this year.  Too bad David's really the only one that likes grapefruit. :)  

 He made some into juice and the girls indulged him and drank some.  I did not partake.
Luckily we've got other friends that have different citrus trees that shared with us.  Tangelo juice and fresh-squeezed lemonade have been a tasty treat!

I just love this picture of our family scripture time.  Anna gets really 'involved' and hands out the books and love to open her own and pretend to follow along.  This lasts about 30 seconds and then she's a terror but it's cute for the moment.

New Year's in Utah

We headed up to Utah to celebrate New Year's.  It was a great time as always! 

Traditional animal pancakes by Uncle Lynn!

Sledding, sledding and more sledding!  We braved the FREEZING weather and went sledding.  So much fun.

The frozen tundra...she was fun to watch

A brother sandwich

And Natalie on top

2 minutes after sledding...

A visit with Grandmother Gerstner.  We love spending time with her. 

We spent a morning in Provo reminiscing our college/courtship days and took the kids bowling at BYU.  Natalie was super supportive of each of us and our greatest cheerleader. Anna didn't stop snacking the entire time and Cyrena took the game very seriously.

We also played games, watched movies, and played with cousins as much as possible!

The Deans

My photo
Life as we know it is full of laughter, fun, stress, love, faith and surprises. What more could we ask for?