Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Step in the Right Direction

Look at me go! Two posts in two days. :) But, I have to document what happened last night because Anna made us so happy and proud...as if Anna couldn't make us any happier than her just being here! Little Miss Anna ATE HER ENTIRE FEEDING with me and Blake!! Woooooooo-hoooooooo!!!

Since Anna was a little premature and still had some growing to do in my belly that she didn't get a chance to do she has been having some eating issues. She just isn't interested. She starts with her bottle feeding but zonks out about 5 to 10 cc's into it and they have to give her the remaining 30 or 35 cc's through her feeding tube. It makes sense because she was four weeks early and the last four weeks in mommy's belly she'd be sleeping, taking in nourishment from me so she can gain weight for birth. Everything else is mostly 99% done at that point except for the weight gain. It is just difficult for us because she's out here, being loved, but she can't come home until she starts to eat on her own.

She starts off wide awake and alert, rooting around and ready for food but then she is over it and wants to go back to sleep. With her bottle feedings Anna also does a little better when the nurses feed her. When Blake or I try we aren't as successful, so that's been hard as well. Well, last night she ate HER ENTIRE FEEDING with me and Blake!! She's never done this, not even with the nurses. Blake and I were grinning ear to ear! For having to still leave our baby at the hospital, we left the happiest we've ever left.

I have been pumping and so most of her feedings are breast milk but I haven't actually breastfed in a few days because I was thinking it was making her work harder and tire out quicker. I want to make sure she eats as much as she can from the bottle so we can start the process to coming home. However, the nurse last night was really pushy about me breastfeeding first and then finishing up with the bottle. I was nervous but she did fine, and amazingly stayed awake, and so after about 5 minutes we gave her the bottle and she still stayed awake. Eating away. I had to stop after a while to burp her and this also makes me nervous because this is normally when she isn't interested any longer. If she is actively eating I hate taking the bottle away because once I try and get it back in she purses her lips and she is done. But, after she burped so started rooting around again looking for her bottle. It was amazing. This happened a couple of times and before we knew Anna had finished her entire feeding!

We laughed all the way home at how dorky we are for being so excited over a child eating. But, it is very, very, very exciting! Maybe, just maybe, this is "the click" that the nurses have been talking about that would happen. "Something will just click and she'll start eating!!" I am wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' that that was "the click!"

Sweet Miss Anna.
She's the only bow head in NICU! :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Anna Kathryn Kallemyn

Anna Kathryn Kallemyn officially joined our family on Thursday, August 19, 2010. She weighed 4 lbs 5 oz and measured 16.5" long. A little bit of light brown hair and of course the newborn dark blue eyes. She's perfect and we fall more and more in love with her every second of every day. Here's the story of how she arrived, four weeks early, and where we are as of today...

The Birth:
Mother's are always asked what it feels like the first time they lay eyes on their baby. Mostly everyone says it is indescribable and well, it is. The closest I can come to describing it is almost dreamlike. "Is this really happening? That little human is really MINE? This is it?” It’s the “this is it” feeling like you’ve been blown away by happiness and love not the "this is it" feeling in a way that you were expecting more and were let down. :) It really is indescribable. The moment you waited for, for 9 months, finally arrived and now this little baby that had already consumed your thoughts and dreams and life is actually here, right in front of you, ready to take part in all the plans you made for him or her and the preparation you had done.

She is always so calm. This was about 5 minutes after she was born.

When the doctor brought Anna around the curtain to hand us our baby girl it was like everything stopped. I've never had that happen. I’ve had some slow motion moments (walking down the aisle to marry Blake, his engagement proposal, getting up from falling flat on my face in front of EVERYONE in the high school), but time-stopping moments, that has never happened. I just stared at her. My heart felt the fullest it's ever felt. She was crying that sweet, sweet newborn cry. Then, really quickly, everything went back in motion and the person holding her continued walking her towards us for a closer look. I peeked up at Blake and his sweet face was awe struck and tears welled up in his eyes. He was IN LOVE. I actually watched him fall in love with our baby girl. It was amazing. I’ve never seen someone INSTANTLY fall in love with someone else. It was, well, like I said, amazing. There’s no other word to describe it. I’ll never forget his face in that moment. I fell madly in love with him more than ever at that very second all the while falling madly in love with this tiny little crying baby in front of me. Amazing.

Another exciting part of our delivery was finding out what the sex of the baby was. Both Blake and I knew deep in our hearts it was a little girl, so much so that finally finding out wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. We just knew. But, when our doctor yelled out, "It's a girl!!!” it was such an amazing, happy moment. I can still hear how she said girl, all drawn out "Grrr-url!" So funny. “It’s a grrr-url!” Blake knew he “was meant to have a girl.” Little girls, including my four nieces have always been drawn to Blake. All little kids mostly, but his sweet and kind nature must attract girls. He’s going to be the best dad and I’m sure our little Anna will most definitely be a Daddy’s Girl. So precious.

What happened next was all too fast...they took her to the baby warmer thing, cleaned her up, wrapped her in the pink and blue striped hospital blanket and then gave her to me and Blake. I just held my head up against her and we both kept saying, "She's so beautiful" over and over and over and over. I threw in "She looks just like you!" (she's Blake's twin 28 years seperated!) every once in a while. She was so perfect. I was so happy she was here and all the health concerns and scares we had been through melted away. It was perfect.

How we got here:
The whole process actually started when I was 33 weeks pregnant, 3 weeks before Anna was born, when I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was high. She told me to watch and keep track of it and luckily we have a clinic at work so I’d waddle down on my lunch breaks to get it checked. A few times during that week it was higher than my doctor liked so she’d send me home for bed rest. I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, August 11th and we discussed my high blood pressure and she also asked me to take a 24 hour urine test to determine the exact amount of protein in my urine. High blood pressure and protien in the urine is a sign of pre-eclampsia which is dangerous for both the mom and baby. She asked me to talk to my manager about starting to work 1/2 days so I could be on part time bed rest to keep my blood pressure in check and we'd know more once the results of the urine test were back. So, on Thursday August 12th I started my 1/2 days at work. Friday morning the 13th I woke up with a terrible headache and I went to the clinic earlier than normal. My blood pressure was sky high and the nurse put me in one of the beds. Whenever I lay down on my left side it automatically goes down but when I got back up it would sky rocket again. So, that day I was put on bed rest full time.

My next doctor's appointment was on Wednesday, August 18th. Dr. Vanover wanted to do a non-stress test where they hook me and the baby up to heart monitors to see how the baby is doing and to determine how much the baby is moving. After an hour, and not a lot of movement, Dr. Vanover stopped the test and had me come back for my exam. She wanted to do an ultrasound to further determine the health of the baby. The urine test results were still not back so she popped her head into the sonogram room and said she had to go assist with a c-section but she put in a call to the lab to re-run the test and have her the results in 45 minutes. She told me she'd call me if anything was not right but if I didn't hear from her that she wanted to see me Friday. The sonographer said everything looked good with the baby. That made me feel good. Amniotic fluid was good, baby placement was good, heartbeat was good, we just had a really sleepy baby on our hands.

I made my appointment for Friday and headed home. Blake and I had dinner and I was laying on the couch dozing in and out of watching whatever was on tv. My phone rang around 7:45 pm and it was a private number. I never answer calls from private numbers but this time I felt like I should. I'm glad I did. It was Dr. Vanover. "Do you want the good or the bad news first?!" she asked. I opted for the good. "You're going to have a baby tomorrow!!" she said. "What?! Tomorrow? What are you talking about?" I asked. She got serious and explained, "Holly, your urine test showed the protein at too high a level for me to feel comfortatble enough not to start the labor process especially with today’s unsuccessful non-stress test and since 3 days has already passed since you actually took the urine test the protein counts could be even higher at this point. So, come in tomorrow morning and we will get the process going.” We got the info on where to go and what to do and for a few minutes Blake and I just stared at each other. This was pretty crazy. Tomorrow we're going to have our baby. This wasn't supposed to happen for another 4 weeks. We have NOTHING ready to go. We called family and our close friends and started packing. Needless to say we got very little sleep that night.

When we got to the hospital the next morning they hooked me all up to the monitors and started the medicine to induce labor. The day drug on with a few random and sporadic contractions. Most I couldn’t even feel. Blake would look at the strip of paper running from the machine and ask me if I felt that one and most of the time my answer would be no. It mostly felt like the little baby was rolling around inside me. Throughout the day my blood pressure still remained elevated. I'd roll to my left side and it would go down but each time I'd lay on my back or sit up it would go back up. The medicine they gave me was to soften my cervix and get it ready to start the "real stuff" petocin. I wasn't dialted or anything when I got to the hospital and they can't start the petocin until my cervix was ready. Around lunch time the doctor explained it probably wouldn't be until tomorrow until the baby was here.

Around 4 pm our nurse came in with the strip of paper that had been printing out all the contractions and baby's heart rate all day and started to show us how little Anna wasn’t responding well to the medicine that was being used to induce labor and that my blood pressure was also not good for myself or the baby. She showed us how Anna’s heartrate was dipping after each contraction instead of elevating like it should. So, it was showing them that she was in distress. The nurse also said that she wanted to prepare us for when the doctor came in because one of the options might possibly be an emergency c-section depending on how she felt the baby was doing. She left us to discuss everything and said Dr. Vanover would be in around 4:30. I broke into tears and just felt so terrible. First for Anna. That she was in distress and not responding to our best efforts to help her. Second, because I was scared TO DEATH of having a c-section. This isn’t what we planned or wanted but Anna’s health and my health were in danger and that wasn’t good either.

When Dr. Vanover came in she showed us the same thing that the nurse had showed us and said she just couldn’t justify not performing the emergency c-section and that she had counseled with two other doctors in her practice who also couldn't justify not performing the c-section. She didn't want to perform a c-section (we had talked about the possibility at an earlier appointment, because of the possibility of pre-eclampsia) and she knew how much I was against it. So, I felt like she wasn't just jumping to the c-section. I have been seeing her for over 15 years, alnong with my mom and sister. She had delivered two of my four nieces so I trusted her decision. I didn't like it, but Anna was at risk and my health was at risk. So, with that the anestesologist and nurses were in my room and getting me ready for surgery. Within 15 minutes I was walking back to the operatating room. Another 15 minutes passed and I was out on the table numb from the chest down. It was a weird feeling and breathing was hard. I was so relieved when they let Blkae come back there. He wasn’t allowed back there while they were “druggin’” me up. But, once I was good and laid up he was by my side.

So, that's basically what happened that day. It was full of all kinds of emotions. Happiness that our baby was joining us and we'd actually be able to hold her. Fear for my health and Anna's health. Anxiety about everything that was happening, all so fast. It was a bunch of emotions! But, Anna arrived and all teh worry and fear melted away. She was here and she was perfect.

Anna's stay in NICU:
Since Anna was 4 weeks early and was under the 5 lb mark she was automatically taken to NICU. We thought it'd be maybe a one or two night stay but it's turned into an almost two week stay. The first night and day she was fine but once they got some of the results of routine tests back it showed that her glucose levels were very low and she wasn't regulating them on her own. They asked if I had gestational diabetes but I had passed the three hour test. They had to instert a PICC line because of the amount of fluids that hey needed to pump into Anna so her little arm veins wouldn't burn. This was a "mini-surgery" as it was described. It had to be in a sterile environment and it is a tiny IV tube that is inserted into a main artery close to the heart. This was a hard and scary day for us. Little Anna is also having trouble not zonking out mid-feeding. And, obviously they won't let her ocme home if she isn't eating. So, they are giving her her every other feeding through a tube and trying to bottle feed at the other feedings. I am praying SO hard that "the light" will just switch on. It is up to her now. She also had jaundice and had to stay under the lights for a couple of days.

This is the funniest picture to me! Anna under her lights for jaundice. Those little foam "Sunglasses" were so funny! This was her third day in NICU. She only had to stay under the lights for a couple of days.

At this point I am going up there during the day and then coming home to go back up at 8 when the NICU re-opens with Blake. It was been a very tiring week of travel back and forth to San Antonio. But, I am so thankful that our baby is healthy and is here with us. I just wish she was here at home with us. It is getting harder and harder to leave her!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

34 weeks

How Far Along: 34 weeks and 4 days :)

Fruit/Object: Honeydew Melon

Size: 20 inches and 5 or so pounds. I’m feeling like it’s about 8 at this point. :)

Baby changes: From What to Expect: “What's new this week? Your baby is clocking in at five pounds and could be as tall as 20 inches by now, and the vernix (the white coating protecting your baby’s skin) is getting thicker. This week, a boy's testicles start making their way down from his abdomen to their final destination: his scrotum (look out below!). In other baby-related developments, those tiny fingernails have probably reached the tips of his fingers by now — and getting ready for that first postpartum manicure.”

Best Moment this past week: This Saturday we had Jennifer’s baby shower. It was so nice and a lot of fun! She got some great things for Miss Elizabeth. Our friend’s Annie and Courtney brought their kiddos Kamryn and Hudson and it was so weird to think, “that’s going to be our kids SO soon!!”

Food Craving: Nothing in particular
What I miss: Sleep, breathing through my nose, having ankles and being able to wear shoes other than flip flops and I miss being able to wear my wedding ring. But, it'll all be worth it!

Sleep: Last night I slept from midnight until 6 am. This hasn’t happened in a really long time!! It was so nice.

What I am looking forward to: This upcoming Friday is my 35 week appointment. I’m going to be going every week now to check on my blood pressure and how the baby is doing. Also, this Saturday is our baby class at the hospital. We are going with Jennifer and Cayman so it should be fun to have our friends there to share it with. Can’t wait to see the babies in the nursery while we tour the hospital.

Symptoms: I’m feeling (and, honestly looking huge) and I’m still swelling and having high blood pressure. But, prayers are being answered in that it has never been over the 140/90 mark. Just always right below the mark. Other than feeling huge, I’m doing great! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

34 week appointment

I had my 34 week appointment today and even though I'm getting to that "miserable pregnant" stage where I am so ready to have this baby I am getting more nervous that my wish my come true. After my visit with the doctor today she said she doubts we will even make it to my due date. And, the "C" word was also used. :(

After my last appointment two weeks ago my blood pressure was higher than my Dr. would like. Since I have a clinic where I work she asked that I have them take my blood pressure each day. One day it got over the 140/90 mark and she sent me home for some bed rest. She sent us up to labor and delivery that evening because it wasn't coming down so they could take my blood and check my urine for protein, which is a sign of pre-eclampsia.

After today there is still some protein in my urine and my blood pressure is still elevated. There's really nothing we can do. The simplest reason my doctor gave was that it's hot out which causes swelling and when you swell your blood pressure rises. Plus, being pregnant can just cause some women's blood pressure. But, today was the first day the "C" word was used and I'm pretty scared. Ok, really, really, very, very scared. I do not want a C-section. My Dr. doesn't want one either but at this point all we can do is wait and see. She told me to take it easy and try not to worry. Ha! She knows me and knows that I am able to take it easy but the "not worry" part is very hard for me. I'll be heading in every week now instead of waiting until the 36th week to start going weekly so we can watch and monitor how I'm doing.

I'm praying and ask that you pray that it doesn't come to me having to have a c-section and I can naturally deliver this baby. Early or late I don't care, just a healthy, natural delivery. With most things though pregnancy is never, ever planned. You can write out a plan or talk about a plan or hope for the way things you wish they'd go but pregnancy and delivery is something you really have to put in God's hands and roll with the punches. So many things can happen and while most deliveries are un-eventful and perfect, you have to be prepared for something else and not freak out. (Right now I am not freaking out...promise. Haha!!) I know I am in good hands and my doctor wants the best for me. I know that whatever happens the end result is a precious little baby. So, I'm praying for God to take away my worries and keep this baby and me healthy. On the (somewhat) bright side, with this news today I am going to be able to prepare myself for some other things I wasn't planning for and hopefully it'll all be for nothing!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

33 weeks

How Far Along: 33 weeks this week…in a couple days 34. I’m a little late this week. I've got a little less than 7 weeks to go!
Fruit/Object: Baby weighs about as much as a pineapple.

Size: 19 inches long and 4.5 to 5 pounds

Baby changes: This week your baby may be anywhere between 17 to 19 inches in length and weigh more than four and a half pounds. At this stage in fetal development, your baby could grow a full inch more this week alone — especially if he or she has been on the shorter side. Weight gain can range from a third more growth to a full doubling before the big debut.

The level of amniotic fluid in your uterus has reached its maximum at 33 weeks pregnant, making it likely that you have more baby than fluid now. That's one reason why you're probably feeling lots of nudges and pushes — there's less liquid to cushion the blows. (Of course that means you're even closer to your baby now!)

If your uterine walls had eyes, here's what you'd see: your fetus acting more and more like a baby, with his or her eyes closing during sleep and opening while awake. And because those uterine walls are becoming thinner, more light penetrates the womb, helping your baby differentiate between day and night (now if only baby can remember that difference on the outside!).

And good news! Your baby has reached an important milestone about now: The development of his or her own immune system that (along with antibodies from you) will be able to provide protection from mild infections.

Best Moment this past week: I had my shower with the group of ladies I work with. It was so nice of them to do that for me and I had a lot of fun. My sister and her girls are in town and they got to come to the shower. I love being able to see my sister and her girls every day. Wish they lived here full time!!

Food Craving: Nothing in particular

What I miss: Nothing

Sleep: I’m an insomniac right now. It really helps my work and focus during the day. Bah! But, on the bright side, everything is funnier. You know when you are exhausted and EVERYTHING is funny. So, that’s pretty neat.

What I am looking forward to: This weekend is my friend Jennifer’s baby shower that I am hosting with two other girls. I can’t wait! Also, Thursday I am baby-sitting my youngest niece Brinley Grace and I have a doctor’s appointment.

Symptoms: Due to the swelling I have high blood pressure which I am worried about. But, I get it checked every day at the clinic and it’s always below the mark where the doctor wants me to call her, so that is good. The doc sent me home last week because it got too high and she wanted me to stay in bed the rest of the day. I called her that evening and she sent us to labor and delivery since it wasn’t coming down with bed rest. Good news there: urine has no protein and my blood work was great. So, I’m just praying it stays right below the “call me” mark and it doesn’t affect my delivery in any way. Prayers appreciated!! It’s summer and hot and I’m retaining water like the Titanic. My feet and hands are so puffy!

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