Thursday, July 30, 2009

So, it's not been terribly easy to find time to update this blog lately. Also, I've had a few setbacks that have kept me from writing - I hate to just post negative stuff. But, to sum up the last couple of weeks, I came down with a fever early last week that knocked me out completely for a couple of days. Turns out, I developed mastitis in my left breast (see link for more info). That, combined with the fact that Owen still hadn't returned to his birth weight, put a wrench in the breast feeding for a little while. We HAD to give him a bottle, though I did (and am still doing) my very best to fill those bottles with breast milk instead of formula as much as possible.

Fortunately, my mom arrived last Wednesday, just as I was coming back to life from the fever, and she has been SO helpful, I can't even put it into words. To top things off, Seattle has experienced it's hottest heat wave in 30 years and even set a record yesterday, with highs in the triple digits. For my family in the midwest, before you balk at what weenies we are, keep in mind that only about 15% of the homes out here have air conditioning, and ours is not one of them. Fortunately, Ryan was able to stand in line outside Target yesterday morning and nabbed one of only 8 window a/c units that arrived the night before, so at least our kitchen is cool! : )

Since then, we've experimented with all kinds of different things - nursing, pumping, formula, scheduling, on-demand, swaddling, etc. As of last Friday, Owen had regained his birth weight, and then some, so at least something we did was right! Now, we're still working on finding the right balance that's going to work for our family. As of right now, it's looking like nursing, as an exclusive means of feeding for Owen, is not going to be an option. This saddens me more than I can ever express in words, so I will just leave it at that. And I am hesitant to move to a strictly formula-based diet yet (I really feel that Owen should reap the benefits of breast milk for as long as possible), so I am going to continue pumping as much as I can and giving it to him through a bottle. But I know that I am just not producing enough to meet his demand (which is ever increasing), so I will need to supplement with formula from time to time. And that will probably only increase as time goes on as well.

I guess when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.

My mom leaves tomorrow morning and I am extremely sad to see her go. Mostly I'm afraid to not have her here - her helpful suggestions, her ability to see the bigger picture, her seemingly endless energy, her cleaning and cooking, her love for Owen, and just talk to and cry with. I wish she could stay forever, but I know that I need to figure this all out on my own eventually. So, that's what I'm going to do. Please pray for me - I really need it!

Here are some pics...will post more soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More photos...

Welcome to the world, Owen!

Hello loved ones! I'm sure you have all heard the news by now, but Ryan and I were thrilled to welcome baby Owen Ryan into our hearts last Friday, July 10. Sorry for the delayed post (I know a lot of you have been anxious to see some more photos and hear the latest), but life has been a series of ups and downs lately and finding some quiet, reflective time at my computer has been a bit of a challenge. However, as we near the end of Owen's first week of life, I wanted to share a few photos and tidbits.

If you've been following the blog up to now, you know that we were anticipating having a cesarean birth on account of Owen being breech. And you'll also remember that we discovered my amniotic fluid levels were low at the last ultrasound. Well, last Friday, we had another ultrasound scheduled, followed by a visit with the doctor to (we thought) talk about and schedule the c-section. However, there was virtually no measurable amniotic fluid to be found at that time, so the doctor recommended that we go to the hospital and deliver today. Although not completely surprised, we were both taken back and found it hard to believe. In fact, it wasn't until we were in the hospital, me in the gown, answering all the nurse's questions, and prepping for an IV, that it actually sunk in. "Oh my gosh...I'm going to have a baby in just a few short hours!" I will spare you any further details of the delivery, the agonizing process of getting an IV line in, and the rest of our 48 our stay at the hospital...that's probably better suited to an in-person conversation, if you're interested.

Owen weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces at birth (quite a bit smaller than the doctors predicted just a few weeks ago!) and was 18.75 inches long. He didn't actually get named until early Saturday morning, despite the MANY inquiries from friends and family. Ryan and I were mulling over two choices (it was between Owen and Cole) and wanted to give ourselves that first night to just sleep on it. In the morning, it became abundantly clear (just as I knew it would once we met him) that he is very truly, Owen Ryan Peterson.

We were released on Sunday afternoon and brought Owen to his new home. He seems to like it here pretty well. And we absolutely adore having him here! Like I said, life has been a series of ups and downs since then and I know that is to be expected. We were having some serious challenges getting Owen to sleep at all at night...that is, until last night. I hesitate to say that we've got things corrected because I know it could all change again, but let's just say that I feel more rested today than I have for some time and I'm feeling much more confident that we're headed in the right direction.

Owen visited the pediatrician for the first time yesterday and his weight, although still down from birth (which is typical) is slowly on the rise. I also visited with a lactation consultant (which I highly recommend for new moms!) and got some helpful suggestions and an extremely comforting ear to bend. I was actually feeling a little bit more confused after those two meetings yesterday, but I said a prayer last night asking God to give me the strength and wisdom to make sense of it all and to do what I need to do to provide for Owen. Like always, He came through for me and I felt like last night was a small success!

So, that's the latest. I'm sure there are still lots of challenges ahead. But gazing into those big blue eyes and watching those tiny little fingers and toes just makes my hear soar! I can't wait for what the future holds! Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

37 weeks (part 2)

Ok, so I read for a while and then ended up getting some more sleep this morning and am feeling a bit calmer than my last post. I'm guessing it's pretty normal to start losing sleep and worrying about the arrival of the baby, so I'm not going to spend any time reading into any of that. Thanks to those of you who have expressed your concern (Mom and Aunt Debbie!) I still worry that I'm completely unprepared for what lies ahead, but I am feeling a bit less overwhelmed right at the moment.

I've done so much documenting of the current situation in my last few posts that I'll keep this one brief. We had a lovely 4th of July yesterday. Slept in, packed a picnic lunch and took Kinnick for a 2+ mile walk in one of Seattle's gorgeous parks, followed by lunch in the shade overlooking Mt. Rainier. Then, home where we both took a couple-hour nap! And last night we went to a friend's house to watch the fireworks from their porch. I hope everyone out there also had a great holiday!

37 weeks (5:00 a.m.)

It's 5:00 a.m. and I am officially freaking out. It just occurred to me exactly how unprepared I am for this baby. I've had to get up twice in the night to use the bathroom and both times, I found myself thinking about what it will be like to get up twice (or more) in the night to a baby crying and having to figure out what he needs...and how I'm supposed to provide it for him! I mean, obviously there will be middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes, which, up until this point, sounded easy enough. But the reality of just how tough that is going to be hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. Not only will I most likely be recovering from major abdominal surgery and will surely have pain and difficulty even getting to an upright position (I'm thinking back to my appendectomy a few years ago and assuming that it will be 4x worse!), but I'm sure I'll be completely sleep deprived, and scared, and just plain clueless.

For instance, am I supposed to document when the baby eats (and how much), and pees/poops (and how much), so that I can keep track of his growth? Ok, that's fine; I like charts and documentation - so where do I find one?

That got me thinking about the couple of books I've read (sort of) and how it touched on stuff like this, but for the life of me, I cannot remember specifically what I'm supposed to do. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even make it completely through either of the two I started and there's another one that I fully intended to read and haven't so much as picked up. I feel like I'm living that recurring dream that I often have where I show up for a college exam only to realize that I haven't attended a single class or read a single chapter and have absolutely no idea how I'm going to "wing it" through the test. I always just thought that dream was some metaphor for feeling overwhelmed about something in life, but right now, it feels extremely literal and I'm having a mild panic attack over it!

I wish that I had the past month to do over again to get myself prepared better mentally. I'm so upset with myself because I feel like I've been slacking off instead of doing the serious cramming that I really should have been doing.

Ok, I'm going to use this time right now to go read up on as much as I can and maybe start taking notes. This is one exam I do NOT want to be unprepared for! I'll try to write more later (and post the picture I took yesterday)...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Versions, non-stress tests, and so much more...

I thought a mid-week update was in order since there's been so much going on and there are so many of you that are anxious to hear the latest. So, here goes...

We met with a doctor on Monday (up to this point, we've just been seeing midwives) to consult about doing a version to get the baby in the correct birthing position. She did an ultrasound to determine baby's exact location - which happens to be "footlong breech" - and at that time, she noticed that there did not seem to be very much amniotic fluid in there with him. So, she sent us down to radiology to do a full ultrasound and have the fluid measured. They also took measurements of the baby's head, torso, and leg to get an estimate for how big he is.

Back up in the doctor's office, we learned that the fluid level is low (the very lowest of the normal range, which I forget what that is exactly), but not quite "abnormally" low. We also discovered that the baby is on the larger size - as of Monday, they estimated him to be about 7 pounds, 6 ounces, which is the 85th percentile for this stage (36 weeks, at that time). That's actually the average size of most babies at birth! Evidently, his torso is the largest part, which is typical for babies of moms with gestational diabetes. (That little fact was extremely disappointing for me to hear because I have been diligent in managing my diet and my blood sugar levels, so I was really expecting to beat the odds of a "big" baby.) And the other thing we discovered, was that the umbilical cord seems to be looped around baby's legs/feet, which are down by my cervix.

That was a lot to take in! The doctor recommended doing a follow-up ultrasound in another week to check the fluid levels again (hopefully they won't continue to drop) and to drink lots of liquids in the meantime. However, she still recommended that we do the version procedure this week. She wanted us to schedule it for Wednesday (when she was on call), but because of a schedule conflict for Ryan, we chose to schedule it for Thursday (today) with another doctor.

So, that was the plan...up until late yesterday afternoon when I got a call from a nurse saying that Dr. Richardson (who was scheduled to perform the version) didn't recommend doing it because it would be too risky. I, of course, panicked at this news and demanded that the doctor call me directly to explain. She basically said that because of the baby's location, the low fluid level, and the umbilical cord around his legs, she couldn't recommend the procedure. Not only did she believe it probably wouldn't be successful, but she thought that there was a higher chance of putting the baby in distress. So, what do we do now?, you ask. Me, too. She recommended that we schedule a fetal non-stress test (NST) today, instead, to make sure the baby's heart rate is still good and to continue those twice a week until delivery.

I just came from the NST appointment, which was actually quite pleasant. I just sat in this nice recliner with my feet up and they had two monitors on my belly - one tracking baby's heart rate and one to measure any contractions I had. (I did have one during the 20 minute test, but if it weren't for the monitors going nuts, I never would have even known!) Apparently, everything looked fine, so that was a relief. And the new plan is this: I will have another NST next Tuesday, and then next Friday, I have the follow-up ultrasound (to check the fluid level), another NST, and an appointment with Dr. Richardson to consult about the almost certain c-section that we'll need to schedule. The nurse guessed that we'll probably schedule the c-section for Thursday, July 16 (two weeks from today) because I will be 39 weeks and 1 day and Dr. Richardson is on call that day. But I won't know that for sure until I meet with her next Friday.

I am still disappointed that I'm facing a c-section instead of a normal delivery, but I do feel a lot better now that we have a specific plan in place. I continue to remind myself that I have done everything I possibly (and safely) can to get this baby to turn, but at this point, it is truly out of my hands (and in God's). The realization that I won't get to experience that amazing moment when they pull the baby out and place him on my chest, in my arms for the first time, makes me tear up every time (even right now). But I know there will be all kinds of other special moments and I'm just so grateful that baby seems to be healthy and we'll both be in good hands. God is so good!

I'll try to post my regular weekend update with a photo in a few days, but I wanted to jot all this down for those of you who have been faithfully following along. Thanks for all your prayers and well-wishes. Keep 'em coming!