Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Update

WOW!  What a weekend!  This is always my favorite time of the year, and I was really sad just a few short weeks ago when I thought I would be missing out on the the excitement!  Little did I know I would have a WHOLE BUNCH of my own excitement to add to it!  This past weekend was OSU Homecoming, as well as the weekend of Halloween!  2 black and orange clad events that always make October (my birth month, and Finn's too!) such a fun month to celebrate and do fun things!  This weekend was no different!  I have been home since Wednesday night, though, so I have to admit, I am getting a little bit "homesick" for Finn and the NICU...

Friday, Finn would have been at a gestational age of 30 weeks (one of my goals), and that night was also Walkaround (no "S" at the end) for the OSU Homecoming celebration.   After a quick trip to the City late that afternoon with my mom to peek in on Mr. Finn and to drop Emma and Lara off at a friend's house for a carnival and sleepover, it was time to celebrate the OSU Cowboys being 3rd in the nation, and America's Greatest Homecoming!!!  My mom and I were sure happy to see Finn!  His hair is getting SO LONG!  And it had been almost 2 weeks since she had seen him, so of course she thought he had grown!  The twins opted out of Homecoming this year to hang with their friend at her school carnival, so when Mom and I got back to Stillwater, the boys (Grandpa, Britt and Jake) were ready to hit the Greek Neighborhood and see the HUGE house decorations!  One of my favorite family traditions.  It was fun to have Jake just by himself and to see how he reacted, and we all talked about how great it will be next year when Finn gets to join us!  We left Walkaround about 9, and went to Mexico Joe's to grab some dinner.  We even sat on the patio (Emma and Lara would be jealous), since they had the heaters on!  Such a fun night!

Saturday morning we were up BRIGHT and EARLY for the OSU Homecoming "Sea of Orange" Parade!  Again this year, we sat at the front of the parade route in order to take advantage of all the candy being thrown, and to be one of the first people OUT of the parade area when it was over - we had a BABY to go see!  The parade was really fun this year!  Smaller than some years, but the weather was pretty good!  Some years we FREEZE, and this year, while it was cold when we got there, it was a nice day for a parade!  We left Stillwater about 11 to go pick up Emma and Lara from their friend's house and to see Mr. Finn.  When we got to his room in the NICU at Mercy, one of his neonatologists, his nurse, and several other people at his suite-mate's isolette were in his room.  ALL of the overhead florescent lights were on (this is odd - it is usually pretty dark in there), and, it was QUIET!  The doctor looked at me and said I looked scared.  I said, "No, not scared, just confused!"  It was quiet - too quiet!  And then I figured it out!  The oscillator (while still at his bedside) was off!  No more "Chugga Chugga Chugga!"  When she saw me staring at the machines (the traditional ventilator was right beside the old oscillator) she said "Oh! Yes!  We just finished switching him over!"  Britt and I were THRILLED to say the least!  We were a bit concerned about the lights and the extra people, but we learned that they were in the room for Finn's suite-mate, not for Finn, so it was less confusing, then.  He was doing great with the new machinery, and after all the kids got a chance to love on him, we decided to go to lunch at  Mutt's!  (You have to check it out if you are down that way), then get the kids haircuts.  Lara even decided to (finally) cut off her super long hair -and it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love:


We ended the trip by going back up to the hospital where Britt and I took one last look at our boy, but we didn't stay long and didn't let the kids go back in as they were doing some work on Finn's suite-mate and we didn't want to be noisy or in the way!  We listened to the OSU game on the way back home, and even caught the last part at Nana and Grandpa's house before calling it a night and heading home.  What a GREAT day!

Sunday was a more lazy day.  I was WORN OUT from the last 2 days!  Emma and Lara cleaned their room with directions from Britt, while Jake and I ran some errands.  We checked on Finn, and he was doing well.  They had to turn up a couple of settings on the ventilator, but that was to be expected, and overall doing OK.  He got his 3rd blood transfusion today as well.  Later, I took a nap while the girls  finished their room and Britt took Jake to a Halloween carnival on campus.  We got ourselves together for 5 o'clock church at LifeChurch, then went to Sunnybrook for a Halloween festival there!  Another check on Finn - nothing had changed, he had tolerated the transfusion well and was back on regular feedings - and we all went to bed tired, but grateful for a fun weekend!.   A great ending to a great weekend!

So, here it is Monday.  I was hoping to take a quick trip to get back down to see Baby Finn today, but with the price of gas, Jake's classroom Halloween Party this afternoon, Trick-or-Treating, and chores I want to get done around here, there's just no way.  So, WITHOUT FAIL, I will be going to OKC tomorrow!!!!!  And I'll stay for awhile this time.  I need to be with my baby!  Plus, I am hoping since he is back on the regular ventilator, I will get to hold him and Kangaroo him again!  That is my prayer for today!  That he continues to get back on track with the new machine, and that I can Kangaroo with him this week!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home... For now

Finn is now 3 weeks old.  He weighs 2 pounds 6 ounces.  He is still under the photo therapy lights, is lightly sedated, and is in the middle of his course of steroids to help his lungs.  The settings on the oscillator go down (or get better) every day, and it sounds like once he is off the steroids and remains stable, they will move him back to the traditional ventilator.  Hopefully early next week, but we have no way of knowing for sure at this point.  He is still on 2 kinds of IV fluid for preemies, lipids for extra fat to help him grow, as well as the steroids, and the pain killer/opiate for sedation.  He is doing really well, we just have to keep the progress going!  He is working hard, and it is showing!

I am actually home for a couple of days.  In my house.  With my husband and the Little Dream Weavers. I will sleep in my own bed for several nights.  What a concept!  Tonight we are attending parent/teacher conferences for the girls, and then tomorrow night is Walkaround for OSU Homecoming.  I am very excited to be able to participate in this tradition.  Then Saturday is the parade, and the football game.  It sounds like right now we will forgo the game so we can go back to the hospital to see Finn, as I am sure my withdrawal with be at an epic proportion at that point.  This is the most time I have been away from him.  I know he is in EXCELLENT hands and won’t even miss me, but it’s sad to think I can’t be there for him.  The flip side is I am HOME with my other babies, and they need me too.

Last weekend was SO MUCH FUN!  I want to thank my LTC LifeGroup and my family for helping to make that happen!  We had such a good time just hanging out with each other, staying in a hotel, going to the hospital whenever we felt like it, eating good food, and even seeing the movie “Courageous.”  We were blessed by the gift of getting all dressed up and going to a fancy restaurant one night, too.  What a treat!  We also watched OSU Cowboy football with great friends, and went to church at LifeChurch Edmond with friends on Sunday morning.  We were both a little sad come Sunday morning when we realized that our little fantasy weekend was coming to an end.
But, it was so worth it to get all of the five dream Weavers under one roof again!  PLUS – there was a little “While You Were Out” makeover that happened for Finn while we were on our “vacation.”  Our dear LifeGroup decorated Finn’s nursery for his homecoming!  He doesn’t get his own room, just the whole north wall of our bedroom with a changing table (that was Emma and Lara’s, then Jake’s), a crib (Jake’s), and a wicker étagère with glass shelves that used to house my television.  They decked it all out with baskets for storage, bedding, a rug, and TONS of supplies – all with a precious owl theme!  It even spilled over to our bed a little bit, too!  Here are some pictures:

Also over the weekend, Britt took two adorable video clips of our littlest Dream Weaver.  I spliced them together and put them on YouTube.  I just called to check on Finn this morning, and his nurse (who has never cared for him before today) just went on and ON about how cute he is!  I know I am a bit partial, but I think he is SUPER cute as well!

I am looking forward to this weekend at home, but I already miss my sweet, finicky boy.  Send up extra prayers for him in my absence!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Finn "wrote" a note to Mom and Dad.  Check it out:

Front of Card
Note Inside
This card was waiting for us when we got to the hospital this morning!  So sweet!  He had a better night last night.  They were able to lower the percentage of oxygen on the oscillator, which is a great move in the right direction.  He is also up to 5 cc's per feeding - which is a whole TEASPOON!  He gets that every 3 hours.  All of his other systems are working very well, so we are definitely going in the right direction.  Hopefully, we can be off the oscillator and back on the ventilator very soon!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Finn Weaver

Dear Finn Weaver,

Well, son!  You are 2 weeks old!  I am so proud of all the accomplishments you've made.  They told me a couple of days ago that you are not the smallest baby on the unit anymore!  You weigh a whole kilogram (2 pounds 3 ounces) now!  Plus, you are off the photo therapy lights (again) so I can see your sweet face without that silly mask of goggles.  I know the oscillator is doing a lot of the breathing work for you, but it is your job to relax and let it do it's job.  Thank you for being such a fighter.  We know you were born too soon (14 weeks too soon to be exact), and without all the medical knowledge and equipment you have around you, and without your fighting spirit, and without the love of our all-powerful God, we know we would not have you in our lives.  What a blessing you are!

Finn, do you have any idea how many people are praying for you?  People you and I will never meet.  People you and I have no way of knowing.  Son, you are covered in the biggest blanket of prayer!  So many people reaching out to Jesus on your behalf for healing, growth, comfort, and love.  And they are petitioning for me and your Dad, too. For strength, patience, knowledge and healing.  I know we feel it, and I hope you do, too.  There are people all over the place thinking of you and pulling for you and reading about you on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog.  I am so thankful for the Internet and social media for letting me share you and our story with so many, so easily.  You are a tiny, helpless baby, but you already help your dad and I shine the light of Jesus to so many everyday!

I have spent the better part of everyday of the last two weeks by your bedside.  During the week, I have been staying with some friends here in Oklahoma City.  I get up early every morning to get a ride to the hospital, and I stay as late as I can every night before they take me back to their house.  On the weekends, your Daddy brings your sisters and brother up to visit you.  Nana and Grandpa have been here a few times, too.  Plus, you've had lots of other visitors as well!  Everyone thinks you are so cute.  They ask me who you look like, but I am not really sure yet!  The past few days your hair has looked a bit red - like your sisters', and you have your brother/dad/grandfather's Weaver ears.  We'll have to see as you get bigger which side of the family you resemble more.

You've given us a couple of pretty rough nights and a few scares, Mr. Finn.  And unfortunately, I hear that's not over yet!  When you scare us, we just pray harder!  Maybe that's the lesson you are trying to teach us.  Last Saturday night when they switched you from the traditional ventilator to the oscillator was rough.  Just because we were in Stillwater that night and there was nothing your Dad and I could do to help, plus this was not a sure fix.  But, it worked!  Then, this past Tuesday night when they couldn't get your blood gas numbers to do what they were supposed to and they were tweaking every setting and nothing much was working, that put me on my knees, too.  But, a new tube, some new settings, a blood transfusion the next day, and you were doing MUCH better.  "They" say the NICU ride is quite a roller coaster, and it is SO very true.  Not a day goes by that I don't cry for some reason - either happy tears because you are ALIVE and MINE and so adorably cute, or because I am scared, terrified, angry, or worried as you work so hard to stay cute.  You are my miracle!  My mom always says you never stop learning, and the last 2 weeks have been a crash course!

Tonight, your Daddy will be here for the whole weekend!  It is Fall Break for the schools, so Emma and Lara are spending time with their "other dad," Jake is staying with friends, and your Daddy is coming to OKC to spend the whole weekend with me and you!  We have a hotel room, and we are excited to hang out with you, and each other!  I've been on bed rest and then here with you for over 2 months, so you Dad and I have kind of missed out on just being a couple.  This is a welcome break, and we can't wait to share it with you!  Besides spending as much time as we can with you, we hope to go to the movies, eat good food, reconnect, and just celebrate the life God has given us!  I might even put on some make up for the occasion!  (I haven't done that in months, either!)  OH - and while we are gone, our dear friends are invading our house to decorate your nursery!  It's all a big surprise, and I can't wait to see it on Sunday!  But more importantly than that, I can't wait to bring you home so you can enjoy it.  can you work really hard for me and be home by Christmas?   I would really love for Santa not to have to find you in the NICU... It's only 12 days before your due date!  I know you can do it!

So, I will close my first letter to you with this.  I love you.  Forever.  No matter what.  Daddy says when you are 15 and driving me nuts I am not allowed to "hold it over your head" that when you were born I sat by your bedside for months on end willing you to grow and get stronger.  I said, "I'm his mother.  Yes, I can!"  LOL!  And I probably will.  Just so you know how much I love you.  And Daddy loves you!  I tell you everyday the first moment I see you, and again before I leave at night.  Emma, Lara and Jake -- they love you, too.  They ask about you when I call, and the look forward to coming to visit you.  I can't wait for you to be big enough for them to hold you and cuddle you.  And all the people I mentioned before!  Your grandparents (you've got 4 of the best, you know!), Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and the hundreds of others -- some I know and some I don't -- they all love you and want the best for you.  So, right now, you have a big job on your shoulders.  It is to sleep, relax, eat, and grow!  If you get stronger each day, you will be home before we know it!  I love you, Finn Weaver!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

10 days on this planet

It was 10 days ago that my little Mr. Finn joined us!  I am sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car as we whiz down I-35 on the all too familiar drive between Mercy and Stillwater.  We have just spent the evening with sweet Finn – he is now topping the scales at 2 pounds and 1.5 ounces!  He is also tolerating the new oscillating ventilator he was put on last night – but more on that later.  When we got there tonight, he was on his tummy with his tiny little tush up in the air – my favorite!  We missed the opportunity to change his diaper and take his temperature by a few minutes, but it was still worth the trip to just to stare at him and marvel at his development and accomplishments.  We love watching him try to grab for the tubes and wires he has around him, as well as stretch those tiny feet and legs.  Plus, he tried super hard to raise his chin!  He is so strong and such a fighter!  Since it has been ten days, (technically, he was born on the 5th and today is the 16th, but it WAS almost midnight, after all!), I decided the best way to chronicle the roller coaster events was to just list the highlights, so here we go!

Thursday, October 6
  • My sister-in-love had surgery scheduled for early that morning across the street, so she and her husband were the first visitors Finn had!
  • At 9:00 am, they were making me move rooms (with all my STUFF I had accumulated thinking I would be there much longer) right in the middle of my morning meds, my family arriving, and the lactation consultant visit!   WHEW!
  • My Mom and Dad came down to meet their newest grandson, and they brought Emma, Lara and Jake to meet their tiny baby brother.
  • The first two interventions for Finn (besides IV fluids for nutrition) were the ventilator (which at this point was at very low settings for a baby of his size!), and 3 banks of the blue photo therapy lights used to fight the bilirubin levels in the blood that cause jaundice.
  • Britt stayed overnight in the WORST hospital recliner EVER!
Friday, October 7
  • This day, we were blessed with a lot of visitors!  Some with early birthday presents for me, some to meet Finn, and some surprised to learn of his birth!
  • As we knew he would, Finicky Finn lost some weight, but was doing all the things a micro-preemie of his gestational age should be doing.  Nothing scary; nothing too worrisome.
  • I did have a little breakdown mid-morning when I felt like I had no idea what was going on with my son.  Britt called the NICU and got our nurse to explain a lot of things to us.  It was just a case of they didn’t know what we didn’t know, but this conversation was so revealing and reassuring!
  • My Mom and Dad came again this evening to love on their sweet grandson, and to celebrate my birthday with me.
  • Several of my girlfriends from my LifeGroup brought birthday dinner, birthday presents, baby presents, and LOTS of love for both me and Finn.  It was so fun to introduce my sweet babies to  all our visitors today, but especially to these women who have shown so much support over the past few months.
Saturday, October 8
  • Happy 37th Birthday TO ME!!!!!
  • I was told by the rounding physician that I could go home today, but I really wanted to stay another day, so I asked, and received!
  • My amazing husband and kids came down to spend the day with me, and they decorated my door and room with party decorations a friend had sent earlier in the week – pre-baby!  It was super festive and fun!
  • Britt’s parents came over from Enid to meet their grandson.
  • We had LOTS of birthday visitors, again!
  •  I got my PICC line out – what a relief!
  • Finn’s night nurse for this evening turned out to be a childhood friend of mine!  Such a joy to know he is in such good hands and with someone who cares about our family personally!
Sunday, October 9
  • This morning was ROUGH.  Knowing we were being discharged, but leaving our most precious family member there was not a comforting feeling.  Add to that some confusion about hospital grade breast pump rental, and I was an emotional mess
  • Britt and I both broke down as we left the parking lot!  So hard to leave my tiny baby behind, but there were other kids at home who had not had their mom for months.  It was a hard decision, but I know I made the right one.
  • Once we left the hospital, we stopped by Target for a few things I needed, then on to Babies R Us, as we had to buy a breast pump!  The rental fiasco had left me leaving the hospital to go home without a way to harvest milk for my baby boy.  Nothing a few hundred dollars won’t fix, I guess…
  • When we arrived (finally) in Stillwater, I asked to be dropped off at my parents’ house so they could “baby” me while Britt ran a couple of errands and gathered our kids up from where they stayed for the day.
  • SUCH a joy to have my 3 big Dream Weaver kids with me in a comfortable environment!  I really cherished this evening with them – even if I was trying to recover from major surgery!  So happy!
Monday, October 10
  • Today, I “moved in” with my friends who live close to the hospital in the city.  They are so gracious to let me stay and to let me go, too.  And, since I can’t drive, they take me everywhere, too!  I am one lucky Mom!
  • Trying to get into my “new” routine.  Hard to sleep, still on lots of pain meds, pumping 7-8 times (including in the pumping rooms at the hospital outside the NICU) a day, trying to spend as much time with little Finn as possible.
  • Finn has lost a little more weight, but has evened out.  He is also still under 3 banks of photo-therapy lights for the jaundice.
Tuesday, October 11
  • I had a rough morning – not looking forward to spending the WHOLE day at the hospital again, not knowing what to expect with Finn, missing my husband, my kids, my home…
  • BUT!  ***I GOT TO HOLD MY SON!!!***  This was my first session of “Kangaroo Care” with my baby, and I held him for about an hour.  Made this morning’s meltdown all worth it.
  • My milk had also finally come in, so I was finally pumping enough to feel like I was contributing to Finn’s nutrition – even though he wasn’t even using it yet.
  • And, after I held him, they removed the blue lights!  SUCH a great day! (Let the roller coaster begin!)
Wednesday, October 12
  • One week old TODAY!
  • In celebration, I had cheesecake with my lunch in the hospital cafeteria (my daily stop for nourishment!)
  • I also got to Kangaroo Finn today for about 3 hours.  Pure BLISS!
  • Finn received his first blood transfusion today.  He is so small he can’t produce new blood as fast as he is using it; plus add to that all the nurses draw for tests and such.
  • Speaking of blood tests, they saw some markers in his previous tests that indicate he might be starting to fight an infection, so they started him on broad spectrum antibiotics.
  • As a result, they are starting a blood culture to see what kind of infection he is fighting.
  •  And, one back of the blue lights is back.  :(  WHEW!  Busy Finn day!
  • Happy News is that I caught a ride back to Stillwater for the night and got to have dinner at the Hideaway with my LifeGroup!  SUCH great fellowship!
Thursday, October 13
  • My mom wanted to see Finn, so after we dropped the Big Dream Weaver kids at school, we headed back down to see the baby.
  • More Kangaroo care this afternoon!  I held him about 2 hours today before he got too wiggly and needed to go back.  Put a new fun white cap on for this session!
  • Finn had gained back up past his birth weight , weighing in at 1 pound 15 ounces
  • Finn started breast milk feedings today!  0.5 cc’s every 4 hours.  The nurses call it “half a drop!”  If he tolerates it well he will get more  - today was just to see if his guts were working, not so much for nutrition
Friday, October 14
  • Dad was not feeling well this morning, but came down and hang out with his wife and son after a nap!  We went out for lunch together and it was so nice.
  • Since Finn was tolerating milk well, his feedings were increased to 1 cc (a FULL drop!) every 4 hours.
  • Dad got to experience his first Kangaroo Care session!
  • Unfortunately, it was cut short as Finn was not tolerating it well.  The nurses and doctors had already determined that Finn’s body was not changing the oxygen he was taking in into carbon dioxide like it should, and the numbers were higher than they wanted them.  So, they started making adjustments to his ventilator to see if they could help him with that..
  • We left the city to get back to our other kids thinking they would find the right combination of pressure, oxygen and repetitions to get him going again soon.
  • Ran by Babies R Us to finish up our registry there before we got home to the other kids!
  • Got to our home to find his birth certificate in the mail box!
Saturday, October 15
  • Woke up to a Saturday morning with my kids!  Finished our registries by going to Wiggles and Giggles downtown, had Eskimo Joe’s for lunch, and then loaded up the whole gang and headed to the city to see Finn!
  • We were met by some fun visitors, but this whole time, we knew things weren’t quite right with Finn, his breathing, and his blood gas. 
  • After some fun brother pictures and an opportunity for the girls to love on Finn, we went to Target to finish up our registry there.
  • One last trip in to see Finn, and we were greeted by the doctor to talk about Finn’s issues.
  • The changes made to the ventilator were not changing the blood gas numbers, so they also started Lasix to see if that would help.
  • We left asking for more prayers for Finn, knowing they had found his chest tube to be too small and had switched it out.
  • The numbers were still not correcting, so they decided to switch him from a traditional ventilator, to an oscillator.
  • By 11pm, his numbers were on the rise!
Sunday, October 16
  • Called early to check on Finn, and his numbers were up again! PRAISE!  The oscillator was working!
  • Enjoyed a lazy morning with the kids and went to church and lunch like a normal family!
  • My parents wanted to go see Baby Finn this afternoon, so I rode with them, too.  We enjoyed our time with him, even though the oscillating ventilator was noisy and a bit scary, and it make Finn look like he was shaking.  But, we know it is what he needs, and his numbers still continue to look good!
  • Feeding amount is up to 1.5 cc’s every 4 hours!  He is tolerating it well and digesting it!
  • His weight is up to 2 pounds and 1.5 ounces!  YAY, Finn!
I am hitching a ride back to the city EARLY tomorrow morning!  I could probably drive by now, but I don’t feel ready, and this weekend Britt and I are getting a little “vacation” courtesy of our LifeGroup.  It is Fall Break for our schools, our kids are all taken care of, and he and I are spending the weekend in a hotel, hanging out with Finn, and getting re-acquainted with each other!  (NOT like that – I just had surgery, but it was in a Catholic hospital and they didn’t do my tubal ligation!)  We still covert your prayers.  We know this NICU ride is a roller coaster, and we have really just begun!  Thanks for letting me share this journey with you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finn is Here!

(Britt's hand next to Finn right after he was born)
Finn Ricker Weaver joined us a little sooner than anticipated! He was born on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 11:48pm. He weighed in at a tiny 1 pound and 14 ounces, and was 13 inches long. His arrival 14 weeks before his due date was a bit dramatic, and even a bit traumatic, but he is thriving in the NICU at Mercy hospital in Oklahoma City.
Wednesday morning started out much like any other morning on hospital bed rest. Vitals, breakfast, put the baby on the monitor for an hour, watched the endless “Judge” shows on FOX after the morning show goes off. But for some reason, I was extra weepy this Wednesday morning. Just couldn’t stop crying. Sad. Sad because I missed my kids. Sad because I felt “trapped” and “stuck.” Sad because I missed my husband. And sad because I missed Stillwater. Not really anything specific, and I had TONS of visitors, but it just wasn’t the same. I had hit the bed rest WALL, and I couldn’t get over it. Shortly after lunch, I had started to feel better. Gotten a few pep talks from my husband, and a few excellent messages from a fellow twin mom who endured 63 days of hospital bed rest while waiting on her twin girls, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my most prominent cheerleader outside of my family. I had given myself a few pep talks as well, and I was looking forward to Skyping (is that a verb?) in to LifeGroup that night with my newly discovered favorite technology! Things were looking up! I knew I could do this!
So, a little before 7, I had all my stuff set up to receive a call, and like magic there were all my Lifers in the Dyson’s living room, right there with me in the hospital room! While it was a bit awkward, it was so good just to see (albeit grainy) them and to hear them! So, life group started. We watched the DVD, answered the questions that went along with the message from the week before. People told stories, we laughed… And then it happened.
At first, I was feeling a bit crampy, which was not at all unusual. Then, I felt a “little” gush, much like I have for the past several weeks. I thought it was no big deal, didn’t feel it had made a mess, and I was determined to be in on the rest of LifeGroup. But, after the small gush, I started feeling not so good. So, about 7:40, I texted the one person I KNEW had their phone out during group, and said I was signing out, I *might* have an issue and I would call to check in later. I felt another “gush” coming on, so I made a mad dash for the bathroom. Barely made it, but thankfully, this “gush” was in a toilet! Only it was bright red. And there was A LOT of it!
I made use of the nurse call string that’s in there. Luckily, my nurse was right outside my door, and she was right in to help me. She took assessment of everything we saw, and asked if I thought my water had broken. I had no idea. She was concerned that it might have, but there is no way to test it with all that blood. The blood overrides the test for amniotic fluid, so the only way to tell is to wait and see. So, she gets me back in bed, calls my Doctor, and hooks up the monitor. The Doctor says we won’t do anything different tonight except monitor the baby all night, and hook me to a bag of IV fluid “just in case.” She had said the baby would react a certain way on the monitor if the fluid level was too low, and we would just watch for that, then do a sonogram in the morning. She also said I could not panic until she panicked, and if she did, I would be able to read it all over her face. I then called Britt (about 10 after 8), and I was not really concerned and didn’t think he should come. He knew I had had a bad morning, and he wanted to be there, so he arranged care for the kids (who were still at church), picked them up from church at 8:30, and was on the way by about 9. At 9:40, while checking on me and the baby, my nurse said to me, “What time is your husband coming?” I thought to myself, “How does she know he is coming?” But, just glanced at the clock, and said he should be there In about 15 minutes. After she left, I thought it was strange, since I wasn’t sure he even NEEDED to be there. Made me glad he was going to be there soon!
Britt arrived just before 10 – and he was glad about that because the main doors close at 10 and he wanted to make sure he was there before he had to wander in the back way. We sat and talked for a long time, watching TV and just getting caught up. About 10:30, there was a lull in the conversation, and we were both just listening to the heart tones of Finn on the monitor. When we noticed some very big decelerations, and they were very close together, we exchange one of those “What should we do now?” looks. I said we would wait for it to happen again, and then I would call the nurse.
No need for that! At 11:01, my nurse came in, sat on the edge of my bed, put her hand on my knee and said, “Sweetheart, we’re going to have a baby.” I nodded as though I understood, even though I didn’t really. And then she said, “Like RIGHT NOW!” And then I saw the panic. And within seconds, 4 other people were in my room. I heard the charge nurse on the phone saying we would have a baby by 11:20. People were putting the compression boots back on my legs, taking off my street clothes and putting me in a gown, putting warmed IV fluid on the pole at a much faster rate, taking my blood pressure, shaving me in preparation for surgery, and so on and so on and so on! Britt and I exchanged a harried glance, and I said, “Go Call My MOM!” He went out to the hall to call her, tried his parents and his sister, then came back in, was thrown a package of paper scrubs, and told to put them on. Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled down the hall to the operating room. As we crossed the threshold, a nurse called out “Time in, 11:09.” Wow. 8 minutes from the time I was told I would be giving birth.
Once we were in the operating room, it was a pretty typical scene. Several NICU people were huddled around an isolette in the corner. The anesthesiologist was ready to administer my spinal. Nurses were scurrying about with their tasks. I soon saw my doctor arrive. One of the nurses was helping to position me for the epidural. The first 3 tries failed (ouch). Then, the secondary surgeon stepped in to get me in position. Tries 4, 5 and 6 failed, too. (OUCH). The last time finally worked, and we might still be there if not for this doctor. He was so patient with me and he was even helping the anesthesiologist. WHEW. It was past 11:30 at this point, and I was worried about Britt being out in the hall and no one telling him what was going on.

Once I was numb, they let him in and got started. I was not worried about this process as this was my 3rd C-section, after all. Britt saw Finn as he was delivered being put in the isolette. I finally hear his tiny cries, and Britt asked if I could see him. Britt could because he was up higher and sitting upright in a stool, but I could not see a thing; they didn’t hold him up and show him to me the way they do on TV!
Once things were stable enough with Finn for transport, Britt followed the NICU team down to the NICU wing with Finn, and there I was waiting to be closed up. Apparently, from what I learned at the end of surgery, my water had indeed broken, the placenta had abrupted (pulled away from the uterine wall), and there were LOTS of blood clots in my abdomen that had to be cleaned up. My doctor even mentioned that he thought about taking my uterus for a few moments as well, but thank God they didn’t do that! Once I was closed up and stable, I was headed back to my room. My first thought was, WHEN do I get to see my baby?!?!?
My nurse told me as soon as I had feeling back and quit throwing up I could go. They checked on my basically every hour on the hour. I was ready to go at 3:30. She came in at 3:30 and told me if I took a nap I could go. When she came in at 5, it woke me up, and she let me go. It took some time to get me up and in the wheelchair, but my sweet husband wheeled me down to see my baby. I looked at him for 2 minutes, and then asked to be taken back to my room. When I got back in bed, I asked for a sick sack, Britt handed me one, and I promptly threw up! I knew I had to not throw up to see my son, so I held it in all that time.
Thursday morning, after a whirlwind morning of nurses, stats, Anesthesiologists checking on me (I guess my back was a MESS from holes and bruises – he said it was the smallest epidural space he had ever seen), a lactation consultant meeting, pumping, and moving rooms, I finally got to see him again. Precious, perfect and TINY! And so our NICU adventure begins. While we are waiting for the day to take Finn home, we will continue to pray for him, his nurses, his doctors, our family and friends and to shine God’s light through this whole situation. It has been a crazy ride, with no end in sight, but we know it is all for the Glory of God!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

List of New Things

It's been a week of new things.  I woke up this morning thinking about all the "new" things I had either learned, done, or been introduced to, so I wanted to find a way to write it all down and share it.  I decided the best way would be a categorized list.  (What other way would a GOLD personality type do things!)  So, I started the list on paper while I contemplated going back to sleep, and now here I am.

Medical Professionals
Nurses I have had the same day nurse, Holly, pretty much the whole time I have been here.  I am pretty sure I love her and I will never forget her.  I've had a few others (Holly does go home occasionally), and have really liked some, but none are Holly.  And my night nurses seem to change a lot.  Unfortunately, the one I seem to have had the most is not my favorite.  Eh - you win some you loose some.
Nutritionist She's been the most comical so far.  She came in, introduced herself, then asked if I knew why she was here.  I said no, and she said neither did she.  We chatted a few seconds, and she was gone.
Chaplain - Sister MaryCatherine While not specifically a medical professional, still a member of the Mercy staff.  She came by to visit, and pray with/for me and the baby.  she had some great stories and was a wonderful departure from the normal visitors!
Physical Therapist This lady was super sweet!  She gave me a sheet with some "suitable for bed rest" exercises on it, went over it all with me, then we just talked.  She was very nice.
NICU Family Support Specialist I think I may have messed up this sweet lady's schedule!  After she explained who she was and what she did, we talked FOREVER!  She is also pregnant with a "surprise" baby, but she has triplets at home!  Her job is to help us feel at ease with our NICU experience (should we have one) and to help be a liaison between the family and the staff.
PICC Nurse Specialist The nurse that puts the PICC line in is certified in the procedure.  The woman who did mine was phenomenal.  I was pretty much terrified of this (even though the IV stick every 3 days made me cry), and she talked me through it before she started, and then we chatted all the way through the procedure, and it really kept me at ease.
Radiology Tech After the PICC insertion, I got a chest X-Ray with the portable machine to make sure it was in the right place.  Another great professionsal who was sweet and caring.

Also over the past week, I have gained some new "equipment."  I'll address that in the same way.

Leg Compression Cuffs  I don't know exactly when I acquired these, almost a week ago now I suppose.  But, they tether me to the bed, practically, and I am still not a huge fan.  The purpose is to prevent blood clots in the legs. They are these large Velcro closure cuffs that wrap around my calf and have an air bladder in the back.  They are attached by flexible hoses to a motor that hangs off the foot board of my bed.  The bladders inflate alternately on each leg for a few seconds at a time.  And the motor vibrates the whole bed.  I was told to wear them 23 out of 24 hours - I would say I am averaging about 20.  Not to shabby when I seriously loathe them.
PICC line PICC stands for peripherally inserted central catheter.  Basically, it allows IV access for extended periods of time without having to move the IV port every three days (ouch).  It was inserted with ultrasound guidance right here in my room, then the portable X-ray came to make sure it was in the right place.  I knew nothing about them, so I Googled it.  Found this site to explain it to me and my family.  Once the insertion site stops hurting (nurse told me about 24 hours) I think I am going to like it.  Had my first blood draw from it last night, and I didn't feel a thing!
SKYPE So, I am just now catching up with technology.  Never had the need for it before, really.  My mom had it to talk to my brother and niece in Texas, and lots of other family members had it to talk to grand-kids and such, but I see my parents every day, and my in-laws don't even own a computer!  So, after a friend suggested it on Facebook, I was eager to get it going.  Only one problem - no web cams.  While they are readily available at a ton of retailers, and they are relatively cheap, every penny counts at this point, and it wasn't a priority.  Plus, we needed 2 - one for home and one for my laptop.  A week went by after I first mentioned it, then we were blessed with a Wal-Mart gift card that would cover the cost of 2 cameras, plus a tank of gas to come see me!  PERFECT.  I got it all set up Sunday night, and my kids LOVE it!  Me too.

(I wouldn't be pregnant if I didn't have a few.)  Most of these relate to the fact that I feel a bit trapped.  I feel like my freedom has been taken from me, and some days I struggle with it more than others.
Bathroom trips I have to unhook my legs from the bed, wrestle my way out of this crazy auto-adjusting air bed, and without being too graphic, the process in the bathroom is not pleasant, either.
PICC line It does come with its own set of problems.  Like the 5am flush.  It requires a bit more maintenance than the traditional IV ports.
Showers I don't shower but every 4-5 days.  I hate that, too.  But, I feel like someone should be here with me when I do it, so I wait for family.  Plus, with the PICC line, it requires a bit of maintenance before I can just hop in there.
Can't be a mom to the 3 at home This one hurts.  We've had a couple of situations over the past week where it has just KILLED me to be here and not there.  Sometimes, no matter how good the people around you are taking care of you, you just need your Momma.
Allergies Ragweed.  Plus regular pregnancy congestion.  'Nuff said.
Failed the Test I found out last night I failed the 1 hour glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes.  So, I am currently fasting to take the 3 hour test today.  JOY.

There is always a way to find God in all of this and to praise the One who paid my debt. 
Health Everyone tells me how good and how strong Finn looks on the monitor.  And my bleeding is back down to the minimal amount that is "typical" of most days after the incident last week.
PICC line Thankful that this procedure exists.  The repeated (hard, painful) sticks were getting depressing, and not to mention never ending since there is no telling how long I will be here.  I think even with the higher maintenance, this is a better option!
Revolving Door The nurses make fun of me for how often my door opens and closes!  I am blessed with deliveries, mail and visitors!  Not a day has gone by that I have not had at least one visitor.  Even when I thought no one was coming, I would be surprised!
New Fall TV I try not to watch TV during the day, but the evenings are filled with the new fall shows and returning series.  I have no DVR, so I miss parts due to nurses and visitors, but its still fun!
Countdown We are counting down the days to my due date, and I am grateful for my friend Kate on Twitter who is singing to me daily to remind me what day we are on!

My family is amazing.  The things they have had to endure I cannot imagine or speak for.  I do know my mom has had to pick kids up in the middle of her work day twice lately.  I know that they have had a few hectic mornings, and one grounding has occurred.  I know that every day brings its own challenges, and I am just so thankful for all they have done!  My mom reminds me often that the routine and pace she is keeping for my kids are why women her age don't have kids.  My dad has re-learned the skills of how to talk to elementary school kids about their day and how to play nurse to kids with their ailments.  And my husband has been completely immersed in the life of a single parent.  I remember those days; I only had 2 kids, but they were toddler twins, plus he has 2 more family members far away that he is worrying about.  ALL of our plates are full.  But we are ALL blessed by the many people who have reached out to us, cooked a meal for us, brought things back and forth for us, taken our kids for a few hours, and everyone who has prayed for us.  Keep it up!  There's still 94 days to go...