Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sophie's first week...

So now that you read that Sophie's birth went well, let's talk about Sophie and Mommy's first week since this part is not something you read about in books!

If you haven't read Sophie's birth story, you can read about it here.

We left off with Sophie being born past midnight and me feeling on top of the world! Who wouldn't after giving birth to the most amazing little baby! After getting back to my room, we walked over to NICU since that's where Sophie would be staying for a little bit being early and all. We got to see her settled in and talk to her through the incubator. I was told and encouraged to get some sleep by the nurses and to be there for 6am for her feeding. In NICU, they feed the babies every 3hrs. So at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, etc. They knew I wanted to breastfeed so they were very accommodating in that way.

First night!

I went to bed and my hubby went home to get some sleep and take care of Penny, our fur child. He said he would be back the next morning, allowing me to sleep once I get back from the 6am feeding. The night nurse was also waiting for me to give my the pumping equipment and showed me how to use it and label it for NICU. That night I had the biggest chills and woke up so sweaty, I had to wipe myself down.

Note: I found out after that this is due to your body in the process of letting your milk come in. It felt like I was starting the flu! I did not read about this anywhere and I was glad my nurse the next morning told me about this.

On Saturday (Feb 15), the day was such a blur. I had to be in NICU every 3hrs to try breastfeeding and cuddle my little munchkin. In between, I went back to my room to rest, shower and eat. My hubby came back with some McDonalds breakfast and it was sooooo good! They have the best coffee!

That day was also one of mixed emotions since Miss Sophie was not doing as well as she should be. Her sugars were low and even after the antibiotics it was not regulating. So they had to do a blood transfusion where they remove blood and replace it with saline to get her red & white blood cells to get along and live peacefully! They did this through her belly button... add this to all the other wires that were on her for monitoring and the IV in her foot, it was hard to see her like this since she was so tiny :( That day, we had an older nurse and she made us feel like our baby was a burden. I was running on little to no sleep and this felt like a punch in the face after thinking our little one was ok.
That night, the shift changed and our new nurse was so much better and explained to us everything that was done that day and how it had worked to regulate Sophie's sugars and such. She even let us change her diaper and spend more time with her.

Plugs and probes everywhere :(

Note: Sophie was able to breastfeed from the start but I didn't have much to give her so we had to tube feed her some formula to make sure she was eating enough. The tube was through her nose. Poor little one..

Since I was still in the hospital, I was going to see her every 3 hrs and sleeping through the night to get some strength. I still had to wake up to pump since I needed my milk to come in.

On Sunday (Feb 16), our new day nurse was so positive and was very optimistic about being able to bring Sophie home soon. The day before, the older nurse told us, "probably not before her due date, which was March 18!!" Today was better although the nurse didn't want us to have many visitors since she needed to get her strength up! We did get to give her a sponge bath in her incubator and it felt so good to bond with her. She also had the light on her that day since her bilirubin was off, meaning she had a bit of jaundice. By that night, all was back to normal.

Miss Sophie getting her tan on!

On Monday (Feb 17), we got word that she would be transferring hospital to the one in our town. We technically live in between the 2 hospitals but she didn't need as much care so she was able to be transferred. She left around 1:30pm and I had to wait to be discharge since the Doctor was doing a C-section. This was the longest time of our lives since we just wanted to be with our little one.

Note: By this point, my hormones were going cookoo and I was crying for no reason even though all was well. I was running on minimal sleep so this was not helping either. It's a good thing I had my husband as he was running around, trying to be with us, taking care of Penny, updating our families and dealing with this emotional/hormonal mess :)

Being at the new hospital was the breath of fresh air that we needed since she was no longer in an incubator and we had our own little space to feed & cuddle her. We could unplug her and basically be with her like we wanted. She had been bottle fed once we got there and she continued to thrive from there on.

Getting fed some boobie milk by Daddy!
Mommy getting some cuddle time!
 She stayed here until Thursday and we were finally able to bring her home on this day! Although not before we passed our "test"! We spent Wednesday night at the hospital with her in our room just like we would be at home. I guess we passed cause we went home the next day :)

Note: At this hospital (and many others) they do a car seat test for 3 hours to see if your little one is ok in the car seat we bought! They put her in with her monitors and see if she is alright! She passed this too!

We had to promise to be back the next day for a weight in since she was only weighting in at 4lbs, 13oz therefore still lower than her birth weight. We were so happy to leave the hospitals and be in our house, our things and start living like a little family!

Going home as a family of three!

This is where reality set in and we got to know our little munchkin :) It might look like all was well and we were on top of the world but the reality was a lot harder than that. I was exhausted and running on adrenaline trying to be at the hospital, pumping milk to provide to her and my husband running back and forth as we were in the middle of a kitchen renovation when Miss Sophie decided to join us! By Friday night, my husband had to tell me to go to bed and sleep. By 8pm, I was in bed and slept for a good stretch. It felt so good! The best part was that Sophie was home at last and from there, things could only get better :)

As I finish typing this, she is now almost 6 weeks old and doing really well. I will do another post soon on how she is doing :) Stay tuned!

If you had a preemie, how long was your baby in the hospital?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sophie's Birth Story!

Our little munchkin has made her way into this world a little early, well 5 weeks early and I wanted to share her birth story since I remember spending hours reading about other births in preparation for ours!

Here is the short version:

Birth Day: February 15, 2014 @ 00:00:47 (yep, she didn't want to share her birthday with Valentines Day!)
Gender: Girl!
Weight: 5 lbs, 1oz
Length: 18.7in
Labor time: 42 hrs; Active Labor (with contractions): 27hrs
Name: Sophie

Now the long version!! Hope you are ready but really it'll go by much faster for you to read this than what I went through during 42 hours :)

At 6:30am on February 13, I woke up to my water breaking and getting up just in time not to wet the bed. Just my pyjamas and the floor between the bed and the bathroom!

I wasn't sure that was it since you just don't know what its going to feel like but once I sat on the toilet, the gushing didn't stop! I screamed to my husband as he was about to head out the door to work. I told him what was happening but since I didn't have any contractions, I sent him off to work and told him I would call if things started. Turns out after talking to my mom and mother-in-law, he should never have left. You are soooo clueless in these situations, they don't talk about this in the books or classes you take!

So, I started doing some laundry and pack our bags for the hospital, not really knowing what to do about the whole thing since I was 5 weeks early and having no contractions. Because she was so early, these bags were not packed yet. This was all planned for the long weekend that was coming up! Oh, and I had to call my boss to tell him I was done work.... my replacement only starting the week after.... I couldn't think about that now since I had a baby coming sometime soon!! Or so I thought....

Right before we left for the hospital!

So around 10am, my hubby came back home and we left for the hospital. I had called ahead to let them know and they were expecting us. The whole ride there, we kept saying how this is different than what we had imagined. Picture me screaming and him waiting at red lights. But, we were calm and even laughed the whole way there!

 I got checked out and my water had indeed broken and they were admitting me now since I had yet to do my GBS?? test and didn't know if I was carrying this or not. This meant antibiotics every 4 hours for 48 hours or until I deliver. Still no contractions at this point but they really didn't want them to start since I was only 35 weeks & 2 days. We spent the day walking around the hospital and eating when I wasn't attached to the IV machine. At 8pm, I told my husband to go home and get some sleep. I would call him if anything changed.

Being monitored with the NST machine

At around 9:30pm, my contractions started but I stayed in bed and started timing them with an app I had on my phone. About 10 minutes apart for about 1 minute. As the time went by, they were getting closer and I texted my brother to see if he was still awake. No answer.

Around midnight, the nurse checked on me and saw my discomfort and called to see if they could check me to see if I had made some progress. They would not check me more than once every 4 hours due to the risk of infection so this was the 2nd time since that morning. Lo and behold, no progress at all, well I was 1 cm and that was it.

Got back to my room and there was no way I could sleep and saw my brother had texted back so we started chatting. He was trying to change my mind as the contractions got closer together. Around 2am he said I should probably call my husband. I really wanted him to get some sleep thus the reason why I had not called him yet but it was time. He was quite surprised and 30 minutes later, he was there.

At 2h45am, I was patting my munchkin!

So we are now February 14, Valentine's Day, and I was dead set on having this baby today :) She had other plans!!

Around 4am, the nurse came by and saw I was really hurting and the contractions were around 3 minutes apart. She called triage again and off we went. This time they kept me there since things were progressing but not as fast as they wanted. I was plugged on the NST (non stress test??) machine here so they could make sure our little munchkin was still doing well. Around 8am, the pain is getting intense and this nurse comes in and tells me I am only having cramps and this wasn't real labor. I LOST IT!! I started crying and said I couldn't do this anymore.... My husband and I could not believe she was saying that. We didn't see her again after this, I think she confused me with another patient since the triage area was packed! I did get some morphine and gravol at this point since I almost puked twice. Another very sweet nurse came in and let me go to the bathroom and gave me a facecloth to freshen up. Standing up was so much better!!

I don't think the morphine did crap to help with the pain but my husband said I get blabbing about stuff this whole time so maybe it did do something!

Around 10am, I got checked again and I was expecting to still be at 1cm but no, I was at 3cm and being admitted to Labor & Delivery. Ta-dah!!!! This place was like a dream!!! It was new, it had a big screen tv, it was all setup with a heating bed for my little munchkin and there were gigantic spotlights above the bed! Say whhhaaatttt?? I asked the nurse if they were really going to use this and she laughed. I knew they were :)

We had the sweetest nurse, named Danielle. She was also about 6-7 months pregnant and she knew what she was doing! She gave me a TENS machine that would shock me on my back when I was having a contraction therefore making the pain less obvious. Its hard to explain but it did the trick for about 2 hours! At noon, she said if I wanted the epidural, I could get it now since the anesthesiologist was making his way around. After 15 hours of contractions, I said BRING IT ON!! I was the best decision I ever made and would not do it any other way! I kept laughing as every contraction brought a gush of water and Danielle had to change my pee-pee pad every time she came to check on me!

TENS machine!

Fun Fact: When I got the epidural, I went to the bathroom right before and on my way back I got a contraction before I was able to get back on the bed. I was standing next to the bed and water was just gushing out of me! The nurse just casually said: "Clean up on aisle 5!" She had a way to make me feel a lot better and not as self conscious about being half naked and leaking :)

I got checked at 2:15pm and was now 6cm. Progress but still not there. At 7pm, I got checked again and I was 9.5cm but I had a piece of cervix still in the way. Had to get some oxytocin and boost my epidural since this would make things go a lot faster.

Lost our sweet nurse Danielle, only to be replaced by Rebecca, who was from..... New Brunswick!! What are the chances we would have a nurse from our area!?! She was amazing and got me through the big finale :) She made me get really friendly with my epidural button and aimed to get this baby out on Valentine's Day.

At 8:21pm! Relaxed but ready to be done!

Finally around 11:30pm, I had the urge to push so bad that Rebecca made me try. She told me something my husband and I will never forget: "Push like you are having the biggest shit of your life!" There was no technical terms to this and I knew what she wanted me to do! We laughed about it but I got down to business!  Usually this can take hours but after my first push, things were happening. She called in the doctor. The 2nd push, things got real! Did I mention we were at a teaching hospital!?! There was a team of about 15 doctors at one point! Imagine Grey's Anatomy, that's what it felt like!!

It took me 25 minutes of pushing to get this little one out and during this time, I was getting the countdown from my nurse and husband: "2 minutes until midnight, push hard if you want her to be born on Valentine's Day!" During this time, my eyes were closed and I was just concentrating on what they were telling me to do. I did open one eye at some point, only to notice the doctor was wearing Oakley glasses! I guess stuff splashes around when women deliver!?! I thought that was cool!

Well, since little Miss Sophie likes to make a grand entrance, she was born 47 seconds past midnight, therefore not sharing her birthday with Valentine's Day! She is smart, since any boy she dates will now have to get her 2 gifts!! :) But the best part was that she was doing very well considering how early she was so they let me hold her for 30 minutes before bringing her up to NICU. We did some skin to skin and she latched on right away which was a wonderful sign from my little preemie. She was perfect and we had a hard time letting her go after those 30 minutes!!

For those that are wondering, I had no tearing and I actually got up soon after and was walking around. I was feeling amazing considering the last 42 hours I had gone through without sleep! The nurse was able to find me a chicken salad sandwich and I ate that thing in a matter of seconds. Not eating for all this time was the worst part!! I did manage to get a few popsicles but wow, did I ever need food!

Our little family!

So, this is Sophie's Birth Story!! The whole thing doesn't stop here but I will keep that for another post!

Let me know if you have any questions!! At this point, I am open to answer anything, if it can help you get ready for your own birth or just curious :)