Friday, July 31, 2009


I thought I'd add a few more pictures now that things are settling down a bit. Anna really does look perfect; she's just so petite! They are working on weaning her off the IV, which has been supplying her extra glucose. As long as her blood sugar levels stay steady, she should have it out today or tomorrow. It's just nice to see some change and progress. She continues to eat well.

Her isolette...they moved her out of it yesterday into a regular bassinet

Being here in the NICU, I see a lot of other babies who are sick. Of course, I don't know the details of their condition, but judging from their size, number of cords attached, and how often their alarms go off, it's obvious that they are quite sick. I realize how lucky we are that Anna is so healthy, with no fear of long-term problems. It's heartbreaking to see new parents come in and not know if their child will be okay. I've never been so appreciative of good health.

I'll work on getting better pictures of Anna, but she's always so bundled up!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anna Isabelle

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything. Sorry to keep you all in suspense, but things got really busy for a while, on top of our computer having internet problems. So here's the story:

Saturday and Sunday in labor/delivery continued as normal - watching the baby's heart rate for any decelerations. Monday morning, July 27th, around 5:00 am, I starting having more consistent contractions (they had been irregular for the last week). I started getting excited after three hours that they were regular. Then they stopped for a few hours...then started up again. And it was starting to get quite uncomfortable for me. Around 3:00 pm the doctor decided to check my cervix to see if I was dilating at all, and therefore, truly in labor. If I was, then I could get an epidural and have the baby. Sadly, I was only dilated to 1/2 centimeter. But the doctor noted that he couldn't feel the baby's head pressing down on the cervix. So he ordered an ultrasound. Sure enough, during my week on bed rest, the baby had flipped and was now breech. Regardless of how long I labored, unless she flipped again in the next few hours, I wouldn't dilate very much and would have a hard time delivering. And because there was essentially no amniotic fluid left, trying to manipulate the baby to turn was out of the question. So it was off to the operating room with me again for another c-section. Everything went great and our daughter was born at 4:30 pm.

Anna Isabelle weighed 5 lbs 1 oz, measured 17 3/4 inches long, and has some dark hair on her head. Besides her low weight, she is perfectly healthy. She is in the NICU right now, and they are watching her weight gain, as well as her blood sugar levels. As soon as she proves that she can eat well and gain weight, she can come home with us.

My mom continues to watch Hattie for us while I spend my days at the hospital to feed Anna - I couldn't ask for a better grandma for my children. And Paul is preparing to return to Texas since school starts this coming Monday. We pray that Anna is released soon so that we can be together again as a family. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day trip to antepartum

Yesterday we finally had a little change. I suppose it was a change because of the lack of change in the baby situation. Because the baby and I had both been stable on Wednesday and Thursday, they moved me Friday morning to antepartum. That's where they watch women who are on bed rest but stable, who don't require quite as much care as those who are in labor/delivery. So we thought it was a good move, since it meant that the baby was doing well and would likely gestate longer.

The rooms in antepartum are generally nicer...softer bed, larger bathroom, and quieter (no screaming women in labor nearby). They took me off continuous monitoring (those really uncomfortable elastic belts that watch contractions and baby's heart rate), so I definitely had a nicer sleep last night.

This morning they put the belts on to watch the baby for a bit. After a while, her heart rate dropped really low for 30 seconds or so, then went back to normal. That happened 4 or 5 times. Because of the low levels of amniotic fluid, the baby's cord can get smashed between the uterus and the baby. Obviously if that happens to much, it's dangerous for the baby. And because she is only 34 weeks, her umbilical cord isn't as strong as it would be at 40 weeks, so it is weaker under the pressure. So, they moved me back to labor/delivery and I'm being monitored constantly now. But since being back here, her heart rate hasn't acted up once. I guess she just likes being in labor/delivery more than antepartum. Although it is physically less comfortable here, I do like being able to constantly hear her heartbeat. It keeps me calm during moments of stress and worry.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bed Rest

How can my body be so sore from doing nothing but sitting in bed? I'm actually quite amazed by how badly my back aches, considering that I haven't hardly moved in the last three days. My hat is off to my friends who have been on bed rest for much longer than 3 or 4 days. Gratefully I know that I only have to endure this for a maximum of 4 more's nice having an end in sight.

There are some positive things about being on bed rest though. For one, we having been listening to our girl's heart beat for the last 3 days. There is something about the constant thump-thump that is strangely comforting. I find that hearing it helps me sleep better.

Also, I have a nurse and a husband at my side to do any thing I need...even paint my toenails! I am so grateful that Paul is not in school yet; otherwise I would spend my days alone.

I can take a nap whenever I want. It's often no more than 30 minutes, but that's more than I usually get at home with Hattie!

I have had some contractions. They will be regular for a few hours, then disappear completely. So we are still hopeful that she'll come on her own before Tuesday. Hopefully my body can kick into gear. We've got 4 full days before then.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 34 week cut off

Nothing new for me or baby. We just sat around all day. The longer we are here waiting, the more we understand. So here is the current update.

I am understanding more the reason for a c-section, if it does come to that. For example, if a woman's water breaks at 25 weeks, the doctors will try to keep her pregnant until 34 weeks, even though there is a risk of infection. A baby delivered at 25 weeks will have a lot of developmental problems, and the risk of infection is less than the risk of delivering a baby at 25 weeks with developmental problems. But once a baby reaches 34 weeks, they are developed enough that they should be a relatively healthy premature baby. At that point the risk of infection outweights the risk of developmental problems. A NICU unit would prefer a baby born at 34 weeks who is not infected over an infected baby at 35 weeks. Hence the reason that they won't just let me lay here until I'm 40 weeks along. Plus, I am still leaking a little fluid and there is only about 1 centimeter of fluid surrounding her, sometimes causing her cord to get smashed between her and the uterus.

Like I said on the last post, we are hoping and praying to go into labor naturally before next Tuesday, which is the c-section cut off date. I would rather not be cut into again if I don't have to!

I figured I needed a picture of me with my belly since it has been a while. It is slightly smaller than it used to be because of the lose of fluid.

They let me shower today! It's good to be clean. And I get to order what I want to eat.

Here is Paul's bed for the next week. He certainly sleeps better than I do! And you can see his stash of candy on the floor...we need to get him on a better diet!

Every pregnancy IS different

Up until Monday, I figured I was pretty lucky. This pregnancy was going smoothly - just like Hattie's, except that my body aches in slightly different spots. I am 33 weeks along. But now, everything is different.

(Sorry if information is too graphic) We spent last weekend in Preston, Idaho for a family reunion, and were glad to be back in Ontario with my family on Monday. I felt perfectly fine all day and did nothing out of the ordinary. Then, right after dinner, I noticed some blood and fluid. I called my doctor in Texas and he said that if it didn't stop soon, to go to a hospital up there. After another 45 minutes, a lot more fluid, and a number of phone calls to hospitals in the area, Paul and I drove to Holy Rosary in Ontario to have an amnioscan, in order to determine if my water had in fact broken. I knew that I didn't want to deliver there, since I would not have the option of a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC - Hattie was delivered c-section). But nor did I want to drive an hour to Boise if it was nothing. Gratefully, a friend of ours from church was the nurse on call, so it was nice to have someone I trusted there. And yes, my water had broken! But no contractions had started and I was not dilated. We rushed back to my parents and packed a quick bag, forgetting, of course, plenty of essentials, but we had enough to get through the night.

We got to St. Luke's in Boise around 11:30 pm. They didn't admit me immediately because they wanted to do a different test to determine if it was amniotic fluid. So I laid there for an hour waiting for the doctor to come out of surgery. By the time he got there at 1:00, there was no need for the test - it was pretty darn obvious from all the fluid I was leaking. So they did an ultrasound to measure our little girl. She is measuring perfectly for 33 weeks and weighs about 4 lbs 4 oz. But there was only 1 centimeter of fluid surrounding her. I was having a few contractions by now, but nothing painful. So I was finally admitted, got an IV, antibiotics (to prevent infection of the baby), received a steroid shot to speed up lung development in the baby before birth, and finally was finished by 3:00 am. Needless to say, I was very tired, but had trouble sleeping. Paul, however, has a pretty soft bed to rest on.

Diagnosis: They are going to keep monitoring me for a week. If by the end of a week (Monday or Tuesday, the 26th or 27th) I have not gone into labor naturally, they will do a c-section since the risk of infection to the baby just gets higher and higher the longer we wait. They will not induce me because I had a c-section before, and the risk of a uterine tear on the c-section scar quadruples when induced. By then, she'll be 34 weeks and her stay in the NICU will likely be shorter. But we are hoping that my contractions will become more regular and that I can have her vaginally sometime before then. I have had very sporadic contractions, but nothing painful. They haven't checked to see if I am dilating, again to avoid any risk of infection. They will wait until I am actually in labor with strong contractions. Hopefully the hormones released by my water breaking and whatnot will start stronger contractions soon; and the doctor said that usually women go into labor within 72 hours. So essentially, we wait. My body is beginning to ache now after 36 hours in bed. Any suggestions on how to pass the time and avoid body aching from those of you who have been on bed rest before?

The only painful part has been a particular antibiotic, which takes an hour to receive, and causes my entire forearm a LOT of pain. For some reason, it really irritates my veins as it passes through. Ice packs help a little, but after an hour and a half of constant pain at 3 am with pretty much no sleep for the last 36 hours, my pain tolerance is low. So now they have put me on oral antibiotics...hooray!

Even though it is not ideal to deliver 6 or 7 weeks early at a brand new hospital while on vacation with a 24 hour drive separating me from my home, I must say that if this was going to happen, I'm glad I was here instead of Lubbock, where my mom can watch Hattie for as long as necessary, where I have wonderful sisters, brothers, and in-laws close by to help out, and friends that I've had since childhood to offer support and prayers. We have been very blessed. The doctors and nurses have been wonderful. I feel very well taken care of even though we are far from home. Although we are woefully under prepared to have a baby this soon, with absolutely nothing here in Idaho by way of clothes, car seats, etc, I feel so lucky having so many people here watching out for us.

Paul will be returning to Lubbock by August 3rd for the start of his 2nd year of medical school. And I'll go home as soon as our girl is released from the NICU...and she could be there a few days or up until her due day (September 6th). The NICU here is wonderful. I'll post updates as they come, but honestly, I doubt there will be too much change until the weekend. Feel free to call Paul or me, since we don't have too much to do besides movies and games. Please keep our little one in your prayers that she may be healthy and can come home with us soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time in McCall

After a week in Utah, we drove 7 hours north to McCall, Idaho, where my family shares a condo with my extended family. It was my family's turn to be there, and no one else was interested in coming up, so we took advantage. We had a few days there by ourselves; then my sister Laura, who lives in Iowa, arrived with her 6 children. The kids had fun riding Grandpa's boat into town to visit the legendary Ice Cream Alley.

Hattie was pretty excited about wearing a life jacket for the first time

And she did pretty well on the boat ride

Cousins Grace and Myra walking with Hattie

Myra, Grace, James, Paul and Hattie

Our huge banana split...but they forgot the bananas!

Hattie certainly ate her share

Hattie with of my favorite pictures

The view of the lake

Myra and Grace

Anson loved playing in the sand, but Hattie was paranoid about all the sand on her feet and preferred the swimming pool

The pictures really don't do this place justice. I grew up visiting McCall often and consider it a second home. I'm excited to share this place with Hattie.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A week in Utah

After driving through the Grand Canyon, we made our way up to Utah to spend a few days visiting friends and family. My Uncle Len was kind enough to let us stay at his house all week. Here are some highlights:

We met Paul's brother's fiance, Julia, and had a wonderful dinner at her house, followed by a rousing game of croquet. The backyard had 3 terraces, so Paul and Michael set up an intense course, ending in a long drive back up the hill we just came down.

This is how the game ended - with the three brothers playing a twisted rendition of Poison. The best part is watching Hattie play with the train in the background.

Living in Lubbock, we have really missed being near the mountains, so one day we drove the Alpine loop from American Fork Canyon to Provo Canyon. We got out for a while to hike along the trail that leads to Mt. Timpanogos peak. Of course, we didn't make it that far with Hattie, but she walked for a good chunk of the way, surprisingly.

Paul sure wished he could go to the top...maybe another year

And Paul's uncle Gregory and aunt Vikki had us over for dinner and he made some amazing burgers...carmelized onions, balsamic sauce, roasted onions, toasted buns, smoked hickory bbq sauce, bacon, cheese, roasted red peppers, was hands down the best burger we've ever eaten.

And Hattie got to play with her cousin Nora

We also had some late nights with Paul's brothers playing board games, just like the old days. And I was able to meet up with some friends who live in the valley and catch up a bit. Being back in Utah reminded us how much we missed the mountains, good restaurants, decent shopping, rock climbing, and friends and family close by.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's so grand about it?

When I was a kid, probably six or so, my family visited the Grand Canyon. All I remember about the trip was asking, "What's so grand about it?" And as much as they tried to explain it to me, my family couldn't convince me of how amazing it was. Now, 20 years later, I was anxious for the chance to visit again, since I love geology and visiting National Parks. We took a detour on our long drive from Lubbock, Texas to Ontario, Oregon and drove through the Grand Canyon. Because of Hattie, and since we had a lot of driving still ahead of us, we didn't spend as much time there as we would have liked. But I was glad to go back and spend a while enjoying the beauty and majesty of the canyon.

Hattie was a little scared at first, but she overcame her fears after Paul held her for a while