Archive for January, 2009

Caia’s Birth Story

I figured it was about time to get Caia’s birth story processed in my mind and written down. It was such a surreal event, and I am afraid I will one day forget the details. I wish I had done this sooner than now; I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things already.

I had had the previous ultrasound the Friday before delivery, and got the news from Dr. Wentworth that I likely would deliver within the next week if things continued on the way they were. I went into the hospital Sunday afternoon after my blood pressure had gone to 170/110 at home the night before. They stabilized at the hospital, I was released, and I had another checkup on Monday.

It was Tuesday, December 30th. I had been on bedrest for eight days thus far, and there had been no change in my blood pressure readings. My protein levels were going up and down, and had peaked at +4 the previous Friday, and my OB doctors were beginning to get concerned about my blood tests. I went in for an appointment at 1030 that morning with Chad – thankfully, he had called in to the ambulance company to be able to accompany me. We ended up waiting nearly an hour and a half to be seen after my NST was performed, and were so anxious. We kept getting text messages from Mom and two of my girlfriends, all worried and waiting for news. Mom had her bags packed and was ready to hit the door if we got news that we were delivering that day.

Finally, Dr. Pirkle came in to see us after our crazy wait. She had been away on vacation the previous week, and I had seen Dr. Wentworth, Dr. Groves, etc. for the previous several appointments and thus far she had no idea that I was sick or on bedrest. We came in anticipating that she would go the conservative route anyway, seeing as she was always watching my health very carefully. By this point, I was having some headaches, I had been having visual changes for weeks prior already, and the scariest symptom had set in – I kept experiencing muscle weakness in my arms and legs. The night before, my legs went numb and I could not put weight on them for some time. That day, I could not feel the upper part of my left arm, and could not open my right hand. My central nervous system was beginning to be affected.

She asked us to come into her office, and we took a deep breath.

She went on to tell us that I should head on over to the L and D floor at the hospital. She wanted to get a 24-hour urine test taken to check my protein levels, because they had fluctuated so much, but warned us that there was a “90% chance you’ll have a baby in your arms in the next 24-48 hours”. If my liver tests came back bad at all, it was go time. We all agreed that a cesarean would probably be in my best interests, rather than trying to induce. I was not dilated or effaced at all three days prior, and induction would have taken 48 hours or more with no prior “readiness”.

Chad took me to the hospital to check in, and went home to grab the baby’s bag and pack mine for me since I was so stupid to not pack my own. I had warning and everything, people, and I still didn’t get it done! I think part of me just thought this would all blow over and I’d get my 2-3 more weeks with her inside.

I kept the subsequent text messages over the next few hours to help me keep track of the events that followed.

I arrived at the hospital about 1:30. Dr. Harris-Proctor was the doctor on call that day. I was very happy to hear this, she was my next choice to deliver my child besides Dr. P. The nurses set me up on the observation monitors and NST, and gave me the equipment I would need for the 24 hour urine test. Within about 35, 40 minutes, Dr. H-P arrived at the hospital and evidently reviewed my test results, because she gave the nurses the news that we were cancelling the urine tests and going ahead with a c-section within two hours, as soon as the rest of the blood tests came back. I texted Chad with a different message first, and nearly forgot to include the “hey, we’re delivering within two hours, get back here now!” part. I look back on this now and it makes me laugh – how did I manage that?

The observation room soon swarmed with nurses, anesthesiologists and assistants, and I was meeting more people than I could count. Chad soon arrived, bags in hand, ready to go. Around 3:45, he was given outerwear for the operating room and I was taken back.
I was terrified, petrified, of the spinal anesthetic. All I could think about was that needle. I walked into the OR (no need to be wheeled, that would have been overkill) with Chad and all those assistants by my side. Everyone was so kind and patient.

I was directed to sit up on the table and wrap myself around my belly, leaning forward for the anesthetic. I braced myself for pain. I felt the first stick, they called it a “bee sting” and that’s about all it was. That was the drug given to kill the pain of the bigger needle. Then the big one went in, and I did not feel a thing. I didn’t even know they were done until the warmth rushed through my legs, followed by a pins and needles feeling. I remember being told I was a “dream patient for an anesthesiologist”. J

Within minutes, I could not lift my legs. They had warned me ahead of time, but I started to panic. The assistant near my head was wonderful, she asked me what was wrong, held my hand, and tried to get me to calm down. My blood pressure tanked from the drugs, and I was given medication to bring it up and to help with the subsequent nausea. But I went into a panic attack quickly. I was really starting to freak out. It took a few minutes to calm down and realize that I wasn’t dying or being tortured.

Once I was really starting to become numb, Chad was brought in and he came to sit by my head on the right side, assistant on the left. The only pervading sensation left in my body from the chest down was the strange pins and needles feeling.

At 4:18 pm, Chad tells me, “She’s out! She’s crying!” I could not hear her crying over the voices of all the people in the room for about a minute, then I hear a glorious high-pitched wail. It was the most beautiful sound in the world, and I just start crying harder than I ever have in my life. They show her to me quickly before taking her to the warmer, and I am taken aback at how small she is, and of course I cry harder. Chad asks if I mind if he leaves my side to see her, and that’s when he snapped those gorgeous pictures. She was given an 8 and a 9 on the APGAR scale, and was breathing beautifully on her own. Once she’s all bundled up, they both return to my side for kisses.

It takes about 30 minutes for them to finish stitching me up, and I’m wheeled back to the recovery room. The remainder of the night is fuzzy in my memory. I’m given Pitocin to begin the uterus-shrinking process, morphine for pain (which is part of what made me forget the night), and magnesium sulfate to help reverse the pre-eclampsia. I stayed on the mag for 24 hours, and it was terrible. My legs remained numb and tingly the entire time I was on it, the Foley had to stay in, and I was bed-bound – besides feeling so strange.

Chad’s friend Jimmy and grandmother Linda came to see us within a few hours after delivery, and I do not remember Grandma Linda’s arrival. I remember her being there briefly and holding the baby, but I do not remember most of Jimmy’s visit or exit. What really hurts, though, is I remember Chad asking me if I wanted to hold my baby, since she had been passed around from the second she was born. I do not remember holding her for the first time. That kills me, and I want to re-do the entire night just to have that memory back.

I was moved to another room a couple of hours after surgery, closer to the nurses’s station since I was on the mag. Chad’s mom and brother Josh arrived around 1130 or midnight that night after Chad went to meet them down the road. I remember feeling bitter that I was still bed-bound and could not hold Caia while he was gone, since I could not be allowed to stay with her alone as long as I could not get out of bed.

Mom stayed with me in the hospital that night and Chad went home to stay with Josh. Chad stayed with me the rest of the hospital stay, it was just easier that night for him to stay with Josh since they had to set up Mom’s computer for work and such. Mom fell in love with Caia immediately. It was adorable.

The next evening by 5 pm, I was finally taken off of the magnesium and the Foley was taken out. By 8 pm, I was up and walking briefly to and from the bathroom. At 4 am, I was awakened to shower, FINALLY. It was a beautiful thing, and I will forever remember that being the best shower of my life, despite the crazy hour. (Due to the time frame of when I was taken off of medication and then walking.)

I have some residual frustrations and even a little anger towards a nurse or two. The nurse I had from 7 am to 7 pm on Wednesday, when I was still bed-bound, I still despise. She was scarcely around to check in on me, odd since I was still on the mag. I was not offered pain medication until late that evening by the 7 pm nurse, Heather. God bless Heather. I still had some medication via IV until that morning or so, but by the end of the day I should have taken some additionally orally, and since I didn’t, I paid for it that night. Heather was the young nurse that I will forever be grateful for. She is the one who helped me get up and walking, who helped me get a shower, made sure I got pain medication every four hours, etc. That girl had better have satin sheets and a wait staff in heaven.

I did not eat from Monday night at 5 pm until Wednesday night around 6 pm. That same terrible nurse was there at that time when my dinner tray finally arrived. Keep in mind I had not gotten out of bed yet. The tray was placed out of reach, and Chad, Mom and Josh were downstairs in the cafeteria. When I hit the call button for assistance, I was told my nurse would be paged. 15 minutes later, I was still eyeing my food hungrily with no help. I texted Chad desperately, angry at the lack of care. The sweet man left the cafeteria and rushed upstairs to help me. By the time he got there, I managed to reach far enough to grab the dinner roll off the tray. That was the best roll of my life. It also came with peach cobbler, my favorite. I take that as a partial peace offering to help keep me from shanking my nurse with the butter knife.

Friday morning, we were released about 11 am. That was the sweetest day; I so looked forward to getting home to curl up with my baby girl on the couch – which is exactly what I did once I walked in the door.

It has been an incredible whirlwind of a time since we returned home. We are getting into a routine, and am loving every minute with Caia, sometimes even at 4 am!

Every day is a blessing, and we look forward to what the next day brings. She is growing so fast and grows more beautiful each day. I will forever love this early time with her, and will cherish it. This will serve as an excellent reminder of what we went through together, and I think I will have this all printed and put in book-form for her, along with her letters.

I love you, little girl.


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My sweet daughter – you are three weeks old today – January 20th, 2009. Today is an important day, one that will go down in history forever. At 12:05 pm today, I was feeding you on the couch, snuggled in blankets, while we watched Barack Obama say the vows to become our nation’s 44th president – the first African-American president in America.

Now, Mommy and Daddy don’t agree with most of what Mr. Obama stands for. But we’ve been down this road too many times already. The important thing is what he does for our country first and foremost – he opens doors to black children and adults around the country who feel they could never be President, that since it’s never happened before, that it wouldn’t happen in our lifetime anyway and why should they even hope? These fears have now been decimated. There is nothing that someone of a minority cannot do if they want it bad enough – Mr. Obama is proof enough of that.

We hope and pray together that our own personal fears will also be unfounded. But I cannot pretend that this scene does not touch my heart…the sight of Barack and his wife Michelle in that gorgeous sparkling yellow dress and jacket, walking down the street hand in hand as part of the Inaugural Parade, waving to the crowd that is packed like sardines in a can. People are jammed into windows, on balconies, on the streets, in doorways, on shoulders, anywhere they can get a vantage point of this man and his wife.

I am so, so glad that you will grow up never knowing a time where the fear of recurring racism keeps people from trying to achieve their wildest dreams. I hope to God ignorance and fear are dying today.

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What A Week

It’s now after midnight, and so technically, it’s been thirteen days since I gave birth to Peanut. (Yes, that has been her nickname since I first laid eyes on her – it fits perfectly.)

She is a dream, though we have spent a lot of time at the pediatrician’s office this week, and tomorrow (today) we have another appointment, then another on Wednesday. She is spitting up/vomiting about a third of her meals, and subsequently is only eating about half of what she was eating and is beginning to lose weight (she lost an ounce between Friday and Saturday). Now the ped is having us add powdered formula to my bottled breastmilk for her to amp up the calories she takes in, for as long as she continues to eat less. It worries us, and I get upset every time she loses half of her milk. Tonight was terrifying – she kept sneezing it out of her nose after she threw up and couldn’t clear it all out of her lungs adequately. She’s too little for these problems, and it scares me to pieces. The doctor told us Friday that an option may be having to hospitalize her and have her gavage-feed…which is putting a tube down her throat to take in half of her meals, then bottle-feeding the other half. I put my foot down, adamantly. I will make her well, at home, if I possibly can. I will die before my daughter gets hospitalized under my watch – unless of course she truly had to do it. But for now it’s just an option.

In other news, we are sleep-deprived, cranky, and tomorrow Chad goes back to work, but besides all of this, we are blissfully happy. Nothing and no one could have prepared us for the level of intensity of the love we have for this little girl. She is wholly-consuming, but all I have to do is watch her pucker up her lips and raise her eyebrows to wrinkle her brow at me – what I call her “kiss face” – and I realize that it’s all completely worth it.

I have to get the “kiss face” photographed, it is totally priceless.

My devotion and incredible love for her is something I could never have imagined, truly. She is half of me and half of Chad, and together we’ve created something so sweet, so enthralling, that it’s like she was always a part of our lives. But for me, one of the best parts of this entire experience is watching Chad become a father. He fell in love with her from the first second, and he is totally crazy about her. He covers her in kisses, snuggles with her on the couch, even babytalks her. (Shhh, don’t tell him I told you!) I think I fall in love with him more every day the more I watch him with her.

She is still firmly in preemie clothes, but we are hoping she starts to pack on the weight soon. Length-wise, she’s at capacity for those clothes and when she starts to get longer, she will have to move to newborn clothes whether they fit her around the middle or not! As of…Thursday?…she was still 18.5 inches long, but I imagine that will start to increase soon. She finally hit her birthweight Friday.

It’s now nearing 130 am, and though this is a regular hour for me now, I’m exhausted. I am asking for prayer though. A situation has exploded back home, and I very nearly hopped a plane yesterday. Caia is the only reason I didn’t. So please, keep my family in your prayers – we could use all we can get in a dark time. For now, I will delight in baby kisses and husband kisses, and be grateful for the family I have created for myself, and thank God above for it.

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My recovery has been sort of slow-going, but I am doing well. The ibuprofen I took last night was the only pain medicine I’ve needed in the last 48 hours or so. There is only real incision pain now when I cough, which is frequent because I am still getting over the bronchitis. I have a postpartum checkup on Wednesday, and I am certain everything is fine. The incision itself is crazy to see, and the skin surrounding is still numb. Does that ever come back, c-section mamas?

In excellent news, in thirteen days I’ve lost 24 lbs! I only have 18 more to go to hit my pre-pregnancy weight, and it would be great to be able to lose ten or fifteen more on top of that. It’s all from breastfeeding and not having time to eat, of course. This silly girl keeps us from getting a lot done!

Today is the first day I’ve been on my own with Caia, and so far, so good. I was up with her until 230 (and with Chad), and then up again at 5, 7, and 10:30, taking naps in between. She is awaking for feedings now, which is a relief. We no longer need to set confusing alarms between the two of us. She had a doctor’s appointment at 1115, and we were ten minutes late on account of her spitting up all over herself literally the second we walked out the door. Oh, the life of a parent! Aren’t you all excited to go out and have kids now?

Today she checked in at four pounds, 14 oz – three ounce gain in two days, so the adding formula to breastmilk is working thus far. She’ll have another weight check in one week. We all can’t wait for her to break the relieving five pound mark!

Alright, I think it’s naptime again. Hope you all are well!

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She’s here!

Caia Annaliese was born 12/30/08 at 4:18 pm, via a quickly decided c-section. She was 4 lbs, 12 oz, and 18.5 inches long. The miracle is, she was four weeks early and so small, but completely healthy and perfect. We spent four days in the hospital and came home Friday afternoon together.

I am still on Percocet and am recovering well, but don’t feel up to writing everything out at the moment. Birth story will be coming as soon as possible, plus of course, pictures!

Love you all, thank you all so much for the congratulations and well-wishes. I am happier than I have ever been, and completely in love with this tiny little wonder

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About PaciBaby

PaciBaby’s real name is Caia, and as her blogname might suggest, she refuses to try life without a pacifier. My husband was locking in her carseat into our car one afternoon, noticed the half a dozen scattered pacifiers all over the seat, and remarked, “This is a pacifier graveyard – where the good ones go to die.” Thus, the inspiration behind this blog.

She was born December 30th, 2008 at 4:18 pm, four weeks early. She weighed in at 4 lbs, 12 oz and was 18.5 inches long. She came via emergency cesarean after I developed severe pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks and was placed on strict bedrest and medication. Neither approached worked, so we welcomed our little girl into the world a little earlier than expected!

She was born beautifully healthy, just a little jaundiced and with reflux, and on the small side. We spent four days in the hospital recovering together, then went home on a rainy Friday afternoon with Daddy, Nana, and Daddy’s brother Joshua.

She was diagnosed with torticollis and positional plagiocephaly at her two month appointment, and has been having weekly physical therapy appointments. She has been responding beautifully in all ways but the shape of her head. A helmet may be prescribed at her four month appointment to help the process along.

PaciBaby loves to be close to me and Daddy in a sling, in our arms, or curled up in bed next to us. I practice most tenents of Attachment Parenting, and though it’s resulting in a child who now screams if I leave the room for five seconds to even think about a shower, she is an affectionate, smiley baby who loves to interrupt her parents’ sleep and showers, but rewards us with big, open-mouthed grins.

Here’s to the future with a gorgeous albeit high-maintenance child!

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