Thursday, February 10, 2011

Madelyn's Nursery

Well, I am finally putting up pictures of Madelyn's nursery.  I said I was going to do it for months and I wanted to make sure I posted pictures before I print this blog to a book as a keep sake for Maddie.  Things are going really well.  This is my first week alone with the baby.  She is three weeks old and I am really loving my time with her.  Time flies when you live in three hour increments but I cherish every minute.  Madelyn is already outgrowing some of her newborn clothes.  Actually, she only has three or so outfits in newborn size and a lot of sleepers so moving to the next size up should provide many more clothing options which is exciting but sad at the same time because my precious little star is getting so big.  She is such an easy baby and is so sweet.  J and I are both in love.  Some of my favorite moments are listening to J talk to her.  I don't think I have heard him call her by her name once.  He calls her Sweet Pea and has conversations with her.  Very one sided's so cute. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how lucky we are to be parents to this sweet angel and have given a lot of thought to all that we went through to get her.  Infertility was downright grueling and stressful at times, not to mention expensive-especially for newlyweds just trying to get started in life with two car payments, a house payment, savings, 401K's, etc.  I worried often about the cost of getting pregnant and stressed over where the cost would leave us but now that Madelyn is here...I can say that every penny was so worth it.  In fact, it feels like a bargain now.  IVF felt like playing the lottery at times.  There were no guarantees.  We paid our money and hoped for the best.  I was hopeful and positive until the day I learned we would have no embryos to freeze and put all of my hope and dreams on the two embryos in my belly-not knowing if either would give us a child.  Madelyn hung in there.  She was one of twelve to survive and I totally feel like I won the lottery-there's no other way to put it.  I will always feel she was meant for us; that she is extraordinarily special.  I would do it all over again in a heart beat . I hope I get to do it again one pregnant that is.  I loved being pregnant.  I loved every minute.  I loved my labor and hospital experience and I would do that all over again in a heart beat.  I hope I get to have a second child one day-but if Madelyn is it for us in terms of children-I can live with that.  How many people get to say that they won the lottery?

Anyway, here are those pictures I promised...

And her bathroom for good measure...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Sorry it has taken me a while to update on Star's birth.  This last week has been a complete whirlwind but in such a good way.  On Tuesday morning at 9:33 A.M. we gladly and tearfully welcomed Madelyn Shirley into this world.  Madelyn was a name that J and I both loved and Shirley is in honor of J's Grandmother.  She was 7 pounds 1 ounce and 20 1/4 inches long.

Madelyn's Birth Story-

After a weekend of bed rest and a lot of fluids I went to my appointment at the Perinatal Center on Monday morning at 8:30.  My intentions were to go get my amniotic fluid checked out and then head to work once I was told everything was looking good.  I got to my appointment and the nurse monitored the babies heart rate and movements telling me everything looked great.  Next, I headed to the ultrasound where my amniotic fluid was measured.  After only a couple of minutes the nurse told me she measured 2 the first time and 4 the second time.  This was lower than Friday's amount of amniotic fluid.  The nurse called my Doctor while I waited.  I had no idea what this would mean for us.  I figured it meant more bed rest.  My Doctor wanted to speak to me.  The nurse handed me the phone and I was shocked when he suggested they take me right up to Labor and Delivery and induce me.  I called Jamie to let him know.  He was excited which was nice to hear because I was so nervous.  I never pictured it happening this way.  A lady from transport wheeled me to the Labor and Delivery floor and I was admitted at the desk and then showed to my room around 10:00 AM.  I was given a gown which I changed into and got into bed.  I sat and made a lot of phone calls, canceling appointments, wrapping up work, passing off projects, coordinating with Jamie as far as what to bring to the hospital, etc.  Two nurses came in and started my IV, checked my cervix which was still one centimeter dilated, asked a lot of questions and then started pitocin.  Jamie got to the hospital at 11:30 and came to the bed with teary eyes to give me a kiss and say "this is it babe".  He started unpacking suitcases, setting up electronics, etc.  I was more concerned that he change and get comfortable since he was dressed for business with a nice shirt and tie.  We had a long day or two ahead of us.  He did change and at some point he even made another trip home to get pillows and some other items I wanted.  

The nurses checked my cervix after I had been on the pitocin for a a couple of hours.  I was still one centimeter.  The plan was to increase the pitocin every half an hour.  My cervix wasn't responding to the pitocin after six hours and at some point the nurse had to call the Doctor to find out what he wanted to do.  He recommended upping the  pitocin even more and then broke my water at 4:40 PM .  Finally I started feeling the contractions and watched the numbers on the monitors climb as the pain grew more and more intense. I was gripping the side rails of the bed and Jamie was there for everyone of the contractions coaching me through them. J held my hand and watched the numbers with me letting me know when the numbers were dropping again signaling relief.  I was so grateful for him.  The Doctor wanted to see my cervix change before giving me an epidural.  A nurse came in soon after the Doctor left.  She had been watching my contractions from the nurses station.  She asked me if I was planning on going natural because I was dealing with some intense contractions.  I told her I wasn't planning on going natural and she said "Then, let's get you an epidural."  I was so happy.  I was only one centimeter and would be relieved of the pain from the pitocin.  My contractions were coming one after the other with two and three contractions in a row and little to no breaks in between contractions.    The epidural was given and I was relieved of the pain for the night.  We had some visitors which was nice once I was comfortable with the epidural in place.  Around midnight I asked everyone to leave so I could get some sleep.  I tried hard to get some rest but was constantly visited by the nurse on duty that night.  The babies heart rate kept dropping and they kept having me change positions and start oxygen.  I got no sleep.  I don't believe I even dozed off once.

At about 6:00 in the morning or so I could feel my contractions again.  I was 8-9 centimeters and thinning out.  The contractions the day before were measuring in the high 90's to 100, these contractions were topping out at 127. Jamie found out from the nurse that 127 was as high as the monitor would measure.  The pain was intense and they gave me more medicine in my epidural.  I was relieved for the time being. At 8:00 AM the nurse had me try pushing for the first time.   Jamie sat at the left end of the bed and held one heal while the nurse held the other.  I pushed three times with each contraction.  Jamie told me he could see the babies hair, it was dark.  I couldn't believe he could actually see her.  This gave me motivation to push harder and harder. I pushed and pushed, it was exhausting.  I remember telling the nurse I felt the baby was stuck.  My Doctor came in and touched the babies head while I pushed and said that the baby was face up and told me that they would need to use forceps.  At that point I started having intense back labor as the babies head pushed on my back.  Other Doctors and residents came in the room and I gripped Jamie's hand as the pain in my back grew more and more intense.  My Doctor ordered more anesthesia which came quickly and everyone in the room stood quiet as I waited for the anesthesia to work.  I just remember wincing in pain and squirming with each contraction   The pain didn't go away between contractions either.  It was so intense.  Eventually I told everyone I was good and ready to go.  The bed was adjusted, stirrups in place, my legs were lifted into position and with the next contraction I pushed three to four times and heard the metal forceps clang together and felt a big tug as the baby came out.  

She had the softest cry.  She was placed on my stomach.  I told her how long we had waited to meet her.  I cried one of the happiest cries of my life.  I was in awe.  She was beautiful and perfect.  The room was filled with so many strangers and so much commotion but for that moment, it was just us two.  I will never forget that moment.  The moment I met my daughter for the first time. 

The nurse took Madelyn to the warmer and J followed with camera in hand.  I watched the two of them from the bed while the Doctors worked on me.  Jamie was so proud.  He had tears and was taking so many pictures and I think he even updated facebook and sent a few texts.  I had to remind him to go touch the baby since they say that touch is so important in those first few moments.  

We had planned for the first call to be to J's Grandmother.  No one knew the babies name and we wanted her to know first.  J called his Grandmother, Shirley, in Florida once the baby was brought to the warmer and told her the baby was born and that she was named after her.  I spoke briefly to his Grandmother who congratulated us and told me how honored she was to have our baby named after her.  It was a great moment.  That was the one single moment J and I looked forward to after the baby was born.  Telling his Grandmother that our baby would carry her name was special for us.  We had planned on naming a girl after Shirley for years.


A week after Madelyn's birth-

We came home on Thursday with a new baby and a  billi-bed.  Madelyn had Jaundice.  She had to lay on this tiny little light bed when she wasn't being fed.  It was so difficult to have a new baby at home and not be able to hold her for three days except to feed her.  Her Jaundice levels grew higher for three days and her blood was drawn daily.  Finally, the levels dropped and we have sent the bed back to the hospital and can hold our sweet baby.   

I did try breastfeeding.  I gave it everything I had.  I fed from the breast and I pumped but such a little amount came out that after speaking to a lactation consultant we decided it wasn't worth the stress.  I was getting maybe 1/8 ounce per pumping session and she was eating 1 1/2 ounces per feeding.  My milk came in but had no way to get to the surface after a breast reduction.  I cried once I realized I wouldn't be able breastfeed.  I wanted the best for my baby and felt I was letting my baby and my husband down.  J was so supportive the whole time, I am so fortunate.  He told me he hated watching me work my ass off for so little milk.  I remember one time after pumping at home I got a decent amount one time and showed Jamie and he told me how beautiful the milk was.  He really was supportive of the ups and downs of the entire process.

Another way he was supportive was of the baby blues I had once I got home.  For the first night or two I cried every time I looked at Madelyn.  I cried because I loved her so much and didn't want her to ever grow up.  I wanted to cherish these moments forever and hated that she had to lay on the light bed while I sat idly by watching her and not being able to hold her.  I felt time slipping through my fingers while I was watching my little girl lay on a light bed.  A couple of days later those emotions gave way to fear, confusion, exhaustion and hopelessness.  I stopped eating, I felt nauseous, I looked at Madelyn and felt completely overwhelmed.  I watched my life turn upside down with a baby.  I had no control, I had no desire for control.  I did nothing around the house.  I was a mess.  I was lacking sleep.  I cried repeatedly.  I called Jamie and work crying and telling him I hated how I felt.  I was scared.  I was scared of today, tomorrow and the future.  I made an appointment with my therapist who did some depression diagnostic testing and recommended I call my OB and get placed on an anti-depressant immediately.  I did call yesterday and had a prescription called in.  By the time I picked up my prescription yesterday I was feeling a little better and was told that the baby blues last a couple of weeks or less.  I am thankful for my husband and his Mom who helped get me through this by letting me sleep and taking care of the house.  I weighed this morning and I have lost all of my baby weight in the one week since Madelyn's birth plus four additional pounds.  I weigh four pounds less than I did before starting IVF.  I still don't have the desire to eat but I am making myself.

I am feeling better.  I woke up this morning to a bright-eyed baby girl.  Her Daddy and I are so in love with her.  I feel thankful to be feeling better and thankful to be able to enjoy her.  We had Madelyn's new born pictures taken Tuesday. She did amazing!  At one point I looked at J and said I can't believe she is ours, I can't believe we made her.  

I enjoyed every minute of my pregnancy and delivery.  I feel honored to have been able to carry a baby and give birth.  I always wanted to experience those two things and to experience being a Mommy.  It's incredible.  I love our family and I love our new life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Update from the Delivery Room

Well, it looks like 1-18-11 will be the day.  A is slowly dilating and is now 4-5cm.  A is doing great and fought hard through a tough day.  By now, all who were hoping to make it to STL for the birth are here and it is time for Star.  We are hopeful the next check up will report good things and continued progress towards 10cm.  For the first time with out Dr's, we have discussed going cesarean but, at this time, we are stating the course.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Induced this morning-

I went in for my follow up appointment this morning at the Perinatal lab.  Star's heart sounded great and looked great on the tape.  I recorded it and sent it to J as he could not be there.  The ultrasound was next where the amniotic fluid was measured.   The tech measured 2 the first time and 4 the second time.  Anything under 5 was reason to be concerned.  I was.  I was there alone and scared.  The tech called my Dr.  I waited alone for 15-20 minutes not wanting to scare Jamie with the news until I had more information so I sat alone and waited for word on what would happen next.  The technician came back and said that my Dr. wanted to speak to me.  I spoke with him and he said it was best to deliver.  HOLY CRAP!  So I was wheeled up to labor and delivery...again, scary to do alone.  I was admitted, showed my room, told to change and had an IV started.  J went home and grabbed our bags and played fetch with Wilson one last time before his sister came home and he then came to the hospital.  J got to the hospital and gave me a kiss with teary eyes.  He's so excited.  He immediately started situating suit cases, taking pictures etc.  By the time he had arrived my pitocin had been started.  They are monitoring the baby closely as I am still one centimeter dilated and -2 station and my cervix is still thick at 37 weeks 5 days.  They are monitoring me to make sure that having so little amniotic fluid doesn't stress little star out and to make sure she doesn't lay on or kink the umbilical cord.  Pitocin has been going for two or so hours now and has increased every half hour.  I am feeling tightening in my stomach every few minutes.  A little pain so far but nothing terrible.  They will break my water soon and that scares me but I'm excited.  Seeing the baby warmer in the corner is so surreal.  It's finally here.  Star's about to have a birthday...our dreams are about to come true.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Patience of a Saint

Still on bed rest.  Finding it very difficult to stay horizontal.  Why is it that it would be much easier to be lazy all weekend if it was my idea versus a Doctors?  I'm doing my best but have been told by the hubs to "go lay down".  We had friends over last night for dinner.  A couple that had a baby 6 weeks ago.  We saw them on New Years and invited them over for dinner at our house. 

Their baby was quiet for an hour before dinner while we talked and through most of our dinner itself.  Her Daddy gave her a bottle after dinner and within one minute of starting the bottle the baby freaked out for what seemed like no reason to all of us.  She cried one of those frustrated/angry cries while Dad tried to calm her and then while Mom tried to calm her passing her back off to Dad and then back to Mom.  A half hour later I told J he should give it a try as I was stuck on the sofa and baby liked to walk around.  Mom and Dad were getting frustrated.  He gladly accepted and walked around with the baby.  The parents sat with me, exhausted and bewildered.  J walked around with the little baby for a half hour or more while she cried and cried.  I heard J's foot steps pacing up stairs, I could hear the baby too and just when the Mom suggested we save Jamie...he arrived in the dining room with a little Monkey falling fast asleep on his shoulder.  I was so proud of him.  She had been crying for over an hour at this point.  He did so well and Mom and Dad breathed a sigh of relief while we opened dessert. 

The patience of a saint isn't normally how I would describe my husband but last night he pulled through when all others gave up.  I was proud of him and he was proud of himself and I think it was one of those moments that made him feel like he could handle a baby.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Perinatal visit = bed rest (maybe temporarily)

Dr. B's office actually called me this morning at 8:15 and told me they wanted me to get to the Perinatal Unit at our hospital for a 9:00 appointment.  I had 45 minutes to get to the appointment from work down town and was advised that they don't like for people to be late!  I made it on time and J met me in the parking lot.  He was still half asleep, poor guy.  We registered and waited to be called.  They brought us back to a monitoring room and listened to Star's heartbeat for a half hour looking for signs of stress.  She did well and had three accelerations which was required to pass.  Next we had an ultrasound, a thirty minute ultrasound where we looked for significant movements in that time period.  Star made us wait until the last few minutes but she did finally move a few times.  The nurse measured the amniotic fluid and it was 5.3.  Better than yesterday but still borderline.  She called my Doctors office and was told to have me go home and start bed rest.  The nurse called me on my way home and said to schedule two of those same tests I had today weekly until delivery.  I scheduled one for Monday morning at 8:30 and one for Thursday at 4:00.  I can only go back to work if my fluid level increases.  I am hoping it does because I don't want to burn my maternity leave before Star is even here.  I am trying to stay horizontal and to drink a ton of fluids.

We'll see what Monday morning brings.  Of course, being on bed rest...I can think of 50 million things I would like to do, but can't. 

Dr. appointment

We went back to Dr. B's office for an ultrasound and routine exam.  J was running late due to work so I went into the ultrasound alone.  There was a mix up and the testing I was supposed to have this time was not scheduled.  So instead of listening to the heart rate and making sure the baby isn't stressed we only had the ultrasound which didn't make me happy.  In fact, my appointment was at 5:00 and they don't even administer that test after 4:30.  Ugh...

The ultrasound technician measured all four quadrants of the sac right away.  To measure the amount of amniotic fluid she takes an image of all four quadrants and then measures the dark black areas on each image coming up with a total amount of fluid.  Dr. B said last time that what they don't want to see is a number below five and certainly another decreased number since the number has declined the previous two appointments.  J asked the Dr. what would happen if they saw a decreased number and Dr. B explained that they would deliver the baby.

The fluid amount was originally 12 and then 7 and yesterday it was 4.  That number scared me.  Just remembering what Dr. B said last time had been playing in my head throughout the day, I didn't want to see a number below 5 and here it was, 4.2.  I wished that J had been there, I wanted to get someone else's reaction to this number.  The ultrasound technician was stoic as always.  I got scared again when she paused over the heart beat and stopped for over a minute.  She had never done this before.  We finished up, wiped off the belly and I was off to the waiting room for the appointment with Dr. B to get his take on things.

I sat there for a minute and all of a sudden I heard someone running down the hallway and the door was J.  I told him the number and he was stunned but then smiled and touched my leg and nervously said "this could be it".  We were called back. The exam went fine.  I am one centimeter dilated and up 24 pounds now.  We met the Dr. in his office next to talk.  He went over the paperwork and said he was concerned about the amount of amniotic fluid and wanted me to go to the perinatal unit today or Monday for a bio-physical test which is where they will do another ultrasound and listen to Star's heart for a long period of time to make sure she is okay.  I am currently waiting for my Dr.'s office to open at 9:00 so I can get them to order this test and then call the perinatal lab and schedule it.  Hoping I can get in today and not have to wait until Monday.