Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Felix's First Easter

Felix had a fun-filled first Easter this year...and got to spend it with all of his grandparents!  It's too bad his aunt's in Indiana couldn't be there...he can't wait to meet them!!

Look at my cute but still too big for me outfit.

Yes, my gifts are bigger then me...what of it!?

Dressed just like daddy...rolled up sleeves and all.

Family photo time!

Another family photo? No, I'd rather eat mommy's face!

What up dad?

Felix with Grandma B and Pepere.

Felix with Grandma P
(don't kill me for calling you Grandma!)

Lee helping Felix push out a poop.

A nice relaxing end to the night with Pop Pop after everyone left.

 Of course, until he had to poop again...


I am not amused daddy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Month Old

I know this is delayed, as are all my posts lately, but here goes...

On April 15, 2011, my little boy turned one month old.  I can't believe it!  He's already filling out SO much compared to how little he was when we brought him home.  He's been gaining weight like a champ!

As you can see, Felix began to lose his patients with all the pictures I was taking.

For some comparison, here are the pictures that were taken at his two week birthday when we brought him home from the hospital!!

Updates (in no particular order):
*You were born at 6.5 oz and by the time of your first pedi appointment at about 2 weeks old, you were about the same weight.  
*One week later at your next pedi appointment, you weighed 7 lbs 1/2 oz.
*Two weeks later, at your last pedi appointment (just after your one month birthday), you weighed 8 lbs 4.5 oz!
*You are just starting to take to the pacifier, but not for long stretches of time and not all that often.  This is a blessing and not...for one, I love the idea of you never using a pacifier, but then again, it would be nice to help soothe you when you get fussy.
*You don't often burp after breastfeeding, but usually as long as you are in an upright position for 15-20 minutes after nursing, you are fine.
*You have peed, pooped and now vomited on me.  You have only vomited twice (not including occasional small spit ups).  The last time was when I was burping on you.  I was shocked at how much there was and it definitely ran all down my shirt, on my pants and down onto the couch!  My aversion to bodily functions has disappeared.
*You take one bottle of pumped breast milk a day, which daddy gives you.
*You tend to become very awake and alert when you drink from the bottle.
*You generally eat every 2-3 hours during the day and every 5-6 hours at night, although it's definitely not an exact science (as you just woke up after only 3 hours).
*You are VERY animated and have the best facial expressions.
*It melts my heart every time you smile or make kissy faces in your sleep.
*I crack up laughing every time you are drunk on milk and your eyes roll up into your head.
*You did NOT take well to the vitamin D supplement the doctor had us start you on.  For two full days afterwards, you cried excessively, had terrible gas and stomach pains, and refused to be put down for more then five minutes.  We have since stopped the vitamins and done our research only to find that the supplement really isn't necessary as long as I am eating well and you get the equivalent of about 17 minutes of sunlight a day.  
*You fart ALL the time!
*Your hair is starting to thin out a bit in certain areas.
*Very early on, you have been able to turn your head side to side during tummy time and hold your head up for an increasing amount of time while we're holding you on our shoulder.  
*On days when you've been excessively fussy, you like to make mommy look bad when you become super complacent as soon as daddy gets home from work.
*You are still sleeping in the Rock 'N' Play in our bedroom.  Shockingly, I am having a very hard time bringing myself to transition you into your nursery (while I was the proponent of this before you were born).  Today, we have moved you to the other side of our bedroom, instead of right next to my side of the bed.  Next step is to move you into your room, but still in the Rock 'N' Play, then eventually to the crib.
*If we lay you down flat in your crib, whether you have just eaten or not, you inevitably get the hiccups, which is why you're still sleeping on the inclined Rock 'N' Play.
*You love to lay in your crib when you're awake and become mesmerized by the mobile (good call daddy, since mommy thought it was a useless purchase), but you want nothing to do with sleeping in your crib.
*Almost every diaper is a poopy diaper and you have been in size 1s for about a week now, since there were several near blowouts in your newborn diapers.
*You legs have gotten so chubby and I LOVE it!
*When you sneeze, you usually sneeze twice in a row, but can't quite get the second one out and wind up making the most adorable noise...definitely daddy's favorite. 
*You are now in 0-3 month clothing and almost completely grown out of all of your newborns.
*The sore/scab on your nose caused by the respirator when you were in the NICU healed and fell off, but you still have a bit of a scar, which should eventually heal.
*Right now, your eyes look navy blue.
*You HATE having your hands confined, so we no longer swaddle you and instead use the wearable blankets or just tuck you into the Rock 'N' Play really well.
*You have what we think are blocked tear ducts which causes ridiculous amounts of eye goopies when you cry, but it has gotten progressively better this week.

A couple weeks after we brought Felix home from the NICU, we had his newborn photos done by the amazingly talented Crista Acosta (http://www.cristaacosta.com/blog/).  Here's a sneak peak...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Felix's Long Overdue Birth Story

Well, it's been a few weeks...a few exciting and tiring weeks...but I have finally gotten around to blogging Felix's birth story.  Very fitting, seeing as yesterday was my actual due date. (not that it didn't take me a couple of weeks to put together).  Please forgive the rambling that is about to ensue, but for those of you who know me, you know it's the only way I tell a story.

As many of you know, we had planned to have a totally natural and un-medicated birth (with the understanding that anything could happen), but like everyone says, you can't plan everything.  

As I said, my original due date was April 11, 2011.  Our son, Felix Anthony, was born on March 15, 2011 at 3:01 am...4 weeks early.  Quite the surprise, considering my baby shower was on March 13, 2011 (more on my AMAZING shower later).

On the morning of March 14, 2011, I had an ultrasound to make sure the baby had turned from the breech position and my weekly doctor's appointment.  I was shocked when the ultrasound showed Felix was still breech.  I could also tell the technician wasn't telling me something, but thought it might be because my mom and sister's were with me that day.  I figured if anything was wrong, the doctor would tell me at my appointment afterward...and she did. 

The fact that Felix was still breech came up first...at that point I told the doctor I was seeing that week, that my normal doctor and I had agreed that I would go into labor first, before deciding on a c-section, since he could turn at any time before then.  At that point, the doctor said "That's not going to happen..." and the conversation took an unexpected turn.  Apparently, I had VERY little amniotic fluid (less than half of what it should have been) and I was instructed to stop working ASAP.  I was also told that I had tested positive for Group B strep.  I was immediately upset at the fact that I would not be able to labor at home if my water broke due to the Group B strep...something we had been planning on doing to avoid interventions at the hospital.   The doctor also performed a non stress test immediately after my appointment, which turned out fine, thank God.

The entire week before was very busy at work, with me conducting depositions in New Jersey most days, spending an exorbitant amount of time in the car and working up to 14-16 hour days.  I went into the office right after my appointment to break the news to everyone and close out as many files as I could.  I also planned to do as much work from home (while resting on my left side per doctor's orders).  Luckily, I was able to re-assign and close out everything I was working on.  I got home about 7pm that night and laid on the couch for a whole 20 minutes before I realized I was leaking fluid when I went to use the bathroom. 

Scott was making dinner at the time.  I remember opening the bathroom door, which is right off our kitchen, and saying "umm...I'm leaking fluid."  Scott immediately went into terrified soon-to-be dad mode.  Like right out of the movies.  He had a pot of pasta in his hands that he was about to drain.  He started walking back and forth with it in his hands from the sink to the stove, not knowing what to do.  I was surprisingly very calm and told him to bring me a phone, at which point he ran up and down the stairs several times, in a panic, trying to find a phone (for whatever reason, the house phone wasn't on its cradle and our cell phones weren't where they usually are).  There goes that rambling again...so we find a phone...

I called my doctor's office and the answering service told me which doctor was on call and that she would call me right back.  My calm nature immediately disappeared.  It was the one doctor I hated...the one doctor who had yelled at me for my "excessive" weight gain...the one doctor I prayed wouldn't be on call when I went into labor.  So, after my brief freak-out, we waited.  When she called back, I filled her in on my doctor's appointment earlier that day and she told us to come to the hospital to make sure I wasn't leaking, since I had tested positive for Group B Strep. 

I was convinced we would be coming back home that night (unlike Scott, who knew we would be having a baby that night), but threw a few things in a bag just in case (since I hadn't yet packed a hospital bag, even though Scott had been harping on me to do it for weeks), including the cord blood kit that had arrived just the day before.  We got to the hospital around 8pm and were put in a triage room for quite a while before the doctor came to see us.  In the meantime, we met our nurse...a VERY high strung and entertaining woman. 

The doctor finally came in about 10:00 pm or so and used a type of litmus paper to confirm that I was, in fact, leaking amniotic fluid.  Everyone immediately started moving around and preparing...for what we didn't know...or maybe we did and were just in denial for a few minutes.  Finally, we looked at our nurse and said, "What does that mean?"  She responded that we were going to have a baby.  I think we both reacted at the same time..."NOW?!?"

At that point, I was given penicillin to treat my Group B Strep and fluids to prepare for a c-section.  The biggest concern was that my water had broken the day before, which would have exposed Felix to the infection for a prolonged period of time.  

I never actually went into labor, which I was really looking forward to.  I wanted to feel what a contraction felt like...I wanted to go through the pain of labor.  I know...most women who have been through it probably think I'm crazy, but I felt and feel it is something that should be experienced when you are having a child.  Our bodies were meant to do this. 

There were only two things I was ever scared of when it came to labor and delivery...a c-section and a spinal needle...both of which I quickly realized I would need to have.  At first, we were told I would be going into surgery ASAP, but the three bites of food I had before heading to the hospital that night delayed it until about 2:30am.  Because I wasn't actually "in labor," the next several hours were just a waiting game, of Scott and I contacted our families and work to let them know what was going on.  Because there was no "labor" to distract me, my anxiety about the c-section and shot went through the roof.  

We asked for the doula on call who was amazing.  Our hospital has a amazing program where you can get a doula for $100, when they can cost several hundred or more normally.  At first, I wasn't sure we should get one, even though we had originally planned on it.  I mean, I wasn't in "labor."  But we decided to go ahead anyway.  The doula on call was amazing.  She had gone through the Bradley classes, that we had taken, with both of her pregnancies and it was nice to have someone who could truly understand how different our birth plan was from how the birth of our son was actually going.   She did everything from massaging my incredibly swollen feet (from all the fluids they were pumping into me) to disappearing for a bit to give us some alone time.

When 2:00am finally rolled around, I was wheeled into the operating room and our doula took Scott to drop our things off at our room on the maternity ward.  One of the hardest things was not having Scott in the room when I was given the spinal shot.  They don't allow anyone into the room until you are completely prepped...so it was just me, the anesthesiologist, our nurse and a scrub nurse.  Scott said he was pacing outside the door like a caged lion, knowing how scared I was.  But I got through it with the amazing nurse we had (and who I apologized to for nearly breaking her ribs during the shot when she told me to squeeze her). 

Before I knew it, I was being strapped down (crucifix style...literally) to the table and the sheet went up on my chest so I couldn't see anything.  All of a sudden, the doctor, residents, nurses, etc. were all in the room and started on the procedure, or so it seemed, before they brought Scott in.  The whole time, the anesthesiologist kept telling them they could let my husband in.  That probably freaked me out the most.  Once he came in, I just wound up staring into his eyes the whole time, without saying anything...it was really what kept me calm.  The doula took our cues and stayed in the background.  Scott said the thing that scared him so much was that he had never seen me look so terrified. 

It was probably less then 15 minutes from the time I first entered the operating room to when they had gotten Felix out.  He cried immediately and the doula took our camera over to take pictures.  Scott was not allowed to stand up and had to stay seated behind the sheet with me.  They let him hold Felix for a minute and I got to see him for a split second before they were both whisked away to the nursery.  Our doula stayed with me and did a great job distracting me, per Scott's instructions, while I was sewed back up.  I have to say, the procedure itself was strange...you feel everything, but you feel no pain.  You just feel  whole lot of pressure and pulling. 

After about 45 minutes, I was wheeled into the recovery room.  That was where things really started to fall apart for me.  Even though our birth plan had taken an unexpected turn, I still expected to be able to hold my baby once I got into recovery.  And I had always told myself to be prepared for anything right?  Well...I guess this situation never really crossed my mind.  

Just a few minutes after entering the recovery room, a doctor came in and told me that Felix had to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and that I wouldn't be able to see him.  Not the easiest thing to comprehend when I was incredibly groggy from the meds they had given me.  I was in recovery for a couple hours, until I was able to show the nurse that I could begin to move (or wiggle) my feet and legs, at which time I was taken to our room.  Scott felt torn that whole time with me pushing him to go stay with the baby and him feeling like he needed to be in two places at once. 

Unfortunately, they would not allow me to go to the NICU to see Felix until I was able to sit/stand up and get into the wheelchair without passing out or vomiting, which wasn't until about 12 hours later.  It just felt like one thing after another kept going wrong.  Felix had a very difficult first few days...premature lung disease, pnuemothorax (a tube was put into his side to drain the air on the outside of his lung), put on a respirator, jaundiced.  It was rough.

By that Saturday (the day I was discharged) they finally let me hold him and try to breastfeed.  He latched immediately which was amazing, since many premature babies have a really hard time with breastfeeding at first and often need to be supplemented with a bottle.  He was not given anything but an IV until a couple days before that, at which time they would give him little bits of my pumped breastmilk (about 5-10 CCs) via a tube through his nose that fed directly into his stomach.  But once they allowed him to start breastfeeding, I could immediately see him getting stronger.  Unfortunately, it was also the same day we had to leave and there were no free rooms for us to stay as borders.

Once we left, I was unbelievably anxious when we were away from the hospital, so I tried to be there as much as possible.  I would generally be there from about 8am-2pm and then again from about 5pm-11pm.  Scott tried to be with me all those times, but we also had a ton of things to do at home to prepare for him, including buying a big air purifier machine to rid the house of all the dust from the construction (which didn't finish until the day before he came home!).  

We decided to allow the nurses at the NICU to feed him via bottle when we weren't there to avoid them having to stick the tube back into his nose.  It was something we were concerned about after reading a lot about nipple confusion and babies he won't go back to the breast after taking a bottle (since they can get the milk so much easier from the bottle).  But we had no problems...even now, he takes one bottle a day from Scott.  I'm thinking we will increase that to two bottles soon to get him more used to it.

His recovery came very quickly after that and, eventually the tube was removed from his chest, his respirator was removed, he taken off the light to treat his jaundice, moved to a smaller incubator, and lastly he was moved to a crib on the "other" side of the NICU (the "not so sick side" as the nurses called it) and wearing clothing!  It was the longest and hardest couple of weeks of our lives, but he was finally discharged on March 24, 2011.  It almost seemed easy once we brought him home. 

Since coming home, Felix has been fantastic.  The only thing that still needs to followed up on is a heart murmur and narrow ventricle in Felix's heart.  Luckily, the pediatric cardiologist thinks this will heal on it's own, without the need for any further intervention.  Just another product of his being on the cusp of the 36 week mark and being a bit underdeveloped. 

O...and that doctor I hated...the one that delivered our beautiful baby boy...apparently she is the most amazing doctor when it comes to c-sections.  According to all the nurses and other doctors, she is meticulous and should have been a plastic surgeon.  So while she has a cold personality, my scar looks amazing and will most likely be unnoticeable in the future.

Since I am a proponent of being totally honest and open with people...about every nasty detail (the things most people won't tell you about the birth of their child), I will gladly give details to anyone who wants them, from the use of a catheter to having to be "wiped down" after the birth in front of your husband by two nurses to having to be taken to and watched in the bathroom by a nurse.  Just ask...but I'll leave it off the blog for now to save the minds of those who don't want to know.  Let's just say my modesty went out the window in the first thirty seconds.

Well...that's it...the whole long and miraculous story.  I know I tend to ramble, but hey, can't say I didn't warn you!  I'll be following up in the next few posts with pictures of Felix as well as pics and stories from my baby shower!