Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ronald McDonald house

Matt and I have recieved so many blessings thru this little trial of having Sienna in the hospital. One of the greatest blessings was getting into the Ronald McDonald house. For those who don't know what it is it's a house that becomes your home while your child is in the hospital. I don't know what it costs or is like at other Ronald McDonald houses but ours is pretty fantastic. It only costs $12 a night to stay here. You have volunteer groups come in every night and make you fantastic dinners, like we are talking roast beef dinners, lasagna, chicken dinners, with so many left overs you have lunch for the next day. I have never ate so many mashed potatoes in my life!  And there are always people coming in and making treats like cheesecakes, cookies, muffins...etc. They have arts and crafts night, movie and popcorn nights and they have people volunteer to give you things like free massages, haircuts, or photography sessions. I am so bummed the NICU Sienna is in is on lockdown. Only moms and dads can come in because flu season is still around so in order to control that from spreading to the babies no other visitors are allowed. If they were though I would've seen about getting the photographer to come to the NICU and take baby pictures of sienna, regardless of tubes. Maybe she could use photoshop and make those disappear. It would just be nice to get pictures when she is a little baby as she will likely be about a month old when she gets out of the hospital and from what I have heard its best to do newborn pics before they are 2 weeks old. Anyway, not a big deal because at least my baby is okay right? I just want cute pictures of her cause I have been thinking about that since I found out she was a girl.

Examples of the yummy food we get.
Examples of the yummy food we get

So we pretty much love the Ronald McDonald house and are very lucky we got in so soon. Before getting into the house this is how our travelling looked. Matt drove in Wednesday morning to be with her, came home Wednesday night so he could be with me. We went in Thursday. Come home Friday afternoon. Went back up Saturday afternoon, drove home Sunday. We decided for our benefit we would stay home Monday-Wednesday so we could get some rest emotionally and physically. We called the RM house Sunday afternoon to find out what position we were in for getting into the house. They told us we were fourth in line and that they didn't have any families leaving until at least the end of the month, we were pretty bummed about that. 
Monday came and  I had a breakdown and just started crying and telling Matt how much I missed Sienna and wanted to be with her. I couldn't imagine waiting until Thursday to be with her again. Not more then 10 mins later Matt comes and tells me that the RM house called and that a spot opened up but we had to confirm by 5 that we wanted it and then be there by 9. Well there was no way we were going to miss this opportunity! It was an answer to ours and many others prayers that we got into the house. Now we are just a 5 minute walk away from Sienna and can come over whenever we want to. From this experience Matt and I know we will be a lot more likely to donate to the children's hospital or the Ronald McDonald house. I've thought about how many times at Dairy Queen or mcdonalds I have been asked to donate to these two places and I just say no thank you. Now I wish I would've always donated cause they have blessed my life so much! I am so grateful for these organizations and will probably go broke from donating to them every time I get a chance. 

Here are some gifts we have recieved from the Ronald McDonald house thru the donations of generous people in Calgary. 

Diapers and wipes. I know it's just a small dent in the diapers we need. But 1120 wipes plus the pack of 900 my mom got for us I think we should be set. 
This is a little gift basket that was in our room when we got her. It has so many baby essentials and that Winnie the Pooh blanket is so soft and cuddly. I hope it becomes her favorite blanket as for Matt and I it is special and reminds us of the kindness we recieved while here. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sienna is getting better!

Today Sienna got her dye test. They gave her a liquid dye in a bottle, which she loved. The nurses said they had to pretty much pry it out of her mouth she liked it so much. After they gave her the dye I assume they did some sort of X-ray on her chest to see if the dye had leaked out of her esophagus. Matt and I were so anxious to find out the results. I fell asleep for about 20-30 mins but it was very restless as any noise coming from the hallway woke me up as I hoped it was them returning with her and telling us good news. Finally after an hour they came back and told us that while they hadn't heard it officially from the surgeons from what they say there were no leaks. So we felt really good but still had to wait to hear the official word, which in the end was that she didn't have any leaks. Tonight they will start feeding her about 5ml every 4 hours. They are giving her a small amount so that they can prime her stomach for real feeds and hopefully get he bowels moving. She hasn't pooped in 9 days, poor baby. Those are kind of the last things that need to be done before she comes home. At least I think and hope. :) 

Sienna is such a sweet baby. She has been more of a cry baby the last few days, but I guess that and sleeping is what babies do best. But all the nurses come in and tell us how beautiful and sweet she is and we have to agree. I love doing skin to skin with her and giving her kisses on the head and smelling her sweet baby smell. I can't wait for her to come home and be able to do this all day long without all the yucky cords all over and in her.

While it does stink that she is in the hospital but there are a few perks. I don't want anyone to think I am happy she is there when I say these things, but the circumstances are what they are so I might as well find some good in it.

-Matt and I have free baby sitters whenever we want
-My alarm is set with specific times to pump and I never have to stay up longer then 15 mins
-I only have to change about 1 diaper a day. I also haven't had to purchase diapers for her. Win win
-I will have a nice supply of breast milk in the freezer for when Matt and I want to go on a date.
-We get to stay at the Ronald McDonald house and have volunteers cook meals for us every night and eat the leftovers for lunch.
-We get free massages and have other fun activities planned for us by the RMH.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sienna week one.

Our little baby is over a week old! It's hard to believe that especially because I have only held her 3 times. Tomorrow marks my due date and I am glad she came early so that we could already have one week down of her being in a hospital and one week closer to coming home.
I was released from the hospital Thursday morning. I think my doctor took pity on me and let me out earlier then she normally would have so I could go see Sienna. Also, something important to mention, the morning after Sienna was born my doctor came to check up on me and baby. I explained to her about the esophagus and she was a little baffled and said that still doesn't explain why she stopped moving. She told me when she was pulling Sienna out, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her feet, which may have stopped her from moving. But she would still be able to move her head and hands you would think. Anyway, we might never know why she stopped moving, i am just glad she is here safe and sound cause we don't know what could've happened had she stayed inside for a few more hours. 

On Thursday night Matt and I drove to Calgary. After getting lost a handful of times we finally got to the hospital. The nurse asked us if we had any questions as she was likely going in for surgery the next day. I asked if there was any chance I could hold her, as I hadn't yet. She said yes and got her all settled in my arms. I was mostly holding a pillow with a baby on top of it but it was certainly better then nothing.
                                    Before surgery

The next morning she went into surgery around 10. While I felt like everything was going to be 100% okay I was still nervous and thought about the few what ifs that could go wrong while in surgery. The doctor told us that she did beautifully and that everything went as well as they had hoped. Seriously, that doctor is a life saver and while I would never want her job it would be pretty amazing to be able to provide this kind of service for people. 

                                 After surgery.
They have to keep at least one of her arms restrained because she hates having the tubes in her mouth and nose. Can you blame her though? Having a tube going thru your nose and down your mouth probably isn't the most comfy thing in the world. I also think that the brown bandage stuff they have around her lips to keep that tube in place makes her kind of look like a monkey. She really is our monkey baby. She had all this junk on for about 2 days. Then we came and visited her and she looked like this...
At this point she still has the tube going thru her nose which will be used later to feed her breast milk thru and she still has an IV in her arm because she isn't drinking breast milk yet. So on this day which was I believe Monday the 21st, she got taken off oxygen, morphine, and off suction (they had to clear out her esophagus cause liquids still pooled a little). This was fantastic news. It was a step in the right direction and it has been nice going to the hospital everyday since and them saying she had a really good night. There is nothing new to report we are just waiting for Friday to do the esophogram. the esophogram is a big deal because this will tell us whether or not her esophagus is sealed up nice and tight. They will give her a liquid dye and they will look to see if the dye leaks out. If it doesn't, they can start feeding her breast milk and then it's pretty much home time! If it leaks out, we have to wait another week and redo the test. If it is still leaking the second time she will have to have surgery again to block off the leaks and so the process will begin again putting us in the hospital for probably a total of 2 months. So hopefully tomorrow shows positive results so that we can be one step closer to bringing her home! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Post birth story.

I don't really know where to begin with this post. I really wish I didn't have anything else to write other then we lived happily ever after with our cute little baby. Well I'll just start with they wheeled me out of I guess what you could call a post surgery room and the first person I saw was my sweet husband and he grabbed my hand and walked beside me, followed by my mom and M-I-L. It was so nice to see them. I can't imagine how I would've gotten thru all this without their support and encouragement. I usually went to Dr's appointments by myself and I can't imagine if that had been the situation that day. There wouldn't have been anytime for them to come and be by my side before I went in. If it had happened the week before at my appointment Matt would've still been in rexburg and would've had to drive 8 hours to get to us.
Anyway, I get into my room and ask my mom how long I'll be in the hospital. She tells me I'll likely be there till Friday. My mind was having a hard time wrapping around spending 3 days in the hospital with my baby not at home with her. I just wanted our little family lives to start, not be delayed. They had to take Sienna to the NICU as she didn't cry when they took her out of the uterus and was having a hard time getting the fluids out of her lungs. So she wasn't able to be in my room with me yet, which was really hard for me cause I just wanted to see her and hold her but because of the C-section I wasn't able to leave my bed quite yet. Finally at about 6:00 they helped me out of my bed and into a wheelchair.
Sidebar- I NEVER want to have a c-section again. I am praying hard that my scar heals really nicely because I might never want to have kids again. It has been so painful getting in and out of bed or the car. Trying to reach things or sit up in bed is a lot longer process then it used to be. Matt just laughs at me half the time because I do things so slowly or look like a grandma as I walk around hunched over and so slow. Okay, back to the story.
I finally got to see my baby in the flesh and she was so beautiful. It was kind of a surreal experience. I have been imagining my whole life what my baby would look like. And there she was just sleeping in a little incubator. She has so many funny things about her. She has the weirdest toes in the world.
Exhibit A
  I don't have to force my finger in between her big toe. It fits comfortably and I think she actually enjoys it. The nurses said they noticed she likes to lock her toes together and that is likely how come they are spaced so far apart because she did it all the time in the womb.
She has fingers for toes. The jokes around my house are her being able to play the piano not with her fingers but with her toes or that she will probably be able to palm a basketball with them. I think they are pretty cute though.
She also had a mullet or cul-de-sac for hair. Her hair is SO long in the back. Like at least an inch to an inch and a half long. It gets a little shorter towards her ears but still long, and then she has like nothing on top. We think it makes her look like a grandpa.

After Matt and I just spent some time with her we began alternating family members to come see her as only 2 people can be in with her at a time. It was fun to show her off to them and hear all the oohhhs and ahhhs over how cute she is. It was hard though just be able to reach my hand thru a little hole and touch her. I just wanted to wrap her up in my arms and smother her in kisses and love.

Later that night at about 10 I was ready for bed and Matt asked if it was okay if he went back to spend time with Sienna. So he left and I fell asleep. About an hour later Matt came back into the room and his face seemed a little ashen. I asked what was wrong and he said nothing, but then I noticed he was followed by another woman and that's when I knew he was lying. She sat down and explained to us that the reason why she still has fluids in her lungs and why they need to keep suctioning it out is because her esophagus isn't fully developed. Her esophagus stops at some point and loops back up, then the other part of it that is connected to her stomach, is connected to her trachea. So they needed to take her to the Alberta's Children hospital so that they could perform surgery on her. She would be I. The hospital for 1 month minimum 3 months maximum.

My heart dropped. I thought it was bad enough not being able to go home with her for a couple of days. Now I was being told it could be a couple months. Definitely not what I had expected. Matt helped me out of bed and wheeled me to the NICU so I could spend some more time with her. Sadly I had taken a narcotic pain pill an hour before so I was really tired and ready to be back in bed after 30 mins. A nurse came into our room and told us that the ambulance was here for her and that they would bring her by our room so we could say goodbye. 
To me she looks sooo sad in this picture. I'd like to think she knew she was leaving us and it made her as sad as we were to see her go. I still get teary-eyed writing about this moment! 
The next day Matt traveled to Calgary so at least one of us could be with her and he could give her a blessing before surgery. So that was her first day of life. I will continue this story later... 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Epic birth story.

Maybe no one else will think it was epic, but this birth surpassed anything I had imagined happening. I had read other birth stories and got ideas in my mind about the baby getting stressed and needing to have a c-section, or have a placenta that was so deeply attached to the uterus that they had to specially remove it because you could bleed to death...etc. I also took a special education class last semester so I became paranoid about all the disabilities she could have. Deafness, spinabifida, extra chromosomes, and various other things. Never did I think it would give birth the way I did and she would have the complications she has.

So on Monday the day started out super ordinary. Baby was moving around in the morning and I just did my usual thing of exercising, crocheting, sewing, watching price is right and family feud and eating, a lot. Towards the end of the day Matt asked the question he always asks at the end of the day, "how was baby today?" my reply was, "she has actually been very quiet today. I haven't really felt her move." We started poking her cause that usually got her to move around a bit. But nothing happened. We could feel her spine or something by my belly button and pushed on that but again nothing happened. So we just assumed she must be in a deep sleep. We went to bed but every time I woke up my hand immediately went to my belly and I would just pray that I would feel her move. But nothing was happening still. So I woke up Matt at about 4 in the morning and told him I thought something was wrong and I was worried. We talked to his mom and she said that sometimes when babies are preparing to come they get really still getting ready for the marathon of birth. We decided to still go to the hospital in cardston and make sure everything was okay. They hooked me up to a heart rate monitor and found her heartbeat which was pretty strong averaging about 140. So after about 20 mins they said everything looks fine, she is just sleeping. We went home feeling much better and had peace of mind. I also had a dr. Appointment in lethbridge that morning at 1120 so I figured I would find out more then if there was anything wrong. We got to the appointment and she asked how I was feeling and if there was any changes. I told her how baby wasn't moving and showed her the heart monitor results from cardston. She told us to go to the hospital and they would do another heart monitor test and also some ultrasounds to make sure fluids and everything were still good. I was starting to get nervous wondering if baby was getting ready to come or if something was wrong and if they would induce me. I got all hooked up again and they said we needed to be ready to be here for the next 4-6 as it will take awhile to get an ultrasound and get the results. My doctor came in after about 25 mins and looked at the results. The next words out of her mouth floored me. 
Dr. Adolph: I've got to be honest, my gut feeling tells me we need to have this baby. I just need to have this baby out and know she is okay. So I want to perform a c- section.
Me: oh I don't want that
Dr: I have no doubt you would deliver naturally beautifully, but I am afraid if we induce you she will become distressed and the end result would be a c-section anyway. I want this baby here now cause we like to see lots of ups and downs in heart rate results but we don't see that and it worries me. So can we do a c-section?
Of course I don't have much choice at this point and thru tears tell her we can do that. Within minutes there were 4 other nurses in the room inserting, shaving, and asking questions about my health. Both mine and Matt's mom come in and I tell them how we don't have anything ready for baby. Her car seat isn't in the car, her room isn't ready cause we were going to move into the upstairs the next day. I dont even have a diaper bag, let alone a packed one. I all the sudden felt so unprepared to have a baby.
 The dr told Matt that they would get him prepped to be there for the c-section. Then my life started feeling like I was in a movie as 5 mins later it starts getting a little more frantic and the Dr. Says I am now having an emergency c-section and will be put under and they need me to be ready now. Soon I am being taken from the room on a bed with nurses all around me telling me to breath, which was getting more and more difficult and my whole body is shaking and I can't control my tears. (I tear up just thinking about it because I was so scared) This was so far from what I had imagined would occur when I gave birth to this baby. I was terrified at how urgent it had become wondering if she was going to be okay and if I was going to be okay. Soon I am under those big bright lights you see in the movies and an oxygen mask goes over my mouth. I see them putting up the blue sheet and feel them prepping my belly. I asked them when I would be asleep because I was not enjoying feeling and seeing all this prep and was nervous I would not be asleep in time and I would feel them cut open my stomach. But pretty soon after that thought the next thing I knew I was struggling to open my eyes and my head hurt so bad and my throat was like sandpaper. I looked at the clock and it was now 3:00. I was amazed at how much time had gone by and how fast. They showed me a picture of Sienna and told me how beautiful she was and her stats. To give an idea of how fast everything went, I got hooked up to the heart rate monitor at about noon and was on there for almost 30 mins. Sienna was born at 1:06. So all of this occurred within a span of an hour. Anyway, that is her birth story. We have had so many spiritual experiences as we have thought about the timing and circumstances that surrounded her birth and how everything was in line for a safe delivery. In my next post I will discuss the events that have occurred since her birth as there has been many more unexpected things occur. 
Here she is fresh out of the womb. Bright eyed and bushy tailed! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last baby bump post!

Wow. I can't believe this day has come. Sure I still have about a week and a half till my due date, but I don't imagine much will change in the next little while aside from actually having a baby!

Weight gain: 23 pounds
Braxton Hicks: I've had them since about week 22, but the were much more sporadic and not so strong. Now it's a guarantee that I will have them a couple of times a day and they are much more stronger. They make my belly look so funny and lopsided.
Movement: She gets a little out of control at about 11 oclock every night. Matt and I get some good laughs out of watching my belly roll like a wave and see all these little kicks. It makes us so excited to have her here and be able to see her actually move. We can usually always feel her little back by my belly button and we like to annoy her by poking it. She will pay us back I am sure.
Pain: I have mostly pelvic pain, just below my stomach. It's the worse at night after I have been resting. So I try to stay in the same position the whole night.
Cramps: I get leg and toe cramps all the time! It's the worst, especially at night. I can't wait for those to be gone.
Skin: I have gotten skin tags since being pregnant. Did anyone else experience this? I've never heard of it being a symptom, but I swear it's a symptom for me. And I got a random rash on my chin. Don't know if it's pregnancy related but I just woke up in the morning with it. But I'll take that over stretch marks and acne any day.

Some things that never really happened while being pregnant.
Cravings:  I was really hoping I would wake up in the middle of the night wanting ice cream, watermelon, steak or something random that Matt would just HAVE to get me in order for me to be happy and able to sleep again. I think Matt was kind of hoping it would happen because it would be an excuse to get things like ice cream or steak.
Big belly:  I didn't know how else to title this. All I know is I was looking forward to having such a big belly that I could balance my dinner plate on it. I wanted to make Matt paint my toenails and shave my legs because I just could not reach them. I mean I am sure that if I did have a big belly and could do these things I would wish my belly was smaller but I was really looking forward to being pampered and hands free.
Heartburn:  I thought I got it when I was 4.5 months pregnant and it freaked me out that I was getting it so soon that the rest of my pregnancy would be so miserable. But I think I have had it maybe twice. I am more likely to have acid reflux then heartburn but even then it's rare.
Nicknames: Cutie baby, nuggie, nugget, nugster, munchkin, stinky baby, monster, rugrat, baby Si, little baby,

We are pretty much all ready for baby. I've got her clothes all put away and in the next couple of days will be getting her room already. I've had to wait because we weren't sure where we would be living, but we've finally got everything worked out so it's time to get everything set up. I can't wait.

2 stories I wanted to document about being pregnant.

I was working with my mom at the vinyl company she works for, just helping them out during a busy week. It's family run and they had their 4 year old son there. So they introduced me to him and he is kind of looking at me funny and then says "There is something weird about you, I think it has to do with your belly." I was trying pretty hard to not laugh at his comment and just told him it was because there was a baby in there. Later I went home for lunch and when I returned he told me "I think your belly got bigger while you were gone." My mom said she was pretty sure it was because my shirt had lifted up a little bit so you could actually see my belly. It was quite comical.

Next story is when I was about 3.5 months pregnant. Matt and I had gone to the temple to do sealings. We were the first people up and I was doing really good for the first couple of names, but it was just getting hotter in the room. The sealer kept on saying if at any time you feel like you are going to faint let us know because we can stop. But I had never fainted before and thought for sure I could get thru it. But as I am kneeling there black spots started appearing so I just closed my eyes and thought by doing that it would be better and pass. But then the next thing I knew I was standing next to matt, but everything was still black and I was really hot and weak. So they had me sit down and after a little while I could finally see. I leaned over to Matt and told him that I had barely made it. He just laughed and said, "No Chanel, you definitely passed out." I was stunned and thought he was joking. He told me that he was looking at me and saw me close my eyes and then the next thing he knew I had just slumped over on the alter. He looked at the sealer to see what he should do and the sealer just motioned that they were almost done with that sealing and would just continue. From then on, anytime we did sealings I always got a chair.

I was hoping to get a pic the day I got my membranes stripped as it could be the last day I was pregnant, but then things got a little crazy and instead of getting my membranes stripped I had an emergency c-section. So kind of sad my last pic was 2 weeks ago but I don't think much changed. (Birth Story to come)