Andrew’s Birth Story

At 22 weeks pregnant I started having preterm labor signs presenting as mild contractions. I spent a night at the hospital to make sure things wouldn’t progress and was put on limited activity. I wasn’t allowed to run but I could still do yoga, walk, swim and do light weight lifting. So I did! I fell in love with the water again and reached my goal of swimming a mile straight while pregnant. I felt incredible. But at 27 weeks pregnant, as I walked into the aquatic center to swim I was hit with the most painful contractions of my life. I sat on a bench and tried to wait for them to pass but each one left me out of breath. In tears I called Bryan to come get me, but they worsened quickly and I honestly felt like I was about to give birth in the lobby. So I called 911 and was taken to the hospital once more. I was given a shot to prevent preterm labor and put on bedrest. No swimming, no running, no real lifting of Jackson. It was hard.

Once I reached 36 weeks pregnant I was allowed off bed rest. With the weather finally beginning to feel like spring, a hyperactive toddler and a family of 3 with a bad case of cabin fever, we took advantage. Unfortunately right at 36 weeks I caught the norovirus from Bryan and ended up in High Risk Perinatal Center (HRPC) for the night with severe dehydration that brought on contractions. Once we were feeling better we began going for daily walks to the playground.

At my last sono appointment the sonographer discovered that one of Andrew’s kidneys appeared polycystic. After completely normal sonos and a healthy pregnancy, something was wrong. We were told to follow up with a specialist for another sono and on March 31st we had our next sono. The doctor determined that what looked polycystic was actually dilation of the ureter possibly due to a blockage that caused severe dilation of the kidney. My amniotic fluid was great though so something was working. They had a hard time finding the left kidney but thought they could see it behind other organs. We were told to come back in 3 days and if things were worse they’d have to induce. I broke down knowing something was wrong with our son and feeling completely helpless. I wanted to make it all okay but knew the best thing for him would be to come out so they could figure out what was wrong and help him. 

April 1st I had my 37 week OB appointment. The weather was nice so we decided to walk to it as it’s only a mile away. I had the usual checks. I was still 1cm dilated as I’d been the week before. We walked back home and ran some errands. In the afternoon we took Jackson to the park. By 3pm I started having contractions. I was pretty sure they were just another round of the infamous Braxton Hicks. I even avoided my contraction app in fear that I’d jinx myself. At the park I started walking in circles and I could feel the pain coming in waves. The walking made it worse making me think that maybe they were real. All weekend Andrew felt really low and as I walked it felt like he was going to fall out. I kept thinking if this wasn’t it, I wasn’t going to walk again until he was out. I checked my fitbit for the day and we’d covered over 8 miles! Including a run up 5 stories of stairs in an effort to get Andrew to progress.

When we got home we had dinner and put Jackson to bed. Bry played on his computer as I laid down in bed still feeling the waves. We began tracking them and they’d come about every 7-10 minutes. Bry asked if it was labor. I told him I had no idea. He asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I’d had barely any sleep the past 2 nights and didn’t want to end up at labor and delivery for a few hours to be sent home not in labor, sleepless and with a 5am wake up from our crazy toddler the next morning. By this point it was 7pm and I’d been contracting for 4 hours. I told Bry I’d call the OB at 8. We played around on our computers and at 8:01 I called my OB. The doctor on call told me to come in. So we threw a few last minute things into the hospital bag, got dressed and asked my mom if she could watch Jackson but that we may come home still pregnant. She congratulated me, hugged me and Jackson started to cry. I was so glad. I picked him up, gave him the biggest hug and snuggle and shared a special moment with my first born. It was especially meaningful knowing it may be my last time to hold him as an only child. With a kiss and a hug, I put him back down and we headed out the door.

We got to labor and delivery and I rocked back and forth bouncing a little bit to help things progress in case this was it. We registered and i kept thinking there was a good chance we’d be heading home. We were called back to triage where I explained I’d been contracting for 5 hours. I was put on the monitors and determined I was contracting every 2-4 minutes. The nurse checked me and I was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, -2 station. “You’re being admitted” she announced and Bryan and I just looked at each other and laughed. 

20140401_213448

We walked over to the labor and delivery room and settled in. Bry kept asking if there was a chance we could still be sent home. “Not now, there’s no going back.” I started to get freaked out remembering that the hard part was still ahead. I forgot how you get the baby out ;) my contractions began picking up and getting stronger. The monitors showed they were every minute or two with no break in between. I started to worry that I’d miss the opportunity to get an epidural and did not want to progress to the point of no medication. At 11pm we called our parents and let them know we were in labor, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke :) At midnight I asked for the epidural  and within 15 minutes the anesthesiologist arrived. It took about 15 minutes to insert the epidural during which my contractions were strong and steady. I kept trying to keep my mind away from what was going on as he inserted the needle. I forgot how intense the entire experience was with Jackson but it felt much worse this time. Bryan held my hand and I kept my eyes shut, trying to mentally disappear. Once the epidural was in, I laid back down and let the medicine numb the contractions. Bry and I talked, he read a bit and I tried to get some sleep knowing I’d need my energy soon. I was already starving by this point but wasn’t allowed any food. Bry snuck me a GU chomp and I devoured it.

IMG_0365At 3am I was checked again. Despite having constant contractions I hadn’t progressed at all. In fact the epidural had caused the contractions to spread out. If things didn’t change soon they’d start pitocin to speed things along. At 6am things hadn’t changed. I had a lot of bloody show but my bag of waters was in tact. At 6:30am more bloody show. In the past 3.5 hours I’d dilated another half cm bringing me up to 4.5. Contractions had spread out from every minute to every 5-8 minutes. At 6:45am they began pitocin, increasing the dose every half hour. At 7am we had our second nurse shift change and met Kim who would be our final nurse. Bryan continued to feed me GU chomps as my stomach growled and exhaustion overtook me. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. At 9am we met our delivery doctor who ironically was our OB! He asked what happened since I’d had my regular 37 week prenatal check with him that morning and was only 1cm dilated. He checked me again and I was still 4.5cm. I felt defeated and starving hoping Andrew would hurry up so I could eat. The NICU doctor came in and told us they were all on board with Andrew’s situation. She told us they’d be at the delivery to make sure everything went well but they wouldn’t have to take him away. We thanked her for coming in and got back to laboring.

In the meantime Bryan made frequent visits to the cafe downstairs for copious amounts of coffee. As breakfast and eventually lunch passed I forced him to go eat. Then I made him recount exactly what he had so I could live vicariously through him.

At 11am I started feeling like death. The pitocin was making me nauseous but the meds they gave me for it made me extremely hot and nauseous. I kept thinking there was no way I could push. They’d have to cut this kid out of me. I wanted to puke. Bryan said I looked horrible. I was pale but flushed. Bryan found me a fan a few minutes later and blasted it on my face. It was a miracle. I started to feel better and more alive. It literally saved me. I laid in bed with the fan directly at my face while perusing the cafeteria menu, drooling over everything I wasn’t allowed to eat.

20140402_160616

The doctor from NICU came back in and told us shed spoken to the specialist who’d done Andrews sono. It was worse than she thought and they’d have to not only be at delivery but would be taking Andrew to NICU afterward. I felt terrible. I hadn’t even brought my son into the world yet and they were already ready to take him away. I nodded, knowing it was what was best for him and tried to refocus on getting my son safely out.

At 12:30pm i still hadn’t progressed so dr. kleinman broke my water. At 1:35pm I was checked again and at 5cm! As soon as the nurse, Elizabeth, who was covering for Kim while she was with her other patient, finished checking me I felt a ton of pressure. I told her, thinking it was just from being checked. Immediately Dr. k walked in and went to check me. “Woah the heads right there” he said. After 22 hours of labor And being stuck at 4cm for hours I’d gone from 5 to 10 and +3 station in a minute. Everything happened suddenly as nurses and doctors from nicu rushed in. The bed was broken down and I got into position. We waited in silence for another contraction to begin and with the pressure I began to push. I bared down, focusing on the pressure for 10 seconds, took another breath and pushed again and with that Andrew entered the world. It was completely surreal.

IMG_03746lbs 13oz born at 1:46pm with a head full of fuzzy dark brown hair and strong lungs. I began to cry and shake, in disbelief he was finally here. As the cord stopped pulsing, Bryan cut it and I was finally able to hold my youngest son. I nursed him and stared into his gorgeous blue eyes as he looked up at me. I soaked it all in, knowing too well how fast it all flies by. I kept thinking I always knew he’d have dark hair and relieved that he was finally here and safe. After an hour the nicu doctors returned and told me it was time, they had to take him. I kissed his forehead, told him I loved him and just an hour after being born I had to say goodbye. I wondered my whole pregnancy if I could love anyone as much as I love Jackson. Then I met my youngest son and realized my heart and arms had been waiting for this precious little boy all my life and that same unconditional love was instantaneous once again.

IMG_0404As for Andrew a renal sonogram after birth confirmed hydronephrosis of his right kidney. They couldn’t find his left kidney on the sonogram. We meet with a specialist at Children’s Hospital at the end of May for further testing to determine if he in fact has only one kidney and whether the right one is caused by a blockage, will have fixed itself or will require surgery. We’re praying they find his left one and by some miracle the right one heals itself before May. In the meantime because of the vulnerability of his kidney and working under the belief it’s his only one we have to keep him away from germs and infections since an infection could be detrimental to him. It’s been incredibly scary and trying but we’re hoping for the best and soaking up every moment of this sweet boys snuggles in the meantime. I wish I could make it all go away, to cure him, give him a kidney and make it all better but he’s a strong little boy and I know we’ll get through this. He deserves a full, healthy life and I’m praying we’ll be able to give him one soon.

IMG_0417 IMG_0421

Veggie & Banana Pancakes

We’re officially smack dab in the middle of toddler pickiness when it comes to food. Cheese, granola bars, milk are all fair games (as are any treats we might offer him such as a donut or cookie–though those are rare). Vegetables these days, however, are typically thrown off his tray as soon as they’re placed in front of him. Sometimes he returns to his fruitbat ways and devours kiwi, banana, mango, etc. but typically I find myself fighting to get real nutrients into Jackson’s tiny body. Being pregnant and in the third trimester where my cravings tend to lean towards the sugar food group, I’m not doing much better than our little one in getting in my veggies. This morning I decided to sneak some color into our food so we can both get a much needed nutrient boost, whether we know it or not.

A few months ago Emily posted this recipe for Fluffy Summer Vegetable Pancakes. I decided to recreate it with some adaptations of my own. The result? Epic deliciousness. And healthy to boot! Enjoy :)

Veggie & Banana Pancakes
Makes ~15  2.5″ pancakes

IMG_6378

Ingredients:

1c all purpose flour
2/3c + 1/6c white whole wheat flour
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (if omitted, add additional 1/6c white whole wheat flour)
2 TBSP organic cane sugar (any sugar would work)
4 TSP baking powder
1/2 TSP kosher salt
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1.5c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
2 ripe bananas, smashed
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 TBSP olive oil (or any oil)
1 large zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, shredded
Optional: Chopped walnuts and/or raisins
Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Once combined, add in 2 eggs. Mix. Add milk and mix. Add vanilla, oil & smashed banana. Stir until well combined.
2. Shred carrot & grate zucchini. Pat dry with papertowels to remove excess water and add to pancake mix. Stir until combined.
3. Heat pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. When warm, add batter by spoonful until desired size is created. Add a sprinkle of chopped walnuts, raisins or both while batter is still wet.  I made some with walnuts for me and daddy and some with raisins for Jackson (since he’s still not really able to chew nuts).
4. Wait a minute or two (the edges will begin to turn up and bubble). Flip pancake and let cook on other side until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and repeat.
5. Top with favorite topping and enjoy!

Second Pregnancy: 33 weeks

Life is flying by.  The days are beginning to run together and before I realize it, another week is gone and I find myself standing in our living room bathroom with my stomach sticking out, taking a weekly update picture, thinking I really need to sto procrastinating and clean the mirror already.

image

Im officially 33 weeks pregnant and feeling every bit of it. Call it selective memory but I don’t remember having this much pain and discomfort with Jackson (and I weighed 13 more pounds with him by this point). I think a good part of it has to do with inactivity thanks to bed rest, some due to carrying around a 30lb toddler in addition to growing a smal human and the rest I like to attribute to Andrew being bigger than Jackson, though I can’t officially confirm that until our final ultrasound in the next few weeks.

I did some prenatal yoga today. 20 whole minutes in the comfort of my living room with the laptop propped on the tv stand so my crazy, acrobatic toddler couldn’t reach it. I spent the entire time alternating between wanting to cry because it “hurt so good” to wanting to cry because it just downright hurt. I plan to keep it up at least 3 times a week to loosen up my body in preparation of labor. If I go into it as tight and inactive as I am now, there’s no way I’ll survive.

If I make it to 36 weeks (which gut instinct says I will) I have the all clear to swim and run again (haha running, yeah right). I can’t wait t get back int the pool and feel weightless. Running will be there once Andrew comes :)

What I’m loving: fruit (especially cold cantaloupe, plums, oranges and mangos), donuts (always), peanut butter and all things chocolate. Also massages, hot hot showers and naps.

Cravings unsatisfied: pizza. Specifically a papa johns pizza smothered in cheese, spicy Italian sausage, black olives, bell peppers, banana peppers, mushrooms, onions and dipped in a heavy coating of their delicious garlic butter. Let’s be honest, it makes the pizza. And it’s crack. Also craving swimming, a deep tissue massage, the ability to breathe when I try to put on my socks, going more than 10 minutes without the urge to pee, running (if I was weightless) and a ice cold smoothie of kale and fruit.

Total weight gain: 18.8lbs (Up 1.4lbs this week)

All You Need is Love

Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other, child, fur baby, best friend or boycotting the holiday in its entirety, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with time with those you love. Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy another excuse to tell those you love how much they matter and enjoy a delicious sweet treat. After all, holiday calories don’t count right? ;)

image

And just for fun a little look back at my baby boy just a year ago.

imageWhere does the time go?!

 

2nd Pregnancy: Weeks 28 & 29

Being on bed rest has equated to a ton of reading on the iPad Bry won in a raffle at work and I somehow adopted (per his permission). I can’t tell you how in love with it I am. It’s so easy and convenient! Not the mention my amazing library has an ecatalog so I can borrow books for free on my ipad without ever having to leave the house (or worry about late fees from forgetting to return them on time). I’ve read 8 books already and still going strong. Thank you napping toddler and studying husband.

While I’ve been spending my time on the iPad Bry has adopted my laptop so I haven’t been on to update in quite awhile. So let’s catch up. I’ll be 30 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow but let’s recap weeks 28 & 29.

Week 28:

I had my gestational diabetes test during week 28 which I gratefully passed with flying colors. Then upon arriving home I found an amazing care package waiting for me from my father in law. An entire package full of 5 boxes of thin mints! Perfect timing. I married well ;) We also got to see Andrew again. Babe is measuring at 3lb 3oz, 90th percentile and measuring almost 2 weeks ahead! He’s going to be huge.

image

We also took maternity pictures that I’ll save for another post. We’re cheap and decided to DIY with a ladder, mini tripod and the self timer. I’m actually in love with how they turned out. Plus you can’t beat free.

Week 29:

Really itching to workout again, at least a swim! And I cannot wait to delve back into running and begin training for our 2nd half marathon once Andrew arrives. Kicks  and wiggles are constant and strong. My whole belly goes crazy. I love it. Minus the constant need to pee, especially during the night which has made sleeping horrible and evasive.

image

Not much to update. Hungry constantly so I find myself eating every 1-2 hours and trying to stay conscious of making healthier choices most of the time. Monday I had horrible nausea all day long and a bout of morning sickness. Thankfully it only lasted one day and I was back to my ravenous self. I’ve gained just under 15lbs as of 29 weeks. I feel huge! I’ve outgrown almost all my clothes  and have been invading Bryan’s closet most days. So much more comfortable! As much as I miss my semi toned pre-baby body I am loving watching Andrew grow and know the bigger the belly gets, the bigger and stronger Andrew is getting. We hope to have at least three kids but don’t know if and when well begin trying or get lucky enough for number 3 so I’m enjoying the pregnancy perks while they last. I remember this part with Jackson, anxious to finally meet the little man and hold him in my arms but I also remember how fleeting time is so I’m enjoying it while I can.

On that note I’m back to watching “Valentines Day” on DVR while eating an entire box of thin mints :)

Goodbye Second Trimester: Weeks 26 & 27

Week 26:

26 weeks 2Workouts:

Wednesday: 40m cardio & toning prenatal DVD + leg circuit
Thursday: 20m prenatal yoga
Friday: 50m What to Expect When You’re Expecting DVD
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 2mi walk
Monday: 40m online prenatal Barre3 class
Tuesday: Rest

Week 27:

27 weeks

Workouts:

Wednesday: 20m circuit
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 25m prenatal yoga
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 30m circuit
Monday: 80m hike (~3+ miles)
Tuesday: 1600m swim (1mi)

Cravings: Donuts, ice cream, chocolate, milk, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, FRUIT, peanut butter

Symptoms: Lower back pain, cramping, discharge (TMI- you’re welcome), a strong desire for a mid-day naptime

Best moment this week: Feeling Andrew’s little leg or arm on my right side last night. It about sent me into a heart melting breakdown of tears it was so amazing. Sometimes I forget these little wiggles, rolls, jabs and pokes are from a little boy we’ll get to hold in 13ish weeks! I’m so excited!

Looking forward to: Our next sono in a week and a half! And getting the gestational diabetes test OVER with.

Total weight gain: 12.6lbs (+.6lbs this week)