Friday, September 26, 2008

2 weeks

After all the chaos following Rachael's birth, I was worried about adjusting to life with 3 children. Michael still had to go back to work on Tuesday. Thankfully my parents were still here for a few days because I definitely was not ready to handle all 3 of them on my own yet. Michael was wonderful to get the boys up, dressed and fed before he left for work Tuesday so all I had to do was get Rachael and myself ready so we could take Jacob to school. It went well and then after Jacob got home from school, my parents took the boys for a 'drive' to look at some of the beautiful scenery around Colorado Springs and that left me with only Rachael for a few hours, which was good because I had to go in and have my incision checked because it has an open spot (it's ok though, no infection and I noticed today that it's a tad smaller than it was a couple days ago).

Wednesday was a lazy day at home and nothing exciting happened - which is good!!

My parents left Thursday morning and that was to be my first day all by myself. I still didn't feel ready so I decided that since it was MOPS day, I would just head there since Jacob had to go to school anyway. That turned out really well since Eli was in class and Rachael just got passed around to friends the whole time we were there!! I really didn't have any responsibility while I was at MOPS. Once we got home, the boys ate lunch and went down for naps. Then when they woke up it was only an hour and a half before Michael got home!!!!

So, today has been my first day to be totally responsible for getting everyone ready (because Rachael had her 2 week checkup this morning) and out the door and you know what, it went REALLY well!! We left on time and I didn't feel frazzled at all!!! Michael met us at the dr. because I'm definitely not ready for that experience all by myself - the boys just don't let me think because they decide to talk nonstop when the dr. comes in the room! We came home, had lunch, I fed Rachael and then EVERYONE took a nap. Once Rachael went down, I got an hour of sleep before the boys woke up!!!! That gets us to now - 2 hours (hopefully) until dad gets home and I don't feel like the kiddies are taking over my brain yet!

Anywho, Rachael weighed in at 7lb. 12oz. and 21.25" in length. - so she's put on 7oz. since birth - yipee! She has a clogged tear duct in her left eye, so the dr. gave me some antibiotic ointment for it. And I have thrush in the milky region, so she gave me some Nystatin cream for me and some Nystatin liquid in case Rachael shows signs in her mouth.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rachael's birth

I have previously posted Jacob's birth story and Eli's birth story so now it's time to tell you about all the craziness we've experienced in the last 9 days.....

I'm really going to try to make this as short and simple as possible because A LOT has happened in this time frame and it would take days to write out a detailed account of those events.

Rachael's birth was a planned c-section because of the previous 2 c-sections I've had. We arrived at the hospital on Friday, September 12 at 5:30 am so I could have my IV's started, finish some last minute paperwork and be prepped for an 8:30 surgery. The surgery went as planned and Rachael arrived at 8:47 am screaming and very healty!!

I spent a couple of hours in recovery and then was reunited with Michael and Rachael and proceeded to my new room for what was expected to be a Sunday afternoon discharge.

Saturday night I started experiencing some mild pain in my right ribcage (near the bottom of the lung) but the nurse and I both thought it might be gas pain because when you have a spinal it kind of shuts down your digestive system for a while and when it starts up again it causes lots of gas and gas pains. However, by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and had also radiated to my shoulder. Pain medicine helped for a while, but each time it would wear off the pain would come back stronger. I finally got to the meltdown point where it hurt to inhale and the pain was just so excruciating I had my nurse call the doctor who was on that night to come check me out.

The dr. came and then decided to send me down for a CAT scan thinking that it was my gallbladder giving me trouble. However, the CAT scan revealed a BLOOD CLOT (pulmonary embolism) in my right lung in the exact place where the pain was. YIKES. (I was on injectable blood thinner throughout the entire pregnancy with Rachael as a precautionary measure since I had had a clot after Eli was born so no one thought that it would be that since I had been off the blood thinner for less than 48 hours when the clot developed).

The treatment for blood clots is a couple of different types of blood thinner until you get to an anti-coagulant stage, then the injectable blood thinner is removed and you take a pill for several months. So another dr. came in and talked to me about all that and how they caught it early so the pain should subside quickly since they started the blood thinner back up. By Monday afternoon most of my pain was gone and we thought I was on the mend.

THEN Monday evening my pulse dropped really low (to the low 50's) and stayed there so the dr. wanted to do some tests to make sure nothing was wrong with my heart. They sent someone up to my room to do an EKG, which came back normal rythym, just a slow heart rate.

The dr. wanted to monitor my heart on a telemtry machine for 24 hours so I was sent down to ICU for Monday night and all of Tuesday (at least). This separated me from Rachael. However, they did let her stay admitted and kept her in the Mother/Baby Unit and brought her to me for feedings!!

While I was in ICU I also had an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart to measure electrical activity and check valves and vessel sizes, etc.) which came back normal.

I ended up staying until Wednesday morning when the dr. came in and gave me the all-clear to go home. He said they couldn't find anything wrong with my heart other than my heart rate being low and couldn't find any reason to suspect something serious.

I was home early Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to try to adjust to life with 3 children while healing from a MAJOR SURGERY. I was feeling better every day.

UNTIL SATURDAY mid-day. I was standing in the kitchen (not doing anything strenous or anything I shouldn't be doing) and felt like I was trickling blood. When I went to the bathroom is was definitely more than a trickle and more like a river. (I'll spare you the details of how much blood there was, etc.). I came out and called the hospital and they said to head to the ER because I might be hemorraging.........SCARY. This is when I started to feel a little frantic.

Michael got the kids ready and loaded in the van while I got something to sit on - because there was more blood than I have ever seen in my life. I called a friend and asked her to meet us at the hospital to take the boys or something (at that point nothing was discussed - just that it was an emergency and we needed help). I also called my mom and told her I needed her to come out from Florida and she got on the internet and started looking for flights for that day. Then Michael drove me to the ER at break-neck speed with the flashers on. I cried all the way to the hospital freaking out about what the outcome of this major blood loss might be. THIS WAS VERY SCARY FOR MICHAEL AND I BOTH AND THE THOUGHT OF ME NOT SURVIVING WAS JUST MORE THAN I COULD BEAR - BUT A VERY REAL POSSIBLITY.

We arrived and I was immediately seen and the dr. and nurse put me very much at ease because they were not frantic or panicky in the least. This made me not worry quite so much. The dr. did an ultrasound of my uterus and determined it was full of blood and had actually expanded since I had gone home from the hospital.

I had lots of clots in there and rather than my uterus contracting all the way down as it should have, the clots couldn't be expelled to allow the uterus to contract down and stop the bleeding.

I was then re-admitted and started on a medication to try to make my uterus clamp down properly. After 7 hours and 2 doses, the dr. came back and did another ultrasound and determined that it was actually getting worse rather than better. He decided right then to take me to the OR for a D&C to manually clean out my uterus so it could contract back to where it should be. The risks of this surgery were greater for me than most people since I had the clot already. If the D&C didn't work to control the bleeding, he would take me back in and open me up and do a complete hysterectomy to save my life. HYSTERECTOMY is not something I ever thought I'd hear, especially at 27. There was also a real possiblity of death from this situation. However, I told the dr. to do whatever he thought was necessary to make sure I made it through this because my husband and children need me.

The surgery started about 10pm and I was awake around 11:20. I ended up getting 2 units of blood to keep my blood levels stable and make it easier for my body to recover and not have to reproduce the lost blood.

Let me just say that as soon as I woke up I felt like I was completely better. Nothing felt even the slightest bit 'off'. My belly was 'deflated' and felt so much better than it had before - when I got to the hospital I looked like I was still 6 months pregnant. The dr. told me after I woke up that he cleaned out 1.5 litres of blood and clotting from my uterus. WHOA - that's a lot of stuff.

After the surgery, I spent the rest of the night in ICU on all kinds of monitors, IV's and even a morphine pump for my pain. The dr. came back around 11 this morning and performed another ultrasound and gave me the all-clear and told me my uterus looked and felt wonderful and that I was free to go home once I got my catheter out, walked around and went pee!

The nurse got me all unhooked and while she was working on my discharge paperwork, I walked around with Michael, my parents (who had arrived at around 11pm last night), the kids and a couple of friends who had arrived while drinking a lot of water!! I completed my requirements and then was released to go!!

Let me just say that I am so blessed to even be alive to tell this story today and that I also still have all of my reproductive organs - thought I doubt I'll ever be reproducing again. More than one dr. in the last week has recommended I not ever get pregnant again and though it's hard to swallow, I definitely agree that my health and the needs of my family should come first.

I think I'll have to ask Michael to write a post on what this whole experience was like for him because his mom was here for a few days and could help out with the boys, but I'm sure he felt split in 100 different ways and I can't imagine what was going thru his mind when I was going thru all these difficulties. Thankfully, I'm still in one piece and God is so good to have allowed me to pull thru this.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eli's birth story

Yes, I'm aware that I just had Rachael, but for you to understand all that has happened since Rachael's birth 1 week ago, you must first know the story of Eli's birth..... And yes, I also know that I started this series MONTHS ago with Jacob's birth story!

As with my pregnancy with Jacob, Eli's was very uneventful as well. I was healthy and so was he.

During this pregnancy I had been informed that because of the state laws and malpractice issues, I would not be allowed to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and rather than doing research for myself, I took the word of the Dr. and nurses and scheduled a c-section for May 26, 2006. I have since done TONS of research in an effort to try to have a VBAC with the 3rd pregnancy and have found out that there were a few places in Oklahoma City that I could have gone and a few doctors that probably would have let me attempt a VBAC. I am extremely regretful of not having done more research and I think about it a lot, maybe one day I'll come to terms with it.

May 26 came around and we got to the hospital and some insane hour of the morning and everything proceeded as normal. I was taken into the operating room a few minutes after 8:00 and the surgery progressed from getting a spinal, to a baby boy being born at 8:42 am and then me returning to my room for recovery approximately 30 minutes later - after I had been all closed up and everything.
Eli Scott weighed in at 8lb. 15oz. and 22” long and other than a little excess fluid in his lungs, he was very healthy!!!

I actually recovered from this c-section very quickly and don't remember taking any pain medication after I left the hospital! Michael was scheduled to leave for a 2 month school the second week of July so I was very excited I was recovering so well and not feeling at all overwhelmed with needing to recover AND take care of a 2.5 year old and a newborn by myself for 2 months.

About 6 weeks after Eli's birth I got very ill. (I have a colon condition called ulcerative colitis and to spare your stomachs, let's just say it causes some SEVERE digestive problems and requires loads of treatment to recover from). During the first week that I was so ill, I also started having some bizarre pain in my right leg, just below my knee. This pain made my knee hurt so badly I could hardly walk. It also caused swelling and tenderness in my leg and a fevered spot just below my knee.

The week after Michael left I finally went to the dr. after I'd been very sick for over a week and my leg was just so excruciating I couldn't handle it any more.

The dr. took one look at my leg (and my symptoms) and had me lie down on a hospital-type bed and wouldn't let me get up. I was to go into a treatment room and receive IV fluids because I was so dehydrated, but first she immediately sent me down the hall to have an ultrasound on my leg. That is when I started suspecting something serious.

During the ultrasound, I asked the tech what they were looking for and she told me they suspected I had a blood clot in my leg and they needed to confirm with an ultrasound.... YIKES.
Sure enough, the ultrasound confirmed it and I was sent back to get my IV started and an ambulance was called to transport me to the hospital... WHOA! I believe there was some crying involved and then a frantic call to my friend with whom I'd dropped the boys off before my appointment and then a message left on Michael's cell phone to call me as soon as he had a break in class.

I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon and stayed there for 5 days to receive intense treatment for my colon problems and the blood clot. The boys spent that week being shuffled between a few absolutely amazing friends. I was released on a Saturday and fortunately Michael was able to come home for the weekend – it was a 9 hour drive one way – and take me home. My grandmother was gracious enough to come stay with me (we were living in Oklahoma City at the time) and the boys for a few weeks while I began my recovery. Exactly one week later I had to be admitted to the hospital again for pneumonia and was there for 2 more days....

I decided then that as soon as my dr. would clear me for travel (due to the blood clot I had to wait until my treatment was well established) my grandmother and I would take the boys and drive home to Florida so I could stay with family and have help with the boys while I recovered – there was terrible pain in my leg still and TONS of extremely uncomfortable swelling in both legs due to all the fluid I received while in the hospital. We stayed in Florida for 3 weeks until all my swelling was gone and I could drive safely and take care of the boys. My dad drove us home the week before Michael returned from school.

God is so good and I was completely healed when Michael returned home on Sept. 7 (his birthday!!) which is a wonderful thing because we were scheduled to move here (Colorado Springs) the first week of October!

The background or reason I developed the clot in the first place has been debated by several doctors. I don't have the typical risk factors that most people who develop clots have. I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, don't use birth control and have tested negative for all of the blood disorders that could cause clots. The only conclusion that the doctors can come up with is that during pregnancy every woman is at a higher risk to develop clots, throw in the c-section (MAJOR surgery) and the colon condition and you have the reasons behind why I developed the clot.

Blood clots (also called DVT – deep vein thrombosis when in the lower extremities) can be very dangerous and even cause death if not treated quickly and properly. I am very blessed and feel very fortunate to be alive today because I let the 'leg issue' go for a week before I saw a doctor.
Praise the Lord for His wonderful works!!!

Yes, I had the baby and no I didn't fall off the planet....

I had lots of complications and we spent 6 days in the hospital...... I'll write a post on that later.

However, we have a healthy baby girl!
Rachael Jane
September 12, 2008
8:47 am
7lb 5oz.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My newest obsession...

Eli is now mostly potty trained - woohoo - except for poo, but that took Jacob a little while anyway! I'm excited to say that it only took him 2 weeks from diapers to undies! Jacob was much longer because he started going occassionally on the toilet when he was very young - around 18 months. But he wasn't actually fully potty trained until about 25 months. However, Jacob was VERY easy to potty train because he would go if you suggested it, it took him a while to want to do it on his own, but he never fought us on the issue. Eli was completely opposite - he was NOT ready early and WOULD put up the biggest fight if you even suggested it. So we decided around 24 months to not even mention it for a couple of months and then try again and what do ya know - it worked. He decided he was ready and that was that - end of story - no more diapers!!

This somehow brings me to my next point - I've written several posts about switching Eli to cloth diapers earlier this year - you can find them here, here, and here - and in those posts expressed how much I absolutely love cloth diapering!!
Well, my newest obsession is sewing them! I have a friend who also sews and cloth diapers and she had a wonderful pattern she got a couple years ago when her oldest was still in diapers and she is wonderful for letting me borrow it!! Aren't they soooo cute!
Here's what they're made of:
* Exterior - waterproof PUL
* Soaker - 2 layers of 100% cotton batting (Warm and Natural brand) and 2 layers of 100% cotton microfiber terry cloth
* Interior - flannel on these and I have a purple flower print crushed panne velour for the mediums I'm going to make
* 1/4 polybraid elastic
* Industrial poly-resin snaps set with a professional press
I found this lavender flannel monkey print at JoAnn one day when I was just browsing and HAD to have some of it!! Isn't it adorable?
Other than the batting (which I got at Walmart), I got all of my supplies from this website. They have great prices and a large selection of diaper sewing fabrics and notions.
I love to sew and this has just fueled my hobby even more! With the diapers I bought (before I got the pattern), a few other handmade ones I ordered and the ones I have sewn, I am completely stocked on size small (I have about 25) and once we get in a groove after Rachael arrives I am going to start working on stitching up some medium ones so I have them available for when she needs them.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Feeling so blessed!

When we first found out we were having a girl this time around, I was totally happy (not that it would have been any different if we'd been told it was a boy...) but then a few days later I realized that since we had two boys we had virtually nothing girly - or even slightly girlish. I know what you're thinking, buying for a girl is SO much fun - and it truly is - but we have a budget and we allot very little to things like clothing, etc. in a effort to get all our debt paid off.

So, now I have to buy a wardrobe (albeit not a ton of items for those first few months since they grow so fast), but still.... So, the very first thing I did was have Michael pull out all the itty-bitty baby clothes from the crawl space and I sorted through those and pulled out everything that a girl could possibly wear and she not be confused as a boy! I actually came away with more than I though - lots of white onesies, socks, some yellow and green colored clothing and plain colored bibs. Certainly not enough to keep me from doing laundry every 3 days, but a pretty good start!

My other issue that arose was every store still had summer clothing out and when Rachael arrives (next week!) it will be cool out (it's forecast in the upper 60's next week) and we actually need wintery type clothing - so I hesitated to start buying anything because I didn't want it to be useless when she arrives. I had picked up a few sleepers, but not much.

Then, to my surprise a friend of mine who just had her 3rd (and final child) said she would like to give me a whole bunch of 0-3's that her daugther had outgrown!! I accepted this wonderful donation and thanked her profusely! And when I got the clothes from her, they were spectacular and oh-so-cute!! She gave me enough to last thru Rachael's entire 0-3 month stage!! God is so good!

Then...... a friend from church said she'd like to throw a shower for me!! WHOA! How kind of her. There were about 8 of my friends who attended and I came home with more wonderful clothes, hair accessories and other goodies!! How blessed I feel to have such wonderful friends.

There's more - on Tuesday, Michael sent me an email asking if I was available to come to his office on Friday at 2:00 because some of the civilian ladies in his squadron wanted to throw us a shower!! You betcha! He also asked if there was anything specific we still needed - so I responded that we were set on 0-3 clothes so larger sizes would be greatly appreciated. We had a wonderful time yesterday! The boys each got a gift from Captain A (a/k/a Mr. Jim to the kids) and Rachael got lots more wonderful stuff - including 7-8 things in 3-6 and 6-9 sizes!!! We also came away with $50 cash and $100 worth of Target gift cards! How amazingly blessed we feel to have received all of these wonderful items.

And I don't feel like having a heart attack thinking about how much more I still need to find to at least get thru a few weeks without having to shop for clothing for her!!

I am so thankful to all of our wonderful friends from church and Michael's office. We have truly been blessed in an amazing way! God is so good and so long as we are faithful, He always provides!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stocking the freezer

I have been a busy little beaver today! Since I will be having a c-section next Friday - yes folks, I'll have THREE children in 10 short days! And to tell you the truth, I haven't freaked out yet! Probably because I have no time to freak out and that's probably a good thing. I'm not even really nervous. My head does swirl occasionally when I think about schedules and Michael only gets 10 days off work and Jacob goes to preschool 2 days a week and I only have 1 week of practice before I have to get him there on time (along with feeding and dressing everyone!!).... But, all-in-all I'd say I'm doing well.

I sat down a few days ago and made a list of meals that I wanted to go ahead and prepare and get in my freezer for those first few weeks (we'll also be getting a few meals from my MOPS group) and today I made the first batch of meals.

Here's what I made today:

This is chicken enchiladas!! I bought these disposable pans because I didn't want to tie up all of mine in the freezer and they have lids that are handy to write with a permanent marker what's in them! On this one I wrote what it is and the thawed bake time/temp. I think I went back and added the frozen time also.

This is not the healthiest meal - I used store bought flour tortillas and sauce - but the chicken is left over from a whole chicken I made recently.

I also made a smaller pan of these for our neighbor's friend because her son is in the NICU - he was born at 28 weeks nearly 2 weeks ago and I'm betting figuring out what to eat (AND take care of their toddler) just isn't a fun thing right now.

This lovely meal is zucchini parmesean. And it's a tad healthier than the enchiladas. I used fresh zucchini and battered (using spelt crumbs) and sauteed it in coconut oil. Cooked some whole wheat pasta and sadly used a jarred sauce. I layered it in the same way I would layer it on my plate if I were eating it immediately (pasta, zucchini, sauce and cheese).

This is just a quick pizza-ish thing. It's store bought hoagie rolls, sliced in half, topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni's on some. I froze them on these cookie sheets then transferred them into 2 of the same size disposable pans. I put 2 layers in each pan and separated the layers with foil.

I made all 3 of these while the boys were napping today and even got the dishes done and the counters cleaned up before they woke up! However, all of that meant I was standing for a solid 2 hours and at 37 weeks pregnant that's not great for the back. So, the kids are outside playing and I'm sitting down typing this post (yes, I can see them!!).

I also already had navy bean soup, 3 servings of meatloaf and chicken and quinoa stew in the freezer from making extra when I made those meals the last time. And there are 2 frozen pizzas.

Here's what I still have planned for the freezer:

* Brown a batch of taco meat
* Zucchini/carrot muffins (the boys and I LOVE these, Michael doesn't really care for them - he's strange!)
* Shepherd's pie

Also, I'm asking for suggestions on other meals (preferrably ones that incorporate more veggies) that work well as freezer meals to pull out and heat in the oven.

Hop on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more people who need help solving life's conundrums!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 9/1

I'm quite late in posting my menu plan for this week but that's because today is a holiday and hubby is off and it's thrown me off.... Does this happen to anyone else?

My menu plan for this week is based on using what we have so I don't have to go to the grocery store until this weekend. I'll be stocking up for at least 2 weeks when I go this weekend since we'll be having a baby next Friday. I also don't want to have to go next week because Michael's mom will be coming in on Wednesday and I want to go ahead and have all my freezer meals prepared so I don't have to take time away from spending with her and the kids.

*Monday: Salad with lettuce, tomatoes and peppers from my garden and whatever other veggies are in the fridge.
*Tuesday: Breakfast burritos (fresh tomatoes and jalapeno's from my garden) and cheese.
* Wednesday: Baked Tilapia, steamed corn on the cob and yeast rolls
* Thursday: Whole wheat pasta with stewed tomatoes
* Friday: Philly steak sandwiches
* Saturday: NO IDEA. I'll probably go to the grocery store on Friday night, so I'll plan the next few weeks before I go shopping.
* Sunday: Michael's 29th birthday - I'll prepare him a special birthday meal of his choice. The kids will also pick out a cake for him at the bakery (I'm not in the mood to actually make him a cake .... sigh)
Be sure to visit I'm and Organizing Junkie for more weekly menus.