Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April Highlights

It's hard to believe we're wrapping up another month.  Time seems to be going very slow and very fast all at the same time.  I haven't done a highlights post all month and figured it was time. 

The most appropriate title for this post would probably be April Highlights: Leo Edition. 

He was definitely the highlight of our April and our 2020.

 SO many baby snuggles.  Leo loves his mom, his paci and being swaddled.

It's been wonderful to have a baby + big kids.  They are eager to help 99% of the time.

You guys... I'm not sure I'll ever get used to wearing a mask in public.  It's so strange, but I do it to protect my family and others.  It's so hard to be friendly, to interact with others and go about life wearing a mask.  Major hats off to all of the front line and essential workers who wear masks all day every day.  Are you wearing a mask when you're out and about?  The majority of people I've encountered are wearing them.  Thank  heavens for friends who can sew and made a set of masks for our whole family.

 Sleepy baby.  You forget how much a newborn sleeps... during the DAY.  Ha!

Thankful for this guy tag teaming being up at night with Leo.  It's been wonderful to have an extra adult home with me all day every day.

Leo's fan club.

Why am I sitting down here when you could be holding me??  Dinner prep.  Someone has to do it.

Zoom Calls with her class make Olive SO happy.

Third kid life.  Naps on the deck while the big kids play.

Olive, Fletcher & Leo all wore this outfit.

Fletcher & Leo.  They definitely look like brothers, but I'm not so sure they'd pass for twins.

All day every day.

Olive the reading machine.  She reads so much!  It's amazing to watch her reading improve every day.  Another blessing of being home together for the remainder of first grade.  Getting a front row seat to her learning.  Although she reminds me often that she REALLY misses school.

Baby wearing.

Long walks around the neighborhood to stop and smell the flowers.

I told them to stand close together for a picture.  All the heart eyes for this pose!

2 week check up with this hunk.  Doing great.  Eating great.  Keep up the good work, Leo.

So many hours spent playing in the backyard.

Double tulips are my most favorite.  They look like a peony tulip.  Ours look gorgeous this spring.

Olive lost her front tooth.  It fell out in the middle of the night.  She came in and handed it to me.  Kids are creepy!  Then we somehow lost it in the house the next day.  Good thing the tooth fairy doesn't need the actual tooth to stop by the house.

One more squishy baby pic to wrap up the month.

I hope April was good to you and that May will be even better!  We have high hopes of great weather, good times and Olive turning 7 in May.  Lots to look forward to!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Leo's Birth Story: Part 2

Yesterday, I shared Part 1 of Leo's birth story and today I'm here to wrap things up for you.  These days were much less eventful.  The focus was on rest, recovery and heading home.

Day 2:
We didn't get much sleep or rest the first night in the hospital.  I was uncomfortable despite staying on top of my pain medicine regime.  My shoulders, back and neck were all sore from throwing up for hours the night before.  Thankfully that all stopped around 4am and I was able to order a very luxurious breakfast from the hospital cafeteria.  It felt like fancy room service after the night I had.  The omelet meal tasted delicious.

Leo and I were doing really well.  Kevin was wiped up from sleeping on an uncomfortable couch and getting up all night long.  He changed every diaper and jumped at every peep Leo made throughout the night and day.

I was doing my best to nurse Leo and supplement with formula.  That was going really well.  No lactation consultants were visiting rooms due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but they did call to check in with me.  Nursing was going fine so I didn't really need anything.

I tried to rest when Leo slept and in between nurse interruptions.  We facetimed, texted and tried to keep in touch with family and friends.  We weren't allowed to leave our room.  In the past I'd walked the halls to get a change of scenery and help with my recovery.  This time we had to stay put and not wander around.

I was feeling much less nauseous, was able to get up on my own and had a really great day time nurse.  She was smart and knowledgeable.  She got to remove all of my extra things - boots to avoid blood clots, fall risk bands, my IV, etc.  It felt wonderful to get all of that stuff off of me.

I ate all my meals and snacks this day.  I was starving.  The hospital food was pretty good.  Leo had his hearing, vision and lots of other checks.  Our pediatrician came to check him out.  It was great to see her.  He passed with flying colors.  He also got his first bath.  He hated it, but smelled so good afterwards.

The nurses brought in a sweet birthday cake for Leo from our favorite local bakery.  I didn't want to get my hopes up for this to happen because of all the extra restrictions going on at the hospital.  I was THRILLED when his cake arrived.  I brought a zero candle to the hospital so I could take his picture with his cake to celebrate his BIRTHday.  I did that for Olive and Fletcher, too.

Kevin had to hop onto some Zoom work meetings and work while we were there.  Then he headed home to say hi to the kids, give them big sis and big bro gifts and help my mom for a bit.  We'd originally planned for him to go home that night and stay with the kids.  But I asked him to come back and stay with me instead.  I was still having trouble doing the basic things and I knew I'd need his help taking care of Leo again that night.  *Best decision ever.* I could not have managed to take care of myself and Leo without his help!!

I took a nap and rested while he was gone.

He hurried back to the hospital that night just before the 8:00pm lock down.  A big storm was rolling in at the same time.  We called home to tell my mom where our flashlights were and prayed the storm wouldn't be as bad as it looked on the radar.  It blew threw pretty quickly.  We headed to bed only to be interrupted a zillion times for vital checks, nurse checks, etc.

Leo was snuggly from the start!

Day 3:
We were DYING to get discharged and go home.  We had a really bossy, go getter day time nurse.  She was going to get everything done for us ASAP and get us discharged.  I loved her!  My blood work came back within the normal range which meant I would not need a blood transfusion before leaving.  Hooray!

I had grand plans of doing a newborn photo shoot in the hospital since I had to cancel the Fresh 48 photo session I had planned.  Remember - only one visitor allowed for each person and  no one extra?  That meant NO newborn photographers.  I did my best to snap pictures of Leo, not over do it and to get some sweet images to introduce him to the world.  I packed plenty of cute blankets and accessories to take pictures.  It felt good to do one thing that I had planned.  I'm not a photographer, but I was happy with the pictures I took of Leo.  There's a sneak peek below.  I'll share the rest of them later.

We did all the things - shots, Leo had a quick procedure, pediatrician check ups and more and hurried up and waited for our official discharge.  It happened around 3:00 and we zoomed home.  I was still sore and everything felt very tender, but there as a buzz about going home.

We felt like pros leaving the hospital with a newborn.  We weren't nervous about driving home with our baby.  We couldn't wait to get home to introduce Leo to Olive, Fletcher and my mom.

I was so thankful to have Leo's delivery behind me and to be healthy enough to go home 48 hours later.  We were eager to leave the hospital and all the extra drama surrounding it right now.  Looking forward to hunkering down at home.

We welcomed Leo home and have been loving life as a family of 5!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Leo's Birth Story: Part 1

The day we'd been looking forward to for weeks had arrived.

April 7, 2020.

It was C-section day!

SO many things were different than I'd envisioned, but there was some familiarity to the routine of heading to the hospital to have a baby.  Life feels upside down right now with all of the COVID-19 precautions of wearing masks, social distancing and shelter in place rules.  I could never have imagined a scenario like this one playing out when it was time to have my baby.  It also never crossed my mind that Leo might flip breech a month before delivery and stay that way.  A C-section was not on my radar for baby #3.  I expected his delivery to be very similar to his sibling's deliveries.  It did not and now I have a whole new appreciation for moms who have to have C-sections.

Let's get started...

I woke up knowing that it was baby day and that I had to avoid all food and water all day.  I tried not to focus too much and just busied myself around the house.  My mom was in town to help with the kids and I was checking all my to do lists.  I felt nervous as the afternoon was approaching.  I got teary eyed a time or two thinking about having major surgery in just a few hours.

1:30pm rolled around and it was time to head to the hospital.  We packed up our bags, said goodbye to the kids and my mom and I cried saying goodbye.  We never leave them so it felt sad.  We waved goodbye and got on our way.  There was a nervous energy in the car.  Kevin said a prayer for us and we headed to the hospital.  It was almost 80 degrees that afternoon.

2:00pm We parked, got our bags and headed into the hospital.  We were met at the door by screeners to ensure that we were healthy and okay to enter.  I was only allowed one visitor to accompany me for my entire hospital stay.  Everyone had on masks and PPE.  There was a very serious tone from everyone at the hospital.  We checked into labor and delivery and got the ball rolling.  We snapped a quick picture at the entrance.  The same spot where I snapped a picture 4 years ago before delivering Fletcher.

2:15pm We were taken back to settle into a tiny room in triage.  Then started all the nurses, doctors, monitoring, poking, prodding, etc.  The room was very hot and they packed a ton of people into it.  I had to change into a gown.  A doctor came in to do an ultrasound to ensure the baby was still breech - he was. And we got busy prepping for the C-section.  I was getting more nervous, but there was so much going on that it was hard to focus on that.  I had blood drawn, answered a million questions, got hooked up to monitors and waited. Leo was very active and hard to keep track of on the monitors.  He also go the hiccups for the first time.

2:30pm They started fluids, antibiotics and began prepping me for surgery.  We asked and answered questions about my C-section.

3:30pm  My OB arrived, said a quick hello and we waited for the minutes to click by.  We did some last minute texting and just made small talk about meeting Leo.

4:00pm We loaded up all of our bags and walked down to the operating room.  We were quite an entourage with nurses carrying my IV.  The halls were mostly empty.  Kevin stopped off in our recovery room to change into his surgery attire.  I walked straight into the OR.  It was such an eerie feeling.

I was greeted with BRIGHT lights.  Cold temps and a very sterile room.  Lots of nurses.  Anesthesiologist.  And me.  I got up on the table and it was full steam ahead.  I kept glancing at the door waiting for Kevin to come in.  It took forever for him to come in.  I got my spinal while hugging my nurse, talked to the nurses to kill time and listed to country music playing on the radio.  My legs were feeling so heavy and everything went numb really quickly.  They put a warm blanket on me and I asked them to take it off because I was still feeling hot.

4:15pm Kevin FINALLY came into the operating room fully suited up.  I was SO happy to finally see him.  It felt like we were separated for ages (probably because I didn't realize we'd be separated at all).  He gave me a kiss and asked if everything was okay.  I said yes.  A few minutes later my doctor walked in.  Things started moving right along.  They put up a giant sheet in front of me so I was just left to look up or look side to side.  My arms were put through these arm bands on the table. Thankfully they were very loose and I still had room to move them.

4:20pm Surgery got started and I couldn't see or feel anything.  It was bizarre.  There was tons of commotion in the room, but no one was really talking TO me.  All the excitement was behind the curtain.  Kevin could see, but got reprimanded for getting too close.  He brought in my cell phone to take pictures.  He was giving me the play by play as I was nervously laying there.  I told him to snap away and I'd just delete anything too gross later.  Ha!  Again, I still couldn't feel anything other than tugging on my belly. 

4:33pm Leo was born!  My doctor said "It's a boy!  He's got a beautiful face just like yours Ms Whitney!"  All of the nurses ooohhhd and ahhhhd over Leo.  They said he was a BIG boy, he's so handsome and gushed.  They suctioned him a bit and he cried loudly.  I felt a twinge of jealously because the entire room could see my baby and I could not see him yet.  The song 10,000 Hours by Dan & Shay was playing.  Leo is my first kid to have a theme song :)  He cried pretty quickly and loudly.  It was so sweet to hear. I cried and was so thankful Leo was finally here happy and healthy.

After having two vaginal deliveries, this whole C-section process was SO strange.

I felt a little disconnected from the whole delivery even though I was in the room.

Leo was moved over to the warming area to be examined.  He was struggling to settle down his breathing so they were monitoring him/his oxygen levels longer.  He peed everywhere twice before they could weigh him in a 8lbs 10oz.  I was surprised that he was smaller than Fletcher.  Kevin said he looked like me.  He had to get some extra check ups on his hips since he was breech.

Kevin stuck close to Leo taking pictures and kept walking over to give me updates.  He showed me a picture of Leo because he was still being monitored and couldn't be held yet.  Kevin cut his umbilical cord and kept telling me that Leo was doing great.  I just prayed that he wouldn't need to go to the NICU for any reason.  I just wanted to stay together.

I cried a time or two tears of joy being so excited that Leo had finally made his debut.  I felt sad to be preoccupied on the operating table and not getting to snuggle him yet.

Then my attention went back to myself.  The nurses kept asking for more and more pads.  The anesthesiologist got sprayed with blood somehow and had to go wash off.  It was gross.  It felt like I was in a movie.  I put two and two together and realized I seemed to be bleeding more than they expected.  They kept going over to the cabinet to get more supplies.  I got Kevin's attention and asked him "Am I okay???"  He said it seemed like everything was under control.  No one was saying anything to me, but it seemed like things were giving the doctor and nurses trouble.  I just prayed for myself and my doctors.  It was so odd to be awake, being operated on and yet I was hidden behind a curtain.  It was odd to feel a little left out when the whole surgery was happening on you.

5:15pm Kevin finally got to hold Leo.  He brought him over to me to kiss and snuggle.  I cried happy tears again.  My arms were still held down so I couldn't officially hold him yet.  We looked at Leo and tried to decide who he looked like.

Things finally calmed down, they stapled me up with dissolving staples, tape, compression boots that squeezed my legs every 15 minutes for 12 hours and all the layers.  I got wheeled into another tiny room for recovery and Leo/Kevin joined us.  Lots of nurses coming and going.  My doctor came in a few times.  Everyone was checking all my monitors and pushing on my stomach.  I knew that part would happen post surgery, but it didn't make it any easier.  It was really painful/uncomfortable despite still having my spinal.

Finally my nurse made a comment about me losing a LOT of blood.  I asked if I lost more than normal?  She said I was expected to lose 1000ml and I lost 2100ml.  I'd need to do blood work every day to ensure that my hemoglobin numbers were right and not need a transfusion before I left the hospital.  I prayed I wouldn't need blood (especially given the current COVID-19 circumstances).  I just wanted to go home.

6:00pm I got really hot in the recovery room and was feeling terrible.  I was nauseous and eating ice chips.  They gave me cold wash cloths and removed all of the layers.  Nurses were commenting that it was stuffy in our room.  It felt like a sauna to me.  I was so sweaty.

Kevin was very sweet, fanning me, giving me baby updates, checking on me and I finally got to hold Leo around 6:15pm.  It felt great and then I started feeling pretty bad and had to hand him off.  I was anxious to get moved to our real room in the hopes that a change of scenery would help me feel better.  Kevin ran to Jimmy Johns to pick up dinner.  All the food options at the hospital were closing.  The maternity area of the hospital went on lock down at 8:00pm so he had to get us dinner quick.  All of Leo's check ups were going well and he loved relaxing on the warming pad in his bed.  He seemed thrilled to now have room to stretch his legs.

6:45pm Kevin returned.  We got the all clear to head up to our room.  I was surprised that I had to spend so much time in recovery.  I had hoped to be feeling good and settled in my room at this point.  The only problem was that once my bed started moving I got motion sick.  I was so nauseous.  I threw up for hours.  Only ate crackers, water and juice.  I never got to eat the yummy dinner Kevin had picked up for us.  I have never had any surgery before.  I was not prepared for that kind of reaction to anesthesia.  It was awful.  Thank heavens for Kevin!  He took care of Leo's every need and I just hung on for dear life.  I kept comparing my recovery to my previous two and I just kept feeling thankful that this would be my first and only C-section.

8:00pm We tried to Facetime the big kids at home and my mom to introduce him to Leo.  In my head, things would have gone so much smoother and we'd be cheerily calling the kids hours before now.   I was thinking we'd snap a few pictures of the siblings meeting and have a great time chatting.

We finally called and I said hello, showed them the baby and then had to hand off the phone to throw up.  Not exactly the introduction I'd hoped for.  We all just crashed after that.  Nurses came in all night long and I was in pain from surgery plus being sick.  It was really difficult to get comfortable.  Laying flat was painful.  Laying propped up was okay.  Getting in and out of bed was really hard.  I had to have help the first 3 times I got up from a nurses.  Any bending, twisting, lifting or much moving on my part hurt really badly.

I had wonderful nurses all night.  They kept up with pain meds, snacks and such.  I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  I was not prepared to feel so wiped out after my C-section.  I was thankful to have gotten a belly band to wrap around my stomach.  Everything hurt and I just felt so off.  I was really thankful to Kevin for taking care of everything for me.  And for Leo.  We both look like we'd been through the wringer because we had - haha!

Sit tight.  The rest of Leo's birth story is coming tomorrow. 

And for reference...

Fletcher's Birth Story 2016

Olive Birth Story 2013 (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)