Disclaimer: This post is a couple weeks old. I wrote it a couple weeks back, but didn't want to publish it without pictures. So I had to wait until my laptop was fixed to publish it :)
My baby boy is two months old! I can't believe how fast that went by. I feel like they barely let him come home yesterday. We had his two-month checkup the other day and we got to see where he lies on the growth chart. So without further ado:
Skylar's Two-Month Stats:
Height: 20 inches (5th percentile)
Weight: 9 lbs 1/2 oz (5th percentile)
Head: 40 cm (50th percentile)
No that is NOT a typo. This kid has a stinkin' monstrous head! Apparently we have a baby Einstein on our hands here :) After seeing that his head is so disproportionate, I've decided to cut him some slack on the fact that his neck is still floppy. That thing is huge! "Its like a toothpick attached to an orange!" (Say that with an Scottish accent, and points if you can tell me what movie it is from).
I feel like to truly appreciate how Skylar has changed over the past few months you need to compare his birth statistics.
Skylar's Birth Stats:
Height: 18 3/4 in (75th percentile)
Weight: 4 lbs 11 oz (50th percentile)
Head: 30.5 cm (50th percentile)
In the past two months, my baby has grown a little more than an inch and almost doubled his weight. Atta-boy kid :) I'm pretty sure that those percentiles were based on his gestational age rather than his calendar age, unlike his two-month percentiles. If you account for the fact that he was 5 weeks premature he is right on schedule and about 50th percentile for everything, but since he is being ranked against kids that had an extra 5 week head start on him it is no wonder he seems so small.
It is funny, everybody keeps remarking on how small and tiny he is, but to me he is HUGE! Seriously, compared to the baby they handed me in the NICU, this thing is a chunk. And boy do I love him :) I do realize that he is small for his calendar age, and I think that is what most people remark about. It is even hard for me because I never know when to treat him like a one-month-old, and when to treat him like a two-month-old. In a lot of ways he is right on track for his calendar age, and in other ways he is blissfully behind. We're not concerned about this though because the pediatrician and neonatologists all said that by about a year he will be caught up and on track with other kids his age.
Proof that he is in fact gaining weight!
Skylar's new favorite trick is grabbing. Grabbing shirts, grabbing fingers, and most of all grabbing hair. I'm definitely glad that I cut 14 inches off my hair last March (even though I still kind of miss it a little bit). He hasn't quite settled into a sleep pattern yet, but he has gotten the message that there are certain times of the day when Mama isn't quite as pleased to see him as others (re: 2:30 in the morning, especially if it is followed by 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, etc.). He even had one night where he slept five hours uninterrupted! Even though he hasn't repeated that glorious performance, he has settled in for a solid 3-4 hours of sleep at a time during the night. This has helped sooo much since now I only have to get up with him 2-3 times a night rather than 5-6.
He is working on the Anderson cheeks :)
In other news, we're heading out to New York for Thanksgiving since Ryan's mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma. Normally, I'm a big fan of travel, but I'm super nervous to try it with a baby. I think if we were headed to my family's house I would be a little less nervous since I already know where to find things, and I'm not shy about asking for help or asking for favors. However, I have no idea how I'm going to keep Skylar on a normal schedule and keep him healthy. His doctor is still somewhat concerned about his weight since we're headed into flu season, so she doesn't want him being passed around a lot. Is there a polite way to keep a baby protected around family? I'm not sure how to say, "No, he needs his sleep." or "No, he has had a little bit much today and just needs to be left alone for awhile." Is that rude?
I'm sure we'll figure it out, but if anybody has suggestions for keeping a baby happy and content while flying and being away from home I would appreciate the advice!
So I'll give you a break from all the baby drama :) One of the advantages to having Skylar home though is that we have been better about getting all the pictures off of our camera. I've been planning this post since last August, but was too lazy to transfer the pictures to our computer...Lame? Yes. But since I did wait so long, I now have more creations to add!
One of the things I started getting interested in last summer was cake decorating. My Aunt Laurie makes AWESOME cakes and I wanted to learn a few tricks. I started off with my own birthday cake that she helped me put together. It isn't the best, and cracked on the way drive back from Layton, but everybody has to start somewhere right?
It was super yummy though and was a raspberry cake with chocolate filling. I also made the same cake (by special request) for my sister Brittny's birthday in November, but I don't think I did anything special with it and can't find any pictures of it :)
The next birthday was Ryan's in January. He wanted a boring vanilla cake, but I convinced him to let me put a whipped cream filling with strawberries in the middle. This one also received rave reviews, and I was more pleased with the quality of the decorating on this one.
In honor of his love of all things BYU, we went with just a simple "Y". Not necessarily explicitly birthday, but still fun!
I branched out a little bit next and made an ice cream cake for Valentine's Day. It was layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a cookie crumble filling in the middle. I didn't have a recipe for this one and just kinda made it up as I went. It turned out marvelously though, but I wouldn't ask for the recipe...I just can't remember what I did :) In my defense, I was still in the throes of the first trimester of pregnancy at the time and didn't think to write it down! Not the most creative decoration, but like I said...I was in the middle of morning sickness!
The next cake I made was in celebration of our ultrasound. Since we didn't do anything fun to announce that we were having a baby, I wanted to do something fun for announcing our "flavor of baby." So I made a cake and decorated it and then sent pictures to my family and friends to make the announcement. This one was a layer of vanilla cake and a layer of strawberry cake with a chocolate filling and chocolate frosting. For some reason my entire second trimester was all about chocolate and strawberry. Not separate, but together. Basically Neapolitan ice cream and I were best friends :)
This one is out of order, and not really in keeping with the genre, but I've also made lots of cheesecake for weddings, showers, birthdays, etc. It is basically the most perfect recipe so I haven't thrown any variety into it at all. It is a chocolate raspberry layered cheesecake and is my absolute favorite thing ever. I did try it with semi-sweet chocolate like the recipe calls for, but I quickly decided that I was correct in using milk chocolate instead. It even looks pretty when it is done! This one I made to celebrate the birth of my nephew Sam! Half of our family was in Utah celebrating, so I made this for those of us stuck in California to celebrate with :)
My other recent creation has been a slew of baby blankets. I came up with this pattern when I had mono while Ryan and I were engaged. I was down and out for the count for a long time so while I was just lying in bed I decided to make a blanket. I wanted it to be big enough to cover a twin bed, or for two adults to snuggle under while watching a movie. It was huge and took me hours to complete, but was super pretty.
It probably took me about 50 hours to finish though so I decided to scale it down and make baby blankets instead. The first one I made was for my friend Heather and her baby Ethan. I don't have a picture of it, but it was white squares with blue piping.
The next one I made was for my friend Becky and her baby Khloe. I stuck with the white squares, but did purple piping instead. The next two blankets I made while on bedrest/recovering from a C-section. The first one I made was for my friend Jeanine and her baby boy (tentatively named Micah). Her nursery is a dinosaur theme with blue, green, and orange.
This was also when I decided to start documenting my blankets before giving them away :)
The next blanket is special because it is made from yarn that I got from my great-grandma Bonnie. She passed away a year and a half ago and left all her yarn with my grandma. She in turn gave it to me. I made this blanket (and will probably make many more based on the trash bag of yarn I came home with).
Finally (kinda, I left a few blankets out because I didn't have pictures), I made a blanket for my own baby! My theme for his nursery is pretty boring, just brown and blue. I'm not really a fan of all the baby animal prints that they have out there, and so I'm just sticking with prints that are simple like polka dots or stripes. If we had a girl it would have been chocolate brown and lavender. This one is my favorite blanket, not only because of how it looks...but mostly because I get to wrap my little man in it everyday!
The one on the right is the back of the blanket, and used to be attached to the first one. I'm going to re-attach them when it starts to get cold again, and use it to cover his stroller or carseat when we go outside. It took FOREVER to make and stitch, so if you ever receive one of these from me, you will now that I love you dearly. I still probably love you even if I don't make you one of these blankets, but if you get one of them just consider it a super big compliment.
That's about it! Hopefully I'll be able to add to the collection as the years go on :)
I've found recently that being a new mom gives you a lot of time to think. I'm not stuck with a bunch of errands to run (probably because I'm only the mom of one), and I actually just stay inside with a baby who eats and sleeps. This being the case, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the things that have happened recently. As you can imagine, Skylar's delivery wasn't exactly what I had planned for it to be. In fact it was quite scary and intense at times, but I was never anxious for the health or well-being of myself or my baby. This was because of the priesthood blessings I had received prior to Skylar's birth.
When we found out that I had preeclampsia we started making plans to be ready for Skylar to come early. One of the things that I felt I really needed was a priesthood blessing. This seemed silly since I was still five weeks away from my due date, but despite all of that, the night before I was induced I asked Ryan and my brother-in-law Eric to give me a blessing. In the blessing, we were told that the labor would be difficult (little did we know just HOW difficult), but that it would be that way because of the great things that Skylar has to do in this life. Strangely enough, this was the most comforting thing for me to hear. I didn't like the fact that the labor would be difficult, but I knew that it would all be for a purpose....and that Skylar would make it out whole.
During our second night in the hospital, our bishop came to visit us. This was after Skylar's heart rate had taken some scary dips, and things weren't looking so good. He and Ryan gave me another blessing at this time, and during it Bishop Meredith didn't so much talk about Skylar, but talked about me and the work that I have to do in this life, and blessed me with comfort and peace to get through the labor. This may not seem significant, and at the time I mostly just felt comforted by the blessing. However, during the events of the next day I found strength from both of these blessings.
I only once opened my eyes when I was in the OR for my C-section. I didn't want to be there, and if I kept my eyes closed I was able to pretend like I wasn't there. Juvenile? Yes...but it got me through it. Because of this, I have a somewhat limited recollection of exactly what happened while I was there. Ryan was there too, and since I'm a somewhat queasy individual when it comes to blood and guts and such, I asked him to not tell me anything about what happened there unless I specifically asked. We were talking last night about it and he happened to let slip that when I thought I had been put under by the anesthesiologist, I actually hadn't been knocked out, but had passed out. Apparently this was when they realized that I hadn't been lying about feeling the incision, and started to worry that I would go into cardiac arrest because of all the pain I had been feeling. Considering Skylar's heart rate had disappeared, I'm guessing this wasn't exactly the best case scenario my doctor would have liked. Now she had to worry about keeping me AND my baby alive.
I only bring this up because throughout the entire delivery I never once worried about the outcome. I knew that no matter what happened, my baby and I would both be alive and well. My mom was there during the scary parts, and she told me later how scared she was that we would lose Skylar. I never once let this cross my mind, not because I considered it an unthinkable horror, but because I had been promised in blessings that he would grow and develop and live a full life. This helped me so much during the scariness of our delivery because I never started to freak out about everything that was going on. Instead I was able to just close my eyes, and focus on getting us to the end of the journey. I'm grateful for the priesthood blessings we received because it gave me assurance that everything would turn out just fine, and considering the scary turns we had to take, just knowing we would make it out alive was a necessity.
I've had a lot of people ask me lately why I always seem to get stuck with the hard stuff in life. It seems that anytime I set out to do something I get the hard route. I had some scary health issues during high school, and doctor's offices and I have become fast friends....or acquaintances at least :) Some have offered the opinion that I get to do hard things because I'm strong. I sometimes tend to wonder if I bring a lot of it upon myself through choices that I make, but every time I start to say that whoever I'm talking to starts to tell me that I'm ridiculous since nothing I could have done would have changed my trial. I still think it anyway...
I think the main reason I get to do all the hard things that nobody else wants to (if I had the choice I wouldn't want to do them either) is because I handle it. This isn't because of anything I have that others don't, but because of the faith I have that everything that happens has a purpose, and that the knowledge that I will be supported and comforted in my trials. One of the scriptures that has been running through my mind lately is Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me."
One of the nurses in the NICU remarked to my mom that I was very strong (she's obviously never seen me try to do a pull-up... Apparently I seemed very pulled together, but mostly I'm just too stubborn to cry in public). This is false. I am in fact very weak. I get upset by the most trivial of things, and I am far too self-centered for my own good. However, whenever I've met my hardest trials I've been smart enough to give up. Not give up on the trial, but give up trying to do it by myself. It has been during my moments of physical weakness that I have found the most spiritual strength. This has come through relying on the Lord and letting Him work with me and help me through the trial.
I think this is why I get stuck with the "hard things." Not because I'm so strong and can handle it, but because I need to be reminded that I can't do everything by myself. My trials have helped me to be grateful for the atonement and the sacrifices that have been made so I don't have to do everything by myself. I still can't say that I look forward to my next big trial, but I feel blessed in knowing that when it does come I'll be able to handle it. Not on my own, but through Christ, because He does strengthen me.
Sorry for the novel of a post. One of my English teachers told me I liked the sound of my own voice too much (later she told me that she likes the sound of my voice too....but that editors and college professors might not be as entertained by my wordiness). I figure though that this is my blog so I can write as much as I want! You're the one that chose to read it :P
After two and a half weeks of being separated, we're finally all back together again! I can't tell you how exciting and natural it feels to have Skylar home with us, and we are grateful to the doctors, nurses, and therapists at the NICU who have made it so he can be here with us. This journey has definitely been long, difficult, and nothing like what we had planned, but all in all it has been completely worth it. I'm sure Skylar will begin to wake up more and wear me out in the next few weeks, and I'll start to maybe wish that I could drop him off at the NICU for a few hours while I take a nap. However, in the future when I start to think of how much being a mom wears me out and how I wish I could sleep more, I will remember how content I was to finally lay our son down in his bed and know that he gets to stay with us forever.
I think he is happy to be home too!
Skylar and his daddy, pretty much a smaller version of the other.
We weren't able to get a picture of all of us together, but we're looking forward to getting family pictures taken once Skylar has chunked up a little more and I have lost the swelling and baby weight :)
This time it is a good thing though! Skylar has been doing really well with his feedings and they have been advancing him steadily through their protocols. He has taken four feedings a day consistently and the next step is a 12-hour request period. Basically I hang out here all day and whenever he wants to eat....I feed him. If he does well with this, then they take out his feeding tube and they watch him for a 24-hour period while he gets all of his nutrition from a bottle or the breast. This will be an extra good thing since he has pulled out his feeding tube of his own accord twice in the past day. He then proceeds to cry when they put it back in. Apparently he wants to leave just as much as I do :) Pray that he continues to do well and we get him out of here this weekend!
So since we spent a lot of time in the hospital this last month (and will probably still be spending lots of time there in the coming weeks) we have made good friends with many nurses and staff who now greet us by name. We feel like very special VIPs because we rarely have to give anybody our code to get in since they usually recognize us and buzz us in. I've felt recently that my blog has been getting a little bleak lately so in an effort to lighten the mood I'm going to share some funnies from our time spent in the hospital.
One of the funnier ones involves "passing gas." I apologize for writing about this on a blog, but I'm sure at least my 16-year-old brother will enjoy the story. Since I was induced on Monday night and didn't have Skylar until Wednesday afternoon it had been two and half days since I had eaten. They don't let you eat when you're in labor because of nausea so you're basically limited to clear fluids and ice chips....not the most substantial meal in my opinion. This didn't work since I threw up anyways, but apparently they enjoy torturing laboring women by not letting them eat before going through some of the hardest physical work imaginable. Go figure. Anyways since I had a C-section one of the concerns they have is that your digestive system begins working before they will feed you anything. So although I had already given birth to Skylar they wouldn't feed me until I had "passed gas."
Well, Thursday morning rolled around and I finally farted. Normally I wouldn't want to share this information with the world, but since it meant I would finally get a decent meal I was telling everybody! Did I mention that I hadn't eaten since Monday? Once Ryan woke up I shared with him my exciting news. He wasn't that impressed and gave me a weird look, so I waited for him to take a shower and then told him again. He still didn't get it so finally I told him to go tell the nurse that I farted. I wish so much that I could have been there for that conversation. That poor man had already been through a lot, and now his wife who was still a little loopy from pain-killers and was currently being dosed up with lots of magnesium was making him share with a complete stranger that his wife had displayed evidence of a working digestive system. What a champ.
So some of you might be a little bit confused as to why Skylar is in the NICU. Since he was born 5 weeks premature he has a condition known as Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This is just a fancy way of saying he has a hard time breathing on his own. When he was first born they had him on a C-Pap which did a lot of his breathing for him. That only lasted for a day and then they switched him to a breathing tube. This didn't supply oxygen for him, but rather gave him a feed of pressurized air. This helped him to more fully expand his lungs and have something to work against to help build the muscles he needs to breathe on his own. They've been slowly decreasing his pressure over the last week, and as of last night he no longer has a breathing tube! He has been doing great on his own, and it is looking very promising that he will be able to continue breathing without any foreign devices. No more breathing tube!
He is also currently receiving fluids and antibiotics through an IV. This is probably the saddest treatment he has to endure in my opinion, but I also am not a fan of needles :) He started off with an IV in his hand which they eventually moved to his head, then moved again to his other hand, and back to his head. Since his veins are so tiny they have a hard time supporting the IVs for very long and the veins eventually end up collapsing. We're hopeful that this last IV in his head will be his last one. Since his feedings have been increasing they have been gradually decreasing the amount of fluid he receives via the IV and they think he will be able to come off of it completely sometime this evening or tomorrow. This will make his mama very happy since the sight of a needle in her son's head is not pleasant. We did manage to get a picture of him when he didn't have any IVs in his head (there had been a point when he had one on each side as they were still flushing the other one and had started a new one). I love that he has so much dark hair and the fact that they gave him a hairstyle reminiscent of his daddy's!
The last invasive tube that he has right now is a feeding tube. He receives most of his nutrition through that, but we have also been practicing breast-feeding twice a day. Once his IV is out they will start weighing him before and after feedings. So far he is doing well at latching and even does well with sucking, but we can't be sure how effective these feedings are until all of his fluids come from nursing rather than through an IV. Once we can determine if he is actually receiving milk from nursing they will start increasing his feedings until he is only receiving milk from me rather than through the tube in his nose. We are excited for that day, because at that point he will be allowed to come home!
We are pleased with all of the progress he is making and know that it is because of the faith and prayers that have been issued on his behalf. It has been very touching for me to hear how many people are praying for him. Our ward held a special fast for both him and I as we are still in the recovery process, and I know that it is because of the fasting and prayers that he has been able to make steady progress. The doctors and nurses keep reminding us that everything we are asking of him is something that we wouldn't expect him to grasp for another 5 weeks, so his progress may rollercoaster a little bit. They keep telling us to expect that he won't be discharged until his due date (October 5), but we are very hopeful that he will come home to us sooner. It is very strange to only be able to spend 2 hours with this little man after having him with me 24/7. Whatever happens, we know the Lord is in control of the outcome and that when he does come home he will be able to be healthy and more capable of living normally.
I've been trying to focus on the positive recently, and after my last novel of a post, I feel like giving people something to celebrate! So without further ado....
5 Advantages to Not Being Pregnant Anymore
1. I can brush my teeth without throwing up.
2. I no longer have to eat breakfast within 15 minutes of waking up to prevent more throwing up.
3. My feet are almost back to a normal size.
4. Sleeping is easy! (I can still say this since my baby is sleeping in another location. I have a feeling this will wear off faster than all the others.)
5. In another week my swelling will hopefully have gone down enough to wear shoes and my wedding ring again!
5 Advantages to Having a C-Section
1. No episiotomy or tearing. Need I say more?
2. I'm not supposed to lift anything. I get to be waited on hand and foot :)
3. I am now more empathetic towards my Uncle Blake who recently had spinal surgery and had to relearn how to walk. I may rub it in that it only took me two days to get on my feet, whereas it took him almost a month. (totally kidding btw)
4. My doctor told me I am not allowed to clean for 6-8 weeks. Whereas this will be hard for me to just leave things alone, the break will still be nice.
5. I'm not supposed to climb stairs. I will never feel lazy when I take the elevator.
I have many things to be grateful for. More to come! I'm probably going to be blogging much more now that I have a doctor's order to take it easy...
This week has been one of the most defining experiences of my life, but has also been filled with some of the most traumatic moments I've ever had to deal with. My mom suggested that maybe writing everything down would help me sort through it in my mind and be able to deal with it better. I don't know who would want to read it, and if you are currently pregnant I actually recommend that you don't read it. However, I'm sure having other people know what I am going through and also had to go through, will help me to better cope with what has happened and what I will still have to face in the future.
I guess most of this started three weeks ago when I started realizing that I was swelling more than normal and that my blood pressure (which pre-pregnancy ran around 90/60) was creeping upwards of 150/110 at times. My doctor and I kept in touch and after a few stays in the hospital I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. The only way to solve this was to deliver the baby, but we figured we could hold off long enough to deliver that Skylar would be fine. I was put on strict bedrest to try to keep him in there as long as possible, but last Monday everything reached a point where it threatened my life too much to have him stay in utero. Everyone assured me that he would transition just fine outside of the womb. I think in the back of my mind I knew that he would have to spend some time in the NICU, but since he was only 2 weeks shy of "full-term" (37 weeks) I figured he would still come home with us and we could be a family together.
All things considered when I walked into the hospital on Monday I did know in the back of my mind that there was a chance that I would be delivering my baby before I left. My sister took me up to perinatology and we ran a few tests. After these tests were done they decided to admit me overnight and sent me over to labor and delivery. I didn't realize how serious they were about the possibility of me delivering that day until I started joking with the nurse at the front desk. She had seen me a lot in the past few days, and as I was signing the same paperwork for the third time I remarked, "Man, by the time I actually come here to have my baby I'm going to be a pro at this." She responded with, "Uhm, I think that is why you are here." .....Now enter meltdown mode.
Thankfully my sister had packed most of my hospital bag, and I had created a google doc to help her pack the last few things. So with this new revelation, I texted Ryan at work to let him know that he probably wanted to come to the hospital sooner rather than later. He arrived and we waited awhile to meet with my doctor. Thankfully, one of our friends ended up being our nurse for the evening. It was good to kind of have somebody to abdicate for us and just understand our concerns. We waited around in a room for awhile while they monitored me and Skylar, and around 10 o'clock my doctor came in and announced that enough was enough and it was just time to induce me. They started off with just a cervical gel to see if that would be enough to start me into labor.
After about 10 hours of that I was still only at about 1 cm, so they decided to start me on Pitocin. For those of you unacquainted with this drug, I encourage you to remain that way. It basically kickstarts labor, but is well known for intensifying contractions. Most doctors make you start an epidural when you start Pitocin, but I wanted to see how far I could make it without an epidural. Around this time my mom showed up, and I was already completely exhausted despite barely having any real contractions or progress in labor. I hadn't really slept in the past day since I was constantly awoken by someone wanting to take a blood sample or run tests.
It was now about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I had progressed to about 2 cms. My mom suggested that I take an epidural since they wanted to crank up the dosage of Pitocin they were giving me. I decided this was good advice, and after a quick visit from the anesthesiologist, I decided that epidurals were a gift from God. With my epidural in they decided to really crank up the Pitocin, and start some heavier contractions. I was fine with this since I could not feel a thing. Unfortunately, about 30 minutes later Skylar's heart rate started dropping into the 30s.
I'm not sure if it was scarier to watch his heart rate disappear, or to watch how quickly my room flooded with doctors and nurses. It was very apparent that something was wrong and the next few minutes were vital to keeping my baby alive. My doctor was not at the hospital at the time, but another doctor proceeded to break my water, stop the Pitocin, and insert a device that would monitor Skylar more effectively from inside the uterus. Thankfully, these measures worked and Skylar's heart rate picked back up.
Unfortunately, this meant that I was left to my own devices to progress in labor without Pitocin, and with a body that was still thinking it should be 35 weeks pregnant. Needless to say, we went another night with not a lot of sleep, and not a lot of progress. It was however painless, thanks to the epidural :) The next morning they decided to slowly start creeping up the levels of Pitocin again since it had been over 30 hours since I had been induced, and since they normally want to deliver a baby within 24 hours of your water breaking.
I can't say when, but somewhere around mid-morning my epidural stopped working. It wasn't the worst experience ever, but I could tell a huge difference in my pain management. I suddenly had to start breathing through my contractions and at times pant or moan just to endure it. I had progressed to about 4 cms, but considering that I had been in labor for 30+ hours this was rather unimpressive. My doctor came in and informed me that she was going to give me one more hour to progress to a 5, otherwise I would have to deliver the baby via C-section. My mom joked that it was a good thing they gave me a specific goal, since I am a very goal oriented person. They proceeded to crank up the Pitocin, and the next hour was one of the most painful I can remember.
I have a very high pain threshold, so once my mom saw me panting and moaning and crying through contractions she knew that something was wrong. She was able to figure this out even further when I told them to page the anesthesiologist. He came in and proceeded to dose me up with more medication in my epidural, but despite a large amount of drugs, my pain stayed pretty consistent. My doctor then came in to check me, and to everyone's surprise I had not only progressed to a 5, but was all the way to a 7. In the past hour my body had almost doubled the progress it had made in the last 35(ish), and had done it without the relief of an epidural. Yes, I'm basically awesome, but I was also in some serious pain. It took about another hour for me to get to 10 cms, and was almost completely effaced when Skylar's heart rate started dropping again.
It was at this point that they started prepping an OR for my delivery, and the anesthesiologist returned to redo the epidural. I have a few moments during this time that I know that I blacked out. I don't remember being transferred to the OR, but I remember waking up under their bright lights and listening to the heart rate monitor and silently talking to Skylar and trying to help him bring his heart rate under control. I'm sure he was just as exhausted as I was at that point, but my doctor knew how desperate I was to avoid a C-section so she let me try pushing a few times. Unfortunately every time I pushed his heart rate dropped lower and lower until it disappeared altogether.
I remember my doctor telling me that we would have to take him out via C-section, and I remember breaking down into the biggest sobs I've ever cried. I felt so helpless, and scared, and nervous for the next procedure my body was going to go through. The anesthesiologist then started testing my body to see if I was still feeling any sensation since they prefer to keep you awake during a C-section. He had a special pen or something that he would push on your body that had a retractable pin. He ran it all up and down my body to test whether I was feeling pain (the pin) or pressure (the pen). I kept telling him that I could feel it when he pressed it against my stomach, but he was positive that I was just being hysterical. I can't say I really blame him considering the large amounts of drugs that he had previously been giving me.
Next thing I knew I was being cut open....and I could feel the knife. I started yelling that I could feel it. The next thing I knew they put me to sleep and I woke up back in labor and delivery. If you want to know what happened in the meantime, you'd have to ask Ryan since I have no memory of the next two hours or so. All I know is I woke up in a new bed, with staples holding my stomach together, and my baby was not with me anymore. This is where shear panic and distress set in. I've been told that for the next few hours I kept asking the same questions over and over again (I was pretty doped up). I kept asking where the baby was, how he was doing, what time he was born, where I was, how big he was, etc.
Thankfully Skylar made it through the delivery, but like myself was a little worse for the wear. The doctors aren't exactly sure what went wrong, why his heart rate kept dropping, why I could feel the incision, and why everything that possibly could go wrong did. The cord was wrapped around his shoulder and so they think that maybe every time I pushed or they turned up the Pitocin it put too much pressure on the cord and cut off oxygen and blood to Skylar. Nevertheless, we both made it through the delivery process and I can now say that I've experienced three labors in one. Laboring with an epidural, laboring without an epidural, and a C-section. I'm basically a pro.
I have a lot of thoughts going through my head still that I'm sure I will write about later. Through it all I had some strong impressions that this was going to be a hard process, but that the outcome would result in me and my son being safe and alive. We're definitely both a little worse for the wear, but our doctors assure us that we won't carry any of the trauma with us for the rest of our lives. In the meantime, I'm grateful for modern medicine because without it my son and I likely wouldn't still be here. We've been mourning a lot around here lately since we are now home, but we had to leave Skylar at the NICU. He'll likely be there for a few more weeks, and my heart just yearns to be with him and hold him. Especially after being so physically attached for the last 8 months. However, today my mom told me that she was praying for guidance in how to help us cope and she received the strong prompting that both Skylar and I narrowly escaped death, and because of that we should be grateful.
I will still mourn the absence of my baby, but I so look forward to the day that we finally get to bring him home. We've put away his clothes and removed the physical reminders of the fact that he is not here with us, but I rejoice that we will have the opportunity to bring him home someday. I don't have to wait until the eternities to be with my baby, and it is because of the priesthood blessings we received, the knowledge of medicine we have been blessed with, and the ability of our doctors to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and know how to keep the two of us in mortality. I have much to be grateful for, and I plan on remembering that every time I cry during the next few weeks.
So recently I've learned that if I'm going to the doctors (even for a short visit) I need to bring a book or something to keep me entertained. Not because it takes them forever to see me, but because lately I've just been sent to the hospital to sit for hours on end while they poke me and laugh at how much my baby wiggles :) I've also decided that I am going to have many more blog posts in the near future since I am currently....stuck. That's right, I'm on bedrest. Somewhat inconvenient since I was supposed to start school today, but there's nothing I can do about that. So instead I will sit here and pretend like I have something useful to write.
I guess most of you are probably wondering why I'm on bedrest, so we'll backtrack a little bit. I've been diagnosed with preeclampsia. Strange for me since my blood pressure has never been above 90/60 in my entire life, but pregnancy does some weird things to ya. So after spending the night in the hospital so they could monitor me and my baby (and so I could repeat my favorite 24 hour urine test). They decided that I wasn't in so bad of shape that they needed to induce me right away, but that I could go home and just rest for awhile.
This was a blessing. I was NOT ready to have that baby on Friday, and on Saturday I was in even worse shape since I had gotten less than 4 hours of sleep the night before. They aren't going to let me go past 38 weeks (the risk to me at that point would far outweigh any sort of risk to the baby) and will probably induce me before then since UVRMC is one of the leading hospitals in neonatology in the world.....we're in good hands to say the least. I'm going back to the hospital today to run some more tests, and I have a doctors appointment again tomorrow (they just miss me so much they wanted to see me again!). So I'll probably have more by way of an update at that point.
Until then, you can find me here. I will be making endless baby blankets, cramming more information about labor and delivery into my head, and catching up on Gilmore Girls reruns. Praise the Lord, we have Netflix :)
So this post has been a long time coming, I realize that. In my defense life has been crazy! I finally finished summer term and can proudly say that I have passed all of my theory core! This summer has been exhausting, but I'm so grateful that I just sucked it up and finished everything. I'm still not finished with school, but most of the classes that I have left are more of the "show up and take the test variety" rather than the "be in class every day or you will fail variety." I'm excited though because for the first time ever I will only have two hours of class a day in the fall! Just as a comparison I had class from 8-3 during the summer. This means that I finally get to settle down and prepare for our baby to get here!
We had a little bit of extra excitement this week in the form of an extra doctors visit. I had been noticing that my blood pressure was going up at each appointment, so I decided to just keep an eye on it. I've always had super low blood pressure (like 90/60) so even just seeing my blood pressure in the 100s is a shock for me. However, it had been getting as high as 140/87 and I'd been swelling a lot in my hands, feet, and face, so I decided a quick call to the doctor might be a good idea. They decided to have me come in, and unfortunately my blood pressure was up to 140/110. This was cause for concern (and some panic) because it hints towards preeclampsia. Needless to say they sent me over to the hospital to do a non-stress test and make sure everything was okay with baby. The test itself is a breeze, you basically lay down and they hook up monitors to your stomach to check the baby's heart rate, and monitor your blood pressure every 10 minutes. Thankfully, once I laid down my blood pressure went down to 126/86 (still not perfect, but your blood pressure is expected to go up during pregnancy) and baby was kicking at all the monitors during the entire test. We definitely have a stinker on our hands here! He had his own ideas about having monitors strapped to him :)
The only thing I didn't like about the test was that they checked you in to a room on the labor and delivery floor in order to have it done. I was just looking around the whole time thinking, "I'm not quite ready to be here yet, can I come back in a few weeks?" As nerve-wracking as that was though, it was nice to see the area where we will have the baby in a few weeks and get acquainted with the procedures they have up there. If nothing else, now I won't worry that we will wander the hospital for hours looking for labor and delivery :)
Even though the NST came back normal, they still wanted to do a few more tests just to see where our levels of concern should be. Basically they had me do a 24 hour urine collection. I pray that none of you will ever have to do this. This is not painful in the least, but is disgusting, and if you are still suffering from morning sickness and nausea, it is one of the last things you will ever want to do. You can probably guess what it consists of. That's right, they give you a big jug and tell you to collect all of your urine in that jug for the next 24 hours, and keep the jug in the fridge. Excuse me, but my food is in the fridge. Let's just say that neither Ryan nor I had much of an appetite that day.
Anyways I haven't heard back on the results of that test, or my blood test, so I'm hoping that means everything is checking out normal and I just have to take it easy for the next little while. I definitely consider it a blessing that my blood pressure came down so quickly just by lying down. My mom is convinced that they're going to put me on bed-rest if this continues to be an issue, but I'm hoping they will hold off on that for another week or so. We're moving on Monday, and I just can't take a break until then. If I do have to go on bed-rest though, at least I'll be able to update this blog more! Here's to looking at the bright side!
We're down to the double digits! How did that happen? Less than 100 days until my due date. I'm not naive enough to say less than 100 days until my baby gets here :) I think due dates are somewhat cruel, because we start counting down to something that may or may not happen on the specified date. As it is though being in double digits means that so far I have survived 180 days of pregnancy, and only have 99 days to go. I'm also close to the 2/3 mark! All while being a full-time student, and sometimes being an over full-time student. Summer term, 6 classes, 10.5 credit hours equals the equivalent of 12 classes and 21 credit hours in a normal semester. Yes I know I'm crazy.....yay for graduating? Super yay though for double digits!
And it's a boy! Kinda lame that our poll ended up being 50/50 with no clear favorite, but I guess the odds are 50/50 too so I can understand that. But we're having a boy! We went to the doctor's on Friday and everything is checking out good. They couldn't see any signs of spina bifida, down's syndrome, cleft palates, etc. It has been kinda funny to tell people that it is a boy and watch them try to comfort me because he isn't a girl. I just keep telling them that we were just wanting to have a healthy baby, and we wanted it to be either a boy or a girl rather than a combination of the two. So we're just happy!
I will admit though that it was a little disappointing to find out that we weren't getting our girl yet. I've really known from day one that the little stinker is a boy, and have slipped up more than once and referred to him as a he, but that didn't mean that I still hoped I was wrong. All my family was pretty sure it was a girl, so that got my hopes up, but boys are just as exciting. I've been having soooo much fun with my nephew Sam lately, and seeing how he is excited and always wants to see our pictures of the baby has helped me just be happy. Not only because I'm making a little friend for Sam, but hopefully because we get a son who is just as playful as Sam. The only sad part was walking through the baby aisle at Target and seeing all the adorable little girl dresses and ribbons. I'm hoping one day to be able to make blessing dresses, and baptism dresses out of the lace from my wedding dress....so I better get a girl, otherwise our boys will be quite traumatized!
Today's sacrament meeting was absolutely perfect for us though. We had a high council speaker come and speak to us about patience, and related it to his and his wife's experience in trying to start a family. He told us about how ever since he first received the priesthood as a deacon, he has had the desire to ordain his son to the priesthood. He and his wife were married when they were young and for about six years tried and tried to have kids. Eventually they decided to adopt and were blessed to be able to through LDS family services. They were able to adopt two girls and figured that would be the end of their family. However about four years later they were shocked to find out that she was pregnant and gave birth to a boy. Sadly, about seventeen months later they were speaking at their son's funeral, and the speaker still hadn't had the chance to ordain his son. At this point they were nearing their forties and figured that all hope was gone at raising a son. Another shock came 4 years after, when they found out that she was pregnant again, and was carrying another boy. His son was there with him today and is 6-years-old and truly a miracle.
This man's story touched me so much, and made me realize that even though I'm not getting the daughter I had hoped for, I'm receiving a son and with that son comes the duty and obligation to raise him righteously and teach him to value and honor his priesthood. My family teases me because in my patriarchal blessing it talks about my sons and how they will serve missions and be very influential in bringing many to the knowledge of the gospel. My mom always tells me that I'm going to have nine boys and no girls (although she would not wish that upon me). Since my blessing doesn't talk about my daughters I think every time I get pregnant I will be holding out hope for a girl so I know that I will at least get one.
However, as I was just sitting thinking the other day about the little boy that is currently kicking my bladder, I was reminded of my blessing. I received a strong witness that he is one of the sons my blessing talks about and that he will be a powerful missionary. I don't doubt it in the least since one of the things that Ryan is naturally blessed with is the ability to teach the gospel and understand it. I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to raise a righteous priesthood holder, and that I have someone by my side who can show that example to his son. I'm also just plain happy for Ryan because he is over the moon that he gets his little boy. I'm sure that is every man's dream is to have a boy first, but all Ryan can see is Yankee's uniforms and camp-outs. So for his sake, I'm more than pleased that we're having a boy!!
If you haven't guessed it yet, I am the 4:1 and Ryan gets the 1:1. The poor man :( He ends up with 1/3 of the bed while I build myself a nest with three large pillows and a body pillow (which is really more like two pillows).
Who knew that pregnancy would equal the need for more sleep, but yet also completely worthless uncomfortable sleep?! Answer: all mothers and any other pregnant women. Ugh, I feel absolutely worthless lying in bed. I can't lay on my stomach because I feel like I'm sleeping on top of a softball, and I mentally picture myself squishing my baby. My side is the most comfortable, but my back always feels supremely arched if I'm not supporting it with a pillow.
My solution? You guessed it, millions of pillows all around my body squished into every crack so I can't move. Ryan has to pack me in at night before I go to sleep :) Of course I never wake up in my nice little nest. Somehow by three in the morning all the pillows have migrated to the bottom of the bed, and Ryan mysteriously has one in between his legs.
*sigh* These 20 weeks are going to be very long, and I am guessing it is going to get worse before it gets better. Suggestions?
Now that I've passed most of the ickyness of the first trimester, I figure it is time to share my vast stores of knowledge concerning the topic. In fact I am such an expert that I will include remedies that I'm positive will work for EVERYONE. Okay, not really. Especially since men will see no need for my tips.
1. Pregnancy brain is a true disorder. Simple things such as putting together a coherent sentence will be seen as a monumental task. Ryan has had to stop me many a time from doing stupid things like putting the eggs in the freezer, or the groceries in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep me from putting liquid dish soap into the dishwasher rather than our liquid dish detergent. At least my nephew enjoyed the spoils of that mistake (let's face it, what little kid doesn't like bubbles?!).
2. Even if you weren't a crier before, suddenly the stupidest things will make you start to tear up. Things like watching Cash Cab, and having the contestants win $2,000. ("It's just so beautiful!" *sob* "I'm sure they really needed that money!" *sniffle*)
3. Before you eat something, think about how it will taste coming back up. Trust me, this will save you from many hard learned lessons in the future. I will save you from one of them. Nachos are the WORST thing ever to have to vomit. They're chunky, they cut you on the way back up, and they taste HORRIBLE! The best thing to throw up? Chocolate ice cream. I fully endorse a breakfast of chocolate ice cream if you are pretty certain that it won't stay down for long.
4. Sleeping for 12 hours = completely normal. Still feeling tired after that 12 hours = still completely normal. Sleeping for 12 hours, staying up for 4, and then napping for another 3 = still just as normal.
5. People will say stupid things to you, ignore them. They probably didn't think about what they said, and probably meant it in the nicest way possible. Example: "Hey you finally look like you're pregnant and not just chubby!"
That's about it for now, I'm sure I'll add to the list as I get further along. Everybody should vote on our poll though since we find out in less than two weeks if we're having a boy or a girl!
Just as an update: We avoided being in the middle of a shooting at the local Smith's last night. I always thought it was a little sketchy, and now might switch to shopping at Macey's. The downside, we were late to return our movie to the Redbox. Best dollar ever spent? I think so.
I don't know about the rest of you, but one of the few times during the week that I get to just be still and reflect is while we take the sacrament. I love the tranquility and peace that we get to experience in those few moments. Recently I've been noticing that more often than not, the sacrament is a place where I can receive clear revelation. Part of this I believe stems from the fact that before we partake of the sacrament we sing a hymn. Music speaks to me so clearly, and stays with me so profoundly that I often find myself reflecting on the music we sing more than the talks that are given. Normally I'm not a huge fan of the sacrament hymns. For the most part they usually drag, aren't that rhythmically or melodically complex, and tend to go flat more than other hymns. I blame most of that on the tempo. However, the words of the sacrament hymns stick with me more than all of the other hymns, and teach me important lessons that I need to hear.
Today we sang "Behold the Great Redeemer Die." During the sacrament one line stuck with me. The song goes through and recalls the pain and suffering Christ endured with the Atonement and crucifixion. At the beginning of the second verse it says, "While guilty men his pains deride, they pierce his hands and feet and side." This phrase stuck with me throughout all of church today because it has special significance in my life right now.
For those of you who are unaware, Ryan's family and I don't exactly get along. Don't ask me why, because I don't even understand it. In the past few months things have gotten worse after they decided to break our trust and then try to turn the other members of the family against us. They publicly demeaned me on facebook, and then when we tried to resolve it and work things out they basically told us that we should get over it and that we shouldn't expect them to help us out. Comforting, no? This has lead to me crying myself to sleep many nights, and just wondering what I did to deserve this.
I think in my naivety I feel like since I haven't done anything wrong, I should be treated fairly and given the love I deserve. When we sang the line, "While guilty men his pains deride, they pierce his hands and feet and side." I was reminded that the Savior, through no faults of his own, was beaten, bruised, and degraded. This does not make any thing I feel less painful, but it does help give me some perspective.
I often laugh when someone talks about an injury they have and someone else speaks up and talks about how they sustained an injury ten times worse. Why do we do that? Do we assume that because we have suffered more it makes their suffering any less?! Pain is pain, I don't care how much you're feeling, if you're hurt it is painful and needs to be dealt with. I don't think the Savior ever looks at us and says "Suck it up princess, I've been through a billion times more pain than you." Rather He acknowledges our grief and helps us mourn.
I am far from being over this, and am still hurting deeply because of it. However, I'm starting to get over the fact that I haven't done anything wrong and I'm still being abused. The Savior went through the same thing, and at least understands. If nothing else I can say that I am following His example right?
Sigh, I always set goals to do better at blogging, but it never happens! The stupid thing is is that I always think about what I am going to write about....and then I never just sit down and write it! I always postpone the inevitable thinking that I should wait so I can write about more than one thing at a time. This equates to a huge post which never gets written because it would just be too long. So instead of waiting to post anything until I have all of the pictures that I want I'm going to just write about what I can now, and then update about other things later :)
The first big thing that has happened to us lately is that my two youngest brothers and my dad came to visit! It was just a short random visit during their spring break over Easter weekend. It was soo good to see them, but also reminded me of how much I miss them. While they were here we went up to my grandparents in Logan and spent time with my dad's side of the family. Only about half of us were there, but there are so many of us that you would never guess that people were missing. I love going up to Logan and being around so many people that I love and that love me back. It is just so comforting to know that so many people love you and accept you for who you are.
My dad and brothers were planning on going home on Monday night, but decided to stay for one more day so they could come to our choir devotional on Tuesday! I'm sure it wasn't the most exciting part of their trip (Cody admitted to me that he fell asleep before the last number....punk) but it meant a lot to me that they were willing to extend their trip to come hear me sing! I have loved being a part of Women's Chorus and being able to share my love of music, my testimony, and the peace and joy that can come from singing with those who come to hear us. The only thing I regret is that my family in California hasn't been able to come hear. Let's face it, it's a long way to travel just to come to a concert, but I keep hoping that someday their vacation travels and our concerts will coincide so they can come to one of our full-length concerts. Here's to hoping! Either way, it meant a lot to me that they would come and share in our music with us, and that they would stay longer, even though it would mean getting back to CA after midnight and driving in the snow. Hopefully next time Mom and Jayson can come too!
Other than that, we're just getting ready for finals around here. The funny thing is, I only have two finals left! As of Wednesday I was pretty much done, even though most people hadn't even started. At least that is one good thing about the BYU School of Music, they finish before finals week and give you an extra week of break more or less. Anyways I just have a take home final left, and one scheduled final on Wednesday. Jealous of me? You should be. Just remember though that I took 8 classes this semester and only got 12.5 credits for it. Shoot me in the face. Well that is all for us for now! Hopefully I can get my pictures soon and put up posts that might actually interest people :)
So basically I started getting jealous because of facebook's "Doppleganger Week." I mean c'mon suddenly everybody thought they were Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts! I wanna be almost famous (or mistaken for someone famous) too! After all this week has become bigger than the "Post the color of your bra week"....probably because boys can participate this time as well. Anyways I am not jealous anymore. The evidence of which can be seen below :)
Two posts in the same month! It's a New Year's Miracle! (a la Verizon commercial 2005). The real line is, "It's a Mother's Day miracle!" This became an Anderson family favorite and is still quoted 5 years later. The commercial starts out with a mom in bed and the dad comes in holding a box. She opens it and pulls out a new phone, and then with a somewhat confused expression pulls out a second phone to which the dad exclaims, "Two phones! It's a Mother's Day miracle....I'll take this one!" The announcer then explains some two for one deal they have going on. The next shot opens up with the whole family having breakfast in bed and you hear a picture alert go off. The mom looks at her phone and the dad says, "I sent you a picture of the syrup." He and his son exchange high fives and the world's best commercial ends. The above paragraph has absolutely NOTHING to do with my next post, but will explain a little bit about my family :P
So this month has brought about a few changes in our house, mostly having to do with church callings. Ryan and I had been serving on the activities committee in our ward, but Ryan was recently called to be our Ward Clerk. The bishop informed him that this was one of the few callings in the church where he could get excommunicated and also go to prison. Such a comforting thought, no? Anyways since he is at church doing tithing settlement I am at home alone. Hence, the blog post.
I also received a new calling today. I am now the Primary President to a whopping amount of four children. That's right four whole kids. One Sunbeam and three nursery kids. Although this is more than four times the amount of a regular BYU ward (at least the singles wards....hopefully) it still creates a bit of a challenge since we lack the number of children found in a typical primary. Which leads me to a question. Anybody have good ideas for games or activities (gospel or otherwise related) that can keep four toddlers busy and content for two hours? Okay, okay I guess even 5 minute games would work too. Hopefully I'll write more again soon. I'm sure at least I'll end up with some good stories now that I get to work with the little ones again :)
So maybe I'll average a post every six months? That's about how often I've written Jen on her mission too so maybe I should step it up in both aspects :P I meant to write this post at Christmas because it was really on my mind, but better late than never right?! Christmas to me has always been about gratitude, even though apparently Thanksgiving has the corner on a grateful heart. I've always seen Thanksgiving as Christmas prep though. I think we need Thanksgiving before Christmas so we can truly get into the spirit of giving rather than only thinking of receiving. This year I am truly thankful for all of my family, but most especially for my sister Brittny. Brittny is the epitome of charity. She has always been the one to reach out to those who are less fortunate, disliked, or in my mind just plain obnoxious and she has a gift for taking them under her wing and merely listening. This is NOT my specialty as I would rather fix the problem than listen, but she truly empathizes with others and desires to help in any way she can. Brittny was a true blessing to us this Christmas. Since I still haven't been able to find a job our budget was truly tight, and Brittny set to work putting together our stockings (in all fairness my parents funded this endeavor so I'm grateful for them too!), buying us presents, sewing bags for all of the presents, helping make trifle, volunteering to feed us many many times, letting us do our laundry at her house, etc. The best part about this was I never once heard how it was burdensome for her, but rather how excited she was to help us out and "play Christmas" with us. I love the attitude my sister has towards true Christlike service and I hope to be able to pass that around more freely during the rest of the year.