Sunday, August 12, 2012

Punky aka Ivy's Birth Story

The details will be a little off potentially as I am writing this 13 years after. :-)
But here is Ivy's birth story.

In November of 1999 I turned 18 years old, I was also about 3 months pregnant. I didn't know a lot about babies, or childbirth, or much of anything child related actually. I had at first planned on not keeping the baby, but once I saw her on the ultrasound at our 20 week scan I knew she was my baby and was meant for me. :-) She was a very unplanned pregnancy. I was in my senior year of high school and I was raped. But still I saw her little body and her little face on that monitor and in that one single moment, I became a mother. I became HER mother. I knew that we would work things out and I couldn't give her away.

April 21st, 1999 I woke up feeling a little 'off'. Not in pain, didn't think anything about labor, just felt off. I was not actually 'due' until the middle of May, I was right at 37 weeks so it never occurred to me that it might be "THE day". I called my Mom and told her I felt a little funny. She said to rest and have some toast and see if that helped.

I ate my toast and still felt odd. My mother called a neighbor who happened to be a nurse to come over to check on me. She told me I was in labor and I needed to get to the hospital! I was having "silent" but regular contractions, according to her about 3-4 minutes apart. Huh. So, we called my mom and she came home to take me to the hospital.

It wasn't a long drive, but sometime during the drive I did start feeling the contractions here and there and some were rather uncomfortable. It was a little after 10am when we got to the hospital and they said I was in active labor and hooked me up the monitors and IV's and all that stuff that hospitals do.

I was glad I packed all the stuff I had wanted. I did know that I wanted to have a natural, vaginal birth even as a teenager. Mainly because the thoughts of interventions scared me to death! haha

So I had a cd player and a few mixed cd's with some music that made me happy. Some Led Zepplin, Some Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, ya know, the good ones. ;-)

The doctor came in at one point and decided to break my water because it had 'not done it on it's own'. I had no idea that there was no reason to so I agreed.

After that, I took a little cat nap for awhile. I woke up once because I felt very sick to my stomach and ended up throwing up in a little bed pan, and I remember being very embarrassed and the nurses laughed at me and were very comforting and said it's defiantly not to be embarrassed about and they say that and way worse every day.

The 'head nurse' said I was doing an amazing job handling labor and was amazed I was able to sleep and asked if she could bring some students in to observe me and if they could film the birth. I said I didn't care. They seemed grateful and said most people refuse them. ? Huh

So, a few hours after being in the hospital, I feel like it's time for the baby to come. I hadn't taken any birth classes or anything but I KNEW it was time. I told my mom to get my midwife. (Her name was Mary too)

She came in and verified it WAS time to push! It only took 3 pushes and Ivy was out! Mary said I did an amazing job! No pain medication, no tears, everything was perfect!

Including my little baby girl, who made her appearance during Janis Joplin's "Summertime" :-) And was 6 pounds 14 ounces and 21 inches long. Perfect APGAR scores.

I was in labor that I was aware of for about 5 hours. Great for a first time mom.

Her name is Ivy-Ariana Celeste and she nursed like a champ. It was an amazing birth experience and led me to the things that I am now passionate about even though I went in it naïve.

Rebel (Paige's) Birth Story

Baby Rebel, aka Paige Juliette made her appearance into the world at 3:07 this afternoon after a grand total of 3 official hours in labor!

She came at a little before 38 weeks, weighed in at 6 pounds 8 oz and was 19 3/4 inches long.

Pink and healthy and took to breastfeeding like a pro!

I'm doing well. No complications, vaginal delivery.

We went in for my regular doctor’s visit and I was having some contractions so the doctor had me hook up to a monitor to check them out. They came at 8 minutes, 8 mins, 6 min, 5 mins, so inconsistent.

Since he figured I'd probably go today (I was already at 4cm and 75% effaced) he gave me the option of going home and chilling out there for awhile or admitting me to Triage to have them monitor me for a few hours.

I said, since my last birth picked up speed pretty quick and we are due for a snow storm, I'd take the Triage option and see how things go.

Got to Triage at about 11:30. Triage nurse was going to hook me up to a monitor for about 15 minutes, then at noon, send me to walk around until 1. Come back, monitor for awhile, walk for another hour... etc etc until either I progressed further, stopped progressing, or was officially in labor. So hooked up I got and there we sat.

The contractions were pretty off and on, nothing consistent so the nurse thought it might just be Braxton hicks. Had a couple pretty good ones but still nothing at the level they want or as close together as they want. Nurse was actually on her way into the room to take me off the monitors when the baby's heartbeat starting dipping and scaring her. Here's where things pick up the pace :-)

Hubby and I had noticed when we were in the doctor’s office on their monitor that the heartbeat had dipped down a few times too, and he even asked me about it. I just said, I don't know, maybe contractions or something cause it? But no one came in and said anything, so didn't even think about it. I guess their monitor you can hear the heartbeat but it was really only tracking contractions.

In Triage the heartbeat was dramatically dipping. Like from 140 all the way down to 50 at some point my husband said. The nurse bustled out of the room, came back with an oxygen mask, rolled me over on my side and called for someone else to call my doctor. (All the while looking much panicked but telling me, "its fine. Don't stress".... (Yeah okay) She said, "The baby's heartbeat is dropping and dipping and we don't know why, so you're not going to be walking around. You’re going straight to labor and delivery" My husband asked if the baby's heartbeat dropping like that was "Good, bad, scary..." She said, "Umm yeah, scary... very scary, but don't worry, it'll be fine"
Wish we would have brought it up at the doctor's office. But thank goodness I took the option to hang out in Triage instead of going back home!

They wheeled me straight over to labor and delivery, my doctor comes in, looks at me and says, "Well aren't you being difficult!" (Don't worry; we talk like that with each other.) I said, "Psh, it's not me, it's Baby Rebel in here, she didn't get that nickname for no reason remember!" He said we were concerned about the heartbeat for sure and he wanted to get the baby out as soon as possible. Since we didn't know what was causing the distress and if it would happen again, it was safer that way. So he said we would start by breaking my water and putting me on a low dose of pitocin (Since he knew I was kind of anti induction) and see how quick things pick up. I'm sure if it didn't c-section was the next plan, and I'm glad we didn't get there.

This was, oh, a little afternoon. So maybe by 12:30-12:45 my water was broke and pitocin started once the IV got in. I was doing fine. Baby's heartbeat was remaining steady. They weren't concerned until it started to drop and dip again and that was about 1:30-2:00, I'm not positive.

They came in, and put me back on the oxygen, rolled me over this way and that again and said they were going to up the pitocin a bit since my contractions were still not 'regular' and close and try to get it moving along a little quicker. I had actually not changed in dilation at all; I was still right around a 4-5. But effacement they said was moving, I just don't remember what % they gave me then.

It started to suck shortly thereafter. (Haha) I was not doing well with the contractions and it was moving crazy fast. The nurse came in to check me and said I was at a 6. Left and I had two crazy big hard contractions. I looked at my husband when they had ended and said to tell her to come back with something for pain. I didn't know how long it was going to last, but those pitocin induced contractions were way more intense then my natural labor with my first. I was hurting.

The nurse came in and checked me again and said I was moving quickly. I had went from 6 to 8 with those two contractions and fully effaced. She said she could have something put in my IV or just go with the epidural, and she recommended the epidural. Because there wouldn't be time for it later if I changed my mind then. So I said, screw it. I don't care at this point! I didn't want it but I hurt and I was scared.

So the anestiologist came in with the epidural and they had me (Tried I should say) sit up in bed with my feet over one side and rest my chin on my chest and curve out my back and all that and hold real still. Okay, seriously, whoever thought up this epidural thing was a sadistic. I don't care what you say. This was by far, the worst part or my labor/delivery. Trying to hold still all crunched up like that, in a not labor friendly position while that guy was trying to shove a needle in my spine was horrible. It seemed like it took an hour. I know I went through at least 4 large contractions while he was there. Trying not to move through the most intense part of my contractions was soo bad. BUT he finally got it in, and they checked me real quick to find there wasn't even time to hook it to the pump, baby was fully ready and there! So he just put a little vile or something and said it should do for a few minutes.

They went to get my doctor and were trying to get me "Comfortable" before I started pushing. Which was fine. I could still feel the contractions and was still in pain, but not as bad as before. I guess I was under the delusion I wouldn't really feel anything with the epidural. OR maybe it was because there just wasn't time for it after all and it hadn't really kicked in. My toes were starting to get very tingly which means it must have been working.

Doctor comes in and makes some more jokes about me being difficult. He had apparently thought when he broke my water that I'd at least by laboring for a while, and they would just be keeping a close on the baby's heartbeat... but we proved him wrong. He was shocked we were all ready to go! So he got everything ready, pulled my legs up and told me to get ready. The nurse said to push with the next contraction and did the 10 count three times and there came Rebel!

She was very pink and sounded great! Crying without any difficulty and healthy! I had to have 3 stitches on the inside, no tears or anything outside. So they started taking care of me while getting her cleaned up. A few minutes later they handed her over to have her start trying to feed and she took to it right away! She was even very awake and alert and kept her eyes open looking around. She knew Daddy's voice which I thought was awesome. When he would talk she would look in that direction for him!

She weighed 6 pounds and 8 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long. Born about 17 days early a little before the 38th week.

We are both doing great and very lucky things went wonderfully! So glad I decided to hang out in the hospital afraid of the snow! Which by the way, actually DID come. There is a big lovely blanket of snow on the ground and no one can make it out to the hospital to visit, lol, but that's okay. It like, never, snows in Knoxville... So this is a special day indeed!

Fall is Upon Us

Finally the weather seems to be mellowing out somewhat. It's been a crazy hot summer.
Dropout is talking about moving back to Chicago in a few years. He starts his new job as an Instructor at a College in about a week and wants to get several years under his belt before we go.
I'm excited about the idea of a new city but there's so much here that I will miss.
The Farmer's Markets here are amazing! The Natural Parenting Store I work part time at. The Holistic Moms Network I lead. All the locally owned businesses I've grown to love. The support network that is so big here that we have the HMN, Birth Network, ICAN, Homebirth Group, Babywearing, Breastfeeding Coalition, Mom's Mothergoose, BreastFriends... I mean, How cool is THAT!? The Homeschool circle... So much.

But by that time, maybe I'll be in a new chapter in my life anyway. The little's will be elementary school aged. The older will be GRADUATED! 

Changes are a part of life.

Little Riot is getting ready to celebrate the changing of the seasons by starting her transformation.
Her first appointment to start her casting is this Friday.

I'm excited about the process but of course a little nervous and scared.

She is such a mellow baby. I've never had a baby that was so "Low Needs" as opposed to my High Needs kiddos, *laughs* I'm just worried it might change my mellow girl into a fussy unhappy baby.

But hopefully, her being so chill and happy will make this process easier than if it would have been my other kiddos. :-) Maybe these things work themselves out.

I can't believe it is almost fall. It is almost time to start Riot's transition. It is almost time to start Punky's (lil) school for her last year of Middle School! It's almost time for a job change.

So much to get done and get started.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Zoey-Anna's Birthday

June 24th, 2012. Woke up feeling fine. Nothing out of the ordinary.
My biggest girl had a pool party to go to that morning. I thought she was insane. It was in the high 90's (it's been in the hundreds this week) and she wanted to be at a pool from 10am to 4 pm.

We packed everyone up and drove down there to drop her off. I'd been having a few contractions here and there, but I figured they were the same 'practice contractions' I'd been having for the past, what 2 months? But just for fun I got out my doula droid contraction timer app :-) and started timing them for fun.

They were five to ten minutes apart, but didn't feel like much. An hour or so went by, I decided to take a shower and see if it made a difference. Normally with the contractions I'd been having they go away in an hour or two.
The shower didn't do much, didn't stop them, but they were still not feeling like much either. Chilled on the couch and hung out with my Rebel girl for a while. Played with some blocks. Laid on the couch to do my kick counts.

Still having contractions when it was time to go get Punky from the pool party. Rebel fell asleep in the car so we went driving around for an hour or so, I quit timing (My droid counter was up to like 60 contractions for the day at about 5 minutes apart) and figured if by some chance, it was anything to worry about they'd actually start getting uncomfortable or at least somewhat painful.

I didn't really think it was labor since I was only 36 weeks pregnant.

About 5 or so, I told Dropout that maybe I wanted to go to the hospital to get checked. Just in case. I'd still been having the contractions every five minutes. No break really. Odd, but I thought, better safe than sorry. Once I'm officially in labor, it goes by super quick. Better to get a sitter at 5-6 than 2-3am.
I told him no rush though, they were not painful, and I'm probably just being paranoid. Lets make dinner and eat and see if someone can come watch the girls before we go.

We ate some really yummy Italian Sausages hubby made with roasted peppers and onions. mm it was awesome. I wasn't really hungry until he brought me the food and it was great!

So the sitter gets there to watch the girls a little after 7 I guess. I'd had a couple of contractions that did feel slightly painful. But not a whole lot. I was really worried that I was going to be the crazy woman that shows up at triage for no reason and has had two babies before, so I'd look really silly.

On the car ride I had a couple more slightly painful contractions. We got to triage and they put me on the monitors. Checked my cervix. I was having 'some contractions' but not a lot of painful ones or 'productive ones', and my cervix was only about a 3 (it had been for weeks) so nothing seemed to be really doing anything. However, she said that it looked like at least pre-labor and if I didn't go into real labor by tonight, it probably be the next few days anyway.
Just to be safe, since I have had more than one baby before and because I have a history of quick labors we decided to wait an hour and check again to see if there was any reason to stay.

She said I could hang out in the room or go walk around for an hour. I didn't want to stay in a bed hooked up to monitors so I opted for the go walk around choice.

Dropout and I (who by the way, has gotten a job as a college teacher, lol, I really should change his nickname) were walking around the hospital talking and doing much of nothing.

The contractions DID start getting stronger, some of them made me stop in my tracks here and there. By the time it was time for our last loop or two around, I was about done with walking, lol, I went back about 10 minutes early because I didn't want to walk anymore.

She came back and checked and said I had progressed to 100% effaced and 6 cms in that hour. I was officially in labor!

Here's where the anxiety started hitting me though. She was still so small, she was technically premature at this moment. Was she going to be born with any problems? Did the IUGR affect her, was it a sign of something else? Was she going to handle labor okay? Would it stress her out? Just question after question and worry after worry.

But no time to think right now, being sent over to Labor and Delivery. They walked me over. The nurse said, "Don't let her smiles fool you, she's 6cms already!" lol I was handling everything pretty well so far.

I wasn't IN LOVE with my labor staff, but they were sweet enough. I was, however, stuck in bed which really sucked. Because we needed to keep her on monitors to make sure labor was not stressing out her little body there was not a lot of options. I kept trying to remember the things I'd been taught about moving and sitting up and working with gravity and my body a bit more than I did with Rebel but the contractions were pretty strong and the monitors were keeping me pretty much in place.

However, for the most part unless I was having a contraction, I was in pretty good spirits and dealing with it all and doing okay. The doctor showed up to check on me. He wanted to go ahead and break my water since I had progressed so far so quick but it had not broken. I decided that was okay and let him. However, when he checked we had some baby positioning problems. She was not far enough down. Somehow or another the silly girl started going back up instead of making her way down. So we had to push her back down. She also had her arm up (Nuchal Hand) and we were trying to get her to move it from both ends. They never said rather they were successful or not so I'm not sure if she still presented that way. They did get her moved back down though. I was around 7-8 cm at that time.

The good news is, she's been doing great the entire time. She's kicking off monitors and moving around like crazy, so at least we know labor is not bothering her. She was having a ball in there.

The next time they came in to check on me, I was in a lot of pain and uncomfortable. It had been about an hour so I really thought that I would be 'ready' by that time. Since I was so close last so I had them check again. I was at 8 still with no progress. They said it looked like the baby was sort of stuck on a 'cervical lip' and that's why I was not progressing further at that time. I gave in and asked for the epidural not really knowing how long it would last at that point. I could have held out, I know I could have, but the anxiety was getting to me again and I think it was more a lack of confidence and overall general birth fear left over from Rebel's birth.

I have to throw out there that the hospital staff actually almost tried to talk me out of it. I actually liked that. She asked me quite a few times if I was sure and assured me I was almost there. I thought that was pretty cool for a conventional hospital. I don't feel bad for doing it, but I do know I could have done without it.

Anywho, so now we've had all kinds of baby positioning problems, but overall things are going okay. I feel that it's time to push not too crazy long after the epidural was given.

I'm not sure how I feel about the epidural. It was nice to an extent to be able to just ride through the rest of labor and helped to relieve some of my anxiety but it did really suck being partially numb. It felt a lot like when your feet go to sleep because you've sat on them wrong. Especially after birth when it is wearing off. You have that 'pins and needle' feeling forever. It sucked.

Back to the time sequence though. :-)

Time to push. I send Dropout out to get the nurse, she checks and agrees it's time (like I didn't know) and tells me to push a "little' to make sure, so I push and Riot's head comes out, lol and she freaks out and tells me to stop and hold still and rushes to get the nurses and doctors and NICU team in and all of that.

The pushing part is pretty uneventful really, Two pushes, here she is. Everyone in the room was joking about how I'm a "pro pusher" and "dont' mess around" I am not sure what's "normal" but I found it entertaining.

So, she comes out SCREAMING, she's mad at everyone that touches her lol
Which was kind of reassuring. I still had some fears there would be something wrong. Hearing those screams made me feel better. She was very loud! <3

The nurses are working on getting her weighed and measured and whatever they do and I kind of see them examining something really close and kind of asking each other things, and my heart drops and I got scared. I ask Dropout what's wrong, and he says, Nothing. They are just trying to count to the cord vessels. I think I had broken out into a panic'd sweat in two seconds. Thank goodness.

She weighs in at 5 pounds 13 ounces, 20 inches long. I'm impressed! She's been working hard on getting her weight up! Good girl!

They let me have her to nurse her. She latches right on like a pro. And she's beautiful. I'm surely bias I know, but she looked very pretty to me for a newborn. Her little head was so tiny though!

She was having some problems maintaining her body temperature so they took her to warm her up. (While there I was told her blood sugar levels were really low and they had to give her IV glucose. I'm glad that they did IV instead of sugar water or formula or something. She needed oxygen just for a bit and she was having some circulation issues and still having problems regulating her temperature but not enough that the NICU team had to step in so great for that.)

As for me, I was doing pretty good after. No major bleeding, placenta was delivered fine. (And with lots of issues and questions about them storing it so it can be encapsulated, haha) and I have successfully made it through three births, all vaginal with no major tearing, stitching or cutting! Woot! I'm like probirther!

I wasn't allowed to do much until I could feel my legs again. Major downer of the epidural there. It was HOURS for real. Like forever. I had to google on my phone because I started getting paranoid that they paralyzed me. (See I do have a lot of weird anxiety and fears eh) But google said it can take a while so I felt a little better about it.

So, that's about that.

Riot does defiantly have club foot. I'll post some pictures in our next entry and start capturing her progress.
She spent the entire hospital stay pretty much never making a peep. Came out screaming, but has barely cried since. (She's five days old now)

She had to be sent back to the nursery here and there for her circulating issues (the doctor said it was called something but not a big deal) and her not being able to stay warm. But otherwise, no problems.

She has her first appointment to have her feet looked at on July 5th so we are just hanging out until then.

I did have a bit of a joyous moment today when her cord came off. It seems silly but I was a little sad that she would be going into her casts, which means only sponge baths, before her cord came off and she wouldn't get to take a "real" bath until she was several months old. :-) now we can give her a real bath first. That makes me kind of happy.

So her overall birth info:
Name: Zoey-Anna Delilah Elizabeth
Weight: 5 pounds 13 ounces
Length: 18 inches
Head: 12 cm
Time: 12:20am (She was 20 minutes 'term')
Weeks Gestation: 37

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A little bit up

Everything seems to be going a little bit up from some of the downs we've had lately.

Dropout has landed a fairly cushy sounding job that will not only, hopefully, keep him intellectually challenged and interested but also provide us with a decent pay raise and benefits. The schedule is not bad either :-)

We are pretty excited about that. He will not officially start until August. But until then he is going to go in a couple nights a week to shadow. They are paying him for that, so it should help make up a bit for the hours I am loosing by not working my 1-2 shifts at the store currently. :-)

Baby Riot is growing!
It's an amazing turn, over all. She grew half a pound in two weeks! It's pretty unheard of in IUGR babies to have that sort of leap so we can say one of two things: A. Either she does not fall into IUGR baby after all OR B. She is just an amazing, remarkable little fighter. :-)

She jumped from the 9th percentile to the 21st. She still has some growth restriction signs so we are not out of the woods or anything per say, but looking up. She still has Head Sparing (Pulling to the brain and sacrificing the rest of the body). Her head measures on target though, which is great news. Her little legs are measuring a week ahead, so it looks like she'll be long and leggy like my other girls. :-) And her abdomen is still about three weeks behind. She's not got a lot of fat deposits, but muscle tone, as of right now appears to be good.

I've stayed on the couch about 90% of the day for the past several weeks and started eating a high protein diet and eating Protein rich Ensure and Boost. I read it helped. My doctor said it wouldn't but, hey something did so we are sticking with it!

If by some chance we can keep it up and she stays with that consistent level of growth we SHOULD be able to get her up to about 5, 5 1/2 pounds before she is born. In which case she won't have to go to NICU unless she is just really weak. It also means we shouldn't have to take her early OR have a c-section. Yay for that!

So, overall, great news this way!

Our next appointment is a Biophysical Profile on Friday so hopefully it will continue to look up. We won't know how much she's grown for another two weeks and by that point I'll be36 weeks.

fingers crossed!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Little Riot Girl pt 3

There were a few minor obstacles to be dealt with here and there.
At about 28 weeks (I think) I started having a lot of contractions. They would be about 5 minutes apart for about an hour, drop to ten minutes apart for an hour, fade away for a bit, do it again... all lasting around five or so hours at a time. Lame. The general consensus was I was just doing too much and had an "Irritable Uterus" so I was put on "Modified Bed Rest". Basically, quit running around for 5-12 hours a day and spend more time at home. If I went out to say the grocery for an hour, I need to go home and rest for two. That sort of thing.

It actually did seem to help.

At my last growth check ultrasound, we however, got more bad news.
My little Riot is not growing and striving in the womb.
She was in the 67th percentile for growth, then dropped to34, then all the way down to the 9th.

Her head was measuring on target but her abdomen was measuring two weeks behind. This gave her the diagnosis of Asymetrical Interuterine Growth Restriction.

It means that something is not functioning correctly within the womb and she is pulling what nutrients she can get to her brain and not getting the fat deposits and overall growth that she should.

Because of this she needs to be monitored very closely. If the conditions in the womb stay stable, she can stay in, week to week. But if she starts to show any signs of distress or drops weight or is overall not striving she needs to be pulled out fairly quickly.

IUGR is tied closely to stillbirth. :-(

The overall prognosis is we are trying to keep her in as long as possible, but get her out before the environment in the womb deteriorates.

We know that she will *most* likely have to come out as soon as she is to term. For some reason the incident of stillbirth dramatically increases after 37 weeks.
We know that no matter how long she stays in, she'll be small. She will most likely have to visit the NICU for a bit. IUGR babies are normally born between 3-5 pounds. The good news is, because she is already over three pounds, she should be one of the "bigger" IUGR babies. Hopefully, she'll stay in long enough for her lungs to be developed.

IF all the things line up correctly, she'll stay healthy in there until closer to the end of June, her lungs will be developed, she'll be close to five pounds, and I can have a normal (although induced) vaginal birth.

The complications that could come up revolve around if she is in distress or if she is still able to get nutrients and oxygen. She might have to be induced early. We might only be allowed to do a c-section because sometimes the stress of labor is too much for an already stressed, small baby.
We might have to do steroid shots to boost her lung development for an early delivery.

There's a whole lot of if's involved right now.

My doctors say that with proper monitoring I have no higher risk of stillbirth than anyone else as of right now. That it will be a slow deterioration with warning signs. After her next growth check, from there we will develop more of a plan.
Right now we are doing a growth check one week and the next week a Biophysical Profile. Depending on how they go, we will add in more doctor visits with more ultrasounds and more NST's.

I can't say I'm not a little scared again. I was fine with the clubfoot, but this does make me more concerned again about 'further issues'. The keep telling me that they are unrelated and I have no 'higher risk' than anyone else.. they actually say I have a lower chance than anyone else at the moment because we've already ruled out pretty much everything and the ultrasounds would have picked up anything else abnormal by this point. I'm also still scared that she won't be coming home with me. I'm scared she'll pass in the womb before I get a chance to rush to the hospital, even though they assure me that won't happen. I'm scared she'll have problems in the NICU and maybe not do well. Overall, I'm scared of not knowing.

I'm a little bit of a control freak to an extent. I at least need to know. I need to know what I'm facing. I need to know how to plan. I need to know what to research, what I can do. But I can't. I can't really know or plan for anything right now.

I don't know what comes with having a preemie baby. I don't know what comes with having a preemie baby with special needs. I don't know what "Stuff" is best... should I get a swing? Should I get a bouncer? Are they too 'stimulating" or "stressful"? Do they put her at the wrong angle? Is her casts going to be too heavy on her hips to be sat in those things? How do I sling her with casts? How do I sling a preemie baby? How do I sling a Preemie baby with Casts? Holy crap! It's just all very scary and very challenging.

I'm afraid for our birth. I'm scared of c-sections. I'm scared of not making the right decisions based on my fears. I'm afraid that the "Holistic Crunchy Mama" in me is trained too well in birth and medical interventions to make the RIGHT choices for Riot. What is I am so afraid of the interventions that I refuse something that she really needs? What if my birth fears make things harder for her, or make her not make it at all?

I'm afraid of what is going to happen after the birth. I'm afraid that I might reject her a little because she is not the "baby I dreamed of" instead of celebrating her for the baby she IS. I feel terrible for that.

I'm afraid that she will not be breathing, that her lungs will be too small, that there will be something wrong, she'll be too weak. That she'll be whisked away for testing and procedures and I won't even be able to see her. I"m afraid of PPD/PPA. I'm afraid of how I'll be treated.

I'm afraid of her being in the NICU. I'm afraid our breastfeeding relationship and bonding will be affected. I'm afraid of what the time I'll have to be away will do to my Rebel girl. I'm afraid the tubes and monitors will scare me. I'm afraid of coming home without my baby.

I'm afraid of Bringing her home. What do I do? What will having a tiny baby mean?

I'm afraid of what people will say. What will they think? Will we get mean looks? Pathetic looks of sympathy? Will people make mean comments about her casts? Will people think I've hurt her?

There's so much. So much to be scary. So much to be afraid of.

I'm holding up. I'm being strong. I'm taking things day by day.

But this blow after blow is starting to get to me. I can't enjoy this pregnancy at all. I know it's my last and that makes it all even more bitter. I already know I won't be able to enjoy my birth and that also makes me very bitter.

But I'll love my little Riot no matter what. I DO overall, have faith that things are going to be fine. I have faith that I can handle all of this. I have faith my little Riot choose me and she is going to be the perfect addition to our family. I just have to get her here. :-)

Little Riot Girl Pt 2

20 weeks to 24 went pretty well.
Other than some awful morning sickness in the very start things had gone okay and the pregnancy had not been overtly bad.
I was a little concerned how nursing my Rebel girl and being pregnant would good. (And honestly, that should be a whole other blog post) but health wise it did not appear to be affecting me or Riot.
I was insanely tied some days, but eh, I'm insanely tired some days when I'm not pregnant. :-)

We went to our 24 week ultrasound to get the rest of her measurements. It was taking awhile without a lot of talking and I was started to get concerned that something was wrong.

The ultrasound tech kind of looked over and said, "Your baby has clubfoot affecting both feet." I had heard of clubfoot before. I was, of course, a little crushed and concerned. She said, it's not a big deal and it is pretty easily corrected. Even that one of the girls that worked with her was born with two clubfeet. However, it can be linked to other issues and that is why they were trying to get a better look at some things.

We had still not seen her face and we wanted to rule out cleft palate for sure. Knowing there was one genetic defect was bad enough without having to have the concern that there could be more. I wasn't sure how to feel or what to think at that point.

For the most part we were told that everything they could see was checking out okay. They were able to confirm she had all her fingers and all her toes (and no extra) they were able to see that the cord had the proper  chambers, the heart the proper chambers, the brain checked out etc etc. She looked okay other than the feet but there were still a few things we needed to check out and she was not cooperating. (Little Riot)

We were told the doctor would come in and talk to us. We waited.
And waited. I was getting anxious and panic'y.

I was trying to tell myself, it wasn't a big deal. Things would be fine. No big deal. It was just clubfoot, you do some casting and bracing and it's over. But the concept and idea of MORE issues was weighing very heavy on me. As well as, what did this mean? How was her first few months going to go? Does this affect my birth choices at all? Will she be whisked away from me after birth? etc etc

The doctor came in and it went exactly like this, no joke

Doctor walks in, goes straight to ultrasound monitor, flips through images:
Doctor: "So your baby has clubfoot (.) (?) " - not sure if it was a statement or question
Me, "Yes, I guess it appears so"
Doctor: "Well, do you know what this means, do you have any questions?"
Me: "Well, yes, I guess probably about a 100"
Doctor: "we will schedule you a follow up"
Doctor hands chart to nurse, walks out.

Super duper frikin awesome.

thank goodness gracious that I had an appointment at my regular OB right after.
I finished checking out. Dropout had to go back to work, things were crazy over there that day and I went to my OB.

I think I added some things into the ultrasound above that I actually didn't know until I met with him.
He was the one to tell me that everything else looked good. He said she had her fingers and toes, and the cord was good, placenta, she had all her organs, the heart looked good, spine looked good, basically that there was no reason to believe it would be anything more than a case of clubfoot.
He said that combined with my quad screening that came up with next to no chance of Down Syndrome, Tri 13/18 and other "big" issue genetic conditions that things looked okay.

That was very reassuring. I'm grateful he was able to at least somewhat calm those fears.

From there we had to meet with the genetic counselor.
That meeting actually went well. The GC was very sweet. Dropout was not able to get off work. (We had been trying to avoid him taking any actual time off so he'd have more with Riot got her) so I brought Erin along who is a friend of mine. She was really sweet to come with me.

The GC said that Clubfoot is actually one of the most common birth defects and normally it is not associated with any other conditions. There's a few things that seem to be connected but because of the quad screening we had pretty much ruled them out. We talked some more about family history. It turns out after this came out that my mother told me my uncle had been born with clubfoot, also Dropout had a mild version that they call "pigeon toed" and a few other mild cases like that apparently ran on both sides of the family.

Therefore, I left pretty confident that there was nothing left to be concerned about. It was just a random case of genetic bilateral clubfoot and she'd just be a little special needs for a little while. No big deal. :-)

I did a lot of research. I needed to prepare myself for what we would be looking at.
What the plan was going to be. How we should treat it. Where are the best doctors?

I found a method of treatment that I really liked called the Ponseti Method. I found a great support group online of moms (and dads) from all over that have used the method. It was nice to find that.

The doctor that was closest to me and recommend was in Atlanta, GA. So I set up a consultation.

We set up a babysitter for Rebel (and Lil, Oh, who's now decided she wants her online nickname to be Punky) and drove down to Atlanta. It wasn't that bad of a drive.

Dr. Schrader kind of looked at us like we were crazy though. He said there was no point in me driving all the way down there because there's a doctor in Knoxville that he knew and trained with and would do a good job.

But hearing that from a recommended doctor did reassure me.
He confirmed what we would be looking at treatment wise.

About 4-14 days after birth we will start a casting process. The casts will go from toes to thighs and will be changed out once a week for about 5-6 weeks. From there she will have a small surgery to clip the Achilles tendon. Then she will go back into a cast for three weeks while that heals. From there she will get special shoes that have a bar that connects across the bottom and she will wear it close to 24 hours a day for about six months. Then she'll wear it less and less until she's only wearing it at night for about 4 years.

Overall, no big deal.

We were joking about ways to make it 'fun". Having someone decorate her casts. Painting them. Making funny t shirts for nosy people in public, lol that sort of thing.

I'm sort of interested in how it is going to challenge some of my 'crunchy' parenting practices.
Babywearing for example is going to be challenging but I'm very interested in trying!
Nursing will be a bit of a challenge with the casts and the bar, and I'm sure co sleeping could prevent a few challenges too... So there's some new fun crunchy challenges I'll have to face parenting a special needs baby.

I'll be sure to update and blog a little more on how all of that goes!

But there's still a little more to come...

My Little Riot Girl pt 1

So many times I've meant to come and update this. So many times I felt like I should come here and share what was going on.
At first I wanted to share the exciting news that we were once again expecting! But then, I didn't get around to it.
Then I wanted to share that we were going to have a new little baby girl! We were happy and excited about our new little one. She was a little difficult in the womb like her big sister Rebel so we nicknamed her Riot.

I wanted to come and tell everyone about our new bundle and all of our excitement.

Then the bad news started coming in. It was one thing, and then another, and then another. I wanted to blog it at that point just to document it. To share my emotions as I went through this step by step.

I wanted to share the research I was doing. The thoughts that all but encompassed my life.

But I guess while I was living it, and people knew, I wasn't really ready to face it all.

As I am pretty much weeks from delivery, I'm going to go through this as step by step as I can.

I AM still expecting. She is still very loved and very much anticipated. We still love each and every aspect of our little Riot. It's just been a bit of a hard journey so far.

So, this is part one.

First, we had somewhat planned and talked about adding a new little one into the family at *some* point. There had been no clear decisions made. However, in the mean time as I'd blogged before with the hives they had a suspension that I had a progesterone allergy and pulled me off birth control. We were doing the Natural Family Planning route... and honestly, it was working great lol because I pretty much knew the exact time and moment that little Riot was conceived. I knew I was ovulating, and knew something should be done to 'prevent' said little Riot from being conceived but thought, oh what will ONE TIME do? lol 

So here we were about 4 weeks later. I was still nursing so no real cycles to track or be late from so to speak so I took a test 'just in case' and figured it was just out of paranoia. Lo and behold the little plus sign came up pretty quick.

I think Dropout and I were both a little flabbergasted but we were still happy and excited. I'm a pretty fertile chic apparently ;-)

Everything seemed to go okay in the start. My doctor checked my levels immediately and did an ultrasound to date and make sure things looked okay after my previous losses and issues. I like that they take things seriously there and try to do what they can to make things go smooth from the start.

Other than a scare or two in the beginning when we couldn't find her, then couldn't find a heartbeat later on, things went smooth. My uterus is very tilted. (Almost "backwards" they say) so ultrasounds can be hard.

We had another scare later on when the doctor tried to use the doppler to hear the heartbeat, even at a point we should be able to, and couldn't find it and I had to be rushed to an ultrasound to check. Did an ultrasound on the tummy and couldn't find her, then had to do a vaginal ultrasound and found her. It was scary to be so far and feel like something could have happened. But it was just my silly uterus again and things were fine.

My thyroid meds had to be adjusted twice to make sure that things were okay and we had to do lots of bloodwork and checking but otherwise things were looking good. :-)

We were excited about going to our 20 week ultrasound to confirm things were going okay and find out what gender our little one was.

Dropout left work to come and we found out that we were having another little girl. Everything looked good on the ultrasound. She was being a little difficult and they couldn't do all the check off's they do at the 20 week ultrasound so we were told come back in 4 weeks to get the rest. But what they could see, looked good.

The plan was to come back in four weeks and get a look at the other organs and things we had been unable to see, then once a month for a growth check due to my autoimmune and thyroid issues.