Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two months old

Imagine my shock to realize that baby goat is two months old today. As slow as our time in the NICU was these two months have passed so quickly. While he is still only like a week and a half in his adjusted age he's growing everyday. Go baby goat!

Stay awake? Go to sleep? Tough baby choices...
Showing off our new bouncer and look how big we are getting!

The Birth Saga Part 2 - the delivery

When we last left our heroine she'd just received communion from friends in the hospital on Ash Wednesday night... (for Part 1 go here)

If I'm being honest with myself I knew the moment I woke up on Thursday morning that my time pre-delivery was very short. Every day I felt a little worse and despite the drug-induced sleep I was more tired, had a harder time focusing my energy and all around worse for the wear. This takes some talent since most of my time in the previous days involved lying in bed napping with wraps on my legs to prevent clotting.

So I was not really surprised when early that morning the Dr. came in and said that my platelets had dropped another significant amount and that we were going to deliver that day. "See you at 1:30!" she said. It was sort of helpful knowing it wasn't a "emergency" c-section - the kind where the baby is in distress and you have 20 minutes to make it happen. Still it was a shock to actually be at that point.

Earlier in the week we had briefly pondered induction over c-section, but Zy was perfectly content swimming around in there and my cervix showed no sign of wanting to let him out. So rather than risk the exhaustion and continued pressure on my body a c- section it was. Up until this point in my life I'd never been admitted to the hospital. I'd only had one surgery - my wisdom teeth. I'd only ever been to the ER once - possible allergic reaction that ended up being a badly burned throat instead. This week had been full of firsts for me, mostly ones I don't want to repeat.

All in all I think I was surprisingly calm on the outside while my insides were churning over the ideas of being cut open and my child delivered far too early. The one problem with having a c-section scheduled for the future (even just a few hours) is that you are left with plenty of time to consider all that could go wrong - a particular gift of mine. Even so I did have trust in my doctors and knew it was necessary at that point.

I texted my husband who was still at home, and my parents too. Thursday was a snow storm here and I was so grateful that my parents had the good sense to drive from WI on Wed in order to get to MN rather than Thurs as they'd been planning earlier in the week. It was nice to have them there. Luckily, there was also time to call Chris' family and get them up to the cities as well. Chris' sister left school to come up only to have school canceled an hour later. They found out just in time to make it before the roads got bad.

Then it was a waiting game. Honestly I don't remember much about this time. They had begun my magnesium sulfate - an awful drug to keep me from having a stroke due to my blood pressure so I was increasingly out of it. At some point in the early afternoon they came and gave me my epidural. I imagine that it must be a relief to get one when you are in the pain of labor, but to get one without having any pain means that you can just focus on the fact that a big a** needle is going into your back. Still, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting and before I knew it they'd tested it and I was back in bed waiting to go down to surgery.

And then the comedy of errors began. They tried to move my bed up but it wouldn't move. They were going to need to move my bed in order to get me on level with the surgical table but hadn't realized it didn't work until I was already prepped. So they called to the other nurses on other floors to come and try to move the bed. A flurry of nurses came through my room and couldn't get it working. Finally they were running late for surgery so they took me down anyway.

When we got downstairs they brought more nurses to try to get my table to move in the operating room. Again no luck. So they had to wheel me out of the OR, transfer me to a new bed, THEN wheel me back and transfer me to the operating table. I wish I could have just gotten up and gotten on the table myself but I was numb by that point mostly so they wouldn't let me.

So we got started a bit late but all was looking good. I couldn't feel a thing as we got going and finally I was all open and Mr. Goat was let into the room. And then the fun began. I didn't know much of what was going on as I couldn't see over the curtain. It was very surreal to be strapped down and have all this bustling going on around me.

The surgery seemed to progress quite quickly and all of a sudden we were at the point of getting Zy-goat out. Except, he didn't want out. The anethesiologists had warned me that they would be putting a lot of pressure on me to get the baby out but I was unprepared for just how much pressure and pain that would cause. I got quite nauseous and it was a really awful moment. Or rather it was an awful four moments because it took four attempts to get Zy-goat out of me. Considering that he was early and small you wouldn't think he'd be so stubborn to come out. Knowing him now, I can believe it though.

But since he didn't want to get out they had to use the suction to assist the doctor. I had never heard of them needing the vacuum on a c-section before but there you go. But eventually they did get him out, showed him briefly to Mr. Goat and swept him off to the warmer. Mr. Goat was able to go over there once they knew he was stable. I was left on the table trying to hear crying (there was some) and getting myself stitched back up.

Eventually they brought him wrapped up over for me to meet for a moment before taking him to the NICU. Mr. Goat when with the baby and I was left alone to be stitched up. I don't remember much of that at all and I'm sure I was essentially passed out. But the surgery was done.

The Birth Saga Part 3 - the aftermath coming soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The many faces of baby goat

Not a post with much content but I am a smitten sleep deprived mom after all. No smiles really yet (unless you count some gas here and there) but he is getting more alert and expressive everyday. Pretty good considering he is only a week and a half past his due date, of course he's also going to be two months old tomorrow. The reality of his developmental age is probably somewhere in between.

So enjoy the many faces of baby goat while I try to finish my birth story before much more time passes!







Thursday, April 23, 2009

Techie Mom

The other day I saw a post on a blog I sometimes read asking about facebook and women, specifically:

If facebook had existed in the 1950s would it have hurt or helped the feminist movement?

I didn't comment at the time as it was well in the midst of our NICU lifestyle but the thought has stayed with me, in particular as I have been pondering the ways that technology has made my life as a mother easier.

Case in point - two nights ago was a bad night with the baby. He didn't want to go down to sleep, he was gassy and fussy and it was just hard. So yesterday I logged into the blog and asked for some mom advice from my friends and readers. By evening I had several great answers from them. I was able to then figure out what might work for us. Swaddling is difficult because of the sling we have to use to keep him sleeping on an incline for his reflux but white noise sounded like a good try. So I logged onto itunes, downloaded some white noise CDs and set up the Ipod stereo in the nursery. Last night was much better. It still could be coincidence but the technology helped me make an attempt at solving the problem without actually spending much time away from the baby and without leaving the house.

So you see...technology has been hugely helpful and maybe most so in the simple ability to keep up with the lives of my friends and family by cell phone, blogs, facebook etc.

So it makes me wonder, would a similar social network have hurt feminism because housewives were better able to be connected and less disatisfied or would it have assisted their ablity to organize and move woman's equality further along? What do you guys think? And in what ways have technology made your life easier, particularly as a mom or dad?

So true!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Baby related questions

Here are a few random questions that I thought I ask the moms of you out there. Can you help me out with any of them?

* Tummy Time - how much, how often?

* Gas - suggestions for relief, particularly with reflux issues but just in general.

* White noise - helpful or not?

* Other secret tips and tricks that worked with your newborn?

Thanks in advance. If you have anything in particular that worked for you or that helped you get by we'd appreciate. It was a long night in the Goat household!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A week later - random thoughts

It has been a week since we came home from the hospital and I think we are doing pretty well. I am so glad that both Chris and I are at home right now as much as I'd like for Mr. Goat to find that perfect job. I am off work for six weeks now having been able to save my leave by going back to work when my vacation ran out. A week into it I'm completely overwhelmed by how fast this time is going to go. Now that we don't have to leave him everyday the thought of going back to work and leaving him at home sounds awful. And then of course if Mr. Goat does find a job (soon I hope) we'll have to decide about daycare or not and I'm sure that the dr. won't want him around other kids anytime soon. So on the one hand, having him home has ended a difficult part of this journey but there are still lots of unanswered questions to be solved. Luckily, a new baby brings the focus back to basic needs and not big questions so we are all just plugging along.

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I'm a bit surprised by my lack of identity crisis over becoming a mother. I know it is a big change and it is more challenging that I imagined but at the same time it suddenly seems to be a very natural part of my identity. I'm sure as things go on that I will want to reengage other parts of me but right now I'm pretty fine with this identity focus of mom. Of course getting into a mom role so naturally also means that I'm already well versed in guilt, worry and overanalyzing. Luckily I am just at versed in love, patience and joy. At least I like to think so.


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As fully as the mom role is to me right now, I love to see Mr. Goat as dad too. He is one of the most natural dads I've seen. I love to watch him with his son. It just warms me heart every time. One of my favorite things to do is eavesdrop over the monitor when he goes into get baby goat. *Melt*

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I'm hoping to get blogging more as I keep finding myself writing posts in my head but without the time or ability to write them as I think of them. Then they have disappeared in a fog of new mom haze. I don't want to be a blogger that just says "soon" all the time, but I really mean it. This is a time in my life that I want to document for myself, for our friends and relatives and for baby goat himself. So I'm going to put it out here to be accountable, so expect more soon.

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Breastfeeding is a struggle to the point were I have almost given up. It is more challenging that I expected to try every feeding and I really only get one attempt (if that in a day). I realize he needs more to make it work but it is frustrating for both of us. He is hungry and frustrated and I am sad that we can't make it work. His suck is messed us and even when we can both be calm enough to get him latched his attempts close off the milk and so he doesn't get it. I am glad I'm able to give him breastmilk but I wish the process could be easier. It is a real challenge to have to pump and care for baby 24/7 and I'd love to streamline the process.


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Hungry Baby: A Dialogue

Mr. Goat: You are going to have to go see mommy if you want food, she's the only one who has it.

Mrs. Goat: He prefers a bottle to mommy.

Mr. Goat: I like beer from a bottle...well, I like it from the tap first but the bottle is good.

Mrs. Goat: But aren't I the tap?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It has been 3+ days and we are all still alive. Baby goat had one weight check yesterday and gained 5 oz to get over 7lbs. I assume this means that we are doing something right. He had a home nurse visit today to give him one dose of a RSV shot to protect him on the tail end of cold/flu season. We've given him a bath. We've been peed on - Chris most recently. We are tired and we owe a huge thanks to my mom for doing laundry and dishes and general baby care to give us a break.

On the one hand it is going swimmingly. On the other it is harder than I could imagine. Even with help I long to stop pumping, stop washing bottles and sleep for a long stretch of time. But the things that bother me are not baby goat, they are the chores and daily details that are hard to work into the care of baby goat. And that makes me think that I'll be able to handle this mother thing.

Amazingly, while I still have anxiety I am not nearly as worried and jumpy as I expected to be. Maybe it is the exhaustion and it is still there but I've fallen into an emotional routine fairly well. Now if we can just find a physical routine we'll be great.

That's a quick update for you guys. Thank you for all your help, advice and prayers so far. All three of us are very grateful. Pictures coming soon I hope and I'm sure I'll have questions for you along the way. If you have any helpful figuring it out advice right now I'm sure I'd love to hear it.

In the meantime I'm off to see if the baby sleeping on me will sleep in his crib too...we'll see.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Home

Lent is 40 days plus Sundays and runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

Edward was born the day after Ash Wednesday Edward at 4 lbs 7 oz.

46 days later, or 40 days plus Sundays, on the day after Easter we were able to take Edward home. He weighed 6 lbs 13 oz.

I refuse to believe that this timing is a coinicidence.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Edward says, "Happy Easter!"

Happy Easter everyone! I hope that you've had a good Holy Week. It has been busy for me but not as busy as normal. Thursday was our Communion Banquet and one of our bigger events for work. It went well and people were great about helping out. This weekend has been a flurry of services and trying to finish up the nursery. You see word on the street is that baby goat may be getting out soon, maybe as soon as Monday.

Today we had worship and a bit of laundry, food, and cards. I was a bit twitchy in worship since it was the first year in approx 18 years that I haven't played trumpet in services. Still, I couldn't have really made it work this year. If E hadn't been born then I'd have been 9 months prgenant and the C-section scar isn't quite up to trumpet playing yet I don't think.
Later this afternoon we are going to be 24/7 at the hospital getting associated with baby goat's schedule and cues even more. Tomorrow depending on how things are going...home. If not Monday, hopefully Tuesday. I am warily confident but I do know that things can change with the NICU is involved. Often a step forward is followed by 1/2 step back. Still...it is coming.

In the meantime he's enjoying his Easter spoils, including the adorable outfit from grandma B! It is a good Easter - full of hope that the baby will be coming home soon.

The End of this NICU journey is in sight?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Snippits

Test results - improved.

Reflux - medicated.

Breastfeeding - frustrating.

Home date - unknown.

Mommy - tired.

Birth story - soon.

Thank you notes - unwritten.

Holy Week - busy.

House - messy.

State of mind - hopeful.

Blogging - lame!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Baby Rage - a working definition


Baby Rage: The result of having to put your reflux-suffering infant in his crib to leave him at the hospital while you run to a meeting you are already late for. Again. *Sniffle*

Monday, April 06, 2009

Two important items.

1. Baby goat has his second sleep study overnight tonight. This will see if his apnea has lessened. I know that his spells surrounding his reflux/eating continue so I'm not sure what this means. Perhaps Zantac. Perhaps going home on a monitor. Perhaps not going home just yet. But a lot of it depends on what this test shows tonight. I'm very torn - desperately wanting him home and not wanting to put him in danger by being too impatient and moving things too quickly. Today we wait and see what this test will hold. Prayers that the test will be an accurate result for him so we have a full picture and for the doctors to make the right decisions. Prayers for a mom too who has to see him with some more wires tonight...

2. On the other side of the spectrum, it is Mr. Goat's birthday today! I can't imagine life without him and even when things have been hard and unexpected (this year especially) I can't think of anyone I'd rather face challenges with. So please stop by and wish him a Happy Birthday in the comments...delurk even. He deserves all the good wishes the internet can muster. Happy Birthday Mr. Goat! I love you!

Friday, April 03, 2009

My Lenten Journey 2009: Life in the NICU

As a church worker and general faithful person I find that my life is often defined as much (if not more) by the church calendar than by the secular one. Church festivals are looked forward to as much as secular holidays and often it seems strange to celebrate one and not another (Halloween and All Saints for example).

Of all of the church seasons however one of my very favorites is Lent - a 6 week period of time to reflect and ponder the wonders of God's work in the world and our response to it. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. It concludes with Holy week and officially ends on Easter with the resurrection.

Lent is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline, reflection and meditation on the work of God in the world and in our own lives. The story of Holy Week brings this time to a powerful close with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which brings about the ultimate gift of grace for all people - the end of death's power in the world and the forgiveness of our sins.

Normally for Lent I try to give up something or take on a specific discipline to help keep me thoughtful during the season. But finding myself in the hospital 5 days before Ash Wednesday took this year's decision from my mind. Thanks to a friend I did receive ashes and communion on Ash Wednesday and was able to hear the words " You are dust and to dust you shall return."

The next day I went to surgery and delivered my son 7 weeks early by c-section. It was the only way to cure the pre-eclampsia that was threatening to shut down my own body. Five weeks later on the cusp of the most important week in church calendar I am thinking anew about this unexpected Lenten journey I have been given.

Firstly there is your own bodily recovery. Surgery and life-threatening diseases are hard on the body. My Lent began with a much more real understanding of pain and (though my doctors kept me and my son quite safe) the reality of death in the world. It also meant that my decision for what to give up for Lent this year was made for me: Control. For the last 5+ weeks I have not had control - my body did, the doctors, Edward's needs...these things were in charge. It was clear that I had no power to control my situation. If I had Edward would still be in utero, or at very least home from the hospital already. Though it was a stressful thing to give up my control over this situation I realized that it is only with God's help that we are able to lift up those things (terrifying as they can be) that our out of our control: An unexpected yet important Lenten lesson.

Normally my Lent is filled with worship services - Sundays and Wednesdays. Instead I've been to one service but my Lent is filled with trips to the NICU. This is my home, and work, and place of worship until my son comes home. But life in the NICU is strangely parallel to a lenten journey. It is hard and if you are being honest, it is not something you would ever choose. Everyday you look towards an escape from the humaness of it all. An escape from the fear of death to a new Easter morning.

And you fight with your demons during this time. There is guilt - did I cause this somehow? And bargaining - please let him come home soon? And joy - he is off is oxygen, or his feeding tube, or is over 6 lbs (can you believe it?). And hope - soon and very soon...

Above all there is prayer. You pray continuously for the health and wellbeing of the small (too small) child you brought into the world. But even in your own bubble of the NICU you find yourself praying outside the needs of you and your tiny family. You see the new admitants - more too small babies with chests gasping for air. You hear words whispered in the shadows between nurses...oxygen levels, infection, spinal tap, mengitis. You see the neonatalogists having to look up symptoms in their big book of baby maladies striving to diagnose another child's pain or fever. You hear the cries of hunger, the cries of pain, and the cries of a mother frustrated and scared with the whole situation. You see mom's wheeled in from surgery, bleary eyed - joyful and fearful at the same time. And you pray. You pray for those beginning their lenten journey. You pray that theirs can be shorter than your own. You pray continuously for the health and wellbeing of the small (too small) children brought into the world - your own included.

And you watch as time ticks along and progress is made. The Lenten journey of the NICU has no defnite time frame. Your Easter could come in two days, or weeks, or months. Ours is paralleling the church calendar and I hope that on personal Easter will be soon as the real Easter approaches, but above all you know that it is not in your control. So you seek to be disiplined - to grow in patience and hope and faith as you see signs of Easter coming towards you. And you wait for the day that you can say with the community around you "Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!" "My Son comes home to me today! Alleluia!"

You wait on the hope that it is coming soon with the Alleluia waiting to burst from your lips in joy.