Ken has whole-heartedly embraced being "LE's Dad." From feedings to diaper changes to bath time to being up at all hours of the night, he has definitely jumped into this new role with both feet. Not having been around many "itty bitties," I think that he was a little apprehensive at first, but he's getting more and more comfortable with each passing day. Each time I see him interacting with LE, I get a glimpse of the daddy he is becoming and I love what I see.
Trying to get someone to burp
Talking to Lola and trying to get her accustomed to LE
Since my sister had been in Pho.enix when LE arrived, she was only able to come to the hospital Friday before we headed home Saturday. She said that C & C were so excited to meet LE, but that she told them they would need to wait until she got home from the hospital. I told her that I wanted them to come over as soon as possible to meet the newest member of the family, so we made arrangements for them to come over Sunday.
Carter had a soccer game that afternoon, so they arrived shortly after he had played. Callen hadn't had a nap, so she was a little reserved. Sue scooped up LE and proceeded to unwrap her. She announced that she "loves little baby bird legs and arms with all the extra skin hanging off them!" She really made me laugh. Carter wanted a turn holding LE and he loved on her a little. Then Nick took a turn. Everyone tried to get Callen to hold her and love on her, but she was having NONE of it! Nick even tried to bribe her with five whole M&Ms--Carter begged her to kiss LE so they could have some, but she just wouldn't give in. She finally put out her finger and let LE grip it, but that's as close as she got. We decided that she was a little jealous that Sue had been loving on LE because when Sue passed her off to Nick, Callen climbed in Sue's lap and snuggled up to her. (Later, at home, Sue asked her what she thought of LE and Callen kept saying, "She's so little!" Sue figured that part of her reluctance was the fact that she hadn't been around little bitty babies before.)
Hanging out in the Mama.Roo
Aunt Sue checking out LE's "bird legs"
Kisses from Aunt Sue
Carter loving on LE
Carter looks like an "old pro" holding LE
Uncle Nick is a natural!
(Of course, he's had lots of practice.)
Callen checking out LE
Nick telling Callen that LE will give her FIVE M&Ms if she kisses LE
Carter shows Callen how easy it is.
The thought of M&Ms makes Callen consider giving LE some loving.
The Willis clan with the newest addition to our family
After LE's arrival, Ken went home to sleep and, due to the fact that I was on pain medication, the nurses took LE to the nursery so they could take care of her while I slept. At 3:30 A.M., the night nurse woke me up and said that LE's temperature had dropped several times over the past few hours and that they were moving her to the NICU for care and observation. In my groggy state, I told the nurse that if that was where LE needed to be, then she should be there. (Later, I found out that the night nurse had dreaded telling me about taking LE to the NICU, but she told the day nurse that I had a great attitude about it when she told me. My response, apparently, was not what she had expected, but who WOULDN'T want what's best for their child???) She told me that in the NICU, they would start an IV and give LE antibiotics in case she had an infection, put her in a warmer and monitor her temperature, and generally take good care of her. The nurse said it would take about an hour for them to get her settled and then I could visit her. She told me that she would be glad to take me down to see her when I got ready.
I immediately called Ken, woke him up out of a sound sleep and, with a calm voice that belied my feelings, told him what the situation was. I told him that there was no point in him coming up to the hospital right away since they were getting her settled, but that I would call him after I had gone to check on her and let him know what my observation was. After I hung up, I contemplated calling my mother, but decided to wait; there was nothing that she could do at 3:45 A.M. to help the situation and all I would do would be to wake her and my dad.
I tried to sleep, rather fitfully, for the next hour, and finally gave up. About 4:45, I caved and called my parents to tell them what was going on. After that, I called the nurse and asked if she or someone else was available to take me to the NICU. Very shortly, she wheeled in a wheelchair. I gingerly got into it and off we went!
The NICU was just one floor down. My first time to go down there, I was taken through the staff elevator and the "back way" rather than through the lobby that the general public went through. The NICU was designed to house up to 28 babies, but at the moment that LE was there, there were only about 15 babies being cared for there. I was wheeled into LE's room and she was in the warmer, hooked up to an IV, heart monitor, and a monitor for her respiration. The NICU nurse, Lisa, told me that LE admitted for hypothermia. She was going to be monitored for infection for the next 48 to 72 hours. Her temperature was better, but still not stabilized, so they kept her in the warmer. I stayed in the NICU until just before 7:00 and then was wheeled back upstairs to my room. I didn't want to miss seeing Dr. Bar.ron or Dr. Ha.mm (the pediatrician).
Peanut hooked up to all the monitors
On her stomach in the warmer
(The nurses said she had to be turned on her belly because she had to warmed all over, kind of like a rotisserie chicken. I was concerned about her being on her stomach and they said that she was ok because she was being monitored all the time.)
All bundled up, snug and warm
Dr. Hamm came by early and we talked. He said that since LE had been admitted to the NICU, he was going to take a back seat to the neonatologists since they were the specialists. He explained that there were many reasons that her temperature could go down like it did, one of which was a possible infection. He said that about 1% of babies were born with an infection which was why they immediately started her on antibiotics. He said that Dr. Me.na (the neonatologist who admitted LE) and the other two NICU doctors would monitor her and keep him informed of her progress. He said that they would most likely suggest that she be seen in the pediatrician's office a few days after she had been discharged. I thanked him for coming and he left.
Dr. Bar.ron came in before her office hours and checked me out. I filled her in about LE and we discussed just how long I would stay in the hospital and my concern about leaving before LE. She told me that she and I would discuss my progress and that we would talk about discharging me later on at the right time. I thanked her and she left.
Over the next several hours, LE's temperature improved, but she wasn't eating up to the standards that they thought she should be. They wanted her to be eating 40 ml of formula consistently and the nurses were having a time getting her to eat any more than 20 ml. I tried to feed her, but ended up with the same result and more frustrated. All the nurses were very encouraging and helped me and LE in every way they could. One if the nurses suggested that we try a sensitive version of the formula. After a day, LE was put into a crib and the took the warmer out of her room. After another day and a half, she was eating better and moving toward the 40 ml that she needed to get to before she could be discharged.
While she was in the NICU, LE had several visitors.
Aunt Em and Uncle Steve
After three days in the NICU, Dr. Me.na cleared LE for discharge! We were thrilled that the two of us would be going home together!
Peanut all wrapped up and happy
As a side note, I have nothing but WONDERFUL things to say about the facilities and staff at Brook.wood. Everyone I came in contact with was encouraging, helpful, and went out of their way to be sure that LE and I were taken care of. I can't thank them enough for helping us through these first few days of her life.
Friday, March 2, was my last day at school. I said, "Goodbye" to my students, but promised them that they would see me again before the year was out, even if it was only briefly. Ken and I spent a rather low-key weekend at home, venturing out one last time for dinner as a family of two.
A Last Picture of Me "pre-LE"
Monday, March 5, I had a doctor's appointment. Dr. Bar.ron had told me previously that it was at this appointment we would discuss induction if I hadn't progressed any more. Well, as luck would have it, I had not progressed and, after our discussion, we made the decision to admit me to the hospital Monday night to "move things along" and induce Tuesday.
Monday night was fairly uneventful in the hospital. Since all I was going to be doing was sleeping, for the most part, I told Ken to go home to sleep and he said that he would be back bright and early the next morning.
Spending the day in the hospital was a tough job
About 4:30 Tuesday morning, I began having some contractions and by the time Dr. Bar.ron came to check on me about 7:30, they had become much more intense. I had progressed some, but not enough to be in labor. She ordered the epidural, which was a great relief and said she would be back to check on me around lunch. I spent the rest of the morning reading, texting, and emailing, while Ken tried to entertain me and nap. When Dr. Bar.ron checked in during lunch, things hadn't progressed any further. She said she would be back after her office hours and, hopefully, I would have progressed and, if not, we'd discuss our options then.
I spent the afternoon pretty much doing the same things I had done that morning. And, again, when Dr. Bar.ron came back shortly after 5:00 P.M., nothing had changed. We discussed waiting as opposed to a C-section and Dr. Bar.ron was extremely frank with me, saying that with the fact that I hadn't progressed all day, the likelihood of progressing over the next few hours was not very high. So, after much discussion, I opted for a C-section. There wasn't anyone ahead of us in the OR, so things kicked into high gear. I was wheeled into the operating room shortly before 5:30 P.M. where I found that Dr. Dav.is (my doctor prior to Dr. Bar.ron) would be assisting in the surgery. I knew I was in good hands, Ken was with me, and I was ready to meet this little one who had been with me for the past 40 weeks.
The surgery was quick, went well, and at 5:51 P.M., we met LE! I was wheeled into recovery where we spent the first hour of her life having her checked out, poked and prodded, and were then moved to a room. When we arrived, my parents were there waiting. (There is a whole lot of those first few hours that are a blur due to the newness of everything and the pain medication I was on, so many of the pictures were taken by my mom to document what was going on.) Steve and Emily arrived shortly after we got in the room and we all celebrated LE's arrival for a few hours, watched while she had her first bath, was fed, and loved on by everyone. (Sue would have been there, but, unfortunately, she was in Phoenix attending a meeting for work.) After my family left, I sent Ken home and LE was taken to the nursery. I was exhausted, but SO VERY HAPPY!
She's finally here!
Meeting Big Pat and Bamma
Being loved on by Bamma
Aunt Em and Uncle Steve checking out the newest member of the family