Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One Of The Hardest Months Of My Life

To say this first month of taking care of 4 kids under the age of 4 has been difficult would be an understatement!  Yet, I'm pretty sure it would be difficult even without Cruz. Cruz has been the best baby I could have hoped for! It's the other three that haven't been such a dream.  An almost terrible two and two trying three year olds, that's 3 toddlers under one roof!....testing the boundaries, hitting, fighting, time outs, the list goes on.  I'd like to say that I handle every situation perfectly but that would be such a lie! I'm a little sleep deprived these days too and I think for most when sleep is in a shortage so is patience.  There are times where I talk calmly with my boys and explain things nicely and pretty much rock the teachable moments.  And then there are times where I couldn't have handled it worse if I tried.  I'm know that I am doing my best and I keep praying for the patience and wisdom I need to make it through the day.  The Lord will help me guide these young peeps, I am confident in Him.

Then there are these moments that they all get along, crack me up with their creativity and imagination or are so helpful and immediately respond with an "okay mommy!", these are the moments that just melt my heart and re-energize me daily.

On mother's day we dedicated Cruz.  We had dedicated Vincent & Landen on Mother's day 2011 and Jacob on Mother's day 2013 so it was perfect to be able to dedicate Cruz on that special day too.  It was kind of hard being only 2.5 weeks post partum and only a week since my hospital stay but it meant a lot to us to celebrate on that day. 

Most of our family was able to help us celebrate with a lunch at our house afterwards.  Uncle Stephen and his collared shirt sporting buddy....

Cruz's cord took 4 weeks to fall off! FOUR! That thing was starting to stink AND I couldn't give him a regular bath until it fell off.  Pour guy kept getting sponge baths and I'm sure that little nub of a cord bothered his little belly button.  So here he is a month old and FINALLY getting a legit bath.

He can lift his head up like a champ 

All clean!

He has settled into such a nice predictable schedule! He is constantly stretching his night time out! (He is actually 5 weeks old today) Last night he went 7 hours in between feedings! I think I have hope for sleeping through the night sometime in the next couple of months.

You can find Cruz in a total of 4 places in the house.

1. His pack-n-play in the living room

2. The swing in the living room

3. His bouncer in the living room

4. Or sleeping in the pack-n-play in our room (at night time only)

Every once in awhile he gets couch time or floor time but that's only if Ryan or I can be right next to him.  Toddlers aren't exactly gentle people when it comes to babies.

Vincent and Landen just love their baby brother!

But not quite like Jacob.  Jacob pays so much attention to him.  He is always talking to him "look Cruz! It's okay Cruz. I'm sorry Cruz."  And he says Cruz so darn cute. I hope these two become best buds.  Because they will be sharing a room!! (Which I will post pictures of as soon as it's done)

Using him as a road for his fire engine

A few things that have made this month especially hard have been the times where I breastfeed or bottle feed Cruz.  It's like the boys know I can't get up right away so that is when they test the boundaries the most! My mom bought them some play food and money and I only bring it out while I'm feeding Cruz.  This has helped so much! They prepare food for me and give me "tastes" of what they make and they buy things from each other using their money.

Another thing that makes my life juuuust a littttle be harder....This guy, Jacob, clipping the straps on the swing and the bouncer. EVERY time he walks by them he checks to see if they are clipped or not.  This is all fine and dandy until I go to put the baby in them and I have to unclip them one handed while I'm holding Cruz.  Thanks but no thanks Jacob!

And of course the fire season makes my life harder!! Ryan was gone for a week and a half this month to the San Diego fires.  I can handle 3 days by myself but 11 days, not so much! We are ALL missing him by then!  This is just the beginning of a very busy fire season I'm sure! 

And he misses us!

I am happy to say that even though it is hard, I have survived that first month! This cute guy and my other 3 kiddos make it all worth it.

Here is proof that I DO manage to get out of the house! 2 on the bike, 1 on the tricycle and 1 in the stroller....I got this!

I'm pretty much recovered from all things medical. My c-section incision is all healed up and I see my cardiologist on Friday for a follow up appointment but I pretty sure I'm all recovered in that aspect as well.
Thank you to all of you who kept me and my family in your prayers! And a big thank you to all of my family of friends who have brought us meals, things for the boys or just come over to hang out with me.  Your love and kindness is appreciated!

And just something funny, These two couldn't be MORE different but they sure do sleep the same....

*** In efforts to keep my blog public but still a safe place to document my life, I will be watermarking my photos. Just for safety purposes***

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cruz Jeremiah

Here are a few of my favorite newborn pictures of Cruz. The talented Becca of Becca and Her Camera took them.  I was actually sick in the hospital when she went to our house to take the pictures.  I love them and can't wait to show you what I'm going with them in his nursery.  

There were a few pictures of all 4 boys together.  They aren't necessarily all smiling or even all looking at the camera but what can you expect from 3 toddlers! At least the newborn cooperated!!

*I watermarked the pictures for my blog because my blog is public and I don't want anyone steeling Becca's work*

My FOUR Boys...

As I was looking through these pictures they just kept bringing me back to Jacob's newborn pictures.  This particular angle, looking down the nose, is identical for the two of them so I created a side by side.  Cruz on the left and Jacob on the right....This is why Ryan and I both said he looked like Jacob the first time we saw him.

Cruz will be 1 month old in a few more days!! I hope to soon write about what this last month has been like. And Landen has something fun coming his way this week so I will talk about that soon too!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Birth Story. A Nightmare With A Happy Ending

(This is long....but I know some people want to know what happened to me)

April 23rd was the charted day.  A scheduled C-Section.  About two months prior to my due date I wasn't feeling all that great. I thought it was because I was working full time and then taking care of 3 littles when I got home...I was just tired. But now looking back, this all may have been a sign of what was to come.  I elected to be taken off work early two weeks earlier than planned.  The time off helped but I was still exhausted and more than ready to have this baby! I thought/hoped that maybe I wouldn't make it to my scheduled day since I didn't make it last time with Jacob. NOPE. Here it was April 23rd.  

Just a week prior, I was informed that My C-Section time had been changed from 7 o'clock AM to 3 o'clock PM!! NOT NICE! I was not a happy camper about that one.  Keep in mind you can't eat or drink 8 hours prior to surgery. 

It was so strange getting things packed up and ready and then waiting until 1 o'clock to roll around.  We got to the hospital and I checked in..."Hi, my name is Heidi and I'm having a baby at 3 o'clock" so weird!!  My previous two cesarians were not planned, things were more rushed, and I didn't have time to sit in the waiting room feeling anxious and nervous. 

We were called back to a room.  They started my IV and started the process of getting me prepped.  Ryan was in quite the mood. Those nurses were feeling sorry for me!! He was making everything into a joke and he thought he was oh so funny.  "So how soon can she get back to mowing the lawn and cooking dinner?" He had me in tears I was laughing so much, it was nice that the mood was light and we were both excited to see what this little guy was going to look like.
At 2:15 they came to wheel me back to surgery. Alright! They weren't just on schedule, they were early! The anesthesiologist introduced herself to me and then introduced the gentlemen next to her.  He was an intern in training.  

Before Ryan was allowed in they placed my spinal...and by they I mean the intern.  He put the needle in my back and then every time he shot the medication into my spine I would jolt in pain.  I was feeling it in my lower left hip, multiple times I would feel this sharp pain. (I have never felt pain like that in the other two c-section) They started testing out my numbness.  Putting an alcohol pad on my face and then my belly...."is this cold or is this cold?" I was thinking...they are both cold! Then I started freaking out in my mind, like they couldn't get me numb and I was going to feel this entire surgery.  They lowered the table so my head was down towards the floor and my feet were up in the air.  They were trying to get the numbness to cover my entire belly.  Again with the alcohol pad on my face and then on my sternum.  This time I couldn't feel it.  So I was finally numb.  

Ryan came in just as they were starting the incision. Then out came this beautiful baby!! Both Ryan and I said he looked like a darker version of Jacob. And he wailed, such a good strong cry.

(As I am writing this I am so disappointed at the lack of pictures we have.  He really is the baby of the family when he hardly has any pictures of himself)  So not even a picture of him next to me while I'm on the surgery table. :(

Ryan stayed with the baby while I was being sewn up. It took a little longer this time since I had elected for tubal ligation.  While they were performing that part of the surgery I started feeling really strange.  Like I was doped up and could hardly keep my eyes open.  I would close my eyes for what I assume to be only seconds and then I would be gasping for air as if I had just completely forgotten to breath.  I told them I was feeling funny. They assured me that I would be okay.  As I was laying there I heard the intern talking to the anesthesiologist.  She was giving him some tips and talking about some techniques and then he said "I knew I was going to go in on one side because I couldn't feel...." and then he rattled off some anatomy word that I didn't catch.

At the same time I was listening to the nurses telling Ryan how and where to cut the cord.  Again I wish I had a picture.  The nurse took this one....I mean you see the cord that was just cut?! ya, I didn't think so. Picture opp failure!

 This was all the fun stuff Ryan got to see while I was being stitched up.

Weight 8 lbs 15.5 oz. I mean he basically rounded up to a 9 pound baby! 21.25 inches long.

Little feetsies

Clean bill of health!!! I don't know why, during this pregnancy more than the other two, I had this worry of having a baby with a birth defect or illness.  My prayer focus for him was to be alive and healthy and no matter what condition he was born with I was going to love him unconditionally.   I'm praising the Lord for this little boy.

Okay, this picture of Ryan...I specifically remember seeing him in the rocking chair in the side room next to where I was wheeled to for recovery.  I remember fighting to keep my eyes open to look at him.  I was so out of it at this point in the recovery room.  They were taking my blood pressure every two minutes (which indicated to me that I wasn't doing well)
I was finally stable enough to hold the baby but it seemed like I had to wait longer this time.  Try breastfeeding your son for the first time when they tell you not to move your arm with the blood pressure cuff.   Not easy to do one handed.  I wanted to bond with him but at the same time I wanted to close my eyes.  I have never felt like that before.

We were wheeled to our room, where they gave him his first bath.

 At this point Ryan and I are still trying to decide on his name!  We came into the day with two names in mind.  After he was born, Ryan liked one name and I thought the other name fit him better.  It took us awhile to decide because I was having such a hard time concentrating.  I was so out of it still.  We ended up combining the two names.  The first name was the one I liked with the middle name being the one Ryan liked.

That's why he was born around 3 pm but we didn't let friends and family know until well after 5 pm.  We finally had a name...

Cruz Jeremiah.

We didn't get a picture of him with all of his visitors and I so wish we had.  He is already loved by so many.

Throughout my stay in Mother Baby, I just never felt "right" I had a lot of belly pain and thought that was due to air trapped in my body from the surgery.  My feet started to swell. I was told that was normal. (I never had swelling feet after my previous two c-sections)  I was discharged Friday the 25th.

Going Home
We got home during the boys' afternoon naps. I put Cruz in our bedroom so the boys wouldn't see him when they woke up.  Then we had them sit on the couch and wait for me to go get their baby brother.  They were so sweet with him! Jacob was afraid to touch him but he was probably the most excited about seeing his baby brother.  They all say "Cruz" so cute!

For the rest of the evening Vincent kept telling me his "treasure map" said that "baby brother Cruz is home"

Saturday came and went but I kept answering the "how are you doing" questions with a "I don't know, I just don't feel well". I was low on energy, my stomach hurt but I thought that was because I hadn't gone to the bathroom since before the surgery.  I was able to go a little on sunday but by late Sunday night and early Monday morning, I was having a lot of abdominal pain and I was having a hard time catching my breath sometimes.  If I took a deep breath in, it would hurt.

I called my OB Monday morning.  She sent me to Labor and Delivery triage.  Labor and Delivery triage doesn't treat POST partum patients so they sent me to the doctors office.  Once I got there and before I was even seen by the doctor, the sent me to the Emergency room. (I was very irritated at this point, but felt too crummy to care)

ER did blood tests, an x-ray, and an ultrasound (in which the tech was sooo rough and stuck his probe thing directly on my incision which sent me squealing in pain. Apparently he had never been informed that I just had a c-section!) 

ER concluded that I was super backed-up and constipated. They had me do an enema and sent me home with meds that would continue to help "clean out my system".  I felt some relief in my stomach and chest but I still didn't quite feel right.  We were gone from 10:00 to 5:00 that day!

Tuesday I weighed myself and I had gained 3 pounds in 3 days!!! Gained!! After having a baby you're supposed to lose weight pretty easily at first.  My feet were swelling more and more and my clothes were feeling tighter.

This is just the start of my swelling, it isn't even how bad my feet got.

Tuesday afternoon I got a pretty sudden onset of a headache.  I tried to lay down flat but I couldn't breathe with the tightness in my chest.  I tried to sleep in the recliner but couldn't get my head comfortable.  I decided to stop my pain meds from the c-section and wait until they cleared my system so I could take excedrin migraine.  After waiting a few hours I took two excedrin and it did nothing for my headache.  At this point I thought I would just sleep it off.  I went to bed around 10:00. By 12:30 I had not slept and my headache was worse and Ryan said my breathing wasn't right.  So he called my mom to come get me and take me in.  We got the ER around 1:00 AM.  Once I got to a bed and on the monitors they noticed my heart rate was extremely low. Normal is 60-100 bpm, mine was 38.  And I had high blood pressure 172/93.  I NEVER had issues with my blood pressure during any of my pregnancies.  With those two symptoms and the extreme onset of swelling in my feet (and my hands too at this point)  they suspected pre-ecamplsia, which can occur up to 12 weeks post partum. (did you know that!? I didn't!)  They did a urinalysis and my urine came back negative for protien. Which kind of rules out that idea.  They then said it could be post partum cardiomyopathy.  My BNP level was 800 (normal is less than 99). This test indicates fluid on the heart ultimately measuring congestive heart failure.  It was pretty scary to have the heart pads on and then have the ER doctor tell me he was admitting me to the cardiovascular intensive care unit.    My chest x-rays showed fluid built up in my lungs.
They gave me Lasix which immediately started draining the fluid from my body.  As my body was getting rid of the fluids my blood pressure started to decrease.  My pulse remained in the 30's for the rest of Wednesday.  

In my bed in the CV-ICU

By Thursday mid morning they moved me to the Telemetry floor since my heart issues were resolving themselves.  My heart rate was in the mid 40s all day Thursday and my BNP was down in the 600s.  It was nice being moved to a floor where I could take a shower but my headache was still lingering.  The hospital made an exception to the "no kids under 12 allowed" rule and let Cruz come spend some time with me.  That afternoon they drew another BNP and this time is was down in the 300s.  By Friday morning my blood pressure was back to normal, my heart rate was in the high 40s, low 50s and my headache was just a lingering tension headache from muscle pain.  I had been treated for tension headaches before and gone to physical therapy for it in the past.  I've been prescribed out patient physical therapy to hopefully give me relief.  I think my neck muscles are out of whack because I haven't been sleeping well and must have slept on it wrong.

I was discharged Friday evening.  It was so nice coming home!  I'm not 100% myself yet.  Still a little low on energy and my neck is still stiff and spasms every once in a while.  But i sure am so much better than I was just 5 days ago!

I will follow up with a cardiologist in a couple of weeks but it is not suspected that I will have any lingering heart problems or damage from this incident. My echocardiogram in the hospital looked normal but they will repeat that during my follow up just to be sure my heart is okay.
If you want to read up on this condition search post partum cardiomyopathy.  It happens in about 1 out of 4,000 births.  It is unknown why it happens but I strongly believe that it happened because my spinal was not done correctly and they ended up numbing me too high up.  My heart could not keep up, therefore my body was retaining fluid.

I want to thank all of the prayer warriors out there that kept me in your thoughts.  It was a scary few days and I honestly don't think, even today, that I completely understand how sick I really was.  I'm so thankful to be back home with my 4 boys!.....okay, really 5 boys....

Cruz is such a cute mixture of Vincent, Landen and Jacob. I love that I can see all three of them in Cruz.
He has dark hair like Vincent and a hairy back like Vincent had as a newborn.
He has a smaller head and ears like Landen has
He has the same nose and mouth as Jacob

I have this outfit I bought for Vincent and Landen around Easter time the year they were born.  They were 7 weeks old when they wore it.  Jacob is in the middle at 5 days old. And Cruz on the right at 5 days old. (This just makes me realize how small Vincent and Landen were!)

Cruz is such an easy baby!!! I think I've heard him cry less than 5 times total!! I have to wake him up to feed him.  He is so content even when he's waiting to be fed.  The night schedule is FABULOUS so far.  He eats back to back feedings usually at 7:30ish and 9:30ish and then he sleeps until 3.  I feed him around 3 and he doesn't wake up until 7.  I'm am so thankful he is doing so well. I'm loving the one mid-night feeding routine!  Ryan says he's waiting for the day for him to snap and realize he's got a set of lungs!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Cruz

All three boys have had a mild cough/runny nose and the possible start of pink eye which Jacob had come down with before Cruz was born.  So we were trying to keep the boys away from Cruz as much as possible.  Vincent got to feed him the other day and he was sooooo excited. I'm looking forward to more and more interaction between Cruz and the boys.

Ryan goes back to work tomorrow.  Thankfully, My Grandma is in town and I'm so grateful she will be here most of the next three days to help me!  We will survive!