March 03, 2015

A Simple, Beautiful Sunday

Sunday was a simple, sweet day. It's a perfect example of why we tried so hard for nearly a decade to become parents.

I know I don't post nearly as much as I used to (I'm typing this at 1 a.m., when I should be sleeping, I realize), but there were so many pain-filled posts along the way that now I want to try to balance them out with the heaven-filled ones.

It was a few minutes after 8 a.m., and R and I were trying to sleep in. We started to hear Mr. Z make some noises in his crib at the foot of the bed.

I kept hoping that if we just laid there quietly, I could will Mr. Z to stop thinking that the rays of sunlight sneaking in through the tiny spaces between the shutter slats meant a fun new day was about to start.

It didn't work. Darn!

R got up and got him and brought him back into bed with us. We don't get as many snuggle moments where it's just the two of us and Mr. Z, like we did with Miss A when she was this little. So we drank it up, just laying there quietly on a Sunday morning, in bed with our sweet son who was smiling and giggling and enjoying the dedicated attention.

After a few minutes, we heard Miss A chime in on the monitor. She had gotten good sleep, so she woke up in a cheery mood. "DAAA-DY!!" she hollered. "It's time to WAKE. UP!!!"

We laughed. I went and got her and brought her back into bed with us. The four of us cuddled up, giggling and tickling each other. I just enjoyed us being there, marveled at the fact that we are a family, that we have children, that our bed is full of this joy and happiness and everything that I dreamed a family to be.

We had a children's birthday party to attend later that morning, so we eventually had to climb out of bed and get ourselves moving.

Everyone had fun at the party, and then Miss A got to spend several hours with her grandma and papa (R's parents) before coming home.

As she, Mr. Z, and I were in her room getting her ready for bed, at first I planned to sit with both of them on my lap and read to them like we often do. But the morning had been so wonderful that I decided we should reprise it.

So I called to R, and once again the four of us climbed into our bed, this time with "Good Night, Elmo".

First, Miss A "read" to all of us, telling us about the pictures in the book. She has enough of it memorized that she was saying it almost word for word, enough to make me wonder if maybe she really can read some of the words already. (Doubtful, I know, since she is not quite 3 yet.) Then we had R read the book again, so that Mr. Z could hear all of the actual words and get a better view of the pictures.

We snuggled some more, and then I gave Miss A a gentle reminder that I would be taking her into her room in a couple of minutes. Amazingly, when the time came, she went without complaint. Mr. Z was also cooperative about being moved into his crib.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. It was the kind of day we dreamed about for all those years. Those dreams are what kept propelling us forward. The most incredible thing is that they're not dreams anymore - we actually get to live those moments. They're simple, and they're perfect.

January 15, 2015

Baby Z Update: Home, Recovering, and Rolling

My apologies for not posting an update sooner. Baby Z was able to come home from the hospital on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Christmas stretched out for us for 4 days, then I went back to work on Dec. 31 and have been working 10- to 12-hour days ever since (including all weekend days so far), hoping for my first full day off this coming Sunday. Whew!

We weren't sure Z was going to make it home for Christmas, but he was able to come home the afternoon of Christmas Eve after meeting all 3 criteria the hospital had set for him: 1) sleeping through a night without oxygen while keeping his oxygen level at 90 or above, 2) being able to stay hydrated while on only breast milk (meaning without the support of IV fluids), and 3) his secretions reducing to a level that we could manage at home, i.e. no longer needing deep suctioning with a tube down the back of his throat.

We were all totally exhausted, so we took it very easy on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Miss A opened her gifts from us on Christmas morning, then we went over to R's parents' house on that Saturday, where the kiddos had a ton more gifts to open. And then they received yet more gifts from some friends of my mom's on Sunday, so Christmas turned into a multi-day event - what kid doesn't love that?!

In other news...

R and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary a few days after Christmas. Where has the time gone? I remember planning a surprise 25th anniversary party for his parents when we were first married, and now we're almost to that milestone ourselves! That phrase "the days are long but the years are short" sure is true.

In November, Miss A was fitted for a partial bridge to replace her two top front teeth, which she lost as the result of an accident at day care last May. The bridge finally arrived last week, so we took her in to have it cemented into place. Um, yeah, not so much. That lasted all of about 5 hours, and then as we were driving down the street, I hear her say, "Here, mommy, take my teeth!" I look back, and sure enough, she's holding the bridge out to me. She had managed to pop it out of her mouth. So we're going back again tomorrow, and hopefully this time they'll use stronger cement. Now I'm a bit nervous about her being able to get it out and choke on it during the middle of the night. Wish us luck tomorrow!

Baby Z still has a bit of a cough and a tiny bit of congestion, but overall he is feeling well. The doctors and nurses warned us that the cough could last for a couple of months. That was my experience when I caught a rare adult strain of RSV in my early 20s, so I wasn't surprised by that news. Other than that, he's doing well - happy, smiling, and he rolled over from his back to his tummy for the first time today!

He is growing up so quickly. R and I keep having a discussion about the possibility of #3. Actually, "discussion" is probably not the most accurate word. The conversation goes something like this, every single time: Me: "I'm not sure I'm ready to be done yet. It might be nice to have a third one." R, before I finish the word "might": "NO. NO. NO. NO. Did I mention, NO? Two is more than enough. So, NO!" I suppose he deserves points for being consistently firm in his convictions. I, on the other hand, continue to remain unsure and debate the question in my head.

Happy New Year! May it be a year that overflows with joy and happiness for you and your family!

December 22, 2014

Baby Z Is In the Hospital

I didn't think he was that sick.

The week before last, 6 of the 8 babies in the infants' room at day care were home sick. He was one of the two who remained healthy. As far as I know, none of them had to be admitted to the hospital.

We thought that we had somehow avoided the inevitable - that we got lucky or that he had a strong immune system for a 4-month-old or a combination of both.

On Thursday, he developed a fever of 101.5 at the end of the day at day care. On Friday, Tylenol was controlling his fever (we only gave it when he reached 101 or higher), he was nursing well, and he was his normal happy, smiley self.

That night, he started to become fussy. He didn't want his last nursing session, and we could hear the cough with a bit of wetness start to develop. We had him sleep in his bouncy seat since that put him at an incline. He woke up and fussed several times, but we were always able to get him back to sleep, and he even nursed at 2:30 a.m.

Since he had a rough night, I called the pediatrician's office when they opened on Saturday morning and asked for a same-day sick appointment. (We're lucky that our Pedi's office is open half days on Saturdays and Sundays.)

The pediatrician told us pretty much what I expected - 'tis the season, crud is going around, keep him hydrated (using Pedialyte if necessary), use a humidifier (we already were), and suction his nose if needed (it wasn't). He checked his oxygen saturation level, saw that it was a bit low (in the low 90s) but said it was because the machine couldn't get a good reading with all the kicking Z was doing.

We went home, and he ate well at his next feeding. But then the feeding after that, he wouldn't eat, he was being fussy and we couldn't get him settled, and his fever, which had risen to 103.4, had only come down to 102.6 an hour after the most recent dose of Tylenol.

We decided I would take him to the ER, just to be safe. I figured they would look at me, say, "Lady, crud is going around. Keep him hydrated, use a humidifier, go home." We decided R would not come with us, since there were Christmas gifts to wrap and chores to do and he himself was still recovering from the flu, despite all of us having gotten flu shots in the beginning of October.

Despite the crud going around, we were the only ones in the pediatrics ER waiting room. We were taken into triage quickly. His temperature was 102.8, and his oxygen sat was in the low 80s. The triage nurse dialed the nurse's station. Then she ordered, "Grab your bags, let's move!"

Suddenly, we were in a scene from ER. There were 2 people already in the room when the 3 of us got there, and the doctor and one more person came rushing in. They were grabbing things off the walls, the doctor was rapid-fire ordering procedures, tests, and treatments, someone grabbed an oxygen mask and put it on Z while another person started working on an IV.

I stood against the wall, dazed, confused, watching my not-even-5-month-old become part of a medical drama.

I stepped out to call R. "Um, I think you need to come down here, now." The ER doc heard me and called out, "He's (meaning the baby) going to be staying." When I hung up with R and stepped back into the room, the doc looked at me and said, "Ma'am, your baby is SICK."

He wasn't meaning it as an indictment, he was just trying to get me to understand the gravity of the situation. I was still stunned. Z hadn't been screaming uncontrollably. He had been fussy, but he didn't seem particularly weak or limp. In fact, he fell asleep on the drive to the ER and did not make a single peep the whole time we were checking in, except for one tiny cough that even a totally healthy baby might have made. Because of his total calmness through that process, I had almost decided to turn around and go home.

It's a good thing I didn't.

He has pneumonia.

And RSV.

And enterovirus.

I feel so guilty. How could I have not known he was so sick?

People keep saying, "You must be so scared..." They're referring to him being in the hospital. But I'm not actually scared about that. He's on oxygen, he's getting IV fluids, he's getting respiratory services, so I feel that he's getting the care he needs to make a full recovery. And given our medical histories in the past decade, the medical setting doesn't intimidate us or even faze us.

What scares me is that I didn't know he was so sick.

That I almost made a bad call by almost turning around and leaving.

That I could have been trying to take care of a baby at home with pneumonia and two viruses and not even know it.

Yes, I realize he would have continued to get sicker and we would have realized at some point that it was truly necessary to take him to the ER, rather than just take him out of an abundance of caution. But what if we would have realized too late? There but for the grace of God go I.

Thankfully, after 2 more rough nights, he seems to have turned a corner.

He was able to come off the oxygen for a few hours this afternoon before having to go back on it, and the treatments the respiratory services team are doing are helping him to breathe easier today, which translates into him being able to rest more and both of us getting more sleep. The pediatrician doing rounds today said we may be able to be home in time for Christmas, but no guarantees yet.

I'm just glad I decided to err on the side of being overly cautious.

December 08, 2014

Joyous Sounds

I am sitting here on the couch, working on making photo gifts for Christmas, while R is changing Mr. Z's diaper on the changing table right behind me. He is making silly faces at Mr. Z, who is giggling and laughing and giggling some more.

His giggles are making me giggle.

How is it that this is my life now? I ask myself that question every morning and every night. It still all feels like a dream.

September 18, 2014

More pictures

I have a dozen posts in my head - about learning to juggle caring for two kiddos, about how incredibly full my arms and heart feel when I'm holding both of them at the same time, about the mommy guilt that came with circumcision, about how we're finding our rhythm, about how I'm working toward making a major change and keep debating whether to stick with the plan (which involves staying the course for the next 2.5 years) or seizing the moment and just going for it now (or, at least, in the next 6 months).

None of those have made it out of my head and onto a screen yet. But, we did get the digital images this week from the photo session we did when Z was 2 weeks old, so I thought I'd share a couple. It's hard to believe he will already be 2 months next week!

Such a sweet smile.

One of my favorite photos ever. Pure joy. So thankful.

August 03, 2014

Pictures

I was going to write another post but then realized I hadn't put up the pictures I had promised. The days fly by in a blur! Life with a toddler and a newborn is even more chaotic than I had expected. Chaotic, but wonderful.

Without further ado, photos of Mr. Z:

In his going-home outfit.

I love how his eyes are open for this one. Interestingly, Miss A's eyes were open for this pose, too. For both of them, it was the only pose in their entire photo shoots where they didn't have their eyes closed. I wonder if it's something about the pose that makes them open?

His sister is a blondie (like their dad), but he has a full head of dark hair, like his momma.

July 26, 2014

He's Here!

R and I are thrilled to announce that Za.cha.ry arrived as scheduled this morning via a C-section that went very well. So far, his temperament is proving to be very much like his dad's - he is mellow, quiet, and rarely makes a fuss.

Mr. Z had been measuring in the 80th percentile range for abdominal girth, so I was a bit concerned that the gestational diabetes was making him pack on more weight than usual even though my numbers have been fairly easily controlled. He wound up weighing in at less than Miss A did on this date (both were delivered at exactly 38w0d): 7 lb. 7 oz. compared with her 7 lb. 12 oz.

Apgars were 9/9. However, his initial blood glucose level was described as "borderline" at 49. They want it to be at least 40. A repeat test was down to 46. When they tested for a third time, after our first nursing session, he was holding steady at 46, so they said there was no need to test again unless we wind up having difficulty feeding him. The second and third nursing sessions we did went well, so hopefully re-testing won't be necessary.

I'm a bit more mellow and calm myself this time around. With Miss A, I didn't sleep at all that first night because I was worried that she might stop breathing (not because of a specific medical issue, just paranoia on my part). This time, caring for an infant in the hospital while R's parents watch our active toddler feels like a vacation, and I plan to try to get some sleep tonight. I do still check frequently to make sure he's breathing, because he's so much quieter than I remember Miss A being, but I don't feel quite so terrified about it.

We're still in a state of disbelief that we now have two children. Two!, when for so long it seemed like having even one was a pipe dream.

Pictures to come, probably in the next few days...