Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Baby Boy

Jonah's second birthday was a week ago. Because we were out of town, and his party will actually be this coming Friday, the day of his actual birthday had gone unmarked on my blog. To make up for that, this week will be all about Jonah's birthday. I went back into the lock box of my computer and found something that I had written just two days after he was born. It was the story of his birth. I tried to leave much of the bitterness out of it, because I wanted to remember the happy things. I don't think I did a very good job of that! I'm hoping that later in the week, I will be able to sit down and write all of the lovely memories I have of his birth. Believe it or not, they are plentiful, and even if I made this story sound awful I still believe that his birth was beautiful. One thing I noticed in this story is that the time of his birth is 2:25. For the longest time I've been thinking he was born at 2:32am. After reading this I did go back and look on his record, and he was in fact born at 2:25! As someone who worked in a lab studying people's memories and the creation of false/incorrect memories, this is interesting to me!

I actually debated whether or not to post this here. It is my thoughts and feelings of two years ago, just two days after a birth that I wished I had handled better. But it is what it is. So here it is, the "me" of two years ago, August 17th 2008:

For about a month or so I have been battling my blood pressure. Sometimes it was high, other times it seemed to be going back down. My doctor became increasingly concerned, but allowed me to stay at home on bedrest. At my doctor's appointment on Tuesday August 12, she wanted me to go to the hospital to have my blood pressure monitored, and was recommending that we try to prepare my body for birth by using cervadil. Her concern was that my blood pressure had shot up again, the baby was ready to go and in position, but my body wasn't taking cues to begin labor.

The plan was to begin the cervadil and blood pressure monitoring, and if in the morning my blood pressure had gone back down and I wasn't in labor, I would go home to wait it out. If my blood pressure was high, and the cervadil did not help my body towards labor, she would use pitocin to induce. There was also a possibility that the cervadil would be all I needed to go into labor.

Because I was also worried about how the baby was reacting to my high blood pressure, I accepted this plan with the hopes that the cervadil would be all that was necessary. On Wednesday August 13 at 3:30 we headed off to the hospital, hoping to have our little prince in our arms by dinner the next day. Although I accepted the plan, I was still very unresolved towards it. By the time we got to the hospital, I was already anxious and pretty terrified. Upon arrival the nurse asked how we were doing today, and all I could do was burst into tears, I was so scared. They talked to me for a few minutes to calm me down, and then I got dressed into my gown and had to have my IV inserted. I asked if it was necessary, and they said the doctor would not use any drug to induce labor without an IV. I have a very strong phobia to needles, but since it has been diminishing somewhat, I said okay. Unfortunately since I was already at a heightened anxiety level, the IV was just enough to put me over the edge. My blood pressure dropped suddenly and I fainted, which caused the baby's heart rate to fall also. When I came back into consciousness, I was still halfway out of my head and all I could hear were nurses buzzing around me, paging doctors and using tons of medical terms that I knew could only mean something was wrong with the baby, so that made me even more frightened and they put me on oxygen. Daryl was also scared out of his mind because he had never seen me react that way. Finally I came to my senses, and everything calmed down around me.

The doctor came to talk to us, and gave us a few minutes to decide whether or not we should continue with the cervadil. We decided to go ahead as planned, because even though I was scared, it was better for both me and the baby. The doctor inserted the cervadil at 5:30pm, and my contractions started almost immediately. I was very surprised with how quickly it worked. The contractions grew strong, but manageable. I was able to meditate through them. In the morning, the nurse came to remove the cervadil and check my progress. She said I was a little over one centimeter dilated, which was disappointing as I had such hard contractions all night. I was sure that I had made more progress. My blood pressure had been lowered through most of the night, so she said I would soon be able to take a shower, eat a light breakfast, and then the doctor would be in to see me. My contractions continued to grow stronger even after the cervadil was removed so the nurse came in and said my shower would have to wait until the doctor came since my labor was continuing, but they would still bring me a light breakfast. The breakfast never came, and I still don't understand why I couldn't get a shower but whatever. Finally the doctor came and told me that my body was reponding well to the cervadil and it looked like labor would continue on it's own. We walked in the halls and I used the birthing ball to see if we could progress further. I was so happy to finally be able to get up and use the techniques I've been preparing to use in childbirth, and it really made the contractions easier to handle. The doctor checked me again at 11:00am and exclaimed that I was four centimeters and my water was about to break! She broke the water, and found that the baby had a BM in utero, and there was meconium in the fluids. She called a special team to be present at the birth to make sure he wouldn't swallow the meconium, and to make sure he didn't have any in his lungs.

By 5:30 PM we were pretty discouraged, as we thought that I would be pushing him out by now, if not already. The doctor checked again and found that I had not progressed at all, and my contractions were weakening and growing further apart. We had to use pitocin. After only three doses of pitocin, my contractions were right on track, every two minutes and VERY strong. Before recieving the pitocin, I requested nubain, because the contractions had been unbearable, and I was overwhelmed with exhaustion. The narcotics didn't make the pain any less, but it did help me to relax and cope with them better. I was able to sleep between contractions, which also helped with the exhaustion. They took me off the pitocin, I am not sure what time because of the drugs, and around 11:30 I felt the urge to push.

The nurse told me not to push, because there was still a small lip of cervix on the right side. I HAD to push though, there was no questioning it. When she told me not to push, the pain became unbearable again and, once again, I passed out. She gave me more oxygen, and the pain was so great I started yelling at her "I have to go now, I have to!!!" Daryl got scared because again he had never seen me respond this way to anything, and he was also begging her to let me push. The doctor finally came in and told me that I could start pushing at 11:55. I remember the time very well because I thought "I guess this baby will be born tomorrow!" I pushed for 2 and a half hours, and finally he came out. The narcotics were out of my system at that point, but there was so much commotion in the room, and I was so concentrated on pushing that I didn't even realize he had come out! There were so many people in the room when he was delivered, and they all were shouting that he had SO much hair. I looked down and saw his head poking up and said "Oh my god, I can see him here he comes!" Yet I still didn't realize that with the next push he was out, until Daryl yelled "he's out! he's out!" and they put him on my belly. I saw Daryl cut the cord, and after that things moved so quickly that I didn't know the whole story until hours later.

The baby was whisked away from me so that he could have the meconium suctioned out before he started crying, which would have caused it to go into his lungs. Daryl went with him, as I had told him that as soon as the baby comes out he is to follow the baby and worry about me later. They only took him across the room, and I watched as I waited to birth the placenta. I heard that he weighed 7 lbs 14.5 oz and was 20 inches long. I could see Daryl beaming behind a camera. No more contractions came, however, and I wasn't able to birth the placenta. All of the sudden the doctor started shouting to call anesthesia and prep the OR. She tried to manually remove it, but could not remove all of it. It was too painful for her to try again, so I was whisked to the OR. I found out later that my cervix was actually closing, and they had to get the placenta out quickly, or they'd have to soon do major operation to remove it. I am 75% sure that I told the anesthesiologist that I thought he was cute, just as I went under (he was very handsome) but I might not have actually said it.

I woke up an hour later and the baby was brought to me to nurse. He latched on beautifully and nursed for 15 minutes. Since I was still in the recovery room, a nurse came and took him to be bathed and dressed. Daryl went to the van to get the baby's bag that we had packed. I was so proud of him for taking care of the baby for the hour that I was in the OR.

I was taken back to our room to rest, and the baby was brought to me again to nurse. This time however, the baby couldn't nurse because he had mucous coming out of his nose and mouth. It was keeping him from latching on. The nurse said she would use the aspirator, and he had to eat because his blood sugar was very low. As she was using the aspirator, I heard him choke and I looked over and could see her giving him the infant Heimlich maneuver. She rushed him back to the nursery and came back to tell me that he had tons of mucous in his belly that was causing him to choke. His blood sugar was so low, and he wouldn't eat, she said I had to give permission to give him formula or they would have to put him on an IV. I thought formula to be the lesser of two evils and sadly gave my permission.

Another nurse came in to help me go to the bathroom. While going to the bathroom, I got very lightheaded, and then I thought I fell asleep while leaning on the nurse. I had passed out. So again, more buzzing around and I remember they put me in a chair and wheeled me back to the bed, but I passed out again in the chair and woke up in bed. The nurse came and told me how Jonah was doing, which also wasn't so great. They had to intubate him to get all the mucous out, and now his throat and mouth were so irritated that he wouldn't cup feed. She also told me that they were ordering a unit of blood for me because of all the passing out.

Daryl was at this time exhausted, and not functional at all. I frantically called my mom to come and help me. She came to take care of me and the baby, and Daryl went home to sleep. The hospital was short staffed, because they had five more women come in between 7:00am and 7:30am that were in labor! Since she is a nurse herself, she was able to talk to the doctors and find out that I had lost a LOT of blood in the OR and they couldn't get it to stop, which is why I was passing out so much. They ordered the blood, but had problems matching an enzyme so I didn't get it until around 5:00.

The blood helped a lot, and I was able to get up and walk around a bit more. We talked to the doctors on Saturday and we were both able to be released Saturday afternoon! We were happy to be able to go home, especially since we were expecting to have to stay until Monday. I am still recovering and having spells of dizziness, but nothing too major. We are slowly reaching some sort of "normality."

That is the very long story of how Jonah Levi came into the world at 2:25 AM Friday August 15th, 2008, weighing 7 lbs 14.5 oz and 20 inches long!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pinkies and Piggies Keepsake Review

A few weeks ago, I shared how Daryl and I had made a mold of Evie's hand print for Pinkies and Piggies. You can refresh your memory here. Pinkies and Piggies is a local company started by Rachel, an artist who wanted to capture and preserve memories of her child's beautiful baby hands and feet. Rachel found a way to create glass replica's of her daughter's delightful digits. After having requests from other parents also wishing to preserve each tiny palm wrinkle, she created Pinkies and Piggies out of a studio in Whitehouse Ohio.

I really wanted to do this review because I was struck not only by the amazing product, but also by the story of the company. This was a mother in my area who wanted to freeze a memory of her child, like so many other mothers out there. She understands the importance of each tiny hand that she casts. It's a product made with love and respect, and that makes it even more precious.

Yesterday in the mail, we had a surprise waiting for us. It was Evie's glass keepsake! I was so eager to see how it turned out. I opened the box with Daryl and my mother in law. The three of us were amazed at how well the glass picked up the texture of Evie's delicate baby skin. In my previous post, I wrote that I was impressed with the detail of the hand print in the modeling compound, but I think that the glass shows even more detail that wasn't visible in the compound. Not only is each dominant wrinkle present, but so are the minute ripples and lines. The more we looked at the keepsake, the more details we noticed. It really feels like we are looking at Evie's actual hand.

It is difficult to take pictures of the details, especially since my Nikon is being repaired and all I have is our point and shoot camera, but I did my best to share with you the beauty of this hand print (okay, I might be a little biased towards "the beauty" of it, since it is my daughter's hand we're talking about!)
I really like the type of ribbon that was used to make the keepsake a hanging ornament. I was a little concerned that it would be strange to have a ribbon going through the palm, but because it is somewhat transparent, it is hardly noticeable. It is also placed at a point in the hand that gives it a very nice angle when it is hung.

The texture of the skin is amazingly detailed in the glass. Not only is each crease there, but other nuances of the hand print are made very clear. Not a tiny wrinkle is missed

Upon first glance, I was disappointed that the hand had not been engraved with Evie's name and the date that we took the hand print. However when we took a much closer look, we found the engraving. The light has to hit it at just the right angle. I didn't like this at first, and wished that the engraving were a little more clear. But the more that I looked at it, the more I realized what a distraction that would have been from the details of the actual hand print. Because it's glass, obviously you can see through it. So a deep engraving on the back would have shown through to the front. Although it was suggested to have the baby's birth date engraved, we thought it would be better to have the date of the hand print. Afterall, we know the day she was born, but I wanted something to document exactly how old her little fingers were when this was made.

We will certainly be making a mold for Jonah's hand, to commemorate both his second birthday as well as his becoming a big brother. We will be hanging the glass hands side by side. Although if you are planning on creating one for an older child, you need to keep in mind that the size of the tray for the modeling compound is five inches in diameter, and the hand/foot needs to fit into the tray flat without touching the edges.

We will also be getting duplicates of each keepsake as Christmas presents for both my parents and Daryl's parents. With Evie's keepsake, came an order form. Pinkies and Piggies will create other glass keepsakes from the same mold, for $40 each. At first this seemed a little pricey, but when I added up the cost of frames and portraits, we actually spent more money for grandparents' Christmas gifts last year by giving them professional portraits of the kids.

Typically when I write a review, I have at least a few negative things to say about the product. But I honestly could not find a single thing to criticize on this. I could not be happier with this keepsake.The detail of the hand could not be any clearer. It is such a unique idea to create a keepsake out of glass to treasure your child's hands and feet. And that it is an item handmade with love and care by a fellow mother local to me, is just icing on the cake. I will, without a doubt, be using Pinkies and Piggies as special gifts for new moms or moms-to-be, and I will always, always treasure this beautiful ornament.

*for the purpose of writing this review, Pinkies And Piggies provided me with a take-home impression kit and keepsake free of charge.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fantastic Foto Fridays

I am dedicating Foto Fridays to my hubby, who recently told me that my blog is too wordy for his taste. This weeks installation: Meeting our Meat