Friday, March 30, 2012

Eating and such

Daniel didn't nurse for almost 24 hours after he was born. He wouldn't (couldn't?) latch so he just got formula. Fortunately, one session with an excellent lactation consultant finally got him started. It took some positioning changes and he won't nurse without a shield, but at least it was working.

Apparently it's not uncommon for babies with Down syndrome to struggle with nursing due to low muscle tone. Also, babies with Down syndrome tend to be sleepy babies. Do you know how hard it is to get a really sleepy baby to nurse? HARD.

Daniel's birth weight was 7 lbs 13 oz and he dropped in the first couple days to 7 lbs 6 oz. That's definitely not enough to worry about, and while he was in the NICU he stayed right around that weight. I think he weighed 7 lbs 7 oz when he was discharged. Unfortunately he's continued to hover around that weight since then. I've gone from feeding every 4 hours to every 3 hours (I have to wake him to nurse, when I leave him overnight he'll sleep for as long as 6 hours sometimes.) I was supplementing every other feeding (at the pediatrician's recommendation) but he has continued to NOT gain weight, so now she's recommending supplementing EVERY feeding*.

It's just so disheartening. I'm doing my best to up my milk supply which is low AS USUAL. And some of that supplementing is pumped milk, but BLAH. It takes so long to finish a feeding when it involves nursing for 30 minutes plus diaper changes to wake the baby plus making a bottle and feeding him that. He definitely prefers breast milk to formula (you should see the faces he makes at the formula bottles) but I'm worried that bottle feeding is going to make him a lazy nurser especially since he's already not great at it. Anyway, I feel whiny here, but I really, REALLY want nursing to work and I'm worried that things are not moving in that direction.

So. Think fattening thoughts for Daniel, will you?

*I'm pretty sure the doctors wouldn't even be worried about his weight except that they want him back up to his birth weight before he comes off oxygen.

Brian wasn't kidding

When the nurse asked if Daniel looked like our other kids and Brian said yes, he was very right.

See, here's Will:

And here's Daniel:

It's like they're the same baby! It's actually a good thing Daniel is still on oxygen because it means I'll always be able to tell the baby pictures apart :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Always with the dinosaurs

While Brian's mom was here, she took the kids to the dinosaur museum. And, since it is a grandmother's prerogative to spoil her grandchildren, she let the kids each pick out a dinosaur toy (or two) from the gift shop. Will? Picked out a ceramic dinosaur. CERAMIC. The kid is two! But his is irresistibly cute, so she said yes.

Have you ever seen a toddler hug a ceramic dinosaur? It's a little weird. Also, we totally hid the dinosaur since he dropped it (and broke pieces off) twice the first day he had it. I would put it up on display in his room, but he really just wants to hold it anytime he sees it. And I just can't let him take a ceramic dinosaur to bed to cuddle with.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our week in the NICU

I didn't really blog about our NICU experience while it was going on, so I'm going to try to get it all down now.

On Monday morning the nurses took Daniel to the nursery for some tests. There, they found that he was having a hard time keeping his oxygen saturation levels up. This can be indicative of an underlying heart condition, and this caused additional concern because roughly 50% of children born with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. Fortunately, there is a pediatric cardiologist in town so he was called in to do an echocardiogram. It was done Monday afternoon and they found that his heart is normally formed, no defects, which is really great news. In addition, they did an x-ray and found no problems with his lungs- also good news. However, he still couldn't keep his oxygen sats up, so they had to keep him in the NICU.

They discharged me Monday afternoon. My doctor offered to wait and discharge me Tuesday, but since our house is so close to the hospital, I figured it be better to go home where I could get more rest. Anyway, Tuesday mostly involved watching Daniel's oxygen levels, hoping they could wean him down to a reasonable amount to go home on. The oxygen was the big thing, but Wednesday afternoon he ended up under phototherapy lights for jaundice. Phototherapy lights mean being undressed, and by Thursday morning he was in an isolette because he couldn't keep his body temperature up on his own.

And, unfortunately, the combination of low body temperature and red, swollen belly button caused the doctor to think he might be getting an infection. They drew blood for cultures and started preemptive antibiotics late Wednesday night, but that meant he couldn't be discharged at least until the blood work was back late Friday night. So. More waiting.

Fortunately, during the waiting he was needing less and less oxygen. And when the blood work did come back it was negative for infection which meant it was finally time to go home! Daniel still needed some oxygen, so they discharged him with an order for oxygen at home. His oxygen is set on 1/32 of a liter, the lowest possible amount he can get. Anyway, we got to bring him home at 6 days old, on St. Patrick's day. 

It was sort of a bizarre experience, having a baby in the NICU. I went to the hospital for every daytime feeding, and mostly came home between. So on one hand I felt like I was home a lot of the time, considering I had a baby in the NICU, but on the other hand, I felt like I missed everything that went on at home because I was always at the NICU feeding a baby. It's definitely not something I'd like to do again.

And now here's a picture of him in his car seat ready to come home. To reward you for making it to the end of this very boring post.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sibling love

There are like a gazillion things I'm grateful for right now, and maybe I'll get it together enough to make a list of them at some point, but right now I'm just going to post them as I think of them.

Today it's the fact that Kalena and Will are still so young. They don't know that Daniel is any different than any other baby. They aren't old enough to need explanations yet. And even though Will doesn't seem sure about having a baby around, we sometimes catch him standing beside Daniel's crib, watching him sleep. And Kalena? Kalena is just old enough to love him wholeheartedly.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dreading tomorrow just a little

It's been 2 weeks since Daniel was born and tomorrow is the first day I'll be home by myself with all the kids. He was born at the start of spring break, so not only was Brian out of class, my mom was off work. (Having them home was especially good since I spent all week running back and forth to the NICU.) Plus we had company all week. Then the day Kari and Jonathan went home, Brian's mom and brother came to visit. They were here all last week, and went home yesterday. Today is Sunday (OBVS) so everyone is here. But tomorrow it's just me. Just me and 3 kids, one of whom needs some serious reminders of what "real life" (aka: no grandparents spoiling her) is like.

I'm pretty sure I can handle this sleepy guy:

 And this serious looking little man:

Just wish me luck with this hooligan:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Something else entirely

And now for something a little more lighthearted. On Saturday the 10th (before I was in labor) we went on a family picnic up on the Colorado National Monument.

Last picture of pregnant me before labor. I was seriously uncomfortable.

Drawing in the dirt with sticks was a big hit with the kids.

For those of you who have never been to Western Colorado, there is some VERY red dirt out here.

And if you crawl around in red dirt and then rub your face you end up looking like this:

We had to strip her down before we got in the car, just so I wouldn't have to wash her car seat cover when we got home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


For those of you keeping track at home, today was my actual due date. Beyond being incredibly thankful that I haven't been pregnant for the last 11 days, I'm grateful that Daniel was born when he was. See, last week was Spring Break around here and this year ALL my siblings were in town for it (or part of it at least.) However, my sisters' visits only overlapped by a day. Kari and her family didn't come in until Sunday and Kirsta and her family left on Monday.

Look- it's all 5 of us!

(Soaking wet hair pulled back into a bun- not the best look for me.)

Anyway, this meant everyone was here Sunday afternoon when Daniel was born. Instead of phone calls, Brian gathered everyone up Sunday evening and told them about Daniel's diagnosis. Everyone got to come visit him in the hospital, and everyone was here to support us at a really emotional time. It's just one more thing I'm grateful for.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finding out

Immediately after Daniel was born they placed him on my chest, and I felt thrilled. Baby number 3 was here, and it had been SO much easier than getting our other babies here. Then he opened his eyes, just for a second, and worry flickered through me. I hoped that I was wrong, that it was the way he only half opened them, or that I was seeing something that wasn't really there. After all, nobody else seemed concerned and with his eyes closed he looked just like Will did as a newborn.

But when everyone else had gone and Brian and I were alone with one of the nurses, she asked us if Daniel looked like our other kids. Brian assured her that he did, which is true. But I knew then what she was going to tell us, and I was right. She said that Daniel had some characteristics that indicated Down Syndrome. To say that I felt overwhelmed when she told us this is an understatement. She assured us that the pediatrician would check him out and that chromosome testing would be done to confirm, but I knew. I knew the diagnosis was right.

I cried then. I cried because I was scared. I still am scared. I feel unprepared for life with a child with Down Syndrome. I feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a mother to this sweet boy. I feel overwhelmed in a way I never felt with Kalena or Will. What I don't feel is disappointed. I feel incredibly blessed to have Daniel, and I feel certain that he is meant for our family.

I hope this overwhelmed feeling will fade soon. For now I'll just enjoy the moments where I feel so much love for him that my heart might burst. Lucky for me those moments come often.

Monday, March 19, 2012


You guys, I cannot resist taking pictures of this kid!

He's a pretty sleepy guy most of the time.

But we do get to see those eyes sometimes.

 He was a little disgruntled about getting into the car seat.

Doesn't that head support thing sort of make it look like he has giant fuzzy ears? Just me?

The labor and delivery

If you're not a birth-story person you can skip to pictures at the end. If you ARE a birth-story person, here it is:

Contractions actually started around 3 pm Saturday afternoon. They were between 2 and 5 minutes apart and intense enough that I spent much of the evening alone in my room relaxing through them. Then around 8 they started getting more sporadic and by 10 they had basically quit. At that point I was glad we hadn't gone to the hospital yet, because I really didn't want to go and get sent home. (I got sent home with Kalena and Will, only to have the baby later that day both times.)

Anyway, I went to bed and managed to get some sleep; contractions only woke me once or twice. They started up again around 5:30 Sunday morning. This time they were considerably more intense, and I was sure I'd be having the baby that day. I directed Brian around packing a hospital bag, something I hadn't gotten done. The contractions didn't settle into any very regular pattern, but by 8:30 I was ready to leave for the hospital. We left a little later and got settled into a room shortly before 9 (we live like 2 minutes from the hospital.) The nurse checked me and told me I was at a "good 5." At that point we knew I'd be staying. Brian called Kirsta (who was here for spring break) because she had offered to be a labor coach if I wanted. I was pretty sure I would be getting an epidural, but told her she was welcome to come and be there for delivery if she wanted.

Here I am in labor:

Smiling because I was SO ready to have the baby and we knew we'd be staying!

Anyway, my doctor came in around 9:30, broke my water, and okayed the epidural order. However, I didn't have an IV yet so that was next on the agenda. I told the nurse that it might be hard to get an IV placed (it took an hour when I had Will) so she said she'd call someone if she couldn't do it. She tried, but couldn't get one started so she called the emergency response people or some such because they're really good at IVs. But, believe it or not, they were taking care of emergency things, so they couldn't come up. At that point the nurse informed me that I'd have to wait at least an hour for the epidural because there was a c-section happening at 10 (this was just before 10) and the anesthesiologist would be there until it was over. My doctor was actually the one doing the c-section because she was the one on call, so it's a good thing I didn't deliver while that was going on.

ANYWAY. We continued to wait on someone to come place an IV knowing that if nobody had done it by the time the c-section was over, the anesthesiologist would do it. So I labored from 10:00 to 11:00 while Kirsta and Brian pretty much just stayed out of the way. According to the monitors my pulse was high, (it seemed really high to me) but apparently not high enough to worry anyone. (My pulse was also high when I was in labor with Will.) Kirsta told me I was "very zen" while I labored. I didn't feel particularly zen, but I find that making noise or moving at all makes contractions worse for me, so I handle them by sitting very still and breathing deeply. I guess that qualifies as zen? I don't know.

A little after 11:00 am the anesthesiologist came in complete with ultrasound vein finder to place my IV. This was, by far, the worst part of labor. Not because it took half an hour (it did) or because he stuck me 4 times before he got it (he did) or because it bruised the living daylights out of my forearm (it was bad- it's been a week and I still have very obvious bruises) but because I had to be lying on my back the whole time. Definitely NOT the best position for managing contractions, and it got progressively harder for me to handle them as I laid there. But eventually I got my IV and then I got some fentanyl so I could hold still while he did the epidural. Kirsta was taking some notes here (I'm a little surprised they didn't kick her out while they were doing the epidural) and she says he stuck me 3 times before he got it (it kept only being on one side.) Fortunately the fentanyl meant it really didn't hurt. By 12:15 pm I had an epidural. Unfortunately, they gave me a little too much fentanyl so right after I got the epidural my blood pressure dropped way down and they ended up giving me ephedrine and oxygen until I was back to normal. (Brian tells me I passed out for a minute, but obviously I don't remember that. They already had me laying down, so it's not like I fell over or anything.)

A little side note here about the epidural. I'm sure I could have done without it. (I so could NOT have done without it when I was having Will.) And after Daniel was born the nurse told me she didn't want to offend me, but that I had handled labor so well that she was sure I could have managed without an epidural. Kirsta agreed with her. The thing was, I struggled so much with the pregnancy and I was SO incredibly uncomfortable at the end, that all I wanted was for the delivery to be painless. I wanted to spend the last couple hours relaxing, completely comfortable, in bed. And THAT was why I opted for the epidural.

So, relax I did, for a little while at least. They did a cervix check at 1:00 pm and the nurse told me I was an 8 or 9. When I got to a 10 (at like 1:43) I pushed for a whopping 2 contractions and he was here. Born at 1:44 pm. 5 pushes in all. The doctor asked Brian if he wanted to cut the cord, but he declined, so I asked Kirsta if she wanted to cut it and she said yes, so she got to cut the cord. It was ridiculously fast and physically it was incredibly easy. My body does not feel like I just had a baby. The most soreness I had afterward was my back, because it took three tries to get the epidural in.

It really was a wonderful birth.

See that black smudge on Brian's hand? After they put Daniel's footprints on the birth certificate, they put one on Brian. Isn't that cute?

And now Kirsta can tell me if I missed anything. I'd ask Brian, but I'm pretty sure I already wrote down more than he remembers.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finally home

We got to bring Daniel home from the NICU yesterday! He's still on oxygen, but apparently it's common in Colorado for babies to go home from the NICU on oxygen (altitude and all that.) We have a home visit from a nurse this afternoon and our first pediatrician's visit on Monday. Hopefully he won't have to be on oxygen for too long, (he's currently at the lowest setting) but it's up to the pediatrician to decide when he'll come off.

Check out all that hair! The nurses all loved it. We're 3 for 3 on babies with a bunch of hair.

Ready to leave (in my St. Patrick's Day green):

Don't you just want to nibble on those cheeks?! I do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." ~C. S. Lewis

Shortly after delivery we were given a diagnosis which was confirmed by chromosome testing yesterday afternoon: Daniel has Down Syndrome.

He is currently in the NICU, but we're hoping to have our sweet baby boy home with us as soon as possible.

Monday, March 12, 2012

He's here!

Daniel Edward van de Boogaard born was born yesterday afternoon at 1:44 pm.

7 lbs 13.3 oz, 21 inches long

More posts soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

38 weeks

Still pregnant over here. I had my 38 week check up on Thursday and things still look okay. The swelling is worse but not bad enough that my doctor is worried. A little protein in my urine but my blood pressure is still good. (And I guess high blood pressure is the biggest worry anyway.)

This is one of the 5 shirts I have the cover my entire belly (including that swollen bottom part) and my legs are so swollen that the only pants I fit into are a pair of black maternity pajama pants (that should be loose fitting, but definitely aren't.)

For those of you interested in the TMI part of the end of pregnancies: First cervix check was Thursday and I'm 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced and she stripped my membranes (I asked her to.) I've been having contractions on and off since then but nothing serious yet. Really hoping it will kick in soon though!

Monday, March 5, 2012

What the kids think about baby #3

You guys, I wish you could see how excited Kalena is for this new baby. She is seriously thrilled. She says good morning and goodnight to him every day; she kisses my belly any time she kisses me; she tells him she wants to meet him soon. It is all just adorable. Also, for a long time she thought she'd be able to see him as my belly got bigger, so she kept lifting up my shirt to look. I explained several times that she wouldn't be able to see him until he was actually BORN, and I think she finally got it.

She likes to point out to me that my belly is getting bigger because the baby is getting bigger. And she understands that I do certain things because I'm pregnant, which I didn't think she would be old enough to get. For instance, she knows I eat certain things (eggs, nuts, etc) because "they're good for the baby" (and my gestational diabetes.) She knows I check my blood sugar to "make sure the baby is okay" (aka, my blood sugar is at a good level.) And last time I went to the doctor she didn't want me to go because she thought it meant something was wrong with the baby. She kept telling me the baby was okay and I didn't need to go to the doctor. She was fine after I explained that the doctor was just checking on him.

She promises that she'll be helpful (she usually is) and that she'll love him (I'm sure she will.) And all this is good because Will? Does not think I'm having a baby. If you point to my belly and say, "What's in there? A baby?" He'll say, "No! DINOSAUR!" Every. Single. Time. I'm hoping the transition won't be too hard on him.

Also, every time Will says that it makes me think of this:

(image from here)

He's going to be disappointed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

37 weeks

Yes, yes I have given up entirely on real pants.

I don't know if you can really tell from this picture or not, but the bottom part of my belly (like underneath my belly button) is definitely swollen. My OB even commented on it at my appointment on Thursday. I think it makes my belly look funny. 

Anyway, fingers crossed that this baby comes SOON! (No doubt you are going to get REALLY sick of hearing that from me before the baby actually gets here.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A little concerned

I am starting to feel nervous about getting this baby delivered. Not about the actual delivery so much, but nervous that it won't happen soon enough. See, I'm starting to have swelling in my legs and the lower part of my belly. It's not super obvious swelling, but it is painful. It's been going on for a week or so, and it seems to be getting worse. It used to subside overnight but it isn't anymore. Also, I've gained 3 lbs or so in about the last week and I'm pretty sure it's all water weight since I haven't changed my diet. I know that swelling during pregnancy is normal and all that, but this is definitely concerning me.

Also? At my 37 week appointment on Thursday the nurse said there was a little protein in my urine. Not enough to be concerning (yet) and we laughed it off as being caused by the fact that pretty much my whole diet is protein, but still. Not something you want to see.

If you're like me and you read way too much about pregnancy and possible complications, you'll know that swelling and protein in the urine can both be indicators of preeclampsia. And you know what else? Having gestational diabetes puts me at higher risk for developing preeclampsia! (The awesomeness of gestational diabetes just NEVER STOPS.)

Of course, all of this could mean nothing. I don't have any swelling in my face and my blood pressure continues to be awesome (both big indicators of preeclampsia.) But it's still making me nervous. The cure for preeclampsia is simple: deliver the baby. Since I'm full term that's not a problem EXCEPT! If the baby needs delivered and I'm not in labor that would usually mean labor induction. Only, because I had a c-section with Kalena it's reeeeallly not a great idea to induce (risk of uterine rupture goes up.) And I so DO NOT want another c-section. (Having experienced both I have many thoughts on that. But that's  for another post.)

Anyway, there's really nothing I can do about any of it, which just makes things worse. And that's why I'm blogging about it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This getting a little ridiculous

I had my 37 week appointment today where the nurse informed me that my iron levels are a little low and I should start taking iron supplements. So, with the iron added into the equation, here's what I take on a daily basis:

~ a low dose aspirin. This is preventative because I have Factor V Leiden which puts me at risk for blood clots. I'm heterozygous (only one copy of the gene) so it's not a super high risk, but it's still there.
~ 4 mg of folic acid. I don't have a prescription for it, and the highest dose you can get over the counter is 800 mcg so I take 5 of them. This is because I have a homozygous MTHFR mutation. In short, an MTHFR mutation affects they way your body absorbs folic acid, and since folic acid is VERY IMPORTANT during pregnancy, the best way to counteract is to overload your body with folic acid.
~ Prilosec. For heartburn, obviously. My doctor okayed it when I told her that I was taking 6 or 8 tums a day and still having heartburn. Also, it's good that I'm taking it instead of tums since tums have sugar in them.
~ And iron. The nurse told me it will take about 2 weeks to build up and get my iron levels back up. Then she said that would be perfect because it will be up just in time for me to have the baby. And I thought, "GAH. Please don't let it be 2 more weeks before I have this baby!"

Then there's also the Benadryl I take pretty regularly for those awesome pregnancy-enhanced allergies. Also Tylenol, mostly for my legs, which ache pretty constantly. (And wake me up at night- pretty fabulous.) (The Tylenol doesn't really help, but it at least makes me feel like I'm doing something.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to not having to take a million pills every day when this pregnancy is over.