Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day by Day...

So, after not really taking any pictures of Charlotte her first 5 weeks because my camera battery was dead, I've decided to try my darned-est to take atleast one picture a day of just regular family happenings. I'm going to post them here to keep myself accountable, but warning- it will be sporadic! (the first couple are random....I didn't really start until 2-28-11) And- these will all be taken with my point-and-shoot NO editing (which is really, really hard for me to be okay with. But- I will have to be!)
Here's my first round:
Feb. 3, 2011: Charlotte's IV burn...this is what it looked like after soaking it in diluted bleach (per Doctor's orders. For real.)
Feb. 28, 2011: Cowgirl Charlotte and her Buckin' Bronco Berkdog
March 1, 2011- Big sister helping!
March 2, 2011:
While mommy was busy, Lorelai packed her own lunch for Mother's Day Out! Gerber Pasta Pick-ups (ew, but she looooves them), applesauce, spoon, raisins, and- why not- a cereal bar!
Crashed on the couch after a long day (9am-2pm) at school! (p.s. this NEVER happens!)
Trying to force-feed a paci to sister...
March 5, 2011: Auntie L's shower for Weston!
This is Charlotte's "ooooooooooooh I can't wait for my cousin Weston!" face:
March 6, 2011: "Look Mommy! I have a baby wrap like you!"
March 7, 2011: What happens when Daddy puts a cloth diaper on Charlotte for the first's on backwards, for those of you who can't figure out what's wrong with this picture...
March 9, 2011: "I'm going to eat her face!" (in a sweet, loving way...)
I looked over, and Lorelai was setting up for her own personal photo session. TOO cute! My little photographer-in-training. Although I made her get off the chair.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Wow- that was the longest "to be continued" ever!
From that point, the nurses were not able to get Charlotte to breathe very well, so she was taken to Texas Children's (which is connected to St Luke's, thank was just one hallway away!) and hooked up to a CPAP machine to increase her airflow...she was never on a machine that had to completely breathe for her. They also had taken her blood by this point and realized that her blood glucose levels were low. The nurses were not able to start an IV in her tiny veins (after MANY attempts) so they ended up putting one in her umbilical cord. I wasn't able to hold her (except for the brief moment after I had her) until that night around 6:00pm, and I went back later that night around 9:00 to cuddle with her and nurse her. My poor little baby had so many holes in her arms and feet from IV attempts and foot pricks, it was so sad. The NICU was quiet, dark and warm which was perfect for the babies, but really made for a depressing atmosphere. I have such a new level of sympathy for families whose babies have to stay in the NICU for long periods of time, all the while worrying about whether or not they will even make it.
Charlotte was in the NICU from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday evening when she was finally released. Wednesday evening she was taken off the CPAP machine and was breathing fine on her own, and her blood glucose levels were resolved the next day. They kept her until Friday to wait and see if she was affected by the Group B Strep that I had, but by Friday night her bilirubin count was going up. Saturday her levels went up more so they put her under the bilirubin lamp, and by Sunday we were allowed to take her home as long as we followed up with her pediatrician on Monday. Sunday she had also developed an IV burn on her sweet little ankle from the IV (they had switched it's placement around a few times). An IV burn can happen when the catheter that is in the vein comes out and leaks fluid into the surrounding tissue...sometimes the fluid eats away at the skin. It looked like a black hole the size of a nickel on her tiny ankle.
During Charlotte's stay, this was my schedule: Wednesday night- stayed at the hospital (duh). We to see Charlotte at about 6pm and 9pm, then went back to the room to sleep :( Thursday night, I actually developed a stomach bug Typhoid Mary (aka Lorelai) had earlier that week (that Leslie had also caught), so I stayed another night at the hospital with that loveliness. The next day (Friday) I felt better (thank the Lord it was a short bug!) and was able to stay the day in the NICU with Charlotte. I was going to stay the night in the NICU by her bed, but had to call Shawn at 2am to come get me because I was severely dehydrated. We came back the next morning at about 8 am and I stayed the day again. I did go home that night without even trying to stay this point I had reached pure, utter exhaustion and knew my limits. So, home we went. Me and Leslie went back the next morning and stayed until they let her go home that evening, when Shawn came and got us. This was the most physically and emotionally trying time of my life. I know I only survived because of the prayers of our friends and help from our family!
We took her back to her pediatrician Monday-Thursday for blood tests to check her bilirubin, and though her levels continued to rise, she was also getting older so it wasn't as big of a concern. On Thursday, her pediatrician almost sent us straight to Texas Children's because her IV burn was looking swollen. It was so close to the bone in her foot they were worried about a severe infection. They gave us a presciption ointment and sent us home and told us to come back the next morning to double check it. Thank the Lord it had improved, and we were sent home and told not to come back until she was 6 weeks old!
*huge sigh of relief*
Here are some pictures to document this time:
A little help breathing...
Cpap machine:
Get this thing out of my arm!
First bath:
with Daddy:
with Mommy:
The only time this child will EVER see a tanning booth :) Under her bilirubin lamp:
Going Home!!
First time big sister met little sister:
And...just for good measure, a picture of me 35 weeks pregnant:
(the face says it all...)
Me the night I went in because my water broke (clearly not in active labor!)
Charlotte's IV burn (a week after it happened...ouch!)
Well, that's all folks! We are so thankful to be home and loving both of our girls!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Graphic and at your own risk!!

To my sweet, sweet Charlotte:
I'm sure one day I'll be able to look back at the agonizing natural labor I went through to get you here and say something nonchalant, such as "oh, it wasn't that bad!"
Today is not that day. Here's what I remember, the way I REALLY remember it.
37 weeks and 5 days, I woke up feeling like I needed to tie up my loose strings. I was convinced I wouldn't go into labor until after my due date and was crossing my fingers for a Valentine's Day baby, but I thought "what the heck, I'll get a little ready now so I have less to do then!"
I sent out an email to the family letting them know what the game plan was for when I went into labor and half packed my hospital bag. I started having light contractions at about 3:00pm. I called a couple of friends who had just had their babies (Andi and Lindsay) to get their input as to whether or not I was really in labor, and I had decided by about 5:30pm that I was not. (Every time I sat down or would lay down, the contractions would lighten up to about nothing.)
I continued having light contractions that felt more like Braxton Hicks, and about 7:00pm I started feeling alot of pressure on my hips. I decided to practice my "tailored sitting" (basically sitting indian style on the ground to get the baby to move down) and about 5 minutes later, I felt my water break. I knew immediately it was my water breaking and that I had not, in fact, peed on myself as some women think they have. I stood up- and WHOOSH- niagra falls.
Every cough, laugh and step. Gross.
I called my midwife (Theodora was on call), and she said to head on up to the hospital so that we could get my IV antibiotics started nice and early (I had tested positive for Group B Strep early on in my pregnancy which requires IV antibiotics during labor.) On the way to the hospital, I could really feel Charlotte bearing down on my hips. I started to panic, thinking about Andi and Lindsay who had BARELY made it to the hospital/birthing center and started to panic. Shawn got to St Lukes in about 12 minutes.
We got to the hospital, got my IV hooked up, and Theodora got there to check and see how dilated I was. Her exact words were, "Oh Katie, that baby is in Canada! We've got to get you walking." Super. I was only 1cm and 50% effaced. So, we walked a few laps around the hospital and my contractions barely increased in intensity. We decided it would be a good idea for me to get a good night sleep and try again in the morning. I think I got 1 hour of sleep. My contractions had gotten intense enough that I couldn't sleep, and I spent about 2 solid hours in the jet tub (THANK YOU St. Lukes), and the rest of the time lying in bed uncomfortable.
Theodora came in at about 7:30am or 8am and we started walking the hospital again. My contractions picked up a little more, and she checked my progress at 8:30am. 1 1/2cm, 60% effaced. She asked if it would be okay to give me a VERY small amount of pitocin to strengthen my contractions and get my labor moving. I was tired and starving at this point, and just wanted to get Charlotte out. Plus, I knew that since my water had broken and I had the group B Strep, they would want her out to prevent fever and infection, so I agreed. Theodora's shift ended and a different midwife, Debbie, stepped in.
9:00am the pitocin started, 9:45am the contractions were lasting 1 minute long with a max of 1 minute in between.
Two things to note here: at about 10:00am, I did ask Debbie about the possibility of getting an IV drug to help with the pain. She was very sweet and said if I wanted something, she would get it for me. I didn't ask again.
Secondly, the thought of an epidural crossed my mind only once, probably about 11:00am. Here's what I remember thinking:
"oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I can't take another contraction. I can't do this. Why don't I want an epidural??? I can't remember. I can't remember. Oh my gosh, Another contraction...breathe, breathe, breathe...."
And that's the only time I remember being rational enough to consider it before going right back into getting through the pain. I truly believe this was Gods protection over my sweet girl since one of the known side effects of an epidural and IV drugs is breathing difficulties at birth.
Who knows how much worse it would have made things for her.
At about 12:35, the contractions were unbearably strong, and I said something like, "I feel ALOT of pressure, I think I need to push?" The nurse realized Charlotte was bundled up on my right side and she and Debbie decided I needed to move onto my left side. Immediately my body started having the most intense hot/cold flashes and pain and I remember saying "OUCH. OUCH. I need to roll back over! OUCH. This hurts! I HAVE to push NOW!"
The rolled me back onto my back and checked me, and I was ready to push!
I pushed for 13 minutes. It would be impossible for me to describe the pain if you've never been through it. I imagine it's equivalent to having to slowly cut your own arm off. Or maybe just a couple of fingers. Hard to say. Trust me. It hurts.
I pushed her out and they put a very purple baby onto my stomach. She wasn't crying, but she was breathing- just not very forcibly and certainly not the way they wanted her to be. They got the neonatal team in the room within minutes and they started rubbing and patting Charlotte. They kept reassuring me she was fine because she was, in fact, breathing, and I believed them and managed (mostly because of my shock of just having a baby) to stay calm.
To Be Continued... (Don't worry, there's a happy ending!)
Charlotte Mae Little
8 lbs 10 oz, 2 weeks early
19 1/2"