Saturday, May 29, 2010

A week with Nana

The weekend I was on delivery watch Nana came to take care of me and Hunter while Jordan was in mini camp. D-day, May 3rd, was Jordan's last day of camp (2-a-days) in the HEAT. His coaches knew that I was just barely hanging on and that I could go at any minute, so they were prepared to get a phone call from me requesting that Jordan come to the hospital (which is minutes from the stadium).

I think secretly Jordan was hoping Madison would arrive one of the 3 days he was in mini camp so he could get out of mandatory practice and then taunt all his buddies from his cold hospital room while they worked their butts off in the Florida heat :-).

On his last day of mini camp, May 3rd, he had pretty much given up hope on that dream but then at 10:30am that morning I called the Jags to let them know it was time! Jordan was out on the field practicing when he saw Van (the guy I had called) run out to coach Del Rio, with his phone in hand. Moments later Del Rio yelled "Black" and waived him off the field. The whole team cheered for him as he trotted off the field into the locker room to shower and go watch his baby girl be born! I am sure the fans that were there watching practice were wondering what all the commotion was about. I am telling this because I don't want to forget these little details about the day she was born.

I think the second time around is a little easier on the dads, well it was easier for me too! But, with Hunter, Jordan was very nervous the whole time I was in labor. With Madison...he surfed the internet looking at and taunting his team-mates by text message just like I knew he would! Meanwhile I was laying in bed next to him getting ready to deliver his baby girl! It's funny to tell now but truth is I was laughing at him then too :-) When the time came though, with both kids, he was A-m-a-z-i-n-g. He was so encouraging and is always just in awe of the whole process. He always makes me feel good and is so supportive, bringing me wet towels to bite on to help with me deal the pain/pressure.

So back to Nana's visit... I had told the nurses I need to have Madison by 5pm so my mom can see her! Not that they have any control over when I deliver but I wanted to make sure that when I said it's time to push that they were ready and didn't make me wait forever like they did with Hunter. So, the time came and I could tell it would be quick, this time I didn't wait for anyone...even though they told me too :) and she came seconds later and they ran and got mom for me. Mom came in just minutes later and was able to hold Madison when she was just a few minutes old before she had to leave to catch a flight home.
Nana returned 3 weeks later (this week) to spend some extended time with us and take care of us some more! I have been feeling pretty good all along and have been back to life as usual since pretty much the day I delivered Madison so I utilized mom's time here to go on a date with Jordan, take my first spin on his Harley, go to bible study kidless and run errands alone! Meanwhile, Nana soaked up time with her grand babies and cooked and cleaned the house for me, she even helped me tackle the dreaded closet (mine and Jordan's) which was OUT OF CONTROL!
Hunter snuggling with his Nana...she knows JUST how to scratch.
Such a sweet big brother
Hunter took the initiative to add some soap to Madison's bath (dial hand soap that is), while Nana bathed her.
Sweet baby girl...she LOVES her baths

My little buddy, he is getting so big
Nana and her babies

Thank you mom for all your help not only before I delivered Madison but this week too. There is nothing like watching your parents love on your kiddos! Can't wait till next time!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A week with Vivi

The day Madison was born happened to be the day my mom had to leave to go back to Dallas. She had spent the whole weekend I was in labor taking care of me and Hunter as we all anticipated Madison's arrival! We knew it would be soon so Vivi was due to arrive just a few hours after my mom left so that we would be covered if I delivered Madison that day. It turns out I did deliver her that day and with 20 minutes to spare...for my mom to get to hold her before heading to the airport. Vivi's flight ended up being cancelled that night due to rain but the next morning she was on the first flight out to Jacksonville. Jordan and Hunter picked her up from the airport and brought her straight to the hospital to meet her first grand-daughter. Madison of course was already in the NICU, at this point, but luckily their policy was that parents AND grandparents were the only ones allowed to visit the babies, so she got to go in and see her. She wasn't able to hold her though until a few days later when Madison was more stable.

First time Vivi held Madison (just a few days old)

Hunter and I had lunch and a little quality time together in my room while Jordan and Vivi visited Maddie in the NICU
Vivi was such a huge help to us that week that Madison was in the hospital. She kept Hunter for us all week while I was in the hospital and after I was discharged and trekking back and forth 45 min each way to visit Maddie in the NICU. To say Hunter had a blast would be an understatement! He thoroughly enjoyed having Vivi's undivided attention all week long. I don't think he even had time to notice that Jordan and I weren't really around! They made numerous trips to the beach and went on walks outside. They made me a personalized Mother's day card and and came and visited me in the hospital everyday.

A week after she was born we brought Madison home...On Mother's day. As we rounded the corner to our street we saw Hunter and Vivi anxiously awaiting our arrival!

They drew us a welcome home sign on the driveway and Hunter chased us all the way home on his bike. As soon as we got home we took Madison out of the car and set her down so Hunter could see her. He was pretty excited, his first words were "oh there you are!"

We brought her inside and Hunter warmed up to her pretty quickly, although he kept a healthy but curious distance at first. He offered her the pink bear he had been "taking care of" while she was in my belly :-)

He climbed up in Vivi's lap and began pointing out things on Madison's body and talking about her.

It took Hunter a few days to get comfortable approaching Madison, he would kind of just watch her from a distance and ask about her, but now he is in LOVE with her. He LOVES to burp her, watch her drink her milk, get diapers and wipes for her, tell us when she is dirty (which usually means he is the dirty one), throw away her diapers and watch her get her diaper changed and take her baths. He is such a big helper and a sweet big brother to her and he showers her with kisses all the time. He really hasn't shown any jealousy yet, but the closest thing I have seen is when he sees me nursing her he suddenly wants to cuddle too, which is cute. It can make for a pretty crowded chair but I wouldn't have it any other way! Nothing better than holding my two babies!

I think it really helped the transition having Vivi there to give Hunter undivided attention when we brought Madison home. He didn't really notice that Jordan and I were a little more preoccupied because he had PLENTY of playtime and attention 24/7.
Madison checking out her Vivi

Vivi spent the week reading Hunter his big brother book, which he loved, and it also helped him grasp the concept of what was about to happen in his little world.
A big thank you to Vivi for taking a week off to come here to take care of us and help us with the transition. Thank you for all the meals you cooked, laundry and house cleaning you did and most of all the snuggles and lovin with our kiddos. You were such a big help in the process and we can't wait for you to return!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Brother and Sister

I went to wake up Madison today to feed her and found her laying like this and it reminded me of how I used to always find Hunter laying when he was this age. I love to see side by side comparisons of siblings at the same age. I didn't really think Madison looked much like Hunter but these pics say otherwise!

Madison at 2 weeks and Hunter at 2 weeks

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sweet Sweet Baby

Madison is 2 weeks old today. I cannot believe it has flown by so fast! Maybe it seems faster because she has only been home for a week but either way time needs to slow down! Now that we have her home the most popular question we get right now is what kind of baby is Madison?...second most common question is what does Hunter think of her?

Madison is such a sweet baby. She is by far the EASIEST baby I could have asked for... so far. I am not naive enough to think that my analysis of her first 2 weeks of life will hold true for the rest of her babyhood :-) but I REALLY have it easy right now. I know a lot of babies that change overnight at the 3 or 6 week mark. But right now our life, with 2, hasn't really changed much. Of course she is still REALLY sleepy and the first few days she was home she was awake maybe 30 minutes a day (in 5 min increments). So, other than feeding her and changing her diaper our days are pretty much the same!

I am getting so much more sleep than I was when I was pregnant with her that I cannot complain about getting up 1 time a night with her. She is soooo sleepy that we have to wake her to eat EVERY and night. When we first brought her home she was pretty underweight from going 3 days in the NICU without eating and of course all newborns lose weight initially. So, we were told we needed to wake her every 3 hours to eat at night...pretty standard. WELL, she had a different opinion! She wasn't hungry every 3 hours at night...she wanted to sleep! So for now I let her go about 4 to 4.5 hours a night before I wake her...since she gained twice as much as she needed to at her last weight check. If she does as well at her next weight check, as she did at her last, I may just let her sleep at night and see what she does, and not wake her! She eats more the longer she goes between night so in the end her intake is the same. She is getting more efficient with nursing too. When she first came home it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep her awake for a feeding so I would have to nurse her then pump and then feed her the pumped bottle. She can take a bottle half asleep but can't nurse half asleep. Sometimes she would be fine after just nursing and sometimes she would nurse an hour and still take a 3 ounce bottle! After a few days like this (8 times a day) it got pretty exhausting but fortunately she stopped taking a bottle afterwards and can now, at her best, knock out a session in 20 minutes, she probably averages more like 30-45 minutes though and occasionally takes an hour...usually when she is super sleepy. So for that reason, I nurse her during the day, pump after our last session...which Jordan then feeds to her at her 10:30pm feed. So if I am diligent about getting to bed early, I get from 9:30p to 3:00a of uninterrupted sleep, and then I wake her and pump and feed her a bottle at the same time (bc she takes a bottle in just 10 min at night and will take 4 whole ounces!)...which means much less awake time for us both! Then I sleep from 3:30a to 7:30a when Hunter gets up for the day. It does get rather complicated to pump and feed/burp her at the same time, but I have 9 months of experience from doing that exclusively with Hunter. During the night she pretty much dream feeds, which means if she was nursing it would take her FOREVER to finish. So I will probably do this until she can be more efficient nurser at night, even though it is much more complicated!

Otherwise, she loves her baths. She has had 2 baths at home and she prefers the tub bath over a sponge bath...who wouldn't?! She got her first sponge bath at home when my sister was in town. My sister came in for about 36 hours so she could photograph her in those crucial first 10 days of newborn squishy sleepiness. It is SOOO nice to have such talent in a sister! I am definitely spoiled rotten! She processed the photos the same day and I have already designed my announcements, just need to put in the order!

As far as Hunter goes he thinks Madison is pretty cool on most days. He is sick right now, and has been since we brought her home. We had him checked out by the pedi when we took Maddie in for her weight check and the pedi said as long as he isn't running a fever she wasn't concerned about Madison getting sick esp. since she has the antibodies from my milk. But we are doing our best to not let him breathe and cough all over her...Jordan is ESPECIALLY protective of Madison :-).

Hunter spent the first few days keeping his distance. He was curious but not sure what to think. Vivian was keeping Hunter while we were in the hospital and she read him his big brother book everyday multiple times so by the time Madison came home Hunter was like FINALLY! He came up to her and the first thing he said was "OH there you are!" He asked to hold her and gave her a kiss on the head just like he used to kiss my belly. He actually has grasped the concept better than we expected. Thankfully he no longer calls my stomach "baby", he actually can see that there isn't a baby in there anymore! He LOVES to help out with her. He pulls up a chair to watch diaper changes, brings us diapers and wipes, enjoys watching her "drinkin her milk" as he calls it. He will run and go grab his milk and say "Hunter's milk" and will sit up next to us and drink his milk while she nurses :-) He did, however, recognize the paci when he saw hers. He grabbed it ran in the other room, where he thought we couldn't see him, and stuck it in his mouth. It wasn't as cool as he remembered it because he was very quickly over it! But he does like to grab it occasionally and test it out for a with him being sick we usually have to keep the paci's out of reach or just get a new one every time.

I am definitely more relaxed with the second one than I was with Hunter. It's probably just experience but I think the shock of going from no kids to having a kid was a MUCH bigger adjustment than adding a 2nd to the bunch. Of course, things are really easy right now, but either way it's easier than I expected. I find it's much easier if we get out of the house in the morning so Hunter can burn off some steam and take a gooooood nap. So, the 2nd day Maddie was home we spent 2.5 hours at the park on a play date with friends. The grocery store has been easy except that I am running out of space to put groceries! I think I may try carrying Maddie in the Bjorn next time so I can actually get more than a few bags full of groceries! Jordan on the other hand is even more protective of Maddie than he was of Hunter. I'm not sure if its the fact that she had such a tough first week and maybe he is having a hard time trusting her or that he knows how "rough and tumble" Hunter is and he is worried about her getting hurt. But, when Vivian was here we were CRACKING up at how uptight Jordan was about EVERYTHING! It's really pretty cute how protective he is of his baby girl. Can't fault him on that!

So far life with 2 is AWESOME. It's more love to go around, more snuggles, and more laughs from Jordan and me as we watch them do "their thing". Being a parent is one of the best things in the world and having these two children has been our biggest blessing to date...BY FAR!

So sweet (I should mention that Jordan was off in the corner about to have a stroke because Hunter was getting too close to Madison in this know being sick and all) haha.
I also want to give a big thanks to the grandma's, Nana and Vivi. We could NOT have done this without you! My mom (Nana) spent the 4 days I was "in labor" taking care of me and Hunter, while Jordan was in mini camp and Madison was born just in time for her to get just a few minutes of snuggle time before she had to leave. She is returning next week for a week long stay to get some good quality snuggle time with her babies and of course help me out :-) I am thinking a date night is in order next week! And Vivian came for a week right when Madison was born. She took care of Hunter for us the whole time I was in the hospital and the whole time we trekked back and forth from home to the NICU to visit Madison during her stay. She got 1 day with all of us home before she had to leave to go back and she was such a huge help to us also. Thank you both so much!

And of course my sister who came to photograph Madison last week and did SUCH an amazing job. I seriously cannot choose which ones to print and put in frames so I decided I will just make a book of all of them! You are so talented and have spoiled me rotten the past 2 years with free pics of whatever I want whenever I want! You ROCK!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A week long NICU stay

Wolfson's NICU is a level 4 NICU...where this tiniest and and sickest of babies go when they are born too early or with complications. They have 60 beds and two different levels, depending on how acute each baby is.

This was not my first NICU experience, as my nephew spent 3 weeks there 4 years ago when he was born at 32 weeks. I also spent a rotation in physical therapy school "treating" little sub 1 pounders and 1 pounders...mostly casting and positioning. But it is totally different when it's your own flesh and blood laying there in that incubator hooked up on monitors. It's so easy to be positive to others that are going through that experience "they just need more time"..."they will be okay"..."they are in the best possible place they could be" etc. etc. It is VERY hard to believe that when it's your child laying there while the neonatologists run every possible test LOOKING to find something wrong. I mean that's what you want, you want them to be thorough but everyday it is like something new and HUGE could be wrong with your child. Waiting for blood work, xray's, echo's, and cultures to come back and for the doctor to finally make their rounds so they can tell you what on earth is going on, is like torture when all you want to do is open that incubator and hold your precious little one. You worry that your baby won't know you who are, that they will think the nurses are their mommy, and that you are missing out on the crucial bonding time of those first few days while your sweet baby lays there with no human touch other than an occasional diaper change. It breaks your heart.

Every time we would arrive to the NICU to see Madison and spend our 3 minutes scrubbing in with surgical soap, I would spend those 3 minutes just praying that when I walked over to her corner that I would see a monitor with perfect numbers on it....HR 130, SpaO2 100, Respiratory rate 60, temperate 36.5C. The first 4 days of her life that NEVER happened. We were lucky to get one of those numbers for a brief moment but never at the same time. I remember telling myself "she just needs time she will be fine, God is taking care of her" but it is so hard to believe when you see them making no progress...or worse moving backwards! I wrote down everything the doctors and nurses told me about her progress or her goals so that I would know specifically what to pray for and I am so glad that I did because it was so neat to get an update...pray about that specific thing...get our prayer warriors on it and then find out the very next time we checked in that our prayers were answered! We had some pretty neat experiences of instant answered prayers that I want to share and document so that I can always remember how God took care of her that week specifically when mommy couldn't, and how ultimately now matter what the doctors tell you...GOD is the greatest physician and can do and heal anything.

Day 1
Madison was born! She was so beautiful, just how I had imagined. She came out quickly...too quickly so they spent a lot of time clearing her lungs trying to get her to breathe. She looked blue...they thought maybe bruised from the fast delivery...or maybe not getting enough oxygen. She didn't cry for a good 3 minutes which had me very worried. Finally a tiny sweet little cry came out and they handed her to me to nurse. They still weren't sure about her color or breathing so they watched her closely while she nursed and decided to call NICU for a consult. She went up to the newborn nursery (where healthy babies go) and by the time she got up there...there was no question she was as can be. They rushed her to the NICU where she remained for the next week.

Right off the bat they started blood work to rule out infection...standard for every baby in the NICU. For the first 72 hours she was on antibiotics, prophylactically as they watched her cultures for "growth". She was placed on oxygen support through a nasal cannula (I knew this was the lowest level of support for breathing issues so that made me feel better about her "status"). They monitored her blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and EKG (heart rate and electrical activity). She had an IV and an arterial line so they could draw blood gases every few hours which is a snapshot in time of what her breathing looks far as what her blood carries to the tissues.

"Normal" for each of these was:

Blood pressure should be appropriate to her gestational age and for her, her mean arterial pressure needed to be about 36 or 37 since she was born at 36w6d, Madison never had a problem with blood pressure.

Temperature should be 36.5C axillary. Madison had issues with temperature control right off the bat so we couldn't hold her until her temperatures leveled out...which was really hard.

Oxygen saturation should be 85-100. Madison had major issues with desaturation meaning she dropped lower than 85 all the time multiple times a day. She would get down into the 70's quite often which is scary. This is what caused them to put her on oxygen support. When she would have desats they would increase her oxygen until she could stay between 85-100.

Respiratory rate should be below 60 but not over 100. Babies sometimes increase respiratory rate when they are in REM sleep so the monitors allow them to go up to 100 but anything over 60 is "tachypnic". Madison spent the first 4 days at 120+ respirations per minute, which wore her out so she wasn't allowed to start feedings (even by feeding tube) until this got a little lower.

EKG (HR) needed to be between 80-200 bpm. Madison never had an issue with heart rate unless she got really worked up, like during an arterial or IV placement.

Arterial blood gases should be between 80-100mmHG but def. not below 60. Madison was usually in the 30's which is NOT good. This is another reason for the oxygen support.

Madison was started on 2 liters of oxygen at 35% (room air is 21%). Within 10 hours of her birth this was bumped up to 3 liters and 100%...NOT good.

They did a chest xray and it revealed and "enlarged heart" which can mean a number of things but most likely some sort of cardiac malfunction or disease. They also said that the pattern she was having the first 24 hours appeared to be more "cardiac" than respiratory related. They ordered an echo and specific prayers began for her to have a clear echo and no cardiac issue. Within 3 hours her breathing improved and she was turned down to 50% oxygen and falling (10%) at a time per hour until she leveled back out at 35%.

We arrived to the NICU to see her for the first time and we found her like this...totally broke my heart...I just wanted to grab her and hold her
Doing a little better with a paci
Day 2
The echo was due this morning but results would take a few hours to receive. We arrived at the her bedside to find that she was on a new nasal cannula "high flow" and she was back up to 100% oxygen and now 6 liters...not good at all. Her breathing was much better at this level but being on 100% oxygen is not good especially for a newborn it can cause all kinds of future complications. At this point I was getting pretty worried and began praying specifically for her oxygen to be turned down immediately and her echo to come back normal.

At 2:00pm the doctor made his rounds and said the echo looked perfectly normal but that it did reveal a PDA (hole in heart that "should" close within first few days of life). He said it was normal for it to be open for up to 2 weeks and since she didn't have a murmur he felt like he could cross "cardiac" off the list of possibilities.....ANSWERED PRAYER!

He also told us that he switched her to high flow cannula because he thought Madison's issue was obstructive apnea, or as he termed it "floppy airways" that preterm babies sometimes have. He said that the high flow forces air down the airways helping to open them and that having her lay on her stomach also helps open the airways and once this was done her numbers immediately improved, which was a good sign. The plan was to watch her for 24 hours on her stomach and on the high flow and if she showed improvement and no desats then he felt like he could say it's obstructive apnea...vs. Central apnea which is much worse and much more scary. If there was no improvement than they would have to start neuro scans to determine if its central apnea (which is what happens commonly with NOT good).

We immediately began praying that it was just "floppy airways" and that her numbers would look good for the next 24 hours. The next 24 hours she did great and had no desats through the night, for the first time since arriving, and they were able to slowly lower her oxygen from 100% down to 35% but still at 6 liters....ANSWERED PRAYER!

Day 3
Feeding day begins! They decided to start giving her 8ml's of milk in her feeding tube to see how she could handle it. I had been pumping since she was born so they had more than enough milk to give her. She also got her first bath (by me and the nurse) and I got to change my first diaper. Up to this point the only nutrition she had received was glucose in her IV. So she still had not pooped and was losing weight...therefore her bilirubin was getting higher and higher (Jaundice). The nurse also said that I could hold her during her feeding tube feed which was very exciting! I got to hold her for 2 whole hours! For the first time since being in NICU all of her numbers looked perfect on the monitor. It was such an emotional experience to not only get to hold my baby girl but to see that all of her levels normalized when she was in my arms. I would talk and sing to her and she would turn towards me and her breathing would slow down immediately as if she knew who I feeling in the world and ANSWERED PRAYER!

First bath with mommy
First time I held her in NICU
First time daddy held her
So tiny
Then nurse said if her breathing looked good at her 5pm feed that we could try a bottle (much more work on Madison's part so they wouldn't attempt it unless she was breathing well). 5pm came around and her breathing was too labored for a bottle so she was tube fed again. The next feeding at 8pm I went back down to see her and was told they decided to check her digestion and if she did good they would up her feed (she had take more than 35ml by bottle for all 8 feeds for 24 hours with no desats to go home). They drew up her stomach contents to see her digestion progress and they got 14mls....ummm she only ate 8mls so it seemed as though she was somehow "making" food. Not good. If she repeats this they would have to xray her stomach. UGH! It's always 1 step forward and 2 steps back! Prayers for her tummy went up and the next feeing she only had 2ml residuals (from her 8ml feed) so they called off the xray since she was moving in the right direction! ANSWERED PRAYER!

Day 4
Madison did better through the night with her feeds and by morning was up to 16ml per feed with no residuals! She also began pooping which is always a good thing as far as bilirubin goes. I sat by her bedside all day, normally I would go back to the room for a quick nap and then return but this was my last day in the hospital and it was very hard to imagine going home and leaving my baby behind...not natural AT ALL. We live 45 min from the hospital so once I go home...I am going back and forth as I could in my room just down the hall. Madison had a pretty good day on day 4 which I really needed to see so I could feel better about going home. She had reached the 72 hour mark with no "growths" on her cultures (meaning no infection) and she was taking less oxygen than before and hadn't had any big desats in a while. She was still quite tachypnic though and wasn't fulltime bottle feeding yet so they couldn't predict a timeframe in which she would be released. She was also getting even more jaundiced because she still wasn't taking full feeds. Overall though we felt like she was moving in the right direction. She took her first bottle on this day and did really well with desats and was maintaining her temperature enough that we could take her out to hold her whenever we wanted as long as she was covered well. I was there for every feeding that day, some by bottle and some by feeding tube and I held her most of the day. Towards the end of the day her numbers weren't looking so good, when I held her, and she had to go back in the incubator, which had me worried...she seemed to suddenly be moving backwards on the breathing front again.

Around 3pm I went back to my room to pack up my stuff because I was discharging at 6pm and I wanted to be back in time to do her 5pm feed. I went back to the NICU around 4pm and my nurse immediately rushed over and said is your husband here too? I told her he was at home (45 min away) but that he planned to be here at 5pm. She said "well we did an xray on her lungs and the doctor needs to talk to you both about the results and he is here now. He told me to tell him when you got here."

*****okay this did not sound good...trying not to panic*****

I called Jordan and told him to come up to the hospital now, and that the doctor had some news about Madison's xray and it didn't sound good. I began pressuring the nurse to just tell me what it was. She nonchalantly said something about air outside Madison's lung and a hole in her lung. I said "she has a pneumothorax!!!!??" The nurse was like "oh you know what that is?" I immediately started getting emotional and she went and got the doctor. The doc came over with her pen and paper and began drawing me a diagram of the lungs and how a pneumothorax happens and what "can" happen...I didn't want to say that I already knew all of this because I wanted to hear EVERYTHING she had to say about it and for her to tell me that my precious baby girl would be just fine. This is not what I heard... I heard (lung collapsing, chest tube, distress etc etc.) and then she said "but don't worry it's pretty common we get about 7 cases a year here in our NICU."

WHAT??? That's common? 7 cases a year in a 60 bed level 4 NICU?? Not exactly what I would describe as common!

She said it was "spontaneous" and came on out of no other words not from trauma (like you see on TV). She also said most cases resolve on their own within 24-48 hours and that she would personally sit by Madison's bedside through the night in case her lung collapsed or she went into distress and she needed to be tubed.

Shortly after she finished our talk and walked away Jordan arrived. I had already texted him the "gist" of what was going on because the suspense was killing him. He assumed that she was already in distress and they were standing by her bedside waiting to tube her any minute. So he was surprised to see her looking normal in her incubator when he arrived. The nurse came over and reiterated everything the Doctor had told us so Jordan could hear it first hand and ask questions. We immediately spent the next hour in prayer over her as did all of our friends and family. We both sat there watching her monitors almost waiting for her numbers to drop and for them to run over in a panic. It was suddenly so scary and NOT the night I wanted to leave my baby behind and be 45 minutes away! We began talking about staying in the NICU all night...rotating sleeping, possibly getting a hotel room across the street so that if/when they called us to tell us "it" happened we could get there quickly. I was super emotional at this point and feeling so helpless. My baby girl was sicker than we thought even though it seemed she had been improving.

6pm was quickly approaching and everything inside of me DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE. I looked over to see Jordan deep in prayer and I joined in and just asked God to take care of our precious baby girl and to give us a sense of peace. I finished and looked up at Jordan and he had a huge smile on his face as he looked at the monitors. I looked up and saw perfect numbers for the first time since day 3 when I held her. Jordan said "she's gonna be okay Ash". I said how do you know? He said "I just asked God for a clear sign that Madison would be okay and when I finished I looked up at the monitor and for the first time saw 100% sats, RR 60...perfect numbers. That is our sign. He's going to take care of her."


So we left with that sense of peace I had prayed for and went home to be with Hunter, who I hadn't really seen much of that week.

Day 5
Jordan and I both slept that night pretty well considering the circumstances...ANSWERED PRAYER. I called the NICU every time I got up to pump that night to check on Madison and they said her numbers were perfect all night long! The longest running time she had held perfect numbers since admission. They lowered her to 23% oxygen. She was maintaining her temp so they could start swaddling her and they would repeat the xray in the morning to see if it had shrunk.

The day continued to get better as the xray showed a decrease in size of the pneumothorax. Her monitors showed her breathing was close to perfect (perfect on sats but still slightly tachypnic). She was also taking all bottles at every feed and was up to 16ml per feed and I was able to nurse again so long as we weighed her before and after each feed. ANSWERED PRAYERS! At her 5pm feed they took her OFF oxygen! The doctor came by for rounds and for the first time gave us a prediction of going home "early next week" as long as she continued to improve and her xray came back clear the next morning...woohoo! Her feeds gradually increased up to 50ml per feed on this day and she was not looking like a baby who had a pneumothorax! They decided to start treating her for jaundice under the bili lights...since she was there anyway even though her levels weren't dangerously high. Day 5 was a great day and it was the first time she seemed to have turned her corner!

Our little tanning bed baby
Day 6
I arrived to the NICU just in time for rounds. A new doctor, the weekend doc, came by this time and saw Madison laying there on no oxygen, taking full feeds, a clear xray from that morning and perfect numbers on the monitor and he said...."why is she here?" jokingly of course. He said, "hey mom what do you think about taking your baby girl home tomorrow....on Mother's day!?" mother's day gift possible! He told me to bring her carseat in for the carseat test and if she passed that and her bili numbers have gone down by the next morning then she could go home! ANSWERED PRAYER!

I immediately went down and got the carseat so she could do her test....which consisted of sitting in the carseat for an hour and half with no "breathing episodes". She passed the test and now only 1 thing was left to accomplish before she could come home. But we wouldn't know until 10am the next morning.

Day 7
I called promptly at 10am to get the results of her bili levels and they weren't in yet. The nurse called me back 20 min later and said she could go home today, Mother's Day, at 4pm!! Jordan and I couldn't wait to get up there and get her and bring her home! It was such a great feeling to finally bring her home and when we walked in Hunter immediately saw her and said "oh there you are"! For the first time that week we felt complete with all of our lovies under one roof.

It has been such an eventful that cannot compare to some of the other "stories" going on in that very same NICU but as I said before when it's your own flesh and blood in there it doesn't really matter how early they were born, how much they weigh, or what the "issue" is, it's scary and it's a crazy emotional ride. Jordan and I definitely counted our blessings everyday that we made the walk past each baby from the front on of the NICU to the back corner, corner 208, where Madison stayed. There were many sick babies in there that had much longer stays than Madison and a much worse prognosis. We hope to never experience that again but we thank our GOD for taking such good care of our baby girl when we couldn't and we know that HE continues to do so everyday of her life.


Best attempt at a family photo on Mother's day

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Madison is here!

Madison Lee Black was born Monday May 3, 2010 at 4:44pm at 36w6d. She weighed 6 pounds 13.3 ounces and 20 inches long. She came into this world after probably the longest labor in history but the easiest delivery I could have possibly asked for!

This is the day before I delivered (36w5d)
I went in to the office on Thursday April 29th with contractions 3 min apart. They checked me and I was already 4cm so they sent me to L&D and after 24 hours I only moved 1.5cm (5.5cm). They couldn't help my labor along (breaking water or starting pitocin) because I was only 36w2d. They were hesitant to send me home since I was so dilated, we live 45 minutes away and my contractions were so close already but it seemed my labor was just stalled may remember this happening with Hunter too! (almost exactly the same thing). My mom immediately flew in because the OB was certain this baby was coming Thursday and my mom was going to take care of Hunter for us! So, after 24 hours in L&D I ended up just going home Friday morning and my mom took care of me and Hunter all weekend while I continued to have contractions 3 minutes apart. We were all so nervous I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time since I was already contracting 3 min apart and 5.5cm so I was PRAYING for an obvious sign for when she was coming (i.e. maybe my water breaking?) such luck.

Finally Monday morning I just had to go in because it was getting ridiculous not to mention I was very weary of labor! I needed to know what was happening as far as progress goes because the pain and pressure was only getting worse. I got to the office around 10:30 am and I was 6cm and baby was engaged. She said you are delivering this baby TODAY. I headed to L&D and got up in the room around noon...I was 7cm when I walked in. They did the admitting paper work and the doctor broke my water. When they hooked me up on the monitors my heart was going crazy very tachycardic. They hooked me up to a 3 lead EKG and I was throwing PVC's and PAC's every 30 seconds, I was getting lightheaded from the PVC's and my heart was ranging between 160-200. They called cardiology to come do a 12 lead EKG and before they even got there I told them I needed to push now! Sure enough the nurse checked me and the baby was ready to go! 1 push to get her down and 1 big push and she was out! My OB didn't even make it in time...the nurse called down the hall to one of the doctors who was standing at the nurses station (happened to be in the same practice as my OB but I had never met her). She ran in and delivered Madison just in time! It was so fast and so easy! She was so beautiful but the first thing I noticed was that she wasn't crying, which immediately had me concerned. They took her over to suction her (since she came so fast she didn't get the good suctioning that happens during birth). Meanwhile my mom and Hunter came in just minutes after she was born to see her because my mom had to leave within 30 minutes of her birth to catch her flight back home!

Seconds after she was born

Hunter came to see Madison just 10 minutes after she was born
First family picture
They got her suctioned and she let out a tiny sweet little cry. They handed her back to me to nurse but they kept saying she was either bruised in the face from the fast delivery or she was blue because she couldn't breathe. They had me nurse her for 30 minutes so they could watch her color and breathing and finally decided to call NICU to come evaluate her. They said she looked a bit blue but they didn't think there wasn't anything alarming going on she just needed a few minutes to transition. They took her up to the nursery to do her exam and when they got there she was cyanotic. They immediately rushed her to NICU where she remained for a whole week...LONGEST week of our lives.

The week Madison was in the NICU was full of so many events and answered prayers that I want to do a separate post chronicling everything that happened so I can remember this one day and never forget each and every prayer that was answered.

Back to the "cardiology issue" cardiology didn't make it in time before I delivered and I remember asking the nurse just before she my heart okay to deliver? She assured me that they could handle whatever happens. Immediately after delivery my blood pressure then shot up in addition to my heart rate which was already extremely high. The difference was all of my cardiac symptoms went away after she came and I felt great within a minute of delivery despite what the EKG was saying. Cardiology got there about 10 minutes after she was born. The 12 lead EKG said I was in Atrial fibrillation...not the case obviously since at that point I was asymptomatic and feeling pretty good! The tech said I had nice P waves and everything looked good to him so he cleared me. My blood pressure continued to rise so they did some blood work to see if I was developing pre-eclampsia. I had to stay in L&D for 5 hours (typically they keep you there an hour) to be monitored and eventually my HR and BP came down to we are not really sure what happened there!

Madison in the NICU
All in all it was such an eventful and memorable day. Sweet Madison is so precious and we are so excited to finally have her here with us and healthy! She came home from the NICU today....on Mother's day. I don't think any Mother's day will ever top that!

1 week old leaving the NICU to come home!