Saturday, June 14, 2008
Our Surprise Child
So far in her short existence our Carly Dawn has proven to be a child full of surprises. The first was her conception, which Daddy and Mommy had not planned on being so soon. Next was the time of her arrival...both pretty big things in my opinion. The following is incredibly long and detailed (as usual), probably more so for my own benefit (my memory is so poor lately and I will want this for Carly's scrapbook). So please don't feel bad if you end up skipping over a lot.
Matt, Joshua, and I headed to the dr. Thursday, June 5th for my 36 week check. I knew the odds of me already being dilated were pretty good, since I was already 3 cm and 80% effaced at 37 weeks with Joshua. However, we didn't expect me to already be 5 cm and 80%. My dr. hooked me up to fetal monitors for nearly an hour, during which time I had 3 contractions. She told me she was concerned about us driving back to Tehachapi in case I went into labor and didn't make it back in time. Since I'd made it to the day before Joshua's due date (at which time I was 7 cm & 90%) before they walked me over to the hospital to induce me, Matt and I really weren't worried. Still, we were totally unprepared and hadn't even packed bags.
We decided to hang around in Bakersfield for a while. We went to Olive Garden for dinner with my mom and the entire time I kept record of my contractions. Oddly enough, they kept coming, mostly at an average of 10 min apart. With Joshua whenever I'd start to have some sort of regular contractions, they'd stop or become irregular. But these ones weren't stopping. At this point we figured we should go home and pack, just in case, but still thinking it was just a precaution. We arrived in Tehachapi around 10 pm and let Joshua sleep in the car while we got everything together. My contractions kept coming...and getting closer together.
My sister told me I should be on bedrest since the dr. (and us as well) wanted to see if I could make it just one more week. Anything prior to 37 weeks is considered preemie. But by the time we had finished packing (nearly midnight) I was worried about us making it to the hospital in time. My contractions were about 4 min apart, and even though we were so exhausted and wished for at least an hour to rest, we got in the car, dropped Joshua off at Matt's parents', and flew down the hill. We got to the hospital at 1 am and I was 6-7 cm, 90% effaced.
Time really seemed to fly by. Within 45 min I was getting some meds through the IV and by 2:30 I got my epidural. The latter didn't work as well as last time (I didn't feel a thing with Joshua). I could "feel" numbness in my back and my right leg would not move for me, but I could feel tightening of the contractions a little easier and especially the pressure as the time to push drew nearer. At some point I told my nurse about the pressure and when she checked I was either 10 cm or close to it and almost fully effaced. She told me to call her when I got an overwhelming urge to push, and it seems like it was only 5 min later when that came. Within minutes the nurse had checked me again and the room became busy in preparation for delivery.
I don't know how much more I would've felt without the epidural, but I screamed while pushing and had a hard time breathing. Even with an oxygen mask everyone had to keep reminding me to breathe slowly and the pain and pressure were so strong I wanted to push even between contractions. Thankfully I pushed for only 20-25 minutes (as opposed to an hour and a half with Joshua, though it didn't feel like that long). At 5:44 a.m. on Friday, June 6, 2008, our beautiful Carly Dawn was born. Though only 2 days shy of being 4 weeks early, she was 6 lb. 10 oz. (only 8 oz. less than her big brother's birth weght) and very healthy, so she did not have to spend any time in the NICU. She surprised us again with a full head of thick, dark hair and definitely favoring her daddy in the mouth, chin, and cheeks (though also looking ver similar to her brother).
A huge blessing to Mommy in this early birth was definitely the smaller size, resulting in only an episiotomy, as opposed to the painful 3rd degree lacerations and month-long recovery that occurred with Joshua's birth. I was able to walk around on my own after just a few hours and take care of my little girl- Praise God! Because of Carly's preemie arrival we did have to stay overnight, not being released until about 5 pm Saturday. She was found to have a slight heart murmur, for which the pediatrician ordered an ecko-cardiogram (sp?), which found Carly's pulminary valve to be a little small, which now requires a visit with a cardiologist later this month. But we were very thankful to go home that evening, especialy because we missed our Joshua so much.
This would be the end, where I'd tell you a little more about my sweet Carly, but we received another surprise and had a much longer week than anticipated. On Sunday my sister, Melissa, noticed that Carly was looking like "a carrot" and told us to be sure to have it checked the following day at Carly's well-baby check. Melissa is a nurse in the neonatal ICU at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. Sure enough, at the appointment Monday afternoon Carly was found to have a bilireuben level of 17.4 (with the skin reading). They sent us over to Memorial Hospital where Carly was admitted to the pediatric unit to be put under the lights for jaundice.
That first night (Monday) her bili level was at 19, the following morning it had only gone down to 17, and Tuesday night it was at 14.3. Wednesday morning it was down to 11.6, so she was taken off the lights at 10:30 am to see how her body would do on its own. I was so thankful at this point because I could finally hold my baby girl anytime I wanted. Up until that point she needed to stay under the lights as much as possible, hooked up to monitors and an IV, had a little visor on to protect her eyes from the light, and could only come out when nursed every other feeding (I pumped for the other feedings). And the poor baby was poked so many times. While Matt and I were glad Carly's bili levels had lowered, we were worried that off the lights her recovery would take longer. This seems to have come into play since Carly's bili was at 11.8 Wednesday night and still hadn't changed the next morning. Even still, the pediatrician discharged Carly on Thursday, and now we still have to watch her coloring and continue to have her monitored by the doctors until the jaundice completely clears.
Thankfully Memorial is the only hospital in Bakes where I was able to stay in the room with Carly, anywhere else I would've been sent home. But this was the hardest thing I've had to go through with my babies. I already had missed Joshua while in the hospital for Carly's birth, and again I was away from him for days. Matt took him home Monday evening (after the poor baby hadhad diarrhea all day), he was definitely sick Tuesday, so I only saw Matt a few hours Tues evening when he brought me a bag. Then Matt woke up sick Wed morning and I finally saw them again when they picked us up Thursday. The whole week Joshua wuld ask for me or look around for me, and his little phonecalls were such blessings. He has only spent 5 nights away from me his whole life, all within a week's time.
This whole situation would be difficult for anyone, and tack on the crazy hormones of one recovering from childbirth and you've got a woman who can hardly keep from crying; it was so hard. Yet I praise God because He never left us, He never let go through this trying week. He was faithful to care for us, to send Christian friends for fellowship, encouragement, and prayer, and to speak to me through His word. This past week there have been so many things, both small and large details, which He used as blessings despite the difficulty. And I trust that He will continue to care for us all, especially to completely heal our sweet baby girl.
So sorry for the amount of info here. At the very least I hope you enjoy the photos. I have to tell you really quick how much Joshua loves his baby sister. Not once has he been mean or acted jealous of the attention she gets. He does get upset whenever Carly gets her pacifier because he's only allowed to have his for sleeping. But he absolutely adores her. He wants to hug and kiss her all the time and he calls ger "Girl" (guhl) from when we called her "Baby Sister, Little Girl" in Mommy's tummy. It's just precious!
Please keep Carly in your prayers. I can't help but be a little concerned that her bili levels increase and result in another trip to the hospital. I'll try to add more photos this coming week. All that's posted here are from last weekend and she's definitely changed since then. Lots of love to you from our new family of 4!