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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pain In The...Uterus?

If you recall from Ann Ann's birth story there were some complications with the placenta.  That sucker was holding on for dear life.  The doctor even snapped the umbilical cord while trying to get it out.

Once it was out the doctor carefully inspected it to make sure it was all out.  She said it was.  Who was I to doubt her?

She gave my antibiotics to avoid infection and some medication to contract my uterus quickly to avoid hemorrhaging.  All seemed well...until...

Monday night Justin and I got to enjoy our first double date the the future Welbaums.  I really enjoy those people.  I stopped by the restroom before I left and had a weird cramping feeling when going to the bathroom, but it went away after a few seconds and everything seemed fine.  Then when I stood up I felt a blood clot come out - it was about the size of a ping pong ball.  The doctor said to look for clots bigger than a golf ball.  This was not that big, so I just ignored it.

On the way home I was having some random cramping, but it was tolerable and that is not uncommon as my body squeezes itself back into shape.  I ignored the minor cramping and went to bed.

At 12:03 AM I woke up in severe pain.  I was cramping worse than ever and could barely make it to the bathroom.  As I sat on the toilet the cramping got even worse.  Every time I started to push to do my business the pain intensified.  After 30 minutes of severe pain I began to feel light headed and nauseous.  I called to Justin because I was worried I was about to pass out.  At this point I was breaking into a hot sweat on top of everything else and wanted to get in the shower to cool off and hopefully keep me from fainting.  Justin helped me get into the shower and then he called the Nurse Hotline to find out what they suggest for us to do.

I was not surprised to hear them say I needed to go to the ER right away.  I was hoping that they would be like "she's fine, she just needs to sleep it off", but at this point I knew it was probably something more.  So PRAISE JESUS that Amber (who babysat for us while we went out on our double date) stayed the night with us and was there to watch the kids as we headed to the ER at 1 AM.

Luckily we got in quickly and I got an IV within a few minutes of being there.  The IV sucked because it was done right at my elbow so it hurt whenever I tried to move my arm, but they got me fluids, Zofran (for nausea), and Morphine for pain.  I don't like Morphine.  It makes you feel funny, and in this case it didn't do anything for the pain.

An ultrasound was done and they found that all of the placenta was NOT out.  I was given 2 options.  I could go home with some pills that would contract my uterus and flush out the remaining placenta (which would be painful) or I could get a D&C.  Since I didn't want surgery I opted for the pills.  So about 4 hours from arriving I was being sent home... in pain and on the verge of passing out every time I moved.

So I spent the entire day yesterday in bed.  Every movement I made caused my pain level to shoot up from a resting 6 to an intense 8.  I was given pain killers that took the edge off, but they made me so drowsy that I could barely keep my eyes open for more than an hour at a time all day.  My daddy came by around lunch time with food and snacks which was awesome, because I hadn't been able to muster enough energy to get up and feed myself.  And I spent the whole day waiting for the rest of the placenta to make its appearance (in the form of 2-3 more large blood clots according to the doctor).

Now we are at today.   I'm still in pain, but now its between a 4 and a 6 so it is manageable.  I still feel very lightheaded if I move around too much.  But the worst part is... I still haven't had any blood clots.  So does this mean that maybe it came out in smaller pieces so I didn't notice it?  Or does it mean its still in there an I could develop an infection?  Does this mean despite trying to avoid the surgery by taking the pills I'm going to end up needing a D&C anyway?

As of right now, I don't know.  I have this last day to "wait" and then I'll talk to my doctor to find out
"what's next".

People have asked what they can do to help, and right now the best would be just to pray for me please.  Pray my body does what it needs to do so that I do NOT need a D&C.  You can pray the pain goes away too, but I'm more than willing to deal with that part if it means the remaining pieces of placenta come out on their own.

And now back to bed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Will We Do It Again?

So there isn't much left to the "story".  Over the next several hours we just went on with the flow of things.  My parents came by to wait until I was released so they could take me home.

The only important thing left was when Baby's Daddy finally arrived.  On Sunday around 2 his airplane finally landed after much chaos and many delays.  He came straight from the airport.  Baby's Momma went to the hospital lobby to get him so me and Ann Ann had our last few moments alone.  I picked her up and got her ready to meet her daddy.

When they came in the room I got excited all over again.  I got to see Baby's Momma see her for the first time, now I was getting to see Baby's Daddy see her for the first time.  He washed his hands and I handed him his baby girl.  He awkwardly held her and just stared at her chubby little face.  Baby's Momma stood by him to help him hold less awkwardly.  They were finally all together!  He looked up at me and just said thank you about 20 times.  Tears were welling up in his eyes and Baby's Momma's eyes.  And of course as soon as that happened there were tears pouring down my face.  I thanked them for letting me be part of this journey with them.

Shortly after the nurse came to wheel me out (not because I was broken, but it is just policy to wheel patients out).

I got home to an exhausted husband and exhausted children.  They were all driving each other crazy.  My hubby did an amazing job though getting the house picked up before I got home which helped me relax a little.  However, about an hour home and everything hit me:

I was physically exhausted - I had 4-5 hours of sleep in the last 55 hours and during that time pushed a baby out so my body was still out of whack and oozing blood and contracting (I was on some medicine to keep contractions going so my uterus would shrink faster to avoid hemorrhaging).

I was emotionally exhausted - Since Baby's Momma and Ann Ann were in the room the whole time I never really had time to myself to just work through the emotions of those 2 days.  I am SO glad they were there with me, but putting on a "strong" face for the Momma the whole time was a little draining.

So as everything hit me, I felt overwhelmed.  I felt that everything in that moment was completely out of control and I just cried.  For no real reason.  Just a release of all the exhaustion.

Around 11 PM that night I finally went to bed.  For much needed rest for every part of my being.  By morning I was mostly back to myself.  Still tired because...

Note to myself and other potential surrogates: Pumping is a nightmare

In order to have a milk supply without actually breastfeeding you have to do far more work than when a baby is nursing.  I have to get up every 3 hours and pump both sides for 15 minutes each.  Pumping colostrum is pretty painful while you wait for your milk to come in.  I was so excited for my milk to finally arrive...until the engorgement started while my knockers adjusted to the "demand" of the pump.  So yeah...every 3 hours without fail for 15 minutes (no more, no less).

But at least Ann Ann is getting the milk she needs!

And with that I ask myself, would you do it again?  And although I am pretty sure I know my answer, I want to wait a few months to make sure.  So I won't really answer that yet.

Thank you all so much for reading about this journey! Thank you for praying with me through the rough times, and rejoicing with me through the awesome times.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 2 - Watching Mommy

Yesterday I told you all about the 24 hours leading up to Ann Ann's birth.  If you missed it you can go here.

Today, I'll tell you about what happened after she began her life on the outside world.


8:00 AM: Because of the problems with the epidural at this point I had complete feeling in my right side, but my left side was still completely dead.  The nurse pulled up a spiffy chair thing and wheeled me to the restroom.  They make you pee to make sure your body is functioning properly before they let you go to recovery.  And pee I did... so much.  I was wheeled back to bed and saw that Baby's Momma was spending some skin to skin time with her baby girl.  A precious moment to see.  I fell asleep shortly after that.

9:00 AM: My room was finally ready.  When I woke up Baby's Momma was gone to handle some things she hadn't been able to get done before Ann Ann came.  So Ann Ann and I headed to our room.  The hospital is supposed to give the family a separate room, but because they were so full the only option the hospital had was to keep Ann Ann in the nursery and let the Baby's Momma "visit" her in there.  So I offered to have them stay with me so they could stay together.  In the next few hours I held Ann Ann amazed at the odd bond I was feeling.  I did love this little Asian baby I held in my arms and nursed a few times.  But it was a very unique love.  Nothing like the love I have for my own children, but still similar.  In those moments I prayed for that gorgeous baby.  I prayed for a long, healthy, amazing life.  I prayed that God would work in her to do amazing things.  I prayed she would be a reminder to her mommy and daddy that God loves them and provided them with her.

1:00 PM:  Justin and my crazy kids arrive to meet Ann Ann.  Taylor was the first to hold her and had a huge smile on her face.  Jordan was next and would hold her forever if I let her, but she had a cough so I told her she couldn't hold her anymore.  Elijah was excited...until he actually hold her.  He posed for a picture and decided she was boring and jumped down off the bed.  Justin got to her hold her too - another awesome moment for me.  Watching my family say hello and "good bye" to this little baby who has had such a huge impact on our family over the last year.  There were amazing moments and there were very very difficult ones.  But here she was now.  And worth it.

2:00 PM: Baby's Momma and the Interpreter arrive with lunch for everyone.  We eat quickly because the nursing staff is eager to get some things done with Ann Ann that they had to wait for the Baby's Momma to approve.  So as everyone left the room got quiet.  Baby's Momma watched Ann Ann get her first bath.  And listened (and recorded) intently as the nurse explained how she would do it at home, and what else she may need to know for the next 24 hours (how to burp, how to swaddle, how to suction mucus).  And for the next couple of hours we just sat and talked.  We watched Ann Ann in her bed.  I watched Baby's Momma watch Ann Ann.

4:00 PM: Baby's Momma and the Translator had to head out again.  They needed to take care of a couple more things.  So out they went.  And I slept for an hour or so.  My first long stretch since 2 days earlier.

9:00 PM: Baby's Momma comes back alone this time.  It was not just the 3 of us.  We talked some more and now that I was pumping Ann Ann was in her capable hands for the night.  She was so nervous.  The first time she fed her there was joy in her eyes.  Then she went to burp her for the first time and very gently patted her back.  I showed her how to actually burp her.  And again, Ann Ann slept.  And for the first time so did Baby's Momma (and me).

Ann Ann was up every hour after that.  She was one hungry girl, but pumping colostrum is difficult and I could not keep up with her demand.  The nurses brought in formula to supplement between the colostrum feedings.

8/10/14 3:00 AM: Ann Ann had her first dirty diaper (just wet ones up to now).  Baby's Momma was now changing her first "real" diaper.  20 minutes later, about 15 wipes, and some tears from Momma later Ann Ann was clean and re-swaddled.  Baby's Momma was overwhelmed at this point.  I just hugged her and told her she did great - it takes time to get "fast", but she is a good Momma.  The entire time Ann Ann cried Baby's Momma just sang to her.  Another beautiful moment I got to be there for.  Even with the lack of sleep at this was worth it.

The next few hours were much of the same.  Ann Ann up and hungry.  At one point she did have some gas so I showed Baby's Momma how to hold her in a way that would help get it out.  One big burp and Ann Ann fell happily back to sleep.

7:00 AM: I ordered breakfast for me and Baby's Momma and took a much needed shower.  Ann Ann was now 1 day old.  The nurses came in to take her for some blood work so Baby's Momma and I rested.

And here are some more pictures of the 2nd day:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ann Ann Makes Her Debut

So the last 3 days have been rather eventful.  There are so many things I want to tell you and write about so I will remember.  I figure I'll start with the first 24 hours (with a little pre-event info).

WARNING: This blog will have all the details - so if that is not what you are looking for, just ask me me later and I'll tell you the pretty version.

Tuesday 8/5/14: I went to the doctor and found out I was 3 cm.  Now for a 4th baby (even a 3rd baby) that is pretty normal.  Your body knows the drill and easily gets ready in advance. So when the doctor said "it could be any day" that was true, but "any day" could mean a week or more.

Wednesday 8/6/14: I spent the afternoon with the Baby's Momma walking around the mall then headed down to church to get the kids. After picking up the kids from school I headed home and found that I had lost my mucus plug.  Again... not necessarily a sign that you are about to start labor, but one more box to check off your check list of "Things that mean you're having a baby soon"

Thursday 8/7/14: Since I found out during the aforementioned walk around the mall that Baby's Daddy wasn't going to come until Friday, I wanted to relax as much as possible to try and help Ann Ann NOT come until Friday or later.  Justin also had an all Midnight Showing to do with the Youth Group this night which meant he was not home.

THE FIRST 24 HOURS (8/8/14)

7:00 AM: As I'm getting the kids ready for school I am feeling some discomfort.  Enough to stop and think that it could be Braxton Hicks, or contractions.  Either way, they were tolerable and I just continued about my business.

8:00 AM: I stop by the Youth room at church to drop off breakfast to the group of Youth (and adults) that went to the midnight showing.  As we sat and talked the discomfort continued.  At this time I decided that they must be contractions, however, they were tolerable so I wasn't too concerned yet.

9:00 AM: I realize that the contractions might be a bigger deal than I realize.  I have never experienced the early labor stages (First 2 kids my water broke while I slept so I knew I was in labor - 1 kid was induced).  I actually wasn't sure if I was in labor at this point...or if I was when I should actually go to the hospital.  I called my dad (the person who would be with me during delivery) to see what he thought.  Then decided that I had my hospital tour that day at 10:45.  I'd just wait until the tour to get "checked".  I also called Justin (who would be my ride to the hospital if needed) to ask him to take me to the tour just in case I needed to stay.

11:00 AM: We completed the tour (really a waste of time).  My contractions were still pretty mild so I decided NOT to get checked yet.  Instead, Justin and I headed to my place of employment to get out some cash for our expenses for the month I'm not at work.  While there I was blessed with an AMAZING gift from my coworkers/friends (THANK YOU GUYS!)  At this point I was noticing the contractions more.  I called the Labor and Delivery line to ask when I should come in.  I explained what was going on and told to wait.

1:00 PM: Justin and I were home.  We both took a much needed nap.

4:00 PM: Justin headed back to work and took a shower to try and relax and rest up.  The contractions were still tolerable, but I figured I should probably be timing them.  Still unsure how to actually time them since it is hard to tell when they actually start (I have a pretty high pain tolerance).

7:00 PM: The kids are fed, I'm having contractions every 3 minutes that last 45 - 60 seconds.  A sign I'm in labor, but again... they are still tolerable so I'm not convinced I'm "in labor".  However, after talking to my dad again I decide I should just go in to get checked.

8:00 PM: I get dropped off at the hospital and say good bye to Justin and the Kids.  My dad meets me and we head up to Labor and Delivery.

9:00 PM: I get checked by the doctor and I am 4 cm and having contractions for sure.  The doctor isn't sure if she should keep me since my contractions aren't that bad yet.  She decides to keep me there for 2 more hours and re-check me. So my dad and I walk the halls for an hour or so.  I can feel the contractions much more now.

11:00 PM: The doctor checks me again. I'm 5 cm.  She decides to keep me there because it's my 4th baby and things COULD progress quickly (or not at all).  I tell her I will want an epidural so the Baby's Momma doesn't have to see me in crazy pain.  So they start my IV and tell me to "tell them when".  I find out it will take about an hour to actually get it so I tell her I'd like to start the process now.  The contractions just started to get to the point where I cannot talk through them easily.

8/9/14 MIDNIGHT (ish): I am moved to an actually delivery room and things are in motion.  They increase my IV fluid to get me ready for the epidural.  My arm begins to burn.  I look down and realize something is wrong.  I have a large bubble forming near the IV sight.  I tell the nurse and she stops the liquids right away.  Something happened to the IV and they had to re-do it.  The nurse gave me a new one (in a much better place and much less painful than the first).  The anesthesiologist comes in for the epidural.  It went smoothly and within 30 minutes I was good to go.  Unlike last time, the epidural actually worked properly and everything was numb instead of just half of me.  At some point the Baby's Momma arrives.

2:00 AM: I was at 5 cm still so the broke my water, stripped my membranes, and the doctor manually pushed open my cervix to 6 cm.  That all sounds really painful, I was grateful for the epidural at that point. The baby didn't like me on my back so the nurse had me lay on my side and try to sleep.  The Baby's Momma leaves the room for awhile to try and help me rest.

3:00 AM: The nurse had me stay on my side too long though and the epidural medication all shifted to that side of body. I woke up to a pretty severe contraction that I felt on my right side.  My left side was completely dead though.  The doctor started me on pitocin to try and speed things along.  I shifted to my right side to try and get the epidural medication to shift to my right side again...knowing contractions were about to get much worse with pitocin.

4:00 AM: My attempt at moving the epidural drugs didn't work.  I was now feeling every contraction at like 80% pain level on my right side.  However, at this point I was glad.  I was worried that I would not know when to push if I couldn't feel it.  Since I was feeling it on 1 side I knew it was time.  I told the nurse I was ready.  She checked and agreed it was time to start the pre-pushing to get baby in place.  I pushed through 3 contractions and baby was crowning.  Baby's Momma was back in the room now to watch her baby girl be born. I swear between 4:30 and 5 this was the longest 30 minutes of my life... having a baby crowned and chillin in your lady parts and NOT able to push until the doctor gets there.

5:00 AM:   Once the doctor arrived it all started.  Baby's Momma tentatively watched as I got ready to push, she was more concerned at this point that I was ok.  She was so worried I was in pain.  With 1 big contraction and a few pushes Ann Ann was out at 5:26 AM (6lbs, 7oz.  18.5 inches - praise Jesus for a nice small baby).  I turned to see Baby's Momma crying.  I began to cry.  She was a mommy... I helped make her a mommy.  The put Ann Ann on my stomach as Baby's Momma cut the cord.  As my mom pointed out a couple days was a very symbolic moment.  Baby's Momma severed the "maternal" tie between me and baby.  The nurse wrapped Ann Ann up and handed her to her Momma.  THIS is why I did this.  This moment.  That moment.

6:00 AM: There are problems with the placenta.  It's not detaching.  The doctor is literally wrist deep inside my lady parts trying to pull and tug it out.  The epidural is wearing hurts.  It hurts worse than the last 24 hours combined.  I am glad Baby's Momma is distracted with her baby so she doesn't have to see me actually in real pain for the first time since she's been here.  I find out later they were very close to doing a D&C.

7:00 AM: They finally get that darn placenta out.  My insides hurt...that is new.  I'm not used to feeling like I got punched from the inside out.  However, no tearing or bruising from the labor!  No stitches!  I am all cleaned up and ready to be moved to the recovery room (we had to wait for a room - it was a full house that night).  Baby is sucking on everything put near her face.  I offer to feed the baby and Baby's Momma happily accepts.  I get to hold Ann Ann and "see" her for the first time in that moment before she lunges at me and begins eating like a mad woman.  It hits me...

-Dude...I just had an Asian baby, she is so cute
-Weird, I love this baby, but I feel no motherly bond to her...even as she lays her nursing.
-I can't believe I just did that...this baby being with her mommy was worth every single moment leading to this.
-She is perfect and healthy - PRAISE JESUS!

The next 24 hours will come later. But in case you missed it, here are some pictures from 5:00 AM - 7:00 AM.