Monday, January 31, 2011

Our First Day at Home

We've been home for about 19 hours now, Collin is fed and sleeping, and I'm going to quickly recap our first night before I tip over for a nap. :)

We were released from the hospital just after 2pm yesterday, the 30th of January. We buckled Collin up in his car seat and made the 4 minute drive home with no troubles. :)

When we got home, we introduced the girls to Collin, and they did an amazing job! They were very curious, but incredibly gentle. Collin didn't mind getting sniffed, and he even got a couple kisses on the hand from Kacy. :) Step one of home-introduction: success! :)

We immediately saw the need for reorganization of our living room, because I need to be able to stay on the main level as much as possible to avoid stairs. Ryan disassembled the pack and play that had been in our bedroom and reassembled it down in the living room. It has become operation central, since Collin can sleep in in and it has a changing station.

Ryan left Collin and I at the house to go get our prescriptions (pain meds for me, antibiotic for Collin's kidneys). I fed Collin, held him until he was drowsy, and put him into his pack and play. He slept in there without any trouble!!!

We had a calm evening and worked out a pretty good system for how Ryan and I can work together to feed Collin. The feeding is going pretty well, and Collin has been a good sleeper too!

We went to bed (with Collin sleeping in the cradle in our bedroom) around 8:30. We got up at 11, 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 for feedings and diaper changes. Each time it went pretty smoothly, with the funniest moment being around midnight, when Collin did his first "urine rocket." :) Ryan was changing him and I was unavailable to help, so I just laughed while I watched. Ryan reacted perfectly, as I've come to expect, and it is a sweet memory. :)

After feeding and changing his diaper, we're holding Collin until he is drowsy and then putting him into his cradle. That worked perfectly until about 5:30, when he wasn't sure he was tired anymore. Ryan stayed up with him until 7, and then went back to bed. I fed Collin at 7, and now he's comfortably sleeping in the pack and play. :) It's time for me to take advantage of the opportunity to nap!

We survived our first night!

(I posted twice this morning. Keep reading for Collin's birth story.)

The Tale of Collin's Birth

I'm going to take a minute to record the details of the events leading up to Collin's birth, mostly in case my own memory fails, but read on if you wish... :)

On Wednesday, January 26th I had a pre-induction procedure done at Dr. Russell's office. The goal of the procedure was to dilate the cervix and get contractions going. Ryan and I took Tylenol PM around 6pm, knowing we wouldn't sleep well in anticipation of meeting Collin the next day. We went to bed around 8 and I slept until 2. I tossed and turned in bed until 5:30, when we finally got up. We got ready, finished packing, dropped the girls off at Camp Bow Wow, and headed to St. Francis Medical Center.

The pre-induction procedure was successful! When we arrived at the hospital at 7:30am, I was dilated to 6cm and contracting about every 6 minutes. I was put on several monitors (watching contraction length/frequency and Collin's heartbeat) plus an IV with saline and pitocin, which works to strengthen contractions. Dr. Russell came around 8:30 to rupture the amniotic sac, and the process really began.

At some point later in the morning Dr. Russell started to question the contraction and heartbeat monitors, so they placed internal monitors instead -- one on the top of Collin's head to monitor his heartbeat and one around him in the uterus to measure the strength of contractions. The contractions got stronger and more frequent until I asked for the epidural around 1pm. The epidural is the only thing I was afraid of, and it turned out to be a painless process! With relief from the pain, I rested for the next couple hours while the contractions continued to get stronger.

At about 4pm, Collin's heartbeat dipped severely (into the 90s) during a contraction, and Dr. Russell called immediately for a c-section. The severe deceleration indicated that Collin was distressed and was no longer tolerating labor, so it was time for him to come out. Four nurses stepped into our room, gave Ryan his outfit to put on, and started prepping me for surgery. The nurses did a good job of explaining each step in the process, and I felt calm knowing I was in good hands.

At 4:41pm, I was rolled into the operating room. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Swain, pumped up the epidural so I was completely numb. A sheet was placed between me and my belly, and Ryan sat on a stool beside my head. Dr. Swain stayed with Ryan and I to monitor me and give us the play-by-play while Dr. Russell and an assistant surgeon, Dr. Huber, began the c-section. I think there were about 4 nurses and the neonatalogist waiting in the corner for Collin. The surgery was a little scary, but not at all painful.

At 4:55pm, we heard the sweet cry of our baby boy! Ryan went immediately over to where the nurses were checking him out (in fact, he went so quickly that he almost knocked over the sheet that was protecting him from the scary view of my surgery! :)), Dr. Swain stayed to monitor me, and Dr. Russell and Dr. Huber stitched me up. A few minutes later Ryan brought Collin by me so I could see him, and then they headed out of the operating room to do all of Collin's tests.

At 5:25pm I was wheeled into post-op. I rested and ate ice chips until I regained feeling in my legs, while Ryan and Collin went through all the testing. Collin was 20 inches long and weighed 7lbs., 8.5oz. His blood sugar was a little low, his kidneys were enlarged as expected, and his head was bruised from being stuck in my pelvis, but overall he was in really fantastic shape. Ryan had a lot of fun watching and participating in everything, and Collin was a champ through it all. :)

Finally just before 7pm Ryan and Collin came in. Seeing Ryan so proud and already totally in love with Collin was the most beautiful thing! The moment of seeing them was sweet and unforgettable, and everything felt perfect in our world. :) Collin is absolutely gorgeous, and those first minutes together were more lovely that I ever could have imagined.

We were moved to our room in the mom/baby wing around 7:15pm to begin our new life as a family of three!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Photos -- Collin's 2nd Day :-)

Collin Cooper is here!

Our sweet little boy is here!!! His birthday, January 27th, was a pretty eventful day, but it ended with the most perfect outcome -- gorgeous Collin Cooper in our arms. :) He's beautiful and happy and we are more in love than we could ever have imagined. Of course we knew he'd be cute, but seriously, this boy is SO CUTE!!!

He is 20 inches long and weighs 7lbs., 8.5oz. He has a little bit of brown hair, dark gray-blue eyes, and the cutest nose in the whole world. Remember the ultrasound picture weeks and weeks ago of his perfect-for-playing-soccer foot? They really are! He has long and skinny fingers and toes, and he likes having his hands by his face out here as much as he did in the womb.

We're getting used to how things work, and really looking forward to getting to know everything about what Collin likes and what works for us. We had a good night last night with feeding, and it seems like he might have the hang of that skill. :)

We have been blessed with fantastic doctors and nurses at St. Francis Medical Center and we're so thankful for the knowledge, skill, and care that we've received during our stay. It's a truly phenomenal facility and we know we're lucky for the experience we've had.

As a final note of blessing, my parents arrived yesterday around lunch time and it has been fantastic to have them here!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tuesday, Wednesday, and then DELIVERY DAY!

We're 38.5 weeks into this pregnancy. We were talking last night about how the time has gone so slowly and so quickly at the same time. The memory of seeing Collin on the ultrasound for the first time is crystal clear like it just happened, but really that was 7.5 months ago! We've been on a wonderful journey since then.

Everything is really the same right now in terms of growth and development. Collin weighs more than 8 pounds, moves around a lot, is accumulating fat, and seems comfortable where he is. :)

I've been blessed with a good night's rest for about 38 weeks, and difficulty sleeping has just become an issue. I realize I won't be sleeping much a couple days from now, but getting up with Collin will be totally different that just being awake in bed for no good reason. I took a Tylenol PM last night, and sleeping for 5 straight hours was a glorious feeling!

Ryan and I seem to have experienced a crash in our immune systems, as we both have the first colds we've had since I've been growing Collin. Much to the dismay of my boss, I decided to take this week off in an attempt to rest and get over this cold while I have the opportunity. Ryan is at work today, but will stay home tomorrow if he isn't feeling better in the morning. We want to be in tip-top shape when we meet our little man!

We'll both be home Wednesday morning doing last-minute preparations at the house and finishing our packing. At 1:30 we have our final OB appointment, and I'll have a pre-induction procedure done at that point that is designed to make my cervix more "favorable." We're taking the girls to Camp Bow Wow on Wednesday afternoon and then making the most of our final evening with just two humans in the house. :)

Thursday morning at 7:30am we'll check in at St. Francis Medical Center, the hospital where Collin will be born. Dr. Russell will meet us there, and hopefully we'll find that the pre-induction procedure did its job and I'm dilated. Final decisions about delivery will be made based upon how things are going moment-by-moment, but Collin will for sure enter the world on Thursday, January 27th!!!

We're beyond excited to add Collin to our life! As we're nearing the end of this part of our journey, we appreciate your continued prayers for the health and happiness of our baby boy. When I post on Friday, it will be pictures of Collin Cooper Fremont!!! :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

full term!

At 37 weeks, Collin is officially full term, which means he's ready to come at any point. His systems are all ready, but he actually benefits from every additional day inside. More time inside means more time to practice his breathing, sucking, sleeping, blinking, gazing, gripping, and peeing abilities. The only thing he can't practice yet is his ability to cry when he's hungry, but he probably won't have any trouble developing that skill. :)

It's been awhile since I've seen a produce comparison, but one website kindly reminded me this week that Collin is now the size of a watermelon... His growth is supposed to slow down dramatically this week, which is a good thing! He's over 8 pounds at this point, so I'm pretty sure he'd be ok if he didn't accumulate any more fat.

We had three appointments this week. I'm so grateful for the calendar on my phone, because I rely on it to keep the scheduling straight!

On Tuesday I went in for stress testing, which went quickly and looked good.

Wednesday afternoon we met with the pediatric urologist, Dr. Bong. He mostly told us what we were expecting to hear, which is that kidney issues often resolve themselves during the first few months of life. He did give us new information too. If Collin were to get a bladder infection it would consume his kidneys too, and kidneys scar if infected during the first six years because that's when they're still developing. To avoid the potential for scarring from infection, Collin will be put on a small dose of antibiotic for the first two months of his life. At 2 months, we'll do an ultrasound on his kidneys to see how they're doing. At that point, either they'll have figured out how to function properly, or we'll talk about treatment.

Friday afternoon was my weekly OB appointment. Collin had a deceleration that was a little too big, so we did a longer ultrasound than usual to make sure everything was ok. We watched his diaphragm for several minutes, waiting to see breathing motion that lasted for 30 consecutive seconds. It took a bit, but we eventually saw it. We also watched in 3D for awhile to count movements. When we first went into 3D view, Dr. Russell said, "There's a hand in front of his face. Wait a minute... That's a toe! He's touching his foot to his forehead!" :) Everything with the ultrasound looked good. Apparently that "everything's good" lasts for one full week, which is why we're now going in for weekly appointments.

I'm not having contractions at all, so it appears Collin will still be waiting awhile. At next week's appointment we'll make a plan for induction the following week.

The girls are enjoying their last moments as the babies of the house. We're so excited for them to meet Collin! We're pretty sure they're going to love him, because they're very attentive whenever we have babies and children of all ages at our house. :)

Here's me at 37 weeks:

And finally, here's the photo recap of months 1-9:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

36 weeks down, 17 days to go :-)

We've quickly arrived at 36 weeks! All the pregnancy websites say Collin should weigh around 6 pounds, but as South Dakotans we live by the statement "If you're gonna go, go all out." As such, our little man has blown the weight estimates out of the water and currently weighs 7 pounds, 10 ounces! He gained almost 4 pounds this month (double the expected 1/2 pound per week), which probably explains why my weight gain this month was more than any other month.

He's all set to go development-wise, except his lungs will benefit from a couple more days in the womb. Mostly he's just accumulating fat, which is smoothing out his skin. His gums are rigid almost like his teeth are right there, but it should be several months before his first tooth pops through. His bones are still a little soft to allow easier passage through the birth canal, and they'll actually be hardening for the first couple years of his life. His immune system is now strong enough to protect him from infections outside the womb, and hopefully his immunities are as strong as ours! :)

We had appointments with the OB and the perinatologist this week, and both appointments were informative and positive. At Dr. Betoni's office, we got our last good look at Collin via ultrasound before we'll be able to look at him anytime we want to. :) His head is enormous - measuring 42 weeks. It's all brain and no fluid, so no concerns there. His femurs grew substantially this month too and now measure right on track, which almost eliminates the concern about down's syndrome. I also have half as much fluid this month as I did last month, which is perfect.

The only imperfect news from Dr. Betoni was that Collin's kidneys are still very enlarged. We've been referred to a pediatric urologist and we're just waiting to get on his schedule to get more information about next steps.

We went to Dr. Russell's office right after leaving Dr. Betoni's, so we had the information about Collin's weight to discuss with Dr. Russell. Babies generally gain 1/2 pound per week at this point, so if that continues to happen we're quickly approaching the cutoff for when a cesarean delivery would be recommended. For now, we're still planning on induction at 39 weeks (January 27th). However, if I go into labor before then, and for sure on that day, we'll do one last ultrasound to get a measurement of Collin's weight so we can decide whether to attempt delivery or just go for the cesarean.

A cesarean delivery isn't what we had in mind, but this whole pregnancy has been a sweet reminder that it isn't about us and our plans anyways. :) Our great God knows better than we do, and He most certainly has not failed to put us in the care of competent hands here.

I've been having contractions since last Sunday, but they're not consistent yet. One night last week I timed them and I was contracting about every 9 minutes, but most of them haven't been strong enough to notice unless I'm pretty still. I'm not dilated at all, so it seems like Collin is still comfortable where he is. :)

We got some fantastic images from our ultrasound at Dr. Betoni's. Seeing Collin every month has definitely been the upside! :) He was pretty cute this time - rubbing his eyes and covering his face with his hand.

We have our hospital bag packed, the carseat is in the Jeep, and our friend Harrison has a house key so he can take Shelby and Kacy to Camp Bow Wow for us if we end up heading to the hospital in the middle of the night. I'm leaving work every evening with things all set for the next week, pretending that I won't be back in the morning. We just need our sweet boy to be ready, and we'll get this party started! :)