Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Trip to the Beach

A couple of weeks ago we took the boys to the coast for their first trip to the beach. We had perfect weather, did some shopping and got pictures of their piggys in the sand. There are pictures on the scrapblog link on the previous post. If you can't get it to come up click on the "view it full size" button and it will come up. I've been experimenting around with this website so we'll see.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shop Update

If you were wondering if this shop was ever going to get done then your not alone. I've been wondering the same thing for over a year now. We even got a call from Kaiser Steel asking if we were ever going to pick up our kit, you know since we paid for it over a year ago. There does seem to be an end in site though. Several weeks ago Jim and I went down to eugene and picked up the rest of the kit and two weeks ago we actually had the concrete slab poured. Today I'm picking up the insulation so hopefully the boys will get the roof and siding up within the next couple of weeks. Rumor has it that I may actually be able to park in the garage this winter but lets not hold our breath. We'll keep you posted :)

The Whole Crazy Story Part I

So I copied all my journal enteries from my stay up at Legacy Emanuel onto the blog site and labeled it part II. It's a very lengthy account of my daily life up there so i wouldn't recommend reading it unless your having problems sleeping. That is why I sent it directly to the archives. But some of you asked for it so there it is :)

The Whole Crazy Story Part II

29 Weeks: My, my how things can change so quickly. “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans...” I’m not sure where this quote came from but I think it sums everything coming up fairly nicely. The day after the shower started out pretty normal. We had breakfast at my parent’s house and then went home to work on thank you cards. That is when it struck. I only had one thank you card left to write when I got so sick so quickly that I couldn’t even finish that one last card. I started violently throwing up every 30 minutes and then the diarrhea hit. I haven’t had the flu in 15 years and this is the worst I’ve ever gotten. It lasted all night but stopped early the next morning.
Monday I called in sick to work and worked on trying to rehydrate myself. I was so week that I couldn’t even get out of bed, or even turn the TV on. My stomach was hard most of the day but I just thought it was the babies moving around……little did I know.
By Tuesday morning I felt great, if maybe a little weak from lack of food, so I headed into work. I laid down to rest on my lunch break but when I went to get up I just felt kind of weird. A little uncomfortable, sort of constipated (and we know after the last few days that that wasn’t the problem) but mostly just kind of like crying and tired. My co-workers convinced me to go see my doctor since I was only about two blocks away. They cancelled my afternoon patients and I was able to get in to see Dr. Larson. At first he didn’t think anything much was going on but decided to check me anyway “just in case” and that is when he freaked out. He said that I was already 2 ½ cm dilated, starting to efface and he could feel the head bulging. I believe the quote was “this is not good, this is really not good, and gravity is NOT your friend.” He sent me via wheelchair across the street to the hospital where they shot me in the hip with my first steroid shot to speed up their lung development. They were in such a hurry that they gave me the shot before they even had me admitted. They also started an IV and catheter. When he checked me again I was then 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Dr. Larson called the perinatal specialist in Portland to find out what medications they wanted me on and he sent for an ambulance. They started me on magnesium and we had to wait an hour for an ambulance to show up. By this time James, his parents, and my mom had arrived at the hospital. By the time the ambulance showed up Dr. Larson had called four times checking on it and checked me again and said I was closer to 5 cm dilated. They transported me semi-upside down to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. At this point everything was so surreal. I didn’t feel any of the contractions (apparently they were 2-3 minutes apart by the time we got to Portland) and had no idea that I was in active labor. The two EMTs and the nurse in the ambulance were actually a lot of fun. We laughed and joked all the way up. The poor guys had to be freaking out though, scared that they would end up delivering two very premature babies on I-5. We made such good time that half way up they turned off the lights and sirens. When we got to the hospital they took a wrong turn and we got a “tour” of the family birthing center before heading over to labor and delivery. When they rolled me into the correct area the doctors and nurses were waiting for me in the doorway of the labor suite. One of the nurses opened her arms and said “welcome”. At this point everyone (except me…..remember I don’t feel any different and have no idea anything is going on) is freaking out. The doctors thought for sure that they would be delivering 28 week babies tonight. They checked me again in Portland and said I was 5 cm dilated, with contractions 2-3 minutes apart and my water was ready to break any minute. They increased the magnesium in hopes that they could at least postpone delivery until they got the second steroid shot in me the following day but nobody was holding their breath. James, Carla, Jim, and Ann all spent the night in the room with me.
Wednesday morning all the doctors were amazed that I hadn’t delivered yet. The magnesium had slowed the contractions to 1-2 an hour but it made me feel terrible with a headache and blurred vision. I was so dehydrated from it that my throat would stick together and I couldn’t eat. They also had to watch my fluid intake because it can make you build up fluid on your lungs and retain it everywhere else. As an added bit of fun it also made me so weak that I couldn’t pick up my own chap stick. (Which also means I could no longer go to the bathroom on my own either…bed pan here we come.) They did an ultrasound to measure the babies. They were both still head down. Baby “A” was 2lbs 11oz and baby “B” was 2lbs 10oz. My mom and James were here during the day. Kara, Tiffany, Jen, and Doug came to visit. Rae spent the night with me and brought flowers and a suitcase of clothes from home. The amazing Rae also cleaned up and washed all of my barfy laundry from being sick. I also got the second steroid shot in the series.
Thursday: I had to stay on the magnesium for 24 hours after the 2nd shot. Rae and mom were here during the day. James worked and came up to spend the night. Josh and Miranda came to visit. They started to lower the magnesium a little bit and I started to feel slightly better. I was still so weak that when I stood up I couldn’t tell if my water broke or if I just peed on the floor. The nurse tested it and guess what just peeJ. I think that this is the only place in the world where you can pee on the floor and everyone acts like it’s totally normal.
Friday: At 3 am they turned off the magnesium and put me on Nifedipine, a blood pressure medication which may or may not help slow contractions. The doctors expected my labor to start back up when they took me off the magnesium. I started to have more contractions but they weren’t strong. When they checked me I was 6cm dilated 80-90% effaced and they could still feel baby “A” head but it was balotable (moveable), so no huge change. Josh, Miranda, and my mom visited. James spent the night. I got to take my first shower. I still had a headache but I felt soooo much better. We talked with one of the neonatal nurses and discussed the treatment plan for the babies with the doctors.
Saturday: I was still on the Nifedipine with no change in contractions, still 7-9 an hour. James, Jim, and Ann were here. May parents stopped by on the way to the airport to head out on their cruise. Ann brought the babies teddy bears so that if they ended up in the NICU they could take them with them. Jen, Doug, Carson, Joann, Jody, Ryan, Kathleen, and Kim Ellison came to visit. They all brought cookies, pop, books, candy, cards, puzzle books, flowers, and magazines. The nurses started to call it the party room. (Remember I’m still technically in a labor suite and people don’t usually just hang out in this room for fun.) I started laughing so hard that my contractions increased a freaked out the nurses so they gave me a new IV and added fluids in case I was dehydrated. James and I toured the NICU. No headache, no pain, I felt so much better. They still monitor the babies twice a day and I wear the contraction belt 24 hours a day. The nurses would wake me up in the middle of the night thinking I was in labor when the monitor picked up extra contractions but I never felt any of them….got to love Ambien. James spent the night.
Sunday: The doctors didn’t expect me to make it through the weekend but since I did and there was no change in my contractions now they needed to figure out what to do with me. Apparently you can’t just take up space in one of the labor suites forever. They decided to move me from my princess room with private staff to the closet room in the family birth center to wait for something to happen. One of the doctors said that I was getting kicked out of the Hilton. Now this was depressing since this new “closet” room was about a quarter of the size of my “princess party” room. Tiffany, Tia, Jim, Ann, Arien, Rae, Josh, Miranda, and Lorraine all came to visit which was tough since the room was only big enough for about two people to sit. Ann spent the night on the very cozy window sill bed. James and his parents spent the day watching NASCAR and we now know what names we’re not going to name our babies.
Monday: Ann spent the day and night again. Tammi and Robert visited and bought stuffed hippos and a survival basket from the Cox’s. The doctors decided to double the Nifedipine and I got to do the glucose test. I thought I’d get out of this since I missed my regular OB appointment but I guess not. The babies were moving lots and I felt good.
Tuesday #2: This is the one week mark in my hospital stay. Apparently Tuesdays are pretty exciting around here because it’s pee (UA) and weight day….yippy. Today I weighed 134lbs (first thing in morning and starving) I guess I lost weight between being sick and the magnesium. Yesterday’s glucose test came back good. Ann was here during the day and Rae spent the night. Depending on the perinatal specialist on call (Dr. Robertson doesn’t want me leaving my bed. She’s also the one that upped my B.P. med.) I can now get a 30 minute wheel chair ride a day and I can go upstairs to the pedo floor to check my email. Dr. Jenkins told me to hurry and get my ride in today since tomorrow she’s back. My parents emailed me from the cruise ship, and Dr. Hovey called today to check on me. Baby “B” has been a bad baby for about the third day in a row he’s just too active and the nurses can’t keep him on the monitor.
Wednesday April 30th: Rae was here during the day and James spent the night. The babies looked good again on the monitors but again they had a hard time finding baby “B” so they did a quick ultrasound just to check position. (no measurements) Baby “A” is still very low and vertex. Baby “B” is kind of smashed up high and sort of half transverse half vertex in an “L” shape. “A” is kicking “B” in the head. Most of the OB doctors would like to see me have the babies vaginally and they said that they are extremely comfortable doing breech deliveries. My blood pressure started getting too low during the night so we skipped some of the medication. We went out to check email again and it’s very weird to have your family push you around in a wheel chair, especially when you don’t feel like there is anything wrong with you. I was also given the vegetarian and alternative menus to order food from. Apparently I was just never given the option since I never complained about the food.
Thursday May 1st: I’ve been here long enough that it’s a new month now. James left at 4:15 this morning only to find that the main I-5 bridge is closed and there were no detour directions. He was able to find his way through downtown and made it to work on time. I haven’t had the last two doses of meds because my B.P was too low. They decided just to drop my dosage back down again. I went a little crazy today and ordered my lunch off the vegetarian menu (it’s the little things). I feel like an old person—people ask “how’s it going?” and I respond “you know I’m very busy. I had blood drawn and now lunch is in only 1 ½ hours.” Who under 80 talks like that?? Tried sleeping without the ambien last night and it didn’t work so well. Aunt Lorraine (who is almost 81 years old) came to visit and insisted on spending the night so that I wouldn’t be alone. She also brought me a handmade glass necklace. Friends from work Cindy, Carmen, Jeanette, Ariela, and Priscilla came up to visit bearing gifts.
Friday May 2nd: Lorraine was here during the day and James spent the night. I made the first tie blanket from Jeanette today. My B.P is still too low so I’m skipping doses again.
Saturday May 3rd: Jen, Doug, Carson, Kara, Luke, Rosie, Phil, and Dominic came to visit. All bearing more gifts. I checked my email again and James spent the night.
Sunday May 4th: James, Jim and Ann here during the day. Ann spent the night. Jessica, Annie, Cammie, and Nicole came to visit and brought more preemie clothes to add to all the ones that Ann bought. The doctors decided to take me off of the Nifedipine all together.
Monday May 5th: Ann spent the day and night here and we met the last of the doctors today. For the last two days everyone that’s come into my room has been worried about me bearing down on the toilet. It makes me wonder if they’ve had a toilet baby recently. Mom and I got ice-cream today and sat outside in the sun. It was nice but still doesn’t make up for the fact that I had to get IV #4 today. Hospital policy is to change them every four days but I eeked eight days out of the last one. J
Tuesday May 6th: Pee and weight day again….yeah. How I fit all of this into my busy morning schedule we’ll never know. Today I’m 133.5 lbs. I’ve lost a half a pound since last week. Bed rest is taking a toll on my body and I’m losing a lot of muscle mass. Who would have thought I’d have been here two weeks. Especially since all of the doctors are still expecting me to deliver any day. My parents came to visit on the way home from their vacation. Ann was here during the day and spent the night. I did manage to escape again to check my email and I made the second tie blanket today.
Wednesday May 7th: Ann was my morning buddy and Rae came up in the afternoon to spend the night. I had another ultrasound today. They do them to check growth about every two weeks while you’re in the hospital. They took me first thing in the morning before I could eat breakfast and then I had to wait forever on a gurney in the hallway for the transport guy to take me back to my room. I was starving and starting to get frantic. The nurses on my floor were wondering where I was and they said that they were about to organize a search party for me..ha..ha. Baby “A” is still vertex and is so low in my pelvis that it’s hard to get an accurate measurement of his head. Baby “B” has flipped around again and is now breech. Baby “A” is 3lbs 1oz and baby “B” is 2lbs 15oz.
Thursday May 8th: There have been no changes to mention. Rae spent the night again (the window sill bed seems to be very popular). Lorraine. Virginia Glaser, Torrie, Jack and the kids all visited today.
Friday May 9th: James spent the night while Cindi, Nate, Shawn, and Triniti came to visit. A physical therapist brought me a resistance band today to try to help with the muscle loss. It’s hard to even rise up on my toes now to exercise my calves.
Saturday May 10th: James spent the day and night here again. Lorraine, Carrie, and Bob Boyd came to visit. I’m starting to receive real mail here now. Soon I’ll just have to switch my permanent address to Legacy Emanuel.
Sunday May 11th: What a depressing way to spent Mother’s day. The only good thing is James was here all day and spent the night again. I also must be gaining seniority because there is talk of me getting a bigger room.
Monday May 12: James left at 4:15 am to head to work and Ann spent the night tonight with me. I’m still getting lots of phone calls from family and friends. Everyone usually calls on Mondays to catch up on the hospital saga. It’s nice to be able to sit outside in the courtyard but it’s depressing to see all of the little kids and babies with cancer. They get to ride around in little red wagons with IV stands attached. I tend to get depressed on Sundays when James has to go home. Up until this point I had never been outside of Albany for more than ten days. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself though when you see parents with their cancer babies and Dr. Hopkins fighting to save his legs in hopes of walking again. (Dr. Hopkin’s room is almost directly below mine.) Today was also the two month mark when the MD residents all switch departments, so I’m meeting lots of new doctors again. I’m officially 31 weeks today (according to the hospital). I called the perinatal office to cancel my ultrasound appointment on Friday. Guess I won’t be making that one since I see those doctors on a daily basis now. The doctors told me that if I was so excited to meet them all I could have just come to the office early instead of meeting them at the hospital. The most exciting news of the day came at dinner time when we got the okay to move into a bigger room. I’ve reached top seniority and only one other person has been here as long as me. This new room (though it doesn’t compare to the princess room) is twice the size of my closet room and boasts two real beds, a recliner, larger bathroom, and a larger closet. Everyone will appreciate having a real bed to sleep in now.
Tuesday May 13th: It’s now been three weeks since that fateful ambulance ride. (If I had held out longer who knows maybe I could’ve gotten to ride in the helicopterJ) My, my is it pee and weight day again?? I’m now 135.4 lbs. That’s up two pounds from last week. Apparently I’m the only person on the maternity floor to gain weight this week. Now mind you I don’t want to loose any more muscle mass but this little fact doesn’t make me feel any better either. Ann and I broke out the skipbo cards today and she spent the night again.
Wednesday May 14th: The rotation continues and it’s Rae’s turn to spend the night again. (I’m sooo going to owe her big for all of this.) The babies decided not to stay on the monitors again today and Rae brought more flowers. Tammi and Robert also took James dinner at home today, his favorite chicken and rice casserole.
Thursday may 15th: Karen (one of the nurses and our favorite from labor/delivery) came to visit again today and she did the monitoring. The babies were very good today, they like her. Today was one of the first nice days that we’ve had in Portland. The thing that I hate most about Portland is never waking up to sunshine like back home. It was sunny and in the 80’s today. Rae and I laid out in the sun in the courtyard for an hour playing cards and reading. We also ran into Dr. Hopkin and chatted for awhile. It was one of the first times that he was allowed outside. Seeing him makes you realize how small our problems are. He finally gets to go home next week and is hoping to start walking again in 9 months. Aunt Lorraine visited and brought me a birthday present. She has come every Thursday since I’ve been here and all of the doctors and nurses know her by name. Rae and I actually got to sit outside for a second time in the shade for about a half hour. I even got a little sun today. Now I’m going to have IV tan lines. (Who would have thought?) Carmen mailed a birthday card to the hospital for me and Tammi mailed me scrap booking supplies for a birthday present. Everyone has come up with such unique, thoughtful things to do for me since I’ve been up here. I just don’t think that I would’ve been that creative if our situations were reversed. Doug, Jen, and Carson came to visit and brought me a book that Jen made of all of the emails from this hospital experience. Priscilla, Jeanette, and Cindy brought an early birthday party to me. Lucky for Jeanette they double checked my room number since she almost burst into the wrong room singing and wearing a party hatJ. They brought party supplies and Cindy made a brownie cheesecake.
Friday May 16th: Rae was here in the morning and James came up to spend the night and weekend. Seandra sent a birthday card and Joann sent a birthday present. The hospital staff is amazed at all the mail I’m receiving. We made another trip upstairs to check email and spent a little more time outside. It was another sunny day in the 90’s. Tiffany and Grant came to visit in the evening. So we had previously gotten an okay to leave my IV in for as long as it looked healthy so I wouldn’t have to get so many new ones. Great idea, pure rocket science…. Well my current IV had been doing just fine but the tape was starting to come loose, so little ole unsuspecting me I asked if we could re-tape the top of the IV. Just a word of warning: Be careful what you ask for!! The nurse decided that we should really remove ALL of the old tape and re-tape everything. In this process the IV got buried deeper, irritated and is now inflamed and swollen. It was very painful and none of the heat packs helped. Several hours later when the night nurse came on it was still painful and even more swollen so I told the nurse to just take it out that my arm needed a rest. This is when she told me that I can just refuse to have an IV 24/7 and that she’d just take it out and we wouldn’t put a new one in……..Why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier???
Saturday May 17th: Happy freaking birthday to me. I’m still in the hospital and looky there my arm is even more swollen than the night before and it still hurts like hell. I started my day by re-painting my toe nails. (Will the excitement never cease?) The nurses tried to make my day a little extra special. A bunch of them came by at lunch time with a giant birthday cupcake and sang happy birthday to me. My parents also came up with balloons and ice-cream. Even Dr. Chris Walker stopped with flowers for a visit and he informed me that I made it onto Dr. Joel Hopkin’s blog site. I guess that makes me famous now. James bought me tulips with a card and we spent some more time outside in the afternoon. It was another sunny day in the 90’s. Actually I think this is the only nice weather I’ve ever had on my birthday and doesn’t it just figure I’m in the hospital. (If you remember correctly we bbq’d in the rain the last two years for my birthday) That evening Ryan and Kathleen came up to visit and brought up cards and a present.
Sunday May 18th: James was here in the morning and we enjoyed another fierce game of skipbo. This was my first night that I spent alone since being in the hospital. I cried a lot. Not because I was going to be alone but because James had to go home. I tend to cry a lot every Sunday, which makes for a really crappy day. I really just want to go home. L
Monday May 19th: Another day of crosswords, books, and television. I spent the day alone, wrote thank you cards and got a lot of phone calls. (Remember everyone likes to get the updates on Mondays) I got a birthday card in the mail from Jeanette Haase also. Oh and by the way I AM AMAZING!! I am faster on the draw than the residents. I can answer all of their questions before they even ask them: No change in contractions, babies are moving, no leaking, no bleeding, no signs of blood clots; heat, pain, or swelling in legs. No problems eating, drinking, pooping, or peeing. And yes Mr. Brilliant resident from last week I’m breathing too. The worst part about being here is feeling like I have to choose and give something up. I miss James so much that I just want to have them so that I can go home. I want it so desperately which makes me feel guilty since the best place for them is in my tummy. I love being pregnant and getting to see and feel them move tonight inside me makes me sad because I may never get to experience this again. I know that I’ll miss it so much but I have to give it up in order to go home to James and my life. I also would have to leave them behind in the NICU. I just wish that I could’ve had some sort of normal experience.
Tuesday May 20th: Today I’ve officially been in the hospital for 4 weeks now and I think everyone is starting to feel sorry for me. I don’t know maybe I’m getting that crazy caged in look. I don’t feel crazy but even the food service people are “praying for me” so I must look it. I’ve turned into everyone’s favorite orphan. It’s another exciting pee and weight day on the maternity floor. Today I’m 137.5lbs which means that I’ve gained 2lbs. I also had another ultrasound again. Both babies have moved back into the vertex position again and baby “A” is still very low in my pelvis. He’s actually so low that it’s hard to get accurate measurements of his head and the bigger they get the less accurate the measurements get anyway. Today they estimate that baby “A” is 3lbs 12oz and baby ”B” is 3 lbs 14oz (see I told you that “A’s” measurements were off). I’ve spent the last few days pacing in my room (don’t tell the nurses) but I can’t sit anymore because my back hurts too badly from the inactivity. Apparently they had a perinatal pow wow about me today and decided that they would induce me if I wanted at 34 weeks or anytime after. The theory being that sitting around 6cm dilated poses the same risk for infection as if my water had broke. So I got to do the “I have an end date dance” today J. Virgina Glaser brought flowers and Jeremy & Kristy visited too.
Wednesday May 21st: I’ve been here long enough that even my strep swab expired so I got to do a new one today. All this fun stuff that most women only get to experience once during a pregnancy I get to do multiple times. I’m such a lucky girl. Ann was here during the day and she spent the night. I’m still having lots of contractions and my stomachs been very hard for several days now but it doesn’t ever seem to lead to anything. My back still hurts a lot too. I only slept 3 hours last night and I just haven’t slept well for several days now so I might go back on the ambien for a night or two. James and I picked Thursday June 5th to be induced if they don’t come sooner.
Thursday May 22nd: Ann left early in the morning and Lorraine came for her weekly Thursday visit. Some of the doctors are not excited about inducing me at 34 weeks L and they don’t think that the dilation is a good enough excuse. I’m having a lot of pressure in my stomach and back and I couldn’t go to sleep again so it was ambien for me tonight.
Friday May 23rd: James spent the night and brought a BBQ dinner from a restaurant in Albany. Lately I just haven’t felt very great. I don’t know if this is leading up to something but I’m guessing it’s just because I haven’t slept well for several nights now. The doctors decided to use this as an excuse to check me again. I haven’t been checked since I first got here. Everyone is scared to touch me that they might start something. When they checked me today there was really no change. I’m still 6 cm dilated, probably 100% effaced, and my water bag is still bulging. Today has been extremely busy in labor and delivery so the doctors are praying that I don’t go into labor tonight….I can only dream.
Saturday May 24th: James was here all day and spent the night again. Nothing much special about today. We killed time checking our email, eating pizza downstairs, and playing cards outside. My back still hurts a lot but what’s new.
Sunday May 25th: James was here during the day and my mom spent the night here with me. My back is now hurting so bad that it’s waking me up at night and I’m also having a hard time falling asleep in the first place because of the contractions so it’s back to the ambien again. This is the first Memorial Day weekend that I’ve spent doing nothing in over ten years. Guess we won’t be using those reservations at waterloo this weekend.
Monday May 26th: My mom was here in the morning and Josh & Miranda stopped by for a visit too. I’m in pretty severe pain with my back. I tried to take a nap but was in too much pain while lying down. The doctors offered me pain killers and as much fun as that sounds I think I’ll pass. We added a heating pad to my bed. I paced my room for about 4 hours today and between the pacing and the heating pad they helped my back a lot. I didn’t even need any ambien to sleep.
Tuesday May 27th: It’s pee and weight day again. (I know you’re thinking…..already??) I’m now 136.9 lbs, I’ve been here 5 weeks now and working on week six. I feel so much better sleeping on the heating pad that it’s amazing. I’m by myself all day today but Grandma Hecht sent cards in the mail. I talked to Dr. Hovey on the phone today and she couldn’t believe that I’m still here. A physical therapist came by again today to give ideas to help my back and she pretty much said that the thing that will help my back the most is walking/pacing…the doctors are going to love that….bed rest my butt. I also had a great conversation with the millwright that came to fix my shower today. Everybody is just a chatty Kathy around here, but they all like their jobs so I guess that says something. He did fix my shower so that I have hot water now as opposed to luke warm water. I only put up with that for how many weeks now.
Wednesday May 28th: Dr. Robertson (if you remember correctly she’s the only person at the hospital that I don’t like) came in to talk to me about considering going longer than 34 weeks she really would like me to go to 37 weeks and I quote “I just wouldn’t want there to be something wrong and you to feel guilty knowing that you could have kept them in longer”. Well now I hadn’t thought to blame myself before but now I’ll be certain to. She also wanted to send in a neonatologist to tell me the same thing. She did a really good job making me feel guilty and awful. I think she pretty much took all the joy and excitement out of any decision we will make. Apparently she spread all sorts of joy up and down the hall upsetting other patients too. Thanks to her I cried all afternoon and this is what Mike got to walk into the middle of when he came to visit. Isn’t he one lucky guy.
Thursday May 29th: My mom came up again to spent the night and Virgina Glaser visited again too. As promised by my favorite doctor the dreaded neonatologist came to visit. He advised me to go at least past 35 weeks but he’d really just like me to go to term. Here’s another great uplifting quote “what if they have breathing problems and we have to put a tube down their lungs and we puncture a long and they get an infection and die?” Are you freaking kidding me did you just seriously just say that to my face. Okay so I lied there are now two people in this hospital that I don’t like. Can you guess who the second is?? Both the lactation nurses, and regular nurses brought me videos to watch on child birth and breast feeding. Which leads me to wonder why I didn’t get these sooner? They’ve thought all along that I would have these babies any day now. Maybe they thought I didn’t have enough time to watch them during the last 5 ½ weeks. Jody came to visit again and checked my email too. I told the doctors that we might consider putting the induction date out a week if they could promise me that they would keep Dr. Roberson out of my room. I get the distinct impression that many of them don’t care for her either.
Friday May 30th: Another non-eventful day… My mom left early in the morning, Lorraine visited in the afternoon and we sat out in the sun for awhile and James came up in the evening. We had a popcorn and movie night in our room. James managed to burn the popcorn in the microwave and fill the hall with smoke. We also discussed changing the induction date with Dr. Coleman. Unfortunately because of Dr. Robertson we can’t feel good about the 34 week date. All the other doctors came by to discuss it with us and made me feel better but it’s still just not the same anymore when you can’t feel good about the decisions that you’re making.
Saturday May 31st: James is still here and spending the night again. He surprised me and bought up supplies so that we could BBQ in the parking lot. I’ve been craving BBQ and I’ve been really sad that I’ve missed so many over the last several weeks back home. It turned out to be a decent day and our BBQ chicken sandwiches were delicious. We had lots of visitors today. Joann, Jan, Allana, Brian, Grandma H., Grandpa H., baby Emma (9 days old), Arien, Rae, Ann, and Jim all made an appearance. Rae and Ann were on their way home from Idaho and the Tilleman’s were on their way back to Alaska in two days. Doesn’t this just blow: I get admitted to the hospital. Afterwards Allana flies into town, spends the month before her due date, has the baby, stays a week afterward, then goes home and I’m still here. What’s up with that?? Joann and Ann both got us laughing so hard that I wet my pants….twice. I also cut James’s hair and our favorite nurse, Karen, from our time in labor/delivery came to visit us again. James and I finally decided on a new date to get induced. We scheduled it for Thursday June 12th unless they decide to make an appearance sooner. This will put me at 35 ½ weeks.
Sunday June 1st: It’s official it’s now June which means that I spent the entire month of May here. I think I’ve been adopted by the food service staff too. They’ve been bringing me all sorts of stuff not on the menu when they see it in stock. Today it was a big bowl of fresh strawberries. I also think they’re scared that I’m not eating enough because I’ve gotten sick of a lot of the menu options so I’ve been eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. Robert, Tammi, Brayden, Tyler, JoAnn, Brooke, Niki, and Arien all came to visit today. It’s good sometimes to have the distraction on Sundays since I tend to cry all day. I try not to because I don’t want to make James feel bad but I hate him leaving and it just gets me so down. My contractions are getting really bothersome. There’s just a lot more pressure now. I don’t think that they’re getting stronger necessarily, I think it’s more due to the babies getting bigger and there just not being as much room.
Monday June 2nd: I’m by myself again today but I’ve been busy with my usual Monday phone calls. It’s always so fun to wake up to cloudy skies. I swear it’s never sunny in the morning. I’m so sick of waiting half the day for it to burn off. We had to monitor the babies twice today because the babies were not reactive enough the first time, they just wanted to sleep. I had another chatty Kathy millwright come in to fix my leaky shower. We had a great conversation but in the end my shower still leaks…oh well.
Tuesday June 3rd: No way, is it already pee and weight day again? How am I ever going to fit all of these activities into my busy day. I’m now 138.4 lbs and just chillin’ by myself again today. James is sick again with his second cold since I’ve been in the hospital. I’ve spent the day researching father’s day presents and making my own milkshake from the snack supplies J. The nurses say that if I get creative enough I could even have a banana split.
Wednesday June 4th: Will wonders never cease: today my lunch came with a new kind of bread roll… that actually looks appetizing. The roll has been kind of an inside joke. Most of the food is pretty decent except this cold, unappealing roll that comes with every lunch and dinner. Since I never eat mine we joke that they just keep bringing me the same one day after day. Too bad I’m by myself today I have no one to share this new treasure with.
Thursday June 5th: The babies still look good on the monitor and I had another ultrasound today. Both babies measured 4lbs 10oz today, which is just about twice the size that they were when I got here….CRAZY. The tech was nice enough to print out pictures for me today except you can’t see a darn thing in any of them. (This is when you just smile and say thank you.) Fortunately I don’t think that I’m losing any more muscle. Between the exercises I’ve been doing and the pacing I may have even got back a little. After about the first 3 weeks of bed rest I was so weak that my calves would shake by the time I finished showering and they don’t anymore. I definitely feel stronger now. (I even do push ups against my bed now.) My mom came up to spend the night again, Lorraine came for her weekly visit and Jenny offered to go to my house and wash the baby clothes and get them together.
Friday June 6th: My mom left early in the morning and James was back in the evening to spend the weekend. I’m not sleeping well again, mostly because my back just hurts too bad. I spent more time working on thank you cards and the guys at Oremet gave James a card with money in it. They even made the old candy bar dirty diaper. I think this is a male version of a baby shower.
Saturday June 7th: It’s official I now have complete seniority on the maternity floor. I’m really not sure if this is something to be proud of since I won’t be breaking any records, thank god. Nothing too exciting going on today. James and I just checked emails again. Jenny has been soooo good about sending them out regularly and keeping everyone posted.
Sunday June 8th: It’s funny how quickly plans change. At 3am I woke up for one of my many trips to the bathroom and realized that it sort of felt like I already went in bed. I started to sit up in bed and water leaked out before I could even stand up. I wasn’t sure if my water broke or if I was just wetting the floor again. (I haven’t done that since my magnesium days.) I woke James up and he flew out of bed wide awake ready to call the nurse, which if you know James then you know that’s not his usually mantra. I told him to wait because I wanted to go the bathroom first and make sure that I just didn’t wet my pants. Since it was such a slow leak I wasn’t sure so I called the nurse. These people have been waiting for this phone call for almost 7 weeks now. They’ve been scared that when it happed that it everything would really fast. They wanted me to pull the emergency cord but that just seemed like a little too much drama so we opted for the call button. The nurse sent one of the doctors in to test the fluid and it came back as amniotic fluid, so they wheeled me back over to the labor and delivery department…..and boy is it good to be back in the princess room. The nurse made the comment “wow it looks like those contractions are finally doing something” the only problem is at this point (for the first time all day) I wasn’t even having any contractions. James called both of our parents while they started my IV (yep we’re back to those again). About a half hour later my contractions started and they sent in the anesthesiologist and started my epidural. I was told that I got the best anesthesiologist in the hospital and they were right. Luckily I got the perfect epidural, I could feel everything that was happening but had no pain at all….so far so good. Actually I just felt like I needed to poop when I was having contractions. They did a quick ultrasound to check positions and the stars must be aligned because both babies are still vertex and we got the okay to try a vaginal delivery. Both of our parents made excellent time and were in the labor room before they moved me to the O.R. They waited until I was fully dilated then had James scrubbed up and had me practice pushing a couple of times with the epidural before heading to the O.R. (Apparently some people are pushing retards but I don’t seem to fall into that category.) We had two nurses, a resident MD(Dr. Warnignton), and the OB hospitalist (Dr. Warnock) in the room. We also had several NICU nurses and a neonatologist in the R room next door waiting to snatch them up as soon as they’re born to evaluate them. It may sound weird but we were actually having fun in the OR. We’ve known these people that are delivering our babies for a couple of months now so it’s not like we’re in there with strangers. The nurses were cracking us up with stories about their self induced injuries from the night before and they were taking coffee orders for everyone since Dr. Winkler offered to pay. One of the nurses saw that we had a digital camera and a video camera and she offered to take pictures and video tape. I think she should be living in Hollywood because she had way to much fun with this part. We were probably in the OR for 1 ½-2 hours but I wasn’t actually pushing for very much of that time. Baby “A” got beat against my pelvis pretty good because it was a little harder for him to come out than we thought. Even though his head was ready to come out his body had to kind of turn a corner around baby “B’s” body. To try to make it easier they had me pushing while lying on my side for awhile. They ended up doing an episiotomy and baby “A” came out wiggling and crying with a nice size cone head. The doctors then pushed lightly on my stomach to help move baby “B” down into the birth canal. They had to brake baby “B’s” water. Dr. Warnock warned everyone before they broke the water and at first I thought they were all exaggerating when they dove out of the way and he had his hands up protecting his face. Then when I saw it shoot all the way across the room I new way they were ducking and diving. They told me that baby “B” would be an easy delivery but I really had no idea how easy. He literally came out in only two pushes during half a contraction. He flew out so fast that he just looked stunned. He was just frozen not making a sound with both arms and legs sticking out. Overall I had pretty easy labor and the only pain that I really had was during the two contractions when baby “A’s” head was actually coming out. The doctors were getting ready to delivery the placentas when we all heard this “plop”. Everyone looked down and there they were on the ground. They decided to just come out on their own. The nurses asked “is that really both of them?” and it was so even that part was easy. I got to hold baby “B” for awhile while James went to the R room to get pictures of baby “A”. Meanwhile the doctors had to stitch up the cut plus two internal tears. Before they took me back to the labor suite they let James hold both of the babies and took pictures. Baby “A’s” apar score was 9/9 and baby “B” was 6/9. Baby “B” was looking sort of purple so they took him back again and realized that he still had a lot of fluid in his lungs that didn’t get squeezed out in the birth canal. I got to try to nurse baby “A” for the first time which actually went really well since we were by ourselves and neither one of us knew what we were doing. Originally they sent both babies to the normal nursery and moved me back to my room in the family birthing center department. But soon it was apparent that baby “B” was having to work a little too hard at breathing so they sent him to the NICU to be put on a C-Pap machine. They just used room air but this way it helped force air into his lungs. They also had to use a feeding tube since they taped his mouth shut so that the air wouldn’t come out his mouth. James was able to spend quite a bit of time with him initially in the NICU while I was getting settled in my room. We had lots of visitors that day including: Tammi, Torrie, Nicole, Niki, Mike, Arien, Rae, Ryan, Kathleen, Lorraine, Jenny, Doug, Carson, and all of the grandparents. Jen and Doug are the only ones that got to go into the NICU to see baby “B” though. James got to change both their diapers for the first time and he gave baby “A” his first bath in the nursery. I tried to nurse baby “A” several more times but he mostly just got bottle or gavage/tube fed every three hours. I felt great immediately after having them and the only pain medication that I took was ibuprofen. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, a perfect day to have two babies. I didn’t get to see baby “B” again until 9:00 that night in the NICU. It’s really hard to see him hooked up to all of the equipment. While in the NICU we finally named the babies. Baby “A” would be Mason Robert Dodge. He was 18 ¼ inches long and 5 lbs 3oz. Baby “B” would be Brock James Dodge. He was 17 ¾ inches long and 4lbs 10oz.
Tuesday June 9th: I still feel great. Mason is going to have to stay in the nursery until he is eating on his own without intermittent gavaging (maybe until the weekend) and Brock is still on the C-Pap so he can’t even try to eat yet. He did great during the night and even pulled the C-Pap off several times so they were suppose to take him off it this morning then at the last minute the little turd dropped his blood O2 levels so now he has to stay on it another day. I hate going to the NICU because it makes us cry to see him that way. When he cries in his incubator we can’t even hold him and sooth him. I got to hold him for about 5 minutes before I had to leave to go feed Mason but James stayed and held him for 45 minutes. We get to have Mason in our room whenever we want so we’ve gotten plenty of snuggle time with him curled up on our stomachs. We also took the discharge class today and I got rid of my final IV #5. Can you tell that we want to be all prepared to get out of here as soon as we get the go.
Tuesday June 10th: I still feel great. Mason is eating better but still getting gavaged every other feeding. He spent lots of time with us today. We aren’t trying to nurse very often because he burns too many calories trying. The nurses dressed him in some of the big boy clothes that Jen sent up for him to wear for the first time today. Brock got rid of the C-Pap today and got to try to eat for the first time. He did really great and my even be a better eater than Mason. I actually got to snuggle with Brock for an hour and he was very alert. The quilts that Torrie’s mom made them were all the rage in both the NICU and the nursery. I made all of our doctor appointments in Albany, wishful thinking, and Bob & Carrie Boyd visited. I got officially discharged today after exactly 7 weeks in the hospital!!! They let us stay an extra night in our room though as Mason’s “roomies”.
Wednesday June 11th: Big news…Brock got out of the NICU today. They typically don’t send babies back to the nursery but usually just release them from the less intensive side of the NICU but because his brother is in the nursery they decided to release him to the normal nursery to make it easier for us to see them both. Yeah!! Lactation nurses visited both boys during feedings today and both nursed well. We spent lots of time snuggling then drove home to spend one night at home and get the house in order for when they come home. This is the first time that I’ve been home since April!! I cried half of the way home just because I didn’t want to leave them in Portland. It was the weirdest feeling walking out of the building and driving home up until this point I really had no idea where the hospital was even located. It’s also kind of a shock getting thrown back into a “normal” life again. Once I got back to Albany there was no more time for tears. It was a very busy evening. First we stopped at the pharmacy to rent a breast pump, next was target for some last minute baby shopping, then a quick stop at my parents house to pick up the car seats, let’s not forget the pit stop at Knechts for tubing that I forgot in Portland and finally homeward bound. What I pictured when I thought of my house (the very clean post baby shower home) was NOT what I came home to. Now I was realistic enough to know that James probably hadn’t put away all of the bags of stuff that I had been sending home with him week after week but I certainly didn’t expect post 9/11 ground zero either. It looked like a bomb had exploded in our house. I’m not even sure how one person can even create such mayhem. I stayed up until after midnight just trying to make it livable again. Meanwhile James installed the car seats which he didn’t expect to come with a 5,000 page manual. He’s convinced that you should have a master’s degree to install these, so he felt pretty good about himself once he got them in. We slept for 4 whole hours then were at it again in the morning before heading back up to Portland.
Thursday June 12th: We (or maybe I should say I) were up early still cleaning, packing, and driving back up to Portland. Our first stop was to check in at the Ronald McDonald house. This place was pretty amazing. All of the rooms a different themes (we had the farm room). There are four living rooms, laundry facilities, library, playroom, outdoor BBQ and play area, community kitchen/dining area, computers with internet access, and play stations. Several days a week dinners are brought in from different groups in the community and there is more community food than we’d even know what to do with. All the outside doors are locked and the hospital security guards will escort you across the street to the hospital at night. All the other people in the house seem like normal, friendly families and we even met a guy who runs a crab boat out of Dutch Harbor and knows my uncle Tim. We weren’t sure what to expect but it’s so nice to have this cheery, safe place to stay. We fed the babies several times today but they both are still getting gavaged sometimes. The neonatologist released Brock into the care of the nursery Pediatrician today. The lactation nurse visited again and we practiced nursing Mason. James and I went out to dinner that night for the first time in over two months.
Friday June 13th: Both boys passed their car seat tests last night, their billiruben (jaundice) levels are still good and their hearing tests were normal. Both boys were snuggled up under the warmer together when we got to the nursery today. Neither one is getting tube fed very often anymore but some days are better than others. Mason was a good eater today but Brock didn’t do quite as well. He’s a sneaky little thing. He sucks, swallows, and makes all the appropriate noises without actually swallowing. He burns a lot of calories pretending to eat. Apparently this is another one of those quirky preemie things. Brock practiced nursing and my milk actually came in today. He’s also a self burper every time you sit him up he burps. Something that tiny just shouldn’t be able to burp that loud. Grandma Dodge visited briefly to get pictures of the boys on her way to Washington. Brock got his first kangaroo snuggle with daddy. We made another shopping run to Babies R Us and we still cry every night when we have to leave them.
Saturday June 14th: Both babies ate really good and more than they had to. We’re hoping that they can go home sometime during the early part of the week. Mason got his kangaroo snuggle time today then did his impression of a poop fountain for his dad. Grandma Dodge stopped by for another quick visit on her way home. Josh and Miranda got to see them for the first time today too.
Sunday June 15th: Father’s Day, just one more holiday that we got to spend at the hospital. We’re closing in on 8 weeks now. James and I got up and went to the hospital for their 9 AM feeding and when we returned them to the nursery at 10:00 the nurse said that the doctor wanted to talk to us. The Pediatrician surprised us and said that the babies were doing so good that she didn’t know why they couldn’t go home. We were so shocked we had to ask “Now?” She said that it had been 48 hours since either one of them had to be gavaged and that they’ve both gained weight for the last two days. This probably has nothing to do with James’s amazing ability to force feed them. The nurse said that she wished that she had gotten a picture of the look on James’s face because he was so excited. We rushed back to the Ronald McDonald house to clean up and do laundry. James calls it “Ronnie’s place”. We loaded up and back at the hospital at 12:00. The nurses took a picture of us leaving and I started to cry. I was so excited to go home but it was weird to have my 8 week life at the hospital come to an end. I can’t really describe how it felt to get thrown back into the real world. We stopped by both grandparents’ houses on the way home. James’s mom was so surprised that she started to cry. We didn’t make it back to our own home until 8:00pm. We still had lots to do around our own house. Both babies were great eaters that night, probably the best ever. We ended up only getting 2 ½ hours sleep and Mason likes to stay awake between 3-4am for party time. Mason’s discharge weight was 5lbs 0oz and Brock was 4lbs 7oz. They also both got their first hepatitis B shot before we left the hospital.