Monday, October 27, 2008

Bunny, Day 18

I can't even believe that Bunny is 18 days old!

She is doing wonderfully and so are we. We had a checkup on Thursday, and Bunny was up to 7 pounds, 10.5 ounces...a gain of 10 ounces in 5 days!

She has evened out to eating about every three hours, although it can be a little longer sometimes. Since she has gained weight well and had surpassed her birth weight by the 2 week mark, we got the green light to start feeding by demand again instead of our previously insane forcefeeding schedule. Now, we only wake her up if she sleeps beyond 4 hours.

Bunny still had yellow around her eyes until about a day ago, but they are now back to white - yay! Next checkup isn't until November 17th.

I started using the Medela pump we were given about a week ago so FD could take on some feedings and other than a little pain when it first starts, it works like a charm. Pumping has gone well and we're already building up extra to be used once I go back to work after the holidays. I pump after a majority of feedings and get about 1.5 ounces to bank away. When I pump during feedings when Bunny gets a bottle from FD, I get anywhere from 3.5 to 5 ounces. And Bunny is switching back and forth between her BreastFlow bottles and nursing like a champ, despite the fact that experts advise not to begin switching off until at least one month to avoid nipple confusion. She usually takes about 3 ounces when she has a bottle.

We tried a pacifier for the first time go. Not just spit out, but EMPHATICALLY! Tried a different kind (we didn't register for any but were given 4 different types) and she still hated it. Then again, she won't suck on our fingers either. If milk doesn't come out of it, she has no interest!

Speaking of trying new things, we switched to cloth diapers about 4 days ago when her really bad bili diapers tapered off. Mixed success. She thrashes during changes and so we sometimes have a hard time getting a snug fit around her legs. As a result, I've been peed on twice, both times when baby was on her side and nursing. Then again, this kid loves to pee on me...she starts peeing nearly every time I wipe her down during diaper changes!!! Some of the diaper covers fit well...others not as well. But we're adjusting. And we love the AIO diapers we're using overnight...lasts 6 hours with no change necessary!

That's all the updates from our end! I'll be back over the next few days to share Bunny's birth story, a tale on the wonders of stretch marks, and more late pregnancy/early motherhood tales. I'll also (finally!) be around to visit ya'll!!



Saturday, October 18, 2008

One Week at Home

Today marks one week at home - and what a week it's been!

Since Tuesday, we've been going to the doctor every day for weight and color checks and bilirubin blood draws. Today's visit was an awful waste of time - check out my rant on that over at my 0 to Mom blog.

Here's a look at her progress:
Tuesday ~ Bilirubin - 19.2, Weight - 6 pounds, 8 ounces
Wednesday ~ Bilirubin - 17.6, Weight - 6 pounds, 13 ounces
Thursday ~ Bilirubin - 16.2, Weight - 6 pounds, 15 ounces
Friday ~ Bilirubin - 15.3, Weight - 6 pounds, 14 ounces (yes, a loss)
Saturday ~ Bilirubin - 12.9, Weight - 7 pounds, 1 ounce

Target ~ Bilirubin - 11, Weight - 7 pounds, 7 ounces
Since Tuesday, we've been spending 24/7 in our living room, since that's where we have her crib set up with the two phototherapy machines. Her daddy's been camped out on one of the recliners, and I've staked claim to one of the couches. With feedings every 2 hours (3 at the most, if she's difficult to wake up), it's not worth even trying to sleep in the bedroom.

Since Thursday, we've also been treating Bunny for thrush. Because, really, two medical issues weren't enough. Fortunately, she's been very good about getting her medicine - we have to swab 1 CC on the inside of her cheeks and squirt another 1 CC onto her tongue and down her throat.

Since Tuesday, we've had a complete lack of cuddle time with baby. Since she has to be under her lights anytime she's not feeding...her Daddy is totally missing out...I at least get to hold her for feedings. Daddy taking most of the diaper changes just isn't the same as him getting to actually bond with her.

Since Tuesday, I've realized how truly blessed I am to have a strong marriage and a strong husband...with so much going on beyond normal new baby stuff, I could never manage without him.

Since Tuesday, I've also realized how lucky I am that I've long since gotten used to sleeping in shorter spurts and for far less than 8 hours per day. If I was the type who needed 8 straight hours of sleep, I'd probably be ready to jump by now. But since I've had sleep issues for years, I think I'm coping better than I would have otherwise. What an odd thing to be thankful for!

We're very hopeful for this coming week. We're hoping that by Monday, we'll be down to our doctor's target bilirubin level and back up to baby's birth weight. Those accomplishments will get us released from the phototherapy, the strict feeding schedule, and the daily doctor visits. Maybe we can then start working our way to our own routines with baby!

I've been a terrible blog friend over the past week - I promise that I'll be around to visit everyone soon and see what ya'll are up to. Thanks for your understanding through this difficult week.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Little Glo Worm

It's hard to believe that we've been home from the hospital with Miss Catherine for 4.5 days already - and that she'll be a week old tomorrow! Whoa - time definitely flies!

Our little girl wasn't satisfied to merely become the love of our lives and the center of our universe - she wanted to become a cheesy 1980s toy as well!

When we had our first doctor's appointment yesterday, we found out that the little one had lost a total of 12% of her birth weight (versus 8-10% as the norm) and, more alarmingly, that her bilirubin numbers were very high based on her age measured in hours. On a scale of 1 to 20, she registered in at 19.2. The scale actually extends above 20, but anything above 20 is considered pretty dangerous...could lead to lots of nasty outcomes like brain damage and mental retardation and so on and so forth.

We were at home when the doctor called to let us know her bilirubin level, which the lab turned around just 3 hours. Needless to say, I was quite, ah, upset. The prescribed therapy included feeding the baby at exact two hour intervals and keeping the baby under lights at every time she wasn't feeding or being changed.

Before we were even called, the doctor's office had already called a home health provider and ordered two phototherapy units to be delivered to our house. These blue light units are designed to flush bilirubin from the system. In addition to the more frequent feeding times, which also acts as a flush, the problem could be corrected.

Once the units were finally delivered - 6 hours after they were ordered as "stat" - we got Miss Catherine trussed up in a baby bag with one unit under her back and one wrapped around her torso. In order to block the blue lights from hitting her eyes, we used clothes pins to keep her in! She totally looks like a Glo Worm!

We'd started the 2-hour feeding schedule earlier in the afternoon and so then combining with getting her into and out of her lights for each feeding, it's come down to spending 40-50 minutes per each 2 hour cycle taking care of the baby. Bring on the sleep deprivation!

We went back to the doctor today to get her weight and bilirubin rechecked and already have good results to report. In a 24-hour span of time, she gained 5 ounces! The nursed asked me what I was using to supplement for the baby and when I told her that we weren't using any supplement - whether formula or donated breast milk - she was shocked. Yay for me! In the same period of time, her bilirubin level went down from 19.2 to 17.6.

We still have a ways to go. Until her weight is back up to what her birth weight was (7 lbs 7 oz) and until her bilirubin is down to at least 11, we'll be going to the doctor once a day for checkups. So we have 10 more ounces to gain and 6.6 more measures of bilirubin to come down. Hopefully this will go quickly! The average amount of time for phototherapy is 3 days - I imagine we'll be zombies by the weekend, but we'll do anything to get her back into tip top shape!

I'll post more updates as they come!



Friday, October 10, 2008

Introducing Baby Bunny!

Catherine Elizabeth Aller was born at 11 AM on 10/09/08. She is a very beautiful little girl who came in at 19.5 inches and 7 pounds, 7 ounces. She was born with a full head of hair and with her daddy wrapped tightly in her little fingers.

I'll post her "birth story" later on, but for now I'll just let ya'll know that she's doing extremely well and we'll be discharged from the hospital tomorrow after and get to take her home and start out our new lives as her Mommy and Daddy.

We've taken about a million pictures so far, but here are just a few.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

She's coming!

(Sorry for the lack of updates over the past week - fairly uneventful. Last appointment she wouldn't play nice with moving so we got another U/S out of the deal but it showed she was doing just fine.)

We're at the hospital! We've been here since 10 last evening. Before that, I'd had regular contractions for about 5 hours and just wanted to wait long enough to make sure it wasn't a false alarm.

Things are going well. Have had very nice nurses (first the triage nurse, Laura, then our overnight nurse, Christy, and now our morning nurse LaHunta) and a great experience so far. Came in still at a 3 and we were at a 7 by 6 AM. They had to break my water for me at around 4:30. From 10 to 4:30 we managed without any meds although it was getting dicey. Then after my water Gods! Toughed it out until 6 AM and then it was just at the point where I was shaking uncontrollably and just wearing myself out, so we decided to go with an epidural even though I'd wanted to try to get by without. GREAT decision. I have a great dose going right now and still have control over my legs pretty well but can get through the contractions without wanting to die.

The on-call doc was my own doctor's partner but she went off duty at 8 and my own doctor is on duty now - yay for that! She just visited and we're now at a 9 and +2 and totally effaced. The nurse predicted we'll be able to start pushing in another 2 hours or so and have a baby by lunchtime. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement.

When my water broke, a bunch of meconium came out and so baby will have to be suctioned and such, but all else is well! I'll post an update once she's here and we're moved upstairs to our room!



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Latest Appointment Update

Well...we had our latest appointment with the OB/GYN today to check on Bunny's progress.

Let me back up a bit. Last night, around 5 PM, I started having sporadic contractions. By midnight, they had solidified into a pattern of about 8 minutes apart. By the time we left for my doctor's appointment just after 8 AM this morning, they were 5 minutes apart, stronger than before, and lasting around a minute a piece.

Turns out that silly 5-1-1 rule is a myth.

I got to my appointment and after listening to the heartbeat for a few minutes (130 bpm), we got down to the physical exam.

Now remember...two weeks ago, I was almost 3cm and 75% effaced.

Today, I was "definitely" 3cm, 90% effaced, and the baby was at a -1. Despite contractions, the doctor didn't feel it was time. But because I had made some progress (+15% effacement), she also didn't feel it was necessary to set an extraction plan.

So in there Bunny will stay. For how long? Who knows! After like 8 hours of contractions spaced in 5 minute intervals, they are tapering off now. Not getting any lighter - I can definitely tell they're there, unlike the very early ones that I wasn't sure on. But tapering off in timing. I think I'm down to like 4 or 5 per hour.

ARGH! So we go back to the doctor on Monday. Unless Bunny comes first. Oh, please, God, let her come first! I'm walking like an old woman, back to putting on multiple pounds per week instead of just 1 or 2 and just very, very ready for her to be here.

How are all of you other ladies doing?