baby

3 Months of Catriona

3 Months into our newest adventure in parenting finds us falling more and more in love with our little girl every day. ¬†I can’t imagine a life without her.

At 3 months Catriona has mastered:

  • Rolling from back to belly as well as from belly to back
  • Sitting up with support
  • Grasping toys and bringing them too her mouth
  • Cooing

She loves:

  • Mom and Dad
  • Staring at her puppy brothers
  • Her little toy bunny
  • Endless walks in the baby carrier (as long as she is facing out)

She hates:

  • When mom works more than 3 days in a row
  • Being moved after she falls asleep

She is stating to:

  • Notice her brother and sis-co, and to enjoy interacting with them
  • Play for longer periods
  • Enjoy people other than Mom and Dad
  • Laugh
  • Settle into a nap schedule

That last one is my favorite thing of all ūüôā

And Then There Were Two… Catriona’s Birth Story!

Well, this is a long time coming as our little girl has now passed the 7 week mark, but here it goes!

After teasing us for a few weeks with hard a frequent contractions that would last hours and then fade away our little girl decided to (finally) join us mid May, just before her due date.¬† Catriona’s labor and delivery happened so quickly that it truly¬†took both Conan and I by surprise. ¬†On the day of her birth¬†Conan was leaving for work at a ridiculously early hour as he had a 5 hour commute ahead of him. ¬†Before he left the house at 5am he woke me up to see if I was feeling up to him being so far away. ¬†I had actually slept the night before and had not been feeling any contractions at all and a decrease in fetal movement for the last 24 hours. ¬†I told him that I was fine and he should go. ¬†He informed me that if I called after 9am he would be on the ferry on Lake Champlain and unable to turn around. ¬†I rolled over and promptly fell back asleep.

At 6:30 I woke up feeling a little crampy, looked at the clock, tried to go back to sleep, and then being unsuccessful at that endeavor decided to get up for the day so I could enjoy a shower before Liam woke up. ¬†By the time I was showered and dressed I noticed that the cramping had turned into contractions, but that they didn’t have a rhythm and weren’t as strong as they had been for the previous few weeks. ¬†The contractions were was all in my back, so I decided to take what was left of my free time before Liam woke up to do some pelvic tilt exercises to encourage Catriona to get off my spine. ¬†By the time 7:30 arrived, and Liam woke up, I was in much less pain (the pelvic tilt exercises actually worked!) but the contractions were settling into a rhythm .

At this point I figured it was just going to be another false alarm.  I did stop and time them, they were every 5-6 minutes.  At that point there was no need to call the doctor or my husband, but I did take the time to text my sister-in-law to see if she could come over and give me a hand before I went to get Liam from his room.  After a few weeks of false alarms I knew that the continuous contractions could make me very cranky, especially if Liam was having a whiny/cranky two-year=old type of day.

So I waddled upstairs, picked up Liam for my good morning hug, and immediately had to put him down as I was hit by a very hard contraction. ¬†Liam asked me what was wrong, and I told him Catriona was making my belly hurt again. ¬†He then proceeded to kiss my stomach to make it feel better (and at that point I knew it was going to be a good day with him). ¬†We made it downstairs slowly (he wanted to walk by himself) and without incident, but the contractions were speeding up and getting even stronger at an alarming rate. ¬†I was starting to have to stop and breathe through them. ¬†After getting Liam changed and set up in his chair for breakfast I texted my sister-in-law again and asked if she could come over early as I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctors office and get checked just in case. ¬†I then called my husband at 8:15 am and told him he might want to turn around, but that it ¬†could be another false alarm. ¬†I called the office and was scheduled for a 9:30 appointment. ¬†Conan decided to turn around just in case. ¬†I called up my mom to let her know I was going to drive myself to my doctors to get checked for 9:30 and she (thankfully) insisted that she come and pick me up. ¬† Everyone was ready to spring into action though I was not yet convinced that it wasn’t a false alarm again so I continued to putter around the house doing some last minute cleaning and helping Liam get cleaned up and pick out some clothes¬†for the day while stopping every 4 minutes or so to breathe through a contraction. ¬†When my sister in-law arrived she decided she needed to take some last minute early labor pictures of me. ¬†They prove that while I am breathing through contractions I didn’t care if I had a double chin in pictures or not (lol). ¬†I never did quite get around to getting Liam dressed.

At 9:15 my mother arrived and we headed down to my doctor’s office. ¬†They got me into a room pretty quickly and the nurse practitioner checked to see how dilated I was, looked up at me and said “you are a seven, you aren’t going to have time for an epidural”. ¬†I am pretty sure I stared at her in disbelief and then repeated “seven?” ¬†I could clearly remember being seen centimeters dilated with Liam and the pain was MUCH worse than what I was currently dealing with.

Mom and I were went over to the hospital, I popped my head into my friend’s¬†office (who was also my OB for both of my children) on the way out to tell her I was 7 cm, and she said she would pop over to the hospital to deliver me shortly and then we headed out. ¬†The walking continued to be slow with all the stopping I had to do, but we made into the hospital (which is basically across the street), updated Conan, and got to a room by 10:15. ¬†By the time they got my base vitals, IV inserted, and started administering the first round of antibiotics (my GBS was positive on top of everything else with this pregnancy!) ¬† I was starting to feel the urge to push… it was 11 am and neither my doctor (Lauren) nor Conan was there yet. ¬†My doctor walked into the room 10 minutes later followed closely behind by my husband (who must have broken some serious speed records or hit the best batch of no traffic possible). ¬†The first round of antibiotics completed, and Lauren looked at me and said , “you are trying to not push right now aren’t you”. ¬†after I affirmed that she did a quick check, said I was just about 10 cm and asked if I wanted to have my water broken (she did warn me that delivery would be quick because Catriona was more than ready to come out at that point)s, which I quickly agreed to. ¬†Delivery was less than 15 minutes at that point and 3 pushes later we had our beautiful baby girl.

While she was coming out we did have to pause between pushes as her cord was wrapped around her neck twice. ¬†After delivery she also needed a couple of puffs of oxygen as she was in shock from her quick change of scenery and did not start breathing on her own immediately. ¬†There are no words to describe how stressful and elongated those moments after birth were when we didn’t hear a cry right away and then when she did start crying how weak it was. ¬†Thankfully she bounced back quickly and only needed a couple of puffs of oxygen before she¬†was able to maintain a good level without assistance and we were finally able to hold our little girl in our arms!

There are no words to describe how happy Conan and I are that despite the challenges with this pregnancy we are blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  Watching her big brother fall in love with her has been an amazing experience.  She has completed our family perfectly.

36 Weeks and Counting!

We have reached 36 weeks in this pregnancy and are slowly trudging our way towards 37!  Catriona has spent the last few weeks stubbornly not growing (she ended up dropping 4 weeks of growth total prior to this weeks doctors appointment).  So this week we did an ultrasound to check on her growth and the amniotic fluid levels.  Thankfully everything came out well.  She is estimated to be around 6 pounds 11 ounces at this point (which is amazing considering how small my bump is compared to when I was pregnant with Liam!) and while my amniotic fluid levels are on the lower end of normal they should be fine for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Her head is down, the contractions are becoming more frequent, and we are playing a waiting game to meet her.

I continue to have (what has become) my normal migraines, tachycardia, and passing out. ¬†For the last week my symptoms have been somewhat relieved, I even had 3 good days in a row where I was able to be up and about without any chest or head pain, but for an added treat these last few days I have been enjoying some third trimester sickness (which is amazingly just like the first trimester was). ¬† I have a cardiology consult tomorrow and am hopeful to find some answers to what can be done for this chronic chest pressure, shoulder pain, and episodes of tachycardia. ¬†That said, I am very aware that any medication that could be given to relieve those symptoms for me has to wait until after Catriona’s arrival, so I am learning to live with it and take it easy when things really start to act up.

On Monday my sister-in-law came over to the house to take some maternity picture for us since we are currently unable to travel to the photographer that we used to do the maternity shoot we did when pregnant with Liam (Linden Photography in Central NH). ¬†I spent some time this morning playing around on Photoshop and touching up the lighting on the pictures. ¬†I am pretty happy with the results, and so thankful to Aunty Moonshine for taking them for us. ¬†Though this has been a difficult pregnancy we are planning on it being my last pregnancy and I want to be able to look back on this time and remember how it has helped us grow as a family later on. ¬†I wish I had enough Photoshop talent to reduce the (well-earned) shadows and bags under my eyes… you would think someone who spends as much time in bed as I have been lately wouldn’t have any but I can’t seem to sleep for more than two hours at a time thanks to our little girls efforts to escape the womb.

We continue to be grateful for everyone’s prayers and well wishes. ¬†The support of our family and friends¬†¬†has¬†truly have been an amazing help in us pulling through this pregnancy!

27 weeks and counting!

We have hit the 27 week mark and celebrated the last week of the second trimester with a big appointment at the OB office, complete with a follow-up ultrasound. ¬†I have spent the last week in frequent contact with my OB office and on frequent bed rest due to a headache that wouldn’t go away, blurred vision, and high blood pressures. ¬†All of these are unfortunately signs of preeclampsia. ¬†Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can affect 5-8% of pregnancies, but that typically starts later in the third trimester¬†(Preeclampsia Foundation). ¬†For me to be having signs of this condition this early into the pregnancy was scary to say the least. ¬†Thankfully my blood pressure has been staying down with bed rest. ¬†Unfortunately Tylenol has not been effective for the headaches or blurred vision for me and I stopped taking it after a few days due to the ineffectiveness and some right upper quadrant abdominal pain (which can indicate liver problems). ¬† ¬†So I ventured into this appointment with my Mom at my side (my husband was unable to take the day off of work) with a bit of trepidation.

First up was the ultrasound. ¬†Catriona is a bit of a mover and a shaker so it created a challenge for picture-taking, but everything look great. ¬†The fluid levels were good, the placenta is healthy, her head is down and she is ready to roll and the best news of all is that the membranes fused! ¬†Although there are still some (slight) risks for early delivery that go along with a late fusion we are now talking a week or two early as opposed to months early which technically means we have an excellent chance for a full term (after 37 weeks) healthy and happy baby. ¬†Now lets just hope that she doesn’t come on Liam’s birthday! ¬†Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers for the last few months that we would get our miracle, they certainly helped to get us through this stressful time. ¬†We feel so lucky to have this great news to share and to see how healthy our little girl is now that my body has decided to behave properly!

Next up was the visit with the nurse midwife and the OB.  It was a tag team visit due to the high blood pressures today, that ended up with a trip to the hospital.  While we have an excellent health care system up here in the Northeast, and some of the best prenatal care in the country, it is still very concerning to have more than a week of high blood pressures and headaches, so it was off to the hospital for me to test for preeclampsia ( a set of tests that includes a urine collection, liver function panel, creatinine, and CBC), and calling out of work for at least the next week until my next OB visit.  The midwife and OB were hopeful that the headaches, blurred vision, and high blood pressures (because they were not critically high and were only pre-hypertensive) could be due to a migraine headache caused by increased estrogen levels rather than preeclampsia because it was so early in the pregnancy.  After a couple of hours in the hospital, and a couple of blood draws we had our second round of good news for the day, no preeclampsia!  I am now on migraine medication and monitoring side effects, but my blood pressure is almost back to normal and right now I am pain free for the first time in 8 days (though a bit foggy and tired from the medication).

 

 

For me the best part of the day was being able to make it home in time to tuck my little guy into bed.  He loved seeing the new pictures of his sister and was so happy to get some extra Momma snuggles tonight!

Conan and I are thrilled with the news, and are very hopeful that after the next week life will get back to as close to normal as we can!  Thank you again to everyone for the thoughts and prayers!  Lets hope the remainder of the pregnancy is now stress free!

 

*****Preeclampsia is a pretty scary and potentially life threatening condition that affects 5-8% of pregnancies in the United States and accounts for approximately 18% of maternal deaths in this country.  To educate yourself more on this condition please visit preeclampsia.org which provides excellent resources in learning the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.  Also keep in mind that while giving birth does solve the problems caused by preeclampsia for your infant it does not always solve the problems caused by it for mothers.  Be aware and educate yourself on the potential post birth problems that can occur for mothers who experience this condition.*****

Preeclampsia Foundation. (n.d.). Preeclampsia Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from Preeclampsia Fact Sheet : http://www.preeclampsia.org/pdf/Preeclampsia%20Fact%20sheet%20v2.pdf

 

24 Weeks and Counting, an update

Well, it has been a rough couple of weeks for me. ¬†As it turns out, I am REALLY bad about taking it easy without constantly giving myself reminders. ¬†My husband has become a professional at telling me not to do things I am not supposed to do, and reminding me to stop and take breaks. ¬†I have become crabby, which is not a usual thing for me and I don’t like it. ¬†The kids, well, they have really taken to the encouraged independence. ¬†Liam and The Bean now put themselves to bed at nap and bedtime. ¬†I am trying to not miss the snuggles I use to steal when carrying them upstairs too much.

For Catriona things are going well, or at least as good as we can hope for!  We had a very positive checkup at 23 weeks where she measured exactly on target (which is amazing for a little girl who is most likely going to be tiny!) and her heart rate was a lovely 145.  Her kick counts have been perfect.  The only concerning thing that has come up recently have been frequent Braxton Hicks contractions.  Thankfully they are not following any pattern at this point and have only been over the 6 an hour allowed at this stage of pregnancy a handful of times.  At the 23 week appointment they found an infection so I am hopeful that after a week of antibiotics things will calm down in the contraction department.  Our next ultrasound is at 27 weeks and I am still hoping for a miracle!  At this point, however, I am simply thankful to have made it this far.

At 23-24 weeks babies begin making a substance¬†called surfactant. ¬†This is used by the body to help stabilize the alveoli in the lungs (The alveoli help oxygen get from the air to the bloodstream, but in order to do this they need to be nice and plump like a grape, surfactants help keep them from collapsing when you exhale). ¬†With the production of surfactant comes the chance for survival with pre-term births, so if something were to happen tonight Catriona would have a fighting chance, especially with the awesome hospitals in this area. ¬†24 weeks was a big milestone for us. ¬†I celebrated with a braided chicken pot pie bread with¬†Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for dessert ūüôā

On a personal note, because I am carrying so low this time (thanks to the less than stable environment my body created for Catriona) life is becoming uncomfortable. ¬†There are definitely times where it already feels like the last (everlasting) month of pregnancy. ¬†clothing is also becoming uncomfortable. ¬†Maternity pants with the cloth panel fall off of me because my belly isn’t quite large enough for them, but the ones with the low band are too tight for me to wear and do essential things like breathe, or not walk like a penguin. ¬†My go to pants of choice for this pregnancy are becoming yoga pants. ¬†I could sing a song for how much I love them lately. ¬†I see a lot of dresses coming up in my future as well. ¬†The plus side? My maternity scrubs are the most comfortable articles of clothing ever (even if one pocket does oddly fall right on the center of my expanding stomach).

Congratulations, It’s a Girl, but wait…. (Learning about Amnion-Chorion Separation)

I have been absent from the world of blogging for a few months.  Some of it is just simply from a lack of time due to the holidays and work becoming busier than ever.  The last few weeks have been purposeful though as I have been (and continue to at this time) sorting through the emotions that have ensued since our 19 week ultrasound.

That is right, we had an ultrasound that showed number two is officially a little girl! ¬†Liam is going to have a little sister to torture ūüôā

The day of the ultrasound my husband, Liam, and I met my parents at the doctor’s office. ¬†My parents stayed long enough to hear that they were going to have a granddaughter, and then headed back out to the waiting room play area while the little girl continued her second photo shoot (we had a dating ultrasound at 9 weeks). ¬†She was being quite active at that point in time and I figured that was causing things to take longer than they had with Liam. ¬†Now I suspect something different. ¬†As the sonographer finished up she made one quick comment about the membranes not being fused and then handed us our pictures and showed us to our room for the checkup I had scheduled after the ultrasound. ¬†There we waited…. and waited….. and kept ourselves busy looking over the pictures and discussing what we thought life would be like with a little girl…. and waited some more. ¬†I suggested that maybe an emergency had occurred and that is why they were running late. ¬†I never suspected that the reason they were running late was the quick comment at the end of the ultrasound, though it had apparently crossed my husbands mind as he asked what it meant, to which I replied that I had no clue, membranes not fusing was not something I could recall being discussed in nursing school.

Thirty minutes later our nurse midwife walked into the room apologizing for being late.  The reason, she explained was because she had to make a phone call to the high risk pregnancy specialist in the area regarding the ultrasound.  Inside the uterus there are two membranes, the amnion and chorion, that typically fuse by week 17, mine have not at week 19.  It is extremely rare for this to happen. So rare that no one (including the high risk specialist) have ever seen it. Unfortunately with rarity and lack of study comes a lack of answers. My nurse practitioner was unable to provide me with much to go on other than to:

1. Not stress out about it too much.
2. Take it as easy as I could
3. Prepare for a follow-up ultrasound at 27 or 28 weeks and then frequent trips to the high risk specialist after that.

Being the person that I am I (of course) could not tolerate the lack of answers as to what exactly the prognosis was for my daughter and myself, and so I have spent the last few weeks scouring medical journals searching for answers. I consider myself to be fairly adept at research having spent over a decade fine tuning my research skills while obtaining various college degrees. For the first time ever my searches were leading to mostly dead ends. After several weeks I found a grand total of one research study that focused on this condition in a medical journal. One single study to supply me with a prognosis and potential recommendations.

The prognosis itself isn’t great, though it could certainly be worse ¬†If our little girl can make it through the next few weeks thing¬†will¬†look a little brighter, but it seems the major danger with the membranes not fusing is that they can get tangled around the umbilical cord cutting off the babies oxygen supply. ¬†The lifting restriction and directions to stop and rest every couple of hours when at work are so very important for me to follow, and are constantly on my mind. ¬†Drinking enough water to keep my fluid levels up is also extremely important. ¬†I breathe a sigh of relief every time she kicks. ¬†After 28 weeks the trips to the high risk specialist will be to make sure she is still living in an environment where she can thrive and grow. ¬†There is a risk of IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) which can result in developmental delays, and she will almost certainly be a smaller baby. ¬†It seems that¬†every person that has been through this (the handful I could find across the country) has been¬†put on bed rest or modified bed rest by 35 weeks…. so I am mentally preparing myself for that as well.

My husband and I are focused on staying positive. ¬†At the same time we are preparing a room and sorting clothes for a baby who might not make it home. ¬†I am keeping myself as busy as I can to continue to help distract myself from the reality of the situation while trying to enjoy every single moment I have with our little girl. ¬†She is already a feisty little one who kicks much harder than her brother did at 23 weeks, especially when her puppy brothers start barking! ¬†We have decided to name her Catriona Dawn…. Liam can’t quite get that out, but calls her “Ona” for short and frequently gives her “kisses” through Momma’s belly. ¬†Catriona is already loved immensely and we truly hope that with precautions and my general state of healthfulness (otherwise) we will beat the 50/50 odds and enjoy a happy healthy little girl.

Without further ado…. the star of the show ūüôā

 

19 weeks, posing at her second official photoshoot

19 weeks, posing at her second official photo shoot

 

And a picture of the bump at 20 weeks ūüôā

IMG_0325

20 weeks, halfway there!

Are you interested in learning more about Amnion-Chorion separation?  The most helpful website that I was able to find with recommendations was from a San Diego practitioner and can be found here.

Do you enjoy reading research papers as much as I do?  You too can enjoy the only research I was able to find on the subject here.  You will note that I did not mention the increased chance for Trisomy 21 during my discussion.  I do not feel that the risk is all that much higher than it would have been without the amnion chorion separation as our scan was normal and the other testing we have had done has not (yet) come back abnormal.  Keep in mind that I am not an expert in this field, the area of medicine that I practice in is geriatrics.

It seems that diagnosis of Amnion-Chorion separation is increasing thanks to improvements in ultrasound technology, hopefully the odds for successful outcomes will increase with the increase in diagnosis. ¬†My hope for the future for women who receive this diagnosis is that the recommendations for Mom during the pregnancy can be fine tuned and more concrete ūüôā

 

Who Needs Diapers?

So today, after I woke up from a lovely sleep in (this a huge shout out to my awesomely understanding husband who totally gets the fact that sometimes I don’t get home from work until 3am, and if I can sleep I will) I had just enough time to turn on the Keurig before Liam woke up from his morning nap and started playing with his dolls in his crib. ¬†He sounded like he was in an awesome mood so I headed right up to get him so we could have some fun. ¬†That is when I walked into a naked butt in the air as he was working on standing up.

That is right… a NAKED BUTT!

My jaw may have literally dropped. ¬†Casually tossed over the edge of the crib was his diaper… he decided the shirt could stay on.

Because Liam is only 14 months old there was no hope in the universe that he did not pee all over the bed. ¬†So I gingerly reached a hand down and did the touch test… yes, it was wet. ¬†Awesome.

As my dreams of packing up the family for a trip to York’s Wild Animal Kingdom flew out the window and visions of endless loads of laundry jumped into my head I picked up my kiddo at arms length, brought him into his bathroom, placed him into the tub and proceeded to break one of the two cardinal child bathing rules that have been drilled into my head since I was a young girl who was slightly obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club, I turned on the water while he was in the tub. ¬†No, I did not burn my child, but his bubble bath might have been a little colder than usual. ¬†Honestly, he didn’t seem to mind.

Conan very nicely brought me a cup of coffee while I was supervising the tub time. ¬†He can be totally credited with saving my sanity with that one small act. ¬†(yes, yes, I know, I have a caffeine “problem”)

Does anyone else have any diaper removal stories?  Are there any hints or tricks to getting the little guy to not keep doing it?  He was so very impressed with himself when I found him, and although I did not make a big deal out of it (to him anyway) I have a feeling that my stubborn little one will keep up the trick now that he has figured it out.

Artsy Toddlers

Liam and The Bean have been exploring their artistic side this week.  For the most part we have been playing with crayons and stickers, using this exploration in art as an opportunity to learn shapes and colors.  Today I was tired of drawing green circles and purple squares so I decided to be brave and break out the finger paints.

I set up this activity with one color of paint only placed onto a plate for easy dipping for their small hands, I also prepared by grabbing a roll of paper towels and a bowl of water in advance for emergency clean ups (surprise! there were a few!). ¬†We started out by taking turns and making hand prints (for Momma’s memory box), then it was a finger painting free for all. ¬†All in all it was a great time and entertained them for about 30 minutes total. Even the clean up afterwards wasn’t all that difficult thanks to being prepared with water and towels. ¬†The kids had a blast!

And now for the photos… this is the last few days of art activities ūüôā It looks like the Grammy’s and Grampy’s are going to be getting LOTS of presents!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 37

Day 37 of the selfie challenge: 365 Days of Momma

It’s Sunday! AND! I have the day off!!!!

That’s right, its my weekend off… I firmly believe that having to work every other weekend makes me that much more appreciative of the ones I have off.

This morning Liam took off after breakfast, grabbed a book and his teddy bear, and then proceeded to set himself up on the couch next to me to “study” with me. ¬†That’s right, I used the “s” word. ¬†Someone though it would be a brilliant idea to take a full course load in the summer during the most gorgeous weather of the year because the semester is shorter and it would be nice to just get the work done with. ¬†The same someone is now incredibly worried that maybe, just maybe, she might not be able to keep up. ¬†I don’t know who comes up with these brilliant ideas but they probably should have less of them.

So the adorableness ensued this morning and Liam and I studied together for about 10 minutes before my urge to snap a picture completely overcame me. ¬†Of course as soon as I picked up the camera phone he had to climb into my lap to get it…. The result is this:

Today’s selfie is less of me and more of us, but it is an awesome memory that I want to hold on to…. especially with the puppy photo-bomb in the second shot!

 

I do promise an update soon on my personal progress towards self acceptance of myself in photographs.  This project has turned into more than I originally planned.  What started out as something that was just for me has also evolved into a mechanism to show Liam my memories from his early childhood.