Friday, August 31, 2012

"Sing You Home" - Jodi Picoult - Book Review Journal Entry #1

Today I am linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for this weeks edition of book club!! It's been a long time!

"Every life has a soundtrack. All you have to do is listen.
Music has set the tone for most of Zoe Baxter’s life. There’s the melody that reminds her of the summer she spent rubbing baby oil on her stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. A dance beat that makes her think of using a fake ID to slip into a nightclub. A dirge that marked the years she spent trying to get pregnant.
For better or for worse, music is the language of memory. It is also the language of love.
In the aftermath of a series of personal tragedies, Zoe throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When an unexpected friendship slowly blossoms into love, she makes plans for a new life, but to her shock and inevitable rage, some people—even those she loves and trusts most—don’t want that to happen.
Sing You Home is about identity, love, marriage, and parenthood. It’s about people wanting to do the right thing for the greater good, even as they work to fulfill their own personal desires and dreams. And it’s about what happens when the outside world brutally calls into question the very thing closest to our hearts: family."

This book hit home for me on a lot of fronts. I read it a long long time ago now and am just getting around to reviewing it, and it has taken on another whole new meaning to me. When I was reading it the first time we had just found out we were expecting, and had learned of some of the complications, so I could really feel those feelings Zoe was feeling. The fear, the lack of control over the whole situation. I was bearing witness to what a miracle I had growing in me, and how truly lucky I was to find myself pregnant. But I could identify with her being scared and pregnant. And then the thoughts of losing her child, both before he was born and after. Those are real fears. 

There were also parts of the book I could not identify with. It was strange to me to have a woman who was happily married then resort to becoming a lesbian. However, I can appreciate the bond that women create when they go through a pregnancy together, and although I am sure on a completely different level, but I sometimes think raising a child with another woman would be easier because a woman truly knows how to share the load. However, i imagine that's much more wishful thinking that my hubby was hard wired to raise children, and hear their cries through out the night without me having to wake him up, thereby waking myself up, defeating the purpose of me having "a good nights sleep". Oh well I'll sleep when I'm dead... And someday I'll really miss getting up and snuggling my sweet babies.

"When you want something bad, you'll tell yourself a thousand lies." page 65

So true. I told myself what seemed like a thousand lies to get myself through some horrible times. Like the ten weeks my baby boys life hung in the balance. I convinced myself, or attempted to every day that everything would be just fine. I had no way of knowing that it would be, but hey, fake it til you make it. And it got me through. 

I know I didn't ask for this. I know I shouldn't feel inadequate. I know it's a medical condition, and that if I suffered a cardiac arrest or a broken ankle I wouldn't think of myself as a wimp if I needed surgery or cast - so why should I be embarrassed about this? ... Because it's just one more piece of evidence, in a long, long list, that I'm a failure." page 61

This was something I struggled with. And have struggled with many times in my life. Why do shitty things keep on happening? And the truth seems to be that there is no explanation, I didn't do anything to cause or deserve it. But that requires swallowing an even larger pill known as "we have no control over what happens to us", and that one is even harder to swallow. In this case she is talking about her struggles with infertility and this topic hits very close to home for me. There is a huge stigma of silence associated with infertility. But I get it, it's a very private subject, it's not something everyone can identify with, and it really sucks to go through. It's hard to predict how prop,e will handle such a precarious subject, so sometimes it's just easier to keep it to yourself.  I get it, it sucks, but I get it. 

"If you ask me, music is the language of memory." page 26

Such a true quote. I find certain songs remind me of certain times in my life. Like our wedding song, "Amazed"  - by Lonestar. I can still feel that moment, everyone watching me watching my husband dance. It's soo nice that music can have such a strong pull on your heart strings.

"I know I didn't ask for this. I know I shouldn't feel inadequate. I know it's a medical condition, and that if I suffered a cardiac arrest or a broken ankle I wouldn't think of myself as a wimp if I needed surgery or cast - so why should I be embarrassed about this? ... Because it's just one more piece of evidence, in a long, long list, that I'm a failure." page 61

"When you want something bad, you'll tell yourself a thousand lies." page 65

Monday, August 20, 2012


Do you think there's such a thing as a restart button? Not that I want to re-do the last couple of months ( not that we didn't have great times).... But I have been a bad blogger and this is something I want to do everyday! I want to cherish my memories... The things I never want to forget - even if they made me want to scream at the moment - like yesterday when my sweet three year old used my razor to shave "like daddy does".... Oh dear... I have a wonderful little family and I love spending time with them... And life is busy... But I always enjoy looking back on my blog posts so I am going to do my very best to hone out part of my day to update this :) that's my new goal ... A restart of sorts!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trying to blog from my new iPad!!

Just trying to see if it's possible to post from my new iPad? What apps do u guys use to blog from your iPad? Thanks for all your help - hoping this will help me be able to blog much more consistently!!


Friday, June 22, 2012

THE Birth Story!!

My delivery day was much anticipated for all the wrong reasons. Part of me started to dread the day that the Dr's would decide that "it was time". The further along I got the more pride i swelled with in being able to maintain a pregnancy against such odds being stacked against us. But the other part of me silently feared the end. Wondered if it would be an end, or a beginning? The end of my pregnancy should automatically equal the beginning of a new life, but we never knew if that would be our reality. Not everyone does, things do go wrong. Tragic things, but most people don't spend 50% of their pregnancy anticipating something going wrong. Some might say that I could have used this time to prepare myself for the potential crisis that may or may not await me. But I couldn't. I could not go there. I always envisioned this working out. Meeting our baby. That was my end goal. Seeing him grow up with his sister. I was terrified about the possibility of not getting to that point every single day. But I did not imagine myself burying my child. I had nightmares of never meeting him. That seemed so real I would wake up literally finding tears in my eyes as I had been crying in my sleep. I had to fully wake myself up and convince myself I was still pregnant and that it was in fact just a very very bad dream.
True Love - and super drugged up and pumped full of fluids...

The day that we met Brandon started out very differently from my usual day. Usually I would awake in the morning at 6:30am to greet the first round of Dr's that come through to check on me several times daily. I had been up the night before for 1am-4am with contractions and was on the monitors for that time. But this was my routine it seemed. I had gone about 2 weeks with nightly contractions and monitoring sometimes lasting until the Dr;s would come in at 6:30am. But they always stopped, just as they had that day. On that day I slept through the morning rounds which is very unlike me. i hate the idea of someone being in my room while I am sleeping and anytime that big heavy door creaked open I was instantly awake. When my OB came in to check on me around 7:45am, he woke me up standing over me, and he too noticed that I was unusually sleeping. Asking if I had a rough night. i informed him it was nothing out of the ordinary, but that if I kep having contractions from 1-4am then maybe I would compromise on having him at 35 weeks instead of 36 ( i sure was convinced I was going to make it that far - I had Feb 27th in mind). He laughed and said that he liked that I was negotiable and told me to hang in there and that I was doing a great job and he would see me tomorrow morning. And I fell back asleep. Slept through the breakfast lady bringing me my lunch and the cleaning lady cleaning my room. Both of whom I loved to visit with. My nurse even came in to listen to him and take my temp and left me sleeping because they thought it was unusual I was still sleeping, so they best let me sleep as I must have needed it. At lunch time my nurse came in and woke me up (as I had been sleeping over 4 hrs now) and she had to check me temp and listen to baby. I woke up extemely tired and almost dizzy. It was very strange I felt so weak. I told her that and they decided to recheck my hemoglobin because I had lost a lot of blood just a few days prior so it was possible that my iron was too low and that this was the side effect. Suprisingly enough to them I consented to a blood draw on a day when i wasn't supposed to have one (when you have them every other day and they olnly have one arm to draw from you get picky about these things). One of the girls I met there who had at that point been there for a month came down, we normal spent a lot of our time together chatting and she had been down for our morning visit and found me sleeping. She came in a brought me some of my lunch from the kitchen as I wasn't feeling good enough to get up and go to the kitchen myself and get it. We visited while I attempted to eat my grapefruit. I got up to use the washroom, and discovered I was again bleeding. Ugh... that explained that whole not feeling good thing. I paged for the nurse and she came and checked things out, and called for the dr's to come and check things out. A few minutes later contractions started. They were about every 2 minutes. But I wasn;t worried at all. I had done this so many times before and had been in much much worse shape, so I was content to continue my visit with Natalie and let the contractions stop like they always had before. The Dr came down and decided to do an ultrasound just to see if they could see where the bleeding was coming from. She was the first dr I saw when I came in at 21 weeks with my water broke. I really liked her then, and had spent the last 10 weeks seeing her. I told her about the pain I had had on the left hand side and she paid special attention to that area, and could even provide explanation as to what it was. Brandon had his hands over his head so every time I had a contraction it was stretching that ligament and due to the low fluid it was causing me pain. I was satisfied with that answer and was happy to let the contractions settle while still in my antenatal room. Unfortunately they didn't like the fact that I was contracting so regularily and felt the bleeding needed to be monitored more closely so they decided to move me to labour and delivery for my 9th and what would be final time. I wasn't happy about this arrangement as they would cut-off my food and water supply and would likely hook me up to an iv. Not to mention the beds were incredibly uncomfortable.

So, they wheeled me down to labour and delivery, and hooked me up to the monitors. I was pleased to hear that the dr that was working the D.R as they called it was Dr. Lopes, and I really liked him and had seen him frequently over the past 10 weeks as he was one of my Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr's. He came in and checked on me and decided he wanted an IV, despite my attempts to desuade him, he felt it was neccesary with the bleeding in case we got into an emergency situation when we needed one and then it would be too late to start one as I was not easy to start an IV on. Under his recomendation I agreed, and my nurse went about trying to start one. Which of course she blew the only good vein I had left in my hand. I asked her to get Robin back (the nurse I had one antenatal, whom I LOVED and she had never missed a vein). She paged her and in the meantime grabbed another nurse to "give it a try". Try is not a word I like to hear! She tried another shittier vein, and of course couldn't get it to start either, so Dr Lopes suggested that anesthesia was in the next room perhaps we should let them do it as it wasn't helping matters wasting all my veins and he could see I was about to decide the IV was off the table. In the meantime I had called Eric and let him know I was down in labour and delivery, as it was his visit night and him Hannah and my dad were coming up that night, so he said he would leave work right away (it was 3pm) and figure out what to do with Hannah. I told him not to worry about leaving early(he was done at 3:30), I was fine, and this is just what I did. He, of course did not listen, and left work right away and called my mom to see if she could leave work early and he could drop Hannah off there. The anestesiologist came in and began trying to start the IV, which was made even more difficult by the fact that I was having stronger contractions every 2 minutes, lasting 1 min 30 seconds so he had 30 seconds to try until the next one. Dr Lopes was in the room the entire time, and Robin (my fave nurse) had come back to and was teasing me through the contractions. We had a running joke about the intensity of the contractions, she was always teasing me that they weren't contractions, just mild cramps. She of course was saying these weren't contractions but mild cramps and Dr Lopes piped up "no that was a really bad one it was 127 toco", and decided he was going to do an ultrasound.

As you will recall I had just had an ultrasound an hr and a half earlier. So, I told Dr Lopes that and he joked with me that today he would be the Dr and that tomorrow he would let me go back to being the dr. We had a running joke about that too, as I was a very well informed patient. So, in comes the portable ultrasound machine, with dr Lopes trying to do an ultrasound, me contracting in a lot of pain and the anestesioligist trying to get a vein, and Robyn now holding my hand through it all. And the pain in the ass labour and delivery nurse telling me that now is a good time to change into a hospital gown, as I had resisted the idea before. Dr Lopes was just finishing up the ultrasound taht changed everything when Eric walked in the door. he showed me on the screen what looked like the same subchorionic hemorhage I had had in the first trimester, put his hand on my shoulder and told me softly. "This my dear is the end of the road for you. Your placenta is abrupting and we need to take you to the OR immediatly. You have done an amazing job and have been so strong it's time to meet this baby." I immediadtly started bawling, asked for the NICU team to come talk to me, and the room turned into a frenzy. Dr Lopes pressed the anesthesiolisgt to hurry up and get a vein, and little Brandon's heart rate began to go into distress. As I watched the numbers climb indicating his heart rate was in distress I had to remind myself to breathe. I was terrified. Suddenly not ready for this, there was no time for the NICU team to come, no time to calm myself down, it was hunk er down and get through this. Dr Lopes assigned Robyn to come in and help with the delivery depsite the fact that she was supposed to be in antenatal, and she of course scrubbed in. Thank God for them, it was soo nice to have familiar faces in the OR with me as Eric couldnt come in. There was some confusion about which OR I was going into and Dr Lopes solved it by saying I don't care, she's here now and we need to deliver this baby NOW. I didn't like the urgency in his voice. I didn't like the panic in the room. I wasn't ready. And the contractions sucked, especially being strapped to what looked like a cross unable to scrunch up with the contractions. We were all ready, just waiting on the NICU team. Dr Lopes was talking reassuringly to me, while at the same time asking where the NICU team was in a rushed manner. I was craning my neck (depsite my head being strapped down trying to see the monitor that was monitoring B's heart rate. Anesthesia was trying to give me oxygen, and i was feeling really clautrophobic. It was terrifying. Part of me just wanted to be put under. Get him out while its still safe, while he still has a heart beat I remember thinking. After what seemed like forever, but was really only 12 mintues from the time I was wheeled to the O.R to the time he was out (it was 4:49 and he was born at 5:01pm). He was born and I was told he cried right away (a really good sign) and was whisked away to the infant resucitation room by the NICU team and Robyn went with them. Eric got to meet him there and they were taken to the NICU. He weighed in at 3lbs 14 ounces and was 15" long. Soo tiny. He was NEVER intubated. One of my greatest fears was intubation there are soo many risks associated, some are even fatal. I am soo proud that he was never intubated. At some point my dad and sister arrived. I woke up in recovery around 6:30pm, and immediatly wanted to know how he was doing. Dr Lopes came in and told me everything was great and that he cried, and that I would get to see him soon, and Robyn came and told me everything wnet great, and then shift change started and I got a new nurse, Heather, whom I also loved from antenatal, and she went about trying to track down my husband, or someone, and luckily my sister was outside recovery waiting to see me, so she came in and told me he was great, but had forgotten her camera in the NICU, but Heather assured me that they would take me to see him on my way to my room in post partum. Eric came in at some point and all the while my dad was with Brandon in the NICU. Eric told me that they had knicked his head with the c-section scalpel and that it looked pretty bad (like it would need stitches but that we were very lucky as they had missed a major artery (that was literally millimeters away). Dr Lopes had apparently told me this when he came in too and I remember him apologizing (but things from recovery are still very fuzzy). Finally I could see him, they wheeled me into the O.R on my gurney. I was not prepared for how tiny he was, and he was big compared to other's I had seen. But he was tiny. But pink, oh sooo pink, and pink meant alive. I was very overcome with emotion, and I just wanted to stay there with him forever. I could not hold him. This was foreign to me. I wanted so badly to hold him. To be there for him while they stitched his head up, but I was in no shape to be any help, but Eric was with him and Dr Lopes did the surgery, so he was in good hands. He needed to stay in the incubator, but I was allowed to touch his tiny warm hand. I didn't want to go to my room. The room I would share with a mom who had her baby. One of the hardest nights of my life. i was exhausted, in pain and just wanted my baby, and i was stuck in a room with a lovely family who had their baby. Although I probably felt worse for them then I did for me, because I was the one crying, not their baby. It was a long long night, I couldnt wait until I felt good enough to stand up and get my butt in a wheel chair to go down to the NICU the next morning.   

Our First Family photo - all the machinery sure is distracting...

There were lots of tears shed, as it was really sinking in that he was here. I was happy to see him no doubt, but terrified about the ramifications of him being born. Would he live? Would they need to intubate him? They told me all kinds of stuff that was all floating through my head and I was trying not to get ahead of myself, trying to have faith it would all work out. But I was sad, part of me felt I had failed at keeping him in depsite my very best efforts. It was a very very rough couple of days. But I'll end this post on a positive note, he was here, and he was doing well.
Soooo true - Brandon's bedroom wall quote!!

That's in a nut shell our birth story.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

The first time I touched him, a few hours after he was born they wheeled my gurney through the NICU so I could spend some time with my son, I was not allowed to hold him, but I was able to put my hand through a port hole and hold his tiny little hand.

This year Mother's day feels extra special for me! Simply put - I know what a MIRACLE it is to be able to be a mother. My son has taught me this lesson over and over in the months it took to get him to us safely. Every stage of motherhood is a miracle, and I will never take that lightly. It is an honor to be pregnant, it might not be fun, it might not be glamorous, but it is a miracle. Something soo many long for and would give anything to experience, and just because they haven't experienced it yet doesn't mean they won't move heaven and earth to meet that sweet little one. It will happen! Somedays it won't feel like it will ever happen, sometimes you will feel like you are farther from ever becoming a mom then you ever could be. But these are the times when you are the closest to being a mom. Wanting something so bad, but having no control over it's outcome. One of the traits mom's struggle with everyday. Just think when you do become a mom (and you will you will be a pro at patience). My struggles have taught me this. They have grounded me in the reality that while motherhood and parenting are challenging they are gifts. I am lucky when my three year old colors on the stainless steel fridge with pencil, or tests every limit she can. I may not realize it in that moment, but I can reflect back on it and think of how different things were when I was in the hospital and couldn't supervise her, had no idea whether or not she was coloring on the fridge. I am soo lucky to just be with her. Hell, I am lucky to be alive after my placenta abrupted.

The first time I held him. Photo`s courtesy of my very talented sister Ashley Vance.

Me and my babies, the first time Hannah held her baby brother. The first time I held both my babies.
I am also lucky I ever got to hold my son. While I was on bedrest for 10 weeks I often wondered when I would get to hold him. If I would get to hold him. That first time I held him was so affirming. It was truly a miracle. The fact that he is here with us now is nothing short of a miracle. So this mother's day I need nothing more then my children. Nothing more then looking at my son and remembering everything I went through, everything we went through. It was all worth it. And that little boy has made this my happiest mothers day yet.
Me and my mom and my son, the first time I held him.

So, Happy Mother`s Day to all the mom`s out there, all the great grandmother`s, grandmother`s and wanna-be mothers. It really is a life changing journey.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Finding Out Our Little Miracle Was a He!!

So, as you all know when we announced our pregnancy, we were not going to find out the sex of our baby. There was a good chance this would be our last baby (as I wanted three children but Eric wanted two), and I wanted it to be a surprise, as Hannah was. I figured after all the hard work getting her to us, I wanted that moment at the end, when we found out what was growing inside me. It was a special moment. A proud moment, and I didn't want anything to ruin that anticipation that you feel in not knowing. There are very few true surprises in life, and in my case, we would know his/her delivery date, as I knew I would be having a c-section. So, we decided to have baby #2 be a surprise as well.

However, shortly after my water broke, my feelings started to change. I still longed for that "dream" delivery. But we knew that that was not going to happen. There was no way the Dr's were going to let me go past 36 weeks gestation, and we never really knew what we would be looking at if he/she was born at that point. All we knew, was that I had to have a c-section - due to my allergy to pain medication and anesthesia, and my dysautonomia. The Dr's did not want me passing out during delivery leaving the baby in a compromised position, when they were very limited as to what type of anesthetic they could use. And they certainly did not want to administer that anesthetic when my blood pressure was in the tank. So, we were for sure on board for a c-section (provided I wasn't silently dilating and showing up in the delivery room with his/her head already popping out - in which case they would suction him/her out to spare us the trauma of a crash c-section). So, having a c-section for me meant being sectioned under general anesthetic = me being completely out and Eric not being allowed in the room. It also meant hours of recovery post c-section during which I would not be with my child, and would likely still be under anesthetic, or waiting for it to wear off. Well, a lot could happen in those hours. Like my child could die. I could miss out on ever meeting him/her alive. I could hear those words that i was looking forward to hearing from the moment we found out we were pregnant. "It's a Boy! It's a girl!" Instead, the words I may have heard could have been "It was a boy! It was a girl!". These words began to haunt me. I had difficulty sleeping. I would wake up in a sweat paranoid that it wasn't just a dream. I had soo much fear that I would never get to know this little one growing inside me. Each time I went for an ultrasound I toyed with the idea of finding out and putting those fears to rest. I just wasn't ready to give up my dream. To admit that this whole thing was really real. Despite the fact that I was in the hospital, hooked up to monitors, whose job was to determine that my child was still safe. His life was dependent on those wires hooked up to my belly. I loved and hated those wires. They were my peace of mind that drove me out of my mind. I focused on the numbers on that monitor. I thrived on the heart beat emanating from the machine. I would often fall asleep to his heart beat, inadvertently, but I had my best sleep then, ironically enough.

Finally, enough was enough. I was tired of all this unknown. I got to worry about when this baby would come? Would he/she be able to breathe? Would we make it through the NICU? Would he/she have any of the long term things he was at risk for? Would we make it through? I was tired and scared. And tired of being tired and scared. I needed to feel like this was in my control. Soo, much was out of my control, and beyond my means. I had been robbed of soo much. I wasn't able to be at home enjoying my pregnancy, potentially my last. This pregnancy was supposed to be the relaxed one. That's a joke! I needed to turn this around for myself, and control the things I could. instead of living in fear, I needed to take the time to properly celebrate the miracle of this baby. No matter when my delivery ended up being, it wasn't going to be that dream delivery. It would be filled with anxiety and fear. We would not get to hold our child and gush over him/her. He/she would be promptly whisked away by the NICU, by the time we would see him he would be in an isolette. Our moment would be lost. So, I decided to take it back, at least a portion of it.

I already knew Eric wanted to know the sex of the baby. I was the one who hadn't. So I asked my Dr's what the babies sex was, and they surprisingly enough did not know. You would think after nearly daily ultrasounds they would have that part figured out. I was planning to find out and to give Eric a card at Christmas revealing the sex of our child. But the Dr's didn't know, but they could find out, and they could do better they said. So, after reviewing all the files of ultrasound pictures I had done, none of them revealed the sex. And there was a chance that the Dr's wouldn't be able to determine gender due to the lack of fluid. But one of my Dr's, one of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr's that I saw on the very first day I was admitted and pretty much every day after that admission, came to my room with an ultrasound machine and a bunch of students, and informed me that we were going to do a scan and determine what this baby was. It was the day before Christmas Eve. I had pretty much given up the idea of finding out in time. But she had a plan all along. An amazingly special plan. She performed the ultrasound, and it was one of the most informative ultrasounds I had ever had, she went over every inch of my baby, explaining what she was seeing. Until she got to the gender reveal. She turned the screen away from me. She was going to keep it a surprise for the both of us to open on Christmas morning. It was soo special. She printed the picture determining the gender and put it in a sealed envelope for both of us to open on Christmas. She came and checked on that envelope several times before my Christmas leave of absence.

So, on Christmas morning I woke my husband up before anyone else was up, and gave his the card. The two of us were both soo shocked when we opened that envelope and it said "this looks like boy parts". It looked like a foot to me. But we were elated. One girl, one boy. Our family was complete. We just needed to make it to the finish line. It was soo special and nice to have that little piece of information just between the two of us. It gave us something to focus on. Our dream wasn't stolen, just diverted. Every week I remained pregnant I celebrated by ordering something for the babies room. It was a decision I have never regretted, but one I spent soo much time wondering if I would regret. I do not regret. It calmed my fears, composed focus for me.

That is how we found out that our miracle was a "he".


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Journey to Brandon

I decided to start off his birth story with the pre-birth story story. Yes, this complicated little boy, had soo many "almost" birth stories, I feel they should be included in the actual birth story. As you all know, my water broke at 21 weeks 2 days (and if you dont you can read all about that terrible day here). I was hospitalized at that point for 5 days and given the option to go home until I reached 24 weeks. The rationale for sending me home vs keeping me in the hospital is that, in Canada (and most other places), a baby is not considered viable until 24 weeks, so until that point no medical intervention would be attempted (even if I asked for it). The Dr's that I had (following my admission - the admitting Dr was horrible), felt as though if I made it to 24 weeks (and they sure used the word if A LOT - too much for my liking), then I would be admitted until I gave birth, and they knew what a long haul that would be, especially since I already had a child at home. So, once I established my new (terrifying), normal, I decided to go home for that almost two weeks, and soak up life with my daughter. Try to delight in the little things. Which was easy to do, as she can be all encompassing, and I could briefly forget about the "situation" I was in. However, when she went to bed, or when I realized how limited I was (physically - as I was on complete bedrest) and how limited my time with her was about to become, I was devastated. This devastation, soon turned to guilt, once I realized how lucky I was to still be pregnant, as soo many moms-to-be, whose water breaks prematurely, do go on to deliver within 24-48 hrs, my missing my family and lifestyle were a very small price to pay for still being pregnant.

I was readmitted to the hospital on December 4th, and promptly started on IV antibiotics (which I hated - and every nurse and Dr in the joint knew it). I have a rational reason for hating IV's though you see, I suffered from an IV injury my whole life. One that I received when I was born. The Dr's severed the tendon in my left hand at birth with an IV. And to this day I have very limited use of my left hand. So, it's not that they hurt, it's programmed in me now to have an adverse reaction. For the first month in the hospital, I was granted leave of absences for day trips to go home and be with my family in my home. It was a wonderful getaway. My life consisted at that point of weekly ultrasound, daily NST, and Monday, Wednesday, Friday visits with my sweet little family. I filled the time in between, meeting other mom's who were also on Antenatal, and also away from their families. I longed for my weekends at home, to be around my family, eat real home cooked food. It was as wonderful as it could be. Little did I know my last trip home would be on Christmas Eve. We made the most of it, mainly just because it was Christmas, but we had no idea it would be the last time I would see the inside of my home until March 8th, 2012, the day we finally brought Brandon home from the hospital.

New Years weekend, Eric had stayed over night at the hospital with me and we were going to go pick up Hannah and mom and head home for the night, all I had to do was my regular NST (non - stress test - where they monitor babies heart rate for a minimum of 10 mins to check for decelerations or accelerations - signs of distress). I was all hooked up the machine, and Brandon's heart rate, was much higher then it usually was. That was slightly alarming to me, as I had not yet eaten breakfast, and usually a higher heart rate was associated with movement, and usually occurs after I had eaten something. However, baby boy was not moving around like crazy, which he should have been to have his baseline heart rate 180's, when he usually sat around 145 bpm with movement. Forty minutes later, his heart rate was still elevated, and the nurse I had (whom was not one of my regular nurses - but was just training on antenatal) was not concerned in the least. She told me not to worry that was her job and if she wasn't worrying I shouldn't either. Well, I was worried. I knew something wasn't right. Upon returning to my room, all approved to go home, despite my concerns, I stopped in the washroom to pee and discovered the problem. I was bleeding, like bright red bleeding (sorry about the tmi). I promptly called for the nurses (nothing like 4 nurses coming into the washroom to examine the situation happening), who came and called my OB who decided maybe I shouldn't go home. Umm you think? There was no way I was going anywhere, well anywhere but labour and delivery that is, to be monitored one on one, as the bleeding turned into contractions (every 2 minutes for hours on end). I was monitored all day and well into the night on 9 different occasions between December 31st and January 25th. Every trip down to labour and delivery reminded me why I was there. And each time I returned to my room after an exhausting day of contractions and bleeding was victorious for me. I celebrated each day I was still pregnant. When I went from 29-30 weeks, and was on my way back to my room from a particularly hairy day down the delivery room, which included massive amounts of blood loss, soo much so we were pretty sure he was going to be born that day, the Dr's even checked my cervix, (which is a big no-no with pprom), when I was wheeled out of the delivery room and back to my antenatal room, they let me erase my own name off the board while they applauded. I had a great group of people pulling for me. It was such a juxtaposition, usually you go to the delivery room to have a baby and everyone's anticipating the moment that sweet baby makes its grand entrance. All the pains of labour, and exhaustion settles out to a calming sense of we did it, he/she's finally here. In my case, that same feeling was broadcast when I was still pregnant. Except the relaxation never came. We knew that despite the fact I was returning to my room, it was temporary. There would be a next time and maybe I wouldn't be so lucky. Maybe we wouldn't be soo lucky. But that little boy in there was strong and steady throughout. He never went into distress until the very end. He kept the nurses on their toes, and the Dr's reassured. I had more ultrasounds then I could even count. And after he was born I had all these Dr's and all these nurses rallying behind me through his NICU stay. The ultrasound technicians came and sat with me, the nurses had lunch with me while I was breaking from the NICU. Most importantly, I never felt alone. I knew I had people, I knew Brandon had people, and I knew all of these people were looking out for our best interests. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel for these people. Some of them are my family, and some of them became my family. The people you knew who would be just as thrilled as you were that your son gained 30 grams in one day. The people who would pick you up after a day when you watched your son stop breathing over and over again. They reminded me everything I went through, and how strong I am, never how strong I was (despite the fact I was feeling much less then strong - I was so helpless to this sweet little boy). I was not even able to touch him, but I knew the nurses that were touching him were doing so with as much care as I would be able to muster, but with the skill I could not even begin to comprehend. His journey was a long, terrifying one, but it has humbled me to such a great deal. Every single day was a miracle for a whole new reason. Everyday a milestone was achieved was a huge relief. Yes we had setbacks, and those days were the hardest. It was hard to remember all the good things we had going when you're sons alarms are reminding you of how far you have yet to go. It seemed some days there was no end in sight, and we didn't know what that end would look like. I'm not sure we even do now. But this is our new normal. And it is a gift. I will blog a lot more about our NICU stay, and the things we saw there, the little hero's and the heart break. The unimaginable heart break.

So thank you to everyone who rallied with me and kept me, kept us going strong. Reminded me of what was important, and that I was not alone. I appreciated it more then I believe I will ever comprehend.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Introducing Our Teeny Tiny Miracle!!

He's here!! And he's healthy!! And we couldn't possibly love him more!! I have soo much to share with you guys, but bear with me as I trudge my way through being a mother to two children, one whom is a preemie, and trying to make myself comfortable in my home. I have been a bad bad blogger, but I will try to do better.

Now back to the big introduction. Brandon made him grand entrance into this world, rather abruptly on January 25th 2012!! We managed to hold out until 31 weeks, 3 days, and he was soo much better because of it. Most importantly, he came out screaming. Screaming was good, excellent really, screaming = ability to breath!! A huge, huge, HUGE milestone, and a huge sigh of relief swept over that OR I'm sure. We all anticipated the day that Brandon would be safer on the outside then on the inside. Probably no more more then me, but we had a ton of people pulling for us. Great family, friends, Dr's and nurses, who all wondered when it would be game over, and what exactly that would look like. No one could give us a clear picture of what his life would look like outside the womb. We had several consultations with the NICU team, and various Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr's, but no one could tell me what I longed to hear. My mantra if you will, "It will be ok". That's all I needed to hear, Instead I got statistics on rates of survival, which at first seemed VERY bleak, but improved slightly each week. But our situation was such a delicate one. A balance if you will. We walked the line on so many fronts. Because my water broke soo prematurely (21 weeks 2 days if you recall that post), there was no telling if he would ever be able to breathe outside the womb. There was a chance that his very first breath would be his last, as it would collapse his lungs and essentially there would be no intervention that could prevent or predict this. It was terrifying the day he had to be delivered, because, it really was where the rubber meets the road for him, and I was not ready. I was ready for the nightmare to be over, but not at the cost of my sons life. And if being pregnant forever, and strapping myself to that bed for all eternity meant that he would live, I would have done it in a heart beat. unfortunately, my uterus failed us both, and called trump. My placenta abrupted, sending a tizzy of Dr's to my side, machines hooked up to me, and just like that Brandon was being delivered via emergency c-section. He weighed in at 3lbs 14 ounces, and was 15"long. One teeny tiny baby with more fight in him then I could ever imagine.

Brandon, on his birthday, photo credit to my sister Ashley Vance
Top photo taken right after delivery, and second photo taken a few hours later.

 I'll post about all the details later, as it was a pretty scary day. But I just wanted to take this time to appreciate all my readers that prayed for me, and with me, and let you know that in the end , everything is ok. We are home and together as a family, and doting on our little boy, watching his big sister interact with him. Until next time...