Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hard Day's Night

I just want to say that sometimes I want to fake my own death. If that's what it takes to sleep without Jack kicking me, or getting up to be Emma's chambermaid. Of course the game would be up pretty quick because I'd run straight to Gram's house and you know she can't keep a secret!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House Plans

mmmm...extra-spicy crunchy gingersnaps in the brown paper bag. So good with milk. As an added bonus, Emma doesn't like them.

Scott, the architect, dropped off some plans yesterday. We need to start thinking about electrical placement, plumbing, etc. I drew an elevation of the front of the house that has us trying to decide on color and materials. We live in a colorful neighborhood, but stucco is the norm, and the least expensive choice. I think we have ruled out all the greens, blues, purples, and reds. You may find it funny that those were even on the table, but there are several examples of all of those in our neighborhood! We don't have huge expanses of stucco, so we do want a color with some pop. The big problem is finding a trim material/color that goes with the remaining choices. A long brick that looks like old adobe bricks is a good choice for the wall. There are many other styles of brick, too. Stone or stone-face would look cool and arts-and-crafts-y, but not really appropriate since those rocks aren't found here. Part of the success of arts-and-crafts style, is that as it spread around the country, a builder was supposed to use local materials to tie the design to the surrounding landscape. Craftsmanship and appropriate material choice were key principles, and, in keeping with that, we don't want to use vinyl window frames or cladding around the pillars. Many of my favorite bungalow house examples have white painted wood trim. Unless there is a white paint that has been developed to withstand the heat and dryness, and to protect the wood, it's probably not an option. But, maybe there is such a product. Alternatively, some woods do great with an occasional coat of Thompson's, and we could leave it a natural brown. Does that go with our field color choices? Of which we are left with yellows and oranges. You have to get just the right shade. I have seen a couple of yellows in the neighborhood that I like. A dark sweet potato color is popular here, and I like it on the southwest style, but maybe not for our own house. There's a big difference between liking it when you happen to see it, and liking it on your own house day in and day out.


Just a quick note to say that we have started Jack on the Sabril. We haven't seen the spasms come back yet. I am skeptical as this is a fairly low dose and resolving the brain patterns is the real goal. Will this dose go deep enough? A fair trial is about a month. Then an EEG will show improvement or not. Also, we finished the ACTH around the same time we started Sabril, so how long does it take for the effect of the ACTH to wear off? In the meantime, Jack is happy and active. Right now he is babbling and kicking in his chair.
Still having to check the blood pressure and medicate for that. What a nightmare the BP has been! On Friday, after being told we'd need to come in every day for the next week (Ha!), I decided to try an experiment. Various nurses and doctors told me that the $30 BP monitors at CVS wouldn't be compatible with a child cuff. On Friday I bought one, switched the manual sphygnomometer out with the automatic fitting, and voila! It worked like a freakin' dream. I was so mad about all I had gone through for blood pressure. Fire station every other night, false high readings, hours in the ER, neighbors coming over, hours on the phone fighting for home health...WHY DON'T THEY KNOW ABOUT THIS?! The nurse said that automatics are calibrated to go to a certain pressure. Which is right. But it's reading the air pressure, like blowing up two different size balloons. The child cuff's bladder has a smaller volume, tricking the machine. That's how it works on the professional ones with interchangeable cuffs, so why wouldn't this work, as long as the connections are tight? Anyway, I'm no genius, they just haven't thought of it because they aren't the ones schlepping kids to the doctor daily. In fact, today, I'm going in to prove that it works, so they'll "let" me use it.
Then I'm going to meet Harmony for lunch, if she can. And shop at Lil' Traders for cute fall clothes for the kiddos. The weather has finally turned here, and it's wonderful. I made hot chocolate the last two nights and changed our sheets to flannel. I looove flannel sheets. The roses are blooming great in the cooler temps and the ash tree will turn soon. This is my favorite time of year. Especially because I love Halloween. I have my little witch and my skeleton to take around this year. Emma is big into pumpkins. She has them confused with "Thumbkin", you know, "Where is thumbkin, where is thumbkin? Here I am, here I am..." We sing that every night and she's getting pretty good at it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And another thing...

Now that Emma is at music class I can write a little more. When I went to the hospital on Friday Jack gave me a big smile. Then when I was bouncing him on the bed, he laughed his funny laugh, like a little squeak! And that's after only one day of the decreased dose! I'm so glad to be done with the steroids. Next we'll try Sabril. If that doesn't work we'll try Prednisone. If that doesn't work, we'll put him on the ketogenic diet. I think Emma will get her fun momma back and I can stop being a martyr for my children. I am hopeful that I will get back to my "Couch to 5K" program this next week. Before I got pregnant with Jack, I got up to week 3. Then my energy level dropped and I lost the motivation to exercise. A few months after he was born, I got up to week 6. I may not have to start all over this time and I'll definitely reach the 5K mark at week 9 and keep it up after that. It will be nice to have 30 minutes to myself in addition to the endorphin high from exercising. Let me go put Jack down for a nap, he's falling asleep here. Just know that we are doing better and feeling hopeful.


Wow! I really wear my heart on my sleeve, don't I? Attitude and sleep are inter-dependent and more important than the actual situation sometimes. Truth is, even when I wrote that post, Jack was turning around. His blood pressure was coming down and we had decided to taper off the steroids. We have three possible treatment options to consider now, instead of the one we thought we had. Friday afternoon Jack was sent home. That happened to be the day I have a house-cleaning agency come (once-a-month, ain't it grand?!). We ordered a pizza and called it a day. Now it's Saturday and I have slept, Nick is home and in charge. I feel like we can move on with our lives. Today I will attempt TJ Maxx and Costco. We'll get out the Halloween decorations tomorrow (nothing elaborate) and have a little cake and coffee with the fam for Nick's birthday (October 12). I also want to make granola and a big batch of soup. So, back to life...back to reality! Remember that song?

Much love your way.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Been Awhile!

We're in the middle of another hospital stay for Jack. Tonight Nick is there and I am home with Emma, so I can take time to post the latest. After almost 8 weeks of the steroids, three of which were weaning and absolute hell on all of us, we were through with it. Then the most beautiful thing happened. Jack came back...what a smile! He even laughed a little. He started to lift his head and get some tummy-time exercise. We were making progress every day until the spasms came back. We'd had a great six weeks. We had known that they could come back. Maybe it returned because the steroids weren't at a high enough dose for long enough. Maybe it would always have come back. So we started all over again on the steroids about a week and a half ago. Besides two shots, it means going from 2 oral meds to 4, twice a day. He gains weight, but loses muscle control. My cranky 20# sack of potatoes has to be lugged from room to room. I'm so exhausted by the end of the day, a shower seems like too much effort. The saddest part is that I usually don't have free hands to play with Emma, and I'm just no fun anyway. But enough about me, Jack's blood pressure shot way up yesterday, and we headed off to the hospital. Admitted to PICU! That'll make you feel special! They've been trying to bring it down and it is very slowly coming down. Along with Jack's doctors, we have decided that we just can't risk doing the steroids again. Plus, if the spasms are going to come back and erase our progress every time, what's the point? So, we are weaning again, starting today.
We started looking into the ketogenic diet at Mom's suggestion. Johns-Hopkins hospital has had a lot of success with it, and for Jack it would be a matter of mixing formula to start, so it's a good time to see if it works for him. That would be a commitment of at least one year on an extremely strict diet. Ketogenic requires a ratio of fat:protein:carbs that is measured to the gram, and it's very time-consuming. If there were another drug option without the side effects, we would take it. So, Dr. Chacon, though supportive of the keto diet, suggested that we reconsider Sabril (vigabatrin). The concern with it is a 30% chance of permanent damage to peripheral vision. She says we can avoid that by giving it for three months at a time, instead of long-term. I don't remember if we were given that option before, but in light of our new harder choices, it seems silly to pick the difficult road before at least trying this. Jack will make progress, and be happy and healthy. There are no behavioral side effects. If stopped after three months, won't spasms come back and erase our progress? If the spasms are just intractable, then yes. But if we weren't giving enough ACTH or for long enough, then no. Jack's body didn't tolerate ACTH very well, so we stayed at the minimum dose to suppress the visible spasms, but that wasn't necessarily enough to normalize his brain patterns. Of course, Sabril may not actually work at all. It's best on cases of tuberous sclerosis, which isn't Jack's problem. We still don't know what caused the infantile spasms in Jack. The ketogenic diet may not work either. Unfortunately, steroids are the most effective treatment, in the broadest range of cases. Of course, statistics mean nothing, as all treatment options only have to work in one case: Jack!
Nick just called and said Jack's blood pressure is trending down, so I think he'll be let out tomorrow. He's out of PICU and "on the floor". (What an expression!) We have had genuinely compassionate and capable nurses through this, and that is a great help. I'm always proud when I think of the nurses our family has contributed. What would any of us do without you?
I'm going to fall asleep any minute now, so good-night. Tomorrow will be better!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Family News

Other than Jack's news, our big thing is that we've decided to build a house. The company owns a lot right next to the garden center. They didn't want someone else living there and being bothered by the garden center noise and view. (Instead the nearest neighbor is looking at a dirt lot.) So, we are going to buy it from the company and build a one-story house. Planning for all possibilities, it will be handicap accessible and give one child enough room to live at home indefinitely. You never know which child that might be! We are really keen to have an office space, so I can stay organized. Nick specified that it needs to be large enough to include a closet, a proper door and be near to the second bathroom, in case of a third child. I was pretty surprised to hear him say that! You know we've always been convinced that two kids is more manageable (to say convenient seems over-stating it) than three. So either Nick is being morbidly realistic or he's thinking a third would be fun, now that we're experts in the field! I guess I can forget about getting my 25 year old body back. Chocolate, anyone? What a tangent...back to the house's a pie shaped lot on a curve in the road, about 7400 sqft. We'll do a detached garage. I'm getting a proper hood in the kitchen, and a huge laundry/pantry. Those are my main points. Planning ahead for a laundry line outside, near the laundry room which will have it's own door to the outside near the garage. A breezeway will connect the house to the garage, for carrying groceries, walking in on rainy days, and clean shoes and just not tracking in grass all the time. So there will be some functional features that aren't in the typical builder-designed, economical, bachelor-architect house. Think how great houses could be if there were more mom architects. Well, here's my chance! I never thought this would be an opportunity we'd have at this stage and it seems a little crazy to pile on, but by the time it's done, Jack will hopefully be walking and the stairs just don't make sense. Plus there are areas of our house that we use (read: I have to clean them) and yet are unnecessary at the same time. The idea is to streamline my housework. Please comment with any features you've longed for that I may not have thought of. Overall we are looking to build about 2000-2300 sqft, not including the garage of course, which will be huge.

Nick's brother Chris and Chris's wife Mel and their two kids (7yrs and 6mos) just got back last week from Canada. They were deported for 14 weeks, the whole time in a small RV, not knowing if they would get back in or forever be banished. That left the garden center without its manager, Taylor out of school, and the parents extremely stressed about what they would do if they had to start over. We are glad to have them back. Emma missed Taylor tremendously and the company suffered of course. But mostly, the brothers are such a unit; it would have been too sad to lose one. Isabel, their baby girl, is the cutest thing you ever saw. Always smiling and a fine example for Jack to aspire to. (Yes, I was sad to see in the flesh what a six month old is supposed to be doing. I long to give Jack a different start in life. But we may see him catch up and be playing with his cousin in no time.) We had a big party in the back circle for family and friends when they drove up. Les and Chris had planned their arrival for maximum drama!

Les and Doris are RVing in Taos for a few days celebrating their 40th anniversary. On Sunday we surprised them by showing up at 7:30 Mass (kids and all!). I tipped off the priest and he gave them a "shout-out" when they brought up the gifts, which he had pre-arranged. After Mass he gave them a special blessing. Then we all went to brunch at a nice restaurant. It was a lovely day.

On Monday, Sarah Elliott came down from Phoenix to help me with the kids a bit. It's been a wonderful week. She really bonded with Jack and held him lots. Was a big help to me. Just sat and caught up a lot too. Last night I took her to Shall We Dance, where I used to work. They had the usual Friday night party, Erin and AJ were there. I had not been back to a party for at least 2 years and it was so terrific to dance again. Sarah got asked to dance a lot and seemed to have a good time learning. She said she and Jason are definitely going to give it a whirl when they get settled in. Two new converts to ballroom! I'm trying to convince Sarah that they need to move down here for Jason's mech. engineering degree, as UofA beats ASU in at least that department. I think wherever they find good jobs, they will get married, buy a house, and have kids by the time Jason graduates, so I'm lobbying for that place to be Tucson. Then there will be two of my family in one town. That's critical mass, enough to draw others of the family. Thirty years from now we'll be saying, "We were the first of the Liuzzas to settle Tucson back in the '10s when thar was nothin' but the university and ranchers." :) Besides, Jason would really liven Nick up. And teach him welding, you can see I've got it all figured out.

The lastest with Emma is that she is a reliable potty user, day and night. We are so glad! The down side, of course, is that in her "big girl bed" she gets up in the morning and from nap earlier than she used to. But that's just growing up I guess. It took a while to get her to stay in bed once she was tucked in, but she's really good about it now and only gets up to use the potty. That "Go Back To Bed!!" phase was every bit as annoying as we thought it would be. She seems to have the hang of it now. She can count to ten and almost sing the alphabet song. So, she's pretty much a genius. I don't know what's normal for her age, actually, she may be merely brilliant. She loves to play with her train set and a paper Maisy doll house. She is a very good thrower and kicker. Most important, she has beautiful manners. Lots of please, thank you very much, no thank you, excuse me, and the like. Of course she can also throw a wicked fit, but it doesn't last long because I refuse to witness it. She has to go to her "happy chair" until she can be happy. So, we are very proud of Emma, dancing queen. I just heard her saying, "Yum, delicious!"

I think I should go down and help out a bit, but I hope this gets you all caught up on our lives! Much love to you for reading.

Steroid Jack

This is Jack 5 weeks into the steroid treatment. He happened to be licking his lips at the moment the picture was taken; his tongue isn't hanging out normally, in case you were worried about that. I hesitated to even post a picture of "Fat Jack", but if someone googles infantile spasms like we did every night, they might come across this blog. It helped us to know what to expect. He was about 14# when we started and he is 19.5# now. In this picture, you can see the old Jack around the eyes. There just haven't been many of those moments it seems. More and more though we are seeing some calm and happy moments.

Guiness Poster Child

Emma does a funny thing at night: she wants to dance around in my shirt. This is technically Nick's shirt but I wear his t-shirts around the house sometimes. It was definitely a Kodak moment. She's in mid-jump in this picture.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jack's News

Not much time and energy, but I feel remiss in not updating for so long. I know all our lives are fascinating, but you mostly want to know the latest with Jack. One week left of a very diminished dose of the ACTH (steroids). No spasms have returned! We are extremely pleased that it is working. Before the spasms, he was regressing day by day to the newborn state. He was, and is, on the phenobarbital and Keppra for generalized seizures, which together gave us a seemingly lazy, but easy kid. The steroids did for Jack what it does for pro baseballers. It made him irritable, angry, uncomfortable, hungry, and very, very fat. As we started to wean him off the steroids, he got really uncomfortable. His face has broken out and is itching him; he has heat rashes from being so warm due to the higher metabolism. Now as we are just rounding the corner to the lowest dose, he seems to sleep more soundly and spend more time awake but calm. Also cooing sometimes. He is learning how to be spoon fed. The ability to learn is something we take for granted, but seeing him recognize me and coo, or remember how to eat, is priceless.
Next step, we await the results of a DNA panel that will tell us if it is a chromosomal abnormality. We will also get a new EEG to make sure the infantile spams are gone for good. At the same time, another BAER test, to see if we get a normal result this time, unlike last time.
I'll write again soon about the rest of us, but that's Jack's new good stuff!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jack is a fan of the fair city of Brooklyn, NY!

Last check-up he weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces! And he's grown in length to 27 inches.
I'll write more about his health next weekend, when we may have a better sense of things.

Can you believe how big she's getting! Cooking her own eggs for breakfast!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Rest of Us

As for the rest of the family, we are fine. I am on week four of a nine-week running program called "Couch to 5K", meaning that it takes a couch potato and teaches her to run 5K. It's very well planned with intervals of running and walking and there is a podcast it all timed out to good music. Right now I can run 5 minutes straight, which is a lot longer than I could before! When the ballet studio gets going again in July I will start Zumba too - mostly as a reward for slogging through the running. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Zumba is a latin dance exercise class. Really works the core muscles and legs and the music gets someone like me going! Exercising 3 times a week has been good for my mental well-being, too. We've been pretty cooped up and going for a walk with the kids in a stroller is not the same thing as getting my heart-rate up for 30 minutes. Plus, I can think - or not think and just look at the scenery.

Father's Day is next week on Sunday the 20th and Les will turn 70 on July 24th. That's a big one! I'll host a little brunch over here on Sunday for the dads. I'm planning smoked salmon, bagels and lox, quiche, spinach salad. I have been craving smoked salmon ever since the brunch after Erin's wedding. Doris has booked the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch for 14 people the following Sunday for Les's birthday party. It's a fun, kinda campy atmosphere. Emma will enjoy seeing the horses. Chris and Mel and Taylor are still in Canada so it won't be quite so festive for Les (or so awkward for the rest of us).

Speaking of Erin's wedding, they should be back from the honeymoon (Caribbean cruise - O, happy cliche!) It was a really special ceremony, focusing on how geekiness will keep them together. ;) Erin and AJ did a great job planning the whole weekend, and we loved every bit.

This week we'll paint (and by we, I mean someone paid by the company) the curvy wall in our backyard and the wall by the gate a striking accent color called Yam. Nick picked it out is all I can say, but I am very excited about it. I don't think I have the guts to go that bold. If it's bad, hey, it's only paint. If it's good, it will be Nick's first decorating decision as a homeowner! We cleaned out the area that had been full of junk and cut down the bottlebrush (it wasn't doing great and we love to rip out plants!) Nick has decided (give him an inch...) that we should put a sandbox back there for Emma and Jack. I see monkey bars in the future and a hideout. So, it'll be a play area. As if the rest of the yard isn't?! Now, I'm all for fun, but sand is a nuisance. It's going to get really gross quick with the melted popsicles, etc. And it'll be all over her and in her clothes, and therefore all over the house. And she'll just want to transport it via bucket and shovel to the grass or pool or table. I know my kid, and a sandbox is a bad idea. But that's all I'll say on the matter!

On the subject of the yard, I'm really proud of my Tasha Tudor -style front yard. The perrenials are all filled in and beautiful and I just planted angelonias, zinnias, pentas and hollyhock. It looks like somewhere else and I can see it from my kitchen window all cheerful out there! New favorite for low water color is gomphrena. Look it up! In the backyard, the grass has mostly recovered and we are getting awesome zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and green beans. It's a feast every night, and soon the butternut squash will be ready too! Our fruit trees are in their second year and the apricots were wonderful, although not nearly enough of them. Looks like the plums will be next. And the ground cover back there is finally coming in, teucrium and veronica, and something I can't remember. Nick just likes to experiment with stuff so he can see how it grows.

What all is Emma doing? She is swinging on the trapeze bar like a little monkey. Saying really cute things like, "Caillou now pease?" She can go up and down the stairs without assistance (though we don't trust her to do it alone yet). She likes to vroom her little hot wheels around and carries a naked plastic baby everywhere. That's gender-balanced, don't you think? Her favorite book is "Green Eggs and Ham" and she can practically recite "I Like Me", a simple book about a pig (and pig's healthy self-esteem). Oh yeah! I almost forgot! She is potty-trained when she is awake! Still doing pull-ups at night and naps, but it is wonderful to be able to trust that she'll go on her own. Hasn't had an accident in weeks! What else? If she wants you to go away, she diplomatically and cheerfully says, "Bye! See ya later!" She kisses on Jack and calls him silly and replaces his paci if she thinks he needs it. Yesterday, she got her own snack out of the cupboard and put it in a ziploc baggie. Pretty grown up I think!

Now it is time to make a little lunch. So I hope this gets you all caught up. I'll try to write after Jack's Dr visit tomorrow.
Much much love to you,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ahh, Life...

Amazing that so much time has passed since my last post. So let me get you caught up, although most of you are connected to the Liuzza prayer hotline, so you know! At Jack's 2 month appointment, we found out that he really had not gained much weight and was slipping off the chart at 1% for weight and head circumference. Suddenly I realized that I needed to slow down and put Jack's needs ahead of Emma's for a while. I just wasn't finding the time to nurse for long periods and he wasn't demanding any more; he seemed content. Now he eats a lot more, we stay at home a lot more and he's catching up quickly at 12lbs 7oz today. His head circumference was worrisome, but the Dr. felt it would start growing when the body had more fat calories to spare. On May 13, Jack had a series of seizures and went into the hospital. A CT scan showed, and an MRI confirmed, agenesis of the corpus collosum (ACC). Basically, the corpus collosum is a bunch of neural pathways that communicate between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. So, agenesis means that it didn't grow. And that should have happened in the first trimester of pregnancy. In Jack's case it grew partially. It isn't something that will fix itself or grow later, nor will it worsen. The best thing we can do is to force the brain to find new ways around the problem. Somewhere along the line we may find delays in development in any area and need to treat that with therapy (physical, emotional, speech, etc). There is a very broad spectrum of outcomes for people with this problem and many people may not have been diagnosed and function fine in life. The immediate problem is that for Jack it's bringing on a lot of seizures. We had him on Keppra and that seemed to be controlling them for a couple of weeks. Then I guess he outgrew his dose. The Dr. kept upping the dose, but finally suggested bringing him into the ER to get a "loading dose" (a lot at once) of phenobarbital on Thursday. Didn't stop the seizures until Sat afternoon. In the meantime, Dr. Fike ordered another EEG, MRI and a spinal tap. EEG showed a lot of seizure activity near the center of the brain, MRI showed the same as on 5/14, and the spinal was totally clean. She really wanted to rule everything out that might require other treatment, and now that we have, we are left with what most people with epilepsy have, no concrete explanation. I'm thankful that he's mostly healthy. The hardest part is just living under this vague threat that he might not grow out of the seizures and that he may have developmental problems ranging from the maximum to the minimum. But that part is true of all children, isn't it?

Being in the hospital reminded me that many many children have worse problems than Jack. It is very sad to see children on the Peds unit. I can't imagine what their parents are going through. We had a shared room this time and I lucked out with a "roomie" who became a good friend. Her daughter, Emma, turns one this weekend. A simple staph infection, MRSA (so-called and feared because it is resistant to most antibiotics), settled in adenoid glands in her neck. The glands became swollen and had to be cut and drained. She got this infection from a scrape on the knee. It's a scary world when bacteria have out-evolved antibiotics, and that's where we are. Emma had a mal-rotated lower intestine when she was born and has had two emergency surguries already. I met Harmony's husband, who stays home with Emma and their 4-year old, Alexis (nickname: Lucky). He used to be a mover and has a bad back. Mom Harmony is a marketer for an apparel retailer that's HQed in town. She wants to go to med school and become a surgeon. Really nice people to sit up late and talk to while the constant parade of nurses comes and goes.

Emma's up, gotta go. Will post this now and continue soon.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jack is All Clear!

In the end, the doctor said he has an immature liver and it would catch up without intervention. To help get rid of the billirubin he is taking Actigall twice a day. In fact, after one week his "billi count" has dropped by half. This is the absolute best possible result, so we are really relieved. More pictures will be coming soon and thank you for all your prayers!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


For those of you (moms yourself, mostly) who like to hear the whole story, here's how Jack came into the world. Monday morning at my Dr.'s appt. I was 3cm/50%. She gave me some blue and black cohosh homeopathic stuff that's supposed to bring on labor and told me to walk. Of course we were all anxious to get this baby coming ASAP but I wanted especially to have him at the Birth Center instead of TMC hospital. After 41 weeks they consider you to be too high risk and send you next door to the hospital, so I was either coming back that day or not at all. Mom and I went to the non-stress test and sonogram for fluid measurement. Both were very good so we knew we could keep waiting with no harm to the baby. After walking myself for hours and popping cohosh all day, I was getting strong contractions that got closer together. I did some baking and puttered around the house and it was time to go - to the Birth Center - yay! Just under the wire. But when the midwife checked me, I was still 3cm, and she sadly sent me home again. She gave me something to help me sleep and slow down the contractions. I spent Tuesday just recuperating from Monday's walking and taking it easy. After all, there was no hurry now we'd be at TMC. I had contractions all day about 15-20 minutes apart. In the evening they got harder and about 7 minutes apart. After 4 hours of this timing we called the midwife just to let her know and she said to come on in to the hospital. We arrived at 10pm and got checked - progress! Walked for an hour and 30 minutes. By this time my feet are killing me and my contractions are 5 minutes apart. Time to get a room! I felt like my life was ruled by timing contractions, that we'd never have a baby, that I would just go on like this forever...walking, hurting, timing... I will say that the L&D rooms at TMC are really nice and the nurse on my shift was wonderful. I took a nice hot bath. We put on some quiet music. My midwife was around all the time being supportive and making suggestions, as opposed to the OB standard of care: phone it in, show up to catch. But around 2am when I hadn't dilated much past 5cm, we agreed it was maybe time to speed things up. Breaking my water sounded like a really good idea, but the contractions that came next were way beyond my coping ability. WOW! I was begging for an epidural, crying and shaking uncontrollably. Immediately, a very perky anesthesiologist came in and did the trick while the nurse steadied me through it compassionately. I floated away on an island of bliss and we all took a nap. A few hours and a few pushes later, Jack was born! He had the cord wrapped around his neck 3 times, so his head looked like a beet. Possibly, having no extra cord kept him from moving down all that time. The cord was working fine and there was no distress according to the monitor. Which brings me to summarize that we ended up with the best combination of facility and care. I had wanted the Birth Center, but we needed the electronic fetal monitor and the epidural and, later, the billi-light, none of which are available at the low-tech natural Birth Center. But I still got to have my mid-wife there, who was wonderful. As I said before, the rooms and nurse staff were lovely at TMC, so, all in all, I'm very happy with how it worked out.
Jack tested high on his billirubin count (cause of Jaundice), which meant sleeping under very bright LED lights. His eyes were covered. The billirubin makes babies sleepy, so he's been very calm about it. They discharged us on Friday saying that the billirubin had started to go down. But on Monday we saw the pediatrician and the new count had gone back up. Today I have another ped. appt. and we'll get more extensive blood work done to see what the cause is. What I have learned is jaundice is a symptom of high billirubin that makes skin look yellow, and that symptom in itself is harmless, but if the jaundice is there it means the liver is having trouble or maybe a bile duct is obstructed. So we're anxious to know the cause and to fix it! I'll keep you posted.
Gotta go!


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun Pictures of Emma from Mom/Missy

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Still Waiting...

I thought I'd blog when Jack came, but, as he's not ready yet, I think I better write now! I've been enjoying Mom's visit so much. She cooks and does dishes and helps with Emma, and we have long talks during naptime. It's very nice. We're both sad that every day that passes without Jack is one less day he'll be held by his Grammy, but with chocolate and fortitude we're getting over that reality. I really was so convinced that he'd come early, so I'm feeling impatient. A due date has a two week margin of error, before or after, but the docs start to get antsy when you are late. Then there's the threat of inducing labor if you miss their deadline (based on a pretty wide estimate to begin with). I hope my mid-wife takes a different approach if we get to that point. I'm feeling the pressure!
Soon I'll post some pictures of Emma that Mom has taken.