Thursday, June 28, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Back to Back

This morning Benjamin nursed and when he finished he had a test weight of +72 grams! When we went in to feed him this afternoon the nurse practitioner was there and she poked her head into our "room" and said, "Have we talked about doing a back-to-back feeding? Because if we haven't, we should. How about...if Benjamin eats really well right now you just come in for the next feeding and we'll try him on a back-to-back. Does that work for you?" We said we could make it work and then talked about how to arrange babysitters and things while I fed Benjamin. Then we did his test weight and it was +66 grams!

We made a few calls, sent a few texts, and made it so we could just stick around the hospital until his next feeding. He usually rests for six hours between feedings. I feed him at 10 AM and 4 PM and 10 AM and he gets a bottle at 4 AM. At 1 PM 7 PM 1 AM and 7 AM he gets fed via NG tube/gavage.

Today, however, I fed him at 10 AM, 4 PM and 7 PM. It's a "back-to-back" feeding because he had to nurse two feedings in a row. And he rocked it! His test weight was +53 grams.

We don't know what the plan is for the next few days but we do know that our days will be full of getting Benjamin ready to come home! I could cry tears of joy (but I've spent so many days this month crying that I think I'll pass).

Benjamin's NG tube—they only put 16 cm down his throat to his stomach

Everyday I'm pump-pump-pumping!

Before Benjamin was born the girls would excitedly list everything they were going to do to help take care of him. They were going to bring me clean diapers and take care of his dirties. They were going to sing to him when he cried. They were going to hug him and kiss him and love him forever.

Unfortunately they haven't gotten to do much of any of that.

Instead they help me pump. They like to put the labels on the bottle when I've finished pumping. They like to turn the pump on and off. Miriam likes to take the used pumps into the kitchen for me (because then she can sneak in some licks of milk—"It's so yummy!"—I'm not sure she was ready to be weaned...and I probably have enough milk to start her up again. Haha. Like that's going to happen).

The other day while the girls were getting ready for bed I mentioned that I needed to pump. The next thing I knew Miriam had magically appeared at my side. She had assembled my pump kit and brought it to me so that I could get to work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Bath Time

On Monday night we stayed late at the hospital in order to give Benjamin a bath. It wasn't his first bath but it was our first time bathing him. Really it was Andrew's first time bathing him since I just stood around taking pictures. Truthfully, though, Andrew is usually the one who bathes the girls because whenever I bathe them they fight and scream and we all end up angry at each other. But when Andrew bathes them they end up clean and happy. I don't know why. So, likely, Andrew will be the one giving Benjamin baths, too.

We don't bathe our children all that often so it's not like it's a huge burden.

I don't even feel bad about not bathing our children very often because Benjamin only gets a bath every other (to every third) day in the NICU and unless he covers his outfits with spit up or leaks through his diaper his clothes only get changed every other (to every third) day. If the hospital can do it I can, too!

To bathe a NICU baby you fill a little tub with warm water and use rolled receiving blankets for supports. Benjamin got wrapped in a lovely firetruck-red fleece blanket to help keep him warm during his bath. Andrew lowered him slowly into the tub and you could see Benjamin relax completely. If he could talk he probably would have said, "There's no place like home! It's warm, it's wet—it's lovely."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Oinker!

Whatever it was that was supposed to click has apparently clicked. It helps, I think that they started him on Prevacid (I always want to say percocet...but it's definitely not) to treat him for reflux. Apparently reflux makes babies absolutely miserable. When the partially digested milk starts going back up the esophagus and into the throat it annoys a nerve that affects the heart. In preemies, the heart burn that reflux cause can make the infant go into bradycardia. Since Benjamin was having so many bradys the doctors decided to do a trial of Prevacid, which doesn't cure reflux but treats the heart burn, to see if that would help stop the bradys and help him want to nurse a little bit more. They started the Prevacid on Friday, June 22nd.

On Saturday, June 23rd, Benjamin ate 51 mL in one feeding! It was his first time ever nursing enough to get 100% of his feeding without supplementing with the NG tube. In fact, he over-nursed since a full feeding for him was only 48 mL. Everyone was very proud of him and he did such a good job that the following day we were asked to try for three feedings.

June 24

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to me


My birthday was pretty low-key this year. Andrew and I spent a little time in the wee hours of the morning watching the mountain burn (just after returning from the hospital). Andrew got up with the girls in the not-so-wee hours of the morning and let me sleep in until it was time to get ready to go. All three of them woke me up by singing Happy Birthday.

We dropped the girls off at my friend Tracy's house and then went to the hospital and then I spent most of the rest of the day napping while Andrew took care of the girls and packed up some of the bookshelves in the office and carted a bunch more stuff from downstairs to the garage. We're trying to figure out how big of a truck we'll need to haul our things across the country.

The girls helped Daddy make dinner—they heated up canned soup and make baking powder biscuits—and then after dinner we had cupcakes. Mine was a fancy cupcake that Karen had picked up for me from a place called The Sweet Tooth Fairy; everyone else had cupcakes that Sister Christensen had brought over the day before. Or maybe the day before that. All my days are blending together.

It was just a little party—Andrew, the girls, and me—but it was practically perfect. What else could you ask for than to be surrounded by the people you love most of all? Oh, I know...

Summery Stuff

It seems as if the world stopped turning 20 days ago. Part of me feels like an eternity has passed since Benjamin was born and part of me feels like he was born yesterday. It seems strange, and almost a little cruel, that everyone around us is carrying on like normal when, for us, life came to a screeching halt and everything is now focused on the baby.

I remember the drive to the hospital the first Saturday after Benjamin was born. We had picked the route by the mouth of the canyon since Orem's Summerfest was going on and they had a parade route blocked off on one of the main roads and construction on another. We left with plenty of time to spare but were met with a sea of break lights when we got to the canyon.

"This isn't happening!" I said to Andrew. "What's going on?"

He didn't know.

We crawled through the traffic and finally were able to see what the hold up was—the Utah Valley Marathon.

One lane of traffic was blocked off as a running path for the marathoners. Police were stopping traffic to let the marathoners cross the street. We could see cars snaking down University Avenue. I just about started to hyperventilate.

"No!" I wailed. "Don't they know I need to see my baby?!"

I willed traffic to speed up. I cursed those stupid marathoners in my mind—how could they be running a stupid race when my world was crashing all around me?! Then I chastised myself for thinking that when I realized that I ran a marathon just last year and that I held up traffic and that probably one of those cars was heading somewhere of extreme importance, like to the hospital to see their baby in the NICU or to rush to the bedside of a dying parent and I hadn't given a second thought about what they might be going through...

Eventually we made it to the hospital and I don't think we were even that late. I was all on edge, though, from that stressful ride that shouldn't have been so stressful (it was certainly self-created stress).

I'm not so bitter anymore, but it does seem strange that life is carrying on without us.

For example, did you know that it is summer outside? I keep forgetting.

Shaken, not stirred

On Thursday we made ice cream. I suppose it's not technically ice cream but it was yummy and easy and fun.

We put 1/2 cup of milk in a quart-sized ziplock bag with 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 1 TBS of white sugar. Then we put that ziplock bag in a gallon-sized ziplock bag, filled that with ice and about 6 TBS of rock salt and then we shook it up. For five minutes. Or more. Or less. Depending on our attention span.

Miriam had a hard time holding onto the bag with her mittens on.

Benjamin's Life: A Roller Coaster

Benjamin's gone from zero to hero in just a couple of days! To think I spent my birthday eve bawling because he wouldn't eat a gosh darn thing and this morning he ate and ate and ate (and then he ate some more) and when we put him on the scale we found that he had eaten 51 grams worth of milk! A full feeding for him is only 48 ml, so he ate 3 ml more than he needed to and he did it all on his own!

The best part is that he kept all his stats up so we didn't hear the alarms go off once the entire feeding (or after)! It was a great visit.

The girls came to see him this morning, too. Rachel suggested that Miriam go in first since last time Rachel went in first. What a sweet, considerate girl she is! Rachel watched through the window while we took Miriam inside.

At first she was very excited to see her brother:

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

From my short experience being 27 I have found that 27-year-olds cry a lot.

As Krystal so wisely divined, we've taken a step backwards with breastfeeding and now it's like we don't do it at all. Last night I couldn't get Benjamin to wake up at all. We didn't even bother doing a test weight for him because I knew he couldn't have eaten anything, since he didn't bother to open either his eyes or his mouth the entire time I was there. It was so frustrating!

I asked Andrew to take the baby and then ran from his bedside, telling our nurse on my way out of the NICU that Benjamin was ready for his feeding. Then I sat in the pump room and cried and then pumped—more than 8 ounces in 7 minutes (eek)—and then cried and then washed the pump stuff while I cried and finally went out to meet Andrew in the lobby. His dad was on his way over from BYU campus, which is right next to the hospital, to help give Benjamin a blessing.

We hadn't asked him to come but for some reason he texted Andrew to ask if we were at the hospital and if there was anything we needed. Funny that he should think to do that the one night that I had I complete breakdown; he's never stopped by to see the baby before and he goes to BYU four nights a week.

I was happy to have a few minutes to collect myself before going back into the NICU. I was also happy that our nurse was a man. His name is Kevin and we've had him three nights this week and he's great. It's also a slightly awkward because NICUs involve a lot of...cleavage. Kevin won't come into our cubicle while I'm nursing or pumping and always announces himself if he's planning on coming in so that I can make sure I'm decent, which is nice. But he also has no advice and offers no assistance in the breastfeeding arena.

But, he also doesn't hover over me when I have a meltdown.

Instead he went in to start the feeding and said to Andrew, "Wouldn't latch on? Figured. He's been pretty sleepy lately." And then he made an appointment for the occupational therapist to visit with us the following morning without saying anything like, "Are you alright, sweetie?" or "Go home and get some rest," or "There, there," which I appreciated because sometimes when I cry I prefer people to pretend that I didn't instead of trying to be sympathetic (because sometimes sympathy just makes me feel worse instead of better). 


Right now I don't cry because of a specific incident—like, it's fine that Benjamin was too tired to nurse; I get that—but because I'm so stressed out about the whole situation in general that it seems there's a daily straw that breaks the camel's back, so to speak. 


Sometimes there are multiple straws that break my back everyday. 


I can't help it. I'm one big mess of emotion. And I'm so stressed out. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Conversations

One day we were driving to the hospital and the traffic was really bad and I was really tired.

"Wow," I said. "The weather is horrible today!"

Andrew looked at me. He looked at the beautiful blue sky and the brilliant, blazing sun.

"Are you tired or something?"

Apparently.

One day we were driving home from the hospital. This time we were in the van because we'd taken the girls with us. When Andrew opened the garage, Rachel was shocked to see that it was empty.

"Where is Grandma?!" she gasped, since Grandma's car was gone.

"She must've gone somewhere," we answered.

"But, where is the van?!" she asked.

"I don't know," we answered. "Where is the van?"

"I don't know!" she cried, clearly concerned. Then, "Oh...we are in the van."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Nursing School

Benjamin has been rocking the nursing scene lately. We've been doing test weights for three days now (four including today) and so far his test weights have been up by 9 and 10 ml (on Sunday), 10 and 13 m (on Monday), and 25 and 10 ml (on Tuesday). He was rather exhausted for his evening feeding yesterday but that's probably because he only had one tube-feeding in between to recover from his huge 25 ml feeding. It was the only way we could see how to work his schedule yesterday, though, since we wanted to go to the parent support group/pizza party/car seat class. We brought the girls with us to do the 4:00 feeding—they hung out in the parent room and watched a movie while Andrew worked and I did Benjamin's cares, and then we all went outside to play by the fountain (which had been turned off by the time we got outside; the girls had fun anyway) until it was time for the support group.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who are the people in your neighbourhood?

It was a happy day when Benjamin moved into the Level II NICU (June 6). That nursery is full of relatively stable babies, just doing their best to grow and learn enough to go home. The babies are much less prone to tripping their alarms and their cries are usually cries of hunger rather than cries of distress. It's much quieter than the Level I NICU, where alarms are constantly blaring, where new babies are admitted and intubated and where they sometimes have surgery, where the cries are cries of panic and discomfort because who cares about eating when you've been snatched away from your mother and don't even know how to breathe yet.

We loved the calm feeling of Level II the minute we walked through the doors. We were even more happy to see that our neighbouring baby was Jack. We met Jack's parents at our first Tuesday Pizza Support Group. They'd already been in the NICU for six weeks and were sitting, completely relaxed, chatting to everyone like it was totally no big deal.

We'd just been admitted and I had just gotten through holding my baby the second time since being discharged from American Fork Hospital. We were sitting rigidly in our chairs and I'm sure we still had shocked expressions glued to our faces. But Jack's parents shared their story and listened to ours and assured us that the doctors and nurses do a fabulous job and that it doesn't last forever—they were getting ready to go home soon (at long last).

When I saw Jack beside us, I was glad that I'd get to know his mother a little better because she seemed so nice. But then, that very day, our first day in Level II, Jack went home. I was happy for his family but kind of sad for us.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Two Weeks

Having a premature baby is quite a bit different from having a full-term baby.

That's probably the understatement of the year.

Anyway, Benjamin is now two weeks old (as of yesterday) but we don't really think of him as being two weeks old because we're still counting his gestation age. Benjamin is 35 weeks and 5 days old...so just about -1 month old. It's funny that I lose track of how many days old he is because I'm always counting how long I should have been pregnant (and boy do I wish I was still pregnant).

He's still doing just great!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Meet the Sisters

Benjamin finally got to meet his sisters! Due to illness last weekend the girls only got to look at him through the window.



Today, though, they looked at him through the window and got to come inside to hold him. They were thrilled!

Rachel came in first and chatted up the nurse, who brought in a tiny diaper for Rachel to take home to use with her dolls. Rachel politely asked if she could have a second diaper to give to Miriam so the nurse went and got another one. You can see it in the picture of the girls in the window—it's a little bigger than a credit card. Benjamin didn't ever have to wear that size (thank goodness).

Swimming Lessons

I signed the girls up for swimming lessons a couple of weeks ago. Rachel's been asking about doing swimming lessons since she did swimming lessons last year. She is the most dedicated-thinking child I know (on November 1st, for example, she decided that she wanted to be Hermione Granger for Halloween in 2012...and she has stuck with that idea for the whole year thus far) and has been asking and asking and asking for swimming lessons. How could we say no?

And then once we signed her up and she started talking about how excited she was we had no choice but to sign Miriam up for lessons as well. Miriam isn't old enough for the preschool classes yet so I signed us up for a parent'n'tot class, thinking it would be a fun thing to do together before the baby arrived.

I signed them up for the very first session of the summer—June 4 through June 14. Plenty of time to spare before the baby gets here, right? Wrong.

Benjamin decided he wanted to be here for when the girls started swimming lessons, so he showed up on June 3rd. We spent that first week scrambling for people to take Miriam swimming (Rachel wasn't such a problem because she didn't need a parent in the water with her). Shayla took Miriam on Monday. Auntie Josie took Miriam on Tuesday. On Wednesday Nichole, a young woman in our ward, took Miriam. And on Thursday and Friday Elizabeth, another young woman in our ward, took her.

It's been crazy. When we were driving home from the hospital one night and desperately calling random people to see if they'd like to take our daughter swimming for us, Andrew turned to me and said, "You didn't sign the girls up for anything else this summer, did you?" I told him that I hadn't. "Good!" he sighed.

What a great attitude, right?

But at least they had something fun to do everyday while we've been AWOL. I don't know how we're going to keep them entertained for the rest of the summer...

This past week, Grandpa rearranged his work schedule so that he could take Miriam, which saved us a huge headache. He understood that he had to get in the water with her but he didn't know that he would have to sing. In front of people. He wasn't too happy about that. However, everyone in the class already knew that Miriam's mom had just had a baby and that baby was in the NICU. And once Grandpa started taking Miriam everyday everyone in the class assumed that he was Miriam's father.

His vanity didn't allow himself to correct them so instead he just acted the part.

"So, you have a baby in the NICU! How sad!"

"Yeah. It's...hard."

I'm not sure what anyone thought when Andrew showed up on Thursday to take pictures of the girls on their last day of lessons (to prove that the summer wasn't a complete dud). Perhaps they thought that Miriam's "father" had hired a photographer...

Anyway, I went to the hospital while the girls were at their lessons...so I'm just going to dump the pictures and let you enjoy them. Thursday was just a "fun day" when the kids got to enjoy all the water slides and things that they've been longing to play on for the past two weeks. They also got their "report cards" and both girls passed!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Other kids. We have them.

It's been a week and a half since Benjamin was born and our whole world was turned upside down. We were not prepared for this at all; things didn't happen according to our lovely little plan (like being born around his due date instead of...not). The best laid schemes of mice and men...am I right?

Well, our girls have been just as stressed out as we've been. Their sleep schedules have been thrown for a loop. They've had different people putting them to bed at night and different people taking care of them during the day and they've never spent as much time away from Mommy in their whole lives as they've spent this week. There has been an influx in tantrums, which is unfortunate because I do not have nerves enough to deal with tantrums right now.

Today, for example, Miriam woke up at 6:30, demanding breakfast. She went to bed around 9:30 last night and who knows when she actually fell asleep. I tried to get her to go back to sleep but she was wide awake, so I got up and had breakfast with her and pumped for Benjamin. Then when Daddy and Rachel got up to get ready for the day I did the girls' hair and then went back to bed for a nap. They went to swimming lessons with Grandpa, came home and had lunch, and then went to play at the Valentine's house while Andrew and I went to the hospital.

We picked them up on our way home and while Andrew and Rachel were making dinner, I held an exhausted little Miriam on my lap.

"You are so tired!" I told her.

"I am not!" she insisted.

But five minutes later she was completely zonked.

Benjamin's Life: Mumurings

Today I got to put Benjamin's outfit on. It's one that I picked up at a clothing swap and thought about giving to DI but ended up keeping...just in case.

It's so tiny! It's smaller than the other premie clothes that we've been given (which I haven't washed yet) and when I held it up to him today I didn't think there was any way that itty-bitty onesie would fit on that great big boy! With much difficulty (it's been a while since I've tried to dress a newborn) I got him into it...and it practically drowned him!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Benjamin's Life: A boy and his IVs

By Friday (June 8) Benjamin had been weaned off fluids and lipids. It was kind of a big deal for him—it meant he was getting all of his calories from milk so he no longer needed an IV line for that. It also meant that he could start wearing big boy clothes! Unfortunately, he had to keep an IV line in to receive his antibiotics. Today he gets his very last dose of antibiotics and then he'll be completely IV free. I am so excited for this because his IVs keep going bad and then they have to put one in at a new site. It makes him miserable. (Video from June 7...and this is just taking out the bad IV...you should have heard him when they put in the new one).


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Benjamin's Life: Day 1 and 2

I can't believe it's been a week already. We're exhausted and stressed and emotional but it's all beginning to feel normal. The other night I pondered about who else takes naps at seven o'clock at night so that they can perform a bedside vigil of sorts from ten o'clock until midnight. Andrew answered, "NICU people do. We're part of the NICU culture now. It's a strange culture."

We've read a lot about the NICU culture. It seems like in recent history many of my friends have gone through (and written about) a NICU experience. I suppose it was preparing me to become, as my friend Krystal said, a member of the "premie mom club—the one club no one asks to join, but everyone here rocks!"

Everyday we get a new brightly coloured wrist band—the badge of our membership. It feels like it should be exciting, getting that wristband, like we're being admitted to a fair or something. But of course it's nothing like that. Or if it is, it's the saddest fair I've ever been to.

Being at the hospital all the time is starting to feel normal, though I still feel completely helpless about the whole situation. I don't feel like there's much I actually do for Benjamin at the hospital and I don't feel like I do very much for the girls at home and I always feel guilty for being in one place and not the other. So I always feel guilty in addition to feeling exhausted, stressed, and highly emotional. My daily regimen basically consists of eating, sleeping, pumping, crying, and traveling to and from the hospital.

Today was the most normal day we had all week. We took the girls to the hospital with us so that they could peek at baby Benjamin through the window. We had been hoping to let them meet him but someone (Miriam) had the brilliant idea to start throwing up yesterday. The kids are only allowed to visit on the weekends. And only for five minutes at a time. We missed last weekend and it looks like we'll be missing this weekend, too. Rachel was a little upset about it but I explained to her how Benjamin is already sick (spoiler alert: Streptococcus mitis) and that we can't risk giving him any other germs.

Before bed tonight—Andrew and I did the whole bedtime routine by ourselves, which helped today feel even more normal—Rachel said, "It's okay if we can't meet Benjamin tomorrow, either. I don't want him to die."

I assured her that no one wanted him to die. And he's actually doing amazingly well...you know, for a premie. It's obvious that the girls are stressed and worried, too. I think this has, hands down, been the craziest week of our lives.

Let's back up and start at the very beginning, though.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Benjamin's Birth: The Story

I went back to bed but no sooner had I done so when I felt what can only be described as "a gush." I leapt out of bed and ran back to the bathroom. I flicked on the light and was filled with horror (and started freaking out accordingly).

"Andrew!" I shrieked. "I'm bleeding! Help me!!!"

I have never known that man to move so quickly. He was out of bed, dressed, and standing at the bathroom door in ten seconds flat.

He dug around in the bathroom to find a pad for me to wear (we hadn't purchased any for post-partum bleeding yet because we still had seven weeks to do that...and I hadn't used any for months because...pregnant, remember? We're lucky he found a nice thick one). I threw on a nightgown and then we both ran around like a couple of sharks in a feeding frenzy, grabbing things and occasionally crashing into each other and muttering, "What do we do? What do we do?"

It took us all of three minutes to get out to the car. I managed to grab: a towel to sit on, some clean underwear, our insurance cards, and a Sunday dress (because we so obviously were going to be discharged in time for church), and my glasses. Andrew managed to grab: his cell phone, wallet, iPod, car keys, and jacket.

We were so prepared. Not.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Benjamin's Birth: The Prequel

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling relatively healthy, which was a nice surprise to wake up to. I still had the sniffles and a bit of a cough but at least I wasn't feeling like a zombie anymore. Andrew and I had a goal to finish going through our boxes of stuff (that have been in storage for the past four years) and get rid of things we didn't want or need. We'd done about half of our stuff the week before and were quite successful in purging several boxes of their contents. We did the same this Saturday but I got tired before we finished and left Andrew to fend for himself in the storage room.

What I really wanted was a nap but since Miriam was refusing to take hers I found it difficult to take mine. So instead I sat outside, exhausted, while the girls splashed in their wading pools. Their friend Emily came over to play and I almost cried because I was feeling so awful but instead I helped all three girls change into their swimsuits and let them splash to their hearts' content. Fortunately this was a good play date and all three girls got along...swimmingly. Pun intended. Sometimes when they play all three of them bicker and they drive me crazy but on Saturday they got along great.

After Emily went home I made French toast for dinner which meant I had to stand up by the griddle the whole time they were cooking. It seemed to take forever and I whined about it a lot because I just wanted to sit down or lie down or pretty much anything not standing in front of a griddle. When Andrew, who had finished going through all our boxes on his own, came upstairs I said, "Is it just me or is this taking a really long time to cook?"

He finished cooking dinner.

We ate and then someone did the dishes...either him or me or both or even neither (but someone did them at some point).

We got the girls heading off to bed and I read to them from Little House on the Prairie. Those poor girls have been dying to hear more of the story but because I was sick all week with laryngitis (among other ailments) I had only been reading them short picture books before bed instead. Since I was feeling better cold-wise (though suddenly and inexplicably horrible in general) I let them talk me into reading them a chapter. But only one.

I had killer contractions all through story time but I just breathed deeply and evenly through them and made it through the chapter. I'm pretty sure I didn't read with much emotion; I just flatly read the words that were on the page. Then I sang to my girls, kissed them goodnight, and sank into my rocking chair in front of the computer where I worked on editing my mom's dissertation until around midnight, checking with Andrew every half hour to see if he was ready to go to bed.

"I'm tired. Are you ready for bed?"

"It's 10:00."

"I know."

"I'm going to keep working."

"Alright; I guess I can do a bit more..."

***

"I'm tired. Are you ready for bed?"

"It's 10:30."

"I know."

And that's kind of how the evening went until midnight when I finally convinced Andrew we should go to bed. I realize I could have gotten up and gone to bed at any point in the evening but for some reason I just didn't want to go to bed alone. So I didn't.

Andrew rubbed my back until he fell asleep. I never really fell asleep-asleep but drifted in and out of a fog. I was having more of those silly Braxton Hicks contractions. They weren't regular, they weren't getting closer together. They were just annoyingly there, pulling me out of sleep and making me focus on breathing and relaxing just to get through them.

Eventually I decided that they weren't going to stop while I was lying down so I should get up and move around, get a big drink of water, go to the bathroom, and then go back to bed to see if the contractions would go away so that I could sleep. It was 2:30 in the morning when I willed my aching body to get out of bed.

For some reason, though, Andrew sat up in bed when I did. He reached out and grabbed my arm.

"What's wrong!?" he asked.

"Nothing," I said. "I'm just going to the bathroom."

I wasn't remotely worried. I always have tons of Braxton Hicks contractions.

Andrew wasn't remotely worried, either. He was sleep-talking.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Surprise, surprise!

I tried writing the birth story yesterday but my thoughts were too disjointed so instead I decided to compile a list of ironies surrounding Benjamin's birth:

  • On Wednesday I wasn't feeling well at all and was having some pretty bad contractions. This worried my father-in-law but I assured him that I always have killer Braxton Hicks contractions—so bad that I have to focus on breathing through them—for months before my children are born and everything's always been fine. So when he came in on Sunday morning to give me a blessing with Andrew I said, "Yeah, don't worry about these contractions. They're totally fine..."
  • A couple of days ago I told Andrew that we needed to pack a hospital bag. He said I was stressing about nothing and that we still had like a month before we needed to worry about that. 2:00 on Sunday morning wasn't exactly an ideal time to be running around the house thinking about what we needed to bring to the hospital. I grabbed a Sunday dress to wear for some reason, thinking we'd be discharged and on our way before church started.
  • Before we went to bed on Saturday Andrew scheduled a family trip to the salt flats for this coming Saturday. We've been wanting to go for a while...since before we moved back from Egypt...but things always kept coming up. He said, "There, see? I put not one but two exclamation points at the end of SALT FLATS!! This appointment is officially immutable." Hardy-har-har.
  • I told my mom that I would finish editing her dissertation well before the baby was born and actually stayed up until midnight on Saturday working on it. I am not finished. The baby is here.
  • My mom was in New York for the International Viola Conference and didn't fly in until yesterday evening so she missed all the drama. It was kind of a sad day. But I had the baby before she boarded her plane and she was able to hear the news, which meant she didn't have to worry about it for the whole flight.
  • I signed the girls up for swimming lessons a couple of weeks ago. Rachel's been wanting to do another session of swimming lessons since last year. Once she found out Rachel would be doing swimming lessons, Miriam started begging to do swimming lessons, too. She's too young for the preschool so I signed us up for a parent-tot class thinking it would be a fun thing to do together, you know, before the baby was born. So now I'm scrambling to find people to take her to do the parent-tot class with her since I won't be swimming for, oh, six weeks or so.
  • I bought a new pair of swim shorts specifically for the class. Ones that fit over my baby belly. Fortunately they were only $3.
  • I picked up some baby clothes at the BYU clothing exchange a few months ago and after I washed them I noticed that one outfit was a little smaller than everything else. I checked the label and it was size "premie" instead of size "newborn." I just about got rid of it—because why would I need it, right?—but in the end I put it in the box of clothes for Benjamin, anyway. So now the boy has one outfit...you know, for when he's wearing clothes.
  • Last night Andrew said he was going to wait until midnight, when Sunday would be over, and then he'd grade a bunch of stuff for the Stats class he is the TA for. But he fell asleep by 11:30 and just woke up. I don't think he woke up for anything else in the night except to hand me a pen (and he doesn't remember doing that). So much for work... (I thought it was a dumb idea, anyway. I mean, we'd been up basically since Saturday morning so by Sunday evening I think we deserved to just go to bed).
  • I only had gestational diabetes for like three weeks! I felt so guilty eating popsicles and jello all day yesterday because I haven't had sugar in such a long time but that's all they'd let me eat and I was starving. As the doctor pointed out, we weren't worried about the baby getting too big at this point and I needed some energy. My blood sugar was a little high this morning but considering all I ate for most of yesterday was popsicles and jello...
  • A couple of weeks ago we told our doctor that we'd be staying in Utah for the delivery of the baby so he told us there was a series of questions he wanted to ask us. #1 Did I want an epidural? No. #2 Was I planning on breastfeeding? Yes. #3 Who was going to take care of the baby after it was born? I looked at him for a minute and blinked before saying, "Uh...me?" He looked at me for a minute and blinked before saying, "Poorly worded question. Who is your children's pediatrician?" As it turns out I'm kind of not taking care of Benjamin and neither is our pediatrician...all the nurses and doctors in the NICU are doing that, aren't they?
  • I was gearing up to write a blog post about weighing the most I've ever weighed in my whole life. Not because I was gaining any more weight this pregnancy but because I started out a few pounds heavier than I did with either of the girls (I started the same weight and gained the same weight with the girls; I started three whole pounds heavier with Benjamin and was right on track for weight gain, according to how I've gained before). Suddenly that post is irrelevant since I ended up not tipping the scales. I certainly didn't gain 25 lbs. with this pregnancy...so didn't end up exceeding what I weighed with the girls. 
  • On Thursday we went to pick out some yarn so that I could make a baby blanket for Benjamin. We ended up choosing a white, yellow, and blue variegated yarn because I said I was feeling too lazy to bother about stripes or anything like that. I thought I would have plenty of time to finish the blanket before the baby arrived. I am no where near finished.
  • I ordered a few books on Amazon to help us get ready for a natural childbirth. The Bradley Method, Husband-Coached Childbirth, and Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth. They came in the mail on Friday and Saturday. Andrew's plan was to begin reading Husband-Coached Childbirth on Monday while he sat around waiting for us to get out of swimming lessons. They are now all sitting on a shelf, unread.