Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ward is Two Weeks Old

It's hard to believe Ward is already two weeks old!  Especially since I was supposed to be going in for an induction tomorrow.  The last two weeks were a total whirlwind, and I am not sure I have entirely wrapped my brain around all of it.  What I do know:
  • Ward is home.
  • He's reached his birth weight +2 oz.
  • Ward's first outing was to the dentist with me.  (It was an emergency!)  
  • We had our first family outing to Temple Square, City Creek, and the Church History Museum.
  • Ward went to church for the first time on Sunday.  He made all the other babies look 10 lbs. bigger.
  • Ward met his Nan and Pop Horne.
  • Ward has slept through the night twice.  (I know, it's a gift, and no, I am not waking him up to feed him.  EVER.)
  • I couldn't choose which of the kids is the best helper with Ward, they all adore him. So far he doesn't have a preference.
And, in tradition, Ward's first "growing bear" pictures:


Ward's Birth Story

I suppose Ward's story actually begins the day Audrey was born.  You might recall I was pretty vocal during my pregnancy with Audrey that it would probably be my last.  Then, Audrey was born.  She was perfect and sweet, and accompanied by a spirit that she would not be my last.  The second she was born Audrey wanted me to know that I couldn't forget her baby brother.  I seriously told Eric while we were still in the hospital that we needed to have another baby.  He took it in stride ;)  The feeling was permanently cemented into my heart two days later when we brought Audrey home.  I'll never forget the feeling as I sat at our kitchen table looking at the amazing family Eric and I created together. 

Fast forward almost two years to Monday, August 13th.  I was 37 weeks pregnant with Ward, and it had been a long and strenuous 9 months.  It wasn't a glamorous or enjoyable experience by any means, but those feelings I felt when Audrey was born got me through.  That and unisom.  This pregnancy brought a frustrating and annoying gestational diabetes diagnosis that would prove to be a miracle.  The ultrasound that led to the discovery that my water had ruptured never would have taken place if I hadn't needed to be monitored for gestational diabetes.  At best, Ward and I would have unknowingly grown very, very sick.

I've tried to write this out in paragraph form, but it's not translating, so I am going to give bullet points a shot...

Monday, August 13, 9:00 a.m.
  • I had a regular, weekly check-up with my OB.  Everything looked great.  I was measuring normally, blood pressure and heart beat were fine.
Monday, August 13, 1:00 p.m.
  • I had an ultrasound with the perinatologist to monitor my gestational diabetes.  We took the kids, because they love seeing "brother baby."  Here, they noticed I had low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios).  My fluids were at 3 cm, so pretty much nonexistent.  At one point, the ultrasound tech, said, "I am sorry, I can't get a good picture of his face, but I think it'll be ok, because you're going to be seeing him soon anyway."  Eric was still thinking they meant an induction in a couple days ;)
  • They immediately administered a non-stress test to make sure I was safe to travel to Orem Community Hospital (we were at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center).  We passed the stress test.
  • Meanwhile, Eric called Dave to come get the kids, since the doctor said we did not have time to go home.  Eric was now on board that this was happening NOW.
Monday, August 13, 2:30 p.m.
  • Eric and I traveled by suburban to Orem Community Hospital.  We checked in and I immediately got an iv.  We lovingly referred to my IV tower as the "IV tree of life" for the remainder of my hospital stay.  It turned into a funny thing to us, and an annoying thing to all of my nurses who had to change all of my antibiotics over the next 30+ hours.  I counted 10 bags of stuff hanging from it at one point.  One of the nurses mentioned I had all but one thing running.
    • On my IV tower:
      • Epidural (holla!)
      • Insulin for gestational diabetes
      • Penicilin for Group B Strep
      • Antiobiotics x2 (no idea what they were called?), plus fluids to chase them.
      • Fluids for replacing lost amniotic fluid.  Ward wasn't a fan of being beached.
      • Pitocin to induce labor (i.e. to get the show on the road).
  • Our nurse was a neighbor from our Provo house.  She was also there when I had Amos.  It was really nice to see a familiar face.
  • My OB came to check in with us.  He was as surprised as anyone that my water was broken.
Monday, August 13, 5:00 p.m.-11:59 p.m.
  • We were "locked and loaded," as Eric put it, and there was nothing to do but wait.  And wait.  
  • The nurses traded shifts and our new nurse was Kilee (remember that name, she's a key player). 
  • No progress, I stayed dilated to a 5 and nothing was moving.  I did, however, throw up and developed a fever (reason for the extra antibiotics in my IV). The signs of infection were probably from how long my water had been broken (which is still and will always be a mystery).
  • There were talks of a c-section becoming a possibility during this time.  We weren't sure how long he had been in there without amniotic fluid, and if he didn't come soon, it wouldn't be safe to leave him in there any longer.
Tuesday, August 14, 12:30 a.m.
  •  I gave up trying to wait for Ward and went to sleep.  As much as one can sleep like that.
 Tuesday, August 14, 2:33 a.m.
  • I woke up to Kilee telling me she was going to check me.  Eric was right there.  I saw her move my leg, and then I saw Ward's head!  Kilee said something impressively 'g' rated and caught him right then and there.  Not one single push, and half-consciousness at best on my part.
  • Eric kept saying over and over how good he looked.  His first apgar score was an "8."
  • They took him over to the checking station and suddenly were saying things like "he's not breathing."  (Not at all helpful.  Thank heavens I still wasn't totally awake).  
  • They took him away for more tests and I don't think I ever heard a second apgar score.  And it was hours before I heard his height or weight.
  • My doctor, who was sleeping down the hall on a couch so he was sure not to miss it, came in and finished up with me.  He was really sad to have missed it despite best efforts not to.  He said for the next one he's using the couch in our room.
  • Eric went with Ward, and I am not really sure what I did.  It was pretty clear right away that he was having trouble breathing and had an infection (there were so many present, good grief!).  I don't really remember worrying that it wouldn't be ok.  Not in an ignorant way, but I just wasn't worried I guess.  I totally still cried, but I cry during advil commercials.  
  • Once my epidural wore off I went down to the nursery to be with Ward.  I slept/spent time with him until they decided to transfer him to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.  Yes, the very place I stood in the day before finding out I was going to have an emergency induction.
Ready to transfer.

I think that about wraps up Ward's birth story.  A little wilder than the other ones.  I always said if I had a tough one I'd quit...

Getting dressed (in a premie outfit) to go home.

Ready to roll.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homecoming Day Pictures and Gratitude

Knock on wood-things seem to have settled here for a bit.  Yesterday I planned to get all of my blogging done, but I ended up taking an emergency trip to the dentist instead.  So, Ward and I went to the dentist, and the "big" kids went to yet another friend's house.  Anyway, I am here now...

The day Ward came home was a happy day!  His siblings have taken right to him, and it's like he's always been a part of our family.






It would be a mistake to take anything from this experience other than all of the blessings we received during it.  So, because we never want to forget, in no particular order, things we're grateful for:
  • Prayers.  We felt them.  We found comfort as we offered our own.
  • Eric's job.  Eric was able to get away from work to be with me and Ward.  When he emailed his boss to tell her what was going on, she responded: "The living are more important than the dead."  (he works for a genealogy company, hence, 'dead').  It was amazing to not have to worry about work pressures, for just a little while anyway.  I needed Eric by my side, and it was great to have him there.
  • Our families.  Even though no one is near, and they all have their own lives going on, they all offered to drop everything and come running. 
  • Our ward "family."  We're an island.  Eric and I don't have a single relative in 400 miles.  Generally, we're used to going it alone, but this time that wasn't an option.  Our neighbors stepped in and brought us meals, did yard work, offered company, and babysat our kids.  Ward (church) members I've never even met offered to watch my kids for me so I could be at the NICU with Ward.  We were never alone, physically or spiritually.
  • Dinners.  I know, who doesn't love food that they didn't have to make themselves?  This one was so much more than that though.  The NICU schedule put me home around 4 p.m. each day, and not having to try to figure out a dinner when I was so tired and exhausted and all my kids wanted was my attention was such a blessing.  Sitting down to family dinners during everything was so important to keep us all grounded with one another.  The "big" kids needed that family time so badly after long days apart.
  •  Aunt Anna.  "Camp Aunt Anna" has saved us on numerous occasions and we've often joked that once she had her own kids, she wouldn't have time for ours anymore.  Not true.  Anna dropped everything and brought three-week old Iva to Utah to provide our kids with some stability.
  • My recovery.  Just like when Maggie was in the NICU, my recovery seems to have been almost too easy.  I am so grateful I was able to do all of the coming and going (even if it was tiring, it wasn't impossible).
  • Date nights to the NICU.  Again, NICU scheduling had us needing to be back there between 7-10 p.m. each night.  We were always able to find sitters so Eric and I were able to go together.  We really enjoyed those nights spending time together "alone."  It brought us closer to one another.
  • Having done this once already.  Having gone through this once already with Maggie, made it much easier this time.  There was still worry, frustration, and tears, but I am sure I handled it much better.
  • Modern medical science.  Not that many years ago, medically, this would have gone an entirely different direction.  
  • Modern technology.  I don't know how people functioned before, but trying to share information and updates would have been a nightmare without texting, facebook, email, etc.  Our smartphones and ipad made things SO much simpler and easier.  
  • Good doctors and nurses.  This one sorta've goes along with "Eric's job" because it provides the benefits to choose the hospitals and doctors we want to use.  Being able to be in the hospital we wanted to, with our doctors, and nurses we adore made this a much better situation.  Having the same pediatrician we went through this with Maggie with was really nice.  
 I am sure there are more things, I'll add to the list as I think of them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Homeboy is Home!

We're home! We're home!  I have lots of pictures to sort, but I did get a few videos up on YouTube:



See our channel here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

One more day?

Today was a much better day in the NICU. I still didn't match up with Ward's feedings as perfectly as I would have liked, but I felt like there was better understanding from his nurses.

Our pediatrician came in while I was there today, and we had a good chat about things. He said they had to assume that it was group b strep that Ward had, even though nothing ever grew in the cultures. Probably the antibiotics I got during labor took care of that. We also talked about how crazy it is that not one, but two of my kids managed to get it. He said, "luckily they're as good at fighting it off as you are at passing it on." Ain't that the truth.

My family continues to be well cared for, and I am so grateful for that. My kids have been welcomed into so many different homes, it's amazing. Good friends have been there for me in so many ways too, usually through good food and good company ;)

Tonight Eric and I passed the "give your baby a bath" test and the "prove you can buckle a carseat" test. Now one little IV stands between Ward and freedom. Tomorrow is the day!

Eric took this shot tonight (you've got to get creative when you're photographing a baby who doesn't move from the same bed or change clothes):

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 5

Today was a rough one. Not for Ward, he's doing amazingly. For me on the other hand, WAH!

The first downer was finding out that Tuesday is the for sure earliest that Ward will get to come home. My hopes were way up for tomorrow, and mentally I got crushed. We'll see how it goes, but he might not even make it home until Wednesday depending on Tuesday's labs :(

The other frustration of the day was a total and complete disconnect with Ward's day nurse. My balancing act between home and NICU completely came crashing down and I pretty much missed all of his feedings today. It feels absolutely terrible. I told his nurse I'd be in at noon, and she fed him at 11:45. Then, I told her Eric and I would be back at 7, and she fed him at 6:30. Grr. Somewhere in between she said to me, on two separate occasions, "he just misses his momma." Yeah, no kidding. Thank you for making me feel like crap.

Oh well, at least my son is awesome.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Live from the NICU

Another day at the NICU here. We've gotten the schedule down pretty good. I spend about 5 hours with Ward each day, and then another couple hours driving back and forth, etc. It's easily a full time job. I try to hang out up in Provo between feedings, so as to avoid going insane from the back and forth. Yesterday morning I forgot my pumped milk at home, and didn't realize it until I was out of Springville. I thought I was going to lose it driving back down Springville main street one more time. The adrenaline has worn off, and all of the coming and going is really wearing me out. The "feeling great" feeling has disappeared. I can't wait to be laying around my house with all of my babies.

Enough about me though, Ward is doing well. He is completely off the feeding tube, so it's just him and I now. The nurse said he's been pounding his bottles (when I am not here to nurse) and our nursing went great this morning. He is still receiving antibiotics, and sadly, his bilirubin was elevated this morning (that or they left him too close to the window). He is one orange little dude. So, all we know for now is that he won't be coming home tomorrow.

My current view:

Friday, August 17, 2012

By the way, your son can breathe...

This morning when I got to the NICU there was a baby in Ward's bed with no cpap machine:


Having only seen him for only one minute without the mask on before, I had to double check the nametag to make sure it was Ward.  I honestly thought, "uh, is this my baby?"  It was!  As they stepped the cpap down over the night, he did well and is now breathing all on his own.  It seems like something they would have called to update us on, but they didn't?  Oh well, I'll take it.

From here the next step is to get him to nurse and to have no signs of infection.  So, still time and antibiotics ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time and/or Antibiotics

I did a terrible, er, nonexistent job of documenting when Maggie was in the NICU, so I guess this is my chance at redemption.

We had a good day today.  I started out still at OCH, finishing the last of my antibiotics. Eric went over to be with Ward at UVRMC, where he got to see the xrays of his lungs.  This morning's xrays were LOTS better than the ones they took yesterday.  Around lunch time Eric came and got me, and then we headed to see Ward.  It was the first I had seen him in almost 24 hours.  I have to say, at that point, it felt like I didn't know him at all.  We were able to hold him, which was totally unexpected, but so welcomed.

I love my boys! Like I said, we've been here before.

After a couple hours with him, we headed home to pick up the three amigos, who were having a great time at yet another great friend's house.  We spent a couple hours with the amigos at home, during which the Webelos (scouts from our ward) came and did yard work!  Unbelievable.  After dinner we took the kids to a third friend's house, and headed back to Ward.  The back and forth is a little crazy, ok, a lot crazy, but it's so necessary.  The big kids are so aware of what's going on, and they really need to know they're just as important to us as Ward is.  Tonight after family prayers Amos said how glad he was that Ward was here because now he could snuggle me again.  I had no idea that my "no lap" policy was so sad for him =( 

Back with Ward we got the best high of the day: nakedy snuggles!  The proper name would be skin to skin contact, but I'm going with nakedy snuggles.  Ward was able to curl up on my chest and just be the sweetest little prince that ever was.  It was so therapeutic for both of us.

As far as Ward's status, his lungs got slightly stronger today.  He is still on the cpap machine, and didn't do well when taken off of it.  For now the treatment plan is time and antibiotics.  

Final thoughts for today:
  • When I got home with the kids I sat down with them and showed them all of Ward's "things" from the hospital.  There were two tiny hats, tiny socks, bottles, and his footprints.  When we got to the footprints Amos said, "look! his paw prints!!"
  • The kids are now referring to Ward as robot brother, which I think is a good interpretation of the cpap machine by them.
  • Amos is really wanting to see Ward.  We set the date for Saturday.  The plan now is that each sibling can bring Ward one little toy to leave with him.  Amos really wanted to bring three things, so Maggie said he could take hers for her. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End of Day 1

Tonight I got the best surprise... 

After stopping by the other hospital to see Ward, Eric went home to be with Amos, Maggie, and Audrey, leaving me alone in Orem =(  I am a big girl, but I have never done a night alone in the hospital before.  Around 8:30, I settled in for a quick nap, since I am dead tired, but will need to be up for pumping, antibiotics checks, etc.  One successful power nap later, I found myself being woken up by Audrey and Eric!  I was so very grateful to see them.  Their mere presence made me feel awesome, but they brought comforting news from home too.  My family is being very well cared for in my absence.  My unbelievably thoughtful friend Melanie watched the kids all day, did Maggie and Audrey's hair special for them, and then fed Eric dinner for me.  I couldn't ask for more.



I am certain Audrey's hair has never looked so good.  I am also pretty grateful that Audrey and Eric brought me chocolate ;) 

As for Ward, he is alone in the hospital tonight too.  The last update we got was that he was back on the c pap machine, being monitored.  He's due for some more lung x-rays in the morning.

I cannot wait to have my rowdy clan all at home together.

We've been here before...

About that Ward Horne...I wrote up the whole long ordeal with every little detail this morning, but it seems to have vanished into thin air.  Maybe it'll float back.

I finally tracked down his birth statistics, so here they are:

Ward Arthur Horne
Born 2:33 a.m. **Tuesday, August 14, 2012
5 lbs, 13 oz.**18.5 inches



Yesterday we were at the hospital in Provo, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (UVRMC), for an appointment with the perinatologist to monitor my gestational diabetes.  We took all of the kids with us since it was an ultrasound and they like to see "brother baby," even if he's only in black and white.

It struck me while waiting for the elevator that UVRMC was where Maggie was in the NICU when she had a Group B Strep infection and that she hadn't been back there since she was discharged as a two week old.  While we stood there, I told her about how she'd been sick as a baby, and lived there for a little while.  She thought that was pretty neat, and decided that every picture of a baby on the wall was of her.  It was a very scary experience, and I didn't handle it very well.  BUT, it did end well, and it gave me many opportunities to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Yesterday, I had no idea how comforting that experience would be to me today.

Today Ward finds himself sick and living in the NICU at UVRMC.  His little lungs are struggling to find air, and his circulation is very poor.  Initially thought to be side effects of an early delivery, now it seems that it's the very same Group B Strep that landed Princess Maggie in the very same place.



I got to hold Ward for just one minute when they transferred him to the incubator (above) for transport in the "life flight" from Orem Community Hospital to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.  Lots of tears make my eyes do weird things.  I am not that sad or worried, but the tears keep coming.


Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.  It means the world to us.

There's more to Ward's birth story, but I'll get to that later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

T minus RIGHT NOW

Be careful what you blog for...we're currently waiting at one hospital, to go have this baby at another hospital. Ward is coming!

Hermana

Grammy's visit last week came and went in the blink of an eye =(  It was SO good to see her.  For us, it was all happy.  We're used to her coming and going, so to me, it didn't feel more difficult than those other trips (even though I know she wasn't going back to Idaho).  Don't get me wrong, we always miss her (and Papa), but we're used to never having enough time with them.

We were lucky that Grammy needed a ride from Idaho to Utah, and Anna was kind enough to bring her (and week old Iva!!) down to see us.  That was super bonus.


The kids loved having Grammy around.  Grammy concocted up some story about Amos' toys coming alive and playing in his room at night while he was sleeping, and Amos and Grammy just kept making it more and more elaborate.  Amos was pretty impressed.  I think he's really torn about whether he believes her or not...but he sure wants to.


Grammy was impressed with Maggie this trip.  She said she thought Maggie had changed the most, and was much more talkative than when she left.  Grammy did refuse to sleep with her after the first night though. Something about too much snuggling?


And then there is Audrey...that little girl has magic. 

Grammy was an awesome helper.  She was always feeding, cleaning, folding laundry, making beds, etc.  It was so nice to have the help!  I am sure it wasn't how she wanted to spend the last couple days of her vacation, but I am so grateful.


We also got a chance to see Meg during Grammy's trip, another super bonus:


It's hard to believe Grammy is already back in the Dominican Republic.  We know it's where she is supposed to be, but we miss her.  We can't wait to have her and Papa back.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

T minus 2.5 weeks

This came in the mail today. Now, I am officially DYING for new baby Horne to get here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A lesson in humility and other snippets

Dada came home from scout camp.

Lately, I have been getting very frustrated with other people not being as high functioning as I might like. Then I backed into my own garage door.

Maggie is now defending everything that comes out of the garden as a "fruit baby." She wouldn't let me cook anything for dinner tonight. She runs away from Audrey crying, "she's trying to eat my babies!!". Audrey is generally trying to eat her babies.

Amos has been pushing around a toy shopping/grocery cart full of everything he owns. Hands on job training?

Grammy is coming to Utah tomorrow! We'll get to see her for two very short days while she is on hiatus from her mission (senior missionaries get one trip home). She left Grampy in the Dominican Republic to hold down the fort. We'll miss him.

We like the Olympics. Amos is super curious about how all of the athletes get to ________ (fill in the blank of whatever they're doing). I really like seeing Kate Middleton in the stands.

Audrey is all about the marathon baths these days. Especially if there are bubbles.


Friday, August 3, 2012

While Eric's away...

ONE MORE DAY without Dada.



Though some of us are getting used to him not being around.  He's going to have to evict two very sad kids if he wants his spot in the bed back ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The 'Gygis' are Ready and Waiting...

It's new baby Horne's birth month!  God willing, we'll induce on the 29th.  I am certain I have never been so ready to have a baby o-u-t.  Since there is nothing to do but wait at this point, I figured I'd share one of my true loves: aden and anais swaddling blankets.

When Maggie was born, we didn't buy her much of anything.  She got to use all of Amos' hand me downs, with the exception of his "gygi" (i.e. blanket).  There was no way we were getting that away from him.  By total chance, I bought Mags a set of A&A swaddling blankets (since I knew for my kids, swaddling made them HAPPY).  I've never turned back.

As with the girls, Eric and I took special care to pick out swaddling blankets for the new baby.  We (mostly me) settled on these ones:


Amos' gygi is "lion gygi" and he is still pretty attached.  I am not going to do a thing about it either.


Maggie's gygi is "pretend gygi."  I don't have the slightest clue why it's called "pretend," as you can see, it's very real.  The only thing I've really gotten out of her is that it's because it has stars on it.  Stars are real though too?  She started calling it that long before she made a lot of sense, so we'll probably never know.


Auds isn't much of a talker, and she mostly prefers her babies, but she has a gygi too:



Aden and Anais are everywhere (even Target!) now, so I am sure I am not alone in my love.  Go get some, and you can be in love too ;)