Thursday, August 4, 2016

Claire's Birth

At 37 weeks when I last updated, I was extremely nervous about the upcoming birth of our daughter.  I had met with so many wonderful people who had sat and prayed with me including my sister-in-law and some of my colleagues.  Today I decided it was time to share her birth story so that some day she can come back and read about it.

On a Friday in early July, I had concerns that I might have ruptured, but kept doubting myself.  It had been going on for at least a day, and I just kept telling myself that it was probably normal.  I expressed some concern to Andy, and he insisted that I call the nurse line.  They said that I needed to go in to labor and delivery to be checked, but that our regular hospital was not taking patients and that we would need to drive to another hospital about 45 minutes away.  Andy started putting the car seat and bags into the car, and I teased him that we wouldn't be needing those because I thought they would turn us back home.

We got checked in and were eventually given a room for processing.  They ran the test to see if I had a rupture which the nurse said would take 5 minutes.  After about 2 minutes she said, "And sometimes, we know right away."  She said she would continue to wait the 5 minutes, but that it was already showing that I had ruptured and was leaking amniotic fluid.  "You are a keeper," she smiled and looked at me.  They kept taking my blood pressure as it was abnormally high at this time due to being told that I was going to be admitted.

They took us to our labor room and then brought me some food as it was to be my last meal for awhile.  They started me on a milder induction medication which I can't remember the name of anymore.  I was to take a small pill every three hours.  I went ahead and started to try to get some rest, but was awoken at least every hour, sometimes more frequently, to take my blood pressure and temperature.  In the morning, I still was not contracting very much at all.  The nurse informed me that the doctor would make a decision as to what to do next by 11 AM.  I was worried and requested to go walking to see if I could help things along.  The nurse unhooked me and put a belly monitor on and I started down the halls.  She stopped me after we made one or two rounds and told us that she needed to check me as it seemed that I was contracting....a lot.  I didn't feel it at all.  She had me sit in the very uncomfortable bed for about two hours while she monitored my contractions.  She told me that they were rolling contractions and that they were going to stop the medication and give me fluids to see if they could slow them down as they were too close to each other.

Eventually the contractions calmed down and became "normal" enough to go out walking again.  I rotated between walking and the birthing ball all day, but still did not feel any hard labor.  By that evening, the doctor came to visit.  She broke my water as it appeared that it had not fully broken yet.  This started labor going much quicker but still not quick enough for the doctors there.  The doctor wanted to start me on Pitocin, and I kept telling the nurse that I didn't want it and that labor was starting to intensify.  The nurse sent in other nurses to try to convince me otherwise.  I was very emotional during this time, and eventually agreed as it was getting late into Day 2.

I made it a few hours on the Pitocin before the fear of trying to push with 3 days of no sleep and no food crept up on me.  I knew the pushing was the hardest with my other daughter, and I didn't know if I'd have the energy.  I eventually ended up asking for an epidurral.  The doctor who administered it made sure that I knew that there was a "paper thin" space where the needle needed to go and next to it was another "paper thin" space where it could all go wrong.  Talk about nerves!

I tried to get some sleep after this, but it was pretty difficult knowing what was to come.  At about midnight or 1 AM, I started to feel a lot of pressure and told the nurse.  She checked me and said that I was only dilated to a 6.  I was started to really feel the pain.  The charge nurse came in a few minutes later and I was screaming by then.  She also checked me and said that I was an 8 within those minutes.  They both left and came back just minutes later as I was really screaming in pain, and they checked again and I was complete.  They called the doctor in and had me start pushing.

I wish I could say that this is the point where I pushed once and Claire just came right out.  But that didn't happen.  It seemed like I pushed forever and the pain was so intense.  At one point, Claire's heart rate dipped pretty low but I didn't know it.  The nurses had heard through tears many times over the past few days about how I didn't want to be left in the dark as that happened with my first birth, and so they did say, "This baby has to come out now," and "You need to get this baby out."  I was so exhausted, and everyone was screaming at me.  It felt like I was pushing for hours, but it was really only half an hour.  There were moments when I laid back and just nodded my head back and forth like a toddler saying "no".  Eventually after many pushes, Claire came out screaming.  The sound of her cry made everything go away.  They put her on my chest briefly and then took her to the table to make sure that she was okay.  She was returned to me shortly after for skin-to-skin and nursing time.  It was so beautiful.

She is a healthy baby girl and all of my fears of ending up back in the NICU or ending up with a C-Section were gone.  God gave us a beautiful baby girl and no matter the course that we charted to get her, we are so in love and so grateful.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sitting at the Top of a Slide

My heart is so sore.  It appears that I wrote a blog last summer that I didn't share with the world as it was a new pregnancy.  A pregnancy that eventually ended and my worries started in the very beginning.  Today I write about a different set of worries.  I will update on the miscarriage of our baby whom we've name Alex on a different day.

I sit here at 37 weeks pregnant and honestly scared.  I told Andy today that it feels like I'm at the top of a scary slide, but I'm stuck there until some unknown time.  I wasn't this scared going into Caitlyn's birth.  I was prepared.  I did my hypnobabies.  I was calm and ready.  But I feel like I was submerged into a freezing cold pool with my first birth experience.  The unexpected happened.  I was ready, but birth is an amazing thing and almost nothing is truly in my control.  I was blessed with a beautiful and smart baby girl.  However, I still find myself watching her closely to see if she suffered any effects from her birth.  I find myself explaining to childcare workers about her birth when she is a perfectly normal and healthy toddler.  I've come to realize that my anxieties don't stop in a perfect little bubble.

There is one thing that I do know.  God is in control.  As much as my anxiety continues to build, I know that deep down, God will be there at this birth.  I have poured out tears almost daily worrying about what will happen. All someone has to do is say the word "birth" and sometimes it is just "How are you doing?" and the tears come.  Some who know my anxiety have even said, "Every birth is different." or "You will be in and out this time."  I am so grateful for their support, but the tears still come.  God has sent all of these beautiful souls to comfort me, and my anxiety continues to build.  I pray that comfort will come on the day of birth.  I am human as God has created me.

Mark 10:16- "And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them."

This child is a child of God, and knowing that gives me strength.

I have no birth plan.  Some probably think that is crazy.  Actually, I probably would have thought it was crazy when preparing for Caitlyn's birth. But to me, I feel like trusting in God is my birth plan.  I am going into this with some hopes.  I hope to make it as far as I can without medication, but I know that the unexpected can happen.  I spoke with a coworker who went into her birth with the same sort of plans and ended up with a C-Section.  She was at peace with this though.  Her child had to be revived and she was at peace.  She said to me, "God was there." I'm not there yet.  I'm not perfect and I know that is a part of my continued anxiety.  I have to learn to say, "God is here."  Just writing these words has calmed me.  I know that God is here.  He will be there on that day no matter how my baby is born.  It doesn't feel quite so scary at the top of the slide waiting when you know that HE is sitting next to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Longest 48 Hours

Intended to Post July 22, 2015.

I'm writing this post while not-so-patiently waiting  to take a blood test tomorrow morning. Again, writing is my therapy and that is why I'm telling this story.

My baby girl Caitlyn has turned into an active toddler and everything is fine with her.  However, this turmoil all started on Sunday night.

I began having extreme pains on Sunday night in my abdomen.  It was like a strong contraction that didn't let up for an hour.  I was terrified, but I didn't want to wake up Caitlyn to go to the ER.  I rode it out until the pain started to dull down (not go away).  In the morning, I thought that maybe I should take a pregnancy test to make sure this wasn't related to a pregnancy.  It came back positive.  I was in a bit of shock and worry because of the pain that I had.  I called my OBGYN immediately and was told that I needed to be seen.

My nurse practioner greeted me with a "congratulations" and scheduled an ultrasound. She did an exam and everything seemed fine.  I went to my ultrasound appointment with my husband, and that is when things started to take a turn.  The ultrasound tech didn't say a word the entire time.  We had had this tech before with Caitlyn and she had spoke more then.  I could see her highlighting my ovaries and blue, red, and yellow highlighting the screen.  I remembered this was a sign of blood from when they check that blood is flowing through a baby's heart.  I still didn't know that this was a problem.  The ultrasound tech told us that it may be too early to see the baby as she wasn't able to spot the baby.  Again, worrisome.

That night I just told myself that they would be scheduling another ultrasound later in which we would see the baby.  However, these thoughts were interrrupted by a late phone call by a doctor that I'd never spoken to before.  He had been the doctor who received our ultrasound report. He was unable to mask his worry as he told me that I needed to get a blood test in the morning and to report to my OBGYN the very next day. Knowing about ectopic pregnancies through my mother, I asked if that was a worry.  He answered with a "yes".

The next day I called my OBGYN and asked for a nurse.  I needed to know whether I needed to come in right away or whether I should wait for the series of blood tests (two would be needed-48 hours apart).  The nurse said to wait the 48 hours.  She later called back after talking to my doctor who wanted to see me that day.

I had my blood test done right away carting Caitlyn around on my hip.  Then off to the doctor's office. She sat  me down with the ultrasound report.  The piece of information that I was missing- I had internal bleeding around my ovaries.  The doctor had three guesses- 1) I ruptured a cyst and have a normal pregnancy.  2) I have an ectopic pregnancy.  3) I have miscarried. 

These are the three options that keep playing through my head tonight.  To solve an ectopic pregnancy, they give you a very powerful drug that is also a chemotherapy drug.  My biggest mistake was googling this drug last night.  The side effects and stories of ectopic pregnancies treated with it are so scary.  I won't know until tomorrow afternoon which of the three scenarios are playing out.  If my HCG levels double, we have a normal pregnancy.  It they go up but don't double, we have an ectopic pregnancy.  If they go down, then we miscarried. 

So right now we just need prayers.  Prayers for wisdom for the doctors.  Prayers for comfort in whatever decision has to be made.  Prayers for this little seed.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I realize that I haven't posted in awhile, and I guess that is just the way it goes these days.  I really felt compelled to write a post about all that I am thankful for this year, as I know that I need more space than a Facebook status update to reflect on this matter.

God and His Love

I am so thankful to have a relationship with God.  I am so grateful that he has given me all of the blessings that he has given me.  I prayed day and night for a baby to grace our family.  Mostly I fill my heart with gratitude for his presence in my life.

My Family

When I say my family, I mean both my new family and the Heiman side of my family.  I am grateful to have been raised by loving parents.  I am grateful for my two brothers who have grown up to do amazing things, and who still tease their older sister.  I am grateful for my husband and baby girl, Caitlyn as they bring light to my every day. I am grateful to  my mother and father-in-law as they are so caring and so loving.  I am so grateful to have a sister-in-law who listens when I'm on the verge of a mommy breakdown because I'd been dealing with issue after issue in the beginning.  I am so grateful for my other sister-in-law and brothers-in-law as they are all so fun to be around. I am grateful for my cousins, aunts, uncles, my nephews and niece. I love them all.

My Friends

While so many of them have started to become distant memories as we grow older, there are those that are true and will stay.  My friend Michelle has been there for me for such a long time, and I love her.  I'm so grateful to have her in my  life. I am also so grateful for my friend Amy, who has been there for me since middle school.  We can always pick up wherever we left off, and for that I love her. I am grateful for all of the other friends that have graced my life at one time or another as well.

My Work

I am so blessed to work in a job where I can laugh every day with young minds. I am grateful for the news crew that is my broadcast journalism class and to be able to see their talents emerge.  I am grateful for my giddy 8th graders and their crazy antics.


There definitely are times when I have a hard time being grateful for Duke, especially when he is whining.  But, I am grateful to have him as he has been quite the running partner, and he is a sweetie with Caitlyn girly.

Food, Water, and all of the Neccessities

I am grateful that I don't have to walk miles to get my water, and that I don't have to worry about where my next meal is coming from.


I am grateful for this life and all of the experiences that I gain while I'm here.  So, so grateful.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A hectic Mama Update

Wow has time flown by!  My Caitlyn baby is almost 4 months old, and I'm so loving every minute with her.  I'm finding that it is hard to do things that I used to do just because I feel like I want to use all of the time that I have with her. I should be working out, but that would mean that I would not get that time with my daughter.

Caitlyn is doing much better these days.  You would hardly know that she was in the NICU. She started rolling over at daycare recently and I got to see it at home for the first time this morning.  She babbles constantly and loves to play on her activity mat.  Her smile is so sweet. 

We go in for her next round of shots on Halloween.  I'm so not looking forward to it.  I don't want to get into a debate about vaccinations. We've chosen to vaccinate and that is our personal decision. I just dread it because I know that Caitlyn will break down and we'll have many days of crying.  But in the end, I know that the payoff for us is greater.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Gain

Last week, I went and met with the best nurse I've ever encountered.  She was far better than any doctor that I've met even.  She is also one of the lactation consultants that we met with.  She speaks in such a soft voice and somehow was able to read my worry for Caitlyn. 

She helped me to latch Caitlyn properly.  It turns out that Caitlyn was latching correctly, but just started to push away after awhile, something that is hard to see from my angle.  She told me that Caitlyn was probably overwhelmed with the weight of everything after letdown, and showed me how to fix it.  We weighed Caitlyn again after she fed and she had eaten 2 ounces just off of one side and within a short period of time!  This was so relieving.  She was also up to 8 lbs overall, a gain from the last visit.

After that, Caitlyn got the hiccups and started to cry pretty hard when we tried to switch sides.  I'd already told the nurse about her holding her breath while crying.  She instantly tried to soothe the two of us as I was trying to calm Caitlyn.  She showed me a way to hold Caitlyn that got her calmed down and then started telling me that it was okay to put Caitlyn down at home when she is crying.  I started to cry.  It was like she knew instantly what to say next because she said, "It is okay to cry.  This is completely normal for NICU moms. You worry that what happened in the hospital will happen again. But it won't.  She is a healthy baby.  She will be okay if she cries."  She was so calm and so comforting.  She left me with a bunch of blogs and Facebook sites for NICU moms.  The other doctors seemed so nervous when I started crying, but this woman knew exactly what was going on and I didn't even have to try to explain.

She also gave us some of the best advice for Caitlyn's colic.  I'm not sure if it will work, but we will see.  She told me that NICU babies frequently have colic because of the antibiotics that are put into them before they are even able to eat. This made complete sense.  She then told me to give her probiotic drops to see if that would help.  If not, then we are going to try to eliminate dairy from my diet to see if it helps her. 

The days are getting better.  We went out to lunch with my mother-in-law and father-in-law today to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday.  Caitlyn was as calm as can be during the entire lunch. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breastfeeding Adventures

During our stay in the Special Care Unit, Caitlyn was admitted for low blood sugar due to the trauma of her birth.  Due to this, she was given an IV immediately.  On the first night visiting her, they allowed us to try to breastfeed.  She wasn't at all interested and screamed.  The reason she was held in the Special Care unit is because she held her breath while crying until she turned blue, so I hated to hear her scream. 

Caitlyn was also spitting up mucous during the early days of her stay in Special Care.  Once Caitlyn had finished a dose of antibiotics, they decided to try to take Caitlyn's dose of the IV down and see if she would take a bottle.  She was still spitting up everything she ate.  I came down late one night to feed her and the Nurse Practioner had ordered that Caitlyn be taken off of the bottle and to just receive the IV.  They allowed me to try to breastfeed, but she was again very upset.  She kept rooting and seemed to want to eat, but there was nothing I could do to try to get her to latch.  I cried as they told me that my baby couldn't have a bottle and to swaddle her and put her to bed.

Eventually they took Caitlyn entirely off of the IV and said that we would bottle feed or give her a feeding tube.  The first time that we fed her, she wasn't taking the bottle because she was tired.  She had jaundice during her stay which may have attributed to this.  They inserted the feeding tube and the milk that went along with it.  Slowly but surely, she started to take down her food in the form of the bottle and not the feeding tube.  She still refused to feed from my breast.  She would squeal and squirm.  A lactation consultant was called to her bedside many times so that we could try to breastfeed.  Each time Caitlyn would refuse.  I did get her to breastfeed for five minutes in the hospital and I thought that it was a miracle, but that was her only time while we were there.  Meanwhile, Caitlyn was choking on bottles as she took in too much milk at a time. 

When we were released, Caitlyn continued to squeal and scream when given my breast and continued giving us a scare by choking on her bottles.  My sister-in-law recommended another lactation consultant who came to our house.  She was so patient and sweet with us.  She recommended using a laid back position rather than the traditional football hold, cradle hold, or cross-cradle hold.  Caitlyn still refused, but we had hope.  This felt more natural. 

That day I went to the pediatrician and he recommended another lactation consultant who he said many people really liked.  I made the appointment  thinking that I would end up canceling, but after a few days of Caitlyn not nursing and still washing pump parts, I figured I would give it a try.  She again recommended the laid back approach.  She was a tender lady who didn't push Caitlyn either and I really appreciated that.  She gave us a tip to help her with the bottle to slow things down (push the top of the bottle in and tip it over).  Just like everyone else had told us before, she told us that NICU babies just take some time. 

I continued to try to breastfeed Caitlyn here and there, but I was starting to think that I was going to be stuck at the pump.  One day before heading to Target for some errands, I decided to try again.  I had been trying without the nipple shield for a few days, hoping that she would latch without it.  That day I put the shield on to see if it would help.  Caitlyn latched immediately with no fuss and breastfed for an hour straight.  I was shocked.  Caitlyn hasn't gone back to the bottle since then.  I had the mantra of one of our lactation consultants going through my  head, "Every baby can breastfeed.  Some babies just outlast their mothers in the struggle."  I hadn't wanted to be that mother that had her baby outlast her.  I made it and Caitlyn is doing much better without the bottle.