I have moved

I decided to try out Wordpress blog hoster, and I love it. Please, follow me here, and change your bookmark while you're there!


Ethan's Birth Story::A Photo Post

Picture One: This is the size of Ethan's first diapers. They were falling off of him! I added the pencil to the shot for reference.

Pictures Two and Three: Hospital photos.

Pictures Four and Five: One week after Ethan was born, Ronnie and I got to hold him, for the first time.

Picture Five: Aunt Jennifer with Ethan in the Kangaroo Hold.

Picture Six: Going home!

Picture Seven: Falling asleep at the table!

Picture Eight: This was such a funny stage Ethan went through. Look how huge his cheeks are as he smiles at Ronnie!

Picture Nine: Those fat cheeks again. Praise Jesus!

Picture Ten: Bath Time.

Picture Eleven: Meeting Grandma Thompson. A four-generation photo.

Picture Twelve: I made this outfit for Ethan. When the hood was on, he looked like Darth Vader!

Picture Thirteen: Ethan at a park in Fort Worth when we were there for a friends wedding.

Picture Fourteen: Ethan walking on his tippy toes. So cute!


Ethan's Birth Story (Hospital Recovery)

For me, the recovery period wasn't too bad. I was on morphine for a good deal of two days or so.

My sister was there within a day or two, and on that first weekend, my good friend Colleen came to visit.

Once the feeling was back (mostly) in my legs, but I was still on the morphine drip, the nurse helped me into a wheelchair.
The nurse wheeled me so quickly to the NICU I could actually feel a breeze on my face. Jennifer nearly tripped on the IV pole, and Ronnie had to run to keep up. Crazy!
(Photo: Ronnie and Ethan)

Once at the NICU, I was able to stand, then sit in a lounge chair near Ethan.

The following day, while Jennifer was still there, the Lactation Consultants came to visit me.

"Are you planning to breastfeed?" they asked, almost fearful of my answer.

"Yes, I am."

"Whew! Good! We don't have to give our schpeel about how good breastfeeding is for premmies. In fact, if you had decided not to, the Neonatal Physicians would have come to encourage you to breastfeed."

Then came our their big gun. The Hospital Grade Medela Breast Pump. It was kind of scary to look at! And the way it was assembled was even more dramatic and scary.

And then it happened.

In front of all those assembled before me. (Ronnie, Jennifer, and two lactation nurses.)

They hooked me up to that machine.

They all stared at me. Smiling.

I stared back. Not smiling.

"What's wrong?" someone asked.

I just glared at her, as if to say, "If everyone were staring at your breasts being pumped, would you be smiling?"

I can't believe I continued to pump after that, but I did. For two long months.

"Like honey!" said the lactation nurse.

"Did you hear that? Like honey!" Jennifer smiled.

And, they were right. Colostrum looks a lot like honey.
I was told then, that the milk of premmie moms is so thick with nutrients, it is as if the mom's body knows that the baby was born too soon and begins to increase the quality of the milk.
That weekend, Colleen came to visit. She would make we laugh so hard, and it hurt so bad, I had to resort to laughing with my throat and not my belly. Believe me, it's harder than it sounds. (Photo: Me and Colleen)

That Saturday, five days later, I was released. We got a room at the Ronald McDonald House. It would be our home-away-from-home for two months.



All this writing about Ethan's birth has brought up a lot of emotion.
I had forgotten how traumatic it all was.

I recall such a normal life before his birth. It hasn't been the same since.

Anyway, all is well here. We had Sofia's 2 month well check. She is 10 pounds, 11 ounces. Growing well.

I've missed the past couple workout days. Seems motivating myself to get in a van full of kids and drive to the Y is more challenging that the workout! I may resort to going after Ronnie gets home each night. The Y is open until 10 pm, so that's doable.
I did make 2 miles on the treadmill on Monday night, though! Yay me! I think it's been since college that I walked 2 full miles at one time. AND, it only took about 45 minutes at a reasonable pace--nothing too fast yet.

Well, I hope you are all enjoying Ethan's birth story. He will be 9 on the 13th. Doesn't seem that long ago.


Ethan's Birth Story (Part Six)

At 10:36 PM, Ethan Grant was born. Two pounds, eleven ounces. Fifteen and a half inches long.

He was swaddled and brought over to me to see and kiss, then whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU.

I was stitched and stapled and taken to recovery. While in recovery, my parents arrived.

"Daddy!" I exclaimed as they peered through the door. Dad said he would not have recognized me if I had not called out to him--I was that swollen.

On that note, if you are wondering, I had toxemia. The nurses were just thrilled to see such a text book case. I had all the symptoms and signs, and a seemingly "perfect" example of how quickly this disease can attack.

An hour or so later, I was taken to the sixth floor to the NICU to see Ethan. They pulled my bed right along side of his warming table/bassinet thing. He was under the bili=light for jaundice. I got to see him for a few minutes, then they rolled me down the hall to my postpartum room.

"I'm going to throw up!" I shouted as we entered the room.
Ronnie handed me a trash can, in which I dry heaved for a couple of minutes. That trash can would see much more of that as each time I tried to drink something, it came right back up.
At around 4 in the morning, the nice nurse suggested I have a shot of something that would take the nausea away.
"They make a shot for that?!!"
She came back in a couple of minutes and gave it to me. I fell asleep.
When breakfast came the next morning, the heaving came back. I asked the new nurse, "Could I have that shot that makes me not throw up?"
She came back after asking my doctor. Syringe in hand!

Ah, liquid nutrients!

Here are some pictures of Ethan's first days.
That's Ronnie's hand out stretched to show how long Ethan was. Ethan was on a respirator for the first 10 days, I think.

And again, Ronnie's hand beside Ethan. The white "beauty mask" was for protecting Ethan's eyes from the bright light.

Ronnie and me holding Ethan's hands. What a grip he had on my thumb! Such tiny little hands.


Ethan's Birth Story (Part Five)

"Jennifer," I said tearfully, My blood pressure is really high, and I think getting upset might not be a good idea."

Immediately her tone changed from fearful to uplifting. She began pouring encouragement over me and Ethan.

While I was talking with Jennifer, a couple came in that I had never met. They introduced themselves as friends of Ronnie's. Someone had called them from ETBU, and since they knew Ronnie so well and lived near the hospital, they came right over. They stayed with me until I was taking in to surgery. They were great company and kept my spirits high.

Ronnie came in soon afterward and stayed at my side, making phone calls and answering important questions.

After an ultrasound, blood tests, and a visit from the on-duty obgyn, it was decided that Ethan would be born as soon as the operating room was ready. Ethan, being breech and 11 weeks premature, would not survive a vaginal delivery.
Dr. Shivvers agreed to let me have some ice chips, since it had been since 8am that I'd eaten, and it was already after 9pm. The nurse who had been refusing to let me have anything turned to him and said, "Fine, she can throw up all over you then!"
he followed her out the door and I don't recall seeing her after that!

At 10pm, they began prepping me for surgery.
They shaved the site for the incision. Inserted a catheter.
A nurse, a kind nurse, came in and leaned me over on her shoulder as the anesthesiologist inserted the spinal block. She breathed deeply with me. It was very calming, and I never felt the needle.


Ethan's Birth Story (Part Four)

I must interject here that I am a very compliant and nice person under these kinds of circumstances. I figure, "I don't know how to fix this, they do." and I let the doctors and nurses do what must be done. This can be both good and bad, as we'll see later.

I chatted with the nurse in the ambulance all the way to Dallas. I was so excited. I remember saying, "This is a great day! I'm having my first baby, my first ambulance ride, and my first hospital stay! How exciting!"
I'm pretty sure she thought I was in shock, but she kept talking to me. I know she thought Ronnie was in shock. She said, as the ambulance pulled away from the hospital in Longview, "I think your husband is in shock. He seems too calm."
"No." I replied, "Ronnie is always like that. He never gets stressed." (If that were only true today.)

When we arrived at the hospital in Dallas, it was almost dark. The EMT's unloaded me from the ambulance. Of course, the skinny one nearly fell over from my weight-poor thing. The big guy showed him how it was done, and I was whisked in to Labor and Delivery once more.

I was in my room for barely five minutes when the telephone rang. Not believing it was for me, I had the nurse answer.

"It's for you. Do you know a 'Handsome'?"

"Yes," that's my sisters boyfriend!"

"Are you okay?" he asked in a panic, and gave me a brief lecture on scaring everyone. "Here's your sister."

No doubt she had been pacing the floor, wringing her hands. Jennifer took over his side of the conversation. She was very emotional and made me cry.

Our conversation tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a photo of Sofia at two months: