Our Rainbow

Monday, February 20, 2012

One Month

Where has the time gone?! I can't believe Rose is already one month old!

Don't let the sleeping baby photo fool you, baby Rose has been quite fussy the past few days.  She's becoming more & more aware of her surroundings and she knows when we put her down. I think she's been gassy - the girl can sure make some noise in that diaper! I attempt to burp her after feedings but it doesn't always result in a burp.

I'm still exclusively breast feeding, and for the most part it has been easy from day one. I went into it with an open mind before she was born, thinking that if it worked out, great; if not, that's OK too. It's pretty cool to think she's grown so much just from what I have given her. I've pumped a few times and trying to get into a routine of doing so more often. She has been offered the bottle (with breast milk) a couple times by her daddy.  At first she rejected it but after a minute or so she downed the one ounce of milk in less than five minutes! That is a challenge because normally it takes her much longer to get that out of me where the bottle requires very little work on Rose's part. It's all a learning process.

Rose gets a bath every few days. She still isn't a big fan of the tub. She's so strong that she pushes off of the infant seat in attempt to escape. She's going to be a handful when she actually physically can do so! I'm hopeful that in time she'll come to love bath time. She does like it after the bath when she can stare into the mirror on the counter or changing table. Silly baby!

Our latest bedtime routine isn't the greatest. We have a nice bassinet next to our bed however she doesn't seem to like it anymore. She is happiest in her pack n play bassinet down in our family room but she will soon outgrow that. I don't see much sleep for me in the near future! I'm not quite ready to put her in her crib yet. Even though we have a very nice video monitor over the crib in the nursery that sees in the dark I still want to be able to look over quickly to make sure she's breathing in the middle of the night. I have to figure something out soon because I'm missing my bed!

Other than the past few days, Rose is a generally happy baby and we can't complain!

One Month
Weight: 8.5 lbs
Length: 22 inches
Diaper Size: Newborn (almost ready for size 1)
Clothing Size: Newborn (almost ready for 0-3 months)
Milestones: Recognizes our voices, found her hands, strong neck & leg muscles- likes to push up & off of things/us

From Our Rainbow

Rose with Rose the elephant ~ 1 Month
From Our Rainbow

for comparison, here she was with the elephant at 1 Day (in hospital)
From Our Rainbow

Rose's Newborn Photo Shoot

Most people who know me know that I do photography on the side. Even though it was tiring, I had a lot of fun finally photographing a baby of my own! I put together a video/slideshow of some of my favorite images to share. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 1st Valentine's Day

Our little Rose celebrates her first Valentine's day today! With each passing day she becomes more & more alert and aware of her surroundings. Her eyes are open for longer spans and she likes to have more interaction.  So much has changed in 3 weeks!! She has almost outgrown her newborn clothes due to her length.

She was all dressed up today and even had a couple visitors. Aunt Sarah stopped by and so did Grandma G (my mom). She received the Lady and the Tramp DVD- an early start to her Disney collection. :)

Tim cooked up a great meal- Halibut with tomatoes & onions, green beans and crab cakes with a lemon aioli sauce. I'm so lucky he's such a great cook! Rose will reap the benefits of that meal too (hopefully she'll enjoy it too!).

I had planned on making cake pops today but just ran out of time. Taking care of a newborn, editing photos of Rose, making gifts for Tim and the grandparents, laundry, breast feeding, I could go on & on...

Our little Rose
From Our Rainbow
Rose & her gifts from us
From Our Rainbow
Ring from Daddy
From Our Rainbow
Our crafty gift to Daddy- Rose's foot prints (non-toxic paint) on a painted wood frame with a photo of Rose
From Our Rainbow

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Coping with a baby here, a baby not

I wasn't sure which blog to post this on because it directly relates to both babies, Sofia and Rose.

It has already been over 3 weeks that we've had our "rainbow" baby and while we have loved having her with us we still struggle with the grief for her sister.

While I was pregnant I made myself step away from my grief as much as possible out of fear.  Fear that being too upset, crying and feeling sad might hurt this baby.  After losing Sofia then miscarrying Sam while grieving hard I was terrified of this. I still thought of Sofia every single day but didn't allow myself to get out my emotions during most of my pregnancy.

Now that Rose is here, the emotions are very present. It isn't "baby blues". It is finally coping with feelings that most likely will never be gone.

I always knew that having another baby would not in any way make us "better".  It has brought us happiness and fills the void of being able to parent a living child, but it does not in any way replace Sofia and just like when anyone else dies, there is a clear sense that someone is physically missing from the group.

Tim & I have both cried several times in the past few weeks over this. Rose looks very much like her sister.  Not many people saw Sofia like we did- immediately after she was delivered, still looking ALMOST alive. That's how I remember her in my mind's eye.

When I'm rocking Rose in the nursery, touching her hair, looking down at her sweet face, I have tears because I remember holding Sofia and looking at her for that very brief time. It makes me sad that we will never be able to do things with Sofia. It just brings back a lot of pain and emptiness.

We miss Sofia more now than ever.

On Jan. 29th, when Rose was only 8 days old, we took her for a visit to the cemetery.  Weather was warm for January and we wanted to start early with bringing her to where her sister is laid to rest. This might seem strange to some people and of course we would prefer a photo of the girls together in a different way but this is our reality.
From Our Rainbow

Sunday, January 22, 2012 ~ Rose Comes Home

It was Sunday morning and we were ready to leave the hospital and get back to our house. Tim & I got ready early in the morning and he made a few trips out to the car so there’d be less to load up when we officially were discharged. 
One of the nurses we’ve stayed in touch with, Mary, was working that day and she stopped in our room.  I was feeding Rose at the time and we talked for a bit. She had a photo of some huge yellow roses she had received from her husband not long after we lost Sofia.  She made a copy of that photo and wrote all of Rose’s birth stats on the back. She said they were the most beautiful roses she’d ever seen.  It was nice of her to think of us, Sofia, and Rose. 
We had to wait for both the pediatrician and the on call Dr. for me to give their OK for us to leave. We had to take the few ‘tests’ from watching the videos about SIDS, etc. and I had paperwork to fill out for Rose and for being discharged. It was a long wait for the doctors but finally, after 12:00 pm we were free to go!
Rose’s “going home” outfit was supposed to be this cute pale pink bunting from my mom but it turned out to be way too big and didn’t work well with the car seat. It sure was funny to see her in it though. :) Reminded us of the little brother in “A Christmas Story”. 

From Our Rainbow

The weather has been unseasonably warm for Nebraska so it wasn’t freezing cold which was nice. We loaded up the cart and headed down to the lobby. Rose & I waited with the nurse while Tim pulled the car up.  It wasn’t long before we were in the car and leaving the hospital! I sat in the back seat with Rose and on the way home talked to her about crazy drivers and how she would have to watch out for them some day.

From Our Rainbow

Rose's first elevator ride!
From Our Rainbow

Getting in the car that day brought back memories of being discharged the last time - withOUT Sofia. That time was a bright, warm, sunny October day and I always have remembered it, thinking it would have been a great day to bring home a baby. 
It’s sad that all of the magical “firsts” with Rose will somehow be tainted by the grief we still have for her big sister. 
Nevertheless, we were beyond happy to be driving to our house - this time, WITH our baby.
When we pulled up in the driveway there was a “It’s a girl!” sign and balloon stuck in the rose bush by the front porch along with a sign on the front door.  My mom put it there for us to see when we got home. 
It was funny how normal it felt to bring her into the house.  We took her out of her car seat, put her in the Pack ‘N Play bassinet and released the dogs so they could become acquainted. As expected, Moose ran around like a nut, trying to take the blankets and anything he could find. Maggie was more timid and slowly stretched her neck out to sniff the bassinet and figure out where those new, unfamiliar sounds were coming from. 

From Our Rainbow

The rest of the day was spent changing, feeding and sleeping. We had fun watching all the funny faces Rose had and Tim cooked up beef stew for dinner. We were home and it felt like we had been doing this for years. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012 ~ Day 2

We didn’t sleep a whole lot the first night, mostly due to the nurses coming in every hour to check on us. I doubt I would have slept much anyway because I was breast feeding Rose. She slept in the hospital bassinet beside me while Tim slept in the fold-out bed. Tim was very helpful and if I needed something he got up right away. Being swollen and sore made it hard to get up & out of bed quickly so I really appreciated that.

I finally decided to get up (stay up) after 6:00 am. We ordered breakfast and I decided to take a shower on my own. I couldn’t wait to feel clean & refreshed. After showering I actually put some makeup on and did my hair (so glad I brought my blow dryer!). Tim had to run out to the car to get it for me that morning. I had left it in the car because I couldn’t remember if the hospital had them or not. I just needed to feel “normal” again. I still had my towel on my head when Rose began crying. Tim did the best he could to console her - he walked with her around the room & talked about random things. I overheard him telling her how pretty she was and how some day he would dance with her at her wedding. (I had a huge smile; that was so sweet to hear) Eventually I took her so she could be fed while I finished getting ready. This is taking multi-tasking to a whole new level! :)

My Dr. was not on call that weekend so another Dr. at his practice did rounds in his place. She came in and commented on how nice I looked for just having a baby. I told her I just had to feel refreshed (and I did!). I was worried about the pressing on my belly but it wasn’t too bad. The nurses had been doing it ever since I delivered Rose so I was already used to it. I had heard that breast feeding can cause the uterus to contract down resulting in more cramps but I didn’t notice a difference this time compared to when I delivered Sofia.

One reason we chose to deliver at the same hospital was the hospital staff. When we were there in 2010 with Sofia the compassion and support we received was amazing. We really felt comfortable going back there knowing how great the care would be. When we were admitted this time a few of the nurses commented how they remembered Sofia. (These were not even the nurses who directly cared for me at that time) One nurse commented that they saw Sofia’s name in my chart and they all remembered how beautiful she was and all the hair she had. It really meant a lot to us that over a year later she was still remembered there. On Saturday morning one of those nurses - the one who sat up with me the entire night after losing Sofia, talking with me about everything and anything just so I would feel better - she surprised us by stopping in our room to visit Rose. She popped in and said she heard that I was in the hospital having Sofia’s sister and had to come up on her day off to say hello. She thought we probably wouldn’t remember her and she said she colored her hair darker. We knew right away who she was and told her so. How nice to have so many people who cared. We brought a framed photo of Sofia to the hospital because we wanted her to be a part of the experience. She is after all part of our family too.

We figured there would be many visitors that day but as it turned out, nobody showed up until approx. 2:30 pm. It was nice to have Rose to ourselves all morning/afternoon. We took turns holding her and taking some photos. Then everyone showed up all at once. It was kind of nice to have all the visitors there at the same time and leave at the same time so we had quiet time once again. We were happy that people came to see Rose. We only had a couple more visitors before the evening turned into night.

Rose’s hearing test was that night and we decided we both wanted to accompany her. First she was weighed and she peed on the scale (and her blanket). We took photos of the wires hooked up to her for the hearing test. She looked like she had some big head phones on, jamming away. She passed the test and we went back to our room for some sleep.

Some photos from the day:

Rose Maria
From Our Rainbow

Our family photo, including Sofia. Hard to smile when she isn't here physically...
From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

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Rose being weighed before her hearing test. She was just slightly jaundiced and down from her birth weight, but nothing too concerning. She did not like being naked and peed on her blanket!
From Our Rainbow

Daddy keeping Rose calm. She just stares up at him whenever he talks- so sweet.
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Hearing test (or jam session, haha)
From Our Rainbow

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012 ~ Labor & Delivery

Finally at around 12:30 am I couldn’t take it anymore. My hips/tailbone were aching from sitting in that hard bed. I got out of the bed and stood there, with the alarms going off (not caring!) and when it woke Tim up I told him I needed to stand & walk around or I was going to go out of my mind. The nurse came in as a result of the alarm and I told her the same thing.  Fortunately they have a wireless monitor and allowed me to walk the halls and they could monitor me that way.  

There wasn’t anyone on the floor besides us which was nice. When we first were admitted there was a couple there but they were sent home because they weren’t in active labor.  We walked ‘laps’ slowly on that floor.  I wasn’t in pain, just a lot of discomfort down low, more like pressure.  On the fourth lap around the nurse’s station the charge nurse said, “Are you feeling those contractions, girl?”.  I told her no.  She said I could do one more lap then I needed to get back in my room so they could check me. 
I was surprised to learn my contractions were now consistent - approximately 2-4 minutes apart and I was dilated to 4 cm, 75% effaced and still -2 station. Approx. 2:30 am the nurse removed the Cervidil due to hyperstimulation. Basically the Cervidil put me into labor and had to be removed because it could “wear out” my uterus. I remember her saying they wanted to monitor me and have me hooked up to IV fluids (go through 2 bags of fluid) before the epidural was placed. The nurse asked me what I wanted to do (ask for the epidural or wait). It was hard to know what to do at that point because I really wasn’t in pain but I wasn’t sure when my body would be ready to have the baby and didn’t want to risk it and be in pain in case I progressed quickly. Since I was already at 4 cm I decided to request it.
At approx. 3:00 am I received the epidural.  It didn’t hurt, just like the first time I had one (with Sofia). It was just a strange feeling in my back, small ‘sting’ and coolness when the drug started coming in. The only part that really hurt was taking the tape off my back. The drugs went to my right side first and slowly went to my left. The nurse checked me again and I was at 5 cm, 90% effaced and -1 station. I was glad I opted for the epidural when I did just because it takes some time to have the anesthesiologist go over everything, sign consent forms, etc.  Then it was just a waiting game.
At approx. 6:00 am the nurse checked me again and I was still 5 cm, 90% effaced. She called my Dr. to see if they could start the pitocin. He gave the OK and it was started. This meant I could no longer have breakfast. So while Tim ate his tasty omelet & hash browns I was offered an Italian ice. It was better than nothing!
At approx. 7:00 am my Dr. arrived to break my water. I was still at 90% effacement at that point.  He was only there briefly and had to make rounds at other hospitals so he left. I expected my water to gush out like it did with Sofia but it didn’t.  It was a very slow trickle...until about 15 minutes later and I heard a loud splash on the floor. At first I was confused as to what I was hearing until I realized it was my water! It gushed through the bed and onto the floor below me! We called the nurse in right away and she started cleaning it up. Poor girl just started her shift (shift change was at 7:00 am so I now had a different nurse).  We joked with her that was a “fun” way for her to start her day. 
At approx. 9:00 am I was checked again and was at 8 cm, 95% effaced. At this point the epidural still hadn’t taken full effect on my left side.  My right side was numb as could be but I could still feel on my left. The contractions started hurting me on my left, especially in my lower back. I started getting nervous and had a small headache from the pain. The nurse helped adjust me with pillows several times in attempt to help move the drugs to my left side. It wasn’t doing anything until finally I asked if I could turn my body completely on my left side.  That was the solution that did the trick. It wasn’t long before the pain subsided and I felt more comfortable. I could still feel touch and contractions but the pain was gone.
It was sometime around 9:45 - 10:00 am that I was at 10 cm and started pushing. By now, a second nurse, Mary, came in. She would tend to the baby when she was born but was there for the duration of my pushing.  Mary is the nurse who took great care of me after delivering Sofia.  We’ve kept in touch and I requested to have her there if possible. Both nurses thought it wouldn’t take long for me to push this baby out and my Dr. was called. I really had that feeling like she was coming out because she was so low and because of all the pressure. I did several pushes but baby wasn’t coming out as quickly as they originally thought she would. My Dr. came in for a few pushes but then left for a bit because he knew it would take a little more time. The nurse asked if I’d like to have a mirror to see and at first I wasn’t sure (it wasn’t in my ‘birth plan’) but I said sure, why not. While it was kind of gross seeing what I saw at first it was also fascinating and ultimately very cool to see our baby girl coming into the world. The mirror helped me focus and see my progress.  At first I tried the typical pushing position (hands pulling back my legs) but that wasn’t doing the trick. I remembered from pushing out Sofia that we tried the “tug-of-war” tactic with a sheet so we tried that but it wasn’t doing a whole lot either.  

What ended up working the best was using the handle bars (not the side rails of the bed; these were bars that stuck up vertically near the end of the bed). I would later have some pretty sore arm muscles but that did the trick. I watched as her head slowly appeared and then everything happened so fast. Before I knew it, at 10:49 am she was on my belly instead of in it! Tim took several photos and after the delayed cord clamping (once it stopped pulsing) he cut the cord. I remember saying hi to her and seeing her try to raise her head to look up at me. It was so cool to have her recognize my voice.  

From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

She was crying but there was fluid that needed further suctioning so they whisked her over to the warming bed and cleaned her up, did APGAR tests (I overheard her score was 6 then 8), did foot prints, measurements and weighed her. She was 6 lb, 12 oz, 20 3/4 in. Tim continued to take photos while they finished up with me. I did tear again (2nd degree, just like with Sofia).  I wasn’t too concerned because remembering back on it, that wasn’t too painful before. 

From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

I just cried.  It was a mixture of happy tears for baby Rose and sad tears for baby Sofia. There were many similarities with the two births but one major difference in the outcome. This time our baby was alive. The two girls were very close in size (Sofia was 6 lb 11 oz) and although Sofia had much more, they both had dark hair at birth. At one point Tim came over to me because of my crying and asked if I was OK. I said yes, go and be with Rose.  It was like finally letting go of the breath I held for all those months wondering if we’d have a living baby at the end. There were happy tears in there but mostly they were more from the sense of relief I had. 
After Rose was cleaned up and wrapped in her blanket they brought her to me for “skin to skin” time and so I could attempt breast feeding. I was happily surprised at how quickly she figured it out.  The nurses gave me a few tips on ensuring a good latch and from then on it was easy!

From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow

Nurse, Mary & my Dr., Dr. Bossert ~ they helped me get to this point!!
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Within a couple hours we had family visit along with my best friend. While they held Rose, my priority was LUNCH! I hadn’t eaten since the night before and by this time (around 12:30 pm) I was starving. I stuffed my face and eventually we were moved to another room.  We had a cart full of stuff and had to make a couple trips. They wheeled me in a wheel chair, Rose in her hospital bassinet. 

Stuffing my face while Tim adores his newest girl :)
From Our Rainbow

From Our Rainbow
We did it! I look super- swollen face, messy hair but who cares, we have a baby!
From Our Rainbow

Later in the evening Rose had her first bath in the hospital. She cried, we laughed at how cute she sounded. She smelled so good.

From Our Rainbow

We had more family & friends stop for a visit that night.  
One of my fears was not being able to urinate because with Sofia I was sent home with a catheter for a week and ended up having to self-cath a few times. It didn’t help that the nurse stood there while I tried to go. She left the room but after a couple tries I ended up needing a straight catheter because my bladder was so full. Fortunately, the next time I tried going on my own & succeeded. Whew. The little things! That was seriously a big relief. 

From Our Rainbow
The hours in the day went so fast that it hardly sank in that we had our baby.  It was surreal. We were loving every second and watched every funny face she made. We both commented to each other how sad it was that we never had these moments with Sofia. More tears were shed. We already knew what we missed out on with Sofia but it was magnified even more having her sister - who looks just like her - experiencing all the exciting “firsts”. I think this is something we will struggle with forever.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 ~ Admitted to hospital

It felt like we were moving in as we walked up to the hospital with all our things in hand. I think the only thing we left in the car was the Boppy pillow. We brought my bag, Tim’s bag, baby’s diaper bag, both camera bags and the video camera. 
Since we had already pre-registered with the hospital ahead of time there wasn’t much to do or fill out to be admitted. I provided my insurance card and we were walked to our room. The nurse gave me my gown and inserted my IV around 6:30 pm.  She told me if I wasn’t good with seeing blood that I should look away, so that’s what I did. When she was finished (or so I thought), I looked over at my left arm and it looked like a bloody crime scene! Apparently she found a good vein! I’ve had an IV before and NEVER have I seen that much blood. It was all over the place and on my arm.  I asked her to help me wipe it away so I could stop looking at it. Yikes. Shortly thereafter they had a shift change and a new nurse came in for the night.  Her name was Janna.
At some point a man came in to take my blood, and that was done in my right arm. My blood pressure was taken (I don’t recall what it was but it was good/normal). The nurse hooked me up to the contraction and baby heart rate monitors and we discussed my birth plan and what was to come. The original plan was to have a drug called Cervidil inserted to soften my cervix.  My Dr. actually planned on giving my Cytotec but after doing some research on the two, my preference was Cervidil because it could easily be removed if my body didn’t respond well to it (if there were complications). Cytotec is a dissolving pill that we would not be able to remove if needed.  The nurse called my Dr. for orders and he said while he’d prefer I use Cytotec, given my history and circumstance he was fine with me using Cervidil instead.  I discussed it with my nurse and it seemed the concern was that the Cervidil might not work as well as Cytotec.  It was hard to decide what to do because I didn’t want to end up in a situation where the drug didn’t work and they’d send me home because they didn’t want to “wear out” my uterus.  (This was a possibility with either of these drugs) My nurse agreed with my take on the situation and ultimately we went with the Cervidil. 
My nurse checked me first at approx. 7:30 pm to see if I was dilated at all.  I was only 1 cm, 30% effaced, -2 station.  (Translation: baby was way up high, cervix not ready and hardly dilated at all!)  When she checked me I thought she was reaching up to my throat it hurt so bad! When my Dr. checked me the week before it wasn’t painful at all and this was horrible.  
When the Cervidil was ordered & received she came back in our room and inserted it at approx. 9:00 pm.  It’s on a little mesh piece of fabric with a string attached (for removal).  In order for the drug to work its magic, they have to place it right on the cervix.  When she placed that thing in me I thought I was going to die it hurt so much. As a normal reaction my body tried scooting away from her.  My face was red and I was nearly in tears...actually, I think I did have some tears.  I could not believe how bad it hurt.  She said that she essentially had to reach in and pull my cervix forward. Yowzers. It felt like that- maybe worse! She assured me that when it came time to remove it there wouldn’t be any pain. Whew. I’m not sure what time it was when all that was complete.  I’d guess it was around 9:15 pm. I was allowed to have a snack since I didn’t have my epidural yet so the nurse brought me Oreos & milk. 
My mom had come up to visit shortly and wish us luck.  She brought a bouquet of flowers (gerber daisies) for me and a bouquet of candy bars for Tim. We chatted for a little while then she left.  The nurse suggested we try to get some sleep for the following day so I’d have energy for labor. So we turned off the lights, Tim made his “bed” from the fold-out couch, and I sat half-way up in my terribly uncomfortable labor & delivery bed. My belly stuck out so far that it was the only way I could sleep the last month or so.  It was hard to turn on my side because of all the monitors & cords hooked to me. I was offered Ambien to sleep but declined.  I didn’t want to be drowsy when it came time to push.  I wanted to be alert and aware of everything that would take place.  As a result, I didn’t sleep much at all but I didn’t care.
As Tim fell in and out of sleep, I sat there, listening to and watching baby’s heart rate and my contractions. I had been having braxton hicks contractions throughout most of the third trimester and the nurse said because there wasn’t much fat between baby & the monitor on my belly that the contractions looked a lot stronger on the monitor than they would be on someone a bit heavier. I know I wasn’t in any pain; just discomfort that I’d been feeling for a month or so.
Baby was very active the entire time. She would move away from the monitor and the alarm would sound (which didn’t help my anxiety).  Those darn elastic belts that hold the monitors in place don’t work so great on me. The way my belly stuck out, if I moved just a little bit they would slide up or down and sound off the alarm.  I started just adjusting it myself so I could move but it made for a long night. 

From Our Rainbow