Sunday, November 23, 2014

Finding Comfort in the Name Heidi

After deciding to name our daughter, Heidi, I completely forgot about the dream that inspired it. We just knew that would be her name and even called her that while I was still pregnant. However, we kept the name quiet and whenever anyone would ask, I would just say we weren't totally sure. And it was true. There was a slight chance she could be born and one of us hate the name Heidi for whatever reason and then we would figure out a different name.

Once Heidi was born and then taken from my room to get ready for life flight, I sat all alone in my room crying hysterically. I'm not even kidding about my tears or sobs--they were completely out of control. Like extreme tears. My nurse did not know what to do with me and she asked for a different nurse to come in and try to calm me down. The other nurse was much more compassionate but I was still a crying basket case. I think the pain of having her gone reminded me too much of a complete nightmare several years before. Plus at this point, I had no idea if she was even going to live. I only knew that she was born at 1337, code blue was called in my room, and she had to be life flighted. I didn't understand why she couldn't stay in the hospital I was in (it is a large hospital!). I didn't get why she had to be transported by the helicopter instead of an ambulance. All of these thoughts kept rolling around in my brain and I was sure it was extremely serious. I was so afraid that we were going to loose Heidi.

I just kept begging over and over to be allowed to be with Heidi. But I was bleeding much heavier than is normal and was not allowed to go up to be with her before life flight. Eventually I got a large shot in my leg and an extra bag of pitocin through my iv--both of these helped slow the amount of blood enough that I was able to leave the delivery room. And then I was finally able to see Heidi for a very short time frame before she left on the helicopter.

However, while I was sitting alone in the delivery room, crying hysterically, out of no where I randomly remember why we decided on the name Heidi. I am sure it was not random or coincidence but rather a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. I know the Holy Ghost helped me remember. (See John 14:26--it says that the Holy Ghost will bring all things to our rembrance. The word "all" is absolutely inclusive! It is not all things but this or that. No. The Holy Ghost helps us remember everything.)

Casey and I were messaging back and forth some. (He wasn't sure what was going on entirely and was talking with the life flight team and just watching everything in shock. Once Heidi was situated in NICU, we messaged/ face timed practically constantly while he was with her and I was still in the other hospital.) After this thought of my whiteboard dream, I instantly grabbed my phone and sent Casey a message with probably a million exclamation points behind his name. I told him I remembered why we chose the name Heidi--it was from my dream of teaching a little girl her name. I held to that thought dearly and it gave me the hope that Heidi would live. I didn't understand the timing or what was happening but I clang to that comfort of how we chose her name; I was going to teach my toddler her name. She had to live through this ordeal because I was going to teach her "Heidi" on a whiteboard.

I felt so very grateful and blessed to have such a sweet and much needed comfort at that time. Choosing a name is not something that I thought would have so much of impact on me. But it did. And I am so grateful for Miss Heidi!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Before the Sunrise

Before the sunrise.

I hold my Sweet Pea close to keep us both warm.
I hold her and we snuggle.
I hold the bottle at the perfect angle for her less than coordinated sucking.

I hear my Sweet Pea crying softly and growing louder.
I hear the soft bubbles as she drinks her warm milk.
I hear the her moans, squeaks, grunts.

I feel my Sweet Pea relax in my arms.
I feel the softness of her hair against my cheek while I pat her back.
I feel her cheeks against my lips as I give soft kisses.

I smell my Sweet Pea baby scent.
I smell the cleanliness from her bath and lotion.
I smell baby spit.

I see my Sweet Pea smile while she looks in my eyes.
I see her adorable baby face scrunched telling me she needs to burp.
I see my eyelids while I doze off.

I count my blessings.
I miss my bed.
I'm grateful to be a mommy.
I say my prayers.
I love my Sweet Pea.

All before the sunrise.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Name Heidi

Remember all of the teacher-in-me requirements I had for choosing a name for Devin? Well, they were still in affect for Baby Sister.

I was really thinking about the meaning of the name when making my list of girl names I liked. Simply because Devin's name means "Divine" and that was eventually the reason we decided on Devin--because of the meaning. Baby Sister needing something that was meaningful as well. So instead of making a list of any name, I researched what the names meant and they only made my name list IF they met all of my teacher requirements AND was meaningful.

Basically I decided that I wanted to name Baby Sister something that meant "Gift," "Gift from God," or "Miracle." I was also looking at things like "Determined" and "Fighter." She beat all the odds of my high risk pregnancy to begin with. I honestly didn't know if I would stay pregnant at times because of bleeding among other concerns. As time passed, I was still pregnant and I realized that this baby was meant to join our family and she was fighting hard to be here. By about the mid point of the pregnancy, there were no longer any complications and I was no longer high risk.

Fast forward to Baby Sister's less than ideal birth and she was continuing to be our miracle baby and truly fighting to join our family. The meaning of one of those names would have been perfect for our little Sweet Pea.

But we named her Heidi. And Heidi means "Noble." I like noble and it is meaningful but it was definitely not something I was even considering or searching for. I had made a list of names and was reading it to Casey regularly. He never made a list but was just listening to mine. I honestly can't remember the names on that list other than Michael means "Gift from God." Obviously I wasn't going to name my daughter Michael but we were looking at several female variations. Heidi was never on the list.

And now the big question, how did we decide on Heidi?

Sometime this past summer, after we found out the gender, I had a very simple dream. There were very few details and it was so brief. I was writing on a whiteboard that was near to the ground--like toddler height. I never saw myself, only my right hand. It was writing "Heidi" on the board and I saw a happy, calm yet spunky little girl with light brown hair watching me write it. I was trying to teach the girl her name. That's it. Nothing significant or big. I didn't even think much about it honestly and didn't tell Casey. Pregnancy dreams are so random and really don't mean anything at all.

A few weeks or so later, I was still thinking about this dream and briefly mentioned it to Casey in passing. The dream still did not mean much to me and as I told Casey about it, I told him that it was just a random dream and that it wasn't spiritual or anything. Casey's response was paraphrasing D&C 29:34, that all things are spiritual unto the Lord. Maybe my dream was more spiritual than I was giving it credit. So we just went with it. We both liked the name Heidi and it just felt right.

But I was still hesitant to decide on Heidi because I remembered hearing about a book or movie or some media that was named Heidi. I had never heard/ watched/ read "Heidi" but simply knew it existed. My concern was what if the character Heidi was not someone I wanted my daughter to be like, what if the character Heidi was a villain of some sort. We checked the movie out from the library and after that we just knew that Baby Sister would be Heidi. Devin knew too. He called my tummy both "Baby Sister" and "Heidi." We decided to wait to tell anyone the name until she was born though. I was worried that Devin would give it away and he said Heidi sometimes to others but no one had a clue what he was talking about and I did not offer my mommy interpreting skills.

And... the story continues once Heidi was actually born and her name... but this post is getting way too long so stay tuned for part two of The Name Heidi.... FINDING COMFORT IN THE NAME HEIDI

Maternity pictures were taken by the very talented Rebecka LeFoll. Holy cow, she is amazing!! :D

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October 2014

I saw this idea on a friend's blog and decided to give it a try. Sometimes I'm great at blogging. Sometimes not. This past month, there has been so much focus on Heidi's eventful birth that it would be easy to overlook and forget the rest of the coming and goings. So here is the brief summary of the month.

  • Heidi was born Oct. 1. She aspirated meconium at 80% after being suctioned. This resulted in life flight 3 hours after birth and a NICU stay until Oct. 12.

  • We celebrated my birthday. I spent the majority of the time with Heidi. Devin, Casey, my mom and sister met me at the near by park for a picnic lunch. And we had a family dinner with one of my favorite meals my mom would make as we were growing up.
  • I was completely exhausted (both Casey and I were awake the majority of the night before her discharge proving that we really could take care of our daughter and she would eat for us) but so excited to become a family of four, all living together, on the day of discharge.

  • We have really appreciated Casey's amazing boss during this time of transition! Casey was able to work from home which helped so much with crazy newborn (lack of) sleep schedules and feedings. And it helped me knowing he was there--I truly am so grateful for his support and friendship and concern for me!!
  • Since Heidi is only drinking from bottles, we found a hospital grade pump that was going to cheaper to buy than rent. Devin had a ball playing in his "house" with all the styrofoam packing peanuts. We are still picking up tiny pieces that were smashed into the carpet.

  • Devin completely loves having his Baby Sister home. He gives her kisses and hugs frequently. He is a huge helper and throws away her diapers and finds binkies/ burp cloths/ the boppy pillow. 
  • Devin is also very good about putting on hand santizer. Maybe too good. He uses it to clean everything and it drives me nuts. But the goal is keeping Heidi/ all of us healthy!

  • Heidi hates having her hands swaddled down by her sides. We gave up on trying because we would hear constant grunting as she worked to free them. Her hands are always up by her face to sleep. Devin was the same way. Casey and I were talking one day and wondered what our kids had against being swaddled because supposedly it should comfort babies.

  • Thankfully Heidi's umbilical cord fell off and healed like normal. I was slightly nervous that she would get umphilitis like Devin. Gratefully it must not be genetic and Devin's belly button problems were totally abnormal.
  • We started Heidi on a trial basis of taking her oxygen off during the day. She is doing great with it and normally only uses it at night. This is doing murder to her cheeks though from having to rip the stickers off.
  • Heidi is able to hold her head up fairly well during tummy time and while sitting on our laps. This is what tummy time normally looks like in our home. Devin loves playing with her any chance he gets!

  • And speaking of play, Heidi likes batting at her jungle gym and normally giggles after. She also plays with her tracking cards extremely well and follows the pictures. This one (Jesus) is her favorite card!

  • Although life was crazy, I made a point to involve Devin in Halloween festivities. We went trick or treating at the Olympic Oval. That was absolutely chaotic as I'm pretty sure every kid in the whole valley was there. We would wait in very long lines to get one piece of candy. But I enjoyed my break and time out of the house, even if it was with a giant mob of people.
  • Between Casey, myself and my sister, Devin was able to go trick or treating (or participate in the crafts/ activities) at the Oval, Macey's, the library, ward trunk or treat, local shopping mall, and up and down our street. He doesn't have a ton of candy and honestly I'm grateful but he had a fun experience.
  • Devin was going to be a pilot for Halloween. I found a cute (and cheap) pilot hat on amazon. I loved it. Devin hated it and would cry/ run away from the hat. I decided it wasn't worth it so he is simply an airplane instead of a pilot flying the airplane.
  • My favorite Devin Halloween memory was when he went trick or treating on the street, Casey was working with him to try to get him to say "trick or treat" at the door. Well, one of our neighbors opened the door and Devin thought of a better phrase. He said, "I want candy!"

  • Heidi was just "cute" for Halloween. I dressed her up in seasonal clothes but not a costume. Before she was born, I was planning to wear her in our brown Ergo carrier and then make hats that looked like kangaroos. She was going to be a joey and I was going to be the mommy kangaroo. It didn't happen because my life became busy with the hospital at the beginning of the month and then I didn't really care because she couldn't leave anyway.

  • We celebrated Casey's birthday with Halloween festivities and a pizza. I made a carrot, pecan cake and we had our parents over on Sunday.

It truly has been a busy and unforgettable month. 

October has been filled with... 
Facing the unexpected. Adjusting to two kiddos. Movies and Sesame Street in attempts to keep the two year old occupied while I help Heidi. Savoring the time I go shopping and get out of the house. Attempting to figure out how to make dinner--doesn't happen very often because I seem to be feeding Heidi instead of cooking. And most importantly seeing the love grow in our home in ways I never could have dreamed of.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Heidi's History: ONE Month

It has hard to believe how much has happened in the past month. My life has changed. My routine and schedule have changed. My prayers have changed. I am a different person now than I was September 30. I was so nervous to have two children at home. But as I continued to spend time with Heidi in NICU, the only thing I wanted was to have both children at home. It is hard and has a definite learning curve. But it is so rewarding!!

Heidi's Favorite Things: She likes batting at her jungle jim. She is a pretty big fan of her soothie binkie. She loves it when I (or Casey) hold and cuddle her.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Fighting for Heidi to come home from NICU, First Halloween. She is off her oxygen for the most part during the day now but still uses it at night. Shoot.... I have simply enjoyed dressing up my little doll.

Nicknames: Baby Sister, Sweet Pea, Missy, Missy Moo (one of our favorite NICU nurses called her Missy Moo. The name kind of stuck.)

Dislikes: Having her arms swaddled down. The picture is pretty true to her nature--hands have to be up. Bows glued in her hair--she rips them out. Tubes on her face--she rips them off. Showers/ baths, she just isn't a fan! Wearing the oxygen sensor on her foot doesn't seem to bother her at all but if the monitor beeps for awhile, it normally wakes her up.

Clothing Size: Newborn and 0-3 months

Diaper Size: Newborn (but once the nb run out, we are switching her to 1)

Personality: She is very pleasant! She really only cries when she is hungry. She doesn't mind all the kisses from Devin or sitting in his lap. And she is a very happy baby. I often catch smiles and cooing.

Milestones: She smiles and it is definite happiness! She often has happy dreams. She is doing really well at holding her head up during tummy time and while we are holding her in a sitting position. She tracks objects really well and likes staring at us.

Sleeping: Right now she goes down around 10 pm ish. Wakes around 3 am ish. Wakes again between 6-8 am. I'm hoping to start working with her to extend the middle waking until later. She is normally awake for a short time mid morning. And normally awake in the early evening for awhile. (She still sleeps a lot in other words!)
UPDATE: So normally I don't come back and edit monthly reports. But I figured since this happened just a few hours after I posted it and it was still technically Nov 1 (to the 2nd), it should be added. Heidi finished her bottle around/ was asleep 11 pm. She then slept through the whole night and woke up at 5:45 am!! Yay for more sleep for mommy! :)

Eating: She came home from NICU drinking milk from the bottle. Then it was 56 mL (just barely under 2 ounces) every 3 hours. She still drinks pumped milk from the bottle and won't nurse. I'm so grateful for my hospital grade pump!! Now she drinks around 3.5-4 ounces every 3-4 hours. I totally feed her what the NICU doctors would call "ad lib" meaning she is in charge.

Communication: Heidi cries for milk. She talks and tells me stories and definitely has figured out her grunting. Casey says her grunts sound "like a girl" because she makes such different noises than Devin ever did.

The hardest part: It is really hard having to keep her in isolation. I just want to show off my adorable bundle of joy and wish that I could let others hold her. It is hard for me if I am home the entire day.

My favorite part: I just love holding a baby again. And the warm feeling it brings to my heart to have her in my arms. There is just something magical about snuggling a new baby from Heaven.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Heidi's Birth

I realized that I never finished telling Heidi's story. While she was still in NICU, I didn't want to write it. Writing it down would make it become concrete. I just wanted to wake up one morning and have it all just be a bad dream. And then once we were home, all the sudden my life changed with having two sweet hearts to take care of. (That wasn't as big of a shocker as I thought it would be. I think the anticipation of having two is much worse than actually having two!) But part of me still didn't want to write her story because I still wanted it to just be a bad dream--one that I would wake up from and not have to actually live through.

But reality set in. Heidi's less than ideal birth and NICU stay actually happened. Time has a way of healing though. I'm no longer living the bad dream but rather allowing it to become a distant memory.

Once morning came on October 1st, I turned to Dr. Google. I didn't really want to go back to the hospital claiming that my water broke and stay there for several hours just to have them send me home again. Everything I read pointed towards my water breaking. It wasn't a "gush" break but rather a "trickle" break. And the color was different. I later learned that that color would be described as "greenish" however, I would have never described it as being green. ("Greenish" means that Heidi passed the meconium before she was born.)

We go back to Riverton Hospital and wait again in triage. I was having contractions but nothing strong enough that I couldn't handle. My nurse didn't seem to know what she was doing and any time she did something medical (like IV, amniotic water breaking test) it would hurt!! Some of the tests were coming back positive and some were coming back negative. The nurse just wanted to send me home and say I was fine. I knew something had changed--the color if nothing else--so I nicely demanded that they talk to my doctor. My doctor had them do a different test and it came back positive so I was admitted to the hospital. 

My contractions continued to stay exactly where they were. They never got stronger or closer together. Pitocin was added through my IV but I still didn't progress. My amazing doctor was called again and he decided to come to the hospital and see what was actually going on. He decided that my water for sure broken but it was more like a tear break. So he broke it completely and he was the one that called it "greenish" meaning meconium. (My nurse had noticed the "greenish" color but she thought it meant that I had some infection. She thought that I should just get an antibiotic and go home. My guess is she was new and clueless because an experienced delivery nurse would have known what greenish meant.) After my water was broken, he went back to his office (located in Jordan Valley Hospital) to see some patients.

Once my water was completely broken, I basically dilated from where I was (about a 3) to a 10 in about 15 minutes. The contractions became super intense extremely fast. My nurse didn't believe me when I told her that something felt different and there was all sorts of pressure (meaning the head was trying to come out). She thought I just couldn't handle the pain. She basically told me that I had to get an epidural because I was a total wimp and I would still have many hours of dealing with contractions and the contractions I was experiencing were just the beginning. I didn't know what to do and so the anesthesiologist came in. It was brutal trying to sit through the contractions because instead of getting an epidural, I should have given birth. Literally. My doctor was well aware of how fast Devin had come and new that most likely this baby would be even faster (but he had no idea that Heidi would come as fast as she did) but the nurse wouldn't believe me.

I kept begging for help because my nurse wasn't doing anything. Casey didn't know what to do and he didn't realize how fast my body went through labor either. It wasn't until I was practically yelling and crying for help that my nurse finally decided to check me. She was shocked to say the least and frantically started getting things ready for birth. We had to wait for my doctor to drive back and I continued to keep begging for help. (There are a million things I would change if I could relive this. Demanding a different nurse would definitely be one!)

My doctor arrived and HE helped get things ready while putting on a yellow delivery gown. He sat down and my body was totally done waiting. Finally someone was going to help me! I started pushing and Heidi was literally born instantly at 1:37 pm. I think my doctor had been in my room for less than two minutes. I looked out the window the moment she was born and it rained. It was a sunny day but there was so random, tiny microburst cloud and it rained while she was born then stopped almost instantly.

Heidi cried softly three times while she was being passed to the respiratory team to try to suction her. Meanwhile, my doctor sees that I have a tiny first degree tear. He stitches me up and I wince every time. He said that he thought I had an epidural so he didn't give me any local anesthesia. The epidural didn't help--it wasn't in place long enough to even do anything. He offered to wait so the numbing could take effect. But I was tough and told him to just finish. I'm pretty sure I got 4 stitches and felt everyone.

Heidi was quickly placed on oxygen in my room. An accidental code blue was called (while my doctor was stitching me) and my room was instantly packed with hospital staff and doctors. My doctor was trying to help me stay calm. She kept dropping and it was quickly determined she would have to be life flighted. Heidi was not in my room very long. She was quickly taken up to get ready for her flight.

(This story will have to be continued later because Mr. Devin is awake....)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Heidi's Last Days in Heaven

Last picture of Devin as my only child...
At least only one on earth...
Heidi was still in Heaven. :)
Friday September 26
•36 weeks 5 days
• We went on a date and the heavy rain started while we were inside the restaurant.
• The sudden weather change caused a sudden change in me.
• Heidi "dropped" almost instantly and I felt all sorts of low pressure.

Saturday September 27
• 36 weeks 6 days
• I thought my water had broken in the afternoon.
• Constant contractions but not painful.
• In triage the nurse agreed that I was wet but all tests came back negative for amniotic fluid, including an ultrasound to measure the fluid amount.
• Dilated 3.5 cm, 60% effaced
• They had me walk for an hour only to have more water running down my leg.
• Retested for water breaking-all tests negative.
• Final conclusion: I have a ton of mucus and it was extremely watery.
• Watched Women's Conference in my room.
• Released.
Before we left for the hospital on Saturday

Sunday September 28
• Full term-37 Weeks
• Contractions stopped
• Woke up in the middle of night but couldn't walk to the bathroom because I was extremely dizzy! I felt like I was surfing.
• Read the paper from being released from triage of when to return. Unfortunately, dizzy was not on there.
• Called on call doctor. Not sure what to do. Tried to go back to sleep.
• Stayed home from church.
• Had an "upset" tummy except I wasn't sick.
• Called the on call doctor. Diagnosis: my tummy was just fine. My body was just getting ready for labor. The goal was to stay hydrated!
Devin's attempt to help Baby Sister come out on Sunday evening.

Monday September 29
• 37 weeks 1 day
• Doctor's appointment
• Dilated 4 cm. 70-80% effaced.
• The previous appointment exactly 1 week before, dilated to a "generous" 1 (really it was zero) but thought to be softening.
• Doctor was amazed at how much I had changed in the week.
• He did not expect to see me at my next one week appointment.

Tuesday September 30
•37 weeks 2 days
• Slightly mild contractions but not doing anything or increasing
• I was ready to be done emotionally with the pregnancy. I have had a rather difficult 9 months--more emotionally than anything else
• Continued to pray that Heidi would be born as soon as she was ready and her lungs developed
• Sometime in the middle of the night started feeling a weird moisture sensation. It wasn't a gush by any means. In my sort of awake/ mostly asleep state it remind me of my period (sorry if that is tmi) but I didn't think much of it and continued to sort of sleep.