Archive | August, 2012

Rough Stuff

26 Aug

How do you explain to a 2.5 year old that her baby sister gets to sleep in mommy and daddy’s room but she can’t?

Seriously breaking my heart here.

Our First Few Days as a Family of Four…

25 Aug

…have been more than a handful of adjectives.

Trying to adjust to being a family of four, helping Lakyn understand that her new sister is here to stay and that Rilyn’s a baby and can’t do the things she’d like her to do (like color, play the drums, and talk), adjusting to small stretches of sleep, worrying about Rilyn’s jaundice and trying to wait patiently to hear back about results from her lab work, and making sure that Lakyn still gets one-on-one time with her Mommy and Daddy has occupied our few days at home. (I realize there are about a million grammatical errors in this first sentence/paragraph alone. I’m sorry for the million more in the rest of this post, but I do not have the patience nor the energy to write a decent post. I blame lack of sleep. Yeah, that’s my excuse. Nevermind that I’m a terrible writer to begin with, we’ll just stick with the sleep thing.)

So let me take this time to apologize to all of our friends that have reached out to us in one way or another (text, Facebook, or email) and we haven’t responded in the manner that we should have. We truly, honestly appreciate everything from every one of you and love that you care so much about us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We’re hoping to get into the swing of things and be able to join the outside world again soon.

I am planning to post about Rilyn’s birth story soon, so I’ll leave all those details until then. For now, I’ll just give you a run down of the past few days.

We were really eager to get home as soon as we could from the hospital. Obviously because it’s just nice to be back at home, in my bed, without nurses coming in and out to check my blood pressure and press on my stomach. But if I’m being completely honest here, the main reason I wanted to get home was that I missed the heck out of my first baby. Seriously, labor and delivery included, the hardest thing about having Rilyn was not being able to be with my Lakyn. And you better believe I’m tearing up writing this. This momma may have separation issues.

My doctor cleared me to go Monday morning, but we knew we still needed to wait for Rilyn’s doctor to come check her out and do her lab tests. We were told she’d be in around noon so we were hoping to leave between 3-5 as long as everything was fine. Long story short, with each minute that ticked off the clock, my hopes of going home dwindled. The doctor finally came in shortly before 6 pm.

And we found out Rilyn’s bilirubin levels were high. She was sitting at 75%. Just like her big sister was. It took all I had not to cry, because I was sure we had to stay another night. Our doctor agreed to let us go home, though!  Partly because Rilyn was such a good eater, partly because we agreed to bring her in to the office the next morning for lab tests. So we threw everything in bags and buckled the babe in the carseat, snapped a picture and headed home! :)

I cannot explain to you how happy I was to be home and with Lakyn again! Being able to do her bedtime routine with her that night was the best part of my day.

The next morning (Tuesday) we took Rilyn in for her bilirubin test and a weight check. Can I please tell you that I hate the bilirubin tests? I don’t think there’s anything worse. They prick her little heel to draw blood and then sit there and squeeze the cut to keep collecting the blood to fill a small vile. It’s ridiculously hard to watch, hard to listen to your newborn baby screaming, and so hard knowing you can’t do anything to comfort her until they’re done. So cruel.

What makes it worse is when the nurse doing it doesn’t do a good enough job the first time so they have to do stick her poor little foot AGAIN in order to collect enough blood. Imagine the pain of a mother there. I’m positive I cried just as much as Rilyn. Not as loud, but just as much.

Please pay no attention to the socks on her hands. Girlfriend likes to claw her face and mittens are just too big for her tiny hands

We’d have to repeat this test two more times (Thursday and Friday). Friday was also Rilyn’s check up. She was born at 7 pounds 4 ounces, was 7 pounds 2 ounces when we left the hospital, was 6 pounds 9 ounces on Tuesday, and was back up to 7 pounds 1 ounce at her appointment on Friday. Everything looked great and we found out we wouldn’t have to do phototherapy for her like we did for Lakyn. Such a relief! We also got the okay from her doctor to start letting her sleep longer stretches at night. So instead of waking her up every 2.5 hours to nurse, we woke her up every 3.5 hours last night and it was glorious! :)

I’m in love with her hair

We had some dates with Lakyn, a first bath, handmade and hand delivered dinners from great friends, storytimes, picture taking, friend visits, and a cookie bouquet delivery thrown in there as well.

Cute, right? And delicious!

A busy first few days.

Busy, but wonderful.

Meet Rilyn Ann

23 Aug

Born August 19th at 7:13 am, 7 pounds 4 ounces, 19 inches long.

She has lots of brown hair, long fingers and toes, and looks exactly like her big sister!

We’re in love!

 

 

I’m in Labor!

19 Aug

We’re at the hospital! Got here at 12:30am with contractions every 2-5 minutes lasting 30 seconds. I was 5-6 centimeters and 90% effaced.

Its now 3:15am, I’ve had an epidural, even though I’m still really feeling the contractions. I’m currently 6-7 centimeters.

She’ll be here soon!

Little Bit Bit: Week 39

15 Aug

I’m starting to wonder if my body is capable of going into labor on its own. Silly concern, maybe, but when you hope that things go differently with your second pregnancy than they did with your first, and they seem to be progressing the same way, you start to think silly thoughts. And I mean really, how long does one need to walk around dilated to a 3 and 75% effaced before her body says, “Oh hey, let’s do this”? Going on two weeks here.

I had some stronger, more consistent contractions last night, that ended up being nothing, but I guess I should take it as a good sign. I had an appointment today and am now 80%. My doctor also said the baby is super low. Another good sign, which must also explain some of the back pain I’ve been having. I have high hopes that Bit Bit will decide to come this weekend. You’d think that I would have learned not to get my hopes up about such things, but it’s incredibly difficult not to. I’ll probably end up being crushed, in which case the ice cream is ready and waiting in the freezer. If I don’t eat it all tonight.

Also, doctor wanted me to schedule my next appointment for Monday. If baby isn’t here by then, we’ll set an induction date. Kinda crazy that I could end up being induced with both of my kiddos. What are the odds?

So…that’s where we’re at this week. Fingers crossed and prayers please for a baby this weekend! :)

How far along? 39 Weeks
Total weight gain: As I near the end, the weight decides to start packing on. 17 pounds total
Maternity clothes? As if I’d fit into anything else at this point
Stretch marks? 3 new ones. Drat.
Sleep: no bueno
Best moment this week: Getting baby girl’s nursery done. Such a relief! I’d post pictures, but seeing how her letter is hanging on the wall, you’ll just have to wait until she’s here for a tour.
Miss Anything? being comfortable, sleep!
Movement: lots of twisting and turning. It’s so uncomfortable when she rolls around to the opposite side. She’s usually all on my right side (I should take a point of view picture of my belly so you all can see how lopsided it is) and my lower back on the right is killing me!
Food cravings: Still want every sweet imaginable.
Anything making you queasy or sick: meat
Gender: Oh goodness gracious, let’s hope she comes out a girl! Lots of comments/dreams from others about the baby being a boy has me a little nervous.
Labor Signs: I was up for over an hour last night with contractions. They were getting pretty regular and starting to get stronger so I decided that I needed to get out of bed and sit on the couch to start timing them. I walked all the way down to our family room, got settled in, turned on the tv…and they stopped. Stupid, stupid braxton hicks. Finally went to bed around 2 am, which was lovely.
Symptoms: How in the world I’m still not a swollen, waddling mess is beyond me, but I’ll take it. I mean, sure, I do give the term “pregnant waddle” a whole new meaning lately, ducks ain’t got nothing on me, but the fact that my ankles are still ankles and my toes don’t look like sausages has me doing my happy dance. Albeit, a waddling rendition of my happy dance.
Belly Button in or out? ”I’m coming out! I want the world to know. Got to let it show…” Every time I see my little tummy button in the mirror, I think of this song. Then I think of the Levi’s commercial for their super low jeans that used this song. Fact: every belly button in that commercial is an “inny”.
Wedding rings on or off? on
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happier lately. And by lately I mean today. Maybe it’s because I know the end is near.
Looking forward to: Holding her in my arms. Introducing Lakyn to her little sister. Starting this new chapter in our lives!

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Stella

15 Aug

Baby Stella has been helping us adjust to having another “person” in the car for the past few weeks.

Food Friday: Gearing Up For Baby

10 Aug

Bit Bit will be here soon. Or I can only hope.

To help us transition to being a family of four, I set out to prepare some freezer meals to have stocked up and ready to use when we get home from the hospital. Thanks to both my mom and my mother-in-law, I accomplished every meal idea on my list. I’m quite proud of myself and knowing that I have all these meals in my freezer, means I can focus on other things. Like cleaning.

Or not.

Here’s what I’ve got ready and waiting:

  • 6 sausage and egg english muffin sandwiches (think Sausage Egg McMuffins)
  • 3 loaves of banana bread
  • 2 packages of browned hamburger to use for casseroles or other meals
  • 2 packages of spaghetti sauce (two different kinds)
  • 2 packages of taco meat
  • 1  package chicken quesadilla meat
  • 2 chicken enchilada dinners
  • 2 manicotti dinners
  • 2 chicken spaghetti dinners
  • 1 homemade macaroni and cheese dinner (because we ate the other one already!)
  • 2 chicken casserole dinners

Since it’s Food Friday, I’m including a recipe for the macaroni and cheese. It’s the Pioneer Woman’s recipe and my little family lurves it! You do get quite the arm workout with all the stirring, but who couldn’t use an arm workout every now and then? And please, PLEASE, do not leave out the ground mustard. It honestly makes this dish! Comfort food at it’s best, peeps.

Of course, these meals aren’t going to last long, but it helps knowing that I’ve got a few easy dinners ready to go. Actually, knowing that I have these dinners bring such peace of mind, that I’m thinking about continuing this in the future. Maybe just make a stash once a month to have meals ready when I don’t feel like cooking dinner…

Or maybe I should adjust to being a mom of two before I commit to any crazy ideas! :)

Little Bit Bit: Week 38

7 Aug

According to babycenter.com, I need to be taking these last couple of weeks to nap and read some books since I won’t have much time to do that after Bit Bit comes. Um, pretty sure that I don’t have time to do that now. I have a toddler already! Silly babycenter.com.

At last Friday’s appointment (37 weeks), I was almost 2 centimeters dilated and was 70% effaced. The plan is to have my doctor strip my membranes this Friday. (Eww, I wish there was a way to say that without it sounding so gross.) I’ve heard of a lot of women having success with this starting labor for them. I have a few friends in which this is the case. We could end up with a baby this weekend. BUT, I’m not getting my hopes up. My doctor stripped my membranes (again, sorry!) TWICE with Lakyn and we still had to force the girl to come out! So, sure, we’ll give it a try, but I’m not gonna cancel our weekend plans.

How far along? 38 Weeks
Total weight gain: I finally hit the 15 pound mark! The Doc is officially happy!
Maternity clothes? yes
Stretch marks? Yep. Seems like I’m spotting a new one every day. Dagnabit!
Sleep: It goes back and forth. Some nights I sleep great, others are awful. Like last night. I’m always pretty tired though.
Best moment this week: Reaching my weight goal! Sleeping all night long without waking up to pee or to adjust the pillows to try to get comfortable again!
Miss Anything? Lots. Being able to sit on the floor comfortably and getting up on my own. Being able to paint my toe nails. And yes, I miss walking without waddling.
Movement: All. The. Time. This kid is all over the place and it hurts! I’ve always got a foot, knee, or elbow jabbing me somewhere. And the hiccups! She has them at least twice a day. Not kidding.
Food cravings: sweets (surprise!) I’ve been trying so hard to talk myself out of making a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for a few days now. I might not win this battle.
Anything making you queasy or sick: eating in the morning
Labor Signs: Nope. I’ve been feeling a little off lately, and having a bit of cramping, but who knows what that’s all about.
Symptoms: lots of pain in my stomach from her moving around. Some lower back pain and my legs feel like I just ran a marathon by early afternoon. Still no swelling, though!
Belly Button in or out? Oh man! Out, out, out!
Wedding rings on or off? on… but I’m contemplating taking them off. I didn’t take them off with Lakyn until I was in the hospital and that was interesting! Took forever to get them off using lots of different substances the nurses kept handing me to try. I’m thinking maybe I should do it soon so I don’t have a repeat.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Moody. I blame the heat and Target. <— Ooh, you make me mad, Target!
Looking forward to: Delivery Day! Ready to meet her!

A Shower for Bit Bit

7 Aug

I’ve said it before. I have some great friends. A few of my gal pals decided to get together and throw a little shindig in honor of our Bit Bit. They planned a diaper shower and I couldn’t have been more welcoming of the idea. I mean really, those things get expensive!

I spent a lot of the shower soaking up the realization that Brandon and I are truly blessed with the people in our lives, enjoying time spent with a group of friends that don’t get the opportunity to hang out all together very often, cuddling sweet babies, and watching our children play and laugh together and form friendships of their own. And as a pregnant lady eating for two, of course I enjoyed the yummy food and cake!

 

Abby, Christopher, and Lakyn

Big Sister!

I've got some creative friends!

seriously creative

pretty girls

We were able to take home a great start to our diaper stash, but more importantly, we took home very grateful, happy hearts. Thank you to everyone who came and helped us adjust to life with two by helping out with some diapers. It was so greatly appreciated! Also, thank you Rachel, Kendra, and Terri for throwing us this shower, and for being such amazing friends! Love you ladies bunches!

 

Remembering Lakyn’s Birth Day

4 Aug

BE WARNED: THIS IS THE LONGEST POST I’VE EVER WRITTEN!!!! 

And, I added in some of the gross/cringe-worthy details.

Bit Bit’s birth month is here and now that D-Day is edging closer I find myself thinking more and more about the day Lakyn was born. I never actually took the opportunity to sit down and write out her birth story, so I’m going to do it now. This is obviously more for me, so I can look back on this when I can’t remember all the details anymore. And what a perfect time to reflect back on one of the best days of my life before I’m about to embark on another “best day of my life” soon.

First, some background info.

I was still teaching my second year of fifth grade at Pioneer Ridge Middle School in Gardner, KS. I decided I’d take the horrifying chance of having my water break in front of my class of 24 ten and eleven year olds (it didn’t) and was going to work up until I had Lakyn. Her due date was January 12th and the day had come and gone. I’ll never forget walking past a male co-worker in the office and he stopped to ask me when my due date was.

“Two days ago.”

I went back to my classroom and cried. Not because I was hugely pregnant and uncomfortable, but because I was so ridiculously ready to finally see and hold and love on my sweet baby girl. For the record, I think due dates are completely bogus. (Instead of a due date, we should have a due range!) I hate what they do to mom-to-be’s. Especially first-time mommas. We think, “Oh, my sweet baby will for sure be here by this date” like it’s some sort of expiration date or countdown timer. For me, I had it in my head that January 12th was it. I’d see her face by then. Of course, my doctor (have I mentioned how much I LOVE her?) tried to tell me numerous times that first-timers usually go late. I nodded my head but obviously thought that I wouldn’t be one of those women. My baby would be here by her due date. January 12th was circled on the calendar. So yes, at two days past my due date, anyone asking “You’re STILL pregnant?” would send me to tears. I had Lakyn on January 20th, a total of 8 days past her due date. I remember waking up every morning crying because I was still pregnant. It was hard, but she was worth every single second she made us wait to see her.

Going past my due date did have it’s advantages. At 40 weeks and 1 day we had a sono to check fluid levels (everything was normal) which meant that we got a look at our sweet bebe right before we got to meet her. The pictures from this sono continue to be my favorite. She looked like a baby, as opposed to her 20 week sono picture where she still looked alien-like. We could tell that she had a cute little button-nose, and chubby cheeks. She was beautiful. I stared at those pictures every day.

At 41 weeks and 6 days (Monday the 18th) I went in for another check-up. My doctor was SO surprised that I didn’t have Lakyn over the weekend. She told me she cancelled her weekend plans because she was sure I would have her after feeling how low she was and after stripping my membranes for the second time the previous Friday. …But no, the weekend had come and gone and I was still pregnant. At this appointment we set an induction date for Wednesday (the 20th).

Birth Day – January 20th

3:45 am - Woke up after getting a few hours of sleep. Showered, made sure we had everything in the hospital bags, ate a small breakfast.

6:00 am - We arrived at St. Luke’s South hospital in Overland Park, KS. I remember sitting in the car with Brandon for a minute before walking inside. I was very aware that the next time I got in the car we’d have another person with us. I took a deep breath, said, “Let’s go have a baby” and walked inside hanging on to Brandon’s hand like I needed it to survive. Room 7 was at the end of the hall and because of this was bigger than the others. Score! I changed into the lovely hospital gown and tried to settle in. On the third try, my IV was successfully in thanks to my veins bursting the two previous times. I’m still convinced the IV was the second most painful part of this whole experience.

7:30 am – Started pitocin.

8:00 am – My doctor broke my water and I was dilated to a 3. Let’s get this party started!!!

8:30 am – Jeane (my doctor) left to go back to the office to do paperwork and check on other patients. Said she’d be back around lunch to check on me. Said her guess was that we’d have a baby around 5pm that evening.

****waiting****

****contractions getting pretty intense, rather quickly. Thanks to the pitocin. Evil, evil pitocin.

10:00 am – Begging for the epidural.

10:30 am – Received first epidural. (Yes, I said first…) I remember thinking the process was taking forever. During, the  anesthesiologist was whispering to the nurses and then left to make a phone call in the middle of giving me the epidural, came back to finish then left. I obviously felt like this was not normal, but nobody said anything to me. I was dilated to a 4.

****I don’t have exact times for some of these because this is where everything started to move really quickly. Shortly after the epidural I noticed that I was starting to feel the contractions on my right side. A few minutes after that I could lift my legs up off the bed. If you’ve ever had an epidural, you know that you should NOT be able to do this. I started to panic a little, buzzed the nurse and told her what was happening. She said she’d get someone back in to help me. Um, yes, lets do that. NOW!

****Shortly before 12:00 pm - I started to feel lots of pressure and felt like I needed to push. Told nurse. Still waiting on someone to come in and help with the issue of me feeling my contractions again. Those contractions hurt man! I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

12:00 pm – Jeane came back to check on me. I frantically informed her that I was feeling lots of pressure, felt like I needed to push, and that my epidural apparently didn’t take. I’m sure she thought I was crazy! She checked me to see where I was at. Dilated to a 10, 100% effaced. I went from a 4 to a 10 in an hour and a half. It was go time, but all I remember of this moment was that I instantly freaked out and said, “NO! I can’t do it without an epidural. I can’t!” Jeane came over to me, put her hands on my cheeks and said, “Yes, you can. You can do this. We’re going to get someone in here, just breathe.”

****Shortly after 12:00 pm - Another nurse came in and added more “epidural medicine” (I have no idea what else to call it) to the catheter in my back. She informed me she gave me a lot and I should be good to go. I almost instantly went numb and couldn’t feel the contractions anymore. It was glorious! Now I could finally focus on the fact that very soon, my precious baby girl would be in my arms! I was ready. I watched Jeane get “suited up” and I watched Brandon put on the scrubs and gloves. I may or may not have started to get emotional at this point. :)

12:20 pm - I started pushing.

1:06 pm - Lakyn Kay Ratzlaff was born and my life was instantly changed for the better. This moment was absolutely perfect. Brandon got to help deliver her and he was actually the one that placed her on my chest (with the help of Jeane). I cannot put into words what that moment was like. I can only say that that memory will forever be with me and it will forever be my favorite moment of Lakyn’s birth. It was so incredibly special and so meaningful that Brandon was able to do that and that’s just another reason why I love my doctor so much.

During the delivery I had a second degree tear. Jeane gave me a local anesthesia and started to stitch me back up, but I could still feel it. She tried with the anesthesia two more times but I could still feel the stitches. For some reason, my body wouldn’t take it, so I gritted my teeth and told her to hurry! Luckily I had my little girl to help me try to focus on something else.

The nurses took Lakyn to clean her off and check stats and as soon as they took her from my arms, I wanted her back. She was 7 pounds, 9 ounces, 19 inches long, and absolutely perfect in every way. I remember all of the nurses commenting on her perfect mouth and lips. She looked exactly like her Daddy.

The rest of the afternoon and early evening were spent oohing and aahing with family and friends. By around 7 pm I started getting a headache and it progressively got worse as the minutes passed. A small headache turned into the worst headache I’ve ever had. (This is the most painful part of this whole delivery experience.) I felt so bad, and was kind of out of it. I felt really bad for the friends and family that were there because I honestly didn’t talk much, kinda just laid there like a miserable bum. I started closing my eyes because the light hurt so bad. The nurses brought me pain meds and soda hoping the caffeine would help. The pain from my head spread down my neck into my upper back. It was the worst pain I’d ever been in, and I just had a baby! It was so bad I couldn’t bend my neck to look down at Lakyn or look down to nurse her. All I could do was cry. The nurses suggested they take Lakyn to the nursery so that I could try to get some rest with as much pain as I was in. I agreed, but not without feeling like a failure as a mother. Already, I’m getting rid of my baby to get some sleep. Obviously, that’s something I still haven’t gotten over. The nurses brought her back to me when it was time to nurse and told me every time how good a baby she was. They said they all loved holding her in the nursery, and again, there were more comments on her lips!

Really, who looks their best after giving birth?! Definitely not I.

Morning came and with it the realization that my headache and neck pain was worse than before, probably amplified by the fact that I couldn’t sleep. Jeane came in to check on me and I instantly started crying when she asked me how I was doing. Brandon proceeded to tell her about my headache and neck pain and she called in another doctor to come talk with me about the pain. This guy was extremely nice and didn’t seem annoyed at all by my bawling while explaining what I was feeling. He then looked over my charts and informed me that instead of actually getting an epidural, I had gotten a spinal. Guess that explains the whispering and the phone call from the first anesthesiologist. What the doctor explained to me was that the anesthesiologist went too far past my epidural cavity. The cause of my headache and neck pain was because the medicine was inserted in my spinal cavity. He explained to me that most spinal headaches went away after 1-3 weeks. The thought of waiting that long with this pain made me start crying again. I couldn’t imagine it. He then told me another option would be to perform a blood patch. To do this, they would draw blood from my arm, then insert it into my spinal cavity. Something about the blood being heavier than the fluid in my spinal cavity takes the headache away. He then proceeded to tell me that the blood patch only had a 50% chance of working if performed within 24 hours of the spinal. It had a 95% chance of working if I waited 3-4 days. Again, the thought of waiting 3-4 days made me want to cry. I decided I’d take the chance and do it now. The doctor performed it just a few minutes after, giving me my second “epidural”. It was painful. He had to insert it in the same spot as my first one and I was sore. He then told me to lay flat for 30 minutes to help it’s chances. I didn’t move for almost an hour. I got up at that point and went to the bathroom and was so disappointed that it wasn’t gone yet. I crawled back in bed and took a little nap while Brandon spent some quality time with Lakyn. I woke up almost two hours later and I was pain free!!!

Praise the Lord, I was headache free! I wanted to find that doctor and kiss his feet. Finally, I could start to enjoy my beautiful little baby and get to know her.

The rest of the hospital stay was rather uneventful. We’d be back again in just a few days for Lakyn’s high biliruben levels (jaundice), but that’s another story.

As eventful as Lakyn’s 5.5 hour birth was, as long as she made us wait, it was worth every single second of it. She’s changed my life in ways I cannot express, in ways that no one else could have.

 

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” - Elizabeth Stone