Friday, December 28, 2007

Spoke too soon...

I'm posting from my Blackberry. This is a first for me, but there have been a lot of firsts this week.

The last few days haven't gone as expected. We took Juliette to her pediatrician for a check-up on Wednesday (the day after Christmas) and she was diagnosed as being dangerously jaundiced and requiring immediate treatment. So we have been at the NICU at Texas Childrens' Hospital since then. She's been receiving IV fluids and phototherapy and the treatment has been very effective so far. The doctors are very optimistic that she wasn't at sustained high levels long enough to cause permanent damage and neurologically she seems fine. They discontinued the phototherapy this morning and we'll see whether her bilirubin rebounds substantially. If not, she'll probably be discharged tomorrow.

The experience has been stressful, certainly, but we're thankful for so much. I've been able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house here which is on the same floor as the NICU. So I can get an hour or two of sleep between feedings at night.

We're lucky to live only a few miles down the road so Sean and the boys can come and go (although the boys aren't allowed in the NICU, it allows Sean and I to rotate out).

The Ronald McDonald house is so wonderful and the kids can watch tv and read books and play in there during the day which is so much better than being bored and stir crazy in a hospital lobby.

Seeing all these sick kids in the NICU makes us so thankful that our Juliette was born at 36 weeks, and not 27. Despite this recent episode, we know that ultimately we'll get to take home a healthy baby and there are so many families who can't say the same.

We're fortunate to have such a great medical staff here who responded so fast to her condition and seem to genuinely care about every baby they treat. And we're so lucky to have the insurance and financial means to get her the treatment she needs and not worry about how to pay for it (well maybe Sean worries, but really, it isn't a hardship to us).

Wishing you all many wonderful things in the new year. If I ever leave this hospital, I'll try to post some pictures from Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not exactly as planned...

Well, things didn't go exactly as planned last week, but the outcome was good just the same.

We went to the hospital first thing Thursday for the amnio. First of all, never get your amnio done by a person who is doing the procedure for the first time in their ENTIRE life. I might as well have had Sean hold the needle. The instructor (i.e. real doctor) was actually yelling at the guy doing the procedure the entire time. Things like "butterfingers" and "what are you doing?" and "can't you feel that?" were angrily directed towards him as he helplessly tried to draw up a vial of amniotic fluid. But overall, I don't think you could have a worse amnio, and it still wasn't all that uncomfortable, more tragic comedy than anything else.

But an hour later, we got the results: the baby's lungs weren't mature enough to proceed with delivery. So the hospital threw me out, sending me to my doctor for a Rhogam shot (I'm Rh negative, Sean is positive, so any time there's a possibility the baby's blood has come in contact with mine, I have to get a shot). I get to the doctor's and he says "What the hell are you doing here?" and I say "The hospital sent me" and he says "They're supposed to hold you for 24-hour observation in case the amnio broke your water or something". So he proceeds to call and yell at the hospital and sends me back there. So I sent Sean home and sat there twiddling my thumbs for 24 hours while they monitored the baby's heart rate and my contractions. Nothing too exciting.

The next morning, my doctor comes to visit me and says that he's sending me home and we can schedule my delivery for next Friday (the 28th). So we chat for a bit and he's about to leave and I say "don't you want to check my cervix, just in case these contractions have actually become productive?" So he says "yeah, sure, let's do that since we're going into the weekend". And then about 60 seconds later he says "OK, go ahead and call Sean because it looks like we're going to have a baby today after all." So by some miracle after 2 months of continuous yet non-productive contractions, I had dilated since my office visit on Tuesday and was in real labor after all. So mature lungs or not, it was time to go. Things went pretty quickly after that.

Juliette Claire entered the world at 2:02 pm on Friday, Dec 21st. We got a little suprise during her delivery when the doctor discovered that her umbilical cord had a complete knot in it. I'll post a picture at some point. Needless to say, the doctor was relieved we delivered when we did, since that knot could have cut off her blood flow and killed her at any time. And we were thankful too, since we know someone who lost a full-term baby to a knotted umbilical cord and can't imagine the grief if something like that happened to our precious, long-awaited angel. Juliette needed oxygen for an hour or so, but didn't have to go to the NICU at all, thus disproving the "not mature" lung test results of the amnio from the previous day. She was fully baked and ready to roll.

We spent the usual sleepless nights in the hospital and despite some mild jaundice, came home today to spend Christmas Eve with our newly expanded family. Juliette has been awake for less than 5 minutes since we've been home. She refuses to open her eyes to see her new room, but maybe later. Updated pictures can be found on the McLaughlin family KodakGallery page (link on the right).

May all the blessings of Christmas be as abundant in your house as they have been in our home this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The end is near...
I am officially now more pregnant than I have ever been in my entire life. Having two pre-term babies wasn't fun, but being more pregnant than you ever expected to be is kind of annoying too. But I'm thankful to have made it this far and it looks like today will be my last pregnant day ever. So I had to preserve the moment with a photo. I'm going into the hospital in the morning for an amnio and if the baby's lungs look good, we should have her sometime later in the day. So think good thoughts for us and we'll keep you posted.