Close calls, the fallout, and thankful hearts

9 Months Old in Infant Toddler Unit

Originally I had journaled awhile back in thinking of the unique ways having a medically fragile child affected the family but it led me to thinking of how thankful I am I have a medically fragile child rather than a memory of a baby I had for awhile then sent to Heaven. What I mean by that is the issues Ethan has with Chronic Lung Disease, whether he was going to have them from the start or whether they came about or were worsened by his major hospitalization as a baby, could have ended his life back then. Honestly there have Been several times that could have happened but I think Ryan and I both agree that first major stay when he was on a ventilator for a month was the closest call.

So I will talk about some ways the Chrnoic Lung Disease have affected our family while keeping in mind that I am so very thankful that he is with us still.
1) Sleep issues. These are sleep issues that aren’t developmentally normal. It isn’t typical newborn wakings for feedings or even teething and ear infections of infancy and toddlerhood. We did have all of that plus the timed feedings to get him nice and heavy for his heart surgery at 6 months old. (You don’t get to celebrate the baby sleeping a good stretch if you have to go in every 3 hours or more to feed a long forced feeding.) Ethan was certainly a good sleeper, but with the blessing of home oxygen comes the monitoring equipment that beeps, sometimes very often even though we are giving him the intervention the machines are telling us he needs. Sometimes its an error like the toe probe coming of and that is even more irritating because we are losing sleep for something that he didn’t even need and let me tell you he does not always go back to sleep even at 3am!

Also he was an amazing independent sleeper, I’m sure partly due to the fact that he was in a hospital a lot and had noises going on a lot and didn’t get rocked to sleep because he was chemically paralyzed for a month in mid-infancy. Now that independent sleep is mostly gone because he needs oxygen when he sleeps so often that we have to lie down with him to get him to sleep because otherwise he will pull the nasal cannula out and pulse ox probe off his toe. That on top of baby sister being really demanding and waking a lot a couple of years ago added up to not a whole lot of evening time for mommy and daddy! but now that he hasn’t been taking naps as much he’s out faster and we have felt a little more “normal.”

2) Missing social events. Everyone who knows us knows this is part of the deal for us anyway. It’s a personal choice on how limiting you want to be at what times of years, etc Burt also doctors have advised us to limit Ethan’s exposure this year. We are hoping the g button will help with that concern and he won’t aspirate as much. It takes a toll on us spiritually to be missing so many church gatherings however we have started to go to an equppping class/ e group and got to go to a Christian marriage conference recently so that has been a huge boost! OTherwise, unlike for our daughter, any babysitter of any kind or age or knowledge is not enough for the medically fragile child. At least not for a length of time and for our comfort level for almost any length of times which will be even more important when he also has a g button. We have lots of supportive family so it hasn’t been a major issue but depending on what’s going on, it can be hard sometimes. People get sick or have things going on and we aren’t the only ones with kids, after all. If you ever want to bless some family with a medically fragile child and you are in ministry and/or have some experience with special needs kids’ equipment (like speech, OT, or a nurse) then doing a special needs parents night out or just for a friend you know is a huge offer! Our church does that night out thing sometimes and so do other churches in our area.

3)Potty training or other skills or education training-When your kid is medically complex, you spend so much time with your child doing interventions for keeping him alive or going to appointments that sometimes what you are left with you’d like to allow your child to get a say in it. So pushing them to do things is hard and if they also have developmental issues, it is extra hard for them anyway. (Not impossible, and that varies for kids with disabilities-some get it almost as soon as typical kids but for the most part its a long, long process.) But we do it all and so do other parents-because we love our kids. I will add that when your child is very ill in a hospital bed, there is not a lot of leeway for those things and you can focus on speech all you want but the other things go by the wayside. Ethan is like Bambi after each hospitalization with his gait, and we have lost a lot of potty trips in that time.

4)-White coat syndrome-He is also kind of emotionally traumized (not exaggerating) now that he is older and can think all of that though more and remember.

5)counting blessings-Something positive I could say is we do not take our days for granted because we know how dangerously close Ethan has been to death far more than I like to think about. It was mostly when he was a little baby, yes, but also when I went to see him after work in October at the children’s hospital, they told me they were worried they were going to have to put him on a ventilator the way he was moving and acting. A good deep suctioning and prayers kept that from happening! (Deep suctioning-tube going way down, not just the straight tube in the nose, but a coiled one)

To look at where I am now and where I was back then (both of us, but this memory was just me walking in)—I remember sitting at my desk as a new working mom arriving at 8am and before I made any calls or welcomed my first kid for therapy, I cut out a number 9 from construction paper and made a “9 month” card for Ethan turning 9 months so I could take a picture of him with it in the step down unit at ACH. I was so happy he was off the paralytic for that. When he turned 8 months old, he was like a sick, sad tiny Rip Van Winkle and I did not want a picture of that for his baby book. And now look-I go to work and while I know he can get sick again like that perhaps, right now he is 5 years old prepping for kindergarten and enjoying his therapies and I Pad time! I live in the town in which I work, and I get to come home to him and his sister’s smiling faces and see them wrestling together. Yes I have a lot to be thankful for.

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Being a person when all you do is take care of people

I stayed home a long time (to me it was long I guess because so much happened) with my son and daughter, who are now five and two. When you are there for taking care of kids all the time, or even when working full-time like I am working now and also “take care” of other people’s kids’ emotional needs (being a child and family therapist) to then come home and watch my own kids, it can be hard to remember how to just be a person. I realized when I was staying home with my kids that I was not really doing a lot during the day and often not even when they went to bed, to continue my own thoughts and interests. It started when I was a new mom and of course you want to get into that role and I have always been passionate and excited to be a mom. I additionally researched a lot of extra things since my son has Down Syndrome and some other medical issues. I spent a lot of extra time/free time making things for him to help him learn and so forth. This isn’t a bad thing to do, but also you can get burned out if you are spending all your time looking up recipes, finding fun activities to do with your own kids or group therapy ideas for your kids (or whatever you do on your own time for your work career.)

 

So here are some things I have been working on and have noticed my husband do (who is currently a stay at home dad for my son during the week then works as an RN on the weekends.)

1)Its something simple but something I missed and realized was missing after a few years

1)Listen to your OWN music. Everyone loves music of some kind but I feel like it was a huge deal because not just listening to , but playing music was  a HUGE part of my life and free time/passion so first we moved a lot and had no room and I felt I didn’t have time anyway, for me to play piano or keyboard. I already wasn’t in band anymore after college (which is fine, fine with that season being gone haha but I miss piano!) So then I realized heck, I’m not even listening to music of mine! It is ALL Wiggles or Signing Time and now whatever Disney movie is on Netflix. I still am not great about it and even though I blog I am kind of old lady when it comes to technology so I’m like oh yea gotta as the husband about downloading Spotify….anyways folks, it matters!

2) Find some hobby that does NOT have to do with dressing your child or looking up ideas for helping your child ..writing about your child? okay so yes I do blog about my kids but I think I’ve branched to a lot of different things plus I enjoy writing/blogging so it’s not like I am totally focused on something for helping them learn or be entertained. I did knit on loom a few years ago and I think I have settled into reading fiction and writing as my go to hobbies when I’m not watching Netflix and folding laundry with my husband, or playing board games together (which is something he is mainly into but I do it too and he is on the lookout for things I would like so we have something to do together other than TV. Yes I could do outdoors things but not when hte kids are asleep right? Right. I do love walking and being outside but I’m talking stuck indoors in the trenches of pre K parenting here.

3) When you have a long weekend or extra snow day or even on a regular weekend or whatever, do not feel bad about not hovering over your child. I think people go between the extremes of ignoring their kids and starting at their phones or thinking you have to constantly be verbally imparting some wisdom or in their faces in our culture. You probably know deep down when its okay to check out mentally while supervising your kids. So, do it. I think its fine to read an article or video (probably on mute with captions!) on your phone here and there if it helps you be sane and feel like a person and not a mom/dad zombie. Also I know most probably feel just fine about this but in case you don’t , please don’t feel like you can’t do housework as long as your kids are safe. It’s hard to get done but the more you get done while they’re awake,, the more time you have to try and be a person/do your own thing and with your spouse at night. The kids help me with things. occasionally genuine help, often just them making it take a little longer but more got done than it would have if I did it ALL at night or nap. Nap is never promised in this home lol although my daughter has become much better about it since last year. That so didn’t happen when she was a little baby, not for long.

4)This is more specific and short, but stole this idea from my husband and therefore may appeal more to males. Okay I’m not saying do it ALL the time, but he has some headphones and listens to podcasts or whatever here and there while watching our son during the week (He is still attentive and doesn’t abuse this, however. But I am just saying if it keeps you sane…Here’s looking at you, parents of kids who don’t nap much or at all!

I think that’s most of my ideas but I might add more in the future if I think of more. What helps you moms and dads feel more like a person again?

Tips to help the reluctant nurser

I thought I would compile a few tips I have gathered from my daughter’s reluctance to nurse for one reason or another-mostly from reflux which was at its worst in her earlier months.Recently, teething has caused her to be reluctant at times, so the same tips apply to teething nursers. Friends who had already had a baby with reflux who wouldn’t nurse due to feelings of pain and trauma from associating pain with nursing/bottle-feeding told me some of these tips. I found it helpful to join online support groups to see what tips were given there as well, and the same problems and questions kept popping up regarding babies reluctant to nurse or bottle-feed so I hope this helps mommies who have been struggling to get their babies to nurse.

 

ethan on mommy at home

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I’ll also include a section at the end about what helped us/doctor realize Katelynn had silent reflux and what symptoms to look for.

1)Bouncing the baby while nursing-This was the most helpful thing I was told to do, as Katelynn continued to refuse nursing fairly often even up to the age of 6 months when on two reflux medications. (or bottle-feeding, if the mother doesn’t think this causes too many gas bubbles.) It helped to be a distractor and often, it helped her fall asleep, which was often the only way she was comfortable enough to nurse (while asleep.) I have found in talking to other parents that requiring “dream-feeding” to nurse/bottle-feed is a very common thing for the little ones who have reflux.

2) Dream-feeding/falling asleep to start nursing-I know a lot of people have hang-ups about sleep associations like nursing to sleep and while I wish that wasn’t (almost) always the case with her up until just recently, it is absolutely the only way my baby would nurse for awhile. She was just too uncomfortable other times to want to nurse while totally awake and even if it had been hours or an entire night even-she wouldn’t nurse. You have to just get your baby eating and you can worry about all those habits later in my opinion. Babies will all have different degrees of sensitivity, so try what you like but just know that SO many parents rely on dream-feeding to get their reluctant (usually reflux) babies to nurse/bottle-feed.

3) White noise-again, the distractor
4) dark (sometimes important, sometimes not as much)
5) You want to keep tabs on a breast pump if you’re nursing and your baby is having days of not nursing well.

That’s all I recall using that was helpful-but helpful it was (after getting a good medication regimen!) I have to bounce her still sometimes if she is distracted away from home, if big brother is around, or she is teething.
Here are some of the things that I found are part of silent reflux that I either noticed before the doctor suggested Katelynn had it and also some things I read afterward that gave me those “aha!” moments when I realized Katelynn did the same things that other parents or doctors described babies doing.

1) crying after nursing, usually for a set amount of time, then feeling relaxed and happy (or maybe not..but with Katelynn its like a switch flipped.It was crazy!)

2) Pulling off the breast (or bottle) even when clearly hungry, by the cues and by the clock, attempting to nurse again but pulling away crying and

3) arching the back. With silent reflux, you have to look for this and other symptoms because you aren’t going to see the milk come all the way out of the mouth. The acid will rise and burn the esophagus and will be very painful and upsetting to your baby. Before any meds at all, Katelynn would scream nonstop for 30 minutes and I have not since heard her scream like that so thank Heaven for the meds! When we’ve tried to drop a medication, though, she does fuss and try to not nurse. It would last all day long and she was obviously hungry but wouldn’t eat due to feeling uncomfortable when eating, even when the tips given above were used. In two weeks we will be trying a trial of removing one of the medications (Zantac first for a week, then dropping Prevacid) so hopefully it will go well!

The happy ending to that story is that the trial went well and she outgrew it-yay! Currently I’m in the last stages of weaning/drying up. She is no longer nursing at all as of two days ago.

Paddling Upstream and Mom Guilt

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In trying to sit and reflect, the image of a dog paddling upstream is how I feel like my mind and soul have been for awhile now. A lot is from the adjustment to two kids, the busyness and trying to keep them quiet while Ryan was working night shift (Don’t Wake Daddy game, anyone?) With all the housework, cooking, nursing (and having reflux issues that took over for quite awhile really consumed a lot of my time as she took forever to start to nurse or cried from problems with that.) I also had this monumental guilt for shorting one kid or the other for various reasons. For one thing, I used to have all this time to focus on Ethan’s special needs like flashcards, open cup practice, and so on. Now its just hard to even have time to play with him. (Oh yea, this baby also doesn’t take long naps-and sometimes had taken NONE despite all kinds of efforts.) It’s gotten better overall lately. Ethan is in a center during the day, so that alleviated some guilt because I knew he was getting his educational and therapy needs, my baby wasn’t constantly in a carseat traveling to and from outpatient therapies two times a day for her brother, and Ethan got attention and playtime. (Once the baby cried from breakfast to lunch time, and I felt bad for Ethan because he just kind of watched TV alone and played around with whatever was in the living room.) I know a lot of this is just par for the course for an older kid and baby, but with Ryan’s work schedule, it was one adult to two kids during the daytime as well as bedtime routines most days for awhile. Lately, with drinking from a cup, Ethan needs assistance because we figured needing assistance with an age appropriate cup that is better for his oral motor skills is better than independently using a bottle which is not age appropriate or good for lessening tongue thrust. That’s something else that takes up more time (but at least I can hold him when I do that. 😉 )

MOM GUILT
So it seems that “mom guilt” can be present and ugly no matter what the circumstances. Bottle feeding, nursing, full-time working, stay at home, one kids, or two (or more). I think in all the efforts to be a great mom, a great wife you can kind of lose yourself and connection to God if it’s all about what you DO. There are always things left undone as the parents’ work is never done. You try to be all about cleanliness and checking off boxes 100%? Something with the kids will be neglected. If you always feel the need to hover or simply be present dn play with your kids all day-and there might be a time or day for that-but for the most part it’s not necessary or realistic and you will have a nasty house. Sometimes you will feel like you are devoting so much to both cleaning and kids and yet still have times where your house looks like something from Poltergeist-all crazy and helter skelter. The point is, as with any form of insecurity, I will never ever feel better about who I am as a person, mother, or wife if I am trying to make myself feel accomplished on my own. God gives me my identity and making time for praying and reading the Word is always going to be the one thing that will make me feel whole and at peace. I don’t have to look to other people for validation of my hard work (although its nice to hear it from your husband and others-and they do that!) I will know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and making a difference in my kids’ lives.

Apartment Living with 2 Kids

These are some things we have come up with to make it work (because it has to!) to house a family of 4-two kids under age 3-in an apartment. It is a 2-bedroom apartment and since we cannot let the 3 year old safely room-share with his sister-we share a room with the baby! I know a lot of people like to do that or feel it is safer anyways (Considered to be a SIDS protective factor.) Anyways if you may be in this situation-this post is for you! This may apply to small houses as well.

1)First of all, getting rid of UNNECESSARY FURNITURE would be the best way to start. This is not where we started, but since its so large and you can do this before move-in day if possible, it’s a good starting point.

2)Make use of a MINI STORAGE if you can afford it. If you start your family in an apartment to begin with , you may not have to do this but because we started in a house (long story) and furnished it, we had large furniture that made it cramped when adding two children playing, crawling, etc. We opted to put our larger seating (couch) in storage and keep the love seat and recliner as well as computer chair out.

3)GET RID OF anything you don’t need, or don’t need as many of. We were able to keep some things at our parents’ houses in attics and sheds (high chairs we didn’t need yet, strollers, etc.) I am planning on doing a toy cleanse to get rid of things that are essentially duplicates or things my first child has outgrown that i anticipate my second will get as gifts anyways or that are just not necessary. I really want to separate out the battery operated toys to where I control when they come out of the closet, but that’s another story entirely haha

4) Get all the compact baby items you can! (or if your kids are a little older, then get compact kids’ items.) So this would be space-saving high chairs (we are just keeping our old one but we started in a house), maybe a potty ring instead of separate potty chair (we love the Cushie Tushie!), fold-up changing pad, etc.

5)Change the purpose os some furniture you already have or combined purposes. We have a nightstand that we turned into a changing station in our room that we share with our baby, for example. We moved our kids’ dresser into their closet recently as well. If you can do some under the bed storage, that would be great, too. We didn’t do much of that.

6) Keep your stroller or infant car seats in your car. If you had a house or just one child in an apartment, you may have been used to bringing the car seat or stroller inside after each outing or walk, but those take up so much space that it’s just easier to leave it in the car. Yeah, the strollers get in the way somewhat for grocery trips but you could work around it or just leave it at home if you know you need the trunk space for shopping.

7)If you have lots of decorations or fancy china, just pack it away. For most people, this season of life with babies and preschoolers is probably not one in which you are doing lots of entertaining that requires nicer dishes-and your kids would just break them anyway-so that’s a nonessential that doesn’t have to be kept in the cabinets.

8) SPACE SAVER BAGS are awesome for off-season or outgrown clothes.
9) If you do have an upstairs and downstairs, having TWO OF EVERYTHING (just about) is just a must for me.Two or more diaper storage/changing stations, two sets of toothbrushes (not as necessary, but helpful for a pre-K kiddo or toddler), kids’ books, a few kids toys at least (and baby!) , maybe multiple diaper pails or wetbags for each floor (right now we don’t since we are on one floor most of the time especially on weekends. Thinking about keeping little trash bags upstairs so they can just be carried down when done upstairs. Two booties are a lot of booty to change. 😉 ) Blankets and burp cloths on both floors is also so helpful!

10) Gotta make it an even ten..o I’ll share that while they aren’t much to look at, the large plastic shelves meant for garages really is what we use to keep blankets, dvds, video games controllers, books, and office supplies on downstairs. oh and some toys. 😉 We have one upstairs for medicine (no med cabinet at this apartment), blankets, and my husband’s scrubs.

Katelynn’s Birth Story-A Second Birth vs. First Birth

Katelynn is not only our Rainbow Baby but also our almost Christmas baby..she was born just a few days after Christmas and I’m glad it ended up that way. Even though I know she will always probably feel her birthday is always a little in the shadow of Christmas, at least it is afterward and not the day of (although I’m sure that can be fun for others and we would have made it work.)

EARLY LABOR
Katelynn’s birth story is so different than Ethan’s birth story (also told by his dad here for many reasons. First of all, it was characteristically faster and easier in a lot of ways as a second birth. In the weeks leading up to Katelynn’s birth I had some contractions but was still at 1cm at my previous appointment. Two nights before her birth I hardly slept with no particular reason, then the night before I had a great night of sleep! The morning before she was born was a Sunday and I had some light bleeding so I thought she might arrive in a day or so. Then I had some mild contractions but I wasn’t sure if I was really starting labor or it was more random contractions. I went ahead to church and the mild contractions continued but I went on with making my grocery list then ALMOST went to the grocerty store then after talking to my husband, I decided not to go. Just after that I had some more bleeding so I called the medical exchange to see if they thought that wa okay. They said

pic by her HP fan daddy. picture property of betterthanexpected321.wordpress.com

pic by her HP fan daddy. picture property of betterthanexpected321.wordpress.com

probably so, but since you’ve had it twice today, go ahead and come in to get checked. We called my parents to drop Ethan off at their house on the way up to Labor and Delivery and we were hardly two blocks before my contractions started hurting more and taking my breath away. Ryan started driving faster and I remember grabbing the “sissy bar” as my dad called it when I was a kid (and what others know it as the “oh #!%!” bar” as he whipped the truck into my parents driveway. HE turned on his emergency flashers on the interstate and he said “yea, you’re in labor” and I had to agree with that!

AT THE HOSPITAL

They monitored me at Labor and Delivery and said I was at a 3 and if I progressed to a 4 they’d keep me but otherwise they would reassess the situation. The doctor never did come in to give her opinion and I started hurting really intensely while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the tv in the room. I thought they would never check on me again and I wonder if the nurse heard me from the hall say “When is someone going to check on me?! I could be at a 5 for all they know!” because she came in 30 seconds later to check me and said I was at a 4. So the plan was for me to be admitted and finally I was and opted to walk to the room. I told the nurse once admitted that yes, I do want an epidural and thought awesome, I’m going to get it sooner than I did last time (because I didn’t realize I was in labor and thought the pain was some problem so I didn’t show up to outpatient until i was at a 6! And it took a LOT of laboring and sleeplessness to get there with my first baby.)

So here we were again watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , just in a different room, and it became kind of weird to watch as the pain intensified. The soundtrack from the movie seemed even more epic and motivating. Ryan looked at a loss and said “I wish I could do something to help. What do you want me to do?” and really there was nothing. I don’t even get the whole hold your partner’s hand or squeeze them to death because for a while there I was content with his moral support and clutching the bedrails sort of like I was steering the hospital bed. In between contractions, it even made me laugh a little. I was NOT laughing when I was in labor with Ethan because it lasted so long, mostly at home (the early part with no epidural) and I was so frustrated because I thought the pain would not go away for weeks as I didn’t know what it was!) This time I knew exactly what was going on and just dealth with contractions as they came and worsened…and worsened. The anesthesiologist was still not around and I was concerned that I might be rapidly progressing as these things often do with subsequent babies. The nurse apologized and said there were some emergency c sections and finally she checked me and suer enough I had been moving along but I could still get an epidural.

GIMME THE DRUGS!
I started hurting more, and I started rocking from side to side as “driving the hospital bed” was not enough anymore to keep me grounded and under control. As I rocked and moaned (in a controlled, patterned action) I realized this was the same thing I remember doing when in labor with Ethan at home, rocking on our guest bed. (I wandered from beds to couches ro recliners throughout the 2 nights-mainly 1-where I was in earlier labor with Ethan.) AS time went on and I still didn’t have an epidural underway or yet in sight, I was hurting a lot and not much was keeping me feeling in control of the pain-it wasn’t out of control yet, but I was getting pretty worn out so the nurse offered something to make them more bearable as I waited. She said “it will make you feel like you’ve had a few too many margaritas.” I wasn’t sure how that felt becaue I’d only had sips of this and that, then drank a MIke’s Hard LEmonade and kept asking my friend “Am I drinking it too fast?” Yep, I’m that girl. 😉 My husband videoed me because I was being ridiculous immediately (Strong stuff!) and was laughing uncontrollably about absolutely nothing between some contractions. I remember the contractions still hurt, but I was distracted and I’m sure kind of numb. On the part of the movie where Voldemort threatens to kill everyone if they hide Harry Potter to protect him, I was giggling as a contraction ended and said “Well THAT’S what you want to hear when you’re in labor!” After Ryan videoed me I asked “Well wait…am I gonna be acting all stupid when Katelynn is born?” and Ryan teased me and said “well, yeah” and then quickly said “I’m just kidding” when he saw my crestfallen face. Then I said “oh good, I was about to cry if that was true!” then actually started crying! I was a mess. The nurse’s eyes got big when she came in and saw my immediate goofiness and it cracked me up. By the time that was wearing off the epidural was finally ready to be placed. ** Just like the first labor, the epidural made me more nervous than anything but all went well. The nurse said to let her know when I started feeling more intense pressure and I wasn’t sure how much I was “supposed” to feel. I don’t remember feeling much at all with Ethan’s birth but it was probably about the same and I was just much more exhausted going in to the hospital with Ethan. I got a tight 8 hours sleep the night before Katelynn’s birth! After feeling prolonged pressure, they checked me one last time and I was at a 10-ready to push!

PUSH IT
There is not much to say here-it lasted all of 12 minutes! They had my feet bent up in stirrups which was a MUCH more comfortable and natural way to push than lying flat like they had me at the first hospital. They just told me when it was time to push and I did-I had a better sense of what muscles to use, probably, and had done core exercises prior to getting pregnant. (Afterward a nurse said to not do those in first trimester and I never revisited them but continued my rehabilitative hip and knee exercises.) So I think all of those things played a role in how well the pushing went! Credit goes to the good hospital staff and supportive husband as well! With Ethan’s birth, I pushed somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour-still not bad, but I do think having done it before plus the better positioning and MUCH more energy reserves from a good night’s sleep and shorter labor helped.

The only thing the doctor who examined Katelynn had concerns about was her hip being loose and said its possible she will need a corrective harness for 6 months. He said this can happen quite often if the baby is lying in the womb at an odd angle.

A SURPRISE DIAGNOSIS BIRTH VS A TYPICAL BIRTH
Everything about Katelynn’s birth was fast and thankfully, easy for the most part! While I know there are so many different complicttions and frustrating labor stories that come with any child, the main difference in our surprise diagnosis birth story (Ethan’s) and Katelynn’s was after the babies arrived, of course. I will list them numerically then probably make it a separate post.

**CAUTION
A note of caution: I had no knowledge about Staydol, other than knowing other people who had it in the past. (But didn’t worry about it because my husband is an RN and I’m just not generally one to question doctors and nurses especially if it’s something really routine like labor pain management-I’m not saying they wouldn’t tell me, I just didn’t care about asking! HOWEVER-Something to consider ahead of time is if you are offered a pain medication before and epidural, maybe think through if it will affect how still you sit when the epidural needle is being inserted. I remember being concerned that I was going to wiggle too much because I still had those drugs in my system and I did feel a little wiggly and it was hard for me to concentrate. My inhibitions were in that in between stage of having to focus pretty hard to make sure I didn’t say something stupid to the anesthesiologist like “well hey, you’re a handsome one. Much younger than the last one though…I hope you’re experienced enough.” Since I did feel like it was hard to focus on verbal directions and stay still (although not THAT hard, mind you), the incident popped into my head when I was suffering pretty horrible postpartum headaches the first week after Katelynn’s birth. (I couldn’t even sleep for a while some parts of some nights-and I was SO exhausted.) I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was wiggly (I don’t think I really was-Ryan and the staff probably would’ve said something.) I do remember there being a few different times the needle had to be inserted and I’m 95% sure the painful headaches were only hormone related because the epidural headaches sound MUCH worse after consulting with a bunch of women including my mother. I say all this, however, to share the possibility of drugs and movement during epidural placement that might happen, I imagine (since they do tell you to stay still, after all.) I wondered if it was the same exact stage of labor I had been in at home and thought hmmm maybe I’m a 6 now? Finally I was checked again soon before the epidural-yep, I was at a 6! So even though I showed up at a 3, I didn’t actually get this epidural any sooner than with my first baby. Oh well, some people are lucky to make it to the hospital with baby #2, right?

3rd Trimester to Do List

I thought about just doing this on my google documents but thought it might turn into a fun and helpful post. When I think about 11 weeks and some-odd days remaining to my second-born’s due date and about making any sort of “to do list”, I imagine a chicken running around in circles..the chicken being me, I suppose. (which I LOVE making to do lists…its really a coping mechanism for my ADHD..) There is something about having a second child that is just making me NOT feel ready. I posted some differences between nesting for this pregnancy and the pregnancy with my firstborn before. Comments people have made and plain old common sense has made me realize how much of an undertaking going from one to two children will be. Some other differences include the fact that we haven’t really done anything much to prep for this baby, so it feels like its creeping up on me quickly. We live in an apartment, so we aren’t preparing a room for her, and most major things like rocking chairs are already here.

At the halfway mark with Ms. K

At the halfway mark with Ms. K

I haven’t bought clothes or anything yet because I like to wait until after baby showers (and my friend is giving one) to see what else I need to get so I don’t have duplicates.

So here we are…less than 12 weeks out and I can hardly believe another baby is coming. We HAVE done some organizing and space-saving and turned the bedside table into a changing table so..CHECK. So what else to do..?

THIRD TRIMESTER CHECKLIST
1)Make a registry, if you wish- CHECK! (Its my second, but there are some things we will need that we don’t already have. She needs clothes, obviously, that aren’t boy clothes and is being born at a different time of year than kid #1. Even if you have the same gender two times in a row, you may want to register for clothes for subsequent babies so family and friends who ask will know which clothing items are needed. People may think you don’t need them because they are wearing hand-me-downs, but babies are born at different times and different sizes SO you may have to buy an entirely new wardrobe for your second or third boy, for example.

2) Make sure you have enough maternity clothes to get you through the season in which you will give birth. Don’t want to be doing that when you are getting really uncomfortable at the end, and made even more uncomfortable by wearing clothes that don’t fit. My mom likes getting me maternity clothes so that helped a bunch. (Thanks, mom!) CHECK!

3) Once you have essential items, WASH and ORGANIZE THEM…

4) Get your child a pediatrician. I thought I had this all squared away, but since I have two kids to consider now and one with a different insurance for special needs (kid #1), this has been a tad tricky. A doctor said she would take both of my kids and now I am being told differently by a secretary because of Ethan’s secondary insurance, so I am needing to call ASAP again and try a different approach with the same clinic before I move on to another one. In our case, we want a new clinic for my firstborn anyways and we want our kids to go to the same place so that we can tote them both when they inevitably are both sick at the same time!

5) Pre-register at the hospital (I’ll be honest-don’t even remember WHEN you do this, but judging by my sister who is just a little over a month ahead of me on her pregnancy due date…I think its soon. They will want to know which doctor you pick so yea..I need to get cracking on cracking down with those doctors’ offices who are sending me mixed signals..grrr.)

6) TDAAP/Whooping cough shot and flu shot (depending on time of year I suppose)-I got a flu shot first time I was pregnant I believe, but this is news to me to have pregnant women being recommended to get whooping cough shot. I talked to my OB office about it and they plan to give it to me this week.

7) Discuss with doctor when to come to the hospital for labor pains, etc.
8) Finish up knitting projects (or whatever projects you may have.)
9) Get Christmas shopping done early! (because my baby is due early January)
10) Get a big brother present for baby #2 to “give” Ethan.
11) Stock up on household toiletries (and freezer bags!) and cleaning supplies to avoid lots of running to the store.
12) Do lots of meal planning, focusing on easy meals and freezer meals (and cook some freezer meals so that will be ready to toss in the crockpot during extra sleepy days!)