Sunday, January 22, 2017

Welcome to the family Carter!

I guess I only use my blog to document the birth of a new child now, so here is my post about Carter. This is going to be the long version of the story, mainly so I can remember all of the details through the years.

Since we had to use the help of IUI (artificial insemination) to get pregnant with Tyler, we assumed we were going to have to go the fertility route in order to get pregnant again. We decided that we were going to save up money and 2016 was going to be the year that we'd move forward with fertility treatments. Several months back, we did a phone consult with our reproductive endocrinologist in Thousand Oaks and had some bloodwork done. Well, to our surprise, we did not need to make the trek down to Thousand Oaks for further fertility appointments. My cycle seemed a little weird, so I decided to do a dollar store pregnancy test. (I often keep the dollar store tests handy. Too often I test right before my cycle starts because I can sense the hormonal change and think I "feel pregnant".)Well, I did a dollar store test and it immediately came back negative, so I threw it in the trash. The next morning, while emptying the trash, I noticed a faint positive line on the test. Was the cheap dollar store test just messing with me? Because I had never noticed a false positive line on one in the past, I ran to CVS and bought a clear blue test. After waiting 3 minutes, this was my result: 

Nic was getting ready to run into town for something so I waved him down and made him come inside to look at the result. We were so happy and felt so blessed.

My due date based off my LMP was 9/27/16, but the first ultrasound calculated my due date to be 10/5/16, so my OB changed it.

This pregnancy was a little rough in the beginning. I felt really sick to my stomach and tired. On my days off from work all I wanted to do was stay on the couch. The weird thing is I loved to watch "chopped" on the food network. I couldn't wait until food tasted good again. I would feel so thirsty, but even water would hit my stomach like a rock. I finally discovered that ice cold Perrier water settled well and I at least could get some hydration.

At around 11 weeks, I experienced urinary retention. I had worked a night shift and was in the process of trying to get some sleep when I woke up feeling like I needed to pee. Well, I couldn't and any time I tried the pain and panic would worsen. Went to urgent care and ended up being straight cathed and had a liter drained out! They sent me straight over to a urologist, who had no explanation to why it happened, along with my regular OB. The urologist sent me home with some supplies in case it happened again. Luckily, it only happened one more time (500ml) and then resolved.

I've always had spotting during the first trimester of my pregnancies, but it was heavier this time around. Even though my OB told me not to worry and baby was checking out fine, I would still stress about it. Luckily, the spotting eventually stopped.

At 14 weeks, we went to "My first Peekaboo" and found out that we were having another boy! Since we still liked the name Carter, Nic and I decided on the name. Initially, Andrew didn't like it and wanted his brother to be named Lucas instead. As the pregnancy progressed, he warmed up to the name and was always so excited about "baby Carter".

I stopped working a month before my due date.

As I got closer to my due date, I started getting anxiety as to whether my true due date was really September 27. I thought, " what if I went overdue like last time but they don't start the nonstress test/amniotic fluid level checks until later because they changed my due date to October 5?" Silly, I know, but I am a worrier. I brought it up to my OB, who stated that once I reached my due date, he would start checking fluid levels, etc.

I had an appointment September 28 and no signs of labor yet.

The next morning I awoke a little after 5AM to what felt like a really strong Braxton hicks contraction, which I had been getting frequently since the second trimester. But that morning they felt more painful than usual and kept coming regularly. I downloaded a contraction timer app and started telling Nic when I was having one. He texted his parents and let them know that labor may be starting so that they could plan on watching the boys. I had a pile full of dishes in the sink and wanted to tackle those before I went to the hospital. Nic and I did a quick tidy up session, then I jumped in the shower and finished putting the last minute stuff into my hospital bag. His parents came over and Nic and his dad gave me a priesthood blessing. Nic's parents then took Andrew to school, while Tyler tagged along with them. 

Ever since Andrew's birth experience of being sent home twice while in labor before finally dilating enough to be admitted, I have been nervous about arriving too early. We decided that since contractions were still consistent we should head to Marian Regional Medical Center ( and arrived around 830). They checked me in the L&D triage area and I was a 4cm with contractions every 5 minutes. The nurse called Dr Adler and we were admitted around 0950 to room 341.

My IV was started, I got a bolus of saline and then my nurse paged the anesthesiologist, Dr. Rose, for my epidural. They asked Nic to leave the room while my epidural was placed. This was the first time that I actually felt some pain while my epidural was being placed. He pulled the placement back a little and the pain went away. It sure was nice to be able to relax and get a break from the contraction pains after the epidural medication was started.

Shortly after the epidural was place, I suddenly felt nauseated and light-headed. I asked Nic to call my nurse and she came in to check my blood pressure. She had suspected that my BP was low from the epidural, but it wasn't. While still in the room, she told me that baby wasn't tolerating contractions too well and needed to put oxygen on me and reposition me. Carter's heartrate dropped into the 80s for 6 minutes. My nurse paged Dr. Adler to notify him of Carter's heartrate and got an order to give me an injection of Terbutaline to slow down the contractions. They thought that Carter's cord must be getting compressed and that's why they had me reposition and slow down the contractions. His heartrate did recover and Dr. Adler showed up shortly after to break my water and place an internal  monitor. There was meconium present, indicating Carter to be under stress. My nurse said it could have been from the low heartrate episode he just had. The fact that meconium was present was not very comforting to me. The waves of light headedness were not as bad but still came and went.

My nurse placed a Foley and I was 6 cm dilated at that time.

My nurse came in a little later and told me the contractions were back to every 5-6 minutes and baby was tolerated the contractions at this time.
Nic's parents brought Andrew and Tyler to visit.

While they were there my nurse came in and said we needed to reposition. The boys and Nic's parents left the room and then everything started moving ver quickly. Carter's heartrate had decelerated again and suddenly there was a team of nurses helping me to reposition (left side, right side, on hands and knees) but his heartrate continued to drop (40 bpm). The nurses called my doctor, gave me another dose of Terbuteline, put on a scalp electrode, and did a pelvic check to make sure they couldn't feel the cord. I remember hearing Carter's heart monitor beeping so slow and irregular, at times I thought it had stopped. I heard one nurse say something to the effect of "it's time to prep the OR." A C-Section is something that I've never wished for, but in this moment I was so ready for them to get me there so they could get Carter out to safety. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

As they were quickly moving my hospital bed, trying to scramble to unplug electrical cords and take all the appropriate monitors along with me, the graveness of it all suddenly hit me and tears started to stream down my face. A nurse told me that I was in good hands and I responded, "I'm just worried about my baby." My regular doctor was stuck in traffic so the OB hospitalist would perform the C-section. He told me while helping push my bed through the hall that there are obvious risks with cesarean sections, but right now the benefits outweigh the risks. I agreed. Because the OR was literally right across from my L&D room, we reached it in a matter of seconds.

The anesthesiologist put a mask with a high flow of oxygen on my face and I heard him asking someone to apply cricoid pressure for my intubation. The OB hospitalist asked what baby's heartrate was now and I heard someone say that it was in the 70s. Among the many things I heard while looking up at the bright light in the OR were, "we don't have time, were going to have to do general anesthesia" and "oh, we're doing general so the husband won't be able to come in. I'll tell him." I really wished Nic could be with me, but a nurse asked me if she could pray with me and it was like Heavenly Father was letting me know that He was aware of my fears and my concerns. The very short prayer offered by that nurse brought so much comfort. In that moment, I realized that no matter what the outcome, the Lord was in control and He knew what was best. The last thing I remember was seeing the intubation tube hanging over me and having the thought "please remember to put me out before sticking that down my throat." I didn't know how Carter was going to be when I woke up and prayed that he would be alive.

The next thing I remember is having my eyes closed and hearing Nic talking to me (he had been able to watch them weigh and bathe Carter in the room next to the OR and then Carter and Nic came into the L&D PACU).

As I was coming out of it, I think Nic was stroking my head or arm or something. I asked how Carter was and he said that his Apgars were good, his oxygen had decelerated a little but he was able to recover well without help. Nic told me that when they did the c-section, there was a lot of blood in there and they suspect that my placenta had abrupted, decreasing blood flow to Carter which caused him stress and heartrate to drop dangerously low.

I was shaking really bad, teeth chattering and all (rigors) and the nurses gave me Demerol to stop them. I told Nic that my throat and my teeth hurt and he said it was from the tube. He told me I had been out for awhile because it was so emergent they couldn't do all the instrument/sponge counts before and had to take xrays after to make sure they didn't leave anything in me. I guess they had a scare because they forgot I had the epidural and on the xray it appeared that something was left behind. They removed the epidural and had to do another xray. Also, the Dr. had to use sutures instead of staples because of no time to do the usual thorough skin prep. Sutures take much longer. Anyway, Carter was born at 1438 and I think I remember looking at the clock in the recovery room and it was about 1630. It was strange because I felt like I couldn't open my eyes very well at first and then when I could the room felt like it was moving. It was frustrating because I kept trying to look over at Carter on the warming table but my eyes couldn't focus well. Nic mentioned that he was our bald baby and I was able to see enough that I agreed. He looked so sweet and my first thought was that he looked more like Andrew to me. Once I woke up enough, a nurse brought Carter over to me and helped hold him while I nursed him for the first time.

Once I was done in recovery room, they moved us to the mother/baby section. I had to stay on bedrest the entire night due to the spinal block they gave me before they pulled the epidural. This was hard because I felt very dependent on others to help me. Anytime Carter woke up, I had to call Nic's name to wake him so he could hand Carter to me. After I was done nursing, I had to wake Nic back up to put him back and do any diaper changes. Carter definitely didn't have any trouble with pooping or peeing.

The next morning, I was able to have my Foley removed and get up to use the bathroom on my own! Progress. Carter and I stayed a total of 3 nights and were discharged on Sunday. Whew, I am tired of writing this very, very long blog post so I will just end it here with some adorable pictures of Carter. We are so blessed to have him in our lives!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Welcome Baby Tyler!

I'm finally getting around to blogging about baby Tyler's birth!
(Warning: I wanted to write every detail down to remember, so it is very long)

When Andrew was about 21 months old, we started trying for another baby. After two years with no luck, we decided to go see a reproductive endocrinologist. One of my friends at work had referred me to Fertility Specialists of Thousand Oaks. We got all the work-up testing and were told that one of my tubes was blocked and Nic had poor sperm quantity and quality. We were told that our chance of conceiving on our own was less than 5%. Wow! This fact told us that we were very blessed to have Andrew on our own! The good news was that with our young age and previous pregnancy, the likelihood of fertility treatments working were very good! We thought and prayed about it for a few months, then decided to try Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) with the added help of ovulation augmenting drugs. I went in for ultrasounds through the process so that they could see on
which side and how well the follicles were developing. I was disappointed when the ultrasound showed that I was going to ovulate on the side that was most likely blocked. The doctor still wanted us to try, stating that it still could be successful. I thought we were just going to waste our money going through with IUI that month. But I am so glad we went through with it! After the first try of IUI, we got a positive  pregnancy test on Thanksgiving morning! I went in for my blood test to confirm pregnancy and got nervous when I was told that my HCG level was only 16 when it should be 50-100 at this point. The doctor told us that it could mean that I had miscarried or had a tubal pregnancy. They did more HCG tests and the numbers kept doubling, which was a good sign! Our first ultrasound was scary because the specialist didn't see as much as he had hoped (something about egg yolk/egg sac, etc) It seemed like ages, but we did finally get to see and hear the baby's heartbeat on ultrasound!!! What a relief. 

 At 14 weeks, we decided to go to a gender ultrasound boutique to find out the gender.

 And we found out we were having a boy!!!! Nic, Andrew, Rebecca, Robert, Miranda, Amelia, and my Mom were able to come to the gender ultrasound.

Throughout the pregnancy, I had several ultrasounds done by a perinatologist because of my ulcerative colitis and mild Von Willebrand disease making me high risk.
 At one of our appointments, the doctor took 10 minutes or so looking at Tyler's heart on ultrasound. Boy was that a scary 10 minutes because Nic and I both knew he suspected something was wrong. He thought Tyler might have coarctation of the aorta and sent us to a pediatric cardiologist. After much fasting and prayer and an ultrasound a couple weeks later, we were relieved to find out that his heart was healthy!
Overall, I felt good during this pregnancy. I had some mild nausea and light-headedness at the beginning and felt very tired and short of breath at the end. I decided to start maternity leave 3 weeks before my due date, which ended up being really nice since we were moving from Camarillo to Lompoc at that time. My OB offered to strip my membranes at 39 weeks, but I declined. I thought for sure I wouldn't go too far past my due date. Well, my due date of Aug 4 came and went and I had absolutely no signs of being close to labor. Each day past my due date felt like a week! I let my OB strip my membranes 3 days past my due date. I lost my mucus plug 2 days after that 
but still no other signs.
Me at 41 weeks

At 8 days past my due date I was still stuck at 2cm (which I had been for the past few weeks) and my OB offered to strip membranes again (which I allowed) as well as admit me to the hospital to start labor. I had already arranged babysitting for Andrew and packed my hospital bags in the car before my appointment. Luckily when my OB called over to L&D, they were slow and told me to come right over. They admitted me and my OB came over during his lunch break to break my water (1pm). I was dilated to 3cm at that time, -3 station and my OB's guess for baby's weight was 8lb 2oz. He said that if I hadn't started regular contractions by 3pm he would have the nurses start pitocin. Luckily that was NOT NEEDED! At 1:15 I started having contractions. My doctor let me eat lunch at 1:30, which was really nice. I walked in the hallways and tried the birthing ball when the contractions started bothering my back a lot. At 2:30 I was dilated to 4cm. At 5:00 I got my epidural. The anesthesiologist placed it slightly too far to the right and I felt more numbness on the right side of my body than the left. The epidural definitely helped ease the intensity of the pain, yet still allowed me to feel contractions (and quite a bit of pain while pushing- which I didn't remember feeling during Andrew's birth) At 5:20 I was still 4cm and -1 station. At 7:36 was 6cm dilated. My nurse told me that the waveform on my toco monitor combined with my back labor pains made her believe that baby was posterior position and I would progress slowly. Literally minutes thereafter, I felt Tyler moving a lot and started to feel a lot of pressure. At 9:23 I was 9cm dilated!! Things progressed very quickly after that. At 10:11 I was pushing and at 10:30pm I was holding a beautiful 8lb 13oz 20.5inch baby boy!! I am so thankful for the beautiful blessing of family my Father in Heaven has given me! What a miracle life is!
Here are some more pics of this wonderful life event:

 Nic and I at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital

 We had nice company during labor. Nic's mom, my mom and my sister Tonya (who took these wonderful pictures!!) were there. Nic's dad was so helpful and watched Andrew in Santa Barbara that day (and night) so that he could bring Andrew by as soon as Tyler arrived!

 Before the epidural (sitting on the birthing ball having Nic apply counter pressure to my lower back)

 A nice visit from Andrew! He was a little nervous at first, but warmed up quickly. He noticed my IV and said, "Nice arm system, Mom" 

 About the time I was at 9cm!
 Another quick visit from Andrew, then back to the visitor's lobby he went!
 Closer... (push start time)
And closer...(Call Dr time) 

 Baby time!!
 I love how these pictures show how happy the nurse is too!

 Grandma Locken :)
 This is one of my favorites, as it shows how happy Daddy, Grandma Arnold, 
and Grandma Locken were!
 I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband!!

 Love, love love these photos!! Thank you Tonya

 Here are some pics we caught with our camera

 Tyler is lucky to have a cousin born just 3 weeks before him (Same exact due date though)

 Great Grandma and Grandpa Clifton!

 More gorgeous pictures taken by Tonya Joy Photography

 My sister Gena also took some wonderful pictures. Click here to check them out