My Little Monster

Elliot was a little monster for Halloween. He is quite possibly the cutest monster that has ever existed. Lots of his behaviors warrant the title of monster (exploding diapers, playing with dangerous objects, climbing up stairs, waking up all night long, eating wood chips, biting his source of milk, pulling Daddy's chest hair...etc). But despite all of his monstrousness, he is our pride and joy.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.


Nicolodemos Family Photos

Three months later..... here are some of my favorites from this adorable family's photo shoot this past July. Enjoy the cuteness!

California Vacay!

Here is a little peak into our vacation earlier this month. We went to visit a cute little town called Solvang, and of course we had to visit the beach a few times. Elliot LOVED the beach. I thought he was going to be a little hesitant about the sand, but he dug right in and enjoyed himself from the start.

Also my sister is a pretty good little model, don't you think?

The Carmichaels

I'm back from the dead! With a few family photos from our mini photo shoot. :)


About That One Time When I Gave Birth

Disclaimer #1: It's been almost 4 months since this thing actually happened, but I'm going to write about it anyway. I have to write it down somewhere before I forget the whole thing all together! Because you know, that's what brains do when traumatic events occur... It makes the memories fuzzy. Anyway, it's going to be a ridiculously long post and I'm writing it more for me than for you, so I won't be offended if you don't read the whole thing.

Disclaimer #2: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you don't like hearing the dirty details about childbirth, then you should probably stop reading now. If words like forceps, placental abruption, high blood pressure, overdose, and giant needle in spine make you squeamish, then you should definitely stop here.

Last chance!

Ok, here's the scoop:

Like I said in my last post, my blood pressure was all messed up. On February 2nd it sort of sky rocketed to about 160/110 (if you don't know anything about blood pressure, normal is 120/80). I'd been on bed rest for a couple weeks, so this was happening just from taking it laying down. It was a sunday so I called the emergency line and talked to my doctor. He said to take another dose of my blood pressure medication and check it again in an hour. If it didn't go down, I needed to go to the hospital to be monitored. After taking the medication, it went down low enough that I didn't need to go to the hospital, but my doc wanted to see me first thing the next morning (February 3rd).

The next morning came, and my little sister Val drove me down to the doctors office. My blood pressure had gone up again and I'd lost 2 pounds since my appointment like 4 days earlier. My fundal height (size of my belly) had stopped growing too, which had him concerned. Things just didn't seem to be going well for me or the baby, so he recommended that I should be induced. This scared me. I was 36 weeks along, and was worried about whether my baby would be okay coming this early. But I felt like it was the right thing, and I trusted that my doctor knew what was best.

So over to the hospital we went. I called John who was at work, and let him know that we were going to have a baby! He went back to the house to get some baby essentials and the car seat, and then met us at the hospital. I was already contracting on my own, before they started me on the pitocin, so that was good.

My blood pressure was so high, I was at risk for having a seizure. So they put me on this thing called magnesium. Magnesium is made by the devil himself. I'm serious, that stuff is just terrible! It made my brain soooo foggy, I was very irritable, and basically incapable of making decisions. Add to that the pain of pitocin induced labor, and an annoying nurse in training, and I wasn't your average sweet peach to be around. What made matters worse, is that they didn't take my small body into account and gave to the normal magnesium dose they give to their adult patients. Well they basically overdosed me, and when they tested the magnesium levels in my blood they were barely below the toxic level. This was hurdle number one, and it made all the other hurdles that are to come even harder to bear.

So the doctor broke my water (ouch) and started me on the pitocin at about 1:30 pm. I was about 1cm dialated and 100% effaced when I started. My parents came to the hospital, and so did my brother and his wife. John was by my side, feeding me ice chips, popsicles and juice, and helping me keep my patience. My sweet nurse in training messed up on my IV, and had to poke me like 3 times when drawing my blood, so after that point I had this rage towards her! Every time she told me "you are doing so great," I wanted to rip her head off! I'm really not that mean of a person, but this was the magnesium talking.

At about 6:30, my nurse (the experienced one I didn't hate) came in to tell me that if I wanted an epidural in the next hour, I needed to get it now because the anesthesiologist was going to be gone to dinner. I had originally wanted to try to labor longer without the epidural. I was only about 5-6 centimeters dialated at this point, but the pain of contractions was starting to get a little bit intense. Previously, the doctor had tried to put in a monitor inside of me to measure contractions, and tried to stick a sensor to babies head to measure his heart beat more accurately. But he couldn't get it through and it hurt so bad! He was going to be coming back in soon to try again, and I thought if I was going to end up getting an epidural eventually I might as well do it now so that I wouldn't be in all that pain again. But at the same time I didn't want an epidural. So I sat there, incapable of making a decision (my brain was so fuzzy thanks to that dang mag). I finally told John that he just needed to decide! He opted for the epidural.

So in came the anesthesiologist and out came the giant spinal needle. I leaned up against John to keep me steady. To be honest, I wasn't really that worried about the needle going into my spine. Before, that was one of the big reasons that I didn't want the epidural. But the pain of labor kind of shifts your perspective, so I just leaned against John and tried to hold very still through contractions. After the epidural went in, I started to feel verrrrrry light headed like I was going to pass out. Before I could tell the nurse she started speaking very urgently to the anesthesiologist, repeating my vitals. I'm not sure what my heart rate was, but my blood pressure basically flip flopped and went from 150's/110's to like 90/150! And then I started throwing up. I can still hear the anesthesiologist's words saying "I'm pumping 5cc's of this, and 10 cc's of that..."  It felt like I was on an episode of Greys Anatomy! My doctor came running in and had them give me zofran to stop the throwing up, and then they finally got things back to normal (ish) and I was able to get some rest.

At about 10:30 pm, I started feeling the contractions more intensely. In between contractions I would get really sick to my stomach, and then contractions seemed to bring relief. I told the nurse and she checked me and what do you know I was at a 10. Time to push! After a few pushes, the babies heart rate started dropping during contractions so they put me on an oxygen mask to see if it would help bring it up. I continued to push for about 20 minutes. John was by my side, helping me through each push. I was kind of sitting up and bearing down, so I couldn't see what was going on down there, but I could see my doctors face. I watched his facial expression closely as it turned from concerned to worried. He kept looking at the monitors and I knew something was wrong. He said to the nurse something like, "This is a lot of blood. This is more blood than normal." And even though this should have freaked me out, I was oddly calm through it all. Babies heart rate had dropped and it wasn't coming back up, so the doctor asked for forceps... It was either that or emergency c-section, which I def did not want. It turns out I had a partial placental abruption, which is why I was bleeding so much, and why his heart rate dropped.

It was 11:09 p.m. I think I closed my eyes for the forceps part. I did not even want to see those long metal things anywhere near my lady parts, but I watched as the dr. pulled my little purple and blood covered baby into my view. The first few seconds he was silent, and my heart stopped.

And then he cried, and that cry was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard. And then I cried.

They cut the cord and rushed him over where a crowd of nurses and specialists waited to check him out. They wiped him off and weighed and measured him. He was 4 lb's 14 oz and 18.5 inches long. They brought him over and laid him on my chest for a few minutes. His little smooshed up face was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. But his breathing was a little wheezy, so they took him away while I got stitched up (thanks forceps). John went with baby Elliot, and even though I was worried I knew in my heart that everything would turn out okay.

And it did. After an hour of CPAP and one 20 second episode of not breathing, he didn't have any more problems with breathing. He did end up in the NICU for the next 10 1/2 days because of hypoglycemia, jaundice, not being able to regulate his body temperature, and feeding issues, but that story is it's own post.

Now, 4 months later, it almost seems like a distant memory. But my sweet baby Elliot was worth all of it. He was worth the pregnancy and delivery from Hell. <3


Bed Rest? This Just Keeps Getting Better!

Pregnancy, oh how I loathe thee. I know some women have it worse off than I have, but I seriously feel like my body hates me. It has just been thing after thing after thing that goes wrong. I keep trying to keep myself from asking why me? But I'm so close to the end! And this little baby boy is worth all the suffering.

Here is an update on the most recent happenings: After the all day sickness began to ease in the end of November, my blood pressure started to rise. Slowly but surely, it has just gone up up up, to the point where my doctors were worried about pre-eclampsia (very dangerous for both Mom and baby, and the only cure is to deliver the baby). I've been doing lovely 24 hour urine tests with blood work afterward about every two weeks the last couple months, and so far everything has come back saying it's not pre-eclampsia. Which is great news. :) But my blood pressure is at such a dangerously high level, and has been for so long that it may have damaged the placenta.

The baby is measuring very small (10th percentile in weight). Which we are hoping is due to the fact that I'm a tiny person. But because of the blood pressure, we are having to keep a really close eye on his health. I have two non-stress tests every week, and growth scans every other week. This past week my doctor put me on bed rest and blood pressure medication, in the hopes that we can keep him in me past 37 weeks. If he doesn't grow enough, he may not be getting the nutrients he needs, and they might induce me early. Only time will tell. But maybe as soon as next Friday!

The lovely blood pressure medication makes me super light headed, gives me headaches, and has brought back the nausea and vomiting. So it's like okay, I've brought my blood pressure down, but now I can't eat enough/keep enough down to plump up the baby. So we are experimenting trying to get a dose that doesn't make me so sick, but brings down my blood pressure to a safer level. It's just sort of one big hot mess.

I just really want my baby to be healthy. I don't want him to have to struggle after he is born. It's so frustrating for me to have a body that might not be giving him what he needs. I feel like no matter what happens, things will turn out okay. I just wish everything didn't have to be so complicated.

If there is anything this pregnancy has taught me, it's that I can't control everything. In fact, I really hardly have any control at all. I just have to take life as it comes at me, and try to stay positive and happy through everything that comes my way. Just because it hasn't been easy, doesn't mean it won't be worth it. Life is a chance for me to learn, grow, and improve myself. Once the baby does get here, I know it's not going to be all sunshine and rainbows! But I'm so excited to begin the journey of motherhood. More challenges are coming in my future, but at least I can look back and say I made it through a hell of a pregnancy. I can do hard things. And I can make it through whatever the world throws at me! I just have to take things one step at a time, and try to keep a positive mindset.

We've got pretty much all the necessities for the baby. I can't wait to bring our little guy home. One way or another, in the next month or so, hopefully he'll be here safe and sound! Wish us luck! And if you pray, send some our way, we could use all the help we can get! :)