Friday, October 25, 2013

September 19th

This post will be a bit long, but it is long over due.  If you would like to read just about the actual birth, please scroll down a bit.

I am finally getting around to sharing the wonderful news we had from earlier this year (early March).  Pat and I found out that we were expecting a baby!  The baby was due on October 25th, and we were very excited.  Once we got over the shock of this mostly unplanned pregnancy (we were planning to start trying late summer!), we had to figure out how we were going to share the news with our families.  The timing worked out pretty well since both of our parents would be celebrating their wedding anniversaries in late March.  To break the news, we made a special framed picture for them.  It included a copy of the ultrasound in one frame, and a picture of Kalea:

They all had the same shocked reaction as when we broke the news the first time around.  It was a lot of fun to share the news with our close family and friends.

I was very fortunate in that my pregnancy was pretty easy going, similar to Kalea.  I never had morning sickness, and pregnancy cravings never really took over my diet.  The only visible proof of the pregnancy, aside from the inevitable bump, were my hideous varicose veins.  I had them with Kalea, and this time around they came back immediately with a vengeance.  It was nice to go through an entire pregnancy this time with insurance, so a lot of the stress was gone that we went through the first time.  In fact, it just seemed like the pregnancy flew by since there weren't a lot of problems and we wanted to concentrate our time on spending time with Kalea.  Once I finally started feeling and looking pregnant, we spent a lot more time talking and planning about our son.  I really enjoy pregnancy, especially when all of the kicks and movements can be felt.  I spent every night with my hand on my belly and having Pat feel every time there was a kick.  

Here is a pic of me at 32 weeks

The pregnancy went very well aside from one small-ish detail.  At our 20 week ultrasound, we learned that we had a rare complication that can occur with pregnancy.  I had a complete placenta previa, which basically means the placenta was attached at the bottom of my uterus and completely blocked the cervix.  This turned my pregnancy into a high-risk pregnancy.  If the condition persisted, I would have to deliver the baby via a c-section, as my life and the babies would be in danger in a normal delivery.  This complication also carried with it certain risks as my due date approached.  I had a high-risk of bleeding, early labor, and mis-carriage.  I was basically told that any side of bleeding warranted a trip to the labor and delivery department.  If this occurred without needing to deliver, then I would be put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  

There were certain limitations put on what I could and could not do.  Luckily Kalea still only weighed about 20 pounds, which was the maximum weight I was allowed to lift.  I had to take it a lot easier and limit certain activities.  I learned that this condition really had no known causes, and none of the risk-factors applied to me.  It was basically a completely random occurrence.  There was a chance that the placenta would move up as my uterus expanded, and they scheduled a follow-up ultrasound for late August to see if this happened.  My rare condition usually corrected itself in most cases by the middle of the 3rd trimester (only a small percentage of those with some type of previa still had it when delivering).  The follow-up ultrasound showed that there was no change in the condition, so a c-section would be the delivery of choice.  

I was pretty disappointed upon learning the news that I would have to have a c-section.  I had a wonderful delivery experience with Kalea, and was really hoping to have a similar experience again.  Knowing that my body was able to handle delivery without an epidural, but not having it as an option was upsetting.  Of course a c-section is not the end of the world, but the initial shock of it took me awhile to get over.  I did eventually come to accept the only option I had for a birth.  I started talking with people that had had one previously, and I took in as much advice as I could. 

My due date was October 25th (today-the day I am writing this!), but with needing a c-section, my delivery date would be at least a week before that.  My doctors office and I were in the process of figuring out a date for the surgery, but it was never settled.

This next part is a bit graphic, so feel free to skip if you don't want to hear the details of the birth story.

September 19th, 4:30 a.m.  I was 34 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  I woke up feeling a strange sensation.  I immediately got out of bed to head to the restroom.  On my way it was almost like a gate was opened and a rush of blood came out of me.  It was definitely not the normal kind of blood associated with early labor signs.  I was not having any contractions or any other signs of labor.  I had been warned basically every office visit what to do in case of bleeding.  The big warning was in cases of extreme blood flow.  This extreme, emergency case is of course what was happening in the wee hours of the morning.  My husband later called it the "bloody wedding in our bathroom" which is pretty much a good description.  I called it a "crime scene" since our bathroom included bloody foot prints in the bath tub.  

I woke my husband up and had him grab the phone.  We called the labor and delivery department and were told to immediately head to the hospital.  Our hospital was about 40 minutes away, so we needed to go as soon as possible.  While on the phone, I continued to have heavy amounts of blood flow every couple of minutes.  This fact changed our plans and forced us to head to the closer hospital in town.  Of course I had been slacking on the prepared front and had no hospital bag packed.  I had also intended to set up an emergency plan for taking care of Kalea, but I hadn't gotten to it yet.  My husband and  I decided to call for an ambulance (they are located only a mile away).  This way he could take care of getting Kalea up and drop her off at my cousins house (thank you again Joe and Chelsea), plus we wouldn't have to worry about getting blood all over our car.  Luckily Pat was able to get a hold of Chelsea who lives on the way to the hospital.  She watched Kalea for us until my parents could drive down from their house.  

Meanwhile, I was riding in the ambulance, heading for the hospital.  One of the questions the paramedic asked me was whether I had felt the baby move recently.  I hadn't, and internally I began to panic.  I was really worried that my little guy was not ok.  I didn't have to wait too long to be relieved of this worry since he hooked up a fetal heart monitor up to my belly.  I have never been so relieved to hear a heart beat in my life.  Once I heard that, I didn't care about anything else, I was just glad to know he was still ok.  

It was an interesting ride, to say the least.  They apparently already had an interesting and busy night, so they were a bit tired.  The driver had a difficult time getting out of our neighborhood, I had to give directions to help him out as the paramedic was attempting to put an iv in my arm.  Then as we were getting closer to the hospital, the driver went the wrong way on the freeway.  We recently had a new hospital open up in town, so they were used to taking people there, instead of the "downtown" women's hospital.  He had to exit the freeway and turn around.  Finally, when we arrived at the hospital he pulled up to the wrong entrance since the last time he was there he had to use that alternate spot.  So they had to wheel me back into the ambulance and drive around to the other side of the hospital.  They were good guys and very helpful.  I later learned from my Dad that there was a full moon this night, which could explain my early labor =)

Once I arrived in the hospital, a lot of things happened at once.  Because of the heavy blood loss, they had to prepare me for an emergency c-section.  I had a few different people coming at me from all angles.  They were filling out paperwork, putting needles in me, asking me medical history questions, and preparing me for surgery.  It was really a whirlwind, and there wasn't a lot of time to panic or even really think about what was about to happen.  All I could think about was how i hoped Pat would be able to make it in time, but I knew they couldn't delay the surgery.  I was wheeled into the operating room, transferred to the operating table, and strapped down.  Not too much later, I had a mask on my face and then I was out.  I remember slowly waking up from a dream, which felt like I had a full nights sleep behind me.  It took me a moment to realize where I was.  I woke up to seeing my husband and mom.  The only thing I could think about was the pain and my son, I kept saying "ow" over and over again.  Pat had gotten to see Landon in the NICU already, and told me he was doing well.  I was relieved to know he was ok.  

Once I got a little pain medication in me, all I could think about was wanting to see our son, Landon.  Eventually they were ready to wheel me down to my room.  I asked to stop by to see Landon on the way, which luckily I was able to do.  The first time I saw my son was overwhelming.  I just kept thinking how tiny he was.  

I so badly wanted to hold him and cuddle with him, but that just wasn't possible.  He had to be under observation since he was so early.  So, I had to head to my room not knowing when I would get to see him again.  My recovery went very well, I was very motivated to get back to see Landon, so I was determined to get my mobility back as quickly as possible.  I ended up getting down to see him about 12 hours after he was born.

 I found out that he was born at 6:32 am.  He was 18 inches and 5 pounds, 11.9 ounces.  Pat and I had picked out the name quite a while ago.  We decided on Landon Dale.  Landon we have liked for a long time and Dale is Pat's middle name and his Dad's name.
Kalea loved eating my food in the hospital, especially my pudding.
We were very lucky with this delivery.  The amount of blood I had lost could have meant a more serious outcome.  Landon was off of oxygen just a few hours after birth and I was off of morphine within 10 hours of delivery.  I didn't need a blood transfusion at all and I was able to go home 2 days later.  I chose to stay the maximum time that my insurance would pay so that I could go to the NICU as often as possible.  I was pumping trying to get my supply started.  It was a great chance to spend some quality time with my new baby and get some extra rest.  This was made possible by my parents who were able to watch Kalea for us.

Landon ended up staying in the NICU for 8 days, which is much better then the original projection of 2 weeks.  He finally got to come home with us on Friday, September 27th.  

Here is our first family picture the day we brought Landon home. Kalea is meeting him for the first time.  

We have had quite a few visitors, both in the hospital and at home, which we have really enjoyed.  

Landon is growing very fast.  in 3 weeks he gained almost 2 pounds.  
He had passed his birthweight at his first checkup, which is wanted for full term babies, but not really expected for premies.  Around 1month, he weighed in at 7 pounds, 6.4 ounces.  He is already over 20 inches tall.  Here is a picture from his 1 month photo shoot.  We are doing the same thing with him that we did with Kalea where he wears a onesie that he can wear when he is 1 year old (we went with an 18 month size just in case).  
He definitely is growing fast, it seems like much faster then Kalea did.  He eats really well, which is nice compared to the difficulties Kalea had.  

Pat and I are so in love with Landon.  Big Sister Kalea gets so excited every time she hears him or sees him.  
She loves to give him kisses on his head and point out his eyes, feet, shirt, hair, etc.  When ever we lay him on the ground, she gets down right next to him for a closer look.  Luckily, she has so far had a smooth transition.  
Sometimes she wants attention when we are busy with the new baby, but she handles it pretty well.  She really is a great big sister, and I can't wait to watch their sibling relationship develop.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weddings, family, and more

In May, we had a lot of events going on with family and friends.  My good friend from college and Pat's cousin both got married on the same day.  I did not want to miss the wedding in California, so I stayed behind and let Pat take Kalea to New Jersey by himself (an adventure in itself).

Matt and his wife, Sarah were married in a beautiful ceremony in La Jolla, followed by a reception at the San Diego Zoo.  They also had a traditional Korean ceremony with family after the church ceremony.  Here we are at the entrance to the Elephant Odyssey.
My "alligator" table assignment.
My view during the reception.
My two guys, Mark and Matt.  
After the wedding, I headed out to meet up with my family in New Jersey.  I have gotten very bad at taking pictures on vacation, but I did get this one with two of the neighbor kids.  Hi Olivia and Greg!
Some cousin time with Aydan before by baby cousins high school graduation.
We went to an Angels' game this last June to celebrate my brothers 29th birthday.  Kalea loved walking around with her Aunt Sara.
Kalea loves to look at pictures of herself on the computer
In July, we went to a Ceramic museum where my mom volunteered to help do art projects with children.  We all went to help out and Pat even got to throw on the wheel for the first time, with my moms help.  I love this picture of Kalea watching her dad.
Ahhh, my mom and dad throwing together.
Not that you can tell by the picture, but Kalea was telling Pat the story that she was reading.  She was very good at summarizing, in her own words :)
Here is a 4 generation picture with my mom and Grandma.  
Pat and I took a mini camping vacation, just the two of us in Malibu.  We had such a good time relaxing. 
Here is one of my favorite pictures of Kalea.  She loves when the sprinklers are on in the yard.  This is from July 30th.  She is 19 months old and walking well on her own, has all of her teeth, and has a wonderful personality showing more and more.  She loves to explore, repetitive play, and making her opinion known.  She has become a very strong-willed, sweet girl.   She repeats everything we say, gives us kisses, and has just recently become scared of shadows in her room at night.  She loves her stuffed animal, Sulley, from Monster's Inc.  "Sofia the First" is one of her favorite shows, and she loves "Cars", "Monsters Inc," and "Toy Story."  She will tell us when she is "All done" eating, or playing, and knows how to ask for "HELP" when she is stuck or sometimes when she doesn't want to do something on her own.  She finally passed the 20 pound mark.

So many new things she has started to do this past year.  We love her so much, and are enjoying every moment watching her grow up, way too fast I might add.  I know for myself, I make sure to enjoy every snuggle I can when she is willing to let me hold her.  
She loves to do this move when she is investigating something a little closer.  She bends down and places her hands on her knees.  
One last picture of Kalea exploring in the back yard.

March and April, 2013

Another quick post update from pictures of Kalea, earlier this year.

Hanging pool side
She loves to look at herself in the mirror before her bath.
An Easter flower child playing with her new ride-on princess car.
Kalea loves to play with her head bands with her Aunt Sara.
A big help to Mommy as she sews.
Kalea loves to read
Trying to get her used to having her hair done.  Her hair is just long enough for pig tails.  They didn't last too long though.
Playing at the park near our house.  She started to crawl/climb up on her own and she loved it!
Going down the slide with Daddy!
Riding back from the park to the house, chilling in her stroller.