31 March 2009

Ten on Tuesday

I've tried starting different blog posts several times in the last week, but for whatever reason, could not coordinate completion of that task. So here are 10 random thoughts which may or may not get me back to blogging.

1. I have lots of pictures I need to share which would be easier if I were to find the camera cable and download them onto the computer.

2. Now that I've had a bit of time to process Emmeliese's birth, I realize I have more to document here. I may get to that someday. But for now let me just say, as a separate number...

3. Re: a C-section -- Oh. my. word. I have NO idea why women would electively choose a C-section over natural childbirth. Even Daniel's uber-long, incredibly painful labor was NOTHING compared to the recovery involved with the C-section. I know part of my discomfort is due to the two vertical incisions I have, but I also have no understanding of why anyone would think a major surgery is better than dealing with some soreness/ swelling. I have absolutely NO idea how women do this with children who are closer together in age or without parents/ helpers nearby. The weight restrictions mean that I can't pick up my older two kids, well, legitimately, at least. (Accidents happen, kids need comfort, you know...) I can't carry Emmeliese in her carseat. If I do, I feel it in a big way. I'd take two epidural-free vag births over a C-section any day. Really.

4. My husband is the most wonderful, amazing, astonishing and self-sacrificing guy ever created. There's much more to say about him, too. But it wouldn't be enough. He's the top. The silver tread on the feet of Fred Astaire, as it were... :)
5. Our church family has been bringing us dinners over the last week or so. And my Gramps and Mom have been making us food, too. We are getting all sorts of yummy treats. Gramps made a meatloaf the other day that the kids absolutely devoured. It was delicious.

6. I've been missing my Grammy a lot. I think I just soldiered through Grammy's death/ Emmeliese's birth/Emmeliese's hospitalization/ Grammy's memorial service and didn't think much about anything other than that which was right before us. But now I have time to think and I am thinking that I will miss my grandmother every day for the rest of my life. And I don't mean that in a depressing way, but I think I will, in fact, miss her that often.

7. We are considering making an offer on a house for sale here in town. It is a great big, old house on a huge lot on a beautiful street and it's cheap because the house needs to be completely and totally redone. The thought of completely and totally redoing a house sort of terrifies me, but it invigorates my husband, so he is doing the coordinating of every meeting/ inspection, etc. I'm being moral support.

8. It snowed 7 inches here on Saturday night/ Sunday morning. Almost all of the snow melted yesterday and now we have thick green grass showing up. It's very exciting to see Spring!

9. Emmeliese still isn't nursing, really. She has nursed a few times and when she does, sucks for about two minutes and then falls asleep. After a whole lotta prayer/ agonizing/ talking-it-over with whomever would listen, I decided to begin pumping only twice a day before bed and upon waking. When she starts nursing -- if she starts nursing -- we'll start with that schedule and then see if I can get her to nurse at other times. This decision to back off the milk production means that Dennis hasn't had to do night bottle feedings. And I am actually getting some sleep, which, at this point, was important for the good of the entire family. I hope Emmeliese will learn to nurse, but you know... if not... life will go on.

10. Our big girl was 8 lbs. 6 oz. at her weight check yesterday. Today she is three weeks old. THREE weeks! Time flies...

22 March 2009

Celebrating Grammy

Yesterday, we had Grammy's memorial service. Everything came together well. Friday night, we had a family gathering at my grandfather's house to start the weekend. Emmeliese decided to stay up until 1 in the morning on Saturday, and I ended up being awake until about 3 a.m. I was worried going into yesterday morning, but the whole day ended up being lovely. The visitation was packed. We ended up having to delay the service about 20 minutes to get everyone through the line. The service was very nice. I did the eulogy and it went well. It was incomplete, of course, but since it is rather impossible to sum up an 84-year old saint in 15 minutes, that was ok. Grammy had planned the service itself, had chosen the scriptures and the music and had even written out what she wanted on the bulletin. It was very nice -- very simple and elegant, I thought. Two prayers, two readings, three hymns, and the eulogy. Lovely.

The church had a sorority who had reserved the fellowship hall, so the we weren't able to have the funeral lunch there. We ended up in a much smaller room, that, frankly, I was worried about pre-service. It ended up being perfect. The luncheon was wonderful and my aunt's wonderful friend brought beautiful centerpieces for the table that were just perfect. Folks crowded in the room, sat on couches and radiators, ate and chatted. It was a great mix of formal/ casual that Grammy would have loved.

After the funeral, we came back and everyone in this family took 2 1/2 hour naps. We needed them so badly that we didn't mind sleeping through the 60-degree beautiful day outside. When we got up, we went out to Gramps' for another family dinner. My uncle and cousins set off fireworks in Grammy's memory and we hung out with dad's three cousins, sons of Grammy's sister, who came all the way from California to be part of the remembrance. It was great, too.

And when we got home, Emmeliese and I went to sleep almost immediately. Dennis was not so fortunate, but he eventually got to bed around midnight. Emmeliese was fussy a lot last night and I think Dennis ended up taking care of her a lot, since I got a lot of sleep. The kiddos let us sleep in a bit this morning, but our big plan for today is threefold -- 1. Rest 2. Pickup the messes around the house 3. Do some laundry. And if we don't get to numbers 2 and 3, it will be ok.

20 March 2009

7 Quick Takes on Friday

1. Emmeliese is home!

2. Emmeliese is home!

3. Emmeliese is home!

4. Emmeliese is home!

5. Emmeliese is home!

6. Emmeliese is home!

7. I'm pumping lots, sleeping little, writing Grammy's eulogy, being constantly amazed by my super-husband, continuing to be eternally grateful for Mom's willingness to entertain Annalivia and Daniel, not answering the phone (sorry, if you are trying to call), and finding fun discoveries like this at 4 a.m.

But what really matters is this-- Emmeliese is home!! :)

16 March 2009

Nursing problems

Well, I was so elated that little Emmeliese knew how to latch on, but the problem is -- nursing requires more than latching on. Darn it.
On Saturday, her IV, which infiltrated three sites in one day, was replaced with a PICC line. That went well and meant she could resume antibiotic treatment. And she came off of the bili-lights and what all of this meant was that yesterday, she finally got a good shot at breastfeeding. And she won't do it.
She opens up wide and has a good mouth position, but she won't suck. She just expects the milk to sort of fall in her mouth. (As if from a syringe. Hmmmm....) When she does suck, she pulls her tongue back in her mouth and sucks very weakly. And she may have, sort of, inherited her mother's lack of patience. She wants the milk and she wants it when she wants it. Period. And if she doesn't get it, she's not afraid to show her displeasure.
Thank God for lactation consultants and a hospital that is large enough to have at least one present every day. They've suggested a number of things, but number one is just being with her skin-to-skin as much as possible. Basically, I am hanging out, literally (*ahem*), by her isolette, curtain drawn, from 8-4 until she comes home, which hopefully will be Thursday. And I'm pumping, seemingly constantly, though in actuality, not enough. I think in the best of circumstances, I have supply issues in the first weeks. These are not the best of circumstances. I've made friends with Fenugreek and, I'm not kidding, drink at least 140 oz of water a day. But I need more milk, faster.
So, that's my update on nursing. In other news, Dennis heads back to work today. He heading back with too little sleep. I worry about him. Daniel and Annalivia I do not worry about because they are with my amazing mother. They are doing wonderfully with her and are learning all sorts of new things and so am I. And the family is all preparing for Grammy's service this coming Saturday, which, for some of us, means coordinating outfits. That would probably sound tacky, unless one knew my Grammy, in which case one would know how that honors her.
And finally -- my youngest daughter ( I love writing that!) is just beautiful. :)

12 March 2009

7 Quick Takes on Friday: The from-the-hospital/ different-day edition

1. I sent Dennis home tonight to sleep in our own bed in hopes that he can get some good rest. We had a good day here yesterday. It's the first time in the last week or so that we've pretty much have answers to the question, "What comes next?" It's a good place to be.
This postpartum experience is so different from the previous kids. It is, arguably, the most difficult set of circumstances, both emotionally and physically that we -- Dennis, baby and I -- have faced. Grammy's death, the unexpected C-section, the infection in little E, the extended stay for me, the really extended stay for her... there's just been a lot. But I feel so much more equipped to handle most everything. It's amazing.

2. Today, Emmeliese's jaundice got worse. She was too tired to nurse at every feeding. When this happened with Annalivia and Daniel, I was panicked. But today, I felt calm about it. I wasn't surprised when it happened. I let her try to nurse, woke her up everytime she fell asleep for the first 10 minutes and then handed her off to Dennis who gave her formula from the syringe while I came back to the room and pumped. And when I pumped, I didn't get hardly anything. But rather than freaking out, by now I know that my milk doesn't come in for a few days. And since I've already fed one child formula and had to let go of my formula-will-ruin-a-baby worries, I'm ok with supplementing until we get coordinated. It's very nice to meet breastfeeding without much anxiety.

3. I've been getting up and around and walking a lot, staying in front of the pain from the incision with the meds, etc. I guess I sort of overdid it yesterday and the incision is a little sore and red this morning. The resident will be here soon and I'm guessing she's not going to be super-happy with me.

4. I've been crocheting another little dress for Emmeliese. Once again, I got through the first couple of rows and realized that I could be doing something cool with it instead of the same old thing. So I'm going to be asking Dennis to stop at the yarn store on the way here later this morning. Have I mentioned how much I love that yarn can just be remade in whatever way one desires? I know I have, but it bears repeating. I love it.

5. Yesterday, I had a visit from The Aunties (pronounced the Minnesota way) and my cousin. Sublime Aunt, sister of my dad and daughter of Grammy, walked in the room and said, "Yooooohoooooo!" really softly. It sounded exactly like Grammy. I got sort of verklempt. It was very, very sweet.

6. Really great news -- my blood sugar readings returned to normal yesterday! AND my blood pressure readings have been very, very good -- generally in the 110's/ 60's. This is such good news. If my blood sugar level will go back down and stay down, it would be just wonderful. And, every other pregnancy, my blood pressure has stayed up for a couple of months. But so far, I'm good. I've had I've been very careful to eat well and drink a vat and a half of water each day. So far, it is working well. I'm sort of hungry. But it's good.

7. I think that my mother should be a candidate for sainthood soon. She's been putting little Daniel -- just turned 2 -- on the potty every morning and he's been going by himself. Yesterday, she was asking Annalivia if she needed to use the restroom before they left later in the day and Daniel piped up, "I need go pee-pee!" Mom put him on the potty and he went! He was very, very excited to get to wear Pull-Ups now. I'm just astonished. I had no energy or desire to deal with potty-training and frankly, didn't think Daniel was ready at all. He may not have been ready for Mommy to help. But Grandma is another matter. She really is a saint.

For more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary.

11 March 2009

Latch on!!!

Tonight I got to put Emmeliese on the breast at her 8:30 feeding. I was not expecting much, but I had noticed this morning that she was rooting around after we fed her with formula from the syringe. I gave her my finger and she sucked hard on it for about 5 minutes. So tonight, I told the nurse I'd like to just let her use me as a pacifier after she ate even though we did not clear it with the neonatologist. Her nurse suggested I go ahead and try to let her nurse before she had the formula from the syringe. AND, lo and behold, she latched right on and nursed for about 10 minutes!!! I was so excited! She got tired and sleepy eventually and we fed her the formula in the syringe. She never got to the right breast, but she had a great latch on the left and nursed exactly like she should!
I was just so amazed and proud of her. Thank God for the whole no-artificial-nipples drum that we've been beating since before we got here. I think we have annoyed the heck out of all the doctors and nurses, but it's working so far! I can't wait for my milk to come in. I really want her to actually get nourishment from me! Because she knows how to nurse! She latched on! Hurrah!

Little E update

Right now, Emmeliese continues to improve, if slowly. Her oxygen saturation is up and her heart beat is a little more regulated. She got to eat this morning and afternoon and for the afternoon feeding, I was able to pump just a little bit of colostrum to give her in addition to the formula. Daddy has been taking care of the feedings, but I've been able to walk down to the nursery and back and hold her for about 10 minutes or so several times today. That's been very helpful. We also found out this afternoon that she did not have any white cells in her spinal fluid or brain and we are very, very thankful for that. So she will be here for 7-10 days instead of 14-21. Thank you, God!

Today I also got a great gift when I was able to see Annalivia and Daniel. They were very careful to be gentle with me and were excited to see Emmeliese through the window of the nursery and are obviously learning a lot of really good things from Grandma. I am surprised by how much I've missed them and how much energy I got from just seeing them for a little bit. And once again, I am reminded that my calling really IS to mommyhood -- with all its complexities.

Also -- we posted some pics of Emmeliese on Facebook. If you follow this link, you should be able to view the album. More later!

Of meetings, partings, and the best-laid plans

April here.

Right now it is 3:35 a.m. and I am between the taking of vital-signs at 3 and the taking of blood at 4 a.m., so I thought I'd stay awake and try to put together a blog post. Dennis figured out how to get into the hospital's free wi-fi system last night, so we'll be able to post more pics at some point -- as soon as we get the USB cable to hook up our camera. I managed to leave that at home. Packed everything else one could possibly never need in the hospital, but left the cable at home, apparently in a spot where others can't find it. I think Dennis will go home today for a bit, though, so maybe we'll have more pics tomorrow. Or maybe not.

Anyway, we are all doing pretty well here. Thank you so much, all of you out there, for your prayers and love at Grammy's passing. It was difficult to be here in the hospital and not with the family, but I would say, honestly that I am very, very, very thankful that Grammy is Home. And I think the whole family feels that way. Her trust in God's goodness and provision was very real. That comforts all of us, even as we miss her.

Here at the hospital, little Emmeliese is doing better this evening. She was ok at birth, and then had some problems with oxygen saturation and a rapid heartrate. She is, currently, in the nursery hooked up to an IV and a monitor and is receiving antibiotics, which is a good thing, since a blood culture indicated that she has some sort of infection. We hope she'll be able to be unhooked in the next two days or so. She has not nursed yet and has been fed only twice by Daddy with a feeding cup. I am anxious to work on latch-on, etc. with her, but more anxious to just hold her for a long time. This evening, about 9, I finally got to hold her for a while. Before that, I had only held her for about 10 minutes, and had only been with her for about 20. I hadn't realized how much the separation was affecting me emotionally. I've been so weepy today. I think I've just been missing my little girl.

Other than being a big cry-er, I have been recovering from the C-section fairly well. The induction and the labor actually went according to plan until about 7 hours in when I got stuck at 5 cm. We ended up with the surgery because Emmeliese never engaged the pelvis at all. After 13 hours of labor, her head had still never touched the cervix and she hadn't moved down at all. It turns out that, while she had turned head down in the Great Baby Turning of 09, she was also turned sideways somehow and her head was tilted in such a way that it just couldn't leave the uterus. I had some unique experiences of having my water break by itself and having an epidural that, though it took a very, very long time to get in, actually worked PERFECTLY. I basically got to doze for 6 hours while the pitocin created nicely spaced, intense but-not-too-excruciating contractions. That was really quite nice.

When we decided to do the C-section, we found that her position made it impossible for the docs to do a transverse incision on the uterus, or my belly, so I ended up with two vertical incisions. I'm moving slow. Very slow. But the C-section has given me yet another chance to observe my husband as knight-in-shining-armor. He just rises to meet every occasion with patience and determination and thoughtfulness. He's amazing. I am so blessed to be the mother of his children.

As for how long we'll be in the hospital, we are hoping to be able to leave by Sunday. Dennis took this week off of work, thankfully and I'm hoping we don't have to stretch into another week. We're going to be having a memorial service for Grammy on Sat. Mar. 21, which, we hope, will give all of the family the time we need to get there. Grammy donated her body to science and so we do not have the normal time constraints associated with funerals, burials, etc. I had agreed to officiate the funerals of Grammy and Gramps several years ago, but, given the circumstances, am sort of scaling back my involvement to just delivering the homily. Probably. I think I can do that. I've been thinking about what to say about them at their memorial services for a long time. Hopefully, I can gather my thoughts and get something worthy of her memory created sometime next week. We'll see how everything progresses.

So. Thus ends my long and somewhat scattered missive. Thank you again, all of you, for your prayers, love, support, etc. It means a great deal to me, Dennis, and our family.

10 March 2009

Emmeliese's Arrival

Kalin here, updating since Apey and Dennis are stuck in the hospital for a bit longer.

Emmeliese made her big appearance at 12:25AM on the 10th via c-section. She weighed 7 lbs, 7 ounces.

They're recovering well. April will update you all with more info later, but here are some pictures!

09 March 2009


Dennis here.

April's grandmother passed away this evening. She was at home with April's grandfather and her hospice nurse. We understand that she passed away quickly and peacefully.

April is in the first stage of the induction tonight. She and our family are obviously sad about Grammy, but we have all been able to be with her a lot lately. We're glad she is no longer in pain. We don't know what the next few days hold, but we hope to keep you updated.

Thank you for your prayers.

05 March 2009


The other day we were heading out and I heard Annalivia telling Daniel to give her his feet. I walked in my room and saw this. She had taken off his shoes and socks and was slathering his feet with lotion. Pretty precious. I'm going to save this pic for sometime when they're teenagers.

Ready... and holding

Well, God's most impatient creature (moi) learns yet another lesson in letting go. The maternity ward in Dixon is full. The doctor in Peoria has other things to do this weekend than deal with an impatient inpatient. So, the induction is scheduled to begin on Sunday at 4 p.m. here in central Illinois.
I think we are ready. Ish. As ready as one can be when a baby is arriving, I guess. In this house, we decided to adapt the master bedroom to another little person rather than worry about fixing up a nursery like we have had for the other two. Our kids sleep near us for the first two years, anyway. We figured we might as well embrace it. :) Plus, it took a lot less work.
We just stuck the changing table mat with a non-slip pad under it on top of one of the dressers in our room. Blankets, diapers, and burp towels fit in the other bins.

The co-sleeper and boppy are ready for their inhabitant. Dennis and I had to switch sides of the bed to set things up this way. We flip alternate sides about twice a year. It always throws me off. I'm such a creature of habit.

The kids have been playing with dolls, practicing holding and feeding and burping, etc. They are ready for a real baby.

One of them may be a little less ready than the other. Right before I took this picture, he was kneeling on the baby. We'll have to keep an eye on him. :)
So, we wait until Sunday. Of course, I could just go into labor before then. For the record, Emmeliese, that would be ok with Mommy. I would like to experience non-pitocin-induced contractions sometime. But what will be, will be. I will be repeating that to myself ad nauseum over the next four days.

04 March 2009

Celtic cobblestone crocheted cardigan for Cleya

I recently finished the St. Patrick's day dress I was making for Annalivia. I totally improvised the sweater and not following a pattern apparently took its toll in the sizing. Along the way, I realized that it was going to be way too big for a four year old, so it morphed into a sweater for my niece, Cleya.

I was glad to give it to Cleya because, unlike my daughter, she was glad to receive a sweater, even if it was green. But, though the gratitude was nice, my favorite part of giving her the sweater was what happened when I asked her if I could take her picture in it.

This was, literally, her first response. She immediately started posing for the camera.

I appreciated the refreshing change from photographing my own children who generally stand about a foot from each other and look at each other and the camera suspiciously. Sort of like Daniel is doing here.

Cleya, on the other hand, really likes to experiment with different poses. She smiles and hams it up. In fact, it was hard to get her to act naturally.

Very hard.
But those of us who grew up with her mother are hardly surprised that this sweet apple fell not far from the tree. :) Isn't she great?

Our little squirrel

The scene from Daniel's bedroom tonight. That's a Sodor bridge and race set, Morgan's Mine, a light-up teddy bear, a rubber ducky, three blankets, an extra fitted sheet and -- what one can't see beneath the train stuff -- four books on diggers, trains, and fire engines and two diecast trains. We had to turn on the light and use the flash to get the picture. :)
I wonder what he dreams about...

03 March 2009

Guess who turned?!!!!!!

WOOOOHOOOOO!!!! Sometime in the last 10 days, little Emmeliese Elizabeth made the flip!

The amnio went well this morning. I found out she'd turned before they did anything and I think the euphoria alone would have sustained me. She's no longer breech! So if the lungs are ready we will induce sometime this week -- more info on when later in the day, I think.

Hurrah!! She turned, she turned, she turned!!!
ETA: Her lungs are ready! We expect she'll be induced Thurs. or Friday. It's a matter of days to baby! :)