18 December 2010

Peter the Magnificent

I am home and pumping because my little Peter is in the hospital being treated for meningitis. :(

I'm not exactly sure he HAS meningitis, and neither is the neo-natologist, frankly. But the pediatric infectious disease doc has given that diagnosis, so we will treat it.

The bad news is that he has to have a PICC line and will be in the hospital for 14 days total. But that's the only bad news, really.

The good news (which, on the tiny keyboard on my phone, I always type as "god news". Coincidence, I think not!) is profoundly greater, in number and substance. The good news -- all of Peter's systems look not only good, but wonderful! His white cell count in his blood is perfect, which means this infection is not multiplying. (i.e if he does have the bacteria, it's just hanging out). His breathing is good, his oxygen levels are good. His sleeping is good...

But the most wonderful thing, to me, is that he can be fed "ad lib" meaning whenever-he-wants AND, glory of glories, he's been a really good nurser!!! He opens his mouth wide, latches on almost right away, and then nurses himself to sleep. I LOVE it!!! I think my mammaries are so excited that I might have a little overactive letdown going on. The poor child was gulping as fast as he could the other day and the milk just kept pouring forth.

I cannot describe the joy this gives me! After nursing Annalivia for 14 months, which was such a sweet experience, both Daniel and Emmeliese were my feta-makers -- fed on homemade goat's milk formula. Long-term, they are none-the-worse-for-the-wear, and there were parts of bottle feeding that I enjoyed, namely being able to hand them off to someone else to have a bottle. But I missed breast-feeding. There really is something there that cannot be duplicated in bottle-feeding, regardless of how close one can come. I'm not sure what it is. But that "je ne sais quois" is remarkable.

And I get to experience it again...

Such sweet joy this little one has already brought... :) :)

For a few more pics, click here.

17 December 2010

7 Quick Takes

1. I can't believe that Peter is here. It is so surreal to think about my fourth child being here in this world now. He is beautiful. He is evocative of the other kids and at the same time, he just looks completely like himself. He reminds me of my uncle for whom he is middle-named, and he also reminds me of pictures of Dennis' dad. It's very sweet to look at that little face and contemplate who he will be and who he will resemble and what he'll do and become. I really do love being a momma.

2. Peter is in the NICU. For those not on facebook, he was moved there originally because he was not able to keep his temperature and oxygen up and his respiration rate down. He had a blood culture and lumbar tap which ruled out infection, then he received surfactant to bring his lungs into a bit more maturity. Right now, he is under the bili-lights.

3. I have to go home today. I've decided to believe that Peter is going home today, too. One of my prayers for the last few months has been that we could go home together. I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like God has been asking me to continue to believe that He'll take care of things to make that happen. I'm someone who usually has many thoughts about what may or may not happen and how things may or may not work. But not this time. This time, I feel like God is asking me to abandon some of my "what-if's" and just do some simple (which, as it turns out, is not so simple) trusting. To quote a line from Facing the Giants, "I'm preparing for rain."

4. I am amazed and astonished by how different the C-section experience was for me this time. When Emmeliese was born, she was an emergency C after 20 hours of active labor. Because of the way she was positioned, the docs had to do a classical (vertical) incision on the uterus. They also had to make a classical incision externally, which meant that I had this very painful wound around my belly button. It was so difficult to move around, hold the baby, nurse, etc. This time, my amazing doctor worked really hard to take the incision low on both uterus and belly and oh. my. goodness., what a HUGE difference it has made.

5. I have been reminded over and over again how blessed we were through the experience with Emmeliese and the how the things we endured then have made Peter's birth so much easier. Because of E's history, Peter got antibiotics immediately when he was having trouble breathing instead of waiting for cultures to come back indicating an infection. Because of my experience with the surgery last time, I have known to ask for certain considerations. And...

6. Because of our experience in the NICU last time, we've been able to confront some communication problems brought on by the hospital's move of the NICU into a separate building while the Labor and Delivery ward has stayed where it was. In order to get to the NICU, a mother has to get into a wheelchair and be wheeled through two wards to an elevator, get on the elevator and go down two floors to a skywalk and then follow a circuitous path through another building which involves automatic doors that must have a button pushed on the opposite side of the door than that through which a mother is passing, then proceed into the final building, get back on the elevators, and finally, sign in at the NICU. This process must repeat itself anytime one wants to visit one's baby. And someone else must repeat it anytime one pumps and wants to deliver breastmilk. To say it is ridiculous is a MASSIVE understatement. The accompanying communication difficulties have been frustrating. I will be writing several strongly-worded letters. (Say that a la Gob Bluth. It sounds cooler.) :)

7. I have been so thankful for facebook and the ability to communicate information and, for that matter, hopes and dreams, needs and desires, etc. with lots of people. I have been so moved by the amount of people who are praying for us and our family. I tend to have a lot of inner conflict concerning facebook, but I've been nothing but thankful for it this week.

For more quick takes, see Conversion Diary!

15 December 2010

Peter John

He's here! Peter John Stewart, Monday Dec. 13, 2010, 7 lbs .4 oz, 19 3/4 inches long. A few more pics can be seen here.

07 December 2010

Just in case anyone reads here anymore...

It has been such a busy month or so for our family! We moved into the new house beginning at the first of November, fully intending to take our time and sort through junk/ not move unnecessary things, and instead, as always seems to be the case for me, ended up throwing things in boxes and "just getting it done already!" at the end of the month. One of our pastors let us use his trailer and, rather unsuspectingly, told us he didn't need it "anytime soon". He probably didn't realize that it is a McStew family trait to procrastinate as long as possible, so he MAY be getting back his trailer before Spring. Maybe. And in the midst of last month's craziness, we found out that Peter would be delivered early- a full two weeks earlier than expected. And I got put on "limited activity", which has made me about as helpful as a large walrus with definite opinions on how everything should proceed. I need not mention, I think, how my sainted husband is earning his stars-in-his-crown by the bucketful. :)

What all of this has meant, practically, is that we have a large house full of stuff that is not categorized or sorted, boxes most everywhere, Christmas decorations in our pastor's trailer parked, attractively, next to the house, six inches of snow on the ground, an overworked Daddy, a kindergartner on perpetual fall/ Christmas break, and a baby arriving in 6 days.

BUT- it's all good. We're in the house and I pray we will never, ever have to move again (though if I were God and Miss April let me know that she didn't want to move for another 50 years, I'd think she was just "askin' for it" :) ). Little Peter is doing well so far, and so am I, really. The kids are happy even we still haven't hooked up the tv. My mom has been taking them to her house every day and we wer reminded again of what an amazing fam we have when they all helped w/the move... There are just a lot of gifts in this process.

One of the most lovely, timely gifts is that this whole experience has afforded me yet another opportunity to reflect in this Advent time on how God took on human flesh and came into this messy, disorganized, not-at-all-ready-for-Him world and how He will come again - into the world, into my heart, and into the hearts of my family. I really wish this Christmas He would find the arrangements at the McStew house less like a stable than they will probably be, but I'm taking comfort in the fact that he WILL find a family waiting for Him. And in the end, the dusty, unorganized, chaotic chambers of our hearts will be His dwelling place again.
Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come!
Hope you are having a blessed Advent. I'll try to post here after Peter is born next Monday!