Sunday, August 8, 2010

Oskar's progress

Our baby boy is two weeks old today. He is doing so well! As I mentioned previously he has never needed assistance breathing which is amazing. He was having difficulty digesting my breastmilk as his system is just too immature. As a result, he had to have his feedings decreased and was put on lipids (fat) and a TCP solution both of which were administrated by IV for the purpose of adding calories. The first and second IVs where in his little arms and the third was placed in his head. I had been warned of the possibility as his veins are just so tiny and fragile but it didn't make it any easier to see my baby with tubes in his head. There was also a few day period when they suspected he was lactose intolerant and contemplated switching him from my milk to soy. And, after birth our little one dropped from 1530 grams to 1365 which was pretty scary.

I am happy to report that Oskar started digesting his milk like a pro. He stopped having residuals (milk left in his tummy at next feeding) and is now on full feeds which means NO MORE IV!! I was thrilled to see that go. He is now receiving 35ml every three hours which probably does not seem like much to a parent of a newborn but for Oskar it is perfect - the exact calorie amount necessary to help him grow at his current weight. Which is 1595 grams (3 pounds 8 ounces) as of last night. He has also had a brain ultrasound and an eye test both of which came back perfect.

This afternoon Juha, Seija and I gave Oskar his first bath! He was such a little trooper and only cried for a moment even though it must have been so cold for him. It was wonderful to care for him in such a normal way. I promise to post pictures soon.

I visit Oskar twice a day. For about 2.5 hours in the day time during which I practice kangaroo care with him (hold him upright skin to skin) for up to 2 hours and then again around 8 at night when I hold him for about an hour and stay with him for about 2 hours. As he gets bigger this will increase and within the next couple of weeks I will be able to attempt nursing with him. He still has a long way to go, of course, but I couldn't be happier with his progress. He is such a little fighter. Every day he is more alert, awake for longer periods of time, his little eyes looking at me and his little fingers holding tightly to mine. It amazes me the amount of love I feel for this tiny little human. He is our miracle baby and has stolen our hearts.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oskar and Oliver

More than once I have called (or referred to) Oskar as Oliver. The simple reasons for this are because their names are similar, as in they both start with 'O' and also because Oskar looks exactly like Oliver did. The deeper reason is that some part of me truly believes that Oskar is both himself and Oliver. For the record I know exactly how crazy that sounds but that is how I feel in my heart of hearts.

After Oskar was born I was talking to one of my OB's about WHY this happened. How could I have such a normal, uneventful 42 week pregnancy with Seija and then have my water break at 30 weeks with Oliver and have him pass away before he was even born and then have that be followed by my pregnancy with Oskar where I bled continuously for 10 weeks before my water broke again, this time at 31 weeks. Why can my body no longer handle carrying babies? WHY WHY WHY.

The consensus of the OB's on duty for the duration of my hospital stay is that my c-section with Seija was botched. Apparently during the section my cervix and my uterus were cut and never repaired. That combined with significant scar tissue has resulted in a faulty uterus which can no longer support baby once he gets to a certain size.

Juha was angry to hear this. Angry that most of the above is written in my file after Seija's birth yet no one ever told me. Angry that the doctor made such an error that later resulted in the death of our baby. But, I have no anger. I am relieved to have an explanation. And I know that if we would have been told this after Seija's birth we would have never tried to get pregnant again. It would have been irresponsible and negligent for us to try for another baby if we knew we could never make it to term and that we could possibly lose a baby. Therefore, if we knew I would have never had the chance to carry Oliver and I wouldn't have my precious miracle Oskar.

Both of my boys are blessings. I am grateful to God that Oskar is here and I believe that my Oliver is watching over us. But I also believe that parts of Ollie will live forever in my little baby Oskar.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Oskar

A lot has happened since my last post - the most noteworthy event being the birth of our son Oskar Juha. It's going to take a few posts to catch up on everything but I will start tonight with Oskar's birth story.

Four days after my last post I was admitted to the hospital following a really big bleed. I knew when I left for the hospital that I wouldn't be returning home. I spent two days being monitored in Labour and Delivery as I was contracting and bleeding. I was then moved to the maternal floor and was told that I would remain there on bedrest until Oskar was born. I continued to bleed and have sporadic contractions but was hopeful I could make it for a couple of more weeks. Bedrest sucked as did being away from Seija but I was doing all I could for Oskar and I was happy with that.

A week after I was admitted my water broke. I was devastated by this. During the eight weeks I was on bedrest, in Winnipeg and hospitalized I comforted myself with the fact that it wasn't the same thing as what happened with Oliver. But, as soon as my water broke it was like I was reliving my nightmare. I was quickly moved to Labour and Delivery and was monitored 24/7. They put me on antibiotics, gave me the sterroids for Oskar's lungs and said they wanted to wait at least 48 hours to allow the medication to work. I spent that 48 hours awake and watching the monitors, feeling as though I was waiting for his heart to stop beating.

When Sunday dawned I knew it was time for him to be born. I felt like my body was telling me to get him out, that he was no longer safe inside me. His heart still looked good on the monitor and the Dr. wanted to try for a few more days. I told him that I felt that was the wrong decision. He sent me for my 28th ultrasound and baby was no longer doing well, not moving anymore and within 30 minutes we were in the OR.

We were told that they may have to rush Oskar out of the room, that he may not cry and that we may not get to see him until much later. But, he cried!! It wasn't a loud cry but it was a cry. He also peed on my doctor and was pink and feisty. They showed him to us before they took him back to the NICU.

I will update later on Oskar's progress but I will tell you that he is doing well. He needed help breathing for two minutes and has been breathing on his own since. He is perfect and healthy but oh so tiny. Oskar was born on July 25 at 3:10 p.m. and weighed 3.5 pounds.

I know it is crazy to be happy to have a premature baby but I must say that given everything that has happened over the last two months I am positively thrilled that my baby boy is here on the outside being cared for by the best. I am sad that my body failed him but know I am blessed that he is here, he is alive and one day I will bring him home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Again...For Now

I am thrilled to be back with my family. I had two entire weeks without bleeds and was given the OK to travel home last Tuesday. I've been home for six days and have been back to the hospital twice with two bleeds. Baby is looking great and my health seems fine so we will continue on like this (stay at home on bedrest and go into hospital for monitoring after each bleed) until the bleeds get worse. Their best guess right now is that the small tear behind my placenta is bleeding more frequently because baby boy is using it as his own punching bag. Silly boy.

It seems inevitable that I will be hospitalized at some point so I'm trying to enjoy my time at home as much as possible. It is SO SO wonderful to be home with Seija. She is such an amazing little girl and she is constantly entertaining me and blowing me away with the things that she says. She seems to have understand, as much as a 3 year-old can that I need to rest and that I cannot walk or do things outside with her. We do crafts together and play games and read stories and I can tell that she is so happy to have her family back together. She has asked if I can get a babysitter to watch her baby brother in my belly so that I can take her shopping and swimming. If only it worked like that, little one.

I am still struggling to stay positive. Some days I just want to cry because I feel left out of the fun with Seija. But I try to stay strong enough to be less selfish as I know I am doing the best I can for this baby and he deserves everything I can do for him.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why Me? Why not.

I believe it is human nature to ask questions such as "Why me?" when we are faced with tragedy and/or challenges in our lives. I have certainly asked this many times: I asked that question when I found out that Oliver's heart no longer beat inside my womb. I asked that question when I found myself at my son's memorial service. And I have asked myself that question several times over the last few weeks as I faced complications in my pregnancy.

Sometimes we look for a reason why these things happen to us on a philosophical level (is God testing my strength or my my faith, is it karma, do I deserve this) but I think that's bullshit. Obviously no one deserves such heartbreak. The best answer I have been able to come up with is why the hell not. No one is discriminated against when it comes to tragedy, heartbreak and challenges. That's just life. So now, I'm trying to focus my energy on the power of positive thinking, on being strong enough to get through these moments in life instead of focusing on the why part. I finally realize that the why part is irrelevant and a waste of energy, it doesn't change anything and instead adds negative energy to the healing process.

Four weeks ago when I was 24 weeks pregnant I hemorrhaged. We rushed to the hospital where the oncall OB did an exam and told me it was her "clinical opinion" even though she couldn't prove it, that my waters had broke. In that moment I was transported back in time to March 2009 when we learned the same thing about my pregnancy with Oliver, and we all know how that turned out. So, obviously we were terrified and upset. The doctor then continued to say that at 24 weeks the baby had little to no chance at life and it was the opinion of the head of the neonatal pediatrics that we do nothing to save him. (i.e. no transfer to a hospital that can actually help 24 weekers and no resuscitation) So then of course we were devastated. I couldn't believe it was happening all over again.

To make a long story as short as possible - everything is okay. After the OB scared the shit out of us the neonatal doc came in and told us our son had every chance of survivial if we transfered out to a 3+ hospital. We were transfered to Winnipeg where we were immediately told my water did NOT break. I have been here in Winnipeg ever since. Almost four weeks now. I have had a total of 3 hemorrhages. I have what they are calling a chronic abruption which means a small tear in my placenta which continues to tear. I am on strict bedrest and now that I will be 28 weeks tomorrow I can go back home in a week or so. I will be on bedrest for the duration and I will most likely be in and out of the hospital, and probably won't make it full term BUT baby is okay, my water did not break and this is NOT the same as last time. (Enter the power of positive thinking).

I look forward to returning home to my family. Aside from the fear the worst part has been being separated from my daughter and husband. I know I won't be able to do much for her once I get home but at least I can see her smile and hear her laugh - which is the best medicine there is. And when I do get home you can be sure my energy will be focused on prayer and strength and not feeling sorry for myself or concentrating on the why.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Children of the World

So, I'm sitting here watching Idol Gives back and the tears are falling down my face. It breaks my heart, (I literally feel chest pain) when I watch snippets like this, shots of children dying from Aids and starvation, watching children living in poverty, children who are victims of abuse, children who are sick, parentless children. Ever since I had my daughter my heart aches more to think of these children, millions of children across the world MILLIONS, suffering. I wish I could help them all but yet I feel helpless. Sure I can donate some money and I do but it doesn't feel like enough. I have a need deep inside to make a difference in a child's life, (other than my old children - I take it as a given that I will make a difference in their lives).

I started the process to become a big sister and it is a start towards this goal. I often tell Juha that if lightening strikes twice for us, if this baby is taken away from me too then we will need to adopt a child, give a home to a child who really really needs one. Maybe this is something we can do anyways, in the future. But I think I have a lot of work to do on the husband first. :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No time for dwelling

It has been a busy week and a half. I usually enjoy busy because for me it means no time for dwelling on my anxiety or grief. But this week was a bit much. I am happy to report that I have now finished my work contract, I have studied my butt of and written my exams, packed and organized a bit of the house, decorated a playroom for Seija at the new house and threw two parties for my daughter to celebrate her third birthday. I am not happy to report that my poor little girl suffered a horrible bladder infection during the midst of her birthday celebrations.

It is so hard to see your kiddies sick. It started on Friday night and I thought she was getting better on Saturday (her birthday) but it came to a head on Sunday, the day of her parties. Poor thing was peeing every 2-5 minutes at her kiddie party and then I noticed there were tiny little blood clots in her urine when we got home and I freaked. Off to ER with us for hours and hours. She was such a trooper. Doctor said her infection levels were as high as they can possibly measure. She is on antibiotics now and should feel better soon. She says she is already better but I'm pretty sure she is just saying that because she doesn't like the taste of her medicine.

We have to take her for an ultrasound on Thursday to ensure there is nothing seriously wrong with her bladder. Doctor says it is regulation now for any child under 5 who has more than 1 UTI infection. Seija had one about 6 months ago. I am of course praying that there is nothing seriously wrong with her bladder or urinary track. I am grateful that doctors are following up but I'm scared a little too. Guess we will find out.