Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Long Overdue Update

Hey everyone,

We have a LONG overdue update for our family blog! First of all, since the last time we posted we had our baby :)  Everyone, meet our daughter, Charlee Rae Alleyn: Born Thursday, Nov. 6th 2014 at 10.28am, 6lbs4oz, 48.5cm long.

As soon as she was born Charlee grabbed on to her Pa's finger and she hasn't let go since!

While I was sequestered in our hospital room, unable to move post-surgery, Joel would go visit Charlee in the nursery and take photos of her to bring back and show me.

 Let's rewind to Hallowe'en.  I woke up at 4am to go to the bathroom only to discover that I was bleeding...again.  So off to the hospital we went and back into the same hospital bed I went.  Little did I know, Hallowe'en would be the beginning of two very long weeks of hospitalization for me.  On Nov. 2nd (Sunday) the OB told me I could stay in the hospital until Nov. 13th (when I was supposed to have Charlee) or I could go home and be very careful.  We decided I would stay in the hospital just in case that dreaded "big bleed" happened...the last thing I wanted to do was come back to the hospital in an ambulance as an emergency.
4am on Hallowe'en, IV in and an ultrasound ordered.

Later that Sunday night my blood pressure mysteriously spiked.  The next morning my blood pressure was decent, but throughout the day it got higher and higher.  The doctors and nurses were on high alert after that, checking my blood pressure every few hours, which actually stressed me out more. I quickly developed a serious case of "white coat syndrome" and found myself tensing up every time I heard the blood pressure machine being wheeled down the hall.  As it turned out, I had developed pre-eclampsia and my body was essentially rejecting being pregnant.  The placenta (which was previa and anterior, causing the high risk element to my surgery) was beginning to fail, which was causing my high blood pressure and was posing a serious threat to our baby. 

This phrase became my mantra (and still kind of is my mantra).  For someone who has been relatively healthy her entire life, but also went through some pretty serious body image related issues, this whole "my body is failing me" situation was pretty challenging to handle at times.  I'm still coming to terms with it all :)
Fast forward to Wednesday, Nov. 5th.  I hadn't slept in two days because of some ridiculous hospital room mates, so I was moved to two different private rooms because the nurses felt bad for me.  The plan was for me to stay in that room overnight and have my c-section the next day (Nov. 6th) at 11am.  However, as the course of this pregnancy would have it...another plot twist occurred.  Later on Wednesday afternoon an OB came into my room and told me he had bad news - there was no space for our baby in the special care nursery.  I was 35 weeks pregnant at this point and because of my high blood pressure our baby needed to be delivered as soon as possible, so they decided to send me to Vancouver.
The paramedics who transferred me to Vancouver were absolutely incredible and light-hearted.  Hugh, one of the paramedics, took this photo of me (and Charlee, still in my belly) all loaded into the helicopter.  We flew to Vancouver airport and then I was loaded into an ambulance on the tarmac and brought to Lions Gate Hospital from there.
If at this point you're shaking your head because of this ridiculous situation, all I can say is, "I KNOW!!!"  The one cool part about heading to Vancouver is that I got to fly in a helicopter! I was flown to Vancouver airport and then loaded into an ambulance and transferred to Lions Gate Hospital where Joel met me (in the meantime he had gone home, packed a bag, grabbed the car seat and got on the ferry).  We were given our own room in labour and delivery and we fell asleep and slept so well that night because of extreme lack of sleep for the few nights before.

Thursday morning was a whirlwind of meeting doctors, nurses, anesthetists and discussing the high risks of my surgery.  This part is really hard for me to write about; I've written it down already in a journal, and maybe one day I'll write a post about it, but for now all I can say is that I was really scared.  I was trying to hard to be brave, but I still can't talk about the surgery without crying.  The best part of the whole situation is that Joel got to announce to me that we had a little girl and we got to hold her on my chest for about 15 minutes while the OB and doctors finished stitching me up. (For the record, my surgery went as planned and no complications occurred.  I did not need a blood transfusion and I did not end up with a complete hysterectomy, as doctors had warned might happen).

Following my surgery I went into recovery for about an hour and then got wheeled through the special care nursery where Charlee was in her incubator.  We spent about 10 minutes with Charlee and then moved into our new room in maternity, where we ended up staying for a week because my blood pressure was still on the rise. 

For my first real experience getting to see Charlee I was still on a stretcher.  At about 11pm the same day of my surgery I actually stood up and then sat in a wheel chair and Joel wheeled me to Charlee in the special care nursery.  Here's a photo of me and Charlee during that visit.  

The first night of Charlee's life.

From the first night of Charlee's birth up until now we have learned SO MUCH.  We often talk about how much this whole experience, as terrifying as it has been, is actually a huge blessing.  The special care nurses have been incredibly patient and kind, teaching us all we need to know about the basics of taking care of a baby (hands on learning at its finest!) I'm amazed at how much we learn every single day and how much Charlee learns every single day, too.  We are already experiencing daily, even hourly, new milestones.  For example, yesterday Charlee ate one of her feeds as a full breastfed meal.  Today Charlee ate at least three feeds as fully breastfed meals.  Did you know babies use different muscles in their jaws to drink from a bottle and from the breast?  Our child has jaws of steel now!
This is Charlee's best "milk drunk" face.

We've learned how to properly change diapers, how to bottle feed Charlee, how to properly breast feed and burp her, how to change her clothes, how to hold her and snuggle her, how to wash/bathe her, how to wrap her up in a "baby burrito".  And I must say, aside from the breast feeding (ha!) Joel is pretty much superior to me in all above mentioned tasks.  This man was made to be a Pa.

Now, let me brag about my amazing husband.  I always knew Joel was a keeper, but this whole baby experience has brought him to a new level of worthiness.  I have never seen a man so attentive to a person's needs in my life.  Over the past 10 days Joel has fed me and tucked me in, helped me walk, held my hand, rubbed my back, brushed my hair (even when I could do it myself), got my showers ready, helped me get changed, helped me go pee for goodness sake!, made me coffee, feeds me and helps me drink water while my arms are full of Charlee...the list is endless, actually.  On top of all that tending to me, he's taken care of Charlee so well.  He changed her diaper before me, he fed her before me, he burped her before I did...he learned it all before I could even stand up post-surgery, and then he taught it all to me.  He's been Charlee's biggest advocate during the past 10 days, asking the right questions at the right times and kindly telling nurses to back off when they over-step a wee bit.  It's no wonder our baby girl loves her Pa so much already!
Our little yogi, holding on to her Pa's peace fingers and never letting go.

These two.  Ugh...I'm crying now.

Joel slept on this ridiculous purple pullout chair/bed for a week.  The man is 6ft6!

We still aren't sure when we will be able to come home, but the nurses have made increasing mention of "soon"...whatever that means.  Today they removed Charlee's heart monitors because they no longer worry about her slight heart rate dips, as they happen mostly when she's eating chugging down her bottle (she's much better at pacing when breast feeding!)  We've had lots of visitors and are so very thankful for our long time friend, Diana, who is graciously hosting us at her home in North Van while we wait for Charlee to be discharged.  I've been out of the hospital for three days now and my blood pressure has miraculously calmed down (I am such a textbook case of "white coat syndrome").

We can't wait to come home, but we know that the nurses and doctors are doing what's best and right for our little Charlee, so we are willing to stay as long as we have to until she's 100% good to go!

The Alleyn Fam, one week after our lives changed forever!

Until next time,

k&j&charlee xx

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