Thursday, June 21, 2012

Father's Day Weekend and Tee Ball

I don't have any pictures of the kids giving Andy his gifts for Father's Day because Ryan and I were sleeping when the kids and Andy got up.  :-(  But, he got some fabulous homemade gifts from the kids and they are proudly on display at our house!  Andy spent most of Father's Day weekend in our basement.  He is trying to get it finished, but it is not an easy task when you are doing it by yourself and you have a new baby at home.

Drew had his first tee ball practice on June 5th when I was in the hospital the night before Ryan was born.  Andy is a coach too so my timing on labor wasn't ideal, but they both made it to practice.  Drew had been so excited to go to his first practice so I am glad he was able to go.  His first game was this past Saturday.  It was my first time watching him and it was so cute.  The kids are so little and they only keep their attention on tee ball for a few minutes before they start playing in the dirt.  Drew had a great time and can't wait for Tuesdays and Saturdays now to play.  Kayley was a trooper, but did start asking to go home within the first 15 minutes of getting to the field.  It could be a long tee ball season for her. 

Drew and Coach Andy adjust their hats.

Getting ready to field a ball

Patiently waiting to bat

Bored with waiting to bat and playing in the dirt instead

Kayley decided to take her flip
flops off and play in the dirt
 Here are a few videos from Drew's tee ball game.  Drew is #10 and playing pitcher.

Apparently, you can't throw the ball until you have your glove all the way on!

First at bat

Saturday afternoon the kids spent some time outside .  I laugh every time I watch Kayley run and jump into the pool! 

And I have to throw this picture in of all three kids from last weekend.  Drew and Kayley love to hold Ryan and Ryan loves to be held so it is working out nicely for all three of them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday to Kayley!!!

I can hardly believe Kayley is 4 years old!!  She turned 4 on June 9th, the day Ryan and I were discharged from the hospital.  I am a little behind on my posting, but we were able to celebrate her big day on her day.  She was a little confused about Ryan being born before she turned 4 because we had been telling her that she should be 4 when Ryan was born. 

Drew had tee ball practice on Kayley's birthday and we were hoping I would be discharged before practice, but no such luck.  Andy is one of the coaches so he went home to pick up Drew for practice and Mom and Kayley came to the hospital to visit us until practice was over. 

Kayley holding Ryan before
we left the hospital.
We were discharged around noon and went straight home to celebrate Kayley's birthday.  Luckily, I had bought her gifts in advance just in case I went into labor so we were all set.  My Mom wrapped them for me while I was in the hospital.  Here are a few pictures and a few videos of her opening gifts.  She told my dad when she was at their farm that she wanted a pink tractor and wagon for her birthday.  He didn't find pink ones (he tried), but he did get her a tractor and a wagon.

We had ordered her Strawberry Shortcake ice cream cake the weekend before so that was ready to go as well.  She has been talking about her Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake since we saw it in the book when we picked out Drew's birthday cake in January so she has been waiting a long time for it.

They finished the afternoon outside in their pool.  It was the last "swim" before the $25 pool finally gave out!  Not to worry, they have another $20 pool.  :-)  They love those small pools.  Good thing they don't remember our pool in Phoenix!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Introducing Ryan Matthew!!

Welcome to our family, Ryan Matthew!!  Ryan was born 3 weeks early on Wednesday, June 6th at 7:53am.  He was 18 inches long and weighed 8lbs 0oz. 

Mommy meeting Ryan

Daddy and Ryan in the nursery

Ryan Matthew

It wasn't an easy pregnancy.  1 cerclage, 231 injections of lovenox, 23 injections of progesterone, 19 blood draws, 3 injections of  RhoGAM, 3 IVs, 17 ultrasounds and countless oral vitamins and medicines.  He was worth every bit of it!

We kept the pregnancy pretty quiet and didn't tell many people I was pregnant.  If you saw me in the last few months, it certainly wasn't much of a secret!  But, many of our friends and family that haven't seen us in the last 6 months had no idea I was even pregnant so I am sure this is taking most of them by surprise.  Kayley's premature birth is a huge reason why we kept it quiet.  Another reason was the fact that I was diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss following three consecutive miscarriages.  Yes, you read that right.  Three miscarriages.  I have no problem getting pregnant, but I definitely have a problem staying pregnant.

We had many well-meaning family members that told us after Kayley was born that we shouldn't try to have more kids.  It was hard to hear because we weren't asking for opinions and we both knew we wanted another baby eventually.  We had always said we wanted 3 or 4 children.  If we had wanted 2 or 3, I think we would have been done after Kayley was born.  But, we didn't FEEL like we were done.  To be perfectly honest, I was pretty angry in the beginning when people would tell me not to have more children.  Who were they to tell me what to do?  They aren't my doctors after all!  But, as time went by, I realized that everyone was just worried for us.  Of course they didn't want us to have another premature baby.  We didn't either!  I talked to two OBs and one high risk doctor in Phoenix about having another baby.  They all said that Kayley's birth was likely just a fluke.  I could clearly carry a baby to term because I did with Drew they said.  They encouraged me to have another baby and said Kayley's premature birth shouldn't stop us.

We decided to start trying in September of 2010.  I got pregnant right away, but miscarried at 7 weeks.  To be honest, it was shocking to have a miscarriage.  I had two children so I just didn't think that would be a concern.  I remember talking to one of my best friends in Phoenix when I was in my second trimester with Drew.  Someone close to me had just had a miscarriage and I felt so bad for her and felt guilty for being pregnant.  My friend told me that I had nothing to feel guilty about and that there is nothing to say I wouldn't have a miscarriage in the future.  Oh, how true her words were. 

My OB performed a D&C and everything appeared normal when the test results of the embryo came back.  My OB ordered a number of blood tests and it was revealed that I had two blood clotting disorders and I don't properly metabolize folic acid.  My OB thought the blood clotting disorder could be handled with baby aspirin and I was also prescribed 4mg of folic acid per day.  We were upset with the miscarriage, but felt like we knew why it may have happened so we decided to wait a few months and try again.  We tried again in January 2011 and again got pregnant right away only to miscarry at 6 weeks in March.  I will never forget the call from my OB's office once my blood test results were in.  I was in a meeting and I stepped out to take the call knowing what I was going to hear.  They confirmed I was likely miscarrying.  Devastating.  I got off the phone and had to walk back into my meeting.  Truly awful.  We tried to rationalize this one as our one "fluke" miscarriage.  We waited two months and tried again in May 2011.  Again, we got pregnant right away and I miscarried 4th of July weekend.  I can't even describe what that was like.  Kind of hard to rationalize this as another fluke.  Three in a row doesn't seem like much of a fluke.

My OB told me I now had the label, "recurrent pregnancy loss" and my chances for another miscarriage were very high and I was more likely to miscarry than not.  I sat in her office feeling quite numb that day.  I felt completely defeated, but there was just something inside of me that didn't want to give up.  My OB was very supportive and gave us our options.  The option we chose was to try lovenox in addition to the baby aspirin with the next pregnancy.  Lovenox is a blood thinner that you inject into your stomach.  Based on the advice of one of my closest friends in Peoria, we also asked to start progesterone right after I ovulated.  My progesterone had been really low in the last two miscarriages.  The tricky thing is, it could have been low because the pregnancy was never going to take or low progesterone could have been the cause of the miscarriages.  We decided it was worth a try.

We tried again in early October 2011 and were very cautiously optimistic, but weren't about to announce it to the world.  The last thing you want to do is post your good news on Facebook only to have to follow up with another post saying you miscarried so I wasn't about to go there.  Knowing how worried our friends and family were about us having another baby after Kayley's premature birth, we thought the worry would only multiply if they knew about the miscarriages.  Actually, if I am being completely honest, I wasn't very optimistic myself.  I was hopeful, but I didn't really think the pregnancy would last.  I wish I could say it was stressful only through the first trimester, but that would be a lie.  If I were a woman who just had a history of miscarriages, I would have stressed until I was out of the first trimester, but of course, I also have a history of premature labor so once I got through the period of biggest risk for a miscarriage, our concern turned to premature labor. 

I met with my high risk OB at 13 weeks.  He recommended: (1) a cerclage because he suspected that I had acquired incompetent cervix from Drew's difficult delivery (so much for Kayley's birth being a fluke); (2) progesterone injections (standard for a woman with a history of premature labor); and (3) modified activity.  The goal would be to keep me off bedrest as long as possible and keep me pregnant as long as possible.  He put in a cerclage at 14 weeks.  I started progesterone injections at 16 weeks and my home health nurse came every week through week 36.   My high risk OB severely cut my activity.  Basically, I was only allowed to come down the stairs in the morning and go up when I went to bed.  Other than that, I was to avoid all unnecessary stairs.  I was able to go to work, but as soon as I got home, he wanted me laying down whenever possible.  I was instructed to not pick up Kayley anymore.  That was hard, but she was great about it and would climb up into my lap.  I only picked her up once during the rest of the pregnancy...when she had a tantrum outside of a gas station and refused to get in the car!  Andy had to take over all baths for the kids beginning in December, the bulk of the grocery shopping, etc.  I knew he was amazing before, but he proved it over and over again.  He didn't let me off easy though...he has told me in no uncertain terms I have complete bath duty for the next 9 months!

My high risk OB saw me every two weeks until I was 27 weeks to check my cervix and check the baby.  He then checked my cervix one more time at 30 weeks.  He did one last ultasound at 34 weeks to check the baby and then released me from his care.  I can't say enough good things about that man.  He was truly amazing.  He kept me pregnant and he had an incredible bedside manner and truly seemed to understand our worries as we went through our high risk pregnancy.  I don't think I can adequately describe what it is like to go through each day wondering if today is going to be the day your water breaks or if that little twinge you just felt is the start of something bad.  The worry is with you every minute of every day.  I tried my best to focus on the fact that we were doing everything possible to give our baby the best possible outcome, but those worries were always there in the back of my head.

Everyone says Kayley is our miracle baby and she certainly is.  I think Ryan is a miracle as well given everything we went through to have him.  The odds certainly weren't in our favor that I would not miscarry him.  And then I only had about a 30-40% chance to get him to term given my history of premature labor with Kayley, but we did (even if it was by only 2 days)!  Then I think about Drew.  How the heck did I not miscarry him in the first place and how did I get him to term without any medical intervention?  I'd say he is a miracle!  Of course, aren't all babies miracles?  They certainly are.  Some miracles just come a little easier than others I guess.  :-) 

We are very excited and blessed to welcome Ryan to our family!!  Here are some of pictures of Ryan at the hospital.

Grandma holding Ryan for the first time

Big sister Kayley and big brother (again!) Drew arrive
at the hospital to meet their baby brother

Drew and Kayley's first
look at Ryan

Drew holding Ryan

Kayley held Ryan for over 20 minutes!

Ryan had presents for Drew and Kayley!

Kayley wore her big sister shirt again the
next day and held him again

Very content!

Grandpa holding Ryan for
the first time

Uncle Matt holding Ryan

Finally time to go home!