Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Welcome to the World

Last Saturday, I woke up and had a strange feeling. My first thought was: Hmmm, wait a minute, was that a contraction? When it was followed by a steady succession, I tried the old drinking water, laying on my left side, taking a Tylenol trick. They slowed to 15 minutes or so apart and I called the doctor just to let them know. He figured I was okay and that if they got close together to go ahead and come in. I was positive all was fine, and to be honest it didn't stress me out a bit.
When they kicked in again, Corey and I headed down just to be safe. Again, I was calm and SO sure we weren't going to have a baby that day. The doctor checked me out, said my cervix had thinned, but he thought I'd likely go at least another 1-2 weeks. Even if you are having contractions, they have meds that will stop it, right?
First try: They gave me a shot of Turbutaline, the first thing they try to stop em. The nurse told me they'd stay away for at least an hour, maybe two. They were back in 45 minutes. They tried this again, and they were only gone for about 40 minutes. I started worrying a little more. Hmmm, now what?
Second try: A magnesium sulfate drip. There's a reason this isn't the first thing they try. It involves an IV, and is not pleasant stuff. Anyone who's had it will tell you. They gave me some with Asher too, but was knocked out from the general anesthesia, so I didn't remember it much. It's job is to knock em dead. By this time, it slowed them, but they were persistent and kept right on coming anyway. I started worrying now that I might be having a baby that night after all.
So, the doctor gave up since my contractions were more stubborn than the drugs were strong. I had totally planned on having another C-section, but the doctor thought I should consider doing it the old fashioned way, so we decided to go for it after all. The first thing I asked for was my epidural. I've heard too many stories about people missing the "window" and I wasn't interested in a natural birth. Getting them here is hard enough for us, so excessive pain doesn't intrigue me much.
To my surprise, it wasn't too bad, and I only had to push for 30 minutes or so. Corey was a real champ through all of this. After all of our deliveries, he has become a pro at rolling with the punches, but he's never been able to be present for a live birth, so this was such an amazing experience for us. He was so sweet, cheering me along and telling me how great I was makes me get teary eyed just thinking about it. We just haven't had the normal experiences with this stuff at all, and this will be a memory I will always cherish.
Just after 2 am on Sunday, our Beckett came out crying, relieving me at least a little. They held him up so we could see him, then whisked him through a door to the NICU. We found out later he was 5 lbs. 5 oz., 19 1/4 inches long, a big boy for his "age." I shudder to think what he might have weighed if I'd gone full term. He has a fair amount of hair, and pretty chubby cheeks for a preemie.
So, I am now a milk pumping machine, making my special deliveries a couple times a day to the hospital. Me and my pump are good pals, day and night. We are looking forward to bringing Beckett home, and we are hoping for 4 weeks or less. The nurses call little guys like ours "Wimpy White Boys." Apparently caucasian males are the weakest and take the longest to mature (for the record, girls do amazingly well, surprise there!). At 33 weeks, his biggest issue is breathing on his own, which he does, but needs help and machines to make sure he doesn't forget. He's gone from the C-PAP machine to a nasal canula, but his heart rate still drops sometimes which totally freaks me out. They're feeding him through a tube and he's doing well with that so far. All things considered, it's going well.

Asher won't officially meet him until he comes home because he's under 10 and its RSV season, so they are VERY strict. He's a little confused, but we are hoping some pictures will suffice for now. Can't wait for him to come home!

Welcome to the world Beckett Andrew Reitz!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

His entourage

It seems as though most kids have a security item of one kind or another, be it blankies, binkies, or a stuffed animal. I know I had one of those soft blankets with the satin edging as a kid and I adored that thing. As a baby, Asher didn't get attached to anything in particular, which was both good and bad. Good because I didn't have to search the house for a needle in a haystack before bed every night, bad because there was not a special trick I could use to calm him down.
Throughout the past year, however, he has slowly been accumulating several such items. First, there is the "white pillow." This is an all satin, white, baby-ish mini pillow with his name embroidered on it. We had it in his crib, then he insisted on sleeping on it when we moved him to the toddler bed. His fingers have always found their way to an open seam, which he sticks his fingers into. Next, there's "puppy." He has been a favorite friend for a while now too. He's a bean-bag type of stuffed animal; also on the small side. There was a time when I was cutting out paper dog bones for him so that Dion (our real dog) could have his bones back. Lastly, there is "elephant" (he just hasn't gotten too creative with names yet). He is the most recent addition and was acquired during a recent trip to the Hogle Zoo. Collectively, these three are referred to as "the buddies."
The buddies have become very important. Every morning when he pads into my room, they are with him...all of them. If they aren't with him, he immediately goes right back, returning with his arms full. Sometimes he will leave them with me for a short time while he goes and does something else...I get to babysit. He talks to them. When Puppy bites him, we have to put him in "time out." Puppy played CandyLand with us recently, and he had to move his own piece. He tried to get me to let White Pillow play a game of Memory, and I had to draw the line. W.P. doesn't even have an arm, how was that going to work?
The real problems come at bedtime. Inevitably, one of the three are always MIA. Asher lays in his bed chanting,"I want my Puppy" or whatever buddy happens to have gone missing. Once found, ah, silence and peace. The worst is how somehow in the middle of the night, he'll wake up missing one of them. I'm not sure if he somehow takes inventory in his sleep, but he always knows if one has left the nest. If one's missing, they might as well all be missing.
So, Asher and his Buddies are a common sight these days, and it totally cracks us up. What a funny phase. And it's probably a good thing for him to have his comfort items...all three of them.

Monday, February 2, 2009

In my room

One would think that laying around in bed all day would lend itself to deep thoughts, self realization and an unlimited amount of time to blog. I have done none of these things. It's hard to find something to write about when you feel like you are doing next to nothing (besides making a human being, of course). I spend my days doing a lot of reading, a little shopping (what would I do without the internet), figuring out how to use my new camera, and learning French. The camera is like a big tease, making me want to jump up and run downstairs, or (dare I say it) outside to try it out! These four walls that surround me all day offer very little as far as photo subjects are concerned.
My poor Asher has been a good sport about the whole thing, but I think it's been a little hard on him. It breaks a little piece of my heart when he grabs my hand and asks me to come play trains with him, and I say I can't right now. We do have our fun playing games, computer games and reading books, but he's such a high energy kid that I fear he's a little on the bored side most of the time.
Corey's mom, Claudia has been kind enough to be our "caretaker" for a while, which has been a really huge help to all of us. We appreciate her time and effort and willingness to serve us during this time when we are so in need. Heaven knows we couldn't do this without her. I just hope we don't burn her out. Taking care of a busy 3 year old, a pregnant lady on bedrest and her son who is studying for the BAR exam can't be all that easy.
I have my snappy, irritated, I've-lost-all-control-of-my-life moments and I make comments about things that are really insignificant (ie..."that's not the kind of toothpaste I wanted"). I think if I was taking care of someone like me I would just shove the food through a flap door and run (think prison in the Chateau d'If in the Count of Monte Cristo) for fear of some random pregnancy and hormone induced retaliation. At least that's what I feel like inside at times, and hopefully I am handling this better on the surface. I'd hate to scare away loved ones and friends.
In all honesty most days are okay. Long, but fine. Strangely, the weeks seem to be going by fast, but the days are crawling. I find some comfort in knowing we'll look back on this couple of months and shrug our shoulders and sigh.
I am so excited to bring this little guy home, safe and healthy, so I'll do what needs to be done without a doubt. I know what a miracle it is for every baby to enter this world, and I feel lucky to be able to have that chance at all.
And so, I will continue my "restful" period, knowing that it will be over with before I know it. By then I'll wish I could have some of this down time stashed away for all the midnight feedings and sleepless nights still to come. Ah, well, the grass is always greener, right?