Thursday, September 22, 2011

Katelyn's story

Many people have asked about various issues that came up with Katelyn's pregnancy and birth, so I thought I would just share the whole story. It's long, so bear with me (and requires some background story too), but I hope that in reading it, you will see just what a miracle our children are. :)

When I found out in December, near New Year's, that I was pregnant, I was terrified. Point blank. We had decided that after two difficult pregnancies (I have chronic high blood pressure that is nearly impossible to keep at safe levels when I'm pregnant), two difficult deliveries (Nick had breathing trouble at birth and landed in the NICU for 24 hours and Olivia had the cord double wrapped around her neck and nearly strangled on being born), and a miscarriage, that we were done having children. We were happy with our two beautiful kids and didn't plan on having any more. However, being as young as we are (25 at the time Olivia was born), we weren't ready to make any permanent decisions. And as had been proven before to us, we weren't in control of that there we were, now unexpectedly expecting baby #3.

At 6 weeks, we went to the doctor to confirm my pregnancy and hopefully take a peek at the bean. All we saw was a sac, and "possibly something else." They blamed it on a new ultrasound machine, but I was nervous. I had been this route before too. So we waited two long weeks to find out if we did in fact have a viable pregnancy. Walt couldn't miss work that day, so I nervously went myself. I breathed the biggest sigh of relief hearing that little heartbeat fluttering away at 146 beats per minute. So we quickly settled into being excited and preparing for another child. Over the next few weeks, I battled intense morning sickness and we debated whether or not to find out the sex of the baby. I wanted to be surprised, Walt wanted to find out, but ultimately, Nick made that decision for us. He did NOT want another sister, and we were afraid what delivery day might be like if he was caught off guard. So, we decided we would find out and we counted down the days until the 20 week ultrasound.

We went that day, excited to find out if we were having a boy or girl. Walt's mom met us there for the ultrasound and we anxiously waited for the tech to tell us pink or blue. She scrolled around a moment, asked for our guesses, then froze the frame. "It's a girl!." We were thrilled (and VERY surprised!). Walt's mom left and we went in to see the doctor. She casually mentioned that they had spotted an abnormality on the ultrasound. One of the baby's kidneys was bigger than the other. She didn't give us much information other than she wasn't overly concerned and we would come back in a month for another ultrasound to check things out. I was worried, naturally, but I avoided Dr. Google and all the fear that goes with it. I knew better. So, we waited for our next peek at the baby. Again, I had to go to this one alone and was nervous. I think I prayed the entire way to the doctor's office just hoping things were normal this time. The tech scrolled around and measured the kidneys. One measure 2mm and the other 5mm. The cut-off for "normal" is 4mm. I was crushed and scared. I went in to see the doctor, and again, she didn't give me much information other than she was going to refer me to the high risk OB (perinatologist) in Louisville for an in-depth scan and consult. That didn't sound frightening at all...ha!

In the four weeks until our appointment, I did some research on what the dilated kidney could mean. I wanted to be prepared before the appointment. I quickly learned what they were so concerned about...the dilated kidney was a marker for Down Syndrome. My heart fell. A million questions raced through my mind. Walt and I prayed, and we knew that we loved this child regardless, but we just needed to know. At the appointment, the tech did not tell us anything, so we waited for the doctor to come in. My heart was racing for sure! He looked over everything, and then questioned me about my blood pressure medication dosage. Huh?? He then informed me that two possible side effects of that medication are low birthweight and dilated kidneys. He didn't see any indicators that anything else was wrong and he released me from his care. What a relief! The worst case scenarios that if it was still dilated at 35 weeks, they would need to give the baby antibiotics when born. So we left, thankful for good news.

At 35 weeks, they scheduled my follow up ultrasound. The kidney was normal, but baby was measuring very small (tenth percentile), also courtesy of my medication. So we talked about possible induction scenarios just in case. My other two were induced because of my blood pressure, so I knew the drill. Things continued to go okay, and I was now doing twice weekly non stress tests (at the hospital, they hook you up to monitors and watch baby's heart rate to determine if he/she is doing okay). On Aug. 30 (38 weeks), I went in for my test and my blood pressure was pretty high. It had stayed normal until this point, so the doc sent me home with orders to rest and keep an eye on it.

The next day, I just didn't feel good. I checked my blood pressure and it was very high. I called the doctor's office and they gave me instructions to drink water, rest, and recheck. If it was still high, go to the hospital. After rest and water, my number had continued to climb (reading 185/115 at this point). Walt and I called a friend to watch the kids, and headed to the hospital. They admitted me right away and wanted to run some bloodwork and watch me overnight while they attempted to lower my BP. Things were looking pretty good until around 4am when it started to climb again. So, the doctor came in and talked about options and we decided an induction was the safest route for both me and baby.

Just a short bit later they were in to hook me up to pitocin (I was already dilated 3cm on arriving at the hospital). I was on the pit for just about an hour and contracting regularly (and painfully!) when suddenly I had a flashback to Olivia's birth. The nurse came in and frantically asked if the baby had moved. I responded that she had been moving around a lot so, I guess. She looked worried and called the desk for "help in room 441." I got really scared and noticed that the baby's heart rate had plummeted. They had me rolling side to side, oxygen mask on, the doctor came in and broke my water to put a heart monitor on the baby's head (since it is more accurate) and they told me not to move. This same thing happened with Olivia, and I had thought it was a fluke. So, there we were. They turned off the pit, we talked about the possibility of a c-section, but I have an extremely difficult time with epidurals (took 2 epidurals and a spinal with Nick, took 21 sticks to get it in with Olivia), and if we went that route, I would have to be under general anesthesia (meaning neither Walt or I would be present for the baby's birth). I was devastated and scared. Again, we prayed. We just wanted her to be okay. They continued to watch me for an hour or so and she seemed to be doing okay, so they allowed me to have the epidural (thank goodness-I had still been contracting without the pit and it was ROUGH since I had to lay flat on my back and couldn't move!).

The anesthesiologist was a God-send. I explained to him my previous difficulties and with just two sticks, and a very gentle hand, I was pain free. I wanted to jump up and kiss him! But I couldn't since my legs were numb. ;) After they got me comfortable, they agreed to try the piton again, on a low dose and monitor how baby was handling it (this was at around 3:55pm). She seemed fine, so we waited. About 25 minutes later, I was feeling the contractions a lot (even with the epidural) and could tell we were getting close. They checked me...7cm. The nurse told me to let her know when I started feeling pressure. That happened at 4:30 (haha, she thought it would be a lot longer!). 9.5 cm at that point. She was going to leave me and I suddenly felt the urge to there it was. She called for the doctor, who came in and started setting up. She asked the doctor if she wanted me to "practice" pushing. The doctor said, after having read my chart from Olivia's birth, "NO! I don't want to have to run over there and catch. This is going to be fast." She was right. 2 pushes and baby Katelyn was born at 4:45 pm, after just under an hour of laboring. She weighed in at just 5 lbs 15 oz and scored 9s on her Apgar. She was absolutely beautiful, and we were SO thankful that she was okay.

Walt looked at me and quietly said, "I can't do that again. My heart just can't take another scare." I agree with him, it clearly wasn't a fluke for us as we had it happen THREE times! But she is here, and healthy, and we just love her to pieces!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolution-worthy recipes!

As I've panned facebook over the past week, I've seen an overwhelming number of people asking for "healthy," "meatless," and "low-fat" recipes. I've got a pretty good arsenal of recipes and I pull out things in these categories from time to time. The hard part is, for my family, it has to be something fulfilling enough where you don't actually miss the indulgent (fried, red-meat, cheesy, etc) part of the meal. It also has to be kid-friendly because I am not a fan of cooking a meal for the adults and a separate one for the kids. We're trying out some new ones too and I'll try to post some updates on here as we try those out.

Here are my "tried-and-true" favorite recipes. I'll link recipes where I can or list them simply. If you are reading this and want more details, I'm happy to give them!

Meat-Free favorites
*Lentil Tacos
*Stuffed shells (scroll about half way down the page for this one)
*Bean Burritos (I also like to mix a little taco sauce with the beans)
*Vegetable Pot Pie
*Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
*Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook)
*Vegetable Fried Rice (from the Hungry Girl cookbook)

Healthier Options
*White Chicken Chili (chicken breast chunks, chicken stock, green chiles, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, white beans cooked in the crock pot, served with tortilla chips or Mexican cornbread)
*Stir Fry
*Crock-pot pork loin with veggies (just as good as a beef pot roast, but far less fat and calories!)
*BBQ chicken pizza (with homemade whole wheat crust, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, chopped red peppers, chopped pineapple, cooked, chopped chicken, and part-skim mozzerella cheese)...note, I make a batch of these pizza crusts ahead and freeze them for easy and quick meals!
*Turkey chili (1 lb ground turkey, browned; can chili beans in mild sauce, can tomato sauce, can diced tomatoes, package chili seasoning, 1 cup water)

I will try to add some more as I think of them. Feel free to post your favorites with links too!