Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kaycee's Birth Story & Hospital Stay

January 10, 2014:

I went through the night doing Cytotec every 3 hours. My midwife prescribed me a sleeping pill called Ambien to take that night, but because of how tense I was and totally uncomfortable sleeping, it didn't help me sleep much. Seriously, I almost started crying in the middle of the night because I was so uncomfortable in the hospital bed. The monitors that were hooked up to Kaycee on my tummy {the NST monitors} were SOOOO loud and every time either she moved or I moved, it would make a super loud noise and I toss and turn ALL night when I sleep anyway but with the monitors I couldn't move unless my nurse came and adjusted the monitors. My nurse that first night was Taelor and she was SOO great considering how many times she had to come adjust my monitors. I had to get up to pee 3000 times and my nurse was constantly having to fix monitors then too. I took my last dose of Cytotec at 2:30, with Pitocin planned for 6:30. I woke up at 5:30 and because I wasn't on Pitocin yet, I could eat so I had some Raisin Bran and then fell asleep for another hour.

At 6:30, the new nurse Allie came in and started my Pitocin. She started me at 4 mL and then upped it by 4 every 30 minutes. She came back at 7 to up my dose and to check me. I was at a 1+, but then said I was actually at a 3 and was probably 80% effaced. The Cytotec had worked!! My cervix was not as far back as it had been, but wasn't quite as far forward as they wanted either but with Pitocin we knew that would change. By 8:30, I was at the full dose of Pitocin and was really starting to feel crappy.

Chilling in the hospital bed
Matching bracelets
We stayed in room 111
Our room!
View of our room 
My water bottle!!! I have been SOOO excited to get this water bottle! 
Kaycee didn't like when I laid on my back - her heart rate would SUPER drop, so I HAD to stay on my side even though I was dying from the pain in my hips. And the contraction monitor wasn't reading any of my contractions when I laid on my side, so whenever it'd hurt, I couldn't look to see how "big" it was or how far apart they were or anything. I asked for my epidural at 8:30, and felt pretty lame about it. My water hadn't even broke yet! I had heard people say contractions aren't too bad until after your water breaks but I was really uncomfortable and didn't want to deal with it anymore. And getting checked was INSANELY painful and I just didn't want that anymore, so I opted for the epidural sooner since I knew I'd be getting checked at 9 AM when Dena came in to break my water.

It took what felt like forever but was only probably 30-45 minutes before my anesthesiologist came. In the time we waited for him, the contractions and pain got so bad I threw up. Totally not surprised - I throw up a lot, so I was expecting it. And in true fashion, my body gave me plenty of time to know that I was going to throw up so I was able to sit up, get a bag and not barf on me or the floor. The anesthesiologist got there and started my epidural but was SUPER slow doing it, even Jake noticed he was slow. I'm sure they just want to be careful doing it, but it took 30 minutes to get it in. I was getting light headed from the curled position I was in since my lungs were squished and we knew Kaycee was probably freaking out because she didn't like me sitting up, so it was a long 30 minutes. But I got it in, and just kept telling myself that supposedly the worst was over. I'd heard lots of people say if you can make it to the epidural, it's downhill from there. {In my case, that is TOTALLY true} I was surprised how my legs felt - I could still totally move & feel them, they just felt asleep.

Dena showed up at 9:30 and waited a few minutes until my epidural had kicked in before she checked me. The plan was to break my water, but as soon as she went to check me my water broke. It felt really weird, not like peeing my pants at all. It totally surprised us too - especially since she was seconds from doing it anyway! By then, I was dilated to a 4! They also decided to use internal monitors to track Kaycee's heart rate and my contractions, so I got to take the SUPER annoying belt off my tummy. It was AMAZING getting that dumb thing taken off, and our room got much quieter without all the annoying beeping. The downside was that when my water broke, we saw there was meconium, but they didn't seem overly worried.

Jake's mom showed up just before my epidural, but waited to come in the room until after I had my epidural had kicked in and had my water broken. A few minutes later, around 9:50, Allie came in and turned my Pitocin down - my contractions were way too close together considering I was only at a 4 and we didn't want to stress Kaycee too much. At 10:10, she came and turned it down again. They also propped my leg up in one of the stirrups of the bed to help her drop down.

So excited!! 
My mom & Brynne, anxiously waiting for Kaycee's debut
Around that time, my mom and Brynne came, separately. I don't remember what time they showed up exactly. I started getting kind of cold, which is SUPER awesome for me since I haven't been cold since before I got pregnant. I turn on the A/C in the car usually. And it's January. So being cold was actually really nice! They brought me a heated blanket, and turned my Pitocin off at 10:54. So I had it for 4.5 hours. At 11, I was dilated to a 5 and 80% effaced. We were super happy about the progress I was making, but worried because Kaycee's heart rate dropped. She really really didn't like me being on my back, so from then on they would check me while I was on my side. I used oxygen for a little bit to help get her stable and then I was able to take it off again. I was still shaking, thinking I was cold, so I asked for another blanket. Before long, I had 2 heated blankets and a quilt on and I was still shaking. Turns out I was starting to transition and that's why I was shaking, so the blankets weren't helping any since I wasn't shivering.

All wrapped up with my oxygen mask. Everyone kept calling me Darth Vader
My contractions were going crazy, about a minute and a half to 2 minutes apart and I felt absolutely nothing. We just all sat and talked. Jeannene, Lauryl and my dad showed up somewhere in there and sat in the room with us. Rick came by and said hello, good luck and then left. We would all talk for a bit and then stop and I'd sleep and then wake up and talk again. I would switch sides about every hour to make sure I wasn't letting my epidural sink to one side. At one point, I said that epidurals are the reason people have more than 1 kid. Seriously, it's so true.

Around 11:10 I asked for some Jello since I was starting to feel yucky again. Figuring it was because I had nothing in my stomach, eating something seemed logical to me. At noon, I was at an 8 and 90% effaced. Making some progress!! I could feel pressure, but not much else - just felt like I needed to pee. I slept some more, and then around 1:30 starting feeling a little too much discomfort for my liking. I'd feel pain and look at the monitor and see I was having a contraction and I didn't want to be feeling contractions, just pressure. They checked me, because I was feeling enough pressure that I thought I was at a 10. I was at a 9.5+! They decided they wanted me to wait about an hour after that to let gravity help drop her a little, rather than having me push her through the birth canal since she wasn't quite at the station they wanted. I decided to push my drip, since I had an hour before pushing and then who knows how long of pushing and I didn't want to be in too much pain. They had told me it would take about 15 minutes to kick in. 10 minutes into it, I was still hurting. So I pushed it again when it would let me {I could push it every 20 minutes}. I ended up pushing it 3 times total. I was worried about pushing it so many times, but I could feel too much and wasn't liking it. They re-started my Pitocin at 2, just a low dose, to help speed my contractions up just a smidge since they had slowed down.

My Jello :) 
At 2:20, I threw up. Throwing up Jello is actually pretty dang enjoyable. The monitor looked SOO funny when I threw up - it looked like a 3 year old scribbled all over really fast in one spot, so Allie could tell I had thrown up and came in to check on me.

At 2:36 they checked me and said I was done and ready to push. My family all cleared out, and I was in total shock. Wait, what? You want me to push now? Already? I thought I was supposed to be in labor for like 20 hours or something, if karma had been fair {thats how long my mom labored with me}. It'd only been 8 hours! They took the bed apart {pulled the part where my feet went off} and raised the bed WAY high in the air and started giving me directions on how pushing works and how to breathe. A few people were paged, like the respiratory therapist {his name was Kim} and a few extra nurses were coming in and out. We also discussed my birth plan for the parts that included Dena, since Allie already knew the parts that included her and Kaycee's care. One of the few things I had wanted was to have the cord delayed on cutting by a few minutes, and immediate skin to skin. Dena told me we wouldn't be able to do that because of the meconium, and explained that when she comes out, we don't want her to breathe on my tummy - they were going to get her out, cut the cord and get her over to the warmer and the respiratory therapist immediately. Then, if she was ok, she would come back.

Last picture taken as a family of 2
We decided to have Allie do the counting, she held my left leg and Jake held my right. The midwife office has a midwife who is in training named Becky who had been at one of my appointments and Dena asked if she could help with the delivery. I was all for it, so Dena kinda supervised while Becky took the lead. Because I was on my back, I had to wear the oxygen mask in between pushes so Kaycee could get some oxygen but her heart rate was staying in the 130's, so we weren't too worried. Jake was standing at my right side and would hold my hand while I pushed for 3 series of 8 counts, then put the mask back on for me while I would breathe it in between pushes. After a few series, I started getting light headed so we added eating ice chips in the breaks and took a break for a few contractions. We also got out my lemon DoTerra oil and Jake would hold it under my nose while I pushed so that I would do a BIG inhalation so I could smell it. I absolutely LOVE the smell of lemon. All that made a HUGE difference!

Dena, Allie & Becky all kept saying I was pushing really good. I didn't feel like all that much was happening, so I asked if they were just being nice or if they were serious and Becky turned around and started putting her gown on. Dena asked why she was doing it already and then Dena watched my next push and realized that apparently I was nearly done. Jake told me later he was worried I was going to push her out and the midwife had her back to me and wouldn't catch Kaycee lol. Becky told me that she had hair, quite a bit of it and that it was dark. That was ALL the incentive I needed. Pretty sure it was the next set of pushes, in the first push, 2 counts in, they stopped me. I couldn't figure out why, so I didn't stop pushing all the way and all 3 of them were like "wow stop!!" so I stopped and then felt a little slippery feeling and all the sudden my baby girl was on my tummy.

I didn't feel her crowning. I didn't feel her head, I didn't have to push her shoulders. She just came out.

And I was stunned. Wait, how is this over so fast? I looked over at the clock and it was 3:13. I'd been pushing for like half hour by the time they had the bed ready and we started. How am I done already?

Allie and Dena both kept telling me not to freak out that she wasn't crying, that they did NOT want her to cry because they didn't want her to breathe in the meconium. So I wasn't worried. She was moving, I could see that. They cut her in like a split second and got her over to the warmer. Jake apparently left my side and followed her because all the sudden he was over by the couch on the other side of the room, watching over their shoulders a little bit but staying out of the way.

I noticed he was crying, so I started crying too. I have a tough hubby. He's a manly guy. He does NOT cry. So I'm thinking "ah he's a daddy - how cute he's crying". And then he started crying harder. Becky was finishing my delivery and getting ready to repair my 2nd degree tear, so Dena went over to Jake and he collapsed on her shoulder crying.

And then I realized how many people were in the room.

I tried to count, but I couldn't see them all.

Including Jake, Kaycee & I, there were at least 15 people in the room.

And our room wasn't that big.

We'd only had 3 during delivery - Allie, Dena & Becky. And now there is 15?

And I couldn't figure out why so many people were in the room. Where'd they all come from? So I started listening and I don't remember anything specific they said, but it didn't sound good. They didn't know her weight yet, because they hadn't taken her to the scale yet - she was still in the warmer with the respiratory therapist. And Jake was sobbing.

And I absolutely lost it.

Watching him freak out was freaking me out. I couldn't hear what was wrong, but obviously something was wrong.

Dena came over and was trying to help me calm down and I just couldn't function because all I could see was Jake and how he was freaking out.

That was the longest 20 minutes of my entire life.

I still can't believe it was ONLY 20 minutes.

But before I knew it, they announced she was 6 lbs 9 ozs and 19.5 inches long. Well I was wrong in EVERY category there! We had all written our guesses down, and I was the farthest off in weight and length! I started thinking how small that was for a baby a week past her due date, but didn't think too much of it because at that moment, I saw my husband holding a blanket wrapped bundle.

So grateful for the hospital staff being willing to take pictures! 
 Seriously, that moment still just kills me thinking about it. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my entire life. And Jake was still crying. He walked over to me and was holding her and I was looking at her in his arms and about hyperventilated I was crying so hard. He set her down next to me while they finished sewing me up and we just sat there and cried together holding her. Apparently we had everyone in the room crying by our reaction to getting to hold her - we had 5 or 6 different hospital staff tell us they deliver babies DAILY and don't cry and watching us made them cry.

I could not stop crying

They finished sewing me up and I asked if I could do skin to skin and they said she needed to go to the NICU for a minute because of her meconium but she'd be back soon. I told Jake to go with her and I'd see them soon.

After she was in the NICU and all attached to monitors
Dena and Becky got me all sewed up, and they left. Someone, I don't think it was Allie, made sure I was comfortable in bed, brought me some snacks since I was feeling light headed again and had blankets if I wanted them and then they left. All the army of people who had come in left with Kaycee. And suddenly I was in the room alone, or pretty dang close to alone. There may have been one or two people in there, but I felt alone. I ended up throwing up again, 3rd time for the day.

Allie came back and explained Kaycee needed an IV because her blood sugar had dropped from the stress of labor. I asked if she could come back in the room, and she said she was pretty sure she could, so I wasn't worried about being able to have Kaycee room with us. That's something I wanted - for her to be in the room with us. But she came back pretty soon after and told me she was wrong, Kaycee had to be in the NICU.

I started crying and she asked if I wanted her to go get my family. I told her yes, please go get them. The plan had been that my family wouldn't come until after pushing, skin to skin and her bath, so they had been planning on about 3 hours before they'd come back. It was only an hour that they waited and they came into the room. They were all happy and immediately saw I was crying and asked what was wrong. And then I realized they didn't know what had happened - that she had inhaled meconium and it was in her trachea before they got it out. That we had a small army of people in the room trying to help her breathe. That she had low blood sugar. That she had an IV. That she was in the NICU. That I didn't get to hold her for more than 5 minutes. That they had to use a little resuscitator to get her breathing again at one point. That I didn't get my skin to skin I had wanted. That she couldn't room with us. And then a nurse came and told us about her IV again and said that Kaycee probably wouldn't be coming home with us - she'd need extra time before she could leave.

And the whole time I was telling my family, I couldn't even look at them I was crying so hard. I just stared at the ceiling and told them. And then the nurse said she probably wouldn't come home with us and I was seriously sobbing.

That's why I'd tried to have such a good attitude about being 41 weeks - because I wanted her to come home with me. And I wanted her healthy. And if that meant she came late, so be it. And now she wasn't coming home with us. And I seriously felt like the world was collapsing on me. And Jake was in the NICU with Kaycee. The 2 people I needed to make me feel better were somewhere I wasn't.

I asked when I could go see her, and Allie said as soon as I could sit up. So I sat up. It'd been an hour since delivery. She was surprised I could move so well, and said I needed to move my feet. So I sat up and lifted my legs at the same time and formed a human "V" - I nearly hit my nose I lifted my legs so hard. My sisters and my mom all laughed and Allie said she'd go get a wheel chair if I thought I could stand up to sit in it. I told her I'd walk to the nursery if I had to, but she assured me she'd get a chair. They helped me into the chair, got me a heated blanket since I was shaking from shock and wrapped another one around my shoulders and then wheeled me into the NICU.

And they didn't just take me into the little nursery. They took me to the level 2 area. The NICU.

It hadn't occured to me that's where she was. I just thought she was in the nursery.

Wheeling through that "wall" to the level 2 area was torture.

I started sobbing again.

And I saw my baby girl, in a little warmer, all wrapped up and alert. And my husband, still crying.

And I seriously just lost it.

Jake and I just sat there holding each other and crying for what felt like hours but was probably only a few minutes and then we asked the nurse if I could hold her. They immediately got her for me and put her against my chest and I finally got to do skin to skin with my little girl. She was incredibly awake and still rooting, so I was able to nurse her like I had wanted. The nurses were all amazed she was still interested, since the shock of everything should have made her tired. I just held her for as long as they'd let me, and then my mom & Jake's mom got to hold her too.

First time holding her since delivery
She's perfect
Look at all that hair!! 
Seriously, I fell in love HARD. It was insane how much love I felt for her right then
Finally able to smile and not be crying
Our awesome nurse Allie
Our cute audience
Grammy Cheryl {my mom}

Grandma Wendy holding her

My gorgeous little girl and a head full of dark hair
Her little area of the NICU. She was the only baby in Level 2 the whole time she was there, so she had her own nurse the whole time! 
I couldn't stop staring at her. And I could not stop crying.

Seriously, I have NEVER cried that much in a day in my ENTIRE life. I haven't cried that much in a week I don't think! I was a WRECK all dang day. It was just leaking out of my eyes no matter how hard I tried to get it to stop. Jake stayed right next to me and we just watched her and enjoyed her and loved her. We were told that being held by too many people can make her sick from different germ pools, and that it can over stimulate her, which will make her blood sugar drop, so we opted for no more visitors in the NICU for the day. My sisters and dad were disappointed they weren't able to hold her, but understood.

My dad & sisters watching through the NICU window
The on call pediatrician came and saw her and explained that the meconium was solved, it didn't get her lungs and no worries there. Only concern was her blood sugar. She was put on an IV of 10 mL of sugar water and needed to be able to maintain her blood sugar after 10 feedings. After each feeding, if her levels stayed good, they'd turn her IV down a mL. When she was checked after I nursed her, her levels were at 52 {Her sugar was at 31 when she was born. 45 is normal. Then it dropped to 19. And then it dropped to 18. That's DANGEROUSLY low, hence the IV}. I felt so good knowing I'd been able to give her something that helped her so significantly. That, and the IV. But still - I felt like I had helped her. We spent a few more minutes in the NICU with her and then came back to our room.

Getting checked by the pediatrician

They brought me a pump and showed me how to use it and encouraged me to try to do it every 3-4 hours to help get my supply in, since we wanted to exclusively breastfeed. My family went home for the night, and then Jake and I decided to walk some laps around our part of the hospital to help my legs. I had dinner of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and Jake had chicken and rice from the cafeteria.

We sat in our room and went over the last few hours. How crazy it felt that it'd only been a few hours. Like 4 hours. It was INSANELY overwhelming all that had happened. But as we sat there, we started listing all the things we had to be grateful for:
  • That she was alive 
  • That she came so fast. Labor was 9 hours. 9! That pushing was so fast - 28 minutes. K seriously?! I am absolutely positively convinced we had angels helping us. There is no way that I did that by myself. I had some serious divine intervention getting her out that fast. 
  • That she was still at the same hospital as us, so we could go visit whenever we wanted
  • That she still wanted to nurse by the time I got to her
  • That my epidural faded so fast so that I could go to her so quickly 
  • How well she was responding to the IV
  • That she hadn't got any meconium in her lung
It was very helpful to list everything - it gave us a reason to feel grateful. To realize how blessed we were. She was still here. We talked about how scared we were, and then we sat on my hospital bed and said a prayer together. Afterwards, Jake told me he had literally dropped to his knees earlier in prayer for her. K seriously guys, my amazing husband doesn't pray on his knees. I've just come to terms with that. Hearing him say that, hearing his faith he had and how hard he'd been praying, was so amazing and comforting to me. That we were on the same page - we were both praying - begging - to our Heavenly Father that she'd be ok. After our prayer, we went to sleep, since we were both exhausted from the day and had INTENSE headaches from crying so much in the last few hours.

January 11, 2014:

I woke up at midnight when my new nurse Shanni told me that Kaycee was hungry and wanted to nurse. Michelle was Kaycee's nurse in the NICU and they helped me try to get a latch, but she was a little too sleepy. She wasn't super interested in eating but had some, and then fell asleep and I got to hold her for over an hour and do skin to skin again. I came back to my room, pumped and then went back to bed. I woke up at 6 and went in to see her before I pumped again and she was hungry, so we tried nursing again. Both times, it wasn't as successful as I'd hoped. She was very tired, and not staying super awake. They had noticed in the middle of the night she was gaggy, so they checked her tummy and got out 18mL of meconium/amniotic fluid she had in there. Well no wonder she didn't want to eat at midnight! She had the colostrum I had pumped a few times at 6, and then I came back to the room and pumped again. Jake went with me to see her afterwards and he held her for a bit. I absolutely love watching him hold her.

Love this little bean

I was dying. Totally started crying again
She loves dad's finger
Grabbing onto my finger
They did a quick wash of her hair overnight to make sure there was no meconium in it - look at her little fo-hawk! 
She had some blood work done and had what could be an infection, so they started an antibiotic to be safe. They also noticed she had low platelets and low white blood cell count, just like I had in 2012. They weren't overly worried but wanted to keep an eye on it.

We came back to our room and had breakfast together - the hospital brought me ham and eggs with fruit and a cinnamon roll, and Jake had a breakfast scramble with bacon and sausage from the cafeteria. We watched the 2 YouTube families we always watch together on the hospital bed on Jake's laptop - we tried to make it like a regular day at home.

We weren't as good about writing times down on Saturday, so I don't remember what happened at what times, but we got to spend a LOT of time with Kaycee in the NICU. I got to hold her and do skin to skin multiple times. Her blood sugar dropped in the night from 52 to 47, then 40 so they had to up her IV to 13 mL. At her 11 AM feeding with her new nurse Candice, it was at 62 - her best reading yet! At 5 PM, it was at 65 - best reading yet! And at 11 PM, it was at 80! 80!! Her night nurse, Michelle {2 nights in a row!}, came to tell us because she was so excited. I wanted to scream I was so excited!!

We both took showers, and I got to take a short bath before dinner to help me relax. It helped a ton! My day nurse was Raiden, who was so sweet and took such good care of me throughout the day! When the shift changed that night at 6, it was Taelor again - she was my nurse when I was admitted Thursday night.

We decided to take it easy throughout the day and had minimal visitors - just family. Brynne & Blake came and saw her earlier in the day.


She was super alert during their visit!
Clint & Macy came to see her too!

And Dustin, Keeshia & Hunter came at dinner time.

Hunter, Dustin & Grandma Wendy. Keisha didn't want her picture taken :) 
 Grandma's came and saw her too, and they both bought us gifts. Grandma Wendy brought 2 newborn onesies - one that says Grandma's little sweetie and one that says Daddy's Little Princess. I totally started crying over the Daddy one - it's BRIGHT yellow and I LOVE it! She also got her a cute pink teddy bear and brought flowers. My mom brought Jake 2 Monster's {his favorite energy drink}, bought me a book I've been wanting to read called "City of Bones",  a headband for Kaycee {I forgot to pack one!} and little booties for her she had bought, and 2 cute pink newborn pajama's. We didn't have many newborn clothes, and because Kaycee was so small, they both thought to get us some stuff! Wendy also got flowers for me from Jake - lilies. My favorite. It's what he always gets me. All day long, he kept calling me his bride. Those were the flowers in my wedding bouquet and his boutenier. My mom also brought some balloons Suzie & Ryan sent. And Dustin and Keeshia also brought us some balloons - we seriously got lots of gifts!

Balloons from Suzie & Ryan 
Some of the balloons from Dustin, Keisha & Hunter 

Flowers from Wendy
Flowers from Jake
 The rest of the night was fairly low key, we went to bed and kept hoping they'd come wake us up saying she was hungry. We were in a real catch 22 - because she was on the IV, she wasn't very hungry, but she couldn't come off of the IV until she started acting more hungry. She needed to be eating every 2-3 hours and she was going closer to 5-6. It was hard - I wanted to be getting up all night long!

January 12, 2014: 

Michelle woke me up to say she was hungry and I went and nursed her around 2 AM. Sometime in the night, they got more meconium/amniotic fluid out of her tummy and hoped that'd help her want to eat more. Sometime in the early morning, she latched again and was able to nurse on her own. That time and the first time I nursed her were the only times in the hospital I was able to feed her "naturally". Every other time I fed her, we had to use the "contraption". Basically, it was a huge syringe filled with either my colostrum or formula. A nurse would squeeze the syringe and it would go down a tube that was attached to a shield I was wearing and she would nurse. She really liked instant gratification though, so we had to have a separate syringe that we would do a quick "squirt" in her mouth to get her to want to suck. It was seriously a HUGE ordeal to get it all set up and it took several hands. I started getting worried about how I'd feed her on my own once we got home, but figured I would cross that WONDERFUL bridge once we got to it.

She got new bedding that night
Her blood sugar at 5 AM was still good - at a 58. It had dropped some, which we were kinda bummed about since she had ate so well, but tried not to get too discouraged. She also slept a really long time before she wanted to nurse again, and we were kinda worried about that too. At 7 AM, they woke her up to eat. And when I say they, I mean Jill, Kaycee's day shift nurse, since they had just had shift changes. Jill is going to go down in history as one of my rocks during this whole experience. Her blood work came back great - no sign of jaundice and her platelets looked good and were coming back up.  When they weighed her at midnight, she was 6 pounds 10 ounches, so she had gained an ounce. Good girl baby!

Ok so more about Jill. She is technically a nurse but she also acts as a lactation consultant. Because of when I delivered, I wasn't able to see one, so it was nice having her give me some pointers. Every nurse Kaycee had acted as a LC for me though, they all watched us try to nurse and gave me tips on latching, holding her, etc. But Jill was just amazing. She came in for her shift Sunday and decided we were going to do an aggressive wean of the IV because she had a good feeding {the pediatrician had approved it the day before, she just hadn't had a good feeding yet followed by a good sugar take so we couldn't do it}. She turned her IV down from 13 to a 7 and said she'd let us know in an hour how she looked.

The famous Jill! 
Sign above her bed
We had breakfast in our room after we left the NICU. We sat down, with Jake right next to my bed in the rocking chair, held hands and said a prayer on our food and that turning down the IV would work and her blood sugar would stay level. I said it, and I was seriously sobbing throughout the whole prayer. I kept having to pause to catch my breath. Halfway through the prayer, Jill buzzed into our room through the intercom on the bed to tell us her level was at 60! AWESOME!!!!! So then that started a whole new round of tears in gratitude. We finished eating and tried to relax a little in our room,   with my cute nurse Gudrun coming in and out to check me as needed. I was still feeling amazing and only took Ibuprofen the entire time we were at the hospital. I started having some swelling, most likely from the epidural but other than that I felt amazing.

She was supposed to wake up at 10:30 for a feeding and was awake and howling her little lungs out at 10:15 for some chow. Jill said she would go from 0-60 and that's so true - one second she's fine and the next she's belting it out because she's hungry. She ate and we turned her IV down to a 5.

Around 12:15, Jake's brother Clint came and he and Jake gave Kaycee her first Priesthood blessing. Clint consecrated the oil and Jake said the blessing. I didn't write any of it down and I wish I had, but it was an awesome little blessing and the Spirit was super strong. I am so grateful that Jake is a worthy Priesthood holder and he was able to give her a blessing. Can't wait to hear all the blessings little miss gets from her dad in the future.

At 1, while Jake was getting some lunch, the pediatrician came and said they were going to move her to a different bed, since the one she was in was a "warming" bed. She could sleep in a regular bassinet like all the other babies! She was still in the Level 2 area, but still! He said as long as she keeps maintaining her sugar, she would be going home first thing in the morning!

In a "regular" bassinet!
At 1:15, she ate again and we turned off her IV. It was the first time since having Jake hand her to me when I was being sewed up that I got to hold my baby with no wires attached to her. It was TRULY amazing to not be trying to work around 3,000 wires and cords everywhere while we cuddled her. And it was within an hour of her first blessing!

Holding my baby with no wires
At 2:30, Jake's friend Kjell & his wife Paige came to visit us with their little girl Majken. She and Kaycee are going to be besties, I'm sure of it. Jill had told us they'd like to give her a bath {her first one} at 3, so they watched through the window as she got her first bath. Jake's mom was also there, coincidentally. Jake had wanted me to bathe her, but I said I wanted him to do it since it's usually a dad thing. I just was a lucky mom and also got to be there for her first bath. I took a TON of pictures and recorded video of the whole bath on the camera. She put on a bow that my mom had brought for her, and she got to wear her first piece of clothes - a little t shirt.

Kjell, Majken & Jake
Kaycee & Majken
First bath!

She LOVED getting her hair washed!
All done and wrapped up
Styling her little hair
Her cute headband from Grammy after her bath
After her bath, her sugar was still doing great at 56. We were so happy! We got her to sleep and then changed rooms because I was discharged. Orem Community had extra rooms, so we were able to "room in" and rent our room, like a hotel room, for $35 so we could stay the night with her. I was SOOOO glad we were able to do that, I didn't want to have to come home without her and I wanted to keep nursing her. Having to drive from our house or even somewhere in Orem every time she woke up would have taken a while, and the room we got was just across the hall from the NICU so it worked out perfectly! My mom and sisters came and held her while I pumped in our room - it was the first time Popper, Brynne & Blake had got to hold her.

Second room - 105
Our 2nd room, much smaller than the first
Aunt Popper

Aunt Brynnie

Uncle Blake!
They also took the IV attachment out of her foot just after her bath. They had kept it in and just not attached to anything in case her sugar went back down, but it was at 56 still so they took it out! We got to see her 2 feet and 2 hands with nothing in them!

We went to get some dinner at Taco Bell/Wendy's and Jake got a slurpee and came back to the hospital. When we came inside, we brought the car seat with us. We had left it in the car, thinking we'd like the extra room in our room and not bring it in until right before we got discharged. I'm glad it wasn't in our room the whole time - it would have made me sad to see it. But it was awesome seeing it now, knowing she was most likely going home in the morning!

At 9:15, she ate again. It was nice having to go in there so often to feed her - she definitely starting getting more of an appetite after her IV was out! Her night nurse that night was Donna, and she was a big college football fan so we had fun talking at night during her feedings. At midnight, she weight 6 pounds 8 ounces, so she'd only lost 1 ounce since birth. Sugars were at 62 - still maintaining and doing awesome!

January 13, 2014:

All night long, she ate every 3 hours. I pumped most of the time, but skipped one time in the middle of the night. At 8:30, just after we fed her, the pediatrician saw her and said she could go home. We were SOOO excited!! We went to the cafeteria to get some breakfast and I kept looking at Jake and just breaking down in tears. Seriously, I was an emotional wreck and so freaking grateful. We waited for them to do her hearing check {she passed} and then we got to bring her in our room. She stayed in there while we packed up and I showered, since I wasn't sure how long it'd be before I'd get a shower in once we were home.

Getting her hearing test {Jake went with her}
Our little room with our little girl in it with us
Loving on my little one in our room
She woke up just as we were about to go, so I gave her a quick bottle of formula so that we could feed her quickly and then got her all changed to go home. It was the first time I got to dress her. And oh did I love it. We went and signed the discharge papers with Wendy, Kaycee's day nurse. And then we got to leave the hospital at 11.

Getting dressed in her going home outfit
First time I got to dress my little girl
Eating right before we left
Ready to go!
Wendy, Kaycee's nurse at her discharge
The stork is the central area of the Women's Center
All loaded into her seat
Walking out
Walking out of the Women's Center
Here we go!
And we are officially "real" parents! It's now our job to keep her safe.
She slept the whole car ride home
Few things that I didn't know where to put but I wanted to remember:
  • Fig Newton was our keyword. We told the nurses that if we ever asked for Fig Newtons, we wanted them to come tell the visitors in our room it was time to go. We never ended up using the keyword, and each time one of us would eat a Fig Newton {they had some in the snack area} we would laugh about our keyword. 
  • Other than princess, she got her first nickname: Jake started calling her "froggy" just as we were getting ready to go. The name has kinda stuck. He thinks she looks like a frog because she pulls her little legs up and her arms spread out when she does skin to skin with me and her limbs look like frog legs and arms. It's adorable. 
I am very grateful for this experience, despite the fact that my birth plan didn't go the way I wanted it to. I had wanted skin to skin immediately and didn't get it. I wanted delayed cord cutting and didn't get it. I wanted her to room in and didn't get it. I never wanted to use formula and we ended up supplementing on day 1. And yet, I wouldn't change a thing. Because she was in the NICU, I had constant help nursing. I was able to be excited when she wanted to eat in the middle of the night - it meant progress, so it made it easier to get up when I was tired. So yeah, despite the fact that things didn't go the way I wanted, they DID go the way I wanted - I wanted a baby to come home with me. And I got that. I didn't have to come home without her. Yes, I got discharged before her but only by 18 ish hours. I can't say enough how amazing Orem Community was. I HIGHLY recommend them to absolutely ANYONE looking for an amazing birth experience. 

Baby girl, your birthday was amazing. Your birth weekend was tough, but we made it. Now, onto the next step - keeping you healthy at home!!  


  1. Bawling over here! I love your attention to detail, I wish I had that skill! I love all the pictures, but I think the ones with Jake are my favorite. I've known him since fifth grade, and seeing the sensitive side of that manly man is the neatest thing. I've said it a million times, but you two are going to be amazing parents. Kaycee is absolutely beautiful. So glad your princess is home and doing well.

  2. Amazing, amazing story!! I'm so glad she is here and home with you now! She is absolutely precious - I'm so happy for you guys. You are such an incredible person, Ashley. Thank you for sharing her story with everyone - you're so awesome to blog all of that with a newborn. Now you need to go take a nap! Love ya!