Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jane Caroline Keyes

I am finally posting again!  So much has happened since the last post and I have just been having so much fun with our new little one, Jane Caroline Keyes!  She was born on November 8th and is as beautiful as can be.  

Her stats were 5 lb 15 oz and 19 inches long.  We were induced 3 weeks early due to Pre-eclampsia/Toxemia.  Here is some information from  about Pre-eclampsia both for family journaling and to inform anyone (especially pregnant women) who may read this and be aware of the warning signs.  I've highlighted all the symptoms I was experiencing.  

Preeclampsia is a complex disorder that affects about 5 percent of pregnant women. You're diagnosed with preeclampsia if you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
But when preeclampsia is severe, it can affect many organs and cause serious or even life-threatening problems. That's why you'll need to deliver early if your condition is severe or getting worse.

Preeclampsia causes the blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and a reduced blood flow that can affect organs in your body, such as your liver, kidneys, and brain.
When less blood flows to your uterus, it can mean problems for your baby, such as poor growth, too little amniotic fluid, and placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery). In addition, your baby may suffer the effects of prematurity if you need to deliver early to protect your health.
Changes in your blood vessels caused by preeclampsia may cause your capillaries to "leak" fluid into your tissues, which results in swelling (known as edema). And when the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys leak, protein from your bloodstream spills into your urine. (It's normal to have a small amount of protein in your urine, but more than a little bit can signal a problem.)

What is eclampsia?

Infrequently, preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. Eclampsia can have very serious consequences for both the mother and the baby.

The seizures may be preceded by symptoms such as
severe or persistent headache, vision changes (blurred vision, seeing spots, or sensitivity to light), mental confusion, or intense upper abdominal pain. Sometimes, though, the seizures occur without warning. For this reason, all women with severe preeclampsia are given magnesium sulfate, an anti-seizure medication.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia can come on suddenly, so it's very important to be aware of the symptoms.

Call your doctor or midwife right away if you notice swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, or excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles. This is caused by water retention that can also lead to rapid weight gain, so let your caregiver know if you gain more than 4 pounds in a week.
(Note that not all women with preeclampsia have obvious swelling or dramatic weight gain, and not all women with swelling or rapid weight gain have preeclampsia.)

With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Call your caregiver immediately if you have any of these warning signs:
  • Severe or persistent headache
  • Vision changes, including double vision, blurriness, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or temporary loss of vision
  • Intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and preeclampsia can occur without any obvious symptoms, particularly in the early stages.  It is important to mention any concerns to your doctor and keep all of your prenatal appointments.

I had to do some pestering of my doctor so she would finally listen to what I was telling her - that something just didn't feel right - until she finally took the advice of three other doctors and diagnosed me.  Here are the sequence of events (again, this is mostly for journaling purposes, nobody has to read it all, but if you do, that's great, too)

I had been feeling pretty awful for a few weeks and having symptoms such as upper right gastric pain, fast weight gain/crazy edema, horrible/persistent headache, protein in my urine (sorry if that's tmi).  I had mentioned these to my OB doctor but she shrugged it off as normal pregnancy symptoms.  At my 36 week prenatal appointment, my blood pressure reading was a little elevated - 135/85.  My usual blood pressure is around 90/60.  She recommended I have a "non-stress" test done to check on the baby and the blood flow in the umbilical cord.  

The non-stress test appointment was the morning of the 6th.  While there, the attending doctor went over my symptoms with me and wondered why my doctor wasn't having me induced immediately.  She called my OB on the phone and they agreed to send me to "triage" to be monitored and have some tests done.  I was there for hours and hours.  I believe 8 hours or so....and my headache was getting unbearable.  

The OB doctor on call in the triage department also asked me just why my doctor wasn't inducing me today.  She then promised me that she would call my doctor and convince her to induce me that night.  No such luck.  They did agree, however, to admit me and keep me overnight for more monitoring and wait till a certain test came through that would absolutely prove that I had pre-eclampsia.

The next morning the test came through positive.  My OB still had to consult her trusted high-risk OB doctor friend about my situation for some reason.  He told her that she should've induced me already.  She was finally convinced.

Since it was such an early induction (37 weeks and 1 day to be exact) it took forever for little Jane to come.  I labored through that evening, night, the next morning, and afternoon, and finally said hello to her at 4:20 pm.  YAY!!!

She was so beautiful and tiny!  Thankfully we were both healthy through the delivery and recovery and her lungs were fully developed.  Before too long after we were taken to the recovery room, the nurse came and took Jane to the nursery for some tests. About 30 minutes later a pediatrician on call came in and informed me that Jane had contracted pneumonia (cause undetermined) and was having some trouble breathing.  The course of treatment would mean that she had to stay in the Newborn Intensive Care unit for 7 to 10 days.....what?!  I couldn't believe that I couldn't spend all my time with my beautiful baby or take her home with me!  One of my greatest fears is something happening to my children and now something was.  I'm sure all the delivery hormones and my exhaustion made the situation more dramatic and I think I cried for the next 24 hours straight.  Thoughts were running through my mind like "What if the pneumonia takes over and she doesn't recover?" "What would I do if the worst happens?" and how would it be possible to hold her, get to know her, tell her I'm her mother, and how on earth I would be able to nurse this baby. 

Joe and I were brought down to the NICU after they had Jane all hooked up to the monitors and started the antibiotics.  While there, they were so reassuring that she would recover, that I could be there and rock her in the rocking chair and hold her as long as I wanted, and try my best to nurse her and feed her my milk from a bottle.  My prayers had been answered!  We are so blessed to live in this modern age with the technology needed to care for little Jane.  Also was a blessing to live in a time and place that are so conscious and caring for the mothers of these sweet babies as well!

As time went on, the wheels started turning in my brain again.  I have to go home at least 5 days earlier than my baby.  How would I possibly be able to sleep and recover and home, pump, and be back for a feeding every 2 hours??  I would be home resting for 10 minutes at a time!  My heart broke thinking I wouldn't be able to see her as much as I wanted and continue our progress with nursing.

On my last scheduled day at the hospital, I was so blessed to be visited by the social worker there to speak about a "rooming in" option.  HALLELUJAH!!!  They were going to let me stay in a room in the hospital with no services as long as they weren't fully booked and didn't need the room.  As much as I missed my sweet husband, Eric, and Wendy, and just plain being at home!, I was so grateful that I could stay with my helpless little baby and care for her as much as the nurses would allow me.  I loved that Joe visited me as much as possible while juggling school and the kids at home.  He brought the kids with him a couple of times - it was so nice to see them!  They were allowed to visit little Jane in the NICU for a couple of minutes so they could meet their sister.  They were absolutely delighted and lined up to give her kisses.  I wish we caught that on camera.  

Over the next few days, Jane was really improving and the doctors were sure she would go home after the 7 day cycle of antibiotics.  

"There's No Place LIke Home!!!!!!"

We had a little birthday celebration to include Eric and Wendy in on the excitement and even bought them little presents from Jane.  The kids love their new baby!
Life is good.
P.S.  I missed my little family at home so much and Joe is such a great husband that he sent me pictures of them throughout my hospital stay.  Here are some examples of my "day brighteners".

I love my family and am so grateful to be home with them again.  I will be forever grateful to all of our friends, family, and ward members that helped care for Joe, Eric, and Wendy during the duration of our hospital stay.  Thank you so much!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Sarah,
I’m writing this to tell you I love you, and Merry Christmas.  A few years ago, 2007,  one? two? days after Christmas I proposed to you (officially).  You said yes!  Since then we have lived in a basement, in a trailer at my parents’ house, and now we’re strangers in a Strange land.  Thank you for your support as I finish school, 173 days left!  Some day I’ll learn to take care of the kids so you can get some R&R.  Until then, consider this a binding pledge that I’ll spring for Subway as often as you need.
We currently have three kids, a minivan, and some nice furniture; we even went big on decorations for Christmas this year.  As we move out of San Francisco (I think that we already have in our minds), I hope to keep this ball rolling and just keep having the time of my life with you and the kids.  Thank you for being a wonderful wife to me and a wonderful mother to our kids.  I love you for all the things you do, but especially for showing me real kindness and the value of selfless love.  For the first Christmas ever, I actually care more about what everyone else gets rather than what’s under the tree for me.  Your sweet demeanor brings out the meek in me, without any type of force; being around you makes me a better person.
I’m very glad we’ll be together forever.  I’ll keep trying to explain to you how I feel, even if it’ll never fully illustrate what you are to me I can at least try to put a label on what sometimes I leave unsaid, that is, without words.  I love you.  I have forever to keep loving you, and I’m sure that my love for you tomorrow will dwarf the feelings I have now.  You are the one and only most beautiful woman ever.  Thank you for helping me find the answers.  Thank you for saying yes. 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Arata's Pumpkin Farm 2012

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch today!  I guess they won't mold by halloween this way, huh?  We have gone to Arata's Pumpkin Farm every year that we've been here and it never disappoints.  

Mmm. Tasty hair.

Too heavy.

This little girl loved posing for the camera.  Eric, on the other hand (notice there aren't many pictures of him) was just all over the place looking for the trucks.

My attempt at getting a picture of them together...

Ok here's one.  He's walking towards a truck.

Wendy happened to sit and pose in a place that had perfect lighting.  Had to take advantage of it.

My cute family. :)

Alright. So how does she already have this face in her repertoire??  She's definitely not allowed to have teenager faces yet.

We decided to splurge a little, since this is our last year here, and take the kids on a tractor/hay-ride.  There they are waiting patiently for it to come around.

Climbing up.  He was so excited.

Then my camera battery died so here's a couple from Joe's phone.  Here they are getting off.  Such happy kids.

A ride in the wheelbarrow.  They loved it.  These are the "why'd you make us stop, mom?" faces.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Having fun at the hotel...

We, of course, had to bring the favorite bed-time story...

Didn't know there was a toddler pool till we looked out our window!

Eric gazed at it whenever he could....we spent a lot of time wading there and swimming in the regular pool...

We came back to the hotel one day while housekeeping was working on our room so we checked out the arcade room.  The kids loved it even though we didn't actually pay to play anything...

Hiking to Lower Yosemite Falls...

Such a hot day.  Luckily it wasn't that far of a hike...

Well, there it is.  All dried up.

Joe and Eric climbed up the rocks and boulders a ways and apparently, Eric is a natural.  Joe raved about his good moves when they got back.

Among all the beauty of nature....there are still trucks.  We didn't even see it through the trees...but Eric did.  He has such a good eye for those things!

"A truck!"

Half Dome

El Capitan

Joe with Half Dome/landscape

These signs were all over the place

On the shuttle (or "bus" as Eric calls it) from the parking lot to Mariposa Grove since both the Grove parking lots were full...This was a definite highlight of the trip for the kids.  They never ever ride buses.  Eric, I guess, thinks he's a big boy and kindly didn't let me hold on to him or touch him at all and had a serious face on the whole time.  Wendy said cute, girly little "wooooaaahhhh"'s for the first 5 full minutes.  

The Fallen Monarch

It was big.

There were names, dates, initials, etc carved all over this gigantic thing dating all the way back to 1927!

Wendy got out and walked quite a ways (for her). Although, she would stop about every 5 feet and do a silly pose and/or dance, which made it a cute but very long uphill climb.

During one of the switch-backs, the kids decided it would be fun to sit on this rock....picture time!  These kids never ever pose for me.  I'm still amazed.

Giving Daddy a break...

Luckily this truck was in-sight at the top of the hill towards the end.  Otherwise, I don't think Eric would've made it. :)

There were bees, though..

Cute little Eric loved loved loved standing in this tree.

The Grizzly Giant

This little girl really enjoys any type of lotion or hand sanitizer.  She cannot get enough of it.

Sleepy little boy waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the car.

What's a good trip without a little organizing (Wendy's favorite thing to do).