Amazing Boy

First, I wanted to say thank you to all of you and for all of your comments.  I would love to comment back to each of you individually, but life is just so crazy right now…so thank you all for your love and support and for sending your prayers and positive energy our way.  It is definitely being felt and totally working!!!

So this past week has gone by so quickly.  The back and forth to the hospital,  caring for our 3 other kids, and the holidays have just completely whooped us!  Callie is back to work tomorrow and she is taking it even harder this time around.  Not being able to spend a few hours with Austin Ryan at the hospital is very difficult for her, and getting about an hour a night after work just doesn’t seem like enough. I feel so terrible about it, and I wish that I could trade places with her or that I made 100k/year,  but one thing that I’m learning through this experience is that life goes on outside of the 4 corners of the NICU, and we have to do our best to be present in it.  It’s just so so hard.

Everyone is doing great otherwise. The boys are doing as great as ever, Mary has been challenging but she’s healthy and her report card was AMAZING so we’re doing something right, and aside from being sad about going back to work, Callie is doing awesome.  Our relationship was going through a bit of a rough patch recently, but this little boy coming early has really put us in a place where we realize how much we need each other and how much we love each other and rely on each other for support.  It’s been pretty eye opening.  I found myself noticing how I was speaking to her and apologizing (GASP!) more often for being a little snot.  I can be kind of mean when I’m stressed, under pressure, or convinced that I’m right.  I have never been so thankful to have her or so appreciative to have someone who understands me and how I function.  She truly is my better half and I have never been so in love.  

Austin Ryan really is something else!  This kid is unbelievable and such a little fighter! At 9 days old (yesterday) he was off the CPAP completely, since he’s been breathing on his own since day 2.  He’s been tolerating all of his feeds, and went from 10cc’s of breast milk to 16cc’s in one day, and then from 16cc’s to 25cc’s in one more day!  Since he’s getting everything he needs from mama’s milk, they don’t need to give him intralipids through his IV (I’m pumping every 2-3 hours and getting about 30cc’s [a little more than an ounce] each pump!).  This, friends, was the greatest Christmas present we could have gotten.  For Callie’s birthday yesterday, the best gift?! This… 

 Kangaroo care with our little buddy! 

Mamá got some snuggles too! 

 And he is the perfect combination of Levi and Noah! 

   

Things are going very well, and Austin amazes us each and every day with his will power and strength.  My little Chispa will be home before we know it, and we can’t wait!

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We’re Latino…

And in true latino fashion, we celebrate Christmas on 12/24! So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas friends, Merry Christmas…

     

   
 

Mama’s Chispa-An Update

Life these past 5 days has been an absolute whirlwind! I’m not sure where the hours have gone, but here we are, 5 days after Austin Ryan’s birth and we’re FINALLY starting to get into the swing of things.  Well, as much as we can anyway.  It’s really been completely, utterly, and totally crazy!

There are so many things happening that I don’t even know where to start, but for one, my parents will be back from their 2 month trip to Colombia and I couldn’t be happier.  I have missed them so much.  The only thing I would change about my birth experience would be being able to have my mom there.  I never realized how much I miss her when she’s not here, and how much I rely on her to keep me grounded.  My sister spent most of my time in labor holding the phone up so Mami and I could FaceTime.  It was the next best thing to having her there.  Them being back means loads more help with our other 3 kids.  Callie’s mom works full time and her dad can’t really handle 3 kids on his own, especially two very mobile infants, so having my parents back will be such a helpful blessing.  My aunts have been a godsend, watching the kids until I was discharged.  But now, we’ve been trucking them back and forth to the hospital for the past 2 days taking turns staying with them in the NICU Family Room while the other visits with Austin Ryan.  What’s worse than having one sick kid? 3 sick kids! Noah has a double ear infection and is miserable, and Levi’s cough turned into pneumonia and he’s had a fever for the past couple of days.  Definitely not a good thing when you have a baby in the NICU! My hands are raw from washing and constantly stinging from the amounts of sanitizer I’ve been using.  The good thing is that they are always such happy babies, even when they are sick.

I have been, well, for the most part, a hot damn mess! I spend most of my day crying, and anxious and wanting to be at the hospital.  I wouldn’t say I’m depressed because I’m very aware of what that feels and looks like for me, but I will say that I have a lot going on and it’s quite overwhelming.  Take this week for example! 2 sick clingy kids, adjustment to new daycare routine, wife back at work, Mary with loads of half days at school and no care, Christmas, having a freaking baby 10 weeks early, baby in NICU, and life STILL goes on! Callie and I are still arguing about how to spend Christmas with BOTH families and all I wanna do is go be with my baby.  It’s just terrible, feeling so desperate to be with him, but knowing that life needs to happen.  I wish I had more words to eloquently describe this need and this urge to be with my son and how somehow I don’t care about anything else but at the same time have 3 other kids and a wife that consume my every thought.  Hopefully, these hormones will all smooth out and I can go a day sometime soon without shedding a tear…

Now my little Austin Ryan.  This kid is just, incredible! He’s doing so so well.  As of this morning his bilirubin levels went down so they have been able to take him off of the lights.  They removed both of the lines they had through his umbilical and now has an NG tube for feedings (he is tolerating the breastmilk very well and is having poops and pees consistently!) and a PICC line for the intralipids.  He’s lost the 9oz and is at an even 3lbs but the doctor says that’s good as he’s lost all of the retained water weight.  He still has the CPAP, but currently isn’t getting oxygen since he can do it all on his own! He hasn’t had any Apnea issues in over 24 hours.   His heart rate is great and he hasn’t Brady’d (when the heart rate drops) in over 24 hours.  His temperature was a little low yesterday, but today was good enough that we were able to hold him!  

 I got to hold him also but had forgotten my camera in the Family Room, which was a total bummer.  I also got to change his diaper, which was just so tiny!!!  I sang some songs to him, and he smiled at me when I sang “Beautiful Boy” which I’ve been singing to his brothers since the womb and to put them to bed, and now, this Beautiful Boy gets to hear it in person and not from the inside anymore.  It was the cutest thing.   

 The nurses keep saying how well he is doing, and that there are some babies that even at 32 weeks don’t weigh as much or are doing as well.  He’s such a little rockstar and the nurses are falling in love with his very feisty, very rambunctious personality.  We put up his Christmas stocking and have started getting a few little things to put in there for him.  

 
The only thing I’ll admit having a hard time with is going back and forth about what I could have possibly done differently to have kept him in a little longer. Should i have called the doctor when I thought I was having Braxton Hicks?  Maybe I shouldn’t have had that spicy beef patty.  Should I have called a cab to take the boys to the pediatrician instead of walking uphill?  Should I not have carried the boys so much?! There are so many things I ask myself constantly, even though I know that there really isn’t anything I could have done.  Even though I know that he was ready and that things are happening just as they should.  It’s a hard thing to let go of and to not feel guilty about.  A hard thing to not second guess every little decision that you’ve made up until the point where that baby is placed in your arms.  It’s so so hard. 

My milk has come in and I’ve been pumping A LOT!  The doctor is happy that he doesn’t have to supplement with formula because it’s much easier for the baby to breakdown the breastmilk. I was worried I wouldn’t get any milk because inducing lactation was uncuccesul but, I’m doing pretty well! I get about 10cc per pump, which I’m guessing isn’t terrible! It double from the 5cc’s from yesterday!  Something tells me I’ll get a lot of milk. 

  

  But that’s it for now. I’m hoping to update as often as can, but ya know, 4 kids. Wowzers! 4 kids…

Austin Ryan – A Birth Story

Tuesday was a great day.  It was my second time dropping the boys off to daycare on my own and beginning to get into the swing of our new routine.  The boys were so happy to get to school and see their teacher and their new friends, and I was happy that they were happy.  I kissed them goodbye, waved through the glass and walked out the door and back to the van.  I drove about 5 minutes down the road to the closest train station, found a parking spot, and got on the train to work.  It was as normal a day as ever, until I was starting to feel what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, but nearing 30 weeks, I figured it was normal.  I didn’t think anything of it, since they were sporadic and inconsistent and only happened a few times (that I noticed) throughout that day. 

Work was great that day, but around 3pm I got a call at work that poor Noah had a 100.8 fever and that someone would have to come get him from school.  Luckily, Callie was already on her way since she had finished up her work for the day.  I gave my boss the heads up that I probably wouldn’t be going in on Wednesday since there’s that whole “24 hour fever free” rule at the daycare center. The director said that Noah didn’t have any symptoms of sickness (I’m guessing it’s the 4 top teeth he’s cutting this week) so if he was fine the next day, it would be totally fine to bring them in.  Sure enough, that night, they both started coughing, both had 101.7 fevers and it was a pretty restless night for everyone in our house, except Mary, who somehow slept like a rock through all the crying (and moms cursing!).  

Next day, I stayed home with them, called the pediatrician, and was off to see her for a 10:30am appointment.  Only thing was, we’re a 15 minute walk away, uphill, and Callie accidentally forgot to leave me the van key! We only have one key, and with her an hour+ away in Brooklyn, I strapped the boys into the stroller and took the walk to the doctor.  No infections and no bronciolitis, so back home we went to watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and have a good old cuddle.  During those cuddles, I started feeling some tightening and lower abdominal pain. 

I figured it was either Braxton Hicks again or maybe some gas pains, since I hadn’t used the bathroom that day.  It wasn’t consistant enough for me to even THINK it was contractions but now that I look back at it, it was probably the very early stages of labor.  Wednesday night, I was on the phone with my mom around 8pm for a good hour and a half.  During that call, I was telling her that I was feeling a little weird and not like myself and that I was gettin some weird pains that seemed like contractions, but that they weren’t regular so there was no way they could be.  She told me it was probably gas, to call my OB in the morning, and to go and lay down and relax and not do anything too strenuous.  I actually had an appointment with my OB on Thursday (the following) morning at 10:15, so I figured I would just talk to him then.

That night, things got real! I tossed and turned the whole night.  The boys had another tough night, what with fevers, coughs and new teeth, it was a terrible night.  I noticed that every time I went to get up out of bed, my belly would get extra tight and it would sort of take my breath away, sometimes even having to hold onto the footboard for a second.  You would think I would have known I was in labor, but it didn’t feel like what I imagined it would feel like and the contractions weren’t coming in any type of consistent interval. 

Woke up in the morning to see Callie off to work.  She asked if I was still having pains, which I was and suggested that I call the OB ASAP! I told her my appointment was In a3 hours, so I’d ask him when I got there, but I started noticing the pain was coming a little more consistently now.  The Boys got up around 7, so I dressed them, fed them breakfast and then Callie’s mom came over to watch them at 9:30 so I could head off to my appontment.  At this point, I was very aware of the pain and contractions were every 10 minutes on the 8’s.  8:38, 8:48, 8:58… The minutes ticket by and I new exactly what time it was based on the pain.  I mentioned to my MIL that I would give her a call because I was having contractions 10 minutes apart and they were probably going to send me to the hospital, so she might wanna be prepared to call out of work (since Cals was at least an hour away in Brooklyn).

Into the doctors office I go (but not before calling Ticketmaster about 148 times for those DAMNED Adele tickets!!!!) and let him know the second that I walked in “I think I’m having contractions every 10 minutes and I haven’t felt the baby move all morning and he’s super active and I’m freaking out a little so please give me an ultrasound!” all in one breath!  He sent me into the NST room, set me up on the monitors, where I was beyond relieved to hear the baby’s heartbeat loud and clear and STRONG, but also ridiculously nervous to see the peaks and valleys of the contractions registering on the red-lined paper.  The doctor came in about 10 minutes later, “You are definitely having contractions and they look about 3-4 minutes apart…you need to head over to the hospital right away.  I’ll call them and let them know you’re on your way.” 

Now I really start to get a little nervous because I’m not even 30 weeks pregnant yet, hardly finished reveling in how amazing it is to be pregnant and feel the baby moving around, or even believing this is actually happening.  After a few phone calls walking through the parking lot, (my MIL would stay with the boys, Callie was leaving work, and my younger sister was on her way to stay with me while Callie made her way over) I make the 30 minute drive ON MY OWN to the hospital a whole state over! With contractions 3-4 minutes apart! Making it safely there, I made my way to labor and delivery, where the nurses were waiting for me with a wristband and a gown.  They set me up to a monitor that the nurses could also see in the nurses station, and about 15 minutes in, at around 12pm, the doctor on call (who was INCREDIBLE!!!!) walks in, and asks if it’s ok to check me.  She wanted to swab me and check if there were any proteins, because proteins mean exposed membranes which means chances are, my water would be breaking soon! After the swab, she did a quick (painful) check and I was ridiculously surprised to hear that I was 6cm dialated and she could feel the membranes bulging! 

They moved me into an L&D room, set me up with an IV fluid drip, magnesium sulfate drip, and gave me a steroid injection to help babies lungs in the event that he made his appearance MUCH earlier than anticipated.  My sister gets there.  Unfortunately, because of the magnesium, I needed a catheter which I was less than thrilled about.  Next thing I know, nurses and doctors are showing up, Callie shows up, my youngest sister leaves to get my niece at school, my sister Raquel shows up, and we get all the information we need, because apparently this baby was coming TODAY! All of this happening while I am doing my best to breathe through my contractions which are now coming about 1-2 minutes apart, lasting about a minute each.  3 hours after arriving, the doctor comes in and we are just talking about getting me comfortable and what I wanted for my delivery. She offered an epidural and I refused, mainly because the pain wasn’t unbearable.  For the most part, on a 1-10 (10 being KILL ME PLEASE!) my pain was manageable and at about a 7.  I figured, “I’ve already gone more than half way, let me just stick it out!”  With Raquel and Callie rubbing my hands and shoulders, playing Spanish Christmas carols, being silly, and Facetiming my mom to help coach me through contractions, things seemed to be going pretty well.  My doctor came back in at about 4pm to do another check.  “Well, there’s no cervix there, baby is engaged, 100% effaced…you’re having this baby soon! I don’t want to break your water.  I want it to happen on its own because he so small, I don’t want him to be distressed.”  For another 30 minutes I breathed though contraction after contraction, sometimes back to back with no break between.  I started to feel a lot of pressure on my bum, like I had to move my bowels, and I started clenching down and forgetting how to breathe, but Callie was reminding me that I was doing so well and to not forget how I got that far and to keep breathing through the contractions and not against them.  I told her to get the nurse because I was ready to push.  The nurse called the doctor, and upon a quick look, she called Callie over. “Is that his HEAD?!?! With all that HAIR?!?!” “Mmmm hmm!”  And she took a picture and showed it to me, and I saw his little head, and as my pain reached a 10, I just knew, with every ounce of who I am, what I needed to do!  My doctor told me how to push (chin to my chest after a deep breath in,  and push with my bottom) and I pushed. With the first push, my water broke, sending a spray of fluids that got my sister and Callie, my doctor and me! I pushed with everything in me. I pushed to the point where I thought I would likely pass out, and I felt his head come out, and then this wave of euphoria and uncertainty and love for my child and my wife and I knew that I needed one more good push, and the contraction came and 4 minutes after I started pushing I felt his shoulders make their way out, and he was here, and I laid back, and cried my eyes out, and my wife kissed me and told me how proud she was, and it was done! At 4:53pm on 12/17/15 my boy was here, just 5 1/2 hours after getting to the hospital!

  
Callie cried as she cut the cord, and the NICU doctors checked him out.  The little guy didn’t even cry. He was laying there on the table with his eyes wide open, looking up at the people around him, not making a sound.  Just flailing around waiting for someone to bring him to Mama.  He finally decided he’d let us hear his little voice so they wrapped him up like a 15″ burrito, and I got to hold my son for the first time.  We kissed him, and held him, and said a little prayer, and they whisked him off to the NICU.  I delivered the placenta, and the Dr, gave me one stitch for my first degree tear.  The whole time I was there (those 5.5 hours) all I wanted was a cheeseburger! “I wish I could have a fucking cheeseburger” must have been said about 15 times in that time.  As soon as I was stitched up, my doctor gave me a high five and said to no one (or everyone!) in particular, “Someone get this girl a fucking cheeseburger!!!” 

After all that hardwork, that cheeseburger was well deserved…

  
  

29w6d and a Christmas Miracle

I can’t even believe what happened today.  Someone was ready to make his way into this word and refused to let anything stop him.  

Welcome to the world Austin Ryan.  Welcome to the world, my gorgeous son….

   
    
 
Born at 29w6d, at 3lbs 9oz, he is doing great! 7/10 on the Apgar a minute after birth and 9/10 after 5 minutes.  Breathing on his own, and the NICU nurses are in love already. A perfect combination of Levi and Noah, and ready for his Moms to shower him with love! 

Birth story to come…gotta go see my Tiny Chispa (my parents have already nicknamed him Tiny Spark!) 

How’s that for a Christmas miracle?!

Life…

Life has been, well, busy to say the least.  It seems like every time I sit to write, I get wrapped up in something.  Mary needs help with homework.  Callie is trying to figure out enrollment paperwork for daycare (who writes those packets? Satan?!?!).  The boys have had an other shitastrophe that needs immediate cleaning before we all have to evacuate the apartment.  The dishwasher floods my kitchen.  You name it, it’s happened in the past 2 weeks, and that’s not including the ever annoying Holiday shopping, family and work get togethers, and Dr.’s appointments for EVERYONE in our house.  So, yeah, life!

First, let gets this pregnancy stuff outta the way!

27 & 28 Weeks

siblings

27-1 WEEKS ON THANKSGIVING WITH MY BEAUTIFUL SIBLINGS

28weeks

28 Weeks (SERVING “WORK BATHROOM REALNESS”)

Had an appointment with the Perinatologist and with my OB this past Friday.  I’ll be going to my OB every 2 weeks now for check ups now that I am officially in the 3rd trimester.  It’s crazy that in 2 shorts weeks we’ll be in single digit wait time for this little guy!  My blood pressure is still doing great at 132/72 which is pretty awesome, and I passed my 3 hour glucose! Woop Woop!  My Perinatologist still wants to make sure that I’m getting checked and baby is being measured every month or so to make sure that I don’t get gestational diabetes, mainly because my sugar was borderline all the way up until before I got pregnant.  The numbers were  good though so he isn’t too concerned but he’s seen it many times where his patients feel that they are in the clear and then have to go on medication in the last few weeks.

Results:
FastingGTT 83 mg/dL 65-94 1GLUC
1HRGTT 153 mg/dL 65-179 1GLUC
2HRGTT 110 mg/dL 65-154 1GLUC
3HRGTT 90 mg/dL 65-139

Also, we had a scan to measure where baby is now, and things look great!  He is measuring right on target and approximately 3lbs according to their calculations.  He’s head down which probably explains all the kicking to my ribs, and all the pressure I’m starting to feel down below.  I’ve also broken out in this strange rash that started on my thighs and then worked it’s way down to my calves and is now making it’s way up my belly.  Which reminds me, I should probably email my OB and tell him it’s getting worse :/

Biscuit is so squishy using the placenta as a pillow and was so busy showing us what was in between his legs that it was difficult to get a good shot of anything else.  He must have been saying, “Mama, if you had any doubts, well, you sure don’t now!”  We were able to get a 3D picture, although not a very good one, but both Callie and I agree that based on his profile and the squishiness of his little face, this new little boy, looks very much like Noah.  And that’s exciting, because that FACE!!!  I keep telling Callie that this baby is gonna have Noah’s face and Levi’s coloring (hair, eyes, complexion).  So far, I’m getting 50% of what I want, and we all remember how it turned out the last time I made my “wants” known for the boys! Twins (Callie only wanted 1), 2 boys (Callie wanted one of each), one redhead (Callie was NOT feeling that), and I got everything I wanted!  So here’s hoping!austinAustin1

Daycare

Oh lawdy, my babies are going to daycare, and this overprotective Mama Bear is having a hard time with it.  Callie officially starts work tomorrow.  It’s her first day of orientation, and I decided that I would take the day off to go with her to transition the boys into their first classroom.  Into the arms of a perfect stranger that none of us have met.  Into an environment that we aren’t necessarily too happy about.  Well, let me explain.  There were 2 schools that we narrowed it down to.  Let’s just call them One and Two.  Center One was AMAZING!  When we went to visit, the teachers were all smiling and the kids were happy and engaged, and mind you it was 5pm, end of the day, in the midst of pick-up mayhem and everyone, from what we could see, was really happy.  The teachers all smiled at us as we walked through the hallways on our tour, and some even came out to greet us, ask us our names and the boys names, how old they were, if they were twins, and didn’t even think twice about the fact that we said that we were BOTH their moms!  It was a great experience, and the classrooms were all nice and neat, no kids with snotty noses and dirty clothes, and that’s important to me.  Center Two had basically all of the same things with the exception of happy, warm, and excited teachers.  Particularly in the infant room.

She was sitting there, looking annoyed, holding one baby while another baby was on the floor crawling around and getting into everything and she barely glanced back at us, stone faced, before she turned back to the baby on the floor, ignoring the one in her arms, and seeming to count down the minutes before her shift was over and she could get rid of the kids.  It wasn’t the same feel, so we decided that Center One was were we wanted the kids to go.  Also Center One has a school aged program, so when Mary has no school, she can go there for the week for FREE vs the $340 ($60/day + $40 registration fee) at the Y or the Boys and Girls Club.  And then we are doing one drop off and one pick up.  Only problem?!  Center One doesn’t have space in heir infant program!!!!!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! So we had to enroll them in Center Two until they turn 1, when they can go into the Senior Infant Room at Center One.  Our poor babies will be making so many transitions (new teachers, new classmates, new school, new schedule) TWICE in a month period.  On the plus side, they only have to spend 3 weeks in the school we liked less, AND we already put the new baby on the waitlist for the infant room at Center One so things are good to go!

Callie is definitely having a hard time with this whole transition to being a working mom after having been a SAHM for almost a year now.  She has been home (counting her bed rest and early maternity leave) since October 2014 making it 14 months since she has been in a work environment.  Her anxiety is manifesting in so many ways, but mainly in having control. She has never been diagnosed with anxiety, mainly because she has never been to a therapist in her life, but when you have been dealing with an anxiety disorder most of your life, went to a DBT program for 2 years and participated in exposure therapy for severe OCD, you can sort of spot an anxiety situation with your eyes closed.  The hoarding collecting has gotten to be a bit too much for me.  The space is waaay too cramped for 5 people and two mobile infants, and we haven’t even set up our Christmas decorations (which I am DEVASTATED about) because we have nowhere to put a tree or the 8 boxes of Christmas stuff that needs to come up from storage.  I actually really don’t have any Christmas spirit this year (first time EVER in my life!) and I feel terrible about it.  I want the kids to really love the holidays and have a great experience, but it’s tough when you’re wife won’t budge on getting rid of all of her unnecessary stuff, and you feel like your Christmas decorations won’t even be seen because they are being overshadowed by boxes and things in every free space and corner.  It’s to the point where I refuse to have anyone over because I’m straight up embarrassed by the condition of our apartment.  On a bright note though, we’ve spoken to a mortgage broker, and we are on our way to getting a pre-approval for a mortgage and hopefully will be buying a home before September rolls around and our lease needs to be renewed and they charge us an arm and leg with all the “improvements” they’ve been making to the properties.  And I use the term “improvements” very very lightly!  And besides, why pay $2500.00/month on a 3 bedroom apt. with no space and no amenities, when I can be paying $1500 for a mortgage on my own HOUSE and my kids can have a back yard to run around in! So that’s something that positive that has come from all the bickering and arguing that has been going on about lack of space and too many things.  Finally called the broker.  Why, Hello Silver Lining!

Aside from that, life has been carrying on as usual.  Nothing major, just living…and keeping kids alive…all I can ask for…

And now, some pictures!

thanksgiving

NOAH AND LEVI FOR THANKSGIVING, LOOKING DAPPER!

babies

PHOTOSHOOT I DID OF MY NIECES AND MY KIDS FOR MY PARENTS XMAS PRESENT. THERE ARE 3 SHOTS THAT WILL ALL BE PUT ON CANVASES FOR THEIR NEW LIVING ROOM ONCE I FIND MY PHOTOSHOP AND I CAN EDIT THEM!

kids2

I JUST HAVE TO GET THOSE STINKIN’ SOCKETS OUT OF THE WAY!

sleeping

AT MY NIECES FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY