Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Best Two Years

This post is a little delayed, but as you might pick up from my previous post....
my life has been a little crazy lately

June 10th was our Anniversary but since Tatum was going to be home from the NICU by then, Nik and I decided to celebrate a little early.
So on June 3rd we went to The Melting Pot and had a wonderful time together.

Here are some pictures from that evening.
 I love him!
 I think the blurriness comes from all the heat in that little booth.
Cuz yes, we are hott!!! 
Ok, and maybe something to do with that melting pot and all the steam.
 Yeah, kinda forgot to take a 'before' picture here.
The food is too good to last long enough for a picture.
 One happy little wife and new mamma!
 Our waiter asked what we were celebrating so we told him our anniversary and new baby.
When it came time for dessert, he brought out this little dish.
So sweet!
 Gosh! Every part of the meal is amazing...and I made sure to capture this before it was gone!
Happy 2nd Anniversary!
Couldn't have asked for a better person to spend my life with.

Here is to many many MANY more celebrations!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tatum's Story

Let's get one thing clear:
Due Date: June 24, 2011
Birthday: May 25, 2011
Big Surprise

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It started on May 24th. I was getting ready to go grocery shopping and was just about to head out the door when I decided to check Facebook real quick. My friend, Nichole Q, said she needed a babysitter for the afternoon so she could run some errands. I decided it would be a good way to earn a few bucks and then I could go grocery shopping after. Funny thing is Nichole asked me how long I could stay and I responded with "All day. Heck, all I gotta do nowadays is bake this baby." (oh gosh, shouldn't have said that.) So I headed on over there at 11:45am. I needed to stop at our storage unit on my way to grab a few things. I got there at 12:15pm and grabbed my items. The manager came out to talk with me and made a comment about how big I was. I told him I wasn't due for another month. His eyes got big and he told me good luck. I finished lifting the boxes back into the unit and left for Nichole's house.

I got to Nichole's around 12:30pm and she gave me the low down on when the other kids were going to be home and what the little one was up to. She finally left the house around 12:40pm. I sat at the computer with the little one as she played some computer games. I decided I was thirsty so I got up to get a drink and...that's when it water broke!! I freaked out. Weird feeling! I ran softly to my purse to grab my phone and call Nichole. She wasn't even gone 10 minutes when I was crying and telling her to come get me. She rushed back home, took her daughter to the neighbor, and then took me to Banner Gateway. I called Nik but he didn't answer (I figured as much because he was at work) and then I called my mom.

I was so scared. She was only 35weeks and 4days along. She was not suppose to arrive for another month! I didn't have anything ready. No bags packed. No crib set up. No maternity pictures taken or labor/delivery classes attended. Nothing.

Nichole stayed with me while I was getting admitted until Nik showed up. I had sent him a few texts to let him know my water broke, that we were having this baby now, and that he needed to get down here as soon as possible. He got to the hospital faster than I thought and at that time Nichole left to go back home. My grandma and grandpa showed up, as they live half a mile from the hospital, and gave me words of encouragement as I was still kind of freaking out. They are awesome.

I was then taken into my delivery room where they checked me and I was only dilated to 1cm and 0% effaced. They gave me some medication to soften things up and get things going but no Pitocin to induce labor. The nurses wanted to me try on my own and then after 18 hours if nothing had progressed they would induce my labor.

Family stopped by to see me. All my family and Nik’s family were so supportive and loving. Amy played some Blokus with me to try and get my mind distracted from the pain. Other family watched my favorite movies on TV with me and Nik was a great husband rubbing my back when I was having contractions.

By 8pm I couldn’t take the pain any longer. The contractions were getting stronger but I didn’t want an epidural just yet. I was not ready to give up my mobility when sitting on the bouncy ball was the most comfortable position for me. I don’t remember what the nurses gave me…but it was a miracle worker for a while. I remember the nurse screwing the medicine tube onto my IV and injecting it but then I conked out right away. I don’t even remember her unscrewing the tube. I was asleep! It was marvelous! I no longer was thinking about the pain or my hunger. (Heck, I hadn’t eaten since 10am that morning! I was starving!)

At 10pm I had had enough with the contractions and that previous medication wasn’t working anymore. I had everyone go home and then I received my epidural. That thing was nice…for a little bit and then the pain was coming back even harder. I was still dilated to a 1cm and decided to get some sleep because she obviously wasn’t going to come for a while.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nik laid on the little sofa sleeper and I was curled up in a ball in my bed. Hours went by and I tried to tolerate the pain. The nurse came in at 1am to see if I had made any progress. I was dilated to 2cm at that point. I went back to sleep for a few more hours. Nik’s snoring wass comforting as I slept and then to hear my baby’s heartbeat on the monitor…that just made my night. It was so nice hearing both of them and knowing what a happy family we were about to become.

At 3am the nurse came in again to give me more medication and checked if I was progressing any more. I was then at a 4cm. The pain was getting worse and worse and I couldn’t lay there alone while Nik was across the room. I had him sit in the rocker next to me and hold my hand. That worked for a little bit and I got some more rest.

Two more hours had passed and 5am arrived. I called the nurse in for more medication because the pain became so intense I was in tears. She checked and said “It makes sense, you are at a 10. You are ready to push.” Nik popped straight up and was wide awake. I was freaking out because, well, I had never done this before. I was about to have our baby. Nik texted our immediate family to let them know so they could come down to the waiting room until she had arrived. The nurse called Dr. Beck and then I started pushing. Dr. Beck showed up about 20 minutes later for a brief second. He left the room as the nurse kept helping me. Nik was a trooper staying right there holding my hand and brushing my hair and giving me words of encouragement. He was great!

Around 5:40am Dr. Beck showed back up and helped with the last couple pushes.

She arrived at 5:48am on May 25th weighing in at 6lbs and 19.5inches long. Nik cut her cord and she was swept away to get cleaned up.

Now because she was a month early her little lungs were not up to par. They were still wet and she had a hard time keeping them inflated while grunting and trying to use her stomach muscles, which is not what she was suppose to be doing. They brought her over to me for some loving in hopes that would help her calm down but after 10 minutes there was still no change. The nurses took her to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and that was the last I saw of her until that evening. I was the only one that was able to hold her and because it was so brief, it all felt like a dream.

While I was laboring I kept thinking about names. I really really really liked the name Ayrika since I was in Jr High and always wanted to name my first daughter Ayrika Genette (Genette is my middle name), but for some reason Tatum just kept popping up. I couldn’t think about Ayrika long enough to even spell it in my head without the name Tatum creeping in. I would try to think of other names that Nik and I agreed on but Tatum was the only one that would linger. Once she was born I told Nik this and we agreed her name should be Tatum Genette Berry. It just felt so right and we were so happy. We know she will always have to spell her name because it is different, but Nikolas and I both had to our whole lives and you know what, it made for great conversations sometimes. So either way with Ayrika (Erika) or Tatum she would have to spell it. Makes life fun, right?!

That night I was able to walk down to the NICU and see her. She had machines on her and all I could do was touch her. It was difficult to see her in that state but I must say that we were blessed that all we had to worry about were her lungs developing and nothing worse.

Our families had come back that evening to see how we were doing. We were able to take them in to see Tatum just one at a time. Definitely not how I had imagined my hospital stay with our baby. I had always dreamed of having visitors and friends come by and see us. I had a few friends ask if they could but since all I wanted was sleep and they couldn’t even see Tatum, I declined the offers, as generous as they were.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dr. Beck came in to check on me and then I went to check on Tatum. She had made a little progress with her C-Pap machine but she still had to wear it to help her breathe and keep the right amount of oxygen in her blood. She also had an IV with antibiotics. In an x-ray they found a fuzzy spot in her right lung that looked like it could be pneumonia but they weren’t sure because all other signs that would point towards pneumonia were not present, but to be on the safe side they gave her the antibiotics anyways. I was fine with that, better safe than sorry. She was to be on the meds for 7 days…which meant she wouldn’t be coming home until after she finished the 7 days. That was a little hard for me to handle but the nurses were kind and made me feel more comfortable. Nobody plans on seeing the inside of a NICU. It was rough. I shed a few tears because that wasn’t how I wanted to see my baby. I wanted to see her in a cradle next to my bed. I wanted to see her pretty little face without the mask. But nevertheless, this is the hand we were dealt and I was glad it wasn’t worse.

Family stopped by here and there. My mom came over to keep me company because Nik went back to work that day. So when she wasn’t with me I was either sleeping or eating the wonderful feast from the cafeteria…and no, there is not sarcasm in that sentence. I loved the food and miss it dearly. Have you tried their carrot cake?! I’m not the biggest fan but theirs is the best I have ever had. Do you think they will do my birthday cake for me in September? I should start asking now and plant some catering seeds in their head, right?! I’d say so!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dr. Beck showed up first thing in the morning again to see how I was doing. I was actually doing very well…as long as I had my medication nearby. I went and checked on Tatum after I ate my breakfast feast. She was off the C-Pap machine and now just on the oxygen tubes that were connected to the wall. She made a great improvement over night and I was so happy! Tatum’s nurse, Denise, said that we could have some Kangaroo Time (skin-to-skin) at 2pm. I was so excited! Studies have shown that babies that have skin-to-skin time with their mothers have a shorter stay in the NICU. It helps out the baby and the mother.

At 2pm I showed up for her feeding and for the Kangaroo Time. It was wonderful to hold her again! I laid in the chair with her on my chest and we both fell asleep until 5pm. I felt so much better about the whole situation because I knew it was benefiting the both of us.

I was discharged that night after her 8pm feeding. Nik was able to help with that, holding her for the first time since she was born. He changed her diaper, fed and burped her the best he could. I say the best he could because she kept falling asleep in his arms. Don’t blame her, he is one heck of a cuddler. Leaving the hospital that night without her was rough. I cried for a good portion of the night while Nik held me close. He was such a big help and comforted me through all my tears.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I went down to the hospital at 11am for that feeding. She had jaundice and needed a Bili-light but I still changed her diaper, fed and burped her and then I went to my grandparent’s house for my lunch. Grandma was nice and made me lunch every day that I showed up. At 2pm I went back for her feeding and Kangaroo Time. We napped together under the Bili-light until her 5pm feeding and after I helped with that feeding I left to go home. Man, being under that light was so hot, but I got a nice tan! NOT!

"My future is so bright I gotta wear my shades!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When I arrived at the hospital Tatum had shown some big signs of improvement but still needed a little bit of oxygen to help her out. Her nurse, Denise, was hoping that during Kangaroo Time that day we could wean her off the oxygen. At 2pm we did our Kangaroo Time and when I woke up at 5pm Denise had told me they cut off the oxygen at 3:45pm while we were asleep and that she has been breathing on her own ever since. Tears came from my eyes as I saw a light at the end of the tunnel! I was skipping for joy as I left the hospital because all that needed to happen now was for Tatum to finish off the 7 days of antibiotics and then she could be discharged Wednesday, June 1st. I was excited!



Monday, May 30, 2011

Nik and I headed down to the hospital at 11am for her feeding and then for my Kangaroo Time with Tatum. Nik dropped me off and he hung out at my grandparent’s house until 2pm when it was time to pick me up. We tried breastfeeding for the first time and she did great! We couldn’t do it before because of her oxygen tubes. Kangaroo Time was awesome and then it was time to go to lunch. Nik picked me up and we headed back to my grandparent’s house for lunch. At 5pm we were able to go back to the hospital for Nik to have some Kangaroo Time with Tatum. He sat in one chair while I sat in another chair. He loved it and I loved it too. It was so sweet to see him holding her and to see her so comfortable in his arms. My heart just melted.

Then after their Kangaroo Time was up the Doctor came in to give us an update on how Tatum was doing. Last night was her first night without the oxygen and she ended up having another little bump in the road. She had a little Apnea issue where her heart rate slowed way down and her oxygen level had dropped. Because a nurse had to go in and stimulate her heart back up to normal they had to count that and keep her for another 5 days. It broke my heart. If she had brought her heart rate back to normal on her own they wouldn’t have dinged her but because she didn’t and she needed the help of a nurse they wanted to keep her a little longer to make sure it didn’t happen again. Of course I was sad but I was also glad that it happened while she was there and being monitored instead of happening at home and not knowing what the outcome would have been. Again, so blessed for modern medicine and being able to catch this early. So now, instead of our wishful discharge day of Wednesday…it then became Saturday. Yes, more time to prepare for her at home but definitely not the pretty picture I had always dreamed of.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No big changes here because all that is left is finishing off the antibiotics and then waiting out the extra 5 days until she can come home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tatum is now a week old and finally free of all machinery and tubes! I arrived at the hospital and was smiling from ear to ear. This was going to be a wonderful day. I stayed for her feeding and Kangaroo Time and then left for home. I was able to give her a bath while there and put her in some clothes. She still had monitors hooked up to her but no IV or breathing tubes.

Let's jump to
Saturday June 4, 2011

I only jump ahead because the previous 2 days were the same story. Because there is nothing to improve on and we just have to wait, there isn’t much of a story.

Anyways…Saturday morning rolled around I called the NICU as soon as I woke up at 6am. I needed to make sure that nothing happened over night to keep her any longer. They said she was good to go and that she would be sent home as soon as the Doctor made her rounds and cleared her. So I went back to be, although I couldn’t sleep that well, and got up at 8am to get ready. Nik and I left for the hospital around 11am to make her last feeding. Up to this point whenever I have been there for her feeding we have been able to breastfeed and she is a champ! People say that once they have a bottle nipple they have nipple confusion and can’t breastfeed. Not the case over with this Berry family! We are troopers!!

 This was her outfit to go home in.
Her Auntie Carrot made it for her.

So Nik and I sat around for another hour after her feeding waiting for the Doctor to arrive. As soon as we heard the Doctor we ripped open our curtains to make sure she knew we were there waiting! She came over and took off her monitors, gave us some advice, and then said we could take her home! Denise, her nurse that has been with her all but 2 days, gave us our discharge instructions, I signed some papers, and then we put her in her car seat and left the building! It was so wonderful to walk out of the door with Nik carrying Tatum in her car seat in one hand and my hand in the other! This is the way life is supposed to be. I couldn’t have been any happier in that moment.

 Grabbing a picture with her awesome nurse, Denise, before we left!

We took her to the families to visit and then we went home. It was quite the day and we were all exhausted.
Tatum did a pretty decent job at home in her cradle that first night…considering the fact her environment was completely different that was she was used to. In the NICU it was constant lights and noise and here in our room it was silence and darkness. She was up and fussy and crying for a good portion of the night but that was all to be expected. This is all new for us as we get into a better routine.

Monday, June 6, 2011 

Tatum saw her Pediatrician and she said that Tatum looks great for her being a preemie. Tatum is in the 10th percentile for her height and weight, but that was to be expected. We have another follow-up appointment for next Tuesday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tatum was given her first bath at home. She wasn't a happy camper but we had to do it anyways. Hopefully she will warm up to it and like it in the future. But goodness...she was awful cute wrapped up in that little towel.

The days that followed have been wonderful. I am trying to do better with Becoming Baby Wise. It sure is a difficult one but I’m trying to be confident it will pay off in a few short weeks. Nik is awesome at being supportive and helpful when I need it most. And Tatum is great at making us smile.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Last Seventeen Days...And Today.

Today Nik and I celebrate our 2nd Anniversary.
I would go into detail about where we went to dinner and all our reminiscing but then I would be going out of order.
I need to catch you up on what happened SEVENTEEN(17) days ago!

It started out like this...

...and continued to this.

I will post more...but I need to do it in order.
Next...Tatum's Story.
After that...Our Anniversary

Life couldn't get any better than this!