Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Please welcome the newest Canuck Kitten in Kansas!

Remember that storm we had a few weeks ago?

The one were we narrowly missed the tornado?
Yeah, well that particular day I decided to pack a just in case we have a tornado bag, a hospital bag for my scheduled (note I said scheduled) delivery and a bag for T in case the new addition decided to come early. He won't come early, right? If you plan things well enough, they happen just like you expect? Right? RIGHT?

Hell, no.

It was one week ago today, after spending a leisurely afternoon of ordering a few post pregnancy things that I would need after the new addition arrived on June 18th, that I trudged upstairs to start dinner.

T followed and all seemed normal. Ha ha, normal, not for long...
Around about 5:30pm, the pregnant one (me) headed for the umpteenth bathroom visit of the day. After doing what I went there for, I headed back to the kitchen.

Gush. Hmmm, that's not right. Headed back to the bathroom thinking that I must have more business to do. But my bladder wasn't the problem I would soon discover.

T thought Mommy had peed her pants. Charming.
No, that wasn't pee. I proceeded to try to stay calm so as not to upset the apple cart that is T's world. I never went into labour with T so I am completely in the dark as to what happens next except that it might not be good.

What to do first? Try calling Backup. Backup not answering her cell phone...that never happens. Try Backup again, nope, no answer.

Try Backup's husband cell (something of note he never answers his phone). Get Backup's husband on phone, describe situation. Please send Backup to cover for me with T as I'm in labour and S isn't home.

S is on the other side of town picking up something to help put in the new dining room hardwood floor. About a 1/2 hour away with evening traffic.

Did I mention we had *planned* to put in hardwood floors in the dining room before the new addition arrived? We had a month left after all...the best laid plans...

Phone handed to Backup. Are you okay? Backup asks. Yes, but I think I'm in labour and my water just broke. Backup tells me she is sending her mom to wait until S gets home.

Next, call S. Get the hell home now, my water broke. S asks if I'm sure...ahhh, well everywhere I go I'm leaving a dripping and/or gushing trail of liquid so yes, I think it broke.

Call the OB's office, told get to hospital. T goes with Backup's Mom and heads to the zoo for an evening of merriment. It is Backup's daughter end of the year preschool party. T is thrilled because she gets to see Backup's daughter, forget that Mommy is in labour.

Ignorance is truly bliss for her.

S gets home. We are both exhausted and terrified. We head to the hospital were by the time I get to the L&D floor, my pants resembled T's during our first days of potty training. Maternity jeans soaked to the knees.
After being asked I don't know how many times how much I weighed (seriously I don't look at the scale at the OB's offic e for a reason), they guesstimate about how much for the epidural. The on call OB from my OB's office is already doing a section and we are next up.

We are informed of all the possible complications by just about everyone. They all smile and say its going to be okay. Yeah, sure it is. I'm only 35 weeks and one day long. Just about how far along my mom was with me when I was born. I think I turned out okay...just spent 2+ weeks in the hospital...

We are wheeled into the OR for my 4 weeks too soon section. The drug guy does his job and within minutes (9pm to be exact) the new arrival is here. He is hoisted over the drape, someone shouts "LOOK MOM!" He was screaming at least.
Its a sea of masked faces. The neonatal team waiting for him has more staff that the delivery team looking after me.
S has his back to me, I can't see or hear a thing. The pitocin starts so my head gets super stuffy and my voice disappears. I managed to ask S what's going on, he tells me they are trying get him to breathe but he is having a little trouble.
About ten minutes later (although it felt like much much longer) the neonatal team transports him to the NICU. S goes with him. I've got a whole bunch of folks looking after me and I ain't going anywhere but the recovery room.

I strike up a conversation with the respiratory tech to my left. She asks where I'm from as my accent soons like a northern one. I tell her I'm from Canada. It turns out her mom is Canadian and some of her siblings have Cdn citizenship. Her Cdn relatives come from Manitoba thru Alberta. Somehow this is reassuring. Don't ask me why, I don't know but it was.

When I got to recovery, I had to ask the nurse in recovery to turn on the TV, it was just too quiet. No HGTV, DIY Network or MSNBC but there was the History Channel available and unfortunately so was Fox News.
After waiting what felt like hours in the recovery room, they wheel me into the NICU complete with IV to see R. He was hooked up to a nose canula, nearly as big as a 1/3 of his face. He was struggling a bit to breathe but they tell me that this is normal. He had an IV and monitoring wires galore but when you see some of the others in the NICU, he looked like a champ.

S went home for the night as neither of us could have gotten any sleep with his snoring. I love him but he snores, loud. I got about 3.5 hours of sleep and was informed that I would be expected to make an effort to get up around 10am (about 12 hours post surgery). It went surprisingly well and by midday Thursday, S wheeled me downstairs to see R, who at the time was still unnamed.

R remained unnamed until about Friday I think. I had a list of names prepared. I tried out a few names but S wasn't going for any of them, except what became R's first name. I think I also had R's second name on there but it wasn't a big contender at the time. I asked S to go home Thursday night and come up with his own list. He did and finally the kid had a name.

T stayed with Backup and her family. Honestly, I think she would have preferred to stay longer. By Saturday night, they evicted me from the hospital. Leaving R behind was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. The last few months have been rocky ones and this time has been rather hard.

R is doing better. He gets stronger daily. I have a suspicion that he will be at the hospital a while longer as he needs to better control his body temp and eat on his own. My off hours are spent trying to get my chaotic house in order and pump breast milk to take to the hospital. S goes to work in the am, then comes home to tackle T and finish the dining room floor, which looks gorgeous.

R shocked both the nurse and I today when he drank about 1.5 ounces in one shot and refused to let go of the nipple. Up until now he has barely been able to keep his eyes open during a feed so he has been getting his meals through a feeding tube. He just has to figure out how to breathe, eat and swallow at the same time and not fall asleep. He is often alert in the am but not during the regimented feeding time. He does practice sucking on the soother so that's a great start.

The body temperature thing and feeding on his own are his two main stumbling blocks but seeing as technically he is just 36 weeks and one day old today, I think he is doing pretty good. He has no trouble peeing in his diaper, on the nurses and dear old Mom, so we know that part works well too.

Below are some pictures. He has had his IV removed now that he is getting enough food either thru the tube or eventually via bottle or breast. He is down to a cardiac and breathing monitor. He has had a few Bradys (they are breathing spells where his heart drops too low) but the last couple he has recovered on his own.

If he were to head home today, he would have to come home with a heart monitor (its about the size of a portable DVD player). He would have to wear one of these until he is Brady free for 7 days.
Since we aren't close to heading home, the clock starts from today as he had one this morning. The fact that he recovers on his own is a very good sign and they should go away as he gets stronger. These things are totally normal for a child of his gestation.
Perspective is everything right now althought that is much easier said than done.

It still amazes me how babies look like little old men. Wrinkly and bald with no teeth to speak of but on the positive side, they smell much much better.

I will try to get up more shots when I get a minute to take more. For now, you can see what he looks like. I do apologize for not getting these up sooner but I've been a tad occupied!

Mom holding R in the NICU

R in the snuggly in the NICU

R's custom name tag

R catching some much needed zzz's

R in his snuggly

T checking out the new sibling

The temper tantrum after checking out new sibling.

Oh would you put that thing away Mom?

You may need to turn up the volume really loud. Right before I took this little video, T asked if she could sing the baby a song. She was told it had to be a quiet one. R is about to get his dinner via feeding tube but she says something worth recording for posterity as it will be used against her when she is older.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We dodged a bullet there...

Now, depending on who you ask in our house, me or S, you would get two responses on what transpired last night meteorlogically. S would say it was nothing, I would say we dodged a bullet last night

Around 4:30pm (5:30 EST), the tornado alarms went off before I could get dinner started. They went off for a good 15 minutes. It took until about 4:50pm for S to get home. My blood pressure decreased just a tad when I heard the garage door go up.

I continued grabbing what I could 'just in case'. The basics - food, candles, lighter, batteries, screwdriver and cameras (you know to cover us in terms of recording for any potential insurance claim).

The furballs got thrown into their large carrier. Phenix was so not impressed. Gryffin could care less. Yeowling ensued.

We all got downstairs and turned the TV on in time to see a very large 'hook' forming an about 20 minutes west south west of our home (near Goddard). A hook visible on radar is an indicator of a tornado forming. The trajectory of the hook looked to be right in line with our home too. (You get to be a bit of a weather geek living in Tornado Alley.)


As the weather guys continued to tell us to get to our storm shelters (ours was mere feet away in the closet under the stairs), S kept running upstairs to open windows just in case.

There was a lot of stuff done yesterday, just in case. He wanted the windows open so that if something came over us but didn't hit us, the air pressure wouldn't blow the windows completely out. That's my limited understanding.

The hook was 'wrapped in rain' so if there had been a tornado, you couldn't see it without radar. But you likely would hear something like a freight train sound.

The weather teams tell everyone to get to their storm shelters because after you've experienced a few of the close calls or lack of anything special, people just don't take hede, they just become apathetic. Yes, some people stand outside waiting to spot it before they head to the basement. I have brilliant neighbours.

I don't think we are at the apathetic stage yet...

The weather teams here do storm trajectories every couple of minutes so they can alert folks if the direction has changed. Thankfully the hook disipated before it got too close. The storm headed just southeast of us and towards the Zoo (which is about 5 minutes from us). That was just a little too close for me.

Twenty minutes later, the hail (only pea size, they had said we might get quarter or baseball sized hail), wind and rain stopped. The sun came out for the first time all day and poof, it was all over. And nope sorry, no rainbows, houses on top of wicked witches, munchkins (aside from T) and no ruby red slippers were seen post storm. The only thing left swirling in the air was lots and lots of pollen.

I believe from what I've gathered so far, this is the same storm that did so much damage earlier on in and around Oklahoma City/Norman.

Tornados are rated on a scale of a 1 to 5, 5 being the most severe. Early indications are that a F3 touched down in OKC yesterday, that means lots of damage and around 150mph winds. We had an F5 hit Greensburg, Kansas (about 3 hrs drive straight west of here) 3 years ago...95% of the town was wiped off the map and about 10 people lost their lives.

When you hear news like that, snow storms down seem too bad.

On a totally geeky note, one of the local TV stations has an interactive map set up showing storm chasing teams who stream live video from their mobile units. Right before the storm hit yesterday, nearly every mobile unit was within minutes of Wichita and the surrounding area. Here's the link -

That was not exactly comforting.

All is quiet today. Tomorrow things might pick up again...wonderful. T is still sleeping and baby is still cooking so we will take that as a good sign until the sirens go off again. I am not unpacking my just in case bag until we get a few days of clear know just in case.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My little trooper

So today is the first day of the season we've had a major storm threat.

Now, back in Ontario, if you get a tornado watch or warning, its pretty serious. It generally means that there will be a very, very, very bad storm. Growing up we usually had electrical (lightening) storms. We'd lose power for a couple of days and not have running water, you know the basic camping situation.

I hate, wait no I despise camping.

Here in Kansas, we get these types of storms on a regular basis in the spring months. Each Monday at noon if the weather is sunny, they test the tornado alarms. These alarms are exactly the same ones as used in the air raids in WWII. I swear some days I want to yell, the Nazis are coming but stop before I embrass myself.

I remember my first experience with the Monday at noon testing. I thought the world was coming to an end. I was blowing drying my hair in our bathroom when they started up. I didn't know if I should duck and cover or call someone.

You have to keep in mind all the nuclear silos containing Cold War era missiles where stationed here in the Midwest. Also of note, until recently, there were still some buildings with bomb shelter signs on them.

Yes, welcome to Kansas.

Let's just say if its sunny on Monday around noon, you don't need to wear a watch because the sirens are going off. You also know you've lived in Kansas when you continue on with your daily business when you are in a tornado warning, the sirens are going off but you continue your grocery shopping anyways. Or better yet, you go see a movie and the attendants are handing out 'what to do in the case of a tornado' info cards as the sky grows dark with storm clouds and the downpouring of rain starts. Both have happened to me.

I guess you just grow used to it. Good, bad or apathetic, its just life in Kansas.

So as I mentioned, today is the first day of 2010 we've had a major threat of a tornado and or big bad hail. As I type this the lights are starting to flicker. S's company is shutting down early despite the tight deadlines so hopefully he will be home before it hits.

So why did I titled this 'My little trooper'? Because as soon as I mentioned to T this morning, that we might have a big storm, T said that we need to go to the basement. She keeps reminding me that there is a storm coming and we need to get to the basement. Then she goes to the window and looks out hoping to see the storm.

Yes, my kid knows more about storm safety at 3, than I knew at 30 when I moved here. The first hail storm we had here I thought someone was firing a sub machine gun at my windows. Now I don't blink an eye unless we have 4 ft of flood water at Central and Maple, baseball size hail nearby or have 5 tornado alarms in one day (yes, these have all happened).

Some advice worth heding regardless where you live, 'Turn around, don't drown' when you encounter flooding.

Loud cars freak out my kid but not the tornado alarms. There must be a medical term for this type of shock. She seems to inherently know that those alarms are there to help us, not scare or hurt us. Maybe its that we have hammered it into her head for the last two years that the sirens mean its time to head to the basement...not sure.

She has been a gem today while I packed up a 'just in case' bag and she packed up her little friends so that she can take them downstairs. She's all set. Either life with Mommy at home is tres boring and this is adding a little excitement or she's generally interested in what's going on. She had to have everybody's blanket, all her friends that would fit in her knapsack and be able to watch Nick Jr.

I took the opportunity to pack the hospital bag and T's overnight bag just in case the new arrival decides its time to arrive...5 weeks early. Did I mention storms seem to encourage babies to arrive early? Both my kids will be born during storm season. The nurse who taught our baby prep class before T enlightened us to that fact when we were preparing for T's birth.

That's just not what I want to be reminded of right now!

Oh, we just had our first tornado warning of the night..right on time. I'd better go get supper done before we have the sirens go off. We are stuck between two storms so anything is possible!

Stay tuned!