Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lucius has been in the hospital

Wednesday I noticed he was acting a little off. He was kind of fussy, felt a little warm to my touch, wasn't sleeping very soundly. I decided to keep an eye on him but tried to go about my day which included a neighbor's son's birthday party. At the party my neighbor held him for a bit and she commented that he felt warm. We went home and I took his temp. It was 100.3 which is just 0.1 degree less than what the doctor at our clinic would call a fever. I wondered and worried for a bit, then later as I was changing his clothes I noticed he had broken out in petechiae (red spots that do not blanch when pressure is applied) all over his body. I got a whole lot more worried because a few symptoms of meningitis are fever and a rash. Then I noticed he was having myclonic seizures in his legs. He seemed to be in pain but I couldn't figure out what exactly was hurting him. And, though it seemed insignificant at the time, he had a bright red spot on his right foot and his leg seemed a bit swollen. I took his temp again and it was 101.8.

At 1am Thursday morning I decided to err on the side of caution and take him to the ER.

Immediately when we got there, the doctor ordered a crazy barrage of tests. Including a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap), which despite multiple attempts they never got a sample of CSF. So they poked and poked him for nothing. I was SO angry because my tiny baby was screaming and crying and I'm all crazy hormonal, so after a bit I yelled at the doctor and told him he was horrible and that someone else needed to do it. He seemed insulted but decided he was going to admit Lucius so he'd let the pediatric doctor try for the LP.

The peds doctor attempted the LP but wasn't successful either. They decided just to start some antibiotics and try to figure out the illness later. A new doctor came on duty and she happened to be the one that saw Lucius the day we were discharged from the hospital when he was born. He was sent for an x-ray which came back fine. She pointed out that the redness in his foot had spread and the swelling was getting worse. She came back in several times and after just 6 hours since she had come on shift, the swelling and redness in his leg and foot had gone from a small red spot and a bit of swelling to +4 edema from his toes to his groin and his entire foot was swollen and purple-red. We were very confident we'd found the source of infection and her tentative diagnosis was cellulitis. She also witnessed the clonus in his legs and ordered a head CT to check for neurological problems and then said she was going to talk with an infectious disease specialist at a different hospital.

They decided that since A) he'd been given abx and B) we had a probable source of infection that he was not going to have another attempt at the lumbar puncture (thank god) but he was going to be transferred to the children's hospital in Portland. The big concern was that if the infection he seemed to have in his leg had gotten into his bone or joint, he would need surgery or could possibly face amputation. Since that was an emergency, we rode in an ambulance. Thankfully I was able to call my husband and he had a neighbor go pick up my car. You can imagine at this point, it's been over 24 hours since I'd slept and I'd just been told my son could need surgery or could lose his foot or leg, I was in no condition to drive myself.

Immediately upon arrival at the new hospital, I hated it. At the other one, I'd had a huge private room and it had a bed for parents and it was quiet and beautiful and the staff was fabulous. At the new one, it was 2 patients to a room, the rooms were so tiny you had to put away your fold up cot after 8am, the nurses I got were all bitchy and too busy to actually answer questions...I was a mess. I just sat at Lucius's bedside and cried. Finally, a doctor came and told me I couldn't feed him until 6pm (it was noon and he already hadn't nursed since 10am) so he could have an MRI under anesthesia. I got pretty irate and chewed him a new one. Somehow magically an opening appeared in MRI at 2 and by 3:30 we were back in our room and he was nursing and feeling as good as he possibly could.

I finally got to meet the infectious disease specialist and he gave me the good news that the MRI came back clear and all of the blood, sputum and urine cultures had come back negative. Which is good but the flip side of that was that we were kind of shooting in the dark trying to guess what bacteria was making him sick, how exactly to treat it and would he get better. So he switched around his antibiotics a little to try to cover all the bases and we sat back and waited.

On Friday we saw a little improvement. His demeanor was better and his pain seemed under control with just Tylenol. The blood cultures still had shown nothing so we just stayed on course and by Friday night the swelling and redness was receeding visibly. I hadn't slept since Tuesday night and was pretty much delerious but I made friends with the mom whose son shared our room and we passed a lot of time together talking and going to the cafe. Before they went home we exchanged phone numbers.

On Saturday morning his foot and leg looked almost normal, his appetite was completely normal, he had stopped the myoclonic seizures in his legs and he seemed so much better, so the doctor asked us to stick around long enough for him to get a couple more doses of IV antibiotics and we could go home after 2pm.

The official diagnosis was celullitis with unknown causes. There has to be a primary source of infection, where it started in a small wound or scratch, but we never found it. Pretty much this was chalked up to bad luck and a young immune system. We're home now and Lucius is snuggled up with his Daddy. What a horrible ordeal, but I am so glad I listened to my instincts to take him to the ER when I had or the infection might have spread much further in the time it took to figure it all out. I'm so thankful everything turned out okay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2 weeks old (plus a day)

Oh goodness, my sweet little boy is just the most kissable, squishable thing I have ever seen. Don't you just want to put him on a cracker and eat him up?!?!

We went to a well baby visit, just for fun I guess and he is already up a full pound from his birthweight, he's grown 1 1/4 inches and his head has grown an inch.

Probably because we're always like this:

Amy ( came by on Sunday and took a ton of pictures of him. Isn't she amazing? (And isn't he so freaking cute????)

I know I said I was done having babies but I'm going to have to rethink that, maybe.

Monday, February 9, 2009

1 week old

Lucius is a week old today. It's also his big sister's 2nd birthday. It is indeed a joyous day. I am so completely in love with my newly expanded family, and I've fallen in love with my kids and my husband all over again just seeing how they adore baby Lucius. I didn't think it was possible but he's in competition with Winter and Suriya for the title of the Most Kissed Baby Ever. He is just the sweetest little guy ever.

I got an e-mail the other day asking if I had any regrets about how Lucius's birth went and if hindsight were foresight would I have made different choices. I think this is a great question and I've thought about it myself over the last week.

I don't regret a thing about Lucius's birth. It wasn't the perfect serene home waterbirth I'd envisioned when I first got 2 pink lines. But it was how he was meant to come into the world and he made it safely. I am blessed to have had a wonderful doctor that gave me choices and information all along the way and he genuinely supported me 100% in every decision I made. I could not have asked for a better doctor and I happened upon him by chance. I think Lucius was meant to teach me a lesson or two and I'm already stronger and wiser because of him.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Welcome to the world baby Lucius!

I went in as scheduled at 8pm on Sunday night. After all the various conversations on how exactly to induce my labor, my doctor had apparently decided an IV drip of Pitocin was the way to go. Jim and I settled in and the nurses started my iv and hooked me up to the monitors. Over the course of the night they gradually increased the Pitocin until I was contracting every 2-3 minutes. I mostly watched a marathon of House, read trashy magazines and enjoyed the quiet while my husband slept. The nurses were really nice and kept me company, and never once did they insist I had to stay in bed. They brought in a birth ball and encouraged me to move around as much as I wanted. I fell asleep for a bit around 4am but woke up at 6 after I started having some pretty intense pain. The shift changed and I got a new nurse but she was just as nice as the one before her, and she agreed to let my doctor check my progress to keep the exams to a minimum. He was supposed to be there at 8am but I didn't see him until 9:30 because there was an emergency with another patient. He came in and checked me and then reluctantly gave me the news that I had not made any progress all night. He laid the decision at my feet what to do next. We could continue with the Pitocin or we could stop the Pitocin and do a vaginal dose of Cytotec and see what that did. After asking a lot of questions and talking with my husband, we opted for the Cytotec. Pretty much immediately after the Pit was stopped, the contractions slowed so I got a bit of a break, though I was still contracting on my own every 8 minutes. After about 3 hours or so, the doctor came back to do AROM so we could get the baby way down and we could turn the Pit back on and actually get somewhere. After some difficulty we got the water bag broken and the doctor ordered an epidural so they could restart the Pitocin and I could get some sleep. Then my sister and mother arrived. After trying for several hours to get some rest with them there, I started to get frustrated and grouchy, and asked them to just go to my house and I would call them when things picked up. They took my husband so he could see the rest of the kids and take a shower.
After they left, the epidural started to wear off or just not work and I had really intense pain in my left hip during contractions. The nurse called the anesthesiologist and decided to check my progress while we were trying to figure out how to make me more comfortable. I'd finally progressed to a 5 so I was feeling a tiny bit more optomistic. I called my sister to let her know they should consider coming back soon just in case I progressed quickly. The doctor couldn't figure out why I was having so much pain and after giving me several extra doses of meds we pretty much were out of options, so I settled in to just deal as best I could and hope things didn't take much longer.
The pain moved around my pelvis counter-clockwise, finally ending up on my right hip and staying there. It was a 10 on my pain scale. Within 20 minutes or so I started to feel intense downward pressure and asked my nurse to check my progress again. She and I both were shocked to find out I was complete and ready to push.
Um. Crap. My doctor was at home 30 minutes away and my husband, sister and mother were at least 10 minutes away. The nurse got on the phone with my doctor, I called my sister and told her to get her butt back to the hospital now. I laid back, tried not to move and waited.
My husband came flying in the door, followed closely by my sister. They were both wheezing and sweating like they'd run a marathon. I found out later that all the doors had been locked except the entrance to the ER which was on the wrong side of the hospital. They had run all the way through the hospital afraid they'd missed the birth. Apparently my mother had stayed home with the kids because the person that had been watching them wasn't able to any longer.
I relaxed a tiny notch knowing that at least my family wouldn't miss the birth, even if my doctor didn't make it. The hospitalist on call was waiting at the nurse's station to catch just in case.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, my doctor comes walking in the door just as I'm trying to breathe through a contraction and he laughs "Why are you making that face? You should be pushing." He very wisely stayed out of kicking distance. After he got ready, we waited for the next contraction and I said "Are you ready? I'm pushing." I gave it all I had. One more push and he goes "Okay stop pushing." I was confused. I couldn't feel a thing so I thought maybe I was doing it wrong or something. He says "One more tiny push," so I did and suddenly he hands me my new baby.
I had a small tear that needed one stitch but other than that I am feeling great, baby is doing wonderfully and we are home now.

Lucius born at 9:46pm on Monday February 2nd. Groundhog's Day!

He was 8 lbs. even and 20 3/4 inches. He has a tiny little 12 1/2 inch head and is my smallest baby yet!