Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Pictures

Just before stepping into the flattering hospital wear, my last picture in maternity clothes:

Moments after his birth, the cheeks kill me!

His first picture with mummy and daddy:

Just outside the operating room:

Ian holding Cooper. The black and red sweatshirt is the day of his birth.

Our three kids!

Love how his face smushes in this one:

Just a couple with mummy and daddy. The one of Greg is the day he returned home from Children's Hospital with Ana; he was exhausted!

A couple of my favorites of Cooper that my mum took:

That's all for now. I took some shots at home of Cooper, and I'll get those up next, I just have to fiddle with them a bit more first.

It's been pretty crazy around here. We're all quarantined for Thanksgiving this year. Ana came down with what they thought was H1N1 this weekend and was in the ER with a 106 fever. They called the next day and thought it might be pneumonia. Anyways, to make a long story short, Greg was sick, Ian has been out all week from school with a very mild case, and poor baby Cooper started with it last night. I'm the only relatively healthy one at the moment (knock on wood!). Everyone seems to be dealing with it okay, even with Ana's past breathing issues, she hasn't had any problems this time around. She was never tested, so we're not sure what has invaded our home so Thanksgiving dinner with Mimi, Bumpa, Tim and Uncle Shawne has had to be postponed unfortunately. We're planning on a small meal and an easy day tomorrow. Life is never boring here, that's for sure!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Story...

Hold onto your hats folks, this is going to be a LONG post. The past four weeks have been so surreal, I almost feel like I've been watching events from the outside in. So, you know that Cooper joined the family on October 15th; what most of you don't know is what unfolded less than 8 hours after his birth; I'll get to that story in a minute. Let's talk about the good parts of the day first.

We got to the hospital a little before 7am, and started to get prepared for my c-section. When they put me on the monitors, it turned out that I was contracting every 3-7 minutes, so it's good that we scheduled when we did! I was very nervous because I really didn't know what to expect. I did have a c-section with Ian, but ended up being put under general anesthesia for the procedure due to problems with my epidural. So I have no recollection of the procedure, and Greg wasn't able to be in the room for the delivery. While I was excited that Greg would be there and I would be awake, I was very anxious about what was going to happen; especially about the spinal as there's a big difference between getting an epidural when you are in agony knowing you are doing it for relief and getting one when you are in no pain whatsoever. It wasn't as bad as I imagined, a little discomfort, but nothing too scary! As soon as that was set, the action started and to be completely honest, I don't remember a whole lot about it; I was so anxious! I remember the draping and the prepping, Greg coming into the room, the "can you feel this?" test pinching on my belly, the sensation of knowing the cutting had started (so WEIRD! I could feel no pain, but could feel the scalpel going through tissue...too hard to explain), the panic knowing the cutting had started but realizing I could still move the toes on my right foot (seriously, it was almost like being at the dentist anxiously thinking the novocaine is going to wear off before he's done drilling, on a bigger scale of course!), I remember the doctor saying, "Okay, here comes the amniotic fluid", and the PRESSURE! Oh my dear Lord...I've heard it time and time again from others that you just feel a lot of pressure, but my goodness, you cannot really prepare for what it will be like! I could swear they were pulling me apart from every direction! Greg says the doctor assisting looked like he had a wrestling foot hold going on and I believe it! I wonder if Cooper was holding onto my ribs or something! Anyways as soon as he was out, I heard some suctioning going on, and then the cry; the most beautiful sound ever! The doctor told me to peer over the drapes and there he was but to be honest, I didn't see much before they whisked him away partly because my blood pressure dropped all of a sudden and I thought I was going to be sick. Greg says they quickly gave me something that remedied the nausea, along with a nice dose of morphine which is probably why I don't remember a whole lot after that point. I do remember Cooper crying and looking at Greg and crying myself, just in complete awe of it all. I think up until that moment, I was fully expecting someone to come in and say, "Sorry Mrs. Fraize, you were never really pregnant", or to find out that we'd been on some sick version of Candid Camera or something. This wasn't supposed to happen to us; we were not supposed to be able to make a baby "normally"! But there he was, screaming; proof that miracles do happen, it was so surreal. When they brought him over to Greg all wrapped up like a burrito, all I could see were cheeks; this child came out with some serious cheeks! I remember someone commenting on his eyelashes and why do the boys always get the eyelashes, and me saying that he looked like Ian which is really not true; he looks a lot like his daddy actually! I remember hearing them say that he scored a 9 on both Apgar tests, and thinking to myself, "Holy moly, he really is okay even after the flu and pneumonia, and strep and all that nonsense, and...hmmm they would have already noticed if he was missing fingers or toes, right?". I remember feeling like I was floating, and hearing the doctor ask her assistant to hold my bowels in place and thinking this was part of the procedure I didn't need to have knowledge of! Anyways, everything went exactly as planned as I'm told. When I got back to my room, Cooper had already been weighed and bathed and I learned that a couple of our family members had been denied at the door by Greg to get a sneak peek; he wanted me to be able to hold him before they did because everybody held Ian before me when he was born. The nurse laid him on my chest and I was able to get a good look at him, and I remember thinking he looked so different from what I expected. Ian came out with strawberry blonde fuzz and I kind of expected the same for Cooper, but he has a full head of dark hair. He is very much like Greg whereas Ian was my spitting image at birth. After a while, visitors were allowed in and Ian and Ana got their first look at their new brother; Ian thought he was cute and wanted to hold him but Ana really didn't know what to think. I think she just didn't know what to make of mummy being in that big bed with all those tubes and wires coming off. She was happy to play on the floor with Stevie instead. After their visit my mum and dad took the kids back to their house to hang out for a while and Greg and I had the afternoon to get to know Cooper. That's when the day got really interesting...

Greg got a call on his cell phone about 4pm from my mum and she was in a panic. She was chasing Stevie who had decided to try and get up the stairs for the millionth time and Ana who had been playing with a roll of wrapping paper contentedly took the opportunity to get into her purse and had managed to open one of her prescription pill bottles. The bottle which she knew had pills in it was now empty and she had no idea how many were missing, and if Ana had eaten them or dumped them somewhere. Greg told her to call the ambulance, but she was already in the car on her way to the hospital. Greg went down to the ER to meet them. It got pretty cloudy for me here; I don't know if it was the morphine, or the fact that people were pretty much with holding the whole truth from me. I kept being told that she was going to be fine, that she was a little groggy, but she would be fine. Little did I know that a little groggy meant that she couldn't stand, could barely sit, was drooling uncontrollably and was slurring her speech. Anyways, it's probably best that I didn't know the full situation because really what could I have done? Greg was there with her and I felt like things were under control. The doctor from our pediatricians office really wanted her to be under observation by a PICU unit that could monitor her one on one overnight which left us with the option of her going to Boston, Dartmouth or to Portland all of which are over an hour away. The doctor was so amazing and actually came up to my room and talked to me about the decision and assured me that Ana was going to be just fine. That we just had to wait until the drug worked it's way out of her system, and once it was gone there would be no lasting effects whatsoever. So Ana was transported by ambulance with a team of three physicians to the Children's Hospital in Portland, ME where she and Greg spent two nights while she recouped. My first report from Greg was on Friday morning where he told me she still couldn't really stand steady on her feet. I said to Greg, "She can't STAND?" to which he replied, "Well she can sit now which is an improvement from last night." That was my first knowledge of the severity of the symptoms she was having. They returned on Saturday around lunchtime and though I was told Ana was back to herself, she most certainly didn't seem it to me. Her speech sounded slurred and she was walking a little funny. Nobody but me seemed to notice it though; probably because they had all seen where she had come from where I hadn't. At any rate, she still didn't seem herself to me. I don't think she was 100% Ana until Monday actually. I think she just needed a ton of catch up on sleep as Greg had a heck of a time getting her to sleep at the hospital. As I hear they did a LOT of rocking, and walking while she did a lot of kicking and hitting and crying; she was just so out of sorts, and didn't want anything to do with anything or anyone. Honestly, through it all, the things that caused me the most angst were the fact that the ambulance crew didn't allow Greg to ride in with them, and by the time Greg got to the hospital she was already up in her room playing in her crib. It kills me that she had no one that she knew getting her through those transitions and though I know they were hospital staff, it was to me, the equivalent of having complete strangers care for my child for that time. The other thing is that Greg said she cried for me constantly and he believes she was actually hallucinating that one of the nurses in the hallway was me and she was trying to get to her but Greg wouldn't let her go. These two things still bring tears to my eyes, I just hate that she wanted me and I couldn't be there for her, and hate what she may have thought being in that ambulance without her mummy and daddy. I have had a few weeks now to reflect on it all and my biggest concern is that people may have thought I didn't care as I kept getting comments on how well I was taking it all and that if it were them they would be a basket case. I don't know what caused me to take the news so well; there are a lot of possibilities. Like I said, I didn't know the full extent of the situation, and at the time I didn't even know for sure that she had definitely ingested anything; that's probably first and foremost. I was on morphine and though I don't recall feeling terribly loopy, events of the day are a little fuzzy, so that's an absolute possibility. Ana has gotten into so many things in the past and has been fine; I mean we have had to call Poison Control for her more times in her short 1 1/2 years here than we've had to call for Ian in his entire 8 years of life! Lastly, I think I was really focused on trying to keep it together for my mum. She was absolutely devastated that this happened on her watch; I have never seen her in such a state, she was terrified! Even though EVERYONE who was involved assured her that it was not her fault (and many had their own stories of two year old woe) she just couldn't forgive herself. Two year olds are notorious for getting into things, and Ana is an absolute professional! She is very adept at sneaking things, and at knowing the precisely perfect moment to conduct her business. Someone asked my mum shortly after the incident if we were mad at her and I want to make it absolutely clear that there was never any bit of blame put on my mum for this. This could have happened anywhere! Like I said, we practically have Poison Control on speed dial, and we're her parents, AND we live in a child proofed home! It was simply a horrible accident and after all is said and done, she is thankfully fine with no lasting effects at all. It hasn't even stopped her from getting into things unfortunately!

So there you have it; that's the story of Cooper's birth. An absolutely wonderful, yet totally insane day that no one in the family will ever forget and that will likely be one of those passed down through generations family stories. Crazy huh? But did you expect anything less from this bunch?!

I am working on uploading some photos to share...they'll be along shortly!