Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Case of the Bili-Blues

Lanie's life is off to an exciting start, so it seems! Just like Elijah, Ethan & Kaden, Delanie has developed a high bilirubin count within the first few hours of her life and so we sit and wait at the hospital once again.
Eli and Kaden's levels were high, but never high enough to be hospitalized. Both Ethan and Lanie's counts, however, have gone up quickly enough for the doctors to not let us go home after the delivery and we have been transferred to the Special Care Nursery portion of the hospital. Ironically, Kevin and I just found out the reason for the repeated jaundice issues - it seems that after nearly 10 years of marriage, we are incompatible!

ABO Incompatible, that is.

Kevin has type A+ blood and I am O+. Come to find out that if our children are born with type A+ blood (which they all have been), the antibodies in my blood cross the placental barrier, attach to the baby's red blood cells, and then mediate destruction of the baby's red blood cells by the their own immune system. This, in turn, releases large quantities of hemoglobin from the baby's blood cells. One of the breakdown products of hemoglobin is bilirubin. Bilirubin is metabolized by the liver, but the baby's liver is not efficient at that until after the baby is born and the liver is mature enough to tackle all of the bilirubin on it's own. If too much bilirubin accumulates in the baby's brain, brain damage can occur. Now, none of our babies have gotten even close to that point, but the doctor's won't let it get close before they start assisting the baby with phototherapy.
Thus, Delanie has become another bili-blue baby (Ethan was our first). She spends most of her day and night wrapped up in a blanket that emits a beautiful blue glow and the phototherapy helps her body break down the bilirubin. Last night her bili-count was at 11.2 and today it is at 13. It is continuing to rise, but they hope that it will plateau today (babies usually peak on their 3rd or 4th day of life). We know this process is necessary and we aren't overly concerned since it is being actively treated. Plus, Ethan's bili-count was over 20 and he was able to recover just fine - we know Lanie still has quite a cushion of safety with her numbers.
However, it is no fun sitting at the hospital watching your baby get poked and prodded, and being unable to go home and settle in to your new life. The Special Care Nursery is nicely equipped to accommodate visiting families, but it is not suited for mom and dad to stay with the baby. There are no beds, no TVs, no amenities for the families that want to be with their newborns the entire time. This was very hard for me to deal with initially since the maternity suite we were in just previously had been so exceptionally nice. The adjustment was somewhat upsetting, but now we are settled in as best as possible and have a great nurse taking care of Lanie and helping us.
We are really hoping that the blood test they take this afternoon will determine that Lanie's liver is mature enough now to handle the onslaught of bilirubin and that we will be home this evening. We won't know, however, until after 5 or 6pm. Please pray for Lanie's body to continue to develop and strengthen and that we can get our life as a family of six started for real. Thanks for all of your love, prayers and concern. We love and appreciate you all!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Welcome to the World, Little Lanie!

Delanie Joy Arlene Autry entered our lives at 7:55pm on Friday, May 15th. We are so excited and so blessed to hold our little bundle of joy in our arms after so much anticipation! A lot of excitement has occurred since my last blog entry! I went to my doctor's appointment Friday morning and was very quickly given the bad news - I had failed my 24 hour protein test . . . again. I was very disappointed, of course, but I had also prepared myself for this outcome so I was able to process it quickly. My doctor told me that she would call ahead to the Novi Providence hospital so that I could go over directly and be admitted to be induced. I called Kevin at work and headed over to Subway to grab a sandwich beforehand (I knew that once in the hospital I would be banned from all food - ridiculous). At 12:30pm we headed up to the Labor and Delivery. Once registered and settled in, the doctor-on-call came to consult me on the plan of action. They wanted to start me on Pitocin right away, but I wanted to try induction by having my water broken first. At 2pm my water was broken and we waited for the contractions to begin. We waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . .
. . . I knew it could take over 24 hours for the contractions to begin and the thought was a bit overwhelming to consider . . . Kevin and I decided to let Pitocin do it's thing. They hooked me up and began the drip at 3:30pm. Contractions were still slow in coming on, but boy-oh-boy when they started, they REALLY got hard fast! My mom came over around 4:30pm and the contractions were just starting to become uncomfortable. At 5:30pm Kevin and my Mom went down to the cafeteria for dinner since the contractions were picking up quickly and we were afraid it might be their only opportunity to eat. I could talk through the contractions when they left for dinner, but by the time they returned (no more than 45 minutes later) I was doing my very best to simply bear through them - talking wasn't even a possibility at that point.
Within 45 minutes I started to feel the urge to push so the nurses called the doctor right away. Around 7:10pm I was ready to start pushing and 45 minutes later, Delanie Joy Arlene was born! What a miracle! What an experience! What a relief!!!
She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz (our biggest baby yet - and trust me, I felt EVERY ounce) and was 20 1/2 inches long (our longest baby, too). She was alert and ready to meet the world right away.
Our family was all waiting in the family lounge and came in very shortly thereafter to see their new sister, grand daughter and great grand daughter. It was an exciting place, to say the least! Elijah, Ethan and Kaden rushed in, searching for their much anticipated new sibling - it was so heartwarming to see their unabashed excitement. Much pomp and ceremony was placed on each brother having his moment of one-on-one time, then the grandparents each had their moment. Lanie was absolutely showered in hugs, kisses and affection.
It wasn't the birth experience that I had been imagining, but we are blessed to have Lanie here safe and sound none-the-less. Thank the Lord for her safe and quick delivery. Now we look forward to our new life as a family of six!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Here We Go!

Today or tomorrow we are having a baby!

At my last doctor's appointment on Tuesday, my protein levels were back up. My doctor decided she is not comfortable letting the pregnancy continue due to the stress it is placing on my kidneys, and she actually asked me if I could go straight to the hospital right then. Of course my mind was rushing with the overwhelming number of thoughts and logistics to process with that idea! I hesitated mostly, though, because I was still hoping the ABC was still an option. She is a great doctor, and although I know it would be easier for her to just send me over to the Labor & Delivery in Novi, Dr. Pezeshki began thinking of alternative options to try to give me a chance for the ABC. As long as my protein levels are the least bit elevated, I am not permitted to be induced at the ABC (by having my bag of waters broken) because I am considered high risk (that is, the LOWEST high risk possible, but still officially "high risk"). However, if my proteins levels came back down there wouldn't be an issue. So, Dr. Pezeshki said that we would delay the induction until she had the time to run one more protein test (a different, more accurate test) that would take 3 days to process.

SO, here we are . . . I went to the office yesterday with my sample and for bloodwork, and today I find out where I stand. Will I be induced today at the ABC or tomorrow at the Labor & Delivery? Either way, this is a momentous day for me since it is the last day I will be pregnant (almost positively the VERY last time, unless God has other plans). I am so thankful and relieved to know the end is very near because I have reached the very big, very uncomfortable, very yucky stage of pregnancy - but my longing for this to be over with is definitely bittersweet. I may never feel the butterfly flutters and the martial artist kicks again. I may never cradle my belly and know that there is another being growing miraculously in my womb. I may never be an intimate part of nurturing the development of a new life through the amazing and miraculous capacity of my female body. I will definitely miss these incredible and awe-inspiring parts of pregnancy. These last few moments will certainly be treasured and filed away in the area of my brain reserved for the most important memories of all, crowding out all of the unpleasant realities pregnancy can bring (morning sickness, heartburn, total and utter exhaustion . . . you know the ones).

Realistically, the fact that either today or tomorrow we will be holding our newborn daughter is our arms has me incredibly excited and overwhelmingly nervous all at the same time. I am so ready for this, and I am so NOT ready for this all at the same time! Her birth has been highly anticipated and the days could not have gone quickly enough for us, but I've done this newborn thing before and I know how much work I am in store for. Am I a glutton for punishment? Even as uncomfortable as I am right now, it is still easier to care for the baby in utero then it is the first three sleepless months. Apparently some part of your reasoning and common sense dims at this stage of pregnancy, however. ;)

Today or tomorrow! I think I can wait, just that much longer . . . !

Please pray for us today and lift up the baby's safe delivery, if you could. I wouldn't mind either if you asked for quick labor and easy pushing for me while you're praying, if it's not too much to ask. :) Thank you all, for your love and support throughout this pregnancy. I hope to have pictures, stats and information posted soon after the baby is born. Check back in a few days.

Thank you and God bless!

Monday, May 11, 2009

90 Years Young!

Yesterday we had the very special honor of celebrating my Grandma's 90th birthday! It was a big celebration with lots of out-of-town family and fun. Posted below are a few of the pictures my Dad snapped throughout the special day.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! You have blessed us with your love and your prayers throughout the years and we hope you were blessed on your special day!We had the "beautiful" cake (first image) and the "sacrificial" 90-candle cake. The flames were so hot that the first candles were simply a pile of wax before the flames were extinguished!
We gathered around to lend some air in order to get all of the candles out!
The fire department rushed in just in time to make sure all of the fire was properly extinguished.
A junior fire fighter checking on the guest of honor.
Yummy cake!
Just a few of the grandkids that were able to be present for Grandma's birthday celebration.
A few of Grandma's MANY great-grandchildren. She is surrounded by so much love!

Grandma and Grandpa with mom and dad. We are so blessed to have such wonderful family ties!

Menu Planning Monday - IX

As long as the baby decides to stay "tucked in", here is the menu for this upcoming week. If you see any recipes that spark your interest, please do not hesitate to ask me to post it. Thanks for checking in!

  • MONDAY - Stuffed Turkey Fillets, Savory Noodles, Corn-on-the-cob
  • TUESDAY - Chicken and Dumplings, Glazed Carrots, Homemade Bread
  • WEDNESDAY - Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Fruit
  • THURSDAY - Baked Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread
  • FRIDAY - Chicken Ranchero Wraps/INCH Convention?
  • SATURDAY - Leftovers/INCH Convention?
  • SUNDAY - Celebrate Jeremy's birthday with the Wright's

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I almost titled this blog entry "Pointless Speculation" because of the very fact that speculating has absolutely nothing to do with causing action to take place, but I wanted to sound more optimistic than that. :)  Still, wishful speculation doesn't put one into labor . . . 

Today, I am exactly 14 days away from my official due date (May 20th). At this point, most people would just be beginning to prepare for the imminent arrival of their newborn. I, however, feel as if I have been ready and waiting for the past month. I knew all along that this was a foolish thing to do, but this girl just can't help herself sometimes. :) The thought process that made me "sure" that I would have the baby right around now may be explained by the statistics below:

Elijah's due date - Feb. 2, 2002
date of birth - Jan. 17, 2002
born 15 days BEFORE his due date

Ethan's due date - September 8, 2004
date of birth - September 5, 2004
born 3 days BEFORE his due date

Kaden's due date - March 18, 2006
date of birth - March 5, 2006
born 13 days BEFORE his due date

Like I said, I know that the above statistics don't necessarily prove that this baby will also come early, but the fact that I also dilated and effaced earlier than normal had me hopeful as well.  :)  I have been told that the more times you are pregnant, frequently the earlier you begin to progress, but that didn't stop me from hoping.  Also, the Braxton-Hicks contractions have been regular for over a month now as well.  I'm beginning to think that's it's a little ridiculous that a "seasoned" mother of three wouldn't recognize true labor from "practice" contractions.  Ah well, each pregnancy and labor is unique, so how can one predict how each will go?

So, what's your bet?  I still think I will go into labor sometime before May 10th, but each day that I feel good (such as today) discourages me.  I felt more ready to have a baby a week ago than I do today.  I am always exhausted, but the contractions and crampiness seem to be less regular.  I have actually been sleeping halfway decently (considering the big ol' belly and all . . . ) and haven't noticed any differences in my ability to breathe or a break from the heartburn which might signal that the baby has "dropped."  We are doing all the sorts of things that are supposed to bring about labor (minus Castor oil - that one just seems WAY too messy and uncomfortable to me) and still, I feel pretty good.  My positive spin on this is that perhaps my body is allowing me to be at my best right before the true work begins.  If I could get my energy level up, I'd feel like I was nearly at the top of my game.  For this, I feel blessed!  :)

I'd love to hear your personal stories of the days preceding your labors, if you'd like to share.  Every one's story is so different and unique, and it's nice to see how everyone has progressed.  Please share here as a blog comment, or leave a comment on facebook.  I'd love the distraction of your stories if you have the time.  :)

The end is inevitable, to be sure.  I will just have to bide my time and be patient.

God bless!

Stove Top Chicken and Rice Casserole

This recipe is an extremely easy throw-everything-in-a-pot-and-call-it-dinner type of meal, but my kids love it and it is a great way to use up leftover chicken. Since it is fairly simple, it is very easy to adjust the flavors to suit your own tastes. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups rice (we love Jasmine rice)
  • 1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1-2 tsp. chicken seasoning (I like Zehnder's Chicken Seasoning, but any kind will do)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • shredded Cheddar cheese, optional

Prepare rice and vegetables according to package directions (substituting chicken broth for water in rice, if desired). Add soup to cooked rice, stir just to combine (do not over mix - rice will become sticky and starchy). Combine rice, vegetables, chicken and seasonings in a large pot and warm over low heat. Top with Cheddar cheese, if desired, and serve.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Menu Planning Monday - VIII

Since my protein levels are down I have been released from complete bed rest and am now only on "restricted activity". YAY!!! Because of this returned freedom, I am back to the weekly routine of Meal Planning until the baby arrives. Sorry the meal plan is a day late, I'm not quite on top of my game yet. :) Let me know if there are any recipes you might want.

  • MONDAY - Stovetop Chicken & Rice Casserole, Glazed Carrots, Applesauce
  • TUESDAY - Hamburgers on the grill, Corn-on-the-cob, Canteloupe
  • WEDNESDAY - Ham Steaks, AuGratin Potatoes, Green Beans
  • THURSDAY - BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Creamed Corn
  • FRIDAY - Loaded Baked Potatoes (with all the fixin's), Broccoli, Homemade Bread
  • SATURDAY - Leftovers
  • SUNDAY - Celebrate Grandma Caldwell's birthday with the entire family.