Brooke Makenzie McLarty's journey from the NICU to our home.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wow, It's Been Almost a Year

We had one big surprise last year:  A NEW BABY!!!  I found out that I was pregnant.  At first I was not happy.  I had been obsessive about making sure that didn’t happen after Brooke’s birth.  It took me several weeks to accept what was going on and once I felt fine about the pregnancy, I was able to tell Mark.  We waited until I was out of the first trimester before telling our parents.  I was afraid that they would be upset but surprisingly, they were all very happy about the news.  I had decided that I didn’t want to find out the gender of the baby.  During the ultrasounds, the baby made it very difficult to even find out what s/he was.  That made not finding out even easier.  In a way though, I feel like I knew what we were having. 

I was due on November 6, 2012.  My due date came and went.  On November 11, I went into the hospital and was induced.  I spent all of November 12 dilated at 2 cm.  I was having regular contractions but I just wasn’t feeling them.  That evening, I was given the induction medicine again.  On November 13, the Pitocin was increased and I was starting to feel the contractions.  My water was broken and the contractions got even worse.  Up until then, I was just taking a pain killer.  I was trying to do this without getting an epidural.  I was at 8 cm when I begged for one.  I just made the cutoff.  Before getting the epidural, I experienced the worst pain of my life. 

When I was dilated to 10 cm, the doctor checked the position of the baby.  He discovered that the face was pressed directly on my cervix and that I would need an emergency c-section.  I had wanted to give birth vaginally but that wasn’t going to happen.  Since I already had the epidural, I was given a spinal which numbed me from the neck down.  Even though I wasn’t able to express much emotion, I was thrilled when the doctor announced that the baby was a GIRL.  I would have been happy either way but I’m so glad we had another little girl.  She was 7 lbs 9 oz and 19 in at birth.  I was able to hold her about 45 minutes after she was born.  She got to be held by her daddy and meet her big sisters.  We named her Isabelle Christine.  Isabelle is the name that we had agreed on and Christine is Mark’s mom’s middle name.  We had given our oldest a name from my family and I said that we would honor his family with our third baby.

Isabelle is my breastfeeding champ but we had a rough start.  While she did latch on and nursed well, she didn’t get enough.  She developed jaundice severely and was sent home with a phototherapy blanket.  She had blood taken every day for a few days.  She ended up being admitted to the hospital since her bilirubin level was at 18.  She spent two days under a phototherapy bed.  She only left the bed for diaper changes and feedings.  She got to go home on thanksgiving.  At her one month appointment, the doctor noticed that she was still yellow.  She had her blood tested and it was then decided that she be admitted again to the hospital.  The first type of jaundice that she had was the most common, physiological.  The second time around, they determined that it was breastmilk jaundice.  Basically something in my milk was preventing her body from being able to break down the bilirubin.  Along with the doctors and specialists, we decided to give her formula until her bilirubin went back to normal.  We did this for two weeks and during that time, I pumped and froze my milk.  A few days after Christmas, I was given the ok to breastfeed again and thankfully, she went right back and has hated bottles ever since.

She will be 3 months old on February 13.  Between 1-2 months old, she started to smile at us.  I love how her faces scrunches up when she smiles her gummy mouth at us.  She’s trying to roll over but her arms get in the way.  She loves to be held so I’ve been using a baby sling and I recently purchased a baby carrier.  She has been a wonderful addition to our family.

Sydney started kindergarten this school year.  She is doing very well.  She is one of the most advanced readers and writers in her class.  At the beginning of the year, she was extremely shy and didn’t talk.  Last week, she and Mark ran into her teacher at the store and she said that Sydney is getting in trouble for talking a lot.  During the times that I was in the hospital with Isabelle and Brooke, Sydney was left with other people.  Mark and I decided that we needed to have Sydney dates so a few times, we went out with just her.  She had started to misbehave at home and we felt that it was because of all the attention that was being put on her sisters.  Now we’re going to get her a chore chart so that she can earn her Sydney days.

She is an amazing little girl.  She helps us out with her sisters.  I taught her how to turn off Brooke’s pump and pretty soon, I think we’ll teach her how to get Brooke hooked up for a feeding.  She is incredibly smart and funny.

Brooke has had a rough school year health wise.  She’s always had a lot of colds during the winter but this year takes the cake.  First she came down with gastroenteritis and was admitted to the hospital.  Isabelle and I spent several days with her.  We sent Brooke back to school and after a week, she came down with something else.  She was admitted again to the hospital but this time for what they thought was pneumonia and an ear infection.  She had the symptoms of pneumonia but it hadn’t actually developed so we had caught it in time.  Her ear infection was minor.  Now we’re easing her into her regular feeds.

She got a new bus at the beginning of February.  Now we have to get her massive stroller/wheelchair up and down the stairs every day.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle getting it up and down but it’s actually been easy.  The bus driver says that Brooke is so much happier in her stroller and just has the best time. 

Mark ended up getting the stomach flu and ended up going to the ER but was able to come home after a few hours.  Isabelle and I managed to stay relatively healthy and only came down with small colds.  February is the first month since Isabelle’s birth that hasn’t had us going to the doctor or hospital.    It was a very crappy way to start the new year. 

We got a van, a Toyota Sienna, and that makes it much easier to get the girls in and out since we have three carseats.  We are still in an apartment but we’re constantly looking to move.  The people in our building are not the type of people we want to be around.  We don’t know if we want stay in PA or make a complete change.  As of right now, we’re staying put.  We just don’t want our girls growing up around toxic people.

Mark started selling items for people on eBay.  He is given the items, he posts them and ships them.  That has been keeping him pretty busy.  I’ve been doing a lot of sewing and have sold a few items on eBay.  The sewing gives me something to do during the day while the girls are in school and Isabelle naps.

I think that's about it for now.  I will try to update more than once a year.  :)



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