Friday, January 29, 2010

One Week Old

Still working on that birth story, which may have to be posted in parts due to my incredible sleepiness (for the best reason in the world!) and lack of time (also for the best reason!).

His blood draw yesterday showed that his bilirubin had risen almost two points, but still is the okay range. He had his blood drawn again this a.m., so we'll see what that one is and go from there. But here are some photos taken today of Caleb. We think he's pretty special!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We're Home!!!

Finally, as a family of five, we arrived home yesterday afternoon. Paul and the boys had been staying in the cities with my parents during my hospital stay with Caleb, so that Paul could be close to me and close to work. It's SOOO good to be home! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your prayers.

I want to include the full hospital stay story in Caleb's birth story, which I hope to write soon. As much as there is to do when you have a newborn, I find it really important to write it out as soon as possible so I don't forget details.

But in the meantime, I'll tell you that Caleb is doing well - nursing, sleeping, and being alert, which is very important for a baby with hyper bilirubin levels (HDFN) so that we know he's doing okay. The bilirubin makes him incredibly tired, so if he was sleeping around the clock, we'd definitely have to take him in.

I take him to the doctor tomorrow morning to get his levels checked again. The NICU docs told us to expect them to have risen. If they are up too high, they will order us a bili "blanket" to use at home. Hopefully nothing more extreme will need to be done unless his levels skyrocket. Until then, please pray that he continues to poop and pee A LOT as that is now the only way the bilirubin can get out of his little system.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


...I'll be holding Caleb in my arms as I was told this morning that he can breastfeed today! As soon as he's alert enough they'll let me nurse him, central line and all. His bili rubin levels are "really good" according the doctor this a.m.

...he'll have his central line out. We found out during rounds today that they don't think a blood transfusion will be needed and that they hope to take it out tonight and replace it with an i.v. He still needs i.v. fluids in case of dehydration.

...he might be sleeping next to me, in a boarding room, under bili lights, but with me so I can be right near him to breastfeed during the night.

...we could be home! Sooner than I thought. He has to be taking all his nutrition via mouth. Because the jaundice makes him sleepy, breastfeeding may be harder, but I'm no quitter!

Praise the Lord for quickly answered prayer! Here are some more photos taken Friday night before we knew the results of his blood work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Update on Caleb

Caleb is doing well - he is stable though his bilirubin levels are still high. We saw a fluctuation during the night and he is in the NICU still.

They just started him on some medication (IVIG) to hopefully bring his levels down even more along with the phototherapy (bili lights). Since bilirubin levels peak around day 7, I am thinking his stay will be at least a week. I'd rather prepare mentally and emotionally for the longer stay rather than hope for a short one and be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

I will stay at the hospital probably until tomorrow and then commute back and forth during the day to be with him and bring him breastmilk. The pump and I have not yet come to an agreement on the type of relationship we're going to have, so I'd appreciate your prayers in that area as well. My admiration for moms who pump is increasing every two to three hours.

I got kind of emotional this morning about not having him with me nor being able to hold him because at this point we can't even do that due to his central line (through the umbilical stump)and the fact that he needs the constant phototherapy. I'm doing better this afternoon and hoping to get a quick nap in before the pump and I have it out again.

Thanks for your continued prayers! I hope to tell you more about his birth soon.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In the NICU

Caleb was admitted to the NICU at about 8:30 pm due to his bilirubin levels being high with the potential to go higher.

He is under the bili lights and receiving medication to help his levels decrease. They also put in a central line to be prepare for an exchange blood transfusion should his levels not decrease. They will check him every 4-6 hours.

Please pray for us and him especially as we wait to hear good news!

Our God is Merciful

Caleb Isaac Schwendinger
7lbs, 14oz; 19 inches
After 1.5 hours of hard labor and one push he arrived at 3:55 PM, January 22nd. Praise the Lord!
Mommy and Daddy are overjoyed. Thank you so much for your prayers.
Blood test results for iron levels and Bilirubin are pending. Please join us in praying that they are good and no additional intervention is needed.
Regarding the Contest: The winner is Cortney Heath who guessed 8 pounds 7 ounces. Please email Rachel (rschwendingerathotmaildotcom) your address so she can send you your prize.
Love from the Schwendingers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Details and a Contest

I am officially counting down the hours until Friday. We have to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. for my induction. First off will be i.v. antibiotics as I tested positive for GBS, so I'm not quite sure how long I'll be on that before they'll start the induction. They want me to have four hours of it before the actual birth and my last labor was only 2 hours, so it'll be interesting to see how they want to time it all.

I went to my regular doc on Monday and I'm 1 cm dilated. I'm hoping to be farther along come Friday, since I'm no longer on modified bed rest and am back to my regular routine. Which means I'm still not doing much since I'm sooo tired all the time. And the contractions are getting more intense.

Anyway, we will appreciate all prayers on Friday. After Caleb is born, they will test his hemoglobin and bilirubin levels via the cord blood, to determine whether he needs a transfusion and whether he'll need time under the bili lights, which is common for antibody babies. I'm praying to have as much contact with him as possible and to be able to get breastfeeding off to a good start. We are planning at this point to bring the laptop to the hospital (and a camera, of course), so we can alert people to his arrival as soon as possible.


Guess Caleb's birth weight!

You have until we post/email info. about his arrival to guess what he weighs. Please pay attention to what those have guessed ahead of you as I will take the first correct (or closest) answer.

What do you win?

If you know me at all, this is easy to figure out! Homemade dishcloths. Whatever number in his birth weight is biggest (lbs or oz), that's how many I'll send you. So if he weighs 8.6 you get 8 dishcloths or if he weighs 9.12, then you get 12 dishcloths. And to help you in the guessing, here's a little info about my other babies birth weights:

Ethan: 8lbs,4oz. born at 39 weeks and 4 days

Elijah: 9lbs, 3 oz. born at 39 weeks and 3 days

Felicity: 9lbs, 15 oz. born at 41 weeks and 1 day

I'll be 39 weeks gestation on Friday.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Graduation Day

Today's my last MFM appointment - Woohoo! Last week they told us that the staff all stands and claps for the couples on their last appointment like a graduation. Cheesy, huh? But it's been a long road and I will gladly be done.

Due all the "issues" surrounding possible pre-eclampsia having calmed down over the past couple of days, I think my perinatologist is going to want to stick with the original plan of inducing on the 22nd.


Paul and I were watching a movie last night and I had visions of cuddling with Caleb in the not so distant evenings and I was filled with so much excitement and hope! Please, please God, let everything turn out okay.

Today is the last time I have to pack my hospital bag with the potential of needing it (if Caleb were sick). Next week it'll be for real.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Drama

My blood work from Monday's appointment came back showing that my platelet count is low (sign of preeclampsia). So yesterday I had to go to the local hospital and have more blood drawn. My doc told me that if it was low again, she'd need to contact Maternal Fetal Medicine about having Caleb arrive earlier than the 22nd.

Last night she called to say that my platelet count was even lower, but my 24 hour urine came back okay. She had called MFM and they agree that Caleb may need to come earlier. I have an appt. with her at 10 am today and we'll see how things are looking (blood pressure, etc.) After that, she will consult with MFM about what is going to happen.

It's going to be an interesting day!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Modified Bed Rest and a Good Link

I'm on modified bed rest as of today's doctor's appointment. While my blood pressure is back down, my doc was concerned about the spike on Friday and my headaches over the weekend. My weight gain is not good either, though I usually always gain a lot of water weight towards the end.

She wants me resting as much as possible and collecting my urine for the next 24 hours - good times! She wants to see me again on Wednesday.

Here's a link to Molly Piper's blog - she posted a poem (by a very famous writer) about the death of a child. It is very moving.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Agony of Anticipation

It's in the air. You can feel it, literally I think, if you were to step into our home. I'm crabby and tired and overwhelmed physically, mentally, and emotionally. Paul's struggling to try to survive in a house where everything is slacking and he has to remind me he's wearing his last pair of clean boxers. The boys just continue to bounce off the walls, with all the unstructured free time and videos. I have no energy to do anything it seems.

This morning I kept having flashbacks to this point in my pregnancy with Felicity. I was anticipating a baby to arrive at anytime, considering that both boys were "early." I was crabby then too. It's hard not to be when you're tired all the time, your clothes barely fit, and you just want to be able to breathe again. Needless to say, thinking back to those days wasn't easy and did not improve my already emotional mood.

I told myself (and continue to do so) that I can overcome these negative feelings. I seem to pray about it constantly and remind myself that hormones play a big part of it. And I tell myself that I've never been here before. I've never been this close to having my baby in my arms after having just 15 months ago buried my last baby. And I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure how to do this, other than very ungracefully.

Add to all these emotional issues, the physical aspects of the way I've been feeling the past week. I felt better on Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and today, I've had a horrid headache. They checked my blood pressure again on Friday at Caleb's MCA scan and it's gone up a bit more, so it'll be interesting to see where it's at when I go to my regular doc tomorrow. I've never had preeclampsia issues with my other babies, but we've entered many new territories during this pregnancy.

I had hoped to do some "fun" posts here, but honestly don't have it in me these past few days. Maybe things will perk up this week. I appreciate all your prayers!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Feeling Weird

The last couple of days have been interesting here on the range. Temperatures are WAY below freezing with wind chills in the negative 30s at times and today it's snowing. I've been feeling weird since Tuesday.

Don't worry, I went to the doctor yesterday and nothing seems to be wrong. I feel hot one minute and chilled the next, a little nauseous, achy, with a mild headache that comes and goes. My doc checked my urine and there's trace amounts of protein. I'm not swollen any more than normal, and my blood pressure is only slightly elevated, but still in the normal range. They took a blood sample to check for pregnancy induced hypertension as well.

Caleb is active as usual, and oddly enough, I'm not really worried about him. I still memorize each movement he makes. I would love to feel normal though. I've kind of felt confined to a sitting position the last couple of days as more movement makes the weird feeling more apparent. I'd think that if it was the flu, I'd be down for the count by now. Friends have wondered if I'm going into labor (37 weeks as of tomorrow), but it's been almost 48 hours since I started feeling this way and it hasn't really gotten better or worse. I've never had this type of feeling before going into labor. I'm having contractions but nothing that seems to be increasing in intensity or frequency.

Tomorrow we have another appointment at Maternal Fetal Medicine so they can check things over there too. And then I go back to see my regular doctor on Monday. Hopefully I'll be fine before then. There's so much to do around here and though I'm not feeling great, I have the desire to be doing what needs to be done (nesting?). My doctor said to take it easy for few days though.

Maybe I won't have to wait 15 more days after all.....


Friday, January 1, 2010

21 Days

Happy New Year! Isn't is unbelievable how quickly the year flew by?!

On Wednesday we scheduled the induction for.....January 22! AUGH! Three more weeks! I tried to get the perinatologist to schedule it earlier, but he really wants Caleb to stay in for 39 weeks. It is in Caleb's best interest, but I'm sooo anxious! At least I will avoid another amnio to check for lung maturity. They will continue to monitor him weekly up until the 22nd. In fact I have to see the peri weekly and my regular doctor weekly, so that's two appointments each week. Talk about exhausting!

I'll be talking to myself a lot in the next three weeks. "You can do this, Rachel." "Only ____ more days." And so forth.

If you're inclined to pray that Caleb arrives earlier than that of his own volition, if it wasn't winter I might encourage you to do so. But because of the weather and the hour drive to the hospital, I think I'd prefer just to wait out the 3 weeks. My labor with Felicity was less than two hours and the thought of being here alone with the boys, while Paul's at work (an hour away) and going into labor is frightening, to say the least. My mom could rush up here, but then I'd either have to drive myself to the hospital or wait for her to get here to be with the boys and have someone else drive me. There are some other alternatives, but it's not a situation that's easy to prepare for especially when you consider the fact that the weather might make driving nearly impossible.

So I can live with three more weeks. I think. I hope!