Showing her Premie Side

Well, Penelope is showing her premie side these days.  Yes, she is doing great. Yes, she is growing leaps and bounds...but she is still not ready to come home.  We thought she was going to come home today, but she decided she wasn't ready to leave her buddies in the NICU.

Tuesday night she had an episode where she had a brady, and then had a spit-up where she wasn't able to clear it herself and they had to use that little aspirator ball to clear it for her.  Then it happened again last night.  They just want to monitor her for a while to make sure she doesn't have any problems with reflux.

These are just little bumps in the life of a premature baby, and the doctor's don't seem overly concerned at this point.  I just have to remind myself that she's still only 37weeks and that she hasn't had the time to develop inside my belly so she's doing the best she can out here in the world.

I am so very proud of our little Peanut.  She is amazing and I could spend hours looking at her tiny face and watching her sleep (in fact I do spend hours at the NICU staring at her!)

I'll end on the positives - our little piggy is eating between 50-60cc's a feeding now (and the feeding tube is out!).  And when she does get a burp out, she burps like a trucker. She's got an amazing grip with those little hands too!

And now for what you've all been waiting for - fresh baby pics!
sleeping beauty
look at her little hand tucked under her chin!

Shew - What a Whirlwind

Penelope is 16 days old now and it has been quite the whirlwind.  So many amazing things have happened since she was born and I am just so very much in love with this teeny tiny little girl.

I was able to start kangaroo care with her which is basically skin to skin contact.  It was amazing! Just feeling her warm body with nothing but a diaper against my bare chest is like nothing I can describe.  She seemed so peaceful and happy there too.  We tried a bit of breastfeeding but she's still not quite there yet.  She did get a few sips in there and she'll get better as she gets bigger and her sucking reflex gets further developed.  It's amazing how much she needs to learn since she was born early.  Stuff that full term babies just innately know from practice in the womb.  My little Peanut is a champion though - so I have no doubt that she'll pick it up in time.

so amazing

I mean how could you NOT want to snuggle this?!
Oh and for those of you noticing the new tape's nothing to worry about.  She had a new feeding tube inserted because the one from Hopkins wasn't compatible with the stuff at HCC so they put a new one in and that's how it's secured.  She doesn't seem to mind it but we can't wait until she's tube, tape and wire free!

The nurses are saying that if she keeps doing as well as she has been there is a chance she could be coming home this week.  I don't want to get my hopes up too high - but that would just be the most amazingly wonderful thing ever!  Sean and I are itching to get her home so we can snuggle with her all the time!

Penelope Birth Story - Part 4

So Penelope is born at 7:36pm on Saturday.  Sean, his parents and my sisters are all able to go see her in the NICU.  I am stuck in bed, drugged up on MAG, and confused.  I'm still seeing double, can't move my body at all, and feel very odd.  I can't describe the feeling...excited that she's alive and that we had our baby - but also really sad and jealous that everyone gets to see her but me.  Then I find out that they want to keep me on the MAG for 24 hours to make sure I am stable.  I can't tell you how upset that made me.  I wanted to start feeling better and see my baby and instead I'm stuck sucking on ice chips and feeling like I'm on heroine or something.  MAG is the worst crap on the planet.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

I was a swollen slug mess
 Sean came back from seeing P in the NICU and showed me a picture on his phone of her.  I could barely see it because my vision was so messed up...but I knew she was beautiful.  I just started counting down the hours until I could get off the MAG and see her!  Sunday is a blur, literally, but I knew the end of my slug state was in sight!  At 7:30 pm on Sunday they finally took me off the MAG.  They made my bed sit up and I was still really REALLY out of it.

But then a nurse asked me a question I had been waiting for for 4 DAYS...."would you like something to eat and drink?"  UM YES!!! I had some ginger ale and a turkey sandwich.  Sean said that turkey sandwich looked absolutely disgusting - but I'll tell you what, that was the best sandwich I think I've ever had in my entire life.
The puffy slug eats! Horray!
After I eat a nurse comes by and tells us that they're transferring me to the regular post delivery area.  She also asks if I would like to swing by the NICU to see Penelope.  I'll be honest, I didn't know if I would be able to.  I told her I was scared I wouldn't be able to get into a wheel chair and I was so dizzy with the blurry double vision.  Sean said it broke his heart to hear that I wasn't sure I was up to seeing her.

So, another nurse comes in and the 2 of them plus Sean were able to get me into a wheel chair.  Once I was in there I decided...hey you know what?  I can go see her.  I can do this! I want to see my little girl!  So off we went!

Sean told me later that the nurses in the NICU asked him if he wanted to hold Penelope, and he told them that he wanted to wait and let me be the first person to hold her.  Isn't he amazing?!

They wheeled me down the hall and to the NICU...and there she was.  So beautiful and amazing with a full head of hair!  And I got to hold my baby for the first time!
First time mommy holds baby!
After that I started feeling better and better...and so did little Penelope! I was discharged the next day, my vision slowly improved, my legs started working again...and now I'm basically back to feeling like my old self.

As for Penelope - she's off all the tubes, no more IV's and now all she needs to do is gain weight.  We also got word that they're going to hopefully be transferring her out of Hopkins to our local hospital! This will be awesome as I'm pretty sure I can start feeding her soon so I'll be able to go right over there.  Right now I'm pumping and they're bottle feeding her...but we need to teach her to eat right from mama.  Things are just looking up and up.

isn't she beautiful?!

So, I don't want to end this on a low I'll end with pictures...BUT I wanted to write a bit of caution.  If you EVER think that there is something wrong with your body, trust your instincts.  Doctors don't always listen to you.  If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong - push the issue.  I didn't.  I figured I was just being a baby and this was just how it was.  I now think that I had the signs of pre-e for quite some time.  Who knows, if I had pushed the issue they would have put me on bed rest and monitored me...and maybe I wouldn't have had to deliver this early.  OR they could have monitored me and not let it get to this level of severity before they did something about it.  I don't know...all I know is that I had a hunch that something was wrong, I told my doctors about my symptoms...and they missed it.  You have to be your own advocate.

So that's my story...

Ok, enough are some more pictures of my precious little girl.  I can't wait until she gets home and I can just hold her and love her all day every day.  She is our little Peanut.

our fancy girl!
teeny tiny hand

Proud Daddy!

Penelope Birth Story - Part 3

Ok so now we're at the point where they start me on the pitocin.  This is administered Friday night after the 2nd steroid shot.  I am still extremely lethargic on the MAG, I am seeing double, I'm being poked every few hours for blood draws, and my arm is being squeezed every 15 minutes to take my blood pressure (which is still freakishly high).

Because I'm not due for another 6 weeks, the pitocin isn't really doing anything.  I don't feel any contractions and my cervix isn't progressing.  That's when they decided...hmm, she isn't uncomfortable enough - let's kick this up a notch.  First they tried a ripening agent which was basically medicine that they put eh hem..up there for 3 hours in the hopes that it will help my dilate, that didn't do anything.  Next, since I wasn't dilating they tried "stripping my membranes" a few times.  I won't describe it for the faint of heart - but it HURT LIKE HELL!  Anyway, that still didn't do anything so then they inserted a foley ball catheter into my cervix.  Again, I won't describe it but yes that HURT LIKE HELL TOO!  However, that did get me dilated to 3cm' we're getting somewhere.  But still, I didn't feel any contractions.  We were in for a long haul.

Sometime on Saturday things started happening.  I started feeling contractions a little bit.  They went from mild to pretty painful quickly.  That's when it was time for me to ask for an epidural.  So the anesthesiologist shows up and I'm told that I need to sit up and lean over the hospital tray table thingy so that they can put the needle in my spine.  Um...sit up?  Oh sure, no problem.  I can barely move my arm to my face but I can just pop right up.  Anyway - a few people had to assist me in sitting up and then I'm leaning over the table...

Ut oh...I start feeling like I'm going to pass out or throw up.  Turns out that by sitting up my blood pressure dropped dangerously low! They quickly laid me back down on my side and put some meds in my IV to regulate my blood pressure again.  So I cant' sit back up - thus making the epidural insertion more difficult for the anesthesiologist.  Sorry guy!

So Sean is behind the nurse who's holding my hand and is watching the anesthesiologist's face.  It took way longer than it should have, and it hurt like hell...and Sean told me afterwards that the guy's face made it seem that it wasn't going exactly as it should.  Awesome!

So now it's in...I'm still having contractions...and I'm still feeling them.  They are getting worse and I kept hitting the button to dose me and it isn't really doing anything.  I called the anesthesiologist back a few more time to up the amount...but I think what happened is that it didn't go in exactly as it should and there was nothing he could do.  Oh's time for the show!

At this point my water hasn't broken yet so they decide they're going to break my water for me.  After they take a look up there they decide not to because they aren't sure if the umbilical cord is in the way.  They decide to give it just a little more time.  About 15 minutes later (or at least that's what it felt like - it could have been hours for all I know)...I felt it break.  It was a very weird feeling.  I called the nurse and let her know.  I don't know how much longer after that but all of a sudden I felt like stuff was about to happen.  Like I said, I had the epidural but I still basically felt a lot down there so I felt a lot of pressure like she was close to coming out.

Next thing I know there are about a dozen people in the room and my legs are up and I'm pushing.  The actual pushing part only lasted about 40 minutes...and then...out she came!

There were about 6 people off to the side waiting for her because she is a premie and they needed to tend to her.  A few seconds after she came out we heard her cry - it was amazing! It was also scary because they basically just handed her off to this team of doctors and we hadn't even seen her yet.  After about 15 minutes or so (again my timing could be off) they brought her over, let me kiss her on the cheek...and she was gone off to the NICU.

I was left on the bed being stitched up (yes I was lucky enough to tear on a 3lb 9oz baby!) and my baby was gone.  It was a very surreal feeling because I was so incredibly drugged up and out of it.  I kept thinking to myself...did I just have a baby?  What the hell just happened?

*next up...the final chapter of the birth story.  24 hours of MAG to go and updates on baby P

Penelope Birth Story - Part 2

So after the ultrasound, I'm still not sure what's going on.  I think they may have given me my first dose of magnesium sulfate (I'll call it MAG from now on).  I told Sean to go home and take a shower, eat something and grab some stuff from home in case we're going to be a while.  We figured we'd just lounge around and play with our iPads or watch TV or biggie.  I don't remember if it was before or after he left but at some point they gave me a shot of steroids in my thigh to start maturing the baby's lungs so I could deliver her. I still didn't realize that this was the plan...but with the steroids what the hope is - is they give you 1 shot of steroids, another in 24 hours...and then you deliver in another 24 hours.  That's the ideal amount of time to help the baby's lungs mature before she comes out.

Sean leaves...and I go from feeling ok to not really quickly.  By the time he got back to the hospital I was in pretty bad shape.  Shaking uncontrollably and also pretty nauseous.  I think it was shortly after he got back that I started projectile vomiting and feeling a mess.  Then they tell us that the NICU at our hospital is full so they're going to have to transfer me downtown to Johns Hopkins.  I was so upset. We have been so excited about how close our hospital is and how convenient it would be...and now they're talking about putting me in an ambulance to deliver my baby downtown.  What could I choice.  So I'm sick and feeling awful and the ambulance guys come and take me and drive me to Hopkins.  Unfortunately  I didn't make it all the way there without throwing up in the ambulance.  Whoops!

They admit me into Hopkins and tell me their plans.  Basically I have advanced preeclampsia and they are going to try to give me the steroid treatment and then induce me to deliver the baby. I was so scared.  She wasn't due for another 6 weeks and now I'm going to have to deliver her?

At this point they have started pumping me full of MAG.  Basically what this does is dilate everything in my body to turn me into a human slug.  It helps to keep my blood pressure down and reduces the chance of me having a seizure.  My blood pressure had sky rocked to around 170s/100s which is seizure/stroke level so they pumped me full of MAG to help lower it.  They also did a lot of blood draws to make sure my kidneys/liver were not failing.  This is another risk of pre-e.

So this is all still Thursday night.  As the MAG goes in I start feeling worse and worse as my body stops being able to do anything.  It was hard for me to move at all...AND they wouldn't let me eat anything.  I hadn't eaten since Wednesday night for dinner but since I was at risk of seizure plus there was always the possibility that they would have to do an emergency C-section they didn't want me to have any food.  I was SO HUNGRY!  At one point a doc came in to do a check on me and I got one wiff of him and said, "you've been eating an orange haven't you?"  Sean said I sounded like I was accusing him of something awful...haha!

I was basically in this state for most of Friday as well.  They didn't start putting the Pitocin in my IV until after the 2nd shot of steroids was put into my thigh around 5:30pm on Friday night. 

Here goes the roller coaster....

* I'll finish the rest of the story tomorrow but now I'm off to the NICU to go visit our little Peanut!

Penelope's Birth Story - Part 1

Ok, shew...this one is going to be a long one.  Well, a few long ones - I'll break them down for ya.  I'm warning you.  Also, I warn that it may be a bit TMI for some - but I feel it's important to document all that happened during the birth of our beautiful daughter.  Thankfully baby and mommy are doing great...but it was a scary road.  And honestly, I think it's a road we shouldn't have had to go down.  Deep breath, here it goes.

For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you may have noticed a recurring theme.  I was constantly complaining about being swollen and puffy in the ankles, hands and face.  I also was extremely tired.  Freakishly tired I would say.  Although I had brought up these things to my midwives (I go to a practice with about 6 midwives and so I rarely see the same one) they said it was just a part of being pregnant.  I figured they knew what they were talking about and moved along.  I also, at one point, said that I didn't feel my baby moving that much.  They hooked me up to a fetal heartbeat monitor and all seemed fine.  I figured it was my anterior placenta (the placenta was in the front and therefore acts as a pillow to muffle the kicks).  They didn't do an ultrasound at this time.  Then a week before the shit went down I had a routine appointment and there was protein and blood in my urine.  They didn't seem too concerned and told me to come back in a week to follow up.  So yeah....the signs were ALL THERE...but yet this is what happened.

So, I woke up on Thursday morning and my hands and face and ankles were extremely swollen.  Way more so than they have been (mind you that they have been varying degrees of swollen for over a month at this point).  I was concerned and decided to take my blood pressure because I read about preeclampsia and knew that the puffiness was a sign of it along with high blood pressure. Thankfully we have a blood pressure cuff in the house.  I took it and it was around 170/90.  That's pretty high.  My husband and I decided I should try to get in to see the midwives "just in case something was wrong."  I I had brought up the preeclampsia to my midwives before because of the face/hands swelling - but again nobody seemed to worried about it, so I wasn't that concerned when I walked into the midwives office that morning.  They bring me in, I do a pee test, they take my blood pressure....and the midwife says "I hate to tell you but you have to go to the hospital right away."  Um, ok?  So I called Sean and said I had to go to the hospital, and at this point we're not really worried.  We just figured they'd monitor me and probably send me home on bed rest or something like that.  We live across the street from our local hospital so I drove back home, switched cars, and he drove me over and came with me to the hospital.

So now I'm at the hospital and they're checking my blood pressure and it's high.  They do some blood work, another urine test...and then we go to the ultrasound.  At this point I'm starting to freak a little bit.  They start the ultrasound....and the baby is not moving.  Her heartbeat is going but her little legs and arms are not moving.  They're wiggling my belly, asking me to cough...and she barely moves.  Then they measured the blood flow going from the umbilical cord to her...and it wasn't giving her as much as it should be.  Oh crap...this just got scary.

Penelope Charlotte Diamond is here!

I have so much to post about - the birth story of the century....but that's for another day.  I just wanted to post a few pics now to announce the unexpected and early arrival of our beautiful little girl, Penelope Charlotte Diamond.  She was born on February 5th at 7:36pm - 3lbs, 9oz and 16 inches long.  She's in the NICU and will be for a while since she's still so tiny and needs to develop a bit more - but she's doing GREAT! I'll share all the details in a post later in the week...too much to write now - but I just couldn't wait to shout from the rooftops any longer how much we love this little girl!  Hugs to everyone!  Here she is!!

so tiny and beautiful!

They like me....they really like me!

My new buddy Natalie over at I was told there would be pajamas, nominated me for this here "I heart this blog" award, and I am truely honored.  I love reading her blog and all about her pregnancy and life.  We have a lot in common - it's kinda creepy!  As for me, I am a crap blogger who is not very good at keeping up with regular postings (even when I promise to!).  I mean I still haven't posted about all of the crafty things I did for my wedding and that was 7 months ago! At this point I don't know if anyone even cares anymore that I made paper poofs, or cupcake sticks.  Ah well, that's another story for another day (here I go again, making empty promises).

Back on track - thanks Natalie for nominating me.  Here are the details of what the next steps are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself (Thank goodness this doesn't say 7 "interesting" things)
3. Award some recently discovered bloggers that are deserving
4. Contact those bloggers and let them know about the award

Let’s see, 7 things about me….oh there are so many random things I could pick.  Here we go…

1.      I have short pinkies.  I think I have written about this a while ago but I’ll say it again.  Yes, I have short pinkies.  The weird thing is I didn’t even notice I had short pinkies until I was in my 20s.  Nobody in our family has short pinkies but me.  (My mom may have, but she passed away before I noticed and so far I haven’t been able to find any close up hand shots). Here is a pic of my hands in case you don’t believe me (and yes I am aware they look like sausages – I’m pregnant and retaining water, awesome!)….now if you look at your own hands chances are your pinky comes to the knuckle line of your ring finger, right?  Yeah…I’m a freak!

2.      I have a cat named Jesus.  Well, it’s pronounced in the lovely language of espanol (heeey-seus) but yeah, it’s Jesus.  See, what’sa happened was.  My BFF Biscuit found this fantastic kitty back in 1998 behind a liquor store in our college town.  I had just come back from break for the new semester and went over to her apartment to catch up…and there he was.  So adorable, and with a little dreadlock behind one ear.  He was scrappy but SO SWEET! Needless to say, Jen was in love.  Biscuit said I could have him but ONLY if I kept his name.  That’s when she laid it on me….his name is Jesus.  I tried to protest, but she said it was the only way I could have him.  That Biscuit is a tricky lass and I knew she would stick to her guns….so, here it is years later and I have my lovable Jesus.

3.      There is nothing that scares me more than eye injuries! Specifically – the thought of getting a paper cut in the eye has haunted me for as long as I can remember.  I have vivid memories of sitting in class in fear when kids would haphazardly pass papers back without even looking where they were flailing them! I am actually glad that I wear glasses because they provide some sort of protection from something hurting my eyes! In a moment of desperation I actually tried to get contacts so that I wouldn’t have to wear my glasses at my wedding.  I really REALLY tried! I got fitted, and sat in that damn optometrist’s office for an hour trying to get one in.  No dice.  My eyeballs hurt so bad from poking at them that I had a migraine by the time I got home.  I didn’t give up and gave it another go 2 days later..same result.  So eff it, I gave up and had blurry vision on the big day.  Thankfully I’m not so blind that I couldn’t see what was going on.  It kind of gave it a romantic haze.  Anyway, glasses for life and stay the eff away from my eyeballs with that paper damnit!

4.      I grew up in New Jersey.  I know those of you who have never been to the Garden State may think…..ew gross, there is nothing good about that trash and toll state.  To you I say – SHUT IT! I grew up in NJ – but more the south central part.  It was all farms and fields and fresh produce.  I dare you to find a better tasting tomato or sweet corn than those that come from NJ! I grew up climbing the hay bales trying to catch the barn cats at my friend Patty’s cow farm, and going to parties in corn fields, and getting frisky on the bank of an irrigation ditch (not lying!)  I think that New Jersey is a great state, and I’m proud to be a Jersey girl!

5.      I hate drinking! Now before you think I’m getting all judgmental about drinking alcohol…that’s not exactly what I mean.  I mean that I, personally, do not like to drink anything.  Biscuit calls me the human camel and doesn’t understand how I can normally survive on such little liquid intake.  It has been especially difficult being pregnant and trying desperately to get in the amount of water I’m supposed to each day.  Sean has to keep on me at home to make sure I’m drinking water. It’s basically like torture to me.  If left to my own devices, I could probably go on as little as 1-2 glasses of liquid in a day.  I also don’t like drinking alcohol – but I think that may have a lot to do with the fact that it’s a liquid and I just have such trouble getting it down.

6.      Another intake related one – I have a horrible sweet tooth.  If I was allowed and there were no health or weight related consequences (and I wouldn’t go into a sugar coma) I could live on cake, ice cream, cookies and chocolate. Unfortunately if I actually tried to do that I would be about 1,000 pounds and probably die of diabetic shock.  Lame! Bring on the steamed veggies…hmph

7.      This last one is going to be a bit sappy, but whatever – my blog = my rules.  Sean has definitely made me a better person.  Before we moved in together I would wait until I had about 10 loads of laundry to do and it would be all over my bedroom floor.  I was awful!  He does his laundry every Sunday.  Because of him…now I do too! I don’t want to be the slobby one with clothes all over the floor! Before I get all – horray me, I am doing such a good job being clean….that’s not entirely true.  He is still way more tidy than me and usually beats me to emptying out the dishwasher and stuff like that – BUT I have been a slacker preggo lately who doesn’t have the energy to get off the couch.  I am going to try my best once I have this baby and get my energy back to be a better partner and continue to follow his example of being proactive with things like laundry and dishes and whatnot.  I hope he knows how much I appreciate him!
So handsome and silly!

As for who to nominate....that's a tough one. There are only a few that I haven't been reading for a LONG time, but here are 2 newer discoveries that are pretty fantastic! - I have been reading this blog for a few months now and I love reading about her pregnancy and what she's been going through and feeling.  Our due dates are only a few apart and we're both expecting little girls so I'm super excited for her and love reading every post! - while I have known this woman for many years, I recently started following her blog and love to read about her little boy Trent and all the adorable things he does!
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