Monday, August 10, 2015

Zachary MANIA!

Remember Russell MANIA?  He was just over 3 months in those pictures.  Here are some similar pictures of Zachary at about 2.5 months old:

This kid just loves to smile!  He smiles with his whole face.  I can't get enough!  He's pretty easy to love.  <3 nbsp="" p="">

Friday, August 7, 2015

Scope #8

Caleb had his 8th scope this week.  He was eating a diet of everything but dairy, wheat, and soy, but his egg consumption was limited (and mostly in the form of baked eggs).  He was also getting a tiny piece of sacrament bread for the past few weeks at Church.  Technically this trial was for peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.  We didn't eat a lot of fish/shellfish during the trial, but he did have a piece of Udi's toast with chocolate peanut butter for breakfast most mornings.

And he...



The only "diagnosis" on the pathology report was "FOCAL MILD MUCOSAL EPITHELIAL REACTIVE CHANGE" in his small bowel.  I'm not sure what that means, but there were no eosinophils, so that's great!

Since biopsies have shown that he reacts to dairy, and we had to stop his wheat trial before we could scope because he was symptomatic, that leaves SOY to trial.  He was put on soy formula when he was young, and we stopped after less than a week because he seemed to be reacting to it, so I'm not particularly optimistic that he'll pass his soy trial, but it's worth a shot!  Bring on the soy sauce, edamame, and tofu!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Zachary is 2 months old!

I can't believe it's been 2 months already!  They've gone so fast and have been surprisingly enjoyable.  :)

At 2 months old, Zachary:

  • Weighs 9lbs 14oz.  That's in the 4th percentile, which is right where he was at his 2 week appointment (when he weighed 6lbs 14oz), which means he's gaining the perfect amount of weight to stay on his curve!  That means he's got healthy weight gain!  That means he's healthy!
  • Measures 23.25 inches long, which is in the 61st percentile!  That's up from his 2-week appointment, when he was 20.5 inches and in the 42nd percentile.  That means he's jumping percentiles!  That means he's growing great!  I don't believe I've ever had a kid so high on the curve!  That's just amazing to me!
  • Has a head in the 38th percentile, which is exactly where it was at 2 weeks as well.
  • Takes a bottle at every feeding, usually 3-4 ounces (which is why he's growing so well!).  The other day we left him with Grandma and Grandpa while we went to a wedding out of town.  In 8 hours he drank 12 ounces of milk, and I pumped 2.5 ounces.  I still nurse him before most feedings, but I'm trying to phase it out a little.  I feel like I feed him all day long (nursing takes forever, since my milk doesn't just flow out so easily).  But it's emotionally hard to think about not nursing him.  I don't know why.  I'm perfectly justified in stopping.  I just wish it worked out differently, so I'm trying to hang on or something.  But I've gotta say, it's nice being able to leave him for a few hours without thinking about his next feeding!
  • Drinks donor milk!  I was fortunate enough to have three amazing people offer to donate their milk for Zach since I obviously can't make enough and formula gave him a tummy ache.  He's been drinking it for a little over a month now, and we have enough for probably two more months!  After that I just hope he can handle formula a little better, since his digestive system will be a little more mature.
  • Has slept 6-7.5 hours at night a handful of times, but usually sleeps 4 hours.
  • Is starting to take naps in his crib, but has a hard time falling asleep on his own if he's not on his tummy.
  • Is spending more time awake and aware of his surroundings.
  • Loves flashing a giant smile for his favorite people.
  • Tries often to "talk" and coo.  It's the sweetest thing!
  • Loves listening to music from his swing mobile.
  • Is a big fan on things that move and make sounds in general (like his baby play mat thingy).
  • Only wants to take his binky when he's tired and hungry at the same time.  That's totally ok with me.  ;)
  • Is extremely tolerant of his brothers, who obsess over him!  You can often hear Russell say, "I love that guy!  That guy right there!  I'm going to eat him up!  Num, num, num, num."  They also love to help feed him his bottle.
  • Doesn't have any rashes, bloating, diarrhea, colic, excessive spit-up, etc.  He has a little mucus in his poop, but I'm hoping that's not food-related and it's something that will just go away as he matures.  He's by far the healthiest baby I've ever had, and I just can't believe it!  Even though he's still pretty small, he just feels more solid and soft (as opposed to scrawny and sickly, like Caleb and Russ were).  It's a dream come true!  
Here are some of Zach's cute expressions:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Brothers at 2 months

Caleb at 5 months (2 months adjusted for prematurity):

Russell at 2 months:

Zachary at 2 months:

You tell me: Which brother do you think Zach looks most like?

PS: What sweet, adorable little boys I've been blessed with!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Getting to Know Zachary

Zachary is the sweetest little thing!  I can't believe I got lucky enough to have such a wonderful baby.  In my mind, I told myself I deserved the perfect baby after all I went through with my pregnancy, but I was preparing for a really difficult baby (like Russell...poor thing).  But no!  I got Zach!  He may still poop and cry and wake up to eat at night, but as far as babies go, he's as close to perfect that I can imagine!

First off, my recovery has been a breeze, which helps a lot!  I hardly even needed pain meds.  There were many times in the hospital that I rated my pain as a zero.  Zero!  I was in more pain than that a month after delivering Russell!  It's much easier enjoying your baby when you don't want to cry with every move.

FYI, we decided that when we shorten Zachary's name, it will be spelled "Zach."  I was torn on this name purely because of the shortening dilemma.  Zach or Zack?  "Ch" doesn't technically have a "k" sound, which may confuse him when he starts learning to read, but "ck" isn't part of the full "Zachary."  It's all just preference.  So we decided that we prefer Zach.  :)  I hope he doesn't mind when he's older!

He seems to be a good eater, nursing on demand every 2-3 hours, and often going 5 hours at night, and even up to 7 hours once!  He has a great natural latch, which I appreciate.  But he's following his brothers' trend by gaining weight very slowly.  He was 6 lbs 13 oz when he was discharged from the hospital at 2 days old, and was 6 lbs 14 oz at his first doctor's appointment at 2 weeks old.  They're supposed to be back to their birth weight by 2 weeks!  He was still about 7% below birth weight!  So we started supplementing with a few ounces of formula  a day, and Zach does a great job taking a bottle.  But it's hard to find the "right" formula for him.  We decided to try Alimentum, since it's the most gentle formula you can buy off the shelves, but just a few ounces caused constipation, a tummy ache, and mucus poo.  I was pretty worried that he'd develop an aversion to the bottle (like Baby Russ did when he realized that it caused tummy pain), so imagine my disbelief when a few people stepped forward to offer their own breast milk for me to feed Zach!!  I've been nursing him at every feeding, following it up with a bottle of milk every time.  He usually drinks about 12 ounces a day from the bottle and he's gaining weight great!  He's up to 9 pounds at 7 weeks old, which still seems so small, but he gained a pound in just over a week, so I'm impressed!  I can honestly say I have never experienced what it's like to have a baby who eats properly until now, and it's amazing!  I mean, this baby can nurse for 20 minutes and then down 3-4 ounces from the bottle!  He still has mucus in his poop, but it's not quite as bad as Russ had it, and he still doesn't have any rashes, bloating, diarrhea, or colic, so I'm hoping it's just an immature digestive system and not a symptom of a bad food.  Hopefully he'll be able to handle formula once we run out of donor milk, since his digestive system will have time to mature and get stronger.

Now for the more fun stuff.  :)

He lets anyone hold him, which makes for two very happy big brothers.

He's a great snuggler.

He'll gladly go in his swing or his bouncy chair, as long as he's not hungry.

He's got great skin!  No rashes, no cradle cap, and no baby acne!

He rarely opened his eyes for his first two weeks, but now he's starting to look around and enjoys having the mobile move on his swing.

He's got a major cowlick on the right side of his forehead.

He's a huge fan of his binky!  He's really good at keeping it in, too.  I'm not sure how to feel about it.  There are some serious advantages to having a binky baby.  If he's crying, all I have to do to make him happy is pop in the binky.  But my first two never liked binkies.  They both sucked their thumbs when they were tired, and never at any other time, and it was ideal, I tell ya.  They're both great sleepers.  What I absolutely don't want with Zach is to be waking up all night long to replace a lost binky every time he stirs.  I'm not sure how to keep that from happening, though, since I've never had a binky baby before!  Any tips are welcome.  ;)

He still likes to keep his legs tucked up under him froggy-style.  It's super cute.  :)

He rolls over to his side often.  Very often.  And a few times he's rolled all of the way over to his belly!  Once he rolled deliberately from his back to his belly then back to his back again!  And he was less than three weeks old!

He wears size 1 diapers and size newborn clothes.  He totally rocks plain onesies!

He sneezes a lot, and it's almost always more than one sneeze at a time, and his sneezes are soft and gentle (unlike his parents').

He often (not always, but often) will start to cry then just lose motivation for it and fall asleep for a moment instead.  It made the nurse in the hospital laugh out loud.  :)

Instead of having his grandpa's nose, like his brothers do, he seems to have my nose.

He looks a lot like both of his brothers, especially now that he's thinning out.

He started smiling around 6 weeks old.  These days he'll always give me a smile when I talk to him!  He's much more likely to smile for people he knows, and always smiles best for me, since he loves me most.  ;)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Introducing: Zachary! (And a birth story)

Zachary LaVell Purser

7 lbs 5 oz
19 in
37 weeks 5 days

The Birth Story:

For the past month or so, my blood pressure and the protein levels in my urine have been creeping up.  Not bad enough to do anything about, but bad enough to pay a little extra attention to.  At my 36-week appointment my blood pressure spiked higher than ever (just a few points away from declaring preeclampsia) so my doctor told me to go to Labor and Delivery on that next Saturday for a non-stress test (where they monitor Baby's heartbeat and my contractions) and a blood pressure check.  Nate and I had discussed how perfect it would be to have a baby on the Saturday afternoon of a 3-day weekend.  But we both got the feeling that this day was not the day, so I didn't even pack my bags.  I headed off to L&D while Nate stayed home with the kids to mow the lawn.

A neighbor of mine was the charge nurse at L&D when I got there.  She got me hooked up and my blood pressure was reaching new levels.  The first few checks were alarmingly high.  After about half an hour my blood pressure was consistently low, though, which was reassuring.  The not-so-reassuring part of it all was the baby's heart rate.  It was in the safe range, but there wasn't enough variation.  He had been extremely active the night before, but since waking up that Saturday morning he had only moved a few times.  The whole time I was hooked up to the monitor he only stretched out twice, and didn't move at all other than that.  They were looking for his heart rate to increase every now and then, but it didn't move around at all.  After getting a good picture of how the baby was doing in there according to his heart rate, my neighbor/nurse sent the info to the doctor on call.  She came back shortly and said, "How would you like to have a baby today?"  I kinda freaked out inside!  I was excited, but not mentally ready!  She said that he didn't look too bad in there, but not too good, either, and since I was past 37 weeks they'd feel more comfortable getting him out rather than leaving him in.  I had been having the exact same feeling for the few weeks previous, so even though I know that the closer to the due date the better, there are instances where 37 weeks is better than 39 weeks, so we had to go with it!

So they sent me down the hall to a delivery room.  It was about 11AM by this time, and they wanted to monitor me for another half hour before starting pitocin, just to make sure that the baby looked like he could handle pitocin.  If not, they would have done an c-section.  But he looked fine for that next half hour (and for the rest of the induction, too), so they started a very slow, low dose of pitocin to get things started.  At this point I was dilated to 3cm, which is where I'd been for the two weeks previous.  

Nate had to bring the big brothers to their swimming lessons at 12:20, so he didn't get to the hospital until just past 2PM, after gathering my things and getting things situated with the boys.  His sister came to watch them and stay the night.  On his way out, he found the new camera that we had ordered on the front porch that wasn't supposed to arrive for another week.  It was a sign.  ;)  Today was the day, and we needed the new camera to document it!

Shortly after Nate showed up, around 2:30, the doctor broke my water and increased the pitocin.  I was still just dilated to 3cm.  I could feel the contractions, but they weren't painful at all.  Far less painful than the ones I had been having on my own for the past few weeks!  The nurses estimated that he would be born around 8PM.

Right around 5, the contractions started feeling rather painful.  I knew that I didn't want an epidural unless things dragged on, but when the pain gets real you start thinking about it.  ;)

I had always heard that when you deliver without an epidural, you feel "pressure" when you're getting close to pushing.  By "pressure," they really mean you feel like you need to have a bowel movement.  I didn't feel that at any point, but I was starting to feel like I was constipated.  The nurse said that was a good sign so she checked me again.  I was 5.5cm and 90% effaced, and she said it felt like I had a forebag of water that would need to be broken, so she'd have to call the doctor in.  I could feel it break while she was checking me, and that's when things got real.

It's a bit of a blur, but I was having less than a minute break between contractions, so they turned off the pitocin.  I was getting a little frantic with the extreme pain and couldn't stop thinking about the epidural.  They could tell I was close, even though I was only dilated to 5.5cm, so they started getting the room ready, and fast.  I started feeling nauseated.  Not 10 minutes later they checked me again and I was 8cm.  I didn't know what to do with myself, and was going out of my mind, so I started pushing.  The doctor was there and checked me again and I was fully dilated.

My first push was not a good one.  I think I was scared of what would happen if I really pushed.  Then I got scared of what would happen if I didn't push!  They kept telling me to grab behind my knees, but there was no way I was letting go of those bed rails!  I found myself screaming involuntarily.  I gave two good pushes and his head was out.  One more really good push and he was born at 5:49PM!  Just before the nurses' shift change.  ;)

They put him on my belly to rub him and suction his mouth and nose.  They didn't do that with Russell, and I was surprised how wonderful it was!  They left him there for a few moments, until the cord stopped pulsing before cutting it.  Then they quickly took him over for a weight and a diaper before putting him on my bare chest.  We cuddled like that for the next few hours!  It was amazing!  He was still all covered in vernix and blood and nobody cared!  In that time the doctor delivered the placenta and gave me one tiny stitch from a super tiny tear.
He is almost exactly three times Caleb's birth weight and exactly one pound less than Russell's birth weight!

And that's Zachary's birth story!  About 6 hours of labor total, but only about 45 minutes of pain, when I went from 3cm to delivering a baby!  It was all so bizarre, and not what I was expecting, but looking back I can say that it was exactly how I wanted it!  I can't say I'll ever be brave enough to deliver unmedicated again, but it was a really good experience with the happiest of endings!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

32 weeks 3 days

I'm well into the 30s now and it's pretty exciting!  My doctor started seeing me every two weeks basically since my surgery and every time we meet he is so excited to see that I'm still holding strong!  Just a few more weeks and we'll be even more relieved!

32 weeks 3 days!

I had my checkup today and everything looked great with one exception.  The protein levels in my urine have been creeping up since about 26 weeks and today they were high enough to warrant a 24-hour urine collection.  This means preeclampsia could be our next problem.  (I called it...I really did.  I knew this was going to happen over a month ago.)  But honestly, it may not be anything to worry about quite yet because my blood pressure is fine.  I normally have super low blood pressure, so I suppose that could make it harder to catch because what's normal for everyone else would be high for me.  But with no swelling or debilitating headaches (although I have started getting a few super mild headaches in the last few weeks), I'm feeling optimistic.  Mostly I'm just relieved to be past 32 weeks, because I could handle having my baby at any point now.  Of course, I'm still holding out for a 9-pounder, so I'm really hoping this doesn't put a kink in my plans!  We'll just have to see what the labs say.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, would ya?

More generic pregnancy updates:

I seem to be recovering well from my gallbladder removal.  I was told that the internal stitches will take two months to dissolve, so that should happen in the next few weeks.  As for now, they appear to be trying to make their way out through my skin instead of just dissolving like good little stitches are supposed to do.  My incisions are getting more red, tender, and swollen, although they don't appear to be infected at all.  My OB told me not to be surprised if my skin opens up and a few stitches come out.  Sounds fine by me.  I'll just be glad to have that part over with.

We decided to be proactive about my heartburn.  Since I was feeling the pain and then treating it with zantac and tums every single day, my OB was on board with me taking generic prevacid to stop the pain before it starts.  It's made a world of difference, I tell you.  It even seems to help with the debilitating pain I sometimes feel where my gallbladder used to reside.  I don't know what's up with that, but I'm hoping it goes away after the baby comes and my organs aren't all squished up under my ribs.

I think I've developed a bit of sleep apnea.  Sometimes I wake in the night, gasping for air.  It's a strange sensation, for sure.  My doctor's not too concerned about it, especially since we're getting so close to the finish line.  I can live with it for another eight weeks.

My weight has been weird.  I gained at least 8 pounds of IV fluids during my hospital stay, and then I lost 16 pounds, putting me 8 pounds below where I was when I was admitted to the hospital.  It has taken the last 6 weeks to gain that 8 pounds back.  So as of yesterday I have gained 16 pounds total during this pregnancy.  It's definitely less than my first two pregnancies (where I gained 15 pounds by 27 weeks with each), but if I gain the expected one pound per week from here on out, that'll put me right at 24 pounds when I deliver, which is just right.  My weight was completely stagnant for a while after my surgery, so I was worried about how the baby was going to grow, but we're all caught up now.  :)

The baby is measuring just right, around 32-33 weeks.

I have another ultrasound to look at the heart at 34 weeks to check on the echogenic foci (is that the plural of focus? because there are three...).  After that, I'll see my doc every week.

I wake up once every single night to use the bathroom, usually around 3-4AM.

My aching right hip keeps me tossing and turning all night.

I've been pulling abdominal muscles, which doesn't feel that great.  It literally leaves me unable to do anything but sit on the couch for a few days, but then it seems to go away.

I'm still feeling pretty good otherwise, which is awesome.  You might be able to count my hankerin' for fresh fruit as a craving.  Jimmy John's sandwiches are also on my "gosh that sounds so good" list.  I had a dream about Jimmy John's and fruit the other night.  It was amazing.  I'm loving apple slices and peanut butter.  Hot chocolate chip cookies.  Yum.  Goldfish crackers.  Ikea meatballs.  That's about it.  ;)

Here are all my recent belly shots!:


29 weeks

30 weeks

Today, at 32w3d.

My insanely adorable baby boy with chubby cheeks and squishy lips and a button nose at 29 weeks.