Thursday, June 28, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Little glow worm Benson

Having a baby has definitely been the most amazing experience in my life. It is so incredible. Benson is such a sweetie. He's very good and rarely ever cries. In fact, he never even lets us know when he's hungry. We went to the pediatrition for the first time on Tuesday and he weighed 5 lbs. 13 oz. He weighed 6 lbs.6 oz. at birth. The pediatrition said it was normal for babies to lose weight their first week, especially breast fed babies, but he wanted to see us back on friday to check his progress. On Friday, his one week birthday, they weighed him and he still weighed 5 lbs. 13 oz. He hadn't lost any weight since they last checked, but he hadn't gained any weight either. He was also a tiny bit yellow, so they checked him for jaundice.

Sure enough, his bilirubin levels were elevated to 18. I wasn't sure what that meant, so the doctor explained that when a baby is in the womb, it gets oxygen from the mama, but right before it comes out, it has a build up of red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body) in order to prepare to breathe on its own. After the first few hours, the excess red blood cells begin to die and the baby's liver starts metabolizing them and sending them out in the stool. When a baby has jaundice, their liver can't metabolize the dead red blood cell product, called bilirubin and it is stored in the skin and the eyes, giving them their yellow color.

Premature baby's are at a disadvantage because their lungs and their liver are the two last things to develop. Benson's lungs worked like a champ, but his liver was having a little difficulty handling the increase in red blood cell digestion. This was causing him to be very sleepy all of the time. He couldn't even wake up to eat. Come to find out, his liver was using up all of his energy to rid his little body of the bilirubin.

Because he wasn't gaining any weight, the doctor decided to treat his jaundice with a "bili blanket." It's a machine that has a high powered light going through a fiber optic cord with a pad that straps to his bare back. This light breaks down the excess bilirubin in his skin and helps his liver not have to work so hard, so he has energy to do things like EAT! And coo at mama. In the olden days, people would put jaundice babies in front of a sunny window to accomplish the same purpose, but the bili blanket can be used 24 hours a day and therefore, get rid of the jaundice faster which means more energy quicker. What a blessing that Benson was born in 2007 instead of 1907!

The babies usually have to wear the blanket for 3, 5, or 7 days. We have a doctors appointment later today, his third day, so we're hoping those levels are low and we'll be able to get rid of the "wallaby 3." That's what the machine is called, a wallaby... and it is so appropriate, because he looks like a little wallaby with his little tail hanging out of his outfit.

He also looks much like a glow worm. Regardless, he's still stinkin adorable. We went to the doctor yesterday and on the way home ran some errands, so we parked the car where the sun would shine through the window and one of us sat in the car while the other ran in to do the errand.

We're glad to know what is wrong with his little body and glad to have the remedy. Praise the Lord!

The story of Benson's Birth

We had planned to have a baby shower on May 20, but due to the fact that I went into the hospital on May 14 and didn't leave until the 23rd, the shower got post poned. So since I was on bedrest at home, we had the shower at my house and I sat in my recliner while my sweet friends and family showered me with blessings for my little one on the way. It was so much fun- such a great memory.

We had scheduled a doctors visit for the next morning at 8:45. We normally always go to the doctor in the late afternoon after Benjamin and I get off work, but this time, my OB was going out of town at noon for a week, so he wanted to see us early and give me a shot of progesterone to "help keep me pregnant" until he got back.

Before the shot, he checked me and discovered that I had advanced to six cm. dilated and my cervix was "paper thin." He said, "we're going to have this baby in the next 24 hours." He, again, didn't let us go home, but sent us straight to the hospital and we, again, didn't have the first thing packed or ready for a hospital stay. Praise the Lord that our family lives in town!
He came in at about 11:45, before he was to leave to go out of town, and he said that, at that point, one or two more days of Benson staying in my belly really wasn't going to make that big of a difference, and that the 25 days he had been in there since the first time he tried to come into the world had really gotten him good and ready for the outside world. Ideally, of course, we would have wanted him to stay in for 5- 1/2 more weeks, but today was the day. So he gave the orders for the doctor who would be on call (since he was going out of town) to help get things rolling so they would be "in control of the situation." At 1:30 pm, the antithesiologist came in and gave me an epidural.
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I was scared to pieces of having a needle stuck in my back and almost opted out of the pain meds... but my doctor said I would likely want to have more children if I had the epidural, it would be questionable if not. So I did and let me tell you... it didn't even hurt! The worst part was when they took the tape off at the end. In my opinion, an epidural is the ONLY way to go. I was able to enjoy.. and I mean literally, have fun, giving birth. Amazing. Thank you Lord for modern medicine!
At 2:00 they broke my water. Very interesting indeed, because THEN I started have those crazy hard contractions, (I could tell because I was looking at the monitor) but I didn't even feel them because I was completely numb from the waist down! Apparently, when you still have your water, it acts as a cushion during the contractions... that's why, during the previous three weeks, I was able to stand having contractions every 6-10 minutes.
I contracted for another couple of hours and at 4:00 the nurse checked me and I was a full 10 cm. dilated, so she said it was time to push. I didn't count, but I pushed somewhere between 5 and 7 times and heard a little lamb baa-ing. Benson came into the world at 4:23 pm. Incredible.
I did not cry one tear due to pain. It was such a completely different experience than what I expected it to be. To hold my little boy was the most surreal thing I have ever done... and that has continued to be the case day after day. I wonder when it will finally sink in that I have a son and he is here and he is mine and I am his.
Sometimes I crumple his legs and arms in on his tummy and think: "Wow, you're supposed to still be in my belly, and this is what you'd look like!" And yet he's here and thriving. The Lord is certainly good, and his goodness to us abounds each morning.

My friend Kelli's dog had puppies a few weeks back... she said, "Each morning is like Christmas morning.. I get to wake up and go see them again!" There is not a better description of what it's like having my little Benson. I can hardly go to sleep, because I just want to sit and watch him. He makes the greatest little faces, especially when he's dreaming. And on the rare occasion he is awake, he has the sweetest face and biggest eyes.
I continue to be amazed at what a true blessing he is from the Lord. God is so very good. My heart is so filled with joy and gratitude at this precious gift he has given us.
Benson Ryan
Born June 8, 2007
at 4:23 pm

6 lbs. 5.8 oz.
18 3/4 inches long
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