Thursday, December 14, 2017

COPPER PEARL : REVIEW

If you're reading this, you are probably familiar with Copper Pearl. You're probably wondering if their products are worth the hype and worth the price. I'm here to tell you, as someone who actually forked out the cash to buy the products that I have, that they are 100% worth it.

I started out with buying two swaddle blankets in Lily and Bloom and a newborn hat in Lily. My first impression was that they were so soft and so stretchy. As Lennox is my first child, I wasn't sure exactly what I would want in a swaddle blanket, but assumed soft and stretchy were important factors.

Now I have been able to use them with her and compare them to other blankets like hospital blankets, Aden + Anais blankets, and other blankets. I can tell you that these blankets are the best! They are definitely the ones I go back to again and again. They are the only swaddle blankets that we have that she can't wiggle her arms out of. While we were in the hospital, we had a lot of different nurses and doctors come through and EVERY single one of them commented on the Copper Pearl blankets. They would start out by saying how cute the colors and patterns were, but then once they got their hands on them they commented on the softness and how amazing they were to swaddle the baby with. Multiple nurses asked for the company name so they could buy them for their little ones.



After my first order, I immediately started trying to figure out what I wanted to try next. I ended up setting my eye on the Bloom Bundle. It comes with everything shown below.

Bloom Bundle
I am happy with all of the products. There are a couple negatives, but nothing that makes me think I made a bad purchase. So the first thing is that I have noticed some pilling on the swaddle blankets. I have kind of put them through the wringer though. With Lennox being in the NICU we had to change and wash her blankets daily. So they have been washed a lot of times because they were my favorites to use. Another negative is that bloom print on the burp cloth and the bib is slightly colored different than it is on the swaddle, hat and car seat cover. It doesn't really bother me, but i did see someone mention it in a review.

I can't wait to make more purchased from Copper Pearl!

Have you purchased anything from Copper Pearl? If so, what and do you like it?

-Julie

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WEEK 2 & 3 : NICU

After being transferred to the Special Care Unit, we thought we would only be there a few days as Lennox has been progressing so well in the NICU. She had been maintaining her temperature and was continually gaining weight. Those are two of the criteria for being released from the hospital. The final criteria is that she would be taking all of her feedings by bottle for 24 hours.

When we left the NICU, she had only been taking a few milliliters of her feeding each time. Everyone that we asked about how to get her to take her full feeding by bottle gave us the same story. They said that it's like a lightbulb, it's turned off, you may get a few flickers, and then one day it is turned on and it stays on. They said there is no way to rush it.



The next two weeks in the Special Care Unit were miserable! My husband and I were staying every night, trying to figure out the best way to handle the every 3 hour feeding schedule. The schedule wasn't what made it so miserable. The part that made the experience so bad was the light bulb flickers. She would get so close to taking a full feeding, or even take a full feeding. We would get our hopes up, only for them to be crushed 3 hours later when she only took 15 mL. It got to the point that I was literally crying because I thought we would never get out of there. All of our family and friends didn't understand why we couldn't leave and them asking why and not understanding the process only made things harder. I hated the fact that we couldn't leave, but I understood why and no amount of explaining made sense to them. Everyone (and their Mom) knows a baby that weighed less, or was born earlier, or had more issues, etc that was able to leave the hospital in less time than we had been able to. What no one seemed to understand was that every hospital has their own rules and every baby is different. Lennox was gaining weight, but only because they were feeding her what she wouldn't drink, through the NG tube. If she would only be drinking what she took from the bottle (like how it would be at home), then she wouldn't be gaining weight and she would rapidly decline. We just had to give her the time she needed to take all of her feedings by bottle.

Her nurses for the most part were great, but they hadn't been super helpful on teaching us what to do to get her to eat better. Some said to rub her head, others said to try a wet wipe on her face to keep her awake. All of their tips maybe helped during one feeding, but then wouldn't work the next time.

Finally after 2 weeks in the special care unit we got the nurse who would make all the difference. She told us to tap the bottom of the bottle while the baby was feeding. She said I can't say why it works, but she said it is amazing the difference it makes. She said to sing a song in your head and tap to the beat. In the next 24 hours, I probably sang jingle bells 800 times in my head. My husband and I would see if we could guess what song the other was tapping to pass the time. She said they really aren't supposed to give us that tip because they want your baby to take the full feeding without help or prompting. She said, if you follow that rule then you'll be here forever. We are super thankful she gave us the tip.

Lennox took a full feeding at 8:00 PM on Sunday and she continued to take each full feeding after that for 24 hours. at 5:00 PM on Monday we asked to see the doctor to see if we could get the heck out of the hospital. The doctor came in and said that if we promised to take her to her pediatrician the next day and if she could pass the car seat test, then we could be released that night. We of course were like yes, we will do whatever it takes to get out of there.

The car seat test is where the baby must be strapped in the car seat for 90 minutes and not have any breathing issues while in there. Thankfully, she passed and we were able to go home!

{coming home outfit pants and headband from Jax + Jay}


I can not tell you how amazing it felt to drive home with my baby after 3 weeks of being stuck in the hospital.

-Julie

Monday, November 27, 2017

WEEK 1 : NICU


Lennox Eleese was born at 9:28PM on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 weighing in at 4 lbs 12 oz and measuring 17 inches long. She was immediately taken to the NICU due to her gestation age of 33 weeks and 3 days. She was placed on a CPAP to help her with her breathing. I was able to visit on my way back from the OR. She was the absolute most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I wasn't able to stay long before I was taken to my own room. I could not wait to get back to see her. However, I had to wait until I was able to walk on my own before I could go down to the NICU again. The next day at 6AM I was able to walk to the wheel chair and make my way to the NICU. Due to her condition and being on the CPAP, we were unable to hold her. We could touch her though and that provided some relief. I visited multiple times that day. It was hard to understand all of the monitors and what they meant and what we wanted them to read.



The next day at 1AM we received a phone call that Lennox was being intubated due to her not responding well to the CPAP. Her breathing was too fast and too labored for the CPAP. It was incredibly scary. In addition to her breathing issues, a chest X-ray also revealed cloudy lungs, which they said could be pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics for that. Later that day a doctor detected a heart murmur, so an echocardiogram was ordered. We were told this is pretty normal in premies and not to worry about it.



That evening I was finally able to hold Lennox and have skin to skin time with her. It was amazing and the tears flowed freely. It finally felt like I was a Mom. After a couple hours though, our time was cut short by Lennox extubating herself on me. It was incredibly scary, but ended up being a blessing in disguise. The doctor's and respiratory therapists decided to try her back on the CPAP, before intubating her again. One day on the ventilator apparently worked some magic because she was able to tolerate the CPAP.



The rest of the first week was a blur of watching monitors, praying for continued health, and trying to keep my mind off my sick baby. Fortunately, after a week on the CPAP, they were able to remove the CPAP and she was moved to the special care unit. She is still monitored 24/7, but she has her own room and the nurses stay in the hallway for their shifts, except when they are preparing bottles or checking vitals. My husband and I are also able to stay the night with her. It's also one step closer to going home!



-Julie

Monday, November 20, 2017

30-33 WEEKS PREGNANT

Week 30 started off with yet another failed BPP and NST and off we went to the hospital. I was hooked up to monitors for a few hours and Baby L was having some decels. They decided to do a labor stress test, which means that they start labor to see how baby reacts to contractions. I was super nervous, but it was much better than expected. The contractions weren't serious and i felt no pain the entire time. Unfortunately, Baby L did not react positively through the contractions. We were then admitted to the hospital and started on steroids and magnesium to help develop Baby L. We were told I would have to be there for sure for 2 days because there were two rounds of steroids and they had to be given 24 hours apart. During the time I was there, I was constantly monitored. Baby L was still having decels and there was a lot of talk that I may have to be admitted to the hospital until delivery. This was super scary and I was dreading getting the news. After four days in the hospital, my doctor finally made the decision that I could go home. However, I would have to attend 2 BPPs per week and one NST appt per week.

After the 4 day hospital stay, Baby L was on her best behavior for a week and we were able to get through the weekend of our baby shower. I'll do a separate post on my baby shower, which was the best!!!

Week 32 came around and Baby L started acting up again and we had a 6 hour hospital stay on Friday. Since it was a Friday, I was able to go home, but my doctor had me return to the hospital on Saturday to have a BPP and NST. Baby L passed both tests on Saturday and we were able to go home.

Week 33 on Wednesday, I realized at lunch that I hadn't felt Baby L all morning. I had an appointment at 1:40, but left work at noon to go check in early to see if I could get checked out. They got me in to a sono immediately to check for a heartbeat. Her heart was beating at 151 and i felt some relief. My doctor sent me next door to the hospital to get on the monitors. I could tell things were different based on how the nurse was treating me and the room they put me in. Shortly after being hooked up to the monitors, Baby L started decelling again. The resident doctor gave me the heads up that they were admitting me and I would either be delivering that night or in the next couple days depending on how Baby L acted. They started me on another round of steroids, just in case I would be able to hold off on delivering for a couple days. 8:00pm rolled around and a few decels later, the decision was made that I would be delivering that night.

I'll continue my delivery story in my next post!










Saturday, November 18, 2017

OUR FERTILITY STRUGGLE

In December, we will have a little baby girl to kiss and love and cherish. My husband and I have waited so long to be parents. Over 8 years of waiting to be exact. We got married in 2009 and immediately wanted to start a family. Unfortunately, due to some health concerns and a medication I had to be on temporarily we were unable to try for about a year. Once I was able to cease taking that medication, we immediately began trying for a baby.

I remember having baby fever so bad! One weekend, I was just sure I was pregnant that I ended up talking my husband into letting me buy a baby swing, bouncer, bassinet, and oh so many clothes. Granted, they were all garage sale buys, but still. I didn't even know if I was pregnant, didn't know the sex, didn't have a clue that it would be 7 years until I would actually get pregnant. I've gone through the baby fever multiple times throughout the years. I used to buy baby clothes on the clearance rack all the time. I think at one time, I had 2 plastic tubs full of baby clothes. When I think back on it, I feel so ridiculous for buying so much stuff that I can't use. When we found out we were pregnant, I had 1 plastic tub of clothes. After going through them and given our due date, I think I was able to keep maybe 1/4 of the stuff I bought. A lot of it I kept because it will be the right season, but i don't even like it anymore.

Anyway, we tried and tried and we gave up and gave up and nothing. We did some initial testing on both of us, and nothing came back saying we couldn't get pregnant. We both decided fertility treatments or in vitro were not a route we wanted to take. After so many years though, we decided that we would go the adoption route. We took the classes and were preparing to foster a child, when my niece became pregnant. Her and her husband were going through some trials and they decided that they couldn't keep this child. They asked us if we would adopt the child. We of course jumped at the chance. This was honestly the best case scenario for us. Newborn adoption is outrageously expensive. Something we would never be able to afford at this time in our lives. Unfortunately, after two months my niece lost the child. She was devastated for us, we were devastated and we all had to grieve.

We were back to square one and with the loss of the child, my husband and I decided that fostering might not be the right road for us. Losing a baby I never knew was excruciating, I couldn't imagine what losing a child I had cared for would do to me. We were lost, we didn't know what to do.

About a month later, we didn't have to wonder what to do any longer. After traveling to Chicago for my brother-in-law's graduation, I realized I was late. Not anything surprising or anything that was strange. I have never been the most regular. However, I did think about our trip to Chicago. I was very lethargic during the trip and took multiple naps. Something that is definitely out of the ordinary for me. So a couple days later I decided to take a pregnancy test. I had one left and thought what the heck. I take the test, I start to get ready for the day and I look down. There are two lines. Two lines. I grab the box and check to see what two lines meant. I knew what it meant, but didn't believe my eyes.  I sat there and looked at those two lines for 5 minutes. Thinking could this possibly be true? How am I going to tell my husband. Should I wait, take a second test to be sure? Ultimately, I decided there was no way I could wait.

My husband was still sleeping, I went into our room and shook him awake. I said "are you awake", he says, "yes". I said, "no are you really awake? Put your glasses on so I know you can see." He follows my instructions and looks a little concerned. I said, "I have something important to tell you." I pull the pregnancy test with two lines from behind my back. He says, "are you serious?" and I said, "yes." He sits up and I jump into his arms and we just cry. Tears of pure joy. After the tears, came the questions. Should I take another test? How soon could I get in to the doctor? Can this actually be happening? We made the decision that he would go buy more tests and if those were positive, then I would get in to see my doctor. After two more positive tests, I made an appointment that day with my doctor. After taking the test at the doctor, she didn't come back to the room for about 30 minutes. Those 30 minutes were the longest of my life. The thoughts running through my head were crazy. I was convinced she was trying to come up with the best way to tell me I wasn't pregnant. That she just couldn't bring herself to come in and give me the bad news. Turns out the lab didn't know there was a stat order on my test and they hadn't performed the testing. I was indeed 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

After calling my husband and confirming the good news, I wanted to shout it to the world! The day we found out we were pregnant was the Thursday before Mother's Day. I have always dreamed of getting to tell my Mom on Mother's Day that I was pregnant. I couldn't believe our luck. My husband and I brainstormed ideas on how to tell our parents and we decided upon a Mother's Day scavenger hunt. The three day wait to tell them was excruciating. We almost broke down and told them multiple times. The day finally came. My first Mother's day. We presented our Moms with the first scavenger hunt clue. At the end of the hunt, they were presented with gift of baby bottles, baby wipes, pacifiers, and onesies that said Grandma Magnet on them. They were a bit confused until the onesies came out. Then ugly tears of joy ensued and we all cried and hugged and started dreaming of Baby L.

That's enough for now, more will come soon!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

28-29 WEEKS

Well I got my wish for a less stressful 28th week. Everything was smooth sailing. My NST (fetal heart monitoring for 20 minutes) was good on Monday. Then my sonogram on Friday also went well. Baby was measuring 2 pounds 7 ounces and was in the 32nd percentile. She has hair! And she is still a she! I have been having nightmares that I deliver and she is a boy. Other people have also been dreaming that as well and so I wanted to make sure Baby L was still a girl.

Week 29 started out good, NST was fine, baby was cooperative. Unfortunately, it did't end smoothly. Her Friday sonogram was a BPP (Bio-Physical Profile. The BPP checks for 4 things, if baby doesn't pass on every area, the test is a fail. Baby L failed her BPP on Friday for not (practice) breathing 2 times in thirty minutes. So then my Doctor ordered an NST, which she also failed for not being able to keep her on the monitor. I was sent back to the hospital for monitoring. Thankfully, once I got hooked up to the monitors at the hospital, she was behaving again and managed to stay on their monitors for a few hours. I was released and proceeded to have a great weekend with family.

It seems to be a common consensus, that Baby L is ornery and uncooperative. Since I'm posting this a little late, I can confirm that she doesn't stop being those things in week 30.

- Julie

Saturday, October 7, 2017

27 WEEKS PREGNANT

It's been a ROUGH week.
To start things off the abdominal pain with walking/standing has continued. I thought that would be the worst part of this week, but I was wrong. So wrong.
Monday night I didn't have any baby movement. Which was uncommon, but not totally alarming. I fell asleep quickly and didn't think anything about it until the afternoon when I realized I still had felt any movement or kicks. I put a call in to my Doctor and her nurse calls me back and says to drink something caffeinated and eat something sugary and if after 30 minutes I still hadn't felt any movement, then I would need to go check in at the hospital. 30 awful...intense...prayerful minutes later, I still hadn't felt movement. I got in my car, went to my husbands work and we headed to the hospital. We had a quiet, tearful, stressful drive to the hospital. I got checked in and they got me hooked up to a monitor and we heard the heartbeat. I don't think there has ever been a sweeter sound. The nurse immediately heard the baby hiccuping and moving around, yet I still didn't feel anything. They gave me some apple juice to drink and after about 45 minutes, I finally felt her move. They decided to keep me a little bit longer, to get ahold of my Doctor before releasing me. Shortly thereafter, I mentioned to my husband that the heartbeat sounded weird. Not 15 seconds later and the nurse was in adjusting the monitor. She tried for a few seconds, then picked up her cell phone and just said, 'can you come help me'. A few seconds later, 3 nurses and the on-call doctor come rushing in and they are prepping me for an IV and there is "doctor speak" being thrown around the room. I start to panic. The nurse finally explains that they are having trouble finding a heartbeat. Seconds later she finds it, but they go ahead and put in the IV and want to monitor me for 2 hours to see if it happens again. After three and a half hours, they decide that they want to keep me over night for monitoring.

It was THE worst night of my life. It was uncomfortable, unrestful, and stressful. It was hard to sleep because anytime I moved the monitor would shift and a nurse would be in to fix it. I was also just waiting for the heartbeat to change and them to come rushing in again. Thankfully, by 7 the next morning they informed us that there had been no further issues with baby's heartbeat and I would be released. They just told me I have an extremely ornery baby. There really wasn't an explanation for what happened, but just a lot of it could be this or it could be that. It was comforting that in the 15 hours I was at the hospital, it only happened once.

On Thursday I followed up with my Doctor and she said because of the issue at the hospital, it was now time to begin the twice weekly appointments. I knew from the beginning that this would happen, but it was a bit sooner than I had hoped. So every Monday, I get to go in for 20 minutes of heart monitoring and every Thursday I go in for a sonogram.

I have now started using a kick counting app to make sure that things stay within the normal range.

I'm truly hoping for a less stressful, less intense 28th week!

-Julie
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