OUR BABY!!!

Name: Elias Matthew Clarke
Birthday: July 28th, 2010
Time: 11:11am
Weight: 9 lbs. 1 oz.
Length: 19 and 1/2 inches
Hospital: Crouse Irving Memorial, Syracuse, NY
Babies make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.







Friday, July 30, 2010

Still Smooth Sailing

Today was a great day. I slept well last night, despite having to pump every three hours. My roommate had gone home yesterday afternoon, so the room was quiet. Since I cleared the first 24 hours, the nurses didn't have to come in to measure my output or take my vitals continually. It was peaceful. At 4:30, I got up to pump and then went to visit Elias in the NICU. I got to hold him for about an hour before I was beckoned back downstairs by a resident who wanted to check my tummy. She asked me if I wanted to be discharged Saturday or Sunday and said it was really up to me. I told her that as long as Elias was still here, I would stay as long as they let me. So as of then, we were looking at a Sunday discharge.

After that, I went back to sleep. I slept until 8:00 when they brought some breakfast. I pumped, ate, and Eudes arrived soon after, looking refreshed and rested. At 10:30, we went up to the NICU to check on our little one.

The nurse told us that the surgeon wanted Elias to take two feedings of Pedialyte before trying the breast. Daddy fed him 10 CCs and he sucked it all down in the five minutes it took for me to run downstairs and get the camera. So we staged a picture! He took the 1:30 feeding the same way, so at 4:30, it was go-time.

He latched on immediately without any problem. He stayed on each side for 10 minutes, which is as long as they will let him nurse right now. They don't want him to get too full. Afterward, he fell fast asleep and we came downstairs for a little party with Meghan and Dan (my cousins). We ate pizza and wings and cheesecake and it was so nice to see them.

Then Daddy left to go back home to Binghamton for the night.

Then Meghan and Dan left, too.

And I got lonely!!!

At 7:30, I went back upstairs to feed him. He did well on the first breast, but fell asleep when he was on the second breast and I could not wake him enough to take it. So when I came back downstairs, I pumped. Then I took a little cat nap.

I just came back from his 10:30 feeding a little while ago. When I got upstairs, a nurse was holding him and he was ALERT like I had yet to see him. His eyes were WIDE OPEN and he was looking around. What a cutie pie!!! The nurse said he was going mad with hunger. He fed well from both sides, even gave me a little burp. Then I laid him down and came downstairs to meet my new roommate. Now I am thinking that the sooner I can get out of here, the better. I will try to get discharged tomorrow. Then Eudes and I will stay at his buddy's apartment, which is just a few miles from here. We'll come spend the day in the hospital so that I can be here for his feedings. Then I'll pump for the 1:30 and 4:30 feedings and bring the milk.

Although this is all subject to his release, which, between us, the nurse said could be as early as MONDAY MORNING. Keeping our fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc. etc. Overall, it was a very productive and successful day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And Now a New Belly Button, Too!!!






Elias underwent his surgery today right on schedule. At about 4:30pm, the surgeon came to our room to tell us how wonderfull he did! He took the anesthesia like a pro - so well, in fact, that they were even able to remove the breathing tube before returning him to the NICU for recovery. Within an hour, he was completely stable. We just came from visiting him, and he is still groggy and sleepy, but looks fantastic! We were not able to get a peek at his new belly button, but the surgeon assured us that he made it look like a lightning bolt, just like Eudes requested (kidding). No, he said that they pulled the skin in together and stitched it from the inside somehow and, well, we'll just have to wait and see! Overall, everyone was, once again, impressed with our little super trooper.

So that's the BEST news of the day. They said we can probably start feedings in the morning, and that's the second BEST news of the day. The third BEST is that we both got a chance to hold him today! He's a chunker!!!



No More "O"!!!








Ok, so you probably saw the last picture with his omphalocele hanging out and thought, "YIKES! That looks BIG!" At least that's what I thought. Well, after my big wait yesterday (from the time he was born until 7:15pm), the pediatric surgeon came in to give us the best news EVER: they had already put his intestines back inside his belly and he was doing perfectly well! I was so shocked that they were able to do it so quickly, easily, and painlessly. Of course, I was a bit skeptical because everything I have heard, seen, and read has suggested that just stuffing all of those organs back inside is dangerous and certainly not comfortable for baby. The surgeon seemed so confident, though, and I wanted desperately to believe him. Still, I had to go up to the NICU to see for myself.

So around 7:30, Eudes and I went upstairs and I got to touch, speak to, and love on my little boy for the first time. And the surgeon was right! He seemed content and comfortable. His belly was slightly distended, but it truly didn't seem to be causing him any distress. What was a big dressing is now just a little gauze and saran wrap. What was an omphalocele is now just the end of an umbilical cord. The surgeon had said that it was less of an omphalocele repair at this point and more of an umbilical hernia operation, and he is right. Elias will not have a giant scar that runs the length of his belly. He will simply have a large, odd-looking belly button.

So his surgery has been scheduled for 1:30pm today. Assuming all goes well, we should be able to start feedings as early as tomorrow. Hopefully we will be going home in about a week or so.

This whole thing could not be going any smoother. Everything seems to be falling into place. It is difficult at times... knowing that he is hungry and would like to breastfeed but that he can't... but we have been so lucky and so blessed that it would just be selfish and foolish of me to complain. He is so beautiful and so strong and so perfect!!! Thank you God and family and friends!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WELCOME, BABY ELIAS!!!




Well, everything went perfectly for the birth of our baby boy, Elias Matthew Clarke!

He was born this morning, at 11:11. He weighed 9 lbs 1 oz!!! BIG BABY!!! He received a perfect Apgar score, and is healthy, healthy, healthy...

We were able to see him before they took him to the NICU. We then went to recovery and soon after, Eudes got to go up and spend a couple of hours with him. He is not on a respirator, and so far no news on what they will do about the omphalocele. Here are some pics from his birth. ENJOY! We will be updating frequently.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bye Bye Baby Belly!!!


Just a quick picture as a reminder of how HUGE I am!!! Here are some comments I've received in the last couple of days:

"Are you sure there's only one in there?"
"Oh my God you're HUGE!"
"You aren't having twins, are you?"
"You should've popped, like, yesterday!"
"Holy PREGNANT!"

Am I sad that soon this baby will no longer be moving around inside me? HELL NO! Get him out!!!


I am sad about the ending of an era, however. The last few weeks have been tough on me mentally and emotionally because, as much as I want this new baby, Julia and I have been "buddies" for two and half years now. She will never be the youngest again. She will never be my only (biological) child again. She and I have grown so close, I don't want that bond to weaken. So I have been trying, as best I can, to make every moment count... make it last. I will miss our "girl time" when Elias comes home, but I hope that she will always know how much I love her. She is my baby girl. I can't help but feel a certain sense of loss at our gain of this new life.















Well, folks, to quote Sylvia Plath, "I've boarded the train/ There's no getting off"

Until tomorrow!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Preparing...

It is Friday evening, July 23rd. Elias Matthew Clarke will be here in approximately 4 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes.

Our last ultrasound was at 36 weeks and it was performed here in Binghamton. At that time, baby Elias measured in the 75th percentile (again) at about 6 lbs. 8 oz, and his O was about 5 cm in all proportions and stable in growth. I am now 38 weeks, 5 days, so he probably weighs about 7 1/2 lbs. or so - about the same as Julia did when she was born. Our last two appointments were in Syracuse. Although we did not receive measurements, everything checked out fine. So I think we are all set for his birth. He should do well. Eudes and I both feel (instictually) that he will do better than expected.

Everything here is ready for him when he is ready to come home.

The plan is this: Tuesday night my mom will come over and spend the night. Eudes and I will leave at about 7:00am Wednesday for the hospital. I have to be there by 8:30. The c-section will begin at 10:30. This is, of course, if there are no emergencies occuring that will delay our procedure. Assuming the timeline holds, he will be born by 11:00. They will clean him, wrap the O, get his vitals, and whisk him away to the NICU. In the NICU, doctors and nurses will do a thorough assessment of his health, including examination of the O and its contents and an additional fetal echocardiogram to ensure that there are no defects that weren't detected in the first one. They will hook him up to an IV for fluids/nutrition/medication, place a tube into his stomach to suck out the contents, and attach an oxygen monitor and possibly a ventilator (amongst other tubes/wires, most likely). They will then decide on a course of action for repairing the O.

Meanwhile, they will stitch me up and I will be sent to recovery. Before moving me to the room where I will stay for the next 4-5 days, they will wheel me to the NICU to see him. Daddy, of course, will go too. He might get to go even sooner than I will, which is preferable, as I'd feel better having him present to comfort our little guy and hear what the doctors are saying. I'm not sure at what point they will discuss "the plan" with us, but I'm assuming within the first hour or two of his birth. It's my understanding that we will be one floor apart while I am recovering in the hospital, and that we will get to stay with him pretty much all day, if we choose.

Eudes will be staying with me in the hospital for those four days. My mom will take care of the kids and our home and dogs while we are there. She will bring them up to see us, but as I've said before, no one is allowed in the NICU except parents and grands. If anyone would like to visit Eudes and I, we are more than happy to see you! I will post directions/hospital info/room number as soon as we are settled. Just give one of us a heads up first so we can make sure to be in the room when you arrive.

We will bring our cameras and laptop so that we can download and post photos both here and on Facebook. I will have plenty of time to blog, and I will include each and every piece of info we receive ASAP.

I cannot wait to meet him! For the longest time I had a fear that all I would see is the defect, not the baby. But now when I think about him, I see a whole and complete being, with a body, face, voice, and personality, and although I simply can't imagine loving anyone as much as I love Julia, I know my heart will instantly and exponentially increase in its ability to love as soon as I see him and hear his cry.

A very special thank you to all who were involved in the planning and/or who were in attendance at my SURPRISE baby shower! I was truly shocked. We had a great time and it was so nice to receive so much love and support from all of you! We are beyond blessed to have such amazing and generous family and friends! We love you! Talk to you all soon. Take care!