Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Kane Health Update

I debated about whether I wanted to share Kane's health scare on social media or not.  It felt private, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I really didn't want to talk about it.  But then I found myself feeling lonely, especially during that night in the hospital when it was just Kane & I.  I wanted the support of our family & friends.  And with all the bad that may come with social media at times, it's also the easiest way to reach out to multiple people at once.  Also, this is part of Kane's story; and right now with his story really only just beginning, it feels like a big part.  This blog is my journal.  It's his baby book.  So here is one part of the ever growing story of his life.

Since his birth, Kane has been a very relaxed, chill baby.  He just fit right into the family.  But then a day or two before he became sick, I noticed that he was a little too chill.  His awake time seemed to be decreasing instead of increasing, and even when he was awake he was so mellow.  I thought I had remembered Liam & Finn being more active.  I realize newborn babies don't do much, but they should be moving their arms & legs around like they have no idea how to control them.  And there should be a variety of facial expressions, but I just wasn't noticing any of this from Kane.  Deep in my gut this kept bothering me, but all seemed well.  At nine days old, we made our first trip to the pediatrician for a check up.  He was perfectly healthy, putting on weight, & crazy long.  Our tallest kid yet!  I mentioned his lethargy to the pediatrician, but again, we all assumed he was just a relaxed baby.

That evening, Kane declined quickly.  All he did was sleep.  And he would cry if we even moved him just a bit.  And he wasn't eating.  I would have a letdown with my breast in his mouth, and the milk would just pool there.  He was completely uninterested.  And then he got a fever.  I put a call in to our doctor, just wanting to ask what I may need to keep my eye on.  Since we had just been at the office only hours earlier, I didn't feel the need (or want) to take him into a place filled with germs again.  While we waited for the doctor to call us back, we took his temperature which was 100.2.  This was close to the scary number for newborns which is 100.4+.  When our doctor called back and heard how high his temp was, they told us to immediately go the children's hospital to get him tested for sepsis & meningitis.  I started bawling immediately & was so scared.  Kane was on my chest & Finn sitting next to me.  He asked "mama, why are you crying?" and I didn't even know how to begin telling him his brother was so so sick.

We immediately called our neighbors to see if they were home and could watch our older boys even though it was already 7pm.  We left dinner hot on the table, and I quickly packed my diaper bag.  Grabbing anything I thought I might need, knowing that I probably wasn't coming home with my baby that night.  It was a long long 25 minute drive.  Conor & I both cried; not knowing what path this drive would ultimately be taking our family on.  We called our parents for support and to keep them informed, but otherwise there was a lot of silence, processing what was happening and what we could do about it.

It was a bizarre feeling walking into the hospital.  After having his perfect home birth where we had avoided all the extra handling & intervention, we were now right there anyway.  It just toyed with my emotions.  We were admitted quickly into a triage room since they didn't want a newborn around all the waiting sick people.  His temperature had skyrocket in a short amount of time, which had me completely on edge.  We met our first team of doctors, who informed us that Kane would need urine & blood tests, as well as a spinal tap to rule out meningitis.  I just lost it at the thought of my 9 day old baby getting a spinal tap.  Kane did not like being moved at all, so seeing him go through it all was heart wrenching.  Thankfully I was able to hold him between all procedures, but the times he was out of my arms were brutal.  We were told that we were looking at a 36 hour minimum stay, because that is how long it would take to let cultures grow and completely rule out sepsis & meningitis. And potentially much longer should any of those life threatening things come back positive.  We anxiously waited for white blood cell counts to come back, as that was going to dictate whether we were sent to the NICU or not.  They also started antibiotics immediately, in case it was a bacterial infection.  I value the virgin gut of a newborn and was devastated about the antibiotics, but I also knew that it absolutely was not worth the risk to wait.  Thankfully his white blood cell count was good, so we were admitted to an observation room on the emergency floor.

The hours ticked by, but my tears did not dry up.  While I didn't let my mind wander to the worst case scenario, I was still terrified.  It is so hard to see your baby, your brand new baby, so sick.  Hurting so much.  Knowing we would be in the hospital for awhile, we decided to fly my mom in the following morning.  We needed the extra help with the older boys as well as support at the hospital when Conor couldn't be with me.  Already it was getting late, so Conor left Kane & I at the hospital around 10:30pm to go stay with the boys for the evening.  That was the loneliest night ever!  I was not allowed to sleep with Kane in my bed (the monitors wouldn't even reach that far), and he absolutely refused to be put down, so I spent the entire evening in an uncomfortable rocking chair.  I somewhat dozed off between 2-4am, but otherwise I was awake, barely.  I felt delirious at times.  Utterly exhausted (emotionally & physically) but unable to sleep.  Needing to pee, but unable to listen to my baby scream for those minutes I would have to put him down.  Looking at his IV that seemed bigger than his whole hand, watching the monitors & listening to the scary beeps when his breathing seemingly quickened far too much.  It was a lot to handle especially alone.  And it was hard being away from my other boys.  I kept wondering how he got so sick.  Did we not wash our hands enough?  Were the few visitors we had too many?  Could I have prevented this? Did I do this to him?

Morning finally came.  I knew that breakfast & my mom were on their way.  And then finally some good news.  Kane had tested positive for a virus (enterovirus).  Likely, this was the virus I had in the weeks leading up to delivery, or just something that got passed around our family shortly after Kane was born.  His doctor explained that while still possible, it would be ridiculous for him to have a virus as well as something bacterial.  It was the first time I could relax.  Kane could fight a virus.  We were no longer looking at something that could have long term affects.  We were told they were going to watch Kane for the rest of the day, and continue to watch his cultures just in case, but that if he was eating well, he may be able to go home that evening.  After only a 24 hour stay!  I was still skeptical though, because Kane wasn't eating.  And his fever was still so high.  Even Tylenol was barley bringing it down.

Conor, the boys, & my mom arrived around 9:30am that morning.  I was able to share the good news with them and hug on my sweet boys.  Both seemed truly concerned about their brother; lots of hugs & kisses for him.  Liam had his first soccer game of the season that day, so our plan was to keep a normal day for the older boys, while my mom stayed with me at the hospital.  She took over holding duties so that I could catch up on sleep.  And I was actually able to.  I took three solid naps over the course of the day.  If I wasn't trying to feed Kane, I was sleeping.  It was a relief to not be the only person who could comfort and snuggle him after our long night together and while Conor painfully tried to keep everything as normal as possible for the boys.  Anytime Kane had to be examined, he would wake up so I took those opportunities to try and nurse him.  He was never very interested.  I was really starting to worry about what these days of not eating were doing to my supply.  I know how critical these early days are, and how he needs to be on my breast as much as possible.  Without him nursing, my body wouldn't know to keep producing milk.  I was starting to show the signs of early mastitis, so I decided to ask for a breast pump.  I was overly emotional about the whole thing.  It was a silly, but my post partum hormones were real, and my baby was sick, and I just wanted to feed him.  I just wanted to do that one thing.  I pumped 3 oz off one side in under 5 minutes, so that put me a bit at ease about my supply.  I'm pretty sure 9 day old babies don't eat anywhere close to 3 oz in one feeding.

But somehow, somehow, throughout the day, he did improve.  He did start eating again, and eating well enough to go off of his IV fluids.  He started opening his eyes and looking at us.  It was such a relief to see even the slightest improvements.  Our doctor felt comfortable enough to send us home!  Conor put both older boys to sleep at the house, before joining me at the hospital around 9pm to get discharged.  I teared up watching them remove the IV and the monitors, turning off the machines.  I was able to put him back in cloth diapers (no more daiper weight checks!) and in some clothes to go home.  Our night nurse walked us to the door, and I was almost sad to leave her.  Some very special people helped us through some pretty dark hours.  Our 24 hour stay felt like days.  I couldn't believe it had all happened in such a short amount of time!  And we feel so fortunate.  Many families never get that good news.  They don't get to come up for that breath of fresh air, just a mere day later.  I still think about and pray for those families.  

We've now been home for 2 days, and things have been going well.  We love seeing him spend more time awake, more time engaging with us.  Seeing his little body wiggle in all those crazy uncontrollable ways.  Hearing his coos & hiccups.  And watching for those little smiles that are starting to appear, whether intentional or not.  We're still doing lots of resting, just trying to get him back to full strength.  Today was our first fever free day which is something to celebrate.  Soon this will all be behind us.  This nightmare.  But for now, I have a little bit of PTSD.  I'm terrified he will decline again.  But I have faith that he is a strong boy, and that we are doing our best for him.  Thank you all for the kind words, prayers, thoughts, support.  I love our community of people near & far.  I felt the collective hug from everyone, and for that I am so so grateful.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hello Kane!

Kane Daniel Keenan
August 30th, 2017 11:31 PM
8 lbs   15oz   21.5 in

I cannot wait to write out Kane's birth story!!!  But I want to take my time and also wait for the photos from his birth.  Thankfully I got a little sneak peek though!  He was born at home in the water during a little summer storm.  Both big brothers were there to offer their support & to greet him!  We are settling in nicely as a family of five & enjoying these slow lazy days together.  I'm having a wonderfully quick recovery, but still trying to take it easy.  So far, Kane has been a completely chill baby.  He's loves being held and in all the action even though he sleeps through it all.  Looking forward to more awake time from him, so I can keep staring into those eyes...  which I believe will stay blue!  He closely resembles both brothers and is definitely a Keenan boy, but I think he leans a little more towards Liam's body type and looks.  We'll see!  I've already taken a ridiculous amount of photos, so here's a little glimpse at the last three days..

Kane latched right on shortly after birth, and breastfeeding has been going smoothly for us.  I'm mostly spending my days snuggled up in bed with him and just nursing.  Some of the best times!  Both big brothers are completely smitten!  It's kisses and pats and pets all day long.  I have fallen even more completely in love with them both, just watching them transition into their new roles.  Especially Liam was has an even greater understanding of it all now that he is five.  I can truly see how much he loves Kane.  And Finn is obsessed as well, with plenty of kisses for baby.  He's also my crazy wild two year old right now.  So while he's still a handful, as far as Kane is concerned, he's wonderful!  Seeing siblings together makes me think that I could have 10 more kids!  And so far (only a few days in), transitioning to three has been easy.  We really only feel outnumbered at bedtime; yet, somehow we are all adjusting to a new normal.  But as soon as Conor goes back to work, I know the true reality of having three will really set in!

These first few days are so incredibly special but also fleeting.  I want time to just stop for a bit.  I want this newborn stage to last forever.  But I also cannot wait to watch our family grow.  And for now I stop, because my post partum hormones just cannot handle all these emotions!

Monday, August 28, 2017

39 & 40 Weeks (Bump #3)

My due date has come & gone, and now we are all just waiting.  At my midwife appt on Friday, we did a non stress test, and baby is happy & healthy.  My midwife was unable to get an accurate measurement of my belly because he is so far tucked under my ribs.  She also mentioned how he is really pushing on my liver.  I'm uncomfortable, but not crazily so.  I'm getting used to this whole big baby business!  My mom arrived on Friday, so everything is in line, and we are all just so ready!  Conor & I had one last date night just us for awhile, so I've checked all the things off my list!  A little peek at the last two weeks!

Total Weight Gain:  35 lbs.  I've hit the "nothing fits" stage.  Really I can't get bigger, nor can baby... so c'mon Kane!

Symptoms:  Occasional cramping & contractions, especially in the evenings.  And then just this morning I randomly threw up!  I don't think I'm coming down with the stomach flu, so I'm not sure if it's just nausea returning or if this may be the start of something.  But it would appear that things are slowly happening.

Position:  My midwife continues to remind me of forward leaning positions during labor.  She is quite nervous baby will turn the wrong way, and I will experience back labor.  So so hoping this isn't the case.

Cries:  I just bawled through Liam's back to school night speech from the principal.  Nothing particularly tear worthy, but oh did those hormones get to me!

Nesting:  Everything is ready!  The house is cleaned & organized, and we are just ready ready ready!

Liam's Thoughts:  He truly gets that Kane could be here any day!  It's exciting to talk about with him.  So much anticipation building.

Finn's Thoughts:  Now that Nana is here, Finn knows baby should be coming too.  He loves watching videos still of babies being born, but has also decided he likes to watch kitties be born too!

Both boys were born on a Tuesday, so perhaps tomorrow will be the day. Or if Kane decides to come at exactly 3 days late like his brothers, then it will be Wednesday.  My mom is here until early Friday evening, so really just hoping it happens before then!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kindergarten Update

We're over a week into school now, so I wanted to give a little update on how the transition has been for our family.  And just a little Liam update in general; I love bragging on this sweet guy of mine!  So Kindergarten...  as I mentioned before, I was a little unsure if I wanted to send him this year or not.  He makes the cutoff for school, but just barely.  However, he is very mature for his age, as well as smart!  His preschool teacher really encouraged us to go ahead and send him instead of holding him back.  I'm so so happy with this choice!  He seems to be absolutely thriving & loving it, and I really can't imagine him doing another year of preschool.  His happiness is most important, so we're succeeding there!

We just had his back to school night, and his teacher had wonderful things to say about him.  I was amazed at how well he keeps us informed about the going ons at school & how much he shares about his day.  The first three days were half days, and seemed rough on him because he was so "hangry"by pick up time!  But now that he is into a full day schedule, things are going great.  He loves having lunch at school and somehow blows my mind by finishing everything I pack for him!  I have loved putting his lunches together each day and making them just a little bit special (m&m's for the win!).  We're using this bento box, and it has been perfect!  I'm also enjoying the laid back schedule I have with Finn now.  I don't feel rushed to get things done, and I especially love the one-on-one time for lunch and naps (which I'm currently taking with him since I'm soooooo tired).  He usually wakes up just in time to go get big brother!  Then we can spend our afternoons all together.  The boys are usually pumped to be reunited and play so well, while I can prep dinner and wait for Conor to get home.  We are settling nicely into a new routine, which of course will all get shaken up once Kane is born!

Liam wears a uniform daily, with a formal uniform on mass days.  It makes our mornings a breeze & goodness does he look adorable in it!  We are so happy with our choice to send him to a Catholic School.  There is such a sense of community there that I cannot wait to get more involved with.  I grew up in a Catholic school, so so similar to the one Liam is attending.  There has been this sense of "coming home" as we have sent him off to start his school days.  I also feel like I've entered this special new moms club now that I have a Kindergartener!

I've always admired my own mom and thought I would be just like her.  However, I'm the youngest in my family, so I never saw my mom with an infant nor a toddler.  I don't know how she handled the early childhood years, or juggled multiple young children.  Many of my early memories are from Kindergarten on.  The mom I remember and grew up with is the lunch making, carpool driving, volleyball coaching mom.  I'm excited to enter this phase of life as watch myself grow into the example she set.  I'm becoming my mom!!!  And I love it!!!

As Liam becomes older, he's getting harder for me to photograph.  I love capturing the candidness of our days, but as he transitions to big kid, it's far more difficult.  1.  He's not with me for nearly as many hours in a day anymore.  2. He's changing.  Those looks of wonder at anything & everything are slowly vanishing.  He's more aware of himself & me.  Thankfully, Kali snapped some amazing photos of this ridiculously handsome guy!  I think he's starting to resemble me and bit more than Conor, but it changes all the time!

And before you go thinking he's completely perfect, just know that at age 5 we are still working on skills like nose blowing & tooth paste spitting.  Tough stuff right there!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hump Day

Since Friday posts haven't frequently been happening, 
I thought I would pop in for some Hump Day favorites!

For all you Utah locals, there is an adorable new small shop called Love Utah.  They have shirts for the whole family, with the state on them along with words like made, explore, born, beutahful, etc.  4 years ago, I never would have thought a day would come when I would be proud to live in Utah, but I sure am!  The explore tee is a particular favorite of mine.  Check them out!  And right now you can snag 10% off with code laurabird10.

I've been somewhat putting together big brother gifts for the boys for awhile now, but I kept going back to the idea that Liam really wants (and would love!) a camera!  After asking around and doing some research, I decided to splurge and get him an Instax!  I absolutely cannot wait to give it to him! I know he will love the independence and responsibility that comes with his own camera, and I can already picture all the photos he takes hanging up in his room.  However... and it's a big however...  I knew that if we only bought one for Liam, huge fights over the camera would ensue.  And while I don't really think Finn is old enough for one, I'm hoping that we can help him see how special it is.  And then just cut him off from new film when all else fails!

Since Fall is nearly here, and I'll be having a baby any day now, I'm planning ahead a bit.  I picked up these adorable ghost pajamas for the older boys.  I'm just a teensy bit sad that it doesn't come in baby size!

Keeping up with Halloween here...  I am loving this little candy sleeper!  It's technically from the girls sections (damn little pink candies), but I think a young baby can totally pull it off.  And Kane will be rocking this!  So I'm giving it a big ol' gender neutral stamp of approval!

Peach season is fully here!  One of my favorite go to recipes is this Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce by the Pioneer Woman.  Seriously so so good.  I just made it for my book club last week & it was quickly gobbled up!

Happy Hump Day friends!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Maternity Photos at The Great Salt Lake

This session was my favorite ever!  A gorgeous evening, with a hint of smoke in the air, making for a red sun followed by cotton candy skies.  The temps were somewhat cooler than expected, and everyone was in a good mood!  I knew early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to do our maternity session out at The Great Salt Lake.  We've done a handful of mountain sessions here, so I wanted something different, but also something that was very "Utah".  I had been oogling photos from this location for a good year, so I was excited when our photographer Kali was on board.

It's about a mile walk out to the water from where you park, with completely wide open spaces to run & play.  Thankfully my boys are fairly good listeners and managed to stay (relatively) close by throughout our session.  I'm pretty sure Finn has a huge crush on Kali, so he just gives her the sweetest looks all day long.  And Liam manages to turn on the charm for her too.  Conor whispered naughty somethings in my ear the whole night, so it was a session filled with laughter!

A huge thank you to Kali Poulsen Photography; we simply love her!  She's possibly the most calm, composed, & joyful woman I have ever met.  Everything seems flawless & easy with her (teach me your ways Kali!).  I love how she captures my family.  All the happiness & the joy!  I just gush over the pictures every time she sends them my way!  And she sent a ton.  As in 197 photos.  How does one even go about choosing their favorites?!  You just don't!  So you force all your friends & family to look at them too!  It was nearly impossible to just choose a handful (not that this is exactly a handful...) to share in this post, but I really truly did my best!  And don't even think you've seen the end of these, because I'm holding onto a handful to share later!

And another thanks to my friend Erin for letting my borrow this gorgeous dress by Rachel Pally!  It was simply perfect for this session, and she was even sweet enough to give me the okay to take it in the water.  She also responded to about 500+ texts as to what all the boys in the family should wear.  A true friend that one!

Now the countdown is on!  My mom arrives Friday, and I'm currently guessing that baby will arrive somewhere between August 29th-31st!  So.  So.  Soon.  And Kali is going to be there to capture the birth; I cannot wait!

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