Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Utah State Fair

Our annual trip to the fair is something that we all look forward to each year, especially Liam.  Things that only come around once a year seem to have an extra bit of specialness to them.  For me, the fair always signals the end of summer.  The temperatures are dropping, and Fall is slowly arriving.  When I was in the hospital with Kane, before we knew exactly how sick he was and how long we would be staying there, I was irrationally upset at the thought of missing the fair with my boys.  Thankfully, Kane ended up making a somewhat quick recovery, so we were able to make a trip on the second to last day.  Normally, we go to the fair on a weeknight so the crowds are minimal.  Unfortunately, our only opportunity to go this time was on a Saturday.  Not ideal at all!  I have never seen so many people!!!  While the people watching was fabulous, the ride lines were not!  My parents were in town, so they joined us and were able to help out tremendously.  Pops was the perfect line place holder & Nana a wonderful baby holder while I tried to take a few pictures.  And they relived their long ago days of fairs, having not been since I was a wee one myself.

First we did a little tour of all the animals, with the baby animals obviously being a favorite.  And we ended that adventure by watching a hog auction.  This was seriously a highlight of the evening.  The auctioneer was incredible, and it was all so just fascinating to watch.  Sign me up for an auction!  I've always wanted a pig.  Most were being sent to the butcher, but I've been wanting to add a pig to my deep freezer as well, ha!

While we fit in plenty of rides, the ferris wheel never happened because that line was especially ridiculous.  Did you even really go to the fair if you didn't ride the ferris wheel?!  But we did snack on some of the freshest cotton candy.  And we did win a fish, that Finn told us is a girl.  Her name is Hey Girl, and she now resides on Finn's dresser.  This was Finn's first year with a ride bracelet, and he was able to do everything big brother could.  He loved lifting up his hands on all the rides and always wanted more more more.  I think we have another thrill seeker among us.

A sort of magic seems to come out as the sun goes down and all the lights appear.  There is just nothing quite like watching the sun go down only for the whole place to light up again.  We stayed out as long as the little ones would last, but eventually our night came to end.  The boys are still talking about all the fun we had.  Liam even wrote a little book at school about how the fair is his favorite thing to do with our family.  Any time my boys are happy, I am happy.  A perfectly wonderful night at the fair.  'Til next year!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Favorite Things: For the Newborn Stage (Round 3)

Now that I'm onto baby #3, I have refined my favorites even more.  With each child, you realize you actually need less & less.  So this time around, I focused on a just a few special items; things that I knew would get plenty of use in those first few weeks.  I wish I could gift every new mom all the items on this list!

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 

First let's talk about things for baby...  This is my first time having a newborn in cold weather months.  These booties (#5) are perfect for keeping toes warm and for staying on!  My babies happen to have big feet, so Kane is already rocking the 3-6 month size!  And I also needed a tight fitting hat for him, so I decided to go pilot cap style (or bonnet).  This particular one (#3) has the option of having bamboo fleece liner added for extra warmth.  And my favorite things to dress baby in has been knotted gowns (#1) and cozy sleepers (#4)!

For the mamas... I have loved my Dwell + Slumber dresses (#2).  I have two!  They sell out quick, so make sure you are aware of when they restock, or join the Facebook b/s/t page where people are always selling them.  This small shop has a bit of a cult following.  I love these dresses for pregnancy and nursing.  And just whenever really.  But they are so so comfy and thee perfect dress to wear immediately postpartum.  I also have gotten plenty of use out of the Medline pads (#6).  My midwife left one for me to use on our bed while I was still bleeding.  They are incredibly thick, so they completely protect your sheets and make for way less laundry.  She also mentioned they are perfect for kids who wet the bed, which Finn still occasionally does.  These pad have been such a lifesaver.  We bought five and always keep one on Finn's bed, and I used them for the two weeks after birth in our bed as well.  They also helped catch all the milk that seemed to be everywhere in those early days as well!

So now tell me, what our newborn favorites should I have?!

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!

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