Monday, August 15, 2022

Palmer's Birth Story & Beyond

I went back and forth about writing this post because I knew it wasn't going to be easy to think back and write out all the details of Palmer's birth and the weeks that followed. But I know after more time passes, I'll want to recall all of the details and I wanted to have them written out somewhere. This is going to be lengthy, so grab a drink.

My due date was July 1. For the past 2ish months I had been have Braxton Hicks contractions occasionally. On June 22 I was having more Braxton Hicks, but they felt different. Stronger and just different. But they never got consistent or super strong. On the morning of June 23, I was having the same type of Braxton Hicks (so I thought). I was at work that day and by the afternoon, I felt like the contractions weren't going away, so I downloaded an app to start tracking them. They weren't going away, but they weren't consistent. They'd be 10-12 minutes apart for a while, then I wouldn't have another one for 20-30 minutes. So I wasn't sure that it was actually labor. And they felt different than with Finley. I went home around 4:00 pm that day and told Kevin I might be in labor, but I wasn't sure. The contractions were still happening, but weren't staying super consistent. 

By the time I was getting Finley ready for bed, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I got her to bed and then told my mom we wanted her to come (she was going to stay at the house with Finley when we went to the hospital). I didn't want to have to call her in the middle of the night, so around 7:30, I told her she should just come now, but didn't need to rush. She got to our house around 9:00 pm and when she got there I was SO ready to go to the hospital. The contractions had gotten much stronger over the past 1-1.5 hours.

We got to the hospital by 10:00 and were in a triage room by 10:30. I was dilated to 4 and they wanted me to wait an hour and make sure I was progressing. When they checked me again an hour later I was at a 5 and in SO much pain from my contractions. They were 2-3 minutes apart and strong. So they were working on getting us a room, I had to do a Covid test, and start an IV because I wanted an epidural. The contractions were strong and close together, but I also had this horrible pelvic pain the entire time, so I had no relief between contractions. 

By the time we got in a room and I got my epidural it was about 2:15 am and I was dilated to 8. Epidurals are magic (for me anyway). My water broke around 3:30 am and the doctor came in and broke it the rest of the way. Since I had an epidural, it was hard for me to feel pressure, but one of the nurses came in and noticed that the baby's heart rate dipped a couple times and checked's head was right there, so it was time to push!

The doctor came in and everyone was getting the room ready for me to push. However, her heart rate kept dropping, so the room filled with doctors and nurses. One nurse calmly told me that a NICU nurse would be in, just in case, but not to worry. The doctor told me a baby can handle the heart rate dipping for about three minutes. Luckily, hers would dip and come back up on it's own at this point so it wasn't a major rush, yet. But they knew we had to get her out quickly so it didn't become an issue. When it was time to push, they realized she was sunny side up (she was face up, instead of face down). I later learned that only 5 to 8 percent of babies are born this way. This added another complication.

The doctors got forceps to help get her out as quickly as possible so her heart rate didn't stay low for too long. Luckily I tend to push my babies out fast, and before the doctor could even do an episiotomy (he had the scissors ready in his hand), I pushed her out (and got a third degree tear in the process).

Once she was out, she was breathing good and totally fine. A huge relief for all of us. The room started to clear out and I got to enjoy skin to skin time with my new baby girl.

She had so much dark hair and looked just like her older sister! We were so in love.

After we were transferred to our normal room and got settled, I realized that Palmer was SUPER hard to wake up enough to get her to eat. And she rarely cried. I mentioned this to the nurses and to family members in passing. We all just assumed she's a newborn who sleeps a lot. No big deal. This would eventually mean more to us later.

We went home around Noon on the 25th. Finley got to meet her baby sister that afternoon and she was SO in love. We were home Saturday afternoon, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. She was still very hard to wake to eat. She never woke up crying to eat. Whether I tried nursing or bottle feeding, it was work to get her to wake up and eat. 

Early Tuesday morning, we noticed Palmer doing some weird grunting when she was breathing. Since this is our second baby, we know that babies are noisy and grunty. But this was different. It just seemed off. So we took some videos and sent them over to her doctor. Her doctor took a look and shared with another doctor in the office before calling us and suggesting we take her to the local Children's Hospital ER, just to have them look at her. While this was scary, in my mind I thought we'd be told "oh, it's normal newborn breathing stuff," or "she's got a cold, but she'll be fine." Something like that.

When we got the ER and initially got checked in, they took her temperature and it was normal. We then got moved to a triage room and talked to the doctor back there to explain what was going on and show her the videos we had taken (because of course she wasn't doing the breathing thing at this time). They then took her temperature and she had a fever of 100.5. In babies that young, anything over 100.4 is cause for concern, so this triggered a series of tests. Swabs for Covid and RSV, chest x ray of her heart and lungs, blood cultures and an IV, and a spinal tap. 

And since she had this fever and had to have blood and spinal cultures, it meant she would be admitted and have to stay for 24-36 hours until they started getting results back. We were crushed. Our 4 day old baby was undergoing all of these tests, being poked a bunch of times, and was being admitted to the hospital. We got to stay with her during everything except her spinal tap. And she basically slept the entire time they were trying to get her blood work done. It took almost 1.5 hours to finally get the blood samples they needed and get an IV in. They had to call in a special team that used an ultrasound to get her IV line in. The doctors also told us she basically slept through the spinal tap and only cried after they were done and cleaning everything up. 

Once we sorta wrapped our minds around what was happening, we notified family and figured out a plan for Finley for the next couple of days. She was at my Mother-In-Law's that day and she was more than happy to keep her for us until we got home in a couple days.

Once we got admitted and got to our room, we just had to wait until the next day to see what the blood cultures showed. We were told it could be nothing and it's just a virus that caused the fever, or it could be something more serious, which is why they do so many tests in babies so young. 

So the next morning, the doctor came to talk to us and told us that her blood cultures were showing a staph infection. They didn't know if it was MRSA or something else yet, so they started her on an antibiotic and would change it as needed once they knew exactly what they were dealing with. This also meant that our 24-36 hour stay was going to turn into 10+ days and I'll explain why. This infection was in her blood, so it needed to be treated with IV antibiotics for 10 days AFTER a negative culture. So once they started on the antibiotics, they would take blood cultures once a day for the next two days. Then if those came back negative and stayed negative (meaning the antibiotics were working and no more infection was growing in her blood), we could start the 10 day countdown. Luckily her cultures came back negative, so day two of our hospital stay started our countdown. Since she was so little, she couldn't go home on an IV, she'd have to stay in the hospital the entire time. She got antibiotics every eight hours for 10 days. Luckily, her fever went away within the first day and didn't come back. Her vitals were always good and she just kept getting better.

After a few days we learned the infection was not MRSA, thankfully. It was a different type of staph infection so they changed the antibiotics to the most effective for what she had. After a couple of days on the antibiotics, she was a totally different baby. I couldn't believe it. She was actually opening her eyes and staying awake/alert a little bit. I know she was still a newborn and they sleep a lot, but it seriously was a different baby. She actually woke up and ate. It wasn't a ton of work to wake her up to eat. We realized that the "sleepy newborn" was actually a lethargic baby, but we didn't realize it. Sleeping through all the needle pokes in the ER was not normal. It's scary to think how sick she was and we didn't even know it. Had she not done that breathing thing (which she didn't really ever do again after we got to the ER), I don't know how long it would have been before we knew anything was wrong.

Once we knew we had a long stay ahead of us, Kevin and I had to decide what to do, since we had Finley to think about too. We didn't both need to be at the hospital at the same time, and we wanted to try and make things somewhat normal at home for Finley. We decided to take turns spending the night at home and at the hospital. So one of us would stay at the hospital with Palmer, and one would stay at home with Finley. (Once we got admitted to the hospital I decided I was exclusively pumping and bottle feeding, because that was what was going to work best for us, so feeding wasn't an issue if I wasn't there. I was pumping more than enough to keep there when I was gone).

It was so hard trying to explain to Finley why her baby sister was home for a couple days and then had to be gone again. My heart was literally broken when my girls couldn't be together and my family was separated for 12 days/11 nights. Thankfully the hospital staff let Finley come visit for a couple of hours about halfway through Palmer's stay, which helped Finley and I. 

Thankfully we never had any setbacks and on day 10, they gave her a special dose of antibiotics that morning so that we could leave in the morning and not stay the full day. Finally taking my baby home for good was the best feeling ever. And have my family back together made my mama heart so happy.

We are so grateful for the amazing staff at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Everyone there was wonderful. I had always heard how great it is there, but hoped I would never experience it for myself. We also couldn't have gotten through this without our family and friends. We are so thankful for people going to our house and bringing us stuff, taking Admiral for us, watering plants, dropping off meals, sending gift cards for coffee, food, and gas, sending fun stuff for Finley to do, etc. We are surrounded by the best people and we will never forget it. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Easy Garage Door Makeover

The sun is shining and temps are nearing 40 degrees here in Michigan. Spring is just around the corner! I can't wait to be outside working on our yard this summer, but until then, I thought I'd share one of my favorite (and easiest) projects from last summer. This garage door makeover cost me less than $50 and made a HUGE difference (in my opinion). 


Here's what I did:

1. Took down the house numbers then cleaned, primed, and spray painted them black before putting them back up. Tip: Use dixie cups or solo cups to set them on so you can easily spray all sides. And they won't get stuck to the cardboard box.

I also sprayed the screws that held up the letters so they would blend in. Tip: Get a piece of styrofoam, poke your screws in, and spray the tops. 

2. Took down the old gold light then cleaned, primed, and spray painted it black. I really want a new one, but I was working on a budget, so spray paint to the rescue. I took off the parts of the light I could, then taped paper around the part attached to the house before I sprayed it.

4. Ordered some magnetic hinges & magnetic "windows" from Amazon and stuck them on.

That's it! My family loved it so much that my mom, aunt, and grandma all ordered some hinges and windows for their garage doors too. What do you think? WAY cheaper than a new door and unless you get up close, you'd never know they were all magnets!

Hinges & Handles: Amazon
Windows: Amazon

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support :) 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Favorite Amazon Modern Farmhouse Light Fixtures

When we were updating our new house, I bought several light fixtures from Amazon that I love, so today I thought I'd share some of my favorites. Most of these we have in our house, but a few are on my wishlist to add soon. I'd classify my decorating style as Modern Farmhouse, so these lights tend to fall in that category. I also decorate on a budget, so all of these lights are very affordable. 

Star Light - I wanted to do a fun light in Finley's room and since she has a Star Wars theme, I thought this star light would be perfect. The black metal ties in with the rest of the house, while adding a little fun for a kid's room.

Three Light Vanity Fixture - This is one of the lights we don't have (yet), but I really want to get this to replace the light in our bathroom. Since we have a black sconce light outside, I want this one to tie the inside and outside together.

Single Bulb Cage Light - I have two of these lights in our house: one in a hallway and one in the entry from the garage. I like the black cage and the fact that you can put fun bulbs in them for more character. And you can't beat the fact that they are only about $20 each!

Flush Mount Light - We have this light in our kitchen, half bath, and playroom. I wanted something simple and inexpensive that still updated the space. The matte black finish ties in perfectly with the other black lights and hardware through our house. 

Rustic Chandelier - My biggest wishlist light right now is this chandelier that I want to put in our dining room. I'm trying to add a few more rustic touches in our house and this chandelier is perfect.

Outdoor Wall Sconce - We replaced the outdoor light by our front door with this one and it made SUCH a big difference. Going from an old gold fixture to this beauty was an easy way to give the exterior a quick update.

Five Bulb Cage Light - This is the light we put in our bedroom and I LOVE it. It's a great statement piece for the room and the fun Edison bulbs help give some extra character.

Outdoor Motion Wall Light - This is another light that is on my wishlist. We have a dusk to dawn motion light over our garage right now and I like the functionality, but hate the look. I spray painted our current one black (it was gold), but I can't wait to eventually update it with this pretty one.

Have you ever ordered lights from Amazon? If so, what are you favorites? If not, where's your favorite place to get light fixtures?

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Friday, August 14, 2020

Recent Amazon Finds

don't know about you, but I love seeing what other people are buying on Amazon and hearing their honest opinions about the items. There are so many great things out there! So today I thought I'd share some of my favorite recent Amazon finds. 
1. Microwave Plate Cover  - I don't know about you, but I hate cleaning my microwave. And if you forget to cover something one time, it's a mess. This plastic, vented cover is the perfect solution! I just leave it the microwave so there is no excuse to not cover your food since it's already there. And you can just throw it in the dishwasher to clean it.


2. Strainer - This silicone strainer is flexible so it fits every pot/pan I own. It clips on the side and then you just strain right out of your pot. It's smaller than a big bowl strainer so it takes up less space and it's diswasher safe!


3. Charcoal Bags - These odor absorbing bags are AMAZING! I was skeptical, but bought them to try and get the diaper smell out of Finley's room. Even though we have a diaper trash that is really nice, there is always just a "smell" when you walk in her room. I just set this bag on a shelf in her room and literally within a few hours, no more smell! They aren't scented, they just absorb odors. My MIL has one at her house for the playroom because she was having the same problem and it got rid of the smell there too. I also put one in our workout room since our Peloton shoes are in there and it doesn't smell like sweaty feet anymore. Worth every single penny.

4. Shower Curtain Liner - Here's another item that has blown my mind. I used to always purchase the cheap $3 shower curtain liners that I'd replace every couple of months because they'd rip and start to get moldy. This shower curtain is mildew resistant, which again, I was skeptical. But I've had it for 6+ months and not a trace of mildew! And it has metal rings at the top so it doesn't rip. Just look at the reviews: 4.5 stars out of nearly 44,000 reviews says something!


5. Gel Window Clings - Finley LOVES these! Like other parents, I was looking for different things to keep her busy during quarantine and came across these. They are gel window clings so they are thick and easy for her to do herself. And we have fun saying the animals and the sounds they make. She loves sticking them on the windows, walls, doors, etc. 

I'm thinking about doing some additional Amazon lists of other items I've purchased that are more decor or DIY related if anyone is interested in seeing that?

If you've purchased any great Amazon items lately, let me know! 

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Monday, May 4, 2020

New House Tour: Finley's Room

What better day to share Finley's Star Wars room than May 4th? If you aren't a Star Wars nerd, today is Star Wars day: May the Fourth be with you. Moving on :) Finley's room isn't much different than it was at our old house. We used all of the same decor but her room is laid out a little differently. To start, here's what her room looked like when we bought the house:

The room was the same color blue as painters tape. Literally. It was not going to work for us Here's what we did:
+ painted walls, trim, and closet doors 
+ new light fixture
+ had carpets cleaned
+ added curtain rods and window valences

And here's what it looks like now:

Here's what I still want to do in here:
+ eventually replace the carpet
+ caulk the chair rail and trim
+ paint the door
+ new blinds

I love how bright and girly her room is. And I love that she has a much bigger closet in this house :) 

+ Basket for stuffed animals & extra books: Target
+ Curtains: custom made from a sheet set by a family friend
+ Mobile: custom made by Little Bubba
+ Bedsheets: custom made
+ Star Wars prints: Etsy
+ Wookie & Porg air plant holders: Etsy
+ Clay Star Wars figures: custom made by a family friend
+ Death Star Globe: Etsy
+ Star Wars Dreamcatcher: custom made by my sister
+ Dresser/Changing Table: Target
+ Glider w/ ottoman: Target
+ Rug: Target
+ Light: Amazon
+ Bow Holder: Amazon

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

New House Tour: Master Bedroom

I didn't realize how much our bedroom had changed until I looked back at the pictures from when we bought it. All of the before photos have the old owner's furniture in them. Apparently I was too excited when we got the keys and didn't take any photos of the empty room. Oops.

What we did:
+ had carpets cleaned (hired out)
+ painted walls, trim, and closet doors
+ added curtains
+ added closet organizers in both closets
+ new light fixture

And here's what it looks like now:

What I still want to do:
+ some touch up paint 
+ paint bedroom door black
+ new carpet
+ black metal headboard (I think there's too much cream going on in there right now)
+ add some wall sconces or lamps on our nighstands

I love how much brighter the room is! By adding the closet organizers, not only did we get more hanging space, we were also able to get rid of our dressers, so we don't have a bunch of big furniture in the room, which makes it feel bigger. A couple of side-by-sides for comparison:

+ wall color: Wabi-Sabi by Behr
+ rug: Rugs USA (very similar)
+ curtains: DIY from drop cloths
+ curtain rods: Amazon
+ light fixture: Amazon
+ light bulbs: Amazon
+ closet organizers: ClosetMaid from Home Depot
+ closet organizer drawers: ClosetMaid from Home Depot
+ headboard: Wayfair