Nov 24, 2013

Miracle: A Birth Story

I didn't plan to put this off until today. But sitting here thinking about my sweet Scotlin on his 4th birthday while putting the story of his little brother and sister's birth into words seems like a sweet sentiment. A perfect way to remember his life: writing about a happy conclusion to our child-bearing experience that started 4 years ago today. So before I start, I just have to say how grateful I am to be the mother of 4 beautiful children and that Mira and Cole have 2 angels to watch over them.

It was Friday, Oct 18th. I was at my 34 week appointment and had been having more intense contractions than usual, so I asked to be checked. I was a "generous 3cm" dilated and we discussed how dilated I would be when they would no longer stop my labor if it started again. She said that if I came in with stronger contractions and was a 4 or greater, then they would let me deliver. The next day was difficult, because I kept having short bouts of contractions (we're talking 2 or 3 hours at a time) where my contractions would be very painful. We thought about going in, but right about then, the contractions would stop, so we stayed home.

Sunday, Oct 20th, we stayed home from church because my contractions picked up again. Ev checked me (benefit of having a med-student husband) and thought that I was at least a 4, if not more. We decided to go get checked, just in case. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we got there. The nurse checked me and said "Yeah, you're having these babies today." I was 5 cm and my bag of waters was bulging. Doctors were called, ultrasound came and checked babies' position, and I was transferred to L&D. Everything happened so fast, I didn't really have any time to prepare. Ev just kept saying, "We're going to have babies today!"

Pretty sure I'd just had my epidural placed
An hour later, at 4:30, I was dilated to a 7 and the doctor came in to chat. Both babies were head down, so we were going to try for a vaginal delivery. For safety purposes, though, they deliver twins in the OR just incase something happens and they need to do a c-section. I had my epidural placed (yay!) and the Dr. came back and broke my water. Over the next hour and a half, my epidural fluctuated between being wonderful and then not numbing my right side, so they put me completely on my right side and it finally resolved! About 7:30, I hadn't progressed past an 8 and my contractions were really weak, so they started pitocin to get things moving again. It worked: in about 10 minutes I felt a lot of pressure and spurting of fluid. I told the nurse I felt weird, so she checked me.  As soon as she did, she said, "okay, DON'T PUSH!" The Dr. had just left because he figured I'd be a little while longer, but  I was complete and Cole's head was really low. The nurse got on the phone and told someone, "She's ready!" Ev changed into his awesome outfit:

I was wisked to the OR where about 20 people rushed around me getting things ready. Someone said, "It's going to feel pretty chaotic, but it's organized chaos. Everyone has a job and it will go really smoothly."

Within minutes, I was told to push. As I was pushing, the Dr. was counting and when she got to 6, she said, "stop, stop, stop". Apparently his head was coming too fast and she didn't want me to tear. After two more pushes, Cole popped out and I heard the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard! He started crying and so did I. I was trying to see him, but they took him straight to the warmer on the other side of the room. Ev went with him and I could see him smiling-a huge grin from ear to ear!

Meanwhile, the ultrasound tech was having a hard time finding Mira's heartbeat. Mira suddenly had so much extra room, she decided to flip sideways. A lot of things could've happened next, but I'm really happy about the way things went down. When Mira flipped, the doctor reached her hand up into my uterus (yes, her WHOLE arm was in there...up to her elbow!), grabbed Mira's feet, and pulled her out. Her head got stuck for about 5 pushes. Just before she came out, they were about to use the forceps. BUT...we got her out without them. I watched as she flopped into the doctor's arms, 4 minutes after her brother, and was subsequently passed onto a NICU nurse who rushed her to the warmer. She didn't cry and that made me cry even harder. But Ev was with her and he was smiling, so I new she was okay. It took a bit of help to get her breathing, but after a few minutes, she had pinked up and was crying! I was sobbing, Evan was sobbing, both babies were warm and breathing. I never imagined this moment would be as happy as it was!! And I didn't even need a c-section! :)

I got to hold Mira for a few minutes but her apgar scores were 4 and 8, so they wanted to take her to the nursery to check her out. Cole got to come with me back to my room. (His apgars were 8 and 9). Ev stayed with Mira so Cole and I got 10 minutes of cuddle time. I noticed that he was grunting a lot and nasal-flaring, so I opened his covers and he was retracting really bad (all indications that he's having a hard time breathing). I told the nurse and she put him under the warmer and put some O2 on him. Unfortunately, cole had fluid in his lungs and had to go to the NICU. That was the hardest part of my whole experience: sitting in my room having just delivered 2 babies and not only did I not get to have them with me, but I was numb from the waist down, so I couldn't go to them either. I'll post about their NICU experience later, but their birth was the most beautiful, happy moment of my life. We got one picture all together not knowing that it would be almost 2 weeks before we'd all be in the same room again. 
So often, Mira and Cole look up at me with such light in their eyes, yet I know they're not looking at me. The vail is thin for babies and I KNOW that they can see angels. It helps that they have Scotlin and Kayden to be with them. I know that these kids love each other and that as Mira and Cole grow up, we'll tell them all about their brothers and how one day we will be a family together forever! 

Oct 3, 2013

Another Hospital Visit

This last week, I went into active labor again. I was exactly 32 weeks. I got to the hospital expecting that these babies would be delivered, but instead they stopped my labor. I know our desire to have these babies here now is a bit controversial.  Some friends agree with us (usually other baby-loss parents) that the doctors should just let me deliver. Other friends (usually the ones who haven't experienced loss) remind me-as if I didn't know- that the longer they're inside me, the better. On one hand, if they're born now they have the probability of complications that will keep them in the NICU longer and the potential for long-lasting effects of prematurity.

On the other hand...they would be alive. They would be breathing, even if it was with a little help. They would have heartbeats, and they would cry. I would get to see their eyes open and hold a warm baby without the help of warm blankets. I could cry tears of joy and thanks rather than tears of grief, sorrow and pain. My husband could hug me because we did an extraordinary thing bringing two lives into the world, rather that to hug be because I'm falling apart inside. 

Few people outside my close friends and family have witnessed the stress and anxiety that has accompanied this pregnancy. Not just for Evan and me, but for our family as well. Every time I call my mom, she answers, "Whitney, is everything okay?" I appreciate the concern, but it makes it difficult to call anyone. My sisters are the same way, and even though others haven't mentioned it, I'm sure they have the same heart palpitations when they see my name on the caller ID. Moreover, baby boy is my little mover. He's head-down so he's constantly kicking me in the ribs. But baby girl is in an awkward, transverse (sideways), oblique (diagonal) position with her feet tucked against her chest and positioned neatly under her placenta so I don't feel her kicks very often. It's a good thing I'm at home all day with the opportunity to doppler her heartbeat anytime I go an hour without feeling her move. (Yes, I'm that paranoid).

The nurses say that as long as I have two episodes a day of at least 10 kicks in an hour then everything is fine. But it's not fine. I was told by previous doctors that whatever caused Scotlin and Kayden to die took minutes, 10 tops. They didn't die slowly, it was fast. So even if I feel kicks in the morning, I worry all day long if I'm not hearing a heartbeat or feeling them move. And when I say worry, I don't mean a little nervousness. It's heart-wrenching. It's an overwhelming fear that if I put the doppler to my belly I won't hear anything or be able to find a heartbeat. Today, for example, I hadn't felt baby girl move yet, so I had to wait until Evan called on his lunch break to doppler her so that just in case I didn't hear anything I wouldn't be alone.

We feel beyond blessed to be parents of two angels. Now we're ready to be parents of two more living angels. Beyond anything else, we appreciate the prayers and support from everyone offering them up for us. We feel strengthened and hopeful, even with the bouts of anxiety and uncertainty. Please, please keep these babies in your prayers for us, and know that we are so appreciative!

Much Love

Sep 30, 2013

Virtual Baby Shower (updated)

I get asked on a daily basis where we're registered, which, we have an open registry at target.com. Along with that, my sister is putting on a "virtual baby shower" to help get donations for us to get a stroller. She wrote a post about it here and I've also attached a paypal button below if you'd like to contribute. Any donations would be immensely appreciated. Any amount totaling more than the cost of the stroller will be used for the babies (probably diapers!)








P.S. if you do donate, please include your email or mailing address so I can send you a huge THANK YOU!!!

HUGE THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING FOR YOUR GIFTS:

Sara Davis*
Becky Martin*
Brittney and Seth Warburton*
Staci Dearden*
Leanne Loscher*
Elizabeth Vandenberghe*
June Fulkerson*
Amanda Parker
Kenna Hendricks*
Karen Payne
Alicia Herterich
Kendra Gates
Brandy Elegante*
Melynda Epperson
Laura Grinder*
Jesse and Sara Steinback
Kristi Bruner

(*= please email or text me your address so we can send you a personal thank you! whit.lytle@gmail.com, 209-914-8104)



Sep 12, 2013

Staying Pregnant is Hard

I've been posting on FB this week about our eventful hospital visit, but I'm gonna re-cap here for my benefit.

Last Thursday, Sept 5th, I was in the office for an appointment. It was my 28 week visit and we were starting weekly non-stress tests. It just so happened that they hooked me up and I was contracting every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. They were pretty painful, and I was given the option of going to the hospital or going home. The babies were doing fine and not being affected by the contractions. I was in an uncomfortable position and I felt that if I could go home and lie down, the contractions would stop. The Dr. agreed and it worked. It took a few hours, but the contractions settled down. They told me to head to the hospital if they started back up again.

I contracted on/off through the weekend and Evan kept trying to get me to go in, but I resisted. (We had gone in the week before because I was bleeding and I didn't have a good experience so I was trying to avoid it). At that visit, my cervix had been basically closed.

On Sunday, we were sitting in sacrament meeting and the contractions started up again. I was squeezing Evan's hand and trying to breathe through them. He whispered that he was taking me to the hospital, but I resisted again. With 5 minutes left, he insisted, but I told him I'd only go if I had 2 more before the end of the meeting. Well, that took about 2 minutes, so we headed to the hospital. We called on the way and they tried to tell us to just go home, lie down, and drink lots of fluids. Evan told them no and that he was bringing me in.

Of course, once they got me hooked up, I was contracting like crazy. They checked me and said my cervix was between 1-2 cm.  They were going to be very aggressive stopping the contractions, so they put me on mag sulfate. The only side effect I could feel was the hot flashes. I was on it for about an hour while they admitted me to L&D. Once there, Evan was on the phone and I suddenly felt like I had an elephant on my chest. The nurse just happened to walk in right then and I told her I couldn't breathe.  I remember saying it a few times, but the next thing I remember was Evan sternal rubbing my chest, people saying my name over and over, an oxygen mask on my face, and about 8 people around my bed. Apparently my eyes had rolled to the back of my head, I turned white as a sheet and had passed out. They had called a rapid response team even though I had been out for less than a minute. It was just a reaction the the medicine. It's a vasodilator so the doc said I had a vasovagal reaction. Needless to say, they stopped the medication right away. That's the most interesting thing that happened, which I'm grateful for.

The next day I was transferred to the antepartum unit where they watched the babies and me closely.  I didn't have cell service in my room, so once or twice a day, my phone would catch a bar and I'd get 10 texts and missed calls all at once. The babies continued to look good, but my contractions continued. They gave me indomethacin for my contractions every 6 hours, but it only kept them at bay for 3-4 hours, so I was dealing with the pain as well as I could. It was hard being without Evan, but my dear friend Shanna came and stayed every day to keep me company. (It's nice having a substitute-husband).

On Wednesday, they did a test called a fetal fibronectin. It is supposed to indicate whether a person will go into labor within the next 2 weeks. Mine came back negative (Hallelulah!!). Also, the nurse checked my cervix and said it was dilated to a 3. But 2 minutes later the Dr. came in and decided that they were checking in the wrong place and that the internal part of my cervix was only a 1. SO...after 4 days, I got to come home on bedrest. This is so hard! I'm grateful that the babies are okay, but doing nothing is going to be a challenge. Any suggestions to keep the crazy away would be appreciated!

Thank you thank you for all the prayers and support. I know I say it all the time, but Evan and I can feel the love and peace that has resulted from them!

Much Love

Sep 6, 2013

A blog post in pictures

I don't really have anything new to say that the pictures don't say better: 


Baby girl at 27 weeks 2 days.  I was having some bleeding problems so I got to spend a few hours at the hospital in OB triage. I finally got to have a doctor look at my cervix rather than a nurse, so we got some answers about what was causing it (finally)It was nothing serious and we're all fine and dandy, but they said it will continue through the rest of my pregnancy. yay! :(
Baby girl is starting to get some chub. It's getting harder to get 3D pictures of them because there's almost always something in front of their faces. The next picture shows her taking a drink of amniotic fluid. Yum! 
Baby Girl at 28 weeks 2 days. She's on my left side and has never been head down. They say she's in the "penthouse" because she has  a lot more room than baby boy so she flips around a lot. I think she just makes the room as I'll show you in the next picture. 

So, this is Baby Boy at 28w 2 d as well. He's always head-down like a good little baby. We couldn't get a 3D of him because *something* was in his face. If you look closely, you can see his membrane along his nose and mouth. So what's the blob on the left side? That would be baby girl's foot. While we watched, she repeatedly kicked him in the face. That's how she gets all her extra room...she kicks him into submission until she has lots of space and he's cowering in the corner :) 
The blanket I crocheted for baby girl. It's quite uneven on the edges, so I'm debating taking out the white and yellow and re-doing it. 


Baby Boy's blanket. It looks black/white, but it's actually Aggie Blue/White. GO AGGIES! I might even stitch Utah State University into it...we'll see how ambitious I feel. 

Not the most flattering picture, but this is what 28 weeks looks like. I've gained 25 lbs and my hips are really sore. I wish I could skip that part because I'm most likely going to have a c-section and won't be needing my pelvis to open to let them out, but I'll take it. I'm so glad the little ones are growing like they should and my doctors are finally on the same page so I don't have such a hard time at each visit. 

Thanks for all the continued prayers and support. I know that this pregnancy is going so well because of the prayers from so many people. After an unpleasant non-stress test yesterday, we're hoping to make it to at least 32 weeks. In the meantime, I'm taking it easy at home and tackling my next project: crocheting blessing day blankets. I'll post pictures when I get them done, but here's a sneak-peek:

Add caption

Jul 17, 2013

Babies Update

So, I've been bad at blogging this pregnancy, but it's been a crazy couple weeks, so I thought I'd do an update. 

First, the good stuff. I've always gained exactly the amount of weight I'm supposed to during my pregnancies. This time around, however, I was really sick so I lost a bunch in the first trimester and have had trouble gaining it back. Finally, at 21 weeks, I'm proud to be putting on weight at kind of an insane pace and officially weigh the most I've ever weighed in my life. Here are the pictures to prove it: 
I know it's hard to tell, but these pictures represent a 7 lb weight gain and the difference of about 1 1/2 inches around my belly.  Also, babies Lytle are finally moving consistently, easing my anxiety and reassuring me that they're there. :)

Now, the non-good part. While I was in Utah this last week I had some problems with bleeding and cramping that landed me on the OB unit at Utah Valley Regional in Provo for a few hours. They didn't do a whole lot except check babies heartbeats and check my cervix. Babies looked good, but my cervix was open a fingertip. Also, I had some bacteria in my urine, so they gave me a single dose of antibiotics and sent me home to take it easy and to follow up with my doc in AZ. Only thing is: my doc couldn't see me for two weeks. 
 
Utah Valley Regional- I sent this pic to Ev to reassure him that I was fine, hence the "Love You"

 When I got home on Saturday, I was having menstrual-like cramping again along with more bleeding. So, I landed in an OB triage unit here in Chandler for another check-up. This time, they did a cervical length that showed my cervix had shortened almost 1 cm in the last 4 weeks. That wasn't a big deal, because it's still long like it should be. But they did decide that I definitely had a UTI that was causing all my problems, so now I'm doing a whole week of antibiotics. I'm feeling a lot better and I'm so glad our little ones are doing well. 

Chandler Regional Medical

 

Jun 6, 2013

"Can you count?..."

 We found out we were pregnant again on March 17th. Later that week, my 48hr bHCG (blood test for pregnancy hormone levels) QUADRUPLED (It's supposed to at least double)! We were absolutely thrilled and terrified at the same time. I worried every time I went to the bathroom that I would be bleeding and everything would end. 
     So, I have a lot of people asking what we're doing differently this time to make sure these babies get here with a heartbeat (maybe not in those exact words, but it's implied...) The day I got a + pregnancy test, I started heparin injections. This was something that, after three losses, was one of those, "Well, it won't hurt you, it'll only help you" scenarios. Basically, if I was losing babies due to an undetectable clotting problem, the heparin would probably help. 

That first week was hell. I mean really REALLY bad. It started with fevers. Then the body aches and chills. I missed a couple days of work because I couldn't get off the couch and my fevers were getting higher and higher. By the next Sunday, my fever was 103.5, so we went to the ER. My platelets had dropped 60,000, and my liver enzymes were up (probably because of the fever and tylenol use). It has a name: HIT- Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The heparin was making me sick!!! Talk about frustrating...the thing that had given me hope that I could have a normal pregnancy was out the window. It didn't take long for me to get better once I stopped taking it, and now I'm on a regiment of aspirin, a butt-load of folic acid, vitamin D, and fish oil. We have high hopes (and a lot of faith) that these babies are going to be just fine!
 

So the title of this post, "Can you Count?" those are the famous words spoken by Dr. Speak at my 6 week appointment. We saw on the screen the following picture:

 Yes, I can count, and I knew it was twins. We had an unsettling next couple of weeks as we went between appointments with my OB here in K-ville and the perinatologist in Columbia; every time they put the probe on my belly, wondering if there was still going to be two babies.
This picture was labled wrong in CoMo, so I tried to label over it.

 By 10 weeks they were starting to look like babies instead of blobs. Baby B usually gets the shaft because almost every time I went in before 10 weeks (s)he wasn't in a good position.


Having had just one and now two babies at a time, I can definitely say that twins is...much more difficult. Everything happens so much faster, and stretches more painfully. Somedays I just sit all day because my round ligaments hurt too bad to walk. Don't think I'm complaining, though- just comparing. And I'm THRILLED and SO HAPPY to be stretching and hurting because it means these kiddos are growing!
12 weeks 6days. 



This is the perfect example of how baby B is in a bad position for a photo-op.

14W 5D
These babies are fraternal twins which is a lot less risk. (I don't think I could handle any more risk) At 15 weeks, we're feeling grateful for all the pictures we have of our sweet little ones and that we've had so many opportunities to watch them move and kick each other in head. We're in love with our little #3 and #4 children and hope to have an idea of what their genders are next week. I have 3 more scans before I leave Kville, so hopefully we'll know for sure before we leave.

I really need to say thank you for all the support and love we've felt from friends and family; for your prayers, fasts, and words or comfort and love. Random strangers tell us that they'll pray for us, which absolutely fills my heart with love for them. 

Sometimes when I pray I tell Heavenly Father that we've already buried 2 babies and we can't do a 3rd or a 4th. These babies are perfect and we haven't had any complications and hope that it stays that way. In the next few weeks, Evan will be taking his boards and we'll be packing up and moving to Chandler, AZ for 2 years so Ev can complete years 3 and 4 of med school. We're excited and I promise I'll be better at keeping up the blog with updates for the friends far away and the friends we're leaving in Kirksville (*tear).
Much Love!