Monday, January 10, 2011

I hate being sick....

Everyone at the Hooper house is in one way or another sick right now. Matt is getting over the last bout of sickness, while Noah and I are starting up with another. A few weeks ago, I had a chest cold and kidney infection. I think Noah missed out on that one, thank goodness! Matt caught it though and stayed home a couple days before New Year's. He never gets it as bad as I do for some reason, so he's getting better quickly.

I, however, have now had this head cold with lots of headaches, congestion, and coughing, for the last week. Noah coughs all night. This is the third night we've had to give Noah inhaler medicine and two nights ago he threw up because he was coughing so much.

I just want us all to be healthy for a little while. Maybe we'll get some good news on Feb 1st when we take Noah in for his routine ultrasound on his kidneys. If all is good, we might not have to go in again for a year.
On a totally different note and just because I like putting a picture in my posts, just before New Year's, I got a great hair cut with some of my Christmas money. Tell me what you think!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Holidays

Lately, I've been seeing how many awesome things we received for Christmas this year. Noah is really growing up and it shows in all his new toys. We had a great time with family this year, first spending Christmas Eve and morning with Matt's folks and then the next day with my family. Noah enjoyed his time at both. Unfortunately, I don't have pics of time at my parent's house, but I do have some of Noah playing with his new toys.

The fun didn't stop with the indoors.

Since coming home from all the family, food, presents, and fun, Noah has truly enjoyed all his new things. He sits in his big chair in our bedroom and watches his new movies, carts around his big semi truck full of cars, and really has a blast with the bubble maker at bathtime each night.
We were able to buy some great things with our Christmas money. I bought several new work pants and shirts, a brand new black leather purse (this one will last me a while!), and six brand new, very fluffy towels. Matt and I have been using the same towels for almost seven years -- since we've been married. I'm so grateful for all the wonderful things we received, but mostly, I'm grateful for the amazing family we have. I enjoy watching everyone's families grow and I'm excited for you to see ours grow just the same. Hopefully, we'll have lots more Christmases to celebrate together!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Noah's First Days

As a continuation of Noah's birth story, I thought I might tell a little of the wild ride that we all went on as a new family during Noah's first days following birth.

I left off my last post at the moment of Noah's birth. In the operating room, they let me Matt carry Noah over to me to see me and then they wisked him away because he was not breathing great. While they were finishing the surgery, they administered a couple of oxygen puffs to Noah to help with the breathing and took him to the NICU for observation. I was wheeled back to the birthing suite where my mom was waiting. At this point, I'm not sure what was going on with Noah or Matt. All I remember is starting to regain feeling in my legs from the removal of the epidural and then a intense, awful, nauseating pain in my head. I was in so much pain and they couldn't do anything for me at the time because they were unaware of what all medication or fluids had already been administered to me. While they determined this, I was writhing in pain in my mother's arms. At one point, my blood pressure dropped to 72/54 and they administered a dose of epinephren. My blood pressure recovered and I started feeling better. Pain meds were given and I fell asleep.

Matt went to visit Noah in the NICU and later told me that when he walked in the doors to the hallway, he heard a baby's cry and knew immediately it was Noah. He just followed the cry and sure enough it was his new baby boy. Noah was the biggest baby in the NICU and in fact was sharing a room with a 2 lb premie...he was so small. Below is a picture of Noah once he made it to the NICU with the feeding tube, IV, and monitors. It was quite a feat to pick him up without disconnecting wires.

Matt went home to get some sleep and came back a few hours later at around 9:30 that morning. I was able to visit Noah for the first time. Matt wheeled me up and from that point forward, I made a point to go up every three hours to feed Noah. Noah never received any breathing assistance in the NICU and passed all his tests with flying colors. He was finally released from the NICU 36 hours after his birth on Sunday evening. It was then, on Monday morning, I realized that I had missed all the pediatric visits since he was in the NICU during those and I was recovering down in my room. The urologists had completed an ultrasound of his kidneys and found the culprit, what is called a uterocele (a small bladder within his bladder that is attached to one of the ureters coming from his right kidney), and said minor surgery may be required after observation of a few months. Everything else checked out. On Monday night, during Noah's routine weight check, the nurse asked if we wanted to do the PKU test. We hesitated since Noah had already been through so many heel pricks, IVs, and stress. But we decided not to question it and go ahead with the test. We were released Tuesday afternoon and waited for 45 minutes after packing everything up before a nurse came by to wheel me to the door. We were very ready to get home. As we pulled out and around the corner, I received a call on my phone from a number I didn't recognize (I knew it was OU Medical Centers though because of the prefix). I assumed they were confirming my post-partum check-up at the physicians office. Instead, it was someone from the Pediatric Genetic department at OU Medical. She said the PKU test (which I had forgotten about) had indicated an abnormality in one area, and Noah needed to be evaluated for an organic acid disorder immediately. She asked how Noah was doing, and I said something about him being very sleepy (him not having really woken from the whole commotion of getting in a car seat and riding in a car). She asked if he was "lethargic"? I replied that you might consider it lethargic...I couldn't wake him very easily. She told us to turn around right then and head for the ER.

We arrived at the ER at around 4pm. They immediately rushed us into a room and were evaluating Noah, taking an enormous amount of blood, and seemingly ignoring Matt and my cries for an explanation of what was going on with our son. The doctor in charge simply turned to us and said, "We don't have time to talk right now. This is the first newborn that tested abnormal for this and did not come into the ER in a coma." Naturally, you can imagine what was going through our minds. The test was to be sent to a laboratory in Texas and the shipment for that day went out at 4:30pm. If we didn't make that shipment, we would have to wait until Monday for results from the test. Matt and I called our parents who came to meet us.

After the grueling 30 minutes to an hour of watching the chaos, the doctor sat down and explained that the test only gives indicators of certain genetic disorders and when a newborn tests out of range in any area, then the actual test is sent for evaluation. Noah tested abnormal for a metabolic blood disorder, either methylmalonic acidemia or propionic acidemia. Both of these meant that, if tested positive, Noah's body would not be able to process protein and would basically turn it to acid in his body. His whole life would be altered because of this. He would require daily B12 injections (which he started as a precaution until the test results came back) and would be on a strict formula diet requiring us to weigh precise amounts of medicated formula and a very strict diet containing little to no protein for the rest of his life.

They allowed us to take him home, but warned us to bring him in for observation if he was too lethargic and definitely if he wouldn't wake. Wednesday, we went in and started genetic counseling, covering first Matt's side of the family going over every person's relation and cause of death. We talked to a genetic counselor to learn how exactly this happens, learning that if Noah were to have this disorder, we would both have to be carriers and any other children we have would have a 50% chance of having it and our siblings would have a 25% chance of their children having it. We also learned that even if Noah didn't have the disorder, he could be a carrier. Thursday, I went back in for another B12 shot and to learn how to mix his specialized formula. We also went over my side of the family's medical history with the genetic counselor. While meeting with the nutritionist to learn how to mix the formula, the counselor came back in and told me that the doctor wanted to talk to me after I was finished. I just nodded (trying to keep the measurements for the formula in mind...running on pure adrenaline that was quickly running out). About a minute after this, the doctor came in and said that she didn't see any reason to wait to tell me that the results came back a day early and Noah did not have the disorder. I froze for a minute, threw down the bowl of formula powder I was mixing and just started crying with joy. I hugged my mom and immediately called Matt.

We were finally home from the hospital. We had returned two days earlier, but never really felt at home until then. Noah is a thriving boy now...loves his peanut butter sandwiches and hamburgers. We couldn't ask for more.

Noah's Birth Story

I thought it might be time to sit down and tell the story of how Noah came into the world on Saturday, April 4, 2009. At 28 weeks pregnant, I was measuring about two and a half weeks further along than expected (initial due date: April 13). I went in for an ultrasound and Noah looked as though he would be a big boy. At 31 weeks, I started having regular contractions and spent four days in the hospital where they tried many different things to stop preterm labor. I went home still having occasional contractions, but without any progression in labor, we felt confident Noah would wait until it was the right time. I switched from an OBGYN to a midwife at OU Medical Center and found out when transfering my medical records that the last ultrasound had shown some concerns that I was not aware of. Noah had extra fluid on his right kidney. We had regular advanced ultrasounds to monitor the progress. Each time, it was confirmed that Noah was a big boy and a c-section might be in the works.

I finished up my accounting internship early on April 3 since a decision for a c-section, induction, or neither was to be made at the ultrasound that day. While in the waiting room for the ultrasound, I was having stronger and stronger contractions about 6 minutes apart. I notified the front desk and they had a nurse check me before the ultrasound. I was 4 cm dilated, so it was decided that following the ultrasound I would go to Labor and Delivery. The ultrasound was somewhat uneventful, with the exception of stronger contractions and Noah's continued kidney issue. The tech did the measurements and estimated Noah would be 7 and a half pounds (2 pounds less than previous ultrasounds had shown).

Matt came to the doctor's office to pick me up and take me over to the hospital and my mom started her drive to OKC to help. At triage, they said that I was more like 3 1/2 cm and would have to walk around for an hour before being checked again. After an hour of walking around and having very strong contractions, I was at 4 cm and admitted to the hospital at 1:00pm. Fastforward 7 hours of walking around the room, leaning on Matt for support during contractions, and sitting on a birthing ball to rest, and my water broke during a contraction. I continued to labor for three more hours before deciding that exhaustion was taking over and the pain was too much. Noah was positioned face-up, causing a lot of back labor. I had the epidural at around 11pm. By this time, they had decided that Noah was having a difficult time during contractions and they needed to replace the fluid I lost when my water broke.

After another 3-4 hours, the midwife checked my progress and I was at 7cm. They had to turn off the pitocin before then because it caused the contractions to be really strong and Noah's heartrate would decelerate each time. Around 3am, the midwife came to talk to me and let me know that the contractions without pitocin were not strong enough for me to keep progressing toward delivery, but with the pitocin, the decelerations were concerning. It was time to make a decision. I said, "Even if I could make it to the end, I don't think I have any energy left to push." We decided it would be best for everyone to go ahead with a c-section. I was wheeled back to the Operating Room, where it seemed like 20 or more people were. They increased the dosage of my epidural until I felt nothing below my ribcage and let Matt in to sit beside me as they started the c-section. When the doctor pulled Noah out, she said, "Congratulations, you have a toddler!" and I heard a gasp from most of the people in the OR. Murmurs of "he's so big!" echoed around the room. Noah was born at 4:10am on April 4, 2009.

He was 9 lbs 12 oz, and 22 inches long. There is much more to the story, but something you would have to ask me in person. Noah is now three days away from being 21 months old. It's hard to imagine it has been almost two years since Noah was born.