Brotherly Love

Since we found out I was having another boy, we've been telling Marco about his brother.  We would point to my growing belly and say, "It's your brother", and then we'd ask him, "Where's your brother?" and he'd stick his finger deep into my belly button.  We were never sure if he knew there was a baby in there, or if he just thought that Mama's belly was named "brother".  Then when I was admitted into the hospital, we would tell him that his brother was almost here.  He would always give us a blank stare.
Once Jonas arrived, Marco was unable to meet him... even for just a second.  The NICU rule is that siblings ages 4 and older are allowed to visit... Marco did not meet the requirements!  This kinda broke my heart.  I wanted Marco to know he had a baby brother, but we weren't sure if he was comprehending or grasping the concept.  All we could do was show him pictures daily.  He would laugh and point at the pictures and we would tell him, "that's your brother!".  I had a picture as my phone wallpaper and when I'd ask him where his brother was, he'd turn on my phone and point to his picture.  At this point, we weren't sure if he knew brother was a real baby, or if he just thought it was a picture, like from a book or TV.
Then the big day came, and we were able to bring Jonas home... Marco was finally going to meet his baby brother!
Mauricio went into the house ahead of me to grab the video camera, and he told him he was going to see his brother.  As I walked in the door holding Jonas, he stood looking apprehensive and curious.  I went to sit on the couch and invited him to see Jonas.  Without another word, Marco came over and gave Jonas a hug and a kiss!  He was being as nice and gentle as he knew how.  He was stroking his head and touching his fingers and trying to kiss his face all over!
At the time, Mauricio and I were terrified and trying to control the situation, making sure Marco was being gentle enough.  But as I later reflected on what had happened, I began to cry.  I think Marco did understand the whole time!  He knew that Jonas was his baby brother!  He loves his little bro!
Since Jonas has been home, things have been interesting with Marco.  For the most part, he's super gentle and loving towards Jonas.  He wants to see him, wants to hold him, wants to touch him.  He runs to the room if he starts to cry, and wants to help us with him.  But, as was expected, he has also become more needy with me and Mau.  He also decides to act out when he knows I'm occupied with nursing or diaper changing.  For example, I was feeding Jonas on the couch, and Marco decides to climb up the dining room chair and onto the table, and before I know it, he's standing in the center of the dining room table, screaming.  It's funny to think about it now, but oh, so aggravating as it was occurring.  Another time, I asked Marco to throw Jonas' diaper away, (he knows where it goes), and he ran into the bathroom and threw it into the toilet!  Thankfully that only happened once.  Now, as I'm changing Jonas' diaper, Marco is waiting with his hand out to go throw the diaper away... in it's appropriate place!
Being the mother of one is very fulfilling.  But there is something super special and unique about seeing your first interacting with your second.  I am so proud of Marco for being such a good big bro.  I can't wait to be a spectator in the lives of my boys!  I am eagerly waiting to see the kind of relationship that unfolds between them.
Here's my Table For Four:
(and Marco is crying because we wouldn't let him hold Jonas!  This picture perfectly defines us right now!)

A Night at the NICU

In anticipation for a NICU baby's homecoming, it is required that a parent spend the night in the NICU in order to practice keeping your baby.  This seems silly to someone like me, who has a healthy baby, but for parents who need to learn how to care for their babies with medicine, monitors, and other special needs, this time is very valuable.  When we had the sleep over with Marco, I was annoyed and upset... truth be told, I was over-the-top emotional about it!  I felt like it was no longer about the baby proving himself ready, but about me proving how good and capable a parent I am.  At this point, I'm just over it.  I'll do whatever it takes to get him home... even if I have to prove to be the best mom this NICU has ever seen!  I'll do it!
Last night I got the opportunity to spend the night with Jonas.  They put us in a Family Learning Room, which has a futon bed, rocking chair, bathroom... oh, and the baby!  It's no luxury suite, but hey, at least I've got my baby!

The nurses are told to basically leave you alone.  You are supposed to fend for yourself... which is fine by me!  They come in and check on you periodically, but pretty much you're on your own.  
Last night I got here around 7pm.  He was supposed to eat at 9pm, so at that time, I got ready to breastfeed.  He fed for about 10 minutes, and then while burping him, he spit up a great deal.  The nurse came in, helped me change his clothes and told me to give him a bottle instead.  So, he ate 40cc's from the bottle... then while burping him, he had a projectile spit up... ALL over me!  The nurse came back in and re-changed his clothes.  We were debating as to whether or not we should feed him AGAIN, and risk him spitting up yet AGAIN, but while we were changing him, he was rooting for his hands and tried to latch onto the nurses wrist!  So, I offered him the breast again and he drank for 7 minutes before passing out!  By the time it was all said and done, it was 10:30pm!  I couldn't believe it... he had been such a good baby for the 4 weeks he's been here and then within the 3 hours I'm with him, he proves to be problematic!  Just acting up for Mama! 
The nurse then told me to feed him again at 1am... so I set my alarm... and COMPLETELY ignored it!  Yup, Mother Of The Year, right here!  I woke up at 2 instead.  The thing with premie's is that they usually wont wake up when they're hungry.  YOU have to wake them up to tell them that they must be hungry.  By 2am, he was SO ready!  
After that, I was paranoid that I would ignore my alarm again, so I was waking up every 15 minutes or so to check the clock.  How annoying!  Needless to say, I haven't missed another feeding!
So it has been said that he is coming home today.  At 1pm we have our Infant CPR class and then at 4 we have our monitor training.  Since he's still having heart dips (his heart rate will drop momentarily and then return to normal), he'll be coming home with a heart monitor.  He's also on a daily dose of caffeine to keep his heart rate steady.  Like baby speed.  He also has to pass his car seat test- 1 hour in a car seat without having difficulty breathing.  Once all these things have been done, and all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed, we get to have our baby!
I can't wait to have this little bundle in my house... I can't wait to see the way Marco reacts to his baby bro, who's not going away!  Stay tuned... it's about to get interesting! 
And here's one more pic... because I love showing off my babies!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

"Slow and steady wins the race."  I keep telling myself that in anticipation of Jonas' homecoming.  It's not yet, but we can already see the light at the end of the tunnel!  
Today is 1 month from when I was originally admitted to the hospital.  I can't believe it's been so long already!  It's been a very difficult month, but we've learned a lot of life lessons and a huge lesson in patience and faith.  
Throughout the past 3 weeks, it has been startling to me to see just how vastly different a premature baby is from a term baby.  Even Marco, who was also "premature", is extreemly different than Jonas.  Marco was almost "term", and Jonas is still on 34 weeks adjusted.  I mean, everything is different!  The way you handle them, the way you feed them, their capabilities, their alertness... it's all so... premature!  
At first, I felt horrible leaving Jonas in the isolette all day and night without me there.  My original frame of mind was, "he needs his Mama".  Well, he does, but more than that, he needs to sleep!  He is perfectly content to sleep for hours on end in the covered isolette with no stimulation.  In fact, stimulation can actually be a bad thing at this stage!  He gets snuggle time twice a day when I visit in the mornings and evenings, but mostly he's sleeping and growing.  A term baby wants to be held all day long and can have longer periods of awake/stimulated time.  
Another thing that was completely bizarre to me, was the manner in which I have to feed him.  Right now, we're bottle feeding and it is such hard work for him!  At first, he'd get all choked up and couldn't coordinate his breathing with sucking and swallowing.  He'd get all red in the face and begin to gasp!  We've been working on it, and he's getting a hang of it, but it's a slow process.  He hasn't gotten the hang of breastfeeding, and according to the doctors, he probably wont until he's closer to his due date.  A term baby will chug down a bottle or immediatly latch onto a breast a few hours after birth.  It's like as if Jonas has to learn all these things that comes naturally to term babies.  
According to our calculations and timeline, Jonas should be coming home close to November 1st.  The requirements for him to come home are that he is taking 8 bottles a day by mouth and can sustain his temperature in an open crib.  Tonight he should be moving into an open crib, because he's been sustaining well in the isolette for more than 48 hours.  He's also up to 4 bottles a day by mouth.  The other 4 feedings are being tubed.  If he manages his bottles well for 48 hours, they increase 1 bottle a day.  So, from start to finish, 8 bottles would take 16 days.  Since we're on 4, we're half way home... assuming we have no set backs!  
It's a slow process, but so far he's been steady in his progress!  

Little Hands

I love hands.  I never realized that I loved them until I had my babies.  

I have always looked at my children with wonder and awe at the fact that they are little people.  Watching Marco grow this first year has been the most amazing experience of my life, and now I have the privilage of doing the same with Jonas.  They really do grow fast!  

I love to think about my children's hands and all that they will accomplish.  Hands that will learn to feed. Hands that will learn to clap.  Hands that will learn to play.  Hands that will write countless papers, type on the computer and hopefully play an instrument.  Hands that will hold a stering wheel.  Hands that will hold other hands.  Hands that will one day wear a ring.  Hands that will hold their own babies.  And hands that will pray. 

Most of all, I look at that tiny hand in mine, only 2 weeks old and less than 4 pounds and think, "Wow, one day that hand will be bigger than mine.  And one day, that hand will do better than I do".  

Pumping Power

I'm not one to easily give up.  I will breastfeed Jonas and that's that.  But, right now, being in the NICU and unable to even latch on, I'm unable to breastfeed.  Since I gave birth, I've been pumping around the clock, every 3 hours to produce and store enough milk to feed him while he's in the NICU as well as have a hefty stash at home.
In the last 2, almost 3 weeks, I've gone through over 200 2oz storage bottles, and have brought so much milk into the NICU that they've asked me to stop!  So, since the hospital wont take any more, just have a look at what's become of my freezer!

Those little bottles go all the way to the back and are piled as high as allowable.  Really, will I need this much milk?!  There's no room for food!
So, in order to make more room in my ever shrinking freezer, I've decided to switch to storage bags which can be laid flat and essentially will hold more milk.  Sounds like a win-win, right?  We'll see.  I decided to buy these bags:
These bags impressed me at first.  Look, I can pump directly into them, saving time and cleaning!  But, they are quite difficult to handle.  It's tricky getting the bag secured over the shield and you have to monitor the bag to be sure you don't get bubbles and the milk stays on the top.  When you're done, you have to tear a perforated edge and close a very hard zipper, which I'm sure will be a cinch at 3am.  I would gladly take all of these defects if it does it's job and keeps my freezer looking a little more roomy.  Oh, but I forgot to mention the price... $18.99 for 50 bags.  Let's do a little math here.  If I'm pumping 8 times a day and I have 2 breasts, then I'm going to need 16 bags a day.  Therefore, these bags will last me 3 days!  THREE DAYS!!!  Uhh, those little blue bottles up top are provided free from the hospital.  So, what should I do?  Pay $20 every 3 days to have a more orderly freezer, or become ultra creative with how to store those blue bottles and keep some cash in my pocket?  Oh, life is full of conundrums. 

Now, have I mentioned that I HATE pumping... as in despise it, as in it's my daily torture (or rather 8 times a day torture).  It's tedious, monotonous, boring and lonely.  Not to mention, if it's your first time, super painful!  Pumping is way more painful than breastfeeding.  Think, your infant has an itty-bitty mouth, while this machine is merciless!  
I'm living my life in 3 hour intervals.  Wanna go out?  Sure, but I gotta be home at a certain time to pump... boo.  When you have a newborn, you still live in 3 hour intervals, but at least you're not on house arrest.  If you have to feed your baby, you can do it anywhere!  
Since I am having my pump do the job of a baby, I had to get a hospital grade pump.  The first one I got was this one:
This is the Medela Symphony Double Breast Pump.  I rented it from the hospital and it was $20 a week.  This is the one the hospital provides in their nursing rooms and while you stay with them. It's wonderful!  Very gentle and quiet.  But, I'm cheap... so I only rented it for one week. 

Then I found out that the state provides a free pump to NICU moms in order to encourage breastfeeding.  SWEET!  So I went and got my free pump, which is this one:

This is the Medela Lactina Double Breast Pump.  Not nearly as good as the Symphony.  It takes about twice as long to get the same amount of milk, plus it is not at all gentle or quiet.  See the middle yellow part, that is a pump that moves in and out and creates a loud whooshing sound.  Plus, with this pump, you must pump both breasts simultaneously for it to work... not so with the Symphony.  But hey, it's FREE... and that's the right price for me!

Then, you have all these pump parts to clean every.single.time... and sanitize once a day in a steaming bag.

This is all very tedious! 

2 things that make pumping semi-bearable:

This is the PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra.  And it makes my life a whole lot easier.  Now, it's a huge PITA to put it on because there are 6 bra clasps that need to be shut, but once it's on, you're free.  I can read, surf the web, talk on the phone or address Marco's needs, all while pumping!  Thanks to this awesome bra, I'm pumping and blogging right now

And the second thing that makes pumping easier, is Netflix Instant.  For a person, like myself, who lives without cable, Netflix is a dream! I probably drive Mau crazy at 3am with my shows, but I gotta do something

 I can't understand how some people would CHOOSE to exclusively pump.  Don't they realize that they're doing DOUBLE work!  I can't wait till Jonas is home, so I can just ditch the pump! 


Having a baby in the NICU is so challenging on every level.  I am physically exhausted, emotionally drained and spiritually grasping.
Having a new baby is exhausting for anyone, and I know that once Jonas finally comes home, I'll probably be more tired than I am now.  But it'll also be more rewarding and yummy!  I'm pumping every 3 hours, around the clock (yes, even in the wee hours of the morning), so I haven't slept for more than 2.5 hour intervals.
Jonas turns 2 weeks tomorrow- two weeks that I've been walking down that same long corridor to get to the NICU- two weeks that I've been washing my hands and ASKING to go see MY child- two weeks that I have to rely on a stranger to tell me how my child is doing, and trusting that this person is not being negligent- two weeks that I only have time and energy to visit twice a day- two weeks that I have had to ASK to hold my child, and always for a limited time.
It's frustrating that Jonas is assigned a new nurse every day and every evening... we've rarely had the same person twice.  Each nurse has his or her own quirks and rules about the way things should be done.  Some don't want you to even TOUCH the baby, while others think it's not only necessary to touch, but also encourage holding and kangarooing.  So, how am I supposed to know who does what?  And why should I be the one to adapt to THEIR quirks?  Some nurses will say that his temperature has to be at 36.2 C in order to be allowed out of his incubator, while others will say 36.5 C... uhh, so which is it EXACTLY?!
Please don't take my complaining as ungratefulness.  I am incredibly grateful that my baby is being WELL taken care of, and I know that all the nurses are fully capable... but I WANT HIM!  I am jealous for him.  No one takes care of a baby as well as a mom... come on now!
Emotionally, this situation has been easier than it was with Marco.  Since it wasn't a surprise, we were expecting him to spend some time in the NICU.  Whereas, Marco's NICU stay was completely unexpected and much more emotional.  However, it still is taking it's toll.  Since I'm physically exhausted, sometimes I can't even imagine going down to the NICU... but then again, I really WANT to.  So, it's a lose-lose situation.  I can go, and be even more exhausted, or I can stay and let the guilt set in that I should be sacrificing MY needs for his.  I know this is all in my mind.  I know that he is being well taken care of and that I need to take care of myself in order to be able to take care of him later... but I'm still guilt ridden whenever I can't make it down to the NICU.  It eats me up!  And I have people asking me if this is post-pardum depression?  I don't think so... I think this is NICU depression.
Spiritually, I am hanging on for dear life.  I can't listen to a song or pray without bursting into tears.  I have to continue to remind myself that God is in control and that His timing is perfect.  It's hard to not ask Him, "Why again?!"... But I know that even with my challenges, it's temporary and it's not as bad as it could be.  God's grace will shine in my life during this time of need... I am weak so that HE can make me strong.
I give a hugemongo hats off to all the NICU parents... especially the ones with babies that are in an incredible amount of need... and the ones that have to be there for months and months on end.  Goodness, listen to my complaints after TWO whole weeks.  For all of you who get to take your healthy babies home... please, love on them, care for them and remember that they are little miracles... so many things could go wrong, but nothing did!

A Difficult Decision Made

Throughout my entire pregnancy with Jonas, I had high hopes that I'd make it to term.  I would get annoyed when other women would complain about being full term, while knowing full well the consequences of having a premie.  Marco was a premie... not a severe one, but one none-the-less.  36 weeks is still considered premature.  As you've read before, he had difficulty breathing, was in the NICU and was on constant medication for the first 10 months of his life.  This is hard on any parent, and not something that you want a repeat of. 

So, I have always said that if #2 was also a premie, I'd have to take action.  I can not assume that it's TWO coincidences or flookes.  No, this is because of me.  I have to assume that MY body can not hold a baby to term.  There have been other thoughts on the matter, such as getting pregnant too soon after the first, but these are just theories... not guarantees.  

Having one premie is difficult, having two is even harder... I fear having three would be unbearable!  
During the course of my stay at the hospital, I had a lot of time to think and pray over this matter.  I knew Jonas was going to be another premie... that was already determined.  
The decision I had ahead of me: Should I permanently "close up shop" by getting my tubes tied (and cut, and burned), or should I wait on it?  

On the one hand, I knew that it would be a simple procedure, because I was already having a c-section.  This would also eliminate the need to go under the knife later, or force Mauricio to get it done- I'd have to drag him in kicking and screaming!  I also thought that IF my assumptions were correct, and I couldn't carry to term, then chances are I'd have yet ANOTHER premie.  And, the chances were high that the third would be earlier than the previous two.  Could I handle having another premie... emotionally?  Could my body handle carrying another child... physically?  

On the other hand, I felt like I was cheating my husband out of the opportunity of being a father again.  I felt like I was too young (27) to be making a decision that was so permanent and would affect the balances of our family forever.  I felt like Mauricio was too young (24) to be deciding if our family was truly complete.  A part of my heart was still holding on to the idea of one day having a baby girl.  I didn't want to cheat him out of having a daughter.  It still breaks my heart a little

After much consideration, I decided to have to procedure done.  FOUR of my OB's came to speak with me, urging me to have it done.  They said that they didn't think my body could handle another pregnancy and that I was a perfect candidate to have it done.  I felt like the Lord was talking to me through them.  Really, shouldn't I be so incredibly grateful to have TWO boys?!  Shouldn't I be encouraged that even though they are both premies, they are still perfect and healthy?  Why am I sometimes blinded by my own selfish desires and I fail to see all that He has already blessed me with?!  I couldn't selfishly put my life on the line again for the chance of having another baby.  What if something horrible happened?  What if the third is a really early baby and we lose it?  I couldn't live with myself knowing that I could have chosen differently.  What if my body failed completely and I died, leaving Mau to raise two or three children on his own?  How selfish of me... and for what?! 
There are so many people, family and good friends of mine, who are unable to have children.  I, who have already been blessed with two, should not continue to endanger myself for the selfish desire of being a "super mom".  I already AM a "SUPER MOM"!  

Thankfully, my adoring husband was behind me 1000%, and supported my decision whole heartedly.  I had the Tubal done immediately after Jonas was born.  It still makes me sad to think about, but I have to remind myself that I did it for my family.  I did it because I love Mauricio and Marco and Jonas much much more than the IDEA of having another child.  They are my family... they are the ones that need me now... and there is nothing I wouldn't do to protect that

Childbirth: Vag vs C-Section

Now that I've had my two boys, and have had completely different birthing experiences, everyone asks me, "So, which one was better?".  In my mind, at the present time, while I'm still on heavy pain meds and incapable of doing much for myself, there is NO competition... my first experience, a vaginal delivery, was WAY better.  Here's a little side-by-side comparison:

Vag- When I went into labor with Marco, my water broke initially, followed by some contractions.  My pain level went up to about a 6 or 7 with the contractions, and I was having to breathe/grunt through them. I had contractions for about 3 hours before they gave me the Epidural.  The most annoying part was that I was dripping fluid for hours.  YUCK!
CS- There was no need to labor when having a section.  I did have some small and light contractions, pain level at a 3.  I was bleeding (due to my abruption), but other than that, no dripping of fluids.

Vag- I was given the Epidural.  I didn't focus too much on the pain of the actual shot because I was having contractions simultaneously.  They laid me on my side and I could feel the sting of the numbing medicine.  With the epidural, they thread a catheter into the spine to continue distributing medicine as needed throughout the delivery.  I could feel a widening or spacing in my spine... it didn't hurt, it was just weird.  It lasted throughout my delivery and they took out the catheter when it was all over.  I couldn't feel any pain, only pressure.  Like, if someone touched me, I could tell... I could lift my legs and wiggle my toes.  It was nice.
CS- I was given a Spinal Tap.  This is different than the epi, in that you receive ONE dose... not a constant flow.  This is done because natural labor can last for hours, while a section takes an hour, tops.  They had me hunched over, and put in the numbing medicine, which was just a little prick.  Then they injected the spinal medicine, but I did not feel a single thing.  The drugs took affect very quickly.  It climbed over my belly and up to my chest.  When laying down, it was difficult to breathe because the drugs had put my abdomen to sleep and I couldn't feel myself breathing.  I could not feel anything... which is a good thing when they're slicing you up.  The only thing I could feel during delivery was any pressure they applied to my stomach.  The effects of the Spinal faded, but lasted throughout the evening.

Vag- Marco's delivery, the actual pushing, lasted 55 minutes.  It was not difficult for me to push him out.  It was not at all theatrical... no screaming, sweating or swearing.  We talked and joked between contractions, then I'd push 3 times, then we'd resume our conversation.  It was exciting once he started crowning, and so awesome when he finally came out.  They immediately put him on my chest and I was able to feel his weight on my heart and give him a few gross kisses.  I was able to see them cleaning him up and working on him from across the room.  I had such an amazing sense of pride for being able to push him out.  I felt like WOMAN!  I was IN the moment... it was in MY control.  I was the one that brought him into the world... all by myself... and that connected me to him in a way that nothing else would.
CS-  From the time they laid me on the table, to when Jonas was born, only 10 minutes had passed.  Because they set up a sheet in front of me, I could not see him being brought into the world.  I couldn't feel anything or see anything, so I was relying on my hearing.  When he came out and started crying, they brought him to my side so I could see his face.  Then the pulled him to the bed to clean and check him... this was out of my line of sight.  I had to remain on the table for an additional 20 minutes as they finished their job and closed me up.  Before they took Jonas to the NICU, they brought him by my face again so that I could see him.  I did not get to touch him for about 2 hours.  For me, the c-section made me feel detached from the birth.  Yes, he was born, but not by any effort of mine.  I didn't do a single thing, just lay on the table.  Nothing was in my control... I was completely in the hands of the doctors.  As a mother, you'll always feel happy at the birth of your child, but I did not feel the same sense of accomplishment or pride that I felt after Marco's birth.

Vag-  Luckily, I did not need any stitches after my delivery.  I tore a little, but the doctor did not see the need to stitch it up.  As the epidural wore off, I began to feel a throbbing soreness.  I could walk, but it felt like I had just ridden a horse for 3 months.  I sat down very carefully, and preferred soft cushy seats.  I was terrified to pee and poop.  The urine stung the first few times after delivery, but it got better.  The bleeding was relatively strong, lasting for 5 weeks.  By the time I left the hospital, I felt like myself.  The only medication I took after delivery was Tylenol, and was told not to have sex for 6 weeks.
CS- This has been a hard and slow recovery so far.  I can't imagine how people have multiple c-sections... they must REALLY want children.  Or how people CHOOSE to have a c-section... that's crazy!  My bleeding is less than it was with my vaginal delivery, but still pretty steady.  I have no pain down below, and have not been afraid to pee or poop.  But the pain in the incision is pretty strong.  Every time I sit, or stand, or reach, or bend, or cough, or laugh, or walk, I see the stars!  The first time I walked to the bathroom (12 hours after delivery), I thought I would scream!  It feels like I'm tearing myself, but thankfully I'm not.  Today is 6 days post-op and I am still in a good amount of pain.  I'm taking heavy pain medication every 6-8 hours that makes me drowsy.  I have been told not to drive for 2 weeks, not to have sex for 4 weeks and not to lift anything (including Marco) for 6 weeks.

The two experiences are so vastly different!  Even though I'm going through all this pain, I am grateful to have had both experiences.  I'm a more well rounded mother because of it... (not really, but it makes me feel better to think it).  I love both of my babies and would not take back one ounce of pain that I have gone and am going through for them.  Their beautiful faces are all I need to heal me completely.

Meet Jonas Jorge Avesani

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you've read how I was admitted to the hospital last week with pre-term labor.  I am so happy to announce that our second baby boy was born on Tuesday, September 28 at 11:24 am.  His name is Jonas Jorge Avesani... but you can call him JJ if you want.

The last time I posted, I was in a state of limbo.  The doctors didn't really know what plan of action to take and we were just waiting for my body to give us a sign as to what we should do.  Well, it did.  On Tuesday morning, after being off all meds for 24 hours, I awoke to a sharp pain, gush of blood and the onset of contractions.  These were the same exact symptoms I'd had when I was admitted to the hospital the Tuesday before.

The doctor came in to check me, and I was still at 1cm dilated. He was a bit concerned by my bleeding because it hadn't stopped and we still had not determined it's place of origin.  The contractions were not strong enough to even bother me, but I knew I was having them.  He ordered blood work to see what the results would be for my hemoglobin and other levels.  Within a half hour, the nurse arrived and said "Alright, let's go have a baby".  That's it.  No other explanations.  One minute we were undecided, the next I was being taken to the operating room.  I was still going to need a c-section because he was completely breeched.

They prepped me for surgery, talked over procedure with the anesthesiologist, and we were given paper scrubs to wear.
I know I look cool, calm and collected, but do not be fooled... I was nervous!  I've never had any kind of surgery before.  

When I was taken in to the OR, I was immediately given the spinal tap and started to feel the effects right away.  Before I knew it, I was numb up to my chest and my hands and fingers were tingly.  They put up a sheet in front of my face, so I couldn't see the gore.  It made me anxious not being able to see what was going on, but I'm sure they have their reasons.  I felt absolutely NO pain, but I did feel a lot of pressure, pulling and pushing.  About 10 minutes after laying down, I heard the cry of my beautiful darling. 

Being able to hear him cry was such an incredible relief.  As you may have read before, Marco did not cry when he was born... he only whimpered.  This was a sure sign to us that something was wrong.  When we heard Jonas wailing, we were so happy and knew that he was going to be a strong and healthy premie.  

They had a team of NICU doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists on hand to evaluate Jonas' condition right away.  They cleaned him up, showed him to me and took him off to the NICU.  This is one of the hardest parts about having a premie... you don't get to hold and love on him right at birth.  As a mother, your body cries out to hold your baby, but you can't. 

After they completed cleaning out my placenta and performing a tubal, they stitched me up and stapled me shut.  Then, I found out what happened.  Remember that up until this point I didn't know WHY they had all of a sudden wanted the baby out.  The doctor told me that I had a huge blood clot on the back side of the placenta.  This is why the ultra sounds couldn't pick it up.  They showed me my placenta (I saw Marco's too), and the front of it was a beautiful meaty red.  The back side was slimy and black... the clot was covering most of the back.  According to the doctor, it was only a matter of a day or so, and my placenta could have detached, causing hemorrhaging and possibly death of the baby and myself.  This is called a Placental Abruption.  He said that I would have experienced a lot of pain, followed by a pint of blood spilling out onto the floor.  At that point it would have been an emergency situation and the end result could have been devastating.  

Jonas was 3.7 pounds and 15 3/4 inches long at birth.  He was placed in the NICU and given the c-pap, which is a mask that blows air into the nose to help encourage breathing.  He was on the c-pap for less than 24 hours!  He's had to be on light therapy for the past two days because he is slightly jaundiced, but this is expected with premies.  Basically, the biggest concern is his feedings.  Right now he's being fed through a tube that goes down his nose, throat and into his belly.  He started off at a very low amount of breast milk (4 ml), and will increase gradually till he's at 1 oz (30 ml).  Today he was at 7, so we're working on it.  Once he's taking the full ounce every 3 hours, they will pull out the tube and try to bottle feed.  Premies typically do not know how to coordinate suck-swallow-breathe, so it may take a while.  Once he's able to bottle feed, they will call me in to breast feed.  He can go home once they are certain that he can breast or bottle feed for all of his feedings successfully.  This seems like a cinch, but could actually take weeks to master.  They have told us that most babies go home close to their due dates... that would be in 9 weeks.  Our babies are little miracles, and I know it'll be sooner than that. 

I am so amazed by God's power and control in our lives.  He is always one step ahead!  He always manages to blow us away with the way He takes control of our lives and releases all stress and burden.  I am so comforted by His love and power. I know that BOTH of my babies are living miracles and that his hand is always holding onto them.  

Mauricio is demonstrating how large his head is, between his middle finger and thumb.  His head is about the size of an orange.
Don't tell me I look tired... this was 6 hours after being sliced!