Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We made it home.....Now who is going to help me?

We walked in the NICU Saturday morning for our daily 9am feeding. Chris and I were just told the day prior that Gianluca would most likely be going home Monday- Wednesday of the following week. We had prepared for this mentally and planned on doing a few outstanding things prior to his arrival home. That morning the nurse informed me that Luca had hit his goal of 8 bottles and was being looked at for early discharge. They asked me if I would like to "room in" with him that evening at the hospital for a type of "trial run". This way if I had any questions about taking care of a preemie, I would have a readily available staff of well qualified individuals there to assist me. I ABSOLUTELY took them up on this offer.  Gianluca and I made it through the night....through the feedings every three hours, pumping after each feeding, operating the monitor that goes home with him that regulates his respiratory and heart rates, and consistently going over what to do in the event he stops breathing.....I have never felt more unequipped for a situation in my life!!!! For the record...I rarely like doing things that I..
a. haven't prepared for  
b. haven't calculated the probability of failure to success...  and 
c. has anything to do with being responsible for the life of another :) ..... 
In this case...a, b, and c were taking place simultaneously! None the less....we made it...and I couldn't help but find peaceful beauty in the fact that my son and I got a chance to spend the night together...just figuring each other out!
                                                                           First bath
 Take home baby monitor... blessing in disguise. This gem allows Chris and I to actually get sleep instead of hovering over the baby making sure he breathes. If something were to go wrong, it sounds an alarm that resembles that of a tsunami siren....can't miss it :)
                                                             Baby love at 3am...

Chris and I came back to the hospital Sunday morning to pick up our baby and bring him home. I have never in my life been more nervous than I was in that moment. I felt like throwing up, crying, jumping out of the car, and/or stopping to get a bottle of champ to both celebrate and  drowned myself with in hopes it would aide in getting me through this moment....As we walked in, my heart never felt so much love. He was ours and he was coming home to be a part of our growing family. 
It has been two days and I am proud to say that my opinions of mothers have completely changed. It is by far...the hardest, most selfless, exhausting job i have ever had...and again...I'm only two days in hahah.

To sum up this experience so far...I have never felt so connected to two human beings than I do to my husband and baby boy. My loyalty to them will never cease. 

"True love is boundless like the ocean and, swelling within one, spreads itself out and, crossing all boundaries and frontiers, envelops the whole world" 
— Mahatma Gandhi

                                                                            In progress...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A perfect fit...

Life as we know it does not stop, slow down, pause, or care when changes occur. It does not feel empathy, or even notice when you are struggling to juggle something new in your life. Time doesn't acknowledge the physical or emotional newness...and basically belts out " MAKE IT FIT" as it continues to pass you by. So...that's what we are doing... making it fit.  Some days it  feels like we haven't had a second to breathe, eat, or talk...Between the three feedings we take part in, training when we are with him, the 19 different alarms that go off in the NICU setting Chris and I into perpetual panic, the 7-12 "pumping" times required to provide nutrition for our baby and both of us still working and existing in our own life....it feels at times that we are barely staying afloat. Being new parents has proven to be tough....being NICU "new" parents is proving to be nothing less than a roller coaster world of emotions leaving us in a constant state of questioning.

Ironically...amongst all of this....there are these perfect moments of silence..where everything goes away and time stops. Contradictory to the above....One of the sweetest things about welcoming our new baby is learning how perfectly we all fit together, as if , there was always a perfect space for him in  our family.

Amongst the newness, chaos, and separation I feel....I also feel so content and peaceful, knowing Chris and I get to be parents to Gianluca....and his beautifully sweet spirit.
Again, thank you to everyone who has been patient with Chris and I, as we take each moment to bond, and learn about our new addition.
                                                              Chris's first Father's Day

Many of you ask about Gianluca's health, and status as far as his arrival home. He is doing fantastic! Taking 6 bottles a day and successfully has begun breastfeeding in small increments. He is 4 lbs 7oz  and is in an open crib. They don't give us an exact discharge date,because preemies often take 4 steps forwards and 3 back. We have seen this happen, and all it means is that he needs more time:) he is still only 34 weeks old... They think he will most likely be kept for 1-2 more weeks. Your prayers, and encouragement are indescribable! Thank you xoxoxo

Thursday, June 16, 2011

La vita e' bella...

Where to begin... If you can imagine your entire life...worries, cares, ideals, opinions ..all changing in a matter of moments, then you can begin to understand the unbelievable change that has happened within my heart since Gianluca Mitchell Porcelli...my baby..my love..was born on June 11th at 4:48 pm xoxxo my life has forever been changed. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to share of his birth story, seeing that it was the most sacred moment Chris and I have ever experienced... What I came up with, was this..

Gianluca's life, since the minute he was conceived has been completely controlled by God's will. Everything Chris and I have gone through has been a small intricate part to a plan bigger than we can ever fully understand. When I first saw my baby, it all made since...I felt like I had always known him..from his first movements that mimiced the way he moved in my belly, to they way he looked at me when I first stroked his cheek. He is by far the most amazing accomplishment ...gift ...we could ever receive. He was set on coming early. Which if anyone knows me, should find this to be ironic..seeing that I haven't been early for anything in my entire life hahaha... I went into the hospital at 30.2 weeks in preterm labor. The doctors and nurses did an amazing job keeping Gianluca cozy for almost 3 more weeks while he developed. At 32.6 weeks, he had enough and insisted on joining our family xoxox

This picture makes me laugh because I was 5 cm dilated and insisted on taking a picture to capture the moment. I think our faces truly describe "active labor" hahah
                                                                      My baby love

As of today, 6/16/11...Gianluca has been in the world for 5 days. The NICU nurse this morning referred to him as the "angel baby". She said there were so many concerns they were told to look for as they waited for him to arrive on June 11th. He has shown everyone that God has had his life planned before we even knew he was coming to us. He is currently 4.2lbs, taking a bottle everyother feeding, and will be attempting to breastfeed tomorrow. He is half way to completing his goal of 8 bottles ( a bottle every feeding) a day. Once this is met, he will be able to come home :) My wonderful friend Kit put it perfectly when she said, " if he's anything like his dad, he'll be putting those 8 bottles down in no time!!!" hahah
He is able to maintain his own body temperature, and has no more signs of jaundice. Today they moved him from the isolate and into an open crib. Chris and I are getting hands on training!!!! We both feed him 3x a day and change his diapers. It is quite a sight hahah. We love you all and are so grateful for all the love, support, phone calls, and emails we receive everyday. Chris and I will never be able to express how much all of it means to us. I cannot wait for all of you to meet the handsome Gianluca...he is simply amazing!!!oxoxo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This territory goes uncharted...

It has been a few days since my last post, and much has happened. I have begun forming new friendships with two of the other girls on bed rest. We all religiously watch each of  the baby screens to see if one of us is going into labor, and bombard the nurses, who are NOT allowed to tell us anything about other patients, for updated news on each others conditions. I think we are wearing the nurses down, because a few will deliver updates without having to ask anymore:) The highlight of our days is our "freedom roll" outside to the courtyard, next to the fountain, in a direct path with the blazing sun. We all secretly hope to get amazing tans while we soak up our 30 minutes of sunshine as we pretend we are at a pool "VIP-ing" it up in our private roped off section hahha (We have a lot of time to imagine people!!!!). Nicky and Jordan came on our "roll" with us the other day, where we convinced the nurse to take us to the gift shop on our way back in to "have a look around" :)
Our stalking screen :)
Off to the "pool"
Gift shop fun

Jordan and Nicky having way too much fun xoxoxo

Yesterday, a turn of events happened, where once again, I was forced to roll with this crazy pregnancy and soak in the beauty of this unpredictable adventure. Doctors and nurses came in informing me I had a leak in my fluid bag and they needed to do an ultrasound to measure the amount of liquid the baby had to move around in. The doctor confidently proclaimed that it was a very small leak, and that the baby had ample fluid to move and grow in. He still predicted I could carry this baby possibly to 36 weeks if I kept very calm, stayed laying on my side, and had restricted movements (bathroom, shower, and outside privileges). I knew I had to buck up and deal with this as much as I loved my small bits of freedom. Approximately 6 minutes after the doctor left, I looked at Chris with a ghost like face and said, "Bubbs....I am soaking wet!". My water had completely broken!!!!!! This changed everything. Doctors and nurses flew in and out of my room, IVs were hooked up, baby was put on  24 hour monitoring along with my contractions, and education specialist were sent in to help us prepare for a premature baby. To say the least I have had every emotion possible, some at the same time, along with feelings of helplessness knowing our baby is still 8 weeks early. 
   The doctors have assured me they are confident, because the baby received steroids, that he is healthy and will be completely healthy upon his "chosen" arrival. It has been 24 hours since my water broke. The doctors are not doing anything to stop birth at this time. All of this truly IS and HAS been completely on God's timing. They predict he will be here in the next 48 hours but WHO KNOWS??? haha If he doesn't come by 34 weeks (June 19th), they plan on inducing me and getting him out to prevent any type of infection from setting in.
    I thought the title of this blog " This Territory Goes Uncharted", was so appropriate based on this wild journey and exciting future ahead of Chris and I, that even if we tried to plan for, will continue to surprise us beyond our skills and readiness for the future. The only thing I am certain of, is the immense amount of love I have for this baby boy. What a blessing he is to me xoxoxo
- Jana

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Impromptu Celebration!

I want to start off by stating that yesterday was such a beautiful day filled with family, friendship, and  celebration for the anticipated arrival of a very loved little boy. When I checked into labor and delivery 13 days ago, my doctor informed me that I would not be able to attend my baby shower that my dear friends Nicky, Jordan and Katie had spent so much time preparing and planning for. I am not going to pretend that I was anything less than heartbroken. This, like everything else I had planned for, needed to be let go of and not dwelled upon. I involuntarily broke the news to my friends and family, who of course, all warmly understood, and told them we would celebrate after Baby P's birth. The nurses later informed us that a small, intimate gathering could take place in my room, as long as we kept it to a minimum. So...my friends were off planning again, trying to get my family and those closest to me in my room, by Saturday, to shower Baby P and toast to his soon arrival.

I woke yesterday with such anticipation, it felt like Christmas morning! I watched the clock religiously until my family and friends arrived at 12:00 pm.  I can honestly say, my 18x20 room was instantly filled with love that was so big it could not be contained. Nurses constantly walked by shutting our door because the noise volume was heard throughout the delivery hall ways! Poor women trying to focus during birth were overwhelmed by the sounds of laughter, celebration, and a little Jack Johnson. 
Each of these women created a memory that will forever live in my heart. This reminded me of the saying "We should embrace the bad day's, because without them good days wouldn't feel so precious.” 
I was so exhausted after this party...because in case you didn't know, bed rest is a very tough job ..haha...I took a two hour nap and didn't even flinch when my nurse came in to wake me up twice! 
Thank you again to those of you who were a part of the shower, will be a part of our August celebration, and/or have sent me encouraging emails over the past 2 weeks. I am so grateful for all of you xoxoxo

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Day of Sunshine

A couple days ago my friend Katie was visiting as the nurse came in and announced " we are taking a trip outside!". I almost wet my pants, I was so excited!!!! You would have thought I was raised in a cave based on my reaction! The nurse brought in a wheelchair, grabbed a pillow for me to sit on, and we were on our way. Katie pushed me into the hallway, where I met 3 other girls on bed rest. The minute I saw them, I whispered...Oh my gosh Katie...get me a comb...GET ME A COMB!". They looked amazing!!! Hair was done, makeup on, fingers and toes painted, and all dressed in cute little outfits. I almost died!! I looked like I had rolled out of a bush, threw on pajamas, and forgot to paint my eyebrows!!!hahah
We proceeded outside for some well needed sunshine and quickly got to know each other.
They began asking me questions..."so how many babies are you carrying?, how long have you been here? how many weeks are you?
I answered them confidently, thinking their responses to the same questions would most likely be similar.
" 1 baby boy, 11 days, and a little over 31 weeks"
To put it nicely....they were soooooo unimpressed!!! Each of the girls were carrying 2, 3, and 4, babies!!!! they had been here for over 10 weeks, and none of them were over 31 weeks along!! I have never in my life felt like more of a wimp!!!!! My attitude immediately changed, and I refuse EVER to feel sorry for myself!!!!haha
Upon my arrival back to in the room, I did what any girl would do......I called a manicure/pedicurist to come in and make me feel normal!!!!!
From this day forward, I vowed to get up each morning, brush my hair, put on some make up and STOP acting like I am waiting out a jail sentence! We will be taking another trip outside in a day or so...this time, the nurse said Chris could bring BELLA LOOOVE!!!!! Don't be surprised if I inform you that I actually "did pee pants" when this happens!!!!! I can't wait to see her squished little face!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day #10...June is here

 This morning I woke up feeling like I was trapped in the movie "Groundhogs Day".... Little changes each day....but there are a few I look forward to; a new nurse every 12 hours, clean sheets, Dr. updates, meals, and my family and friends coming to visit.  Today I am 31.4 weeks and happy he is still cozy and growing. The doctors tell me that for every day he stays in me, it would be two days he would have to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). 

The doctors have been monitoring baby P and my contractions for an hour, 2x a day, which is significantly less than the 24 hour monitoring we began with. The top line is his heartbeat and activity levels. Yesterday it took the nurse 7 adjustments in an hour to track this crazy baby's movements. He is proving to be wild, just like his dad :)
My life lately has been very different. My mom described it best when she said, " You have never been a controlling person, in fact, you're just the opposite. However, you have always been extremely controlling of your environment. Your life, your decisions, your path, your faith, and your privacy. More so now that you are becoming a mother". I think this puts things in perspective for me and explains the tight grip I am trying to maintain, when it is obvious I no longer have control.
Today, the doctors told me my job right now is to "wait".... I hate this..but then it got me thinking

In my life there have been more difficult times..there will be more difficult times...and every woman has a different story when it comes to bringing their child into the world.....and this is ours :)
I am reminded to "embrace this beauty and make something of it, even if its not what I expected".

Baby Boy Crawling Clip Art

My beautiful friend Courtney from high school sent me a link to a blog that moved me beyond words. It is a blog about the "small things" in life and it touches on this unbelievable woman's birth story of her daughter who was born with special needs. A plan that she as well, was not expecting.  The link is below if you want to check it out. She wrote something that resonated deep in my heart when she said, " To be loved....is the greatest feeling one can have". This is exactly how my friends and family have made me feel.  They have been on this journey with Chris and I from the beginning and continue to amaze me with their loyalty as we persist on. This alone means more to Chris and I than we will ever be able to express. In turn, I hope I am able to support each of you in your lives as we move through this beautiful life together :) xoxoxoxo