Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: The Mark of Athena

I actually finished reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan back in January.  I've just been so busy preparing for the baby that I just never sat down and wrote my review of it.

Can I tell you that I absolutely loved it!?  I get a huge kick out of this series that Riordan has put together.  I started reading the Percy Jackson series years ago and have followed it along ever since.

The Mark of Athena is his best work yet.  The 7 of the prophecy have finally all joined forces in an attempt to save the world.  There was so much more than the past books had to offer.  There is a lot of wit and humor and action that I have come to expect, but this book was just more.  I think what helped seal a lot of it for me was getting to be in on Annabeth's point of view.  This is an angle we've never gotten to see before, since Percy Jackson and the Olympians was all from Percy's first person perspective and in The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune Annabeth was hardly present in.

Annabeth is the daughter of Athena. She is smart and logical and really thinks things out.  She is crazy about Percy, her boyfriend, who she has just been reunited with.  But the trouble is that even though she finally has what she has been looking for for month, Percy, she now has a new task that has been given to her by Athena.  She can't tell anyone about it.  It can cause a lot of problems what she has to do and she is scared of losing what she just got back.  We get to see a lot of how Annabeth thinks and the fears she faces.

The other highlight for me was Leo.  I think out of everyone Leo is my favorite.  The son of Hephaestus he is creative and useful.  He is also just down right funny.  Leo keeps the story rolling with his one liners and comments.  But he is also just and awesome character.

One of the best thing about this series is how much my kids love it.  After I finish reading the book I get the audio version and we all listen to it together as a family.  Sidda and MJ and even Michael really enjoy hearing the story.  And I'm sure as soon as Anya is big enough she will enjoy this family time that we have together as well.

I can't wait to see what happens in The House of Hades.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Introducing Anya Nicole

So I know that I have been seriously slacking lately.  But I do have a valid excuse, my little Anya is here!  Today she is 19 days old.  Born on February 28th at 3:52pm.  She weighed 7lbs 5oz and was 19 1/2 inches long.  She is beautiful!

So now I'll tell you how it all went down.  I had a scheduled induction at 2am.  Do you know how hard it is to go to sleep to wake up at 12:30am to get ready to go to the hospital to deliver and meet your baby?  It's super difficult.  I maybe slept an hour total.  I was just too amped up.

39 weeks and 6 days
We get to the hospital, sign all the paperwork and get things moving.  I get hooked up to an iv and they start me on a pitocin drip.  All is good for the first couple of hours. I can start feeling contractions and they really aren't that bad at first.  The nurses have told me that they started me on a very low dose and it will be upped periodically.  Then I start to really feel the contractions.  And they hurt.  This is my third child.... I know that contractions hurt.  How come I always forget how much?  Ouch.  I wasn't enjoying myself anymore.  I was soon ready for my epidural.  (Yes, I know, I am weak.  I so do not like pain.)

So get my epidural.  It was actually the easiest to receive out of all three kids.  And slowly the pains melts away.  It's not too bad.  I can still feel  the pressure of the contractions but the pain is gone.  I can actually semi feel my legs and can move them around on my own for the most part.  I am pretty content for a few hours.  I'm laying in bed, relaxing as much as possible, chit chatting with Michael, my mom and Michael's mom.  I get checked every once in a while to see how I am progressing.  All looks good.  I'm moving along slowly.  They even broke my water and I didn't even realize it.  As long as we're moving forward I'm pretty happy.

But suddenly I start to feel pain.  Not a little pain.  A lot of pain.  On my right side.  In the front and the back.  It was like two points of localized pain and it hurt so bad.  I did my best to breathe through these now very strange contractions.  The anesthesiologist was called back in the check on me.  They started to shoot medications into the catheter in my back.  They tried a few different things, I'm not really sure what was going on, I just hurt and wanted to pain to stop.  But finally the pain started to lessen.  I eventually went back to that happy numb state where I had no pain, but now I was so numb I couldn't move my legs.  And all I really wanted to do was lay of my side, but whichever leg would be on top would keep falling off the other.  It was almost comical.  I had to keep asking Michael to put my leg back on the bed or to push it this way or that.  It drove me CRAZY.  I just wanted to move my legs on my own but I know longer could.

Not too long after, maybe an hour or so the pain started coming back, and it was INTENSE.  I'm have no idea how long I was contracting in pain on the right side of my body, with numb legs and frustration.  All I know is that I laid there on my side, trying to breathe, groaning, crying and getting very angry every time the blood pressure cuff went off while I was contracting.  (By the end of the day I HATED to blood pressure cuff.)  I was miserable.  They tried again to stop the pain (again, I know, I am a wimp) but there was just no stopping it.  They pumped me full of stuff again.  Whatever medications to put just weren't helping.  I was finally given then option to either deal with the pain or have them try to re-do the epidural.  The thought of trying to sit up in the bed and have them try to put a new catheter in my back seemed absolutely ridiculous!  I don't remember how dilated I was but it was far enough along for me to just opt for the pain.

Soon after I started feeling that pressure.  The baby is coming kind of pressure.  They checked me.  I was 9cm.  I needed to be a little patient but she was almost here.  We waited a little longer.  They called my doctor, who luckily, his office is connected to the hospital, to let him know the baby was coming.  They checked my again and I was a 10!  Hallelujah!  Now I just needed to wait.  The told me not to push, I tried to hold off.  I could feel her coming.  At least she took her time.  Right before the doc came in I was asked if I would let some students observe.  I said sure.  At this point the entire world could be in that room watching and gawking.  As long as they got this baby out of me I didn't care who was there.

My first time holding Anya
Finally, finally we were ready to roll!  The doc was there, and I was ready to push.  And I pushed.  Still feeling the contractions on my right side, in the front and in my back.  I could feel everything but only on my right side.  I gave her one big push and her head was out.  As the next contraction began I was told not to push and my doc worked her shoulders and she came out.  I only had to push once.  And then it was over.  Anya was here!  And I cried.  The pain stopped as soon as she came out.  And I just looked at her laying on me while Michael let our mothers cut the umbilical cord.

Wow.  She was worth every second of the pain.  But I am pretty sure we are done having kids.  Three is enough.

What a little beauty
Sidda and MJ first visit
I know this is already long but the story is not over yet.  We only got four or five hours with Anya before she had to taken to the NICU.  When they measured her bilirubin levels they shot up very quickly.  She was a beautiful color when she was born but just a few hours later she was orange.  They tested her and she was coombs+ and jaundiced.  The bilirubins can effect the liver and if the levels get too high can cause brain damage.  She was this way because Michael and I have different blood types causing her to be born with two types.  When her body chose the type of blood she would have it was not the same as mine, so essentially the antibodies from me were attacking her red blood cells and making it difficult for her body to process and get rid of it.

Under the bililights
Michael holding Anya on the bililight pad.
Well, the answer for jaundice is to spend time under the bililights and to get as much in her as possible.  We had to start supplementing with formula immediately.  The more she takes in, the more she puts out and she would literally poop out the bilirubins.  She was in the NICU for four days.  It was some of the hardest days of my life.  She was hooked up to monitors and an iv.  She had to be under the bililights at all tines.  She could only come out to eat every 3 hours.  So that is how those four days were spent.  Back and forth every 3 hours, to get to take the time to hold and feed her.  In between I spent my time pumping to try to start building a supply of milk.  My milk didn't even come in until the third day.

Going from yellow to pink.
Going home
Michael and I barely got to see Sidda or MJ.  All they wanted was to go home.  All I wanted was to have all my family together.  It was hard.  But on day four we finally got to take her home!  We finally had out whole family together under the same roof.

So now, here we are.  Anya is 19 days old.  Sidda and MJ adore her and she is a wonderful baby. She would be even more wonderful if she slept an little better at night, but it will all come with time.  It is so amazing to have our family complete.  It felt so natural to add her in to our little family.  I don't know how we lasted so long without her.

I know Michael has more information on so much of what happened between labor and delivery to her time in the NICU.  It's so hard to keep all the info straight.  Maybe he will fill us in at some point.

Sidda get to hold Anya

MJ get to hold Anya
Cuddly girl
Anya 18 days old

Just the girls