Thursday, April 05, 2018

The Funniest Thing Happened Yesterday

This package from Doug was delivered to our house! Despite living a quick 15 minute drive from our home, he sent Malini a package through the mail. The way we can tell that it’s for her and from him is that it was addressed to “Money.” That’s Doug’s nickname for her. (When she was little she couldn’t pronounce the letter “L” very well, so when she spoke her name it sounded like “Mah-nee” which sounds like money. I remember being at Doug & Kathy’s for a visit and she had responded to a question posed by someone that her name was “Mah-nee” and in reaction he had this deep laugh and repeated back to her incredulously, “Money?!” And that’s been her name ever since.)

She tore it open to find a piece of paper with the word “Alien” on it then proceeded to unroll the bubble wrap to find...a piece of insulation! 😂 He's been redoing the insulation in their house & he sent her a mysterious looking piece of it. And that was it! It's hilarious. And she loved it.
This gift has brought up a few seemingly random things I want to remember about Doug:

His preference is not to handwrite anything. Every personal check we’ve ever received from Doug & Kathy has always been typed out with just the signature in ink.

He has a quiet sense of humor. This reminds me of the time when Jack & I were dating & Kathy had written a note next to their home phone (back when everyone had home phones) that said “Jack, Anupa called you.” Underneath it, in small letters Doug wrote “a jerk.” It was subtle and hilarious. Kind of like this.

For his birthday, all of us gifted Doug a subscription to this service called “Storyworth.” It’s basically a company that sends Doug writing prompts at regular intervals & his responses to the prompts are emailed out to everyone in the family. The questions are ones that reflect back on his life and childhood and reading his responses has been incredible. Since Doug is very quiet, I don’t feel like I know him as well as I’d like. But Doug is a prolific writer and his responses to these writing prompts are long and detailed. I find myself excited on the Monday mornings I receive his emails because it’s an opportunity to learn about what Doug thinks and feels.

Sometimes I mistake Doug’s stoicism & introversion for apathy towards us, but little things like this are evidence that while he doesn’t always show it in traditional ways, he does think about & love his family members. And he might have a soft spot for Malini?
In any case, his gesture has blown my mind.  🤯😍😋🤩🤣

Monday, September 25, 2017

What Happened After Nithi Came Into This World.

While we were enjoying our bonding time in our labor and delivery room, they prepared a private post-partum room for us, which was so nice to have. But Nithi only spent a total of about 5 minutes in it. We were told that while I got set up in my post-partum room on the next floor up, Jack would go with Nithi to the nursery for her first bath and to have some of the routine testing done, which would take about an hour. My dad arrived about 10 minutes before they wheeled me upstairs, and he decided to stay with me. We chatted for awhile about how the delivery went and pretty soon I realized it had been about an hour and a half and Jack hadn't returned with the baby yet and hadn't returned my dad's texts. I asked one of the nurses to check in on them and she returned shortly after to say she had spoken with Jack and that they were keeping her in the nursery a little longer because she was having some trouble breathing, but the nurse said Jack said she would be fine.

Of course I was worried upon hearing this news, since I had no idea what was going on so I started to text Jack to ask him to fill me in. Meanwhile, Kathy and Doug showed up with the kids who were super excited and ready to meet their new little sis...who was nowhere to be found. So instead, they got to hug and cuddle me and tell me all about their days at school. Jack came up shortly after that to let us know they were transferring Nithi to the NICU because her oxygen saturation levels were lower than they would like-she was hovering in the low 90s and they wanted to do some testing to see what the cause might be. It was probably a good thing that everyone was in the room when I heard that news, otherwise I would have been a sobbing mess. But I didn't want the kids to be scared, so I just tried to hold it together as best as I could. I knew Kathy could see and understand what I was feeling though.

The nurses were able to bring Nithi up to see the kids "on the way" to the NICU, which was a blessing because they wouldn't be able to see her in the hospital after that since hospital rules only allowed entrance to parents of the babies in NICU.The kids hugged and kissed and ogled over their new little sister for all of maybe 10 minutes before they whisked her away. They did bend the rules a bit to allow Jack & his dad to go into the NICU together to give her a blessing, which I was grateful for. Then Jack walked everyone out and we began what eventually became our routine of going down to visit Nithi in the NICU every third hour for a temperature check, diaper changing, and nursing session.

A chest x-ray showed there was fluid in her lungs. The night nurse told us that it could be indicative of an infection like pneumonia, so they drew her blood and wanted to see how the blood culture results fared over the course of 48 hours. In the mean time, they wanted to start her on a course of antibiotics in case the culture results revealed infection. The other cause, which usually was common in infants who were either premature (which she was not) and/or c-section (which she also was not) was something called "transient tachypnea." Basically, during a normal vaginal delivery, the fluid in her lungs should have been expelled through the process of birth. For some unknown reason, that had not happened, possibly resulting in this condition.

Initially, they gave Nithi oxygen through a breathing tube taped to her face. Every time we went down to the NICU our eyes would be glued to the monitor which revealed her O2 levels and her heart rate. Our hope was that her O2 levels would be in the high 90s. "Anything over 95" was what the first night nurse told us we should look for. Interestingly enough, we found that when she was cold, her O2 levels would be lower. We also found that when she nursed skin-to-skin, her O2 levels would often rise to the desired levels. After the first day, the medical staff decided to remove the breathing tube to see how she fared, and the results were promising. While her oxygen levels were still a little below normal, she demonstrated she could maintain decent O2 levels.

We thought that was our golden ticket home, but we were frustrated to find out each time we visited the NICU that her stay (and ours) would be extended. In the end, we only stayed an extra 24 hours past when we might otherwise have gone home, but it felt like we had been trapped there forever. The routine of setting our phone alarms every third hour to wake up, use the bathroom (which in and of itself was no small task for me), and walk down to the first floor (for the first 24 hours Jack had to wheel me & my IV infusion machine down in a wheelchair each time) to get buzzed in with a special code to wash our hands in the washing room, before getting to see our little girl who was wrapped up in all kinds of wires attached to various kinds of censors became old... quickly. Every time I would try to nurse her, I had to compete with all kinds of wires. Some were for her IV, some were attached to censors on her chest and foot, some were for her breathing tube, and some were for my IV! She had been poked and prodded everywhere and I just felt so sorry for our poor little girl who was being tortured in the process of saving her life.

On the second day, the neonatologist gave us some hope that since she wasn't exhibiting any signs of infection, she probably had transient tachypnea and that she could probably go home as early as 36 hours after her blood culture, which would be Thursday, September 14 around 11am. We were ecstatic! We became focused on that day & time as our designated release time. She also broke the bad news that she wanted us to start supplementing with formula following each nursing session to provide Nithi with the hydration she needed to flush the antibiotics from her kidneys and her system. I really didn't want to, but felt like I couldn't say no. It almost felt like Nithi was betraying me with the 10-20 cc of formula she would gulp down after nursing, but my milk hadn't come in yet and at least Jack was able to help with the feedings. It was just another reason I wanted to hightail it out of the NICU as soon as possible.

When Thursday rolled around, Jack had to step out to see a patient and I saw the morning nurse alone. She almost made me cry when she told me I shouldn't get my hopes up expecting to leave that day. She told me Nithi's bilirubin levels were a little high and that her CRC was 1.4 (whatever that was), which would prevent her release. In the end, her bilirubin levels and CRC didn't prevent her from being released, and that interaction just proved to be another part of the roller coaster of emotions associated with being in the NICU. The neonatologist on the floor that day echoed what his colleague had told us the day before, which was a relief, but he was much busier with several meetings to attend that day and even after the negative culture results at 36 hours came in, we had to wait several hours for him to become available to officially release us from the hospital.

The blessed moment of release came about 4:30pm on Thursday, September 14. We pulled up to the house & the kids were playing outside in the court with their friends. It was the best moment to hear them yell with excitement, "Nithi's with them! They're home!" They all ran in and we finally had the moment I had been waiting for since she had been born where we all gathered together close as a family and just enjoyed each other and our new little one.

Honestly, the whole experience made us feel like we had been robbed. Literally in a financial sense, but we also felt robbed of the precious time Jack had off from work which was spent in a hospital room away from our baby rather than at home with our kids all together as a family. Maybe because of that experience our homecoming was so much sweeter... and our time together in the past few weeks still echoes with that sweetness. Each day I'm grateful when Jack comes home and the kids are all together and our home just feels...complete. .

Sunday, September 24, 2017

How Nithi Came Into This World.

New at the HARVEYSPOT: We welcomed our baby girl, Nithi Harvey, into the world on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 2:21pm. She weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 19.75 inches long. Here's the story of how she came into this world.

For two weeks before Nithi came, I felt contractions coming and going. The first week I would definitely say were braxton hicks. They weren't painful at all, I could just recognize my belly was tightening for a time and then releasing. It would happen maybe once or twice an hour. The second week, the contractions became a little stronger. It felt like my lung capacity was diminished when a contraction would come on, and some of them would take my breath away. That week the contractions began to be spaced about 8-12 minutes apart and I started to feel antsy. The contractions were strong enough to get my hopes up that real labor was just around the corner, but not strong enough to be of much help with dilation. At my appointment the week before she was born, Dr. Feist said I was 80% effaced, but not dilated at all. He also said she was very high and posterior, which was very similar to my labor with Malini. That week I walked over 15 miles looping around the park by our house.

On Monday, September 11 I was walking around Costco around 12:30pm picking up some last minute items to stock in our new freezer and I noticed those Braxton Hicks contractions suddenly seemed to pick up speed. I didn't want to time them though because I didn't want to get my hopes up thinking they were increasing in frequency only to find out they weren't. So I let it go. But by about 1:30pm I was heading back to Ripon to pick Malini up from school and I had to start timing them because they were coming too frequently-like 2-4 minutes apart. The problem was they still weren't terribly painful. I could talk through them and even though they seemed to take my breath away I still had doubts about whether or not I would be dilated. I called Jack just around the corner from the school to ask him what he thought. We made a plan to have him see patients until about 3pm and then come home to take me to the hospital. I called Kathy to come hang out with the kids and when she arrived and saw how quickly the contractions were coming, she became anxious that waiting until after 3pm would be too long. So the kids headed over to our neighbor across the street, Jody Swanson's, and Kathy took me to the hospital. Jack met us there while I checked into triage around 3pm. Kathy doubled back to pick up the kids from Jody's and Jack stayed with me. In triage the nurse checked and found me to be dilated to 2cm but only about 60% effaced. I was actually pretty excited to already be dilated to a 2, since I was skeptical that I would be dilated at all. When I told her what Dr. Feist had said about 80% effacement at the last appointment, she seemed befuddled that he would be able to measure effacement without any dilation, but stood by her measurement. She asked me to walk around and check back in after an hour to see if things were progressing. She said that in active labor, the average dilation should be 1cm per hour.

Jack & I walked the halls of the labor & delivery floor at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for an hour. The contractions were pretty steady during that time, but as soon as I checked back into triage at the end of the hour, the contractions suddenly slowed down for the first time since 1:30 that afternoon and the nurse found I was still only dilated to a 2. I was definitely disappointed at the time, and we went home around 6:00pm with instructions to return when contractions were strong and 3-5 minutes apart for at least 1 hour.

I felt embarrassed coming home...I had been in labor 3 times before...shouldn't I know what real contractions feel like? Kathy & Jody were super nice about the trouble I felt we had caused them though, and we retreated inside for the night as a family. We played a few rounds of the card game Exploding Kittens with the kids and put them to bed. I asked Jack to walk with me around the park one last time and it was the weirdest walk ever. That night, even though it was still about 90 degrees out at 8:00pm, there was a lightening & thunder storm and it rained during more than half our walk! It was truly odd weather but not so bad for walking in since the rain was cool and felt good in the muggy hot weather, and the wind picked up as well, cooling it down even more. The contractions picked back up again, some were even painful, but there wasn't any real progress. I went to bed that night feeling a little disappointed.

I woke up around 4:30AM on Tuesday, September 12, and within a few minutes felt a fairly painful contraction. For about an hour I timed the contractions which were about 5-7 minutes apart and getting a little brutal. I think I actually woke Jack up around 5AM while trying to breathe through one of them. I was still uncertain whether or not these contractions would come with regular frequency but they were definitely feeling powerful enough to spur labor on. I showered around 5:30AM & the hot water was by far the most comfortable way to labor. We called Jack's mom around 6:30AM when the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and still pretty painful. I was nervous about laboring in front of the kids because at this point each contraction required me to breathe in and vocalize out to get through it. I didn't want to scare them. But Jack thought it would be fine.

Kathy arrived at our place around 7:00AM. The kids had just woken up & Jack was making them "egg-in-bread" for breakfast. Chetan asked, "Is Nithi coming today?" When we told him we weren't sure, but she probably would be born that day, he pumped his fist & said "yes!" to show his excitement. It was really sweet. Malini was probably the most anxious during this time, and would be over the course of the following few days as well. The fear of the unknown and sleeping in a different place made her feel a little out of sorts. During the contractions, I'm not sure what Dhevan thought, but while I found it most comfortable to bend over onto a chair or the counter and bury my head in my arms while breathing in & mmm-ing out, Dhevan came over and followed Jack's example and rubbed my back through the contractions.

After a family prayer, we left for the hospital just in time to hit a bit of morning rush hour traffic. But we arrived at the hospital around 8:00AM. The triage admitter and nurses were nowhere to be found at the time though, so we had to check in at a different place and wait while someone tracked them down. When we finally made it into triage the nurse warned me that if I wasn't dilated to a 5 they couldn't admit me, but when she checked me (which turned out to be right in the middle of a contraction & ridiculously painful) she found that even though Nithi was still high and posterior, I was magically dilated to between a 5 and 6! I was so elated! I had never dilated on my own that far without pain medication and even though the contractions were definitely painful I was still handling them. Jack's cousin Lisa had mentioned she could handle anything for a minute and that thought kept me going through those contractions.

They admitted us  around 8:30AM & set us up in our room in labor & delivery around 9:00AM. After another hour of steady, painful contractions I was starting to get really tired and would involuntarily shake in between contractions. The nurse offered me a fast-acting pain reliever called Fentanyl because the anesthesiologist was still tied up with another patient and an epidural was still about a half hour away. I decided to take it and felt super high pretty much immediately. The room felt like it was expanding around me and when people talked to me they sounded really far away and it felt like it took me forever to respond to them or to move as they instructed. It definitely took the edge off the contractions though, and they felt very similar to the way they had felt the night before, just taking my breath away and not really having much bite to them. The fentanyl was still in full force when the anesthesiologist came in, but I still somehow managed to writhe in pain with the first needle stick and he had to redo it a second time. The second time worked though, and the contractions became even more mellow, so that I hardly even noticed them. It was such a welcome relief from the pain I had been feeling, I was so grateful!

Around 11:00AM the nurse checked me and I was dilated to 6cm. At around 1:00PM, I suddenly felt a popping feeling  and a trickle of liquid during one of the contractions and we called for the nurse to let her know we thought my water had broken. I was still only dilated to 6cm at that time though. However, within 5 minutes I was dilated to 7cm and Nithi's heart rate had dropped from 110 to 70 bps. Three nurses came in and they paged the doctor to come in and started me on oxygen. It was a scary time, and too reminiscent of what had happened with Chetan. I became very worried about her health and whether or not she would have to be delivered by c-section. The nurses made a few attempts to place a scalp monitor on Nithi's head before they were successful and during that time of chaos my blood pressure spiked to 179/131, even though I had had low blood pressure during every other reading during labor. One of the nurses recognized I was panicking and she put her hands on my face and shoulders and brought her face close to mine and told me I needed to focus on deep breathing to get enough oxygen to my baby. That alone helped me to get a grip. During that time, Jack also gave us a priesthood blessing. It was unlike any I had received before. We were there in the room surrounded by hospital personnel and with tears rolling down my cheeks and an oxygen mask on my face, Jack put his hands on my head and said the words in his mind. He said, "I felt the need to give a priesthood blessing and urged that God bless Anupa and Nithi to raise her BP." He said he had never done anything like that before, where he basically was using the priesthood to command a specific outcome, but in that chaotic moment, that is what came to him.

The blessing worked and by 1:53pm her heart rate was back up to 120 bps, I was dilated to 8cm and Dr. Feist who had entered the room towards the end of the fuss said she was now at +1 station. My theory is that she had been so high that when my water broke, she was immediately plunged downward at a much quicker rate of speed than might ordinarily happen during the course of labor and she was distressed by that. Not too long after that they said I was ready to push and instead of waiting for a contraction they coached me to just breathe in and out and push. With about 5-6 pushes her head came out and the doctor said he would do the rest.

As with each other child, I could feel the exact moment she was born, even though I couldn't see it. Jack was able to cut the cord and the nurse wrapped up the baby and put her immediately on my chest and there she was-Nithi was finally here! I cried again, but this time it was tears of relief and joy that she was okay and she was here. We snuggled and even though she didn't know what she was doing at first she nursed within the first hour on both sides. They let us stay in the room for about 2 hours bonding with her afterward, which was so nice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Dana's Baby Shower

New at the HARVEYSPOT: Vinay & Dana are expecting!

To celebrate, we decided to host a small traditional Indian style baby shower for Dana at my parents' house after getting the green light from my Mom's oncologist. We invited family members who live close by and a few of my mom's close friends. Jack set up outdoor lights in the backyard for mood lighting and I made sugar cookies for favors. As a gift, I made their son, Ajay, a couple of baby blankets & bibs which I used to decorate a diaper motorcycle in Ajay's honor.

My dad was in charge of ordering the cake for the baby shower at Costco. We decided it would probably be the last cake he would be in charge of ordering. A skateboarder cake for a baby shower?! LoL

A Few Pregnant Pics

I'm not the type of person to take a ton of selfies, and any selfies I do take are not very likely to end up plastered on social media, unless they include other people. However, since this is probably the last baby we are going to have, I have been trying to take a few pictures of how the pregnancy has been progressing, just to have for the record.
21 Weeks
33 Weeks

35 Weeks

Super Swollen Feet

36 Weeks

37 Weeks
39 Weeks

First Day of School

New at the HARVEYSPOT: It's the end of summer! School began early in August this year and found us with a 5th grader, 1st grader, and Preschooler in the house! Chetan has Mr. Martin this year, Malini has a new teacher to Colony Oak-Mrs. Brown, and Dhevan will be in the Purple Penguin class at Ripon Grace Preschool with Miss Sabrina.

Back to the Present: 12 Years and Counting...

Jack & I celebrated our 12th anniversary together by attending a session at the Oakland Temple (probably the last one before I pop!) and having dinner at Ernie's Restaurant in Manteca. I had never been but Jack had been taken out there on various occasions for professional dinners and raved about the food. Jack ordered the Buffalo steak, despite his real obsession with their filet mignon, and I actually ordered seafood...mostly because it was served on a bed of risotto that sounded really tempting. Jack made the reservations & it was so neat they printed a custom message for us on our menus!