Cami two week update

IMG_3273Can she really be two weeks old already? Time has seemed to evaporate and I live each day in moments. What’s crazy to think about too, is even though she’s two weeks old today, tomorrow is technically my due date!

Overall we are all doing really well. Cami is a really good baby. She eats really well (thankful for Lansinoh and Tylenol!) and sleeps really well. She loves being cuddled and there are plenty of arms in the house to hold her!

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We have nicknamed her Squishy and Squeaker. Hailee still calls her Kayla, or simply baby sister.

Hailee is really great with her little sister, even though Cami isn’t all that fun for her right now. Hailee is really patient with how much Cami takes me away from her and doesn’t seem to resent how many hours a day I spend sitting with Cami, feeding her and snuggling her.

IMG_2826It makes my heart happy to see that Hailee has another sibling to love on. I love seeing Hailee come in the morning and announce if Cami is awake or not and then proceeds to bounce her and sing to her.

It’s also been extremely helpful to have my mom around and Chad to have a flexible work schedule these last two weeks. This provides Hailee with some extra attention and diversion while I’m busy being mom to a newborn. It also allows me to get an extra two hours of sleep each morning as I pass off Cami to Grammy or her Dad.

Speaking of sleep, it has gotten somewhat better for me. We ended up buying and overnight shipping this baby monitor: The snuza.

IMG_3205It has helped me feel less anxious about sleeping, knowing that an alarm will sound if the snuza stops detecting movements for 20 seconds. This is extremely helpful as the more sleep deprived I get, the less I can keep myself in a light stage of sleep to listen for her. It has also helped me to not panic as much when I wake up and Cami has been asleep for a long period of time.

Emotionally, I’m doing really well. Yes I have teary moments. A lot of times, those teary moments are of gratitude and love. There is something so healing about having Cami to hold and love. Other times the teary moments are about grief and fear. Largely I am happy. I feel more patient with Cami, I think as  result of what we’ve gone through. Although I did get a smidge frustrated at 3am last night as I changed her jammies three times because she kept peeing each time I took her diaper off! But every morning I wake up and say a prayer of gratitude for another day with my little girls!

IMG_2893And I feel like Charlie is close to us right now too. I feel closer to him since Cami has come to our family, than I have in awhile. Charlie’s orchids are blooming like crazy and I feel like he’s telling me hello each time I see them. I also feel like he’s been watching over us during this vulnerable time of transition for our little family. I feel really grateful for those feelings of comfort and connection to my Charlie angel.

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Nights

Nights are hard for anyone with a newborn. But they have an added level of HARD being a SIDS mom. I dread nighttime. It’s when all my anxiety peaks. I struggle with unwanted memories of losing Charlie and I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to lose Cami too. Needless to say I have many tearful nights, ruminating and feeling pure terror.

To try to manage my anxiety, I obsess over every little detail of her sleeping arrangement.

We originally got a bassinet to put right next to our bed and got an angel pad to go underneath it. However, the first night home, when we put Cami in it, within seconds she had rolled over onto her side. Rolly Polly is one of her nicknames precisely because this little girl will not stay on her back!

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Well, as you can imagine, that freaks us out. Especially since when Charlie died, he had flipped onto his stomach during his nap. I couldn’t handle having her sleep in the bassinet knowing she might roll over. So instead we put her in a bouncer next to our bed. We asked our pediatrician and others about this and they said this is fine. The latest thinking about SIDS, according to one Perinatologist, is that SIDS most likely occurs due to a build up of carbon dioxide and the baby goes deeper and deeper into a sleep from which they don’t wake up. Hence, all the recommendations for safe sleep include sleeping on the back, having no bumpers or blankets in the bed, no co-sleeping, keep the room cool and have fresh air circulating, etc.

So for me, I am super motivated to keep this girl from flipping over or having her face near anything that could cause her to breathe in her own exhale repeatedly. The bouncer is the most comfortable solution for us right now as it keeps Cami on her back. I know there might be some developmental considerations like increased risk for a flattened head, but I care more about her living first and foremost, and I know I can do things during the day to minimize likelihood of a flattened skull (e.g. tummy time).

What’s hard about the bouncer is we do not have a monitor on her. We were hoping to get our hands on an owlet monitor but it looks like that won’t happen for another few weeks as it’s not available on the market yet. We are in contact with the inventors and are hopeful they will let us use a demo version and give them feedback on the product…but all of that is up in the air at present. Our pediatrician and another Perinatologist have told us that monitors have not been shown to prevent SIDS and may in fact increase anxiety in parents. But regardless I feel I will probably sleep better once I know something is monitoring her when I am not!

So beyond the obsession over where to sleep her, I also obsess about clothing, swaddling, and air conditioning! I am constantly feeling her skin to see if she is too warm. I lay awake listening to her breathe. I am waking up all the time, instinctively (and with some panic) to reach over and see if she is breathing. I woke up this morning with my arm asleep off the side of the bed, touching her bouncer.

I hate how newborns have irregular breathing patterns! I also hate how sometimes they breathe so softly it’s hard to hear.

Cami is truly an awesome newborn. She will go for four hours (at least) at night between feedings. This is both a blessing and a curse to me. If we hadn’t lost Charlie to SIDS I would be overjoyed to have a newborn sleep that long! But now it just panics me. I set an alarm for four hours between feedings and end up waking her up because I’m terrified to let her go any longer than that without waking up to eat. In between those feedings I jerk awake multiple times and check on her. The first night home from the hospital with her, I only got 3 hours of sleep. When Chad woke up in the morning he found me in tears, holding Cami in the rocker.

I am just so scared to lose her. I realize logically that there is only so much I can do to keep her safe. But emotionally I just wish I could not need sleep for the next year! I hate knowing that Charlie died while I was sleeping. It haunts me. I can’t stand the idea of that happening again. I am already so in love with little Cami. I already fantasize about her growing up in our family and what adventures she and Hailee will have together. Along with this happiness comes pure fear. I’m ok during the day when I can have constant eyes on her, or know that Chad or my mom is with her. But at night…it’s a different story as hours pass with no eyes on her.

I find myself praying frequently. I am asking repeatedly to be able to keep this little one and raise her. What’s hard is that I feel after losing Charlie, faith isn’t about getting what I want. I’m trying to trust that Heavenly Father has my best interests at heart, whatever happens. This is admittedly hard for me to do, because when Charlie died, it certainly didn’t feel like God had my best interests at heart. But I know my vision is limited and I’m trying. And I will also keep asking to keep little Cami. No harm in asking right?

I also know with time my anxiety will decrease and there will be sleep in my future.

And despite my anxiety and lack of sleep, I feel constantly grateful that I have a baby to lose sleep over! I just love our rainbow!

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A rainbow birth story

Monday, July 8th I went to work one final time before officially leaving on maternity leave.

IMG_3102I thought that perhaps I was finishing work prematurely and that I’d be bored for a week or more at home, just anticipating going into labor. But in service of thinking I had a week at home, I left a lot of things undone and planned on seriously “nesting” starting the next day.

Well, our little rainbow had other plans. At 3:30am on Tuesday, July 9 I woke up to a painful contraction. While it was painful, it wasn’t the first time I had been woken up by a contraction so I didn’t think much of it and tried to go back to sleep. I was unsuccessful because about ten minutes later another painful contraction hit. Still thinking it didn’t mean anything I changed positions and tried to go back to sleep. Needless to say, the contractions only got more painful and closer together. At about 4am I decided to start timing the contractions.

In between contractions, I started praying. As you can imagine, this felt like an incredibly vulnerable time for me and I was scared. With both Hailee and Charlie, we had times during labor that were quite scary. In my prayers I asked that if I was in labor, could it please be a smooth labor, absent of fear?I also prayed that Charlie could be there with us through this experience.

By 4:30 the contractions were about 8 minutes apart and not showing any signs of slowing! I decided I should probably wake Chad up. I poked Chad and he groggily rolled over. I told him, “I think I might be in labor.” Upon hearing that, he woke up really fast, jumped out of bed and immediately started getting ready to go. Whereas I was somewhat hesitant to start getting ready to go. I didn’t want to rush to the hospital prematurely. Also, I was just turning 38 weeks that day! Could I really be in labor?

I hopped in the shower to see what the contractions would do and they only continued to get stronger and closer together. Pretty soon I felt myself no longer talking through them but instead wincing and trying to just breathe. We decided to call my friend Sarah who lives down the street to come over so we could head to the hospital. We hurriedly packed a hospital bag (another thing that had been on my To Do list for later that week) and barely remembered to grab the camera. Sarah arrived at our house and we left for the hospital by 5:30.

We arrived in labor and delivery by 6am where they checked me. I was only 4 cm dilated but the contractions were quite painful and regular. My doctor was actually there when we arrived as he had delivered four babies the previous night! Within an hour I was at a 7 and in a lot of pain.

When Chad and I were alone in the delivery room, we both shed tears. They weren’t sad tears, or happy tears. We both just felt emotional as we rapidly approached the arrival of our rainbow. It felt like a very sacred time for us. And I truly felt and believed Charlie was there supporting us.

At about 8, my doctor came in and broke my water. Shortly after that I decided I had labored enough on my own and I asked for an epidural. I got the epidural about 8:30 and it was the most perfect epidural I’ve had! It was just enough to take the edge off all the contractions but I could still move my legs and feel to push.

Throughout this process our little rainbow was doing great. At one point with the contractions, her heart rate dropped a bit, but never below 110. Whereas in labor with both Hailee and Charlie, their heart rates had dropped to dangerously low levels. In this labor, when I turned on my left side, her heart rate stopped dropping and stayed steady above 120. This was a moment of gratitude for me as I felt like my prayer had been answered.

Shortly after 9 I was ready to start pushing! I had prepared myself to spend some time pushing as I pushed with Hailee for over an hour and a half and Charlie over half an hour. But our little rainbow was eager to get here and with only four pushes, she was out!

She was pink and quickly started crying. They placed her on my stomach while Chad cut her cord. We were flooded with emotions. Our rainbow had arrived!

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IMG_2766This was the smoothest labor I have ever had! I felt truly blessed in the process of delivering her. The spirit in the delivery room was truly special.

It’s hard to describe the emotions we felt at the arrival of this little one. The most prominent emotion was gratitude. We feel so blessed to have her and that she arrived safely. We feel overwhelmed and afraid too, as you can imagine. It’s a journey into more vulnerability to welcome this little girl into our heart and lives. She is absolutely amazing.

When she arrived we still hadn’t decided on a name! (Another To Do list item). So we spent the first 24 hours of her life talking it through.

Finally we both decided on Camille Margaret Packard. We knew her middle name would be Margaret after my grandmother who also lost a baby. While my grandma died when I was very young, after losing Charlie, I have felt a special kinship with her. And then for Camille, I have always loved the nickname Cami and while I advocated for naming her Camryn, I love the name Camille too and Chad liked that better than Camryn. So Camille she is! But already, we only call her Cami.

IMG_3124Hailee really wanted to name the baby Kayla but more than anything was just so thrilled that her baby sister was here!

IMG_3144We are home now adjusting and just loving every second with Cami. My constant prayer is to keep her and be able to raise her. In the meantime I am really trying to make a concerted effort to live in the present and just enjoy every squeak, nuzzle, cry and breath she takes.