Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Abram's journey in the NICU

Abram was born right at 35 weeks gestation. He weighed 4 pounds and 12 ounces. The week before his delivery, I was given a shot to help mature his lungs so that if he was born early, he would be able to breathe on his own, which he did!

When he arrived at the NICU, they first wanted to see if he was able to keep his own temperature in an open crib. He only spent a couple of days under lights and was then transferred to a crib. During this time, he had a bunch of wires put on him, including an IV which was how he got his nutrients. They then slowly gave him my milk as I came in to try to breastfeed twice a day and through a feeding tube that went through his nose and down into his tummy. I brought him my breastmilk for about a week. We then switched to formula as my milk supply decreased and I became discouraged with pumping milk.

As the days past, he gained weight and slowly took more formula by mouth. Once they saw that he was gaining weight and taking enough formula by mouth, we got the news that he would be discharged and we could bring him home.

Abram came home on August 20th 2016. He had spent exactly 3 weeks in the NICU. I am so grateful that he is alive and well and home with us.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Postpartum Depression

It's not easy to write about something unpleasant, but I think it's important for me to document this, as it was a very life changing experience for me.

Immediately after Abram's birth I felt guilty, like it was my fault that he had come early. Maybe I had been too stressed out or anxious, etc. I was also feeling very sad that he was in the NICU and not with me. This would change a lot of things that I had planned on, like breastfeeding, which I felt was a big part of bonding, which I had successfully experienced with Samuel. We also had a change of insurance at the time, due to Roberto's new employment, which meant I couldn't get access to an electric breast pump after going home. Oh and I just had major surgery to recover from and a five year old son at home. All of these things were running through my mind and I was feeling very overwhelmed.

The day we came home from the hospital and could not bring Abram with us, was so very hard. Once I was home, I became obsessed with pumping my milk, which I had to do every 3 hours, if I wanted to keep my milk supply so that I could eventually breastfeed Abram exclusively. I was able to use a manual pump and did so for about a week after I had been discharged from the hospital. I would go to the hospital at least twice a day to bring him milk for feedings. I became tired and discouraged, and when I noticed my milk supply was decreasing, I decided to stop pumping milk.  I was angry.

I remember going to see Abram on a Sunday with my parents. I had told my mom that I had decided to stop pumping my milk and to have Abram drink formula (again, something I didn't need to do with Samuel) She told me that whatever I decided would be fine as long as I was happy. Then I said, that it didn't matter what I decided,  because I would still be unhappy. That's where I think it all started. I was stuck in a circumstance that I didn't want to be in. Things hadn't gone the way I had expected and as much as I tried to cope, I was miserable. I wanted to believe that I would feel like me again and that everything would work out, but I didn't feel that way at all. The more I tried to get back into a routine, the more I felt like "normal life" was so far out of reach. Three days later, I tried going to the grocery store and for the first time in my life, I had a panic attack. I almost didn't get into my car because I was so worked up. It was scary. I knew something was wrong and that I needed to go to someone and get help.

I confessed to my mother and sister that I had felt very overwhelmed and upset and that I thought I should go see my doctor. It had been only 11 days since I had given birth, but I still felt like I needed help, fast. The doctor had me take a questionnaire and it was confirmed that I was depressed. She was about to have me go on medication but she remembered that I had Addison's and wondered if the way I was feeling had something to do with my body recovering from the c-section surgery. She recommended that I adjust my steroid medication and see if that helped. I had a previously scheduled appointment with my endocrinologist (Addison's doctor) coming soon anyway so I decided to just wait until I saw him.

As the days passed, I got progressively worse. It was as if I was living in a haze. Nothing mattered anymore and I just didn't care. The day of my appointment with my endocrinologist came and I told him all that had happened.  My sweet mother came with me and was in tears the entire time. I was just angry. I didn't want to be there, I didn't want to exist, I just wanted to disappear. The doctor recommended that I get on an antidepressant and soon. That same day I filled the prescription and started taking the medication.

I was very fortunate to have my mother and my sister. They were my support system during this time. They were with me everyday, through every moment, while I was a zombie. It literally took me forever to do the simplest tasks like take a shower or eat. I wasn't good at taking my medication everyday either so it took about a good month after I had started taking the pills before I was taking them everyday. My parents were in the process of packing up and moving so my Mother in Law took over and started coming over everyday to help me out. Abram came home on August 20th and I remember feeling like he shouldn't have come home with me because I was a mess.

At first the medication made me cry, a lot; which I didn't think was that great but at least I was showing emotion and that was progress. I started feeling very guilty about not doing all that I should be doing on my own and ashamed that I had even been depressed, when I had wanted to have a baby so badly. I also kept wishing I could go back to my old life and feeling like having a baby was a mistake. I felt so estranged with Abram. I wanted to feel love for him, but I didn't feel anything but responsibility. The only thing that would get me out of bed would be to help Samuel with homework and get him to school.

My OB had also recommended talk therapy in addition to the medication. I was so far gone that we were willing to try anything that would help. It took a while for me to set up the appointment, I think it was a month after starting the antidepressant, but I was able to go see a therapist. After taking the medication for 8 weeks consistently, I was able to function, do things on my own but I still didn't feel like myself.  It was after a session with my therapist that I decided I didn't want to take medication anymore.

I called my OB and asked about stopping the medication and she said I could just stop cold turkey. I had been reading about this online and decided to wean myself off them by cutting the pills and decreasing my dosage slowly over time. I weaned off the medication in 2 weeks. I'm so glad I did because I could feel the affects of it; mainly I became irritated and upset, I would cry for no reason, etc. I was a little nervous about coming off the meds because it could lead to a relapse of my depression but I knew that with the help of my therapist I would be able to deal with it. If worse came to worse, I would just get back on it.

I am happy to report that it has been almost 2 months since I have been completely off the medication and I am ME AGAIN!!! I am so thankful to my God that I am once again the happy person I was. I absolutely love my son Abram, he is so beautiful and his smile makes everyday worth it.

My second pregnancy and birth of our son Abram

After three and a half years of trying to conceive and with the help of assisted reproductive technology, we were pregnant! I honestly was so surprised that it had worked, on the first try and that we were going to be having a baby again. After waiting for so long and preparing myself mentally for disappointment if the treatment had not worked, I was kind of in denial.

This was so different compared to my first pregnancy; with Samuel, we did not need to seek medical intervention. Don't get me wrong, I was so grateful that we were able to get the help we needed and that insurance covered a great portion of the cost, but going through that and getting pregnant in that way made it feel different.  I also was more scared of losing this pregnancy even though I had not experienced loss in the past. It had been years since my last pregnancy and my body had also changed in the fact that I had been diagnosed with Addison's disease a few years prior. I didn't really know what to expect and in a way it felt like having my first baby all over again.

I'm grateful to say that my pregnancy was for the most part enjoyable. I didn't have much morning sickness, just very exhausted in the first months. Once I was able to feel Abram move in the womb, he was very active and his movements sometimes worried me, if they were normal, because he moved so much. Towards the end, I became very emotional, anxious and was crying over things I usually would not be crying about. I also felt like I looked sad and tired most of the time and I wondered if it was normal. There were no concerns from my doctor to make me believe that something would suddenly change like it did.

In my 34th week I had heavy bleeding and I immediately went to be checked at the hospital. They kept me overnight and monitored my son and everything looked fine. My doctor put me on medication to prevent contractions and said she doubted that I would have my baby soon, but that if he came he would be fine, since most of his development would be done. I really didn't want to have my son early. I didn't feel prepared for him to come, and I hoped that I would remain pregnant at least 3 more weeks.

The following week the bleeding came back and I again went to the hospital to be checked. The doctor checked to see if I had been losing amniotic fluid and that if that was the case, my son would have to be born. The test came back positive, my water had broken and that meant it was time to have my baby. I couldn't believe what was happening. I really, really, didn't want this to happen but I had no choice. A representative from the NICU came to speak with me and told me that Abram would most likely have to remain in the NICU for some time after his birth.

I had had a c-section with Samuel, due to stalled labor. This time I wanted to try laboring again to see if I could have a vaginal delivery. Knowing my history, the doctor said she would let me labor and see what happened, but if the baby showed any sign of distress, she would send me in for a c-section. I got to a 4 and Abram was showing distress so a c-section it was.

Abram Alejandro Cedeno came into the world at 12:15 PM on Sunday July 31st. What a beautiful moment it was to hear a baby cry again and to know that that baby was mine. I got to see him for a small moment after he was born and then he was taken away to the NICU, where I would have to go see him for the next 3 weeks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Since we've moved in...

 So we moved into our house last September...and I haven't really written much about our day to day happenings since then or about the house, so I'm going to do that now.

I feel like we got really lucky when it comes to the neighborhood we live in. Many of our neighbors are members of our local ward (church congregation) and they are very nice. The neighborhood is peaceful and I feel pretty safe. Now that we are in our own house, I can see why so many people dream about having one. Not that I didn't want one, I just wasn't crazy about it and was willing to wait a little longer if I had to. I sure am grateful. 

Our home is a rambler, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of those bathrooms is connected to our master bedroom (which I really like because it is a private bathroom) both bathrooms are standard. Our front room/receiving room has a bay window which lets in plenty of sunlight and shows a beautiful mountain view. We have a kitchen/casual dining area and a laundry room/mud room that leads to the two car garage. There is access to the backyard from the dining area. The backyard is fully fenced and there is a good amount of space back there to roam around and have get togethers. Downstairs we have a large family room that we have turned into a theater room. The rest of the downstairs is unfinished, but we plan on making a fitness room and two bedrooms and one bathroom. It's funny, the previous owners installed a toilet and sink already but that's how far they got. Our house has vaulted ceilings so it makes it feel a lot more spacious than it actually is. 

We painted the accent wall in our front room and our master bedroom. We've gotten plenty of furnishings and the like. It's amazing all the STUFF you can buy once you have a home. It's been fun and I look forward to the future projects that await us.

Here are some photos from when we first moved in and before we did painting and furnishing:

Front room 

Front room 

Hallway that leads to bedrooms & bathroom

Hallway& first bedroom right next to dining area
Casual dining area, stairs to basement and entry to laundry/mud room

View of dining/kitchen area from the stairs 


More backyard

At church I was called as a beehive advisor, in other words, I teach the young women who are twelve and thirteen years old every Sunday. On a typical Sunday I have about 3 girls come. They are wonderful and I have learned so much from teaching them. Roberto was called as a ward missionary and assistant ward clerk. He enjoys going out on visits to get better acquainted with those who are less active. Samuel goes to Primary and enjoys it very much. It's funny, our friend told us that one Sunday she was substituting his class and she was talking to him in Spanish, since she knows he speaks it and Samuel said to her "At church, I speak English". LOL I thought that was too funny. 

Roberto continues to enjoy working for the company he is at right now. There were some changes made to the higher bosses a couple months back and that has made all the difference. He is very happy with how things are going right now and I hope that he will continue to thrive in that workplace. I am very grateful for his hard work and how he has provided for us so well. 

Samuel and I continue to enjoy our time together at home. I consider myself very spoiled. Being an at home mom with a boy who is 4 years old is pretty laid back. He will be going to preschool in the fall but only twice a week. I personally didn't want to do preschool, but since he is an only child I want him to go for the social interaction and to just get used to the idea of going to school. I'm excited to see what he thinks of it and how it will affect his personality in positive ways. I love that boy, he's turning into my little buddy. 

A little over a month ago, I started taking care of a little baby here at home. His Mother is a dear friend of mine and I was very happy to help her since she would have to go back to work. I watch him Monday through Friday for about 6 hours a day. He is such a good baby and we all enjoy his company. Samuel has been such a good helper! He wants to hold the bottle while I feed him, he wants to burp him, he even throws away the dirty diapers! He has even given him kisses and has told him that he loves him, it is too cute! We'll see if he decides to keep feeling this way. Life is good. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Secondary Infertility (It exists)

Here we go again.

This is not easy for me to write, but since I already shared on this blog our struggle of trying to conceive another child, I feel like it would be unfair to those of you who are wondering what has happened since then.

So after I got put on my medication for Addison's back in November 2013 I made the decision that if we were not pregnant within a year, we would seek medical advice. I tracked my cycles, I bought ovulation tests, and pregnancy tests and I even took my temperature with a basal body temperature thermometer. Over this period of time I learned that I was ovulating and my cycles were regular, so that wasn't the issue and was one thing I could rule out when we saw the doctor.

The end of 2014 came and with it my period and I had had it. I could not stand not knowing what in the world was going on inside of me. I just knew that something had to be wrong. That same week I made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. We had our first consultation and with it came serious of tests we would have to do before being evaluated for treatment. We did all the required testing and made the appointment for another consultation with the doctor to go over our results and discuss treatment options.

That day was yesterday. We went and I couldn't believe my ears. We were told that our chances of conceiving on our own every month was 1 percent. The only treatment option that would work for us would be IVF with ICSI. (Google it)

When we left the office I was in shock and didn't really have any emotional feelings. I thought I would immediately be sad or angry or something, but really I just felt, blank. Today I felt a little more emotional and hopeless.

We are considering IVF, but we have to wait until we have money saved up and we don't know how long that will take. So for now I am putting this dream aside and giving it up to God. There is a very small chance that we could conceive on our own and as we save up money for this procedure, if God wants it to happen He will make it so. For now I am going to try my best to focus on the beautiful family I have and all the other aspects of my life that are there for me to enjoy.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our sweet boy

At Temple Square December 2014

Oh it's been so long since I have posted an update on Samuel. Well since he had a birthday last month, I figure now is the time to do it! He is 4 years old now. How is that possible?! Celebrating his birthday was so much fun this year. He was filled with so much anticipation that when the day finally arrived, he was bursting at the seams with excitement! 

The day started off with him running into our bedroom and cheering happy birthday and then opening his present of a set of cars from the movie Cars which he has loved since he was 2. We then took him to lunch to his new favorite fast food place, Chick Fil A. Then later that day we went to the Living Planet Aquarium, which he LOVES. He especially loves looking at the sharks. We had his cousins join him along with our new neighbors. That night we had the family gather at our home for pizza and brownies, more of Samuel's favorite food. 

Samuel continues to speak Spanish fluently with us at home and is picking up English fairly fast from watching movies and going to an English speaking primary class at church. He is still a fan of Lightning McQueen but has also grown fond of various characters from movies he enjoys watching such as Wreck it Ralph, Mickey Mouse, Finding Nemo, etc. The list could go on and on! He quotes movies just like my family does! It's hilarious! I love listening to him, he has got a really good memory. He even memorized a picture book about the ocean and I got it on video, it was pretty impressive. 

We are so grateful to have Samuel in our lives, he is truly such a sweet spirit. Like I have mentioned before, Samuel has been a pretty good child, more mellow than other children I have met. Now that he is 4 and so much more aware of everything around him, I think that there will be a new dynamic to his temperament and it is going to be challenging, but his essence is still there. Today in sacrament meeting he just sat on my lap and hugged me, I am pretty sure that is rare for a 4 year old. I am grateful for that, for his ability to be so loving and affectionate, it really is a tender mercy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The year after

Has it really been ONE YEAR? Last year at this time, I was sitting in a hospital bed, recovering from my Addisonian crisis.

Last week, as I woke up on the morning of my brother's birthday, I couldn't help but tear up, as I remembered how miserable I was on his birthday last year, which was right before I had gotten super sick and eventually went to the ER days later. Ugh. That is a memory I never want to relive.

Being diagnosed with Addison's hasn't changed my life THAT much. Sure I take meds daily, which is probably the biggest change. I have to make sure I don't over exert myself physically. I wear a medical ID bracelet that never comes off. I am a little more conscious about what I eat, since the meds have changed my metabolism and it is easier to gain weight.

Yet, more than anything else, I think the experience has taught me to be grateful. Looking back on that time last year, I am so happy that I am NOT in that state anymore. I appreciate so much the fact that now I am WELL. I can enjoy my life! As funny as it sounds, simple things like going on a walk and being able to push Samuel in the stroller gives me joy, because I know what it's like to NOT have the energy to do that.

As fas as I know, Addison's is a condition that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. Thanks to modern medicine, as long as I take my daily dose, I am just fine :) Thank you Lord for my beautiful life.