Saturday, January 31, 2009

Recap of Cain's birth and our 39 hours of no sleep!

I must start by thanking everyone for all the calls, emails and texts we have received over the last few days. I apologize to those who we have not talked to yet. As you can imagine, the last few days have been quite hectic.

I thought I would give everyone a recap of Cain’s birth.

Last Wednesday, my water broke at 7am when I was getting up for work that day. I feel lucky that we were at home when this happened. We called my OB office and after they consulted with the OB on call they told me to go ahead and come on to the hospital.

last pregnant picture-off to the hospital

We arrived at the hospital around 10:30 a.m. and I was immediately admitted. I was correct. My water had broke and I was in labor a week early. I stayed pretty comfortable for a very long time. Actually, for several hours I was having consistant contractions that I never felt.

The only bad part about my contractions was the fact that some were lasting as long as four minutes at a time and Cain did not like when this happened. Each time I had long contractions his heart rate would drop. The OB team had come in at one point and started discussing the possiblility of having a C-Section. We were okay with whatever Cain needed but hoped to not need one. They had me stay on my side and gave me oxygen hoping that would help the drops in his heartrate.

Around 10pm I was finally ready for an epidural! Thank you to the inventor of epidurals!!

Then some time after 2am I was finally ready to push. The good part about my labor lasting so long was the fact that it allowed my mom/dad and best friend time to make it in from Louisiana before Cain was born. My mom left on the first flight she could from Louisiana to Nashville. She actually arrived shortly before I had my epidural. My awesome Uncle Mike (Dad's brother) offered to drive up with my Dad. Since Cain decided to come early, my Dad still had to wrap up loose ends at his business before he could leave so he was going to be driving late into the night. I was very happy to know he would have someone with him while he made the drive up. And my very best friend and her husband drove in so they could be here with us.

(pic of clock right before I was told I was ready to start pushing. The date on the board had not been changed yet)

After a VERY LONG 4 hours and 2 minutes of pushing along with the need of a vacuum extraction Cain finally made his debut!

During the last minutes of my pushing the NICU team had already arrived in our room and began getting prepared for Cain. As soon as Cain was here, he was handed off to this team of people and they immediataly began working on him. I had hoped to be able to touch or hold him for at least one second but we had a very scary moment after his birth where he was not breathing on his own. Eventually, he had to be intubated. To this day I still have not heard him cry or had the chance to hold him. I can't wait for that day!!!

Since I didn't get to hold him before they took him to NICU they held him up from across the room so I could get a good look at him. As you can see, he looked at me too.

Brad and my dad followed along with the NICU team as they rushed Cain over to the Children's Hospital. Actually, from what they both told me...the whole team as well as Brad and Dad were all running Cain over to NICU.

A few hours later I was able to be wheeled over to see Cain. I couldn't believe how beautiful he was. It's so hard to believe by looking at this precious baby who looks so perfect on the outside that he could possibly have so many heart defects going on inside his little body.

After Cain had been settled into NICU for awhile, Dr. Liske (Cain's pediatric cardiologist) came to access Cain's heart once more. From what we were told, everything looked the same as it did during the prenatal assesment. Cain would still be needing the same surgeries as previously discussed.

(Dr. Liske & the echo tech looking at Cain's heart)

We stayed most of the evening in NICU just sitting and staring at Cain. After many hours we both knew we greatly needed to get some rest so we could stay strong for Cain. So after being awake for 39 hours straight we got what little rest we could. Actually, I think Brad said he rested well but I of course had the nurses coming in my room checking my vitals every few hours. Thank goodness I loved all of my nurses!

Again, thank you to all of our friends and family. We are so grateful for each of you. We also want to thank everyone who has sent flowers and gifts. We love them all and especially know Cain will love his new Tonka Truck!!

Wow!!! I can't believe I finally just finished this post. I started this post on Saturday and have just now finished it on Tuesday. For the most part, everything is still the same. We have a few changes to the fact that both Brad and I just held Cain for the first time!!!!!!! It was the most special moment in my life so I am going to post about that in a separate post.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cain's Status is Stable

Brad here...Sorry for the delay for the posts but things have been pretty hectic since Cain's arrival. We actually had zero sleep for approximately 39 hours and finally got some rest last night. Thank you all for your calls and text messages, we greatly appreciate the support. We will try to get back in touch with all of you as time permits. Catherine is doing well....just tired and a little sore. Cain is super cool and is currently tucked away in the NICU where he will spend the next 7 days. His is currently stable and doing well. The only concern so far has been his O2 intake. They have placed him on nitrogen to mix with his air intake which will lower his oxygen saturation. This prevents too much O2 in the lungs (The excess O2 causes the lungs to dilate farther and may actually allow too much blood flow into the lungs causing various problems). Surgery #1 is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb 4th at 9:00. I am sure Catherine will blog a more in depth description and provide pictures as soon as she finds time (she hopes to later today/tonight). Talk to you all soon! - Brad

Thursday, January 29, 2009

He's Arrived!

Cain Austin Clinkscales was born January 29, 2009 at 6:37am. According to Miss Momma, Cain is 7 pounds, 4 ounces and "so stinkin' cute". After his birth, he was immediately intubated and taken to NICU. Catherine is very tired (she pushed for four hours!!!) and awaiting news on her baby boy.

I will update you as I learn more. Until then, keep sending positive thoughts, energies, and prayers Cain, Catherine, & Brad's way!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cain's Coming!

Hi everyone! This is Catherine's coworker, Vicki, just keeping you all updated. Currently Catherine does not have internet access because, yes that's right, she's at the hospital!

Brad, Catherine, and baby Cain headed to the hospital this morning after her water broke. As of 4:30pm, Catherine has been experiencing long contractions and the labor and delivery team has been closely watching Cain's heart rate as it has been decreasing during the contractions. The team seems to not be too worried about this but are keeping an eye on it just case there are any drastic changes. Currently, she is only 2 cm dilated and they have inserted a cervical balloon catheter to help increase the dilation. Cain most likely will not arrive until tomorrow.

Although uncomfortable, Catherine is in good spirits. Her mom is flying in this evening and Brad, of course, is by her side. I will update this as soon as I hear more. Until then, please keep Brad, Catherine, and Cain in your thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Shower Surprises!

I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends and a wonderful family. Weekend before last, several of my very good friends in Nashville gave me a baby shower for Cain. I will never be able to thank all my friends for their love and support!

I also received one of the best surprises of my life this same weekend. The day before the shower Brad and I were out running errands all day. We finally got back home around 4:00 in the afternoon and when we were getting out of our car I noticed a car driving into our driveway. At first I didn't recognize the car but all of a sudden I realized it was my MOM!!!! She had decided to surprise me by driving up from Louisiana for my baby shower. I ran to the car and realized my 3 Aunts were also in the car. I was speechless. Which if you know me....I'm not speechless very often!

Everyone started piling out of the car for hugs and I finally realized not only had my mom and 3 aunts traveled up to see me, my mom's best friend and my best friend's mom were also part of the surprise. Yep, that's right 6 ladies all crammed into my mom's car and made the 8 hour drive up to surprise me for my baby shower.

I can't begin to explain how much this meant to me. It was so good to see everyone. And it meant the world to me to have my family in town for my baby shower. It is something I will never forget.

To everyone who was part of making this weekend so special for me, I can't thank you enough. I love each and everyone of you so very much!!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

38 Week Visit

I had my 38 week visit this past Friday. Again, I was told I am about 1cm dilated. I also received the Obstetric Ultrasound Report from the ultrasound I had done on Wednesday. The ultrasound I had performed is actually a biophysical profile or BPP. It is a test that combines a nonstress test with an ultrasound. From what I found online, there are five parts to a biophysical profile. One being a nonstress test and 4 other areas that are assessed by ultrasound. Those areas are fetal breathing movements, fetal movements, fetal tone, and amniotic fluid volume. Each of the five areas of the biophysical profile has a possible total score of two points for a total of 10 points. I don't believe we had the nonstress test part so the highest score Cain could have received is an 8 out of 8. Well, great news! The report shows that Cain did receive an 8 out of 8! Now don’t ask me what any of this means! I feel clueless about all the tests we have done and the Dr’s we meet with. I’m trying to learn as fast as I can. But, I do know when we receive the highest score we can receive on a test that has to be good…right?

During my 38 week appointment the Dr. asked why I hadn’t been receiving more of these BPP tests. Like I told him….I just show up when and where I’m told and no one has mentioned me needing more of these tests. He said he wants me to start having weekly BBP ultrasounds until Cain arrives. This seemed funny to me due to the fact that I only have one more full week until his anticipated due date. But I’m always happy to see Cain on the ultrasound screen so I will happily go again for another ultrasound. Hopefully this time I will have pictures to share! I have that appointment scheduled for Tuesday, January 27th.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last Ultrasound & Neonatologist Appointment

In a recent previous post I mentioned that our next appointment was on January 21st and I hoped to have pictures of Cain to share with everyone. Well, we did have our appointment but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of our sweet baby. We did get to see a little bit of him but it was hard to get good pictures during the ultrasound due to the fact that there is not much room left for him inside of me.

Our appointment was scheduled for 2:30 and after waiting 1 ½ hours we were finally called back. The appointment started with an ultrasound. They wanted to get a good look at the rest of Cain’s organs and make sure there were no other issues besides the heart defects. The good news is that everything else looks perfect and he seems to be progressing right on track.

At one point during the ultrasound we had 6 people in our small room. I have a feeling I should get used to having a lot of people around both me and Cain. From what I’ve been told from others, we could have close to 20 or more people in my delivery room. I’m sure at the time I won’t care though as long as it’s what’s best for Cain.

After the ultrasound one of the Dr’s from Vanderbilt’s High Risk Maternal and Fetal Group discussed delivery plans with us. The plan is to still let everything happen naturally and not plan to be induced. After meeting with this Dr. we were sent to another room to have a discussion with the neonatologist. I had hoped to learn a bit more during the meeting with the neonatologist but can’t say we learned too much.

After talking with the neonatologist we took another tour of the NICU. From what we have seen during our tours, Vanderbilt seems to have a wonderful NICU. Each baby has their own room which is nice. We have learned that neither Brad nor I will be able to spend the night with Cain while he is in the NICU. It will be so hard to leave our little guy. I believe when he is moved to the PICU (which will be after his surgery) one parent will be able to stay the night with him.

This appointment was our last “big” appointment before Cain’s birth. For the next week and a half I will just have my regular appointments with the OB office. My next appointment is tomorrow afternoon. I can’t wait to hear what the Dr. has to say. We are still hoping Cain will not decide to come early!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wonderful CoWorkers

On Friday my wonderful coworkers held a baby shower for me at work. I am so blessed to work with such a great group. Not only are they my coworkers, they have become some of my best friends. They have provided me with so much support and encouragement during my pregnancy. I don’t know what I would have done without each and every one of them. To add to the support and encouragement they have given us, they have now provided us with a wonderful Pack and Play for Cain! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all my coworkers at Dispensary of Hope! I know Cain will love his Pack and Play as much as we do.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Dispensary of Hope please take a look at our website. It’s The Dispensary of Hope is a not-for-profit network of dispensing sites, sourcing partners and financial partners that assist people without prescription drug coverage. The network provides short-term and long-term assistance to those under 200 percent of the poverty line. I currently work with physician practices asking them to donate their unexpired excess drug samples. So you can probably see why I love my job. I love knowing I do something that helps those in need!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Weekly Checkup Update

I had my weekly checkup on Tuesday of this week and they said that everything looks good. My blood pressure was good and they said my belly was measuring well. Actually, I was told my belly was measuring for 38 weeks. Which is funny because I just hit 37 weeks yesterday. Being new to all of this, I assume that means we have a big boy on the way or it it could be due to all the food I've consumed over the last 37 weeks! I also had my first exam done at this appointment. Thankfully, not too much is happening yet. The nurse practitioner quickly said she felt Cain's head. She said he was very low and that I was approximately 1cm dilated. My next appointment is on January 21st. We will have an ultrasound that day so I hope to have pictures to share!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Countdown #2

Less than 4 weeks to go! The last time I posted belly pics I mentioned in my blog that I didn’t think my belly could stretch much more. Well, I guess I was wrong. As you can see from the latest picture, I’m still growing. Hopefully Cain will not decide to arrive early. That way I will have a chance to post one last picture of my growth in a few weeks.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pediatric Cardiologist Appointment

Sorry to just now post this update. To catch everyone up….on December 18th we had our second meeting with Dr. Liske, Cain’s pediatric cardiologist. I have to say that these appointments are not enjoyable. Thank goodness we really, really like Dr. Liske! We have tried to remain as optimistic as possible since we found out about Cain’s congenital heart defects and we have maintained an upbeat attitude while managing to overlook, by choice, the severity of the situation. Dr. Liske did not sugarcoat the situation and the appointment was a kind of a slap in the face reminding us of how frightening the next several months and possibly years will be for us.

The appointment started out with a fetal echo. Dr. Liske wanted to get another look at Cain’s heart now that he is bigger. Cain was very cooperative and Dr. Liske was able to get some good pics of his heart.

I wish I could report that things have changed but they haven’t. He will still need to undergo several surgeries after birth. The first will still be needed shortly after birth (3-7 days). This surgery will be an open heart surgery so you can imagine how scary that will be for us.

This surgery will definitely carry the highest risk of the three surgeries and it is a long road through the completion of the 2nd surgery, at which time we can all sit back and take in a collective sigh of relief.

If all goes well and no complications arise (feeding issues, strokes, etc.) the anticipated recovery time for Cain would be 3-6 weeks in the hospital.

We also discussed my delivery plan with Dr. Liske. My OB had mentioned that I would most likely be induced during my 38-40th week. We were informed by Dr. Liske that inducing would not be necessary and if all goes well I should be able to go full term. Of course, that sounded much better to both me and Brad. Cain needs all the growing time he can have before undergoing open heart surgery.

Another thing that was discussed during this appointment was childcare. We found out we should not take him to daycare until after his second surgery (at around 4 months), so we will start looking into our options of having someone come to our home. He may not be stable enough to fight off infections that may be contracted from contact with other children (or adults). So, in a manner of speaking, we will be on “house arrest” for several months after his birth and will have to be careful what situations he may be exposed too.

After his 2nd operation, it is expected that he will be in a much more stable condition and we can start introducing him to society. Look out!!!

We have just a few more days to go. Just 26 in fact! As each day passes we continue to become more anxious. We continue to thank each of you for your continuous thoughts and prayers!

I will keep everyone up to date on my future appointments. I will continue to go for regular check-ups each week and we have an ultrasound and an appointment with the neonatologist scheduled on January 21st.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008....Hello 2009!

Wow! What a life changing year 2008 has been for us!

-I started a new job in April which I LOVE!
-I turned 30 this year!
-And most importantly, we finally became pregnant with our first child!

As the New Year begins, we already know 2009 will be another life changing year for us. This year we will finally welcome our very special baby boy into this world. We can't wait to meet little Cain Austin Clinkscales. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

We appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers thus far. We hope each and every one of you have a wonderful and blessed 2009!