Emma’s Story (Part 2 – Birth)

On Sunday, January 20th, two days before I was scheduled to be induced, I got up and went to church and then we ran over to the Sparrow Lab because I had to have some tests done 48 hours before being induced. We decided to make a quick stop off at Target on our way home to pick up a few last minute things for the baby. As we were getting in the car to head home I was suddenly overtaken by an excruciating headache. I frequently get migraines, and they are nothing in comparison to what I had that day. Within minutes I was extremely nauseous and shaking. We rushed home and checked my blood pressure and it was 175/115 (or something like that). Not good at all! I decided I would lay down for an hour and then check it again. After the hour passed, it had gone down a little but was still way above a normal range. I called the hospital to see what I should do and they suggested very strongly that I should go in to get checked out. We rushed out the door, remembering at the last minute to bring our bags… just in case.

We arrived back at Sparrow and they had me fill out some paperwork real quick and then sent me back to triage to check me out. They took my blood pressure, and then pulled up the results of the blood/urine tests from earlier. They immediately informed me that I was being sent back to labor and delivery right away.

Much of what happened over the next 24 hours is a bit of a blur to me. I know the major events, but the timing and the order in which they occurred may be slightly off, so just bear with me!

They got me settled into the labor and delivery room, hooked me up to some monitors, and then began the process of preparing my body for bring this baby into the world. At this point I believe it was around 6 pm. The first step was Cervidil, which is an insert used for cervical ripening (I’m trying not to be too graphic, so if you want to know more about that, google it!). I was informed that the Cervidil would remain in for 12 hours before I would actually be induced and so I should just settle in for the night and not expect much action. But to my surprise, within about half an hour the contractions started and soon after that my water broke. A nurse checked to see if I was dilating, and found that I was 3 cm. I was at 0 cm when we arrived so things were progressing rather quickly. They continued to monitor me for a short time and then decided that it was time to remove the Cervidil and begin the Pitocin. Due to the high blood pressure/pre-eclampsia they also had to give me Magnesium-Sulfate, which is used to keep me from having seizures. The unfortunate thing about Magnesium-Sulfate (or at least one of many) is that it is often used on women who have pre-term labor to stop their contractions. So I was receiving Pitocin for the purpose of starting my labor, and Magnesium-Sulfate which will stop contractions… hmmm, not a good combination! The results were actually contractions that continued to progress in their strength, but a complete halt in my dilation.

At some point we discussed the topic of Epidurals. I was not at all opposed to getting one, but also did not want to take it too early or unnecessarily. They explained that unfortunately pain and stress/strain can cause elevated blood pressure so I would absolutely need to get an epidural and would be receiving it much earlier than I had intended. I was definitely nervous about the Epidural (not particularly thrilled about being poked in the spine) so I was pleasantly surprised when they did it. It was not nearly as awful as I imagined, which was a really good thing, I would soon learn. Almost immediately, I was completely numb from the chest down. I remember saying to the nurse and to my husband that it was the most wonderful thing ever, that I couldn’t believe that anyone would ever refuse one, and that I could deliver 10 babies and wouldn’t feel a thing.  And then 30 minutes later I started to feel the contractions again. I pushed the button that would release another small dose of the medication, but got no relief. After 10 minutes passed I was able to push the button again, but still nothing! I talked to the nurse and she said that as the labor progressed my contractions would continue to get stronger so that was starting to feel them a little. That made sense, so I laid back, pushed the little button, and just waited. Another 30 minutes passed and I suddenly realized that I was wiggling my toes, and I could feel it. I poked myself in the leg, and I could feel it. I called the nurse and explained, and she called in the anesthesiologist who had inserted the Epidural. She checked it out to make sure that it had not been dislodged, and said it still looked good. She changed the settings on the machine allowing me to push the button every 7 minutes instead of 10. She left and we waited some more. Still no results, so she came back and upped the dosage of the medication and changed the timing to every 5 minutes. Still nothing. They then called in a second anesthesiologist to consult and the two of them decided that they should take the Epidural out and try again. I’m not thrilled, but what am I going to do? They inserted another one, and I received pretty much the same results. About 30 minutes of total numbness, and then nothing. The head of the anesthesiology department came to check on me this time. They wanted to try it for a third time. I explained that I really had not intended to have a natural delivery, but rather than continue to to stab me in the spine, I was definitely willing to consider the option. They once again reminded me that I needed it, due to my blood pressure, and that there was the possibility of my needing a Cesarean Section and that they would need me to be numb for that. All in all, I ended up with 4 Epidurals over the span of the early morning, into the early afternoon hours.

After 24 hours of labor, I was still only dilated to 3 cm, so they decided it was time to start talking about a Cesarean. I was adamantly opposed to the idea, but ultimately I did not really have a choice. My sister, who Noob had been keeping informed via text, arrived to help encourage me and calm me down. Come to find out later, I had gotten an infection, my temperature was rising, and the baby was beginning to struggle. I think they were just trying to keep me calm and keep the blood pressure down, so they kept some of the details from me (or maybe I just don’t remember it). The doctor was quickly called in, not my OB but another doctor who was on call whom I had never met. At 4 pm I was wheeled into the operating room (mentally kicking and screaming all the way), they moved me to an operating table and then inserted a Spinal Catheter. For those of you who are counting, yes, that is poke number 5 in my spine. Fortunately, the Spinal Catheter did it’s job and I went completely numb, and all they needed was about an hour of numbness to get the baby out and my belly stitched back up.

Throughout the process, I experiences no pain, but at the same time I could feel EVERYTHING! I could feel the pressure on my belly as it was sliced open, I could feel hands moving around inside of me as they pulled they baby out, and I could feel tugging as they stitched me back up again. It was actually quite fascinating!

Emma Grace Kenney arrived at 4:27 pm. They cleaned, weighed and measured her while the doctors stitched everything back into place. She was 6 lb and 11 oz, 19 inches long. My dear husband, who had been by my side this entire time went back and forth between the baby and I giving me little bits of information. They finally brought her over and laid her on my chest. My arms were still strapped down from the surgery, so I was unable to hold her, so Noob held her up against my chest. After a few short minutes of awkwardly gazing down my chin at her, they whisked her away to the nursery to insert an I.V. to give her an antibiotic to fight the infection.

I was soon wheeled to a recovery room where I was able to see my sister again, and my parents who had just arrived home early from their vacation at almost the exact moment that she was born. The rest of that evening and night was mostly a blur, as I was quite heavily sedated at that point. Sometime during the night a nurse came to visit me from the nursery to give me an update on Emma. They informed me that she needed to remain in the nursery for as long as the I.V. was inserted, and I would not be allowed to leave my bed for at least 24 hours. I did not see Emma again until the next day.

To Be Continued…



Emma’s Story (Part 1 – Pregnancy)

Emma’s story begins well before January, 21st, 2013, the day she first graced us with her sweet face. Technically it started about 9 months before that, but I won’t give you all the gory details of exactly how it all began. I will just say that we were uncertain whether we would ever be able to have a baby due to my advanced age, as well as some health issues on my part, so we were quite surprised by how quickly and easily she came into being!

We found out that I was pregnant on June 9th, 2012 just hours before our friend Bryan’s birthday party. We were both pretty shocked (we were trying, we just weren’t expecting such quick results), and it was so incredibly hard to act normally in front of a big group of people including some of our closest friends!

The “morning” sickness actually began before I even knew I was pregnant (and I was only 3 weeks along when I found out). And for those of you who have been pregnant before, you know that “morning” is far from an accurate description. For me it was morning, noon, and nights filled with nausea, vomiting, and the inability to eat, or keep anything down for months on end. After suffering in silence for several months, I finally complained to my doctor midway through my second trimester, and she explained that what I was experiencing was not normal and so she convinced me that for my own health and that of my growing child I needed to take anti-nausea medication. That eliminated the vomiting and allowed me to eat, but I still experienced varying levels of nausea all the way until her delivery.

On September 24th I had an ultrasound and learned that we were having a baby girl! We also learned that there were potentially some developmental concerns with the baby (more on this in another post). Due to these concerns, coupled with my “advanced maternal age”, we began having monthly ultrasounds with a doctor who specializes in at risk pregnancies.

At the end of November, I had developed high blood pressure, and began to have severe swelling in my lower limbs. I had several tests done and found out that it wasn’t in the danger level yet but my doctor “suggested” that I seriously limit my sodium intake, and cut back on my work hours a bit. I went down to working three days a week, and started spending as much time as possible with my poor puffy feet/legs propped up.

By early January my blood pressure had continued to rise, and after more tests were done I was put on bed rest. I can’t say that I followed that completely, but I did cut back to working very minimally, and spent the rest of my time sitting/laying with my feet up. (In hind sight, I have learned my lesson and for any future pregnancy will follow my doctors instructions to a T!)

On January 15th I saw the at risk doctor and it was decided that we would wait until I was 37 weeks (the following week) and I would be induced. An induction was scheduled for Tuesday, January 22nd, but it seems that my body and my baby had other plans!

To Be Continued…

“Where Have You Been?”

So it seems that I’ve desperately neglected the blog over the last year or so. I guess I kind of have an excuse because I’ve been a little busy. Here’s a quick recap of what has been going on in our lives.

  • December 2011 – We bought a foreclosed home, moved in, and began a complete renovation of the house with lots of help from our family and friends.
  • March 2012 – We got a puppy! Hank is a fun, sweet boy, but was lots of work for a while there. I guess that’s puppies for ya!
  • April 2012 – I left Changes Hair Design and finally fulfilled my dream of opening Salon Juleen in our new home.
  • June 2012 – We found out we were expecting a baby!!! I got my first official bout of “morning” sickness just hours after the positive pregnancy test, and it lasted well into my third trimester.
  • January 2013 – Beautiful Baby Emma Grace was born at 37 weeks via Emergency Cesarean Section, due to complications from Pre-eclampsia. I spent 5 days in the hospital and Emma stayed in the NICU for 10 days.
  • April 2013 (Today) – Emma is 14 weeks old, and is keeping us extremely busy, and very entertained! I’ve grown to love motherhood more and more every day, and in ways I never could have imagined!

So since we’ve had a few small life changes, I’m going to attempt to get caught up and elaborate on a few of these significant events over the next few weeks/months.


This last year has been quite an adventure for us. We started the year with Noob going to school and starting a whole new career. Thankfully, he loves it, because it was my idea! We also went into business with my siblings, and opened The Wireless Zone of Lansing back in July. That has really made some big changes in our family relationships, all for the good! We’ve spent almost the entirety of 2011 on a hunt for our first house. We finally closed on our new home on December 9th and have been working on fixing it up since then. It will definitely take at least the first couple of months of 2012 for us to complete our projects (with lots of help from our family and friends). And after that we look forward to starting some other adventures, like puppies and babies, not necessarily in that order (NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT!!!). We are definitely eager to see what 2012 has in store for us!

What Have We Been Up To???

I haven’t posted much recently, and a lot has happened but I just haven’t been in blogging mode.  Here’s an update on a few of the things going on in our lives lately:

*  Noob became a Certified Nurse Aide (CNAplus).  He took a course through DRM International Learning Center and was able to complete the entire course while he was laid off and he passed his state boards exam last week.  I am so proud of him for all his hard work!  He started back to work landscaping at CLM this week and will continue working there until he finds a CNA position.  Please pray for him that he will be able to find a job quickly!  We have a few connections, but if anyone knows of any jobs available we’d appreciate the info!

*  My dad finally had the pain pump inserted in his back yesterday.  The process of getting to this point was more than a little frustrating, but we are relieved that it finally happened!  It’s too soon to tell how well it is working, and the doctors will need to gradually adjust his meds until they find the proper dosage, but we’re hoping for some great results.  Pray that he would have a quick recovery and would finally experience some relief!

*  Business has been going well for me.  I’ve still been doing a lot of networking and have continued to grow my business with new clients.  I have also made some recent changes to the way I schedule clients.  I am now doing all of my own scheduling, rather than relying on the receptionists at the salon to do it.  In the future, if you would like to schedule a hair appointment with me you may either call me directly at 517-896-6814, or you may schedule online.  You can either go to my Facebook Business Page, Juleen Kenney, Hair Stylist and click the Schedule Now link in the left column under the profile photo, or go to my business blog Juleen Kenney, Hair & Makeup and click the Schedule Now button on the right side of the page.


PLEASE pray for my dad, Frank Luter, today!  After several extremely difficult weeks of withdrawing from all of his pain medications, he was supposed to finally be having his pain pump inserted later on today.  Just this morning they were informed that he was required to have met with a psychologist beforehand, which they failed to mention to him, and now the surgeon is refusing to perform the surgery.  Please pray that either the surgeon will have a change of heart and will decide to continue with the surgery as planned, or that my dad will be able to consult with a psychologist very soon so that the procedure does not have to be put off for too long.  Pray for my dad who has been suffering terribly that he will be able to endure a few more days of extreme pain and withdrawal if the surgery must in fact be rescheduled.

Thank you!

My Dad

Many of you may know that my dad, Frank Luter, has had chronic severe back pain for several years now.  He has undergone a variety of procedures over the years, to try to correct problem or alleviate the pain, but none have been particularly beneficial at this point.  He has also spent several years on extremely high doses of pain reliever which makes him very sleepy and groggy all the time.

Recently, the doctor has decided that the next step (and hopefully the LAST) is to install a pump in him which will send morphine directly to his spine, bypassing his digestive and circulatory system.  This will allow him to be on a MUCH lower dose of medication, allowing him to be more alert and functional, as well as protecting the rest of his body from the long-term effects of the drugs.  Initially they will be inserting a temporary, and less invasive pump.  This will be for the purpose of gauging how much relief he experiences, and determining whether a permanent pump truly is the best solution.  It will really be up to my dad to decide whether the relief is enough to make the procedure worthwhile.   In the mean time, my dad is in the process of weaning himself off of his pain medication, which is a very difficult and painful process.  He must do this before he can have the temporary pump inserted next week.  If all goes well, they will install the permanent pump about a month later.

We are all very eager to see the results of this!  Please pray for my father as he continues going through the difficult process of withdrawing from his medication this week, and for his safety as he has the first procedure next week.  Pray that he would receive dramatic relief from his pain.  Pray also that God would direct the doctors hands, that they would perform the procedure properly.