Thursday, December 30, 2010

It was a Merry Christmas Morning!

This is how Caleb spent basically ALL of last Christmas:

But with a little bit of this:
And a little bit of this: (getting gifted in his sleep)

But let me tell you, Christmas 2010 was SO MUCH BETTER!

Caleb met Santa:
He explored Grandma and Grandpa's impressive tree:
And our not-as-impressive-but-equally-magical-and-special tree:
Played with Dada:
Played with Bullseye:
And his mini soccer ball:
Met his little cousin, Seth, and had a little chat with him:


Played with Grandpa's IPad:


Wouldn't let go of his mini soccer ball, not even to inspect his AWESOME new John Deere blanket:


Played with his moving ball:


Played with a new favorite:


Discovered something new and exciting while exploring at Grandma and Grandpa's:



I was very impressed that Caleb enjoyed his presents more than the wrapping paper and boxes. In all, it was a wonderful, busy (what day isn't) day. Probably the best Christmas ever.

Three Years (and one day) Ago

In three years, Nate and I have:
  • lived in four places
  • owned four vehicles (five including our horse trailer)
  • graduated college
  • had a combination of seven jobs (not including parenthood)
  • had seven pets (three fish, one crab, one dog, and two horses)
  • uncovered our true weaknesses, revealed our real strengths, and discovered our incredible ability to love
  • made countless mistakes
  • made a lot of tough decisions
  • come out on top
And we look forward to many more years of money earned, money spent, cars, homes, pets, jobs, decisions, mistakes, children, and love beyond measure.
I love you, my Dear, and I look forward to spending the rest of forever with you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sharing

My boy is so sweet. He thinks about his momma and his doggy before he thinks about himself. (And he thinks it's funny when he feeds me. I love it.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....

Today Caleb took only 9 ounces from the bottle. That is clearly not enough (see here). It's not even close to enough. I tried giving him a few ounces of soy formula yesterday and a bit more today. Hopefully that's the problem, and once we get rid of the soy he'll be back to taking his usual 12-16 ounces a day. But that's still not enough.

I held him swaddled in my arms struggling for a good 45 minutes (not out of the ordinary), trying to get him to eat. (The trick is giving him something soft to hold. He can't resist sucking his thumb every time he touches something soft, and I can usually swap out his thumb for the bottle.) But he cried the whole time. With no tears. He's dehydrated.

So, since he absolutely refuses to take a sippy cup, I gave him juice in a bottle. I know, it's wrong. But I'd rather have his teeth rot out than have him die of dehydration. Even though neither of those will happen. But still, he only took about an ounce of the juice.

I made an appointment last week with the pediatric GI specialist to get to the bottom of this, but the soonest we could get in is February tenth. I don't know if I can make it until then. At least he eats a ton of solids (2.5 stage two jars of baby food, and 1/2 a cup of oatmeal).

And although he's basically stopped eating finger foods other than graham crackers and saltines, he was happy eating his cheerios today:
P.S.--I am now recording everything he eats and how every feeding goes. I need evidence so the GI specialist has something to go off of, especially since he has baffled everyone else.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Diving...of sorts.

You've heard of "Dumpster Diving." Ever heard of "Laundry Basket Diving?" It's like Dumpster Diving, only cleaner, and baby-style!














1) Laundry baskets make somewhat effective barriers.
2) Hangers make very fun (and potentially dangerous) toys.
3) My son never stops entertaining me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ummm...

I think a beaver sleeps in my son's bed.

PS--He is now very good at pulling himself up on his knees. The above took place the very night that he learned this new trick. We have since lowered his crib mattress.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The world needs more people like this.

I met an amazing couple while Caleb was in the NICU. I don't know their last name. I doubt I'll ever see them again. But I think about them a lot. They are some of the most amazing people I've ever met.

The mom's name is Camille, and the baby's name was Chloe. Camille was Chloe's biological aunt. Chloe's birth mom (Camille's sister-in-law) realized when she got pregnant that she wasn't ready to be a mom, and Camille and her husband had been trying for nine years to have a baby, so the birth mom offered for them to adopt Chloe. Of course, they were ecstatic.

Then, at the 20-week ultrasound, they found that Chloe's legs weren't developing. She would never be able to walk. Camille and her husband talked about whether or not they still wanted to adopt her. Obviously, it's hard to walk straight into a trial like that. But they were angels and recognized that she was already their baby, and that the inability to walk didn't change anything. They already loved her, and there was no going back.

Then she was born three weeks early, but her lungs were very, very underdeveloped. She was admitted to the NICU. After a few days it was very apparent that there was more wrong with Chloe's little body than just her underdeveloped lungs and her undeveloped legs. She was retaining fluid--swelling up terribly, and not urinating.

It was the same rare, undiagnosed problem as Chloe's other biological aunt who only lived for a few hours after birth.

Camille and her husband were told that Chloe's chance of living was looking dim.

They just wanted the adoption to be finalized. They wanted to look at their daughter and know that she was theirs, that they were parents, as they always wanted to be. They hoped and prayed that she would hold on until she was one week old, when the adoption was set to be finalized in court. Since her condition was so unstable, they didn't dare make the 45-minute drive home at night. They slept on the floor of the Parent's Lounge every night. They ate in the cafeteria. I don't know where they showered.

After another day or two they learned that Chloe was deaf and blind. They were told that she would likely never be able to breathe on her own.

They could have walked away at that point. Chloe's birth mom was considering not signing the adoption papers anyway. But that would have broken their hearts. They loved that baby. They wanted her and needed her.

It was a rough week for Camille and her family. There were lots of ups and downs; some days it looked almost as if Chloe was going to be alright. That made their decision even harder.

The day of the adoption came, and Chloe was made theirs. Their dream came true, and they had a daughter. I saw them that day, and I'm sure I can safely say that it was the best day of their lives.

But the next day, I think it was, they did the hardest thing that anyone could ever do. They had to let their baby girl die. I didn't see them that day, and honestly, I'm glad. I don't think I could have handled it. I imagine that they had their family with them, and Camille sat in a rocking chair and held her baby for the first time, soaking in all of the love, the looks, the memories, the good...and then she let her die peacefully.

They were left alone, just the two of them, as they were when they had started their journey to parenthood. Only, they were left with hefty medical bills. They were left with more pain in their hearts than most people could fathom. But they were left with the knowledge that they were parents--that they had a daughter named Chloe who was more loved than most children in the world. That although she only lived for a week, she would be theirs forever, and no one could take away the title of "Mom" and "Dad."

They are true heroes. They knew what they were getting into by the time the adoption was finalized. Every good parent sacrifices for their children, but Camille and her husband put everything on the line. They will always have an ache in their hearts, but they will always have part of Chloe in their hearts, too, that will make the ache worthwhile.

Camille, if you ever read this, I hope you know that I admire you more than most. I hope to be as loving and giving of a mom as you. I will never forget you or Chloe. I will always remember you as a hero.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I gave Caleb his last bottle of breast milk this morning.

Now I've been replaced by a cow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Party Animals...My little Monkey's first birthday party!

What's this I hear? A party? For ME?!

Is this how it's done?

Oh, that's funny!

Wow. That's cool.

And yummy!

More?!

OoOoOo! What's this fun toy?

Yeah, this is the fun part.

Whoa. That's pretty neat. [This is his favorite present.]

I could get the hang of this.



Hmmm...that looks like fun.

Oh! That's a little yummy!

Let's get a little more of this goodness!

Yummmmm.....!!!!!!

Is there something in my teeth?

Yeah, I'm really enjoying this!

It's everywhere!

Ya want some? [He ended up eating that whole cookie.]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"We need to fight--because babies shouldn't have to"


It's Fight for Preemies Day. One in eight babies in the U.S. is born prematurely. Premature births have increased more than 30 percent since 1981. These are troubling statistics.

Even though Caleb was a micro preemie (born before 28 weeks), his experience in the NICU was textbook perfect, up until it was time to learn how to eat. If he had learned to eat right away, like we half expected based on his pacifier sucking and his good nursing latch, he would have come home around 33 or 34 weeks gestation, weighing less than five pounds. Instead he came home 10 days past his due date (still no complaints there) weighing 8 pounds. I'd much rather, however, worry about Caleb eating than surviving.

I remember saying to my co-workers just days before delivering that in a way I didn't really feel like my pregnancy would actually result in a child. I think I was guarding my emotions because I never really expected to get pregnant at all. If you have low expectations, you can't be disappointed.

It was more of a relief to see my tiny baby laying in his isolette than it was scary. He was about to die inside of me. He could live with the nurses and doctors taking care of him. My body couldn't do it any more. I was infecting him.

I had strange symptoms for at least a month before going into labor (like discharge, contractions, and cervical pain). Looking back, I may have been leaking amniotic fluid. It was the kind of thing that was a little too embarrassing to ask my pregnant friends and when I'd see my doctor I'd forget to ask. I looked into it on-line, and basically everything I found said that it was nothing to worry about. My new policy is: if it's medical, it's not personal. Nothing medical is worth being embarrassed about.

I walked in to labor and delivery in the evening, after a day of not feeling Caleb kick. I felt a nudge in the morning, and then nothing else all day. They tried looking for his heartbeat and couldn't find it. I thought then that I may have lost my baby. They did an ultrasound to find the heart, and it was beating. They monitored his heartbeat, and my contractions, for about 30 minutes until my doctor showed up. In that time his heart rate dropped from about 120 to about 50 or 60, and stayed there for just for a few seconds. They said it was dangerous to drop below 100. I wasn't having any contractions, but my uterus was "distressed." It was slightly tense, and never really relaxed. The doctor said that the heart rate dropping may not actually be anything--they don't normally monitor babies at 27 weeks, so who's to say it's not normal? As he was saying that, the heart rate dropped again. He decided to do an ultrasound.

That's when they saw that I was dilated to 4 cm, 80 percent effaced, and my sack of waters was bulging out and "about to break." And Caleb wasn't moving at all. Not even a twitch. My doctor later said that he'd never in his life seen a fetus move so little. And somehow he was still alive.

And in that story is the real miracle. Why did Caleb stop moving? Only so that he could tell me that something was wrong. He was labeled "feisty" right after birth. And why did his heart rate drop so drastically, not once, but twice--and when the doctor was watching? Only so that he could tell the doctor that there was something wrong.

My placenta was horribly infected, but Caleb wasn't. One more day and he would have been, but at that time he wasn't really in distress enough to stop moving or have heart rate drops.

It was less than 20 hours later that Caleb was born.

I never really felt through my whole 27 weeks of pregnancy that everything was "normal." But I never really felt that anything was abnormal, either.

Here is a short article on what you need to know about preterm labor. Since it is so common, chances are that you or someone you know is pregnant and could be facing the symptoms of preterm labor at some point. If you or any pregnant person you know is experiencing any symptom on the list, don't hesitate in going to the doctor. My symptoms aren't on the list. If you have any feeling that something could be wrong, don't hesitate in going to the doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry, especially when your baby's life could be hanging in the balance.

Spread the word.

We need to fight--because babies shouldn't have to.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

12 Months Old

Someone had a birthday!

(Oh, and in case you haven't figured it out by now, I decided to start using our real names. It's not like you don't know them already. :P I mainly tried to be discreet for the sake of someone else who needs to keep her family's identity private. I'm pretty sure that I won't be putting them in jeopardy, however. But just to be clear, at home we do call each other The Kid, The Boy, and The Girl at times. :) And just because I'm using our real names doesn't mean that I'm going to give out our address or our social security numbers. Sorry.)


At 12 months old (9 months adjusted) Caleb:

  • Weighs 14 lbs 15 oz (3rd percentile)--12 lbs 8 oz more than at birth, and a gain of exactly 3 pounds in the last three months
  • Measures 26.75 inches(10th percentile)--12.25 inches more than at birth
  • Has a head circumference in the 25th percentile
[So, growth has slowed down somewhat, but I guess it's to be expected. He's always been in the 3rd, 25th, and 50th percentiles for weight, height, and head, but three months ago we also discontinued fortifying his milk. And he's still looking good according to his own growth curve.]
  • Wears size 2 diapers
  • Wears size 3-6 month clothing
  • Drinks cow's milk (the doctor said that it was ok, although it would be better to keep him on formula for the nutrition for another three months, but he does waaaaaay better digesting cow's milk than he does formula--to the point where he won't eat at all if he's on formula--so we're just going to have to be ok with cow's milk. Maybe I'll throw a couple of bottles of formula in there every week. But, I have one 2.5 ounce bottle of frozen breastmilk left, and I'm waiting to give it to him until he feels better, so he can keep it down. We'll have a special mommy-baby cuddle session when I feed it to him. I'll probably cry.)
Caleb's milk mustache. He loves the taste of cow's milk.
  • Can crawl with his belly off of the floor for a good few feet

  • Can say "dog," has said "dada" a few times with true intent, and has said "mama" once with true intent
  • Has seven teeth
  • Can wave hello (sometimes)
  • Signs "all done" at the end of every feeding (well, it's more like he's batting the spoon away from his face, but I've been teaching the sign for "all done" and I think it counts)
  • Learned today how to give high-fives (and thinks it's so fun!)
  • Loves taking things out of containers (emptying my purse, to be specific)
  • Can pull himself up on his knees, if there's something short enough to pull himself up on (but he's really not that close to pulling himself up to a stand)
  • Still hasn't figured out how to go from his belly to sitting (he could do it if he tried, he just doesn't know it yet)
  • Still doesn't hold his own bottle
  • Still won't bounce on his legs (he keeps his knees locked, although they are relaxing a bit)
So, he's still delayed with a few things, but not bad enough to be concerned at this point. He's also quite advanced with some things. For instance, a baby isn't expected to say a word other than "mama" and "dada" until they're 11 months old. It seems to me that he's caught up to his actual age vocally and socially, but not physically. Except in using his pincer grasp--he's been doing that for three months now. (Here is a milestone chart.)


Caleb spent his birthday 1) sick, and 2) playing Baby Jesus in our church nativity. It was a traveling nativity, so they set us up in a room and took tours of about 15 people from room to room to show parts of the nativity, and they ended in our room. Nate was Joseph and I was Mary. Since our poor baby wasn't feeling well, he just rested in my arms and we snuggled for a few hours. It was a really good experience. I heard a lot of people crying when they walked in and saw our scene.

What Caleb looks like when sick:
Then:
Now:
Then:
Now:

Caleb with some of his birthday presents: