Saturday, May 29, 2010

Our Second Family Reunion

Last week we had a big second-family get-together...with our NICU family! I used to spend about 40 hours a week in the company of these wonderful people, so I really missed them and was looking forward to getting together since the day The Kid was discharged from the hospital.
The Kid with Becky, his primary night nurse. She is so gentle and kind--The Kid loves her!
The Kid with Linda, another night nurse. She was The Kid's nurse a lot during his first few weeks of life, but then a sweet little 23-weeker was born and Linda became her primary, so we didn't have her any more after that. But I think that The Kid was one of her favorites, because she would always come visit him. She loves taking pictures--she's the one who took the Flat Stanley pictures and the dollar bill picture. She also took pictures on his one-month, two-month, and three-month birthdays. And she was kind enough to get The Kid a gift (a wrist rattle) the day before his discharge. We miss her!Our NICU buddies! It's always fun getting together with them.
Us with Annie--the OT who works miracles. She and I became very close when The Kid had so, so many issues with learning how to eat. When we were discharged, she told me to call every so often with updates. A few weeks ago, I called to tell her that The Kid was nursing like a champ. At the reunion, she said that she was SO HAPPY to get that message, and she wanted to know my secret. Apparently pretty much no one who doesn't learn how to nurse in the NICU learns how to nurse at home. She was very impressed.

We also saw Charlene, Darrin, and Catherine, but don't have pictures with them. They were also our favorites, who we got to know well, and we miss them!

It was a cold, rainy day for a reunion, and The Kid was rather cranky (a combination of being tired, cold, and overwhelmed by lots of things going on around him really doesn't make for a happy baby) but it was entirely worth it. Another year is just too long to wait before I get to see these nurses and everyone again. I think I'll take The Kid back for a visit on his birthday. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Run-Around

Well, The Kid and I spent a nice morning hanging out at the airport. And then we came home. The Granddad (my dad) is a pilot and we get to fly for free if we go standby. Which, coincidentally, means that sometimes we don't get to fly at all. I guess everyone wanted to go to Minneapolis today. The flights were all more than full, so there was no space for The Kid and me. Sad. So sad.

So, after a few hours of waiting, we decided to get our checked bag and head back home. But wait...my checked bag made it to Minneapolis without me. Stink. I thought there were protocols in place to keep that from happening...? I guess my huge bag slipped through the cracks.

There may be hope that we can catch a flight tomorrow, so I haven't yet filled out the paperwork that is necessary should I want to some day retrieve my luggage in the great state of Utah. But I can't do it over the phone. I'll have to go back to the airport. And then I'll have to go back when my suitcase gets there. Oh, boy. What a run-around.

But at least The Kid was a good sport. He's a good almost traveler.
Just deck him out in toys and he'll be happy.

And all I got when I got home was more run-around. But...this is the kind I like.

Meggie Dog sure knows how to make you feel good about coming home.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Firsts

The Kid has experienced a lot of firsts in the past week.

He went in public (other than church and the doctor's office) for the first time when we had to bring Meggie Dog to the vet.
Afterward, he went to WalMart to help me with some errands for the first time.As you can see, it tired him out.


He also slept in his crib for the first time.
He did very well. He never woke up in his bassinet, and he hasn't waken up in his crib.
We wanted to get him used to his crib while he still had his heart/apnea monitor, you know, for our own peace of mind. But, the worrying mommy that I am, I was concerned about him getting cold--but I was more concerned about him sleeping with a blanket (you know...all that safety stuff). But with the monitor, he can't wear zippered jammies because the cord would have to come out the top, which poses a strangulation hazard. Sheesh. All these hazards. So, what did my wonderful hubby do? He cut a small hole in the bottom of what we call "potato sack jammers" to put the cord through. Yup. And it works great.

Isn't he the cutest little sack'o'potatos you ever did see?

Next First: Plane ride!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Airline Travel with an Infant

The Kid and I are planning to fly to the Northwoods to see my family for Memorial Day. The Boy is staying home to work. We will miss him. A lot. :(

I have never flown with a baby before. What things do I need to know? It'll be just The Kid and me.

I was thinking that since he is such an easy-going baby and so small that it wouldn't be worth it to lug his car seat with through the terminal. I talked with the airline, and they said that the attendants will be as accommodating as possible in terms of letting me be by an open seat where I could put the car seat. Is it worth it to bring the car seat?

Someone told me that I should have The Kid suck on something for take-off and landing, to keep the pressure in his ears from hurting him.

I have two toys that I plan to bring which are small that always seem to entertain The Kid.

What else should I know? What do I absolutely need to have with me on the plane and what will I think that I need that I should actually not bring? Any other tips?

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Waking Up

The Kid and I go walking (almost) every morning with my friend and her adorable twin babies. We always try to meet at 10, but The Kid needs me to wake him up if we want to meet them in time. I am entertained by it every morning. Here is how it goes.




I pick him up and put him on the changing table. Then it starts...


...the startle...


...the "where am I?"...


...the stretch...


...the yawn...


...the face rub...


...the "what's going on???"...


...the "maybe I'm a little hungry..."...


...the "THERE'S MY MOMMY! I LOVE HER!"...


It's a great morning. And it's surprisingly similar to when The Boy is awakened from his slumbers. Like father, like son. I love them.

Life just isn't fair.

It just isn't right that a baby could be big enough to be teething but not big enough to hold his own toys. He tries, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. Poor kid.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Came First...The Chicken or The Egg?

Or let's ask this...what came first, the infection or the dilation?

No one really knows why The Kid was 13 weeks early. There are three things that we know:
1) I dilated to 4 cm without contractions.
2) My placenta had two infections--group B strep and staph aureus.
3) The Kid showed very slight signs of infection when born. If he had been born any later, the infection would have gotten to him and it would have been very bad news indeed.

When women go into labor because of an infection, labor generally starts with contractions.

When a woman dilates without symptoms, because of an incompetent cervix, she will generally deliver her baby around 23 or 24 weeks gestation. The Kid was born at 27 weeks.

If my cervix was only slightly incompetent and opened early, it could have allowed an infection to get in. Or I could have somehow gotten infected, which caused my cervix to open early (my body would have recognized the risk of being infected and tried to get rid of the infection by getting rid of the pregnancy).

So, what happens next time? Who knows. If the infection came first, we could expect that everything would be fine next time and I would have a healthy pregnancy and full-term baby. If the dilation came first...oh boy. Two medical professionals who I trust very much said that they see more harm than good from cerclages (when they put a stitch in your cervix to keep it from opening prematurely, and then remove it when the baby is safe to be born).

All that I can expect, either way, is to be watched very closely by my doctor.

And the next question...what if I have another micro preemie? Can I expect that it will always be like that, and having more biological children is too risky? Should we move on to adoption as a way to expand our family? Who knows.

There are so many unknowns. I guess I'll just try not to think about it for now. It will still be quite a while before we have another baby. And when it is time, I'll still have a lot to focus on when it comes to getting pregnant again. That, in itself, is quite a challenge.

I don't want to count my eggs before they hatch. I have hatched one...and he counts for a lot.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Meggie...or Marley?

The Dog gave us a scare.

When she came here from The Northwoods, after she had been here for just over a week, she threw up. Blood. Not all blood, but little specks, all throughout. It scared me, understandably, so I called The Vet from back home. They said not to worry unless she stopped eating and drinking, didn't seem like herself, or threw up bigger blood clots. She looked fine to me, so I just watched her.

A few weeks ago, she threw up blood again. But she still looked fine, so I tried to ignore it.

Yesterday, it happened again. I couldn't ignore it any more, so I called a vet here in The Valley. This morning we went in. The most likely candidate was a tumor. The Vet felt her throat, which he said was very irritated. I was very worried. She's been my dog for ten years. She's so good with kids; I couldn't imagine raising my family without her. So, I did what I do. I showed her love, and then I distanced myself from her. I told myself, "She has to die some day. Big deal." I have some really unhealthy coping mechanisms...I know. The Vet wanted to do some blood work and x-rays, which would take a few hours, so they had me leave her with them.

It was sad going home without her.

A little while later The Vet called--with what he called "interesting" news. Meggie didn't have any tumors, but she had four small metal rods in her digestive system. Not nails, but about the size of small, one-inch nails. All four the same.

Since when did Meggie Dog get an appetite for odd things?

So, now she's on four meds that need given twice a day. As if my child's feeding schedule isn't demanding enough. Hopefully she gets rid of the rods without any further harm to her digestive system. The meds will help with that.

I'm just glad that she gets to stick around a little while longer. We like her.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Half of a Year...Wow

Yesterday we celebrated The Kid's six-month birthday. I can't believe that it's been half of a year. I can't believe I'm still sane. I can't believe that The Kid has gained about seven and a half pounds. That's the size of a whole newborn! I can't believe that everything is ok. It's more than ok--it's going just great!

At six months, The Kid:
  • Weighs about 10 lbs 3 oz
  • Measures about 23.5 inches long
  • Wears size one diapers
  • Wears 0-3 month clothing (it still looks huge on him, but his arms and legs are just too long for NB clothes)
  • Fights sleep
  • Basically only cries if he's tired, cold, or has something on/pulled over his head
  • Nurses before every feeding and gets "topped off" with a bottle afterward
  • Sleeps 8-10 hours every night
  • Would rather smile at his mommy than breastfeed (at least for a few minutes per feeding)
  • Has exceptional head control
  • Doesn't like to bear weight on his arms
  • Has lost all of his fuzzy baby hair and almost has enough big-boy hair to spike again :)
  • Reminds us every day of the miracle that he is.
A few days old

Six months old

One week old

Six months old
And so that you can get an idea of how small Flat Stanley is...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sleeping Handsome

The Kid has taken to sleeping like a diva lately.


Even when he's just hanging out, he likes to have his hands behind his head.


Looks relaxing, doesn't it?


He's so chill.



Other funny things The Kid does lately:
  • Sucks on both thumbs at once (hard to catch on camera)
  • Sucks on his thumb when taking a bottle (also hard to catch)
  • Sucks on two fingers at once (either pointer and middle or middle and ring)
  • Howls like a wolf puppy when irked (you know, when I'm trying to nurse him and he'd rather have a bottle, or when he's on his tummy and would rather be on his back--it's adorable)
  • Smiles at strangers at church
  • Uses his eyebrows to show how he feels
  • Charms everyone by flashing around his great, big, handsome eyes



PS--He looks just like my identical twin sister here. Cutie.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Whew

The Kid saw The Doctor again. We had a six-month well child appointment, but when The Kid wasn't gaining weight fast enough (as recorded by the home health nurse) I called and asked what to do and The Doc wanted to see us sooner. Well, The Kid'll be six months old next week, so it's not that big of a deal. And just about one day after calling, The Kid started eating like a champ. I'm not so worried any more, and neither is The Doc, even though The Kid is in the 3rd percentile for weight--he is 10 lbs 2 oz. He is being compared to babies who are his actual age, not his adjusted age, so that's really not too bad. He's pretty much caught up in height (25th percentile--23.5 inches) and head circumference (50th percentile).

I like The Doc. He said, "I can tell by the unconcerned look on your face that we really don't have a problem with weight at this point. I fully expect him to start gaining like mad any day now." He's good, isn't he? How many doctors really read the expression on your face?

And The Doc said, "The whole, entire reason why The Kid is doing so well is because of all of the hard work that you're doing with him. You're doing a great job." Ok, is he just taking the approaching Mother's Day seriously, taking it upon himself to make sure that I feel valued, or is he just the best doctor in the world? Because honestly, day by day I think my job is pretty darn great, but looking back on everything...if I let the emotions catch up to me...it's been a little tough. Maybe more than a little. But if I let myself think that then I'll get stressed. I may still be in survival mode because that's the only way that I can cope with it all, and now that I don't have quite as much to be worried about (I mean, my kid is eating! plenty! on his own!) the weight of the past six months could very well all come crashing down any day now. I hope not. I hope the buried stress just melts off a little at a time until my life can be considered "normal" again. That's the plan, anyway. But really, does anything ever really go according to plan? I kinda don't think so.

Either way, I'll be ok. I've got a great husband and this great kid. Who could really ask for more?


at birth


almost six months later

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How We Go

The Kid is a good traveler. He travels in style and comfort.

Our favorite way to go is all wrapped up. Here we are after going on our first walk just a few days after The Kid came home from the hospital (so he was about eight pounds). We walked like this today (he's over ten pounds now) and it kinda felt like I was largly pregnant...I think. Only, I wasn't uncomfortable. You get uncomfortable, right? I wouldn't know. :P The Wrap is comfy because it distributes the baby's weight across your shoulders, back, and waist. I made my wrap out of muslin so it's cool for hot days. It was cold out today, so I wore a zip-up hoodie and we both stayed snug and warm. And because the baby stays tight against you, you don't have to worry about kinked heads that cut off airways. That's very important. I would still have worried (because I'm like that) but The Kid has a heart/apnea monitor, so I KNOW that he stays safe! And it's comforting that I can feel him breathe.
You can make your own wrap out of five yards of your choice of fabric. Just cut the fabric up the middle (the long way) and voila--you have two! For instructions on how to put it on, go here.


Next: Car travel!
The most important aspect of car seats is how long your baby can sit rear-facing, since rear-facing is the very, very safest way to travel in a vehicle. The Safety 1st OnBoard 35 infant seat holds a baby who weighs up to 35 pounds and measures 32 inches. That's a big baby!

The reason why I chose this one above other infant seats that hold up to 35 pounds is because the minimum weight it safely holds is four pounds. That's a tiny baby! Even though The Kid was twice that size when he came home from the hospital, what if I have another preemie who is smaller than The Kid when he comes home? I want to have a car seat that fits! It comes with all sorts of cool inserts to keep the baby snug and safe, which is important, because you can't use inserts in car seats unless they are made for that seat/brand.


Here is The Kid with the hip inserts and double head inserts while in the hospital. Not too flattering, I know.














Here he is a little bigger with just the main head insert. Still not so flattering. Sorry. It's tough.


All grown up--the size of a normal baby.


And now: another way to walk! Many small umbrella-style strollers aren't able to be used with
infants, but the Chicco Lightway stroller reclines entirely so that tiny babies without good head control can use it. It is also very easy to push and maneuver. The best part...it folds up so, so small to fit easily in a car trunk or a coat closet. Also, the visor is larger than most, so it keeps the shade and wind off very well; it has a rain guard to cover the feet (works very well for stuffing blankets into to keep the little guy warm); and the basket underneath is rather large--and can be removed and used as a backpack! Cool, right? I love my stroller.

It's not the least expensive stroller on the block, but compared to others with the same great qualities, it's a great deal.

I use it a lot when I'm outside doing yard work. See how cozy The Kid is? Well...you really can't see, can you?


There he is! Kinda...














Oh, THERE he is! And his tongue, too! What a goof.













And the best way to keep a warm head...

...

He's so stylin', thanks to The Grandma and The Grandpa...and Build-A-Bear. That's the best place for preemie accessories. Now I want a Paul Bunyan bear to match my lumberjack baby.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Math Problems

15 months of trying + 6 months of pregnancy + 100 days in the NICU = The Kid.

Last year on Mother's Day I didn't have a child and I wasn't actually pregnant. It was the cycle that I got pregnant, so maybe I was, but I didn't know it yet. This year on Mother's Day I will have a six-month-old. 12 months later, six months old. Weird. I know.

I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome when I was 18 (more on PCOS to follow...some day). I knew when The Boy and I got married that it would take us a while to have a baby. We tried for almost a year and a half, nine months of which I was on Clomid. When that joyous day arrived and I was indeed pregnant, I thought I deserved the easiest pregnancy because of how difficult it was to become pregnant. In a perfect world, that is. My world is far from perfect. After two threatened miscarriages, I thought I at least deserved the easiest labor and delivery. Well, the delivery was fine, but the circumstances were not. After that, I thought I deserved the best baby in the world. I had no idea that a baby could be as good as The Kid. Really. He is better than the best baby. And that's just his temperament! His cuteness is pretty amazing, too!

Let's just hope that next time my math problem will be a little more textbook.

He loves the camera. He won't smile at it, though. He just stares. It's really cool lookin'.