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Two months!

Two months old!

My son turned two months old on Christmas day. I thought we would be spending the day in the NICU, but we were in our home. When he turned a month old we didn’t have a lot of luck getting a good picture or writing an update because he was having a hard time. Now that we are home I want to do a better job of documenting his milestones.

We came home on December 21st. In the less than two weeks since we’ve been home so much has happened. I’ll be talking about the specifics of his TEF/EA on his other blog.

On December 23rd we met with his pediatrician and she spent over an hour reading over his past medical history, examining him, and answering our questions. He got his 2 month shots, which was 3 vaccines. He did very well with them and only cried for about 5 seconds per shot— Then he napped all day and slept through the night. We gave him 1 dose of tylenol for the soreness in his legs the next day and he was fine. His temperature didn’t elevate much, it normally runs around 98.9 and ran 99.3— Overall, I was very pleased with how he handled the shots.

He was 9pounds, but his length was 20.5”. He was 5pounds 7ounces and 18.75” at birth. **Now we had to buy a fancy baby scale to keep track of his fluid volume needs as a part of our discharge plan, and as of tonight he is 10 pounds 2ounces! 😥

We spent Christmas eve and Christmas day with my husbands family. They have familiarity with NICU graduate babies, and were all very respectful about washing their hands and not even coming over if they were sick. He was a very spoiled baby and received so many wonderful gifts. It was such a wonderful way to spend the holiday with our family and our son home. I can’t put into words how great it was.

We are still working on getting some sort of loose routine, but where we are still working on getting our son on full bottle feeds (so we can take the feeding tube out) we aren’t there yet. We have to be much more flexible for him because he needs to eat so slowly and because we are ‘stretching’ his stomach he eats every 1-3 hours. I can say that he comes off of his tube feed around 11am, and that is usually when we start our day.

Hubby takes a shower while I get the baby out of his pajamas and into his outfit for the day. While I take a shower and get ready hubby feeds the baby his first bottle of the day. Then throughout the day we follow his needs. And usually around 10pm we him into pajamas and start it all over again. hubby usually makes breakfast and lunch, and I usually make dinner. We kind of take turns, but I kind of monopolize the baby. I’m working on ‘sharing’ the responsibility, because I tend to want to do everything for the baby and my husband’s feelings got a little hurt in the beginning. What can I say, I’m an imperfect person, but we’re doing better. *This is why my update is coming so late. I’m busy with the baby about 20 hours out of the day.

Now, about baby boy.

He is filling out his 0-3 month clothes for the most part— but the pants are still baggy. He loves NUK pacifier, Dr. Brown’s bottles, being swaddled in the swaddleme, hanging out in his MomARoo, looking at this shiny red ornament a mother gave him in the NICU, being super warm, and being held.
He hates having his diaper changed, his outfit changed, and his nose suctioned. He still hated bath time because he was still having to get sponge baths (but he had his first bath on December 31st, 6 days into his third month— which I’ll talk more about in his 3 month update.)

He still can’t hold his head up totally, but he is making huge progress with tummy time. He is smiling more and is so, so close to a social smile, but not quite there. When he gets hungry he sticks his fingers into his mouth, and I have a feeling we’re going to have a thumb sucker on our hands.

He is such a perfect tiny human. I’m so in love. We are so in love.

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Nearly there!

Our little man has his repeat barium swallow study on Friday. This test shows if there is any leaking around his fistula repair. Thankfully he passed, and that meant he could start oral feedings

Now, I’ve got to be honest. My husband and I had unrealistic expectations for how he would take to the bottle. As vigorously as he had been sucking his pacifier, and as hungry as he had been– we just expected him to suck his bottle down. So, I won’t lie– I was disappointed when he hardly took any bottle at all, especially because surgery started him off with 5ml (a teaspoon). They will raise how much he gets as he tolerates it and learns to nurse.

Now that we’ve had a few days to adjust our thinking I’ve come to accept that it’s just going to take time. We aren’t going to rush this, or be disappointed anymore. He has overcome so much, and this is his last hurdle before we go home! When we took time to remember that babies learn to suck in the first 3 days of life, and our son was 13 days old before he got a bottle, it of course makes sense that he needs some time to learn.

Saturday his nurse got him to take his full 5ml, but he’s still not doing it as ‘gracefully’ as we’d like. Thankfully he did take it, because surgery then felt comfortable removing the chest tube that was positioned near his repair (it was there to pull anything out that leaked out around his repair). They took out his chest tube and that was huge for us! Now we can dress him, and hold him without the fear of hurting him or displacing the tube. We were elated.

We’ve spent the last two days cuddling him, and enjoying being with our son. We don’t want to put him down! We’ve seen some improvement with his bottle since he started them 3 days ago, but we’ve still got a ways to go.

Once he is able to take enough orally that they feel comfortable enough discontinued go his TPN (his IV nutrition), then he needs to be consistently gaining weight. Once he has that it’s just a few things before we go home: can he sit in his car seat for the length of time it takes to get home without his vitals changing, he can transition to sleeping in a crib, and a few other small things.

We would LOVE to be home tomorrow, but we’re really hoping to be home by Thanksgiving. C and I are missing home, and our dog– we’re staying in an extended stay hotel near the hospital, since home is 90 miles away. We don’t feel comfortable going home because it would mean not being at the hospital everyday, so for now we’re staying here.

 

 

 

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Postable is an awesome website!

Today I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the loving support system we’ve had during our hospital stay. I’ve felt it since the night we got here, but today was an especially good day. A good friend of mine came for a visit and brought me a gift bag with a nice soft robe, slippers, and nice smelling lotion. Later we had another friend come by, and she brought by some premie clothes that her boss (a women who we’ve never even met) was nice enough to send for us!

I knew I wanted to send some thank you cards to everyone to show them how much their support means to us, but being confined to this room makes that hard! It’s not just a matter of getting to the store to pick out the cards, I would then have to write them out, address the envelopes, apply postage, and then mail them. So I thought to myself that there has to be a website that will do this for me!

A simple goggle search brought me to Postable.com. They have a huge selection of thank you cards (even some that were ‘baby themed’). They will both mail you packs of cards for you to write out and send, but they also will mail your cards for you with your custom typed messages inside!

Hubby and I had a great time picking out the cards, and writing our personalized thank you messages to everyone who has been so supportive to us during this difficult time. It felt good to cross that item off of our to-do list from the comfort of our hospital room.

They have more than just thank you cards. They have birth announcements, birthday cards, wedding invitations, Christmas cards etc. They have a seamless system for adding your address book– both for you if you already have people’s addresses, and if you need to get them they provide a link for them to add their own address in for you. Also, they are very reasonable in price. They also don’t charge an arm and a leg for shipping– in fact they just charge for a standard postage stamp: 0.49 a card! I was also able able to scour the internet for a promo code and managed to get 20% off my order.

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I’m going to use them to mail our birth announcement and holiday cards in the future. It can’t get much easier than a website that does it all for you! I just know a lot of you all are getting close to your due dates, or maybe you’re thinking of your holiday cards– and I wanted to share the wealth.

Here is some information about them.
Here are their FAQ

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Hospital: Day 4

I might stop doing the daily posts now that we seem to be playing the waiting game without a lot going on– But Day 4 was kind of where we got the set up for the next week of waiting so I thought I would do a quick update on day 4.

Yesterday they decided that they were going to completely discontinue my IV in the morning after another round of antibiotics. So I’m feeling so much freedom without being constantly hooked up to a beeping machine. The only things they are doing now an oral antibiotic once a day, continuous TOCO (contraction) monitoring, NST for an hour three times a day, temperature checks every 2 hours, and blood pressure checks every 4 hours– I’m even doing my own BP and temperature just because I’m bored and I am a nurse so I figure, why not? They don’t seem to mind. **I’m probably a really desirable patient because I don’t have a lot ‘going on’ that they need to be concerned about.The only other thing that might happen in addition to the current treatment plan is the nurse did say they will probably do another ultrasound sometime this week to see how my fluid level is and to see how he’s growing– but I won’t know more about that until our doctor rounds tomorrow morning.

I’m not leaking that much fluid anymore. Really, I’m only leaking a little bit and it’s infrequent– usually after I go to the bathroom and whatnot. The fluid is still clear and has no smell– so they aren’t worried about infection or meconium (if the baby gets stressed he can pass his first bowel movement– and that is a concern). Occasionally I’ll lose a moderate amount, but so far no one seems concerned with it– especially because my fluid level was so good at my last ultrasound and your body continues to create amniotic fluid. I’ve not had any blood or mucous plug loss either. So the signs are pointing to a content baby who may very well gestate to 34 weeks (and maybe beyond!).

I’m not having contractions regularly– maybe 1-2 an hour and they are not painful. I do notice when I get in the shower or I’m up for a few minutes that I’ll have several more than normal, so they obviously want to keep me on bed rest, but that’s about it. I’m getting different opinions on if they think they will give me something to stop contractions if they were to start– I’ve heard it both ways: some say they will just let me go into labor, and some say they will try to stop it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that were to happen.

On a positive note everyone is super impressed with our NST and his heart rate fluctuations. The nurse tonight showed me his strip compared to another strip (the other strip was still fine, but you could see a lot more variability in his). She said he looks like a full term baby on the strip. He’s been such a happier baby since the magnesium was stopped– He’s moving constantly and I love it. Also, I haven’t had anymore emotional episodes like I did the first few days here. I’m finally able to get some sleep, and I’m feeling so much more confident now that we’ve made it to 33 weeks and the steroids have had a chance to do their thing.

Overall– all things considered we are doing great here. Obviously it’s not ideal to have a premature rupture of membranes, but we got very lucky with how things have been progressing and I couldn’t ask for more given our situation. I’m also very lucky that my husband is self employed and is able to stay with me around the clock. He hasn’t left me once except to run to a store, and even then he only left because his mom was here to keep me company. We’re also very lucky that our hospital is in the town we just moved out of– and we’ve got tons of friends who live nearby and have been so wonderful about checking in on us and picking things up for us if we needed anything. We’re also so (so, so, so) grateful that his mom is retired and is able to keep an eye on our dog back home– We miss our fur child!

So for now, I’m gonna stop with the daily updates. If anything changes or something exciting happens I’ll try to update.

 

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Creating Your Visual Birth Plan

I’m using this guide to put together my own visual birth plan! Super helpful, and exciting. 🙂

Combat Boot Mama

A birth plan is a short document to take with you to Labor and Delivery that lets the providers there know what your preferences are during labor.  It is important to keep your birth plan simple and easy to understand. Providing a copy to all those involved with your labor can eliminate miscommunication, help labor go smoother, and keep your wishes from being dismissed.

A visual birth plan is a great way to do this!  By using simple icons to depict your wishes, you let those around you know what you’d like and not like during labor and for your child during recovery.  A friend of mine introduced me to this idea, and when I asked how it worked out she said, “My husband had seen my plan and he and my doula spoke up for me since I came to the hospital already in transition and fought for the birth…

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Week 19 and the Anatomy Scan!

How crazy is it that we are days away from being halfway there?! It’s insane. It’s absolutely mind boggling, nerve wracking, and so very exciting. We were looking at our positive test less than 4 months ago, and I thought this entire process would drag on, but with all of the excitement going on in our lives at the moment it has been flying by at warp speed. Right after we found out I graduated nursing school, we went on vacation, the renovations for the house went full swing, we discovered the gender (gender = shopping!), and I’ve been studying and peeping for my NCLEX that is about 4 days away!

As of today I am 19 weeks and 5 days. Yesterday they did the big anatomy scan and we got the fantastic news that everything looked great and on track. Our baby boy weighs 12 ounces by their calculations, which is nearly 2 ounces heavier than all of the information I’ve been reading. The midwife showed no concern for that and I saw the growth charts and he is measuring perfectly in the middle.

We’ve been so spoiled because this was our third chance to see our son. We won’t see him again until we have our 3D/4D ultrasound. Yesterday he was very active and she was able to easily get all of her measurements, until it came time to get his profile. He kept keeping his hands in front of his face. It was beautiful to see him move, and the ultrasound technician was so nice and took time to explain to us what exactly we were seeing.

C teared up when you could see our son opening his mouth. I teared up when I saw him kicking and flexing all of his limbs. It’s always such an emotional experience feeling that much closer to our son.

On the pregnancy front my biggest symptoms would be my continued (TMI) gas/bloat, headaches, and the aching back. My back is awful! I can’t hardly walk around the store without getting uncomfortable. C came into town for the ultrasound and he was so sweet about rubbing my back without even asking. My (temporary) midwife showed me a stretch to use to help ease the sciatica, and she said I can continue to use heating pad on low. I also found out that my midwife will be back in time for my next appointment! She had a baby boy and both are doing great according to the office. How exciting!

My appetite is growing, and it showed at the office. I was up 2.8 pounds from my last appointment, and I’m still about 3 pounds away from their highest recorded weight. I’ve been craving the same things: typically pickles, and home cooked meals, with the occasional desire for cold sweets (popsicles, etc).

So far I have not had any swelling, and fetal movement is only a MAYBE. I really thought I felt him at one point, but since I haven’t felt him since I can’t be sure. They told me at the ultrasound that my placenta has attached anteriorly, or in the front. This shouldn’t really impact my baby in any way, because the cervix is not blocked, but I haven’t done much more research on it. The only thing it might do is make it harder for me to feel him move. So that makes me feel better that I’m not feeling movements for sure, just yet!

Renovation mayhem has been crazy and expensive, but it’s so exciting. They are going to be installing our central heat and air next week, and the nursery has been painted! I would show a picture, but I really (really, really) want to wait to show the final before and after pictures! I was worried the paint colors we picked out were going to be too crazy, but my fears have been assuaged. After I take my boards I’m going in and we are going shopping for cabinets, and carpet. So thrilling!

Next time I update I will be past the halfway point, and I might be a licensed registered nurse!

 

registered nurse!

 

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Week 14

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Today I am 14 weeks and 4 days, I’ve been pregnant for over 100 days– squee!! This week started off rough. I seem to go through these periods of time where I’m nauseous and sick all the time and I don’t feel like eating anything, then I have periods of time where I feel fine on that front and I’m hungry every 3 hours or so. Each phase seems to last about 4-6 days, and I always come out of the first phase down a pound or two. The beginning of this week I was feeling really sick and could not bring myself to eat anything despite having unlimited possibilities (because I’ve been in central Kentucky this past week). Once I started to feel better I started to really notice that increase in energy level that everyone talks about in the second trimester.

I noticed something cool this week: a slight baby bump. At first I thought I was crazy because I’m a pudgy girl and didn’t expect to see anything noticeable until closer to 16 weeks, but when I lifted my shirt and looked in the mirror I noticed the change. It isn’t enough for someone who didn’t know I was pregnant to notice– I just look like I’m gaining some extra weight in my mid-section, but trust me. It’s awesome timing because when my best friend K and I went to Babies-R-Us to start the registry she talked me into buying some belly stickers. Now like any girl I’m a self conscious of my belly– maybe once it starts to look like a real pregnancy bump I’ll have some more confidence. In the meantime I’m going to take pictures with the stickers on a balloon or something.

The last symptom I want to talk about is my trouble sleeping. I’m already having a really hard time getting comfortable in my dream bed. (We just bought this hybrid gel mattress a month ago, and up until now it has always been the most comfortable bed in the world). I think my pillows are just too flat, and I’m waking up with headaches. So I’ve been researching pregnancy pillows. The one I really wanted is close to 100$ because it is shaped like a U, but I found one for a lot cheaper and the reviews paint a pretty decent picture of the durability of the product. So I think I’m about to bite the bullet and buy the pillow.

The only reason that this is making me nervous is because when I stay with C in eastern Ky we have been staying in our home. Obviously the place is still under major renovations so we have been staying upstairs in the room that will be C’s man-cave. It is super tiny and we are staying on a bed that is bigger than a twin and smaller than a full. I just don’t think that I’m going to be able to sleep there comfortably much longer. It also stinks that the bathroom is downstairs– so that means that the 4 times minimum I wake up in the middle of the night to pee I have to wake C up so I can get past him, make me way slowly downstairs, crawl back into the tiny bed, and try to get comfortable agin. I hate to think that pretty soon I won’t be able to stay with him. We are still at least 2 months away from being ready to move.

Besides symptoms everything else on the pregnancy front has been awesome. Nothing has happened necessarily, I’ve just been organizing and planning and that gives me a real sense of security. It seems crazy to me because I feel like I’m fighting the urge to nest. From what I’ve read women don’t really start nesting until the third trimester, so maybe I’ll get to that point and look back on when I thought I was nesting during the second trimester and laugh– but right now the urge to work on the nursery, go shopping, and clean is nearly overwhelming.

I am desperately wanting to get to Ikea. Unfortunately for us– the nearest Ikea is in West Chester, OH. It’s about 2 hours away from our central Kentucky location. My list of things to buy at Ikea is growing, and I would just go and get the stuff– but C brings up a very good point: We shouldn’t buy furniture before we have a place to put it. Ugh! How dare he make sense! for the nursery I need to get two dressers, a night stand, a bookcase, and then for the living room I need the entertainment stand. Of course I have a few other smaller things on my list too.

Hopefully once we hear the gender (next Thursday!) I will be able to pick a nursery paint color and we can start to get to get it ready. The room has been ready to paint, but I didn’t want to pick a paint color without a gender. Then technically that room will be ready so I might be able to talk C into going to Ikea. 😉

Anyway! Just a week away until we know the gender! I have this feeling Sea Monkey is a girl– I’ve only been looking at girl clothes, and crib bedding sets. I don’t know why I feel this way, but if it is a girl I think I’ve got a ‘theme’ picked out.

Until next week!