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3 Month Update!

Three Months!

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I can not believe that our little rockstar has been here for 3 months! This has been a great month for him. ** We have an appointment with a NICU graduation clinic next week. It’s a service connected to his NICU where they monitor premature infants through their first years of life. So after that I will post another update about how he is doing.

Our biggest achievement this month is that our boy no longer needs his NG feeding tube. After a week of consistently taking his total volume by mouth, and exceeding his goal— It’s official!

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Finally NG free, and getting ready to go to grandma’s house to watch the UK Basketball team (#1 in the nation!) play.

As of yesterday we learned that we can feed him on demand. Previously we had been keeping him to a 3 hour schedule so he could really master eating. It was hard because during the day when he’s awake and alert he’s hungry about every 2 hours— You try keeping a hungry baby at bay for an hour! Then at night I would have to wake him up every 3 hours to eat because he sleeps so well. Now his pediatric surgeon is comfortable with us feeding him on command, so that means we can feed him more during the day and let him ‘sleep through the night’— We haven’t really had a chance to try this just yet— but I was excited to get the news!

This month was also huge in terms of his development. He’s so much more alert and interactive. He has officially masted the social smile. He loves to have his cheeks lightly tickled while you make eye contact and talk with him; he lights up every single time. He also has started to notice his toys. I lay him on his play mat and he looks at the animals and loves when I make them jingle. I also have a toy that goes across his car seat handle and it’s been great for the long car rides. Before now he really only focused on lights. He still loves to look at lights, but I’m loving how much more he’s getting interested in other things.

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Look at that baby smile!

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Hanging out on his play mat. He loves it.

He has also really strengthened his neck muscles and nearly has full control of his head. He loves to look around, and isn’t always content just being snuggled close to us. It’s so sad that he’s already starting to outgrow that, but I love seeing him enjoy his surroundings. He finally got a real bath, and he loves relaxing in the water and looking around.

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A picture from his first real bath. 12.31.14

He still loves to be swaddled, and we just went up to the large size in the summerinfant swaddleme. His others still fit, but it was a snug fit. He’s got plenty of room to grow in his new ones. He still hates having his diaper changed, and being dressed after a bath. We’re still sleeping in the Rock n’ Play because he needs the incline, but if he starts doing better sleeping through the night we might be making the transition to his crib soon. **With a device that will also keep him inclined.

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*A little blurry. Hanging out in his rock n play.

He is still in 0-3 and 3 month clothes. His carters brand sleeper outfits are starting to get tight in the length, but we’ve still got some time before I need to upgrade him to 6 month. — However, as soon as he’s ready he has So. Many. Clothes. in the next size up. I got a little panicked because he was starting to outgrow his clothes and we didn’t have much in the next size… So I may have went a little crazy shopping. Crazy as in… I just about purchased every single thing Target had in 6 months that was seasonally appropriate. On top of that we received a very large tote of his cousin’s old clothes. So!

He tipped the scales at 11 pounds 5 ounces, and is 21.5” long. Up 5 pounds 14 ounces, and 2.75” from birth.

He is going through a major mama’s boy period. Sometimes when he’s upset, no matter what my husband does for him he can not be consoled. All I do is pick him up and he instantly calms. I’m not really sure what that means, but it’s so sweet. I’m enjoying it because I know it will be short lived, but I admit it’s making it bit hard to get some sleep. This past month I finally started accepting help that I had previously (vehemently) refused. So when I’m feeling really worn down and my husband tells me to take a nap… I try to enjoy it, but when I hear the baby fussing I have to go calm him down. I hope he starts to take to being away from mommy better soon, because I’m starting to job hunt. 😥

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I love taking pictures when he’s sleeping.

We now have a pretty loose schedule. It’s hard to ‘stick’ with it because when we visit my husbands family everyone wants to hold him constantly and he falls asleep… And it throws off his night. Loosely what we have going on is:

I’m with the baby between 8pm-4am, and then my husband stays with the baby from 4am-noon (although I usually get up around 10am.) He’s been eating at 2-5-8-11. Our day ‘starts’ with the 11am bottle. I’ll change his diaper, dress him for the day, and feed him. Then we have about a solid 3 hours of good alert time. After his 2 o’clock bottle he usually naps for an hour or 2. He wakes up, eats, and has another period of alert time. Before his 8pm bottle I’ll dress him in his pajamas, and we’ll eat, be swaddled, dim the lights, and our nighttime routine begins. He sleeps pretty much through the night except when he’s up to eat, but around 5am he has another period of alert time until his 8am bottle and then he’ll sleep.

We started using the sound machine and it has really improved his sleep! I’m able to clean up the kitchen after I lay him down around 8 without him waking up, and his sleep is deeper and more peaceful. Before he seemed to sleep very lightly and was easily disturbed. So thank goodness for the sound machine.

I know I am forgetting things, but this is the bulk of how the last month has been. I’m excited to see what this next month will bring. Each month it gets better and better.

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My sweet baby boy.

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Nursery Tour – Baby Boy’s Peek-a-Boo Monster Nursery

Finally getting around to doing a nursery tour. I never got it ‘perfect’ but I like it so far. We spend a lot of our time in here: rocking him in the recliner, playing on his floor mat, changing him, etc. It’s almost perfect, but of course…

Things I want to do but haven’t done:

  • Finish his alphabet wall. I already purchased the letters from ETSY and they plain birch wood. We planned on having them painted at the baby shower that never happened, and I just haven’t had a chance to paint them. They will go above the recliner. As soon as things ‘settle down’ I’ll get that done.
  • I need to clean out his crib, but he’s currently sleeping next to us in his Rock n’ Play– So that’s not such a big deal at the moment. His great grandmother bought him a moses basket, but unfortunately he can’t lay flat most of the time, so we took some pictures of him in it and plan on giving it away soon.
  • I also plan to get a bookshelf of some sort. I had wanted one from IKEA, but it is much too large for his room right now. Maybe once we outgrow the need for his rocker/recliner I can put one in it’s place.

IMG_2017This sign is hung on his nursery door. My son is named after my husband, and this sign was my husbands from when he was a boy. I love how many things we have from when my husband was a baby. This just adds an extra special touch to the room.

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This is the view from the hallway into my son’s room. His theme is ‘peek-a-boo monsters’– Blue, Brown, and Green.

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The dresser slash changing table is positioned between two small closets and directly in front of his window. There is a small antique rocking horse to the left. It used to be where the diaper genie is, but we’re pressed for space so I had to put it there.

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A close up of our changing area. We were given the changing pad cover as a gift. I use a diaper changing station and a wipe warmer. The sides hold some up and up lotion, diaper cream, and baby powder. The little robot plush is from a friend, and the dinosaur was from my mom. It plays music and baby boy loves it. I also keep hand sanitizer handy.

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The first two drawers. The left hand side is all of the misc. things everyone collects. The right hand side holds socks, bibs, hats, and burp cloths. I need to get some of those IKEA drawer organizers badly, but the nearest IKEA is 2.5 hours away. We had planned a trip there before he made his appearance, but his early arrival derailed those plans.

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The second row. The left drawer has his outfits that he currently fits into, and the right drawer has his sleepers that he currently fits.

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The last row. Left side has extra blankets, sheets, changing pad covers, etc. The right side has his onesies, and shoes.

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Here is his crib. He’s not sleeping in it right now so don’t stress about all of the things inside of it. We’ve got all of his stuffed animals, and a moses basket that my husband’s grandma gave us. *Our son can’t sleep flat, so we took some pictures of him in it and we’re looking to give it away. The right side you can see his closet door.

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This is his ‘weighing station’ — We needed to weigh him daily so we purchased a baby scale. It’s positioned over two totes. The bottom tote is 6month and up clothing. The top tote is full of clothes he’s already outgrown. 😦

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Opposite of the crib is the rocker. It’s a lazyboy recliner and it’s super comfortable. The table is something my mother in law found at a flea market. The afghan was made by his grandmother, and we love to cuddle with his boppy pillow and blanket and relax. I’ve got the video monitor on the table, because currently our son sleeps with us. So if he’s laying down while I’m folding clothes or something I’ve got easy access to it. The lamp is part of his theme. In the background we’ve got the packn’play/changing area/basinet that we don’t need, so I’m giving it away as a baby shower gift. I just need to wrap it.

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This is the closet where I have his extra diapers, wipes, and his next size up in clothes.

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This closet has a little bit of everything. Mostly things we won’t need for a long time. His toddler bed rail, his 6-12 month clothes, and a lot of other odds and ends are in here. I’ll organize it eventually.

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This is where I plan to put his bookshelf eventually. The ‘basket’ is currently being used as a dirty clothes hamper, but will eventually house his toys. And his carseat.

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Just another shot of the room, and our dog. It’s a small space, but we’re making it work. *I leave the floor mat out because we use it daily. He absolutely loves it!

 

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Saying Goodbye to the NICU!

We are so very excited to be home before Christmas. If you had asked me just last week when I thought we were going home I would have told you it would probable be in early 2015. Well, our son turned a corner and made some rapid progress learning how to eat. We are going home with a feeding tube that goes from his nose to his stomach, but he only uses it at night– and if his progress keeps up we won’t even need that much longer! We are so excited.

I put together some small gift bags for the NICU. When I thought I was going to have the ‘normal’ pregnancy and childbirth experience I had planned on making thank-you bags for my labor and delivery nurses. I never got a chance to do that — though I did send a thank you card to one nurse in particular who was absolutely amazing, and who I will remember for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something to thank the wonderful staff at our NICU for their work. After spending 8 weeks in the NICU we made so many connections and friendships that it feels wrong to just part ways without expressing how much what they did meant to us.

I wanted to find some cute treat bags, but the holiday section at Target was demolished– So we settled for holiday zip-lock bags. When I was thinking about want to put into the bags I wanted to put things they could use: gum, chapstick, etc– Things I had thought of putting into my labor and delivery thank you bags. However, I was planning on making 40+ bags, and those things would get too pricy. So I opted for some others: Chocolate, hard candy, chewy candy, mints, and K-Cups. We heard countless times how the NICU had recently purchased a keurig coffee machine for the break room, but they did not supply the coffee, so the k-cups was our favorite part of the gift bags.

We grabbed a picture with our primary dayshift nurse, passed off the gift bags— and on December 21st walked out of the NICU with our son. I only took 200 pictures from the time we left the NICU until we got home. haha.

We’ve been home for 60 hours and so much has happen that it deserves it own post, but for now I’ll stop here. We’re home!

 

 

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Christmas tree!

My husband and I have been staying in central KY (about 90 miles away from home), for the last two months. We had not been home since my water broke in October. Thankfully our mothers have been taking care of our house and our fur children so we could devote all of our time to our baby boy (who is doing wonderfully, just in case you were wondering). However we had to go home for a few days to take care of some things that only we could do– a very hard thing to do because it meant not seeing our baby for 48hours, but it was a necessary trip.

We made good use of those house while we were home. While my hubby was taking care of insurance and tax documents on his computer— I was getting our house ready for Christmas! Even if our son isn’t home for ‘christmas’– We’re doing Christmas when he comes home! Christmas in July? Sounds like fun to me!

I put up our first full sized tree, wrapped the presents I had ordered during cyber monday, and stocked up on the limited edition gingerbread cookie mix. 😉 When our baby comes home, he’s coming home to to some holiday cheer!

**ALSO! I will be doing a ‘house tour’ very soon! My amazing mother in law has decorated our house for us, and I can’t wait to show some amazing before and after pictures! Remember how our house used to look?! If you don’t, take a peek here to help your memory!

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Update!

Wow. What have a learned from the last 3 weeks? You need to go with the flow. As a super type A person, this has been incredibly difficult for me, but I’m getting better at it.

Losing my beautiful natural birth, missing out on the golden hour, having a baby in the NICU, having a baby undergo surgery on his 3rd day of life, having a baby face and overcome several bumps in the road to recovery, accepting I am part of the 3-5% of women who physically can not breastfeed, and many other things I’m sure I am forgetting to mention– they have helped me overcome my inability to ‘go with the flow’.

Baby C had surgery on the 28th of October. That morning C and I went back to see our baby boy, and meet with the anesthesiologist, surgeons, and neonatologists assigned to his case. They went over some aspects of his surgery, and we passed our cell phone numbers off the nurse who would be updating us throughout his surgery. Eventually they had to take him back, so we gave him kisses, and left teary eyed to wait. We were so excited, and terrified.

Finally the wait was up and we learned that the surgery went very smoothly. Our son tolerated it very well, and they were able to repair his fistula with one surgery. He had been impressing everyone since he was born, so we were not surprised that he did so well. We were overwhelmed with joy, and so thankful that he was on the road to recovery.

The next few days we faced several bumps in the road. They were worried about his blood pressure being too low, his lack of urine output, and he developed a pneumothorax on his left side. They had to start him on a drug to help his BP, and put in a chest tube to relieve the pneumothorax. Then they had to consult with nephrology because his kidney function tests were showing our boy was suffering from acute kidney injury. He also wasn’t able to be weaned off of the ventilator because he wasn’t fully awake yet, and they blamed that on his kidneys not filtering everything out.

It was several days of constant stress. It seemed like every time we took one step forward, we then took two steps back. Finally on November 1st they were able to remove the chest tube on his right side. Then on the 2nd he started really waking up! When we did his evening care on the 2nd we saw him fully opened his eyes of the first time since before surgery. Then on the 3rd they were doing a test to see how he would handle being off the ventilator, and he did so well that they went ahead and extubated him!

Finally opening his eyes!

Finally opening his eyes!

On the 4th they did a swallow study to see how his repair was holding up. At first they thought he ‘passed’ but upon closer evaluation the radiologist told us he saw a small leak at the repair. We were so sad to hear that because they didn’t plan on retesting him until the 11th. The only reason we really cared about the extra time is because our son can not have anything to eat orally. He’s getting all of his nutrition IV, but his stomach is still empty and he feels ‘hungry’. He was so upset that night, and we can’t hold him because he still has a chest tube on his left side, and we couldn’t feed him. It took over an hour to calm him down. We felt so depressed and helpless and our hearts were heavy knowing we had another week before he might be able to eat.

Extuabted and awake. <3

Extuabted and awake. ❤

Today (5th) we took another step forward! His kidney function tests are finally starting to improve. They had kind of stalled out (still high, but were not inclining like they had been) over the last two days, but today was the first day those numbers finally started to come down! Nephrology told us that they were optimistic that this would eventually happen, but until I heard that the numbers were coming down I didn’t believe them. We also learned that surgery reviewed his swallow study results and decided that the ‘leak’ the radiologist saw was so tiny that they felt comfortable retesting on Friday the 7th, instead of waiting a full week.

We were elated to hear this. The sooner he ‘passes’ his test, the sooner he can begin oral feedings. Once he has oral feedings, if nothing is coming out of the chest tube then they can take it out and we can hold him! From there it’ll just be getting him to take a bottle and nurse well before we go home.

So our fingers are crossed for Friday.

Baby burrito with the pacifier is about the only way to soothe a 'hungry' baby.

Baby burrito with the pacifier is about the only way to soothe a ‘hungry’ baby.

It took several days for us to get a routine down. Running between the hospital and the hotel, trying to find time to sleep and eat, and me pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock– we were exhausted. More than exhausted, we were dead on our feet. I was getting the postpartum blues, and my husband was concerned not only for our son, but feared for my mental and physical health. Being discharged from the hospital 18hours after delivery, and running around as much as we were was hard on my body. I am happy to report now that we are doing a lot better.

Not only do we finally have a routine, but I’m doing better emotionally. My husband confessed to me that he was sick with worry for my mental health. For days after being discharged the stress of what was going on with our son, and learning I couldn’t breastfeed had me so depressed I couldn’t muster a smile if you offered cash endorsement. Finally we started getting ‘good’ news, I started to learn how to just take things as they come, and having our routine down– we are in a much better place than we were a week ago. I also came to accept that I can not produce breastmilk* and making peace with that brought me more peace than I can describe.

*While my son is in the NICU I’m going to continue to pump (on a less frequent basis than I have been) so that when we do his care I can give him ‘oral care’ with the few drops I am producing. It’s not much, but it is something I can give. Once we go home I am not going to pump anymore, and we will be using formula. Coming to this decision was very difficult for me, but I have the support of my husband and the lactation consultant.