Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daddy Would Be So Proud

He's a tummy sleeper (but only when I'm awake to watch)

My friend Rachel who pretends in public like Gabe is hers :)

A moment to blog? Is this really possible? Today has actually been a rather smooth day. Kenneth was on duty (not why the day was smooth). I got all 3 kids and myself to church today and we were even on time. After church we went to eat pizza. The kids played nicely today. I actually cooked dinner and then I put Anna to bed early because she didn't take a nap today. The baby is asleep now and Carly is watching TV. Ah, sweet peace.

Things have been going fairly smoothly still. There have been a few bumps but overall I still say adding number 3 is way easier then adding number 2. Anna has been really whiny but I think she finally figured out that Gabe is here to stay. She has also figured out that when I am nursing him that I can't really do anything else so she makes it a point to really test me when I am nursing. She breaks the rules and pushes the limits. If Kenneth is here it is OK but it is a bit tough when he is gone. I basically have to wait and discipline her when I am done and I know that isn't near as effective. I do what I can though and for now that will just have to be good enough. I know she is just trying to find her place in the family now that she isn't the baby anymore. I know that will work itself out. Someone had asked how Anna was doing otherwise and the answer is great. She is coming along nicely in speech and as not had a seizure in quite some time. She still doesn't sleep worth a crap but I am afraid that problem is here to stay. I am not sure what to do about her braces this summer. I let her not wear them yesterday and let her wear sandals while we were out at the lake for the day. Her gait was horrible and her in toeing was much worse. I want her to be able to wear sandals but the braces need socks and socks and sandals just looks stupid. I want what is best for her but I also don't want her to look ridiculous. We have an appointment with the orthotist in the morning so I will ask him for some suggestions. If anyone else has any I would love to hear them.

Carly is still being amazingly helpful with Gabe and with Anna, too. I had her IEP meeting last Monday and she is on something called a 504 now. It allows her some extra help when taking tests and she also is getting extra phonics help everyday after lunch. She is so smart and I hope she understands that needing help because of her dyslexia is in no way a reflection on her intelligence. If the 504 turns out not to be enough then she will be placed on an actual IEP but I am hoping the 504 is enough. It allows her to take any test orally if she requests it. They were going to make it where she could not fail spelling but we decided that was not a good idea because then the incentive to try would be gone. If she has a week where she studies hard and tries really hard and still fails then they will not count it but if she is just being lazy and not trying then the failing grade will stand. I think that is fair. I do want her to get help but I also want her to do her best and always know she has to try. My great aunt's husband died a week ago and Carly made her a sympathy card. It had a rainbow and a sunshine and a big heart under the rainbow. She said that it was God's promise that he would give her somebody to hug again. Wow, out of the mouth of a 6 year old. She is amazing!

Gabe is still doing great. He is getting big cheeks and I love them. I've never had a chunky baby but I think he will be one. He eats like a champ now. He takes about 2.5 ounces every 3 hours. We are still working on nursing but he is better everyday. He just gets tired still. So I still pump a lot but each day I try to actually nurse him more and pump a little less. Some days are better than others. Today has gone very well. He is definitely a breast baby though. I had a low milk supply earlier in the week (I have since fixed the issue) and tried to supplement with half breast milk and half formula. You should have seen the fit he threw and refused to eat. He clamped his jaws down and would not have it. Thank God for my sister who walked me through resolving the issue. I was so stressed that day because I was not sure how and what I was going to do to feed my baby. It was funny during church today because it was totally quiet except for the preacher preaching and all of the sudden Gabe let out the biggest wettest toot and poop ever and the guy in the pew in front of us turned around laughing and said "that was nice." I'm pretty sure everybody within a 50 foot radius heard Gabe. His father would be so proud...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Baby, An Aquarium, and a Rockin' OB

This week has been crazy! Bringing home a new baby, a time change, and Spring Break- what am I? Superwoman? I have limited time to post so this week gets the updates bullet style.
  • Gabe is doing great. He is the sweetest and calmest baby. (Which I think I deserve might I add) He is eating great. He rarely cries. But man is this kid gassy!!
  • At his appointment on Friday he was up to 6 lb 6 oz. That was up 6 oz from Sunday.
  • We took all 3 kids to the Dallas World Aquarium on Thursday. It is Spring Break and we felt the girls were deserving of something fun to do. It was amazing and I highly recommend it although I probably would not go during Spring Break again. The girls loved it as did Kenneth and I. Gabe slept- good thing he got in for free!
  • I had my 2 week OB follow up last week. I am back on my lisinopril and my b/p is getting better. It is still not ideal but I am getting there. My OB asked what I plan to do for birth control since I cannot take the pill due to my clotting disorder. I reminded him that he was supposed to tie my tubes but didn't. He said he was well aware of that and he did not do it on purpose. He said my body could not take anything else right now and that I would be the patient to have some crazy complication. He said Kenneth must have a vasectomy. He said we absolutely cannot have any more kids (uh, no argument here) So he said to tell Kenneth that he must have a vasectomy. Kenneth agreed to it. Thanks Dr Cummings- you rock! I will probably have a hysterectomy but not for a year so something has to be done before then.
  • The girls are so smitten with this little guy. And I won't lie, I am too!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

NICU Inmate #26037 Finally Escaped

It finally happened. The girls got to meet their brother and he got to come home. Yesterday was day 18 of the NICU and I am so proud to say it was our last. He did great on our "rooming in" night and passed his car seat test without any difficulties. We were home by noon yesterday. Things have gone quite well so far and although we are not far into it, I must say that the adjustment from 2 to 3 is much easier than it was from 1 to 2. I know, it's early though and that may change. The girls are crazy about their brother and fight over whose turn it is to hold him next. Carly is great about helping feed him and hold him when I need to do other things and Anna is certain she should constantly be shoving his pacifier in his mouth because he should no doubt be as crazy about his as she is about hers. Kenneth and I are doing well also. We had a "division of labor" talk before Gabe came home and it is working out well. Since Anna doesn't sleep through the night he is taking care of her at night (and Carly but she is a good sleeper) and I am taking care of Gabe since I am breastfeeding. So far so good. Gabe is eating much better and it is so nice to feed him and not feel like we are being tested at each feed like it felt in the NICU. I am tired but I have been chronically tired since Anna's birth so this is really no different than our norm. It is crazy though to have to set an alarm to wake up and feed Gabe since he rarely wakes to eat. This is so different from the girls. I like it though- no complaining here. I hope he is always as good of a sleeper as he is now. I could go on forever but I am going to take my own advice and take care of myself and go to bed while I can. Thank you again so much for all of the thoughts and prayers that have been sent up on our behalf. Miracles are still happening!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

Ahh, we are on the home stretch! When we got to the hospital yesterday they had switched Gabe to all bottle feeds and no gavage. They left his NG tube in just in case. He did well with all his bottle feedings except 1 during the night last night. They rechecked his labs this morning and all still looks well so we are set for rooming in tonight and discharge home tomorrow morning. He still has his heart murmur but they said it is related to his pulmonary artery stenosis and that he will hopefully outgrow it by 6 months or so. They trust our pediatrician to keep up with it. He still has to do his car seat test but he has not had any lung issues since the first 2 days so I think it will go fine. Of course, as our luck would have it, Kenneth went back to work today. They are down to emergency staffing because of a horrible fire that is going on day #2 in this area. Our plan was for him to take off if we got the OK to room in tonight. Well, he can't take off now. It is OK though. The girls are going to spend the night with Kenneth's mom tonight and then he will pick them up when he gets off duty in the morning and bring them up to the hospital to meet their baby brother. It has been so weird that they have had a brother for over 2 weeks now but he has been basically non-existent in their lives. It is hard to explain. He is this little guy we talk about a lot but they really have no idea who he is. It's just weird. Anyway, they will get to meet him tomorrow morning. We are not telling them just in case something changes. I couldn't deal with disappointing them anymore in regards to Gabe. So it will all work out- just as it always does. God is always faithful and takes care of his people. I am learning day by day to praise God when the sun is shining and to also praise him in the storms. The storms always end eventually and the sun comes back out to shine...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gabe Update #9 aka Progress

It will be 2 weeks tomorrow since Gabe was born and 2 weeks that he has been in the NICU. Today brought many good things. They changed up his feedings so that now he only gets a gavage feeding every third feeding instead of every other feeding. While I was with him he breastfed twice and took 2 bottles well. That is the most he has done in a 24 hour period since he has been alive. He actually woke up around feeding time and acted kind of hungry which is something he has not really done much of up until now. I love the nurse he had today. He has had her quite a few times and seems to do so well when she has him. She is leaving to go on a trip for a week and had a pretty serious talk with Gabe and let him know he had better be at home by the time she gets back from her trip. They also increased his bottle/gavage feeds to 54 ml- that is just short of 2 ounces. His blood pressure was high again today but still seems to overall be trending down so that is OK. The social worker from the hospital and I talked today and she told me that we will have to "room in" for one night before he is discharged- whenever that is. At first they had said we wouldn't have to but that was when they thought he might go home on day#4. Rooming in is where you spend the night at the hospital in a room with the baby and just make sure all goes well overnight before taking the baby home. The nice thing about that night will be that the girls will get to come up and see their brother for the first time. Sweet Carly is still praying every night that Gabe will come tomorrow. I hope she doesn't lose faith because to her it seems like it is taking forever. Anna got into a marker fight with her "boyfriend" Jacob at daycare today and apparently spent some time in time out. I laughed so hard when I picked her up and found her with a red and blue face and hands. I told the teacher how nice it was to find her doing "normal" kid things. The teacher said she as glad it was my kid because she knew I would laugh and not be mad. She was right. Someone yesterday made the comment that I should be so well rested since my baby is at the hospital and I am at home so I just wanted to clear up any misconceptions people have about having a baby in the hospital. It is exhausting! OK, enough about that. I have my 2 week OB follow up tomorrow. Although my blood pressure is much better it could certainly still use some tweaking so I hope to get that taken care of. I love my OB but I am really ready to be done there and back with my primary care physician. Kenneth and I decided that since it still looks like Gabe will not be home for awhile that he should go ahead and go back to work. There is no reason for him to be burning so much vacation when the baby is not home. When he does finally come home then Kenneth will take some more time off. We think it is the best plan for now. I hope we are right. I am proud to say I am now only 5 pounds from my pre pregnancy weight. The weight never came off this fast with the girls. I hope to continue to lose and get myself to a healthier weight than where I was when I got pregnant. Having had preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and now chronic hypertension all put me at risk for future diabetes and cardiovascular complications. I cannot fix everything but I need to modify the risk factors that I can- the biggest one being my weight. After my 6 week check up I plan to start at least walking on the treadmill 3x a week. That seems like a doable goal to me. Luckily breastfeeding should also help take some weight off. Well, it is officially quiet in this house and you know what that means. Night night for me too...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gabe Update #8

Gabe had a great night last night. He ate his bottle feedings in full. That was great news except that he did so well he wore himself out. He would not wake up at all today. I tried to breastfeed him and it was a total fail. Then I tried to bottle feed him and he took 2 ml- that is less than 1/2 a teaspoon. He ended up getting gavage feedings. I hate that moving forward meant moving backwards too. He looked peaceful today though so I guess all in all it is OK. Kenneth and I ended up going home earlier than we had planned because it was clear he just needed to be in his isolette sleeping. It is crazy the amount of energy he expends when just being held or trying to keep himself warm. There is still not even a mention of him coming home. I called and spoke with our short term disability insurance today and they will quit paying on April 6. So I guess that is when I will have to go back to work. It makes me sad because that means I may only have 2 or 3 weeks at home with him before I have to go back to work. I am thankful however that I work 12 hour shifts so that means I will only have to be gone 3 days a week. I may try going back at only 2 days a week for a bit until things get a little more routine around here. My disability only paid 60% of my salary so we are used to the cut anyway. We shall see. It will work out. It always does and therefore I am not going to worry myself over it. In an ideal world I would stay home a couple of months but as I well know, this is no ideal world. God has always provided what we need and I have no reason to believe this time will be any different. As I was changing Gabe's clothes today and holding him I really realized how abnormal Anna's muscle tone was from the very beginning. Gabe is so much more relaxed and easy to handle. All of the neonatologists have been great but we especially like the one who was here today- Dr. Marinelli. He is a really neat man. He has been practicing in the field almost since its beginning in the late 70's and early 80's. He has written many of the guidelines and papers about neonatology. I enjoy getting to just chit chat with him. He is so knowledgeable and really puts Kenneth and I both at ease. Even he says he cannot explain Gabe's hypertension but says the fact that Gabe is a nurse's kid probably has something to do with it. For some reason, the child of a doctor or nurse will do all kinds of funky stuff with no explanation. It's the nurse curse. I am hoping tomorrow brings more alert time and better feedings but as I have said before, it will come, in his own time...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gabe Update #7

Gabe had another pretty good day today. He ate a little better than yesterday from a bottle and breastfed for about 10 minutes. He actually took a whole ounce by bottle so that was nothing short of miraculous! Yeah, it took him 30 minutes but he did it and that is what counts. So the whole heart issue- the PFO is a type of ASD so his ASD is his PFO. It is not too bad and not really a big deal. He has something called left to right shunting and I'm not really understanding all of that but apparently it is OK at this stage in the game. He also has some pulmonary artery stenosis but again that doesn't seem to be worrying the doctors and therefore it is not worrying me. His blood pressure is still elevated and they are now considering starting him on meds for it. They would use captopril. The weird thing is that captopril is an ACE inhibitor (type of b/p med). My b/p responds best to an ACE inhibitor but I was told not to take it while breastfeeding. It is weird that they don't want me to take it because it would be passed on to him yet he can take the ACE himself and that is OK. Good thing I'm not a doctor- I don't have to understand that one. He is also having some heart arrythmias. He was having those in utero too. They are just watching it for now. Everything else seems to be going well with him. My blood pressure has been much better today. I'm hoping things are finally moving in the right direction as far as that is concerned. I know some of it is also stress but honestly I think that given the situation I am taking all things well. I know Gabe will be fine. He just needs to grow and mature. It would be so different if he were in the NICU because he was sick, but he's not and that makes it easier for me. Don't get me wrong, I am ready for him to be home, but not a moment before he is ready. And he will be ready, in his own time. I am going to head up tp see him early tomorrow because my great grandmother's 97th birthday party is tomorrow and I need to be back in time to attend it. The girls continue to do well but are really tired of not being able to see their brother. I sat down with Carly and we talked about how that yes, Gabe is in the hospital but that when he comes home he will be healthy. I do not want her to think that because he is int he hospital that when he comes home it will be like it has been with Anna. She says she understands that he was just born early and needs some time. I swear that child is an old soul and wise beyond her years. She has been so helpful with Anna lately and Lord knows we have needed it because Anna has been crazy! My bed is calling my name so I must go. It hates to be ignored...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gabe Update #6

This will be short and sweet because I am ready to go to bed. Gabe is still in the NICU. He is still not eating well. He has one "awake" period each day when he will have a good feeding but the rest of the time he does not do much. I am allowed to try to breastfeed twice a day and he latches great but for the most part he doesn't suck much. He did have one great feeding yesterday though and I was proud of that. His bilirubin continues to go down so I hope that as it goes down he will be more and more alert. He is still hypertensive and nobody seems to be quite sure why. They have a different theory each day it seems. He had an echo cardiogram today due to his heart murmur. They found that he has a PFO (patent foramen ovale) and an ASD(atrial septal defect). I did not get to talk to the doctor so I am not sure of the significance of it. I hope to get to talk to the doctor tomorrow. There is still not any talk of him coming home. We are going on day 9 tomorrow, I think. I am pretty sure I am holding up ok but then today I was sitting in my car talking to my sister on the phone and I was getting my pump all ready. I got off the phone with her and turned the pump on. I sat there for a minute pumping and then suddenly wondered why my pants were wet. I looked down and realized I had never put the bottle on the pump and was just pumping breastmilk onto my leg and the seat of my car. NICE!! OK, so maybe I'm a bit tired and still in a fog. My blood pressure medicine was changed yesterday and every now and again I get a good reading but for the most part it is still out of control. I am watching it closely though and will keep working towards getting it down. My eyes are crossing looking at the screen so I must go to bed now. Night night.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gabe Update #5

Wow, I have so much to say! This may get all jumbled up but I'll do the best that I can. Praise God for today. It was a really good day! It didn't start off that way. I woke up this morning feeling tired and irritable and mostly irritable at Kenneth. He had done nothing to deserve it. He has been awesome! So I paused briefly and prayed. I prayed that I would not be irritable and that I would be patient and kind. I prayed about just really needing some "me" time- even if it just meant some time by myself in the car. I also prayed for a good day. Guess what? My God was right on time and he delivered. I instantly felt a peace and the irritation was gone. We got to the hospital and Gabe just looked so peaceful also. I have been pumping around the clock and taking milk to the hospital. I have not been able to actually breastfeed though because they needed to know how much he was taking. Today, the nurse practitioner said it was time to try to let him breastfeed- not really for nutrition but just to get us started. The lactation consultant came to help and he latched on nicely. He doesn't suck much but we got the latch down so I was thrilled! He gets a gavage feed at the same time he is breastfeeding (or trying to) so that he will associate the breastfeeding with feeling full. So I did that and then came home and took a nap. I have been staying all day most days but today Kenneth said I had to come home and take a nap. I didn't argue. So I napped a bit and then went back to the hospital to try to feed him again. I was there for about an hour and for the first time ever he was awake the whole time. It was awesome! Also, since I went back by myself I got the "me" time that I so desperately needed. I feel kind of refreshed today. Yesterday felt horrible. I was so tired and it felt like I was walking in a fog. I can't believe Gabe will be a week old tomorrow. His renal sonogram was normal so they said the hypertension is just some transient thing caused probably by either my hypertension or my Pristiq (antidepressant). Great, like I needed anything else to feel guilty about. Anyway, each day his blood pressure is a little better so hopefully it will be normal soon. My blood pressure on the other hand is not coming down. My b/p meds are doubled and I still can't get my diastolic below 100. I will be calling my OB again tomorrow. I know I am stressed but it is even high in the middle of the night when I have been asleep and just get up to pump. I am also having some pretty nasty swelling. The good news about me though is that I am 10 lbs from my pre pregnancy weight. I have lost 16 lbs. That makes me super happy. Well, I intended to write more about how I feel about all of this but I need to pump again and then I am ready for some sleep. I'll save that conversation for another day. Tomorrow I am going to spend the day with Gabe again and Kenneth is going to stay home. It stresses me out not to be up there everyday and it stresses him out to be up there every day. Off to meet Medela...