Friday, December 31, 2010

new year's eve

It is not quite ten o'clock.  I spent New Year's Eve with the babies and the dog while The Hubs had an appointment with a client. (Seriously? On a holiday? But anyhoo...)  I will be going to bed shortly because when you sleep for two-ish hour blocks at a time in the wee hours of the night/morning, staying up to see a ball drop and ring in the new year doesn't quite have the same appeal as it might to someone who gets a seven-or-more-hour chunk of sleep the majority of the year.  But here I am rambling.  That is nothing new. :)
This year has gone by quickly in many ways and slowly in others. I look at Bubby and Mac2.0, and I want time to sloooowwww down.  I look at my recent sleep deprivation, and I wouldn't mind the next few months going by semi-quickly.
This year has had high's and low's.

Lows:
Being lied about by someone I loved/being majorly disappointed by the behavior of others.
Ever accumulating medical bills.
Not having doors and windows opened like we had hoped in 2010 and wondering if things will get better in the coming year.
Having to put our faithful four-legged friend, Ebby, to sleep.

Highs:
Mommyhood -now times two - the poopy diapers, the temper tantrums, the medical bills that could have bought a new car and so much more... totally worth it for the baby sleeping on my chest as I type and the "mama!" I will hear once again in the morning
The blessing of amazing friendship/familyship (like that word?)
Seeing prayers answered for loved ones
Spending another year as a stay-at-home mom - I know that this may not always be possible, so I am thankful that things turned out how they did (as far as this aspect of life goes) this year

My hope is that in the coming year I will experience true joy and contentment with the people and things that really matter in my life.  And I pray the same for you, dear readers. :)

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a few minutes of calm

I sit with a few minutes of calm this morning.  The Hubs went out to get us some much needed coffee (yay Christmas gift card!), Bubby is playing with his toy laptop and talking with me as I type by repeating everything his computer says (so cute!), the dog is sitting by the door, and Mac2.0 (who I am still thinking of a blog nickname for) is swaddled up and snug next to me in his Boppy.
Last night was my first evening completely on my own - no mom here any more or sister-in-law and brother stopping by.  The Hubs had four clients, so he was gone until after nine.  There were moments of insanity, which I eluded to on facebook, - such as when Bubby decided to put his Leap Frog Fridge Phonics in the dog bowl or when he decided to give his brother a book...right on his tiny little head. BUT I survived, and actually I managed to feed both boys, not kick the dog out, eat dinner myself (better late than never), play with Bubby, change several poopy diapers, and feel relatively okay by the end of the night. Most of the night went well.  A couple of moments went extremely well.
Well... I have more words but no brain cells.  Here are a couple of pictures of Mac.20 instead of more words:




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

home

We are home.  Mac2.0 came home on December 23.
I am exhausted.
He is a fabulous baby - very content and a great sleeper.
But we have to wake him up regularly to eat.
And he poops at least twelve times a day.
So I am exhausted.  More so by the rest of life than by baby.
So my blogging will be pretty sporadic.
Thank you for your prayers while we were in the NICU.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'll Be Home For Christmas???

Mac2.0 may be home for Christmas if he continues to do as well as he has done the last couple of days.  He has taken all of his feedings for the last 21 hours, so the doc said his nose tube can come out.  Then they will keep an eye on how things go for the next 72 hours or so.  If all continues to go well, The Hubs and I will then go with him to CareByParent (where we stay overnight with him in a hospital room to make sure everything is okay), and then he can come home.  This is all contingent on him having no other issues, passing his carseat test, etc.  He has been having some periodic breathing issues but not bad enough to be making him desat so they may be doing a sleep study on him and depending on how that goes he may come home on an apnea monitor like Bubby did.  Please pray that there will be no setbacks, everything will go smoothly and quickly, and we can get our little guy home soon - very soon.
It has been a very stressful last couple of days for me.  Even though the baby is doing better, I think my postpartum hormones are in full swing.  Let me tell ya, they make the progesterone emotions look like a cakewalk.  Feeling a little better this evening now that we got a potential timeline today.
We have had an amazing nurse the last two day shifts. I wish she could always be the nurse.  I really like her. I  think she may have cared for Bubby a day or two, too.  Sadly, I have not been up much to the hospital today - just once this afternoon, and I will go again tonight.  She told me when I called up this morning to not stress, she knows I am a good mom.  When I was up this afternoon she had Mac2.0 ready for a bath.  The little guy LOVED it.  He looked like he was enjoying a day at the spa, and was only upset when I took him out of the tub.
Santa came to the NICU today and so did a photographer.  The Hubs went up for that time slot.  Not sure the time frame of getting the pictures.  I do know that unless he peed on another outfit (which he has a tendency to do even when the nurses put the diapers on him), he should be wearing the very cool hand-me down turtle pajamas that Bubby got from cousin Stephanie.  (Mac2.0 that is, not the Hubs, haha.)
Well, Bubby is playing me a tune on the piano, so I better end this update.  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

After my pity-party yesterday, today was a better day.
Apparently last night Mac2.0 took a whole feeding from the nurse.  :)
This afternoon he took a whole ounce when I was there feeding.
He seems to be keeping his temp up a little better.
We had a really great nurse today, and the one who got him to eat last night (and seems also like a good nurse) is taking care of him tonight.
Praying he continues to make more progress and things really start clicking.

Random other thing: just like Bubby he is too long for preemie clothes.  They have him in some that the NICU has, and his skinny, long legs are squished.  I need to bring him up some newborn clothes, which he will "swim" in. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

are we there yet?

I have not updated as much lately because honestly I am just stinkin' tired.
My life right now is: get up, pump, go to NICU, come home spend a little time with Bubby, pump, play with Bubby, make us lunch, pump, get Bubby to take a nap (and if he does try to take one too), pump, go to NICU, eat dinner, pump, go to NICU, come home hopefully in time to put Bubby to bed.
Somedays the schedule varies a little bit based on The Hubs work schedule. I may have the NICU visit at a different point in the day. On average I get there three times  day - sometimes two, sometimes four - which makes me feel horrible because I was there almost every feeding time for Bubby.  And it makes me feel horrible that I also would update this blog every day for Bubby and for Mac2.0 it is when I get around to it.
But I have a toddler at home.  And The Hubs work schedule varies unlike before.  And this is winter not summer so that just makes things different in a few ways.

Mac2.0 is still sleeping through most of his feeds.  He has a decent one now and then, and yesterday he had one really awesome round, and I got my hopes up only to have them dashed.  They moved him out of the incubator today.  We shall see if he can keep his temps up.

Today was a rough day, and I don't really know why.  Parts of my day were great.  A good friend came to visit us at the NICU today, and my sister-in-law was able to come up with me tonight.  The stres of the day wasn't really different than any other day this week, I think I am just tired of not having my baby home with me. I am tired of not seeing any progress. I am tired of feeling like the way the NICU system works my baby doesn't really have a nurse watching him/helping us very much (depending on the nurse) because the other baby they are assigned to is having bigger issues. (And I feel bad for that baby because I think he/she seems to be needing constant care and that breaks my heart for that family AND I think that baby should have a nurse all to himself/herself).  I am tired of feeling like I am not around enough for Bubby and that somehow he is getting the shaft, and I am tired of feeling like I am not around enough for Mac2.0 and that he is not getting held/touched/talked to enough.
I hate that he is not very alert when I am there (or anyone is there).  This wasn't a problem for Bubby.  Bubby had other issues, more issues actually, but the ones that Mac2.0 has break my heart just as much because I just want him to get better so he can come home.  It is a very unnatural thing for a mama to only be able to hold her newborn for a couple of hours a day - at scheduled times - with bells and whistles going off and wires attached and yellow gown on - and then at the end of the day have to leave that little baby behind in someone else's care - knowing that no matter how wonderfully trained the medical people are, that they will not watch and care for and love that little guy as much as I do.
And I think I have hit my breaking point today.  Because it sucks that my stupid uterus for some unknown reason does not keep babies inside long enough for me to have a "normal" mama-ing experience. 
And yet at the same moment I know that at some point my baby will come home, it just isn't as soon as I want.  Just this week someone I know lost their baby that was due this month.  And someone else I know is waiting for the paperwork to work out for them to bring their baby home.  And other people I know are still waiting on a baby of their own.
So I will stop this pity-party.  I just needed to vent it out.  Because I have heard from people how I am holding it together - and I am most days, most hours, most moments - but not every moment.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

poopy day - literally and figuratively

It was a poopy day in the NICU today.
We had to deal with a difficult nurse.  Very difficult.  I called this morning, first to talk to her, and then when that didn't give me the info I needed, I talked to her boss.  That made things better and worse in some ways.  So she was going to be assigned to Mac2.0 tomorrow - but The Hubs called up tonight and talked to the person in charge tonight to see that such a thing wouldn't happen.
And thankfully we are back to a wonderful nurse tonight.  And it turns out I went to college with her sister-in-law.  We were on the same floor one year.  And this nurse was once again very helpful and caring both with me and my child.
But there has been blood in baby's poop today (we didn't find out about it until our night nurse told us -- grrr).  So far there are no other warning signs/symptoms of something bad, but they will be watching it tonight and also consulting the docs.  When Bubby was in and this happened they took him off his feeds for a few days.  This is an AWFUL HEART-WRENCHING experience to watch your baby cry about his empty belly and not be able to do anything about it.
PLEASE PRAY that the poop issue resolves itself, that it is nothing serious, and that Mac2.0 will not have to be taken off of his feeds. 
It is a lonely drive home at night from the NICU when you get bad news.  When Bubby was there, The Hubs and I made those drives home together, but now with his work schedule, I made that drive alone tonight remembering and praying and trying to hold myself together.
But we know there are people lifting us up in prayer.  We are so thankful for our family and friends who are doing that for us.  It is the only way we could make it through our journey last time and again this time.  Prayer brings peace where it would otherwise be absent.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Multitude Monday 357 - the NICU edition


"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel." Phil. 4:6-7 CEV

357. a pretty easy delivery
358. the epidural :)
359. a fantastic NICU staff that is taking excellent care of Mac2.0
360. tons of fuzzy, dark, outta-control, wild man hair on my baby boy
361. belly loops going away and being nothing
362. my mom continuing to stay here, buy groceries, cook meals, help with Bubby, etc.
363. family and friends helping, praying, encouraging
364. long baby toes and tiny baby nose
365. hope that, even with the recent setback, baby will be home soon

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dec.12 - another update

So Mac2.0 is having a little bit of a set back. He is not keeping his temperature up.  This takes a lot of his energy so at meal time he is lethargic and not taking all of his food by mouth. So they have to put a large portion down his nose tube.  Looks like he will be going back to an incubator so he doesn't burn all of his energy/calories trying to keep himself warm.  Once he gains some more weight, this should help.  But it is disappointing that his little body just isn't mature enough yet to do everything on his own.  So Homecoming Day will not be as soon as we had thought/hoped. We are thankful that even though this isn't great news, it could be so much worse.
Continued prayer for:
weight gain
energy
ability to regulate his own body temp correctly
jaundice to stay away
ability to eat on his own
digestive issues to stay away

the positives of the NICU experience

No matter the length of time or the reason for a NICU visit, it is never a good feeling to be there.  Our journey there so far with Mac2.0 is less intense (since he did "cook" for five more weeks than Bubby), but there are still ups and downs, still worries about the "what ifs," still the guilt an sadness of leaving the baby there each night, still the disappointment of not having the normal bringing baby home experience.
But there are a couple of positives that I am able to see more clearly this time around.
The medical staff at our NICU is fantastic.  The nurses are skilled and compassionate.  Those we knew from our time there with Bubby have been so sweet.  There is an additional doctor and a nurse practitioner in the NICU now, and I have been highly impressed with their knowledge, decision making, and bedside manner.  We know without a doubt this time that our little guy is an excellent care.
The other positive is the outpouring of help, support, prayers, kind thoughts, and love from our friends and family.  My parents and stepmom were able to rush down and be here this week.  My brother and sister-in-law have been extremely helpful with Bubby care.  My sister-in-law deserves an award.  our California, Illinois, and Iowa family members and old friends from college and childhood have called, left messages on facebook, texted, and have asked their friends (strangers to us) to pray for our little boy.  Our church family has surrounded us with prayer, even people i do not know that well.  I have even had an ex-aunt (formerly married to my uncle) send me a very nice message stating how she is thinking of us and praying for us.  You know who your real friends are during times like this.  And we are incredibly blessed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NICU update - Mac2.0 edition

I know I still need to write out the birth story.  Just haven't had time between NICU visits, pumping, and spending time with Bubby, I give brief facebook updates when I can, but that is about it.

So here is what has happened so far this week:

Tuesday - Had Mac2.0 - things were looking pretty good all things considered

Wednesday - things were still going pretty well - he was eating but spitting up a lot.  Then they took him off of his feeds

Thursday - No meals, IV, jaundice lights, put in an incubator type of bed, pic-line

Friday - Able to start small meals again using soy formula - stomach loops turned out not to be NEC or anything serious and went away - handled feeds well through tube, started back on meals through a bottle

Saturday - able to start taking breast milk through a bottle instead of formula, having some residual in his belly this afternoon/evening so please pray that he digests more/all of his food well - off of jaundice lights - back in a non-heated bed to see if he can regulate his temp

If Mac2.0 keeps eating full feeds (they are increasing more and more each meal) and gaining weight for a few days in a row with no issues it seems like he may be able to come home by the end of the week or so.

Please pray for:

  • effective and healthy digestion
  • weight gain
  • jaundice to stay away
  • body temp to be self-regulated
  • no other issues to arise

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where Have I Been?

So I haven't been blogging this week because I haven't had computer access BECAUSE...

Mac2.0 made his entrance into the world Tuesday afternoon.

5 lbs 2 oz
19 inches
LOTS of dark outta control adorable hair

I will write out his birth story later but here are few things for now:

I went in EARLY Tuesday morning with contractions.
Around 8:00ish I think I got my epidural.
He arrived with just two-three rounds of pushing at 2:58 PM.

The medical staff were able to take a little more time with him getting to see us before going to the NICU than what happened with Bubby.  He was taken to the NICU and it seemed like he would only be there a day or so.  He was doing great for a preemie.

BUT...
yesterday he was having issues with eating that got worse.  In the middle of the night last night they completely took him off of his feeds because loops were showing up on his belly (this is hard to explain what this is/could be if you aren't familiar with it, but basically they have to make sure it is not something serious like NEC)

So he is on an iv.  The Hubs just got back from visiting the baby and was told he was getting a pic-line since IVs are only good for a short time.  Mac2.0 is also now under lights for some jaundice, which is typical with preemies.

It isn't as bad as things were with Bubby - we got five more weeks of development in, weight is good, breathing is good, and when he was allowed to eat, he was coordinating his breathing/sucking/swallowing pretty well.  But the news from the last 24 hours or so is disappointing and still scary especially because we know what can go wrong and what the belly loops could mean.  Please pray that our little guy just needs some more time for his body to handle milk, and that everything resolves itself smoothly and quickly.  I am hoping that when he gets to "eat" again by that point he will not need formula - I will have enough to supply his meals and that will also help any feeding issue he may be having.

just minutes after arriving





Dec.8 - before the feedings were taken away

Dec.9 tummy time

Monday, December 6, 2010

apple pie adventure and MM343

Last night I had a craving for a McDonald's apple pie (real quality stuff, ya know!) and hot chocolate.  The box of hot chocolate packets ran out several days ago, so I headed out to get my 2 for $1 apple pies and hot chocolate.  The nearest MickeyD's (which was advertising the warm beverage on their marquee) told me at the drive-thru that they were OUT of hot chocolate.  I told them never mind.  The Hubs (via cell phone) told me to try another.  On the way there, the gas light on the car came on, so I had to fill up on the blustery night.  The Hubs told me to wait, and he'd do it in the morning, but I had a fear of going into labor and running out of gas on the way to the hospital.  "Good point," he said.  So after refueling, I made it to McDonald's #2, which had a long line that was actually moving along at quite a nice speed.  I order.  I pay.  I get to the next window. I wait. And wait.  A polite worker opens the window and tells me that the "cafe machine" has run out of milk, and I had to pull forward to wait.  So I did thinking how ridiculous my quest for two simple things had become.  And after a few moments my pies and warm drink arrived, which I consumed before I even arrived back in my drive-way.  The satisfied craving was completely worth the time.  (But I do need to purchase more hot chocolate to have on hand at home.)


Thankful today for:
343. hearing of dear friends blessed by the amazing miracle of adoption
344. Christmas concert at church - simple, classy, beautiful - best one yet
345. fast food apple pies
346. Andy Stanley Christmas series
347. first wobbly steps
348. peaceful late night conversation after tense Sunday morning drive
349. thirty-four weeks and counting...
350.  MO sister-in-law who comes over to help
351. CA sister-in-law who frequently writes, comments, texts to stay in touch
352. friends to call for extra Bubby back-up when Mac2.0 arrives
353. cousins' blogs
354. toddler who loves music
355. new picture book suggestions from librarian friend
356. learning to love the new dog since she loves my son so much

Sunday, December 5, 2010

At what point does one have to re-evaluate life decisions and consider doing something different?  Which sacrifices are acceptable to make at certain points or after certain events, and what things are non-negotiable?  How many pro/cons lists can a person make on the same topic/theme over and over again?  When does a person suck it up and let go of a dream, an ideal, a seemingly unrealistic expectation, at least for the short term, so that in the long term it may potentially come to pass?  How much should one factor in what those who have gone before her have done or what "everybody else is doing" right now?
I need a voice to tell me.  Just like last spring I was clearly told to say "no" to a job, I need a that same strong voice to clearly tell me if in an upcoming season of life I am supposed to do something different than what I am currently doing or if this is just another test in faith and trust.
I hope this post doesn't sound depressed or desponant.  I am neither.  Just once again wishing for some answers on how everything is supposed to work.  Because honestly, I feel like I followed the voice last spring, and I am not sure that anything came from it other than the fact I still feel confident that I did what I was supposed to do even though I didn't really see any results from the decision other than some peace.

Christmas pictures

I wanted to take some Christmas pictures of Bubby last night after the church Christmas concert because he was all dressed up in the cute outfit I bought this fall for him at the resale.  He looked pretty dapper for just spending a few dollars.
Last year I got some cute pictures with my little point and shoot camera, but Bubby wasn't mobile back then.
So hopefully in the next week I will find a place (because the big chair in the living room isn't workin' so much any more) and a time and the ability to get some pictures.
And hopefully by Christmas 2011 I will have saved up enough money to get a "real" camera and maybe a class on how to use it. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

progesterone and more

I have gone two Wednesdays without my progesterone shot.  The high-risk doctor, when he talked to me in the hospital last week, indicated that it could be up to me if I continued taking the last few rounds (since I was being put on meds now to stop contractions I think).
Can I just tell you that I *almost* feel like my old self again?  I have a love/hate relationship with the extra hormones.  I am very thankful that they have kept Mac2.0 cookin' as long as they have.  I did not like the emotional roller coaster I felt like I was on somedays.  It is nice to not just randomly start to cry for no reason.
I think The Hubs is thankful that the hormone shots are done, too.
So a few weeks of "normalcy" before postpartum hits.  Enjoy.  :)

*also  - I am 34 weeks today! Each week feels like a huge accomplishment, though I have started having a recurring fear (dream? vision?) of having this baby at home.  Today I realized we were down to one clean bath towel in the house, and I had visions of a 9-1-1 operator telling The Hubs to get clean towels only there were none to be found.  So I did a huge load of towels today.  They are folded and ready to go.  Hopefully we will not need them as I became a big fan of the epidural with Bubby. :)*

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

eighteen month stats

Bubby went for his eighteen month appointment today.  He did not have any shots because we have to wait a few more days for the second dose of his flu shot and his shot records did not transfer yet from his other pediatrician.  That's right - in his short little life so far we have been through three pediatricians (technically four because we are back to his original) due to insurance company changes and our favorite one moved clinics to where our insurance did not cover.  I was pleasantly surprised that his doctor today was the most personable I have ever seen her.  Anyhoo... we will go back whenever they get his shot records.  I know he is up-to-date as of 15 months, so there shouldn't be very many.
The doc was pleased with how he is progressing in his various developmental skills, especially given the preemie factor.  He is doing really well on the growth chart, too.
His weight -  23 lbs 8 oz - 25th percentile for 18 month olds (in between 25-50th percentile if you compare him with the age he "should" be.)
His height - 33 inches - 75th percentile for 18 month olds (90th percentile compared with 15/16 month olds)
He is going to be tall, I think!

Other things Bubby is doing these days:
repeating lots of sounds
able to follow one step directions (when he wants to, haha)
chasing the dog and trying to climb on her
saying "Hi-yuh" when he plays with phones
opening the dishwasher - he has figured out how to unlatch it
announcing every now and then when he is going to po-po - that's right - just moments before he poops he occasionally lets us know

Words he says that others can probably understand/decipher (some of these may have been listed in previous blog posts): mama, dada, nana (banana), mo (more - with sign and sound), no, hi-ya, po-po (poop)

Words he says that The Hubs and I know what he is saying but other people may or may not know:
dah (dog), lo-lo/wo-wo (lotion), mmpoo (shampoo), bah-bah (lamb), bah-bull (bottle - for shampoo bottle or other similar looking containers), kir-cle (circle from shape sorter activity), app-a/app-il (apple - which he does not like to eat), app (up or help depending on context), ca-ca/cock(sock), nah-nah/ni-ni (night-night)

Words he says that only The Hubs and I can probably decipher  - he makes sounds for car and truck ( don't know how to type the sounds out), ch (chair), sheya-sheya (cheerios), doh (door or drawer depending on context) breh/bra (bread), bowl (spoon - yes, we are working on fixing this error, haha), and probably some others I am forgetting

His receptive vocabulary is awesome.  He just can't always get the words out himself.  He can point to quite a few objects/rooms/etc. around the house.  He can predict parts of his favorite stories.  He remembers things from books (even books I try to hide because they are annoying and I don't want to read them!).  He can request a couple of his favorite books "Bo-ba (or something like it) for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, "Dahk-a-dahk-AH!" (with expression) for In A Dark, Dark Wood, and a weird swishy motion and soundfor I Love You Through and Through (because The Hubs has read the book with awesome noises and motions).  When they visit he can point to who is Auntie Missa and who is Uncle Fman. In the short times they have been here recently, he can even point out who is Grampy and who is Babushka! He points to his mouth when he wants to eat something or if someone mentions food/eating.

He loves music.  He points to his cd player in his room and says "mo" for more music.  He is learning some of the motions to Itsy-Bitsy-Spider and "requests" the song by doing a funky "spider" motion (you would never know what it is outside of the context).  He can also do parts of "If You're Happy and You Know It."  He used to clap his hands for it very easily in the right spot, but now he is obsessed with "Stomp Your Feet."  On the "Say Amen!" part about 50% of the time he will echo "Meh/Men!" at the appropriate time.  He also likes the "I'm in the Lord's Army" song, but hasn't quite caught on to the motions/"Yes, Sir!" parts.

Phew!  Well, I am not keeping a traditional baby book, so this will help me when I go to compile his next Shutterfly photoalbum next spring/summer.  If I don't write it down here, I don't know where I would.