Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He's FREE!!

 This morning we were welcomed by Baby E in his open air crib!!  I don't know who was more excited me, B, or Logan!  Even Dr. Simpson was surprised to see him out of his isolette.  Our fabulous nurse Diane also discussed with the doctor increasing the amount of breast or bottle feeds per day that Easton can have.  Dr. Simpson agreed and Easton will be offered feeds by mouth as long as he is awake and cuing.  He is pretty easy to read when he is ready to eat; hands in mouth and rooting around!  Last night he was up to 5 lbs. 4 oz.!  He is still having about 1 episode a day where he drops his heart rate.  Hopefully he will outgrow those really soon so we can begin thinking about discharge.
I think his brother might have taught him this!

First bottle with Daddy

FINALLY!  Big brother got to snuggle the little one!

B and her boys!

B was a very patient Grandma, I believe it was worth the wait!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

3 weeks!

Easton is doing great!  His gestational age is 34 weeks 2 days and he is 22 days old!  Last night he tipped the scales at a whoppin' 5 lbs!  He is nursing twice a day and then receiving half of his feed (21 mL) through his NG tube.  He has had two bottles.  The first one he drained like a champ!  The second one he took 10 mL and decided that he didn't want to work for his food and had the nurse give the rest through his NG tube.  He has had Nurse M for the last 2 days.  She is dead serious about getting him out of the box.  She encouraged me to bring in some t-shirts to put on under his pjs to help him maintain his temperature.  Yesterday she turned the isolette down .5 degrees and she plans to lower it another .5 today.  He will be at 27.5 degrees.  Once he is at 27 degrees for 24 hours they will put him in an open air crib.  

Last week we got to watch Easton's sponge bath.  It was so cute to see him all wrapped up in his towel, wire free!  

Easton loves snuggling with his daddy!  I think Daddy loves it too!
Here are some comparison pictures of the boys!  (Kasey and I too!  Geesh, not sure if it is parenting or just the years that have aged us!)

A Tour of My Brother's Logan

Hey everyone!  Remember me, the original star of this blog?!?  Well, I have a new little brother, Chips, or as my parents like to call him, Easton.  I have been quite a sport about going to see him everyday for the last 3 weeks.  I don't mind it too much because we get to drive by some sweet construction on the way to the hospital!  While we are there I play on my mom's new phone or my leap pad.  Sometimes I use E's baby wipes to clean up his room.  Today, I thought I would give you a tour of my brother's world. 

The first thing we do when we get to the NICU is "scrub in" which basically means I get to use a gob of hand sanitizer!  Then we check out who E's nurse is.  Sometimes they are cool and wear neat shoes.  Other times they are a bit much but as long as they take care of my brother they're alright in my book.

 Here is my mom.  Notice how she has her arms crossed in both pictures?  She means business when we go to visit Easton.  That or she is freezing because his room is usually set to 72 degrees (don't worry, mom takes care of that too).  Now wonder E is haven't trouble escaping his box!

Speaking of his it is!  The deluxe Giraffe model!  You should see this thing!  I have got to press the pedals to make it go up and down!  Plus it has a convertible top!  This kid doesn't know how great he has it!

Here is Easton's monitor.  He wears a bunch of wires that let us know that he is okay.  The blue number is his heart rate.  That is what he usually drops during or after feedings.  The doctors and nurses tell my parents that it is no big deal and he will outgrow it.  I hope he does soon so he can come home with us.  I have lots of trucks I need to show him!  The green number is his respiration.  No one really worries too much about that one.  The purple number is his oxygen saturation.  I really don't like it when a box pops up on the screen.  That means another baby is in trouble.

Here is Nurse Practitioner T coming to check on my brother.  He is really nice.

This is where we throw away E's gross diapers.  I am really helpful at getting mommy the diaper and wipes but I do not want anything to do with the poopy diaper...GROSS!

Here is baby Easton.  He really should work on not burrying his face in his gel pillow.  From one preemie to another: it is easier to breath when you are NOT doing that!

So there you have it folks!  My brother's world according to ME!  I think I may have a career in photography...that is if I don't decide to drive a monster truck, garbage truck, semi, car transporter, race car, motorcycle...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Deep Breaths

Last night I had a little bit of an emotional break down in the NICU.  It wasn't my first (I am sure Illlinois Masonic will attest to that) and I am sure it will not be my last.  Let me explain...

Anyone who has loved a baby in the NICU has heard the expression that their stay is like a rollercoaster ride.  A baby can be doing amazingly well and then the next day have a huge setback.  This is mainly because babies who are born premature have immature systems and they are trying to do things that term babies do.  This can be really overwhelming to those sweet little ones.  So, as you know Easton's first week was amazing.  We heard everyday how well he was doing for a 31-weeker.  This week I have felt that everyday we have gotten a little bit of not-as-good news but have been reassured that the doctors are not concerned.  Well, when you are a mama and they are telling you that your baby is not doing things that they need to be doing in order for you to bring them home, it can be emotional.  Lately we have been told that Easton had a slightly abnormal head ultrasound, he has his typical bradys (drops in heart rate) typically he brings it up on his own but a couple of times he has required stimulation, his hemoglobin is low, he has been spitting up the multivitamin that helps his hemoglobin to rise, and has had a weight loss (only 10g but still, he is supposed to gain 20-30g/day).  Ugh.  

So, last night I went into Easton's room all excited to try to breastfeed and snuggle my sweet boy until we went off to our mandatory CPR class.  Kasey met me and we started taking his temperature.  We tried three times.  Then the nurse tried.  Then she tried again with another thermometer.  Then she called and got permission from the nurse practitioner to do a rectal temp.  Every time Easton had a low temperature.  When Kasey asked what it could be attributed to our nurse replied, "Well, it could just mean that he wet his outfit earlier and is a little chilly, or, it could mean something major."  REALLY?!?  Then she looks at me and says with a wrinkled up face, "I don't want to disappoint you but I hate to take him out to breastfeed if he is cold."  WHAM.  I lost it.  Tears streaming down my face.  She says, "Mom, come here, I have a hug for you."  Kasey tried to warn her that I just needed some time but she just wouldn't quit.  She kept talking and talking about how she understood how frustrating it was, that we had only been there for 2 weeks, that this is all completely normal.  I kept it together for the most part but on the inside I was seething!  It is NOT normal to be able to hold your child for only an hour a day.  It is really hard for me to believe that someone who has not left two babies in the NICU to be cared for by someone other than themselves can truly understand how frustrating it is.  So I might have said something along the lines of, "He will be 13-years-old, still in the box (isolette) and I will still be pumping!" (there probably was a naughty word somewhere in that sentence).  OOPS.  

Needless to say, when we arrived at the NICU today we were greeted by our nurse, the doctor, and a patient advocate.  Guess I might have caused a stir.  I explained my frustrations and Dr. H. assured me that Easton is doing great.  Everything he is doing is because of his prematurity (which gives me severe mommy guilt since it was my body that couldn't seem to keep him in any longer).  She did let me know that his head ultrasound results showed the same thing as last week.  That his left ventricle (space in the head near the brain) is slightly enlarged than his right ventricle.  Also, there is a bright spot that his showing up that may or may not be a level I brain bleed.  After Dr. H. talked with the radiologist she is reassured that it is not serious, not causing any swelling or pressure on the brain, and will likely not cause any long term problems.  She just kept telling me that if there was a book on how to be a good preemie, Easton read it.  I told her that he might have gotten some tips from his tough-guy older brother.  

So, I am going to continue to breath.  I will also continue to worry, it is my job as a mommy.  I will try to not let that worry get in the way of enjoying every moment with my little miracle men.  I will try to remind myself of the journey that Kasey and I have taken to become parents, how lucky we are to have each other and the two amazing children we have.  We can get through this, it will be challenging, there will be tears, but in the end we will be a stronger family because of it.  When Logan was in the NICU Kasey and I listened to Kenny Chesney's "Alive and Well" nearly every day, 

So damn easy to say that life's so hard.  Everybody has their share of battle scars.  As for me, I'd like to thank my lucky stars, that I'm alive and well...

Breath in, breath out.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Check out this cutie!

 I am doing pretty good these days!  I weigh 4 lbs. 8 oz!  On my 3rd day of trying to nurse I was a champ.  My nurse pulled out 5mL after I fed and said that there was more in my belly.  I plan on getting this feeding by mouth thing mastered pretty quickly!  My nurses lowered the temperature on my isolette and I have been maintaining my temperature.  Hopefully they are getting my open air crib set up so my big brother and Grandma B can snuggle on me.  As you can see I am stylin in my crab outfit and rockin' another new hat made by Aunt Kathy!  Thanks for all of the prayers, they really help me, keep 'em comin' for my head ultrasound on Tuesday!
(I mean how cute can this kid get!!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

My sweet Logan

You may recall me mentioning Logan's obsession with my breast pump in an earlier post. Well, the trend has definitely continued! He often asks me "mommy you boobs splodin' (exploding)?" The best comments came tonight during Easton’s second attempt at nursing. I had just gotten E latched on and Logan says "is he going to drink milk from your boobie? Ew, that's gwoss! No one wants to see your boobs!" My kid is hilarious! In other news, Easton is doing a great job latching on but soon tires out and falls asleep. Hopefully in the next week he will start to get the hang of it. He is up to 4 lbs. 7 oz! Right now we are still working on maintaining his temperature, feeding, and growing. Not bad for a kid born 9 weeks early! As always, thank you for your phone calls, yummy dinners, kind words, love, support, and prayers! You help give us the strength to stay positive during this crazy time!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The doctor called...

and mentioned that Easton's head ultrasound showed that his right ventricle appeared slightly larger than his left.  She said that she is not overly concerned but they are going to do a repeat ultrasound next Tuesday to rule out a brain bleed.  Please keep E in your prayers over the next five days that all is well and that the ultrasound shows all is well.  Thank you!

This one is for my mom!!

After chatting with my mom the other day, I realized that I had not updated our blog in a while, OOPS!  So, this is my catch up edition!  Easton has been progressing nicely.  We have established a pretty nice routine around here and things seem to be falling into place.  Grandma B, Logan and I go see E at 11:00 for his hands on time.  Logan keeps asking if he can hold Baby Easton and I have to let him down everyday by telling him not until Easton is in a big boy crib.  So, for now, he settles for lots of hugs, pats on his blanket and kisses on his hat!  
Then Kasey and I visit again at 8:00 for hands on time.  We change his diaper, take his temperature, change his clothes, and help weigh him.  We get to hold him as he has his feeding.  He is up to 39 mL (about and oz and 1/3) every 3 hours.  Easton has been having some "water loss stools" which is basically really watery poop.  The doctors think that it is just him getting used to his increased caloric fortifier and are not overly concerned.  They will continue to watch it and hopefully it will resolve on its own.  He did surprise me during yesterday's diaper change as he shot poop all over his blankets and isolette!  Logan thought it was hilarious!  I am not sure his nurse did.  He loves to stare at his daddy!  Daddy sings to him and we usually read him a couple of books.  

 He has mastered the art of sucking on his paci!  He will root around and suck, suck, suck!  He even holds onto it, it is so cute!  He is showing these signs of being ready to feed and TONIGHT for the first time I will get to try breastfeeding!  I am so excited!  Usually they don't let babies start trying to nurse until somewhere between 33 and 34 weeks and Easton won't be 33 weeks until tomorrow!  What a champ!  Fingers crossed he gets the hang of it really quickly!

As you can see Easton has no more oxygen!  He actually got it removed early Monday morning.  He has been doing great without it and even seems to be outgrowing his episodes of bradycardia (drops in his heart rate).
 You may also notice his adorable outfits!!  We have been able to dress him since Sunday.  He is wrapped in a blanket in his isolette.  They are slowly dropping the temperature inside his isolette to see if he is able to maintain his temperature.  So far he is doing well!  Currently his isolette is set at 29.7 degrees Celcius.  Once it gets to 27 degrees for 24 hours he will be moved to an open air bed.

The other day I saw one of the nurses we had last week.  She was commenting on his lack of oxygen and how cute he was in clothes.  I was telling her that we have been so blessed with how well he is doing but I couldn't help worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop.  She just said, "I don't think you're going to get another shoe."  It made my day!  I really hope that she is right and that it will just be a couple more weeks until we can snuggle our precious boy all day everyday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baby Easton Update

Look who is wearing jammies tonight!  Yay Easton!  He is currently working on being able to maintain his temperature.  He will be dressed and wrapped in blankets as the temperature  in his isolette is lowered.  If he can hold his temperature for a couple of days they will move him to an open air crib!

He got his umbilical line removed and is no longer receiving antibiotics.  He is up to 35 mL of breast milk every 3 hours.  They are fortifying it to 22 calories to try to chunk him up!  They are lowering the flow on his nasal cannula by .1 every 3 hours.  If he is able to tolerate it without having an increased amount of episodes he will have his cannula removed at midnight tonight!  We feel so blessed to have such a tough little man!  I am so lucky to be Logan and Easton's mommy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy 1 Week Baby Easton!

In honor of Easton's first week of life I thought I would do a photo recap of the journey we went on to get him here!  This is the white board that was in my antepartum room.  I stared at my goals everyday, #1, Stay pregnant, #2 Have a healthy baby.  

I feel very lucky to have kept Baby E inside of me for 5 extra days!  He was born almost 3 weeks later than Logan.  Logan visited me everyday!  He was a little weirded out by my IVs but after a couple of days he got used to them.  We made strips of paper with stickers on them and he made endless trips to the nourishment room across the hall!  In the picture above you can see Logan and I being tough!

Ugh.  This is a rough picture.  This is how I was feeling after being hooked up to magnesium for the second time.  72 hours of mag is miserable.  I couldn't move, I felt like my brain was swimming in jello, I couldn't eat anything more than ice chips, and I was still bleeding and contracting.  I hated having to deliver Easton early but at this moment I knew that there was no more that my body could do.  I was scared as the doctors and nurses prepared me for surgery that could end up with a hysterectomy and loosing a lot of blood.

 Easton's birth was as perfect as it could be!  He filled the OR with his strong cry and Kasey and I both got to see him right after he was born.  My eyes filled with tears knowing that he was going to be okay.  The next hour and a half was scary, really scary.  I am so thankful for the many prayers that were sent my way!  I lost half of the blood in my body.  I am so grateful for talented doctors!
Easton has been doing amazing!  He needed one dose of surfactant and some support from the high flow nasal cannula.  He has done great with his feedings and is slowly gaining weight.   

We are also quite lucky that Kasey and my school have organized for people to bring us dinners!  This night we had spaghetti and meatballs, salad, homemade bread, vegis, and cookies!!  It was my first time out of the hospital in a week.  Logan loved having our picnic.

After a few days Easton needed to be under the phototherapy lights to lower his bilirubin level.  He spent 3 days tanning!

A volunteer at the hospital knitted this hat!  I may be a bit partial but I think he is just adorable!!  After battling a sinus infection Daddy final got to hold him when he was four days old.

 Big brother Logan has fully accepted his responsibilities!  He talks to Easton, reads to him, and is very anxious to be able to hold him.

 One of the best parts of having your mommy in the hospital is that you can cruise around in a wheel chair!  When I was being discharged he asked his B if I was going to bring the wheel chair home with me!

 He also is very excited to get big brother presents!  The day I was discharged we took him to Toys R Us to get his Big Brother Big Boy Bike!  He has ridden it everyday since then.  He is very proud to show it off to his friends at the park.

Here I am with my handsome boys!  I couldn't be happier this Mother's Day!  Things don't always go as planned but I have two healthy boys that I get to watch grow!  I am the luckiest mama ever!

 Today Easton is doing great!  He is down to 1/2 liter and 21% oxygen (which is what you and I breath or "room air").  If he continues to do well on this setting then his nasal cannula will be discontinued!  He had his oral feeding tube replaced with an NG feeding tube that goes through his nose.  It is so good to see even more of his sweet face!  He is up to 32 mL (a little more than an ounce) of breast milk every 3 hours.  He is tolerating it well and pooping up a storm!
 Tonight he will get his last dose of antibiotics and then they will be able to pull his umbilical IV.  He still has a few bradys (heart rate drops) during a 12 hour shift but this is normal for a preemie.  As he grows and matures he will outgrow this.  The great thing is that he is able to recover on his own without stimulation.  He is gaining about an ounce a day.  He is up to 3 lbs. 14 oz. just 3 ounces less than his birth weight!
We are so grateful that we have had a pretty uneventful NICU stay thus far!  We hope that we can continue to ride this wave for the next month (or maybe less?!?).  The next steps for our big guy are maintaining his temperature and transitioning to an open air crib and learning to feed (suck, swallow, breath).  Hopefully we will get to try breastfeeding by next weekend or early next week.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support!  It is very obvious that they are working!