Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Healthy Baby

I went back to work on Friday. Three days; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And I only took Wyatt two days. :) Granted, I took him Friday because I wanted to see how it would work. Sunday I took him because he was very, very fussy on Saturday and I wanted to try to get a handle on what I feared was the onset of colic. Thankfully, Sunday he was back to his normal self and we haven't had a recurrance of the grouchy behavior that he exhibited on Saturday.
At work he was a dream. He slept through all the commotion and only woke long enough to be fed and admired. He was perfectly happy to sleep in his little portable bed and was oohed and ahhed over by all the staff and residents. I even got quite a bit of work accomplished despite the fact that he was there. I'm encouraged by how well it worked. :)
Yesterday we took him to the pediatrician for a referral to a urologist so that we can get him circumcised. Little did I know that "normal" pediatricians don't preform circumcisions anymore - the little boys actually have to go to a specialist - AND insurance doesn't cover them! Nathan is only 9, and his was both done in the office and covered by our insurance. Much has changed in a short time. I guess we're going to be shopping around to see who is the most reasonable... I'd like to get it done sooner rather than later, but we'll have to see how expensive its going to be. Anyone know?
While we were at the doctor's office, Wyatt was weighed and measured. He weighes 6 pounds and 2 ounces, and his head is an inch larger than at birth. He hasn't grown in length at all, but the doctor was very encouraged by how much weight he's gained. He's still very low in the percentiles for his age, but that's to be expected since #1 he was so small to begin with and #2 he was premature. We also learned that he has a clogged tear duct that will resolve itself in time. All in all, a very healthy baby. :) Thank you Lord!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

SOOOOOOOO Proud of My Children

A lot of my posts recently have been about Wyatt. I need to take a few minutes to talk about my other kids and how fantastic they are. Regrettably, when I was in the hospital with Wyatt, the older kids had their awards ceremonies for the end of the school year. Lowell was able to make it to Jillian's celebration but we weren't there for Nathan and Chloe's.
I especially regret this necessity now that I know just how honored my children would be...
Chloe received four awards - Academic Excellence (the equivalent of straight As for second grade), Completion of Second grade (obviously :)), and the most amazing -- Student of the YEAR in both Math and Music!!!!! The math award was out of all 90 2nd graders and the music award was out of all 150 1st and 2nd graders! I was soooo proud of her and soooo bummed that I couldn't be there to celebrate with her. I was even more bummed when I learned that Chloe, because of her thoughtful heart, asked her teacher for permission and went to both Nathan's and Jillian's ceremonies because she knew that we wouldn't be there... But nobody came to hers. I cried and apologized to her
when we talked about how proud I was of her... She was bummed that no one was there but I promised her that her dad and I are going to have our own little celebration for the kids at Peter Piper Pizza soon.
Jillian got a wonderfully impressive report card and a certificate for completion of kindergarten. She is very excited about moving on to first grade next year. :) I'm very proud of how well she is reading, how great she is at math, and her social skills are great.
Nathan set a goal for himself at the beginning of the school year that he finally achieved in the fourth quarter. He earned honor roll all four quarters, but he really wanted Principal's List. This is the equivalent of straight As. He struggled and worked hard all year long, and then finally - He did it! He is very proud of his certificate that proves that he finally reached his goal. I'm really happy that he has learned how hard work and perseverance can pay off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 17th 2011

15 years. I was 15 years old and he was 19. He was the best friend of the guy I had been trying to date for 3 years. He was handsome and charming. He was the perfect gentleman and actually listened to what I had to say. We talked on the phone for hours and when I finally got up the courage to tell him that I liked him, he responded without hesitation – he liked me too. I was thrilled. And minor-ly irritated that he made me say it first. From then on, we were inseparable. He drove almost 100 miles every day to pick me up from high school, drive us around and take me home every night before going back home himself. Every weekend we went to the movies, to whatever game I was cheering at, to the lake, to church, to wherever we could think of. He spoiled me rotten; showered me with gifts and treated me like a queen.

He taught me about love and devotion; he never wavered in his love for me. Not then and not since. He shared in my triumphs and my struggles, he joined me in my passions and brought me into his life and let me be part of me the personal, special aspects of his life. He has been my biggest cheerleader and my most honest critic. He has seen me at my absolute worst and pushed me to continue to excel toward my best. He believes in me and he supports me. He knows me better than any other person and loves me more than any other human on this planet.

In the time I’ve known him, Lowell has irritated me, infuriated me, hurt me and disappointed me but much more frequently, he humbles me with his devotion, amazes me with the depth of his love, forces me to face difficult truths both for my own good and for the good of our family, pushes me to achieve my dreams simply by believing that I can succeed, and makes me so proud of his ability to make the difficult choices and accept the heavy responsibility that he carries to support our family. There are so many things about him that I admire – his work ethic; his ability to laugh in the midst of stressful situations; his dedication to his children and to me; his commitment to his friends; how well he drives; how little he cares about what other people think… And so many other things.

There are definitely things that I would change about the past 15 years if I could, but there is no way that I would ever change who I’ve shared these years with. I love my husband so incredibly much and I am so blessed by having him in my life. I love that my children will grow up with him as a father and that they will learn from his example. Lowell is still teaching me about letting go, enjoying life, accepting responsibility and not needing the approval of the people in my life in order to be happy.

No words can begin to express how much I love my husband and just how blessed I feel to have him in my life. He's my forever. And I'm his girl. What could possibly be better?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We're Home

Wyatt is home!!!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am. And how quickly I’m remembering just how exhausting a new baby can be. Lowell’s vacation ends today which is really sad because he’s spent both of his vacation weeks in the hospital – the first with Chloe and now with Wyatt. I’m soooo thankful that he was there with me during this NICU stay. It was a much different experience this time than with Chloe.
With Chloe, I was staying in a house that was unfamiliar to me with family who I was not close to at the time. I was uncomfortable with the imposition I put on their family as well as being over-all uncomfortable with the entire circumstance of my daughter being in the NICU. When I went to the hospital, I felt ashamed and judged. I believed that Chloe being in the NICU was my fault and that I should have done more to prevent it – I should have been more assertive with the hospital staff before I even delivered. I felt horrible about the whole situation. To add to it, I had a friend staying with me who I was concerned about entertaining and keeping happy. I know that she didn’t feel the need to be entertained and I know she would not have reacted negatively if I had insisted that we spend more time at the hospital or if I broke down like I really wanted to. Again, I wasn’t assertive enough to say that I needed to be at the hospital more.
I was stuck between really wanting and needing to be at the hospital with my baby and wanting to keep those around me happy while simultaneously avoiding the shame of being with the nurses and doctors at the hospital. Now I deal with the shame that comes from not being there as much as I should have and with the emotional gulf that still exists in our relationship. I have never been able to firmly establish what has led to the breach in our relationship, whether it is directly related to the NICU stay, my resulting guilt and shame or the long-term battle I waged with post-partum depression after Chloe was born… As I’ve said before, I don’t know that the “why” matters when compared with just fixing the problem but it still bothers me that I don’t understand.

I do need to give myself some credit – our relationship has improved. The addition of Wyatt to the equation has made for some interesting moments, but I’m hoping that as I process this NICU experience and compare it to Chloe’s, I can let go of some of the anger and shame that I carry. I hope that I can forgive myself for making mistakes. I hope that I can appreciate that I did better this time because I learned from the past. What stinks is that Chloe suffered so that Wyatt could benefit… I guess life is all about learning and making mistakes. It is my prayer that I can overcome this hurdle and finally put it behind me. Maybe that will be one of the blessings that come from our unplanned little miracle.

There were moments where I actually enjoyed the horrible situation of having a baby in the NICU. Well, not the part about Wyatt being in the NICU, but the circumstances that arose from that situation. Namely, Lowell and I spent the entire week together. We laughed together, cried together and encouraged one another. We vented, shared, remembered and just bonded like we haven't in a long time. We slept in the back of his truck and in the trunk of my car in the parking lot of the hospital. We hung out in hospital waiting rooms, got kicked out of a hospital office building, explored Cabela's and did a lot of people watching. It was great to rekindle our relationship. And absolutely fantastic to take home a healthy little boy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday with Wyatt

Lock up your daughters, moms!
Well, we're back to having an IV but only for today. His IV failed yesterday and had to be replaced last night for his 9 o'clock antibiotic... He got another dose this morning at 9 and will get his final dose tonight at 9pm. I'm about to go down and talk to his doctor now to see when they're going to release him... I'm not even going to speculate because it was definitely a bummer last night to hear that he wasn't ready to go. 

As for eating, he's doing great but he's definitely on his own schedule. There is a certain time of day when he will sleep regardless of how much we fuss with him. We have squeezed his little face, pulled on his arms, tickled his feet, and anything else we can think of at the time, but he simply will not wake up for one feeding each evening. He just wants to sleep. And, honestly, I'm thankful because that means there will be a 6 hour period at home where he will sleep. :)
Linda, I know how you are with schedules - you'd love this baby!!!! :)
 Here's the latest little picture of my newest angel. We are so blessed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wyatt Update

Before he lost his IV and monitors

Loves to sleep with his hands up
We were sooo excited to see Wyatt today after going home last night to get a good night's sleep, shower, do some laundry and to see our other babies... When we walked into his room, the bubble was gone, all the tubes were gone, and he was sleeping peacefully in a little bundle in a regular open top crib. His IV is gone, and all his monitors are gone except for the two little wires that watch his heart rate and breathing. He is eating from a bottle and doing a great job. I just love him soooo much and I'm soooo excited. Because his IV is gone, I believe the antibiotics are over, and they are just watching him for 24 hours...,. We're going to confirm that when we talk to the nurse at 7pm. I'm so excited and looking forward to taking him home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wyatt Update and Date Night

Wednesday night, Lowell and I went out for a date night. We went to dinner at Red Robin. Lowell called it a celebration of life. :) I can’t even remember the last time we went out just the two of us. It was wonderful. We laughed and talked; we reminisced about old times and wondered about our new future with Wyatt. Afterwards, Lowell said we should have a monthly night out... *smile* I hope so. Next week will be 15 years together, hard to believe but even more exciting that we still enjoy spending time together. We are so blessed.
The food was great and the service was fantastic – Lowell never had to wait for a refill, which for anyone who’s ever been to dinner with him knows is amazing!

Meanwhile, we are definitely celebrating life. We love our new addition. Wyatt is so beautiful and sweet, rarely crying and quickly calming himself when he becomes fussy. He sounds a little like a goat when he crys – certainly not like a screaming baby. He sneezes with a whole body convulsion and likes to sleep with one leg sticking out straight.
I spoke with Dr. McQueen Wednesday also. He is the neo-natologist for the hospital and he’s Wyatt’s doctor. According to the doctor, the fuzziness on the x-rays is likely pneumonia even though his blood cultures come back negative for infection. The normal treatment for pneumonia is 7 days worth of antibiotics and so that is the plan of treatment for his lungs. Also, there is obviously fluid in his lungs that may or may not be related to the pneumonia. Treatment for this is an injection of a diuretic that causes his body to expel fluids and allows his lungs room to expand and absorb the fluid. This was done on Wednesday and Thursday. The only other concern for Wyatt is whether or not he’s developmentally prepared to suck, swallow and breathe at the same time.
Today is Saturday. I’m really excited about what the doctor will be ordering today… I’m really hoping that Wyatt will have his feeding tube removed and will be able to bottle feed. They have been decreasing the IV fluids and increasing the amount of formula that he gets over the past two days. This morning he got 15ccs of formula. We haven’t had any problem with him spitting up or getting fussy and he also sucks on his pacifier while he’s being fed so that he can associate sucking with eating. He’s doing so well!! I’m also hoping that the doctor will remove his canula today. He’s been on room air for the past two days and hasn’t had any episodes where his respirations have increased or his sats decreased. Honestly, I’m very excited and I’m letting myself get my hopes up… I’m really hoping that I don’t get disappointed if these things don’t happen today… I’m also really hoping that he’ll get to come home Monday or Tuesday. Monday will be 7 days of antibiotics and Dr. McQueen said that the only issue, other than his breathing, was his ability to eat. If we can get his eating under control today and tomorrow, I’m really hopeful that Monday will be the day.
Wyatt looks so good – so much better than those first couple of days. He is active during his feedings and has been waking up hungry right on schedule – he’s eating every 3 hours. Thankfully, as the amount of food he’s getting increases, so will the amount of time he can go between feedings. Yesterday, we actually saw a smile. It was lopsided and beautiful! I’m so happy that Lowell and I were both there to see it. :) I can’t wait until those little gestures and facial expressions have real emotion behind them, but for now, I’m happy to take what I can get. He has an adorable little dimple on his left side and a ton of chins. Here’s hoping that today I’ll be able to kiss his little chin without any tubes or connections.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Going a Little Crazy with the Pictures

Wyatt had his lungs x-rayed this morning and they found fuzzy areas. They aren't sure if these are indicative of fluid, infection or just under-developed aveoli. His blood keeps coming back clean for infection, so they don't believe there is one, but they have decided to give him another round of anti-biotics after this one finishes tonight. To treat him for fluid in his lungs, they may choose to give him a treatment that will cause the fluid to be expelled from his lungs and he will just pee it out. The doctor was going to make that decision this afternoon. I haven't seen him yet to hear about his decision. If the issue is only underdeveloped lungs, they may choose to give him steroids to promote their growth, but that would only be done if there is still no improvement after tomorrow. They like to give the babies at least 72 hours to clear their lungs on their own before reverting to steroids. The news that we got this morning was that he's looking at, likely, anywhere from 2 - 5 days. And at this point, I'm being discharged this afternoon at 3pm. There was a possibility that the hospital would have space to let me stay in an unoccupied room so that I can be with Wyatt, but right now, they're full. Tomorrow, they may have a room, its just on a day-to-day basis. Lowell told me not to worry, he's going to take care of it so that's what I'm doing. I trust my husband to take care of both me and my son. I'm just going to concentrate on helping Wyatt get better so that he can come home soon.
I'm sure there'll be more pictures to come soon. :)

New Wyatt Pictures

 He ate really well this morning and had his eyes open for quite a while. We're still waiting to talk to the doctor this morning to see what the plans are for him... We're hoping for a discharge plan but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. We'll let you know when we do... Thanks for all the prayers and support! We feel very blessed by our friends and family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The New Big Siblings

The kids got to meet Wyatt today after school. Lowell left the hospital at around 4 am to take them to school and to pick up some things we needed. Then he went to Jillie's kindergarten promotion. As soon as the ceremony was over, he grabbed all the kids and took them home to get them changed and ready to meet their new baby brother. They were very excited. When they saw him, they all wanted to touch him, to pick himn up and to know why he was in the bubble. They were also excited to see Wyatt and compare him to the size they were when they were born. We explained how Nathan was just a hair bigger than Wyatt, Chloe was a little smaller, and Jillie was quite a bit bigger. :)
After I explained to them what all the wires and cords were for, they each got to touch Wyatt's leg and put their hands on his little head. The nurse came in and talked to them about Wyatt and how we was doing. She was great and they really liked learning about him. When we got back to my room, they all asked if they could go back and see Wyatt again, or if we could bring him to my room. I tried to explain how he needs his rest, and how he can't leave the nursery yet. It made me sad, but also really happy that they are so excited about their new little munchkin.
Lowell had stopped by Walmart on his way to the hospital and the kids picked out a present for the baby - a little stuffed giraffe. So adorable. They wanted to take the giraffe to the baby, but I need to ask first before we take it to him. Hopefully I can take a picture of little Wyatt with the giraffe to show them. I love that they love him already!!!!!
Tomorrow will be their last day of school. Nathan has two presentations to do - one for social studies and one for reading. In social studies, he'll be dressing up as a famous person and then giving some important historical information about them. Nathan chose Jesus. :) When he came to the hospital, we worked on his fact sheet and practicing what he was going to say.
In reading, he is going to read a portion from pne of his favorite books and, at the same time, using props to show some of the action in the story. Of course, he's reading a Star Wars book and is very excited about dressing up as Luke Skywalker and taking some of his Star Wars figurines to school. I'm bummed that I won't be there in the norning to help him get ready, but we practiced quite a bit and I'm sure he'll be fine. I know they all want me to come home, but I really feel like I need to stay with Wyatt for as long as the hospital will let me. I have gone the route of being away from my baby in the hospital and that didn't go so well but that's another post....

Wyatt Eric

We have a little boy. Monday, June 6th at 3:05pm our fourth little blessing came into this world. We've decided to name him Wyatt Eric. He is beautiful and wonderful. Labor was fairly non-eventful. I decided to get an epidural this time. I made it up to about 5 and a half or 6 centimeters and then got the epidural. I wasn't expecting it to be such a process and I really didn't expect there to be a tube threaded down my back with a constant flow of medication. I thought it was a shot that you got and then as it wore off, you had to get another shot. Little did I know. The medication took effect almost immediately and, after that, I was a happy camper. I could wiggle my toes on both feet and move my left leg but not my right one. I can't even begin to explain what a weird sensation it is to see you leg and use every ounce of strength you have to move those muscles that you KNOW control you leg, but to get no effect. Very strange. However, also more desirable than living through contractions.
Just Born
When it came about time to push, the nurse let me know that I should be able to feel the pressure of the baby and the sensation to push and, when I did, I should call her. So, I called her when I thought it was time. Another nurse came in and said that I'd need to wait about 30 minutes for the doctor to arrive. My nurse came in about 20 minutes later and checked me and said, "oh yeah, the baby is ready to come right now". She went to call the doctor and thankfully, he was in the parking lot. He walked in and started to check the baby but then realized that his head was already coming out. He said, "Don't sneeze, don't cough, don't push, don't move - until I get my gloves on!" :) So, the nurse held the baby in while the doctor got ready. Two pushes later, Wyatt was here.

He was really pale immediately after birth and didn't give that normal loud cry. As a matter of fact, he didn't cry at all. The nurse let me hold him for a split second while Lowell cut the umbilical cord and then they set about cleaning him up. The nurses realized that he was having some trouble breathing and so they let me kiss him one more time before taking him back to the NICU to be checked out. They said that they would keep him there for about 4 hours to see if he "transitioned" and started breathing without trouble. After that period of time, if he was still struggling, he would likely be admitted to the NICU.
Wyatt was admitted to the NICU on the night of the 6th for difficulty breathing and fluid in his lungs. The exact cause of the fluid is unknown. There was some discussion about how far along he really  was. According to the ultrasound that I got during pregnancy, he was 37 weeks and 5 days. By looking at him, the consensus was that he was actually probably more like 35 weeks and 5 days or slightly over 36 weeks. If his breathing problems stem from his age, time will be enough to treat his problems. Another explanation for the breathing problems is an infection like pneumonia. Because they are not sure what caused the difficulty he's having, they are treating him for an infection just to be safe. Starting 7pm on the 6th, he is getting 48 hours worth of anti-biotics.
We'll also have to be watching how well he eats. This morning, he ate from a bottle and did a fantastic job. His sucking reflex is great and he kept the food down with no problem. For his afternoon feedings however, he was just too tired to suck so he was fed through a tube that goes down to his stomach. This was a blow to my confidence but it makes sense... If he's having to work so hard to breath, he's just too tired to eat. Whenever his lungs get better, he'll be eating with no problem because he'll have energy.
I got to hold Wyatt three times today and loved every minute of it although it was difficult not to cry for the first few minutes each time I sat with him in that bubble... I'm reminded of the time Chloe was in the NICU and haunted by those memories...
My favorite picture...
Daddy couldn't stop kissing him.
Tonight however, Lowell got his turn! :) I must say, the night nurse is much more difficult to work with than the day shift nurse. During the day, I take Wyatt's temperature, I change his diaper, I read his stats and help out with his care. Tonight, the nurse wouldn't let us do anything and kept trying to adjust how Lowell was holding the little guy. It was frustrating. I kept offering to help or to do things, but she wouldn't let me. Aggravating. I'm excited for Lowell to experience feeding time tomorrow when the day shift nurse is here. :) Here are some pictures of tonight's feeding and of our little man... He's so much cuter in person, when its easier to look past all those wires and stickers... I'm really looking forward to the day when I can post pictures of him without all that stuff.
Speaking of that, right now, we're hoping for Thursday or Friday for him to go home... After today however, I'm wondering if that isn't overly optmistic. I'm working on remaining positive and not getting discouraged. I keep reminding myself of all the other babies in the NICU and how blessed we are to have our little Peanut be so close to ready to come home. We have much to be thankful for.