Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Journey

Wow...two years ago today we were finally able to bring our sweet baby boy home from the hospital. After spending 10 days in the NICU, we brought Wyatt home at 11 days old.
Nothing with this pregnancy was typical so I should have known his birth and hospital stay would be no different. We went through 8 months of fertility treatment, had many ultrasounds and then find out our baby was breech...so a c-section would be in order. That was not what I had 'planned' which meant I was bound to flip this baby and prepare for a natural birth. ;-)
It was on the day we went in for our 36 week check up that we found out my fluid level was low so he needed to be delivered within 48 hours. That was when the drama began and the rest of the story is history.

As I look back two years later, it is amazing how much I had forgotten from our 10 days in the NICU...it's a good thing I documented it at the time. In case you are interested, feel free to read Wy-man's story below. (I warn you it is lengthy...)
I just thank the Lord everyday for bringing Wyatt into our lives and for healing him. You would never know now that he had such a tough start to his life...

Our NICU Journey - Aug. 22, 2008 - Aug, 31, 2008

Fortunately, Wyatt is a pretty healthy baby - just born 3 1/2 weeks early. He was frank breech (with his feet up by his face) and when we went in on Aug 18th to find out if we could flip him, we found out his fluid level was low. They were worried he wasn't getting good enough blood flow so they quickly scheduled a c-section. We went in 2 days later and Mr. Wyatt arrived. He checked out well in the OR so they let us take him to the newborn nursery. So our first night in the hospital we were able to spend quite a bit of time with him. He started out really well with nursing but it would really tucker him out. So as the first night progressed, he became too sleepy to eat so his blood sugar dropped. Once that happened the nurses got a little concerned...so they tried the bottle, but he didn't want a thing to do with it and that made his respiration really high (which was also concerning them) so they kept him in the nursery to monitor him. In order to make sure his levels didn't drop any more they had to put a feeding tube down his throat to get a little food in his belly. From there we thought our troubles were over. We tried to nurse again and he was still too tired. Since his blood sugar wasn’t rising they were going to need to do the tube again and that meant he had to go to the NICU. Mike and I were both very upset and Wyatt was off to the NICU at 5:45 on Thurs. the 21st.

So that began our 10 day stay at the NICU. They put in an NG (Nasogastric intubation) tube through his nose and into his stomach so they could use that to feed him. We were put on a feeding schedule (8, 11, 2, 5) so he could eat 8 times a day. I was only allowed to feed him 4 out of the 8 times (at the most) and the other 4 had to be done to through the tube. So that helped us keep his weight up. (He would burn too many calories and lose too much weight if he had to nurse and/or bottle all 8 times. Since I was discharged on Saturday I was allowed to choose what time his NG feeding were – that allowed us to go home a get a couple hours of sleep. He had his own room so they would allow us to ‘room in’…Mike tried that the first night but got no sleep b/c all of Wyatt’s neighbors were loud criers. ;-)
Finally, on Sunday (the 24th), they took out this NG tube allowing him to nurse/bottle for all feedings. It was at that time that he needed to bottle at least 3 of his feedings so we chose the 2 am and 5 am feedings for the nurses to bottle so we could get some rest. (That schedule was really a lifesaver.) I would go in for his 8 am feeding and stay until midnight (for this 11 pm feeding) then go home to sleep and pump. The nurses were wonderful in helping me cope with leaving his room for short periods of time. ;-)

Then he started getting jaundice so they put him on a Bilirubin blanket. He was on that for 4 days and they took him off of it on Thursday to see how he would do in the next 24 hours. (It is amazing how much dressing him in ‘regular’ clothes lifted my spirits.) He did well so that was nice.

The requirement to leave the NICU (in Wyatt’s case) was to gain weight consistently for 2 days in a row. We started out strong, then had 2 days of weight loss so that was why we weren’t about to leave on Thursday as the doctors had originally planned. After seeing some weight gain on Wed. night, I was feeling very positive until we had a little ‘spell’ Thursday afternoon. When he would take his bottle feed he would make this gasping noise – which we now know is called stridor. After a video swallow test (they took x-rays while he was swallowing from different bottles and nipples) that allowed them to see if he was aspirating. Come to find out he was…it was only a miniscule amount, but just enough to be concerning. They didn’t want fluid going into his lungs. We were 95% sure he wasn’t doing it while nursing but since they have no way to test that during the swallow test (as he had to drink barium) they couldn’t know for sure. The conclusion of the swallow test was that he was diagnosed with larangoomalacia (caused by prematurity). So in laments terms, he has a ‘floppy airway’ allowing fluid down his airway causing him to aspirate…and because of that, they now need to thicken his feedings to syrup consistency. So they took him off nursing for at least 2 weeks – I am allowed to pump but then we have to fortify my milk to add extra calories and then add a gel thickener as well. This thicker consistency allows that extra nanosecond while he is swallowing for his vocal cords to close so he doesn’t get fluid down them. This is something he should out grow – could be 2 weeks or maybe more. (It ended up being 9 months before we was on thin liquids for the first time.) We go back in 2 weeks for another swallow test – if he passes he will be allowed to nurse again, but if he doesn’t we will continue to thicken his milk until he grows out of it.
On Friday, they also had an ENT doctor (ear, nose, throat) come and put a scope up his nose and down his throat to look at his vocal cords. (They wanted to make sure there weren’t any other issues related to the tracheomalacia.) The ENT dr. gave us a good report and the only thing he saw was that his vocal cords were a little red which indicated he had a little reflux. So we learned about that early on (thankfully he hadn’t become cranky yet) and now we know to hold him at a 45 degree angle (or more) after each feeding to keep the reflux under control.

Then Saturday rolled around (our second expected discharge date) and we weren’t able to go home. They wanted to watch the stridor to make sure it was under control before they would let him leave. We found out at that time they would release him today (Sunday) if we would go home on a monitor – this monitor checks his heart rate and his respiration. They just want to make sure that all of this goes away. They would hate to send him home and then something happen. It is an inconvenience but a peace of mind at the same time. When he is in our eye sight, we don’t have to have him hooked up…but when he is sleeping or we are in another room, we must have him hooked up. Then if something goes wrong, an alarm will sound and we will know to tend to him right away. I think the dr. biggest concern is we are entering cold and flu season and if he happens to get a cold, since he was premi his airway could close off and we would have no way of knowing. As time progresses hopefully we will only need it on him at night when we sleep. But it sounds like it could be on him for 4-6 months. But it makes me feel better that we are being cautious.

That brings us to today- now we are HOME! They discharged him this morning around 10 am and I have never been happier (and emotional of course). He is a wonderful baby and so far not too fussy. I hope he stays that way as he gets older. So keep your fingers crossed. ;-) He now weighs 6 lbs. 7 oz. so we are on our way!

We are VERY thankful that his issues have been mostly minor in comparison to what other families are going through. I have learned a lot and hope to adjust well to life outside the NICU.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What a Fashion Statement...

Today I was able to experience the beginning of the terrible two's. Wy-man woke up from his very short nap very crabby. So I thought if I took him outside he would be happy. That was only after we had to fight about what he would wear outside...

He picked out his socks (at least they matched) but then he HAD to wear his sandals. (What a fashion faux pas to wear socks with sandals...) Once we got outside he decided his 'glasses' were a must -- but in the process he put them on upside down. It wasn't worth the fight to change it so I had to take some photos.

You gotta check this out!

We then decided a walk was in order and at least I was able to get him to put his glasses on the right way.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Money...

Tonight we had dinner with Mimi and Papa (my parents) and when they are around, Wy-man doesn't even realize mama and dad-d exist.

Well, Wyatt has gotten into a new pattern of riding a mechanical horse when we are at the local grocery store and he now is very familiar with quarters. So while Papa happened to get in his wallet to pull out a tip, Wy-man seized the opportunity and grabbed a $20 bill from him. He then turned to Mimi and wanted to trade her the $20 for 1 quarter to "Ride horzie." (That would have been a sweet deal for Mimi, I might add.) ;-)

We tried to get him to give the money back and his response was, "No papa, my moneyz." Needless to say, Papa had a soft heart and let him put that $20 into his piggy bank.

Here's Mr. Cheezeball posing for my camera phone with his moneyz. (And Mimi's hand working on the trade.) haha

I wanna be like Dad-d!

Wy-man loves to watch Dad-d run and often times tries to stretch along side him. This morning Dad-d had finished a short run and I was finally able to capture the moment.

Wy-man sure looks up to his dad-d, don't you think?!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Iowa Family Vacation - Part 2

As our family vacation continued, we drove by the Iowa State Penitentiary (where my grandfather actually witnessed an execution)...And grabbed ice cream cones at the ice cream shop that Ashley and I would visit every summer when we were staying my grandparents.
It was so hot the ice cream was melting faster than they could eat it. But man did they have fun.

While in Ft. Madison we also got to see the house that Mimi grew up in as well as drive across the world's longest swing span bridge.
Then, we enjoyed the Sweet Corn Festival in Mt. Pleasant - rode a few rides, ate some funnel cake....
And sweat our butts off!
The guys got to hang out (Mike, Seth and my Uncle Brian)...
And Ash and I were able to have some sister time too.
We ended the vacation with a surprise 80th birthday (Cubs theme) for my dad's dad. It definitely was an eventful day (to say the least), but we were able to grab another family photo for mom's Christmas card...
And a large group photo of all family members in attendance. It was great to see so many of my relatives that I haven't seen since my wedding 6 years ago, and I know it made my grandma happy to have a new group photo for their house.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Iowa Family Vacation - Part 1

As I said when I first started this blog, there would be times I would be too busy to make a post, so there are a couple posts that I still need to make of our August adventures. Our Iowa family vacation is one of them.

My parents are both from small towns in eastern Iowa, so in early August we took the entire family back to check out their stomping grounds. And of course...Wy-man had to be in the truck with the big boys! Our first stop was the fort in Ft. Madison, Iowa...right on the banks of the muddy Mississippi. And man was it steamy that day, but we didn't let that stop us.
Wy-man hung with "Uncle Seph" (Uncle Seth)...
And cousin Will hung with Uncle Mike.
Walking the path with Papa as also a hit!Even "Baby Gook" (Baby Luke) enjoyed the fort with Ashley. The boys thought the canons were pretty cool...
And hung onto Papa's every word.
The fort even had reenactments and was really a great experience. But best of all, we were even able to get a decent family photo in ONE try!
Thanks Mimi and Papa for sharing a little bit of where you grew up with us!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good ol' Friday Nights

Today's Mama Moment was with MY mama! As I was growing up we always spent Friday nights doing crafts together. Tonight was just like old times, excepting now we were 'crafting' for my son's birthday party.

We chatted, snacked, decorated cakes/cupcakes and chatted some more.
Here are her masterpieces:
And here is mine:
She stayed until 11:00 helping me get ready for the party tomorrow. I am one lucky lady to have such a wonderful mom. If I am able to be at least half the mom she is to me, then Wy-man is one lucky little boy.

Thanks mama, for all of your help! I couldn't have got it done without you!

Happy Birthday Wy-man!

Two years ago today...We were anxiously awaiting his arrival.

One year ago today...We were celebrating the extraordinary 1st birthday.

And today...this little man turns TWO!

Where has the time gone? Being a mama has been the proudest, most fulfilling time in my life. Thank you Wyatt, for bringing me (and Dad-d) such joy every single day.

We love you and happy birthday!

Thank you Jill Hafner (www.bellaimagesonline.com) for taking these wonderful photos! I love your work!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mr. Helpful!

This was my Mama Moment for today. As I was baking cupcakes for Wy-man's birthday party on Saturday, he realized he can now open up the refrigerator. He proceeded to take both jugs of milk out and show me his muscles as he tried to parade around the kitchen. (Needless to say, he didn't make it very far before he was tired of that idea.)

He also found where we keep the grapes ('beeps' is what he calls them). His entertainment was sneaking into the drawer, grabbing a couple at a time (unwashed 'beeps' mind you) and pop them in his mouth. So cute, but Mama has now moved the 'beeps' so he can't eat whole ones OR unwashed ones when I am not watching. And...now the bottom shelf of the fridge is bare while the top shelf is jam packed (this is my attempt to keep him from pulling everything out onto the kitchen floor). Anyone have brilliant ideas on how I can keep him out?

PS- Sorry for the photo quality. My cell phone was the only thing close by to capture the moment. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Busted Lip

Last night my Mama Moment was a little scary. Wy-man slipped in the bathtub and busted open his lip...blood was everywhere so it was a good thing he was in the tub.

I quickly worked to stop the bleeding so I could assess the situation - stitches or no stitches - that was the question. So while Wy-man ate a popsicle (to help with the swelling since no 2 year old will sit still for an ice pack), I called the on-call nurse. After a 10 minute call she said he would be fine but I was still paranoid. I didn't want to be responsible for him having a huge scar on his lip when he gets older because some nurse listened to me babble about a cut that she couldn't even see and then decided it wasn't big enough to need stitches.

So, I thought it would be best to have Papa take a quick look (since he's in the medical field) and hopefully that would calm my fears. After driving across town to pay him a visit, he gave me the same answer as the nurse...so this paranoid mama finally felt better.

I then took this photo when I pulled into the garage - I couldn't resist. All of this lip trauma wore him out...but not before he got to put on his hat! (He must have learned the 'hat on backwards' trick from his daddy.)

Run Daddy Run!

Tonight, I enjoyed a wonderful Mama Moment with Wy-man as I was putting him to bed.

Mike ("Dad-d" as Wy-man has affectionately named him) is training for his second marathon and had to get a short run in tonight. So I had bedtime duty.

Things were right on track until he heard Dad-d on the treadmill. He proceeded to sit straight up in his bed and yell "Run Dad-d Run! Run Dad-d, go FAST!" This outburst was then followed by him jumping up in bed, holding on to the side and doing some 'quick feet' (like we used to have to do in high school gym) while saying "I'm runnin', I'm FAST!" He kept repeating himself over and over. Needless to say, it took him an extra 20 minutes to fall asleep tonight.

It was the CUTEST thing ever and I wish I would have had a video camera to capture that great moment. Instead, this blog will have to do.

My Blogging Adventure

Well...it's been a month since I created my blog, so I guess it's now time to make my first post. I wanted to wait until I had my background designed using photos of Wyatt, but decided it was taking me too long so the show must go on. I hope this isn't an indicator of how often I will have time to post - or if it will even be relevant information that people will care to read. But then again I am doing this for me so if no one reads who cares, right?!

My reason for joining the blogging world is simple...so that I can document my "Mama Moments." Wyatt is turning two this Friday and says/does SO many things that I absolutely love, but I haven't been great at keeping track so this is my new attempt. Hopefully there will be some fun, interesting, funny, creative, intelligent posts along the way that will keep you all coming back. :)

Until then, enjoy my Mama Moments!