Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why So Serious?

My boss said it best when he told me that I was probably going to discover that my pregnancy and baby were two things in life that I could not control, after I had to tell him that I was going to need to work from home due to high blood pressure.  As many of you know me and my BFF Type A did not take being on house arrest well!  I could never have imagined the emotional roller coaster having a preemie in the NICU takes you on, but I could also never have imagined how wonderful complete strangers ( the nurses) could be.  In life we have two choices in that we can laugh or cry, and God knows  I have done my fair share of crying, but we make our best effort to laugh as often as possible and usually at my own expense.

The past week has brought continued progress in Brady's life.  He now weighs 4 lbs 5 oz as of Saturday night.  Brady has been working very hard on learning bottle feeding, and we have been working with the occupational therapists to learn the correct way to feed him.  We learned that the original bottle they were feeding him with made him feel like he was drowning so he would shut down quickly when offered a bottle.  They gave him a Playtex VentAir bottle with a super slow flow nipple and things clicked for him.  He actually is taking several full feeds from a bottle now.  Since they still consider him little, it is probably going to be a few more weeks before he comes home, but we can't wait!

He looks so sweet when he falls asleep in my arms!

 Working on his bottle feeding skills.  I look much happier than he does about it all, but at least he is trying, gripey or not.

The occupational therapist showed me a trick for burping him where you put two fingers under his arm and another finger to hold his face, but the Nutrition Nazi says it looks like I am choking him.  Thanks for the support NN.

Though Brady is starting to bulk up a little he is still tiny in NN's arms.

This look tells me that this is definitely my child.  He is serious as a heart attack when he looks at me sometimes.  NN was actually trying to get a picture of him smiling, but this is how it all worked out.

'Dude, please tell me you washed your hands before touching anywhere near my mouth' is what I think this look says.  I am very concerned that he is already smarter than I am.

Thank you again for your continued support and prayers!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another Hard-Head on the Family Tree

In the last update I mentioned that Brady had finally been moved to NICU 2.  Now we get to have much more interaction with him including taking him out of the isolette, changing diapers, checking his temperature to make sure he is still able to regulate himself, and holding him for more than 30 minutes at a time.  In NICU 2 the nurses and occupational therapists are helping us and Brady prepare for when he comes home.

With each passing day he is doing better, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is not a short process and that we must be patient, which is not always easy when all we want is to have him home.  Over the weekend they gave him a diuretic to clear out the remaining water on his lungs and regulate his respirations, which was the last hurdle before he could start bottle feeding.  He lost a little weight, but hopefully will start to put it back on now that the diuretic is finished.  

This is usually how we find our little one when we arrive.  He looks so peaceful snuggled into his isolette.

Brady loves his snuggle bean bag.  Many times when he is on his side the nurses put it on him and  he wraps his arms around the top part.

He is very fascinated with his hands.  I am terrified he is going to scratch his eye, but they don't allow mittens in the isolette. 

The Nutrition Nazi is all about the videos.  And for the record in the video I was not drunk when I looked back, I was actually looking to see which of Brady's vitals had tripped an alarm.

 I think he is afraid I might actually try and give him the dreaded pacifier by the way he is eyeing it!  He    learned early on that it was a lost cause!

One of our first family photos...rockin our stylish yellow NICU gowns, no less!

On Sunday he finally got the go ahead front the neonatologist to start bottle feeding since his respirations had become more steady.  Luckily the nurse was there to help us because feeding a preemie is very different from feeding a term baby.  It took her a while to get him started on it.  Since up to this point he had only been tube fed, this is actual work for him to eat now.

And our hard-headed son was not pleased at all with bottle feeding.  I kept waiting for him to start shouting expletives based on the look I was getting, but luckily he didn't...yet.  Each time they or we have tried to bottle feed him he clamps his lips shut and refuses to eat.  We keep telling him that it is the last hurdle to breaking free of the NICU, but he is lazy and does not seem to be interested.  I hope this is not a sign of things to come.

We would like to thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts.  I don't think we will ever be able to fully express our gratitude for all of the wonderful people we have been blessed to have in our lives!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Change of Plans

Before I begin the Nutrition Nazi and I would like to express our immense gratitude to all of the family, friends, and hospital staff at Texas Woman's that have made the last week and a half go so smoothly.  We knew that our family was great at helping us, but we can't express how thankful we are for everything they did from picking up the Team Leader to bringing food to getting to the hospital with about 30 minutes notice for the C section.  Our friends have been absolutely amazing, as well, offering up homes, meals, and most importantly thoughts and prayers.  And lastly the hospital staff, especially the NICU staff, have been phenomenal at helping us to comprehend and make sense of it all, but most importantly taking care of Brady and helping him work towards coming home.

So I should know better by now, but my hard-headed self refuses to learn that I am not in ultimate control of my path.  So here is the story of how our lives changed 360 in a matter of hours.  In the middle of May my doctor discovered that my blood pressure had risen to a very high level and put me and my BFF Type A on a modified bed rest schedule to see if it would go down.  Two weeks later and an two ultra-sounds later I had developed preeclampsia and the baby was in the 11th percentile on size. My doctor and a specialist from Texas Children's tried to buy themselves some time with steroids to help the baby's lungs develop, but warned me on Wednesday that delivery could be as early as Friday morning because I was a 'ticking time bomb' with my liver and kidneys not functioning properly and the baby's health in danger.

So the preparations began.  We were paid a visit on Wednesday night from the one of the Neonatologists, a saucy little minx as Jeff would coin her because of her personality.  At least we still had our sense of humor!  She explained about how they brought five staff members to the delivery and how things were going to work.  It all seemed very surreal, but when you are given no other choice you have to just go with it.

Friday morning comes and my doctor makes her rounds.  I think she really wanted to wait to give Brady's lungs more time, but after discussing it with the expert from Texas Children's they decide today is the day, and in about an hour.  It is amazing how quickly we called everyone and I was sitting in the operation room being hooked up to everything.  I never knew how quickly my heart could love someone and the level of love I could give to someone that I only got to see from a distance.

Brady Jackson was born at 10:09 am on Friday, June 8, 2012, weighing 3 lbs 13 oz and 15 inches long with feet the size of a full term baby!  He along, with his over-the-moon father went off with the NICU staff to be assessed.

The grandparents could not be prouder!  My mother-in-law says that Grandma is the best title she has ever been called.  This little one has no idea that he already has these people wrapped around his finger!

He initially started off in NICU 2, which is the less critical care, but late Friday was moved to NICU 3 because he was struggling with his breathing.  The Nutrition Nazi was amazing because he ran from place to place trying to get everything situated for me as well as Brady.

When I finally got to see him on Saturday this is what I find.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't freaked out.  It is not as actually as bad as it looks.  The breathing apparatus is what is called a CPAP, or continuous positive air pressure.  It helps him keep his lungs open and not have to struggle when exhaling.  The little snuggle thing that he is in is actually really cool.  The nurses put them in different positions every three hours so that they learn to work their muscles against the bumpers.

The Nutrition Nazi looks like a giant standing next to Brady.  It won't be like this for long, though!

On Saturday night we finally got to hold him for the first time.  It took about 10 minutes to get all of the wires and tubes situated, but well worth the wait for this priceless picture.

You are looking at the happiest man in the world.  He proudly rolls up to the phone outside the NICU every day and announces he is there to see Little Pope and paces to be buzzed in!

He's getting a tan...I'm jealous.  (Name that movie.)  He had to undergo photo therapy for a few days for jaundice, but finally finished it on Wednesday morning and is back to just growing and getting stronger!

I love this video!  He is such a serious person sometimes, like his mom, but hopefully he will slowly get more of the Nutrition Nazi's light-hearted-ness

We are also very happy to say that Brady got moved from NICU 3 from NICU 2, less critical care, last night.  He still has a bumpy road ahead in trying to get his respirations more stable and learning to bottle feed, but we are hopeful he stays on the fast track to come home soon!

I am going to try to get updates on here as much as possible, but be patient some days are longer than others.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Soon-to-be Grandpa Pat

This year for my Father's Day post I decided to highlight someone very special in our lives, but not my dad or the Nutrition Nazi's dad.  This man didn't have to be anything other than a husband to the Nutrition Nazi's mom, but he truly is a second father to NN.  Obviously no one ever replaces your dad, but if you had to choose a second father, this man is tops in the running.

This is Pat, NN's Step Dad, patiently smiling while NN's mom takes his picture for the 800th time on this particular day, which is a typical occurrence when my mother-in-law is around with her camera.

Pat likes to fish, and I am told back in the day he liked to hunt and leave dirty socks in trees!

Pat loves to cook the Team Leader bacon, eggs, toast, chicken-fried steak, and anything else she wants for breakfast when she stays over.  Of course her obedience to Grandpa Pat is in perfect form, even at 4 in the morning.

This is Pat and myself after my mother-in-law had taken 8000 pictures at my wedding in Mexico.  He was probably in between drinks, but we were united in our disdain for the papparazi-like atomosphere.

Pat was so excited when he found out the baby was going to be a boy that he sent me an email wishing there was an Academy Babies R Us, and telling me he may go broke buying the baby all types of guns and fishing gear!  Apparently he did find baby camo gear because he sent his own present with my mother-in-law to the baby shower and it was camo all-in-one suit and a onesie.  He signed his card to the baby soon-to-be Grandpa Pat - so sweet!

The baby is now set to hang out with soon-to-be Grandpa Pat while NN and I hang out on the beach in Mexico!  Just kidding...kind of!

In no way, though, do I want to down play the importance that our dads played in our lives because we both have wonderful dads!  We were just fortunate enough to have a third father that loves us as much as the other two.

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Best Baby Shower Ever

Ok so it is my first baby shower, but I still believe it is the best one ever!  A few weeks ago two of my besties hosted a baby shower for our new little addition filled with all kinds of fun food, games, and characters!

Since I live in the country, directional signs are always a plus!

One of the lovely hostesses, Aunt Kimmy, running around during the awesome games she put together.

Gina, on the right, the other lovely shower hostess, trying to win some prizes in the games.  I was definitely jealous of the prizes for the ladies!

The ladies had an awesome spread of food for all of the guests to munch on.  There was so much that we actually had leftovers for a few days!

One of my favorite parts was the dessert table filled with cookies, mini cupcakes, and party favors for the ladies!

Aunt Kimmy made two beautiful diaper cakes.  They are so pretty that I am afraid to use the diapers once the baby gets here!

'Someone IS going to give me something to eat, right Mama?' is what this look is saying.  The Team Leader attended parts of the shower, but had to be put in her room (our master bedroom) once she got into the spiked punch.  Just kidding!  Though we used to refer to her as the drunk girl at the bar, she does not need alcohol to act crazy!

Everyone really loved the games, especially my mother-in-law judging by her jaw-dropping!

The Nutrition Nazi stuck around for a little while before leaving to go play golf.  And yes I did pick out his outfit because I wanted him to match my clothing for some other pictures we took.  He's used to it at this point.

A rare sighting - our friend Mandy! 

More family!  Can you tell who is related to who?

The baby received way too many presents.   So spoiled and he is not even here yet!

My mom bought the baby a shirt for each of our respective Alma maters!  I see an impending Bayou Bucket battle on the horizon!

This is my living room after the shower!  We are so thankful for everything that we received and grateful for the wonderful people in our lives!  The Team Leader had a blast going through all of the bags once everyone had left.  Poor little one may never see some of his stuff since I think she already wrote her name on it!

The Nutrition Nazi and I would like to thank our wonderful hostesses with the most, as well as all the ladies that attended the shower.  We are truly over-whelmed by the love and support we receive on a daily basis from our friends and family!

Have a great week!