Friday, November 28, 2008

A different kind of thankful.

Yesterday was my 1st Thanksgiving as a mom. I cannot even begin to explain how different it was for me. Before now, it was all about turkey, stuffing, pie, and sleep. Those things were all part of my day (except for sleep...what's sleep?)...but there was much more to focus on and be thankful for. I was able to look at my beautiful family and see what this holiday is all about.

I am so proud of my son for being such a strong little man...beating the odds so he could spend Thanksgiving with us even though he shouldn't even be here yet.

I am proud of my husband because he is the best father I could've ever given to Carter...I am truly thankful for all he does.

I am the happiest girl alive and I will never forget what my boys have helped me see this Thanksgiving. I continue to praise God for all of my blessings. My heart overflows a little more each day.

Please pray for my good friend Sara. Her baby girl Brynn is back in the hospital after a wonderful but short stay at home. They are both so strong and have been through a lot since Brynn's birth. Let's come together in prayer to get them back home where they belong.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BIG boy!

Carter had his 2nd weight check yesterday. Last Tuesday, he weighed 4lbs 8oz. The pediatrician said she wanted to see him gain at least a half-ounce per day. Yesterday, he weighed a whopping 5 lbs 1oz!! That is over an ounce per day!! We are so proud of our big boy! The doctor was amazed and said that Carter doesn't need weekly weight checks anymore! His next appointment is next Thursday and its just a normal 1 month well visit. I can't believe my baby is going to be 1 month old already. She also said we are ok to travel with we are hoping to go to NY at the end of December! We are very excited!!

Steven and I also did something very romantic for our anniversary...we got our flu shots! The NICU doctors told us it would be a good idea, since Carter is so small. His immune system might not be able to handle the flu. I was a baby through the entire thing, but it got done!

Tonight, the boys are going to chill while my mom and I bake pies for tomorrow. This year, Thanksgiving has a new meaning for me and I am so excited to spend it with my new family!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 years ago today...

Today is my 2 year anniversary. With all that has happened in the last month, I am realizing more and more each day how lucky I am to have Steven in my life. He has given me so much and taken care of me in ways that most men would turn and run from. We have been through more together than most couples go through in their entire lives.

I met Steven on the first day of 11th September of 1998. He was in the 9th grade. We quickly became good friends and both developed little crushes on each other...but I had a boyfriend already. On May 26th of 1999, I was in the car crash that left me paralyzed. My boyfriend quickly ran for the hills. I spent the next 2 years convincing myself that nobody would ever love me.

In May of 2001, Steven accompanied one of my friends to my house. My crush came rushing back...I was seriously smitten! Of course I didn't think he could possibly like me at all. I quietly crushed on him and tried to hide it. A few days later, he came back over to hang out. As everyone was leaving, he stayed behind. He went to hug me good-bye and gave me the most amazing kiss of my life! I never expected anyone to like me the way I was...but he never saw anything different than the same girl I was before. We officially became a couple on his birthday, July 31st.

On July 30, 2002, Steven took me out to dinner for our 1 year anniversary. Right in the middle of dinner, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. We had a long engagement, but it was all worth it. On November 25, 2006, we were married in NY.

He says I made him the happiest man alive...but really I'm the lucky one. I never expected anyone to love me after my accident. Steven never let my disability play a part in our relationship. He did what he had to do to take care of me so we could be together. Today, 2 years later, we have come so far. We are married, own a home, and have the most beautiful baby in the world. I love my husband more every day and I look forward to the rest of my life!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winding down.

What a week! Kelly was here from Tuesday to Friday. After she left, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, aunt and cousin, and Carter's G-mom (Godmother) came in from NY. They just left this morning. It was a great week and I am so glad everyone got to come visit and spend time with Carter. They were all so helpful and let Steven and I get some much needed rest. Now we are trying to wind down and let Carter continue adjusting to home...since he only got 2 full days to do it before all our company came. Right now, my boys are "watching football" on the couch. ("watching football = taking a nap together".)

Aunt Kelly hanging out with Carter.

She even helped us catch up on some laundry!

As we are winding down, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have this beautiful family. I have the 2 most wonderful human beings sleeping on my couch right now and I thank God for thinking of me as worthy of the responsibility that He has given me. I am happier than I have ever been in my whole life and I can't wait to see what each day brings. Praise the Lord for these miracles!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mommy's day out...

My BFF Kelly is here! She arrived on Tuesday night, bearing gifts! Her husband sent a swing, diapers, and an enormous box of wipes! Carter loves his swing! Its his new favorite hobby. Kelly has been a huge help. She has been taking care of Carter and helping us with laundry and housework. Tuesday, she even got up with him for all of his feedings! Ahh...sleep!! It was wonderful. I am so thankful.

Today, Kelly and I went to the house where A Christmas Story was filmed. It is our favorite movie ever, so we were totally excited to go there. It is actually only 25 miles from my house, but I have never been there because nobody else likes the movie as much as I do...besides Kelly! It was awesome! We were the only ones there because we went at 4pm on a Thursday. We got a private tour and were allowed to touch everything and take as many pictures as we wanted! It was seriously a dream come true for us! What a fun day! Now, we are home watching A Christmas Story. Things are so much different now that we've seen it in real life!

Kelly leaves tomorrow morning...I wish I could keep her but I'm sure her hubby and kids would miss her...darn! Anyway, we will spend tomorrow getting the house spruced up for Steven's mom, brother, and Carter's godmother. They will be in from NY tomorrow night. I love visitors!! I am so glad that everyone is able to come out to spend time with Carter! What a blessing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Carter's First Outing.

Carter had his first pediatrician appointment today. He weighs 4lbs. 9oz. and the doctor said everything looks great. We are just trying to fatten him up a bit. He goes back in a week to check his weight again. The doctor was very nice and was good with Carter. We are very happy with our decision.

After the appointment, we had to run to Babies R Us for diapers. The preemie ones we have hurt his circumcision (which is almost healed now!!) and our other newborn ones run big and he swims in them! The only ones that work perfectly are Pampers Swaddlers. We get newborn ones then fold them down. While at BRU, you know I can't just buy one thing! We got him a newborn pram because the other 2 he has are way too big. We literally bundled him up in blankets earlier with a fleece sleeper and hat because we had no pram that fit. I felt so bad. Anyway, I also bought a bottle warmer for the car because we brought a bottle to the doctor's office for his 11 'o clock feeding and it froze solid in the cooler! Luckily, the nurse gave us a cup of hot water to thaw it. I got Carter more blue Soothies because he keeps losing them. I also hit the motherload and found a Soothie clip!! I have been looking since before Carter was born!!!! We got a car mirror for behind the carseat, more preemie Dr. Brown's, and an extra Boppy cover. I have a serious BRU problem!! But its all needed, so its ok!

Tonight, my BFF Kelly is driving in from NY! I am so excited! She is seeing my house and meeting Carter for the 1st time. She is leaving Friday but I might lock her in the basement so I can keep her here!! It should be a fun week for all of us!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nurse Ratchet.

So...I almost killed someone today. The NICU always sends a nurse out to weigh the babies and check their temps a couple days after they leave, just to make sure that there is nothing else they should do to help mom and dad. Anyway, the nurse came today. She wasn't actually a NICU nurse. She was just a regular ole' agency nurse with no preemie experience what-so-ever. She weighed him and her scale said 4lbs. 5oz. Wrong!! He was 4lbs. 8.5oz. when he left the hospital and he's eating more now that he's at home. Not to mention we weighed him this morning and it said 5lbs. Then, she undressed him completely and was examining his entire body. I felt like a criminal. After the frisking, she tried taking his temp, which was 36.1c...because she had him undressed for 10 minutes! I'm like "hello! Preemies sometimes have a hard time regulating their temps...keep him warm! Idiot!!!" Steven quickly grabbed a warm sleeper and put it on him with a hat then swaddled him. He was on the changing table that attaches to the Pack n Play...the lady goes over and starts shaking it! What for?? We still have no clue but she's lucky I didn't knock her ass out! After that, she decided to pry his eyes open to check his pupils...unneccesary! Then she tried scaring him to see if he'd jump, shook a rattle in his ear, and teased him by putting his pacifier by his mouth, then took it away. Some of this stuff has its reasons, but all those tests were done at the hospital already.

So, I called the hospital after the nurse left and told them I was declining the 2nd appointment with this lady. The doctor was like "You are only supposed to do that once...just for weight and temp checks. Did she try to get you to make another appointment?" I told her yes and she said that the agency was not told to do any exams of any kind. I told her how rough and careless the nurse was with Carter and she asked for her name. I told her and she said that she would be sure to call and let them know that they are not to come again and that Veronica needs preemie experience because she is evidently lacking. She said not to worry about the weight and that their scale was probably a piece of crap. She assured me that all was well and that Carter is doing great. I feel better now, but I was seriously spitting nails after the nurse left!

Carter has been doing awesome! He's eating about 50mL every feeding as long as we don't wake him up to feed...he has to do it on his own!! Stubborn boy! We went to Babies R Us last night and got a bunch of preemie sleepers on clearance! He looks much more comfy in stuff that fits.

OK...somebody just woke up and wants to be lucky am I?! I thank God every time I look at my precious gift. I can't even begin to tell you how truly blessed I feel.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome home Carter!

Carter is finally home! Our first night was pretty rough, but we all made it through! The preemie diapers were rubbing on his circumcision and he was up every hour crying. As soon as we tried a regular newborn diaper, he fell right to sleep and we had to wake him to feed him. Now he is relaxing and feeling much better. The only issue we have now is that none of his clothes fit! Even the preemie clothes we bought are too big. Later on, we are going to Babies R Us to see if they have anything smaller than what we have now. I feel so bad for him...he's just swimming in the sleeper he has on right now! He is so cute!!

So...motherhood is more than I could've ever hoped for. My husband is such an amazing dad and I couldn't do any of this without him. Carter is truly our gift from God and I can't wait to watch him learn and grow. My heart is full!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Its official...

...tomorrow is the big day!! Carter is coming home!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The end is here!!

Carter had an amazing 24 hours! Last night at 2am, our favorite nurse Don removed his NG tube. He is eating all by himself and was even put on an "ad-lib diet"...meaning he can eat however much he wants every 3 hours. No more forcing him to eat when he is tired! Now that he isn't being made to eat, he is eating more than ever! As of 2am, he weighed 4lbs 4oz.

Before we left the NICU last night, we had Don do the take-home checklist with us. We watched videos about car seat safety and CPR. That was it for what we had to do...the rest is all about the doctors. I think they realized that we were taking initiative because when we got there this morning, his hearing screen had been done, the car seat challenge was ordered, the circumcision paperwork was done, and the nurse practitioner came to give us the heads up that Carter will have his circ and immunizations tomorrow and as long as he is gaining weight on the new diet, he can come home!! We are guessing he will be released on Friday!!

Praise God for this wonderful miracle! And thank you all for your love and prayers!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not much longer!

Carter is doing great!! He is up to 35mL of breastmilk with 5 mL of fortifier (for calories) every 3 hours and is eating most of the time out of the bottle! The big news is that he now weighs 4 pounds, 2 ounces!!! I think he will be home this weekend...please pray for us. I am off to get a good night's sleep, so I will update you as soon as we know more.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Big Boy Bed!

(In his big boy bed!)

So sorry its been a few days. Being a NICU mommy means spending all free time with your baby. If I am home, I am either sleeping, pumping, or getting ready to go to the hospital! I actually had to buy a new breast pump 2 days ago. I got the First Years one for my shower and it ended up making me crack and bleed. And I was getting maybe a half an ounce in 20 minutes...if anything. I called my trust officer and told her I was in excruciating pain and that I needed $300 for the Medela Pump in Style. She said "Go buy it and fax me the reciept. We will reimburse you. This is a comfort issue for you so it is automatically covered." Thank you Jesus!! I ran to Babies R Us and got it...OMG!!! It is awesome! I am getting 3 ounces in 15 minutes, every 2 hours! It isn't painful and I am getting what Carter needs. If any of you plan on pumping, get the Medela PIS. It is worth the extra me.

Carter had a great day today. He is taking half of his feedings all by himself which is awesome! He was struggling with it so he has an NG tube, but he is steadily building up the stamina to eat all 33mL without any help. He is up 1 ounce from his birth weight, which is great because he lost 1 and a half ounces within a few days of his birth.

Carter is officially no longer a resident of Isolette #6...he has been moved to a big boy bed!! He is regulating his own temperature! He is so strong for being 34 weeks. I am so so proud of him!

A social worker came in today and told us that a nurse would be coming to the house to check on us after we bring Carter home. They do it with all NICU babies because it can be overwhelming having them home not hooked to a hundred monitors telling you that your baby is fine. A little while later, a doctor came in and asked us if everything was ready at home. We said "of course!" He said Carter is doing great and we can expect him to be released in about a week!! By then, he will be plumped up and eating on his own. I am so excited to get him home!! I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Overflow Baby.

I spent the day in the NICU with Carter today. When I first got there, as I got close to the isolette, I saw 4 phototherapy lights. I automatically spazzed out and the nurse goes "Carter is over there." He was moved last night to the spot they call the "overflow spot". It is the last stop before going home! His feedings were raised to 25mL and will go to 30mL at midnight tonight. He also decided that he no longer wanted an IV, so he pulled it out. So far, he's 3 for 3 with IVs. If they let an arm free, he will pull it out! They finally decided not to put another in because he doesn't need IV meds or fluids anymore. The isolette should be gone within the next couple of days. Hopefully tomorrow. It was at 29 degrees when I was there and it needs to be at 28. Then, if my sweet boy can keep a normal temperature, he gets a big boy bed!! They don't expect him to have any trouble with it.

I am spending the day there tomorrow and we are going to work on getting him to latch on to my breast. So far, he likes boobies, but he doesn't actually realize that food comes out! So...our goal for the day is to make him aware of this! Your continued prayer is very much appreciated. I can almost see him in his crib right now...if I ever put him down!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mommy's little piggy! (Updated)

Carter is turning into quite the little piggy! I called to check on him this morning and the nurse told me that his last 3 feedings were 12mL and he had them down in less than 5 minutes. She said the doctors would be in in a bit to raise his intake...probably to 16mL. He is such a doll. I couldn't ask for more.

I am pumping breast milk as much as I can. I am pretty sore, so I'm not doing it as often as I probably should be. I am getting good amounts though, so I'm happy. The NICU gave me these vials with name tags and we fill them up and freeze them. I am so thankful that I got my pump for my shower. The hospital pump literally felt like it was tearing my nipple off! Mine isn't quite as powerful, but it is much more comfortable. I'd rather pump for 20 minutes with mine than 10 minutes with theirs.

I am just waiting patiently for Steven to get home from work so we can head up to the hospital. We decided that he should work until Carter is home, then take time off. It sucks, but it will be much better in the long run because his paternity leave is not paid.

I will try to post pictures later...

UPDATE @ 8:16pm: Carter is taking 16mL wonderfully and will be bumped up to 20mL at midnight!!! What a little rockstar! Steven got me a new camera for an early anniversary gift so I don't have to lug the Big Zoom around anymore. Now I'm really gonna go all "proud mommy" on Carter!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Making progress!

I am home. I was released Friday night. It feels bitter-sweet. I am certainly glad to be home, but my baby is still in the NICU. It is very hard to leave him every night to make the long drive home. I know he is in good hands, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Carter is doing great. He had his milk bumped up to 8mL from 4mL yesterday. I attempted to get him to latch on last night, but all he wanted to do was play with it...wonder where he gets that!! I will try again today, but at least I am pumping every few hours and he gets it from a bottle. I know how important breast milk is...especially for preemies. So, I pump at home, freeze it, and pop it in a little cooler for our daily trip to the NICU.

Carter was also removed from under the phototherapy lights! His biliruben levels went all the way down to 6.6...they have to be less than 8 to come out from under the lights. They are not 100% sure he is out for good, so we are relying on all your wonderful prayer! It has helped more than you will ever know. all our little guy has to do is steadily gain weight and he will be ready to come home! He will also have to maintain his temperature, but we are not really expecting much of an issue with that. I am so proud of everything he is doing and I am so ready to get him home where he belongs. Like I said, your prayers are the only thing that gets us from day to day, so please keep them coming. I will update you on Carter's new progress when I get home later!