Saturday, March 9, 2013

6 months

I write the same thing every time I blog. "I can't believe so much time has passed! Where has the time gone?"  But it's true.  This is the way I feel every time I sit down and reflect on life with Luke.  And now I sit here to write his six month post. Crazy!

Six months, wow! Luke, I feel like you have changed so much in the past month.  Here's a peek  into life during your sixth month:

You found your feet!
You rolled from back to front.
You laughed.
You started playing in your Jumperoo.
You went to see the cardiologist. (More on that later.)
You weigh 16 pounds and 4 ounces.
You are 26 1/4 inches.
You smile like crazy and make mom and dad so happy!
You have been a challenging sleeper this month.  Your dad and I are working hard to help you through this phase!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Catching Up

Last time I blogged little man was 3 months?!?  Somebody please hit the pause button!  Luke is 5 months now and I just had a "time is going by too fast" moment and decided to come in and blog.  I get teary in those moments because though these 5 months have not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, they have been the most rewarding 5 months of my life.  I just want to be sure I'm appreciating them enough.  I just want to be sure I'm documenting them well.  I just don't want the next 5 months to go by as quickly as the first 5.  This time with my baby is so precious and I so wish I could hit pause and just savor it.

Here's what little man has been up to in the last couple of months:

You still like love to eat- about every 2-2.5 hours.
You are a growing boy!  13 pounds 9 oz at your 4 month checkup.
You are very vocal.   You love talking and have added several sounds to your repertoire - "g" "m" "d'
You now wake up several times each night and are up and at 'em around 6 am. (Mommy's hoping this is a quick phase!)
You are a very smiley guy, but when you're upset you quickly let us know with the cutest bottom lip pout I've ever seen.
You really like your taggie blanket that Danee' made you.
You have rolled from front to back twice, and back to front once (with the help of the ottoman)
You love to be in the moby wrap and don't really enjoy your carseat.
You love to play with daddy on the weekends.
You play in your exersaucer and like to sit in your bumbo seat.
You chew on your tongue and love to stick your hands in your mouth too.
You just found your feet and I just know that you'll be chewing on them soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 months

Our little man is 3 months old and sleeping in my lap as I type.  Turns out typing with one hand is trickier than I thought! After the first 3 weeks of little man's life drug on forever, it now seems his first 3 months have flown by!

Little man @ 3 months:

You like to eat! - frequently during the day (about every 2 hours)
You sleep well at night - usually wake up at 2 and 5 to eat
You like to snuggle mommy.
You have started to take a pacifier at nap time. (We call it "bubba". Thank you cousin Caroline :) )
You like to "talk".  You coo at yourself in the mirror and at the race car picture by your changing table.
You have started to look mommy and daddy in the eye and "talk" to us a little bit too.
You are happiest in the mornings and have been full of smiles lately.
You weigh about 12 pounds- according to our scale at home.
You seem to enjoy life a little more each day. And so do we- because we have you!

Heading to Devon's Saturdays with Santa.
A smiley morning.
Your 3 month onesie shot. Much more cooperative this month!
Can't believe how much you've changed!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adventures in the NICU

So much of what occurred immediately after Luke's birth is a blur thanks to my pain medication, but I can tell you that I am able to see God's provision for our new family even from the very beginning of our NICU adventure.

For those of you who have never experienced it, the NICU is a serious place. You, as the parent, do not feel like you're in control. Quite often you feel at the mercy of your baby's nurses. So I prayed from day 1 for the ladies that would be caring for our sweet boy, and you know what? God put some really special people in our lives during our NICU stay. 23 days x 2 nurses each day = 46 opportunities to see God's hand at work!

As Luke's mom, I was not in control of much. But one thing I was in control of was how my baby would be fed. I knew long before Luke was born that I would be breastfeeding. I had done my research and knew that this was best for Luke and really wanted to give my baby all the benefits that breastfeeding offers. This became even more important when Luke was born premature! Thankfully I had the help of my sister and an awesome lactation consultant Becky to help me get started. In the beginning, and for quite some time, Luke could not take feedings orally. This meant all of his nutrition was given to him through his G tube. However, God provided in many ways, and though Luke was more than 6 weeks premature, he was able to receive my milk from the very beginning. That may not seem like a big deal to most, but to this momma it was HUGELY significant!

In the NICU, bottle feeding is the norm and overwhelmingly preferred by the doctors and nurses because they can control the situation right down to the mL. For many valid reasons, I decided Luke would not be bottle fed so that we could really establish breastfeeding. My team of awesome lactation consultants prepared me for resistance. Instead, very early on, we met Lisa. She was Luke's nurse one day and the biggest blessing I can possibly imagine. Not only was she supportive of our efforts, she was helpful and encouraging! We were blessed with Lisa several more times while Luke was in the critical side of the NICU and she helped Luke and I so much! Then one day Luke was able to maintain his own temperature and was moved from his enclosed isolette and put in an open-air crib! This was good news, we were headed to a private room in the less critical wing of the NICU!  But it also meant we would meet an entirely new team of nurses, so once again I braced for resistance.

At this point we really started working with the nurse practitioners versus the doctors and again The Lord blessed us with two amazing women who would be in charge of Luke's care for the remainder of his NICU stay. I encountered MANY complications and was helped through them by my LC's and even Luke's nurse practitioners- all the while making slow progress toward feeding Luke without his tube. The nurse practitioners, obviously experts at dealing with preemies shared with me that most babies are ready to feed orally around 36-40 weeks. Talking with other NICU moms, all of whom were bottle feeding, I found this to be true. "my baby won't eat" was a common complaint.  Taking things day by day and being blessed with many supportive nurses along the way. Chris was back to work, often dropping me off at the hospital before 6. He'd go to work, put in a full day and then meet up with Luke and I around 2pm. We'd stay til about 10:30, then do it all again the next day. Exhausted and feeling like we would call the NICU our permanent home, we found ourselves at the 36 week mark. Luke began to show progress and we were allowed to offer more oral feedings. As he began to gain weight, the decision was made to take out his tube. For Chris and I this meant we could not go home overnight-sleeping in that tiny NICU room, me in the hospital recliner and Chris in a camping chair from Academy. (Have I mentioned how thankful I am to be married to such an incredible man? Luke and I are really lucky!) After 2 nights of this, the nurse practitioners decided we were ready to "room in".

Rooming in meant caring for Luke for a 24 hr period without nurses- so pretty much what we had been doing for the past couple of days, only in a special room complete with a bed for sleeping. Luke was really starting to get the hang of things, and though he didn't gain weight that night, he did maintain. The next morning one of the doctors came to look Luke over, checked his charts and said we were going home! Totally unprepared for this response, we packed up our things to head home with Luke after 23 days in the NICU- at exactly the 37 week mark. I am so thankful that for each of those 23 days God placed the right people in our lives to take good care of Luke and support us  throughout a very difficult process. With the help of those wonderful people we were able to accomplish what we desired for our sweet boy!


Okay so blogging while taking care of a 2 month old is tricky.  Right now little man sits contentedly on my lap watching my fingers type and the ever changing screen. So....I should have approximately 2.2 minutes of happiness to complete this post.  I'll save the NICU details for another day.

Our boy is growing!  9 pounds 1 oz at his 2 month appointment!  That's up 4, yes 4, pounds since birth. Woohoo! Here's what we've been up to lately!

Bath time, back when I was a skinny thing!

Tummy Time- look how well I hold my head up!

More tummy time, I like to squish the water and make the fish move.

Some of my cousins came to visit!  Man was I tired when they left!

I'm starting to smile every once in a while, but mom can't seem to catch one just yet!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Luke's Debut: a story of God's timing

Many of you know that Luke came much earlier than anticipated, but most of you don't truly know why or how. I'd like to share with you the ways that God was faithful to us as we went through an unexpected journey.

For a couple of weeks before Luke was born, I was dealing with some uncomfortable swelling-mainly in my legs. After several conversations with my doctor's office, in which I was assured things were normal, we decided to try a low sodium diet in hopes of some relief. Well, relief did not come and the Friday before Luke's arrival I decided I couldn't take it anymore. Something just did not feel right! At the urging of my mom, sister, and Chris, I called my doctor's office AGAIN. After learning my doctor was out of town her nurse told me I should go to labor and delivery at the hospital to have things checked out. So at 33 weeks and 3 days, fully expecting the nurses at L&D to tell me to suck it up and stay off my feet, we took our sweet time in getting there. We even stopped at the AT&T store to get Whitney set up on our family plan!

Friday: When Chris and I got to L&D I explained my swelling and the triage nurses admitted me and told me that they'd have someone in to look at my legs soon. Following standard procedure, I changed in to my lovely hospital gown, got into bed, and the nurses hooked me up to a monitor for Luke. Before anyone could even take a look at my swollen legs, the alarm for Luke's monitor went off. Three nurses raced in the room and explained that his heart rate had dropped significantly, but had quickly come back up. They wanted to know if this had been happening during my pregnancy- maybe it was a fluke and for some reason his monitor picked up my heart rate? It was not a fluke.  Long story a little bit shorter, his heart rate continued to periodically drop and then come back up. Because we did not know the cause of what was happening, we were moved to a comfortable room in L&D and told we would be there for observation overnight. I was even told I could not eat because there was a chance of delivery.  At this point Chris and I both felt this was a little silly bc we felt like everything was fine! Once the doctor on call decided I would not be delivering that night I was cleared to eat! Chris went and picked up the most delicious pepperoni pizza from Hideaway and we enjoyed lunch/ dinner at 9 pm.

Saturday: Throughout the night Luke's heart rate continued to drop and each time he would quickly self recover, but we were beginning to realize there was truly cause for concern. I kept reminding myself that none of this was a surprise to God, but I have to admit things felt totally out of my control and I began to panic. Saturday morning the on call doctor who is in practice with my doctor came to see us and explain his concerns. I was very upset to be dealing with strangers, but God again showed He was in control.  The on call doctor had consulted with a high-risk doctor who just happened to deliver my twin nieces and they both had a concern that Luke's cord might be wrapped in a way that was causing his heart rate to drop when he was in certain positions.  I have a huge respect for this specialist and I was able to trust the plan that the doctors came up with.  The plan was to make it through Labor Day weekend and have a more detailed ultrasound to study Luke's cord and possibly do a non- stress test to see how Luke would handle contractions. This meant a chance of delivery on Tuesday or possibly bed rest and observation in the hospital until 37 weeks  Chris and I felt good about the plan and settled in to wait out the weekend.

Sunday: God reminded me through a verse my sister shared that our plans are not God's plans and He was in control. My head knew this was true, my heart was still terrified. Through it all I was so thankful for Chris who did not panic and reminded me time after time that the Lord would see us through. I began to have small contractions and Luke's heart rate would drop even lower-too low.  The nurses would have to reposition me and give me oxygen to help it come back up. Panic. My wonderful nurse Becky, quite possibly an angel, explained to me that the doctor on call was not comfortable with the situation and that if Luke's heart rate dropped in the 60s again, they would deliver him immediately via C-Section. Panic. I had not planned on this! God was in control. Of that I was certain, but I felt so helpless. Isn't it those helpless, vulnerable times when we hear The Lord most clearly? I could not get this phrase out of my head: God is not surprised by ANY of this. That was the promise I was clinging to. Surely He had brought us to this very moment and surrounded us with the people He trusted to take care of us. Not long after Becky shared this news with us, another contraction came and Luke's heart rate again dropped into the 60s. I was immediately rushed to the OR and prayed all the way for a healthy delivery. Thankfully Luke's heart rate did come back up and they did not have to put me under- an answer to prayer.

The delivery:
A quick spinal block and a blur of preparations as we waited for the doctor to arrive seemed to take about 5 minutes. I'm told it was longer, but it sure didn't seem that way. Chris changed into scrubs, quickly updated my mom and sister, and joined me in the OR. What seemed like a second later, Luke was born. Quickly whisked away by a NICU nurse, I was only able to see him from a distance. My first question was "what color hair does he have?" And I was so excited to hear that my 5 pound 1 oz itty bitty had bright blonde hair. 

God's timing: I firmly believe that The Lord used persistent swelling in my legs to get me to L&D where He knew Luke would be monitored. I also believe that he surrounded us with precisely the nurses and doctor that He chose to deliver Luke. After delivering Luke, the doctor told us that the cord was wrapped around Luke's shoulder and leg and that it was a little short, but we're still not sure if this is what caused problems for Luke. What we do know is that Luke was no longer safe inside and God orchestrated things in such a way that our baby boy entered this world a little earlier than planned (33 weeks 5 days), but completely healthy. The next day Chris talked with a guy on the elevator who had expected to have a healthy baby, but unfortunately lost the baby in a cord accident. When Chris shared this with me we were both overcome with emotion and so thankful that our God chose to bring Luke into the world safe and healthy. Not as we had planned, but in His perfect timing.
And oh, by the way, an ultrasound done some time Saturday revealed my swelling was perfectly normal.

Here are some pics of our sweet boy:

Luke in the NICU- off the ventilator and oxygen

Luke with his feeding tube

Luke is finally home!

Next blog post: adventures in the NICU-  God's faithfulness to us!