Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rollin' Rollin'

Would you believe that my baby--who is almost 4 weeks old with his adjusted age--rolled over this morning? Twice? He was (not so much) enjoying a little tummy time and ended up flat on his back! I'm sure both times were an accident, but still...

Here he is with just the first hint of a true smile:

Play Time



Snoozing Prince

Doin' what babies do best. He loves a yummy tight swaddle.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Big Boys Make Big Changes!

I misunderstood the normal hemoglobin levels last week; as I said, his level was 7, but normal would be around 10.3, not 23. We must have been talking about something else for a second. Anyway, good news #1 is that his hemoglobin is exactly 10.3 so no more anemia! We will continue with the iron for a few months and reevaluate. He seems to be tolerating it well and in fact, the iron drops and the increased formula mixed in his breastmilk (we're doing half and half now) make him just constipated enough that he's losing less nutrients through stool, in my opinion. He's pooping adequately (2-4 times a day), but not as much as he was before (10-12 times a day). That means he can eat less and gain more weight. Which... brings me to good news #2. He put on 8 ounces in the last 7 days and is now a hefty 5 pounds, 13 ounces!! He's almost up to Kinley's birth weight of 5 pounds, 15 ounces. Now it's ok if he slows down his growth a little bit. We need him to gain at least 10 ounces in the next two weeks combined.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Old Haunt

Since we were just downstairs, I couldn't resist taking a quick trip up to the NICU for Crew to say hello to his old friends. The picture above is Crew with Heather, one of his lovely primary nurses. He may look like he's starting to fuss with early afternoon hunger pains, but he's really just overwhelmed with his old girlfriend's hotness. Love you, sweet stuff! Either that, or he recognizes the smell of the NICU and is afraid something has gone terribly awry with his day.

I was reminded how much I wished that I had been discharged from UVRMC and how relatively bummed I was to leave from Primary's without fanfare, confetti, or warm embraces from dear new friends. Then again, all things considered, that's a rather petty complaint. I'm glad we're healthy and we're home.

Speaking of petty complaints...

I ran into Neonatologist #2 this afternoon, and she clearly very firmly believes that Crew is still going to be a vegetable with irreversible cerebral atrophy. It didn't matter what I said about follow-up ultrasounds, clean MRI's, adequate head growth, new official prognoses, etc., she just kept dismissing it all. She even put her arm around my shoulder and forlornly said (a few times) "well, I guess time will tell." The more optimistic I was, the more dismal her facial expressions became, pitying my obvious state of denial. If it wasn't so ridiculous, it would have been very upsetting. Since I know she doesn't read the blog, I'll mention that I was highly amused by the incredulous head shaking and eye rolling done behind her back. It softened my annoyance, so thank you. Said one: "She doesn't believe in miracles." Or anything like unto it apparently.

We'll come back another day to see some that we missed today! We love you guys to death!

Surgery Follow Up

Today I took Crew over to the hospital for a follow-up appointment with his surgeon. This is The Man. If you can get past his gruff exterior, he is a soft and gentle teddy bear with mad surgical skills. If you ever need any kind of pediatric abdominal surgery, Dr. Downey is the guy you want. We count ourselves very blessed to have had him as our surgeon.

The clinic was running really behind this morning, but I had the happy opportunity to catch up for a while in the waiting area with a fellow NICU mom who was also there to see Dr. D. That was a wonderful and unexpected treat.

Now, I'll tell you that I was not prepared at all for the spectacle that Crew creates in public places. To my utter amazement, he was an absolute traffic stopper, even without a twin tag-along. Apparently, if you are ridiculously cute and very tiny, you are still very much a novelty to the world at large. He's almost 6 pounds, for goodness sake! He's not even that small any more!

Seriously, when we were checking in, there was a window to the back where the staff can see the front desk. Five nurses came flooding out the door at once to see this little marvel, inquire about his stats, and (to my horror) paw him. Then when I was visiting with my friend and her family in the hallway waiting area, every time anyone passed by, they would stop, stare, and question. We actually had several people stop and interrupt our conversation and say, "oh my goodness, I hate to interrupt, but I must know how old and how big your sweet baby is!!" I even had a full complement of paramedics stop and quiz me and ask if I had a blog so that they could see what he looked like back when he was 1 and a half pounds!! Well, here ya go, guys. Click here and see him at one month old next to a dollar bill.

Very interesting experience! I truly didn't expect that kind of reaction to my almost normal-sized little critter, but I guess he's only normal-sized to me. And he is dang cute :) But I suppose I'm biased on that one too :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

He's a Little Brother

The good news is that the big kids never take their frustration or naughtiness out on Crew. They treat him like a Prince. In fact, their behavior seems to have a direct correlation with how much time they get to spend actually participating in Crew Care. Ah HA! I'm such a dope.

Kinley thinks it's weird that I used to let her help a lot more with baby Tanner when she was two years old than I do now with Crew. Fine, I can kinda see her point. I've been pretty darn selfish, neurotic, and controlling with the little one since he came home (not that I feel guilty about it. I think it's a natural reaction to what we've been through). Plus, when Kinley gets a turn, Tanner clamors for his own and it's a totally chaotic production that leaves them smiling and me in a cold sweat.

This afternoon I put Tanner down for a nap and Kinley is holding Crew, enjoying a little one-on-one time with him, introducing him to Phineas and Ferb. She's a total natural. I should have remembered what a perfect little parrot she was when Tanner was a baby. When he starts to fuss, she stands up (which I found initially unnerving) and mimics my exact soothing wiggles and shushing sounds, calming him right down. She's cool as a cucumber, unruffled by fussiness. I'm remembering now how much I was looking forward to having Miss Kinley around when the babies came home. Bless her.





Posing

I wish you could see him in real life. I still think this cute face is much cuter in person.

Drying Off

Sneezin' Gazin'
Gnawin'
Lickin'

First Tub Bath

The censored version: See his belly scar?

Surprise!! All wet!! All clean!!

Sharing Diapers

So, I think that instead of changing these silly newborn diapers a thousand times a day, I'm going to just put one of Tanner's diapers on him and let him wear it for a week. Thrifty, aren't we?

Midnight Faces of Crew

So what were you doing all night?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Acting Out

As previously reported, Kinley and Tanner have been amazingly resilient throughout the last 3 and a half months. So, why am I so surprised that they are choosing now to act out?

The last few days have been interesting around here.

Tanner waits until I'm feeding Crew to asks for something. If I say "no", or if I say "wait", he stands just barely out of arms' reach and screams for it at the very tippiest top of his lungs. If I'm feeding or rocking Crew, he won't come to me when I call. If Justin calls to him (for example, to change his nasty diaper), he turns around and walks over to me with a sassy little smile. Last night when he did it, I spanked him first and sent him to Daddy for another. As far as other attitude issues, since we have generally only used/needed time outs for tantrums until he calms down, Tanner is famous for being in time out for 30 seconds and coming out of the bathroom calm and collected. He was in time out for 45 minutes a few nights ago. Over feeding himself. And he don't cry pretty, I can tell you that.

Kinley isn't being perfectly angelic either. As Tanner is getting into more frequent trouble, Kinley is quite obviously relishing the moments. When I took Tanner upstairs yesterday to confess to Daddy that he colored on the fridge with a crayon, I commanded her to stay in her chair and finish eating her breakfast, but she snuck up the stairs to listen at the door and hear the fallout because she just couldn't help herself. She just had to know exactly how much trouble he was in. She was positively giddy.

Back to coloring with crayons; I have always prided myself and my children on the fact that they really aren't very destructive kids. We've had to get crayon off the wall only once, and that was when Tanner was maybe 18 months. Apparently, 3 and 6 are good ages to take it up the habit. I heard the sing-song voice "Mooooommy! Tanner is coloring on the waaaaaaall!" (insert smug little kindergarten face here). I put Crew's bottle down, raced to Tanner and totally lost it. In the middle of my tirade over the gigantic circle he had just created on the stairway wall, I looked over to the left and down a little and noticed the small pink stick figure. Hmmm... Only one person in this house draws stick figures and it isn't Tanner! What is going on here?!!

And that fridge incident? That came after the wall incident. I was surprised by it anyway, but I was shocked that he did it right in front of me. Like he didn't even care that I was in the kitchen making lunch, in full view of his destruction. And I won't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure that I saw a hint of a smile when I lit into him for that one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Big Fat Babies

My baby is monstrous now. 5 pounds, 5.5 ounces. Yay!! It's so funny because he is tiny, as Justin continues to remind me, but I think he looks so BIG lately! Relativity is everything, eh?

Anemia
His hemoglobin is very low, somewhat worrisome. Normal level would be about 23; Crew's level is currently 7. The doctor has increased his iron and we'll reevaluate next week because he isn't currently exhibiting any outward, clinical symptoms of being so low. If it's still low in a week, we'll run a CBC panel to test for brewing infections. Crew is famous for having desperately low hemoglobin and perfectly clean panels. Theoretically the iron increase should take care of it, provided there is no infection. We used to bump him up with endless blood transfusions in the hospital when he got this low. That's a fairly extreme option if this doesn't work, but the doctor really thinks this will work. I'll probably call the hospital later to see what his levels were when he was discharged.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Baby Genes

Am I crazy or does this baby picture of Tanner look a lot like a beefy version of Crew?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Being Home

I think he's transitioned well into our home. The first few days he wanted to be held every minute, awake or asleep, but I think he realizes now that this is his permanent home and that I will always be here for him. He slept half the night in his bed last night and during the day he takes naps on my chest, in his bed, in his car seat, in his bouncer, and in his swing.

Last night I was happy that for his midnight feeding he was only up for a half hour total instead of the usual 90+ minutes. I wasn't so lucky at 4, but ended up convincing him to snuggle me on the floor and let me fall asleep. We still drag the couch cushions upstairs so that I can sleep closer to him (and sometimes with him). I accidentally refered to "Justin's room" the other day when meaning the master bedroom. Oy vei. Oh, and Crew is in the office. It's now "Crew's Room" but he shares it with the computer. And me.

We have him moved over to the Playtex bottles and somewhat transitioned to the Mam binkies. He still prefers the big green monster binkies, but he'll take both in a pinch. He's much easier to feed now and will generally take a bottle immediately, no more desperate, frantic fighting about it. He's eating every 2.5 - 4 hours.

The first few days home were more difficult for him. It was probably a combination of the developing thrush, new sights, new smells, and new (very) loud sibling sounds. In the last few days he has reverted to his sweet, mellow, gentle Crewton self.

I just love having him around. I love being around too! It's so nice to not have to call some stranger to find out how my baby's night was or send Tanner and Kinley off to a neighbor so that I can drive an hour to see him and maybe hold him. I didn't even shower yesterday. Today I showered, but I put on clean pajamas and didn't do my hair. The simple joys...

The other day I came downstairs, groggy after a nap, and Tanner asked his old familiar question "where is Crew?" My automatic response started "he's at the hos... oh my goodness! He's right upstairs taking a nap in his bed." He loves to have his Daddy hold him and even though he is very small right now, he's tough and wiry doesn't feel like a floppy, helpless little newborn.

I'm excited for this next phase of the adventure. It's still going to take a while to figure out the new dynamic, but I strongly prefer what we've got going on now to what we've been doing. I've been able to spend some serious quality time with Kinley and Tanner in the last few days, which has been fulfilling for all of us. Ahem, I've started doing Kinley's homework with her again, and I'm ashamed to admit to what an improvement that is. I feel like I have to shake out 6+ months worth of cobwebs out of our lives and routine, but it seems at least possible now!

Well, all three kids were taking a nap (hip! hip! hurray!) but that miracle has come to a close, so I'd better get moving.

Tiny Guy

Great things come in teeny tiny packages.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Typical Crew

These are typical faces we see throughout the day.

Being Big Sister

Kinley has always been the very best big sister that I could possibly imagine. Some of that we've worked to cultivate, but most of it is simply her sweet, generous, nurturing little spirit. Here she is lovin' on her new baby brother.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Being Big Brother

Big Night at the Bradshaws. We waited several days until all vestiges of germiness seemed to have disappeared from our children. Then we put them in the bath for a good soak, scrubbed them down from head to foot, slathered them in sanitizer, covered them with a blanket-shield, and voila! They got to hold their brother for the first time! I was absolutely amazed at how long Tanner wanted to hold Crew. He was mesmerized by the entire experience. I love his happy face in these pictures! Big yawns

Crewton

Awww... who can be mad at that face?Eating his blanket. Mmmm.... fleece... yummy!

Tummy Time

video

Why We Don't Leave Our House

Simply put, people are idiots.

We went to our mandatory eye follow-up exam for Crew this morning to evaluate the progress of his ROP. While in the waiting room, waiting for his dilation drops to take full effect, a mom and her baby sat down near us. Not super near, but about 8 feet away. She had an 8 month old baby with her that was sucking on a binky.

We struck up a conversation about children, binkies, etc and eventually got to a part of the conversation that went a little something like this:

Megan: We're big binky people, but my kids usually give it up spontaneously around 7 months or so.

Idiot: My son might give it up soon. He hasn't even been taking it very much lately. He hasn't been able to breathe because he's been so sick.

Megan: Oh... he's been sick?

Idiot: Yes, he has RSV.

Megan: HE HAS RSV???

Idiot: Yeah. He was officially diagnosed over the weekend. We wouldn't have brought him out today except that the eye doctor had an opening and I didn't want to pass it up.

Megan: So... is he on the tail end of it?

Idiot: Mmmm... no. Actually, he's right in the thick of it. He's still on breathing treatments when it gets really bad.

Megan: Silence.

Idiot: Oh, look. He's slobbering all over that (wooden community) toy. Oh well, I don't mind today. It's not like he's going to get any sicker from whatever germs are on that toy, ha ha ha!

Megan: Further silence.

They called me back about 20 seconds later, before I could open my mouth and shout at the top of my lungs "do you realize that my baby will very possibly die if he gets RSV??" Kinda wish I could have mentally regrouped fast enough to have done it.

I'm just glad she was idiot enough to tell me. I totally tattled on the RSV family and the eye doctor was super mad that they had come.

Now, this information put me in a hard spot for the exam. I knew that their tech had dilated the germy boy as well. I couldn't let her touch Crew now, so I held him down during the procedure. I've never seen the exam before (intentionally, since I heard it was horrendous to witness). I saw every bit of it this time. And I'm sure I will see it again tonight in my nightmares. And tomorrow night, and the next, and the next... I won't describe it for you, but suffice it to say that it was worse than I had even imagined.

Now that I'm done ranting, I can report the Good News: Crew's ROP is retreating!! He is almost almost to zone 3 (full vascularization) and he is now back at stage 1 ROP. Hopefully only one more medieval tortuous exam in two weeks and we'll be fully in the clear, with ROP a distant (and haunting) memory.

Dreaming of a Cold, Sweaty Coke

I definitely need more caffeine in my life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Many Faces of Crew

Yep, he cries.Someone's been chillin' in my bed.
Proof! 4 pounds, 15 ounces! Give or take a sock or two...Tummy time...It's a family affair...