Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stupid cold sores!

Hi everyone,

Lindsay here. I'm back in Marquette and happy to be here. I really missed Willow when I was gone. I had a good couple days back home though. I went to a 4-hour training session for work on Thursday. It was really important for me to attend it, because the 3-year recertification cycle for my PHR certification is up soon, and I'm really close to getting enough credits to recertify. This training got me 4 credit hours; now I just need 1 more credit by August. Then I went in to work on Friday. That was sort of surreal. Some crazy stuff is going down at work right now too, but I have to make myself remember that none of it is my problem right now. I can't let it stress me out because I have to focus on myself and Willow getting better.
I caught a ride down this morning with a group of 10 friends (in two cars). They were coming down to Marquette to go on a hike to some ice cave. After they get back we're all going out to dinner. As soon as I got here and we had lunch, Josh and I went to see Willow. She's having another good day. They've upped her feedings again to once every three hours. The bad news of the day is that, because I have cold sores right now, I can't hold or touch Willow, even with gloves! So, there'll be no kangarooing for the next few days until they heal up. My mom is coming down tomorrow for a few days, so at least someone can touch Willow, but not me. Those who know me well know that cold sores have been the scourge of my life since I got my first one in high school. This is just one more reason why I hate them. Well, I'll just have to live with it, because obviously I don't want to jeopardize Willow's health in any way.
That's pretty much all the news for today. Adios!

Friday, February 27, 2009

8 Days Old, 28 Weeks Getational Age!

Hello to all. Josh here again for another day of blogging. I actually kind of enjoy it, so Lindsay may have to trade me off and on for the job. Well I got to Kangaroo Willow Hope again last night. Here's a pic (she's under all those blankets somewhere). It is an awsome experience. It really makes me feel like I'm her dad. It's a difficult feeling to bring forward, as everything right now is mostly in the hands of her Drs. and nurses. We laid there together for about 2 hours and she slept almost the entire time. When I talked about her "numbers" going up yesterday, the number I was talking about was her oxygen saturation level. I'm no Dr., but it essentially is how much oxygen is in her blood cells, and they regulate it by giving her supplimental oxygen. Willow was down as low as 21% supplimental o2 a couple days ago (which is the same as room air), but now she's up between 25-28%. Her doctor said this is normal because of her size and prematurity. Anyways while I was Kangarooing her, her o2 saturation level was nice and stable, except when she got a bout of the hiccups, and then it temporaraly dropped until they passed. Let me try to explain what it feels like to kangaroo a premie. It's kinda like putting a small animal (puppy, kitten, hamster, ect.) on your bare chest and every once in a while it squirms around a little bit. Not sure if that helps, but you get the picture. Fortunatly her grip isn't to strong yet and she isn't pulling on my chest hair (ouch!)

I just got done meeting with Willows doctor, I try to go to the NICU when Willow gets rounded on. Willow lost a very small amount of weight from yesterday, 10 grams, but they aren't worried about it. They are also increasing her feeding amounts to 3 ml every 4 hours, up from 2 ml. She was working harder to breath today, which they said accounts for her increase in the amount of o2 they are giving her. They think that if that keeps trending that way they may need to put her back on a breathing machine. However, they said that isn't a step back, it's just what she needs. Willows lungs are so tiny and premature that eventually they will tire out and need a break for a while. Otherwise her Dr. thinks she is doing "remarkably well" and we are hopefull that will continue.

Yesterday after Lindsay left I moved into the Beacon House, which is only 3 blocks from the hospital. It's a donation based longterm living facility that is for families of patients in the hospital. It's essentially a converted 3 story hotel, but they built a very nice kitchen and rec room in the basement. The staff there are all volunteers, and are so nice it makes you want to cry. It's amazing to me how all these things exist (NICU, hospitality rooms, Beacon House) but you never know it until you need it. I encourage everyone that is reading this blog to go volunteer, give blood, donate money/goods, or even just help an old lady accross the street, as it touches so many hearts every time you do. I myself was never one to do much volunteering, but it's such a great thing, and also Obama wants us to, and this President I'll listen to. Hope I'm not being to preachy or anything, it's just a situation like this makes you look at things differently.

Yesterday in the OB department there were twins born that were in two seperate uterus' in the mom. I was talking to the father and apparently it's a 1 in 40,000,000 chance of it hapening. The local news was in the OB Dept. when I showed up and the twins were just accross the isle from Willow in the NICU. They were born at 32 weeks and so far are doing fine. If you check out the Marquette news you may see something about it. Well I guess that about covers it for today. I hope I can get some pictures uploaded. Thanks again for the comments, I looooooove to read them.
Til next time,
Josh
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

1 Week Old Today!!

Hello everyone. This is Josh writing the blog today, so there will probably be some spelling errors as that isn't my strong suit. Lindsay went back up to Houghton today. Her dad came down and picked her up this morning, and she is coming back down on Saturday morning. She had a couple of things that needed to get done for work. It was very hard for her to leave Willow, but I guess she knows that she is in good hands.
Speaking of being in good hands, I got to hold little Willow for the first time last night. I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling it was. She was just sleeping so soundly right there on my chest, and every once in a while she would let out a little squeek of approval. All of her "numbers" improved the minute she hit my chest, which just goes to prove how important Kangaroo Care is to these little ones.
Yesterday not a whole lot happened in the world of Willow. They did increase her feedings to every 6 hours. This is a very good sign as it shows she is excepting her food and this can sometimes be the hardest thing for a premie.
This morning when I went to see Willow all was still good. She has reached the milestone of 2 lbs!!! So we are now gaining weight and hopefully that continues. Also this morning they increased her feeding frequency again and she is going to be feed every 4 hours. They are still only giving her 2 ml at a time, which is about 1/2 tsp., but the fact that it is more often is another good sign. Almost all of her nutrients are still coming from her "baby gatorade", which is a combination of vitamins, minerals and fluids. That goes through her IV pic line and directly into her system. Willow's doctor continues to say how well she is doing, while also telling us of possible complications. I try not to listen to the negitives and just concentrate all my thoughts and energy on the positives, and I ask you all to do the same. Willow is a fighter and we know she is going to pull through all this just fine. Tonight I get to Kangaroo her again, as mom is out of town, and I can't wait. Thanks for all the comments, they are very fun to read. Also thanks for your thoughts and prayers, they surely have made a difference.

Until tomarrow,

Josh

P.S. I tried three times (taking 45 minutes) to upload some pictures to no avail. I know that is the best part of blogs, so I'll contact my webmaster, Lindsay, and try to get some on later tonight.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

5 Days Old

Hi everyone,

I've gotten a lot of crap for not updating the blog-apparently people worry when I don't! I'll try to be better. It's amazing how busy the days can get when we technically have nothing to do. Between all the pumping (they've got me doing that every 3 hours-even at night) and visiting Willow, less time is left than you'd think.

I was discharged yesterday, and Josh and I are staying in a "hospitality room" here in the hospital. It's very convenient, but it's also $30 a night. I think on Thursday, we're going to move over to this place called the Beacon House. It's donation-based and just 2 blocks from the hospital. That's where we'll hopefully end up staying for a long time. I'm going home on Thursday and Friday to get some things done at work and home, and heading back down Friday night or Saturday morning. Then I'll stay here all next week and Josh is heading home to work. Hopefully eventually we'll settle into a routine. I'm working with IT at work to make it so I can access my work computer from here, so hopefully I'll be able to get some work done so I have some leave left when Willow comes home.

Willow is still doing great. She had a blood transfusion today, and they used Grandpa Chuck's blood-they have the same blood type. Thanks Grandpa! She didn't need the transfusion because something is wrong; it's just that they've taken so much of her blood for various tests and things, and her little body can't make it quick enough to keep up. They also took out the arterial line in her belly button. It had shifted inside her and wasn't in the right place anymore. They had to put a line into her foot to replace it. They call it a "pic" (sp?) line. It looks so uncomfortable but they say it doesn't bother her that much. As far as good news, she had another brain ultrasound and it came back normal. They're checking for bleeding in the brain, which is very common with tiny preemies. Also, the "hole in her heart" that she was born with, called a PDA, has closed up.

The best news, though, is that last night, I got to hold Willow! They do this thing they call "Kangaroo Care". They brought a recliner right up next to Willow's incubator and I layed in it. I wore a shirt that opened in the front because Kangaroo Care is about skin-to-skin contact. They took Willow out and laid her on my chest. She was still attached to her breathing tube and all her wires. Then they put some surgical gloves filled with warm water next to her and covered her with a couple blankets to help her keep warm. It was so amazing-Willow loved it so much! As soon as she was on me, she settled right down and fell fast asleep. We laid there for over an hour-I actually fell asleep for part of it myself-and when it was done and they took her off of me, she was just a total wet noodle, completely limp. That's a good thing, because it seems like so much of the time she seems so agitated and her limbs are flailing around and she seems so tense. Apparently there have been studies about Kangaroo Care that show that preemies who do it get better quicker if they're not doing well, and they go home from the NICU sooner. So I guess we'll do it a lot. Next time it's Josh's turn.

Here are a couple little videos: one of my attempts to change her diaper, and one of when they put her on me for the Kangaroo Care.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

3 Days old

Willow is 3 days old today; 27 weeks and 1 day is her gestational age. We sort of have to keep track of those two ages for awhile. My parents, Josh's dad and Janna have all left now and just Josh's mom is hanging out. I'm healing up well from the "huge insult to my body", as one of the doctors called it. I guess they would discharge a normal C-section today, but since my numbers are still stabilizing, they're keeping me in the hospital a little longer. I'm supposed to be discharged either tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday. I pretty much feel like my normal self again, other than the surgery area. I'm able to walk around now, though slowly and not too much. It's a relief to be able to do things for myself again and not be so dependent on everyone else.

But enough about me; I know you're all waiting for an update on Willow. We hung out with her for a good chunk of time this morning. She's still doing great! She's doing so well I hardly dare to be happy about it; they keep telling us there will be bad days, but so far she hasn't had any. When we were there they took off her little sunglasses so we could see her eyes - we didn't expect her to actually open her eyes but that's what she did, which was very exciting. They showed us how she likes to be comforted by having a hand placed over her upper body so her arms don't flail around, and we did that for awhile. She also grabbed on to our fingers with her little hand. We got some video so you can hear her and see how active she is. Go, Willow!



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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Willow Hope Jenson


Hi everyone,

The last few days have been a wild ride, but everyone came out of it OK. After I posted on Wednesday, things started taking a turn for the worse. Wednesday night, "my numbers" started going bad and by blood pressure was spiking. I had real bad heartburn all night too. Thursday morning, one of the doctors, Dr. Cook, came into my room at about 6 and said I was getting too sick and they had to go in in the next couple hours and take the baby out by c-section. That's pretty much the last thing I remember; I guess he came in a little later and said never mind, rather than wait a couple hours they were doing it in 15 minutes. I do remember getting wheeled into the operating room and about 20 people doing things to me. They had to do general anesthesia rather than an epidural; something about my platelets being too low. I guess they did a platelet transfusion during the surgery as well. When I came out of surgery, I was in the ICU from Thursday morning until Friday afternoon. I don't remember a whole lot of the time in the ICU either but it was great to come back to the OB floor again yesterday and regain some sense of normalcy. My blood pressure and everything is stabilizing now and moving back towards the normal range. Last night I finally got to go see the baby; everyone else had already seen her. She was born at 8 AM Thursday, February 19. She weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces and was 12 and 1/4 inches long. This morning we finally decided on a name: Willow Hope. Hope is Janna's (Josh's sister's) middle name and was also his great-grandma's middle name. Willow I've just always loved. I guess it grew on Josh too.

She's actually doing really well, all things considered. She doesn't seem to have anything major wrong with her other than having a lot of growing to do. She does need some help breathing but is already on the "lesser" machine, I guess, called the C-pap. I don't know the ins and outs of all these machines yet, but I'm sure We'll get to know them very well. They're supposed to be discharging me on Monday or Tuesday; Willow will be here for awhile. We'll have to figure out a schedule of one of us being here all the time, or at least most of the time. We're actually allowed to go in and see her in the NICU pretty much as much as we want, and we're allowed to touch her. Eventually we'll be allowed to hold her too. Here are some photos of her.
Thanks again to everyone for all the comments, calls, emails, cards, flowers,etc!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

26 weeks, 4 days

I'm going back to titling the posts with the amount of weeks pregnant I am. I guess it matters more now than ever. It was encouraging today to know that at 26 weeks, 4 days, we can round it up to 27 weeks. :)
Not a lot has changed since the last post, which is a good thing! Some of "my numbers" got better and some got worse. We've gotten interpretations on my condition from 4 different doctors now, and each one seems to have a little different take on things. We're just trying to maintain the status quo. Mornings are the worst part. They cut me off of food and water at midnight;come and draw my blood at like 4 AM, and then I wake up at 6 - 7. But I can't eat or drink anything until the doctor who's working interprets all my numbers and decides I'm not going to be delivering in the near future. This morning the doctor was busy and I had to wait until like 10:00. It sucked. Some of you know how I am with my water bottle-I'm addicted to it.
Jack and Jean went back to Hastings and Josh and my parents are still here. They're good sports. I can't imagine how boring this must be for them.
They had a nurse from the NICU come talk to us. She talked a lot about what to expect if Baby J is born soon. Obviously the longer she stays in there, the better off she'll be, but it did help us prepare if she comes sooner than we'd like. The nurse showed us preemie diapers and a pacifier and a blood pressure cuff. They were all so tiny. When they did an ultrasound on me on Sunday, they thought our little girl was about 1 pound, 15 ounces. Maybe she's up to 2 pounds by now. We hope so.
Well, that's about all I've got for today. I hope all my posts are this boring because no news is good news!

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's a girl!

I'm titling this blog with the good news of this week, although most of you have by now probably heard the not-so-good news that we're not in Florida; we're at Marquette General Hospital. Here's what happened: Thursday night, I noticed that my left ankle was sort of swollen. I didn't think much of it; I looked it up in my pregnancy books, and of course swollen feet and ankles are a very common pregnancy symptom. Still, at work on Friday, the ankle was on my mind all day. I showed it to a few people and sort of joked about my "cankle" - it looked like an old lady's ankle. Then I showed my coworker Grace, who is a nurse. She looked at my ankle and said "how far along are you?" I said "six months", and she was like, "why don't you come down to my office and I'll check your blood pressure?" So I did, and she did, and I don't think it was that bad, but she said maybe I should call my doctor, just in case, especially since I was leaving on vacation the next day. That was Friday morning. I debated about it all day and finally called Dr. Hafeman's office at about 2. I ended up going in, and after Dr. Hafeman checked my blood pressure and my pee, she started to act serious. Apparently I had protein in my pee, and my blood pressure was somewhat elevated. She sent me back over to the hospital for some more tests, and next thing you know, I was admitted, then they told me I had to spend the night. Josh went home and took care of cancelling all of our flight/hotel/campground reservations. Saturday, they did some blood tests, and apparently some numbers had taken a turn for the worse, which prompted an ambulance ride to Marquette. So here I sit.

What I have is called preeclampsia. My body is basically rejecting the pregnancy, and the only cure for it is delivery. This condition is much more common in later pregnancy, and I think a lot of times when women get it at 32, 34, 46 weeks, they just go for delivery. But, obviously Baby Jenson is only 26 weeks, so she would really benefit from a little more time to grow and mature. So I guess it's a sort of balancing act between my health, and keeping the baby in there as long as possible. But I feel quite well, and so for now it's just a waiting game. Basically, I'm on bed rest here at the MGHS OB department. Every day, they check my blood for the platelet level, and they check my pee for the amount of protein and just how much I am peeing. I have to pee in this thing so they can save it all-ew. They also check my blood pressure several times a day, as well as the baby's heartrate. So they look at all these numbers, and basically if the numbers go bad then I have to deliver; if they hold steady, then Baby J gets another day to grow. And the doctors say delivery could be tomorrow or it could be in 6 weeks; it just depends...on all these random numbers that I can't control. So, it's just a waiting game now.

We did decide to find out the sex, and we've got a little girl! Totally the opposite of what we thought, from the peeks we had at that second ultrasound. That was very exciting news. We really had no preference, and it's fun now to call the baby "she" rather than "it"! Also, the fact that she's a girl helps her prognosis, because apparently girls who are born premature do better than boys. In addition to that, they gave me some steroid shots (in the ass-ow!) that help develop her lungs. So hopefully these things will help. No matter what, though, it seems that I'm in Marquette for the duration, because they have a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) here.

Whew, this was a long post- lots of information! And it's taken me forever-I've typed the whole thing with my left hand because my right one is hooked up to an IV. I'll probably be doing updates more often now, since I have nothing else to do! Thanks to everyone who's called, sent flowers, emailed, etc. We really appreciate it. Here's a new photo, of me looking hot in my hospital bed! The notebook in front of me is a list of baby girl names - we have it narrowed down to 12 now. We'll be in touch...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 weeks, 3 days

Hello,

I don't have much news, but it's been 2 weeks since I posted, so I figured I'd at least post a new belly shot. Holy crap, do I look pregnant in this photo! I think I was having an extra-huge day too. Some days I swear I can hardly tell I'm pregnant and other days I am humungous. It's strange.
Not much has been going on. I had a doctors appointment February 3, and it was uneventful as usual. I've gained 16 pounds now. Still 9 pounds to go until I reach my sophomore-in-college maximum weight. Only 2 pairs of my non-maternity pants still fit me now.

The hospital is starting up a childbirth education class, just in time. I was hoping I wouldn't have to go to Portage (our competitor)! They're offering the "trial run" class to employees for free at the end of the month. There are at least 7 pregnant women at the hospital right now! Crazy...the whole time I worked at Jackson Hole, I was in charge of the FMLA leaves, and there were exactly 4 pregnancies the whole time, out of 400-1300 employees. AKH has 440 employees and there are always tons of knocked-up employees. I guess it's just a different population!

Today we had record highs here - I think it reached the upper 40s. But last Monday we had a huge, huge dump. Check out our driveway. It was 18 inches. Alas, there was no enjoying it though, by me or Josh. He's not able to get out in weekday powder too much because he didn't buy a pass to Ripley this year - only Mount Bohemia.

On Saturday we are heading to the Florida Keys for a week! I can't wait. It's sort of our last chance to hang out just the two of us, I guess. We've been together for over 10 years, and living together, just the two of us, for about 5. So the vacation will be the last hurrah of our childless solitude!

We won't be the only ones with adjusting to do...check out this picture of Scout and her toys. Somehow we're going to have to figure out a way to teach her which toys are hers...and which are the baby's...hmm.