Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not much change today


Hey all,

This is the first day since Willow was born that she's all alone in the NICU. Of course she has great nurses that take care of her every need, but it kinda sucks that she doesn't have any family there to give her lovin'.

Willow gained 10 grams today. She's now 5 lbs. 1 oz., so were still gaining weight. She didn't take a whole lot of her nippleing this morning, but she took 24 mls. last night. It seems to be very hit and miss. Willow's nurses keep telling us that one day they she'll just "get it" and take off. This is a typical pattern for a premie. She's not doing anything that they wouldn't expect. Willow got moved into a new area in the NICU on Tuesday. She's now in her own little room and even closer to the door.



If you look at these two pictures right after each other

it looks like Willow has some kung fu moves.

I started back at work today. Luckily I was doing work that wasn't overly exerting, so I'm not too sore right now. I've gotten a bit out of shape in my time of unemployement, luckily I'm only working two days this week. That will be a nice way to ease back into it. It did feel very good though to be back to work. It's nice to go out and get something done. However, I did find myself thinking about Willow very often.


This is a picture of Willow and I's new favorite cuddle position. She loves to lay like this with her arms under her head.

Lindsay is heading down to Marquette tomorrow, and I'll be going down on Saturday. I miss Willow so much already and I'm not looking forward to next week when I won't get to see her all week, I guess I now know how Lindsay feels. We're opening some gifts right now that came in the mail today. So much fun and cute stuff for little Willow.

Later,

Josh

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

5 Lbs!!!

Hey all,

I've only got time for a very quick post tonight. I wanted everyone to know Willow is still doing great. She hit the 5 lb mark today, so that's very exciting. She nipple feed twice today and took 10 mls. for me this morning and 22 mls. for her nurse tonight.

We are both up in Houghton for the next couple days. I'm starting work again tomorrow. Judy was going to go down to Marquette, but they have visitation restrictions because of the swine flu, and only parents can go into the NICU right now. Lindsay will be heading down on Friday, and I'll head back down on Saturday.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

See ya,

Josh

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grandma is a natural!


Hi to all,

Well we had another great day here in Marquette. It seems as though I could insert that first sentence into any of the blogs in the last month or so. Willow just continues to do awesome. Today she was up to 4 lbs. 14.4 oz. She put on 40 grams yesterday. It was such an impressive gain that I saw on her chart that they weighed her twice to make sure it was correct.

This morning we all went over and my grandma and I went in first. Great Grandma Lois got to hold Willow during her morning feeding, and kept on holding her for quite a while afterward. Willow was very happy the whole time, and I’m certain so was Great Grandma J. My mom did Willow’s bath before her 12:30 feeding and she had no problems with it. She said she hadn’t bathed a baby since myself, but you wouldn’t have ever known it. Willow did very well and didn’t have any crying fits or anything. We did the bath in an area so Jill could watch. Jill is still being a good sport about not being able to hold little Willow, but we’re trying to get her some good views of Willow through the windows. Jill actually had some visitors in the waiting room today. First one of the OB nurses came by asking about a pattern for one of Willow’s hats, then Ellen’s mom came out and thanked her for the hat she knit for Ellen. She was wondering who was going to come around the corner next asking “are you auntie Jill?”

During the afternoon shift change we all went down to a casino about 20 miles away. I’m not big into casinos, mostly because I usually lose, but Jill said she’d spot me $20 and I only had to pay it back if I won. Well as it turned out I was the only one of us that did win, taking home an extra $15. I usually have terrible luck, so it was nice to win. Even though the others lost a little I think we all had a good time, just don’t bring it up to Jill.

Tonight my mom and I went back to the NICU and gave Willow a bottle feeding. My mom did the feeding and did very well. Willow was very reluctant, but my mom was persistent and got her to take 18 mls. I would have given up earlier than my mom did, so I was glad she was the one that did the feeding. Willow’s levels all were very good during the feeding, which is why her nurse let us continue even though she wasn’t totally into it. We’ve got to get her eating from that bottle so we can get on home. Today Dr. Frei discontinued the caffeine that Willow was still on. She’s been on this since almost the very beginning as it helps prevent apnea spells by trigging something in her brain. We’re very happy to have her off of this, and now Willow is drug free. The only extra things she’s getting now with her feedings are vitamins and supplements.



Willow’s guest are going to be leaving tomorrow. Both Willow and I will be sad to see them go. We’ve been having so much fun visiting and going out for fantastic meals. The restaurants here in Marquette are really good, at least all that we went to in the last couple of days. One nice thing about everyone leaving is knowing that the next time they see Willow it will be in her own house and not in the NICU. Keep all your positive energy coming this way and mabye it will help get Willow outa’ here even sooner.

Goodnight,

Josh



video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun day in the NICU!



Hey everybody,

We had a good day today in the NICU. Willow continues to grow. She gained another ounce and is at 4 lbs. 13 oz. today. She was a sleepy head again today and didn't do very well when Lindsay tried to breast feed her. Later my mom tried to bottle feed her and once again she feel asleep to quickly and didn't take hardly anything. We've decided to have Willow's nurses feed her whenever she is most awake. Up to now we've been wanting them to hold the feedings for us so we could do them, but this doesn't always work out if she isn't awake. We figure that if her nurses feed her when she's most awake then they will have better success and we can continue to move forward. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to feed Willow in the coming days, weeks, months and years. We can't get to hung up on us doing it right now.

We all went out for a very nice breakfast this morning. We got thoroughly stuffed and went over to the NICU. That's when Lindsay tried to breast feed and such. After that we did have an opportunity for Jill to see Willow through the window. As you can see from the pictures she was very happy. She said that it was almost as good as being able to hold and see her up close. We'll do it again tomorrow, as it's looking like the NICU is holding firm on there no guests other than parents and grandparents. Jill wishes they could bend the rules, but also understands there position.

Later in the afternoon we opened some gifts that came up with the crew. There were alot of very fun items and thank you to everyone that sent gifts (you'll get a personalized thank you in the mail soon :) Mom took some good pics of the gift opening. Jill got us a children's book title "Willow". How cool is that. It's about a little free spirited girl named Willow, sounds familier. Grandma Lois got us a baby carrier that we modeled with a pillow. I don't think Willow is going to fill it out quite that much, at least not at first. Tomorrow will be another fun day of visiting Willow and hopefully she'll have better luck with the bottle. Lots of great pics today, enjoy!

Take care,

Josh










Grandma and Great Grandma

Hi everyone, Willow had a busy day yesterday. Josh was still feeling like he might be getting sick (he feels that way a lot, in case you haven't noticed, and usually nothing comes of it, but it's better to be safe than sorry), so he didn't go into the NICU. I went to visit Willow in the morning, and then Josh and I got a lot of stuff done back at the Beacon House-buying stuff online, thank you notes, bills, etc. All that stuff I don't seem to have time to do during the week. Josh's Grandma Lois, Mom, and Aunt Jill (the maker of the hats!) called and said they would get here at about 6:30.

look at that smile!











I headed over to the NICU again for Willow's 6:30 feeding in hopes that she'd be alert enough to nurse. I was not disappointed. She was wide awake when I got there, and stayed awake for about an hour! I think that might be a record for her-at least when we've been around. And she did a great job too. I was very proud of her. After about a half hour of on-and-off nursing (she takes a lot of breaks!), we stopped and her nurse hooked up her tube feeding. So far, for the breastfeeding, they've just assumed she didn't get much milk and given her her whole tube feeding afterwards. This time I was sort of wondering, because she seemed to have actually gotten some milk. I mentioned it to the nurse, but she didn't seem concerned. Well, right towards the end of the tube feeding, she spit up! That's not common for Willow, so I think she was definitely over-full. I was sort of glad because it meant she did actually get something while breastfeeding (although I feld bad for her discomfort). The nurse said that from now on, they'll weigh her on a really precise scale before she nurses, and then again after so they know how much she got and then they can reduce her tube feeding accordingly. Josh's mom Jean showed up during the tube feeding, and it was time for me to pump, so I left the NICU and then Josh's Grandma Lois went in. It was very sweet to see her with Willow and I think she was beside herself with excitement. We got some cute pictures, but they're on Jean's camera and we haven't uploaded them yet, so we'll put them on later. But I did get some other photos and a video of Willow talking. It's sort of long though. Right at the end, about a second after the video ended, she filled her diaper. You can tell by the face she makes in the last second of the video - haha!
video

Friday, April 24, 2009

36 weeks gestation

Hi everyone,

Lindsay here. It was a crazy busy week at work and now I'm back in Marquette. Now that we've decided that next week will be my last full week of work, I'm starting to panic a little about all the things I haven't finished. I guess I have some workaholic tendencies, because you'd think work wouldn't be that high on my list of things to worry about right now, but for some reason it is. But, I did get a lot done this week and I'm making detailed instructions for the people that will be helping fill in for me. Thanks, Tammy and Dee! Josh is starting work again on Thursday, and then the week after next, I'll be down here in Marquette most of the week and every week after that. I think I'm going to try for 2-day workweeks and be here the rest of the time. My Mom will help out by staying with Willow some of those 2-day stretches where neither Josh nor me are here. I just hope Willow gets out sooner rather than later, because if she's in the NICU 6 or 8 more weeks, I'm going to burn up most of my leave if I'm working only 2-day weeks. I just wish we somehow knew Willow's exact discharge date in advance so we could plan better, but obviously that's not possible. It's frustrating trying to plan all this back-and-forth.

Willow was a pooped kid today. Josh went to see her this morning and tried to give her a bottle for her 9:30 feeding, but she wouldn't wake up enough, and when he tried too hard she had a brady. D'oh. Then when I got here, we went over again for her 6:30 feeding. I tried to breastfeed her but she was still totally zonked out and we couldn't rouse her. Oh well. I guess the key is to catch her in one of her few alert periods during the day! But she's doing great anyway. Yesterday she was 4 pounds 9 ounces, and today she's 4 pounds 10 ounces. It seems like she's pretty much gained an ounce a day most days this week! I washed and brought down all of the "preemie" clothes people have given us. I don't think Willow will need to be wearing any more hospital-issue clothes. She's got a large wardrobe already!

We went out for Thai tonight. Ughhh...I'm so stuffed right now. It takes a lot of food these days to make me stuffed. Appetizer, huge meal, dessert. It was delicious though.

Sorry, we don't have any photos today. We'll post some tomorrow though.

Have a great Friday night!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

9 Weeks Old


Hello,

We had another great day here in MQT. This morning Willow took 22 mls. from her bottle, which is the most she's ever taking for me. She was very alert the whole time and didn't have any problems. This evening we tried again and didn't have very good results. She was very tired right from the beginning and didn't even want to try to suck. We only tried for a couple of minutes, and I could see she was just to tired, so I snuggled her up and they put the feeding through the pump, no big deal.

One of the reasons she was so tired this evening is I gave her a bath this afternoon, and that really wears her out. She did much better for me this time. She barely cried and fussed at all. I also was much better at giving the bath. In fact I feel like I'm getting better at most of the things I can do for Willow. I guess it makes sense, practice makes perfect. I also now realize that she isn't this fragile little girl and I can move her around and she's not going to break. That was a fear I had for a while, and I'm just now getting over it.

My mom, my grandma Jenson and my aunt Jill are all coming on Saturday for a couple of days. It'll be nice to have them up here. My grandma and Jill havn't seen Willow yet. The NICU allows great grandmas to go in, but unfortunately Jill won't be able to. We can, however, take Willow to a window and Jill can look in at her. That is something we couldn't do yet when Janna was here.

I got a couple good pics with Willow and I. They actually were taking on Ellen's dad Nate's camera, and he and Ellen are in one of the pics. Ellen continues to do well, and we've speculated that when we're all gone her and Willow lie there talking to each other, only they do it by setting off alarms on there monitors.

Later,

Josh

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Willow is boring, and I love it!!



Howdy,

Well we had another uneventful(awsome) day here in Marquette. If Willow can keep having days like this we'll be home in a couple of weeks. Today she gained an ounce, so she's now 4lbs 8.6oz. She did better for me with the bottle today. She drank 15 mls. of her 37 ml. feeding. Not quite up to the whole thing yet, but she was nice and alert and didn't have any heart rate drops or anything like that. That is the one thing they really look for when you start on the bottle. Often when babies first are starting out they will have "episodes" and that will hold back the feedings, but Willow has been doing great. I'm hoping that they will let us try to go to the bottle twice tomorrow. Lets get this show on the road.

I signed up Lindsay and I for an infant training class that will take place in early May. We both have no idea how to take care of a baby, and I feel like the on the job training we've gotten in the last couple of months only made me more aware of how little I know. Lindsay has atleast baby sat newborns before, but as I've iterated in the blog, I am clueless. I know that we'd get by ok even without the class, but it won't hurt.

It sounds like I'm going back to work sometime next week, so we're in the process of figuring out a schedule for the rest of Willow's stay down here. It should work out pretty good, as Willow is getting to the point where she can be breast feeding more often, and Lindsay will need to be down here. There may be a couple of days where niether of us can be down here, but Willow is in great hands with her nurses, and Judy has offered to come down as well. I was able to get the camcorder working, so I put up a pic and a video. Neither are all that great, but oh well.

Take care,

Josh
video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Feeding away!

Hey everyone,

Josh here, back in Marquette and hanging with my little girl. We got a pretty good winter storm it sounds like yesterday, but fortunatly the roads were fine today for the drive back in. We now have a few inches of snow on the ground again. What a bummer, it's not good for anything this time of year. Oh well, I think it's suppose to warm up later this week and it will all melt away.

Willow continues to do very well. She's up to 4 lbs 7.6 oz. and gaining weight every day. Yesterday Judy gave Willow her feeding from the bottle and Willow suprised everyone and drank the whole thing. Everyone was very impressed with how much she took. I was hopeing for a repeat performance when I got in tonight, but she only drank 7 mls. of the 36 mls. they are giving her. I guess it is quite common in the beginning to take different amounts. Hopefully tomorrow I can get her to take more of the bottle.

Otherwise not much has really changed with Willow. She amazes me every day and is really quite a trooper. We are so looking forward to the day we'll all be at home together. Sorry no pics today, I havn't figured out if I have everything I need to get the camcorder pics on the computer. Maybe tomorrow I'll have it straightened out.

See ya,

Josh

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hangin' with Grandma

Hi everyone,

I don't have time to write much if a post today, but I just wanted to do a quick one...I know some people worry if we skip a day. Sunday, Grandma and Grandpa S. came down to visit, and then I went home with my Dad Sunday night. Grandma is staying with Willow Monday and Josh will be back from MN on Tuesday. Pretty much the same routine as last week, except for the MN part. Willow continues to do awesome; she gained another ounce Sunday and was up to 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Here are some photos. The first one is me and Willow kangarooing on Saturday night; there's one of her first time wearng socks (still a little big on her) and the blurry one I posted despite the blurriness because it's the closest thing to a smile we've captured in a photo. She smiles (or seems to) pretty often but they're so fleeting it's hard to capture them!

I accidentally brought the camera home with me to Houghton, so there may be a lack of photos the next few days. Maybe not though, because Josh has our camcorder down there. We got it for Christmas and haven't figured out how to use it yet, but now he might be forced to. It has the ability to take still photos too.








Saturday, April 18, 2009

Uneventful Day

Hi everyone,

It was a pretty quiet day down here, which is just fine with me. This morning Josh and I went over to the NICU for Willow's 9:30 feeding, and I nursed her again. She didn't do quite as well this time but still pretty good. She'd suck a few times then sort of nod off, then wake up, suck suck, nod off. All that sucking is enough to tire a baby out! After that, Josh had to take off to head down to Hastings for Uncle Tom's funeral, which is tomorrow. I went and got a haircut (no, I didn't get a "Mom 'do" as Josh was worried about) and then went back to see Willow again. We just hung out and snuggled for a couple hours, I read her a couple stories, she had a good poop, I changed her, and that's about all the news for today. Oh, Willow is 4 pounds, 5 ounces now. Yesterday she was 4 pounds 4 ounces.


One thing I love about the "big girl bed" and how stable Willow is, is we're much freer to interact with her on our terms. When she was in the isolette, we'd always have to assk the nurse if it was OK to take her out, was she stable enough to be held again, then they'd have to take her out, get her situated, get you situated, and hand her to you. Then later they'd come over and be like, "it's time to change her diaper; do you want to do it?". Now, we can go in, take her out ourselves, hold her as long as we want, and if she needs a diaper change, we just do it, no need to ask. Of course we still have to tell the nurses we did it because they do keep track of how many times she poops and pees, but that's OK. It's all good practice for bringing her home, where there won't be any nurses to guide us. I just can't wait for that day. The thought of being completely responsible for Willow's care freaks me out a little, but I know it's going to be OK.

Before all this happened, I was very pleased with myself for (unintentionally) timing my pregnancy so that my 3 months of maternity leave would be during the months of June, July and August. I had visions of having the whole summer off of work and going on long walks with the baby every day with my friend Ruth, who has the summer off because she's a teacher. Well, my leave will still be in the summer but unfortunately it won't be 3 months. I've used a little less than a month so far, and depending on how much longer Willow is hospitalized, I'll use some more during the next few weeks as she learns how to nurse. I hope to have more than a month left by the time she comes home. We'll see. The 12 weeks of maternity leave the government guarantees full time workers is a fine amount if your baby is full term, but it's not really enough if your baby is 3 months early!


Anyway, I'm just rambling now, so I'll leave off here. Tomorrow Grandma and Grandpa S. are coming down again and I'm heading back to Houghton. Good night!

Friday, April 17, 2009

35 weeks gestation



Hi everyone,

Lindsay here. Once again it's great to be back in Marquette with Willow and Josh. The last two weeks, I've been able to get in enough hours at work Monday through Thursday that I was able to leave work before noon on Friday. I got down here at about 2:30 today and by the time I got unpacked and pumped,it was shift change in the NICU so we couldn't go over there yet. It was beautiful out so we went for a walk, and headed over to the NICU after that. Josh had told the nurses to save Willow's 6:30 feeding for me, so we decided to give the breastfeeding a try. We weren't expecting very much; all the books and stuff we read said not to the first few times. We figured she'd just hang out down there awhile and get used to the idea and not much else. But as soon as she got there she latched right on and went to town! We really couldn't believe it; I actually said, "Oh my God, she's doing it!!" We were so happy. I won't go in to any more detail than that for the squeamish among you, but lets just say Willow did awesome, way better than expected. She did still have to get a tube feeding after she was done because she obviously didn't get her whole feeding of 36 mLs by mouth. She fell asleep after awhile. I really can't describe how happy I am that we are able to do this; it was one of the happiest moments of my life, I think. If Willow keeps up the good work, she'll be home in no time.


Willow's nurses have been different lately; now that she's more stable she's had LPNs taking care of her more. The RNs are more likely to be taking care of the sicker babies. So that's good news. Willow's become what they call in NICU jargon a "Feeder and Grower". She has no pressing medical issues and just needs to grow bigger and get better at feeding. It just takes time. Lots of people always say to me, "how big does she have to be to come home?" The answer to that is, there's no set weight she has to reach to be discharged; it's more about her skills. She has to able to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing and to get all of her milk by mouth. It seems the feeding thing is often the biggest hurdle for preemies. Lots of times they just don't catch on very quickly, or they tire out before they get enough milk. How Willow does at this in the weeks to come will determine how quickly we get to bring her home.

Oh, one other piece of good news: Willow had a hearing test yesterday and passed. We're thankful for that.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2 Months Old!!!



Hello,

It's hard to believe, but Willow is already 2 months old today. What a crazy, emotional ride its been. I'm just so happy with how Willow has been doing lately that I've blocked out the bad days we had in the past.

Willow gained an ounce from yesterday, so she's now at 4 lbs. 3 oz. It's great news that she's started gaining weight again. It must mean that her body has adjusted and is able to maintain temperature and grow at the same time.

This morning I got to give Willow her bottle. She did good with it again. I told her that she had to drink more than she did yesterday. She listened to me and took 9 mls. as opposed to the 8 mls. she took yesterday. Not a big increase, but at least we are moving in the right direction. Tomorrow I'll tell her that she needs to increase by atleast 2 mls. and we'll see what she does. It sounds like for now they are just going to bottle feed once per day until she starts doing a little better.

I also got to give Willow her bath today. I guess the novalty of water has warn off, because she was not a happy camper today during the bath. Lets just say the NICU became alot louder for about 5 minutes.
After we got done and dried off she calmed right down and was wide awake for a good 20 minutes. I got a couple good pictures of those big blue eyes.
In the picture she doesn't have any tubes on her face what so ever. They took out her feeding tube before the bath and put a new one in after it. Very cute.

On a sad note my great uncle Tom lost his battle with cancer early this morning. He was a great man and will be sadly missed by his family and friends. I have very fond memories of riding along in the golf cart with my grandfather and him when I was a little boy. I'll be heading down to the Twin Cities in a couple days to attend the funeral. Our thoughts are with everyone who loved him. And as always thanks for your thoughts and prayers for our little girl, Willow.

Take care,

Josh

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In a crib and started nippleing


Hello all,

As I was hoping, Willow was able to move to an open crib last night. She was maintaining her temperature just fine in the isolette, so they put her in the crib after I held her. As you can see from the pictures it's not really a crib, but more of a bassinet. It's nice because now we can go in and much more easily pick her up and hold her. Today they also moved her spot in the NICU. We've been in the same spot for the last 7 weeks. The new spot is farther away from the nurses station, and closer to the door. I think that is probably a very good sign. The new spot also buts up to a wall, so it'll be easier to block off with portable shades when Lindsay starts breast feeding down here.

Willow also had her first attempt at a bottle today. She actually did very well, and this is coming from her nurse, not just her proud pappa. She only took 8 mls. of her 36 ml. feeding before she tired out. The look on her eyes was priceless when she got that first mouthful of milk. Willow's nurse Jennifer fed her today, because she wanted to make sure Willow was going to do the whole suck, swallow, breath thing.
Jennifer also showed me what I needed to do, as starting tomorrow they are going to let me do it. For now they are only trying the bottle one time per day, and they will gradually increase the frequency as she gets better at it.

Willow gained 14 grams from yesterday, so she's holding at 4 lbs. 2 oz. I was told that the first couple of days she's in the crib she may not gain much weight. Her body is working extra hard right now trying to regulate her temperature, and that is going to burn extra calories. She's also going to burn more calories with eating from the bottle, as she has to do all the sucking and swallowing herself. However, usually within a few days these will level off and she'll start gaining weight again.

Tomorrow I get to give Willow a bath again. Should be a good time. Hope you all got your taxes done, and the gov. is sending you a big refund.

See ya ,

Josh
video

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strong little girl


Hey everyone,

Josh here. It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm back in Marquette. I had a very productive day at home yesterday. I was busy cleaning and organizing. I got Willow's room pretty much ready to go. We've got the crib and every thing all set up. All we need is a crib mattress and a glider/rocker and we'll be all set.

It's great to be back down here. Thanks again to Judy for staying down for a couple of days. I don't think she minds too much, and it's such a help to us. We know that we could leave Willow for a couple days and she'd be in good hands with the nurses, but it feels so much better having someone down here to give us updates and spend some good time with Willow.
Willow is doing great again today. She's up to 4 lbs. 2 oz. She looked great when I went to see her a little bit ago. She was dressed in a Minnie Mouse t-shirt and pants. They are now going to keep clothes on her all the time as she is getting prepared to be moved to an open crib. Today the nurses started bringing the temp down in the isolette, which in turn requires Willow's body to regulate it's own temperature. They will keep weaning down the temp, and hopefully by tonight they will be able to move her into an open crib. The criteria for the crib are: no breathing assistance, at least 4 lbs., and able to maintain their own temp. She passes all those, so it's time to give it a shot.

Speaking of no breathing assistance, she still hasn't had any indication that she is going to need to go back on the cannula. Willow's nurse said that usually if they don't need it with in 24 hours, that the baby most likely won't need it ever again. Yeah!!! If Willow handles the open crib good tonight, then tomorrow they may try to feed her with a bottle for the first time. I hope she takes right to it and we can get out of the NICU ahead of schedule. I just knocked on some more wood. I try not to let myself get overly opptimistic, but at the same time I'm a very possitive person, so it's difficult.

I've got alot of pictures from the last few days, so I hope you all don't mind their being a few more than usual. Hope everyones having a great day, and I'll check back in tomorrow.

Later,

Josh
video

Monday, April 13, 2009

4 lbs and NO Cannula !!

Hey everyone,

Sorry their wasn't a post last night. Lindsay got back to Houghton kinda late, and their wasn't any time. Good stuff happened yesterday in MQT. When Lindsay went to see Willow in the AM the nurse asked her what she noticed different about Willow. Lindsay said "oh look her feeding tube is now going in through her nose." Somehow Lindsay didn't realize that the only way they could put the feeding tube in this way is by taking off Willow's cannula. Lindsay did eventually realize this, and was thrilled. So now Willow is breathing all on her own, with NO assitance at all. What a strong little girl. Early in Willow's stay in the NICU she was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease, which isn't really a disease, but more of a byproduct of all the breathing assistance that she has recieved. Anyways, this is something they said she would eventually grow out of, but many babies with this condition end up going home with a cannula still on. We are so extatic that she is already able to ditch the cannula and she's not even at 35 weeks gestation yet.

I mentioned how the feeding tube is going through her nose now. This is to make it easier for her to nurse when she starts nippleing. We havn't made another attempt yet at nursing, but perhaps this week they will try Willow on a bottle and see what happens. It's going to be a long process, but the goal is to get up to full bottle feedings asap, because she can't come home until that happens. Willow hit 4 lbs. yesterday. Hopefully she'll just continue to pack on the ounces and get bigger and bigger.

Lindsay got to give Willow a bath yesterday before she left. They did the whole thing in the tub this time. No more sponge bath in the isolette for Willow. I guess Willow wasn't entirely happy about the experience, but they still had a good time and the end result was a happy mom and a nice clean baby.

Judy is still down in MQT until tomorrow, then I'll be heading back down. I did end up going skiing yesterday. It was a lot of fun. It warmed up just enough in the afternoon to soften up the snow and make for great spring time conditions. I went with my friend Cameron, and we were 2 of only about a dozen people on the whole mountain. I guess everyone else was done with skiing for the year. They didn't have much of the hill open, as their was ground showing in many areas, but it's a big enough area that we were able to have a great time all afternoon.

Sorry their won't be any pictures until I get back down to Marquette. We left the camera with Judy so she could keep snapping pictures of her cute little grand daughter. I'll put some up once I get back down there. I hope everyone had a great Easter, and lets hope this nice weather continues.

See ya,

Josh

Saturday, April 11, 2009

7 weeks, 2 days old; 34 weeks, 1 day gestation

Hi everyone,

Lindsay here. I haven't blogged in a while; I'm not sure I'll be able to live up to Josh's high standard. Everyone seems to love Josh's posts, including me. The blog is what keeps me going at work, seriously. It's pretty hard being up there when Josh and Willow are down here. But all it takes is a quick glance at the blog photos and I'm able to grind out another couple hours of work. (**note** if my boss or the IT guy are reading this: I don't waste a lot of time - probably a total of 5 minutes a day. :) )

Josh is back in Houghton now and I'm here alone tonight. My parents are coming down tomorrow. Josh and I visited Willow this morning and I kangarooed her for a couple hours. The lactation specialist, Kelly, suggested that we put Willow down by my breast while she was getting her feeding. Even though Willow's not quite ready to feed that way, she could at least smell the milk and associate that area with eating. Well, it was an interesting experience, I guess. It was pretty awkward, she didn't really seem comfortable. She didn't have her mouth on it or anything but I started leaking a lot (even though I had just pumped) and we had to abort the mission before milk got in her eyes, which almost happened. Oh well. We'll try again soon and maybe it will go better. It's little weird talking about breasts and stuff when I know that a lot of people read this blog who I don't know well, and coworkers and people like that, but I guess if we want this blog to be a chronicle of Willow's progess, I'd better get used to it. Soon breastfeeding and how well she learns it will be a big part of her progress and her journey towards coming home. Oh well; it's a natural process I guess, and anyone who's had kids (or most people anyway) have been through it. I promise we won't be too graphic!

I went back tonight and held Willow baby-style. There are really no changes to report in Willow. She's basically the same weight as yesterday (she gained 10 grams) and on the same cannula settings as well. It's all good. She's been favoring her cupcake hat lately, though in these photos it's not really on all the way.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mom's back in town!


Hello,

It seems like yesterday I was writing this same introduction, that Willow and I are so happy to have Lindsay back in town. The weeks are going by faster, but I still can't wait every Friday for Linds to arrive. She got in this after noon around 2:00 and was able to go over to the NICU and hold Willow for an hour until they kicked her out for nurse shift change at 3:00. Those are the only times during the day we can't be in the NICU. The nurses go around discussing each baby, and for confidentiality reasons they can't have extra ears in there. It doesn't really seem to affect us all that much. They are at 7-8 am, 3-4 pm and 11-12 pm, so the early morning and late night we wouldn't be there anyway.

Lindsay is over at the NICU right now as I'm writing this. I didn't go over as I feel as though I may be coming down with something. It may turn out to be nothing, but I'm not risking it. Plus it gives Lindsay some good time alone with her little girl, so I not stressing too much.

Willow had another great day. She actually lost about an oz. today, so she's at 3 lbs. 14 oz. I'm not worried about a small loss, and I'm still sure she'll hit that 4 lb mark in the next couple of days. They fortified her breastmilk with some more calories today, so that should help her put on that weight. They've got to do these increases in the fortifier slowly so she doesn't have an intolerence, just like when they increased the overall volume.

Willow's doctor thought that they could probably move Willow to an open crib now. They decided, however, not to do it yet. They figured it would just make her body work harder to keep her body at 98.6 and that is energy that should be reserved for growing. It's encouraging atleast that they think she's ready for the open bed, and I think they are making the right decision to hold off for now. Her doctors are thinking that she'll be weened off the cannula within the next week or two. They have already come down on the setting quite abit. She's now at 1 liter of pressure, she started at 4 liters, so we are making good progress.

I'll be heading up to Houghton tomorrow. I'm going to hit closing day at Mount Bohemia on Sunday. I havn't even thought about skiing since Lindsay went to the hospital and Willow was born. I decided that Willow was doing great, and Lindsay will be here, so I'm going to get one last day on the slopes for the year. I also have some things to do on Monday, so Judy is coming down Sun. - Tues. to keep an eye on the little one. Hope you all have a great Easter. The post tomorrow will be from Lindsay.

Take care,

Josh