Sunday, October 25, 2009


It appears that Josh does not have the flu. Whew! He's out of quarantine now. We are glad to have him back!

Willow and I have gotten out on a few walks in the brisk fall air.

In this outfit, she looks like another baby we know...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa

Last weekend my grandparents came to visit. It was my Grandpa's first time meeting Willow. We were all so happy to have them here. Grandpa Zip is Willow's only living Great-Grandpa. We wish she could've met her other three! Here are some shots from the weekend:

Meanwhile, flu madness has hit the Jenson household. We've completely bought into the hysteria!

Seriously though, it's very important that Willow not get seasonal or H1N1. With her Chronic Lung Disease, any respiratory illness such as flu would be very bad for her. She got her first seasonal flu shot in early October, and of course the shortage of H1N1 vaccines available was completely stressing us out, particularly since we seem to know more and more people who've gotten that flu. Here's a timeline of our crazy week:

Sunday night: Willow woke up twice at night crying and had a runny nose. We completely panicked and brought her to the doctor the next morning. Doctor said she's fine, lungs sounded clear and we should get a humidifier. The runny nose lasted 2 days with no other symptoms. She's fine now.

Monday: my work had a flu shot clinic. they were only giving H1N1 shots to employees with direct patient care duties, which I'm not. So I went to the clinic prepared to cause a scene if necessary in order to get the shot. I even brought a photo of Willow just after birth so they would understand the importance of my getting vaccinated. Luckily I didn't need to create a spectacle, because the person deciding who'd get it or not was someone I know, Theresa, who knows about Willow and understood right away. Thanks, Theresa!

Tuesday: we found out Josh's coworker, who he spent time in an enclosed truck with, got the H1N1. So we decided to quarantine Josh to my parents' house for the night, while my mom stayed here with Willow and I.

Wednesday: We got Willow and Josh in for their H1N1 shots. Willow needs two, a month apart, to be protected, and this was her first. Unfortunately, although there apparently exists a Thimerosol-free injected vaccine for babies under 2, there were none of those available in our whole county. So we had to inject Willow with mercury. It was a difficult decision, particularly since we've been so careful and have gone to such lengths up to now to ensure Willow only got the safest vaccines, and on a schedule that's acceptable to us. But in the end we decided the risk to her from H1N1 was greater than the risk from the thimerosol. We hope it wasn't too late for Josh. He was quarantined again Wednesday night.

Thursday: We got Linda in for her H1N1 shot. We feel very fortunate we were all able to get the shot, since there is a shortage. Josh is back home - we missed him too much - but he's wearing a mask and staying away from Willow. We won't know for sure for a few more days whether he is OK or not.

Meanwhile, Willow still hasn't gotten her synagis. The insurance/bureocracy rigamarole continues. It blows my mind how hard it can be to get Willow what she needs to stay healthy! But, I think (hope) we have it sorted and she should be getting it early next week.

In other news, I've begun the process of weaning my pump. I googled around for advice and learned there's a whole online community out there of "EP" (Exclusive Pump)-ers. Who knew? I ended up devising my own method of increasing the time between pumpings by 5 minutes each day. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but I think it's necessary. I'm sensitive, alright? I'm up to 4 hours, 15 minutes, and so far (mostly) so good. I'm so excited! I'm in no hurry to stop completely, but I want to reduce it, for sure.

Finally, Willow has given up her paci. It was actually pretty easy.

My mom and grandma said she looks like a baby from Laura Ingalls Wilder days in this nightgown. Isn't it cute?

That's all, folks! Happy Friday, and stay healthy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sleeping all night


Well, the big news of the week is that we finally got the OK from Willow's doctor to let her sleep through the night!!

She had her doctor appointment on Wednesday, and she gained 12 ounces in the last month - she's now up to 12 pounds, 2 ounces. Let me tell you, we fought for every ounce! I was relieved. With how she's been eating lately, I was worried she was going to lose weight! So I think the doctor heard the pleading in my voice when I asked if we could let her sleep. She said yes. That night we fed Willow right before bed then put her down. I was sort of half-awake all night, expecting her to wake up hungry, but she never did. She slept 7.5 hours and we finally woke her up when we got up for work. It's been going pretty well since then. I am a little nervous that she's not getting enough calories, because I don't think her daytime feeds have increased enough to make up for not eating at night, but I'm trying to relax. Babies sleep through the night all the time and they survive. Willow is tiny though, only in the 15th percentile for her adjusted age.

The other good news from her doctor appointment is that her blood pressure was good at 82. Willow got her first flu shot in early October, and is getting her first synagis shot on Wednesday. That's a special injection to help protect against RSV, which is a bug you never hear about until you have a preemie. it is common, and just causes colds in most people, but for a baby like Willow it could be very bad. We've had extreme frustration trying to get our insurance to cover it. I think they're going to now, but grrr, it makes me mad. I'm going to rant a little now.

As you can imagine, we've had our share of medical bills with Willow. I've worked in benefits before and think I understand health insurance more than the average person. I've always been one to scrutinize every medical bill and match it up with the EOB and make sure everything is square. With the barrage of bills from Willow, I was at first tempted to just be trusting, pay the bills and not stress about whether they were correct or we had an EOB that matched it. Well, let me tell you - I am so glad I didn't go that route because if I had, I'd have been ripped off again and again and again. There have been several occasions where Blue Cross didn't cover something they were supposed to cover, or this company or that company overcharged me, or charged me twice, or said they were going to reimburse my credit card and didn't, etc. etc. I swear I almost think it's deliberate, given that they never seem to err in my favor, only theirs. OK, I'm done. The moral of the story is, always analyze your medical bills!

Our good friends Seth and Beth departed on Thursday to move to Boise. We were very sad to see them go. :(

Hanging with Emily:

Tomorrow's Willow's 8-month birthday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Visit


Willow had a fun weekend hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa Jenson, who came up on Friday, along with Josh's aunt and uncle Joan and Ray and friends Gary and Jackie. They all rented a really nice log home in Mohawk, which is about a half hour north of Houghton. Me and Willow spent much of the weekend up there with the ladies, hanging out while the guys were golfing. We took saunas, ate good food and on Sunday, my parents went up there too.

Willow is changing by the day; it's so fun to watch. Her latest tricks are grabbing her feet while we change her diaper, making a fart sound with her lips and shoving things in her mouth. She's laughing quite a bit now too. We've caught three of the four of these on the following photos and videos (yes, I know...we're overzealous with the camera...but what new parents aren't? :))

In other news, Willow got a swing from her friends Myah and Carter. I can't say she loves it, but she seems to like it well enough, and it's a good distraction at times when we can't hold her.

Our washing machine pooped out last week, and it's been a source of much annoyance and stress. Annoyance because the machine is only like 5 years old and yet it apparently can't be fixed, and distress because it's not exactly in the budget, and because laundry piles up around here like you wouldn't believe - the washer is used almost daily. It all worked out though. We brought all our laundry to my parents' and up to the log home in Mohawk and got 'er done. Willow wore disposable dipes for a few days. Our new washer is getting delivered tomorrow.

And the biggest news of the week is...I think we've officially got a cordless baby, as of last night! See, at Willow's last doctor's appointment, the doctor said we could probably discontinue the apnea monitor, given that Willow hadn't really had any spells. We were excited...but then that very night, Willow had a brady! Or so it seemed. It beeped for a few seconds and she recovered on her own with no intervention on our part. But we decided to keep her on the monitor. Since then, she's had several more, and they all seemed strange. Self-recovery, and no signs of distress at all. I thought about calling the doctor, but then I had a hunch and did some reading in our preemie books. Well, the thing is, babies' heart rates naturally slow as they get older, so if they're on a monitor for a long time, the monitor settings generally have to be adjusted at some point to account for that. I think Willow's current settings were that it would alarm if her heart dropped below 80 beats a minute (I think - I didn't dig out the paperwork to make sure). Now that she's getting older, we'd probably have to have Apria come out and lower the alarm threshold. Last night, after getting woken up for the third time by the alarm and finding Willow peacefully asleep, I unplugged her, and tonight we didn't even put on her belt. Cordless baby! I'll double-check with her doctor that this is OK, but I feel pretty confident that it is. Hooray! I admit, it's a little scary too, but it'll be great not to have to put that dumb belt around her chest every night. Ever since Willow was tiny, and still had multiple IVs, a PICC line, a ventilator, leads, temperature thingy, etc., etc., I've always wanted a cordless baby!