There were four in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.
Last week I had a particularly bad night with Hank one night and was desperate for a nap. Karlie doesn't really nap anymore. Sometimes if one of us lays down with her she will take a short nap. I put Kaitlin down to sleep in her crib and had Karlie crawl in bed with me while I nursed Hank to sleep. All was going well. I set Hank down and started to snuggle down for the nap I had been waiting for all day. Hank was asleep, Karlie and Kaitlin were asleep! Could this be true? Just as I was starting to drift off, BANG, BANG!! RING! RING! Bow-wow, Bow-wow!
The UPS man. Grrrrrr. He has amazing timing. He hits nap time perfectly every time! He also feels the need to let the entire neighborhood know he has arrived with a package. Similar to the SWAT team busting down a door on a raid. He hammers it with all his might and then rings the bell like a little kid getting joy out of sending the dog into hysterics. Daisy, our faithful and fearless pup, couldn't let down her guard just once. Nope, she has to go tearing to the door barking as loud as she can to frighten the potential intruder away. No UPS man is going to get away without a barking to on her watch! This scene of course woke the sleeping toddler. Once they get a wink, they are fully charged and ready to go. After thanking the UPS man for my package and mumbling under my breath for wrecking my nap, I grabbed Kaitlin from her crib and took her to my bed. Maybe just maybe peer pressure would work for good. If Karlie is sleeping (some how she managed to sleep through the ruckus), if Hank is sleeping, and if mommy is sleeping, maybe she would go back to sleep! She rested with us for an hour, but the perfect chance for a nap was over and my blood pressure was to high to fall asleep. Better luck next time.
There were four in a bed
I guess I counted my chickens before they hatched or thought I got rid of the monkey (oxygen tank) on my back. In the office Hank's doctor was pleased with his oxygen saturation and said he could take off the oxygen. But she also ordered an overnight oxygen study where he was continuously monitored to see how he did when asleep. She called on Friday to tell us that Hank had failed the test and his oxygen was great most of the time but he would slip down past the upper 80s too often to be completely off. She recommended he be on it overnight and anytime we weren't holding or watching him.
We are thankful that the monkey is our biggest worry after his rough beginning. We are trying to patient as Hank's little lungs heal and will let you know how his next oxygen study goes this week.
Yesterday Hailey was honored at her school assembly for achieving straight As for the entire school year! In her last trimester of math where they were doing times tables and division, her grade had slipped to a B+. We had told her she would get a special present if she made the A honor roll for the whole year. Hailey worked really hard to bring her B up to an A in the last weeks of school. The first round of academic achievement awards were for the AB honor roll. After the assembly Hailey told me that she crossed her fingers when they were calling the students up for AB honor roll that her name wouldn't be called and she exclaimed,"Yes!" when her name wasn't called. She also told me that when she went on stage to get her award that her "eyes got wet." So did mama's.
Yesterday Hank had another weight and oxygen check-up. He gained 7 ounces in a week and his oxygenation was 96% on room air so the doctor said we could get that monkey off our back! Who-hoo! I was thrilled to be able to put him in my Maya wrap and snuggle with him as we walked throughout the house and in the backyard. I felt so free and like a ton of bircks (or at least a 12 pound oxygen tank) had been lifted off my shoulders. It was more than being physically lighter, we finally have a normal and healthy baby. It only took 32 days.
Hank is already a month old. I have to say I am happy that we are not where we were a month ago. He is a wonderfully sweet baby. He is very mild mannered and rarely cries. He is starting to fill out just a little, although he is still swimming in his 0-3 month clothes. The girls are smitten with him and are always asking to hold, touch or kiss him. Things are starting to get into a a new normal and we are overjoyed with our new addition.
This is after his bath yesterday. Doesn't he look cute without that nasal cannula?
The results of the nursing marathon are in....
Birth weight- 6 lbs 2 oz
Discharge from the hospital weight- 6 lbs 13 oz
First Dr.'s office weight check- 6 lbs 12 oz
A week later- 6 lbs 10 oz
4 days later- 6 lbs 12 oz
4 days later- 7 lbs 2 oz!!!
Initially when the pediatrician thought Hank was not gaining weight, she wanted me to start supplementing with a high calorie formula. Those of you who know me, know that I am a staunch breast feeding supporter and have taken numerous classes on breast feeding education. That combined with momma's instincts made me give just breast feeding a try for a little longer. Hank needed to gain 1/2 oz a day or the pediatrician would want him to be bottle fed every feed so we could calculate his calories in. That was enough motivation for me to become a feeding machine. Hank gained a whopping 1.5 ounces/day! Now if only that correlated to me losing nearly 1/2 a pound a week. We are off and running, with just a monkey, I mean oxygen tank on our back. Hopefully at his appointment next week the doctor will be ready to start weaning him off that.
Not a card, not a present, not even a phone call, or a blog post to wish you a happy day. I win the prize as worst daughter-in-law! I can't even say I was thinking of you all day on your special day. These days I am lucky if I have the right day of the week down so knowing the date is a long shot. It wasn't until I was at Hank's weight check today and I wrote the date, 5/13/08, did my heart start to beat rapidly and my palms get sweaty. I FORGOT my mom #2's birthday! Can I blame it on the sleepless nights? How about the constant feeding demands of the baby have sucked all my brains out? Ok, how about I have been so busy learning the ropes of being a mom to 4 that I haven't even looked at a calander in almost a month? Still not good enough?? Let's see... Oh, I know! I have been day dreaming about your next visit when I can give you your gift!
Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace with Hailey, Karlie, and that terrible daughter-in-law.
The Open Table writes: For decades, afternoon tea has been a tradition at The Brown Palace. Set amid the historic grandeur of the newly restored atrium lobby with its serenade of the melodic harp and piano accompaniment, guests revel in the splendor as they escape from the city's bustle. Enjoy such signature items as a pot of properly brewed English tea accompanied by scones served with Devonshire cream and preserves, savory tea sandwiches and a delightful array of classic tea pastries.
I do love you very much, even if I goofed on your birthday.
A MOTHER'S LOVE
A Mother's love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.
~Helen Steiner Rice~
Whether or not you are a Hillary fan, I have to agree with her on this one. Let me preface by saying I have not read the book, but the title has sure rung true with me over the last 3 weeks.
Maybe it only takes mom and dad for one child, but by the fourth one we have been leaning heavily on family, friends, and coworkers. Our moms, sisters, and my aunt have been like worker bees tending to the house, doing the laundry, the dishes, playing with the kids, and providing us with dinners. Our dads have watched and played with the older kids so that we could focus on Hank. Our friends and coworkers have brought us dinners and baby supplies. Strangers and cyber friends are praying for us. We have never needed so much help and have been humbled by everyone just pitching in. We didn’t even have to ask. There was a need and “the village” is filling it. Sure we would have survived without the loving help of our family and friends, but it would not have been good for the kids or us. We are so grateful for our village that loves us and has helped us through this time.
Breastfeeding is a challenging task. I would go so far to argue that it should be considered a sport. It requires as much dedication, devotion of time, and endurance as many sports. Any first time mother can tell you that it is anything but natural. For most of the women I have spoke to it is at first very difficult and frustrating. Getting the baby to open his mouth wide enough, getting the lips and chin positioned just right, and keeping them latched long enough is very challenging. Then you add being sleep deprived, the sore nipples, engorgement, and worry about if baby is getting enough and you have a tense situation. At this point you are suppose to relax and let your milk flow. Ah-ha, right.
Well, being in the NICU and breastfeeding just took it up a notch. I now consider it “extreme breastfeeding”. On top of the normal challenges I got to experience adding 8 different tubes and wires to the mix. His nasal cannula had to actually stay in his nose so his oxygenation didn’t plummet, the IV in his head kept getting caught and yanked, and the leads on his chest liked to pull off and cause panic alarms all over the NICU saying he is asystole (no heartbeat) which sent nurses rushing over. While he was nursing they would try to get their fingers between him and me to reattach his leads. So much for modesty. His PICC line would get kinked and made the pump alarm “occluded”, sending more healthcare professionals over to tend to the alarm. It looked a little bit like a three-ringed circus just getting him on the breast. I was suppose to take in the smells of my baby and block out the smell of antibiotics, the freshly mopped floor, and hand sanitizer. I was to lovingly gaze at him and look past all those tubes, wires, beeps, nurses, and other babies crying throughout the NICU. I was suppose to be calm and relaxed so that my milk can let down. Amazingly this happened. In fact, I was unable to let down at home to the pump without all the distraction. Just holding him was the magic step, even with the tornado of chaos around us. It worked the way it was meant to.
Now we are onto a new level of extreme breastfeeding. This is the home course with oxygen. While trying to nurse him as often as possible, I still have to keep that oxygen in his little nose, but replacing the beeps and alarms is the requests and needs of the other three kids. Invariably I will just get him latched and Karlie needs me to wipe her, or Kaitlin has just dumped her cereal on the floor, or Hailey can’t find her homework. It is quite an athletic maneuver to keep Hank on and pick up the 12-pound oxygen tank, sling it over my shoulder and attempt to tend to the crisis at hand. I think training for a triathlon is much easier than this new extreme sport I have taken up! ☺
I think I have worried as much about Hank as I have all 3 of the girls over each of their entire lives combined. I can feel my blonde turning to gray as we speak. Today he had a follow up weight check at the doctors and he unfortunately lost weight. He is still above his birth weight, but lost 2 oz from last Monday. At this point he should be gaining 5-8 oz per week. With the serious hospital course he had, him being premature, all the fluid he gained, and his oxygen requirements, it is difficult to determine what the problem is. Premature babies sometimes have trouble with absorption, he could be spending more energy breathing than he should which would cause him to burn off more calories than he is taking in, he could just have been losing some of the pound of edema he had gained, or he could have a condition called failure to thrive. The pediatrician (along with Max and I) is hoping he just lost the last of the fluid. We will go back on Friday for another weight check. In the meantime I will be putting Hank on a rigorous feeding schedule. This boy isn't going to know what a hunger pain is for the next 3 days. I am determined to get him to go up on that scale!
Today was the day I was scheduled to have my cesarean if the version was unsuccessful. A lot has happened in two weeks. Hank is still on oxygen but otherwise a normal newborn. You know, sleeping like a baby all day and then keeping me up all night. He nurses like a champ, he hates to have his diaper changed, he is smiling (not sure if it is gas or the real deal) and his movements are beginning to be a little less spastic. It is so good to be home with him and holding him tight.Getting started on his GQ modeling.
Precious little feet.
Daddy's little guy.
It is not every day that you see four generations together. Last weekend we had the pleasure of having Great-Grandpa Larry, Pops, Max and little Hank all together. It was a special homecoming to have so much family around.