Monday, December 28, 2009

Nick's Christmas

Nick's first Christmas (at home) was great. He didn't really understand the whole present thing, however, he did take great delight in ripping the wrapping paper. He really cleaned up. I don't know who spoiled him more, Santa, or Grandma! We had a great Christmas. I was so happy to have my little man home with me this year. Last year, he actually fit in his stocking at Christmas. This year, he was able to pull presents out of it. It was fantastic. Unfortunetly, my camera card decided to corrupt just as we started opening presents from my mom's house. I hope to post pics of Nick from home soon. The following are from my mom's camera Christmas morning.

video of Nick playing with one of his presents...towards the end he will dance and sing for you!

these are just the presents from Grandma, Uncle Brian, and Aunt Chrissy-toes

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why my house is no longer clean...

Because pulling EVERY toy out of the basket is his new favorite pass-time!

And he is clearly proud of himself! (By the way, yes that is a cup - Out of every toy I have ever given my child, his favorite two things, a cup and sunglasses- kids?!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

1st Birthday Party

Nick's birthday party was awesome! We had many great family and friends to celebrate with us. Nick enjoyed being the center of attention. He showed off all of his new tricks, crawling, clapping, and dancing. Nick got lots of great gifts, and LOTS of books. I am so glad his book shelves are full
Nick wasn't really sure what to do about the cake. He didn't eat much of it, but he made a big mess... and loved it!
Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another One?!!!!!

Another Tooth! A top tooth came in this morning. I can't believe he got another tooth. I think he just wants a steak at his birthday party instead of cake.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crawling Mania

Sorry I haven't written in a while... I spend most of my time chasing the now extremely mobile Nicholas around. He so graciously shows me where my attempts at baby proofing have failed miserably. At first his attempts at crawling were limited to the room we were in. Now, he has learned that he can escape into other areas of the house. Luckily, when he does crawl into another area of the house, he is so amazed at himself, he immediately sits up and claps - he is so proud. I know this won't last long, and the time has come that baby gates will now be put to good use.

We are getting ready for Nick's birthday party this weekend! LOTS of photos will come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1 Year Old Today!

Dear Nick,

Happy Birthday! I absolutely can not believe you are 1 today. It has been quite a year. It started rocky, but you have made it incredible. Words can never express to you how have brought unimaginable joy to my life. Words can never express how proud I am of the accomplishments you have made over the past year.

I remember seeing you for the first time. How much I wanted to hold you and comfort you. You were so small, and so fragile. You proved that you had a spirit and will much bigger than you. I remember everyone talking about how many challenges you were about to face, how hard your road would be, and how scary all the issues you could have sounded. Somewhere, deep down in my heart and soul, I knew you would be fine. I knew that you would have your struggles, but that you were going to be perfect.

Now here you are. You are absolutely perfect. All 15lbs, 9 ounces of you. You make me laugh, you make me smile, you make my heart so full. Your spirit, love, independence are an inspiration to me every day.

You started crawling and pulling up yesterday. All in one day! Just another example of your strong will - when you are ready to do something, you do it BIG! You favorite things to do right now are pretty much anything you can do o your own. You are the most independent child I have ever seen. You love to feed yourself, and you always try to 'help" mom.
I am so proud of you. I don't know if I can ever tell you that enough. I can't wait for what the next year holds. I just wish there was a way to slow down time, so that I could soak up every minute of you.

I love you doodle bug,


Nick at 5 days old with a stuffed moose.

Nick last night with the same moose. Boy how you've grown!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hat Trick

I was prepared to call this blog post today, " All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." Nick got another tooth this weekend. Two bottom teeth.However, today during his ECI therapy appointment, Nick decided to show off. I knew he was ready to crawl and he showed it today. He was crawling for toys left and right. Then as the appointment was ending, he crawled over to me and pulled up. I couldn't believe it! My big boy. He just wanted to show off and get lots of presents for his birthday! I did manage to get some crawling on video, after many attempts. When I try to get one of the "milestones" on video, he just looks at me like I am crazy. Now, if you will excuse me, I must remove everything from the ground to 2ft. high....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All in Good Time

Nick had an eventful weekend. First, he got his first tooth! You can't see it that well yet (so no photos), but you can definitely feel it. He has been drooling and chewing for MONTHS. He truly hasn't been difficult, so I was slightly surprised to feel that little tooth. He thinks he is now ready for steaks!

Also this weekend, Nick displayed a new talent. He can now, go from sitting, to laying, to a crawling position, and then back to sitting. This is a big step for him. He has demonstrated that his little shoulders are strong enough to get crawling. He has been getting on his hands and knees more and more, and has even made a few "steps" forward. It won't be long before the headline for the days blog is "Mobile".

That being said, I am NOT READY TO BABY PROOF! I started looking around at the house, and oh my, I have my work cut out for me. So, I thought I would ask you... any baby proofing tips? I know the standard, remove anything they can reach, cover outlets, etc. I also know that kids have a great way of teaching you things you should have baby proofed. So, I thought I would learn from you! Please share!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I began the most terrifying journey of my life. I went to the doctor for a (somewhat) routine ultrasound. Two minutes after beginning the ultrasound, the tech left the room and promptly came back with a doctor. He began telling me that the baby was measuring small, there was very low fluid around him, and the blood flow between myself and Nick was very low. He wanted to admit me to the hospital for some monitoring.

I was scared, but optimistic. I remember thinking, "Okay, I will go into the hospital a few day, everything will be fine, I will be home by the weekend."

Upon getting to the hospital, tests were done, I was put on a monitor and sent straight to labor and delivery. They immediately started giving me steroids to strengthen Nick's lungs in case he had to be delivered that day, or soon there after. I spoke with numerous ob/gyns, and they brought in a neonatologist to tell me what I could expect if he was delivered at 26 weeks. I remember hearing many scary words. At that point, I honestly thought, this conversation was useless, because I was not having him now.

I knew there was no way I was having him that day. I begged and pleaded silently with Nick to hold on. I prayed and prayed. I COULD NOT have him this day. See, 5 years ago tomorrow (the 20th), my father passed away suddenly. My grandfather passed away 3 days later. There was no way I was going to have a baby at 26 weeks, this week.

Through sheer will, and a lot of prayer, Nick held on. Sometimes I think he knew just how badly I didn't want to have him in November, so Dec. 1, he said, "Okay, here I come". Probably the only time in his life that I was more hard headed than him.

The next few weeks were a blur. I was in the hospital vacillating between a regular hospital room and a monitored labor and delivery bed. Sometimes, I would go down to L&D for a few hours, sometimes overnight. Finally one day after a week of this, I had an ultrasound that showed a worsening condition. I was sent to L&D permanently, and told that Nick would probably be delivered in the next 7 days. Again, meetings with neonatologists, and now they brought in anesthesiologists.

I became so close to my docs and nurses. They were all wonderful. They even offered to share their Thanksgiving meal with me. It was the most scary time in my life. I am thankful everyday that it turned out so well. There are many moms who don't have the same outcome.

It is still a hard thing for me to think about. I still get very emotional as I remember the hell that started on November 19th, and didn't end until March 21st when I was finally able to bring Nick home.

I can take comfort in the fact that I have a healthy, happy boy. He continues to be the absolute BEST thing that ever happened to me. I would do all of it all over again to have him. It was all worth it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pushing Forward

I have pretty much abandoned the recommendations of the docs from preemie clinic with regard to Nick's food. Not totally, but I figure, what they were asking him to do wasn't working, so we might as well try our own thing. They wanted him to have a set amount of formula (24-28 ounces) and 2-3 jars of food.

Nick doesn't take 24-28 ounce of formula. I think he has taken that amount maybe twice. He is usually at an average of 20 ounces. That is his normal. So, while I still am insisting that he take somewhere between 18-20 (more if he will indulge me). I do allow him as much jar food as he wants. I offer him a bottle, if he takes more than 3 ounces, he can have a jar of food. The other day, he took 6 jars! That is a lot of food for such a little guy, but he loves it.

We started meat as well, which is great because it has so many more calories and protein than the regular food. We will see how it goes.

In other Nick news, he has started waving. I will post a pic soon of this cute new addition to his repertoire. He loves to wave "Hi", however, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of bye. He looks at me like, I have already said Hi to you, why are you waving again.

I love it when my little man learns new things!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dissappointing Preemie Clinic

I don't even know what to say. Nick had preemie clinic today. He weighed 15lbs, 3 ounces. Basically, he gained 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces. As you may imagine, docs were not happy. Not even a half a pound in 4 weeks, was to say the least, unacceptable. We discussed it, and they docs agreed to give him 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, if he has not gained a sufficient amount of weight, he is going to be admitted to the hospital for a week for monitoring, and testing. They will do a host of metabolic testing to see what the problem may be.

Nick's growth curve has flat-lined a bit, causing much concern. Each previous preemie clinic, the doc would always say, "I am not worried, I am just concerned". Today, he said "I am worried, very worried." They started talking about "failure to thrive". I know some about failure to thrive, but will probably learn more about it in the next few weeks. I am trying not to worry too much about the failure to thrive. He is not there yet. They said that the only reason they aren't admitting him right now for testing, is that he looks so alert, healthy and happy. They said if he was lethargic, they would probably admit him now, but since he seems to be fine, they are going to give him 6 weeks to pack on the pounds.

I know that right now, there is nothing that I can do. I have to just keep doing my best to make sure he gets the maximum amount of food that I can get into his body. If that means waking 1 - 2 times a night, that is what it takes. Bottom line, I just want him to be healthy, and if we can get some answers, I want that. As a mom, you don't want anything to be wrong with your child, that alone is scary and frustrating. For now, I will wait and see what he can do. When the going gets tough, the one thing Nick can do is rise to the occasion.

Now for a little comic relief so to speak:

Things I learn/ponder/question while waiting in the doctor's waiting room:

  • If your child is sick, please keep him/her out of the "well" child side. They have a sign there for a reason, and I am here with my child just for a check up and don't appreciate your kid coughing all over me and my child
  • If you let your 6 year old drink and entire 20 ounce bottle of mountain dew (which I think has about 6 million grams of sugar), they will NOT stop climbing over the chairs, yelling, or sit still no matter how many times you ask.
  • Asking why your child is acting like a maniac after he drank a 20 ounce bottle of mountain dew will result in dirty looks from most others in the room.
  • If you are trying to get an accurate weight on a child, might I suggest allowing the parents to take off the wet diaper.
  • Telling me that you are worried about my child, and may put him in the hospital for a week should never be followed by the phrase "but I don't want you to worry, enjoy your holiday"

Just a few of my observations today....

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the Cusp

I don't have much to report right now. I am on the cusp of a few posts with events from this weekend and upcoming events this week. Saturday morning, I brought Nick with me to work. We did our annual park day shoot, so Nick came along with me to do a few photos. I only saw what was on the back of the camera, and I only saw a few of the shots, but I loved the few that I saw, so I will definitely be posting photos soon.

Tomorrow is another preemie clinic appointment. While I could freak out because I know he hasn't gained near the weight that they want him to, I am remaining calm. He eats, he grows and he develops. Beyond that, I can't change his appetite, despite what they think. And he is growing. I was looking at him today, and he looked so long. I can't believe my baby is growing into a little boy. I am anxious to see how tall he is.

As for now, I am just in the cusp of writing all these thing to update everyone. I will write more this week. Have a good week!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hard Headed

I have no other words, but HARD HEADED! I knew when Nick was in the NICU, he was a strong willed little boy (he pulled out his own vent tube at 17 days old... he didn't even weigh 2lbs). Anyway, yesterday was another ECI appt for Nick. Ms. Mandy came in, and I was so excited to show her what Nick could do... sitting up, all on his own. Did he do it? Of course NOT. It took 20 minutes, 3 adults and about 10 toys to finally convince him to show his skills.

Everything else went well. I am a little concerned with his development. It seems like the gap between his adjusted age (8 months) and his skill level is increasing. I am trying not to compare him to kids his own age (more on that incredibly hard task later), but when compared to other 8 month old babies, he is clearly behind. Right now he is more like a 6 month old when you look at his skill level. I know that each kid develops on their own time, it is just hard to see him behind. I don't really know how to explain it. ECI is going to do another evaluation in January, then we will re-access our plan.

I have also noticed some other issues with Nick, things he should be doing, but isn't, like clapping. We are working on it. Ms. Mandy feels he may have some sensory issues. So we are going to start working on that. He doesn't want to open his hand to clap. There are some other signs that he may have sensory issues, but all are very minor.

Next week is another preemie clinic weight check... so we are concentrating on "fattening up". Nick had his RSV shot last week. His weight at that appointment was only about 3 ounces heavier than he was 2 weeks ago. Preemie clinic docs are NOT going to be happy with that. So, we are going to work very hard on adding some weight this week. Mainly that means I have to be more hard-headed than he is.

I can't believe Nick is 11 months! I almost have a 1 year old. I am starting to think about his party, which is exciting. I just can't believe it is almost a year. Where did this year go?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sitting Up, Puffs and Bath Time

I thought I should just do a general post of what Nick has been up to, and post a bunch of photos to go along with it. Nick has been sitting up like a champ. I usually put the boppy around him for those times that he leans a little too far over to get a toy. He had decided that sitting up is a good idea, and would like to do it often.
We also have started eating "puffs". We try cheerios too, but the puffs are flavored (banana and peach yum!) and they dissolve much quicker than cheerios. This helps. We are working on two very important skills... being able to use his figures to pick up small things, and the skills it takes to roll a hard food in his mouth with his tongue. Nick loves puffs. He can pick them up wonderfully. Getting them into his mouth and not down the front of him, is slightly more challenging, but he keeps trying. He gets very excited when you get out the puffs, and often throws a fit when he runs out of puffs. The boy loves to eat!
Bath time has also become a new favorite. I have never seen a baby love to kick and splash so much!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Check Me Out

Nick and I have been working and working on the sitting up thing. Check out what he decided to show me he could do this evening...

Apparently, I just needed to give him the remote control as bribery to sit up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nick's 7 month photo shoot

Just learned how to do this at work. We are always trying and doing new things! Of course I had to try it with Nick's photos!

Another Preemie Clinic

Preemie clinic went well on Tuesday. Nick had his monthly weigh in... 15.1 lbs! Such a big guy! They thought his weight gain was decent. ("appropriate gain for his adjusted age, however, not what we had hoped for him to catch up") We went through the feeding schedule again (EVERY TIME?!!) The docs conferred with the occupational therapist, and the nutritionist and finally decided that no matter what they try to get him to do/eat, he is just going to be his own person. REALLY?!!!! I have been trying to say that for these past months.

We aren't going to change anything at this point, which means I wake Nick up to eat once in the middle of the night. We are still on increased calories. They just now have come to the conclusion that while he is not on the growth curve in the place they would like him, he is on his own curve and that is ok. As long as he doesn't deviate from the curve, we are cool. They want to see him back in a month for another weight check. If he is still hovering in the 5th percentile, they are good to let him go and see him back in a few months (versus every month).

So, for now, all is good. The occupational therapist commented that she thought developmentally, he was right on track. She said she couldn't quite gauge everything, but she felt like, given what she saw, the stuff he isn't doing yet, (sitting up) is most likely due to the fact that HE WILL NOT BE STILL. She felt like he can do all these things, he is just so active, he can't be bothered with a little thing like sitting still. She did stop the therapy session and turn to me to ask, "Is he always like this?" Yes! He moves constantly... even in his sleep.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Taste of Fall

This morning, Nicholas and I spent a little time, going through all of his clothes. Saturday I woke up to some cooler temperatures (It was like 95 last Thursday!). This is the first "real" cool front we have gotten this year. I realized that, while I had bought Nick some fall and winter clothes, I had yet to take the tags off and wash them. Luckily, there was something in the closet that I had washed.

So, this morning while waiting for his ECI therapy appt, I went through his clothes. We are finally almost grown out of 3 month clothes ! YEAH! I packed away all the sleeveless clothes. I packed away most of the 3 month shorts and t-shirts. I got out all the fall clothes, washed them and hung them up. He is all ready for fall! Of course, I watched the news, it will be in the 90's again in a day or so. Welcome to Southeast Texas!

Nick's ECI appointment went well. She gave us some new things to try, and again we are just keeping with the same stuff. Trying to encourage him to sit up and play. Strengthen his shoulders, and use his tummy muscles.

His tummy is doing better, and the diaper rash is doing better as well. I have been letting him be naked as much as I can. He actually spent a lot of the weekend butt naked on a sheet saver from his bed. He loves being naked! Some of the time, I wasn't quite as brave, so I used a cloth diaper on him. Not cleared up yet, but he is getting better.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rough Couple of Days

The end of the week was rough for poor Nick. He got a stomach bug. This started on Wednesday and continued until Saturday. Stomach bug in a baby = bad case of diaper rash! I felt so bad for him. He would scream every time he had a dirty diaper, but scream even louder when I tried to change him. I tried EVERYTHING! We did desitin, vaseline, soaked in a warm bath with baking soda. For the stomach bug, it was bananas every day from Friday until today. I woke up every 2-3 hours very night from Wednesday - Saturday to change him. He is feeling better, a prescription from the doctor for diaper rash cream helped.

Other than that, we have been good. I am a little concerned, Nick has a preemie clinic appointment on Tuesday. He is no where near the weight they wanted him to be by the next appointment. I am hoping I can use the stomach bug as a reason for the lack of weight gain.

The truth is, I have done everything they have asked. I wake up every night, get him up and feed him a bottle. I have started feeding him foods that have many more calories. Sometimes I think the more calories I give him, the more he burns. I am not sure what the next step is. We have increased the formula to it's maximum calorie giving potential. I think the next step is an additive. I am very hesitant to take this step. If I thought for a moment that his weight was impeding his development, I would be the first to be on board for this. I do not feel that this is the case right now. At this point I am not sure what to think.

I am not going to worry about it too much right now. The appointment isn't until Tuesday, so I will worry about it when we are there. We have physical therapy to look forward to tomorrow. I can't wait for Nick to be able to sit up and crawl. I think he will be a much happier baby when he is mobile. I will be happy too, probably more anxious, but happy.

We are doing well. He has been a champ through the stomach bug and diaper rash. He has even found the delight of his Johnny Jump. He used to just sit in it and twirl. He has figured out that bouncing in it is SO much more fun!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday Attire

I took this with my cell phone camera, sorry for the quality. Just wanted to show you what Nick looks like every Saturday during College Football season.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I have resorted to bribery...

Nick had an ECI therapy appointment on Monday. Mandy (Nick's therapist) was very excited, and impressed that he was showing crawling signs. She thought that was a very positive step. She was not impressed with his lack of sitting up, however. The problem is, he can do it. Some preemies have issues with being able to bend and move properly, especially on their lower extremities. These same babies can't do things like put their feet to their mouth etc. Nick can do all the above, he just chooses not too. He will sit up assisted for a while, but the problem is, I can't keep his attention long enough to get him to stay in that position. He knows that when he is laying down, he has much more mobility. He can roll and roll and grab things with his hands and feet. He can't do those things while sitting, so he would just prefer not too.

I figured if he had a toy that had lots of lights and buttons (his two favorite things right now, which may explain his fascination for the remote-seriously? you are too young for that little man). Anyway, I bought him his own baby laptop. It has shapes and sounds and songs and lights up when you punch buttons.

It worked better than anything thus far, but only because he kept trying to bend over to eat it. Hey, whatever works, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Morning Story (Instead of A Bedtime Story)

Nicholas loves the dogs. Nicholas wakes up every morning looking for the dogs. Nicholas also knows how to fake cough to get attention. Nicholas fake coughs at the dogs in an attempt to get them to pay attention to him. The dogs do not cooperate. Nicholas gets mad.

The End.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2 Appointments

Two posts in two days... I either have something to say, or I am just putting off the laundry that needs to be folded, and the accounting homework that is due Wednesday. Either way, here it is.

Nick had two appointments today. I think he is responsible for getting UTMB out of the red, but that is a post for another day. We met with Kristin, the study formula nurse. Nick got his weight check... 14lb, 6 oz. He gained 6 oz in 1 week! His average for the last 4-5 months has been 1/2 pound every two weeks. He gained almost a half a pound in a week! His preemie clinic doc will be so happy! (I hope)
We also had an audiology appointment. Many of the drugs Nick got while in the NICU can have adverse affects on his hearing. He passed with flying colors. The tech said that many babies have a hard time doing the hearing test. They don't like the little device in their ear, and they won't be quiet long enough to get the info needed. Nick was so interested in looking at the tech, and trying to get her to smile at him, he did the whole test, both ears in less than 5 min. He passed, and is done with audiology.

I did however consider coming home and dipping him in a vat of anti-bacterial hand wash. Sitting in the waiting room for both appointments, you would be amazed at how many kids are sick with the flu. (I assume it was the flu because the check in nurses made the kids wear masks.) I resisted the urge to dip his whole body, but I did wash both of our hands... twice.
On a side note, all this growing he is doing, Nick can finally fit into some of the outfits I bought a while back. Too bad we are about to change seasons...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why I Don't Seem To Post As Much

It is not because there is not much going on! It is actually quite the opposite. I don't know if I have shared this, but I am back in school. Taking 9 hours of class, plus being full time mom, having a full time job, and the various other things that you have to do to survive... like eat, do laundry, clean the bathroom etc. My day goes something like this:

5:30 wake up and jump in the shower, hope to be able to shower, blow dry and fix my hair, put on my makeup before Nick wakes up.
6:30 If Nick hasn't already awaken, get him up, dressed and wrestle him into taking a bottle**
7:30 Out the door, taking Nick to Stacie's house then me to work
8:30-5:00 Me at work
5:45 Pick Nick up, have a little play time, wrestle him into to taking another bottle**
6:30 Feed Nick dinner, bath time, bed time
7:30 Start studying/homework
11:00 Finish up laundry, get bags packed and ready for tomorrow
11:30 bedtime for me

** I don't actually wrestle Nick, but for some reason, I think he gains arms and legs when I try to give him a bottle.

Nick is doing well. We are still trying to pack on the pounds. He is starting to take his bottles better, some nights I don't even have to get up in the middle of the night. We are continuing to look for baby foods that have the most calories so that he can gain the maximum weight. He goes back on the 14th of October for another weigh in. He did have his 9 month pediatrician appointment last week. 14 pounds, 25 inches. Even after the increased calories, he is only gaining about 1/2 pound every two weeks. I think the more calories they make him take, the more his little body has to burn.

I took some video this weekend of the rocking he is doing while up on his knees, his precursor to crawling. Hope to post it soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another Preemie Clinic

Life has been busy to say the least. Sorry I haven't updated in a little while. I am enrolled in school right now... taking 9 hours, working full time and being full time mom. Life is busy.

That doesn't mean my little man hasn't been up to his old tricks, and a few new ones. Nick had another preemie clinic appointment last week. He weighed in at 13 pounds 8 ounces. As you may (or may not) suspect, they were not happy with the weight gain. Nick had even dropped .2 percent in his weight percentile. While .2% isn't a lot to most of us, a negative move is not a good move. So, we upped the calories of his bottles again. I am now mixing his formula so that each ounce is 26 calories. They also decided that waking him up each night is a good idea. So, all that time I spent getting him to sleep through the night, gone. I set my alarm each night and wake him to get him to take a bottle.

They said they would like him to gain 20 grams a day. Right now he is only gaining on average 10 grams a day. Not sure how well this is all going to go over. We are trying. It seems that the bigger problem for Nick is that he is in CONSTANT MOTION. He never stops. Feet, hands, mouth, doesn't matter, something is always moving.

Tummy time is excellent. He likes being on his tummy. The last few days, he has even started getting up on his knees, rocking a little, and inch worming a little. It is not very often, but it is defiantly a step in a crawling direction. I am sooo not ready to baby proof the house! Sitting up seems to be a little more challenging for him, mainly because he would rather be held standing so his little feet can go, go, go. He seems to have no time for this sitting down stuff. When he does figure out this moving, thing, watch out. I will try to get his movements on video, it is a sight.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

9 months

Dear Nick.
I am sorry that I am a few days late in writing this to you. There have been so many things going on. Right now, I am reminded of how short and precious life can be. I seem to be reminded of that every so often. You were a reminder of that, in a very good way.

Aunt Janet (who technically is of no blood relation, but has been in my life since I was 8), whom you will hear many stories about, lost her battle to breast cancer last night. She was such a special person, full of life. You will no doubt hear many stories about her in the future. She loved you, like you were her own grandchild. She came to see you often in the hospital, and spoiled you at your baby shower.

The most important thing that I learned from Janet was to live life. I hope that you learn that lesson as well. Nothing was ever more important than Janet's friends and family. In this life, that is the most important thing. You will learn many lessons in your life, but I hope that you cherish that one.

Last night when I got home, I picked you up and held you while you slept. I told you that no matter what you do, or where you go in your life, I will always be there with you and I will always support you.

You have grown so much in the last month. Do I say that every month? At some point I am sure you will read these letters, and roll your eyes and groan. But I also hope that at some point you will cherish them as well.

You are one happy, smiley baby! You love to take everything in, and then give life a big smile. Especially if you have a good view of a dog. Your puppies always make you smile. You are still a fantastic eater. Squash, peas, green beans, carrots and avocado are your favorites. You are good with fruits but you don't gobble them up like you do the veggies.

Your awake time is spent mostly playing, talking, and smiling. You lay under your play mat and play and play. You like your exercauser, especially now that you figured out you can put a lot of the toys in your mouth. I recently got you a Johnny Jump. You haven't quite figured out how to jump in it yet, but you mostly twirl yourself around. You are eye level with the dogs in the Johnny Jump, so you spend most of your time twirling around to watch them.

You love music. Any kind, it doesn't matter if it is on the radio, tv, or I am singing. You will kick your legs like crazy when you hear music. Hopefully you got some of you Uncle Brian's music ability, cause mommy doesn't have any musical talent beyond keeping a beat. But I would guess you know that, as you have heard me sing.

Keep growing little man. You are doing so well. I could not have asked for a better and more precious baby than you.

Love you Nick,


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday Uncle Brian/Brain/Buddy! I love you!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lemon Face

Sunday, Nick's Aunt Crystalle decided that Nick wanted to try a lemon. He tasted it, made a face, then kept wanting to eat it. He would pull the lemon to his mouth, then make a face, then do it all over again. The faces were too funny not to post!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Preemie Parent

I saw on a friend's blog (who had preemie twins as well) an article about post traumatic stress in parents of children who are in the NICU. I started reading it, but had to stop. So many times, when I look back at photos of Nick, or view photos of other kids in the NICU, or read stories about experiences in the NICU, I get very emotional. Sometimes, I can't even do it. It is just too hard. I cry just seeing a photo of a child I have never met. It is such a hard thing to explain, and for others to understand.

While I am not sure that I would classify my emotions as post traumatic stress syndrome, I don't know that I can fully classify my emotions. I know I felt an overwhelming sense of dread when I was discharged from the hospital. Not being right down the hall from Nick was extremely hard. I know that I called the NICU first thing every morning, and last thing every night to check. I often called during the day, especially if he was having difficulties, or procedures. I often called in the middle of the night when I got up to pump. I remember being so incredibly careful with my cell phone, as I felt that was my only life line to my son. I would sometimes check my phone numerous times in an hour to be sure they didn't call. I went to the hospital every day, all 111 of them.

I remember jumping, and my heart leaping out of my chest when my phone rang, and I saw the hospital number on the phone. I remember reading every thing I could get my hands on about preemie babies, what to expect, what could happen, and looking for the ominous signs in my own son. I remember his bad days where his heart rate would drop in the 40's and my heart would drop then race, watching the monitor every second to see him recover. The hardest days were his bad days. The days when he would have multiple apnea spells a day.

It was the most incredibly hard time in my life, and I never want to relive it. I sympathize with every parent who has been through that, is going through it, or will go through it. I wish that I could say something to make it better, but I can't.

The only thing I know for sure, is Nick is okay. He is home, where I can be with him hours a day, instead of minutes. He is home where I can hug him, love him, kiss him, and care for him every minute of the day if I choose.

There are after effects of the NICU. I know that any type of sniffle sends me almost into a panic. I know that certain things can be so much more dangerous for Nick, but despite all that, he is here. I admit, I still go check on him every night, put my hand on his back to feel his breathing, and maybe I will do that for a while. Everyday, I get a little more confident that everything will be okay.

While I sometimes grieve the loss of things "normal' with bringing home a baby, I know that for both Nick and myself, this whole experience has meaning. I have faith in God that there was a reason, it can only make us stronger. At the very least, he will have a great story to tell when he gets older. How many kids can say I only weighed 1 pound 8 ounces. That among many other things makes Nick incredibly special!

Wordless Wednesday: Sleeping Like A Baby

Friday, August 21, 2009

Now for the post I was going to write before Nick took a header off the bed...

The other day I was cleaning out Nick's closet. Getting rid of some things that he has grown out of, and trying to find things that he has grown in to. I ran across an outfit that my boss bought for Nick just a week or two after he was born. I remember loving the outfit, but thinking it would take FOREVER for him to grow into it. He finally has. It is sometimes funny to think back to those first days, when he was so incredibly tiny and fragile. How a simple outfit made me long for the days when I could bring him home, and dress him daily. I am so happy and blessed that this has become a reality.

While it has taken 8 months for my little guy to grow into his outfit, despite the tags 3-6 month size. The most important thing is that he is in it, and apparently happy about it.

The other day, I was in Carter's. They had a good sale, and I was trying to get a jump on some fall/winter clothing. Anyway, I saw the most adorable birthday outfit for Nick's one year. I started through the rack, looking for the 6 month outfits. When I voiced my displeasure that they had none, my mom reminded me that they would not have any. They don't make 6 month birthday clothes. As I was voicing my displeasure, another woman overheard us. She asked why Nick was so small. When I told her he was a preemie, she started talking to me about her preemie. She had a son as well. She was actually at Carter's looking for t-shirts and shorts. Her son was 3, and potty-training, but he only fits into 18 month clothes, which are still a lot of onesies, with snaps. Not a good combination for a potty training child.

It occurred to me, after going back and reading Cindy, AJ's mom's comments, that AJ, who was only slightly smaller than Nick at birth, can fit into 18 month clothes at 5. I guess what strikes me, is all the doctors say that 95% of preemies catch up by the time they are 3. Somehow, I think their statistic may be a little off.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hard Head

I get off work yesterday and call my mom to make sure she has picked up Nick, and that he had a good day etc. When she answered, she was all out of breath. She said that my son had just scared her to death. I asked why. Apparently, she put him in the middle of her bed, then went to go let the dog out of the kennel. Before she even got to the kennel, she heard Nick crying. She ran into the other room, and he was on the floor. She said she hadn't even left him for 15 seconds. He does roll over, but generally he doesn't do it quickly. I know my mom would never do anything to even remotely put Nick in danger. She felt so bad, I felt bad for her.

Anyway, I asked a lot of questions, he seemed to be ok, but of course I was freaking out. I thought about taking him to that urgent care clinic. I decided to call his doctor's office and speak to the nurse on call. It took a while for her to call me back. In the mean time, I had arrived at my mom's house, and he seemed fine. He was talking, kicking, smiling, etc. He had no signs of bruising or anything like that. He really seemed fine, but I couldn't get it out of my head that if something happened to him, I would never forgive myself. I went back and forth debating on taking him for like an hour. I finally decided to take him home, keep him awake for a while and wait for the nurse on call to call me back.

He ate dinner fine,(whole jar of peas, whole jar of bananas) and right after the nurse called. She got some info, and decided that she too felt like he was fine, but to not let him go to sleep until 8pm at the earliest, but if I could keep him up until 9 that would be good. Now, he had not had a nap since like 4:30, so you can imagine the pile crankiness that he was last night. Anyway, she also wanted me to wake him every two hours through out the night. Make sure he was moving ok, no bruising, opening his eyes focusing etc. So, I put him down at 8, then got up EVERY TWO HOURS. Yep, 10, midnight, 2am, 4am, and 6 am. I finally stopped worrying about him at 4 am when I woke him, he smiled, started kicking and decided that it was time to play, and he did not want to go back to sleep.

I believe the right term is "baptism by fire". Honestly, with all that he has been through you would think I would be used to this, but I guess you never get used to worrying about your child.

I know that just about every child has fallen off the couch or bed, and is just fine. My mom even pointed out, that when my brother was a baby, I dropped him, on his head. And he is just fine. (although some moments, I do debate that... love ya Uncle Brian).

This morning he woke happy, giggly, smiley, and hungry. I guess he just wanted to give us more proof that he has a really hard head!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What We Have Been Up To...

We have been working on our therapy. Nick has been doing well with tummy time. He does better with his tummy time when he wants to do it. He is also working on sitting up. He sits up in my lap, and with the assistance of a bobby.

He definitely does better when he has a toy!

Mocha helps with tummy time. Nick is always more likely to actually stay on his tummy when one of the dogs participates in tummy time.

Those of you who know me well, know that I LOVE shoes. It is a sickness that I am happy to own up to, but one I will never change. Have you ever noticed the adorable shoes for babies? They are sometime irresistible. While I love shoes, I fully appreciate the fact that babies, don't. So, Nick owns, 3 pairs of shoes. He owned 2 pairs until this weekend, when I saw a pair of shoes that I could not resist purchasing for him

I think they are adorable! (By the way, on my computer, this photo is horizontal, don't know why it is flipped) Anyway, had to get these. It isn't quite cold enough for them yet, and right now, when he wears them, his main goal is taking them off and putting them in his mouth, but the really were just too cute to not buy. Technically, they are slippers, so they aren't really "shoes" right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Day of Therapy and New Foods

Nick had his first day of therapy with his therapist from Early Childhood Intervention. He worked on tummy time, and sitting up. Mandy, his therapist was great. She layed on the floor and played with him. She helped him sit up, and played with him. At first he had so much fun, then he began to realize that while she was playing with him, he still was on his tummy. He tried to put up a fight, but Mandy persisted. 45 minutes of tummy time, and sitting up. It made for one tired little man.

Some friends at my exercise class suggested I try Nick with some "big people" foods, to try to encourage a little weight gain. I thought I might give it a try. I made some home made mashed potatoes. (With Nick's formula, not milk or butter.) He liked them. This weekend, his grandma offered him a little guacamole. Loved that too. I bought him an avocado, and he has added a half an avocado to his daily meals. He loves the avocado. It has good fat, and great vitamins. I hope to make him some homemade squash and peas soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Nick loves to laugh, but he reserves it for things he finds truly funny. (meaning, not me) I have tried countless things to get him to laugh. He usually smiles at me and might even give a little chuckle, but never really a laugh. When ever dogs are around, especially if they are playing, Nick laughs and laughs. I have tried to get it on video, but trying to hold a baby, hold a video camera, and get the dogs to play... hard to do. So, I decided to go to my neighbor, PD's house. Her dogs are smaller, and like to run around. (Mine just wanted to lay there tonight.) So, I went down to PD's house and between her daughter Laura and the dogs, Nick was laughing. Still hard to get it really well on video. And of course the minute the camera is turned off, he laughs more and more, but at least it is something. It makes me smile every time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thyroid Results

Nick's doctor called this morning. She got the results of the blood work, and all was well. They did multiple tests of his thyroid function. No problems. That is a relief. So, we are continuing with the 24 calorie formula. He "weighs in" next week.
I don't know how his weight is doing, but I swear he is getting taller by the minute. I think he grew two inches just over the weekend. We even hit a milestone this weekend... we got rid of most of his 0-3 month clothes. He now wears 3 month and even some 3-6 month clothes. He never fills them out, but his body has gotten so long, he grows out of them length wise. At least I can honestly say he has gotten GOOD use out of his clothes! Most babies go through them so fast. He wore 0-3 month clothes for a good 4 months.
Photos from the weekend:

Nick loves his Uncle Brian! He will just watch him and watch him when Brian is around. He thought it was funny to wear his hat too.

He decided to put on a hat that fit better, and was a little more him. He also likes to wear that in front of my brother's girlfriend, (Aunt Chrissytoes). She isn't an Aggie fan, but we will keep her around anyway.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

8 Months

Dear Nick,

I am sorry I was a day late in posting this. We were so busy yesterday, running errands, and all that we do on the weekend. You are such a trooper to run around with me. I feel like you have changed so much in the last month. Do I say that every month?

I swear you grew 3 inches over the last two weeks! I know you probably haven't, but you have been growing. While your weight seems to never catch up to standards good enough for the doctors, your height is great. I think that is part of your weight issue, you just keep getting taller and taller. That and your CONSTANT movement.

You spend your time during the day playing, talking, rolling over to one side and back again. Your favorite time of day is breakfast and dinner. You are so social, that the opportunity to sit and have a "conversation" with me over peas, is fantastic to you. You always smile and laugh when I feed you.

It is always a toss up for me what my favorite part of the day is. I love feeding you, but at night, after you have had your bath, and bottle, and are just laying in my arms, words can never express the peace and love that I feel. You lay on my shoulder, and every once in a while, you will pop your head up and look at me and smile. You could probably ask for anything in the world at that moment, and I would get it for you.

You continue to be the biggest blessing in my life. You make me smile, you make me laugh. You are an amazing little boy. I can't wait to see what you do next.

Love you Nick,


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Photos With A Few Words

Nick loves to eat. Sometimes when he eats, I can barely get the spoon out of his mouth before he is opening it for more. I call this the "baby birdie"

He is getting better at tummy time. He even enjoys it, especially when he can be on the bed and look down at the dogs playing. I swear my hands were only off for a second. Long enough to take the photo!