Saturday, February 13, 2010

Life with Drew at Home

February 13, 2010
When I woke up this morning Michelle was sitting with Drew. She had just fed him and just wanted to sit and hold him. I only woke up a few times during the night, but none of those times were because of Drew. At least that is what I think. Michelle said she slept better than the night before. When I called Michelle from work around nine this morning she mentioned that she was able to sleep for over two hours between feedings. I told her to take advantage of those times as much as possible. Nettie was going to come over during the day to hang out with Michelle, but she wasn’t feeling very well so she didn’t end up coming. Michelle managed to get ready for the day by the time I arrived home. She was sitting in the chair holding Drew like usual. After a quick snack we decided we would give him his first bath. I guess Michelle gave the bath and I just took pictures. He seemed to like it for the most part. After the bath we took the opportunity to take some pictures of Drew without his canula on his face. He really does have a lot of Martin in him. That nose of his. He was just so content laying there looking at us. He now smells so good. Since we needed a few more supplies for the baby and for us, Michelle left me with the baby and headed to Wal-Mart. Drew just slept on my chest as I watched the recording of last nights Olympic opening ceremony. Two hours later Michelle walked in with Aubrey. I was beginning to wonder if something had appended to her. Aubrey came over to make us dinner. The shredded pork burritos were great. We appreciate her friendship. Drew has been eating so well today and I think he could reach five pound in the next two days. Ok, maybe not, but at this rate he will get big fast. I hope that he has another good night and that Michelle will be able to rest even more. She is a trooper. Well it is my bed time so I will call it a night.

February 14, 2010
Happy Birthday Arizona! Happy Valentine’s Day also. It hasn’t been too exciting of a day. I had an ok day at work and Michelle just hung out with Drew. Last night Drew only woke up once to eat so Michelle got some good sleep. When I got home from work I found both of them asleep in our room. I decided to join in on the relaxation. It was a well needed break. Tina and Ben came over to visit and brought us dinner. It was very good and we enjoyed the company. We watched the Olympics and I am glad there is finally something on TV that Michelle likes to watch. Now it is time for bed once again. This is a short note, but not much has happened today. With that said I probably won’t write something every day. It will be at least once a week or when something exciting or fun happens (like tomorrow when he has his first doctor’s appointment). There isn’t much to say. Have a good night, or morning, depending on when you read this.

February 15, 2010
Drew didn’t have quite as good of a night as he did the night before. Neither Michelle nor I got a lot of sleep. Aubrey came buy and helped watch Drew while Michelle got a few things out of the shed. Now that she is losing weight she can’t wait to get back into her old clothes. Her Mom will come later in the week to help her go through our cupboards and other indoor storage to see what we can put in the outside storage to free up some space for baby things. I got off of work a little early so I could change in time for Drew’s doctor’s appointment. Drew was dressed up in the cutest little outfit. Several people in our ward have let us borrow preemie clothes and we deeply appreciate it. As soon as Michelle got ready we packed Drew up and were on our way. The first thing we did was weight and measure Drew. Over the weekend Drew gained 4 oz. to make him 4 lbs 13 oz. He now measures 18.5 inches long. He is just growing so much. Drew’s heart, lungs, and bowels sounded good, but his eye left eye is still a little goopy. We might continue to use the ointment for a few more days. The doctor is in no hurry to get Drew off of his oxygen. He still works a little at his breathing so the oxygen will allow him to grow and get stronger without having to work as hard. We will just see what time brings. The doctor also is trying to get our insurance to approve Synagis, an immunization to help prevent RSV. He thinks this would be very beneficial to Drew, but it also cost over 1500 dollars per shot and they would give it once a month till RSV season is over. He will let us know if we are approved. Other than that things look good. We will meet with him in a week and see if Drew has grown any more. We will also discuss his circumcision. The doctor wants him strong so when he has it done it won’t mess up his good schedule any more than needed. Tonight Michelle’s parents and her sister Chelsea and her husband Darren drove back from California. They stopped by to get Chelsea and Darren’s car and to see Drew. We ended up having dinner together along with Tina and Ben. It is always fun to get together. After they left Drew just slept on my chest like he usually does. He loves his Dad, and Mom, very much. Well I have one more day left of work and am glad to have it over and be home with Michelle and Drew.

February 22, 2010
So Drew has had a good week, but Michelle and I haven’t. I started not feeling well during my first few days back to work and it got worse the last few days of work. I had a sore throat with body and headaches. Motrin became my best friend, but it didn’t solve everything. When my work week was over I was dead. I was sad I couldn’t be of much help to Michelle and I think she was sad that with me sick she couldn’t just get out of the house for a little bit. Every time that Michelle would get up with Drew during the night she said I would just toss and turn. She is such a trooper for getting up and taking care of our child with little help. By Saturday I had had enough and got a prescription for an antibiotic. By Sunday morning my throat pain was much better, but still present, but Michelle complained of body and breast pain. Aubrey was already planning on coming over to watch Drew so Michelle and I could go to sacrament meeting, but with Michelle not feeling well I just went by myself and Aubrey watched Drew while Michelle rested. When I got home Michelle had the chills and was just shaking in bed. I got her our electric blanket and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. She had called the doctor while I was gone and they were sure she had mastitis and had called her in a prescription. I went and picked it up while Aubrey was still around and made sure she took the medication with some Motrin as soon as I walked in the door. We appreciate Aubrey’s service. She is such a good friend. I then held Michelle as she just kept on saying how cold she was. It is hard for Michelle when she is sick. She thinks it is so stupid and gets very emotional. I felt bad for her. After a few hours Michelle called her Mom to see if maybe she could come up the next day to help out with things. Carol decided to come up right then. After she arrived we made sure that Michelle took a bath and messaged herself. You could totally tell she was in pain. Luckily several of Michelle’s sisters had had mastitis before and could give some good advice. It was nice to have Carol here to help take care of Drew during the night. Michelle still got up to pump, but could go back to bed while Carol would feed Drew his bottles and hold him if he wasn’t sleeping. I just slept on the couch. By this morning Michelle is feeling much better, but still has her moments. I am also feeling better, but still not feeling myself and I hate the thought of starting work again and not being better. Drew had another doctor’s appointment this morning. The doctor just wanted to check his weight gain and reevaluate when he would do his circumcision. Michelle, Carol, and I took bets on what his weight would be. Carol said 5lbs 1oz, I said 5lbs 3oz, and Michelle said 5lbs 4oz. Before we stepped into the appointment I changed my guess to 5lbs 6oz. None of us were correct. Drew had gained a whopping 12oz since his last appointment one week ago. He is now 5lbs 9oz. At this rate he will be close to eight pounds by the time he hits his actual due date. Drew will return for another appointment in two weeks. He will have his circumcision done then and we will check his weight again. When we got home we gave Drew a bath. We made sure to put him in the preemie outfits we had been given before he got too big for them. We think he enjoys his bath time a lot. After his bath Michelle and I joined my old roommate Scott Lee for lunch to celebrate his new engagement. We hadn’t seen him for a year and it was nice to catch up on life. When we returned home Carol was asleep on the couch so we attempted to take a nap ourselves, but Drew wasn’t going to have it. He does sleep a lot, but he does it very noisily. He will have his eyes closed, but will then grunt every couple of seconds, then stop for a minute or so and start again. After about two hours of this Carol came in and took Drew out of the room, Michelle was able to get back to sleep, but I was done. Once Michelle was ready we made quiche and hash browns for dinner and then watched some TV. Carol is going to spend the night and watch Drew while Michelle and I sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa Woolley’s. This could be interesting, but Michelle thinks it is a good idea so both of us can get some good rest and get better. I will let you know how it goes.

March 4, 2010
I can finally say that I feel better. My throat no longer hurts and the rash I got on Wednesday is going away. It feels good to feel good. Michelle no longer has mastitis, but then she started feeling some other pains and they thought she might have a yeast infection. Needless to say she has taken an antibiotic for that and she still has reoccurring pain. Drew has continued to grow and we can’t wait to see what his stats are when he has his appointment on Monday. We continue to enjoy him every day and can’t believe what a good baby he is. Below are a few select pictures, and comments, that I have taken since my last entry on the 22nd.

Drew tried out his new vibrating recliner as well as enjoyed a visit from his Aunt Tina. On the 24th of February we helped celebrate Tina's birthday with a cake made by her husband Ben.

Rachael made a visit to see Drew and wanted a new picture with him. Our cousin Amy also came along, but she wouldn't appreciate me posting the Rachael took of her.

Michelle and I have been blessed to have great family and friends (Tina and Aubrey) that have watched Drew as we have attended church and a few activities. On Februry 26th Tina watched Drew while we had a little friend get together at Shan and Jed's new house and enjoyed catching up. We can't wait to be able to take Drew to one of these so he can play with all of the other kids. Michelle and Nettie love our nephew Bracken.

Our friend Sarah, above, has a little boy named Drew, not short for Andrew, just Drew. Shan and Jed, below, are expecting their first baby in the next few months and its going to be another boy. We will have quite the group of boys. We missed Kim and Mark, and Bill and Karen, with their boys Kaden and Sam.

Michelle took Drew on his first ride in the stroller while I was at work. I'm not sure who took the picture. She said that he enjoyed it very much.

Michelle just loves putting Drew in all of these cute little outfits. He just looks like a little Man.

Michelle was able to go with Grandma and Grandpa Woolley to visit her Aunt Kathy for a few hours. Kathy resisted holding him, but Michelle forced her so she could take a picture of the two of them together.

Michelle's Mom, Carol, hadn't gotten a picture with Drew yet so we thought we should get one. My mom is coming in a few weeks and will be sure to get many pictures with him.

Drew really loves spending time with his dad. I have to admit that I love it a lot too.

Drew loves his bath times. We always have thee urge to get out the camera during this activity. He will have plenty of bath pictures for his mom to share when he starts dating. We try to sensor them as much as possible.

Drew is our little HERO. We love this outfit a coworker of mine gave me. I love the expression on his face.

Drew loves speding cuddle time with Mommy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home..... Bringing Home Baby

February 12, 2010
I called Michelle around 8 am to see how the night had gone. She didn’t get any sleep at all. Drew’s oxygen monitor was constantly beeping and Drew wasn’t as comfortable as he usually is at night. She also said he didn’t eat as much as usual each time, but he ate more frequently. When she returned him to the NICU they wrapped him in a warm blanket and he was calm again and his oxygen up. She just had to wait for morning rounds to see if Drew would be able to go home. I just waited for my phone to ring with the decision. I hoped that if he was released that I would be able to visit both of them and help them get situated in the car. Around 10:45 Michelle called to tell me that they would be releasing him right then, but first they would take him to our pediatrician’s office up stairs to weigh him on their scale. Since I hadn’t taken my break I met them there. Drew was still 4 lbs 9 oz. Before we left, Dr. Templeman our pediatrician, came in to say hi. We will have an appointment with him on Monday after I get off of work. I then pulled the car up to the front doors and the nurse helped Michelle carry Drew and his oxygen and monitor outside. It was exciting to watch Michelle place him in the car. I was able to take Drew on his first car ride from the NICU to the building where I work on the other side of the hospital. I was sad to have to go back to work, but I knew that Michelle could handle him by herself for a few hours.

As soon as I could, I got off of work and headed home. When I arrived Drew was wrapped up and lying on the couch asleep. He looked so cute. Home Health came to drop off another portable oxygen tank and a larger oxygen tank for longer use. Michelle’s co-workers planned a baby shower for her at Primary Children’s. The theme was children’s books. This meant that I was already being put in charge of our little boy all by myself. Everything went great. Drew slept on my chest most of the time, but I was able to change him and feed him his bottle without a problem. Later Nettie stopped by and couldn’t wait to hold him. She didn’t ask me if she could, but I knew she really wanted to so I offered him to her. I made sure she washed her hands and also used hand sanitizer. She just couldn’t believe how small he still was. I guess for me that is what I am use to. Michelle soon arrived home and showed us all the great stuff she was given at her shower. She has great friends and co-workers. She said that she was glad she was able to go back to PCMC and realize how much she likes it there. The rest of the evening consisted of just holding and feeding Drew while we watched television and discussed what we needed to get at the store. Drew is eating really well tonight. I think he will gain weight just fine. We also hope that it will help him sleep well tonight. I will let you know tomorrow how my first night goes. I better try and get to bed while things are still quiet.

Before I bid you farewell I just want to thank all those who have been so supportive, caring, and concerned about all of us, especially Drew, during the last few weeks. I know that many of you would like to see him, but I want to reiterate the fact that we want to keep him from getting sick. Please make sure and call before visiting to make sure it’s ok and don’t visit if you are feeling sick. I will stop now so I don’t sound too anal. We will enjoy seeing everyone in due time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our NICU Experience Part II

February 3, 2010
As we walked in this morning we noticed that his oxygen flow was turned down to 1 and that his nasal canula had been changed out to a smaller, non humidified, canula. They will now decrease his flow by a quarter each day till he is officially on room air. With the humidity gone there would be no more flooding his nose. Michelle tried breast feeding again in the morning and once again not a lot happened, but it was OK. The nurse practitioner came in after rounds and told us they would be fortifying her breast milk to add calcium and also to add just a few extra calories. While the lactation specialist was working with the woman next to us Michelle asked if she would visit her next. Michelle had been a little soar and wondered what could be done. The nurse in labor and delivery had told her to use the smallest pump size, but the specialist said she should use the biggest. When she felt Michelle’s breast she could tell that she was engorged and she wasn’t emptying them out like she should. She suggested she take a hot shower, massage them, and then pump right after. She also suggested she get a bra that fit. Grandma and Grandpa Woolley came to visit. Grandpa had seen him the day before, but grandma wasn’t around at the time and couldn’t wait any longer to see him for the first time in person. It was great to have them visit. After Drew’s 3 pm cares, Michelle went to the store to pick some things up and left me alone to complete his 6 pm cares. Every Wednesday night they have parent’s hour where they serve a light dinner and then have a specialist come in and talk about different rotating subjects. Michelle and I attended tonight and it was all about the development of preemies and how the way you interact, treat, and take care of them can affect their development. It was interesting to learn the different things that full term babies like that cause irritation and distress to premature babies and the different ways you can sooth them as well as the ways they sooth themselves. We enjoyed meeting and hearing the stories of a few others that are in our same situation. After the meeting we went home so Michelle could take that shower. She admitted that it really did the trick. At 9 pm we returned again for Drew’s cares. When it was time to play the weight gain game I won once again. He gained another ounce. He is now 1940 grams or 4 lbs 4 oz. He is getting so big. Earlier in the day the lactation specialist suggested using a breast feeding shield and pumping his nights feeding from a syringe through a tube into the shield so he could practice sucking while getting some milk without having to try too hard. It also would help him associate the breast with eating. Before the milk was ready Michelle had him latch on. He went at it like a crazy man. When the milk was ready the nurse showed me how to place the tube and then told me to lightly push milk in only when he was sucking. He hesitated for a little bit, but then he went at it for a few minutes. I probably dispensed a third of an ounce when Michelle noticed the pillow under her was wet with milk. Needless to say a majority of the milk I had given ended up on the pillow and not in his mouth, but when we unlatched him he had a good deal of milk on his face. He looked so cute all messy. We know he must have gotten at least a little bit of milk in his stomach. The rest of his feeding was given through his NG tube. Aubrey stopped by after that and we had a good chat. On our way out tonight, Drew’s monitor started beeping because his oxygen had decreased and his heart rate dropped. When we went back in the room with the nurse he had thrown up all over his fresh blanket and clothes. It looks like he has reflex, so we will talk to them about getting him a prescription tomorrow. We are very please by today’s events and Drew’s progress. It makes us so happy.

February 4, 2010
We started the day off with an attempt to breast feed using the nipple shield and syringe like last night and we think it was more successful because there wasn’t a huge puddle of milk after we finished. Michelle will try real breast feeding later tonight. He held his oxygen quite well all night and morning so they decided to move him down to half a liter of flow. Maybe by his two week birthday he will be on room air. In between cares Michelle and I took an online driving course. Metlife, our auto insurance company, will decrease our 6 month rate by 10% for both of us for three years if we each took the course. Because I like to save money on occasion we decided to do it. It took a little longer than expected, but was fun to do together. This afternoon Michelle took a little time off and went to get a pedicure. She had gotten a gift certificate from a coworker for Christmas to the Finnish Touch Day Spa and I told her she should use it now while she has time. In her absence I completed his 3 pm cares. For the second day in a row while I was changing him he started pooping again. After a few minutes of waiting I got him a new diaper and within 30 seconds he pooped again. Lucky for me it didn’t fly too far and get on me. During his 6pm cares Michelle and I took a little infant CPR class. One of the mothers in our same NICU area, that had twins, is the daughter of one of my old co-workers. Her mother attended the class and it was fun to talk with her and introduce her to Michelle. After the class we made a quick trip home to eat dinner and watch some TV and then we came back for his 9pm cares. Drew only gained a third of an ounce today putting him at 1950 grams, still 4 lbs 4 oz. Michelle tried breast feeding and he did really well for 5 minutes. We could hear him swallowing and everything. The NICU considers 10 minutes of good feeding a full feed so because he did 5 minutes of sucking, but we weren’t sure how good he did we gave him two thirds of his feeding through his NG tube. One of Michelle’s friends that works in the NICU was working tonight and came in to visit. It has been fun having so many nurses that Michelle knows from past employment and apartment complexes. It gives us comfort knowing personally those that are watching and taking care of our baby.

February 5, 2010
The NP decided to change Drew’s oxygen flow to a quarter of a liter. He has been really consistent over the last few days. Michelle’s 9 am breast feeding session didn’t show any real progress. Drew seems to like his night session better than the morning. We gave his whole feeding through the NG tube. Michelle held him till his feeding was complete and then once again I sent Michelle off to take care of herself. She took a few hours off to get her hair cut and colored. She only got it trimmed because she has decided that with the baby she wants to be able to put it in a pony tail fast. I stayed at the hospital for another hour and a half to do his noon cares and then hold him for a little bit. I then hurried home to try and sell my red car which was a success. Sad to see it go, but glad to have it out of the driveway. Michelle returned home for a quick lunch and then she returned to the hospital to do his 3 pm cares while I stayed home. When she returned, she reported that he was wide awake just looking at her. While we had been gone they turned his oxygen flow back up to half a liter because his oxygen saturation was varying a little more. We ate a good Italian dinner, all from frozen packages, except the salad, and watched some TV together. When we returned for Drew’s 9 pm cares he started waking up on his own. I think he is learning his schedule. We did his cares and then put him on the scale. We wondered what weight class he would be in tonight. He ended up gaining over an ounce. He is now 1985 grams or 4 lbs 6 oz. He is becoming a real fatty. Michelle tried breast feeding again and although he was latched on for 15 minutes he only sucked for about 5. We again decided to give him 2/3rds of his feeding again through the NG tube. Our friend Erin, who is a charge nurse in the NICU, said we could start introducing a bottle if we wanted and see if he is any more interested in that. Michelle wants to try that tomorrow morning. Before leaving I held him for a few minutes and made sure he fell asleep. On our way out we asked the nurses if he ever cried at night and they said no. He isn’t much of a crier at all, at least for now. I learned today that after about two weeks of life babies will start to increase the amount of crying they do that isn’t related to any certain problem. Then over the next two months it will continue to increase and then peak to possibly 5 hours a day, which is still considered normal, and then decrease over the next two to three months. Maybe Drew is waiting till his two week birthday on Sunday to show us what he’s got. I hope not for both our sakes, but we will still love him either way.

February 6, 2010
I decided to sleep in a little this morning while Michelle took care of Drew’s 9 am cares. After I woke up, got ready, and then sent out my journal update and pictures from yesterday I headed for the hospital. Drew’s flow was still at half a liter when I got in this morning. There is no rush getting him off of this thing because if he can’t breathe, none of the other stuff really matters. During his morning feed Michelle just tried a bottle. He was pretty sleepy, but still managed to take about half his feed by bottle and the rest through his NG tube. I guess you can call it progress. He was a little more awake around noon while my sister Rachael came to visit. It was nice talking to her and we actually talked in the parents lounge for almost three hours. By then it was time for his 3 pm cares and Michelle’s parents came to visit. Later in the afternoon we had visits from our friends Michelle and Mike, and then Michelle’s sister Dy and her husband Brett and their son Bracken. I must say it’s been one of the more busy days for having people visit us. Michelle was nice enough to start a roast before she left this morning and I ate like a king. At least that is what I told her and then we both just started laughing. I am not sure why that was so funny. This evening we had one final visitor, Aubrey, one of Michelle’s old roommates and close friend. Unfortunately back at the hospital we were not able to weigh Drew during his 9 pm cares. His nurse was busy with her other baby and just had Michelle start feeding him. She will weigh him during his midnight cares. Drew was an all-star tonight at breast feeding. He breast fed for a total of 18 minutes. He originally did 11 good minutes on one side and we thought he was done, but he was wide awake so Michelle tried the other side and he did another 7 good minutes. That is a whole feeding without using the NG tube. If he keeps that up then we will be on step two of his feeding process by Monday which will increase his oral feedings to four times a day instead of twice. Michelle has this notion that Drew could come home this coming Friday. I’m thinking the Wednesday after, but we will see what Drew decides. We are proud of his breast feeding accomplishments tonight and hope he continues impressing us tomorrow.

February 7, 2010
Today is Drew’s two week birthday. He’s so young, yet getting so old. He is bigger over all, but not up from two days ago, he was down 10 grams (about a third of an ounce) from the night of the 5th (now 1975 grams). It wasn’t what we wanted to see, but it seems like he is just getting a little tired from having to finish developing and learning all those things most babies learn inside the womb. He was still on half a liter of oxygen and most likely he will be on that for a couple more days. He wasn’t very awake during his 9 am cares so Michelle decided not to breast feed. We only get two chances a day to prove he can do it so we have to choose wisely. Both Michelle and I took a little nap in between cares. The nurse got us when it was time for rounds. The neonatologist and nurse practitioner thought he was doing well, but because he wasn’t gaining as much weight as they would like they increased his calories per ounce of milk from 2 to 4, that is they will now add 4 more calories to Michelle’s 20 calorie breast milk to help him put on the weight. We are OK with that. We have liked this neonatologist these past two days because she has actually looked at our child and listened to him each day. The one we had the last week only looked at him once. I’m sure he’s charging us an arm and a leg, though, to just say things are going well. Speaking of costs, I didn’t mention that I got an update on how much it is costing so far without insurance deductions, over $80,000, and that is just for the hospital, not including the doctor’s bills. Since I know he won’t get out of here any sooner than a week the number will only get bigger. Thank goodness for insurance. I don’t know how someone would be able to do this without it. On to better things, Michelle breast fed Drew during his noon cares. He did another great job. We hope he does well tonight and that they will be able to increase his oral feedings soon. While Michelle finished up with Drew, I went to a baby blessing of some of our good friends, Matt and Michelle. Their daughter Maggie was blessed and it was a great experience to participate and be reminded of what I will be doing in the future. We actually think we will bless Drew on Sunday May 2nd. This way he is a little bigger, the RSV season will be at its end, and it is mine and Michelle’s two year anniversary. Not to mention I have that day off of work. Michelle had met me before the meeting was over and when it was finished we went to their apartment for some good food. We then returned home, took a rest, and then went to Grandma and Grandpa Woolley’s for dinner. Since Drew was born we haven’t had a lot of time to see them. It was great to pay them a visit. After Michelle pumped we headed for the hospital. I visited with some friends of mine across the room from us and then Nettie came to visit. Tonight they did all of his measurements. He gained 20 grams (1995 grams / 4 lbs 6 oz), his length is up half an inch (17.75 in), and his head is still the same (32 cm). We like those numbers, and hope that he hits the 2000 gram mark tomorrow. Drew continued with his awesome breast feeding. He breast fed for 25 minutes. I’m sure he won’t be going to bed hungry tonight. All in all, our little boy is a rock star like his mom, and I think he had a great two week birthday.

February 8, 2010
Drew actually started to wake up when we got to the hospital this morning. Michelle was eager to try breast feeding again, because if he took another full feeding they might start Drew on the second step of the feeding process. Little Drew pulled through for us and fed for 17 minutes. During rounds they decided to move him to the second step in his feedings. That means every other feeding will be by mouth. We are so glad to see him progress. They will still leave him on half a liter of oxygen, but again we are in no hurry to take him off of it. His left eye has gotten a little goopy so they started a five day treatment of erythromycin to help clear it up. One of the lactation specialists came in and wanted us to weigh Drew before and after a feeding to see approximately how much milk he is getting from Michelle. They use a scale that is slightly more accurate than the one they use each evening for normal weight. Since she had just breast fed him that morning and he was now on every other feeds, we decided on doing it during his 3 pm feeding. After his noon cares Michelle and I ate lunch in the parent’s lounge and then took a walk to the 7-eleven a few blocks away. Michelle loves slurpees and while she was on bed rest she kept on saying she wanted one. I kept meaning to pick one up for her, but didn’t get around to it and then the whole baby thing happened. We shared a large pina colada, wild cherry, with a banana top slurpee with two straws and walked down State Street for a little while. I think it was romantic, but Michelle thought it would’ve been better if we were pushing a stroller with baby Drew in it. We returned a little before his 3 pm cares and took a little nap. Just as the lactation specialist wanted, we weighed Drew before his feeding. He completed his feeding and when we weighed him he only gained 8 grams. They consider each gram about 1ml of milk. That is less than a third of an ounce that it said he got. Michelle now fears that she has been starving our child. We will see later tonight if he has gained any weight. Michelle and I took a break for dinner. I made some Pei Wei Mongolian Beef with green onions and mushrooms. I got the recipe on line a few months ago and have made it a few times. Michelle just loves it. After dinner we watched the show Medium. I guess I watched it and Michelle took a nap. A little before 9 pm I woke Michelle up and we headed back to the NICU. Before starting his cares, Michelle and I looked through his chart. We found his growth chart with his percentiles at birth. He was 21% for weight, 41% for height, and 75% for head circumference. This is based off of his gestational age of 33 weeks and 4 days. After taking his temperature and changing his diaper, we weighed Drew twice. Once on the normal scale and once on the feeding scale. Drew is now a total of 2030 grams or 4 lbs 7.6 oz. He just needs 11 more grams to hit the 4 and a half pound mark. Drew fed for a good 15 minutes and I told him I expected him to double the amount of milk intake from last time. He was a good listener and did just that. He went up 16 grams. Since he is doing full feedings at the breast (that is feeding for 10 or more minutes) and still gaining weight they aren’t worried just yet about giving him extra milk to supplement the lower amounts of milk received during breast feeding. Since Drew is on this every other feeding thing, Michelle will be heading to the hospital at 3 in the morning to do it once again. If things continue to look good she and maybe I will be sleeping in a room at the hospital to make things easier. It is either that or introduce the bottle. Letting the nurse give the bottle might be easier, but I will leave it up to Michelle. Till then I will enjoy sleeping in my own bed.

February 9, 2010
Michelle didn’t have the energy to get up and pump at 1230 this morning, and since they say you can go five hours without pumping she just slept. That is until her alarm clock went off at 230 in the morning to make it to the hospital for Drew’s 3 am feeding at which he did very well. I didn’t even hear her come back home. She is a trooper. At 9 am Drew finished his first day of every other oral feedings. We also did another weigh before and after and he gained 16 grams. They say that is a decent amount for a premie/newborn. After Drew breast feeds, Michelle will usually pump afterwards to make sure that she’s gotten all the milk that she can. This particular time she was trying to do too many things at once and forgot to put the lids on the bottles and spilled all of the milk on the ground. I think she’s losing it. During rounds they didn’t change anything. They would continue to use the eye ointment, but it already looks a lot better. At this point Drew just needs to continue to progress with his feedings and continue to gain weight before he can go home. Drew has been more and more awake during his feedings and even waking up or squirming right before them. That is a good sign he is getting on a schedule. He is even still awake after we feed him. He just loves to look around and up at us while we hold him. His 3 pm feeding went just as well as his 9 am feeding, but this time we didn’t weigh him. We figured he has been getting a decent amount of milk. Back at home Nettie came to visit and stayed a while. She still can’t believe that Michelle is a mother. Later Kiffin and Brian came to visit us and brought us some dinner. It was nice of them to use part of their date night to come see us and render some service. When it was time to weight Drew this evening we prayed that he would gain weight. He did, but not a lot. He is now 2040 grams or 4 lbs 8 oz. If we end up going to all feedings by mouth then we will talk to the doctor about alternating breast feeding and bottle feeding so we can make sure he gets enough calories and gains weight. Michelle will also bring up what our options will be with his oxygen in case his feedings are complete and he can come home before he is weaned off. There is a good chance that will happen since he had another great feeding tonight. Michelle goes back and forth between excitement and fear of bringing Drew home. I keep telling her to take it one step at a time and not to get ahead of ourselves. I am sure everything will work out the way it should be. We just need patience. We better get to bed because both of us, especially Michelle, have a busy morning ahead of us. I start work tomorrow and it will be hard to finish a whole 7 days since I have had almost three weeks off. Wish us both luck.

February 10, 2010
Michelle said that I laughed in my sleep this morning as she got back in to bed from feeding Drew at the hospital. It was a little after 4 am. She thinks I was either just laughing because I got to sleep in till 420 while she had gotten up several times during the night or I was just having a good dream. I don’t remember a thing. Long after I was away at work, I just started my work week, Michelle woke up and got ready to take care of Drew by herself. He did well again at breast feeding. She went to rounds and they decided that they would move him to stage three of feedings. They would now let him eat whenever he gave the right cues of being hungry. They would allow a maximum of 4 hours between feedings, but the point is for the baby to want to eat and alert the parents when it was ready to eat. Because he still isn’t gaining as much weight as they would like we must alternate breast feeding with bottle feeding. They also discussed that Drew didn’t need an eye exam because he didn’t meet the criteria and that they would put him on scant flow oxygen. Scant flow uses 100% oxygen, but in a very small amounts of flow. Michelle gave me a call while she was waiting for her OB/GYN appointment. It will be hard not to be there for all of the action. Her doctor’s appointment went well and Dr. Brown said her incision looks great. A little after noon Michelle gave Drew his second bottle ever. He took just over an ounce. After work I made a visit to the NICU and took care of his cares before I went home to eat some dinner and change clothes. Michelle was going to join me later, but decided to just hang out at the hospital. Tonight was the weekly parent’s hour. There were three couples in attendance, including us, along with volunteers and past NICU parents. It was fun to listen to each other’s stories and see the commonalities and differences with each child. We then visited little Drew and got ready for him to wake up again to eat. Our nurse Jennifer gave us a gift for Drew. It was a knit hat that she made. It was so nice of her. Jennifer is one of our primary care nurses. After mom changed Drew we weighed him. Again he didn’t gain much weight, only a half an ounce. He is now 2055 grams or 4 lbs 8.5 oz. Hopefully it goes up even more tomorrow night. I had the honor of feeding Drew his bottle this evening. Michelle kept laughing at me and saying that I looked funny feeding him. I don’t know what she means. I thought I was doing fine. I am afraid that Michelle won’t trust anyone, but herself, if even that, to feed or take care of our child right now. I don’t blame her. There is still that fear of taking care of such a young baby at home. We will just have to be extra alert and careful with how we handle him and especially with who he is around. We will be Nazis when it comes to visitors. Friends are plenty, but children are few, so don’t be mad at us if we don’t let you see our baby for a while. RSV is still at large and we have heard stories as well as had family that have recently dealt with it. Michelle is staying at the hospital tonight in one of their hotel rooms. She doesn’t want to miss a feeding. She is willing to lose sleep to be with the baby. Hopefully he does well on his scant flow over night and that Michelle, and I, will feel more comfortable with the idea of bringing him home. There is both excitement and fear, but it will feel good to be home.

February 11, 2010
Today has been a very good day. Michelle didn’t get much sleep last night. It wasn’t because she was feeding the baby every three and a half hours. It was more because of all the noise and talking she could hear from her room and the bed isn’t that comfortable either. He did really well with his feedings last night, but started to be a little more vocal when it was time to eat. I guess that can be a good thing. Drew is on his second day of taking all of his feedings by mouth. During rounds they said that if he gained weight tonight and continued to do well with his feedings then he could go home tomorrow. Michelle was thrilled. Since it was possible he could be going home they wanted Michelle to bring our car seat to the hospital so they could make sure it would properly support him. When she had a chance, she went home to shower and pick up the car seat along with some other belongings for Drew. Drew continued to feed throughout the day. A little after noon, they decided to do his car seat test. All they do is place him in the car seat, like you normally would, and then see if his oxygen decreased. They would do it for at least an hour and a half, and if he wasn’t able to keep his oxygen up they would rent you a seat that allowed him to lay flat. Luckily for us he passed. Michelle sent me some pictures while I was at work. As soon as I got off of work I headed to the NICU. When I got there I noticed something was missing, it was our baby. They had taken him to get a hearing test. The speech therapist said he passed with flying colors. A little while later he was ready to eat once again. I had the privilege of feeding him his bottle and I did another great job. The nutritionist paid us a visit and informed us how to add calories to his bottles, and then Home care came to drop off his portable oxygen tank and his monitor. When we had a chance, Michelle and I headed home to clean the house and get some stuff for Michelle’s hotel stay. Since Drew was still on track to go home tomorrow they would allow us to stay in the hotel room with Drew and his oxygen and monitors to give it a test run. After shift change we weighed Drew. This could be the one thing that could stop him from coming home. If he lost weight they would most likely want to keep him a little longer. We put him on the scale and…………… he gained 30 grams for a total of 2085 grams or 4 lbs 9.5 oz. We were so proud and happy. Besides gaining weight, Drew also lost his umbilical cord. We had been waiting for that to happen. Michelle then fed him and then we hooked him to his portable oxygen and headed to the hotel room. When there, we hooked him up to the monitor that we had received earlier in the day and then the nurse left. Let me just say that the alarm on the monitor is annoying. I hope we can handle it. Just a little while after the nurse left, Drew acted hungry. Michelle fed him again and he was a little upset because the milk doesn’t come out as quick as a bottle. He has been a little squirmy, but as of right now he is quiet. It is weird to think that we will bring him home soon. Unfortunately I have to work, but can’t wait to see him when I get home. This parenthood stuff has already been an adventure and it is bound to bring more surprises in the future. Wish us luck.