Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Future's so Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

I know I haven't written in a while so I will try to be better about that.  It is not easy working full time with 2 kids and a hubby that works nights.  By the time they are in bed, I am about to pass out myself!

Today was a pretty big day for the Yarbrough family.  Lennon had her first appointment at the developmental clinic.  I was a nervous wreck.  I know she is doing great considering where she started, but any time your child is getting assessed by professionals, it is terrifying!  I was scared that my radar was off and that they were going to come back and tell me something was up either with her physically or developmentally.  I was scared because I am not used to being on this side of the assessments.

When we arrived at the clinic, there was the typical paperwork; consents, privacy papers, yada yada yada.  They also had me fill out a medical background form for her and her family.  Then the nurse called us back and asked the same questions.  The thing that irks me is that they had all the paperwork from the special care nursery.  It is not like I was going to give them any new information.  But, I filled it all out.  Redundancy at its finest.

One sweet thing was that the nurses were arguing over who got to take care of Lennon.  It was nice to see that.  The nurses kept talking about how sweet she looked and how cute she is.  I have to agree if I do say so myself!  I just told them that I will have to remember all that they said when I was bouncing on the ball to get her to sleep :-)

The developmental specialist was the first to come in.  She was so sweet!  She played with Lennon and asked me a few questions about Lennon's abilities.  She was surprised to see how wonderful her head control is and how close she is to sitting up without support.  She was amazed at how expressive she is.  Lennon of course ate all this attention up!  She put on a good show for the specialist.

The Developmental Neurologist came in to talk to me about how she is progressing physically.  She is gaining weight, head circumference, and height wonderfully.  She wants to see a bit more weight put on, but lets be honest, is anyone really surprised by that??  She said it was good to see that her nutrition appears to be going to support her brain development.

The neurologist shared with me that Big Wake will be putting in rooms in their NICU to encourage parents to stay overnights.  That would have been awesome when Lennon was still at Rex.  I told her about how Lennon had trouble bottle feeding and how that would have been awesome to be able to stay over and nurse at every feeding.  She said that is one of the main reason she fought for that.

The specialists both agreed that Lennon is meeting or exceeding all expectations at this point.  They do not want to see her for another year unless something drastic changes!  We go back in a year to complete the Bailey Developmental Assessment.

Oh, and we have officially broken into the double digits!  She is 10lbs, 4 oz and 23 inches long!  Grow baby, Grow!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Only my closest of friends know this, but right after Lennon was born I had/possibly still have postpartum depression.  It is so tough to say that!  Why is that so hard?  It makes no sense.  I have no problems letting the world know when I am mad, but no one ever wants to admit when they are sad or overwhelmed...  I hope by writing this that I can help someone else not wait as long before getting help!

After Lennon was born, I knew I would be an emotional wreck.  It is just part of having a baby and all the hormones.  I was fine for the first week or so.  I joked with friends and Collin in the hospital, talked with family.  I was a bit excitable, but not really emotional until the last day in the hospital.  

As time went on and Lennon was in the hospital longer and longer, things started to unravel for me.  I was so overwhelmed with trying to stay strong for my son and husband.  I also have always been able to deal with most situations with inappropriate comments and humor.  It has always helped get me through just about anything.  But after about 2-3 weeks, I stopped laughing and joking.  Everything made me angry or cry.  I would flip out over nothing.  All I cared about was getting to the hospital every day to be with Lennon.  Everything else was just going through the motions.  Anything that happened out of the schedule I had established would set me off; even if it was something fun.  

Finally, after going through this for about 2 weeks, I knew I had to do something.  I called my doctor and left a voicemail on the nurse line.  Let me rephrase... I left a blubbering mess on the voicemail.  This was in the car on the way home from the hospital.  I was met in the driveway by the nurse from the health department.  I then proceeded to cry at her too.  Bless her heart... I don't think she was prepared for me that day!  A couple hours later, I got a call back from the nurse at my doctor's office.  She was amazingly patient and caring.  I told her I didn't know if this was normal for a mom of a preemie or if this was depression or what this was.  I never had this with Van, so I didn't see how this could be due to hormones.  She talked to my doctor and got a prescription for meds sent over to the drug store within the hour.  

Once I started on the medication (Zoloft), I realized how bad it really was.  The only way to explain it is how you feel on the first sunny day after a week of rainy days.  I just remember the days feeling so dark and heavy.  Collin said it was like night and day after I started the meds.  He was so relieved to have his wife back. I am sure Van was happier too.  It did not take away my worries or numb my feelings; it proved to be a tool to help me control my emotions and not let them control me.  

If you or someone you know is showing signs of postpartum depression, get help!  Being a new mom is tough enough.  Don't let it be any harder than it has to be!  I am continuing the medication for the time being.  I hope to taper off after my 3 month check up in June.  One of my previous doctors once told me that sometimes we just need the meds to "reset" our emotions and coping mechanisms.  Once you feel more in control, you can do it without the meds.  Hopefully that is the case for me this time too!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Don't Give a Damn About My Reputation!

So yesterday I started writing a post about what a wonderful young boy Van is turning out to be.  Don't get me wrong... he is a wonderful kid!  But today he reminded us that he is still just a 3 year old boy.

Van goes to an in-home day care with a stay at home mom and her 4 year old son.  Van has been there for about 9 months.  He always has fun there and the lady who keeps him, Stacey, loves having him too.  She always talks about how he is always in a good mood and is a good boy.  Well, today, Van decided to show his not so nice side.

I got a call from Collin around 12:30...  Van threw toys at Stacey's son.  Great.  Have you ever tried to get the truth from a 3 year old?  It is like pulling teeth.  Van told Collin something about Sonny and no sir and hit Gaga (nickname for Stacey's son).  From what we can gather, Van wanted the train (Sonny).  There was a disagreement where Van told Gaga, "No Sir!" (Something I say to him when I am correcting him)..  and from there it progressed to throwing the train at Gaga.  Van was obviously embarrassed by what happened.  When I asked him what happened today, he mumbled at me and then went to stand behind a corner out of my view.  It was really pitiful, but I was relieved to know he understood that he was wrong.  Van said that it was "not nice" and "no throwing."

When it comes to his sister, Van is the sweetest, gentlest child ever.  I have seen more affection from him in the last 6 weeks than he has ever shown to me or Collin.  Van kisses Lennon, shares with her, checks on her when she cries, and already tries to show her things.  It is so cute!

I have a feeling that these two sides of Van will show more fiercely as he gets older.  This should make for some interesting years down the road!  And I cannot wait!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Parting Glass

What a wonderful few weeks this has been since I last updated!  I went back to work 2 weeks ago.  It has been strangely easy going back to work.  I thought it would have been much tougher, but I guess the second go-round is much easier.  We have been busy with the big project at work, so I hit the ground running with playing catch up.

Lennon continues to grow and put on weight.  Come to find out, she probably would have been gaining weight a lot faster had the nurse told us the correct amounts of fortifier to add to her bottles... That nurse was an idiot and I should have known better.  I should have read the doctor's notes and not her notes!  If I had to guess, I would say we are around 5lbs now.  But we should know for sure in the next couple of weeks when we go for our next check up.

Nana has been helping us get a routine down while we adjust to our new normal.  She has also been helping keep up with laundry and the cooking which is a huge help!  Van has loved having all her attention too :-)

Today, we went to the St. Paddy's Day Parade.  It was so much fun!  Van was so good.  He watched so much of it and we talked about the different floats and cars.  Lennon stayed wrapped up in the homemade moby wrap and slept just about the whole time.  I overheard one lady drunk whisper (which is really just cupping your hand and yelling) to her friend about the "tiny baby or doll or something in that wrap."  I was cracking up.  Why would the mother of a 3 year old be carrying a doll in a wrap?  Do I look like the crazy type?  haha.

Such a wonderful day!  Could not have asked for a better day with friends and family

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now - Updated with photos!!

This week has been exhausting and amazing!  Lennon came home on Tuesday.  She weighed in at a chunky 4lbs 5oz!  We tried to convince the nurse to wheel Collin down in a wheelchair instead of the mom.  Unfortunately, the nurse denied that request, lol.

Lennon rode great in the car, but apparently it worked up one heck of an appetite!

First meal at home... all 40mls!  Nom nom nom!!

Van walked in from day care and just started asking, "What's this?  Baby cool?"  Van refers to Lennon as his baby.  He wants to hold her all the time and never wants to leave her side.  Van is absolutely in love with her.  First night home, he wanted to hold her.  We compromised.  I put down a blanket in the floor and laid Lennon down there.  Van laid beside her and watched Ice Age (our newest obsession).  Van told Lennon all about the movie and pointed out his favorite parts.  It was one of the cutest things that I have ever seen!  Then, when it was bedtime, Van insisted on Lennon going to bed with him.  He fell asleep with his hand patting her back.  *Sigh* He is the sweetest kid ever.  I know the jealousy will hit eventually, but I figure I will enjoy it while I can!
Van loves taking photos of his new sister!

"Ooh, what's this?  Baby cool?"

Such a sweet boy!

Van is so proud of his baby :-)

Lots of kisses for Lennon

"Look Lennon!  Ice Age!"

Again, Van takes a lot of photos

I love the hand placement on the side of Lennon's head... awww!

Very proud Papa!

We went to our follow up pediatric appt today.  Sure do wish I had known our pediatrician changed offices last year!  I guess it is a good thing that we haven't had to go to the doctor since Van's 2 year check up.  Lennon was still 4lbs 5 oz.  Everything looks good and we are set to go back next Friday for the 2 month check.  Crazy to think we are at 2 months already!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Take Me Home Tonight

Today is the big day!!  Lennon is coming home!  Yesterday, Collin and I went to the 11:30AM feeding in hopes that the doctor would be willing to send her home.  The nurse informed us that Lennon had to have a g-tube feeding overnight, but had taken all of her other feeds well.  I was devastated.  The doctor came in and said that he wanted to watch her for a couple more days.  He changed her feeds to 30mls every 3 hours or 40mls every 4 hours (dependent on when she wakes for food).  He was hoping this would make Lennon more hungry and willing to eat.
The lactation consultant, Sherrie came to help me out since Lennon had not been showing interest in nursing the last couple of weeks.  Of course, Lennon proved me to be a liar and nursed for 20 minutes!  Then, she took 22mls.  They counted it as a full feed!
Collin and I talked it over and since she is nursing so much better than taking a bottle, we felt it would be better for her to come home.  We decided to call Dr. Parsons and Lennon's Home Health Nurse.  Dr. Parson's called the doctor on duty.  They agreed to send her home today!

Last night, we cleaned the house and spent the night having fun with Van.  We decided to celebrate Van's last night of being an "only child."  We talked about going to get Mexican food, but Van piped up from the backseat and asked for hot dogs and french fries.  So we went to Five Guys.  Van was so excited, he ordered his own food and then watched the cooks as they fixed his food.  He was so stinkin' cute about it!

Now that the big day is here, I am a little nervous, but so excited to have Lennon home!  She is 4lbs 5oz.  That is so tiny compared to Van's size when he came home.  It will be different, but we are ready :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rebel Yell

The other day, Collin and I got fed up with the nurses' and doctors' inconsistencies in how they were feeding Lennon (or not feeding her).

Thursday night, I go into Lennon's room for her 8:30PM feeding.  The nurse has already attempted to feed Lennon and said she was not interested.  So the nurse already had the feeding tube hooked up.  This is about where I lost it.  The nurse and FNP came in to talk with me.  I told them that I was tired of the inconsistencies and that everyone seems to have a different rule.  The FNP said that they were supposed to be going based on Lennon's cues (chewing her hands, waking up at feeds, etc).  I asked about the fact that I had come in to feedings where Lennon was wrapped with her hands by her side and her eyes were wide open, but she was hooked up to the tube.  I am pretty sure this is where the nurses thought I was crazy...
I asked if they would bring in an occupational therapist to address the feeding concerns.  They mentioned that it was combined with the physical therapist.  I told them that she was useless and gave very generalized goals based on a child development book; that the PT was not giving individualized goals for my daughter.  The nurse thought I was discounting every PT.  I told her that I have worked with some wonderful PTs, but I did not feel that this was one of those.

The next day while I was having a procedure done, Collin talked with Dr. Young (or as we call him: Dr. Feelgood - note the sarcasm!).  He was not really happy with us.  Collin said I scared them.  I was just very honest with how I felt.  Collin basically demanded that they feed Lennon every single feeding time.  I went to a feeding later and Dr. Feelgood came in.  I asked him about a feeding consult and he had requested one from UNC, but did not feel like it would do any good.  I really don't like him.

Yesterday, Van and I went to Greensboro to spend some time with family and to trade some things with my sister.  We had a blast!  Van and Logan played with Shelley's kids and were very well behaved.  They argued a little, but worked it out amongst themselves.

I got a text from Collin later that afternoon saying that Lennon ate 4 out of 4 feedings and 6 out of the last 8!  That is amazing progress!!  Collin fed her a 5th feeding and she took all of that too.  I could hear her crying in the background because she was hungry.  What a wonderful sound that was!!  Collin said some of this has to be due to the amazingly patient nurses Lennon has had (Meg and Rosemary - we have loved Meg from the start, but never met Rosemary).  Collin had to work last night, but I was up pumping when he got home, so we decided to call the nursery and see how Lennon's feeds were going.  She had taken all of her bottles for the last 24 hours!  The nurse even took out the NG tube, so there is no way they can feed her the lazy way.  She gained only 1/2 of an ounce, but it is still gaining :-)

Collin and I were talking later.  Yes, this may just be coincident but we can't help but feel like this is because we put up a fight.  I know the nurses talked about the "lightbulb" that would come on in regards to feeding.  But it is hard to have that light come on when you aren't giving the kid a chance to experience it.  I am a bit of a stickler for wanting consistency.  I think the nurses and doctors get that now.

Today, we are going to clean the house and get everything ready for Lennon to come home!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Eat It

Lennon is now 4lbs and 2.4oz!!  She is gaining weight so steadily.  The doctors and nurses are still very pleased with her.  She took her full 8:30AM feeding by bottle and took 20 of her 38mls from a bottle for me at 11:30 feeding.  She just has to have the stamina and desire to take all feeds by mouth.  Everyone say a little prayer that it clicks soon!

Lennon got her first Valentine's yesterday!  Some kids made Valentines for all the SCN babies.  They were so cute!  I especially love the misspelled words on them :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wide Open Spaces

Lennon was a bit sleepy when I went to see her today.  She had had a bath this morning due to a little accident... oops!  She is up to 3lbs 14 oz!!
Yesterday, Collin and I went to see Lennon during her 2:30 feeding.  We rarely get to go at the same time, so we let Van go to Right Time Kids to play for a bit and we headed to the hospital.  
To our surprise, Lennon was in an open crib!  We thought it would be a couple of days before she got moved over.  She still had the incubator in the room with her yesterday, but today it was out of there.  The nurse said that they moved her over the previous night and that she is holding her temp without any issues.  Major milestone passed!!
With that, now we are just looking at getting her to bottle feed for all of her feedings.  Meg (one of our favorite nurses) said that this tends to just click one day for most babies.  We are just praying that it clicks sooner rather than later :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feelin' Stronger Every Day

Sorry there hasn't been an update in a while.
Thursday we went down to Goldsboro to pick up a freezer.  I cannot even begin to thank her for the freezer!  It has been a huge help.  I am pumping and freezing the milk, so we needed the extra storage space.
Thursday afternoon, I was met at the house by the nurse from the health department.  She just dropped by to schedule a time to do the intake paperwork for Lennon.  She also said that she wants to see if Lennon is eligible for Medicaid.  I assured her that unfortunately we are not eligible, but she still wants to fill out the paperwork.  Worst they can say is no, right?  We are set to meet Tuesday at 9:30AM.  Hopefully it won't take too long, but I know intakes can be a bear!
Things have been pretty status quo for Lennon...  steadily increasing her caloric intake and weight.  Lennon is officially up to 3lbs 11 oz and taking 34 mls every 3 hours.  She has not been having any desats, so she is completely off of her oxygen for good as far as anyone can tell and she is off of the caffein.  Her lungs are great!!
Lennon had her eye exam yesterday.  Doctor dilated her little eyes and the nurse said she was not happy about it!  Lennon passed with flying colors and the doctor said her eyes are right on schedule.   That was a relief to me.  I have worked with a couple of kids in the past that had eye damage due to the amount of oxygen needed at birth.  I had talked to the nurses a lot about it and they said that Lennon should be fine, but until the eye doctor confirmed it, I could not shake the worry.
We met with the doctor yesterday.  We loved him!  He kept talking about how great Lennon was doing and was the first to mention going home.  He explained that the desats we were seeing were not true desats to him.  They were not requiring any intervention and they were too quick.  She would drop to 70% then jump right back up to 88%.  He said that would not happen with a true apnea episode.  Also, her heart rate was not dropping and her respiratory rate was maintaining.  So in other words, Lennon is breathing well on her own :-)  He even said he will probably stop monitoring that one soon since it wasn't telling them anything new.
The doctor told us that Lennon is still in the isolette for now so that she can gain a bit more weight.  He does not want her to waste calories trying to keep herself warm.  However, the nurse mentioned that they have the temp down as far as possible and Lennon was keeping herself warm very well.  Lennon's temp was 99 today, which is the upper limit for what they would want her to be at in the isolette.  So we should be moving to an open crib soon!
With moving to an open crib, we may regress a little in the way of eating her bottles.  We won't know until the move, but sometimes babies sleep through feedings more when they are moved.  The doctor also wants Collin and I to practice bottle feeding a bit more.  He thinks that Lennon will be fine with feedings, but bottle feeding a preemie is very different from a full term baby.  Plus, I am not very experienced in bottle feeding in general.  When Lennon comes home, she will only be breast feeding maybe 2x/day.  She will need bottles so that we can continue adding calories and protein to the milk too.  (Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the pump?!)
So, all things considered, the doctor would not lock in a date.  He said it wasn't fair to commit one of his colleagues to a date since he was not in the special care nursery next week.  However, Collin and I both got the impression that he wanted to send her home next week.  He said he has sent babies home smaller than Lennon, but has never had a baby return.
I am hopeful for Lennon to come home late next week :-)  I am trying not to get my hopes up, but it's really hard not to!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Go Big Girl!

Ok, so the title of the song for this post always makes me laugh :-)  My BFF (Katie) and I used to listen to this song all the time in high school.  

Lennon has tried to take a bottle once or twice in the last few days.  The nurse said she was not really into it, but that is normal.  But my guess is it won't take long for her to get a taste for it.  She was so alert and eager to eat yesterday that I cannot imagine it will take her long.  She is a true little Huntsinger Girl:  She loves to eat :-)  She is taking 28mL with fortifiers and they have started adding whey protein as well.  That has really helped her take off in the weight gaining!
Lennon was up to 3lbs 1oz!  I don't know which nurse Lori is, but this is what she left on Lennon's isolette:

It really does take a special person to be this good of a nurse!  

Everyone else is doing great!  Van is feeling much better and Collin seems to be doing better too.  Glad to get back on our routine. Van is cracking us up.  Yesterday, we showed him a picture of Lennon and asked if he knew it was his sister and he said, "yes" in his matter-of-fact voice.  Then we asked him if he was going to be nice to her when she came home.  Just as matter-of-factly, he said, "no."  Well, at least he told us the truth, lol.  We will see how it goes in a couple of weeks, hopefully!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roller Coaster of Love

Lennon was up to 3lbs yesterday, but lost 2 ounces of that today so she is 2lbs 14oz right now.  The nurse said that it was probably just a poop she was holding on to.  I love our nurse this week.  Her name is Kim and she is hysterical.  She is an over-sharer and makes me laugh a lot.  She is definitely a mother and grandmother, so she likes to take care of others.
Lennon no longer is on the oxygen or the nasal cannula.  She is doing very well off of it.  There have been 1-2 "incidents" of de-sats, but it tends to happen at the start of her feedings.  Could be as simple as her system adjusting to the food coming in.  Kim told us that Lennon will not come home until she goes 5 days without a de-sat.  Which is comforting and frustrating all at the same time...  The doctor yesterday said that we are looking at about 3 more weeks before she will get to come home, but that could change either way since Lennon is a feisty thing.
Nurse Kim has been letting Lennon nurse for a bit before starting her g-tube.  It has been nice since Lennon is hungry and nursing more.  I asked Kim when the bottles will start and she said to talk to our nurse tomorrow and see if they can start them ASAP.  Kim feels that Lennon would do well given the fact that she is sucking on her pacifier like a champ and nursing well for her gestational age.  Even if she starts at just 2mL it will still be a start and Collin will get to participate in the feedings a bit more.  It meant so much to him when he got to help with Van's bottles, so I can only imagine how he will feel about Lennon's.
Van is sick with a cold.  He has been running a temperature for the last couple of days, complaining of ear pain yesterday, and started a sore throat today.  I just keep pumping him full of tylenol and Motrin to keep the fever down and that seems to help with the sore throat too.  It was up to 102.2 this evening (before I gave the Motrin).  Poor thing is pitiful!  hopefully he will start feeling better tomorrow.  I asked the nurse if I would need to stay away from Lennon, but she said that I should be fine as long as I am not showing symptoms.  I worry more since Van has a respiratory thing going on... this can be so dangerous for a little thing like Lennon.  I may stay away tomorrow just to be on the safe side.  Still haven't made up my mind there.

On a different note, I have decided that I am not made to be a stay-at-home-mom!  I have spent the last 2 days cleaning and cooking... this is not for me.  I love the cooking part, but could definitely do without the cleaning part.  I could stay home if I just had a maid!!  Props to those ladies who stay at home with the kids.  That really takes a level of patience that I just don't have in me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Moving on Up

So much good stuff going on for the past few days!!

Lennon is now up to 2lbs 13oz and is back to room air at a high flow.  The nurses just let Lennon take the lead on determining how much oxygen/flow she needs.  The doctors think she is just young and needs a little more time to keep her oxygen up on her own.  
Now that Van is in daycare again, I typically go to Lennon's 11:30AM feeding time.  Makes it easy on everyone:  Collin can sleep, Van is at daycare, and I can focus solely on Lennon until I have to go pick Van up at 1:00.  Yesterday, I missed the 11:30 so I went to the 2:30.  The nurse let me know that Lennon woke up and was gnawing her hands at the 11:30 feeding.  While I felt a bit guilty for missing that, it let's us know that she is starting to recognize when it is time to eat!!  The nurse was as excited as I was!  
So I went in this morning and she was asleep, but as soon as I pulled her out of her isolate, her eyes popped open.  Lennon was great at latching on more frequently and for longer periods of time.  

We changed Lennon into clean clothes.  We put her in her little hawaiian shirt that her Aunt Karen got her.  She is so cute!  I swear she looks like a pretty little baby doll :-)

Around the house, Collin and Nana got the carpet ripped up and new flooring laid in our room.  It looks amazing!  We now have no carpet in the house!!  It is really nice to know I will never have to vacuum again in this house :-)  Nana, Van, and I went out today and picked up a new comforter for our bed.  It is like a brand new room.  I love it! 

Nana and I put the crib together today.  Lennon's room only needs a rug in there and of course, Lennon and we are done :-)

I will post pics soon hopefully.  

Overall, it has been a great couple of days:  Lennon is doing so well, Van has been in a great mood, and our house is finally coming together!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Other Side

Today has been a LOOOONG day!  It started with taking Collin to the ER.  Collin has had a sore throat for a few days.  Last night he hosted karaoke, which takes a lot out of his voice.   His sore throat was so bad he could not talk or swallow.  We got to the hospital at 7:15AM and did not leave until almost 12PM.  Wake Med (big Wake) took 4.5 hours to get him taken care of and that was only because his mother found the nurse to finish him up.  The doctor gave Collin an IV of morphine and an anti-inflammatory med.  Then, they gave him percoset to take home.  Now, I am not a doctor, but do these drugs seem a bit overkill to anyone else?!  Our guess is that there are a LOT of drug addicts that go to Wake Med.  Not to worry... Collin was feeling much better after meds and some rest.  He has not been running a fever, so I doubt he is contagious.  

I went to see Lennon by myself.  She was still at 2lbs 10oz and wearing her cute little pink dress.  Lennon is on Lasix, so her weight will probably remain the same or drop a little over the next couple of days.  I was hoping for a little 1:1 time, but that was not exactly in the cards today.  Apparently, some of the specialists had been trying to track me down.  Nothing bad, but they wanted to check in with me. 

First, the physical therapist came in to talk to me.  We reviewed again how Lennon is preemie and tiny and is going to have to learn some things that she should have learned in the last 10 weeks.  Yes, I know it is her job and she means well, but I am so sick of hearing every professional telling me what she should have already learned before she came into the world.  It is not like we planned on an early arrival.  It is tough being on the other side of the table of these developmental professionals.  I find myself just wanting to yell, "Yes!  I know.  Can we just skip the child development class and move on to what I should do to help her in here to move forward?!"
Then, she kept going on and on about the value in using the early intervention (EI) services.   I don't know how many times I have heard that this doesn't mean there is an issue; only that Lennon is automatically eligible because she was born before 35 weeks.  I know what EI/CDSA does to help catch kids up and catch any issues early.  This is not a foreign service to me since I work in the Developmental Disabilities field.  I don't need to hear the virtues of accepting the services.  I want to use them!  Being able to use them right now would mean Lennon was home with us!  It just irritates me to try to convince me to use a service when I am fully willing to use it, but can't.  I am not the kind of parent that needs convincing.  
The PT did give some good information, but it wasn't anything that I can really do while Lennon is in the hospital.  Which is really frustrating as a parent.  

Then, the lactation consultant came in to chat.  She is only person that never seems to have "bad" news to share; only positive.  She talks about how cute Lennon is and how great she is doing with trying to nurse.  She really loves her job and is so sweet.  It is nice to have someone to focus only on what is going well.  She actually said that Lennon is well ahead of the curve in this area!

The nurse was completely wonderful today.  She could tell I was frustrated and getting upset (probably since I had cried at the PT and LC).  I asked her if there was any clue as to when Lennon could go home.  She explained that once Lennon reaches 3lbs (only 6 more oz!!), she will move to an open crib.  After that, we will start bottle feeds; 1-2/day.  The nurse said that the bottles will start slowly, but after a couple of days Lennon will "get it" and take off.  Once she is taking all milk via bottle/breast, she will be ready to head home!  It should be between 35-37 weeks gestational age (we are at 33.5 weeks as of today).  The nurse also said that I am going through what they refer to as "NICU-itis" and it would probably get worse as we get closer to going home... great!  

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a little easier for all of us!  Today has just been exhausting!!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Thought I would share some photos from the first days after Lennon was born.  You can see just how far she has come in the last couple of weeks!

Under the lights to take care of the Jaundice.  

First time meeting Nana. 

That pacifier is actually tiny! 

First little sunglasses! 

Daddy's ring could be her first cuff bracelet :-)

Alice's Restaurant

Lennon was one hungry caterpillar over the last couple of days,  Lennon has gone up from 2lbs 7oz to 2lbs 10oz!!  She also went from 14.5 inches at birth to 16 inches :-)  Little peanut is getting bigger every day!!

The FNP called this evening and gave us some good news.  Lennon is still requiring oxygen, so the doctor ordered a echocardiogram.  It was more to rule out the idea that there was a heart condition causing the need for oxygen.  The FNP said there was nothing abnormal found!!  Whew!  There is a valve that is not closing completely, but that is normal for many full term babies and it typically self corrects.  Van actually had this when he was born, but it closed on its own by the time he was 2 weeks old.  

The doctor did order a round of lasix.  This is a water pill and will help get rid of any fluid that may be in Lennon's lungs.  This could be the cause of Lennon needing some oxygen, but they aren't 100% sure.  Hopefully, it will help so we can get her off the oxygen completely!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Just a quick update on Lennon and us for today...

Not much has changed for Lennon or us (Thank goodness!!).  Lennon has been at 2 lbs 7 oz for about 3 days now.  Temps have been good, so no need for additional monitoring there :-)  Today, they started adding fortifying powder to her milk.  Breast milk has 20 cals, but with the fortifier, it is upped to 24 cals. When she comes home, she will be taking a fortifier to make it 22 cals.  This way they can up her calories without upping the volume she is eating.  

Lennon has tried to BF a couple more times.  She is doing great with it and works so hard at it.  She will normally try for about 10-15 minutes, then pass out for the rest of her g-tube feeding.  

Lennon is still taking 24% oxygen (21% is room air) for the time being.  The nurse today said that they hadn't really tried to ween her off today.  Maybe tomorrow??

Van gets to go back to his babysitter's tomorrow morning.  He really needs some normalcy back in his life.  I am sure he misses Miss Stacey and Ian too.  He needs to be around his friends; if nothing else to get him off the computer, lol!

Collin is nursing his wounds after the 49ers' loss, but I think he will survive.  

I think that is about it for today.  It is amazing how much you learn to appreciate the quiet days!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Let me start by saying that Lennon and I have had some of the very best medical care and nurses that I could ever have asked for.  Labor and Delivery nurses are amazing!  They were so supportive through all of the changes.  They dried my tears, calmed me down when I was scared, assured Collin and me at various times, and encouraged us through it all.  My nurses after the c-section were sweet as could be.  When I was crying as I was getting ready to be discharged, the nurse came in and hugged me and asked me to come by and keep her posted.  

Lennon's nurses have been super caring and you can tell they love their babies and their jobs. The FNP has been one of my favorite supports in the Special Care Nursery.  She is the person who came to discuss the risks prior to the c/s and has been wonderful at keeping us posted.  I cannot believe the love and care that each nurse has shown my child.

The biggest pet peeve I have as a parent of a child in the special care nursery is a nurse/caregiver with no bedside manner.  The other night, I was there with my mother-in-law.  We got there at 5:30 for the feeding.  Shift change is at 6:30, so we only had an hour.  The nurse in charge of Lennon's care was typing something and taking her time.  No big deal; I know it can be easy to forget what you were doing if you step away from something, so I didn't think about it.  No personality, but you don't have to be a great conversationalist to take care of babies.  
At 6:35 another nurse came in and informed us that we would have to leave.  We already knew that, but again, whatever...  This nurse kept referring to Lennon as "he."  I let it slide the first time thinking she would see the pink blanket and hat and correct herself.  I was wrong.  Here is how the rest of the conversation went from there:
Nurse:  He is doing great
Nana:  He is a She
Nurse: Oh, well, we get used to saying one thing or the other

The rest of the conversation the nurse continued to say he.  It almost felt as though she was making a point to say he instead of she.  This irked me in so many ways.  It is not that hard to adjust from he to she.  Between the pink hat, pink blanket, the medical chart, and being corrected, you should be able to note that it is a little girl.  If you cannot, then I seriously doubt you are detail oriented enough to care for my child!  

My point is:  Parents of preemies are under enough stress and worry.  I am trusting a nurse, a stranger, to care for my baby 24 hours a day.  Please put forth a little effort to illicit trust from the parents.  Just calling my baby by her name can make all the difference in the world.  

Hungry Eyes

The last few days have been a whirlwind of good news!!  

For the last few days, the doctors have been steadily increasing Lennon's milk intake by 3 ml/ day.  She is maxed out at 21 ml per day.  That is a tiny amount, but to Lennon's tiny little tummy, it is like eating Thanksgiving dinner 8 times a day.  

Lennon no longer has an IV, so she is able to wear clothes.  She looks so cute in her little nightgown!  We are washing her clothes to get them ready for her.  Can't wait to see her in her cute little dresses :)

**Boys beware... this next part is about breastfeeding!**
Yesterday, we tried "lick and learn." (Get your mind out of the gutter!!)  It is a way for Lennon to familiarize herself with the breast in hopes of learning to breast feed.  Lennon did great!  She has been rooting for a few days, but I never would have guessed that she would be so quick to catch on.  She immediately started trying to latch on, but let's be honest...she has a tiny mouth.  Latching on may not happen for quite a while.  She did taste some of the milk, but was not quite sure what to do with it.  We tried for about 10-15 minutes.  We stopped because Lennon was focusing on eating and was forgetting to breathe.  This is not abnormal since the suck, swallow, and breathe process is hard to coordinate.  

Today, we went to see Lennon for her 2:30 feeding and she was back on the nasal candula to help with her oxygen intake.  The doctor said her desats could be for a couple of reasons:  acid reflux or due to filling her belly so full during each feeding.  They are ruling out the idea of infection, but we won't know for sure until tomorrow.  They did a blood panel the other day because Lennon was having trouble keeping her temp up.  The blood panel was completely normal.  The doctor does not think that it is an infection, but she wants to rule it out to be on the safe side.  

We just take it day by day... but she continues to make great progress and we are getting closer to coming home!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baby's Got Sauce

Yesterday was a tough day.  I did not get a chance to go over to be with Lennon.  I had planned to go to the afternoon feeding, but unfortunately I had overdone it all day long and managed to damage my incision a bit.  Around 2pm I felt pulling and tugging around the incision.  I called my OB to find out what to do about it.  Just a little first aid and all was better.  I just had to relax fora few hours to get myself back on track.  Me getting sick does nothing to help Lennon.  

Lennon got her PICC line today.  She no longer has a line directly into her belly button.  The line was inserted at birth to allow for a more direct route for fluids and meds.  Basically, the umbilical cord provides nutrition.  When a baby is born so prematurely, the doctors can use the umbilical cord to gain access and provide the same support for about a week after birth.  After that, they have to use a PICC line to prevent infections.  Very rarely will a baby go home with a PICC line.  

Today, I went to visit Lennon.  She was doing great!  She did go back under the lights to help the jaundice yesterday, but she looks so much better today.  She may still have to go have to go back under, but the more she eats, the more she pees/poops, the less she will need help with that.  So far that is not a problem either!  She has been upped to 12ml/feeding (every 3 hours).  From now on, she will be increasing 3ml/feeding every 24 hours.  This means we are one step closer to not needing the IV for additional fluids!  

When the nurse put Lennon to me today, she was pretty awake.  She snuggled right up to me.  She started to root around for a bit on my chest.  This is a huge step towards being able to nurse.  Lennon got a little frustrated and actually raised her head up off my chest and looked up at me at one point.  It was an amazing sight to see her strength!  Lennon snuggled in with me and slept for the hour while she was eating.  It is the most calming feeling in the world to sit with her.  I doze off a lot when sitting there in kangaroo care.  She was able to hold her temperature with no problem while I held her.  Again, this is definite progress :-)  

Emotionally, this was a much better day.  Seeing all of the progress and how much better Lennon looked after 24 hours, was soothing to the soul as her mother.  It is so hard to go back and forth to her and only see her in one hour blocks.  It is enough to drive anyone crazy.    I just want to be able to be with her.  I loathe having to ask permission to hold her.  She is my baby and I should be able to hold her when I want.  However, my logical brain understands that I have to trust the nurses to watch out for her well being.  She needs their protection and care.  I cannot be selfish in this situation, but goodness... I want to be sometimes.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just Breathe

Before Lennon was born, there was a lot of talk about her lung function.  I only had one shot of the steroids for Lennon's lungs and being that she was only 30+5 gestational weeks, she could go a variety of directions.
The Nurse Practitioner (NP) came in from the Special Care nursery to talk to me about some of the big dangers of delivering at 30 weeks.  She was very honest and realistic about the risks, but at no point did she scare us.  She was able to talk openly with us and I so appreciate that.  I did not want or need a sugar-coated version of the possibilities.  The NP gave 3 scenarios: Intubation, b-PAP, or Nasal candela.  The nurse said she suspected that the b-pap would be the most likely scenario, but until the baby is here, there is no way to know.

When Lennon was born, she was immediately intubated to help her breathe.  This was actually a very good thing.  With the intubation, Lennon was able to get an extra dose of medicine applied directly to her lungs.  While it is a scary scenario and can be terrifying to look at, it was the best thing to happen for Lennon's sake!  I am somewhat relieved that I did not get a chance to see Lennon intubated.  Everything in my logical brain says that is what she needed; everything in my soul says that intubation is bad, scary, and way too closely related to death.  Not what I needed to see!

Within 24 hours, Lennon had graduated from the intubation to the bipap machine.  If you know someone with sleep apnea, you will have some sort of idea of what the bipap machine does.  The machine just helps force air into the lungs.  Lennon just needed help getting the air in, but did not need increased oxygen, which is great!  Lennon responded great with this as evident of her oxygen levels, but she did not like it physically.  She would grab ahold of the face mask and pull it as hard as she could.  It reminds me of my mom fighting with her sleep apnea machine, lol.  

After being on bipap for less than 24 hours, Lennon moved off of the bipap and was on put on a nasal candela.  This is a little less scary.  This is just the little nose prongs that go across your face.  She was on this for just a little while and they took her off.  She has not needed extra oxygen, just a little help to remember to breathe.  

We are at one week today... Lennon has only moved forward with her breathing!  She is now off of all oxygen support.  She is breathing room air and is on caffeine to help stimulate the part of the part of the brain that helps remember when to breathe.  Her brain is still developing at warp speed, so it is only a matter of time before she doesn't need the caffeine anymore.

I have the strongest little girl ever!  I have a feeling those little lungs are going to be very loud very soon.  A sound that I welcome into our house!!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From GERD to Preemie

First, let me start by apologizing for the sheer length of this post.  Future posts will not be nearly as long, I hope!
To say this has been a hectic and unplanned week would be a huge understatement!  I know a lot of people were just learning I was pregnant, so to learn the baby was born was kind of a surprise.  So I guess I should fill people in on what the heck happened!
I started the week as I always do on a billing week... separating paperwork, tracking staff down, etc.  I had some upper abdominal pain, which is so normal in pregnancy due to gas that I did not think much of it.  Around lunch, the pain was bad enough that I could not pay attention.  I got a co-worker to cover a couple of things for me and I went to the doctor (after MUCH persistence from Collin).  The doctor thought the pain was from GERD (Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease).  This is very normal for pregnancy since your stomach is squished up from the baby.  I was told to get some Zantac and take it daily regardless of how I felt to prevent future irritation.  I went home to my ever-loving, supportive husband and told him what the doctor told me.  From there on out, I was called "GERD-y"

Wednesday and Thursday were fairly normal days.  I worked, took care of my son, cooked, cleaned, etc:  VERY normal days.

Friday - 1AM - I woke up with terrible pain in my upper abdomen again.  This time, it was so bad, I could not get comfortable.  Collin came home and insisted that I call the emergency line for the OB/GYN.  I called at 3:30AM.  I did not hear anything from the doctor, so I tried taking Maalox, threw that up, and took a shower.  The only thing that helped was a hot shower.  Finally, Dr. Littleton called me back and told me to try liquid Maalox, but to get into the office for an appointment as soon as they opened at 8AM.  I did as I was told, but there was not an appointment until 11:40.

I went to my appointment and they ran several tests: urine, blood panel, etc.  I saw Dr. Scott, who I like and trust.  He is new to the practice and really is great!  He scheduled an ultrasound because he thought that my gall bladder was inflamed.  He also suggested that I try using a stronger antacid.  

Collin and I left the appointment, got lunch, then went home to nap.  I slept for what felt like just a few minutes, but was actually closer to 3 hours.  Dr. Scott called and to be honest, I don't really remember much of what he said.  I remember him telling me that the blood results were not good and that I needed to get to the hospital.  I do remember him saying to pack to be there for a while.  I don't remember much... it really was a whirlwind from there.  I didn't know what to ask, what to take with me, what to plan for.  Collin and I were terrified for the baby.  

Once we got there, Dr. Scott met us in Labor and Delivery and explained that they were not sure what was going on with my blood panels, but that my liver enzymes were elevated and my platelets were very low.  Along with the upper abdominal pain, it pointed to HELLP Syndrome (a version of pre-eclampsia).  The problem was that I was not meeting all of the criteria for it.  I did not have the high blood pressure that would typically accompany HELLP.  I also was not having a headache, yet... that came very soon afterwards though.  Dr. Scott was amazing.  He worked with UNC to figure out a game plan.  The doctors gave me steroids to mature the baby's lungs and talked to me about the possibility of taking the baby early.  Because I was not showing all of the signs of HELLP, they still wanted to rule out a GI issue, which was done through an ultrasound.  The decision of when to take the baby was not an easy one to make.  If they waited too long, then my platelets would be so low that I would probably have difficulty clotting after surgery.  This means I could have bled out on the table as they were taking the baby, but taking the baby without getting the steroids in could mean the baby's lungs were not developed enough, so she would be in major danger.

Saturday was pretty much a blur as well.  I developed a headache... this quickly turned into what I just thought was a migraine.  I spent the majority of the day with ice packs over my eyes and around my neck to relieve the pain.  I later found out this is part of HELLP and is a sign of the decline of my health.  I was placed on Mag to prevent seizures, which could happen with HELLP.  Throughout all of this, the baby's vitals remained perfect, so there was little reason to rush to a c-section.  The plan was to get a second dose of steroids in and 24 hours later, deliver the baby.  This would have put delivery at Sunday after 8PM.  Every minute allowed to stay in utero was a minute in the baby's favor.  

I spoke with Neonatology and anaesthesiology Saturday evening.  I asked every question I could think of.  So many fears went through my mind:  What is the survival rate for a 30 week old preemie?  What are some risks (e.g. blindness, Developmental delays, etc)?  What will the baby look like?  How long will the baby be in NICU?  Is Rex the best place or should we look at going to Duke or UNC?  How much will the baby weigh?  (PS - They thought the baby would be 3.5 - 4 lbs).

The anaesthsiologist spoke with me about the way this c-section would be different from when Van was born.  I was going to have to be put completely under because I may have trouble due to my low platelets.  This would mean Collin was unable to come into the OR with me.  I would have to be alone.  Because of how fast the process would have to go, there was a slight possibility of feeling some of the surgery, but it was unlikely.  The prospect was terrifying.  This was the kindest doctor that I have ever spoken with.  He was supportive in such a grandfatherly way.  I wish I could remember his name.  I want to give him a hug and thank him for his genuine kindness and care.

Later Saturday evening, Dr. Gausman (fill in OB from Capitol OB/GYN) came to talk with me. She had been working with Dr. Scott and UNC to determine the best course of action.  The team decided that the best solution for all involved was to give the second set of steroids and only wait 12 hours before the c-section.  She also said that she would give me morphine with fenegrin to help with the headache and nausea.  

As soon as the morphine/fenegrine IV was given, the fun really began.  Collin will have to write an entry for most of this situation... I was out for most of it, so I think he will be the most reliable resource.  I remember them giving the meds, Collin laughing with the nurse because I am super-sensitive to sudafed, throwing a pillow, and eventually trying to tear off my gown.  I knew this was not a normal/ok response, but I could not stop it.  I remember hearing a lot of hustle around me, the lights in the hall when they wheeled me out, and getting to the OR.  The anaesthesiologist was there.  He was the only person in the OR that spoke to me.  I don't think anyone else could tell I was awake at all.  He told me everything he was doing and kept telling me not to worry.  Like I said, I want to hug him!  I heard him ask if everyone was ready, Dr. Gausman said she had her scalpel in her hand, and then it went black.  I woke up in recovery what felt like a second later; asking if someone had spoke with Collin and if the baby was ok.  

To be honest, I don't know when they told me I had a little girl.  I don't remember who told me, how they told me, or even my reaction.  I was so relieved to know the baby was ok, even at 2lbs 6 oz and 14.25 in.  I was told later that my uterus was significantly smaller than they expected which explains why Lennon Jaymes was a pound smaller than they predicted.  

So this is the story of how Lennon Jaymes came into the world.  She is a strong-willed, fighter.  Funny... I thought after Van's emergency c-section, it would be easier the second time around since we were scheduling it out.  Leave it to a Huntsinger/Yarbrough girl to do things her way!