Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Having Erin's plastic baby's head pop-off in her capable hands makes me both a little nervous and a little relieved. I mean, she knows how to hold Nora, so maybe I just need to relax a little.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
One of the concerns is that she may not be trying hard enough on the breast because she's been getting milk easier through the bottle. The first idea was to bring-in low-flow nipples for the bottles, and later that was supplemented by eliminating the bottles altogether whenever Erin was around - having Nora nurse exclusively, and take any extra fluids through her feeding tube.
Another thing is that the doctor's think that maybe the February due date wasn't that far off the mark after all. Even though Nora is a good-sized preemie, this may just mean that she would have been a big newborn, she's just not as developed as you'd expect for a baby her size.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
She was really pooped-out today. I think she looked around for a few seconds when we got there, and pretty much just slept for the rest of the day. She took two bottle feedings last night after we left, but the feeding I got to sat through around noon was through the feeding tube.
We're told that this is usually the most frustrating part of the preemie cycle. Everything else seems to be taken care of, it's just a matter of getting her brain mature enough to handle the nursing process, and want to feed. The whole sucking/breathing/swallowing thing is apparently very complicated to a newborn, especially a preemie, and it may just take time for her to mature enough to do it effectively. So, we wait.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Postpartum Depression Strikes New Fathers Too:
"Long recognized as a problem afflicting some new mothers, postpartum depression can also grip men—though mental health professionals acknowledge that until recently they largely overlooked that fact. Male postpartum depression took a step out of obscurity this month when it was for the first time the subject of a workshop at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
Ten percent of new fathers and 14 percent of new mothers are affected by depression, says psychologist James F. Paulson, assistant professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va."
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The carseat that my brother brought up is still too small for her. She's short. We're thinking that Portland is a little more lenient with sending the babies home propped-up in their carseat than Bangor...even though my brother had a 50 mile drive home from the hospital, and Nora will have only 2 miles.
Erin went to Target tonight to pick up odds and ends on and off the registries, like a changing table pad and extra bottles.
I wasn't pleased with the color of the last few photos. Maybe it's my monitor, maybe it's just that the LCD's at work are brighter. Not sure, but in any case I tweaked the color and wanted to repost this one:
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Another thing that happened today reminded me that sometimes the things we may try to ignore, or that may even frustrate us at times, can be signs of hope and progress. For me, it was the first "breaking of wind" after my surgery. For Erin, it was also gastronomically related - her first non-painful bowel movement after delivery. In both cases, we emphatically cheered for the other doing things that normally people don't even like talking about.
Today, it was the sound of a baby screaming, and in this case, our baby. Nora apparently did NOT like her bath today, and screamed so loudly that one of the nurses went door to door to find out what on earth was going on. Erin however said that Nora was in desperate need, as she was a very stinky baby.
Tonight I got to visit for a while, I held Nora and watched her sleep. At least, I think she was sleeping, she moved around a lot for someone who should have been asleep. Gas? Pooping? I still don't know. Erin says it's normal, they're very squirmy all the time. It felt weird to me though. Later while Erin was burping her, Nora let one loose that did not sound like it should have, at least not to me. I was expecting "cute little baby burp from cute little baby". Yea no, this was closer to something you'd hear in a frat house late Saturday night. For a moment a part of my brain was concerned that my daughter may have been possessed by the devil, but that quickly passed.
Got some new picts!
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
|From Eric 'n Erin's Baby Blog|
My biggest concerns are with the noise from upstairs, it's constant with 4 people living above us, none of whom seem to have jobs. With the addition of a treadmill (not a stair-climber, stationary bike, or rowing machine, no a "walking, running, stomping" treadmill) to the upstairs apartment, the regular banging, thumping, stomping, running, and dropping of items onto the floor has take a fresh new turn and caused not just the ceiling and windows to vibrate every few hours, but the floor and furniture as well. This may have been acceptable living conditions for college students, a new couple just starting out, or someone who wasn't paying nearly as much for the privilege of having an apartment in Bangor, but I can't at the very least justify the overwhelming expense of an apartment with this kind of hassle to my family - especially Nora.
We've already asked the landlords, don't bother mentioning it. They said there's nothing they can do other than request that they keep the treadmill usage to certain times of day. Which they haven't been doing very well at all. Keep in mind though that these are the same landlords who didn't say or do a thing when other former-neighbors installed a very large, multicolored dildo on the front lawn for over a week. I appreciate that we have nice, considerate landlords that aren't jerks, but sometimes I long for the potentially abusive "take no prisoners" approach that seems endemic amongst the rest of the species.
Furthermore, it's an old building, and lead paint is everywhere. It's not so bad in our bedroom, it's just about non existent in the nursery (was previously another child's room), but over time it's going to become an increasing headache as Nora begins to explore more of her environment. The sooner we get this taken care of, the better.
What I'm basically asking for at this time is for our circle of friends in the Bucksport area especially to keep an eye out for rentals - preferably homes, mobile homes, and other single unit rentals - in that area, or any area between Bangor and Bucksport. I'm planning on using our tax rebate and security deposit refund to fund new housing options, preferably outside of Bangor-proper. It's a nice town, but I'm beginning to look at it as a place you come to for shopping, work, and entertainment, but not so much raising a family and keeping your sanity.
Oh, and the current apartment doesn't have a bathtub, just a shower. No tubbie time unless it's in the sink, which you can only do for so-long.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
A few weeks before Nora was born, I purchased a little notebook (something like this) that I was going to write things in on important dates, and give to her some number of years later, like on her wedding day, or graduation, or something. I think what's going to end up happening though is that I'll end up with a steamer trunk full of notebooks if I wrote as often in it as I do online.
But the idea I just had was that maybe I'd past the notebook around the family and friends, they could leave little messages for her in their own handwriting. It could be a short story, maybe a long narrative about the importance of family, maybe just a little history about the families and the people that are no longer with us.
So, if you like the idea, start thinking about what you would like to write about. No hurry, I figure you've got a good dozen years or so before she reads it!
Also, our friend Joe recommended that when I'm finally "done" with the blog, to print it out, and save a copy. What I'd like to do is save it as a .pdf and upload it to Cafepress.com where it can be perfect bound (like a hard-cover). Corny, unnecessary? Maybe. I think it would be cute though.
She's eating more and staying awake longer, I saw her keep her eyes open longer today than I think I ever had. I'm told that she drank a lot more this morning than she had been, she also took to breast and a bottle after that, so all of a sudden she's taking more of her nourishment on her own instead of through a tube, and that's a huge step toward getting her home.
I moved the bedroom furniture around so that the Pack n' Play can be closer to Erin's side of the bed, it seems to open up the room a lot more too for some reason. Too much so actually, we need to find wall decoration for our bedroom now. I've also double-sealed the windows in the bedroom, and plan to repeat this in the nursery soon. The window panes themselves have been sealed with a caulk-like substance that comes in a roll, last night though I added to that by putting plastic over the windows. They're old windows, and kind of drafty. But they're ok now!
We received the LL Bean diaper bag in the mail (thank you again Tina), and expect yet more gifts from Erin's friends and colleagues in Bucksport.
Seriously, you guys are nuts, and we love you all.
On another note, I'm posting this for Erin and her sisters. Apparently Firefox's dictionary doesn't recognize the possessive "Erin's", but does recognize something else:
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Also, these were a couple things I was looking at:
We'll have time to work on it soon enough, but in the meantime I want to thank everyone, you've all done more than could have ever been expected. It's a good feeling to know that our new family has so many caring friends and family. Thank you.
Friday, January 16, 2009
"People often ask me, 'What's the difference between couplehood and babyhood?' In a word? Moisture. Everything in my life is now more moist. Between your spittle, your diapers, your spit-up and drool, you got your baby food, your wipes, your formula, your leaky bottles, sweaty baby backs, and numerous other untraceable sources--all creating an ever-present moistness in my life, which heretofore was mainly dry. " Paul Reiser
Sorry, had to do it.
She was worried that we'd have to break-down the crib and return the whole thing, plus the shipping she spent on it was insanely expensive; if I had to return the whole thing, I would have raised a stink until we got that back too. But it looks as if you can call the manufacturer to get new metal brackets that must be more robust than the originals. That's good, I'd rather not go through the process of a complete return and purchase of another one.
The website even gives us an email address to do so. "
Order Replacement Brackets
To order the replacement brackets please send an e-mail to email@example.com and indicate your name, surname, shipping address, crib purchase date, country of manufacture and model number."
The funny part: the company's website, explaining the recall. Read between the lines and you get this: "there's nothing wrong with the brackets, they're many times stronger than they should be. If you assemble the crib wrong, there still shouldn't be an issue. If you purposefully bend and nearly break the brackets, you still shouldn't have a problem. But we're issuing a recall anyway so that we're not blamed for an accident caused by the fraction of one percent of owners that are complete dumbasses and might do something even dumber than that." It wouldn't surprise me if the next set of instructions that comes with the cribs goes "if you cannot assemble the crib without bending, breaking, or otherwise forcing pieces to fit when it appears that they should not, please stop construction on the crib immediately and ask for help by someone who isn't a complete retard."
Thursday, January 15, 2009
She's got a bit of a bump on the back of her head. Not quite sure what it is, a few people have looked at it and declared that it's probably nothing. One of their leading pediatric surgeons took a look at it and said the same thing, but they're still putting ointment on it to keep it from getting infected, just in case. More than likely, it will go away on it's own.
I'd like to remind everyone that just because I don't update, there's nothing wrong. I'll let you know if something happens.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
No timeframe yet on when she'll be ready to come home, she's still not eating all her meals from a bottle or breast, and that's a requirement - quite possibly the last - keeping her in the hospital. She's not taking one whole feeding yet herself, and that one is pretty much tiring her out for the rest of the day, so that the rest of the feedings are all through the tube. But, she's showing progress, each day there's a little more.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
She also has a case of diaper rash which isn't pretty, and they're treating that.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Here are some pictures from Tina, holding Nora:
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Earlier this afternoon, I went over to see Nora and Erin. They're doing well. Nora was still out from under the billi-lights, and if she can drop her bili level on her own, they may transfer her to a crib sometime soon. Yay!!!
The nurse also spoke to us of the "car-seat challenge" which has a ridiculous name, and with which I have issues after reading the literature on the subject online.
The challenge is basically done before discharge to judge the risk to the baby from the very act of traveling in a car seat. They also want to look at the car seat to make sure it's safe and approved.
Medscape.com: "The authors conclude that all VLBW infants are at risk of apnea, bradycardia, or desaturation at discharge regardless of carrying device. The authors also note that brief periods of observation in such devices may not uncover significant events since the time to first event in this study was almost 1 hour (54 or 55 minutes, depending on device)."
What this means is that no incidents were noted for less than one hour in the car seat. So should a child not be discharged if "something" happens after 90 minutes during the test, if the parents live only 10 minutes away? And do you really want to "wait" until something happens, like the child stops breathing, before taking them out? Furthermore, "Twenty-eight percent of the infants had at least 1 event during testing, with 9.2% having an event only in the car seat." Therefore 72% didn't have any problems, even though the tests ran for two hours.
This is the kind of car-bed that the above study was talking about. If a baby can't be discharged in a seat, they're discharged in a bed. But the bed has, according to that study, an either increased or statistically insignificant difference (depending on what part you're reading) in chances of incident, over the seat. So what's the point of the bed?
Further, there are other studies that question the very validity of the challenge itself: "There is no evidence that undertaking a pre-discharge "car seat challenge" benefits preterm infants.
The "car seat challenge" assesses whether preterm infants who are ready for discharge home are prone to episodes of apnoea (stopping breathing), bradycardia (slow heart rate), or desaturation (low oxygen levels) when seated in their car seat. However, it is not clear whether the level of oxygen desaturation, apnoea, or bradycardia detected in the car seat challenge is actually harmful for preterm infants. Additionally there is concern that the use of the car seat challenge may cause undue parental anxiety about the safety of transporting their infant in a car seat. Despite these uncertainties, and despite the widespread use of the test, we have not identified any randomised controlled trials that assessed whether undertaking a car seat challenge is beneficial or harmful to preterm infants.....
....It is unclear whether undertaking a pre-discharge car seat challenge is beneficial or harmful to preterm infants. Further studies are needed to determine whether the car seat challenge accurately predicts the risk of clinically significant adverse events in preterm infants traveling in car seats. If this is shown to be the case then a large randomized controlled trial is needed to provide an unbiased assessment of its utility in pre-discharge assessment. " - nichd.nih.gov
In any case, I'm going to find out for how long they plan on doing their "test", and ensure that it's not significantly longer than the amount of time she'd ever be in a car seat, there's no sense in subjecting her to unnecessary tests or risks, when there's not even any conclusive proof that it's warranted and beneficial.
Erin's picking-up the new breastpump today, so hopefully the next time we head over, we can return the rental.
Things seem to be progressing well, hopefully Nora will be home soon.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
She lost a little more weight, but I'm assured...again...that it's normal, 10-15% weight loss in the first week or two is considered acceptable and normal.
Her stool is coming out green, there may be an issue with just what she's eating, but again it's not abnormal unless it's happening over a long period of time.
Resources: One, Two, Three, Four.
I remembered the camera tonight, and got some video that I'll post in a few minutes. Tina came up again today, saw Nora, made us dinner (thank you). Then Erin and I went over again later to help with bath-time.
For permission to view the video, send me an email. I may be taking the blog private in a few days for security purposes, especially as we get closer to bringing her home, but can invite people to log-in to view it.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Bilirubin levels are down! WOOO! Her eyes were open, she was alert and awake for the longest time yet. Best of all: while Nora was lying on Erin's chest, she actually lifted her own head up for a good 10 seconds. Surprised Erin that she could even do that.
She also took to breast today, even seemed eager to do so according to Erin, but very disappointed that the flow wasn't as fast as a bottle. Another sign of her impatience apparently; she cried shortly after starting to suckle. Erin also says that Nora is eating more - her quantities are way-up, she's being fed with both a bottle and through a tube, and taking everything they're giving her.
I'm going to take some picts of the nursery soon, so that Aunt Emily and the rest of the family that may not be able to visit right-away also have the opportunity to "awwwww...." like the rest of us. It's cute.
Nora's still not out of the NICU, they're still working on getting her bilirubin levels down, and getting her weight up. The former didn't increase today, but didn't decrease. Her weight is slightly down, but again that's still normal. She's pooping more often, a good sign, and the composition is changing which is also good - it's starting to look more "normal" instead of what it looks like directly after birth. This should help the body start to dispose of bilirubin and other wastes in her bloodstream, since now they shouldn't be reabsorbed by the intestines.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Stephen King apparently helped fund construction of it, which is really cool. It looks very nice, it's more pediatric in nature, less clinical. Interesting colors, textures, wall treatments, I really like it. Erin will have a little more privacy breast feeding, but most importantly they wouldn't move Nora upstairs if she wasn't showing progress. They rather have babies up there than in the NICU, but only once they're past the critical stage of their development. So that's good!
Nora stopped losing weight, or at least maintained her weight over the course of the day. Sometimes I guess it takes 2 weeks for a baby to return to their birth weight, they spend a lot of energy keeping warm and growing as their bodies adapt to life outside the womb. Plus, she's been pooping more, which is a very good sign, as this means her digestive system is working, and that now she can more quickly get rid of the bilirubin built-up in her system.
In other news, I wanted to discuss the food at EMMC. It's AWESOME. OMG. Yesterday I had peas, fried potato slices (forget the fancy word they called them), and the best, huge slice of Halibut I've ever had in my life. It was SO GOOD. Room service for Erin? Yea, she calls down, there's a menu, she choose what she wanted to eat.
I've developed a yen for their cheeseburgers. They taste like "institutional beef", the kind you got in high school. Love it - love it - and I don't know why. I can't replicate the flavor, I don't know what it is, but it's so good. I'm glad that the grill was closed yesterday though, or I wouldn't have had the halibut. Got in a conversation with someone on staff - they ran out of halibut, so a line of us who wanted the fish had to wait a few minutes. I turned to the guy behind me and said "I don't eat enough fish, so if it's offered to me and someone else is cooking, I'm eating it." He laughed, and said "yea, that's pretty much my plan too." Oh! It came with a special parmesan sauce which just made it even better. Details like taste and appearance, in hospital food? Waaa? Good stuff.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
She's eating more, up to a full ounce now. Her bilirubin levels have actually increased though, so she's starting a second light treatment to get more of her surface area covered with lights. Again, this apparently isn't unusual, and they think that sometime today should be the peak of her bilirubin problem. Up until birth, excess bilirubin is flushed out via the umbilical cord; after birth, the liver takes over, but it may take a few days, even in a term infant. In preemies, it occurs about 80% of the time.
Nora is a Capricorn, in the Year of the Rat. A Rat-Goat to daddy's Tiger-Crab and mommy's Rooster-Virgin (heh...).
Addendum: I've held and fed Nora yesterday; I even burped her, which was impressive 'cause they had me use a technique I wasn't sure of and scared me a little - having Nora sit-up with my hand holding her head by the face with one hand and burping with the other. Felt weird, but it worked.
Nora's bilirubin levels are at 15, they won't let it get much higher than that, and it's not considered dangerous until they're over 25 (mg/dl). The levels may have increased because she hasn't had many bowel movements, so they've begun giving her a suppository when necessary. If the bilirubin collects in the bowels too long before it can be disposed of, it can be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.
"DrGreene.org:" "The presence of enough bilirubin for the yellow pigment to be visible is called jaundice. Jaundice occurs in about 60% of healthy term infants and 80% of those born early." "The most common type of jaundice is called physiologic jaundice, the normal increased bilirubin in babies whose livers can't quite keep up with a slightly increased load of red blood cells. This jaundice usually becomes visible on day 2 or 3 and peaks somewhere between days 2 and 4 as the liver gains control of the situation. The bilirubin levels usually fall substantially by day 7."
I went back to the hospital this afternoon with Erin and Tina to look into Nora. She's on a tube for feeding, but only because she's so tired she isn't finishing the food she's given before falling asleep. That's alright, as long as she's getting fed, and the quantities she's taking are larger, which shows growth and improvement.
We rented an electric breast pump from the pharmacy for the week, there's some delay between the insurance company (of course) and the medical supply company. You can probably guess where the delay is: is it with the company that wants to get paid, or the greedy bastards that are trying to delay payment to save themselves a few bucks? You decide. Anyway, it's going to be worth it for Erin; the manual pump was ok overnight, but she has to go through the process every couple hours, and that's just gotta be torture after a few days.
Part of me feels bad that I'm not as upset as she is, like I'm too easily relying upon what I know is true and not necessarily what I feel. I know that Nora is in a safe, nurturing environment, so I don't worry about her. The nurses are great. I know that there really isn't anything more I can do but to be with her when I can, so I try not to worry when I'm not with her. I told Erin that maybe it's just the male of the species trying to continue to provide for the family while mom is nurturing the baby. Maybe it's just that I didn't carry Nora for the last 7 months inside me, feeling her kicking and moving around, sleeping with her and eating for her day after day. Plus - hormones, of course.
But another part of me is just too happy to be too worried, which kind of has me worried, because that's just weird for me personally. Usually it's the other way around. Nora is doing well, she's getting stronger, opening her eyes, being cranky when she has to be and lovingly peaceful when she's content and comfortable. We have a daughter, and she is doing fine. She's a little premature, but that's not uncommon, and much smaller babies have grown up perfectly happy and healthy.
Besides, I know there are forces at work in this male of the species at well. Papa-Bear wanted to poke his head out and roar on a couple occasions. When Nora starts to cry for instance...well, Erin's natural instinct is nurturing. Mine, and I'm guessing this is a male thing, is just as primal, but focused in other areas.When I'm with her, I can't stand to see her upset or hurt, and I nearly wanted to growl at a couple nurses because of the way I perceived them treating her. I had to keep reminding myself that they know what they're doing, and certainly know more about it than I do.
Friday, January 2, 2009
The nursery is all setup, and a bureau that Tina, Ricia, and Erin's friend Amy brought over is all assembled in a corner, so thank you ladies.
Not sure if I mentioned this, but Erin's insurance will cover most of the cost of a breast pump, which we weren't counting on originally; hopefully we should have it sometime tomorrow once the paperwork has cleared all the proper channels. In the meantime we have a manual pump that the hospital gave us, which is good enough for the night. In the morning, Erin will head-over with a supply of milk for Nora, and spend some time with her.
I hope everyone will forgive me for asking, but I'm hoping that starting next week, all non-emergency phone calls to the apartment can be scheduled for sometime after-noon. I'm going to try and get in as many hours as possible at the hotel before we bring Nora home, which will mean that I'll be heading to bed after 7 a.m.
The last few days have been interesting. Lots of trials, interspersed with humor. For instance: it was my turn to be happy that the other had a successful, pain free bowel movement while at the hospital. Yay! Further along those lines, I discovered that Ricia and I are bowel buddies, each having had surgery on our intestines. Speaking of Ricia, she's a big perv, and we kept each other entertained with bad innuendos revolving around the various projects under construction in the apartment.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
a thousand promises
In my daughter's cries
a world anew
a universe of wonder
humor and pain.
In my daughter,
myself, my wife
our life, our love
our best, forever
In my daughter,
the best of our family
staring back at me
Nora didn't need the special medication for her lungs either, in fact they took her off the machine that provided extra assistance with breathing, a definite show of improvement. She's a strong baby, but I knew she would be. She comes from strong, stubborn parents.
Erin's also doing very well; exhausted but very good. She had some minor tearing during labor, not sure if I mentioned that, but it doesn't require stitches, which I consider pretty impressive. She's happy, I'm happy, and Nora seems to be in pretty good shape for a premie. 2009 is looking to be a good year.
I want to thank everyone for their help over the last few months. Your gifts are truly appreciated by both Erin and I. I'd also like to thank Tina and Ricia for coming over yesterday afternoon and cleaning the house, they did a fantastic job in the nursery, bedroom, and kitchen, I'm glad to have had their help. I'd also like to thank the staff of the Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden for their gift bag and flowers that were delivered to Erin yesterday. It's something that they didn't have to do, but did anyway, and so means much more to me than they even probably realize. Thank you.
Now, I think I'm going to get some sleep. Goodnight, and Happy New Year.
- Daddy Eric, 2009
PS - The nurses and doctors all did a fantastic job, but I did want to thank God as well. I didn't pray as hard this time as I did with the twins, but that's only because things have been better between Us since then, and so I think I had a lot more faith than I used to. Thank you for protecting my wife and daughter, and making the experience much more spiritual than I would have ever expected it to be.