Friday, February 27, 2009

Allie and Nora

Erin's friend and colleague from work Allie came by to visit today, and dropped off some more stuff for us. Thank you!



February 27th, 2009

I woke up early yesterday, and spent time with Nora while Erin was going through her morning routine. I got her bottle ready then fed it to her, went through the burping process, and held her for the longest time before she decided that she wanted mommy back. I even recently changed a diaper, without being asked, prompted, or coached, and did a decent job. Erin said she was impressed. So, go me, go me.

We were thinking about booking a room at the chain's hotel near Tina, she could watch Nora while we went out for the night, but all they have available for employees are smoking rooms. Eh. I could possibly ask for a non smoking, but don't want to press my luck during these economic conditions. They undoubtedly prefer to sell the nonsmoking rooms to non-employees. Not sure I like the idea of driving all the way down there with Nora yet anyway, the weather this winter has been unpredictable and I wouldn't want to get stuck anywhere with the baby.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 26th, 2009

Erin thinks that Nora is in the midst of a growth-spurt, she's been feeding every half hour, and sleeping for only a few minutes at a time. She said that everything she read online pointed to growth-spurt, so we're hoping that the situation is therefore only temporary. Erin's exhausted by this schedule, and I'm not much help. I ran errands yesterday, picked-up her prescription, got groceries (the Hannaford Gift Cards we received are awesome, thank you), picked up around the house.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nora the Pooh

Erin took Nora to Bucksport today to see her colleagues and show-off the baby. We dressed her up in the cute Winnie the Pooh outfit that Kerrianne at the HGI gave us. Here are some picts from when they got home!





Addendum: I changed the title of the post from the date, to reflect the idea that Tina had in her comments. Thank you!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nora' easter

I'm going to call today's weather event a "Nora' easter". Lots of snow. Always seems to come on days when we have plans - last week family visiting, today Nora's check-up at the doctor's. I'm going to convince Erin to just postpone the appointment, Nora's doing well, and I don't think it's worth the trip in this weather to have someone tell us as much. Not when we can wait a few days and do it when it's safer.

Erin and I are doing well, we've got a bit of a routine down. She watches Nora most of the time (she has the equipment Nora finds nutritionally necessary for one thing), I take care of the house, and my girls when they need me. I'm working full-time audits, so I'm sleeping days. This works out alright, as Erin can have Nora in the bed with her until I get home, which Nora seems to prefer over the Pack n' Play (sorry Graco). Why, I don't know. Proximity maybe.

My wife is of course very tired much of the time, Nora doesn't give her very long nap breaks. And nap breaks are all they really are, as even on a good day she only goes maybe 3 hours between feedings. Lately she's been wanting to nurse all the time. Once yesterday, Erin told me that Nora nursed for two straight hours. Other times she seems to want to just "snack" every few minutes. Makes things more difficult for Erin of course, especially during the day, but when I'm awake and home I try to do what I can to entertain the baby and wait on my wife as much as possible (trips to the fridge for instance). I do hold Nora as much as possible as well, I'm getting much more acclamated and accepting of the fact that I'm not going to hurt her by picking her up or moving her around. I'm still not as comfortable as Erin, but again I think that's expected as well. Yesterday I held Nora for quite a while, as Erin was accomplishing a few things that she couldn't get done with baby-on-board, or that I couldn't do for her. She started to fuss, but I sang to her and rocked her gently as I walked through the apartment. Erin's convinced that I don't know any nursery rhymes, because I haven't been singing them; this is of course besides the point, I just prefer to make up my own songs, even when I'm not holding the baby.

My favorite (that I can remember at this moment): "Mommy's Poopin, Poopin! Mommy's, Mommy's Poopin. Mommy's Poopin, Poopin! Mommy's, Mommy's Poopin'." Rinse, lather, and repeat, again and again, as needed. Babies like the repetition apparently, and kids of course love the subject matter. Boys in fact never grow out of it.

There hasn't been a lot of time for non-Nora activity around the house, that was and is expected, but we still manage to sneak in a few movies or tv shows together in the evenings. Last night while I was surfing, I came across a list of "most embarrassing moments" for the cast of The Office with Steve Carell, organized by character. How they can limit themselves to three incidents per person, especially Michael Scott, I'll never know, but it got Erin and I talking about what she said was her favorite episode, "The Injury", where Michael 'disables' himself by accidentally cooking his foot in a George Foreman grill. So, we pulled it up on Netflix and watched it together while holding Nora.

The cat is dealing. She hasn't lashed-out at Nora yet, still shows a healthy level of curiosity, but doesn't get too close. I tried holding Olivia and bringing her near Nora while Erin was changing her, and Olivia was fine - to a point, after which she jumped down to the floor and ran away. Now and again she seems a bit jealous, and acts like a total spaz to capture our attention at all times ("I'm jumping on the coffee table again! Look! Look! I'm doing it again, even though I'm soaking wet from the last dozen times you squirted me with the water bottle!").

Last night for instance, the cat is asleep in the chair next to mine, when suddenly BOOM - I look over and Olivia is gone. Like a flash she apparently woke up, and bolted from the chair fast enough to nearly knock it over. Wondering what startled or scared her, I look over to where I think she went, and find her happily rolling around on the carpet in the nursery. That's all. So it occurred to me, the cat's thought process must have been thus:

"YAWN oh what a nice nap and....hey wait a second the door to the NURSERYISOPENOMGSWEEEEET!!!!!" and PEEEEWWWW!!! Off she flew!!
"OOOOOOOooohhh the luxury, the sweet, sweet luxury...."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 21st, 2009

Erin's mom Tina, grandma Terri, and Aunt Paula did come up yesterday after all. The interstate was fine they said, it was only the side streets that weren't, and I guess there weren't many of those to worry about.

"This is all you're gonna get!"




Nora and Great-Grammy




Olivia did well today too; Paula brought her little dog Lola with her. Very sweet little Boston Terrier, very gassy. But so was I. Olivia was a little territorial and "protected" her toys, but didn't lash-out at the dog, and didn't hide from it either. We've been expecting a cat backlash this evening ("you allowed that into my house??"), but Olivia's been surprisingly civil all day long. It's weird, but we won't knock it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

February 20th, 2009

Nora's due-date was yesterday, so Happy Gestational Birthday!

Last night Erin told me that the public health nurse that came by told us that based upon her due date, Nora is right where she should be in terms of size and weight, taking into consideration her due-date. The breakdown:

50th percentile weight - as average as you can get

75% head circumference - bigger than normal, but probably an average of her parents....I have a HUGE head....I was definitely a caesarian baby.

25-50% height, which again is probably an average of her parents (we're short).

We had family due to arrive yesterday that had to postpone because of the weather. I won't expect them today either, as it's still pretty bad out. Seriously guys, don't worry if you can't make it for a few more days! We'll still be here!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 19th, 2009

The Bangor Public Health Nurse came by yesterday afternoon, it's a free service.

Nora was half an ounce shy of 8 pounds, so she is growing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 18th, 2009

My mom Cathy, and Phil just left a few minutes ago, they came up yesterday and spent the night at the new hotel.





Aunt Libby was also here not too long before!





Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ah-Choo

Nora's ok, Erin was worried she was sick and took her to see a doctor today because she wasn't feeling very well - congested, not eating much, very tired, crankier than usual. Doctor wasn't worried, the crankiness is just the diaper rash, she's just snotty which is normal, and her exhaustion is just a change of schedule.

Lee and Patty came up a few days ago; I was asleep, no picts!

Libby and Nick are here. No picts yet, can't find camera!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tubby Time

Nora had her first real bath at home yesterday, here's a pict:


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 10th, 2009

These are pictures of me holding and then feeding Nora a bottle, from last night. She gets two small bottles of formula every day, with a bit of a liquid vitamin enriched with iron.





"I'm looking at you!"



This is me, my grandmother Charlotte (Mee-mah), and Erin





My Aunt Yvette, Mee-mah, and Erin





Nora getting ready to go back to the doctor's office, this time for mommy's checkup!



If anyone is wondering, I've turned-off the flash on all pictures that we take of Nora. This is why some are darker than others. I've been editing them as necessary to increase light levels, but you can only do so much before sacrificing quality.

Monday, February 9, 2009

February 9th, 2009 p.2

Grammy Tina and Nora



February 9th, 2009

Ricia and her daughter visited today while they were in Bangor. I got some pictures of Erin and Nora while they were here. Ricia however did not want her picture taken.







First Doctor's Appointment

Nora had her first appointment today outside of the hospital. Erin took her over to see Dr. Fasciol's interim replacement, Dr. Rizzo, whom she really seems to like.

Weight: 7.4 lbs - she hasn't lost weight!
Length: over 19 inches - she has grown taller!

They had to do a heel-stick, which was just as traumatic for Erin as for Nora, to test her bilirubin. If it's elevated, they'll let us know later this afternoon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Ride Home

That's right! Nora is home! We went over to the hospital early, and well before noon we had her here.

The ride home was uneventful and short, thankfully. I don't know how my brother handled taking home two boys over 60 miles, when my trip was only two miles and I seemed to feel and dread every pothole and dip in the road the entire trip.

She's doing well, sleeping in the bedroom. Erin's watching her, my plan is housework, and tending to whatever they need me to do.

Nora getting ready to go home




Nora at home, unhappy about her diaper change.


Nora content and napping.




First nail trimming at home!


"What is that?" says Olivia.






Olivia has also done really well today, she was spooked a couple times when Nora cried or sneezed unexpectedly, but has quickly adapted and seems more curious than anything. Erin's caught her staring at Nora, but Olivia spends many hours staring at Erin during the course of a day.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 5th, 2009 p.2

More from today? Wah??

Erin and I can tell that Nora is our child. Not only does she look like us, but earlier this evening she let loose the longest, loudest fart that I personally didn't think was possible for a human being of her size. I would have blamed it on her mother if I didn't hear where it had come from.

Nora smiles too apparently. Erin doesn't think it's just gas anymore; over the last couple days, Erin says that Nora's been smiling at times when she doesn't or couldn't have gas, like before she's just about to eat. Happy baby! Yay! I tried to get a picture of Nora smiling, but the red-eye reduction feature of the camera tipped her off to what I was about to do, so it didn't quite come out as hoped. She plays possum, I've seen her out of the corner of my eye looking at me, then closing her eyes as I look over at her. Sneaky monkey.











February 5th, 2009

Went to the hospital early this morning, we had an appointment with "The Carseat Lady", who bears some resemblance to Reese Witherspoon. She approved the new carseat, which makes Erin happy because it will fit in her little car easier. Also: apparently my Focus has the LATCH system. I had forgotten seeing the brackets before, because I had no idea what they were at the time, but I'm glad I have them as it makes the whole process that much easier. Only the bottom brackets are used for rear-facing seats; the top-brackets are used later with forward facing seats. Apparently any car manufactured after 2002 must by law have them.

She brought an actual automobile seat with her to the nursery, which was nifty. The whole process seemed a lot harder before it was demonstrated on an actual seat, so I'm pretty sure that I can do it myself now that I've seen it done in person.

Nora's doing really well, and actually gained a little weight overnight, even without tube feeding. We're hoping this means she can come home soon. She still needs to go through the "car seat test" (pain in the ass) and a little more evaluation.

I went to Target this morning to look for a second carseat base, but they were all-out. I bought a box of 50 breast milk bags, Erin plans on freezing whatever she doesn't use, for when she goes back to work and has to have some made-up for the daycare. I noted that Medela also had a box of 12 replacement containers that I might also get her, they screw right into the pump, and would be more convenient for short-term storage. But they cost the same as the bags, so I went with that for now, 'cause that's what Erin wanted.

Also did some price shopping for formula. If anyone wants to check-out the prices in their areas/stores for Enfamil Enfacare Lipil, 12.8 oz cans, you can post the price as a comment to this post and I'll check it frequently. Target was only 10 cents cheaper than Hannaford ($14.49 vs. 14.59), but maybe someone will find a really good deal somewhere. It may not even be a concern for long, as Erin's producing more than enough milk for Nora. Her doctor just wants Nora to be on an enriched diet including formula for a while, preemies need the extra boost for a while.

I just checked Amazon, and they're selling packs of 6 for $120, which comes out to $20 each. That's insane. Walgreens.com has it listed for over $15, as do most other websites. I found one where you could get them for $13 each buying in cases of 6, but we may not need that much.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm blabbering at this point. We're looking forward to having Nora home soon! Woo!

My Aunt Yvette and Grandmother Charlotte have scheduled a visit on this coming Tuesday morning/early afternoon, they haven't had a chance to see Nora yet.

Addendum: I keep meaning to post this, and keep forgetting - but Nora has not only outgrown preemie diapers, but newborn as well, and has started wearing "Size 1." We're returning to Wal-mart the cache of diapers we have, and hopefully exchanging them for a Graco carseat base, or some larger diapers.

Now I could have been annoyingly clever and posted something like "we're exchanging the cache for cash" but that would have been over-the-top, even for me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 4th, 2009

More good news! Nora's feeding tube was taken-out early yesterday morning. Now: don't get too excited, it may have to be put back into place if she's not taking enough nourishment on her own. They'll weigh her over the next few days to make sure she's not losing (or losing too much, a little loss is sometimes acceptable) weight and see what happens.

She was however very responsive yesterday. The nurses came to her room twice to inquire about the crying and was surprised to find out that it was Nora - she's usually so quiet - but she's "found her voice" and uses it whenever she's not happy.

Nora is apparently a big 'cuddle-bug' too as Erin said. I got to hold her for a little while while Erin was otherwise occupied, and I noted that her heart rate and breathing was at it's most relaxed and regular while she was laying on my chest, than it was at any other time I'd seen her. Erin said she definitely prefers being held and snuggled. I tried not to move too much, I figure she'd sleep better if I wasn't moving around. Gave me one hell of an arm cramp afterward, but that's alright.

Addendum: Erin called me before I went over to the hospital to give me an update, and ask me to bring over the other carseat; when she's ready, we're going to see if it fits again.

Also, the feeding tube is still out (woot); she lost a little bit of weight last night, but it was just a little, and her doctor isn't concerned. They do that. Gain a bit, lose a little, gain a bit more.

She also passed her hearing test, which didn't surprise Erin as it seemed obvious to both of us that she could hear things and react to them. I keep catching her open her eyes for a split-second when I'm talking to her, for instance.

I've been wanting to look this up for some time now, and just thought of it a minute ago. This is one of the devices attached to Nora (on her foot). It's a pain, and not designed for squirming babies (one of the nurses said that the ones they use for preemies was originally designed for coma patients), so it "goes off" for no good reason sometimes (like squirming of baby). But, the fact that it's possible to track oxygen saturation levels with a couple low powered LED's and computers, is kind of nifty. Someone had to know what they were doing to think of it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 3rd, 2009

Yesterday Nora's doctor told us that they want to try feeding Nora exclusively with breast while Erin is at the hospital, meaning that they would like her there as long as possible, followed-up with bottle feedings when Erin can't be there, and tube feedings only when absolutely necessary. Hopefully this will prompt Nora to try suckling more often and taking more of her nutrition on her own.

Pretty soon she'll be home. Exactly when, we don't know, but I'd like to start addressing that inevitability. I'm concerned that there will be a lot of demand to see the baby once she's home, which is understandable. I think it would however be in everyone's best interest if we were to schedule these as appointments though, to avoid having a house full of people that all want to hold Nora at the same time. It's going to be too much for her, and too much for her parents.

Once we know what date Nora will be coming home, I will post it for everyone. The first day, I imagine that Erin would like as little company as possible while she takes care of Nora. After that, I'd like everyone who wants to visit to drop us a line (phone or email) asking what a good time would be. Afternoons and evenings would of course be ideal.

You may note over the coming days that the blog is unavailable at times or has been altered slowly; Erin and I will be discussing how she wants it changed and edited for content.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day 2009

Filed the taxes today, sent them electronically, had them set to deposit electronically, should have them within two weeks. Can't argue with that!

Anyone else have a baby last year? Remember the "Recovery Rebate" early 2008? Erin and I weren't eligible for the absolute highest total, but it was still good to have. However, since Nora was still born that same year, we are eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit on last year's taxes, equal to the difference between what we received, and what we would have gotten if she had been born before the rebate was distributed. Good to know! Mo' money!

Erin told me that the primary physician that's been assigned to Nora reviewed the recent feeding schedule and determined that whoever set her up with the increased feeding amounts went overboard, and has cut back the amounts. She's gaining faster than she needs to for one thing, and simply isn't hungry enough to feed herself when they're pumping her full of food she doesn't need.

Yesterday she had a really good day apparently; because of the lower feedings, she took to breast feeding better, took to bottle better, and even with the low flow nipples still sucked it down in record time. So she's got the mechanics down, she has the desire to feed, and is vocal about letting Erin know she's hungry! What's left? For her to feed herself consistently long enough to prove she can do it. Then the carseat test, then home! Cross your fingers!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 1st, 2009

Nora, age 1 month



Yesterday, both my in-laws came up to visit Nora. While Lee and Patty visited, Tina and I went home. I cleaned up the house as much as I could (I was exhausted), Tina did the rest - dishes, hanging laundry, making dinner. She made us her famous baked macaroni and cheese, as well as halibut with white sauce, veggies, and dessert. Thank you!