Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear Harper...

What a lucky boy you are - it may not have seemed like it as you've laid in your isolette day after day with masks, tubes and sensors attached to you, surrounded by beeps and the cries of your neighbors, but if you knew what was happening on the outside, you'd realize how lucky you really are - and that's why I'm writing about it, so you'll know. 

From the moment you were born you've had as big a cheering squad as I've ever seen. You've literally got fans cheering for you and praying for you from all over the globe. Co-workers of mine in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, France, England, India, China, Mexico and Canada have been sending prayers your way. Friends of ours in Germany and Italy have been toasting to your health and continued progress. And of course all throughout the US your fans have stepped up to cheer and support you  (I'm almost certain we've got all 50 states covered). And let me tell you - these cheerleaders of yours are loud because I know I can hear and feel them - and even though you may not realize it, I know you hear them too because you have been fighting so hard and progressing everyday. 

And of course your family has been behind you every step of the way as well. Everyone is just so excited to meet you and hold you - no doubt there will be a line out the door when you arrive home. 

One family member in particular is anxiously awaiting his turn to meet you and that's your big brother Adam. He's been excited since the day we told him you were on the way. He asks about you everyday and keeps you in his nightly prayers. Those colorful pictures and cards you've been staring at - those are all from one awesome big brother to his strong and brave little brother. As far as brothers are concerned, I think it's safe to say you've both got the best there is. 

So you keep on getting stronger and Daddy and I will keep leading the cheers - as we of course are your biggest fans. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Harper's Story...NICU Week 4...

What a great way to kick off Harper's fourth week than by letting him breathe some fresh (well, hospital fresh) air! I was so relieved when I called that Sunday morning and heard the doctor had stuck to his word (and Harper stuck to his end of the deal by having a spell free night) and had removed his mask. I was so nervous waiting for our Noon visit that he'd regress and the CPAP would be back on, but our little trooper held strong and so we got to enjoy an amazing visit and cuddle session with full view of our little guy's face and hair (and oh my, that hair!) 

After our visit they did put him on a nasal cannula - but that was to be expected. Just a little extra help as he eases into being completely on room air. Aside from being a bit fussy when you put the prongs in his nose or when you have to adjust them, he really doesn't mind them at all and the awful side affects from the CPAP are gone which is a huge victory and I know my boy was much happier as a result (confirmed by all of his nurses raving about what a different baby he was now). 

Spitting up, or emesis is still an issue, though we've all come to the conclusion (doctor included) that he's just a reflux baby - which makes sense as his big brother was also a big time reflux baby! Runs in the family I suppose. So with everyone on the same page that spit ups are going to happen, the doctor agreed to move his feeding tube back to his stomach and continue to increase his feeds as planned. This was another big step as he needs to get up to full feeds and his belly needs to tolerate them so we can get him moving towards bolus feeds (meaning his recommended amount in a bottle every three hours instead of the continuous feeds). So progress is being made on that front as well. 

Another milestone this week was that his feeds got high enough that they were able to stop his IV fluids (which after his IV in his arm went bad they had to move it to his scalp) and remove his IV - hooray! So the morning after they removed his IV I was greeted with a sweet little Harper wearing a shirt - even though he was practically swimming in it I loved that site, just another sign that our baby boy is moving in the right direction. 

While the hospital clothes are all fine and well, I was told we could bring in our own outfits and blankets for him. What fun! Between outfits that the Chappells sent us and some outfits and blankets that Auntie Amy bought, we had lots of options to bring to the hospital and I'm loving (and so are his nurses) playing dress up with him. 

The IV being out also meant he could start having actual baths. I loved being there for his first one and seeing how much he enjoyed it. He was loving it so much he stayed asleep for the first half, then finally woke up and just had this relaxed look on his face. Happy (and clean!) baby boy. 

His final milestone for the week was hitting 4 pounds on his 4 week/33 week birthday! Way to go Harper! What a fantastic week - here's hoping week 5 brings as much progress! 

My little slugger...

Adam is really enjoying playing baseball and even though we've had a few games and practices postponed due to rainy weather, he's still gotten in a couple games and you can see the team progressing - in that they aren't playing in the dirt quite as much and the ball generally ends up where it's supposed to go. I think we're learning that's the best we can hope for at this age. That being said, Adam does seem to be picking it up a lot faster than some of his teammates (yes, I'm that braggy mom, so sue me) and I just love to see him hustle after the ball. Grandma, Grandpa, Kathleen & Olivia were there to cheer him on at his last game and boy did he love showing off for them - big hits, big throws, and big smiles!

Big props to the dad on his team that takes these awesome photos of everyone - sure can't capture these great actions shots on my iPhone. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Harper's Story...NICU Week 3...

Harper's third week in the NICU definitely had some ups and downs. We started the week with some ups - including this adorable photo we got of him during his Sunday morning bath. He was wide eyed and loving the short break from his CPAP. I cherish this photo and it's currently the wallpaper on my phone. 

Everything was pretty much "status quo" for our little guy until Wednesday when he decided to have a lot of spit ups and thus a lot of spells - upwards of 7 in one day - which is way more than the one to two he was typically having. So on Thursday after drawing some blood to confirm what he already suspected, a low red blood cell count, his doctor ordered for him to have a blood transfusion. I'll admit, at first the idea of a transfusion didn't sit well with me - something about someone else's blood going into my baby was a bit nerve wracking, but then his amazing (yep, there's that word again) nurse put all my fears to rest. Upon visiting that day she told me that Harper was doing so well and that he was clearly enjoying his "Spa Day." Ha, "Spa Day" - I liked the sound of that. It all made sense too, because of the transfusion they stopped his feeds, so instead he was just getting IV fluids and electrolytes and all that fresh blood and thus red blood cells, were helping move oxygen around his body, helping his breathing and quite literally breathing new life into our little guy. He went spell free for 36 hours after that...a "Spa Day" success! 

Now while Harper was having a tough Wednesday, so was I. After two days of some pretty uncomfortable stomach and back pain, and then an afternoon of some serious sharp pains in my right side/back I called my doctor who instructed me to head to the emergency room to get checked out. Hello emotional roller coaster! So instead of heading to the hospital as I had planned, to visit Harper, I was heading there for myself - *sigh. After some tests and a bit of waiting around (holding our breath as best we could - emergency rooms are yuck - especially when you are trying with all your might to stay healthy so you can visit your baby in the NICU) I learned I had a kidney infection - the result of a couple urinary tract infections that I didn't really realize I had - which were likely due to the catheters I had earlier in the month during my various hospital stays - you know, because life hadn't been interesting enough this month. So antibiotics, lots of fluids and rest were ordered up, and luckily since I didn't have a fever I was told I'd still be able to visit Harper - phew! I think I need one of those "Spa Days" but maybe I'll take an IV of chardonnay instead! ;) 

The rest of the week he was still having a bit of tummy troubles - lots of spit up, or emesis to be all fancy and medical about it - and still a lot of gas in his belly. He also managed to snap his PIC line and pull his feeding tube out on Friday morning - what a little trickster! Instead of a new PIC they just put an IV in his arm as he'd hopefully be off the IV soon. Meanwhile, the emesis episodes would typically cause a spell and thus the cycle continued a bit for Friday and Saturday. It was clear that CPAP was to blame and so on his three week/32 week birthday I spoke to his doctor about going on a trial run of removing it...he was open to the idea and agreed that if he had a decent night, he'd remove it in the morning. 

So that's how week 4 in the NICU will begin...stay tuned. 

In the meantime, here are some pictures from one of his bath days this week. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

A wealth of good wishes...

I'm still pretty overwhelmed with the sheer amount of support, well wishes, good thoughts, prayers, and goodies we've received since Harper was born. There's been a pretty steady stream of flowers, balloons, gifts and treats arriving at our house. Not to mention the huge amount of friends, family, and colleagues (old and new) checking in on his progress and cheering him on through Facebook, Instagram, emails and yes, even some cards in the actual mailbox. :) 

Neighbors, friends and family have been bringing meals which has been super helpful especially with the start of school, t-ball practice and of course hospital visits. Very nice being able to not have to worry about what to make for dinner - and I have to say, we've had some pretty great meals - and Adam is even branching out and trying new things as a result. 

It's a great feeling knowing so many people are routing for our little guy and we can't wait to get him home so we can start introducing him to you all - of course that is if you've had your flu shot. ;) 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Batter up!

Adam is playing his first season of baseball this fall and we couldn't be more excited. He is starting with t-ball and his team is the Mudhens. They are the most adorable group of 6 year olds and only two weeks in seem to already be improving their skills and making friends and great teammates with one another. 

His coach has been great working with the team on fundamentals - when the kids first ran the bases most ran in the right direction and most skipped actually touching the bases - so yeah, learning the fundamentals is key. 

Their first game was rained out which was probably a good thing as it meant they got in two practices before their first game. It also meant their first game was their "Under the Lights" game (each team gets one of those a season - fun for the little guys). They had pictures first which was adorable. Most of the kids are swimming in their uniforms, it's too cute. Then it was on to the game. They play four innings and each kid gets to bat and they don't count outs. It's really just all about learning the sport and having fun. The "Under the Lights" game meant they also had an announcer. It was pretty cool hearing Adam's name called out during the starting line-up and then hearing it called each time he came up to the plate. Quite an experience for both players and parents! 

Adam did so great in his first game. He played first base, right field, pitcher and left field. He hustled after every ball and everyone raved about what an arm he has - though we need to work on teaching him to change the speed/strength of his throws based on how far away the person he is throwing to is - yikes! And his batting - well, he's a slugger that's for sure! 


Can't wait to see what the rest of the season brings and I know we'll have a lot of fun cheering on the Mudhens in the process.