Sunday, October 25, 2015

Harper's Story...NICU Week 7...

Harper had a pretty exciting week which started with his first visit with Ommy. He was wide awake and got in some good snuggles with her. 

His breathing had been so good they decided to switch him from his high humidity nasal cannula to a regular one. After two successful days with that one Harper got the green light from the doctor to have it removed - hello room air! It was so great to see his face without that cannula. It's also been nice having one less chord to navigate around and his cute face is enjoying having one less thing taped to it. He's handled breathing on his own very well and we're loving that he's achieved this huge milestone. 

We continue to work on his feeding. He has some good days where he's wide awake and ready to eat on his own and some days where he'd just rather sleep through it all - and that's ok. We're learning to be really patient and we know Harper calls the shots and we just follow behind, cheering him on and supporting what he's willing to do. 

I'm still enjoying being able to spend lots of time with Harper. Working as much as I can but also finding myself not wanting to put him down. It's just so nice to snuggle with him, kiss on him, and of course snap a few selfies. :) 

Adam got to come for another visit and just loves being able to see his baby brother. Let's hope he's always so excited to spend time with him. 

Our champ finished out the week weighing in at 5 pounds 8 ounces - what a buddy! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

When Adam met Harper...

When I found out I was pregnant one of the things I looked forward to the most was that first moment of having Adam meet his brother or sister and having our whole family together for the first time. So when we knew Harper was coming early and that Adam wouldn't be able to visit in the NICU that was one of the harder things to accept - and I know it was hard for Adam too. 

The hospital was great though providing resources to help explain to Adam what was happening and they even gave us a book that Adam could record himself reading so that Harper could start to learn his brother's voice. On the flip side, Adam would know that even though he wasn't able to visit Harper that he could still read to him. It's probably one of the sweetest things ever and I know we'll all cherish this book always. 

Moving to Fair Oaks did mean that Adam would now be able to visit and oh what exciting news that was to all of us. So on a teacher workday, after taking Adam for his 6 year check-up we surprised Adam by bringing him to the hospital to finally meet his brother. 

Sadly the moment didn't last too long as we mentioned to the nurse at the beginning of the visit that Adam had just gotten his flu vaccine - via the flu mist. Uh oh - big no no as that is a live virus and could easily make Harper, or any of the other babies in the unit, sick. Yikes! So while the initial visit was short lived, Adam was still so happy to have at least seen Harper and was ok with the fact that he'd have to wait another 7 days to hold him, touch him, kiss on him, etc. 

At long last the 7 days had come and gone and Adam got to really meet Harper and finally our family felt complete and whole. I'll never forget that moment and I know Adam won't either. Oh my am I excited to see these two grow up together - and I'll even look forward to the trouble they'll cause together - so long as it's just a little. ;) 

Pumpkin Patch Date...

Adam had been saying it was time for the two of us to have another one of our dates so after school one evening I decided to take him on a little surprise date to the pumpkin patch. He just loves the pumpkin patch with the scary bus - even though he was too scared to go in it this year - I guess fear comes with age?! 

We made sure to find the perfect pumpkins for each family member - four of them now. :) Adam happily pulled the wagon as per tradition (photos from previous years here.) Looking forward to seeing him pull little Harper in the wagon at next year's visit. 

Harper's Story...NICU Week 6...

Another successful week for Harper is in the books. We've really found a nice rhythm here at Fair Oaks and have gotten to know a lot of the nursing staff - and of course they are all amazing. The nurses get to pick their babies at the start of shift and I can honestly say they all fight over who gets to care for Harper - I'm not kidding. The nurses who lose out stop by often for visits and updates - they all just think he's the cutest thing - I of course agree. 

I'm getting to spend a lot of time here with Harper which has been so wonderful. The older and bigger he gets the harder and harder it is to leave him, so I'm happy to be able to be here from 8:00 am until around 4:00 in the afternoon. This gives me the opportunity to feed him three times and get in a lot of snuggles and still be home in time to see Adam get off the bus, help with homework, etc. It's as good a balance as we can manage for now - needless to say we're all looking forward to Harper simply being down the hall rather than down the parkway. 

He had a pretty good week. We got to start working on nursing which has been nice and hard - but that was to be expected. He's also started bottle feeding and is pretty much taking all of his feeds now either by bottle or from nursing so that feeding tube ought to be out soon. He still takes about one feed a day from the tube, he's just so tired out usually at the 8:00 p.m. feeding, so we need him to continue to grow and build his stamina so he can get 100% of his feeds in without the tube. He'll get there. 

The doctor agreed to start him on some medicine to help with his reflux issues - this was a victory for sure as they aren't usually too quick to want to prescribe the medicine as it hasn't been totally proven to help - but after seeing what the medicine did for Adam's reflux, I was really hoping we'd at least be able to give it a try. I can see some changes already in his comfort and I'm sure as he gets a few more doses in him he'll be even happier. Happy baby - happy momma! 

The doctor also started to wean him off his respiratory support - I'll admit I started the week thinking by the end of the week he'd be 100% on room air, and the nurses all agreed. However late on Wednesday Harper decided to put on quite a show with a spell that was rather alarming. (Thankfully we weren't here for it!) He dropped his heart rate, his saturation level went to 12 (woah! 87 is when the alarms start going off) and he took a little break from breathing for about 20 seconds. Good grief. So with a little boost in oxygen and some stimulation from his amazing (yep, that word definitely works here) nurse he recovered and didn't have any other issues the rest of the night. We think this episode was a combination of being pretty worn out from his new skill of eating on his own, having pretty low red blood cell counts, and still battling the reflux (this was the first day he'd received the meds.) A boost in his iron and Epogen shot were ordered and we'll continue to monitor his red blood cells to see if another transfusion is needed. Happily he hasn't had any issues like this since then and we'll see if Week 7 is perhaps the week to back off the nasal cannula. 

Back to the good stuff - Harper is spending more time wide awake and alert making for some great photo opportunities. Those eyes - I just can't get over those eyes! :) 

Week 6 ended with him hitting the 5 pound mark and being moved to a crib - woohoo and with a special visitor...but that deserves it's own post. :) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Harper's Story...NICU Week 5...

Week 5 was full of changes, milestones and adventures for our little Harper. For starters he celebrated his 1 month birthday! I had to fiddle with tradition a bit as I was told I could not bring a cake in (remember this) so instead I had Adam draw a picture of a cake for Harper. I'm told it's chocolate cake with chocolate icing around the bottom and then topped with "dirt" cake and two gummy worms at the top. Fun to see a side by side of Adam at month one and now Harper. My boys are just too cute! 

Harper's reflux issues seemed to slow a bit this week - a lot less spit up and less spells as a result - way to go Harper! He also got to start receiving extra iron in his milk and an Epogen shot three times a week. This is all to help with his anemia - trying to boost those red blood cells. He's handling all of that well but his counts are still a bit low. The doctor is increasing the iron and the dose of his shots to see if that will help - then of course if not, we'll look at getting him another transfusion. So far the drop in his red blood cells has not affected his breathing, so that's a positive. 

With everything plugging along and progressing nicely for our little buddy we made the decision to have him transferred to Fair Oaks Hospital. We were sad to leave the wonderful staff, doctors and of course those fabulous nurses at Fairfax, but it was time to get Harper closer to home. Aside from being close to home, Fair Oaks also offers private rooms which allows for a much nicer environment for spending time with Harper. The private rooms also mean they aren't as strict with their visitor rules - meaning Adam could visit! (more on that later). We also have WiFi, our own bathroom, TV, comfortable chairs, and plenty of wall space to decorate with Adam's artwork that he makes daily for Harper. Basically it's the Four Seasons of NICU's. 

Zonked after his first & hopefully only ambulance ride

Speaking of looser rules - they also allow visitors other than mom and dad to hold the babies here - I can say with certainty that this was the best news to hit Grandma, Grandpa, Ommy & Poppy's ears in awhile. First up to take advantage of some much needed Harper cuddles - Grandma and Grandpa. 

"Hi Grandma! I see you!" 

"My what big fingers you have Grandpa!" 

Needless to say, it was an eventful, successful and Harper filled week which he ended by weighing in at 4 pounds 8.5 ounces - what a stud!