Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The best appliance that you'll never think of.

I'm here to tell you about an appliance that you can get and will make your life so much easier as a new parent.  It will help you get more sleep and help you stay awake when you need to.  It won't be anything that you think of!  Let me paint a picture for you.

Premies, and probably new borns, need to be fed every couple of hours. Baby boy (BB) is eating every 2.5 hours.  So up the stairs I trudge and grab a bottle out of the fridge.  But it's got to be warm.  Can't microwave it because it will make it to hot in spots.  The bottle we are currently using will not fit into the bottle warmer we have.  Enter the Keurig One Cup Coffee machine!

Despite my dislike for this machine at times, it can be temperamental (needs either stern talking to or lots of encouragement...I got for the stern!), it has saved me some sleep time.  It is ready to brew water in between 30 and 45 seconds.  The bottle warms up in about 2 minutes and I'm stumbling my way back downstairs to pass it off to M or to feed BB myself.  If we didn't have this thing I'd be up there trying to boil water to get the bottle warm.  Who knows how long that would take.

And did I mention it makes a pretty good cup of coffee?  It's usually when I'm pretty tired that the machine needs a good lesson in who is boss!  After that it's good for awhile!

They are a bit pricey, I originally didn't want to get one of these 2+ years ago, but it's trucking right along and saving me some sleep time!

Any other appliances that I should check out for other uses?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tired or Lazy

I haven't posted in a few days and I really have no excuse.  I'm going to lean on the fact that I'm tired but more than anything it's probably the fact that I'm lazy.

Baby boy is doing well.  He's not sleeping much at night so that makes it a bit rough, but with the three day weekend we are making sure to get some extra sleep in when we can.

I thought I had more to say, but right now my mind is flowing with other information.  So this will have to do for now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SwaddleMe Baby to the rescue

I originally wanted to title this post "Baby Straight Jacket to the Rescue" but figured that some people might not share my sense of humor and as a worse case scenario I might have the local police knocking on my door!

My mother told me that a few of my cousins who have recently had children recommended SwaddleMe Baby.  We didn't think much of it.  We would swaddle baby boy (BB) in a receiving blanket and be on with it.  He really liked it.

However the other night he was just throwing a fit with his arms flailing about and a receiving blanket wasn't doing it.  Apparently the arm flailing scares them.  So M went and busted out one of the packages of SwaddleMe's we had and we put him in one.  Literally when it's done it looks like he's in a straight jacket.

To date it has been one of the better nights of sleep I've got.  However last night was a bit challenging.  BB was still in his SwaddleMe, but he managed to get his arms out.  I think this is because the SwaddleMe stuff we are using is for larger babies and he's still less than 5 lbs.  If we had the premie version I think he'd be fine.

Any how I give these things 5 out of 5 stars!  But if money is an issue I'm sure swaddling in a receiving blanket can do just as good.

Monday, May 23, 2011

There is hope!

I was sent out yesterday to get somethings that we needed for BB and M.  At the store I grabbed a cart and headed in the general direction of where I thought the items might be (I don't usually go to this store) and I found what I needed.

As I was getting to the aisle I saw a mom and a dad and a baby.  At the baby section I saw a couple that was expecting and looking at strollers. I really wanted to stop and say something to them, but I wasn't sure what I would say other than "good luck and sleep as you know it will be a distant memory". Probably not the best terms to tell someone who is expecting! As I made my way to the pharmacy section, for a humidifier, I saw a dad alone, with his two children.  I stopped for a half a second to see if mom was around holding some kind of control button because the children were being really well behaved.

And with that I knew there was hope.  It's been a few rough nights here in the house and although I wasn't really concerned, it was nice to see that there are better times ahead.  M and I have joked that this first year is probably going to be one of the toughest and after that it should be more entertaining.  Not that BB is for our entertainment purpose, but we will be able to interact a bit more with him.

So when did your baby make the turn for you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The feeding schedule of premies

When our baby boy (BB) was in the neonatal ICU the nurses asked us what type of feeding schedule we'd like him on.  Apparently they didn't know that BB was our first and we had no clue. So we settled on feeding him every three hours.  It was an 8, 11, 2 and 5 schedule that repeated two times in a day.

So we brought BB home on Monday and continued on with that schedule.  The first night was brutal, especially for someone like me who likes their sleep.  I can get up early with the best of them, but I need my sleep.  Not with BB in the house.  I knew it was going to be a change, but ugh was the sentiment that morning.

On Wednesday we had our first appointment with the doctor to see how he was doing.  He actually put on some weight, so we are feeding him correctly.  I was kind of wondering there for a bit because he was pooping like there was no tomorrow (this seems to have faded a bit as of today).  And the doctor asked us how often we were feeding him.  We told her that we were on the same schedule as the NICU, but were wondering if we could change it up as he was getting hungrier earlier and the night time was brutal. She said yes we could change it up and the schedule at the NICU is not all that realistic for home.  Especially at night, if BB would go 4 hours we could hold off on feeding him that long, but he still needed to get in 8 meals a day.

We are on the 2nd day of this schedule and things are going well.  Still a lot of getting up and running upstairs like a zombie and heating up a bottle for him, but I seem to be doing okay.  M on the other hand, nature instinct or not, is spending a lot of time up with BB when he makes a groan or a grunt. I think eventually she'll learn what is what and be able to sleep through it, but for now she's awake quite a bit and has made the comment that coffee in the morning feels like a jump start to the system!

So in the end, we basically feed when we see BB rooting around or he starts fusing a lot.  Never going more than 4 hours for a feeding.  Most of the time it's 2.5 hours for him, but he has done a couple longer and shorter than that.  He's really starting to chug the milk down.

The real test of all of this will be next week when I head back to work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Every newborn should have a police escort on their way home!

On Monday we took our baby boy home.  As I've mentioned before it's a 45 mile trip, one way, to where he was at.  At normal speeds it takes about 30 minutes to get there (or back!). 

So on Monday we drove down with our car seat, just in-case he'd fit, he didn't, and met with the car seat guy for instruction on the one we'd be borrowing.  We spent about an hour learning all of the ins and outs of a car seat and proper installation. Finally the car seat was installed and we had to go and get baby boy.  He'd been moved due to staffing issues, but we found him and we gave him a meal before our venture home. 

I'd read in baby books, leading up to this, that as a guy our driving habits would change as we'd now be responsible for another human being.  We'd be less aggresive as a driver and just more careful as we motored about. I saw none of that leading up to this.  When someone would turn down the wrong way in the parking lot I just parked the car right in the middle hoping that they'd realize that "oh I'm going the wrong way".  But no...we are stupid humans sometimes. 

However when we put baby boy in the car it was different.  It was as if a switch was flipped.  Well maybe not that bad, but turning on a red light now required more thought.  The interstate wasn't quite as bad, but we were surrounded by 18 wheelers who at times are not the best of drivers.  Add the wind, that a couple of weeks ago tipped over a manufactured home in transit, and I was a changed driver.  And I get to do it all over again today!  Possibly even in rush hour traffic.  I know it's something I've got to get used to but I think a police escort for the first year would best for everyone involved!

Anyone else have any stories of bringing your baby home?

Monday, May 16, 2011

And then he came home!

This weekend we received some great news.  Our baby boy is coming home with us today!  We hadn't really expected this for at least another week.  However on Saturday when we visited him the nurse kind of hinted that he might be ready to go home on Monday or Tuesday.  As we were driving down yesterday M received a call from the doctor and he said that he'd be good to go home on Monday.  So today I work half a day and then I'm off for the rest of the week as we begin to get into a routine with our new family member.

There's been a ton of information thrown at us over the last few days preparing for this.  I hope that I'm able to remember everything.  We've done a quick infant CPR class, we've got a infant/premie car seat thing today and more information to go over!  Luckily the hospital we are at is great and they will be sending us home with a few trees worth of papers that we can refer to.

I'm sure I'll have some more posts coming as we make this adjustment but here are a few things we are dealing with.

  • Unless our boy gained 2 ounces last night, we are bringing home a baby that is less than 4 lbs (and only 37 weeks old). 
  • He's still got his umbilical "stump" (not sure what they call that!) attached (We've been advised DO NOT pull it off even if it's loose)!
  • Two cats and a dog that are going to feel put out of place and probably further down on the totem pole (no biggie for the cats, but for the dog it will be an issue)
  • Lastly a mom and dad who have become very used to their sleep schedule. We are now going to be getting up on a feeding schedule of 8, 11, 2 and 5 and repeat for a total of 8 feedings. 
  • Oh and did I mention that M has a few doctors appointments this week which means daddy will be left alone with baby boy for a few hours.  I know I can handle it, but the thought right now is a bit overwhelming!
So ready or not here we go!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thank goodness for insurance

I'm still around and kicking.  I haven't keeled over from the hospital bill!  Blogger was down yesterday when I wanted to post something, which is okay because M found out about our hospital stay yesterday.  

Let me first say that I'm more of a fan of insurance than I have been in the past!  I kind of freaked out this last week and got really concerned about our hospital stay.  M took the brunt of it, which I shouldn't have done, but it just hit me at that time.  

Being the great wife that she is M went into the financial office yesterday and asked about our bill.  Had it been me when the numbers were revealed I probably would have wound up in the hospital.  I won't give exact figures here, but lets just say I'd like to make that amount in a year!  But thank goodness for M's wonderful health insurance.  In the end we are going to only pay about $4,000 out of pocket.  If it had been my insurance, which I do have, it would have been significantly more.  Here's a couple of other things that came out of it, that you may or may not want to hear. 

We are middle class.  Because we are middle class we will have to pay the $4,000 deductible.  Had we been super rich, or high class, no big deal.  If we were low class, well then 100% of it would have been paid by the government or grant or something along those lines (M asked about this).  I'm starting to see a pattern here.  You can take this same equation for college education.  If your high class you've got it made and if your low class, you've also got it made with all the grants and such.  It almost makes you wonder if working hard and busting your ass is worth it when you stop and think about it.  

I'll get off my high horse here, but I'd be curious to see what other people think.

We are going to go and spend part of the day with baby boy! Looking forward to it.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Daddy amateur hour

I'm going to take a guess that most dads (and probably some moms) haven't spent a lot of time around infants.  Toddlers perhaps but infants not so much.  This is me and I could add the toddlers to the equation as well (so this is where I'm coming from..I'm sure you'll get a laugh out of my adventures).

Yesterday I took off of work early (after a panic of locking myself out of the house) and headed to the hospital to see baby boy.  I hadn't seen him since Sunday afternoon and was really looking forward to it.  I must have been pretty excited because I got there a bit early, so I sat around and dinked around with my cell phone while waiting to do his duties.  We've been doing the duties (temperature, diaper changed, and move the oxygen meter from one foot to another) for awhile now so I was pretty comfortable with that stuff.  The duties went well and the nurse took a few other measurements.  Then she asked me if I wanted to do skin to skin (also known as kangaroo care I've found out).  I said sure.

So I get all settled in and she hands little boy to me and we begin to get ready to feed.  At first she was going to use a syringe (through the nose) but I questioned it and she remembered that he was bottle feeding (I can't say this enough...speak up if there's something they are doing that you know differently!). And this is where the amateur in me begins to come out.

I'd fed baby boy before but we are learning a new method called pacing.  Pacing allows them to feed on the bottle, but at a slower rate.  And he's in a new position.  This didn't go so bad, but I need more practice.  When things got bad it was with the burping.  She showed me on position for burping and I did okay...I think!  Then he ate some more and she told me to burp him while she went to attend to another baby.  Panic. She told me to put him on my shoulder, but I'd never done it before.  Infants have no control of their head so I wasn't sure what to do other than support his head. Was I supposed to throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes?  Long story short he drank all of his milk (he did have to be reminded!) and M tells me that what I did for the shoulder burp was good.

So guys you're going to feel way out of your element with an infant and especially with a premie.  I'm sure there's going to be more times of panic and not knowing what to do, but I'll learn and move on with it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Going back to work after you've had your baby

You ever have that feeling when your done with a vacation that you just don't want to go back?  Well that was my feeling today when I went back, but only about 100 times worse.  I didn't want to be there.  I wanted to be with my baby boy and hold him.  But alas I wasn't able to.  However tomorrow afternoon I plan on driving down to see him for a couple of hours.  

Coming back from the birth is tiring (and this isn't even with the boy being home!).  Chances are you're up at least once a night with your wife for various things. Last night it was to kill a giant spider that was lurking in the bathroom waiting to pounce on M and turn her into Spiderwoman.  But alas her valiant husband got out of bed and killed it with a flip flop!  Most of the time it's for support and help as she's trying to pump.  Yeah guys you will be helping and this goes on every 2 to 3 hours, so just be prepared.  

But in the end I made it through the day.  The boy is fine the wife reports, I'm not as tired as I was at lunch (could have slept the rest of the day) and I will go back to work tomorrow. When he comes home I'll be taking another week off as I suspect that will be as stressful as the last week.  Some people have commented that the lack of sleep continues for the next 18 years.  I hope not, but if that's the case so be it. Only a week in and it's been an incredible journey that I wouldn't trade for anything else!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


For the first time in almost a week we got to sleep in our bed last night.  It was nice to sleep in our own bed but also bittersweet.  Our baby boy has to stay in the hospital for awhile longer.  How long we aren't sure, but he has to stay here while we are home.  It was a very emotional time leaving him here and also arriving at home without him.

Throughout the week while we were in the hospital I saw other dads and moms leaving with their new one's and it made me jealous. I was happy for them and their new one, but both M and I wanted to take out baby boy home with us and begin that process. 

We know in the end it's better that he's at the hospital getting the best care that he can, but it's still really hard.  So for the next few weeks M will be travelling daily down to see him.  I'll be going back to work and visiting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When he does come home I'll take another week off of work. 

So posts will probably be here and there while I have a free few minutes.  As many new parents know, even without bringing a baby home, that free time seems to be in short supply. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We have a baby boy!

On my previous post I mentioned that we had a growth scan on Monday.

We had our growth scan ultrasound at 1:20 pm and a follow up doctors appointment at 2 pm.  M knew something wasn't right when the ultrasound tech didn't give her the papers to take over to the doctors visit.  In the past they have done that. 

This was the first time I'd met the doctor so I was kind of curious as to how she was compared to the mid-wives.  She was nice, but it was business.  After our meeting with her, I'll spare you the details, she told us that we needed to get over to the hospital.  The ultrasound showed that our baby was getting blood through the umbilical cord but sometimes the blood was being returned which was not a good sign. 

So we were admitted to the hospital, first time I've been into a hospital and into a room in about 10 minutes flat.  We had brought Jasper our dog with us thinking that we'd be able to go home and put him there.  Nope.  That was not the case.  Luckily we have a great set of friends and they rushed down here to be with us and get Jasper. 

By 4pm, via emergency c-section, we had a new baby boy in our family. That's how quickly it happened.  I actually made it through the c-section, which I'm pretty proud of.  My history with hospitals is not good. There's a combination of smells and temperature that makes me want to pass out, but we've been okay here. 

There are still hurdles for our little guy to get over (he's 5 weeks early, but according to the growth ultrasound he's almost 10 weeks early), but he's doing well and we couldn't have any better care in the region. 

Posting maybe sparse for the next couple of days, but I hope to get something out. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Baby Growth Scan today

Today is another important day for us...we think!  Today, if we've done our math right and marked our calenders correctly, we will get another growth measurement of our little boy.  Both of us are really hoping that he's reached the four pound mark and we can continue on with our journey.  The goal for us, once things switched around, is to make it to 37 weeks. So every time we talk about it we kind of end it by saying that we will be getting to 37 weeks.  Given this I'm a bit jittery this morning.  Like I've had about 10 cups of coffee in a few minutes!!!

If the doctors do decide that it's time I hope they give us a bit more time so that we can get the dog shuffled off and someone watching the cats.  It's not that we haven't planned for this, it's just that we really are up in the air right now.  Anyone of these trips to the doctors office could be the one where they tell us it's time.  Hopefully we have a few more weeks still!

This will also be the first time that I get to meet the doctor.  Which I'm kind of curious about.  I met with many of the mid-wives and they were very nice.  Almost annoyingly happy.  The one time that I went into the doctors side of things I was less than impressed and instantly thought "huh...there's a big difference in happiness in this side of the building".  But M has told me that things are okay with the doctors.  We probably just caught the nurse by surprise!

So I'm glad to get it out of the way so early in the week, but still very nervous.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and I'll let you know what happens on this afternoon.