Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the dating weighting game

One more week down! Even though I haven't really done any more than normal, the Christmas holidays have made me feel like I am overexerting myself for some reason. Maybe it is because Cody has been home on vacation for the last two weeks, or perhaps it's the hustle and bustle of people coming and going around the house. Either way I was looking forward to getting an all clear from the OB yesterday.

Cody took Rhys to visit some familiar peeps at the NICU while I waited for over an hour to get checked out. My cervix is good, blood pressure is still a bit elevated (for me) but within normal range, and I gained FOUR pounds. In a week! Holy moly Little Sister better be beefing up in there because I'd hate to think all that weight just plastered itself to my rear. I've really noticed my belly growing the last week or so, and have also noticed that Little Sister's kicks are moving up my abdomen so I think she's spreading out. The nurse got a good laugh during the heartbeat check because Little Sister was just thumping away and interrupting the reading. I'm anxious to see the peri again in two weeks to see how much she has grown.

Rhys continues his weekly PT with ECI. The PT seems to think he's made some improvement in the short time she's been seeing him. I have noticed his legs seem a bit stronger than previously, but we're still working on his back muscles and keeping him remaining standing for longer periods of time. He is doing very well using his right arm, which is something we've been hoping for. He still occasionally keeps a closed fist on his right hand, but not nearly as much as he used to, and he can easily be persuaded to grab things with his right hand after initially reaching with his left. He has become a pro at bouncing and can simultaneously throw his arms up and down and/or grab and hold onto the animals up top. Hey, nothing special but it's coordination and I'll take it! His little fits are becoming an everyday occurrence. It's almost funny that he raises his fists and shakes them when he's really angry. Cody and I have to be very careful not to outright laugh at his behavior.


Rhys is now about 22 pounds and has outgrown nearly all the clothes I recently bought him. He has never looked malnourished by any stretch, but he is becoming quite the ham. We continue to work on new foods, but Rhys still prefers his yogurt. Cody recently tried regular oatmeal/Malt-o-Meal spiked with milk, butter and brown sugar and after his initial refusal (and a lot of persistence on Cody's part) Rhys actually ate some of it. I gave him Whataburger fries yesterday on the way home from the doctor and he really seemed to like them and did a good job chewing and swallowing instead of spitting it out. One of these days we're going to look back and wonder how the heck we did all this. Oh wait, we've been doing that for the last year and a half!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

happy homecoming

One year ago today Cody and I woke bright and early in our room at the Ronald McDonald House. After a Christmas night of little rest we sleepily opened the door when we heard a knock. In came one of our favorite NICU doctors, who wished us good morning and gave us great news. Despite initially being told we'd need Care By Parent for at least two nights, she thought Rhys did great on night one and was signing his discharge papers. We were so unprepared for this announcement we'd taken Cody's car to the hospital the night before, sans carseat. So while Cody rushed home to swap our cars I packed up Rhys's few belongings entire life and received final instructions.

Last year, the day after Christmas looked like this for us. This morning Cody and I were well rested from full night's sleep (Rhys must have felt sorry for waking us up at 6 a.m. yesterday). We were all exhausted from a day full of visiting family and opening presents. Rhys received so many great gifts I can't even begin wrap my mind around it. He is one spoiled loved little man! Belated Merry Christmas to you all, I hope it was great.

And Happy 1st Birthday to Rhys's buddies, Kyle and Liam. Auntie M and Uncle D also received a surprise one year ago when their boys made a slightly unexpected arrival.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

info galore

Today's wait at the OB had to be the shortest on record. I was in and out in 45 minutes. If only they could always be so speedy! No ultrasound (again) today, just a heartbeat and cervix check. I was sent home with two more antibiotics. That makes me feel like I'm falling apart, but my OB assures me I am not. I understand infections are more common while pregnant, and bless my OB for taking no chances. And for not making me feel like a paranoid moron in the process.

The talk about infections prompted me to ask my OB if I should expect to see any signs of my cervix dilating. His answer? Probably not. That doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. Because everything happened so quickly last time, with zero indication until it was much too late, he doesn't expect the tell tale signs of impending labor. His solution is weekly office visits to check things out. Okay by me! Though I will certainly be on pins and needles the next four weeks, until I reach 28 weeks. As mentioned previously, if/when my cervix unexpectedly starts to efface I am fairly certain I will be put in the hospital until Little Sister makes her arrival.

I had the tiniest bit of spotting this afternoon. So tiny that a normal, non-freakish person wouldn't have even seen it. Spotting can occur after your cervix is checked, but this is the first time it's happened to me. I noticed it late in the afternoon so if it continues through tomorrow I will call the office to ask about it. Just in case. Everything with this pregnancy is just in case.

My contractions remain unchanged. Very infrequent and random. Except for two days ago when the nurse told me I had seven in one hour. Seven. There is no way I had seven. I don't believe the machine lied, but I have gotten pretty good at recognizing irritability and contractions and I felt maybe two bouts of mild tightening during that session. Oddly enough I have noticed that some nurses are more conservative than others when they read the data. What one nurse would consider irritability another counts as an actual contraction. The difference (from my understanding) is mostly pertaining to the intensity of the tightening, where irritability is much milder. The nurses who are very conservative count anything that lasts more than forty seconds as a contraction no matter the intensity.

So where am I in this pregnancy?

Right now I am officially 24 weeks. Though, based on when Little Sister was created I am not quite that far along. How am I sure? Because I was there folks! My OB likes his estimate, which is only a difference of 4 days, so we are going with that. No, four days isn't that big of a deal. Unless of course you're referring to a preemie and I then I want every extra day I can have.

How much weight have I gained? About 22 pounds. It's mostly all belly, though my face is a bit fuller, my arms a little flabbier and my rear and legs a bit snugger in jeans that were previously ginormous. At this point with the twins I had gained forty pounds. Yes, I said forty. A four followed by a zero. I have no idea how I gained that much weight, but however it happened it wasn't related to eating because I was just not into food at all.

How do I feel? Much to my surprise, great! I didn't get pukey during the first trimester, though I was extremely fatigued and had that yucky whatever stuck in my throat the entire 13 weeks. I have a bit of heartburn now but nothing compared to the twins' pregnancy. With the twins I got up (literally) 3-4 times a night to use the restroom from about 13 weeks on. And then horrible insomnia rarely allowed me to go back to sleep. I am very thankful for being comfortable so far and being able to sleep through the night, mostly uninterrupted.

Any concerns so far? Not according to my OB. I've noticed my blood pressure has spiked a little the last couple of weeks, but he hasn't mentioned a thing about it. My baseline blood pressure is very low, at about 100/60. My current blood pressure is about 110/75 (give or take) depending on where and what time of day it is taken. That is still a good blood pressure on its own, and I believe only anything above 120/90 is cause for worry, but some doctors get concerned if the bottom number (which matters most from what I'm told) increases by 15. This is another of those things I need to add to the "leave it alone" list until my doctor deems it a worry.

Is Little Sister a mover? Absolutely! I think she's doing flips in there. She thumps and kicks all day long. Her constant shifting makes me truly wonder how two babies ever fit.

Does Little Sister have a name? We're working on it! Cody and I seem to have serious difficulty naming our children. We have it narrowed down to a few we really like but haven't gotten any farther than that.

Beyond that we're working on finishing selections for the nursery. We had a major head start this time. The walls were freshly painted at the same time the twins' nursery was started, Bentley's crib is on standby and we have re-purposed a dresser. I have purchased fabrics for the bedding (online of course), I need to get a rocker and a few more odds and ends but that is about all. I love shopping for Rhys, but it has been really fun shopping for a little girl. We've only bought a very few pieces of clothing for Little Sister (as we don't know exactly when she'll arrive or how big she'll be in what season) but it's certainly been fun to window shop.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

bounce, bounce, bounce

Rhys has discovered the fun of bouncing. He's been bouncing for a few weeks now, but never more than one or two bounces at a time. Look at him now!

video


He's been at it for a good 30 minutes. Way to go little man!

Monday, December 14, 2009

peri vist @ 23 weeks

As expected, after reviewing the ultrasound today the peri told me I am still eating too much sugar/carbs. I don't eat a ton of sweets to begin with and Cody and I try to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible, but I am just a bread and rice kind of person and try as I might that is a major part of what I eat. I really have made an honest effort to limit my intake (despite my OB telling me not to worry), and that didn't do a thing so I give up! For now. Or until my OB tells me to adjust my diet. I go back to the peri in four weeks for another checkup... all part of the master plan.

Even still, I am just a bit on the high side according to the peri. Whatever that really means. Everything else with Little Sister looked great, when she remained still long enough for the tech to do her job. She is measuring a few days ahead and is estimated to weigh a whopping 1lb 2oz. That is right at where the boys were measuring - they each weighed 1lb 7oz at 23w5d. Cervix looked good today too. Woohoo! I am still having a random contraction here and there, but so far I haven't noticed an increase in frequency. The farther along I get the more comfortable I feel about this pregnancy having a different outcome from last time. I will breathe a huge sigh of relief once I reach 28 weeks, but as a lovely and wise friend recently told me "if we're going to wish let's wish BIG!"

Rhys seems to have come a bit more out of his shell the last few weeks. It is great seeing his little personality develop. More increasingly he has quite the attitude when he doesn't get his way. He loves the phone and Dad's touch screen remote and boy if you don't want him to have it you'd better not let him see it! I understand this isn't unique, but when you see your child start life as tiny and fragile as Rhys did it is so easy to be amazed at every silly (and normal!) little thing they do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PT update

Today was Rhys's second session with the ECI therapist. I have to admit that I am pleased with her even though she's only seen Rhys twice. I think it is mostly to do with the fact that she is taking a different approach (at least right now) to the therapy. A fresh set of eyes as it were. Where the private PT was working more on sitting and pushing up, this PT is working more on Rhys legs, feet and back.

First, we're working on getting Rhys to bear weight (on command) on his feet. Rhys basically stands when he wants to stand. If you put his feet on the ground he will not always straighten his legs to hold himself up. The PT told us that Rhys has a lot of sensitivity on the soles of his feet and there are times when his feet touch the ground he wants to lift them back up instead of bear weight on them. This isn't always the case (because he will weight shift in his jumperoo all day long if you let him), but we still need to correct it. She suggested that when we hold him we should either rub his feet with our hands or rub his bare feet up against different textures.

Another issue has to do with Rhys's legs. Rhys has low tone, which is one of the reasons he doesn't have the "endurance" to remain in certain positions. We've seen huge improvements as the months have gone by but we still need to train his muscles to do what we want them to. The idea is to force the low tone muscles to act properly, in alignment, so that the remainder of the body can act in its correct position and send feedback to the brain. Right now we are working on two positions with Rhys. First, by making Rhys stand, with feet firmly planted on the ground, and not allowing his knees to buckle. He doesn't appreciate this position, however he is more tolerant of it when his activity table is in front of him. The other way is to straddle his legs over your thigh and have him put weight on his feet. He seems to cooperate more with this position. The way I understood it when it was explained to me (and I could be somewhat off) is that low tone muscles will sort of find their own way, even if it isn't the correct way. If we can get them to act properly the rest of the body can then be properly engaged and hopefully we will see some progress with the motor skills.

Rhys has not been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but as a micro parent you always know that is a possibility for your child. While he is demonstrating some signs of possible CP it is still too early to say that he definitely will or will not outgrow it. We have seen Rhys make great strides in the last months so we are hopeful that with time and a lot of continued hard work he will gain all the muscle control necessary to move independently and unassisted. But at this point only time will tell. The new PT seems positive though and has promised to look into new toys or equipment that might help get him started.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm a three

22 weeks! My OB checkup today went well. It was the first time, in all my months of pregnancy, that I did not have an ultrasound at a visit. That was very strange, but on the other hand somewhat reassuring that my OB didn't feel the need for one. Little Sister's heartbeat was good and my cervix is still "closed, closed, closed". Based on a swab that was done two weeks ago I do have a bit of a minor infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Since I began monitoring I have had a handful of contractions and occasional irritability. I am getting pretty good at identifying which is which, and I am fairly certain I am not having contractions except on rare occasions. Hopefully this trend continues and they don't increase in frequency. Irritability is basically a constant contraction, but is much less intense and doesn't cause as much 'damage' as a full blown contraction. I asked my OB about them today and he is not worried about my monitoring results so far. I have a few small fibroids, which is not uncommon, and those cause irritability, as does pregnancy itself. So, overall he is very pleased with how things are progressing. Just out of curiosity I asked him where I fall on his high risk scale. I'm a three out of ten. Not too bad! Though he did mention he doesn't want me to get any worse. Well, me either!

I remembered to ask him about the peri's assessment that I was eating too much sugar. Without being ugly he basically told me to ignore the peri. In fact, he wants me to eat a ton of sugar because he wants Little Sister to be fat! I think he was half joking, but he did mention that I should eat a lot of protein and try to beef Little Sister up and make sure she is as chubby as possible. I go back to the peri next week for another anatomy scan/checkup, but I have instructions from my OB to ignore anything I am told until I speak with him.

---------------

Rhys started his ECI PT last week. The new PT seems to think that Rhys's back muscles need a little strengthening. Which made sense to me once she pointed it out. So, she gave us some exercises to practice with him to get him to work his back. Now that I think of it that does seem to be what is keeping him from doing what he needs to. Might not be the only thing, but it is definitely contributing. We will be seeing this PT once a week now, and I am excited to get her fresh perspective.

Here are Rhys and Cody in our Houston blizzard last week. We very rarely get snow in Houston, and even when we do it doesn't stick to the ground. It snowed all day last Friday and covered the entire neighborhood in at least an inch of white.

Today I am: 1 year, 4 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old.
Adjusted I am: 1 year and 1 month old.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

happy birthday Bella!

Happy 1st Birthday
to Rhys's micro buddy
Bella!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

giving thanks

This past week was great. Cody was home and able to spend a lot of time with us. In attempt to help me stay off my feet he has stepped up and taken over a lot of the things I normally take care of. He gets up with Rhys in the middle of the night when his teeth are bothering him. He makes multiple runs to the grocery store a week. And, he does nearly all the Rhys related work around the house. All on top of his normal day job and his side home projects. I'm sure I don't tell him often enough how much I appreciate the help, but I do! Love you babe!

So far the terbutaline pump hasn't been so bad. Except for the massive headaches it gives me. I had a constant headache for about the first three days, and now I seem to only be getting them in the afternoons. The catch is they are really hard to get rid of. I hear the side effects should wear off in between 3-5 days, so I am really hoping they don't hang around. The jitters are mostly gone, except I still have a pretty unsteady hand. It isn't nearly as bad as it was the first day after the meds started, but it is noticeable.

The contraction monitor is a bit of a pain. The monitor will pick up most stomach muscle movement so you have to remain fairly still. No bending over, walking, etc. It even will pick up laughing or coughing. These don't necessarily show up as a contraction, but the nurses who review the strip can tell something is going on. So far I have had some minor irritability (that I think was me readjusting my position while lying down) and one small contraction that lasted less than 45 seconds (when I was asleep). Having the monitor is somewhat reassuring, but I never had signs of labor with the boys' delivery so that has me a bit worried. According to my OB the 17p injections are really proven to work, so that combined with the cerclage, taking it easy and aggressive doctor's checkups should get me a lot farther this time.

Rhys has recently started indicating that he isn't wanting the cereal in his night time bottles. The past few days we've only given him milk at night and that has actually seemed to work just fine. We were previously keeping the cereal in his night time bottle because he was waking up starving in the middle of the night without it. He has also started indicating he really wants to eat his solids. If you don't get the spoon out fast enough he pitches a little fit. He will eat up to 16 ounces with the spoon a day. Too bad we are still limited mostly to his yogurt. He has six teeth now, with two more bottoms nearly poking through. Those little suckers are sharp too! He is fascinated by fingers and loves to chew on them. Not so much his fingers, but others' fingers. Gross! His weight gain seems good as well, at nearly 21.5 pounds.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the kitchen sink

Today I am 20 weeks pregnant. Oh so close to viability, but not quite there. It is making me even more anxious, wanting to make sure I keep Little Sister cooking for many many more weeks. Ideally 16 more weeks.

I had my first fFN test today, as well as a cervix check. Um, not fun! Of course they wouldn't do it if it were harmful, but there is something about them poking around in an area you want to remain closed that makes me squirm.

As of tonight I have a new, goes with me everywhere friend. This is to be my constant companion until Little Sister is born. Meet my terbutaline pump.


This pump is much the same as an insulin pump that some diabetics use. It is about the size of a cell phone and is attached to a catheter into the leg or stomach. The catheter looks like a plug to me and reminds of me of the thing that was sticking out of Keanu Reeves' neck in The Matrix. I am certain one of these days I will not have the pump attached to my pants/shirt and walk off, drop the pump and cause the catheter to pop out of my leg! Nice thought isn't it? :) Anywho, my pump is set to deliver a very small amount of medicine at a constant rate, with another small bolus injection every four hours. Overall, not so bad, but it is going to be a bit of a nuisance to always be juggling the connecting tube. All worth it for Little Sister of course. So far I am a bit jittery, but nothing I don't get from antihistamines.

My contraction monitor came today as well. I did my first monitoring session tonight and no contractions! Woohoo! I will monitor for one hour in the morning and evenings, unless I am having concerns. The session is sent wirelessly to the home health agency where it is reviewed by an RN, who then promptly calls me back to give me the results. Pretty nifty.

So, as my OB says, they're throwing in the kitchen sink and taking no chances. We are doing everything we can to get Little Sister to 36 weeks! I am feeling good and confident, but I am not taking things for granted. I am still trying to remind myself to take it easy and accept the help that is offered.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Rhys is doing great. He's healthy and happy and still plugging along at his own pace. He got his second dose of Synagis today, poor kid.


We recently gave Rhys peanut butter for the first time. HUGE success. If you can't tell, he has peanut butter all over. He really seems to like it despite it being super thick, which is usually a turn off for him. At his last weight check he was an even 21 pounds!


We are in the process of switching Rhys from private PT to ECI PT. Our private therapist is fantastic and we love her, but she is 45 minutes away. This is making it hard to get Rhys back and forth since I am supposed to be taking it easy. I am sad, but also think this is going to be a great opportunity for Rhys to have therapy at the house every week. I think it will be much easier than trying to juggle his sleep schedule, car time and eating and ensure he isn't a grouch that cries through the whole session.




Today I am: 1 year, 4 months, 1 week and 1 day old.
Adjusted I am: 1 year, 2 weeks and 2 days old.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

switcheroo

From the moment I knew I was pregnant I've had one thought on the brain. Boy! I was eagerly looking forward to my 16th week of pregnancy to confirm discover the gender. Little Baby had other ideas and didn't cooperate fully for that ultrasound. Though my OB's best effort indicated it was indeed a little boy. However, last week my OB wasn't so sure and told me to have the peri check it today. Let me just say that this whole time I've been focusing on a little boy I have also, in the back of my head, been sure it would then turn out to be a little girl just because that is the way it works. So, I was mentally prepared for today's announcement, even though not necessarily expecting it. Cody, however, was a bit giddy when they told us with certainty Little Baby is a GIRL! So Little Baby is now officially Little Sister. :)

All looked well today with my ultrasound, and (thank you Lord!) my cervix is still nice and long. Little Sister looked "perfect" said the peri, except for one small thing. Apparently I am eating too much sugar because Little Sister's kidneys were too full. I'll go off on a tangent here and let you know that the first thing my OB told me about this peri is to take what she says with a grain to salt and do not freak out until I speak directly to him. This peri is a diabetes specialist and is very serious about that aspect of her work. I do drink regular Dr. Peppers occasionally (while pregnant, otherwise I drink diet), and I just happen to have a movie sized box of Sweet Tarts in my car I've been eating on for the last few days. I also love anything bread, and french fries are my food of choice. So, I concede I might could try to lose some of the starches and sugar. I will talk to my OB about it next week, and in the mean time I will do my utmost to not get mad when Cody tells me I can't have my waffle fries and lemonade from Chick-fil-a.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

this and that

I feel like I haven't posted in forever. My days seem to fly away faster than I realize. We're all here and (thankfully) well. Rhys and I have gotten our H1N1 vaccine - yikes! - and I'm feeling much better that we've taken every precaution (in addition to being germ freaks) to keep us healthy. I really did not want to get it for him (or myself), but given our current family situation I didn't feel either of us could risk it. But boy did I have to scheme to get it for him! The pedi notified patients via e-mail that they received the shot version last Thursday. So I called to make an appointment never dreaming it would be total chaos. The office opens at 9 a.m., and by 9:30 (I had to call for 30 minutes to get anyone to answer the phone) they had quit making the required separate, to-get-the-vaccine-only, appointment. I was furious. There was absolutely no priority for who received the vaccine. I was told to call back Monday morning and they'd be making additional appointments provided there were vaccines still available. I called again first thing Monday morning and got through at 9:05 a.m. Awesome, I should have no problem now! But wait, they were now not making additional appointments until Tuesday. Um, sorry not acceptable that my 23 weeker is getting no consideration. I don't expect special treatment for my child for anything other than he is legitimately HIGH RISK! So, I schemed. I made Rhys an appointment to get his allergy sniffle checked out, which needed to be checked anyway to make sure his lungs and ears were okay, in hopes he could get the vaccine while he was there. They had an opening for a pedi visit that morning, so I get Rhys ready and into the office lickety split, all the while expecting a line out the door. Imagine my surprise when I get there and see only a handful of people waiting in the lobby. Not only that, but the receptionists were now telling people they were out of the vaccine completely. I was irked, but quickly discovered from the pedi that they did in fact have the vaccine and they were all too happy to give it to Rhys. I was glad we did in fact get the vaccine for Rhys, but I am still seriously annoyed I had to go to such lengths.

Rhys is such a funny little guy. He is loving the Pediasure and seems to be growing like a weed. He's gained nearly a pound since switching over and is starting to look more like a toddler than a baby. He is still taking things at his own pace, but he is definitely gaining more strength in his torso and arms. The coordination in his right arm is catching up to his left, though he is still a lefty more often than not. He can push himself up now and acts like he really wants to start moving. He'll bring his legs forward one at a time, but he just doesn't quite get it yet. He is still a ways from coordinating everything all together, but it's exciting seeing his progress nonetheless. We recently found him a (second) pair of shoes that are hard sole, but not so hard that he refuses to use his feet, as we found was the case with the first pair we purchased (and had to return) for him. We are really pushing new foods, trying to make him branch out from his yogurt and ice cream. He'll eat his yogurt or ice cream with his graham crackers crunched up in it (for texture) but he wont he mushed mac and cheese or spaghetti. He loves all his finger foods and will try to feed himself most anything you put in front of him, but we're still working on adequate chewing. His gag reflex is all but gone, though there are still a few occasions where something will get stuck in the back of his throat and he wants it out.

His four top teeth are now all poking through and partially in, and you can occasionally catch a peek of them when he smiles. He is still crabby a lot of time at night so we think they are still bothering him, or maybe he has some new ones working on coming through. Since the time change Rhys has been waking at 6 a.m. every morning. Who knew that a one hour time difference would make my child wake two hours earlier?! Sheesh, that has been a hard adjustment for me. I am trying to transition Rhys to only one nap a day. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. If he takes two naps a day he tends to fight bed time and/or wakes several times at night so I try really hard to keep him up and make him tired for one good nap after lunch and then a decent bed time.

All seems to be well with Little Baby too. My hips have seriously started to ache lately, which is odd because I never felt this with the boys. It could partially be because of the cold weather moving in and out. I finally have a real baby bump instead of a squishy beer looking belly. I have felt fluttering and occasional little thuds but not much movement overall. The minimal belly growth and baby movement (as compared to last time) has had me a bit worried that something was off, but I am comparing to the only other thing I know which is not the norm. I get a quick mini ultrasound (no audible heartbeat check, only from the screen) at every OB visit so I am certain they'd notice anything irregular. I have my 20 week anatomy scan next week so I am excited to see how Little Baby is growing. Tonight the home health nurse who gives my 17P injections (which btw hurt like h-e-double hockey sticks tonight) used her little machine and we found the heartbeat. As of yet we still do not know if said heartbeat belongs to a baby boy or a baby girl. One week it's a girl, the next it's a boy and so on and so forth. My OB finally threw up his hands and told me to let the perinatal doctor call it next week!

Since the home health nurse has been reviewing signs to watch for I've been concerned that maybe I wouldn't be able to recognize contractions if I were having them. That sounds ridiculous but when they tell me back aches and pelvic pressure, both of which I've had, can be signs of contractions I get a little confused. I truly don't think I am having them, but my situation isn't one where I can afford to be mistaken. So, I told this to my OB and I think I might have scared him a little. I also remembered to ask him about the throbbing/pulsing I'd been feeling occasionally. He looked a bit alarmed before he understood what I was telling him, and explained that it was increased blood flow and nothing to be worried about. So, because of my two concerns he is trying to get my home monitor and terbutaline pump now instead of in two week. Man! But, anything to keep Little Baby cooking for the next 18 weeks!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

little baby update

My age now officially belongs to a new decade and I can no longer claim to be in my 20's. I'm not an age person at all but man that stinks! :) We had a little birthday get together today and I asked Cody to snap a picture since I don't have any pregnant pictures yet. I don't really have many from my last pregnancy either, so I should try to get a few more this time around.



Little Baby looked good last week at my checkup. I started my 17P injections (progesterone) last Thursday so the preparation/planning is slowly being phased in. An RN from home health comes to our house to give the injection and provides a bit of "signs to watch for" refresher as well. She seems very knowledgeable and friendly and I am thankful for her service. I know I've mentioned it before but I h-a-t-e needles, and Cody tells me the needle for this shot is ginormous (I didn't look else I probably wouldn't have let her stick me). The medicine is delivered deep in the muscle and is injected slowly. The shot itself wasn't so bad but the prolonged injection makes the muscles ache. Needless to say I will not be eagerly awaiting her weekly visits.

This pregnancy is very similar to my previous pregnancy, but at the same time it's also very different. I've had the same symptoms as with the boys, but on a much different scale. Everything with the twins was multiplied to a higher degree. That is all I've known so I keep expecting a repeat. I stare at my belly worrying that Little Baby isn't growing enough, but then I remember oh wait there's only one! I packed on the pounds with the boys, despite never being hungry, and my belly grew visibly from day to day. While I have been hungry this time around, and have gained a good amount of weight, it isn't really showing so much. I will just say that maybe I need a "With Bump, Not Plump" shirt to add to my wardrobe. I definitely have a baby belly right now, but am barely showing compared to this stage with the twins.

I've had a few different sensations this time that I don't remember from before. From time to time I've had an internal pulsing/throbbing way down low. There is no pain, it's very random and is not at all rhythmic, lengthy or consistent. I mentioned it to the nurse (because I forgot to ask my OB - forgetting to question my doctors seems to be a recurring theme with me) and she told me they call it pelvic pressure and it is something to take mental note of to make sure it isn't a contraction in disguise. I don't really think it is at this point, but I suppose it could be eventually. The only contractions I know are the ones I felt the day the boys were born. Those were the textbook abdominal cramping that came 3-5 minutes apart so I am constantly concentrating on any strange feelings trying to determine if they are a cause for worry. Other than that everything has been uneventful, for which I am grateful.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

lions and tigers dragons and bears Rhys, oh my!

Happy Halloween! From our fire-breathing dragon.


Who is also a roaring lion.


We couldn't decide which costume we liked better so we dressed him up in both!

Do you remember Rhys's Halloween last year?


Poor little man was not digging it. He's grown a bit, wouldn't you say?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Rhys had PT again last week. His therapist hadn't seen him in a month and was ecstatic at his progress since his last visit. He is getting there slowly, but surely. We are trying really hard to keep him off his back (from lying on the floor), but our options are limited. He loves his jumperoo and constantly weight shifts from foot to foot, which is great for him and his muscle strength. We also purchased him a walker. Yes, there are a lot of differing opinions about walkers, but given Rhys's situation he really needs one. While physically he isn't where he should be, his cognitive ability is more advanced and he needs this freedom to move around on his own. His PT agreed and thinks it is a great idea. She did suggest though that we get him hard-soled shoes to wear while in the jumperoo and walker to help with the potential of tip-toe walking. She also thinks it might help him get a little traction for forward movement. While I am a firm supporter of barefoot or soft-soled shoes for babies first learning to walk (as is our PT), Rhys is in a different boat. So, I'm on the hunt for hard-soled shoes for him. The boy has never had a pair of shoes on in his life so I am curious to see how he reacts to them.

The Pediasure transition is going great. And, surprisingly, Rhys has allowed me to transition him from really warm to slightly chilled bottles. I can't tell you how great this is for me... there have been too many occasions to count where Rhys was starving but refused to eat when we were out and about running errands because I couldn't get his bottle warm enough. Rhys seems to love the Pediasure. Though I haven't tasted it, it smells incredibly sweet (think melted ice cream). He has been eating about 20% more in his day time bottles, and gets really angry if you take it away before he is done. We've only tried the vanilla so far, but they have several other flavors he might like. Cost wise it seems to be maybe a bit less expensive than his formula, but only because Rhys has never taken much volume of milk. Instead of switching cold turkey, I added a little Pediasure to his formula for a couple of days. That went great so I switched him over. In each bottle I now add a small amount of whole milk to the Pediasure in an effort to keep it from being so rich. Maybe that defeats the purpose of the higher calories, but I am afraid full strength would be too much for his tummy to handle.

We've started working on the honey bear cup. I have only tried it once, and Rhys did better than I expected. Rhys is much more receptive to a straw and regular cup than he is his sippy cup. He wasn't quite sure what the honey bear was, but he did grab the straw and pull it to his mouth a couple times so I thought that was a great start. I really need to be consistent with it and practice with him several times a day. Hopefully he will get it because Mom and Dad are tired of holding his bottle!

Rhys also saw the eye doctor last week. I was a little afraid of what she'd say because even though Cody and I make Rhys wear his glasses, it isn't 24/7. Unless you've tried to keep a cannula or eye glasses or other such something on an infant/toddler you just can't imagine the constant struggle. She did give me a pair of "No-Nos" to use to keep Rhys from pulling off his glasses. They look like a shin guard and velcro around the elbow to prevent the ability of bending the arm. I haven't tried them yet, but I know they will do the trick. Anyway, she said Rhys's eyes are "straight as an arrow" (referencing his sometimes lazy left eye) with his glasses on. We've only seen Rhys's eye cross once since his first eye appointment last May, and as I've mentioned he is without them a decent amount. She said it may be that his eyes have learned how to focus properly with the help of the glasses and if that is the case there is a possibility of losing them in a few months. I'm not sure how no glasses would effect his far sightedness though, and it didn't occurr to me to ask until we'd already left. I have no doubt his doctor is aware of this though, for she remembers every single detail of Rhys and every other baby she's seen in the NICU. Her memory is the most amazing thing I've ever seen.


Today I am: 1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks and 1 day old.
Adjusted I am: 11 months, 3 weeks and 2 days old.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

nutrition

Rhys's nutritionist came to see him this weekend. If you are thinking to yourself "Man, Rhys has a lot of appointments" you'd be right on! In addition to many others, he has been followed by a nutritionist since we were discharged from the NICU to ensure his diet is sufficient to meet his calorie needs for proper growth. Until we recently cut out the cereal, and really pushed the spoon/self-feeding, Rhys had been gaining weight at a rate faster than would be expected. Since then he's pretty much plateaued and has only gained about a half pound in the last two months. You'd expect this from an active 15-month old, however Rhys isn't moving around so much and isn't burning the calories his typical term counterpart is. Despite the minimal weight gain Rhys grew a bit more than an inch in one month, which bumped his height to the 50th percentile for his adjusted age (and as previously mentioned, to the 5th-10th percentile for his actual age). The nutritionist was quite stunned at this little growth spurt. Obviously Rhys is getting the nutrition he needs, else he would be growing at all, so she wasn't too concerned with his lack of weight gain. Like most of the others Rhys sees, the nutritionist treats him like a regular kid (while keeping in mind that yes he was extremely premature), and isn't one to automatically assume his prematurity is causing a particular issue. So, we will continue to watch the weight gain, and in the mean time we are going to transition from formula to Pediasure. Oh boy. The greatest problem I see with this change is that Rhys refuses to take his milk at a temperature less than really warm, no matter how hungry he is. Luke warm, room temperate, ice cold, it doesn't matter... he refuses it all. I just can't see myself heating Pediasure. This would be much easier if he could use his honey bear cup and distinguish it from the bottle, but alas that is not the case.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

15 month checkup

Today I took Rhys in for his 15 month checkup. As soon as I hit the door to the pedi's office I had a mask of horror plastered on my face. There was a croup-coughing kid in a stroller right at the entrance, who I was forced to sit next to for a few minutes. Every time that kid crackled I visibly cringed, to the point that his dad noticed and started giving me strange looks. Rhys almost got run over by a little squirt flying out the door after his exam, and would have land in Rhys's lap had I not backed up. My favorite though had to be the unwatched snot-nosed toddler who came over and tried to hang on Rhys's stroller and grab his ball. I snatched it out of her grasp before she could touch it and then looked around for her parent, who wasn't paying attention. Her dad's words to her? "No honey, let's come over here, he's sick." Actually, no he isn't, and I'd like to keep it that way thank you very much so please remove your child! Ugh, I could just feel myself crawling with germs. I used almost an entire mini bottle of purell and half our germ wipes swabbing everything down multiple times. Ick.

Anyway, the pedi thinks Rhys looks great and she's happy with his development. She did comment on his lack of weight gain and I explained our recent bought of "tough love" regarding the bottle and spoon feeding. Despite not gaining much weight over the last three months, Rhys is still a chub with dimples in his knees and elbows, and has grown nicely in length. He is actually on the chart for length for his actual age, between 5th and 10th percentile. Wow! He's still a bit shy of being on the chart for weight, and his head circumference is now in the 40th percentile for actual age.

Rhys got his 15 month vaccines today. They had the N1H1 vaccine, but only the mist and neither Rhys or I can have that version. So, we're on the high priority list when they come in, whenever that is. I also got a call today to schedule Rhys's RSV shot. Poor kid. He hates getting shots. Speaking of shots, I also got the regular flu shot today. And this afternoon I have a tickle in my throat that wasn't there this morning. I really hope I am imagining it and nothing comes of it.

Today I am: 1 year, 3 months and 5 days old.
Adjusted I am: 11 months, 1 week and 6 days old.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OB/Rhys update

One of the hardest things to me about being pregnant is not being able to take my normal meds. I've never been one to pop pills for every minor ache and pain, but when I recognize the need to take something I go straight to what works. Unfortunately, what works for me is off limits while pregnant. I've never been a Tylenol-taker simply because it does nothing for me. So, lucky me - that is all I get to take for the next few months. :) The cold front this past weekend must have kicked up some pollen because I've had a serious headache and allergies the last 48 hours and have been unable to get rid of it. I joked with my OB that I must have killed my liver with the amount of acetaminophen I'd been taking. On one hand I try to take as little as possible, but on the other I've been desperate to get rid of the throbbing in my temple. My OB didn't seem concerned and even told me that I could take my OTC allergy meds since I am out of the first trimester. Hallelujah! Today was much better in terms of the headache, stuffy nose and sneezing.

Little baby looked good today, though (s)he did not cooperate during the ultrasound. My OB tried for a good five minutes to get him/her to move, thumping and nudging to no avail. I'm still a bit early (my OB will usually tell gender at 16 weeks), so hopefully we'll have a more willing participant next week when I go back! I also start my progesterone injections next week. Oh boy. Those of you who are close to me know how much I love needles! And, I've heard these shots don't hurt a bit. Can you sense the sarcasm??

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Rhys is doing well. He's still grumpy from his teeth, but overall he is taking it much better than he did last time. Remember this? Ugh, I am grateful we are not repeating that experience. So, Rhys has 2.5 teeth now. Of his four top teeth, one outside top tooth is partly through, his two middle teeth are visible and his second outside tooth is also close.

Rhys is spoon feeding better than I ever could have imagined two months ago. He will typically eat about one and a half cartons of yogurt a day. The best part? the veggies/fruits are mixed in! I really think you can have too much yogurt, but that's all he'll eat. Except of course he likes loves his ice cream. He looks a like a little bird when you pull out the Blue Bell. We're trying other foods too, but he really prefers the cold, smooth and creamy textures. I'm slowly mixing in a little of this and that (crumbled graham cracker, apple puree, etc.) into his yogurt to change the texture a bit to try to get him accustomed.

Rhys's ST (who is actually an OT administering ST to Rhys) is very happy with his progress the past several weeks. So much so that she is suggesting we focus on (a) OT for Rhys during our sessions, unless Rhys has a specific feeding concern pop up and (b) learning to drink from a straw. I know that transitioning to the straw going to be a huge ordeal. Rhys's ST recommended the honey bear with straw, which I know has been successful for many other preemies, but I really think it is going to take a while to get him interested. He still has zero interest in holding his own bottle, though I am forcing him to participate in his bottle feeding in order for him to get any milk. It's working a bit, but the boy would much prefer you do it for him!

As far as other motor skills, eh, we're still slinking at a snail's pace. Rhys has almost mastered the jumperoo. He hops around like a mad man, and constantly shifts his weight from left to right. This is incredible for him, and has done unbelievable things for his torso/head/overall body strength. The play time in the jumperoo has made me think of buying Rhys a walker. It is similar, but I think it will be more challenging for him and give him a bit more freedom once he figures it out. Under different circumstances I don't think I'd have wished for one, but given Rhys's love of the horizontal position I think it is a tool that might help him. He is now capable of sitting on his own (for noticeable, but short periods of time), however he hates sitting and will do any and every thing to get back to lying on the floor. If you want a temper tantrum that is the fastest way to get one. I typically sit with him between my legs to prevent him from intentionally falling backwards, but he has figured how to scoot his bottom out from under himself. SO frustrating. We have no idea why he is doing this. His PT thinks it might have to do with his reflux, but I am not so sure. He is using his right hand significantly more lately, and though he still only likes to eat with his left hand, he will grab for things first with his right of his own accord.

Finally, after much thought we're leaning towards getting Rhys the swine flu vaccine. Maybe I shouldn't call it swine flu, that is not exactly politically correct I hear. Anyway, Rhys has his 15-month checkup tomorrow so I am going to ask his pedi. I don't even know if our pedi office has it available right now. We are being super careful about Rhys, the same as always, and avoiding taking him anywhere unnecessary. To be honest, I am more concerned with Cody bringing it home to us than I am either Rhys or me coming down with it first. But, for our family, it is more risky given that I am pregnant and Rhys has "underlying health concerns". I am still not 100% comfortable with the vaccine, but I would never forgive myself if something happened to Rhys when I could have potentially prevented it. So I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the risks and if the pedi has it tomorrow we will be getting it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

swine flu vaccine?

I'm having a really hard time with the rampant flu outbreaks in our area. Half of everyone I know has a child with the flu/swine flu, or has had one or the other themselves. I had to register Rhys with the school district last week and thought the germs were going to attach themselves to us in the five minutes we stood in the elementary lobby! I think I stared at the door handle for a full minute before I grabbed it with a germ wipe to go inside. Rhys has received the regular flu vaccine, but I have mixed feelings on the swine flu vaccine. Every doctor I have asked says something different. His pedi didn't mention it when he received his last round of shots. My OB told me I needed it and Rhys needed it. (I don't even want it for myself!) My friends' pedi's all say something different. Is anyone getting the swine flu vaccine for their kids? I know it is especially dangerous for those of us with kids that have "underlying medical conditions". There is something about the rush for the vaccine that makes me feel uncomfortable about it, but it certainly could be a situation where the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. If in fact there are actually any real risks to receiving the vaccine.

Anyone?

Monday, October 12, 2009

burrr


We had a little chilly weather here over the weekend. Almost enough for Rhys to need a little hoodie. Unfortunately, we don't get much of a winter here in Texas so we all get a bit excited about the first dip out of the eighties. When I was in college, without fail, you'd see people pulling out the wool sweaters with the first "cold" front. I always got a big kick out of walking across campus, seeing people decked out in a puffer coat when it was seventy two degrees out.

I discovered something today that makes me feel like the worst mother ever. Rhys has his four top teeth coming in. All at the same time. His upper left tooth (beside the front, big tooth) has already broken through. I guess that explains him being such a grump lately. I'd been giving him Motrin off and on when he was fussy for no reason, but I feel really rotten that I didn't know he had teeth right at the surface. Hopefully the remaining three with break through sooner rather than later. He's been a two-toother for much too long.


Today I am: 1 year, 2 months, 3 weeks and 5 days old.
Adjusted I am: 11 months and 4 days old.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

what's up, doc?


Cody and I are super excited about the new baby, and we're determined to do any and every thing possible to keep him (or her) cooking for as long as possible. So, what does that mean for me this time around?

For starters, lots of doctors appointments and preparation/planning. I'm officially high risk instead of being an honorary member for carrying multiples. (Yes, there is only one this time.) So far that has only meant OB visits every other week for ultrasound checkups. Last week I started with a perinatal specialist. Our little baby looked great and my cervix was nice and long. In hopes of keeping it that way I had a cerclage placed Friday. Which incidentally felt about as good as it sounds like it would! Did I need a cerclage? We don't really know, so my OB is playing it safe over sorry. Some signs of the boys' delivery point to an incompetent cervix, however Bentley did have an infection which can and will prompt labor in and of itself.

So, what is the strategy from here on out? At my last OB visit my doctor ordered the necessary paperwork to put his plans into motion. What I know now is that I'll start weekly progesterone injections at 16 weeks. At 20 weeks I'll go on a contraction monitor and begin terbutaline. In addition, I will be forced to "take it easy". At least that is what I'm calling it. :) As for anything else, there may be more my OB comes up with if the need arises. Hopefully it will not.

Will hospital bed rest be required? I sincerely hope not. However, I am not naive enough to think it isn't a possibility, or even a probability, for me at some point. I had a classical c-section with the boys. That means I can not labor. At all. If and when I begin to dilate, into the hospital I go. Until this baby comes out. Even if I did not have a cerclage this would be the case. Classical c-sections put the uterus at a higher risk of rupturing, so most doctors will deliver no later than 36 weeks. Including mine.

Did we know this was what our next pregnancy would entail? Yep, we were well aware of what was going to be required. Are we worried? I wouldn't be me if I weren't! Cody not so much, he sort of has a knack for keeping me out of hysterics. My personality requires to know why, why, why. I concentrate on twinges, examine the tp, and research anything I feel is out of the ordinary. Google is horrible, it enables me! But, so far so good. Though I have been spotting a tiny bit here and there for the last few weeks, my doctor isn't concerned. The cerclage went great and the baby is growing properly. My OB is very positive about this working. He knows my history (he delivered the boys), he knows my fears, and he is doing everything within his power to get this baby as far as possible. The goal is obviously as close to 36 weeks as possible, but to be honest reaching 28 weeks will be a great relief. Beyond all this, it is out of our control.

So, if you wouldn't mind, could you all please send up an occasional prayer that we have a long and boring pregnancy with a healthy, really-close-to-term baby?? :) We'd greatly appreciate it. And we'll certainly keep you all posted on how things are going.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

oh, brother



Not my brother.



Not Cody's brother.



Then whose brother?



Ahem.



Rhys is going to be a big brother.



(Again.)



Meet Rhys's new little brother. Or sister.





Due to bless our family in April.



Monday, September 28, 2009

eating update

Rhys has made some major strides with his solid food eating. He is willing to try just about anything (that he can feed himself) you put in front of him. We're introducing new flavors and textures, and though he has preferences the only thing I've noticed he wont grab is an apple slice. I think it must be the temperature/texture because he definitely likes the taste when you hold it for him. He discovered cheddar cheese crunchies today and giggled like he thought it was the best thing ever. There are many things I've been wanting to give him (like cheese, it isn't Gerber and doesn't dissolve), but I'd been holding off for fear he'd choke. I decided to go ahead and give him these things, in tiny pieces, to see what he'd do with them. He only has the two bottom teeth (still!) so there isn't much his chewing can accomplish. But, he is attempting to chew, which is incredible for him. He will take small little bites, mostly by accident, but instead of immediately gagging he tries to munch on it first. This doesn't always result in him swallowing what is in his mouth, but again amazing progress for him considering prior to two weeks ago he would immediately stick his tongue out trying to get the food off. I'm really hoping a few more teeth will get him over the hump and allow him to really eat. What a relief this is. Every time I get incredibly frustrated by his snail's pace he surprises me like this.

We're also seeing some progress with the spoon! His ST has never thought he had an aversion per se, but he clearly did not like eating from the spoon even though he'd chew on it. We are mostly sticking with the stuff we know he likes (which is only a couple of things) for now in order to get him accustomed to willingly accepting it. So far this seems to be working. He is much more receptive to eating from the spoon and even will eat a decent amount at a sitting. We've come to the conclusion that jarred baby food isn't the least bit enticing for him so everything he is getting is "adult" food. Tonight we tried mashed potatoes, and though he ate a few bites I think the texture threw him for a loop - it wasn't his creamy yogurt.

Since the table eating is just starting to make progress Rhys continues to get all his nutrition from the bottle. His daily volume is largely unchanged from what it was day one, but nixing the cereal has lowered his caloric intake. He hasn't lost any weight in the last month, but he hasn't gained any either. We discussed it with the nutritionist and we feel like he still has a little wiggle room where his weight is concerned and at this point the benefits (of his increased interest in table food) outweighs the zero weight gain. We will readdress this at next month's visit to see if he needs to have his formula calories increased, or be switched to a higher calorie toddler drink like Pediasure. I'm not super crazy about Pediasure because (a) it has a ton of sugar and (b) it is incredibly expensive in this application, but if that is what it takes we'll do it.

Now if only Rhys would try to be interested in sitting. My most recent effort resulted in him sitting on the floor, hunched over at the waist with his head between his legs, screaming at the top of his lungs. He has having none of it!!


Today I am: 1 year, 2 months, 1 week and 5 days old.
Adjusted I am: 10 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

baby Benjamin

Baby Benjamin now has a blog. For those interested, please take a look and leave his parents an encouraging comment. As all of us micro-preemie parents know, the blog is an unexpected blessing while living the NICU. I know Cody and I were comforted many a night by the support we received from the blogging community.

http://www.benjaminchanceporter.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 25, 2009

prayer request

To all of you prayer warriors out there, I have a prayer request for a new micro-preemie. A friend of my sister-in-law recently delivered Baby Benjamin, at 24 weeks. I don't have much information on him other than he is about 8 days old and is currently on the oscillator. Please pray for him and his family if you are of a mind to. I will post more details as I get them. Much thanks and love to you all!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I scream, you scream

So, now we have discovered two things Rhys will eat with a spoon. I'd even go so far as to say Rhys likes to eat this with a spoon. He was opening his mouth immediately after swallowing.

I had to hold his hands out of the way so I could get to his mouth. The boy couldn't get enough.


I fed him as much as I was comfortable with him eating, though he would have kept going. It isn't the most healthy food, and he'd probably not have gotten it this soon were we not desperately trying to find something anything he'll eat. But it does have lots of milk fat.


But does anyone know a single soul that doesn't like Blue Bell? If they exist, it appears that Rhys will not be included in their number.


Today I am: 1 year, 2 months and 4 days old.
Adjusted I am: 10 months, 1 week and 5 days old.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are you ready for some football!?!?

College football has arrived and Rhys is so excited to watch it with dad for the first time! Did you have to ask which team he cheers for?!



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

my happy boy...

....who always has a smile for everyone,

and now likes to "feed" himself, but still hates the spoon.

And who has the potential for some seriously crazy hair, front cow-lick included!

Happy 14 months, buddy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

stinky old socks

This is my latest attempt to make encourage Rhys use his right hand more... Cody's (clean) old socks.


It's working somewhat... working to tick him off and make him focus on removing the sock from his hand. But, it is also making him use his right hand more, which is the goal! We're also pinning his left arm beneath the high chair tray when he eats. Everything is automatically lefty for him, so his right hand still doesn't have the same level of coordination. He can use it, and does use it, just not nearly to the same extent. Rhys can now grab and firmly hold onto his blocks with his left hand, which is fantastic. Ever since he's started "feeding" himself more his motor skills in that regard have increased significantly. Thus why we're now doing more to use the right hand... I don't want him forgetting he has it!

And the answer is yes... for those who are asking if Rhys spent the whole day in his PJs. That's how we roll around here unless we are getting out of the house. :o)


Today I am: 1 year, 1 month, 4 weeks and 2 days old.
Adjusted I am: 10 months and 1 week old.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

holy moly

Where did my good little boy go? He's been replaced with a screaming, whining, crying little mess. I'm reporting him missing, so if anyone finds him please let me know! Sigh. Rhys is resisting our tough love. He's been so super cranky, because he's always starving, but he still refuses to cooperate with the spoon. His latest is that he keeps is mouth open and tongue out to let the food slide out of his mouth instead of swallowing. Again, sigh. He is much better at picking things up to eat on his own, though he more licks it than actually eats anything. Still progress though, nonetheless. Since the cereal has been gone (from daytime bottles), so has gone my great little napper and 12-hour a night sleeper. The last three mornings Rhys has woken up between 3-4 a.m., despite having cereal in his nighttime bottle. That has never happened since he started sleeping through the night. He is getting increasingly more frustrated in general, but we aren't rescuing him. I am hoping that if/when he gets mad enough he will start to figure things out out on his own. He needs to figure things out on his own. He is much more capable than he's letting on. Lastly, the only cute thing he's done recently is that he's starting to repeat syllables when he talks. He is big into yayayaya, babababa, and I swear I've heard a dadadada in there though not in relation to Cody.


Today I am: 1 year, 1 month, 3 weeks and 2 days old.
Adjusted I am: 10 months old.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

smarty pants

Rhys loves the computer. He is mesmerized by the mouse/pointer and follows it around the screen as you're working. I don't know what it is about kids and electronics, but he also likes our cell phones and the touch screen TV remote with all the colors and buttons.

Cody got back from his second Africa trip last week so we've been enjoying some time with him back in the house. It's hard to get readjusted to having a helping hand after you're accustomed to doing it all yourself for five weeks. But you wont catch me saying it isn't lovely having an extra set of hands again. I've actually been really lazy while Cody has jumped in and taken Rhys on some trips around town. He also took Rhys to PT today, which was a nice break for me. Rhys is getting more bits and pieces of the sitting, but he still has very little interest in it. I really think if he wanted to sit he could, because he will do it for seconds at a time. But he really has no desire and gets angry most times that you make him try. Cody asked his PT about equine therapy today and found she is a big advocate. I'd previously had that in the back of my head as something to look into for later on, but my SIL mentioned it the other day so I thought I'd ask our PT. The PT said she thinks it would be great for Rhys all the way around, but wasn't sure at what age they can start. She then took Rhys to the "mechanical horse" (apparently an apparatus that mimics the movements of a horse) and Cody said that was the only part of PT he didn't scream and cry through. Our neighborhood has a stable and they offer classes so I'm going to look into it and get some more info.


Rhys started making some new sounds today and has thrown in the "w", "b" and "bwa" into his jabbering. Still no words yet but sometimes when he's really upset you can hear what sounds like "maaaaaaaa". In an effort to get Rhys to eat, like we know he can, we are dealing a little tough love in our house. We have taken the cereal out of Rhys's milk thinking that will make him more hungry. Sure enough, immediate confirmation that the cereal was keeping him full 24/7. Not sure why we didn't think of this sooner, though when we first started the cereal it didn't make any difference in the volume or frequency he ate. So, he now only gets cereal in the bottle before bed. I learned the hard way that plain milk only keeps him asleep until about 4 a.m. This really hasn't done much to make him want to eat from a spoon, but he does do it a bit. He will tear up his biter biscuits though, which is a good thing.


Today I am: 1 year, 1 month, 2 weeks and 3 days old.
Adjusted I am: 9 months, 3 weeks and 4 days old.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

well, well baby

Rhys saw the pedi today for his 12-month well baby checkup. We love the pedi because the whole staff knows how to pronounce his name, it is lovely. Beyond that, we get in and out lickety split. No waiting for extended periods in the lobby with other sick children.

His pedi was thrilled with Rhys's weight. We are forever worried about his eating, so we sometimes don't easily see how well he's growing. They weighed him with his clothes (usually it is only with a diaper), and that just put him on the growth chart for his actual age. Officially, naked, he is about 19 pounds and 28 inches long. That puts him in about the 25th percentile for his adjusted age for both height and weight, and just shy of the growth chart for each for his actual age. His head though... well that is a different matter entirely. My baby boy, who has always had a rather large head, is in the 25th percentile for head circumference for his actual age. Ahem. All the more room for smarts my dear.

His lungs sound great, ears and throat look good. She isn't concerned about Rhys's delayed development, as she pointed out that she doesn't care when he does things, just as long as he continues to make forward progress. Today Rhys also got four shots, and let me tell you he was none too happy. Until about 5 minutes afterwards he'd already forgotten and was flirting with the receptionist. His bandaids are always cute... and he belly laughed when I pulled them off. Must have tickeled.

Friday, August 21, 2009

yum, yum

Not sure why my little goose loves eating some things and absolutely refuses others. He does like biter biscuits and medicine. He is the best medicine taking infant/toddler I've ever seen. And the taste of the medicine is hardly anything I'd expect him to want to eat. But, he loves it and immediately opens his mouth for the syringe when it's time for his Prevacid. So, he'll willingly take a syringe full of yuck, but gets horribly upset when you try to feed him yummy adult food. Unless of course yummy adult food is mom's snow cone... then he'll eat it.

But, I'll take him enjoying his biter biscuits if that is all he is wanting to feed himself.



Today I am: 1 year, 1 month and 5 days old.
Adjusted I am: 9 months, 1 week and 6 days old.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

brush, brush, brush

Who needs a spoon? I like my toothbrush!



Today I am: 1 year and 1 month old.
Adjusted I am: 9 months, 1 week and 1 day old.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

happy anniversary

Happy anniversary to me!


And Cody of course. It's hard to believe we've been married four years. And together for more than six. Last year we celebrated this way. I much prefer the way I'm doing it this year.... quietly at home, with Rhys. Except of course it'd be great if my husband were here as well.

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As is the case with most of Texas I'd imagine, we've been in desperate need of a few showers. Our poor sprinkler system can't keep up on its own, so our grass has been dead and our flower beds dry and crunchy for months. Today we received some much needed rain. But wouldn't you know the flood gates opened while Rhys and I were grocery shopping. By ourselves. With my umbrella in the car. What an experience, but Rhys handled it like a trooper! Nothing like driving home dripping water and squishing on the seat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

workin' really hard

Mom's been working me really hard, trying to help me sit! I don't always like it, but I'm getting better. Here is one way I practice.

But I also get to play!



Today I am: 1 year, 3 weeks and 6 days old.
Adjusted I am: 9 months and 4 days old.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

what's going on


Not a whole lot new for us lately. I've been really bad about taking pictures recently, but will try to get some new ones up this weekend.

Rhys is doing fantastic! He is still off O2 and has even quit wearing it at night. Though I'd rather he did wear it at night. He started getting the cannula completely wrapped around himself, so I quit putting it on him. The pulmonologist didn't say to keep it on him at night so I guess we're okay there. I continue to spot check his O2 saturation and he is consistently staying 96 or better, with an occasional dip down a point or two. I still can't believe that! Even though he hasn't been off the O2 for long, I really don't know how we did it lugging the O2 tanks every time we stepped out the door.

Rhys has been making a lot of progress developmentally. We're still working to get him where he needs to be, but I see him do new things daily. His PT saw him on Wednesday and thought he looked great. He is grabbing for everything in sight these days. He mostly uses his left hand as a primary and then uses the right hand for assistance. His right hand is mostly loosely fisted, but so was his left until recently. He is really getting good at grabbing and holding onto things, but I am still worried about his right hand/arm. The brain is a tricky thing. Rhys's brain bleed caused damage, but to what extent he wont recover will not be known for a while. At his age anything is possible in that regard, thus the reason we keep pushing him. I asked his PT what she thought about it and while she can not say for certain what the mobility of his right side will be, she does not see the tell tale signs of stiffness, etc that is usually associated with permanent damage adult stroke patient often suffer. That is good news! All we can do is make sure he continues to use his right side and make sure he is grasping for things with both hands, which he does.

I've seen a great improvement in Rhys's trunk strength since I took away the bouncy chair and limited the use of the swing. With Rhys either sitting (with help) on his own, in his Bumbo, or having tummy time he has had a lot of opportunity to work those muscles! He is doing great pushing up on his tummy. He is still mostly on his forearms, but is able to hold the position for extended periods of time. He has also started scooting somewhat. The PT saw this yesterday and was really excited about it. So, he's finally starting to put more of the pieces together.

Rhys still hates the spoon. Boy does he hate it. I still try to give him any and every thing I can think of. Baby food, adult food, you name it. He had a little sour cream and beans at a mexican restaurant the other day and actually opened his mouth for it. That went south after he got beans "stuck" on his tongue, gagged and refused any more. He had ice cream a few days ago from a straw and really liked it. That is the strange thing, he has always been a great medicine taker and will almost always open his mouth for the syringe and now a straw. The speech therapist can't figure it out either. He moves food around like he should, swallows, etc, he just doesn't like to eat! She suggested trying to make our own baby food because she has known babies in the past who just didn't like canned food. That is my next undertaking. I have lots of free time don't ya know.

When school starts this fall Rhys will begin vision services through ECI. This is a 'just in case' given his brain bleed, ROP (that resolved on its own), prematurity, etc. This is a service provided for kids who need learning assistance because of vision problems. They help with things like enlarged text, special lighting, extended periods to complete assignments, that type of thing. It is obvious Rhys can see, but we figure any therapy for him is good therapy. I personally think the vision ladies are a little overzealous (they talk as though Rhys is completely blind), but if Rhys gets any benefit from it I'll deal with it.



Today I am: 1 year and 3 weeks old.
Adjusted I am: 8 months, 4 weeks and 1 day old.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

moving all around

Rhys is moving all around. Even if it is in an unconventional mode. I put him in the center of the blanket, turned 45 degrees from where he lies now, and he rolls, scoots, and hops his way to this.

I have finally seen him set his sights on a toy and maneuver himself towards it. Just not by crawling. Though, he is grabbing for things while on his stomach now and is showing interest in moving that way as well. We're working unbelievably hard on his sitting and pushing up. It is well past the time he develops those skills, even though he might not share that opinion. So hopefully everything else will fall into place once he builds his strength. Lately my biggest concern with him (other than his disinterest in eating) is his favoring of the left side will be a life long disability for him and prevent him from doing boy things later on. Neither Cody or I have ever noticed a weakness in his right leg, only his right arm and trunk. He does use his right arm, and he uses it well, and any random person would never see a problem (i.e. bath video from previous post). It is just that if he had to choose he'd go with the left hand and not the right. If his right side were as strong as his left he'd be sitting and pushing up already. None of this is surprising given his prematurity, grade III brain bleed and every other concoction he was given in the NICU to save his life. But, he has gotten this far, and his right side is making progress. Just not at the same rate as the left.

Rhys is very big into scratching things lately. His item of choice is the couch. The texture on the couch must feel awesome on his fingers because no matter how I put him on the blanket, he always manages to position himself so that he is able to scratch the couch and stick his arm underneath. Not sure what he's fishing for, but that's what he does! I also hear him scratching the bumper pads in his crib when he's supposed to be sleeping, or the highchair cover and car seat.

Another funny thing he's been doing is playing with his blankets. When he rolls from side to side he grabs the blanket, rolls back over and covers himself up. He also likes to grab and, you guessed it, scratch the blanket, which usually results in the blanket wadded up all around him. Funny boy. Reminds me of bed time when I was younger - my brother and I used to roll the covers up in a ball and yell for my mother to come straighten them out when we didn't want to go to sleep!


Today I am: 1 year and 2 weeks old.
Adjusted I am: 8 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old.

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Update:
I go back to the living room after posting and this is what I find. What'd I tell ya? :)