Counters

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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Friday, February 27

So much to do, so little time

There is so much to update and no time! First, Finn is doing well. They started him on iron supplements again, which is what caused his setback two weeks ago. So we are watching him closely to make sure all is well (so far, so good). Second, we've been at the hospital all day...Abbott not Children's. Jim's mom had surgery today. It went well (from what the doctors tell us) and she has just been wheeled to her room. Hopefully she enjoys a deep, drugged-up sleep tonight.

Now, I'm off to pump and then to bed. I have another big day tomorrow!

Thursday, February 26

Let it snow?

Finn is doing okay today. He seems to still be adjusting to his new home. He had two spells from the time we left last night until this morning. He hadn't had any in several days before he moved. Also his oxygen levels keep dropping and then coming back up after a few seconds (sometimes a little longer). He was much more level in the NICU. Sometimes his oxygen is at 21 and sometimes he is in the upper 20's which is still good...everything considered. I'm still getting used to his new home...trying to find out where the pumps are, or the bottles or what to do with the bottles when I'm done or what they'll let me do with Finn, etc. New home, new way of doing things!

He now weighs 3 lbs 9.5 oz (1630 grams). He is getting so big. We also found out that once he reaches 1800 grams, they will start to transition him over to a regular crib. Man, he is facing so many milestones all at once. I'm guessing he won't be 1800 grams for at least a week or maybe a little more (although, you just never know with this little guy). Having him in a crib seems like such a big deal...like he is a normal baby or something. Yeah!

He had his eye exam this morning. He was very tired and sleepy when I was there today but the nurses think it was because the eye exam takes a lot out of these little babies (they have to lay there with their eyes pried wide open for who knows how long...poor little guy). I spoke with the doctor and he said Finn's eye disease (ROP) has gotten a little worse since last week and he will continue to monitor him every week (it is still in stage 1, though). The disease could still go away on its own, but if it doesn't or if it continues to get worse, Finn will need surgery. Hopefully we won't get to that point.

I was able to go over and visit my friend Becky at The Garden at Abbott. It is so weird being over there and being able to be out of bed. Becky is pregnant with twins and all things considered, they are doing very well (she is 25 weeks and 4 days, which is just two gestational days short of when Finn was born). She has been "in" since Saturday and could potentially stay until she delivers. Oh, the wonderful memories! Ha, ha. Keep up the good work, Bec!

Oh and weird side note, Finn's nurse today was from Clara City! For those of you who don't know where that city is, it is a small town about 20 minutes south of where I grew up (that is close when you're in rural MN). And even weirder, she has relatives (the Neil family) that go to KMS, the school I went to! It really is a small world. So we had fun exchanging notes and "who do you know" type stuff. Too funny.

How about the weather? It wasn't snowing at all when I started kangaroo-ing with Finn around 11:15 or so. By the time we were done a little over an hour later, there was a blanket of snow covering everything and schools were closing early (somebody said over an inch an hour)! Driving home wasn't easy, but made me very happy I got to the hospital early, so I didn't mind leaving a little early. I hope everybody drives safely!

Wednesday, February 25

Today is the day!

Stage two of our journey began this evening. Today, at 5:30pm, Finn moved over to the Infant Care Center (ICC) which is a level 2 nursery (the NICU was a level 3)! I still can't believe he is well enough to make this momentous location change. When I walked into the NICU today, Mary (his primary day nurse) said she heard that a bed was opening up and he was good enough to go over today! We waited until the doctor rounded on him and she confirmed he would be moving over to the ICC. We still didn't know when. Eventually we found out it would be right after his 5:00 cares. I kangaroo-ed with him until he was ready for his cares, he had his cares, ate his dinner and then we went. Simple as that (well it wasn't very simple as everything had to be reconnected and stashed away and everything). God is good.

I'm so happy, I can't even concentrate. I was planning on going home after a few hours, but when we found out when he would be moved, I wanted to be there with him when that happened. We went to dinner at Figlio's in Uptown once Finn was moved and all settled into his new room. Man, I forgot how much we love that place.

I don't know what else to say! The doctor still heard his heart murmur, but it is intermittent and not a concern (no, Nana...this is not a set back...you worry too much!!). They are just keeping an eye on it. Speaking of eye, Finn has his follow up eye exam tomorrow morning. There probably won't be much change, but I'm hoping for some improvement.

Finn's new address: ICC c/o room 24 bed 2.

Tuesday, February 24

Seven weeks already?

Our baby is now SEVEN weeks old!

I talked with Finn's doctor today. She said she heard a heart murmur, but wasn't concerned enough to do anything about it (if it gets worse, they will do an echo of his heart). She said it could just be "turbulence" in the blood stream or it could be a sign of a physical problem with the heart. So for now, I'm hoping it is option #1. She also said that as soon as a bed opens up, Finn will be on his way over to the ICC. Good job, Finn!

We had a sad night last night. It was Lisa's (Finn's favorite nurse) last night. She is moving to Ohio so she is taking a vacation to find a house. By the time she gets back from vacation, Finn will be in the ICC (again, barring any shenanigans on Finn's part). I am so thankful she was Finn's evening nurse. I felt that at least when I couldn't be there, he was well taken care of by somebody who really cared about him. I wonder if these NICU nurses comprehend what a huge impact they have on the lives of the babies they care for and the babies' families...

Pumping is going well. I only have to get up once during the night and try to pump every 3 hours during the day (sometimes it gets pushed to 4 hours if I have things going on). The freezer is two ziploc bags short of being completely full! At least Finn is eating 30 mL (about 1 oz) every 3 hours. Yeah!

In the last couple of days, Finn has started showing signs of the rooting reflex...for you non-moms out there, the rooting reflex assists in breastfeeding. A newborn infant will turn their head toward anything that strokes their cheek or mouth, searching for the object by moving their head in steadily decreasing arcs until the object is found. I find it promising that Finn is starting to do this and hope it is a sign he will be ready to breastfeed before too long. Last time we asked, they said it would be between 34 and 36 weeks when a baby can figure out how to suck, swallow and breathe all at the same time. Finn will be 33 weeks gestational age tomorrow (Wed). I know it can be tough and I also know Finn may not be able to breastfeed, but I'm really excited to try.

Monday, February 23

Barring any shenanigans...

I talked to Finn's doctor this morning. Of course, she had to mention again how cute he was (I guess I never get tired of hearing it...shame on me!). Then she said that when a bed opens up in the ICC, she doesn't see why Finn couldn't go over there (although I don't think she has written an official order yet). Hopefully he doesn't pull any shenanigans this time so he can really go over there!

Here is a pretty cute pic of Finn sleeping today (I think he looks like an angel):Also, when I got to the hospital today, Finn's oxygen level was at 21! That is the same that you and I breathe. He has been close to the level before, but I'd never see his dial actually turned to it. He is really doing so very well. His nurse had to make a point to tell me that he hasn't been at 21 all day and goes up and down (um, duh! I know my son and that is what he ALWAYS does!). Oh, well. I'm sure she was just trying to be helpful.

We kangaroo-ed today and he LOVED it. He settled right in and with the exception of a couple dips on his monitors, he was content for an hour and a half! Of course, mom was in heaven and only put him back because I was late for pumping (I kept trying to justify pumping really late, but I guess I'm pumping for him, so I decided I could let go of him!).

And Finn is 1,600 grams today. I didn't look at the chart to convert it, but I think it is just over 3 1/2 lbs! I don't see how small Finn is except when the nurses take his clothes off to kangaroo and hand him over to me. However, today when she did that, he didn't seem so small. I guess my little baby really is getting big!

I think Finn is going bald! I know babies often lose their hair, but to this point, I hadn't noticed Finn's getting thinner. But I did today. I love his dark hair. I hope it comes back in the same.

Sunday, February 22

Ding dong the IV is gone

Finally, the darn IV is OUT! I am so happy. No more sticking my baby all the time and it is much easier to get him in and out of the isolette without the IV tubes. Oh, happy day. Finn is doing very good on his oxygen, too. Every so often, he de-sats and his oxygen levels and sometimes his heart rate go down and bounce around for a while, but he is usually able to pull it back up on his own. When we got there today, he only had one prong of the cannula in his nose and he was fine. I guess we are that much closer to not needing oxygen (I'm getting ahead of myself, but I don't care!).

They spoke again today about him going to the ICC. No concrete date and no order has been written, but if he doesn't have any set backs, it shouldn't be long now. We are being careful not to mention it to Finn since he seems to want to stay in the NICU so badly!

Here is an picture of the little guy from our visit today. He is wearing the cuddly hat that auntie Kelsie made him:He was sticking out his tongue...naughty boy! Daddy got to take Finn's temperature and change his diaper...no poopy diaper for daddy! Darn it, mommy was hoping! But Finn has been very regular and surprised his nurse last night at the amount he is able to get out. Keep it up little boy.

Three things I'm grateful for: being able to only have to get up once during the night to pump (yeah, sleep!), all of our wonderful visitors who have come to see Finn (makes us see how much our little boy is loved!) and that Jim and I can (in a very small way) help our friends Becky and Ben as they embark on their journey in the Garden at Abbott (keep growing those wonderful babies, Bec!).

Saturday, February 21

Just keeps truckin' along

Finn has a new doctor this week that we haven't had before. She just called and said how adorable Finn was (what mother doesn't love to hear that?!?!). She also said that Finn makes the other patients look bad because he is doing so well. She asked where we wanted Finn to go for level 2 care and I told her the ICC. But there aren't any beds available right now (he missed his opportunity last week when several babies went home!). She said she isn't writing the order to send him over, but going to keep an eye on the bed situation over there. I guess that means he could be going over soon! (don't worry, we won't tell him that!)

Here is a cute picture from Thursday (I didn't take any pictures yesterday, shame on me!):Three things I'm grateful for: that my mom made it home safely from Las Vegas last night in the midst of a snow storm, that Finn has recovered from his last scare and doing so well, and for all of you continuously reading this blog for updates on little Finn (your comments, emails and support mean everything to us).

Friday, February 20

Down with the IV

Another good day. They aren't talking about Finn going to the ICC yet, but he is advancing in that direction. We aren't going to tell him since he wanted to stay in the NICU so badly last time he was supposed to go to the ICC!

Finn is up to 21 ml every 3 hours. I think that will be increased tomorrow and HOPEFULLY his IV will be taken out. He has had 6 IVs in one week. That is a lot. The mom in me is so ready for him to not need the IV any longer (he is getting supplemental vitamins through them right now until he is back to full feedings).

We didn't really get a detailed update about Finn's eye exam. Basically the ROP hasn't improved or worsened and he will have another exam next week. So, more to follow on that later.

Three things I'm grateful for: our amazingly supportive friends and family, financially being able to not work in order be with my son, and Finn being as "big" as he was when he was born (the baby next to him weighs 13 oz and can probably use some prayers!).

Thursday, February 19

17, 18, 16? That doesn't seem right.

Finn was having an uneventful day when I was there today. Uneventful is a good thing. He is up to 18 ml every 3 hours of breast milk. They think he will be able to get rid of the IV tomorrow (yeah!).

Finn is playing musical rooms. He is now in room 16 (yes, remember he was in 17 before he was in 18). He is still in bed 1, so same spot, different room. I think I like room 16, as we are in a little more private of an area. In room 17, Finn's bed was kind of in the flow of traffic. The baby in the bed next to Finn is very tiny...makes me stop and think about how far Finn has come in a relatively short amount of time. We have been blessed in so many ways.

We crossed the halfway point of Huckleberry Finn last night. Finn just loves it when daddy reads. I didn't need to pump, so Jim just read...over an hour, I think. The nurse laughed when she heard some of the book and asked why we were reading about whiskey to Finn! If only she knew the half of it.

I had my 6 week postpartum doctor appointment today. It went well. My body (at least the inside) is back to normal (the outside is still stretched out...to be expected, though). I had some questions about pumping and other things, which she answered for me. I can't begin to say how thankful I am that she was on call at North Memorial the night I went into labor and that she made the decision to transfer me to Abbott. She is a great doctor and we are very lucky to have her. Our next appointment with her will be when Finn is home (she will also be Finn's doctor). Yeah!

Finn had another eye exam this morning, but I wasn't able to get a recap (his primary nurse was scheduled to admit any new babies and one came in). I think they said he needs another exam next week, but that is all I heard. Hopefully I'll get more information tomorrow.

I was reading an article today about how to cope with the difficulties associated with having a premature baby. One thing they suggested was to write down three things you are grateful for. So, three things I'm grateful for: my beautiful and stubborn son, my supportive husband and the amazing doctors and nurses at Children's.

Wednesday, February 18

Guess who weighs 1,500 grams?

When we were busy growing Finn in the garden at Abbott, we were told at some point by some doctor that the milestones for weight with premature babies were 1,000 grams and 1,500 grams. We knew Finn would be smaller than both of these numbers if he didn't stay in my tummy for a LONG time. Well, he didn't (stay in) and he was (smaller). However, guess who is now over 1,500 grams?!?! Yup, little Mr. Finnegan. As of last night at midnight, he officially weighed 1,520 (3 lbs 5 oz). And he managed that on no milk most of the week and only a small amount yesterday! Yeah!

His feedings are up to 13 ml every 3 hours and they will continue to increase that as he is able to tolerate it. They ran out of room to store his milk at the hospital today (every baby is allotted one basket), so now if I pump at the hospital, I have to bring it home! I can't wait until he is back to 30 ml every 3 hours (or dare I hope for more?!?!).

We were a little concerned when we left him last night. He was very lethargic and his stats kept fluctuating, which were some of the signs that there were problems last week. I talked with his nurse about it and she was very receptive and helpful. It was probably me being overly protective, but regardless, he was/is much better today.

This picture is from last night and I like to call it "Reverse pledge of allegiance":I guess we have a little patriot on our hands...somebody will just need to show him the right way to do it!

Poor little Finn...he is on his 4th IV is 6 days! They have officially run out of limbs if this ones needs to be replaced. His nurse last night said that the antibiotic he was on is tough on the veins, which is probably why he had to get new IVs. I don't know...I saw the first IV be put in and while I probably wouldn't have done a better job, I would have been faster with somebody telling me what to do. She just didn't seem like she knew what she was doing (we think she was a new nurse). Oh, well. He should be off the intravenous vitamins and fluids tomorrow, if all goes well, so he won't need the IV any longer.

Tuesday, February 17

What do ears and nipples have in common?

Today's update from the doctor:

"Finnegan looks real good today and has nice bowl sounds. He is stooling [i.e. pooping; for you lay people out there] and we are going to start some feedings (not at full feedings but at 10ml every 3 hours for now). Then if things go well we will be a little more aggressive tomorrow and the next day. He looks good. He hasn't had any apnea since 10pm the night before last, so I think the caffeine is agreeing with him."

That is all good news. Especially the part about his feedings again...I'm putting more than my share in the freezer on this end and he needs to take it out on his end! His cannula flow was decreased from 2 L to 1 L and his oxygen was under 30 when I got there today (it has consistently been in the mid to upper 30's for a while).

I forgot to mention that Finn changed rooms (still in the NICU, though). They were waxing the floor of room 17, so they moved him over one room to room 18 (still in bed position 1, though). So if you've visited before and come to visit, he isn't in the same spot! Wouldn't want you to gush over the wrong baby!

Some developmental things I've noticed in the last couple of days: Finn officially has nipples! He wasn't born with nipples, even though you could tell where they would develop. Now, they are colored and more textured (you know how nipples are). Yeah! AND, he ears are almost completely "hardened" and not floppy any longer. The very outer edge is still a little soft, but they look great. I know, two small things, but when you look at him every day, you some times don't stop and really LOOK at him.

We kangaroo-ed again today, but he wasn't nearly as relaxed as he was last night. It is official, he likes daddy's voice (Jim was reading to him last night). Oh, well. I still enjoy the closeness even if he is stretching and wriggling a little bit. His nurse said that he should be able to start wearing clothes again soon. We better not tell him he is on the list to go to the ICC next time he is put on it...I think he must have just wanted to stay in the NICU!

Monday, February 16

It's hard work getting big

Finn continues to improve. The doctor wasn't willing to let him start feedings yet today, but is hopeful Finn will be ready tomorrow. His intestines weren't making noise, which made the doctor think things weren't moving through them properly yet. They took out the tube from his mouth that helped vent the air from his stomach to force the air to be "digested." That means little Finn should have lots of toots, if all is working properly!

They also took him off the aminophylin and changed the medication to caffeine. It is just another medication that can help babies breath...and it seems to be working very well for Finn. Jim and I were there for over 2 hours tonight and he was very stable the whole time. I was able to Kangaroo with Finn (he tolerated it SO much better than last time!) while Jim continued to read Huckleberry Finn (we are almost half way through and Finn loves it...or probably loves dad's voice). It was very nice family time.

My mom caught him yawning this afternoon:It looks like a full body work out! So cute...it is hard to catch him yawning or smiling because it is so fleeting and sporadic. Good job, Grandma! Finn was wide awake for about 15 minutes while we were there. It is rare for him to be that awake for that long. I couldn't leave! I just wanted to stare at him and talk to him. I love moments like that.

Jim and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day. We visited Finn in the afternoon. Then Jim surprised me with a beautiful arrangement of white and pink roses. Then later he surprised me with a big box of Godiva chocolates (so yummy!) and then with garnet earrings (mine and Finn's birth stone). Very romantic. Oh and that doesn't take into account the dinner he made: stuffed mushrooms, home baked bread, bacon wrapped filet minion and crab legs, which he cracked for me! Of course we ended the evening like we always do by watching Moulin Rouge. It was a wonderful day. I hope you all had a special Valentine's Day, too!

I was supposed to have my 6 week postpartum doctor appointment today, but they called to reschedule about an hour before...my doctor was busy delivering a baby! Priorities, I guess. I rescheduled for later in the week. I can't believe it has been 6 weeks already. I remember when they said I have to make this appointment for 6 weeks after Finn's birth and thinking, "man, that is a long time away." I guess time flies, doesn't it?!?! I'm cherishing every moment of it.

Saturday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day, Finn

Finn is doing much better today than he was when we left him last night. It just kills me because he is so small and I hate to see him struggling or in pain. Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter his size, as all moms probably feel that way, but his roller coaster ride so far in this world makes my heart break even more.

That being said, Finn gave us a wonderful Valentine's Day present today...he was back to his old self...stretching and wiggling and putting his head where he wanted it, not where the nurse put it! It was good to see. You can see him wiggling in this picture from this afternoon:Also, as you can see, he is back to no clothes. That way they can see when there is a problem better and the clothes don't get in the way (he probably likes no clothes better anyway, but the clothes are so darn cute!). Mommy likes to be able to see his body once in a while, though.

This morning the doctor said that Finn won't be getting any milk at least until next Tuesday. They will assess how his intestines are doing and decide then if he can handle milk again (not good for the milk storage space shortage!). He will be on antibiotics for a total of 72 hours to make sure his intestines are not infected nor become infected. His tummy was much smaller today than it was last night, so that is a sign that he is getting better. They are going to leave the tube in his mouth for now, but just discontinued the suctioning (so the air can still leak out through it, if air builds up). The stuff that he already digested will have to come out the old fashioned way! Last night the doctor ordered him to go back on CPAP, but since we all know how much he hates it, the nurses are trying to keep him comfortable and stable on the cannula. So far, so good!

Friday, February 13

Two Forward, One Back

I have three theories:

1. Either Finnegan was disappointed by the readership drop of this blog and wanted the numbers to come back up by capturing peoples' attention, or

2. Finnegan thought it had been long enough since dad wrote a post and knew that a sure fire way was to be naughty because mom doesn't like to write about that, or

3. Finnegan doesn't want to leave the comfort and attention of the NICU for the scary unknown ICC.

And so we advance to Valentine's Day with one step back. Fortunately that had been preceded by the requisite two steps forward.

As we were driving into the parking ramp at Childrens Hospital at about 4:45 this afternoon, I received a call from his doctor. Generally early morning calls and late afternoon to evening calls from the doctors aren't good. This was no different.

We were told that Finn is having some digestive issues and that his feedings will be stopped for the next 48 hours. His stomach and intestines are filled with air and he is having problems processing it. The situation can be quite serious because it can be caused by an infection eating away lining of the intestines or irritation can cause an infection leading to the same result.

Because he won't be getting any milk for the next 48 hours they had to place a new IV in order to feed him intravenously as well as give him antibiotics and other medicine. They also placed a tube from his mouth into his stomach to suck out any air which was stored in there. Unfortunately anything that has made it past the stomach will have to come out the natural way which is what he's having problems with. So much for the continued reduction of tubes hooked up to the little guy.

We've gotten so used to only worrying about his oxygen saturation, growing, breathing and heart beat that it's easy to forget about all of the other things happening to him that have to work also. And maybe this isn't as scary as his heart surgery but it can be just as serious if not caught and treated. Stacy has thought for the past three days that he has seemed lethargic and not his normal self. She told the nurse that today (who listened) and now we know why. Thankfully they found out what it was.

On the plus side, they took an x-ray and didn't see any air leaking from his intestines and didn't see any between the intestine linings which are all good things. They will be taking another x-ray this evening or early tomorrow morning and hopefully we'll know more from that and the labs that were drawn. The other thing is that he had been doing so well for quite some time now up to this point that we have to remember that he truly did take two steps forward before taking one step back. It's still frustrating though.

By the time we left this evening, they had given him a suppository which made him fill up two diapers. After that he did seem much more active and more like himself. He was wide awake and moving around like we had become more accustomed to seeing when he knew we were there.

His little gut is still developing and hopefully he'll continue to be as strong as he has been and this will be just another bump in the road. Sadly I think he's already had to endure too many bumps and I was wishing they'd be over. The reality is we're still on the rollercoaster.

Oops, I lied

I lied. He was only 3 lb 3 oz yesterday. He lost a little weight over night and is now 3 lb 2 oz. I'd hate to be bragging about how big he is and then be lying about it! Ha, ha. The doctor isn't concerned about the weight loss since it is only one day (they look at his seven day weight gain/loss).

Not much new to report today. He is doing well. He did not like Kangaroo-ing with me yesterday, so today I just held him. He did much better with that and then I get to see him and interact a little more with him. Slow news day!

Thursday, February 12

ICC here we come...but when?

As of today, Finn weighs 3 lb 4 oz! He is just growing and growing!

Finn went back to 1 L for his flow rate. It isn't really a set back. I could tell yesterday that he was struggling at 0.5 L. I'd rather he breath comfortably than have to work at it and have a lot of spells. They are going to do a blood test to see how much aminophylin is in his blood and may increase his dose (aminophylin helps Finn remember to breath).

His doctor has officially put him on the list of babies waiting to go over to the ICC. So it is just a matter of time, now. Jim and I were able to tour the ICC last night with the charge nurse. She was very helpful and put our minds (okay, my mind) at ease. The nurse to patient ratio is the same at the NICU (one to two) and the visiting hours/rules are the same, too (we were hoping for them to be a little more relaxed, but completely understand why they aren't). He will have primary nurses just like he does now in the NICU (which means the same nurse takes care of him every time she has a shift). So now, when a bed opens up, Finn should be going over there, which is just across the hall from the NICU and very convenient!

Renae and I washed the clothes that Finn has received as gifts (everybody has been SO generous!) and I brought them up to the hospital last night. So, he is officially wearing his first piece of his own clothing! Auntie Vicky and cousin Lauren, does it look familiar?!?! I took about 20 pictures to get a good one (too much glare from his incubator!). The sleeper is of dinosaurs and on the bottom of the feet it says "roar"...too cute! I figured if he didn't wear his preemie clothes in the hospital, he probably woudn't fit into them when he comes home.

Wednesday, February 11

Dad and son finally reunite

Well, our little guy just keeps truckin' on. As of this morning, he is on a regular cannula...the same kind that you or I would have if we needed a little extra oxygen! And the flow rate is at 0.5! It is crazy to me that less than a week ago, he was at a 3.

Finn had an eye exam this morning. He has mild Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). ROP is a potentially blinding disease, which affects many premature babies each year. The diagnosis of ROP is made by an opthalmologist who examines the inside of the eyes. Although a high percentage of examined babies will show some degree of ROP, most will not require surgery, thankfully. Finn's ROP does not require treatment at this time, but he will have another exam in one week to check if the ROP worsens or resolves (today's appointment was to access and set a benchmark for future exams).

One a happier note, Jim was finally able to make it in to see Finn last night. I think both dad and son were happy to be reunited. Jim isn't feeling 100% yet, so he wore a face mask and scrubbed his hands and arms just to be sure (and didn't hold or touch Finn). Hopefully Jim is feeling better today, so he can hold our little boy.

We are also hoping to be able to tour the ICC tonight. Finn could be sent over there any time now, so I would like to have a little more information and understanding (I like to be well informed before changes happen!). We'll have to see if somebody is available to show us around when we're there tonight (after I pump, of course!!).

Tuesday, February 10

The ban has been lifted

They turned Finn's cannula flow down to 1 yesterday. He seemed to have a few more "dips" on his stats (oxygen and heart rate) than normal, but the nurses weren't concerned. He is up to 26 ml every 3 hours and seems to be tolerating the feedings very well. They have to make sure the babies don't have more spells or spit up a lot when they move to regular feedings like this and Finn doesn't seem to mind at all. For a frame of reference, that is about about 208 ml every day...I make just under that every time I pump! See why our freezer is so full?!?! He'll get there before we know it.

I was able to hold Finn yesterday...so I guess that means the ban has been lifted and we can officially hold him every day. What a relief. Jim is feeling a little better, so I think he will be able to go visit Finn tonight. I'm sure they both miss each other. I can't image being away for four days. I'm just hoping I don't get what Jim had! Fingers are crossed and vitamin C has been taken.

On a personal note of accomplishment, I officially hit my pre-pregnancy weight yesterday! It felt good to see it on the scale, but my body obviously isn't in pre-pregnancy shape! Oh, well. All goes with having a baby. Hopefully things continue to tighten back up for a while or at least by September for my sister's wedding in Aruba!

I uploaded a few new pictures on the picture website. Take a look! I really want to upload the videos, but am struggling with getting them in the right format. Argh. Here is our "big" boy (incase you don't have time to check out the other pictures):

Sunday, February 8

He is three already?!?!

I had a really good visit with Finn today. We got to Kangaroo for over an hour, so I of course loved that (Jim is still not well enough to visit Finn). His cannula flow rate has been decreased to 1.5 (it was 3 as of a day and a half ago) and his oxygen levels are fairly steady in the upper 20's or lower 30's. He has been de-statting a little bit today, but bringing himself out of it (so it doesn't count as a spell), so they will probably not attempt to lower his rate until he is a little more level. No biggie, though.

Also, guess who is one gram shy of 3 pounds?!?! Yup, little Finnegan! I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday that I was just praying for him to reach 2 pounds. He is really doing very very well. Three pounds seems so big!

He is also "eating" every three hours now and is getting 23 ml each feeding. I think he already knows what it is like to be hungry becuase about 15 minutes before his cares (that is when he gets fed), he started getting a little cranky. I guess that is all part of it!

They have been talking about moving Finn from the NICU (which is a level 3 care facility) to the ICC - Infant Care Center (which is a level 2 facility) this coming weekly potentially. It is just across the hall from the NICU, so that is convenient. This potential move just means that he is improving enough not to need as much support as the NICU provides. The ICC is less intense with a higher patient to nurse ratio. I'm a little apprehensive about it, but mainly because it is new and I like the nurses that are caring for him now. Oh, well. I'm hoping to be shown around the ICC some time early this week so I know what it is like and can ask some questions. Then I'm sure I'll be fine with it. My little boy is growing up!

Also, Finn has been very stable lately and has done very well when we've held him, so I think they are going to lift the "every other day rule" about holding him! Yeah! Then we can at least hold him every day, if not every visit (don't get a head of yourself, Stacy!). Can't wait!

Saturday, February 7

Finn has fallen in love?

The doctor's report this morning said that they are going to start decreasing the flow to his cannula. That means less air pressure going in and that he is doing even more of the breathing on his own (even though he IS breathing on his own now). Probably confusing, but this is a good thing. One more step closer to Finn having NO breathing help. They are also going to start giving him feedings every two hours instead of continuously. I wasn't able to ask questions (he left a voice mail), but I think this is to move him closer towards feedings (whether with mom or bottle). Yeah! These are two good pieces of news.

Finn officially has a first love...his pacifier! I tried to deny it for a couple days, but he definitely knows when he wants it and he wants it NOW! He will be sleeping, start fussing, get the pacifier and fall instantly back to sleep. It is pretty funny. Maybe I can catch it on video one time. I guess I'm fine with the pacifier...at least it isn't his thumb and he isn't still using it when he can walk.

Nothing else for now. Jim and I are supposed to go car shopping today (yuck!) and then to visit Finn, if Jim is well enough. Might have more to post later, otherwise tomorrow!

Friday, February 6

One month old already?

Wow, I can't believe it our little munchkin is already one month old. Although, when I stop to think about it, it seems like he was born a million years ago. I guess a lot has happened in the last month. Hopefully the next month is nice and boring!

Here are the doctor's updates for yesterday and today (sorry I didn't have time to post again yesterday):

2/5 Finnegan did great over night. He gained an ounce. I'll be increasing his feeding just a little bit. His oxygen levels are very stable. He just had one apnea episode. I'm very please with his progress.

2/6 Finnegan had a good night. He gained 10 grams and I'm going to give him a little more to eat. Other than that, I don't have any other changes.

I won't know until I visit him today, but if he gained 10 grams over night, he should be 2 lb 13 oz. I wonder if they ever measure his height?!?! I'm sure that doesn't change nearly as much as the weight. I'll have to ask today when I'm there. As of yesterday, his feedings were up to 7.8 ml/hr (which is about 6 1/3 oz per day).

Jim is sick and needs to go to the doctor, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to visit Finn. Boo, hoo. I guess both of my boys need me!

I had a mini emotional break down yesterday (at 2:30am I was trying to calculate how long my stored milk would last Finn if I quit yesterday!). I was just so overwhelmed with pumping and not getting enough sleep that I kind of lost it. Finn's nurse called a lactation consultant for me, but I haven't been able to talk with her yet. She did drop off an information sheet. So now I'm going to try to pump every 5 hours over night instead of every 3 or 4. I couldn't go two 5 hour periods last night (had to get up an hour early to pump!), but that is better than before. I have more questions, but at least I feel like I might be able to actually get some restful sleep now (or in the near future). I was just at the point where I thought I was going to quit because I just couldn't do it any more. I feel bad complaining because I know how good my milk is for Finn, but I guess everybody has their breaking point. Hopefully this will help!

Thursday, February 5

Tubby? He's gained how much?

This is the report I received yesterday from Finn's doctor: "Finnegan did great over night. He gained just under an ounce and a half. Oxygen levels are stable. I'm just going to give him a little more to eat. Otherwise no changes."

So, Finn is definitely in the "no news is good news" category. He has officially gained ONE POUND! His lowest weight after birth was 1 lb 11 oz and as of yesterday, he was just under 2 lb 12 oz! I can't believe that. He is going to be in the 3 lb range before long. Although, when looking at him, you can definitely see more padding. And apparently his head is a lot bigger, too. They tried to put the hat on him yesterday that he wore the first time I held him and it was too small! Crazy. I guess my little boy is growing already. I obviously want him to get bigger, but part of me is sad that he is changing already. I think you moms out there will understand. He is up to 7.5 ml/hr in his feedings, which is 180 ml per day. I pump a little less than that every time I pump! I guess it will be a while before our supply in the freezer decreases!

Tuesday, February 3

Four weeks and counting

So far, so good. Finn is still on the high-flow cannula. He is on the highest flow setting without having to go back on the CPAP, but for now, he is doing okay. He got to move into new digs today...his biweekly incubator switch. I got to help with it and hold him while they switched them over. It was a little freebie hold, since we weren't supposed to be able to hold him today (still only every other day).

I had an appointment with financial services today to apply Finn for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) & MA (Medical Assistance). After making me wait for over half an hour, we got started. I don't know what it is about people making me wait lately! Oh, well. I was fairly prepared, so the appointment went pretty quickly (his being so late still made me late to pump, though!). If Finn qualifies for SSI, he automatically qualifies for MA...and our social worker said Finn should qualify because his birth weight was so low! Fingers are crossed! I guess something "good" should come out of him coming so early. Any financial help is much appreciated right now.

Finn seemed to be a little aggitated when we were there tonight. He was on his tummy and at one point, he would have rolled over if Jim hadn't "caught" him (I don't think it was entirely intentional, but he still would have)! I'm not even exaggerating. After that, I asked the nurse if she could put him on his back since he couldn't seem to find the "sweet spot" on his tummy to fall asleep. After that he seemed much more restful. Weird.

I took pictures today, but am too tired to upload them. I'll shoot for tomorrow morning. He is regularly wearing clothes now, so it is fun to see what he will be wearing. I can bring him some of the wonderful clothes he has received, but I don't have any baby laundry detergent yet. One more thing to add to the list! Ha, ha.

Oh, he is four weeks old today! That is so crazy. He isn't offically a month old until Friday (2/6). AND he is 2 lbs 10 oz! He is really doing a great job in the growing department and should be 3 lbs before we know it! What a good little boy.

After much ado, the frig has been delivered, set up and installed...and it is working! So far, we love it. I think Jim likes playing with the ice maker, but there's no harm in that! Jim did NOT get pizza when he was in Chicago, but he brought two home with him instead (and some cookies for me from a place I love).

Monday, February 2

Happy Groundhog Day?

Finn is doing really good (I love posts that start out this way!). He HATES the CPAP so the doctor is going to try just having him on the high-flow cannula. They will monitor his oxygen levels and if he is struggling at all with it, they will put him back on the CPAP for a little while. This is good news. He is up to 7 ml/hr of breast milk, too! I think he will stay at this level for now, but increase as his weight increases.

I got to Kangaroo with him again today (sorry, no pics...I forgot the camera!). It was great. He was much more active and vocal then the first time we did it, but that was okay. I was actually able to see him a little bit because of the position he was in. He kept lifting up his head and trying to move it! I don't think that is "normal" for a preemie his age...but I'm not complaining.

I think we forgot to mention that he had a 4 diaper change for me this weekend! Yup, he pooped on me three times during one changing! He pooped on my three times today (only three diapers because I got it with the wipe...gross, I know!). I guess that is a good thing because it means he is regular and not having intestinal issues! He actually pooped on his sleeper today, so they had to change it. Oops! Not sure HOW he did this, but he managed.

Daddy is in Chicago today for a meeting but coming back tonight. He said he'd better get some Giordano's stuffed pizza or else! For Ty's sake (the coworker he is with), I hope he gets some! If his flight is on time, we can stop up and see Finn on our way home from the airport. If not, there is always tomorrow.

Overall, life is pretty good right now. Now, we just need our frig to be delivered (today between 3:15 & 5:15), fit in the space and work properly and we'll be all set! I'm just glad it is cold again today so the stuff is staying cold while it is waiting outside to come back in. Oh, and if they bring the old frig out to our garage for me, that would be even better!

Oh and Happy Groundhog's Day, I guess. I have to admit, I don't really understand this "holiday." I mean, either way, it is going to be 6 weeks (they usually say 6 more weeks of winter or 6 weeks until spring). Unless you are really slow...that is the SAME thing! Oh, well. I guess just another day for Pennsylvanians to get up early in the cold and freeze their tushy off. I also have to admit, I still checked today to see if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not (for the record he did!).

Sunday, February 1

The start of a new month

Well, my lack of creativity has nothing to do with the month end...just lack of sleep. So unfortunately, my entry probably still won't be whitty, even though it is a new month.

Where to start? Finn is doing great, and I'm not just saying that. As of today, he is on the high-flow cannula every two hours and he has been tolerating it very well. Also, he is up to 6.5 ml/hr of breast milk...and no extra nourishment or fluids! They add an additive to my milk to give him extra protein and calories, but that is very common with preemies. Because he doesn't need the extra fluids, he was able to get the IV out of his right hand/arm after getting his (hopefully) last blood transfusion today. Yeah!

Now the only things attached to Finn are his feeding tube, breathing apparatus (either CPAP or cannula depending on the time of day) and his monitor leads! Amazing. Plus, he had on his first sleeper today when we got there, so he really looks like a normal, healthy little baby (with an emphasis on little!).

Oh, duh! Jim got to finally hold Finn on Saturday! I will let him describe how it was, but it was great to see Finn in his arms, even if dad seemed to be a little nervous (who wouldn't be?!?!).

I've uploaded a ton of pictures on the picture website. Take a peak when you have time. In the mean time, here are a couple to tide you over...
Also, thank you to those of you who were at my shower on Saturday. It was great to see all of you and your generosity is much appreciated. Now I just can't wait to USE the things we received for Finn! Thank you so much for everything. And a special thank you to my sisters, Kristine, Becky and Renae, for doing such a wonderful job hosting the shower for me.