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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.

Tuesday, March 31

More wonderful news!

Finn had his first trip outside the house today since he arrived home last Friday. It was to go to his eye doctor appointment to get an assessment on how his ROP is progressing. Of course it was sleeting and snowing when we left, but we just covered the little opening his in car seat cover and he was good to go. The wonderful news is that the eye doctor said Finn's eyes have improved considerably! Yeah! We are so excited. At this point, the likelihood of his eyes regressing and needing surgery is very small. We have a follow up appointment in three weeks to make sure they are continuing to improve. We chickened out and left the room for the exam. They have to force the eye open, shine a bright light in his face and move his eye ball around. No thanks! The good thing is it only lasts a minute or so. But now Finn is tired from crying...poor guy!

The advantage of living with us is that Auntie Becca and Austin were the first to hold Finn!

What I should say is that Becky has held Finn and I don't think willingly has put him down since! At least we know his housemates don't mind having him around. Austin was really good with him. You can tell he is used to being around babies. He wasn't sure why he had to wash his hands and put "germ lotion" (Purell) on, but he did anyway. Finn makes Austin look absolutely HUGE!

We were a little concerned about the temperature in Finn's room (the circulation isn't very good in the upstairs and can be cold in one room and warm in another). When Austin slept in that room, it always seemed a little cold, so we wanted to get a thermostat controlled portable heater for in there. Well, obviously this is the wrong time of year to buy a heater! Jim went to four or five stores and nobody had any, BUT Becky had the perfect one downstairs (you set the temp you want the room to be and it turns on and off as needed). First, we borrowed hers! What a nice auntie. Then we took the model number off the back, looked online and ordered the exact same one! I think I ordered in on Sunday and it arrived today already! Yeah, Finn has his own heater now (and Becky won't have to freeze downstairs another night!).

We gave Finn his first bath yesterday since being home. It was WAY easier at home than at the hospital. Not sure why...maybe because nobody was looking over our shoulders and we could do what felt natural (and the little hammock that came with his tub was great, too!). Anyway, Finn loved it like usual. It is funny that it takes longer to get everything together than the actual bath! He smells so yummy after ward!

Monday, March 30

Finn's second love

So a while back, I posted that Finn's first love is his pacifier. It still is, don't worry! We are trying not to use it as a way of being lazy and only give it to him when he really needs it (and during the night as needed so we can sleep!). After all, they need to self-sooth at some point, right?!?! Anyway, Finn's second love is his bouncy chair! We put it together yesterday because I couldn't see him when he was sleeping in the pack-n-play in the front of the living room. We put him in it and turned the vibrations on and he was in heaven. The nice thing about the bouncy chair is that it allows him to sleep at a slight angle so he doesn't get acid reflux, which is extremely common with preemies. So far so good (although he has been spitting up a little more than usual so I hope that isn't a sign of things to come!).

A nurse from the Home Health Care program at Children's stopped by today. She was supposed to give Finn his Synergist shot to help prevent RSV...but...our discharge nurse at Children's forgot to order it! Argh. So I called them and they are working through the logistics (it is $1700 per shot, so we are happy to wait until it goes through insurance!) and he will either get it at his doctor appointment on Wednesday or the nurse will come back out to give it to him. She weighed him and measured him. He is now 5 lbs 13.5 oz and is 18.5" long. When she first saw him, she asked if he was around 7 pounds! Too funny...not even close, lady!

Finn hasn't been eating very well since we got home, so I was concerned that he wasn't gaining weight. I told Jim I'd be really mad if he lost weight by the doctor's appointment...but I guess we don't need to worry quite so much. He is also eating a little better since we are enforcing a strict 3 hours between feedings instead of just when he seems hungry.

Finn has his eye appointment tomorrow (Tuesday). This is the same doctor that has been seeing him at Children's, so the continuity is nice. We have to give Finn eye drops before we leave for the appointment to dilate his eyes...but they didn't give us enough to completely dilate them. So we're supposed to give as much as we can and they can finish dilating them at the office. We give him one drop per eye in 5 minutes increments for three times. Hopefully we have enough for at least one drop per eye just once!

Sunday, March 29

Life is pretty darn good

I could just stare at Finn all day. I love that he is here ALL the time! I don't have to worry about getting to the hospital by a certain time for him to eat or coordinating schedules with Jim for our evening visits and all that good stuff.

My milk supply is going to be the end of me. I hate "complaining" about having too much milk because I know a lot of women can't get enough. So, I'm not complaining. However, Finn doesn't eat enough to give me much relief, especially since he has to have three bottles a day. I've been trying just to pump an ounce each when I really have to instead of pumping a bottle full or until they are empty. Well, I thought they were going to pop this morning...not even kidding. I showed Jim how big and rock hard they were and it grossed him out (if you know Jim, not much grosses him out, especially when it has to do with boobs!). So, I decided to pump using the bigger bottles we have. I got 5 ounces each and probably could have gotten 2 ounces more! Crazy. Anyway, I am trying to hold off pumping as much as possible so my supply decreases a little bit. Now watch, in a couple months, I'll be complaining that I don't have enough (a real concern for me at this point...decreasing now and not having enough later on). Oh, well. These are all good problems to have.

Night #2 was MUCH better than night #1. We decided that it would be better for all three of us if Finn slept in his own room and bed. I've never really understood people who have their babies sleep in their rooms with them and now I know why. Babies are loud sleepers so I slept much better last night with Finn across the hall. We left the doors open and we had the baby monitor (and his apnea monitor), so I knew I'd know if something was wrong. I think all three of us got better sleep. So, the crib it is for Finn. I'll have to take a picture of him in it...he looks so little in that big crib!

We are still struggling with the germ thing. We have to be vigilant that Finn isn't around germs because germs that wouldn't hurt a full term baby can send Finn to the ER. This is hard for me because I've never been a germ freak or even worried about it at all. Now we have to wash our hands with soap and use purell all the time. At the hospital it was much easier, because you aren't at your house and there is a routine. We're getting better at it and now are just going to have to remember to remind visitors. So please don't be offended when we ask!

Saturday, March 28

Survival of the sleepiest

Well, we survived our first night at home. Because Finn thought he had to eat every hour and a half, I got about 2 or 3 hours of sleep total. I guess that is par for the course for a while. Hopefully we can get him into a day and a night routine eventually. I mean, I don't mind getting up to feed him, but every three or four hours would be preferred!

Finn has decided not to eat very well since we came home. Is it our fault for being overly nervous and watchful? Who knows, perhaps. But he is taking very small baby sucks and will only eat for a few minutes at a time (hence him eating every hour and a half last night!). And he won't burp for us which leaves him with gas pains (another reason for being up so much last night). I'm hoping it is just him adjusting to us and us adjusting to him and that he will go back to his normal eating habits soon. I will not be a happy mom if he has lost weight at his doctor's appointment on Wednesday!

And we even have a load of laundry in and the dishwasher running...all before Noon! Not bad for first timers! I keep feeling like "when do we have to give him back."

I want to say thank you to Becky, Pete and Austin for welcoming us home yesterday! Austin asked if Baby Finn was going to stay at his (Austin's) house...too cute. I also want to thank everybody else for not having hurt feelings that we need a few days with just the three of us to unwind and figure each other out before having visitors. It worked perfectly that Becky, Pete and Austin happened to have plans out of town this weekend.

Also, in the flurry of yesterday, Finn forgot to wish Memere a happy birthday. So, happy birthday, Memere from Finn!

Friday, March 27

H-O-M-E

Nine-five days ago on Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 3:30 am Stacy went into pre-term labor with a baby boy we would later know as Finn. Ten very important days later on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 after delaying the birth to infuse lung growing steroids and allow for more growth, Finn was born. After 85 more days spent between the NICU and the ICC and two surgeries later, the first chapter of Finn's journey came to end as he came home today!



Finn was discharged at 1:45 pm this afternoon. It felt like we were breaking him out but they willingly and happily handed him over. At the time of discharge, he had tripled his one pound 15 ounce birth weight and now weighs five pounds 12 ounces; he is also 18 inches long.

When we first made the rushed drive to North Memorial Hospital terrified of what the future held, this is a day for which we didn't even dare hope. Now that it is here it feels like a dream. We are happy, nervous, scared, awed and thankful all at the same time. Finn is on a home monitor for his apnea spells and still has a lot of challenges in front of him; but as he and we have done thus far we'll tackle and hopefully conquer them one day and one situation at a time.

Shortly I'm going to go downstairs and spend some time with my son - being able to say that sentence is a miracle; but before I do, I want to say thank everyone who has helped us along the way. We literally couldn't have done this without you. The nurses, doctors and other caregivers and staff at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Childrens Hospital have been terrific - saying thank you seems like too little but it is all I can offer in this forum - we will be forever grateful for what you have done for us. We are also extremely thankful for the family, friends and strangers who have visited, sent gifts, prayed, followed this blog and offered support.

Finally, we will be spending the weekend here by ourselves with just Finn. He needs time to acclimate to his new environment and we need time to adjust to him. While we can't wait to see you all and for all of you to see Finn at home, we respectfully ask for no visitors from now through Sunday. I will be off next week on a short paternity leave; if you would like to visit please call me and arrange a time to stop beginning Monday March 30th.

Again thank you so much to everyone and we will of course continue to keep you all updated on the continued progress.

Thursday, March 26

Finally, we're real parents

The over night went very well last night (minus the massive migraine I had...yuck!). The good thing about having the migraine (there is always a silver lining!) is that I now know I can still be a mom, even with a migraine (a very real concern for me). I enjoyed the over night because I felt like we were finally responsible for Finn without any input or help from his nurses. He was really OUR baby!

Finn did wonderfully. He woke up around every 2 and a half hours to eat, which is what he usually does when I'm at the hospital feeding him during the day. Jim fed him a bottle at 10:30 so he could get his iron supplement and they both did really well. For his 2:00am feeding, I had to pump afterward, so I was up for over an hour. Oh, well. They tell me that once he is H-O-M-E I won't have to pump any more...we'll see! The next time Finn had to eat, Jim got up even before I did. He changed him and then I fed him.

We had to have him back in his hospital room by 8am for his head ultrasound. Well, apparently they came early for his ultrasound because they had already left when we got there exactly at 8. Argh. He will just have it this afternoon instead, but very frustrating. I mean, we are literally across the hall and his nurse knew that. Come and tell us they were ready early!

I planned on staying at the hospital to feed him before his car sear test today at 10:30 (he has to go on a full stomach), but I couldn't handle the migraine any longer (all the sounds and lights were overwhelming). So I left to come home and try to kick the migraine. They said they would just feed him a bottle before the test. I hated leaving him, though, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

We have tons of pictures from last night. I hope to upload them later today.

Wednesday, March 25

Where did the air mattress go?

We had our home monitoring and CPR classes today. Both went well. Becky joined us for the CPR class, so I said if something happens, she can do the CPR and I'll call 911! The home monitor company fitted Finn with the belt for the monitor. It feels good having it on him while he is still in the hospital so we get a feel for when and why it goes off. Plus, knowing that we can do CPR correctly on him if needed is a huge relief as well.

We are doing our overnight with Finn at the hospital tonight. We are both very excited about this and think it is a good step towards getting him H-O-M-E. Although, Jim is a little scared about the bed, since we're sure it is just like the one at Abbott. Were did we put that air mattress?!?! I'm sure he will have pizza delivered to the ER at midnight, just for old times sake! We start that at 8pm tonight and Finn has a head ultrasound tomorrow at 8am, so we'll be done at that time. He also has his carseat test in the morning, probably around 10:30. Hopefully he passes with flying colors!

Gotta grab some over night clothes and toiletries, have dinner and head back up the hospital. So much is happening so fast...but all good things at this point.

Oh and Finn pooped all the way up his back today. That was a first for Finn AND Jim got to change him. You gotta love parenting (the good and the bad!).

Tuesday, March 24

Tough night, good day

Finn is almost back to his normal self today. It was very good to see.We had a rough evening last night. When he first came out of surgery, he was doing really well...and then he started not doing so well. He started desatting a lot. At one point, his oxygen level was 1%...it should be above 85%. So there was a lot of flurry around him for a while. It didn't help that this happened while I was holding him. On top of that, he kept whimpering and was clearly in pain (and hungry!). I just wanted to make it better. They gave him his caffeine dose around 7pm (9 hours late!) and that helped with stabilizing his breathing.

We left around 7:30pm and I was not feeling good about things. But they told me today that he was completely fine by the night shift, which starts at 11pm! I guess we should have left right after surgery or stayed until then! Argh. But in any case, by the picture you can see his cannula came out last night and his IV this afternoon and he is doing super (albeit a little sleepy!).

He didn't eat at all yesterday even by the time we left. They told me today that he ate three times on the night shift, which was really good...although I'm sure he was so hungry by that point that he didn't care about much else! He didn't eat well this morning, but ate like a champ late this afternoon. It seemed like he just couldn't get enough. So, don't people always say that you know kids are better when they eat well or something like that? If so, he's fine! His surgery site and circumcision looked really good today (although I was a chicken and wouldn't change his diaper for fear of hurting him!).

We have our home monitoring and CPR class tomorrow afternoon from 1pm to 4pm. I think these classes will give us some level of confidence that we CAN take care of him on our own. My sister Becky is going to try to join us for the CPR class, since she lives with us and would foreseeably be taking care of him a lot. Then tomorrow night we were able to be scheduled for our first over night with Finn! That means we get a private room and Finn is all ours for 12 hours. We are really excited about this, but obviously a little nervous, too. We had to wait until after we took the CPR class before we could do the over night. I'm finally starting to feel like a real parent. I'm sure it will hit me full in the face when he finally comes home! Hopefully I don't get too overwhelmed!

I was able to meet Becky and Ben's little girls today (no names yet, but they're working on it)! They were so precious and brought back so many emotions in me and I felt like it was two and a half months ago. I just wanted to pick them up. They looked SO good (much better than Finn did for sure!). And Becky was handling everything wonderfully. You can tell she is a great mom! On a selfish note, it made me feel good that their nurses remembered Finn and asked about him (who knows, maybe Becky told them before I got there...but I don't care...made me feel good!).

Monday, March 23

Three More Things Off the List

Well, Finn did well in surgery. I suppose in all the whole thing took about 3 1/2 hours from when he left the ICC until he got back.

The surgeon said he tollerated everything quite well. After fixing the left side hernia, they explored the right side and found a slight hernia there as well. That was also repaired.

In addition, since he was already under anesthesia, they proceeded with his circumcision. There was some doubt about whether or not this would be possible because of insurance reasons (it costs more to have a surgeon do it); but thankfully we got the approval this morning. Three more issues crossed off the list.

They had to put him on the ventilator for the surgery (this was expected). There was some concern that he might have to stay on it a while because of his anemia which can contribute to apneia after surgeries. Thankfully though they got the vent off while in recovery and he didn't even need oxygen for the transport.

Once back in the ICC his O2 saturation level was bouncing back and forth so they put him on a 1/4 liter low flow cannula just so he doesn't have to work so hard.

He is also back on an IV because it was necessary for the surgery. Hopefully that will come off shortly once he is ready to start eating again.

He's doing well but he's crying a bit more than usual. I suppose I would be too if I had all that done to me!

As always, we'll keep everyone updated on how everything goes.

Surgery update

Finn's surgery was just confirmed. They moved it up to 11:30am this morning. Will update when we know more and have access to a computer. An extra prayer today would be much appreciated. Thank you!

And congratulations to Becky and Ben on the birth of their wonderful twin girls early this morning!

Sunday, March 22

The tank wasn't quite full

Our little boy now weighs 5 pounds 9 ounces! He just keeps getting bigger and bigger. He had kind of a tough day eating today for the nurses, anyway. He didn't want to eat at Noon because he had to take his medicine, which he hates. He ate well for me at 2:30, but stopped eating before he was full. Jim held him for a while and commented that he still seemed hungry. Of course by that time, I was almost done pumping and didn't have any milk left. We gave him his pacifier for a while, but then asked the nurse if he could have a little more milk via bottle. So Jim got to feed Finn for the first time (I haven't even bottle fed him yet!). They both did well and after about 10 mL (which is just a little bit!), Finn was done. He just needed to just top it off and then he was out. Since Finn will need a bottle or two a day after we come home (to get the proper calories and nutrient supplements that he needs), Jim will be the bottling expert!

We are fairly certain that Finn is having his surgery tomorrow. (nothing like finding out at the last minute, huh?!?!) The anesthesiologist stopped by today and explained the different kinds of pain medication and treatments they will be doing with Finn. I don't think it will be official until tomorrow morning, but everybody is proceeding ahead as though it is. If they get the green light, Finn won't be able to eat after around 7am, at which time he will probably get an IV put in and start getting fluids that way. He will be a very upset little boy by the time he gets to surgery if he doesn't eat that long! Poor guy. The surgery should last around an hour and recover, maybe another hour. If all goes well, Finn will be back in his bed in the ICC around 3pm. Lots can happen between now and then, though!

Saturday, March 21

Surgery rescheduled for Monday!

Things are looking like Finn will be having his surgery a little earlier than we first thought. A baby that was scheduled for surgery on Monday, ended up having to have it today, so Finn is supposed to get his allotted surgery spot. We won't know for sure until Monday morning, but as of today, Finn will be having his hernia surgery on Monday at 12:30pm. I didn't ask a lot of questions about the surgery (I wish I would have thought a little more about it), but it should take about an hour. Finn's doctor doesn't think it will be an issue, but if he needs to be put back on the ventilator, he will need to go back in the NICU. Hopefully all goes well and we won't have any issues. I didn't hear on whether he will have the circumcision at the same time or not, though.

Other than that, Finn is doing really well. He ate like a champ today. When I got there, his nurse was trying to get him to eat, but he was working on filling his pants instead. So she handed him over to me and he started eating really good and then filled his pants. I changed him and then he went back to eating really good...and filled his pants AGAIN! He felt much better after that! Yesterday and today he has started spitting up a little bit. I was hoping we were going to avoid that, but that isn't very realistic. Nothing major yet, but I'm sure as he eats more, more will come out!

Here is a picture from last night:I just can't get over how good he looks without the tubes! I love it. He really is the sweetest baby (and I'm not biased or anything!).

Grandpa Ron and Grandma Lynn (Jim's mom and dad) visited Finn this week. Today, Grandpa Greg (my dad) and Great-grandma Walsh (my dad's mom) visited him. He wasn't a very good host today, as he slept almost the entire time...but woke up just as they were leaving because he wanted to eat and wanted to eat NOW!

Friday, March 20

Surgery #2

So, Jim and I talked about Finn's hernia surgery last night. We just were not feeling that waiting was the answer. Upon some excellent advice from Jim's aunt DeAnn, who happens to be a nurse, we decided I would talk with a doctor who knows Finn a little better than the nurse practitioner from yesterday. So, when I got there, I met with Dr. Pylipow (she has rounded on Finn for two weeks). We discussed the surgery and our concerns. She really listened to me, which felt good. The bottom line is that Jim and I found far more pros to having the surgery now rather than later and felt that the surgeon was just arbitrarily making his recommendation. Dr. Pylipow said that the issue of recurrence was exaggerated by the surgeon and that hernias can happen (or reoccur) regardless if somebody was a preemie or not. She also said that they have done the surgery on far sicker babies than Finn and she thought Finn would do fine under anesthesia and with recovery. Once she heard my comments and thoughts, she agreed that having the surgery now was completely acceptable and doable.

So, Finn is having his hernia surgery next week! As of right now, he is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 at 1:00pm. There is a chance that he could be bumped up to Monday, but we will know for sure tomorrow. We are still waiting to hear if they can do his circumcision at the same time at his hernia surgery (not sure if insurance will cover it if a surgeon does it versus the regular doctor). We just want him to have to recover once from both procedures.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want Finn to have to need this surgery at all, but he has the hernia and it needs to be fixed. They will also check the right side to make sure there isn't any problems with that. Yeah, one less thing to have to worry about in the future (like the doctor said about his PDA ligation, we're just checking another thing off the list). Was this our first test as Finn's advocates? If so, I hope we pass(ed).

Finn had a much better day today than he did yesterday. His girth was measuring 32 yesterday and it measured 28.5 today (that means his tummy was much smaller today!). He was still a little uncomfortable and clearly had some gas issues today, but nothing like yesterday. No tears on either of our parts, which is always a good thing. And he even pooped without a suppository a few times today! Yeah.

Finn hardly ever has spells any more...except when he is eating! It is almost like clock work: he starts eating and about 7 minutes later, his heart rate and oxygen levels fall. It is frustrating, but I'm told very common with preemie babies (they don't even "count" them as real spells). It just throws another wrench into the feeding issue, but so far, he is gaining weight and I don't think he has this problem when he bottle feeds, so that is good. Just makes for a watchful and nervous mom during breast feeding! The nurses aren't concerned, but I hate seeing his face go gray and the monitors freak out! They keep telling me that eventually he will completely out grow the spells altogether. That day won't come soon enough for me!

This is day 74 of Finn's hospital stay.

Thursday, March 19

He's missing something else

I was met with this beautiful face this morning:Our little burrito got his naso-gastric (i.e. feeding) tube removed last night! What a wonderful surprise. He is eating so well between the breast and bottle that it was due to be changed and they decided not to put a new one back in. Now, he could get one again if he doesn't continue to eat well, but at this point, that is not a concern. They are very pleased with his appetite and ability to eat! Now he looks like a "normal" baby. It does a mommy's heart good!

The surgeon came to talk to me about his hernia surgery today and recommended holding off on the surgery until he is 8 pounds (probably the end of the summer, but before RSV or flu season). I wasn't happy to hear this, as we were hoping to get it taken care of while he was still in the hospital, both so he could recover there and to avoid another hospital stay in our near future (and I KNEW Jim would be ticked off about it). But the surgeon said that there is less chance of recurrence of the hernia if we wait and Finn will have lower risk of complications associated with anesthesia. When I called Jim, I wasn't surprised that he was upset with this recommendation. When Jim got to the hospital later, we met with the nurse practitioner who has been rounding on Finn this week. She explained it all to Jim and then said the bottom line is we are the parents and can decide what we think is best (each surgeon has a different opinion on when this procedure should be done). So, we have to figure out what we want to do. Maybe meet with a different surgeon to get his opinion on the matter. Argh.

Finn had a really tough afternoon (Mom did too!). His tummy was very large today so they were watching him closely. They think it was because he had pear juice last night to help with his constipation but it caused major bloating and gas. When I was feeding him for his 2:00 feeding, he start just crying. Now, if you know Finn, he doesn't really cry...ever! And this cry would have just broken your heart (well, it did mine for sure!). The nurse just said to rub his tummy...um duh...I've been doing that! I held him for 3 hours straight and he was in pain the whole time. By the time Jim got there, I was in tears.

Then we gave him a bath and after that, he tooted up a storm and pooped a bit. That helped a lot. Jim and I did the bath all by ourselves with no help from the nurse (and we didn't drown him!). I was able to get him to eat a little bit at 4:30pm, but he was so tired from crying all afternoon that he just wanted to go to sleep. Poor guy!

Too much going on in one day for me. I was completely overwhelmed by the time we left. This whole "being a parent" thing is tough.

Oh yeah, go Gophers! Men's basketball is playing in the NCAA tournament tonight. From what I hear from Jim downstairs, it isn't going well. Darn it :(

Wednesday, March 18

Our little leprechaun

Here is our little leprechaun yesterday:He definitely got into the spirit of the day! More pics on our pic website!

Finn did great with the bottle feeding yesterday. He ate two times for the evening shift and one and a half times for the night shift. That is really good considering it was his first time having a bottle ever. I breast fed him four times today and he did great each time. However, he had spells during them, but the nurses said that is very common and doesn't "count" as far as a real spell. I think he was tired and was getting too much milk at one time.

I asked the nurse practitioner who rounded on him today and his nurse about whether or not Finn will have a monitor when he comes home (per my concerns in my post last night). They both said that he will most likely be on a monitor when he comes home. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, he shouldn't come home if he isn't ready or if he is going to be having spells. On the other hand, if he has a monitor, we will have a certain level of comfort knowing that if/when he does have a spell, we will know about it. Oh, I can't wait until the spells are a thing of the past. Just one more thing to keep first-time parents up at night!

The end is definitely in sight as his nurse mentioned that I can bring in his carseat soon so they can test it and Finn can be tested while in it. They don't do that until close to the end. Don't get me wrong, I'm still thinking it will be near his due date (its not like next week or something), but it is reassuring just the same.

Okay, so I think I lied. A while back I mentioned that I thought Finn was going bald...but he never did! It is a little thinner on the back of his head (because babies lay on their back so much), but the rest is actually getting longer and a little curly. Somebody said he needs a hair cut...um...no! Maybe after his first birthday!

Tuesday, March 17

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! As you can imagine, all the nurses were gushing over Finn today because of his name. When I got there, he had on his "Babies 1st St. Patty's Day" onsie and "Kiss me I'm Irish" sleeper (pictures to follow tomorrow!). AND his nurse had changed out all of his bedding and blankets so they were all green (plus a green hat)! It was really cute.

Today was our first day of feeding on demand. That means whenever Finn is hungry, I feed him. It was interesting and quite the juggling act between feeding him, pumping and figuring out when he'd be hungry next. It will be much easier when I don't have to pump between feedings, but we did really well today. I fed him three times and although he took his time getting started, he ate well all three times. I hate waiting until he is crying to feed him, though, but that is what the nurses tell me to do. Hmmmm, we'll see...

And the doctor decided to start bottle feeding Finn today. I was very hesitant about this and we discussed it in length. The bottom line is that preterm babies who both bottle and breast feed come H-O-M-E earlier. By bottle feeding instead of tube feeding for the feedings I can't be there helps to teach these little guys how to suck and to suck strongly (there's nothing like sucking well...ha, ha!). Plus, the nurses are experts on feeding babies and know all the tricks to get them to do it right. I left my camera there so they could take pictures of Finn's first bottle feeding (hence no pictures of St. Patty's day). I hope he did well. Jim will be able to feed him when he returns from New York.

I feel like things are progressing very quickly at this point. I'm having more emotions about Finn starting bottle feeding that I did when I started breast feeding him. I don't know, maybe because it wasn't ME doing it. I guess there are just a lot of milestones he is undertaking. At the same time, both Jim and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel (we are closer to the end than the beginning) and are getting a little nervous. I mean, right now, he is hooked up to monitors and is being cared for by professionals 24 hours a day. Can we manage once he comes home without the help of all of that? My head knows they won't send him home until he is very ready and they are certain he will be fine, but my heart just doesn't want anything to go wrong or Finn to have to suffer through anything else. I'm sure it will be fine, but just a little glimpse of how we're feeling. Plus, I really can't believe that our little guy is 10 weeks old today. Man, times flies by.

Also, I went with Kristine tonight to try on bridesmaid dresses for her wedding in Aruba in September and she decided on a dress (and color!) and ordered them. Yeah. Everybody always says they pick a bridesmaid dress so the girls can wear them again...but everybody knows they never will. Well, these are actually really cute sun-dress type dresses and we actually CAN wear again (we'll just have to call ahead to make sure we don't wear them at the same time!). Now she has to start thinking about HER dress!

I hope you all had a green beer for me tonight!

Monday, March 16

The Story That Never Ends

On our way back home from Psycho Suzie's tonight Stacy was singing "The Song That Never Ends" - I felt that was her subconscious way of relating our ongoing saga to a catchy tune she felt like busting out. BTW - Psycho's has the best deep dish pizza in the Twin Cities I don't care what anyone says.

So Finn and I decided to take a nap tonight. I left work a little bit early because I'm leaving for New York tomorrow and wanted to get to spend some more time with him and I realized how tired we were. After breastfeeding from Stacy (Finn not Jim), he chilled out on my tummy and we both took a little snooze. Stacy woke me up when she pulled back the curtain which is extremely loud in our "room" in the ICC. I sat there for a while "sleeping with my eyes open" doing my best to imitate Finn.

The doctor told us that she thinks he's doing well enough to start talking about getting him signed up for the hernia surgery. Sounds good to me - I want to get it done while he's still there - the last thing that either of us want is for him to come H-O-M-E (will still have to spell it so he doesn't know what we're saying and throw a "spell" into our plans) and then have to go back to the hospital in a month for the surgery. She said that we could probably plan on as early as next week.

So like I said I'm going to New York tomorrow. I've tried to avoid traveling for work for the obvious reasons. I guess it's a testament to our big/little guy that he's doing well enough that it's OK for me to be gone for a night but I still have mixed feelings about it.

His nursery is now done. Stacy gave you a preview with a few of the other posts. I have to say it is my new favorite room. I like to just go in there and sit like I'm waiting for him to come home. Here are a few more pictures with what it looks like. Thanks for reading; talk to you all next time (OK for me as of late that means like two weeks).

Sunday, March 15

Visitors, bath and furniture, oh my!

Finn had a really good day yesterday. He had LOTS of visitors (Auntie Becky, Pete, Auntie NaeNae, Nick, Auntie Kristine, Vicky, Stacey, Sam and Connie), which is always fun. He was still off the cannula and doing really well (only one threatened spell while we were there).

Jim gave Finn a bath yesterday!A first for daddy. It went really well once Jim mastered the "football hold" as seen in this picture. Finn just sits there and looks around and doesn't make a peep. He is pretty slippery when he's wet, so it is a little tricky, but daddy did a great job. After the bath, Finn was pretty tired, so he didn't eat very well. Oh, well. I'm sure he'll do better today.

Finn's room is almost done! I have to pick up the tools and vacuum the floor and then I'll post an updated picture. Thanks to uncle John for all his help (he made up for not helping with the border! Ha, ha). He went with to pick the crib, dresser and mattress up and then he assembled the dresser and crib with a little help from mommy and daddy (the crib was FAR easier!). Oh, and when I was painting the other day, I got some paint on the carpet. I didn't really care (it is a boy's room after all and I'm sure he'll do much worse!), but it bothered Jim. SO, I decided to try to get it out...and I did! I just poured nail polish remover on it and put some elbow grease into it and I challenge anybody to come over and try to find the spots! I was surprised at how well it worked (I assumed once you paint something like carpet, it is forever!).

Saturday, March 14

No cannula today!

Finn has his cannula off again! It was off when we got there today. It was a very pleasant surprise. His stats dipped a few times when we were there, but nothing that caused any alarm (he was able to bring them back up himself fairly easily). This could be temporary like last time, but for now, he is breathing on his own again. It truly makes me so happy and makes him look like such a big boy. I didn't have my camera with me (darn it!) because I let Kristine borrow it for dress shopping. Hopefully he'll have it off tomorrow, so I can get a pic of him.

We read all of his books to him and a few chapters of The Swiss Family Robinson. He ate a full feeding from me (yeah, go Finn!), we both held him and then we left. I don't get to spend as much time with him on the weekends as I do during the week, which is a little hard. However, it is a lot less stressful than during the week when I have to coordinate all the aspects of his schedule while I'm there. I guess there are trade offs.

My friend Ryan is going to drop off Finn's glider/rocker that Ryan's mom graciously gave to us (she was cleaning out her basement!) today. We are hoping to run to Wal-mart and pick up Finn's dresser, crib and mattress today, too. I'm not looking forward to putting them together, but am looking forward to having them put together...ha, ha! Oh, and I fixed the vacuum cleaner (I think), so I can finally vacuum Finn's room (there was a lot of scraps left from painting and putting up the border).

Friday, March 13

Five pound baby

Finn had a really good day. He officially reached the five pound mark today! That is so crazy to me. That is a normal birth weight for some babies...like twins! He didn't have a spell all day and remained very stable on his oxygen. I asked if the doctor mentioned anything about taking off the cannula, but he didn't. Darn it.

Finn ate two full feedings from me today. I still don't know how much he is getting and after the 11:00am feeding, he was very hungry by a little after 1:00pm (he normally eats again at 2:00). So I fed him early. Oh yeah...the doctor changed the breastfeeding order to say that I can feed him at will...which means whenever he is hungry and as many times as I'm there instead of just two times like before. Yeah!

I went to visit my friend Becky and she wasn't at Abbott! I think that means she got to go home and no more visits over to Abbott for me. Boo, hoo...just kidding, it is so good for her to go home and finish growing those babies!

Not much else to report. I guess no news is good news!

Thursday, March 12

Little baby not so little any more!

Remember our tiny, small, little, puny, iddy-biddy, fragile baby from only 2 months ago? Well, Finn is one ounce away from weighing FIVE POUNDS! The little bugger is 4 lbs, 15 oz as of yesterday! Crazy. When I really stop to think about it, I can't even believe it. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was praying and begging for a 2 pound baby?!?! Wow. And it shows, too. He has a double chin and the beginnings of rolls on his legs! I love it.

Other than growing a lot, Finn is doing great...most of the time. I say that because for the majority of the day, he is at 21% and doing perfectly fine. Then both his oxygen and heart rate drop and he needs to be stimulated and extra oxygen to recover. I know it is "normal" for preemies to do this, but I was SO hoping we were beyond it at this point. Looking behind me, he has come so far and I need to remember that. I just get caught looking ahead and wanting to be there so badly. Argh. We WILL get there!

Finn's dresser is here! I'm so excited to get his furniture in his room and start organizing everything. I know I'm not nesting in the traditional sense (because I'm not pregnant...duh!), but that is what it feels like. I just want everything in order so when Finn comes home, we can just focus on being with him. We are still waiting for the crib and mattress to get here...should be by early next week. My friend Doug has graciously agreed to go with to help pick everything up (he has a pick up!). How convenient that I had them sent to the Wal-mart closest to him?!?! Good thing he agreed to help! Ha, ha.

A personal note: I know this journey isn't about me, but I wanted to share that I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans that I wore when I first lost that weight last year! I haven't worn them since early this fall and it feels so wonderful because I LOVE these jeans. How often do you find a pair of jeans that fit like they were made for you and are even the right length (a HUGE problem for me!). Yeah! Oh, and I think I'm officially getting old. This morning I used, for the very first time, an anti-aging/wrinkle daily lotion! Ahhhhh! I've open the portal and there is no getting back now. Or maybe I can convince myself that I'm not necessarily old NOW, but I'm holding off being old by using these products?!?! Hmmm. I bought the lotion several weeks ago and just now got the courage to use it. Too funny! Good thing I don't really care about getting older...but it is still a milestone :)

Wednesday, March 11

Hungry little bugger

Finn got his cannula put back on yesterday. Boo, hoo. He had three pretty "major" spells over night Monday night, so they put him back on. He was up and down yesterday, but has been great today. It is just a temporary set back. I'm thinking he should have it off again in a day or two (still frustrating, though!).

On to good news...he is eating very well. He nursed three times yesterday (we got in "trouble" by his nurse today because the orders just say once or twice a day...oops!). Today, we started breastfeeding protocol. What that means is if he is sucking and swallowing for less than 5 minutes, he gets a full feeding through the tube. If he does both for between five and ten minutes, he gets half his feeding through the tube and if he does both for more than ten minutes, he doesn't get the tube feeding at all. Well, he got half feedings at both 11:00 and 2:00 today (and he was very tired because he had a yucky eye exam this morning)! That is HUGE. I'm so excited and proud of him for doing so well.

AND the eye doctor said that it is possible there was slight improvement in Finn's eye from last week. I know it isn't much, but up until now, the report has just been saying they remain the same. I'll take it. Hopefully that is one less surgery my little boy will need, which I'm all for! We are still waiting to find out when he will have his hernia surgery and if they can do his circumcision at the same time (less stress for him if done as one procedure instead of two).

We also started the Wee Read program today. Every Wednesday they provide us with three new books that are meant to stimulate preemie babies (I think ANY baby, but they say preemie babies). Today we got "Moo, Baa, La, La, La," "Brown Bear," and "Row row row your boat." I read them each twice to him this afternoon. The lady said the repetition, rhythm and rhyming are what is good for brain development. I'm willing to give Finn every leg up I can! Oh, and I don't think we mentioned we started The Swiss Family Robinson. It is a little tamer than Huckleberry Finn, but I think Finn likes us reading just the same.

Tuesday, March 10

Stinky boy becomes Clean boy

We had a great day yesterday. I got to give Finn is first "real" bath with a tub and water and everything because he was pretty stinky.He did really great and didn't make a peep the whole time. He was just looking around, trying to figure everything out. I usually don't like giving baths (don't know why...maybe afraid I'm going to drown somebody else's kid or something!), but I LOVED giving Finn his. I guess if I drown him, it's my problem, not somebody else's (just kidding!). I think I felt like I was doing something that all "normal" moms get to do with their babies. I started out by wiping his face, then I washed his hair. Then I put him in the tub and washed his body. With the help and guidance of Finn's nurse, Katie, I did a great job. It was a great moment for both Finn and me.

As you can see from the picture, Finn still has the cannula off and he is doing really well. He continues to have dips on his stats and a few spells, but nothing they are concerned about. This makes me SO happy. Now he can wear regular onsie outfits because before, the cannula made it so we couldn't put things over his head. Also, because of the lack of cannula, Katie said I could take him for stroller rides along the unit hall! I don't think I'm quite ready for that, but it is amazing Finn has made such huge steps in the last couple of weeks.

His is also growing like a weed! On Sunday nights, they do their weekly measurements. So, as of Sunday at midnight, he was four pounds, 10 ounces, 17" long (he grew 3/4 of an inch in ONE WEEK!) and his head circumference was 31" (it was 23" when he was born)! I guess I should be glad his head was so much smaller when I had to deliver him!

We decided to give him his bath before his 11:00am feeding because he usually doesn't do as well at that feeding as he does at the 2:00pm feeding and a bath usually tired babies out quite a bit. Well, not the case with little Finnegan. He was wide awake after the bath and latched on and ate like a champ! I didn't know how much he got, but when Katie tested his stomach before his 2:00pm feeding, he still had a lot of milk in there, which was probably all from me (he usually digests all that he gets via tube before his next feeding). Then, to make fools of us, he didn't eat and feel right asleep at his 2:00pm feeding (just because we said he usually eats good at 2:00 and not at 11:00!). I guess I better get used to him making a liar out of me (or so I hear from other parents!). I don't mind. He is doing really good with breastfeeding overall.

Monday, March 9

What is he missing?

Notice anything different on Finn?As of Noon yesterday, he got his cannula taken off! He is officially breathing completely on his own. I am so excited I can't believe it. The doctor said it might be temporary depending on how he tolerates it, but I don't care. It is a HUGE step closer to H-O-M-E! He had a spell while I was there last night, but recovered and didn't need the cannula put back on. Now if we could only get rid of that darn naso-gastric tube, we'd be all set!

I asked the nurse about when we can go H-O-M-E and she said sometimes it is a week sooner than the babies due date, but we should still be expecting right around his original due date (April 15). I was hoping it was going to be sooner, but it really all depends on him eating well. He has to be maintaining his weight while eating "on demand" and not getting any food from the tube. We are a ways away yet, but it is good to know. I was afraid it would be like, "oh, you're going home in two days" or some short notice like that.

Finn's temperament was really good yesterday, considering he had four shots the night before. They gave him Tylenol throughout the day to keep him comfortable. The only time I noticed a difference was when I was changing him (had to move/touch his legs) and then he cried a little. Poor guy. Given the fact that he got his shots the night before and he got rid of his cannula yesterday, I think he was doing VERY well. They said he should be feeling better today from the shots.

Finn's room is painted and the border is up!I think it looks like such a cute little boy's room! I obviously still need to clean up the supplies, but you get the idea. I think it turned out really well and it feels so good to have it done. It is hard to see on this picture, but the border is little animals in pairs (hence, the Noah's Ark theme). Jim's parents came over last night to help him put the border up. I stayed at the hospital to spend some extra time with Finn and try to nurse him again. It was all done when I got home! Now we are just waiting for the crib and dresser (probably arriving next week).

And Lisa (Finn's favorite NICU nurse) stopped by last night to check in on him. It was great to see her and show off how far Finn has come in a couple weeks. I tried convincing her to transfer to the ICC, but for some reason, she wouldn't do it. Hmmm. Wow, I guess it was a big weekend!

Sunday, March 8

He got shot?

My little baby had his 2 month immunization shots last night. I think it was a total of three (maybe four) shots. His nurse said that when the babies get the actual shot, they are a little upset right away but calm down fairly quickly (thanks to their very short term memory). However, they are sore and upset for up to two days! I didn't necessarily want to be there for the shots, but wouldn't have minded being there to cuddle afterward. Oh, well.

I was able to attempt nursing once yesterday. He latched on very well, but I had pumped about an hour and a half before, so I don't think there was much for him to get. Maybe today will be another story. He is now getting 35 mL through his tube at each feeding (he was getting 32 before). As anybody who has seen our freezer (even after two trips of milk to DeAnn's freezer) knows how happy we are when he is eating more!

Oh, and I was charting my pumping and output last week. Well, in the first full 24 hour period, I pumped 43.5 oz. You are supposed to pump between 25 and 35 oz...so I am getting far more than is necessary. The lactation consultant said I can reduce to 6 pumpings in a 24 hour period (so I'm trying to do 3.5 hours between during the day and 5 hours between at night). So far so good. You'd be shocked at how much longer it seems to have 3.5 hours instead of just 3 hours between pumpings. Weird.

Oh, and Kristine and I painted Finn's room yesterday! I took pictures, but then left my camera at the hospital (oops!). It is a sky blue on top and a dusty darker blue on the bottom. I LOVE how it turned out and will post pictures as soon as I have my camera. Jim still needs to put up the border, but I was told that would happen today (I might need to enlist John's help since he helped with the living room stripes!). When I got up this morning, I just smiled when I walked out of our room. It is sunny and so cheerful and such a BOYS room! I'm glad we/I decided to change it from yellow to blue. Now I'm just waiting for the crib and dresser to arrive...

Friday, March 6

We should have learned our lesson

Our little munchkin is 2 months old today! Wow, I can't believe it. I feel kind of bad because we didn't "do" anything special. I know he wouldn't know the difference, but I kind of feel like any reason for celebration should be embraced. Oh, well. The lack of celebration doesn't diminish the milestone. Finn looks like a burrito, so I had to take a picture:Who wouldn't want to buy that burrito?!?! The multiple layers help to keep his temperature within the acceptable range which is 36.5 degrees C and 37.5 (so far he hangs out right around 36.6 or so). For those of you who don't speak in Celsius, that is 97.7 and 99.5 degrees F.

Finn did and didn't eat well today! For his 11:00am feeding, he was OUT! He was very tired and just played around with it. The other lactation consultant had stopped by and she said to just let him sleep while he was fed through the tube and she would be back for his 2:00pm feeding. Well, that feeding was a completely different story. He was wide awake and latched on like a seasoned pro. We figured he had about 5 minutes of solid good sucking and swallowing! If he keeps this up a few more times, they will start to reduce the amount he gets through his tube. I am really pleased with how he is doing as far as breast feeding. I've heard horror stories on how babies won't latch on or the mom's anatomy isn't right or the milk doesn't come in properly, etc, so for Finn to be doing so well after only three days trying AND being only 34 weeks GA, it is really good.

So, remember how when we mentioned to Finn that he was going to be going to the ICC the first time and he ended up getting the intestinal infection that made him stay in the NICU (we think it was intentional on his part to stay with the nurses he liked so much)?!?! Well, he might have pulled the same shenanigans again today! You'd think I would have learned. His nurse and I were discussing how we didn't think he really needed his cannula any more because he is at 21 most of the time and resolves any dips he has and that she was going to mention it to the doctor. Well, over the next hour, he kept dropping and staying down and needed a lot more air (nothing to be concerned about). The nurse looked at me and said, well I guess he isn't ready to go without a cannula yet! And she threw away the note she'd made for the doctor. What a little stinker. So now we know not to mention anything around our little guy as he is far more perceptive than we give him credit for. The nurse said to for sure not mention the "H" word (home) when it comes times or he'll end up staying in the ICC forever! Ha, ha.

Happy 2 month birthday, little guy!

Thursday, March 5

Jim's poopy diaper

Jim changed his first poopy diaper tonight! I didn't see the diaper, but he said there wasn't much, so that was probably a good transition for him. We're finally over that hump! I'm sure it was nothing compared to the massively poopy diaper I changed this afternoon (the first poop is over 15 hours for Finn, so you can imagine), but it is a start. I hope you don't mind the child nudity, but I had to catch the moment for the record.

Finn had another eye exam this morning. He was VERY tired all day because of it. They have to force and hold the eyes open and hold the baby down, so the babies can get pretty stressed during the exam. His ROP is the same as last week, so not better but not worse, either. He has another exam next Wednesday.

Because he was so tired, he didn't really latch on for his 11:00am feeding. He was just too tired, so we just cuddled during his feeding. He was more awake for his 2:00pm feeding and latched on for a little bit, but didn't get any milk. The nurse said he was probably still tired. So tonight for his 8:00pm feeding, he was wide awake and latched on for about 10 minutes. He probably sucked and got something for about one minute total...not much, but it is something. I'm still not very good at telling if he is just sucking for fun or if he is getting some milk. Hopefully I get better at that!

I continue to chart my milk production and pumping schedule to find out how much milk I'm getting. After three or four days of charting, based on the results, I might be able to start to reduce the number of pumpings in a 24 hour period! Yeah.

The "discharge" nurse met with me yesterday to start the paperwork. But before you go and get too excited, it was just routine. Nobody has even started to mention about WHEN Finn will be discharged. Each day and each step he takes is that much closer to home, though. I don't think they start talking about "when" until it is in the near future. Finn still has some major obstacles to overcome before it is in his near future.

Wednesday, March 4

Still stuck in The Garden?

So, want to blow your mind (okay, probably just mine but still...)? If Finn hadn't been born when he was, the new adjusted due date was today! They said they would deliver him at 34 weeks because the risk of infection would be higher than the risk of him being born early and Finn is 34 weeks gestational age today. I could have been stuck in The Garden this whole time instead of getting to know my son (Becky and I could have kept each other busy!). Crazy. Just a weird, random thought.

The lactation consultant stopped by today just as I was starting to feed Finn. She was GREAT! She showed me exactly how to hold him and the tricks that get him to latch onto the whole breast and not just the nipple. AND he actually sucked and swallowed my milk! She calculated it was only a few minutes total, but he did it! He still got a full feeding through his tube. Eventually they will reduce the tube feeding as he gets more from me. I am so happy that he is figuring it out and really likes it (he didn't let go when we tried to pull him away...ouch!). She also kept reminding me that not only is Finn a preemie, but he is only 34 weeks. Babies born after 34 weeks still have problem with this, so that is very encouraging. She will stop by next week to check in to see how we are doing.

The even better news is that she said I'm producing more milk than I need to. Which means I get to reduce the number of times I pump in a day (eventually). First I need to chart each time I pump and how much I get. Then I can slowly adjust the time between and see how it affects my milk. She said that eventually I should be able to pump only 4 or 5 times a day! I thought I was going to cry when I heard that.

And for the record, Finn was switched over to a big boy crib last night (just before we got there). It is so great to see him in a regular bed and we can touch him whenever we want (and take pictures that don't glare off the isolette walls). One step closer to home! I took pictures, but haven't had time to upload them yet.

Tuesday, March 3

He latched on!

Okay, so I guess DeAnn was right! Today at Finn's 11:00 feeding, we thought we'd just see what Finn did if we put him to the breast (sorry if this is too much information). I had already pumped, so there was no danger of drowning him (since I pump far more than he eats). I sat down and put him in position and he leaned forward and latched on. And wouldn't let go! He sucks very strongly (which we already knew from his pacifier). At the same time, he was getting his milk through the tube, so he would associate filling his tummy with sucking. We did this for about 10 minutes and then he start pushing away. That is about how long they wanted me to do it to start out with anyway. Then we just kangaroo-ed for the rest of this feeding.

I was so happy. It just felt so right. I know it is a small thing and I tend to probably over react, but it was a great moment for both of us. We did it again at his 2:00 feeding, but he was exhausted. The nurse said that breast feeding to a baby is equivalent to running a marathon for an adult. I would be tired, too! He sucked a little and then just played around with it for the 10 minutes. That's okay. I spoke with the doctor and she said tomorrow I could try not puming first. Then she asked me how much I'm getting and she realized that would be far too much for Finn. So, I'm hoping the lactation consultant stops by tomorrow so she can help me figure out the best method. I guess we know that Finn isn't a "leg man"! Ha, ha.

Oh, and his crib was at 30 degrees today when I got there and Finn was maintaining his temperature. The nurse had to wait until the doctor rounded on him and wrote the order to switch him over. Which she did around 4pm today. He should be in a crib when we get back there tonight. Jim will be excited so he can put up the Gopher mobile Finn received (it even plays the Minnesota Rouser in soothing baby tones!). Poor Finn, he doesn't have a chance!

So many milestones. I am amazed at how well Finn is doing with everything. Even his oxygen was turned down to 1/4 L and he was at 21 most of the time I was there. The good news just keeps on coming (I hope it stays that way).

Monday, March 2

He is how long?

Finn is having a really good day. I got to the hospital around 10:30 and helped with his cares. Then I held him while he ate. Then I pumped and went downstairs for a quick bit to eat. Then I went over to Abbott to visit Becky and Lynn. Then I had to head back for Finn's care, eating and my pumping. Yikes! That sounds busy even to me...but I wouldn't change it for anything. I'm just thankful Becky and Lynn were at Abbott (selfishly, it makes my life much easier!).

Finn is doing very good on the transition to a big boy crib. His isolette temperature was at 30.6 degrees C (I think) when I left this afternoon. Once it is at 30 degrees and he is able to maintain his temperature, he will switch over. Yeah.

He gained 30 grams last night and weighs 1840. The more impressive (and less updated) number is his height. As of last night at midnight he was...SIXTEEN INCHES LONG! He grew just over 2 inches in 2 months. I don't know what is expected, but that sounds like a lot to me (and also helps to explains how he has managed to gain all his weight!).

I spoke with the doctor today and we are going to start trying to breast feed tomorrow! At first, it will just be nuzzling and getting Finn used to the idea. Then he will try to eat. I think they expect this process to take around a week or week and a half. I hope he agrees with it! Like DeAnn said, with how he has been progressing and amazing us with what he has been able to do, he will probably be eating full feedings right away (maybe a little exageration, but who knows?!?!)!

Sunday, March 1

What's the big deal?

Finn officially weighs 1810 grams as of this morning. What does this mean? We are excited about this number for three reasons. #1. This is just over the 4 lb mark! I can't believe our little munchkin is 4 lbs already...but am so happy (he is eating 32 mL every 3 hours now). #2. Finn has now doubled his weight since his birth weight! He was 880 grams when he was born, which means when he passed 1760 grams, he passed the double threshold. That is very exciting for us. #3. Once babies are 1800 grams, they start to transition them to a regular crib! We are really excited about this. He has to be able to maintain his temperature with his isolette set to 30 degrees C and then he can go into a big boy crib. He is at 31.1 degrees right now. Yeah! So many things to be grateful for.

He is currently at 0.5 L for his air flow and hangs out in the low 20's for oxygen most of the time. He continues to intermittently fluctuate up and down for his oxygen saturation numbers, but it isn't a huge concern. They increased his caffeine dose to hopefully combat that a little bit. He is doing really well.

One update that I haven't mentioned is that Finn has a hernia. Hernias are a weakness in the muscle wall of the abdomen. Some premature baby boys develop a hernia in their groins called inguinal hernia (has to do with when their testes drop). Inguinal hernias require surgery to repair. Most babies tolerate surgery very well. We were originally told he would have the surgery when he was older, but the doctor told us today that if he is strong enough, they will do it before he comes home (she said it makes it easier on mom and dad, which we completely agree!). So, we'll update you on that situation as it unfolds. I don't know a lot about hernias, but the doctor doesn't seem concerned about it (just another thing that needs to get taken care of).

After the crazy weekend, we were able to have some family time today and it felt really good. I held Finn while he ate (through his feeding tube) and Jim read from Huckleberry Finn (we only have 20 pages left!). Then Jim kangaroo-ed with Finn while I read and then pumped. Here is a picture of my boys kangaroo-ing: This was Jim's first time kangaroo-ing and both dad and son LOVED it. Finn was stating high so they kept having to turn his oxygen levels down. I think Jim was surprised at how much he liked it, but I have a feeling I have competition on kangaroo-ing with Finn now (which I'm perfectly okay and happy with).

Aftermath of a tornado

What a weekend! Feels like a tornado went through. But nothing we can't handle. Well, where to start...

Saturday started out early for me. I got up at 6am to pump before leaving for the Murdock shower. Usually when I pump that early, I get to go back to bed! But once you're up and going, it doesn't really matter (it just hits you later). The Murdock shower was fabulous. Thank you everybody who came. It means a lot to us. Everybody was far too generous, but I know Finn will love everything he was given (now we just need to get him home to enjoy it). Don't worry, Zoe...I won't try on any of his clothes or play with his toys!

I really want to take this opportunity to show appreciation for my wonderful sisters. Saying thank you to them for hosting both a friends shower and a shower for my family and the community I grew up in seems like such a small thing. My heart just about bursts when I think about all you've done for us. The things Finn has received from these two showers is amazing, but more importantly, you've given me the chance to celebrate with those closest to me the birth of my son, even when I can't have him at home with me. You will never know how much that means to me. Jim, Finn and I are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Also, I was able to meet our friends Holly and Matt's little three week old baby boy (Odin) at the shower! I'm so glad that Holly and her mom were able to come. Odin is beautiful and I got a huge "baby fix" when I got to hold him. I have to say, he seemed small to me even though he is over 8 lbs, so now I understand why everybody thinks Finn is so small! Odin might be younger than Finn but I'm sure Holly will be giving me tons of advice! Congratulations, Holly and Matt!

Well, we got back to the Cities around 5pm at which time I had to...yup, pump! Then Jim and I headed up to the hospital. Lynn was pretty tired when we got there, but because of wonderful pain killers, wasn't in much pain. We stayed for a while and then I headed over to spend some time with Finn and Jim went to work (you gotta love month end!). The new thing we are trying with Finn is to hold him while he eats so he associates eating with being held (and eventually breast feeding, hopefully). We also give him his pacifier while he is getting his milk so he associates filling up his tummy with sucking. All these little things that give us a better chance of him breast feeding. We'll see. I think we are about a week or so out from actually trying!

Here is a picture from last night of Finn without any clothes on:Now that he wears clothes every day, I like to see his body every once in a while and think it is so cute!

Now on to another day. I'm sure we'll spend most of it at the hospital. When I'm spread between different thing, I feel like I end up supporting nobody, which is a yucky feeling. Hopefully today I can make up for it a little bit (to both Lynn and Finn...ha, they rhyme!). I also need to run some errands, so hopefully there is time. I really want to get Finn's room painted (now that we have super cute Noah's Ark bedding!), but I'm realistic enough to know it probably won't happen today. Darn. There is always "tomorrow."