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.

Tuesday, June 30

I can't believe it

Finn slept ELEVEN hours last night. I finally went in around 7am to check on him because he always wants to eat before then. He was breathing and the key...he was sucking his thumb. So I guess as long as he can find his thumb, he doesn't need to wake up to eat. I needed him to eat, though. Ouch! I am not used to going that long without feeding him (don't mistake this for complaining by any means!). He ate really well when he did wake up, so that helped (and for the record, he did spit up a little bit, but I think he was eating too fast!).

As of last week, Finn has now been home longer than he was in the hospital! I was thinking about it this morning in bed while I was waiting for Finn to wake up, so I checked the calendar. Sure enough. He has been home 95 days and he was in the hospital 85. Weird.

And...burrr! I opened the windows this morning because I knew it was supposed to be a cool day, but it is actually cold in our house! I just shut all the windows downstairs. I have jeans, t-shirt and a sweatshirt on and I'm still cold. I thought this was summer. At least the air conditioner doesn't have to run, so that helps with the electricity bill! There's always a bright side, right?!?!

Monday, June 29

Finn's first date

Finn had his first play date today! Yes, they have matching strollers (different colors, though).Our friends Lyla, seven months old, and her mom Meytal joined us for a BIG walk around our neighborhood. We met them at our Infant Massage class this spring. It was a little windy and chilly, but nice to be out and about regardless and talking about "mom" things. Hopefully we can do it again soon!

Some updates on Finn...he doesn't spit up or puke his guts out any more! Now I say that and I'm sure he will hurl tonight, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't since we eliminated the formula and went completely to breast milk/feeding. In fact, he hardly even needs to burp any more after eating, either. I think he is just more efficient at nursing and gets less air than with a bottle.

It is official...Finn is a thumb sucker! I can't deny it any longer. Over the last three days or so, he constantly is seeking out his thumb and trying to stick it in his mouth and get it to stay in his mouth (that is the hard part!). I try to be upset, but it is so darn cute, that I can't help but smile and grab the camera. Oh, well. Hopefully he will be able to kick the habit sooner than I did (at least my teeth weren't affected by it and hopefully his won't be either).

The other thing I noticed recently is that he is starting to anticipate things. When I go to put his shirt on, he scrunches up his shoulders and makes a cute face with his mouth...like "here it comes!" Also, in the mornings when I go into his room, he now knows he can stop crying because I am going to pick him up and feed him (because I have to sanitize first, it takes a few seconds before he gets picked up). This is obviously a good developmental step for him. Our baby is getting so grown up!

Sunday, June 28

Baptism is finally here

Finn was baptized today. It was a very special day. This is a picture of Finn, his godparents (Jim's brother John, his wife Kelsie and my sister Becky), the priest and mom and dad.It was the first time Finn has been in a church and he was a really good boy. Of course he slept through most of mass and he liked being baptized because he likes water being poured on him (I think he was wondering where the rest of his bath was!). Too cute. Thank you everybody who came and shared the day with Finn. Your support means a lot to us. There are a ton of pictures on our picture link, so check it out. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.

Oh, and the cake turned out. At least, I think it looked okay and everybody said it tasted good. Success. I really like cake decorating, even if it can be very frustrating and tedious. I might look into doing it more often. We'll see how much time I have! I think Becky would approve more of this creative outlet rather than cross-stitching (she says I'm old because I like to cross-stitch!).

Friday, June 26

Pacemaker keeps tiny Taylor alive

Kristine works for Medtronic (the company who created and provided the pacemaker) and emailed this story to me. Click here for story. Just as a point of reference, Finn was 880 grams when he was born, this baby was only 541 grams. This story and picture touched my heart for obvious reasons, so I wanted to share with you.

Finn has been 100% nursing for a little over a week now. I had some concerns when we started last week if I would provide enough given his feeding situation since we came home. But he seems to be getting enough, other than he eats every two hours instead of every three. That could be due to lower volume, but also because straight breast milk digests faster than formula, too. I keep meaning to get on the scale here at home with him to see how he is doing weight wise (I'm so used to his weekly weighing!), but haven't done it yet. He SHOULD be right around 10 and a half pounds. He has his SIX MONTH check up on July 16th and he will be SIX MONTHS OLD in a little over a week! How did we get to this point already?!?! Yikes. I hope we are able to breath a little more and enjoy our time a little more during the next six!

I think I mentioned I wanted to make Finn's baptism cake myself. Well, my very smart sister Becky suggested I do a trial cake to make sure everything turned out how I wanted it (she MIGHT have just wanted to eat the practice cake...I'm not sure!). Anyway, I did and it turned out! That cake didn't taste exactly how I wanted, so I'll make a few changes for the actual cake, but I was able to frost the whole thing and I think it looked good. I hope all goes well tomorrow, too, when I make the actual cake (and that we have room in our fridge)!

Thursday, June 25

We have some work to do

We had Finn's Physical and Occupational Therapy appointments this afternoon. The PT appt was first. Within about two minutes of being in the room, the therapist could tell that Finn has Torticollis. This is what we were concerned about since he was always looking only to the right and tilting his head to the left. Torticollis is a tightening of the muscle that connects behind your ear to your collarbone and is usually found in very large babies or with twins (due to the lack of space in utero). Since that obviously wasn't the case with Finn, she believes is was due to his hospitalization. Meaning the nurses always cared for him and checked on him from the right side of his incubator or crib. I guess that makes sense. There are two good things about this: 1. It is a medium case, not severe, but not mild either. and 2. we are treating it very early and should be "easy" to correct. So, Jim and I have exercises to do that should help and Finn will have weekly PT appointments until it is corrected.

Until the torticollis is corrected, she won't be able to assess him on where he is with such things as his gross motor skills because so much depends on the baby's ability to hold his head midline, which Finn obviously doesn't do. As far as his gross motor skills, he is behind on some of them. We need to work on lying on his side (to promote rolling over), propping him up to help lift his head and elevating his feet to promote leg kicking. And then, once we have a plan for developing his gross motor skills, we will see if he needs OT, which works more with fine motor skills.

I'm not exactly happy with what we found out, but I am happy it is very treatable and Finn should have no long term affects. The only thing that may need to be corrected is the shape of his head. He has a flat spot on the back of the right side of his head...not excessively noticeable, but it is there. If it continues to worsen, he would need to have a helmet made that would reshape his skull. We'll cross that bridge if/when we have to. The physical therapist made me feel good because she pointed out after giving birth to a 25 weeker, if the only thing we have to "deal" with are some developmental delays, but otherwise he is a very healthy baby, we are very lucky. And we both feel that way and are more than willing to help Finn catch up developmentally. Plus, the exercises they give us will just turn into how we play with him, so that isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, June 24

Freedom=Walmart?

Becky and Pete were kind enough to watch Finn for me last night so I could run to Walmart. Of course Finn woke up the minute I walked out the door, but they didn't seem to mind. I never realized how much I enjoyed shopping for myself (now I make a list and Jim gets whatever we need) until I wasn't able to. I mean, I just kept walking around the store looking at everything...you never know when I'll be able to make my next trip! I was able to get a few things for baptism, although the Walmart I went to wasn't a Super Center, so I (or probably Jim!) still have to go to the grocery store. Oh, well. I'm going to make a cross cake without a mold for Finn's baptism. My fingers are crossed that it turns out okay. I'll post pictures.

I did pick up some Orajel. They didn't have just "plain" but they had a two pack, one with original and one with night time formula. I thought, why not? Hopefully that will help with Finn's discomfort a little bit. We continue to give him Tylenol as needed, which ends up being about three times a day. Poor guy.

Lauren, my cousin who we adore, came to clean our house today. She is the best. I just love that feeling of knowing your house is 100% clean (I kept telling Austin not to make a mess at lunch...poor guy!) Now we just have to keep it clean until baptism on Sunday...shouldn't be TOO hard since Austin is leaving tomorrow for the weekend and will be at school all day tomorrow, too.

Tuesday, June 23

Facts about Blogger

Not much new with Finn today. So I thought I'd provide some fun facts.

In late August, Blogger (the website that hosts our blog) will officially turn 10 years old. Here are some fun facts about Blogger:

-Every minute of every day, 270,000 words are written on Blogger

-Almost two thirds of Blogger's traffic comes from outside North America (What's the #2 country after the U.S.? Brazil, followed by Turkey, Spain, Canada, and the U.K.)

-The most popular sport for bloggers? Soccer (that's football to the rest of the world), more than four times larger than the #2 sport, baseball

Monday, June 22

It's nice to have a door (now with bonus Finn video!)

The jambalaya was a hit last night. I thought I burnt the cornbread, but I didn't (thank goodness because that is MY favorite part!). Jim also made some garlic cheese bread to go along with everything. So yummy. I think this is the first time ever where we had exactly the perfect amount of food. Nothing was left over, but everybody was full.

Kristine and Alex graciously came over yesterday afternoon to help Jim install our new front door. Yeah, so when Jim bought "me" the new computer, I told him I'd rather have a new front door. Keep in mind at this point, our current front door was not broken, it just didn't stay latched and there was an eighth of an inch gap between it and the frame. Then later that afternoon, I went to open it from the outside and the handle just came off in my hand without any resistance. Of course this was met with, "sure you didn't do it on purpose" but I honestly didn't (I wish I HAD thought of it!). It couldn't be fixed. That sent Jim and I scrambling to Home Depot to get a new door while we had use of mom's pickup truck, but Jim knew he wasn't knowledgeable enough to install it himself. That is where Alex comes in. Alex can fix, build, create, grow, etc. pretty much anything. Calling him a handy man is an understatement. He was kind enough to come over on Father's Day to help. I think he was tempted by food and beer...who wouldn't be?!? Anyway, two hours later, the door was in, latching shut and no gap. I guess we'll wait to install the back door for another night!

By the way, Jim caught Finn talking up a storm to his bouncy seat. Here's the video!

video

I really need to have Jim show me how to upload video (he uploaded this one for me)!

Sunday, June 21

Ka-boom!

First and foremost, Finn wants to wish his daddy a wonderful Father's Day. Finn told me what he wanted to get daddy, so I got it for him. He got daddy a personalized "Daddy Hand" poem, flowers and caramel rolls this morning and Finn asked if I would make daddy dinner tonight, something Jim actually loves that I make...jambalaya. And Jim gets to install a new front door today (with Alex's help!). Hopefully he has a fun day. You are an awesome father and husband, Jim! We both love you very much.

Okay, on to the title of this post. I got to watch a bridge explode in person this morning. It was really cool. I didn't have the greatest view because it was blocked by a lot of trees, but I saw it and definitely heard it! The bridge just north of our house that crosses the Mississippi River has been closed for close to a year because it was deemed dangerous to use. So they finally demolished it this morning. It might be the coolest thing I've seen in person. Jim stayed home (honestly, I thought he was still sleeping) and watched it on the news. He said it felt like an earthquake and it woke Finn up! I guess that's what happens when it is only two blocks from your house. I hope to catch the replay tonight on the news.

I didn't video tape it myself, but click here if you want to see it for yourself (right around the 15 second mark): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5aH4IKxEGE

Saturday, June 20

Chompers

So, we think Finn is teething. At first we convinced ourselves that he wasn't because it seems too soon. His adjusted age after all is just over 2 months. But then my mom was here yesterday (thanks for visiting, mom!) and she said it very well could be. Finn is drooling, which he has NEVER done before and he is smacking his lips and chewing on his tongue constantly. Also, another recent change is he won't go to sleep. He fights it and fights is until he is exhausted. So, even if they aren't coming "in," I think those teeth are moving around for sure. I guess we'll have to get some Orajel. For now, bring on the Tylenol!

Baptism is next weekend. We are really excited for it. We tried Jim's baptism gown (I got scolded for calling it a dress!) on Finn last night and he looks so cute. And I decided I don't need a cardigan with my dress. Jim said I had to because my shoulders were bare, but I talked to the Deacon and he said not to worry about it! Yeah. The dress will be cuter without a cardigan and I don't have to go shopping for one. I hate shopping for something you HAVE to have because then you can never find exactly what you are looking for (like the shoes I still need to get!).

Friday, June 19

New computer

Oh, and Jim bought "me" a new computer yesterday. While I question the suggestion that it was for me, it is a lot faster than the one I was using, so I do appreciate it. But I'm pretty sure, anything bought at Best Buy is not bought with me solely in mind! Ha, ha. Regardless, thanks honey!

PT/OT appts

We were able to get in at Gillette's in Maple Grove for Finn's physical and occupational therapy evaluation appointments for next Thursday (compared to 6 weeks wait list at Children's!). I'm not exactly sure what they will do, but they will be looking at his head/neck control and his preference for his right side. Like I said before, I think the right side preference is working itself out, but it will be good to make sure.

And an update on his projectile vomitting...it is MUCH better. Since his appointments two weeks ago, I think he has had three episodes and none in the last several days. I don't know what the problem was, but hopefully it is or did work itself out. They said at the hospital that when he reached 10 pounds, a lot of things would improve. I guess they were right (geez, it is like they know what they are doing or something).

Oh and the monitor just officially left our house. The company just came to pick it up a few minutes ago. What a good feeling. I was holding Finn outside and knew they would be coming soon, so I put the monitor over my shoulder. Man, that brought back a lot of feelings. I'm glad I won't have to be doing that again!

Thursday, June 18

Free at last

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Okay, this isn't quite as big of a deal as that was...but it is a big deal to me. Finn is no longer on fortified bottles! His doctor talked to the nutritionist/dietitian, Dixie, at Children's yesterday and she said he is doing so well on his weight that he doesn't need ANY bottles. Which means, I get to nurse 100% of the time! I hope my milk comes in a little more, as I'm sure he will need more than what I provide now. Jim will still be able to give Finn his twice daily juice bottles (which take a total of about 15 seconds for Finn to suck down!) and if I'm away for more than three hours, he will obviously give him a bottle then. I think Jim is a little disappointed to lose that time with Finn, but this is a sign of how well Finn is doing and how big he is getting! I am so happy.

They also discussed solid foods because while Finn is over 5 months old (babies usually start solids around 4 or 5 months), his adjusted age is only 2 months old. His doctor wasn't sure when would be the best time to start him on solids. Dixie said to use his adjusted age, so we are at least a couple months away from solids. Things seem to be moving so quickly, but it is a good thing and as he gets bigger, I'm sure they will only get faster!

Wednesday, June 17

Last weight check appt

Finn is doing well. He has been a little stuffier than normal (if you know him, he always has a little congestion), and his sleeping pattern has been off a little, but other than that, pretty much normal and either the cold was mild and has passed or he never had it. He had a doctor appointment today and she said his chest sounds clear. Yeah! Not sure if it was my antibodies or prayers or both, but I'm thankful this has passed us by without much adieu.

So, on to his doctor appointment. Finnegan weighs 10 pounds, 2.5 ounces. Yes, TEN pounds! He is gaining above the ounce per day that he should, so he is catching up a little bit in the weight area. He is still under the 3 percentile on the normal chart for his chronological age, but up around the 25th percentile for the normal chart but for his adjusted age (2 months instead of 5). Hey, I'll take that!

We voiced our concerns about his lack of head control and preference for his right side (which is getting much better), so she referred Finn for physical and occupational therapy. Of course, the place she referred us to is booked out 4 to 6 weeks, which is too long to wait to work on this problem. So, they are looking for another facility that can accommodate us sooner. More to come on that.

Oh and this was our last "weight check" doctor appointment! He will now only be going to the doctor as needed or for his regular well-child check ups (the next one will be his 6 month one)! He has graduated, what a big boy.

Have you heard of the Apgar score for your baby? The Apgar score occurs right after your baby's birth in the delivery room. The test was designed to quickly evaluate a newborn's physical condition after delivery and to determine any immediate need for extra medical care. The Apgar test is usually given to your baby twice: once at 1 minute after birth, and again at 5 minutes after birth. If there are concerns about the baby's condition and the first two scores are low, the test may be scored for a third time at 10 minutes after birth. Five factors are used to evaluate the baby's condition and each factor is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score: 1.activity and muscle tone 2.pulse (heart rate) 3.grimace response (medically known as "reflex irritability") 4.appearance (skin coloration) 5.respiration (breathing rate and effort).

A baby who scores a 7 or above on the test at 1 minute after birth is generally considered in good health. Lower Apgar scores are also seen in premature babies, who usually have less muscle tone than full-term newborns and who, in many cases, require extra monitoring and breathing assistance because of their immature lungs. Well, we weren't told Finn's but it has a spot for it in his baby book. So I asked today. His score at 1 minute was 4, at 5 minutes it was 5 and at 10 minutes it was a 7. I just thought that was interesting.

Tuesday, June 16

Do They Allow Blogging From Planes?

I'm on an airplane. No seriously - right now as I write and post this entry I'm on an airplane and on the Internet. I'm about 30,000 feet over probably Cleveland as I write this (update before publishing - now probably over Michigan) or thereabouts. You can't even use your cell phone but I'm on the Internet. I don't know how this works but it is pretty cool. Given that fact I couldn't help but take the opportunity to do a blog entry and record my first time online in an airline for posterity.

So I left DC about an hour ago after a whirlwind trip from Minneapolis to DC to Dover, Delaware and back to DC again and then home to Minneapolis. Meetings, meetings, meetings. I'm on my way to Milwaukee for a short layover and then should get into Minneapolis later this evening. Closed circuit to my wife: I should be getting home around 10:00 rather than 1:30. I hope that's a pleasant surprise for you and Finn. BTW, I love the new layout and look!

Right now I'm sitting behind the CEO for GE Healthcare Americas. If any of you know what I do this is right up my ally and they are a big player. Not sure if he cares about release of information or not. If the guy next to him ever stops talking about his home goods store that is like Menard's but they do the work for you too (I think they call those contractors) I was thinking of letting him know what I do and see if he does care about ROI. The ironic part is I was assigned the seat next to him but chose the next row back so I didn't have sit by somebody. Oops.

I do hate traveling and leaving Stacy and Finn at home. I hope that his cold progresses faster than mine did. I couldn't hear anything the whole time I was away. Have you ever tried coupling a nasty head cold with a flight? My ears haven't popped in two days and the pressure in my ears is driving me nuts. I actually feel like I'm in a cloud listening to what I'm saying and even listening in third person to what I'm hearing. It's weird. Only one more take off and two more landings to go though and hopefully I can shake this and let my ears get back to normal.

There haven't been many updates from me in a while. But I think that we can all agree that Stacy has done an awesome...oh crap that's some nasty turbulence (I hate [read slightly fear] flying by the way)...job of keeping everyone updated. And like I said I love the new look and name. It doesn't seem any longer like our "homesite" on AOL that we might have had 5 years ago or so it's now a real cool looking blog. I hope that anyone who missed my entries will accept this as their dose and put a pause to the Jim Blog withdrawal. If this is you then you have problems.

I don't really have any updates on Finn because I haven't seen him since Stacy's last entry. For the most recent update please see the previous entry by Stacy. If you've read all of this hoping for an update on Finn and are now reading that there will be no update and are upset that you've wasted your time reading this only to learn about the lack of update all I can say is too bad but we love how much you want to stay updated on Finn and I'm sorry to have disappointed you. Now that was a run on sentence that even Mark Twain would have been proud of (try diagraming that sentence structure). Speaking of which I need to start reading to Finn and Stacy again. How about tomorrow night?

Well we've started our decent. This entry has probably been descending since you read the title so I guess I'll stop.

Monday, June 15

What a good boy am I!

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner, eating his Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said "What a good boy am I!"

Finn has found his hands...as well as his thumb (he didn't pull out a plum, though!). Developmentally, this is a good step. He has sucked on his hands/fingers/thumb before, but it was more of an accident that they found his way to his face and into his mouth. Now he is actively seeking them out and bringing them to his mouth. In the last day or so, he has had his hands in his mouth many, many times, but more importantly, his thumb has been in there and he has been actively sucking on it three or four times. Boo. I really don't want him to be a thumb sucker (thumb sucking scarred me for life, okay not really, but I hated that I sucked my thumb until I was FIVE!), but there really isn't much I can do about it. I'm not going to pull it out of his mouth or keep giving him his pacifier if he doesn't want it. So, I'll just deal. Too bad it is so cute.

So far, so good regarding his cold. He is congested and I have to use the sucker to get stuff out of his nose, which he HATES, but I am able to get a little bit out. Up until now, I haven't been able to so that is good. He isn't congested all the time, so I think if he does have a cold, it is very mild at this point. I'm hoping since I am under the weather, too, that he is getting antibodies from me and that it will stay mild. We'll see over the next day or so. So far it hasn't moved into his lungs, so my fingers (and anything else that will) are crossed that it will stay that way.

Sunday, June 14

We're hick

As Austin would say, "I'm hick." Translation, I'm sick. Austin was sick earlier in the week, then Jim got sick and then my throat started hurting last night. Now, I'm afraid to say, I think Finn is getting it, too. He puked out his nose last night, which is never a good sign. Then he was congested all last night (not really awake, just fussy and junk in his nose). He ate well for me in the AM, but not so well from the bottle later.

Jim called our doctor while I was at church, just because we have to be extra vigilant any time Finn gets sick. And since this is his first time, we weren't exactly sure what to look for and how proactive (or overprotective) we have to be. She told Jim that Finn only has to go to the hospital if his symptoms warrant it (what a relief!), we can put him back on the monitor (they haven't come to pick it up yet) if it would make us feel better to know he is breathing, especially at night and if we think he needs to go to the hospital, to go and not question ourselves. So, we need to bring him to the hospital if 1. he has a fever that won't go down with Tylenol, 2. he has a dry diaper for more than 12 hours, 3. he has trouble breathing, especially if the skin by his collarbone and belly cave in (that is a sign of lung problems, not just congestion) or 4. he seems to just get worse. She also mentioned not to be overly concerned if he doesn't want to eat much, which I remember from when my sisters were small. My mom always knew when we were feeling better when we'd say, "Mom, I'm hungry!"

That sounds all well and good, but as luck would have it, Jim had to leave today for a two and a half day business trip. That means, I get to figure it out on my own on top of continuing to not feel well myself. Finn does have a doctor appointment on Wednesday, so that makes me feel a little better, although I know a lot can happen in two days. I knew Finn's first cold/sickness was going to be tough, but if he comes out of it with flying colors, it will make us feel so much better about his over all health. So, we'll just have wait, watch and see. If you have an extra prayer available, we'd appreciate it...just to be on the safe side!!

Saturday, June 13

Dare I say?

I don't want to jinx it or anything, but I THINK Finn is sleeping through the night! I guess it depends on how you define sleeping through the night, but he goes to bed around 9 or 10pm and doesn't get up again until 6am...usually! I don't know if that is "through the night," but I'm sure happy with it! At 6am, he eats and goes right back to sleep until 9 or 10am! He has been doing this for several days in a row, so I'm waiting to see if it is a fluke or if it is for real. I don't know, but I sure love it!

Thursday, June 11

We ate too much

I am still marveling in the fact that Finn no longer is connected to the monitor. It is so much easier to run upstairs and change him or take him out in his carseat or stroller. Even changing his clothes is easier because you don't have to work around the cords. I just love it.

DeAnn (Jim's aunt) was kind enough to volunteer to babysit last night and treat us to dinner, so we gladly took her up on it. We really needed some time alone away from the house (okay, maybe that was just me needing that, but I really did!). So we went to El Loro (shocker, I'm sure if you know Jim at all!) and had great food, drinks and conversation (good to know we still have things to talk about...and not just Finn!). I think I'm still full. Target is next door, so we even stopped there and I think I was just as excited to be able to go there as to go out for dinner! Jim's cousin Ann came over for a while, too, so she got a little Finn time, too!

We stopped and picked up my cousin Erica on the way home. She stayed over night and spent the day with Finn and me today. It was so nice having her here and she is really good with Finn, so I have a little extra freedom. She is a big helper, even if Finn was a little fussy today for her taste (I guess I'm just used to it!). She is going to try to come and spend one day a week with me over the summer (when her busy schedule allows!), so I'm really looking forward to that.

And we (Erica, Finn, Auntie Kristine and I) got to go to Austin's t-ball game tonight. It was so much fun to watch. They practice catching, batting, fielding and then they do one "inning" where half the team bats and half fields and then they switch.

Wednesday, June 10

Where did it go?

What is missing?
As of this morning at 10:30am, Finn is a free, unplugged baby. The apnea program called this morning and the nurse said that based on the last download, the doctor agreed that Finn no longer needs the monitor! Yup, six weeks turned into ten and a half, but FINALLY the monitor has been disconnected and is ready to be sent back to the company. So weird, emotional and exciting. I changed him and could carry him down the stairs without grabbing the monitor. It may sound like a small thing, but it is HUGE for me. I can get up and walk around with him and not worry about accidentally unplugging the monitor or checking to see how far the cord will reach or trying to grab it to put on my shoulder while holding Finn (and he seems lighter to me, too...probably just the lack of baggage). Of course, right after the monitor came off, he started choking a little bit and I freaked. I guess we'll have to get used to checking if he is breathing or not, like "regular" parents do! Like the nurse said, this is yet one more thing we can cross off the list. Good job, little man!

And the home health nurse came by today. Our little man isn't such a little man any more. He weighed 9 pounds 10 ounces today! That is 17 ounces in 14 days...well above the ounce a day he is supposed to gain. I might be optimistic, but I think that puts him close to the 20th percentile for weight (that is so much better than the 7th!); hard to tell exactly on the chart. I hope he keeps this up. It probably helps that I add a little extra formula to his bottles when I give them to him...but nothing substantial, just makes me feel like I'm doing my part. This is the home health nurse's last visit because Finn is gaining weight so well and because he is now off the monitor.

Oh, and Jim received a statement from our insurance and I thought it would be interesting to share that they have paid out over $455,000 of claims for Finn so far. I guess the people who said having a baby is expensive is right! Thank God we have insurance (among so many other things to thank him for!).

Tuesday, June 9

Visit

Not much new on the Finn front today. After exploding on Saturday, he is regularly going poop again (he is back on Miralax and prune juice). I think most parents dread changing a poopy diaper, but I actually look forward to it! Weird, I know, but I can't help it.

Memere and Grandpa (Lynn and Ron) were visiting from Sunday to today. It is always nice to spend time with them and more importantly for them to spend time with Finn (we're chopped liver!). I was even able to go to Jim's basketball game last night because Memere volunteered to stay home with Finn...I'm sure that was a huge sacrifice for her! This was Memere's last chemo treatment, so we are all excited to get this chapter over with (although the treatment "book" isn't finished yet)! We hope you start feeling better soon, Memere!

I've been terrible about taking pictures lately. I guess it is because we haven't really been doing much and when it is just the two of us at home, we aren't very exciting, so there isn't a need to take pictures. I'll have to get better about that. I know Auntie NaeNae starts getting antsy if I go too long without posting new pics!

Monday, June 8

He has eyebrows?

Finn's cry has officially changed from a newborn cry. I noticed it a couple days ago, but now it is every time he cries. I want to get it on video, but have mixed feelings about running to grab the video camera when he is crying instead of tending to him. I'm sure I'll be able to get it one of these days. My baby is growing up.

Also, he has visible eye brows! I think they have always been there, but they were just transparent, much like his eye lashes were before they got darker and longer. Same thing it happening with his eye brows. So cute. So many changes. Ron commented on how much Finn has changed in three weeks...I think he changes every day! I can't imagine not seeing him for that long. He probably seems like a different baby!

Sunday, June 7

How do you blow out candles?

Just a quick birthday update. I made a birthday cake that was ready when Becky and Pete got home from dinner. This is Becky blowing out the candles: And this was the result:

Sorry, Babba, but it was too funny not to share. I guess she missed the day in school when they tell you that you're supposed to blow them all out and not just one! Anyway, I hope you had a good birthday, sista!

Plans change

Finn wanted to be sure to wish Auntie Becky a happy birthday...or rather first anniversary of her 24th birthday! The original plan was to go to Valley Fair (I willingly volunteered to stay home with Finn as I do not like Valley Fair), but since the weather decided to be like April instead of June today, that plan was quickly squashed. Instead Becky, Pete, Jim and I went to the church carnival down the street and played Bingo (Auntie NaeNae and Nick babysat)! Yup, we are officially getting old! None of us won...we thought we had a shot a few times, but somebody beat us to it. We spent our fair share of money, though, so the church should be well off for a while! Now Becky, Pete, Jim, Renae and Nick are bowling. Hopefully Becky beats them all! Becky and Pete are going to Red Lobster later...her favorite place. Even though it wasn't what she was thinking her birthday was going to be, I hope she still had fun. I was going to make her a cake from scratch, but we don't have any eggs...kind of hard to make a cake without any eggs!

Oh and Finn pooped yesterday! Jim called me just as we arrived at the anniversary party and said that he had given Finn a suppository (since he hadn't gone in two and a half days) and let's just say that it worked! Before Jim could get the diaper fastened Finn started going and went through EIGHT diapers! Yikes! At least he went. I could hear him when Jim called me and he was coo-ing like crazy. No kidding, he probably felt a million times better.

Saturday, June 6

He is what?!?!

I'm sure you get sick of hearing it, but I can't believe that little Finnegan is 5 months old today. I keep thinking that he will stop getting older and go back to "how he was." Weird, I know. What an amazing 5 months. I can only hope that the next five are far less eventful, but just as rewarding.

I went to my grandparent's anniversary party this afternoon. I rode with Kristine, so it made the 2.5 hour drive much more bareable than if I had gone by myself. I have to say, I was very impressed with the turn out. All eight of their children (and their significant others) were there. And all but five of the twenty grandchildren were there (three of which live out of state) and several great grand children were there, too. It was so good to catch up with everybody. Of course, everybody wanted to know where Finn was, and it kills me not to bring him to stuff like this, especially family events. But we just can't risk it at this point. Oh, to have a "normal" baby. I'm not complaining, though. I count my blessings every day. Anyway, happy 60th anniversary Grandma and Grandpa! We all love you so much!

Friday, June 5

Last class

We had our last Preemie class last night. It was Finn and one other baby. Usually Finn sleeps through this class or is fussy or hungry, but last night he was wide awake (I fed him right when we got there, so that seems to be the trick). The facilitator and the Occupational Therapist "played" with him for a while. They were working on his head control and stretching his neck muscles so he stops favoring the right side. She showed me a stretch to do with his head and neck, but I feel like I'm going to pop his head off, so I don't know if I'll be doing it very often...or maybe a lighter version! Then we did a "me map" of Finn...that means we traced him on paper. It will be interesting to see the difference between now and in the fall.

Well, we're back to not pooping. Finn hasn't gone since Wednesday afternoon or evening (I can't remember if we went in the evening or not...but know that he did in the afternoon). Argh. I think it is because he's been throwing up his prunce juice and that is where he gets his Miralax. So, Jim gave him Miralax with formula this morning and no projectile vomitting! Yeah. Hopefully that will help and hopefully he will keep more down tonight. If the problem isn't puking, it is pooping with Finn!

I am going to my Grandma and Grandpa Smith's 60th wedding anniversary party tomorrow in Benson. Can you believe SIXTY years?!?! That is crazy. It should be an interesting day for dad and son, as I'm leaving at 9:30am and hoping to be back around 6pm! I better put the pump in my car tonight, or I just know I will forget it. I just wish I could bring Finn with...oh, some day.

Thursday, June 4

Watch and see

We had Finn's Gastroenterology appointment this afternoon. We had to fill out three or four forms before we got there and they asked a ton of questions. They measured his height since it hadn't been done in over a month and Finn is 22 inches long (right about at the 60th percentile for height on the preemie chart)! Yikes! That is two and a half inches in a month! I guess we don't have to worry about him growing or not! [Jim said she wasn't very careful when measuring Finn, so he might not quite be that tall]

Basically, they put him on a "watch and see" type program. I was a little disappointed that they didn't do a little more hands on testing. If any of these four things happen, they want to see him again: 1. increase in episodes of vomitting; 2. poor weight gain or weight loss; 3. consistently pushing his bottle away (Nikki: he vomits only after his bottles, which are fortified breast milk) and 4. increase in his overall fussiness. If any of these four things occurs, they will do an ultrasound of his head (I guess they can figure something out that way!), increase his Zantac dose or use a different acid blocker or switch to hypoallergenic formula. She also thinks he might have thrush, which I believe is a type of yeast infection in his mouth, because he always has a milky film on his tongue (this could cause him to not want the bottle, too). She didn't tell us what to do for it, so I'll talk to his regular doctor about that.

Since they weren't overly concerned about it, we are chosing not to be either. It is just frustrating when you know there is a behavior change and there must be a reason for it. They were helpful and said we can call them any time if we have questions or if anything changes with Finn. So, that is that.

Austin gets his staples out today. He is really excited because he loves going to the doctor...they have Nemo in their waiting room. Very smart of them! Plus, he starts T-ball tonight! What a big boy. We can't go tonight because we have our last Preemie Class, but will for sure be there next week. I can't even imagine how cute it will be (3 - 5 year olds!).

Wednesday, June 3

Interesting day

Just keep in mind while reading, that we got the results back, and Finn is fine.

Finn had to go to the hospital today. He had a regular doctor appointment where Jim and I voiced our concerns about Finn's recent habit of "puking his guts out." Since it was a behavior change and because of the nature of it, his doctor was concerned that it was a certain disorder (I have no idea how to spell it) that usually presents itself in the first 6 weeks of life (but with him, do you go by calendar or adjusted was the question). It is where the muscle between the stomach and the intestines is too tight and forces everything back up. If left untreated, babies become very dehydrated and obviously malnurtished. It was significiant enough that she asked if we would be available to go in today for an upper GI at Children's. They got us an appointment for an hour and a half later, even though there weren't any openings...that was a good clue that this is very serious. Finn's doctor had a surgeon on call that she would contact today if this disorder presented itself during the upper GI.

So, Finn and I stopped at home (we had to get some supplies since he had puked his guts out on the way to the doctor!) and headed to Children's. Weren't we just there...oh, yup, on Monday! We got there and had to wait almost an hour, which sucked because Finn was starving by this point and I couldn't feed him. Poor guy. The doctor performed the procedure (watching Finn via X-ray...I think...drink a solution to see what his stomach did with the liquid) and felt confident enough to tell me that he did not have the disorder! Thank God. He has had enough surgeries already!

But, now we don't know what is causing this excessive vomitting, so he has another appointment tomorrow at MN Gastroenterology for a pediatric GI, which I think is a lower GI. The appointment takes between 60 and 90 minutes. I just hope we figure out what the problem is so we can fix it.

On a much brighter note, Finn now weighs 9 pounds 1 ounce!!! This is amazing to us since he hasn't really been keeping much of his bottles down. I can't believe our little 1 pound 15 ounce newborn weighs NINE pounds! Crazy. This weight keeps him over the 10th percentile. So, in the meantime, if Finn isn't able (or willing!) to take or keep a bottle down, his doctor said to just nurse. Maybe this is a perfect time to transition to 100% nursing!! I guess we'll see.

What a crazy day. You think you are just going in for a routine weight check and pow! The roller coaster ride continues.

Tuesday, June 2

Monitors are for babies

Wait...Finn is still a baby, but you get my point. We had another monitor download yesterday and the results were VERY good. Over 19 days, he has ZERO apnea (stop breathing) alarms and 16 low heart rate (compared to 10 apnea and 64 lhr in 12 days from the last download). This is really good news. Now, of course, the doctor is on vacation this week and won't be able to go over Finn's results and make a recommendation until next Tuesday afternoon, but I'm thinking the days of Finn being on a monitor are very numbered!

As I've mentioned before this is very exciting for us because it means that Finn is out growing his breathing/eating problems and he is getting big and healthy. But at the same time, it is scary, too. We have been able to rely on the monitor for over 9 weeks. When he is hooked up to the monitor, we know he is breathing and his heart is beating, which is very reassuring (and we don't even have to think about things like SIDs). I'm sure after a couple of days, we'll get used to not having it, but it will be a step of faith for Jim and me. Also, we won't know for sure when he won't need the monitor until we talk to the doctor...I could be jumping the gun a little bit!

We had a visit today from Finn's Early Intervention teacher (and a student teacher, too). They observed his behaviors and asked a few questions. There isn't much for them to do at this point because he is still so young. But what they did see, they said they were very happy with. She asked me if I was a teacher because of how I interact with Austin...I'm not, but it made me feel good! I must be stimulating and encouraging him in a positive way! This is the teacher that will stay with Finn through the early intervention process, so it will be nice to have a consistent person..although she is off for the summer and won't be back until late August. Oh, well. I'm sure she'll have tons of questions and observations to make by then!

Monday, June 1

He can hear!

Finn passed his audiology test today! When they tested Finn at the hospital right before he came home, he failed his hearing test in both ears. While this obviously concerned us, over the following several weeks, we could tell that Finn could hear SOMETHING, we just weren't sure how much or if certain frequencies were affected or what. He would startled when there was a loud noise and he would look at us (or smile!) when we talked to him. But, he had still failed, so we were anxiously awaiting this appointment.

The problem with the test is that there can't be any noise during the test...including normal baby noises because they put a probe in the ear that transmits sounds and measure what sounds are echoed back. And if you have been around Finn for more than 10 seconds, you know he is one noisy baby! When we got there, I asked for a room to feed him. He was supposed to be sleeping for the test and not only wasn't he sleeping, he was hungry and I knew the test would not go well with a hungry baby. So I fed him for a couple minutes and then they were ready for us. I was able to hold him during the test, so after an unsuccessful left ear test, he fell asleep during the right ear and passed on that side right away. So she tried the left ear again and after a LONG time, he passed. I asked if it mattered that it took a awhile in his left ear (obviously thinking that the longer is takes, the more likely he has some hearing loss). But that wasn't the case. She said she has no concerns about his hearing at this point! Yeah!

Finn is such an amazing and strong little boy and continues to beat the odds. We will have a follow up appointment when he is 9 months adjusted age, so that will be around next December/January. That will be to assess his verbal skills to to make sure he doesn't have any delays due to hearing or anything else.

On a different note, Finn continues to puke his guts out during his morning bottle. It is very frustrating (especially for Jim since he is the one who usually gives it to him). We thought it was his multi-vitamin, which he gets with his prune juice usually right before or after his morning bottle. So we switched to a half dose in the morning and evening instead of a full dose in the morning. That didn't necessarily help since Finn was gagging this morning after only 40 mLs and he hadn't even had his prune juice yet. Argh. So I need to call the nutritionist at Children's to get her two cents and then bring that with our concerns to Finn's doctor appointment on Wednesday. Jim and I are both leaning towards elminimating his morning bottle on the premise that if he breast feeds, he doesn't get the extra calories from the formula, but he at least keeps it down. We'll see. I never thought I (of all people!) would have to worry about my son being able to eat enough to gain enough weight!

We had our last Infant Massage class today. It was kind of sad. I really enjoyed the class and getting out of the house and talking to other moms. He will be too old for the Infant Massage class this fall, so he'll graduate to the next "level" of class. They don't have classes during the summer, so I'll have to find something else for us to do (I think I'd like to find a music class since Finn loves music...but I have to find one first!).