Thursday, December 31
After pictures, we headed over to Stacey and Sam's for dinner. It was a really nice relaxing evening and it was 10:30 before we knew it. Jim had a blast playing with all of Dillon's Christmas toys, most of them being of the dart gun sort. Jim said he can't wait to buy Finn that kind of stuff. Sheesh! We even got in trouble by Dillon at one point because he could hear us playing with his toys after he went to bed. Oops!
Today, I am going to test drive a car. Hopefully I love it and the financing goes smoothly. It took me over an hour to get to Jess's yesterday and while it was mostly due to traffic and the light snow, it was also my bad tires. I can't wait for all-wheel drive.
From our home to yours, we hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve!
Wednesday, December 30
Last night Finn and I went over to Lorry and Emma's to celebrate Christmas. Even though it was a short visit, it was nice and relaxing and Finn LOVES Emma! He wouldn't take his eyes off her (or her hair...I think he was formulating how he could get in a position to be able to pull it). When I told Jim how much Finn liked Emma, he said, "I guess Finn has another girlfriend!" Finn has a lot of girlfriends ;)
Today, we are off shortly for his ONE YEAR photo shoot! How did this happen? I can't believe we are so close to his first birthday...exactly one week away. Finn has a cough and is congested, so my fingers are crossed that he will cooperate and take a few good pictures. Pictures to follow!!!
Oh, and Finn is tolerating his new cap really well. Today we do two hours on, 30 minutes off and leave it on for naps and night time. Then tomorrow starts the regular schedule. Jim "doctored" the cap up a bit, so I'll have to post the pics as soon as I have time!
Monday, December 28
A little snip from Jim's entry on December 28, 2008:
"Thankfully there were no changes today thus far. Stacy remains stable; the baby's fetal monitor tracings are looking good and we're happy, given the circumstances, that we aren't yet officially parents. We're getting ever closer to the end of that first vital 48 hour period since the baby was given the steroids to help develop the lungs faster. Hopefully we will make it to that point (6:00 am Monday morning) in our current condition and when we do we will engage upon the next critical stage.
At that point, assuming no changes prior to then, Stacy will go off of the medication (magnesium sulfate) which has been preventing the contractions and delaying the labor process. She will remain in the critical pre-birthing unit until at least noon for observation after that medication ceases. During that time (or anytime after of course) it is very possible that the labor may continue to escalate as it did prior to the magnesium in which case we'll move forward and prepare for delivery. It is also very possible that the labor might remain stalled and stable as it has been - in that case we will move to the "garden" which is a unit outside of the critical pre-birthing unit where women who are in Stacy's situation go for their "baby's to grow"."
So much uncertainty. I think that was the hardest part, not knowing what was going to happen from minute to minute. Willing with all your heart for anything but the worse case scenario to occur.
So I am grateful for the opportunity to announce that Finn got fitted for his cranial cap today and we brought it home with us!
He did really well considering he was super tired and the appointment took over an hour. And mommy forgot the diaper bag at home so we didn't have a bottle or juice or diapers or camera or anything...duh!. He likes the "hat" and played with it a little bit. I showed him in the mirror what it looked like on him and he thought it was funny. I think it kind of looks like a sports helmet. We gradually will work up to wearing it full time. Today, the schedule is one hour on, 30 minutes off and not wearing it during naps or bed time. Thanks again, Auntie Kristine for coming along and having your camera. The moral support was much appreciated.
Sunday, December 27
I had planned on writing some moving entry in memoriam of that horrible day gone by but couldn't quite find the words that seemed fitting. I would type some memories and feelings but it didn't really convey things as well as the original entries did. Instead what I will be doing every day from now to Finn's birthday is reading the old posts from one year ago - this will be a better commemoration of what happened than any new posts could possibly hope to be. If you're interested I invite you to join me in doing this. As such, and to get us started, take another look at what I said one year ago today as a reminder of where we were at then and how far we have come now:
"Well, so this is my first post and unfortunately it doesn't get to be a fun one. Stacy went into early labor this morning. Needless to say if you've been looking at the ticker our little baby boy is really LITTLE.
At this point, they won't be able to stop the labor or delivery but they're trying to do everything they can to delay the delivery as much as possible. That will give the baby extra time to continue to develop and he needs every hour and hopefully day that he can get.
Right now I'm writing this from Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The eventful day began at 4:00 am on our trip to North Memorial Hospital - I only passed one car in a no passing zone - didn't go over 45 mph and only ran two red lights. When it was determined that the baby was going to have to be delivered and it is only a matter of when the decision was made to transfer to Abbott this morning at 10:00. This was a bit safer of a trip in an ambulance with lights and sirens - Stacy in the back and me in the cab. No they didn't let me drive or even hit the siren or horn buttons.
The good news is that Abbott is associated with one of the best childrens' hospitals around and is connected to them by tunnel. Immediately after the baby is born he will be transferred over to Childrens' Hospital's NICU where hopefully if things go well he'll stay until he gets stronger and gets discharged at would have been between his 36th week or delivery date.
It will be a bit of a rollercoaster and we will try to keep everyone updated with all the ups, downs, twists and turns."
Well, I hear Finn crying right now - even when he cries or is sick like he is now a look back in time to one year ago helps us to keep it in perspective and realize that the worst thing of today is nothing compared to what could have been the worst thing of that day.
Friday, December 25
Kind of hard to see the outfit, but I didn't take too many pictures (as I wanted to enjoy the experience with Finn instead of being behind a camera all night). Others are sending me theirs and I'll post on our picture website when I get them.
Finn did really well in church yesterday, but was tired even though he had just gotten up. He slept a little on the way to DeAnn's, then took a nap when we got there and was in bed shortly after 8pm. We thought it was a growth spurt or teething, but found out last night he is sick! No wonder he just wanted to sleep. We knew he had a little cough, but everything came to a head last night when we got home. He had a temp of 102, stuffy nose, congested, uncomfortable, crying, etc. He was up again around 6am and again around 8am. His temp was down to 99.9 at 8am, so that is good. Poor little boy! Why do these things always happen when you least want them to? I hope he can rally today so he can enjoy the Walsh Christmas tomorrow.
Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy birthday to Jesus!
Thursday, December 24
Sending the warmest Christmas wishes to you and your family. May God shower his many blessings on you this Christmas! If you are traveling, be safe. If you're staying in, be happy. If you have to go out, be a kid and make a snow angel!
Wednesday, December 23
I finally bought my last Christmas gift today and started wrapping. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I know! And I found my new favorite store: Creative Kidstuff! I say I "found" it because I first looked for the one in Maple Grove, couldn't find it, looked in Minnetonka, they moved and finally found one in St. Louis Park. I was about ready to scream. Anyway, I got Austin's present there today. It was the first time I'd been in one and I could easily max out my credit cards there. They have educational toys and games and stuff like that for babies and kids. Austin would flip in there. I found something I wanted to get Finn (okay lots of somethings, but one in particular), but I controled myself and I'll wait until after Christmas just in case!
The NICU follow up clinic called me back today and we made an appt. I'm not sure what they do or why it is offered, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to say and how they think Finn is doing.
Tuesday, December 22
The follow up clinic at Children's called me yesterday as we were leaving PT. I have to call her back and set up an appointment for Finn. I'm not exactly sure what they do. I'll find out more after I talk with her.
In the last week or so, Finn has started making roaring noises. It is hilarious. We called him Monster Finn when he does it...and he gets really loud, too! Every time I try to get something like this on video, he stops doing it, so don't hold your breath that I'll be able to post a sampling!
We, Jim, Finn, Austin and I, went over to Arks for dinner last night. We picked up Thai on the way over. So yummy, although who knew medium hotness would melt the inside of your mouth?!?! It was nice going over there in the evening...a little change from the usual. And Lily is crawling like a champ. She is only a little over 6 months adjusted. Crazy! I was hoping Finn would get some tips from her last night. I guess we'll have to see. Maia and Austin kept each other busy and Juliette slept the whole time. Thanks for a great night, guys!
Well, I have Austin today and I need to stop at Walgreens for prescriptions and the mall to get two last presents. And start wrapping. I haven't wrapped one present yet! Oops. What's the rush, right? Hope this snow that is coming doesn't impede our drive to Oville on Thursday.
Monday, December 21
Then on Sunday, Finn was reading with Memere and trying to grab the book so Jim handed him the biscuit...to which Finn opened his mouth really wide and started gumming it to death!We were shocked. Up to this point, he has played with the biscuit in this hand, but never put it in his mouth, other than when we put it in there for him. He proceeded to naw on it until there was only a soggy nub left. As you can see, he was a mess. His face and hair were covered and his jersey, undershirt, jeans and socks were all covered, including Memere! I guess they might be "highchair only" treats going forward! Oh well, it was really cute. Good thing it was bath night :)
Saturday, December 19
Green beans went well on Thursday. I combined them with his cereal and he finished them. Yay! I knew he liked the flavor so we just had to get over the texture problem. He tried homemade peaches and peas Friday for the first time and like them both. I read an article the other night with guidelines about how much formula vs. food babies should get at the different age ranges. I realized that Finn is not getting nearly enough formula and probably too much food (the range for his age was 24-32 ounces of formula per day and he was getting 12-18!). But he eats and eats and eats baby food like it is going out of style. So Friday I started lunch by giving him a half bottle and then feeding him food. It worked great. He still wanted the food, but was satisfied much sooner. This way he is getting more formula and eating less food! It worked again today for lunch. Perfect.
Finn is having a slumber party with NeNe tonight. I think he is really excited. Hopefully he is a good boy for her! Now mommy and daddy can let loose at Pete's graduation party tonight! Congratulations, Fire Fighter Pete!
Thursday, December 17
Finn got to go to Psycho Suzi's last night! He had been there once before, but in the summer when we could eat outside. Auntie Becca had her last final of the semester yesterday so the three of us decided to go out to celebrate (daddy was working late). Even though it is still weird for me to take him out places, he loved it. It is somewhat dimly lit, but they have red christmas lights everywhere, so between that and the constant noise of people talking, Finn was in heaven. We weren't there long and Finn stayed in the protection of his carseat the entire time. Alls well that ends well!
Wednesday, December 16
The Seventh Month:
■Sits without support, may lean forward on both hands yes, but only for short time
■Bears full weight on feet yes, but only for a short time
■Bounces when held in standing position no
■Bears weight on one hand when lying on stomach yes
■Transfers objects from one hand to another yes
■Bangs objects on surfaces YES!
■Able to fixate on small objects yes
■Responds to name yes
■Awareness of depth and space begin I think so
■Has taste preferences yes, likes everything except the homemade baby food I make!
■"Talks" when others are talking yes
The Eighth Month:
■Sits well without support no
■Bears weight on legs and may stand holding on to furniture no
■Adjusts posture to reach an object yes
■Picks up objects using index, fourth, and fifth finger against thumb maybe occasionally
■Able to release objects no
■Pulls string to obtain object I think so
■Reaches for toys that are out of reach yes, and moves toward them
■Listens selectively to familiar words not sure
■Begins combining syllables like "mama" and "dada" but does not attach a meaning yes
■Understands the word no (but does not always obey it!) no
■Dislikes diaper change and being dressed he likes diaper change, but he does like to be naked more!
I'd say that overall, he is pretty close to right on track.
Tuesday, December 15
He also knows several of the sign language that we do to him, although he can't mimic them back to us yet. He is still a little young for that as babies can usually do that between 10 and 12 months. He knows "eat" and "milk" (bottle) really well. He freaks when we do one of them. We also work on thank you, more, please, mommy, daddy, and all done. I might sign us up for a class in January. It is kind of expensive, but we enjoy doing it with him and I know it will come in handy when he is a little older.
Finn's extra wide belly is going away :( Don't worry, he is still plenty chubby evidenced by his two (or more!) chins, but I noticed when I was changing him this morning that his belly doesn't stick out the sides so much any more. They told us this would happen as his body lengthened and as his organs moved more into his chest cavity (something about there not being enough room in there when he was born or something). Well, it is happening. I'm sad to see the budda belly go, but it is also nice to see his body shape look more like it should.
Our big boy is 8 months adjusted today. He is almost right on track for a full term 8 month old, so we couldn't be happier! Where does the time go?
Monday, December 14
Kristine and Grace came over. Everybody got to pick one cookie recipe they wanted to make. We made ginger snaps (me), peanut butter balls (Jim), toffee (Alex, even though he had to work and couldn't come along), cake cookies (Becky), cupcake cookies (Grace), sugar cookies (Austin) and peanut butter blossoms (Kristine). We ended up making over 300 cookies and two trays of toffee. Now my question is, who is going to eat all of it? Not me, I hope! It was really fun and we organized it so things kept moving along...would you expect anything less when Kristine is involved?!?! On days like that, I really wish we had a double oven. I was beat by the end of the day, though.
Finn's EI teacher and PT came today. They were both impressed with his progress over the last two weeks. In the last week, he has really "gotten" the whole idea of sitting and can sit by himself...although he is still a little wobbly and after a few minutes, just tips over. But it is so much better than it was. Good job, big guy! Because of Christmas break, we won't see them again now until next year (ha, I love that one!). I wonder what Finn will be doing by then.
Saturday, December 12
Which brings me to my next point, I switched Finn's nipple from the VentAire slow flow to the VentAire fast flow. We had stuck with the slow flow upon the recommendation of the lactation consultant because of Finn's weak suck. But he has been playing and chewing on the bottle which makes feeding time frustrating (unless you have all day!). It seems to help, although the extra flow definitely is messier (he drips all over!). He still chews on the nipple, but now when he chews, he still gets some milk so the feeding session still progresses even when he is playing.
Jim and I went on a babyfood making marathon Thursday night. We made blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, green beans, spinach, peas, peaches and carrots! Let's just say Finn should be set if we were to be snowed in for the rest of the winter (okay, not quite, but you get the idea!).
Yesterday he tried (strained) blueberries for the first time...and LOVED them (pic on left)! I thought they might be a little tart or something, but he gobbled them up. The homemade green beans on the other hand...not so much (pic on right). I think the texture wasn't fine enough. He took three bites and gagged. So I think we will either puree them longer or strain them because he liked Gerber green beans.
Upon Nicki's suggestion, we also got some of the baby biscuits since he was having such a hard time with the puff treats (he didn't like the yogurt bites when he tried them at Mike and Katie's). He still doesn't understand that he can put it in his mouth and eat it, but at least with the biscuit he holds onto it and it occassionally gets in the general area of his mouth. We'll just keep offering them to him and I'm sure eventually he will get it.
My doctor's nurse called and said that my ultrasound results were normal. Yay! That means my uterus was not the reason for going into pre-term labor with Finn and I won't have to have surgery. But now we still don't know why it happened. We may never know, which is hard for me to accept. When we want to start trying for our second child (again, not any time soon!), we will meet with the perinatologists who will make a pregnancy and birth plan for us so that hopefully we do not have a repeat with #2. Knowing how God likes to joke with me, I'll probably go two weeks over next time!
Jim and I went to Ryan and Leah's for our 3rd annual holiday party/cookie exchange with them and Doug last night. As we always do with them, we had so much fun. Leah made so much yummy food that I was still full this morning when I woke up. I kept having to remind myself that it was okay to make lots of noise because there wasn't a baby sleeping in the next room. Some habits die hard. Thanks, Becky, Pete and Austin for watching Finn for us.
Oh, and I broke my toe on Thursday while making baby food. Who'd have thunk making baby food is dangerous? I was talking to Jim over the food processor noise about what I want to get my sister for Christmas (we draw names and keep it a secret). A few seconds later, Pete came upstairs and it hit me that Becky might have heard, which she did! So I was running over to the stair door and tripped on Austin's stool. It hurt really bad, but I thought it would be okay. Well, the whole thing was purple and black yesterday morning when I got up. Yuck. It is the middle toe on my right foot, so at least it isn't the big toe or pinky toe! Like Jim always says, I'll be fine because it is a long way from my heart :)
Thursday, December 10
Yesterday I finally had the appointment for an ultrasound of my uterus. It was one of of the factors that could have led to the pre-term labor with Finn, so the perinatologists wanted to rule it out before we even start thinking about having our second child (not that we are doing that yet or any time in the near future!). If there is something wrong, I would need to have surgery and you can't get pregnant for at least 6 months after having the surgery. So, why not get it taken care of now, if it is a problem. The results come back in a week.
Finn is talking up a storm. I mean, he has been cooing and talking for a long time, but now it has a lot more purpose and he thinks he is having a full blown conversation with you (or with a toy, or the TV or whatever happens to be around). There are a lot of "da, da, da, das," which is different than his "da, da" when Jim is around. I can't explain how it is different, but it is. And a lot of "na, na, na, na." I've tried several times to get a good sample on video, but the little stinker stops as soon as I start taping.
We tried the Graduates Puff treats last night. Did not go well. Finn just doesn't understand that he is supposed to put them in his mouth and gets really ticked when you put it in his mouth for him. I thought these would go over better than the Cheerios because they dissolve a lot faster, but not fast enough, apparently! Oh, well. I'll keep offering them to him and eventually he'll figure it out. It was also his first time using the big boy tray on his high chair. Made him look so small and his little t-rex arms had a hard time reaching it!
Wednesday, December 9
Then I had to wake Finn up (mean, mommy!) so we could go to the doctor...for his second H1N1 shot. He was kind of funny about it. He got a little ticked at the nurse when she held his legs down, cried when she poked him and then started sucking on his bottle and he was fine. UNTIL I took the bottle away so we could go (far too many kids and their germs running around in the waiting room to let him finish eating there) and he cried all the way to the car. Funny little man. Both seasonal flu shots=check. Both H1N1 shots=check. Monthly Synagis shots scheduled=check. I think we are in good shape! Now if I could just find a place where I could get the H1N1 vaccine, that would be fabulous.
Monday, December 7
I got up early for a dentist appointment and called to schedule Finn's head scan...and we were able to get in today at the Maple Grove location where we also had a PT appointment! Yay! PT went extremely well. We had Katie, who we haven't had in ages. I told her I was a little concerned that Finn wasn't improving with his sitting and of course he did amazingly well with sitting at the appointment! Little bugger...but I'll take it. She thinks he is working me! He was tilting a lot so she said to increase the neck stretches and showed me some new things to do to improve his neck strength. There is always something! Then we had his head scan after a short break. He was super duper tired (he didn't agree with me that he needed a morning nap before PT) but did very well. He has to sit really still and they only had to start over once because he moved. I thought that was good for his age and considering Austin was in the room making noise that he just HAD to check out. Now they will make his cap and we go back in the Monday after Christmas to get fitted. It all happened so fast, for which I am very grateful. They were also able to schedule all the follow up adjustment appointments to coincide with his PT appointments, so no extra driving or appointments for us. I'm so happy.
Finn is still getting over his cold. Last night, Jim got up with him because Finn was coughing so much it sounded like he was choking. I got up and made a one-part-juice-ten-part-water bottle for him so he could maybe swallow some of that junk (and added a little Mortin to help calm him down). It seemed to help, even though he coughed on and off the whole night. Poor guy. He seems much better today.
Jim and I went shopping yesterday afternoon/evening with Finn and Austin! The boys were very well behaved and we got a little Christmas shopping done (and I made a stop at VS and embarrassingly enough, am finally able to put away my nursing bras). It is amazing how much more energy it takes shopping with a 3 1/2 year old than with just Finn! Now I know why people use those harness things. It would have come in handy :)
Sunday, December 6
Today we are just taking it easy and waiting for the Vikings game tonight!
Saturday, December 5
1. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Lets say he is 16, is self conscious about it and wants to do something then...he can't. Any corrective measures have to be taken now or nothing can be done later.
2. No harm, no foul. It is a non-invasive procedure that will cause him no pain or discomfort but will potentially correct something that could cause him concern in the future.
3. Hair today, gone tomorrow. If he were to ever go bald later in life (sure Jim and both of our dads have full heads of hair, but baldness runs in both of our families), it could be a big embarrassment for which there is no solution.
4. Gets worse before it...gets worse? Because Finn is still not sitting independently and spends a lot of time on his back, our fear is that it could continue to worsen and the cap would at the very least prevent that (and hopefully make it better).
5. Show me the money. Between our insurance and MA, we are fairly certain that the expense is covered and there will be no out-of-pocket expense for the device and subsequent follow up care.
6. To decide or not to decide. In the past, we have felt like we have made "wrong" decisions based on misinformation or indecision or lack of trusting our instincts or whatever it was at the time. Regardless, we don't want to look back at any point in the future and wish we had done it.
Now we have to make an appointment for the inital scan of his head so they can start making the cap. Once it is made, we will have to go back in for a visit so it can be custom fit to Finn's head. The nurse I talked to yesterday thought the whole process would take about three weeks, give or take. The doctor thought Finn would need to wear it for about 3 months. On the bright side, it is winter and if we are uncomfortable with people looking at him (not that Finn would have any idea of why they were looking or even that he goes out very often), we can always stick on his stocking hat! Jim is hoping to be able to put Gophers on it. Not sure how that works!
Friday, December 4
We had the appointment for Finn's head shape (craniofacial, I believe) today. I'm glad they were able to squeeze us in, but I'm a little (or a lot) frustrated. The doctor basically said that having a mis-shapen head does not affect his brain or his development and it is completely up to the parents if they want to take corrective measures or not. I want some guidance! What do you recommend? Is his case considered bad or will he out grow it eventually? What kind of results can we expect? Will the corrective measure slow his development at all? If we go ahead with corrective measures, Finn would have to wear a cranial cap for 2-3 months for 23 hours a day. Our PT had said the optimal age for the cap was 4-6 months, which Finn is obviously outside of that range, but the doctor today said 7 months is what they prefer. Finn is 7 1/2 adjusted, so that shouldn't be a problem. The doctor said it would not bother Finn to have it on. Jim is traveling, so we'll talk about it when he gets home later tonight. Just one more thing to consider and pray about and hope NOT to make the wrong decision about!
Wednesday, December 2
Tuesday, December 1
Second, I made baby food for the first time today! It is something I've been wanting to try (I am the one who registered for the food processor after all and while Jim uses it all the time, I had yet to use it for my own purposes), but just haven't had the motivation or inspiration to try. Well, Jim bought the world's biggest squash for me for Thanksgiving and needless to say, I had plenty left over. So, I jumped in with both feet and made squash baby food. It was easy! I ended up making almost 30 ounces from a quarter of the squash (I told you it was a big squash). I don't think there is anything wrong with Gerber baby food (in fact, that is all Finn has eaten!), but there is something special about making your baby's food. I kind of feel like Super Mom. Hee, hee. Now maybe I can venture into some other foods, too (since the one down fall of Gerber is they have limited varieties). Any suggestions on the best way to cook the veggies to keep the most nutrients?
Third, Finn has a little cold (stuffy nose, tiny coughs and sneezes). He had a low grade fever even while on Motrin this morning. I'm not concerned about him, necessarily, only that if his fever doesn't go away, I believe he won't be able to get his second H1N1 vaccine tomorrow. Fingers are crossed (and I'm keeping him hopped up on Motrin and Tylenol!).