Friday, December 24, 2004

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Holy Hannah!

Well, as I'm sure most of our family is probably already aware, Hannah came home from the hospital yesterday. Quite the surprise for Mom and Dad, seeing as we were pretty sure she was going to be there for at least a couple of days after failing her car-seat test (No, it's not that we didn't know how to operate her car-seat). Who knew that there was such a thing as a car-bed? For that matter, who was the dumb-dumb that invented it in the first place. If it wouldn't have been so DAMN COLD the day we took her home, I would have walked home, carrying her in my arms since the stupid thing was so hard to operated. Anyways, since coming home, she has discovered that being awake means more cuddling and that crying means Mom and Dad both want to try and cuddle - I think we may be in trouble... Otherwise, she is doing wonderfully and hopefully we can try and work our way back into some semblance of our pre-living-at-the-hospital life.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Congratulations Angela and Marc!

First and foremost: Congratulations to both of you and welcome to the wonderful world of marriage!

By the time you two read this (Hopefully AFTER the big day, not during), I sincerely hope that you are both reflecting on all of the good memories from this special day and enjoying each other's company just that little bit more than you were the day before. Carmen and I would like to send our apologies for not being able to be there on your special day, and want you to know that we were thinking about you both all day and prayed that your day was everything that you had been planning and hoping for all these long years, er, rather months, um, make that weeks... :)

Best wishes to both of you,

Dan and Carmen

Friday, December 17, 2004

You mean it's been a week already???

I'm starting to understand what my parents meant when they talk about how fast we seemed to grow up, despite our insisting that it seemed to take forever. It is almost impossible to believe that it has been a whole WEEK since Hannah came into this world, but it has. Which means that it's been about 4 days since we've given the outside world an update on her progress - our apologies - well, not really, but we weren't intentionally excluding everybody either...

This week has been so very, very busy. Hannah started off doing pretty well with breastfeeding but seemed to be having a lot of difficulty with maintaining enough stamina to get a full feed in. A couple of days of inconsistent feeds, paired with an increase in her jaundice levels convinced the doctor to put her back under the phototherapy light. After what seemed like a couple of decent feeds, Hannah's pediatrician suggested that we stop trying to feed her on a schedule and start trying to feed on demand.

This technique proved to be a whopping success! Her feeding started to become much more lively, not to mention effective. In the first day of this new approach to feeding, she lost 27 grams (We both thought it was a lot, but the pediatrician was thrilled that she lost as little as she did). At her weigh-in tonight however, we were thrilled to discover that she had gained an exciting 15 grams!!!. This is an extremely positive sign that the breastfeeding is working and that she is taking in enough food to grow. One more step towards home.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Hannah update: 78 hours

Well, Hannah certainly has continued to surpass expectations...

Breast feeding was an overwhelming success today. Hannah's daily success story started during when her 8:00 feeding saw her take half of her feeding straight from Carmen. Which is a little better than what the nurses were expecting at this stage. Then at her 11:00 feeding, things went so well that the nurse refused to believe that Carmen weighed Hannah correctly when the weight indicated that she drank her whole feeding, meaning that she got double-fed. She must have inherited her daddy's hollow leg... This amazing feat was then re-enacted at her 2:00 afternoon feeding when, under the direct supervision of the nurse, she drank 2 milliliters more than she was expected to drink in total, all straight from Carmen.

On a somewhat less positive (although still not negative) note, Hannah's bilirubin count climbed high enough that the doctor put her under the bilirubin lights this afternoon. High levels bilirubin, are common in most babies, but is more even common, not to mention more serious/dangerous in premature babies.

The idea behind the bilirubin light (at least the way I understand it) is to help the liver filter out the bilirubin from the bloodstream until it becomes strong enough to do this work on it's own. If all goes well, she should be out from under the light and back into her bassinet in the next day or so. That way daddy can hold her every spare minute again.

Sleep, is overrated

I have just returned from my final pump of the day, and I have discovered how truly wonderful a smile can be. As I climbed into the van this evening to head to the hospital I envied Dan his place in our nice warm bed. Upon arriving at the hospital however I discovered my little Hannah crying disdainfully as her nurse hurriedly bathed her. Now how could I, not take the extra time to comfort my child after such an ordeal. My envy for Dan quickly turned to sympathy as Hannah's unhappy screams settled to whimpers and then to an amazingly alert little baby who was ready to chat. And then the highlight of my day, she smiled, and not just smiled but what could more only be described as a giggle. Of course Hannah has smiled before, and this certainly wont be the last but it is the moment that I will probably always remember as when Hannah said "Hello" to me.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hannah update: 48 hours

Well our little miracle certainly was full of surprises today! We got to the hospital this morning to find out so many new things:
  1. Hannah's sucking reflex started, so Carmen could start trying to breast-feed
  2. She has been tolerating formula well enough that she will probably lose the IV tonight
  3. She got to move out of the isolette (incubator) and into an open bed (Basically a clear plastic bin
  4. One of the more reliable nurses said that she could be sent home in as little as a couple of weeks
All in all, a pretty good day. Oh and by the way, NEW PICTURES!!!
(Remember to click on any picture of Hannah to see more pictures from the same set)
Hannah - Click for next image

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Slee-eep? Where are you Sleep? Are you under here Sleep?

Those parents who are lucky enough to get to bring their kids home after the birth no longer have anything to complain about. Getting up to feed the baby every 3 hours? Piece of cake! Try dragging yourself off the couch/chair/floor/steering wheel where you most recently collapsed just to drive down to the hospital to do the feeding every 3 hours. ~8 feedings/day * ~20 minutes of driving each feeding = ~160 minutes or 2 and 2/3 hours more rest that the parents of an at-home baby get over the parents with newborns in nearby hospitals...

Hannah update: 29 hours later

Wow, apparently I have dad genes buried under all those layers of geek... I took a turn in the pilot's seat while trying to change Hannah this evening, and tada! (Very) Wet Diaper off, bum cleaned, new diaper on - No tears, no fussing, just quiet happy baby. Okay, maybe I picked up a few ideas and pointers from when Carmen tried it this morning...

The hospital started to feed her through a tube today, which seems to be working fairly well. After getting some much needed food into her tummy, she settled right down and we had a good visit with our little Angel. After supper though, she must decided that this thing up her nose wasn't very comfy and promptly pulled it out. She probably gets that from her mother

Seems that every nurse has a different idea on when we will be able to take Hannah home. Some say that it will be well into January, others speculate that it could be as early as a few weeks. I think that we're going to stick with the thought that if she's home for new-year's eve we'll be happilly surprised.

Hannah update: 23 hours later

Well, we finally had a chance to talk to the doctor about Hannah this afternoon. Hannah is doing remarkably well considering having been born 8 weeks early. She is breathing fairly well all on her own, they are going to try and start tube feeding her this afternoon, and if that goes well, Carmen can start breastfeeding shortly after that.

As for the question of when do we get to bring her home, that will not happen for at least 3 1/2 to 4 weeks. Sorry mom. Despite how well she appears to be doing, it is hospital policy to keep premature baby's under constant supervision until they are at least 36 weeks. No, they're not being mean, most all premature baby's suffer from apnea (Baby forgets to breathe) and brads (when the heart-rate drops suddenly because the brain forgot to tell it to beat). This traditionally stops at around week 36.

Today was another day full of firsts:
  1. I got to hold Hannah - forget the "New Car" smell, somebody needs to bottle the "New Baby" smell (No, not the dirty bum smell)
  2. Carmen got to actually visit with Hannah for more than 30 seconds without her being whisked off to the NICU
  3. We got to try to change her diaper - Hey, it's not as easy as it sounds with IVs and sensor wiring running all over the place

And for those of you that had to hear about the birth through the grapevine and not by a phone call from us, we are terribly sorry, but I'm sure everybody out there understands that we've been more than just a little pre-occupied

Friday, December 10, 2004

Say hello to Hannah!

What a day! I walk into work a 9:00 this morning after having a wonderful breakfast with my dad to have my boss come up to me saying that I had to get to the hospital right away because Carmen has gone into labor. Needless to say, with 8 more weeks until the due date, I was more than just a little worried. When I made it into Carmen's room at the hospital 15 minutes later (it felt more like 45 minutes later), she was fairly calm and comfortable.

Her water had broken at home at 8:00, 10 minutes after my Dad and I had left the house (go figure) and had phoned our good friend Colleen (who lives about 4 blocks away) to give her a ride when she couldn't get hold of me. By 9:00, she was dilated to 2cm and was definitely going to be having this baby, the question was "How much time do the doctors have to help the baby's lungs mature?". The doctor's were hoping for 24 hours, just enough time for the medicine that was supposed to help the baby's lungs develop to take effect - oh if only it were that simple.

By 12:30, Carmen was starting to get really uncomfortable and decided that it was time for an epidural. After checking her progress revealed that she was at 5cm, the doctor decided that it was definitely time to get an epidural started. What a wonderful thing that epidural was! Now if only they could come up with something that effective for those 3/28 other days of the year. For the next 3 hours, Carmen and I rested and contemplated how glad we were that the baby seemed to be doing well, all the while cursing about her family's December baby curse and how our wonderful little early Christmas present was going to change (more like cancel, actually) our Christmas travel plans.

After a few false signals, at 4:05 in the evening the doctor came in and announced that it was time to push! Wait a minute doc, didn't you say you were hoping for 24 hours? By my math, it's barely been 8. Oh well, better do as the doctors say...

Now for the fun part (and the real reason for getting one of these magic epidural things): 5 Minutes after the doctors announcement, we were blessed with a 5 pound, 10 1/2 ounce healthy baby girl!

Hannah - Click for next image

Click to view the next picture

Monday, December 06, 2004

Snow, at last

It has finally snowed here in Edmonton, 15 cm over two days. Making a mess of the roads and making staying at home a little more enjoyable. I am glad it snowed, looking outside this morning everything just looks a little more Christmassy. Of course if you had talked to me yesterday when we were driving our friends to and from the airport it would have been a different story. I was hoping to get some shopping done this weekend, but thanks to the snow it didn't get done, but the good news is, we live in Edmonton where late night shopping is everynight.

Mark one thing off the list

We have officially switched rooms, one less thing that needed to be done before the arrival of our baby. Now I can spend the rest of this week moving the stuff in the closests, and preparing the nursery for painting.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

December already?

It is hard to believe it is December already. Christmas is only 3 weeks away, Angela's wedding 2 weeks, and even my birthday is coming quickly. It is looking to be a hectic months. We're only two days in and our three person family has become two, we've lost our tenant, and last but the most exciting Dan received some very welcome news. (I wont post what it is but feel free to phone to find out.)

As much as I enjoy Christmas, I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed this month. There is just so much to do before the baby gets here. I have to pack up the furniture in our foster child's room. Move our furniture into that room. Paint our current room making it more nursery like, and begin setting up a nursery for which I have yet to purchase a single piece of furniture. I also have hopes of giving the rest of the house an overall cleaning in preparation for the arrival of our first child.

But it gets better, with the news that our tenant is moving out at the end of this month. Comes the realization that January is now booked with painting and making repairs to our basement suite in preparation for a new tenant. (Thank God for the line of credit).

But enough ranting, We are almost done our Christmas shopping and I can't wait to wrap all those present and put them under our tree. (Which will be going up this weekend). I am also looking forward to my birthday because every year my husband spends so much time trying to make it special for me that I can't help but feel I already have the best gift of all.

I will end this very long note with a sappy tone and hopefully my next post will be full of everything I have accomplished rather then a list of what needs to be accomplished.