Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Video

I've been working on this little video for the past week or so. I was making it to show at a baby "Sprinkle" my mom is throwing for me this Saturday. But I thought I would share it here too. It's amazing to actually see how much he really has grown when you watch it! He is truly a blessing.

Finally a New Update! Oct. 25th, 2012

So I think it's just about time that I updated you guys! Seems like I haven't had a minute to write anything. I used to use the time I spent in the NICU to write an update but I've been able to hold him everyday while I'm there so my hands are full. But that is a good thing!

Blake is starting to turn into a little chunker! He weighs 3 pounds 7 ounces! That was as of yesterday so who knows if he put on a little last night. I love going into his room to find out he's gained weight. It's been a struggle. He wasn't gaining really anything for awhile because he was just "dumping" his breast milk and not absorbing it's nutrients. That being said, they decided to put him on full feeds of Elacare which is a very gentle infant formula. They had been supplementing his breast milk with the Elacare before but they decided to take him off breast milk completely for awhile to see if the Elacare would help him gain some weight, which it definitely has. Since he has been on it he's gained on average 20-30 grams a day (30grams equals 1 ounce). Once he shows consistent weight gain, they will wean him back onto breast milk.

There hasn't really been much said about when to expect his final surgery. The only thing I know about it timeline wise is that they want him to be at least 2000 grams which is just about 4 and a half pounds. The bigger he is, the quicker he can recover from the surgery and the easier it will be to get him off the ventilator after surgery.

In order for him to come home he only needs to be able to regulate his own temperature without the help of the isolette, be able to take full feeds from the nipple whether it be bottle or breast and be able to breathe on his own. He's 34 weeks gestation wise right now which means he can start to practice nipple feeding. They told me two days ago that I could start non nutritive breastfeeding when I hold him. Non nutritive means I pump before hand so he doesn't get milk but he is able to practice and get ready for real breastfeeding. The only reason they don't want him to get any milk by mouth yet is because he is still on the vaportherm which blows quite a bit of air through his nose and they don't want the milk being forced into his lungs. And the only reason for still having his pressure on the vapotherm still kind of high is because they wanted him to spend all his energy on gaining weight and not wasting it by making him work a little harder to breathe. He is at 21-25% oxygen which is great, but he is on 5.0 pressure. Now that he has been doing a good job with weight gain maybe they will start bringing down the pressure.

I am sooooooo hoping that he doesn't have any more struggles before he comes home. I would absolutely love to have him home by his due date or at least before Christmas. But I also need to be realistic and realize that it all depends on Blake and he will come home when he is ready. No rushing. His health is far more important and we will wait til he is ready. He has definitely come such a long way and I am extremely thankful that he has done as well as he has.

Two Months Old!

Love those big eyes!

Stretching his legs

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14, 2012

According to the pregnancy app that I still have on my phone, Blake would be due in just about 50 days. And Blake's doctor is aiming to get him home by his due date. Just 50 days!! I love seeing that number just dwindle away. Thankfully, these past two months have gone by without me even noticing. Between chasing Ashton at home, spending time with Blake in the NICU and squeezing in all my other responsibilities here and there I've lost track of the days. Before I know it, It's time for bed and I start it all over the following morning. As exhausted as I have been from being on the go, go, go, I'm just so thankful that time doesn't seem to be dragging by.

There really isn't any new news on Blake. He's still doing great. He gained an ounce last night so his new weight is 2 lbs 12 oz. Hopefully he can keep a steady weight gain these next few weeks. That is the only thing they are really focused on . He is finally at 21% oxygen on the vapotherm and has been for the last few days. They want to start weaning the pressure soon but they are waiting a bit because they want him to save him energy and use it to grow and instead of using his energy on working harder to breathe on his own. The pressure is at 5.0 right now.

The other night marked a small yet exciting milestone. When Patrick and I walked into Blake's NICU room, his nurse was holding up a teeny little sleeper. "I think he's ready for some clothes, don't you agree?" His nurse said as we walked in. I was so excited! I had a cheesy grin for the rest of the evening because I couldn't get over how cute he was all dressed up. Even though it may not seem to be a big deal, it really was for me. Blake being able to wear clothes makes me feel like we are another step closer to the finish line.

Trying to find where my voice is coming from

Daddy helping hold while the nurse changes his bedding

First time wearing clothes!

I just love his little face!

Snuggling with daddy

Sleepy Head

Love moments like this

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7th, 2012

 Blake is still doing wonderful. The only big goals we need to focus on is him gaining some weight. He is still stuck around 2lbs 10oz. They have been adding 24 calories into my breast milk so that should help. Poor guy just had a lot to overcome these last few weeks and that kind of put a halt to his weight gain.

Here is the game plan that the doctor mentioned to me yesterday. Obviously he needs to gain weight, and at 35-36 weeks they can start trying to get Blake to nipple feed instead of a feeding tube. Also, they are looking at having the surgery to connect his bowel and place it back in his belly around 36 weeks or so. He'll be put back on the ventilator during his surgery and he should be able to wean off it pretty quickly after its done. The only stipulations that they have in order for Blake to come home is that he can breathe on his own (or sometimes they can go home on oxygen but I don't see him having that problem), that he can regulate his own temperature and that he can nipple feed whether it be from a bottle or from the breast. So as long as he can do those things he should be able to come home shortly after his surgery.

 I am so thankful that Blake has finally turned the corner and is continuing to progress. I pray everyday not only for Blake, but for all the babies and families that have to deal with being in the NICU. One of the saddest things about being in the NICU is getting to know who is around you. Whether or not you talk to every parent, you are aware of them. You learn which family is in which room and sometimes you even share each others stories and find out their baby's situation. Its always nice to have someone to talk who understands and is in a similar situation but its never fun to walk by a room where a family once was and its now empty. I've seen it happen a handful of times already and each time it happens I leave the NICU with a lump in my throat. We were so close to having to go through that and yet I still can't even imagine it. My heart will forever be with the NICU babies and their families, and I will always continue to pray for them. Blake has been so fortunate to have so many people who love him and pray for him and I want to return the favor by keeping them close in mind and in prayer.

I can NOT wait for Blake to finally come home. I am counting down the days! Being able to kangaroo him every day has made it a little easier and I am so glad he is finally at the point where he can be held often. Holding him is so therapeutic for me! And I am happy to report that Patrick held him for the first time the other night! He has been so nervous about holding him but the nurse finally convince him to do and I'm so glad. I think its so important for the three of us to be able to bond through holding him. But hopefully Mr. Blake doesn't face any more delays and can come home before Christmas!

Looking like more and more like big brother!
Wearing the hat mama made me
He loves laying on his belly
"No more pictures please!"

Snuggling with mama

Daddy's first time holding Blake

Big beautiful eyes!

Loving the pacifier

Daddy helping with bath time