Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fun Unleashed

In an effort to keep you guys posted on the happenings in our lives, here's a little snippet of our day!

Today Ella, Caleb, and I went to a place here in town called Fun Unleashed. I've heard of it before, but lots of local moms gave it bad reviews, saying it was dirty and not well maintained. But lately I heard that it had been cleaned and the games were now in working order. A good friend, Lindsey, and her kids went recently and loved it. Lindsey said it wasn't grimy and disgusting, so we decided to give it a shot. Ella loves playing with Lindsey's kids, so we made a play date out of it.

The place was pretty fun! There's a big jungle area that's like a McDonald's play area on steroids. It was like a three-story maze that you climb through, with slides and tunnels and such. There was also a big trampoline, some arcade games, and even a lazer tag area.

When we first got there, Lindsey's kids went full force into the 'jungle.' Since they had been there before, they knew what was going on. Ella, on the other hand, was a little more timid. She tried to go up, but she's not quite tall enough to climb all the levels on her won. I was holding Caleb, so I wasn't able to help her find her way. Lindsey offered to take her through, and they found their way to a big slide. Lindsey went down first, then it was Ella's turn. I wasn't sure she would go down; the slide was fairly tall and pretty steep. She did, but she had a look of terror on her face as she went down! She didn't cry, but she was a little shaken up. For the next hour or so, she refused to go back into the jungle maze or jump on the trampoline. I finally got her to go through with me, and although she was afraid at some areas, she kept asking to go back in and go down the slides. Proud of her for conquering that fear!

Overall it was a win. I think it's definitely somewhere we'll go back to again. I have a feeling Mike will take here with another dad-kid combo someday this summer!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Caleb [2 months]

(i'll get a picture added soon! in the mean time, check out facebook and/or instagram for recent pics.)

Caleb's two month appointment was actually about two months + a week, but here are his stats:

Length: 22 inches (4th percentile)
Weight:  11 lbs 6 oz (15th percentile)
Head Circumference:  37.9cm (7th percentile)

So as you can see, he's climbing the charts! He has always been at or below the first percentile since he was so early, but the doctor had predicted he would catch up by two months. Guess she was right!

As far as development, it sounds like he is right where he should be. He's starting to get better neck/head control, follow your face and make eye contact, respond to sounds and activity, and he has even begun to smile intentionally. 

The next appointment will be at 4 months, and she expects that he will likely be able to roll over, sit support with a steady head, grasp a rattle, and laugh. So many fun things to look forward to! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Little Guy. Rough Start.

When Caleb came into this world five weeks early, he did remarkably well. His Apgar scores were 8 and 10, which was quite amazing for such a little guy. He didn't ever need any oxygen or extra suctioning when he was born. But in the few days following, he gave us a little run for our money. Granted, it could have been much worse, and we are incredibly blessed that he is so healthy. But here's a recap of his first couple weeks of life.

Often times, premature babies have difficulties that term babies don't have. Caleb had three of those difficulties:  trouble keeping his blood sugar up, trouble keeping his temperature up, and jaundice. 

For the first 24 hours,  they checked his blood sugar each time before he ate. That meant a heel poke every 2 hours, but thankfully he was able to keep his sugar high enough that it only lasted 24 hours.

His temperature was monitored every 4 hours, plus occasionally after being unwrapped to eat. It dropped low a couple times, so we had to be sure to keep him bundled with extra layers and keep a hat on at all times. He doesn't have the brown fat that term newborns have to keep them warm, so he just needs a little extra layering.

The jaundice was his biggest problem. He had a double whammy of risk factors-- his prematurity and a positive direct coombs test. That basically means that my blood and his blood are incompatible, and at some point they mixed, and therefore his red blood cells were being broken down in his body. Because he was so early, his liver wasn't able to process the bilirubin quickly enough, and he became jaundice. [Ella had the same problem of the + direct coombs, but because she was term, she didn't need to be treated.] They began to measure his bilirubin levels at 7 hours old, even though they don't usually start until at least 12 hours of age. His was high enough that he needed to be treated with phototherapy-- he was put under special lights to help his body breakdown the bilirubin. He was under the lights for 24 hours, then came out when his bili level was lower. But after a while, his level rose again and he needed another 12 hours of phototherapy. During those days, they drew blood every 2-8 hours, and while under the lights we only got to hold him for 30 minutes every 2-3 hours so he could eat. It was a rough few days, and there was brief talk of him needing to be transferred to a NICU for more intense treatment. But thankfully, and by the grace of God, he improved and was able to come home with us on Day 5.

When we left the hospital, he had to be in a car bed rather than a regular car seat. He was too little to tolerate the incline of a car seat, so his oxygen level dropped after sitting in it for a while. It is a interesting [weird] seat, but whatever it takes to keep him safe!

By discharge, he was down to 5lb 2oz. For a full two weeks we were feeding him with a syringe in addition to me nursing him. He was quite yellow and fairly lethargic due to the high bilirubin level. We've taken him for follow-up appointments every few days, and he has now surpassed his birth weight and is 5lb 13oz! We'll follow up again at the 1 month mark, and hopefully we'll be in the clear for both weight and jaundice -- and done with the car bed!

Big sister Ella checking him out on his birth day!

She's such a great big sister.

First round of phototherapy.

So in love with my little guy!

Finally going home!!

I have to give a huge shout-out of thanks to Mike for stepping up to the plate to take care of Ella, groceries, laundry, dishes, and so much more. And to my mother in law Marie, who hopped on the first flight out here to give us two extra hands of backup. You two saved my sanity!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

{Surprise Arrival} Caleb Michael

As you know by now, we had an early surprise arrival of Caleb a couple weeks ago. I've had a few people ask me why he came so early and unexpectedly. And although I don't really know why, here's how it all went down.

On Saturday December 5th, Ella and I went to the PSU hockey game, as we often do on Saturdays in the fall/winter/spring/allyearlong. It was the annual Teddy Bear Toss game, so Ella was super excited to go, as it's her favorite game of the year.

In the weeks prior, I had been having occasional contractions, especially when I was at work or doing something active. The doctors were aware, and they said it was no big deal. That Saturday, I had been having contractions more frequently and at rest, so I looked at the doctors' instructions they give to all pregnant patients. It said that if you have contractions at rest, and they resolve with hydration and activity then they're false contractions. So to the game we went, and the contractions stopped. So I didn't think anything more of it. We had a great time at the game, and had a relaxing and routine evening at home. 

I went to up to bed at 11pm, and Mike was still watching the Big Ten championship game {go iowa!}. Just as I tucked into bed at 11:30... GUSH! I was totally shocked, and I knew immediately that my water had broken. So I waddled my way into the bathroom. Since Ella was asleep just down the hall, I didn't want to yell for Mike. So I texted him. And his phone was charging about 10 feet from me. Rats. I made my way down the hall and quietly asked Mike to come upstairs. Twice. Nothing. So I waddled halfway downstairs, hoping not to make a trail on the carpet behind me. I asked him again to come upstairs. He stood up and started to slowly make his way upstairs, while intently watching the football game. Patiently, I rolled my eyes and headed back upstairs to avoid making a puddle on the stairs. A few minutes later, he came up. [priorities ;) ]

After calling the doctor and quickly throwing some things into a bag, Mike and I were on our way to the hospital. We had called a friend to sleep in our guest room so that we didn't have to wake Ella. Thank goodness for friends! 

Because it was five weeks early, my OB and pediatrician were discussing sending me to Hershey to deliver, since there isn't a NICU here-- just a nursery. But my labor was progressing quickly and they hadn't made a decision yet, so there was no time to transfer me to a hospital an hour and a half away. 

When I arrived at the hospital, my water had indeed broken, I was 3cm dilated, and my contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. They got me admitted by 1:30am, I got an epidural at 3:30am, and I was fully dilated by 4:30am. They had me "labor down" and wait it out [if you're wondering why, they didn't know by GBS status since I wasn't yet 36 weeks, so they were hoping to get one more dose of antibiotics in at 6:30am], which I was totally ok with... lying there with an epidural sounded much more pleasant than pushing :) 

Around 5:30am they decided I should start pushing. And after a whopping three pushes, Caleb was born! 

Caleb Michael
Sunday  |   12/6/15  |  5:50am
5 lb 8.5 oz  |  18.5" long

Labor was a completely different experience this time around. I was in labor for six hours, and I pushed three times [Mike said I didn't even break a sweat!]. With Ella, I was in labor for 20 hours and I pushed for two hours. Needless to say, I recovered much more quickly this time around! 

Big sister Ella was so proud to hold her baby brother!

Mike and his two little munchkins!

Sweet Little Caleb!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Recent Visitors

As you may have seen, we've had a handful of visits lately from family and friends. It's been great to have extra people around and to see people we don't get to see too often!

In September Mike's mom, aunt, and grandma were here.
In mid-October my dad, Deb, and my brother were here.
In late October, some friends from college were here.
And last week, Mike's mom, dad, and brothers were here. 
And we have more visitors coming soon in anticipation of the arrival of the Little Guy!

Here are some pictures from when my family visited in October
learning how to drive a tractor at the fall festival

and grandpa dave teaching her how to milk a cow, too

helping uncle mike put on the handles of her baby doll crib

all done at the park, walking home with deb

so much fun!

jumping with uncle mike

hockey game

she perfected this face over the course of the week

loving all the attention

And some of when Mike's family was here last week
giving the duck some acorns

park with gumba dave

helping grandma marie make thanksgiving dinner

new favorite snack: bear made of toast, bananas, and blueberries

wagon ride with grandma marie and grandpa dennis

Newborn: Round 2

I've had a handful of people ask what we need for Round 2 of the newborn stage or ask if we've registered anywhere. Initially, we hadn't really considered answers to either of those questions. But now I have. I made a Target registry (just because it's what we have here. and they have free shipping. and they have a 10% completion discount!) for a general idea of what we're planning to get this time around. SO-- If you were one that asked, there's your answer. If you didn't, please (please, please) don't take this as a 'hey, buy us something' post. That's the reason I almost am not posting this anyway.

Ok, now for some more exciting posting:  our recent visitors!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pregnancy #2: 32 Weeks

Last week we had a much-anticipated 32 week ultrasound. At the 20 week ultrasound, there were a couple little concerns that they wanted to check into again at 32 weeks, mostly just to make sure that the little guy is growing appropriately. (Based on weight-gain and this growing belly, I had to assume yes!) Thankfully, it went very well. He's growing perfectly, weighs four pounds, and measuring two days ahead of schedule. The things they were concerned about are much less concerning than they initially thought, and we're in the clear to proceed with the remaining eight-ish weeks. Thanks to those of you who were sending prayers of health for the little guy -- they were answered! Now we just can't wait to meet him!!

While doing the ultrasound, they "snuck in" a 3D image for us to really see the little guy's face. We didn't get to do that with Ella, so it was really fun to see! Here's a side-by-side of Ella at just a few days old, and her Baby Brudder at 32 weeks. Could they look any more similar at this point?!

After seeing his little face, I realized how soon he'll be joining us! I've been asked a few times if we're all ready for him to come. Uhhh.... NO! I have done next to nothing in preparation of his arrival. We've had visitors staying in "his room" just about every two weeks for the past couple months, so we haven't organized furniture or anything. We literally have only moved Ella's crib into the room-- pink siderail covers and all. Maybe I should get on that??? 

We have a few things to buy this time around, but of course much less than the first time. Just some live and learn things to make life a little easier.

We still haven't settled on any names. There are two that I really like, and I told them to Mike a few days ago.. and of course he vetoed one. He wasn't crazy about the other, but he still has yet to suggest anything. Maybe we'll have a name or two picked out by the time we walk through the hospital doors. Good thing we still have a while!