Monday, January 12, 2009

12 of 12: A Special Delivery Edition

For this month's 12 of's a bit different than normal. Today, January 12th, our day
is spent entirely at the hospital with our four-day-old son, who is in the Special Care
Nursery for respiratory problems.

With past 12 of 12's, the day told in 12 images is usually about our normal day-to-day
life...but we hope with this 12 of 12, to be able to share a little bit about what 'normal
life' is like right now since Thomas was born last week.

With the amount of time that revolves only around our son right now, we have gotten behind in returning phone calls and emails asking about how he's this is a great way to see a bit of what we are going through each day in helping our son recover so he can come home from the hospital.

Right now, we are planning that he will be able to come home sometime next week, after 10 days of time in the Special Care Nursery. Your continued prayers for his health are so appreciated.

Twelve snapshots from our day...

The Special Care Nursery
This place is our saving grace. An intensive care unit for newborns, staffed with the most amazing nurses and pediatricians. Each of them have taught us so much about Thomas, being new parents, and how to plan for life beyond the hospital.

Challenges to the Nursery? There is no cell phone reception, so often times we don't know that there has been a missed call for several hours. There's also a 2 person limit in each room with his increased health issues. As our first priority is getting him healthy and they believe he has pneumonia in his lungs, the docs have asked us to respect Thomas's limitations and receive visitors at home once he's 100% instead of here. While sometimes we are able to bring in a guest for a few moments, it's become easiest to start planning ahead to visitors on the farm. That also gives us something to really look forward to: Thomas at home!!

Thomas's room
The 3-lead monitor is how we follow his vitals - measuring his heartbeat, respiration, and pulse oxygen. The best part of this is that they removed his IV early this morning which makes it so much easier to feed him. Since he kept pulling the IV out of his hand, they moved it to his foot. I can handle his 3-lead wires by swaddling, but the IV attached to the pole is was really difficult to navigate with him.

The Sugar Test
After Thomas's IV was removed, he begins testing of his blood sugar to make sure that it isn't falling. His poor little heels are poked and prodded all over.

Our first self-portrait
This is the face he makes just before he delivers into his pint size diaper. He definitely makes his parents proud by how well he overachieves in this area.

Father and Son Nap Time
When I came back from lunch, I found Jonathan and Thomas sleeping as side-by-side as they can get right now. Since he spends every moment of the day under his phototherapy blanket (except for the 45 minute window for feeding every 3 hours), we don't get to hold him. He stays put in his crib and focuses on getting rid of the excess bilirubin in his system (which is causing his jaundice). His "glow worm" nickname comes from the blue and green light that shines on him nonstop.

Removing the sensors
We got to give him his first bath today (post delivery day). To prep him for the bath, we had to remove all his sensors and then tape up his leg so that the IV port wouldn't get wet. Though his is no longer receives fluids through the IV, it's still there to give him his antibiotics.

Changing his diapers
Seriously, I love this. Something I never thought I'd say. When you don't have the chance to even take care of your child's most basic needs, the chance to be able to do so is awesome. The nurses love to make fun of my interpretive diapering style (never having changed diapers before), but now I just copy their style and I am a pretty badass diaperer. Not sure how to incorporate that into my resume.

Feeding the Glow Worm
This is one of the most challenging things we do. As he needs to spend as much time as possible under his phototherapy blanket, Thomas has just 45 minutes to get disconnected from his sensors and phototherapy blanket, swaddled, fed, burped, and have his diaper changed before reattaching him to the sensors, velcro'ed into the blanket, and tucked in for a nap.
Realizing that he is just four days old, still learning to latch on, and the milk supply is just coming in (so we balance supplemental formula to get him what he needs to recover)...there's really not time to mess around. He is a champion at falling asleep mid-feeding, and then you have to wake him up to finish his food. The calories are so vital right now that it's difficult to 'let it go' until the next feeding. Both Jonathan and Mom are great for feeding him when he decided he's not ready to latch and the breast pump makes an we keep within that 45 minute window.
I suppose that the reason Jonathan and I are finally starting to master this is because we want to beat our current record and just 'be' with him. Any bonus moments we can sneak in after he's fed are ones that we can steal away before quickly sliding him back into his blanket.
Washing Thomas's hair
Part of his bath. Got to lather him up and rinse it him this soft, fluffy head of hair. He cried the whole which I reminded him that I pay good money to go to the spa, and he should appreciate his wee spa treatment. Jonathan was pleased because he knows that Thomas is not a metrosexual and has rejected the spa at a young age.

Thomas the Tiger
The lactation consultant called him a tiger for feeding. He's learning how to balance both breastfeeding and using the bottle (for either pumped milk or formula as needed) When Jonathan was feeding him, Thomas was ready to show his Papa that he could feed himself. I loved his tiny fingers wrapped around a 2 oz bottle.

The Faux Hawk
Our first hairstyle for our son. He's the McDreamy of the Special Care Nursery with great hair. How can he not be with that super attractive face he's making?
The Glow Worm Sunglow After Effect
When you pull him out from the light blanket, it's as if he's been laying out all day. He's got that relaxed feeling that you have after sitting in the sun...except he gets it without the UV rays. Lucky.


KCina said...

He's so cute! Continuing to send virtual hugs and prayers to little Thomas and all of you.

I love the faux hawk on the little dude and yoru first self-portrait...he has NO idea just what's instore for him when it comes to his mom & self-portraits!

~ Kathy

Elizabeth Ann said...

Thanks for letting us know the best way we can support you and your family is to Pray for Thomas's quick recovey and exit from intensive care and to no visit so that you can focus on recovering from your surgery and spending every available moment with your son without interuption!

Know that, in exchange for us all giving your space, there will be a huge number of people descending upon the tree farm upon your safe arrival home- whenever that may be!

Hugs for the boy!

Helen 2.0 said...

Shelley, he is growing beautifully and what a cutie pie! I remember how hard it was to be in the midst of everything and just doing whatever it took to get Gracie home.

Hang in there, that day is coming- you look like you are just loving it! And cheers to Jonathan too - what a great Dad! to put diapering on your resume:
"Sensitive operations covert technician?"

luvs always for all of you!


Naipo Fam' Damily said...

OMG... my nephew/cuzzo is SO damn cute... Thomas the Tiger... he's wonderful, and believe me has the best parents in the world. Keep ure faith, and trust he's in good hands. He'll be home soon. And we love you guys. Can't wait to see him in person.

Noreen said...

I just love this kid already!

Miss Alice said...

He is adorable Shelly, good job! You three are in my prayers! Get some rest little mamma


Dogeared said...

Wow, this is certainly one of the more unusual 12 of 12s I've seen! He is a cutie, I love the faux hawk, the last photo, and the one of you two together. I really got a good look at your day, and I think you guys are amazing for how well you're picking everything up and adapting to the situation! Here's to many more 12 of 12s with Tiger Tom!

Lipp said...

Thanks for sharing your new little guy with us. Awesome!

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