Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Louis is out of his cage. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

People say he looks like Jason, but I just don't see it.....

Here's your picture-are you happy now? The editors received numerous complaints about not having a recent picture. We are doing our best to keep Louis' public happy.
Louis is 4 lbs 5 oz now. If he keeps growing at this rate, we estimate he'll be 4,223 lbs by 5! He had 2 good breast-feeding sessions today and 3 good poopy diapers!! I will never look at spicy brown mustard the same way again. He is maintaining his temperature well as the temp in his isolette is turned down closer to room temperature. His noisy neighbor went home and he got a new neighbor- a full term baby with a ton of hair who looks GIGANTIC compared to Louis. Must be all that rBGH in milk nowadays. No worries-Big Lou will beat that kid up later for making fun of his glasses............... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Elfin MagicPosted by Picasa

Louis has booties! He looks like something out of Lord of the Rings in these shoes! We won't be able to call him elfin for much longer-he's 4 lbs 3 oz now and 44 cm long (about 17.5 inches). He is really starting to get the hang of the nursing thing (when he actually stays awake to feed) and will probably be hitting the bottle soon (Gerber, not Stoli). We were going to start the bottle today but the lactation specialist didn't think he was quite ready yet (Dr mom agreed!). We will use a bottle because, at this stage, Louis can't get enough nutrition from nursing alone and, even if he could, he would burn too many calories nursing and would lose weight. In a few months he'll be able to solely nurse (Mommy can't wait to kick that breastpump to the curb!) but until then he'll nurse and get bottled breastmilk. He is doing so great that he may be able to come home as soon as a week or 2! Yippee!!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Louis Pumpkinhead Posted by Picasa
Grandma, Louis and Grandpa Gillian Posted by Picasa

Yes!!! I pulled out my NG tube!

Louis pulled out his NG tube this morning-he was quite pleased with himself! He now weighs 4 lbs 1oz and is doing well regulating his body temperature by himself. He did really well with nursing today,too. He scared himself when he swallowed the milk for the first time! Louis has had lots of visitors to show off for. Sittee and Granpa VanHoff came for Thanksgiving and left this morning and Grandma and Granpa Gillian came to visit today. Everyone had to fight over who got to hold him first-it's a tough life! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What is a Turkey? Posted by Picasa
This is Louis, deep in thought... or pooping. One or the other. Hard to tell the difference. Louis' grandparents came to visit for Thanksgiving and he liked being held by everyone. We stayed the morning with him then went home to Thanksgiving dinner. We ordered food from Whole Foods and Auntie Candy cooked a turkey and Auntie Janet made some great lettuce wraps and lemon squares- in short we had TONS of food! I wonder how cranberry sauce affects breast milk...
Sittee, Louis and GrandpopsPosted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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Here's proof that Louis lost his umbilical cord-isn't this the cutest belly button you've ever seen?

Louis is a transitional man now, too! He was moved from the NICU yesterday moving upstairs to the trans unit (I leave the NICU for 30 minutes and my baby is GONE!) It's a different place, that's for sure , but we are excited that he is making such great strides.
What do you think of his new outfit? It's a preemie size from the BabyGap (Thanks Auntie Sam and Uncle Javs) and it fits PERFECTLY! Probably won't fit for too long but he looks adorable! This is Louis' favorite sleeping position- tummy time! He's so spoiled in the nursery because he gets to sleep on his back, side and stomach and sleep with BLANKETS!! He even has a gel pad (looks like a breast implant) under his head to keep it from getting flat! he won't be getting those at homes or the SIDS police will come looking for us. Well, Louis says," Gobble Gobble , Eat some Turkey for me..Happy Thanksgiving!"
It's Off! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Like my other new outfit?
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How 'bout the papoose?
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Guess what? Louis' umbilical cord stump fell off today! He's 2 weeks old and is doing great. He has been off all oxygen for 36 hours and isn't looking back. He pooped on his other outfit so he got this one-fits much better, huh? His repeat head ultrasound looked great-the grade 1 IVH is resolving on it's own. He hasn't had any reflux or spit up in a couple days and he gained a little weight since yesterday. He even did better with nursing. Since he is getting so big, he's close to being able to regulate his own body temperature so they turned down the heat in his isolette a hair and swaddled him in a blanket-he got TOO hot so we had to unwrap him. He DID NOT like not being able to kick his legs and arms out! So we'll turn the heat down even more and see what happens! He does look awfully cute, the little papoose!

Monday, November 21, 2005

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This is a picture of the get-well soon card from Louis' cousin Katie. He can't wait to me you either, Katie-- if there's milk, he'll be at the tea party! Well, we all had a great day. Louis is officially 14 days old but they still call him 32 weeks (a corrected age that will be used until he's a year old).
Louis was taken 0ff the nasal cannula so he is breathing room air and he did WONDERFULLY! He didn't spit up all night or all day and he gained a little weight back. Louis was much more alert today- he was being a total show-off! The best part-he smiled at me! I came up to his isolette and he opened his eyes and SMILED! The cynics out there will say it was only gas but I know different! I was able to hold him for his morning feeding and ,in another show of true love, he peed on me! His diapers are too big so some just ran out... go figure. He did better trying to nurse today-he'll get it down soon.

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What do you think of his outfit? It says " I know...I'm CUTE!" It's a preemie size but it's still too big. The nurses and Jason put it on him while I was pumping to suprise me-it's the first outfit he's ever worn. He's got a bit of growing to do to fill it out but he's working on it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Louis in Dreamland

Louis' spent the whole day on the cannula, no CPAP. They swapped out the his oral feeding tube for a tube to his stomach through his nose. Hopefully he won't have to go back on CPAP tonight. He's had a long day, and needs his sleep.

Amy and I are having a rough night, mainly because we are here and he is there. In the NICU, routine brings security and comfort and we have developed a routine. Our routine of late is that we hold him while he is fed, but this evening the nurse felt that he would be overstimulated by additional contact. It is amazing the disappointment that a missed opportunity can bring-- even when I am sure all of us have his best interest in mind. But tomorrow is a new day, and we will be there at 8am to see our son. Posted by Picasa
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Ready for the beach! Or a Grateful Dead concert....

We call this Louis' Home Alone face! He makes this face whenever he gets messed-with too much, moved too much, or when we dress him up in silly hats! His Auntie Candy got this hat in California. It's a little big yet but he'll get there soon!
Louis had another great day yesterday. His Hokies won (he did root for the Buckeyes, too, Mike) and he's more alert overall. Louis is also starting to get more vocal! He did very well on his CPAP/cannula and he is essentially getting room air pumped through the instruments. The docs think he'll be off oxygen in a week or so. He had a little bit of spitting up- one big projectile episode and a little wet burp. Better than a few days ago, anyway. He is getting 32 mls of fortified breastmilk every 3 hours. He lost a little bit of weight but we think it's related to the fact that every nurse has a different method of weighing him-diaper and probes on or all off, etc. So we are not too worried about it. He's pooping like a champ so things are defintely moving through the system! Mom performed his physical therapy and he tried to nurse a little. He still doesn't know what to do but he's trying! He may be moved to the transitional nursery soon since he is doing so well! They already call him a "trans baby". I wonder if they dress all the boys in pink down there...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nap Time Posted by Picasa

I always knew I'd find Jason asleep holding Louis. I merely expected it to be in our liviung room or the nursery, not in the NICU. For those of you who haven't been in the NICU, it is NOT a quiet place! There are constant beeps, buzzers, and alarms going off at all times. Even the telephone is just a few decibels off of an air horn. I've certainly tried to close my eyes a few times only to be startled out of my skin by the alarms alerting me that my baby ( or some other baby) was hi-satting (oxygen level HIGHER than they want) or having brady's (heart rate too low). It then takes a few minutes for MY heartrate to get back to normal and then there is no way sleep will ever happen. This has never been a problem for Jason. Firstly, the NICU is a WARM place. Add a snuggly baby to the mix and it's more potent than valium for Jason!
Louis did very well Friday. He had less spit up overall, though he did have a big wet burp in the evening that necessitated a bath. He didn't really enjoy his bath but he was alert for while afterwards, which is fairly rare-he likes to sleep! When we came in to see him, he was in the funniest position-he had one arm behind his head and one leg draped over his other knee-he looked like an Italian playboy on the beach! Of course, he moved before we got the camera.... He is tolerating his nasal cannula/CPAP interval very well and his weight stayed the same yesterday (he had been losing small amounts daily since he wasn't getting the full amount of calories he needed yet while we built up his volume). He is now on his full volume of feedings (32mls every 3 hours of fortified breastmilk) Hopefully, he will now start gaining some weight. Oh yeah, he's pooping like a champ! He only had a few episodes of brady's when he was fed but he corrected all by himself with no other symptoms. He wanted me to tell everyone,"Go Hokie's! Gobble Gobble Gobble!"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

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Louis was a good boy today and did well with his breathing. He is on 2 hours of CPAP follwed by 6 of nasal cannula. He is off the bilirubin lights and his numbers stayed the same overnight so he probably won't have to go back under the lights. He is getting almost an ounce of breastmilk per feeding. He is having some spitting up and reflux with some of his feedings but we are trying to feed him really slowly to prevent this and it seems to be working. He even got to try nursing for the first time! Not terribly interested yet- he prefers to sleep when he is real close to mom during kangaroo time! Mom is not quite sure what to do yet either but she will be very happy to feed him the old fashioned way someday. The pump is starting to lose it's charm!

Louis got a visit from the occupational therapist and a physical therapist. We are not quite sure what his occupation is yet but we are hoping for Nobel prize winner. Since Louis came out early, his bones are not as dense as term babies, since babies in utero are kicking against some resistance (the amniotic fluid and the uterus). So we need to simulate weight bearing exercise by doing range of motion exercises and joint compression exercises to keep his bones strong. This is what the picture will show if we can get it posted. Soon he will look like Schwarzenegger! The occupational therapist also showed us how to keep his head from changing shape too much with some different postions ( the bones in his skull are softer than term babies and thus can get flatter more easily). We also learned about "nesting"-building a snug little bed with four taller sides to simulate the womb and make it less "stressful" for him.

Mom also had a good day-she can fit into her pre-pregnancy SHOES! After several months of one normal sized foot and one giant Fred Flintstone foot, she is happy to get back into her Danskos and out of her Crocs! Now if we could just get into those pre-preggo jeans....................

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Snuggle Time Posted by Picasa

Snack Time Posted by Picasa

Now we are getting into a routine. Louis is off of all IV fluids and nutrition. He is getting all of his nutrition from breastmilk fed through a tube into his tummy. He is getting 2/3 oz. every three hours. He is having some mild problems with reflux and spitting up, but nothing too unusual for a baby his size. He did so well on his alternating CPAP and nasal oxygen, he's gone to CPAP for three hours and nasal O2 for six hours. Some volunteers at the NICU gave him a snazzy new knit hat. Mom, who fancies herself a knitter, was impressed.

Louis spent an hour of Kangaroo with mom this morning over which he spit up three times on her. Dad who got him for a half an hour with only one projectile episode.

Overall, we are getting less interesting and that is what we want.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Baby Buddha Belly! Posted by Picasa

This is a picture of Daddy holding Louis. We know, he doesn't look that different than yesterday. But, we SWEAR he was tap-dancing RIGHT before this picture was taken but we couldn't get the camera out in time. Honest! He got about an hour's worth of kangaroo time with mom first, then about another hour swaddled with dad. We undid the swaddling when the nurse wasn't looking to show you his little round belly! He's getting a little over 1/2 oz of breastmilk every 3 hours. He is starting to let us know he is a bit hungry right before his feeding too. He even spit up a little on Mommy-the first of many times, we're sure! Mom is working hard to keep up with Louis' appetite and Dad is getting real good at dis-assembling and cleaning a breast pump! He can do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind his back in under 30 seconds!
Louis had a repeat echocardiogram and x-ray this morning. Good news-the hole in his heart (PDA) has closed by itself and his lungs still look great! He is currently alternating on and off the CPAP machine and nasal oxygen (3 hours on CPAP and 3 on nasal) and is doing great. It keeps him from getting too tired just breathing. The docs will likely up his interval time tomorrow. Auntie Cori came to visit and concurs that he is just the cutest thing ever!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Dad got a bit too much oxygen Posted by Picasa

Louis and Mom Kangaroo Time Posted by Picasa

First, thank you Auntie G and Mike for the cross. It really means a lot to us. This cross belonged to Louis' great uncle, George Nassif Corey, who passed away in February. It is good to have friends in high places.

Today was mostly great- just a small setback but we'll talk abut that later. First, the good stuff!

Louis did great in the oxygen tent overnight and his repeat chest x-ray this morning looked wonderful (while his pneumothorax had resolved several days ago, he still had some residual air in his right lung called interstitial emphysema and that has completely resolved-yeah!). He did great on his feedings overnight so his volume was increased this morning. Since he is taking in more fluids, his IV fluid rate was decreased as well. Oh, yeah, he pooped again! Daddy got to change him that time..... His blood pressure has been stable for three days so they removed his arterial line from his foot-now he can kick freely with BOTH feet! The best news was that he was allowed some "kangaroo time" with mom and dad-this is skin to skin contact between baby and parent. Louis fell right to sleep on Mommy and did great out of the oxygen tent on some blow-by oxygen only. He is starting to accept a small pacifier but much prefers to suck on mommy's pinky finger for comfort. Sucking while he has his tube feedings helps him digest better and to connect sucking with feeling full.

So, after kangaroo time, the elated parents went off to dinner. When we came back, Louis had just been fed and was a bit fussy. We thought he might be refluxing and having some belly pain. He started breathing heavily and the doctor thought it was best to put him back on the CPAP machine. Once he was back on the CPAP machine, he calmed right down and went back to breathing normally. The doctors said this happens alot after they have been on just the oxygen tent and sometimes they get tired and need a bit of help to keep their airways open. He will stay on the CPAP for a few hours to overnight and then we'll try him off it again. He may need to go back on CPAP for a few hours each day so he doesn't wear out. His blood gases and another chest x-ray were fine so we aren't too worried about another pneumothorax . It was just a little scary after he had done so wonderfully all day. Louis just likes to keep us on our toes!

The only other slightly not good news was that they found a grade 1 interventricular hemmorhage in his brain on his routine head ultrasound. Preemie babies who have been on ventilators are prone to this because the vessels around the ventricles in the brain are very fragile. This mild IVH should cause no problems and is not symptomatic so we'll just monitor it with weekly ultrasounds. So, it was still a pretty good day and now mom and dad are off to bed too!

Louis' New Pad Posted by Picasa

Another good day. Louis was moved into his new home today- a thirty thousand dollar isolette that does everything but make coffee! We don't even want to know what the rent is! He was removed from the CPAP and placed in an oxygen tent inside the isolette. While this is an improvement, it is harder to hold him and touch him in his "greenhouse". He got his bili lights back on and it is nice and toasty in there. You can sort of see the outline of the tent in the picture-he is laying on his stomach inside it. He continues to do well with his tube feedings, and has grown almost an inch in length since birth and weighs 3lbs 12 oz now. Hopefully tomorrow he will be moved to a nasal cannula for oxygen support and it will be easier to touch him and talk to him.

Grandma and Grandpa Gillian came to visit and brought all kinds of goodies. It was Grandma's birthday and hopefully Louis doing well was all the present she wanted :)

Mommy and Daddy are tired but happy with his progress. The staff at UVA is so wonderful and he is getting the best of everything there. Thanks so much to everyone for their prayers and good wishes- all of us really appreciate it!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Amy and Louis Posted by Picasa

Louis had a great day. He was able to get off the ventilator and is back on the positive pressure (CPAP) machine. He had his first feedings through a tube into his stomach. He had ordered chinese takeout, but had to settle for mom's breastmilk. Another big milestone- he had his first poop overnight! We both got to hold him for thirty minutes. Mom got to hold him for 5 minutes the night he was born but this was the first time dad got to hold his son. We finished off the evening with a first reading of Good Night Moon. Dad particularly liked the "good night mush" part. Hopefully, if he continues to do well, he'll be off the CPAP machine by the end of the weekend.

Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and good wishes.