Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Endlessly Waiting

Hey kiddo,

It's been a crazy few days for your Mom and Dad lately. You're getting very close to coming home, yet we can't seem to get over the final hump. The doctors and nurses have told us twice now that you're coming home a certain day, only to change their minds because they feel you're not breathing well. It's very frustrating for us. We just want to have you home and be done with the hospital visits.

The good news is that your room is all ready and waiting for you. We're still waiting on curtains, but you sleep in an open room at the hospital right now and the lights are always on, so we're hoping that won't bother you too much. We have a smaller crib that we'll keep in our bedroom for the first few weeks you're home, so we can all sleep together.

Love you,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time Flies

Dear Emmett,

It's hard for me to believe you're only 3 weeks old now, it seems like you've been a part of our lives for much longer than that. Your mom is with you right now and I am at work. She keeps me updated on her day-time visits, so I feel like I am right there with you.

You had another visit from the cardiologist today. They checked you out a week or so ago and discovered that you have a heart murmur. The technical term for it is Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA. When a baby is in the womb, there is a little connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery. When a baby is born, that connection is supposed to close, but because you were premature, yours hasn't yet. It's a common birth defect in premature babies, but one that will hopefully resolve itself. If it doesn't, you may have to have surgery to fix it.

Otherwise, you've been progressing well. Your temperature is getting better, we're hopeful you will be in just a crib soon. You actually nursed from mommy for your feeding this afternoon and that is great news. You also took three feedings yesterday from a bottle. If you can continue to do that, then your feeding tube can be removed. You've also been moved to a new room in the NICU. It's a less private room, so your mom and I have to get used to that, but it doesn't bother you.

Your mom and I had a baby shower for you this past Sunday. Lots of people that care about you and us a lot came and give you lots of gifts. We're very thankful to have so many caring people in our lives and their gifts will help us take good care of you.

I love you,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Short, but sweet

Dear Emmett,

We didn't get to visit for very long today because Mommy was discharged from the hospital and I had to work at night. We had a good visit though, your mom held you the whole time and I shot some videos of you.

You did pass one milestone today, your umbilical cord fell off. I remember being really nervous about that before you were born, not knowing how to take care of it. With your stay in the NICU, it hasn't been an issue. I can remember when your Uncle Kyle was born and your Grandma - my mom - telling me that I had to be careful around it. Now you just have a cute little belly button.

See you again tomorrow,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Puttin' on Weight

Dear Emmett,

Your mom just texted me to say that you weigh 3 lbs 11 oz today. Holy crap! I had no idea you had put on that much weight. I knew you had been growing, but that is amazing. You've put on over a pound since you were born two and a half weeks ago. I'm so proud of you. So apparently the nurse read the conversion chart incorrectly and you only weigh 2 lbs 11 oz. But that's ok, you're still on your way to getting big and strong.

Mommy is actually in the hospital right now because she has some blood clots. She is getting treatment for them and should be able to come home in a day or two. We were worried that she may not be able to nurse you because of the medicine she has to take, but it's looking like the doctors will be able to give her something that will not harm you. That's really good news, it means you can continue to grow big and strong.

I will see you later tonight and bring mommy down to see you again.

Your Dad, Jason

Hey bud

Dear Emmett,

I know I haven't written in a while and I'm sorry for that. Once I went back to work, things got busy and the days got very full. Mommy came to visit you every day last week in the mornings and afternoon, and we both came to see you at night. You also got in a few visits with your Grandmothers, since your mom needed rides to the hospital.

Your nurses finally removed every last thing from your face except for your feeding tube. You had little squares of tape on your cheeks that held your oxygen tubes in place. They only removed one per day, I bet they hurt when they came off! But now we can see your shining little face unobstructed.

You've continued to regulate your body temperature, the nurses have turned your bed temperature down almost every day. You've also been eating really well, though you tend to get the hiccups a lot. We brought some clothes in for you, but I don't know if the nurses realize it yet. I'll have to let them know tomorrow. I knit you another hat since the two I had made are starting to get small. That's a good thing! It means you're growing.

I had a good visit with you tonight. You were wide awake when I arrived and very active while you ate. Of course you passed out as soon as you were done eating, but while you were awake we spend some good time together. I can tell that we're going to have a lot of fun together when you get a little older.

In matters happening outside your tiny world, we got about 8 inches of snow yesterday. Your Uncle Kyle came to our house to help shovel the driveway so I could come to see you. He and the rest of our families have been really helpful during your stay in the NICU.

I miss you and I love you,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Dear Emmett,

Now, I don't want you to get the right idea, we're not the type of parents that plan to celebrate your 15 week birthday or 17 month birthday or anything crazy like that, but I think a week old is significant. So Happy One Week Birthday my son. And what a day it was. We only made one trip to the hospital today, but we stayed for almost 5 hours. When we arrived, you had more surprises in store for us. It seems like every time we see you, there's another sign of your progress. Today you were completely off any air support, no nasal cannula, breathing only room air. Not only that, but the nurses also removed your IV! That means you're getting all your nutrition from your mother's milk. Now, the nurses told us that it's possible you might have to have the IV put back in, but with the way you've been progressing, I'm confident you can stay off it.

I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I'll only get to see you once a day during the week now, but mommy will be visiting you in the mornings. It's going to be rough not seeing you so much, but that will make the visits we do have that much sweeter.

I love you,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day Seven

Hey buddy!

We just got back from another good visit with you in the NICU. Your bili levels only went up a tad bit this morning, so they were able to take you off the lights. Even better, they took the velcro dots off your face! Every day we get to see more and more of you. The other surprise we found was that the nurses gave you some clothes to wear. So far you've just been chillin' in a diaper, but now you're wearing a tiny onesie. The first day I came down to the NICU, the nurse told me that once they've put you in donated clothing, we can look to put you in clothes we've made or bought for you. I'll have to go through my stash of baby clothes and see if I have anything small enough. Though I'll likely wait a few days, just in case.

Since it's Saturday, we had time to visit with you longer. I held you skin-to-skin for over an hour and your mom held you the same way for almost two! Your tiny little body felt so warm laying on my chest. I can't wait to do it all the time at home. We'll be back later with some more visitor, Grandma and Grandpa Maynard want to come to see you again.

Love you son,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day Six

Dear Emmett,

Today was our first full day back at home, and we have started to realize how hard this is going to be. All the routine elements of life conspired to keep us from our schedule and we didn't get to see you right when we wanted to. We were able to come see you twice today though, so that is very good.

I held you on our first trip while your nurse fed you again. They increased your feeding to 10 CCs which is great news. Soon you'll be eating like a champ. When we came back in the evening, I held you for a while again, and then mommy held you skin-to-skin for the first time. She laid you on her chest where you could hear her heartbeat and you fell right asleep. I'm going to try it when we come to see you tomorrow.

You were off the bilirubin lights all day today. They will test your blood again in the morning, and if your levels are low, you can stay off them again. If your little liver continues to process the bilirubin in your blood like it should, then you won't have to get treatment any more. You'll get to have the velcro dots taken off your head and be much more comfortable. We'll keep a pair of your little shades for your baby book. See you tomorrow.

I love you son,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day Five

Dear Emmett,

Your mom was discharged from the hospital today, which means she got to come home. You are still there and will be for a while still. We came to see you before we packed up and went home, and we had a really good visit. Your nurse fed you and you had digested all that she gave you at your previous feeding. We're so happy to see you digesting your food now. You were off your CPAP machine and we got to hold you again for almost an hour. It was wonderful to finally see your tiny face without all the breathing apparatus around you. The nurse gave you a tiny knit hat to keep your head warm. Perhaps I will bring you one that I made to wear while we hold you. You were very active and awake too while we held you. You squirmed around and made lots of squeaks. It's so great to hear your little voice even if it is just a peep.

We came back to the hospital to visit you tonight and luckily got to hold and feed you again. Your mom let me hold you the whole time since she will get to spend a lot of time with you over the coming weeks when I go back to work. I gave you the hat I knit for you while mommy was in the hospital last week. I fit perfectly and you looked so adorable wearing it.

I'm so glad you're off the CPAP machine now so we can see your sweet face. We didn't realize it at first, but they even moved the equipment out of your room, which means you're likely off the machine for good. That is wonderful news. See you tomorrow.

I love you my son,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day Four

Dear Emmett,

We got to hold you for the first time today. You've begun to slow your breathing down, though not yet to the point where you can come off the CPAP machine. It was a wonderful experience to hold you in my arms. I could feel your little body working to breathe as I cradled you in my hand. You gave me a bit of a scare when one of your leads popped off and the monitors lost your heartbeat. But the nurse came in and fixed everything back up for you. I only got to hold you for about 20 minutes, but I could've stared at your face for hours.

You also started to digest the food the nurses have been giving you, and that is a great sign. You still have a feeding tube, and likely will for a while yet. When the nurse checked your tummy, there was very little left, so she was able to give you a full syringe of new milk.

Mommy is still at the hospital tonight, but I had to come home to stay with the dogs. I miss you so much. I know it is going to be hard when your Mom comes home tomorrow and you won't just be an elevator ride away. I am glad, though, that we live very close to where you are staying and can come visit whenever we like. I will see you tomorrow and I can't wait.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day Three

Hi Emmett!

Your mom and I came to see you three times today. You were still jaundiced, so you still had to have the special lights on you. You had a feeding tube put in so you could begin eating your mom's milk. You weren't digesting anything quite yet, but it's just like priming the engine for now. Soon you should be digesting and getting some more nutrition. Your nurse, Macara, showed us how she can suck out whatever's in your tummy to see how much you have eaten. Whatever you haven't yet gets put back in for another try.

Mommy got to change your diaper for the first time today. She told me later that she was nervous, but that she was glad she did it. We are both getting more comfortable being around tiny little you.

It may sound strange to say it, but every time you cry, I smile. It's good to hear your little voice even though you may be upset. For now, you don't cry a lot though, just when you get moved around too much! It's wonderful to see you kick your skinny little legs and your teeny-tiny toes are so adorable.

On our final visit tonight, your nurse for the night, Stefani, turned off the jaundice lights and took your shades off. I got some good pictures of you and you even opened up your eyes to say hello! I know you don't like all the lights right now. Your mom and I took turns comforting you and even held our hands on you together. You're still breathing too fast, but the nurses and doctors assure us that your lungs will continue to develop and eventually you'll slow down. Then we can hold you!

Night night little one,
Your Dad, Jason

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day Two

Dear Emmett,

Today you got to meet your mom for the first time. She cried when she saw how little you were, but she was very happy to see you. I showed her how to cuddle your head and feet. The nurses had to put you back on the CPAP machine because you were still breathing too fast. You were also jaundiced, so you got to wear a tiny pair of protective sunglasses and sit under a special light. You lost some weight from when you were born, but that is natural. In fact, your weight will go up and down for a little while before you start to gain some and grow. We also learned that you have A positive blood. Most importantly, we gave you your name today! We wanted to wait until both your mom and I got to see you. Everyone loves your name and we think it suits you perfectly.

You got to meet a lot of new people today. In addition to your mom, your grandparents came to visit. Grandma Joyce came to see you in the evening and she cuddled you like your mom and I did. She was so excited to see you. Grandpa John didn't see you because he was worried he might be sick and that could make you and the other babies in the NICU sick. You will get to meet him soon.

Grandma Toni and Grandpa Eddie came up after dinner and got to see you too. They took lots of pictures and oohed and aahed over you. They love you and can't wait to hold you.

I love you,
Your Dad, Jason

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day One

Dear Emmett,

Today, you were born at 7:50 a.m. You came to us about 10 weeks early because your mom had a condition called preeclampsia. We were both scared and overjoyed to meet you. You were born cesarean section, which means the doctor cut open your mom's womb and pulled you out into the world. The doctor held you up for us to see you and then you were quickly whisked away to be treated.

Because you were born so early, you will have to spend several weeks in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) where you will be well taken care of by specially trained medical staff all day long. The NICU doctors were in the delivery room and started taking care of you immediately. Your mom was getting stitched back up and I waited with her to see you one last time in the delivery room before you were transferred to the NICU. The doctors brought you over to us all bundled up in a blanket. You were so tiny!

An hour or so later, I was able to come up to see you in your new hospital room. You were cozy in your incubator and hooked up to a lot of monitors that measured your heart rate, respiration, levels of oxygen and CO2 in your blood and you had an IV through which you are fed sugar water (glucose) for now. You were also hooked up to a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine, which helps you get more oxygen in your lungs. One of your doctors told me that you have HMD (Hyaline membrane disease) which basically means your lungs are not fully developed. Because of that, you're breathing faster than you should be.

I took a few photos of you to show to your mom because she cannot come to see you just yet. She has to spend 24 hours getting a special medicine (magnesium sulfate) and lying in bed. She is anxious to meet you and give you your name.

Later in the day, I came back to see you and your nurses had taken you off the CPAP machine. I got to see your cute little face and all the dark hair on your head! You were super cute all curled up on your tummy. I snapped a few more photos and some video since you were moving around. The nurse let me change your diaper for the first time, I'm sure the novelty will wear off! I also gave you a little sugar water in your mouth while the nurse tested your blood sugar.

I said goodbye and promised to bring mom back tomorrow morning.

Your Dad, Jason

P.S. - Today was Super Bowl Sunday. The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. A little bit of trivia for when you get older.