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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"I am beginning to learn
that it is the sweet,
simple things of life
which are the real ones
after all."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, May 25, 2009

5 months old

(Remember, you can clickity-click on any pic to make it larger.)

After a good month under our belts with all three of us under the same roof, I can finally say that we're finding our groove. We're so deliriously happy - our lives feel more complete, more fulfilling, and oh so sweet! I know he's been a part of us for several months, but we finally, now, feel like a family.

It's hard to believe Connor's 5 months old already!

The past 4 weeks have flown by so quickly, no thanks to his busy schedule. I feel sad that we couldn't be there for him his first 4 months, like we've been here for the past month. We missed out on so much... :( But, I've resolved that all I can do about it now is to give him my all - 110%.

Which is why you haven't heard much from us...

Since I've been a total failure lately at posting anything, this entry is going to be fairly pic heavy for the grandparents... Maybe it'll seem a little redundant, but we just can't get enough of this kid!

Whazzz-uppppp?!? - May 20, 2009

His latest stats:
Adjusted age - Roughly, just over 2 months old
Weight - 10 lbs., 5 oz.
Length - 21 in.
Head circumference - 39.5 cm.

Yep, got Mom & Dad wrapped around my little finger... - May 22, 2009

So charming! - May 25, 2009

Overall, Connor's been doing remarkably well. He is definitely thriving at home.

Lately, he's been much more expressive - tons of grins and giggles, and very playful. Any irritation I feel when getting up at 3:30am to feed him disappears once I see his cheeky grin.

A couple of weeks ago we had a follow-up with his surgeon. Things are looking pretty good on that front - Connor had a few more poking sutures pulled, and his incision was examined. He probably has a hernia at one end of his incision. Nothing they will do about it right now, unless it worsens (pediatrician warned that if that part of his belly becomes hard and Connor screams when we touch it, we're to rush him to the ER - yikes!). Perhaps the hernia will be taken care of in a year's time.

We saw his endocrinologist last Friday and heard the best news of the month. Some of the week's bloodwork results had come in - his bilirubin went from 8.7 to 3.5, and his alkphos was 1337 and is now 537!!!! Yippee yay! His levels are still elevated, but nowhere near where they once were. Hence, we get to discontinue his 3 OOPs meds and his Vitamin D in 3 weeks time. Most of all, we're happy he's beginning to normalize, but we're also looking forward to the monthly savings of $200!

Medically, his pediatrician has been generally pleased with his progress. His weight gain is fine, he's eating 3.5-4 oz every 3-4 hours. He sleeps plenty, just not at the right times (still working on that!).

We'll find out more tomorrow how Connor is doing developmentally when four Early Intervention therapists come to evaluate and assess him. Must admit I'm a little nervous for tomorrow, as I usually am when we take him to see a new doctor. We just don't want to hear any bad news anymore, or learn of any setbacks. Praying that tomorrow is full of good news!

How you doin'? - May 22, 2009

Trying really hard not to fall over... - May 23, 2009

So handsome! - May 18, 2009

At 5 months of age, Connor LOVES:
  • his swing
  • his mobile (still!)
  • smiling and cooing
  • bath time and changing clothes
  • eating
  • being awake in the middle of the night
  • snuggling after a bottle
  • sleeping in loving arms
  • dirtying fresh diapers
  • his Daddy
  • the family room curtains and blinds
  • his thrice daily "treats" - the medications he gets by syringe b/c they taste good
  • stroller and car rides

Little do they know, I just messed my pants... AGAIN! - May 17, 2009

Is it bath time yet?? - May 2, 2009

Connor currently HATES:
  • having his back scratched
  • giving up burps
  • being weighed and measured at the pediatrician's office
  • startling noises
  • not having a binky close by at.all.times
  • getting his diaper changed when he's hungry
  • bedtime
  • any dilly-dallying at feeding time
  • sleeping in his pack 'n play
  • his reflux
  • the sound of velcro

Come a little closer, and I'll slobber on ya! - May 12, 2009

Doing his best monkey impression - May 16, 2009

We've had some added medical drama in the last two weeks... after his 4-month immunizations, Connor developed a large, scary, swollen welt on his thigh, separate from his injection site. I promptly called his pediatrician, who suspected it was cellulitis. Great. He prescribed an additional antibiotic to treat this new infection, but since Connor's already on an antibiotic to keep him from getting UTIs, there was some danger of an intestinal infection - since all of the good bacteria in his gut would be gone with the 2 antibiotics. So, a probiotic was prescribed, to be added to his bottles twice per day. Within 3 days time, the welt had disappeared, and the additional medicines disappear tomorrow.

Love that profile! - May 17, 2009

Crazy eyes - May 17, 2009

We had one of those random household crises the past 2 weeks, that you pray come around infrequently - the refrigerator/freezer went out! :(

Normally, I might look at the situation as somewhat of an adventure... living out of a cooler, being forced to clean out the freezer, an opportunity to eat out a little bit. But, with nearly $150 of refrigerated prescriptions dependent upon a working machine, we had to do something... and fast!

Of course, the repairman quoted a necessary fix of almost half the cost of a new refrigerator, so off to Sears we went as a family - Connor's first shopping excursion! And, wouldn't you know it - the very first time Connor goes anywhere besides a doctor's office or a hospital, a tornado watch is issued while we're at the store. :S (Ended up being no big deal, and we returned home just fine.)

So, in the end...
Luckily, we were able to save everything worth saving, including all of Connor's medications, between the cooler and the deep freezer in the basement. We got a smokin' deal on a new unit... it's nothing fancy, just the basics... but I'm very grateful we had the means to take care of it with no advance notice.

I'm bored. Entertain me. - May 21, 2009

No.more.pictures.Mommy! - May 21, 2009

Not my first choice, but it'll do... for now. - May 21, 2009

We have another busy week ahead of us...
  • Tuesday - first assessment with Early Intervention, Grandma Sprik comes to visit, and our new-new fridge will be delivered (the week-old one we have is a bit of a dud)
  • Wednesday - first appointment with his neurologist at Lutheran General, Daddy leaves for Seattle
  • Thursday - Connor's Baby Shower and semi-public debut!, Auntie Dee & Cousin Laura visit, Daddy returns home
  • Friday - another weight check with the pediatrician
  • Saturday - Grandpa Sprik comes to visit
Whew!... that schedule makes me a little tired. So thankful that Grandma Sprik will be here while Brian's out of town - I would be a zombie otherwise! Hopefully, by the time his next business trip rolls around, Connor will be sleeping in longer stretches through the night. With just a little more sleep, everything is more manageable.

Yippee Yay! Looks like it's gonna fit!
(Planning to wear Daddy's Christening outfit on his Blessing Day) - May 22, 2009

We're getting excited and looking forward to his
Blessing Day and Homecoming Celebration
on June 7th.

We sure hope you can make it!

See you soon! - May 25, 2009

RERUN - Must Have Monday

Originally posted on Memorial Day 2008... still rings true!

This week's Must Have Monday... are the incredible men and women serving in our military.

I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be a Navy pilot. I don't remember how long I held that ambition, or if it only coincided with seeing "Top Gun". At some point, I remember that it was dashed when I was told that they didn't allow women to be combat fighter pilots (this ban was lifted by Congress in the mid-1990s).

Regardless of our personal opinions on the war, I believe it still to be of utmost importance that we support our troops... especially those in harm's way.

Today I want to honor those that have served, those that are serving, and those who have fallen in service to our great country.

Memorial Day has been observed in some form or another in this country for over 140 years. Up until 1971, Memorial Day was traditionally on May 30, but was changed to coincide with the last Monday in May - so as to make it a more convenient three-day weekend. Did you know that for 50 years now, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the 260,000+ gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery? Throughout the weekend, they patrol the cemetery 24 hours a day to ensure that each flag remains standing.

Thank you for your sacrifices. We wouldn't be where we are today without your efforts.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
- Robert Green Ingersoll

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Come one, come all...

In 3 short weeks, our hibernation will be drawing to a close,
and we're ready to celebrate!
(Not quite ready to take him out into the world just yet, but we're getting ready for visitors.)
Most importantly, we're ready to have Connor blessed.

If you happen to find yourself in the Chicagoland area,
or feel like coming to visit,
on June 7th,
we'd love to have you!
I've tried to send this out via e-mail where I have addresses, but feel free to pass it along.
If you need our home address, please contact me.

We hope to see you (your healthy self)
UNLESS you're suffering from
the swine flu, stomach flu, regular flu, etc.
OR have someone in your home afflicted...
We still love you, just can't take that big of a risk with Connor.
You understand, right?

See you soon!

Sunday Sustenance

"I was always looking outside myself
for strength and confidence,
but it comes from within.
It is there all the time."
-Anna Freud

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"The moment a child is born,
the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed,
but the mother, never.
A mother is something
absolutely new."
- Rajneesh

"Children and mothers never truly part -

Bound in the beating of each other's heart."
- Charlotte Gray

Happy Mother's Day!

"All that I am, or hope to be,
I owe to my angel mother."
- Abraham Lincoln


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Our $1,463,853.25 baby

"Blog already, Mommy, BLOG!!" - May 5, 2009

Lemme repeat that...

That's what's been billed to our insurance company so far for Connor's 120-day stay in the NICU. The amount the insurance will actually pay to the hospital, doctors, etc, is much less, natch. But the $1.46 million dollar figure is why we feel immensely grateful for insurance... and for the company which employs Brian that provides us with such an amazing healthcare plan. I think if we actually owed the amount on those bills I would die. My head is still spinning by the total so far... I cannot even imagine what we would do!

Coming HOME for the very first time! - April 14, 2009

It's been 3 blissful, sleepless weeks...
and we've been loving every minute!

My co-napping boys - May 2, 2009

Brian got to stay home with us for the first week, while we tried to wrap our heads around the complicated aspects of Connor's care - namely the 8 different medications he's currently on. Medications to help correct his OOP and his liver issues - all due to having been on IV nutrition too long, plus medications for his gastric reflux and his urinary reflux.

Mega-meds - May 6, 2009

Even though his care is complicated, Connor is so worth all of the hard work and sleepless nights!
Our monkey boy - April 24, 2009

We live in a pretty quiet neighborhood, where everyone hibernates inside from November until April (Chicago winters). We suspected that most of our neighbors had no idea we were pregnant, much less that Connor had been born in December.

See our happy announcement balloons blowing in the wind on April 15th... they lasted on the mailbox maybe 15 minutes. In fact, I only ever got to see them in pictures... (sniff.) But, at least one of our neighbors spotted them before they drifted far, far away. :)

Mellow yellow... still a little jaundiced - May 4, 2009

When Connor left the hospital, he was 8 lbs, 6 oz.
Happy to report he's now 9 lbs, 9 oz (as of his last pediatrician visit on April 30th).
Moderate and healthy growth that we can be proud of... because we don't want to go messing with his formula any time soon!

Yay! He loves car rides... as long as we keep moving... - April 15, 2009

Connor was a ROCK STAR for his hellish day of appointments, one week after he came home. I think both Brian and I were on the verge of tears, just dreading what was to come, before we walked out the door at 6am that morning. All of the activity did not even phase our boy. He slept the whole hour car ride, even though he was already past his feeding time, and didn't even fuss through either of his radiology appointments, before we were finally able to give him a bottle about 6 hours later. In fact, he saved any and all fussing until we were safely back home later that afternoon!

Crazy eyes - April 16, 2009

So far, so good... in general, Connor is not a very fussy boy...

Well, at least not fussy for very long... :)

Just chiling on his play gym - April 19, 2009

Connor is a squeaker... always making noises... until he's dead asleep. Hence, Connor moved into his own room within the first 2 weeks of coming home!

Little boy in a bi-iiig crib - April 26, 2009

He still has his days and nights confused a little bit, but slowly we're creeping toward consistent 4-hour stretches of sleep during the night. I keep telling myself that it's not going to get any harder than this... it can only get easier, right?!

Wondering why those fingers don't taste like his thumb - May 2, 2009

He's had lots of bloodwork (levels still off - alk phos super high, calcium elevated, billirubin way up; but his sodium is finally a respectable 140!), a renal ultrasound (totally normal), a hip ultrasound (also normal), and a VCUG (he does have urinary reflux after all, probably a grade 2 of 5... he should grow out of it just fine) - all since leaving the hospital. We've even made 2 visits back to the NICU to say hi to some of his favorite friends.

Speaking of favorite friends...

During his newspaper shoot with Auntie Harriet
when he was still in the NICU - April 7, 2009

Auntie Lyn made a house call and took some beautiful photos! - April 19, 2009

Oh, how we miss all of our NICU friends!

Reunited with Grandma Rogers - April 24th, 2009

Grandma Rogers came to visit... what a relief! Just the help Brian and I needed, just in time! She was a welcome pair of hands that even helped out with some of Connor's nighttime feedings. We're so happy she was more than willing to come... again!... after spending two months with us during the worst winter Chicago's seen in a long time. I was able to get some organizational and creative projects done with her here... such a blessing, because they'd still be sitting in my to-do pile, otherwise. We were all sad to see her go, especially Connor, but we look forward to spending part of next winter in sunny Arizona.

Early morning snuggles with Grandma Rogers - May 2, 2009

Yes, he does have one! Last sighted on May 1, 2009.

Connor's 1st blow-out... you wanted to see that, right?? ;)
(This qualified him for his 2nd bath in 30 minutes.) - April 25, 2009

The first 4 seconds of every bath look like this...

April 19, 2009

But, oh so quickly, bath time looks like this...

April 25, 2009

And this...

April 24, 2009

And ends like this...

April 24, 2009

Hooray! He loves it!

Helping my sanity, Connor LOVES his swing - hallelujah! - April 16, 2009

Perfecting his Elvis sneer during our sleepover at the hospital - April 9, 2009

So, we stay super busy shuttling Connor back and forth to all of his appointments. He's been doing so well, that he graduated from his weekly pediatrician well-checks a week ahead of schedule, and now we only have to go bi-weekly. We still crave and cherish the days that all 3 of us get to stay home all day in our pajamas.

Discharge Day - April 14, 2009

Sometimes I still can't believe he's finally home, and I'm so happy to say he truly is thriving!

With Grandma Sprik - May 6, 2009

Reinforcements have arrived! Today, Grandma Sprik and Uncle Jason joined us for a couple days and Grandpa Sprik will come in over the weekend. Just in time!

Meeting Uncle Jason for the very first time - May 6, 2009

Extra hands in the house are the only reason why I was able to finally finish up this post (and all of its randomness)... whew!
I hope it only gets easier to blog a little more often.
If you've made it this far, thanks for caring enough to read it all. :)
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