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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"If I accept you as you are,
I will make you worse;
however if I treat you
as though you are what
you are capable of becoming,
I help you become that."

- Johann Wolfgang Con Goethe

(Thanks, Christy!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 months old



Here we are at 10 months old...
{sigh} He's growing way too fast!

CURRENT STATS (over 2 weeks old):

Weight: 17 lbs, 12 oz
Height: 26.5 in
Head Circ: 45.75cm

GROWTH CHARTS (adjusted age 7 months):

Weight: 50-75th percentile
Height: 50th percentile
Head Circ: 75-90th percentile

We were tickled to learn that one of Connor's neonatologists follows our little blog (Hey, Dr. Ahmed!), so we can't forget his medical update.  :)

After a busy summer, we're happy to report that Connor has graduated all of his specialists except for nephrology and neurology.  Physical therapy is up to me for the next few months until he is reevaluated again by Early Intervention just to make sure he's staying on track.  Next spring we'll also check in with his surgeon just to see if there's anything to do with his hernia... it doesn't seem to be an issue right now, so things are looking good.  Connor will be fitted with his DOC band next week.  Our pediatrician (who we don't have to see until Connor's normal baby well check at 12 mos.) does want us to check in with an ophthalmologist, just for a routine eye exam, and a developmental specialist, just to make sure there's nothing he's missing.  Might sound like a lot, but this is nothing!

Connor saw his neurologist this past month, who was extremely pleased with his developmental progress.  After the brain bleed complications, Connor probably shouldn't be doing so well.  I count my blessings every day!  We'll follow-up with him in 6 months.

We also saw the nephrologist, had another renal ultrasound performed, and a slew of labs.  Good news on this last ultrasound - the previously seen densities in his right kidney have been absorbed, while the densities on the left remain unchanged.  His lab work all looked really great, too, if not normal.  We'll follow-up with him in 4 months, have another renal ultrasound, and then in 8 months, have a DMSA scan to check for any kidney scarring.  

I had to laugh this month when the County Health Nurse came to do an evaluation on Connor, and she had the gall to tell me that "he's getting a little too chunky... that his weight to height ratio is approaching 75%"!!  It was all I could do to bite my tongue... it's the least of my concerns!  I think my actual response was, "whatever."  Maybe she forgot that he was born at only 2 lbs, 6 oz??  I think I'm going to forget to have her back...  the only useful things I ever get from the visit are his current height and weight.

Unfortunately, Connor was denied the RSV vaccine this year.  After 2 requests for coverage the insurance company deemed him HEALTHY enough to not need it.  They basically said that since he doesn't have chronic lung disease or heart disease, and is not currently being treated for those issues, he doesn't need the vaccine.  (Apparently they forgot about the earlier bill for $1.5 million and all of the reasons for it??)  Needless to say, we were crushed.  Preparing to pay for the round of vaccinations ourselves (about $5,000+), we consulted with Connor's pediatrician and he advised us to go ahead without it this year (considering how well Connor's been doing, the fact that he'll be turning a year old in the middle of the season, and that we'll be limiting his exposure this winter).  While we're relieved to not have that bill, we're both going to be holding our breath a bit until RSV season is over.

For the next few months, we hope that things are quiet for Connor, medically speaking.  We don't have many appointments scheduled at all, and the pediatrician doesn't see any need for future bloodwork (unless a situation presents itself).  We'll have enough going on while he we get used to his DOC band.  We're looking forward to settling in for our hibernation, trying to keep him away from as many germs as possible.  No big plans (except a trip to Phoenix in December, flu season permitting), so Connor (& Mommy) should be able to appreciate a normal schedule moving forward.
 

 My future's so bright... I gotta wear shades. - September 27, 2009

At 10 months old, Connor, you are:
  • Cutting your first tooth (on the bottom), and with the exception of 1 tear-filled day and a little difficulty at night going to bed, I'm so proud that you're handling it so well.
  • Still really enjoying your baths (and peeing in the tub, much to Daddy's chagrin)... afterwards, you're in seventh heaven getting your hair brushed and ears cleaned - it's your most still and calmest moment of the day.
  • Loving your nightly ritual with Daddy... bath, getting dressed, and snuggling with your bottle (it's not the same when Daddy's not here).  But, lately you won't fall asleep until you've had snuggle time with Mommy, too (pssst.. she doesn't really mind all that much!).
  • Loving your jumperoo lately - you go nuts everytime you're in it.  And without fail, it works better than prunes, you produce a dirty diaper every.single.time.
  • Happy to jibber-jabber.  If you're in the right mood, I can get you to hiss like a snake.  But you're not making too many more consonant sounds just yet, other than your favorite "ckckckeee".
  • Hating to get dressed lately, and won't hold still for very long anymore during diaper changes.
  • Eating 2 "solid" meals per day, with 5 bottles, averaging 6 ounces each of regular formula... yippee!  (Now if I could just find a way to return the excess cans we have...) 
  • Still dealing with a bit of gastric reflux - you were such a trooper when we attempted to wean you off the Reglan.  Good to know your vomit skills are still intact. 
  • About to switch to Stage 2 foods, and you love yogurt melts and puffs - we have to eat them very slowly though, because you're a world-class gagger.
  • Loving to sip water from a cup, but we're unsure how much of the water actually stays in your mouth.
  • Sleeping nearly 12 hours a night, with 3 short naps during the day... and it is GLORIOUS!
  • Right on track to graduate from your infant carrier car seat into a big boy car seat (rear-facing) in the next few weeks.  Goodness knows you either have to be carried without the carrier, or the stroller comes along for sure.  You're way too heavy these days - and that's a GOOD thing!
  • Beginning a love affair with a high-pitched furry red guy.  Although your exposure to TV has been limited, you go crazy every time we see Elmo at the store.
  • Becoming such a flirt!  It doesn't take much for you to flash your killer smile and giggle at total strangers.
  • Pretty content to run errands as long as you're fed right on schedule, which has been so helpful as we prepare for our flu season hibernation.
  • Wearing 9-month size clothing and Size 3 diapers.
  • Starting to reach for things, and aren't satisfied until you can get them into your hot little hands.  You will risk life and limb to achieve your goal, so we really have to be on our toes and watch how you start to pitch your body.
  • Just beginning to wave "bye-bye".
  • Loving music - besides the Cat Stevens song, you really seem to like the Black Eyed Peas, and you happily put up with whatever song I happen to be making up at the time.
  • Unable to hold still...  if we lay you down on the floor to play, it's not long before you're stuck on your tummy or you've pivoted 180 degrees.  
  • Rolling to the left, onto your stomach, and as of this morning, you made it back to your back by yourself!  YAY!  Hopefully this will cut down on the number of times we have to come rescue you.
  • Sitting unassisted longer and longer every day.  We put you into a sitting position, and you're pretty content! Your attempts to sit are usually foiled by some distraction that catches your eye.
  • One happy little boy - it is such a joy being your mommy! 
And now, for the monthly photo album...


Baby cleavage! - October 1, 2009


Yes, he is. - October 8, 2009


Shameless flirt - October 13, 2009

 
Super Connor! - October 16, 2009


Going crazy! - September 20, 2009



Patiently waiting at CT - October 15, 2009



Hey - my face is up here!  :) - October 7, 2009



October 13, 2009


I know it's hard to fathom, but I'll prolly get WAY messier than this! - September 27, 2009



Big Boy - October 15, 2009


Lounging with Daddy - October 8, 2009


Latest, favorite napping position - October 7, 2009



October 5, 2009



Still. - October 13, 2009



October 3, 2009



Sitting superstar! - October 10, 2009



Sharing secrets - October 6, 2009



{sigh.} - October 13, 2009

NICU Reunion



We had lots of fun the other night attending the Annual Rush-Copley NICU Reunion.  We really enjoyed seeing all of our old NICU friends, nurses, staff, and doctors from our time there earlier this year.  I just wish I had pulled out the camera more often!  Oh well... there's always next year.  :)

I must admit, I was fuh-reaking out inside having Connor in such a crowded place, with so many children running around.  Goes with the territory, I guess.  It was worth showing our NICU family how well Connor is doing... that thanks to all of their efforts (and a whole lot of prayers), we have a beautiful, happy son.

Connor went as a doctor - we found him some mini-scrubs online, had them embroidered, and he carried a stethoscope.  Here I thought I was being pretty clever, and I think I counted at least 5-6 other kids whose families had the same idea!

Sunday Sustenance

"I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody's need 

      made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind."

- Anonymous

Friday, October 16, 2009

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - DSi Scan

This Thursday, we took Connor in for his DSi Scan at Cranial Technologies (CT).

Basically, the scan consisted of a device containing 15 cameras which took HD pictures of Connor from every angle.  They then pieced together the pictures to create a 3D image of him.  Which was amazingly cool!  I wish we could have that digital file for his virtual baby book (blog)... but I'm guessing it's ginormous, and our system likely couldn't run the software it would require for viewing.

He was such a good boy through the whole appointment!  Nary a peep from him, and we even saw a few smiles through the stocking he had to wear to help emphasize his skull structure.



Best news of the morning?  The lady in purple who assisted with the scan scoffed at our originally-quoted treatment time of 7 months for the first band... she's thinking we're looking at more like 3 months, with a 20% chance he'll need a second band!  Yep, she's my new best friend.  :) 

Connor's DOC band will be ready and fitted just before Halloween.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foliage from the 'fill

One thing I love about Chicago, is the fact that we experience 4 distinct seasons. 
Unfortunately winter is the most distinct, but we begrudgingly survive it each year.

Right now, the colors around town are GORGEOUS!

I've been reading a lot of Utah blogs lately, where pics of fall foliage from the canyons and mountainsides are posted.
Makes me just a wee bit jealous...

So, last weekend, we headed off to our own mountain mound of garbage to see what we could see.




Although the day was gray, the colors were spectacular!


Only 5 more days to check out the fall foliage from the Scenic Overlook, at the Greene Valley Forest Preserve:  October 17-18, 24-25, & 31, between 11am-6pm.

If it's not too hazy, you might even get a glimpse of downtown.



I bet the colors are even better by now!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Sustenance


"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

- Albert Camus

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soon to be - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Connor spent 120 days in the NICU not being held as much as he would have been, had he been here at home with us.  When we brought him home, he had a flat spot developing on the back of his head.

In the last 6 months, it's gotten to a point where we felt it was time to get him checked out.  Sure, he gets lots of tummy time, physical therapy, and we have always worked to reposition him while he's sleeping.  While we've seen an improvement lately in the shape of his head, our window to help correct the issue is closing fast.  We felt if we didn't act soon, it might be too late.  After all, the last thing we want for him is a problem due to a misshapen head later on in life. 

A few weeks ago, we took him to Cranial Tech for an evaluation.

They took a few mug shots...

And determined that he has a moderate to severe case of brachycephaly.  I don't know that I agree that his current head shape is that serious, but if that's the diagnosis they needed for the insurance company to approve treatment, so be it.  And, I concede that they're the experts.

So, next week, Connor will go in for his DSi scan, and 14 days later he'll be fitted for his helmet.
Which he will wear 23 hours a day.

That's right, Connor will be wearing a helmet 23 hours a day.

For the first little while, we'll be visiting Cranial Tech about once a week for fittings and adjustments.  Right now, they're telling us that treatment time may be as long as 7 months, with potentially a 2nd band/helmet for another 7 months.  We're hoping that was worst-case scenario.

Another mom did a great job of explaining a little of what we're in for.
Check out her video...



Are we really up to 14 months of band/helmet wearing?
If Connor's head shape is "normal" to us after the 1st band, that might be all we're willing to do.  
We'll have to see.

Are we looking forward to this experience?
Uh, no.

Will we do this for Connor's sake?
Of course!

We know we can do this... it'll be an adjustment, but in no time at all we'll get used to it, right?
If we survived the NICU experience, I know we can, I know we can...

Are we mostly nervous for how well Connor will adjust to wearing his helmet?
Definitely.

Are we trying to think happy thoughts about what's in store?
Uh huh.

Are we planning to decorate his helmet?
You betcha!

After all, if he goes bald like his dad, we want him to have as normal a head shape as possible.  ;)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ally




We're so happy you've arrived safe and sound!
A healthy, full-term baby is a blessing indeed.

More pics and details here.

Making Grandpa Rogers proud

It's official, Grandpa Rogers can add Connor to his Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam fan club!

Connor ADORES this song. 

If he hears in on TV, he'll swivel his head 360 degrees just to get his eyes on it (lucky for him, we watch most of our TV through the DVR, so we can play it over and over again).

When he's upset, it's one of the only songs in my arsenal that actually will quiet him down (and I have to sing it over and over again).  I need to learn the rest of the words! 

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Day!

Congratulations, Maddy! 




You became a BIG SISTER today! 

I see all sorts of sibling rivalry in your future...
especially since you're only 18 months apart.

I promise to impart all of my oldest child knowledge to you sometime in the future
(along with always having gum in my purse).

Since your mom & dad haven't publicly announced your sister yet,
I'll refrain for now (I'm giving them just 24 hours)!  ;)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Sustenance

"Happiness is not in
the mere possession of money;
it lies in the JOY of achievement,
in the THRILL of creative effort."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, October 02, 2009

Giveaway shout-out


My old roomie, Kristen, is hosting a handmade card themed giveaway on her blog this week.

Not only is she offering a whole grab bag of paper crafting goodies, she's throwing in 3 cute cards she's made herself!

You can check it out here.

UPDATE:   
It pays to enter giveaways and do shout-outs... I WON!!  :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Birthday Wishes

We hope you have a wonderful day!



Grandma Sprik celebrates her big day on October 1st.


Uncle Dan just might have to share his birthday with his new baby girl
if she arrives on October 4th.
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