Jeffrey has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hungry Eyes

Jeffrey learned a new trick this weekend. He can look at things now. Oh sure, he’s had eyes all this time (they’re blue), and they’ve been open too. But just this week, he’s begun to make a visual connection. He’ll look at thing around him. He’ll study our faces when we pick him up. It’s hard to explain how we even noticed this new activity. It’s not like he wasn’t looking at us before – it’s just that he looks at us now instead of through or around us. His pupils seem to react to light more and I think he can focus better now.
And why not? He’s now officially born, adjusted-wise. Happy Birthday! Although he’s 2½ months old, he’s starting to act like a newborn more and more everyday, and that’s pretty exciting for us. This also means that he’s growing, which means he’s eating a lot more and that keeps Danielle quite busy as his sole source of cuisine. She’s so busy in fact, that we had to start outsourcing his breast milk storage when we ran out of room in our two freezers!
Tummy time is getting a little more active. He can lift his head, shoulders and upper body on a consistent basis now. He’s begun to watch toys as we move them around his head. He notices when we move suddenly if we’re within his visual range.
Another big change around here is… changing him. He’s outgrowing preemie outfits and he’s graduated out of preemie diapers. That means that it’s a rush for Danielle and I to get him into all of his cool outfits from everyone at least once before they’re too small for him.
As each day passes, we’re having more and more fun with him. He tags along around the house with us – from sorting laundry, vacuuming or making dinner to configuring network equipment and writing scripts – we’re learning to do these one-handed.
Uh oh… gotta wrap this up. He’s ready to eat again!

PS: New pictures (45) posted today. And for reference, compare this picture to the one in the post titled "Emperor's New Clothes". It's the same outfit.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Eat It

Week #3 at home is underway and it is going pretty well. Jeffrey appears to be having a growth spurt because he ate for almost four hours last night and for about two hours tonight. He nibbles for ten or fifteen minutes, sleeps for ten and then fusses for food again. It’s a little frustrating but I do think that it has helped my milk supply and I know he’ll be growing bigger because of it. He’s sleeping pretty well at night; he’s going for about four hours at a stretch. Brian and I are splitting the night feedings so that we can both get some sleep.
We had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and Dr. Burke said that he looks really good and he’s growing like a tiny weed. He is up to 5lbs 10oz. and is measuring at 19½ inches!! He’s still having some issues with his reflux but Dr. Burke thinks that we’ll continue his medications at their current levels. Hopefully, he’ll just grow out of the meds and we won’t have to worry about them anymore.
Next week, he gets his Synagis shot for RSV along with his weight check. This is the last one he’ll need this year since the flu season is over in May. We asked Dr. Burke about making sure that he gets the shots next year since he’ll be in daycare and at high risk for RSV. She let us know that she doesn’t foresee having any problems getting it in the future. We were worried because it’s very expensive (about $1000 per dose) and it needs to be given every 30 days during cold and flu season. With our doctor’s backing it will make it easier to convince the insurance company to pay for it.
In other news, I’m getting a little more used to the idea that I’m a Mom and that we get to keep him. We’re starting to get into a routine and I’ve actually been able to get a few things done in the house. We ordered baby announcements the other day and although most everyone knows that he’s been born, I want to send pictures of him and celebrate our little guy.
Anyway, I’m going to toddle off to bed now. It’s late, since the boy wouldn’t stop eating for most of the evening and may wake again at anytime. I wanted to let everyone know how our boy has grown and that we’re so proud of him. Goodnight.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hungry Like The Wolf

Okay, apparently I gave birth to a wolverine. This kid is hungry, and does he ever let you know it! The noises and expressions that he throws at us are quite entertaining. He is primarily breastfeeding now but Brian is giving him at least one bottle per day with a little Neosure added for a few extra calories. He’s eating about every 2-3 hours but has been going for about 5 hours at night. Sadly, some nights he only goes for about 2 hours. We call those “Weekdays”. He likes sleeping in his bouncer, play pen and crib, but mostly on Mom or Dad’s chest.
It’s been almost two weeks at home and we’re doing pretty well. Jeffrey is truly a joy to behold. We’ve been spending our days eating, sleeping and snuggling together on the couch. I even get to sleep and eat occasionally. Jeff has moved into the crib in his bedroom at night. And while that sounds like an incredibly calm new parent move, we have the video monitor trained on him so that I can observe his every move at night. It’s JeffreyCam, all night long, and the microphone is so sensitive that we hear every noise he makes. I am amazed at the amount of noises that come out of him in his sleep. He seems to laugh at us a lot. I’d imagine that we’re pretty laughable as new parents.
We have been faithfully giving him five minutes of tummy time each day. He hates it so much!! It is obviously the most devastating torture that we could devise. He’s doing well though – he’s moving his head back and forth and lifting himself up a little on one arm. Brian tries to make him climb things like the Boppy pillow, couch cushions and the cats. He’s getting bigger by the day. We went to the doctor for a weight check on Wednesday and the boy is officially five pounds!!! Yeah Jeffrey! He’ll be growing out of the preemie clothes any day now.
Jeffrey’s becoming a very well read baby. At the hospital, we read The Little Prince and a book of Eric Carle stories. Once he came home we finished off Charlie & the Chocolate Factory during his first week. I came back from the book store with a Where the Wild Things Are, Are You My Mother, Grimm’s Faerie Tales, Greek Gods, and Jazz ABZ. Even if he doesn’t understand them, at least his grandfather should appreciate that last one.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Rythym of the Night

After reading Thursday’s post, some of our readers expressed concern about the environment where we were raising our child. They pointed out that our selection of songs and movies showed a “clear Biggie-sized neo-growth partisan agenda”. Well, Mr. Colbert, let me set the record straight!
We do everything we can to encourage Jeffrey to be as well-rounded as possible. In fact, if you look at the pictures (yes, Grandma Lelah, I posted new ones yesterday!), he’s getting rounder by the day. So in addition to the songs and movies mentioned before, rest assured that he’s also enjoying a cornucopia of sights and sounds including Little Richard, Little Shop of Horrors and Little Women. And if that weren’t balanced enough, we drive right down the center line by watching Big Trouble in Little China, Malcolm in the Middle, and of course, Medium.
So, here it is, 4:48 AM. Jeffrey’s up, so I’m up. You see, raising a baby is tricky trick work, and today he’s working the night shift. And being only 17 inches tall, his mode of transportation to work is Mom & Dad. What does a 38 week old baby do? He’s a sucker. Bottle or breast, he sucks on it and fills up his belly (more or less) with the yummy juice inside. P.T. Barnum is credited (incorrectly) with the quote, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” According the US Census Bureau, there are about 8 born in the US every second.
The lactation consultants and the NICU blame (or credit, you choose) his more frequent feeding schedule with a “growth spurt”. Babies at his age and older have short periods of intense growth, usually marked by increased feeding amounts at closer intervals and general fussiness. And I was surprised to find out just how much difference a teaspoon of NeoSure in his breast milk bottles makes – the extra calories can give him up to an hour longer nap!

A baby is an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other. - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, March 09, 2006


The question I’ve been asked more than any other this week: What’s it like finally having the baby home?
It’s amazing!
This whole week has just been a journey of joy and happiness. Each sound, each movement just makes us smile. And as much as we’ve loved their care and support, it’s been nice to be able to enjoy our child outside of the walls of the NICU.
I’m actually typing this post with Jeffrey sleeping on my chest. He’s drunk on breast milk. It happens.
We’ve been taking it easy and trying to get things organized around the house while Jeffrey sleeps. To our good fortune, that’s something he does quite a lot, and very well I might add. We don’t make a lot of effort to be especially quiet, and he’s used to sleeping through all the bells and buzzers in the hospital. According to our charts (did you expect anything else from us?), he’s been sleeping about 3.5 hrs on average and taking about 3 ounces per feeding from me and about 15 minutes of nursing from Danielle. We were told to expect some of his eating and sleeping habits to change when he came home, until he adjusts to his new environment. And to top all of that, Jeffrey moved into his own room after just two nights home with us. We tried it to see how he would do, and he aced it! Of course, we keep the baby monitor glued on him all night long, but this was one more step in making it feel like things are becoming a little more normal.
Wednesday was our big day. At 9:00 AM, Tery Waterhouse from Monroe County’s Early Intervention Program came to visit him. She explained how the program worked. Because Jeffrey was a preemie and diagnosed with PVL, he has a higher potential than full term babies to have a learning disorder or developmental disability. The EIP works to minimize the impact that has on the child’s life. They have teachers, social workers, physical therapists, nurses and more! Best of all, the program is funded through the taxes we already pay and Federal Grants. And since they understand the situation that newborn preemies are in, they come to your house for all visits! Jeffrey will remain in this voluntary program until age 3.
After Tery left, we packed up the boy and headed to his pediatrician’s office. It was a quick visit with Dr. Gretchen Smith-Burke to learn that he’s gained 4 ounces since discharge and 2 inches since birth – 4 lbs 14 ounces and 17 inches long. We’ll be seeing her every week to monitor his weight. We scheduled his follow-up boosters and made sure that we were all on the same page with his care and well-being.
Our last stop of the day was Rochester Eye Associates. The eyes are one of the last things to fully develop in a newborn. Because of this, Jeffrey had two eye exams while in the NICU. In the back of the eye is the part known as the retina. It apparently grows from the inside towards the outer edge of the eye. After his 2nd exam, they declared his eyes “zone 2, immature”, which means that the retina has grown into the 2nd of 3 zones on the back of the eye. The zones appeared to be ring shaped on the drawing they showed me, like a bullseye. The immature simply means that they’re not done growing yet. More importantly, they didn’t find any signs of eye disease like ROP or scaring of the retina. During this exam, Dr. Assilan found Jeffrey’s eyes to now be “zone 3, immature”. This is perfectly acceptable for a child that is still two week before his due date. We grabbed some burgers at Zebb’s and headed home after a very long day. Jeffrey had gone 7 hours without a feed (normal for all the stress he’d had) and we knew that any moment he was going to explode into fits of “Feed Me Now. Jeffrey Smash!”
Once the boy was fed, we took the opportunity to sort through all of his clothing and make piles for different sizes, and finally put it away in his dressers. I tell you, we’re going to get organized… just you wait! Thanks to everyone’s great gifts, our boy will be wearing clothes for a long time!
The last development of this first week home is Tummy Time. We started this with Jeffrey on Sunday, for only 5 minutes, and managed to increase it to several times a day for a few minutes each time. His doctors and development specialists recommend placing a rolled up receiving blanket under his arms to encourage his movement around. We’ve also propped him up on the Boppy pillow so that he could feel the movement in his legs making his upper body move up and down. So far, he’s been able to lift his head up and move it from left to right, as well as lifting both of his legs. On one occasion, he used his right arm to push himself up for just a few seconds. While he doesn’t grab at things, he does clutch things when he knows where they are: his pacifier, the collar of my shirt, my finger, etc.
Danielle’s already trying to hook up Jeffrey with a certain young Newberry girl. Ms. MacKenzie Jane is a petite young lady, especially next to her brother. I told Dani that he’s got his work cut out for him… she’s an older woman, by almost 20 months!
Not that I want Jeffrey to think that he’s small. On the contrary. Heck, he’s still negative 2 weeks old, considering that his due date was March 22nd. We refer to him as “big guy”, but sometimes that’s not enough. So we play Big Time by Peter Gabriel, and put on CDs by Big & Rich and Mr. Big. We watched Big Fish, The Big Lebowski and of course, Tom Hanks in Big. I wonder if it’s getting through?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Homeward Bound

My apologies to all of you walking around on Thursday with 80’s tunes stuck in your head. Here’s a Paul Simon one for you today. Homeward bound. Home, where my thought’s escaping. Home, where my music’s playing…
Jeffrey’s countdown ended without any interventions, and we were able to bring home our boy yesterday afternoon. He had his battery of vaccinations over the past two days: Pneumococcal Conjugate (Prevnar), Haemophilus Influenzae B (Hib), Polio, DPT, Hepatitis B, and RSV (Synagis). Vaccines are one of the few things that premature babies can get at the same time as their full term counterparts, despite their “corrected” age. Nurse Cindy was doing everything she could to help us get out the door, but was quite burdened by a whopping 4 babies in her room! Nevertheless, she got our supplies, clothes and food packed for the trip home while Mom fed him and I got his car seat ready. We were a team with a mission!
One of the strangest feelings I had when I got there was being able to pick up and hold my son, and walk across the room. For so long, he’s had a 6 foot leash to his bedside monitors. I was so excited to pick him up and walk to the other side of the room and shout, “Look, there’s your bed all the way over there!”
As we got ready to leave, we presented the NICU staff with a cookie cake for the day staff and one for the night staff, in appreciation of their hard work, care and support for our soon (and us) over the past 56 days. We signed a card with each one, addressed to all of the doctors, nurses and specialists that have been part of Jeffrey’s team for the past 2 months. To the best of our memory, thanks go to: Barb, Betty, Carol, Cathy, Cheri, Cheryl, Chris Tryon, Cindy, Colin, Daynell, Hyacinth, Jeanne, Judith, Judy, Julie (Annex), Julie (C2), Kathy, Kelly, Sister Mary Fran, Marnie, Nan, Nancy, Sandy, Shannon, Sonya, Sue, Thembi, Dr. Ben-Saad, Dr. Carl D’Angio, Dr. Erik Thingvoll, Dr. Mark Lavender, Dr. Rob Sinkin, Dr. Theresa Murray, and Dr. Woodward.
Our trip home was uneventful. We stopped at DiBella’s and got some subs for dinner. Dani stayed in the backseat with Jeff for the ride home, and I watched him in the mirror.
When we finally arrived home, I recorded his grand entrance with the camera and then unloaded the bags from the car while Danielle got him settled. For a tiny baby, he sure packs a lot of stuff! We opted to let him adjust to his new surroundings before feeding him, since the whole ordeal can be very stressful.
We laid him down in the play pen crib after his meal so that we could eat our sandwiches. From the couch, we couldn’t see into his crib. Being your typical, first night, neurotic parents, we put the baby video monitor in there, aimed at his face, and then set screen in front of us. Sure he was only 8 feet away, but it kept us from checking on him every 10 seconds.
The rest of the night helped us to calm down a little more. We took Jeffrey around the house and showed him rooms (though he can’t see them yet, his eyes aren’t ready). Cisco showed much interest in the sleeping tot, and watched him for about 45 minutes. Later, as he was being fed upstairs, Cisco stopped by again to brush up against the boy. Jeffrey didn’t seem to mind.
He slept fairly well for his first night. We set up his bassinet next to Danielle’s night stand, for easy access. He got up at midnight, 3 AM and 6:30 AM for milk and medicine. That’s not too bad, especially since Danielle and I traded off, and we both got about 6 hours of decent sleep.
Three changes of clothes later (prune juice stains clothing very easily!) and several diapers later… here we are. Dani’s in the living room paying our bills online, and I’m posting on the blog. The boy’s sleeping in his new bouncer. Things are just right.
And baby makes three.
Vitals: This part will become scarcer, since we don’t have a scale at home. I did consider buying a USB one that you can use for postage too, but why worry about it? That’s what our Pediatrician is for. We’ll be seeing Dr. Smith-Burke on Wednesday at 11 AM for his first visit. Oh boy, another car ride!
And the winner is: Grandma Lelah! Her guess of 2086.52 was just 3.48g from his official discharge weight. This is his weight as of Thursday, 3/2/06 at 6:00 PM, and recorded on his discharge paperwork. He was not weighed on Friday, since he was discharged before nightly weighing. Congratulations, your Amazon gift certificate is on its way. May I make a suggestion?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Final Countdown!

OK, admit it. Upon reading that headline, you’ve got synthesizer intro from the 80’s hit by Europe going through your head, don’t you?
Today is day 52 in NICU land. He had a tremendous feeding with me last night – 75mL without any incident! He repeated that performance twice with his overnight nurse last night and again with me at lunch time today. For reference, 1oz is about 30mL. So it was no surprise when his nurse, Carol, said to me that the doctors have completed their rounds this morning and feel comfortable discharging Jeffrey on Friday evening. That will be 1 week without incident, and also give him time for his RSV vaccine, Synagis. We also had to make a circumcision decision today, in order to give enough recovery time before he comes home.
So the question you may be asking yourself is… where do I stand in the contest? Well, here are the standings so far:

Difference Name Guess
173.94 Jen & Mike 1871.06
132 Connie 1913.00
70 Meme 1975.00
69.1 K 1975.90
57 Sheila 1988.00
41.52 Mom 2086.52
107 Roger & Bonnie 2152.00
155 Sue Fisk 2200.00
166.26 Nikki Johnson 2211.26
175 Amanda from Ohio 2220.00
320 Heidi Newberry 2365.00
320 Professor Beaton 2365.00
336 Joanne Macek 2381.00
365 Kurt 2410.00
384 Marc Newberry 2429.00
423 Aunt Kate 2468.00
456 Liane Welsh 2501.00

Latest Measurement 2045 (3/1/2006)
Current Leader: Mom

If Jeffrey were coming home today, Grandma Lelah would be the winner. But his trip home isn’t until Friday. He may even lose a few grams as they’re discontinuing his calorie supplement today. It’s still anybody’s game. Except for Liane… you’re just way out there!
Tomorrow afternoon we’ll conduct his car seat test. Britax sent us a Low Birth Weight insert for his Companion infant car seat. It allows his body to lay a little more reclined than usual, and it can be removed from under the fabric once he is over 7 pounds (3.175 Kg). The folks at Britax were very helpful over the phone and getting the insert to us quickly. And of course, I had the seat professionally installed and checked by a Certified Child Passenger Seat Technician while I was on duty at the ambulance last night. Thanks, Diana. This is a (usually free) service offered by many ambulance agencies, fire departments, police departments and even some baby specialty stores, and I encourage every parent out there to take full advantage of it. As many as 82% of car seats are installed incorrectly!
What will parenthood hold for us once our son is home with us? We’ll soon find out. It sure is looking like baby around here, though! His feline siblings are eagerly awaiting… not really. They’re cats and frankly they don’t care about very much at all.
Vitals: 2045g today at 6 PM. I’ll update this post when I get home tonight. Ad lib feeds continue and intake increases daily. He’s starting to show signs of being able to stare are Dani and I, which is pretty good for 37 weeks…