Today Aidric and I visited a lactation consultant to get a little help and make sure things are going as well as they can. One of the first things she did was take a look at his frenulum. (The thin piece of skin under the tongue) A NICU nurse had mentioned that he has a "short frenulum" to me once, but I had hoped it wouldn't cause him any problems. However, the lactation consultant agreed and said that he is "tongue tied". She recommended that he have it "clipped". Not only will it help him with nursing, but it will help prevent future problems with a possible speech impediment.
It made me so sad to think of putting him through another procedure; the lactation consultant actually called the clinic for me to make the appointment. She had never seen one done and was interested, so she actually went with us! As she had assured me, it really is a simple procedure. The doctor first numbed under his tonge with a cotton ball saturated with lidocaine. While I held Aidric in my lap, the doctor held his mouth open, and used surgical scissors to literally "clip" his tiny little frenulum. He cried just a little but consoled within seconds. I think this is another one that hurt me more than it hurt him!
Oh, he was also weighed during the appointment and it's official............he's a six pounder! His exact weight is 6 lbs and .4 ounces!
Monday, June 18, 2007
It is so amazing and wonderful to have him home with us. He was discharged today around 1:00 and right after we walked in the front door, we looked at each other and said, "OK, now what are we supposed to do with him?" It is going to take some time to get used to not being on the NICU schedule.
In other news, Chris changed his very first diaper today, so I had to include apicture of that! =)
I will continue to post pics and update the blog until I get a website going for him. Thank you to everyone for all of your support. We have appreciated the e-mails and calls and prayers for Aidric!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Last night, we spent the night at the hospital with AJ. This morning, Chris commented that the hospital has a cruel way of introducing you to life with a baby. In addition to middle of the night feedings, we had to deal with alarms going off all night long, not because he was in trouble, but b/c of machine error. Not to mention, there was no lamp in the room, which means we had to turn the bright, fluorescent overhead light on!
We are getting closer and closer to bringing him home, which brings a mixture of emotions with it. I'm so excited to have him with us all of the time, but of course, it will be scary too, to have him off monitors for the first time in 2.5 weeks!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tomorrow will be four days since AJ's last heart rate drop, which is the measure for when he gets to go home. However, the last two times we had a discharge date, it was four days after his last episode that he had another (setting him back another week). So, I am holding my breath for the next 24 hours or so in hopes that he DOESN'T hold his!
He had his car seat test yesterday and he passed. He had to sit in it for an hour and a half while hooked up to his monitors. The purpose is to make sure he can tolerate the position of the seat without heart rate drops or desats. That's one more obstacle down before discharge!
In feeding/weight news, he took 80 ccs at one of his feedings! His weight is up to 5 lbs. 11 oz! We're going to have a 6 pounder before we know it!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
He is such a great eater! He continues to increase the amount of time that he spends breastfeeding as well as the amount he takes in a bottle as a supplement afterwards. Today he took 70 ccs AFTER breastfeeding! He may not be wearing his cute little preemie outfits for very long at this rate, but we're not complaining about that!
No other big news really. I took advantage of Aidric having the best babysitters in the world today and went and got a haircut. I am assuming that once he comes home, it may be awhile before I am able to do that again!
No heart rate drops or apneic episodes today. Please pray that he continues to do well!
Monday, June 11, 2007
When I called the NICU in the middle of the night (I always call when I am awake pumping), I got good news and bad news. The good news is that Aidric gained more weight and is up to 5 lbs. 5.3 oz!! He has exceeded his birth weight!
The bad news is that he had another episode .... he didn't actually stop breathing, but his breathing became very shallow and his heart rate dropped to 68 for about 19 seconds. He didn't require intervention and recovered on his own, but because the heart rate drop was so significant, they are going to keep him at least another week.
We want what is best for the little guy, and we know he's in the best place getting the best care, but it is just so hard to keep leaving him there when we want him home with us.
On a brighter note, my mom is here now visiting her first grandson! Of course, that means he has several new outfits to show off over the next few days. =)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Aidric is almost back up to his birth weight of 5 lbs 3.3 oz! Not surprising that he is gaining so much weight- he's eating 60 ccs (2 ounces) at almost every feeding!
Overall, he is doing really well. He hasn't had any apneic episodes since Thursday, and they were both with feeding.
The other big news is that they have moved him from the isolette to a regular crib. Oh, and before he comes home, we'll get to stay overnight at the hospital with him. We'll have a private room, and he'll be there with us with no monitors on. We will have a nurse checking in on us through the night. It will be reassuring to have that transition before coming home and being all on our own with him!
Friday, June 8, 2007
Well, I shouldn't say there is absolutely no news- just no big changes in his care plan. The doctors are happy with the way things are going, and it's really just a waiting game to see if he keeps progressing. He weighed in this morning at 5 pounds 1.9 ounces! It was so exciting to hear that we had reached the 5 pound mark and that he has gained for four days in a row now.
You can see in his new pictures that they've taken everything off his face! They are very confident he will not need phototherapy or a nasal cannula again, so there was no need to keep the tabs on. It's so nice to see his cute little face in its entirety!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
He's getting so big! Aidric has gained over an ounce since yesterday- he's up to 4 pounds 15.9 ounces! He had a pretty good day today- at one feeding he took 51 ccs, and he met his 45 cc requirement at all of the other feedings. He was circumcized this morning, and we were also able to give him his first bath tonight! (ok, our first bath....he's had two with the nurses that we weren't there for) He was so alert and wide-eyed during it! Chris was busy video-taping so we don't have any pictures in the tub. Hopefully we'll have a video clip ready for you all soon!
The doctors are starting to talk to us about discharge plans. The EARLIEST it will be is next Wednesday, but there are several things we need to do first. Once he is ready to go, he still has to pass his carseat monitoring test, have a newborn hearing screening and we need to do discharge teaching. I took an infant CPR class yesterday, but everyday I am learning that everything I know about newborns goes out the window when it comes to a preemie. The theories and the way you do things are all so different! We're excited to have him home, but know the most important thing is that he is healthy and strong enough before we do, so we are patiently waiting for him to get there!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
This morning, all news was great....Aidric had gained 3 grams and because he was doing so well breathing, they took him off the oxygen. We were even tentatively talking about a Sunday discharge. Since then, he has had three significant apneic episodes =( Two were while he was feeding, so they don't seem as worried about those. They say that at his gestational age, it is just too hard for him to exert the energy to feed and breathe at the same time. One episode was while he was just laying there though, so that one is a little more concerning.
They say that preemies do this and that he should stop doing it as he gets older/bigger. As much as they say it is "normal" for him because of his size/age, it is still so scary!
On another note, Texans truly are the nicest people I have ever met. Our real estate agent and friend has set up a schedule for people to bring us dinners....the people are all of her friends who have never even met us. Also, I started a mom's group which has only met once and from women in this group have had dinner offers, errand help and even someone who bought him some onesies in a preemie size! We are so grateful for all of this generosity. We know those of you who are far away are thinking of us and Aidric too, and it means so much to us. The e-mails and phone calls are wonderful. Please keep praying for him to grow and get strong (and to keep breathing, of course!!)
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
There's really not anything new to report, but I couldn't resist putting a few more pictures up. He looks like such a big boy in his new clothes! You can see he is a little more jaundice, but because he's a little older, the doctor's are just keeping an eye on him instead of putting him on phototherapy again just yet. They have also discontinued his consistent labs, so no more heel pricks unless they specifically order something. (He was getting sticks every 6-12 hours). He lost 4 grams as of this morning, but we are hoping for weight gain tomorrow!
Monday, June 4, 2007
Not much to report today....his sodium levels are normal, his blood sugar is normal, and he's still a little jaundice. He still needs the nasal cannula and now it's up to 33% during feedings. To be fair, it really is hard to breathe and eat at the same time, isn't it?
Yesterday was rough. I was feeding him and his oxygen saturation went down and stayed down. He turned a little blue and it scared me to death. In four years of working in a children's hospital, I have never been holding a baby/child when one turned blue! He recovered much more quickly from the event than I did!
Leaving him at the hospital to go home for the night was really hard too. However, getting almost seven hours of sleep in my own bed was really nice.
His new requirement is that he has to eat 45 ccs at each feeding. If he doesn't, they will put an NG tube in. (feeding tube in his nose). The nurse today convinced me not to view this as a setback, but more an opportunity for him to save his energy and still get the nutrition he needs
Oh, and the exciting news is that he is wearing clothes! He looks so cute and tiny and even the preemie size clothes are huge on him. I tried to take a few pics that show his size better.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Last night, Aidric had an apneic episode (stopped breathing) so they put him on oxygen. It's just a nasal cannula set at 20%....it helped him recover and is now more precautionary than anything else. His oxygen sats have been good other than the one episode. However, due to the one episode, he will be here at least another week while they monitor him.
He is off phototherapy for now...he is still a little jaundice, but needed to come off the lights because his sodium levels are a little high. If it's not one thing, it's another! But, we're still feeling very positive and thankful for all of the things that are going his way. The doctors have said several times that he is doing amazing...sometimes it's hard to remember that he's here 6 weeks earlier than nature intended!
Good news is that his weight is up today to 4 pounds 14 ounces! (Yesterday he was at his low of 4 pounds 5 ounces). He is taking 40 ccs at each feeding now, so hopefully we'll keep seeing a steady weight gain.
Thanks for all of your continued prayers - they are making a difference!
Saturday, June 2, 2007
This morning Aidric's bilirubin was 7.6. That's not extremely high, but it's higher than they want it, so they have started phototherapy. That means he needs to be under the heat lamp around the clock; we can only take him out to feed him for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can see how cool he looks sunbathing with his gangsta shades on though =)
He is eating like a champ! Before today, they were only giving him 10 ccs at each feeding in addition to the IV fluids. Today, they discontinued his IV and are offering him as much milk as he wants. He drank a whole ounce the first time! As the doctor said, "We need to see if he is going to act like a preemie or show us he's a tough big boy". Well, so far he is looking to prove himself =)
I am officially being discharged, but get to stay in the room for at least another night. I'm so relieved, I get teary just thinking about going home and leaving my little boy here! Tomorrow Gretchen is coming to visit (her visit was already planned, but I think most of our plans for the visit will have to change!). Daddy went out and bought Aidric some clothes today, since we didn't have anything in a preemie size!
All in all, we feel so thankful for his health. If his bilirubin goes down and he continues to show off his eating skills, we'll be looking at an earlier discharge!
Friday, June 1, 2007
Aidric is doing GREAT! All of the nurses and doctors keep telling us that he couldn't be doing better. His blood sugars are stable and they going to replace the glucose solution with TPN..a liquid that will go in his IV that includes all the nutrients he needs right now.
He tries to breastfeed and latches on, but isn't always the most motivated. He has taken two tiny bottles of expressed milk though and he is a great eater when it comes to that! That's an encouraging sign; we just hope he keeps it up. Apparently, it can be common in preemies for that skill to show up early and then disappear.
It turns out our blood types are incompatible and that puts him at risk for jaundice. They are going to start checking his bilirubin level today and will do so twice a day to keep an eye on that. If it looks high, they'll do phototherapy, but that will be long before the levels are dangerous to him.
That's all for today. I think I will be discharged tomorrow morning/afternoon. It is going to be so sad to leave the hospital without our little baby. We only live five minutes away though, so there will be constant visits.
Family and Friends- I'm glad you are visiting our website! We love taking pictures of Aidric and sharing them with you, along with updates on his progress. We hope that many of you get to meet him soon- we are such proud parents!
LABOR AND DELIVERY
Since this is the first entry, I'll backtrack a litle. At my 30 week doctor appointment, Dr. Grogono told me I was 50-75% effaced, which is pretty unusual, especially for a first time mom! She was keeping a close eye one me, but I didn't progress at 32 weeks. Thsi past Wednesday, at 34 weeks, she found I was still 75% effaced but also a centimeter dilated. Chris and I started talking about when his last business trips should be. (He was in San Diego on Wednesday and Dallas for a meeting on Thursday.)
On Thursday morning at 3:00, I woke up and felt my water break. Wow, I was shocked! I immediately started calling Chris and it took about 5 calls to get him to answer his cell phone. He was in such a daze, his first response was that he had a really important meeting at 10:00, so wouldn't it just be ok if he came home after that? =) I knew he was just in shock and denial too, so I told him I'd call the doctor and then call him back.
The doctor asked me to come straight in....I packed a bag, did a little laundry and took a shower first though! I got to the hospital at 4:30 and the IV was started around 5:15. I was still pretty happy and comfortable at this point. Around 6:30 the contractions were much stronger and often coming within a minute of each other. At that point, I was 4 cm dilated. I asked for an epidural and it was about 7:40 by the time it was in. What a long hour!! But, once the epidural was working, I loved labor =)
Chris's plane landed and I told him he could run home and grab some things. The nurse heard me say that and looked at my contraction print out.....she said she wanted to check me and once she did, learned I was 100% effaced and 10 centimeters dilated! We were ready to push! This was a little after 8:00. I called Chris, but he had been moving very quickly and was already in the parking lot. He walked into the room, was handed some scrubs and we took off for the OR. Because the baby would be born 6 weeks prematurely, we had a whole team of neonatal intensive care specialists in the delivery room with us to take immediate care of him.
I pushed for about 30 minutes. (Chris says quick and easy....I say let's watch the use of the word "easy" =)
Aidric John Zohlen was born at 9:38 AM on May 31st. They took him to evaluate him, but he got 9s on his apgars so they let me hold him for about 10 minutes or so while they worked on fixing me up. They took him to the transitional care unit to hook him up to monitors, but he didn't need any oxygen. He came out crying, was breathing fine and color was great!
MORE ABOUT AIDRIC
First, his name.....early on Chris fell in love with the nickname "AJ". The challenge for me was finding the perfect A name. The "J" was easy....my dad, Grandpa Sytsma and Chris's Grandpa Zohlen are all named John. After months of searching, I found Aidric ina baby book and just loved it. Aidric is actually the name fo a saint, which we really like. Here's a little info I found on the web:
Feastday: January 7
Bishop and court diplomat, raised at Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany, the royal residence of Charlemagne. Aidric, or Aldericus, grew up serving Charlemagne and his son and successor, Louis. At twenty-one, Aidric left the honors of the court to study for the priesthood at Metz, France. After his ordination, he was recalled to the court by Louis. Nine years later he was made the bishop of Le Mans, where he became known for his sanctity and for his efforts on behalf of his people. When Louis died, Aidric supported Charles the Bald, one of Louis' sons fighting for the throne, and for this reason was forced out of Le Mans, only to be reinstalled by Pope Gregory IV. Aidric served as a legate to the court of King Pepin of Aquitaine, France, where he convinced that monarch to restore vast amounts of Church property stolen by the royal family. Aidric also took part in the councils of Paris and Tours. He was paralyzed for the last two years of his life.
Back to our little Aidric though! He weighs 5 lbs. 3.3 ounces, which makes him one of the bigger babies up in the NICU. They are really just keeping an eye on him. He has leads to monitor his heart rate and a pulse ox for his oxygen levels. They are down to doing a heel stick every 12 hours to monitor his blood sugar (which has looked great except for one low reading yesterday).
His goals for going home are:
-no heart rate drops (so far so good!)
-no oxygen needs (he hasn't needed any yet and looks great)
-stable blood sugar (it's almost there but he'll need to keep it stable even as they wean him from the glucose solution)
-he has to learn to suck from a nipple. Apparently this isn't a natural reflex or ability at his gestational age. He's doing great so far though- the nurses are impressed and say he is doing it better than could be expected.
That's all for now. Here are is a link to a shutterfly album for more pictures. I know I am biased, but he just gets cuter everytime I see him!