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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Owen: Three Months

03.01.15

Dear Owen,

You are now three months old!  It is so hard to believe you are a quarter of the way through your first year of life.

You are now 8 lbs!  You still fit into newborn clothes, but your long legs are getting squished in footy PJs.  Mommy tried 0-3mo clothes on you, and they are just too big still.

You have become quite the little sleeper at night!  Around 8-8:30pm you start to get very sleepy, and if we wait too long, you get CRANKY.  This is how you let us know you are ready for bed.  So, Mommy feeds you, and then you get changed and swaddled.  We can usually put you in your Rock’n’Play awake, and you will fall asleep all on your own.  You also tend to stay asleep until early morning, sometime between 3-5am, when you wake up hungry.  After you eat, its back to sleep for another 2 hours or so, and then it’s time to eat again.  Mommy and Daddy are LOVING this long stretch of sleep every night!  You also still nap a lot during the day, but you tend to only take one really long nap and then a few short cat naps.

You gave us your first smile this month!  It is such a sweet, gummy grin, and we will talk to you in as silly of a voice as necessary to see that smile.  You also are getting better at tracking things with your eyes, and you love to look for us when you hear a voice.  You happily play on your piano mat, and your little legs just kick and kick to play music!

You are still a great eater, and have stuck to your every-two-hours routine during the day.  Breastfeeding is starting to feel much easier, although I still get nervous about my supply, making sure you are getting enough, etc.  You are not a huge fan of bottles/formula, but with a little work we can convince you to drink it.  We are hoping to discontinue your preemie formula at your 6 month birthday!

We took you to Walla Walla this month on your first vacation, and you did great!  You slept a ton in the car, and were a great sleeper in the hotel too.  We even got to walk around town in the stroller and enjoy the sunshine with Nana and Great Grandma Kathi.

We are loving watching you grow and develop, and can’t wait to see what next month brings!

Love,


Mom and Dad

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Owen: Two Months

01.30.15

Dear Owen,

You are now two months old!  It doesn't seem quite possible though, because we missed out on having you home for almost a whole month.

You are still waking up every 2 hours or so to eat at night, and sometimes even every hour.  While I would much rather you sleep, I know your tiny tummy just can't hold very much yet, so waking up often is necessary.  You prefer to be swaddled in your Halo, and sleep in the rock'n'play right next to our bed.  You have also taken a few naps in your swing and in your crib!

You still haven't shared any smiles with us (besides gassy ones while sleeping), but that doesn't keep us from trying!  You now "talk" to us, and love to be held up against our shoulder so you can look around.  Your tiny neck muscles aren't very strong yet, and your heavy head swings around and hits us in the face.  :)  You are not a fan of being on your belly, unless it involves lying on Mommy or Daddy.

Your big brother Lane just adores you, and is so proud to tell everyone that you are his brother.  He holds you every day, and is great at giving you back your pacifier!

Breastfeeding has continued to go so well for us.  You have a great latch, are a quick eater, and are able to take two bottles each day (of your special preemie formula) with relative ease. You definitely get impatient when its time to eat though!

At two months old, you now weigh 7 lbs 12 oz, and are 21.5 inches long.  You are still so tiny, but have grown so much from birth!  You are still in newborn clothes, and I anticipate you will stay in them for a lot longer.

We have battled an icky rash on your belly and face/neck, and Dr. Huang thinks it might be related to a dairy allergy.  So, Mommy is going dairy-free, and we shall see if that helps.

We do plenty of babywearing every day, especially with your brother at home!  You have already been lots of places too, including the Children's Museum!  You so far love all of our carriers- ring sling, Moby wrap, and Boba.

We can't wait to watch you continue to grow, and am hopeful for a smile soon!

Love,

Mom and Dad

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Had It All Planned Out

I am such a Type-A person, who likes plans, and schedules, and lists.  I applied all of these principles to Owen's pregnancy and birth, and obviously a great deal of my plans didn't work out.

Lane's pregnancy was a complete surprise to us- we were NOT expecting to become pregnant, but it was a welcome blessing that we absolutely would not change.

Owen's pregnancy was very much planned; we knew we wanted to add another baby to our family, we knew when we wanted that to happen, and happen it did, right on schedule.

I had plans to pack our hospital bags, Lane's suitcase, and install the infant car seat soon after my baby shower, right around 36 weeks.  I even spent the evening before I went into labor discussing all of my plans with my mom!  Little did I know, I would go into labor that night, and would be rushing home the next day to throw stuff in a bag to take to Tacoma.

Although I had a great experience with my epidural with  Lane, I REALLY wanted to have a natural childbirth this time around.  So, like with everything I do, I began researching.  I read blogs, I read books, I watched YouTube videos, I talked to people, I practiced labor techniques, etc.  I really felt like I could do this.  And guess what?  I got an epidural.  And I don't regret it.  I think the stress of the situation and just how quickly everything was progressing made me feel out of control.  At home, I was able to use natural childbirth laboring techniques to manage the pain.  But after arriving at the hospital, everything was so rushed that I was never able to calm myself, remember what I had practiced, or put it into practice.  Because of Owen's prematurity, there was no laboring in a tub or shower, no bouncing on a birth ball, no trying different labor positions.  I arrived at the hospital so dilated (7cm and bulging water) that we had to move quickly to get antibiotics in me, get an IV started, get a team assembled to care for Owen, etc.  The epidural gave us a few minutes to calm down, realize the severity of the situation, and talk about what would likely happen once he was born.  I think that if we decide to have more babies, I would be able to handle a normal, term delivery naturally, and that is something I hope I get to experience.

With Lane's birth, he had to go to the Special Care Nursery a few minutes after birth due to difficulty with breathing.  I was able to hold him when he was born, but didn't get to breastfeed him for several hours.  I also missed him being weighed and measured and bathed.  I was so excited to have that experience this time around- and again it didn't go as planned.  I even told Josh one weepy night "I just want to give birth to a baby and be able to keep him with me for once!".

I had planned to have Lane at the hospital when Owen was born, so that Lane could be the first person from our family to meet him.  I wanted Lane to come into our room, climb on the bed with me, and meet his brother (and learn his name, since that was a secret).  I wanted Josh to walk into the waiting room filled with our family, and announce that Owen Ellis Davis was born (since none of them knew his name either).  Instead, Lane was at Josh's mom's house, and while my family was in the waiting room, they only got to see Owen through his incubator walls on his way to Tacoma General.  When Lane saw Owen for the first time, he was in his incubator, attached to tubes and machines, and I wasn't there.  I missed the first interaction between my boys, and it breaks my heart.

So, if this labor and birth experience has taught me nothing else, it has taught me to "go with the flow" more.  I am (slowly) learning to let go of things, and just embrace what comes.  It doesn't mean I won't still try to plan things, but at least I can accept when things don't go as planned!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Owen: One Month

Dear Owen,

Today you are one month old!  It is hard to believe you have already been with us over 4 weeks, but only home for less than one week.

Now that you are home with us, we are getting to know your personality so much more.  You are calm and quiet, and happy to just look around and observe.  Your time in the NICU has made you independent in that you don't need to constantly be held to be happy, and you fall asleep on your own so easily.  I'm sure that will change as you get used to us holding you more often than we were able to at the hospital, but we will gladly hold you as much as you want.

You have always been so strong physically, and like to lift your head up off our shoulder.  You also try to push off with your legs, and even got your little butt in the air while on your stomach in your incubator.  Your name means "little warrior", and that is you to a "t".

Breastfeeding is going exceptionally well for us- you are eager to eat, have a great latch, are a fast eater, and I haven't had any supply issues like I had with your big brother.  We have a freezer full of breastmilk, and I will continue to add to our stockpile.  You do get two bottles each day of a special high calorie/high nutrient formula, but we hope to be able to discontinue that in the next few months.

You absolutely love your bathtime!  You cry when we undress you to get in, and cry when you get out of the bath, but while you are in there, you are so calm and relaxed.  Giving you a bath is one of Mom's favorite activities!

Your big brother loves you so much already, and is very concerned with taking care of you.  He is a great helper, and instantly gets our attention if you start to fuss even a little bit.  He is proud of having a baby brother, and loves to show you off.

Your newborn clothes are still a little big on you, but you don't fit into any preemie clothes, with the exception of onesies.  You have skinny, wrinkly legs, but an adorable round belly.  I'm sure in time you will chunk up quite a bit!  You are now 6 lbs 8 ounces, and 22 inches long.

We are so thankful you are a healthy, strong little boy, who was just too excited to meet us to wait until your due date.  We love you, Owen!

Owen's NICU Story

Within an hour of you being born, the hospital decided to transfer you to Tacoma General's NICU, as they were better suited to care for a baby of your gestation.  The transport team from TG came down to get you, and we said goodbye to you in your tiny incubator before you left.  Daddy followed the specialized ambulance up to the hospital, while I stayed in Olympia, waiting to be discharged.

I started using a breast pump at the hospital right after you were born, and continued pumping every 2-4 hours around the clock until you were discharged 3.5 weeks later.  Luckily, once my milk came in, I had a great supply, and have had more than enough milk for you.  You did receive donor breastmilk for 24 hours while we waited for my milk to come in, and my breastmilk was mixed with a human milk fortifier everyday to provide you with extra calories while in the NICU/ICN.

You needed a CPAP machine to help you breathe for the first 24 hours, but then moved to room air and did just great.  You occasionally had episodes of apnea and minor bradys, but we quickly learned that is to be expected with preemies.

In the NICU, we had a private room.  Every morning, a team of doctors/nurses/other health care professionals would round on all of the babies, so everyone on the team got to hear the same information at the same time.  This was also a great time for us to ask questions!  We got to know all of your nurses very well, and had a few favorites (Danielle, Jorden, and Amanda).  After only 3 days in the NICU, (Wednesday, December 3rd) we were informed you were being transferred to the ICN (Intermediate Care Nursery).  This was because you were one of the bigger and more stables babies in the unit, and more "delicate" babies were coming in that needed the higher level of care you no longer needed.

The ICN provided much less privacy and room than the NICU.  We immediately missed our nurses and space from the NICU, but knew we would just have to settle in and make the best of it.  Either Daddy, I, or both of us spent every single day with you.  We made sure to attend daily rounds, and as many care times as possible (you were on a 7/10/1/4 schedule).  At each care time, we took your temperature, moved your O2 saturation probe to the opposite foot, changed your diaper, and the nurse listened to your heart, lungs, and stomach.  Those were also your designated eating times.

You needed a bili light for several days, which included a pair of "sunglasses" to protect your eyes.  The light made getting you in and out of your incubator/bed more difficult, but we wanted your jaundice to pass as quickly as possible!

You had an NG tube in that allowed your milk to be fed to you directly into your stomach.  We started allowing you to try breastfeeding right away, but it took you until almost your discharge date before you really got it down.  You also started taking a bottle while in the ICN.  Learning how to take all of your daily volumes by mouth was your major goal for discharge, and really the only thing keeping you in the ICN.  On Thursday, December 18th, you finally took 1/3 of your daily volume by mouth, which was a huge accomplishment.  That next day, Friday, neither Dad nor I could be at rounds, due to me being sick and Dad being home with Lane.  Dr. Willham, the neonatologist assigned to you for the majority of your time at TG, called us that afternoon to say that once you took 1/2 of your daily volume by mouth, we could move you to "modified demand" feeding, which meant we waited for your cues of hunger before feeding you, but wouldn't allow you to go more than 4 hours without a feeding.  This was to test out your ability to take enough food in everyday on your own schedule and still gain weight.  Well over that weekend, you hit the 1/2 mark!  So Monday morning at rounds, I brought up moving you to a modified demand schedule, as I truly felt you were ready to try.  Luckily, both the neonatologist (Dr. Golden) and the nurse practitioner (Alta) agreed with me, and gave us the green light for a full demand schedule!  The nurse took your NG tube out, and it was so nice to see your tiny face without any tubes/wires!

So, we spent that afternoon focusing on breastfeeding.   Later that afternoon, our nurse asked if we wanted to "room in" with you that night, because as long as you continued to feed well and gain weight, you would be discharged soon!  So, I got to call Daddy at work, and asked him if he wanted to bring you home in time for Christmas.  I cried and cried as I talked on the phone, as we never expected you to be discharged in time for us to celebrate Christmas as a family at home.

We spent the rest of the day getting plans in place for Molly and Lane, and performing your car seat challenge (which you passed easily), getting your Hep B vaccine, giving you a bath, and moving into the private room in the ICN.  Daddy and I spent two nights rooming in with you, performing all of your care and feedings.  You were finally free from all of the monitors too, and we were free to walk around the room with you without being tethered to any machines!  The first night, you lost 30 grams, and the nurse and doctor told us if you gained ANY weight the second night, we could go home the next day.  We worked really hard at feeding you frequently, and the nurses waited a few extra hours before weighing you to give you as much time as possible to gain weight.  And you did!  You gained 10 grams the second night, and so Christmas Eve morning, we got the green light to take you home.

It took us several trips to the car to get all of our stuff out of the nursery and our Treehouse room, and Daddy had to run to the store to buy a cooler to take all of my frozen breastmilk home.  Walking out of the nursery with you in your carseat was such a strange and exciting moment- no more scrubbing in each day, no more signing in, no more name tags, no more daily doctor exams, no more cafeteria food, and mainly, no more having our family separated.

This experience was one of the most difficult things we have ever faced, and we could not have done it without all of the help and support we received from family and friends.  You are one tiny but tough little boy, and we love how perfectly you fit into our family.  We love you Owen!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Owen's Birth Story

I had been having pretty uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few months, and had learned that they were just "normal" for me and this pregnancy.  However, on Wednesday November 26th (the day before Thanksgiving), my contractions seemed to change.  I had always felt them up high on my belly, since that's where Owen tended to hang out.  These new ones were way down low, below my belly.  They also were much sharper and more intense.  After working a half day, I picked up Lane and we went to the grocery store for last-minute baking supplies.  I had to pause every 5 minutes or so in the store for a contraction, and decided to download a contraction timer app just in case.  I quickly noticed a pattern, and decided to go home and rest to see if they calmed down.  Luckily, Lane napped when we got home, and I did too.  By the end of my hour and a half nap, they had significantly slowed down, and I was having 1-2 an hour.  I never did mention what was going on to Josh, because I didn't want to make him worry for nothing.  

One thing I am glad I did, however, was pack a mini hospital just-in-case bag.  This had a change of clothes for both Josh and I, and my bathroom bag with toiletries.  This contraction pattern continued through Thanksgiving and Black Friday, into Saturday as well.  I still had to stop whatever I was doing and concentrate on getting through each contraction, but they stayed at only 1-2 an hour.  Friday morning however, I did have a little bit of spotting and some mucus, which was likely when I started dilating more.  

Saturday evening, we went to my parents' house for dinner.  I felt my usual discomfort all evening, but after eating pumpkin pie around 8pm, I started to just feel "off".  I was nauseous, and just felt really uncomfortable in general.  We drove home, and as soon as we walked in the door, I ran to the bathroom to throw up.  While still leaning over the toilet, I could feel my contractions pick up in frequency, but I figured that was just due to the effort of vomiting.  I then took a shower to try to relax and calm them down.  It didn't really work, but they were tolerable so I headed to bed.  

I slept off and on from 9:30 to midnight, when I decided to get up and shower again as I was feeling like the contractions were increasing.  I timed them while in the shower, and they were 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute.  After my shower, things got a lot more intense.  I slowly started gathering things around the house just in case we needed to head in to the hospital, like a change of clothes for Lane, my phone charger, Josh's wallet, etc.  Josh had plans for duck hunting early the next morning, and I woke him up at 12:30 to tell him I didn't think he should leave for hunting in the morning, just in case.  He went back to sleep, and I kept concentrating on my contractions.  The only way I could tolerate them was to either lean over my exercise ball, or be on my hands and knees.  

I quickly realized we needed to head in to the hospital, because I began to make moaning sounds and what I can only describe as teeth-chattering sounds during the contractions that I was no longer in control of (looking back, I was likely in transition at this time).  I woke Josh up again, and told him I thought we should head in.  He thought I was joking, and once he heard me during one contraction, jumped into action.  I couldn't really do anything else at that point as the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, and a minute long.  He loaded up our dog and Lane, carried my stuff to the car and got it warmed up, etc.  We then headed out, and I started panicking that maybe I was just being a big baby and it wasn't really labor.  But we decided better to be safe than sorry.  

During the ride in, I couldn't really stay sitting during a contraction, and had to straighten my knees to lift my butt off the seat and pull on the handle above the door frame.  I started crying during the drive, because I was NOT ready for this to be happening.  I wasn't ready for a newborn (I had things left to do!), I hadn't yet really prepared Lane for what was happening, I wasn't ready to give up Lane being my baby, and I knew it was too early for this baby to be coming.  Josh basically just told me to suck it up because it was obviously happening! We planned to drop Lane off at Josh's mom's on the way, but about halfway to the hospital (which is about a 35 minute drive), we decided it would be better to just head straight to L&D.  She met us there, and I quickly hugged and kissed a sleepy and confused Lane goodbye and headed in through the ER entrance.  

We made our way down the hallway, with me dropping to my knees every 10 feet or so for a contraction.  Josh got a wheelchair, but I couldn't stand to sit in it during a contraction, so he would push me and run in between to try to make as much progress as possible.  We finally got to the L&D entrance, and there was no one at the desk to check-in.  So Josh used the phone on the wall, and the person on the other end told him we needed to check in at the ER first and they would transport us back over.  Josh told her he really thought they needed to come out to the waiting room as things were happening fast.  So one nurse came strolling out, and when she saw me on my hands and knees on the floor moaning, she quickly ran over.  She asked if this was my first baby, and when I told her it was my second and that I was only 32 weeks, she quickly called for help!  They got me into a chair again, and ran me to a triage room.  Two nurses helped strip me down between contractions and got me on the monitors while the doctor was called.  The doctor came in and did a quick exam, and told me I was 7cm with a bulging bag of water.  We were having a baby!  

They then ran me to a L&D room, and a whole team was assembled to draw blood, start an IV, get intake info from me, call an anesthesiologist, etc.  They also brought in the Special Care Nursery team and a respiratory therapist.  The anesthesiologist came in very quickly, and agreed to start my epidural without finishing the IV fluids and antibiotics (the antibiotics were because I never had a change to be tested for Group B strep, and there was talk of the possibility of an infection causing the pre-term labor).  The doctor checked me again right after the epidural was in place, and I was 9cm.  I was told to expect for the nurses to take Owen to the nursery right away without seeing him first, due to him being 7 weeks and 1 day early.  

My epidural started kicking in, and the relief was AMAZING.  Not only that, but it gave me a few minutes to wrap my head around what was about to happen.  I told Josh that he had to go with Owen no matter what- both to the nursery at our hospital, and to Tacoma General, where Owen would likely be transferred.  I was then 10cm and ready to start pushing.  I really couldn't feel the urge to push or the contractions any more, so the nurse told me when to push and when to stop.  The very first push, my water broke.  I pushed for about 10 minutes, but there were a few minutes of rest in between contractions.  I heard everyone say they could see a head full of hair, and very quickly he was born!  He was able to be placed on my belly right away because he came out bigger than expected and was crying very hard!  I was able to help wipe him off and kiss him, and then they took him to the isolette.  He had Apgars of 8 and 9, and they wrapped him up and brought him over to Josh and I to kiss before they went to the nursery.  The doctor finished up with me, and sent my placenta off to pathology to be examined.  Josh kept bringing updates back to me.  

Owen was doing really well, but they wanted him transferred to a different facility better equipped for him.  So, they sent a specialized transport team down from that hospital, and Josh followed them back up.  I was discharged 6 hours after he was born, and was able to go up to be with Owen.  And here we are!  Still staying with him at the other hospital, now in the ICN rather than the NICU, and just waiting for him to grow and develop more so he can come home!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lane: 6 Months

(written March 28, 2012)

Dear Lane,

Oh Little Mister, how is this even possible?!  You're half a year old!  You are getting closer and closer to your first birthday, and farther and farther away from that newborn baby you once were.

You have started sleeping so much better, often only waking just once in the night to eat.  There are even rare nights when you don't wake at all!  I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of interrupted sleep every night.  We are now co-sleeping full time.  You sleep on my pillow with me, with your little face smashed up against my face.  You also want to hold onto my face while you fall asleep.  Its so funny how much you associate our bed with sleeping now; at bedtime, as soon as I put you in bed on the pillow, you roll onto your side, close your eyes, and start reaching for my face.  I feel like I spend so much time away from you during the week and the day, that nighttime is our time to "catch up" on our snuggles... its definitely a special time for you and I.

You still love your special little blankey, and it goes just about everywhere with us.  The nice thing, however, is that you also do fine without it.  This comes in very handy when we have forgotten to bring it, or its being washed!  You also love chewing your hands and feet still, as well as anyone else's hands!

You continue to have about one cold a month, but I'm just attributing that to daycare, it being cold season, and you putting everything in your mouth.  I know there's no way to fully protect you from getting sick, and none of your colds have been nearly as bad as your very first one.

You still don't have any teeth, but that's okay.  We love your gummy smiles!

You're mostly in 6 month clothes, although some 3 month onesies still fit you (but just barely!).  At your 6 month checkup, you were 18 lbs. 5 oz, and 28 1/4 inches long.  You are still long and strong, with chubby little legs and a round belly.  We're still going strong with your cloth diapers too, and definitely have our routine figured out with regards to that.

We've slowly started introducing more foods to you, including oatmeal, sweet potatoes, avocado, and squash.  The oatmeal, sweet potato, and squash are all winners, but you despise avocado.  (Dad and I don't like avocado either!)  I'm looking forward to expanding your food menu!

We're now counting down until your first birthday, although we don't want these next 6 months to go by too quickly.  You're so much fun right now, and this is honestly one of our most favorite stages you've gone through.  We are so proud of all of your accomplishments, and we just love you so, so much!









Love,


Mom and Dad