Thursday, April 28, 2016

Out and About

Last week was gorgeous out, but it's been rainy and chilly this week so we haven't been able to take walks.  We did get out to the Mall of America on Tuesday and have been getting out to stores when we can.  I have been loving dressing Esme up in all her girly outfits.  The one below is still big, but is one of my favorites.
 We purposely went to the mall on Tuesday because Esme was 12 days old.  Parker had his first trip to the mall and the Apple Store at the same age.
 We made a pit stop at the Children's Museum satellite location to give Parker a chance to stretch his legs and to feed Esme.  I love having this option at the mall, too bad it isn't permanent. 
 The mall had been doing some major renovations over the last year or so and we had lunch at the new north food court.  There are several new spots opening soon that I am excited to check out, namely Disco Fries.  I have been craving some poutine since we went to Winnipeg and this may be my chance!
 We also got to check out a newly rebuilt Menards!  It's been closed for over a year, so I am happy to have it back.  It will take a bit to get used to such a big store!
 We've been enjoying our down time at home too.  Both of my boys are pretty enthralled with the new lady of the house (I am too)!
We also got some newborn and family pictures taken on Monday.  I got a little sneak peek yesterday and can't wait to share some of them with you.  Until then, you can gush over the cuteness below! Two weeks already and she is up to 6 lbs. 3.5 oz. based on my at home measurements.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Big Brother Parker

It took Parker a bit to even realize Esme was around, but now he is very sweet with her.  We finally let him "hold" her on Friday.  It didn't last too long since he doesn't totally understand being gentle with her.  We will probably wait until her cord stump falls off to try it again.  Then we don't have to be as worried about him touching her tummy.  Speaking of the cord stump, Parker is terrified of it.  The first time he saw it he kind of squealed and touched his own belly button.  
 We were able to take walks every day last week and Parker loved to check in on his sister.  He has a very special way of greeting her that can be seen in the video below.
 He also likes to imitate her cry and does a very good job at it!  There have been several times that we weren't sure who made the noise!  If he isn't imitating her cry he is laughing as she cries.  I warned her that he would be doing that for the rest of her life, that's just what brothers do!
 He has started to "help" a bit here and there.  He is very interested in her pacifier and bottles, but can be a forceful with them.  He also started laying in my lap like I hold Esme.  I thin he just wants to be like her.  I will take the snuggles any way they come.
 This sweet moment came yesterday.  The look on his face is precious and I think this will be a favorite for years to come.  It's been fun to watch his intrigue grow and I can't wait to see where else it goes.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Esme June - 1 week old

The first week of life goes by pretty fast when you spend most of it in the hospital.  We've only have 2 days at home, but they have been perfect.  Parker is starting to pay more and more attention to Esme.  We likes to get right in her face and make noises, just his way of talking to her.  At first I was telling him to be a bit more quiet, but she doesn't seem to mind the noise.
We took our first family walk on Wednesday.  We only went a mile since I am still recovering, but it was nice just to get outside.
She had her first "bath" at home Wednesday as well.  It was really just a wipe down since we can;t submerse her cord stump yet.
We had a follow-up doctors appointment today to check on weight and her jaundice.  She gained almost 4 ounces and is over 5.5 lbs again, just 3 ounces from her birth weight.
37 weeks and 1 week postpartum with my sweetie bear Esme.

Esme Comes Home!

Tuesday morning was just a matter of waiting to find out the results of the study.  We were told it would likely be early afternoon at the earliest.  Below is a picture of Esme's room.  It's so much roomier without the big hospital bed!  There was no eating allowed on the floor, so Jimmy and I had to go to the outer lobby for lunch.  While grabbing my food I saw the team of doctors in the next room doing rounds and thought we might be next.  Sure enough our nurse came out soon after and asked if we wanted to be there.  It helped that she also said "I think they have good news for you."  We left the food where is was and headed back in.  They had gotten the results from the Children's Hospital doctor and it was totally normal!  They were releasing us to go home!
 We finished our lunch and then had to wait a couple hours since there were some other things the nurses needed to attend to.  They took one last set of vitals and removed the last of the wires and cords.
 I thought Parker was small when we loaded him up for the first time, but he had at least a pound on Esme!
Going home with Parker on the left, Esme on the right.
We picked Parker up from daycare before heading home.  He was totally oblivious to her, but did start to show some interest later in the evening.
Our best attempt at a family picture.  I am so happy that we are finally all together!
The final piece in place!  Welcome home sweetie bear, we are so excited to have you here.

Esme's Keeping us on our Toes Already!

I was able to get fully disconnected Friday morning and take a shower.  That felt so good!  Jimmy's parents had come in just a few moments before they took her away on Thursday, so they never even had a chance to hold her.  Visitors were allowed as long as they were 14 or older.  Jimmy's parents came back Friday morning to get some more time with her.  
We got the chance to sit in on rounds with the doctors as well.  She was not showing any signs of hunger or wanting to eat yet, but that is normal when you are on an IV and had a feeding tube.  The plan was to start nursing and supplementing with formula in order to ween her off the IV.  Once she was off the fluids we hoped to bring her back to the room.  She was still too sleepy to nurse that morning, but we were able to start in the afternoon.  I also got the chance to change my first diaper, who knew something could be so exciting!  She had an echocardiogram that afternoon and everything came back normal, except for a small murmur.  We had been concerned about a small hole, but it wasn't there!  We will watch the murmur for 6 months and seek follow-up if it does not resolve by then.  Jimmy went home to shower, grab a few things and pick up Parker from daycare.  She got to move from the warming bed to a normal one early Friday evening.  My parents came to visit that evening and finally got a chance to hold her as well.
 It was great to get some snuggle time with Parker as well.
They continued to reduce her IV through the night since her blood sugar was staying up and she was completely off it by 4:00 am Saturday.  Around 9:30 we were back and were told rounds would be soon.  It took longer than expected, but it was a good report overall.  Her bilirubin number jumped a bit, so she was pretty jaundice, but that can be treated with phototherapy and wouldn't prevent her from returning to the room.  Her weight had dropped a bit and was below 2500 grams (5.5 lbs) so they wanted to do a car seat test before moving her from the NICU.  After rounds they removed her IV and gave her the Hep B vaccine.  Since things took longer than normal her blood sugar was low, but it has been almost 4 hours since eating.  Jimmy changed his first diaper Saturday morning.
We started the car seat test mid afternoon.  They put her in the car seat for 90 minutes and monitor her to make sure her heart rate and oxygen levels don't drop and that she does not experience any breaks in breathing (apnea).  She had an oxygen desaturation about 1 hour in, but they restarted the test after removing the newborn head insert since the U of MN recently released a statement regarding desats and newborn inserts.  We were hopeful she would pass, but got a call about 15 minutes before she should be done that she had desatted again.  I was very discouraged after this, but knew it meant she just wasn't ready yet.
We continued phototherapy through the night, her weight had dropped to 5 lbs 5 oz. and her bilirubin increased by 1.5 points.  The threshold for treatment increases with each day of life, but this was still high.
It was great to see Parker again on Saturday night.  We had taken a little video of Esme while she was being a bit more active and showed it to Parker.  We was giggling while watching it and wanted to see it again.  Siblings are allowed to visit the NICU, but have to be over 5, so he just missed the cut off.  I am not sure we would have brought him in anyway since there are so many machines and noises.
Sunday brought visits from aunts and cousins.  Izzy, Paul, and Emma only got to peek at her through the window, but Grace, Julie, and Tera got to come in and hold her.
She desatted again in the afternoon and had a small incident while we had visitors.  We were surprised since she had been doing so well outside of the car seat.  We would have to wait until the morning to find out how we would proceed.  Jimmy sent home to stay with Parker since he had been with family all weekend.  It was very strange to be in the hospital alone, but I enjoyed the solo snuggles.
The lack of sleep really caught up with me Sunday night.  I literally fell asleep for 30 minutes while pumping.  I made sure that I was very careful every time I fed her to not fall asleep.  I went back for her 4 am feeding, but she had taken a bit more since the last one and wasn't ready yet.  I decided just to sit and wait instead of walking back to my room.  I ended up getting another 90 minutes of sleep, which felt great!  Her bilirubin improved to 10.2 from 11, but her weight dropped a bit more to 5 lbs. 4 oz.  At rounds we discussed the plans for the day since she had some episodes the day before.  Her jaundice improved enough to discontinue photo therapy.  They also decided to redo the car seat test before the 12 hour study since it wouldn't be worth it if she couldn't pass.  Luckily she passed!  I was discharged Monday, but we both got to move to a board in room one floor up.  She was wide away for the move and didn't want to miss a moment!
It was so nice getting to be with her all the time.  She was still hooked up to monitors and all the NICU nurses are paged if any alarm goes off.  We were connected, but also had more privacy than just a curtain.
Her 12 hour study began at 7:45 pm.  It monitors the same things as the hospital, but records any time an alarm sounds.  We had to write downs every time she woke, stirred or was fed or changed.  Any alarms during these time wouldn't count since the leads were sensitive to the quick movements and all babies experience apnea during feedings.
Not having to walk made the night go much smoother as well.  I even got a 2.5 hour stretch of sleep, which was probably the most I'd had since Wednesday night.  I was pretty confident she had passed based on the times and frequency of alarms.  I only got worried once when we couldn't get any readings for a few minutes, but they can back online.
They repeating her hearing test Tuesday morning since her original one was done under phototherapy, which can alter the results.  She passed that as well and we just needed to wait for the results of the study.
Up Next: Esme Comes Home!