Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Super Baby!!

Yesterday was Adele's big 'first bottle' day. I went to visit at 6 and was nervous and excited to see how she'd do with this new challenge. At this point to come home she needs to take all her feedings by breast or bottle, and not have any A/B spells for 7 days, so I hoped that she'd suck on the bottle a little and show some kind of interest in it to give me hope that she'll come home some time before her 1st birthday ;-). Well, as usual she went way beyond what I (and the nurse) expected, and drank her whole 40ml bottle. Then she did it again for Ben this morning, and again this afternoon for me. She's a milk drinking champion!

(All that effort makes her sleepy!)

She's on 3 bottles a day now (out of 8 feedings), and they'll add another one every day or two depending on how she handles it. In addition to this, next week they are going to be doing all the tests and evaluations that I've been told they do prior to discharge, so hopefully we'll be able to take her home in the next couple of weeks! Exciting!

Fiona is also learning all kinds of new things... her new favourite thing is Elmo, and she'll stand by the TV and yell "Ehmo... Ehmo..." until I turn on Sesame Street for her. She also has a little book about Elmo that she likes to carry around with her. Here's a picture of her completely fascinated with watching Elmo on tv...

I tried to get her to smile for me but she was totally distracted and couldn't tear her eyes away from the screen!

So goofy!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Merry Christmas everyone! We didn't have time to post cards this year, so consider this your Christmas greeting. And also, happy new year ;-)

We had a wonderful time over the weekend. Ben's whole family was in town to celebrate and it was lovely to have everyone together. Here's the proof!

Mike is missing because he was at home sick, and Adele is not there, but it's almost everyone. The newest addition is Nate (back row, second from right) - he is Laurie's boyfriend who became her fiance over the weekend. Congratulations you two!!

On Christmas eve we had dinner at Bill and Ginger's followed by the traditional Hamer talent show. This year we had some fabulous talents including musical numbers...

And magic shows, comedy routines, singing, tv shows, and even synchronized swimming demonstrations!

On Christmas day we were surprised to find lots of gifts for Adele at the hospital. She got a toy from a little girl who had spent her first Christmas in special care, and it was a very sweet gift with a nice note.

We all got together at Ben's Grandma's nursing home for Christmas lunch and had the largest table in the room...

Fiona had a lot of fun clomping around in my winter boots...

Then in the afternoon we gathered at Cathy's house to exchange gifts and eat some more food! Fiona got a gift from Grandma and Grandpa that means she'll finally be some more use around the house...

It was a lovely day!

Adele continues to do really well. She's still gaining weight like crazy and is now more than 4 lbs 8oz. Tonight when I visit she'll be given her first ever bottle, so hopefully she'll like it and drink at least a little of it! She gets cuter every day...

I'm really looking forward to when she gets to come home!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Isolette Graduation

Today was a big day for Adele! She passed the 4lb mark, weighing in at 1880g (4lbs, 2.3oz). This was a 105g weight gain from yesterday, which is a lot more than her usual 30g average daily gain. She might weigh a little less tomorrow because 105g is unusual and she probably had to make a big poo or something ;-)

The upshot of this is that she was deemed ready to graduate from the isolette to a regular bassinet! They started to turn down the temperature in her little greenhouse, and I thought it would take a couple of days to make the switch but when I visited tonight the nurse said that after I cuddled with her, she was going into the bassinet instead! Of course, I did not have my camera to record this milestone because the battery was charging, but assuming she manages to maintain her temperature and doesn't have to move back, there will be pictures tomorrow. I dressed her before I left, and she is wearing a long sleeved shirt, pyjamas, socks, a hat and three blankets. Hopefully it's enough :-)

In other news, she is showing more and more interest in breastfeeding, which is great! She had her pulse oximeter removed because she's never had a problem with blood oxygenation, so that's one less wire to worry about. She is only occasionally having spells where the forgets to breathe, and she had another bath, and was less happy with this one...

But liked snuggling with Daddy afterwards...

And after she was all dried off her hair looked fantastic!

Fiona has been excited to meet all of the people visiting for Christmas and had fun at Ryan's birthday dinner this evening running around and playing with her cousins. She has been working on talking some more and yesterday was counting magnets... she only got as far as "two" but I was really impressed! She also likes to do naughty things and laugh at me when I tell her not to... that part is not so fun!

So everything is good. This week is busy because I am far from ready for Christmas on Friday, but we're having fun hanging out and visiting and eating Christmas cookies.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tropical Weekend

You know you live in Minnesota when you look forward to a "warm" weekend of mid 20's (around -4C) temperatures... Towards the end of last week it snowed a lot and got ridiculously cold here, and although we managed to visit Adele we were too busy huddling together for warmth to make a blog update, sorry!

Adele is no longer spending all her time under the phototherapy lights! It's possible that her bilirubin levels might go up again and she'll need to spend a little more time under them, but hopefully not! This means that she can snuggle under blankets and wear pyjamas and have a cover over her isolette so that it's nice and dark inside.

I don't know if she cares about the clothes or blankets, but she definitely prefers dim light.

She's still doing well without the IV and has only had a few spells after the medicine to prevent those was stopped (and hasn't had one in the last couple of days). She occasionally has an unrelated dip in her heartrate - the nurse thinks this is probably due to a little reflux (her food comes back up a little because her digestive system is still immature) and should be something that she'll grow out of.

She's now eating 29mls of milk every 3 hours (30mls is 1oz) and they're probably not going to increase it much more. Breastmilk is about 20 calories/oz and they add a supplement to bulk up the calories and nutrition to 24 calories/oz, which doesn't sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective, she eats 1/10 of the number of calories that a fully grown adult would, and she's only 1/50 of the size!

The last news is that she's still gaining weight! She now weighs 3lbs 6oz! Go Adele!

Fiona is also doing well. She went to a party on Friday with Ben and I and another party on Saturday with Grandma and Grandpa... she's quite the party animal!

Grandma Ginger often uses an earpiece to make phone calls and Fiona is quite interested in this. I found these pictures on the camera this evening that Ben must have taken when I was visiting Adele one evening... (further proof that it was Ben is that her face was not wiped prior to photographing ;-)

And when I got home from the hospital this evening Fiona and Daddy were having a lovely time hanging out and watching Sesame Street...

Awww sweet! I'm looking forward to when Adele can be cuddled up on the other side :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy One Week Birthday!

Adele is officially one week old today, and she's still doing really well! She seems to be handling being without the I.V... she lost a little weight, but they started adding a supplement to her milky meals to boost the calories and nutrition so hopefully tomorrow she'll be a little fatter :-)

She also seems to be doing fine without the stimulants to help prevent the A/B spells... she had one this morning at 6, but when I saw her this evening had not had any all day... let's hope she continues in this way!

To celebrate her one week birthday she got a sponge bath! She did not like it at all! Here she is all snuggled up and warm afterwards.

Fiona hung out with Grandma and Grandpa while I visited Adele. When I picked her up they showed me how she earns her keep while she's there...

Good job Fiona! Tomorrow I'm going to get her working on vacuuming my house!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I.V. Free!

Adele had some changes today! Her I.V. came out (I'm not sure if it came out accidentally or if they were just changing its location) and although they tried to, none of the nurses could get it back in so they decided to just leave it out and see how she does without the extra I.V. nutrition. They'll be adding supplements to her milky feedings, and will keep an eye on her blood sugar and some other things, and hopefully she will be fine and will not have to go back to the I.V.

Another change is that they have discontinued the stimulant medicine to prevent the A/B spells... it was making her heart beat too fast, so they took her off it, and as of this evening she had not had any spells. It takes a few days to be completely out of her system, so time will tell whether they come back or not. Hopefully not!

The last exciting change is that she is still gaining weight! Today she was 1450g/3lb 3.1oz, and has officially passed her birth weight! Good job Adele!!

This evening when I visited she was awake and interested in what was going on...

"Hello Mama!"

After she had her milk she got very sleepy and was happy to settle down for a nap under her suntan lights. Sweet dreams Adele!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gaining weight!

Well, I already failed in my "Adele every day" plan... I forgot to bring the camera to the hospital at lunchtime, and I forgot to bring it again this evening. So I'm renaming the project "Adele every day that I remember and manage to take a photo" ;-). I'm going to try to do better though, I am excited about this project!

She is still doing very well! They are planning to keep her under the phototherapy lights for a couple more days, but hopefully she'll be done soon. They have started to reduce the amount of IV nutrition that she's receiving, and I'm really looking forward to when she doesn't need an IV any more because it looks so uncomfortable in her tiny little body! They are continuing to increase the amount of food she gets and is now eating 12mls every 3 hours. She is continuing to make poo, which is great, and best of all, she has stopped losing weight, and had a big gain! She had dropped down to 1340g on Monday (2lb 15.3oz) and though it is normal to lose some weight after birth (and what they like to see as waste products are passed out) it is also great to see her now beginning to gain it back! Today she was 1420g (3lb, 2.09oz) which is almost her birth weight (1440g/3lb 2.8oz). Go Adele!!

There's not much other news... Fiona is fine, and seems to be readjusting to life with Mama again. She is very interested in electronic devices right now, and loves to play with our old, old camera. Since I didn't take any other pictures today, here's a self portait of Fiona's feet. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday update

Ben is taking Monday and Tuesday off so that I can recuperate, but I accidentally had a lot of things to get done so we had a pretty busy day! Today was the Mommy group holiday party and I knew Fiona would like to see all of her friends so we stopped by to hang out for a while. It was nice to see everyone again, and Fiona had a fun time stealing snacks and playing. After that Fiona went to visit Grandma and Grandpa and Ben and I visited with Adele.

She's still under the lights and her blilrubin levels are dropping, so that's good news!

She's also now up to eating 10mls of milk at a time (through her feeding tube). I found out that they increase the amount by 1ml every 8 hours, not every 3 (that did seem like a lot!) and her tummy is still handling the milk really well.

Daddy changed a diaper, though he lucked out... the one I changed tonight was full of poo... the poo was very good news, pooing is important, it helps move the waste products out of her body and further lower her bilirubin levels, and she had not had one for a few days, but the timing of the poo was not so great ;-)

(diaper change in action)

We brought my camera to try to get some better pictures of her and her tiny little parts (her hands just blow me away, they are impossibly small, and each finger has a perfect little finger nail on the end of it!).

We had a nice snuggle together too...

Skin to skin contact is really good for preemies, and babies in general. They like to be warm and close and to be able to smell their parents smells. Adele loves to snuggle up against Ben and I, she gets calm and either looks around at what's going on or falls asleep. It's a very special time that we get to spend together.

Ahhh cuddles!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Peaceful Sunday

We spent the day today hanging out with Fiona, taking naps, visiting with Adele, and relaxing. It was nice to have a quiet day together. Fiona spent the majority of the day not wearing either her trousers or her shirt and seemed happy with that! She's started to do this super cheesy grin when you point a camera at her, and is makes me laugh every time...

She also found my winter boots in the basement and insisted on wearing them around the house all day...

Here's a video of her clomping around... in the video sesame street is paused on the tv, and Elmo's face is there. Fiona sees the tv, and I think the word she says is "Elmo" then "Dada" to ask Ben to turn it back on. She's trying to talk more and more and it's really cute!

In Adele updates she is still super cute! :-) She has started to have some Apnea, or A/B spells (what our nurses call them) which is very common and affects about 85% of babies born before 34 weeks. She stops breathing and forgets to start again and the nurse has to give her a little nudge to remind her. This morning she had 7 spells, and they started her on a stimulant medication to make her a little more alert to try and avoid her forgetting. It seems to be working because her nurse tonight said she hadn't had any spells since she'd come on shift. Yay Adele! This is something that she'll naturally outgrow as she gets older and her brain is a little more developed.

In more positive news, she's tolerating her feedings really well, and they have started to increase the amount of milk she gets by 1ml each feeding. Hopefully her little tummy will continue to enjoy it!

Tonight when I visited she was in a cute pose under the lights... so here's your Adele photo of the day...

I'm planning to take a photo of her every day to document how much she grows over the first year, you'll be able to see the progression on flickr.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back Home...

Today my doctor released me from the hospital... leaving was very bittersweet. On one hand I was looking forward to seeing Fiona and being home, but leaving Adele there was incredibly difficult. We live really close by though, and will see her often.

This morning we stopped by to see her before we left and she had some serious snuggle time with daddy...

I made her a teeny tiny hat... I'm looking forward to having a collection of outgrown baby hats to mark her getting bigger!

The tube in her nose is where they put real food in. I've been bringing her milk and after it goes in her tummy she gets very sleepy and happy. She sometimes gets to taste it in her mouth, but is not old enough to coordinate swallowing and breathing yet, so mostly it's fed right into her tummy. She also has an IV to get more nutrients and fat into her, which hopefully will not be required for more than a week or two. The velcro circle is how they keep her little sunglasses on.

Fiona had kind of an overtired, cranky day. She was happy to see me once she realised that the tummy was once more up for raspberries, but spent a lot of time whining and crying. I think the confusion and changes have just caught up on her. We had some good cuddles, and I'm sure that she'll be back to her usual happy, demanding self in no time :-) She watched the video of Adele, and really enjoyed seeing it... she kept hitting the space bar to replay it and when she saw Adele's tummy she lifted up her shirt and looked at her own tummy. We'll definitely be making more videos for her!

That's all the excitement for today. We'll keep you posted!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Adele - Day 1!

Adele is one day old, and still doing great! Premature babies usually have some jaundice and need phototherapy, which just means lying under special lights until their bilirubin levels are normal. This means she gets to wear some really awesome accessories!

She gets "cares" every three hours where Ben and I can change her and check her temperature and stuff and we can also hold her around these times. When I visited her this afternoon she was crying and cranky, but when I got to hold her she settled down and went to sleep, so that was really nice! I took a couple of pictures with my other hand...

She's still doing really well. According to the nurses she is 'feisty' and is giving them more hassle than a baby her age normally would, and they seem very happy about this. She's going to be a fighter! :-)

And, like her sister when she was born, she prefers to be naked... she had a cute little outfit on earlier but apparently it was irritating her so they took it back off, so she already knows what she wants and how to get it... just like Fiona. Man, I'm going to have my hands full with these two!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Welcome to the world baby girl!

We are proud and relieved to announce the safe arrival of the newest member of our family. Adele (pronounced ah-dell) Virginia was born a little after 3pm (vaginally) and weighs 3lbs 2.8oz. She is breathing room air without assistance and is currently in the special care area but didn't need to go to the more intensive NICU because she is doing so well. APGARs are scores given to babies given at birth to measure well being. The maximum score is 10 and she got an 8 which is excellent for a her age.

Here are some pictures. There is a video on flickr.

Baby's on the way...

I went into labour this morning. Baby and I are doing fine so far. We're going to wait see how she handles labour rather than going straight to a c-section, and so far she looks good. If she starts looking unhappy we'll get her right out.

And since I'm reminiscing about having babies, here's a picture of super cute brand new Fiona so brighten this post!

We'll try to keep you posted! Wish us luck :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bedrest day 5

We're still here! Good job baby!

Things are much the same... baby is looking good on the monitor, and no contractions to speak of. I can really feel her when she moves because of the lack of cushion, it's like a big bag of elbows squirming around in there, but I'm happy she's still in there, so it's ok I guess... :-)

Since there's nothing new to report baby wise, I'll tell you about the wonderful visit I had this evening... two of the awesome ladies from the Mommy group that Fiona and I are members of came by and in addition to entertaining me also brought a big basket full of fun! They put together a basket of really thoughtful and useful items that I'm looking forward to using! Here are some of my favourite things...

Christmas ornaments to decorate myself to brighten the room!

Socks that are not brown and hospital themed...

And Sara made this wonderful little picture of Fiona to keep around... this is great because every time a new nurse comes on I make them wait for me to pull up pictures on my computer to show them, so this will save them some time ;-) I love it!

Thanks for all the wonderful gifts and the fun visit you guys!!

For today's featured menu item I think we'll go with breakfast. My lunch and dinner was good, but for breakfast I forgot to ask for milk to go with my raisin bran so I just mixed it in with my yogurt instead. I could have called them for milk, but I was hungry and didn't want to wait so I went with it!

Presentation: 2/5 - Looks a bit strange, like Fiona invented it...

Taste: 3/5 - It was definitely edible, but probably not a flavour you'd go looking for...

Repeatability: 2/5 - I wouldn't specifically order raisin bran with yogurt again, but it was interesting! If I get really tired of the other food, who knows...

Total score: 7/15. Not bad for such a bizarre breakfast :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bedrest day 4

We're still here! Happy December eveyone!

Here's today's run-down...

My regular doctor stopped by this morning to chat about things. She said that 34 weeks is as long as she is comfortable letting me go to balance the risk of infection with the benefit of further gestation, but it's not very likely that baby will stick around in there that long. 34 weeks exactly would be Monday December 27th.

She looked great on the monitoring that was done this morning - heartate good, hardly any contractions. I'm hooked up again right now, and she's squirming all over the place trying to get away from the monitor, so she's definitely still in there :-)

Fiona and Ben came to visit, and we were able to hang out at McDonalds and have chocolate sundaes for dinner. Fiona liked the ice cream, but wasn't particularly bothered that I was there. It was nice to see her though! Her hair is longer and she seems older already! I forgot to bring the camera down, so there's no picture, sorry!

All in all, nothing much to report, which is good. And since one of the more exciting parts of my day here is getting to order food, I thought for your entertainment I should start including some hospital food reviews!

They have a pretty good menu, so I choose what I like, then call, and they bring it up to me... today's featured item

Lunch: Cheese and salad sandwich. I don't eat meat, so I thought I'd try just cheese, and this is what I got...

Scores out of 5:

Presentation: 4.-the cheese looks a little crusty, but someone really tried to artfully arrange those tomatoes and the whole thing looked much better with the top on!

Taste: 4. it looks a bit dodgy, but I added some mayo and it was actually pretty good!

Repeatability: 5. Fairly healthy, tasted good, and was small enough to also be able to justify eating a brownie with it. Excellent overall score of 13/15. Winner!

That's all for today... stay tuned for tomorrow's feature :-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bedrest day 3

Well, we made it through another day! This morning at 5am they stopped giving me the drugs to prevent contractions, and I'm happy to report that all has been quiet since then.

I was also moved from the "wait and see" area into the "long term care" area, and was given permission to shower. Ahhhhh heavenly! People no longer make the nose wrinkle face when they get too close! If you'd like the phone number for my new room, let me know.

Baby was monitored a couple of times today and did great, her heartbeat looks really good. I'll also be getting biophysical profiles twice a week to get a more in depth look at exactly what's going on in there. They score it out of 8, and she scored 6 which is considered to be a pass, particularly because the part she did not score perfectly on is not considered to be as important. She passed on the amount of amniotic fluid left, which was very reassuring, despite the fact that we were able to see her bladder empty during the ultrasound, and then witness the resulting gush from me, resulting in a bed change... gross, but kind of fascinating also!

A representative from the NICU also stopped by and explained some more about what will happen when baby 2 decides to make her appearance and what to expect immediately after her birth. She mostly reinforced the message that by 30 weeks the most risky time has past and outcomes are very good, and babies usually just need help eating, breathing, and regulating their temperature at first. It was nice to talk with her, and I feel better knowing exactly what to expect when she's born.

Fiona is still doing fine, Grandpa Bill sent me some pictures this morning of her having fun with megablocks, so I at least have some cute pictures for your entertainment this evening...

Just look at that girl stacking blocks!

The last exciting thing is that I was also given permission to have one wheelchair trip a day, so tomorrow I might be able to meet Fiona in the lobby/McDonalds area downstairs (the only part of the hospital she is allowed to come into) for a quick visit.

Thanks for all the emails and calls and well wishes, we really appreciate them!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bedrest day 2...

We have nothing new to report on the baby 2 front... she's still hanging out in there. Her heartrate is great, and she seems happy. She's probably just relieved that she doesn't have her big sister squishing her and using her as a snack table any more...

I don't even have to be monitored all the time any more, which makes it easier to get to the bathroom as there is only 1 thing to unplug instead of 3, and less chance of me tripping over my cords getting there.

Ben's parents visited tonight and gave me the Fiona update... she's doing just fine, coping very well without me, which is great. She's having fun building towers of blocks, making herself laugh, demanding things, and playing with bells and toys. It's only been 2 days but I heard about her doing things I've never seen her do before, so that's exciting. It was nice to hear that she's happy and having a good time. I think Grandma and Grandpa are probably going to need a good night's sleep tonight though :-)

And just to prove how clever my little girl is, here's a picture of her trying to eat a rock...

It tasted so good, she'd like to share...

Thanks Fiona.