Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fisher Grows! 6 Months


Fisher: You are 6 months old! I can not believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant, dreaming about you! You really do make our lives have so much purpose. No matter what we deal with at work or with friends, we come home to you and all is perfect in our world. You have been an absolute joy to have these past 6 months - and we are just getting started. I love your fiery personality, your smiles, the way you talk to me when we are on the way home from school, the way you carry on a conversation with Daddy, I love everything about you. You truly are the best part of me and I love watching you grow! We love you more than we could ever tell you : )

- Weighing about 15 pounds! You are getting SO big!
- 3-6 month clothes and a Size 2 diaper
- Sleeping 10-11 hours most nights
- Eating 5 oz every 3 hours- Moved from the sink to the infant tub (in the big tub)!
- Started eating cereal for breakfast as well as dinner
- You would get SO upset when everyone at school was eating lunch, so they started giving you cereal at lunch time too : )
- You spent the first night away! YaYa picked you up from school and you spent the night with her and PawPaw - you had so much fun but were so happy to see mommy and daddy the next day! We missed you SO much - the house just was not the same without you!
- First time you slept until 8:00 am!
- You held yourself in a Tri-Pod!
- Took a ride in your play car and LOVED it! You held onto the steering wheel and even grabbed for the keys : )
- You wake up SO happy! Mornings are my favorite with you.
- You love to watch Handy Manny in the mornings!
- We still rock you to sleep every night, and I LOVE that time with you.
- Your favorite toys are the worm rattle and the crinkly ABC book : )

Watching the parade
 Helping Daddy mow the yard : )

Fisher Grows! 5 Months


Fisher: Time is flying! You are growing up so fast and changing every day. You are very definite about what and who you want. I love to see your independence, and then the need to cuddle with us right after. I love our mornings together. You wake up in such a sweet mood. You love going to school and have found your first girlfriend - you stare at her all day : ) I love being your mommy and am so proud of you.

- Eating 4-5 oz every 3 hours
- 0-3 month clothes, but SUPER close to 3-6 month!
- Size 1 diapers
- You started on cereal! You cried the first night, but got the hang of it quick and were gobbling it up by night two! Even started grabbing the spoon from us!
- First time you held on to and shook a rattle : ) Made us SO proud!
- We finally decided you had to get OUT of the swaddle (with some pushing from PawPaw)! We took it off on Friday night - rough night - you were up and down. But you slept all the way through the night on Saturday! Good job buddy! We have been swaddle free ever since!
- You were dedicated at church : )
- CRACKED up this month! You have mommy's laugh : )
- Rolled from your back to tummy! But have since stopped - you realized that you end up on your tummy, and you hate tummy time!
- LOVE going to school! So happy when we walk in!
- We started letting you fuss a little in the mornings when you woke up too early (no tears, just yelling - I'm not into the cry it out method!). The first morning you fussed until we went in, but by the third morning you were playing quietly in your crib until we came in to get you.
- Grabbing and reaching for toys! Favorites are the dumbbell rattle and owl lovie : )
- You roll over to sleep on your side every night!
- You move ALL over the crib at night time! You love to spin in circles!
- Talking ALL the time - and love to be talked to!
- Always smiling : ) You love attention!
- No longer fussy at diaper or clothes changings!
- Drooling a lot
- Had a little ER visit - you had a tummy bug mixed with a cold

Going for a walk in my stroller!
Helping Auntie grade papers

Fisher Grows! 4 Months


Fisher: Are you really 4 months old?! I am such a mixture of emotions right now. I am so excited to see what new trick you will do next, and at the same time, I am so sad you are growing up SO fast! Your smiles light up our days so much! We can have the worst day ever and come home, see you smile, and all is well in the world. I had to go back to work when you were 16 weeks old. It was a hard thing to do, but I know it is what's best for you. I absolutely loved having you at home with me, but I knew you needed more stimulation and interaction with other babies. You LOVE going to school! We did hit the "4 month hiccup" with the whole sleeping situation. You enjoy waking up every night wanting to sleep with mommy. I give in every time - not sure if it's because I am exhausted or because I just crave the cuddle time with you. We are so proud of you baby boy and love you so much!

- 0-3 month clothes and a Size 1 diaper
- Sleeping 8-10 hours most nights, but waking up most nights wanting to sleep with mommy (of course I give in!)
- Eating 4 oz every 3-4 hours
- Weighing about 12 pounds!
- Mommy had to go back to work this month - you were 16 weeks old. It was a hard first week (for me) but you LOVE going to school : )
- You are officially a supported sitter!
- Giggling and cooing all the time
- Constantly smiling : ) We have a happy little man!
- Still love to look at the ceiling fan
- Strong grasp on fingers and mommy's hair
- You like toys that make noise, but do not grab for them yet
- LOVE to snuggle and sleep on our chests
- We have a great morning routine! You wake up about 6:30, eat your breakfast, watch Special Agent Oso, watch mommy get dressed (laughing at me), you get dressed, take a cat nap on the way to school, and wake up so happy : ) Ready for your day!

Morning before going back to work and going to school
 All dressed and ready for my first day of school!
LOVE bath time!
SO tired from playing at school all day!
Words can not express how much I love this face. 
Day 1 of cereal = FAIL

Fisher Grows! 3 Months

Fisher: I can not get over how much you have grown! You are becoming such a little man and we love every second of it! You are just so amazing - you look at us and we know that you recognize us as mommy and daddy. There is not a better feeling in the world! This month you stopped nursing. I had a hard time with it, but am getting used to things. Again, you are proving to me that I can not control everything. I desperately wanted to nurse for the first year, but after I got so sick having you, it was just not in the cards for me. We met with lactation consultants, and you had the perfect latch - perfectly willing to nurse. I just could not get milk in for you. I am accepting things and know that you will still be perfectly healthy. You are a truly happy baby and you make every day have meaning. We loved our 1st Christmas as a little family! You made it so special! We are so proud of you and love you so much : )

- Eating 3.5 to 4 oz every 3-4 hours during the day
- No more nursing : ( - Something I will learn to cope with.
- Sleeping 8 hours straight most nights!
- Rolled from tummy to back : )
- Smiles all the time!
- You love to giggle and hear your voice
- Cooing a lot
- Liking tummy time a little more
- Very good head control
- Tons of eye contact
- LOVE to stare at ceiling fans!
- Not very in to playing with toys
- You love to pull mommy's hair
- Strong grip on our fingers
- HATES to be burped! You try to stand and throw yourself back!
- Definitely a mommy's boy : )
- Mostly in Newborn clothes, but in some 0-3!
- Size 1 diapers - getting so big!
- Weighing about 9-10 pounds
- Wakes up so happy and smiling : ) Makes my heart so happy!
- Starting to watch some cartoons - anything bilingual is best! Love Handy Manny!
- Napping usually twice a day - but napping is not cool so you fight it with all you have.
- Sitting in the Bumbo some
- Love to be held in the sitting position - like a big boy : )
- Recognizes close family members
- Flirts with dark headed girls - smiles and acts shy!
- Love to be sang to and for Auntie to read books to you - especially the Pirate Book
- Moved to the big boy crib on January 3rd - a hard night for mommy! No more bassinet...
- Love your nighttime routine - Bath, Dinner, Story, Bed : )

 Merry Christmas!
 You can't see it, but it was SNOWING! (little flurries that melted before landing : )

Fisher Grows! 2 Months


Fisher: What a month this has been! I am loving that I get to stay at home with you during this precious time! Daddy and I have enjoyed getting to know you so well. You are quite the spunky little man. You are a great sleeper and eater - which we are so thankful for. You had a great 1st Thanksgiving and watched us eat lots of food - you will be able to next year! You went to your 1st Festival of Lights! You were such an angel and slept through all of the boys yelling at the football game on TV. You went to see Santa and attended your 1st Moore Family White Elephant party! We love you more than you will ever know : )
- Eating 2 to 3 oz every 3-4 hours during the day
- Sleeping 6 hours straight on most nights
- Still in mostly Premie clothes, but some Newborn!
- Newborn diapers
- Weighing about 8 pounds
- Starting to make eye contact
- Loves to coo
- You hate to have your clothes and your diaper changed
- Can hold your head up during tummy time
- You HATE tummy time on the playmat
- Good grasp on our fingers
- Love to be held and rocked
- Napping regularly
- Still nursing some - just not a great milk supply

I can hold my own bottle!
 First Christmas tree!
 Festival of Lights
 One of many attempts of a family Christmas picture.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fisher Grows! 1 Month


Fisher: Words can not express how much I love you. In just one short (exciting, dramatic) month you have completely changed our lives. Everyone told me that a baby would change everything, but I ignored them thinking I could control everything. You proved me wrong. I have realized I can't control anything - well, most things : ) You have changed the way we view the world, relationships, friendships - and our priorities were quickly put into perspective. We love you so much and have enjoyed every minute with you.

- Eating about 2 oz every four hours - day and night
- Nursing some - Still trying to get milk in
- Weighing between 6 and 7 pounds
- Sleeping ALL the time - But that means you are growing big and strong : )
- Wearing Premie clothes
- Newborn diapers
- We were in NICU for 9 days because you couldn't wait to meet us : )
- We were in Peds for 4 days for your milk protein allergy
- Lifting your head during tummy time
- Love to be held - all the time - its ok, because we love it too! ALL I want to do it hold you : )
- Learned to fake burp so you could get more food quicker : )

I will not take a nap!
A typical evening in our home : )
 Refusing the photo shoot that Mommy so desperately wanted!

 Daddy - is this okay?!
 Already sucking my thumb!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life Begins. Part Three.

The next two days are a bit of a blur. I was still on quite a bit of medicine, and getting nauseous all the time. When I woke up Tuesday, October 12th, my new nurse came in and tells me it is time to go see my baby. The first attempt at getting up and in the wheelchair is a fail. I was the weakest I have ever been - It took three people to help me from the bed to the wheelchair. My blood platelets had dropped even lower - around 60 I believe - and I sat in the wheelchair for 10 seconds before turning completely white and almost throwing up again. Back in the bed I went. The nurse gave me some nausea medicine through my IV (no idea what it is, but best stuff ever) and after waiting a while, I was able to make it in the wheelchair and, somehow, down to NICU 3. I could not stand up or hold him yet, but I could just be there - looking at my innocent, helpless baby. He had IV's, oxygen tubes, feeding tubes, and monitors everywhere. I was quickly getting sick and was not able to stay long, but I savored every second of being with my baby.

Later in the day, I was able to be transferred to the recovery suites. I was beyond exhausted and slept most of the day - while Tanner made his trips up and down the elevator visiting with Fisher and me. Tuesday night was filled with visitors - although I was very out of it and probably not as social as usual, the outpouring of love kept me going. I could tell everyone was trying to be careful with what was said since I was in a delicate situation, and I think I did a great job of masking the pain I was feeling - physically and emotionally. Tanner was in NICU all the time with Fisher and took tons of pictures of him for me to see.

On Wednesday, I pushed myself and was able to get in the wheelchair and Tanner took me to visit Fisher again. This is the first time I was able to hold this baby I had spent 9 months growing - when he was 2 days old. He knew instantly I was his mommy and I knew instantly that I was in love. I know I cried the entire time, but it is a moment in my life I will never forget. Even though he was not even 6 pounds, I was still in quite a bit of pain and was only able to hold him for a few moments. Then, it was Tanner's turn. This is a moment that reinforces I have the most amazing husband - he waited to hold his son until after I was able to hold him first. After talking with the NICU nurse, we made the decision that Tanner and I would be the only ones allowed to hold Fisher. The more rest he got, the quicker he would grow. His wonderful grandparents understood, and continued to visit him constantly - talking and singing to him.

Wednesday evening is also the first day I was able to go for a mini walk. My dad was really pushing me to get moving - he was worried I would get weaker if I kept lying there. So, when I was having a period where I felt well enough to get myself up - off we went. It was quite the production. Tanner pushed the wheelchair over to me, helped me up, and I walked behind the wheelchair pushing it for support - hunch back and all moving at the speed of a 98 year old. We did not make it very far - just outside of our room actually. I would go back to bed and rest for a while and off we would go again. It did not take me long to be able to make it to the end of the hall and back.

 Our first picture as a family

By Thursday I was moving around and feeling noticeably better. I had my whits about me again - a good thing and a very bad thing. I was getting better and officially did not require a blood transfusion, my blood pressure was still high, but much lower than before. We went to see Fisher a few times and I was able to give him his bottle (first time) and hold him for a while. I moved to the recliner and had my first skin to skin time with him - something we both desperately needed.

The nurses told us they would be bathing Fisher later that day, so we found out what time and went back down to watch him get a bath. Since we were there (and I was not able to stand for that long), the nurses made Tanner give him his bath! It was so great to see and Tanner got some great practice! It's hard enough to bath a squirmy baby - imagine bathing one with tubes and wires going everywhere! Then it was time to put on a diaper and get him dressed - that part was a little tricky and Tanner looked quite confused! The nurses were wonderful and walked him through the entire thing - including where to put which wires.

The guilt I was feeling was quickly growing out of control. I felt guilty for having him early, he was not ready and it was my fault. I felt guilty that he was lying in NICU all alone and I couldn't be there for him like a mother should. The thought of my tiny baby boy alone the night he was born was killing me. I was terrified of what was happening to him - of what he was having to deal with as a newborn. Everything I had planned and hoped for had gone wrong. I could not have a natural delivery, I did not get immediate skin to skin contact, and I was not able to nurse - all I could do was pump every 2 hours, religiously.

These are times when I love my family more than ever. Tanner never left my side. Every single morning at 7:30, my dad was there to visit with me and then to sit with Fisher for a while. Then my mom would come spend the day organizing my room and catering to my every need while also making her visits to sing to Fisher. Then my sister and brother in law would come to hangout with us and watch movies. Even though they were not able to see Fisher, they were present. And I needed that more than they will ever know. I have an amazing family.

Along with respiratory distress, Fisher also had jaundice requiring phototherapy, 2 heart murmurs, pneumonia and hypoglycemia - to name a few. By the grace of God - he was actually in much better shape than the original evaluation and would not require a blood transfusion. He was improving everyday and was slowly getting tubes removed and his oxygen lowered. He was even able to be moved to an open air crib. He passed the hearing test as well as the car seat test (premature babies have to sit in a car seat for a while - maybe an hour - to make sure their lungs are strong enough for the ride). God is so good - faithful and strong. Fisher is an amazingly strong little boy and proved it to me more each day. I was still healing and was not able to be in NICU as much as Tanner, so he would bring me things - like his first bottle and a clean diaper. I held onto these two things like there was no tomorrow - actually, I still have them in his keepsake box.

Friday I was finally well enough and my levels had balanced enough to be discharged. I was allowed to stay for nesting, but I had started to enter depression and decided (with the help of Tanner and my dad) that I needed to get out of the hospital. I was quickly entering the darkest stage of my life and I need to be pulled out of it. But, I could not possibly bring myself to go home. Our house was waiting for Fisher, and I was not able to bring him there. So, we stayed with my parents. Words can not describe how wonderful my parents were during this time. I still needed help showering, getting in and out of bed, and getting dressed. I cried non stop. I blamed myself for everything. I could not understand how to go on without Fisher safely in my belly. I felt so alone - I had a constant companion for 9 months and I felt like he was taken away from me.

Everyday, I woke up and went to see Fisher with Tanner in the morning. Then my mom would take me in the afternoon. Then Tanner would take me again in the evening. We would feed him, give him his baths, do anything we could just to be present for him. He was improving every day - and starting to show that fiery personality he still has. His roommate in NICU 3 was a baby boy born at 27 weeks. This family had a long road ahead of them and it made me realize that no matter how destroyed we were, someone else is dealing with a greater burden. And just to prove yet again how faithful our God is - this mother had an emergency c-section at 27 weeks due to pre-eclampsia. Her blood pressure at the time of her delivery was what mine was on the day I was discharged. I can ask a thousand times why this had to happen to me, but then all I can do is praise God that it happened so late in my pregnancy. On Monday, when he was one week old, he was moved to NICU 2 - the less critical, about to go home unit! Such a blessing. Our little soldier was going to be okay. Also, he was finally taken off oxygen - well, he actually kept pulling it out, and that is a sign they are ready to breathe independently. Monday was also the first day I was able to nurse. My little boy latched right on - something I was thrilled about since he was started on a feeding tube and then a bottle.

On Tuesday, we were told that we should nest in the NICU area that night because our little boy would be going home on Wednesday. Best. Day. Ever.

We went straight to my parent's house to pack and get dressed to go get our boy. Then fear set in. How would I take care of this little baby? Would I know what to do? Would he love me? Would he resent me for having him early and not having that immediate bonding time? My family assured me that I would know exactly what to do and that Fisher was going to love me with everything he had. I left my parents house, crying, ready to go spend the first night with my baby - at 9 days old.

We arrived at NICU that evening and were shown to our little room (a pull out sofa and TV) and were given Fisher. I will never forget the feeling we had when the nurse walked out of our room and, for the first time, it was just the three of us. We knew right away we had the best baby we could have hoped for and that everything was going to be just fine. We had each other and that is all that we would need. The night went on without a hitch and, just like my mom told me, I knew exactly what my baby needed.

 No more wires or tubes!

On Wednesday morning, October 20th, we woke up and could not contain the excitement! We were taking our baby HOME. We went for lunch and then attended the NICU discharge class - very informative. Then we met with Dr. T who went over all we would need to know. We were given his vitamins and paperwork that has to go everywhere Fisher goes. If anything ever were to happen, we would show this paperwork - I guess since he was premie, they need to know certain things about his birth. They made our follow up appointment with our Pediatrician and also an appointment with his cardiologist to check the murmurs.

It was finally time to go home. NICU has the most amazing nurses I have ever encountered. I was finally able to put Fisher in his going home outfit (they are not allowed any outside clothes while in NICU, so this was his first time in his own clothing) and then one of the nurses walked me to ring the Lullaby bell. This was a special moment for me. I cried every time I heard the bell go off, because I had not been able to ring it for Fisher. I finally got the chance to announce that he was here and healthy - at 9 days old. My baby was going home. We took several pictures, including some with his nurses, and said our goodbyes. His nurse escorted us down to our car and made sure Fisher was safely tucked in his car seat. These nurses get very attached to the babies, so they were proud and sad all at once saying goodbye to a baby they helped nurture - a few tears were shed.

We were off. Tanner drove - the most scared he has ever been driving - and I rode in the back seat so I could stare at Fisher the whole way. When we got home, my mom was there waiting for us. She had been grocery shopping and decorated the house for our homecoming. My dad arrived shortly after and we were all able to share and enjoy their first time holding sweet Fisher. It was such a special moment that I know none of us will ever forget. My sister and brother in law came over later that evening and met Fisher for the first time. They were immediately over the moon.

 The next week was amazing. We went to his first check up with Dr. K on Thursday morning (side note: never have an 8:00 am appointment the morning after you bring your first child home) and he met his Great-Grandma and Aunt. He spent time with his YaYa, PawPaw, Auntie and Uncle. We spent every second with our little boy - making up for lost time.

 First bath at home
Whatcha thinkin about?

Tanner was starting a new job, and had to go to work the Monday after we got home. He had a total of 2 weeks off - thank goodness. God is amazing with his perfect timing. Tanner had applied for and just gotten a great new job. He gave his 2 weeks on Friday, I had Fisher that Monday, and Tanner had to take his 2 weeks notice as vacation! My mom came over every day the first week I was home alone with Fisher. She did my laundry, dishes, and all the cleaning - I could not have made it without her.

Mom took us to the cardiologist appointment where the doctor (actually it was my doctor from when I was little because I also have a heart murmur) checked out Fisher and noted that his 2 murmurs are innocent and should be nothing to worry about. However, he did mention that since my first child has a "heart defect" that the chances of my second child having one is greater - but still extremely low. Still coming from a difficult situation, I took the news hard.

Since I was a c-section patient, I had to go see my OB for a 2 week follow up. Mom also took us to this appointment. I was healing great and my blood pressure was getting closer to normal. The doctor did warn me that I would be considered high risk on my next pregnancy, and since I had HELLP with my first that my chances of having it again with a second pregnancy would be higher - but still extremely low. And there are no preventative measures or treatments. Again, I took the news hard. But slowly, I started pulling things together. I could not change anything by worrying about the future - all I could do was take care of the precious baby I had right then.

Thursday, October 28th, my mom was with me in the afternoon and I noticed there was some blood in Fisher's stool. I called the Pediatrician and was told that a very small amount of blood in newborn stool can be normal, but if there is more then I need to call back. Tanner had a funeral that night, so he was going to be home late, but I didn't want my mom driving home too late - so I told her to head on and I would be fine. About 5:30 I went to change Fisher's diaper and it was nothing but bloody stool. I called the after hours service for my Pediatrician and was called back within 30 minutes. The nurse got all the information and then called the doctor. She called me right back and told me I needed to get to the hospital immediately - that the doctor already had a room waiting for me.

Great. I was home alone (and Tanner's phone was on silent since he was at a funeral) and I had not lifted the car seat or driven since my c-section. Usually I am a disaster when trouble arises, but something came over me and I did what I needed to do. I gathered Fisher's diaper bag, tucked him safely in his car seat and off we went. On the way, I talked to my mom, dad, and sister - everyone (but Tanner) knew what was happening and were ready to be wherever they needed to be. Finally, Tanner sees that I have called 100 times and called me back - now he is freaking out and rushing to the hospital. We have a lovely little chat about not caring where you are - to ALWAYS answer your phone.

As promised, when we arrive, we walk right in and are escorted to our room in the pediatric unit. Dr. E was on call and quickly came in to evaluate Fisher. He needed to take a few samples and have an IV put in to administer antibiotics - they were concerned it might be a virus such as salmonella. However, it being a virus was worst case scenario - Dr. E was fairly sure it was an allergy. He told us we would be in the hospital for a few days because the cultures needed time to show any growth.

My parents went to our house to grab us some clothes and to pick up the dog. While we were waiting for them to get there, it was time for Fisher to get an IV put in - since his veins were so tiny, the best source they could get was the side of his head. It was horrible. My heart was completely broken - this little boy had been through enough.

Again - peace that passes all understanding - we make it through. We were in the hospital until Monday, November 1st. Thankfully, all Fisher had was a milk protein allergy and I had to go on a dairy free diet and we would give him hypoallergenic formula. Since we were in peds during Halloween, there was quite a bit going on and several groups stopped by for a visit - including the Chick-fil-a cow and scarecrow : )

Looking back, I can not believe we made it through all of this! It's like I entered my favorite month of the year, and woke up and it was November. Happy note - I had an October baby! Not quite like I envisioned, but October nonetheless. I am thrilled to report that we have had just amazing times since our first challenging month. Of course there are typical bumps in the road, but that it life. And it's a beautiful life. God has smiled on us and blessed our family beyond comprehension. I learned more in the month of October than I ever thought possible - mostly I learned that I am strong.

Life begins.