Mommy’s sick, baby’s fussy, and the best time to get a little work done is 1:00am when everyone’s asleep.
We seem to be on a bit of a virus roll here, don’t we?
Last week was G’s round of 4-month vaccines, which included an oral dose of the rotavirus vaccine. Apparently the side effects are considered pretty mellow, if any, and can basically be like getting a low-grade version of a rotavirus infection. In other words, more poop. And stinky, explosive poop at that. I have to admit that I’m a bit bummed. While I’ve been accustomed to somewhat explosive poops just due to the boob juice, I’ve also enjoyed the lack of sheer stinkiness. Well, those days are somewhat gone. It’s either the rotavirus, or the sugar in the flavoring that was put in his thrush medication, but something has brought on the occassional somewhat darker, and definitely stinkier (rotten egg… ew) poops. On the plus side, the side effects generally only last a week at the most, and we skipped the whole vomiting part. It could be worse… from what I’ve been told, a full on rotavirus infection sucks. Badly.
Oh, and by the way, the rotavirus vaccine is a live vaccine. Yup, it’s contagious. Who knew? There’s so much joy around here right now.
On a completely random note, I managed a little happy today. Once upon a time, I had a favorite Sony digital camera (DSC-W1) that I loved and adored, and had been through many a trial with me. Unfortunately, It took an alcohol fueled nose dive off a coffee table in a Vegas hotel room last year, and landed lense first. I’ve been wanting to replace it for ever now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. For baby pictures, we’ve resorted to using my Dad’s infamous underwater digital camera. Cool toy, but not my favorite camera. Plus it doesn’t take video. So, on a lark, I bought a used version (that had a couple of minor issues) of my old Sony off eBay for cheap. Thusly, I used a functioning piece of hardware from my old camera, replaced it on the new camera, and used the not-so-dinged-up shell of my old camera, and viola! Frankencam! Since I already had the “pro” memory card, we can record and upload high resolution video of our Peanut on to Flickr.
That is, when I find the original USB cable.
Ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife.
So, G’s 4 month checkup was late this afternoon. While this is normally not a problem, today’s doctor appointment had the potential for doom. The little man was an absolute unholy mess this morning, which is pretty odd for the Peanut. We stayed a little bit later than planned at the grandparent’s place last night, which threw off his routine of being in bed by 9:45-10:00. Plus, he really didn’t get his late afternoon nap yesterday. Add that all up, and you’ve got one riled up baby in the morning. For a moment there, I wasn’t even sure we’d get out of the house today.
Regardless, we made it to the Pediatrician’s office for the appointment that we absent mindedly scheduled for 3:30, which is prime napping time. Doh! We were expecting the worse, but amazingly he went from fussy to absolute sweetheart. Of course, this coincided with his doctor entering the room. Is it possible for a 4-month=old to flirt with his pediatrician? We joked about him liking the older ladies, but I really think his time in the NICU created a monster.
4 months means more shots. Words can not express how much I dread this event. At the two month appointment, they ambushed me with the job oh holding the baby in my arms while they administered the pokings. Perfect. Associate daddy with pain. That’s awesome. Who’s the big jerk here? Perhaps sensing my angst, Mommy volunteered to be the holder. Alas, this nurse was more of the “hold ‘em down on the examination table” type, which actually looked worse. She was darn quick though. 1, 2, 3 jabs done before the little guy finished the world’s longest exhale. Man, he did not like that experience. There just isn’t any getting used to your baby crying in pain. Ugh.
On a positive note, our next appointment isn’t for two months because G’s doing fantastic. His growth is perfect, and he’s just hitting the start of some of the 4-month developmental milestones, despite being born 6 weeks early. He even started hinting at a laugh about 4 days ago.
As silly as it may sound, the most exciting part for us was him actually entering the growth curve. We know that it’s not terribly useful at this point to worry about percentiles and such, as he has another 18 months to play catch-up. So we weren’t too bothered at his 2 month appointment when he didn’t really register on the growth curve chart (also known as “below 3rd percentile” or something like that). This go around, he was at the 10th percentile. This is cool for some dorky reason. When adjusted for his “corrected age”, he falls pretty much square in the middle for head and length, and a little low-ish for weight, however playing the percentile game with preemies and corrected age is a notoriously dicey proposition. The most important thing is that the marks on the chart are going up at a steady and rapid pace. Go, little man, go!
Notice! This is a rambler of a post (like that’s new). Consider yourself warned.
Some moments just fall into the simple category of “good times”. Tonight was one of those moments:
Mommy got home from work and had to head right off to the computer to work on a paper for school. Such are the joys of education for the working adult. This coincides with what is generally a rough day of the week for Baby G and the Stay at Home Dad. Monday’s for some reason tend to be an overall ass kicker of a day for the two of us. My best theory is that it’s an adjustment day from the constant Mommy and Daddy attention during the weekend, to the limitations of a just one parent being home. Things usually tend to smooth themsleves out as the week progresses, with a spike in fussiness on Friday which I’m convinced is due to the intuitive nature of babies. In other words, by the time Friday rolls around, I’m beat and a bit frazzeled, and G can feel it. We tend to feed off each other.
This Monday wasn’t terribly different, but it was a bit lighter in stress. This despite the poop to end all poops. A blowout straight up the back of the diaper, all over the onesie, and yes, all over Daddy’s shorts. I mean, the boob juice has been awesome for our little guy in getting him from a 4 pound preemie to the approximately 12 pound chunky-monkey he is today, but dang those are some messy poops. Anyways, off to the changing pad for a quick clean-up and diaper removal, and then to the bath. But first there was the balancing act that went along with trying not to poop up the changing pad and the baby too much, while discovering that the wipes warmer was down to just one wipe. Poop covered baby (who is grinning wildly at this point) propped up with the left hand, I had to contort my body to get my right hand to the wipes packets that were of course off to the left and down by my feet. So the baby’s changed (or wiped), I run a naked baby across the apartment, quickly change my shorts into a new pair that is promptly splashed on during the bath, and the cleansing begins. Fun!
Yet, despite all that, the day ended perfectly. While Mommy worked on her paper, G and I had a nuanced conversation about football, and how thoroughly the Chargers were shellacking Favre and the Jets. A real father son bonding moment, let me tell you. I don’t care what you say, “Aaaagaawaaaaa!” to me translates to “Go Chargers!”. And to top it all off, I even allowed myself a single beer (or Daddy Juice as we’ve taken to calling it around here).
This was a pleasant change from what’s been a week-long family adventure with the common cold. Either Mommy or G got it first, but eventually we all ended up with a weird little cold that just seemed to linger as we continually passed it around. Mostly a sore throat, and achies that generally left us all feeling pretty crappy for about a week, although my Mommy and G seemed to get the worst of it. G even had his first little fever episode on Friday night, but that quickly worked itself out to being a non-event. Regardless, after passing this nasty little bug back and forth for the last week-plus, it seems we’ve finally killed it and we’re moving on.
On other notes, G turns 4 months today (9/23), which means his 4-month checkup and vaccinations are tomorrow afternoon. We get another chance to measure him, weigh him, and see how he’s doing, though so far our Pediatrician is thrilled. While a bit small for a 4 monther, G’s doing great in relation to his corrected age (subtract 6 weeks). This momentus occasion is really blowing us away here. Honestly, it’s just amazing to us that it’s been 4 months since we started this adventure. It’s really gotten me thinking about our time in hospital, finding out G was coming early, and his time in the NICU. It’s not really a subject we talk about much anymore, and when we do it’s mostly in an abstract sense. I’m not sure if this is because we’re just to tired to deal with that, or if we don’t want to because it was so sobering and such an exhausting rollercoaster, that we don’t want to deal with it. That line of thinking has made me considering a blog post about that period of time, mostly so I don’t forget the details. Then again, maybe I’d prefer to do just that. We’ll see.
Well it seems we’re finally starting to get ahead of our little man’s thrush. After another Dr’s visit, and an upgrade to an anti-fungal that works from the inside-out, it’s fading fast and we’re back to our normal size bottles. Actually, it’s looking like time to kick the bottle amounts up a bit. Another plus was getting a quick weigh in. 11 lbs 9 oz, and we’re not actually up to 4 months yet! It’s amazing to us that in this short amount of time, he’s almost tripled his birth weight of 4 lbs.
I forgot to mention our little visit to the hospital a couple of weeks back. We needed to drop off the hospital grade breast pump that we had been renting for the last couple of months, as a dear friend had assisted us in procuring a personal electric model. After a quick stop at the maternity ward nurses station to drop off the pump, I decided to wheel Peanut by the NICU to show off our handy-work. Our hospital’s NICU has an email address specifically for emailing in pictures of NICU graduates, but they encourage us to stop in now and then with our healthy little bundles. It was a little weird seeing what had been our home away from home again. There’s something about the smell that sticks with you. The nurses were, of course, thrilled to see our growing little man. Many compliments were paid to us on our ability to grow a baby. He slept through most of the visit, although he did sneak in a sleepy little smile when he head the nurses talking. He did love his ladies waiting on him hand and foot.
Along those lines, we’re really starting to get more and more personality from our little guy. He really is turning out to be a happy baby, which is pretty cool considering he kicked my ass for two weeks straight when mommy went back to work. He just loves to smile at people, and is turning it to quite the little charmer. Something to worry about in like 13 years, especially with the little Harrison Ford half smile he’s perfected. He dropped it on his pediatrician when he woke up in the middle of his last Dr’s appointment. Ut oh… all that time in the NICU, and he likes the older ladies. Doh!
I think I’ve found the trick to keeping up on this blogging thing. Mainly, it’s posting during the “upright on my chest to help with reflux/burping” time that follows the midnight feeding. There may be hope for this little blog yet.
As the title hints at, our little dude has a mild case of oral thrush that we’ve been battling for the last couple of weeks now. While it’s a relatively minor case, it’s annoying enough (and resistant enough to the anti-fungal) to warrant another visit to the Pediatrician this morning. We’re also considering trying probiotics as suggested by the Dr. Sears website. In the mean time, it’s been a constant bounce around between full bottles and only taking a couple of ounces before pushing the bottle out with his tongue. And since his mouth itches sometimes, he likes to rub his face on my shirt. It’s cute, in a sad sort of way.
As I mentioned before, having a preemie has meant enjoying milestones as they come, as opposed to worrying too much about a schedule. This is especially true given the preemie tendency to splinter some developmental milestones, or leapfrog ahead of their “corrected” age. Lately we’ve been enjoying the vocalizing. In a week’s time, he’s gone from a few noises to telling entire stories. What’s especially cute is the experimentation with different sounds, and different volumes. The last couple of days have been “loud noises” days. The first couple of sounds even surprised him.
Also, trees have been a bit of an obsession. If we go for walks without the stroller, we have to stop at just about every tree so he can study the leaves and branches up close. He’s also beginning to recognize other babies and kids, and definitely gets excited with the opportunities to meet other little ones.
That about sums up the last couple of days. Now it’s off to bed. We have an early start coming up. Mommy has a meeting at 6:30am, and we have a doctor’s appointment at 9. Busy, busy, busy.
I promised myself I was going to keep up on the blogging after the baby was born. Heh. Right.
Raising out little baby has been an absolute joy. Somewhere in the last few weeks, we trasitioned from the experience of caring for a preemie to just raising a regular little baby. It’s been a combination of growth/weight gain, along with development leaps that have really removed any thoughts of having a baby that was born 6 1/2 weeks early just over 3 months ago. It helps that we have been incrediblly lucky to have such a strong, healthy baby boy. It really drives home the point that we were discharged from the hospital in only 19 days, and that ever baby admitted to the NICU at the same relative time as us were still there when we were leaving.
Along those lines, it seems like that wifey and I both made a totally subconscience decision to give in to the advice that we’ve been given a million times over: Don’t worry about development milestones in relation to “actual” or “corrected” age. Instead, just enjoy the developmental milestones as they come. Let’s face it, it’s just a lot more fun that way anways.
The last couple of weeks have been so much fun. We’ve created a nightly routine of loading up the stroller and taking a family walk around 6:30. Our little Peanut just LOVES it. It really seems to help with his almost frantic need for new input and stimulation. He is fascinating to watch as he takes in the world. Especially trees. He loves trees. And his bear. He’s developed a fondness for new textures, and will smile as soon as we pull out Mr. Bear (we’re too tired to be creative with stuffed animal names) for him to hold on to and play with. He’ll spend the entire walk running his fingers through Mr. Bear’s fur.
Recently, his play time in the Rain Forest mat has really changed. We’ve both commented on how well he entertains himself and interacts with the dangling toys. As a matter of fact, we were both just saying how he looks exactly like what our Goddaughter looked like back in April when we visited for her christening. It’s very comforting in a way.
My new favoritest thing in the whole wild world has been vocalization. From what I understand, most parents of babies can relate to the concept of developmental milestones almost being like a light switch being flipped on. Last Friday, Peanut really started making noises in response to conversation. While there were a ton of smiles, there was definitely a lot of concentration going on. After playing quiet for most of the rest of the day, he slept on the concept over night, and decided that Saturday was going to be talking day. Over the course of just of few days, he went from mostly silent to having a vocalization for just about everything. Sometimes he just makes noises specifically for the purpose of trying new sounds out. I personally can not get enough of it. It’s just amazing.
On a personal note, the Mr. Mom routine has been, well, enlightening. And exhausting. And rewarding. And exhausting. Did I already say that? On the plus side, it’s earned me mad props from the nurses at the Pediatrician’s office. As I’ve already said to a friend, I do look forward to re-entering an office environment and interacting on an adult level with people (one can only talk at a baby and two cats for so long before going a little nutty).
Of course, spending a half hour conversing with our baby while he tells me about all the things he and Mr. Bear are going to do together when they grow up is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
p.s. The hits, or the bills rather, just keep on coming. While we thankfully have insurance that has covered our adventures in the NICU, we still receive statements from Scripps La Jolla and Children’s Hospital, I guess for the purposes of letting us know how much they are billing the insurance for. The total, amazingly, just keeps getting higher and higher. As of this point, we apparently managed to rack up well in excess of $120,000 of medical expenses in our short 19 days in the NICU. Holy. Freaking. Crap.
Before a more formal post, here’s a quick catch-up. Most of you know that we had our baby on May 23rd. Most of you also know that our due date was July 12th. It doesn’t take a lot of math to figure out that our little man was obviously a bit early. As such, he’s spending a bit of time in the NICU, but given his fantastic progress, that stay is looking to be rather short. It helps that he’s been putting on 1-2 ounces per day for the last week.
With that, in order to get back into the swing of blogging things, I thought it would be fun to do a theme-based post. I could write a novel about the last 18 days, so I’m thinking the easiest thing to do is just skip to the present and try to continue posting that way. So, without further ado, I give you:
THINGS I’VE LEARNED SINCE BECOMING A DAD
- Rolling with the punches. Seriously. When you start your morning out normally, and suddenly find yourself rushing your wife to the hospital in pre-term labor, and then end up a dad 30 hours later, you learn to roll with the punches
- MD’s are great, but it’s truly the RN’s that rule the land of the NICU
- Burping. Not as easy as it looks. This is honestly a bit surprising. I never knew that burping a baby was that tricky. Burping a squirming preemie is an adventure all to its own. The moment you think that a 4 1/2 pound baby is a fragile little thing is the moment you lose control of the situation.
- On the subject of controlling the situation: another important lesson is that a 4 1/2 pound preemie can control situations. Who would have thunk it?
- Somewhat related to burping: If you have the calmest, mellowest, least fussiest baby in the NICU, and the nurses repeatedly confirm that fact, avoid at all costs the constant stating of this fact around said baby. They hear you, they understand you, and if the sense that life is too easy on you, they will make you pay. My lack of burping skills combined with some other factor to create a gassy and fussy preemie. Nothing major or detrimental to our little guy, but fussiness and squirming have made clothes and diaper changes an adventure. We’re getting better though.
- Patience. With everything. Myself, my family, my car (A dead battery last week?! Are you effing me?!), everything. Lately it’s the whole “coming home” thing. We’re ever so close to bringing him home. He has to “nipple” all 8 of his feedings each day. We’re at 6.5-7 right now. SO close. Neither of us want him home if he’s not ready. Not one second earlier than he’s supposed to. So, here we sit. One day at a time.
- Sleep is overrated. Between our 3 visits per day to the NICU, and pumpings every 3 hours, we’re being run ragged. Ironically, I’ve been told that we’ll actually get MORE sleep when he comes home. At least we’re on a routine.
- There are times in life when a grown man is allowed to cry.
- Golf is a pain in my ass. The US Open is taking place this week, and goes into full swing starting Thursday. The US Open is expected to attract 40,000 spectators per day. The US Open is off the same exit as the hospital. I really hope we’re discharged before the US Open.
- I don’t know what people without insurance do in times like this. Yeah, we’re in one of the, if not the most, expensive hospital in town. And the NICU is run by a world renowned team. Seriously though, our insurance is paying the costs of roughly $4,000 per day just for the bed. That doesn’t include tests, etc. We’ve been in there 17 days now. Holy freaking crap.
- The Chicco Cortina Travel System with Keyfit car seat system rocks my socks. I’m not shilling or anything, so you can Google it yourself, but it is the coolest. The install in our car took moments using the LATCH system. Click and done. Thanks for the recommendation on that L & J!
- Our friends are simply amazing. As stressful as this has all been for us both, it has been our relationship with each other and the moral support of our friends that has bade this so tolerable. I’ve run out of ways to so thank you to a certain few people. After a while, “thank you” becomes inadequate. I’m not sure that everyone who has been so kind with their gifts and well-wishes understand how much those gestures have meant to us, and how much easier our lives are for it. Suffice to say, we have some cards to get out this week.
Updates have been requested, nay, demanded! How can I argue with that?
Tonight marked our final “Getting Ready for Baby” class. Yesterday was our next to last “Childbirth Preparation” class. We wrap that one up next Tuesday. Yet another indication that we’re on the home stretch and are soon to be parents. Scary times, indeed!
The three weeks of childbirth preparation classes has been pretty cool. The instructor is fun, and the group of couples attending are pretty laid back and nice. We experienced “the video” last week, followed by the c-section video this week. Neither were really that gruesome or disturbing. Although, I think I was only one of two dads who raised their hands when she asked us afterwards if we’re going to “look down there”, if you know what I mean. I guess it’s different for every one. I’m fascinated by this whole process, and it might help me encourage her more if I can let he know how close she is to finishing. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll end up like the person my hair stylist told me about. Apparently one of her recently single female clients ended up divorcing her husband for, amongst other things, completely refusing to have ”relations” with her after witnessing the birth. Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to have that problem.
Another fun aspect of the class has been the breathing and relaxation techniques. The lights are dimmed, the music is chill, and it is really a nice time for us to bond as a couple. I really think that’s more important than ever, especially with all these reminders that our son is on the way, and soon. Every week we go to this class, another pregnant mom’s belly has started dropping. We didn’t think the cute Korean couple sitting next to us was going to make it last night. She was already at 3cm, and showing a few other early labor signs. Amazingly, they were at our baby class tonight.
Mommy’s been riding out this pregnancy very well. It really has been easy on her to this point. Although, she’s now much more tired at the end of the day, and is starting to discover new forms of aches and pains. Doctor appointments are now every two weeks, and we have one last ultrasound scheduled for 36 weeks (4 weeks).
In other news, I’m attempting a career change (right before the baby is due no less) with mixed results. Not really mixed, actually. I think mostly non-existent would be a better term. Such is the life of the San Diego economy.
Finally, this… I can’t really describe how much I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy. It’s an odd feeling, actually. As much as I can’t wait to meet my son, I am really going to miss this time in our lives. I know it’s obvious that you only get to experience on “first” of anything, but there’s something special about a first pregnancy. Our clock is ticking now that we’re at 32 weeks, and I plan on making the most out of the ones we have left before we turn the page and start the next chapter.
One of the funny things that comes along with your first pregnancy (even from the guy’s perspective) is that there seems to be a never-ending supply of odd little occurrences that happen on a day to day basis. Not surprisingly, this has provided a lot of fodder for blogging, even if I haven’t been able to keep up with the posting. Hopefully this will work as a small form of catch-up.
First off, we had our first “Aliens” moment about a week ago. We were relaxing on the couch, watching a little TV. She was using my chest as a pillow, and we were rather peacefully enjoying a bit of time together. Suddenly, her tummy starts taking on a life of its own. A roughly baby-head sized round blob started travelling from one side of her stomach to the other. Then the kicking commenced. As natural an occurrence as pregnancy is, for anyone that’s seen that for the first time, that’s just plain weird looking.
Then there was adventures in baby registries. We’ve gone with Babies R Us for our registry out the the sheer convenience factor of it. Decent selection, lots of locations, website, proximity to us, etc.. We actually started on it a couple of weeks back, which leads us to the title of this particular post. When you start a registry in-store, you are given the run-down on the store layout, the handy checklist of things you should get, a quick lecture on infant car seats, and other expected details, including how to use the “phaser”. The guy giving us the run down was a bit odd, a little hyper, and probably an avid World of Warcraft player.
It was fairly obvious that he had given his set little speech a couple of hundred times already that day, and it was pretty robotic. Until of course he hit what was clearly his favorite part of the conversation. Bodily fluids. No, not baby bodily fluids. My wife’s bodily fluids. It started with his recommendation that we find a mattress pad (something that Babies R Us doesn’t sell) for our bed, lest a broken water episode cause a mattress travesty. Something that we had already considered, but thanks for the advice. Then he moved on t the boobs. We’ll want something washable as her breasts will probably leak while she’s sleeping and we don’t want our bed to smell like sour milk. Dude. Really. He was clearly starting to get excited at this point… For now, we were talking nursing pads. Lots of them apparently. This started the 90 second long list of causes for breasts to leak… baby cries you’re gonna leak, baby giggles you’re gonna leak, baby smiles you’re gonna leak, someone else’s baby cries you’re gonna leak, there’s a baby on TV you’re gonna leak, and on and on and on. The conversation stopped when he it “when you husband looks at you in that certain way”. I guess the way I said “Yeah, we get it” sounded a bit like “You can honestly stop talking about my wife’s breasts now”. It was like I snapped him out of a trance or something.
When we finished up our first round of scanning, we headed up front to turn in our zapper gun and sure enough we caught him right in the middle of his speech to another couple. And despite her instance that she understood all of this as she was a labor and delivery nurse, he still had to go on and on about the water breaking and nursing pads. He was smiling and had this slightly far off look on his face as he described leaky nipples. Basically, if it was fluid coming out of a woman’s woo-hoo or boobies, we was in heaven. Honestly, that’s a little creepy to be working in a Babies R Us.
One closing thought: I’ve really enjoyed my wife being pregnant. Despite the stress and emotional ups and downs, it’s been a pure joy. With just 10 weeks (+/-) left, I honestly have to say that I’m going to miss this experience. I know having a baby is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, but for now, I plan on enjoying every moment we have left with this pregnancy.