Tuesday, January 22, 2013

6 Months Old!

Caleb is six months old today! It's amazing how fast time has flown, and how lucky we really are to be here today. I can hardly believe it. And so, this seems the perfect time to tell about how that day went down for us.

Six months ago, today, I went to church with my mom and sister who were in town because it was the weekend of my baby shower (I was seven months pregnant). As we were leaving, I got the sensation that I was peeing myself on the church steps. By the time I got home, I knew the large amount of fluid that I was sitting in in my car wasn't pee. I called the midwife on call, and she sent me to the hospital. Since I was 32 weeks, there wouldn't have been anything she could have done for me. On our way to the hospital, contractions started, and were immediately 3 minutes apart, lasting 30-45 seconds. I fully expected that we were going to be checked in, given drugs to stop labor and mature his lungs, and then we would have an early baby within 24-48 hours. I was partially right. When we arrived at the hospital, RB dropped me off at the door and I headed up to L&D. I was walking a bit slowly, but the contractions weren't so bad that I needed a wheelchair or anything. When I got to the intake desk, I mentioned that I was 32 weeks and my water had broken. The nurse started to gather paperwork for me to fill out. And then I mentioned that I was having contractions 3 minutes apart, and suddenly I was pointed to a room to be checked out.

The first check of my cervix occurred shortly thereafter -- about 2 hours after the first signs of my water breaking. I was already 7cm dilated. At this point, I kinda freaked. I knew they couldn't stop labor beyond a couple of centimeters of dilation, and I knew that a 32-weekers lungs aren't ready for the outside world, and that steroids usually need at least 24 hours to work well. I knew I didn't have 24 hours. I don't think that it helped that all the personnel started freaking and bustling a lot more, too. Within 30 minutes, I had given them as much history as I could between contractions (I wasn't supposed to deliver at this hospital, so they didn't have any paperwork on me), signed lots of stuff, and the OB on call was in the room starting to say things like, "We are about to have a baby!" and "We need a lot more people in here right now!" Ten minutes later, I was pushing. Three pushes, and we had a baby! He did cry, but it was pretty wimpy. His apgar scores were low (5 and 7), but they let me see and hold him for about two minutes before they whisked him off to the NICU.

And so, Caleb joined us on the outside on July 22, 2012, at 1:30 in the afternoon, just 3 hours after I left church that morning thinking I peed myself. My mom, my sister, and RB's mom were all still in town from the shower having been the day before. They didn't get to see him that day, though, so they all went home. RB and I got to see him in the NICU for the first time about 5:30 in the evening. He wasn't as little as I expected (turns out gestational diabetes is good for something!), at 4 pounds 6 ounces, but he had so much attached to his little head there was no way to know what he looked like. The only thing I knew was that he was pink and breathing. The rest, I figured, we'd get to eventually. Here is Caleb the first time we visited him in the NICU:

Now, he's a happy, (mostly, ignoring the aforementioned cough) healthy 6-month-old (4 months old, adjusted), whose favorite things include being held by mommy, being held by daddy, being held by a random stranger, eating his hands, and sticking out his tongue.

So happy you're here, little man!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gotta Run!

I used to run quite a bit. I started out liking triathlons, and realizing that I needed to train so that the run at the end of each race didn't kick my rear so badly. So, I got this book (yes, really -- with the old '70's-style running shorts on the cover and everything), read up on the psychology of training and how to avoid injury, and started running. I trained for a half-marathon, and started to train for a full one. I didn't end up doing the marathon (something about the flu for two weeks about a month before the race that made me feel I just couldn't do it), but getting out on those long runs made me start to enjoy the time by myself and the fun little adrenaline high that runners get about 30-40 minutes into the run.

And then I got kicked out of my house, moved back to Texas, rented that converted garage bedroom from that weird couple, finalized my divorce, started dating RB, bought a house, and had Caleb, among other things and not necessarily in this order. And something about all that change in a very short period of time got me completely out of the habit. I miss it.

So, I signed up for a 10-mile race in April. I put together a training plan, so that it wouldn't be too crazy to be ready to go for the race. I followed that plan really well for two weeks.

And then I fell off the wagon again.

I still have plenty of time to be ready, but I really miss all the other benefits -- deeper sleep, a more focused mind, a little less tummy-poochiness, etc. I have a ton of excuses (Caleb still doesn't sleep for long periods at night and I'm TIRED, there's no time to cook a good dinner after getting back from a post-work run, there's no time to run in the mornings before work with everything that has to be done to get Caleb out the door, it's been so cold for so long, etc.), but that's all they are....excuses.

So, I am renewing my commitment to being good to myself. It is a beautiful, sunny day, and things are already lined up for me to leave the office a bit earlier than usual. A friend gave me her jogging stroller, and it would be a shame not to use it.

Don't let me sneak out on my plan. I've got to get out there and run!

Friday, January 11, 2013


So, it turns out that the chest x-ray we had done in December wasn't quite as clear as we were led to believe. The quote from the pulmonologist was "They told you this was normal?" Anyway, so we have bronchitis. And now we're working on learning a new medicine delivery mechanism. We had finally gotten pretty good with managing the nebulizer treatments (even if that meant that RB and I were running out of fun, upbeat songs to sing to the little man during them), but now we're using an inhaler for both his medicines, and I feel like we have a little asthmatic in our house these days -- one inhaler on a regular schedule for long-term management, and a "rescue" inhaler for his extra-fun coughing fits.

How do you use an inhaler with an infant, you ask? Well, first you sacrifice a chicken and then you do a little voodoo dance together with your best cat-pill-giving skills. Not really. We pump the inhaler into a chamber attached to a tiny pediatric mask which we hold over his face and count his breaths to make sure he inhales 6-8 times per pump. Then we wash off his face and rinse out his mouth so that the medicine doesn't irritate his skin or leave a nasty taste in his mouth.

Hopefully this works. Because if not, the doctor is talking about next steps which include full sedation for a bronchoscopy, and I'd rather avoid that if we can.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Caleb's Cough

I am SO over this cough that Caleb has. He is so little and so sweet and so happy all the time. And he's had this stupid cough and the associated wheezing for seven weeks now. That's nearly a third of his little life. A third. He'll be 24 weeks old on Sunday, and it's broken down into thirds -- the first third was in the NICU, the second third was our "normal baby" adjustment time, and the last third he has had this cough.

In the last week, the cough has escalated to the point that he's made himself throw up four times now. We're doing two kinds of drugs in the nebulizer -- one to reduce inflammation in his airways, and one to open them up -- but it feels like we are fighting a battle that will never end. We have now been referred to a pediatric pulmonologist, so we'll get to go see him next week. I know that he's really okay -- he's still eating and gaining weight, has good oxygen saturation, and hasn't shown any signs of dehydration. But I just feel bad for him.

In addition to the inhaled medications, we are spending time in a small bathroom with the hottest shower possible generating a good steam, he's got a humidifier running in his room, we put Baby Vicks on his chest when we get him ready for bed, and we put menthol-eucalyptus VaporBath in his tub for bathtime. He still coughs for a few minutes about every hour or two, around the clock. Any other ideas of things I can do to survive the week until we get into see the pulmonologist?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Reintroducing Myself

Since I was away for a while, I was thinking that I kinda need to do a reintroduction to myself. And since I just had to do this Get To Know You type exercise, I thought I would share the results here.

What is your favorite color? Why, yes! Every shade of blue IS my favorite color! Except when I'm also loving green and red. Or purple. But never pink. There is no such thing as a good shade of pink.

What is your favorite season? I love summer with all my heart. And I live in Texas, so I get a lot of summer. I love the hot, hot, hotness of summer. You know when you walk out into the hot day and you practically get knocked over by the heat wave that hits you? I love that. I go running in that. And to the pool. And I eat ice cream.

What is your favorite treat? Cheetos. I love salty things, and Cheetos are my biggest weakness. So much so that I try not to buy them, because I just will likely eat the whole bag in one sitting.

What is your favorite scent? I love unsweet smells -- rain and baby powder and cucumber and mint and mild flowers like freesia and lavender.

What is your favorite ice cream coping mechanism? Mint chocolate chip. Mmmmmmmmm.

What do you like to do in your free time moments? What is free time? I like to cook and scrapbook and crochet and journal. I also run and hike and swim. Who am I kidding -- I try to stay on top of baby laundry and keep the baby puke in my hair to a minimum.

What do you not enjoy doing, and why, but have to do anyway? I really hate cleaning. I have to break cleaning tasks into 15-minute chores and give myself a treat at the end of them in order to ever make progress on the house.

If someone gave you money with the instruction that you had to spend it on something frivolous for yourself, what would you buy? I would probably get a massage or a pedicure.

Do you have any decorating themes in your home/office? I don't know how to decorate, and had never considered themes. Go figure.

Is there something that you REALLY, REALLY like? Sushi!

What is the VERY! BEST! present you have ever received and why was it the best? My parents gave me a leather computer bag when I first became a manager. I could just imagine my mother standing in the store putting them each over her shoulder and trying to pick JUST the right one. It was awesome to have them celebrate an achievement of mine with me.