Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Step Back

Yesterday was a very rough day. Cooper was still having trouble breathing, but his x rays and blood work all looked good, no infection. So they decided he was just tired from working so hard for two weeks and just needed a break from breathing. It was clear even to me that he was exhausted. He didn't perk up during his care times like he used to. They put him back on the ventilator with breathing tube at about noon.

Nurse K said that as soon as they got it set up he looked relaxed and took a break allowed the machine to breathe for him. I didn't realize how much it would affect me. It is so hard to see a machine breathing for your baby. But I have to remind myself that he hasn't even reached 32 weeks gestation yet. His lungs are not supposed to be working yet. He is still small and he needed a break to regain his strength.

He is still very tired today, but has only had a few episodes of dropping his blood oxygen level. Much better than yesterday and his color looks better too. He will probably be on the ventilator for a few more days. That rest must be doing him good because he gain again yesterday. He's up to 2 lbs 10 oz! Maybe the calories he will conserve by not having to breathe will help him reach 3 lbs soon!

I only have one photo of him with his new breathing tube and is not a great picture, but it shows how his face looks without the nose cannula. I'm sure he is also enjoying a break from having that cannula up his nose! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Two Weeks Old!

Weighing in at 2 lbs 7 oz, Cooper is 2 weeks old!

Cooper has many nicknames already. It seems each doctor or nurse has their own nickname for him and I have a few that I use too. Here are the ones I've heard.
Super Cooper
Little Man
Little Monkey
Mini Cooper
Little Guy

He is still having some trouble breathing, but he will be up to full feeds tomorrow so he will no longer need the supplemental fluids, which means they can take out the picc line. That means one less area to worry about causing an infection.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

It Finally Happened

I knew this would happen, everyone prepared me for it, but it still makes me so sad. When I walked in the NICU this morning, for the first time the nurse, Nurse C had a not so great report. She said Cooper has had lots of episodes of bradycardia, bad enough that he doesn't fix himself, where she has to come in and stimulate him to start breathing again. She said it is still very normal for his age, but he's been doing so well I hoped he would get through that stage without that issue.

To help him, they bumped his oxygen level up to 25, up until now he had been breathing 21, the same that you and I breathe. They also bumped his CPAP back up to 5, while he had been at 4 for a week. With these changes he seems to be doing better. It's sad that he has these set backs, but I don't want to rush his progress. I'm glad that the doctor and nurses know what's best for him.

On a positive note, when we weighed Cooper last night he was 2 lbs 7 oz, his new high!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Gift

It hit me yesterday that there is a big positive in this situation. I have gained an extra 74 days with my child. I got to see his beautiful face early. I get to hold him every day. I get to see his reaction when he hears my voice. I get to bond with him in ways that I couldn't if he were still in the womb. He is getting the nutrients he needs better than he was in the womb, and I get to watch his progress day by day. In that way his prematurity is a gift and I will take advantage of my extra time with him as much as possible.

Caring for him this morning was wonderful. 8am seems to be his most alert time of the day, which is funny because before he was born I would always feel the most kicks, rolls, and stretches first thing in the morning. He is certainly a morning person!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Daddy's Lookalike

Cooper is doing well still. Over the last week and a half he has lost and gained weight. The lowest he got to was 2 lbs even, but now he is up to 2 lbs 4 oz! Grow baby grow! Everyone comments on how he looks just like Jake. I agree...he is so handsome! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Quick update

Cooper has been off the light since yesterday since his bilirubin level is better.  He has also been tolerating all of his feedings through the feeding tube so he is now up to 7 mL every three hours! He lost his little umbilical cord stub and now has the cutest little belly button. I got to hold him for three whole hours today and Nurse C showed me how to give him his bi-weekly bath tonight. He is still dropping his heart rate every once in awhile, but he is able to self correct, but it still scares this mama every time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fantastic News

We got word this morning that because Cooper will be in the NICU for a couple months, Jake was approved to stay home and does not need to return to his deployment. When the Red Cross sent him home it was just for a 2 week emergency leave, but Jake's superiors made the decision that they can complete the deployment mission without Jake as he needs to be near his family right now. He will be working his normal shift but at least he will be in the same town and can visit Coop after work.

It is so nice to know he will be around during the tough times and here to celebrate the milestones. The doctors and nurses all say that visits from mom and dad truly help preemies thrive. I'm so happy that the Air Force can understand that and is willing to make exceptions to help out family members.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

1 Week Birthday!

This week has flown by!  I can't believe that at this time, 1 week ago, I was getting prepped for a c-section. I still don't know if it has actually hit me that he's here. I spend hours everyday sitting in his room, stare at his beautiful face,  and chat with him, but it still doesn't seem real.

We plan on celebrating his 1 week birthday with dilly bars from DQ later so feel free to join in on the celebration at your own DQ!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cooper the Trooper

Today has been a good day. Cooper is now getting 1 cc of my milk every 3 hours and so far he has been digesting it well. His bilirubin level is better but he is going to be under the blue light for the rest of today to get it even better before turning it off tomorrow.

Each morning he gets a tiny bit of blood drawn to run labs but today the blood clotted before they could run the test,  so they had to poke him again. Then we got word that it clotted again. I could tell Nurse T felt bad that she had to poke him again. When it came back a third time Dr R finally decided to cancel that test. He was such a trooper each time. He didn't cry at all!

He's definitely a stretcher. He always has his feet sticking up and his hands somewhere around his head. Today I looked at Jake taking a nap on the bench in Cooper's room, and he had his hand covering his face.  Then I looked at Coop and he had his hand covering his face. Coincidence? Probably, but still adorable!


I spend a lot of time at night in the nursery, sitting in the glider,  pumping. My sweet dog Diesel likes to come in and lay on the rug to keep me company.
I can tell that the dogs know something is going on. They just look at me with a puzzled look like they know something isn't right. I'm excited for the day when we bring Cooper home and get to see a real reaction from the dogs.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Cooper has been doing so well in the NICU that it is easy to forget how precarious of a situation we are really in. We have crossed so many milestones in the past few days, like getting to hold him for a short amount of time, and Cooper eating a tiny bit of my milk through a feeding tube. I'm so proud of him for being a fighter but when things don't look so great it scares me even more.

This evening he had a few moments when his heart rate dropped drastically. Everyone says it is very common in preemies for that to happen, but when you are watching the monitor of your own child,  it's incredibly scary. I'm not typically an emotional person, but every evening when I leave to come home I shed a few tears. Mommies aren't supposed to be separated from their babies.

So while we technically had another good day, it was an emotional day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Story Books

We are having another great day! It's so great to be able to stay here with him all day. Jake got to hold him for the first time today.  Cooper really seems to enjoy being held. We really enjoy his cuddles.

I've had some friends ask me what they can do or what they can bring for Cooper. Because he is so small,  he doesn't wear clothes yet, and since he won't be going home for awhile we don't need baby stuff there yet. The one thing I can think of that would be nice to have is story books.  There are a few here in the NICU library,  but I'm sure I will get tired of reading the same stories over and over. If you have any books that you would like to donate to Cooper's library let me know.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rock Star

I haven't updated since Sunday because life has been hectic since then.  I did get an ultrasound on Sunday morning at about 11am and Dr K was able to sit in and watch.  The first few measurements are looking similar to Saturdays but then all of a sudden they looked bad, very bad.  He said that he did not want to deliver until it appeared that the baby was in distress and during that ultrasound he decided it looked that way.

Just before noon he decided to go prep for surgery. My friend Rachel was here for me during the ultrasound and I wanted her to come in to the surgery with me. We got a hold of Jake and he decided he wanted to come home so we got the doctor to contact the Red Cross before the operation to get Jake on his way. I got to meet the neonatal doctor (a different Dr K) and a NICU nurse, Nurse C. At 1:15 I was walking into the operating room and Baby Cooper was delivered via c-section at 1:33. As soon as he was out, they held him over the curtain barrier so I could see him and he opened his eyes. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen! They whisked him down to the NICU (Rachel got to go with him) and they stapled me up and sent me to recovery.

A few minutes later the doctor came in the recovery room and told me that he and the nurse took a close look at the umbilical cord and placenta. There is supposed to be something called Wharton's jelly that adds some support to the umbilical cord,  but where my placenta meet the cord,  the jelly was not there. He is quite sure this caused the cord to fold in on itself and ultimately led to the high pressure. He felt certain that the choice to deliver Cooper at 29 weeks saved his life.

Sunday evening I was able to ride down to the NICU to visit Cooper. I even got to take his temperature and change his poopy diaper!  Everyone commented that he was doing everything they hoped he would. I heard him called a "rock star" by multiple people.
My mom arrived that evening and Jake arrived home Monday evening. The past few days I have just been hanging out at the hospital, recovering from the surgery, working on getting my milk to come in, and visiting Cooper's room. Today I was discharged from the hospital. I'll be honest,  I was ready to get out and be independent again,  but signing the papers it hit me that Cooper wouldn't be just down the elevator anymore. I know the next few months are going to be incredibly hard, but I know that in the long run we will all be home together.
Cooper will probably be in the NICU until close to his due date (the end of September) but our house is only 13 minutes away so I know I will be at the NICU a lot of that time. Cooper is still doing amazing. They say most preemies have a honeymoon period where they do great, then they may have a few not so good days. Cooper has had good days so far. I know there will be scares and I know it will be a rollercoaster of emotion,  but it will just take time and he will eventually be ready to come home.

Since I will have lots of time at the NICU, I plan to keep the updates coming on this blog,  so stay tuned to follow my boy on his journey home.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back in the Hospital

Well home bed rest didn't last long.  I had an ultrasound Thursday afternoon to check the dopplers in the umbilical cord. I got to speak to the high risk doctor (Dr K) and he said the numbers looked better but still not great and that he recommended coming in for an ultrasound every other day to keep a close look to catch any problems early.

I was able to go home on Thursday but came back on Saturday morning for another ultrasound.  I'm starting to understand what it is they look for,  and I could tell the dopplers did not look good. Sure enough, Dr K came in and told me he wanted to admit me right away. Baby is still okay,  he is not in danger at this point,  but he is very close to that point.  The doctor wants him constantly monitored so if at any point he does get distressed they can intervene.

I'm getting another ultrasound sometime this morning,  and we will go from there. Bed rest is not easy,  hospital bed rest is harder,  but I'm trying to make the most of it.  I got a shower this morning and it's amazing how much better I feel. My mom flies into town this evening so I'm excited to see her!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Little Scare

This week I had my first little scare with the pregnancy.  I went in for my regular checkup on Tuesday (approximately 29 weeks.) I had mentioned before that I would get to have an extra ultrasound to check the location of the placenta.  The ultrasound was awesome!  I got to see all his little body parts again and the tech even switched to the 3D view so I got a quick shot of his face.

As she started measuring his head,  stomach,  and femur,  I saw that his measurements are pretty small. Some as low as 26 weeks,  none bigger than 26 weeks and a few days.  She didn't seem too concerned so I figured he was close enough to normal. As she was checking the placenta,  she showed me that the placenta is still very low but the baby's head is right against the cervix, so the placenta is not blocking the cervix which she seemed very happy about. She did some more measurements and pictures for my doctor (Dr. B)  and didn't say much else to me,  but all in all I left the ultrasound room feeling like everything looked great!  As I sat in the waiting room for my OB checkup I even sent out some texts saying "baby is small but healthy,  everything looks great!"

As soon as I walked back for my appointment I saw the doc chatting with another doctor, no big deal but then she asked her nurse, Nurse C, to hook me up to a monitor.  Again I just assumed that was something they did for everyone at that stage. As the nurse took my blood pressure it was high for the first time in my life,  that's when it hit me that everyone else is concerned about something,  something wasn't right,  this was not going to be a normal checkup!

They had me lay in a dark quite room with the monitor checking baby's heartbeat and movements.  The nurse came back in about 10 minutes later and my blood pressure was perfectly fine, she guessed it was probably just elevated from the heat outside. When my doctor came in the other doctor came as well.  She had him read some of the info from my ultrasound and explained to me that the baby's cord pressure was elevated and they were concerned about the his delayed development.  Then she said she wanted me admitted to the hospital for more monitoring and another ultrasound.  She said they would be giving me steroid shots to develop the baby's lungs just in case they decided to deliver early.  That's about the point that I got scared.  Then she told me to go straight to the hospital!

I got to the hospital at about 5 pm. They hooked me up to the heart rate monitor and checked all my vitals as well, gave me an IV and took some blood samples. They gave me the first steroid shot and explained that the second one would be administered 24 hours later.  That's when it hit me that I wasn't going home for the night. It was too late for the ultrasound to be ordered so they told me that would happen first thing in the morning.  My boss went to check on the dogs and brought me some clothes and my phone charger and I started calling friends and family to let them know what was going on. At that point I didn't know how long I would be there or how concerned the doctor really was about premature delivery.  I just knew that if they were giving me the steroid shots it must be a possibility.
I could not fall asleep so after midnight they gave me a mild hypnotic, which worked like a charm.  The nurses came in a lot during the night to adjust the heart beat monitor but I was able to fall right back asleep after they left. Doctor B came to see me early in the morning and said the baby's heart beat was great throughout the night,  the real test was going to be if they saw any change in the cord pressure on the ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came in at about 9 and took lots of measurements,  most looked to be right around 26 weeks again.  He took lots of info from the cord but I had no idea what the numbers meant and I knew he probably want supposed to tell me anyway. My doctor was in an operation but came by at 11 to tell me that the cord pressure was down and I would be able to go home but I would be on bed rest, no working, no running errands, only getting out of bed to cook or shower. I still had to come back that evening for the second steroid shot and set an appointment with the doctor for the following day. 

That's where we are now. I'm at home laying in bed. Bored. I'm not sure how long I'll be on bed rest.  The doctor made the comment that she would be checking his growth and I would be on bed rest until he starts developing or if it looks like that's not happening they would intervene early. So at this point I'm not sure how long they will give him to catch up. I really dislike being on bed rest but I also don't want to deliver so early,  so I'll do what the doctor thinks is best.  I'm hoping to get a little more info at the appointment today,  maybe an idea of how long the bed rest might last and how likely they think it is that they will intervene and deliver early.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nursery Projects

It recently hit me that I have less than three months until the baby will be here... yikes! What about all the DIY projects I had planned for the nursery!? Well I got my butt in gear today and I'm almost done with the two biggest decor items. Here's a sneak peek at the chalkboard and scrap wood sign.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Weeks 24-28

Wow, I got behind on posting my weekly photos!
Week 24
Week 25

Week 26

Weel 27

Week 28
So that's how I look, as for how I feel...I feel huge! I know I still have almost three months and we're only going to be bigger, but it's not just in the belly that I feel huge. I'm having extensive swelling everyday. I know it is happening because of my job. I'm a bank teller, so I'm on my feet literally the entire 8 hours I'm on the clock, so by the end of my shift, my legs and ankles look huge! I have some swelling in my face and hands as well, but the swelling in my legs, ankles, and feet are the worst. If I have time to prop my feet up in the evenings, it might go away, but there are still mornings when I wake up and the swelling hasn't gone down much. It's hard to even get into shoes at the beginning of the day. I just keep telling myself that once the baby is born, all the swelling will go away, but I don't get to wear any of my cute summer dresses or capris because I don't want anyone to see my huge ankles.
On a positive note, I have an ultrasound on Tuesday! They are going to check to be sure that my placenta has moved up so I won't be at risk of placenta previa. I'm honestly not really worried about that since they say that most of the time the placenta moves up on it's own. I'm just excited to see my baby boy again!