Monday, November 25, 2013

8 Pounds

We've had a great week! We drove to Seattle last Monday. We made the trip in one day and Coop was a great traveler, but we felt horrible that he was stuck in that car seat for so long so we made a lot of stops to let him stretch, which made the trip extra long!

On Tuesday, the first appointment was a video swallow study. They had me feed Cooper a bottle of this white liquid that shows on an x-ray. It was really cool to see exactly how he swallows! When he first started, they said he takes too many sucks before swallowing, so the liquid was pooling in the back of his throat and close to going into his lungs, so he was "micro asperating." Luckily as he ate he got into a rhythm and no longer had that issue. They cleared him to continue oral feeding. We just have to pace him in the beginning. And by the way, that white liquid was still very bright when Cooper spit it up all over Jake's shirt later that day!

Then we met with the feeding therapist that we saw the last time we were in Seattle. She observed him breast feeding. I have been nursing a few times a day, but it seems like he is always still hungry after 30 minutes and everyone tells me to stop him at 30 minutes so he doesn't burn too many calories. I also have to pump afterward, so I know he's not getting as much out as he could be. Then he acts hungry again at just 1 hour instead of his usual 2 hours. The therapist gave me some tips on positioning to help him get better latch to be more productive. I'm trying to be consistent with it, but when he gets hungry it is just easier to grab a bottle. I keep reminding myself that once we get the breastfeeding down, I can quit pumping. It's going to be a hard transition, but it's going to be so worth it!

Cooper had his bronchoscopy early Wednesday morning. The doctor came in for a pre-op and was pleasantly surprised that he could not hear Cooper breathing. No wheezing or squeaking! Sure enough, when he came to tell us the results he said Cooper's airway looks very good. He did not feel the scarring needed to be cut, but he did do a small balloon dilation just because it was convenient. He does not think Cooper will need another bronchoscopy!

He said that Cooper was having some trouble breathing while coming out of the anesthesia, so they had him on oxygen and were going to keep him overnight. A few hours after the operation, he was admitted to a room and they almost immediately took him of the oxygen and he did fine. I stayed bedside that night and he was allowed to leave the next morning. We took two days to make the trip home and made it here Friday night.

This weekend Cooper has been acting a little off. He had a little bit of a cough, but that seems to have gone away. He also seems pretty clingy. We have always been able to put Cooper in his bouncer or swing and he will either fall asleep or entertain himself by looking up and the bees on the mobile. Now he watches me walk away and starts crying. Not an I'm hungry cry, not a mad cry, not a sleepy cry, but a "bottom lip sticking out" sad cry. I'm hoping he is just going through a phase.

We went to the pediatrician this morning to fill her in on all of the results in Seattle. She agreed that he is probably just a little clingy because he's getting over the upset in his schedule cause by the trip and that he may have had a slight cold as well. She said once he feels better and gets back into a schedule, he will probably go back to how he was before. When he was weighed this morning he was 8 lbs 0.5 oz! Woo hoo! She also commented that he is getting chunky legs!

Even though he's been a little out of sorts, he has really developed a personality. He smiles so much now. All I have to do is sing or talk in a silly voice and he gives a big dimpled smile! He's still doing great with tummy time and story time. It's great that he can actually focus on the pictures now. He has discovered his hands. He grabs at everything now, like his ears or his feet or our fingers or my hair! Sometimes he takes his pacifier,  but sometimes he gags on it or spits it out. I'm going that means it won't be too tough to wean him from it soon! Most of all, I think he loves it when Jake and I talk to him. The other day, Jake was making a train sound and told Cooper to say "woo woo" then Cooper did a quiet little "who." I know it was a fluke, but it was so cute!

My goal this week is to finish Cooper's birth announcement. I designed it back in September, but with him being readmitted for a few weeks in Sept/Oct, I've had to change the wording a bit, and now I'm just trying to get a decent photo of him to use on it.

Here is the photo of him while waiting for the operating last Wednesday. They had him in a tiny hospital gown... so cute!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

4 Months Old

Can you believe it?  Cooper hit 4 months on Thursday!

We've had a great week. We started out the week with another visit to the feeding therapist. She gave us the green light to start breastfeeding 3 times a day. I still have to start him off using the breast shield, then a few minutes after he gets organized I can slip it off and he usually is able to relatch. We still have a lot of work to get transitioned to full time breast feeding, but we are on the right track!

On Thursday, we saw the pediatrician for the 4 month well baby check up. Cooper was 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 in long. The nurse said both measurements are at 0%, which didn't concern me because I assumed that was compared to full term 4 month olds, then she said that it was actually only compared to other 4 month olds that were also born at 29 weeks. So even for a preemie he's still tiny. The doctor said that she is not concerned because he is consistently gaining. He should still catch up in a year or so.

Cooper also got his 4 month shots that day. I definitely noticed a difference later that day. Poor guy just wanted to cuddle all day. I took advantage and held him most of the day. He was back to normal yesterday.

Our Quality Life Concepts consultant came by that day and gave me tons of ideas for interacting with Cooper. It's nice to have lots of ideas instead of doing the same songs or games over and over again. When I get a chance I'll try to type them all up to share.

I love how Cooper acts right now. He is such a great baby! He smiles when we talk to him, and especially when I sing to him. He is getting so strong and holds his head steady when we hold him in a sitting or standing position. He amazes me everyday! I'm proud of him, but still kind of sad that he's not going to be my little baby very long.

Cooper has his follow up appointments in Seattle next week. We will be leaving early Monday morning and hope to be home next weekend. We have some great habits going right now so I'm really hoping being away from home doesn't mess those up! Cooper can be put in bed awake and will fall asleep on his own. He also sleeps 5 hours at night, then another 3 after that. He eats every 2 hours during the day, so he definitely has his days and nights straight. I'm so pleased with how well he has taken to this night sleeping arrangement so I'm really hoping the long car trip and possible hospital admittance doesn't mess that up!

Here is a picture before going to the pediatrician on Thursday. Then the picture of Cooper on the day he left Benefis, at about 4 lbs and 2 months old. Big difference! I promise he does usually like being in his car seat, just not in either of these photos!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

16 Weeks Old - 6 Week Adjusted Age

Cooper was 16 weeks actual age on Sunday, and just hit 6 weeks adjusted age today. I keep telling Jake that I wish we could freeze time. I just love exactly how Cooper is right now! He has just started to really interact with us. He looks at us, smiles when we talk to him, and has been rolling over too! He started rolling from belly to back last week and I thought it was just a fluke, but now anytime I put him down for tummy time he flips right over. Either he really wants to be on his back, or he's just showing off!  A lot has happened since my last Cooper update!

Last week I met our Quality Life Concepts consultant. This is a statewide program (although there are similar programs throughout the country) available for high risk children who might need a little extra help to be sure they are developing as expected. Cooper instantly qualified because of his prematurity. Our consultant visits every couple of weeks and we discuss any concerns Jake and I have. Then she finds resources to address those concerns. We don't really have any worries right now so she is just gathering a list of activities we can do to interact with Cooper. She is also getting me in contact with the La Leche league and other mom groups so I can get out of the house more.

I really enjoy being at home with Cooper, but I do miss socializing. I look forward to Cooper's appointments just so I have a reason to get out of the house. I want to keep Cooper home to keep him healthy, but I'm getting bored. Well, not really bored, I have plenty of chores to stay busy, I just feel like I'm missing out on being social.

On Friday, I took Cooper to the pediatrician to get Synagis, the RSV shot. Not all babies get this shot as it is over $1000 pre shot! RSV in a healthy, full term baby is just like a cold, but in a preemie it can be very serious. Cooper will get the shot once a month throughout the winter and spring. It does not make him immune to RSV, but will lessen the severity if he does get sick.

To figure out his disagree they had to weigh him. 6 lbs 11 oz! Seriously!  I can't believe how big he is getting! He is growing like a weed now! That was on Friday, so I'm sure he must be over 7 lbs by now. The home health nurse comes tomorrow to weigh him so that what I'm hoping for. Newborn clothes are still big, but he's not swimming in them anymore.

Yesterday, Cooper had a hearing screening. He had failed while still in the NICU, but they told us his ear canal was probably just too small for the test. I was not concerned at all because he responds to our voices and startles at loud noises. Sure enough, he passed yesterday! He will need a follow up in April but he's doing great now!

We were working with a feeding therapist when we were in Seattle and she wanted us to only do half of his feeding with a bottle and finish the feeding through the tube. She also didn't want me to breastfeed other than dry nursing after pumping to keep him practicing. We weren't going to see her again until we go back to Seattle later this month. He has been doing so well eating from the bottle that I've actually been letting him take the whole feeding orally. He has been showing no signs of asperating so I went with my mother's intuition that tells me he ready to get rid of that dang NG tube. The pediatrician set us up with a feeding therapist here in town and we got to see her this morning. She said he looks great and to continue feeding him full feeds by bottle. She is also a lactation therapist and seems as eager as me to get him back to breastfeeding.

I so look forward to the day I can STOP pumping! I can't wait until I can wake up with Cooper, feed him, and go back to sleep when Cooper does. Now, I have to get up before Cooper to warm up his bottle, then when Cooper goes back to sleep I still have to pump, then prep the expressed milk for the next bottle, and wash the bottle and pump parts. Which means each time I wake up with Cooper, I will be awake an extra hour after he goes back to bed. I can't wait to JUST breastfeed! And I can't imagine all the extra time I will have during the day too! I'm so glad to at least have a plan to get to that point!

Here's a cute picture of father and son. We have been getting lots of Christmas catalogs in the mail, so Jake and Cooper were looking at one together.