Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First Pediatrician Appointment

We went to Sam's first regular pediatrician appointment this morning.  We have had Dr. Calvert, now Hardy, since Emory's birth, and I love her.  It felt so weird just going to a normal doctor for Sam though!  The appointment seemed to be mostly about informing her about Sam's condition, which was fine by me.  Dr. Hardy's nurse has been her nurse since we started taking Emory there, but I also know her from a Bible study we did last year, so it was really nice to see a familiar face who was genuinely concerned about our situation.  I was most interested to see if he has gained weight--he's up four ounces since Saturday and back to his birth weight, which is GREAT!  His oxygen saturation was good, also.  Dr. Hardy told us to keep doing what we're doing!  She gave us a few questions to ask Dr. Kao when we see her next Monday.

We also met with a nurse who works in the special needs department at the pediatrician's office, and she seemed to understand his condition pretty well and will be a great resource for us.

Sam qualifies for the RSV booster, which is another huge blessing.  A NICU nurse explained to us that he will be more susceptible to respiratory illness because of the heart condition.  We have been instructed by every doctor now to keep Sam at home until after his first surgery, which will probably be in January.  With the girls, I had a huge itch to get out of the house about two weeks after we got home, but I have an incredible peace about this with Sam.  I know it's temporary, and it's what is best for him.  I'm sure there will be days when I JUST WANT TO SEE OR TALK TO AN ADULT, but I know the Lord will sustain me through this brief time, just like He has with everything else so far.

All in all, it was a pretty uneventful appointment, which is what we want!  I feel like I'm writing "which is..." a lot in this post...

A few pics to wrap this up...

Harper eats pizza in the most difficult way possible

He's so squishy.  I think I was most looking forward to snuggling him like this.

That girl is cray cray

Tiny baby Sam

Monday, September 29, 2014

First Days at Home

Prepare yourself for a long update.  So, we have already been home two days.  Newborns create this time warp somehow.  I have been trying to update the blog since Sunday, and it's taken me a few days...

I was discharged from the hospital Friday around noon.  We went to the NICU for Sam's noon feeding, and then ran to Brad and Courtney's house to take all of our stuff since we would be spending the night there, and then went back to the hospital to spend the rest of the day with Sam until after his 9:00 P.M. feeding.

By Thursday and Friday, the doctors and nurses made it sound like Sam would get to leave Sunday or Monday, but when we got to the hospital around 8:00 on Saturday morning, the nurse was on the phone with my OB's office trying to schedule Sam's circumcision so we could go home!  When the nurse got off the phone, she said my OB wasn't on call that day, and the OB who was working didn't do circumcisions, so we would have to get the neo to do it, which was fine except that he is very busy all the time, plus they got several new babies to the NICU the night before.  So after hitting each goal to be able to be discharged, we were waiting on a "normal baby" thing in order to leave!  The nurse kept us updated each time the neo ordered supplies for the procedure, or wrote orders for something, etc. so we knew he was thinking about it.

Trent and Kim planned on coming by to visit that day.  Trent has band stuff going on every weekend in October, so it was going to be a really long time before they could come see us if they missed seeing us Saturday!  After Sam's noon feeding, we ran back to Brad and Courtney's to pack our stuff back up, eat lunch really quickly, and then get back to the hospital to meet Kim and Trent.  While we were gone, the nurse called to let me know his procedure had gone well and that he was ready to eat.

I think they're smitten.

If you know my brother, you know he's far smarter than I am.  I actually got to teach him some things about Sam's condition and what we need to keep an eye out for.  I was so proud of myself! 

Sam's first picture without any monitors!  I cried buckets.

We left pretty soon after their visit and got home Saturday evening around 5:30.  Granmommy said she didn't tell the girls we were coming home until pretty soon before we got there so they wouldn't annoy the bejeezus out of her have to wait too long.  Their reaction to meeting Sam for the first time was priceless.  They giggled, gave lots of hugs and kisses, and sang, "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy!"

I knew the girls would either be stuck to Sam like glue or they would want nothing to do with him at first.   We have barely been able to peel Emory off of him.  Harper dances around and sings like usual, and often takes a break to give him a kiss, bring him a blanket or toy, or sing him a song.  You will notice I have a lot more pictures of Emory with Sam than Harper with Sam because that girl doesn't stay still for very long.

I'm pretty sure my heart will explode before too long!

Emory nursing her baby...Harper brought a doll for Sam to play with

My mom got to our house about an hour after we arrived.  We had a full house Saturday night!

At about 8:00 on Sunday morning, our doorbell rang.  My sweet, sweet daddy drove four hours to surprise us!  He had to tend to the piggies Saturday, so he didn't get to come with my mom.  I know he was dying to see the girls because he didn't get to come with my mom a couple weekends ago either because I forgot to plan the birth of our child around pig sale season.  My bad.  :) It was the nicest surprise for him to come see us for the day.

Granmommy and Grandaddy with their first great-grandson:

We gave Sam his first bath at home this afternoon.  The girls helped, of course.

Then, Sam had his first photo shoot.

Looking pretty suave there, tiny sir.

And here are some random pictures...

The girls in their "big sister" shirts from Sarah

My boys

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sam's Third Day

We have only been here three days, but the days are really running together!  Stephen stayed in my room last night to rest, and I slept between a few feedings, and then spent the rest of the night just Sam and me...and the nurses :)  He is such a sweet baby!  He eats, falls asleep, snuggles, sleeps, then wakes up calm, waits patiently through his vitals checks, and fusses a little until he gets to eat again.

He is continuing to do really well.  His oxygen sats are good, and he's breathing and eating well.  The coolest thing happened early this morning.  Any time one of his monitors goes into a range that's out of the target range, the monitor alarm goes off.  He has been nursing really well each time, and each time he nursed, his oxygen sats got so HIGH that the alarm went off!  At one point, the nurse had to keep coming back to turn off the alarm so frequently that she silenced it!  I cried tears of joy!  I memorized scripture to prepare myself to deal with the fear and worry I had about Sam's delivery and the rest of this week.  Psalm 121:1-4 helped me through the delivery, but this morning during the high oxygen sats I couldn't think of any scripture about joy because I had only concentrated on the worry instead of preparing for the good times, too.  I took a picture of the monitor that monitors Sam's stats and those of a baby in the room next to us that his nurse is also responsible for.  The other baby doesn't have a heart condition, and Sam's stats are just as good as the other baby's!  It's kind of hard to tell, but the numbers third from the top measure oxygen sats.

The neonatologist, Dr. Schwendeman, stopped by to do his rounds this morning and told me Sam is a "typical newborn with attachments to monitor him."  I love this description!  He really is acting like a typical baby, but he just has a TON of lines coming off of him to monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and until his 3:00 P.M. feeding, an IV.  The nurse weaned him off IV fluids at each feeding--as long as his blood sugar was adequate, they backed him off.  Because I had gestational diabetes, they wanted to make sure he could regulate his blood sugar on his own, so they gave him IV fluids with glucose so that he wouldn't be hypoglycemic.  The lactation consultant came by yesterday to help me with pumping, and she came back today to watch Sam nurse.  She has been so helpful.  I feel like we have a great start.  

We were able to put him in some clothes this afternoon and turn the bed heater off.  

Stephen, Sam, and I FaceTimed the girls and my grandparents again this afternoon.  I love technology!

Emory is telling me about carrying Sam around on her shoulders.  She has plans for this kid:

They're telling me about the princesses on their new cups:

Dr. Kao, the cardiologist, came by to read the results of Sam's echocardiogram from this morning.  She's happy with how everything looks and with all his levels.  She said the PDA is getting smaller on its own and expects it will completely close very soon.  Praise the Lord!  Continue to pray with us that Sam will regulate his oxygen sats well once the PDA is closed.  Dr. Kao consulted with Dr. Schwendeman about the goals Sam needs to meet before we he is discharged.  We should know more in the morning about this.  Pray with us that he meets these goals as he needs to so we can go home soon.  I'm ready for my whole family to be together and for all my babies to be in the same room!

Stephen and I get to change Sam's diaper, check his temperature, feed him at each feeding time, and snuggle him pretty much any time we want.  I am so thankful for how involved we are able to be during his NICU stay.  The staff here is AMAZING!  Everyone has gone out of their way to reassure us and get Sam and us everything we need.  And they treat us like we're his parents who might know what we're doing and not like we're in the way at all.    

Thank you to everyone who has texted, called, left a message on Facebook or Instagram, asked one of our parents or grandparents how we're doing, prayed for us, and thought about us.  We feel so loved, and I can't wait to tell Sam one day how many people loved him before they even met him.

Here are just a few more pictures of our little nugget because he's just so dang cute!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy birthday, Samuel!

I can't believe he's here!  Samuel Stephen Bryan was born yesterday, September 22 at 11:10 A.M., weighing 8lb7oz and is 21 inches of handsome, studly perfection.  My c-section was scheduled for 10:30, and when we arrived, the nurses said they were having a busy morning, so I prayed and prayed our delivery wouldn't be delayed.  I got prepped by a few amazing nurses and an anesthesiologist, and they took me back to the O.R. around 10:30.  I felt pretty miserable until right before the rest of the delivery team (my OB and her assisting OB, nurses, anesthesiologist and his assistant, respiratory specialist, NICU neonatologist, and NICU nurses), Stephen, and my mom came into the O.R.  I was numb from the chest down, but I could feel my toes enough to wiggle them a little, which made me feel really claustrophobic because my legs wouldn't move.  The anesthesia made my heart race, and once the anesthesia hit my chest, I felt like I couldn't get a good breath, which made me feel really nauseated.  The anesthesiologist was so incredibly nice and did everything he could to make me feel better.  It didn't take long once the doctors got started on the procedure before a nurse said, "I see a head full of dark hair!" and Sam was crying.  CRYING!  I really expected him to struggle breathing on his own at first, and the sound of his sweet cries was so comforting.  The team checked him out pretty quickly, wrapped him up, and the neonatologist PALMED MY CHILD LIKE HE WAS A BASKETBALL to hand him to Stephen.  He got to hold Sam for several minutes and I could reach over to touch him.  

Stephen left with the NICU team and Sam, and my mom stayed with me.  It felt like it took a long time for them to finish up the procedure and get me to the recovery room.  I stayed in recovery for two hours, and then they wheeled me down to the NICU to see Sam.

Stephen stayed in the NICU with Sam and texted me updates as he got them from the doctors.  

Sam had a series of admission tests and exams that are typical for NICU babies plus an echocardiogram.  The doctors wanted to check and make sure there wasn't anything about Sam's development that was different from what they found in utero, and there wasn't!  Dr. Kao, the cardiologist, has been happy with his oxygen saturation.  Sam is breathing great on his own, has several monitors on him to check heart rate, respiration, and oxygen saturation, and is receiving IV fluids.  As of his noon feeding today, they are weaning him off his IV fluids as long as his blood sugars are good before each feeding.  I started pumping yesterday, and he received what I was able to produce plus additional formula, and I got to start nursing him around midnight last night.  

He was very sleepy in the middle of the night last night, but he still ate well.  Stephen's mom and my parents were able to visit today, too.

This baby is HAIRY!  I love his furry little back.

Sam and I FaceTimed with the girls this afternoon!  Oh my!  They squealed, asked to see his eyes (since he was sleeping), started kissing his face on the phone, and sang, "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy!"  Emory said, "Sam loves me."  I can't wait for them to see him in person.

We have had a great first couple days.  They will do a repeat echocardiogram tomorrow.  Dr. Kao said the VSD and pulmonary valve are of adequate size to not need the PDA to remain open, so it should be closing on its own like a typical newborn.  Pray with us that Sam is able to continue good oxygen saturation once the PDA is closed.  I'll continue updating as I can!