Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30th: Mommy's Bday and Memorial Day Weekend

Some pictures from the Nurses' disposable camera...not the best quality, but sure cute!:

Finn and two of his and our favorite nurses!
They had a bit of a photo shoot with our little man! :)

He's just so handsome! .... :p
Since last week, Finnegan has gained a lot of weight and is overall doing really well. This weekend he hit the 30 week gestation mark, which means one more week until we can start nippling and beginning the process of breastfeeding/bottle feeding. This is what I am SUPER excited about. I'm still in disbelief that he is already 5 weeks old and is just being a little trooper. He changes a little bit every day and it just blows my mind how much he's growing.

Just chillin'...
Friday (my birthday) was pretty lowkey, but very wonderful. I woke up with my puppies, spent time with my Finnegan, got to nap, and also spend time with my in-laws and husband! I'm not sure if I enjoy being told I'm not a quarter of a century old, but it was my golden birthday! :) We had a good dinner and came home for some DQ Ice Cream Bday Cake! :) Not too shabby if you as me! Not only was there good food and DQ, but amazing company. Ian and I even had the chance to unwind and sleep in the same bed together. I don't think that's happened in a while! Ian and I try to take turns staying the night at the hospital. We're both getting used to sleeping there, but it isn't the most relaxing night's sleep you can get, so we like to switch it up. Now that Ian is working his reduced schedule AT work, he usually visits Finnegan in the evenings. I try to be at the hospital during the day so I can be there for rounds which happen anywhere from 10:30am-2:00pm.

Aunt Meghan tickling Finnegan! I love this picture! ;)
On Saturday, Ian stayed home to do some deep cleaning, and I went to the hospital to be with my little dude. This was an exciting day, because I got to dress Finnegan for the first time! :) They wait to dress preemies because of their inability to regulate their own body temperatures. It took us a couple tries to figure out what combo of clothing and blankets and bed temp worked for him, but I think he's doing really well, and we might even be lowering his bed temp even more because he's doing so well with keeping his temperature regulated. Let me explain a bit...When Finnegan had those little gold heart sensors on his belly, those would tell the bed what temperature Finn was. Then, the bed would modify the temperature in the bed. Now that he doesn't have those sensors on, his bed stays at a pretty constant temp. We're trying to get him ready for when he'll be in an open bed! :) Dressing him was SO much fun, but it was also a bit surreal considering he doesn't even fit into preemie clothes that well.

To start, they usually dress the babies in a onesie, sleeper, and then swaddle them. When we did that the first time, Finnegan's temp went up way too high, so we took off the onesie and he did a lot better. Apparently the nurses said boys tend to get hotter and not like the onesies. The onesie wasn't too big... diapered butts make them fit better! :) He didn't seem to mind while I was dressing him. He was wide awake and trying to help by wiggling his feet and arms everywhich way. I have to admit, I was a bit concerned that he wouldn't like to be clothed and swaddled because he is so active, but he surprised me once again! This also means that we can take him out of his bed and hold him and cradle him. Holding him like that for the first time was amazing. His daddy enjoyed it the next day as well! :)

The end result... TADA! -- Baby Burrito!!! :)

I spent the night on Saturday and went to a local church in Peoria the next morning. Ian came to see Finn while I went home to get ready. Sunday was a family party to celebrate my and my mother's birthdays. I was so nervous because this would be my first trip back home since before Finnegan was born. I was anxious about being that far from him, but he was doing so well, that he made it a bit easier for mommy to be away! Plus, Ian got to hold him before I left, which was absolutely beautiful! He is such a proud and happy daddy!

I'm not sure how he does this, but when we swaddle him, he still manages to get his hands up around his face. He's sneaky!

Finnegan liked daddy holding him, too! :)

The party back at my parent's house was refreshing. I wasn't as much of a wreck as I thought I would be. I think being with family who understands and has all been to see Finnegan really helps. They are all so supportive. It's truly a blessing. We had a lot of fun and ate good food! :) By the time everyone left, Ian and I decided to stay at my parent's house for the night. We were too exhausted to drive all the way back to Bloomington. When I called to check in on Finnegan, his nurse informed me that he had his first diaper blow out. He's such a boy...

We came back home Monday afternoon. We cleaned up a bit and made dinner before I headed down to spend the night at the hospital. This is the precious boy I woke up to on Tuesday morning:

On Tuesday, they decided that since Finnegan's bradys were going down in count and he was correcting most of them right away, they would lower his oxygen level from 3 liters to 2 liters. I was pretty excited about this because he needs to be on at least 2 liters of oxygen or lower for him to start nippling. He's still likes his pacifier, but I think he enjoys chewing on his feeding tube a bit more. As you can tell, the pacifier doesn't end up exactly where it needs to be... and his fingers end up in the weirdest places!

Tuesday was also bathing day! Finnegan got a little "sponge bath" and we soaked him up with some lotion to help get rid of some of his scaley dry skin. His hair got so fuzzy after he got cleaned! I'm trying to figure out if his hair will get curly like his dad's or not. Only time will tell!

I'm daddy's little champ with fuzzy hair! :)
Since he also has no more IVs, that means he can wear hats again, too! :) He wasn't too sure of this blue and white hat. He kept staring at it like it was going to attack him. Once he got used to it, though... he really got cozy. He really loves being snuggled. He's full of smiles and has recently started trying to focus his eyes, so baby goes cross-eyed quite frequently. It's so cute!!! Next week he will have his eye exam. It seems kind of intense, but it will let us know if he has any issues with his retina... something common in preemies. We know he can see ... we're just not sure what it is that he sees!

With Finnegan being in clothes and swaddled now, that means that he can be held outside of his bed. As you can imagine, both grandmas were excited. Today, Grandma Bruckner came to get her Finn time in. She held him for over an hour. We knew Finnegan loved it too! :)

Otherwise, Finnegan keeps growing and mommy keeps trying to find a job! As of today he is 1200grams or 2 pounds and 10.3 ounces! He's getting 20ml of fortified 27 calorie breastmilk every 3 hours. He's also getting supplements of potassium and sodium just to keep his levels on the right track. He's making good diapers and overall being a champ! He's almost a pound more than when he was born! And as of today I have applied to 22 jobs and been rejected from about 10 of them without even so much as an interview. I just keep praying for something to come along, but maybe that right just hasn't become available yet. God has a plan, I just have to keep trying until that plan comes into fruition!

Just a little Finn smile to make you smile! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday, May 24th, 2012: One Month Old

Finnegan taking a little nap with his Lovee Doll.  The Lovee Doll was created by volunteer sewers for the hospital.
The mom sleeps with the doll and the doll picks up mommy's scent. Then, baby gets to sleep with the Lovee Doll so mommy is always near! :)


Finn's new favorite thing is to smile. It's just hard to catch on camera. :)
Well, we've made it one month in the NICU so far! Finnegan is doing wonderfully after his little spell last week. They start up his feedings on Tuesday. He started on 5ml to check how he would tolerate the milk, and then they slowly increased his amount until he got up to 19ml of 24 calorie breastmilk that he started on last night. They had a lot of issues with getting maintaining a peripheral IV (our baby is a hard stick!) and the thickness of the TPN (IV nutrition) was causing his veins to be even more difficult. So, they were anxious to get him back on feeds. They kept his IV in to push clear fluids through to help replenish his veins. Hopefully they won't need to stick him again any time soon, though! He continues to be on a 3 liter high flow cannula. He has been having bradys with them, but about 3/4 of them he corrects on his own...which is good! But, he needs to have fewer "spells" in order to lower the rate on his cannula and then get him ready to bottle feed. Usually, they start bottle feeding/nippling around 31 weeks, but if the baby shows interest earlier, they may start then. So far, Finn is doing really well with his pacifier, but I'm not sure how he would do with a bottle. Also, around the time that Finnegan weighs 1500grams and tolerates bottle feeds, he will move to an open crib. The NNP thinks that might happen in about 3 weeks or so, depending on how he gains weight. It seems like a long time, but he's already been here a MONTH and he's done so well. He's such an amazing little baby.

Look at how big I've gotten! :)

The biggest changes out little man has made include his weight, length, hair, and activity. He's now about 8 ounces heavier. We think most of those ounces went to his cheeks, but it just makes him cuter! :) He's about an inch and a quarter longer, although is scrawny little legs and arms makes him seem that much longer. His hair lightened up and got a lot more fuzzy. This makes his hair stick up all over the place. It just adds to his cuteness. Finally, Finnegan has become a lot more alert and interactive! When you talk to him and smile at him he frequently smiles back. Talk about a way to melt your heart; having your baby smile at you for the first time... uh, it was amazing.

I grew some rosey cheeks!
 He continues to have wonderful visitors. His Grandma and Grandpa Bruckner come at least once a week to spend time with their first grandson. Finnegan definitely enjoys all the attention. :) Ian and I also really enjoy the company. Being at the hospital is what it is, but it's always brighter when you have good company to enjoy it with. This weekend, Finnegan met our friends Stephanie and Kevin and his Great Uncle Steve and Great Aunt Phyllis as well. He's pretty popular.

Yesterday, my parents came down for a visit with their littlest grandson. Grandma Doman beamed at him and just couldn't believe how big he had gotten or the fact that he was now smiling. Grandpa Doman actually let Finnegan hold his finger and touched his grandbaby for the first time (I think he was intimidated by his little size). Both Grandpa Doman and Finnegan enjoyed the quality time together! :)

My parents took me to Olive Garden for lunch to celebrate my birthday early. It's still hard to believe that I'll be 25 tomorrow. Time goes so quickly! When I got back from lunch, this is the milk drunk state I found my son in. He is definitely a fan of his pacifier when he wants it. If he doesn't, he tries to shoot it across the bed.

Later that evening, Finnegan and I got quality mommy-son time. We kangarooed for about 2 hours. I also held Finnegan during his feeding, so he had his pacifier in. He actually reached his little hand out to hold his pacifier. He did this for about 10 minutes, until he was bored and then tried to hit me with it. He's quite the little stinker. I'm so impressed with his pacifier abilities! :)


Finn was smiling and making faces at me.

Video of Finnegan with his pacifier. FYI, don't worry I'm covered! :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21st: Playing Catch-Up

So, lots has happened with Finnegan since we last updated the blog... here goes nothing!

Switching him over to the nasal cannula. Don't mind
his deformed head from his CPAP hat.
Exploring without his CPAP...Where's my nose!?
On Friday, Finnegan went off his cpap and instead went on a 3 liter high flow nasal cannula. As soon as the "hat" from the cpap came off, you could tell his little head was starting to regain a normal head shape. It was wonderful seeing him more able to open his eyes and just seeing his face in general for longer than 5 minutes at a time was wonderful. They were concerned that he was only gaining on average 11 grams per day, so they decided to up his calorie intake. Pretty much, that just means they add extra fortifiers to the milk he's already getting. Unfortunately, he only got a day of that before Finnegan had a bad day. We were told there would be ups and downs and that life in the NICU would be like a roller coaster. So far, we'd just been coasting because Finn was doing so well.

Well, Saturday was our big dip in the coaster, so to speak. When his nurse was changing his diaper she noticed his tummy seemed a little bigger than usual. She asked another nurse and they both determined that his belly was a bit distended. By the time I saw him that afternoon, he looked like a little pregnant baby. Immediately, they ordered an xray of his belly and stopped his food. That made Finnegan a not happy boy. The xray showed at first that part of his bowel wasn't working properly. Until they could get some blood results and do a follow-up xray later, they weren't sure what it really was. They started him on antibiotics just in case and started an IV with sodium, sucrose, and potassium so he would have some nutrients in his system. They had to put the IV in his head, which was hard to be in the room for, but it only took one stick! He also go what is called a "replogle" tube which is just like his feeding tube, except it has perferations in it. Over time, they inserted sterile water into the tube and then used a suctioning devise to get out any leftover gunk in his tummy. The idea is to see what was coming out after they put it in. So, if they put in 5ml of sterile water, they should get 5ml back. All his "secretions" were clear, which means he didn't have any undigested milk left somewhere in his intestines. While all of this was going on, Finn started having back to back apneas. Previously, we were just having issues with bradys. Well, this time when his heart rate would drop, so would his pulse ox/oxygen saturation. They put him back on the cpap. As the day went on, we got some blood results. Luckily, all his bloodwork came back normal; no infections! After his second xray later that evening they determined that he had what is known as an ileus or blockage in his intenstine. Essentially, part of his bowel wasn't working as well as the other part. The only way to treat this is to use the replogle and rest his digestive system, which means no food. Again, that equals a not too happy Finnegan. His next xray Sunday morning showed more improvements, but they still weren't happy with how it looked, and his belly was still a bit swollen. So, they continued the no food restriction, but started him on TPN (IV nutrition) again. This is exactly what he was on when they started priming his belly for food a couple weeks ago. Needless to say, we were worried parents, but we were confident that Finnegan would get over this little bump in the road. I mean, seriously...he's pretty amazing already.

Had to add a happy picture of Kylie! :)

When we called Finnegan's nurse last night, we learned that even though he was without food for 2 days, he actually gained weight. Finnegan is now 2 lbs and 4 oz and is just a smidge shy of 14 inches long. If that isn't surprising enough, when I walked into Finnegan's room this afternoon, I found my little boy without his cpap and back on the nasal cannula! Finnegan broke the mold again and bounced back super quick! The respiratory therapist said that they were taking their time playing with him and massaging his newly deformed head, and they realized that he had been off the cpap for over 15 minutes and his o2 levels were amazing. So, they took him off the cpap and put him back on the cannula. :) I also discovered that my little dude's belly looked like a normal baby belly! His xray this morning looked a lot better than yesterday's, and the doctor said if his assessment goes well this evening, they won't do another xray and start him up on feedings again tomorrow! They stopped his antibiotics and took out his replogle tube and just put in a regular feeding tube to get out any extra saliva or gunk. He's still getting his IV nutrition, but hopefully we can get that IV out of him tomorrow or very soon afterwards. He is so alert today. In my first five minutes of being here, he pulled out his nasal cannula and then shoved it back in. I'm not sure how he did that, but he's talented that's for sure. Finn's nurse said that his doctor and nurse practitioner were shocked at how quickly he's bounced back from this and how well he is doing considering he hasn't been on food for a couple of days.

 More pictures of Finn exploring his face without his CPAP!

I had to dress him right away! :)

I am totally in awe of our little miracle.

Finnegan gets his CPAP off... again. This time we hope it's for good!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday, May 16th: The Doggies Come Home

Finnegan sleeps just like mommy. :)

He's a LOT more alert and likes to stare at his mask.
The past couple of days have been rather uneventful except for everything we've been doing to move forward on the house in Lexington. Finnegan is doing wonderfully, and Ian and I are just attempting to get into some sort of routine. It won't really be a "normal" routine, but it's a routine of sorts nonetheless. Since Ian's surgery, I'm trying to be at the hospital more while also trying to be home to take care of the hubby. Hasn't quite worked, but Ian is pretty self-sufficient and understanding. He has another appointment with his doctor tomorrow to determine if they need to try another route or if things are healing the way they are supposed to. I can't imagine what this is like for him. I'm frustrated enough with him being out of commission, I can't even think about how he feels about all of it physically and mentally. I'm just praying he gets answers and a definite fix soon.

He likes to suck on his fingers. Cute kid, really.
We've missed Finn's rounds the last couple of days, so we haven't had much to update. Plus, from what his nurses have told us, rounds have been super quick, so there is really not much to report. Regardless, we had excellent news this week, Finn broke the 2 pound barrier! :) As of today, Finnegan Michael weighs about 2 pounds and 1.5 ounces and is about 13.4 inches long! Right now we're at the sit and wait for him to grow stage, which is difficult but also amazing to watch. Beyond this great news, Finn continues to have some bradys that require some stimulation and suctioning, but most he corrects on his own (he's maturing!). He remains on his cpap with a forced breath rate of 5/minute. They weaned him from 30 down by five for a week. They tried taking him off the rate totally but he had a LOT of bradys that day. So, he's not quite ready for nothing, but he's getting there! He continues to poop and pee regularly and boy can you tell; he is a stinky boy! ;) I've come to learn when he is taking a dump and when he's hungry. It's just hard for me because I have to ask to change him (and/or he only gets changed every 3 hours when it's food time) or hold him and he gets fed on a very strict schedule. Otherwise, the doctors are monitoring his sodium levels. They are currently giving him extra sodium in his feedings every 6 hours, but as of yesterday, they upped the dosage because his levels weren't going up. We were also told that Finn will be able to get vaccinated for Hep B next week. Ian and I both want him to be vaccinated, but are a bit weary of whether or not our little preemie would be able to handle any vaccinations, but we'll look into it. Depending on what they doctors say we might ask that they hold off until he would have received them if he was born nearer his due date. All we learned from rounds today is that Finn is getting more food, so he's now up to 18ml of breastmilk per feeding. He'll be growing like a weed for sure! :)

Kylie had to improvise because her
favorite spot was covered!

After work today, Ian came upstairs and said he was going to go bring the dogs home. I have to admit, that might be why life has felt so off balance the last week or so. Our house just feels so empty and quiet. I'm not sure what we're getting ourselves into by bringing them back home after they've enjoyed about 3 weeks of fun with the Bruckner Grandparents, their big back yard, and Cody, but we'll see! I can't wait to have my little snuggle puppies back! When I was telling Finn today that daddy was bringing the puppies back, he smiled. The fact that a huge shart came (a fart that also has poop) right afterwards was purely coincidental. Once Finnegan is big enough, I can't wait to see him with his puppies! :) Heck, I can't wait to see Ian with his puppies again. :) I'm just so grateful for my in-laws! They've taken care of our two pups for over 3 weeks. I don't think just "Thank you" does it, but THANK YOU! :)

It's like he never left! :)

On Monday we had the home inspection. We were expecting to get the crap scared out of us by all the things we thought would have been found, but we were pleasantly surprised that the majority of the "issues" were manageable and rather affordable. Most importantly, more than half of them were not immediate concerns. It was quite an experience. My parents came down to see the house in person since it was going to opened up for the inspection anyways. My mom immediately fell in love with the almost one acre of property. I just fell in love with the whole house all over again. I even already started thinking about what room will be Finnegan's and how we will set it up. We still have some ways to go, but I'm so excited about this. Now, I just need to land a job (we might be doing this thing backwards ;) ). Let's pray someone looks at the numerous resumes I've put out and takes a bite!

I was trying to get a picture of his
little blonde eye lashes. You can see
them if you look closely! :)
Finnegan LOVES cuddle time!
After Finn eats, it's snuggle time for mommy and baby. My favorite! :) We are currently reading Catching Fire from the Hunger Games trilogy. Don't worry, I sensor the violent parts with bunnies and rainbows. :) I've also been reading him some children's books. He received a book called "I am small" about a little penguin from his cousin Lucy. He really likes that one. Plus, I also got him a book about how giraffes can't dance and a frog that likes to make music. He can't make out the pictures, but he likes hearing my voice, that's for sure. He espcially likes when I make voices. I usually get a little squeal every now and then for those. :)

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