Saturday, December 29, 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posing on Christmas Morning!

We have had a little bit of excitement this month!

Besides Finnegan's First Christmas, we also moved in to our first home, and had a baby hospital stay.

Right after being admitted.
Shortly after the last post, we got results from Finnegan's EEG and met with his neurologist. The EEG showed no signs of seizure activity (!!!) and the doctor adjusted his medication to slowly wean him off of the phenobarb. After that amazing news, Finnegan started coughing and had quite a runny nose. Ian took him to the doctor and we were told (as always) to just watch out for breathing because RSV was making its rounds in the area. Now, Finnegan had already been receiving monthly shots of Synagis which is designed to lessen any symptoms of RSV if he were to get it. Well, Finn surprised us all on Saturday when Ian took him back into the doctor's office: he tested positive for RSV. After a breathing treatment in the office, they gave us several options for treatment. Since his symptoms were not too severe in the realm of RSV, they left it up to us. We decided to take him down to the Children's Hospital in Peoria as a just in case. Because he was stable and breathing easily, they let us take him.
Finn and Mommy watching Tangled together.

When we got there, they told us that since RSV is SUPER contagious, we had to either wear protective garb (mask, gloves, and gown) 24/7 or stay in his room and only leave to go to the cafeteria or to go home. All visitors, doctors, and nurses also had to "garb up" before entering the room. He was super content the whole time. They said that since his symptoms weren't severe, he was simply admitted because of his medical history and as a precaution.

They said the only treatment they would give him (unless his symptoms worsened) was nose suctioning using a bulb suction and saline solution. He liked it more than most babies, but, as you can imagine, he didn't like it too much!

Finn after they told us we could go home!
We had a minor issue that evening with nurses being overbooked and not taking care of our little munchkin like they should have, but then again we knew that he wasn't as severe as the other babies on the floor with RSV. The next morning, they told us we could go home without a problem. We were told that we would need to continue suctioning out his nose to keep his airway clear and that he was a lucky little boy for not having more severe symptoms, since some babies do die from RSV. We thanked God that Finn was given the opportunity to receive Synagis! Even though getting the shot is painful for our little guy, it worked!

Another follow-up appointment with Dr. Emm a couple days later was very positive. He received another flu shot (his second) to help protect him from getting the flu... let's pray that doesn't happen! The doctor was a bit more concerned about his head shape, so he wants us to go back in to see his neurosurgeon (Dr. Lin) sooner than we had originally planned on seeing him. It is possible that Dr. Lin may suggest Finnegan get a helmet to help reshape his head. In the meantime, we are working to move his head often.

We were happy that Finn was feeling better, but we still had a lot of work to do on the house! Our moving day was scheduled for December 15th (Ian's birthday no less), so we had a LOT to do before that day!

The week of the 15th, I had to work and was not able to take off any days (because if I don't work, I don't get paid), so Ian did a lot of the running around, packing, etc. He did a great job with the help of his dad and brother! When I came home from work Friday afternoon, I was shocked by how much was already done! My dad came and one of Ian's coworkers and Pat also came to help move the "stuff" into the house. We had stuff EVERYWHERE, and we had to make sure the master bedroom and dining room was empty so that the drywall guys could come in to finish the walls on Monday. We were able to get it all done, surprisingly!

It took the guys only a couple days to get the walls done. In the meantime, we got the bathroom finished (we just have to clean up some of the wood from paint drippings) and got a lot more electrical work put together (our dads are awesome!). Finnegan has been suck a little trooper through this whole process! On our move-in day/evening, he slept the WHOLE time. What an awesome little boy!

With his RSV, he had a little bit of a break from therapy since the therapists wanted him to recover, and they didn't want to spread more RSV germs. The Thursday before Christmas his occupational therapist came to his sitter's house to work with him. She said she was quite impressed with his progress, especially since he had been sick. We have been working with him on sitting up and gaining more head control. We also have worked on hand-eye coordination and oral stimulation. He's slowly coming around! :)

Christmas came and went. It was such a magical time for us to see Finnegan with his family and enjoying all the Christmas lights (well... he was actually more partial to the ceiling fans)! Here are some of our favorite moments from Christmas 2012!

After Christmas, we went back to work on the house. We spent a lot of time cleaning off the dust from the walls from the drywall dust so they would be ready to prime, paint, and move into...officially. We finally agreed on paint colors, so the next step is painting, putting up the trim, hanging the draperies, and moving in that furniture! We'll get to staining that trim a little later.

Thursday, Finn had an appointment with his occupational therapist. She was really impressed with his progress! Now, he can sit up with just some support on his midsection (right under the ribcage). He rolled over with help and even started picking his head up on his tummy!

Last night, while we were playing, I put Finn on his belly. As soon as I let him go, he put his arms up and pushed off from the ground. He held himself up! He did have quite an incentive...I was holding a mirror up to him. He for sure likes himself! he could be screaming his head off, and if I show him a picture of himself or give him a mirror to look at, he is automatically mesmerized!

We're exploring the world of baby food slowly but surely. He seems to tolerate peas, hate oatmeal, and LOVE applesauce. We'll be trying some green beans next! He's a VERY happy baby. He's pretty consistently giggling, smiling, and eating his hands. He's also exploring his vocal range. ;)

Even though this year has brought us the most amazing gift, it has also brought about some amazing hardships. I'm looking forward to the new year and praying that it brings more stability and good health for all of us!

Thank you for all of your support this year. I cannot imagine how we could have made it through this year without this blog and without the support of all of you reading it. I have started following a couple other families on their journey in the NICU on Facebook, and as I read through status updates, I cannot help but take a deep breath, close my eyes, say a prayer, and hug my little dude. Every Sunday, I pray for families in the NICU and the doctors and nurses taking care of them. I know those prayers are what kept Ian and I sane and kept our little guy safe, so I guess it's the least I can do.

As I sit writing this from the living room of our new home, I couldn't feel more at peace. Even though I'm still not fully employed and there are a lot of unknowns ahead, things have started to calm down a bit. It's hard to feel anything but peaceful when I look over and see my mighty Finnegan snoozing in his swing with his little pudgy fingers on top of his knees, his little lips pouting out, and his little butt chin just being SUPER adorable. What a blessing.

From our family to yours: We wish you a happy, healthy, and blessed 2013!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giving Thanks...

Life has been SO busy! The best part is that it all involves GOOD things. I worry about jinxing myself, but I'm SO thankful for a streak of good news!

Play, play, pass out!
Since our last post, we have closed on a home, began renovations and slowly fixing it up, I have started working my second maternity leave at the high school, and Finnegan has been flourishing.

Most importantly, Finnegan has been doing REALLY well. He received his 6 month shots and his first flu shot before Thanksgiving. To help remedy the frequent puking, Dr. Emm put him on Prevacid. Finnegan is happy because he gets his Prevacid with applesauce! Finnegan began to get used to his biweekly blood draws at the lab. The receptionists and nurses all knew me by my face, so I just had to wave and we would be checked in. The nurses looked forward to every Monday and Thursday when they would get to see Finnegan. The last two blood draws, he even giggled throughout the entire thing, the stick, draw and everything! The only time he cried was when I put them in the car seat. The nurses were just in awe of him! The best news came after his last blood draw last Thursday: Finn's CBC results had been awesome and his platelet counts had been trending in the right area, so we could discontinue labs for a couple weeks. They want us to go back for one more blood draw then to determine if he even needs any more!

Finnegan has another appointment with Dr. Emm in a couple weeks. At that appointment he will get the order for his followup immunology tests. Last week Finn had a followup EEG. Still waiting on results.

Today Finnegan went for a followup appointment with his neurosurgeon and had another MRI. Dr. Lin was SUPER happy with Finn's improvement. All the excess axial fluid had been resolved, so the shunt is doing what it needs to! The size of his ventricles is still a bit big, but the doctor thinks it might be his new baseline. He'll go back in March. On Thursday he goes back to see his regular neurologist, Dr. Taft.

He sees his physical and developmental therapists once a week. They are also so impressed with Finn. He still has a lot of work to do to catch up physically and developmentally, but he's already made so much progress! He is looking up, tracking toys and people as they move across the room, smiling when we talk to him, eating his hands, rubbing his eyes, giggling at toys/mobile when he sees them, and keeping his head up better. He still struggles with tummy time. The physical therapist has provided a wedge that puts him at an angle so he doesn't have all the gravity working against him. I am just so impressed with him. His is my inspiration.

In house news, we are slowly making improvements to make this house an amazing home. Our family is such an amazing help in all of this. I am astonished at all their talents and their graciousness. We have a bunch of projects in the works, and it's crazy being in between houses constantly, but it will all be worth it in the end! It helps that Finnegan is a little trooper and just goes with the flow (most of the time!).

I started my second maternity leave at the high school last week. By the end of this year, I will have taught almost every English class at Bloomington High School! After over 75 jobs applied to since May, I have my first SECOND interview this week. I am super excited for this interview and even more excited about the job itself. Keep your fingers crossed for me and our family! :)