Friday, February 27, 2009

You Can Almost Hear the Wheels Turning Gavin's little brain. Last night Sam was crying and I told Chad that I thought he needed a diaper change. Gavin asked "Is he crying because he wants his pants changed?" I said "yes".

"But he cries when you change his pants. Why would he cry because he wants his pants changed if he doesn't like it?" Brilliant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Pics

Aunt Kate and Uncle Chris and Silly Gavin
Roewe 4 generation picture

Great-Grandma Lois and Samson

Chad and Grandpa Dan


Sam went to his pediatrician last Thursday and he was up to 6 lbs, 1 oz. So he's gaining weight at the appropriate rate. It's hard to believe we don't have to go back until his 2 month appt! He looks bigger every day, his little cheeks are starting to fill out and he is getting more and more alert periods. He likes his tummy time and is pretty content to lay on his back and kick around - as long as someone is close by to help entertain him. He also really likes to be sung to, especially during diaper changes. Chad's found he seems to like "Copa Cabana". Who knew?

Gavin is a little attention hungry, but overall is handling things well, although he is not sleeping well. He likes to pet Sam's hair and touch his little feet.
Here's some pics from around the house, as well as from celebrating Chris & Kate's birthdays this weekend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finally one big Family

Life with Sam home is great! Gavin is handling it better than I could have imagined. Sunday he was so excited to see him when I walked through the door, and wanted to keep bringing him toys. He talks to him and makes silly faces at him, and wants to help out, but gets a little stressed when he can't calm him down when he is crying. Fortunately, he is not a big crier (yet)!

Samson is eating really well, and we are trying to get our routine down and a night routine down. We are working on nursing, and he's not GREAT at it yet, so the night is kind of rough right now because he doesn't eat much before falling asleep and I refuse to warm up bottles in the middle of the night. Good thing I have 4 weeks to figure it out!

I'll post some pictures soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Samson gets to come home!

The doctor is releasing Samson today! Usually they would make them wait a couple days on the ad lib feeding, but since I have done this before and he says it seems like I know what I am doing, they are comfortable releasing him today. YAY!

We know everyone is anxious to see him and love him and hold him. Please be patient with us as we introduce Sam to everyone slowly and not in mass. We're not supposed to be "passing him around" a lot even if he's asleep as that can stress preemies out. Hard to understand, but all the "strange" people (nurses) here are always doing unpleasant things to him - taking his temp, drawing blood, etc. So he will be stressed around new people for a while. They also told us that only Chad and I should feed him, unless of course he is in someone else's care.

We'll also ask that anyone that comes over to visit make a beeline for the sink and wash your hands well. Although not as much as Gavin was, Sam will still be a little more susceptible to illness than the average newborn. I am glad that he qualified to receive the RSV shot, so that is a very good thing.

That is all for now! Goodbye hospital food, beeping monitors, vitals every 3 hours. Goodbye to constant anxiety and fretting over every little drop of milk he takes. Goodbye 6 am phone calls to the NICU to see how Sam's night went. Goodbye to the AWESOME staff here that has taken such good care of him. Hello to life with TWO crazy little boys! I have no idea what we are in for, but I can not wait to find out!

Day 17

Sam had a good night with his "ad lib" feeding. That means he is eating every 3 hours, but he eats as much or as little as he wants. The doctors want to make sure he will eat enough on his own. Only at one feeding did he not really take as much as he should have, so we'll see what the doctor has to say about that. They did not put the feeding tube back in, so that was good news!

He just had a head ultrasound to check for intra-ventricular brain hemorrhage. Not that we think he has one, but it is standard for all babies born before 34 weeks. The tech can't give an official diagnosis, but she sees no cause for concern.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 16

Today continues to be a good day. Sam took full bottles at 2 am, 8 am, and 11 am (the nurse gave his 5 am feeding thru the tube b/c the orders were still for only 4 - 5 bottles per day). He is waking up and acting hungry and hour after he eats, and due to several admissions today, they are late getting to rounds.

And, as I am typing this update, Samson just pulled out his feeding tube. They should be moving to giving him every bottle, so the nurse is going to leave it out unless he needs it. Stinker! He is also in the middle of his car seat test (to see if he can still breathe well while sitting in his car seat). 10 minutes to go and he hasn't dropped his stats yet. Yay!

Gavin update: Gavin is great. He is doing really well at his new school. The owner made a point the other day to tell me that he is one of her best students and so polite! He's having a lot of fun, and learning a lot. He even wrote his name on some of his valentines! It will be interesting to see how he adapts to having a baby at home, right now the baby is a pretty vague concept, I am sure. Although he knows I am at the hospital a lot and he's heard him cry over the phone, and we give him updates on how he is doing.
He was starting to look bigger....

Until we put him in his car seat that is:

Goofy Gavin

Helping with Valentines:

Friday, February 13, 2009

More good news!

Sam took another full bottle at 2 pm - I just talked to the Dr and if he keeps it up, they will let him take all his bottles tomorrow, and if he does well on that, the next day he will go to eating on demand. And he only has to do that well for a day! I'm not going to get my hopes up - it's probably fair to say that we will be home in a week ,but if things go perfect, it could be early next week!

Day 15

Samson took his whole bottle at his 8 am feeding! He also gained 2 1/2 ounces yesterday, so nothing but good news today. He also bottled 44% of his food yesterday, compared to about 25% the day before.

The Dr. increased his intake to 52 ml every 3 hours (compared to 50), so not much of an increase, and said we could attempt to bottle 4 - 5 times a day. If he has more full bottles today, they will increase bottling attempts again tomorrow.

Such good news for a Friday!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2 weeks old!

Sam is two weeks old! I really didn't expect to be here this long, but things are slowly moving forward. Sam took 33 ml @ 8 pm, 40 ml @ 2 am, and 35 ml @ 8 am. He's barely slept since his 8 am feeding. The doctor is not ready to increase his number of bottles, but he did change the orders from every other feed, to 4 times a day. That means we/the nurse will determine if he seems awake enough, and we should see better results attempting bottles when he is more alert.

He's also acting more like a typical baby - alert more and crying whenever I put him in his crib. He also found his thumb and starting sucking on it this morning! It was too cute, although I hope he's not a thumb sucker.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Record day!

Sam just took 40 ml from his bottle - 80% of it - a record! And he sucked it down in about 15 minutes and like a "real" baby - I didn't have to pace him, he didn't choke on it or anything. And I got some good effortless burps out of him. And he is not spitting up!

Not getting my hopes up too much yet, but if he keeps up the good work on his 2 night feeds, we may be able to increase our number of attempts tomorrow.

Day 13

Pretty good night - holding steady but no real progress - 30 ml at 8 pm, 17 ml at 2 am, and 30 ml this morning at 8. Considering asking the dr's if smaller feedings every 2 hours make sense, he hits 30 and just doesn' t want anything more to do with eating.

Passed his hearing test yesterday - now if only he would listen to me when I tell him to eat because home is so much better than here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vacation Day

Samson kind of took a vacation today. All that eating and growing yesterday must have tired him out, because he was SO sleepy today and did nothing in the way of eating. I did give him a bath, which was nice, he loves having his hair washed. We weighed him after his bath since he was naked and he's gained another 25 grams, pretty good, especially considering he was weighed 6 hours and 3 feedings early!

Day 12 - off to a good start

Samson finally gained some weight - he's up 55 g (close to 2 ounces!). He's now just a little less than 3 ounces below his birth weight. He's continuing to do well with his bottle feedings, making progress in milliliters! He took about half his bottle at his 8 pm feeding, and set a new record (32 ml out of 50) at his 2 am feeding. Good work Sam!

However, he spit a good part of it back up when he was put back in his bed. The nurse said it was pretty projectile, so she's guessing it was due to the fact that he still needed to burp. He hasn't spit up at any other feedings, so hopefully it was that and not because he isn't tolerating the milk fortifier.

Everyone keeps asking when he might come home, but I still don't have a good guess. He's making progress, but still only getting a bottle at half his feedings, so we're still a ways off. Once he gets closer to taking a full bottle, they will offer him a bottle at more of his feedings. And of course, as he gains weight, they will want him to eat more. Sometimes it feels like the carrot just keeps getting a little further away, but hopefully we are getting closer to our "click" moment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Go Sammy Go!

It's been a good 24 hours. Sam gained 10 grams (first time he's gained since last Thurs I think) and he's taken over half his bottle at each feeding attempt - since that's every other time, that means he's taken 25% of his feeds himself. Much better than the 10 - 15 % he's been running at.

And we have nurse Ruth back - she was Gavin's primary care nurse and now she is Samson's, which means whenever she works, she has him. It's usually only 3 days a week since she has 12 hour shifts. Anyway, this morning she watched him bottle and passed along tips that she's heard the physical therapists give to parents. One involves helping him learn to pace his breathing/sucking, and it really seemed to work. His suck was also stronger and more consistent than it's been, so all that weight must have gone to his jaw muscles! = )

I'm not getting my hopes up, but it does feel like real progress for the first time in a week. I know that we won't move forward on every feeding, but this is a start. They may start fortifying his milk again this week to give him more calories, so I am just hoping he tolerates that and he doesn't have another setback.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 10

After spending half the day yesterday researching bottles, I brought in a new bottle for Samson to try. Not sure if it was the bottle, but he took half of it. I think it was the bottle, because he didn't seem to have to try as hard, and he was pretty much asleep the whole time. If we could get him alert at the right time for his feedings, I am sure he would do much better! We'll see if he has as much success at his 2 pm feeding.

They upped his feedings to 50 ml this morning. He hasn't really gained any weight the last couple of days, so in the next couple days we may start phasing in the milk fortifier again. He needs to grow and get stronger in order to eat, so I am hoping he will tolerate it better this time. So for now, not much change. Just......waiting.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The nurse this morning was talking to me and made the comment "He should be home before his due date." Ugh! I go back to work the day after his due date, I hope, hope, hope to have at least 2 weeks at home with him before I return to work. But, I am doing a better job of staying calm and accepting that there is nothing I can do but wait. Although I may go out and buy one of every bottle ever made to see if there is something he likes better! = )

That's probably all the updates for today, I am going home to play with Gavin and try to enjoy the weather and give Chad some time with Sam.

Day 9

Samson didn't do much last night in the way of eating, but I think since we really tried so hard yesterday and he did pretty good during the day, that he was just way tired out. The nurse yesterday caught me teary eyed and gave me a lecture about giving up control and facing each day with no expectations, so I am going to try hard to do that today. I'm sure Samson can feel my stress.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blurry Pics

Sorry these are kind of blurry, but I don't want to flash the little man in the eyes.

Gavin torturing Dad after a long day

After Bath snuggling. He promptly threw up.

Clean clothes again

Daddy's are so snuggly!

In his big boy crib


At his 2 pm feeding, Samson ate 20 ml of his bottle and promptly threw it back up. Two steps forward, one back. He does look awfully cute in his yellow rocket ship sleeper though.

So I keep getting comments on how well I am handling this, and for the most part, I do have a very positive outlook. But starting Wednesday, some negativity started taking over, so I am going to give myself a moment to meltdown, and move on.

It started when the lactation consultant came to check on how I was doing. When I told her what my "output" was she responded "That's.....ok". Really? That's a supportive answer? How about "That's great, it must be really stressful having a baby in the hospital and good job with the pumping. It's wonderful that you get up every three hours in the middle of the night, when you must be exhausted and all you want is a good night's sleep. And if you want some tips, here's what you could do." Maybe that would have been a better answer than "ok". As if having a preemie in the hospital doesn't give you enough of an inferiority complex.

I'm so sick of this hospital. I'm grateful that they give nursing mothers free meals, but I'm really getting sick of the food. I'm so tired of the ups and downs. I hate that for at least half the day, I am dependent on other people to care for my baby, and I know he's not getting a fraction of the love that he would be at home. I hate that I can't "fix" this, I'm just not good at the wait and see. When I am not here, I feel like I am letting Sam down, when I stay here late, I feel like I am letting Gav down. I hate sitting here all day, but I don't feel like I could be anywhere else. I hate that he started off so well last weekend because it got our hopes up that he wouldn't be here long. This whole situation just sucks, and I am so ready for it to be over.

On the other hand, thank you to everyone for your terrific support. Thanks for my friends that email me every day, and thanks for my friend who is taking Gavin off our hands for a few hours on Sunday. Thanks to our family, and especially to my awesome husband and to Gavin who is being an incredibly good kid through all of this. I'm just so ready for us to all be a family at home. Gavin hasn't even met his brother!

All right, my meltdown is over. They keep telling us one day things will just "click". Keep hoping that day is tomorrow.

Day 8

Last night at his 2 am feeding, Samson took 19 ml of his 48 bottle, and at his 8 am feeding he did 21 ml, so we are getting there. The nurse we have today is very persistent at getting him to eat and showed me some good tips - this is the first time I've been able to get him to take a decent bottle from me since last weekend. We also figured out he is biting on the nipple and collapsing it, making it impossible to get anything, so every once in a while, I have to take the bottle out of his mouth and get him going again. We'll see at his 2 pm feeding if we can get some consistency going!

He's also in a crib now, which means I get to snuggle up with him whenever I want! Maybe the big boy bed will inspire him to eat like a big boy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Progress Stalled

Well, after the good news this morning, we have stalled again. This afternoon's feeding didn't go any better. I'm wondering if I can ask if we can just take him home on the feeding tube, although I don't know what I would do if he pulled it out! This is such a frustrating process, and patience is not really my strong point. And I don't have work or anything else to distract me!

Waiting for Chad to get here, and then we get to give him a bath which will be fun. He hasn't had one since the morning after he was born, and he is looking a little greasy.

Day 7

Well, Samson is just full of excuses - at his 8 am feeding, he took three sucks from his bottle and promptly got the hiccups, so he had to get the rest from his tube. Little stinker! As promised, here are a few pics. It's hard right now because I don't want to use the flash, but he is still in his isolette, so it's hard to get a clear shot. He is getting more layers of clothes added, and the heat turned down throughout the day, so he should be in his crib by the evening.

PROGRESS!! = ) = ) = )

I called to check on Samson this morning, and finally, some good news! At his 2 am feeding, he took half his bottle - 23 ml of the 48 ml that he gets at each feeding. He was also awake and sucking on his pacifier for his 5 am tube feeding, which is a really good sign. We've been holding him a lot and giving him "kangaroo" care, so I don't know if that really helped, or he is just perking up, but whatever the reason, I am so happy this morning.

We're waiting to hear back on his bilirubin levels, they turned the lights off at 10 pm last night and are weaning him back to his crib. I bought a camera yesterday (Chad usually has ours for work), so I will get to work on some pictures for all you wonderful fans.

Now that we are starting to move forward, I am hoping our NICU sentence is only about a week longer. YAY! Such a happy way to start my morning.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 6

Sorry for the later than usual update. This morning Sam's nurse got pulled away for an admission, so no one came to put him back in his isolette, so we napped with him on my chest for a couple hours. It was so nice!

He had a rough night, spitting up a lot. They were fortifying his milk, but have stopped that to see if that is the issue. His 8 am feeding he had no problems, so we will see how it goes. He didn't really make an effort at eating last night (would you if you knew it would make you puke?), and this morning he only did about 15 ml. So it feels a little like we are going nowhere, and I am feeling a little discouraged today. There is really no "typical" preemie, so he could get this figured out tomorrow or he could take weeks. Big sigh. I don't want to spend my entire maternity leave in the hospital.

He lost weight, but more than likely that's because he spit up 4 of his meals yesterday. He has so far only lost about 6.8% of his birth weight - the typical "healthy" baby loses 10%, so there is really no concern there.

Thanks for checking up on us, and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Isn't it funny how names "stick"? I'm sitting in the hospital looking around at all these things that say "Samson" and can't imagine that we might have named him Princeton or Stratton - he's such a Samson already! We are having a good day, he is up to 48 ml on his feedings, and he just did 20 ml on his own. He was very awake and alert for it too! He's passed out in his isolette again, I'm hoping he perks up for when his dad visits for his 5 pm feeding. I'm also hoping he picks up on his eating soon, because his goal keeps increasing as his weight increases, so it feels like he'll never catch up if he doesn't start making some progress!

Samson Pics

These were taken the night he was born. No, he doesn't have red hair! And while I don't love that he is stuck in the hospital, I was so happy to have a baby I could hold for at least a couple minutes after he was born this time.

Baby Sips

Yesterday Sam seemed to be a little more perky than I had ever seen him during the morning, but then was conked out all afternoon. They have scaled back and are allowing him to "attempt" his own feedings every other time, and yesterday and overnight he stayed pretty consistent at 15 ml - one third of his feeding amount. I'm hoping that with the rest and his bilirubin levels continuing to come down that we will make some progress today. It's amazing how something as simple as eating is such a chore for these little babies! He did gain 10 grams when they weighed him Monday morning, he weighs almost 5 lbs, 5 oz now.

He will be staying under the lights until Wednesday evening, unless by some miracle he starts eating. Not likely, but the doctor said the lights wouldn't be the reason he doesn't go home.

They've also started fortifying his milk with extra calories and protein, so I am hoping that might give him some extra energy. He is already showing his little personality - yesterday I was feeding him and had him laying on the outside of my gown and he pitched a GIANT fit until I situated him so that he was tucked under the gown up against my skin! So at least he is not too tired to let his opinion known!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hunger Strike

Samson is apparently on a hunger strike, which is frustrating after he started off so well. Part of the issue may be his bilirubin levels, as babies with jaundice tend to be lethargic and not want to eat. We tried a new bottle, and that didn't seem to help any

= (

His bilirubin count did go down from 11 to 7 this morning and the nurse said he is looking a lot better, so hopefully as the day goes on, he will perk up a little more and start eating.

Gavin is being such a good kid, I was a little worried when he was acting up on Sat when they picked me up, but he has been such a good kid since then, a little sad because he just wants to see his baby, and he can't be in the NICU until he is 5. He's also slept in his own bed the last two nights!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Welcome to the World Samson Joseph Sellers!

After I was admitted to the hospital on Monday with pre-term labor, Samson Joseph was born Thursday, January 29th a 7:58 pm. We were lucky to be able to get 2 doses of steroids to take effect before he was born, and he was breathing on his own right away. He weighed in at 5 lbs, 10 ozs and was 18 1/2 inches long. Very big for his almost 34 weeks!

He started off doing extremely well. He continues to do well, but as the case with preemies, we've started to hit a couple small hurdles. Somehow it is still difficult, even though we have been through this before and know what to expect.

His breathing is still perfect, so now we just need to get him feeding the amount that the doctors want to see out of him. Yesterday he did great as they continued to increase his feedings every 8 hours. In the middle of the night he was up to an ounce and that was kind of his breaking point. They did have to put in a feeding tube - they feed him by mouth as much as he will take, and then "top him off" so to speak with the tube. He is currently at 30 ml (one ounce) and they will increase by 5 ml after 3 successful feedings at the current amount. His goal before he can go home is 45 ml, and without the tube.

The good news is that he is no longer on IV fluids. He's also under a bili light today as his bilirubin count was high this morning, but that was also expected. They have new lights that work very quickly, so we are hoping he can be out from under those tomorrow. Unfortunately he had just gotten weaned out of an isolette and into a crib over night, but now he's back in the isolette until he doesn't need the lights. The other bad part about the lights is that well, he needs to be under them, so we can't hold him as often.

We'll try to keep updating this site, although I won't be so good with pics, etc until he gets home, as I'll be at the hospital all day during the day when Chad is working and Gav is at school. I am hoping he can be home by the end of the week. Now that I am ahead on pumping, I am hoping that he will tolerate the feedings better with milk - he was on formula most of last night, which is a high-cal formula and a lot heavier. I'm hoping if we can avoid the formula from here on out, it will be more successful.

Oh, and I should mention Samson looks nothing like Gavin, but is equally adorable. He must look just like Chad because he sure doesn't look like me!