Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayers for London Joy

My friend gave birth to a 29 1/2 week baby girl this morning. She weighed in at 2 lbs, 14 oz. She did get steroid shots last week, and had them in her system for 48 hours, so hopefully her lungs are strong.

Please keep this family in your thoughts as they begin their NICU journey.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our 2 pound miracle turns FIVE!

On August 27th, 2004 at 5:35 AM, Gavin Gatsby Sellers was born 3 months to the date early. The events leading up to his birth are saved for another post. He weighed 2 lbs, 5 oz, and was 14 1/2 inches long. He was met with a huge team of people. His lungs were dosed with surfactant, and he was immediately intubated. They rolled my bed over to his warming table and Chad and I held his tiny hands for just a minute as they were treating him (he was already trying to pull out his tube - feisty from the start!). Five years later, I find it hard to comprehend how tiny he was on that day, and how unaware we were of what the next 82 days would hold.

We had a hard time coming up with boy names, but one day I heard a talk show host discussing Gavin Rossdale on the radio. I don't have an opinion one way or another on Gavin Rossdale, but I fell in love with his name! Gatsby was easy, Chad and I met in high school English class and that year, "The Great Gatsby" was one of our favorite books. I would come to spend hours reading that book to Gavin in the NICU.

From the book "Preemies - The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies":

"The...survival rates of babies born between 26 and 29 weeks of gestation vary from about 75% for 26-weekers to 85% for 29-weekers...40% of those surviving will be normal, 40% will have mild to moderate disabilities, and 20% will have severe disabities."

As I figure, we had slightly above a 30% chance of the outcome we see today. Gavin is so normal, I don't even think of him as a preemie anymore. But I never want to forget how delicate his start to life was, mostly because I don't ever want to take anything in my life for granted. We were lucky, blessed, and Gavin's outcome is nothing short of a miracle we should always celebrate.

Gavin came off the vent within 6 hours. In fact, byt the time I was able to get up to the NICU to see him, he was already off. The first day I was in a haze; as I looked at him, I KNEW he was my baby, but strangely felt no connection to this tiny motionless thing that was under a plastic tent, his face covered with the CPAP, and tubes and wires coming out everywhere. The next morning, I went back up, and the nurse told me "he's on 26% oxygen". The tone of her voice told me that was a good thing, but I had no idea what it meant. I didn't even know enough to know what questions to ask. This began the start of an education I never expected. After all, I sucked at science.

He started off great. I got to hold him 5 days after he was born, on August 31st. He was just lost in a bundle of blankets. What a feeling to be terrified to hold your own child. It took two nurses to get him out and positioned in my arms.

10 days after he was born he got sick. The night before Chad and I went on a date at a nice restaurant (can you believe I was able to get right back into my fancy clothes?). I called up to the NICU and his night primary nurse, Kim, told us he was acting up, dropping his sats frequently, and he had to go up on oxygen (for those that don't know, the air we breathe or "room air" is 21% oxygen). The next morning I got to the NICU at 9 am. There was a nurse at his bedside and a respiratory therapist, he had been switched to a "cycled CPAP" which is more support, but he was still dropping and forgetting to breathe. A switch was flipped and the neonatologist, and more nurses, and NP's were suddenly flooding the room. I went into the bathroom to get out of the way and started sobbing. I didn't know what was happening. Was he just too little? Was his system giving out? Do they just give up the will to live? These were thoughts going through my head when my mom called. I managed to choke out what was happening, and she rushed down to the hospital.

That definitely was one of the worst days of my life. They started him on antibiotics, but we would not know for 24 hours if it was an infection. It turned out he had a staph infection in his blood. He also underwent a spinal tap to test for infection in his spinal fluid. That was a hard test to consent to as there was a risk of nerve damage/paralysis.

Gavin finally hit 3 pounds on October 1st and that's when he turned the corner.

During his hospital stay he underwent 2 blood transfusions, "tanned" under bili lights, was treated for staph infection, received two doses of indocin (which closed his PDA - thank GOD!) thus avoiding heart surgery, underwent eye exams for ROP, had two Grade 2 brain hemorrhages which resolved, had more IV's and blood drawn than I could count, learned to breathe, learned to eat, and after 75 days was ready to come home.

Until....concern that his reflux was something more (as it was not responding to meds) bought his several barium swallows and full GI scans. Turns out his stomach was malrotated! It was a matter of time before it would continue to twist and cut off blood supply and he would lose parts of his bowel. He needed surgery, it was not IF but WHEN. We made the difficult decision to do the surgery before leaving the hospital. We were terrified of how small he was, but delaying it would mean coming back to the PICU rather than the NICU. We were terrified of putting him back on the vent, how long he would remain on the vent, and how hard it would be to wean him.

That's the NICU, two steps forward, one back. We were actually extremely lucky we were in the NICU and it was caught before he lost part of his bowel. When they went in for the surgery, they discovered that not only was his stomach "upside down", but his intestines were all twisted the wrong way as well.

So Gavin ended up being the FIRST BABY at Blank to have his malrotation surgery done laparoscopically! No huge incision, no need for heavy pain meds. He came off the vent before leaving the OR. After a few crappy days not being fed and having a tube down his throat into his stomach suctioning air and bile from his tummy, he started feeds and came home a week after surgery on November 17th, 2004. 82 days in the NICU. Adding 4 inches in length, and gaining 4 lbs, 7 oz.

And here's how far we've come:

The First Picture ever taken, 8-27-04

Kangaroo Care:

Snuggling with Dad:

First Family Picture 11-6-04

With the Man that I Miss 3-21-05:

First Birthday 8-27-05:

Second Birthday 8-27-06:

Third Birthday 8-27-07:

Almost 4 yrs old:

Today - First Soccer Game 8-29-09:

Gavin, we love you and are so proud of how far you have come in these five years! You challenge us on a daily basis, but also inject humor in almost every situation you encounter. I can't imagine the world without you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Starting Kindergarten and Brotherly Love

Gavin's first day went as well as could be expected. There were a few tears when we first got there because it was a total zoo and he got overwhelmed. I stayed in the classroom until his friend Ian got there. He seemed fine when I picked him up. Of course, he couldn't remember anything he had done all day!

Now on to the brotherly love. I love these boys on their own, of course, but I REALLY love them together! Yesterday we were able to lounge a little as we were both taking Gav to his first day of school. Sam was sitting on Chad's lap and kept leaning over and scooting so he could get close to Gavin. He just wanted to lay his head on him, it was so cute.

Sam's thing right now is blowing raspberries. He sometimes does it when eating, which we try to curb. He also does it whenever I put something more solid than a puree in his mouth: his prevacid tablets (they are dissolvable and I learned it's much easier popping it in his mouth than trying to dilute and syringe it in) or his yogurt meltaways. You put it in his mouth and sure enough those lips purse!

Well, last night Gavin thought it was fun to blow raspberries right back at him, and before you know it, there was a full blown competition going on. I wish I had captured it on video! Sam was getting all worked up and puffing his cheeks out SO far to try to out-do his brother.

How lucky am I to have this constant fun and entertainment in my house?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet The Teacher

Gavin went to school to meet his teacher Friday afternoon. It was a ZOO! But it was definitely worth it. He was pretty apprehensive at first, but as soon as we told the teacher (Mrs. Paulson) his name, she knew right away that it was going to be his birthday on Thursday! He's pretty excited to bring treats. Also, he already knows three boys in his class! One from TLC, one from KTC, and one from Little Ninjas.

As he was checking out the room, one thing he asked me was "Where are the cots?"

No nap time! Now, he rarely naps on the weekends anymore, but he was notorious for sleeping on the bus to and from field trips or when the room was dark for movie time. Hopefully this will mean an earlier bed time!

He wants both Chad and I dropping him off tomorrow, I can't believe my baby is going to school! I don't think he realizes it's not just fun and play time all day.

I'm nervous for embarking on this new phase. School was always so easy for me, I wanted to learn, I enjoyed it, and even though my mom instilled in me that school was important, I intrinsically wanted to do well. I hope it comes as naturally for Gavin. I hope the kids are nice. I feel my ability to shelter and protect him starting to slip away and I hate it.

Soccer Games

Soccer games are at 10:45 Saturday mornings, most Saturdays for the next two months. One game is at 11:45, so tell me before you show up in case it's the odd time.

The fields are located at 4301 NW 66th Ave in Johnston. From the Merle Hay Rd exit off the interstate head north. Turn right (east) on NW 62nd. Turn left (north) on NW Beaver. Turn right (east) on NW 66th Ave and the fields are just up a short distance.

Gavin has had two practices so far and is really pretty good! Of course, he's probably the oldest since he just missed the cut off last year.

Not Birthday Pictures

I had to use Chad's camera for the party (if anyone knows how to change the "write protect" on a memory card, please comment). So it will be a while before I get those off his computer!

For your enjoyment (I apologize for the lack of captions, blogger is not user friendly this evening):

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Gavin, you're party is AWESOME"

A little boy named Carson kept telling him over and over!

I will post details and pictures later when I have time, but we survived, there were minimal tears (less than I expected!), and LOTS of presents. My word, it was ridiculous. We ended up with 16 kids! I think everyone had a great time and it was so much fun to see the kids enjoying each other.

And Samson has turned over a new leaf - or maybe he is just a little subdued with a cold. BUT - the night before last he only woke up once for a bottle and then last night he woke up once but barely drank anything before falling back asleep. Dare I say that sleeping through the night may be in our near future? AND he's been napping well today - for much longer periods of time than his usual catnaps.

Boy am I exhausted. I sat down just for a moment and I'm having a hard time getting the motivation to stand back up.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"You SHOULD Wear a Lot of Makeup"

I've said this before, and I am sure to say it again - Gavin cracks me up on a regular basis. You must love the honesty of this age, even if it stings a little!

It must have been last weekend we were out and about and I didn't put on make up before leaving the house. Now, I really don't wear much anyway - I don't have the time or patience in the mornings, so it's eyeliner and mascara and out the door. But it must resonate with Gav because when I have to drop him off in the mornings, I always give him a warning "I'm going to put my makeup on, and then we're getting you dressed."

So back to last weekend, we were driving and Gavin made the comment that I hadn't put on make up, and said:

G: "Sometimes you wear make up and sometimes you don't wear make up!"
M: "I don't usually put on make up on the weekends"
G: "Why don't you wear a lot of makeup?"
M (ok, totally fishing here): "Don't you think Mom's pretty enough she doesn't need makeup?"

G: "You should wear a lot of makeup Mom. You should."

Double sigh!

A Bad Mommy Day

Yesterday was bad. REALLY bad

Let's back up - it's been a horrendous two weeks at work, lots of late nights working. Trying to get ready for Gav's bday party and Kindergarten. So I've been more than a little stressed.

Yesterday Gavin went back to his old day care b/c KTC closes for 3 days before school starts. I expected him to be in a rotten mood b/c he doesn't deal well with those kinds of transitions. Well let's just say he was way worse than I expected. By the time we pulled into the garage he wasn't crying or whining but SCREAMING at the top of his lungs.

The lack of sleep. The stress. The messy house. The screaming kid......and suddenly I just screamed back. It felt kind of good to let it out, and I just wanted him to feel how I feel when he does it.

Then I felt horrible because I scared the crap out of him, and when he gets scared his tummy hurts so he proceeded to cry and gag and almost throw up. Did he learn a lesson? Probably not. Did I? YES

So one would think the night can only get better, but it didn't. Due to lack of patience and general intolerance I told Chad to put Sam in his crib. THIS was the night we would try to cry it out. Honestly I just wanted to eat dinner without hearing the wailing in the living room. Five minutes later I send Chad in to get him. Sam doesn't cry like an ordinary baby, he gets himself so freaked out that he is pale and his whole body is shaking and he can't catch his breath. So when Chad came back out with him and I saw that, I cried too.

UGH. So needless to say I feel horrible about my parenting skills, I am expecting next week to be a total nightmare with Gavin starting Kindergarten, and the prospect of sleeping in my own bed anytime in the near future is slim to none.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yup, Hospitals do make people sick

Yesterday was the second time back at the hospital since Sam's release (the first time being the barium enema back in June).

This morning he has a nasty snarfly nose. Oh and last night, after working til 2 am and finally going to bed, he was up every hour on the hour.

And the same thing happened last time we were there.

So the theory about germy hospitals making people sick is confirmed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Because We Are ALIENS"

Ok, I have many posts that I need to write to update on all the things going on these days, but I will start with this one by request of my friend Erika Star!

Last Thursday Gavin had his first soccer practice for his fall team. He's probably one of the oldest kids in the U5 league since he just barely missed the cut off last year - you have to be 4 by August 1st, and since his bday is on the 27th he wasn't able to play fall or spring last year. We were given the option to "play up" so he would be with his classmates, but we figured we can always decide to do that later if he turns out to be awesome.

Gavin tends to think of guys as his playmates rather than authority figures - Uncle Chris, "Uncle" Zach, these are people to joke with, that will wrestle with him and throw him up in the air, etc.

So with the soccer coach he was instantly goofing around and well, he's just not a great listener anyway. There are 2 girls and three boys on the team and one boy was shy and watching on the sidelines. Gavin and the other boy were rowdy and bad listeners - not waiting for the coach to say "go", or not fully listening to instructions.

Gavin was just really excited to be there and would take off running and dribbling the ball before he was supposed to or wouldn't stop when he was supposed to and the other little boy followed suit.

The coach was very patient about it, but finally said "Hey boys, you aren't listening or following directions very well."

To which Gavin replied (still running like a madman and dribbling his soccer ball) "Because we are ALIENS!"

Everyone got a good laugh out of that one. Gavin cracks me up on a daily basis with some of the things he says. I'll try to remember to keep posting them.

Update on Ultrasound

Everything went well, Sam was the life of the waiting room flirting with everyone and shrieking with delight at everyone that would look at him. He was not a fan of sitting still with mom holding his head steady, but the whole thing took less than 10 minutes. I asked if she saw the cysts and she said she didn't.

I then asked if everything looked ok and I got the standard response "I just take the pictures, the radiologist still has to review them".

I don't know why they can't just ease my paranoid fears and tell me there are no big tumors in there! Not that there is any risk of that, but still, it would be reassuring to hear!

Anyway for now we are assuming all is good in that little brain of his and I suppose we'll hear from the doc in a week or so.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Head Ultrasound Monday Morning

Please keep Sam's brain in your thoughts as we have a follow up ultrasound Monday morning. I've done such a good job putting it out of my head I haven't started worrying about it til now!

In the NICU they did a routine u/s to check for brain hemorrhage (required before discharge for babies born prior to 34 weeks). No brain bleeds, but they did find a cyst - tiny, the size of the tip of a pen. We are just following up to make sure it is gone.

If it's not....well, I have no idea what that means because I haven't googled brain cysts. Pretty good self restraint out of me right?

I've been so crazy busy that I have been doing a horrible job keeping this blog updated. Here's my reminder list of things to tell you all about: news pics, "because we're aliens", "you should wear a lot of make up", Gavin's behavior (good!), Sam's eating solids, and The Picture People. Soon I promise!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This just happened:

Sam is sitting on Chad's lap and Gavin started talking to him.

Gavin: "Sammy, it's not playtime, it's time to go to sleep"
Sam: laughed out loud - a real belly chuckle

It was too cute

Sam is also obsessed with the cat. He even sat on his own a bit as he was reaching out for Meatball. Meatball was not impressed with Samson continually grabbing his fur and eventually took a swipe at him. I managed to bat him away but Sam ended up with a tiny scratch. So I guess we'll be monitoring their interaction closely.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

And the Good Boy Award goes to....

Gavin Sellers! He has been such a delight this weekend and a very good helper. Chad and I both had a lot of work to do this weekend so Chad kept him entertained Saturday and took him to the science center. Sunday I took the boys shopping and Gavin was so easy and good at the stores, not even upset when I told him we weren't buying any toys at Target.

I picked up a thing that hangs on the crib and lights up and plays music in the hopes that Sam will take to sleeping in his crib.

Gavin: "You can sleep in Daddy's bed. I will take care of Sammy if he is scared of the dark. I will check on him when he cries".

Not lying, that is exactly what he said - Gavin is SUCH a great big brother!

Another funny conversation as we were leaving Target:

Gavin (seeing the hay roles in the field across from Target): "Mom what are all those hays for?"
Bridie (not seeing the hay roles and thinking "what the hay?"): What?
G: Those hay roles
B: Oh, they are rolled up and ready to send to the people that need them.
G: We don't need any hay
B: Nope
G: because we don't have any animals
B: Yes (wondering where he learned hay is for animals) what animal needs hay?
G: Horses - hay is for the horses!

What a little man. So smart. Such an awesome brother. Growing up so fast (sniff....sniff....)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sam's 6 Month Stats

Sam had his 6 month check up today. He was over 27 inches long and 18 pounds 7 oz.

That puts him at the 75% for height and 60% for weight! YAY! It took Gavin until his 24 month check up to get to those stats.

We are going to try a new reflux med (prevacid). Reflux is still our wicked foe. Last night was a horrible night, he cried and cried and puked all over. Hopefully this works.

Learned something new today - not sure if I forgot, it's new information, or I just didn't pay attention with Gavin (keeping in mind he was only 12 pounds at 6 months, so not eating nearly as much as Sam anyway). Babies at 6 months should only be drinking 24 - 32 oz of milk/formula per day (assuming that they are on track growth wise of course). Sam gets near 40 oz some day! Of course, depending on the day, he may puke several of those ounces back at us.

Anyway, this means I definitely have a reason to cut out those 1, sometimes 2, nighttime feedings. The Dr said I could give him water if he needs to suck on something (b/c he sure won't take a pacifier). We'll start that tonight. It should go over well.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Gavin and his soccer buddy enabling each other's slacker tendencies

Soccer Camp, Gavin made a new best friend during the week

Silly Gavin faces

Evening play time. Sammy is still trying to get the hang of sitting

New activity - the jumperoo!