Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning in Pictures

Admiring the Tree

Opening Presents

Fletcher's Present to Mom
(on his face and my shoulder)

Which is Apparently Hilarious

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

One Year Ago

Right Now

My mom makes Christmas Eve pjs for all her grandkids. Last year she made Fletcher's blanket out of some of the fabric. The days leading up to Christmas last year were some of Fletcher's worst. His lungs had begun to scar from the pressure of the vent and were taking on fluid. He got bad pretty quickly and they put him on some pretty heavy antibiotics for fear of infection (you can see the IVs going into his arms and he has scars to this day on each forearm from that or one of his other numerous lines). His vent settings were high and he was getting fairly regular doses of morphine because he would get so agitated and fight the vent. I don't like to think about it, but there were times that I wondered if my mom would ever get to make pjs for him.

Today, I am happy to report, is a completely different story. While every part of Fletcher's life is, and will continue to be, affected by his extreme prematurity in ways I have yet to discuss on this blog, right now he is just your average baby resting comfortably upstairs all safe and sound. And yes, he is in our bed, but we are hoping it is just a phase while he is a little stuffed up with a head cold. And even if it is more than a phase... just look at that first picture above and tell me that you wouldn't want him close to you after all of that.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy First Birthday Fletcher!

In honor of Fletcher's first birthday, I put together a little video to commemorate his first year. I borrowed the song and some of the text from videos produced by some fellow micropreemie mom bloggers, so it may seem a little familiar, and have emailed this out to nearly everyone I know. But, if you haven't had a chance to take a look, get some tissues and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I began my hospitalized bedrest. I had been on bedrest at home for six days (with a one day pass to spend Thanksgiving at my mom's) due to what looked at first to be only elevated blood pressure (or pregnancy- induced hypertension as the docs called it). However, at my follow-up appointment the Monday after last Thanksgiving, I had begun spilling protein and lots of it and the preeclampsia was really coming on strong. I had hoped that I would be on bedrest for weeks, if not months, but as Fletcher's birthday is this Saturday, obviously that didn't pan out.

I try to include a picture or two in each of my posts, but I don't have many during my all too brief stint at bedrest, and those that I do have show one very puffy, exhausted, and terrified woman, so they are not fit to publish. So I will include one of some of the pretty flowers I got to enjoy during my stay.

I have learned a lot in the past year (or in the past 3 years as those who know me understand that I had pretty much become board certified in reproductive endocrinology before Fletcher was even conceived). But one non-medical thing I have learned in this experience is what a difference simple gifts can make. Before I was hospitalized, I didn't really "get" sending people flowers at the hospital, or even sending flowers in general, because they always seemed so temporary. However, when you are laying in a hospital bed (on your left side, of course) with nothing to do but obsess over every blood pressure reading or the rhythm of the fetal heartbeat monitor, having a beautiful, tangible reminder that there are people out there thinking of you really does help. (By the way, if you are reading this and sent me flowers or any gift for the baby and I never got around to sending out a thank you card, please accept my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the flowers/gift/encouraging messages... seems like etiquette was the first thing that I let slide in the micropreemie madness).

Since I wasn't blogging at that time, I am considering tracking back some of Fletcher's NICU stay on the one year anniversary of the actual occurrence, but like most of my blogging ideas, I am not sure it will ever come to fruition. Maybe I will just do the lazy-man's blog post and cut and paste from emails I sent to family and friends as updates throughout Fletcher's stay.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I'm not one to dress up, so to celebrate Halloween Fletcher decided to ditch mom and dad and join up with a Pirate Family (also known as my sister Angie, her husband Greg and Fletcher's cousins Trey and Michael).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fletcher's First FIRE!

So, I am just plugging away at work when I get an email from my husband, who is at home with the baby. The subject line reads "This is what Fletch and I are doing!!!". Okay, fair enough. Trevor never emails me, but he has been on vacation for the past few weeks and has spent most the time at home alone with the baby while I am at work, so he is probably looking for something creative to do and thought he would share.

I open the email and the body reads "Fletcher's First FIRE!" and I notice there are a couple pictures attached to the email. For a split second I panic, thinking that there would be pictures of our charred house, or at very least the kitchen, when I opened the links.

Instead, this is what I saw...

I will never understand men. I guarantee that Trevor was more excited about this than he was about Fletcher getting his first tooth earlier this month (the glare is bad in this picture but I swear, there is one (actually, even two) popping out of his lower gums, and we've endured the fussing to prove it!).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time to Make the Doughnuts

I returned to work on August 1st. The last time I had been at the office to work was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I remember stopping by my secretary's office and mentioning that I was going to swing by my OB's office on the way home for a "peace-of-mind" check-up because I just felt a little off. That was over eight months ago and now, after a week and a half on the job, it almost feels like I never left.

So far, returning to work has been a relatively low-stress transition. I am working four days a week and out of those four days Trevor will be home with Fletcher three days and my mom will watch him one day a week. Of course I miss Fletcher like crazy when I am gone, but I think it is good that he is getting so much one-on-one time with his dad.

I even got to show Fletcher off to my work colleagues my first day back as the firm just happened to be having an ice cream social that afternoon and Trevor brought Fletcher up to meet everyone.

Here is a picture we took when I got home from work. Think I was happy to see my little guy?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

When eBay Goes Wrong

Just look at that face. It is like he is thinking "Mom, what in the world am I wearing?". You see, one of his nicknames is Fletcher Flycatcher (when my sister was babysitting me in my mag-induced haze for a couple of days after his birth she got really bored so starting typing in random questions to the Yahoo questions site, including what middle name goes with Fletcher... "Flycatcher" was our favorite response).

So naturally I have to indulge in the occasional frog-themed outfit, toy or nursery accessory (but I am doing my best not to go overboard). Well, I have a couple of burp clothes in this cute frog print (it is in the rim of the hat he is wearing) and when my sister saw this outfit on eBay she told me about it and I entered a bid out of curiosity to kind of fish for the price. Obviously, and quite inadvertently, I won the auction. It is really even more over the top, considering there are matching shorts that he is not even wearing plus the hat actually has two knotted corners that stick up, but have fallen back in this picture.

I usually subscribe to the less is more philosophy in dressing Fletcher, but I do have to admit that I think the fly on the shoulder of the onesie is kind of cute.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Losing Oxygen

Finally, losing oxygen is a good thing. Our medical supply company called today and said they would be by to pick up our oxygen tanks. Fletcher has been completely off supplemental oxygen since July 11th, and was only on it at night since May 30th, but we still had the tanks at our house just in case. Of course wearing the cannula didn't always mean he was actually getting supplemental oxygen. The top photo was taken on March 4th and the second is from May 26th. I love to compare the size of the adhesive patches relative to his cheeks. It really illustrates his amazing growth.

We have a two-story house and Fletcher's nursery is upstairs, so we had the big tank next to the stairs and 50 feet of tubing for the nasal cannula, so we could have him upstairs or down without having to move the tank. After nearly five months, that tank had become a fixture in our house. The entryway looks naked without it there.

I did manage to talk the delivery guy into letting me keep one portable canister at the house in case of an emergency. I highly doubt (and definitely hope) that we'll ever need it, but it is a nice little security blanket for me (of course this is coming from a mom who insisted that her boy stay on supplemental O2 during the day for a month after the NICU said his saturations were adequate... "adequate" just didn't sound like a word I wanted to use when describing Fletcher's oxygenation after all he'd been through).

We also had our last home health nurse visit today (another measure ordered solely for the benefit of pushy, insecure mom). Fletcher has been growing well, weighs 14 lbs 8 oz, his oxygen saturation was 97, and his lungs sound good. Can't ask for more than that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Formal Introduction and Blog Resurrection

I had the best intentions of turning this blog into a chronicle of Fletcher's stay in the NICU, both to update friends and family and to have a personal record of our hospital stay. Well, life got in the way.

As evidenced in his birth announcement, Fletcher has been home for four and a half months-- a whole month and a half longer than he was in the hospital. I haven't taken up this blog again (as if one entry really counts as starting a blog) because I felt like I needed to go back and record his life from the beginning in chronological order and as each day passed the prospect got more and more overwhelming.

So, I have decided to jump back in and start with the present, adding recaps of Fletcher's NICU experience and first few months along the way... when I get around to it, that is.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Super-Long NICU Summary

Some day I hope to post a fairly comprehensive NICU summary here in order to have a record. After just over one year it is amazing everything I am forgetting already.