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Friday, November 26, 2010

Results

Well - we got the results back from all of Evan's tests, and everything is NORMAL!! We were discharged today and are at home with the little guy now. We're still not sure what really happened, but we're happy to know it wasn't anything serious.

The poor boy had to undergo a barrage of tests - from blood and urine tests, to a spinal tap, to an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, short and long EEG, and an ultrasound. That's more tests than I have had done in my entire life.

I am feeling a bit nervous to have him home because I don't want the same thing to happen again. But, I guess that's one of the things you have to get used to as a parent. The worrying never ends!

Thank you to everyone for your support. I really really hope this is the last time Evan sees the inside of a hospital for a long, long time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Update

Well, nothing has been found with Evan so far. He had tests done on his blood, urine, and spinal fluid to check for infections, and those all came back negative. His jaundice levels are still elevated for what they should be, so they are keeping an eye on it to make sure it keeps going down. They will also do an ultrasound of his liver and spleen today to make sure those aren't a factor. Elevated jaundice levels are quite common in premature, breast-fed babies, so we're not particularly worried about it, and the doctors don't think it had anything to do with the seizure-like activity we saw.

To determine whether the episode was a seizure, he had a short (25 minutes) and long (48 hours) EEG done. The short one came back normal and we are waiting for the results on the long test. He is scheduled to have an MRI done tonight to look for any developmental issues.

So, we're basically waiting for results right now (like always, it seems). If those tests (EEG, MRI, ultrasound and blood tests) come back normal - and we should find out tomorrow - then the episode will be attributed to him breathing in fluid after spitting up and we'll most likely be discharged. Fingers crossed this is the case and we can go home soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nothing Conclusive Yet

Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and words of encouragement. We really appreciate the support right now.

Well, many tests have been done on Evan to see if they can figure out a) whether what happened was a seizure or not and b) if it was, what is the cause.

Every test that has been done has come back normal. But, we met with a neurologist today and he's still not convinced it wasn't a seizure. So, Evan is going to get an MRI and another EEG done in the next day or two. We're not sure what to think, but we're both concerned and scared.

We've been staying with him the whole time (we got a cot put in his room on the first night so we could both stay), and will continue to do so. If anything, he'll know that his parents are here for him - whatever he needs.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scared To Death

Last night was the worst night of our lives. At about 9:30pm, Evan spit up a rather large amount of milk (even though he ate about 2 hours earlier), and seconds later his eyes were rolling back, his body was stiff as a board, and he was convulsing. That lasted for about 5 seconds, and then he broke into this huge wail, and his body was still stiff. By the time we got to the hospital, he could move normally and was very sleepy.

We ended up taking him to the emergency room where we spent the night. He got a bunch of blood work done. They did a CT scan to rule out any bleeding or swelling of the brain (that came back normal, thank God). They also did a chest X-ray, and found some "streaking" which could be evidence for fluid in the lungs (that could be from him sucking in some of the spit up).

We got transferred to pediatrics at about 6am and have been there ever since. He has gotten more blood work done and they did a spinal tap on him this afternoon to check for infections. He will have to wait until Monday to get more tests done (EEG, ECG).

We are absolutely scared, upset, freaked out, etc. etc., right now. We'd like to stay with him in the hospital, but there is one chair that pulls out into a make-shift bed in the room so we're not sure what we'll do. I can't imagine leaving him alone though, and neither can DH. I'm starting to get really scared that this is going to be Evan's life - that he'll be in and out of the hospital for various things because he was born early. It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

Any positive thoughts or prayers you can send our way would be much appreciated.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One Month

It's hard to believe that Evan is one month old already. It's even more hard to believe that he should still be in my belly!! Here are some memories from his first month of life:

- He decided to come early, and quickly, into the world! Born 5 weeks early - on October 19th - the labor was 4 hours from me realizing my water broke to the midwives placing him on my stomach.

- Because he was born early, he had to go directly to the NICU after he was born. I only got to hold him for a few moments before he was whisked away for them to take his measurements in the next room. Luckily, DH went with him, and I could hear his sweet little cry so I knew he was alright.

- He spent 2 days in the NICU, another 2 days in the NPCU, then we spent 3 days with him in the hospital before we took him home a week after he was born. It was a very stressful week (at least for us parents), but now it seems like years ago.

- In the NPCU, he made eye contact with DH for the first time while feeding. We also gave him his first bath there, and he started to smile. Well, as a reflex, anyway ;)

- During our stay at the hospital with him, he decided enough was enough and ripped out his feeding tube all by himself!

- Breast feeding has been a very big challenge. Right now I am exclusively pumping and feeding him breast milk from bottles. At first this was very difficult for me, because I was so set on breast feeding, but I'm coming to terms with things and relaxing a bit more about it all.

- He is a lot more alert than in the early few days. He opens his eyes wide, taking in the world. I often wonder what he sees or what he is thinking.

- Evan has found his voice - and what a voice! He likes getting our attention, especially if we don't give it to him right away.

- He looks like a total angel when he sleeps.

- One of my favorite things to do is sleep with him on my chest. It's relaxing for both of us.

- He likes sucking on our fingers to calm himself down.

- He has started to grab things when we hold him, like our shirts, my hair, or DH's chest hair - ouch!

- We *think* he has started to smile at us for real (at least he's awake and looking at us when he does it now).

- He looks absolutely hilarious when we try to burp him. He just gets this grumpy look on his face, and he constantly looks up at us, like he's saying "Alright - are you done already?".

- The cats have been so good during this whole thing! When Evan cries, Isaac gets concerned and sits near him until one of us soothes him. Isaac still sleeps with us all night every night. Izzie hasn't been nearly as interested, but we make sure she gets her petting time in.

- It has been amazing to see DH with him. He's definitely a great dad. He's also a great husband for putting up with my crazy hormones! I'm so thankful he was able to take a decent chunk of time off (7 weeks), but wish it could be more.

It has been a crazy month, with lots of ups and downs. We can't wait to see what the next month has in store!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

5 hours

Last night, Evan slept in a five-hour chunk, from 10pm to 3am. I got so much sleep in a row that I actually felt kind of groggy and ill when we woke up to feed him! It was definitely nice (especially since he then slept from 3:30 to 8am), and made up for him screaming his head off practically all evening.

The in-laws are coming to visit this week - they will be the first family members that Evan will meet! My Mom is coming in mid-December until the new year, and my Dad will join us over Christmas.

And, for lack of content recently, I hope to make it up with cute pictures:

Fig. 1: Are you ready for some football? Because Evan is!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Changing Goals

Apparently, even though we're home all day long, there are far less hours in the day than ever before. How is that possible?

For example, I'm the type of person to set goals for the day. Before Evan came, I would have goals like: respond to X number of emails, finish writing section of grant, read Y papers, etc.. Then I would get home and cook dinner, do some knitting and/or reading, watch a ton of TV, read and comment on blogs, surf the net, and still feel bored.

Now? I'm pretty stoked if I can shower before noon AND be able to run some sort of errand in the afternoon. Like today - I went to Michael's and bought a photo album. Woohoo!! My next goal is to print photos to put in the album, but that's a goal for another day (or maybe even week).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mom Guilt

I never knew how acute Mom guilt could be. I'm sure the crazy hormones in the early weeks after birth don't help either.

We've been having issues with breast feeding. The biggest problem is that Evan is so young. Being born at about 35 weeks means he didn't develop the suck/swallow technique very well. This means, even though he can latch on and feed off the breast, he isn't very efficient at it and he gets tired quickly. He can be on the breast for 15-20 minutes, working as hard as he can, and not get very much milk.

So, in order for him to be able to breast feed, he needs to be bigger and stronger. In order to make sure he's getting enough food in order for him to grow bigger and stronger, we've been supplementing with bottles of pumped breast milk. But, this means that he's not getting a lot of "practice" on the breast, which could lead to him not wanting to breast feed at all in the future.

All of this has caused me a lot of anguish. Each time we try to breast feed, it is extremely emotional and frustrating. I typically end up crying, and feel like I just want to give up. I worry because I know he doesn't get much milk from me, and so we have to supplement with a bottle. I get frustrated being attached to the pump, because it means less quality time I'm spending with him. I worry that my milk supply either won't keep up with his demand or will start to deplete.

I talked to my midwives about this yesterday, and they eased my mind a bit by saying the important thing right now is that Evan is growing and getting stronger. If that means he's getting breast milk from a bottle, then so be it. Hopefully, once he gets strong enough, he'll be able to breast feed. And if he doesn't end up being able to for whatever reason, there are other solutions.

Now a confession: I haven't attempted to breast feed for two days and I feel a lot better emotionally. I've been able to feed Evan from a bottle and I feel more connected with him. I know that I should try breast feeding again soon, but I am so nervous because I don't want to deal with the pressure of having "successful" feeds.

Before Evan arrived, I knew I wanted to breast feed. What I didn't realize was how agonizing it would be if I couldn't do it for some reason. I feel okay with where we are right now, because it's acceptable for it not to be working because he's young --- but then I think about a week, two weeks, a month from now and I'm already overcome by guilt if it doesn't work (or if I decide not to push forward).

This whole mom thing is hard. I just want to give Evan the best, and I feel my best might not be good enough.