Friday, May 27, 2011

Adjusting to Home

The past week has been an all out crazy time with Kylee.  We are starting to get things figured out and making our little routines.  There has definitely been a steep learning curve for both Natalie and I as we learn how to care for a newborn.  We are definitely glad to have her home and are constantly "winging it" when it comes to what we should do in certain situations.

We had a visit on Wednesday from Early Childhood Intervention Services, or ECI, and they assessed Kylee to see if she qualified for services.  ECI is a program funded by the State and they provide various services to the families of children who may be experiencing developmental delays, etc.  Kylee was automatically referred to this program for evaluation due to her prematurity and that took place Wednesday.

The evaluators looked at several areas and spent about 45 minutes with Kylee doing different things.  Based on their evaluation, they determined that Kylee does not qualify for services and is doing the things she should be doing for her adjusted age.  Kylee wasn't supposed to be born until tomorrow (5/28), so her age is adjusted to as if she were at birth.  While it may sound bad that she doesn't qualify, it is actually a good thing!!!

The only area that the evaluators expressed any concern was feeding.  They merely suggested that we try a "slow flow" nipple and try a technique called pacing to help Kylee eat more efficiently.

We are counting down the days until we can take Kylee out into the world.  Natalie and I are ready for everyone to meet her, yet we want her to be healthy and not get sick if we can avoid it.

It is quite apparent that Kylee is a little daddy's girl.  She could be screaming her head off and if daddy picks her up....she is calm within ten or fifteen seconds.  It amazes Natalie that I have this effect on her....and amazes me too...hahahaha.

I took Kylee and had her weighed earlier this afternoon.  We were somewhat concerned about her weight gain; however, she was 6 pounds 7 ounces and is continuing to gain weight.

We're excited to have Kylee home and will post more updates...and they become available!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Necessary Adjustments

These past few days have really flown by as Natalie and I make the necessary adjustments to having a newborn in our house.  Well, it used to be our house, but it has now been transformed into Kylee's house with all of the stuff that has accumulated all over the place in a short period of time.

We took Kylee to her first doctor's appointment on Wednesday since her discharge from the hospital.  She is up to 6 pounds 3 ounces and is doing quite well.  Our next appointment is in three weeks and it will be Kylee's two month check-up and immunizations.  It is hard for Natalie and I to believe that in three weeks....Kylee will be two months old already!!!

Getting Kylee to fall asleep was quite a task for us to figure out how to do.  After much trial and error, we figured out that she needs a little music, some motion, and a swaddle in order to fall right asleep after eating.  We were about ready to pull out hair out for a while, but luckily that isn't necessary.

Natalie and I are learning slowly but surely how to keep Kylee happy and maintain a bit of our sanity as well...hahahah!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kylee's Homecoming

Yesterday marked the end of Kylee's 39-day stay in the hospital since her birth.  After Natalie got the final word from the doctor that she would be discharged, Natalie didn't waste any time waking me up to drive to the hospital.

Kylee was dressed in a coming home outfit that has been in her family for many years.  I'm not up on all the history of this outfit, but I know that Natalie was dressed in it when she came home from the hospital over 25 years ago.

After getting dressed to come home, we strapped her up in the car seat and began the journey into "the outside world."

After driving the 37 miles from the hospital to our house and setting a world land speed record of 30 miles per hour, Natalie and I just walked around in awe that we actually had her home.  Rather than taking the time to just sit and enjoy Kylee's company, I walked around the house feeling like I should have been doing something.  I never actually did anything, but I walked around feeling as if there was work to be done....hahaha.

We quickly discovered that Kylee is a fan of the nifty swing that we got for her.  We strapped her up and let her sleep until it was time to eat again.

Last night brought both sides of the family to the house to welcome Kylee home.  It was a rather informal event with lots of happy folks.  Shelby, my sister, had not gotten to see Kylee since....mmmmm....a day or two after she was born and last remembered her with tubes and wires and never got to hold her before having to return to school.

Well, Shelby finally got to hold Kylee and seemed to instantly enjoy the fact that she is an aunt.

Last night a word.....rough.  It took us quite a while to figure out why Kylee did not want to sleep as she cried when put down.  We changed her diaper.  Still cried.  We shifted the bed around.  Still cried.  We tried the pacifier.  Still cried.  We let her cry figuring she would stop.  Still cried.  Finally, we decided to try and feed her even though it was still slightly early before her next feeding time.  She sucked the bottle down and fell asleep as soon as Natalie put her in the bed.  Problem least for a few hours....

Hopefully, tonight will go slightly smoother than last night as we are now experts at deciphering what she wants......hahahahaha......ya right.

I do know that tonight will bring the family over again for an official welcoming home party for Kylee.  I will try my hand at grilling, which is something I will likely be doing lots of in the future.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home at Last!

Kylee is home!!!!!!  Natalie and I just arrived home with Kylee and she is currently taking her first bottle at home like a champ.  There will be pictures and more details later; however, we just wanted everyone to know that Kylee is doing well and is now at home.

We thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support as we anticipated Kylee's homecoming!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Add Baby

Well, I think Natalie and I are about as ready as we can be to bring Kylee home.  We have done our final shopping and bought those things that Natalie deemed as vital for us to have before bringing Kylee home.  All we need to do now is just add the baby and we'll be good to go.

Kylee's feeding tube was removed today for good and she has been taking all of her bottles in record time.  Kylee has gotten to a point where they are letting her drink as much as she wants, up to a certain point, as long as she takes a minimum amount.  Kylee's minimum amount is 48 cc's, but she has been taking up to 60 cc in one feed.

Unfortunately, we missed getting to speak with her doctor today, but are planning on being there earlier tomorrow.  As for any discharge date, we don't have one yet because Kylee hasn't been gaining any weight lately and has actually lost some.  They have boosted Kylee up to 24 calories per ounce feedings from 22 calories per ounce.  This doesn't seem like a drastic change; however, with small babies this makes quite a difference.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Mind of Her Own

Natalie and I just returned from the hospital not too long ago and are puzzled by Kylee's behavior.  We tried to feed her at 9:00 and it went okay, but they still had to give her the remaining amount she did not take through her feeding tube.  If I remember correctly, Kylee is getting 53 cc (1.79 ounces) per feeding and is hit or miss on whether or not she finishes it all within thirty minutes.  Oh, speaking of her feeding tube, she pulled it out again on her own this afternoon

We got to watch the nurse give Kylee a bath and she gave us some pointers on how to bathe an infant.  The nurse told Natalie that we could give Kylee a bath next time, under supervision of course, as it is important for us to learn these skills.  Kylee didn't enjoy being lathered up too much; however, she did like getting rinsed off and sitting in the basin full of warm water.

We were there when Kylee got weighed tonight and she is still hovering in the neighborhood of 5 pounds and 3 or 4 ounces.  Everything is measured in kilograms and I can't remember her exact weight in order to convert it myself.

Right now...we are still in a holding pattern and waiting for Kylee to eat!!!

Natalie and Kylee on Mother's Day

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eight Bottles and Counting

I think Kylee is just as ready to get out of the hospital as we are because she pulled out her nasal feeding tube on Saturday and the doctors decided to leave it out.  Kylee is now being fed eight bottles per day and it is basically a "sink or swim" type situation since she yanked out her tube.

In addition to being fed eight bottles per day, they have also increased the volume she is receiving.  The nutritionists determine how much she needs to get based on her body weight...which is slowly on the rise!!

Natalie and I are going to see Kylee later this afternoon and celebrate Mother's Day; however, the real celebration will happen when we get to bring Kylee home.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bottle by Bottle

Friday brought us one step closer to bringing Kylee home.  Natalie and I attended an infant CPR class and learned an important set of skills that we hope we'll never need to use for real.  After our class, we went to see Kylee and Natalie got to feed her a bottle at 3:00 PM.

Kylee took all of her bottle successfully and Natalie is starting to get the hang of feeding her.  Natalie used some tips and tricks that were passed along by an occupational therapist...whatever that is...and they seemed to work.  One of Kylee's doctors walked up as she was eating and told us that they have increased her to six bottles per day.  If Kylee takes all six bottles per day successfully, that is wonderful.  If she doesn't, well...she is at least getting the practice she needs.

Kylee's doctor seemed confident that we would be able to bring her home sometime next week if she continues to progress at her constant steady rate.  Only Kylee can decide when she wants to come home and we are hoping and praying that it is this coming up week.

Kylee now weighs 5 pounds 3 ounces and is developing quite the personality.  It is nice to see her awake for longer periods of time and more alert as well.  The bigger and stronger she gets, it is like she is turning more and more into a "baby" rather than a "preemie."

Natalie and I have been present at the hospital to see two or three babies get sent home and we're patiently waiting for our turn.....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kylee's New Wheels

Each passing day brings us one step closer to bringing Kylee home for good.  She has officially reached the five pound mark...although she's not too much over five pounds....hahah.  While this is a significant milestone, it does not have any bearing one way or another on when she will get discharged.

Something that does have a bearing on when she will come home is the fact that she took another whole bottle tonight for dinner.  Kylee is becoming more and more alert as she gets older and is developing quite the little personality.  As far as her eating goes, I asked the nurse to articulate our ultimate goal for feeding.  She explained that Kylee gets fed eight times per day or every three hours.  She has to be able to take all eight bottles within about twenty or so minutes for several days before they will feel comfortable sending her home.

They say that her main problem right now is not having the endurance to drink as much as she needs to at regular intervals.  The nurse said that the babies tend to just "wake up and smell the coffee" one day and that when the change happens, it is quite noticeable.

On a side note, Natalie and I picked up a new set of wheels for Kylee to come home in today.  Natalie's previous vehicle, if you want to even call it a vehicle, was barely fit to be driven and definitely not worthy of bringing Kylee home in!!  Kylee will be chaffered around in a 2010 Toyota Highlander with all the bells and whistles.  I will put up a picture as soon as I am able to take a good one.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Car Seat Test

Each day that passes brings us one step closer to bringing Kylee home.  Today, we met with a car seat expert from Texas Children's Hospital who took steps to ensure Kylee would have safe travels.  After ensuring that I properly secured the base of the car seat in the car, we made sure that Kylee fit properly into the seat as well.

She is now up to 4 pounds 14 ounces and technically was too small for the current seat we have because it is rated for babies five to thirty-five pounds.  This won't be a problem when it is time to bring Kylee home as she will likely gain two whole ounces between now and then.  Once we got Kylee all strapped up in her seat, her nurse began the "Car Seat Test."  This intense test consists of Kylee remaining strapped in for an hour and being observed.  As long as her heart rate and oxygen saturation levels remain constant, she has passed this grueling evaluation!!

As far as any expected date for us to bring her home, that is still up in the air.  We have been told that her reflux problem is not what is keeping her in the hospital, but rather her unwillingness to feed solely from a bottle.  Reflux is an issue that healthy, full-term babies experience and something that they eventually "outgrow."

One of Kylee's night nurses told us that she took an entire bottle during one of her feedings the other night; however, this has been a one-time thing so far.  They are doing a rotation where she will get a bottle two or three times a day and be tube fed two or three times a day.  Obviously, the goal is to be able to remove the tube completely and just feed her with bottles.

Natalie and I keep reminding ourselves that Kylee should not even be born yet so it should not be a huge surprise if she has a few issues to work through.  Luckily, Kylee does not have any severe problems that won't self-correct with time.  This is one of those instances where patience is a virtue.....

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Pound

Kylee is officially up to 4 pounds 13 ounces and that is exactly one pound more than she was when she was born.  Kylee's weight gain is definitely encouraging; however, she is still having some problems with spitting up/vomiting on an unpredictable basis.

Kylee seems to be having some reflux issues and this is a problem that is rather common among even full-term, healthy babies.  The fact that Kylee is premature doesn't help her out much when it comes to this issue.  Kylee is being given a medication to hopefully help control this problem, but the doctors also seem to believe that time will also do wonders for Kylee and this problem.

As of right now, we still don't have any tentative "coming home" date as we need to get this reflux issue figured out.

Sorry for the gaps in postings.  I do much better at keeping things updated on my days off from work...and lucky for y'all, my days off just started!!!