Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy 1 month and ZERO DAY, Iain!!!

Today is a long-awaited day in the Archibald home: Iain is officially zero, and also 1 month old! Today, Feb. 28th was his official due date, exactly 1 month after his birthday.

He had a check-up with the doctor this morning. He is now 8 lb, 13 oz!!! Way to go, Iain!

The doctor told me that Iain will now behave like a normal newborn; words that were music to my ears! ...On the other hand, the whole idea of him being awake-but-not-hungry is a little scary for me; I'm not sure what to make of that. How do I know he's not hungry? I've gotten too used to plugging away at feeding him until I know he's full because he drops off to sleep (normal preemie behavior).

The following pictures are a few days old, and fortunately, we're not supplementing all that much these days, hurray! (I hope I haven't spoken too soon). On the other hand, it's nice to get a break every now and then.

Mark and Iain getting down to business:
Mark, don't smile! ;) ...
Heehee, aren't they cute? My two favorite boys!

Friday, February 22, 2008

More pictures and a look at reality

For those of you that aren't fond of babies, well, find another blog to read. :)

Iain is doing really well! He's putting on weight like a champ; he gained 10 oz. in a week! I guess I must be doing something right. :)

I have to admit, I had NO IDEA how much work babies are. Really, I can't believe I've gone through 26 years of life in such a blissfully ignorant cloud. Fortunately, the days are becoming more manageable, as I'm getting more sleep, in patchy 2-hour increments. It's the nights that I dread, though having cable TV has been HUGE blessing; at 3 am, sandwiched between 76 channels of info-mercials, there are usually 1 or 2 channels with movies or news that help keep my eyes open as I stumble through Iain's hour-and-a-half+ routine.

Iain's routine:
- Baby cries, waking mom who sleepily looks at watch and assesses that he's probably hungry
- Baby falls asleep as soon as he's picked up (but starts crying if put down)
- Change baby's diaper in attempt to fully awaken baby so he'll eat well
- Nurse baby and try to keep him awake for a good feeding
- Estimate how much formula baby needs
- Warm bottle while changing stinky diaper
- Give baby the bottle, S-L-O-W-L-Y (I learned that lesson quickly, after watching my poor little son vomit ounces and ounces of milk all over everyone and everything.) :(
- Burp baby and decide whether or not he needs another bottle
- Possibly change another diaper, and probably use 2 in the process, because he's peed all over the dry one before I can get it on properly.
- Change an outfit and/or mop up pee which is soaking baby's(freshly-washed) hair.
- Give a little more bottle, in attempt to calm baby who is hysterical from baptizing himself with the golden fountain.
- Burp baby some more, trying not to wake him
- Bundle baby, trying not to wake him
- Place baby in crib, turn off all lights, go to bed myself
- Lay in bed and listen to baby's grunts, groans and cries
- Thank the Lord for my selfless husband, as he stumbles out of bed to pick up our cranky needing-to-be-cuddled baby, who isn't ready to be out of the womb yet, let alone across the room from his mom, in his own bed.

My better judgement aside, I've begun letting Iain sleep next to me in bed in the mornings, as this seems to be the one way to assure that he'll actually sleep (no fussing), allowing me to get some rest. (Yes, I keep all the pillows and blankets away from him, and he's not near Mark or the edge of the bed.)

...and Mark wonders why I don't respond with equal enthusiasm when he says "Iain's so fun!"

Here are a few more pictures of Iain (and one with me, resting between the chaos.)

Mom and Iain:
"Hey guys, I'm still hungry!":
"I'll let you guess, am I hungry, or am I just awake? I'll never tell...until you try to do something that you can't do while feeding me, like eat your dinner, at which point I'll let you know that I'm actually really hungry.":

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birth story

I'll to keep this as brief as possible, but I do want to share my labor story, as it's a bit different...

-Sunday, 01/27/08, 11:20 am, 35 weeks, 3 days pregnant: I'm standing in our kitchen and feel a strange sensation, rather like a little gush. Mark says he's never seen that look on my face, as I run to the bathroom saying "um, I think my water just broke."

-1 pm: We arrive at St. John's hospital, hear baby's heartbeat; I'm much relieved, just hearing that he's ok. It's confirmed, my water broke and baby will arrive sometime in the next day or so.

-Knowing that I'm a Bradley student (ie, hoping for an unmedicated labor), my Dr. suggests waiting on pitocin, to see if I go into labor on my own. Additionally, they decide to wait until evening to check me, so as to not risk infection.

-All afternoon and evening, we wait for any signs of labor. Friends visit, nurses try to intervene a little too much, telling us about medications and hooking me up to continuous fetal monitoring thereby gluing me to the bed. I am started on IV antibiotics and the liters of fluid that go with it (the routine 36 week check for Group B didn't happen, as I'm only 35 weeks, so antibiotics were given "just in case.")

- 7pm: I get my first internal exam: 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and aside from the very occasion Braxton-Hicks, not a contraction in sight. We are told that if labor doesn't begin during the night, pitocin will be started in the morning.

- 2 am, 01/28/08: I start to have noticeable contractions. They are very mild and every 20 or so minutes. The IV fluids make the night miserable, as I'm running to the bathroom every 1o-15 minutes and when I'm too tired to keep that up, the contractions get much more painful due to my full bladder.

- 4 am: I've had maybe 3 really uncomfortable/painful contractions with the more mild ones inbetween. Still no pattern, and as far apart as before.

- 7 am: contractions have become more intense, now 5-15 minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds- 3 minutes. No recognizable pattern makes it difficult to prepare for them, and Mark feels a bit helpless as a coach, but just having him there is exactly what I need!

- The morning nurse walks in to introduce herself during one of the worst contractions of my whole labor. I'm writhing in pain (ooops, forgot to relax during that one) and dry-heaving. She says "Oh! They didn't tell me you were laboring, they said you were sleeping!" (I think, "you try sleeping on a continuously filling bladder, contractions or otherwise!") I say nothing and try to recover from that 3 minute contraction so I can move to my bed to get checked: 7 cm, 100% effaced! Inconsistent and relatively mild though they were, my exhausting, sleepless night had produced fruit!

- The medical team decides I need pitocin to regulate my contractions, stating that even if I make it to 10 cm like this, if I get baby's head out and don't have a contraction for 15 minutes, that could be really dangerous. I see their point and consent. I also realize that pitocin means 1) more of the dreaded liters of fluid, and 2) more of those awful contractions but really really close together, and on a full bladder. Additionally, I'm pooped, having not slept all night. I begin to think that a catheter sounds better than winning the lottery, and in my rather foggy mind, that comes with an epidural (I suppose it probably goes the other way around for most women, but that's what a sleepless night left me with.)

- I get the catheter, well, first I get the epidural after which I get some beautiful sleep. I awake a couple hours later, a changed woman...actually excited about having a baby! I'm also 10 cm dilated, and Mark is able to see baby's blond hair!

- Dr. arrives. I push for about 1/2 an hour, and at 11:11 am Iain Paul Archibald meets the world!

- Mark and I are overjoyed and marvel at this little baby who has just been plopped on top of me. Someone suggests talking to him, as he'll recognize our voices. I'm at a loss of what to say, so I suggest to Mark that we sing him our song, a variation of Psalm 23. It was the same song we sang together on the way to the hospital, when I was terrified that something had gone horribly wrong. This time we sing it together with our son in a moment of absolute rejoicing! Praise the Lord!

Iain Paul Archibald! This is Iain plopped on top of me, even before the cord was cut. (Sorry about the funny cropping job; it was very necessary and I'm sure you can imagine what his other foot looks like.)
Iain under the warmer. If you look closely, you can see a golden stream heading directly for his left eye. Rumor has it, as a baby his father pulled the same stunt. Like father, like son!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Home again!

Here's our little sweet potato, bundled up to stay warm. Mark began his Lent a day early, suffering through an apartment kept at summer-in-the-tropics temperatures for the sake of his son. Fortunately, I tolerate the heat quite well and we are very grateful to be living here, where heat doesn't cost us a penny.


These are pictures from Iain's hospital stay 2/1/08 - 2/5/08. Poor Iain had to have an IV in his head. :( Fortunately, he didn't lack for hands to hold him!
Mommy and Iain.
Daddy and Iain.
Aunt Kate and Iain.
Grandma and Iain.
Grandpa and Iain.

Iain update

I'll post some more pictures soon, but in the meantime, I just wanted to post a quick update on how Iain is doing.

He was admitted to the NICU on Friday, 2/1/08 for a low body temp and high bilirubin. He remained in the hospital until Tuesday when they decided that his temp was manageable enough for him to come back home. We are keeping him well bundled and call him various names like "my little burrito" etc. His jaundice has been around 11/12 since he's been home, adding another name to the list, "my little sweet potato." Fortunately, today his color seems somewhat improved. :)

He had his first well-child appointment with his pediatrician this past Thursday, where his length, weight and head circ. were charted in comparison to full-term babies. This is how he stands:

Length: 75%
Weight: 30%
Head circ.: 15%

The small head circ. is totally normal for a preemie baby his age, but it certainly looks funny next to his length!

Iain's been doing really well at home, and each day seems to bring further improvement. His temperature is getting easier to maintain and he's eating like a champ. Thursday night, Mark got a good idea for exactly how well Iain is eating when Mark was thoroughly drenched in yellow goo in the middle of a diaper change. He has since been quite wary about volunteering to change

Since his birth, as predicted, we have recieved innumerable questions about the spelling and pronounciation of Iain's name. It has been spelled correctly and incorrectly as follows: Iain, Ian and Iaian. To help clear up the confusion, it is in fact spelled I-A-I-N and pronounced the same as Ian. Iain is the proper Scottish spelling and is in fact the Scottish form of John. Iain is named, spelling and all, after his paternal grandfather who, surprise, surprise, is Scottish and resides in Scotland. :)

Iain's middle name, Paul, is after St Paul, Mark's favorite saint. For those of you interested in names, read on. I was profoundly touched, this past Advent, by the fact that I was Elizabeth, carrying a John - and in fact the day the Mass readings mentioned Elizabeth "in her sixth month", I too was in my sixth month. Over and over, the Holy Spirit made it abundantely clear that this little boy was to be named after John the Baptist. Additionally, Iain Paul is a form of John Paul. Our son has the footsteps of great men to follow in, and we pray that by the grace of God, he will! :)

Thank you all for your continued prayers. We have been so, so blessed by the grace that has showered down upon us during all the various adjustments to life as new parents of a pre-term not-so-little guy.