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Archive for August, 2012

It’s hard to believe that our little Beckett is a month old already! It seems like forever ago that we were spending our days at the NICU, but really, he’s only been home with us for two weeks. I’ve been meaning to post sooner about his happy homecoming, but a newborn and a 20-month-old take up way more time than I expected.

So, a quick recap of events since my last blog post…

Beckett spent his last week in the NICU working on feeding. The doctor said it could range from a matter of days to weeks before he’d get the hang of sucking, swallowing, and breathing all at the same time.

Let’s back up to Friday, August 3. Beckett had the most amazing nurse that night who introduced the bottle for the first time. Her name was Ellie, and from the first feeding on her shift, to the last (four total), she had Beckett taking the entire three ounces. Jimmy and I joked that she must have been an angel because we had never seen her in the NICU before and didn’t see her again. We couldn’t be more thankful that she was assigned to him that night!

From then on, for the next six days, Beckett was up and down, taking up to four ounces at some feedings, but then barely getting through an ounce at others. I don’t think it’s any surprise to those who know me, but I have very little patience, so this was a tough week for me. I’d leave on many occasions very frustrated and had little hope that we’d get our boy home any time soon.

The strange thing about his eating was that it seemed to vary depending on his nurse. In the NICU, they stick to a pretty strict schedule of three hours between feeding the babies. Some nurses would give him a half hour on the bottle and give the rest through his tube, while others were a little more lenient with him and would let him go longer to get him to take more on his own. A lot of the nurses had their own little tricks to use for him which helped too. With all the different people and techniques, you can see why he was a bit inconsistent, so Jimmy and I tried to be there as much as possible so that we could feed him ourselves (though we did love the nurses!). Most days, we made it to four of the eight feedings.

At some point that week – either Monday or Tuesday (the days all blur together now!), when we were home putting Addie down for bed, we noticed she had a fever – 102.9, I think it was. Another sick kid was just what we needed! She never developed any symptoms of anything beyond that and it was gone in a day, but this took us away from Beckett for about 24 hours. I was sure this would set him back.

When we went to the NICU the next afternoon, he only took about half the bottle. I was sure the feeding tube would become a permanent fixture and he’d end up in the NICU well into his toddler years. Jimmy and I grabbed breakfast and when we got back, we were shocked to see that the tube was gone and the nurse said they switched him to ad lib, feeding meaning he’d get a bottle when ever he was hungry and he was free to eat as much or as little as he wanted, just as long as he gained weight. What? That’s not at all what I expected to hear at this point, but it was the best news ever! This turned out to be just what Beckett needed!

On Thursday, he’d lost a little weight, but by Friday morning, he’d gained again, so things were looking good! We were expecting him to get released on Sunday, but his nurse, April, was amazing and pushed through all the last tests – hearing and car seat challenge – and we were walking out of St. Mary’s around 1:00 that afternoon! Jimmy and I couldn’t believe it. We hadn’t expected that at all but were so thrilled to have our sweet Beckett home. So, 17 days total in the NICU, but we finally got to leave with a completely amazing little boy!

So, now a quick recap of his last two weeks here at home. We took him to my mom’s house straight from St. Mary’s because Addie had been staying with her during the days all week while her sitter was on vacation. I completely underestimated how much she understood about her little brother. She couldn’t contain her excitement when we walked in. She was laughing and screaming and saying his name. She wanted to touch him but wasn’t sure exactly what to do. It was pretty hilarious!

Since he’s been home, we’ve just been trying to get into a routine with an infant and a toddler. Addie has swim lessons every Saturday, so Beckett’s first day home consisted of sleeping in the shade by the pool, strolling through Target and grocery shopping. Beckett and Mommy don’t get out of the house much as he screams like he’s being tortured every time he gets in his car seat (which doubles as his stroller seat), but we did manage to fit in a quick trip to the mall and a much needed errand to Michael’s for some ribbon – yes, I sacrificed my child’s happiness for a craft project. When he fell asleep after crying so hard in the store, I squeezed in couple more stops too!!

He’s already been to his awesome pediatrician twice – he gained almost a pound in his first five days home, and at our appointment this afternoon, he’d gained another pound putting him at 10 pounds, 8 ounces! So far, he’s a healthy little boy. The doctor said he’s right on schedule development-wise for a one-month-old.

So far, he’s just a normal little boy, eats, sleeps, poops, and screams. Pretty much what’s to be expected with a newborn! Addie adores him (still!) and wakes up every morning saying, “Beckett, see him” and comes home every day saying, “Mommy, Beckett.” I don’t think we could ask for much more from our two sweet little children!

And now, here’s a ridiculous amount of photos…

first photo with no tubes

first car ride…heading home!

Addie meeting her brother for the first time

Beckett’s first night home

Addie ready for swim lessons

snoozing by the pool

first family of four outing to Target

first trip to the pediatrician

Addie loving on her brother

sibling play time

my sweet little family

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Our sweet little peanut was born nearly two weeks ago…

Beckett James Gibson
July 24
10:13 pm
8 pounds, 4 ounces, 20.5 inches

He had a pretty rough start but finally, after 13 days in the NICU, he’s doing great and is working on just one more hurdle before he can settle into life at home. I was hoping to get around to this post sooner, but we’ve been quite busy juggling Addie’s schedule and visiting Beckett as much as possible. So, for those of you who have been wondering how he’s been, or those who we haven’t had a chance to update, here’s a recap of Beckett’s first two weeks…

Tuesday, July 24 –  We woke up and started our normal routine, just like any other weekday. Addie spent the day at the sitters, while Jimmy and I went to work. No real signs that we’d be meeting our little man later that night. When 5:00 rolled around, I picked Addie up and headed home. Jimmy arrived around 6 and started thinking about what to make for dinner. I had a few cramps, which had been pretty standard around the same time for about a week or two, so didn’t think anything of it. I decided to rest on the couch to see if they’d go away, but these became more frequent. My mom and Vic came over to stay with Addie, and Jimmy and I headed to the hospital, still not convinced that this was the real thing. By the time we got there, contractions had been pretty regular for about an hour and a half. Before they could even get me admitted, my water broke and the doctor was called in to deliver our boy! Only, it wasn’t as easy as we all expected. It took another hour and a half before he’d make his big debut, and instead of the joy of a crying baby, he came out not breathing and quickly turned an awful shade of blue. This was the start of our long, emotional journey.

Wednesday, July 25 – Jimmy had been in and out of the NICU since shortly after Beckett was born. I, on the other hand, was in recovery  so didn’t get to see him for a while. The first few hours after his birth were pretty chaotic, a bunch of doctors were running tests on out sweet boy, trying to figure out what to do next, and we weren’t getting many updates. At about 2am, the NICU doctor came to talk to us and have us sign a bunch of papers. I can’t even remember what they all were for, I just remember saying OK to whatever she suggested and handing them to Jimmy to sign. At this point, what we were told was that he was showing possible signs of seizure activity which may indicate that some sort of brain injury was present upon delivery.

Around 3am, they put Beckett on a cool cap.

This fancy little thing brings the baby’s brain temperature down to 29 degrees celcius in order to maintain the rest of his body temperature and to make sure the rest of his organs aren’t compromised, Beckett was hooked up to about 7 different machines, a warming bed, a respirator, heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, I can’t remember what else, but there were tubes everywhere! The cool cap is a 72 hour process, so we were told to just wait. No one knew what the initial injury was or how serious it may be, so there we sat just waiting to find out where he’d fall on the wide spectrum of possibilities – ranging from no problems to complete lack of brain activity.

Over the next three days, I think every person involved with labor and delivery and St. Mary’s  family resource team came to talk to us about possible outcomes and follow-up care – all seeming to hint at the worst case scenario and all seemed to end with a blanket “it’s no one’s fault and doesn’t sound like anyone did anything wrong” statement. I realize most medical professionals try to prepare you for the worst, but me, being a hormonal mother who just delivered a child I had yet to hold, wasn’t too receptive of the negative thoughts. And while I appreciate what they were trying to accomplish – letting us know that there were resources available – I certainly didn’t like talking to the nurse who’s business card said “St. Mary’s Hospice” – not very reassuring when you’re trying to be optimistic and praying for a positive outcome. OK, that’s my only rant, I promise!

Saturday, July 28 – Beckett’s cool cap came off at 3am and the rewarming process started. It took about 4 hours to get him back up to temperature. His poor head was swollen and his body was puffy from all the fluid he’d been getting through his IV. The plan was to do a brain ultrasound and an EEG in the next week, but there just happened to be an EEG tech and a neurologist on that day, so Beckett got hooked up to the sensors and had it done that afternoon.

The neurologist came in very soon after with the results. It showed low brain activity, but activity none the less on both sides of the brain. Right after delivery, when they thought he may be having seizures, he was given two doses of phenobarbital  which can take anywhere from 2-7 days to clear an infant’s system, so she said the low activity may be due to that still depressing his system – that as well as the multiple doses of morphine he was given to keep him comfortable while on the cool cap. So, no real news that day, just another “we’ll have to wait and see” type situation.

Sunday, July 29 – Saturday night was our first night back home with Addie, so we spent Sunday with her, visiting Beckett during her naps. After she went to bed, we headed back to St. Mary’s to find that they’d taken the ventilator tube out of his mouth and had him on this nasal vent, kind of like a huge elephant trunk. And, this meant we got to hold him for the first time!!

We finally felt like things were moving in a positive direction and the doctors and nurses seemed impressed with his progress too.

Monday, July 30 –  Beckett received his second brain ultrasound – I think he had one prior to getting the cool cap, which didn’t show anything, but they did another after to see if anything had changed. The doctors didn’t see any abnormalities. More good news! With Addie back at daycare, we could spend most of the day with him. He was still uncomfortable from what he’d endured already and they were trying to wean him off the morphine so that the EEG wouldn’t be affected, so he was a little cranky all day. But we loved snuggling him just the same.

Tuesday, July 31 – The EEG tech came super early in the morning and was done with the test before we every got there. We had hoped to have the results before noon, but heard nothing. Beckett’s doctor left mid-afternoon and still hadn’t received the results from the neurologist. We headed home to spend time with Addie, but were rather frustrated and anxious to get the results, then went back to see Beckett around 8:30. His nurse was with another baby when we got there, so Jimmy, being as stealthy as possible, glanced over his chart to see if anything had been noted. I was in disbelief when he said, “this note says EEG showed nothing weird.” I honestly thought he was making it up because if you met Beckett’s doctor, you’d know that she’d never use the word “weird”, but that’s really what the note said! It turns out, that’s how the nurse interpreted the phone call. I was in shock that we’d actually received the news we’d been praying for all week – no abnormal brain activity! Beckett’s doctor confirmed it the next morning!

For the next two days, Beckett increased his milk feedings through the tube until they could get him completely off the supplement bag – another machine and tube that could be taken off. He finished the dose of antibiotics they’d given him to prevent any infection he may have gotten in his lungs, and moved from an elephant trunk respirator to just a nasal canula.

Friday, August 3 – Beckett had an MRI to see if there were any deeper brain issues that the ultrasound didn’t pick up – once again, no abnormalities! Everything had come back clear, and we were finally out of tests to run on this poor little guy. His last step was to take a bottle and get off the feeding tube. The doctor told us to be patient, as it could take weeks for a baby with his start to life to learn to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. For the last couple of days, we had tried getting him to breastfeed with no success, but Friday night, Beckett had the most amazing nurse who offered him the bottle and had him taking the whole feeding by the end of her shift!

Saturday, August 4 – By Saturday, he was taking at least half of every feeding  from the bottle. What was left was given through his feeding tube. When his doctor examined him, I overheard her say, “we should probably start to think about a discharge plan.” Amazing!

Sunday, August 5 – Jimmy went in for Beckett’s morning feeding while I spent time at home with Addie. The nurse told Jimmy she expected him to be discharged at the end of the week! So exciting!! His night nurse also decided to give him a trial period without his nasal oxygen, which is still off 24 hours later!

So, here we are – 13 days later, still in the NICU but he’s in much better shape than when he arrived nearly two weeks ago. All Beckett’s doctors and nurses have been amazing and we’re incredibly thankful that they were so compassionate and knowledgeable about what to do for him. He’s the most amazing thing ever and we can’t wait to get him home and love on him – then maybe we’ll share him with all of you!

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