Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Splish Splash Its Time for Kaleb's First Bath

Kaleb: Day Twelve

We started the day off with some more good news, Kaleb gained another 30 grams over night and now ways 1670 grams or 3lbs 10.91oz. He is nearly back to his birth weight, which is fantastic. The other news was that he finished an entire bottle overnight and he also had his feeding tube moved into his left nostril although he did manage to pull it out twice today. I left work early so I could get over to the hospital for his first bath. I took off his diaper and he was fussy again, but it was only the beginning of his whining. Once he was stripped down and moved him over to the bath things really got interesting. He really freaked out as soon as he was placed in the water, luckily he calmed down relatively quickly and actually enjoyed the rest of his bath. It was a pretty neat moment. I managed to capture some of it on tape and hopefully if I can get up to my mom's house this weekend I will be able to get some of the video on the internet. We finished up his bath and I once again tried to give him a bottle, it went much better today than the last time, I think mostly due to the fact that I am much more comfortable holding him now. He made it through half of his bottle, which was pretty good, we are going to try again tomorrow, but will give him more rest throughout the day so he isn't so tired.

After the hospital I went in to BoCaNO at the Kinsale. We really did poorly at trivia and quit halfway through. It was good to see everybody though.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Out of the Greenhouse and into the Garden

Kaleb: Day Eleven

It was another great day for Mr. Kaleb today. The biggest news was that he graduated from his greenhouse and moved to a bathtub crib. The reason for the move is that he has been keeping his temperature pretty steady and there is no need for external heating. It is just another step in the direction of his eventual move back home. The only big hurdle left is to get him to feed without the use of his feeding tube. He has had some success with bottles, but it is a real crap shoot, on the other hand his breast feeding has continually improved. Yesterday his weight only increased by 5 grams, but that is okay because it is still in the upward direction. What else... oh yeah we were supposed to do his first bath tonight, but due to time constraints we are pushing it back to tomorrow night. I have the video camera all loaded up and ready for the big adventure. Hopefully the bath will go better than the diaper change I went through tonight. I don't know what his deal was, but he sure was fussy. Not only was he crying, but his heart rate went through the roof, its super scary when you are trying to change a diaper and not only is the baby crying, but a machine starts beeping like crazy.

Tonight after coming back from the hospital we were treated to a fantastic dinner at Rendezvous by Cara and Jeff. I went with a nice lamb shank and finished the meal with a fine piece of chocolate cake. I had never been there before, but I highly recommend it to anybody looking for a really tasty meal. Thanks again to Cara and Jeff for such a great treat!!!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Quick Update

Nonna sent me this photo of her with Kaleb and I think it is a cute one so I have posted it. Today we found out that Kaleb gained 40 grams over the last 24 hours, which was phenomenal progress. He also lost the last bit of his umbilical cord this morning, Jennifer saved it for me to see and she also took a photo that will get posted later. For lunch today Andy and I drove over to Winchester hospital so he could visit the little man. It was really great that he wanted to visit, it is just too bad that Kaleb was so sleepy and he didn't get to see him in action. I am sure he will have plenty of time for that later though.

I am just about to close up work, so I can get back over there and visit.

Kaleb: Day Ten

I just got home from visiting Kaleb. We had a little father/son time at the six pm feeding and then my mom and Jon stopped in to say hi. Unfortunately he was back in in house when they got there. Speaking of his house, it seems that he seems to be managing his temperature relatively well and my be taken out of the insolette and put in an unheated bassinet. Very exciting although a bit louder for him.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Daddy's Diaper Duty

Kaleb: Day Nine

I have said it before and I have to say it again, it was another banner day for Kaleb today. Jennifer went in for the 9AM feeding and came back with tons of good news. First we learned that he actually gained weight over the last twenty four hours, we also learned that he did an entire feeding from a bottle. So a couple more positive news bits. Since Jennifer was in early I went in for the noon feeding and got to do my first temperature check, diaper change and bottle feeding. I did an okay job with the diaper although Kaleb noticeably missed his mother and was a bit fussier than normal. The bottle feeding didn't go quite as well. He is still having a hard time getting down the timing of breathing and swallowing so more than once we had to stop because his oxygen level dropped. We did manage to get half of the bottle down his throat before giving up and going through the stomach tube. I then held him for an hour while Brendan took a ton of photos. It was the first time he had met his Uncle Brennie and it was just a taste of all the photos that will be taken of him. Hopefully I will get those photos up sometime soon, there are a ton of them so it might take a while.

Jennifer returned from the shower for the 3PM feeding and we stayed until after his six o'clock feeding. He really downed a ton of milk at the six o'clock feeding via the breast and actually got so much that his stomach overflowed and he spit up all over his new clean outfit. The good news from that was it means he will start getting less through his feeding tube.

That's all for now. Thanks to everybody for all the stuff we got at the shower today.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

One Week Down a Lifetime to Go

Kaleb: Day Eight

Well our little man is officially a week old, actually at this point he is one week, two hours and forty minutes old. He continues to impress us everyday with his progress. As I said in the previous entry his weight has possibly bottomed out and he is hopefully on the way up up and away. We spent most of the day today at the hospital and were lucky enough to have a few visitors. First, Nonna showed up during the noon time feeding and was lucky enough to hold the little guy. No sooner had the feeding begun when my dad and Anne showed up to visit also. We figured out a schedule and everybody got some face time with the little guy. It was really nice to spend the whole day with him, normally I only get to stop by for about an hour, but today was a different story. It was nice to see him out of his little house three times. You hear it all the time, but I am also going to utter this, "He changes everday." Its just amazing how much of a difference one week makes. He is much more active now and when he wakes up he looks around for quite a while taking in all of the views. I have been lucky enough to hold him twice in the last twenty four hours and it is the greatest feeling in the world to have him looking up at me. I always get him to do a little smirk here and there which is very rewarding. I think tomorrow I might go in during Jennifer's shower and meet my brother while I feed Kaleb a bottle. It will be my first time there without Jennifer, but I think I will be able to hold my own, it also helps that there are a bunch of nurses there to help me out.


Moving On Up

Kaleb: Day Seven

Yesterday Kaleb was transferred from the Brigham & Women's to Winchester Hospital. Its a big step because it means he is progressing well. Jennifer and I scoped out the hospital in the morning and gave the okay for his transfer. Its a really low key facility and much calmer than the Brigham's NICU. In the morning he had half of his feeding from a bottle, which was about 50% more than he had the previous day. Jennifer put him to breast in the afternoon using a nipple shield and it really helped him feed, which was another huge accomplishment. The most important thing right now is getting him to feed completely from a bottle or breast. So far he seems to be learning quite well.

Today my dad stopped by and was there when he arrived for the transfer. Later on in the evening my mom showed up and sat with us during the six o'clock feeding. It was really nice to have my mom there while Kaleb was out of his greenhouse. I think he really liked having her there too.

This morning Jennifer called and the nurse said his weight is unchanged from yesterday, so hopefully it is just going to go up from now on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My First Bottle

Kaleb: Day Six

Yep that's right Kaleb had his first bottle today. He only had the equivalent of two teaspoons, but it is a start. He is still under the lights, but even that was lowered to just one light. The other milestone today was the removal of his IV, which freed up his left arm. He also had an ultrasound on his head today because they were concerned about his squished head. The test results came back and there weren't any issues. I know the good news just keeps flowing. The final huge piece of good news was that he is getting transferred to Winchester Hospital tomorrow. We originally planned to get him sent back to Mount Auburn, but the nurses have been ranting and raving about Winchester. It apparently has a great level 2 nursery and is a lot better than the Mount Auburn nursery. Sorry I didn't take more photos today, but I spent most of the time taking video today. I am still having trouble downloading the video to the computer, but once I get it working I will be sure to upload it to one of the various video websites.

Here's a fun added bonus. Every Sunday night starting on September 24 (Week 13), we took Jennifer's measurements and took a photo of her to document the growth of her belly.

Jennifer's Growing Belly

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Karate Kick for Billy Reuben

Here are some more photos of my boy.Kaleb: Day Five Check out his mad karate skills!!

Kaleb had another great day in the NICU. I dropped Jennifer off around eleven and she spent almost the entire day by his side. She did get to take him out for lunch and he successfully latched on and had a little breast milk. He really seems to be getting the hang of it and hopefully he will be able to get his entire meal that way instead of via the stomach tube.

In other news, he may be able to come out from under the lights tomorrow, which means he can try on his new outfits. He may also get his IV removed tomorrow night, which will be a huge step. I am sure he will now be a southpaw after all of the strengthening he is getting on his left arm. We also are reconsidering going to Mount Auburn and instead having him transferred to Winchester Hospital instead. It sounds like they have a better NICU facility there and that he will get more specialized attention. The distance is about the same, but there is free parking and it is on my way to work, which will be much nicer than the current setup. We still need to work out the details, but I think I am in favor of that move. The details about when he will transfer and when he will come home are still questionable. The current prognosis as far as we can tell is that Kaleb will be moved on either side of this weekend and then from there we don't really know.

The bottom line is that he is doing really well and we are excited with his progress.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Soakin Up the Sun

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night

Kaleb: Day Four

Just a quick posting to put some more photos online. Jennifer was discharged this morning, but before we left we went and visited Kaleb. He is now officially under lights to help his bilirubin and he has to have protective eyewear similar to tanning glasses. Conveniently the extra light allows for much better quality photos.

Well we are home now and I have started back with work. Jennifer is getting settled back in for a little bit and then heading back in to Boston this afternoon.

Everything is well here.

Another Great Day

I started the morning off quite early again and did some laundry, ate some breakfast and then went to CVS to get some photos printed. Afterwards I went into Boston to see Jennifer and Kaleb. When I arrived Jennifer was down in the NICU so I waited in her room. When she returned I found out that she had been holding Kaleb for the last hour. I was happy to see her so overjoyed and happy. I helped her with some breast pumping and right before noon we went down to see Kaleb for his noon time diaper change. We watched him a little bit and then Jennifer changed his diaper, he had a little meconium and as she wiped his butt he decided to add another slimy blob of blackness. The nurse then came over and asked if I would like to have some "Kangaroo Time" with him. I hesitated a bit, but then realized I couldn't pass up the opportunity. So I took off my shirt and the nurse placed Kaleb down on my chest. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever. To have his warm little body snuggled up on my chest was just the greatest thing ever. He slept there for an hour. Once the hour was over he had to go back into the isolette. We returned again for his four o'clock feeding and he was wide awake. We stood there for about five minutes just watching him stare back at us. He was so cute looking out at us and taking in the big blurry world in front of him. Since he was awake, the nurse let Jennifer hold him for an hour or so.

The bottom line is that he is doing really well. Hopefully in the next few days they will remove his IV as he gets more of his calories from Jennifer's breast milk and less from the sugar water. Are fingers are crossed for this event because it is a huge step for him. Once he gets stable without the IV the possibility of him moving to Mount Auburn hospital increases and current estimates have him moving there next weekend. It will be so nice having him closer and on this side of the Charles River. We did get a teeny bit of bad but expected news today, he will have to go under a bright lamp over the next few days because he might be developing jaundice. Apparently this is very common for preemies and the only real drawback is that he won't be able to spend as much time outside his little greenhouse. It should only last a couple of days, but it will be difficult given his recent adventures outside of his house.

Tomorrow, I have to go over and pick up Jennifer in the morning because she is getting discharged. It will be hard leaving the hospital without Kaleb, but we have talked about it and are trying to prepare for the dreaded moment. We are also not looking forward to leaving our newly created routine of seeing Kaleb by riding and elevator and instead having to take the T or drive all the way to Boston. I am sure it will take a bit of getting used to, but we will no doubt get into a comfortable new routine that will keep us sane in these difficult times. I think we are both confident that he is in good hands and will make it out of the NICU sooner than later, but it is still so hard to not have him with us all the time and visiting is great, but no substitute for having him with us. Thankfully the nurses at Brigham & Women's have been fantastic and allow us to participate as much as possible with Kaleb's daily activity.

Day Three Photos

Sunday, February 18, 2007

And on the second day...

Hello again,

I just got back after the day two and everything is still going very well. I took some more photos and even got some video today. I have uploaded the photos, but the video will have to wait until tomorrow. Jennifer changed Kaleb's diaper today for the first time. The NICU staff has been really great and they have let her change the diapers if she is there and also has been taking Kaleb's temperature. Jennifer also got to hold the baby quite a bit today and at the eight o'clock feeding she was able to hold him for over an hour. Besides that Kaleb had a great day and got to meet some grandparents today and got to see his Auntie M again. Jennifer is feeling great and is looking wonderful. Tomorrow is her last full day in the hospital before
being discharged on Tuesday, after that we still need to work out the schedule of when we will be visiting Kaleb.

Kaleb Day Two

I guess that is all for now. This will be the last email about Kaleb, but if you want more photos as they come available and the video, you can go to . Hopefully I will get to post photos at the end of each day.


Kaleb Arthur Sands

Hello all,

On February 17th, 2007, at 8:15 EST Kaleb Arthur Sands was born at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Despite his being born six weeks early he is doing very well and breathing on his own. He tipped the scales at a super light 3 lbs 11 ounces and measured 17" in length. He scored a perfect 9 out of 9 on his APGAR score, a simple system to determine the health of the baby immediately after birth.

We weren't really given anytime to plan for the trip to the hospital, since we went right from child birth class, so I didn't have a camera on me during the actual birth. However, I did go up to the NICU and took several photos that you can view at the following link.

Kaleb Arthur Sands

Hope this finds you all doing well!!! More details and photos to follow.

Keeg aka Dad

"May your first child be a masculine child." - Luca Brasi

I'll try to give you a quick recap. About two weeks ago Jennifer had some pre-term labor symptoms and we went to the hospital for three days in a row. She was definitely showing some signs (50% effaced and 1cm dilated), so they put her on bed rest for two weeks. Oh yeah and she also got two steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop. The entire week of bedrest went very well and the symptoms all seemed to subside. When we woke up on Saturday morning, Jen thought she had a little bit of a discharge, but we just figured it was nothing and decided to monitor it while we were at child birth class. During the lunch break at the child birth class she had a little spotting and decided to call the doctor on call. So we finished out the class and around 3:30 we went over to the Labor & Delivery department of Mount Auburn hospital. They examined her and decided she needed to be observed for 24 hours. I went downstairs to call our parents around 4:45 and when I got back upstairs at 5, she told me her water had broken. So now we had to decide whether to stay at Mount Auburn or go to Brigham & Women's since 34 weeks is the border line for Mount Auburn. We thought it best to go with Brigham & Women's and Jennifer got an ambulance ride and arrived there around 6:45. She started to have minor contractions around 7 and then once it got to be about 7:30 they started to get a little more intense. The doctor came in around 7:45 and examined her and found that she was 8cm dilated and the baby's head was visible. At about the same time the anesthesiologist was about to give her an epidural when she had the sudden urge to push, so it was going to be a natural child birth. The labor team came in all at once and started to set up there gear. Then around 8:19 after about twenty five minutes of pushing Kaleb was born.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Storm?

The predicted snowstorm has caused a giant mess in Somerville. I think it snowed about two inches overnight and then today it has been a combination of rain, sleet and snow for the entire day. On top of the overnight snow we have picked up another two inches of yucky slush. I decided to work form home because I didn't want to mess with the commute and because I figured Jennifer could use the company. The gym was empty this morning, which was a surprise because usually the weather doesn't have an effect on the attendance. Besides that I have been relatively productive with work stuff and enjoyed a yummy Thai lunch care of Cara and Jeff. They stopped by around one and had lunch with us which was a nice treat.

Around four o'clock I looked out into the street and saw that it had become flooded because of clogged drains and knew something had to be done. I donned my winter jacket, hat and gloves and marched out the front door to rectify the situation. First I cleaned off Jennifer's car and managed to move it back a few feet so I could access the sewer grate. After about ten minutes I had cleared a nice path for the water and it was quickly rushing out of the street and down into the drain. I stayed out for an hour making sure it didn't clog and attempting to clear the drain on the other side of the street. I didn't have as much luck on the other side, but either way I certainly made the water go from the original six inches in depth to around one inch. It was nice to be outside despite the messy cold weather.

Now I am just waiting for the nightly build to finally succeed so I can close up shop and join my wife for a Valentine's evening on the couch. We talked about getting some Emma's pizza, but it is a bit of a drive and there really isn't a lot of parking there. Hopefully we will figure out something romantic to do for dinner.

Hope everybody is staying warm and dry out there.

I tried to post this entry last night and it just wouldn't stick. So I am posting it now. I do have an update to the snow story. This morning we woke up and looked out on sunny Somerville, so see our cars buried. It took an hour total and Jennifer actually had to come up and help me with her car (she just sat in it and pressed the gas). We did manage to get them both free, which was quite a relief. There was also a dummy from across the street whom I had seen in the morning backing his car on top of a snow bank in then returning to his house in his boxers. As I finished dislodging the cars he was attempting to get out of his space, but in the least effective manner. Instead of rocking the car back and forth he was just putting the pedal to the metal. The smell of burnt rubber filled the air, when I walked over to help him. After a few minutes of attempting to help him I gave up because he just didn't have a clue. He made it out ten minutes later. Dummy!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Oh Baby

The last four days have probably been some of the most stressful days I have ever experienced in all my thirty years of existence. I believe my last posting was after the crazy Wednesday, but things only got more interesting after that. On Thursday morning we woke up as usual, but Jennifer was having some cramping, which was different and per the doctor's instructions we called the hospital and they told us to come in as soon as it opened up. We rushed into the hospital and were sent up to Labor and Delivery where they put Jennifer on a monitor to keep track of contractions and the baby's heart rate. After sitting around for a couple hours a doctor came in and said everything looked okay and to just show up for our scheduled appointment on Friday. We were feeling pretty good about everything after we left, because the doctor was very reassuring and explained that the cramps were probably just caused by the baby's head moving further down towards Jennifer's pelvis.

On Friday I went to the gym and work per my usual day and then came home after lunch to pick Jennifer up for the appointment. We went in and met another doctor, who performed a FFN test, a test to see if hormones are present that mean the baby could be coming in the next two weeks. After she took the test, she noticed that Jennifer was now 1cm dilated, which got us sent back up to Labor & Delivery for more monitoring. We sat up in the same room as the previous two days for a few hours before learning the results of the FFN test. The nurse came in and told us the test came back positive, which really got us on edge. Apparently a negative result is very certain, it means the baby is not going to be coming in the next couple of weeks. However, a positive doesn't necessarily mean it is definitely going to happen, but it does mean there is a higher risk of labor in the next two weeks. The doctor finally came in and explained all of this two us, examined Jennifer one more time (everything was the same) and decided it would be a good idea to get a steroid shot for the baby. You see at this point in the baby's development the lungs may or may not be ready for breathing. Apparently somewhere between week 33 and 34, they mature enough to work without assistance. The steroids help the lungs develop more quickly and have been shown to work very well. Jennifer got the shot and we were given instructions to come back in 24 hours for a second and final shot. We thanked the doctor for her help and headed back home to contemplate all we had experienced over the past seventy two hours.

I took all of the information pretty hard and it has taken me a couple days to recover. It just makes me so scared to think that the baby may come so early. I know we are at a very good point in the pregnancy, but it is still 48 days until the due date. Jennifer has been a rock though and has been so upbeat, which is super important for the baby at this point. I know I am supposed to be the strong one, but man it is so hard for me. Thankfully we have the nintendo and oddly enough playing has helped me snap back to a better place.

Yesterday we woke up and everything seemed to be okay. Jennifer wasn't having any new issues and we didn't need to call anybody in the morning. In the late afternoon we did drive over to the hospital for a quick shot of steroids in the butt, thankfully that was all that happened and we came right back home.

Today, Jennifer's parents came up from Connecticut to spend some time with us. It was really great having them up here showing there support. We have been so lucky to have so many wonderful people around us and in our life giving support. I can't begin to list all of the people who have sent their best wishes and offered to help out with anything we need. We are both so thankful for this and couldn't ask for a better support network. Thank you all!!!

For now we are counting the minutes until Saturday when we will make the big 34 week mark. Of course we want to get beyond there, but as of right now that is the biggest milestone we want to reach. Five more days....

Stressfully yours,

PS - We have our regularly scheduled appointment, hopefully everything is still the same and we can continue on as we have been this weekend.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Pregnancy Scare

Well we had a bit of a scary day with the pregnancy. Yesterday, Jennifer noticed a little blood and called the doctor, who said it was normal, but if it happened again to give them a call. So this morning it happened again, we called and they told us to come in. We went in and met with a new doctor, we also mentioned that the baby's movement had changed over the past week. After examining Jennifer's belly the doctor pointed out that it is all baby, which was nice to hear. She also said its size is about right for the 32nd week, which is also good. The last observation was that there may be a lower than normal amount of amniotic fluid, and we would need to get an ultrasound to check it out and also a fetal stress test. So that was the examination of the baby and now for the blood issue. Apparently due to the fryable(sp?) nature of the surface of the cervix the blood is not a big deal. However, after an examination the doctor said she was 50% effaced, which apparently isn't as good as what would be ideal at this point. The cervix is not dilated which is good, but the effaced part was a cause for concern. The doctor recommended Jennifer takes it easy for the next few weeks, until we reach a safer point in the pregnancy, to prevent further effacing, of course given the nature of her job it looks like it will be very difficult to accomplish. Luckily school vacation is coming up in two weeks which is the perfect scenario. Now we just have to figure out what the plan is for next week, I am leaning towards taking the five days off and then coming back for as long as possible after vacation. We still need to figure it out though, we are both aware that the health of the baby is our primo concern though.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the ultrasound. Everything looks really good with the baby. There was plenty of amniotic fluid, the heart and lungs were working very well and the baby was moving quite a bit. We were able to see the baby's face, which had big chubby cheeks, cute little lips and a tiny nose. We didn't get a print out of the ultrasound, so I don't have anything to post. I didn't see the ears, which either means they are really small or I just wasn't looking. You see with our small ears we figure the baby is only going to have seal like ear flaps.

Bottom line is that the baby is doing very well and hopefully it isn't coming anytime soon. 52 more days until March 31st.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Where's the snow?

More "snow" is predicted for overnight, although the current predictions on say about one inch. Earlier in the week they were really talking it up, but of course it is turning out to be nothing. Work has been busy today, I am still working on the problem from yesterday. The end is near though and I will hopefully get to move on to other things.

I don't really know what else to talk about, so I will just go now.