Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The preschool kids at the Washington Terrace Fire Station

Our mothers co-op preschool went to the fire station while I was in the hospital. The kids loved it as usual, except for when the fireman came out dressed in his full gear and sounding like Darth Vader! Lucas freaked out and wouldn't leave Mike's lap! But hey, be cool about fire safety!

Monday, September 29, 2008

"I'm glad I'mnot Nick today!!!" -Isaac

Today we had to take Nicholas in for his circumcision. I was trying to explain to Isaac why he didn't want to go to this particular Doctors appointment! Man how do you explain that to a 5 year old?!? Anyway, I did the best I could and I watched his already big eyes get bigger and bigger! His response? "Man I sure am glad that I'm not Nick today!" I guess even at 5 it's a sensitive subject!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Hunter, Ninja, Bear"

Ok so yesterday we got an email from a great family in Madison Wisconsin. In the email was a link to their blog that had video of Stephen and his Companion playing a game that they called "Hunter, Ninja, Bear" . www.tjgilefamily.blogspot.com It was hilarious! My boys loved it, and then they ended up spending the night being like uncle Tee!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Isaac!!! (You get a baby brother!!)

I don't know if I have ever been so happy in my life! Yesterday morning (about 4 am) I was talking to Nicholas' nurse about how Isaac just really wanted his brother home for his b-day and she said that she thought it might just happen, and that she was really going to try to push the Doctors. I still didn't really dare get my hopes up. But at about 9:30 she came to my room and said "call your husband your outta here!" I started jumping up and down, and then I dropped to my knees and said a prayer. I feel so blessed and watched over! Anyway, Nicholas' nurse and I decided that we would put bows on him since he was Isaac's birthday present. We thought it was pretty funny, and it's not like I'm ever going to be able to put a bow on a girls head! We got home just in time to pick up the little boys from preschool! Isaac was so excited, and he liked the bows once we explained why his little brother looked like a girl! And Lucas was just excited to have his "baby Nick" home. Tyler and Matt were so surprised when they got home from school. They walked in and saw me and said "Oh hi mom, is Nick home too?!?" So much for being excited to see mom! Anyway, It was awesome. We all got to relax and celebrate Isaac's 5th birthday as a whole family. All 7 of us!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nicholas, Unplugged

So, as you can see, Nicholas is adorable. Today he went another step and pulled out the feeding tube. The nurses didn't put it back in. He's doing it all from nursing now. The nurses weigh every diaper to make sure he's processing enough food, and if so, they'll let him go home tomorrow! Cross your fingers for him!! We're so so hopeful that this hospital stay thing will be at an end. Tomorrow is Isaac's birthday and he wants for his brother to come home every bit as badly as he wants transformers, Legos, and other "cool boy stuff."

Thanks again to all who have and are helping, with meals, watching the kids, love, prayers, and support. Hopefully tomorrow night we'll post a picture of the whole family together at home!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Home Stretch

I got things set up now so it will say I post when I post, and Liz posts when Liz posts, rather than how it was. Sorry if things were confusing.

Liz is staying at the hospital again now so she can nurse the baby every three hours. The Boys are taking turns spending the night with her. It's a great sleep over adventure! Nicholas doing great! He's off of oxygen, has no more IV's, and they didn't use the stomach feeding at all this morning because he nursed so well. If he keeps this up for a couple of days, gaining weight in the process, he'll be able to come home!! It's a little crazy at home, without Liz there again, and with me back at work, and with a bunch of tomatoes to can tonight :) I just can't get enough, can I? Hopefully things will be settling down when Nicholas comes home.

Thanks again to the friends and family who have helped so much - we have crib bedding all done (Thanks to Jamie Neff), the nursery finished, and everything ready for Nicholas to come home now, except I have to get out and wash the baby clothes. Well, two days to get that done. We'll make it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Very Happy Anniversary

Here's a picture of the peaches, just to show off :)

Friday when we got to the hospital the respiratory therapist told us he was doing better - he was feeding again, and they were cutting back more on the respirator. She told us that, as planned, they were doing away with the antibiotic treatment on Saturday, and that they were hoping to remove the ventilator on Saturday too. Then when Liz went back Friday night, they were just preparing to move him to the normal ventilator instead of the oscillating ventilator. And they had upped his feeding regimen. We were happy again about the baby steps, but not wanting to hope for too much for Saturday.

Saturday morning we took the boys up in-between soccer games. Because there is a four-visitor limit, I took the boys in while Liz stayed in the waiting area. He was OFF THE VENTILLATOR ENTIRELY!!! We were to excited. We stayed for a few minutes, and then we decided it was time to go out and let mom come in. I asked Tyler to stay with his brothers so I could go back in with Liz. I wanted to see her face.
Well, as we walked in to the room, she saw there was no incubator. When she got up to see her baby, first she smiled, and then she cried. It was a really cool moment, to put it mildly.

We couldn't hold him yet, since he still had a tube in through his belly button, but they said we probably could when we came back later in the day.

We all enjoyed looking at our cute baby, without the tubes and tape masking his face. He was a little stressed - his breathing was all over the place and he kept shaking. I guess they keep babies on morphine to sedate them so they don't yank out the ventillator, and so he was going through withdrawls. When Isaac stepped on the foot pedal and raised the top off the incubator, we decided it was probably time to get ready to leave.

For our 11-year anniversary, Kathy and Mary came to our house so Liz and I could go out. We went to the Boybay Grill in Ogden for some amazing (but not cheap) Indian food, and then we went to the hospital to see our baby. We came in and the nurse started saying how they do diaper changes at 7, and it was now 8, and that they like parents to come in at diaper change time if they want to hold their babies, BUT since we hadn't held him since he was born, she'd make an exception. YEAH!! SHe handed us gowns so we could hold him skin to skin and said to take off our shirts and put on the gowns, she shut the curtains and left us. We changed really, REALLY fast.

This was the coolest time we've had since Nicholas was born. Liz's smile was back. She was glowing. Nick was wide awake and just stared at his mommy the whole time she held him, talked to him, and snuggled.

Then it was my turn. I finally got the daddy moment I had been waiting for - holding my little one on my chest while he relaxed and finally went to sleep.

We went hope elated with the day's events. It was the first day all week that Liz didn't cry while going to sleep. It was a very happy anniversary.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sure, things could be better, but they could also be a whole lot worse.

I forgot to explain in the last entry that Liz's muscle pains are much better thanks to a neighbor who is also a massage therapist - gave Liz a 90 minute massage last night, and it was worth every penny, whether the flex spending plan covers it or not.

Last night we were tired. Liz came home yesterday and we all just vegged. It came time for pack meeting, and Tyler wanted to go, having worked really hard this last month as time is running out as a Bear Cub Scout. He received 8 Arrow Points! Only we were all too tired to go with him. I did what I could to make it up to him today though by sewing them all on his shirt, instead of taking the usual 3-6 months to sew on his patches.

This morning I went on the field trip to the fire station with the preschool group. Despite assurances to the contrary, Lucas found the fireman in his helmet, clothes, and Darth Vader mask to be VERY scary. While I was there, Liz went up to the hospital to see Nick. He's doing better again. His digestive tract had turned back on so he was on the feeding regimen again, and with Liz pumping, that means he's getting helpful antibodies. And his chest X-ray this morning showed improvement over yesterday. Hooray!

This afternoon Liz got a nap and I made peach pie with the boys. We had a nice relaxing dinner together, and had a normal relaxing evening - baths for the boys, watched part of a movie, and just had much needed down time. Poor Tyler is really feeling the stress of things. His shoulders are drooped and his mood is subdued at best, as he tries to handle the stress that he feels much more keenly than his younger brothers.

I just got back from visiting Nicholas tonight. They withdrew the built up fluids in his lungs, and got less than last time. They also upped his feeding tube amounts. With a little luck we can do away with the IV feeding regimen soon. He's still on the oscillating ventilator, but has been more steady on it. He was also awake for me - I haven't seen his eyes since he was born. And I got to change his diaper. It may seem like grasping straws, but at this point, we cling to any positive change. Otherwise we'd go nuts.

His umbilical cord has come off. That was hard for me. With all the others, I got to swab the cord with alcohol each time I changed a diaper, till it finally came off for me. I missed that. Like Eva said, we didn't get the birth experience we had expected, and for that we have to go through the grieving process. We have to allow ourselves to mourn what we didn't get. BUT we also have to keep it in perspective. As Liz left the hospital yesterday with an empty car seat, people would look and see the empty car seat, and their faces would fall, and they would discretely look away and not look back. Fortunately, what they think they saw is not the case. No, we didn't get the birth experience we had wanted, even expected, but we do have a baby, and he is getting better, and he will go home soon, and all this up and down hurry up and wait, cling-to-anything-positive stuff we're going through will be a memory when we're holding our baby. All will be well.

Baby Steps - Metaphorically Speaking Anyways

Sorry I haven't had a chance to update the blog for everyone who wants the latest news (until now anyway). Between trips to the hospital to see Liz and Nick, doing all the things moms normally do (which is enough to keep anyone busy), and then the fact that our peaches had to be picked and canned before they spoiled, and then trying to get the things done that we had planned to be done by Oct. 10 for the baby to be born, it's been a busy week. People laughed when I started giving away bags of peaches, because I didn't want to can them all. Call me crazy, but I really think 100 bottles of peaches is enough for my family this year.

We're having fun with a malfunctioning digital camera, film that needs to be developed, and relying on friends' and family's cameras when ours are being buggy, so the picture flow isn't up to date. Here are some pics from Sunday when Matt and Isaac visited Nick (Ty and Lucas weren't allowed in because they were sick).

Nick was a little jaundiced for a while, but he got over that pretty quickly. The boys thought the Mr. Incredible mask was pretty cool though.

So the reason you're here: News regarding the family:

Sunday after his visit, Isaac started feeling sick. We'd taken Tyler in to Wee Care clinic in the morning and he had strep. We took Isaac in then after church and yeah, he had strep too. We called our regular physician and he said not to worry, that strep can't be contracted by kids under 12 months and is really rare under 18 months. He said to be glad it wasn't a virus.

Monday we picked peaches and it looked like Nick was doing better, having switched to the less intense ventillator. Liz was discharged and stayed "boarding" at the hospital to be there for Nicholas. That's where I left off on the last blog entry.

Monday night the boys all got to finally see the baby - they were symptom free and on antibiotics so we figured we could risk it, since the baby couldn't get strep anyway. It was fun for the boys to touch his leg and see their brother. It was a first time our family of 7 was all in the same room.

We went home, I put the boys to bed, and canned peaches till late. Tuesday morning guess what I did? Yeah. Canned peaches while the boys were at school and preschool. Then I went up to bring Liz lunch. I got there and she was in with the baby crying. Nick was back on the puffy oscillating ventilator again. Later that night I asked the respiratory therapist why he thought Nicholas had backtracked. He said it wasn't backtracking, he just wasn't ready for the lower pressure of the slower ventilator - it was gradual, but his lungs started filling with fluid and smaller passages started getting stuck shut again. The doctors said it was viral pneumonia that he somehow contracted in-utero. I guess that cold Liz had last week was more of a problem than either of us could have guessed. I'd never heard of viruses crossing the placenta, but obviously it happens, and THAT is why she went into early labor, not laughing till she cried at the relief society retreat at high altitude.

Liz's milk came in just as they stopped the oral feedings for Nicholas because his stomach was full and stuff wasn't moving through. Then Tuesday night when we went to dinner, Liz started hurting really bad - she couldn't lift her fork to her mouth. And since we had been released from the hospital the nurses couldn't even so much as comment on what might be wrong without us checking in at the ER, where there was about a 3-hour wait with sick people filling the waiting room. SO instead I went to a pharmacy where they suggested we try a heat rub in case it was muscle pain. That helped, a lot. Eventually we got the resident physician to come and he agreed it was muscular. It was highly stressful for a few hours there, with the baby not doing better, seemingly worse, and Liz in so much pain not knowing what was wrong. We missed grandma's surprise party, though our boys still made it there. Then, to save our sanity and help us out, Grandma came back up with the boys to stay the night! She has no idea how she saved us!!

So yesterday morning she tackled the mountain of clean laundary, folding and putting away. I finished canning peaches, and Liz decided that she's had enough of the hospital stay and came home. The boys at home needed her. Things are much less tense now. We really miss Nicholas, and want nothing more than to be able to hold him, change his diapers, feed him, and hear him crying, but at least it doesn't feel like life is falling apart around us. It's funny how suddenly children waking up and getting in our bed with mom is welcomed after not having that option for almost a week.

So if you want to help, please pray for our little one, and thanks for the calls, emails, texts, and other expressions of love and support. Hopefully we'll have more and better news soon. Thanks everyone!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to the Family Nicholas!

Well, here's the story:
Liz goes up to the relief society retreat, after I have told her she really needs a social break before she's trapped at home with the baby. She had a great time - watching sisters doing back handsprings and talking about all the boys they've snogged who are now neighbors in the ward...Of course, she was having contractions the whole time. When people noticed she was sweating and shaking they all showed great neighborly conern and love and she decided she'd better come home. She got in the car and Kami and Jamie (friends) started driving her home. At least until the sheriff flagged her to stop and the EMT's loaded her in the ambulance. From there it was a fast ride, lights on and hugging the curves, down I-84 to McKay Dee hospital where I met her (first picture).

So that was now Saturday morning, about 2:00.

They checked her and said the baby was on its way and we got settled in for the waiting game. We knew it would be a while, since all of our other kids had taken plenty of time to come.

At noon then on Saturday they broke her water and then the real fun started. Liz did great - she's awesome. Nicholas Stephen Staten was born at 2:07, weighing in at 7 lbs 11 oz (nearly our smallest baby) and 19.5" long.

He had a lot of purple on his head and extremities. The nurses told us it was bruising but it became obvious to me and Liz that he was struggling to get a good breath, and he started looking pretty grey.

He wouldn't nurse because he couldn't breathe, so after holding him for a few minutes, they whisked him off for his bath, which made him scream plenty and start turning the right color of pink.

Feeling a little more comfortable, I left him there to be taken care of so I could go back and high-five my wife for a job well done. We got a call an hour later that his oxygen levels were low, and they needed to intubate and take him to the NICU.

Soon we got to go see him at NICU. It was hard, since all our boys so far had got to avoid that experience. It was hardest on Liz, not being able to hold and nurse her little one.

Family and friends came up to see him, and help us with our other boys, so a big THANK YOU to all of you.

He didn't do well on the normal ventilator - there was too much thick fluid in his lungs. They gave him surfactant to reduce the surface tension keeping the smaller passages stuck shut, which helped, but in the end, they had to switch ventilators to one that does twelve puffs per second, keeping the pressure up in the lungs, and he responded great to that. His blood oxygen levels went right up to where they need to be and his chest x-rays are great. They put in a picc line (like an IV but it goes up along veins to near the heart) so they can give antibiotics and take blood samples, and he stabilized.

The latest news is that he's back onto the normal ventilator now, and getting stronger so it's only a matter of time till he comes home.

It's been hard on Liz not to get to hold him, nurse him, etc. But we know it could be worse - the other babies in NICU are teeny and so much more on the brink. With ours it's only a matter of time till he's joining us at home, keeping us up at night, going through diapers like they're going out of style, spitting up, screaming, and my favorite part: NAPPING ON MY CHEST SO I GET OUT OF DOING CHORES.

Liz is being discharged today, and is going to stay at the hospital for a few days, coming home for dinner and then going back to be there for the baby. The boys and I picked 9 bushels of peaches this morning and now we get to can them this afternoon, and then try and get everything ready for the baby to come home, since this is four weeks ahead of when we had expected him.

Thanks to all for love, prayers, meals, babysitting, chauffeuring and everything else you have and continue to do for us.