Monday, March 31, 2008

Our best guy

God, he's just so cute. Above, in his Easter outfit (I just got pictures from the weekend back from Grandma Big K). And he's doing really well - I hate to jinx it, given the last time I said "I think we've turned a corner" he went in for emergency surgery, but I do think we've turned a corner, at least sleeping-wise. He's so much happier and more comfortable in the co-sleeper again, and we hear him cooing and getting himself back to sleep all the time. He's not perfect on naps yet, but we're really getting close.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This parenting stuff is HARD

I just came from Graham's room, with tears running down into my shirt, because he is so so so angry and overtired. He was doing the kind of screaming that shakes his whole body, which is really rare for him. What torture am I putting my best loved baby boy through? Ah yes - we are trying to get him to sleep in his crib or co-sleeper again, and not on us. Torture, I say!

It's all our own fault, really. We were so traumatized by his recent surgery, and he felt so fragile to us, we just held him and let him sleep on us 24-7 for two weeks. And I also held him all the time most days when we were home together even before his surgery. It was hard not to - he's just so darn snuggly. But now we are paying the price. He really doesn't want to sleep anywhere but wrapped up on our chests. That makes for not great sleeping for us, even though he's conked out. And just so there are no secret complaints against us - this is not the Ferberizing, leave them to cry it out until they exhaust themselves school of trying to get him to sleep. I have been up and down the stairs comforting him 8 (count 'em, 8) times thus far for this nap alone. I promise I am not leaving my (corrected age) 3.5 week old to fend for himself. He just has to be comfortable in his beds. But, man, do I want to crack and have a good solid nap on the couch in front of "ER" right now.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Note that both my boys are catching flies during their post-Easter brunch nap.

We had a really nice weekend - my mom and dad had helped me immensely on Friday (see below) and my mom stayed over Friday night and took care of Graham all evening, so Joe and I slept the whole night. And then yesterday we went to Syracuse and stayed at my grandparents, and my parents took Graham all night again, so Joe and I are cruising on two straight nights of 8+ hours of sleep. It feels so...normal.

And Graham met almost all of the Hopkins crew (my mom's side of my family) which was wonderful and he was tremendously well behaved and won the hearts of all his second cousins, great aunts and uncles, and even great-grandparents.

Then we got home and he screamed at us for half an hour. Ah well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Graham has a home!

I honestly have been dreaming about finishing Graham's room for weeks now. It's been the thing that has been keeping me going, besides Graham, of course. It just felt so unfinished and temporary and uncomfortable to not have a special place in the house just for the G-man. And had we had the anticipated 2 months, we would have had it done, but hey, things didn't go as anticipated. But my parents are here this weekend, and they came up yesterday and helped me finish everything in addition to trading off Graham duties. So it's (almost completely) done! Hooray! Photo evidence below.

I can just see him now, zooming his matchbox cars around the rug and traveling speedily from the airport to the hospital to the....castle? Also, there are two beaches, two hospitals, two airports and two castles in this town of his. I imagine that each king of the castle has commandeered an airport for his own personal use.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More updating

So Graham continues to be fine, although a little inconsolable. We are at that point where it feels like there must be some secret parenting thing that every kid needs that we are absolutely ignorant of. Tonight, however, we just let him eat as much as he wanted. That seemed to satisfy him and let him sleep (the first time he's slept, really, since 4 o'clock this morning), so we are going to try to follow his cues and see if he will even out some over the next few days. Joe and I are both okay, but absolutely exhausted. Anyway, thanks so much to everybody for all the good thoughts - we'll probably be in touch with all our Rochester people after this weekend so we can start doing visits again!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I took it pretty hard


One thing that Graham loves to do is to lie on my chest and just conk out. And I love it too. It calms me down and makes me feel really close to him, sort of like my version of breastfeeding. And with all the recent trauma in his life Graham has needed a lot of chest time just to cope. In fact, I've gotten into the habit of wrapping him up and sleeping on the couch with him literally strapped to my chest when he can't be soothed. I know you're not supposed to do it, but damn it, sometimes it's the only thing that works.

Anyway, rewind to Thursday. After a long and cranky day in the hospital, Graham sacked out on my chest in the surgical waiting room. It was the first time all day that he wasn't crying or moaning in pain or throwing up or getting poked and prodded or generally being manhandled. It was so nice to hear him just settle down and do that heartbreaking baby sleep breathing.

We got about a half hour of this kind of peaceful time and then the surgical team showed up to take him away. When the anaesthesiologist plucked him off of me, Graham had little sleep wrinkles from my shirt and messed up sweaty hair lining his face. He opened his eyes, started to moan and looked at me like "Why?" Then they took him away to open him up. (Results below)

Following this Sarah and I pretty much just broke down and kept saying "He's so little" over and over again.

As you know from Sarah (the aforementioned best foot forward) our little man is recovering like a champ. But folks, this stuff is just plain hard.

What does a little man need to do to get a break around here?

Friday, March 14, 2008

And to make this all less depressing...

Here's a picture of our gorgeous boy from a few nights ago. Note the thumb in mouth!


Graham is doing very well, and we're actually back home. The surger(ies) went very well, and he hasn't puked at all really since. We're increasing his feeds slowly, and he's tolerating everything with a tremendous amount of calm. Joe and he are now snuggling on the couch, and I am off to bed, since I took hospital duty last night. So, we managed the second hospital homecoming of Graham's short life, and we are exhausted but thrilled that he is okay, and will soon be even better than that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hypochloremic hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis

So. Joe and I are currently in the pediatric surgical suite waiting room at Strong, and Graham is in surgery. He's okay, he'll be absolutely fine, but we're just dazed and overwhelmed. The back story is that Graham was spitting up a lot more yesterday than usual, and then started really projectile vomiting everything we tried to give him. We talked to the pediatrician on call, and he suggested small amounts of Pedialyte at a time, hoping that this was just some stomach bug and we wouldn't have to go to the emergency room for IV fluids. That lasted about 45 minutes before Graham tossed all that up as well. So off to the emergency room we went. We tried some Pedialyte there as well, and no dice. So IV fluids got started. And in the interim, the attendings decided it would be worth getting an upper GI (my poor baby had to take a barium bottle) to make sure he didn't have an obstruction of some kind that was causing the vomiting. And lo, he has pyloric stenosis, the very thing we were all secretly worried about. The only real solution to pyloric stenosis is surgery, as you can't very well leave the sad little babies to their projectile vomiting. So he is now in surgery. And he also got diagnosed with a hernia earlier in the week, so he is having a pyloromyotomy, inguinal hernia repair, and repair of his bilateral hydroceles. All at once. Lord, hasn't this baby been through enough?

The good aspects to this are as follows: I know the surgeon, and have actually seen him perform these very surgeries multiple times (we're Druginating, for those in the know). I absolutely trust that the outcome will be good. Secondly, I know Graham will be a lot more comfortable after the surgery. I've seen babies go from absolutely miserable to miraculously thriving within a day after this. All this stuff that we thought was reflux - the choking on his saliva at night, the spitting up, the pain that seemed to come with his increasing feeds - will be resolved. And because they are doing all the surgeries at once, he won't have to go through the risks of anesthesia multiple times. And lastly, this is all happening while he is way too small to imprint pain and suffering. It'll just be us who remember how ridiculous this time in his life was, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We would gladly throw ourselves under the knife if we could spare him some of this.

So right now, we're just waiting. He should be out of surgery around 6 pm. We'll update more later. And we'll very happily take any good wishes you might want to send our baby boy's way.

Love to all,
Sarah, Joe and Graham

Monday, March 10, 2008

Making progress!

So we think Graham turned a funny little corner in his development this weekend - it was weird how it happened just all at once. Saturday he had a strange morning - cranky for now reason, and slept like crazy, and then bam! Saturday night he decided he wanted to eat another 2 ounces on top of what he had been eating, and was unbelievably alert and happy, and Sunday morning we got our first real smiles. It was like overnight he decided to start acting more like a one-and-a-half month old rather than a newborn. So we think he's in a bit of a growth spurt. Which does make for a little crankiness now and then, but he's doing so much better with the Zantac, and is just growing and changing every day. When I think back to the fragile little guy he was at birth, it's hard to remember how scared we were to even hold him. I think I just realized yesterday what a long road these past two and a half months have been. It's like I've been in a fog, and I am just now understanding how enormous and terrifying being at the hospital was.

Now if only the stupid snow would stop falling here, I'd be a new woman!

Friday, March 7, 2008

This part of being a mom is exactly what I expected

Joe put Graham in his first little official footie pajamas - a great hand-me-down from Nate and Sadie. While he's certainly had other little outfits with feet, these are the classic fleece pj's with the tab across the top. And early this morning, I was holding him in my arms and smelling his head and he was making his little sleepy noises - and I felt like a Hallmark card of motherhood. And it was good.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Keep on truckin'

So, slowly but surely I feel like we are headed towards a routine. Maybe. Graham's baby Zantac has definitely made a difference, so now he's not screaming in the middle of the night. Graham and I have gotten into a good pattern during the day - not that there's much ability for me to do work or really sleep in this pattern (I do a half-way job on both counts), but he's breastfeeding well and is pretty chill. Night is the big hurdle we still have to overcome. I got to the point last night where I honestly questioned how any breastfeeding mom does it. I mean, on one hand, we're told under no circumstances to feed him in bed (because you could fall asleep! and smother the baby!), and certainly under no circumstances to feed him in bed lying down or sleep with him in the bed. But on the other, because of his reflux, he has to be held for 20 minutes upright after eating. And he's turned into a spitty baby as well, so if we don't hold him upright he'll spit when he's asleep, and that makes him really angry and us terrified. So I have to wake up, get up, change his diaper, go downstairs, NOT turn on the TV because he's not supposed to have any stimulation during nighttime feeds, keep myself awake somehow during the 30-60 minutes he decides to eat, burp him, hold him for the 20 minutes (also not falling asleep because THERE ONCE WAS A TEENAGE DAD WHO FELL ASLEEP WITH THE BABY ON THE COUCH AND THE BABY FELL BETWEEN THE CUSHIONS AND DIED, according to one of our nurses), go back upstairs, put him down and re-settle him, come back downstairs to get pumping supplies, go back upstairs and pump off what he didn't eat, put that in the refrigerator, and finally go back to bed. And since he is a normal baby at this point, he'll want to breastfeed every 2-2.5 hours. Which leaves me with about 45 minutes of sleep between rounds. And makes me want to die.

Of course, I have slacked on some aspects of this sometimes. I don't always pump, and yes, I have fallen asleep on the couch a time or two. And Joe to this point has been doing a bottle or two during the night, and we are still crashing and burning. Any suggestions from other past or present breastfeeding moms are entirely welcome, and indeed solicited. Now I must go see if I can sleep.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Graham's First Spanking!!! (kidding)


So this is my first post to the Graham blog and I have to be honest with you - things are going to change here during the times when I'm in charge.

You see, Sarah is your prototypical great and protective mom. She's always been the best foot forward in our relationship and is now the absolute best foot forward of our family. So when she posts you can expect really cute photos, a good synopsis of young Graham's progress and all the family news that's fit to print.

I, on the other hand, take no small amount of pleasure in doing things the wrong way just to see what happens.

So, while you may get a cute picture of Graham smiling for the first time from Sarah, with me you get this -

A picture of my son's ass in a pair of pants that make him look like a bear.

To further clarify my point, Sarah might tell you that the grandparents came to visit or that Graham learned to make eye contact, while I may be more inclined to do something like this:

Essentially, she says "to-may-to", I say "the boy has taken up smoking".

Different strokes.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Pediatrician's visit update

SO much is new in the world of Graham:

1) He is now 10 pounds, 2 ounces. 10 pounds! Glad I didn't have to push out baby-as-he-is-now, in some ways.
2) We have gotten permission to take him off the extra calorie supplement, which is fantastic, because it definitely makes him more gassy. We'll do a weight check in a month to make sure he's still growing as well as he is now (which, like I said, 10 POUNDS. Yikes! As his pediatrician said: "He has no right to even be ON the normal growth curve. But there he is!"). That also means that I can finally move to just breastfeeding. I'm still going to pump, since our insurance did buy me the fancy one, and maybe have Joe take one of the nighttime feedings, but I have always been really committed to doing straight breastfeeding, and now I can.
3) And in other news about how our son is enormous, he no longer really fits in his 0-3 month clothes, much less his newborn stuff. So our 2 month premature baby who is now officially a newborn is wearing the clothes of an average 3 month-old.
4) Graham also got his first band-aids today, because he had to have 5 injections (regular 2 month-er injections, minus his second Hep B which we'll do when he go back for the weight check, plus his Synagis for RSV, and the rotavirus drink on top of all that). They were Snoopy. The band-aids, that is. Graham wasn't impressed.
5) He also has a touch of the reflux, as I diagnosed earlier, so he's going on baby Zantac. Again, like father, like son! I feel like there will definitely be an evening sometime soon when both my boys are moaning and groaning, and I have to check with both of them to see if they took their acid reducer.
6) He even smiled at his doctor! We've been debating whether his smiles are real smiles or not (since he technically shouldn't be smiling for another month or so), but his doctor definitely thought it was a real, social smile! He's so advanced. I think I will send his med school applications in next week.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Left is Graham when Joe got excited giving him a baby mohawk. Right is me, age 3 days old. Pretty close, right??? I just found this photo when we got home to Rochester. I win, I win!

Graham has friends!

So we're finally at a point where the house is functional, semi-clean, and while we are very tired, we are not the walking dead. Which is extremely nice. So, visitors welcome! Above, Graham is chilling out with Liz. He was absolutely mesmerized.

This establishment of even the semblance of a routine means that I will be attempting to post more regularly. Joe also finally got himself in gear and is ready to post as well. Tomorrow Graham has his first pediatrician appointment in Rochester, which is very exciting. However, I don't think he will be as excited once he gets the whole round of 2 month immunizations. Sorry, buddy. An update on that visit tomorrow afternoon, hopefully.

Also, Tuesday is a big day - his official due date. He will finally be zero!