Monday, February 28, 2011

My Baby is 1 Month Old!

Crazy how time flies! Jaden turned one month today, and I just couldn't be prouder! Here is a photo timeline of his short 31 days! What a cute little guy! And on a crazy note: He's been wearing the tiniest diaper ever since he was born and for the longest time, it was HUGE on him, as can be seen in the earlier pictures. Now, it's almost too small! They will move him up to the next size in the next couple of days! Happy Birthday Buddy! We love you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Got Milk?

I do! Plenty! And since Jaden is only currently drinking 12mL every 3 hours, and basically there are 100mL in each of those containers, I'm not sure when he'll drink it all, but they assure me he will catch up...

Friday, February 25, 2011

4 Weeks Old!

It's crazy how time flies! He is now 4 weeks old and getting cuter every single day! I know that I am biased, but all of the nurses assure me he is super good looking!

In just a few months we are moving to right outside of Chicago. There is a Six Flags Amusement Park 15 minutes from where we will be living. Jaden is already practicing for the roller coasters.
Laying with his hands both straight up in the air is one of his new favorite positions. I thought it was adorable, so I took about a dozen pictures. I think he got tired of the paparazzi, because he gave me the universal sign for "stop taking my picture!":
You'd better get used to having your picture taken kiddo!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Huge Milestones!

Milestone #1: Jake is no longer in boot camp! He graduated in an amazing ceremony and he can now be treated like a human being again. And he has a cell phone, which I love!I took a very short trip out there and I loved my time with him, but it's so hard being apart. Luckily, Jaden keeps me pretty busy so I don't dwell on that.

Milestone #2: Jaden reached the 2 pound mark! And not only did he reach it, he soared right past it! He is about 2 pounds 3 ounces! What a porker! And I am noticing that he is gaining fat in his little body. His legs aren't as knobby, his fingers are thicker, and he is getting a slight double chin! It's adorable. They have him on a different ventilator because he wasn't responding as much to the old one as they wanted. When he gets stable on this ventilator in a few days, I can hold him because the connector lines are more flexible!

They thought he might have an infection in his gut so they stopped his feedings, but they are pretty positive now that there is no infection so they started him back on feedings but only very slowly, so he is only at 4mL every 3 hours.

He is off all antibiotics, but back on some steroids. His ART line is out, as are all his IV lines. They had to change his PIC line (kind of like a long-term IV) from his foot to his arm, but it doesn't seem to bother him too much.

He is getting more and more hair, and it is growing in completely blond! I even have evidence: Here are some pictures of his legs when they were skinny chicken legs:

And now you can see his chunky monkey legs!
Is it just me, or does he look like he is trying to be a pirate in these pictures? Can't you just see him saying in his mind "Arrrrrrgh!"?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Tiny Valentine

With Jake being gone, I had a great little backup for my Valentine this year! And don't worry - Jake was okay with being replaced this one time.
This is one of the few pictures we have of him with absolutely nothing on his face - no tape, no wires, no monitors. If he looks a little upset, that's because he had just had his breathing tube and feeding tube unexpectedly pulled out. That is also why there is leftover tape residue on his face. After I gave him his bath and changed his diaper, they decided to turn him over and give him some "tummy time" but when they flipped him something went wrong with his ventilator tube, so they had to pull it out and switch it with a new one. He didn't like it one bit:
And they had to hand bag him for a little while, which was pretty scary.
But when it was all said and done, they flipped him over on his belly,
wrapped him up in his swaddle that he loves so much,
and all was well in his world again.

He is now up to 1 pound 13 ounces! What a big little guy!

In other news, I am flying out tomorrow for Jake's graduation! It's a really short trip, because I can't be away from Jaden for too long, but I'm super excited to see Jake again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Husby is a SAILOR!!!

I got 2 calls from him yesterday telling me that he passed Battle Stations 21 and he is now officially a SAILOR!!! I am SO proud of him! This means that he will officially graduate one week from today and that he can't be set back in training. Now they just kind of relax because all of the intense training is done. I am seriously just so proud of him for doing this really hard thing - hard for him, hard for me, and hard for Jaden. But we have already been blessed for his service, most obviously in the form of really great military insurance! So I will fly out in less than a week to see my love and I get to bring him his cell phone and laptop so we can have more contact. Originally we were going to move out there right away, but since Jaden couldn't wait to be born, that's not an option anymore. So there will just be more time apart, which stinks, but we will have more contact and ways to stay in touch, which is good.

Speaking of Jaden, today is his 2 week birthday!!! That's a pretty big milestone as far as I'm concerned. A lot of time they count by gestational age, so he is 29 weeks now. I'm so proud of him and his fighting spirit! As far as his health, he is doing slightly better. They had to put his ART line back in, so he has the big 'club' on his arm which looks super uncomfortable. He is still just doing a lot of waiting, relaxing, and gaining his strength. He is up to 7mL of milk every 3 hours! What a chunker! He definitely doesn't look as small as he used to. Whether that's because he's growing or because I'm getting more used to looking at him every day, I'm not sure. But I find him just adorable!

Here are some pictures of his ART line. It is a small tube that goes right into his artery so they can draw blood easily and it gives them an accurate blood pressure reading. However, they must keep his wrist straight while it is in, so they have to attach the "club" to his arm. Doesn't it look uncomfortable?

I changed some more diapers today. I'm starting to change them every day now. He left me a nice and colorful present in one of them! Warning: baby nudity to follow...

My mom also wanted to make sure that I got a picture of his hand in mine. I was super scared to do it because I didn't want to touch him without gloves because I didn't want to get him sick, but after a lot of convincing and a LOT of hand washing and antibacterial hand washes, here is the result:

Precious, isn't it. He is just so special! I love this little guy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

His First "Not-So-Great" Day

Yesterday started out early with a 5am call from the hospital. It's really scary to get a call from the hospital in the middle of the night because you automatically assume the worst. Luckily the worst hasn't happened, but Jaden did have a hard night. He wasn't doing so well on the cPAP anymore (I think his tiny body was just exhausted from breathing all on it's own) so they had to put him back on the ventilator. When they did that, they gave him some calming meds and Morphine, so he was basically out of it the entire day, which was fine since he deserved a break. But his labs were a little off, his x-rays showed that his lungs weren't re-opening quite like they wanted them too, his oxygen was still higher than they wanted, his hemoglobin's were low, and he was just not acting quite like Jaden usually acts. So they turned the ventilator slightly up to help open his lungs up a little more and they gave him some antibiotics (they think he might have an infection but they aren't sure - better safe than sorry), and they gave him some more blood. The only problem is that they took his ART line out, which means they had to put in an IV. They had a REALLY hard time finding a site for it. His veins just weren't working with them, so eventually they put it in his little head. As a mom, that was really hard to see. But if it helps him to feel better, than I guess it's all right. So here are some of our pictures from yesterday: Proof that I do change diapers.His super tiny pacifier! It's adorable! You can also see the IV in his precious head.This is a very blurry picture of me lifting him up to be weighed. My mom is still learning how to operate my camera. :) He now weighs 1 pound 10.5 ounces! That is 5.5 ounces gained in 12 days, and that was even before his blood transfusion last night, so his weight will only increase.This is me feeding him. Not the most traditional route, but I was feeding him nonetheless. He is up to 6mL a day! I better keep pumping it out!My precious little boy! I love Jaden so much, and I keep praying for him and thank all of you for your prayers as well. Jake and I both feel them working.

Today will be the hard day for Jaden. Yesterday they let him rest and regain his strength, but today he needs to start breathing again instead of letting the ventilator do all of the work. So keep the prayers coming!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Like really held him! I was helping to weigh him and change his bedding when I commented how I haven't really held him yet, and the respiratory therapist told me that he had been stable long enough on the cPAP that I could hold him if I wanted. Oh! I wanted! They do what is called skin-to-skin contact, where they place his bare chest on my bare chest. It helps with bonding, it regulates his body temperature, it helps my milk production, and it is just about the coolest thing ever! Because of modesty issues, there are no pictures, but I got to hold him and rock him for about 20 minutes! They placed him on my chest, I put my hands (in gloves of course) on his tiny bum and on his back, and they placed warm blankets on his back. I talked to him, told him about his family, especially his daddy, sang to him and just had the time of my life! It was the most amazing experience ever! It was quite the production because they had to wheel over his oxygen machine, his IV machines, and all of the tubes and wires, but I'm so glad they let me do it! I'm not sure when I can do it again, but I hope it's soon!

In other updates, he is now up to 4mL of milk every 3 hours! And tomorrow they are going to start using my fresh milk, instead of the frozen stuff with the colostrum, which is exciting. They also took his ART line out, which was a direct line to an artery in his arm. It wasn't working fully, and they didn't really need it, so they took it out. That means that he has both hands and a foot totally free of wires! They did his 10 day head ultrasound and they found no signs of bleeding which is really good. That was the biggest danger he was in, and it looks like he has dodged it thus far. He is doing extremely well on the cPAP machine, so they don't expect to go back to the ventilator any time soon, but you never know. And last but not least, they found out last night that he LOVES to be swaddled, so he is a tiny tiny tiny burrito most of the time now! It's adorable! I love this kid!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jaden's Big Night!

So 3 VERY cool and VERY big things happened last night! In the order they happened:
1. He opened both of his eyes!It was amazing so see his eyes! And we know he has at least partial hearing because he was looking straight up and I was off to the side and when he heard my voice he moved his eyes over to where I was. And yes, I cried like crazy!

2. I held him! Not in the cuddle in your arms type of way, but it was still very cool. In order to weigh him (he is up 60 grams since birth) and change his bedding, you have to put one hand under his little bum and one hand under his head and then lift straight up. So I got to hold my baby twice! It was awesome! I don't have any photo evidence since both of my hands were busy, so I'll show you his "stink face" that he makes when he gets mad:

3. They took him off the ventilator! Now, there is a step down process, so he wasn't completely on his own. They put him on a cPAC machine (I think that's what it's called...) which puts a tiny little mask over his nose and forces air into his lungs, but he still has to do all of the breathing. I was only there for a bit after they switched machines on him, but all of the nurses and the respiratory therapist kept coming over and marveling at how well he was doing! They said if I go back today and he is back on the ventilator not to be too surprised because they will probably go back and forth to help him out, but this is a huge step for him! However, he is still just as covered up as before:
So he is doing extremely well and we are so proud of him! Because the breathing tube is now out, if he wants to cry, he can. I heard him briefly after his birth, but it will be fun to hear it again! And for your viewing pleasures, here are two more fun pictures of him.
It is hard to really understand just how small he is, so here is a dollar bill for scale.
This is what I normally see as I sit by his bedside all day - just one of his tiny legs sticking up every now and then. He loves to move and flex his feet!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jaden's Update - 6 Days Old

Wow! It has been a crazy 6 days! I am finally out of the hospital, which is both good and bad. It was nice to be just one floor below Jaden, but it's also nice to be able to sleep through the night without someone coming in to check my vitals (actually, I still have to get up twice during the night to pump, but I can handle that).
As far as Jaden goes, he is doing about as well as can be expected for someone of his size. He has gained a little weight and is now up to 1 pound 7 ounces, but we expected that because he had a blood transfusion. Don't get all concerned - it's perfectly normal for him to get a transfusion. In fact, he will probably get another one in a day or two. His bone marrow is just too young to do the job itself.
He was on the high dose of Bilirubin lights to help control his jaundice, and then he was weaned down to the lower light, and they said that his levels looked so good they are going to turn the light off completely today! Too bad, because I think the kid liked his tanning sessions: The light on the top is his Biliruben light. That is also why they cover his eyes - they are too sensitive for the light. Plus, one of his eyelids is still fused shut, so they will stay covered for awhile. The picture above is Jaden actually getting his name and a blessing. Not many babies get that when they are 4 days old, but it's more common for preemies. Plus, Jake is back at boot camp and wanted to give him a name and a blessing before he left. If you feel left out, don't worry. No one else was allowed in and you would have had to watch silently through a secure window. His official name, by the way, is Jaden Doggett Cuthbert. Kind of a mouthful for a little kid, but we like it.
He is on a ventilator to help him breath, but he is doing so well that they want to take him off the ventilator in the next day or so to see how he does on his own. He is also being weaned off his steroids, his antibiotics, and he has already been taken off his blood pressure meds. He is tolerating his feedings well and is pooping and peeing like a champ!
The nurses and doctors there always comment on how feisty he is! He is constantly moving and thrashing about, which is a good thing. He is stubborn and a fighter, and they like that about him. Hmm... I wonder where he gets that? This kid is definitely my child!
So all in all, he is doing as well as he could be. We know it will be 3 months full of up's and down's, and so far we haven't had a down, but we know it will come. He's a fighter, and so are we, so together we'll get through this!