Saturday, July 31, 2010


That word pretty much sums up both kids these days. Grace is bored in the play room and hates playing by herself when I am tending to Jacob. She is SO bored that she is passing out in random places throughout the house at the drop of a hat:

Jacob is miserable sitting in his bean bag or on the couch for the majority of the day. We try and rotate him pretty frequently so he doesn't get bored and throw a tantrum, but he usually throws one anyway. He is so frustrated and I don't think he understands that I can't just take his cast off. He keeps pointing at it and saying all done. Poor guy. Every time I attempted to move him, feed him, change his diaper, etc. yesterday he was swiping at my face with his hand. He is clearly not happy with me.

We are fortunate that each kid has a bean bag and they were both gifted with fold-out couches for their birthdays so we have one of each set up in different rooms throughout the house so we don't have to keep moving his bed up and down stairs. We tried setting him up on Grace's fold-out couch in the play room so he could play, but all he was able to do was stack mega blocks. It did keep him occupied, but how sad are these pictures:

He is obsessed with the purple blocks and usually when his PT comes to the house we have to hide them so he doesn't beeline for them. Obviously, we are letting him play with whatever he wants these days.

Last night, we gave him a sponge bath and got him ready for bed. We think we might do this every night because this was the easiest he has gone down since we got home, however, he was up at 4 AM and didn't want to go back to bed. We ended up dragging his blankets, pillows and animals into bed with us and Ian and I were clinging to the edge of our Queen bed for dear life. At this point, Jacob decided it would be fun to start shouting the names of random Sesame Street characters. It started with Oscar! (followed by 30 seconds of silence) then Big Bird! (followed by another 30 seconds of silence) then ERNIE!!! louder as if to say "why aren't you participating"?! Ian was like, "Yes, buddy...Ernie." For the next 15 minutes there was complete silence so I picked my head up to look at him and see if he was sleeping. He was not.....BEAR! It was time to name animals. Needless to say, I am a little tired today. :(

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 1

Today was our first, full day home from the hospital.

Things aren't as bad as I expected them to be so that is good! I was a little concerned about picking him up and carrying him up/down the stairs. The last thing I want to do is drop the poor kid with the broken leg AND hurt myself. That would leave Ian in quite the predicament. For the time being, we have moved Grace in the pack and play into Jacob's room and Jacob is in Grace's crib. I was able to move the mattress up a few levels and the drop side on her crib makes it easier to lift him in and out without killing my back. He has to sleep sitting up so we have his Sesame Street fold out couch in the crib and he sleeps on that with piled pillows and rolled up blankets. He slept like a rock last night and I didn't hear a peep out of him until 8 o'clock this morning! He napped in there again this afternoon for 2.5 hours!

Jacob is turning into quite the couch potato already and as of this afternoon has already watched Toy Story, Toy Story 2, three episodes of Jack's Big Music Show and half of Monsters, Inc. Every time I try and shut the TV off and read stories or do puzzles with him he retaliates by sticking his fingers down his throat and gagging himself. If he throws up down that cast it won't be pretty so I have resorted to him watching TV all day long. Fortunately, the doctor said in a week I should be able to put him down on the floor and he will learn to get around with the cast and can resume playing with Gracie.

For now, I am taking advantage of him sitting still and cramming as many calories as I can in him. Whatever he will eat I am giving him! Hopefully, we can gain some of that catch-up weight they think he is burning off too fast by being so active. Seeing as he is immobile, now would be the time to do it.

When they first told me it was broken and would need to be in a cast for at least 6-8 weeks I felt bad that he was going to miss the end of Summer, but he has been so sweaty in this cast that he has been wearing only the cast and a diaper for 3 days. If this had happened in the Winter it probably wouldn't have worked out so well. Not to mention he can't wear any pants! We are also able to get out by pulling him in the wagon so at least we can get him out of the house for an hour every day. We also lucked out and our car seat (being one of the largest on the market) is big enough to accommodate his cast so we don't need to buy a new car seat! We are looking forward to getting out of the house this weekend.

Keeping Grace happy through all of this has been a real challenge. I never realized how much she relied on Jacob until now. She is not happy eating. She is not happy in the play room. She is definitely not happy watching Jacob sitting on his bean bag watching TV and ignoring her. Jacob has always been such a fabulous, independent player and I think this is mainly because he was the oldest and alone for the first 16 months of his life. I was able to clean my entire house top to bottom and he was happy playing by himself with his toys while I was off scrubbing. Grace has never been by herself until Jacob was in the hospital. She has always had Jacob to play with and is not adjusting well. Hopefully, at his appointment next week we will get the go ahead to let him attempt getting around on his own and we can put him back in the play room with Grace. Right now, she just crawls all over him.

Here are a few pictures from this weekend before the mishap. Ian and I keep playing the "if only we had..." game. We spent most of the weekend out of the house, out and about and had only been home about an hour when this happened. It is easy to say "if we had just stayed home that day" or "if only we had stayed out an hour longer", etc. I keep reminding Ian that this was bound to happen sooner or later with our hyperactive, little boy. I just thought it would be a broken arm from falling out of a tree when he was 10 not from a fall when he was 2!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jacob is home!

After 2 nights in the hospital, Jacob was discharged this afternoon and sent home.

He is on Tylenol with Codeine and seems to be doing fine. Every time a nurse came in at the hospital he'd start crying, waving and saying, "bye bye" (basically leave or get out) or "all done". We thought it was in anticipation of the pain, but when we picked him up to leave and go home he was all smiles and has been in a great mood since we got home. It may have been the fact that he was in the hospital and he really wanted out of there! Every time the nurses left he would say "down" or "all" which is what he says when he is all done and wants to go.

The injury was not as bad as they originally thought and they were giving us the worse case scenario so that is good news. They were throwing around words like "rods", "pins" and "surgery" and practically giving us heart attacks, but since his swelling stayed down they just put him under around 9:30 yesterday morning, set his leg, casted it and they came to get Ian around 11:15. It was a nerve wracking two hours to be without him, but he was still groggy in recovery when we arrived so I don't think he missed us.

He has a hip spica cast that runs the entire length of his right leg, wraps around both of his hips like a pair of chaps and goes down his left leg to the knee. We have been told it could be on anywhere from 6-12 weeks depending on how fast he heals and since he is so young and resilient we are hoping it is more like 6 weeks than 12 weeks.

Since Jacob doesn't typically watch much TV at home, and that is all he can do right now, he has been on cloud nine since he arrived at the hospital. It has been Elmo DVD after Elmo DVD and he is currently watching Toy Story and loving it. He still hasn't let go of that bear he got at the hospital!

The doctor said he doesn't think that this break is a result of his Rickets since he compared the current x-rays to his old x-rays from the Endocrinologist. He said more than likely it was related to a vitamin deficiency related to his prematurity which he will outgrow. We asked him if this makes him more susceptible to easier breaks in the future and he said he doesn't think so. Jacob is scheduled for a follow-up appointment and x-ray with Pediatric Orthopaedics next Thursday and we will go from there.

Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, e-mails and phone calls. God has certainly been watching over Jacob and we have been blessed once again.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poor, little Chicken Wing. :(

Well, since most of you know what happened here is a brief recap:

Ian was changing Jacob's diaper in the Living Room last night around bedtime. Ian realized he forgot to get a diaper and when he walked across the room to get one Jacob saw that as his chance to escape. He flipped over and took off running across the living room floor and slipped on our hardwood floors. His right leg twisted underneath him and Ian heard the crack. Ian immediately picked him up and both of them were in tears. I guess the crack was pretty bad. I came running from the dining room, we scooped Jacob and Grace up, dropped Grace off with my AWESOME neighbor (thanks, Linds!) and rushed Jacob to the ER.

At first, Jordan was telling us this type of injury typically involves bleeding so it would require surgery to fix. Since he is so small, and his injury will require extensive orthopedic care, they had to send him to Boston. They asked if I had a preference and I told them I would send him wherever they thought best. They said the options were Floating Hospital or Children's Hospital and both were more than capable of handling this type of injury. Since he was born at Floating and they did a great job with him there (and we are familiar with the ins and outs of that hospital because of follow-up clinics and Ophthalmologist appointments) we decided to go to Floating.

At Jordan, they gave him an IV (with morphine) and splinted his leg and he was transported via ambulance last night around 10 PM to Tufts Medical Center. Ian rode with him and I went home to relieve my Dad of watching Gracie since he had picked her up at my neighbor's earlier in the evening.

He is on morphine and vicodin currently and was in and out all last night waking up to watch the occasional Elmo episode. Ian said he got a couple/few hours sleep total. They transported him in his car seat and don't want to risk moving him anymore than they have to so he is still in his car seat, but he is a trooper.

As far as things look this morning, nothing appears to have changed overnight with the swelling/bleeding situation. Since he is so little and kids this age are resilient and heal much faster than older kids they are not going to need to operate and will just set his leg in a spica cast this morning. If he was older, he would have needed rods put in his leg for this type of injury so I am happy to report that he will not be in the hospital as long as originally thought!!

I will update again when I have more news, but as of right now it is looking like he'll spend a few days at the hospital and come home towards the middle/end of this week.

They gave him a teddy bear at Jordan last night and through sobs he kept yelling "BEAR!" and hugging onto it for dear life. I took a picture of him when he had calmed down and started to nod off. He has a "Lions, Tigers and Bears...Oh My!" hospital johnny so we kept pointing out the bears to him on his johnny. He also got a sticker for being so brave! He was definitely in good spirits considering the injury. He was attempting to sing songs with me through his heaving sobs and even recited "I Love You As Much" with me by memory. It's his favorite book. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today, at 2:53 PM, my beautiful, baby girl turned one year old!!

Where did the past 12 months go?!?! It is so true what they say about the years flying by faster once you have kids. I feel like just yesterday we were lugging her around in her infant seat and waiting for her to sit up on her own! Currently, she is all over the place and into EVERYTHING to the point where I don't even attempt to pick up the play room anymore because as soon as I am done she empties all the bins! It is just a game to her.

Grace's vocabulary has really taken off in the past couple of months. I was shocked at 9 months when she started saying Mama and referring to me when she said it, not just saying the word. As soon as I left the room or if she was upset it was Mama, Mama, Mama! I was wondering if it was a hint at what was to come and it sure was because she already has a handful of words.

She says Mama, Dada, more, all or done, cheese, happy and night night (complete with wave). She also knows the signs for "more", "all done" and "milk".

As soon as I pick her up and start up the stairs she turns around and starts yelling, "night night" and waving frantically at whoever is in the room even if she isn't going down for a nap or for the night.

When I ask who wants to sing songs she starts yelling "HAPPY" (her favorite is "If you're happy and you know it") and as soon as I start singing she claps her hands, kicks her feet and flings her hands over her head and yells "HOO" (that's as close as she gets to Hooray!).

She can do the Itsy Bitsy Spider and loves to clap for all of my performances. When we sing wheels on the bus and I get to "all through the town" she yells out "TOWN!" before I can.

She is always smiling and sticking out her tongue a la Gene Simmons and if I point a camera at her she squints her eyes in anticipation of the flash and grins from ear to ear.

The past year has been awesome for so many reasons. I was able to experience having a baby room in with me at the hospital. She was discharged with me as well 4 days later. I haven't had to adjust her age to measure milestones or track her weight gain. I was able to celebrate her birthday on her actual birthday and not when she should have been turning one or celebrating it 3.5 months premature. On top of all of this, I think having a sibling this close has been great for Jacob. They have a blast playing together and it has been good for Jacob's developing social skills, sharing and taking turns. I have seen him come leaps and bounds ahead of where he was a few months ago.

Tonight, we had Grandpa over for dinner (Eggplant Parm) and celebrated Gracie's birthday with cupcakes from Cupcake Charlie's (she had Red Velvet). I figured since it was bath night and all I would let her smash another one.

Happy birthday, to "the most beautiful girl" Gracie! We love you so much and cannot wait to see all of the great things you do in your life. You are such a blessing and we thank God for you and your health every day!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grace's "Watermelon Picnic"!

I didn't take enough pictures!

That pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole day, but there is nothing I can do about it now. This always happens so I am not surprised, but overall the party was a huge success! We had hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, pasta salad, chips, fruit salad and finished it all off with cupcakes made by yours truly. I found them in the book Hello, Cupcake and have decided that I am doing cupcakes for every subsequent birthday party. I had so much fun doing it and it was so nice to feel like the party had that extra special touch because I had created something special for my baby girl:

I also found this great seller on Etsy who does custom favor toppers and stickers. I bought the stickers, baked cookies and handed them out in cello bags tied with red and green ribbon:

Last Summer, I was cruising through the mall with Jacob and Grace and came across this dress on the Gymboree clearance rack:

It was perfect for a Summer birthday party in July! Needless to say, I have been planning the party around this watermelon picnic theme for months. EVERYTHING was red and green and the balloons were red, green and black. Grace wore her dress and had a blast smashing her cupcake all over the place and smearing the frosting in her hair. Here is the proof:

After everyone had eaten the kids had a blast playing in the beach ball sprinkler, the kiddie pool and the water table. Grace got so many nice gifts including more money in gift cards than I currently have in my checking account so I am trying to find something nice to buy her. I am thinking maybe a cozy coupe? It is something she can grow into and get years of use out of it.

After everyone left, both kids slept for over 2 hours so they were exhausted and so was I. It was early to bed that night. I can't believe that tomorrow my baby will be ONE! Where has the past year gone?! I think even more depressing is the fact that the next birthday party I will be planning is Jacob's THIRD birthday in March!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Life with a 24 weeker......

When people hear that my son was born at 24 weeks the first thing they always say is, "you'd never know". Most of the time, I smile and say how remarkably well he has done considering how early he was born, but sometimes I feel like banging my head against a wall! Unfortunately, once a preemie is discharged from the hospital that does not mean they are magically transformed into healthy, full-term children. In fact, most preemies live with side effects of their prematurity for the rest of their lives. Unless you live with a premature baby (or child) every day you don't get to experience the frustrations that come with being the parent of a premature baby.

For example, Jacob has problems with his vision due to ROP, a condition he suffered from when he was a few months old and subsequently had laser eye surgery to fix. He wears glasses or I should say is SUPPOSED to wear glasses, but you try keeping glasses on the face of a two year old. It isn't easy and more often than not he rips them off his face where they hang around his neck or he finds a convenient spot to hide them so I have to spend 20 minutes searching the house high and low for them. Every time we go to his follow up eye appointment, the Ophthalmologist comments on how Jacob's eyes are not getting any better and he can't believe that Jacob will not wear his glasses because "clearly he can see better with them on".

One of our bigger struggles with Jacob has been weight gain. He gained considerably for the first 15-18 months of his life and I figured we would be one of the lucky few who avoided the label of "Failure to Thrive" which happens quite often when a baby is premature.

In September, at Jacob's 18 month appointment, he weighed 21 pounds and 1 ounce. Not bad for an 18 month old former 24 weeker. It would have been nice if we continued this trend of gaining, but sadly when we had him weighed at his Cardiologist appointment in November he had only gained 3 almost two months. I felt somewhat prepared for this seeing as most of the preemie moms on my message board had dealt with this at one time or another. I had been paying attention to their blog posts about high calorie foods and pumping calories in their underweight toddlers so I tackled this next chapter of Jacob's life with sheer determination. He WOULD gain weight.

I met with a Nutritionist who weighed Jacob and we discussed a normal day for him calorie wise and his eating habits. The next few weeks were spent trying to sneak in as many calories into his diet as possible. I started pureeing an avocado and adding it to his oatmeal. When he was sick of that I would add half a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I started adding whipping cream to his whole milk, I added an extra meal of a smoothie made with whole milk yogurt, whole milk, pureed fruits and veggies and sometimes even a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast if his appetite was big enough.

When the Nutritionist came to check on him a month later he was a full pound heavier. I thought to myself, "Could it really be this easy?". She followed up with him six weeks later and though it was only a few ounces he was still gaining weight. As of his 2 year appointment in March, his Pediatrician had recorded his weight at 23 pounds and 9 ounces. Not bad, but it could be better. I told myself, "At least he is gaining weight. We are heading in the right direction."

At Grace's 9 month appointment in April, the Pediatrician asked me to bring Jacob in for Grace's appointment just so we could weigh him and see how he has been doing. He put him on the scale and I was so excited expecting he'd register at least 24 pounds. He had to be! I had noticed his 12-18 month clothes getting tight. His shirts were hardly covering his belly and his pant legs were inches too short. He sat Jacob on the scale and I watched the numbers tick up and stop.....23 pounds 5 ounces. He had lost 4 ounces. The first time since he was born that he actually lost weight. I begged the Pediatrician to weigh him one more time and I willed the scale to climb higher to no avail. My heart sank. I figured it must be because he is taller. Nope. His height had stayed exactly the same.

After discussing all the possibilities with our Pediatrician we decided to start by having some blood work done to make sure there are no underlying conditions causing this weight loss (thyroid, etc.). This just recently came back negative so that is good news. Our next step will probably be consulting with the Cardiologist in Boston again and having them take another look at Jacob's VSD. We discovered this at his 20w ultrasound and so we knew Jacob had this prior to him being born premature. The last time we were in Boston for an EKG they said everything looked okay. He has nice pink cheeks, his breathing is normal and he is very active, but they want to follow up on it in November when Jacob is able to sit still for the 45 minutes they need to get a really good look. The concern now is that if the VSD is any bigger and Jacob's heart is having to work harder to pump the blood through than he could quite possibly be burning up his calories faster than I can feed them to him.

Jacob has been doing pretty good with his eating habits lately. He is actually starting to listen more so when I say, "no more milk until you have another bite" he takes another bite. I'm sure his interest in eating will increase as he watches Grace. They seem to be getting in competition mode so I am hoping to ride that wave for awhile and hope it pushes him a little more to catch up with his baby sister.

In the meantime, please keep Jacob in your prayers. We're hoping his weight gain trend starts up again. His next appointment is on July 26th for a weight check at the same time as Grace's one year well visit. I am assuming at this point she has passed him or is really close because at her last appointment they were only separated by 3 pounds!

I guess in conclusion I can say that the grass is always greener. When Jacob was born, I thanked God every day that passed that we avoided an IVH or NEC which are very serious, life threatening issues for a premature baby. I always counted myself lucky when he didn't require any major surgeries at just days old or come home requiring to be tube-fed or on oxygen. I am definitely thankful for the gift of life because I do realize there are many Moms who are unable to hold their preemie babies who were born a couple of weeks too soon. I pray for those people as often as I pray for my own son because only the Mom of a preemie understands what another preemie Mom is going through.
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