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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Of course I had to dress Isaac up for Halloween. Here he is as a slightly cranky burrito (with extra sour cream, I guess):

The label has checkboxes for chicken burrito, carnitas burrito, steak burrito, and Isaac burrito.

I knit pumpkin hats for Isaac and Nathan (pattern link and details here):

There's a bit of a size difference, obviously.

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three weeks

Isaac is three weeks old today, and is also hitting the 35 week gestation mark, which is when lots of stuff normally happens, like being able to eat. So it's a good milestone all the way around.

I'm kind of boggled by the fact that it has been five weeks since this whole giant shift began, five weeks since I went into the hospital which means five weeks since I was having a normal, slightly grumpy preggo life and going to work and being quasi-productive and thinking about having a baby in two months and being able to carry on normal conversations with people. Everything just feels completely different now.

I'm especially grateful for this blog, if only because it has greatly simplified communication in one direction, which is all that I can really handle right now. I can get the latest Isaac updates out without having talk to people. My world has had to get quite a bit smaller over the past five weeks because I just don't have the emotional bandwidth for much interaction. I know I'm way behind on communication and it's mostly because I just can't do it at the moment.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm huge!

Not just four pounds today...four pounds, plus an extra ounce and a half! Yay big Isaac!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

chunky monkey

Isaac is still an ounce shy of four pounds, but I can see him filling out. I noticed tonight that he's got a bit of a double chin, and he has new creases in his arms when they're bent. He's also losing his chicken legs and getting a bit of thigh chub. He's so sweet.

Feeding is going reasonably well. The challenge for him is figuring out how to suck and swallow and breathe at the same time, and it's a lot of work so he can't do it for very long before he falls asleep. We only try it twice a day, so he doesn't burn too many calories and slow down his growth rate. He's right on track for his age, though, and I'm not worrying about it; he's changing so quickly now that I'm sure it will all click in soon. My job is to just stay relaxed about it all and let him ease into the transition from the feeding tube.

Dennis and I went out on a date this afternoon, just lunch and a movie but it was the first time we've done that since I went into the hospital, so it was pretty great. We need to do that a few more times before Isaac comes home.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

big boy bed!

Baby incubators are for babies, man. All the cool kids hang out in open cribs. They don't need no stinkin' warmers.

Isaac graduated to the open crib today! I'm thrilled about not having to reach through the holes in the incubator to get to him. Diaper changes just got a lot easier, at least. Here's his new bed in front of his old one:

Ryan came over today to help me with the nursery. We got the glider put together, and I took apart the hand-me-down changing table we have so that I can clean and paint it. This turned out to be somewhat traumatic for Gracie, who has become very attached to the changing table, aka Gracie's High Throne. I got all the bolts out and was about to start taking it apart when she decided to jump on top. Yeah. She's fine, she jumped away as it started to collapse, and glared at it (and me) from across the room, with the fattest tail ever.

It's still too soon to know when Isaac will be coming home, but it feels good to get things ready for him.

Update: Gracie has gotten over the loss of the changing table by claiming the glider as her own.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

who's my big boy?

Isaac is closing in on four pounds. He's 1690 grams today, which is just under 3 lbs, 12 oz. I bet he'll hit it early next week, if not this weekend. Not that there's any real significance to being four pounds, it just sounds like so much more baby than three.

Poor Dennis is on his second awful day of No Baby, thanks to a minor cold. He just has a stuffy nose and some achiness, but it's enough to keep him out of the nicu. It's just not worth risking getting Isaac sick. We're trying to keep me vitamined and rested and disinfected so that I don't get it.

We're having mixed success on the eating front. I'm not trying to breastfeed him at the 10:30 a.m. feeding anymore because he's just not very awake then, but he's usually very alert for the 1:30 p.m., so I'm going to try then. When he's awake, he's into it. The lactation consultant had me try a nipple shield yesterday and that seems to be helping with his latch.

I snuggled him during and after the 10:30 feeding, at least until there was a giant audible poopsplosion. He's been giving me my Advanced Placement Diaper Test the last couple of days. His diapers are so tiny, but when they're full, they're full.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

new photos

I'm waiting for the day when we find the secret mirror that Isaac has hidden in his bed...the one he uses late at night to practice cute poses. It's the only explanation for how adorable he is.

Ryan knit a very cute hat for Isaac.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Isaac's cord stump has fallen off, so he has a grown-up bellybutton now. It's adorable. His belly is starting to fill out a bit, too, and it's so hard to resist nibbling it. Delicious boy belly! Num num num.

In keeping with this new maturity (his, not ours), he is very enthusiastic about nursing now. Dennis reported that he was rooting before his early feeding this morning, and when I went for the next one, Isaac got right on the breast and stayed there for much longer than he did yesterday. Yay! I have an appointment with one of the lactation consultants tomorrow morning, because I don't think the baby is getting a good latch and I want to help him with that or at least not do anything that will need to be undone later.

I couldn't get a good photo of the new bellybutton, but I'll try again when I go back for the next feeding.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Again!

Two weeks old today!

We had a good Better Know A Boobie session this morning; I think we have figured out how Isaac wants to be held (that would be the football hold, for any breastfeeding fans out there). He was very interested, and got a little bit of milk, not counting what I sort of shot at him when I was trying to express a few drops to get his attention. Eventually he got annoyed and started crying and I just shifted him up to my chest for some skin-to-skin snuggling while he got his tube feeding.

I'll count this as our second successful attempt; the past few days he just hasn't been into it for whatever reason. Learning how to nurse is Isaac's biggest task right now, so I'm feeling encouraged.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

three and a half pounds!

Isaac is weighing in at three and a half pounds today! Hooray! His IsaacChow is really fattening him up.

Morning visit with daddy:

They've moved his tube over to the other side of his face, to see if maybe it will be less annoying over there. Does this look like a boy who isn't going to pull on his tube?

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

random disjointed paragraphs

Recent exchange in the car on the way to see Isaac:

Me: I heard Hotel California on the radio today, and was all, hey, the last time I heard this song, I couldn't feel my legs.
Dennis: You're probably not the only person who can say that.


It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us...we have a stubborn baby. He's still locked in combat with the feeding tube. He was working on getting the gauze unstuck from his face this afternoon, and when I went for one of the late feedings tonight, it had migrated up and was holding his eye closed. Silly boy! He also dislodged some of his sensors this morning. He's putting all that extra awake time to good use, obviously.

Isaac has now met all three of his godmothers and was appropriately adorable (well, except for the spitting up while Ryan was holding him).

I made it to church this morning for the first time since I went into the hospital. I'm glad I went, although it wore me out a bit. I'm not good at being around people right now; I'm burning so many extra social calories being in the nicu so often, plus just holding myself together seems to take more effort these days. I honestly can't decide if I'm doing great or if I'm a complete wreck. Maybe some of both.

I'm going to work on his room this week. We have some time to get it ready for him, so I can pace myself a bit. My parents bought us a glider chair which should be arriving this week. Isaac likes being rocked in the glider in the nicu, and this one also has a recliner mode for when one gets hit by a dose of Baby Sedative. I was singing Baby is a Sedative to the tune of Angel is a Centerfold earlier today because I had a warm snuggly boy in my arms and a nap seemed like an excellent plan. I sure do love that Isaac.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

I fought the feeding tube and...ok, the tube still won

Isaac took his feeding tube out twice this morning. He got one of his little fingers into the gap between his nose and the gauze holding the tube in place and pulled it right out. So now the gauze is much closer to his nose. His nurse was very impressed with his determination, and predicted that we are going to have an interesting life with our boy, if he's working this hard at age 11 days.

We made a more concrete move towards the end of the feeding tube this morning, with our first recreational breastfeeding session. He definitely figured out the point of the exercise, and got a little milk. I'm looking forward to the next attempt.

He had a nice daddy snuggle afterwards. Dennis has incredible Daddy Magic when Isaac is fussy. He can just lay a hand on the boy's head and he'll calm down right away. I love watching them together.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

hi mom!

Isaac woke up and stayed awake for a while during our post-meal snuggle session this afternoon. It's so nice to see his eyes! We can't really tell what color they're going to be, but they're very pretty.

The photos are right after I'd put him back in the OmniBed to change his diaper, and then change it again a few minutes later. He did some happy baby yoga stretching and made faces at me. It was quite adorable.

He had a routine head ultrasound this morning, just one of the many exciting gifts a baby receives for being born at 32 weeks. Fortunately the tech came to do it while Dennis was there, so Isaac got to stay in his dad's arms for the whole thing and didn't seem to really notice what was happening. Head looks fine, no suprises there. He's doing so well.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

dairy queen

I realized today that Calculon and I are producing a Big Gulp of breastmilk every day. Not that I could miss this fact just by opening the freezer. It's getting quite full of little bags of milk, even though I'm taking plenty to the nicu for Isaac. Go me.

We're going to start "recreational" breastfeeding in the next few days, which is basically just getting him in the general area of the nipple and helping him to start making the connection that boobies equal food. He already loves skin-to-skiin snuggling so hopefully this will click in quickly. We don't expect him to actually get anything to eat this way, so he'll still get his tube feedings as usual.

I overdid it yesterday. I'm not all that good at remembering that I had surgery last week and should maybe, I dunno, not be out running around all damn day just because I think I can. So I've been a bit more mellow today.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

stripey baby

Isaac was much more social today, and I got to play Dress Up The Baby.

I wouldn't call that look "enthusiasm" exactly.

UPDATE! Mr. Man is now tipping the scales at 3 lbs., 1.5 oz. Not bad for being 8 days old! He's gained back what he lost off his birth weight and added some more.

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enough of your heathen cellular service!

From my spam inbox:

Uh...yeah. Sure. How many bars does your faith have? Can you pray me now?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Isaac is a week old today! We resisted the urge to put a candle in his vial of milk this morning.

As a present, he's getting his PICC line out today. He's doing great without the IV nutrition. I'm relieved since they're prone to infection and that's one less thing to worry about.

I also knit him a little hat last night, and brought him one of his cute mini-preemie shirt and hat sets from here. He has been wearing a hospital t-shirt that is too big for him, so this will be a nice, dignified little outfit for his more formal events.

He was in full Overwhelm this morning, so we didn't try to change his outfit. Sometimes he throws up Jazz Hands in front of his face, which means he needs much much less stimulation. It's hard to remember that he's not really wired to deal with the world yet. The nurse made a little blanket tent over him to block out the light and sound while Dennis held him very still in a tight swaddle, and we got his food into him.

He seemed a bit less stressed out after he noisily filled his diaper at the end of the meal, and he was a good sport about letting us change it. For a creature with such skinny little bird-legs, he certainly does know how to fight a diaper change. He has a monitor attached to one heel, which adds the extra complication of keeping the wire out of the poop. But we're getting pretty good at it, and each diaper is another sign that his digestive system is up to speed.

I can't believe that it's only been a week. It seems like he's always been here.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

day six

They're taking out Isaac's IV today! He doesn't need to get the Baby Miracle Grow nutrients any more because he's doing so well on milk. They'll leave the PICC line in for a couple more days in case they need to put him back on, but after that he'll just be hooked up to his monitors. And the evil nasal tube, of course, but he should be able to lose that in the next few weeks as he gets better at swallowing and can stay awake long enough to finish a feeding. Right now he tends to conk out about halfway through getting his food, into the happy sleep of a baby with a full belly.

I can't believe he'll be a week old tomorrow!

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photo of something other than Isaac

I finished Isaac's blanket!

It's about 40" square, a variation on the Cable Lace Stole pattern. It's a wool/silk DK from elann.com, worked on #8 needles.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

day five

Being out of the hospital and therefore not in the same building as Isaac is harder than I expected it to be. I've pretty much just been crying since I got home. I got to see him this morning, though, and he's doing great. He's digesting his milk really well and they're giving him more with each feeding. He just needs to grow bigger, so lots of food is a good thing.

Habitat for Isaac: the OmniBed

Sleeping with a secure grip on my finger:

Tiny little hand:

I'm so glad we got a new camera that can handle not using the flash indoors, so that we can snap away at a sleeping Isaac without waking him.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

day four

Isaac's jaundice is all cleared up, so we had a nice long snuggle session today after Dennis gave him his bottle. He sucked down about half of the milk and took the rest through his arch-enemy, the nasal feeding tube. He's really got it in for that tube; he's pulled it out once that I know of, which is why it's now anchored really well to his face.

The bottle is still pretty experimental, since he shouldn't really be able to do it yet, so this was a great result. He also sucked his thumb while Dennis was holding him, which was unspeakably cute.

He's just so wonderful.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

another post about Isaac!

I'm back online through the power of FedEx, bringer of laptop power supplies.

Isaac peed on me this morning while I was attempting a diaper change. I guess I'm really his mom now!

He gets woken up and fed/changed/measured/annoyed every three hours, and I try to be there for that since it's the best time to take him out and hold him. He likes to wrap his little hand around my finger and hold on tight, which just kills me every time.

He's getting breastmilk now, sometimes in a bottle and sometimes down his feeding tube, which runs through his nose. The bottle isn't always successful, but we try it if he's interested. I'm pleased that I'm able to make IsaacChow. I have a scary rented breast pump now. It has a brown case and has been dubbed Calculon, after the suave robot actor from Futurama. I can't remember who said that breast pumps are what would result if robots made porn, but it's pretty much true.

Today was a lousy day to be Isaac, because he followed the typical preemie trajectory of needing jaundice treatment on his third day. He spent most of the day under strong UV lights to stimulate his skin. He looked like either George Hamilton working on his tan (while wearing a batman-esque foam mask to protect his eyes, so maybe it was actually Adam West), or else someone's dorm room weed-growing project.

Of course he needed to have maximum skin exposed to the lights, which meant diaper only, no swaddling, and that was so upsetting. The nurses did their best to make him a little nest with rolled blankets so he had boundaries to kick and didn't feel like he was out in space. I took him out for a snuggle this afternoon and he never really calmed down, he was so pissed off. He's tiny, but capable of a pretty impressive case of Baby Rage. Hopefully the treatment will work and he'll be swaddled again by tomorrow morning.

The nicu staff is great, and I can tell that they care about Isaac. They all have little stories about him and keep us up to date on what he's doing and what his latest preferences are. They're really good about explaining what they're doing and giving us as much time with him as we can get.

I'm supposed to get out of the hospital tomorrow, which means I can go HOME and see the GRACIE and enjoy tivo and try to remember what it's like to wear clothes, after two and a half weeks of hospital couture. I think I still remember how to put on pants.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Going offline...

Crap, my power cable on the laptop just blew out. Sigh. Dennis searched Fry's, but it can only be bought directly from HP. I have another one coming from them, but it may take a few days. So I will be without net, knitting my heart out and spending all my time in the nicu with Isaac. More photos as soon as I'm back.

Bah. Technology!

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you mean the world to meeee

Here's a little more about getting this baby born...

The final straw that made them decide it was Baby Time on Tuesday night was the heart rate decelerations that they were seeing on the monitor. They were getting more frequent and there wasn't an obvious cause for them, but they were troubling. In the end, it turned out that the flippiest boy in flippyville had lasso'd himself with his u-cord and it was wrapped around his neck twice. So, really, yay for getting him out.

They got me ready to go to the OR and brought a cute little paper outfit for Dennis to wear. I got to the OR and the anesthesiologist asked if I minded that he was playing Lionel Richie. I couldn't help it, I said, "Haven't I suffered enough?" Because, dude? Seriously? Lionel Richie?

I got my spinal (soundtrack: Hello. Fucking Hello.) and they got me on my little cruciform board and all draped (soundtrack: Easy) and ready to roll. By then I had misplaced the lower half of my body.

So, yeah, C-sections feel weird. Just weird. Because clearly someone is messing around inside one's body, there's just no pain. Dennis was standing up by my head and all I could see was this big blue drape. And I could hear them singing along with All Night Long, just to make it that much more surreal.

Finally, my OB said that we were about to get the baby, (soundtrack: Endless Fucking Love. I am not kidding.) and there was this really odd feeling, and then...nothing. Uh, hi? What's going on? "Oh, he's just a tiny little peanut!" and then I could hear the sound of a handoff but...nothing.

Endless Love blares on. The day before, Dennis and I had watched the fine MST3K episode, Puma Man, which contains significant mockery of said song, adding to the feeling of being stalked by this song. This terrible, terrible song.

Finally there was a very annoyed baby sound from the corner of the room, Dennis and I breathed, which we maybe hadn't done for a bit, and then they brought over our little burrito boy all wrapped in a blanket. I could barely see him since I didn't have my glasses on, and they wouldn't let us hold him because he needed to go to the nicu for oxygen, so Dennis left with him.

And then the doctors switched over to an Eagles live album and sang Hotel California while they stitched me up, and I went to recovery. Dennis came back and told me that Isaac looked great, and he was all beaming and excited and adorable. He must have raced back and forth between us three times while I was in recovery, finally telling me that the baby was off the oxygen and breathing great. I sent his giddy ass home to try to sleep.

...and that's how I saved Christmas!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

told you he's cute

Our attempts to start a tabloid frenzy bidding war for the rights to the first photos of Isaac have not panned out, so here are a few of today's photos:

Dennis has been to see him several times today; I'm hoping to be steadier tomorrow so that they'll let me out to see him. He's breathing totally on his own, is doing all the relevant things inside his tiny diaper, and is a nice pink color. He seems to recognize Dennis' touch and stops fidgiting and twitching when his dad is touching him.

They're saying we're looking at 6-8 weeks in the nicu. Release depends on skills not weight, so hopefully he'll study hard and practice a lot and be ready to come home around Thanksgiving.

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he's here!

We have our boy! Isaac was born last night at some time past 10:00. He's 3 pounds exactly, and 15" long, so he's a tiny little peanut but he's got all his stuff and he's doing great. He's got a good amount of dark hair, so maybe he got lucky and got Dennis' hair instead of mine. I've only seen him swaddled, but Dennis reports that he has very long arms and when he's not swaddled, he's really active, which makes the doctors happy. Dennis gets to spend more time in the nicu than I do since he can, you know, stand up and walk.

I got to hold him in the nicu this morning. He's so small and sweet, and he was wearing a silly little red hat.

He's breathing on his own; they had him on oxygen at first but he was off it an hour after he was born. Hooray for the steroid shots I got for his lungs. He's getting fed via IV, but hopefully in the next few days he can start having boobie juice in a tube. The lactation nurse will help me get started tomorrow.

I'm drugged to the gills today, so I'll report more later and post a couple of pictures when I remember how photoshop works. Now, back to sleep.

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Monday, October 09, 2006


Hooray, Isaac has been baking for 32 weeks now! This is a very happy thing. He is another week bigger and another week stronger and better developed.

I saw him on the ultrasound on Saturday and the doctor said he looked great. He's growing fine and has plenty of room and fluid to keep growing. It was only a portable ultrasound unit, but I'll have another level 2 scan with a specialist this week to get more detail on him. One of his monitoring sessions Saturday was a little off, which is why they wanted to check him out, but everything is fine.

Ryan brought Nathan by for a quick visit yesterday, and I got to admire his fabulous first tooth and see his new tricks. He was very verbal and I think he was telling Isaac that baby monitors are a tool of The Man. Vive La Resistance!

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Friday, October 06, 2006


Much drama this week. My blood pressure got way too high Wednesday night and I ended up spending the night in Labor & Delivery with all the machines that go Ping, and having very scary conversations with my OB about having the baby very soon. That was: Not Fun.

Since then, they've fussed with my meds and my BP seems to be under control, although the meds make me drowsy and a little out of it. That's probably not the worst thing that could happen, since I'm actually getting some sleep now. Anyway, the crisis seems to have passed and we're back to incubation mode and shooting for 34 weeks. And I got put in a better room when I got out of L&D; this one has a very nice flowering tree outside the window and I don't hate the bland painting on the wall as much as I hated the vaguely Kinkade-esque one in the old room. Hey, these thing matter when you're spending 24 hours a day in the same place.

I had a surprise mini-shower with my small group from church this afternoon, and got so many cute wee outfits and things for the baby! It was really fun. One of the outfits is a preemie size of adorable little alligator footed jammies that I had already bought in a bigger size, so it will be fun to have pictures of him in both of them as he grows.

I met with the neonatalogist from the NICU(neonatal ICU) yesterday; I'm so impressed by how much effort the hospital is putting into getting us ready to have a baby in the nicu, possibly for several weeks. He went into more detail on what the social worker told us earlier this week, and was just so encouraging and positive. We should be able to spend a few minutes holding the baby right after he's born, and then Dennis will go to the nicu with him while they're putting me back together. Dennis is going to be able to get a tour before the baby comes, so he'll know exactly what's happening and what everything is for. I'm sure this is all a good thing for the nicu staff as well, so that we're not trying to absorb a lot of information when we're emotional and I'm drugged, but I really appreciate feeling prepared.

And, the baby has a name...(drumroll)...he is Isaac. Our little laughter boy. Seems appropriate for someone who seems to derive great pleasure from avoiding the baby monitor; it's hard not to imagine him giggling as he kicks at the paddle and flips over to the other side of my body so we can't track his heartbeat. I have three monitoring sessions a day, so it seems like we spend a lot of time chasing him around.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

letting the days go by

Dennis seems to be coming down with a cold, so he's not welcome in the maternity wing. Hopefully a little time crashed out at home under the care of Gracie will do him some good. I'm not surprised he's wiped out, given how intense the last week has been.

My blood pressure is creeping up, so I need to lay low today anyway.

We met the social worker who does education in the NICU yesterday, and she gave us an overview of what it will be like when the baby is in there. We'll deal with the specifics once he's here and we know what his actual challenges are, but she told us about the various monitors and tubes he'll have and what the plan for feeding him will be depending on when he's born. If his digestive system isn't together yet, he'll get an IV of Baby Miracle-Gro. If he's a bit older, he can get breastmilk through a feeding tube until he figures out how to suck and then I can start feeding him. Breathing will have a similar trajectory, although the shots I had should help his lungs be ready. She gave us some articles to read and told us to stay the hell away from Google.

I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow morning, so that's a nice little indulgence to look forward to.

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Monday, October 02, 2006


Today marks 31 weeks Inside for the little guy. Every day helps!

The weekend was uneventful. Dennis and I are getting into our routine; he comes for a few hours in the morning and then again in the evening. The highlight is when he gets into my silly little narrow hospital bed with me for snuggling. I'm sure it looks hilarious, but I usually relax so much I fall asleep. That's gotta be good for my blood pressure, right?

In the afternoon I have an hour of baby monitoring and then a shower. The shower is the other highlight of the day.

I'm knitting a lot; I started a baby blanket a few weeks ago and will probably finish it this week. It's cream wool/silk with cables and a lattice pattern, so it's just complex enough to be interesting. I'm figuring out what my next project will be; one-color work seems to be easier to deal with in this setting, so I might try a lace project.

Mostly I'm just grateful for the hospital wi-fi system, since having net access is keeping me sane. I don't have Comedy Central in my room, so I subscribed to the Daily Show and Colbert on itunes, which is awesome. The nanny filter on the net has some weird ideas about what is and is not appropriate viewing, so there are a few blogs I can't read (Sarah the Hussy is apparently delivering salacious content between recipes) and I can't see Flickr, which is annoying because that means I'm missing out on the latest documented Nathan cuteness.

The tv situation here is entertaining in that there are a couple of closed-circuit baby info channels, one of which features an expressionless nurse who does. not. blink. as she dispenses advice in a monotone. She seems to be on 24 hours a day. We call it the Hypno-Channel.

So that's a quick overview of my life. I'll leave out the moments of pure panic and super freakout, since they're not very useful and I haven't been able to work out a schedule for them.

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