Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Due Date, Kieran!

It was Kieran's due date on May 28th, so I took him in to be weighed because I was curious - he felt a lot heavier to me all the sudden, plus it had been a week and a half since he last was weighed at 6 lb, 4 oz. Well, just ten days later Kieran weighed 7 lb, 6.5 ounces - an 18 ounce gain! Also, by rough calculations in my head, he will soon TRIPLE his birth weight of 2 lb 10 oz - I think he'll hit that mark at 7 lb, 14 oz. Not bad, eh? Can I get a WHAT WHAT for mama's milk!? :) This is a huge blessing that he has been able to gain weight easily. Since he should be matching up developmentally and physically with babies born in May, he's right on track with his weight because he now weighs what many newborns do (In fact, 7 lb 6 oz was Maia's birth weight!) I am so happy that he doesn't have any more "catch up" to do with regards to weight. I can't wait to find out what he weighs at his next check-up on Friday, because he 's going through another growth spurt now. He's also been wearing 0-3 month outfits, as newborn are tight in the crotch and legs now, so he's getting taller, too!


Happy "zero" day to my little man - no more gestational ages for him, he's now "zero" corrected age - or on Wednesday he'll be one week corrected/11 weeks actual. Still crazy thinking he was due now and he's been here for 10.5 weeks. And to think we had such a wild NICU ride and now he's just living the baby dream at home, in our arms :)

Here are some cute shots of the kids from earlier this week

Picked up a kiddie pool since it was so dang hot out

We introduced Kieran to the kiddie pool...which he didn't care for as much as Maia!

Josh & Maia are in the upper peninsula of Michigan this weekend and I'm really missing them! They went to visit Josh's mom and grandma - Josh's mom lives in GA but is visiting her mom, so that worked out well. I hear that Maia's swimming a bunch & as I sit in our living room roasting with a hot nursing baby in my arms I am a bit jealous! Here's a picture of her I grabbed from Gale's Facebook page. If I remember correctly, she's in a river that connects to Lake Superior - Josh's grandma Bev lives right next to Lake Superior.


It feels so weird to be home with just one kiddo. It's SO quiet!! Plus I've been going on walks with Kieran and it just feels like something is missing until I go, "oh yeah, I usually have two kids with me!" But it's a treat to have some one-on-one time with my little guy holding him, kissing him, staring at him - oh, and it's nice to change his diaper without big sister wanting in on the action as well. I should videotape her, she is such a mother hen that she can almost fully change his diaper! It's crazy!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Some preemies have problems regulating their temperature. Kieran never has, and today is no exception! It's 90 degrees in the Twin Cities and we have no central air, so he's sitting in a cloth diaper and that's it, and he's still so toasty! I've been calling him my little heat box (is that even a real term? I don't think so, haha.) So far he does not show signs of profusely sweating in high temps like his dad, but we'll see ;)

Chilling in his super cool owl diaper on his super cool owl blankie

In other news, it's just Kieran and I today, as Maia has daycare one day a week, and all we've done is nurse/burp/nurse/burp, with a few diaper changes and tiny naps in between. Hellooooo, growth spurt! You'd think he was starving the way he's nursing today, but I just have to remind myself that the constant nursing is temporary & purposeful - by nursing him more frequently during the growth spurt, he's telling my body to make more milk for him. So all this time spent with my butt on the couch or lying in bed nursing him is for a good cause! And Josh - I'm sorry if I don't get the kitchen floor cleaned today, and if I can't get to cleaning up the books Maia threw EVERYWHERE...I blame the baby. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

And we're back!

After a little hiatus to get settled into our new life as a family of four, we're back! Okay, I'm back - Josh never did post an entry like I bugged him to ;) Anyways, the past week and half has been wonderful! I am absolutely LOVING being mama to 2 in my own home - I was so over having the double life as Maia's mom at home and Kieran's mom in the NICU.

Leaving the NICU after 53 days!

I knew life as a family of four would be a big adjustment, but I have to say, it's gone so smoothly thus far, much easier than I thought, anyways. Maia has adjusted pretty easily and is an adoring big sister - she wants to be with Kieran constantly and cover him with kisses. She loves helping pick out his clothes, help with diaper changes, and enjoys taking baths with her brother. She is almost always quite patient and very understanding when I need to focus on Kieran and she needs to wait for my help. She's even made more progress with her potty learning - right after Kieran was born/her 2nd birthday is when she went into underwear for the whole day; just the other night she requested to wear underwear at night instead of a diaper and she's been doin it ever since! I feel really fortunate that Maia's had an easy time welcoming Kieran into our home. Sometimes she says to me, "Kieran home now? No Kieran doctor?" To which I happily reply "Yes, Kieran is home now." :)

First family photo at home!

This one makes me laugh :)

First bath at home

As for Kieran, we brought home a pretty healthy baby, all things considered, and the extra care he's needed has dwindled as the days have gone by. For example, Kieran came home needing the following medicines: Amoxicillin to prevent UTIs in case his kidneys backed up into his bladder, Valgancyclovir, the antiviral to treat his CMV, caffeine to stimulate his central nervous system and treat his apnea, and a multivitamin with iron. He had 5 or 6 med times which required us to put meds in a small bottle of breastmilk, which was sort of a hassle to do right before a nursing session. But good news - as of tomorrow, Kieran will be done with ALL medicines except for the multivitamin. How cool is that!?

Besides the medicine, I knew we'd have to do quite a bit of follow-up with some of Kieran's lingering issues: audiology, ophthalmology, renal follow-up for kidney issues and possibly surgery for his inguinal hernia. As of this week, we've had the ophthalmology appointment and a renal ultrasound and kidney scan. The ophthalmologist said Kieran does not have retinopathy of prematurity and his eyes are developing normally! She will just need to see him annually for a few years, as preemies are at greater risk for needing glasses, strabismus, etc. Great news there :) Also, the kidney scan and renal ultrasound informed us that he does not have kidney reflux and his kidneys' swelling has decreased - he had the enlarged kidney in utero and now there is barely any swelling. Furthermore, a urine culture Monday showed that Kieran's protein levels are normal! If you recall, he was spilling protein into his urine so his NICU doctors were concerned he wasn't getting enough protein and were pushing formula with extra protein on us. We opted to not give the formula, (for one reason, it can actually be harder on kidneys), and lo and behold his protein levels are now normal, hooray! We do have a follow-up appointment with a renal doctor in August to see how things are doing, but the issues appear to be resolving on their own thus far! As for the audiology exam, that's in June - that's to check his hearing, probably on an annual basis, to make sure he's not suffering hearing loss as a result of the CMV infection. His pediatrician says that at this point, he will not need surgery for his inguinal hernia because it's pretty small, but we'll keep an eye on it to see if it's bulging profusely. He may need surgery for it down the line or it may resolve itself.

Kieran is still on the apnea monitor but his caffeine will be stopped tomorrow. He's had two apnea alarms total. The alarm goes off if he hasn't taken a breath in 20 seconds, and he has 10 more seconds to resolve it himself before we're urged to stimulate him to breathe. The first alarm was 24 seconds in the carseat, and the second was 28 seconds while taking a nap, so both were self-resolved, which is great! If all goes well without his caffeine, we can expect for him to be on the monitor one more week and then the final week of monitoring he will only have an oximeter on at night to measure his oxygen intake. So we'll see! Hopefully we'll be done with it soon.

So, like I said, we've basically brought home this beautiful, sweet little boy who is a champion breastfeeder, a lovely sleeper (he gives me one good 3-4 hour stretch a night! Thanks, Kieran!) and oh, he smells delicious, too - not like a hospital or medicine anymore! He is an absolute blessing and I feel so honored to be his mother, and so lucky to have him all to myself now. He had quite an interesting start to life, but he is now thriving at home, held or worn (in a carrier) for hours on end, loved and hugged and kissed on, and nursed whenever he likes :) We are having so much fun with him!

Josh wearing K in the Moby Wrap. It's kind of a continuation of all that skin-to-skin/kangaroo care we did in the NICU!

What else...Kieran's weight gain has progressed nicely! He was 5 lb, 11.2 ounces Sunday the 9th, and 6 lbs 2 oz on the 14th. As of Tuesday Kieran was 6lb, 4 oz, and his next weigh-in is the first week of June. I'm sure he'll hit 7 lbs by then! He is now 39 weeks gestational age and 9.5 weeks old. He's acting like a newborn would (which is a good thing, that's his corrected age) with regards to his feeding - I think we had a growth spurt for a couple days recently because he wanted to nurse every hour in the day! He's also doing great physically and developmentally: while on his tummy, he can lift his head up and switch sides and can lift his feet pretty high off the ground. He will also move his eyes and sometimes his head to follow our voices.

Sibling love

I love the furrowed brow.

Lounging in the sun during our family picnic.

Thanks SO much for following us and giving us your prayers, keeping us in your thoughts, and sending your comments and well-wishes. We are so grateful to have had so many people in Kieran's corner, and it's been wonderful to have you all witnessing our little miracle grow these past two months. I look forward to continuing to update this blog on a regular basis and hope you continue to keep up with us!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


After 53 days in the NICU, Kieran was discharged today!!! What a wonderful Mother's Day this was for me! No time for pictures or more news, as the little guy needs me, but I'll be back soon to update on his progress.

Thanks for all your love & well wishes, we are SO happy to be home!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Kieran is 37 weeks gestational age today - full term! And he is celebrating being full term by being wide-eyed, alert & nursing for very long periods of time! Or, that could just be the caffeine ;) Either way, Josh and I are loving it! At 5 lbs, 9 oz, he is feeling like a newborn-sized baby in our arms and interacting with us more and it's so wonderful!

Caught a little smile!

Speaking of the caffeine, we have a new plan of action, a bit different then I posted about the other day. Yesterday it was decided that Kieran would go home with an apnea monitor. Initially Josh and I were a little worried about the prospect of bringing Kieran home on a monitor; at first I pictured him needing to wear it all the time and it going off constantly like the ones in the hospital. But this monitor is different in that it has no numbers, just lights to indicate if Kieran's heart rate is low (bradycardia) or he stops breathing for 20 seconds or more (apnea.) The apnea monitor will be connected to a strap around his chest, and he will need to wear it at all times of sleep and any time we are not directly watching him or with him. It can be off for feedings, bathtime, playtime, tummy time...anything like that. But if we're holding him and watching a movie or having a conversation, not paying as much attention to him, he should be hooked up to the monitor. He should have the belt off his body twice a day for a few hours each time to prevent skin breakdown.

This morning Josh and I were trained on the alarm, and he started wearing the monitor after that - it hasn't gone off yet! I have heard that the loose leads alarm can go off a lot, which is the alarm that tells us a wire is disconnected or something of that sort - hopefully that won't be the case because that thing is LOUD! If something is wrong with the machine or leads it has a super loud, long beep alarm. If Kieran has an apnea episode it's also loud, but it's a beep per second. We are to go to Kieran if it goes off, and he gets 10 seconds/beeps to resolve the breathing on his own. If at 11 seconds he has not resolved it, we're supposed to start gently stimulating him to breathing with gentle touch and then onto more vigorous stimulation if need be.

Kieran is going home on the monitor + caffeine for at least 4 weeks, and after that it will be decided if he needs either any longer. We're supposed to send the apnea monitor results to the Apnea Program out of Children's Hospital, as well as send them our journals that mark the alarm occurrences. And with this new plan we have an estimated discharge date - Sunday or Monday! Isn't that the most amazing news!? (And a nice Mother's Day present to boot!) They are re-doing his carseat test tomorrow and hopefully he passes since he's now on the caffeine, but if he doesn't, he will go home in a car bed, which is a type of car seat that allows him to recline more. (And it's kind of pricey and he will outgrow it quickly, so please pass the carseat test, Kieran! Ha.)

Wow, in just a few days our son will be home with us! It's been such a long time coming!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

7 weeks

7 weeks in the NICU and seems like a long time but it's actually flown by! I wish I could say he's coming home soon, but Kieran has a little more to overcome before he can be discharged, unfortunately.

Big sister came for a visit Sunday!

First off, he was taken off the oxygen Sunday morning to see how he'd do - and he hasn't been back on it since. That's great news! He's now taking in about 90-95% oxygen, which is an improvement, however, he continues to have de-sats/dips into the 70's and 80's. The neonatologist ordered a CR scan last night and that was completed over 12 hours. That's a test that measures his breathing patterns, heartrate and respirations while he's hooked up to monitors. The results are averaged out and also alert the doctors to any events or apnea spells that happen while he's sleeping. Tehe results are printed out and interpreted by a neonatologist, and unfortunately, Kieran did not pass. They found that he has an immature breathing pattern - he takes many pauses with his breathing (thus, the de-sats) and he can't go home having breathing issues. He also failed his car seat test; to leave the NICU, babies must pass a 1.5 hour car seat trial in which they cannot have any breathing issues and he didn't even make it 15 minutes, as he was having trouble breathing, so they ended the test early.

So what next? The plan is to put Kieran back on caffeine again for one week, then re-test. Those who have read the blog from his birth will remember that he was on caffeine for awhile to help stimulate his lung function - and now we're hoping it will help straighten things out again.

Sleeping so peacefully.

While Josh and I are a little disappointed, we both know that we would not want Kieran sent home unless he was absolutely ready, and we know Kieran is where he belongs right now. He has been through SO much, what with acquiring the CMV virus, his kidney issues, two blood transfusions, and of course, just being born early! I think he's doing so well in spite of all of that, so with a little more time spent on working on his breathing issues I'm sure he'll be ready and raring to go. He's still doing wonderfully with all of his feedings and nursing like a champ. He's back to gaining weight (after losing a bit due to the diuretic he got last weekend) and his lab levels are coming back at mostly normal levels - even his protein levels have increased, YAY! I really think he is a strong, spunky little guy :) Here's hoping the caffeine is what he needs!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It's been awhile since I posted last. There are a few times I have had a chance to update but I chose to do some sewing instead! I just sewed Kieran a blanket over two nights, and last night I embellished six burp cloths with coordinating fabrics. Both were great projects to work on because they're very basic and made for good practice, as I'm still a novice sewer!

The blanket

The burp cloths

Maia showing off Kieran's she wants one of her own!

Mama & Kieran

Just a few things happened medical-wise with Kieran since Tuesday night. He was started on oxygen again because he continued to sit at about 85% oxygen saturation. That, combined with the fact that his hemoglobin level went down again to 9.2, led to the decision to do another blood transfusion. They did a test that showed that he is making his own blood now, which is good, but with so many blood draws the past few weeks his body just can't catch up. He needed another transfusion of packed red blood cells - they help carry oxygen through the bloodstream - to hopefully get his sats back up. He still has pretty immature lungs and might have a bit of lung damage, which doesn't help matters.

He had the transfusion Thursday and was started on Lasix, a diuretic, for 3 days. He'll finish that tomorrow and they'll start to wean him off oxygen then. He is currently on a very, very low amount of oxygen - 0.1L at 21 to 40%, depending on what he needs. (In layman's terms, he's on just a bit more than straight room air, funneled through a nasal cannula.) If he still has difficulties getting sats back up after the Lasix, then a course of steroids will be given. This is his last hurdle before getting discharged, so I hope one of these things can help him!

Friday, 36 weeks/6w2d

Speaking of discharge...yes, we're talking discharge now! Kieran is taking all feedings with bottles or nursing, has not had any apnea spells for awhile, and the best part - he completed his IV antiviral treatment! When he was diagnosed with having CMV last week we didn't know how long he'd be on the IV med - maybe 2-4 weeks - but he responded so well that on Friday it was finished and now he's on the oral version of the med. Such great news! The PICC line was removed Friday and Kieran had a lovely bath - and he can wear a hat again!


Hopefully Kieran can be off the oxygen soon! We are rooting for our strong little dude :)