Sunday, July 21, 2013

First 4 Weeks as a Family of 4

Phew!!! Looking back on the last four weeks and sometimes it still doesn't feel real. Being a family of four is exhausting but fun. We haven't done too much in the last month but I can say we are getting better about the amount of time it takes to leave the house!

Thing 1 is growing up so fast, he amazes me everyday! Before giving birth I was worried how Sawyer would take not getting 100% of the attention, now that we have the first 4 weeks under our belt I can tell you Sawyer LOVES his Sister! There are times during her hours of screaming that he tells her "Stop It!" but usually he asks her "What's wrong Baby Sisser?". He has tried to pick her up a few times, give her hot wheels to calm her down and asked her if she would like "Mac Cheese too" (trying to share his dinner). Zack and I are still doing our best to spend equal time with Sawyer and her, some days its harder if she is having a rough day though. I'm finally healed enough that I have taken just Sawyer to the store with me so he gets out of the house and we even got to have a Mommy Son park trip. We have also returned to our mostly daily park trips, that usually means 1-2 hours at the park! Most of the time he gets to play with his best friend Makayla, she is a year and a half older than him, 95% of the time they play soooo good together and they are just too cute together! Sawyer is doing very well riding his Tricycle inside, I think he is ready for us to take it outside, we were leary since he is so accident prone to ride outside until he mastered the carpet and riding indoors. I can remember Sawyer being little and thinking I can't wait til he talk, now I find myself saying "Does this kid ever be quiet?!" He is constantly gabbing away about what he is doing or what he sees. He can count to 15 on his own and his ABC go like this "ABCD..OP..QRS..YZ". He has recently started singing me The Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider. He still loves his animal book and out of the 100 animals he can name 91 of them :) I have started getting the "Are you ready for PreSchool?" emails, NO I am not ready to have a PreSchooler, ok maybe I am but I remember when his little butt was keeping me up all night I feel like I blinked and now I have a little man on my hands!!! What is even crazier is thinking Sawyer will be 5 when we leave Japan and Bristol will be 3!
He LOVES playing with my iPhone and taking pictures...
This is just one beauty I found on there :)

Took him to play at Showa before the heat/humidity got bad

Hot laps in the hallway

Its also crazy to think that Thing 2 is going to be a month old tomorrow! Bristol is having some Colic and Gas issues, which has led to many hours of crying a day. The crying is emotionally exhausting, there have been a few times I have to go in another room and just cry myself! We ended up switching formula and trying new bottles. Now that she is on Similac Sensitive she seems to be doing less screaming and crying (by less only 3 hours a day compared to the 6-7 she was before). We were struggling to get her back to her birth weight of 3.8kg but after 3 weeks we finally did it! It is taking some major adjustments for me on nightly feedings, I forgot how much I love sleep! Thankfully Zack has been on leave the last month and stays up until her midnight feeding is done, but with him going back to work this coming week I've been doing them all to get in the groove. I have fallen in love with Coffee all over again, I don't think I could function without caffeine right now. The last couple days she has also decided that she doesn't need to sleep as much, which also makes her cranky! She will sleep if you hold her but we are NOT starting that,  I'm thinking that if I can get my hands on a baby monitor (the video one we have sucks and you cant hear a dang thing) then its time to start making her sleep in her crib, I also need to find a sound machine because she runs the battery down on my iPhone since its the one thing that I have found that helps her sleep! I have already had to retire some Newborn clothes and have her start wearing her 0-3 month stuff. 
Wide awake in the middle of the night...

Trying to get her to nap but she likes peeking to see what's going on!

Since I am an only child I am looking forward to watching the bond between Thing 1 & Thing 2! I can only imagine the trouble these two will get into, and how much hair dye I will need to start covering all the grey they will give me! Here are a couple comparisons to show you how much alike these two are:

Sleeping Babies :)

Both 3weeks old!

Well the Bristol is hungry again and I don't want her waking Sawyer up! Until next time....


Monday, July 1, 2013

The Rollercoaster Week...

Seems like ages have past since that last post but its only been a week! Time flies when your having fun stressed and hormonal!!!

On Tuesday the 25th, I got to hold my Princess for the first time ever, she was 3 days old. She was still super lethargic and looking more yellow by the day but I just kept my faith that they were watching all her levels and taking good care of her. That day we met the coolest NICU nurse, who spoke no English yet interacted with us the most. She even let me feed Bristol. All the pain in the world fled my body and there are no words for the joy I felt in those 90 min. It was leaving the hospital that was the hardest, but we were still set to take her to Yokota the next day.
First time Mommy held Bristol

The Nurse trying to tell me to burp her.

Trying to get her to eat.
Wednesday the 26th came and the phone rang at 10am, my heart sank hoping they weren't calling to say she had to stay. Thankfully it was our case manager saying that we were cleared to meet the transport team at 2pm to bring her back to base! I was excited and nervous but very ready to have our little girl home! We got there a little before 2 and she was not on any oxygen and finally didn't have any tubes or wires connected to her! We got her dressed and waited for the Yokota team to show up.

All prepped for Transport!
Once everyone arrived we were extremely surprised when the translator said, "She is stable. Doctor said she can go home since she doesn't need any assistance". We had been told all along that we needed to stay additional time at Yokota but was willing to take her home! My only concern was her color: she was YELLOW! I asked Dr. G if she was too yellow but according to the NICU her bilirubin levels were ok for her age, Dr. G just said we'd bring her in Friday to get rechecked. As we were leaving the NICU staff presented us with a card that had her pictures on it, I'm getting it framed!

The card the NICU nurses made!
We meet the ambulance at Yokota and only had to go up to the Family Care Unit for our car seat check and get the newborn paperwork we were never given when I was discharged. With a hungry little girl we had to make a commissary run for formula and then it was Home!!!
Such a Happy Daddy!

Snuggles with his Little Lady!
Sawyer was amazing with her from the start! He hates when she cries and tells her "Don't cry, Baby Sister". Every time he wakes up he asks where she is and insists on seeing her. He even asks to "hold" her a lot. It usually lasts about 30 seconds or just enough for him to give her a kiss or say  "sooo cute".
Such a Good Big Brother!
Now my Mommy instinct kept saying something wasn't quite right. She slept more than I thought a newborn should(5-6 hours at a time), it was extremely hard to wake her up, she barely ate, and to top it off she was now SUPER YELLOW! Of course I get on Google- which is a bad idea! Dr. Google always makes me assume the worst which was my baby was badly jaundice and at risk of brain damage! Thankfully we had an appointment the next day.
We took her to the lab on base for her bilirubin test before her Peds appointment. That was a horrid experience because she screamed and screamed, Zack was mad at the Tech because he was taking so much blood, Sawyer was getting mad cause his Sister was screaming so I was left trying to calm everyone down. Next stop was Peds, we learned she had lost 13% of her birth weight. The nurse went through a bunch of paperwork and did her hearing test, which she passed thank goodness. We waited for the lab results but I could tell by the nurse and Dr. G's reaction that they figured something was wrong, then the hospital intercom call came through and my heart sank. Dr. G had said they usually page if its bad news, so she left the room and came back and instantly I started crying. I was trying to suppress the tears though cause Sawyer was with us and I didn't want to get him worked up. Dr. G said we would need to be admitted immediately due to Hyperbilirubinemia to start a 12 hour session of phototherapy. I then asked what would happen if 12 hours under the lights didn't help, which I was presented with an even more frightening answer: If the levels got worse the next option would be an exchange transfusion, which would require off base care again.
At that moment I felt like the weight of the world was crushing me, I didn't want our little girl to be back in the hospital, I felt like I did something wrong during pregnancy to cause all the issues or maybe the doctors missed something. At that moment I was also angry because had they maybe checked before sending us home we wouldn't have been in the position of having to be readmitted to the hospital.
Once we got settled into our room, the nurse explained the process and under the lights she went. 
I swear I counted every minute, every hour of those 12.
All settled in under the lights
I sent Zack and Sawyer home because neither of them do too well in hospital situations and there wasn't really a reason for us all to sit around staring at her. For 12 hours I stared, I had been up since 2am and was exhausted but I didn't want anything to happen that I could prevent. I made sure her mask stayed on (because they told me if she stared at the light it could cause blindness), I tried feeding her every 2 hours like they wanted, I prayed she would pee or poop so I could log it on the sheet and see progress. At times all I could do was cry and pray. We even tried syringe feeding to see if she was having an issue with the nipples on the bottles to try and get her to eat more. But everything from eating, burping and diaper changes were done under the lights to get her maximum exposure.

Syringe Feeding
The boys came back after dinner to keep me company. It was a good break from staring at Bristol under the lights. Zack was comforting me and we had a good heart-to-heart while I got some snuggle time in with Sawyer. Being a family of four fills my heart and makes me feel complete. They left to get settled for Sawyers bed-time and I just kept counting down the hours until the Complete Blood Count (CBC) and bilirubin check at 11pm. The CBC was to rule out any infections that could be causing the Hyperbilirubinemia. That 11pm time came and I was so ready to hold my baby girl, Zack and I were texting and clinging to the minuets that passed while we waited for the results. Forty-Seven, yes I kept track, minuets later they came in and said we were done with the lights for the night! Her bilirubin level had dropped from 18.1 to 12.4, which was a low-risk level for her age, but we would need to retake the levels in the morning to make sure they weren't on the rise again. I snuggled her and kissed her then proceeded to get a few hours of sleep between feedings until morning. The morning check made me even more nervous, I didn't want anymore bad news, but the way my week had been going it was hard to be optimistic. When the day nurse walked in with the results I could of hugged her! The morning levels were even lower than the 11pm reading (11.23), Bristol had even gained a little weight!!! We just had to wait for Dr. G to come look at her then discharge us. We had an appointment for weight check on Monday and were hitting the halls running after those papers were signed!
Just hanging out in the hospital room!
There we were home as a family of four, on the one week mark of Bristol's life!
Our Non-Yellow One Week Old!!!
Over the last 48 hours, I make sure that Little Miss is woken up to feed no more than 3 hours between feedings during the day and I let her go 4 hours between at night, she probably thinks I'm a pest but we need her 100% better! Zack and I have a log that we keep with feeding times and amounts as well as diapers, that way when we go to her appointments I can show them the progress and effort we are making at home to get her better.
This morning we had her weight check appointment, she is still weighing in at 7lbs 11ounces (same as she was Saturday morning). Dr. G said she doesn't look any more yellow but she can still see yellow from her head to her chest. With the 4-day weekend approaching we go back in two days to make sure she is still making forward progress. Until we get two thumbs up that she is completely better I will always be worried and anxious at the appointments in fear of bad news but I try to stay optimistic. Until next time...