Sunday, June 29, 2008

He might not be done....

I continue to learn lessons about changing diapers. I had just finished feeding Cade and near the end of the bottle I heard a pretty loud explosion in his diaper. Great, I thought, I know for sure that it's dirty and I can get down to the business of changing him. Even better, when I got the diaper open it was the first time he'd pooped out a yellow color (that's progress for those of you who didn't know, I didn't until a week ago). I called for Susie to show her and she said, "Be careful, he might not be done," as she walked out of the room. I started wiping him down when all of a sudden he unleashed a yellow chunky super soaker out of his rear end. It got all over the bed (which we had luckily covered with a towel) and got all over my shorts, shirt, and the carpet. I didn't know whether to laugh or groan.

Well, I started moving him around to find a clean spot to finish cleaning and changing him when I heard a rumble from deep in his bowels. I actually put my hand up at the edge of the bed to block the shot.

At this point I'll let you in on what the name Cade means. Depending on where you look it means "battler" or "one who overcomes." This has proven to be a very appropriate name given what he's already overcome in his first week. So I think when I put my hand up to keep everything on the bed he saw it as a challenge to overcome. I was holding onto his feet and he actually used his legs to pull his hind end up and blew number two all over the bed, carpet, me, and this time he even made it all the way to the dresser, which was no small feat (see picture below for the lay of the land).

At this point I was laughing too hard to care. Tears were coming out of my eyes. I ended up wiping him down and finally getting the new diaper on and we started cleaning me, the bed, the towels, my clothes, etc. I'm starting to recall the advice Conner Byrd gave me in comment form on this very blog back in December. In the future I'll steer clear, thanks for the heads up Conner. Anyways, just thought I'd share. If you can't laugh at yourself...

At home

We are blessed with a great baby. Cade is very pleasant to be around. He really only fusses when he's messed his diaper or is hungry. Last night was his second night home, and it went many times better than the first night. That first night we were still getting the feeding schedule right and figuring out the best way to do things. He's also started eating a lot better, which translates into sleeping a lot better between feedings. Before he came, I'd be a little upset at myself if I didn't get to bed in time to get at least seven hours of sleep. Haha. Now we're ecstatic with a full two hours of sleep between feedings. But I think as our feeding schedule keeps getting better and he starts gaining weight the sleep will get better and better.

To be honest, though, I don't feel as tired and worn out as I thought I would. Now, I'm not saying I'm close to exhausted most of the time, but If I was spending this much time through the night doing anything besides looking after him I'd probably be getting cranky and feel like doody. I don't know if this is a weird thing, or if I'm still going hard on adrenaline, but I'm finding it a lot of fun to get up and help feed him and take care of him. I think it's fun to see his progress as he eats more and more every day. I'm really enjoying the process of studying him to learn his facial expressions and sounds and learning how to interpret them to best meet his needs. Another reason I think I feel so good is that I'm not sleeping on a gurney anymore like I was in the hospital. Mommy is doing great and Cade is doing great, and we're in the process of settling into our lives as a family. Here are some more pictures!

I love it when he looks at me like he's studying me too. It's almost like he's trying to associate a figure with the voice he's heard for the last eight months.

Andy and Shannon Raines came by to say hi and brought their daughter Mallory, who was born on April 21st. Future in-laws? :)

The first day home Cade spent some time on the counter while I was washing some dishes. We have a bird feeder right outside the window in the kitchen and he just sat there watching the birds. Everything is so new!

Jared Tanner and his wife Davi brought us dinner last night. They are a truly selfless couple that respond to needs in a selfless manner.

Ella Grace Tanner (Jared & Davi's niece) was so excited to see "Baby Cade." She wants to be able to call him in the future. :)

Christen Dowell is one of our favorite youth from Bridgepointe who is now out at the University of Louisville. She has a great babysitting job out there. If she didn't I think we'd be able to talk her into transferring to IU to babysit when Susie heads back up there this fall.

He really likes to be cuddled up on the shoulder.

Who wants a kiss?

Kendall, Ramsey, and Chaney Keaton. We love hanging out with their entire family. I think I see babysitters in this picture.

I have a pretty funny story to share the next time I post. It won't be long. I was laughing so hard I was crying. It had to do with learning about taking care of a baby. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 27, 2008

We're home!

Praise be to God, he is the one that sustains us and prepares our way, wherever we go. And today He saw fit to send us home from the hospital! I cannot give credit anywhere except to Him for Cade's quick recovery and discharge. Last night his bilirubin level was at 16.8, and they usually start treatment at 17. They started early treatment anyways, and in the middle of the night it had dropped to 13, and by this morning it had dropped to 10! The doctor said that drop is very quick, and he was very pleased with it. We are now making the transition to being at-home parents. I have to say it's a little daunting knowing we don't have the nurses down the hall, but we are so excited to be at home where the beds are comfortable and we are comfortable. Here are some pictures from the last night and the trip home. Thank you so much for all the prayers and thoughts sent our way. Susie, Cade, and I appreciate and feel them all.

The nurses really emphasized skin-to-skin contact with him. So we had some great daddy-son time last night while we waited for Susie to pump him some milk.

"Look Dad, you can take a breather. I can feed myself now!"

Getting him changed into his going home outfit.

Changing his clothes was a slightly traumatic experience for him.

Getting all buckled in for the first time! We were not prepared for a baby, so I had to go home and get the seat installed in the car and come back to get Susie and Cade.

I've never handled or been around a human being this small. This is an infant car seat and it completely swallowed him up! That's ok, that means it'll last for a while.

Susie and Cade ready to go home.

Susie and Cade arriving at home (am I going overboard with pictures yet)? :)

This daddy is still proud of his little guy.

Chili is such a good dog. He was ready to meet the new addition to the family. He has such a gentle nature around Cade, and he's already stopped by for a lick or two while we've been feeding him. And when Cade had a poopy diaper and started crying Chili came flying down the stairs to see what was wrong. He had this look of concern in his eyes that didn't go away until Cade was all cleaned up and settled down. He's going to be a great big brother.

The men of the Gronseth household. :)

Our first visitor: Carla Clayton (Aunt Carly).

It is so good to be home. I think Cade can feel the tension release from our bodies and has responded by being so relaxed and pleasant to be around (not that he wasn't already). He's sleeping and eating well, and I think he likes his new house. Susie and I are so grateful to be home.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blue light special

Cade has been under the blue lights all day today because of his jaundice. They bring him to our room every three hours for feeding, and after they take him back I'm immediately counting the minutes down until the next feeding. We've moved rooms twice since last night. Because they discharged Susie yesterday we had to move to a smaller room late last night and that was when they stopped treating Susie and checking on her. That was ok because Susie is doing great, and it eliminated the times when she'd get woken up by a nurse to be evaluated and have vitals taken. Then the mother/baby unit got slammed with delivering mothers, so today we had to move to a triage room right outside the mother/baby unit. The room is a little smaller, but we're still right down the hall from the nursery and very grateful that we are able to stay here so near to our son.

Cade has been eating great today. He's learned to latch on to Susie and eat real well, and then after nursing he's also bottle-feeding more of her milk that she has pumped. It's great to see him eating so well, and the nurses are very pleased. Here are some true glo-worm pictures. When they bring him to the room to be fed he has a Bili-blanket on his back that allows him to still have some phototherapy when he's away from the nursery. It's given us a chance to take "artistic freedom" with our photography. Enjoy the pictures!

Proud momma!

Look at the next three pictures. I put the 30 week ultrasound picture in between a couple closeups. We think it's amazing how much he looks like the ultrasound picture. The ultrasound technology is amazing. Like I've said before, I'm biased, but I think he's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.

Bottle-feeding like a champ.

I love my little buddy. Kisses help him eat better. :)

Proud Granddaddy and Vee Vee with their first grandchild.

Look Ma, no tubes!

I just had to upload these pictures while Cade is eating. They took the tube out of his nose, so he's officially super handsome now. There's a little red mark where the tape held the tube down (reminiscent of some weird version of Left Eye Lopez), but we don't care; it's one step closer to going home! They did say that he looks a little jaundiced, which is normal for premature babies. So they'll evaluate that as we go along. He may need treatment for that tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures!

No, we didn't fold him in half. :) He just likes to rub his face a lot and has started scratching himself so we put some little socks on his hands to protect him from any more scratching.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A great day

Today was definitely one of the best days of my life. Cade ate well all day and we got to spend the whole day with him. Yesterday Susie asked me what my favorite part of all this was so far. At that point it was the first time I walked into the nursery when Cade was under the hood. He was crying and fussing and I started talking to him and gave him a finger to hold onto. He latched on and calmed down and then he opened his eyes and just gazed into mine. We locked eyes for quite a while and I was completely hooked. He went completely docile and the time we spent with eyes locked had a total narcotic effect on me. It was absolutely incredible.

So it would take something even better to top that and that something happened today. After his 9 AM feeding we decided that Susie needed to get some rest so she went to sleep in her bed. I laid down on my bed on my side with Cade nestled in next to me between me and a pillow with my arm around him. He was just laying there cooing and before I knew it we were both fast asleep. I woke up about a half hour later when he moved a little. It was our first daddy-son nap together and after a day and a half of watching him sleep under a hood it was indescribable how good it felt to take a nap with him.

We had some visitors today and we got a couple pictures of friends holding Cade. This is Davi Tanner. She and her husband Jared are great friends and hosted a surprise shower for us a few weeks back with some of our friends.

LaDonna Taylor came by too and we snapped this picture of her holding Cade. She is also a great friend and is responsible for our fashionable hair cuts. We're looking forward to taking little Cade to her when it's time for his first cut. If you look closely in this picture you can kind of see how he already is working on some smashingly handsome sideburns, because he wants to be just like his daddy. :)

The obligatory glo-worm picture.

My first poopy diaper. I wasn't quite ready with the wipes when I got the dirty one off so he soaked his onesie pretty good. Live and learn, I guess. I'm sure I'll get plenty more practice soon enough!

Since he's been feeding well they are taking the feeding tube out of his nose tonight! We'll get lots of pictures when we get him back after that. Tomorrow morning he will be circumcised, and they'll watch him after that. They haven't given us a definitive answer, but they're going to watch him for a while and we're guessing he'll probably get to go home on Friday! We have had the best experience with the hospital staff here, and owe a lot to them for taking such good care of Susie and Cade. We're going to let the nursery take care of Cade tonight while we get some much needed rest. I'll update more tomorrow.

Eating Well!

Just a quick update to let you know that he's eating very well! They want him to eat 15 cc of formula at each feeding. Up until his 9 AM feeding he didn't have enough stamina to finish and we'd have to feed him the rest through the tube in his nose. But at 9 AM he took down all 15 cc's by himself and then at his noon feeding he sucked down a cold 21 cc's like a champ. So if he continues to eat well they'll take the feeding tube out of his nose and we can start thinking about heading home! Please keep the prayers coming. They are much appreciated.

More good news!

Last night at midnight we were able to feed Cade ourselves and finally hold him for a while! They are supplementing Susie's colostrum with formula at this point to make sure he's getting enough protein in his diet. We went down to the special care nursery and it was just unbelievable to be able to rock him and hold him and spend some time with him.

I love this picture with his tiny hand gripping my finger as he ate. The nurse told us that for some unknown reason if you let him grip your finger, he'll actually suck better as he grips harder. They're not exactly sure why that works, but it's just another one of those things that God has built into us.

Not quite sure about the whole burping process yet. :)

He rests very well when mom is holding him.

Making footprints! He was a little fussy at this point.

And then this morning they brought him down to our room to let us feed him. They want him to take 15 mL of formula at a feeding. He gets tired out before he can get that much down so we're still using the feeding tube to push the last 5-7 mL directly into his stomach. It's actually a very good way to do it because he doesn't get too tired but he still get's all his required nutrition. He's been making poopy diapers all night but we keep dodging changing our first one because he keeps doing it after we leave. That's what nurses are for at this point. :) Here's a picture of Susie holding him here in the room.

Here's a short video of Cade in our room. We are so thankful for time alone with him. Again, we appreciate the prayers coming our family's way. I'll update more a little later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out from under the hood!

We are so excited because they've taken little Cade out from under the oxygen hood. His breathing looks to have stabilized, so they are cautiously optimistic that he can now breathe on his own. They are looking for three things: breathing, eating, and temperature regulation. He's got the first down at this point. He still is feeding through the tube in his nose, so in the morning if his breathing is still good they will work on getting him to eat correctly. Then they'll see if he can regulate his own temperature without the help of the heating lights.

He still has the monitors hooked up to his chest and feet, but they've dressed him up for us and he sure looks handsome! He still needs a lot of rest and a lot of prayer, so please keep it coming. We'll update more in the morning. For now we're going to try and sleep before his midnight feeding. The nurse told us if he's doing well at that time we'll probably get to hold him again! If so, I'll post some more pictures of that! Thanks for everyone's prayers, thoughts, and well wishes. We've been getting a lot of calls, text messages, and emails. I've tried to keep up with all of them but please don't be offended if I haven't gotten back to you yet. We are amazed at God's provision and timing and are comforted by the fact that His hand is big enough to hold the entire world and caring enough to hold our little baby. Enjoy the pictures!