Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This is a long one...

Latest Elden Update:

The big news: he doesn't have a cyst on his brain! The ultrasound came back completely normal, and the brain bleeds are gone too!

Last week Elden was put on ad lib demand like I mentioned in an earlier post. Well, that didn't go so well. And last Monday I tried nursing him and he wouldn't latch on, so I stopped trying for a week. Elden got the feeding tube reinserted and I watched the nurse put in it him for the first time. It was kind of gross. The nurse just pushed/threaded the tube down his nose till she had pushed in a certain length of tubing. Then she listened with the stethoscope to make sure the tube went in the stomach and not the lungs. One nurse let me listen one day as she was checking the placement of the tube. The nursed pushed a little air into the stomach, and if it makes a fast "swoosh" sound, then it's in the belly. No one need milk going into their lungs!

The tube was put back in so he could get a rest from being on all bottle feedings--every other feeding was through a tube at first, and then they upped him to every third feeding through the tube. Well, it did the trick. Just two days I think with the feeding tube, he was able to get it out again and he's been doing great on his bottles since! Instead a lot of prodding to get him to eat in 30 minutes, he'll now drink a bottle in 15 -20 minutes. Also I started nursing him on Monday again and it went great! He latched on and drank! It was very nice. Right now he gets bottles at night and I nurse him during the day. I still pump a little during the day because he isn't eating as much as I am producing. I will stop doing that once he comes home though.

He is getting iron everyday to help boost his hematocrit levels. This should prevent another blood transfusion. When his blood levels were checked, they were fine, but on the low end. He weighs 4 pounds 13 ounces. Hopefully he'll hit 5 pounds by the end of this week. He is on ad lib demand again today. This morning at 8am and 11am he drank 50 milliliters!

The main thing we are waiting on now is him getting "out of the box". Once the temperature of his bed and the air in the isolette are 28 degrees Celsius, he can come out into an open crib. Then essentially (if nothing goes wrong) he can go home 24 hours after that! His bed is at 28.7 degrees Celsius now. I am really hoping that we can go home next week. (Monday wouldn't be bad!)

Happenings of last week and this week:

Lee parents were at our house last week. They helped Lee with: some projects around the house and yard, cleaning, and installing two tire swings out back. We were glad they could come and be with Lee during his paternity leave and it was great to see them.

Thursday night Sam met me at the hospital. He had meetings in St. Louis so he came on over to Columbia to see us! It was fun to see him. He saw Elden and then he took me to a store per my request. He also bought the stuff for me! (Adhesive bandages, shampoo and conditioner) He got some chocolate for the kids, and I will take pictures of what he got each person and post it later. It's pretty funny. At the hotel Sam was staying at he got a gift basket and a $25 gift certificate to local stores here and he gave it all to me! Before his meetings in St. Louis, he was at a candy convention in Hershey, PA. So, he gave me some candy from that too. Thanks for the visit Sam! Elden was happy to meet you.

The goodies from Uncle Sam...he never disappoints!

Sam and Elden

Me and Sam (I thought about writing Sam and I, but I wouldn't say: "This is a picture of I." I would say: "This is a picture of me." So, I think I am right, right?)

Friday afternoon Lee, his parents, and our kids came up to Columbia. We met that evening at the hospital and then later went to the Ronald McDonald House.

Saturday was a somewhat crazy day. For one, Clark had diarrhea, and it was bad. It was Shanna and Haley's second birthday too. I wanted to celebrate their birthday, but I felt like it would be much easier at home, so I wasn't sure what to do. Lee's parents provided a fun party for the kids. They bought cupcakes and gave each child a party bag with crackers, suckers and balloons. The kids loved the cupcakes (Clark had to wait to eat his) and had a blast with the balloons. After the little party at the pavilion, we went to the adjacent playground. It was a neat park, though a bit muddy. There were bridges and long slides all over the place. Plus a huge sand box and big tractor tires to climb on. Haley especially loved going down the slide and then would climb up the long stairs to go down the long slide again---over and over. The rest of the day was baths, dinner, and a visit to the hospital.

Sunday morning we went to the hospital, then to church. Since we were at the Columbia Ward he past two Sundays, I have been going with Clark to primary. In primary they are learning songs about Mothers to sing in church on Mother's Day. He got excited about Mother's Day and was asking me about it. Then he was telling me he wanted to make cookies for me and make me breakfast. I told him that he needed to talk to dad about it and to keep it a secret from me. Then he started asking about when daddy's day was. It was very cute and thoughtful.

After church the kids went outside for a snack and then had fun with paper airplanes Dad R made them. After dinner Haley lost her flip-flop. Someone found it for me yesterday. I didn't mind that we couldn't find it because they were only $2.50. But now I don't have to buy another pair! It reminded me of when I was watching Brooke's kids in Johnson City. Her girl had Crocs on--and they were Crocs, not a store brand. Well, she lost them out in a HUGE pile of leaves behind our apartment. I felt really bad about it!

Sunday night after I said goodbye to the family and left to go into the hospital, Cal said to Lee: "But daddy, I love mommy!" Then when they drove past me while I was walking towards the hospital front doors Cal looked out the window and said: "I miss you mommy." That made me cry! Well in a few days I should be home for good Cal!

Yesterday, Tuesday, I completed all of the discharge stuff. On Sunday I saw my friend watching some videos that you have to watch before your baby can be discharged. I know that she wasn't going home with her babies right away, and she said she might as well get the videos over with. So Tuesday I watched the movies (Thanks for the idea Lorrie!). I was lucky enough because another lady was actually going home with her baby, so that same afternoon the nurse was able to give the teaching part of the discharge to us at the same time.

One of the movies you have to watch is about Shaken Baby Syndrome. It's such a sad one to watch. The one I watched in Utah when Clark was born, is about a dad who killed his toddler son by shaking him. The one I watched here was about a caregiver who brain damaged a newborn girl by shaking her. How awful!

Last night I was FINALLY able to meet Elden's primary care nurse. The NICU nurses can sign up to take care of certain babies. Sometimes they when they work they have to care for other babies, but most of the time, the nurses can take care of the babies they sign up for. Elden has been up in the Level 2 nursery for about a month now. The babies that are sent up to Level 2 are more healthy and need less care than those down in the regular NICU. There has been a baby explosion here at the hospital so the full-time NICU nurses have mainly had to stay downstairs, while other nurses--say a labor and delivery nurse--that are trained to care for NICU babies will "float" (meaning they can work in different departments) to the Level 2 nursery. (I am sure they float to the regular NICU too.) Anyway, I am probably not making sense. The point is, Elden's primary care nurse was needed in the regular NICU for the past little while. It was fun to meet her. She is great!

I have started watching some Dr. Who episodes. Last night I watched Silence in the Library. That was a good episode. The one about the people and the fish creatures had a boring plot.

Today my parents were on their way down to my house today so they stopped by the hospital. It was fun to see them and to let them see Elden. They also brought me cinnamon gummy bears from the BYU Bookstore. YUM! Thanks mom and dad! They are going to watch our kids tomorrow, for which we are very grateful! Our good friend Kelly helped with the kids Monday and today. You awesome Kelly! Lee had the kids Tuesday because Cal was S-I-C-K. Lee definitely gets the Father of the Year award!

Enjoy the pictures!

A picture of a picture of a!

The latest room I am staying in

Today at the hospital with my dad

Elden is hungry!

I downloaded some pictures from my mom's camera to the laptop. I saw some on my mom's camera that I wanted to post.

Andy and Steph--she is my youngest sister and is an awesome cook! By the way Steph, I LOVE the shirt!

There were a lot of graduations in my family last week! There are 10 kids in my family. As I have stated earlier, my youngest brother is in Italy on a gospel-preaching mission for our church, and will attend college when he returns. But as to date, all of us (minus Anziano Bartholomew) have all graduated from BYU (Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah) with our Bachelor degrees. Two of my sisters-in-law have their Bachelors (one of them a recent grad too) and one has her Associates degree. One of my brother that has his MBA is currently getting a PhD, another has his MBA and yet another just finished his Master's degree. One of my brothers-in-law has a PhD, two of them have Master degree's and of course Lee is an Optometry Doctor.

It is just neat to see how our parents have influenced our lives for the better. My dad has a PhD in Food Science and has done lots of things, like serving on a Governor's Board in Minnesota, and traveling to Macedonia and Mexico and Canada to help implement food safety standards (my mom or dad could give you a more accurate summary). My mom has a Bachelor's degree, plus she is a published author of magazine and newspaper articles, and of her own book The White Dove, published by Houghton Mifflin.

So you are probably thinking that I am just bragging about my family. Well, I am; but I am also just stating the facts. I guess what I am pointing out is that parents have a great influence on their children. And with having a big family my mom especially received many inconsiderate comments. I am sure people thought we were a big family that didn't know anything, with too many kids. Well world: look at us now!

My dad, Steph, Roger, and my mom

Andy and Steph--Steph received her Bachelors of Science degree

Steph and Andy again

The Two Masters: Roger and Jeff (Watch out Dr. Who!)

Jeff and my sister Lois and their son Reed

The whole bunch: Mom, Andy & Steph, Jeff & Lois & Reed, Brittany & Roger, Dad

Here they are again with Jeff's sister Michelle

Stephanie with her poster on her research she presented at an IFT conference in Chicago: Quality of hermetically packaged dehydrated carrots during long-term storage. If you want to see it, it is hanging in a hallway in a BYU campus building...I am pretty sure it's in the Eyring Science Center.)

Reed comes to town! Reed is going to visit my family next week! Lois and Jeff and Reed are coming to take care of my kids next week. Hopefully Elden and I will be home to enjoy their visit!

Reed and Haley summer of 2008


Photo Crazy! said...

Wow! What a wonderful post! I am so glad Elden is doing wonderful. He really looks amazing! I know nursing will bless his life. Way to go. You family is so terrific. You parents have left a wonderful example to all of you. My mom also said that no 2 people are more in love then your parents. She has always admired how much they care for each other! I hope Cal gets better and you get to go home sooner then later!

Michelle C said...

Sounds like good news for Elden! You are such a trooper through all of this and so positive!!

Ashley said...

Hi Ruth, I learned so much about your family and realized you probably don't know much about mine! My parents are divorced: dad is a dentist, stepmom works in hospital admissions, mom is a 2nd grade reading specialist. They all live in Dyersburg, TN. My older brother is in the air force in Panama City, FL, and my younger sister is a junior in high school.

Sonia B said...

I love the update! You are all in our prayers. Hope you get to come home soon. I sure love your family. When I told Kim that Roger and Brittany were moving away, she cried. We've enjoyed getting to know all the BYzoobies.

Polly said...

So proud of Elden! He is so adorable! Thanks for sharing the pictures! You have such a sweet family, Ruth! I can't imagine all that you all have to go thru but I can feel how close your family is.

Thanks for the update.

Lisa and company said...

Elden is sooo cute and he is getting bigger! Thanks for the update. Your family looks great!!

Liz said...

I am so glad he is doing so well. Almost 5 lbs! How exciting! I hope you go home soon.