25 June 2012


So often I have been writing about things that affect Samuel because he's a preemie, I would to take a few moments to share how much he's been changing and hitting some full-term baby milestones during this month.  He is sure growing and changing fast!  So much so that when Ben has to be gone for Church or guard, he is always amazed at how much he's grown and changed while he was gone!

In May I started to hear some cooing sounds, but then I didn't for a while.  Well, in June, he's picked them back up, big time!  After a feeing when he's awake he will sit there and just make cooing noises.  I'll be in the kitchen washing out my pump and here a bunch of "ooh's" from the other room.

He's also gotten to be quite smiley!  Smiling and cooing seem to go hand in hand.  We learned that if we tap his lips gently with our finger it encourages more smiles and coos!  He has the cutest little smile (at least we think so, but hey, we're his parents!) and even a little dimple on one side!  Last night Ben was playing with him and did an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and that even elicited a laugh from him!  Probably the first laugh he's done!

Between the cooing and smiling Sam's beginning to be quite fun to play with.  It seemed like we were locked so long in a pattern of changing diapers, feeding and burping and that was pretty much the only activities he participated in and he hated the diaper changes.  So it is nice to start seeing him become playful!  We have been ready to see this start and glad he is too!

Lately he's also stopped viewing diaper changes as the worst form of torture known to man kind.  In fact he sometimes seems to even like them!  He tends to really like them we he has a particularly messy diaper, which used to be when he howled the loudest and hardest.  Now he sometimes even smiles and coos while we change his diaper.  Of course there still are a few changes in a day where he's a little fussier during, but hey, this is a vast improvement!

We've also started allowing Sam to sleep longer at night.  Now he wakes up 1-2 times at night.  That's fantastic for all of us!  He tends to be more awake and playful in the day now and more sleepy at night. We have notice a few fussy times however.  He really doesn't like being put down to sleep that first time at night and he really doesn't like to pause eating to burp!  Yesterday he was being especially dramatic about the burping, so I was calling him my drama king.

On another note, we did another overnight trip to Milwaukee.  His first out of state adventure!  He did great!  We stayed at my cousin's house.  They are expecting a little boy in the fall and already have a 2 year old daughter so that was fun.  Their daughter got to learn a little about how to act around a baby (gentle touches).  We went to a wedding and Sam did great through it all!  On the way home we were going to try to stretch his feedings out a little and make the drive in one shot, but about a half hour from home he decided he was hungry, so we stopped (we would have made it, but we were somewhat slow at leaving the reception).  Oh well, we tried and he did great!  We are starting to really get this overnight traveling down!  Which is good and we have 1 more to go this month (We'll be visiting Ben's Grandma who has not been doing well.  We weren't planning on going out that direction until later this year, but we want to make sure she gets to meet Sam.).

21 June 2012

Baby Wearing :-)

Today I just really wanted to share why I often wear Samuel when we are out and about.  There are really two reasons why I do this.  The first reason is probably pretty obvious (and for this reason I would have been wearing him even if he came full-term), hands free!  He gets to snuggle in close to his Mommy and I get my hands to use for other things.

I was in Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and saw this Mom and her three children.  Now I'm guessing on their ages, but one looked like preschool, another toddler and the third newborn (like she even looked smaller than Samuel that day kind of newborn).  The two older kids were running around, obviously excited to be in a store and exhibited the typical behavior that goes with that.  The baby started to get fussy sitting in her car seat in basket of the cart, so Mom picked her up.  Now what does this Mom have to do?  She has to pick up groceries, keep the two older kids with her and push her cart--all 1 handed!  I say no thank you!  Granted, at this point we don't have any other children, but have you tried to push some of those carts with one hand?  That can be a challenge in itself, never mind everything else!

Along with handsfree, it also turns out that baby wearing is quite effortless (until you go for a half hour walk like that, which I did and it turned out much more tiring than a half hour walk with him in the stroller, good exercise right?).

Reason #2 (which is actually reason #1 with our preemie) is to keep him tucked away from people, especially large groups of people.  This is not because I don't want anyone to see or touch Samuel, but because I want to keep him as safe as I can and I'd rather have things like touching and holding him done in a controlled environment.  Out in public (especially in larger group settings) who knows who's been exposed to what, and who's hands have been shaken already.  You might be just fine, but can you assure me that everyone's hands you just shook are also just fine?  So until we're ready to just pass him around in groups of people, allow my husband and I to lead when it comes to showing him to people.

Expect me to loosen as summer goes on.  Then expect me to keep him tucked away more during the next RSV season (RSV is dangerous to preemies and young babies).  Then expect me to relax a lot!  Samuel's an amazing baby in my eyes and I want to share him with you, but just for a little longer, please allow me to do that in my own way.  I promise I won't keep him from people completely!  I just ask your patience in the meantime!

11 June 2012

Iowa East District LWML Convention

On Friday and Saturday we went to Dubuque as a family for the Iowa East District LWML Convention.  I was supposed to talk about my experiences as a YWR (Young Women Representative) at the National Convention in Peoria last summer.  This was somewhat nerve racking because it was the first time we were taking Samuel on an overnight trip!

On Thursday I put together a list of things to pack for Samuel (in the process though I found out I left some things I needed at home, but oh well, I made do!).  Trying to make sure we had everything we need.  In the end I didn't bring near as much stuff along as I envisioned I was going to have to take for him.

Things went well overall, so that was great!  We left Friday after feeding Sam.  We got there in time to get our room, grab registrations and our box lunch, feed Sam and eat our own lunches, just in time for the opening service.  Which  I would have to say was a nicely done opening service of the convention!

We stayed at the afternoon meeting session for most of it, until I had to leave to nurse Sam.  Ben then joined us a little later and took a nap.  We went down to the banquet that evening, which Sam did very well at, unfortunately we kept him out a little too long and he got a bit over stimulated.  We fed him a bottle while we were there, which he did great with.  When he was getting a little fussy around 9:30, I took him back to the hotel room so he could sleep and not be around all those people and the noise.  Well, that was the right decision, because by the time we reached the room Sam had worked himself up into quite the fit!  Once I got him settled down, I fed him and Ben showed up.

Sam wasn't so keen on sleeping that night, but again, we over stimulated him and I am sure that had something to do with it (not to mention he wasn't sleeping in his usual room!).  The next morning I got up, fed him and went to breakfast.  We didn't register Ben for the 2nd day, so he chilled in the hotel room during the morning.  When it was time for Sam's mid morning feeding I went back to the room and nursed him.  Then I took him along for an interest session and lunch, just to give Ben a break (and he had to load up and check out of the room!).

I gave him back to Ben during lunch.  During the afternoon session I got to talk about my experiences at the national convention last summer.  You can read my top tens post about it here.  I opted to use humor when I talked about it, because most of the people there attended the national convention.  I closed with a few points on participation of young women in LWML.  Hopefully I was able to give them an idea of something they can do to encourage it!  (the idea was personal invitations-not expecting the note in the bulletin to attract them)

I can say our first overnight was a success and the convention was good!  I do regret that we didn't have time to walk through the exhibit hall.  We just kept missing them!  Oh well, that does happen!  At least I have probably seen most of the booths present at different conventions and gatherings.  With that though, now I sometimes personally know the exhibitors!  So it would have been nice to go through and see who was there that I knew.

After being at convention I have a renewed interested in trying to get young women involved.  The things that LWML does is truly amazing!  I think us younger women have things to learn from those lovely older ladies who work so hard at doing all that LWML does.  No, I really don't appreciate sitting through business meetings, but I love that missions are being funded so that God's Word can reach more people!

07 June 2012

4 Month Check-Up

So a week ago today we went in for Sam's 4 month check-up.  It went really well!  But let me give you some background before talking about the actual check-up.

We had decided to switch pediatricians.  Sam just really needed a doctor that understands the prematurity side of things (oh and one that would actually address his oxygen needs!).  So we switched to a doctor that saw Sam in the NICU a few times and also happens to be a pediatrician.  He's a great doctor, which means we had to ask special permission to be a patient of his and had to find times to squeeze us into his schedule.

We had our first visit with him 3 weeks ago.  At that point we had already had his 4 month visit scheduled, but his office called wanting to schedule a special appointment just to address his oxygen needs!  That made me really happy, because I did not believe Samuel actually NEEDED to be on oxygen, but we were left having him on oxygen because we didn't want to fully take him off without having confirmation of what we thought.

So we went in for that check-up.  Ben and I explained to him what had been going on and got the green light to take Sam off the oxygen, but keep him on the monitor.  Oh and we also got to change his O2 parameters on the monitor.  They were originally set at 95-100 and now they are set 90-100.  He's still supposed to be in the upper end of the range, but as he was already declared ROP free weeks before that appointment it's fine when his O2 is a little lower than 95 (higher O2=lower ROP according to some studies).

That gave us a lot more freedom in our lives.  I didn't really want to take him to Church, but now that his parameters were different I felt more comfortable (otherwise off O2 he would do this thing where he'd go to 94 just long enough for it to alarm and then right back up, I really didn't want to go to Church and beep the whole service...).  So now I have been able to bring Sam with to Church for the past 3 weekends.

Now zoom forward again to the 4 month check-up.  This is one where they get immunizations.  Because he reacted so poorly to the first round at 2 months (remember, we ended up staying in the NICU over the weekend instead of leaving just before the weekend) our doctor decided to split them up.  He also decided it would be good to keep the oxygen stuff around just in case he reacts poorly.  He asked us to monitor his oxygen for a day or 2 and then we could take him off the monitor until we go in to get the rest of the immunizations (later today actually).

Samuel also weighed in at 9# 3oz and is 21.75 inches in length.  So he's growing great!  He's actually starting to grow out of newborn more and more.  We have him primarily in 0-3 mo clothes now as he is too long for most of our newborn stuff.  The doctor also said that Samuel is a perfectly normal 1 month old baby now and that if he didn't know Sam previously and I had told him he was 1 month old, he would not have questioned the age at all!  We are excited to start seeing more full-term baby milestones (not that the preemie milestones weren't great and hugely important!).

Sam did just fine with the first part of the 4 month immunizations and we pray that he does just as well with the last of it today.  He will be going on his first overnight trip tomorrow, so we are really hoping he does well!

06 June 2012


So I have been rather delinquent here, but I think with good reason!  For those of you who don't know we moved across town to a house that is a little better set up for a growing family.  It also has the added perk that Ben is now only 1.5 miles from work instead of 7!  So far we are loving the new house and are just praying fervently that God sends us a buyer for the old house.  We will be having the first open house for it on Sunday 1-3, so if you know anyone interested...

Moving with a baby is not fun, at least I did not view it as fun.  It might not have been soo bad, but we had some issues going into it (not real bad issues, but they still added stress!).  Basically Samuel is nursed most of the day and is to receive 3 bottles of fortified milk a day (and I get to pump pump pump...).  A few days before we started moving things is when the nursing issues started.  He used to nurse 25-30 minutes no problem, but had backed down to 20-25 minutes a few weeks before the move.  I take it as he has simply become more efficient at it because he seemed just as full.

Well a few days before the move I would spend an hour or more just to get him to go 15-20 minutes, which was quite unusual.  Normally we'd be done nursing in a half an hour then I would spend another half an hour getting him to burp.  At the time I thought it was just laziness because it is easier to eat from the bottle, but now I think it might have simply been my stress of moving playing out in his feeding ability, which a few days before the move I didn't think I was THAT stressed!

Anyways, so pretty much to sum up the move, I spent the time fighting with Sam to get him to nurse, getting practically no sleep, which made me really no fun to be around...  I was not especially nice to my husband the whole time and he was a saint to have put up with me!  Just proof that I have an extremely loving and gracious husband!  During the move I basically shut down and barricaded myself off from the world in a room with Sam.

Since that weekend I have slowly been unpacking our house, one box at a time.  I have made a small dent into the things that need to happen.  Also since that weekend Sam has taken of with nursing again and has been doing just fine!  We are all much more relaxed overall.  The only thing missing is Ben.  He's been spending all this time at the old house getting it ready that we don't see him much.  All the more reason I pray that house sells quickly!

Also with the move we didn't have internet until yesterday.  So now I am back on and can feel connected to the world again!  Over the next few days I am going to be writing different updates about different things that have been happening, other than the move.