Mar 25, 2010

3 Weeks Old

Hard to believe that Brendan is already 3-weeks-old today. We are continuing to figure each other out. We are beginning to learn his various cries and have definately felt moments of success and failure as parents. We laugh often at all his various faces. Brendan is struggling a little with an upset tummy. This past weekend he became very grumpy and seemed to be uncomfortable. Thinking that maybe he has an allergy of some kind we took him to the doctor on Monday. We found out that we have a "chomper" for a son. Most babies his age eat between 2-3 ounces a feeding, Brendan was eating between 4-5 ounces. Most babies his age gain between 1/2 to 1 ounce a day, Brendan gained 17 ounces in a week (over double what is normal). We all prayed for him to eat and our prayers were answered. All that to say the doctor thought that Brendan was experiencing some major heartburn. So, we have tried to pace him while he is eating and regulate how much he is taking in. Things have gotten a little better but you can tell his tummy still hurts him. He is up most of the day unable to sleep--making mom's life a little interesting. Tonight we were able to start him on some anti-acid medication that will hopefully help. We are looking forward to a visit from Grammy and Grandpa J (Josh's mom and step-dad) this weekend!! Here are some new pictures of our "chomper" --SO CUTE...but we are biased!

Mar 19, 2010

Home Again

Last night was the first night in 5 days we've all been home together under the same roof.
Jamie came home yesterday after being discharged from the hospital. She was ecstatic to be home and the guys welcomed her with open arms!! Jamie will continue on antibiotics for a couple more weeks. Unfortunately, the antibiotics cause Brendan to have a little bit of an upset stomach. They said that continuing to breast feed and have a little upset stomach is better than stopping breast feeding. We'll see how it goes. We all enjoyed our first walk together around the block--what a joy! We're excited for a weekend of figuring each other out and watching some NCAA basketball. Doesn't get much better!!

Mar 16, 2010

Since Sunday...

Sunday was not a great day.

Sunday Jamie, who had been trying to "tough-it out" started feeling nauseous, had the chills and a bad headache, she decided that (after talking with the on-call doctor Sunday afternoon) she ought to go to the emergency room. Thankfully she did. They ended up re-admitting her into the hospital due to an elevated white blood count signaling an infection. Normal white blood count is between 4-11, Jamie has a count close to 22. Once again God worked in the situation to make sure Jamie got into the hospital before things got worse.
We're still not completely sure where the infection is, but the doctors think that she's got a bacteria infection in her uterus. On top of that, she also broke out in hives (which are unrelated to the infection - just an added bonus!). They are trying to figure out if it is a drug or food allergy. Jamie's on some antibiotics and given the opportunity to rehydrate and rest. She will be in the hospital for at least 2 more days.

So since then, Brendan and Josh have been able to spend more time during feedings, avoiding the spontaneous urine arches, going to his 2 week old appointment, managing bed/nap times, and visiting mom in the hospital. Being Mr. Mom.

Josh has made of list of the most recent things he discovered he could do with one hand (because he's got a wiggling kid in his arm):
- make the bed
- do the dishes
- hold a towel over Brendan and change the diaper
- make breakfast and coffee

We thank you friends and family for all your calls, texts, and prayers. Please know that we received them even though we may not have replied. We have been overwhelmingly thankful for all the support we have felt. Thank you all!

Blessings from the Smarts!

Mar 14, 2010


Mar 13, 2010

A Day of Firsts

We have spent the last couple days learning about Brendan and he has been learning about us. It took Brendan some time to transition from the lights and noise of the hospital to our house, but he seems to be settling in just fine. He got his first bath, had his first urine fountain during a diaper change, and got to celebrate his 1-week birthday with Mimi and Grandpa Rydbom (Jamie's Parents) for the first time. Brendan has already provided us plenty of entertainment as we laugh at all his different looks and faces. We are enjoying the challenge of continue to adjust to our new roles as Mom and Dad.

Mar 12, 2010

Coming Home

It has been a crazy couple days as we made the transition home. We are SOOOO thankful to be home and excited to start the journey as a family of 3.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

Mar 9, 2010

Tuesday has been a good day

Today (Tuesday) has been a good day for Brendan.
- He's been moved to a crib and is resting very comfortably, swaddled tightly, and clothed in a onesie.
- We had a visit from the Developmental Specialist today and she was really encouraged that Brendan is doing so well. He will probably be monitored him over the next 6 months both in Pullman and in Spokane. Nothing serious, just precautionary.
- Jamie was able to breast feed again this morning. Brendan has no problems latching on, he just gets pretty tired with all the concentration it takes. Therefore we will continue to both bottle and breast feed for the next few days. The Nurses feel that he will have no problems being breast-feed only when we get him home this weekend.
- The nurses and doctors have not had to supplement with any formula. Jamie has been able to pump all the milk and more than Brendan needs!
- Brendan passed a hearing test today.
- He will get the first of many immunizations starting tomorrow.

Mar 8, 2010

Starting to Transition

Monday was a great day of transition for Brendan:
- First today he was taken off the Bilirubin/photo-therapy light. The Doctor wants to see if he can make head-way on his Jondis without assistance. Also it allows him to sleep better.
- He's doing so much better with his temperature that they are moving him into a "big boy bed". When you're in the NICU a 4 day old, full term, 6 pound 15 ounce baby is big! This should mean he'll get to sleep swaddled and in a onesie.
- The Doctor also thinks he might be ready to just be nourished from the breast milk, so they removed his "central line" from his belly button where they had been previously pumping him with fluids.
- The last thing they mentioned as a milestone is that they want to run a full 7 day antibiotic though his body. This probably means he'll be in the NICU for a couple more days.

We're continued to be blessed by his recovery and perseverance.

Mar 7, 2010

Sunday's Updates

Most of you have not heard from us today because we've been taking a "cell phone sabbatical" today. Here's what's gone on today:
- Brendan's bilirubin is a little higher than they would like, so he's continuing to be treated with a phototherapy (bilirubin) light. They wouldn't even worry about it under normal circumstances so this is precautionary (and because we're already there).
- He's been able to regulate his temperature better today (although his little bottom-lip quivers when we take take him out of the incubator!). That's getting better.
- He's been eating like a champ today. He showed up in Spokane practically dehydrated, so they've been pumping him with fluids ever since to help him hydrate. Breastfeeding is going AWESOME! He latched on with no problems. He has been enjoying Jamie's breast milk during the "care times" in addition to his steady diet of fluids.
- Today he weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Doesn't seem like a lot (only 5 ounces more than at delivery) but it's good weight.
- They've seen such great improvement in Brendan he's been able to feed more often - now every 3 hours - it was 4 before.
- Please pray that his bilirubin number goes down, he becomes more hydrated, and he continues to eat well. If all this happens we will get to bring him home sometime this next week.

As you can see, he's pretty cute with his bili-headband!!

We are having a hard time getting our pictures to embed but go to this link and you'll find some great ones :)

Jamie Meets Brendan

Jamie is finally with Josh and Brendan in Spokane. Jamie was able to breastfeed for the first time Sunday morning and Brendan did GREAT. Jamie and Brendan are better and better every day.

Mar 6, 2010

Updates....I'm sure you're wanting to know!

Here's an update from Friday morning to right now:
- chest xrays showed that he had both fluid in his lungs and gas in his lower stomach (from Dr. Mike resuscitating him in the OR). The meconium in his lungs was going to be an irritant and inflammatory to his already weakened body
- Friday afternoon we had seen tremendous improvements. They removed the respirator and were weaning him off of the sedation meds (that they were using to allow him to rest) and blood pressure meds.
- Josh got to hold Brendan for the first time since his birth. Also Brendan is getting a new diaper and betting cleaned-up every 4 hours - which Josh has been doing during the day.
- Saturday morning was another chest xray. Xray showed a lot of improvements in his lungs and lower stomach (gas was passing). Doctor wanted to start trying to feed him some of Jamie's milk (colostrum) by bottle or IV - whichever he would do.
- Saturday at noon Josh was able to feed Brendan his FIRST BOTTLE - yeah!!! He took it like a champ and didn't share any with dad's clothes as a temporary keepsake! He ate about 10 milliliters (or a 1/3 of an ounce) of Jamie's milk.
Brendan is getting a little Jondis (which is to be expected) so he's starting under the Bilirubin lights this afternoon - which will be a mainstay for the next couple of days.

13 Minutes

Thirteen minutes almost changed our lives. Let me clarify, thirteen minutes changed out lives.
Brendan started the laboring process posterior - sunny-side up. Being flipped the on his back meant that traditional delivery was going to be more difficult. After about an hour and a half of laboring, our doctor decided to get Jamie ready for cesarean birth. By 5:30 Thursday evening we were in the OR. Jamie gave it another go....Brendan wasn't crowning enough.
I'm not sure what the time of birth was....I do know that when he came out there was pin-drop silence. The pediatrician worked for 13 minutes revive and resuscitate Brendan as Jamie and I were confined behind the curtain in the OR. Later he joked that it's always quieter in the OR when everyone's praying feverishly.

Walking him to the nursery Brendan didn't move, fuss, cry, or whimper. Dr. Mike (the pediatrician) made uncomfortable conversation with me while we walked. It was clear that something wasn't right...that he wasn't squirming like he should; that he wasn't wailing like newborns wail.

Nurses under pressure are at their best - nurses that we'd been with for 11 hours, nurses that are invested in you and your son, nurses that are dedicated to his success.

They called the emergency helicopter team from Spokane at some point - probably while Dr. Mike was reviving Brendan in the OR. Time was at a halt while they got Brendan ready for transport to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Spokane. I felt paralyzed while the nurses and Dr. Mike worked to get him ready. Immobilized in my own skin watching Brendan begin to breathe on his own, move on his own, live on his own.

Coming out to talk with the family that was at the hospital was easily the most emotional I've ever been. For me it was the first time I had do more than listen - I had to communicate to our family (who'd been confined to our room for more than an hour without any updates) not only the facts but the decisions and the emotions of what was happening. I remember only stuttering out "he's not doing well" and Dr. Mike taking over calmly providing the details of the procedure and update on the Brendan.

By 11:00 Thursday night Mike (Jamie's dad) and I were in Spokane meeting with the doctor on the floor of the NICU and getting the update. His transport from Spokane had gone well and he was recovering nicely.

There's a familiar adage that gets thrown around in times like these and it's appropriate to summarize these events - Brendan was "touch and go".

If I'm honest so was I. I was teetering between an emotional climax and fear - maybe both at the same time. Oddly I wasn't scared to Brendan - I was worried I wouldn't know what to do or how to do it. Worried I couldn't be strong enough for Jamie.

A community of people in your life is not a coincidence - it's a blessing. A God-Orchestrated web of visits, encouraging phone calls and texts. It's one thing to hear your friends tell you that they love you and that they are praying for you. It's a whole different thing to hear your pediatrician say he prayed for 13 minutes while he worked to save your son's life.

Jamie and I not a religious people. We are people that, a long time ago, decided that pursuing Jesus first, then each other second, was the most loving thing we could do for each other. May we be people that pray. May we be people that love. May we be people that press into the Lord when things are good and when things deviate from the plan.

If you prayed for us I tearfully (right now, tearing up) thank you. If you texted while the process was happening - we read it, thank you. I guarantee we'll talk to most all of you at some point along the way if you called and left a message. Prayer isn't just a fleeting hope that some distant, detached god would take pity on you. It's a lifeline that communicates supernaturally to God's very ear. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf communicating to the Father. God did not create us so he could relieve our pain and dispense miracles to us. He is not in the business of pain-avoidance. He's in the business of making us Holy - not happy.

Jesus may you continue to mold Jamie and I into suitable parents. May you teach us how to care for, love, mentor, parent, and connect to Brendan.

Friends and family: thank you. We love you.