Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Naming Brooks

So we didn't name Brooks until he was 2 days old. That is so not me. I am a planner and I am a terrible decision maker so it was stressful for me to not have a name. Plus, I am very picky about names, I like uncommon names and I actually even had a hard time finding names I liked. I gave Casey lots of names and he didn't like any of them-none! Brooks was the only one he didn't flat out say no to and I remember making a note of that after I told him which was probably not long after we found out Brooks was a boy. The name I was really set on was Laith. He hated it! I kept working on him, even some ladies I work with called him Laith:) He was not budging and did not like it at all or anything else I brought up. So I kept telling him that I am not the person that can be in the hospital and not have a name for my baby. He finally gave me 2 names about a month before I delivered-Hendrix and Parker, I didn't hate them, but I wasn't in love with them. I really wanted at least one of us to love the name if we couldn't find one that was both of our favorites. So after I delivered, I was out of options for him so it was up to him to decide. Finally, he brought up Brooks on day 2. Honestly when I mentioned it to him it wasn't my favorite, Laith was. And even in the hospital when he brought it up again, I wasn't sure. But the more I thought about, the more I liked it. And now, I love it, of course:) We have gotten a lot of compliments on it. People have asked where I got it from and the only thing I can remember when I thought of it was one day I was having lunch with my friend Angie (my BFF fellow baby loss mama) and her last name is Brooks and I remember telling her "I do like the name Brooks". So I guess I would have to say that's where Brooks came from:)

He is a perfect little Brooks, too!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Not everyone can breastfeed

Yep, it's true.

I have never been able to breastfeed anyway because my babies are born so early, but I did pump at home and at the hospital with a hospital grade pump. Each time I rented them from the hospital to take home.

My first pregnancy, Brennan was born at 29 weeks, 11 weeks early. I pumped for about a month. Each time I would pump I would get a few milliliters, not ounces, milliliters. I continued to pump doing all of the things I was instructed-drink lots of water...pump every 2-3 hours-even at night...pump next to the baby's bedside...use a hospital grade pump..the list goes on. I continued to get the same amount no matter what I did. I even took the medication, reglan and that didn't help either. So when Brennan was taking ounces and I was still producing only milliliters, I stopped pumping and he got only formula. They told me it was probably a combination of him being born early, the magnesium I was on and the steroid shots I got.

With Reese and Scotlyn, I pumped for 11 days until Reese passed away, but it was the same thing, I never could produce enough milk.

This time I pumped again. I felt like I had a lot of resources this time. My nurses that cared for me after I delivered seemed very knowledgeable, I had a lactation consultant at the hospital I delivered at and a lactation consultant in the NICU where Brooks was. After pumping for about 6 days this time, I stopped the lactation consultant in the NICU and explained everything I was doing and asked if she had any suggestions. She sat down with me and told me that she noticed my breasts when I was holding Brooks a couple of days after he was born and said that I have Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT). Basically, I lack mammary tissue. I don't have breast changes in pregnancy, I never got engorged and at most I produced 7ml (and that was rare, usually it was 1-3ml) between both breasts. She didn't tell me at first because she didn't want me to be discouraged and stop just in case I produced more than what I usually would. I continued to pump and even tried fenugreek, which is an herb to help produce more milk, but that didn't help either. I pumped for 3 weeks this time until Brooks was taking way more than anything I was providing would make a difference.

I wanted to post this in case there is anyone else out there that has the same issue I do or a health professional that may be able to help someone else who is having trouble. As much of a bummer that it is that I can't produce milk for my babies, it's nice to finally have an answer and not feel like I was doing something wrong. It totally makes sense now, but there is obviously a lack of education about it since this is my 3rd pregnancy pumping and many health professionals-doctors, nurses and lactation consultants knew my situation and were not familiar with this diagnosis.

There is a website that offers a little more information.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Full term

So yesterday was Brooks' due date. In one of my early ultrasounds, Brooks was measuring ahead so they moved my due date up to Jan 17th. However when it came down to it, the closer I got to being delivered I was adamant that they consider my true due date so they knew exactly how far along I was when he was born. I know when I ovulated so I know my due date would have been January 23rd. I know 6 days doesn't seem like a lot, but when you have a preemie, the difference in almost a week can make a difference.

I knew I would never make it to my due date because I am a scheduled c-section so the plan was for me to deliver December 26th. I would have been 37 weeks. I was really hoping to at least make it to December, but unfortunately my body had other plans.

Here we are snuggling last night. I always post pictures of just Brooks and everyone says how big he looks until there is a point of reference as to be able to tell just how small he is. Not sure if you can tell, but he is pretty much like a newborn. That's the thing with preemies, up until about age 2 they have two ages, their real age and their adjusted age. Brooks is a little over 2 months old, but he doesn't act like a 2 month old, he is more like a newborn. So his adjusted age right now is 0. We start over from here and he will pretty much follow that curve for the next 2 years, most likely (hopefully) making up for some of that time along the way. We go back to Children's to see their Newborn Medicine Clinic in April. They will evaluate him to see if he is following the appropriate curve (growth and development) and decide if he needs therapies from there. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Doctor Appt

Brooks had his follow up pediatrician appointment today. He didn't get his Hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital so he got that today. I didn't want to do more than that and since he is so small his doctor didn't either so he goes back in a month for his 2 month shots, but he will actually be 3 months so a little behind. He was 6lb 7oz which is what I was hoping for. That is still an ounce per day so he is rocking the weight gain.

These pictures are actually from last week, but this is what he wore today:) My BFF, Jill sent this for him. It's Burt's Bees and I didn't even know they made clothes! He doesn't have many hats that fit. He is kind of in between sizes right now. Preemie is too small and newborn is a little big. I'm glad he is growing, but I don't want him to grow too fast!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


 Brennan has loved having Brooks home and has not once said anything negative about it, but he has been acting different in other ways so the only thing I can think of is that it is related to the change. Obviously, Brennan has been an only child for 7 1/2 years now. And while I don't think he is necessarily jealous, I think he is noticing that the attention is being divided. Since Brennan was born (well since about 9 months old, post first winter) we have always done a lot of adventures from the zoo to the aquarium to play dates. Lately, not just since Brooks was born, but even the last part of my pregnancy we haven't been able to do those things. I can tell a difference when we have gotten out to do things recently, even if it's just for a short time. So I have been trying to take some time out just for Brennan. When Brooks was in the hospital, I tried to keep our schedule similar to before for Brennan, but no matter what there was never enough time to do everything. And now that Brooks is home and it has been cold and avoiding illness, we still haven't been doing much. He just started playing basketball and Casey is coaching, so he is loving that.

This weekend the weather was so nice so I took Brennan to the zoo. The zoo is our favorite place to go! We got a membership for Christmas so that's even more reason to go:)

We met my friend, Angie, and her family there. Her boys are 2 and 3 and they all have so much fun! I really wanted to take Brooks, but for obvious reasons I couldn't, but Brennan and I are so looking forward to outings when we can bring our new little man! Brennan kept saying he wished Brooks could come:)

Brennan is learning about penguins at school so he was excited to see them. Its one of our favorite spots, but unfortunately the indoor exhibit is still closed.

This boy is seriously growing so much! He eats constantly, every time I turn around he asking for something else to eat. And usually since its gradual you don't notice how much they've grown, but lately I look at him and he looks huge to me! It could also have something to do with looking at him after looking at my itty bitty baby love;)

But really, we have been teasing him about a flood coming because all of his jammies are so short, then we had to explain the joke to him:)

We have also been doing some fun projects around the house. I forgot that we had saved the box from Brooks' glider so we got that out of the basement and made a rocketship (that turned out to look more like a house because my hands are so raw from washing them and everything else that I could not cut any more pieces!) Either way, he was happy with it and has had so much fun playing in it!

Brennan got an Ipod for Christmas. It was one of the few gifts he had on his list and he loves it! I really like it for him too. There were a few positives I saw for him having it. One was that it is a responsibility for him to keep track of it, keep it charged, take care of it. He can also facetime with our family, my brother lives out of town so this was especially important to me for them to have that connection. However, we then found the hangouts app which is like facetime for android. So Brennan can also text us now. He is pretty cute in his texts, although sometimes it just says "poop" with a bunch of turd emojis after:p

He did send me this text the other day, so funny!

Will you give brooks a baba👩👶🍼 

Anyway, it's be kind of fun little communication tool for our family. Also, since we aren't having any visitors right now except our parents and siblings, it has been nice to put Brooks on face time so people can see him:)

Brooks had his last eye exam yesterday. She said his eyes look great. They are still immature, but she is okay with that being his last exam. If he were to develop an upper respiratory infection in the next month or two and have to go back to the hospital and require oxygen then she would want him to have another exam then. The oxygen can affect the underdeveloped vessels and cause retinopathy. However, we are going through great lengths to keep him from getting sick so let's hope that doesn't happen.

He has a regular pediatrician appt tomorrow. I am curious to see what he weighs. His nurse came last Wednesday, but he hasn't been weighed since. He has been eating well. I have an app on my phone that I record all of his feedings. He is now wanting to eat every 2 hours sometimes, which I wasn't crazy about only because I didn't want him to take a lesser amount, but he has actually been taking pretty close to his normal amounts when he does so he is still just eating on demand-even if it is every 2 hours. He sleeps good at night and I think he has his days/nights down. He is usually awake for a couple of hours after his first am bottle which the time varies, but anywhere from 6-8am. Then he mostly sleeps through the day and is awake in the evening time. He is fussy in the evening and it can be a bit of a challenge to get him to sleep sometimes. Last night being the worst, but hopefully that isn't a trend:)

I think I'm the big boy holding my bottle:)

Overall, he is so sweet and we are all in awe of him♥

Monday, January 19, 2015

Newborn Pictures

Our family has only had professional pictures done a handful of times. I love taking pictures so I have done most of what we have, but I decided when I was pregnant with Brooks that I wanted a newborn session. I have a fellow baby loss mama who does photography so she kindly came to our house (such a blessing!) and took pictures for us. I have a few sneak peaks for now and I will post more later when I get the rest:) Brooks was 2 months old yesterday so it was a perfect time to get pictures done. Her website is www.jenkillionphotography.com-go check out her other work!

Little Rainbow

What an amazing job she did capturing this sweet face♥

These brothers = ♥

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

A baby that is born after the loss of a baby or babies is called a Rainbow Baby.  Rainbow Babies bring new hope to life after the "storm".

Brooks is our Rainbow Baby. 

Today I was carrying Brooks around the house to get him to sleep and I turned on a lullaby station on Pandora (highly recommended by the way) and the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow came on and I was immediately in tears looking at my sweet little rainbow. 

"Dreams you dare to dream really come true."

I still can't believe he is mine. I don't think I could ever really believe that it was possible to have another baby here on earth. I didn't really believe it until he came home and then all I could think about was how long was I going to get to keep him. It's becoming more real and I know as time goes on it will get better, but for now I am just thankful he is here and thriving.

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Outing

Brooks had his first outing today...to the doctor. We saw 2 friends with new babes:) 

Brooks was 5lbs 11oz! I didn't really have a goal in mind, just hoped he was gaining well and he is. His doctor said she likes to see them gaining 1/2oz per day, but he is right about an ounce per day-go Brooks!

Everything else was good. My mom went with me because I am still not comfortable with him in the back by himself yet. I asked the doctor about it and she said to wait until he is about 7lbs. He didn't get his hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital (usually it's given at birth in full term babies) so he goes back next week for that. Then probably the next week for 2 month shots:(

Brennan was bigger in this picture, but same hat. I need to do a post on comparison pictures because these 2 look just alike! (Although you may not be able to tell as much from these 2 pictures since they aren't the same size, but those chins!) They both have a birth mark in between their eyes too. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Coming Home

Brooks finally got to come home Tuesday after 7 weeks! He was doing well taking bottles and ended up pulling his NG tube for feedings out last Friday. They decided to leave it out and see how he did with eating. He ended up doing well so he was circumcised on Saturday. They also did his car seat test and he failed the first time. He had to sit in his car seat for 2 hours while they monitored his oxygen. Sometimes they drop their oxygen and/or heart rate. He dropped his oxygen a little bit. They used blankets on either side to keep his head straight. So Sunday night they tried again and moved the blankets around and that was the ticket-he passed! He had his hearing test and had passed, he continued doing well with bottles over the weekend and was still gaining weight so when I called Monday morning I was expecting to prepare to bring him home. Well, he had lost 13gms (1/2 ounce) and he didn't meet his calories the day before so they decided to keep him:( His weight loss really wasn't substantial (he had pooped 55gm shortly before he was weighed!) So they told him on Monday not to poop before he got weighed:) But in combination with not meeting his calories it was part of the deciding factor. I was a little disappointed, but knew if we had waited almost 7 weeks we could wait one more day. They said the attending was really on the fence, but they were afraid he was getting tired and they didn't want us to discover that at home and have to come back. So anyway, Tuesday morning I got the call from his Nurse Practitioner with the good news. We took Brennan to school, stopped to get a couple of things that we found out we needed the day before and went to get him. When we got there his Nurse Practitioner came in with the paperwork and we were ready to go! The nurse the day before said not to expect to get out before noon and it was 9:30! The nurse that day said she had never discharged anyone so quickly because the paperwork usually wasn't ready. I think his NP made a great effort to get everything ready for us so we could get home:) I was still packing stuff up because  expected it take longer. So I kicked it in high gear and had Casey pull the car around:) 

He slept pretty much the whole way home:) He was ready to eat when we got home so we fed him and just hung out until Brennan got out of school. 

Casey went to pick Brennan up and didn't tell Brennan Brooks was home. Brennan knew it was a possibility, but he was still surprised and soooo excited! I have the cutest video I will have to upload. So sweet:)

He has loved having him home. Here we are at a 3am feeding. He has been up for a couple of those. He doesn't even wake up from Brooks crying, but one night he happened to wake up in the middle of the night (which actually isn't unusual) right before a feeding and then when Brooks got up, he of course wanted to stay up. It's been a bit of musical beds for Brooks and I, and Brennan sometimes. Sometimes Brooks and I sleep in our room and sometimes we sleep in the nursery. Brennan mostly sleeps in his room, but I think this night he brought his blankets into the nursery and we had a little sleepover in there:)

Brennan made this sweet sign with my mother-in-law last weekend to welcome Brooks home.

This was the sunset the night we came. It was seriously breathtaking. I had not seen a more beautiful sunset in a long time. Although when I do, I immediately feel like it is part of Reese and Scotlyns' work. That night I felt like they were welcoming their baby brother home.

The picture above is in our backyard, but I didn't feel like my picture did it justice so I wanted to share this image as well. It was gorgeous.

Brooks has been eating around 2oz every 3-4 hours. He was eating every 4 hours the last couple of days in the hospital so we kind of tried to hold him off until then, I was afraid he wouldn't take as much if we let him do 3 hours and he could meet his calories if took at least 2oz every 4 hours. But after a day or two he seemed to be ready to eat at 3 hours and he did just about as well at 3 hours. Maybe slightly less, but overall he would be getting more throughout the day eating every 3 hours than every 4 hours. He is on a lower calorie formula than when he was in the hospital, but higher than regular formula. It is a 22 calorie per ounce formula and apparently it's a little like gold. For now, they want him to have only pre-made formula and no powder. Well it is hard to find in pre-made. They gave us a list of places that sell the powder, which there are several and we had actually already gotten some before I knew that he needed pre-made. The liquid however, there were 3 stores that sell it the 32oz can and 3 stores that sell it in the 8oz bottles and one store is the same for both. Well, only one of these stores carried it and it was only the 32oz can. I had ordered some when they told us, but it wasn't here yet. My mom drove to every store in the area looking for it. Well, we ended up buying out the one store that had it and I placed another order online with my friends prime account to get it in 2 days. So we have stock now:) And I had no idea, but apparently now with powder you are supposed to boil the water when you prepare it, even if it is store bought nursery water. Either way, we will be sticking with the pre-made stuff for now. So if anyone has Enfamil coupons laying around, we will gladly use them:)

They wanted Brooks weighed twice per week so we opted for home health visits so we wouldn't have to get Brooks out in the cold and expose him at the doctor office. The nurse came on Wednesday, the day after we were discharged. She was very nice and everything was cleaned and she washed her hands so I was happy (more about my freakish santizing later)

She had a little portable scale and Brooks was 5lbs 6oz! Last weight at the hospital was around 5lb 4oz, but the scales can vary and he had his diaper on, but I was confident it truly was up at least a little bit. She was scheduled for twice per week, but left it up to us if we wanted her to come again last week. We go to the doctor in the morning so we chose to have her wait until later this week. It is just another thing for him to have to get undressed and go through that stress. Even though it seems small, for him it is a lot. Everything else is going well and as long as he is eating, I wasn't worried about her coming back again last week. I am curious what he will weigh tomorrow-stay tuned:)

He did get his first bath at home, which still consisted of a sponge bath since he was circumcised. He did better than he did in the hospital. These were after-I mean seriously, that face-he's the sweetest! 

I'm not sure how he will tolerate a regular bath, we have a little mesh sling for him to sit in the tub so maybe we will try that next time and see how he does. He does not like to be messed with, he doesn't like to be naked and especially does not like to be cold! I can't blame him! I am surprised we got these pics and he is content:)

Brooks has about one long period of awake time per day. He is content for part of it, although he still has a lot of involuntary movements so sometimes he gets a little worked up, not really crying, just not content. Usually swaddling helps and he is mostly swaddled, but I do unswaddle for feedings because he tends to get too sleepy if he is swaddled and doesn't want to finish his bottle. When he has those moments and isn't content, I usually walk him around and sing to him, sometimes greenie (the big green pacifier) helps. He is having longer awake periods and he is really looking around, taking in his new home and all the sounds that come with it (mostly his crazy big brother running around:)

He loves to snuggle. Oh boy. When he was first in the NICU he was very angry at the situation (which I don't blame him one bit) and he liked to pull out his tubes, the important ones that kept him alive like the breathing tube. So he got the name maniac among others. I was asked who he got his temper from (probably me), but by the end his nurses and therapists said he was a snuggler. So we get lots of snuggling time in:)

Otherwise, the weather is dreadful so we have been hunkered down trying to stay warm. We have enjoyed our bird feeder that has been getting alot of action lately. Make sure you feed your birds in the winter-it is especially important because it is harder for them to find food in the snow (even though we haven't had much of that-they still seem to appreciate it) These 2 Cardinals are always hanging around and they are both so beautiful.

Female Cardinal

Male Cardinal

We also had a deer friend in our backyard yesterday. He was limping so I was a little worried so I called Bi-State Wildlife Hotline and they said if it is an adult who is walking around and is eating that they let them be. I wasn't sure the deer would still be close by if they came to get it anyway. We stopped watching it after it crossed the street, but later that day my mom stopped by and she said she saw it back near our yard so maybe he is hanging around for a bit.

We also saw another kind of deer this weekend, a reindeer..and Olaf. I saw a post on facebook Saturday that these two were going to be a couple of miles from our house and I knew Brennan would love it so we got dressed and headed up there.

Brennan had so much fun. We weren't event there long, but we usually do stuff like this all the time and we really haven't been able to take Brennan do to much lately. And so many changes for him, it was nice to get him out for a little bit.

When Brooks came home Brennan had a little bit of a stuffy nose, barely anything, but we were still careful to keep him out of Brooks' face and wash his hands often. Well, now he has picked up something else much worse. I have been running around behind him sanitizing everything, constantly reminding him to wash his hands and not to get too close to Brooks. I feel terrible for him because he can't help that he is sick, but we also have to take these measures to make sure Brooks doesn't get it. And he is obviously old enough that he understands, but he is still a child. I also feel bad that Brooks is finally home and he still can't be near him. I know this is only temporary and I keep trying to tell myself that, but the days are long when you're waiting for warmer weather, a well child and another child to be big enough that he doesn't have to be in a bubble. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely thankful, but it is very stressful for me right now. 

Brennan has really gotten into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lately. He found the mutagen online that turns the turtle into the Ninja Turtles and he wanted to make it.

Casey went out and got all of the supplies. Very easy! Water+borax+clear glue=slime

Casey also made a tube to put it in out of pvc.

And we added glow sticks.

Brennan was thrilled!

Brooks was too:) He is happy at home with his family and we are so incredibly, indescribably happy as well♥