Tuesday, April 10, 2012


In just a few minutes we will be discharged from the hospital after an unexpectedly extended six day stay.
It feels liberating and a little scary.

For Mom and baby it was a race to the finish. Andrew won the race by four hours, graduating from the NICU around one in the afternoon on Tuesday April 10th after spending part of six days under intensive care.  The evening before, the doctors started Shelly on a new blood pressure drug.  The impact was dramatic and after several days of very elevated levels Mom's blood pressure was considered stable and Mom was cleared for release Tuesday evening.

It wasn't our plan, but it was in the end a pleasant experience, like spending a week in the hotel with better service and no pool.

Baby Two-Step

It's more a dance than a race and for each couple steps mom and baby make towards one another, they take one rock-step in place.  The last few days have been like that.  Baby steps.  The baby two-step.

Andrew continues to grow stronger.  He started his first day with an IV of Dextrose in his sweet noggin to combat low blood sugar.  Unfortunately, the IV only lasted eight hours before Daddy knocked it out trying to hold him.  We decided to try to hold his blood sugar up with just bottles every two hours instead of retapping his veins.  It seemed smart at the time.  Just like Mom and Dad his little veins roll too, and he had four holes in one hand and three in the other to prove it.

Using just bottles worked for a spell, but after about ten hours of just bottles his blood sugar plummeted to the low twenties again - where it was when he entered the NICU.  Rock-step.  An IV went back in his hand, with 12mL of Dextrose again.  He came back strong, his blood sugar levels returned to normal and after half a day we started weaning at the rate of 1mL for each feeding with a strong blood sugar.  My little man soldiered on making steady progress until we hit 4mL/hr.  He hung there for another half a day before his sugar levels and strength returned.  Then it was 3.  Then Andrew decided he didn't like the IV and ripped it out.  Rock-step.  He struggled without it.  Drew's sugar levels dropped but not quite to the panic level, but close.  For the next day he adjusted.  Then last night, he found his mojo again and starting pulling not just good numbers, but great numbers.

Shelly is dancing the same dance a few floors up to a different tune.  You know what they say, "If it's not blood sugar, it's blood pressure!"  Actually, I've never heard anyone say that.

The C-Section was scheduled due to Shelly's high blood pressure.  After Drew emerged rather than getting better, Shel's blood pressure got worse.  So while I was with Drew struggling for breath and then battling blood sugar issues - Shelly was upstairs trying not to go into a seizure. Seriously. They put bumpers on her bed.

Shelly made steady progress springing back from surgery, but blood pressure haunts her recovery.  She was first on magnesium for twenty-four hours.  Then various blood pressure medicines.  Then cocktails of drugs, some successful, some not.  Hope one moment, disappointment the next.  But never despair.  For the moment, for Shelly, it is hope.  She just had a blood pressure one might call within the range of normal.  Perhaps more shocking since her overnight readings were on the edge of alarming.

My girl has also found a role, often remotely, in motherhood.  Through meetings with the lactaction consultant we have been able to fine-tune methods for breastfeeding and find the right pump.  Every three hours now, even with the baby downstairs in NICU, we are up and pumping - sending first small syringes and now bags of breastmilk downstairs for our little man.  Even though her blood pressure often kept her chained to the bed, it gave purpose and hope.

Hope, I've used that word a lot today.  The word hope might be misleading, and an artifact of the limitations of language.  Because it's more than hope really - it's love.  Because despite my past opinion of hospitals and what you hear about healthcare - like other professions staffed out of love: teaching, counseling, biology... this is a place of love.  The staff at St. Luke's NICU and Labor and Delivery have been nothing short of amazing.  It is clear that they care deeply and passionately about their patients and those that care for them. The atmosphere is joyful and love runs like a current through the staff.  I'm hesitant to name names, because *everyone* has been fantastic, but a few individuals do stand out in our experience above the rest.

In the NICU: Julia has been an absolute angel. Saralyn has calmly led me into fatherhood. Brandy and Nicole have buoyed my spirits and kept us all afloat. Stacey and Jennie have led my little man toward success. Nora held my sanity and my son in the rush from the OR to the NICU, and appeared again to set the IV in my boy that no one else could set.

In L&D: Jessica kept us spirited and laughing, while Cindy had us in stitches.  Diane adopted Shelly and cared for her like her daughter.  Roma for going way beyond to make sure we were comfortable.  Rachel, Christy, Natalie... everyone is great.

Everyone here is beyond professional with all the best and most loving parts that come with the word family.

As for the dance?  We just received word that Mommy's Rockstar just got the his cap and gown and graduated from the NICU.  He is headed upstairs to mommy's bed in within the hour!  Way to go my man!  Daddy is so proud!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Mommy's Rockstar

After a day of rest our little guy is back!  I have been told day two is always rough.  Andrew did hit the bottle pretty hard for the first 24 hours.

Day two was the hangover.  To get Andrew to stay awake to eat we had to resort to torture.   Wet cloths under his armpits were most effective.  He would take two sips from the bottle and pass out again.  Around noon Saturday, as he entered his third day with us, his punchiness returned. 

Last night we got in Andrew's first bath.  He wasn't a fan, but he endured.  We dressed him up in some new duds and "Mommy's Rockstar" spent his time like any rocker: fondling and sucking on boobies and drinking until he passed out (repeat).

Mom and son are both getting more familiar with breastfeeding.  It's a process, an art, and a labor.  But we are moving forward.  And by we you think I mean them.  Turns out though Dad is pretty good at expressing, so I am not without utility.

Bear had a really great night.  He has been drinking lots and his blood sugars have been strong.  He is halfway off his IV and with luck and love he could get off of the IV completely by Monday morning.

Mom's blood pressure is still high, but she is off her IV and magnesium and is in great spirits.  It is a time for celebration.

Happy Easter everyone.  Rock out.  \m/

Saturday, April 07, 2012


I'm not quite sure what I expected.  I know I did not expect that within five minutes of meeting my little man, I'd have given up anything to save him.  It's not something for which you can prepare.

It is an epochal shift in one's life.  One that laughs at all but the most sublime experiences of my past.  I'd heard parents joke about it.  I remember one comedian saying, "You expect you might throw yourself in front of a bus for your child.  What they don't tell you is that you'll grab your spouse and throw her in front of the bus, too."  To experience the transition was far more definitive than anything I'd imagined.

Andrew emerged, not crying but sort of gurgling, and despite the best efforts of long tubes, turkey basters and various other implements of suction, he kept struggling.  A certain urgency overtook the OR, and Mom kept repeating, "Why isn't he crying?"  I have a picture of his birth weight.  He's not in it.  They were moving fast.

Generally life is a blur in hindsight.  On this day, life was a blur in the present.  Mom was still cut open with surgeons working all around, a separate team surrounded our little Bear.  It was too much, after checking in with Mom and confirming he was our baby Andrew, I focused just on him as we quickly left the OR headed for NICU.  I stayed focused on him until his breathing was normalized and the flurry of activity around him slowed.

A lot has happened since. Andrew is battling low blood sugars, while Mom is fighting high blood pressure.  Unfortunately, that finds them separated by six floors, and their time together has been limited.  Mom had only minutes with Andrew in his first twelve hours until grandma brokered an excursion downstairs around midnight.  Today we found more time together and both Mom and my little bear are making solid progress.

Just this evening, Shelly was released from her IV's and moments ago Andrew has started being weaned off his IV.  I feel very blessed.  My beautiful wife just brought me the cutest little boy.  I am so in love with them both.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Just Drew

Fresh high quality images!


More pictures in this photoset.

Mom and Baby

Update on our little bear

The first day has been pretty crazy. Hence the brief updates. I spent almost all of bear's first day in NICU while Shelly was 6 floors overhead. She only got about 1 minute on the surgery table and 10 minutes in the NICU before they ushered her upstairs for high blood pressure.

Andrew was initially admitted to the NICU because he was having trouble expelling the liquid from his lungs, he was "gurgling". That calmed pretty quickly, but meanwhile he developed quite low blood sugars. We battled those all day.  He was normal by evening, but always on the low side (around 50).

After midnight we finally busted Shelly out of her floor for a visit but after an hour she was pretty wiped. We are hoping to all spend some time together as a family today.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


Sweet dreams

Osito y Padre


Waiting for the anesthesiologist

Shelly is getting a spinal.  Should let me in after a few minutes!

Waiting to go to the OR!

Out of Hibernation

Today we meet our little bear. We're excited, delighted and a little scared!

In a few hours we'll go from a couple to family. We can't wait to see your face!