Thursday, April 30, 2015

A day at the Fairgrounds

 This Spring Owen's class took part in Pre K day at the Walker county fairgrounds.   

First, the park rangers read a story and let the kiddos touch an assortment of animal hides.

Next, they were entertained by a juggling/tight rope act.  

The face painting and pop corn stop might have been Owen's favorite :)


These boys loved climbing through the sheriff's vehicle and he was nice enough to pose for a photo. 

Near the end of the day the class enjoyed a hay ride and fire truck rides around the parking lot.


The last activity was a tour of the show animals.  The kiddos loved being so close to rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs and cows! 

What a fun day with a great group of kids :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Owen at five-and-a-half

Owen is five and-a-half!  He is growing fast and is such a fun little guy.  He currently weighs 44 pounds and seems taller every day.  He wears size 5 clothes and size 12 shoes. 

Over the past few months he has really come out of his shell.  He isn't near as shy as he once was and is a chatter box to those he knows well.  He enjoys being outside, playing games on the Ipad and playing basketball and tee ball.  He can now ride his bike sans training wheels!

Although it is often a challenge to get him motivated and out the door on school days he seems to enjoy his days.  He doesn't enjoy naptime and often begs me to pick him up beforehand. There is definitely a difference in his temperament the days he rests versus the days he does not.  His school and teacher have been such huge blessings and I can't believe there are only a few weeks left!

He recites the entire alphabet and counts to 100 mostly unassisted.  We are working on rhyming words.  He doesn't seem interested in reading yet but recognizes a few familiar words.  He enjoys all things number related including time.  He constantly asks "how many days/minutes/seconds until...?".

He calls himself an Aggie and loves to give me a hard time about Baylor.  He has a few recorded Aggie football games and loves to rewind, fast forward, pause, analyze and ask his daddy questions.  His sleep habits haven't changed much.  He recently got a new big boy bed but still ends up with us most nights.  He looks forward to sleeping on the couch on weekends.

He is a great big brother!  He is very helpful and is even willing to change diapers!  He certainly seems to much bigger now that Hudson is here.

His eating habits are also pretty consistent.  We encourage him to try a bite of everything but his taste buds just won't budge!  We do our best to include at least one food item that we know he will eat with every meal.  The boy could gladly survive on Ramen noodles or white rice alone.
He enjoys Wii sports - especially bowling, football and golf.  His hand/eye coordination has progressed and he is actually very good!  If you beat him he will not invite you to play again :) 

We are soaking up the last few months before he starts Kindergarten.  We love our Owen!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hudson - 1 month

Hudson is already a month old!  It has been so nice to finally have him home and to all be together under one roof!  We are adjusting well and are doing our best to juggle another kiddo!  He is now wearing preemie and  a few newborn size outfits and size newborn diapers. 
His nickname is "Brother Bear".  He is swaddled to sleep and typically wakes up three times during the night.  He sleeps a ton during the day.

Little man is tiny but fierce!  He is steadily gaining weight.  As shown below, he weighed 5 lbs 10 oz at his two week well child check up.  He now weighs 6 lbs 12 oz and eats every 2.5 hours.

This little guy really likes to be held.  There are always plenty of arms around here willing to help hold him :)

He is not a fan of bath time and fusses like crazy.  He also dislikes being changed, dressed or strapped into his car seat.  Once we start driving he is usually fine! 

Unlike his older siblings, he isn't so sure about the pacifier.  He shakes his head 'no' but finally gives in and relaxes.  He gets the hiccups quite often.

He slept through his first trip to Target at three weeks old.  His car seat took up the entire basket which definitely limited my spending potential :)

Emma is old enough to be a great built in babysitter!  She is very helpful and loves him so much!  She is always willing to step in and offer an extra set of hands!  I predict that these two will have a very special bond :)

Easter 2015 - He is risen!  Our three sweet some"bunnies" :)  Hudson attended church for the first time!

Every good and perfect gift is from above. -James 1:17

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Life in the NICU

At 28 weeks along a routine ultrasound revealed that Hudson had Spina bifida.  The final ten weeks of pregnancy were quite a whirlwind with lots of medical appointments in preparation for his arrival.  We wanted to ensure the very best care for our boy and we were very fortunate to be connected with the medical professionals at TCH.  We knew ahead of time that Hudson would spend some time in the NICU.  We ended up staying for two weeks.  He spent the first week in the north tower level 4.  Lita, Big Daddy and Uncle Joseph were able to meet our little man very shortly after his birth.  We were all so bummed that Emma and Owen were not allowed into the NICU because it was flu season :(  Hudson was not allowed to eat the first day because of his impending surgery.  Conveniently there is a sky bridge connecting TCH to the Women's Pavilion. 

Because I was very weak and ended up having a blood transfusion I was unable to visit him that first day.  Looking back I can't believe I was so calm about it but I suppose I was quite exhausted and medicated!  Jarrod kept busy going back and forth between my hospital room and the NICU and was able to hold Hudson around midnight.

I was able to visit him the next morning.  He was hooked up to several wires including heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure.  I wasn't allowed to hold him in order to protect his open wound.   He was so tiny and handsome!

He underwent spinal closure surgery at just over 24 hours of age.  On Tuesday, March 10th his surgery began at 2:45pm and lasted approximately three hours.  On the way to the OR a sweet NICU nurse made special arrangements for his crib to be wheeled right by Emma and Owen so that they could see him for the very first time.  Their visit was brief but memorable. 

We were relieved when we received word that the surgery was complete.  Dr Whitehead, his neurosurgeon, came out to speak directly with us afterward.  He said that everything went well and that he was recovering nicely.  They ended up keeping Hudson intubated overnight. 

Here is our brave boy's incision.  We are thankful for skilled hands and wisdom of the physicians and pray that he continues to heal nicely.

I was finally able to hold him for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, March 11th.  I had waited long enough and really enjoyed that precious moment!  I held him for hours.

On Thursday Big Daddy and Lita took the big kids to Waco.  Before they left our nurse worked her magic and got the manager to agree to allow Emma and Owen in the NICU for a five minute visit.  Oh how thankful I was for those few moments in time.  They are in love :) 

On Friday, March 13th I was able to nurse him for the first time.  He did well but it was a learning  process!  I pumped a lot and ended up feeding him by bottle some.  Dr Whitehead made rounds and informed us that the incision was possibly leaking cerebral spinal fluid but suspected it was due to a certain type of stitch used.  He added a new one with a special thread and it has been great ever since.

All of the NICU doctors, nurses, managers and staff were beyond AMAZING!!!  They all went above and beyond to make us comfortable.  His neonatologists were Dr Welty and Dr Bonaparte.  The doctors made rounds every morning and were great about keeping us informed and making us feel like part of the team caring for our tiny patient.  In level 4 each nurse was responsible for two babies.  Pictured here is sweet nurse Linh.  She was one of our very favorites!  Some of our other favs were Jima, Gwen, Claire, April and Tina.  We knew he was always in great hands!

That weekend it was clear that Hudson was regulating his own body temperature well.  This was one thing that was required to go home.  Upon making rounds the staff suspected he might be a bit jaundice.  However, his levels tested fine!  His calcium level was low and he began a multivitamin.  

Tuesday, March 17th {St Patrick's Day!} was a good day!  His NG tube was removed and his head ultrasound was stable.  He also moved {"graduated" as the staff said} to NICU level 2 down the hall, which is where he was for the remainder of our stay.  The nurse just so happened to dress him in a green shirt for St Patrick's Day :)

On Friday, March 20th Hudson was given an echocardiogram as well as a few different urology tests to track bladder control and kidney reflux.  These are things we will continue to track.
Hudson's weight dropped significantly so he was put on a strict feeding schedule every 3 hours around the clock.  He is a rather slow eater so it often felt like he ate ALL the time!  He very rarely opened his eyes. One particular evening at bedtime he seemed especially interested in whatever his daddy had to say :)

Most of our time was spent hanging out while Hudson healed.  We learned how to catheterize him and how to read the monitors he was attached to.  We washed and sanitized our hands over and over again.  We were utterly exhausted.  We got used to the beeps and buzzes.  We joked that Hudson would never be able to sleep as well at home without the sounds of the NICU!  We witnessed the good and the bad.  We found ourselves praying for other families going through their own medical circumstances.

We were blessed to be granted a room at the on site Ronald McDonald House every night we needed it.  It was on the same floor as the NICU and allowed us to stay close to our little guy around the clock.  The NICU nurses would often encourage us to get some rest and to take a break!  We took their advice and even explored the area.  It seemed like we ate continuously!  McDonalds, Chick fil A and Starbucks were in the hospital.

The last few of our NICU days were spent trying to get Hudson to gain weight.  The doctor suggested we add in some high calorie formula to his diet to help him gain weight faster.  By the end of our NICU stay catheterization was no longer necessary.

 On Sunday, March 22nd we finally received the green light to go HOME!!  The big kids had spent the night before with us in a hotel so it worked out well that they were present for the big moment!   

THANK YOU so much to those who came to visit us at the hospital.  It was so comforting to see familiar faces and it was a joy to introduce you to Hudson during his first few days.  Thanks to Big Daddy, Lita, Grandpa and Grandma for coming to the rescue and caring for big sister and brother so that we were able to focus on baby Hudson!  Please keep our little guy in your prayers!