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Archive for October, 2010

Casey’s Three Month Update

Happy three months Casey! Can you believe that three months ago Keao and I became parents? Looking back, July 28 seems like years ago. Through our daughters’ premature birth, to the 81 days in the NICU and the many nights spent there, to the past 10 days of having Casey home, the last three months have been a whirlwind of emotion both extreme highs and extreme lows.

But today, we celebrate. Today, Casey is three months old. Even though Casey is three months old, she’s actually still around a week away from her due date. It makes it a little complicated when explaining her actual age versus her adjusted age, but it doesn’t really matter because today Casey is at home and she is gaining weight and is healthy.

Casey weighed a mere 2 pounds, 4 ounces at birth and she couldn’t breathe on her own or even eat on her own. Today, she weighs a whopping 7 pounds, 5 ounces and is breathing and eating completely on her own! That’s over three times her birth weight! When we brought Casey home she weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces. So talk about weight gain, she gained over a pound in the past 10 days! Hooray Casey! Keep growing!

Life at home has been an adjustment. Casey needs to eat every 3-4 hours (whether she wants to or not) and so we need to feed her every 3-4 hours. Luckily Keao is such a trooper. She can get by on way less sleep than me. Also, we’re just getting used to her. Her sounds, schedule and smell (don’t worry we make sure we bathe her at least once every other day). She no longer has nurses around 24 hours a day (although we do have quite a few of them on our speed dial) so we are totally left to fend for ourselves.

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Casey gobbling up one of her eight daily meals

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Caution: slippery when wet

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Despite that cute smile, I don’t think she’s very fond of her baths

The other big adjustment we’ve made is our visiting policy (or our non-visiting policy). You see, Casey is not your normal full-term baby. She’s a micro-preemie that came out of the womb way too early. We’ve asked her immature lungs to breathe oxygen when they weren’t meant to breathe oxygen yet. So in addition to her undeveloped immune system she also has immature lungs which means that any cold or flu she catches would be magnified in comparison to you, me or even a full-term baby.

As we head into the flu season one of the biggest threats to Casey is called RSV (or respiratory syncytial virus). It’s kind of like a cold but much more severe. In some extreme cases the mucus is so thick that babies can’t breathe and they have to perform a tracheotomy to open up a path for the air. The scary thing is that most people carry it around and they don’t even know it (especially if they’re around children). Either their immune system takes care of it or they get minor symptoms. For Casey it could be very serious (it’s the number one cause of babies in the hospital under the age of one) and something we want to avoid.  My wife wrote a more detailed blog that’s definitely worth reading.  You can read it here.

So because of that we’ve instituted a strict hand washing policy. We have hand sanitizers set up all around the house as well as anti-bacterial soap set up at all of our sinks. Oh and another thing, we’re not really letting people come over to visit. I know there are many people excited to meet Casey, but we’re just not willing to take a chance. We’re not even taking her to church until at least 2011 (too many people will want to touch or kiss her). Not to say that we don’t love you or want you to meet Casey, we do, it will just have to be after the flu season ends and she gets a little older.

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Hand sanitizer on the piano…

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By the front door…

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And anti-bacterial soap at the kitchen sink

So please don’t be offended if we ask you to not come over. It’s not you, it’s the possible germs you may be carrying (I even change clothes or take a shower if I’ve been out all day before I touch Casey). But if you remember, please continue to pray for Casey and pray that she continues to grow and that she doesn’t catch RSV or any other cold or virus going around. In the meantime, Keao and I will try to continue to post updates so you can follow along.

Thank you for understanding!

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She’s Home!

In 1955, a Midwestern movie maker opened a small amusement park among the orange groves of sunny Southern California. In 2005, Disneyland Resort celebrated its 50th anniversary by having what they called “the happiest homecoming on Earth”. Not to try to outdo Uncle Walt, this past Sunday, we celebrated our own happiest homecoming on Earth.

I know I said I was going to try to highlight some of the people that we met during our 81 days at the Kaiser NICU and hopefully one day I’ll be able to finish, but since Casey’s homecoming is such a monumental event I thought I’d skip ahead and share about this instead.

Saying goodbye to Kaiser definitely qualifies as bittersweet. For one, we’ve befriended so many of the staff and other parents what would it be like out there on our own? No could no longer rely on nurses to be with Casey 24 hours a day and make sure she’s eating and pooping correctly. Also taking her home meant that we would have to be available 24 hours a day and the good Lord knows that I do not do well when I don’t get enough sleep.

But we knew this day would come at some point so we charged ahead and picked up our little girl. The discharge process wasn’t exactly what we expected. There was very little pomp and circumstance considering we had been there for so long. It was almost like we were leaving every other day except this time we were just taking Casey home with us.

Rather than try to tell you about it, I put together this short video. Here, take a look and we’ll talk afterward.

When we got home Stanton (and our neighbor Tracy Bean) surprised us with balloons and signs on our fence. Quite a festive experience. Because Casey’s immune system isn’t developed we aren’t allowed to have visitor until next year. Of course we made an exception for my brother and my parents since they’re family. But other than that, everyone who comes by just waits outside and we hold up Casey Lion King style from 30 feet away.

Stanton was all smiles when we came home and he took some great pictures for us (he even brought us dinner the next evening). My parents also came over a little late to help us get settled in. Where would we be without parents? It was particularly reassuring having my mom there as she did raise three pretty decent kids. She proved to be a great help getting us settled in and helping us wherever she could. In fact throughout the past three months, she was the rock that I leaned on and the shoulder that I cried on. Pat, on the other hand, fell asleep on the couch 🙂 I guess he was so excited that his granddaughter came home that he completely exhausted himself.

But, *sigh* now she’s home (and not leaving for the next 18 years except to go to school and maybe the doctor). Our Kaiser NICU journey is finally over and new adventures await. Thanks everyone for supporting us and praying for us! We couldn’t have done it without you.

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