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Friday, November 30, 2007

Late November

So, what's new? Henry has been smiling more and starting to coo! It's so much fun to watch him become increasingly more interested in the world around him.

He still hates to be put down, I spend a lot of days like this:

My sister Libby got Henry a new T-shirt. File this under "things he'll kill us for when he's a teenager," but darn if it isn't the truth about every 10 minutes. Let's just say the kid's digestive system

HJ is generally a pretty mellow baby, but he does seem to have a fussing session every evening around 9 p.m. Here's Daddy trying out an alternative hold, which actually worked for a little while.

And, a couple close-ups. We still haven't caught his elusive grin on camera, but you can be sure we'll post it here the second we do!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

These photos from the past few days show just how animated Henry has become lately. He actually flashed his first *real* smile on Thursday! Though we haven't been able to coax a repeat performance yet, that two-second, heart-melting, googly-eyed grin was enough to make Mama forget every hardship we endured to get here.

Of course, he still needs his beauty rest. If you've got a warm chest, he's game.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our little Butterball Henry and the rest of us here wanted to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. I know all too well how poignant the holiday is for us this year, and how we have more to be thankful for this year than any one before it. We are, of course, especially proud of and thankful for our little turkey, and we're so happy and grateful for the visiting family we could share this holiday with in our home. We've come a long way since last Thanksgiving -- a fact that was not lost on us amid the feasting and merriment today.

Goodnight, everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Henry in action

Hello, Henry fans. It's a lazy Saturday here at Henry HQ. I've temporarily solved the problem of Henry not wanting to be put down by strapping him to my chest (thank you, Baby Bjorn), and now have approximately half an hour of blogging time before Chubby Cheeker will be clamoring for his next meal.

What's new with Henry? It's amazing how quickly he's changing -- he literally looks different from one day to the next. The two most notable things are 1) his increasing chubbiness, particularly in the cheeks and thighs (I guess that's what happens when you eat every two hours around the clock), and 2) his increasing alertness and eye contact. You can see both qualities in the following video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hello, everybody

Hi, everybody!! Henry wanted to wave hello. You'll have to forgive him for not looking into the camera -- he doesn't take artistic direction very well yet.

We were at the doctor's office today and the latest news is 8 pounds, 15 ounces -- as in, the weight our chunky little Henry is up to as of this morning. Based on that, as of this writing, there's a good chance he's already over 9 pounds. The kid loves to eat! That's good for him, but slightly less enjoyable for his meal ticket -- poor momma, as his feedings usually occur every couple of hours.

As you can see in this next picture, most of the weight seems to be collecting in his cheeks. He can barely contain them within his own hands!

(And in case you thought it was some sort of propaganda, Ali swears Henry actually picked out the "I love mommy" hoodie all by himself.)

So, anyone care to make a guess as to when Henry's weight will equal his birth date of 9/11? I'm going to go with sometime tomorrow morning, maybe 10-ish.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Henry is two days old! (Sort of.)

Friday, if you can believe it, was Henry's original due date. To celebrate this milestone, I wanted to look back at Henry's journey thus far. This little guy has been through more in these two months, medically speaking, than many of us will go through in our lifetimes. As we settle into normal life at home, we think about the NICU experience less and less. But it's worth remembering what a fighter Henry was throughout his ordeal there.

Week one: Born on Sept. 11 at 5:01 p.m., at 31 weeks and 4 days gestation, Henry Jay came out crying and breathing on his own. Later that night he was given supplemental oxygen through tubes in his nose, but thankfully never needed to be on a respirator. During that first week he received medication for a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which caused him to retain nearly half a pound of fluid and in turn threw off his electrolytes and kept him from eating for several days. He also spent a day under the blue lights getting rid of some jaundice. This was by far the most intense and stressful time for us. By the end of that first week, once the PDA was successfully resolved, he was allowed to take small amounts of breast milk through a tube in his mouth and things began looking up.


Week two: Henry came off the nasal oxygen, only to quickly demonstrate he wasn't quite ready to go it alone. (This was the point at which we started calling the NICU a roller coaster.) But back on the extra oxygen, Henry began to progress in other areas. He dropped the fluid and began to gain real weight. He tolerated his tube feedings well -- starting with just 5 milliliters -- and each day the doctors increased the amount he could eat by a tiny bit. Once he made it to full feeds (35 milliliters at a time -- equal to a few tablespoons) he was able to lose the IV in his arm that had been delivering additional nutrition. This was a wonderful development, because Henry had a habit of pulling the IV out of his arm on a daily basis and therefore had to have it reinserted every day. (An IV inserted into his tiny little baby veins each day?!! Ouch!) By the end of the week, he graduated to the less intensive Nursery 7.


Week three: Henry proved he was finally strong enough to breathe all by himself and the nasal oxygen was removed for good. He also gained the strength to regulate his own body temperature, and subsequently was moved out of his incubator and into an open-air crib. Most important, he began his first forays into nursing and bottle-feeding. And we got to give him a bath for the first time! Is there a better smell than a clean baby?


Weeks four, five and five and a half: Henry continued to progress with his feedings -- consistently eating more than 65 milliliters every meal, every three hours -- so he was granted freedom from the feeding tube during the middle of the fourth week. We finally got to see his lovely little face unencumbered by tape and tubes! Wih his breathing, eating and temperature maintenance under control, only one task remained: getting past those darn bradycardia episodes (bradys) where his heart rate would drop briefly and inexplicably. While we were waiting it out, Henry moved out of the NICU and up to the 15th-floor step-down nursery. Meanwhile, he started completing the little tasks required for discharge, like the one-hour car seat test. He also participated in the great baby parade when the hospital moved all of its patients (newborns and laboring women alike) to its fancy new digs one block down the street.


And finally, after five weeks and five days in the hospital, Henry was discharged after successfully going five days without any bradys or oxygen desaturations. Hallelujah! We spent his first night with him off monitors in a gorgeous corner room on the 10th floor of the new hospital with a view of lake Michigan and a gorgeous sunrise (we're getting used to watching sunrises with Henry Jay). Then, it was finally time to take him outside for his first time, put him in our car, drive home and introduce him to his real nursery.


That's the long version of how this sweet and healthy little boy got from Mommy's tummy to home. At a time when he should have been enjoying his last days in the ultimate stress-free place, he was instead getting a crash course on life outside the womb -- while his parents learned all sorts of new vocabulary words they never wanted to know.

But if there's one thing we've learned about life with Henry, it's that he's a tough and adaptable little guy. And we couldn't be more proud of him.

We leave you with a few cute moments from the last week. Enjoy!

A more successful tummy-time session...


Studying his mobile, a.k.a., Mommy's bathroom break.

And he's still obsessed with clawing his face. Henry, your face is not a bowling ball!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Henry in November

Here's what Henry's been up to in the past week. Hard to believe we still haven't hit his due date, isn't it?

The pursed lips face he makes to signal that he's done with his meal.

Bathtime! You can see he still doesn't particularly like it, but he humors us.

Hanging out with Great Grandma Ohlhoff.

Taking an important call.

Watching football with Daddy.

Another attempt at tummy time, which typically turns into arm-gnawing time after about five minutes.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Duped by a baby

We're not sure what exactly Henry doesn't like about his little bassinet in our bedroom, but make no mistake: to him, it is about the worst idea we ever came up with. He'll humor us for five to 10 minutes before the fussing begins, at which point he's appeased only by one of us picking him up. To illustrate how this works, let me take you through Friday night, step by step:

  1. I nursed Henry around midnight, then attempted to put him down in his bassinet while he was soundly asleep in my arms. Within five minutes, like clockwork, he was fussing too loudly to ignore. Chris and I played a game of parental chicken for a few minutes, with Chris eventually giving in. He swept Henry out of that evil bassinet and took him to the living room. I fell back asleep in our bed while Chris and Henry fell asleep on the couch, with Henry on Chris' chest.

  2. Around 2:30 a.m., Henry woke Chris up looking for food. So Chris brought him back to the bedroom, handed him off to me, and crawled into bed. I took Henry into the living room, fed him, and then I too fell asleep on the couch with him on my chest. Are we seeing a pattern here yet?

  3. At 4:30 a.m., I woke up to the sound of Henry gnawing his fingers (baby sign language either for "feed me!" or "wow, these fingers taste good!"), so again I nursed the little guy. Once he was asleep, I decided it was time for him to try the bassinet again, so that I could get some sleep in my own bed. Henry quickly gave a thumbs-down to that idea. I stayed in bed while Chris took him out to the living room, and, you guessed it -- they fell asleep on the couch with Henry on Chris' chest.

This continued until 8:30 a.m. Once Chris and I were both awake, we compared notes and realized that Henry had managed to spend the entire night enveloped in either Mom or Dad's arms -- i.e., not in his bassinet. Can this kid work the system or what?

We have to admit: a full night's sleep in one's own bed is a nice thing, but falling asleep cuddling your newborn baby is pretty great too. So we'll let him have this round, while we try to solve the puzzle of where besides Mommy and Daddy's arms Henry can sleep soundly.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or treat!

Henry the duck wishes you a very Happy Halloween!

Hmmm, where do you think he got the idea for his costume?