Monday, June 22, 2009

It's been a while!

To any of you who actually check this blog... I apologize!! I started it with the intentions of keeping up with it and obviously I have slacked a lot! Sooo much has happend since my last post...umm...3 months ago! Travis is doing very well. He is off oxygen while he is awake now and the feeding tube has been out for almost 3 weeks! A huge accomplishment and although he is eating incredibly well (you know...for Travis that is) he is now throwing up a lot. When I say a lot, I mean I feed him a 4 oz bottle and he throws up 3-4oz. In two weeks he lost 4 oz. This was pretty upsetting. We have tried a third type of formula and a new reflux med all to no avail so far. He continues to vomit at least 40% of what he takes in. Tomorrow we see GI so hopefully we can get some more ideas on how to help him.

Also since my last post, Travis has learned to sit up completely on his own. He has achieved many many milestones and recently had his 6 month progress report done by his developmental specialist who has been seeing him once a week for the past 6 months. Travis has made unbelieveable progress in the last couple months and is evaluated at or above his adjusted age in almost every area! How amazing is that!?


We have made 3 trips to Redding since my last post. This last weekend we surprised my dad for Father's day and Joe, Travis, my Dad and myself went out to the lake all day on Saturday. The weather could have been better but we'll take it! Travis does really well on our trips home. He is a great traveller and usually sleeps in the car. He is such a happy baby these days. Even when he is crying or cranky you can get a smile out of him. He just loves people and is happy with who ever is holding him. He is extremely social and open to meeting new people. He has such a great attitude (most of the time)!

I cannot believe that my little baby turns ONE next month! We are planning his big birthday party out at Whiskeytown lake. I am so amazed with how far he has come and honestly never imagined that he would be doing this great so soon! But I have to run, he is yelling for me!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something Amazing Just Happened

I wanted to share with you something amazing that just happened here:

I tucked my sweet baby into bed.

Yes, that is it. That is what is so amazing. You may ask what is so glorious or incredible about tucking a baby into bed, but if you had walked in my shoes, you would understand. 8 months ago, I didnt know if my baby would be here today. Statistically speaking, he had almost no chance of survival. But in my heart, I knew he was a fighter and I had to give him a chance. A miracle happened on July 29, 2008. My baby was born...and he was born ALIVE. We didn't know how long we had with him so we prayed hard that he would continue to fight. And he did. He fought on. There were times I thought we were loosing him, but again...he fought on.

I remember laying in my bed after my water broke and talking to my sister. With tear filled eyes I told her how scared I was. How I didn't know what was going to happen. Was my baby going to live? Was he going to be ok? If not, how would I deal with the loss of my child? Those were the some of the hardest days of my life.

So tonight, I took my sweet Travis to his crib, put on his jammies and monitor, kissed him all over, and asked him if he knew how much I loved him. I ask him this daily, sometimes many times a day. I know he will never full understand how deep my love for him goes, but I hope that he realizes that he is a miracle! I knelt down next to his crib on my knees and thanked God over and over for giving me this miracle. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thanked God and kissed my sweet baby's forehead. There is nothing in this world more perfect than that child. He is my everything and then some. I never knew a love like this existed and I know that nothing in the world can take that away from me.

I used to wonder "why me"..."why my baby"...but now I just wonder how I got so lucky. What did I do to deserve this blessing? Whatever it was, it must have been good. So as I tucked my little boy in, I quitely celebrated him and all that he has achieved so far. I can't wait to see the many more achievements ahead. I am the luckiest mother alive!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GI Doc



Friday we had an appointment with the Gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital. I was hoping to get some answers or advice as far as the feedings go but it honestly felt like a waste of time. She basically told us that she thinks he will do better when he starts solids and that we can start as soon as he is supporting his head. She reccommended that we start with just a little baby food on our fingers right now to get him used to the idea. So we tried a little bit of rice cereal mixed with sweet potatoe and he loved it! It was pretty cute! She is going to follow up with him monthly for a while and also going to try to get him in for a swallow test to make sure he is not mircro aspirating when he eats. Otherwise she thought he looked great!

After his appointment he had to have bloodwork done for two reasons. 1) To make sure that he is still doing fine without the added electrolytes to his milk and 2) To check his iron levels to see if we still need to give him iron supplements. Probably won't know the results of those until Monday or later. It would definitely be nice to have one less med to give him. We are already down to 4!!

Feedings are still a challenge, but I would say they are going OK. We have shortened the amount of time he spends on the pump to about 7 hours and have added one more feeding throughout the day, so we are slowly weaning him off the pump and feeding tube altogether. This is a very slow process and I really don't know when he will not need it altogether but I am hoping that once he starts taking solids and less milk, we will be more successful!


Grandma and Papa and Auntie were over last night. Travis loves having his family around. Grandma is flying to Norway today! And Papa flew to Las Vegas! Travis' newest accomplishment is his ability to sit on my hip and support his upper body! May seem small but its exciting to see him getting stronger!




Monday, March 9, 2009

Pulmonary Appointment

Travis had his month Pulmonary appointment on Friday, which happened to be my birthday. I was really hoping that for my birthday, my baby boy wouldn't need oxygen any more, but that was not the case. His saturations dropped to the 80's without oxygen, so we will continue with it for at least a month longer. He was weighed and is now 13lbs 8.5oz!! I know....hard to believe right?! I never imagined my little one pound baby would be as chubby as he is! The doc couldn't belive it and even asked if he was weighed with his diaper on (no, he wasnt!).

I did find out that Travis' Kidney Reflux is severe. The severity of this condition is rated in Grades from I-V. On one side, our little man has a Grade II or III. On the other, a Grade V. In most cases, this has to be repaired with surgery. I am so scared about this, so we need lots of prayers now. My biggest fear is not actually the surgery but the damage to the kidneys as a result of the reflux. He has a doctors appointment tomorrow so I will be asking more about this then.

For my birthday Mom and Jennifer took me shopping and forced me to get something for myself :-) I still ended up using some of my "b-day money" to buy Travis a high chair. I did end up getting 2 new shirts and a pair of wear to appointments I suppose since that is the only time I get out of the house. It was so fun to be with my sister and mommybelle though. Daddy and Papa took care of Travis which was nice. Its the longest I have been away from him since he has come home, so that was tough, but we all survived! Grandma and Papa bought Travis a walker. Yes, I know, he is far from walking, but he actually sat it in pretty well, his little legs still dangling an inch or so from the floor, ha ha.

It was a great birthday weekend and as always it was wonderful to be surrounded by my incredible family. I am not quite sure what I would do without them, they are the best! Meika (our dog) went to spend a week with Grandma and Papa on their 25 acres with the other 3 dogs, chickens, cats....etc. I am sure she will have a great time! Thats about all for now! Its almost time for bed!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Preemie Power!

I hope you all like the new blog! I got busy this morning and made it much nicer!

Yesterday was a busy day for us! First our dietician came and we talked about Travis' feedings which seem to be going very well! He is still on a feeding pump for 1o hours at night so the next step will be to shorten the time on the pump and add one more feeding during the day. Eventually, this will mean that there will be no pump...and hopefully soon, no feeding tube! We are moving in the right direction, but want to keep it slow as we want him to be successful. I dont have an updated weight since we will be getting that tomorrow at his pulmonary appointment so we will find out then.

After seeing Gail, we had a couple of special visitors!! Audra and Tucker came to play with us! I met Audra in the NICU when Travis was just a few weeks old. She introduced herself to me and told me all about her miracle baby Tucker! We would soon learn how much alike our babies were. Tucker was 3 months early (born on May 10, 2008) and has had severe lung issues like Travis. He had a rough NICU ride and was there for 7 months! Aurda and I really counted on one another when our boys were there to lend support and love. I don't know what I would have done without her! I came to her with all of my questions and she always had an answer. "Yes, Tucker has been there, done that!" She's an angel, and Tucker is one tough cookie! We used to joke that we would get our boys out of that NICU on the same day becacuse we wouldn't be able to survive without each other there! Well guess what?! It happened!! Tucker and Travis both left the NICU on December 18th! What are the chances!?!

So we FINALLY got together after 2-1/2 months! I am so glad we did, but just wishing we would have done it sooner! It was so great to have someone to talk to who really understands all the challenges that we face! Tucker and Travis really wore each other out! We went for a walk to Chipotle nearby and sat outside (to avoid germs!) and ate our food. As we were scarfing our food down, Audra said, "Well you know we are mommies when we scarf our food before the boys wake up!" HA HA, so true! We probably got some funny looks since we had two boys with oxygen, but hey, we were having too good of a time to notice anyway!
Here are some pictures of the two boys together. Wow, how amazing is it to have two amazing miracles side by side!? We are very blessed and lucky Mommies and we definitely know it!! Enjoy!


Pretty hard to believe these chunky boys were both less than 2 pounds!!!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Surprise Visit from Nicolie and Kaden!

Today, one of my bestest friends Nicole surprised me with a visit!! I havent seen here in months and also got to meet her precious new little on Kaden, who is a month old! Travis was hilarious with Kaden and was trying to steal his paci and beat him up. We already know who the bully is. Looks like we have our hands full! It was so good to see them and visit. I wish they could have stayed longer but we will take anything we can get!

Here are some pics to enjoy!




Auntie Jen and Sarah also came for a visit yesterday and they had lots of fun with Travis. We made dinner and cupcakes for dessert...apparently cupcakes are the new thing! Here is a picture of Sarah with Travie. The last time she saw him he was just a little thing!


Travis has been doing really well on his feedings for the past few days, but we have discovered that he only likes fresh breastmilk and not the previously frozen stuff. This is tough since my supply is way low right now. I am trying everything to build it back up but it doesnt seem to be working very well. I want to give my baby the world and this is pretty hard on me right now, but I am doing the best I can. Hope everyone had as great a weekend as we have!!

Oh and here is a bonus picture....just cuz hes too darn cute!!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Growth Chart Progress!

Today we had a visit from Erin from Early Start. She comes about once a week and helps us with any questions/concerns we may have. She also tracks Travis' growth on a special Preemie Growth Chart. He is doing great! His weight now puts him in the 75th Percentile!!! And his length has finally reached the 25th Percentile! His head circumfrance is in the 50th Percentile which makes me so happy! He is certainly moving up on the growth chart which is very exicting to see!

I am almost afraid to say this, for fear of jinxing myself, but we are also making incredible progress when it comes to his feedings. For about the past week, he has taken at least 3 out of his 4 bottles without issue in less than 30 minutes! That, my friends, is a small miracle! We have had such a hard time with his feedings and this progress is just amazing. Prior to this, a bottle could take over an hour and most times he still would not take the whole thing and we would have to use the feeding tube. He still has his occasional bad bottle, but we are definitely moving in the right direction finally! YAY!! I am so proud of the little man for all that he has done! He is such a trooper and shows us every day how amazing he really is!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Early Intervention Visit

We had our weekly visit from Early Intervention. Travis impressed Lisa (his physical therapist) with his endurance and his interest in play! She could tell a big difference in just two weeks when she saw him last. She said it seemed also that he was much more animated and he is tracking objects really well. That is pretty amazing for a baby as premature as he was. Lisa noted that she sees him making big changes! That is so exciting for us to hear. I am so proud of my little man and I hope and pray that he continues to thrive and show us how incredibly amazing he is every single day!

On a side note, Travis had his very first outing to someone else' house last night. We went to visit Auntie Jen in San Ramon. We got cupcakes and milk and just hung out. Travis did really well in the car on the way there and back, which I was concerned about. But we didnt get home till almost 1 am so we were both very ready for bed!

It's looking like a nice day out so we may just go for a stroll. Travis loves getting out in the fresh air! Happy Tuesday to everyone!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"WELL BABY" Check up

Today we had our first ever "WELL BABY" check up! What an idea! Travis weighed in at 12lbs 12.5oz! YAHOO! He is also 22-1/4 inches long now, so he is finally getting a little longer, ha ha. His doctor examined him and said that everything looked great. We have to make an appointment with the Kidney Specialist due to his kidney reflux, and also with GI (Gastro Intestinal) for issues related to feeding and such. Sill waiting to hear about his hernia surgery date, so we will probably give them a call to remind them about us! Otherwise, everything is looking good and we are going to start talking to the dieticians about when to start solids. That is so exciting! Travis will be 7 months old on the 29th. Thats hard to believe!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Story

I wish I would have started this sooner, but here we go....!

This is Travis' Story in a nutshell:

In August of 2007, Joseph deployed to Iraq. I came home from Germany where we were stationed to be with family for the duration of the deployment. When Joseph came home on R&R in Febrary 08 we decided to try for a baby. Thinking our chances were pretty slim with only 18 days, we were completely overjoyed and suprised when I took a pregnancy test 2 weeks after he left and got a POSITIVE!

My pregnancy was complicated and after bleeding for 3 weeks from week 6 to week 9, we were relieved to have a few weeks of calm...before the storm. On July 5th, 2008, I woke up and suddenly my water broke. I was only 19 weeks 6 days along. It was a nightmare. My mom rushed me to the ER where my worst fear was confirmed. I had lost all of my amniotic fluid and was told there was no way my baby would survive. I was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy if I did not go into labor within 24-48 hours as the risk of infection is high. I refused and went home on bedrest and waited. I was put on antibiotics prophylactically. I didn't move for 24 days. I layed there and prayed to God for a miracle.

Joseph came home on Emergency Leave and we met with a Neonatologist. It was a bit overwhelming. We were told about all of the possible outcomes if we were to in fact make it to 24 weeks. If we did not make it that far, I was told that I would have the baby vaginally and would be allowed to hold him/her until he/she passed. Eventually Joe went back to Iraq and I just kept praying.

On July 28th, at 23 weeks 1 day, I went into labor. Early the next morning around 4 am, we went to the hospital. I tried to wish labor away but I knew it was real. After a failed attempt to stop my labor, this baby was coming, there was no stopping him. I begged them to make all attempts to save him despite him not making the cut off of 24 weeks. I couldn't live with myself knowing we didn't give him a chance.

At 11:21 am on July 29, 2008, Travis Alex made his grand entrance into this big scary world! He was quickly resusitated and wisked off to the NICU. This is where his long hard journey began. He sailed for 7 days, doing wonderful and surprising everyone! On the 8th day, things got back. His only hope was a fairly new drug called Nitric Oxide. He had to be transported to a Children's Hospital 4 hours away. The transport was traumatic to say the least. But we made it! He started to make a turn around but would face many hard days ahead. At 5 weeks old, we thought we were loosing him. The doctors explained to us that babies don't get any sicker than he was. He was diagnosed with a staph infection as well as pneumonia. His lungs were already sick so this only made them worse. Miraculously he made it through.

After 2 months on 3 different types of ventilators, and two rounds of steroids, Travis was finally extubated on September 26th!! It was a day to celebrate. After a week of being off the ventilator, the steriods began to wear off and he was almost put back on. Praise God we were able to stabalize him and get him strong enough to stay off for good!

The NICU roller coaster was one I never want to relive. We had many setbacks while there and at times it felt like we would never bring our baby home. I have never prayed so hard in my life. In November Travis had laser eye surgery to correct his ROP which was advancing very quickly. Thankfully his surgery was a great success and his vision seems great now!

December 18th, 2008 was the best day of my life. After 142 long days in the NICU, I FINALLY brought my precious baby home! This was a feeling I cannot even put into words. I had waited so long for this day, and it was finally here...just ONE WEEK before Christmas. I could not have asked for anything more for Christmas. He was all I needed.

Travis came home on oxygen, a feeding tube, and a monitor. Since being home, he has seen many specialists, including Pulmonary (for his Chronic Lung Disease), Opthamology (for eyes), Early Intervention, Dieticians, etc, etc. He was recently diagnosed with Kidney Reflux and will begin to see a kidney specialist for that. He also is waiting on surgery to repair bilateral inguinal hernias. Our biggest issue at the moment is feedings. He is still tube fed quite a bit and is on a pump overnight that feeds him continuously. He is now over 12 lbs and is growing and thriving in many areas! He just started rolling over and is playing with his toys. He follows his Daddy when he walks through the room and his auntie just taught him to stick his tongue out. All of these may seem like small feats, but for our boy, it is HUGE! We are soooo blessed to have such an amazing little boy and I thank God for him every day!!

I will try to keep this blog updated as much as possible. Thanks for coming and reading our story!

Here are a couple pictures of then and now: