Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good Bye 2009!!

Sydney and Colton Christmas Morning
Colton is the best present of '09

Snow Day in Houston! Dec 6, 2009

Sydney, Katy, Wendy and Colton

Sydney and Colton Christmas Eve

Colton playing with Cheerios
I have been terrible about keeping up with the blog! With two active children, 3 dogs, 2 G. pigs and working to establish a new business, time flies by each day. 2009 has definitely been an exciting year for the Gibbs family. We were thrilled to welcome our newest member, Colton on January 31, 2009. We just wish he would have hung out INSIDE until closer to his due date of April 12, 2009. Syd has finished up the first half of 3rd grade and is staying very busy with cheer leading, volleyball and gymnastics. She is giving up gymnastics for the spring and going to try some softball. Katy Bear, our chocolate lab was hospitalized this time last year with endocarditis and we were told New Years Eve 2008 that she would not survive the night. She is lying by my feet sniffing the air occasionally and thumping her tail as there is vegetable beef soup in the crock pot.

Colton is thriving and doing much better than anticipated! He weighs in at 19 lbs 1 oz! An incredible feat considering his 3 lb 12 oz start! His pediatrician has pushed high calorie formula and weight gain all year as studies show good weight gain by preemies in the first year correlates with good brain development and growth. It takes a lot of energy just to survive outside the womb let alone finish developing and grow when you are born too early and he has managed to do both! He is able to push himself into a sitting position and gets onto all fours and rocks. He will be crawling around any day now! We got the tree put away yesterday, so I am OK with him getting mobile now. He is eating stage 2 baby food twice a day and seems to enjoy eating a little more these days. He HATED it in the beginning. He has been taking the synergis vaccines to prevent RSV this season. He will probably get a few more and then be done for next season. Colton will celebrate his first birthday in a few short weeks. Its interesting to think about what I would have been doing right now this time last year had I known my little man was going to make his appearance 10 weeks early.

Colton will start at the Early Learning Center at Salem Lutheran School (where Sydney goes to school) on January 4th. We know the director well from when Sydney was there and we have met all Colton's teachers. He even spent a half day getting acquainted while I volunteered in the library earlier this month. (Colton and I together have logged about 50 hours at the school library this year!) I can't say I am looking forward to dropping him off on Monday, January 4, 2010; but, I have to go back to work.

Speaking of work, I have decided not to return to my previous employer. I have decided NOT to be employed by someone. I have established a pediatric home health company, Jump Start Physical Therapy, PLLC. I have evaluated 3 kiddos this week to start after the New Year, and I have 2 more evals on the books for the first week in January. I have three more referrals to chase in January as well. Ten children with 2 visits per week will be a full time schedule for me. I will probably look into hiring a PTA in the late spring or early summer if business is steady. The paperwork is crazy but I think all in all it will be well worth it.

So as 2009 winds down, we look forward to 2010 and watching Syd and Colt grow.....but not too fast!

Happy New Year!

The Gibbs
Wendy, Bret, Sydney and Colton

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Pictures

Colton fell asleep just before our session at JCP started for taking some Halloween pictures of the kids. The photog was a little new and had some interesting ideas on taking pictures. I am not sure why the Ninja would be shushing over the sleeping spider.
Sydney is a Ninja this year for Halloween. The guy wanted her to show of some Ninja moves for the camera. I am not really sure what Ninja moves are, but this is evidently a high kick Ninja move in front of a barn.

Colton woke up about half way through and decided to participate in the pictures. We have him dressed in a friend's spider outfit for these pictures. He seems OK with the least for now.

I have no idea what the look the photog is going for in this picture. Colton is a sleeping spider and he told Syd to do a Ninja jump. This photo seems appropriate to share with the awkward family photos website. If you have never visited this website, you are missing out on some funny pictures and commentary.

This picture of Colton is priceless! The little sleeping spider is as cute as he can be!
Colton continues to do very well. He will be 9 months old on Halloween. He is able to sit for 30 seconds to a minute by himself while holding and playing with a toy. He is very interested in toys and very interactive with all of us. He is sweet as he can be. He eats stage 1 solids twice a day and is getting ready for some stage 2s very soon.
Syd is doing great in 3rd grade and is looking forward to her 9th birthday at the end of next month. She's going to have a swimming party at FINS! She is doing cheer leading at school, playing volleyball at the Y, and taking gymnastics at K2 academy. She is a busy, busy girl! I think she might have to cut back some when I go back to work after the first of the year.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!
The Gibbs family

Saturday, August 22, 2009

6 Month Photos

Colton and Sydney took some great pictures at JC Penny last week! All is well here. Syd started school on Friday and is very excited about 3rd grade. Colton continues to grow and grow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mac Is Here!

McKinney Alexander Curry arrived today! He weighed in at 7 lbs 10 oz and was 18.5 inches long. Sandy and Mac are doing well. They are at the Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. The are expected to go home on Saturday.

Friday, July 31, 2009

6 Months Old Today!

Wow! My new highchair is so big!
Little Brother and Big Sister
Beautiful Baby Boy
Big Blue Eyes....Just like his Sister!

Wow, time is going by so fast! Colton is 6 months old today! He went for his 6 month appointment yesterday and weighed in at 14 lbs 4.5 ozs. He was 25.5 inches long. He is doing great and is developmentally on target for his adjusted age of 3.5 months. He is testing out at 4-5 months for most skills. He has been a traveling baby on vacation to Moody Gardens in Galveston and spent the day at Schlitterbaun in Galveston hanging out under the shade while Mom and Dad took turns playing with Sydney in the water park! He made his first trip to Lufkin over the Fourth of July to visit family and friends. He is very healthy and happy and is a joy to his family.

Sydney is doing great as well. She starts 3rd grade next month. She will be a little saints cheerleader this year at Salem Lutheran. She has been taking gymnastics this summer, working on swim stroke refinement at FINS and going bi-weekly to the library in an effort to read all 50 American Chiller books.

We are all excitedly awaiting the arrival of a new cousin due any day now!!

Best Wishes!

The Gibbs

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Super Baby!

Here is a picture of Colton smiling! He smiles and flirts all the time now! Colton is 4.5 months old now, or 2 months old for his adjusted age.

Super Baby! Colton dressed in his new super baby outfit compliments of Ellen and Candy. Colton really is a super baby doing so well after such a rocky start!

Colton hanging out in his little lamb swing at his Aunt Sandy's Baby Shower in Keller, Texas this past weekend. He LOVES his swing!

Colton with Grandpa Nick at the baby shower and BBQ.

Sydney all dressed up for the baby shower for Aunt Sandy!

Colton taking a bath. Obviously, not his favorite activity! Check out those blue eyes!
Colton continues to do very well! He was seen for his 4 month check up earlier this month and weighed in at 12 lbs 4 oz. That is 10 percentile for babies born the same day has him! He is 23 inches long which is 3 percentile. His pediatrician wants to continue to fortify him with the special premature infant formula until he reaches closer to 50 percentile for babies born the same day as he was. Evidence shows preemies who gain good weight rapidly in the first year tend to do better with all areas of development which is why they are continuing to push his weight gain. His pulmonologist and GI doctor have both discharged him from their services to the care of his pediatrician Dr. Belinoski. Developmentally, he is on target for his due date and making good progress.
We all went to Keller, TX for my Sandy's baby shower and a BBQ family get together. Colton did very well on the trip and slept well in the hotel. He is not a big fan of hot, loud Mexican restaurants but he seems to enjoy hanging out with big groups in cool, quieter places. Colton met a lot of people for the first time! Sydney enjoyed playing with her cousins and visiting with everyone too.
Colton is looking forward to his first trip to Lufkin over the 4th of July weekend and then to the beach for a family vacation later in July. He is a well traveled baby thus far! He goes to Syd'
s swim meets, he attended the museum earlier this week, he attends practices and play dates for his sister and even accompanies Mom on some shopping trips. He is a very good baby and rolls with the punches quiet well.
Have a good Father's Day weekend!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Colton Todd Gibbs

Hello Everyone! We are here and finally doing another last! We have been working on getting things settled and organized with the little man home and we are finally getting there. Colton is an absolute joy to have at home. He is a very good baby. Colton is weighing in at around 11 and 1/2 pounds. He is over 22 inches long. He will be 4 months old on the 31st and his adjusted age is about 6 weeks. He is still eating around the clock, going 3-4 hours max at night between bottles most of the time. He has teased us once or twice with 5 hour stretches and those were wonderful! The GI doctor told us many babies get a good 6 hour stretch in once they hit 12 lbs. Hopefully that is coming soon for us! He continues to eat breast milk fortified with 22 cal supplement. I tried to talk his pediatrician into stopping the supplement but she won't let him until his weight is more on track with infants born on his birthday. He remains below the 10th percentile on weight at this time for babies born on Jan 31. His pedi gives him credit for adjusted age on everything else but is adamant he press on with weight gain. (I looked up where he would be if he was born on his due date and he would be in 90 percentile for that date!) He had an echo cardiogram done last week and all is well with his heart and his PDA closure. He is down to only wearing his apnea monitor at night and we are hoping to kick that to the curb after his next pulmonology appointment on Tuesday.

Aunt Kim and Colton Meeting
Karen, Tracey, Lora and Sandy hosted a "Sip-N- See" for Colton on May 16th. (Thank you!!!!) We were thrilled to see so many people turn out to see our little man. We are humbled that so many people traveled great distances to meet Colton and give us so much support. Here is Aunt Kim getting her first look at Colton, and Colton of her.

My Smiley Boy
Colton smiles now! He grins ear to ear for Mom, Dad and Sydney. He is smiling away in his bassinet while Sydney is talking to him and getting him to smile so Mom can snap a photo.

Colton in his Moses Basket
My beautiful baby boy resting in his Moses basket under the patio while he watches Sydney, Ryan and Nate play in the pool. Colton is very content and easy to take on outings. As long as he has fresh diapers, bottles and people to coo at he is very content and easy going.

Colton and Sydney Wishing you a Happy Memorial Day!
Happy Memorial Day! Sydney made a cake and decorated it like the flag in honor of the Holiday. Sydney and Colton, with a little help from Dad, posed with the cake.

The following link should take you to a Walgreens site where you can view more pictures of our family. You can also order prints from this site if you want any for yourself--just have them developed at your local Walgreens.
We will try to update more frequently with pictures. We have so many cute pictures but I can only figure out how to upload 5 at a time to the site.
Colton's middle name, Todd, is in honor of his Uncle, Sgt First Class Todd Clayton Gibbs. Todd was KIA in Iraq on December 7, 2004. "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." ~From a headstone in Ireland. Happy Memorial Day
The Gibbs Family
Wendy, Bret, Sydney and Colton

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter and Happy Due Date!

Colton and Dad hanging out
Sydney chillin with her baby brother

Sydney helping Dad with the mulch

Sydney dyeing Easter eggs

Colton finally reached his official due date of April 11, 2009. He weighs in over 9 lbs. now. Technically speaking, you can't say that he would have weighed 9 lbs. at birth as growth in utero and outside of the uterus happen at different rates. So while technically he was 10 weeks old on April 11, his targets will be adjusted based on his prematurity. For example, if he's not walking by 12 months, it won't be unusual as he will likely be acting more like a 9 1/2 month old on his first birthday.

Wendy and I were still talking about how February and March seemed like a blur to us. We had so much help during that time and couldn't have done it without the support of family and friends. Wendy and I both are trying to get refocused on things we neglected over the past couple of months. Our first and foremost priority remains our family (Colton and Sydney) but we are starting to whittle away at that proverbial to do list. I finally managed to get the weeds pulled in the front flowerbed and mulch put in this past weekend. Sydney was a big helper and said she enjoyed doing it. How many 8 year old girls do you know who would get out and help their old man put mulch in the flowerbeds and actually say they enjoyed it! I'm sure the neighbors are glad that we got that done as well. We didn't want to earn the label of "the rednecks next door who don't take care of their yard"!

Wendy has been working on thank you notes and getting the birth announcements out in the mail. Many of you reading this should receive your announcement this week. If you don't receive one in a week or so and would like us to send you one, send us an email! Please don't be offended or think we left you off as we've not intentionally left anybody off the list. It's difficult to proofread your list and get it right on just a few hours of sleep. Don't be shy and let us know if you would like to have one if you don't get one.

Colton continues to be fed every 3 hours around the clock. As Wendy mentioned in the last blog update, he's starting to focus more on faces when he's awake. Any concerns we had with the muted voice are all but gone. When Colton gets fired up, it sends our black lab (Shadow) to a safe refuge, complete with tail tucked under. Poor Shadow - between the crying baby, loud beeps from the oxygen machine, apnea monitor going off from loose leads, and the recent thunderstorms, she is officially in her own private hell.

Colton sees the pediatrician again this week for a follow up and some immunizations. He also visits the pulmonologist soon to determine if apnea monitor, oxygen for feeding and caffeine supplements are still needed. Otherwise, we will continue to the routine of: eat, sleep, poop, repeat. When he reaches the 12 lbs. mark, we can start looking at spreading out some of his feedings. So our immediate goals are to ditch the oxygen, apnea monitor, caffeine, keep him well, and pack in the calories. Too bad I can't transfer some of my belly fat and calorie intake to Colton - he would hit that 12 lbs. mark in no time!

The Easter Bunny was good to both Sydney and Colton. Wendy made my grandmother's famous coconut cake and a nice meal for Easter. Sydney and I made it to church this morning as well. We can't get Colton out in a big public place yet so we couldn't all go as a family today. :( We continue to be grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. And we give thanks today for our risen Savior and the blessings upon our family. All the best to you and your family.....Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

We are loving life at home with our little man, even if we are a bit sleep deprived! As you all know, Colton came home on Monday, March 23rd in the evening. Everyone is adjusting and doing well. Colton is now one week from his due date of April 11 and is starting to look and act like a full term infant.

Colton initially came home with an NG tube. He pulled it out on Wed, April 1 in the evening. The doctors have decided to leave it out at this time as he is making excellent progress with eating by mouth. He is weighing in at 8 lbs 11 oz and is 20.5 inches long!

Colton is starting to be awake more often and more alert. He looks around and attends to faces. He has definitely decided that being held is better than lying around wrapped up like a burrito in the bassinet. There is never a shortage of anyone wanting to hold him.

Colton after finishing up his first bath at home. He is doesn't cry much during his bath, but rather looks worried and concerned during his bath.

All wrapped up in his towel after his first bath at home. It is a huge mess and production to get him bathed!

Colton contemplating his crib. Notice the clean baby face! You can really see his chubby cheeks!

Sweet baby boy. He loves his pacifier. Pacifiers help with reflux, so we let him go to town. Sydney never took one, so this is new for us.

We will update and post more pictures soon!
Wendy, Bret, Sydney and Colton

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2 - Eat, Poop, Sleep...Repeat

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Colton continues to do well at home. It's been a little crazy around getting the routine in order and catching up on things that were put on hold while we were in the "NICU mode". Colton now weighs about 8 1/2 lbs. As the title of the blog entry suggests, we have him in a normal infant routine (as normal as can be with NG tube, apnea monitor, oxygen nasal canula and 5 medicine doses per day can be). He is still being fed around the clock every 3 hours.

We'll post a more lengthy update soon with some pics. Love Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Colton's Homecoming

Sorry for the delay in getting a new blog update out to you guys. We've been busy settling in with our new family member and getting into a routine.

On Monday, March 23, 2009, Colton finally got to leave the NICU at Texas Woman's Hospital after 7 weeks and 3 days. He started out on January 31, 2009, at 3 lbs. 12 oz. and left on March 23, 2009 at about 7 1/2 lbs. He is still about 2 1/2 weeks shy of his original due date of April 12, 2009. So as challenging as it's been these past 7+ weeks, Colton has made tremendous progress.

We left the hospital after 6:00 on Monday. We had picked up Syd early from school that day as she wanted to accompany her baby brother home from the hospital. Getting out of school early wasn't all that bad either!

We all got to see many of the doctors and nurses that had been with Colton throughout his 7 week stay. Sydney got to say goodbye to the nurses who taught the Siblings Class each Wednesday. We also saw Dr. Gee, the neonatologist who was there when Colton was born. Dr. Hernandez, who was with us in the early days as we were dealing with the PDA not closing. And of course, Colton's heart and "brain" surgeon - Dr. Bloss - the pediatric surgeon who closed his PDA and did his circumcision. Wendy also mentioned that many of the nurses who had cared for Colton stopped by in the NICU as she was going over discharge procedures. I think what sets these doctors and nurses apart from many others is that their bedside manner matches their medical acumen. We thanked them for all they did for Colton but respectfully told them that we hope not to see them again for business purposes! :)

As we were walking out of the hospital, it still didn't feel real that we were finally going home with him. Wendy and I both had butterflies in our stomachs. Sydney was super excited and couldn't wait to get her little brother home. Houston traffic was surprisingly light on our trip home. That was my worst fear - getting hung up in rush hour traffic trying to get him home. Well, some schools are still on Spring Break in the Houston area so I think that definitely helped. Glad to say the ride home was uneventful.

Our neighbor Karen was nice enough to have dinner waiting on us when we got home. She had also bought balloons and decorated the house for his arrival. As we've said many times on this blog, we are truly blessed with wonderful families and outstanding friends. It's made all of this NICU and preemie experience a little more bearable having the support of everyone.
As I've said before, we look forward to the day that we can start to repay this kindness.
After getting settled in and coming down from our adrenaline rush, we went to work trying to create our new routine. Colton has to be fed at least 70 ml (a little over 2 ounces) at least 8 times a day - that's every 3 hours around the clock. Typical newborn feeds are about every 3-4 hours so it's not that unusual. However, Colton also requires the oxygen (nasal canula) during his feeds. He wears an apnea monitor 24x7 with an alarm that makes a car alarm in an enclosed parking garage sound like a whisper. I think the crystal in our china cabinet has all but shattered. Our poor dogs have been traumatized by the apnea monitor alarm as well, especially our black lab, Shadow. Shadow hates any type of electronic beep or alarm (think smoke alarm beeping when the battery is low). For the record, dogs can take Xanax and Shadow is getting good use out of her prescription. The apnea monitor is very sensitive which is a life saver in the event of a true apnea episode. We are hoping to continue only dealing with false alarms on the monitor as opposed to the real deal. Colton will continue to wear his apnea monitor until he is seen by a pediatric pulmonologist who can make the determination when it is no longer needed.

I'll have to say our learning curve for this new routine has really started to pick up. The first night, we worked out a few kinks in the routine and things are starting to go more smoothly. Colton is getting all of his required feeds and amounts which is very important. We also have a little Kangaroo pump, which is a device that helps deliver any remaining milk that he didn't take from his feed to his nasal gastric (NG) tube.

We had our first pediatric visit today as well. We went over Colton's discharge summary which is basically a huge summary report with all of Colton's history from birth to March 23, 2009. Colton and Sydney have the same pediatrician and she is conveniently located 5 minutes from the house (as opposed to Texas Woman's being 75 miles round trip). Dr. B. felt Colton looked really good today and felt he's made good progress based on his early history. Colton will be following up with a pediatric gastroenterologist and pediatric pulmonologist within the next month among other doctor visits. I think it's important to point out that while Colton is out of the NICU, he still has quite a few doctor visits in his future. He also has to overcome a few more challenges with taking all feeding amounts being one of the most important milestones.

We appreciate everyone understanding that we can't have visitors for Colton until after cold and flu season. Right now, late April/early May feels about right. In the meantime, enjoy these blog updates and celebrate with us as Colton has come home to be with his family in Tomball. All the best....Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23 - Colton is coming home!!!

After 7 weeks and 3 days, Colton Todd Gibbs is finally coming home! We just spoke to the NICU and he passed the appropriate milestones to be released.

He will be coming home with oxygen for feeding, an apnea monitor and a few other things like an NG tube (for feedings and meds) and a pump to push any milk through his NG tube that he doesn't finish. He is still a couple of weeks away from his original due date. He will be popular at his pediatrician and other doctors. And there still is a lot of work ahead for him and his family.

However, we will have him home in Tomball. We will not have to do the 75 mile round trip daily to see him for a couple of hours. And we can work on getting him stronger for his meet and greet in a month or so.

Look for another blog update late tonight or early tomorrow with pictures and further updates.

Good doctors, good medicine, good care and prayers and Faith got him to where he is today. Thanks for your love and support and please keep him in your prayers to continue to grow stronger each day.....All the best....Love, Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 21 - Starbucks for Colton

Colton hanging out (and over!) the open crib in NICU on his 50th day of life. He is 7 weeks old. His due date remains 21 days away now. He is currently 7 lbs 6 oz. He is demonstrating longer and more significant periods of quiet alertness that are consistent with approaching term age.

These are the letters made by Aunt Katie for Colton. Colton can't wait to meet cousin Reed!

Beautiful curtains for Colton sewn by the very talented Karen! His nursery should be on MTV's "Cribs" show!

Colton has started his caffeine habit early. His doctors have him using caffeine to regulate his breathing. They have him up to a therapeutic level in his blood and they re-tested him on the OCRG again Friday. Results will not be available until sometime Monday and those results will determine if he is coming home yet or not. The nurse trained us on giving all his meds today.

Colton weighs in at 7 lbs 6 oz today. The neonatologist have upped his feeding amounts to 70 mL to keep him growing strong and to develop his brain. He finished 6 bottles yesterday, stumbled with one a bit with his 8:00 am feed with a nurse and finished his 2:00 feed with Mom. He gets NG feedings at 11:00 am and pm to help conserve energy and maintain growth. They will look into upping him to 8 bottles if he continues to do well with 6 bottles per day and gain weight. Maybe he can get up to 8 before Monday and get rid of that NG tube! The caffeine has helped him eat better by bottle and should continue to do so.

Everything is pretty much ready at home for Colton's arrival. His name is hung in letters made by my sister-in-law Katie McKinney and they look amazing! My friend Karen made some AWESOME curtains and table cover for his room! His room is looking fabulous! We have a sweet little outfit ready for him to wear home. Now we just need him here!

More updates as we have them. The results of the OCRG should be in sometime Monday and that will dictate what happens next. Until then, he will be working on eating bottles, growing and developing that little brain.

Wendy, Bret, Sydney and Colton-pass-the-Starbucks Gibbs

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Few More Days In The NICU

Colton has had a set back in his homecoming plans. Colton did not pass his OCRG (oxycardiorespiragraph). That is a study of his heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen saturation over a period of 6 hours. He had episodes of increased breathing rate and oxygen desaturations that need to be addressed. He will be placed on caffeine to regulate his breathing, which is very common for premature infants. Once they have a therapeutic dose of caffeine on board, they will repeat his OCRG and that will determine if and when he can come home. If all goes well, he should come home late Monday or on Tuesday. It takes a few days to regulate the dose to what he needs and then he must repeat the OCRG study and have the pulmonologist interpret the results..

Otherwise, he continues to do very well. He is eating bottles better and the neonatologist thinks he may be able to complete his bottles once his breathing issues are sorted. Then he won't have to come home with an NG tube. He is up to 60 mL, or 2 ounces, at each feeding that he must consume by mouth or by NG tube. He often starts out great and then falls asleep, unable to finish. He continues to do well maintaining his temperature in the open crib. He is weighing 7 lbs 2.5 oz.

Hopefully he will be home with us early next week without further delay.


Colton's homecoming delayed :(

More details soon - but it will at least be Monday or later.

Monday, March 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS - Colton coming home on Thursday, March 19!

Just got off the phone with Wendy. Doctors informed us that Colton can come home on Thursday, March 19! This allows us to have him home one night then follow up with the pediatrician on Friday. More details later but thought I would post this info sooner rather than later! - Bret

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15 - Open Crib Day

Colton moved to the open crib today! He is now working to prove that he can maintain his own body temperature without the help of the isolette. He moved into the new crib at 2:45 today. He also had orders written on his chart for Mom and Dad to begin to learn to use and place the NG tube (his nasogastric feeding tube). On Monday, the social worker will begin to arrange for all the equipment he needs to be discharged home. Mom and Dad will also learn his medications and how to administer them.

Colton has come a long way from 3 lbs 12 oz weighing in last night at 6 lbs 15 oz just under the 7 lb mark. While he may appear to be an average sized full term baby, he is very far developmentally from a full termer. Colton has done excellent in the weight gain department on his diet of breast milk and calorie fortifier via the tube. The neonatologist have strict guidelines based on age and weight for nutrition for the preemies. Even if they do better than expected in the weight gain department, as Colton has done, that doesn't mean they even begin to compare to a full termer. Colton should have spent the last 6 weeks (plus a couple more!) growing and developing in utero. To be able to grow and develop outside, means he has had to sacrifice development in order to learn to breath, digest food and survive on the outside. All preemies seem to struggle in some areas and work like a champ in others. Colton seems to have the digest food and grow part down pat. Actually eating the food by bottle and remembering to breath properly are harder for him. If it was easy to grow the babies on the outside in the isolette, I imagine they would let everyone get out of the 3rd trimester. I have heard it can be trying...I wouldn't know! I have 2 children and I have only been pregnant a little over 13 months total!

As a pediatric physical therapist, I am acutely aware of what is normal development for a premature infant. When Colton is 6 months old, doctors and therapists will expect him to behave as a 3.5 month old infant due to being born 2.5 months early. As with a full term infant, he will excel in some areas and lag a bit in others as he works to develop. Infants born before 32 weeks gestation often lag behind even more due to additional complications they may have. Most preemies catch up with their full term peers by 2-3 years of age. Basically, he is ahead of the curve by getting to come home before his due date! Even if it is with some equipment.

Sydney took off and grew like a weed after we brought her home from the NICU 8 years ago. Since she was 2 years old, she has been 90 percentile for height after starting below the 5th when she was born (Sydney was born at 32 weeks and 3 days gestation). One of the most frustrating things for us was people who assumed she was older and therefore expected her to act the age they thought she was based on her height. We were acutely aware then based on veiled comments or body language how people thought she was not acting her age. It is unfair to expect a 3 year old to have the skills of a 4 year old. The same holds true for Colton. It's tempting to think he is ready to leave the NICU and will be "caught up" or "normal" strictly based on his weight and size. Unfortunately, our society expects certain behavior and characteristics strictly based on size. Make no mistake about it, Colton is doing very well, but he is still a fragile premature infant. I am very thankful he is not had a failure to thrive, which can be very common diagnosis for preemies who do not gain weight well.

This week will be a blur of training and preparation to bring Colton home. The target date remains Friday for his homecoming. I plan to send out birth announcements after we get Colton home, settled, and get the NG tube and stickers off his face so he can have a beautiful picture without medical equipment to accompany his announcement. That is probably still a couple of weeks off.

In addition, RSV season runs through the end of April, so Colton will have to put off company until the end of April. I know everyone is very anxious to see my little man in person; but we will have to wait for his debut on the red carpet. Thank you for your understanding. RSV is a simple cold in adults and older, healthy children. RSV can be deadly for premature infants. This is something both the doctors and the nurses are crystal clear about - your child can die if they are exposed to RSV in the coming weeks. Short of Jesus Christ knocking on the door to visit, we may respectfully ask everyone else to wait until cold/flu/RSV season is over. Next RSV season, Colton will receive special RSV vaccinations to prevent infection. His lungs remain premature and at high risk of damage from illness. We just want to be clear that we are not trying to be rude but have to put Colton's health first. Trust us - we want to show him off and will do so when the danger of the season is over!

Thanks for your support and we look forward to everyone meeting our little man later this Spring. We will continue to update with pictures and reports. Look for a huge spread on homecoming day!

Wendy, Bret, Sydney and Colton

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 14 - 6 weeks today

Well, it's been 6 weeks since Colton joined us in this world. He is still almost 4 weeks from his original due date. The little guy ain't so little anymore. He is less than 1 ounce from the 7lbs. mark!

You might have noticed more infrequent updates. We haven't had a ton of significant news day-to-day. However, that has changed today.

Wendy spoke to the neonatologist today about how Colton seems stuck at the 6 bottles per day (remember 8 bottles is the target) and the fact that he is still gaining weight like a champ. Given Wendy's background in working with young children and the fact that, medically speaking, Colton appears to be doing well, it looks like we will target next Friday, March 20 as the day we bring him home! Of course Colton has to keep on track like he is now but we are optimistic that next weekend is the weekend we finally get him home.

Colton will still be a preemie when we get him home. He will likely come home on oxygen for his feeds. He will have an apnea monitor for when he sleeps. He will also have his NG tube (tube that you currently see in the pics going through his nostril and into his belly) to make sure he is getting the proper amount of milk and likely administer his Zantac for his reflux. We will get a crash course this week on all of this stuff at the NICU. We just took infant CPR tonight (good times on a Saturday night) so we are hopeful to never need that training in action. However, this is all stuff we believe we can handle and more importantly, the great staff at Texas Woman's believes we can handle.

We will spend most of this coming week putting the finishing touches on everything he needs before coming home. As tough as these 6 weeks have been on us, the real work begins when we get him home. I'm sure our pediatrician will get to know him very well over the next year! We are still in the cold/flu/RSV season. For those who don't know what RSV is, it's a potentially deadly infection of the lungs and breathing passages. Preemies especially are susceptible to RSV and that's why we'll have to be vigilant about limiting his exposure to others over the next month or so. RSV season generally runs from September - April.

Stay tuned for more updates on Colton and all the best to you and your family....Love, Bret, Wendy, Sydney and Colton