Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little G

Grady continues to grow. He is so alert now. It is a blessing to watch him enjoy all of his new surroundings and the colorful crib attachments that Mommy and Daddy have been adding to Grady's world. You learned about his boppy the other day. He is still enjoying it and so is everyone else. Grady is so happy to sit up or just take a nap while the boppy snuggles around him. Man, I wish these were around thirty plus years ago.
As you can see, our little man is a wee bit content. Home would be better, but for now, it looks like Grady will be in the TCU for a little longer than originally thought. He has some growing to do so that his lungs can build new tissue. As he grows, his lungs will get bigger because he will be developing this much needed new tissue. Some of you may already know this, but when we are born, we only start out with about 10% of what our lungs will be as adults. As we grow, our lungs grow too. Grady needs more lung capacity to be able to get off this respirator. The nurses are watching his oxygen saturation and as he can tolerate it, they will reduce his amounts. Once he is at room air, they will begin weening him off the respirator. Looks like our little man will be staying longer than any of us had hoped. Now, on the bright side, it is a blessing that he is with these wonderful nurses and doctors. Spending my time with him, has allowed me to observe the family environment the nurses try to give all of these precious babies. Grady has a neighbor that is such a delight. Every nurse or doctor that walks by, stops and visits with him. This child has a smile on is face most of the day. They call him by name, know what he likes and everyone seems to spend at least a few minutes just talking to him and teasing him. He loves it. It is very comforting to know that Grady is in such a loving place.
Love, prayer and faith have gotten us this far and I know God will continue to carry us through to the day we get to bring this little fella home. Thank you so much for all you are doing for this family. I pray that God blesses every one of you and yours like he has us.
Talk soon,

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grady is settling in

Grady is getting settled into his new place. His nurses told Momma that she could bring some of Grady's things to his new room. They encourage lots of stimulation for the babies. So, you see Grady with his Glo Worm. He loves the music that Glo Worm makes. Mommy also brought him this cute toy to attach to the side of his crib. It plays forest sounds and has soft lights with some figures moving about. Grady can enjoy a little relaxing time with this colorful toy. The forest sounds seem to get his attention. You can watch as he fights to keep his eyes open when it is turned on. He loves to watch it, but it will put him to sleep. His sweet yawn lets you know how relaxed he gets. It is very exciting to watch Grady enjoy the things that babies are suppose to enjoy.
There are a lot of things to learn before we can bring this boy home. There is a video that all three of us need to watch. After that, we have hands on care that the nurse is teaching us as we do each step. Repetition will be the best learning, so we all need to be able to do each task while being observed. Talk about on the spot. It is very reassuring to know that they will not send our little man home until the adults have learned all there is to know and actually taken care of Grady's extra needs. Each step is crucial to his care so we want to make sure it is second nature to us before we are the ones in charge.
Now, just a little bit of fun. In this new place we are the ones that take care of him. We move him, bathe him, do the wound care, feed him. Finally, Grady is living the life of a newborn with his family. Don't get me wrong, he was in excellent hands in the NICU. Their job was just different from the nurses Grady has now. They did the care giving, but now we are giving him all the love and kisses and holding and tickling we can give him. Poor little fella now has to endure girl kisses, tickles, toe nibbles and all that other stuff that new parents and grandparents love to share. We have a lot to teach Grady about being a baby. Color, sound, long talks and any other thing you can think of. Grady is going to know just how loved he is because we now get to pick him up when we want to, put him in a bouncy seat or just move him to a more comfortable position. I have to tell you, Mommy brought the Boppy so that we could hold Grady with the support that it gives. Yesterday, Grady was very fussy. He was dry, fed and should have been good to go but I could not get him to settle or be happy. So, I reached in and propped him up with my hand. He instantly chilled and relaxed. One problem, I can not just stand there propping him up. So, I set him into the Boppy. The boy loves that Boppy. Mommy thought it was for her, but Grady has other plans. Somehow, I think they can both use it and have it their way. Hey, just like one of those burger joints.
Well, that is about where we are for now. Our lessons are just beginning, so there will be stories to tell another day.
This is such a wonderful move and we have all of you to thank for it. With your prayers and support, Grady has come a long way. Thank you is not enough. Please remember how important you all are to us.
Talk soon,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grady has moved

Well, our little man has finally moved to the transitional unit. He has a full size bed. I think Daddy could get in this bed with him. It is a regular crib, but Grady looks so small in it. This place has some new ideas that are quite amazing. How many times have you had to pick up a paci to just have it dropped again because your little one could not hold onto it? Well, look at the second picture a little closer. The nurse has attached the paci to a rolled up blanket. AND IT WORKS! The blanket is just flexible enough that it stays put! Go figure.
Now the fun begins. Mommy, Daddy and JoJo now have to learn how to take care of all Grady's extras. Man, there is a lot more to it than you would think. It is a good think he is so darn cute. Another fun thing about this place is that Mommy can bring some of Grady's things to him. He has a new friend, already. The bunny is a gift from one of the kids wonderful friends. Looks like Grady is going to like being a part of this great big family.
Our little man has to get to know his new temporary home and the nurses will soon have a plan to get this boy home. It will take a few days before we will know anything, but home just got much closer for our precious little miracle boy.
Just to catch you all up, Grady did have another procedure last week. He has recovered and now we don't have to worry about fluid build up any more. Once the incisions heal, we can concentrate on getting this boy off the respirator. We have all learned that we will be able to pick Grady up and move him around. We can put him in a bouncy seat or hold him without having to ask the nurse for help. They want us to take over, so to speak. The more we care for Grady while he is in this unit, the better.
One more VERY important thing, I must tell you. I held my grandson for the first time, today. If you have not had this experience yet, it is worth waiting on. What a blessing this little child is. Kind of makes me sad that I missed Emma's first little bitty years. Being a grandparent is pretty good stuff.
Family and friends are one of the most important things we can have. Thank you for being there and keeping all my kids in your prayers.
Talk soon,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grady's Birth Day

Wednesday was supposed to be Grady's birth date. How amazing that he is over 3 months old, instead. He seems to be on schedule with his growth. He is about the size he should have been, today. He is a little shorter than we thought he would be, but that will change fast.
The first picture you see, Momma took while she and Grady were talking about the Fort that Daddy wants to put up. I know Grady doesn't know what a Fort is, but the smile was too precious not to share. Can you imagine his thoughts about climbing on that Fort, in the sunshine? The look on Grady's face says he can't wait.
Our little man is still in the NICU for now. He had to get some fluid drained so the doctors wanted to keep him with the nurses that know him best. Maybe today or tomorrow, Grady will move to the TC Unit. This move will be bitter sweet. It is the next step for Grady, but for him to leave his extended family in the NICU, will be hard.
Grady is 17 1/2 inches long. He weighs 7 lbs and 6.4 oz. Last weekend, he required a manicure. His JoJo had to file his nails. Grady loves his hands, so with those weapons flying around, he might have scratched his cute little face. We all know this little man does not perticularly enjoy someone else controlling his moves. Let me tell you, it took about an hour to get all those nails reduced. One at a time, with a few short breaks in between, we did get this job completed.
For now, we are asking for more prayer. With the fluid backing up again, we are probably looking at another procedure. The doctors want to wait a little while to let the G button heal completely, before they add the drain tube that will empty into his stomach. Mommy and Daddy are doing well, but getting worn out. Once Grady comes home and they have their family together, they can rest. I know, you don't get rest with a little one at home. But for them, it means their free time will be at home and not running up and down the roads.
By the way, I have changed the restrictions for posting a comment. Please feel free to put a note to the kids. Comments will be reviewed before they are posted so you may not see them right away, but I know Mommy and Daddy will enjoy hearing from you.
As always, your support and prayers are a blessing. It is very comforting to know my kids have friends to talk to and to support them. All of you mean so much.
Talk soon,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bright Eyes

Finally, we got to visit with Grady and he was awake and checking out his surroundings. Seems like we are always interrupting his naps. You will notice the happy face with the paci in his mouth. The not so happy face is when he realized the paci was missing. Grady still accidently spits the paci out. He clamps that mouth down, just in case someone tries to put a tube down it. That is my thinking, anyway. It will take him a second or two to realize that he really wants that paci back. And you all can see his face when that happens. Grady is adapting to his new attachments. Moving his head around and looking in different directions is still a little foreign to him, but he is getting the hang of it. Someone will speak to him and he tries to look at them, then realizes he can move his head in that direction. Once Grady goes to the transitional care area, he will begin some new lessons. There, Grady will start trying to breath without the respirator. They will also start trying to see how well he does with bottle feedings. For now, we do not have a schedule for this, but are looking forward to being a part of these lessons. Transitional care will teach all of us how to care for Grady's extra needs. It is hard to destiguish between what is nerves and what is excitement.
Grady is taking 60 ml at each feeding. He should gradually move his amount up, as he needs it. Two ounces per feeding is about where most babies begin. Since Grady should be born in a couple of days, he is about where he needs to be with this. Grady weighed 6 lbs and 12.4 oz. He is holding at 16 3/4 inches for now. As I said the last time we spoke, Grady is receiving less calories than he has been. The doctor wanted him to gain weight and he did. Now that he is a good weight, he needs to work on getting some of his fullness down.
The nurse asked Mommy to bring some of his jump suits. Now that Grady can maintain his own body temp, he is getting too hot in the jammies. No more long sleeves for now. This little man wants his feet loose. Grady still gets wrapped up in light blankets. That helps keep the G button away from little hands. Grady is strong enough to pull this out, so that will be one area we will really have to watch. He loves his hands and loves to grab things. His nurse put a cloth tube in his hand, yesterday, because Grady was grabbing at his tubing and pulling. We don't want that. Thank goodness for his bells and whistles. One tube disconnected today, and beep, beep, beep. Sound one went off. Grady was not best pleased at that. It is a shrill noise and Grady is content to just listen to his CD player with animal noises. He does not like the sharp noises in the least.
With all the changes in recent days, we are so blessed to have Grady where he is. It will be sad to move to the next area and leave all of our friends in the NICU. All of these wonderful people love and care for so many babies that need extra care. I hope they know just how very important they are to all of us.
Just like all of you. I truly hope you know just how much we love you and appreciate all of your prayers and support. Family is everything and you are our family. And, if you are around any of us soon, we all have video on our computers. You will love Grady in motion. He is so precious. Just ask, someone will show you. If not, call JoJo or GiGi. We both have our videos and will show everyone!
Talk soon,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Three months old!

Three months ago, Monday, Grady was born 1 lb and 12.9 oz. Can you believe it? It just seems like yesterday, that we were counting percentages of ounces. Now, we are REDUCING his calorie intake. His nurse told Mommy that Grady is no longer swollen and they are dropping his calorie count. He is too chunky! What a blessing! Grady is taking 2 ounces per feeding. This will continue to increased but the doctor is no longer adding extra calories to thicken him up. This little boy looks great to me. Just look at those yummy cheeks!

Today, Grady got to meet his Uncle. Brian says, Grady looks like his Daddy. Isn't it funny how one little child can look so much like so many people. He does have a few features that resemble each parent and a little of his grandparents. Hey, chunky is not a feature! Stop that! I love that we can see his precious little face without anything attached to it.
Grady continues to heal from his latest procedures. He has a new tube and the nurses have gotten him off of his continual pain meds. He can still receive a little of something less powerful, but hopefully he will not require that for much longer. Now, we are looking forward to him moving to the transition area. This is going to be a learning experience for the adults. The family is going to learn how to care for the extras that Grady will require. We took a tour today. It is a very nice place. It will be sad to leave all the special people that have been with Grady for these first three months. But it is time for him to graduate to the new area. He will no longer require NICU care. WOW!
At last count, Grady was 6 lbs, 8.6 oz. He is almost 17 inches long. This has not changed much since Sunday. You will all remember, Grady should be preparing for his entry into this world. We are about a week from his due date. He is just about the size he should be. This would be the time for him to start chunking up a little, preparing to keep himself warm once he is forced into our world. Looks like he is on schedule for some things.
We have another scan coming up next week. Your prayers and support will be very much appreciated. Grady is a very blessed little man to have such a wonderful extended family loving and praying for him. I hope you all know what you mean to us. Thank you is never enough, but Thank you!
Talk soon,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What a Cutie!

Well, this boy was pretty cute with tape on his face. Did any of you think he was this cute without the tape? I suspected it, but had no idea our Grady was such a handsome little man. Just look at this precious little face. His little nose is just the cutest. And those lips, how could they get sweeter?
Grady weighs 6 lbs and 9 1/2 oz. He is carrying some fluid, so this may drop a little, but probably not much. His doctors have dropped his feedings while he recovers from his latest procedures, but that should not take much longer. The nurse will have him back up to his preferred feeding amount soon. For now, Grady has a little something extra to keep him relaxed and sleepy so he can heal.
As you can see, Grady no longer has the respirator. For now, it looks like Grady will bring the trach home with him. Once his airway strengthens, he will be able to put this new attachment aside. Grady will be one happy little boy once he realizes he can move his head around without the restraints of the respirator. He will be able to get out of that bed more and enjoy his swing. Best of all, we will be able to hold him more often. Just think, his best memories are coming soon. He will always remember the day his GiGi and his JoJo held him for the first time. Oh yeah, he might remember his Pa and his PaPa, too. Maybe Nancy and I need to start spoiling him more, just in case.
The feeding tube has been replaced as well. He now has a G Button. This goes directly into his stomach. Grady's nurses will teach him to bottle feed in the next week or two. Once he has the hang of that, the G button can be removed. As much as this boy loves his groceries, it is a good possibility that he will not need the button for long. But like everything else, that will depend on how quickly he learns this newest lessson, swallowing. Daddy can tell you, our little man does enjoy his paci. Hopefully, this has taught him the first steps to bottle feeding. For now, we are still just waiting to see how well Grady does with all his new attachments.
This little boy has been through a lot, lately. He has overcome quite a few issues and procedures. Your support and prayers have been our strength. God has been so good to our family. Please know how much we appreciate all of you. I don't know how anyone could get through these trials without the love and support of good friends.
Talk soon,