Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Charlie update

Not too much change from yesterday. We are feeling so utterly relieved that all of the testing on Charlie's heart has come back normal. His aorta is slightly enlarged but the cardiologist came back to reassure us that she didn't think it was problematic (and someone's aorta has to be in the 98th percentile!). We will take him back to her for a repeat echocardiogram in 6 months, though.

It's also looking less likely that Charlie has an infection. His blood work has looked good and his blood cultures also look fine. That said the blood cultures only tell us he doesn't have sepsis and they still don't rule out pneumonia. This morning Charlie had another chest x-ray and unfortunately, as on Sunday, it was inconclusive. We're waiting on the final report from the radiologist but at this point it hasn't told us much more. Given how well Charlie is doing in every other way (gaining weight at a great pace, good colouring, happy and not fussing, etc) the doctors are much less concerned that there is anything too concerning going on. The question is whether we should stay for an entire week so Charlie has a full course of antibiotics in case it is pneumonia or whether we should go home and see what happens knowing that he's thriving in every way and the most scary causes have been ruled out. 

It's looking more likely that we will be discharged sooner rather than later, which is a big relief on many levels, not least because this is a horrible time for Rafi. This morning the first thing he said was "I want to see mummy", which is heartbreaking when I can't be there. 

^^^^^ Well, in the midst of writing this, Charlie's Dr. came in to chat with us and he agreed that it was safe for us to go home. Such a huge relief. So I'm now home on the couch with Charlie, who's napping and eating like a very healthy little boy. Indeed at this morning's very early weigh in (for some reason he had to be weighed at 5am), he was already 8 pounds 4 oz, well over his birth weight. One of his Drs said that he looked much plumper than on Sunday, and he really does seem to be with his chunky little arms. I'm looking forward to his legs developing those baby rolls.

Here are a few pics of the past few days. Rafi was super happy to see his little brother. He's going to be very happy when he realizes we're all home.  

Thanks to everyone for being so kind. A friend from work brought over some food for Raf and Rich last night, and we were very lucky to only lose power for a couple of hours. I suddenly feel utterly exhausted so I'm looking forward to a few low-key days and a better night's sleep!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baby Charlie

As many of you know, baby Charlie was admitted to hospital yesterday because of rapid respirations and heart rate. He's had a few episodes of rapid breathing this past week but because it always returned back to normal breathing patterns we thought it was just Charlie's 'normal'. Yesterday morning, very early, I noticed his breathing was really rapid, but this time it didn't stop. I called my Dr's office and they indicated that we should go to the ER because at 11 days old rapid breathing isn't quite so normal. I was truly panicked, so I wrapped up Charlie and sped off to Maine Med. The ER was great. They got us right into a room and we were seen right away. Rich was with Rafi and as soon as I had spoken to the Dr. to see what we might be dealing with, I called Rich and told him that we probably needed to get coverage for Raf and that he should be at the hospital. Once again Margaret and Mike came to our rescue and Raf went to play with Addie and Calla.

Meanwhile at the hospital Charlie was going through a battery of tests. He had a chest x-ray, which was just truly, truly dreadful. He screamed and screamed and I sobbed and sobbed as I held his legs down and the other tech held his arms over his heard. He then needed to a catheter to get a sample of his urine and then an IV. The poor little boy was so brave, and as soon as each painful procedure was over he was back to being his calm self. 

I, on the other hand, was a wreck. One of our friends happened to be on duty as a nurse and it was good to see her. All the Drs, the ER docs and the family practice docs who came to see Charlie, were great. We were told that they were thinking two things... the first is that Charlie might have pneumonia. The chest xray has been inconclusive because he was shrieking but they might have been able to detect something on one of his lungs. Because I was strep B positive when I had Charlie then the chances of him contracting pneumonia are greatly increased (though I did receive two rounds of antibiotics during labour). The other possibility is that Charlie has some congenital heart defect. All the Docs agreed that this was less likely because frankly Charlie looks GREAT. He doesn't look sick, he's eating well and gaining weight, and he has good colouring, and more. But the heart rate and respirations are red flags. 

Given all of these possibilities Charlie was admitted to the pediatric wing and they're treating him for suspected pneumonia with antibiotics while testing him for heart problems. He's being monitored, too, which is reassuring as they really don't take any chances with little guys this small. He had an EKG yesterday and on the first look the Dr. thinks it looks fine (has to be reviewed by a cardiologist, which I'm not sure it has been). Other reassuring signs is that the heart was not enlarged on the chest xray and his oxygen levels have mostly remained between 98 and 100%. Again, all reassuring. No sign of a heart murmur on examination, either. So today we're waiting on the echocardiogram, and I'm hopeful that it will come back showing Charlie's heart is normal. We had so many ultrasounds to check on his heart and i'm hopeful, too, that all of those normal looking images are indicative of good news.

If it is an infection then we're catching things early. These little ones have a hard time dealing with infection so treating him before we know exactly what is going on makes a lot of sense, right now.

I stayed at the hospital last night and Rich and Raf joined me for dinner. This is horribly confusing for Rafi who wanted his brother to come home with him. It's also very difficult for me to be away from him, especially since I was in the hospital last week having Charlie. Hopefully we'll get good news soon and we can return to our new normal with 2 boys.

Charlie is coping very well. He is being constantly monitored with all sort of wires and IVs, and last night his IV backed up so at midnight we were having to get another IV, which is just a horrible thing for a little one to have to get done.  The hospital is great, though, and we have our own room and I have a bed in there so Charlie slept on my lap last night, which I was very thankful for.

We've had such amazing support from everyone here and all of our friends and family. I only worked out how to get online this morning so I apologize for the mass texting, emailing, and FBing - and it's been too hectic to make actual phone calls. I'm sat here with Charlie nursing and Rich and Rafi should be in shortly for a visit. Hoping, hoping we get some good news today, even if it's just ruling out a few things. I'm not sure how we'll proceed if his blood cultures return normal. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One Week Adjustments.

Charlie hit the one week mark at 11:04pm last night. It's been a super week and we're adjusting quite well. Sleep is interesting as Raf and Rich have been sleeping in our bed while baby Charlie and I are in the spare room. Charlie is sleeping really quite well. He wakes up every few hours, has something to eat, and then goes back to sleep! He's sometimes a bit gassy so I have him up on my chest until it settles, but he invariably returns to sleep with not much fuss. 

In the morning I've been trying to switch places with Rich before the boys wake up so that Rafi can wake up with me next to him. This morning we were all up incredibly early and ended up in Raf's room, in the bunk beds, watching Rafi play with his trains followed by snuggles in bed. 

Charlie looks a lot like Raf, and while Raf was a pretty easy going baby, Charlie is different in lots of ways. The biggest difference - for me, at least - is that Charlie basically eats when he's hungry and then just stops. Raf would nurse and nurse and nurse for HOURS, literally hours, and was cluster feeder extraordinaire. Of course this could all change but we're really enjoying a pretty serene, laid-back baby.

Rafi has been doing so well. He's sort of losing interest in his brother, though there are plenty of kisses and hugs. He seems to be adjusting quite well. That said, a few things have come up... namely some back-tracking in potty training - which I understand is really common - and some behaviour issues at preschool. Nothing terrible, but saying 'no' a lot when he's asked to do something. His teachers said that he's a little bit susceptible when it comes to following his friends' bad examples and they've been trying to encourage him to not join in the antics of other three year old boys! It's difficult to know whether this is just normal developmental stuff or a reaction to a new member of the family. A couple of weeks ago Rafi also started to chew on his sleeve, and his teachers have noticed it, too. I'd rather not over react but we're wondering if it's a stress/anxiety response.

Rafi is no doubt more contrary than ever (getting him changed always involves a lesson in patience) but he remains his sweet and loving self... just a more feisty version!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First days home

Life with a preschooler and a newborn is sort of crazy! Rafi has been an amazing big brother, giving Charlie lots of kisses and hugs. I try to give Raf a lot of kisses and hugs, as usual, and afterwards he tells me to kiss or hug Baby Charlie, too. He's already looking after his baby brother. When I remind Raf to be gentle or careful with Charlie, Raf said today, don't worry, Baby Charlie', and leaned over and gave him a fairly rigorous hug. This morning the first thing Raf did was jump out of bed and shout, 'mummy, where's baby Charlie?', and he jumped into bed and we had a nice morning cuddle. They're so sweet together!

We have had a really nice, yet sort of frenetic, first few days. Yesterday it was just me, Rafi, and Charlie for a few hours. Luckily my friend Kate came over for a visit and brought some train tracks for Raf and some lunch for us. That evening we had a 'Welcome home, Charlie' tea with lots of yummy cake. The boys were a bit overtired but we all enjoyed some great cake that we'd all helped to make the day before. Even Charlie got in on the act and oversaw the cake-making from his Moses basket.

We've been enjoying some lovely weather so we've managed to get outside a bit, too. On Sunday we took a little walk around the neighbourhood and introduced Charlie to some of our neighbours. One neighbour is newly pregnant and another neighbour has a baby, so Charlie and Rafi will have plenty of playmates down the road.

Today Raf was in school and this morning Charlie had his first Dr's appointment. He is a little bit jaundiced so we were glad to be going, especially as he spit up a bit of blood in his spit-up this morning. Mostly the first visit is to check on his weight. He was born 7 pounds 8.8 ounces and on release from hospital he was around 7 pounds 2 ounces... The nurse was a bit shocked to see that he was, 3 days later, 7 pounds 9 ounces! Raf gained weight very quickly, too, which I think isn't the usual course with breastfed babies. He also needed a blood test to check on the jaundiced, and except from a brief cry he did absolutely brilliantly and actually fell asleep as they were drawing the blood.

Charlie is actually the most laid-back and mellow baby I've ever met. We thought Rafi was 'easy' as a newborn but Charlie is phenomenally serene. He cries when he's having his nappy changed but stops immediately once it's come to an end, and I don't think he's really cried for more than a couple of minutes this entire week. He soothes really easily, and probably I'm tempting fate by writing all of this and next week I'll be reporting on a colicky baby who is turning us into wrecks. For now, though, I'm enjoying the easy nights and the better than expected sleep I'm getting.

This afternoon we took Charlie out for a walk. The wonderful Louisa sent me a Moby and I'm very excited that my lovely friend Julie and her mum are also making us another Moby, because Charlie loves being in one. As soon as he's nestled in he's asleep! The doggies enjoyed their walk, too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome home, Baby...

...Charlie! Yes... we eventually settled on a name. Raf has been calling Toast 'Baby Charlie' from almost the minute we told him he was having a baby brother. We had a list of names we were thinking about and Charlie was added to the list. We wanted to meet the little chap before deciding - and it wasn't until yesterday that we finally settled on Charles Archie (aka Baby Charlie). He definitely wasn't an Oscar and while I thought he might be a George - Rafi and Rich were going to find it very difficult to call him anything but Charlie. It actually really, really suits him. Archie was my dad's name, and I'm glad that we've been able to use it. He does also seem like an Archie, too, so both names really suit him.

So Charlie was born on October 17th at 11:04pm. He was born in the water - which was simply amazing - and my lovely midwife Jen was there. I'll hopefully blog about it tomorrow, but the birth was pretty incredible - short and very intense. Charlie wasn't as big as the scans predicted (which I also predicted), and he came in at a very healthy 7 pounds 8.8 oz and 20.25 inches long. He was super alert and happy and really has been so laid back. His nights and days are all mixed up so I haven't had much sleep this week but it's hard to sleep when he's so sweet, anyway.

Today we brought him home! Raf and Rich came to pick me up and we had some photos taken by the hospital photographer - which was a bit of an adventure. Finally we made it out, said goodbye to the nurses, and we were on our way home!

Raf is really such a good brother... .Here he is helping his brother into his car seat.

Kisses before the car trip home... But then baby Charlie was sick so we had a quick outfit change.

Then to the car.  I sat in the middle with my boys on either side. Charlie didn't mind the car chair at all - and didn't fuss or cry for a second. He fell asleep about 20 minutes into the trip and stayed asleep for a lot of the afternoon.

Raf was really happy. I was holding Raf's hand and he told me to hold Baby Charlie's hand, too.

About to head into the house... Charlie didn't wake up for any of it!

Raf was showing Charlie his trains and kindly gave him a book to look at.

Snuggles at home.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brother Love

Baby Toast is here.. and here are some snapshots of the boys meeting. Raf was over the moon, and such an amazing big brother. He brought in a gift for his little brother and a balloon and gave him so many kisses that we almost died from the sweetness. He wanted his brother to go home with him and was sad to say goodbye. It was really lovely.