Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nursery Complete!

 In anticipation for Joshua's arrival, we finally finished his room! The room is a mix of sweet jungle animals and soft blues and greens on the walls and blankets. The "tree of love" as Kimberly called it, is a one of a kind painted by my very talented sister. We are so excited to welcome him home and start our lives as a family.
View from door

Tree of Love

The Birds love their home

My Parent's rocking chair

Changing table

25 year old Alphabet made by a friend of my Dad's
Joshua was doing great today. He is still taking 5-6 bottles a day, the doctors don't want to push him too hard so they are letting him work at his own pace. He was pretty spoiled today. Early this morning before we got to the hospital, one of the nurses told us he started crying and didn't stop until she came over and held him for a while. He is definitely getting to the stage where he vocalizes when we wants something just like a term baby would do. He is awake for much more of the day now unlike before.
Joshua loves his time with daddy

Little smile =)
He is starting to make lots of little faces and noises. The nurses told us that preemies are notorious for making lots of grunts. Parents often don't sleep the first couple nights because they are not used to all the noise on the monitor. Joshua has lots of grunts and has started to make little whimpers. I thought he was dreaming the other day because he started whimpering like a little puppy was priceless! 
Can you say spoiled?
Joshua's feeding tube fell out this morning, so they gave him a break and let him relax without it for most of the day. Of course I took advantage of the situation and took lots of photos! I can't believe how completely different he looks without it. Its going to be a great day when it is gone permanently!

This is the life...

I smother him with kisses!

Love those little hands

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

One of the nurses found this hat and gave it to her favorite little guy!
The holidays put me a little behind on my blog, so sorry this is a bit overdue. Merry Christmas from Team Altman. Joshua enjoyed his first Christmas.  He didn't stay up for Santa, so he was wide awake on Christmas day to see family. We took Joshua to the window of the NICU and he got to see a lot of new faces, it was perfect. He sported his little Christmas outfit all day...thanks Deb!

Relaxing on Christmas Day
Joshua is now weighing in at 5 pounds and 4 ounces which is more than double what he weighed when he arrived! He fits perfectly and even a little snug in most of his preemie outfits. As you can see in the pictures, his little hands have some rolls and his little face is filling out with some chubby rosy cheeks and even a cute little double chin!

Team Altman's First Christmas
We were hoping to bring Joshua home before the new year, but it looks like our stay will be a bit longer than what we wanted. The doctors initially told us that we could expect him to be home by my due date which was January 10th, so that is the new goal. Right now, Joshua is still having several Bradycardias every day. It seems to be the reflux causing these episodes, so they have raised his bed permanently and he will be coming home to a crib that is elevated as well. The orange tube going through his nose is providing his feeds when he is not bottle feeding, and unfortunately this is probably causing the reflux. This tube prevents the gastric sphincter leading from the esophagus into the stomach from closing, so stomach acid can easily pass back up through the esophagus and into the mouth. Joshua doesn't know what to do when this happens, so it basically causes him to pause his breathing and drop his heart rate. We are praying that Joshua will get to 8 bottles soon so that darn tube can come out. He is still at 5-6 bottles a day, so please continue to pray for his healthy development and strong sucking muscles so he can get to 8 and be off the tube!
Excited to see Daddy!

Mommy and Joshua
All the grandparents have had the chance to hold baby Joshua in the last couple weeks, so that has been a blessing.
Joshua and Grandma
Nana and Joshua

Taking Joshua's Temperature
Joshua is doing great at regulating his temperature, the extra pounds have definitely helped him with that! By the time he comes home, we are expecting him to be around 6 pounds or more.
Grandma and sleepy baby

Dad's Shirt: "This is what a really cool Grandpa looks like"
Joshua had another eye exam today, and all looks good. Often preemies have problems with their eyes because they are so underdeveloped, but fortunately Joshua has not had any problems. He has some abnormalities, but they are all normal for a preemie. Its weird how abnormalities can somehow be normal.  I will be posting some more updates soon, so check back. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family and wish you a safe new year.

Pops and Joshua

Patiently waiting for Santa         

Monday, December 20, 2010

Daddy's Little Elf

 Joshua is doing really good this week. So good, that the doctors have been hinting he may be discharged before the new year! As of last night, he weighed 4 pounds and 9 ounces and was 17 and 3/4 inches long. The nurses said he is going to be tall like daddy. They stopped his caffeine yesterday, and are waiting to see what he does without it. Remember, the caffeine stimulates his immature brain to keep him breathing. The first time they took him off of it, he started to have lots of episodes of not breathing so they put him back on it. There is really no way to know how he will handle it, until they do it. He has kind of naturally weened himself off the caffeine, because as he has grown, they have not increased the dose correspondingly. Joshua is taking 4 bottles a day. They think in the next couple of days he will be ready for 5. We have to get to 8 before we can be discharged, so Joshua is working really hard. You can tell when he gets really tired because his little bottom lip will start to quiver and he just closes his eyes. It is the sweetest little face.

Daddy's Little Elf

Tummy time!

This outfit used to be big on him!

Fast asleep
 It is really amazing how much he has progressed and how much he is still progressing every day. The doctors say he will go home when he decides he is ready...babies don't read the textbooks! We have a lot of family that has not yet been able to meet Joshua, but Christmas Day they will finally get to! We are going to bring Joshua to the window so everyone can see him. That will be a great Christmas present for us all.

Thank you again everyone for continuing to pray for baby Joshua. The many prayers are a testament to his strong and healthy development. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Much love from Team Altman!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We've got some rolls, and I dont mean for dinner!!

This week has been so busy with changes and improvements I have not had a chance to blog for a while. Joshua is doing fantastic! He is now over 4 pounds...a couple days ago he was 4 lbs and 3 oz. He is now free from his isolette and into a big boy crib! I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to lean over and kiss his little chubby cheeks, yes CHUBBY cheeks whenever I want! Joshua actually is starting to get some little rolls on his legs and arms. Every new roll is a new excitement for us.

The biggest improvement, developmentally, was the removal of his nasal canula. Joshua is free from most tubes and cords. He is breathing room air completely on his own and is doing very well. The only thing still attached to him is the orange feeding tube, and this will stay until he is taking 8 bottles by mouth on his own. He is still on 3 bottles right now.  Because Joshua is now free of all the tubes, all the nurses fight over holding him and walking around the NICU with him. He is definitely popular with the female nurses, they all claim that he is their favorite. He must already have that charm that his daddy has =)

Josh and I went to another support group tonight, and met some great families. It is always reassuring to hear the uplifting stories these families have to share. Its been a long day, and its time to get to bed so with that I will post some pictures. Thank you so much for all your continued support and prayers...God is great! Much love.

No matter how tight Joshua gets swaddled, he still manages to get his little hand out!

Gettin' some Daddy time

Joshua's big boy crib!

Daddy's All Star

Trying to hold his paci himself

Joshua is not always sure about this bottle thing...but he's doing great!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bottle #1 Down!

Today Joshua finished his first whole bottle!! Not only that, but he finished in 29 minutes, which I'v been told is some new record =) I know this sounds like any normal thing for a baby to do, but in the NICU it is something exciting. There are really three things that get the nurses excited...

1. Poopy Diapers  - If its going in and not coming out, doctors and nurses are not happy
2. Finishing a bottle - Preemies dont have the ability to suck, swallow, and breathe all at once, so you can imagine how hard it would be to take a whole bottle.
3. A quiet afternoon without any beeps or noises from a machine

I talked to the Neonatlogist today and he said Joshua looks great. Everything is going well, and hopefully no more severe episodes. Joshua only had 1 bradycardia today and he recovered on his own without any stimulation from the nurses which is always good. Most likely he will have outgrown these in just a couple more we are counting down the days!

I had a little photo shoot of Joshua today, I just couldn't help it with his little christmas outfit on. I posted these pictures and some others. The sweet little hat he has is courtesy of the hospital. All the babies got new christmas hats from the nurses last night, and of course it matches his christmas outfit perfectly.

I posted a video I took of Joshua today around 3pm. Usually he is wide awake at this time, but the bottle feed from this morning really wore him out. The nurses and doctors are always laughing when they come by to see Joshua for their rounds, because it always looks like he is dreaming. Joshua is notorious for making silly little faces and smirks in his sleep. I managed to catch one in the video. Im pretty sure he was dreaming about coming home with mommy and daddy. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Joshua!

 Today Joshua is one month old and it was a great day! The nurses in the NICU made every baby a little paper Christmas ornament with their footprints on them. That will definitely appear on our tree in the upcoming years! The nurses did a great job in decorating the NICU. The Christmas tree is of course filled with blue and pink ornaments representing all the sweet little boys and girls there.
Wide Awake!

Trying to hold his binky on his own
He loves Daddy's touch

 It is hard to believe Joshua has been with us for one month. He has made such progress since the day he was born and we are so thankful for all the doctors and nurses responsible for his progress. With that being said, I will post some pictures of the birthday boy and post new updates as they come. Thank you again for all your prayers for Baby Joshua, it keeps Team Altman going!

Nap Time!