photo taken by Angela Speiker

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Calvin Day!

The kids and Laney resting watching the snow melt.

We are celebrating Calvin Day today in our household, aka "Gotcha Day". 2 years ago today we were given a precious gift named Calvin Charles Pankewich (at the time he was actually being called Greyson Gladney by his transitional care family). We love our little Calvinator and can't believe how much he has changed in the last 2 years. On this day especially we give a thanksgiving prayer for Leticia for giving us this wonderful gift.

A funny little note about Calvin--he is scared of the owl! There is an owl that lives in the woods beside our house. You can hear it at times. For some reason Calvin thinks the owl is going to get him. Every nap time and every bed time we have to go over the fact that the owl lives outside and is taking a nap and won't come and get him. "Owl get me, owl get me." Poor little guy.

We celebrated this weekend by spending time in the snow. We had about 4-5" of snow here and it was perfect "Frosty Snowman" weather. Daddy and Calvin worked hard on making this BIG snowman, or as Calvin said, "it's as big as daddy." The flakes were huge when they were falling down. Of course today most of the snow is gone on our lawns, but Frosty is still standing.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 27, 2009

3 months old today

Zachary is 3 months old today. On Wednesday, with our Home Health nurse, Joan, he weighed in at a hefty 8 lb 8 oz. What a big, growing boy! Zach is smiling so much more these days. I tried to capture it on camera, but it is so hard to get for now. Zach's little pudgy legs are trying to push him out of his newborn sized diapers, but we have a few left at home that we are going to squeeze him into. Zachary has slept through the night twice this week and it was heavenly. Though, I really can't complain because even when he wakes up, he eats and goes right back to sleep. Our Home Health nurse agreed that we could let him sleep as much as he was able and to let him wake us up, which is so much easier to get up with than an alarm. He is gaining weight just like she likes to see and is such a healthy, happy, laid back little boy. We feel so blessed to have our little Z-man staying so healthy.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm a proud pumping mom

I stole this post idea from another mother, but so worth spreading the word. Thanks, momma bird.

I am a pumping mom. I have been given the guilt trip by so many already that I'm not breastfeeding my child. If they only knew how much it hurt every single time someone said that to me. I was so very looking forward to breastfeeding my baby boy. I was hoping it would be the one thing that worked in the chaos of his birth and post-birth life. Sadly, it did not. We did before and after weight checks with the home health nurse and he just does not gain any weight after breastfeeding. He latches on, he has a strong suck, but the transfer of milk is not happening at all. Beyond that issue, I have had a problem with low supply since the beginning of my breastfeeding/pumping experience. I tried, I did all they told me to do, it just wasn't happening for this mommy. I have cried, and cried, about this topic to no end! In fact, I'm crying right now just thinking about it!! You see, when you have a baby in the NICU, there are so very few things you can do for them. The one thing you are able to do is pump. You are encouraged by the neonatologist to pump b/c of the health benefits that your preemie baby needs, for his immune system that is basically non-existant. So, every 3 hours, I would pump. Most pumping moms get milk in excess, filling freezers full. Not me. I was told that I was "just keeping up" and still am today. But, the fact is that I am just keeping up!! And so, for now, I am doing what I can to keep up with what my little boy needs. It isn't always easy, with the chaos of the other 2 kids running around and needing me to do so much for them still. I hate after feeding Zachary having to put him down to pump, instead of just holding him, looking and adoring my sweet baby boy. But, I know it is best to pump then, after having that bonding time. It is our routine for now.

The big kids are used to the routine. Calvin will tell me I am pumping--should a 2 year old boy know this much information about his mommy?? Oh well! Emerald overheard a conversation on a sit-com on TV the other day about a woman getting a breast pump at a baby shower. She turned to me and said, "mom, that's like your breast pump." Should my daughter pick up on this?? Oh well!! She was quick to notice when we took the hosptial rented pump back and started using a new pump. Like I said, they are used to the pumping in our house.

I read this article the other day. It is about a mom and her pumping. It is about the benefit of pumping and breast milk. It really brought tears to my eyes and made me want to love on my children even more than I already do. If you have time, check it out.

I know formula is not a bad thing. Both my other babies were formula fed and are healthy, smart children. I don't have a problem feeding Zachary formula at all, the couple of times a day he does get it. It has nothing to do with the fact of giving formula or not. It has more to do with giving of myself, my milk, that I love. I love that I can give to Zachary what I am able to give. I feel bad that I couldn't give him a safe environment until 40 weeks gestation. I feel bad that he got short-changed on his safe growing place. So, for now, I will continue to pump. I can't tell you how long it will last, but for now it is providing my son with nutrition and helping his immune system. It's the least I can do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Emerald Day!

Today is Emerald's Gotcha Day, aka Emerald Day in our household. Can't believe that 4 years ago we got our sweet little girl in our arms. It all seems so vivid, as if it was yesterday. Of course it wasn't, we've added 2 other kids since then! Are we insane??!! On this Gotcha Day we send out a thanksgiving prayer for Josephine, Emerald's birthmother. Without her we wouldn't have our little girl. Birthmothers are brave, wonderful, amazing people who give more than they will ever realize.

I made cupcakes last night for Emerald to take to school to celebrate her birthday. She requested chocolate icing with sprinkles, the only thing she asked for. I ran upstairs this morning to check on Zachary (who was taking a nice little nap in his room) and was gone for about 2 minutes. Came downstairs to find a determined 2 year old boy covered in chocolate! Our Calvinator!!! I will laugh about this at some point, really I will :) The cupcakes were stacked on top of each other, pushed to the back of the counter, inside a closed, locked container. Like I said, a determined little 2 year old boy! He was smart enough to get the stool you see in the pic from the bathroom, climb up, get the plastic container down from the counter, open it, and enjoy, all in under 5 minutes. Oh, and did I mention that it was as quiet as a mouse?? Oh the trouble I foresee in his future! I explained to the teacher what had happened and luckily he only snagged 12 of them, not all 24. The students in her class still had cupcakes, just not the teachers. Emerald's teacher just laughed at the story!

Happy Gotcha Day Emers. Mommy, Daddy, Zachy, and chocolate-faced Calvin love you dearly. We are so thankful that you are in our family!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 21, 2009

6 in-6 out for Z-man

Our sweet 12 week old munchkin.

Getting some loving from big brother.

Sweet outfit from his Godparents--it's finally fitting him.

Look at that double-chin and those thick cheeks!

Zachary is 12 weeks old today. That means that he has spent as much time with us at home as he had spent in the hospital. 6 weeks each! That is so super hard to believe. The time he has been home has just flown by.

We got the results from Z's ultrasound. Dr. Mike (our pediatrician) wasn't satisfied with the results of it and discussed the results with a neurosurgeon at Children's Mercy. We are going to have to do an MRI to rule out any significant problems. I can't remember exactly everything that was discussed, but something to do with the end of his spine, near his tailbone, is not at the right place on a vertebrae or something. Dr. Mike assured me that I shouldn't worry, and that it should be fine, no problems. Of course I'm a mommy and if there could be problem with any of my children, I'm going to worry. It obviously isn't too much of an immediate concern b/c the MRI won't happen either for 6 months or when he is 6 months, I can't remember. The big down side to having an MRI is that they will have to put him under anesthesia, which is never a perfect thing for a young one. They need them to be perfectly still, and it is hard to guarantee just how still a baby can be. So, we will pray that the results of the MRI show nothing and that we can finally dismiss this concern. I'm not sure on a lot of details of this, I will discuss it more thoroughly with Mike the next time Zach has a doctor appointment.

Zachary also had a urologist appointment this week. He is satisfied with the positive renal ultrasounds from the NICU and didn't feel a need to do anything else with that. Unfortunately, Zach is going to have to have surgery in August. He has a slightly more complicated circumcision and they are going to have to do a lot more work than your average circ. The surgery will be at Children's Mercy downtown and is scheduled for August 25th. It should take 2 hours for the surgery. Yes, this will also require our little boy to be put under anesthesia again, which stinks!! However, we will be happy when this is over.

Whew, receiving both of these pieces of news in one week is enough to make this mommy's head spin! We feel extremely fortunate that we are connected to wonderful doctors who are watching out for our little man, and that we are located near to the children's hospital that will make all of this easier for him. We ask all of you to pray for positive results of his MRI and that his surgery is successful and not painful for our precious baby boy.

Zachary honored us on his 12 week bday by sleeping thru the night! He ate at 10 pm and slept until 7 am. This mommy feels quite refreshed this morning. (So much so I had fed a baby, 2 loads of laundry done, showered, pumped 4 oz!!, and taken care of Emers potty accident all by 8:30 am). We are so pleased with the disposition of our little Z-man. He is a cuddly little boy, loves sleeping on our chest or in our arms when he can manage his time amongst the chaos of his siblings, but will also sleep just as well in his bed. The noise of our crazy house doesn't seem to bother him at all, which is a blessing indeed. He is really starting to like his pacifier. He does indeed have some seriously stinking toots! We have about 2 things marked preemie that he still fits into but is starting to fill out his newborn-sized clothing. The unofficial weight and length at the urologist yesterday was 8 lb 10 oz (but he had all his clothes and diaper on which he usually does not) and was 19 1/2" long (same as the last doc visit). Zachary has really begun to look around at his siblings and is smiling more and more with the occasional coos of excitement. His siblings can't seem to get enough of him. Even when Zachary does wake up in the middle of the night he eats and goes right back to sleep for us. He is eating 2 oz these days, which hasn't changed in the last 6 weeks, but he seems satisfied and doesn't always finish that, and he is still gaining weight. We are pretty happy with the progress of our little man who, 12 weeks ago, started off at a mere 3 lb 14 oz and was having major issues breathing on his own and was unable to even eat for many weeks. What a difference time can make!!

I was able to visit Zachary's NICU buddy, Dawson, this week in the hospital. He is doing really well and we continue to pray for his health and for his mommy, Christy. We are so anxious to hear when they are able to finally go home. Dawson has grown so much. He is the same weight as Zachary, but he just seems like a bigger boy. He and his mommy have been moved from the NICU to the PICU at KU Med. It was weird visiting b/c the PICU only has 6 rooms--a different place than the 42 beds in our NICU at OPR. Prayers for Dawson to go home soon, healthy and happy with his mommy!!!

Prayers also remain with Isaiah who landed back in the hospital after being out for only 2 weeks. He has a surgery coming up and is trying to recover from some nasty illness he picked up. Reminds me why we are so picky about washing hands and staying confined in our little bubble. Best wishes to Isaiah and his family.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More bday pics and weekly update

Yes, Calvin has the sneaky thing down as he snags a taste of the chocolate frosting.

A benefit of having an older sister. Pink fuzzy heels and tiara! Blackmail picture for the future.

Posted by PicasaHere are some more pictures of Emerald's birthday. She enjoyed herself, in case you couldn't tell. She even shared her new princess jewelry and shoes with Calvin--how sweet! He loves to play dress up, part of having an older sister I guess.

We had our first food up the nose incident last night with Calvin. He kept telling us he had a booger (sorry, but he did). Skip got in there and discovered it was a pea, not a booger. Nice, huh?!! He is also having major sleep issues lately. He cries, and cries, non-stop these days not wanting to sleep. What happened to our good sleeper??
Zachary weighs in at 8 lb 1 oz this week! He is also starting to really kick those legs around. If you catch him at his awake/alert time he will flash you the sweetest smile! He's getting pretty good at giving those out. He is our little cuddle-bug, and loves to be held. We don't mind so much either, still trying to make up for lost time when he was in the hospital. I can't believe he will be 3 months old next week!

Some Happy Birthday poses of Miss Emerald

This would be chocolate face post birthday cake decorating.

We had a fun birthday celebration with Emerald. We had Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, & Pop Pop here to visit, and Aunt Heidi, Uncle Jeff, and Josiah came over to help sing, too. It was a super fun weekend. We tried to see some horse dressage, but that was a bust. Instead we went to a stable and watched Jayhawk the horse be ridden in the arena. Afterwards we went to Sonic for some yummy ice cream. It was a fun weekend filled with love, sugar, horses, and presents. What more could a 4 year old want?
Posted by Picasa

A real life baby-doll

Our little baby doll.

She is so gentle with Zachary. Pretty sweet.

Posted by PicasaThe other day Emerald begged me to put Zachary in her baby's crib. After much discussion about how only mommy and daddy do this, we placed Zachary in her crib. He looks so little in this little doll crib. I'm sure he will hate me later in life for doing this to him. I am also sure it isn't the end of Emerald wanting to play "baby doll" with her brother.

"Fishing" in the backyard with Daddy

I think Daddy enjoyed teaching the kids about fishing.

He looks like he has the proper 'casting arm' down.
Emerald striking her pose, yet again.
Although Zachary wasn't learning to fish, he did get to enjoy the nice weather.
Posted by PicasaDaddy was so excited to teach the kids how to fish last night. The kids got fishing poles for Christmas, and it was gorgeous yesterday. Skip broke the poles out of their packages and started the learning process so he can take the kids fishing with him this spring. Emerald did a great job casting from on top of Ft. Garmin. Calvin, well, he still has some learning to do. As soon as Skip handed him the pole he took it and said, "I do it myself" and refused to listen to a single bit of advice. This independence streak in him is quite challenging at times!! Maybe you'll soon see pictures of the kids with real fish soon.

Grandma & Grandpa time

Grandpa's first time holding Zachary.

Grandma & Grandpa came up to visit this last weekend for the first time since Zachary came home from the hospital. They both enjoyed getting to hold Zachary without him attached to any wires. Mom held him in the hospital, but dad hadn't held him yet. It is always sweet to see your parents holding your baby. Aunt Heidi also enjoyed seeing how much Zachary had grown in the short time since she'd seen him.
Posted by Picasa