The Mathews

The Mathews

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Discharge Day

Today is discharge day! Surprise... we get to take Andy home today, and what a day it has been. Andy had to have four different tests/procedures done today: bladder test, kidney test (both which came back normal), circumcision, and vaccine shot. He's totally wiped-out, but that didn't stop him from chugging down 100 mL of milk. Boy can this kid eat! Now we just have to wait for paperwork to get cleared, and we get to go home for the first time as a family since Aug. 17th.

Appointments are already made for this week and next (3 in one day); it's only the start of a long journey ahead of us, but we're willing to do anything to let Andy live the fullest life possible.

Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers; we couldn't have made it this far without your help.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It Won't Be Long Now!

It shouldn't be too much longer!!! Andy's head ultrasound was unchanged - although his ventricles in his head are "big" (filled with fluid), there hasn't been any change since his birth. This is awesome news because once his back was closed during surgery, the doctors have to watch for head enlargement due to spinal fluid gathering in the brain. At this point they don't think he will need a shunt, and we remain hopeful that this lasts for a long time. Realistically though, we will be monitoring his head / spinal fluid for a long time.

The neurosurgeons couldn't be happier about his back as well. (In fact, the neurosurgeon couldn't pat himself any harder on the back about it). Since Andy's opening was in the shape of a circle, the doctor had to do quite a bit of work to get a straight line closure. Honestly though, it looks awesome (as far as scars are concerned).

Andy is allowed to be on his back for short periods of time (mainly feedings), but this amount should increase over time. His next big day is Monday. On Monday he will have a bladder and kidney test to determine if both are working well. Many SB kids have issues with these organs. With any luck (and many prayers) he will be allowed to come home next Tuesday or so.

We would like to thank all of our friends and family for the positive thoughts and prayers that you have provided. Obviously they are working because Andy is doing so well! Please keep them coming! Andy's growth and abilities will be determined over time, but we know that he will make great strides in the years ahead.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Busy Beyond Belief!

Hello NIM 8! Andy was moved to NIM last night at 3:00 a.m. He's officially out of intensive care - no more tubes, pokes, or excessive wires. For now he simply has to be hooked up to a few monitors while his back continues to heal.

The neurosurgeons are happy with how his back is healing and they hope he can be on his back later this week. Once he is able to be on his back he will have to have a bladder and kidney test to see how much control he has of these organs.

Andy is holding his own as far as spinal fluid goes. Once his back was closed, we had / have to watch for swelling of his head. This type of swelling would indicate that the fluid was collecting in his brain - too much fluid results in too much pressure on the brain. If this occurs, Andy will need a shunt. For now the doctors are continuing to watch him closely. He will have a head ultrasound on Thursday to see if the ventricles are increasing in his head where the fluid typically collects. We pray that they remain small and he goes shunt free!

Andy is thriving! He is one cute kid - now that his swelling is down from the surgery. His first pictures all showed his puffyness from the surgery and red cheeks from the tape that held on his tubes. Now we can see the true Andy!

We met his physical therapist today and learned a few stretches that will help in Andy's recovery. So far they have seen muscle strength in his hips, knees, and a little in his ankles. His right leg is stronger than his left, but his left can currently feel more pain. All of these can change day to day, but we remain optamistic regardless - he'll definitely need therapy this we are sure of.

On to Robby news! Our sweet boy continues to win the hearts of all the nurses at the hospital - they seriously stop by Andy's bed and comment on his photo (although they say the same thing about Andy as well).

Robby's consult at the Ears, Nose, and Throat doctor was bitter-sweet. His doctor didn't think the recommendation to remove his annoids and tonsills should be done. There is no evidence that it will truly help Robby sleep, so now Tom and I have to decide if we have the surgery or not. Do we listen to one specialist or the other???

Robby Quotes of the week - I thought they would make you smile!

- "Mommy, don't put staples in your belly - that's just silly!"

- "I'm pumping too Mommy!"

- "Andy can't have my tractor; he only gets milk."

- "I love Andy - he's a cool dude!"

Here are some photos - I know - it's been forever, but we've been crazy busy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Andy's Thriving

No News is Good News! We have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post, but it is all because of good news :)

Andy has been healing well. He is able to be on his side or belly which allows him to be nursed and fed (thus the huge amount of time needed). He has increased his feedings from the beginning mark of 1 oz (30 mL) to 60-70 mL which is awesome news. Unfortunately his weight has not increased so much with it; the doctors are watching his salt numbers to make sure he is getting enough fluids.

Friday they took out his catheter and IV, so he is wire free except for his heart, oxygen, and heat monitors. Andy is loving every moment of that; he hates laying still and manages to wiggle his way off his pillows quite frequently.

The closure on his back looks good. The redness and purple is slowly decreasing, but they are watching it closely for bruising and drainage.

I was discharged on Friday night and am trying to make as fast of a recovery as possible. Right now Tom and I are trying to learn how to balance playing with Robby, pumping every 2-3 hours, and getting back into regular house life with driving to the hospital and seeing Andy. It hasn't been the easiest thing in the world, but I'm sure it will get better. For now we are savoring every minute of spending time with each of them.

Pictures to follow - once I find the camera :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 3 - It's Been a Good Day!
Andy is two days old today, and he has made great gains already! His surgery went well yesterday, and the neurosurgeon was able to close his opening in one straight line at the bottom of his back. He was drugged up most of yesterday and this morning. Overall, the doctors were happy with how the surgery went though.

Today the doctors took him off the ventilator, and he didn't even cry during the process. His head has grown a cm, but they are not too worried about it. We are trying to wait and see if his body will absorb the fluid by itself before we look into a shunt. It doesn't help that he looks like Bib, the Michellin Man, either from his surgery. His body is retaining the excess fluid right now, but hopefully he will pee that off within the next couple of days.

For now, Andy has to remain on his belly while his back heals. He was starting to squirm a bit and went to town on his passy once the vent was out. The good news is that he can finally eat; he hasn't been able to have any food since he was born! So, the plan is to go down for his first feeding (1 oz) at 4pm today, and they will let him eat every 3 hours or so.

Andy has been a hit with the visitors. Both sets of grandparents have fallen in love with him, and who wouldn't? Robby thinks that he is pretty neat as well; in fact, yesterday he told Tom that he would take care of Andy for us. Robby informed him, "don't worry dad, I'll take him to emergency if he needs to."

We are truly blessed! Thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts - Dawn and Tom

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Courageous One!

Courageous One - His name fits him well! Andrew Thomas Mathews was born on Aug. 17th, 2010 at 9:56 a.m. Weighing 7 lbs. 3oz and 19 inches long, he surpassed his older brother by a bit. Doctors were happy with his heart beat, color, and vigorous attitude!

The bubble on Andy's back had ruptured in the womb leaving his back wound open. It's a round circle measuring about 5 cm by 5 cm on the lower part of his back (L3). His feet look good at this point as well (they were concerned that one might be clubbed - curved inward)! The neurosurgeon said his hipflexers (think of where your legs are connected to your hips) looked good, and his toes had movement. His ankles were weak which is typical of a L3 baby - this could lead to difficulty in going down stairs - only time will tell.

Right now Andy's head is measuring at the 50 percentile - awesome news! Once the back is closed we will have to wait and see if fluid begins to collect.

Last night Robby met his baby brother and won over all the nurses in NICU - the boy sure can gather a crowd of women, and I'm sure Andy is quick to follow. He's the only boy in his nursery, and the only one to sleep through the night - all the girls were crying and fussing. Needless to say, the nurses were fighting over him this morning!

Right now Andy is in surgery for back closure. It's a 4-6 hour process, and Tom and I are awaiting news from the neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers! I'll have to have Tom download some pictures for you soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

5 More Days Until the Big Debut!

5 More Days :) Today marks the last day of appointments before the baby arrives.

The baby read my mind and at least gave me the satisfaction of getting my lovely to-do-lists done before he/she decided to bless us with his/her pressence. We finished Robby's big-boy bedroom this week (except for the cute accessories - Tom said they were not a necessity, but I can't wait to paint his name and shelves so that I can decorate the walls). The nursery is back in order (we kept it the same as Robby's - blue, green, yellow - a safe bet). Kitchen cabinets are being installed as I type, and the countertop guys came and measured yesterday. The tile is supposed to be started on Monday, and I'm confident that all will be neatly finished before I return home from the hospital - okay, probably not.

Other cute news - one of my cousins is also expecting a child this month. She just found out that if the baby doesn't decide to come this weekend, she will be induced on Tuesday, Aug. 17th as well. Who knows - the two might share the same birthday!

The sleep results are in! Robby's sleep clinic called this afternoon and said he has a mild case of upstructed sleep apena (not a big surprise since both grandpas have this). They are recommending he have his tonsils and annoids taken out as a way of increasing his oxygen levels at night. I scheduled an appointment w/ the Ears, Nose, and Throat Specialist (same one that did his tubes), so we shall see what that consult brings.

So, if all goes well and baby decides to stay put, we will head into the hospital on Tuesday morning. Tom will attend the C-section with me & head directly to NICU with the baby once he/she is born. I'll have to go to recovery for a few hours before I will be allowed to be wheeled by NICU on the way to my room. Since visitors will not be allowed to enter NICU without us, Tom will start the phone tree to our family and friends once the baby is stable to let you know he/she has made his/her debut. The baby's first surgery is scheduled for the 18th, and we will let you know the results afterwards as well.

Friday, August 6, 2010

11 Days and Counting!

11 days to go and counting! Baby Mathews has been agreeable lately and has passed all of his/her recent tests, so (fingers crossed) he/she will hopefully make it to the 17th. Yesterday I had three different appointments, and at this point there is still enough fluid for the baby to stay in the womb for a couple more weeks. The doctors were concerned about a lack of fluid in earlier visits. The Non-stress test went well too - we definitely have an active one. So, unless the baby decides otherwise, we are all set for another week until our last set of appointments before the baby's arrival.

Robby caught a virus & maintains a slight fever (we're working on a week now). His hacking cough is enough to bring you to tears as he gasps for air at night from coughing so bad. All the doctors can give him though is Claritin & Benedryl. He's been a good sport about it, but you can tell he doesn't feel like himself.

On to construction news - Robby's room will receive its final coat of paint today - yeah! Then everything can be put back into it. The new doors & windows look great now that the painter is done. We begin ripping out kitchen cupboards today - another reason to hope the baby doesn't arrive for a few more weeks.