Sunday, November 16, 2008



I am two months old today! I'm sorry i've been blog delinquent but I've been really busy. My priorities have been to grow, grow and grow more. Since my last entry, I've nearly doubled my body weight (about 8lbs right now) and have become an expert breastfeeder. Both of these things have also made me a pretty good sleeper. While I started waking mommy and daddy up three times per night (every 3 hours, sometimes 2 1/2) for 90 minute sessions, now I typically do one 6 hour stretch and one 4 hour stretch. I can tell by looking at mommy and daddy that it helps them a lot! I am still sleeping in mommy and daddy's room but I think I'm moving out very soon because Im very loud in my "active sleep" when I practice my zoo animal noises or try to play the clarinet.

I hit a big milestone today by getting up really early and heading down to Imperial Beach so that mommy and daddy could run a race for Mr. Eric. He has a foundation called HeadNorth and mommy and daddy raised money for this great foundation. Daddy ran the 1/2 marathon and mommy ran the 5K. Not only was I a good boy while my parents were running but I had my first feeding in the car. Mommy finished her race and we immediately went to the car to eat because I was hungry from all the cheering. While she ran, my friend Bernie took care of me. I really enjoy being with Bernie. She trains my mommy in Pilates and she's so fun to hang out with. Mommy has found some other friends to look after me while she goes for quick runs or has quick meetings. For instance, I took a nap on Mac once - see the pic below.

As for my social life, I've been getting out and about. I've probably been to about 5 breakfast dates and 6 dinner dates. I go in my car seat and though I'm sometimes awake, I prefer to sleep through these meals to give mommy and daddy some time. My lunch dates have also been pretty fun. I had lunch with my friend Kristin, and with James and Kevin the girl. My at home dinner visitors have been great too! We had the Azevedos, the Ragusas, the Jackels, Mac and Meredith, and Brian - but that visit wasn't as fun because Brian and mommy just worked on budgets all night. I've also been to the mall and to my grandparents house. Last week my grandpa had knee surgery so I went to see what this new knee was all about.

We've had several family members in town and you'll see them in the photos. They include Uncle Michael and Aunt Nikka, Uncle Alex and Aunt Diana, Aunt Veronica, my great aunt Estela and of course, my grandparents come a lot. I have a lot of fun with grandparents because they spoil me.

Mommy has been home alone with me for most of the 6 weeks we've been at home and she's sort of starting to get me on a schedule...well, we're working on it. Many times I interrupt mommy's plans for the day, but we have a lot of fun playing. Of course, there are the difficult days and those are the ones when mommy is happy to see daddy at night. As we've been so busy, we are all most grateful for everyone's hospitality towards us. We've had many friends bring dinners and just last night, Gerry and Jen brought us a huge box of goodies from Costco. I looked at the box and wondered why we needed so much food when all I really need is mik. I love milk.

Now that I've got this baby business figured out, I'll start spending more time on my blog so I can stay in touch with my fans. My closing milestones are that I've begun to focus my eyes, I can lay on my stomach and turn my head from one side to another, and if I'm put down in my crib parallel, you will find me perpendicular within a few hours because I like to wiggle myself around. Enjoy the photos below and I promise to send you all updates more often.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Homeward Bound!

I greeted mommy and daddy this morning with a big smile and a 30 gram weight gain! That, combined with my great overnight feedings, was my ticket home. Mommy and daddy were so happy. As the most popular baby in the NICU, it took me awhile to say all of my goodbyes. (Daddy told me I already have mommy beat at workin' the crowds and taking long to say goodbye.) Here I am with my favorite nurse, Adeline.

Daddy put me in the car seat and I soaked in some Calfornia sunshine and enjoyed my first breathe of fresh air. Check out my cool car seat that Uncle Vinu got for me. Wait until you see the stroller and other matching accessories.

We arrived home and grandmom had decorated the house with ribbons and balloons for me. I picked up where I left at the NICU and within 30 seconds of pulling in the driveway, I was already holding court with the neighbors.
Daddy gave me a quick tour of the house and I posed for some photos with the monkeys in my room. I finally got into "civi" clothes and although none of them fit, I looked awfully cute yawning in my "roar" PJs.

It's been a long 10 days and mommy and daddy officially celebrated my arrival home after putting me to bed. They watched over me and shared some tears and joy in cutting off their hospital tags that granted them entry to see me.
Going forward, my priorities are to eat, sleep and grow big. I will update you all in a few weeks but in the meantime, I need to focus on growing and further stabilizing. Once I'm a little bigger (over my current 4.25lbs), I look forward to meeting and snuggling many of you.

Thanks for your prayers, love and support. And don't forget to check in.

Love, Andrew.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Andrew's Journey

They say that the best things come in small packages. They also say that satisfaction is not achieved by the end result, but rather by the journey. In the spirit of these mantras, we have decided to share Andrew Charles Carlson’s perspective of his first week’s journey and we will continue to update it as he progresses forward.

September 15th

After numerous ultrasounds and doctor's appointments, the doctors decided that it was best for me to come early, at 37 weeks instead of 40, because my growth had begun to slow down. Whether it was issues with the placenta or simply the "fishbowl theory" since mommy is so small, the exact reason wasn't there, but everyone agreed that it was safest for me to arrive early.

Mommy was scheduled for an induction at 7 PM and she learned the first rule of parenting before even arriving at the hospital, when the nurses delayed her arrival by 4 hours. After a long day of conference calls, errands and stress, mommy, daddy and I headed off to sleep at the hospital. (Below is a photo of mommy and me - I’m in the tummy! - in my room just 5 minutes before we all headed to the hospital.)

September 16th

Whoa!!!! California earthquakes rumbled mommy’s tummy every 3 to 5 minutes for 12 hours. Despite all of mommy’s hard work, I knew the secret for why my heart rate kept deccelerating after each quake…but it wouldn’t be ‘till the afternoon when everyone else learned why.

At 4:10 PM, Dr. Gross reached into my swimming pool and pulled me out….brrrrrr!!!! After they unraveled the two loops of cord around my neck, I let out a big yell to let mommy and daddy know that I was ok. Daddy met me at the table with 4 funny looking men dressed in blue and cut my cord. The doctors were concerned at how small I was (4 lbs, 6 ounces, and 16.5 inches) and they wanted to take me to a special hotel called the nicu, but not before I got to give mommy a big kiss. Daddy followed me to the hotel. After some hugs from daddy, and my grandparents, they put me into a tropical paradise, a balmy 98 degree, high humidity oxygen tent.

September 17th

I woke up in the tropicalville only to find out they put a few tubes into me, but the nice ladies taking care of me explained that it was for the best and told me if I kept breathing like a big boy I would finally be able to receive hugs from mommy. Despite being in the tent all day, I posed for some photos, spent time with my parents and had visits from all my grandparents as well as uncle Alex.

September 18th

At 12:05 am, the nurse took me out of the tent and I got to breathe room air…..yummy, but wow is it cold. I begged her to call mommy and daddy so that they could come and hug me. At 12:10 am, I got the best hug from mommy and she smelled so good and was so warm. She and daddy traded snuggles as I nuzzled on both their chests….it was the best.

When the sun came up, they decided to pull out the needle in my belly button that had been tracking my oxygen levels and they told me if I was a good boy, I could start eating in the afternoon. Mommy and daddy visited me for feedings every three hours including night time, so I got to see them at 8 pm, 11 pm, 2 am, 5 am. I received visits in the afternoon from all of my grandparents.

September 19th

I started the day focused on learning to eat so that I could get the IV needle out of my hand. Little did I know that this would be the hardest day of my life and one of the hardest for m

ommy and daddy. You will see in my pictures, that mommy covered the IV with a girly looking sock to protect me from scratching my face. I had two good feedings in the morning, but noticed that mommy came to the 8 am feeding in a wheelchair…..uh oh! Just before my feeding, the doctors took out the staples in mommy’s tummy and part of her tummy opened up. I was reassured when she fed me and held me and she was still warm, smelled good and was able to love on me. I overheard the doctors telling mommy she had to take it easy, so I decided from that point forward to be a really good and mellow baby.

I struggled with my feedings throughout the afternoon because of my worries for mommy, but really started to get the hang of it as the sun went down. Daddy told me that he would be the one teaching me how to eat since mommy only likes twigs and berries.

September 20th

Mommy and Daddy visited me for my 2 am feeding and I really wanted to show them how much progress I had made. By morning, I had done so well, that when Mommy and Daddy came to my 8 am feeding, the nurses had pulled out my IV. I did have a small setback though – I had a little bit of jaundice and was put under phototherapy. Phototherapy is a lot like sitting out on the beach with some cool shades. With the darkness of the early morning and the spotlight on me, I was truly the center of attention. I practiced both my Stevie Wonder impression as well as my “cool cat” look. My trip to the beach was meant to break down the bilirubin levels that I would eventually poop out…and I did. That night I gave mommy and daddy some good entertainment and laughs. They were both changing my messy diaper (how many parents does it take to change one premie diaper?) when mid-change, I decided to kick my legs around and give them the double whammy. I shot out the fire hose and blew it out the back simultaneously. Although mommy says that it hurts her wound to laugh, I took pleasure in watching both mommy and daddy in hysterics. They needed it!

September 21st

Mommy and daddy were very sad when they came down to see me this morning because it was time for them to leave the hospital without me. While I was making progress, got off the phototherapy light and began to eat more, I was still just under a skinny 4 pounds. They doctors said I needed to “chunken” up. The good news is that mommy looks tiny in regular clothes since before today, I had only seen her in an oversize gown.

Mommy and Daddy stayed with me through my 3pm feeding, and boy, did I impress. I was extra motivated through the end of the day to show them that I wanted to come home too. A new nurse showed up for the shift and she was the 10th nurse to tell my parents that I was “the mellowest” kid ever. Mommy and daddy just laugh when they hear that, but I’m gonna chill them out. Mommy and daddy returned for the 9pm feeding and I when I saw the tears in their eyes when they left me, I was determined to get serious about this feeding stuff and knocked back twice as much of mommy’s milk during my midnight feeding.

September 22nd

Today is mommy and daddy’s 7th year wedding anniversary and I started with a bang! They visited me at 6am and the nurse told them I had chowed. I again ate well and at 7am the doctor came by to let them know my bilirubin level was normal, so my day at the beach had been a success. We had another great 9am feeding and then mommy and daddy returned with my grandparents at 3pm. I spent some extra time with granddad because he is going home tomorrow. He’s been a huge help throughout this journey and I know mom and dad would have been very stressed without him.

We had a “lactation class” and everyone said that my technique rocked and I got an A+. My weight was still low though. After the 6pm feeding, I told mommy and daddy to go out and have a nice dinner for their anniversary – just to disprove their friends that said that they’ll never have “quiet dinners” with a baby.

September 23rd

Rise and Shine! Mommy and Daddy walked in at 5:45am to find out that I had gained 35 ounces and I am now just over 4 pounds, and still eating well. I also proved to regulate my own body temperature so I will likely graduate to a crib from the warming bed. At the 9am feeding, I sucked down 50ccs of milk from a bottle (that's a lot for a 4 pounder!) partly because daddy kept telling me to pretend I was chuggin' a beer, but more important because of what I heard the doctor say to my parents. He told them that if I continued to put on weight and behave, I will likely go home this week.

September 24th

I was hungry this morning when mommy and daddy came in at 5:50am. I had eaten "ok" overnight and had gained a little bit of weight (5 grams), but not as much as I had wanted. We also had another small setback...apparently, I've been so motivated to pound the 1st half of my feedings, that I forget to breathe when I chug. I'm still learning coordination of suck, swallow and breathe and although I've almost got it down, I had 2 small incidents overnight where my oxygen saturation level dropped. It's quite common in babies but since I'm so small (just barely over 4lbs), and I didn't gain a lot, the docs want to keep an extra eye on me. As you can imagine, mommy and daddy were sad but they understood and they want me home when I'm ready.

Mommy and daddy returned for the 3pm and 6pm feedings and we got our 1st family photo. Below are also some shots of mommy feeding me and daddy snuggling me. The doctor tells me that if I keep eating, one day my chest will be as big as the one I'm sleeping on. No oxygen incidents today as we're focusing on "pacing" when we eat.

September 25th

Today was a great day! It began with a 30 gram weight gain and some great feedings. The doctors came by and again hinted that home was only a few more grams away. Mommy and daddy began to fill out discharge paperwork and they even brought in the car seat for my upcoming car seat test. I will sit in it for an hour and the nurses will make sure I don't drop my chin and constrict my airflow.

I think all of these visits to the hospital combined with the midnight pumpings are starting to take their toll on mommy and daddy. One of the nurses caught mommy and daddy sleeping outside on the lawn in between feedings and I gave her an extra 20 bucks to take a photo of it.