November 30, 2009

milestones and achievements...

he has opened one eye.  cracked his eyelids, took a quick peek and then closed it again.  or so i have been told. i had to be told, because i was not there!!!  huh!!!

thats pretty damn cool tho.  probably got a huge fright at seeing some hovering blurs, one of them shrieking and crying "he's opened his eye!!".

wish i had been there...

and he had another brain scan today, with positive results.  the bleed has not grown in size and the doctors are now discounting it until 36 weeks.  sounds as if it was a bit of a non-event >:]

a good day!!

November 29, 2009

not the nine o'clock news...

Hi y’all,

It has been a few days now and there has been stuff happening.  Not heaps of stuff, just … stuff.  Firstly though, Harlow is doing ok.  All systems green, all readings are normal…

Much to the relief of the children, Justine came home on Thursday.  “Phew,” they said, “real food!”.  All I can say is … “Phew, real food!”.  When Justine came home, she said “Phew, real food!”.  (I believe Justine is the only one with any right to say that, the food at the hospital was mostly “Chefs Choice” (when it arrived) which left her guessing what it actually was.)  The kids are loving her being home, it’s as back to normal as it can be for the meantime.  There is a huge amount of travel in and out  but with Justine being home at night, nothing is impossible.

Now, before I go any further, all kudos to those children of ours, Caiden, Cohen and Grayson. With all that’s been happening, they have been right little troopers.  Caiden has a fair grasp of what has been happening and for all that, he hasn’t let it affect him too much.  So, I’m considering bestowing the title of “minions” on them and setting them loose on the world.  Not entirely sure if the world would survive…  Could be apocalyptic…  You have been warned…  Go my pretties…

Events over the week.

  • As you know, last Monday was a bit tough.  A stomach perforation and a bleed to the brain.  The bleed, no one can do anything about, but the perforation led to an operation where two penrose  drains were placed in his sides.  Well, the drains work.  They have been spewing yellow crap all week and are still going, although the levels of yellow crap have reduced.  No one needs high levels of yellow crap.
  • He has had two bradycardia episodes over the last couple of days.  This is when, for some reason, the heart rate drops to below 100 beats per minute.  There is no know reason for this, it just happens in preterm babies and it is not considered dangerous.  [ Wikipedia entry ]
  • On top of all that he has had two transfusions of red blood cells.  The 11ml transfusions have been to replace what has been used for blood tests etc.  He goes through a fair number of tests to make sure that all his gears are … gearing(?) right.
  • He is still on the ventilator and will be for a few more days.  After the surgery, he was to have 10 days on the ventilator, this is almost up.  There are three days to go.
  • His CRP levels have dropped by two thirds.  This is used as an indicator of any infections he might have.  His reading was 24 and is now 8.  When it gets to 3 the antibiotics can stop.  All good news >:]
  • There are more issues with his fetal duct.  It appeared to be closing quite well when he had an ultrasound a few days ago but has now opened up again.  Dr Petal has indicated there is more blood flowing through it anyway.  I have included a diagram of exactly what/ where the fetal duct is and what role it plays for those who don’t know.  I include myself in that number.  This is also not very serious, he will be in another course of “magic duct closing medicine” so it should close up soon.  
  • The blue light has been taken away as his jaundice has disappeared.

Oh, and of course, I have changed his nappy.  Yep, and you want to know what?  It contained the “perfect poo”.  It was empty.  I can deal with empty.  His kidneys work too, while I was changing him, he tried to pee on me.  I am not happy about this and I will be having stern words if it happens again.  Note: Justine has just told me that he had not poo’ed at all, that is not a good sign.  She is waiting for the poo.  (She can have the poo).

Well, that’s about all I can think of.  It’s probably enough, there is only so much ramble a person can absorb at any one time.

  • Rich.

November 25, 2009

that feeling...

you know the feeling you have when your walking around the supermarket, you know you want something, but for the life of you, you don't know what it is?  you feel like your missing something.  this feeling gnaws at your vitals, drives you crazy and will not go away, no matter what you do.

that feeling has gone. i've had it for four weeks and it has disappeared.

Justine came home today, much to the boys relief.  they know that things will now be organised, on time and under budget. as well as being edible.

theres sadness here as well tho', Harlow is still in his bed at the hospital. its hard leaving him and not being there, but there are benefits to everything: there is no hospital food at home. none.

i guess you could say that the hard road starts now, the trips into town, the juggling of home life, work life and children life and now, Harlow life. for the next few weeks, all will be good.  i'm home for another week and Lisa is here for some time after that. not really sure what is going to happen once she returns to Raetihi, but that's a problem for another day.

November 24, 2009

go the fifth!

today was a better day, there was no backward slide, Harlow was doing everything he should.

he did have an ultrasound today, checking out the fetal valve on his heart. with 4 doses of whatever drug it is that closes the valve, it is almost closed. could be as long as a week until completely closed tho'.

the guy who did the ultrasound was damn clever, you could see the walls between the chambers, the valves opening and closing, the blood flow between the chambers and in and out of the heart etc.


there are some non-facebook pictures here : Harlow

November 23, 2009

I've got the fourth day blues...

Hi y’all,

Day 4 dawned this morning, full of promise and magic … then 0530 struck. The doctors noticed something wrong with my tummy. It was an odd colour and distended. I didn’t do anything! Promise! Seems something bad happened overnight and I got a perforated stomach. That’s a hole in my stomach lining. I was breathing ok, ( by myself too!! ), but somehow the air that was supposed to go to my lungs was diverted to my tummy and it started to swell. Not sure what happened then, but a small hole appeared and air started leaking into my body.

Mum and Dad came in, signed some papers and then I had an operation. Two penrose drains were placed into my sides that allowed the air to escape and my tummy to go back to its normal size and man, I feel so much better! Thanks Dr Pringle! I was so good and I didn’t even get any lollies. I will have to collect those later on. Of course, this means I’m back on the ventilator and have stopped having any of Mums milk. Don’t worry though, it’s only for ten days and then I will be back on track. You watch.

That’s not it tho. I tell you, when I have a bad day, I go all out.

Not long after the tummy problems, I had a brain scan. You see, it’s pretty common for us really wee ones to get a brain bleed and I have one. It is just a small one, and before you lose it, it may mean nothing. It’s a grade one bleed on a scale of one to four. ( Four is pretty drastic, my doctors would be coming to talk to you. ) Mine is only a grade one, with no guarantees of anything bad at all. Good huh? They will not know if I will have any issues from this for a while, they need to scan my brain again at 36 weeks to see if there is any damage and if so, where it is. They can guess what kind of man I will be by knowing that.


Here I sit, well, lie actually, under the blue light, just chillin’, wondering what the weather is like outside…

  • Harlow Eli
PS: I am my father’s son, there are some lovely nurses here >:] (don’t tell Mum!!)

November 19, 2009

Funny thing happened on the way to the office today...

Hi y’all,

So, it’s not quite another week, but there is some news that just won’t wait.

Over the course of history, it has always been the women who have been impatient, wanting everything yesterday, demanding things be completed faster than humanly possible, etc. Today, it was my boy. That’s boy #4. Harlow. He couldn’t wait for his allotted 40 weeks to be up, he had to come now. Today. At 4.05am this morning. No… not March the 5th as was expected by all, November the 19th. 15 weeks, or 107 days, early

The plot unfolds… [please note: this is from a man perspective, actual events may vary]
  1. Phone call at 2:30am from Justine saying she was having contractions again.
  2. Text at 3:08am from Justine letting me know she was back in the delivery suite.
  3. Phone call at 3:45am (ish) from a midwife saying that I might want to come in, Justine is very upset.
  4. Arrived at the delivery suite at 4:20am, to find I was 15 minutes late.

Using complex mathematics, a nuclear time piece and some frozen peas, that puts him at 24 weeks, 6 days. A little bit early.

Note: The delivery was a standard delivery, not the c-section which Justine had been told she would have. Also, when she had to push, she pushed once. Only once, and he was out. Ass backwards. With no fluids. Justine is one tough chick.

From there, he went to NICU for his grease and oil check where I got to hold his hand a bit. After Justine had some breakfast, we went back to NICU and Justine held his hand for a while. He has hoses/ lines/ cables/ strapping etc on him going every which way and is connected to some very impressive looking gadgetry. Beeping here, whooshing there, flashing and graphing everywhere…

His stats are good, there were several comments on how stable he is. His oxygen saturation is great, he is pink (a good sign apparently), his limbs are flailing uncontrollably (another good sign) and is just lying there, looking like a small pug dog with wet fur plastered to his head.

There’s a long road ahead, some big battles to be fought, but with a little luck, he will be right as rain.
Here’s hoping.

  • Rich.

PS: I spelt his name wrong. Its Eli, not Ely. Me, his father, spelling his name wrong. –sigh–

November 13, 2009

The Baby News: Bulletin #3 - where we hear the doctors say ...

Hi y’all,

Welcome dear reader, to this, the third chapter of the baby bulletin. Today we reached a milestone. A turning point, you could say. Today … [drumroll] … we reached 24 weeks!! A monumental event in the life of the wee lad, a cause for celebration, dancing in the streets, random midnight trysting… no no, scratch that one, not allowed that one.

This means that he is now granted a 50/50 fighting chance of making it and each day that he stays put means the percentage goes up and up. The higher the better I say.

Tuesday was a busy day. A scan in the morning and a meeting with the Neonatal doctors in the afternoon. The scan was about what we thought it would be, the amount of fluid around the baby has reduced dramatically. We were warned that this would be the case, and they were not wrong. The heartbeat is still strong, and what fluid there is, is doing what it should, so for the mean time, he can watch tv a bit longer.

The meeting with the neonates doctors was a bit of an eye opener. Admittedly, when doctors talk about things that can happen, they have to state worst case, just in case it happens (they have some big asses egos reputations to cover maintain). The things that a baby can go through/ have happen when born at 24 weeks sounded all too much like a litany of despair. The list of things that can go wrong makes for some heart wrenching reading. It can affect all parts of them, from digestion to motor control to thought processes to just about every damn thing under the sun.

At the end of all that, they said that some of the more serious conditions (extreme cerebral palsy!!) are fairly rare and rarer still the longer he stays put. Thanks doctors.

I tell you what, the stuff that little Harlow Ely has put us through, he had better be the best behaved boy on the planet.

Once again, thanks to those who continue to help, ( I suspect ) at no small cost to themselves. Those that visit, those that transport the boys to and from school, those that call and keep Justine’s mind occupied on other things. She is learning to knit!! I know!!

And with that, dear reader, I am going to go. The hour is late, the eyelids are drooping… any longer and I will start to snore. You don’t want that.

  • Rich.

November 7, 2009

Welcome to : a whole new ball game.

Ok y’all,

So, It’s been a week, lots can happen in a week. The biggest news is that the hospital has waded into the battle and given Justine steroids to help speed up the formation/ growth of the baby’s lungs. Fantastic news! It’s almost as if they have declared that the wee man is now worth fighting for. All kudos to Jeremy Tui for making that call. No longer do we fight alone…

I guess, not having been through this before, I’ve not really thought about how far along a baby has to be, to be considered a person.


I have an opinion.

That being said, here’s hoping the steroids do not have any side effects. If Justine starts to shave her face, I am going to have to “reconsider” a bunch of stuff.

As of Monday, the wee man was 530 grams. One pound, 1.6 ounces. ( is mixing imperial and metric legal? ) Small… like a banty rooster, giving it all he has. ( It may have been that he crossed the magic half kilo that helped make the decision for steroids. )

As usual, the support from friends and family is unprecedented. I really don’t know what to say. [ Flashback to Wayne’s World: We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy! ]

Thanks to everyone who has visited Justine, you all know her, you know how much she enjoys sitting on her ass… I think know that those are the moments she enjoys the most. She cried when the boys visited the other night.

Anyway, enough delightful and witty banter, I have vacuuming to do.

  • Rich.
PS: just so you all know, we had pizza the other night. Mmmmm… pizza.
PPS: No beer tho >:[