January 31, 2010

collateral damage...

there has been much talk about Harlow here in the harlowfiles. stands to reason, these files are his. but there are others that deserve a mention. in fact, there are three others. Caiden Marcus, Cohen Ethan and Grayson Reid. these are the faces of collateral damage.

Caiden Marcus

Cohen Ethan

Grayson Reid

now i know that everything that has happened has been no ones fault, no one has said, "you! you did this!", and no one is going to. what has happened has been the fates poking us in the eye with a hot fork, and as we all know, the fates are female and unlimited in their creativity.

the three have put up with much since Justine went into hospital all that time ago. primarily its been "where's mum?". with Justine on bed rest for three weeks, then in hospital for a month, and now spending as much time as she can in the hospital, there is a chorus of "where's mum?" from the three. they miss her, and i'm not surprised, they have me....

they had me looking after them for two weeks while also trying to work a full day from home. poor buggers. you have no idea WHAT they put up with during those two weeks. there was grump for breakfast, exasperation for lunch and do-as-your-told for dinner ( when they were not having pizza and beer ). given a choice, i'm sure that they would have picked Oscar the Grouch to look after them instead.

since then, they have had three people come and stay, eager to help out. with them coming in, staying and then going, there has been little in the way of (what they know of as) stability. now all the "hired help" has gone, they are shuffled from pillar to post, staying with anyone who can spare an afternoon or a morning. yet, like the diamonds they are, they have endured.

they have grown. they have flourished. they are better people now than they were before this all began. they have started to help out around the house without being asked. Caiden will not only get himself breakfast, but will get it for Cohen as well. He helps Grayson in and out of his car seat. meanwhile, Cohen cleans. he will clean just about any damn thing (excepting maybe the toilets, we haven't tried asking him to do those). today, when the new beds turned up, he helped me put them together.

Grayson has been the least affected by the drama. he has remained pretty constant, although he knows something is up. he went into his new bed today without a single protest AND WITHOUT GETTING UP ONCE!! booyah, that's my boy >:]

i don't know what Justine and i did to get men like this, but i know that we do not deserve them.

January 26, 2010

trundling along..


my name is Harlow, and i have a story to tell. a story of adventure, pain, passion and excitement. you see, i've been on a journey for ten weeks. it makes quite the tale. for ten weeks, my life has been a day-in, day-out series of close encounters with creatures out of legend.

what i want to tell you about is the last few days...

it started with the usual things, sleeping, feeding, having an attendant clean me up when required. but sunday... sunday bought with it a whole host of treasures, not the least of which was a change in vista.

on sunday i went from nursery E to nursery C! its been an awakening of sorts for me. theres more to my world than walls that go beep and faces that are blurry in the not-so-bright light. theres a strange new shape on the wall. i can see through it and i'm told that what i can see is the sky. i didn't think there was anything that big anywhere! and it's so bright! and blue! there are other things through there that are just plain strange and have no place in my world. at least, i'm told, not yet. they called one a tree. said that to be a boy, i need to a) be able to climb to the top and b) fall off and break something.

following that was a change in accommodations. gone is my harlowbowl, my familiar surroundings of the past few weeks. now, im lying in my red-bed. that's what i call it. its like a fishbowl sitting on a red dresser. with sides. i have to say, i like what it represents. it means im growing, not just in size, but in responsibilities as well.

like breathing. one of the core responsibilities of your average human. i can do this, with a little help. what i need to do is do it by myself! to that end, im alternating between breathing with help (Wellington CPAP) and breathing on my own (or with a little lowflow). not so long on the lowflow, one hour out of six, but i will get there ...

... if i'm to go home in three or four weeks!

especially now that i'm over the two kilo mark! i have to get this breathing thing mastered ...

okay, maybe i exaggerated about the excitement, pain and passion a little.. but it caught your attention though, didn't it?


PS: i didn't like the red-bed, i'm back in my harlowbowl...

January 18, 2010

the sounds of expression...


the oxford dictionary states : noun. 1 the action of expressing. 2 the look on someone’s face. 3 a word or phrase expressing an idea. 4 (Mathematics) a collection of symbols expressing a quantity.
websters dictionary states : noun. 1 an act, process, or instance of representing in a medium (as words). 2 a mode, means, or use of significant representation or symbolism. 3 an act or product of pressing out.

even google has a definition (or thousand) :
  • expression without words; "tears are an expression of grief"; "the pulse is a reflection of the heart's condition"
  • the communication (in speech or writing) of your beliefs or opinions
  • saying: a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression"
the list goes on.

to me, expression will always be, now and forever, Justine placing a plastic "cup" over her boob and sucking out milk. she has been doing this now for eight weeks! without a break. at least six times a day ( it started off at eight and then dropped to six ), round the clock, day in, day out. damn champion.

she came home the other day with a certificate from the neonatal ward, she is now a Certified Expresser (or Certifiable Expressionist). she had a big smile on her face, and so she should. this is one of the activities that goes on behind the scenes that nobody seems to think about or remember. with Harlow being in hospital round the clock, you would think that we are sleeping through, building up our sleep stocks in preparation for his nibs imminent arrival. not the case. every night, about 2-3am, the alarm goes off and Justine is at it again, making sure Harlow has enough milk to see him through to coming home.

she may not know it, i may not say it, but i am proud of my wife. outnumbered five to one, you would think that would be enough to make someone give up. haha, if you think that, you obviously have not met her. no, the toilet seat is ALWAYS left down, there are NO clothes on the floor, she runs a very tight ship.

January 17, 2010

the bath...

the firsts just keep on rolling in. yesterday, Harlow had his first bath! you would think that he would have started to smell after 8 weeks of non-washing, and yes, you would be right. there was a certain ... flavour ... to the air. an aromatic assault on the senses.

once again, i was not there to witness the event, i was looking after Harlow's brothers at home. thats ok tho, i'm sure that i will have plenty of opportunities to bath him in the future.

as you can see from the video, nothing phases this fella. he is iron. all the prodding, poking, splashing and sploshing going on, and what does he do? ha! he yawns! he doesn't care, he is too tough for that. looking around, thinking "hhmm.. this is warm, i like this. how do i go about booking another one?".

that was all yesterday. today, i had a cuddle, (no puking family this time!!) and it was great. he was fed in my arms, slept, started breathing really really fast and kept going up and down like a yo-yo!! from down around 25 breaths a minute up to 120!! quite the range! would be great if he took up a singing career i 'spose.

the boys also went in today, first time since christmas. the are keen to get him home. i don't know if it is because they want someone else to play transformers with, or watch hercules with, but it is great that they are keen.

January 14, 2010

vagaries of fate...

fate is a woman. has to be. the way things can change for the better, go back to the way they were and then, oh, we're better again. no we're not..

sound familiar? any man who is married will know what this is like. the scene where the woman is telling the man where to place the sofa in the lounge.

"against this wall will be great."
"no... thats not right, what about over there, under the window?"
"hmm... thats not right either. how about a bit to the left?"
"no, your not helping!"
"you don't love me anymore!"

... and the couch is back where it began. right where you suggested it should go.

such is the way of Harlows breathing. He started on CPAP, went to ventilator, CPAP, ventilator, CPAP, wellington, low-flow and then back to wellington. at the present time, he is on the wellington after tiring himself out on the low-flow. these are all good things! it means he is more and more able to cope with being a person, not an extension of a machine. that's my boy...

thats not all the changes though, the HarlowDome has been replaced by the HarlowBowl. w00t!! he has graduated the closed in incubator and is now open to the elements in an open air cot! Harlow is officially ... a bigger fella. one of the requirements for the HarlowBowl is that he be heavier than 1500 grams. that means he has over DOUBLED HIS BIRTH WEIGHT! in only seven weeks.

must be all the attention he is getting from the nurses... ( have to admit, he's a chip off the old handsome block ;)

as far as the food goes, he is on 180 ml of mothers milk for each kilo. thats 270 ml a day. equating that to adult sizes, a 75 kilo person would have to drink 13.5 litres of milk a day!!! if that is not a feat, i don't know what is!
randomness:  can you imaging how big a 40 year old man would be if he continued to double his weight every 7 weeks?  Harlow would be 3kg at 0 years.  age 1: 192 kilos, age 2: 49 tonne, age 3: 6.2 kilotonnes.  age 40: holy crap...

January 11, 2010

how the wind blows...

in the wake of the great crash of last sunday, things have changed dramatically. Harlow has appeared to have conquered the technical difficulties associated with breathing.

~ breathe in ~
~ breathe out ~

~ breathe in ~
~ breathe out ~

~ breathe in ~
~ breathe out ~

no longer is he on CPAP with exorbitant pressures, he is now on the wellington. in laymans terms, this means he no longer has a mask on his face, he has prongs up his nose. (you know on tv, the patient on the gurney with the tube that goes from one ear, under his nose and to the other ear). this is a good thing! this means there is only one step (lowflow) between where he is now and him being unhooked from any and all breathing apparatus.

of course, he could end up coming home on lowflow, so, as yet, there is no firm way forward.

as far as his food goes, he is a hog. watching him the other day just before he was due to be fed, he was squawking and flapping his scrawny little arms DEMANDING food. he is on 165 ml of milk per kilo and as he is now 1.422 kilos, that makes ... that makes ... ah, that makes for a really big syringe!

haha, buddha in training!

we also got to dress him today! and by we, i mean she. here he is sporting the new summer collection by prem-babies-r-us. each and all, hand knitted and knotted. note the pale blue racing stripe, he's goanna be fast....

January 10, 2010

grass, and its "green-ality"...

i have just been told that there is a guy in the states that is following my blog. ( yay ). he is in a similar position to us, he has recently had a baby, very prem, but after four months, Earl ( excellent name! ) has made it home. what makes him different from us, is that his wife did not make it through delivery.

i thought i had it hard, but i realise now that i have been whinging about nothing. i don't know this man and doubt that we will ever meet, but to be able to carry on with a new baby (and everything that comes with them being very prem) despite everything else that has happened...

i would be curled up under the coffee table sucking my thumb.

Sir, i salute you, and wish you all the good luck that i can. i have no idea what your life is like now, but i believe you have my email and if you want to use it, i have two ears that work reasonably well.

may your life only get better...

January 3, 2010


after a day of great news
with his long line removed
and three hour cuddles
and full feeds renewed

today darkened the skies
with bombing and crashing
all of his monitors
showed loud lights and flashing

dads first official visit
after days ten in number
and what should he see
but harlow heading under

harlow had said "frog"
the nurses hopped shocked
his oxygen had fallen
his heart rate had dropped

after the previous great day
they asked "what was up?
you cant be doing this
you were great! now your not..."

"ventilator!" they cried
and one was wheeled in
the tube was inserted
and new breathing began

there were bugs in his lungs
and no blood in his veins
so it doesnt just pour
but it sodding well rains

four hours later and
a transfusion to boot
two antibiotics,
echo, xray, no food

he is now much better
he is resting and fine
looking forward again
to good food and wine

the food and the flow
of oxygen had slowed
he'd had to work harder
it had taken its toll

or maybe it was an
infection who can know?
i guess we're just thankful
hes around...

inspired by @michaelwdorris