Here are some pictures of one of the people that I am the most thankful for. Brandon had a very rough start to his life but he is doing so well now. I am thankful every day for the miracle that he is and for how fantastic he is doing. I am also thankful for our wonderful friends and family who helped to get us through such a difficult time in our lives. We would not have been able to do it without you. I hope everybody has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Brandon had an opthamologist appointment this morning with Dr. Turtel. He said his eyes are pretty much the same as last week and that the raised area may be a little longer than it was before. He wants us to go back to Dr. McNamara in Cherry Hill next week since he is a retina specialist and see what he thinks. He still does not have plus disease which is what they do the laser surgery with but if Brandon's eyes do not start to get better laser surgery may be something that they want to do. Right now they are not a problem but we do not want the retina to start to detach from the eye. It could just be that Brandon needs to continue to be monitored weekly. We are going to Dr. McNamara next Tuesday so we will see after that if we need to continue to go to him a few times or if he is comfortable with us going back to Dr. Turtel. Dr. Turtel looked to see if Brandon is near sighted or far sighted and he is far sighted right now which he said is good. A lot of preemies who have or had ROP are near sighted so it is good that he is far sighted for now.
Brandon had his first nap in his crib today. He still sleeps in a bassinet in our room at night and in the day naps in either his pack n play, swing, or bouncy seat. I decided I am going to start having him nap in his crib to get him used to it. He only slept for a half hour but it was a start.
Brandon has decided that he would rather be awake during the day then sleep. Yesterday he was awake for about 9 hours except for two 20 minute cat naps. He has been up all morning today too and finally fell asleep about 20 minutes ago after being awake for 5-6 hours except for a few cat naps. Here are some pictures that I took of Brandon this week. One of Stu's co-workers who does photography on the side came to our house on Thursday to take pictures of Brandon. I can't wait to see the pictures.
Brandon went to the pulminologist today for his third RSV shot. As usual he did not like it and held his breath when he let out his loud scream after getting the shot. He was fine once I picked him up. Brandon weighs 9 pounds, 14 ounces now. His lungs sound good and his oxygen sats were 100% when they hooked him up to the machine to see how he is doing. We went to the NICU to visit after his appointment since we were at the hospital. Dr. Sembrano, the pulminologist, said that Brandon only needs to be on the apnea monitor at night now since I am with him in the day.
Brandon went to Dr. Turtel this morning to have his eyes checked. Dr. Turtel said that Brandon's eyes have not gotten any worse since he last saw him. He said maybe they got a tiny bit better. He wants to see him again next week and then he feels he will probably be able to see him every 2 weeks until his eyes improve more and then he can go less frequently. The affected area is on the right eye and is not that big of an area. Dr. Turtel said if you look at a clock face it is the size of the distance from one number to the next. I asked Dr. Turtel what kind of problems Brandon might have when he is older and he said that babies that have had ROP are often near sighted (a different kind of near sightedness than we would experience) and/or have a lazy eye. Both are correctable. The near sightedness with glasses and the lazy eye with an eye patch.
Cabbage Patch Kid Preemies are being sold right now at Target because it is the 25th anniversary of Cabbage Patch Kids. As soon as I heard that I decided that Brandon needed one since he was a preemie too. My mom bought one for him since I had a hard time finding one at the Target near me.
Brandon had his 4 month pediatrician appointment this morning. He weighs 9 pounds, 6 ounces and is 20 1/2 inches long. Dr. O'Brien said his lungs sound good and clear and he is happy with how he is doing. On the preemie growth chart he is between the 25th and 50th percentile for both his weight and length. That is a big difference at where he was when he came home from the NICU. Then he was only between the 5th and 10the percentile on the preemie growth chart. Brandon is almost big enough to be on the non-preemie growth chart. He just missed it for his weight and length. Dr. O'Brien pushed on Brandon's umbilical hernia and said it should definitely close on its own eventually. He said it is a very small opening that is causing the hernia. The only problem seems to be that Brandon prefers to have his head facing the right. It is causing some stiffness in his neck so I need to try to turn his head to the left more often. He said Brandon could wind up needing a physical therapist to come and do some stretches. I asked if I should contact early intevention about this and he said it couldn't hurt. So I will give them a call in the next day or two. Brandon had three shots today. He was not too happy about it. Each time he got a shot he let out a loud cry and held it out.
Brandon had a busy day. This morning we went to Dr. McNamara in Cherry Hill to see how Brandon's eyes were. Dr. McNamara said they have improved slightly from last week so he believes they will most likely continue to improve. He wants us to see Dr. Turtel on Monday next week because if Dr. Turtel feels they got worse then we can go back to see him in Cherry Hill on Tuesday.
This afternoon Brandon had his abdominal ultrasound at Monmouth Medical Center. This was to look at his umbilical hernia. His bowels are pushing into his hernia but there is good blood flow to it and it is not incarcerated or strangulated so it should be ok for now without surgery. We will have to keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn't get hard or that Brandon does not start throwing up. Then he will need to have surgery immediately. If he does wind up needing surgery it is a pretty easy procedure. Brandon has his 4 month appointment on Thursday with Dr. O'Brien so I will talk to him then about the results from the ultrasound today and see what he says. It was actually quite annoying going to get the ultrasound. We got to the hospital and they told us we had to go sign in to the right of the escalator. When we went there they told us we had to go sign in at radiology. We went to radiology and she said we had to sign in where we originally were. We went there to sign in and nobody was there. Someone finally came back and signed us in but it took awhile and Brandon was starving by this point because they said he had to fast for 4 hours prior to the ultrasound so he was screaming.
After his ultrasound we went to the NICU to say hi. It was nice seeing the nurses there but none of his primary nurses were there. The nurses that were there could not get over how big Brandon has gotten.
I brought Brandon to Dr. Turtel this morning for his appointment to have his eyes looked at. He looked at the first one and seemed happy with how it looked. Then he looked at the second one and said he was a little concerned. He then told me that the nerves have developed to the edge of each eye like they should. On one of the eyes there is a cluster of nerves at the edge and the retina is raised. He wanted us to go see a retina specialist this week sometime to get another opinion. He said he thought Brandon most likely would not need the laser surgery but he wanted it checked out. He gave me the names of two doctors who are both in Cherry Hill and told me he wanted Brandon to be seen this week by one of them. I called when I got home from the appointment and they were able to get us in today. Stu came home from work to go with us. He was working overtime for election day. Brandon saw Dr. McNamara who was in agreement with Dr. Turtel about the problem in the eye. He said it could wind up correcting itself or it may not. If it does not he will need laser surgery even though he won't meet the normal criteria for the surgery. He does not have plus disease and it is past the time when the laser surgery is normally done. It seems like if he does need to have it he would have it done on a Thursday and stay for 23 hours following the laser surgery. We are crossing our fingers that the eye problem will resolve on its own. I am nervous about him being intubated (on the vent) for the surgery.
Hershey also had a problem this morning. We woke up and his whole face was swollen. I called the emergency vet number since it was before hours and my in-laws had to take him to the animal hospital. The animal hospital was concerned that if we waited until the vet opened his throat could swell shut too. It turns out he was bit by a bug. He also has been biting at his front and back paws on his left side. I had him at the vet a week ago and they said it was nothing. Turns out he has a yeast infection on his paws. He is home now and looking much better. He had to stay at the animal hospital for a few hours because he had a fever initially so they were not sure if he would need iv fluids. What a day it has been!
Brandon has had an umbilical hernia since before he was discharged from the hospital. It looks like a large raised belly button. An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes through a small opening in the baby's abdominal muscles. The opening normally closes before birth. If the muscles don't meet together in the midline completely, this weakness in the abdominal wall may cause an umbilical hernia at birth or later in life. It is very common in preemies and the majority of the time they close on their own. Sometimes not until the baby is 4 or 5 years old. I noticed that it has been looking larger so I brought Brandon to the pediatrician today to have it looked at. She thinks it is probably ok but she wants him to get an abdominal ultrasound to make sure it is not incarcerated. If it is incarcerated )protruding abdominal tissue becomes trapped) he will need surgery to close it. His ultrasound is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Brandon was weighed when he was the pediatrician. He weighs 9 pounds! The doctor that we saw couldn't believe he was a 26 weeker since he is doing so well. He is now out of his newborn clothes and in 0-3 month clothes.
My name is Karen and I have been married to my husband Stu for a little over 9 years. I was pregnant with twins and lost our baby girl at 20 1/2 weeks after I had premature rupture of membranes. I stayed pregnant with the other baby and our first child, Brandon Tyler, was born on July 5, 2008 at 26 weeks and 1 day. Our second child, Wesley Matthew, was born full term on June 29, 2011. This blog is documenting our children.