Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy feet and other happy body parts

Now that Ben is back at work full-time, free time available for blogging has taken a nose dive. I am trying to learn to type one-handed and take pictures of Susannah with one hand while I hold her in the other....apologies in advance for the plethora of photos taken at a two-foot range. But God forbid I allow the Susannah addicts to go more than a few days without an update! We've all got our junk, or so the song from "Spring Awakening" goes. (Spring Awakening is a great Broadway show...ooh, Broadway shows, something we used to do before May 28.)

At any rate, we've had a string of awesome news this week, all relating to the babe's health. First of all, the renal scan that S had last week showed that both her kidneys were basically draining equally, a good sign, but the urologist was more impressed with her ureters. Apparently she got a closer look at them and they look much better than she was expecting. The next step is a sonogram in July. Piece of cake. Surgery hasn't been ruled out yet but is becoming more and more unlikely. Hooray!

We also learned this week that our dear daughter is finally becoming a fattie! As her parents we couldn't be prouder. In one week she went from 7.8 pounds to 8.7 pounds, "fantastic" in the words of our pediatrician. Maybe it was all that Southern food that mommy ate while she was in Asheville, but who knows. We've put away the dreaded breast pump for a while and are back to nursing full time. We expect her to have thunder thighs in a few weeks, like any good Southerner. Hooray!

Lastly, those feet. Some of you know that four days before Susannah's due date, we were having yet another sonogram to track her kidneys when the doctor decided to inform us of a "new finding"-- club feet. Mind you, you can't do anything about club feet in utero, so why he decided to share that particular hypothesis with us at that particular point in time is a mystery to me. Turns out that the jerk was wrong. We went to see a joint specialist Tuesday who said S's feet were totally normal. She has tibial torsion which will straighten itself out as she begins to walk. The doc said to leave her alone. Music to our ears!

Now we've had two full days at home. No doctor's appointments, no plane rides and no weddings. Just two leaky boobs and one very healthy little baby! All together now....Hooray!

Susannah, before and after we told her about the blog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ok, we made it back to Brooklyn

We finally made it back yesterday afternoon. Thankfully, our nightmares of a two-hour screamfest proved to be unfounded. She mostly slept through the flights and everyone was mostly friendly and helpful. Among the highlights of the trip were some good face time with grandparents, a little too much car seat time, the sounds of non-pigeon birds, getting dressed up for a wedding, and changing diapers at 25,000 feet.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Help! We're Stuck in Asheville!

This was this morning when our flight, which was cancelled yesterday, was on time. Now it has been delayed an hour. While parents are frazzled, Susannah remains largely unconcerned.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pray for us!

Little schnookums is taking her first plane ride right now. We are going to our friend Anne's wedding in Ashville NC. So far so good and not even too many dirty looks as we boarded the plane!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So About Those Kidneys....Warning! Super-long Post

Susannah Liz had a rough day yesterday.

It all started back in January, when we went to the Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital for the 20-week anatomical sonogram, a routine procedure during pregnancy. They do a lot of detailed measurements—of the baby's thighs and head and organs and god knows what else.

When the doctor came in to give us the results, he drew a picture of two kidneys attached to a bladder by two ureters. He said our baby had a condition called bilateral hydronephrosis, which means that the renal pelvis, the area in the kidney where urine collects before being drained into the ureter, was more dilated than normal in both kidneys. He said it was a common finding at this stage that could resolve itself in utero. He also thought we might want to consult a pediatric urologist just in case. Cases that don't resolve have to be treated with antibiotics and/or surgery. He stressed that the kidneys were functioning and that the level of amniotic fluid was good, which meant the baby was peeing.

So it wasn’t the best news but it wasn’t the worst either. Unfortunately, the condition did not resolve itself in utero and continued to progress as the pregnancy wore on.

We did meet with a pediatric urologist in the spring who was kind and who said that no matter what, the baby would need antibiotics after birth to reduce the risk of a kidney infection. Further treatment could not be determined until the baby was out of the womb in the world. She added that sometimes the ultrasounds make the situation look worse than it really is.

We also had to keep returning to the Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine for ultrasounds every two weeks and then every week for the last two months of pregnancy. The kidneys began to look like a rind around the ever-growing renal pelvis--a sign that there was an obstruction causing the dilation. Fortunately the level of amniotic fluid remained normal, as did the baby’s heartbeat, weight and movement. Even though the kidneys weren’t perfect they were still doing what they needed to do.

Fast forward to Susannah’s birth. Even though she looked very healthy, the urologist wanted her under close observation, so Susannah was in the newborn intensive care unit for two days. She started the antibiotics and underwent a couple of tests, all of which determined that her kidneys were working. She also continued to prove this by peeing on many an examining room table.

Surgery is still something that is a possibility as she continues to grow and change. Yesterday we had a rather hellish morning at the hospital where Susannah underwent a renal scan. They inserted an IV into her hand (hence the bandage in the photo, taken at home later that night). Then they injected this dye that essentially lit up her kidneys and allows the doctor to see if one is functioning better than the other. We should get the results later this week. The next step could be simply another ultrasound in a month or so. Or the next step could be discussing which kidney to operate on.

It’s all a bit weird because when you look at Susannah you’d never guess that she’d be anything except perfectly healthy. If it were not for the prenatal ultrasounds, we would have no idea that her kidneys had a problem.

All this information is not to worry you! In fact we want everyone to know that we were more stressed about this during the pregnancy than we are now. Now she is in our arms and smiles and scowls and pees and poops with wild abandon. We have to shuttle ourselves to more doctors’ appointments than we’d like, but whatever. We are glad we know what we know.

One more thing: Susannah is tough. When they were sticking the needles into Susannah’s foot and hand, trying to find a vein for the IV, she barely cried. In fact, she wails more during diaper changes than she did yesterday at the hospital. Proof that she is a total badass, don’t you think?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ode to a 2.5 week Daddy

I admit that during pregnancy I was nervous. There were signs. For example, Ben would get positively apoplectic when trapped in a baby store for longer than 10 minutes. He usually grumbled when I asked him to assemble some of the baby gear we got. He was horrible at feigning interest in the gifts we got at our baby shower. And sometimes he complained that having a baby would take away what little was left of his free time ( ok I did this too).

Ben has been a daddy for 2.5 weeks now and he still hates baby stores, baby gear and baby gifts. But there is no doubt in my mind that he loves every minute of being a father. He changes diapers, he watches her sleep, he invents games like baby spaceship and he makes a mean baby burrito. He gets her prescriptions refilled and he recently started compiling a list of questions to ask Susannah's future boyfriends. The first question on the list: Are you aware that Susannah's father is trained in martial arts?

My favorite part of all is how unselfconscious he is about it all. He proudly strolls down the streets of Brooklyn carrying Susannah in the Baby Bjorn. He tells all our friends who come visit all the gory details about Susannah's birth and if you ever have a question about how to be a good birth partner, ask him. He says aloud "she's so cute" at least 15 times a day and he doesn't get flustered or frustrated, not even when she projectile-pees all over the wall in the nursery at 3 a.m.

Sure it bothers me that he doesn't think she needs baths and I thought it was a little too soon when he took her off roading in her stroller at the Botanic Gardens when she was barely two weeks old. But he goes back to work on Tuesday and I get a little weepy just thinking about it.
He's the one that reminds me everyday through his actions that our first job as parents is to enjoy her everyday.

Thank God we are in this together, Ben. I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Early Father's Day Post

The first of many jam sessions between Daddy and Susannah. I believe chord progression was covered.

Susannah rapt with attention for her father's fretwork. How long before she stops listening to her daddy? 13 years?

FYI, We're not sure if she's flashing a peace sign or a gang sign. Here in Brooklyn you never know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A 2 Week Old Sense of Humor

Susannah suddenly finds things funny.

Off to the pediatrician, of whom Susannah is deeply suspicious. We found out that she is still working her way back up to her birth weight. Can't believe she weighed MORE when Beth was carrying her around than she does now. Now Beth is pumping and breast feeding, which Beth does not find funny.

Aunt Christie stops in between high-powered business meetings to meet Susannah Liz

Monday, June 9, 2008

Grandparents Galore!

Susannah is not two weeks old, and almost all of her grand parents have already made the trip to Brooklyn for the meet and greet. They have shopped for her, cooked for us, cleaned our apartment and washed our dishes. But most of all, they were entranced by what is now known as "Susannah TV" - it's on 24/7 and is way better than American Idol. One by one, they've come and gone and we have to say we miss them. (All nicknames to be determined/confirmed by Susannah).

Grandaddy John and Shay-Shay

Grandma Jill (nickname tbd by Susannah)

Grandpa Jim

And of course, Grandma Moonpie

Navel Gazing

Look who got a belly button! Susannah's cord stump fell off yesterday - a significant rite of passage. I hesitate to relate this to you because it's kinda gross, but we actually have no idea where it went. Ben changed a diaper last night and all of the sudden - it was gone! This is probably the first of many tricks Susannah will play on her parents.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What is that on Aunt Kelly's Left Hand?

It's not shiny baby's a shiny diamond! Her boyfriend Bart proposed to her on the top of the Empire State Building this weekend.

Now she has a niece and a fiance--and the Aplins couldn't be happier for her.

Welcome to the family, Bart! We are bigger and crazier than most but at least we're never boring. Ben says once you survived Thanksgiving, he knew you were here to stay.

All tuckered out after celebrating the good news.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Week and a Day

Grandpa Jim took these Cover Girl photos when he was here this week. Tomorrow Susannah will greet more family - Grampa John, Grandma Sharon, Auntie Kelly and Uncle Bart. Susannah is learning to be social even when she's asleep.

The pink socks are from Grandma Moonpie

Proof that Beth is alive and well... and even posing for pictures!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day Six

The last six days have indeed been a blur, just as we were warned. Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments and emails. We look forward to filling you in on the details soon. As for now, we are lucky if we can remember which day it is.

Baby burrito

Who looks more tired here?