cannon's homecoming and thanksgiving weekend....

So, Cannon did get to come home on Wednesday. He passed the carseat test with no problem. He had his circumcision on Wednesday morning and then they called about 3:00 to say that he was ready to go! We got him dressed up in his own clothes and into his carseat and we were on our way.

A few pictures from his last night at the hospital...

When I walked in to visit him on his last night, I was greeted by this...he was covered in one of the blankets that my mom and I made and donated to the NICU earlier this year. It made me smile. When we made those we never thought that my own little boy would be using one of them just a few months later.
GiGi was there to help us get him ready to go. I brought a preemie outfit for him to wear and it barely fit him. The day he was discharged he weighed 5 lbs 5 ozs.
The nurse helped to make sure that we had him all bundled up in his carseat correctly and then they walked us out to the car.

We are slowly getting settled into a routine at home. The first day he was very sleepy and we were having a hard time getting him to wake up enough to eat anything. The first night was long, but went pretty good. He woke up every 3 hours to eat and then went right back to sleep. I did not get much sleep though because he is a noisy sleeper. Just like Charlie was. He has what they call the preemie grunt. Nobody really know why preemies grunt in their sleep as much as they do but some think that it is because their digestive systems do not function as well so they grunt to help move the gas bubbles around. Luckily, it is not bothering me too much now and I am getting a little bit of sleep in between his feedings and pumping. Yep, I am STILL pumping, he is not latching on and is such a SLOW eater that breastfeeding just wasn't working out. I am very frustrated - not really ready to give up yet, but it is a lot of work to bottlefeed and pump. Anyway, he has been a very good baby and we are so happy to have him home.

For Thanksgiving we got together with all the grandparents. I was not very good company because I was exhausted after our first night with Cannon. But the food was delicious and it was nice to spend the day with family. Feeling so grateful for them and all the support and love they have always shown, especially in times like these. I am so, so blessed :)

Big brother Charlie is doing pretty good with the new addition to the family. He gets very upset when Cannon cries. The few times that Cannon has gotten really worked up, Charlie gets so upset and starts to cry himself. He is so sensitive. He does not understand why Cannon sleeps so much when there are so many cool toys that he could be playing with. He keeps asking me when Cannon is going to wake up so that they can play. "Look mom, I have horns!"My two sweet boys. They melt my heart.

Thank-you to everybody for following our story and for your encouragement and support. I will continue to update with Cannon's progress. And of course all the craziness of raising these 2 cuties. :)

he is tube-free!

So, Mr. Cannon has one less thing attached to his body as of this morning. His feeding tube is gone!! See the red marks on his cheeks from taking the tape off? Poor little guy, usually the only times we have heard him cry are from when they take the tape off his skin. I bet he is so happy - although now he will be bored as he won't have anything to tug on and pull out. I think he just liked giving the nurses something to do :) Since he was able to eat a full 24 hours on just the bottle/breastfeeding the doctor ordered that the tube be removed and that he go to ad lib feeding. Now instead of automatically being fed every 3 hours, he is basically "on demand" but he cannot go more than 4 hours. He also gets to eat as much as he wants. This afternoon he ate 60 cc's (2 ounces). The nurse said he is a very slow and steady eater and that he likes to eat while he is half asleep. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing?? He also had his last head ultrasound today and it looked great.

He is scheduled to have his car seat study done tomorrow and if all goes well he will probably get to come home on Wednesday - just in time for Thanksgiving! Eric and I are both excited and terrified. It seems like it has been forever since we have been responsible for a newborn, I am hoping that it will all just come back to us like second nature. I am also hoping that Cannon will be a much easier baby than Charlie was...please Lord, I am begging!

five weeks (+2 days) update....

Sorry I did not get around to posting Cannon's five week update on Wednesday. I have a good excuse though - all the members of the Smith clan (except for Cannon) have been sick this week. It started with Charlie (of course) and then around Tuesday night Eric and I both started to feel the scratchy throat. Eric seems to have gotten it much worse than me. So, we were not been able to visit Cannon all day Wednesday and Thursday. I actually snuck down there real quick last night because I needed some bottles so I wore a mask and poked my head in on him. He is still just as cute as ever :) I have missed him like crazy, but it is just not worth getting him sick. I am thinking of visiting him tonight, but may just wait until tomorrow.
I don't have any updated pictures of him, but he has had a good week. They started to bottle feed him on Tuesday night. He is still getting 40 cc's. He will usually finish the bottle on a few feedings and then he will have one where he will fall asleep so they give the rest of it to him through his feeding tube. Hopefully, soon he will be eating exclusively from the bottle or breast and they can get rid of the feeding tube...and shortly after come home! They had not weighed him yet last night when I stopped by, but yesterday he weighed 4 pounds 13 ounces. He had his eye and hearing screenings on Wednesday. He passed both with flying colors! The eye test showed that his retinas showed no sign of retinopathy or prematurity. We were not worried about his eye test because he was not showing any signs of problems, but it was really the last big hurdle that we were waiting to get the results on. We are so blessed to have such a healthy, perfect little guy!
We are still hoping to have Cannon home by Thanksgiving. I will update as we know more. Once again, your prayers have made all the difference. Thank-you!

Cannon gets an upgrade....

Saturday night they finally took the plunge and put Cannon in the open air crib. His temperature had been vacillating in the isolette so they weren't sure if he was ready, but they decided to give it a try. He is keeping his temp up like a champ! He is swaddled in 2 blankets and has the afghan on as well as a hat to help him keep it up. He has been pretty warm today so they may take away one of the blankets tonight.
Is there a baby under all those blankets??
I looOoVE this picture even though it is a little bit blurry. His little smile is so cute.
He loves to face his head to the right, so we have been wedging the afghan under his right side so that he has to face to the left. The right side of his face was even starting to get a little swollen from laying on it so much. Yesterday his feedings were increased to 40 cc's (about 1.3 ounces) every 3 hours and they removed his oxygen saturation monitor. So now he just has the feeding tube and heart rate/respiratory rate monitors. Also, now that he is so stable he got moved to a window room - it is much quieter and has more privacy since it is not in the center of all the action.
I can't believe he will be 5 weeks old tomorrow!

feeling so grateful today....

I have gotten a few comments/e-mails about how much Cannon looks like Charlie and you all are so right! At first I did not think he looked anything like Charlie, but now as I look at pictures of Charlie when he was the same size as Cannon, I definitely see a resemblance. The biggest difference is that Cannon's hair is much darker than Charlie's ever was. I wonder if it will stay that way??
Eric's grandma Ida was in town earlier this week for some doctor appointments and we took her to see Cannon. Can you believe she is 94? She looks great and is doing pretty good!
We had a little scare last night while we were visiting Cannon. I changed his diaper and gave it to the nurse to weigh it. She looked at it and mentioned that his poop was a weird color and asked if it had been that way before. It actually was the same color earlier in the day but I didn't think much of it and the day nurse hadn't mentioned anything about it. She decided to keep the diaper to show the doctor when she made her rounds. We had to leave, but Eric called the NICU late last night to see if the doctor was concerned. She did decide to order a liver panel this morning just to see if anything turned up. We have said a million times how lucky we have been that Cannon has not had any major issues. But it really did not hit home until last night. As we drove home I could tell that Eric and I both felt very uneasy. Suddenly, on top of all the other things we were already dealing with, there was a possibility that he might not be okay. I truly feel so blessed and grateful that we have not had to experience this feeling very often since Cannon was born. Luckily, all his test results came back normal and his poop seems to be back to normal. The doctor is not sure what caused the change yesterday, but they will continue to watch it for any more changes.
I have been spending a lot of time at the hospital these last few days. Eric has been home the last 2 weeks, but he will be starting a new job on Tuesday so I have been taking advantage of him being around to watch Charlie. I have been trying to be there for at least 3 of Cannon's feedings per day. I love getting to spend so much time with him. Before he was born and Charlie was my world, I couldn't imagine being able to love another little guy as much as I loved Charlie. I heard it a million times before that my love would double and multiply and I never doubted that it would, I just couldn't imagine how it would feel. Now I know what it is like to have two amazing, adorable little boys and I could not be any more over the moon about them. I am so very lucky.

four weeks old....

I can hardly believe that it has been a month since Cannon entered our lives. He is still doing so great. He is 4 pounds 4 ounces as of tonight (he hit four pounds on Monday). He is off all medications except for vitamins. Tonight they were going to start the process of weaning him out of the isolette and into an open air crib. They basically have him swaddled in two blankets (plus clothes) and are slowly lowering the temperature in the isolette until it reaches room temp. As long as he tolerates it tonight, he will probably be in a crib tomorrow. We are still working on the breastfeeding. As long as I can get him to stay awake, he will usually eat pretty well. He is definitely not getting enough to consistently gain weight. The nurses say that 35 weeks is usually the age where feeding really clicks for the babies, so hopefully he will really show some improvement over the next few days. The doctor asked today that I make sure to be there to try to feed him at least 2 times per day. Once he is done nursing, they still give him some milk through his feeding tube. Since they don't know how much milk he got during nursing, they watch him closely for any signs that he is getting uncomfortable or is going to throw-up. The doctor said today that if he continues to keep doing as well as he has he will probably be able to come home in about 10 days! I can't believe we are so close to having our little guy home with us! I am so happy that he should be home for Thanksgiving. We are pretty much prepared for his arrival. I finally bought some diapers today so I know we at least have all the basics covered. We have received a lot of great preemie clothes so he will definitely be well dressed :)

I did not get any good pictures of Cannon today because he was pretty much swaddled all day and the lighting was just not good. Here are a few from this past week:

A cute little smile.....

Grandpa Rodger and Grandma Nita getting to hold him for the first time.
I love this one because you can see that his face is getting rounder and he is starting to get a little chub. He is no longer just skin and bones!

three weeks old....

Cannon is still doing SO good! This week has mostly just been about gaining weight. He now weighs 3 pounds 10.5 ounces! They are no longer giving him caffeine as of today (caffeine is supposed to help prevent apnea spells). He is also no longer getting the enemas unless he does not have a bowel movement within 24 hours, but he has been doing great without them. He is also still doing great with his body temperature. They are keeping his isolette at 28.2C. The doctor gave the order yesterday that we can try to start breastfeeding. I was not ready to hear this at all last night. I was terrified when the nurse said "So, are you ready to give it a try?" He just still seems so small and I am already a little nervous since I had such a bad experience trying to breastfeed Charlie. But, I need to start sometime so I hesitantly agreed to give it a try. They really don't expect much to happen the first few times, but it went pretty well. We are supposed to do this while they feed him through the feeding tube so he associates the sucking with the full belly sensation. So, now the tricky part is going to be trying to get to the hospital as often as I can during his feeding times (which really are not that convenient). Between Charlie, all the time I spend pumping and going to the hospital, our schedule has gotten crazy! I guess I better get used to it, I am sure it won't be any easier once we get to take him home.

I know I haven't mentioned it lately so I wanted to say it again - As always, thank-you so much for all your continued prayers for our sweet Cannon and our family. We have been so extremely blessed these last 3 weeks. While it is heartbreaking to have our little guy in the NICU, it has been much easier this time around. The power of prayer is truly remarkable. Thank-you.

halloween was a hit...

Charlie had a great Halloween this year. It was the first year he really understood the concept. Although, he did cry whenever somebody gave him a toy or a sticker instead of candy...we will have to work on that next year. For months he has insisted that he was going to be Paul Stanley from KISS. Despite our efforts to talk him into something else, he never waivered. Note to self: next year try to get him to pick a costume that does not require any make-up - what a pain that was! Luckily, Eric was willing to do it every time. Seems like he was getting in his costume every day this week for one reason or another.
Getting ready for the big night

The wagon came in handy...we heard many parents say they wished they had thought to bring their wagon. It was Aunt Andrea's idea.

Cousin Roger was Superman.

This guy thought Charlie was dressed as Edward Scissorhands.......?

Our friend and neighbor Casey was having a Halloween Party that included karaoke. Charlie was the first to get up and sing...what else but "I wanna Rock and Roll all Nite" by KISS. He brought down the house with his performance.

In Cannon news, look at who is big enough to wear clothes now.....

Last night he weighed 1530 grams (3 pounds 6 ounces). Once they hit 1500 grams they are able to wear clothes. By then they are considered stable enough and are usually off a lot of the machines so they have less leads to worry about. He looks so different now - such a big boy! His feedings have been increased to 28 cc's. Since he is in clothes now they took the skin temperature lead off that would automatically adjust the isolette to keep him at a certain temperature. Now, they just set the temperature in the isolette and hopefully they will begin to regulate their own temperature so they can eventually move to an open crib. His nurse was very impressed at how well he did today with his temperature. She said they usually have to have the temp set pretty high the first few days, but Cannon was too hot so she had to keep turning the temp down since he was doing so well. She said that he will probably do well when he does get moved to the crib. Yeah Cannon! I held him skin to skin today for about an hour and a half. I am so in love. He was making the cutest little noises today and looked so peaceful snuggled in on my chest. He is capturing the hearts of the nurses too - who could resist? :)