Sunday, November 23, 2008

We're home!

I'm sorry, but I'm too lazy to post some new pictures, but I'll be sure to do that soon. I thought I would send out a post to let everyone know that we got to come on yesterday (Saturday). We were so excited, but it wasn't without some surprises. He had one last check up before he was discharged. I wasn't in the room, but when the doctor put pressure on the bottom of his feet, one of his hips became dislocated. AAAhhh! As soon as they told us, Knut and I looked at each other, mentally unpacking all of the stuff we were bringing home. To our surprise, they let us come home despite that, with instructions to "triple diaper" him until he can get to his pediatritian's on monday, to have a hip brace put on which he'll need to wear for 6 weeks. I hope it's not too cumbersome! Best case senario, he just has some of my hormones that need to wear off. (Apparently pregnant women have a hormone that loosens joints, in preparation for labor...he might have some of that hormone in him, making his joints a little too loose.) If that's the case, after 6 weeks, he should be just fine. If, however, after 6 weeks his hip still pops out during tests, he may need hip surgery, which we'll have to go down to the cities to get done. We are praying it's the first senario!

I'll try to post pictures later!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And the cords come off...

Look at the beautiful baby! Nice and content after eating like a champion. He decided enough with the feeding tube coming out his nose, and took it out himself this afternoon. Since he's going to start having bottles at night when I'm not there. Unless he absolutely refuses the bottles tonight, it's not going back in.

Here's him studying his daddy's face. He was a little sleepy, but kept his eyes open as best he could.

He spent most of the day today under lights for jaundice. He was pretty much chillin' like this for most of the time. I tell ya, life ain't so bad after all. Doesn't he look good here? He lost some weight after birth, of course, so he was 6lbs 4 oz this morning. He's going to have to start going positive as far as the weight gain before he gets home.

Here's his whole bed under his lamps.

Today brought about a bunch of changes, as the catheter in his belly was removed. His feeding tube, as I mentioned, was removed. He has no more tubes in him. There are 4 monitors connected to him watching his heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature, and of course respiration.

With so many things going on, we've been so anxious to get him home, and all of the NICU rules have been making it difficult to establishing feeding. They're on a 3 hour schedule, where I can nurse him every 3 hours. So I try to nurse him on time, but if he's tired, it takes some time to get him going. If he's not eating after 20 minutes, the nurses just supplemented into his feeding tube. He needs to be burped quite often during the feeding, but every time I burp him, my patting sets off his heartbeat monitor, and alarms start going off. Every time I moved him into a better position, alarms went off. Cords get tangled, alarms went off. For awhile, it felt like everytime I touched him, alarms went off. Needless to say, it has been a frustration to me.

So today, I was talking to the nurse in charge of his discharge from the hospital. I was telling her that I didn't know how to establish feeding under these circumstances, so she called a meeting with her, Elias' doctor, care nurse, lactation consultant and myself. We sat down and came up with a new plan on feeding Elias, which I'm very excited about. Instead of feeding every 3 hours with only 20 minutes to get him to latch on, we're feeding him based on his cues, every 2-4 hours. (They gave me a pager so I can go and eat move about the hospital and come back when I need to.)

He's moving to bottles at night, with breastmilk fortified with extra calaries. Feeding on cues completely changed how he ate today...which was fantastic. Instead of eating for 3 minutes, and then falling asleep and needing supplements in his feeding tube he now eats for 30 minutes consistently, or over 50 minutes with taking cat naps throughout. I'm excited to see if he'll gain weight faster this way. At least I think after he uses bottles tonight, we'll be able to check off "establish feeding" off the list. Then all that's left is weight gain! Yeah! I can't tell you how badly we want to all be home again! I miss my other kids! By the way, they're coming to visit tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Here's some current pictures of life in the NICU for Elias. Here's his cute little sign that the nurses made for him.

This is from Sunday, when the kids got to come into the NICU one at a time and meet their brother. Here's Knut and his boys.

Here's a picture of Elias' warming bed, where he spends his days. He's surrounded by a bunch a machines, which I'm sure he would enjoy having cool machines in his room more when he's older!

Here's Elias holding his big sister's hand, much to her delight.

This is Elias today, just chillin' before they took off his nose tubes. That's right! He is no longer on any oxygen, or pressurized air, as they say his lungs are now satisfactory! All that is left for him to go home is a few last things. He needs to gain weight, maintain his temperature, and be able to eat without the feeding tube. Weight gain will come with the nursing. He nursed all day today, and did surprisingly well. He doesn't nurse at night, since I'm not there. The lactation consultants would like to wait until he nurses well all day before they take the feeding tube out of his nose, and bottle feed him at night.
Tonight while we're gone, they'll probably take the cathater out of his belly button since he's no longer on antibiotics or lipids, and after that is out, he'll be able to be moved to a crib in the NICU. (But tomorrow, he might first be under the lights first for jaundice.) They haven't tested if he can maintain his own temperature yet, since he needed to be observed naked for his lungs, so he's been living under the heat lamp. Now that the lungs are under control, they'll be able to test his ability to control his temp, which we have no reason to think he'll have trouble with.

This is a picture of Elias taken today. He still has the feeding tube in as you can see, but that will probably be removed tomorrow, as long as he nurses as well as he did today.

Here's Knut holding Elias tonight. He's been farming during the day, and driving up to Fargo to be with us at night. He's always eager to hold Elias as soon as he walks in the door!

Hope you enjoyed the new update!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Well, I'm a little too tired to work on pictures right now, but I have just enough time to ramble a bit on how little Elias is doing. He's looking better every time I go in there. Being in the NICU is a little hard, because I have to "scrub in" to get to him. Once scrubbed in, I can't bring any food (just a pre-approved water bottle that they gave me) and I have to leave the scrubbed in area to use the bathroom too. It's not too hard to scrub in, but the soap that we have to scrub our arms up to our elbows with is pretty tough stuff on the skin, so we've been trying to limit how much going in and out we do.

But onto more important things, he's breathing is much better. He doesn't have a huge mask on his face, but just those little nose tubes. He usually is given room air in his nose tube, but they have been giving him extra oxygen throughout the day for various reasons, and then wean him back down. The nurses say that the room air has about 21% oxygen, and they sometimes increase his to 30%, but usually not for that long.

He currently has a feeding tube going into his nose as well, but as nursing gets better, I hope that will be taken out. I got to nurse him for the first time today, twice. The first time he had very little interest, and as soon as I got him started, the nurse started supplementing into his feeding tube, and he immediately stopped, and I couldn't get him going again. So for the next feeding I asked if they wait to supplement until I was done. He ate on and off for almost 20 minutes, but never more than 3 minutes at a time or so before he fell asleep again. Still, I was encouraged that he's starting to get it.

Tomorrow they're planning on putting him under bright lights with the eye patches on. This is because, from what I understand of it, his jaundice is supposed to start getting high tomorrow (it isn't now...but following some chart, normal babies his age and development start getting high belliroubin levels) and they don't want to give jaundice a chance to develop and interfere with the extra work his body is doing now to get better. I'm sorry I don't have a better medical explanation for it, but it made sense when I was talking to the doctor about it. The doctor was just trying to make it clear to me that they were doing it because that's what stage he was in, and not because he was getting worse.

He's still on a warming bed with a tubes and monitors on him. The main tube goes in through his belly button, and the rest of the monitors are mostly on his feet, and of course the tubes on his face that he's always trying to get off. He will probably be on the warming bed until they remove the thing in his belly button. Not only can they put things in through that way, but they can draw blood through there, so he doesn't have to get poked so often for tests. After that is removed, he will go to a crib in the NICU.

The doctor has been trying to prepare me that 1 week is way too optimistic for him to be coming home. My goal was to have him home for Thanksgiving. Knut wanted him home saturday! Although he said it is too soon to say whether or not he'll be ready for Thanksgiving, he wants us to prepare for the fact he may not be home that early.

They have ruled out his lung problem to the fact his delivery went so fast, which they were considering, and lay it all on his prematurity. They were worried about infection as well, but as tests have come back since he was born, infection is negative, and he got to come off of his antibiotics today.

And for all of those moms out there who like to talk about their kids' poop, Elias pees and poops like a champion. Knut and I laugh at how many nurses have told us this. It started when after he was born and had several nurses surrounding him, trying to get him oxygen, and he peed on all of them, just seconds after birth. Another nurse at the NICU made the comment "Yeah, he can pee REALLY far!" And before his first helicopter ride, he had his first poop, so as far as that goes, all systems are running!

And by the way, I'm horrified that Knut put that picture of me up after birth. I had just finished crying over the fact that we were going to be seperated, and was saying goodbye, and had just given birth and all, and someone snaps a picture, and there I am for the world to see.

The picture of Knut holding Elias is a much better one, and I'll have to put it up soon. He wasn't able to hold Elias until yesterday afternoon, and it was obvious his arms were aching for him! I could see Knut bonding with him so much in just those few moments. To think that never left him when they took him out of my birthing room, followed the helicopter to Fargo and saw that he got settled in the NICU, kept in close contact with the nurses every few hours through the night, visited him in the morning...Knut hardly left him and it was more than a day before he got to have his little boy in his arms. He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally got to hold him, that's for sure. Needless to say, Knut is very eager to get him home.

When Knut's parents brought me up to Fargo on Sunday, we brought the kids and they both got to scrub in and see Elias, but one at a time. I'm not sure how much they get, but we got some pretty good pictures of them together. Linda has been nice enough to take the kids while I'm in Fargo, and it's so nice not to have to worry about them at all. Whenever Knut stops in to see them, they inform him they're not ready to come home I'm sure they're not suffering too bad at Grandma's house!

Well now I'm really tired. Maybe if things get better soon, I'll be able to post some more pics.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome Elias

We have some exciting, if a little sudden news to share with you. Earlier today Elias Richard Ronnevik came to meet us at. He weighed 6 lbs 7 oz and measured 19 inches long. Good size for a boy four weeks early. Here are a couple pics.

Elias has been having difficulties breathing so he was flown to MeritCare in Fargo where he is getting a little assistance breathing. Please pray that we will be able to bring him home as soon as possible. From what they tell us he will be in NICU for at least a week. Here is a picture of him getting all ready to fly.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mission Sunday

Our church had mission Sunday recently, and even though we didn't bring our camera, Silje and Knut got their picture taken in the Japanese section where a Japanese seminarian couple brought several kimonos for people to dress up. Silje is holding up the Japanese purse that she just loved. She looks so Japanese, right? (Besides the curly blonde hair and blue eyes, and the fact she's a little tall for her age, that is.) Even though China didn't have a booth there, this was the closest she got, and she just loved it. (For those who don't know, Silje has a huge facination with China, and all things Chinese.) My Uncle Eric (whose blog is on the right) told me that since she has such an interest, we should funnel that, and teach her how to pray for China every day. So that's something we do every night before bed, and her heart for China is definatley growing. I hope one day we'll be able to take her there.
It was such a fun evening with booths representing several countries. (Including a Norway booth, complete with kromkakke.) (Not sure on that spelling!) The Szobody family did a presentation about their activities in Chad, and the Kittleson family was there for the event. They had presented Sunday morning about their work in Taiwan. There were so many people there, and it was just a blast!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Update with Halloween pics!

Well, here's the much requested pictures of the kids in their costumes. Since Silje has an extensive collection of dress up clothes, she opted to create her whole costume. This picture was taken at the end of the night, so she had already taken off her crown by then. She was a fairy-princess-ballerina. (She's wearing wings in back, which you can't see in the pic.) She actually is wearing 2 dress up dresses, one on top of the other, so she could get extra fluff in her skirt. She picked some very colorful striped stockings to finish it off.

David was planning on being a racecar driver, and Knut was supposed to help him with his outfit, but when I discovered this spiderman costume that I bought at Target after Halloween last year at 90% off, Knut and I had no problem convincing David to dress as spiderman for halloween. He REALLY enjoyed wearing the mask. He was growling at everyone all night, though, so I'm not sure if he understands what spiderman actually does.

I have no idea why this pic is sideways, but this is just a snapshot of my wonderful family. Knut had the morning off awhile ago, and decided to make some waffles, and the kids were all to eagar to help him. He's much more patient than I am, having them in the kitchen when cooking, so they always expect to help. I usually have them play on the table or floor when I'm cooking.

And our apples have come in! Here's our overwhelming supply of fireside apples from our 2 fireside trees. Anyone want some? I need to start making some applesauce, I think. (Well, the box of apples are cooking apples from some friends at church since our cooking apples had such a poor turnout this year, and they had extra.)

With the corn being so wet this year, harvest has been slow, and Knut had a bit of time one late afternoon, while waiting for the grain dryer to catch up to the combines. So the kids helped him with some raking. Well, David helped Silje just...

had fun in the piles!

Silje's artistic ability has really gone into hyper mode lately, as her drawings are quickly becoming more detailed and can tell what she's drawing. She colors as often as she can, and since Daddy is gone so much this time of year, all of these pictures were of her and Daddy playing at the lake. (O, for it to be summer again!) Her drawings more often come with stories or turn into books. I love to see these skills developing in her, and I know she is going to thrive in school when she starts next year.

David has never shown any interest in drawing or anything remotely kid crafty. However, this has changed in the last few weeks, as he has started to color in some pictures in coloring books, and is starting to develop this fine motor skill. His Auntie Sue gave him this little car coloring set while trick or treating (Silje got a princess one). He took out the markers and colored the entire thing until it was black. I was astonished how seriously he took this task. Multiple times a day, he would tell me he needed to work on his car. Normally this means there's some banging going on by his tool bench, but this time he would pull out the markers, and meticulously color every single spot. He didn't even look up when I took this picture.