Monday, April 26, 2010

Thank you, Team Squeaker 2010!

Neither the damp nor a stiff north wind was enough to deter the thirty-six stalwarts of Team Squeaker! Weather aside, our first March for Babies was a huge success. Bryce, who rode in the vanguard with big brother Logan, snoozed almost all the way around Lake Phalen, but he had nothing but smiles for his family and friends when we got back to the pavilion. Best of all, we raised $2645 for March of Dimes!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who made this a special day for Bryce and Chloe. Whether you braved the cold to walk with us or supported our cause through fundraising and generous personal donations, you are a valued member of Team Squeaker. We hope you can all join us again for an encore performance in April 2011!

More pictures to follow. If you'd like a copy of the full-resolution digital team photo, just shoot me an e-mail.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In the homestretch

Only four more days until Bryce's first March for Babies! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has supported Team Squeaker and the March of Dimes with your generous donations.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a lot more than just a village to turn this micropreemie:

into this bubbly baby boy:

In the first picture, Bryce is two and a half weeks old. It was the first time in his life that Christie and I were allowed to "hold" him, which meant we could cup our hands around his head and feet for a few minutes. As you can see, I could still fit nearly his entire body in the palms of my hands (and I have relatively small hands).

Eleven months later, you'd be hard-pressed to tell him apart from other babies the same (adjusted) age. Without a doubt, it's the amazing folks in the NICU who deserve credit for this outcome. However, the March of Dimes has played a big role in supporting NICU medicine behind the scenes. During his first month of life, Bryce had serious respiratory issues. Without treatments like artificial surfactant and nitrous oxide therapy, which were developed using research funds provided by the March of Dimes, it's very unlikely that he would have survived.

Furthermore, the March of Dimes is a great champion for prematurity awareness and prevention. Did you know that a baby born at 23, 24, or 25 weeks gestation could survive? Do you realize how many invasive and painful operations these babies must endure? Were you aware of the fantastic sacrifices parents make to provide a good life for children who are disabled due to their early arrival? More pragmatically, do you realize how much money is spent (often your tax money) to provide care for children who are born too soon? The March of Dimes works tirelessly to promote awareness of the issues associated with prematurity, and they also sponsor educational programs that teach future parents about easy steps they can take to lessen the risk of premature birth.

So, if you've already donated to our walk in honor of Bryce and Chloe, thanks again. And if you haven't, do you think you could spare a buck? Or maybe five? Your contribution could make a world of difference to a little guy like Bryce. Help us take the newborn (neonate) out of the NICU.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Missing this smile

Bryce's happy moments have been few and far between during the past couple days. He picked up a cold (stuffy nose, cough, fever) from his big brother, and it turns out that the nebulizer is not a panacea. The poor kid's been straining mightily against some discomfort for the past two nights, so all three of us are bleary-eyed and short-tempered.

On Thursday the doc said that he should start feeling better after 48 hours, so hopefully he'll be at the top of his game for next weekend's big event.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: This just in from the pediatrician's office -- a double ear infection! This villain is well-known around these parts, and we're confident that the good sheriff Amoxicillin will run 'em out of town before long.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad habits

I suppose I should be happy that he's interested in books, but if I could pick only one habit for Bryce to learn from his Mommy, reading romance novels would be near the bottom of the list.

In her defense, Christie only reads them because she "needs something to read in the middle of the night that requires absolutely no brainpower." No offense, Ms. Mallery.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The faces of Bryce

Face #1: Concerned
This one is usually preceded by a dropped toy or a parent leaving his field of vision, and is usually followed by a hearty wail.

Face #2: Sleepy
Yes, he does sleep with his eyes open sometimes. Weird. Bryce is not a great sleeper. His nighttime schedule is probably typical for his adjusted age -- a mix of good (one long 5-6 hour stretch) and bad (up every two hours) nights -- but his naps during the day are short and infrequent.

Face #3: Naughty
Sticking his tongue out at Mom and Dad is a new favorite of Bryce's. Currently, we're enjoying the "plant-'em-and-leave-'em" stage, since Bryce can sit unassisted and entertain himself with his toys, but isn't quite mobile yet. However, given that he's been rolling onto his stomach and making swimming motions in an attempt to reach toys that are just out of his grasp, it won't be long before he'll be sticking that tongue out as he crawls across the room to engage in mischief.

Face #4: Excited
The only thing more exciting than a giant blue ball is playing catch with your brother with the same ball. As you can see from his drenched shirt, Bryce is still a drool factory, and those bottom teeth have been "a few days from popping through" for about three months.

Face #5: Snarky?
I dunno.. this one is priceless.

Face #6: Happy
I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record, but I'm constantly amazed by what an easygoing baby Bryce has become. He almost always has a smile for visitors, and rarely fusses unless he's hungry or tired. His bout with bronchiolitis slowed him a little in his race to the top of the growth charts, but at 16.5 lbs, he's still hefty for a a seven-month-old ex-24-weeker. He eats a variety of baby cereals, fruits and veggies, and seems to be right on track developmentally. Our only mild concern is that he has only made a handful consonant sounds -- a few 'ba's and two 'ma's -- in his entire life. However, I'm guessing that's just over-anxious preemie parents looking for problems.

Only two weeks until the March for Babies, and three weeks until the new baby glasses!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go

The park. The coffee shop. The grocery store. Three family Easter celebrations. For Bryce, a whole new world of weird and wonderful places has opened up! We're trying to start slowly and won't let our guard down completely, of course, but listening to Bryce giggle as the swing moves back and forth is like that first glass of water after a ten mile run.

Happy Easter!