Saturday, May 31, 2008

Answers to Two recent questions

1.) Lincoln had another doctor's visit yesterday and weighed 8# 13 oz., gaining 1# in 3 weeks.
2.) Lincoln will never be taught Hail To The Victors, nor will he ever wear a combination of Maize & Blue.  He will, no doubt, hear that loser song in the first quarter of watching The Game with his dad, but it will fade from his memory as the Buckeyes pound Wolverine skull.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Bottle

Last evening we went over to the Adamovs for dinner.  It was fun to get out of the house and over to a friend's place.  Lincoln was very good for us and even took his first bottle, which helped to tide him over for the vast majority of the stay.  Any concerns about latching post-bottle were quickly wiped away upon our return home.  The kid's an eating machine.  Jenn reports that he's wanting to eat every 2 hours now and he's getting full feedings.  This explains why his newborn clothes are looking tighter and his first diapers no longer fit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend, Post

Memorial Day weekend was a good time for us.  Nevermind that Lincoln screamed >75% of his waking hours on Sunday.  Dr. Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block is legit and his techniques have allowed us to provide calming for Lincoln.  God bless Mom (Grandma Paulette) and Jeanine for bring the book & the DVD to our attention!  Sunday was tough because we were away from home so much.  Between church, the ABF picnic and a trip to Great Grandma & Grandpa Mullen's house, Lincoln just couldn't get settled and we weren't in a position to employ "the happiest baby."  Saturday and Monday were very different and extremely pleasant.

Lincoln looks great in a Polo onesie... thanks, Elise!
Note the shoes, courtesy of Haley.
Great Grandma Gates finally got to meet Lincoln!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Howdy, everyone!  I need to start by thanking all of those who prayed for Lincoln and Jenn this last week.  While Lincoln has proven he's still capable of a good scream, the two days that followed the "Colicy Baby" post (Tuesday & Wednesday) were nothing short of a miracle and an answer to prayer.  He slept much more consistently and predictably and Jenn was able to rest as well.  We'll figure this little guy out sooner or later!

We're headed to Lincoln's Great-Grandma & Grandpa's this weekend for a visit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Colicky Baby

If you know anything about Jenn, you know that she's a thorough, intelligent person.  She's been doing lots of reading and research lately.  The books that have been recommended by many of you have come in handy.  As a result of this reading and research, we've come to the conclusion that Lincoln meets all of the criteria to be defined as a colicky baby.  

Don't misunderstand, we thank God daily that he's given us a healthy baby boy.  We can all think of examples of babies born with physical, mental and developmental disabilities and limitations.  That was definitely a concern of ours prior to Lincoln's birth, and while I don't necessarily believe it was an "answer to prayer" that he was born without these complications (does God "afflict" those born with complications?), we feel blessed to have been given Lincoln Glenn.  But being armed with this thanksgiving as well as the knowledge that most colicky babies improve by three months of age does not make life easier for us (mostly Jenn since she's with Lincoln all day) on a moment by moment basis.  The uncontrolled screaming, the inability to calm him, the near-complete lack of sleep and napping... it's very emotionally draining, bordering on depressing.  I try to do what I can to help out.  Lincoln likes car rides so I take him for rides when I can, but there's only so much I can do to give Jenn relief.  Please pray and ask the LORD to provide Lincoln with sleep and Jenn with physical and emotional rest.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Community Group

Not a whole lot new to report about Lincoln.

I wanted to get this picture up for the ladies of our Community Group.  For those of you outside of the CG circle, pictured left to right are Jessica Wicks, Jenn, Carla Adamov (6/21), Jessica Kiel (5/27, but anytime would be great!) & Emily Dodson.  All have been great friends to Jenn especially in the past couple of weeks.

We were covering Death By Suburb, and while we didn't make it through 100% of the book, it was a good challenge and it provided some good points for discussion.  The Dodsons and Wicks are taking off for the next couple of weeks on Summer Projects with Campus Crusade for Christ, the Dodsons to VA Beach & the Wicks to Chicago.  If you're looking for something to pray for, feel free to add them to your list.  We'll all be back together in August.

Actually, Lincoln had a good day at church again today.  He LOVES Jim Bossler's band, and he didn't make a peep for Joe's sermon.  Then he slept through CG tonight.  (Nevermind that he screamed and cried for 2 hours in between.)

These Cleveland sports teams are disappointing him... and I haven't even told him about the Summers of '95 & '97.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Calvin & Hobbes

It's the weekend and things are going okay.  Lincoln went to his Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug's house last night while Jenn and I went to The Olive Garden (yum), and he slept the whole time we were gone.  Figures.  

This morning I was having some fun with him with the camera, just taking lots of useless pictures, and he was making some funny faces.  It reminded me of the old Calvin & Hobbes comics when Calvin's dad tried to take a good picture of him and the entire comic was taken up with goofy pictures of Calvin.  Ha!  Then it got me thinking:  I need to read through the old C&H books.  Lincoln will be that age soon, and it's funny to get into the minds of little boys.

Nice to hear from Luk & Holly!  I've now linked you on the right.  Mullers:  I need to add your site!  It's nice to follow how other families are doing.  We enjoy checking in with the Hammersmiths, and we'd enjoy checking in with others, as well.

Pictures from Elise, Michelle & Grady's visit:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lincoln, Friends & Baseball

The posts have been coming a bit slowly, and I'm certainly aware of that.  There hasn't been a whole lot new as far as Lincoln goes lately.  He still spends most of his awake-time crying and screaming.  Our goal with him is to inch him closer to a routine so that he'll know what is expected of him and he can settle into things.

Grandma Laura is back in Phoenix.  She was a HUGE help and a very good companion for Jenn in the early days.  The Parkinsons-West will be coming back at the end of June and we're anticipating their arrival.

Michelle & Elise (from vet-school) came for a visit today and brought Grady (Michelle's son who's 6 weeks older than Lincoln) along.  He's a cutie, too, and growing fast.  Again, Jenn really enjoyed the time spent together.

Friends from church are really coming through by providing meals two nights a week.  Jenn is appreciating the visits as much as the food.  Jessica Kiel's stromboli was especially good on Tuesday!

Yesterday, Jenn and I went to Stanton Middle School in Kent to be part of their Career Day Expo.  I spoke to 4 small groups of students about how to prepare for Veterinary School and the specifics of Veterinary Medicine.  Jenn manned the info table with Lincoln (he slept most of the time!).  Talking career with middle-schoolers is interesting... a couple of the kids were really in tune.

On a completely different subject:  I'm listening to the Indians on the radio and they're talking about how Kobayashi is the Indians' closer until Borowski returns.  This is a particularly touchy subject with me.  Just because a pitcher pitches in the last inning and gets three outs does not make him a "closer."  A closer is a guy who scares the pants off of the other team to the point that they're shaking in the batter's box.  A closer makes a batter fearful of standing too close to the plate and then throws strikes to finish the game.  In my opinion, there have only been a handful of "closers" in Major League Baseball history:  Eckersley, Hoffman, Gossage, Fingers, Stewart, Rivera, Smith, and arguably a couple of others (I'll add Smoltz, because if he didn't want to start, he'd still be a kick-butt closer).  Sure, pitchers like Mesa, Beck, Wagner, Nen, Gagne & Benitez had it for a time and could be considered "closers" for a season or two or three, but being a closer is an attitude with results, not temporary numbers.  Therefore, a closer produces over the long-haul.  The names in the first list retired as good, if not still great, closers  You don't have to agree with me, but if you want to be wrong, that's okay with me.  I'm glad that's off my chest.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day fun

Mother's Day was a fun time for the Gates family.  Lincoln did great at church, sleeping the entire time.  I think he really liked Jim Bossler's worship band.  Then he slept for Mother's Day dinner at Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug's house and only got fussy at group-picture time.

So far, Lincoln has been making the family rounds very well.  He's making his mom and dad proud.  There were four generations in attendance yesterday, and it was fun to see the Watsons, as well.  Actually, Meredith was the first of the extended family to learn of Lincoln when she was at the right place at the right time visiting Grandma (now Great Grandma) Gates at the hospital way back in the fall of 2007.  Speaking of Great Grandma Gates, it won't be too long until Lincoln gets to meet his Great Grandma!

Back to Mother's Day, in the 10:00 Cafe service at HCC Mark Lile first looked for "the mother with the most experience."  There were some pretty experienced mom's in attendance (which is kind of cool for the Cafe service because it's the more contemporary, edgy worship venue).  Then he made a call for the newest mother, looking for first-time moms with the child less than 2 years of age.  Three moms stood.  The first mother called out, "14 months."  The second mom responded, disappointingly I might add, "2 years exactly."  Then Mark got to Jenn, and she said, "Ten days."  Mark said, "You win!" and everybody (~450) applauded.  It was pretty cool.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Big weekend

Lincoln had a big Saturday. It was hopefully the first day of the rest of his baby routine. Today's schedule doesn't exactly favor it, but we've got to start somewhere, right?

A little background: Lincoln's visit to the doctor on Friday went well. He's growing and appears healthy, however, he's not getting nearly enough sleep (7 hours per day last week). Between a newborn with an unsatisfied stomach for a time, and one with inadequate sleep, we know what a screaming baby sounds like. So that's why getting him onto a schedule and a routine is so important. Nap, feed, awake, repeat. With a better nap schedule yesterday, he was much less prone to screaming and more prone to normal baby crying, which his mother and father can live with much better.

The Parkinson's came up from Columbus to visit. We had a great time with Larry, Marti, Kathy, Cindy & Trevor. We talked babies for a while and found out some interesting info about Trevor when he was a tiny baby. The conversation actually steered into "The Parkinson's Roast Trevor" for a few minutes, but he was a good sport about it. If you're reading this and you want to know what I'm talking about, you'll have to ask Trevor. He'll be the gatekeeper of those stories. It was a good time for the Parkinsons to visit with the new Grandma Laura. And speaking of Grandma Laura, she'll be headed back to Phoenix this Tuesday. What a big help she's been to the three of us during the two weeks of Lincoln's life!

Then the long-anticipated visit from Aunt Emily came in the late afternoon. Being a good librarian, she brought a fantastic "Mother Goose" book with beautiful illustrations. Lincoln especially enjoyed being held by his "Auntie Em" and he was a peaceful, happy little boy during the visit. While he has not yet met his Uncle Jeremy, Lincoln understands that there are tough circumstances at play and that his time with Uncle Jeremy will come soon! (And with cousins Grace & Cole. Hurray!!!)

And finally today, a shout-out to the wonderful staff at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic. Lincoln enjoys his Neptune Gym, and while he doesn't yet know what to do with all of the many features, he does enjoy the rattle!

We're off to his first visit to church (may the grace of God be upon us today), and then to a fun Mother's Day dinner with the family.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

First day home

Lincoln had a big day yesterday in his first day home.  His pediatrician visit went well:  he's gaining weight, sounding good and looking good.  He then made an appearance at the clinic to the delight of the staff.  Feeding with the supplement is an all-day, full-time thing, too.  His bath, according to Jenn and Grandma Laura, was a riot.  He screams any time he's undressed, and the bath was no exception.  The funny part, though, was after his bath, when he was wrapped in his towel (the cute one from Aunt Emily) he looked stunned... happy, but stunned.

He's not really interested in overnight feedings right now.  Jenn's had to work to keep him awake, especially in the late night/early morning.  Last night, though, was the best of the nights, so far, and Jenn was able to get a decent amount of sleep.

I was changing his diaper in the early evening yesterday following one of his "rumble in the shorts" episodes (Lincoln produces farts that would make a frat boy proud) and, holy cow, was there a mess.  So as I was wiping his little bum, I was apparently stimulating more to come, and he just kept pooping.  So once I got that under control, he started peeing and it was aimed across the Pack-n-Play.  I'll have to cover his under-the-diaper area when he's being changed to contain the mess.  It was pretty funny for Jenn to watch, which is unfortunate because laughing and coughing still make her sore.

Jenn is improving a little each day.  She's still got a lot of swelling, and that will last for 6 weeks, we're told.  Not only is she getting towards the worn-out phase by the end of the day, which is entirely normal, but her incision is a bit more sore at the end of the day than the start.  She's moving around well, though, and has a great attitude about everything.

It's looking as though the supplementation may be over with, and praise the LORD for that!  We don't have anything moral or philosophical against supplementing, it's just a royal pain in the behind that we'll be glad to wave goodbye to.

We're greatly anticipating the weekend when Lincoln will get to meet the Parkinson family on Saturday and the Hopwoods through the weekend.  There has been a palpable excitement emanating from the Franklin, TN, area and I can't wait for Aunt Emily to hold Lincoln.  Also, there will be four generations at the Mother's Day celebration this Sunday, with Great Grandma Mullen, Grandma Laura, Jenn and Lincoln.  It ought to be a fun weekend.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Lincoln's Here!!!

First of all, Jenn and Lincoln are doing very well. Jenn is recovering on schedule and despite being a bit sore, slightly uncomfortable, and very swollen, she’s definitely improving with time. Lincoln is getting used to life, and he’s been a joy in his first couple of days.
Nothing about the labor process went according to plan. Jenn and I have heard stories about women who arrive at the hospital and within a couple of hours have their babies and then go home. All labor experiences are unique, and for Jenn, a relatively quick, seamless, pleasant labor, now looking with hindsight, was just not possible.

She had her first contractions at 7:30 am on Wednesday morning. They were seven minutes apart and not too uncomfortable. She and Laura walked about four miles to get things moving. Later in the afternoon, we went on another two-mile walk in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (down at Beaver Marsh). The contractions began coming faster, and around 8:45 pm we went to the hospital when the contractions were consistently three minutes apart. When we arrived, she was 1.5 cm dilated. We walked up and down the hall for another two hours, and she checked out at 2 cm.

Jenn then had to stay in bed with the monitors on (very uncomfortable) until morning, and her contractions maintained every 3-5 minutes, were lasting 1-2 minutes, and were very, very intense. She then checked out at 4 cm. We were finally able to move to a birthing room (there were seven deliveries the evening before and the rooms were full the night we were admitted), and she was able to get into the tub. This added just another cm, and Lincoln wasn’t moving into the pelvis.

It was at this time that the contractions were coming so quickly and so intensely that Jenn opted for an epidural. She has very small vertebral spaces, according to Dr. France, but the epidural helped out greatly… until it titrated a bit too low and Jenn could feel the contractions (oxytocin was now on board) literally one after the other. She was given another bolus, developed violent shaking, and checked out at 8 cm, making no progress from the previous check a couple of hours before. By about 8:00 pm Jenn and Mary (our CNM) began talking about a C-Section. Jenn was in the OR by 8:40. She was very peaceful about this decision because it had become apparent that Lincoln wasn’t planning on coming any other way.

By the time I got in the OR, Jenn was on the table and the OB had already started cutting. Jenn didn’t even know that the procedure had started, that’s how good Dr. France was with her anesthesia. So when the surgeons were in Jenn’s belly, they noticed a very large swelling, one of the assistants said, “Oh, my gosh, what is that?” It was Lincoln’s head… his big, long head. It popped out of her belly, and then they proceeded to get the rest of his body out. It was at this point that everybody in the room understood why Jenn had been in labor for so long with no progress with delivery: his head had never engaged the birth canal and was wedged on the side of Jenn’s pelvis & the cord was wrapped around his body in several places. He couldn’t have been born alive any other way.

The first evening went very well. Lincoln was alert from the start when the nurse was bathing him and checking his vitals. He cried a bit, but not too much. I held him a bit, and then Jenn was able to feed him while she was in Recovery. We didn’t sleep too bad the first night.

The first morning went very well. According the nurses, his first morning was typical. He was alert for a while, very happy, and not fussy. He fed well and napped well. Then midnight hit. Lincoln screamed for a long time from 12:00 am until about 2:30. Finally a warm blanket helped him get to sleep. Again, according to the nurses, this second 24-hour period was typical.

On Saturday evening Jenn and I were starting to see a setback on the horizon. Lincoln was losing weight faster than is normal for a newborn. He was getting inconsolably fussy after his feedings with ear piercing screaming for an hour or more at a time. Our brief visit with the on-call pediatrician on Sunday morning brought news that was discouraging: they wanted to keep Jenn in the hospital another day and supplement Lincoln with formula for a couple of days. His temperature was increased in the morning (from sitting on my lap for 2 hours) and he had to have another CBC and blood culture. (Human medicine drives me nuts sometimes.)

Over the next hour or so, his temperature normalized, and this was the first bit of good news on Sunday.  Secondly, formula supplementation made a BIG difference. We saw that Lincoln simply wasn’t receiving enough at his feedings during the previous days and that’s why he was screaming so much. The route for formula supplementation won’t negatively affect breastfeeding in the future, and it has provided satisfaction, contentment and nutrition to the point that after observing his progress, the doctor discharged him to come home!!! Mom was extremely happy, and commented in the car on the way home that it is amazing how much good news and going home can make one feel better.

So I’m sitting at home now finishing up this composition, and Jenn is downstairs finishing up Lincoln’s latest meal, and as of 8:30 on Sunday evening, we have a happy, healthy little boy.

We’ll let you know how things go overnight.

Jenn and Lincoln have their first pediatrician appointment with our new set of doctors tomorrow at 10:15 am, and what follows will be Lincoln’s first day at home. What a blessing!

We greatly appreciate your prayers over the last 4 days, not to mention the past several months. Don’t stop now! Lincoln will be growing a little every day, and his mom and dad need the grace of God to provide the best possible home for him.

(Remind you of anyone?)