Tag Archive | isolation

School, Crafts, Baking and More…

A few quick updates, since Little Miss Minion is bound to wake up from her nap at any moment-

  1. My school has gone completely online for the rest of the semester. I can’t remember if I said that before, but its official. We will be doing video conferencing for lecture and lab for the first time on Saturday, and I am hoping we will get more information on how our tests will go, since we have pushed back a lecture test and a lab practical from this weekend to next weekend. I’m curious to see how the lab test will go, since so much of the practical is hands on. I guess we will find out Saturday.
  2. The coffee filter crown turned out cute. I will attempt to upload a picture to this post once I publish on my laptop-the pic is on my phone.
  3. Sprouts have been transplanted into peat seedling cups (kind of like cardboard ice cube trays that you break up and plant) and await warmer temps outside.
  4. Mr Minion has hijacked the office since he is working from home for the foreseeable future. He had been going to the office each day, thereby exposing himself and us to the chance of bringing home the virus.
  5. The weather, while not warm enough to plant things, is warm enough for Little Miss Minion to go outside without complaining that its cold.

Our grocery orders have been running about five days out, since delivery has become so popular. I joked the other day that our kitchen is going to end up like an episode of Chopped (American TV show where you are given random ingredients and have to make do). Sure enough, we got our last grocery delivery and several items were left out due to low supplies. I had gotten all the components for Boeuf Bourguignon except the meat–solution: Coq Au Vin! Almost identical ingredients list, but with chicken. Luckily, we got the fruit and Little Miss Minion’s string cheese, so she is happy.

I can hear tiny feet thundering around–off to the next adventure!

Spring is here!

So today is the first day of spring…and it is cloudy and raining. But the high is supposed to be decent, so I have opened the windows a little to get some fresh air in here. Little Miss Minion and I prepped the seeds for sprouting the other day. We are hoping to do two plantings-a cool weather one and then a summer one. Since I am home now, hopefully I will be able to keep up on maintaining the plants.

First planting: dill, parsley, cucumber, thyme, lavender, and broccoli. I plan to make pickles out of the cucumber. They are currently sitting in damp paper towels, taped to the window of our office so they can sprout.

Summer planting: we are planning on doing cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, onions, zucchini, green beans and/or peas, lettuce, and some peppers (probably a combo of sweet mini peppers and some spicy ones for fajitas).

Mr Minion tilled up both of our gardening areas-we have a raised bed already, and we pulled up some grass in another area of the backyard to plant more things. This area will be shaded once the leaves come back, where the raised bed is in direct sunlight all day. I think we will move the tomatoes back to the raised bed this season. They didn’t do well in the small section of the shaded area we put them in last time.

As I mentioned above, I am going to try my hand at canning this year. I’m hoping for pickles, and I will probably attempt to do any extra green beans/peas, and maybe make some salsa if we have enough tomatoes and peppers. I’m terrified of giving us all botulism though, so I need to read up on how to not kill us all.

Other than that, not much going on over here. We pretty much stay in the house anyway, since it has been so gross out recently. Mr Minion refilled the sand in the sandbox for the kiddo, and she was very excited about that. We made chocolate cupcakes yesterday, and I am going to attempt making a spring flower hat with her today. I am not crafty at all, but I think this is doable. I will update if it turns out well, and if it doesn’t…this never happened. 😉

Wish us luck!

The Obligatory Coronavirus Post

I have been following this virus since about the third week in January and it looks like it has taken until now for the US government to take it seriously. So…7 weeks. I have a lot of opinions and feeling about this, but I want to focus on what we can all do to help. Since I spent much of Little Miss Minion’s first year of life in a constant state of bleaching everything we owned, I have some relevant experience. RSV isolation and introversion have prepared me for just this situation 😉

As the parent of a former 28 weeker, I take cold and flu season extremely seriously, even though my kiddo has hopefully outgrown her preemie lungs and the problems that go with them, as well as developed a decent immune system. Last time she got sick, she had a runny nose for about 12 hours and then gave it to me, where it lasted six weeks and turned into a double ear infection, a sinus infection, bronchitis, and borderline pneumonia mixed with infection-induced asthma.

I’m sure everyone has heard the non-stop refrain of “wash your hands,” “it’s just the flu,” and “it’s only killing old people.” Here are my two cents, as a NICU mom, as a preemie mom, and as a (hopeful) future nurse:

  1. WASH YOUR HANDS. For real. Viruses need us to take them to the cells they can infect. Take the common cold, for example. You could dunk your hands in a bucket full of rhinovirus and not get sick…UNLESS you brought the virus to your nose or mouth. Scrub your hands, and the detergents in the soap will disrupt the virus capsule and kill it. Hand sanitizer does the same thing to this virus–although not all viruses are killed by it. Norovirus, for example, is not killed by most sanitizer gels.
  2. Take it seriously. While 80% of cases are apparently not a big deal, that means that 20% result in symptoms serious enough to warrant hospitalization. We don’t have the space in our hospitals for that kind of volume. We don’t have the staffing, or the supplies…which brings me to the next point.
  3. Do your part to flatten the curve. The curve is basically the number of people who need medical attention at a given time. The lower that number is, the better shape we will all be in. Slow the spread of illness so that the numbers of severe cases don’t surge. 100 people knocking on your door over the course of a year is far better than all of those people showing up in one day.
  4. Don’t be a carrier. Limit your visiting with more vulnerable people (looking at you, nursing homes, retirement homes, people fighting chronic illness, people with newborns). You could be sick with this virus (or any other virus) and not know it, bringing it in and infecting others who may not be able to fight it off. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell, explain, and argue with people about why it was so vital that Little Miss Minion not get sick that first year she was home with us. What you think are “allergies” on Monday, so you go visit an older relative, could turn into “just a runny nose” on Tuesday and a full blown cold on Wednesday–and could prove to be pneumonia or worse for your unsuspecting relative.
  5. Don’t let the anxiety rule you. Check in on the news once or twice a day and get on with your day…albeit with a little more soap and a little less face-touching than usual.

 

Wishing everyone health and lots of toilet paper…

 

NICU Developmental Clinic

Every six months since she graduated from the NICU, Little Miss Minion has gone to the NICU Developmental Clinic for follow ups. Our first visit was nerve wracking. Only a week after graduating from the nicu, I had to transport my three month old to a medical center full of little kids (aka germ cesspools) and see how she was measuring up to her chronological age (spoiler alert:not very well, as was expected). We talked about her NICU stay…how she had come early due to my preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome…how she had stayed 84 days and developed sepsis, meningitis, and hydrocephalus…how she had endured brain surgery at 6 weeks old. They had me feed her, so they could see how she was handling the bottle and the Super Preemie sized bottle nipples. I left feeling like this was going to be our lives forever–shuffling her to and from various doctors and specialists. The weeks and months after that were as I’d expected. We saw pediatric neurologists, opthalmogists, hearing specialists, physical therapists, speech therapists, neurosurgeons, and our regular pediatrician. But as the months went on, the number of specialists began to dwindle as she “graduated” from their services. 

Today, LMM graduated from the NICU Developmental Clinic. I won’t have the official results for a couple of weeks yet, but here are some quotes from today’s appointment. 

“She’s absolutely perfect.”

“I can’t believe she has two shunts and presents like this.”

“I ran out of tests for this category. She blew it out of the water.”

“Didn’t she have some PVL (essentially, brain damage)? I am amazed at her development.”

The only thing we need to keep working with her on is expressive speech. The current theory is that she knows the words if they are given to her, but she has trouble “finding” them when she wants to use them. For example, if you give her a series of pictures and ask where is X, she will find it every time. But take those same pictures and ask “what’s that” and she has trouble. 

I’m happy to cross out another specialist from our list. If I’m not mistaken, this takes her down to just a pediatrician and a neurosurgeon, plus our early intervention team. She graduates from them this spring…and might even test out of the school district program that the early intervention shifts into at age three. 

All in all, it’s been a good day in the Minion household. 

Welcome to Cold/Flu/RSV season! 

It’s October, and you know what that means! Cooler temps, pumpkin spice everything, and the onset of cold/flu/RSV season! If you haven’t scheduled your yearly flu shot, you really should, especially if you have contact with young children or the elderly. Herd immunity is so important to protect our most vulnerable populations. As you should know if you are a reader of this blog, preemies in particular are incredibly susceptible to illness, but especially RSV. Most babies get RSV by the time they are two years old and it manifests as a bad cold. Not so for preemies. RSV can cause pneumonia, bronchiolitis, even death. 

This year will be Little Miss Minion’s second Cold/flu/RSV season, and her first without the monthly Synagis shots. In case you’ve forgotten, Synagis is a shot of antibodies given to the most vulnerable preemies to try and boost their immune systems to fight off RSV. LMM doesn’t qualify for the shots anymore, so she will be facing this season on her own. That means that the Minion household will be extra vigilant about germs–not that we aren’t already. 

This concludes my annual plea to get yourself and your family a flu shot this year. Help protect babies like Little Miss Minion, who can get severely ill from something as simple as the flu. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Keep your germs to yourself!

Baby Goes Shopping!

Huge milestone today: Little Miss Minion came with us when we went grocery shopping! This is the 8th place she has ever been in her whole life. 

She held on to the front of the basket to keep her balance, and she seemed to really like looking around at all the colors and people. Definitely needs to wear pants next time-we had her in a onesie and she seemed cold. And some older lady got a little too close and asked us how old LMM is. She guessed six months, and when we told her she was a year old, the lady smiled and awkwardly walked away. Fine by me. 

Weekend grocery trips are going to be so much easier. I think I’ll get her a shirt that says NO TOUCHING and we’ll be good.

Slow and Steady

Little Miss Minion had her (almost) 12 month checkup this afternoon. She’s technically only 11 months, but close enough. She is now a whopping 16 pounds, 2.2 ounces, which is 8.6 times her birth weight, and 25 inches long. Her pediatrician said that she’s one of the happiest and social babies she sees, and that she’s very happy with her progress. She went over Little Miss Minion’s stats with me, as always, and she’s right on track. She’s on the regular growth chart now! Usually, we use the preemie growth chart because it adjusts for the slower growth and lower beginning weight of preemies, comparing them to each other instead of full term babies. But this time, we compared her to the chart for full term babies born on her birthday, and she’s at 6.6%! Her head circumference is perfect, which is good news for both brain development and hydrocephalus concerns. Stable head growth is good. 

Upcoming adventures include a March of Dimes walk in a couple of weeks, orthotics, and another neurosurgeon follow up and MRI. The March of Dimes walk will be her first real contact with The Public aka Germ Central. The good news is that the event is outside and the team I’m walking with is her NICU team, mostly nurses, who know all about Preemie Protocol. One of my coworkers and her husband are walking with us, plus my sister is coming! I’m touched that other people want to walk in support of LMM, and for all of the donations we’ve raised for the cause. 

Other than that, not too much else going on in the Minion household. 

11 Months Old

It’s hard to believe that Little Miss Minion is already 11 months old. In the past couple of weeks, she’s said her first word (Mama), pulled herself up from sitting, started to crawl, and has tried lots of new foods. Current weight is 15 pounds, 8.6 ounces. She’s outgrowing most of her 3 month clothes and starting to fill in her 6 month outfits. In one month, we can start taking her places in public. We will still need to carefully monitor the germ situation, since her lungs are still catching up, but her immune system should be significantly stronger, although since she’s still just a baby, it still won’t be as strong as yours or mine. And it still won’t be caught up with her chronological age, but it will be strong enough that we can expose her, with extreme caution. Lots of Lysol and hand sanitizer, but she will be out in the world!

Are we there yet?

Two more months until we can start bringing Little Miss Minion around other people. It’s going to be so strange to be able to go grocery shopping without putting it on a calendar, or being able to run into the store for something without having to plan on someone watching her.

I know she’ll probably be sick all summer from being out among the general population. We will still do our best to prevent that since her lungs won’t have caught up yet, but her immune system will be so much stronger than it was that time last year.

I’m looking forward to showing her off. Hey everyone, look at my warrior baby and see how big and strong she is! See her shunts and know what she has been through. Receive a smile and know that you witness a miracle. Try to touch her and I will rain hell fire down upon you. 🙂  No reason to tempt fate.

2 Months Adjusted

Today marks two months after my original due date, August 6. Little Miss Minion is 2 months adjusted today, and she has learned so many new things since 1 month adjusted. She smiles on her own at Mr Minion and I. She smiles when we smile at her. She grasps toys, bats at the hanging toys on her play gym, and laughs. She rolled over twice yesterday–very impressive. And she will sit almost unsupported, just with light support around her waist. She weighed 9 pounds 7 ounces a couple of weeks ago at her last pediatrician appointment, so I am sure that she is into double digits by now. She’s outgrowing some of her newborn outfits (mostly onesies), and is into 0-3 months now. She’s still taking about the same amount of milk-right around 100-110 mls, which is 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 ounces. She’s starting to finish them completely, so we’ll probably bump her up to 120 mls, or 4 ounces, in the next couple of weeks.

Our other big milestone this month (besides her 5 month birthday on the 14th) is her first Synagis injection. Synagis is a shot that is given to at-risk babies to help reduce the severity of RSV, should they acquire it. You can read more about it HERE. She qualifies based on her birth weight and will get one shot every month for five months. What’s the big deal, you might ask. All babies get sick, after all. How else will they build their immune systems? The reason is simple. Preemies didn’t get the chance to build their immune systems in utero and therefore are much more likely to get sick than full term babies. Preemies (or any baby born before about 37 weeks) will have underdeveloped lungs. A baby born at 40 weeks had 3 full months of extra time to soak up antibodies than Little Miss Minion did. It is of vital importance that she gets the chance to build her immune system without the challange of being sick. Below are some images that might help you to picture the differences.

Keep in mind with the Lung Capacity image that the smaller set of lungs is representative of a baby born at 34 weeks. This is 6 weeks older than Little Miss Minion was at her birth. Preemies who get sick with RSV can end up in the hospital and can require ventilators, or breathing machines. Their airways are too narrow, and with the inflammation of something like the cold, flu, or RSV, they quickly become unable to breathe on their own. I’ve seen Little Miss Minion on a ventilator and it is not something I care to experience again.

My final word on isolation (for today, at least) is this letter, written by the parents of a 23-weeker. I’ve copied the first part of the text below, but http://anearlystartblog.com/2014/01/07/isolation-isnt-about-you/ is the link to the full version of the original letter and website. Many, many thanks to Andrea M for allowing me to link it here.

Dear Extended Family,

Isolation isn’t about you. Let me explain…

Babies who are born prematurely are different than full-term babies. First, premature babies have under-developed lungs and often require life-support and breathing tubes for days, weeks and even months. An important goal for every premature baby is to breathe on their own. Unfortunately for some preemies this doesn’t happen. Some preemies come home on oxygen support or on a ventilator. Their tiny lungs are not capable of keeping them alive without the help of a machine.