Journey to Parenthood

I want to be purposeful about journaling during this time in our lives as we watch our miracle micro preemie, Asher, continue to grow and thrive. I began this blog during my month of bed rest at the hospital while I was pregnant with Asher and his brother Titus. We continue to hope and trust the Lord for Asher's future. This blog begins with the story of how both of our boys came to be. They came about after many tears, many prayers, and many months of crushed hopes. On February 2, 2012, our boys Titus Bauer and Asher Mark were born at just 23 weeks and 2 days gestation. My water around Titus broke at 19 weeks, so his lungs were very underdeveloped. Titus lived 45 minutes and is now living a perfect life in heaven as he watches over his little brother Asher. Two and a half years later God redeemed our story of hurt with a precious full term baby brother for Asher. We are humbled by how the Lord has loved on us in our journey through parenthood.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Milestone Monday

#1 This little boy is starting to pull his legs up under him! This is BIG!! We have been waiting to see some pre-crawling moves and it's pretty much just been rolling for him since he turned 1. In the last few days, we've seen him do this when he rolls to his belly. He stays in this position for about . 5 seconds so there is no rocking or anything else going on because he quickly moves on, BUT it's a start! Wohoo little buddy! 

Asher's PT therapist says he has extension reflexes that haven't gone away, so he wants to straighten and stiffen more than he wants to be curled up.  It has just become habit for him to be in extended positions. So, he's always been good at "standing" and that explains why. It was probably more comfortable for him too to be stretched out since he has always had reflux and GI discomfort as well. So, we try to practice things like playing on his knees (this goes against his reflex and he just wants to kick his legs out straight), and in the sitting position we try to encourage him to play with his knees bent a little. 

There are lots of toys that help strengthen his legs, but I really wish there was something that made him stay on his tummy to help strengthen his arms and chest. It's on the list of "things I need to create/sell" after the whole experience we've had! (I have thought of several pumping products, preemie products, etc that need to be created to make the life of the preemie mom a little easier!) 

#2 Asher has tried some new "real" foods! He tried a cereal bar and did ok with that as far as gagging and such. He tried a real peas, steamed...and that didn't go well, nor did scrambled eggs. But, we will keep trying. It did take several times, of trying the puffs off and on before he could handle those well without gagging and throwing up. So, he just has to have time to get used to the new textures I guess. Next to try...cooked carrots, pieces of avocado, and soft fruit breads like banana bread. We'll see! This is his no hands trick, he loves to chew on teethers and move them up and down with no hands. 

#3 He started making the "b" sound more with babbling! I have heard him do the "mmm" sound when he's upset, but not so much when he's just talking. Then, Friday, he started doing the "b" sound when he was talking. It's sooo cute! I haven't heard it much since then, so we'll see if he brings it out again! That's something we've been waiting on for what seems like a while. 

Slow and steady little buddy. Take your time, you're a miracle boy and we LOVE watching you grow and learn. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Little Things

Today was a day full of little things that are really big to our little miracle boy's parents.

1. It was 78 degrees! Yay!

2. Lots of eating! Asher ate a LOT at therapy and then again at the next feeding at home. He ate 27 different pieces of baby snacks and some of them were cut up so it ended up being 38 bites! I don't normally count bites- there usually aren't much to count unless I'm counting spoonfuls of puree and that rarely goes over 10.  But, since I tried something fairly new, I decided to keep track of just how much he was taking.This is him on the walk afterwards and during the tube feeding part-- he looovvess to prop his foot up on the snack tray. Laid back Asher. He's like "ya, I just ate all that, no problem, what's next?".

3. Park swinging. This is only our 2nd time to go to the park! It's spring break too so I was nervous about it being crowded but it wasn't too bad. And I just stood between him and any toddlers eyeing him. I love toddlers, most of my 7 Godchildren are toddlers and they are precious! We just can't have any germy hands touching Asher still.  Or maybe ever. Ha! So, I stood ready to karate chop any one of them that came anywhere close. I will remember this when Asher is a toddler and he has that desire to touch babies! He had so much fun swinging and watching other kids. He just kept wiggling his feet and watching them and the shadows they made. 

Staring at the toddler laying on the ground...thinking "doesn't he know that's dirty?" Ha- 

It was nice to feel a little normal today. We have had more and more days like that and it is refreshing. Especially when we go do things many moms do with their kids- like for fun. What an idea! For several months we've pretty much just been going only to therapy, doctors, or my mom's house and nothing else "public".  Not even friends houses. So, yay for spring and summer and less germs! 

However, I was thinking though of several preemie friends who had normal taken away today-- 3 who were in hospitals for procedures or surgeries today or in the last few days and we prayed for them several times today. We prayed today for Berklee, Pierce, and Beckett who all are dealing with issues that come with being a preemie. Love you all and hope to see pictures of you playing back in your normal real soon. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Milestone Monday

So, I'm not good at short posts but here goes! Many of the preemie support FB pages do "Milestone Monday" where members post what their preemies have achieved in the last week. Asher has been working on sitting up for what feels like a looonnnnggg time! He's getting better and better! Turns out tv really helps on this. Who knew. Never say you won't do something, or don't want to often. It may just help your child achieve a milestone! He'll sit and watch and stay focused on that or certain toys in front of him. But after a few minutes he gets tired and just falls back (where I always catch him) or sometimes he falls to the side, and it's starting to look a little more graceful. Ha. So, maybe one of these Mondays I'll get to post I can leave him sitting and walk away with worrying about him bonking his head!

He's also loving looking through his photo album at the end of his meals and hearing all the names of his family members.  It's so cute to see him turn the pages, and turn his head to the side like he's really looking at it and figuring out who it is!

And he got a new toy...a walker! Sshhhh, don't tell our PT therapist! I'm sure it's frowned upon as he's not anywhere near walking, or crawling for that matter. :) But, he doesn't spend too long in it. Again, things surprise you that you decide to do, or decide not to worry about!  We needed another upright form of entertainment that keeps him fairly still while he's "digesting" and trying not to throw up. He just goes backwards in it right now! But it's really cute to see him slowly scooting himself around the house. 

He's still rolling everywhere, today he joined me in the kitchen when I had left him in the living room! 
I love it! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's New...13 Months

Asher has been a busy boy! He turned 13mo (and 9mo) last weekend. He's working on getting the rest of his front teeth. He almost has all 4 on top down now, and almost 3 on bottom. So, that makes his mood very unpredictable from day to day! At his GI appt yesterday he was 16lbs 14oz! The GI doc said he couldn't be more pleased with his curve and that he is approaching being ON the growth chart for his REAL age. That would be amazing. So, we will keep pumping in those milkshakes! (His formula has higher calories than most, so I call it a milkshake.)

In physical therapy he's working on sitting alone, he can do it now but it's hard work and when he gets tired he loses his balance not so gracefully :) He's also working on getting up from laying to the sitting position, and just being more comfortable in positions he tends to stay away from. He is more comfortable being in extended positions...probably just from being a preemie and from having so much GI discomfort (back when he was throwing up 4x a day). Babies with GI issues tend to not want to be on their tummies too, or to lean forward and "crunch" up their tummy because it's uncomfortable. So, that makes sense as to why he's been so good at "standing" since he was very small. It was more comfortable for him to be stiff like that. We hope he will be crawling in the next several months. We will see! We also have to keep in mind he's 9mo old developmentally, and until he was about 6mo developmentally, he was struggling so much with reflux and throwing up...and earlier than that he had to deal with procedures, he's making up for lost time. When other babies his age were exploring on the floor and on their tummies as young babies, he was sitting up in a chair, "eating" for an hour or two (we had to run it very slowly through the tube at first) and then trying not to throw up. So traditional tummy time just didn't or couldn't happen. Since he started rolling over, he's spent the most time on his tummy than ever before! And he still doesn't want to stay there long. :) So, we know it will take time for him to meet milestones. His therapist said today, "He's on his own timeline."

We have such a different perspective than many parents who dread the day when their babies start moving and getting into things. We think "oh no" sometimes too, (like when he rolls over to my purse and grocery bags and starts grabbing things) but more often, we just hope that he will crawl, walk, etc. Every single treatment he had when he was born--everything we had to say "yes" to to keep him alive, it all came with possible developmental delays in the future. So, we just have that in the back of our minds often. But we ARE SO excited he's rolling everywhere now. It's so fun to watch! It can be hard not to compare though..when other babies younger than him are doing things he's not. But we always have to look back and look at how much he's done and how FAR he's come. His first 5-6 months of life were no cake walk! And that helps us with perspective!

In feeding therapy, he's been doing pretty well. He always eats well in therapy sessions, which is great. But frustrating when he doesn't do that at home!  He's still eating puree's off and on. He's also been trying puffs and yogurt melts more and doing pretty well with them. He still gags often, and sometimes throws up after a gag. This week, we will try some tiny pieces of peaches! He is off and on with all his eating skills- most of that I talked about in the last post! (On the left is how we used to do feeding therapy, before he was strong enough to hold himself up in a high chair.)

At this feeding he took 20+ spoonfuls of yogurt! That is a lot for him. He's been anti-spoon lately! 

SUCKING on pouch! YAY (this is a big deal) 

Exploring the bathroom

Getting rolled up in his play mat 

Overall, he's doing so well! We love seeing him turn into a little boy. He still feels like my little baby because he's not crawling yet or pulling up, but at the same time he seems so big and "grown" up.

First time at the park!

Walking and snacking 

Trying on spring clothes

Swinging with mom on the porch 

Sucking on a peach in the mesh

Walking with friends 

Birth- 2months- 12 months--Growing much bigger than a water bottle! 

This is Asher's new move! 

Laughing at mom 

Thank you for reading and praying! Our constant prayer requests are:

- For Asher to learn about eating and why we do it so that we can get the tube out one day

- Patience for us and wisdom as we try to help him get there
-For his esophagus, that God would heal it completely and that it wouldn't cause any eating issues. GI doc said we may need a procedure on it in the late spring/early summer as he attempts more solid foods 
- For his development, that he will keep learning and meeting milestones
-For his health. That God would keep protecting him from illness, and that we would trust the Lord fully on that as we get out of RSV season and can venture out more with him (eek!)