Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 22 - Super Baby!!!

The last few days have been crazy busy at school so I didn't get to see the wee one for TWO DAYS! It was killing me not to see her. And not killing me softly, mind you.

Anyway, I arrived this afternoon to find Brooklyn practicing her Super Baby pose. UP, UP, AND AWAY! Brooklyn's superhero powers include: wicked karate kicks, finger crushing with patented power grip, long-distance diaper content propulsion, and metaphysical yawn generator.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 20 - 1 1/2 pounds!

Not much in the way of big news the past few days (which is good), however, Brooklyn is now up to 685 grams! In other words, she has topped the 1-1/2 pound mark! She's a porker! You can really see it in her fingers and toes which are starting to look, dare I say, pudgy.

Also, the past few days we have seen a huge difference in her eyes. Instead of just staring blankly into the distance, Brooklyn has really started focusing her eyes whenever certain sounds are made. Mainly it's when mom is nearby and starts talking. Suddenly, Brooklyn starts opening and closing her eyes as if she's really trying to see mom. So adorable. When we close B's isolette blanket over her (to protect those precious eyes) after a care time is when things get interesting. Brooklyn is already VERY curious about her surroundings, her eyes scanning everything including her hands, tubes, and those crazy giraffes on the isolette blanket. Okay, so she can only really see hazy black-and-white shadows but I like to think she's already an overachiever!

I leave you with a clip of our curious little girl:

Awake and Attentive from Sean Lorenz on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 16 - Boom, I Got Your Updates

Brooklyn is a rock star. Have I mentioned that recently? Yes, I am already a disgustingly proud dad, but little Brooklyn continues to bring her "A game".

On the lungs and heart front, Brooklyn's PDA was "intermittently opening" but the doctor decided not to give her another dose of the medicine she took at the beginning of her birth. This was a sigh of relief because this would mean cutting off of mom's milk and going back to the full-time IV for 2 days, then re-ramping up her food intake again. Brooklyn also has a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a relatively common issue in about 1/4 of folks, which may be causing her to have small heart murmurs. The PSD will hopefully close back up as she packs on the pounds soon. As for the lungs, B is definitely off her honeymoon and showing her age. She has had to be brought up a bit on her O2 rate, but still remains at a somewhat low setting for her age. The nurses don't seem the least bit concerned...and if they aren't freaking out, then mom and dad feel better. Or at least we lie to ourselves that we're not stressing out! Ha.

On to the good news! The nurses informed us that Brooklyn's PICC line, that ugly thing stuck in her left arm, is coming out today. This was shocking news because we expected that thing to be in there for quite a bit longer. Since she is digesting her full feeding of a whopping 15cc's and poopin' it out so well (she's going to hate reading this in the future), B no longer needs that extra IV. Also, she is wrapping up 10 days of antibiotics today (also being delivered via PICC line) since her little immune system did some fancy kung fu fighting. She showed that bacteria who's boss. Word.

Brooklyn is also getting her calories pumped up today ahead of schedule in order to beef her up a bit more. As of last night, she is weighing in at 640 grams which is now 50 grams above her birth weight. At her lowest, Brooklyn was a wee 510 grams. The nurses all seem impressed with her packing on the ounces this week. One of the nurse practitioners had not seen Brooklyn for almost a week and took a peak in to see how things were going. It was a good feeling to hear "WOW!" from a normally stoic nurse!

On a side note, Kelly and I want to say a HUGE "thank you" to everyone for the dinners. Sitting here at the hospital all day and night can take its toll. It has been humbling to see what an amazing community of friends we have. We feel so blessed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kangaroo Time With Mom

I finally was able to put together a video of Brooklyn's first "kangaroo care" (skin-to-skin contact with mom) today. The song in the video is called "Yashanti" by Yael Naim. Recognize the last name? Yeah, we may or may not have borrowed Brooklyn's middle name from her. Maybe. ;)

p.s. A few viewing tips: turning the HD to "off" helps the video load faster for those with slower connections. Also, it looks better if you click on the vimeo link for the video below the actual video (it's bigger).

Kangaroo Time With Mom from Sean Lorenz on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 12 - Wide-Eyed Wonder Girl

The picture speaks for itself! Brooklyn gave us a half-eyed glance yesterday, but when we showed up this morning her right eye had popped open completely. The left eye, not to be outdone, followed suit this evening. Sure, all Brooklyn can see right now is a bunch of large shadowy figures, but it's so cool to see her looking at us. Why opening her eyes makes B. pull on her ear we may never know....

In other news, Brooklyn had her lumbar puncture today. Basically, a doctor sticks a needle in her spine to extract a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. Why stick our cute little girl with a big needle? The nurses are taking every precaution to ensure Brooklyn has not contracted meningitis. Her preliminary culture results came back very low (which is great news), but we won't know the full report for 48 hours. Most of the nurses reassure us that it is very unlikely, given Brooklyn's current state, that she has anything cruddy in her system. It's all about preventative medicine, people!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 11 - Mmmm....meconium (look it up)

Brooklyn is up to 8cc's today. WHOA, slow down there you milk hound! She's digesting like a pro now, which Kelly and I found out on the receiving end while changing her diaper. Oh yes. Brooklyn made us proud by filling her diaper with the oddest looking green goo I've ever seen. I was so proud.

Later today, Kelly got to hold Brooklyn for the second time, which was a mixed blessing. On the first attempt, little miss B was NOT excited to be moved about so she decided to stop breathing on mom's chest. It was absolutely terrifying to watch our nurse, Nancy, and the respiratory therapist, Deon, have to "bag" Brooklyn so that she would begin breathing again. Bagging is just when they manually put a bag to her mouth and blow air into her to get the breathing jumpstarted. Thankfully, Brooklyn remembered that breathing IS NOT OPTIONAL and started up again. The nurses say this is normal and didn't seem too concerned. Kelly and I on the other hand....were not thrilled. Moments like those remind us of the ongoing roller coaster we are on here at the NICU.

After Brooklyn's first little adventure in bagging, she was able to be with mom on the second go at it. Things were much better this time and Kelly got to hold Brooklyn for a full two hours! Yeah! The rest of the day was uneventful and we'll post some pictures and a video from kangaroo care tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 10 - Kangaroo Brooklyn

A few days ago, Brooklyn was scheduled to have a PICC line placed in her arm, however, her veins are so tiny that the nurses couldn't get it to work. Why the disappointment? Well, the PICC line is meant to go up Brooklyn's arm and end up towards her heart where it gets prime real estate for release of all kinds of good nourishment stuffs to help her grow. Round two for the PICC line was today, so Kelly, the nurses, and I were crossing our fingers that it would go in this time. Luckily, the line went in on one take and Brooklyn's good to go! The nurses said that the combo of mom's milk (which Brooklyn is fed via a tube down her throat into her tummy) and the PICC line is a match made in heaven for fattening up our little girl.

Another big event in the Lorenz family occurred last night -- Kelly got to hold Brooklyn for the first time! The NICU call this "kangaroo care" where mom or dad place the baby up to the chest for skin-to-skin contact. The nurses always watch this carefully because some babies can't handle it for long, however, Brooklyn absolutely LOVED it. Our perpetually feisty, active little girl was peaceful for the first time since she was born. It was amazing. I was completely in awe at the power of a mother's touch and a baby's need for her mom. Brooklyn's oxygen rate is usually all over the map, but her rate was completely periodic when placed against Kelly's chest. Did I mention it was amazing to watch?? Oh, yeah. I did. Well it was! See:

p.s. Brooklyn is up to 5cc's of milk per feeding now! That's quite a jump from her 1cc (about 1/5th a teaspoon) a few days ago.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 9 - Leaving the Isolette Pt. 1

This photo had Kelly and I cracking up! You can almost hear Brooklyn saying, "Watch the hat! WATCH THE HAT!!!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009


well, little miss brooklyn turned one week old this morning! after celebrating from home, we came to the hospital this morning to receive the INCREDIBLE news that our little girl's brain scan IS CLEAR!!!!!! sean, being the neuro boy that he is, could not be happier! what a relief. this does not mean that she is out of the woods just yet, but it is a HUGE milestone in her development. Having now TWO clear ultrasounds, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that any blood vessel-relate issues would appear in her brain in the future. this was the first piece of good news we received this morning.

the second piece, we heard back from dr. baker (the dr. that delivered b.) about the placenta. the placenta had been tested for any type of infection to see if they could detect any reason as to why brooklyn was born so early. the results came back, and what they tell us is that there were VERY early signs of infection.

typically in pregnancy, if there is an infection, the pregnancy will terminate itself. because of our LOVING GOD, our daughter not only came out in JUST THE RIGHT TIME, BUT she was spared ANY infection!!!! as i understand it, had she stayed in me for any longer, the pregnancy would have resulted in a still birth, OR if the placenta had abrupted any later, the infection would have reached her and she would have suffered severe brain damage and illness.

and this is where we can PRAISE GOD FOR HIS UNENDING LOVE, FAITHFULNESS, AND GOODNESS. i am in AWE of His great love for our little family. throughout this past week sean and i have been thinking "if she had only stayed in me for just a little longer..." we are now reminded that are ways are NOT God's ways, and our timing is NOT His timing. the timing of our daughter's birth is proof of this, and we are forever grateful that we have such a loving and faithful God.

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)

please continue to pray for her rapid growth and continuous good health. we are continuously humbled by your prayers, and grateful for such an incredible community of friends and family.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 6 - And the hair color is....

RED! Brooklyn looked like she had dark brown hair under those blue lights, but it turns out that her hair is showing some strong strawberry blond tendencies! Here's the proof:

And here is one of Kelly and I's favorite images so far. I love it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

comfort for when we have to be away.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings

and speaking of hearts, BROOKLYN'S HOLE IN HER HEART CLOSED TODAY!!!!!! After just one round of medicine our little girl's heart is healed!!!! What an unbelievable miracle. Our God is an AWESOME God.

The Back-Story

For those who can't be with us in Boston, I thought it might be nice to share the story of why we ended up rushing to Beth Israel 16 weeks early.

This past Tuesday (January 6), Kelly started feeling some heavier "cramps" as well as having frequent spotting. To go back even a bit earlier, the day after Christmas we spent an afternoon in the triage for the same issue. The nurses seemed to think the spotting was due to a cyst on Kelly's cervix. Our doctor, Dr. Baker, also met with Kelly this past Monday and confirmed that both her and the baby were doing just fine.

Fast forward to 2am on Wednesday night (Thursday morning). The cramps were back, only this time growing more severe by the minute. Not thinking anything serious was going on, I fell asleep and hoped she would feel better in the morning. It's a good thing Kelly listens to her body and not her tired husband because she noticed that the cramps were coming regularly at about 5 minute intervals. That definitely got me worried so we finally left a message for the on-call doctor around 3am. While we waited for the call, Kelly's cramps, which we now know were contractions, became more painful and the spotting more frequent.

The on-call doctor that night happened to be Dr. Baker, which was a relief. She told us to get in the car and head over to Beth Israel. The nurses checked out Kelly in the triage room and announced that we needed a labor and delivery room immediately. The placenta had separated from the uterine wall. As you can imagine, this snippet of information threw Kelly and I into an instant panic. As we rushed to the delivery room, Dr. Baker explained that we may need to deliver Brooklyn that night and, if so, there could be complications due to her being only 24 weeks old. The room grew small and I almost fainted.

The nurses tried to stop the dilation using a magnesium IV but Brooklyn would have none of that! At this point everything was a blur. The nurses told Kelly not to push; the NICU team hadn't arrived yet. Brooklyn was on her own schedule as Kelly dilated faster and faster. At 6:28am Brooklyn headed (literally) out still contained in her placenta -- it looked like a little oval alien pod! Within seconds Brooklyn was surrounded by the NICU team, where we heard her give her first little "hello" cry before the oxygen mask was placed over her mouth. The NICU respiratory therapist asked if dad (whoa, that's me) wanted to touch her. I'm getting teary just typing this...WHEW...okay I'm better now. She was beautiful. Fully formed and kicking like mad. I was scared to touch her because her skin was so delicate, so I gently put my index finger against her palm. She instantly latched onto it with her slender fingers and I knew at that moment that Brooklyn was going to live.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 4 - A Good Yawn is Hard to Find

Brooklyn is ready for her close-up.

A Good Yawn is Hard to Find from Sean Lorenz on Vimeo.

Day 3 - More Pictures

Kelly took some amazing pictures of our healthy girl yesterday. I could (and do) stare at these all day. You can click on a picture to enlarge it. By the way, Brooklyn is doing great. The doctors and nurses continued to be amazed at her progress.

Look at how huge her hand is!

this little piggy went to...

mid day check up.

aaah, rest.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 2 - Brooklyn's First Photos

I forgot to bring my USB plug for the digital camera (oops!), but my mom was smart enough to bring hers! Here are a few first photos of our sweet little miracle.

Day 2 - An A+ Report Cord

This morning Kelly and I woke up early, ready to go celebrate Brooklyn's first full day of living outside the womb. Our first peak into her incubator was a wonderful surprise -- she looked great! Brooklyn already looked healthier after only 24 hours. We spent a few hours just staring at her.

Both grandmas arrived on the scene (one from the South Shore and one from Toledo, Ohio) this morning as well. It was amazing to see their reactions as Brooklyn tried to pull her tubes out, kicking her little legs as if preparing ballet steps in her head already. Mom is very proud.

The most important part of the day was at 2pm. We had what the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) call a "family meeting" where our social worker, Sheila, and two of the nurses gave us an honest run-down of how Brooklyn was faring. First things first: the nurse told us that, unless a very drastic change occurs, Brooklyn is going to live! This was the best part of our day.

In addition to this amazing news, the doctors gave Brooklyn an A+ report card. Brooklyn was scheduled for a brain ultrasound at 9am where we would find out if there were any unusual blood vessel or clotting issues that might cause serious brain dysfunction. Disorders such as cerebral palsy can be common with babies born at 24 weeks. Brooklyn passed with flying colors, which caused Kelly and I both to cry. This first week is the most vital for healthy brain function and if Brooklyn can get through this week without any brain/blood issues she has a 90-95% chance of reducing any sort of long-term cognitive issues. Praise God!

Again, your calls, prayers, flowers, dinners, and laughter have been the best form of medicine. And I know Brooklyn can feel the blanket of prayers and love surrounding her. I guarantee she's kicking her strong little legs in "thanks" right now!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 1 - Brooklyn says "Hello, World!"

Typing this note is just another addition to the now-many surreal moments the Lorenz family has experienced in the past 14 hours.

For those who haven't heard yet, Kelly gave birth at Beth Israel to a beautiful little girl at 6:28am on Thursday, January 8th 2009. The shocking bit is that we were not expecting Brooklyn Naim Lorenz's arrival for another 3 1/2 months! Needless to say, Brooklyn is extremely tiny and very fragile right now -- weighing in at 1 pound 3 ounces. Brooklyn, taking after her mother, is showing lots of spunk and refuses to let this whole pre-term birth thing get in the way of her goal of being the cutest darn baby this side of the Charles River.

We will be updating this blog every day to keep all our friends and family up-to-date on Brooklyn's progress. Kelly and I have been overwhelmed with gratitude by the many phone calls and prayers. Our wee Brooklyn has a tough battle to fight, but God is good and we know God has a plan for her life. We love you all and hope to post a more full story along with Brooklyn's first pictures soon!

Peace in Christ,
Kelly & Sean