Saturday, December 4, 2010

Help new mothers this holiday season!

As many of you know, my family had a very stressful time with my pregnancy and birth of Jonathan. But thank God, I had access to great medical care and we are all doing very well now.

Since we went though that ordeal, causes supporting mothers and babies are very near to our hearts. In the poorest areas of the world, there are innocent babies being born to mothers who are too poor to provide the care that they need. These mothers don't receive prenatal care, and the babies go without vaccinations and check-ups once they are born. These babies never asked to be brought into this world, and some of these mothers never planned on becoming pregnant.

You can make a difference in these people's lives.

For $40, you can partner with Compassion International to provide a health kit to a new mother in need.

We give gifts to so many people during this time of year, and many of those gifts are things we don't even need. Please consider giving to someone who is truly in need, and whose life will be made better because of you.

You can mail a check for any amount to Marissa Skipper, General Delivery, Eagle Lake, FL 33839. Please make the check out to Marissa Skipper for Health Kits. Or, you can go here to provide a kit directly.

Thank you, and God bless you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Frustration!

Everything I've read talks about how having a preemie can be more difficult than a full-term baby because they are behind the learning curve (so to speak) in that their systems are more immature than a full-term baby.  I haven't really had a hard time with Jonathan with much of anything - he is sleeping almost through the night, he stares at people and books, he smiles, he does everything a baby of 6 weeks should do.  Except eat well.

Feeding him is quite possibly the most frustrating thing I've ever done.  The only thing more frustrating that I can think of is learning to hit a golf ball.  And similar to hitting said golf ball, sometimes I hit it down the fairway with baby J, and other times I shank it, or the swing misses the ball entirely.

For example, today he napped for about 3 hours and woke up crying loudly.  I knew he must be hungry because he hadn't eaten a whole lot so far, so I made him a bottle and started feeding.  He usually eats about 3 oz every time he eats, but sometimes (like today) he eats 1 oz and goes to sleep.  This is where the frustration comes in.

Sometimes he will keep sucking even though he's asleep.  But then he starts coughing because the coordination kinda goes south when he gets in that state.  Other times (again, like today) I try to re-alert him.  I start by burping him.  If that doesn't work, I take his socks off and tickle him.  Still no luck.  So I took his pants off and unbuttoned his onesie and started fanning him with a rag.  No luck again.  My last resort was getting a wet cloth and rubbing his head, face and torso while trying to loudly coax him awake.  When he finally did wake up, I put the bottle to his lips and he pursed them so tight there was no hope of getting anything in there.  So I put him in his bassinet and waited for him to wake up.  That was almost 30 minutes ago.  If he sleeps longer than an hour the whole remaining 2 oz is wasted because I mixed a little formula in there to get some extra calories and it isn't supposed to be out longer than 1 hour.  Breast milk is a precious commodity!

I guess this all wouldn't be such a big deal if he was gaining a lot of weight.  But at his last pediatrician visit, the Dr. was a little concerned because he hadn't gained but 1 pound in the last 4 weeks.  We will go back to weigh him in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, he'll eat when he'll eat, I guess. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Mommy First...

A couple of posts back I mentioned all of the weirdo things I've done and experienced as a part of this mom gig.  Now there's another to add to the list, and thank God my mom was there to help!

Right after giving Jonathan a calming warm bath, I picked him up and wrapped him in his towel.  I like to cuddle with him for a couple of minutes while I warm him up, then I put his diaper on and wrap him in a new, dry towel.  Well this one day we were doing our normal after-bath routine, and I hear what no mother wants to hear when there is nothing but a thin cotton towel between herself and her naked baby's bottom.  You guessed it - poo.  I knew it as soon as I heard it, and the warmness I felt was confirmation.  This nice clean baby has pooped all over himself, his towel, and his oxygen tubing - can we say E. Coli?!  Oh, and don't let me forget to mention that Daddy was immediately by my snap a photo of me holding the little bundle of poop over the kitchen sink.  Thanks, Honey.

So as I said earlier, thank God my mom was there to help, because I had a short moment of panic.  But we hosed him down in the sink, rewashed the bum, replaced the oxygen tubing, and Jonathan was none the wiser.  Except he felt much better, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Ahh, finally a moment to update the blog!  A lot has been going on lately.  Here's the quick version of it:

Grandma came to visit for Thanksgiving (that's my mom).  
She hasn't seen Jonathan since he was barely 2 pounds!  Needless to say, she was in awe when she saw him again.  I am so glad she got to come visit.  We made our first Thanksgiving meal at our house this year.  We didn't want to take Jonathan out around the whole family for fear of him catching something, and thankfully everyone understood that.  Obviously, we have a a lot to be thankful for this year!

Jonathan's doctor appointments have been going well.  He sees a neurologist because of the brain bleeds he had.  The doctor is following him to make sure there is no brain damage.  So far, so good.  The only thing is Jonathan has what is called "high muscle tone", which means his muscles are more stiff than they should be.  We do stretches with him every day to try and correct it.  Hopefully he will get into physical therapy soon, which should help as well.  The concerning thing about this is it can be an early sign of Cerebral Palsy, which is why the neurologist is watching him as he develops.  Other than the muscle tone, though, he is doing great!  He has been reading books with me (his favorites are Oh, Baby! Go, Baby! and Ferdinand); he also recognizes our voices and loves to stare at faces!

We will be seeing the retina doctor again on Tuesday.  He noticed a couple of weeks ago that Jonathan's blood vessels in his eyes are starting to act up, so he wants to be sure they are going to remain stable and not get any worse.  And then there's the oxygen - no word on when we can get rid of that pain, but if Jonathan needs it, then he needs it!

That's about all the news there is!  We are so thankful for our baby boy being home!

In case you can't read the bib, it says "My family is thankful for me."  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can the real Marissa Skipper please stand up?

So far, I have been spit-up on just about every day, peed on twice (literally on me because I was carrying him from the tub to the towel) and sprayed during a diaper change 3 times.  I actually went about an hour with my pee shirt on tonight before thinking, "Hmm...this is kind of gross.  I should probably change."

I have also used my pinkie as a paci.  You haven't lived until a toothless creature in a onesie has went to town on your finger...

My name is Marissa Skipper, and I am a mom (everybody: Hi, Marissa!)

This is ALL probably the...I'm not going to say weirdest...most interesting experience of my life.  I find myself doing things that I never thought I would for no other reason than I never thought some of these things were even possibilities in my life.  I never thought being exposed to bodily fluids on a daily basis was really something I would have to experience.  Call me naive, but I was never a baby-on-the-brain type of girl.  I just knew I wanted to have some...didn't realize how a baby totally dominates your life, though.

I can remember knowing people who had kids back in my childless days, and saying to them, "Yea I was totally gonna ask you to come, but then I remembered you were tied down!" and laughing as I said it, as if the person thought being tied down was funny.

Last week a friend of mine told me she went out to eat at my favorite restaurant and was going to ask me to go but then she remembered I had Jonathan and wouldn't have anyone to watch him (my, my, the tables have turned).  At that moment I realize that every parent I've ever known had at once been unattached to a child, had a life of their own.  Now, as many before me have done, I have resigned myself to our child.  He dictates when and for how long I sleep, eat, feed him, bathe him, and even cuddle with Jeff.

Ah, the things you do for love.

 Now to Jonathan, the reason you read this blog (it's ok, my own mother doesn't even ask about me anymore - it's "How's the baby?")

About 2 months ago Jonathan had some shots into his eyes to promote healthy growth of blood vessels to his retinas.  The shots were successful and the doctor has loved what he was seeing until last Tuesday.  He said the healthy blood vessels were starting to get squiggly which is not what he wants to see.  It appears there is an area of the retina in both eyes that still does not have blood vessels attached to it (so it isn't working).  That area is sending a signal out to the eye saying, "I need blood!"  That is what makes the bad blood vessels grow, and can result in retina detachment.  Usually, the doctor will use a laser and burn up those bad areas of the retina.  He couldn't do that a couple of months ago because he would have practically burned up Jonathan's entire retina.  Now, though, it is looking like he is going to destroy these small retina parts.  It shouldn't affect his vision too much though, because his right eye can make up for the loss of vision in his left eye, and vice versa.  BUT we haven't gotten any for sure word that the laser procedure will happen, that is just the impression I got from the last visit.  We go back this coming Tuesday for another exam.

 Jonathan also saw the pulminologist (lung doctor) 
for the first time on Tuesday.  He is doing fine, she 
said, but not well enough to lose the oxygen or apnea 
monitor (bummer).  She started him on Albuterol and 
Pulmicort twice a day using a nebulizer to try and 
strengthen his lungs, and help get him off the oxygen 
sooner.  We did our first breathing treatment today and 
although he wasn't crazy about it, he did pretty well.  
The plan is to continue this for a month and go see the 
pulminary Dr. again, then hopefully we can go to oxygen 
only at night.

That's pretty much it, now.  We see the neurologist next week and he will be looking at Jonathan's brain, and hopefully we get some good news there!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Longest Day...

Things have been non-stop around here!  I am doing a horrible job at this blogging thing.  It's just that when Jonathan was in the hospital, I had a lot of free time because the nurses did my job.  Now any free time I have (like now) I am washing bottles, doing laundry, cleaning, or resting for a few moments.  Notice I didn't mention taking a shower, eating, shopping, laying out (not that I did that anyway), or watching tv.  I don't do most of those things anymore - I mean, yes I do eat, but the showers thing happens every other day unless I make it a point to shower daily.  It may sound gross, but don't judge me!  It's mostly because I am just too tired, and unless I get peed on I don't really get dirty being around the house.

 I titled this post "The Longest Day" because this is the longest day of my life.  Not this day in particular, though...  Ever since Jonathan came home, my life feels like one looooong day with random naps.  When Jonathan goes to Nanny's house, though, Jeff and I get some alone time and that helps me to reorient myself with the world.  I put decent clothes on, blow dry my hair, and even leave the house in the car!  It reminds me of when I was on bed rest - I never left the house or got decent, so when Jeff would convince me to ride to Wendy's with him, it was like, "WOW, I forgot what the world was like!"

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, because I'm totally
not.  I LOVE my life.  Yes, I love taking care of a poop
machine with an insatiable appetite and the most adorable little
face I've ever laid eyes on.  And when we're up at 3 am and I
start to fall asleep as I'm feeding him, I remind myself of all
the nights I was up at 3 am while our baby was in the hospital.
I tell Jonathan about all the time we spent praying for him,
and how we are so relieved that he's actually home.

Speaking of the little man, he is stirring now so I have to close.

I'll end by explaining that the reason I started this blog was to keep people updated on Jonathan, but there isn't a whole lot going on right now.  When he was in the hospital things changed daily, sometimes hourly.  Now, he is just growing and going to Dr.'s appointments.  He doesn't have another one until Tuesday so I will let you know how that went.  But he is doing all the things a baby his adjusted age (3 weeks) should be doing:  he can look at you, turn his head, lift his head when he's on his belly, and bat at and kick his toys.  So that's why I wrote so much about myself, because I feel like I am changing more than he is at the moment. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Hello, world!  Welcome to the next installment of Jonathan Skipper.  He's an amazing little guy.  (If you would like to read about Jonathan's life thus far, you can read about it here on CaringBridge).

This is where we'll post how Jonathan is progressing, and how Jeff and I are progressing as parents (it's still a crazy thought that we are Mommy and Daddy!)

If you are a parent, then you know that living with a newborn is so busy!  (For those of you saying, "Wait...he was born in July...?"  Yes, he was, but he wasn't supposed to be born until a week ago so he is developmentally now a newborn.)  Anyway, so we are always busy at the Skipper home, but I will post as often as I can!  Maybe that will be more often than I think since Nanny got Jonathan a swing today!  Lifesaver...

We just spent our first kind-of holiday together for Halloween.  J looked so cute in his little outfits!  We put a table with some Toosie Roll Pops in a bowl at the end of the driveway so Wesley wouldn't be bothersome because he goes crazy when people come to the door.
The pumpkin is actually just a bib, it was just a very big bib.
Jonathan in his jammies.

Jonathan went for his first pediatrician visit last Friday and it went very well.  He weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long!  He was wearing clothes though, so those added an oz or two to his weight.  J also saw the retina doctor on Tuesday, and he said Jonathan could not be doing any better!  A couple of months ago he had a procedure done where they injected some medicine into his eyes so blood vessels could grow towards the retinas.  This procedure is so new in infants; the first infants who ever had it done are just now turning 4 and 5 years old, so we will see how things progress in Jonathan.

That's about it for now.  Of course, we are busy being parents.  It's diaper, feed, burp, sleep, clean and rest while J sleeps, then repeat it all.  All while trying to keep Wesley from messing with his new little brother!  Wes is very curious!