Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

On the first Christmas

Dear Zac,

Given your premature arrival, you spent your very first Christmas in the NICU. Your Dad, Granddad "Jolly", Grandma and I all came to visit you, oh-ing and ah-ing over your crib. Jolly had brought you a newborn Christmas outfit for photos, but you were still so small that it looked like you had been swallowed by a red circus tent - but it was cute! Your Dad had his second big hug from you and we got a few family happy snaps of the three generations of Apperley men. You all look so alike it was scary. Even the nurses commented on it.

Daddy and Santa must be very good friends as you received a truck load of toys. They are all sitting under the tree waiting for you to come home. Sure, all the toys are bigger than you, and you'll need to get a bit older before you can play with them, but I know Santa enjoyed picking out your gifts and putting them under the tree.

After an hour or so of staring adoringly at your little face (and hands and toes and tubby belly) we had to leave to go spend our first Christmas in Denver with all the other Aussies.

It was a great day. Somehow we managed to get all 5 Aussie families in Denver at that time to the one house to celebrate Christmas together. We had a huge dinner, shared a secret Santa, and the big boys had a war in the backyard with their pellet guns. There were children laughing and playing, grown ups eating and drinking, and everyone enjoying that special time of the year together. However, you were a notable absentee. We all just kept reminding ourselves that you would be there next year, enjoying the wrapping paper and ignoring your new toys.

On boxing day, Daddy woke everyone up early to come visit you. You had just had physiotherapy and were wide awake! After changing your nappy, then changing it again because you waited until we wrapped you up and messed in it again(!) you had your first hug with Jolly. Well, I thought your Daddy looked proud when he hugged you, but your grandfather had this smile of pure joy on his face while he hugged you. He took a dozen self photos on his phone and swore he saw you smile when you heard your Daddy's voice. I don't know about that... But you were definitely peaceful. Or at least you were until you messed your nappy again. The smell was so bad that Jolly asked to put you back in your crib! I'm sure that will be a moment of pride in the future...

After we played with you for a while, Daddy drove us up into the mountains for lunch. The drive was lovely. We saw winter in all it's glory: towering white mountains, frozen lakes and snow frosted roads. We walked on water (well - frozen water); your Grandma was dazzled by the mountains - I think she was so snap happy that she ran her camera battery flat; Jolly saw some ice fishermen and had to pull over to have a chat; and your Dad and I dreamed of a day that we could have a family weekend away in the mountains. It was a good day.

You are growing so well, slowly putting on weight and learning to breath. We marvel at the little improvements that you make each day. We daily hear from our family in Oz, sending their love and prayers, and asking us to give you a little extra squeeze from them. You are truly spoiled with love.

While your first Christmas was a year earlier than we thought and not quiet the way we may have wished, it was so very special. Your Daddy and I are so very proud and fall a little more in love with you each day. Christmas is always a special time in our family, and now it is even more so as we have you to share it with.

Lots of love

Mum and Dad

Friday, 9 December 2011

Surprise Mum and Dad! I couldn't wait any longer!!!

As I hope you all know by now, Zachary Bruce Apperley surprised Tristan and I with his very early arrival in the wee hours of 30 November. He was born at 28 weeks (so 12 weeks early) and weighed in at a tiny 810 grams and 35 cm long.

I can honestly tell you that was the longest day for Tristan and I. It started in with Tristan leaving for work at 5am. I had been uncomfortable all night so I got up and had an early shower and tried to eat some breakfast. About 40 minutes later I was back in bed dozing as I had a doctors appointment with our specialist a few hours later.

We had been visiting our specialist once a week for the past two month or so. Early tests had shown some "normal but elevated" results. It turns out that RJ just wasn't growing as well as he should have been and the doctor wanted to keep a close eye on us.

On this regular check up, one of the scans didn't come back very well. I saw it on the screen, closed my eyes and prayed, thinking well there goes our Vegas turbo trip this weekend. The doctor came in and started to ask a few questions and tested my blood pressure. Those results were worse. More questions. Yes I was sore in the ribs, no I didn't have an appetite, yes I had been feeling off color for a couple of days, no RJ hadn't been moving much...

Gently squeezing my hand our wonderful specialist explained that he was concerned about what he had seen and wanted to admit me for a few tests, and that there was a good chance that RJ would need to be delivered early. I think I stopped listening at this point - panic set in. I was only 28 weeks! Surely this wasn't happening!!!! Due to his concern, the doctor wanted me to go to a different hospital in the city. More panic!

Tristan was still at work at this point, so I started to try and get in contact with him while the doctor rang the hospital. Somewhere autopilot set in, and all I could think about was how was I going to tell Tristan the news without appearing like a crazy woman - oh and tell him that his long awaited Vegas trip was cancelled. Following a huge hug from the doctor, orders to tell Tristan to call him, and a promise that he would come check in on me, I somehow made it to the car and Tristan rang me. It only took a second for him to take control and tell me that he would meet me at home and we would go to the hospital together.

Home, pack, panic, tears and Tristan telling me it was ok.

About 2 hours later we checked into the hospital. We went straight into a delivery suite, RJ was hooked up to a monitor, and they vampired test tubes and test tubes of blood from me. An hour or so later, a new (blonde) doctor sat down with us and explained that I had severe preeclampsia and that the only way to treat it was to deliver the baby. They gave us 48 hours and a hit of steroids to get use to the idea. Tristan and I sat there is shock for a while, and then started the phone calls. Luckily the time difference was on our side!

About 830 I sent Tristan home for some well deserved sleep. We both presumed it would be a long 48 hours and we would need all the rest we could get. I settled down for a night of being tied to a damn machine, but was comforted by the gentle and regular sounds of RJ's heartbeat. Of the three of us, he was handling this situation the best. Not even a flurry in his heartbeat. He was fine - not a care in the world.

An hour later blonde doctor came back to my bedside and explained that my results were worsening. They were delivering RJ by emergency C section tonight! I rang poor Tristan who had only just put his head on his pillow to tell him that his son would be arriving tonight and that he better come back to the hospital.

3 hours later, heavily drugged, Tristan held my hand as the doctors bought little Zac into the world. It was 325am and we were parents.

Zac was rushed off to the neonatal ICU to make sure he was ok. I later found out that he was fine and came out breathing - unusual for a baby of his age and weight.

Tristan spent the next two days ping ponging between my recovery room and zac's crib. He was a hero, managing to be everywhere, and exactly where he was needed every moment of the day. No wonder he was exhausted by the time I got home a few days later.

A week later and I'm fine, though still bruised from head to heal, and Zac is exceeding our expectations, growing and developing wonderfully everyday. While he will be in the NICU for several months fattening up, we are positive that we will be bringing our little wonder home in no time at all.

Given that he is in ICU and in a humicrib, we won't be posting any photos for sometime. But I can tell you he has the dominant Apperley genes, "strawberry blond" hair and a great fighting spirit that resists being swaddled at every turn. Apparently you arms should be above your head when sleeping, and legs should be able to kick randomly whenever you feel the need. The only part of me my son seems to have inherited is a love of sleeping on his belly (or face planting as my friends so lovingly tell me).

Tristan and I are so grateful for the love, prayers, and support from you all over the past week. It has been truly appreciated and given us added strength when we were running on empty.

We will endevour to keep you all updated on his progress over the next few weeks, though you'll have to excuse me if these blog posts are even more irregular as we get use to our new schedule of spending time with our little man at his bedside.

Know that we are in great spirits here in Denver, missing you all like crazy and wishing we could share these special moments with you all.

We'll keep in touch

Lots of love,

Tristan, Penni and Zac