Saturday, December 30, 2006

Five pounds, 1 pence

It's all smiles for Miles as we count down the rest of 2006. (And by the way, thanks, Miles, for that unexpected tax deduction!)

The young man has been growing with leaps and bounds. It seems like just yesterday we were excited that he hit 4 pounds. As of tonight, he weighs in at 5 lbs., 1 oz. There's a chubbiness to his cheeks that suggests one thing: baby.

Yesterday, Miles made a big move--from the incubator to a regular NICU crib. This means he's doing a better job of maintaining a steady temperature and doesn't need quite so much protection from the outside world (or at least from Room 5 of the NICU). The new digs make it much easier for his parents to gawk at him as well. On the downside, Miles has less noise insulation from all the hustle and bustle of the NICU than he used to. But it doesn't seem to be affecting his sleep, which has become increasingly tranquil.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Merry Miles Christmas

And a Happy Boxing Day to boot. As of today, Miles has been CPAP-free and going strong for a week.

Although we of course wish that Miles could have joined us at home for the holiday, he must have enjoyed a hearty Christmas dinner at the NICU, because he now weighs an impressive 4 lbs., 11 oz.

We brought his stocking in to the hospital to open with him Christmas morning, and he noted with thanks lots of nifty items both from us and from his many admirers. Nevertheless, Miles was a model of true Christmas spirit, showing far less interest in his gifts than in a warm snuggle with mom and dad.


Friday, December 22, 2006

On the Catwalk

Miles is really settling into a nice pre-Christmas groove over at the NICU. Last night he was up to a whopping 4 lbs., 4 oz. And our overseas readers can look forward to his surpassing the 2 kilogram mark any day now.

We've received such an enthusiastic response to the "Miles Santa Hat" pictures that we've posted some more over at Google Picasa. The display format is better than here at Carepages, plus you can download your favorites and even order prints (for those die-hard fans out there).

Just click here or paste this link into your browser's address window:


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Partridge in Pear Tree

Miles continues to roll along, cuter by the day. There's also more of him: 4 lbs., 3 oz., to be exact. His breathing since coming off CPAP has been a model of consistency. In the digestion department, things are moving slowly but steadily (I'll spare you further detail).

The young man is looking pretty content, no doubt looking forward to his first Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

High Mileage

Miles had a great day today. First, he went off CPAP in the morning. That always makes him happy. More importantly, he did not have any breathing-related "incidents" all day, which means he gets to stay off CPAP. Already, he seems stronger than he did before the surgery, and certainly much better than he was in the immediate aftermath.

Miles has resumed his milk feeds (albeit at a very gradual rate) and is digesting well. To top it all off, he enjoyed being held by his mother.

Keep up the good work, Miles!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Miles

Miles celebrates his one-month birthday today. And what a month it's been.

Most kids his age still haven't gotten out of the womb. Miles, on the other hand, not only has had heart surgery--according to the nurses, he's the heartthrob of the NICU. And, judging by all the faithful readers here, he has his own on-line fan club.

We keep hearing about people whom we don't know, who don't even know people we know, but who know people who know people who know us, who have enlisted their congregations, book clubs, yoga classes, etc. in directing prayers, meditations and assorted good thoughts for the benefit of Mr. Miles. To all those people, we say thanks. You know who you are (even if we don't).

As I told Lisa last night, it appears that Miles is already more famous than either of us will ever be. Barack Obama, watch out!

The birthday boy himself is closing in on the 4-pound mark. As of last night he was at 3 lbs. 14 1/2 oz. I believe (but am not quite sure) that there are 16 ounces in a pound. How they came up with that, I have no idea.

Miles is still recovering from the after-effects of surgery Friday afternoon. He was fairly sedated and on a ventilator until early Sunday morning. By noon, however, his fiestiness was back in full force, as the respiratory therapist found when he tried to change Miles' CPAP from mask to prongs (which Miles has never particularly liked). Miles battled me, the RT and his nurse to a standstill, and thereby earned himself an opportunity to try the more comfortable nasal canula in lieu of the CPAP. Unfortunately, he was too tired from the surgery and CPAP wrangling to make much of a go of it. After about an hour he was clearly laboring too hard with his breathing and reluctantly submitted to a return of the CPAP (albeit with the mask instead of prongs -- so his struggle was not entirely in vain).

After all his ups and downs yesterday, Miles looked much more relaxed and content this morning. He is getting back on milk feeds (no doubt a welcome development after a week of IV nutrition) and surely gathering strength for another CPAP liberation bid.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Out of the Woods

We are pleased to report that Miles had successful surgery this afternoon to close his PDA valve.

The surgeon, Dr. Woods, informs us that the procedure went smoothly. They already have the results of the post-op x-ray, and everything looks OK.

Miles is resting sedately (or rather, sedatedly). He is breathing normal room air (which consists of 21% oxygen, in case you were wondering). He will be on a ventilator for a day or two as he recovers.

Over the course of the past few days, it became increasingly clear that the surgery was necessary, as Miles' heart murmur grew more pronounced and his breathing became more labored.

Even though we felt very confident that the surgery would go well, it is still a great relief to have it behind us. No doubt young Miles would second that emotion.

-Dean & Lisa

P.S. Miles is up to 3 lbs., 13 oz (plus whatever his PDA clamp weighs).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ductus Redux

Miles continues to motor along on his 4th straight day off CPAP. And yesterday he weighed in at 3 lbs. 10 oz., marking the gain of his first full pound since birth. Congratulations, Miles!

So what's the catch? Well, over the last week, the nurses have reported that Miles' heart murmur is getting more pronounced, and yesterday an EKG showed that his PDA (patent ductus arteriosis) is back and getting larger. This essentially means that his heart is not pumping as efficiently as it should because blood flow is being diverted through the PDA. This in turn can cause digestive complications, among other things, although Miles' digestion has been fine so far. More info:

Since earlier efforts to close the PDA using medication have apparently not been successful, a ligation procedure will be necessary. It's not scheduled yet, but it will occur by the end of the week.

Although we're obviously concerned about Miles' having to go through this, we are reassured that the surgery is considered relatively routine, and hopefully will not knock him off stride for more than a couple of days. He certainly looks and acts much stronger than he did ten days ago, when the question was last under consideration.

So, we'll just keep our fingers crossed that everything goes well. Watch this space for further updates.


Monday, December 11, 2006

They Grow Up So Fast!

Miles is now weighing in at a solid 3 lbs. 7 oz.--hardly the little chipmunk he was three weeks ago. His feedings have been steadily increased over the past week.

Yesterday morning the docs decided to give Miles another whirl off the CPAP. We told him to seize the day, since we know he's not thrilled to wear that mask on his face all the time. But he had to show that he could remember to breathe.

So far, so good. He's had some minor "episodes", but far fewer than he had last weekend. He looks much more comfortable with a nasal canula than with the CPAP, and as an added bonus we get to see much more of his cute little face. Plus they moved his gavage line from his mouth to his nose. No, we don't want to imagine what it's like to snort one's breakfast, but he certainly looks great without a tube in his mouth.

Finally, he's now wearing his little preemie clothes. Quite the fashion horse.

So, steady progress on all fronts. We're going to stay the course.


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Au bout de souffle

Miles had a good weekend off the CPAP, but by Sunday evening he was working a bit harder and having more "de-sat episodes". So he went back on the CPAP Monday morning. Miles is not exactly thrilled with having to wear all that headgear again, but it seems to have been the right call, as the last couple of days have gone very smoothly. The docs say this is all very typical. They will give him another try off CPAP in four or five days.

In the meantime, digestion is going well. Miles now tips the scales at 3 lbs. 3 oz.

Milk, it does a body good.

That's the news for now -- stay tuned for further updates.


Monday, December 4, 2006

Breathing Space

It was a big weekend for our little lad in NICU. Saturday morning, Miles got another trial off of his CPAP.

For those joining late (or challenged by acronyms), CPAP stands for "Continuous Positive Airway Pressure". For two or three days after he was born, Miles was on a full-blown ventilator. Then, since he was able to do a fair bit of the work of breathing on his own, this was replaced by the less intrusive CPAP. This device kept a small amount of air flowing through his lungs even on the occasions when he fell asleep and forgot to keep breathing (a fairly common event for preemies). Still, Miles had to wear a small mask most of the time, along with elaborate headgear to keep it in place. We're only guessing from the fact that he tended to cry and grab at the CPAP when the respiratory therapist would put it on, but we think Miles wasn't particularly happy with the fashion statement. (Hence, most of the pictures we have posted were taken when he was on brief CPAP breaks.)

Last Sunday, Miles spent a few hours off CPAP, but had enough "episodes" (where he forgets to breathe and requires some stimulation--like tickling--to get his heart rate back up) that the doctors decided he was not quite ready for prime time.

So this weekend's test was eagerly anticipated. And we are pleased to report that 36 hours later, Miles is still off CPAP and breathing on his own! The CPAP has been replaced by a nasal cannula, which can supplement his oxygen when necessary, but Miles is now responsible for keeping the airflow going. He has had a number of episodes, but the doctors are pleased enough with his progress to keep him CPAP-free for the time being. They caution, however, that it's not unusual for a kid in his shoes to get tired after a few days off CPAP and need to go back on for a spell.

Notwithstanding this caveat, we are thrilled at this latest bit of progress, not least because we can now see much more of his cute little face.

Lisa was able to hold him again last night for an entire hour. The nurse even had us each kiss him goodnight. It was the first time that the we had seen him at such close range. Yep, he's still cute and still quite small, however he does weigh in at 3 lbs 2 oz now!

-Dean and Lisa

Friday, December 1, 2006

Settling In

As we mentioned yesterday, Miles is looking a lot more relaxed these days -- even kicking back for a casual photo shoot.

Lisa got to hold him again today. She reports that he was sucking on his hand the whole time, which certainly sounds cute.

His feeding is going reasonably well, although occasionally the milk drip is halted to clear his digestive tract. Miles is up to 3 lbs. 1 oz. today. He's not quite ready to play offensive line--but maybe free safety.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hold 'em

Miles enjoyed his first post-partum snuggle with Lisa yesterday. The 45-minute cuddle was a blissful reunion for both mother and child.

Lisa says that now that she's held Miles, she wants to hold him all the time. But, for the time being, she'll have to settle for every other day, as long as Miles continues to do well.

Miles continues to do very well, and is enjoying his new milkshake diet. Lisa and I have each observed that he seems much more settled over the past few days.


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Evening News

It was a fine day in Milesland today.

Our lead story: the cardiologist confirmed that Miles' open PDA has become much smaller. So unless Miles shows symptoms that the valve is opening again or otherwise causing a problem, surgery should not be necessary to close it. "Whew!" say his relieved parents. Three cheers for Indocin.

Another significant development: After nine days of a pure-IV menu, Miles was finally declared ready for his first samplings of milk. So far, so good. They'll be watching how his digestive system reacts to the new bill of fare.

And finally, the docs removed the IV from Miles' umbilical port, having determined it was no longer served any purpose other than uteran nostalgia.

All in all, it was a great day for Miles and all Miles fans.


One Week

Yesterday we celebrated Miles’ first week-a-versary. The young lad is progressing well. Today he spent several hours off of his CPAP (which delivers little puffs of air through his nostrils to keep his lungs inflated). Although he is not yet ready to manage his own respiration full-time, Miles is showing lots of aptitude. He is also practicing with that essential tool of babyhood, the binky. Already this is proving useful to console him (with a little assistance from mom and dad to keep it in his mouth).

We don’t have the official word yet, but it appears from today’s EKG that the PDA (open heart valve) is narrowing. Hopefully it will continue to do so, rendering surgery unnecessary. Once that problem is resolved, Miles is looking forward to getting started on his first droplets of milk. We hope he can get started soon, because our freezer is getting full.

- Lisa and Dean

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Thanksgiving Message

We have much to be thankful for this holiday, although it comes in an exceptionally compact package.

First and foremost, we are thankful for the safe (though rather precocious) arrival of our little son Miles. He continues to do very well in NICU. Notwithstanding all of the equipment with which he is burdened, we see signs of a very lively personality in the works. So far there are no major issues. He has a heart murmur due to PDA valve, but this is not unusual for his gestational age and is being treated by medication. We are hopeful that the medication will close the valve; if not, he may need a surgical procedure to close it. He is breathing well with only minimal assistance from the CPAP and shows lots of his trademark "vigor" in every respect.

We are thankful that Lisa has endured the ordeals of bedrest and childbirth and recovering well. Miles and I owe her a lot for sticking it out so long in the hospital and delivering Miles safely into the world.

And we are deeply grateful by all the help and support we have received (and continue to receive) from you, our family and friends. There's never been a moment when we felt alone in this, and so many times when we have been touched by exceptionally thoughtful acts.

Under the circumstances, the very least we can do is wish you a Thanksgiving that's as happy as ours this year.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Miles From Home

Our son continues to get good grades at NICU school. Today Miles graduated from the ventilator and is now breathing largely under his own power (with a little help from the CPAP machine). Not surprisingly, he seems more comfortable now without the ventilator tube.

We're getting to know the NICU staff pretty well, and they are very attentive to Miles. (More than one nurse has noted that he is "feisty".) As his parents, Lisa and I get very generous visiting privileges (23 out of 24 hours a day), and we hope to spend as much time as we can there without annoying him.

As ready as we were to leave the hospital this afternoon (in Lisa's case, after 24 days' continuous confinement), it was a bittersweet feeling knowing that Miles had to stay behind and do his time in NICU. Home will not truly feel like home until he is here to share it with us.

Still, it was a treat to drive Lisa home today and watch her stare out the windows, overwhelmed by the stimuli, like a castaway returning to civilization. We have a new appreciation for the comforts of one's own home.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Miles Ahead

We are pleased to report Little Miles is doing well in his second day in NICU. The nurses say he is in excellent shape given his gestational age.

It’s a bit hard to see our little guy hooked up to so many tubes and wires. Lisa says that he reminds her of her childhood, when she and her sister Wendy tried to save many a baby bird that fell out of its nest too early. He’s likely to look rather fragile for a while. But we already have the sense that he’s a tough little cookie. At delivery, he was doing his own breathing and even cried, which touched our hearts. Although he is now on a ventilator, he is breathing normal air with only the occasional oxygen booster.

Lisa is in good spirits (other than worrying about Miles) and recovering swiftly from her ordeal. On top of her amazing feat of 22 days on complete bed rest in the antepartum unit, she was a trooper throughout 14 ½ often painful hours of labor, culminating in a very impressive final series of pushes. This not only earned her my eternal gratitude and respect -- she also won the pool. Her predicted delivery time of 3:00 a.m. was, unfortunately, much closer to the actual time (2:35 a.m.) than the more optimistic predictions of everyone else in the room.

Lisa and I expect to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow, while Miles can look forward to a stay of several months. We will, however, have generous visiting privileges.

We do have lots of photos—we just can’t upload them yet because I forgot to bring the USB cable to the hospital. But we will post a few glimpses of Miles once we get back home.

We have not yet had an opportunity to thank each of you individually for your visits, support and well wishes. We’ve read every message and each one has meant a lot to us.

In due course we hope to thank everyone who has provided or offered help. But for the moment, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the tremendous support we received from Aly Frei, who was with us throughout the day and night of delivery. Not only did Aly bring a tremendous wealth of knowledge from her days as a NICU nurse, but her friendship and emotional support to both of us was just as valuable. Aly, we’ve always been glad to know you, but never more so than the last few days.

We’d also like to thank our moms, Margee and Judith, for all of their help over the past few weeks and for their support on the night of delivery.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Can See For Miles

We are delighted to announce the birth of Miles George Falvy at 2:35 a.m this morning. He weighs in at 2 lbs. 10 oz. (1194 grams). Not exactly a heavyweight, but he was immediately praised as "vigorous."

Mom (!), Dad (!?!) and Miles are all doing fine. Miles is up in the NICU, where the amazing Swedish neo-natal team has set him up with an impressive collection of tubes. All his vitals are good, and we imagine that he (like us) is looking forward to some rest.


Eight Miles High

Hard to believe it's been almost six hours since our last update. The first four were pretty quiet, but the contractions have gradually gathered force in the last two hours.

Lisa finally gave in to a much-deserved epidural about 20 minutes ago. I was the second most relieved person in the room. It was a hard thing to see her going through all that pain and remembering my large measure of responsibility for getting her into this mess.(Parenthetically, a hat tip to all those generations of crazy ancestors who managed this without medication. We'll take the 21st century, thanks.)

In any event, the epidural has been wonderfully effective, and Lisa is now asking about watching a movie.

Dr. Levine dropped by a few minutes ago. Progress is slow but steady. There's still a long way to go, but we're turning a corner.


Miles To Go Before We Sleep

OK, sports fans, here's your 4 p.m. update. We've relocated to the Birthing Suites. Very luxurious, nice hardwood floors.

Lisa's been receiving pitocin to induce labor for the past three hours. She's having frequent contractions but there's still a ways to go.

The staff is wheeling in various apparatuses to prepare for Miles' eventual arrival.

I took a quick tour of the NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit) earlier this afternoon, since we will be spending a lot of time there. It's a warm and friendly looking place--sort of like an upscale pre-school. Or, as Lisa quipped from her hospital bed, "more like a premie-school."


Friday, November 17, 2006

The Home Stretch

Remember what we said yesterday about stability and settling in for the long haul?

Well, late last night we got a reminder that we're not writing this script.

After noticing some unusual liquidity down below, Lisa summoned the nurses and then Dr. Bohmke, who confirmed around 3:30 a.m. that Lisa's water had broken.

Based on a number of tests this morning, we are expecting that this train will get rolling pretty soon.

So, as when we arrived, we are once again thinking in terms of hours rather than weeks and months. However, we know we're in infinitely better shape now than we would have been in Week 25. So we'll just keep our fingers crossed and be thankful that we're in good hands.

For the moment, we're trying to keep things quiet around here, so please hold off on visits and phone calls. We'll keep posting regular updates.


28 Up

Week 28 is here!

Thanks to everyone at Swedish and to our loyal supporters in the outside world for getting us here.

As any fetus will tell you, it's a world of difference to be in Week 28 vs. Week 25. And we're not stopping here.

Today Lisa got to go on a bit of a field trip. Instead of having her ultrasound in the room, like the last gazillion times, we loaded up in the gurney and went for a ride to the lab downstairs. Except for the brief bed-switching incident a few days ago, this was Lisa's first excursion out of Room 512 in over 500 hours, and it showed in her awestruck reaction to various new ceiling tile patterns.

The ultrasound results suggest that we could be on this train for a while. Amniotic fluid and cervix metrics continue to be stable.

So, now that we've finally reached Week 28, we're moving the goalposts again.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Monday was a big day for Lisa. For the first time in over 17 days, she sat up. (Whoa, headrush!)

Based on our continued progress and the stability of yesterday’s ultrasound, the docs gave the go-ahead for the long-awaited uprising. Lisa was a little shaky on the unfamiliar vertical plane, but quickly reaped the benefits of her new catheter-free status.

And today, she continued to broaden her horizons. When the visiting massage practitioner inadvertently caused a bed malfunction, Lisa was briefly transferred to a gurney and moved out into the hallway – her biggest change of scenery since Oct. 26.

Miles continues to do his womb aerobics, staying in shape to meet the challenges ahead. We’re looking forward to the imminent arrival of Week 28.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Ultrasound Transit

This morning's ultrasound was notable for two things. First, we saw Miles sucking on his own lip. It was cute, trust us.

Second, the ultrasound results suggested: stability! After experiencing a fair number of contractions over the weekend, we would have been concerned to see a drop in amniotic fluid or cervical change. But neither was evident, so we'll just keep trucking along.


Weekend Roundup

We're at "27 weeks and change". That is, Miles is changing -- getting bigger and receiving more and more compliments from the nurses on his exemplary heartbeat.

Week 28 is within sight. We have our regularly scheduled ultrasound tomorrow morning, which will hopefully show continued stability on the cervical front. Watch this space for all the latest news.

We thank you all for your continued support. It means a lot to us to hear from you. I'm sharing all of your comments with Lisa and Miles, both of whom regret not being in a position to reply to each one.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day

Happy Armistice Day to all. We are keeping the peace here on the 5th floor.

Based on the ultrasound measurements from the other day, the docs have estimated Miles' weight at 2.6 lbs. (+/- 20%). That's 1085 grams to those of you more comfortable using the metric system.

Lisa continues to have the occasional contraction, but Dr. O'Neill says these are to be expected as Miles grows. As long as the cervix situation remains stable, we're in good shape.

Dr. Roschko, the neo-natologist, paid us a visit yesterday to fill us in on what to expect if we start expecting right away. We're definitely in much better shape at 27 weeks than 25, but we're still looking at intubation, a host of intensive procedures and a lengthy stay in NICU. But as we hit 28 weeks and beyond the interventions become less drastic and, of course, ultimate outcomes continue to improve. So we've got the target dates circled on the white board and look forward to crossing them off one by one.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pre-Partum Impressions

by Miles Falvy

so im like stuck in my womb again today. the rents wont let me go out. total control freaks. its soooo boring. i can hear them but I cant talk to anyone. mom complains that im kicking too much. well duh. ever think about giving me a cell phone?

ok, so it doesnt totally suck. this amniotic fluid stuff rocks, actually. u should try some.

i dunno exactly whats going on out there but we don’t seem to be moving around all that much. i remember mom used to go all kinds of places. there was the bike rack place and the place she called whole paycheck and something called chicago. in between we would ride in some humming machine she called the volvo. mom was always happy when we got upgraded to first class.

now she hardly moves at all. i can hear lots of machines. theyve got some weird techno music playing. its like the drum machine is synched with my heartbeat. totally freaks me out. i wish she’d play some u2.

mom says shes tired of looking at the same view everyday. u should try it in here! same walls, same dumb placenta, same muffled voices. they didnt even give me a dvd player. i guess theres cable, but i only get the food network.

my dad sounds kinda crazy. his footsteps have changed… kind of syncopated. he says someone kicked him and hurt his knee. i dont think it was me. i just kick mom.

dads always telling me to relax. relax yourself! im not the one whos like freaking out all the time. they say I need to keep baking in the oven. yo, news flash to parentals: im not like some kind of flippin donut. im a kid. i just need some space. geez.

still, i guess ive got it pretty good here. theres plenty of time to get some thinking done, especially now that ive like got a brain.

mom is really looking out for me. everybody says shes doing all this for me, so that ill grow up to be big and strong. i guess i can sit tight for a while. plus shes always cooking something good for dinner.

thanks, mom!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Week 27

After conducting our regularly scheduled ultrasound this morning, the technician returned to collect more data, which made us a little nervous--something about Miles looking small! We found this hard to believe, since he's bouncing off the walls all the time.

But we just had a visit from Dr. Johannsen, who assured us that Miles looks totally normal for his class. That's a relief. Amniotic fluid is a bit low, but that was expected due to the medications, which are now being adjusted accordingly.

Everyone is excited that Week 27 has arrived, along with 27 roses (thanks, Julie!)


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Miles Ahead

Our viewing of the election returns last night was punctuated by lots of kicking from Miles. (Whether it represented delight or chagrin on his part will probably not become clear for a decade or two.)

In any event, Lisa was in considerable discomfort and worried that the young lad might be trying to force his way out into the world with a few well-placed kicks.

Dr. Levine, however, offered assurances this morning that babies do not, in fact, kick themselves out of the womb. (Again, Miles will probably need a couple of decades to develop this capacity). Only labor, infection or inducement will send Miles out into the fluorescently-lit world, and none of these are in his power to instigate.

It's good to know that we parents still retain some leverage in the new balance of power.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Happy Election Day

Though I'm under strict orders to avoid partisan political statements on this site, I am allowed to encourage everyone to perform their civic duty, to exercise their franchise--in short, to vote. By so doing, you can change your country--or, at the very least, preserve your right to complain.

We always vote by mail, so the present trying circumstances have not disenfranchised us. A week or so ago we went through the ballot methodically, and although Lisa was heavily medicated at the time, I swear I did not exercise any undue influence on her choices.

We will endeavor to keep our own contribution to today's excitement to a bare minimum, so that you can watch the returns without distraction. Lisa and Miles are aiming to "stay the course" with a strong "anti-labor" agenda--even if our ballots might suggest otherwise.


Monday, November 6, 2006

Another Sound Ultrasound

We had an ultrasound this morning with the low-feedback technician. Unlike her Thursday counterpart, she does not chat much or tell us how cute and smart Miles looks. This always makes us a little nervous. However, Dr. O'Neill came by later with the results, and everything looks pretty stable.

For those of you who don't live in the area, let me just say that it is super-rainy today in Seattle. Given our reputation for precipitation, I'll leave it to your imagination just how much raininess that entails.

This is perhaps an opportune moment to remind those of you who do live in the area that although we love visitors, visitors with colds are better loved at a distance. In other words: please stay home, get some rest, and come and see us when you feel better. If a member of your household is ill, please exercise appropriate caution.


Sunday, November 5, 2006

Day 10 Update

We're looking forward to another quiet day here at Fort Antepartum. Lisa's just had a long-awaited shampoo and is now braiding her hair to look like Pippi Longstocking.

Today's nurse, Janice, tells us that Miles' impressive heart accelerations and decelerations are a sign of maturing brain activity. That's our boy!

There are 12 women in the ward currently. Lisa is the only one who is entirely confined to her bed. But the doctors are dangling the possibility that if things continue to improve, she may be allowed to take a wheelchair shower one of these days. Exciting stuff.

We have another ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow. Of course, we'll keep you posted.


Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Earth is Flat...

...according to Lisa, that is, now that she's out of Trendelenburg and back on a level playing field. She says it feels much, much better. Those of us who can freely recline perpendicular to the gravitational plane should consider ourselves lucky to have a level playing field.

Lisa has been reporting a bigger and busier Miles over the past few days, which I experienced first hand (so to speak) this morning. His kicks are no longer little pokes, but solid field goal attempts. And when he moves around, it's like an earthquake. Or maybe he's just taking after his mother, and cleaning his womb.


Friday, November 3, 2006

One Week

Speaking of Milestones, last night we officially marked one (1) week in the hospital. Considering that that initial goal was 48 hours, this feels like a significant accomplishment.

There are many signs that we are settling in. We have become very discerning about the room service menu. The nurses coming on shift no longer show any hint of surprise that we are still here. Lisa is collecting trivia about the Smith Tower and just about anything else she can see from her window.

Dr. Bohmke came by this morning and said that things are looking good--we could go a while. They're going to lean Lisa out of Trendelenburg position, which means she'll no longer be pointed upwards like a rocket launcher.

Thanks to everyone for your visits and messages of support. I am reading them to Lisa every day, and they mean a lot to us.


Thursday, November 2, 2006

Today's Word

We have two bits of good news to share today. First, Week 25 is history. Welcome Week 26!

Second, we had a wonderful ultrasound this morning. The technician was quite smitten with Miles and zoomed in for lots of close ups. We even got to see him slurping amniotic fluid. Yum! More importantly, Dr. Johansen came by later and told us that things are actually looking BETTER, as in less dilation, and plenty of amniotic fluid (notwithstanding Miles' efforts to drink it all).

So forget about STABILITY. The Word of the Day is IMPROVEMENT.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006


For all you update addicts out there.... we're now up to 25 weeks and 6 days!

It was another quiet night here on the 5th floor, and now we're watching the Today show and eating scones (Milescones, if you will).

One of our night nurses showed us a photo of her daughter--who was born sixteen years ago, at 24 weeks, and is perfectly healthy. That was good to hear.

Meanwhile, we're getting awfully familiar with the local political ads on TV. Repetition seems to be the one principle upon which both parties can agree.

An Exclusive Interview with Lisa Falvy

Q: Is there any news?

A: “Stability” is the Word of the Day. (We’re hoping to re-use it as tomorrow’s Word if we can get away with it.)

Q: Are you still having contractions?

A: None today, according to the monitor (and the patient).

Q: How long can you remain in this state? Is it possible to go full term?

A: Full term would be unlikely; however, it is not impossible. We can continue indefinitely in this state unless labor commences again or one of us has an adverse reaction to the medications, which hasn’t happened so far.

Q: Aren’t you going crazy in that hospital bed?

A: Not yet. I’m getting in touch with my zen side.

Q: Do you want visitors?

A: Visitors are fabulous. Nothing means more to us than the support of our family and friends.

Q: When should we come?

A: Visiting hours are generally from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feel free to call ahead or just stop by.

Q: How are you passing the time?

A: Talking to Miles, telling him to stay put. Trying to relax, enjoying the view, listening to my iPod and chatting with the nurses. I also spend a lot of time getting myself situated, rolling over, getting bathed, rearranging pillows and having my vital signs taken.

Q: What do you like best about being on bed rest?

A: Not sitting in traffic. And, my feet don’t hurt anymore. In fact, they feel great. (Before all this began, they were sore and swollen all the time.) I’m no longer outgrowing my clothes – because I’m not wearing clothes.

Q: Sounds like quite a luxurious existence. But what are the downsides?

A: The pressure in my head from being pitched at an angle. Eating sideways. Can’t multitask.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Quiet on the Uterine Front

We're at 25 weeks, 5 days. The night was quiet, except for the periodic wheezing of Lisa's inflatable leg warmers, which apparently sprung a leak around 1 a.m. (Imagine Neil Armstrong as a high school cheerleader circa 1982 and you get the idea). In any event, the nurse had a new, leak-proof set ready this morning.

This morning we had a visit from Dr. Levine, who in addition to being a member of the same practice group happens to be Dr. Bohmke's husband. We think they're a good couple.

Well, no news is good news. We'll keep trying to produce as little of it as possible.


Early Admissions

It's been another quiet afternoon and evening at Camp Falvy. Just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.

Miles continues to draw compliments from the nursing staff on his impressive heart accelerations.

We have now cycled through nine full nurse shifts in our time here at Swedish, and we of course have our favorites. Cammy, who was on duty when we first arrived, is back again tonight, and we feel we're in good hands. "I'm so glad you're still here," she said -- not something you'd normally say in the hospital context, but it now makes perfect sense to us. She had just returned from a visit to ten colleges with her son--all while we've been in the care of Swedish Hospital.

Now that's a Milestone.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Good Ultrasound

Dr. Bohmke called with the results of this morning's ultrasound: she's "delighted." We're looking good. There is no change in the general situation, and amniotic fluid levels are in good shape.

Dictated by Lisa

25 weeks, 4 days.

In the Southwest Wing, they call it "25 weeks and change".

Every day that we spend here, and Miles spends inside, is three days Miles does not have to stay in NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) once he is born.

I would say that I am reasonably stable. Contractions come and go, as do the medications to quell them.

Miles is doing "exceptionally, beautifully well", in the words of several of our nurses.

I am off my IV drip, for the most part. I am wearing self-inflating moon boots on my legs, to avoid blood clot formation.

I am reasonably comfortable in my fancy bed (the nurses say it costs more than a new car). Unfortunately, something as simple as rolling over requires calling in the calvary. But the nurses are very kind and accomodating.

Another challenge is keeping my body flat and at an upward sloping angle. I can't sit up in bed for the time being, but am keeping a very low profile.

I'm looking out the window at beautiful fall colors and a sunny day. Thanks again to everyone for your well wishes, prayers and support. It's been really overwhelming, and a great reminder of what is really important in life.


Sunday, October 29, 2006


We'd like to thank everyone who has called, e-mailed or dropped by at the hospital over the last few days. Your support has meant the world to us.

Yesterday we enjoyed (yes, actually enjoyed) a pleasant evening, watching the sunset from the window of our new view condo at Swedish, with live guitar, companionship, grooming and supplies from home provided by our wonderful family and friends.

Lisa is currently reclining in the Trendelenburg position. No, this is not a property development in the Central Cascades. This means the bed is pitching up at about 10 degrees.

Dr. Bohmke is here now and she has good news. Further study of the yesterday ultrasound pics suggests that the dilation and prolapsing are not as advanced as originally thought. That doesn't mean we can go for a bike ride, but Lisa will get some milder drugs to replace the magnesium IV drip, and her fluid restrictions are now officially lifted.


Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is going on?

A: We (Lisa, Dean and our future baby) are at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Lisa has been in pre-term labor since Thursday night (10/26). The fine folks at Swedish have so far been successful at slowing things down, and everyone is doing fine.

Q: What is this web site for?

A: To keep our family and friends updated on the latest developments. (Thanks to Aly Frei for setting it up).

Q: Should we be worried?

A: Well, it’s a bit on the early side to be having a baby. We are 25 weeks plus 2 days pregnant (36 weeks being full term). Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, there is a reasonably good survival rate for babies born at this stage, but there is also a significant risk of complications. With each passing day and week that labor and birth can be delayed, the risks diminish. Thus, strangely enough, our goal is to stay here in the hospital for as long as possible, while our baby gets a little more gestation in before being born. We are very pleased to have gotten through the first 48 hours in good shape. There is a long road ahead of us, but we are feeling very optimistic.

Q: How did this happen?

A: Unaware that anything was amiss, we went to Swedish for a routine ultrasound Thursday afternoon. Everything looked fine with the baby, and we were beginning to discuss our dinner options. The doctor proceeded to check the cervix, but we assumed that would just be a matter of routine as everything had been fine at Lisa’s last exam a little more than a week prior.

The doctor suddenly told Lisa, “You’re in pre-term labor.” She told the assistant, “Call Triage. Call Dr. Bohmke. We’re going to the hospital.” It took us both a few moments to digest this news, which represented a significant departure from our evening plans.

Five minutes later, Dr. Bohmke (our OB) met us in the triage unit and the fine folks at Swedish immediately swung into action. Lisa was dialated 1.5 centimeters and the amniotic sac was beginning to prolapse through the cervix. Dr. Bohmke outlined steps that could be taken to diminish contractions and delay the process, but obviously we were at high risk for a very early birth. It was possible to delay birth by days, weeks or even months, but the first big test was to stabilize the situation and get through the next 48 hours. In any event, we learned that Lisa would not leave the hospital until she gave birth.

Needless to say, we were rather overwhelmed by this turn of events. The worst-case scenarios flooded into our minds and took some time to recede. But even at that troubled hour, it was deeply reassuring to be in the hands of the tremendous professionals here at Swedish.

Even though we were facing a difficult trial, we also realized that we were incredibly lucky. If we had not had a routine ultrasound exam scheduled that afternoon, we might not have become aware that Lisa was in pre-term labor until it was too late to do anything to slow it down. Instead, it was our good fortune to stumble upon the problem when we were just across the hall from a first-rate pre-natal unit.

Q: Where do things stand now?

A: The situation seems fairly stable. With the help of medication, contractions have slowed almost to zero. Another ultrasound this morning confirmed the general impression of stability. Levels of amniotic fluid look good. Lisa is confined to her hospital bed, but is in good spirits. We’ve made it through the first 48 hours, giving the doctors time to administer steroids that will help the baby’s lungs grow (one of the biggest challenges of premature birth). We’re settling in for what we hope will be a long haul.

Q: How is the baby?

A: He continues to look good in all the ultrasounds, and is kicking away merrily. If he misbehaves, we tell him, “Go to your womb.” We have made it clear to him that he’s got three months’ rent paid up, and that there’s no point in leaving before then.

Q: Is there any truth to the rumor that the future baby’s name has been revealed?

A: Absolutely not. “Miles George Falvy” is top secret, and will remain so until his birth.

Q: What about reports that Dean has lost his mind and thinks he is the patient?

A: These are greatly exaggerated. I did strain the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in my knee playing soccer on Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before this drama began. This has diminished my functionality and led to a certain amount of confusingly patient-like behavior here at the hospital (like wearing a knee brace, propping up my leg and hopping around on crutches). However, I am getting back on my feet and hope to be at full speed shortly.

More updates to follow soon.


First Post

Lisa, Dean and their tough little guy are all doing well. 48 hours since hospital admission and still pregnant!! Thanks for all your well wishes and please continue to keep us in your thoughts and send positive energy our way.