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.