Sunday, August 5, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It has been over a week since we left the hospital. Over a week since we have been a family of four. And over a week of strong growth, lots of snuggles, and happiness.

It has been awhile since I have posted and I am sorry. But when you have the chance to snuggle with this  . . . who wants to hang out on the computer.

First official smile

Connor has taken to being a big brother the way he does everything else . . .with hilarious excitement. One morning when JD was getting fussy before his feed he let out a few little cries I asked Connor to sing to JD to help him feel better. A shy smile came across his face as he softly started signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Melt my heart. Growing louder and more confident he could not stop. We sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for 10 minutes (which is a very, very, VERY long time for a song with 6 lines – 2 of them the exact same). Now, as the protective brother that he is, if he hears JD make a peep he runs across the room to sing Twinkle Twinkle. Sometimes with a little intensity as if to say “seriously little brother stop your noise making.”

First bath at home is so cozy

Rainy Day Avenger - Protecting little brothers everywhere
Just two days after departing the hospital we were right back at the hospital but this time only for an appointment. It was strange walking into the hospital with JD and having to check-in at the front desk. No more VIP, flashing the bracelet, jumping in front of people in line. Only in-patients are allowed above the 11th floor . . . we plan to never see those floors again.

The Appointments

Ophthalmology - Eyes
“My favorite” – said no mother ever. They checked his pressure (once again, I hate this) . . .but things are getting better. The pressure is within normal range and the nerves in the back of his eye they were concerned about during the last exam look good this time around. Plus, the actual ophthalmologist (not the resident) is great and pulled a little smile out of JD.

Pediatrician – General Contractor
While Dr. D spent some time with his fam in Italy (of course his two week vacation started days before we left the hospital) JD met Dr. M. Once a little peanut leaves the NICU they need to see the pediatrician within a few days. Just two days out of the hospital and JD had already gained weight. As of 7/26 at 3.5 months, James Douglas weighed in at 9lbs 1.6oz reaching 21.5” On a typical chart JD does not register but on the WHS chart he is right on the 50th percentile for both height and weight. Our Gawel boys know how to grow.

Cardiology - Heart
Nothing new is what the doctor said which is exactly what we wanted to hear. Yes, JD has a large ASD. Yes, it is and can cause additional pressure on the right side of the heart. Yes, JD is doing very well and nothing has changed with his heart. We will continue to monitor every few months but for now as he grows we hope the ASD grows smaller.

And . . .after only a few more days JD has packed on the ounces to bulk up to 9lbs 4oz and 22.5”

Orthopedics – Club Foot
Last week I told a friend I just want to hear the doctors say “oh this? No worries this is mild.” Instead we continue to hear “well it’s not severe but it’s definitely not mild.” After thinking about it she said “Jen, what about JD’s foot? JD’s foot is mild.” What a fabulous friend! She was correct. 

Finally, FINALLY during our appointment we heard “JD’s foot? Oh, this is very mild. Casting usually takes 6 weeks there is a good chance his will only take 4 – 5 weeks.” 

First cast

First Gawel to have a cast . .. not the last with an overly active brother like Connor

The heavy cast will help JD build core muscles - maybe I need a cast on my leg

Poor little peanut - a cast on one foot and a monitor on the other

Each week we head back to the doctor for a new cast until the doc tells us we can stop the casting. From there he will wear special shoes for a few months all day finishing up only when he sleeps. It might sound intense but I don’t hear how long it will take. All I hear is “Oh, this is very mild.”

Outside appointments we have enjoyed every NBC daytime and primetime minute of the Olympics. I look forward to Connor’s gold medal interview with Bob Costas as he talks about his little brother.

This upcoming week brings more appointments, more Olympics, and more snuggles. Not sure if I am more excited to see the events this week or to see where Kate and Wills pop up.

Go Team USA!

The Gawel cheering section

USA . . . USA


  1. Love the updates. GO JD and GO TEAM USA! So proud of the little man. Can't wait to hear more great news. I am sure the Olympics are inspiring JD that much more! xoxo

  2. Such adorable pictures. Love the protective older brother!! We were sad we did not get to meet your amazing family at the conference, but I know we will meet soon. We love Chicago and are always looking for a reason to road trip!! Sending love your way!