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Monday, November 30, 2009
Minnesota Mom Gives Birth to 15 Pound Baby

When she was eight months along, a doctor warned Wendi Dolton her baby was going to exceed ten pounds. But nothing could prepare her for the big bundle of joy that arrived last week.

"They said 15.6 and I thought I was kind of groggy I was on pain killers, I didn't know if it was 15.6 the time," said Dolton.

Wendi and her husband Mike, from Racine, Minn., named their baby Axel Laverne.

"I had some clothes ready for him, and yep, he's outgrown them already," said Dolton. "And my family bought clothes and they won't fit him."

Axel arrived by C-section, at 37 weeks and now he is in neo-natal intensive care, being monitored for a heart condition associated with premature births.

His parents say he's doing well and they hope to take him home to his sisters in a few days.

There has been no mention of gestational diabetes, but I bet it had something to do with this baby's weight.

While it seems hefty, Axel's  fifteen pounds six ounce arrival is well shy of the largest newborn ever. The Guinness Book of World Records says that title belongs to a baby born in 1879, that weighed in at 23 pounds, 12 ounces.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009
Preemie Profile: 24 Week Triplets Mary Louise, David & Kuylen

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. In honor of this, some parents who have had babies prematurely have offered to tell their stories to create awareness about his important cause.

Our nineteenth profile is of triplets Mary Louise, David Oliver and Kuylen Stafford.

Preemie Profile: 24 Week Triplets Mary Louise, David & KuylenPreemie Profile: 24 Week Triplets Mary Louise, David & Kuylen

These gorgeous babies were born on April 9th 2009 at 24 weeks 5 days into the pregnancy. Mom Heather went into labor early because of pre-eclampsia/HELLP syndrome.

Heather had been on bed rest in the hospital for exactly one month. She was admitted for pre-eclampsia / HELLP syndrome and the lab work for the week was critical. Heather’s kidney function started to decline and her platelets were dangerously low. She then started to retain fluid and began spotting two days prior to delivery. Kuylen was in distress and they were told he wouldn't make it but to try to save the other two, so the pregnancy was continued. Heather then went into pre-term labor when David began to have reversal of blood flow in his umbilical cord on the 19th of April and an emergency section was performed.

At birth Mary Louise weighed in at 1 pound 6 ounces; 12 inches. David Oliver was 14 ounces; 10 3/4 inches and Kuylen Stafford weighed a mere 10 ounces; 9 3/4 inches.

Baby Kuylen passed away at five days old due to complications which began in utero - two days prior to delivery - from reversal of blood flow in his umbilical cord and placental insufficiency secondary to pre-eclampsia.

Heather was in the hospital for over a week post section due to severe anemia secondary to pre-eclampsia and then she stayed another two weeks post discharge as they were allowed to "board" there at minimal cost as long as a room was available. Mom stayed through the most critical time for the babies - through Kuylen's death and David's emergency surgery and recovery. For her, was one of the hardest moments to actually "move out" of the hospital. She still felt phantom kicks and wondered at times if the nightmare she was in was really happening. Heather went there with nothing but hope and with three babies safe and warm in my belly. However she left with two fighting for breath and life on ventilators and one gone completely. Mom would visit every morning and go back with her husband every evening (they were lucky to live about 30 minutes away from the hospital). Mom and dad would pray before they went to bed that the phone wouldn't ring - if it did, they knew it wouldn't be good news. It took mom quite some time not to feel panic every time someone called the house.

During her NICU stay Mary Louise was on a conventional ventilator for about six weeks. Mom and dad were allowed to hold her at about five weeks of age for the first time. Prior to that, they were only able to touch a hand or a foot here and there and change a diaper on occasion. These were the highlights of their days.

Mary Louise had one major infection which turned out to be staph. Heather can't describe how infuriating and frustrating it is to have a helpless child, whom you haven't even been able to hold, have an infection that was introduced through the contamination of an IV line. IV access is a funny thing in the NICU - it can kill as it provides a super highway for blood borne bacteria and germs, yet it's necessary to save them as it (the IV access) provides a way to give life saving resuscitation medications as well as prophylactic antibiotics.

Overall, Heather feels they were very lucky to have only that one early set back with her. Towards the end of her NICU stay, she developed stage II ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) with plus disease which is a common eye issue with premature babies. As the blood vessels grow through their immature eyes, providing the retina with the circulation it needs, they twist and contort and the deformities can cause retinal detachment or blindness. She had to be transferred to a hospital almost four hours away for the laser surgery necessary to fix her vision. Mary Louise was discharged from that hospital at 92 days weighing about 4 1/2 pounds.

David was on a conventional ventilator and an oscillator (alternating between the two) for just over two months. He had emergency surgery for an intestinal perforation at 10 days old when he weighed less than 1 pound. The perforation was successfully repaired however and mom and dad were incredibly lucky that he didn't develop NEC as David had not yet begun systemic feeds (he was still getting all of his nutrition through IV treatments). He had pneumonia about a month later which caused another switch back and forth from the conventional ventilator to the oscillator (which delivers a stronger and faster breath than the conventional vent).

David also had pulmonary hypertension causing his blood pressure to fluctuate rapidly until his PDA (patent ductus arteriousus) finally closed on it's own. He was also transferred to the other hospital for 3 weeks at the end of his stay for 2 laser surgeries. While there, David developed anal fissures which resulted in frank rectal bleeding. It resolved on it's own, however only to have two more fissures develop subsequent to his return to the NICU closer to home. David stayed there another week to gain weight and at 4 1/2 pounds, 99 days old he was discharged home.

As for lasting effects from the NICU, David is on medication for reflux. He is followed by an opthomologist, cardiologist, neonatologist and pediatrician. He is currently 8 pounds and is almost 7 months old. He is considered developmentally on target with his corrected age though (considering his extreme prematurity, his behavioral age should be that of a 3 month old).

Mary Louise was put on oxygen for 1 month post discharge due to a patent foramen ovale (hole in her heart). It has since closed and she is doing well without any breathing support. She is also on target for her corrected age and is right at 9 1/2 pounds. She is also closely monitored by all of the specialists above.

Mom does daily physical therapy exercises with them to promote their development. They have a therapist as well that comes to the house every month. Both are still on breastmilk but their sucking reflex is inefficient so Heather must pump and feed them with bottles.

As of yet, Heather says that there is no reason to believe that they won't eventually catch up in growth to their peers.

If Heather had one piece of advice for a new preemie mom, it would be this: Know that you serve a purpose in the NICU. You are allowed to ask questions and if you don't understand the answer, ask again. Your baby knows you are there and statistically, has a better chance at progressing and developing with a loving and caring touch or snuggle, a soft familiar voice or smell. A NICU can be rather uninviting to parents at times - know that you are needed just as much there as you would be if your baby were home and in your arms.

I asked Heather to describe her children and she said that David is “TOUGH & SCRAPPY” and Mary Louise is “STRONG AND PERSEVERING”.

If you would like to read more about these two amazing children, you can go here to LeBlanc Triplets

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Saturday, November 28, 2009
Mark Wahlberg And His Family Hit The Mall!

Mark Wahlberg, his heavily pregnant wife Rhea and their 3 children Ella, Michael and Brendon were spotted out shopping in LA today.
Mark and Rhea Wahlberg shop with Ella, Michael and Brendon

The Wahlbergs, who were married this summer, expect baby#4 very soon!

As always, Rhea looks great!

Brendon is being pushed by a friend in a Peg Perego Pliko P3 stroller.

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Research Suggests Stem cells Could Help Lung Development In Preemies

Dr. Bernard Thebaud, a researcher with the University of Alberta, hopes his new research may one day keep very premature babies alive and healthy by using stem cell therapy to protect their lungs from chronic lung disease.

"These findings have direct clinical implications because they suggest in the near future we could use stem-cell-based therapies to prevent this lung injury or regenerate an already damaged lung," said Thebaud, whose research is being published in December's edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"We could significantly improve the outcome for these premature babies."

Babies who are born premature do not have fully developed lungs and often need to be hooked up to mechanical respirators and oxygen machines to help them breathe. While the machines keep the babies alive, they also damage the babies' fragile lungs by forcing oxygen into the organs, stretching the tissue and causing tiny bruises.

Eventually, the infants can wind up with a condition called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, which causes the lungs to be similar to those of 50-year-old smokers.

Babies born at 24 weeks gestation — 16 weeks premature — have an 80 per cent chance of developing this chronic lung disease compared to 50 per cent of babies born at 28 weeks. A baby is considered full term at 40 weeks, and even after birth, their lungs continue to develop after birth.

In an effort to fix the problem, Dr. Thebaud began injecting stem cells, derived from bone marrow, into the diseased lungs of baby rats. He found that the cells prevented further damage.

The therapy worked so well the rats could run twice as long on the treadmill and had double the survival rate as rats that went untreated.

Stem cells are unique in their ability to form any tissue in the human body. Thebaud learned that the injected cells didn't turn into lung cells to replace dying tissue, as originally anticipated.

Instead, the cells appeared to pump out a substance that protected the original lung cells and prevented further disease.

"They act like local pharmacies," Thebaud said. Scientists will now be trying to grow that protective, healing juice in a Petri dish so that doctors can inject it directly into premature lungs without the stem cells.

Scientists are always wary of injecting stem cells into bodies because they fear the cells could grow into tumours and create more disease.

"This is the first attempt to use stem cells to cure lung disease in babies," said Thebaud, whose research was supported over five years by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and was conducted with physicians and scientists in Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago and Tours, France. "This has never been done."

These findings could also help children and adults with other lung diseases such as emphysema, lung fibrosis or acute respiratory distress syndrome for which there is no treatment. While the research so far only suggests the therapy protects healthy cells and is therefore a preventive treatment, scientists also want to explore if the therapy can be harnessed to regenerate dead cells and help grow back healthy lungs.

Dr. Thedaud also said that he hopes to start clinical trials on babies in the next three to five years, which is pretty fast.

"We don't have time. There is no 20 other years to wait. It's now. We have that sense of urgency."
An estimated 10,000 babies in North America get chronic lung disease each year. Clinicians remain concerned about babies born very premature, then hooked up to respiratory machines, even if they live relatively normal childhoods despite increased rates of asthma and hospital visits. Doctors suspect the lungs of those babies, once they reach age 20 or 30, could look like lungs diseased with emphysema.

This really is amazing! I know quite a few babies who were born prematurely that could benefit from this procedure.

Related Articles:


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Mother-in-Law Midwife Steps In To Help Deliver Her Triplet Grandchildren

Even though Linda Goodwin has delivered more than 2,500 , she never dreamed that she would be assisting in the arrival of her triplet grandchildren.

When daughter-in-law Leanne arrived at the hospital to give birth to her triplets, she was accompanied to the ward by mother-in-law Linda – who was asked to by her colleagues to be and extra pair of hands to help with the tricky deliver.
Mother-in-Law Midwife Steps In To Help Deliver Her Triplet Grandchildren

So she put on a surgical gown and joined the team in the operating theatre, where the babies were delivered by caesarean section.
Leanne said: ‘The midwife told us they were so busy that day and they asked Linda if she would mind stepping in. I was so nervous before the birth, but Linda was fantastic, and really talked me through it. I was so glad she was there and helping out. It made me feel so much better.
‘I never imagined my mother-in-law delivering my babies, but I couldn’t have asked for a better midwife.’
Mother-in-Law Midwife Steps In To Help Deliver Her Triplet GrandchildrenFirst to arrive was Harvey, weighing 4lb4oz. Linda was by the surgeon’s side as he delivered the tiny baby. She was given him to take away, clean and weigh, and the other two midwives were given Elsie, who weighed 3lb11oz and Alfie, who weighed 4lb2oz.

There were two other midwives, two surgeons, another doctor and an anaesthetist and several other nursing staff in the delivery room at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital.

All three were healthy, but were kept in for 2 weeks. Now aged 14 weeks, they are at home and thriving.

Leanne is one lucky mom. On top of helping with the delivery, Linda has been helping out changing diapers and feeding them too.
The proud grandma said:
‘Leanne and I have always had a close bond, but delivering my grandchildren for her has made our relationship all the more special.’

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Friday, November 27, 2009
Heidi Klum Introduces Us To Lou Sulola Samuel!

In a slideshow on her official website, Heidi Klum introduced us to her newest addition, Lou Sulola Samuel.

The new mom wrote the following in a post entry simply titled, Lou Sulola Samuel

It´s difficult to imagine loving another child as much as you love your existing children.Anyone who has a family will tell you this.Where will one find that extra love? If you love your existing children with all of your heart, how then can one possibly find more heart with which to love another

On Friday October ninth 2009 at 7:46pm, the answer to this question came in the form of our fourth child and second daughter. Lou Sulola was born and from the moment she looked into both of our eyes it was endless love at first sight. She is beautiful beyond words and we are happy that she chose us to watch her grow over the coming years.

As expected, she is very cute! I love how she gazes into her daddy's eyes. A daddy's girl right from the start.

Heidi Klum Introduces Us To Lou Sulola Samuel!Heidi Klum Introduces Us To Lou Sulola Samuel!Heidi Klum Introduces Us To Lou Sulola Samuel!

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Preemie Profile: 24 Weeker Dalton

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. In honor of this, some parents who have had babies prematurely have offered to tell their stories to create awareness about his important cause.

Our seventeenth profile is of a little guy named Dalton.

Dalton Reese Benson was born on May 22nd 2008 at exactly 24 weeks. Mom Jo had premature rupture of membranes which was the reason for the early arrival for little Dalton.

At birth, Dalton weighed 1lb 11oz. Dalton was born in Port Arthur, Texas by Emergency C-Section. He did try to breathe on his own, but was unable to maintain. He was placed on a ventilator shortly after birth, and then flown by helicopter to Children's Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. He was placed in a Level 1 NICU where he spent 4 1/2 months fighting for life.

During his time in the NICU he had bleeding in his brain-Grade II Intraventricular Hemorrhage. (This is common in micro preemies due to their immature brain.) He suffered mild Post Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus that resolved on its own and did not require surgery. He had an Intestinal Perforation at one week of life as a result of low blood pressure and lost a lot of small intestine and part of his colon as a result. Dalton was overwhelmingly septic from the rupture of his bowels. The Surgeon and his attending doctors said that he had four tablespoons of stool inside of his abdomen and he was critical. Mom was told he would not make it through the night, "prepare for the worst". He did however surprise the doctors with his amazing recovery after large amounts of antibiotics and three other surgeries.

Dalton was kept alive with IV nutrition and did not receive his first feed of breast milk until he was a month old. He was on a ventilator for six weeks because of his premature lungs, and had severe Apnea of Prematurity, and Bradycardia (a scary condition where a premature baby's' heart rate drops and they lose oxygen saturation). He had to be resuscitated at least 5 times on a good day. He was transitioned from the ventilator to a C-PAP, and then to a nasal cannula. He had a Patent Ductus Arteriosis "PDA" (an open blood vessel in the heart that is supposed to close shortly after birth). Dalton was monitored closely because of his PDA, but it resolved on its own and did not require treatment.

While in the NICU, Dalton's vision and hearing were tested and found to be ok. He took well to a bottle and was discharged without oxygen or any medications. Dalton did considerably well for a 24 weeker, but he did not escape the NICU unscathed.

Dalton was in the NICU for 4.5 months before coming home. As for lasting effects from his prematurity, Dalton has had problems with aspiration and has been placed on thickeners to help him swallow. He has a highly sensitive gag reflex and mild oral aversion (unable to tolerate certain textures).

Dalton has asthma, but escaped without Chronic Lung Disease (very common in micro preemies). He has "Extreme Far Sightedness" that is hereditary and unrelated to his prematurity, but is affecting his already delayed development.

Dalton has just recently been diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy (mostly effecting his feet and legs). He also has Ataxia (tremors in his hands when grasping an object). He is wearing braces on his legs and receives occupational and physical therapy at home twice a week. Dalton can say "momma", "bye bye", and is babbling and chattering like crazy. He is crawling better now, but is still unable to sit independently due to his high muscle tone. He is pulling up on furniture but is not walking on his own yet. He is 17 months (13 months corrected).

If Jo had one piece of advice for a new preemie mom, it would be this: Self educate, be protective. Read the Essential Handbook for Parents of Premature Babies.

I asked Jo to describe Dalton is one word and she said “WARRIOR.”

What a perfect word for a former 24 weeker who fought for life in the NICU!!! If you would like to read more about this warrior, you can go here to Pray For Dalton.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009
Kid Tested: Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Smart Sports

Fisher-Price's 3-in-1 Smart Sports game is an TV-interactive system that lets kids choose from three sports—baseball, tennis or golf. With similar principles as the Wii, this sports pack is a creative way for kids to get some exercise while they're learning numbers & counting, addition & subtraction, uppercase & lowercase letters, spelling and shapes.

Out of the box, my oldest son was really excited. In less than 10 minutes, I had the batteries installed(6AA) and the game hooked up to the TV.

Smart Sports has 9 different activities for kids to do. I like that the game makes your child think before they swing. It will ask things like 'only hit the red balls' or the ones marked with the number 8. Making each game both fun and engaging.

Just like the Wii, the sports attachments are made of foam. This, along with the wrist strap, will ensure that a flying bat or golf club won't do permanent damage to your TV or a child who is sitting close by.

The only hitch I found with this system was trying to keep my eager little man positioned so that the sensor on the base could read the one on the sports handle. The game is position sensitive, which is a challenge when you child is jumping around swinging and flailing the club.

Fisher-Price recommends this system for kids aged 3-7, I think 3-5 may be more appropriate because some of the tasks may not be challenging enough for someone 6 or 7.

Fisher-Price's 3-in-1 Smart Sports system has been a big hit with my son and a bit of a life saver for me. It gives my energizer bunny an outlet to burn off some of his energy on a rainy or crummy day.

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BabiesRUs.com Thanksgiving Weekend Sale! 40-70% off Brand Name Baby Gear and Furniture
Kid Tested: LeapFrog Tag Junior (GIVEAWAY)

LeapFrog has introduced something that is perfect for our little book worm - the Tag Jr. This awesome book reader tells the story, makes the noises and reads each page in the order he wants them to. It gives him the power to go as fast or as slow as he would like, while listening to stories about some of his favorite friends(Dora, Backyardigans and Dr. Seuss).

Out of the box, the Tag Jr. is almost ready to go. LeapFrog includes a book(If I Were) to get you started and it is pre-loaded onto the reader. Just add batteries (2AAA) and your child is on their way.

Working on the same technology as LeapFrog's original Tag reader, the Tag Jr. connects to your computer to download more books(up to 6 at a time). Once loaded the Tag Jr. is smart enough to know the difference between each book and can go from one to the other. The technology is genius and so convenient.

In order to make life easy for myself and to reduce my son's anxiety level, I loaded on a bunch of books I planned to buy after I installed the software.

When they went on sale, I bought them and then they were ready to use as soon as I got them home.

As a bonus, the Tag Jr. allows parents to program their child's name. Just like My Pal Scout, the reader greats your child by name when the Tag Jr. is powered on.

I am very fond of the LeapFrog's Tag Jr., but not as fond as my son. He LOVES this thing and sits for hours going from one book to another. The fact that it just 'knows' to make the sound effects and say the right words makes him so happy. That's why I don't mind spending a bit more for the books because I know all of the extras that come with it.

I highly recommend the Jr. for kids that are between the ages of 2-4. It's rounded shape makes it easy for little ones to hold and move around the pages.

WIN IT!! LeapFrog  offered one Growing Your Baby reader the chance to win A Tag Junior($40 value)!

Congratulations to Susan H!

Thank you to the sites that blogged about our giveaway:

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Kourtney Kardashian: One Month To Go!

A very pregnant Kourtney Kardashian and boyfriend Scott Disick were spotted leaving a doctors appointment in Beverly Hills this afternoon.

Kourtney Kardashian: One Month To Go!Kourtney Kardashian: One Month To Go!

After spending an hour inside the pair headed off for a bite to eat.

Kourtney and Scott expect their first baby, a boy, on December 23rd.


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Prematurity Month: NICU Nurse Insight

In recognition of National Prematurity Month I thought it would be great to give the perspective from a nurse that works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with these amazing premature babies.

Danielle was my son’s primary nurse when he was in the NICU. She is absolutely amazing and we were very blessed to have her as a part of our life. My son spent 227 days in the NICU before coming home (June 10th 2005-January 23rd 2006.)

I still remember the day that dad and I came into the NICU when Ashton was only about two weeks old. Danielle was on and it was a night shift. She asked us if we wanted to give him a sponge bath. We were SO excited. What made it even more special to me was that she had bought him Huggies bath soap and cream. It was this moment that I knew we were so very lucky. To this DAY we still use the same stuff by the way! It was the first time we really got to touch Ashton and the first time that we held him while she changed his bed.

Prematurity Month: NICU Nurse InsightPrematurity Month: NICU Nurse Insight

Throughout his entire NICU stay she was always willing to let us do what we wanted (obviously where appropriate) and to help her do whatever it was that she had to do. She was big on having us, the parents, involved in the care of their child.

Because we were there for longer than usual we formed a very strong bond with Danielle. It was heartbreaking for us to walk out of the NICU after so long because we felt like we were leaving a big part of our life behind. And in a way we were. Danielle cared for Ashton like he was her own. She is dedicated, loving and fantastic at what she does. Ashton will always carry a part of her love and devotion with him as we let her pick his middle name, Kaden. Which in turn means “fighter”.

How long have you been a NICU nurse?

I have been a neo nurse for 7 years.
Do you prefer to be a "primary" nurse or to have different babies (A primary nurse is one that is assigned to whichever child is their "primary" on every shift that they work)?
I prefer to have primaries because you get to know that patient, and the families very well. This way when you know the baby it is easier to detect if the baby is having an off day, you also know how to comfort both the patient and families.
What are your feelings for the families that have to come through the NICU?
I feel bad for all families that have to come to the NICU. It is a difficult time and if we the nurses can make it a little easier then we have done our job.
Do you ever have to deal with a family that you don't want to deal with?
Sometimes there is personality clashes but it is part of the job you have to remember that the family is going through a difficult time and that the baby needs you, so you put your feelings aside and do the best you can.
What is one thing you do to try and make a family more at ease while in the NICU?
I try to get the families involved with as much of their babies care as I can. For example: temperatures, diaper changes, holding their baby while I change the bed, or just a calming hand if the baby does not tolerate too much handling. I also like to do special things like footprints and name cards for their child so they have memories from when they were very small.
Does your job ever come home with you?
Absolutely my job comes home with me. I take everything to heart so if my primary is having a bad day so am I. Worrying and thinking of what else we can do is part of who I am.
Are you the type of person who gets attached easily?
Yes. I have many families especially one particular little man that I love hearing about and keeping up to date on their process. Some people like the nurses union believe that nurses should not get attached that they should do their job and then go home and never have contact again. Unfortunately, these people have probably never worked in a NICU. It is a different atmosphere and no one understands but those who have had a child there or worked there.
Can you see yourself working in the NICU until you retire?
Yes and no. I am now moving towards transporting sick and premature baby's from across Ontario. This is what I have always wanted to do and now that I am on the team I am enjoying this. You get to meet families at the scariest time when there baby needs to be separated from them and you can still keep in touch with families during their stay in the NICU and comfort them when they need it.
If you weren't an NICU nurse, what do you think you would be doing?
Probably an early childhood education teacher. I love working with little kids.
Why do you think you make a good nurse for the NICU?
I believe it is because I care so much and I am willing to speak up on behalf of my patients and fight for what I think is right.
What is the best thing about working in the NICU?
The day when one of my primaries graduate to going home!
What is the worst thing about working in the NICU?
The little ones that don't make it.
And lastly, have you ever had a favorite in the NICU?
hahahaha Absolutely but I can never tell.
Thanks Danielle for all you do to make the stay in the NICU much easier on parents. Any baby that has you as a nurse is in great hands and is very lucky!

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Cate Blanchett And The Kids Stroll In NYC

Cate Blanchett and her 2 youngest son Dashiell and Ignatius(Iggy) enjoyed a stroll in NYC today.

Cate Blanchett with sons  Dashiell & Ignatius in NYCCate Blanchett with sons  Dashiell and Ignatius in NYC

During a recent interview with Vogue, the ‘Elizabeth’ actress said that theatre brings stability and regular working hours to her life.
‘There are so few experiences in our manicured, nanny-stated existence that have the quality of circus. Theatre still does,’ the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.
‘And so, when the boys aren’t playing with friends, they can usually be found playing backstage.
‘They’re always engaged in the family business, so to speak,’ she added.
Cate can be seen in the sold out “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Brooklyn Academy of Music from Nov. 27 through Dec. 20.

Iggy rides in a Quinny Zapp 3 stroller in Playground Brown, which is available overseas.


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Holiday Gift Guide: 9 Ideas For Your Little Astronaut in Training

Becoming an astronaut has long been an ambition for many children. While some peg the odds at well over 12,000,000:1, it sure is fun to imagine.

A child can dream can't they?

Here are 8 great ideas to keep your little Astronaut in training engaged:

Holiday Gift Guide: 9 Ideas For Your Outer Space Fan

  1. Space Station - This great space station is 11" tall and it includes an 11-piece play set. $31
  2. 2 in 1 Space Rocket with Detachable Capsule - This Rocket is 16 inches tall and the Capsule detaches. Not only that, the set includes 2 Astronauts, 3 Aliens and a Moon Buggy. If that's not enough, the Rocket includes Rocket Sounds!$39.95
  3. KidKraft Fun Explorers Rocket Ship - This ship features over 25 colorful pieces, including astronauts, robots and even aliens. Two glow-in-the-dark moon craters Two space vehicles for exploring uncharted planets Removable ramp lets the astronauts drive their vehicles onboard. This rocket ship also has a working elevator. $125
  4. Rocket Ship Tent - $49 - Your young astronaut will have a blast playing inside the My Little Rocket Ship Playhouse Tent. This fun indoor tent is made of industrial-approved 100% spun-bonded fabric supported by patented fiberglass poles with protective plastic coating. The pointed roof and shiny silver tails make this playhouse look like a real rocket ship.$49
  5. Cardboard Design Rocket - This cardboard rocket is a simple space that can be transformed into a personalized child's play space. A bunch of paint and a few hours will make it a one-of-a kind rocket that can recycled after they are done with it! $72
  6. Jr. Astronaut Helmet with sounds - This cool helmet will make kids feel like they are communicating with ground control. $40
  7. Jr. Astronaut Suit with Embroidered Cap - This Aeromax' Astronaut costume is a big hit with my son. It looks very similar to an authentic Astronaut suit and it includes Official NASA patches, including special commander patch. Available in orange and white from 18months+ $40
  8. ImagiPLAY Zoom to the Moon - This portable rocket ship playset includes 7 painted wooden figures(2 Astronauts, 3 Aliens, Space Dog, Space Pod) and Zippered-closure cloth Rocketship tote. $23
  9. Star Theater 2 - Kids will love studing the night sky on their walls & ceiling overhead. The Star Theater give a guided audio tour of the sky and a first class view of the Milky Way.$28.95

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Preemie Profile: 25 Weeker Aaron

November is Prematurity Awareness Month. In honor of this, some parents who have had babies prematurely have offered to tell their stories to create awareness about his important cause.

Our seventeenth profile is on a little sweet guy named Aaron.

Aaron was born on March 3rd 2008 at exactly 25 weeks. At 20 weeks, mom Kori went in for a routine level 2 ultrasound, where it was luckily discovered that my cervix was "funneling.” (Opening from the inside but not quite yet open externally.) An emergent vaginal cerclage was placed at 20w/2d and partial bedrest followed. The cerclage did its job until 24w/0d when she started contracting, likely due to infection. Kori's water broke at 25w and the baby was delivered due to infection risk. After delivery, she was officially diagnosed with Chorioamnionitis, infection of the fetal membranes.

At birth, Aaron weighed in at 940 grams. Aaron was diagnosed with BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) and required mechanical ventilation for 7 weeks-both high-frequency and traditional ventilators. He then went to CPAP for 2 weeks, and finally high-flo/regular cannula for two weeks. When they were discharged, we had "standby" oxygen and a pulse oximeter at home, but never needed to provide supplemental O2.

Aaron's first brain ultrasound showed minor bleeding, IVH grade I. This status remained stable, until the bleed resolved on its own without any visible damage. He had multiple surgeries: 1) broviac placement, NEC (an acute inflammatory disease occurring in the intestines) diagnosis requiring penrose drain placement (a surgical device placed in a wound to drain fluid) 2) exploratory laparotomy which did NOT result in ostomy (surgical procedure that creates an artificial opening for the elimination of bodily wastes) because the perforation had spontaneously & miraculously healed, 3) PDA (patent ductus artieous) ligation, 4) ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) Stage 3 with Plus disease laser treatment, 5) Bilateral inguinal hernia repair, broviac removal.

Like most preemies, he had multiple infections, blood transfusions and more pharmaceuticals than my grandmother has had in her whole life!
There was one weekend, Easter 2008, when they nearly lost him. He was only 2 weeks old, or 27 weeks gestation. Aaron had just had his PDA ligation and his lungs were in really bad shape. If mom remembers correctly, his blood gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels were over 100. They say after PDA ligation, most preemies do worse before they get better. This was definitely true in Aaron's case!

Aaron was in the NICU for 100 days before coming home. Aaron has met milestones within the "typical" range for his adjusted age. He sat up at 6 months adjusted, crawled at 9 months adjusted, began walking at 13 months adjusted.

Aaron is now 20 months old. He is still testing nearer to his adjusted age (16 months), with some skills scattered between adjusted and actual ages. Aaron receives OT, PT and Speech two times per month. He is still wobbly/clumsy when walking (after nearly 4 months of practice). The PT/OT therapists continue to work on strengthening and lengthening his muscles; balance and coordination are their primary focus.

Expressive speech is his biggest challenge currently. Aaron has very few words - maybe 10 approximations - but no clear pronunciations yet.

Feeding has not been a problem for Aaron. He will eat nearly anything I give him and has not had any allergic reactions. Sensory-wise, he seems to no big problems. Aaron has some fear/aversion (there was no way he was going underneath the parachute at Gymboree class!), but nothing outside of the typical range.

If Kori had one piece of advice for a new preemie mom, it would be this: While in the NICU, be your child's advocate. Be present as much as possible. Act as another member of your child's care team: Doctor, Nurse, Parent.

Once you are home, begin to work on relaxing. I was concerned about caring for my fragile baby, working the medical equipment, administering meds around the clock and growing / developing this new human being. Preemie child care can be overwhelming, but with the proper support you CAN do it.

I asked Kori to describe Aaron in one word and she said "CURIOUS."

If you would like to read more about this Curious boy then you can go here to Aaron Marucco Aldrich. Mom said the blog is not current but you can read about his past days.

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Gender Disappointment Affects Women Hoping for A Little Girl but Pregnant with a Boy

The customary response for a pregnant woman to give regarding the unknown gender of her baby is: “I don’t care whether it’s a boy or girl as long as the baby is healthy.” However, a rarely discussed condition called gender disappointment affects many pregnant mothers, the majority of which are those who would like to have a girl, but are pregnant with a boy.

While some women suffer mild disappointment upon hearing they’re having a third boy as opposed to their first girl, others sink into deep depression. Psychiatric nurse, Joyce Venis explains, “Just because a woman has a gender preference does not mean she is a bad mother or that she doesn't want the child. They have the right to want the certain sex."

Venis also suggests that mothers-to-be find out the gender of their unborn child, so in the event they are disappointed, they have time to process the information and come to terms with the gender of their pending arrival before he is born.

It’s interesting to note that in not so ancient history, women were chastised and even cast aside if they could not produce a male heir. So, gender disappointment is by no means a new phenomenon affecting pregnant women -- but in modern day society, it’s women who are wanting to add a daughter to their family who suffer the most when they are unable to deliver a girl.

One mom suffering gender disappointment offers to other pregnant women suffering from the malady, "It's normal. And they shouldn't feel like a freak," she said. "It is a normal process of when a dream has changed. You just have to relearn a different dream." - Beth Shea, staff writer

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Katherine and Naleigh Celebrate With Family

Katherine Heigl and adopted daughter Naleigh celebrated the pending arrival of a new family member at her sister's baby shower on Sunday in LA.

Katherine and Naleigh Celebrate With FamilyKatherine and Naleigh Celebrate With Family

The shower kicked off a few days of partying for the Kelly family. Naleigh's birthday was yesterday and Katherine's is today. Happy Birthday girls!


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Monday, November 23, 2009
Health Canada Revises Pregnant Weight-Gain Guide

In order to conform with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Institute of Medicine, Health Canada is revising its weight gain guidelines for pregnant women.

Among the guidelines being adopted by Health Canada is having a suggested rate of weight gain for pregnant women, as well as recommendations for total weight gain.

Health Canada also has instituted a specific recommendation for a lower amount of weight gain for obese women.

Gestational weight gain recommendations are based on a women's body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy.

Under the new guidelines,

  • Women with a body mass index less than 18.5 prior to pregnancy - considered underweight - have a recommended range of total weight gain between 28 and 40 pounds (12.5 and 18 kilograms)
  • Women in the normal weight category with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 have a recommended range of total weight gain from 25 to 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kg)
  • For overweight women with a pre-pregnancy BMI between 25 and 29.9, a total weight gain between 15 and 25 pounds (seven to 11.5 kg) is recommended
  • Obese women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of greater than 30 are advised to gain no more than 11 to 20 pounds (five to nine kg) during pregnancy

The decision to adopt the U.S. Institute of Medicine's recommendations was made by Health Canada in consultation with an external expert advisory group An interactive web-based tool that will assist women in tracking their weight gain during pregnancy is also being developed. The final materials for health professionals and pregnant women will be available next spring.

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Infant Entrapment and Suffocation Prompts Stork Craft to Recall More Than 2.1 Million Drop-Side Cribs

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Stork Craft Manufacturing Inc., of British Columbia, Canada, today announced the voluntary recall of more than 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, including about 147,000 Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo. The recall involves approximately 1,213,000 units distributed in the United States and 968,000 units distributed in Canada.

CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit, and do not attempt to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side.

The cribs’ drop-side plastic hardware can break, deform, or parts can become missing. In addition, the drop-side can be installed upside-down, which can result in broken or disengaged plastic parts. All of these problems can cause the drop-side to detach in one or more corners. When the drop-side detaches, it creates space between the drop-side and the crib mattress. The bodies of infants and toddlers can become entrapped in the space which can lead to suffocation. Complete detachment of drop-sides can lead to falls from the crib.

CPSC, Health Canada, and Stork Craft are aware of 110 incidents of drop-side detachment; 67 incidents occurred in the United States and 43 in Canada. The incidents include 15 entrapments; 12 in the U.S. and three in Canada. Four of the entrapments resulted in suffocation: a 7-month-old in Gouverneur, N.Y.; a 7-month-old in New Iberia, La.; a 6-month-old in Summersville, W.Va.; and a 9-month-old in Bronx, N.Y. Included in these incidents are 20 falls from cribs; 12 in the U.S. and eight in Canada. Fall injuries ranged from concussion to bumps and bruises. The cribs involved in these incidents had plastic drop-side hardware that had broken, missing, or deformed claws, connectors, tracks, or flexible tab stops; loose or missing metal spring clips; stripped screws; and/or drop-sides installed upside-down.

This recall involves Stork Craft drop-side cribs and Stork Craft drop-side cribs with the Fisher-Price logo. This recall does not involve any cribs that do not have a drop-side. This recall does not involve any cribs with metal rod drop-side hardware. It involves only those cribs with plastic trigger and one-hand-system drop-side hardware.

This recall includes Stork Craft cribs with manufacturing and distribution dates between January 1993 and October 2009. This recall also includes Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo that have manufacturing dates between October 1997 and December 2004. The Stork Craft cribs with the Fisher-Price logo were first sold in the U.S. in July 1998 and in Canada in September 1998. The cribs were sold in various styles and finishes. The manufacture date, model number, crib name, country of origin, and the firm’s name, address, and contact information are located on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board. The firm’s insignia “storkcraft baby” or “storkling” is inscribed on the drop-side teething rail of some cribs. In Stork Craft cribs that contain the “Fisher-Price” logo, this logo can be found on the crib’s teething rail, in the manufacturer’s instructions, on the assembly instruction sheet attached to the mattress support board, and on the end panels of the Twinkle-Twinkle and Crystal crib models.

For additional information, contact Stork Craft toll-free at (877) 274-0277 anytime to order the free repair kit, or log on to www.storkcraft.com

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Kimora and Djimon Enjoy A Park Play Date With The Kids

Kimora Lee Simmons and Husband Djimon Hounsou took advantage of a beautiful Malibu day by taking the kids to the park yesterday.
Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou with son Kenzo
The couple took turns keeping baby Kenzo occupied, while Kimora’s girls played on the park equipment.
Djimon Hounsou with son Kenzo
Kenzo wears Carter’s Corduroy Overall Set – (Brown with Truck). Kimora pushes a Peg perego Pliko P3 stroller.


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