Monday, August 31, 2009

a birth story

Since I did not start blogging until March, leaving much of Nathan's first year of life unaccounted for, I have decided to slowly recap the beginnings of Nathan Parker Skretkowicz. This first post will encompass the days leading up to and including Nathan's birth a little over one year ago, August 25, 2008.

My due date was August 22, 2008 but Nathan decided he was not quite ready to be born at that time. That day I had an ultrasound to make sure everything was alright and I got a sneak peek at my little boy, the gender part was still an unknown at this point.

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Saturday I ate dinner with my family and loaded up on the oregano (pregano) which is supposedly a labor inducer. Like how I edited the container as a little memory?

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Monday morning I went to church afraid that my water would break in front of the entire congregation. After church I played a little Dance Dance Revolution, watched the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics, felt crampy, and then ate dinner at Arby's with my husband.

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After a million trips to the bathroom and a call to my OB/GYN who told me to head into the hospital, I decided to eat the other half of my Arby's sandwich since I knew I would not be allowed to eat once I was admitted to the hospital and then head to hospital. I had a small meltdown about leaving my cats for a few days and it took a phone call from my sister in law, Megan, to convince me to finally go to the hospital.

I spent all night in the hospital having contractions. The nurse gave me a sedative through my IV which knocked me out during the contractions. Monday morning I finally realized that an epidural was hooked up through an IV as well. If I had known that an epidural would last and not wear off shortly after administered I would have opted for it sooner.

After getting the epidural I felt fabulous! Although it made me dizzy for some reason and I even vomited that coveted last meal. The anesthesiologist turned off the epidural drip until I felt better and what a surprise I instantly "felt better" when I heard this. After ensuring that the machine was actually dripping that lovely epidural stuff, I was satisfied. No more trips to the bathroom every 5 minutes thanks to the catheter and I even managed to doze off for a few hours.

UPDATE: My husband would like me to add that I repeatedly badgered him for over ten minutes to make him check and recheck to make sure the epidural was ACTUALLY dripping and they were not just humoring me. He would also like me to add that he knew we were having a boy since the "gender" ultrasound around 18-20 weeks even though everyone else swore we were having a girl (all the Old Wives Tales pointed to girl - scissors, ring, heartrate, cravings, etc). He swears he saw Nathan's "thing". Um, whatever you say honey!

I was ready to push as soon as I woke up and an hour later at 1:45 in the afternoon (not feeling a single contraction from the moment I received the epidural), Nathan was born. 22 1/2 inches long. 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

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After the nurses were through with the measurements, foot prints, eye ointment, etc I was able to breastfeed Nathan and introduce him to his grandparents for a short time until he was swept off to the nursery attached to a heart monitor, see next paragraph.

While Nathan was in utero the doctor noticed that his heart rate was not quite right, that there was arrhythmia. It was monitored closely throughout the labor and he had to stay in the nursery attached to a monitor after he was born. He had an echo cardiogram analyzed by a pediatric cardiologist which revealed he had premature atrial contractions.

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Note to self regarding breastfeeding: bring lanolin and nursing pillow to hospital for next baby.

Note to self regarding labor and delivery nurses: take photographs of the nurses that we become particularly attached to. This might help with postpartum meltdowns. {smile}

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Coming soon to a computer screen near you: Nathan's first month of life, including his diagnosis with Cystic Fibrosis.



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tomy Hide 'N Squeak Eggs: Nathan vs. Daddy

The Tomy Hide "N Squeak Eggs are by far my hubby's favorite of Nathan's Birthday presents. Every time he saw them in the Baby Einstein: Baby MacDonald video he declared "I have to get those eggs". I always replied, "They are nice but they probably don't make them anymore". I know that you can find any toy in the Baby Einstein videos by visiting this website but I really did not feel like looking nor did I feel like spending any additional money.

This morning while helping Nathan unwrap his presents from his First Birthday Bash yesterday I noticed that my Aunt Kathy had given us these eggs not even knowing how much my husband had secretly yearned for them. {smile} I called Jay over and once he noticed what lay beneath the wrapping he grabbed the present from me and ripped it open like a little boy.

This excitement caught Nathan's attention immediately and it became the fight for the eggs between Nathan and Daddy. Nathan's goal was to remove all the eggs from the carton as quickly as possible and his Daddy's goal was to replace the eggs to their proper position in the carton with the proper tops before Nathan could accomplish his goal. Nathan won. It was his birthday, why shouldn't he win?

Jay vs Nathan BDAY EGGS

Nathan's First Birthday Bash post to be continued...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Last day (UPDATED)

UPDATE as of 3:15 pm
I have successfully managed to move the party indoors. For any guests that may be attending tomorrow, everything remains the same with the exception of the venue.

The party will now be held at the Ogdensburg Fire House in Ogdensburg, NJ. Watch your speed in this town, don't say I didn't warn you. The address is:

Ogdensburg Fire Department
1 Firehouse Lane
Ogdensburg NJ, 07439

Click here for directions.

And for your information, I hired their bartender if you are interested in drinking something other than non-alcoholic drinks which I am providing plenty of. I believe they charge $2 per drink.

ORIGINAL POST
Today is the last full day I have before Nathan's First Birthday Palooza. Weather forecast for tomorrow is: thunder showers with a high of 74 degrees. Judging by the hourly forecast at the moment it will be showering during the party. The thunder showers should begin in the evening. Hmpf! Note to self: next year rent an indoor venue! I think I will look for an additional tent today for a total of one pavillion and two tents.

I had to get a refill on Nathan's Cipro two days ago because we accidentally left in uncapped overnight and being that it is sugar based and bacteria love sugar, Pediatric Nurse K figured Nathan did not need a GI infection on top of everything else (pseudomonas and staph). And so far Nathan has been fortunate enough not to get any fungal infection diaper rashes. Praying that this does not happen during the remaining 10 days of his Cipro treatment.

Nathan sucks the sugary Cipro right out of the dropper and praise God the Tobi treatments have been going well. He has been falling asleep toward the end of his treatments (after albuterol and his CPT, during Tobi) the majority of the time.

Today I will be preparing most of the food with my father in law, Grandpa Bill.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not the official "First Birthday Post"

First of all, I would like to thank you all for being super patient with my pathetic posts this week. As you may know I have been in party planning overdrive. This is not Nathan's official "First Birthday Post". I have something really special planned for the official post but it must wait until I make it through Birthday Palooza!

In order to preserve my own sanity I have modified my previous to do list.

I have ordered balloons rather than renting a helium tank and adding to my list. My friends Breanne and Melissa have agreed to pick up the balloons (and bring chafing dishes) and help decorate on Saturday. Lifesavers! The centerpieces are almost finished, thanks again to Breanne. I need one more balloon weight to finish them off completely. The pinata is filled. The children's favors are completely done. I really should have gotten extras for the surprise guests who did not RSVP, but I cleared the shelf at the store.

I have yet to design and print the custom labels for the favors. I am not quite sure if I will get this done by Saturday. If not, I will just accept it and let it go.

Tomorrow I am going to purchase all the food and supplies with Breanne. I will be borrowing Grandpa F's truck while Nathan stays with Grandpa B. Grandma E is going to purchase what I can't tomorrow evening on her way home from work. Phew!

I have decided not to make a pull apart cupcake cake and order two large cakes from Costco instead. Their cakes are delicious and I have a special touch to add to one of the two cakes. I requested that one cake be left minimally decorated so that there is room for me to add a little something. I will also not be making and decorating cookies. I am normally an overachiever but must let go a little for my own sanity.

My former coworker friend, Jenn, is loaning me an additional tent which spares me from having to rent one. My friends family are fabulous, aren't they? This is one of the main reasons that I am hosting Nathan's First Birthday Palooza! I can't say I will have enough energy to do this again next year but I figured each healthy year we spend with Nathan merits a grand celebration, and that is exactly what we shall have. A grand celebration!

The new weather forecast for Saturday is showers with a high of 69 degrees. We will party rain or shine, that's what the pavilion and Jenn's neighborhood's tent is for! I believe the new kids castle playground will be open as well. And don't forget the bounce house, maybe some wet bouncy fun!

Yesterday was Nathan's true birthday. This will not constitute his actual "First Birthday Post" however I wanted to recap last evenings festivities with our small family celebration.

After eating hamburgers and french fries, it was time for presents.

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I must say Nathan was more interested in those cheap balloons than any wrapped gift but we finally managed to get him to at least assist in removing the wrapping paper.

We bought our little prince a tricycle. My dad, Grandpa F, bought Nathan his first Cross, no chain yet since he will just rip it off anyway. Our friend L and her two daughters A and Lil' Mama bought Nathan a basket, a bell, and a helmet for his new tricycle. Grandparents B&E bought Nathan Brobee and Muno plush toys, and two entire Rubbermaid bins full of clothing for the next 6 months. Yes you read that correctly, two Rubbermaid bins of size 18 months clothing. Maybe I do not need to do laundry at all. {smile}

I think the concept of a helmet may be a work in progress though. I have seen happier faces on my munchkin.

First Bday Helmet

We got two birthday cakes for free since I received a coupon in the mail and so did my husband's family. Nothing like saving 16 bucks!

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Grandpa B bought the super cool candles.

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Nathan had a little help from daddy blowing out his candles.

...and then a little help from Grandma E.
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And finally, here is the amped-up-on sugar birthday boy dressed in his new pajamas with his new haircut riding his new bike with his new bell and his new Brobee in his new basket, minus his new helmet. Doesn't he look so much older now, especially with his big boy haircut?
First Bday Bike


Monday, August 24, 2009

kickin' it into high gear

Nathan's first birthday party is this Saturday so with less than a week to finish preparations I really need to kick it into high gear. The forecast as of this very moment is scattered thunderstorms and a high of 77 degrees. I really hope people still come to the party because I have put a lot of thought and preparation into planning a celebration of Nathan's first year of life. What do I do? Anyone?

Yesterday we bought the paint and supplies to finish our corn hole set, but today my father in law informs me that the wood putty did not dry since we applied it last night. Great, apparently they make a non hardening wood putty. Why on earth would someone not want their wood putty to harden? Anyhow, Grandpa Bill bought the correct stuff and is going to remove the non hardening wood putty and apply the hardening wood putty for us so that tomorrow I can hopefully put a coat of primer on. Then all we have to do is paint so the adults can have some fun in the sun scattered thunderstorms too. At least we will be tossing bean bags instead of metal horseshoes.

Finish arranging the lollipops and balloon weights in the already decorated centerpieces. I will add the balloons on Saturday.

Design and print the custom labels for the favors.

Decorate the goody bags, fill the pinata, and find a bat to break open the pinata. Plan other activities.

Purchase the ingredients and prepare all the meals and desserts. Beverage, paper supplies, etc.

Get the bounce house rental agreement to the township recreation department.

I hope I am not doing all of this for the scattered thunderstorms to screw it up. There is a pavilion at the park but I want it to be a nice day. Should I rent a large tent? What about the bounce house?

Sorry I might be missing in action this week, I have so much to do.

UPDATE: As I gather my party planning thoughts before Nathan wakes up from his nap I was browsing through some videos on YouTube and came across an audition from The X Factor 2009, a show I have never heard of since I do not have cable and do not live in the UK. I cannot embed the video here but I very much enjoyed listening to Danyl Johnson's audition, a school teacher too! Click here to link to Danyl's rendition of "With a Little Help From My Friends". Exactly what I need to plan this party, a little help from my friends. {smile}

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hurricane Bill

It is our last full day here in Myrtle Beach. The storm inside our hotel room has finally subsided but now Hurricane Bill, not Grandpa Bill, is beginning to wreak havoc on the beach.

A dark cloud came rolling in about an hour ago and there have been warnings of riptides all morning. The lifeguard has been keeping all the swimmers close to shore although I am not worried about going out far, still afraid that their might be jellyfish lurking about.

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Now that the beach has been temporarily abandoned by most, Nathan's daddy and Lil' Mama thought they had the perfect opportunity to do some beach writing.

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If you are stumbling upon this site from Myrtle Beach, Welcome! My goal is to share the life of our family and our son, Nathan and to spread awareness of the fatal genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis. This is not Nathan's Fight to fight alone, we need to help him and make CF stand for Cure Found for Nathan and for all the other CFer's. Stay a while and look around and if you see us on the beach later, when the sun hopefully returns, make sure you say hi to Nathan!!
UPDATE:
Hurricane Bill, you ain't kidding. When I wrote the above post I was a bit concerned about attributing the weather to Hurricane Bill since I have not actually watched cable TV in months. Just to be certain I figured I should check the Weather Channel online and all I can say is that I am glad we are leaving tomorrow.


I also would like to say directly to Hurricane Bill, I hope you do not interfere with Nathan's First B-day Palooza next Saturday!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Peekaboo

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I see you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

pruned piggies

Although he is not too fond of the ocean, Nathan sure is fond of the pools. We are perfectly fine with this since we also are not too fond of swimming in the ocean. Pool water plus peanut equals pruned piggies. See for yourself.

Nathan is little Mr. Independent in the pool, a little nerve wracking for me since he is either clasping onto me so tight that he is on the verge of removing my swimsuit or he is squirming out of my arms. Either way he is swallowing loads of water every time he puts his face in the water. He has absolutely zero fear.
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And he loves when I blow bubbles under the water. It is hysterical to hear him laughing when I do this under him.
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Nathan, my precious peanut...
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...with pruned piggies...
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...we are making enough memories to last a lifetime.

The great thing about Myrtle Beach is how little money we are spending. We have been here for four days and have already spend less money than one day at an amusement park. Although if we had been responsible for paying for accommodations this would not be true. All I can say is thank God for a suite with a kitchen!

Be back later with more Myrtle Beach fun and a book review. Remember to keep reapplying your sunscreen because the sun is bright!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

sand between my toes

I am a little behind on posting but I know you all forgive me since I am on vacation and all. {smile}. I had planned on posting the photos from our first day in Myrtle Beach but then I received a phone call from my Aunt (my mother's sister) that got me all emotional. Basically, she is having a double mastectomy on Tuesday. I would like to say FML because this sort of stuff just plagues my family but I won't. Can you guys do me a favor and just say a prayer for my Aunt. Thank you.

Now to the beach! Immediately after checking into our hotel room, we hit the sand. Nathan has never ever seen the ocean or experience sand between his toes and I must say he was a little skeptical of the entire ordeal at first. I believe it was all a little intimidating and needless to say he did not stray too far from my reach.

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And what baby goes to the beach without wondering how the sand tastes.

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I am not sure he was the biggest fan of having sand in his mouth but we all have to figure that out at some point or another. Slowly, Nathan is learning this lesson.

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We are loving the beach, the sand more so than the ocean filled with jellyfish. You see Lil' Mama in the polka dot bathing suit? Well she and a million other beach goers have gotten stung by jellyfish the past two days so I have been keeping my distance.

I will save the pool photos for later.

Now for the CF news. We have been dealing with the additional antibiotic Tobi and Cipro treatments however I think we are going to have a problem with housekeeping this week. Today we turned the housekeeper away because we haven't even begun Nathan's treatments. We just asked for a new stash of towels and some coffee. Tomorrow she wants to change the linens so I either have to do his treatments early or leave the room and postpone his treatments. Argh! (There's the pirate in me)

The vomiting has returned. One really nasty incident on the car ride down and another in the entrance of Walmart yesterday. Last night, Nathan began coughing so hard and then appeared to have vomited on the hotel floor. Out of curiosity I grabbed a paper towel and smeared the puddle around to see what the vomit was like, all mucous. That is a good thing.

Ok, beginning treatments now and hitting the beach. Be back later with some pool photos.

Friday, August 14, 2009

practice makes perfect

Thank you Grandpa F for teaching Nathan how to throw.

All you had to do was model the action of throwing a few times and then leave the rest to Nathan.
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So he tried. He raised the ball but couldn't quite let go...
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He tried again but still no release...
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He tried again, and again, and again because practice makes perfect.
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I can assure you that Nathan has mastered throwing. I see a 3rd baseman in the making. So thank you again Grandpa F dad for teaching my son, your grandson, how to throw. For teaching him how to throw spoons, cups, bowls, binkies, heck whatever he can get his fingers on. Thank you.

In a few hours we will be piling in the van for the 14 hour drive to South Carolina. When we return from our vacation I will most definitely be posting some more photographs of my quilts. And don't worry I am taking you all on vacation with me!!! So pack you suitcases, put your sunblock on, and stay tuned!!