Montgomery party of six

Montgomery party of six

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

what a way to wrap it up

ryder has been home since sunday, and he is not quite sure what to think of all the attention

brother has been watching him while he sleeps

grandpa and isaac have been working on a song...

while daddy and isaac have been working on a dance

there have been trips to the forum to see the fish...

and cozy nights at home.

christmas story anybody?

when he really thinks about all the attention, it does bring a smile to his face (the money dimple shot)

and then he is ready for yet another nap. see you in '09.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

jail break!

ryder finally escaped the nicu today, and we were very glad to have him home with us.

isaac's reaction ranged from disinterest, to mild curiosity, to downright adversarial when he was supposed to share something like the bouncer

"hey, ryder, pull my finger."
(actually, isaac has learned to touch him with only one finger to avoid breakage)

the brothers montgomery

"dad, what do you mean he is staying?"

the bath at the hospital left him with a bit of a mowhawk

with grandpa al

auntie allie holds "chunk's brother"

with grammy

aunt megan got to meet him before returning to charolette

we got all dressed up for the charger party at grammy and grampy's house. this picture cracks me up b/c it looks like he is posing for a magazine the way his hips are offset.

a big thanks to all of you who prayed and called and fed and emailed and all the rest. ryder continues to be super chill, sleeping, eating, or pooping all over the place. we love having him, and isaac will get used to sharing the attention soon...we hope.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

could it be?

ryder is way cuter without all the tubes and junk on his face. this is his most common pose, and although i hate to put it to paper in fear of jinxing it, he may be our easy kid.

christmas may be over, but the party continues.

annie's comment was, "i swear that no kid has been to more happy hours." chalk up another one: 12-26-08 at islands.

it was actually legitimately cold this morning, so isaac had to wear his ewok hat with his new christmas jeans. is it just me, or does he look so old that this could be his first day of 1st grade picture?

so christmas snuck by again this year, slipping quietly into obscurity like the newest straight to dvd release in the ever cheesier beethoven series. despite its passing, two thoughts about Jesus' birth/childhood made the incarnation a much more tangible reality for me this season:
  1. annie being pregnant made me wonder what mary was like when she was pregnant. in no way do i mean to be disrespectful or rude, but i wonder if she said things like, "i am as big as a house!" or "babe, can you run to the store and get me a twix?" while the immaculate conception may be a profound mystery, the fact that the ride to bethlehem was uncomfortable is not.
  2. Jesus may have been around isaac's age when king herrod ordered the execution of all boys under two. not only does it make me want to cherish and protect isaac all the more, but it absolutely baffles me that a man could be so paranoid that he would do such a monstrous thing to maintain his control.
i hesitate to mention that ryder is supposed to come home tomorrow, cleared of any jaundice or respitory concerns. they have pulled the offer before, so we are trying not to get too attached. once we are out the door and in the car i will allow myself to believe the good news.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

they're singing deck the halls...

if you are a huge fan of "don't forget the lyrics" and/or wayne brady, you may already know what this post is about. the song has been covered a number of times, most notably by jon bon jovi of new jersey. the song is not entirely accurate for our situation, b/c it's not that it doesn't feel like christmas at all, but it is a little strange to have one member in the hospital on this family holiday.

we had hoped and believed that ryder would be ready for pick up today, but this morning we got a call that his oxygen levels had dropped several times during the night and that they simply did not feel safe discharging him today. while we are more than a little disappointed and sad, we are more concerned about him getting the care he needs. the nurses and doctors assure us this is nothing worrisome or abnormal, just another step in the process they were hoping to skip.

to be honest my heart feels a little jerked around, and i have realized in the past couple years that i go from scared or hurt to angry really fast. needless to say this morning before we got there i was ready to throw some punches. visiting ryder was emotional but good, holding and feeding and drinking in our baby boy. our desperate hope is that the next 2 or 3 days will be the final extent of his stay in hotel scripps la jolla. until then, i will be singing, along with mr. jovi, "baby please come home."

ryder was telling us stories of how santa and his reindeer paid a special visit to the nicu.

we are still enjoying the season, dressing isaac up like the kid in the christmas story to take him on a walk in the "cold" socal evening...

...visiting with family including cousin addie...

...and friends like barbara and archie...

...we also opened presents. grammy got a new grill.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a christmas miracle?

one of the things you quickly learn when you have kids is that those kids love elmo; i am pretty sure it is an irrefutable law of child rearing. isaac will watch the same elmo video everyday for at least a month, and the current flavor is elmo's christmas countdown, a special that initially aired last christmas eve on one of the major networks and stars jamie foxx, angela hudson and anne hathaway among others.

the plotline is simple enough: (ben) stiller the elf is sent to initiate the christmas countdown (without which christmas could not come), oscar the grouch tries to sabotage it, and hilarity ensues. isaac laughs at the same parts everytime, especially those involving stan the snowball, who regularly flies in from the side of the screen to knock stiller off his feet. main themes involve friends, carols, and believing in christmas miracles.

we may be in the midst of realizing a small christmas miracle ourselves, if there is such a thing as a small miracle. this morning we got a call from ryder's pediatrician letting us know that he has, in fact, "turned the corner" officially and otherwise. when we visited they removed both the oxygen canula and feeding tube from his nose, leaving him with only an iv in his arm and looking much more like a baby. while we were there he was a freaking champ, keeping his vitals well within the prescribed limits while downing milk and cuddling mom. if everything continues on this trajectory he will be coming home christmas day.

often during this process i have been reminded of a quote i heard about six months ago that says "prayer is not black magic". just b/c we ask God for something, it does not mean we will get it. we can hope, dream, ask and plead, but at the end of the day we are not casting spells, we are laying ourselves down. i have struggled to remember my role as steward, to maintain open hands, and to keep my grubby little mitts of the controls. even now, i hesitate to get my hopes up too high, but it is hard not to get excited.

Monday, December 22, 2008

easy ryder

yesterday we had our first non-family visitors: our good friends the jacksons. we were in no shape to have people come by any sooner, but sunday afternoon it was good to have some company. ryan and i watched football on annie's bed while she waited on us hand and foot.

annie decided to share, so i finally got to hold ryder this morning for like a full 45 minutes while he was being fed via the feeding tube that goes through his nose and down into his stomach. notice the smile (or at least the smirk) while i hold him.

this is the monitor that is pretty much constantly watched. heart rate on top, breathing rate, then oxygen saturation. once the breathing rate is 30-70 and the oxygen saturation above 94 consistently and without help, he can leave the hospital.

isaac is a super kid to come home to (he found a new toy in the breast pump case), and provides a good distraction from the fact that ryder is not yet with us permanently.


so i hate the hospital. it is a place without location. given the fact that all hospitals look the same, we could have just as easily been in the midwest as in san diego county. it is a place without season. despite the fact that they had christmas garland wrapped throughout the hallways, it felt nothing like christmas in that place. it is a place with conditioned air that dries hands and lips to the point of cracking.

nights were the worst. saturday night i found myself simply angry about our situation, pissed that we were having to go through another unexpected trial while other families had much more normal experiences. last night i was just itchin' to leave the confines of sterility and the relentless low grade anxiety. in my more logical moments i realize both these things have deep roots in fear, but sleep deprivation rarely allows for such luxuries such as logic. i woke this morning tired and able to taste my teeth, glanced outside to find the cold, clear skies of the past several days replaced by spitting rain and thickening clouds. perfect.

i don't mean to whine, i know our situation could be much worse, that we trust in resolution and redemption. the positives are way larger than the negatives, like the fact that he is in fantastic hands, that we will probably sleep better for the next few days, that his smelly rotten little belly button crusty may fall off before we get him home, that he is making daily progress, and that it is way better to face this now rather than later. ryder has not been a consistent part of our life yet and therefore we do not feel his absence quite so sharply. yet God speed his homecoming and grant us peace.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a recipe for stress relief

1 slice pepperoni
1 slice bbq chicken
22 oz. fat tire

mix with equal parts good news about son (now eating 20cc's of breastmilk via feeding tube every 3 hours) and wife who feels much better.

serves 1 but benefits all.

on holiday

so throughout the past few days we have noticed that ryder seems to have a far more relaxed approach to life than our other child. while isaac pretty much refutes the theory that there is no such thing as perpetual motion, thus far his brother has been much more mild mannered and laid back. it may be the recovery and it may be temprament, but during this morning's visit we found ryder basking in the blue glow of the bilirubin lights like the neon of some warm caribbean cantina.

the nurses have made him a nametag for his extended stay, which is likely to last at least through christmas day. while the timing is not what we would prefer, we are glad he is progressing at a pace that will ensure his long term health.

one of our favorite parts of the morning was the mask they put over his eyes. perhaps the mild mannered nature is a clever ruse for a super hero alter ego. he kind of looks like robin, and although being a sidekick is not nearly as sexy as being the main hero, you couldn't pick a better partner than batman.

annie got to hold him again and he did really well with his breathing and oxygen levels. mom's touch is apparently very soothing. go figure. she also got to breastfeed him for the first time and although he didn't really eat all that much, it is a meaningful step in his progress. they will start feeding him breast milk by tube today, which should help with the belly ruben and the general healing.

the wide angle lense isn't exactly true to life, but it is a sweet shot.

after about 20 minutes that went entirely too quickly, he was put back into the incubator for another round of rays. his comfort and stability are increasing, and everybody we talk to assure us all will be well, but it is going to be on his timeframe. we may have a hard time ripping him away from the tropical paradise he currently resides in, this afternoon is the mojito and nacho buffet.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a fun visitor and a pick me up

annie has amassed quite a collection of bracelets. 1 is her patient bracelet, 1 is a drug allergy band, 1 for her prescriptions, 1 is ryder's patient band, 1 is his nicu band. just like the 80's jellies.

isaac came to visit us today so he had to make his hair look good, hence the brush. it was so fun to have him around, full of energy and life. we played on the outdoor patio, and chased him all over the hallways. it was a good reminder of what life looks like on the other side of difficultlies.

this evening we got a fantastic surprise. after a morning of less than great news, we got a call from our awesome nurse lori about 5:30 tonight that ryder's eyes were open and he was sucking on his binki well. we rushed over in time to catch this video. the fact that his eyes were open is a good sign that he is progressing.

we also "coincidentally" met a lactation nurse this morning (the best one around according to lori) who assured us he will have no problems breastfeeding. annie's milk is going gangbusters, and her pain level is a lot better as well. we are encouraged.


time is a precious commodity in our culture. if you could sell it on ebay you would be filthy rich, that is until hallmark found a way to hijack your product in the name of sentimentality. especially during the hurried holiday season, people are always wishing for more time.

the ironic thing about ryder being in the nicu is that i have all sorts of time. for starters, there is 3 hours everyday when we are not allowed to visit (6:30-8:00 am and pm when they do shift changes). add to that a lot of miscellaneous sitting around and general waiting, and you have the perfect recipe for getting things done. i mean, here i am with all this time, i should be able to do all sorts of things i could or should be doing: read for class, journal, or whip up a spaghetti flambe.

in reality, however, whenever i find myself with extra time, my mind automatically fills the gaps with worst case scenarios regarding ryder's health (e.g. he will never leave the nicu, he will never be able to breast feed, he will wind up looking just like herman munster). beyond that, the only activities i seem to have the emotional, physical, or mental resources for are watching reruns of house on usa, visiting the vending machine that only gives me 5 cents change when it should give me 15, or writing semi-coherent blogs. some injustices in this world simply cannot be explained.

some highlights of the past 24 hours:
  1. ryder is stable, making steady, if not slow, progress.
  2. annie's milk is starting to come in already, which will be instrumental in helping ryder flourish once he is able to eat.
  3. there was a particularly good episode of house on last night involving a dude with an adrenaline secreting tumor.
other things have been a bit tougher:
  1. the pain from annie's c-section is even more severe than last time when she described it as "the worst pain i have ever felt". it is comparable to somebody digging steak knives into each shoulder, often bringing tears and near debilitation.
  2. dr. house is not around to say anything sacrcastic that suddenly leads him to a helpful solution.
the nurse who was caring for ryder last night is named "milagros", which is spanish for "miracles". we currently find ourselves asking for a small one, that ryder will be able to come home with us when annie is scheduled to be discharged on monday. he seems to march to his own drum, taking his sweet time, refusing to be rushed or hurried. annie and i joked last night about how he may be the kid that forces our family to slow down a bit. that may be great at some point, but right now we are hoping he just hurries up and gets himself out in time for christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

hooray for poopies!

when you become a father, you don't imagine that changing a diaper would ever be a highlight. yet this morning i was grateful to be able to do just that. it was even poopy. what a treat.

annie also got to take ryder's temperature this morning, then later on she got to hold him for the first time. he made small noises and looked around, but he may as well have danced the cha cha we were so excited.

he is coming along pretty well, making more of an occassional wheezy/whiny/squeaky sound than the constant grunt he was originally making, meaning the fluid in his lungs is dissipating. they have also started him on a round of antibiotics, a precautionary measure meant to gaurd against any possible infections. we should know tomorrow if there is, in fact, any sort of infection to contend with.

unfortunately, he is not progressing as quickly as we would hope, and may be in the nicu for a while longer. this news is far easier to deal with now during the daylight hours than it was when we initially found out about it at 4:30 am. we are a bit weary, but are quickly reminded that although we may be jealous of the people with "normal" kids who get to spend their time with their families, there are others whose children have been in the nicu for weeks and months. when we start to wonder about the timing of ryder's birth, we remember that the same thing could have just as easily happened to a baby born at 40 weeks instead of 38. we are making our best attempt at patience, and looking for the grace available in each moment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

easy = boring

so today started with much anticipation, excitement, and stylish painter suits. lookin' good...

ryder jedidiah was born at 12:35pm, weighing in at 7lbs. 3oz. and 19.5 inches long. it is super hard to believe isaac was ever this small, in fact i thought ryder was only going to weigh about 5 pounds when i saw him come out. turns out i was very fortunately mistaken.

after holding his breath for about 30 seconds when he came out, he then proceeded to scream pretty good on and off for the next while. apparently that was not quite impressive enough to warrant his release, and they continued to monitor him for a couple hours after which they informed us that he needed to be checked into the level 2 nursery, which is a nice way of saying the nicu. his situation is far from an emergency, he simply needs a little help clearing some left over fluid from his lungs, something quite typical of c-section babies, especially if they are a little bit early.

it is tough to not have him in our room with us, but that did not stop a group of haggard vagabonds from stopping by to visit. there were a few trips to the nicu in groups of two, me plus one other person. the guest list is limited to 6 people, and everybody agreed that he is one of the cutest babies ever born, a perfect tie with his older brother, who has yet to meet him due to the fact that they don't let anybody under 12 into the nicu. isaac is a big boy, but there is no way he could pass for older than 8.

ryder is hopefully leaving the nicu tomorrow, but that largely depends on what happens between now and then. we are continually grateful to be in a country and area that has such a great medical community, and to be in a hospital that has one of the nation's highest ranked nicu's. thank you for your continued celebrations and prayers as we welcome the newest member of our family into the world.


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