Thursday, January 10, 2013

1 year (plus a month)

 1 year (plus a month - but who's counting)! It's hard to believe! With Jackson's birthday and Christmas, time has gotten away from me... And to be honest, I've struggled to write this post - Jackson is doing so well - it's hard to imagine where we were just 1 year ago.  When we were in the NICU, I had a calender/notebook that I would write notes in; his height, his weight and other things to help me remember little details.  A lot of our time in the NICU is a blur -rounds, blood gasses, transfusions, ultrasounds, Eye exams, and weight checks.... But we're past that, we're on to bigger and better things!  Like Crawling!  Yes, Crawling - I would like to ever so kindly show him off to a certain doctor who told us this quite possibly would not happen.  He has 2 teeth and working on what seems like a whole mouth full.  He loves to crawl up to anything and everything and sit up on his knees - He usually looks back at us and has this little look, like "look at me mom - I'm so cute you can't say no to me"  When he gets tired, he gets goofy - you can't barely look at him and he'll just giggle uncontrollably... And
 obviously Ben and I think it's hilarious to egg him on.    He's just over 19 # and 28" tall - he's been healthy, and happy!  Ben and I enjoyed celebrating his Birthday and 1st Christmas home.

So, thank you everyone - who have taken the time to read this and check in on how we're doing - for thoughts and prayers - for your love and support.  We are thankful for the Amazing doctors and nurses, who cared for Jackson.  As we continue our journey - we may not post as often - running after a little boy is hard work ya'll - and I'm told they only get faster ;)
 For those of you who have asked -My mom just started her next treatment of Radiation and Chemo .. She will be doing 5 days a week for 5 weeks in Iowa City  (just 1 day of Chemo)-  We got the news that the cancer has not spread to anywhere else - Praise God!
We had a great holiday break, and enjoyed family time! Continued prayers are appreciated.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

11 months

 11 months old - it's crazy to say that in a month Jackson will be a year old!  Time is just flying by and our little boy is growing up!  He sets up on his own, and is pulling himself into the crawling position -  He's so close - he'll be moving in no time!  He just cut his first tooth - I think that one tooth was 5 months in the making. =)  He's weighing in around 17.5# and 27.5" tall. 

Thank you for the prayers for my (Annie) mother last month.  We continue to ask for prayers as she is now going through Chemo.  We are praying for healing & peace. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

10 months

 Last month we spoke about how
careful we need to be with Jackson in the coming months.  Little did we know we would be dealing with exactly what we spoke about.  Jackson ended up with Pneumonia  at the end of September.  We only had to stay in Iowa city for one night, and were sent home to get better.  Compared to last time he had Pneumonia, 1 day is fine by us, It's just hard to watch him go through it.  He's strong and healthy now and is growing up so fast!  He's weighing around 16.5#  &  27" tall.  He loves his fruits and veggies and has started to try real food.  I can't help myself when he watches me eat something and just stares at me like "can I have a bite mom?" with the cute eyes and the adorableness... Case and point---------->

We can hardly believe we almost have a year under our belt.  We are still so humbled by all the love and support, and are thankful for each and everyone of you!  A special prayer request for my (Annie's) mom - we are currently waiting to hear results on a few tests they are running in Iowa City.  We are praying for health and healing as well as strength for our family.  Thank you

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9 Months

Can you believe that it's almost fall!!  August went by in a flash, and I think September is going by even faster.  This month will bring a few more doctor's appointments and a small surgery towards the end of the month.  No worries, it's nothing big  - just something that was going to be done while he was in the NICU, but we ended up having to wait until he was a little older/bigger.  We would still appreciate prayers that everything goes smoothly and he bounces back quickly!

Photo by my lovely friend Cherie at  (Cherie Renee photography)
September will also brings us into the start of the Cold/Flu/RSV season.  As a preemie, Jackson's immune system is not what a full term babies would be at 9 months old.  His Chronic Lung Disease makes getting a small cold or the flu much more dangerous.  As we enter into our first winter at home with Jackson, we are going to work hard to keep him healthy.   So you might ask what that means for our family, and what it may mean for you.
If you see us out or come to visit, don't be offended if:
-we douse ourselves in hand sanitizer, or stick a bottle in your face -  it's not you, we promise.  We practically own stock in the hand sanitizer companies. 
-we ask you to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before touching Jackson.
-We ask if you or anyone you are around is or has been sick.  If you'd like to visit, we ask you've been symptom free for at least 5 days.
- We keep our visitors to adults, except for the occasional child. Please don't be offended if we ask you to leave your child at home.
So, we thank you in advance for being understanding of our situation - I know it may seem a bit overboard to some, but keeping him out of the hospital is our #1 priority!

Anyway, on to the fun stuff!

Jackson has such a fun personality! He is such a happy boy - He  wants to look at everything (and stick it in his mouth)!  He takes everything in when he's in a new place or meets someone new. Below is his typical pose...
 (Cherie Renee photography)
 He also wants to crawl/move so badly, but doesn't quite have crawling figured out yet.  He's weighing in at 15#14oz and is 25.5" long. He's almost sitting, laughs, talks to us all the time & is working on a few teeth (hello drool!)  He has his mom and dad pretty much wrapped around his little fingers! I mean... look at this smile!


For more information on RSV and what we are facing with this upcoming season, here is a link that

Monday, August 13, 2012

8 months

They say that time flys by when you have a little one....and wow, it's so true!
Jackson is growing so quickly we are just soaking up every second!  He's weighing in at 14lb 14oz and is around 25" long. 
The biggest news of the month is that he's kicked the oxygen!   Our lives have become much simpler, and less tangled ;)
Jackson has done remarkable with the transition, and he all of a sudden is looking more and more like a little boy!
With out the oxygen tubes we've gotten out a little more,  and have begun showing jackson what the world is like with out being tethered to an oxygen tank.  We got rid of the tubes just in time too!  not long after, Jackson began rolling...and rolling and rolling. Set him down and he'll end up on the other side of the room in no time.  It's also making changing his diaper a bit more like a wrestling match!

We're up to Iowa city once this month for an appointment - So in the relm of Dr. appointments, we've got an easy month ahead of us.  We're praying for a month of health and growth! Thank you all for your contiuned love and support! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7 Months!

Another month has gone by and our little guy just keeps getting bigger! At his last weigh in he was 13 lbs 14 oz and 23 1/2" long.

We went up to Iowa city to visit his Neonatologist at the end of June.  We were told that Jackson is developing & growing well - and that they were very happy with how things are going.  We were able to decrease his Oxygen to 1/4 liter - We will head back up to IC at the end of July to re-evaluate his oxygen needs - We are praying for a healthy month with lots of growing as we make our 1st (and hopefully only) attempt at taking Jackson off oxygen.

The month of June otherwise came and went with Jackson showing us a few new tricks he's learned.  He's began to focus on smaller objects, and has begun reaching for them and sometimes will get his hands on it.  He has begun eating rice cereal and just tried his first veggie a few weeks ago.   He can roll over from stomach to back, and can almost get from back to stomach (that pestky shoulder gets in the way).   He's learned to pout (jutted out bottom lip and all) if he wants more attention.  Jackson has also blessed us with full nights of sleep! He began sleeping for 8 or more hours at a time, and it's glorious!  There is so much more about Jackson that we could "gush" about - he is just such a huge blessing in our lives.
Here's a short video of his laugh

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6 months!

Our little guy is growing so fast!  He's already 6 months old nearly 13 lbs and 22" long!  That's a long way from 1 lb 14oz and 13.5" long! 

Back in the beginning of May, Jackson was admitted to Iowa city's PICU for Pneumonia - we were there for 6 days.  He did remarkably well and bounced back quickly.

Other than that, we've been enjoying all the time we've had with Jackson - he's started to giggle recently, and it is by far the cutest thing we've ever heard.  He's continuing to roll over and interacting with us more.  He loves his play yard and will talk with his friends and look in the mirror for quite some time.  He's also become fascinated by a few random objects in our house - a throw pillow, a engagement photo of Ben and I, and a painting on our wall.  One will catch his eye, and he will just stare at it for a good 10 minutes if you let him.  Every once and awhile Ben and I will start talking about our time in the NICU and how crazy it is that we're where we are today - how amazing that he started out so small and now look at him!!   
Below is a sequence of photos that I've been taking every month since he's been home - the change just blows me away!

Here is the Jackson and the same giraffe when he was in the NICU.

We go back to Iowa City at the end of the month for his high-risk follow up - they are the ones that are in charge of his oxygen requirements & assess his development - We are excited to hear what they say about his oxygen!

Thank you all for continuing to love and support our little family!
--The Hellands

ps.  some of you may have received an email about an old post we wrote back in December titled "oh buddy" - not sure what happened, but Jackson and my Dad are both doing great now,  so no worries!!