Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SCN

When we was born Camden had Hypoglycemia and spent 6 days in the NICU at Newton Wellesley Hospital. This type of level 2 NICU is actually called a Special Care Nursery. He was a full term baby so this was unexpected. As new parents we struggled to understand how necessary his stay was until a sit down with the Neonatologist on day two. 
In comprehending his condition the biggest questions were - is this just trauma from birth (likely, as I pushed for two hours) or is there a real issue with regulating his blood sugars? Neonatologists are very cautious when readings are consistently low, as low blood sugar can significantly affect brain development. Camden's levels were low enough but not drastically low. He needed to remain on a glucose IV drip while he learned how to regulate them. 
During Camden's stay his levels fluctuated quite a bit but eventually remained consistent. We didn't sit down to ponder the what ifs and never got to the point of needing more tests, thankfully. Once we had a better understanding of why he was being so closely monitored we were much more relaxed with the situation. 


Our biggest challenge as parents of a patient in the SCN proved to be the fact that a new nurse is assigned every shift. Camden easily had over 10 different nurses who all have years of experience caring for newborn babies, but, each have their own feeding techniques to acustom you too. 
So, here we are just learning how to breastfeed, bottle feed and change his diaper for the first time, plus bond with our adorable baby boy while he is hooked up to long wires and in a confined space. He'd get his heel pricked for the glucose test every 3 hours; his feedings were closely monitored and timed. Plus, the sweet little squish needed extra rest. 
Family members visiting were limited to two at a time and they couldn't hold him at first. (This also seemed to depend on the nurse.) This was in his best interest and we knew he was recieving exceptional care. However, to elaborate on the small challenges, an example: when you are taught how to feed him one particular way, with a suggested nipple, precise bottle movements and more, and you adapt that technique, but the next shift nurse tells you you are doing it wrong, literally to not do the one thing you were just taught and to do it a different way, is incredibly frusterating. This did not happen once, it happened nearly every visit until we said something (that one nurse who got the frusterated Dad and teary eyed Mom...)
Despite the minor challenges and continued learning curves, there were a lot more smiles than tears, more tender moments than frusterating ones. We were ridiculously happy to have our baby boy with us. 
Even though my colostrum and 4 days postpartum a small amount of milk coming in wasn't enough to sustain his blood sugars, I am thankful that at least breast feeding came relatively easy to Camden and I. The lactation consultant was kind, patient and encouraging. When we had a good thing going she respected that and offered helpful tips. 


Side Note - I find it adorable that the shirt Bob is wearing in these photos is where Camden was concieved - Hanalei, Kaua'i!
At the end of the day I had so much perspective. This was not a dire situation. No one had to tell me that. The nurses don't sit you down and explain or compare your baby to the preemie in the next stall - they simply give the best care possible to your babe. 
The awareness, calmness and positivity was on Bob and I. 
A close friend recently had a baby in December at 24 weeks weighing less than a pound. Perspective: This babys due date was April 3rd, a month after Camden's. This means the baby is fighting for his life. A few other couples we know due around the same time gave birth to preemies with less drastic but still very early circumstances. When newborns cant breathe on their own and you can't hold your baby at all, these are hard. My situation was not this. Yes, I was discharged without my son, not knowing when he could come home, so that was sad! But we were fine, he was fine. 
 The lighting in the SCN was tough for photos....but that didn't stop us from taking tons!
We settled into a nice routine when I was still in the hospital and once I was discharged. We'd be there for as many daytime feedings as we could and then the bedtime feeding at 6 or 9pm. For the most part, this time was peaceful and joyful! We both agreed, staring at him for hours on end, our son is the cutest with such a relaxed and sweet personality. 
Staying overnight wasn't a necessity (for anyone with babies in there, really) so we were always encouraged to take advantage of the extra sleep. Truthfully, it was a little sad to be at home without him and so we went on extra date nights. On Saturday night after dinner we received a call from his nurse that his most recent evaluation with the Neonatologist was positive and he would be discharged the next day. He came home with us on his actual due date, Sunday, March 3rd! 
Now two months old, Camden has been happy and healthy as ever! 

Monday, March 18, 2019

dining out, lately

We had nested all we could nest. The nursery was ready. We were ready. My induction was scheduled. We worked hard wrapping up at the office. We also worked hard putting together all the baby gear. And then, we felt like dining out all the time. These were not planned "we must eat out everywhere before baby comes!!" dinners, they were actually somewhat spontaneous outings that happened to mark special prenatal events, plus February's occasions - Valentine's Day, my 35th Birthday and Bob's birthday. [PS how cool that our sons birthday is right in between ours? Pisces Fam!]

I'm glad we took advantage. Postpartum, I've never been so content to be at home 24/7. It's all been so lovely. We're lucky!

Little Big Diner - Newton Centre
When you have a Ramen craving LBD is the best of the best. I enjoyed the very filling Miso Ramen topped with chashu pork, bean sprouts, sweet corn, scallions, nori + an ajitama egg


Metropolis Cafe - South End
Valentine's Day date night. 
Metropolis is a cozy bistro nestled in the heart of the South End on Tremont Street. It has been a neighborhood mainstay for years. The vibe is casual and relaxed while the dimly lit space with comfy booths and window nooks sets the scene for a romantic occasion!




Creative Mediterranean comfort food shines at Metropolis. We were really pleased with our meals. 
Rainbow Trout - stuffed with confit fennel, wilted spinach, preserved lemon + salsa verde
Beetroot + Pear Salad - roasted red beets, Bartlett pear, shaved fennel, Roquefort cheese, toasted hazelnuts, sherry vinaigrette
Veal Scallopini - free range cutlets sauteed with capers, brown butter + cauliflower leek gratin 
Lemon Mousse Tart - raspberries + shaved coconut
Coffee Creme Brulee - with flourless oatmeal chocolate chip cookie

Country Mile - Watertown
35th Birthday Dinner



Country Mile is OUTSTANDING. It is brand new from a husband and wife (chef + front of the house) duo from Vermont. I guarantee you will see it on all the Best of Boston lists in 2019. I wasn't into mocktals throughout my pregnancy but the bartender here does them justice, they are exceptionally crafted and were the price of an actual soda. (Although perhaps this was a birthday deal?!) The group can vouch for the cocktails being fantastic, too. 

I have included a photo of the menu below since four of us shared about half of it. You will literally want every vegetable dish in that first section. I'm still swooning. 
Pictured above:
Curried Mussels + Japanese Eggplant
Gimlet Mocktail
Black Trumpet Mushrooms (see their instagram)
Lomo w cave aged Gruyere
Seared U10 Scallops
Chocolate + Cheese dessert plate


Sweet Tomatoes Pizza - West Newton
Lunch Date before my Non Stress Test @ NWH MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine).
This pizza is some of my favorite around. We had Garlic Spinach + Hawaiian

COOK - Newtonville
Dinner date after getting the car seat inspected at the Newton City Police Dept.
Cook is an awesome neighborhood spot for an upscale casual meal. We shared Charred Broccoli with chimmichuri + Sticky Wings in a spicy soy glaze. A classic Burger with cheddar, LTO and crispy french fries hit the spot.



Rice Valley - Newtonville
Dinner date - the classic "lets go for spicy food" meal 
This was the night before my induction (Saturday 2/23). A little spicy never hurt the chances of going into labor naturally, right? 

We don't eat American Chinese food often. Rice Valley has a nice atmosphere to dine out in and the food is average. The Hot and Sour Soup was nice and spicy. We asked for the General Gao's Chicken (labled as spicy) to actually come extra spicy. It did not, even though she assured it would, but it was still a tasty meal. The actual night of my induction (Sunday 2/24) we went for Spicy Buffalo Wings at Buffs Pub right before heading to NWH to get admitted. Talk about going all out. My water broke after one dose of the oral meds (which is considered lucky) so I honestly think the spicy wings helped me out!

Il Casale - Belmont Center
It's Friday 3/1 - I'm 4 days postpartum. I was discharged the day before and Camden was still admitted in the NICU. Bob's birthday was on Wednesday so we decided to take advantage of Camden's excellent care and head out for a birthday date night. We arrived to the warm and bustling converted fire station and grabbed two seats at the bar. I eyed the martinis next to me thinking how good they looked. Suddenly my face lit up. "I can have a drink. I can actually order one of those!" I thoroughly enjoyed my 9 months of sobriety but what a moment. My first postpartum drink: the 60 day cask aged meletti Manhattan made with overholt rye, meletti amaro + amarena cherry.  



The Buratta Salad was a wondrous portion of field greens, speck from Trentino Alto-Adige + fresh figs. All the pasta is made in house - I had a terrific Cream Mushroom Gnocchetti featuring pickled beachwood mushrooms, charred endive, local carrots + pine nuts. It was our first time to this Il Casale location (I had been to Lexington) and it made for a lovely Friday birthday date night. 

West on Centre - West Roxbury
Cam's still in the NICU and we're still really not up for hanging out at home without him. This was another nice meal out that proved a welcome distraction. I had Pan Seared Sea Scallops in a citrus reduction over butternut squash pure + sauteed garlic spinach with roasted cauliflower. 
Both these neighborhood restaurants provided terrific meals and swifty paced (but not rushed) service. This was perfect for us as we did not want to linger, we were either eager to head back to NWH for Cam's bedtime feeding, or home to get that extra, much needed sleep! 

Saturday 3/2 ended up being Camden's last night in the hospital. On our way home we received a call from his nurse that he would likely be discharged the next day. He came home with us on his actual due date, Sunday, March 3rd! He is now 3 weeks old and I've never been happier! Being his Mom is the absolute best. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Camden John Luiso

It's a BOY!

Welcome to this beautiful life, little buddy!!
Camden John Luiso
February 25th, 2019
9:28 pm
8 lbs 1 oz | 20 inches
A shortened version of the birth story, if you'd like to read....

Due to my recent diagnosis of mild Polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) I was scheduled for induction at 39 weeks. At Newton Wellesley Hospital on Sunday, February 24th after one oral dose of misoprostol at 9pm my water broke at 2am. What a feeling that was. It woke me in an instant and felt like nothing I've ever experienced. Pretty cool actually. I was excited! Then, I was transferred from Antenatal to Labor and Delivery where contractions begain shortly after. This is it, the biggest moments of life so far!! Labor was Incredible. Truly it was. It was painful, to state the obvious. The pain was manageable for a long time; my favorite way to manage the contractions being hot baths and really getting in a zen place afterwards with warm towels in bed and a cold cloth on my face. I enjoyed an orange popsicle and then a raspberry italian ice. I didn't have any desire to take a walk, use the birthing ball or try out different labor positions. When the contractions got to very painful levels the epidural wasn't given a second thought. It was about 12 hours in around 3pm on 2/25 and I was ready for a break. That first sense of numbness and falling into a deep nap was bliss. I awoke with labor shakes and chills - I learned these are uncontrolable and normal from hormone fluctuation. This also caused some tears - happy tears! I was all choked up at the thought of meeting my baby so soon! A good playlist was on in the background - the nurses kept complimenting on it. (James Taylor, Paul Simon, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Steve Winwood, Sam Hunt, Bruce Hornsby, Van Morisson....) Labor was Emotional. Spiritual. Challenging. Rewarding. The best thing I've ever done!
When I finally felt the urge to bear down and push the attending OB checked back in to confirm. Sure enough I was 10 cm, fully dialated, it's go time! This was around 7:30pm. It was a true team effort from here. Bob was an incredible labor coach - calm, composed and intuitive. My nurses and the BC nursing student (experiencing her first birth) were absolutley phenominal the whole way through. 19 hours with 2 hours of pushing - the hardest work I've ever done in my life - I delivered a beautiful, chubby, hairy, calm natured, absolutley perfect baby boy. 
Camden spent 6 days in the Special Care Nursery (SCN - a level 2 NICU) for Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). He was discharged a healthy baby on March 3rd, 2019 - his actual due date!

This little boy is the sweetest soul showing Mom and Dad a happiness and love beyond compare. 



Welcome to the Luiso family, Camden John!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Andy Warhol @ The Whitney






















GO SEE IT!
His work is fascinating to me, I was so happy we spent the afternoon here. 
Also, some 8th floor views - The Whitney is a really special and beautifully curated museum. 

99 Gansevoort St
New York, NY 10014