Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sunset Skate

All the ice skating on the 'lakes' about Kodiak brings back childhood memories of skating on the big lakes of Maine. In many regards Kodiak is a lot like the coast of Maine. Rocky coast with spruce trees, and the wide open ocean. Only in Alaska everything is bigger and more rugged. I always say that Kodiak is like Maine on steriods.

One exception, however is our 'lakes'. In Maine they would be termed 'ponds'. I miss the skating expeditions on the big lakes in Maine. We'd skate 10 miles down a lake and then eat lunch and head home up the other side. Lots of big lakes to explore all within a short drive. Here we only 3 ponds of any size, and it does get a little boring going round and round the perimeter. Not that a lot beats skating on Abercrombie at sunset!

This photo is of my Mom and stepfather, George, skating back to the car at sunset on Damriscotta Lake sometime in the early 1990s. Damriscotta is a big lake on the coast of Maine. The ice looks pretty good too.

VILDA Digital Photo Archive

i f you are interested in old photos of Kodiak, or of anywhere in Alaska for that matter, you should check out the VILDA digital archive ('s an archive of images from various Alaskan Museums with a search engine. I am hoping to eventually get the Alutiiq Museum's photos onto it (this will not be happenning soon!).

Here is a photo I found there of Frye-Bruhn ranch near where the airport is today. I bet Bruhn and Frye Points at the head of Womens Bay were named after these families! The Photo was taken soon after the 1912 Katmai eruption by the National Geographic team on it's way to the Alaska Peninsula to check out the Volcano that erupted. This was the largest volcanic eruption anywhere in the World in the 20th century and it deposited several feet of ash on the city of Kodiak - almost 100 miles from the volcano itself. While in Kodiak they also studied the effects of the Katmai ash on local vegetation. I have some of those reports and many of these images can also be found in them.

Each image comes with quite a bit of information - here is the accompanying data for this photo.

Collection Name: National Geographic Society. Katmai Expeditions. Photographs, 1913-1919. UAA-HMC-0186
Identifier: UAA-hmc-0186-volume1-3546
Title: Drifts of ash at the Frye-Bruhn ranch south of Kodiak.
Description: Title taken from caption. View of an ash drift against a building and fences on the Frye-Bruhn ranch, Kodiak Island, Alaska. Photo taken during National Geographic Society expedition on the way to Katmai area. 1915.
Creator: Griggs, Robert F. (Robert Fiske), b. 1881
Subject.TGM: Fences
Expedition photographs
Expeditions & surveys
Subject.LCSH: Volcanic ash, tuff, etc.
Corporate Name: National Geographic Society (U.S.)
Location: Kodiak Island (Alaska)
Region: Western Alaska and Aleutian Islands
Time Period: 1913 to 1939
Date.original: 1915
Type: Image (Photographs)
Related Materials:
Ordering & Use:
Holding Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage. Consortium Library. Archives & Special Collections. 3211 Providence Dr. Anchorage, AK 99508

Monday, February 26, 2007

Similarities Between Stuart and Nora?

Many people have asked if there are similarities between Nora and Stuart in appearance, and I'd say there definitely is. Nora is on the bottom, Stuart on the top. Nora had about 2X as much hair as Stuart at birth but their noses, cheeks, face shape and eyes are simliar.

Nora continues to make progress with transitioning every day. I'd say she is almost "back to normal" for a toddler! She has her occasional temper tantrums, but I think they're more about being tired/hungry than having much to do with Stuart.

I'm feeling OK...felt wiped out over the weekend. A bit drained of energy, fluids, sleep....but doing better today. A friend brought by a DELICIOUS pot roast for dinner this evening which hit the spot. (ZAS)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Karluk - Always Changing

This weekend I've spent my spare time scanning Clyda Christensen's slides (all 400 of them) from Karluk in the 1950s. Karluk is a small village situated on the Southwest corner of Kodiak Island. Really an amazing collection of images. I used photoshop to stitch together two of Clyda's images from 1957 and realized it depicted the same view of the Karluk spit as another well-known image from the Albatross Collection in the National Archives taken around 1890.

Back in 1890 the Karluk spit was home to a number of canneries and the river was one of the top producers of salmon in the world. The canneries imported chinese labor, and Karluk River salmon was exported far and wide.

By the 1950's most of the canneries on the spit had been torn down or swept away in winter storms. Karluk was no longer the major commercial hub it had once been, and quite a few of the local Alutiiq had moved to the nearby village of Larsen Bay.

Around 1980 a major storm breached the spit and over the ensueing 20 years the river slowly eroded away the rest of the spit. The canneries of the Karluk spit are now all gone. The modern day village of Karluk is now situated about a mile inland on the south side of the Karluk lagoon.

I spent my first summer in Alaska (1985) as a field hand helping to excavate the prehistoric village at the base of the upriver end of the bluff on the right side of the photo (the little spit that sticks out with houses on it). Since 1985 the entire site has been demolished by the river. I can't wait to get back to Karluk and take another photo of the same view from the exact same spot as Clyda stood in 1957. I'll then have three photos spanning 120 years documenting how the spit has changed.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rose Tead Lake Skate

This morning John and I drove out the road to Pasagshak and went for a skate on Rose Tead Lake. I don't know why we don't do this more often. Scenic drive out the road and a fairly large lake to explore. Flat calm and sunny. The mountains shining white all around, and the hillside falling steeply right down to the lake. At the outlet to the lake we scared up 11 tundra swans and they circled over head honking. Those are big birds!

Mother of 2

The dust is finally starting to settle from our transition last week. Phew! Nora makes huge gains every day with her tolerance for Stuart and is more and more interested in him. She is beginning to cruise around the house like she used to before-rather than focus on me and what I am doing with Stuart.

My energy has been fairly good...I go to bed at 9 pm and wake at 7 with Nora. With Stuart waking every few hours to feed, I am still able to get 7 hours of sleep or so, which feels great. Stuart only cries if he needs his diaper changed or if he is hungry-so I'm not up all hours at night, thank heavens.

Patrick said the other day that having 2 kids isn't quite as difficult as he expected it to be. That was reassuring to hear. People locally have been so wonerful with bringing dinners by and stopping in to hang out. Gosh I love Kodiak. The doctor who delivered Stuart, Dr. Walters, has followed his care-from his ER visit to his 2 week visit. She is just fantastic.

All in all, things are smooth. Just trying to keep my nose above water with drinking enough fluids, eating enough, getting general household stuff done and tending to the kids. There are moments which test my patience, but I seem to have vast amounts of patience which I never knew I had! Amazing how that happens. (ZAS)

Friday, February 23, 2007

On thick Ice

Nora, John Mahoney, the dogs and I hiked down to Abercrombie and went skating today. Pretty darn good ice! I was amazed at how well the BOB stroller worked as an ice machine. Nora loved it when I'd skate backwards just in front of her. She also liked the way the dogs had a hard time 'cornering' on the ice. Roxy kept on sprawling out and Nora would roar with laughter. Tomorrow John and I plan to go out to Pasagshak and skate on Rose Tead Lake. I think I'll even bring along the skimbat. Not sure if we'll bring along Nora or the dogs.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stuart Doing Well-2 week Check up

I have a few minutes to write-things are going well here at the homestead. Stuart continues to be a pretty mellow guy. He had his 2 week check up today and he is gaining weight beautifully-so I don't have any concerns about continuing to tandem nurse. I thought that if he wasn't gaining weight, I would reconsider my decision to continue to nurse Nora.

I believe nursing Nora has helped make this transition easier on her. Many people have said that if I wasn't nursing Nora it would've been easier on her, but its hard to know what would've happened. All I know is that 5 days after coming home with Stuart, she is doing amazingly well. Such huge gains in her behavior every day. Pretty amazing how well she has adjusted considering a new person is in her mommy and daddy's life.

Being a mom of 2 is fun and SO busy....Stuart is waking-gotta go nurse him. More to come later.... (ZAS)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Living Large on the South End

It looks like I'll be heading up an archaeological survey again this year on the South End of Kodiak. The last few years the Alutiiq Museum has been conducting archaeological surveys for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The USF&WS needs to know where all the archaeological sites on the Kodiak National Wildlife Rufuge are located and their current condition for management purposes. This means the museum gets to do some cutting edge archaeological research and I get to go to some cool places. Over the last couple years we've surveyed the Uganik River, Ayakulik and Red Rivers, Paramonoff Bay, Chirikof Island, and the Olga Lakes.

These photos are from our survey last spring on Upper Olga Lake and River. It looks like we'll be returning to survey Lower Olga Lake and River this coming May!. Incredible place. Lots of archaeological sites to map - the old house pits are very clear and we map them all - and beautiful scenery. The fishing is not bad either.

The top photo is of me with a Steelhead - a rainbow trout that migrates every spring back from the lake out to the ocean. The next photo is of Mark and Catherine on survey looking for sites on Upper Olga Lake. The next two show what our living conditions are like back at camp. Our cook tent is a teepee with a wood stove (tent and stove weigh around 12 pounds total). For greens we eat nettles and fireweed cooked with SPAM, and we also fry up the occasional rainbow trout. Finally the last one shows the landscape down there - that's the Olga Lakes down below.

Beautiful - I can't wait to get back!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iguana Baby....Trip to the ER for Zoya and Stuart

Ahhh...enough adrenaline for one day. This morning Stuart was difficult to rouse, and his breathing seemed slower than normal AND his nailbeds were blue. I was worried he was declining in respiratory function...I called the clinic and they encouraged me to take him to the ER.

Upon arrival there, they whisked me back with him, checked his vitals and he is in good shape. Thank heavens. He is a very mellow different than Nora. After his NICU stay, I was extra concerned...the nurses at the ER completely understood and gave me more info on what to look for if I am worried about him declining in respiratory function.

Patrick has nicknamed him Iguana Baby-earlier when I asked him to check on Stuart when he was sleeping Patrick said his slow movements of his arms in his sleep reminded him of an Iguana. And he is quite peaceful and still. I am used to the colic/gas that Nora had the first months of life-so different than Stuarts mellow temperment!!

Nora cried only 25% of the day today. Making progress every day...thank heavens!! What a big adjustment for her. (ZAS)

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Tad Bit Better Today

It was still a rough day today, but MUCH better than yesterday. Today I was actually able to hold Stuart a few timeswithout Nora shrieking on the top of her lungs. She continues to want to be near me/on me/nursing me while my attention is with Stuart.

In this photo, Nora's eyes look puffy from so much crying, but we had a fun lunch together...I made "Gulp, Gulp" noises which she laughed at. I think in a matter of days there will be significant improvement with Nora. Patrick is good at helping divert her attention and he is VERY patient when she loses it!! More patient than me---I think right now my biological "feed the baby"-mommy instincts have kicked in...I am only able to console her so much while I'm feeding Stuart. She will soon learn to take advantage of time when I'm sitting with Stuart as time that she and I can read together.

I have a 17 year old girl (senior in high school...she only has 1 online class to take this semester) helping in the mornings with Nora, Stuart and I. This morning she was a HUGE help! She took Nora on a walk, made lunch and helped with household tasks. Boy am I thankful she was here! Stuart needed a lot of nursing time this morning.

Here Meg holds Stuart while I enjoy lunch with Nora.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Tad Unhappy

Not everyone at 4002 Cliffside has been overjoyed with Stuart's arrival. Nora has had a tough time coping with the shared affection. Still she does 'kissy, kissy' Stuart, and we have hopes that all will be well in a few days. Daddy is definetly taking on more of a role in her life. Nora is quite good at letting us know her feelings.. . ..

Gregg & Lisa - Year Ago Today .. .. .

One year ago today Lisa and Gregg got married on top of Pilar Mountain. And Gregg has been a cheerful guy ever since. Thank you Lisa!

Today we celebrated their aniversary skiing on Pyramid. Pretty darn good snow. Lisa is skiing the steeps like a rock star.

Morning Photos of Stuart

Domestic Bliss. .. .. The Pack is Back!

Nursing both kiddos upon my arrival home. Thankfully Nora hadn't weaned herself in the 12 days I was gone. As she nursed she looked over at Stu with curiosity. They both nursed for a good 15 minutes together.

A few temper tantrums from Nora this morning and last night. I can tell there will be an adjustment period....she seems fine until I pick up Stuey then the tears flow. Poor kiddo. Her world has been turned upside down.

Our first family photo upon our arrival home. Our friends Katie and Matt brought by some homemade chocolate chip cookies as we drove up-they snapped the photo. The plane ride was smooth (Stu slept the entire way) and boy did it feel good to get home!! (ZAS)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heading Home!

Yesterday we got the clear to go home! Last night I spent the night with him at the hospital in a mommy/baby room. Bonnie brought yummy Mexican food and we ate as we watched Stuey sleep, free of monitors and lines. Last night my sleep was fragmented but wonderful. And I think Stuey slept hard, in the peace of our room. I realized it was his first time sleeping in peace-without beeps and monitors.

Yesterday evening as I sat there nursing Stuey in the NICU, there was an admit from a life flight in the level 3 NICU, where Stuey was admitted. I watched as they brought in the "environmental Bubble" isolette and the team of nurses and doctors began their evaluation. It brought a flood of reminders of the uncertainty when I first arrived and reminded me of when Stuey was admitted. I was so glad to be at the end of the stay, and was grateful to sit there and nurse my healthy boy.

It was a tearful goodbye this morning to the NICU nurses. They are just amazing people and so wonderful at what they do. They took such good care of Stuey. I'm forever grateful to them. They made our 9 days in the NICU as smooth as it possibly could have gone.

Many people have asked if Stuey will be able to see people, and he will. Because of his course of respiratory care, the nurses encouraged me to have people wash their hands or use purelle hand sanitizer before holding Stuey. They suggested doing this for 2 months, so I"ll have purelle always handy. Hand washing is by far the largest way to avoid spreading of infection.

I head back to Kodiak this afternoon-Oh I can't wait to see Patrick and Nora. Now I"m off to pack my bags....and stare at Stuey. :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Early trip to NICU-Stuey's night progress

Just returned from a 3 AM milk run to the NICU. Nurse ALexis called to report that she was almost out of pumped milk in the fridge. When I checked yesterday, there were several bags there....this meant that he has been eating like a champ all night!!

After arriving to Stuey's station with more milk, I saw him without any nasal cannula on! Yeah! No more oxygen!! He will have it off from here on out and the staff will see how he does for 12-24 hours. If it goes well, the nurse practitioner and Alexis said that I'll be able to "room in" with him tonight! He'd be off all monitors and he and I would have our own routine. The nurses would just make sure I am confident with his care (which of course, I am....). He also doesn't have an antibiotics site on his arm-thank heavens. Looked totally uncomfortable-so thats gone.

He was in a cute little striped outfit with the nasal cannula stickers still on his face. Alexis said they'll wait to remove those just to make sure he doesn't need more.

So at this rate we could be coming home this weekend! Yeah! I"ll see what each day brings, however. I have to remind myself that its not a race, we're not in a rush. Yes, I"m eager to get home and see my (WONDERFULLY SUPPORTIVE!!!) friends and Patrick and Nora but I want Stuey to be 100% healthy.

I can't wait to pick my little Stuey up with monitor lines, O2 lines, etc...It'll make diaper changing a breeze as well!!

OFf to get more zzzz'ss....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Long Day...continuing to make progress

I just left Stuart in the hands of a great friend and NICU nurse, Alexis Furin. I went to high school with her husband, Buck, and she works night at the NICU. I requested that Stuey have her earlier today and was TICKLED PINK that she is his nurse. There is nothing more comforting than to have his care in her hands. The nights are the hardest for me to leave him and tonight it was so much easier knowing she would be with him.

Ahhhh...what a long day. I need to do some serious cucumber slices or cold compresses to help the puffiness in my eyes. Talk about major cry fest...over and over again. For some reason today I was more emotionally exhausted than I've ever been. I think the closer Stuart gets to discharge, the more excited I get about getting him home and the harder it is to leave him in his little bassinett. I just want to scoop him up and make a great escape. Also, the more time that goes by, the more bonded and attached to him I am. Today it was all put into perspective, however, when the mom of the baby next to me told me her daughter has been in the NICU for 1 month already and she probably has 5 more weeks. The baby was 1 lb 7 oz at birth...pretty amazing. I think the mom said she was born at 23 weeks or so. The baby is in a covered, dark unit-she had me peek in and see her little girl. It makes my emotions about Stuey's uncertain discharge date seem silly, as families wait weeks and months to take their little ones home.

Stuey is on such a small amount of room air flow oxygen and his oxygen saturations did much better this evening during feedings. AND he was much more alert for this evening's feeding...looking around and he fed for longer. He seems to be feeling better. Many people (including Alexis) think that he looks like me-especially the eyes.

Today I had lunch with Cathy and Mike which was fun. Felt good to get outside, go for a drive, have a yummy Monte Cristo Sandwich at an Anchorage Deli and visit with them before they head back to Homer. They were on their way home from a trip to Tucson. Then tonight I was blessed with a visit from my sister, Bonnie. She gave me her shoulder to cry on and after I was feeling much better she got yummy Thai food which we ate in the hospital cafeteria.

Patrick is so supportive. He reminded me that things are going well on the homefront and that he and Nora are doing well and to not feel rushed to come home or feel bummed if Stuey needs a few more days. I'm getting things lined up for discharge (car seat, CPR refresher, discharge planning videos, etc....) so when the time comes I"ll be ready. Gosh I can't wait to get home. Talking to patrick today was fun cause I could hear Nora babbling in the background. She was making sounds which I've never heard before. Amazing how 1 week can be such progress in her speech!

Off to bed to catch some zzzz's before my 6 AM trip to the hospital to feed Stuey.

Thursday Morning Update

Yesterday was a long, but good day for Stuart and I. With him nursing so frequently, I am called to his side every 2-3 hours by the nurses. He tends to fall asleep nursing and last night before I went to bed the nurse noted his weight was significantly down. It is primarily because it takes more effort to nurse than bottle feed. Last night his nurse gave him bottles every 2 hours or so and he ate a LOT. Thank heavens. He was probably thrilled to not have to work so hard for his food! He seemed so tired yesterday. Poor little guy.

Every night by 8 or 9 I have such a hard time leaving him. I am eager to be able to sleep by his side. There is a possibility that tonight I can "room in" with him, where they give me a hospital room and he can be next to me in his bassinett. We'll just play it by ear and see how his oxygen needs do today. Its amazing how he can make significant progress in a matter of hours. His day nurse yesterday noted that in the last 5 hours of her shift, his oxygen needs decreased significantly. He is barely on any oxygen now. Its such a good thing.

Where I'm staying has been so convenient-Providence House. Its like a hotel-except without the maid service (which I prefer) and rooms which are meagerly furnished. For instance, on my bed there is a top sheet as a bottom sheet. I am forever rearrangeing it to get it to stay on my bed. The best part about the house is how close to the hospital-a 2 minute walk. I'm at Stuey's side within 5 minutes if they call (I have to wash my hands for 2 minutes before seeing him-standard protocol).

The bad part about the house I discovered is when people cook strong smelling foods and it sits in the house all day. Yesterday evening I smelled like a deep fried fish stick. The smell was sooooooo strong-there was a group deep frying som bad smelling fish. When I got up to my room the smell had permeated even through the register and I could faintly smell it up there. I know in the grand scheme of things its no big deal, but I found the whole thing kinda funny. Definitely did not get my appetite for deep fried fish going!! Also, I'm not terribly inclined to use the well equipped, large communal kitchen because I don't want to make small talk with the other people here. I know it sounds rude, but I don't have the energy. Also, I don't feel like having to clean up a big cooking mess. The less energy expended, the better at this point! The cafeteria food at the hospital is pretty good, fortunately.

I spoke with Dr. Johnson yesterday-he was on call when Stuey was admitted and has been followig Stuey's care in the NICU. Easy going guy-easy to talk to. We discussed Stuey's progress and at the end of the conversation I thanked him for his expertise and care for Stuart. He smiled and said, "Oh, we give your baby extra special attention." He was kidding, of course. I have found all of the doctors to be very approachable on the unit as well as ALL Of the staff. Dr. Johnson thinks that in 2 or 3 more days we'll be on our way. Today is Stuey's last day of a 7 day antibiotic course and we'll see how the oxygen weaning goes.

Now to call Patrick, see how and he and Nora are this morning. I can't wait to be back in the thick of our family breakfast routine in Kodiak. :) Little Nora running around ready for breakfast, NPR on the radio, Patrick analyzing all of his weather sites for the day figuring out what kind of skiing to do....I appreciate the simplicity of that morning time so much more now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Little Valentine

Its Valentines Day! And I"m still away from Patrick. :( But I have a little guy who will be my Valentine for the day here in Anchorage....he has a bit of dark hair, smiles in his sleep and just gets cuter by the day-his name is Stuey!!

Always good to start my day with time with Stuart! He looks good this morning and sounds like he ate several ounces several times throughout the night. His appetite is kicking in. I was glad he took a bottle from the nurses....saves me night trips to the NICU! I was able to sleep from 10-3, pump, then 3:30-5:15. Pretty darn good sleep!

Yesterday I was feeling pretty physically zonked by evening-I could feel a possible cold coming on. This is NOT a good time to get a cold. I'm not sure I'd even be allowed into the NICU with a cold. They have amazing health restrictions-no one admitted with cough, cold, runny nose, etc...Its good they are so strict. Before entering the unit we have to wash our hands for 2 minutes with a timer-from fingers to elbows. All visitors, employees, etc...
This morning I'm feeling better with no true cold symptoms. Thank heavens.

Spoke with the nurse practitioner, Ann,this morning who has been following Stuey upon his arrival. Sounds like they go slowly and let the baby take the lead with weaning from oxygen. She said its possible that he will go home with a bit of a higher respiratory rate than normal-but one of the final steps is for him to have decreased oxygen need. So it could be a few more days. As I told her, I want him to take his time, get totally better and I'm just so thrilled to be breastfeeding him. I think before I was breastfeeding him I was ancy for more/faster progress.He has been through a lot this past week-and may need a bit more to recouperate (sp?). I'm excited to see what today brings for him and I.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday Eve update

Another great day of progress for Stuart. More good dirty diapers, great breastfeeding....nurse Carol would call every 3 or so hours when he would start waking and I would be there within minutes to feed him. Feels so great to finally be able to breastfeed. He is still on a tiny amount of oxygen-and his respirations are still faster than normal. Hard to tell how much longer he'll be here. I figure if its 1 day or 3 days or 5 days...its whatever he needs. As the nurses say, the little ones dictate the weaning process from the oxygen. They're the bosses!

It seems that by 8 or 9 at night I get more wiped out and emotional about him being in the hospital. Today I did well until I got ready to leave him for the night. He lay there in his little bed with the oxygen tube in, little red spots on his face from random bandages which have been removed in the past several days and I get sad. I hate to leave him all night. But I know I would run ragged if I went in every 3 hours at night. So the nurses said they'll bottle feed him and they'll call me if he refuses that. I don't want him fed through the tube in his nose anymore-now that he can breastfeed. Hopefully the tube will be gone by morning.

Today he had a nurse who has had him for 3 day shifts of his hospital stay. Nurse Carol. She took such good care of him. She doesn't work again till Saturday and hopefully we'll be gone by then. But if we're still here, I imagine he would (hopefully) be on her caseload again. All the nurses are so amazing with their work. They handle the babies so well and are wonderfully compassionate and supportive. I admire the work they do. So many monitors and lights and crying babies to respond to.

Talked to Patrick a couple times today-sounds like he is tempted to start dipping into Nora's dirty clothes pile for Nora's outfits. I would suggest he do laundry, except that he has broken the handle on our washing machine twice and I'm scared it would happen again.

The repair guy was over just a few days before I left fixing it. He ordered 1 more additional handle which is in our cabinet-I think he knows it could quite possibly happen again. Smart repair guy!! Patrick has a bit of history of trying to force the door open when it is on the "lock" mode. I think he sort of likes that hes not encouraged to do laundry now!! I just don't want Nora running around in grubby clothes. But I guess in the grand scheme of things, its not a big deal.

I've been thinking about her hair and combing it, too. It probably has a little rats nest in it. I'll do some work with the hair detangler spray when I get home and I'm sure she'll be fine. Funny how some of these little house details creep into my mind now and then!

Off to bed to get some zzzzz's and can't wait to see little Stuey bright and early in the morning.

Nora News from the Homefront




Tuesday Morning Bliss

What a good way to start my day! I went into the NICU this morning and the night nurse suggested we try breastfeeding, so we did. She watched his respirations decrease quite a bit over the night (he LOVES tummy sleeping) and felt comfortable giving breastfeeding a go. She said, "We'll see how his stats do and go from there." Sure enough, Stuart latched right on, nursed away blissfully. His oxygen saturations went UP, his respirations went DOWN (very good thing too) and he is a champion nurser.

I have the cell phone on all the time now waiting for her call to let me know he is hungry again. There is a possibility he may have to go under bilirubin lights for jaunice....but I hope not. :( :( we'll know more later today. No biggie, its just that he'll have to wear little guy sunglasses and be under a lamp, etc...just more intervention. His blood tests later today will dictate what they do.

Anyhow, just a GREAT start to today. I've been waiting for the moment I can breastfeed....I"m so thrilled.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday update...from Zoya

Another day of good progress for Stuart. He is fully fed from breastmilk now via a tube which goes straight to his stomach. Prior to this, he was given supplemental electrolytes,glucose and vitamins through IV. He has feedings every 3 hours and during the day I hold him for these, chnange his diaper, take his temperature. His nurse today was excellent....she had him in a little blue and white striped outfit-his first time in clothes. I loved seeing him in a little outfit.

His oxygen needs also continue to decrease but his respirations remain higher than normal still. The nurses explain how this is his way of "fighting off" whatever it is that caused this....whether it be a slight pneumonia or something else. He is still on antibiotics for 2 more days.

Today he is looking so much more relaxed. He gets that "punch drunk love" look after a feeding where he has the reflexive smile in his sleep and he looks so relaxed. It is the first day he has done this. I think up till this point he has been working so hard on breathing and healing that he hasn't been able to "kick back and relax".

I continue to do fairly well. Today I ventured out to a store to buy some hairclips. My sister Bonnie loaned me her car. Bless her heart. It felt good to go for a drive. THe salesgirl said, "So, when are you due?". I smiled and said, "Oh, I had my baby 4 days ago." She looked at me with a blank look and didn't know what to say. I could see she was thinking...."I"m never going to ask someone that question again."....I wasn't bummed...heck-I look 20 weeks pregnant. I thought it was pretty funny actually.

I appreciate the phone calls of support and words of encouragement. Every once in a while I get waves of sadness, but for the most part I"m doing very well. And when I do get a wave of sadness, I call someone and it helps to let the tears flow. The nurse today said, "Zoya, lets face've got a chubby, otherwise healthy, wonderful, strong baby boy who is just needing some extra time for his lungs to kick into gear." I appreciated her telling me this. :)

Patrick continues to do amazing on the homefront...and he is going to get added support from friends this week for taking Nora in the afternoon so he can get his exercise in....thanks to Claudia, Alexis, Marias....his exercise will help him get through this week of single parenting. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful people around us!! Nora is donig so many new things since I left. Its going to be so fun to see all the changes that occur in 10-14 days!! I miss her and Patrick so badly. I can't wait for our little family unit to be under one roof once again.

Off to bed....I'll be up at 5:30 for Stuey's 6:15 feeding. Can't wait to begin my day with him tomorrow!

Thoughts from Zoya

It sure is hard seeing my little guy still hooked up to antibiotics and tubes. When I go visit him there is often a little shock time where I have to re-adjust myself to the fact that he is still a sick little guy needing oxgen, IV pokes, etc....the nurses remind me that he won't remember any of it. He is such a trooper, I tell you!

I was able to look through his chart this morning and see the docs dictations on him from the past several days. Seems like they are treating a myriad of symptoms and calling it possible Respiratory distress syndrome, possible pneumonia (being treated with 4 MORE days of antibiotics...). Doesn't seem to be one clear, Angels-coming-down-from-the-sky-type-of-diagnosis. Good news is that he contniues to decrease his O2 needs. Now we just want his respiratory rate to go down so I can begin breastfeeding.

People have been so fantastically supportive! Yesterday Ingrid Kubiak visited ( a friend from my childhood in Kodiak). She brought her camera and took the wonderful photos you saw on the website yesterda. Thanks Ingrid! It was good to catch up with her-its been years since we've seen eachother.

I saw Brian Davis and his sister. They took me to Mooses Tooth for lunch and we had fun conversation and I had my first beer in LONG time. Raspberry wheat. Boy was it yummy!!!

My sister, Brother in law and nephews have blessed me with MANY visits, many meals, a car.....they've been amazing. So supportive and loving. Bonnie made a pharmacy run the second day I was here for various odds and ends I needed...bless her heart.

Last night I saw Buck and Alexis Furin who both live in Anchorage. Buck is a childhood friend and Aleis is his wife AND a night nurse in the NICU. So its been good to have a familiar face in the unit on night shifts. We're hoping we can arrange to have Stuey on her schedule on her next shift. That'd be super.

Everyone who has come by has seen little Stuey, so thats been fun.

Yesterday when I held Stuart, he opened his eyes big and wide and looked around for about half an hour. IT was wonderful! It brought tears to my eyes, as I realized it was the first time I had seen him with him looking around like that! He has been sleeping and healing So Hard the past few days. Lets just say I was in HEAVEN being able to look into his eyes.

And Patrick is Daddio Fabbio in Kodiak. Man, I picked a good man for a husband. He is doing so wonderfully with Nora. When we talk I get the daily update of what Nora ate (or didn't eat) for various meals, what cabinets, books etc, she is getting into, what she did to the dog....dirty diaper update, I love hearing all the details. And I can't wait to get home with Stuart. Two days ago, it suddenly dawned on my "I"m a mother of 2 kids". I think for several days there I have been so focused on Stuart that it hadn't dawned on me yet that in a few days I'll be a mom at home with 2 kids. Our family is complete!

As for me- I'm doing well and taking care of myself. I"m getting good sleep, resting, eating and taking it slow. The staff is VERY supportive and wonderful here and seeing family and friends has be sooo great. Helps break the day up a bit and it is good to see people I haven't seen for a while! (ZAS)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hello from Anchorage-From Zoya

I found a computer station here at Providence House where I"m staying, so I can give a little update on Stuart and I.

Stu is making great daily progress....still on oxygen but he is gradually decreasing his need for the nasal canula.

He is being my milk via tube to his stomach and the volume of those feedings increase all the time. He is tolerating it well and hopefully in the next day or two we can begin breastfeeding. We are just waiting for his respiration rate to come down a bit so he can manage the complex action of feeding.

I"m able to hold him a lot now, which makes me SO happy. He is like putty in my arms. One of the nurses called him "little dumpling" which I loved as a nickname! The staff here really is amazing-all so helpful, knowledgeable and supportive.

I"m doing well and giving myself lots of down time to sleep and rest. Before I left Kodiak, the nurses made me PROMISE that I would take care of myself so I would then be able to take good care of Stuart. Best advice ever, I must say. I"m feeling stronger every day as I recover from labor and delivery. The nurses don't expect me to be at his bedside all the time, as he is still healing and needs periods of low stimulus to rest.

Every day there are big changes and hopefully we'll be home by next weekend. Seems like a reasonable goal and the neonatologist said he thought that by Sat/Sun we'll perhaps be on our way. We'll take it day by day.

I'm so thankful for everyones love and support. It has made all of this much easier. My labor/delivery in Kodiak went WONDERFULLY and I had 6 fantastic friends in there with me as Stuart came into the world. I feel so blessed to have such fantastic people in my life who were so helpful in supportive in those hours following his birth. They got me going and supported me as I headed off to Anchorage 12 hours after delivery.

I"m off to rest, then to see Stuey for dinner (ZAS).






Saturday, February 10, 2007






Friday, February 09, 2007

Stuart Doing Great

Zoya tells me that Stuart is doing great. One of the healthiest babies in the NICU. She even got to hold him for almost an hour this morning (which is something they only allow when a baby is doing well). They've narrowed down his problem to one of two disorders - more tests this afternoon - and neither is considered a long-term threat. Zoya has a room at providence house right next to the hospital, and should be back on kodiak in 4 to 5 days. Meanwhile I will continue to hold down the fort. Nora is doing great, and seems to dig the extra attention from Daddy.

One thing about Kodiak is the small town support system. In the bottom photo is Zoya's 'support team' (Katie St John is missing from the photo) who helped Zoya through the whole labor and delivery, and then stuck with her well on into the night while we waited for the plane to Anchorage to touch down at the foggy Kodiak airport.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital were great too. It really is a relief to know and trust your doctors even before you get to the hospital. We already knew them outside of the hospital setting. Both Andi Olsen and Laura Walters (upper photo) were at Nora's birth too, and we knew we could trust them. How often, in this day and age, does one doctor deliver both of your children? They did a great job and really helped us through some tough moments. PGS

Stuart's Update

Stuart and Zoya are in Anchorage and Stuart is doing much better. Zoya sounds well (amazingly chipper in fact - she even got a 2 hour cat nap) and tells me the nurses are all excited about Stuart's size. They still have him on oxygen but he is no longer doing the chest heaving thing. Zoya is excited to try some breast feeding this afternoon.

She also tells me that Stuart seems to like flying in airplanes - I gather he calmed down and caught some Zs on the trip to Anchorage. Maybe a future fighter pilot or astronaut? Actually in light of recent events perhaps we'll discourage the astronaut thing. Patrick

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stuart's Arrival

Zoya delivered Stuart at 2:37 this afternoon. He weighed 7 lb 11 oz (just over 3 kilos for the metrically inclined scientific types out there) and is 20.5 inches long. He's a healthy and good looking baby (if I do say so myself), but he is having a hard time getting oxygen from his lungs into his bloodstream. This means he is having to breath real hard to just keep up. So he's off to Anchorage with Zoya for a little intensive care.

I'll be holding down the fort with Nora and the dogs. The last 2 days it has been just me and Nora while Zoya has been at the hospital. Good bonding time.

And as regards the poll .. .. .. I was at home taking care of Nora when Zoya gave birth (no basketball on TV, beer or Mike Pfeffer). But rushed in to the hospital to see Zoya and Stuart immediately afterwards.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Mom's Birthday

Today is my my mom's is a photo taken during a family reunion in Lake Placid New York in 2002. I thought it would be fun to deliver Stuey on moms birthday, but looks like it won't be happening...(seeing that I"m only 37 weeks along and not in labor at this moment....) I'll hope for a Baby Stuey Valentines Day Delivery. :) (ZAS)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Nora enjoying the beach

In this photo if you look closely you can see our house on the cliff behind Nora. The window has white trim and the red house is mostly obscured by spruce trees. (PGS)

Mill Bay Beach Near our House

This morning I had a bit of cabin fever so Patrick, myself, Nora and the dogs took a walk down to the beach. Such a gorgeous beach right within walking distance which we don't take advantage of nearly enough. Our house is on the cliff right behind myself and Nora in the photo.

Nora dug in the sand with her little "paw" gloves on. And she LOVES watching the dogs retrieve sticks in the water. Squeals of laughter. Felt good to get outside on such a gorgeous, crisp day in Kodiak. (ZAS)

Snow & Fog

It's been rainy and warm lately in Kodiak, but yesterday it finally dawned sunny and cold. Gregg and I headed up into the mountains for a day of ptarmigan hunting and touring. All the recent wet weather hung around as a glorious ground fog that made for some good visuals. Skiing was pretty icy, but on the steep, south-facing slopes we did find some sun-warmed spring corn snow.

To finish out the day, Gregg and I thought it might be a good idea to ski out the South Bowl of Pyramid to the road. So we climbed up the North side of Pyramid. Turned out to be a nightmare climb. Too icy to skin up, and we had to kick in boot tracks in the steep sections. I was scared I'd slip and slide back all the way to the bottom of the valley. Gregg dropped his sunglasses and they did just that, and he never did find them. But in the end, the run to the road was glorious and well worth the effort. (PGS)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Direct Flights to Seattle

These days the airport may seem a little bigger and the planes a little more high tech - but I'm not sure that travelling by air has gotten any better. In the old days there were flights from Kodiak direct to Seattle. The planes even had bunks for sleeping. It was more like taking the ferry or a train. Maybe a little slower, but hey, it was direct, and far more civilized. No TSA, mangled luggage, endless questions, removal of shoes, and long lines.

This photo was taken of the Kodiak 'PNA' terminal around 1950 by Don Clark. The photo is currently stored at the Alutiiq Museum. (PGS)