The birth of my two preemies

If this is your first time here, please read McKenzie's and Avery's birth stories!

McKenzie's birth story

Avery's birth story

Friday, December 31, 2010

my last blog of 2010

This year has been a crazy rides of higher than highs and lower than lows. When I started the year 2010 I said I said i wanted it to be better than 2009, and it was by far.  I experienced every emotion under the sun and my amazing husband was by my side through it all.
- Chloe turning 2
- McKenzie turning 1/march of dimes walk
- finding out i was pregnant
- buying a new (well used) car
- Avery being born breathing
- celebrating my 3rd wedding anniversary
- celebrating my nephews 2nd birthday
- being in the NICU (i have met some AMAZING people)

- Avery being born premature
- unexpected car repairs
- over $400 spent in gas to and from the hospital (thus far)
- hospital bed rest (even though it was just a short stay)
- being in the NICU, it is an exhausting experience
- splitting the holidays
- a friend passed away

My sister and I are closer than we have ever been, and I am truly thankful for her. When i went into the hospital in labor with Avery my sister was there in every way she could be. When I sent her the text that said "preping for c-section" with my hands shaking she was there. She made calls to friends that had experiences with VERY premature babies and even was able to get some preemie clothes for my little bit. 2010 has been pretty good to me, so i can't wait to see what 2011 has in store!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

rough night

tonight was rough for me so i will post my update tomorrow, but i am so thankful that I have Bernie to text and talk to.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

recipes for a cookbook

Today I received a message from a friend of mine who is also another baby loss mommy. She is making a cookbook of recipes sent in by baby loss moms and/or dads, the sale of these cookbooks will benefit the missing grace foundation. So if you are a baby loss mom and/or dad and have one you would like to send in, you can send it to me and i will pass it along.

Here is the original message:

I am making a cookbook featuring recipes from parents that have lost a baby due to miscarriage, molar pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant death up to one year of age. The cookbooks will sell for $10 a piece and all proceeds will go to the Missing GRACE Foundation. This foundation offers support to parents that have lost a baby. Would you be willing to send me a recipe (or a couple) to put in the cookbook? Also, if your husbands have their own recipes, please sent those too. Include your recipe, your name, your baby's name (if you named them), and how far along (or how old the baby was) when you lost the baby. Please pass this along to anyone that you know of who have lost a baby. Thank you so much

NICU, day 65

I know I have been a slacker in the NICU updates on here but there really hasn't been many changes and we were without internet for a week so I wasn't able to update. Anyway, I really need to do better in writing my blog and not just NICU updates but updates and just regular blogs about Chloe, Phillip and myself too. I find blogging to be a really good way to release stress and help me deal with all the emotions of life. While we were without internet Phillip took me to starbucks one night on the way to the hospital and we were playing around waiting in line in the car after we ordered. Phillip jokingly told me that he wasn't going to pay for it and I couldn't have my starbucks, and i cried. Thats right, I cried over starbucks. LOL this is exactly why i need my blog, to help me deal with life so i don't get overwhelmed and cry over starbucks! I am really curious how many people actually read these things too. I mean really, anyone could read it and i would never even know since it is public.
anyway here is tonights update....
the good:
Avery is 5lbs 15.3oz as of last night. They are talking about going down on her calories in her milk (they fortify it) because of several reasons. She is taking full feeds and not de-sating so they may try bottle feeding at every feed in the next couple of days. Since being in cloth diapers (for like 36hrs now) her butt is no longer bloody and is healing nice. We still have a chance at bringing her home this weekend, we will see.

the bad:
her blood pressure is really elevated. They are taking it more often right now because of it being elevated. Today they did an ultrasound on her kidneys and they are doing a urine catch to run a urine analysis so they can test her kidney function. We are waiting on results now.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas

Today is Christmas/9weeks/63days in the NICU. Tonight I walked around the NICU singing Merry Christmas to me because we walked in and the first thing Phillip noticed was that Avery is off of oxygen again. She is also now the size of a newborn at 5lbs 13oz. She is still in preemie size clothes and newborn clothes are HUGE on her. Tonight when we were in the NICU we dressed Avery up in her Christmas dress and took some pictures of her beautiful little self. After we took some pictures we put her in her Christmas jammies, took some pictures, fed her and then put her back in her bed.

Chloe had a pretty good Christmas too. We spent Christmas Eve at my sister's house so that Chloe, Ethan and Owen could all open their Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve and wear them to bed. We got up early on Christmas morning, Chloe was up at 6am and I was up at 5:30am. My sister made some homemade Cinnamon rolls and coffee for us (hot cocoa for the kids). Then we came to open presents with Chloe's grandma and all her other cousins. She had a great morning and loved everything.

Avery's primary nurse Bernie has really become more than a nurse to us. I told Phillip that she is one of those people that I can see myself having a lifelong friendship with. She is an amazingly caring and kind person with a heart of gold and she always knows how to make me feel better and makes sure i understand exactly what is going on. I know that when Avery is with her that she is getting the kind of care that I as her mommy would give her. I thank my lucky stars everyday that we met her.

I am a big believer in that everything happens for a reason. Through McKenzie's passing we have made some of the most amazing friends ever (thank-you HAND ladies and Susan if you read this). Now through Avery's premature birth I have gotten to make another amazing friend, and even reconnect with someone from the past (if you are reading this, thanks for also being a great nurse Jessica).

I was pretty sad today at having to split another holiday and Phillip really put it all into perspective for me. He looked at me today and told me "Better late than never honey, better late than never. We have already been through never once and if spending Christmas in the hospital means that someday we get to take her home then I will take it". He is right, so honey thank you for keeping me grounded and always knowing and loving my crazy self!

Friday, December 24, 2010

long time, no blog?

Avery is 5lbs 9oz and is down to 1L of oxygen at 23%. She is taking 50mL every feed (60mL is 2oz). She is being offered every other feed by mouth still and is starting to take more and more. She is 2months old today! Holy moly, the last 2months have flown by. She wont be home for christmas but i am doing OK with that. She is almost full term (my c/s would have been this coming tuesday at 37w) and she is starting to be more newborn like. She is WAY more alert and is even starting to get that newborn baby acne! She has so many rolls on her thighs that one is hidden and you can't see it until you take her diaper off!

i am sure that there is more that i am forgetting that i will remember and post over the next few days of getting back into the swing of things.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NICU, day 53

Nothing really new to report today. Avery is still on oxygen and still doing pretty good at taking feeds. She had her first follow up eye exam today and that looked good. She is 4lbs 13oz now and getting bigger everyday. Luckily Bernie was her nurse today. After my mini breakdown yesterday about her taking some steps backwards it was really comforting to have Bernie there, she always knows how to make me feel better. Oh and the bigger Avery gets the lighter and more red her hair gets. Her hair is going to be nowhere near the red that Chloe's is but it is going to have red in it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NICU, day 52

Tonight was a down night. I sat in the NICU and cried because i thought we were over this part but then i was slapped back to reality. Tonight when we walked in the first thing i noticed was tat Avery is back on oxygen. That in and of itself is not a big deal but she had a TON of de-sats today, that was really the straw that broke the camels back. I think i know why she had so many today though. The new order for Avery's feeds is 42mL with a bottle offered every OTHER feed. Well the day shift nurse today gave her a bottle for 2 feeds in a row and she basically let her eat until she was "full" so Avery took 45mL and then 50mL the next feed. Normally i would think that was great except for the fact that she let a baby that just came of off oxygen eat WAY more than she ever has. Avery has never even eaten that much by gavage, so i think she was just way too full because she has never had that much so then she was having trouble breathing.
My dream of having her home for Christmas is no longer even in sight. I knew that there would be ups and downs that come with the NICU journey and I know that in the grand scheme of things we have had and still have it pretty easy. On the other hand I can only get knocked down so many times before i can no longer get back up and I honestly don't know how many more times I will be able to get back up.
I hate that I am always stuck at home and when I do leave I have to be VERY aware of the time and getting back home to pump. I know Avery needs it and I know i want her to have it but I feel so trapped and stuck. I wish I could just get out, get a hair cut and and pedicure or something. I feel so down but man I have really gotten good at faking a smile.

NICU, day 51

Day 51 (monday) was a pretty amazing day. When i called during the day shift to check on Avery they told me that she had taken 25mL at one of her day shift feeds. This is big, it means that every time a bottle is offered she is taking AT LEAST 1/2 of her feed by mouth. So after Dr. Yao made his rounds he ordered her feeds to be upped to 42mL every 3hrs. When we got there after shift changed Phillip took her temp and i changed her diaper. Then i swaddled her back up and held her until her feed time. She was wide awake the entire time so we offered her a bottle and SHE ATE THE ENTIRE BOTTLE. Yep, she took her entire 42mL feed by mouth! That is the most she has ever taken by mouth, i am so proud of my baby girl. Seems like now she is on the up hill swing to coming home!

Monday, December 13, 2010

NICU, day 50

Nothing really new to report. We got to be there when they stripped her down and weighed her last night, she doesn't care. In fact I think she kind of likes being naked, LOL. Anyway, no new changes on her orders, she just really needs to learn how to eat from a bottle. Yesterday during day shift she took 25mL of her feeding and then when i was feeding her during night shift she took 20mL. She isn't taking whole feedings but we are making good progress, she is taking at least 1/2 of her feeding by mouth when the bottle is offered so i think that is pretty good. She was 4lb 10.3oz and 15in long, so she has officially doubled her birth weight in 7 weeks! I think she is definitely on the up hill slope to 5lbs which seems so crazy to me because of how small she was at birth. I still have so much to do before she comes home and i feel like i don't have the time, energy or money to do them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NICU, day 49

*** This is the blog i was going to write last night (on day 49) but was too tired***
49days already. Avery is 7 weeks old, wow I can't believe I have a 7 week old daughter! My beautiful little bit is turning more and more into a newborn and less and less like a preemie.
I can't believe how lucky I am, I have the most amazing daughters anyone could ever ask for. On the days I feel like giving up and quitting (especially pumping) Chloe and Avery both remind me that Avery is fighting in the NICU for me and I need to continue to fight for my girls. I need to keep on chugging along and keep fighting and doing what is best for my girls. Someday this entire experience will no longer be like a fresh wound and just a distant memory, but a memory that I never want to forget. Thank-you Courtnie for reminding me of that! I never realized how trying this would be, and just how many things Avery's premature birth would affect. I never realized what a strain this would put on my friendships and my marriage.

Anyway, Avery had another really good day. She took 20mL from her nipple feed during the day shift and 28mL from her nipple feed while we were there. They took her pulse ox off of her so while feeding her we can't just watch the monitor, we need to watch her face and her color. We need to know the difference in her color when she is breathing and when she is having "suck apnea" because when she comes home, those monitors are not going to come with her. She is doing amazing though and hasn't had any drops, our ONLY hurdles now are taking feeds by mouth and passing the car seat test. If feels so strange to be so close to bringing my baby girl home. I feel like when we leave the NICU for good, i will be losing a part of myself because they have now become a part of me.
Sigh, it is so bittersweet but I am really looking forward to moving on with both my baby girls by my side and their sister watching out for us!

Friday, December 10, 2010

NICU, day 48

So I guess we really are in the home stretch of our NICU stay. Avery is on a 4 baby assignment now because she is "on her way out". It is such a bittersweet feeling, I am so happy and thankful that I will *hopefully* soon be taking my healthy baby home but on the other hand we have spent the last almost 2months there and I am really going to miss going there. I have not only gotten to know the nurses but we have also gotten to know the security guards and the other staff too. Hell the castodian that comes in and cleans the NICU knows us by name.
Anyway, today I got to see Avery twice! My sister picked me up this afternoon/early evening so that she could see Avery since it is her (my sister) birthday. Avery is 4lb 4oz and doing amazing. Today during the day shift she took a full 40mL feeding by bottle! That is right, today Avery took her first full feeding by mouth. We tried to bottle feed again tonight but she was tired and only took 10mL, so they will try again later tonight. I am just amazed at my little miracle baby. So if you are reading this THANK-YOU for following Avery's story and her NICU stay and THANK-YOU to everyone who has been think of and praying for her.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

NICU, day 47

Tonight was one of the best nights i have EVER had in the NICU. We got there and the first thing we see is our baby's beautiful face with NO OXYGEN!! She is completely off of oxygen and did not have any de-sats today at all. They are now offering her a bottle for every other feed and she is actually taking feeds that way. Tonight while we were they i was able to bottle feed her and she took 30 of her 40mL feed by mouth. They didn't even gavage (her feeding tube) the last 10mL because they said that she ate until she was full and then fell asleep. She did amazing. That is the most she has ever taken by mouth and I got to be the one to do it! Such an amazing feeling. Avery is now what they call a "feeder/grower", she is only in the NICU now so that she can learn to take all her feeds by mouth. We are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel and it feels so damn good. I cannot wait to have both of my babies together with me at the same time! I am on a complete mommy high right now.

twas the night before christmas, the NICU version

I found this while googling and thought i would share.

Twas the night before Christmas, and in each isolette
Little creatures were squirming and getting all set;
Machinery sat by their bedsides with care,
In hopes that good breathing skills soon would be there.

Day shifters were home all snug in their beds,
As visions of overtime danced in their heads;
While preemies on ventilators, and some on CPAP,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap...

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
The residents woke up to see what was the matter.
Away from the sink I flew like a jet
To make sure all was well at my baby's isolette.

Some bilirubin lights with their powerful glow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to babies below,
When, there before my wondering eyes, it would seem,
Was an oversized stroller and a medical team.
With a handful of needles with which they could stick you,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nicu.

More rapid than eagles his specialists came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Nurses! Now, Residents! Now, Neonatologists!
On, Social Workers! On, Respiratory and Occupational Therapists!
From the front of the unit! To the end of the hall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Up to each baby's cribside they flew,
With the stroller full of toys, and St. Nicu too.
And then, in a twinkling, they stopped at each bed
And tucked in the babies and got them all fed.

As I looked at my baby, and was turning around,
Down our aisle St. Nicu came with a bound.
He was dressed in red scrubs, and I could instantly tell
That his clothes had an obvious hospital smell;
A bag of stuffed animals was flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
A little red pen he held tight in his teeth,
And a stethoscope encircled his neck like a wreath.

He was chubby and plump, with a few extra pounds,
And I laughed when I saw him there doing his rounds.
A turn of his clipboard and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke few words, but came straight to my side,
And running down his face was a tear he had cried.

And laying his hand on the back of my head,
He gave me a nod, and slowly he said:
"Each night you come here you're aware of the danger,
But your baby is loved by the One in the manger."

Then the medical team gave a thumbs-up and smiled
And St. Nicu placed an animal next to my child.
But I heard him exclaim, as they rolled out of sight,
"Merry Christmas, tiny baby, and have a wonderful night!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NICU, day 46

I cried at the NICU tonight, but it wasn't bad.

We walked in and I ALWAYS check the board for Avery's last name to make sure she is still where she always is, and tonight was no different. We scrubbed in and headed to room 3 and back to our little corner. Only tonight when we got there i started to panic because i didn't see an isolette where Avery is. Then i looked a little closer and felt relief because AVERY GRADUATED!! She graduated from an isolette to an open air crib and is holding her temp just fine! When i saw her swaddled laying in her big girl crib i couldn't help but cry. I was so happy and proud of Avery, my dreams of her coming home by Christmas could possibly be a reality the way she is going right now.
Avery took 20mL (half of her feeding) by mouth at her 5pm feed, then we were there for her 8pm feed and the night nurse said we could try again to mouth feed but she probably wouldn't take any because she had to work for her last feeding. Well i held her and sure enough she started to suck on the bottle. She took another 20mL for her 8pm feed!!! So 2 feeds in a row she took half of her entire feed by mouth, that is a HUGE step.
Today they weaned her down to 1L of oxygen and then tonight they weaned her down again to 1/2L. The ONLY desat she had was while i was feeding her at 8pm, she had a minor suck apnea desat and it only lasted 30seconds!

NICU, day 45

Unfortunatly we didn't get to go visit Avery last night. We got home from Sacramento around 11pm and the first thing i had to do was pump and poor Chloe was exhauted. By the time everything was said and done it was just too late to try and drive to Modesto, we would have risked Phillip falling asleep while driving at that point and it was smarter to stay home. I miss Avery though :(
I did call and get an update from her nurse though. Avery is doing great, no desats yesterday! They moved her down to just 1L of oxygen at 21% which is amazing, and looking like she will come off of the oxygen sometime soon hopefully. She is starting to be awake during feeds more, so that is a really really good thing for trying to nipple feed her. Other than that there is no other changes in her and no new orders. My baby girl is getting big but we still need to get her to take all her feeds by mouth.

Monday, December 6, 2010

NICU, day 44

OK I was too tired to write a blog last night so i will just put it all in todays update. Yesterday then moved Avery's feeding tube from her mouth to her nose so that she could get better suction when they try to bottle feed her, hopefully making her take more by mouth. Phillip went to visit and I decided to stay home and pump so that I can get my supply back up because it is seriously tanking!
Today we were able to go to see her earlier than usual because Chloe is spending the night at Nana's house. Avery is doing really well, 4lbs 4oz, so she has a full 2lb weight gain since she was born! I got to try to bottle feed her again today. She was VERY sleepy but she did end up drinking 10mL by mouth! The only problem is that when she gets a mouth feed she has "suck apnea" and forgets to breath, but hopefully she will get the hang of it soon. I am so proud of my baby girl, she is really a fighter. She is smiling so much these days, it really amazes me. They weaned her down to 21% oxygen today and she is tolerating well (with the exception of when she was bottle feeding). She got her first round of vaccinations already. Right now we just really need her to start trying and wanting to take her feeds by mouth, so if you are the praying sort please pray that she starts.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

NICU, day 42

Today was a really busy day and I have been up since 6:30am, it is currently 1am!
We didn't really get to spend a lot of time at the nicu today due to having our nephews 2nd birthday party and some other things today. Avery is doing really well. They did a chest x-ray today and he has some extra fluid (which i knew she did) so they are giving her a new diuretic instead of lasix. She should hopefully lose a little weight in the next couple of days. She is currently 4lbs 6oz though. They got the orders today for her first vaccinations and it will be 4 shots. However due to her being preemie they do her shots differently, they are spread over 2days (1 shot per shift per day). 1 hour before her shot is due they will give her a dose of Tylenol and then 30mins before each shot they will put numbing cream on her leg. She will continue to get Tylenol every 6hrs until 24hrs after her last shot was given. The best and most exciting news today is that AVERY TOOK A BOTTLE!!!!! During one of her daytime feeds (nurses are allowed to try a bottle feed one time per shift) Avery was really awake so the nurse decided to try the bottle, Avery drank 14mL out of the bottle. That is almost 1/2ounce, that is such a big deal to me and hopefully this is an upwards trend of her wanting to take a bottle. Avery also only had 1 de-sat today, and they didn't even consider it to be apnea because she was still in the upper 70s when she should be 80 and above.
All in all i would say today was definitely an up day for her, now lets just pray for many many more of these to come very soon!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

NICU, day 41

Today we got to the NICU right at shift change because we needed to bring breastmilk for her. Nicole and Candice met us there so that they could see Avery again and get to hold her.
After Candice and Nicole left we held and loved on Avery and when the time came we were allowed to try and bottle feed her her 8:30pm feeding. Well our nurse (whom we really really like) went on break and a different nurse was taking over for her while she was gone. While our nurse was on break we were attempting to bottle feed and Avery had a small drop (she was in the high 70's and she needs to be above 80) and the nurse came over. The nurse took the bottle from my hand, shoved it in Avery's mouth even though Avery was resisting. Avery choked a little, spit it all up and dropped even more. The nurse looked at me and said "well she is too young for this and not ready" and proceeded to try and take the bottle from me to put in in her tube, i told her "NO, we will wait" and the nurse walked away. ugh.

Anyway, we ended up tube feeding almost the entire feeding but i expected as much since we are just starting to introduce the bottle/breast to her. She is up to 40mL per feeding and doing well with it. Still at 2L of oxygen but down to 22% as of tonight! She had her very first eye exam today, her nerves in her eyes are immature (DUH, they are still developing). They also check for things wrong with the nerves and things like that and she is at a stage zero, meaning other than her nerves being immature there is nothing wrong with her eyes! She will continue to have an eye exam every 2 weeks and will likely continue after she gets home. She also got her first synagis shot today!

While we were in the NICU today they called over the speaker "we need a team to OR window 2" which meant there was a new baby coming in. Then not even 10minutes later there was a call "we need a team to window 1" and shortly after that "we need a team into L&D room 12". So tonight we got 3 new babies into the NICU so i hope their stay is easy and short lived. I really wouldn't wish the journey on anyone, but you make the best of what you are dealt.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NICU, day 40

We had our hand meeting tonight, which i very much enjoyed (thanks ladies). After our hand meeting i figured i would be a little late to Avery's feed but could still try and breastfeed because her feed is timed over an hour. Nope, today they changed the orders and she is no longer fed over an hour, she i just fed like normal so i missed out on breastfeeding. The nurse told me that the day shift nurse (we all know how i feel about day shift) tried to nipple feed Avery today but said she was too sleepy and had no interest :(.  I am so bummed and feel like it would take a true miracle to have her home by Christmas. They tried to wean her oxygen down to 21% but she did not tolerate it at all so they had to put her back at 25%, I really feel like sh is not going to be able to wean off if it. They increased her feeding to 38mL and she is tolerating it well.

Right now I just feel like we are in a rut and stuck, i know that she isn't taking steps back and that is good but i guess i had my hope up higher than i thought about having her home for Christmas and I feel like crying.

NICU, day 39

Tonight we were pretty much on our own as far as Avery went. We changed her diaper, took her temperature, got her dressed and took her out of her isolette on our own. I have come to the conclusion that the day shift nurses DO NOT read charts. There is a note in Avery's chart that says to call my cell phone (and has the number) when they are starting to get low on breast milk because i have a whole stash in my freezer at home. Well the day shift never bothered to call and tell me they were low, and they never bothered to call and tell me they ran out. Instead they gave her formula, I know it is not the end of the world but i am pissed at the fact that they obviously didn't read her fucking chart. I am pissed that i pump every 2hrs all fucking day to give her what she needs and they fucking gave her formula.
Anyway enough of my rant. She is 4lbs 1oz and really looking good. I got to try breastfeeding again but due to them pushing her feedings back 1/2 hour (thanks to the nurse that fed her late) she was too sleepy to nurse. After i tried for a few minutes and nothing i decided it was just going to be a cuddle type of night. I cuddled her for a little while and then i let Phillip cuddle her. Phillip did kangaroo care with her for the first time tonight and it was so cute. Avery's eye exam was pushed back to Friday and she should be getting her first round of vaccinations this coming week. Other than that there is nothing new.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NICU, day 38

32weeks gestation today!!!!
Avery is up to 4lbs even but due to gaining 100grams overnight she is back on a 2 dose order of lasix to pee out the extra. Tomorrow we are hoping to see a weight loss. They moved her feedings back 30mins from what they were. I got to try and breastfeed again tonight, and she nursed for 10min while her tube feed was going. After i was done breastfeeding and bonding with her I gave her to Phillip to hold. They are going down on the calories in her milk from 26 to 24calories. Tomorrow she *should* have her very first eye exam to see where we stand as far as her vision goes. Next week she gets her first round of vaccinations! This all seems to be going fast.

NICU, day 37

Tonight was an EPIC FAIL, it was just an all around not good combo. Avery is great and doing great, it really had nothing to do with her.
We got to the NICU really really late (at her 11pm feed instead of 8pm feed). Pretty much all of the nurses in Avery's room were busy with the little baby that is sick (they are having to intubate her). I saw the nurse a total of 2 time the entire 2hrs i was there. They started her feed 30mins late so she was tired and kept falling asleep, which made putting her to breast impossible. As soon as i did put her to breast the first time she pulled her feeding tube out. I had to hold her while they inserted a new feeding tube down her throat (and gagged as they did it) and they even had me pull the tape off her chin! It was just all over disorganized and a disaster. Avery is an amazing little girl though and the time spent with her was awesome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I hope this letter gets to you in time for Christmas because this year i have a special request. My one and only request for Christmas this year is to have my baby home for her very first Christmas. I promise I will be good and not ask for anything else if you just grant my one wish, I hope it isn't too much to ask. I know you are a pretty busy guy, so thanks for listening!


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Every since Avery was born i feel like everything we do/say/think has to do with Avery and her NICU stay and I don't post nearly enough just how amazing Chloe is. Chloe is 2.5years old and smart as can be. She got her flu shot and never even cried, until mom tried to take her band-aid off later that night (after she asked me to). She weighed in at 32lbs and is 35in tall! Chloe can sing her alphabet, count to at least 10 and can even spell her name! She knows her full name, she knows Avery's full name and knows her mom and dad's first names. She is amazing, smart and special in so many ways that i just want to keep her to myself forever. I am so amazed and proud of her everyday that I still can't believe she is mine. I can't believe that Phillip and I created something so special and perfect, I love being her mommy!

NICU, day 36

Some NICU mom was sick and still came to visit her baby, the baby was sick today and when they called the mom to tell her the baby is sick and being tested for RSV the mom told the nurse she (the mom) has been sick for a week. This is bad because Avery is in the same room as this baby, but luckily Avery and the other baby are both still in isolettes.
Avery's daytime nurse today did NOTHING. She didn't fortify Avery's milk, she kept her on the right side of her head all day (where she is already getting a flat spot) and she kept Avery in the same clothes she wore yesterday!

Avery is a rock star! All the nurses love her and tell me what a good baby she is. Bernie always keeps us in the know and lets us know EXACTLY what is going on. Avery is 3lbs 13.5oz now, she will be weighed again tonight (and measured too). Bernie told us when she gets Avery undressed to weigh and measure her tonight she will also get a new set of hand and foot print for us since they have grown since we got the last set! The best news of all is that I got to do recreational breastfeeding again tonight and Avery latched and nursed for a full 15mins!!!!! She never had a de-sat and did AMAZING, I am so proud of her. After she was done nursing she passed on me while her tube feed finished.

NICU, day 35

Last night there was no NICU update because we didn't get to go visit Avery until WAY late and there was really nothing to update except that she weighs *almost* 3lbs13oz.

Today/tonight was a big one for Avery, the upped her feeds to 35ml because she is doing so good with them. They also got her down to 2L of oxygen (at 30%) now which is huge because she was previously between 5-6L. Being that she is now only on 2L of o2 she is now on a 3 baby assignment which means the nurse that cares for Avery (Bernie) also has 2 other babies instead of just 1 like before. They changed her nasal cannula from a high flow one to just a regular one and they changed her feeding tube to a smaller and softer one that should be better for her. The very best part of today was that i was allowed to "recreational breastfeed" Avery!!!! I was allowed to put her to breast to get her used to breastfeeding and the fact that mommy is where her food comes from. We were not expecting much but she actually latched a couple of times and even sucked (AND SHE GOT MILK!!!). She was doing great with her suck/swallow/breathe and didn't even de-sat. Where her problem is, is that when she suck and gets milk, she gets so excited that she lets go and smiles at us! She is a total smile and happy baby, we got really lucky.

Bernie asked when we first got there if she had been put to breast yet and was SHOCKED when I told her that we have not been allowed yet. I also told her about having some nurses that wouldn't let me hold Avery and some that would let me hold but not skin to skin. So Bernie got the charge nurse to write orders, that are now firmly planted in Avery's chart, that I am allowed to put her to breast once a day (more if the nurses will let me) and that I am allowed to do skin to skin with her ANY TIME!! I am so glad that Bernie is back to being Avery's nurse and that she is willing to help me.

Tonight was nothing short of amazing, I FINALLY got to "breastfeed" my daughter, after 5 weeks and she is making leaps  to getting better. I am on a total "proud mommy high".

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NICU, day 33


Today is Avery's first Thanksgiving and as hard as hard as it  was to not have her home I think it made me appreciate what i have that much more. We got to the hospital early enough to be able to do her care (temp and diaper) and hold her through her feed. As i took her diaper off i realized that she once again was poopy, i swear she saves it for me. Once the nurse put her in my shirt for me to kangaroo care with her Avery got comfortable and was so happy to be skin to skin with me, then after a few minutes she started to get fussy and she is NEVER fussy. Well after about a minute of fussing she "motor boated" my hand (she farted repeatedly on my hand). It was so cute. I told the nurse that Avery may be in the hospital but i still got to feed her Thanksgiving dinner since i held her through her feed. She is currently 3lbs 9oz and 15in long. They started treating her for reflux by giving her Zantac and they said it seems to be helping. She seems to be VERY VERY alert these days and is awake more now. She looks like a completely different baby, more newborn-ish. In the next week or two if she is still doing good they will let me start putting her to breast just to get her used to it, i can't wait!
Anyway, i hope that everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Oh and if you are black Friday shopping then you are NUTS!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NICU, day 32

We got there at 8:05pm tonight, knowing they start her feeds at 8pm but first they have to take her temp and change her butt. Well apparently the nurse decided to start her feed early so when we got there she was already 1/3 the way through her feed. They don't like to move her during her feeds because of desats and we don't like to hold her right after she eats because that is when she is the most comfortable and relaxed so we opted not to hold tonight. She is currently weighing in at 3lbs 8.9oz and is doing really well. Yesterday i was able to take home her first BP cuff because she was given a new one. Her blood pressure cuff fits perfectly around my pointer finger, and perfectly around her upper arm. It i so crazy to think that her arms are that small around.

Tonight for the first time ever I pumped while we were at the NICU. I felt strange and a little uncomfortable doing it there but I think maybe if i force myself to do it every night (instead of skipping a session) it will not only help my supply but i will get more comfortable doing it. Tomorrow will be bitter sweet for me, Avery's first thanksgiving which is so exciting but she isn't home for me to hold and hug and kiss whenever i want. Anyway, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

NICU, day 31

Avery is 1month old today.
We were VERY late getting to the hospital tonight because as we were heading out of town a car came off the freeway just blowing a TON of smoke so we stopped to see if they were OK and made sure they got home alright (it was a man and his son).
Anyway, we got to the hospital after Avery had already finished her feed and was so comfortable and asleep so we decided not to hold her. We stood there and talked to her and held her hands. She is doing well, 3lbs 7oz. It was a long night and now I'm tired so its bed time!

Monday, November 22, 2010

NICU, day 30

Avery is doing well tonight, the upped her feeding today to 30ml which is a full ounce! She is getting to be a big girl. She is 3lbs 6oz now but i suspect that she will lose some again. Tonight when we got there the nurse and the RT were busy with the baby next to Avery so we had to wait a little which was not a big deal. After the nurse took Avery's blood pressure and listened to her lungs she asked if we wanted to change her diaper and stuff. So I went and took her temp then went to change her diaper. When i got her diaper off she was poopy, but apparently had been poopy for a VERY long time. The poop was hard and crusty all over her butt. I of course was not expecting that so i didn't grab enough wipes *cue phillip getting me extra wipes*. It literally took me no less than 6 wipes to get all the stuck on poop off which of course took a few minutes and was pissing Avery off. I had to have her diaper off so long that as soon as i moved it Avery peed all over her bed. When Phillip told the nurse that Avery peed in her bed she proceeded to lecture me and give me a lesson on changing a diaper along with telling me what i did wrong. She then had to go get a new swaddling thing so she told the other nurse in the room that she was going to get it and acted like she was so put out by having to go do it. Then when she came back Phillip and I had already decided not to hold tonight because they were starting Avery's feed late and we really needed to cool off so we didn't smack the nurse. When she was listening to Phillip and I talk she turned around, looked at us and said "Oh, your holding her during her feed? Thats what your plan is?" followed by an eye roll. Yeah no, we decided we will hold her tomorrow night. Ugh, I'm a little upset that she made us feel unwelcome and miserable during our visit tonight along with being passive aggressive with us when she was talking to us (there is more i didn't even put in here).
Tomorrow is going to be emotional for me because Avery will be 1month old but she will also be 32weeks gestation. I started crying talking about it to Phillip on the way there tonight because we have a 1month old and don't have her home and really don't even have a light at the end of the tunnel right now. I am still emotional about my body failing her. Sigh

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NICU, day 29

Today i went to the NICU in the afternoon to see Avery, with my mom-in-law. It was a good visit with Avery and the nurse was nice too. Becky was even able to hold her, and wasn't limited to just 10mins.
Tonights visit with Avery was good too. She had a new nurse, whom I don't really care for because she talks to us like we were stupid and really hovered over me as i changed Avery's diaper even though we had talked about the fact that i have done it several times before. Anyway i got to change a poopy diaper when i was there this afternoon and a pee diaper while i was there tonight. She only had 1 desat all day today which is really good. She was very awake and alert tonight. She was looking all over the place while i held her. Then when she realized that she was getting fed he kept sticking her entire hand in her mouth to suck on, but getting really really pissed when it would fall out. So we offered her a pacifier to suck on and she did, A LOT! She loved that thing and it really helped her to fall asleep. I am hoping that offering her a pacifier to suck on while she eats will not only stimulate her to suck but also help her to associate sucking with getting food. In roughly 2 weeks *hopefully* they will let me start recreational breast feeding just to get her used to being at the breast, to stimulate my milk and to eventually get her to associate me with getting food. Overall tonight was a really good visit and the best part was that we missed the rain diving there and home!!

Oh and a Chloe funny, tonight she was holding my pump, trying to un-zip her pajamas and told me "mom, i can't pump my boobs with my jammies on"

NICU, day 28

Tonight driving to the NICU i was emotional. I don't really like to talk about how the NICU makes me feel because it can be a lot of different emotions all at once.  It was nothing in particular that made me emotional, just the whole thought of going there to see her. I know just how lucky i am to have her (and Chloe and McKenzie too). I was emotional pulling into the parking lot today (as i am most nights) because when i pulled into that parking lot for the first time (in the ambulance) I knew that Avery was going to be born prematurely but i never could have imagined that she would be born as early as she was. Every time we pull into that parking lot all i feel is failure, my failure, my bodies failure to be able to carry her to term. When we pull in I can feel the tears in my eyes because i think of all the "what ifs". In my heart i know that i did the best i could, but getting my mind to agree is a completely different thing.

Anyway, on to the Avery update. She is doing fabulous, she lost 1/2 an ounce since yesterday so she now weighs 3lbs 4oz. She is 4 weeks old today. Nothing really new on the medical front, tomorrow morning she will have a chest x-ray just to make sure everything look good since he is on oxygen and all that jazz. Tonight was my night to hold her (Phillip and I trade off) and she giving me the eyebrows so i did it back to her, she gave me the biggest grin. I got to hold her for well over an hour, for her entire feeding.

Lately we have had a really nice nurse named Narissa (she is about our age). Narissa makes the whole visit WAY more relaxed than I really thought it could be. She jokes with us and listens to us when we have a question and she is always willing to help. She even lets me (with her help) put Avery back into her incubator when i am done holding.

So far we have been pretty lucky in our NICU stay so i want to say a HUGE THANKS to everyone that has been and continues to pray for Avery, she is a little miracle!

Friday, November 19, 2010

NICU, day 27

Ah, another good night in the NICU.
When we started this NICU journey i didn't realize that there would be things that made me think of the NICU and smile, just random things. Tonight we were driving to go visit little bit and I got a whiff of something that made me smile. The air outside smelled like poop, but not just any poop, it smelled like preemie poop. Preemie baby poop ha a completely different smell than newborn poop and tonight that is what the air smelled like and it made me smile. When Phillip asked why it made me smile i said "because someday these trips/smells/sounds will all be a distant memory for us"
Anyway, little bit is doing really good. She is still tolerating her feeds and still getting them timed over an hour. She really enjoyed being held tonight and Phillip really enjoyed holding her. She is already a total daddys girl, she was so relaxed she farted in his hand. She is a little wiggle worm and she knows that if she moves her head enough she can wiggle her oxygen cannula right out of her nose.  Here is the biggest news, SHE IS 3lbs 4.5oz, SHE GAINED A FULL POUND IN LESS THAN A MONTH. She kept smiling at Phillip and then she would make her "I am not impressed face" and she LOVES when her dad talks to her.

 relaxing when we first got there...


"ugh, what now mom"

Phillip taking her temp during her care, he also changed her diaper....

yeah, she already has him wrapped around her finger....

well hello there beautiful......

enjoying her feeding....

and one of chloe too!