Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007 - Update and Pictures

Olivia is an absolute beauty! She looked wonderful today. Ryan and I have both been able to calm her when she’s crying which makes us feel good. It’s amazing to actually feel like a mom and dad. Not too much new to report today. Her EEG did show some abnormal brain function and focal seizures. From what we’ve always heard, seizures are very, very normal in premature babies. Most babies will get to a point where they will outgrow them. We think she just hasn’t gotten to that point yet, so they will have to continue her on the Phenobarbital. We have not been able to talk with the doctor about it yet.

This weekend she should reach another weight milestone. . .1500 grams. At that point, I get to start dressing her and she will work on being able to maintain her own body temperature. I’m so excited for that. Don’t worry, we’ll take lots of pictures. Speaking of pictures, we broke the 1000 mark tonight. I don’t know many people who have that many baby pictures. We were so grateful that we took so many pictures of Logan. It means so much to have them. Olivia’s PEEP remains at 5 and she’s still doing pretty darn good on CPAP. Seeing her tonight and looking into her beautiful eyes warmed my heart like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Don’t forget about her when you say your prayers tonight and tomorrow and the next day and the next. . .

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - Update

Olivia is doing fantastic, but do you expect anything less from my little over-achiever? She now weighs 3 lbs 2 oz. They lowered her PEEP down to 5 today and I believe they will lower it again if her blood gas comes back good tomorrow. She is only having her blood gases checked every other day now, which I’m so thankful for. Every time they do it, they have to take blood from her heel. Can you imagine waking up to that every morning? Poor girl has had to endure so much. She was seen by the physical therapists (PTs) today and they still believe that she seems to be developing appropriately. I’m meeting with them on Monday to discuss it with them further and learn some exercises that I can be doing with her. I don’t believe I mentioned this before, but with the CPAP she also has an OG tube that goes down her throat to help get rid of excess gas in her tummy. It didn’t take her long to yank that out and have to have it put back in. Boy, she is one feisty little girl! And when she gets mad she lets everyone know. She had an EEG tonight before we got there and I guess she was not happy with that at all! We should find out the results of that tomorrow. Olivia wasn’t completely calmed down when we got there. Ryan cuddled her with his hands and she calmed right down. She is going to be such the daddy’s girl! It was so cute because Ryan said, “I’m covering her with a warm blanket of love.” I don’t know that we could feel any more love for her and yet I’ll love her more tomorrow than I do today.

I did get her out to do skin to skin, but I had to put her back in her isolette after about 30 minutes. I don’t really know why because she was very calm and snuggly up next to me and yet her saturations kept dropping. We’ve heard, however, that sometimes they can get too relaxed and forget to breathe. That just breaks your heart because if she enjoys it so much it’s hard to discontinue it. I think everyone is amazed with how well she is doing. I know things can change in an instant, but I’m so very grateful that she is doing so well. She warms my heart more than you can even imagine. I constantly dream of the day that I get to bring her home.

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - The Number 22

Many years ago, I was in the Perfect Peace Christian bookstore. As I was checking out, my total came to $22.22. I went to write out my check and realized that the date was May 22, 2000. The clerk then asked that my phone number be written on the check. At that time, the last four digits were 2238. The clerk quickly caught on and we had a good laugh. I remember that he looked at me jokingly and asked, “And what age do you happen to be?” I was 22 years old (great, I just gave my age away.) I can’t describe it, but it was a really weird experience and over the years the number 22 has come up multiple times whether it was my table number at a restaurant or my total at other stores.

I started showing signs of preterm labor at 22 weeks. I remember being determined not to go into labor at 22 weeks. This couldn’t be what the significance of the number 22 meant! Because of this determination, I was pretty cautious during that week when I was on bed rest. This may have given Logan and Olivia that extra, crucial week. I am not a superstitious person, but I had never been more relieved to make it to 23 weeks. Of course, I wish I would have made it a lot further.

At the time I didn’t notice that when I arrived at the hospital on August 27th, I was taken to room 22. This is where I gave birth to Olivia. . .my perfect peace.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Pictures

Daddy, Mommy, and Olivia. Mommy made this sign for Olivia's first Halloween!
Our nieces, Julia and Rebekah, came over to show us their Halloween costumes. What beautiful girls inside and out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Evening Update

I have so much good news to share tonight. Olivia has had no apneas or bradycardias for 24 hours. The physical therapist came to evaluate Olivia today. They are going to be spending about a week with her before they give us their evaluation. So far as we know, they don’t see any obvious signs of cerebral palsy and they seem to think that she is where she should be for her age. They went up on Olivia’s feeding today to 29cc, so she is taking over an ounce every feeding and tolerating it very well.

When we arrived at the hospital tonight, Olivia was so mad. She is getting a little more force and a little more sound behind her cries. Nothing seemed to calm her down until daddy laid his hands on her. Later, she was upset again and I laid my hands on her. We also gave her a pacifier. At first, she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, but then she started going to town sucking on it. It really seemed to soothe her and she finally went to sleep. It is good to know that she has a fairly strong sucking reflex, which some premature babies struggle with. We’ve learned to take each day as it comes. . .to rejoice in the good days and realize there may also be some days that aren’t as good. What a Happy Halloween it was for us today! As I mentioned previously, Ryan loves Halloween. He has spent years creating pneumatic props that have motion sensors and everything. This year he mentioned it was like Christmas without a Christmas tree, but there was nowhere he would rather have been than with his daughter. She brings so much joy to our life and we are so proud of her. Please pray for her continued success on CPAP and that she has many more wonderful days like today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Update and Brag!

Happy Halloween! I just had to write and brag about my little girl. As of noon today, she had not had any apneas or bradycardias since 8:00 pm last night. Her blood gas this morning was better than it’s been in weeks (which has to do with how well the body is being oxygenated.) She also passed the 3 lb mark yesterday and now weighs 3 lbs 1 oz. Olivia was switched to a new doctor today. Her previous doctor has been out of town with his father who is ill. Her new doctor is Dr. Dorn and he seems very pleased with her progress. This week she will be having her first EEG to check for seizure activity. Dr. Dorn also mentioned that they will talk to us about ways to stimulate her such as starting to read to her, etc. We said, “Um. . .we’ve been doing that every day since before she was born.” Olivia will also be seen by a physical therapist this week who will be doing some stretches with her and will evaluate her likelihood of developing cerebral palsy.

I’m just so proud of her. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever met and I’m so proud that she’s my daughter!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - Pictures!

Look Mama! No tube!

C Pappa, I'm on CPAP!

She’s wearing the biliband due to her eye exam/dilation today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - Update

Well. . .what a day! I’ll start with the bad news. Olivia had another eye exam today and they found that she does have stage 1 ROP in zone 2. I have attached a link explaining that in greater detail. It could resolve on its own or progress to one of the other stages. I just keep praying that God takes care of her eyes and protects her precious eyesight.

Now for the good news. . .she was put on CPAP today around noon. Ryan called me after talking to the doctor and he was taking off work in the afternoon to be with her on her first day on CPAP. I wanted to go with him so I rushed around to get ready and we were going to meet for lunch before heading up there. As I got into my car, I checked to make sure I had everything I needed. Bag? Check. Door locked? Check. Bottles to pump with at the hospital? Check. Buttoned down shirt to change into if I held her? Check. Camera? Check. Cell phone? Check. Keys. . .keys. . . .keys??? Yeah, so I locked myself out of the house. I called Ryan to tell him to go ahead without me and I would figure out a way to get up there. Well, he decides (although quite grumpily) to drive the 30 minutes across town to come get me. Anyway, we finally got up there and she was doing fabulous on CPAP. She loves turning her head from side to side without the restrictions of the vent tube. We left for a little while to meet Ryan’s co-workers at BG Bolton’s and after returning, we learned she had an apnea/bradycardia (where she forgets to breathe and drops her heart rate) While on the ventilator, it wasn’t that big of a deal because it was doing some of the breathing for her. Now, they have to get in and stimulate her to get her to start breathing again. It is very frightening and she had two more while we were there. We do understand that many babies must go back on the ventilator a couple of times after starting on CPAP. This is pretty common. It is also pretty common for babies to have more frequent periods of apnea/bradycardias when on CPAP. We are also expecting her to reach the 3 lb mark tonight as she is 2 lbs 15.5 oz.

Tomorrow, as you know, is Halloween and one of Ryan’s favorite times of year. He actually proposed to me six years ago on Halloween by dressing up as a trick-or-treater down on his knees. I gave him some candy. He gave me a ring. As all of you probably suspected, we will not be putting out our Halloween display this year. We will actually not even be home as we will be spending the evening with Olivia. It is her first Halloween, after all. She is going as a “big girl.” Last year we had over 100 trick-or-treaters visit our house, so I’m sure there will be some disappointed children. Don’t worry. . .we’ll be back next year.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007 - Pictures

Monday, October 29, 2007 - Update

Today I spent the afternoon with my sister-in-law, Shelley and my niece, Isabelle. Isabelle was supposed to be 4 months older than her cousins, but because Logan and Olivia came so early they are only 1 week apart. I feel like I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know Isabelle because of everything that has happened over the past two months. At the same time I felt guilty about holding a baby who wasn’t Olivia. I know. . .that’s really strange. I then met some friends for dinner. It was nice and they brought me all kinds of things. They made me a mother’s bracelet and I got a onesie that says ‘little angel,’ a stuffed giraffe and a home cooked dinner complete with brownies! It was nice spending time with everyone today.

Okay, on to my baby girl. I got to hold her last night and when I arrived at the hospital tonight, Olivia was cuddled up with dad. She also gained another 40 grams last night and now weighs 1300 grams or 2 lbs 14 oz!! She did not get extubated today, but her vent settings were turned down once more to 16/5 with a rate of 13. I think tomorrow is the big day! If she does well through the night and has a good blood gas in the morning. . .CPAP here we come! I believe she also has another eye exam tomorrow, so please pray for her throughout the day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007 - Update

Olivia is out of isolation today which means her cultures have come back negative and we’re probably going to get to hold her tonight! I’m assuming that she will remain on the medication for her eyes. She gained another 20 grams last night, so she is now up to 2 lbs 12.5 oz! They have also increased her feedings to 27cc. She is very close to taking a full ounce. It’s amazing how much we’ve missed not being able to hold her these past two days. I’m sure she’ll miss the peacefulness of the isolation room, but hopefully will enjoy being held again. When we were back in the isolation room yesterday, Ryan and I realized that this is how it will be at home. . .just the three of us as a family. . .together. . .in peace and quiet. I can’t even begin to describe my anticipation for that day.

I have been amazed that so many people have staked their claim of Olivia. “She’s my friend’s cousin, my cousin, my neighbor, etc.” There are people that have never met us, but continue to pray for Olivia’s progress. So many of these people are children themselves and I only hope that Olivia grows up with that much concern about the plight of other people. I have worked since I was 16 years old (well, earlier than that if you consider my babysitting career) and now I look ahead to the toughest job of all. It’s a job that I didn’t think I would ever get to have and that is to raise my precious Olivia. It will be hard work, but nothing is as hard as never getting the chance. I know so many people still struggling to have a family and I ask that you always keep them in your prayers. I remember month after month mourning the loss of a dream and the child I never got to have. I’m so grateful for my beautiful Olivia and please continuing praying for the day that we get to bring her home!!