Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007 - Update

Ryan spoke with Olivia’s pediatrician this morning. We were getting pretty stressed about her bottling. Every nurse had a different idea and we felt like we were being very inconsistent and trying too many different things. . .none of which were working. Her doctor believes that her inconsistency is simply due to her prematurity and the fact that she is not yet full term. We are having a speech specialist come to work with her on Monday to try to develop some kind of plan. She took about 20 ccs for me today. She also kind of initiated me into motherhood. As I was changing her diaper, she had a big, explosive blowout and it literally shot across the room. I caught most of it with my hand. She didn’t get any on her outfit and I didn’t get any on mine, but I think it went everywhere else. Oddly enough. . it didn’t even phase me too much.

Today was a special day because Grandma and Grandpa Glunt were able to hold her for the first time. She didn’t want to wake up for them, but she wouldn’t even wake up for daddy tonight. She was pretty tired. Olivia is now 4 lbs 15 oz so that 5 lb mark is just around the corner. She is one beautiful girl. I am amazed every time I look at her that God gave her to me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007 - Update

I went up to see Olivia this morning and we worked on her bottling again. She is really struggling and it seems that every nurse has a different opinion about it. I guess that’s a good thing, however, as we’ll keep trying to see what works. The latest opinion is that she has a very strong sucking reflex and is getting too much milk at once causing her to choke on it and drop her heart rate. So, we switched her to a low flow nipple and tried her with that. She took 20 ccs of it and I think it helped some, but she still managed to have two pretty major bradys. She has done better for me on the previous nipples. I met with lactation to discuss it and I have an appt with them Monday morning to try breastfeeding again with a nipple shield. They seem to think that might be what she needs. Breastfeeding, of course, is more work for babies and we don’t want her to get too tired. She also has trouble staying awake for her feeds. It doesn’t matter to me which way we feed her. I will do whatever Olivia needs. She continues to remain off of the nasal cannula except for feedings. She did gain over 80 grams last night and now weighs 4 lbs 14 oz. What a celebration it will be when she makes it to 5 lbs!

Our veterinary clinic called us this morning. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a huge animal lover and Ryan is allergic to dogs and cats. So, I have 6 guinea pigs and 2 rats. Ryan likes them because they are contained. We have an unfinished room in the basement for them complete with a mini-fridge to store their yummy veggies. Our vet called to let me know that they have 2 litters of baby rats that they are trying to find homes for. At any other time of my life, I would have rushed to the vet to find a new, little furry friend. If I got more, however, I’d need a bigger cage and I have trouble finding the time to spend with the animals that I have. I told you previously about the volunteers who come to cuddle babies. . .I am in need of volunteers to come and cuddle my piggies and rats.

Anyway, please keep Olivia in your prayers. I pray that we figure out what she needs to take her oral feeds successfully. This is one of the last hurdles that she has to get over in order to come home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - Update

Olivia and I with our new looks. Me with my new hair cut and Olivia without her nasal cannula.

Daddy, you're kind of silly!

Here I am breathing completely on my own. . .just like all of you!

Daddy - I love you.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. It made me realize that one of the reasons that Olivia has been so healthy is because of our diligence and caution. This morning I got my haircut and realized that I was in dire need of a pick-me-up. My hairdresser asked me about what Olivia was eating and she couldn’t believe that I had been pumping for over 3 months. I thought, “You know, that IS pretty amazing and I should be proud of myself. Of course, I wish Olivia would take more of my milk by bottle. We’re still struggling with the inconsistencies of her bottle feeds, but I truly believe one day it will get better. Some doctors will send babies home with a feeding tube, but we’ve been pretty adamant to give her time to learn how to bottle. While she’s learning to do that, her need for oxygen is getting less and less. She had her nasal cannula off for most of the day and it was only needed for her feedings. Olivia has done wonderful today. Ryan spoke with a doctor at our pediatrician’s office today and she believes it will probably still be a few weeks before Olivia comes home. It’s really up to Olivia, however. They are just giving her time to decrease her need for oxygen and learn how to bottle consistently. Ryan got her to take 20 ccs today by giving her a pacifier and letting her suck on that for awhile and then switching it to her bottle. She’d suck on the bottle for awhile until she realized it was the bottle and not the pacifier. . .so, he’d put the pacifier back in and it went on like this for awhile. Please continue to pray for her success as I don’t want her to have to go home with a feeding tube. She is still not ‘full term’ yet, however, so she may just need a little more time. Ryan and I want to give her all the time she needs.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - Update

Olivia is doing well, although she continues to struggle with taking all of her bottles. She took the entire 45 ccs for me today at noon, however. Her blood tests today showed that her GGT (liver enzyme) was still elevated and that her alk-phos level is rising (that is what is associated with rickets.) It’s frustrating because her care has been transferred over to her pediatrician and we don’t get the chance to talk to him daily like we did her neonatologist. She did have her nasal cannula off last night for 2 ½ hours and today for a few hours as well. I went to take a picture of her without it on and my camera battery was low. That’s just how my day seemed to go today. Olivia is doing good. . .it’s her mother that isn’t. I guess the past 3 months have started weighing very heavily on me today. So, I apologize in advance for my ranting and ravings. It’s like we’re so close to the end of all of this, but yet we’re still not there. I feel like everyone judges us for the things we do and the decisions that we make. We’re either at the hospital too much or we’re there too little. . .we shouldn’t try bottling at every feeding or we should be there every time. Spending 24 hours a day at the hospital with her sounds like a great act of love, but if I don’t take care of myself. . .I can’t take care of her. Literally, if I get sick I can’t go to the hospital to take care of her. When I’m at the hospital with her I don’t eat, I don’t drink anything and sometimes I don’t even pump. This is a marathon and not a sprint. I’m just trying to do the very best that I can. Ryan and I have made the decision not to allow cuddlers, who are volunteers that come in to hold your baby. This is after a cuddler already came in to hold her. Don’t get me wrong. . .I think volunteer cuddling is a wonderful thing for babies whose parents aren’t in town or are fussy and need the extra attention. We, however, hold Olivia for hours every single day and she is not a fussy baby. We haven’t even let Olivia’s grandparents hold her yet for fear of contracting an illness. I mean, the more people she comes in contact with. . .the greater the risk. How do you think our parents felt to know someone else held her before them? Plus, we have tons of family and friends who would stop everything at the drop of a hat to be able to cuddle with Olivia. Some people act like our decision is one of selfishness when it isn’t at all. There are tons of babies that need the extra attention that nurses don’t have the time to provide. Ryan and I are just trying to do the very best that we can for Olivia. After three months of this, my mind and my body are exhausted.

Seeing Olivia’s precious face always makes my day better. My friend Kelley got Olivia all kinds of wonderful things including a book called ‘You Are My Miracle’ by Maryann Cusimano Love. It’s a wonderful book and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to read through it without tearing up. Ryan’s bosses and coworkers are in town from Jacksonville, FL and they brought presents for Olivia. She got a Giraffe Crossing sign from the Flynns and a book by Shel Silverstein called ‘Giraffe and a Half’ from the Morales family. Thank you very much. I know that they were meant for Olivia, but they brightened my day a bit as well. Thank you everyone for your support these last 3 months. Thank you for allowing me to complain a bit tonight. I know that people probably aren’t judging us as harshly as it seems. . .most of it is probably my mood today. I want Olivia home and I miss Logan and I’m just really tired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - Update

It was so nice to hear from Granny D. It’s always nice to hear from everyone who follows this blog. I can’t believe how many people Olivia and Logan have touched. I hope this blog creates awareness of prematurity and of all the things these babies have to endure. In talking with the physical therapist (PT) today, she is amazed at how well Olivia is progressing. Her life is nothing short of a miracle. The life of every child is truly a miracle. I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if everyone truly believed that. I read a poem awhile back and I can’t remember all of it, but at the end it said that when God wants something great to happen, He sends a child. . . and then waits. That certainly rings true this time of year as we reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas. I cannot wait to see what Olivia has in store for all of us and what she does with the wonderful gifts that God has given her.

You are all probably anxiously awaiting the results of her eye exam today. They saw no change once again and she still remains at stage 1, zone 2. I just thank God every week that it hasn’t progressed. Of course, she wasn’t too happy about the exam, but I was there soon after and held her for almost 3 hours. She took 50 ccs for me in a bottle at 3:00 pm, but she has still been very inconsistent with her bottles. She only took 10 ccs at 6:00 p.m. Daddy held her from about 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm and she was asleep almost the entire time (so maybe I’m not that boring after all.) We were even able to take the prongs out of her nose at around 7:00 pm and they remained out when we left an hour later. I’m sorry that we didn’t get any pictures tonight. Olivia refused to wear the biliband and since her eyes had been dilated, we couldn’t turn on any lights or use the flash to take a picture. I promise we’ll post new pictures soon.

**The links below are now clickable. This was not an error on Jodi's part. The problem came about when I copied and pasted the links from an email to this blog. I apologize for any confusion. - Stacie **

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007 - Update

First of all, I wanted to apologize for the fact that my links are not working. I don’t know why they’re being redirected. Instead of clicking on the link, just copy and paste it into your browser or just type the web address in. I’m not sure why it’s not working.

Olivia is doing well today. She definitely has a mind of her own and will not do something if she feels it is not on her agenda. If she wants to sleep, you cannot wake her up and if she’s awake. . . good luck getting her to sleep. She took 75 ccs from her nurse at noon, but we couldn’t get her to bottle feed at 3:00 pm or at 6:00 pm. Boy, you cannot force that on her! She will gag and sputter and have a major brady. I just hope they give her time to be really successful on her bottle feeds before they send her home. . .especially after hearing from other micropreemie moms. As much as we want her home, she needs to be ready. I think Ryan and I have already established our parental roles. I’m the comforter and when I’m with her, she just sleeps and sleeps. Either that or I’m just really boring, which could also be the case. Daddy, however, is the fun, playful one who she just wants to stare at all night long. Maybe she sleeps all afternoon so that she can be awake for daddy when he gets off work. As smart as she is, she may have figured that out. Whether she’s awake or asleep. . .she’s the most precious little girl in the world. Please continue to pray for her bottle feeding success. As you know, tomorrow is Tuesday and she has another eye exam so please be in prayer about that. Also, she turns 3 months old tomorrow! Happy Birthday Olivia Paige!

Sunday, November 25, 2007 - Update

Olivia has had a fantastic day! When I fed her at 3:00 pm today she did very well and took about 20 ccs. Her coordination was wonderful and she seemed to know what she was supposed to do. After she finished eating, we had our daily mother/daughter cuddle time. She started stirring again at about 5:15 pm and kept opening her mouth. We gave Olivia her pacifier and she started sucking on it very persistently. Ryan and I looked at each other and thought, “I wonder if she’s hungry.” She eats every 3 hours and only 2 ½ hours had passed, but her nurse warmed her up another bottle anyway. (She is now taking breast milk with human milk fortifier. When she gets home, we will mix my milk with Similac NeoSure.) We gave Olivia her bottle and she snarfed down 45 ccs in 10 minutes!! I was so impressed that she figured out that if she’s hungry, she needs to put something in her mouth. She did fantastic and probably would have eaten more!! She bottle feeds very well on her terms, not ours. If she doesn’t want to eat at a certain time, she won’t. Afterwards, she got cuddle time with daddy and didn’t want to go to sleep. She was awake for about an hour smiling at daddy as he sang her songs and made funny sounds and faces. I cannot even begin to describe how adorable she is!!

I thought I would share 2 websites with you. Both of these groups were responsible for the ornament that we received in memory of Logan.
Agap├ęCare Cradle is a special nonprofit licensed funeral center in Wichita.
Wesley Medical Center belongs to Pediatrix Medical Group. When you pull up the website, go to Parents and Patients. There you can learn all about the procedures, equipment, medications and tests used to treat newborns in the NICU.