Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Look At How Big She Has Gotten

Then (1.5 months old)
We thought she was big then and she was compared to her birth weight!
Now (5.5 months old)
Olivia is one of the few people who will someday most likely be over 100 times her birth weight.

Saturday, February 16, 2008 - Update

Grandma Sailing and Me
Hanging out with Grandpa Sailing

Mommy and Me

Sorry that I haven't gotten an update sent until now. Olivia has kept me pretty busy the last few days. My parents are over today, so I have been able to get caught up on quite a few things. We also celebrated my birthday with my parents and they finally got to see Olivia after a month and a half. I'm sure she has grown up a lot since the last time they saw her. We're all healthy and doing well and I'm so grateful for that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

March of Dimes Update

I know that there are many worthwhile causes and many that have touched all of our lives. I know that for me, I am very grateful for the research that March of Dimes has done. One of the many important advances is artificial surfactant and without that, Olivia would probably not be here today.

So far, we have raised $500 for a very worthy cause. Our team consists of:

Laura, Joel, Julia and Rebekah
Shelley, Izzy and Donnie
Gina and Savannah
Grandma and Grandpa Sailing (we just haven't got them signed up yet.)
Ryan, Olivia and me

What an incredible day April 26th will be!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - Update

I am the lucky wife of a husband who doesn't believe in Valentines Day. Before you feel too sorry for me, I do manage to somehow get gifts for "Ash Wednesday" and "Presidents Day." Ryan just doesn't believe in only showing your love once a year. As I've mentioned before, we should celebrate the joys in our life, but not forget about people who don't have those same joys. There was nothing worse than spending Valentines Day without that special someone. I hate to think that there is a day once a year that makes people feel badly. . .kind of like Mother's Day for those people struggling to be mothers.

Anyway, Olivia has been pretty cranky the past two days. She is satting fine, doesn't feel warm or sound congested, etc. but she doesn't want to be put down. . .not even for a second. She was sleeping for about 5-6 hours overnight, but the past two nights she has been waking up every 3 hours. That makes for one tired mommy. The neurology clinic made the mistake of sending home a complaint form with our paperwork. . . and I love to write. I'm not going to be mean. That's not in my nature, but I'm hoping that they can look at their policies regarding the care of premature babies. Please pray that we all remain healthy.

I also had to take my ratamuffin (that's what I call my rats. . .it sounds more endearing) back to the vet. She's still having problems with her eye and also has a growth that is believed to be a tumor on her back. Now, we have to decide whether to have surgery to have it removed. I know she's just a rat, but if you've learned anything about me the past few months, you know I still want to help her. That's just who I am and who I'll always be. She will probably also have to remain on long term antibiotics. The good thing is that rats are the easiest animals to medicate. You simply put their medicine in strawberry Ensure and they think that they've won the lottery. . .plus they love the extra attention. Little does Olivia know that there are live animals downstairs! My nieces and nephews have always loved to see the guinea pigs and rats. They especially like to feed them treats. I hope Olivia will be able to enjoy them as well. Many of them are approaching their life expectancies. Who knows if Olivia will love animals like her mommy or simply tolerate them like her daddy (although I think he likes them more than he lets on.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - Update


By Michael Blumenthal

You are holding up a ceiling with both arms.

It is very heavy, but you must hold it up,

or else it will fall down on you.

Your arms are tired, terribly tired,

and, as the day goes on, it feels as if either your arms

or the ceiling will soon collapse.

But then, unexpectedly, something wonderful happens:

Someone, a man or a woman,

walks into the room

and holds their arms up to the ceiling beside you.

So you finally get to take down your arms.

You feel the relief of respite,

the blood flowing back to your fingers and arms.

And when your partner's arms tire,

you hold up your own to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this for many years

without the house falling.

Ryan and I have always enjoyed this poem. . .in fact we had it printed up in our wedding program. We live by it's message every day. I remember many times calling each other from work after a long, hard day and we only had to say, "I'm going to need you to hold the ceiling up tonight." That was all that was needed in order to let the other know how bad our day was. There have been many times in the past 5 1/2 months that neither one of us has been able to hold up the ceiling. During those times, an amazing thing has happened. A former 1 lb. 1.5 oz little girl has raised her hands up high and held the ceiling for all three of us. Of course, this is a strength that can only come from God, our Heavenly Father. God sent her to us to give us strength, joy, peace and love and for that I will be forever thankful.

All three of us remain healthy and for that I am thankful as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - Update

Here is Cousin Izzy admiring a picture of Olivia

Thank you to everyone who validated my fears. I'm still angry about what happened yesterday. This scripture has helped me:

Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

Yesterday I just imagined a shield over all three of us. I pray God keeps Olivia healthy. If she were to get sick, my only hope is that it doesn't affect her too much and doesn't require any hospitalization. I know that 1 in 3 preemies require re-hospitalization. I can't stand to be apart from Olivia. . .even going to the grocery store about breaks my heart. She loves it at home with her animals, in her crib and especially in her chair. Please pray that she remains healthy. . .as of today she is still smiling as much as ever. We did call Olivia's pediatrician's office yesterday just to make sure Ryan and I were doing everything we could. (Her EEG was done at a separate neurology clinic.) We have started adding some breast milk into her bottles (half breast milk/half formula) to boost her immunities. Breast milk has the amazing ability to custom make antibodies specific to illnesses in your environment. You should have seen us yesterday. . .Ryan and I were a smooth-running, germ fighting, parenting machine. We're always on the same page regarding Olivia's health. We've been through everything together and we both know how crucial it is to keep her healthy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, February 8, 2008 - Update

You know how you worry yourself sick about something and then it's not as bad as you imagined it to be? Well, sometimes it's 10 times worse. That was the case today. First, I got up at 5 am and somehow managed to keep Olivia awake until her appt at 9:30 am. I think I need some kind of award for that. She would just look at me as if to say, "Mommy, why don't you let me sleep?" Once we put her in her car seat, we thought all was lost, but Ryan and I kept spontaneously shouting "Hooray!" to keep her awake. It worked. We got to the appt. only to find out (once we'd been there for a little while) that everyone in the office was sick. They only have two techs who perform the EEGs. One of them was home with a sick daughter, the other who was there was hacking and coughing and believed she had a severe cold or bronchitis. We talked about rescheduling, but decided against it for many reasons. One, Olivia had already been exposed. Two, that would mean she would have to remain on the phenobarb for that much longer and we can't have her throwing up every few days. The longer we postponed it, the longer Olivia would have to suffer through with the medication. Three, how can you guarantee everyone would be healthy then? Four, we would have to go through the sleep deprivation all over again and that wasn't easy on any of us. Plus, Ryan would have to take another day off work. So, we put our faith in God, we made the tech Purell her hands about 1000 different times, we made her wear a mask, wipe her equipment down with Lysol and prayed some more. I usually bite my tongue when I write the updates because I don't want to offend anyone, but why in the world didn't they call us to reschedule????? How ignorant do you have to be to let a 23 weeker come in for an EEG and expose her to an environment like that? Especially when your office deals with premature babies? Then, we had to keep reminding them to wipe things down and Purell their hands again. They were all snickering at us and referring to us as neurotic parents and you know what? I couldn't care less. Have they lost a child? Have they come close to losing another one? Have they watched their child be on a ventilator for two months? I love my daughter and I will do everything in my power to keep her safe and healthy. Unfortunately, I think I failed today. After all we have done over the past 5 1/2 months and all we have sacrificed to keep her healthy. We have kept her away from her grandparents. I cancelled my shower that I was looking so forward to. I haven't seen my friends or my family. I haven't even met my newest nephew, Kaleb. Everything that we've done. . .all seemingly down the drain. I have never been so angry, so upset, or so scared in a long time.

The only positive thing is that her EEG was normal which means that we get to start weaning the phenobarb and in 20 days she will be done with it. But, at what cost. . .I don't know. We came home and I took a shower, Ryan took a shower, Olivia took a bath, we washed the diaper bag, blankets, car seat cushions and Lysoled everything down. Now, we just pray that all three of us remain healthy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008 - Update

I hope that you all enjoyed the pictures. Weren't they just about the cutest pictures you've ever seen? I may write the captions, but Ryan is the one that captures her personality so beautifully. Olivia just loves being in her chair with her animals. . .I think she takes after her mom. I have always felt more comfortable around children and animals than I do around other adults. . .I'm not sure what that says about me. Anytime I'm at a party or social gathering, I'm usually off playing with the kids or the family dog.

Anyway, Olivia's vomiting is becoming more and more frequent as she threw up her phenobarb bottle again last night. It's only the bottle with the phenobarb that she's thrown up which leads me to believe that it is the culprit. Please pray for her tomorrow during her EEG. I think that they will have to sedate her because when has she ever sat still for 45 minutes in her life? Plus, we are not supposed to feed her or let her sleep from 5:30 am to 9:30 am. . .yeah, right. I'm really stressed about tomorrow. I want her results to be great so that she doesn't have to take the phenobarb anymore. Actually, I don't think she will be able to take it anymore. We can get it down her, but there's not guarantee that it will stay there. Maybe that's just her way of telling us that she doesn't need it anymore (like when she pulled out her ventilator, etc.) Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow.

P.S. Ryan, I'm still really sorry about eating all of the Olive Garden mints. :-)

More Adorable Pics

That's okay, Spotty. . .my mom says that we all move at our own pace.
Nice skunky.

Bath. . .B-A-T-H. Water, soap? Ringing any bells?

So, you're saying that I have a shadow too?

Pat-A-Cake Pat-A-Cake