Tuesday, April 27, 2010

100 Days

Suzanne and Emma Claire
Stacy and Emma Claire

Thanks for taking such good care of me while I was in the unit on days. I don't have a picture of my night nurses, but I love them just as much! I cannot wait for you guys to see me grow up big and strong. I promise I will come back for visits, you know how much my mommy loves those Ms. Fields cookies down in the cafeteria! HaHa. I know my mommy and daddy are so grateful for the wonderful care I received while in the NICU from all of the nurses, RT's, doctor's and other staff members. I love that everyone would come by and talk to me during the day and night. I love each and every one of you guys and I will see you later, gotta go get my belly full!

Emma Claire
We have gone from the above to the below in 100 days! Also on our 100th day, we came HOME!!!! PRAISE GOD! We have been through a journey to say the least and one that GOD has continued to be by our side even before Emma Claire was born. She has come a long way and we give GOD all of the glory, honor and praise! It was hard to leave yesterday knowing we would not be back which is AWESOME, but it was bittersweet to leave some many faces we who we have come to love and cherish over our 100 days in the NICU! I know we will see them again during visits to the unit, but when going to Baptist NICU is your daily routine it is hard to leave. I'm so glad one of our primary nurses was there yesterday to walk us out. I told Suzanne it was not good bye, but a see you later as I know we will see them again soon.
Emma Claire is now up to 5 lbs 4 3/4 ounces but since she does not get weighed everyday, we will have to wait until tomorrow to see what her weight is since leaving the hospital. Tomorrow is our first pediatrician appointment in White House and I know that should go smooth tomorrow. Matt and I are both off this week with her and probably next week, we will just have to wait and see how this week goes. We go to the Vanderbilt BPD Clinic in a couple of weeks (for her mild chronic lung disease = being on O2 more than 30 days in the NICU) for follow up since we came home on oxygen, apnea monitors and a pulse oximeter. I did not want to come home on the oxygen, but it has not been bad at all and we have a tank in her room and one in the living room which makes it much easier to take her between the two areas.

This all started last Tuesday when Dr. Rojas was on his last week of rotation. He ALWAYS says it is his job to get rid of things and his last job was to discharge us. He was not there when we were discharged, but he started the path for us. On Tuesday, he threw out the feeding tube and took away her caffiene and said if she has no spells in 5 days, we are going home. When Stacy told me this, I think my mouth hit the floor. I was shocked to say the least, but in a GOOD way! Matt and I roomed in on Saturday night and Sunday morning and we did all of her care and feedings for almost 24 hours. She did so good and we actually got some rest eventhough she eats every 3 hours like clockwork. You know we, I LOVE an organized baby! HaHa

We ran a few errands on Sunday and got ready to bring her home on Monday. Matt and I got up and went to the hospital on Monday morning and we were out of there about 12:30 PM after saying our see you laters to all of our friends. PRAISE GOD we are no longer the oldest in the unit, we will give that honor to the other babies!

She loves her carseat and did so good on the ride home and for her first day/night at home. We still have to keep her on her feeding schedule of 8-11-2-5, but that is okay and works really well for us right now. I'm sure we will be at the peds office frequently for weight checks and to work with Dr. Kastner on increasing her feeds when needed. Right now she needs to continue to gain weight and stay HEALTHY.

I know Emma Claire would love some visitors, but we need to keep her safe and healthy. If you do want to come see her, please call and let us know before you come. I definitely want everyone to be able to see her, but if you have been sick or not feeling well, we have to keep her healthy, so please let us know and we will see you when you get better. We will not be going out for a while for two reasons, all of her equipment right now and again, our main priority of getting her used to our house and germs and not exposing her to too much right now. I'm am SO THANKFUL we are not in RSV season, but that does not mean she still cannot get sick. Thanks for your understanding!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tub Bath and so Much More

Emma Claire is such a happy baby and loves we when get there in the afternoons. She wakes up when she hears us talking and is wide awake for our entire visit. Emma Claire now weighs 5 lbs 1 3/4 ounces and is getting bigger each and every day. It has been a while since I blogged so what out for picture overload on this one.
She is no longer getting fortified breast milk and still continues to gain weight, PRAISE GOD! She now gets 45 cc every three hours and I was able to breast feed her yesterday. She took to the breast like a champ! Lacation was very impressed by her and how well she did. Since she has to get so much per feeding, I should be able to breast feed at least 2 a day and then follow by a bottle and let her take as much of the bottle as she wants to. This ensures she is getting the appropriate amounts of breast milk she needs.
Having some snuggle time with Daddy. She loves to snuggle and especially with her Daddy!

Barbie and EC. Emma Claire is going to miss everyone in the NICU when we go home, but I know she has a soft spot in her heart for her special care takers and you know who you are! We have made some life long friends and cannot wait for them to see her grow up big and strong. We just need to get a picture with Emma Claire and her crazy Stacy!!! HaHa

Don't I look cute in my favorite hat! This girl is going to be dolled up all of the time with all of her cute hats and accessories! She loves to sport a hat.

This one is for Nana. Her Nana loves some big bows and big hats. I think she is just preparing her for a trip to the Kentucky Derby one day!

Sweet sleeping baby. A lady my mom works with, Ann, made her this precious hat. It is hard to get a good pic of it and we will try better this week. She has another one, we have not tried on her yet, but it is just as precious!

Love time!

My first tub bath. Last Sunday, we decided she needed a tub bath and she loved it for the most part. There is a video at the end of the post with her taking a bath. Hopefully, we can post more videos since Emma Claire is definitely more active now.

We continue to THANK everyone for you continued prayers and support for us. We are getting close to going home and we feel we are ready and prepared for it when the time comes. We are excited to finally prepare for this day and we will be overjoyed to have her home. There are such a range of emotions we have been through with this journey and how wonderful it will be to spend my first mother's day with my sweet baby girl! She is truly a blessing from GOD and he continues to grow her healthy and strong. We could not be any happier with her progress and how much she has had to overcome. I look back at her first pictures and I am just AMAZED and SPEECHLESS (that is a first for me, if you know me) to see what she has become and what GOD holds for her future!

PRAYER REQUEST: A dear friend of our family is going through another round of cancer. This is the 4th time she has fought this and we know GOD's healing hand is upon her. We love Judith and Michael dearly and we would like all of our prayer warriors to keep them in your prayers. She is one of the strongest women I know and she has been such a rock for us during this time. Ever since Emma Claire decided to come early she sends us little scriptures about encouragement and faith and those have been such a blessing to receive in the mail especially on the days when Emma Claire was not having a good day or going through her own battles. I would come home and read those and they were truly a blessing to me. I know her and Michael covet our prayers. Please pray for complete restoration of her body, comfort and peace as they are going for additional tests out of state and for GOD to give them what they need each and every day. You can link to her blog from mine, by going to the list of 'Blogs I Follow'. Judith's blog is called Sweet Pea Reflections.
We are not guaranteed tomorrow and I have heard that saying so much. It seems to have more meaning since Emma Claire has been born. We face so many trials and tribulations in our lives and we can PRAISE GOD for seeing us through.
Oh Oh Oh...by the way, guess who is now home....COHEN!! We had dinner with them and Stacy on Tuesday night and I believed we laughed off 2000 calories. What sweet friends they have become to us and we cannot wait to get these sweet babies together. I tell Emma Claire how much Cohen misses her and she just smiles! She loves her Cohen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

3 Months Old

Emma Claire is now 3 months old! Wow, how time has flown by. We have now spent 85 days in the NICU at Baptist. The first few weeks seemed to drag on and I never thought we would be out of the intensive area. Everyday when walking back to Emma Claire's area, I dreamed of the day we would be moved to the 'step down' area. Well as of last Thursday, we are now in step down and closer to the door as I like to joke. After eating lunch with Christin on Thursday and a short visit with Cohen I came over to find the staff moving all of our stuff to her new room. Yes, we actually have a private room now! GOD is GOOD! I'm sure all of the families are happy we have been moved to a private room as we always had a party in our area every day and we were out in the open, but hey life is too short and we have to make the time pass quickly. GOD has truly blessed us with WONDERFUL people. I feel like a VIP with our new digs and it is good to know and be loved by the charge nurses!
Nothing has really changed with Emma Claire. She is now up to 4 lbs 8 3/4 ounces and getting bigger each and every day. She is now getting 35 cc every 3 hours and my breast milk is getting fortified to only 22 calories. Since she is getting bigger she is no longer needing the extra calories.
We were suprised on Sunday when we came in a saw a swing in Emma Claire's room. Stacy put her in the swing and she LOVES it! I think she could swing for hours and this gives her something else to do instead of just laying in her bed for hours. She is really developing her personality and you can tell when she is getting hungry, she is starting to wake herself up and root around looking for her bottle. She is still getting about 4 out of 8 feedings with the bottle and is doing very well with those.
This weekend I surprised my mom and Matt's mom with getting to hold her. Only Matt and I have been holding her and I figured since she has been doing so good and now in her big girl bed, she ought to get some loving by her Nanas. I know she loved being snuggled by them and I was so happy they were able to hold her and love on her.
Well that is about it for our last few days! We continue to PRAISE GOD for everything he has done for us and continues to do. Every time I look at Emma Claire I an reminded HE is still on the THRONE and still performs MIRACLES every day!
James 1:12 ~ Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm a BIG Girl Now

Emma Claire doing what she does best...eating from her bottle! She continues to do so well and is growing strong and healthy each and every day.
Loving those bottles! Daddy fed Emma Claire her bottle today and she did so good. There have been so many changes going on. Emma Claire is now 4 lbs 3 1/2 ounces (1906 grams) and 18 1/2 inches long. She is now getting 32 cc every 3 hours of 24 calorie breastmilk. They continue to lower her calorie count and increasing her amount.
As you might notice, Emma Claire is now in clothes!!! PRAISE GOD!! She is now big enough to wear clothes and has now been moved to her big girl bed. She is not in a closed isolete anymore, she is now in an open air bed. We are moving on up! I told Dr. Haynes today, we are now on the other side of the mountain. That mountain was a tough climb, but knowing GOD was with us each step of the way, made is so much easier to go through this process. Before we know it, Emma Claire will be home. She contines to grow healthy and strong and we give GOD all of the honor, glory and praise.

Like I said before, we have had so many changes this week. Dr. Rojas decided to move her liter flow down on the Vapotherm to 1.5 on Monday and then on Tuesday she was moved to 1 liter. He then wanted her moved off of the Vapotherm to regular O2 (oxygen) from the wall which is considered low flow. She did so well on it today and now they have her moved down from 0.5 this morning to 0.03 which is barely any flow at all. She has been doing SOOO GOOD and we could not be any more proud of our sweet baby girl!
Our prayer is she will NOT come home on O2. We pray GOD continues to heal her lungs and make her stronger each and every day. She is taking about 4 bottles out of her 8 feedings in a 24 hour period which is awesome. They are feeding her when she is alert and awake right now to build up her stamina to taking a bottle every 3 hours.
Emma Claire had her last, that right folks, I said last eye exam on Monday. Dr. Wallace was very impressed by her eyesight and how she has progressed. He wrote her a clean bill of health for her eyes and we will not have to have another checkup. She had her hearing test today and she passed with flying colors! We serve an AWESOME GOD!!! She will have another hearing checkup in 6 months.
I cannot think of anything else to report, except we just LOVE our sweet baby girl and we will have her home soon. I get so emotional thinking about it. Don't get me wrong, I will be so happy to be home and not have to prepare our day with getting everything together to go to Baptist each day, but leaving there will be hard since we have made so many life long friends. I know we will see them, there is no doubt about that, but it is so nice to see them everyday and knowing how much Emma Claire loves them, even though she cannot tell them, she shows them by her big smiles every time they talk to her!
PRAYER REQUEST: Please lift up a dear friend of ours. I cannot go into details, but they are going through a tough patch right now and they need to be lifted up and God's peace and comfort to shroud them. We praying his healing power upon them.
PRAISE GOD and we always give him the HONOR, GLORY and PRAISE!
My dear friend, I am sending love, hugs and kisses....Love, Emma Claire