Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A poem which touched me *Warning: Tear Jerker*

God’s precious little miracle
Lying there so small
Fighting for your life
Inside those lonely walls

Each minute is so precious
Each second that you’re here
Is another we’ve been blessed with.
We want you to stay near.

We put your life in God’s hands
His will, we so strongly pray
Is for you to win this battle
And stay with us today.

But should God choose to take you
We know He will take care
Of our precious little baby
Whose days were too short here

God this day I pray to you
To let me keep my little boy
You have so many angels
I have but one pride and joy.


2/2706 and 2/28/06 Update

For those of you who are following Emma's blog closely, I apologize for any concern that may be caused by my delay in updates. As I start to feel better, I am up and about more and doing more with our nanny and kids at home so there is less time to post. Also, Sean and I are somedays only making it to the NICU at night after the kid's are asleep for the night and then we get home and head to bed. So, with that said, I will still try to update daily, but do not be concerned if it is a bit less than that.


Without further ado, Emma has done better over the past two days. She has gained an ounce. She has been on room air (21% oxygen) on the vent since yesterday morning. They will do another blood gas today and then discuss when to try and extubate (take out the ventilator) again. I am pretty scared to have it removed, but it needs to come out eventually. It's a matter of trial and error, as most things are with preemies in the NICU. She started "trophic feeds" yesterday of diluted breastmilk. She started at 1/2 cc (ml) per hour. These feeds are through her NG (gavage) tube down her throat and into her tummy. They are not real feed yet, but just enough to signal her body to get ready for "real" feedings of bigger volumes. She handled the feeds well yesterday, so today they stopped diluting it and started 100% strength boob juice still at the same rate of 1/2 cc (ml) per hour. I am SO thrilled that she is finally getting MY milk. It makes me feel like I am doing SOMETHING for her.

She is still having some bradycardia spells, but is not needing to be bagged to recover from them. Simple stimulation is bringing her up. Also, she is not desatting during the bradycardia spells so that is good news as well. She was put on her tummy for the first time yesterday, and they are turning her from her right side and back to her tummy every 6 hours to try and keep secretions from her lungs at a minimum.

This morning when I went to visit she had her thumb in her mouth. Itwas SO cute. She was not sucking (she hasn't developed that reflex yet) but the nurse said it is a good sign to see her trying to comfort herself by putting her hands up near her face. Caden and Lily got to see her as well and Caden has decided that Emma is like Daddy because she sleeps on her tummy and drools in her sleep. :)

I plan on going back tonight with Sean once again when the kids are asleep. I always enjoy our quiet time at night "tucking her in" alone with sean. It's therapeutic also. Last night on the way Sean said "well, we've tucked in all our babies we can go home and sleep now." He is right, we tucked her in!


I am recovering remarkably well. I am finally starting to sleep better. I wake once at night to pump. I set up my pump next to the bed so I don't have to get up and then put the milk in the mini fridge when I'm done (which is currently acting as a nightstand and has been since I was put on bedrest). Not actually getting out of bed at night is REALLY helping me get a better night's sleep. My pain is being managed well. I only took meds 3 times yesterday, and so far only once today. My incision is beginning to form scar tissue so that is good as well. I can laugh, cry, and cough without cringing from pain. I've probably overdone it a bit the past few days between cleaning out the kids room, the office, and shopping, but oh well. It has made the days a bit easier. The kids are also really enjoying having mommy more involved again. This is not to say that our nanny isn't still a godsend, because she is. But life is getting easier.

Friends and Family:

Where do I even begin. The amount of support, prayers, and gifts that we've received has been unbelievable! We are so blessed and so grateful to have friends and family who love us and are supporting us through this hard time. Reading comments on the blog, getting phone calls, and mail all put smiles on our faces. I want to send a special thanks to Veronica for the flowers, Leslie for the gift bag full of goodies, Geina and Christina for the preemie clothes and ALL of my special Shabby Mommies, forum friends who donated funds towards a new diva pink double combi twin savvy stroller I had my eye on. Thank you so much. You guys have all gone above and beyond. I am trying to thank everyone individually. If you are missed I sincerely apologize, you are still very appreciated and we are very thankful.

Emma with her thumb in her mouth:

The pump which gives Emma her "liquid gold" (Breastmilk). You can see the milk in the small syringe on the left. That is the amount given over the course of an hour:

Lily was so excited to see her sister!

Last but not least the super PINK stroller that my Shabby Mama friends so graciously got for us:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2/25/06 and 2/26/06 Weekend Update

Well, Unfortunately, no news is not good news this time. Emma has had a rough weekend. Saturday early morning (middle of the night) she was having episodes of bradycardia (slowing of the heartrate). During this time the ventilator itself was not helping her enough (it is set to a certain speed and takes time to reset) so they had to "bag her" (use the little oxygen squeeze baggy thingie to help her out more). She was bagged 3 time throughout saturday early morning and once late morning. She was given another blood transfusion of 10 cc's. It seemed to have helped her out. She pinked up a bit and was resting better. She was still having some bradycardia "spells" but she was able to recover from them before they needed to intervene. So, I guess in a way it's another step backward.

Lily and Caden went to my mom's on saturday afternoon (thanks mom) so Sean and I could go grocery shopping for tons of food to make rfozen dinners (once a month cooking) Sean had 30 frozen dinners planned, and we bought something to the effect of 50 lbs of meat, 30 lbs of cheese and god knows what else. We didn't get home until late and didn't get to the NICU until after 9 p.m. That's when we found out about her "spells" because we saw the bag in there and asked about it. Nobody had mentioned it when I called to check on her a few times. It angers me a bit that they didn't feel the need to call, bu I guess to them it's more "routine" But damnit, it's a BIG deal to me!!!

Anyways, Sean and I had a rough time seeing her like that. I had tears running silently down my cheeks and the nurse brought me a box of kleenex, which I stashed under Emma's isolette for next time they're needed. I'm sure there will be many more times they'll come in handy while we're on this roller coaster ride. We ended up coming home, watching 30 minutes of Recipe for success, and hittin' the hay to snuggle. Sean was out before me of course.

I woke up to pump at 2 a.m. and couldnt' get back down until 5 a.m. so I ended up pumping again before heading to bed for the "night".

I woke up at 10:30. Sean was playing Brood Wars (seems to be his stress relief lately). I pumped, took a quick shower, and we headed out to breakfast. Sean's dad came with us and it was all a bit awkward and irritable. Seems the stress is really starting to get to everyone unfortunately. We ran by the grocery store to pick up a fw last minute items needed for today's big frozen dinner cookoff. Sean's friend was here by the time we got home to help out.

Oh yeah, before I get sidetracked. I called the NICU while out to breakfast. Fund out that Emma still hasn't gained ANY weight. She's still at 1 lb. 11 oz. Her o2 was 35% this morning, but when I called it was back down to 29% It fluctuates throughout the day depending on how she is doing.

I decided to try and clear out some of the MANY MANY bags of uneeded or unused, or unusuable clothes and managed to bag up 8 bags of clothes and shoes (I think we may be done having kids, especially after all of this, but that is subject to change at anytime of course.) So, we have a bit more room to roam. The kids room is finally getting organized. I set up Emma's "closet organizer" and started sorting her preemie, newborn, and 0-3 month clothes, and packed away all of Lily's 6-12 month clothes which we won't need again for quite some time. It was really productive.

My mom was ready for us to get the kids around 4 p.m. They wear you out quick! I can't drive for 2 weeks so I'm at iother's mercy. I was waiting for a friend to come over to take me, but she couldn't get away from her husband so Nick (Sean's dad) ended up taking me out there. Picked up the kids, ran by Target since I ran out of breastmilk storage bags (I'm pumping between 80-90 ounces a day! The plan is to start pumping every 3 hours during the day versus every 2 and pumping only once during the night since we have no room for all this milk. My supply is pretty well established at this point). Back on topic. Came home, put Lily to bed. Packed up some ebay auctions that I need to get shipped since they ended while I was in the hospital. Fed Caden dinner, gave him a bath, and tucked him in for the night, and am now finally updating this

Before picking up the kids Nick and I stopped by the NICU for literally 5 minutes to check on Emma. I'm glad we did since Sean says he's not up to going today to go see her. She looks so scrawny and sickly today. It was really tough to leave her there but even more tough to sit there with her. You could tell just how much she is really fighting. Part of me feels like everything is going to be alright, but there's another part of me that just doesn't know. I mean really who does, besides the man upstairs? I just keep praying and hoping that God has a plan for Emma, and that his plan is for her to make it through this to be with us. Oh man, hear come the tears.

This is by far the most stressful, heart wrenching experience I have ever gone through. People keep telling me how strong I am. Sure, through words on a screen I (we) may seem strng, bu inside I feel like I'm dying. I burst into tears at various times throughout the day for no reason. I get ANGRY when I see very, obviously, full term, ready to pop any day mama's walking around rubbing their bellies with smiles on their face oblivous to my pain. I snap at the kids, I snap at Sean. I feel like he is holding in everything and I want him to talk to me about it. All he says is he's not doing well, and that's normally followed with and I'm not up to going back to the hospital. I understand it's hard for him to go, and it hurts and he deals with things differently, really I do. But man this stress is killing me. Luckily, we've managed to hold it together and our marriage isn't suffering...yet.. from all the stress and hopefully it won't. It just so friggin hard.

Anyways, we're not going to the NICU tonight, so I got to see my daughter for 5 minutes today. IT's not fair. I NEED to see her. It will be easier in a week when I can drive and not have to rely on others. Then I can sneak away at 2 a.m. if I can't sleep and visit her. I just really need more time with her, and I don't think Sean understands. Although he is busy today cookin. He's been at it since noon today and it's now 10:30 p.m.. Our freezer's are getting full!

I do feel blessed to have him as my husband and to have him being so supportive through this. Don't get me wrong. Don't think for one minute I am complaining about him. I know it's just as hard for him as it is for me, but I just need to vent a bit, and quite frankly this is wear I choose to do it. Betterin words than in voice at this point I think.

Well, I need to eat. I haven't eaten since 11 a.m. this morning and it's been almost 12 hours (nobody yell at me. I really am taking care of myself. I don't normally go 12 hours before eating). I will probably try to get to bed "early" (before midnight) and call the NICU before going to bed.

Here's hoping for a better update.

And here's a picture of her froggie with the hat I made for Emma (she cna't wear hats right now).

Friday, February 24, 2006

2/24/06 Two Steps Forward, One step back.

We've been warned over and over and over and prepared as well as I guess one can be prepared for this type of journey, but the preemie mantra of 2 steps forward and 1 step back I guess really holds true. Apparently, Emma was having some episodes of bradycardia (slowing of the heartrate) and had one particularly long one while the doctor was present. So they decided that she just wasn't ready to be breathing on her own yet. So they put her back on the ventilator and her o2 was set at 28-29% for most the day. Her levels were 98-99% and she looked to be resting peacefully when I went for a short visit around 1p.m. or so. She had another echocaridogram (ultrasound of the heart) which showed that her PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis, which you can get a quick explanation and diagram of here: http://www.heartpoint.com/congpda.html ) had indeed closed which means the indomethacin they gave her worked. there is still a chance it can reopen but that was good news. She was down another ounce today, weighing 1 lb 11 ounces. We're hoping she will start gaining now that she is no longer under the bililights. Her color looked better and she was resting peacefully when my mom and I left.

Sean, Nick, and the kids and I went back this evening to visit her. She was stable, still intubated. Caden enjoyed seeing her and held her head for a few moment. We got out first "family photo" of the 5 of us, WOW, sounds weird to say the 5 of us (you can see the picture below). Nick took the kids out and right as Sean and I were about to say goodbye her alarms starting sounding and her heartrate dopped dramatically along with her o2 levels. Her vent monitor was reading "obstruction" indicating there was something causing a blockage in her ventilator. they tried reposition her and it, but it was a no go. They turned her o2 up to 100% during this. They tried suctioning her but the catheter which suction got STUCK in the ventilator. they removed the whole suctioning device and replaced it thinking the first one was messed up. Nope. The Dr. was paged and was in there within about 45 seconds, shoes untied, pants untied, shirt out, and rubbing her hands with an alchohol swab (she was in her call room just about to get comfy). Right when she got there Emma stabilized a bit. They called the respiratory therapist and they were going to come down and replace the catheter to suction her with a smaller one which wouldn't cause so much resistance going down the ventilator.

They turned her o2 back down to 35% which is where it was when we left. She was agitated so I placed my hand around the top of her head, crossed her arms across her chest and somewhat firmly lay my hand on her. Sean wrapped his hand around her feet somewhat simulating how it was for her in the womb (if that can even been simulated with tubes and vents, and lines going everywhere). She calmed down within about 2 minutes, stabilized and was resting peacefully so Sean and I decided that would be a good time to leave.

I wanted to go back tonight after the kids were down, but Sean is tired and thinks we've been through enough trama for the night and doesn't feel up to driving right now. I can't drive for 2 weeks, so I guess we're staying home. Oh well, I probably need the rest anyways. Sean and I are both like rubberbands wound up really tight, ready to break at any moment. Lily and Caden have been super cranky, probably from sensing our emotions and stress. Sean and I joked that even the flowers that we've received are sensing the stress and dying (it's true, they're not lasting as long as flowers normally last in this house. Maybe they just feel neglected). So with that said. we're both a wreck. this balancing act between trying to be good parents to our two at home and being able to be there for Emma, for her and for US is getting stressful. I feel like i'm about to fall off the fence. Maybe I will use a friend's suggestion for stress relief. Patato smashing in the street. sounds like a great destresser. Hmm, wonder if the neighbors would mind?

Ok, well Sean is in the bed. the kids are sleeping and I need to go drug myself. More updates tomorrow. Pray for a better day.

Already wrapped around Daddy's finger. You can see the blanket that I made to cover her Isolette in this picture. It cheers up her "home away from home" just a bit.

The calm before the storm.

Our very first family pictures as a family of 5! So, how do we look?

Thursday, 2/23/06, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. updates

7:00 p.m.

I am happy to report that Emma is doing AWESOME! We took Caden to visit her and he was so excited to hold her hand. Unfortunately for Caden (fortunately for sweet Emma) she had just been excubated so she needed to rest so she could get used to breathing on her own. So they didn't want us to open the portholes in her isolette oor disturb her too mucn which is totqally understandable. Poor Caden didn't understand this and had a total meltdown. sean has to take him out of the room. W were lucky enough for Sean to get a few seconds of video of her off the vent for the first time. We were thrilled. We left after 5 minutes to take Caden home and get the kids in bed with intentions of going later to see her. Caden continued his meltdown and we were all on edge from stress, and whatnot. I know it's hard for him to understand, but it;s frustrating that he wouldn't listen to us. I guess this is how the next few months will be. trying to balance parenting and going to see our sickest one. This is tougher than I ever imagined it could be, but I guess we'll just take it one day at a time.

10 p.m.

Sean and I were so thrilled to be able to go back and see her. She had maintained all of her oxygen levels without desating and was doing really well over the past 3 hours since being excubated. she is so beautiful now that we can see her fqace without HUGE tubes all over it. She ended up having to get a med which was not compatible with her PPIC line so she did need another I.V. line which she got quite upset about, but that meant she cried and I FINALLY got to hear my baby cry. She made these barely audible squeaking sounds. We got it on video but you REALLY have to listen to hear it. It was the best sound in the world. she desatted a little while getting the I.V. and her diaper changed (she had her 2nd poop and man was it alot considering she's not even eating. LOL, got that on camera too. i know I'm weird). After her care it took gher a minute or so to recover and they upped her oxygen just a tiny bit for a few mintes to "help her out" but she was just fine after that and went back to resting peacefully. If her blood gasses remain normal for the next day or so then they will pull out her umbilical arterial line and then we may be able to start "kangaroo care" and holding her. I am so excited and also scared to death at the same time. Oh, the bililights were removed so she no longer needs her sunglasses either. Her level was 4.1 which was close enough to 4 for them. they want her to start gaining weight again and the bililights really dry them out and make them lose weight so they figured she was close enough. so hopefully she'll being plumping up again.

Emma's Stats 3 hours after being excubated. The blue number is her oxpulse number. They want to keep it above 89 and she is doing GREAT. The top number is her heart rate, right on track! Keep it up baby!

Overall, it was just an awesome day and overwhelmingly emotional and heartwarming visit. I can't wait to visit her today. Speaking of which I need to get dressed...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday, 2/23/06, 1:00 a.m. Phone Udate

Emma: We didn't end up making it back thehospital after my last update again. We both wanted to, but I haven't been sleeping and Sean has been really worried abotu me, so instead we stayed home. More on me later though. I called the NICU while pumping at 1 a.m. Emma was doing well. Her o2 was down to only 24%. No real changes otherwise. Her hemocrit (blood) levels came back on the low side from ll the blood they've had to take from her for tests so they ordered another blood transfusion of 10 cc's to be given sometime during the night. I'm sure she's had it by now. I need to call and get updated so I'll know what's going on before I head over there today. Hopefullly she'll out from under the bililights. That will be so exciting. Then her "sunglasses" can come off and we might be able to catch her with her eyes open.

Me: My incision started oozing late last night. I am on the phone with the Kaiser Nurse Advice Line as I type this. Or rather, i'm on hold with them. If they sy it's not urgent than I may just keep the appointment that I aleady had scheduled for today as a routine "prenatal appointment". I guess she can just see me for something else (the oozing incision). Maybe I can get refill for more pain mesd since I have a feeling I may need them awhile longer. Hope all goes well and it's nothing serous and can be trated easily.

Well, that's it for now. I'll have more to report once I go see her and get some more pictures. My mom has been keeping caden the past 2 nightws to make things easier. she has offered to keep him another night, but I think while I'm out there beng seen we might just pick him up. I miss him It does make it harder to go visit Emma though, but we eventually have to start leading a somewhat normal "life" whether we want to or not. we can't keep up ike we are right now for the next few months. It wouldn't be good for anyone, but it is going to take some slow adjusting.

I will give another update if anything changes or If I have more pictures.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wednesday, 2/22/06, 6:30 p.m. , Quick Visit

Me: They're not sure what my rsash is but gave me prednisone and benydryl to clear it up. Hopefully it works. I'm in quite a bit of pain right now and of course hoping my meds kick in soon.

Emma: Checked on Emma real quick after my after my after hours appointment. She looks scrawnier today, but I guess that's because she lost some weight. Oxygen level was at 26%. Her I.V. in her hand had been removed so all that is remaining is her PPIC line in her leg and then the line going into her umbilicus. That one will be removed when they no longer need to do blood gasses on her. I had to pump while there and they were very accomadating. It was peaceful. Emma seemed to be very content and was laying still and resting nicely.

Sean and I came home to eat dinner and put Lily to bed and will be going back for a longer visit after the shift change in the NICU.

Wednesday, 2/22/06, 4:30 p.m.

Me: I didn't sleep much last night again so it was taking me forever to get around this morning. Sean went back to work today although from what I hear hasn't been able to ceoncentrate real well. I don't blame him. I think we're both just physically and emotionally worn down right now. I started developing a weird rash on my abdomen last night which has spread upwards over my belly and formed little bumps and turning dark, bright red. It looks like a topical allergic reaction and is itching and burning like crazy but I can't think of anything which has changed. It is really strange. So I am going to after hours care at 5:45 p.m. to be seen for it. Other than that I am doing well. Trying to stay on my schedule as far as taking my meds and pumping goes. Pumping is going great and I think I can officially say my milk is in and the NICU freezer is full, our in house freezer is full, and now we're beginning to work on our freezers in the garage. I'm thinking it might be just about time to invest in a deep freezer or think about donating some to someone.


I stopped in very briefly before shift change to check in on Emma. she is doing well today. Unfortunately, she is down to 1 pound 12 ounces, So very tiny. But apparently around this time it's very typical and "normal" for her to be olsing weight. she has to play the lose,g ain, lose game for a bit before she will continually gain weight. Hopefully she'll start gaining once she is no longer jaundiced and her breathing issues are resolved.

Her blood gas came back good so her o2 was turned down to just 25%. She has handled the change well and has not had any substantial or non- nurse induced desats or apneac episodes. YAY! 21% is considered room air. Hopefully this is a sign that they'll be able to take her off the ventilator and put her on the nasal CPAP, or maybe even just a nasal oxygen canula soon. When one of those happens we will be able to begin holding her. We can not wait to hold our angel.

Her bilirubin level was down to 4.2 which is good news. Once it is at 4 or below they can remove the lights. So they will do another check tomorrow and if it is under 4 then they'll take them off of her and she won't have to wear her "sunglasses" and we won't be taking "blue baby" pictgures again. There is a chance she might have to go back under them even after she has had them removed but we will cross that bridge when it comes and hopefully not have to cross it at all.

Her PPIC line was inserted through her leg and weaved up near her heart. The procedure went well and now she won't have to keep getting new I.V's and being poked constantly. So more good news.

Sean and I plan heading back over to see her again for am longer visit after my after hours visit. I should be getting some more pictures as well.

Wednesday, 2/22/06, Short Video clips!

I have added short video clips to our family website. Unfortunately, it can only be viewed so many times before we are charged for each viewing. Due to this reason I will have to ask that if you would like to view these clips you send me an email and I can email them directly you to you. Depending on your connection speed and the size of the file it may take awhile to load and play. Thanks for the understanding and continued suppport.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday, 2/21/06, Final update for today and more pictures

Well, I need to keep this short and kind of to the point since it's about 12 minutes until midnight and all of my meds are kicking in. I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night and maybe 3-4 the night before so I really need to try and get more best so I can recover as well.

2:00 p.m. Me: I had my staples removed. It didn't;t hurt. Apparently there is a lot of bruising on my left side. The Dr. who took my staples out and assisted Dr. Moore (the delivering doctor) in the birth and stitching me up ended up seeing me. She didn't know she would be seeing us and it was just a coincidence. She was really nice and let us know that she had been praying for our baby and would consider to do so. Gosh, we are blessed. Thank you Jesus!!!

We left with instructions: No driving for 2 weeks. No heavy lifting or housework for 4 weeks. No sex for 6 weeks. And one more thing, but I honestly don't remember what it was but one more prohibition until 8 weeks. Oh well, I think we'll manage without rule #4.

We headed to the NICU after my appointment to meet up with our nanny so the kisd could go in to visit with Emma for a second.

3:30 p.m. Emma:

Went to visit Emma. She was in a tangled mess of cords and had wet through her diaper and all of her bedding. She was really agitated. Sean and I helped the nurse changed her bedding and change her. Her alarms were sounding and I was quite aggravated by the situation as well. I was/am hoping it was a one time situation. She ended up being suctioned and her o2 level was back up to 41% if I recall correctly. She had been given her transfusion of 20 cc's of blood. She is still under her bililights for the jaundice and her bilirubin levels were 5.9. Once it drops under 5 she can get out from under the lights. It will be nice not to see such a blue baby (I have to admit blue does look good on her though ::wink wink:: ).

Caden came in to see his sister and was thrilled once again. He held her hand and rubbed her foot. He then closed her porthole and told her to get better so she could come home. He said goodbye Emma, see ya later and kissed her isolette. He's such a proud big brother. We also brought Lily in to "meet" Emma as well, knowing full well Lily wouldn't understand, we talked her through it like she would though and kept trying to get her to say baby. The closest we got to it was "bah, bah" while attempting to bang the isolette. So her visit we kept short, sweet, and to the point.

We had to leave since our nanny was getting off and we needed to pick up my prescriptions. Our nurse was going to suction Emma right after we left since her lungs sounded full of gunk.

7:45 p.m. My mom came to pick up Caden and take him to her house. Grandpa Nick put Lily to sleep so Sean and I could quickly run to the NICU before shift change at 8. We were hoping to sneak in before 8 and not get kicked out from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. (they "close" 4 times a day for an hour each time for shift changes). We got there 5 minutes before 8. Asked the nurse a few questions and then were kicked out. We headed to wal-mart and picked u some fleece fabric and satin edging so I could make Emma a more colorful and personal blanket to cover her isolette. We also picked out some purple flannel so I could make a little receiving blanket to replace the blah hospital one. I'm hoping this will make her home bit more comfortable before she can REALLY come home.

9:15 p.m. We made it back to the NICU. She was being suctioned again as we got there. She handled it like a pro and even managed not to desat. during the suctioning. She normally desats and they normally have to turn her oxygen to the low 90's just to keep her stable while suctioning. This was very reassuring. She was also given her 2nd dose of Indomethacin to help close her pda (which causes the heart murmur) Apparently, the doctor changed his mind after speaking with me and wrote the order. Her o2 was at 36% Maintained an Oxygen saturation of about 95% while we were there. She did desat quite a bt when she made a drop of pee in her diaper. She dropped to 83% and was very agitated ( she does NOT like to be wet and definitely lets you know!). So I went ahead and changed her and she went right back to being happy and at 96% saturation again. This girl cracks me up. It felt good to be able to know what my daughter wanted and needed and be able to provide that for her even though she is tiny and in the need of constant professional care. She was seeming a bit agitated as well towards the end and it was nearing the time for her next fentanyl dose at 10:30 p.m. this he,s to sedate her a bit and keep her calm. I also wrapped her receiving blanket around her whole body a bit closer , building a tighter nest and this seemed to calm her down heaps as well.

unfortunately, as all things do our visit had come to an end. I made sure to get some more breastmilk storage bottles and labels since I am consistantly pumping 4 ounces at each session every 203 hours. I'm a pumping queen and SO happy about that. Well, my eyes are becoming crossed so I'm headed to bed before it's time for my next pumping session.

Thank you!

I want to thank everyone for all of their loving thoughts and prayers and support. Here are a few things we have received over the past dew days. The cards and flowers are gorgeous and have really brightened our days!

Monday, 2/20/06, Caden meeting his sister

Tuesday, 2/21/06, 7:00 a.m. update and more pictures

7:00 a.m. Emma Update:

The dirctor of the Nicu called this morning. Emma is continuing to do remarkably wel. She has not had any more apneac episodes or desaturations in her o2 levels (other than when she gets upset from being suctioned or a dirty/wet diaper). Turns out her blood tests came back from birth and she has an infection (at birth). they are not sure how she got it since there was no infection of my placenta or the amniotic fluid or uterus that they could tell. So she really was better offn on the outside than inside. They said this was probably the cause of my preterm labor and delivery. She may not have made it had I not delivered when I did. I am so thankful for the doctors course of treatment and that I followed my gut instinct and headed to the hospital on friday night.
So she is doing well. Her oxygen levels are back down to 29%, they asid she could probably be excubated but that they will wait awhile longer to give her time to get some antibiotics in her for the infection so she doesn't have to work too hard. She will get a blood transfusion today since she's had about 20% total of her blood drawn since birth for various tests. It is typical for preemies to need at least one transfusion at some poinbt during their nicu stay. He confirmed that her cranial ultrasound came back great with no bleeding on the brain. She will have another lung x-ray today to check the fat deposits from the pump malfunction. She has gained another once so she is back at 2 pounds 1 ounce.
If she continues to do well and comes off the ventilator than it will become a waiting game of learning how to suck, swallow, and breathe all at the same time and grow. I feel so very blessed. Sean and I will be going to the hospital shortly to visit her. Our nanny will be bringing the kids by to meet us there to visit again and then leaving us there to spend some more quality time with Emma.

Update on me: I get my staples removed at the clinic today at 1:30 p.m. I am nervous that it will hurt. Wish me luck. The pain medications are working well. I am still uncomfortable but not necessarily in pain. So that is good. The pumping is going great. I managed to pump another 3 ounces from both breasts at my 7 a.m. pump session. She will have so much liquid gold by the time she starts getting her gavage feedings I have a feeling she'll plump right up. I hope to make her a nice fleece soft blanket to go under her today and possibly either pick up or make a nicu "safe" t-shirt for her to dress her up a bit.

Here are a few more pictures from yesterday of Caden meeting his new sister and some other various pictures:

Saturday, 2/18/06, 3:26 p.m. (Birth)- Tuesday, 2/21/06, 5:00 a.m.

Just Moments after birth while still in the operating room. Happy Birthday Emma Grace!

Monday, 3/20/06, 2:00 A.M.-


NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) Director came in to inform us directly that there had been a change of status with Emma. There was an I.V. Started at around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, 3/19/06, to provide fat nutrients with something called fat emulsion. Apparently, something malfunctioned with the pump which was administering the emulsion and Emma was given too much. This resulted in fat deposits pooling in her lungs. Her biliruben levels were at 5.9 and anything above 5.5 for her requires the bili lights. So the bili lights were started. She will be under lights for at least two lights while they monitor her levels. Her o2 was turned back up to 35% from 24% earlier in the day (21% is essentially room air). She needed her o2 turned up since the fat nutrients which pooled in her lungs made it harder for harder for her to breathe. Her blood pressure needed to be stabilized so she was started on Dopamine and is also being given pain medication for comfort and to keep her more stable. Emma was stable but struggling at on a 1:1 ratio with the nurses at this time.


I was doing okay. I hadn't slept yet despite their best efforts with pain medication and benadryl to help me get some rest. I was pumping every 2-3 hours to try and get what liquid gold I could for my sweet daughter. After the NICU director came and spoke with me at 2:00 a.m. I went to visit emma. I had pumped 25 cc's from both breasts combined which was a great increase from previous sessions resulting in only 5 cc's. apparently any colostrum at this time is excellent considering most moms of preemies take much longer to produce anything. Guess it helps that Lily only weaned herself 2 months ago. (I plan on trying to get her back on the breast when my milk comes in at least once a day to help out my supply and to also try and give her the extra attention she will need through all of this). Unfortunately, my left nipple was slightly cracked and bleeding. I am hoping to curb this problem with some lanolin before it becomes a bigger issue. My catheter and I.V. were removed Sunday afternoon and I was able to finally shower. I felt so relieved to shower and be clean and it was definitely a boost to my self esteem and mood. I felt somewhat human again. I also took off my dressing which was covering my incision. I was feeling great with only minimal pain. On Vicadin and Motrin around the clock. Vicaden every 4 hours and motrin every 6 alternating. This managed my pain for the most part. I was recovering remarkably well and aiming to be discharged early that morning to go rest at home. We are blessed to only live 3 miles from the hospital and to have a wonderful nanny and supportive family to help take care of the kids and allow us to be accessible to the hospital and to Emma as needed. I will be updating this blog as I get more updates and as I get more pictures. Hopefully daily, sometimes even more than once daily.

Monday, 3/20/06, 6:00 a.m.-


Went to see Emma. I was there just in time to watch some of her care. She was weighed and was 2 ounces down from her birth weight so she was weighing in at 2 pounds even. Because of all her I.V. Lines and intubation tubing and what not moving her onto the scale to weigh her was a good 20-25 minute ordeal. She gets stressed during this and shows it by her o2 levels dropping below the 90% range. They typically up her o2 flow to about 90-100% to combat this problem and wean her back down after her care. Unfortunately due to the extra fat deposits from the pump malfunction her bilirubin levels went up to just over 6. I didn't get an exact number. Due to the extra fat deposits she was more stressed and needed more o2 to breathe so her o2 levels were upped to 75%. A little disheartening for mommy and daddy. This was an eye opener of just how touch and go the NICU environment can be, and how much of a 2 steps forward, one step backward ordeal this would be for the next few months. Anyways, a head ultrasound was ordered for later in the day to check for bleeding on the brain which is common for preemies her age. There was also an echocardiogram ordered for her heart to check on a murmur that was found. The murmur may or may not have been caused by the pooling of the fat emulsion. Basically there is an opening in the heart which normally closes before birth but occasionally (especially in preemies) it does not and will either close on it's own after birth or drugs will be needed to help it out. In the meantime the opening causes more stress to the lungs which requires a higher oxygen percentage that baby needs to get. Her dopamine had been stopped and her blood pressure was stabilized.
(Goes to show how quickly things change in here). She is stable again, but still be watched very carefully.

Me: 6:30 a.m. I was able to pump 32 cc's between both breasts. I am thrilled that the pumping is going so well considering all the stress. When she starts gavage feedings (feeding through a tub which right now goes through her mouth and into her stomach) she will only be getting about 20 cc's ALL day long. so this should be MORE than enough for awhile. I will just keep pumping and freezing for them. It's the best thing for a preemie. 8:30 a.m. I pumped 17 cc's. For now I will keep record of each pumping session until one of a few things happens. A) I start forgetting to chart how much is pumped. B) I get sick of reporting it and feel you are sick of hearing about it. or C) she is on the actual breast (which won't be for a few weeks to go still).

10:30 a.m.- Dr. came to see me. Everything checked out well. I was discharged and given some steri-strips and a staple remover to take to the clinic the next day to have my staples removed. Ordered to continue my meds 24/7 and given all the "regular" mumbo jumbo discharge information. I pumped one last time and dropped off the milk in the NICU and checked on Emma real quick before leaving to go home. it wasn't as hard as I expected to leave her there but I really don't think everything has hit me quite yet. I feel like I am in a state of twilight. It will hit me eventually I'm sure.

5:30 p.m.- Headed back to hospital with the kids and family and friends. Took turns letting everyone get a quick peek so we can try and keep visits from family to a minimal over the next few days to help reduce her stress. Grandma and Grandpa wear brought her a Stuffed Ducky and an adorable outfit. Thanks grandma and Grandpa. Grandma was thrilled as always to see her new granddaughter. Our good friends (and our rock during all of this) Susan and Mike and their daughter came to meet her as well. Susan and Mike went in one at a time, susan with me and Mike with Sean to meet her. Grandpa Nick came by as well, and was a bit emotional at seeing her. He is having a rough time watching her be so little and struggle, but she's a feisty little fighter. Sean and I took Caden in to meet his new baby sister before we took anybody else in. I thought I would be more emotional but it was more heartwarming than anything. We explained to him that his baby sister was tiny and very sick so she had to stay in a special crib at the doctor's until she grew big and strong. we also explained that he needed to wash his hands really well with mommy or daddy before he could see her and needed to not touch anything (including himself) once he was inside and to use a quiet voice. He did so great and understood more than we thought he would. He was SO excited to meet his baby sister. He held her hand through the porthole in her isolate and told her he loved her. Emma's nurse Denise is a godsend and really encourages and promotes family interaction and siblings to get involved so she was showing him the different the tubers and asked him what her name was and we got a video clip of him saying Emma Grace and that he picked it out. He actually did insist for the past few weeks that her name would be Emma. He then closed the porthole and informed us that he was "closing her door so she could get bigger and stronger." He's such a sweetheart. We let the other family and friends visit her very briefly (looking not touching). Caden insisted he needed to go check on his sister "one more time" because she "needs him". So we took him back in, washed his hands, and he went to watch her and help put her stuffed froggie animal in her bed with her and he seemed content with this now. Lily will probably go meet her briefly tomorrow.

My heart was mush. I think at this visit reality sunk in a bit more that we were leaving our daughter once again. I still am waiting to feel kicks inside of me, but then the twinges of pain from my incision bring me back to reality. I think the drugs are keeping my emotions at bay. unfortunately, I'm afraid it will hit me all at once and I'll be a mess. But for now I'll take it hour by hour, day by day.

9:30 p.m. Me:

Excruciating pain. Went out to eat since nobody felt up to cooking. Was late on taking my meds. Almost in tears. Was attempting to pump. I think my milk will be in fully tomorrow. Breasts are feeling full. Nipples are sore. Note to self: use LOTS of lanolin after pumping and between sessions. Less suction on the next pumping session. Too my Vicadin, motrin, and then cough syrup with codeine since I had a nasty coughing spell which resulted in feeling like i would die from pain. After pumping 60 cc's total I headed to bed and sleep. Sweet, sweet sleep.

Tuesday, 3/21/06, 2:30 a.m.-

Woke up from bed in pain again. Took some more Vicaden. Went out to the recliner (for what will be the remainder of the night). Pumped a whopping 60 cc's (4 ounces I believe). Doused my nipples in lanolin and made the call to the NICU to check on Emma. Unfortunately, her Nurse Terry was doing some care on her and I was informed to call back in 10 minutes.

2:45 a.m. Emma-

Emma is doing great. She was given a medication for agitation. Nurse Terry states the agitation is a good sign because she is "fighting back" saying "hey, I don't like this." Her lights were turned off and her sunglasses remove for about 15 minutes during her care so she could look around. she likes to open her right eye (her left is slightly puffy still and harder to open so she rarely opens it, although she did earlier for her mommy and daddy). O2 levels are back down to 30%. Blood pressure i excellent. Urine output is great. Cranial Ultrasound was done and showed NO bleeding on the bran which is such a relief. WONDERFUL NEWS! She will have another lung x-ray in the morning to check on the fat deposits from the "pump malfunction" in the morning. No apneac (spells in which she "forgets" to breathe) episodes, no desats (de-saturation is the level of oxygen she is absorbing and going through her blood) since earlier yesterday. She is doing once again "remarkably well, better than a preemie this age should be doing". What a relief to a worrying mama to hear from a nurse. If she continues to stay this stable and they can wean her back down to the 21% oxygen which is essentially room air than they may attempt to take out her ventilator tube and either put hr on the CPAP machine or even possibly on a small bit of oxygen through a nasal canula. How exciting. I am trying not to get my hopes up since I know this can change at a moments notice. I also know even if they take her off there is a chance she can be re-intubated if she doesn't handle it well. But I will try and focus on the good news for now! At this point they are not treating her for the small opening in her heart. There is no audible murmur right now. Apparently it can open and close but right now it is small enough where it's not causing any major damage so it will be left untreated and hopefully close on its own. They will continue to monitor her for this though. She will have another lung x-ray sometime later this morning to check on the fat deposits pooled in her lungs and they will also check her biliruben levels to see if she can come out from under the lights or not yet. Glory be to God, without him we are nothing. Thank you Jesus for protecting our sweet baby Emma and giving us the peace and strength to stay by her side and turn to you in our time of need!

I'm off to copy and paste this into my blog, update some pictures and then to bed. I update in word and then copy and paste to make things easier and more accurate in the long run. I will probably update again later tonight. It's now 5:30 in the morning. Sean is asleep in the recliner next to me and I should really head that way so I can get some more sleep in before the pain sets back in and it's time for more meds and another pump session.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Emma's Birth Story, most of it anyways.

After 3 weeks of bed rest we decided to get ribs at a local yummy place for dinner. We got there and sat down and I immediately started getting diarrhea (too much information sorry). So, we left shortly after and headed home. Something had felt “off” for most of the of the day and the baby hadn’t moved most of the day so with my gut instinct we headed to the hospital on Friday at 10 p.m., February 17, 2006. By the time I was settled into a triage I had started having back contractions fairly regularly. They gave me a shot of terbutaline, which held off the contractions for about an hour. During this time they did the fetal fribronectin protein test and checked my cervix. I had dilated to a good 2. This was not good. Since I had dilated more, and the test came back positive they admitted me to the hospital for betamethisone steroids for the baby (to help mature the lungs) and started me on magnesium to ward off the contractions. The contractions eased overnight. They gave me some ambien to sleep, and I got the best night’s rest that I‘ve had in a long time.
I started having more bloody mucous when I woke up but they didn’t check me. They did an ultrasound and determined baby’s weight to be about 2 lbs. 4 oz. Around 2 p.m. my water broke. No doubt about it. Contractions started again about 5 minutes later. By 2:30 I had gone from 2 cm to 5 cm. dilated. I was haing strong contractions and my water was gushing. The magnesium was no longer working. They made the decision to start the cesarean since she was breach.

By 3, I was in the operating room and 7 cm. dilated. My labor was going so quickly. I was prepped and the section had started. My spinal was awesome. The baby was born at 3:26, February 18, 2006. Weighing 2 lbs 2 oz. And 14.5 inches. We had called our pastor before the section asking him to come ASAP to baptize her after birth. It just so happened that he got there to baptize her and pray over her right as I was heading from recovery to the postpartum ward so I got to see her baptism ( Pastor Manning did it with some enfamil water they gave him in the NICU. The bottle is still sitting by her bedside. Unfortunately, I couldn’t touch her since I hadn’t washed my hands. I’m now in my postpartum room feeling pretty good (I started writing this about 5 minutes after getting into my room) and it's about 2 hours after surgery. Susan is here visiting and will take this home to post to everyone on the Delphi forums and hopefully will have pictures to post too.

Anyways, baby no name as she was so affectionately called in the womb was nameless until birth and somehow Emma Grace was decided quickly. We are thrilled to be "new" parents once again, she is tiny, but doing well for now. It will be a tough next few weeks and I’m not sure how much you’ll hear from me. Good thoughts, prayers and warm wishes are welcomed and we are thankful for them!

Emma Grace Has arrived!

Emma Grace Stanford arrived prematurely at 27 weeks and 2 days gestation. She was born on February 18, 2006 at 3:26 p.m. by emergency cesarean and weighed in at 2 lbs 2 oz. and is 14 1/2 inches long. She will have a rough few months ahead of her but we are hoping and praying for the best. She is a fiesty preemie princess. I will try and keep this blog updated daily with new pictures and her status as I have time and begin to feel well enough to do so. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes!