Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Home Sweet Home....

Home. It has taken on a whole new meaning in the past week. We finally brought our little girl Elizabeth home on November 8th. After spending a tireless, seemingly endless 103 days in the NICU we finally walked through those hospital doors with her in tow. One of Lizzy's care nurses that helped us through so much was off that day but I was able to see and thank her properly the day before. That lady was truly a superwoman of a nurse. She made me sane when all I could do was sit in the dimly lit hospital room with just my hand on Lizzy's back. We couldn't have asked for anyone to care for her better than she did and we are forever grateful to her. As we made the 1 1/2 hour trek home from the hospital I kept waiting for someone from the NICU to call us and tell us to bring her back but it hasn't happened yet. It's been a little over a week I think we are finally settling in to life at home. Landon of course is completely enthralled with his little sister and is very enthusiastically helping me at every turn.  Our house looks a little like Lizzy's hospital room with the addition of oxygen tanks, a beeping pulse ox monitor, and a very loud apnea/ bradycardia monitor, but we wouldn't have it any other way. I am taking some of the remaining maternity leave from work so I have been at home uninterrupted and am starting to go a little stir crazy. Even though she left the hospital we have a lot of specialists to follow up with so we still aren't out of the woods completely, but this Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for. God has so richly blessed us throughout this entire journey. We have had so much support from our families, church family and friends I can't imagine how other preemie moms do it without any. There was many a night that I would cry myself to sleep because I didn't know how Lizzy would make it through the night. Now I can peek up from my bed and see her resting peacefully in her bassinet. She is truly our little miracle. Our home is now most definitely sweet.

I'm all ready to go!
Home at last!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Pump Life

This is my new best friend. Yup some people have hot dates, I have pump dates. And let me tell you they come way too close together. When I found out I was pregnant there was no question about whether or not I would breastfeed. Landon was breastfed and of course everything you hear points to human milk for human babies. I got that. Then I had her... 16 weeks early.... You could say this threw me for a loop when it came to feeding. Seeing as though she couldn't eat any milk (formula or mine) for probably the first 3 weeks of her life I had to pump. I was not ready for what exclusively pumping meant. It was days of pumping 8 times a day, around the clock and getting nothing. I mean not even a drop. Even the best breast pump can't express milk like a newborn. It was frustrating and many times I wanted to give up. The lactation consultants at the hospital were truly my cheerleaders. They would come check on me, give me information and answer all my seemingly dumb questions. They are what truly kept me pumping when I would have given up. Now Ms. Lizzy is doing great and is healthy for the most part. Her doctors say a lot of that is attributed to the fact she was able to, for the most part, get breastmilk for nutrition. She does have 2 formula feeds a day, but that is solely for calorie sake. She needs to pack on the ounces so I just tell my self it is the equivalent to a having a protein shake and that makes me feel better! She is now 3 pounds and climbing and I couldn't be more happy. I have a freezer full of milk at the hospital and working on filling up a deep freeze at home and have learned so much in the process. Maybe one day I will share some tips I have learned along the way, but for now I am basking in the glow of one thing I was able to do for my little girl when there was so much that I couldn't.

Still a skinny mini
All cheeks and chins!
My two little sweet peas!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bubbles, bubbles, my bubbles!

Do you remember that part in Finding Nemo where the fish in the fish tank opens up the chest and plays with the bubbles? That's kind of what I feel like in Lizzie's room. She's on what's called bubble CPAP. It constantly bubbles and bubbles and bubbles all day long! As I sit there watching her bubbling away I can't help but think of that part in the movie. Am I crazy or what? Even so it's great that she's doing so much better with her breathing. I don't know if I could continue to watch the monitor go up and down all day long. We're on day 45 and it's so great to say that we broken the 30 week mark in gestation. Her adjusted gestation  was was 31 weeks yesterday. Small victories I say. Although her quite cute mask takes up most of her face I still think she's the most precious thing ever. I can't wait until we can put her back on the nasal cannula and we can really see her face and all that beautiful hair that she has under that hat. Landon and John have been coming quite frequently to the hospital since he's gone back to work. It's nice to have been there with me since I'm there every day, all day by myself most of the time.  We are all looking forward to the new milestones that hopefully are just around the corner. Like wearing clothes, breaking free of the Isolette, and down the road going home. It's just great to be gaining ground for the past couple days instead of losing it. Hopefully she continues...

Monday, September 9, 2013

How a year changes everything...

It's been almost a year since my last post.... one year of changes and adjustments. We have been in Jacksonville for just a little over a year now. Landon started and graduated from Kindergarten. I couldn't have been a more proud mama.
Landon's first day of school

How handsome is he!

So proud of him!

 We've already moved once and are settling in again. So much is different and so much is familiar at the same time. The biggest change of all... We now have a baby girl! Elizabeth Olivia made her entrance into our lives on July 28th, 16 weeks before my November due date. I never thought I would ever have a preemie, but she had other plans. A seemingly normal pregnancy went awry when my water broke at 23 weeks. After spending a week in the hospital on very strict bed rest little Lizzy decided she was ready to come. 43 days in the NICU have passed and I am so in love with her. Watching her grow and fight for seemingly small, but in her life, large gains has been the hardest thing I have ever done. She was born at 1 pound 3 ounces and just 2 days ago we hit the 2 pound mark! Those are the victories of the NICU. One step forward and sometimes three steps back. She is a strong little girl and we are just amazed at all she can do. Our family would not be complete without her.

Happy Birthday Lizzy! She has Daddy's wedding ring on!

My first time holding her

Lizzy's "crib" 
Our precious big girl at 6 weeks old