Sunday, August 30, 2009

This and That!

So we have passed the 50 day mark in the NICU. I think you should get some sort of prize or at least a t-shirt of some kind. I am really hoping that we won't make it to day 67 which would bring us to my due date. Ella is really making some progress on her eating so I hope we are here for only another week or week and a half. Who knows when we are going home but as the nurses say there are no toddlers in the NICU so we will leave at some point. Both Shazam and I are really getting ready to be out of here and move on to the next chapter in this adventure.
One of our favorite nurses Traci told us we may want to bring in the car seat in the next few days. I think I will hold off for a little bit but I am hoping that our beautiful car seat will soon have a baby in it and not a stuffed bear.
Speaking of favorite nurses Ella and her mommies totally love Traci. She is one of the few things we will miss when we finally get to go home from the NICU. I was feeling crafty the other night and made Ella a onsie to express her love for Traci. She has been with us for this whole journey and I think she may love Ella as much as we do! Traci loved it and actually unplugged her so that she could show her around to the other nurses! Ella is now posted in the break room in all her cuteness. I swear Ella puts herself in the cutest poses it looks like we put her this way but we just find her like this all the time! The nurses tell us preemies find it very soothing to have their hands near their faces and are very impressed that she can get them there herself.
Ella had a great day with her feedings today. She had an off day yesterday. I am not sure if it was the weather or the fact that Shazam was not with me but she slept through her 11 am care time and spelled three times when I tried to nurse her at 2 and 5. It was very frustrating. I was relieved to hear that Ella was not the only baby in a funk yesterday since several babies in the nursery were just not interested in doing much of anything all day. But today Ella was back to her rock star self and ate like a champ. She nursed ok at the 11 but I thought she didn't get enough so we fed her through her gavage tube. We gave the full feed and our poor girl got so full. She had such a bad tummy ache and also a full diaper so we decieded to change her. Mid change Ella really did it up and when I was wiping her bum she let loose and shot poo across her crib. It was pretty impressive and we had to get her a whole new crib since there was poop everywhere. Shazam and Traci were not all that impressed with my skills. Ella felt so much better afterwards though. Lesson learned...Ella seems to be getting a lot of milk while she is nursing. Even if she doesn't nurse for too long! At the 2 pm she went to town on a bottle with Shazam and she took the whole thing in about 15 minutes and she was alert for about 15 minutes after her bottle just looking around and being cute for her Mimi A. Then she nursed again at 5 and didn't have her gavage. I have not checked to see how she has done with her other feedings tonight. I expect that she was left so sleep through her 8 pm feeding and will get a bottle at 11. She is working hard at learning how to feed and is still gaining weight and topped the scales a smidge over 5 lbs last night. She is so sturdy and hefty now.
She also has so much more awake time these days and we are having so much fun spending our days cuddling and smiling at the girl. She loves her pacifier and her baths and makes so many funny faces. I need to spend a day trying to capture them all, perhaps when we get home. She loves to hold her pacifier in her mouth and has even found her thumb a few times.

Well I need to work on some tasks in the apartment and finish some designs for onsies for some of Ella's friends in nursery A. I made Ella an Ella onsie and they have been a hit so I want to make some for her buddies. I think she looks pretty cool !

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nursery Tour

Since Ella should be coming home soon we need to get our act together and get the girl's room ready. We are close to finishing the room all we need to do is get a glider, paint a side table and remove the work table which is the final piece of furniture from the junk room. I snapped some pictures the other night and I apologize for the poor color. I think the energy efficient bulbs make the room look a little funny! I will post more when we take some better pictures when the nursery is complete. Perhaps I will even have the courage to show the before and after pictures. I can't wait to have pictures of Ella in her nursery! That will be a day of celebration for sure!

Ella's crib with her Elephant bedding
Ella's Poster that will hang over her crib. We just need to get it framed.
Ella's shelves all filled with her gear!
The dresser with the changing pad all ready to go!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Happier Update

After last post I thought I would assure my readers that I am not slipping into a funk. I have my good days and I have my bad days. The other day was not my best day. As evidence I present a picture taken after I arrived at the hospital the day of my last post.

Although this whole NICU thing is a real buzz kill we do have our good times. We spend our days and evenings with our girl. As she has gotten bigger and stronger we are able to hold her more and do more of her everyday care. In addition to changing her diaper, taking her temperature, and getting her dressed and undressed we now give her a bath every few days (ok Shazam gave her a bath I just supervised) and take her in and out of her isolette.

We also get to feed her! I nurse her most of the feedings that we are at the NICU for and the nurses are starting to try bottles with her when we are not there. Today we went and grabbed a snack at a local establishment and I had a glass of wine (gasp if you want but I really needed it and quite frankly think I deserve one!). Since I didn't want to nurse Ella post Pinot Noir we decided to let Sue give Ella a bottle. This was bottle number 2 but we have no photographic evidence since Mommy G forgot to take a picture (sorry Mommy A). Also we will not be posting any breastfeeding pictures. But here is my favorite two girls working on taking a bottle (she drank 18 mls, more than half the feed the rest she got through her gavage tube).

Ella is doing really well and we are hoping to be getting to go home in a few weeks. The last meeting we had was that they thought she would be in the NICU until her due date now it seems like we might be able to get out a little before that. She is still spelling but mostly during feeds and now mostly while nursing. She got an eye exam yesterday and needs to be seen in 2 weeks. Our nurse Traci asked if we would be seen as outpatients if we were discharged before the two weeks! So perhaps we may have to go to Children's Hospital for that eye exam. Wouldn't that be great! We still have a few hurdles to get through but we are really excited about but also a little scared to be taking our little girl home. Do you think that we can get our nurses and Drs to come home with us?? We seriously love our nurses and Drs and they have become our family. They love our Ella as much as we do and I don't know how we will ever thank them for everything they have done for us.

The girl is also getting pretty chubby and weighs in at 4lbs 5.5 oz and is 17 inches long. So she has gained over 2lbs since birth and grown 3 inches! That is a ton of growing! I can't wait until she hits 4 lb 10 oz which will be double her birth weight! You can see in the pictures that Ella is starting to get a double chin!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Should Have Been More Specific...

Back before life went crazy I had a birth plan. The plan was to have a baby. I didn't care how, I was feeling very open to whatever experience I was going to have. We started our prepared childbirth class with the idea that I would try to go natural and if I couldn't handle the pain I would get and epi. If the Dr told me I needed a c-section I was going to be fine with that. I loved my Dr. and really felt that if she felt that was the way to go I would trust her. I really felt ok with my "plan" and quite frankly even though things went all crazy I think this plan has kept me sane through this process. Even though things have been not optimal (an understatement) I have not had to mourn the loss of my birth plan. I did have to have a c-section, but since I had always put that on the table of possible I was completly fine with it. I was surprisingly calm even though I was really scared about the spinal. I knew I was in the right place, that the Drs made the right decision and that while not a great road it was the only road I could take that would save my life and my daughter's life. If I had to do it all again the only thing I would change is I would have been more specific. I would have edited my plan to include, My plan is to have a full term healthy baby that comes home with Shazam and I when I am discharged.

I guess that is what gives me the most pain and sadness. I am mourning the loss of having our newborn home with us. I mourn this loss so many times a day and night. Every time I have to call the hospital to see how her night was, I mourn this loss. Every time I sit with my pump alone dreaming of the time when I will sit on the couch nursing Ella deep in the night, I mourn this loss. Every time I kiss Ella goodnight and have to leave her at the hospital, I mourn this loss. Every timeI watch the families get wheeled down to the hospital entrance with their baby on their way home as I sit with a diaper bag and no baby waiting for our car, I mourn this loss.

I know that one day it will be Shazam and I with a baby in the car seat going home but after all that has happened between July 8th and now it will just won't be the same...and it makes me sad.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weight Check!

I just spoke to Ella's nurse and she told me that Ella gained almost 2 oz yesterday! She is now 3lbs 6 oz! That is a little more than 1 lb over her birth weight! What a difference a month makes! Yeah Ella. She is now fitting into her regular preemie clothes and I will post some pictures of Miss Ella in her really cute outfits!

Idiot Moms From Outer Space

Even it this crazy time Shazam and I have had several really good laughs. Last night we had one of those moments. After spending the day at the hospital and paying for our parking we were standing at the Elevators to go down to our car. I pushed the button and both elevators opened at which time Shazam entered the left one and I entered the right. The doors closed and it was only when the elevator started going down did I realized Shazam was not with me. Shazam unfortunately realized that I was not with her sooner and opened the door only to find herself alone in front of a bunch of people who were obviously all laughing about our idiocy. Simultaneously I was downstairs waiting for Shazam to join me in the garage in complete hysterics. Perhaps you needed to be there but it did let us get a good laugh in.

Like all parents who are about a month in we are starting to get a little bit of a routine in. We get up in the morning and try to get something done (we are more successful at this on some days not so much on others). We then get ourselves going and get to the hospital at about 1:30pm. We like to be there for at least 2 of Ella's care times where she is fed, diapered, temped, and examined. We get to do the temping and diapers and change her clothes. The nurse sets up her feeds and checks to make sure all systems are good. Since Ella is doing so well we have been able to take her out of her isolette 2 times a day!

Another step on the road home is that Ella has started non nutritive nursing once a day. Which means that I put her to breast once a day and let her fool around and get used to nursing. She isn't getting much milk if any but she is latching on and sucking which is great. She also only had one spell the first day while nursing another good sign. She is a big fan of her pacifier and roots towards the breast when we hold her (regardless to which Mom is holding her).

Ella is also doing much better on her spells. One of the residents told us yesterday that she seemed to have "turned a corner" with her spells. The are much less severe and and she had only 2 on her flow chart yesterday when we left at 9 pm. This is a great improvement and she didn't have any while we were there yesterday! It is so nice not to have her alarms going off all the time. She used to spell a couple of times each feeding now this is becoming more and more rare. Since she has to be 5 days spell free to go home we are hoping that she continues to improve and grows out of the "habit" soon. There are several people that are on spell counts where they were all ready to go home and then spell so they have to stay another 5 days. It is so frustrating for the parents who just want to take their baby home and feel like they are so close only to have it snatched away. Cross you fingers that we don't have to play that game and Ella's spells resolve before we are thinking about going home.

Ella still has some big things to get done before we can even think about taking her home. In addition to having no spells for 5 days, Ella needs to take all her feeds by mouth and keep her body temperature up in room air. Ella has met none of these criteria but is working towards all these goals each day. Her isolette temperature gets lowered every other day and is now at 80.2 (down from the 90s when she was born) they will lower it slowly until it is room temp. and she can move to an open crib. She also has to figure out how to eat (which is not small job).

Baby steps for Baby Ella. It is a long road home but we will make it there we just need to give the girl some time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Whole New Level of Exhaustion

I know we are exhausted but SSG in particular never quite catches up because she has to pump through the night.  So the other day I realized just how tired we are...the exchange went as follows a little while after I knew that SSG made her usual morning call to the NICU to see how Ella's night was:

Shazam:  So, no update on the baby?

SSG:  (looking puzzled) What baby?

Shazam:  You know, our child.

We had a good laugh which we need from time to time for sure. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


On Sunday we had our baby shower and with the grind of going back and forth to the hospital SSG and I were really looking forward to it. We don't do any socializing these days unless it's with people that come in to visit Ella. So on Sunday morning we got ourselves up and drove up to NH where the shower was being held. It was so great to see our friends and families. I could tell lots of people were really relieved to see SSG was doing so well and we were able to tell people how well Ella is doing. It was a different kind of celebration and it was fabulous. My amazing sister and one of my closest friends Courtney were the official planners/hosts of the shower but I know other people were heavily involved such as my mother and Courtney's mom who did all the beautiful flower arrangements. I know we both felt so loved and cared for. We has such an great time and everyone was so generous. We are very well set up for when Ella can come home and really only need to pick up a few items that we will need right away. Ella is one loved and lucky little girl and look forward to when we can really show her off!