Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Overdue Update

I have been meaning to blog about various little things for quite some time now but have been enjoying sleeping and spending my days with my little family instead. I'd love to say I've been extremely productive during my blogging hiatus, but that would be a lie. I have, however, been catching up on sleep by sleeping halfway into the day for the past few days.

Without further delay, here are all the updates I can remember...

Last Wednesday afternoon, Elise grabbed at a toy above her head in her glider seat (which is like her bouncy seat but has a gliding motor instead, courtesy of one of my old coworkers who gave it to us since her two little ones are done with it, and which seems to help settle Elise's stomach quite well after she eats). Unfortunately, I wasn't home as I was on my first shopping trip since Elise had been home. But I was on the phone with Kit and got to share in the joy of the moment that way. She's grabbing onto everything lately, and tonight she even pulled my glasses off while I was putting her in the bath. Obviously none of her grabbing is purposeful, but she's getting the hang of using her little grip.

As of last Thursday, I am officially a stay at home mom!! I hadn't worked since Elise was born, but May 28th was the day my voluntary unemployment became official. It's very surreal, and I'll admit that the day I submitted my resignation letter my heart was pounding as I hit Send on my email - not because I was unsure of the decision but because it was my first resignation that wasn't because I had another paying job. And so we enter a season of trust where we rely on the Lord to provide for our every need (and of me learning to be okay with not always having a measurable level of production for which to justify my success).

Last Thursday we had Elise's follow up appointment with a registered dietitian (RD) to evaluate her eating and weight gain. We found out after the appointment that it wasn't covered by insurance so we won't be having another RD appointment unless the pediatrician feels it's absolutely necessary. (This appointment was at the referral of the NICU, and I didn't realize until right before we left for said appointment that the RD's office doesn't ever confirm insurance coverage.) The appointment went well though, and we got lots of good information.

The RD increased Elise's recommended volume of milk from 360 ml/cc every 24 hours to 480-510 ml/cc every 24 hours. So far Elise has been doing really well at keeping up with the higher amount and is continuing to get chubbier cheeks. And since we increased her volume, she's been averaging eating every four hours, and she and I have both been sleeping for longer stretches.

One of the things the RD talked with us about was Elise's reflux. She explained that it's really common for preemie babies to have reflux and to have it at a level that is greater than that of what many full term babies experience. She recommended reflux medication, which is something our pediatrician had mentioned briefly the week before as well, because untreated reflux of this level can often lead to babies stopping eating once they get old enough to associate eating with the reflux. So...

On Friday we had another pediatrician appointment. At that appointment, we talked with the doctor about the reflux medication. She said she was planning on talking with us further about it at the appointment because (a) Elise is still having spells and they seem mostly to be reflux-related at this point and (b) of the reason mentioned by the RD. So we started her on that medicine Friday night. The pediatrician thought she remembered it being peach flavored and tasting good. In actuality, it's bubble gum flavored and tastes like gross plain liquid medicine (think strong unflavored liquid Zicam) with a little bit of bubble gum flavoring added.

Just like adult reflux medication, Elise is supposed to take it 30 minutes before eating so we can't simply add it to milk like we do with her other medicine and vitamins. Let's just say she does not appreciate the medicine and has very good powers of trying to get rid of it by spitting it out or by spitting up a bit. I've been perfecting our own method of giving it to her and finally succeeded earlier today.

At the RD appointment, Elise was weighed without a diaper, which is how they weighed her in the NICU. She was 7 pounds, 4 ounces. The next day at the pediatrician's office, she was weighed with her diaper and was 7 pounds, 6 ounces. So both ways she is doing well on her weight gain. And because her weight, length and head circumference are all progressing nicely, she's now on ever-two-week pediatrician appointments rather than weekly.

I've been nursing Elise again once a day for the past week and a half. I had stopped when she was having her big spells in the NICU because I wanted to spend our feeding time there focused on getting the hang of the bottle and of how to respond when she had a spell. And I also thought she was going home in a week when I stopped. Well, she didn't go home in a week like the doctors had been planning so we ended up taking about a month off. Truth be told, I also really didn't like trying to do something so personal in a big room with nothing but rolling screens between us and a bunch of people. But Elise has been doing a great job this past week, and I have hopes that maybe we might get to at least a couple of full feedings per day at some point. Right now we follow up with the bottle to ensure she gets all she needs.

When I called the insurance company regarding the RD on Friday, I also checked on their coverage of pumps since both Elise and I are solely on Kit's insurance now. Unfortunately, they only cover the use of rental pumps during hospitalization of the baby after the mom has been discharged. The pump rental is $45 per month so it made more sense to buy one than to keep renting now that insurance isn't going to cover it.

So today I went to Babies'R'Us with a 15% off coupon and bought a nice Medela Pump In Style Advanced. They're rather pricey, but all my research led me back to that type as being best for long-term pumping. I had planned to buy the less expensive version that comes attached to a bag; however, they didn't have any pumps out and so the gal had to go get me one in the back of customer service. I wasn't paying close enough attention when she brought it out and when she rung me up since I was buying diapers and some other items. When I got home, I realized I accidentally bought the more expensive one where the pump is in its own little case that you can carry in the larger bag but that isn't stuck inside that bag.

Those who know me know I have a really hard time making big purchases (or even medium ones for that matter). I had done lots of research and decided on the exact pump I wanted and had decided that I didn't want to pay extra for the fancier bag. But I actually hadn't realized that the fancier bag also meant that the pump had it's own little separate case. And Kit is always my voice of approval when it's okay that I made a big purchase. So he gave me the okay to keep this one and to cut the seal on the box. In the end, I'm very glad I accidentally got this one because it fits perfectly on the nightstand in Elise's room and will be less tempting for Coco than the larger bag.

On a random note, I used the pump this afternoon (works great!) and discovered its one fatal flaw. When it's running it makes a sound that I swear sounds like it is saying, "Wa-cko," over and over again. Apparently the pump thinks I'm crazy.

Well, if you've made it this far (or scrolled past the novel above because you don't actually find us that interesting), you probably deserve some pictures.

Looking adorable in a cute little top and pants.

Snoozing on her way home from the RD appointment.

Can you believe how big she's gotten? One of my favorite things to do is kiss those chubby little cheeks!!

Daddy cuddling with both our "babies."

From June 3, 2009

Click the picture or link above for a video.


Becca Sue Congdon said...

Yay updates! I'm so glad that you guys are doing so well. :) It was fun to see you with Ellie in your arms when we stopped by with dinner last week. She's right where she belongs! And yay for being able to nurse her. You're a freaking trooper for making it through all these months pumping. :) I pumped for Ethan (every 3/4 hours) for the first three weeks and thought I would lose my mind. But you do whatever you can to make sure your baby gets what they need, right? And in the end it's such a precious gift to know that your baby is growing big and strong because of you!

You rule! And praise the Lord for creating our bodies the way He did, to grow and nourish and comfort little babies. Yay!

Sara said...

It is so exciting to hear about how things are going now that you all are getting settled in at home. Elise is getting so big - when I started following your blog she was just born!
Congrats on getting to stay at home. I would love to do that with this baby, but I just don't know how we can make it work. I hope God leads us to an answer soon!

Amy said...

Hi, Emily -

You don't know me but I found a link to your blog on another blog (don't remember who) and have followed Elise's journey since birth.

I had to laugh at the pump comment becuase I SO remember that. The words that the pump repeats will change over time... It's ODD! And I always thought it was only me! LOL

You've got a great little girl there! Thanks for sharing your journey!

Melissa Nickerson said...

Em, Ellie is looking adorable as usual. I love the green & white flower onesie...I can now look at girl clothes!! Pumps are so weird, but I'm so thankful I had the Pump In Style.

Anonymous said...

So fun to catch up with you guys on here every once in a while.

You guys all seem to be doing so well!!

One of these days I want to come by just me or leave my little germ factories on the front porch or in the back yard with Coco :)

Miss you guys. Blessings, Brenda

Katie said...

Glad to hear that you have been using your time away from the Blog doing something wonderful - SLEEEEP. That's the perk with the first born, nap when they nap, chill out with them etc - I remember those days!

Medela is the way to go. So worth the expense especially when you are doing as much pumping as you are doing. I remember being a little freaked by the fact that I could see through the horns (or whatever they call those things). I so felt like a prize cow and just hoped that my nipples would go back to normal afterwards. Okay sorry, that was probably way tmi for a public Blog but hey I am sure you know EXACTLY what I mean and I can assure you that pumping doesnt leave any residual damage, heehee! Oh and yes, I can relate to the Whacko too - so funny the memories you are bringing back!
Katie :o)

steph said...

sleep away Miss Em, pretty soon you will so busy with Ellie that you will miss the days when you could sleep while she is sleeping. Your package should be arriving for Miss El in a few days.