Friday, May 29, 2009

A Busy Day

Phew, today has been a busy day. It started with Elise waking up every three hours all night. She's normally been sleeping for about 3 hours and 30-45 minutes between each feeding at night so this was rough on my system. In addition, we had two doctors' appointments today so all night I kept thinking about how I wouldn't be able to sleep in at all so the lack of sleep became even more as I was lying in bed thinking about how I wasn't going to get enough sleep. Lame.

Since Elise woke up more frequently than usual, the plan to feed her right before we left was a bit muddled so I fed her a smaller amount an hour before I had planned to and then fed her more right before we left. Luckily, it worked and she made it through her appointment without getting hungry.

Her first appointment was with the pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor) for her high blood pressure. She managed to stay awake for the whole drive there, the whole appointment and the walk to the car. Her blood pressure was stable (though still high). For now he's leaving her on the same dose of medication and will see her again in a month. He said that it's extremely common for premature babies born between 24 and 29 weeks (like Elise) to have high blood pressure and that it's also common when there was a placental problem (like in our case). Normally the blood pressure will even out about 3-4 months before the baby's first birthday so we'll be seeing him every month for a while.

After that appointment we went to McDonalds for vanilla iced coffees (or however you call it when it comes from a machine at a fast food restaurant...still trying to figure that one out but they seem to get it much more easily than my drink at Starbucks :)). If you haven't tried them, I recommend doing so. While Elise was in the hospital, I went to McDonalds for lunch quite a bit, and one day they were handing out punch cards for free coffees after you buy a few so we've gone there a couple of times when we've been exhaused and need a little boost.

With our coffees in hand, we came home, put Elise down for a short nap, ate leftovers for lunch, pumped (me, not Kit :)), fed Elise and then left again an hour after we got home for her next appointment - with the pediatrician.

The appointment with the pediatrician went well. I've never really understood when mom's have talked about going to appointments with a huge list of questions. Last week I had maybe two questions that were quickly answered, but I think that was only because we had just brought her home from the NICU where I had just asked all my final questions. This week I had my list - with eight questions - and I even came up with a couple more questions while we were there.

We have a wonderful pediatrician who is very focused on answering all of your questions and not having you leave still wondering about anything. She answers each question very well, even when they're the kind of stilly questions that you'd never ask your own doctor because they would act like you were dumb.

The most exciting part of the visit? Not only is Elise an even 7 pounds, she's almost on the growth charts for her weight!!! That's really, really good news in the world of preemies! After her weight comes on the charts, I believe it's length next and then head, but I might have those backward. Our baby girl is growing fast, we're loving every moment!

She's started grasping and using her hands a lot in the past few days. She grabs blankets, wash cloths during feedings, our clothes, and has even managed to grasp at daddy's chest hair through his shirt. Although it was completely accidental on her part, in the car today she grabbed onto her pacifier holder (a cute pink flower that the pacifier pops into) and put her own pacifier almost in her mouth (went straight for her mouth but forgot to actually open said mouth so that it could go in).

She's also started focusing more on whatever she's looking at, which means she's focusing a lot more when she looks at us. It's precious!

Well, I need to be off to go help Kit give Coco a bath while Elise is sleeping. Sorry for the lack of photos, but don't worry, you'll get plenty of looks at our cutie soon enough!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Day of Firsts

This morning Elise had her first big spit up since being home. She had a few smalls ones, but this one involved her spitting up what I would estimate to be nearly all of the 50 cc (1-2/3 ounces) that she had already eaten. It was a feeding involving her vitamins so I think that the flavor (which Kit informed me yesterday is supposedly "cherry" according the the bottle - yeah right, maybe rotten cherries mixed with cod liver oil) just didn't sit right with her. And guess where the spit up went...all over my tank top and shorts. Yum. Luckily I hadn't actually showered or dressed for the day.

Initially this post was going to just be about the spit up adventure. Because what adult doesn't wish that their mom had documented the day in which they had their first large, projectile vomiting experience at home? But Elise had other plans.

Following the spit up, I put Elise down for a nap to get some things done around the house while Kit went to work on a school project. When she awoke, she helped me get her bottle ready (aka fussed while pooping in my arms as I got her bottle ready). Then I went to change her while her milk warmed. It was clear as I took her diaper off that she was probably still working on filling said diaper so I attempted to hurry. However, the substance already in the diaper was rather persistent and difficult to remove from her bum so it was taking longer than I wanted.

It was during this time that she had a huge blow out. Huge as in all over both her dirty and clean diapers, all over the wipe I was holding, all over my hands and nearly up to my elbow (no exaggeration), all over the receiving blanket I had under her on the changing pad to swaddle her with and to keep the changing pad cover from getting dirty in just such a situation, and even a little on the actually changing pad cover.

Many wipes, another diaper, lots of Purell (for my hand and arm), clean clothes (she didn't actually get it on her other clothes but was due for an outfit change), a clean changing pad cover and a clean receiving blanket later, she feels much better. Oh, and I wish I had my camera handy right after she did her deed because she had the cutest look on her face. Her eyes were wide open and darting around and her little mouth was in the shape of a small "o" as if to say, "Oh, well, hmm, that felt surprisingly good."

In bed awaiting new clothes while I cleaned up the mess on the changing table.

All clean!

How fun are those ruffles?

I know this is blurry, but her little pouty face is just too darn cute!

Update 5/28: I realized I forgot to mention another first of Elise's from this day. She watched her first movie - Top Gun. Much like her friend Anthony who recently watched his first movie at home, she slept through the whole thing.

I Am Remiss

As a proud aunt, I have fallen down on the job. My sister-in-law had her beautiful baby girl, London Elizabeth, on Friday. Both mom and baby are doing well. Kirsten and I were due one day apart so London is about the age Elise should have been were she to have been born full term.

Congrats, Kirsten and Benji! Boston, welcome to the whirlwind that is being a big sister! London, welcome to the crazy family!

And speaking of my due date, today is it. Or today was it. It's strange to think about having an 11.5-week-old on your due date. We know quite a few people who are due right around now and who have just had their babies, and I will say that there's a mourning process for me in not getting to experience having an identifiably pregnant belly (strangers had really just begun to finally say something to me about being pregnant when I had Elise) and actually going even close to full term. When/if we have another baby, if I do go full term, I'll have no idea what I'm even doing. We never even went to childbirth classes. :) (For those who have gone full term with babies, no need to explain the discomfort, readiness to be done, etc. I do know that going full term isn't necessarily the most pleasant experience, but it is something I missed out on so I'm a bit bummed. But having my beautiful, healthy baby girl is completely worth it!)

For those of you inclined to look at a calendar closely, the due date I had been given and the one the hospital used were slightly different. I'm not actually sure where the hospital got their date or even how they count in the hospital since everyone seems to have their own way, but I do know that at one point the NICU doctor said that Elise actually seemed a week younger than they were estimating so I guess it really does all come out in the wash anyway.

And because I'd be doubly remiss to neglect posting photos of my adorable baby girl. Here she is after our walk this evening.

This walking business is tiring.

Enjoying some tummy time. And discovering that it's a great way to get out some of her gas. When she's 13, she's going to love that I blogged about that discovery.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Beautiful Time

We are loving having Elise home! I cannot tell you how amazing it is to have your baby girl with you 24/7 after 75 days of not having her home. No long drives, to elevator rides, to calling to be let into the NICU, no waiting in line to wash your hands, no nurses to ask permission of, no screens to roll around and maneuver in attempts to have some privacy, no phone calls from the doctor to both look forward to and dread, no wires, no machines - just a beautiful baby girl.

She's slept fairly well through the night (waking every 3-4 hours to be changed and eat), and we're getting used to all her grunting and fussing due to gas/pooping throughout the night so that we can sleep through the sounds that don't require our attention.

She's had a few spells since being home, mainly during feedings where she's having her medicine or vitamins. Tonight I had a bit of a scare during a feeding without medicine or vitamins and had to yell across the house for Kit because she wasn't responding, but the sounds of me yelling actually helped stimulate her to breath. There's not really anything we can do about the bad tasting vitamins and medicine other than what we're already doing, which is adding them to some milk. However, the pediatrician recommended asking the nephrologist whether it might be possible to change her to a once-a-day dose rather than twice-a-day so that it at least limits the amount of times she might have a spell. In general though, she's not having them all that frequently and should grow out of them with time.

We've been able to get out for walks around the neighborhood the last three evenings. We put Ellie in the sling my aunt Laurie bought us as a baby shower gift, which holds her perfectly and is also very comfortable for me. Coco's been glad to be back out in the neighborhood and has been piddling lots in various yards to make up for lost walking time.

Speaking of Coco, he's is adjusting well. To avoid germs while she's still so susceptible to everything, we aren't letting him get very close to her other than to occasionally sniff her bum (through a blanket and/or her clothes, of course) or her feet. When she cries and is near enough for him to try to reach her, he tries to lick her face to comfort her. It's precious.

The wonderful thing about having Elise in the NICU is that most noises don't phase her at all. So when she's sleeping, nothing wakes her up. Some noises bother her a bit (like the loose board on the floor near one end of her bed), but most things don't. I'm not sure if it's from being around so many noises in the NICU or because she heard it a lot before she was born, but Coco's bark (he's an alert barker and likes to let us know if anyone is walking by the house) doesn't bother her. I had read that often noises baby's hear frequently before being born aren't as bothersome after they are born. Regardless of why, we're glad she doesn't wake up every time he barks.

My parents and youngest brother came to visit yesterday. My dad hadn't seen Elise since she was born, and Jonny hadn't seen her at all since he's not old enough to be allowed in the NICU. It was wonderful to see my family and to just hang out at home with them and Elise.

Tonight we gave Elise her first at-home bath. We used her adorable pink tub complete with a net to help keep her comfy that my friend Martha gave us. Thanks, Martha! It works wonderfully! I'm pretty sure a bit more of Elise's hair came off the top of her head. It's hard to believe she's old enough to start loosing some of her newborn hair.

Oh, and starting a couple of days before she left the NICU, I began noticing that it appeared that Elise was getting the normal little bald spot on the back of her head from lying on her back. Sure enough, it's been gradually growing. Since she's 11 weeks old, I think this is probably the normal time to start getting it; however, since her head is just now getting to be newborn sized, it's a tiny spot. I'll have to get a photo sometime soon.

All dolled up for her first appointment with the pediatrician. Unfortunately, no one actually saw her outfit other than Kit and I...but it was fun getting her dressed up! The headband is another one from Trish.

Swaddled in her sleep sack on the floor for a minute while I changed the sheets from her first spit up in bed.

Looking cute after eating.

Cuddling with mommy.

Her first time being held by grandpa. She loved being held by him and slept soundly (with a few grunts here and there).

Enjoying meeting Uncle Jonny.

He did a fantastic job holding her and was a good comforter when she was a little fussy from gas.

Our first while family picture. Not the best, but a memory nonetheless. :)

Cuddling in her bouncy seat from our neighbor Colleen. The upright position is great for keeping her reflux from bothering her if we need to put her down for any reason soon after a meal. (Her bed is elevated, but she does better if she's held or in her seat for at least 15 minutes after a meal.)

Where she is now. Can you see the cute drool on the right side of her mouth? She had a good dinner. And I think she enjoys being home.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Surprise: A Plan Hatched & Foiled

Hello all! Coco the pug here. As you may or may not know, this is actually my blog that mommy overtook when I mistakenly invited her to post on it. Once she found out this baby was coming, I lost almost all blogging privileges. Oh, the rough life of a dog.

My mommy and daddy have been preoccupied as of late. First, mommy was gone for a few days and daddy kept leaving and then coming back smelling like a funny place he called the hospital. Then mommy came home but didn't seem to feel well and started paying less attention to me. I took over as guard dog and as messenger between her and daddy. Whenever she called his name, I would bark loudly and make sure he came to her. Lately, dad's back at work and mom seems to be feeling a lot better. But mom's here at really strange times during the day and then leaves multiple times a day.

I finally figured out that that baby mommy said was coming is actually at this place called the hospital. Tricky, I know. I also figured out that these white stickers with words on them seem to be an entrance ticket into this hospital place. So I found one on mommy's jacket and have updated it to get me into the hospital. All I need now is a ride to the hospital. So if anyone knows how to get me there, I would love to come along. I'm good in the car and even have my own seat belt so I'll be safe. And I put the sticker on my sweater so I'll blend in...

Whaaat?!?! Ah, wait just a minute. I think mommy and daddy are coming home right now. Oh no! They're going to mess up my plan. Quick - delete post, hide sticker, take off sweater...

Um, there's a weird smell and, uh, what's going on...

Daddy said I should wait inside, but I could smell something was up so I ran out to the car before he could catch me.

But then he brought me back inside before I could get a good look.

What's mom carrying?

It's Elise!!! YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My little sister is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here she is at the hospital getting ready to come home. Great Aunt Rae knit her cute pink socks.

Mommy tells me this cute headband is from her blog reader Trish in Oklahoma! Trish also sent some more headbands with changeable bows and cute socks. Check out Trish's website here (though she's on a bit of a hiatus to enjoy raising her beautiful children).

Looking cute and ready to meet me!

I think she was ready to go home and done with the picture taking.

Getting situated in her car seat.

All ready to go with her beautiful crocheted blanket from grandma!

Daddy making sure she's all set.

Mommy's attempt at a photo of her and daddy. (She forgot the zoom was on.)

And this is where our newest little blogger is now. Something tells me I'm not going to get much blogging time in again for a long time.


And now a note from mommy and daddy:

Thank you to everyone for all your prayers! We have truly felt supported in ways we never knew were possible during this time and are grateful for all of you! Now the adventure of bringing a preemie home begins!

If you've been praying for us or simply following our blog, we'd love to know so that we can one day show Elise the huge support system we had while she was in the NICU. So feel free to comment on this post (even if you never have before - wink, wink, nudge, nudge). You don't need to have an account...just click Anonymous and then let us know your name and where you are from in the comment box.

More on the joys of having Elise home to come...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Peace in Trials

My apologies for the lack of a more recent update. We've just been plugging along the last couple of days, and I've been quite productive around the house and doing more errands that will be much more difficult once Elise comes home.

Speaking of Elise, she hasn't had any big apnea spells since Friday - praise the Lord! Today she had another eye exam, and everything looked good. The eye doctor wants to see her again in 3-4 weeks, which is a step up from the every 2 week exams she's been having. Her blood pressure is doing better. She'll be coming home on her medication and then following up with the pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor) 1-2 weeks after she comes home.

Also, in response to my saying you could ask questions about Elise, someone asked why Elise has started having these apnea spells recently or whether she's been having them all along. She has actually be having moderate spells while eating as long as she's been bottle feeding. I guess I didn't really mention it because I didn't realize it was anything to mention until she started have the bigger ones. And the bigger ones started around the same time that she began taking all of her feedings by bottle. Before then she had been gavaged (tube fed) for at least some of her feedings every day as she was getting to tired to finish the amount of milk the doctor wanted her to get. It's something that's relatively common for some preemies to do and is something she should grow out of entirely with time. Hope that answers the question. Feel free to ask any other questions.

As I've been doing more processing these past few days, especially in response to comments I've received from the doctor and nurses about being so understanding of the situation we're in (I guess some parents get really antsy to have their babies home and are maybe a little aggressive when it doesn't happen in their timing). It's not that I don't want Elise home; I desperately do. But I'm also learning so much about myself, about Elise and about God through all of this and want to be open to whatever I can glean from this time.

With that, I've also realized something about the hardest moments we've gone through in the past 10 weeks and 3 days. In those moments where I am the least in control - the ones where there's nothing I can do but release myself and my baby girl to the doctors, nurses and ultimately to God - I have complete peace. And not because the doctors and nurses are in control (though they are wonderful and have obviously done a fantastic job taking care of Elise), but because God is in control. I don't have to worry about anything because the God of the universe is watching over me and my baby girl.

A friend asked me today whether I'm nervous to bring Elise home. While I am concerned that I don't know everything there is to know and I'll probably stay up all night for at least the first night after we bring her home, I have complete peace in knowing that whatever circumstances we encounter will be for a very specific reason. And again, I want to be open to learning whatever it is God has to teach me in those circumstances. By worrying about the what ifs, I could very easily miss out on the here and now, the experiences I'm actually encountering. And that's just not something I want to get in the habit of. I want to get in the habit of daily relying on God and of entrusting every part of me and every part of Elise to Him.

This is such a huge thing for me because I am definitely an independent, likes-to-be-in-control type of person. I'm usually very on top of things (though I seemed to lose some of that ability while I was pregnant - oh the joys) and put myself in situations where I know I'll succeed. So to be in a place where I have no control and to have peace is momentous. My hope is that this is just the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of releasing control and having peace in all circumstances (even in the little things).

So that's what's going on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Ten Week Birthday, Elise!

Today Elise turned 10 weeks. It's hard to believe we have a 2-1/2 month old. We're amazed to see how far she's come in these weeks and excited to see how far she will go in her life. In the past couple of days, I've gone back and looked at some of the early pictures of her and am amazed at the difference.

I talked with the doctor this morning about Elise's spell yesterday. She agreed that she's glad it happened in the hospital and not at home. She said we'll see how this week goes and then re-evaluate at the end of the week. So we've got at least another week in the NICU.

While it's hard not to have our baby girl home with us, we are so thankful that the Lord is providing for us through the NICU and that He has made it so abundantly clear that she's not ready to come home. Yesterday I was praying during her car seat challenge that He would have her pass if she was ready but that she would fail if it wasn't time for her to come home. While that prayer wasn't answered in quite the way I had expected, it was answered in that we know it's not time for her to come home.

Please pray for strength for this next week and for Elise to continue to grow so that she can overcome the apnea.

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Elise's Spells

So I realized I definitely need to give a little more information on these spells. The doctors and nurses say they are apnea spells rather than choking spells. Although she coughed at the beginning of this one (and we'll see what the doctor says about it tomorrow), she hasn't been coughing in relation to her spells in general. And she isn't always pooping or having gas when she has them either. They do know that she has reflux, which may play a role in these. And she is aspirating milk (it goes into her lungs sometimes).

Because of her young age, all of these are things they believe she will grow out of. When she goes home, she'll still have reflux (we'll keep her elevated for a while after feedings and her bed will be elevated as well) and may aspirate milk as well.

Her main problem is that she doesn't pace herself when she's eating so she'll keep sucking past the point where she should have taken a breath and then stop sucking but forget to breath. They want to see her grow out of these apnea spells before she comes home.

Not sure if that helps, but I hope it does. If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them in the comments, and I'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities.

Not Sunday (Another Big Spell)

Well, shortly after I posted that Elise passed her car seat check I went back up to the NICU for her afternoon feeding. She was alert for the first bit of her feeding and drank her smaller bottle with her kidney medicine quite quickly. (They separate out a small amount of milk to mix with the medicine since the medicine tastes yicky and so that they ensure she gets all of the medicine if she doesn't finish her whole bottle.) Then she had a small amount of her main bottle before starting to get really sleepy.

Just as I was about to take her bottle out to burp her to (a) see if she had any air to get out and (b) try to wake her up a bit, she coughed a small cough and stopped breathing. I put her in the position to begin moderate stimulation just as her monitors started beeping at the really loud level (there's a basic beep where they're just a bit under or over what the machine thinks they should be at and then there's a really loud beep when they get really out of range). I patted her vigorously and squeezed her sides like they've trained us to do, but she just wasn't coming back. The nurse came and picked her up and tried doing moderate stimulation as well, but Elise just wasn't responding.

At that point, the nurse put her in her bed. She didn't appear to have anything in her mouth and was rapidly turning purple so the nurse grabbed the oxygen and started giving it to Elise. When she still didn't respond, the nurse called to one of the doctors who happened to be in the next room. He and another nurse came running over. Elise was then a very deep shade of purple (much darker than the last time I was there for one of these bigger spells) and completely non-responsive. Just as the doctor went to do whatever it was he was going to do, she started to respond. It still took her some time to come out of it, and the mdoctor put the oxygen back on when they thought she was slipping into the spell again but she didn't stop breathing fully again. She just did quick shallow breaths for a while before regulating. After she was seeming to be completely done with the spell, I held her for a little over an hour. This time I didn't make it to the car before crying...I just held her and prayed and cried.

We are so thankful that these spells are happening in the hospital and not at home. Should she have one like this at home, we would have to do CPR and she would then need to be readmitted anyway so we want her to take her time in growing before coming home. Her doctor for today was on call last night so she had left when this happened, but the nurse documented the spell and the doctor who came over will talk with her doctor about the spell tomorrow. When the nurse asked me how I felt about it, I told her that we definitely want to wait at least another 4-5 days to ensure she doesn't have another big spell. I'm not sure we'd be ready even then because we really want to make sure (or as sure as we can be) that this isn't going to happen at home.

So that's the news. Please continue to pray for our little girl. She's trying so hard and seems to just need more time.

She Passed!!!!!

Elise passed her car seat challenge! WOOHOO!!!!! She was truly a champ and kept her levels up beautifully! So at this point we're still on track for a Sunday discharge as long as she doesn't have any spells.

The big girl showing off her newest skill - sitting in the car seat.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I just missed the call from the doctor this morning so she left a message on our home phone. In the message, she said that they did another car seat challenge on Elise last night and that not only did she fail again but they put her back on the pulse oximeter (to measure the O2 saturation in her blood). My heart dropped. I called Kit, and he was upset too, especially since we didn't know they were going to do it and hadn't been there like we had previously requested.

Well, after calling my mom crying on the way to the hospital and having her pray for me, I got to the hospital to find out that the nurse had read the car seat challenge form wrong. It wasn't from 5/14; it was from 5/4 - her first (and only) challenge. Phew! Please pray because tomorrow she's having her second challenge while I'm there. They'll put her in her car seat while hooked up to the monitors, including the pulse oximeter, and she has to do okay in it for 1-1/2 hours since that's the length they figure is the longest road trip most people would take with a newborn. Last time she had troubles with breathing and with desaturation.

In other news, after talking with the doctor on the phone at the hospital, she had me go ahead and schedule an outpatient eye exam for Elise for next week. They're keeping her Tuesday inpatient appointment in case she doesn't go home, but this way she'll still have an appointment if she does go home. The doctor also confirmed with the cardiologist that he wants to see her 4-6 weeks post-discharge for a follow up on her PDA.

As for her high blood pressure and possible kidney issues, I was able to be there for her ultrasound to check for blood clots yesterday. I got to hold Elise's arms and legs still so that the ultrasound technician could do all that he needed to do. It took a little over a half an hour, but she did relatively well given that he started right at her feeding time. Today the doctor gave us the results, and everything looks normal. They're still waiting on a couple of other tests, and they actually started her today on a medication for her kidneys (I'll confirm the name tomorrow because I neglected to write it down and therefore don't remember) that she'll continue taking once she comes home. Tomorrow the pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor) will see her and set the official dose of the medication. Once he does that, the neonatolgist (NICU doctor) will write a prescription for us to get filled so that we have it ready should Elise come home on Sunday. Elise will also need to follow up with the nephrologist post-discharge since I guess it's hard for the pediatrician to get an accurate blood pressure.

So at this point the doctor is still hopeful that Elise will be ready to go home Sunday. Please pray that she doesn't have any more spells and that she passes that car seat challenge. Please also pray that if there are any other issues that need to be dealt with they will surface before we take her home as we want her to be as ready as possible to come home and don't want anything to be rushed.

The footprints on the left are from when Elise was first born. The ones on the right are from the Mother's Day card the nurses made.

Cuddling with daddy last night. Can you tell they're both exhausted?

She was out cold and enjoying her daddy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Spells, High Blood Pressure, Food & Follow Up Appointments

Well, I was hoping to post today that Elise hadn't had any spells in over 48 hours. She had her last one during her 5:00am feeding on Monday. However, last night during her 11:00pm feeding, she had another one. Both of these only required "moderate" stimulation (hard patting on the back, etc.) and not oxygen. But both yesterday and today the doctors (main doctor yesterday and a different one today) said they want to see her go 4-5 days without having one that requires even moderate stimulation. They aren't discounting sending her home on Sunday, but that may or may not happen.

The doctor today also said that Elise has high blood pressure. I'm not sure why her main doctor hasn't mentioned it before, but the doctor today said this doesn't usually doesn't end up being a big deal. Sometimes babies who have had the umbilical arterial catheter (tubes in their umbilical cord - Elise had it for a short time after she was born) can cause small clots in the blood vessels that go to the kidneys. The doctor is ordering an ultrasound of her kidneys and having a pediatric kidney doctor see her to make sure there aren't any issues that will require follow up after we go home.

Last week they switched Elise to the formula that we will use to fortify her milk when she goes home. They've been using a volume to make the milk 27 calories per ounce (normal breastmilk is 20 calories per ounce); however, she's been having very loose stool (sorry, but I'm a mom now so you'll have to read about poop from time to time) and has also been seeming very uncomfortable both with digesting and with gas and pooping. The nurses and I have been asking the doctor about it for the past couple of days, but he hadn't seen it as being a cause for change yet. The doctor today was fine with dropping down to 24 calories to see if that helps. Elise is determining her own volume of milk as long as she gets 180 cc in a 12 hour period and has been gaining weight well.

At this point, they had me tentatively schedule an appointment with Elise's pediatrician for Wednesday (the doctor said to schedule it for Tuesday or Wednesday so I went with Wednesday). Elise will also have an outpatient eye exam with the eye doctor who has been seeing her in the NICU since her eyes aren't quite mature yet. A couple of weeks after she comes home, she need to see the nutritionist at the hospital since she's getting breastmilk to ensure that everything is still going well. The doctor is also checking with the cardiologist regarding possibly doing additional echocardiogram before she's discharged and regarding a follow up appointment with him post-discharge.

Please continue to pray that she learns to grow out of these spells and that her high blood pressure isn't indicative of a bigger problem. Please also pray for strength and confidence for Kit and for me when we bring her home so that we are able to respond quickly and appropriately should she have a spell requiring more than moderate stimulation (aka where we need to use our infant CPR skills).

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Big Room Reveal

Update 5/29:

This post is actually from a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to share our daughter's room with everyone in Show Us Where You Live on Kelly's Korner. As a little back story, our daughter was born at 27 weeks, 6 days on March 7th. Kelly posted on her blog shortly after Elise was born asking readers to pray for our dear little girl, and we are so thankful that she did. Elise spent 75 days in the NICU and just came home last Thursday. We're loving having her home, and she's definitely enjoying her cute room. Hope you do too...

Original Post:

Other than Elise coming home, I know this is the thing many of you have been most excited for me to post about. So I won't delay. Here's a video tour and then photos of Elise's room...

Don't worry, her closet now has many items in it. This photo is from right after Kit's dad finished building it out and I finished painting it and putting in the baskets.

I found the center picture taped to the back of an old frame (with another item actually framed in the frame) and thought it fit perfectly with her room. The framed paper on either side of the center picture is wrapping paper I loved from a gift Elise's received.

I bought these cardboard houses at Michaels for a couple of dollars each and then painted them. I left the paint thinner than I had originally planned because it reminds me of the colors in old nursery rhyme books.

These paper lanterns are also from Michaels - $1 each.

I used some white spray paint to make the frame of this picture that belonged to my great grandma to match Elise's room.

Since I used the frame this doily was originally in to frame the Little Bo Peep picture (after painting it with white spray paint), I reframed the doily in this frame and put some green paper backing that matches the room.

Since babies shouldn't technically sleep with the beautiful quilts (per the American Academy of Pediatrics) that you can buy to match their bedding, I used Elise's as room decor. It's definitely the most expensive piece of decor in the room, but I love it!

I used painters tape to put this design on the wall and then painted inside the tape. I freetaped (like freehanded but with tape) the tree trunk and then projected the images I wanted for the branch and the bird using a borrowed projector connected to my laptop. I couldn't find a branch and bird combo that I like so the branch is from a card and the bird is from a pair of earrings, both photos I found using Google Images. I still need to go back and touch up some spots where the painted got outside the tape, but that's a project for a day in the future.

The tree outside Elise's room is blooming with beautiful pink flowers.

I hope you enjoyed Elise's room!