Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day

This picture is actually from a couple of weeks ago, but I just had to share it today.  Our tiny little girl is getting so big and loves to smile.

She's also full of giggles lately when we tickle her and squeals when she's enjoying herself.  So far she just manages a low Goofy-esque laugh (Disney reference in case that doesn't make sense) coupled with silent laughs.  Apparently her full laugh is somewhere in the range her vocal cords can't reach because of the damage from the coil.  We're looking forward to the day when her vocal cords heal so we can hear her full giggles as the facial expressions that go with them are absolutely priceless!

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beach Bums

Two Saturdays ago we took Elise for her first trip to the beach! I must start out by clarifying that in our part of the world "beach" is synonymous with coast/ocean. I've recently discovered that many folks in the middle part of the U.S. call lakes or rivers the "beach." I checked with a friend from Michigan, and she said that she's always called anywhere with sand the "beach." Although a dictionary search revealed her interpretation of the word to actually be the most full and accurate usage based on definition, I still choose to believe that only the ocean is the "beach." And one of the multiple dictionary definitions is " the area adjacent to a seashore" so I choose to remain narrow-minded in my definition. Everywhere else can be referred to by it's "proper" name (i.e. river, lake, stream, creek, etc.) End rant.

So we took Ellie to our favorite Oregon Coast town, Cannon Beach. We live close enough to take a day trip, which is exactly what we did. When we first arrived, we fed Ellie in the car and then walked through about half of the shops before lunch.

We had our favorite pizza at our favorite pizza shop for lunch. Then we walked through the rest of the shops after lunch (and managed to not buy a single thing). We then took Ellie down to see the actual beach. We set up our blanket in a section of sand where people were nicely spread out. Ellie then ate her first "picnic" on the beach.

My mom and brothers were just getting to Cannon Beach that day for a week-long trip to the conference center there. So they met up with us on the beach and took a few pictures for us. Then we walked up to the park (after dropping off our blanket in the car) where the oldest of my younger brothers, Kenny, got to hold Ellie for the first time. She was fussy because of the sunshine so he didn't hold her long, but she definitely loves her uncle.

We all then walked to Bruce's Candy Kitchen, the best candy store in the world (at least as far as salt water taffy is concerned - and they sell it online now!). There we bought a year's worth of salt water taffy (because of the amount of money we spent not because it will actually last us a year...we only have a few pieces left).

We ended our trip with coffees from our favorite coffee shop and got on the road just in time for Ellie to take a nice long nap. So much fun!

Her first look at the beach.


Kit trying on my hat since he forgot to bring one. (He took this picture of himself to see how it looked. He then promptly took the hat off. Hehe.)


First picnic!


Yummy.



Two happy parents.


I love that guy.


Our attempt at a family photo.


A little fussy.


Just chillin'.


Ah, this is the life.


Actual family photo.

Good Morning!!

Ellie really loves mornings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Health Updates

We have much to celebrate...

Reflux
This higher dose of Prevacid seems to be working! Elise isn't in pain when she eats (other than if she's gassy at the same time), isn't spitting up as much (an unexpected but welcome change - the medication helps neutralize the acid but doesn't reduce the amount of spit up) and just seems to be feeling a lot better overall. She hasn't spit up a full bottle in a few days!! Her spit up lately seem like "normal" spit up of a small amount of food when she's eaten too much without burping. Praise the Lord!

Weight
We had about three weeks there where Elise only gained 8 ounces. She should be gaining at least that much within two weeks, and the goal is a full pound every two weeks. Well, this past Wednesday she was up to 11 pounds, 3 ounces! That made for 15 ounces in two weeks, right on target. This rebound back to her typical weight gain is most likely due to getting her reflux under control with the new Prevacid dosage. Again, praise the Lord!

Constipation
So this may be too much to share, but I believe I've mentioned that Elise has also had major constipation issues since a few days after she came home. We tried cutting out her vitamins in case she was getting too much iron and tried not giving her the added formula in her bottles of breast milk that we add to increase her calories. Neither worked so we went back to a half dosage of the vitamins and the full amount of formula for calories.

Prune juice was helping a bit with the constipation but was decreasing the amount of milk she ate since the prune juice is obviously voluminous. So we've been giving her Miralax, which simply dissolves in her milk without decreasing her milk intake. That has been helping. I would skip a day or two here and there to see if she might go on her own.

Three weeks ago we started giving her the Similac version (NeoSure) of formula in breast milk rather than the Enfamil version (Enfacare) because it was what the pediatrician had in stock, and she's been trying to keep us from having to actually buy the formula ourselves. Lo and behold, a few days after switching formulas, Ellie started pooping on her own! She even had a couple of days where she pooped twice! I think it was related to this switch in formulas. That said, she's now having troubles again. But her gas has come back and has stayed, which is something she hadn't had since being constipated. All that to say, the problem's not fully fixed, but I think she's getting better in that area. You wouldn't believe how exstatic Kit and I were when she pooped five times in three days...I even called him at work to tell him about the fifth time.

Blood Pressure
On Monday, we visited the pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor) to have Elise's blood pressure checked. It was 84/54 - higher than the 76/50 she had last time. Despite the slight increase, the doctor still felt that she was doing well on her lower dosage of blood pressure medicine and felt comfortable lowering the dosage again. She tends to be wiggly while he takes her BP and was very wiggly this time, which accounts for some of the highness. We follow up with him again in a month to see how it's doing, but she may be off that medication entirely within a couple of months!

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So there you have it! I have many other posts to write. One has been written and awaiting pictures since Sunday...need to get those off the camera soon. Because of that, this post is pictureless.

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten the Hearts - Part 2 post. It's just one of those posts that's near to my own heart (hence the title) and can only be written within the right moments - moments that haven't returned at a time when I could write since I began writing the post last week.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hearts - Part One

Good news! If you noticed the plural in the subject, don't worry. Ellie doesn't have two hearts. You'll understand the plural in the next post (was going to be in this post, but I realized it'll take me a while to finish that part of the post and don't want to keep you waiting regarding Ellie). Now on to the good news...

Ellie's little heart is A-OK! The murmur the pediatrician heard is what the cardiologist called a "boring" murmur. He said that actually most kids have a murmur at some point in their childhood simply because the chest wall is thin so you can hear the blood flowing.

Ellie was quite pleased with herself for almost the entire appointment. She loved scrub top of the assistant who brought us back (lots of color and flowers), "talked" up a storm, was pronounced the "cutest baby ever" because of said talking when we took her to the hallway to be weighed (10 pounds, 11 ounces on their scale - without a diaper!) and enjoyed some time on her back staring at the photos of other patients on the wall while we waited for the doctor.

This time we saw the doctor who did her procedure rather than the doctor who had been seeing her in the NICU. They gave us the option when Ellie was in the hospital so I figured we'd go with the guy who knew how he put the coil in and everything. He listened to her heart and told her he had forgetten how small she was. She "talked" a bunch more. He did an ultrasound while she looked at their rotating musical Winnie the Pooh mobile. Until the very end - when they put the ultrasound wand near her throat - she was completely content staring at the mobile, kicking and moving her little arms (and, of course, "talking"). The ultrasound tech commented that she'd much rather have a wiggly baby than a crying baby. Good thing.

The ultrasound looked great, and even I could see where the coil had closed the PDA. So Ellie goes back in a year to be checked out again. And then we're done with the cardiologist! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vocal Cords

Today Ellie and I ventured to the pediatric ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor's office. Here's how it went...

The Process

When the ENT came in, he was very personable, which I appreciate since it's never enjoyable to have to take your baby to see a specialist. He talked with us a bit about why we were there, looked in Ellie ears and nose with that magnifying tool that has the cone tip. Then he took two of the big popsicle sticks and looked in her mouth. Then he explained that, unless we wanted Ellie to be re-hospitalized and put under anesthetic again, the way to look at her throat was to put a little liquid anesthetic in her left nostril and then put a scope in through her nostril and down her throat.

As much as we enjoy having Ellie hospitalized (sarcastic comment), I quickly agreed that this seemed like the best way to check her out. So out he went to get his scope. Meanwhile, Ellie and I were sitting semi-reclined on a child-sized chair similar to a dentist chair. And we were a few feet off the ground (enough for Ellie to be the same height as the doctor when he was sitting on his rolling chair).

While he was gone, Ellie started making her signature noises and heaving body movements. I knew what was coming next and began wishing I had grabbed a burp cloth before we sat down. I looked around the room to see if there were maybe paper towels close enough to me to reach . Nothing was close. We were high enough off the ground that I couldn't get down without initiating the throw up. And the last thing I wanted was her bodily fluids all over their carpet. So I put an arm on either side of Ellie and both hands beneath her chin to catch what was about to come up.

Sure enough, she filled my cupped hands. Luckily (though it didn't seem like it at the time), she had spit up halfway through her bottle right before the appointment, so she only had about half of a bottle (two ounces) in her stomach. At this point, Ellie was crying as I tried to keep the liquid from going everywhere while not inadvertantly pouring it back into her opened mouth. Although the door to the room was open, no one was near enough to come without me having to sort of yell. And it didn't seem like a big enough deal to yell.

So I carefully poured the liquid onto Ellie's clothes, trying not to get it on myself since I only had a change of clothes for her and not for myself. I'm proud to say that I was fairly successful. I only got a little bit on my shirt and jeans. At that point, she was done throwing up so I slid off the chair just as the doctor came in.

I was then even more glad that the doctor was so nice because he was completely understanding and watched Ellie (she was lying on the chair at that point) while I grabbed a burp cloth and wipes from her diaper bag. I'm guessing he might have this effect on babies and small children since no one likes having anything shoved in their mouth. He finished getting his scope ready while I cleaned her up. I left her undressed since I only had one extra outfit and figured the scoping might cause more of a mess.

The doctor used a small syringe to drop the liquid anesthetic in her nostril. Then I got back up on the chair and held her in my lap while he put in the scope. I held her still, held down her arms and held her head in place while he put the scope tube (which was as big as her nostril) in and down her throat.

For the next two or more minutes, he looked around through the scope while Ellie turned bright red all over, sobbed, gurgled, spit up little bits and broke out in a full body sweat. After he finished, she was fairly soaked in sweat and had a large indentation in her cheek from where his finger nail had pushed into her face to keep the scope from going down to far. And her cheeks were extremely flushed. As he explained the prognosis, she smiled at him. To which he responded something to the effect of, "Oh no, don't smile at me. You're just going to make me feel even worse for what I had to do." She obliged and went straight into a huge pouty, quivering lip.

She seems to have popped blood vessels in her face and neck as she has small red spots on the lower half of her face and all over her neck. I left the medical assistant at their office a message to make sure that's what it is, but that's what it looks like. Poor thing. I've never cried hard enough to pop blood vessels in my face and neck.

The Prognosis

He explained that, although vocal cord damage can occur from being intubated, it's rare. He said that it looked as though the placement of the coil actually caused the problem. The ductus (the part of her heart that the coil closed) is very close to the left vocal cord. And when they place the coil, it often causes some inflamation, which then makes it so that the left vocal cord cannot open and close properly. He said that even if they left vocal cord doesn't heal entirely, her right vocal cord will compensate so she won't have problems with her voice when she gets older. He's going to see her back in six months to check on how the vocal cords are doing.

So that's that. Not a pleasant experience or prognosis, but now we know what's going on and that it's not anything to be overly concerned about. Although this may sound strange, I was glad that he was able to clearly see that a problem exists. I never like it when doctors say, "Everything looks fine. I'm not sure what the problem is." It's much more reassuring to know what's going on.

The ENT also commented that the Prevacid must be working at least partially because he didn't see any irritation in her throat that is commonly associated with uncontrolled reflux. I'm glad he mentioned it because it's reassuring to know she's not doing damage to her throat even if she's still having some pain with her reflux.

And now all my fellow new mommies can commence being jealous that I get to enjoy some time of having a baby who can't fully cry but doesn't having an overly concerning problem. It's hearbreaking to see her crying hard but quietly or silently. But I realize when I'm around friends' babies who are crying full boar that it's a little bit of a blessing in disguise because she doesn't do the piercing screaming other babies do.

When we got home from the ENT, Ellie wasn't feeling all that great.


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Daddy, Ellie and Coco snoozing while mommy did stuff around the house on Saturday.


Ellie loves cuddling with her daddy.


Coco enjoying his $1 dried turkey patty from the pet food store.


On Saturday night, we managed to sneak in an hour and a half or so where Ellie was sleeping while we cooked dinner/did dishes and then watch an episode of a television show on DVD. We took a few pictures to commemorate our first "date night" since she came home. This is the least goofy one as I ended up crying because I was laughing so hard when we tried to do serious poses.


Napping on the couch while dad watched golf this past Sunday.


Showing off her cute sundress she wore to church on Sunday (and adorable little roll on her thigh).


Trying on a sun hat.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Five Month Birthday, Elise!

Update: I forgot to mention that all of her developmental milestones will be evaluated based on her adjusted age (the age she would have been if she had gone full term). Premature babies are said to "catch up" to their birth age by about age two. So for anyone who has baby development memorized and is trying to evaluate Ellie, this would actually be comparable to two-month-old development.

Can you believe Elise is five months old?!?! It's crazy to think about. She has grown and changed so much. We've reached the point where each day I truly love her more and more (not that I didn't love her before, but I didn't always feel the love growing each day...now I do!). I haven't done the best job at posting milestones each month but have tried to post them as she reaches them. So here's where she's at.

At five months, Elise...
  • Weighs approximately 10 pounds, 4 ounces - 7 pounds, 9 ounces gained since birth.
    Look at her cute little belly!
  • Is approximately 23 1/4 inches long.
  • Still fits into her newborn (and a few 0-3 month, depending on the brand) clothes. Yesterday I went through her closet to see if she had anything she might be getting close to fitting, but it was all still too big.
  • Smiles a ton! Especially at her daddy and at the bumble bee on her mobile (see bullet below for mobile). She also smiles when mommy sweet talks her. But daddy's her favorite person to smile at, as evidenced by this photo.
  • Two days ago she and I played her first "game." She was sitting in her Boppy in between my legs on our bed. I would smack the sides of the Boppy with my hands, lean forward and kiss her and then sit up to clap my hands and say, "Yea!" And she would smile and coo. It was so fun!
  • Has a bald spot the size of a baseball on the back of her head. And she still has the most hair at the base of her head just above her neck. So cute.
  • Has hair that looks like a kind of mousy brown inside but is red in the sun. Can't wait to see the color when her official, non-baby hair comes in! I would love to have a little redhead!
  • Has slate-ish colored eyes. She still has another 10 months (or more) for her eyes to change, but that's the color right now. And her eyes are the most beautiful shape!! They have a gorgeous slant to them and are nice and big (unlike her mommy's - though daddy would say differently).
  • Has started occasionally sleeping through the night (7-9 hours).
  • Is infatuated with her mobile. She could stare at it for hours and probably never realize she was even hungry.
    I made her this mobile during the heatwave. Our friends from the NICU, Lua and Roman, came over to take advantage of our A/C. Lua and I made mobiles in between feeding and cuddling the babies.
    video
    Giving me a smile and then looking at her mobile.
  • Still has her little raspy voice so she tends to grunt more than coo. But when she does coo, it's adorable! And her grunt is hilarious. She sounds like a 70-year-old (started out saying 50 but realized that since both our dads are well over 50 I should put 70) plumber with a beer belly watching television when she tries to "talk." She particularly loves to use this voice in public.
  • Has the cutest little dimple on her left cheek. She's actually had it since birth, but we see it all the time now. In case I haven't mentioned it, I have the same single dimple (never noticed it before she was born though) on the same side. So I not only love seeing her smile, but I love catching my own dimple in the mirror and remembering that my sweet baby girl as the same one!
  • Has figured out that kicking her legs and flailing her arms makes the toys on her bouncy seat toy bar move.
  • Has figured out that she can reach for toys and hit them to make them move. We attached some of her toys to her bouncy chair using the little plastic toy chain links since the toys on the bar are a little high for her to reach. And she loves it! As soon as I put them on, she figured out that if she bats her hands at them she can have a blast.
  • Gets peeved whenever she pulls the chain to make the musical toy on her bouncy seat play its song. Seriously. She gets this look of utter disgust at somehow being conned into pulling it again even though she does it all on her own. She does it at least a couple of times a day, and I always love watching her response.
    Said peeved look.
  • Is looking more and more like her daddy every day. At least that's what I think. As her nose begins to take shape, I think it's his. And I think she has his eyes and mouth. We'll see.
  • Is awake a lot more (a few hours every day) and loving (nearly) every minute of it.
  • Is very social and observant. Out in public, she's always wide awake unless she's in the sling. She'll stare at all the things around her, "talk" up a storm as she observes things, and ham it up with whomever will listen.
  • Visited her daddy's work for the first time last week. As soon as he was holding her, she was wide awake, chattering like the little socialite that she is and loving the attention of all the ladies (and a few of the men). She just kept talking and talking, and smiling and smiling! When we got home, she took a 4.5 hour nap because she was so exhausted from all the excitement.
    After her post-visit nap (and dad's 90+ degree trip to the driving range).
  • Loves her pug. When she's upset or has any milk or medicine on her face, he loves to give her kisses. Though we don't encourage this, it's impossible to completely avoid (and the pediatrician said it's fine since his mouth is cleaner than a human's anyway). He licks and then she gets a huge smile on her face. Oh, and whenever she coughs and sputters (from her reflux), he always runs to her with a concerned look and tries to lick her face to make sure she's okay and still breathing.
  • Hasn't rolled over again yet but tries. She doesn't lie flat on her back or stomach a whole lot because of her reflux (which the pediatrician said is fine since we hold her a ton during the day), but she'll be rolling like crazy very soon.
  • Has great neck control. She's had this for quite some time, but she's really good at holding up her neck. At her four month appointment (one month adjusted), the pediatrician was actually surprised at how well she did. When she lies on her back or leans up against something with her back, she tries to lift her head like she's going to sit up.
  • Isn't raising her eyebrows as much as she used to. So no worries about her wrinkling too early. Hehe.
  • Is a hit with the boys. Her daddy will give me quite the look for posting this, but it's true! Most of her friends are boys, and a couple of them are quite taken with her and love to stare at her. She also seems to bring out the poop in them as they tend to have multiple large bowel movements when she's around. :)
    With Anthony (her NICU buddy), one of her would-be suitors. She was actually playing hard-to-get for most of this play date, despite Anthony pretty much ignoring the other two boys who were there in favor of Elise's beauty. At this point he hand managed to link arms with her.
Okay, that's enough. I'm sure you're all rolling your eyes at the sheer volume and wordiness of items I posted. You probably actually just scrolled through them to see the photos. And that's okay. When she's 25 and extremely interested in her development at five months, she'll be glad I wrote all of this down. Or not. But you know, I'm a first time mom and we tend to over document.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Health Updates & First Sunday

I'll be honest. I wish this post was all about how wonderful Ellie's doing. I wish I could tell you she's as healthy as can be. But that's just not the case. She could definitely be worse, and we are praising the Lord that she's not. But her little body is still struggling to overcome a few things.

Blood Pressure
The happy note I have for you is related to her blood pressure. Yesterday we went to see the pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor), and her blood pressure was 76/50. That's still high. But she used to camp out with the 76 number at around 100. So she's doing better, and he decreased her medication dose. He's also going to see her again in three weeks rather than four in hopes that we can decrease her medication fairly quickly.

Heart
I don't actually know anything certain regarding how her PDA is doing with the coil that was supposed to close it. We follow up with the pediatric cardiologist next week. But today the pediatrician said Ellie still has quite a distinct murmur, and that she'll be interested to hear what the cardiologist finds when he evaluates her. It's possible the coil didn't take. We'll know next week.

Throat
I'm pretty sure I mentioned previously on the blog that Ellie's vocal cords appear to have been damaged by the intubation she had when her coil was placed. Two days after the coil procedure, I took her into the pediatrician to have her checked out since she sounded like she had laryngitis, and the cardiologist on call said it was probably vocal cord damage but to take her to the pediatrician just to make sure. At that time, the pediatrician expected her voice to fully return in 7-10 days but said to watch for her ceasing to make noise entirely or ceasing to eat - both of which are signs of vocal cord paralysis. Although Ellie can still eat and her voice has gotten better and sounds more scratchy than laryngitisy, she still can't fully cry. Her cries are either extremely soft and scratchy or completely silent. So today the pediatrician put in a referral to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. I haven't called yet to set up the appointment but hope to see this new doctor soon.

Weight
Ellie has been gaining weight steadily for most of her life. But lately her reflux has been getting worse (see below), and she is no longer gaining weight at the goal pace. They'd like her to gain about 1 pound every 2 weeks. She's 10 pounds, 4 ounces today, which means that in the past three weeks she's only gained 8 ounces (and she was wearing a larger diaper today). That leads me to her reflux...

Reflux
I believe I've mentioned that the initial medication we tried for Ellie's reflux (Axid) was no longer helping. Two weeks ago the pediatrician put her on the next level of medication (Prevacid). Although Ellie hasn't been spitting up quite as frequently lately, she's clearly in a lot of pain. We feed her lying on her side on one of our thighs with her legs in a sitting sitting position against our stomach. Lately whenever we try to put her into that position, she writhes in pain, arches her back and cries unconsolably. Other positions don't work either. I normally have to reposition her 2-5 times before I can get her to latch onto the bottle to begin eating. Although she usually does decently well once the bottle is actually in, she also frequently pushes the bottle out and begins arching, writing and crying. And when I put her up to my should to burp her, she cries and writhes until she gets comfortable, which can often take a few minutes.

When she spits up, it almost always the full feeding, which is part of her lack of weight gain because she just can't keep enough down and/or just doesn't want to eat enough. Last night I started what should have been her final feeding before falling asleep (or at least had been for a couple of nights and was again tonight) at 7:00pm. Between feeding her, holding her upright so she wouldn't spit up, her spitting up, cleaning her up, letting her rest in my arms for a bit, starting again with the next bottle, etc., she didn't get to bed until 12:30pm (after 4 bottles and two very large spit ups involving three of those bottles).

It's often hard to tell whether she's still hungry or in pain and just wanting more milk to try to keep the refluxing milk from coming back up. And it's so very frustrating and painful to watch. Someone asked whether the doctors think she has any milk allergy or intolerance. And the answer to that is no. She doesn't actually have any of the symptoms of such an allergy or intolerance; any that kind of match don't match as to the time at which they occur (i.e. during a feeding, right after or in between feedings).

Today the pediatrician upped her dose on the Prevacid to the highest she can have. If she's still having these problems in two weeks, the pediatrician is having me call a gastroenterologist since the pediatrician will have done all she can at that point.

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Although my prayer is always that the Lord would heal her little body, I know that may not happen. Especially not in my timing. I struggle every day, wanting my baby girl to be healthy. Wishing she wouldn't throw up or writhe in pain when I try to feed her, wishing she could cry a real cry and wishing her little heart and kidneys were fully functioning. But I must remind myself that I am not in control and that I don't want to be. The Lord has my little girl's life in His hands. He will hold her when she suffers and heal her if that's what He wants for her. So I try each day to hold her in my heart with open arms allowing the Lord to use her in my life and the lives of others to bring glory to Himself. That's what it's all about.

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On another note, I'm overdue to posting photos from Ellie's first Sunday at church a week and a half ago. These photos are actually from after church because I forgot to take any at church. But you can see that she got all dressed up. She doesn't have any tights, and this was before the heatwave so she's wearing a little pair of cotton pants under her dress to keep warm.


Yes, she's really working on her pout.


The only other shot I got of her looking at me (aka the camera).


Looking at her daddy in a very determined manner. She has him wrapped around her little fingers and isn't letting go!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A/C Goodness

Kit and I have always braved the couple of hot days in Portland each summer without A/C. Although I have suggested it probably once per summer, it's never hot enough to rationalize spending the money (especially when you don't have the extra to go around). So that was the plan for the heat wave that is currently coming to a close.

However, temperatures over 100 degrees with a baby don't work so well. Especially with a baby who has reflux. Monday night the poor girl was up late crying, hot and spitting up her meals. There was a 10-hour time period in which she kept nothing down.

We debated going to a hotel, but all the ones we could afford (and by afford I mean using what little money we have in savings) and even the ones we couldn't "afford" didn't seem like they would be clean enough for a baby like Ellie who has just begun her adventures outside of our house. At midnight, she finally kept down a small bottle and went to sleep.

I awoke in the morning to see about borrowing my older brother's A/C as he and his wife had offered it on Saturday night when Kit and I still thought we could make it. We had declined. Sean has a wonderful (or cranky, depending upon what scale you use to evaluate him), old dog who was having about as good of a time as Ellie with the heat so they had installed their A/C late Monday night. But being the wonderful big brother that he is, he said they would buy us one. Amazing.

The next trick was trying to find an A/C. I called all the area Home Depots first and found an out-of-the-way store where they had quite a few in stock. They didn't make it sound like they were about to run out so I didn't rush to get there. Bad move. Ellie and I arrived just in time to see some guy with the last two in his cart. I was halfway tempted to ask the guy if he really needed two or if his family could huddle in one room like my family was going to do so that my little baby could keep cool. But I was so disheartened as missing the opportunity to keep Ellie cool that tears were brimming in my eyes, and I just had to walk out of the store.

All the other Home Depots only had the $400 kind of A/Cs that heat spaces much larger than we needed. So Kit gave me the number for a local hardware store, which shall remain nameless, at which our friend Tim works. I called them and they were getting a shipment "in the afternoon." I was still frazzled from the Home Depot incident that I forgot to ask when "the afternoon" was.

Meanwhile, our friend Erik mentioned on Facebook that we should try Sears. So Sean and I both called local Sears stores and both headed to two different stores (one by his work and one sort of by our house). As Ellie and I were driving, Beth, Tim's wife, called to say we should try the nameless hardware store. I told her (at least I think I did) that I had called and they had a shipment "in the afternoon." She told me to call and ask for the "PIC - Person In Charge" and tell them I was friends with Tim. I did, and the guy told me the truck was coming in at 2:00. Score.

Sean continued his trip to the Sears by his work just in case, but Ellie and I headed home since the other Sears was kind of out of the way. Sean's Sears only had a few of one model left and about 20 people waiting in line to get one. He decided it wasn't worth it since nameless hardware store was going to have them for sure at 2:00.

Erik had continued calling around to try to find places that had them and found a store, but by this time Ellie was hungry so I knew I wouldn't make it in time since they had told him we needed to be there within the hour.

So Ellie and I arrived at nameless hardware at 1:55. I was shooting for 1:30, figuring we could aimlessly walk around until the truck arrived. But I'm sure everyone knows how hard it is to get anywhere on time with a baby, especially when you've already attempted two other drives that day.

And folks, you might have guessed that at 1:55 all of the A/Cs were already gone. Lame. The PIC told me the truck was arriving at 2:00, not that all the A/Cs would be gone by 1:55 (or actually 1:50 according to the gal at the counter). Argh.

As all of this was going down, our friend Katy had posted on Facebook that her roommate bought an A/C at Costco that didn't fit any of their windows. But I hadn't heard back from her on it and didn't have her phone number. So while I was heading to Costco (just in case they had some) from the nameless hardware store, Kit got on Facebook to see if we could get the one from Katy's roommate still.

They exchanged messages, got Katy my cell number...or maybe I called Katy, can't remember which. Anyway, while I was at Costco (they were sold out but gave me a number to call at 8:00 the next morning to see about getting in on their next shipment), Katy and I connected. Not only did her roommate still have the A/C, they live relatively close to my brother's house (he had gone home to work from there after looking at Sears).

So Sean headed to pick it up, and after buying a few things at Costco, Ellie and I went through the drive through at Starbucks to get Sean and I each a hard-earned treat. And by late afternoon, we were basking in the cool A/C.


Can't you tell how happy she is?


Ah, yes. Thrilled.


Nope, I didn't put her up to this.


She thought of it all on her own.