Friday, May 27, 2011

In case you were wondering...

...it actually is possible for a dog to scarf down an entire corn cob in 2 seconds flat. 3 or 4 nights ago, we had barbecue for dinner. Mid-way through, Harrison launched the tray to his high chair and his food went flying. I won't lie; most of the time I find it pretty convenient that my dogs are like little vacuum cleaners. The only thing left to pick up was the tray, his cup, and his corn on the cob. Except the corn on the cob was nowhere to be found. We all thought that there was no freaking way the dog could have eaten the whole cob in just a couple of bites (gulps?) without us even noticing. 

Well. I guess we all underestimate our Sydney.

Last night the remnants of the said cob made their way back up via her disgusting hacking and gagging and barfing. As if we need another reason to be woken up in the middle of the night, or another reason to spot treat the carpet. I love that dog, but I swear. She always somehow manages to make it back into the center of attention one way or another. I guess I should just be glad the cob found its exit the free and less medically complicated way...

:/



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Harper was discharged Wednesday evening and it filled my heart with such happiness to finally have our family together under one roof! It has been a long and emotional 5 weeks and driving out of that hospital parking lot for what I hope was the last time for a very long time was a great feeling.

Here is a video of Harrison meeting his baby sister for the first time. It cracks me up because he sounds a little resistant to the concept of a new baby. But it didn't take him long to warm up to his sissy and he has done SO great with her. The jealousy has really been at a minimum so far which I'm relieved about. For the most part he really doesn't notice her very often (probably because she rarely makes a peep!), but when he does show interest he loves to give her kisses and hugs and even tries to share his binky with her. I hope they grow up as best friends!




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The four words we've been waiting for!

We heard them last night...the four little words that every NICU parent longs to hear:

"Bring the car seat."

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Harper's nurse called last night and told us that the doctor had given the order for her to be moved to an open crib and out of the incubator. If she can maintain her body temperature on her own for 48 hours and pass all of the tests required for discharge, it means she could be possibly coming home tomorrow or Thursday!!!! Her feedings have been increased to 2 oz. every 4 hours and she's nursing for 2 of her feedings. The nurse weighed her this morning and she's finally reached the 5 lb. mark! Last night she had her car seat test, which is where she has to sit in her car seat for 2 hours and have all of her vitals monitored to make sure she does okay out of her crib. She passed with flying colors! That's one step closer to leaving the NICU and coming home to her family...can you tell I can hardly contain my excitement?!!!

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

She is 2 weeks old today. Here are some pictures from her second week of life, along with a video of her making all those sweet newborn sounds that you forget just how much you love and miss until you have another sweet little newborn. Ahhhhhhh....












I think the pictures of her must be somewhat deceiving because a lot of people have commented on how big she looks. She has a little hint of chub in her cheeks, but that is the only place. She's got the longest, scrawniest little chicken legs like me and no tush whatsoever...even her preemie diapers are too big on her. Just look how itty bitty my doll baby looks in her car seat:



And with her binky that takes up half of her face:


Her brother is going to be so proud of her love for binkies. Either that, or extremely jealous. We'll soon see!

Speaking of Brother, he has been having the time of his life over the last several weeks. Mostly because of this woman, who has spoiled him totally rotten:

Harrison and his "Memaw"

I've got her right where I want her!
 Over the weekend, Rick and I finally got to spend some good quality time with Harrison for the first time in over a month. We took him to the Kemah Boardwalk and had such a great day! It was especially nice because it was one of the 3 days out of the year where Houston's humidity is under 99%.

Eating some lunch and watching the boats ("bohs") pass by

I couldn't stop laughing at the sight of Rick in this thing!

Um, Dad? Stop distracting me, please. I'm trying to fly a plane here.

Holy cow! What is going on here?


Where did the water go?

Helllloooo?

Ahh!! This water is scary stuff!

My favorite boys in the whole wide world

I can't wait until we can take both our kids out to do fun stuff!

 

Friday, May 13, 2011

She's living up to her brother's name.

My children have quite the reputation, even in their young age. Harrison has had 17 months to build up a name for himself, and quite the name for himself he's created. I've blogged about a few of the horrifying experiences he so kindly blessed me with here, here, here, here, and here. And even though 5 posts are 5 too many posts on the subject, there have been far more I've spared you from reading. You're quite welcome.

I thought the fact that he finds pleasure in humiliating me with his grossness was just a boy thing. Apparently I was wrong though, because Harper, even at only 10 days old, is quickly following in her brother's disgusting footsteps.

Poop.

My children like to poop. Poop, and poop big. Nooo sir, not any ordinary poo will do for these two competitive turd masters. They have to be the best of the best, and I'm pretty sure they have succeeded at their goal. My husband is quite proud, by the way. Me on the other hand...while I commend their drive and ambition and competitive natures, I just can't seem to get past the sentiment of pure mortification.

Last night, Harper was all warm and snuggly in her fleece footy pajamas, wrapped up like a little burrito in her swaddling blanket. Somehow, to the disbelief of her nurse and everybody else who witnessed the aftermath, she achieved the diaper bomb record of the hospital. Not only did she explode out of her diaper, but she also somehow managed to poop with such force that it soaked through her thick fleece jams and blanket, and proceeded to splatter all over the clear walls of her isolette. How in the world that kind of energy came out of a wee little 4 lb. baby amazed pretty much everybody on the NICU floor. Her nurse said that in all of her years she'd never seen anything like it. And today, her day nurse informed me that she had dirtied yet another outfit and blanket, which "she's got a reputation for doing" in her words. Ha! Good thing she's the cutest little baby girl in the whole wide world!

And just maybe she's a smart cookie with a strategic agenda. You know, attack the nurses with enough poop bombs to clean up and they'll surrender and finally let her come home?  I like the sound of that. As long as she knows to stop once she's here and I'm on diaper duty.  ;)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One week!

Our little Harpie Harp is a week old today! I thought I'd finally take a few minutes to upload some pictures and give another update on how she's doing. Since my last post she has improved by leaps and bounds! In just two days, they have decreased her oxygen from 1 liter to 1/4 liter. Her genes have kicked in and I think she realized that she belongs to family of eaters, and she is now chowing down on her bottles. They have increased her feedings and she is now getting all of her nutrients from breast milk, which means that her IV is coming out tonight! Her weight has dropped a little to 4lbs, 8oz but I think that's pretty typical. I asked her doctor the million dollar question of if he has any idea when she'll be able to come home, and he said that since she's made so much progress he wouldn't be surprised if she comes home as early as next week. Not a promise and I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but still, what an answer to prayers!!!!

Here are some pictures taken of Miss Harper over the last week. You can see how much difference a little time makes. Her eyes aren't nearly as puffy and although she's still a little pumpkinish, her color is getting better. And today she was finally given the green light to wear clothes!
























Happy one week, my love!

Monday, May 9, 2011

How we're doing.

I've been meaning to update for almost a week now, but every time I get on the laptop to write a blog post, I only get about 5 sentences in before quitting. Everybody who has been through the NICU experience says it is a roller coaster of emotions, and they are so right. It sucks.

It has been a rough week to say the least. Harper came into the world breathing on her own, but we quickly learned that she had two obstacles to overcome: 1) she wasn't absorbing enough oxygen, and 2) she had fluid in her lungs. I felt really good that she was stable and doing well and in the Level 2 (Level 2 is the less-critical stage of NICU). But as the hours passed, she was requiring more and more oxygen and struggling more to breathe. Then on Wednesday night, Rick and I walked down to visit her and the doctor met us at the door. She told us she was actually on her way to come and find us, and as I heard those words my heart sank. She told us that Harper was having some setbacks. That they had needed to go up on her oxygen. That they were moving her to the more critical Level 3 side, and that they were going to intubate her and put her on the ventilator so they could give her surfactant. She said we couldn't see her for a while because they needed time to "work on her", and that she would come to our room to give us an update soon. I tried to keep it together and put on a strong face, but failed and instead began crying hysterically. I can hardly watch Harrison get his shots, and here is my daughter struggling to breathe. Not only am I helpless to take away her pain, but I was being told that I couldn't even be with her to hold her tiny little hand.

Praise God, the surfactant helped her so much. She only spent one night on the ventilator and now she's getting her oxygen through a nasal cannula. She's now on 1 liter of oxygen and breathing at 21%, which is room level. The chest x-rays show improvement, but her respirations are still really high (she's breathing too fast) so we are waiting on those to come down before weaning her off the oxygen completely. Her body temperature is still being regulated through a closed incubator, and once she can maintain a temp of 98.5+ on her own she will be able to come off the sensors and finally wear clothes. Her bilirubin is elevated but just under the point of being labeled jaundice, and hopefully it's peaked and will start improving. We were able to feed her for the first time on Saturday. She didn't tolerate the bottle well at first and got her next few feeds through a feeding tube, but she's slowly learning how to suck and swallow. There was mention of the dreaded word reflux, but I'm not convinced it will stay an issue. They weighed her today and she is 4lbs, 11oz., which means she's only down 4oz from birth.

Everybody asks when she will be able to come home. I wonder this same question just about every minute of every day, but there is no way to know how long she'll need to stay in the NICU. There are 3 basic milestones she'll need to reach before being discharged: 1) breathe completely on her own, 2) eat full feeds on her own without gagging, falling asleep, spitting up, etc. and gain weight appropriately, and 3) maintain a normal body temperature on her own.

My recovery has been much harder than I ever expected. I'm in a lot of pain and still have trouble getting in and out of bed, the car, and sometimes even walking. I'm exhausted because I'm pumping every 2 hours, and I'm sure a lot of it is the emotional toll this has been as well. I try to focus on all the positives. I'm so grateful that she's stable. I'm so happy to be here with Harrison, even though I can't pick him up or even bend down much to interact with him.  I know it could have been a lot, lot worse and I tell myself this all day long. But at the end of the day, Harper's crib is still empty. We have an empty car seat. And I feel like I have a broken heart. My baby is alone in the hospital, with tubes up her nose and mouth, countless wires and sensors and monitors, and an IV sticking out of her forehead. We have to ask permission to hold her. To change her diaper. To feed her. Leaving her after our visits is so incredibly painful. Rick and I broke down in tears last night because you're not supposed to have to "visit" your daughter until she moves away to college. Each time we walk down the NICU hallway and pass by the nursery of the healthy babies, it's a reminder that our little girl isn't one of them. This has truly been the worst experience I've ever been through. Bittersweet is the epitome of my life right now. I find myself so happy to be home and with my family, and then I immediately feel guilty because life just isn't right without Harper here. I really am trying to focus on the positives, and I just need my brain and heart to get on the same page. I feel like we are barely surviving, but we are surviving.

We covet your continued prayers for our family. For Harper to improve with no more setbacks, and for a short-as-possible NICU stay. For Harrison to adjust well to all of the changes going on. For my recovery. And for our aching hearts that long to have our daughter healthy and home where she belongs.


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