Sunday, October 18, 2009

Playing in the Leaves

The weather was amazing on Saturday...so we thought we'd head up the canyon before it turned winter for good and we missed out on the autumn leaves. The park was full of people taking family pictures... it was a perfect day for it! We took a quick walk, and then found a good place for some pictures. Avery was getting a little fussy, so we weren't quite sure we'd get many pictures taken... but once we got her a little pile of leaves to play in, she forgot all about being tired and cranky! She was the cutest little site in the park... a little pink dot in the middle of all the yellow!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

We're going to go Private...(and actually update our blog ;) )


Hey everyone... we ARE still alive... and we're gonna give the blog another shot... my sister-in-law just told me that a family friend was talking to her the other day... and she had said that every once in a while she pulls up our blog... but it's like a T.V. show that was cancelled mid-season, and you just never know what happens to the characters!

So... we'll do our best now to be better about updating things... I don't know how people collect email addresses to go private, so if someone could email us or post and tell us how to...???

Be sure to get us your email address ASAP, we'll have a private blog soon... and we'll actually try to keep it up to date :)


Friday, February 27, 2009

A few more

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A couple of pics

Okay...here are a few pics for all of you who keep writing to see how Avery's doing... Drop Steph  a line and tell her you want her to start blogging :) 


         



Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Long Winter's Nap...

I can't believe I've failed to mention Avery's sleeping habits!!! Any of you who have done the night shift with a new baby know that even the thought of a full night's sleep is one of the most beautiful things you could imagine!

Having started off life in the hospital, on a strict 3-hour schedule... Avery didn't throw our world upside down completely when she came home. As long as we were good to stick to her schedule, we could count on at least every 3 hours or so! (this is one of the unexpected perks of the whole NICU ordeal!)

So, most nights we would stay up till around midnight for her last feeding, then Steph would go to sleep...and I would either stay up and do her next feeding, or take a nap and wake up with her... then Steph would get up to pump in the morning and feed her or I would feed her while she pumped..

We stuck to that mostly, till all of the sudden one morning... we woke up and it was about 7:00 am... I looked over at Steph, and asked if she'd fed the baby during the night... and she said she thought that I must have. We looked down at the foot of the bed, and Avery was just dreaming away....having slept about 7 hours! We called the doctor after she did basically the same thing the next night, and he gave us the green light to just feed her on demand at nights... and our lives have never been the same since ;)

She's usually really good to hang out with us and be her most awake and alert in the late evenings. She'll lay on the floor and make faces and coo at us...or come in bed with us and kick her little feet and smile at us. Then she'll eat around 9 and sleep till midnight, when she'll have one last feeding... and then she's good to go until about 7 the next morning!

She's been such a sweetheart to us since coming home.... we can't be grateful enough!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

baby talk...

One of the things that's most fun about Avery growing up, is that she's getting more and more attentive... she loves to just lay on the ground and make eyes at us now, and she'll just howl and talk in her own little way... she seems to get cuter and cuter each day...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What a difference 4 months make...

Having Avery home with us day in and day out is such an amazing thing for us...since she spent the first 2 1/2 months of life living 45 minutes away from us... Back when she was in the NICU, it seemed like we could see how much she grew each time we came to visit again...

Now that we are with her all the time, its harder to see how far she's really come since those late summer days... I mean, it's still very easy to see that she's gotten bigger...but that's all relative. And we can very easily tell how teeny she still is...especially when we see anyone else's baby...

My personal feeling is that all babies should come out that small... minus the medical craziness that attends a micro-preemie, it has been so much fun to see such a miniature version of a human being... I'll never get over the absolute miracle she has been, looking at her teeny fingers...all ten of them have worked perfectly from day one, when her little hand could barely grasp the tip of our fingers!

As small as she still is, at 7 lbs, she's more than tripled her birthweight of 1 lb. 15 oz!!... I know that there are a few parents of babies who are going through a similar time who read this... and because of how much it helped us to know when we were in the thick of things.... these teeny babies DO grow up... there will be a day when you can hold, and bathe, and play with your little baby, just like you were expecting to when you found out you had a little baby on the way... but had no idea that your situation wouldn't be just as planned... But I'm sure that's true for all of us who have had babies... does it ever happen like you had it planned? Not all little preemies make it as easily as Avery has...but then again, not all full term babies just come into the world problem free either... there are ups and downs and bumps and bigger bumps that have to be expected... but there's hope too... there's hope, because we get through those times.... we DO get through them, and it's okay eventually...and sometimes, we're blessed enough for it to be more than okay... We never do it alone...we all get through these things together...

I knew we had these two pictures somewhere...but I still sat there for about 5 minutes moving them around in disbelief...I had never put them side by side... to really see how far we've come since August... If you ever wonder, in the midst of all the good and the bad that does happen in life, if every once in a while, miracles do happen....maybe these pictures can bring you a little hope... you don't get a miracle every time... but they do come... and when they do... not much else matters...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bathing Beauty...

Our friends from the NICU, the DeGraffs were blogging the other day about what a fun time bath day is in the hospital... which prompted our other friends, the Forsyths to comment that for them bath time at home is more of time to dread than to look forward to...We've got to agree... bath-time at home isn't quite the treat that it was in the hospital... but then again, back then we looked forward to a diaper-change like it was pay-day!

Avery has a great little bath tub with this hammock thing that lets her just kind of lay in the water... and once she got used to it after her first bath, she actually liked the next few bath times....

Somehow, around her 3rd or 4th bath she decided that bath time was less like a day at the spa and more like medieval torture and would just scream at you... There was definitely one bath day when I was super tired and had a headache that more resembled a Catholic baptism than a real scrub-down...

But the other day, our friends, the Wisans... who have twins Avery's age, and are doing an amazing job with them!!... gave us a great idea: put a big hand towel in the bath with the baby and keep her covered up like a little water blanket. Since we started doing that, she likes bath-time again!

It's actually pretty fun having a little naked baby there in the bathtub... it still amazes us how tiny she is. You just look at this little pink thing flailing around in her mini bath-tub and you've got to smile... Someday, that little helpless water-bug will be a real person! She'll walk and talk and think for herself... she'll have stories and jokes of her own to tell... she'll be part of all our memories from here on out... it's a crazy thought...

Here's a little taste of bath-time with Avery...


some pics from home...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Miracle...


Okay... so the first random blog post to update everyone: Avery has hit the magical 7lb. mark! It's absolutely ridiculous to think that babies come out that size and bigger every day! She seems so huge to us... but, that's probably because she's more than tripled her pint-sized birthweight! She's 20 inches long...and her head is about....umm....baby-head size (we don't remember ;) ) ... She's still off the charts when it comes to percentile... but she's catching up. Her length and head size are right on track... but her weight isn't catching up as fast as the doc would like....so we're back to the 24/cal milk to see if we can bulk the little lady up. She doesn't quite get that the holiday season is all about packing on the pounds and over-indulging...

She's more and more aware and awake each day. She'll lay in our arms or on the floor and move her arms and legs and fingers and toes and basically every muscle she can control. It's kinda like a symphony during warm-ups... she'll get everything doing the right part soon :) She'll randomly smile every so often, and she'll get on a little spurt of talking... so it's a lot of fun for us. She loves the lights... and will stare up at them as if waiting for the mother-ship to come beam her back up ... kinda weird ;) ...but it's really cute when she stares up at the Christmas lights.


So, that's a start for now... I'll update more as things come to mind... I might actually add something about me and Steph here and there... you're welcome to skim those paragraphs, and skip right to the baby stuff... or like Steph does, skip the writing stuff, and head right for the pics... lol... 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

alright, alright!!!


So... there are a few things that I can count on whenever I talk to pretty much anyone anymore.... they're going to ask how Avery is doing... for which I can't fault them.... and they are going to remind me that I haven't written on our blog in a long, long, long, long time. Most people will even go ahead and quote me the date of my last post "October 29, 2008!"... the extremely helpful ones will remind me how quickly babies grow, and that you don't want to miss a moment, etc, etc, etc...  ( I would be amused to see how these people are picturing me sitting on the couch in my sweats,  for all of November, scratching my head with the remote and just wishing I had something to do with all this spare time I have found since the baby came home... ;)  ) I actually did update the blog a week ago...and we are absolutely flattered each time someone reminds us "Yeah, but it was just a picture of you two!"... ;) Let there be no mistake of why people read our blog...
So, in an effort to catch you all up, and to stay in good graces with my mother-in-law, I'm just going to plunge back in and catch you up. I warn you....it's going to be random as it comes to me, as there is no way for me to go back and recount the past month... They might be short entries... but I'll try to get them down for all of you trying to keep tabs on us... feel free to keep spurring  me on... it will help me stay on track. 


So...here we go!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're still alive...


What a crazy few weeks it's been. I think we've kind of gotten a feel for what it would be like to adopt a new baby... having time to prep, get life in order, both of us healthy and kinda living a normal life one day, and the next day, we bring home a baby... like a load of groceries from Costco! (but i guess if she were a Costco baby, she would have come in a more economy size... she'd be what they give out as samples on the baby aisle  :) ) 

All in all, she's been a fantastic little baby. She sleeps pretty regularly, and eats well. The pediatrician has given us the green light to watch for her natural cues more when it comes to sleeping and eating, rather than the strict 3 hour schedule she needed to be on for a while... which has been nice to get a whopping 4 hours of sleep at a time on good nights ;) Lucky for Steph, Avery hasn't quite graduated up to breast-feeding yet... so while it's still not a ball for her pumping regularly, I can take half the feedings.

The last time we were at the pediatrician, she weighed 5 lbs. 7 oz....which was basically an ounce a day for that week... so that's really good. It takes all that I have not to add a scoop of my protein shake powder to her bottles to give her a little edge...but I read somewhere that I probably shouldn't do that ;) She has another appointment tomorrow, so we'll see where she tips the scales this time! She's also up for immunizations: round 2 next week, as well as her second RSV shot... Keep your fingers crossed that the only side effect will that she'll be really sleepy...I'm kinda hoping for that one!

Her due date was the 12th of October, so they consider that when talking about development. She's almost 4 months old, but about 3 weeks old, adjusted age! So, on some things, she's already on track, and on some things, she'll be on track with her adjusted age... She's just a beautiful, normal little baby though...and we're so lucky for that. She'll still seem teeny to you, but she's gotten bigger since coming home even. She's awake for longer periods of time now... which, when she's pleasant and doesn't have gas, is a lot of fun. She'll just look up with her big blue eyes, and stare at you, and pose her little hands like she were in a photo-shoot (she's probably already accepted the fact that with me around, her life will be a photo-shoot anyway... )

She's definitely figured out that she can cry now...and she makes good use of this newfound talent. Not just crying to cry...you can usually tell why, and help her out....but she seems to have no concept of volume... the louder the better, even if it's only for a little bit....then she'll get this calm, serene look on her face like "did you hear something???" She also stinks really really really bad... I won't go in to discussing diapers...but the by product of sugar and spice and everything nice has got to be sulphur, and death and everything evil!

Steph just had a little shower with her friends at work, and I spent a day making a slide show for it... it's long, but it's fun for us to look back on..... I think it will work on here. I needed to post it, because the copy I sent to the shower had a couple of music tracks on top of the ones in the background, so at parts, it was more like a baby hard-rock music video than a cute little deal to make all the ladies misty-eyed... dang!  Anyway..I'll work on getting a smaller version here online... 

It's been so great to hear from all of you..old and new friends and family....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shhh.... she's sleeping....




Okay, I have about 15 minutes before feeding time.... I think I can get a quick post in... where do I even start???? So many things have come to me to write about... and I still trying to find the balance between getting a memory written or typed so that it will last ... and just enjoying the moment.... I've been doing a lot of the latter lately :)


So, from here I can look into the living room and see a baby sleeping in her swing... The long awaited day finally came, and we were able to walk out of the hospital as a complete family for the first time. I'll need to type up the story for our sakes in a bit...so you'll have to put up with random flashbacks if you're trying to keep up with us...

Having her home has been the biggest relief. It's been so many emotions all at once: elation, fear, exhaustion, peace... but mostly just the relief of having the other shoe drop, of closing a chapter and starting a new one... of not having to drive 45 minutes every day just to sit and look at her!! Can I tell you how incredible it is to finally just hold her... feed her... hold her again... then let her fall asleep on your chest... and nobody says: Looks like it's time to put her back...
A great blessing of having a NICU baby is that she's already on a schedule... and she sticks to it really well. She eats every 3 hours.. then sleeps. Sometimes she fusses a bit but it's nothing that a binky or the vibration of her swing can't make her forget about. She eats pretty well... still falls asleep by the end of her bottle sometimes, but that's less and less as the days go by.... We're excited for the days when she doesn't have to wake up to eat at night.. but she's never really kept us up... so we won't complain!


The absolute best is when she's wide awake...and just looks up at you with her big eyes and just watches you... She's such a sweet, pleasant baby...we really are lucky.



I'll try to be more regular about our postings.. but I wanted to get this one up before too many more people asked if we'd dropped off the face of the earth ... :) Thank you all for your great notes and posts and letters and texts of congratulations... you've been with us through it all... it's a life lesson in charity we'll never forget....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Going to the zoo...


We live in such a time-warp. In a way...we are at the twilight of the longest day of our lives and at the same time... at the dawn after our longest night... Soon, we'll be able to squeeze free from the space between play and pause and we'll be able to start turning with the world again...

So far, this week has been much better for Avery. It may have been very wishful thinking to try to get her home last week... with her immunizations and RSV shot all in one week. She just took a break and recovered...and has gradually gotten back on her pony this week...

I will tell a better story later... but for now, we've cleaned our apartment...again... and we'll be making one more trip up to the hospital today...

They say to just tell your baby that you're just going to the zoo, lest they catch on to the plan and something else delays the trip home... 

It feels like Christmas morning.... finally!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Christmas Eve....or Groundhog Day..??

Steph and I are worn out tonight...so this won't be a long post. We've had so many of you call and text and leave comments here about Avery coming home....you all are so great. She's still just kinda struggling getting on her own two feet with her feedings. She had an exhausting few days...and is just kinda putt-putting along with her weight gaining and bottles. For a few days there...it took her twice as long to take about half the normal amount of milk that she usually does...and her weight gains aren't really tipping the scales. So, she's kinda on stand-by until she can get some momentum.

She's still so sweet and doing well otherwise. She's just not quite ready to leave the NICU behind, apparently. We would rather she gets the kinks out while the nurses and docs are in charge, instead of here at home...at least they know what they are doing! We are doing our best to keep our spirits up... she'll be home soon. It will be so nice to kinda take our lives off of pause...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's coming...


Okay...so just by way of clarification...now that I have a couple of free seconds before I hit the sack tonight... one of the last things the babies have to do before they are allowed to go home is to pass the car seat challenge: survive two hours in your car seat without setting off all your alarms! Since sleeping through most of her life so far hasn't been much of a problem for Avery...it wasn't a huge surprise that she passed that test with flying colors last night!

The only thing standing between her and home now is that she has to show that she can consistently gain weight on her lower calorie milk. Being a preemie...she needs more calories than the 20/oz that breast milk contains, so you can fortify it with more calories by adding formula. We can fortify it at home to about 24 calories/oz....so they have weaned her down to that this week from about 32 I think, but want to see that it won't be a big set-back for her once she gets home. She's actually hit a plateau, and lost some weight the last few days..but we have to take into account that she got her immunizations this week, and it takes her little body a bit to get used to the lower calorie milk. Tonight when we called, she was back up to 4 lbs. 7 oz.... so we are just praying that it will continue the upward trend.
The doctors have told us that Saturday is our target day... so that basically means that we are going to ask all of you to come up to the hospital and escort us home. If you have access to any large vehicles: suburbans, hummers, limos, 18 wheelers etc.... go ahead and bring them. Also, if you are or know of any police officers or anyone with sirens and lights on their vehicle... we invite you to go ahead and clear the way for us. We'll basically set up a moving fortress, and our poor little civic (which has already paid the price once this month!) will be safely in the middle, with Avery in her little car-seat, and Stephanie sedated in the back seat next to her!

Also, more great news, is that our good friends and NICU neighbors, the Forsyths get to bring Zack home a day before us! Zack was born exactly a month before Avery...so they've really earned their big day! We have been so grateful to have them there with us through all of this...we've gained life-long friends by carrying each other through this crazy adventure. Send all your prayers out to them on Friday and get them home safely!
As if it were foreshadowing our next big challenge to come, Avery got her RSV shot today. For those of you who don't know (and believe me, I was not exactly in the know on these things before Avery either...), RSV is the fancy term for the common cold...which is mostly an annoyance to most adults, but can be deadly for preemies. When people talk about RSV season, they are referring to the cold/flu season...which lasts from about October to March, give or take a few weeks, each year. We are so lucky to live in a time where they have a shot...a SUPER expensive shot, but a shot nonetheless, which can inoculate babies against RSV. It's a monthly shot...so she'll get it throughout the season... lets all just pray for all these babies that they don't get it. Our challenge as parents is to do all we can to keep her from getting it. So, we had the nurses and docs sit us down and tell us over and over that we need to be VERY careful not to go out to any group events, not expose her to other young children (just because most kids get sick from other kids...who got sick from other kids etc.) and to make absolute sure that our visitors aren't even a little bit sick. So, that means we're gonna have a pretty long, non-social winter...but it's worth it if we can keep our baby healthy and alive.


We are so blessed to have come this far. One of our doctors wisely counseled us to take some time now to cry it out together, talk it out...get our worries and fears from the last two months out....because when she's home, that time will be over. She'll need her future to be filled with our hope...not our fear. So, for us...that's the only way to go.