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...

video

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...


video

some pics from home...

Click to play the first month at 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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Guess What....

Well... I don't have a lot of time this morning for a long, drawn out post... I'll just let a picture do the talking for me for now...

Look what we get to bring up to Avery today...!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

We are sitting here in the quiet of a Sunday afternoon in the back corner of the NICU. Sundays are slow here until the evenings usually... and they have been some of our favorite times to be here. Avery just took her afternoon bottle...which has apparently exhausted both her and her mom. They are both rocking each other to sleep next to me. These are moments you try to really just breathe in deeply...
We found a little note in her crib this morning when we came in, reporting that she had passed her first hearing test. This is very good news...because that means that she has been benefitting from all of the time I have been whispering "da-da" in her ear when Steph isn't looking. Hey- it's never too early to get started on trying to influence what her first word will be...come on!!! Don't tell Steph, I've already got about 6 weeks on her... but moms have an unfair advantage of spending more intimate bonding time with the kids right off....so you can't really blame me!


I feel like I need to be honest with everyone... you hear a lot of cutesy fun stuff about these babies and all...but we've got to give a fair and balanced story from the front lines. There is more to the story than pint-sized pink onesies and sleep-overs with stuffed animals. There is a darker side to this growth and development process... one that we just don't really talk much about, because of how unpleasant it is. But, it's a reality...and it's one you should be aware of: even very small, very cute little pink baby girls can cause industrial strength diaper blow-outs that in my mind would warrent a small team from FEMA to be on call to help with changings! I mean, you look at this little girl, and you think that you'd open up her diaper and find nothing more than some of those colored mini-marshmallows or something... oh no...no no no... Someone could probably win a nobel prize if they figured out the process her body uses to take harmless, normal breast milk...and turn it into nuclear waste. (If they could reverse that process...we'd solve the nuclear waste problem, and we'd have enough breast-milk to feed all the starving babies in the world!) Oh..and there is that fiendish element of suprise!! She lays there, swaddled up wearing her beanie...looking like a burrito about to go skiing....and you unwrap her...and she's there in this cute little pink outfit...and she opens a tired eye...stretches her miniature arms....(all distractions, of course...)...you unbutton her....undo the velcro on her teeny diaper...and WHAM!!!!!!! Absolutely disgusting. If her tiny little bum weren't so cute...she'd be in some serious trouble. So, yeah...I felt like I really needed to bring that to light...I am sure that there were way too many of you out there living in ignorance...and since I had to go through that...you do too!! (at least I didn't post pictures!! ;) )

She's gaining weight still. She's been pretty consistent lately, which is a really good sign. She hit a little plateau the past few days, but is up to 4 lbs. 7 oz., which is about what Stephanie weighed when her mom took her home as a baby! Everyone keeps asking if there is a weight that we're aiming for to take her home... and they don't really look at a specific weight, rather...they look for consistent gains...over a week or two...and she's doing pretty well on that front...


Her last real hurdle is bottle feeding. It's a real learning process that takes her getting the sucking, swallowing and breathing all at the same time. Some days are better than others. At first, she'd just power it down if she were hungry...but if she wasn't, she'd just purse her lips and go to sleep! She's now up to every other feeding by bottle....and is actually taking it really well. She'll fall asleep in the middle of the bottle still...but that happens less and less. That's another step towards going home...taking every feeding by bottle. And, for those of you who asked... the breastfeeding comes next...but we can introduce that once she gets home, or shortly before she leaves... they'll just substitute one bottle feeding for a breast feed...and work up from there...

We are excited and overwhelmed at the prospect of finally having her home. It's something we've talked about non-stop since she arrived nearly two months ago. Normally, parents don't have this time span to contemplate actually having a baby in the house...after already having met the baby! It's normally a sink-or-swim situation: they send you home with your new baby...and good luck!! Avery's due date is the 12th of October... that's so soon!! Some night, in the near future...we'll actually be woken up by our own little baby's cry.... she'll really be ours...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Avery's First Slumber Party...


So, Steph pushed herself a little too hard yesterday...and needed to rest more today, so I went up to see Avery on my own...


Admittedly, I do take an excessive number of pictures given the opportunity... and Stephanie is able to rein me in to keep it reasonable...but I can't help myself with Avery :)


Well... since Steph wasn't around to keep me from disturbing our sleeping babe... I got to playing around...and got some cute pics...


Her sleepover partners are gifts from each of her Grandmas...

It's all relative...

The other day it rained. We don't get much rain here in Utah...so when it does rain, you notice it. It's funny the conversation that ensues after someone makes a comment like that. The people from Arizona tell you about how dry and hot it is there. The people from Seattle tell you not to get them started on rain. The Californians just start talking about how great California is ;)... etc, etc, etc. You talk about this rain storm, and how the rain is here in Utah...and people's minds begin to search their personal databases of experience, and relate to you through the extremes in their past. We humans....we want to connect with each other.

So yea... you might come from somewhere where a 5 minute storm was considered a downpour...or it might not be a storm in your mind if it doesn't last a few hours. I remember our first spring in Oklahoma... it rained for a week straight. The road in front of our house turned into a stream...and I learned that "rolling thunder" wasn't just an expression. I saw it all through my 12 year old, Utah-desert boy eyes...and I was fascinated. What a thrill it was whenever they turned on the tornado sirens in town...and the skies turned an eerie shade of green.... Yet, with all the drama, and the excitement of the Oklahoma storms... I missed how it smelled back in Utah after each 5 minute shower and how the dry thunder echoes off the mountains.

So, when my Oklahoma friends would talk about the wild weather...I would tell them about the smell of a mountain rain. And when my friends here comment on how bad a storm was...or how long the rain lasted ... I tell them about tornado season in Tornado Alley. While that seems to be what we all tend to do... somehow, there's something we're missing...

The past two months have brought out many different reactions about our "adventure"...from people around us and from ourselves. A common thread to most of them is the need to somehow quantify and qualify the situation...and usually to measure it against some other experience. People who have gone through something similar can easily get their footing by asking some basic questions, and measuring it against their own experience. Those who haven't gone through it, usually end up with something like "I can't even imagine how it is for you"... But then, I just want to shake them... Yes, you can!!

You see... we all have our bad days! Just like the rainstorms in Oklahoma aren't the mountain showers in Utah... I'm pretty sure people in both states know what it feels like to be frightened by a storm! You might not have a baby in the NICU... or yours might not be as little as ours...there are many who we know whose babies have been through much more...who have spent more time in the NICU... But I don't think that's the point... we all still relate to each other... I'm sure you know what it's like to be shocked... to be on pins and needles... to be exhausted... to have the smallest things brighten your day...to feel like time could not pass any slower, while it still flies by... That's just a small idea of how it feels... and you've been there. Some way, somehow...you've had your dark days... you've had your storms...and because of that, you know how it feels...

This next Friday will be our 8 week mark in the NICU. Countless times, we've come into the NICU, only to see a car-seat sitting next to the crib of another couple we've seen just come in... in the beginning, we thought to ourselves "Boy...if they ONLY knew!!"... But that's not right. They DO know... they had their shock...their scare...they know what it's like to worry. Time is relative, isn't it?? That couple went through the scariest, hardest thing they've ever been through...and that's just it. And what a blessed day it is when the clouds part on anyone's storm...Who are we to qualify the difficulty of someone else's trials, just because of the difficulty of our own?? We have found some of our best friends in the NICU...and they have been at this a month longer than we have... and now here we are, weathering the storm together....


I guess my point in writing this is to try to get my head around what I've felt lately. There is no such thing as a "worst bad-day"...and if there were, the person who had it wouldn't be happy to be able to "one-up" everyone else's bad-day stories! I'll forever be grateful for those of you who have reached out to us during our "rainstorm"...and have been able to relate...not because they have had our exact experience (though surprisingly...some have come pretty close, I've found out !)...but because they are living life too... There are easier things than having a micro-preemie baby...and there are harder things... but a storm is a storm...

Some of my favorite days...are right after the storm ends...the rains fade...and you can see more clearly then, than at any other time... I swear sometimes I can see the individual leaves on the trees in the moutains. The storm actually clears the air...and gives you a vision like at no other time...It's a limited time thing... things will get murky again...but thank heaven for storms... for great friends and family to weather them.... and especially for the perspective they bring...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And Now For the Good News!!

Okay, okay... so mom and dad had a rough week.... enough with the snivelling from us... I know the real reason anyone reads this blog is for the Avery news :)

Apparently, Avery didn't get the Memo that we were going to have a bad week this week, and ended up having a great one! She has not only done well on the human milk fortifier this time around...she's been doing great! The past week, she's gained anywhere from 1- 2.2 oz per day!! That's a lot for someone who only weighs a few ounces to begin with! As of her weighing last night, she weighs 4 lbs 2.2 oz... which more than doubles her dainty birth-weight of 1 lb. 15 oz.!! Steph attributes the great weight gain to all the skin-to-skin holding time she's been getting in...which I'll totally buy in to. There is nothing more right than the sight of that little girl nuzzled up to Stephanie's chest. We're pretty sure that we can actually watch her put on the grams when she's skin-to-skin! So, I think that I know what sport I am going to enroll her in first...
(this is a picture we took of her the night she hit 4 lbs...)

Another huge step is that she's been moved from an isolet into an open crib. To do that, she had to be able to keep her own body temp. regulated without the isolet...and she passed the little trial period, during which they kept the isolet on hand, just in case. So, she's a big kid now, in a normal open crib like you see in the well-baby nursuries (or what we like to call "fat baby nursuries")!! It's nice, because when we first came into the NICU, all the "older" babies were in open-cribs, and then, they went home. Back then, it seemed so far away...but now, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.


I just saw online that the Emmys were tonight...which totally gave us some perspective- because Steph NEVER misses an awards show! We have been a little caught up with life lately (and we actually don't even have cable in our apartment at all...)Of course, someday, life will come back to some semblance of normal (I know...all of you with kids are itching to correct me when I say things like that ;) ).. but life tends to bring you to points where only one or two things CAN even matter to you... and though it seems even more draining than when you're focusing on the normal hundred things in life... it's nice. So, instead of watching the red-carpet tonight...listening to the reporters ask all the stars "Who are you wearing???"... we got to actually dress our little star up in her first outfit!
("Avery...who are you wearing??? - Carters, of course!)

Another big step is that at her last eye exam, the doctor said that she was in the clear when it comes to worrying about ROP, and that she had mature eyes- her retinas are attached. So, that's awesome. So, her eyes are not only super cute... they are as functional as they would be normally at this point. No worries, though...she still does the cross-eyed thing, which still freaks Steph out!

So... other stats, she's 7 weeks old, as of Friday. She's just about 16.5 inches long. She's completely on room air. She bottle feeds 3 times a day...or she's allowed to anyway. Half the time, she does well...half the time, she takes about 10 ccs, and then falls asleep or starts spitting it out. So...it's a slower go on that front...but that's really her next big hurdle before she can come home.

All in all...we are still so grateful at how blessed we are. She's such a pleasant little sweetheart, and she's doing so well. Despite all the things that keep coming our way outside the NICU...as long as things keep going well in there...it's more than we could ever ask for...





Enjoy this week's slideshow!