Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Bliss

We are so thrilled to be home with this precious miracle from God. She is so tiny and sweet and we just can't get enough of her! Things are going well and we have settled in to a routine of feedings every three hours. We call her "Baby Bird" because this is how she looks when she eats. Is that not the most precious sight ever?!
I'm SO exhausted but wouldn't change a thing. We are absolutely in love with our itty bitty baby.

Our Stay in the NICU
Having your brand new baby in the NICU is something no one ever wants to experience. It's heart wrenching to see your child, so tiny and fragile, with tubes and wires covering almost every inch of their body. You feel helpless. You long to hold that tiny little person in your arms and experience that first moment of bonding. You look around at all of the other sick babies and feel a sadness in your heart that is unexplainable. No matter how short or long your baby's stay, it's just plain hard to accept.
I feel extremely blessed that we live a half hour from one of the best hospitals in the country. The NICU nurses are some of the most compassionate people I have ever met. I began referring to them as NICU Angels. They were never burdened by our presence or the multitude of questions we asked and the constant visitors to Caroline's bed side. I felt very comfortable that Caroline was in good hands with these wonderful ladies caring for her. They all adored her.

I arrived at her bedside one morning to see this hanging from her NICU bed. One of her sweet nurses made it for her.
The cute giraffe behind her bed was a gift from a sweet friend from high school who works with Dr. Ayers (Caroline's Cardiologist). It was at her bed when I arrived to see her for the first time. Thank you Krystal!

Another day I arrived to find Caroline all dolled up with the cutest bow in her hair. My heart melted!

With each day our baby girl began to show improvement. She had a third Echo a few days after birth andwe were extremely anxious about the results. This test would tell us whether Caroline would have surgery or not. It took a few hours to get the results but to me it felt like an eternity. When we got the call from the cardiologist the results were good! The PDA had fully closed and the aorta was showing no signs of coarctation (narrowing). Our little girl's heart was completely functioning on its own! No surgery needed! We were shocked to say the least. It was truly a medical miracle!! I can't find words to explain the emotions I felt with this news. I think I cried harder than I ever have in my entire life. God had healed my baby.

Her doctors were dumb founded and could find no medical reason for her healing. They spent two mornings at her bed side trying to find an answer. As I sat listening to their conversations I just wanted to shout out, "This is God's work! He is the answer!"

That day just kept getting better and better. After we called our family to share the good news we were emotionally exhausted and went to our room at the Ronald McDonald house to try and rest. When we returned a few hours later Caroline's nurse said she had more good news. Our baby should be ready to go home in the next day or two. What?!! We couldn't believe it and neither could she. She told us that babies are never discharged straight from NICU level III and that Caroline was truly a miracle!

Great Grandma Blanche was the first family member other than us to hold Caroline.

Papa Tom was smitten.

Her first day in real clothes!

Papa Tom's hand is almost the same size as Caroline.

Amy is one of the NICU Angels. We went to high school together. She was such a blessing to us.

This sweet lady was one of my favorite nurses. She was so kind and took good care of Caroline and her mommy. One night she spent a few hours teaching me the ins and outs of infant care. I was so thankful! If you could see how tiny Caroline is then you would understand how scary the thought of taking her home was. She looks much bigger in pictures.

Learning how to swaddle.

My little baby burrito. She loves to be swaddled.

"Whew! After a bath and new outfit I'm exhausted and ready to nap."

Once I was discharged from St. Lukes we stayed a few nights at the Ronald McDonald House at TCH. This place was a huge blessing! They offer rooms to families of NICU patients. We had to check out every morning, sign up again for the next night and hope to get approved but it was so worth it. I was NOT leaving that hospital with out my baby! We were approved every night except one. Thankfully, my wonderful in-laws got us a room at the Marriott right across the street from the hospital so we weren't too far away from our baby.

The Ronald McDonald House was very cozy and clean. This is the family room.

The kitchen was stocked with snacks and they always had freshly baked cookies available.

Daddy adores her!

We finally got the approval to be discharged so I dressed up my living baby doll and we got ready to go home. Thank you Marmie and Aunt Lara for the preemie clothes. My new born clothes are just too big right now.

Mommy and Caroline are ready to go home!
I could not believe I was really taking her home! After months of being told she would need surgery this moment was so surreal. My heart was beaming.

Daddy buckling her up.

I'm ready to go!

Look how tiny I am in my giant car seat.
Being home with our baby is so much fun. Sometimes I hold her in my arms and just stare at her in amazement. I can't believe she is here, healthy, and growing stronger by the minute. My heart is so full of love and a peace that I can't explain. Caroline, you are a testament of God's unconditional love for us. How can I ever show Him how thankful I am? I have no idea but I have a feeling He knows.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We have finally made it home with our sweet little miracle baby. A miracle she truly is! I will post more on that later. I have been a busy new mommy, trying to adjust to having this tiny three pound bundle of joy to care for. We are on day 2 of being on our own with out the help of the wonderful NICU nurses who I now refer to as angels (because that's exactly what they are in my eyes) and things are going pretty well so far. Tomorrow I plan to add a ton of pictures from our NICU experience, that is if I'm able to keep my eyes open long enough to do so. Ha! I just wanted to put out a quick post to let everyone know we are home and Caroline is doing very well, despite a slight drop in her weight. We have been so blessed and can't thank our friends, family and even complete strangers for covering our little family in prayer. God has been so good to us. This tired mommy is heading bed but check back tomorrow for an update. God bless you all!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quick Update

We just got the results from the echo done this morning and the news was great! The duct appears to be closed and Caroline's heart is functioning properly on its own! Praise be to God! Her blood pressure remains the same and her vitals are good. When we got the news I just burst in to tears. I knew and felt it in my own heart that God was going to heal her and he has! He certainly is an awesome God! They are going to continue to monitor Caroline's vitals closely and focus on her nutrition. She has lost a little weight so we need to get her nice a plump. She is eating good so I think it will all come together with time. I'm off to love and kiss on my precious little miracle. Thank you all for covering our baby in prayer. I am forever grateful.

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Caroline Grace!

Hello world! Aren't I precious? I decided I was ready to meet my mommy and daddy and see what this big ol' world is all about. I'm doing great but I could sure use your prayers over the next 24 hours. My mommy will tell you why if you keep reading.Whew...what an amazing ride we have been on. When I showed up for my regular OB visit last Thursday I had no idea that I would be heading to St. Lukes a few hours later to meet our precious baby girl. She definitely surprised us all! I was only 36 weeks and Miss Caroline was not scheduled to arrive until September 7th! I was in complete shock to say the least. Here's a quick run down of what happened....
I had not been feeling all that great last week but wrote it off as normal last trimester pregnancy symptoms and being back at work full time preparing for the start of the school year. During my appointment the nurse checked my vitals and I had unusually high blood pressure, which I never have. Dr. Kirshon decided to do an ultra sound to check on baby girl and noticed that she had not gained any weight since my last US a few weeks ago. With my symptoms and her low weight he was very concerned. His exact words were, "So, how do you feel about delivering your baby today?" I about fell off the examination table! I was NOT expecting that! Before I knew it I was in the car heading to St. Lukes to get checked in.David left work, rushed home to get our bags and got to the hospital as soon as he could. When I got checked in they did some blood work and discovered that I had Pre-eclampsia, which was the reason for the high blood pressure. I was definitely going to deliver Caroline some time that evening. We started making phone calls and our families rushed to the hospital to be with us. Daddy getting suited up and ready. He was so excited. Here we go!Welcome to world Caroline! Happy birthday sweet girl! You were born August 19, 2010 at 10:33 p.m. You weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces and you were 16 3/4 inches long. You are so perfect and beautiful! Mommy finally got to hold you but just for a minute because they had to get you to the NICU right away to check your heart. Look at those long legs!!I finally got to see you on Friday. I could not get there fast enough!Mommy's first time to feel your soft skin. You are were so tiny and sweet. You look just like your daddy. You definitely have his chin, lips, and toes. Our first picture as a family of three.

You love your daddy! When he held you for the first time you perked up, opened your eyes and just stared at him. It completely melted my heart to see how much the two of you have already bonded. He loves you so much!
I could stare at you forever. I can't believe we created this precious little being and that you're all ours to keep forever. I never knew I could love something so much until I held you for the first time.

Mommy is suppose to be resting but I just can't stand to be away from you. This was taken Saturday night. You are doing so good in the NICU. Your vitals are staying within normal range and you have started eating. Your nurses always tell us what a good baby you are. We are hoping you will gain some weight soon.
You have lots of tubes so the nurses and doctors can monitor you closely.

You love skin to skin time. As soon as I lay you on my chest you go right to sleep. I could do this forever.

We are so proud of our little miracle baby. You have surprised all of your doctors and nurses with how strong you are. They took you off the prostaglandin medicine only a few hours after you were born and have been monitoring you ever since to see if the PDA (artery connecting the heart to the aorta) would close on its own with out affecting the aorta. So far so good! The next 24-48 hours are very critical. They will do another echo of your heart on Monday to see if the PDA is closing properly and if it is then you may not need surgery!! God is truly answering our prayers and healing your tiny little heart. We needs lots of prayers from our friends and family so that God will cover you in love and protect you from any complications.
Please cover me in prayer world!