Lucky # 7

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First off how is it already December?! Second, how is our baby 7 months old?!
How is our tiny 1 pound 12 ounce baby so big now?! Can’t help but look back and see how blessed we are. Power of resilience in a preemie is STRONG. At under two pounds you were poked, prodded with tubes, needles, constant handling. You dealt with more than I have my whole life. Yet you still have the biggest smile on your face because you are happy to be ALIVE! We are very lucky Lilli had no ventilator, surgery or blood transfusions. Lilli thankfully made it out with no issues or delays. As she grows you can’t tell she was a micro preemie. The only battle wound she has is a small scar on her foot from the tiny IV she had in the NICU to prove she is a strong warrior princess. 👑

Lilliann is well over 12 pounds when last checked almost a month ago and recently she Gained 6 ounces in 4 Days… By now she is probably close to 14 pounds! At her last check up she is officially on the charts for a 6 month old!!! Granted it’s in the low 1-2% but she’s ON the charts when she was technically only 3 months adjusted. It’s so cool to see her chart rate sky rocket! Amazing progress I must say, her pediatrician agrees! Lilli also had more vaccines and did just fine. We are spacing them out a little so her little body doesn’t take on so much at once. She also had some lab work done to rule out any hormonal conditions and anemia. Everything came back totally normal and we cannot thank God enough! Lilli just has a blood pressure check (OHSU is coming to us this time!) 🙌  in the next week to make sure that’s still regular since she’s been off any BP meds for 3 months now. 🙏

We had a busy month of November! Started off with my birthday and we had a nice dinner out with family celebrating my 28th year on Earth I just don’t know how I made it so long without Lilli in my life! I couldn’t imagine life without her now, she’s our everything! Lilli is seriously a flirt, she smiles and giggles at everyone! The best baby therapy there is! She can put an instant smile on your face no matter how awful your day is going! 😍

Lilliann experienced many of her firsts this last month! She had her very first pedicure done by yours truly! I used a non toxic baby polish called piggy paint and she did pretty well and sat still! There will be many more in her future! 💅🏼 I love to paint nails and do nail art it’s a huge stress reliever for me but since Lilli has been born I haven’t been keeping up on my favorite hobby which is ok and honestly she will be made up more than me! It’s amazing how mommyhood makes you so selfless! It is hard seeing my closet full of nail polish go untouched! One day she will be in heaven! 💕 She also got dressed up and experienced her first wedding and long road trip! She did amazing in the car (slept the whole way there and back) and was mellow during the wedding! She impresses us every day! Such an easy going baby! I am not sure how we got so lucky! 😍

Our thanksgiving was very busy! We spent it between 3 different gatherings and Lilli got to try mashed potatoes and gravy at each one! We were all pretty stuffed! Next year will be even more fun when she can try all the goodies Thanksgiving has to offer! It’s crazy last year at thanksgiving I announced to our family that we had a little turkey in the oven! Time seriously can slow down! 🦃❤️

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It’s so fun that Lilli gets to experience all these holidays now! Which makes it more fun for us too! We are so thankful we aren’t in the NICU anymore but I do pray for current families going through that journey because being away from your baby is hard enough and adding joy that holidays bring and not having your baby home would be so incredibly difficult. 💔 This year we are incredibly thankful for Lilli’s health! Being a parent makes you humble and teaches you so much humility time and time again. Nothing ever goes as planned when you’re a parent but things have been going our way as best as they can! 👼🙏 Garry is an incredible Dad to Lilli! I work 10 hour days and he handles them alone most days like a champ! I get a break daily and he rarely complains about staying home with her. We’re blessed! Financially it is hard but worth it to us since she won’t be in child care for a while. Why work to pay someone else to raise your child?! Im glad we have the option to do it this way. ❤️

Lilli’s 7 month update

  • Starting to belly laugh 😂
  • Pre teething 🤤
  • Way too smart it’s almost scary 🤯
  • Loves to eat, sweet potatoes, carrots, pears, green beans, apple sauce, butternut squash and only fresh bananas! She has liked everything we have given her, hopefully that trend stays!🍠🥕🍌🍐
  • Wipes her own tray and mouth off 😋
  • Grabs the spoon if you don’t feed her fast enough 🥄
  • Strong grip and grabs everything hard including mommy’s hair & daddy’s beard 🧔 💁‍♀️😫
  • Blows major raspberries at you 😝
  • Has great eye/hand coordination 🤗
  • Likes to beat on you like a drum 🥁
  • Still a major thumb sucker usually when tired 👍
  • Thinks it’s hilarious to gag herself with her fingers 🖐🤢
  • Likes her diaper changed but stiffens her legs out so you can’t get a new diaper on 🤦‍♀️
  • Will not pee in a 💩 diaper and will not 💩 in a pee diaper
  • Tells (yells) @ you when she has to do one or the other 🤔
  • Loves “spa” bath time 🛁
  • Hates bright lights 💡
  • Loves Christmas trees 🎄
  • Plays hard and Fights sleep even harder 🙄
  • Rubs her eyes all cute when tired 💤
  • Talks herself to sleep some nights 😂
  • Loves to be rocked to sleep while you stand 🤱
  • Sleeps all through the night (10:30pm-7am most nights) 😴🙌
  • Squeals LOUD and shakes especially when excited 🤩
  • Loves balancing/acrobatics with Daddy 🤸‍♀️
  • Loves singing and dance parties with Mommy 💃🏻🎤
  • Scoots and turns herself around 💪
  • Doesn’t like story time yet, she gets bored 😑📚
  • Still Likes to play in her walker and jumperoo 🐵
  • Loves to play and throw her toys 🤹‍♀️
  • Obsessed with her Sophie giraffe teether toy, it goes everywhere with her 🦒
  • Laughs, smiles & stares at her kitties and animals 😻
  • Loves to watch the baby channel on TV 📺
  • Fitting well in 3-6 month and 6 month clothes 😘

December should be a fun month! Lillar Lillar Caterpillar got her first hallmark ornament, its of course a beautiful butterfly! Start of a series until she can pick them out herself and of course got a baby’s first Christmas one! It’s a tradition my Mom started growing up she gets us an ornament every year! It has so much meaning and sentimental value to me. & Of course there is Christmas and this year I’m sure Lilli will like the wrapping paper over any gift she receives! She is our gift this year, without a doubt! 🎁🎄 We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you next year! 🤦‍♀️😂🎉

 

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Half A Year

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It feels like just yesterday that Lilliann was born but also feels like an eternity since she spent time in the NICU. She’s meant to be home and that’s where she is happiest! It’s been 6 whole months since she blessed earth with her presence and the world is a brighter place because of it. We couldn’t imagine life without her! She steals the hearts of everyone she meets and we just love her to pieces! A year ago I found out we were pregnant with our blessing so it just blows my mind she’s been alive for over half a year already! Blink your eyes and they grow up! November is prematurity awareness month. I never noticed before but prematurity is discussed in television quite a bit. One of my favorite shows growing up “Rugrats” has a preemie baby by the name of Tommy Pickles on it.

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If you told me a year ago our tiny premature baby would teach us so much in her short life I would tell you you’re crazy. Having a premature baby teaches you patience, endless love, strength, faith, hope and courage. These tiny babies are the true hero’s fighting for life everyday. They have such resilience! Lilli is weighing in at 11lbs 7oz when she was checked last! 💪 She’s come a long way since birth, only baby we know almost 12x her birth weight at this age.

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I’ll be trying to post an update on a monthly basis. October was a busy month! With Work, Halloween, appointments and lots of snuggling! We’ve also tried oatmeal and banana for the first time with Lilli and it went pretty smooth but for now we just feed her oatmeal in her bottle. She loves it, and the cats love cleaning up after her food messes! She even helps hold her bottle sometimes…

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When you start feeding real food and oh boy do baby’s get messier and stinkier so she gets a bath every other day. She loves bath time! Lilli giggles lots when she splashes us especially! We met with an early childhood intervention pediatrician, occupational therapist and physical therapist who are amazed at how well Lilli is doing! She won’t need to be seen by them for a while! We still meet with an educational therapist twice a month who sees no delays with Lilli’s development so far! 🙏  She is reaching milestones for 3 and 6 month olds. We also got her eyes checked again by the specialist and she is right where she should be for her age and won’t need to be checked again for 9 months! This appointment was much less invasive than the last appointment thank goodness! Lilli also had her first dose of synagis which is a vaccine that gives her anti-bodies to RSV which is just usually a cold for adults or full term babies but for preemies it’s deadly and if contracted almost always results in hospitalization and well we spent 75 long days already with her there and never want to go back. Lilli will have her 6 month check up this week. She will have her 6 month vaccines and lab work to check her hormone levels. We’re hoping they can split up her shots so she doesn’t receive such a heavy “cocktail” at once, since last time resulted in a high fever and an ER visit so we will see what her pediatrician suggests. 👩‍⚕️🤔

Lilli’s 6 month update

  • Giggling harder 😂
  • Blue eyed red head cutie 💙❤️
  • Still drooling a lot 🤤
  • Growing into size 2 diapers 💪
  • Loves to eat new things 😋
  • Major thumb sucker 👍
  • Still enjoys family walks if weather is nice ☀️🌞
  • Blows raspberries, chatty and mimics you 💋
  • Loves standing and dancing with Daddy 💃🏻
  • Rolling a little from tummy to back and back to side 🙌
  • Fights her sleep hard but sleeps at least 7 hours if not more every night 😴
  • loves to wake up and eat then have her morning nap 🍼
  • Found her toes and pulls her socks off 🧦👣
  • Now likes her binky if she is extra tired 💗
  • Likes to play in her walker and jumperoo 🐵
  • Plays with her toys & light up ball 🚨
  • Loves her Sophie giraffe teether toy, it goes everywhere with her 🦒
  • Playing with her kitties & getting head kisses from her little fur brother PJ 😻
  • Loves to be called beautiful or pretty and I love you, she will smile like crazy 😍
  • Umbilical hernia is completely gone 🙏
  • Fitting snug in 0-3 month clothes and perfect in 3-6 month 😫
  • We have too much fun playing dress up but her Dad doesn’t like all of her bows 🙄🎀
  • Lilli loves her ducks! 🦆💚🏈💛

Lilliann loves to be outside especially staying active with her Daddy! He helps get all of her energy out, so she sleeps well for us at night. It was nice to enjoy the outdoors as a family since the weather WAS cooperating! We aren’t looking forward to the cold months ahead where we will stay isolated at home away from all of the germs that come along with the season! 🌧☃️❄️

As Lilli gets older the less she looks like her dads twin and more of a perfect mix of the two of us! She is just beyond perfect for all the odds that we’re against her. She exceeds our expectations day after day. I may be biased but she is the cutest, smartest, happiest baby I’ve ever met. I love that she isn’t as needy as we were warned preemies could be. She’s truly a miracle baby! 🙏👼

(Lilli compared to Momma & Daddy, Lilli and I were wearing the same knitted outfit 27 years apart)

We had a fun Halloween and look forward to eating our little hearts out for Thanksgiving! (Our favorite holiday) Can’t wait to feed Lilli mashed potatoes for the first time! We also have a lot to be thankful for this year! 💕

Home Sweet Home

There is truly no place like home! After 75 days our baby girl Lilliann got to come home and make our family complete! She will get constant snuggles and attention. We will cherish every kiss, hug and cuddle for the rest of our lives! It’s been a long time coming, a rewarding and frustrating road we will never forget. We will never take this journey for granted and will truly miss all of the staff in the NICU that cared so much for Lilli and taught us newbie parents a ton! We are looking forward to the NICU reunion next month! It was very bitter sweet leaving the NICU. It’s like we’re removing a security blanket, we are going to face the toughest challenge of our lives by caring for our baby girl 24/7. There is so much to look forward to in our future and what a special time to finally privately bond with our daughter. The journey has made me a stronger woman/Mom and has made my love grow endless. We will look back one day and realize how fast it all really went by.

 

We are so glad we do not have to wash up for minutes and fight over sinks with people, people didn’t realize there were two sinks outside of the NICU. One for the north bank and one for the south bank and they would always use ours (which seemed to be out of soap often) when they were a ways down the hall… People have no respect or common sense! We reached our breaking point a time or two. Little things would get on our nerves like awkward elevator rides and lack of communication sometimes.

Things We’ll Miss
-Some Nurses
-Doctors & daily checks/updates/questions
-Fresh amazing ice & water for my hydroflask

Things we won’t miss
-driving to the hospital everyday
-checking in daily/washing up
-starving ourselves for food for longer snuggles
-hospital alarms, codes and trauma alerts

We felt like kids on Christmas, waiting all morning Sunday for the neonatologists to call and say it’s time to discharge and finally take Lilliann home! It felt like waiting on parents to say it’s ok to open your presents now! We have to be cautious and not expose her to too much to fast, it’s already going to be a culture shock for her. I am so thankful to be off of work currently and blessed to be able to do so right now, I will go back to work in a few weeks, once we’re settled. She does amazing in her car seat and on car rides and had a great check up with her amazing pediatrician! She gave us major kudos on how well Lilli is doing! Lilliann is the champ though! Gaining weight wonderfully which most newborns will lose weight when they first come home, not her she loves to eat! She’s gonna be our chunky monkey! We have a bath/scale at home to keep track of her weight progress too!

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We are soaking up everything, every moment! There’s so much to get used to, first being the lack of sleep, she’s worth it but no matter how much you prepare for it you will never be. Parents are true super heros in my eyes! It’s been overall quiet and just hearing constant baby sounds with no monitors is an adjustment too but I love hearing all of her coos and baby babble. She’s got some serious lung power and has a great newborn cry! She even squeaks and squeals! Makes the cutest noises and Garry doesn’t get too annoyed by her cries, jokingly it reminds him of a car engine starting. She also makes a funny sound that reminds us of predator in the movie. 😂 She really only cries when there is good reason, for food, diaper change or snuggles! Can’t really complain! 😉👌 Garry keeps asking me if we have anywhere to go daily but it’s nice saying no, We have everything we need right here! No more daily hospital trips is just as amazing as I thought it would be! We are enjoying our new life at home with our princess, even her fur siblings are liking her! Kona has been a little stand offish as expected but PJ loves her! He guards her with his life! 😻

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We will try our best to blog on her progress and updates from home. We also will be accepting visitors soon, first we just want to get fully adjusted in a semi regular routine as a new family before we bring all these lovely people into her new world. Here’s a few links to read about what we’re going through and expect from our future visitors! Please take the time to read them and as hard as it is, remember no kisses!!! ❌💋

http://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/visitors-and-visiting-after-coming-home-from-the-nicu.aspx

http://handtohold.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Were-Coming-Home-from-the-NICU-1.pdf

Remember to “Wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere!” Our new motto and sign for home!

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Five Pound Wonder Child

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Lilliann is officially 5 pounds!!! Which it’s great seeing her gain weight despite being a spit up machine! She’s the hardest baby to burp we’ve only heard a single burp or two out of her since she’s been feeding orally. The neonatologists did an Ultrasound on her stomach to rule out pylorus stenosis. This was the first time we were informed of anything before they did a scan. Felt great to be in the loop for once. Lilli’s results are normal, she’s fine and has a functioning tummy, just has baby reflux and will hopefully grow out of it and not have it chronically like her Dad. She also has an umbilical hernia (outie belly button) from all of her straining, she should grow out of that too! Prematurity is so crazy how all of these things that could be wrong tend to go away on there own thanks to time.

564C197A-49FA-4064-920D-F8DE033AEAB8(Red headed spit fire!) 💋😍🔥 ❤️

This NICU experience has been grueling and rewarding all in one. Garry my husband has been my rock, my voice of reason through everything! I would not have survived this journey without him! He’s been so helpful and I haven’t given him enough credit for what he does and has done for us. He has set up every piece of baby equipment with ease and chauffeured me around to the hospital, work and home every day for the last few weeks without complaint. He would visit her daily while I worked and spend hours bonding with her, feeding and listening to music and singing her songs! It has really helped me be able to work without stress or worry knowing he was around her and her being in the best hands, he would even send me daily pictures to make my days away that much better!

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Lilli is 39 weeks gestation today! Now that she is a solid 5 pounds, we feel even more comfortable taking her home finally! We technically will still be bringing home a preemie not just a newborn, newborns can’t usually go home unless they are over 5 lbs, she just hit that mark this morning. She has more needs than an average newborn (medication & etc.) We can’t wait to not have alarms and codes going off all of the time, the NICU seriously can leave you with ptsd, it’s an intimidating place. We kind of relied on machines to make sure her stats were all ok so it’s a little nerve wracking that she won’t have those but not having any cords in our way will be amazing! We are so used to loud sounds and machines so it will be strangely quiet and peaceful when she is home, it will be like a vacation for her with no random people messing with her constantly. We’re thankful she has a strict manageable schedule, hopefully it will make our lives easier. We’re ready to be done with the hospital life and be home with Lilli and do nothing!!! Not having to leave anywhere will be amazing! We can’t wait to fully focus on her and only her, it will be great! It’s going to be crazy to take her home and adjust to our home life. Our cats can’t wait to meet their two legged sister! PJ our youngest kitty has been testing out all of her baby gear and keeping it warm for her. 😻

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Our moms (Lilli’s new grandmas) have and will continue to be be a huge help in making sure we have everything we need! Including constant amazing support. My mom is willing to take time off of work to help us once Lilli is home. Garry’s mom is having surgery soon so we’re praying for an easy healing process for her. Once Lilli is home we want her to get in all the snuggles she can before she won’t be able to until she’s 100%. Once she is better she will be our full time care giver for Lilli so Garry can get back to work eventually. Preemies are advised not to go to any day care until they are over 2 years in age. So we are blessed Garry’s Mom can help us out there when we need it. For now I’m glad Lilli and Garry will build a strong special bond once I go back to work in a few weeks he will be Mr. Mom! 😉💪
We can’t wait to go on walks and take Lilli out when she’s a little stronger in a few weeks. I’m glad she’s going home in the summer time where illness is less and weather is nice for going outside. It will be such an amazing thing for her to be outdoors and breathing that fresh Pacific Northwest air into her little lungs for the first time in her few short months of life! We Love our stroller and infant car seat combo, we ordered them separately not realizing they connect and match perfectly! I love when things like that happen! 🖤 We’re all officially set and ready for her homecoming! 🙏

28ECDEFF-1E07-4E53-A8A5-C56AB861A861(Jogging stroller/carrier combo ✌️)

Power Of Prayer

James 1:17 (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

My goodness is our gifted miracle angel baby PERFECT! Lilliann graduated onto two big things as of last night! She’s out of her micro diapers and onto the next size up! She also is out of her fancy giraffe isolette! (It’s the only one like it the NICU has) I thought it is funny her incubator was called a giraffe especially since I watched that Facebook live video of April the giraffe who took months to give birth recently! Lilli is in a dry incubator now! 👍 Making great strides! We are proud parents! She’s a little rockstar! 🌟

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(Her first isolette/incubator, bye bye 👋)

Keep up the prayers they are working!!! 🙏

Baby girl has the sweetest cry but she can also scream very well! Yay for lung power! I like to call her a “preemiedonna” instead of primadonna, typo intentional since she’s a preemie! 😉

Everyone says how happy I look and sound now since Lilli was born. How could I not be?! She’s made me a Mother, a better person already. Our baby is growing & progressing amazingly and she’s alive and well! God does amazing things! It’s a big change from this picture hours before being admitted into the hospital to have Lilli. Garry’s Mom captured this precious moment of Garry and I hugging and holding each other as we cried on one another’s shoulders after taking an emotional last baby bump progression picture. (We had so much fun with those.)

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The hospital and the social work department make sure you complete postpartum surveys regarding your emotional/mental health. Mental health is so important to discuss! You can’t keep things bottled up. It’s best to discuss your fears, frustrations and confusion to family, friends or seek professional help! You only get one mind so we must protect it! Postpartum depression is REAL and it affects both Mothers and Fathers! Dads need love too! 💞

Speaking of Dads, Garry got to hold his princess for a second time last night and a beautiful rainbow appeared after a nasty rainy, crazy day! 🌧🌈⛅️

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We are making sure we are and getting fully caught up on our vaccines today! They are so important to get! We are asking anyone who wants to be able to hold or see Lilli in the future to at least get their tdap vaccine to help protect her from deadly whooping cough! Babies are the ones who get hit hard with the disease and can’t fight it off like adults. Many people are carriers and don’t even know it until it’s too late! Preemies immune systems are extra sensitive also, even more so than full term infants. We are protective of her especially until she builds her immune system fully. We as a new parent duo also have to stay as healthy as possible for our little one since getting sick would be heartbreaking for us because we wouldn’t be able to visit Lilliann in the NICU until we got better. So please if you are ill don’t even bother coming around us because we would be one pissed off Mama and Papa bear! You really don’t want to get on our bad side. Cancers and Scorpios can be very temperamental/mean individuals when provoked. We already have to be extra cautious about germs while spending many hours in a hospital daily. I am also still pretty careful on what I put into my body especially drink/food wise because a lot can be passed on to Lilli. I must say eating cold lunch meat though is one thing I missed during pregnancy and can’t get enough of it!

Garry and I are already talking about tattoos we want to get for Lilli! I only have one tattoo and it’s a bible verse on my rib cage.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

It’s a personal verse my Dad and I cherish together. Pretty fitting for our current situation too. I hope Lilliann and Garry have an unbreakable bond like my Daddio and I share. Garry is covered in tattoos so it’s no big deal for him to get a new tattoo, me on the other hand took years to finally decide on what I wanted to get permanently drilled on me. Im indecisive! 🙄🤔

It’s so nice living so close to the hospital so we can come and go as we please to visit our lil warrior and give her the rest that she deserves to grow. Our cats are so happy we’re home together too! It’s so hard to be away from them especially since you cant explain what’s going on. Animals can sense change so we’re trying to prepare them for their little sisters home coming weeks down the road. We are slowly bringing in scents of Lilli for them to adjust and get used to. We’re crazy cat people I guess you could say. (We love dogs too, just can’t have them in our upstairs apartment) Our cats are pretty special and unique. PJ stands for Patch Junior. He looks identical to his dad Patches, Garry’s Moms cat. PJ has a sweet blond mustache marking kind of like his human Dad lol He is a Polydactyl Manx which means he has a short tail and lots of extra toes on his paws (he has thumbs, and he uses them) 😂👍😻 Kona our first born 😉 is a Scottish fold Manx she has a single fold in her ears and a Pom Pom tail. They also have the best personalities! We love those fur babies so much! We’re a happy little family and can’t wait to bring Lilli home into the love! 💓🏡

Daily Lilliann Update:
She has gained another 1.2 ounces over night! & She is now 13 3/4 inches in length. She has also officially hit 2 lbs!!! 🙌 She isn’t needing as much respiratory help aka her oxygen is being decreased since she’s breathing smoothly! We are just going to go on auto pilot according to the doctor & just watch her plump up and grow and snuggle her some more! Praise the Lord! 🙏💕 Prayers are so amazing and powerful! Thank you so much again to our prayer circle/army! Keep up the awesome work! 👌

IMG_8969.JPGDaily Lilliann cuteness! 😘❤️ #snugasabug

Grow Baby Grow

par·ent·hood
ˈperən(t)ˌho͝od/
noun
1. the state of being a parent and the responsibilities involved.”high rates of single parenthood”
2. synonyms:
3. childrearing, motherhood, fatherhood, child care, parenting “parenthood is the toughest, most rewarding job you’ll ever have

Garry and I have really never been around many babies or newborns, the closest we were to parents was to our two fur babies Kona and PJ. Kona was our first baby we got her when she was 5 weeks old and we got PJ recently to help socialize Kona and be her baby for when we brought ours home she would have a companion and wouldn’t feel left out or replaced. Kona and PJ are related, Kona is technically PJs Aunt. Once we knew we were going to join the elite club of parenting a child we were a little nervous. We’re we really ready?! Honestly you’ll never be ready financially or emotionally it will all change you for the better. ❤

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At our first pre-natal doctor visit we weren’t given a standard 8 week ultrasound/scan to set gestational age doctors felt the dates I gave them were enough I guess. Part of me wishes we had that cute little gummy bear picture of our growing blessing. At our 12 week appointment the doctor had some extra time for a quick scan and that’s when we saw our active little wiggle worm for the first time…Garry swears he saw the fetus break dancing LOL

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I had the weirdest symptoms at the beginning of pregnancy, things like brittle nails, elevated heart rate, dizziness. Overall I was just mostly tired and knew it was just part of the pregnancy rollercoaster I liked to call it. My immune system sucked during pregnancy. Weeks went on during the worst cold and flu season EVER and of course I had to catch every single bug that came around! Being pregnant and sick is seriously the worst you can’t take anything and are so helpless and miserable! Of course I worried being a “worry wart” (my dad calls me that, but so is he) that illness would effect our growing baby. Luckily I always recovered from every germ I was exposed to. We were still weeks away from finding out the gender but I wanted to know what was growing inside of me so bad! Boy? Girl? So I read about all the wives tales that hint towards gender. I swear we were having a boy! I was like 85% sure of it! I really should have kept all my predictions to myself but I even had a dream we were having a boy, granted it was sort of a nightmare because they scanned the head of our baby and it smiled and I saw teeth! Like big ol’ chompers/pearly whites like Jim Carey in the Mask teeth

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Really glad it was just a dream when I woke up because I’ve heard babies can really be born with teeth! Scary! Every weird wives tale was a lie in my case.

Here’s a few examples:
1.) I hated sweets and only wanted salty foods. (Meat and potatoes, yes please!)
2.) I had little Morning sickness
3.) Chinese prediction calendar said boy
4.) Freezing feet
5.) Rapid hair growth
6.) Very dry skin
7.) Key test
8.) Ring test

Garry of course was excited that he may be getting his boy! Weeks went on, everything was still going pretty smoothly and I still had 1 more appointment to get through until our gender/anatomy scan. Finally I hit 20 weeks and it was Valentine’s Day and we had our anatomy scan that morning we took our Moms with us to find out the news…it was a bouncing baby GIRL! 🎀 We were completely shocked, Garry even asked the ultrasound tech if the baby could be “tucking it away” omg I died laughing! The ultrasound tech could have refrained from mentioning she was thankful for her 2 boys everyday…geeze, thanks lady way to rub it in… poor Garry. Everything looked healthy except she was just measuring a little bit behind about 2 weeks or so. Placing me really at 18 weeks…the doctor noticed she also had some choroid plexus cysts in her brain which usually that’s normal for this gestation and clears up by week 30. I was also given my quad marker screening during that appointment. Would take a day or two to get the results back. It’s a blood test they give you to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. Being Valentine’s and we just found out of the gender I wanted to share the news with my family & co workers so we ordered cupcakes from our favorite baker who did our wedding cupcakes and placed little markers with the gender on top of each one to share, she also gave me a cute crown to wear around that day at work.

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I got the results from our quad marker test back 2 days later…she was showing an increased chance of having trisomy 18. A deadly chromosomal abnormality. The doctor wanted me to make an appointment with the fetal-maternal specialist right away. So I did. They squeezed us in the next day. Reading about the quad screen I saw it could have lots of false positives. Once again being a worry wart I had to look up this condition they were saying our baby had 3 markers for. Measuring behind, the choroid plexus cysts, and a positive quad marker. Worst thing I could have ever done. I was so nervous and just wanted to weep all day long luckily I was off work when they gave me this awful news. Trisomy 18 is deadly…IF our baby made it through the pregnancy they would be born stillborn or die within the first 24 hours typically. I just couldn’t understand why God would bless us with this gift only to take it away from us. So that night before the specialist appointment all I did was pray. I found some bible verses that really helped put peace in my heart.

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Life was stressful for us during this time. Our cat Kona kept getting UTIs requiring lots of meds and vet visits, Garry got laid off of work and now we get to deal with a possible life threatening condition for our unborn child?! Why us?! Poor us?! We really could be in a worse situation I guess… Tried to count our blessings anyway.
I had to work the next morning but my employer was fine with me taking a long lunch to make it to my appointment. It was finally time to see the specialist and Garry went with me. I felt like a science project so many different scans and tests. Luckily I brought the ultrasound pics we had of our little one from our 12 week appointment. The specialist reviewed those and measured it compared to what he was seeing now. He says that there’s no way I was 12 weeks along in those first ultrasound pics we had he said that was the size of a 10 week old fetus. Everything he saw looked normal to him but he wanted me to get one more advanced DNA test done to rule out any problems or chromosomal defects, so we had more blood work done. Those results felt like they took an eternity to come back. I got the call…everything is normal! She doesn’t have trisomy 18! Omgsh I praised God in that very moment and was so thrilled! They also confirmed we were definitely having a girl…sorry Garry but you can’t deny DNA! We were both just so happy we had a healthy baby growing still! So they gave me a new due date since we now know the dates were just off a little bit. Instead of a July 2nd baby we were looking around the 22nd for a due date! We still we’re gonna have an awesome cancer baby (my favorite horoscope sign, my Mom and Garry are both cancers)
Alright we thought we just have a little more time to prepare for our bundle of joy! We had one more scan and she was still on track for her new due date and the choroid plexus cysts were gone! My doctor put me back into the “boring” pregnancy category now. We took a long time to share our news with any social media group. We wanted to make sure everything was healthy and officially know the gender before we spilled the beans! We finally did in March.

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Everyone of our friends were excited for us! Many of our friends already have kids so it felt awesome to finally get to join the club! My baby bump was growing nicely

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I was staying active by working A LOT! I am a nationally certified pharmacy technician aka “legal drug dealer”. Hah! I work four 10 hour shifts during the week. I would only get swelling in my feet after really long hours of standing but it would go away with extra fluids, rest and elevation. By about week 25 the swelling from the waist down was getting ugly! I couldn’t even recognize my own legs and it would hurt to walk almost, some days were worse than others. I had a prenatal visit with my doctor coming up in a week so I decided to just tough it out since everything else seemed totally fine. My appointment date was here this was the appointment where you have to take the dreaded glucose test! Honestly it wasn’t that bad, I worked myself up for nothing! (I passed thank goodness) but my weight was up A LOT! My previous visit 4 weeks before I weighed 118lbs this visit I was up to 138!!! That’s a 20lb increase in 1 month! Where my doctors goal was to gain a total of 30lbs my whole pregnancy! The doctor came into the exam room and didn’t like the swelling she saw. I looked like someone put my bottom half into a fat suit like Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal. LOL She checked the results of my urine sample you leave at the beginning of every appointment that’s where the protein was discovered. My Blood pressure was totally normal. So she decided to have me rest at home for the next week and limit my sodium intake. The goal was to try and keep her in and growing strong until week 34. That would mean 6 weeks on bed rest?! So now unexpectedly after 8+ years at the same company I had to let my work know I have to take time off, my maternity leave was starting way sooner than I wanted. I never take time off of work except for an occasional vacation day here and there. The doctor wanted another ultrasound done that next week and a follow up visit also. She ordered a 24 hour urine screen to check my protein levels. Results showed elevated rates. She said just keep my appointments, see you soon. I rested up as much as I could and got the scan done early in the week everything still looked good and my Dr. visit was later in the week. At that visit when I finally got my BP check the nurse said uh oh that’s pretty high…Ugh! Really? now my blood pressure is up?! Why?! I was 28 weeks exactly. She said I developed pre eclampsia and my doctor can’t handle high risk cases like this. She sent me back to the fetal-maternal specialist right away. Garry went to EVERY baby appointment with me! He’s such a good involved husband! He was my rock through everything and kept me calm. We waited and waited to see the specialist and finally got our scan done. That’s where they said baby girls head was fully down into my cervix, which is now shortened. He decided it would be best with all my preeclampsia symptoms and baby looking ready to go that I get admitted into the hospital for observation. I’ve never been admitted in my life! I was so nervous! Luckily he said I could go home first and grab some things and just make sure I check in between 3-4pm. So Garry and I grabbed lunch since I had no idea how long I would be hospitalized and have to eat hospital food. We started to pack my hospital bag that we didn’t have anything for! We still had 12 more weeks to prepare! Talk about being thrown into a whirlwind! We got to the hospital and finally checked in. Now is the fun part you get hooked up to all kinds of machines and monitors! Yipee!

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Now the waiting begins…they gave me another 24 hour urine screen to check my protein levels again. Results were ugly! I had severe preeclampsia. I was definitely sick but felt totally fine! Normal urine protein levels were around 150 I was measuring at 12,250!!! Wait? what?! Should I even be alive?! So my kidneys were having issues clearly functioning! My organ function lab work still was ok. I can’t tell women especially pregnant women enough, listen to your body and go to EVERY prenatal visit! It is so important! If I didn’t, I could have stroke out or have a seizure and lose mine and my babies life all together. Especially since I felt perfectly fine other than swelling! Talk about an eye opener! During all my monitoring in the hospital I was starting to have contractions. They weren’t that painful but my body knew something was up! They started Friday-Monday. Pregnancy wasn’t pretty at times but I sure was going to miss it, as I had to accept the fact my time being pregnant was coming to an end. It was a fast pregnancy from the start. I would miss all the belly rubs, baby kicks and wiggles I loved so much. We weren’t going to have a typical baby shower, no maternity photo shoots, belly painting or nursery to set up, I have maternity clothes I can’t even wear now (maybe next time around.) I wasn’t even uncomfortably pregnant yet! Yes I had terrible skin, heartburn, developed snoring, awful allergies, swelling, urinary incontinence. I would put up with it without hesitation if it meant I could keep our baby girl safely growing in my comfy womb! Silly Lilli had other plans though! She was determined to be created and she was determined to be born! She is destined to do big things! I knew we had a strong willed baby coming our way so it put my mind to ease knowing she was a fighter! I left my worries to God. This is all in his plan and he had it in his hands! I just needed to stay as calm as I could for my own health. I prayed for baby girl, strength, hope and peace to get me through this next difficult step. I don’t know how people who don’t have religious faith get through difficult times. I would be so lost without Jesus in my heart. I am so thankful for amazing nurses, doctors and modern medicine also! They pumped me full of steroids to give her lungs a fighting chance! I was also on a magnesium drip to prevent seizures in me and give her brain a chance to function better (That stuff is the worst) I am so thankful this was caught in time and didn’t get worse, other than my BP. Luckily I didn’t have to be put on BP meds YET. Which could harm a growing baby. By Monday night day 3 in the hospital I was done with hospital food I couldn’t force myself to eat spaghetti a second time. So my Mom brought me Hawaiian time of course with sriracha sauce, they weren’t limiting my diet probably to keep me as calm and happy as possible. I blame the food for what happened next…During one of the monitoring sessions her heart rate dipped for a good 5 minutes so they put me on a no food or drink restriction (not even ice chips!) and I had to be on the monitors all night which meant no rest! Garry was by my side through it all and the nurses made sure he wasn’t leaving. We should have known something was up. I tried to rest as much as possible but it was impossible because by now baby girl knew the monitoring routine and would swim away from them to check her rates but was continually active which is a good sign. So the nurses would have to sit by my bedside and get her readings. By 5:30am Tuesday I had 4-5 nurses and a doctor surrounding me saying she just keeps having little dips in her heart rate they don’t like to see which usually signals that the placenta is starting to fail and is not giving the baby as much blood flow as she needed to grow. We were going to meet our baby girl very soon whether we liked it or not.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/home/ovc-20316140

https://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/about-preeclampsia

https://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/faqs