Happy October!

Happy 5 Months to our Warrior princess! She’s reaching milestones for her adjusted age which is 2 months. She’s smiling all the time and giggles at you if she finds you really funny (like when mom and dad dance or make weird noises, which she likes to imitate.) She is scooting (you place her vertically and she makes her way horizontally) and loves playing with her toys and swing. Lilli is getting into that really fun stage which is nice since it’s felt like we’ve been in a forever newborn stage. She’s growing like a weed!!! She is growing out of her newborn clothes quickly and is wearing size 1 diapers! She loves to eat what more can we say?! πŸ˜‚Β We love this time of year and Lilli will be a cute skeleton for her first Halloween! β˜ οΈπŸŽƒ

Lilli’s 5 month update

  • Smiles & giggles 😁
  • Starting to drool a lot 🀀
  • Loves to eat πŸ˜‹
  • Still loves car rides (mostly daddy’sΒ car) πŸš™
  • Loves family walks outside 🌲
  • Loves music 🎢
  • Eating her hands πŸ€™
  • Hates her pacifier ❌
  • Hates getting woken up by her kitties 😾
  • Hates getting boogers removed (so does Daddy) πŸ˜‚
  • She is imitating noises πŸ‘‚
  • Loves her swing ❀️
  • Loves to be held πŸ€—
  • Sleeping most of the night (for now) 🌚
  • Follows you and her toys with her eyes πŸ‘€
  • Loves to play with her piano mat & kick 🎹
  • Holds head high especially in her bumbo chair πŸ’ͺ

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The pediatrician gave us the ok to start introducing food flavors to her. Like tastes of avocado and other veggies! I can’t wait for thanksgiving this year to give her mashed potatoes! We already have most of her holiday outfits purchased and can’t wait to put her in them! We got her newborn photo shoot pictures back from our photographer and they turned out great! Since we didn’t get a maternity shoot we had to go all out for her newborn pics!

(Lilli was only 5 1/2 lbs here & technically 2 weeks old)

Lilli recently had a few big appointments last month and has one more eye exam here locally thank goodness there’s a pediatric opthamologist in town so we don’t have to make another Portland trip to OHSU. We went to her nephrology appointment already up there and everything went great! Lilli no longer needs to be on blood pressure medication (cut off cold turkey!) She will only need one follow up BP check in a few months (they are coming to us thankfully.) The reason she had BP issues to begin with is honestly shocking! We met with a specialist who only deals with this specific problem in babies and he’s the best in the world at it! Apparently it’s caused by the plastic fillers or plasticizers they use in medical equipment to make the plastics soft, things like IV bags, nasal cannulas, etc. These poor little babies systems can’t process the chemicals which then leads to BP issues. Once they are away from the medical devices and hit 20 weeks they tend to outgrow the issues thank goodness Lilli did just that! It’s so sad to think that some of these tiny babies have to deal with stuff like this when they already battle so much! Europe banned these plasticizers in 2004. Get with the program America!!! There was a giant spike in the late 80’s-90’s of these BP issues in preemies and they finally found the culprit recently and are hoping to phase out of the use of such plastics! πŸ€žπŸ™Were praying Lilliann has no long term issues with it! Here’s an article if you’re curious about it more.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296504.php

(We celebrated by pigging out at the Cheesecake Factory!) πŸ˜‹

Lilliann also recently had her 4 month exam and vaccines and we were so shocked at how much she weighs now! We both thought for sure she would be in the 8lb range…NOPE…WRONG! She weighed 9 pounds and 2 ounces! πŸ’ͺ She is probably pushing 10lbs by now since that appointment was over 2 weeks ago! Lilli is in the 50th percentile for her combined weight and height and her pediatrician is so pleased with her progress! She will have her 6 month appointment in November and will get updated lab work done and will receive her 6 month vaccines including the flu shot and RSV antibodies called Synergix. The vaccine cocktail makes me nervous so we may split them up monthly. Poor Lilliann had her first fever and ER visit after her 4 month shots. Her fever spiked over 103 degrees (she was burning up pretty rapidly) and was having issues breathing so we were advised to get her evaluated. After a few doses of Tylenol she was golden! πŸ™ Thank goodness! Her little body got 4 month shots when she was technically only 6 weeks old. It was a lot for her system to handle! Her shots were way worse than the blood draw they did at OHSU. She’s such a champion! We are so proud of our little HERo!

Lilliann is sleeping better and better each night which is amazing! Her Dad helps a lot by keeping her awake and active during the day! So round of applause for Daddy Garry! She loves him so much! They have a special bond! When she fusses he just has to pick her up and she falls fast asleep in his arms! They are so cute to watch together! Really melts my heart into a little puddle! We are so blessed to have such a caring, loving and helpful man in our lives! Our world would be so lost without him! We recently celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary! It was low key which is just what we wanted after our crazy year! 😜 We watched movies as a family and ate home made enchiladas! 🌯 I’ll try and update this blog monthly! πŸ’• Until next time! ✌️

Video of Lilli smiling 😍

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There’s No Place Like HOME

Happy NICU awareness month! πŸ’œ I never once pictured myself being a NICU Mom, granted I don’t think any parent expects or wants their little one to be a NICU baby but I’m thankful it’s there helping keep these precious lives safe! It takes so much patience, energy and faith to survive that NICU journey, for some it’s short for others it’s long and for whatever reason it instantly bonds some families who have been through it and can relate. Thankfully our miracle graduated from the NICU and came HOME where other angel babies aren’t so lucky! πŸ‘Ό So I now make an effort to pray for families going through the rollercoaster of a NICU stay.
I’ve been slacking on posting updates but there really isn’t much to update on our warrior princess (no news is good news) other than the fact she is growing amazingly and is thriving! Lilli is 4 months old now & 6 weeks adjusted! At our last lactation appointment 3 weeks ago Lilli was 6lbs 12 oz! We know for sure she’s well over 7 lbs by now! The lactation nurse was so proud of us and amazed how healthy Lilli looks for being a micro preemie. We can’t wait to see how much she weighs at her next doctor appointment in a a little over a week! Not looking forward to her 4 month shots but she will be fine! She’s a trooper! That’s the least she’s had to endure in her short life so far. We’ve been home for well over a month now and she’s happy, healthy and ALIVE! It was so much easier to keep up this blog and with her progress when we spent so much time in her hospital room but since we’re home and I’m officially back to work there is no time to write when all my spare time is soaking up all of the baby snuggles I get before and after my shifts! Thankfully for now she gets to stay home with her daddy which makes me days at work easier with daily updates from him. It’s so nice not having to go to the hospital daily to see our daughter. Now we just love on her constantly each and everyday, during every waking (sometimes sleeping) moment! I’m writing this as she sleeps on my chest. Lilli loves to pretty much always be held, we can’t blame her though when she had spent 75 days in a place where she was almost isolated all the time. She loves being home and has officially started smiling at us and giggling in her sleep! She’s such a miracle! Lilliann is eating 4oz at each feed which is amazing since she barely was eating an ounce when we first brought her home! Our chunky monkey loves her food! We comfort nurse (without shield) πŸ‘πŸ’ͺ when she’s done eating her bottle of my pumped milk to get her sleepy. It really doesn’t bother me that she never got her full feeds from me since I know she was getting my milk in other easier ways for her. 😍 No shaming on a well fed baby, we still have a good bond!

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We received a statement from our insurance about Lilli’s bill during her hospital NICU stay! Let’s just say she is our almost million dollar miracle baby and worth more than any house we could ever afford! Holy moly is intensive care expensive but worth it! I’m in the wrong career apparently! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚ We are thankful Lilliann qualified for assistance to help us during her hospital stay so hopefully we won’t have to pay much out of our pockets since she met the mark by a few hundred grams weight wise! Pays to be small I guess! πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
My hospital stay wasn’t very cheap either! It’s expensive to stay alive and bring a little human into the world! πŸ™„

Lilli makes so many sounds and chats all the time! Gives high pitch squeals when she wants your attention and she grunts a lot and sounds like a goat, a “Lilli goat” get it?!? 😝 She has long arms like her Dad and long legs like her Mom! So curious how she will grow into everything!
Lilliann is fitting in all newborn clothes and we are having to retire all of her preemie outfits! She is even fitting into some 3 month clothes! Which I honestly can’t believe, time seriously flys! Lilli’s umbilical hernia is healing well and hopefully will be gone in the next few months! πŸ™πŸ€žThis month we have to take a trip to OHSU nephrology in Portland to make sure Lilli has no underlying issues (kidneys) with her elevated blood pressure and other lab work that didn’t seem perfect from her newborn screen. I’m sure all will be well since she really is overall healthy! Most things they question at first these little humans typically grow out of. So keep us in your thoughts and prayers for our next adventure. πŸ’— Also happy first duck football game of the season! Can’t believe it’s that time of year already! I love this town during football season! Until next time! ✌️ GO DUCKS!

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Guess who is 3 months old now?!? (As of yesterday!) Lilli is still a tiny little peanut weighing in over 5lbs 11oz (checked late last week, she’s gaining close to an ounce a day!) Lilliann is still in preemie clothes and diapers, newborn sizes are still a little baggy! Crazy to think that right? How is a 3 month old not even in newborn sizes yet?! At this rate she won’t fit into her 6 month clothes probably until she’s a year old! πŸ˜‚ No but really we are enjoying her petite little size a lot! Easier on our backs! πŸ˜‰ Having a preemie is crazy because you have the actual age which is 3 months but her adjusted age is 1 week old! Always have to remember that as she reaches certain milestones later than other babies her age. She’s still a little too small for her bouncer and swing and doesn’t really like them yet, she would rather be held. Lilli is certainly tiny but mighty! She is so very strong! She can get out of any swaddle, velcro and zippers you name it! We call her Houdini or should we say Loudini! πŸ™„She always needs to have at least one arm out to be comfortable. She’s a wiggle worm big time! πŸ’ͺ

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We are all doing well keeping her on the NICU 3 hour schedule, diaper change, feed then sleep! She occasionally wakes up early since she’s a growing hangry baby sometimes! Garry and I try our best to take “shifts” every 6 hours or so that way we can get a good block of sleep. Sleep is so important for your sanity!!! We’re a pretty good team I’d say! Exhaustion is no joke. There has been a rare time I thought about wanting to take her back to the NICU to get some good sleep. 😝 We do miss the nurses during the night and they have a strict return policy one nurse told us as we were leaving the NICU with LilliΒ πŸ˜‚ I have no idea how single parents or how people with multiple kids do it! That’s impressive! We occasionally are getting help from family with rest and food! Which is so important to survive the newborn stage! We are pretty much handling everything very independently. We are enjoying this private time as a new family of 3 (actually 5 if you include the cats!) as much as possible and adjust before I go back to work in a few weeks! Surprisingly we are used to no monitors now. Thought we would have a harder time, we’re not even using her motion monitor right now and are fully focusing on her. You could say we have been watching her like a hawk! πŸ¦…πŸ‘€

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All of her appointments she’s had since being discharged have been smooth for the most part! Lilli has checked out well with the pediatrician and lactation. We had a newborn photo shoot done a few days ago which was a lot of fun, can’t wait to share them eventually! She was surprisingly wide awake for most of it! Lilli also passed her hearing exam! Wahoo!!! She had an eye exam that was pretty traumatizing for all of us! She’s had them before but we stayed clear from the NICU while she had them previously. This one we couldn’t avoid so we got to see it all up close and personal! They basically use a metal tool to pry her eyes open and then use a long q-tip to roll her eye balls all around to make sure the retina is still attached, which hers are and her eyes are also looking mature and we won’t have to get a follow up for a few more months. Seeing her in discomfort and not being able to do anything to help her was seriously heartbreaking! Tears were shed by all of us!Β We have some busy upcoming months coming our way! We have 2 Portland trips to OHSU in September and October! That should be a crazy little family adventure! Thank goodness she loves car rides and her car seat! I think the sound of her dads motor is soothing like a kitten purring! πŸ˜‰πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜»
We are also starting to meet with a early childhood intervention specialist to track her progress and milestones twice a month! If time didn’t already fly by it especially will now that we’re staying so busy! The specialist mentioned how calm and natural Garry is with little Lilli! It warms my heart to see other people notice what I have all along. He’s such a good Daddy! It’s so cute! He never missed a visit and saved every single day pass to the hospital since I was admitted up to day 75 in the NICU and put them all in a little book with notes on them. I just love this man to pieces! 😍 So glad Lilli already has a good man in her life who takes good care of her! (She never needs to date after all) πŸ˜‰ Makes me feel so much better about going back to work knowing she’s in his capable hands! She loves her Dada! πŸ’žπŸ€—πŸ’œ

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Lilli is a pretty easy baby! Thank goodness! She really only cries when she’s hungry, dirty and wants to be held. Can’t complain about that one! Lilli hates vitamins (they are gross I don’t blame her) but loves her blood pressure meds and loves bath time! She likes to watch tv and yells at us when we’re in the way of her view! πŸ˜‚Β Lilliann makes so many noises and it sometimes sounds like she laughs at just the appropriate times, we can already tell she has quite the personality! πŸ‘ Another favorite of Lilli’s is being outside.Β We’ve taken many family walks outdoors so far and they are the best! We feel so complete being able to finally do that! There will be plenty more in our future! πŸ’—

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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!) πŸ’‹πŸ˜πŸ”₯ ❀️

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!

74785D18-E940-4D38-B47E-1B3ECE01D99D(Cute monkey feet pic her Daddy sent me at work) πŸ’–πŸ΅πŸ’€

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!Β 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!Β πŸ˜‰πŸ’ͺ
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! πŸ–€Β We’re all officially set and ready for her homecoming! πŸ™

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

Fatherly Love

Happy Fathers Day! All of my life I have been blessed and surrounded by AMAZINGΒ men! My own Dad is simply incredible! My world would be so lost without him in my life. My Daddio has accepted Garry as one of his own and has set a great example to us on how to love and raise a daughter right. By always being there and being the one to wipe away her tears but be stern when needed to establish strong roots in her to build a solid foundation she needs to grow independently on her own. A father is truly a little girls first love. All while Dads are supposed to be a girls first home, the place she feels most loved, safe & secure. It’s a rewarding job for sure! My dad always prays for us and with me when I lose my direction of faith. I’ll always be a daddys girl. He is truly one of a kind and I am so thankful God chose me to be his one and only daughter. Lilli is lucky to be his first grand child! πŸ’—

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I was also blessed with amazing Grandfathers who are so strong and have been great examples on how men should treat their children and wives. I am forever thankful for having Garry in my life as my loving husband and now an amazing Father to Lilliann (and our fur babies!) he’s a natural, we are lucky ladies! I am so proud at how he has taken on this new role as a Daddy! He’s so supportive and caring for our little lady and he just impresses me every day! He is our world! ❀️🌎 Garry’s a pro at taking Lilli in and out of the incubator. I’m still a little nervous doing it alone. I am always worried about and intimidated by all of her cords and wires. So I’m glad she’s always safe and secure in his arms during transition time.

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I like to call Garry Daddy long legs! He hates it. 🀣 His 1 step is like 3 steps for my little legs. Hah! I’m going to teach Lilli to give all of her long French fries to him like I did to my Dad as a little girl. I Called them daddy fries since they were “tall!” Garry is such a fun loving Daddy to Lilli! I can’t wait to hear the voices and ways he will act out her nightly story time, she already loves his silly ways! 😍
Lilliann is a spitting image of Garry, she even sleeps just like him! Like father like daughter. Maybe she will even be tall like him too, one day. It’s amazing and kind of unfair since us Moms take the time and go through pain to grow these little humans only to have them end up looking like the Dad. πŸ™„πŸ˜‰
My Mom says sometimes those who haven’t had the best parental role models in life, turn out to be some of the best parents because they know and can give to their children what they wish they had growing up. I believe it to be 100% true! So happyΒ first official Father’s Day to my handsome husband! He finally has a reason to celebrate! πŸ’ž

IMG_0297(Poem given in the Father’s Day goody bag by the NICU to all the preemie Dads) 😭

Its the 18th and Lilli is now over the magic 1800 grams!!! Almost 4 lbs! If she maintains her weight for at least 2 days she gets graduated from her isolette and into a crib!!! This little baby girl is something else! Growing so fast and making amazing progress! God knew what he was doing when he created her! Our Miracle baby! πŸ’•πŸ‘ΌπŸ’—
Lilli was a bit on the stinky side last night so we gave her a bath. She loves being clean! She is just the prettiest little baby girl without her NG tube in.

IMG_0303(Chubby baby hands! πŸ€— Just want to eat her up! 😜)

One thing that’s weird is when we check in to see Lilli everyday she’s listed under my name, Garry is not listed so he has to spell out his name every time which is getting old and they even ask for the last name which is obviously the same…we are married and share this child together he should be listed on her hospital profile! He deserves credit too, without Garry’s help she wouldn’t even be here! Oh well… just more security hoops to jump through. Wish they seriously had long term guest passes for NICU families.
While we sit and wait at the desk some days to check in behind the long lines sometimes, there is at least a really cool sculpture outside the woman’s care floor has to look at.

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I seriously give single parents so much credit raising children on their own. I would be so lost without Garry by my side through everything! So major props to the Moms and Dads doing the parenting job solo! πŸ‘ Garry’s Mom raised her son right! She is not only his amazing Mother but his Father all in one. (She could kick most kids Dads butts) πŸ’ͺ the best male figure in Garry’s life was his Grandpa Garry (His moms Dad & Lilli’s Great Grandpa) Wish he was around to see her grow and celebrate his birthday on Friday during the BBQ bash. We know he is all of our guardian angel looking down and making sure everything is always alright. So thank you to the parents raising children alone to be respectful adults in this crazy world. There is always room for good humans out there! πŸ™Œ