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?! Canโ€™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 canโ€™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. ๐Ÿ‘‘

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 itโ€™s in the low 1-2% but sheโ€™s ON the charts when she was technically only 3 months adjusted. Itโ€™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 doesnโ€™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!) ๐Ÿ™Œย ย in the next week to make sure thatโ€™s still regular since sheโ€™s been off any BP meds for 3 months now. ๐Ÿ™

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 donโ€™t know how I made it so long without Lilli in my life! I couldnโ€™t imagine life without her now, sheโ€™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! ๐Ÿ˜

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! ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿผ I love to paint nails and do nail art itโ€™s a huge stress reliever for me but since Lilli has been born I havenโ€™t been keeping up on my favorite hobby which is ok and honestly she will be made up more than me! Itโ€™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! ๐Ÿ’• 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! ๐Ÿ˜

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! Itโ€™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! ๐Ÿฆƒโค๏ธ

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Itโ€™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 arenโ€™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. ๐Ÿ’”ย This year we are incredibly thankful for Lilliโ€™s health! Being a parent makes you humble and teaches you so much humility time and time again.ย Nothing ever goes as planned when youโ€™re a parent but things have been going our way as best as they can! ๐Ÿ‘ผ๐Ÿ™ย 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. Weโ€™re blessed! Financially it is hard but worth it to us since she wonโ€™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. โค๏ธ

Lilliโ€™s 7 month update

  • Starting to belly laugh ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Pre teething ๐Ÿคค
  • Way too smart itโ€™s almost scary ๐Ÿคฏ
  • 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!๐Ÿ ๐Ÿฅ•๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ
  • Wipes her own tray and mouth off ๐Ÿ˜‹
  • Grabs the spoon if you donโ€™t feed her fast enough ๐Ÿฅ„
  • Strong grip and grabs everything hard including mommyโ€™s hair & daddyโ€™s beard ๐Ÿง”ย ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ซ
  • Blows major raspberries at you ๐Ÿ˜
  • Has great eye/hand coordination ๐Ÿค—
  • Likes to beat on you like a drum ๐Ÿฅ
  • Still a major thumb sucker usually when tired ๐Ÿ‘
  • Thinks itโ€™s hilarious to gag herself with her fingers ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿคข
  • Likes her diaper changed but stiffens her legs out so you canโ€™t get a new diaper on ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Will not pee in a ๐Ÿ’ฉ diaper and will not ๐Ÿ’ฉ in a pee diaper
  • Tells (yells) @ you when she has to do one or the other ๐Ÿค”
  • Loves โ€œspaโ€ bath time ๐Ÿ›
  • Hates bright lights ๐Ÿ’ก
  • Loves Christmas trees ๐ŸŽ„
  • Plays hard and Fights sleep even harder ๐Ÿ™„
  • Rubs her eyes all cute when tired ๐Ÿ’ค
  • Talks herself to sleep some nights ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Loves to be rocked to sleep while you stand ๐Ÿคฑ
  • Sleeps all through the night (10:30pm-7am most nights)ย ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ™Œ
  • Squeals LOUD and shakes especially when excited ๐Ÿคฉ
  • Loves balancing/acrobatics with Daddy ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Loves singing and dance parties with Mommy ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป๐ŸŽค
  • Scoots and turns herself around ๐Ÿ’ช
  • Doesnโ€™t like story time yet, she gets bored ๐Ÿ˜‘๐Ÿ“š
  • Still Likes to playย in her walker and jumperoo ๐Ÿต
  • Loves to play and throw her toys ๐Ÿคนโ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Obsessed with her Sophie giraffe teether toy, it goes everywhere with her ๐Ÿฆ’
  • Laughs, smiles & stares at her kitties and animals ๐Ÿ˜ป
  • Loves to watch the baby channel on TV ๐Ÿ“บ
  • Fitting well in 3-6 month and 6 month clothes ๐Ÿ˜˜

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 babyโ€™s first Christmas one! Itโ€™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 Iโ€™m sure Lilli will like the wrapping paper over any gift she receives! She is our gift this year, without a doubt! ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„ We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you next year!ย ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŽ‰

 

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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!) ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ”ฅย โค๏ธ

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) ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿต๐Ÿ’ค

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!ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜ป

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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!ย ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’ช
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! ๐Ÿ–คย We’re all officially set and ready for her homecoming! ๐Ÿ™

28ECDEFF-1E07-4E53-A8A5-C56AB861A861(Jogging stroller/carrier combo โœŒ๏ธ)

Happy 2 Months Lil One

Oh my goodness where does the time go?! Today July 2nd was Lilliann’s original due date! & Now she’s 2 months old and 37 weeks gestation!ย How crazy?!

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She will be getting her 2 month vaccines here shortly while in the NICU so she can be monitored for any after effects like apnea & breathing, etc.
Lilli’s eye exams are still going well with no retina issues just prematurity, which is expected. She doesn’t need them weekly any more and will get them bi-weekly. She is over 4 pounds 8 ounces and still climbing closer to 5 lbs every day! One doctor said in a few days we may even remove her NG tube since she’s been feeding so well orally, makes me kind of nervous. Hopefully we will be going home with our little peanut in a few weeks at most! We just have to perfect the feeding and not have any Brady/apnea episodes for a solid week.

We have survived our NICU stay for over 60 days and still counting! My oh my are we exhausted though! My new work routine and hospital visits still are keeping us busy! This last week was insanely busy! Not only did I go back to work and had to work a shift on Garry’s birthday yesterday, all while juggling everything else, we got our kitten PJ fixed! So caring for him and dealing with everything else has been crazy! So thank you for the prayers just keep them coming! We definitely need them!

A52F8376-547F-4FBE-A2BA-69D0F0CC6948(Sweet praying hands) ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜

If people knew the struggles and internal battles people face and fight on a daily basis they wouldn’t treat each other so poorly, everyone needs to try harder on making the World a better place for all! Everyone we speak to about our current situation says how we are doing this all so well and gracefully. We can’t be nervous wrecks, it would only make it worse. We have to stay strong even though somedays we do truly feel defeated and like we’ve failed some how! It’s such a crazy learning experience. This journey will truly make or break some couples. It has really only made Garry and I stronger, individually and together as a whole. We have our moments (we aren’t perfect) but at least they are minor and we keep reminding ourselves it’s only temporary and will be over soon and we will look back and think how amazingly fast it all went by!

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Lilli still has episodes of Apnea/Brady’s while getting bottle fed occasionally, she’s still getting the hang of it all. I read an interesting fact today…Until theyโ€™re 6-7 months old, babies can breathe and swallow at the same time. Adults arenโ€™t even capable of that. It takes a lot of coordination if you think about it, breathing, sucking and swallowing all in one and she is doing it when she shouldn’t even be born yet! Preemies are simply amazing!

We love most of the nurses and have only had to ask to not have 2 be repeat nurses out of the 90 that work in the NICU, that’s not too bad. If you don’t mesh with certain ones it’s best to speak up since they are caring for our child for now & we only want the very best for her. It is hard co-caring for Lilli at times when you have different ideas and advice from all of the nurses and 4-5 different neonatologists that see her.

IMG_0591(This is in all rooms and boy is it true!)

One of our friends mentioned how we basically get whiplash from being told one thing and have it changed when the next shift starts. We’re always adjusting. You have to constantly let everyone know your wants and needs, it really trains you communication if you lacked withย it before. There used to be a window the nurses would write on for Lilli’s care needs, info, requests and the head of NICU made them quit doing it so there has been a lack of knowledge based on her care without it. We enjoyed seeing her progress with it so it’s sad they took it away.ย Some nurses don’t listen to us or care what we have to say it seems like at times. Some also take more charge than others, with things we can normally do ourselves and others give us independence and privacy to parent on our own. So it really is a day by day process, one day you get it right other days you want to scream and run away with your child. It tests your patience, big time! No one wants to be told when/what you can and can’t do with your baby or when you’re right or wrong really. We’re learning though and do appreciate most of the help and advice we receive. Myย Mom works for peacehealth so she wrote head of women’s care at the hospital and just gave some ideas and insight on NICU parents lives and how they could really make it easier during our long term stay! Little Lilli is blossoming into a very strong flower!ย If one thing in our life finally had to go right we’re glad it’s her! ๐Ÿ’ž

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Movin’ On Up In The World

Silly Lilli is always so animated and expressive! We just love that little lady sooooo much! She is seriously the light of our lives! She is great at funny face pictures already…

IMG_0525hmmm wonder where Lilli got it from?ย ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜œ

Lilliann is still doing awesome without herย morning caffeine and breathing well on her own without the help of any oxygen! Lilli is also gaining weight well and keeps getting increases with her feeding volume, and tolerating it well. She does spit up from time to time but she is a baby after all and it really isn’t affecting her weight one bit! We are so blessed that she hasn’t had any serious complications from being so small and premature! This has been quite the adventure for all of us but she is our hero and our SUPERGIRL! Nothing can stop her! She is destined for big things in her life we just know it!

1498324040009(Our SUPER baby girl!) ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŽ€

I am feeling rather super human myself lately by my new daily routine! Just as everyone is done with school for the summer I’m going back to work. You get some kind of crazy motherly strength to do the things you need to, to make an easier & better life for your children.ย I wake up early to pump and get ready for work. I go to the hospital to visit Lilli and nurse her for 30-45 minutes at her 9am feed then make it to work by 10:30 where I stay all day and pump every break I get. I get off work by 7pm go home and have dinner then go back to the hospital for her 9pm feed where we nurse again! Then home to finally get some sleep, if I can and repeat it all the next day for the whole week. My patience has been tested time and time again but I’m making it through just fine which is making me such a stronger person/Momma for our baby girl. I’ll get the hang of this routine and just as I get it down she will get released I’m sure! ๐Ÿ˜ณ Then I’ll have more time off with her then. I am glad she has one of us parents to look after her while I go back to work for now.ย I am still using a nipple shield when I nurse her which is going well so far. She has gotten most of her feed volume through it. I’ve mentioned it before but can’t thank God enough that we live so close to the hospital/NICU, yes it still takes a lot of time to finally get up to her room but other families aren’t so lucky by living out of town or have multiple kids to care for. I couldn’t imagine not being able to see her every day! I miss Lilliann horribly most nights and honestly look forward to our middle of the night feeds when she is finally home! Right now we feel like we are just renting a baby and can’t wait to take on parenting full force! The nurses are amazing and honestly the best baby sitters while we prep for Lilli’s homecoming. We are trying to get all we can out of the way before that happens. No more lake or river days or fun for a while. Premature babies really should avoid the public for a while at first once they are home, that’s where they should stay for the most part except for doctor appointments. We want to protect her as much as possible and don’t want any germ to harm her once she is home! She is just to innocent and precious! She’s our miracle and can’t let anything knock her down! ๐Ÿ™…

IMG_0402(Prettiest little face on the planet!) ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒŽ

My 6 week post partum visit went well with my doctor I’m healing amazing and am right where I should be. My blood pressure readings have been doing just fine without blood pressure meds they are around 98/60 now where when I was in my worst stage of preeclampsia they were around 180/108+ I was close to stroking out. It’s so weird having my post partum visit already when I really would have a few more weeks before her arrival. Fastest pregnancy ever!!! I do from time to time get a little jealous/envious of other girls healthy pregnancies since mine was cut so short but then I remind myself we all come into this world the same way just in different situations. We’ve just got to know Lilli and love on her sooner than most.

When I am home watching TV I’ve noticed a commercial on tv that really gets on my nerves. It’s the commercial about smoking during pregnancy and babies in isolettes here’s the link to it…

There is almost a stigma on preemies and it’s annoying because I have NEVER tried a cigarette my whole life and there’s nothing I could have done to cause her premature birth or really prevent it from happening.
Every preemie is born because of different issues so I’m hoping to educate people on those issues so there isn’t as much judgement. Like when I tell people I have a daughter in the NICU when they ask where my daily visitor pass on my shirt is from, either they don’t know what a NICU is ๐Ÿ™„ or they look at me like I did something wrong but there are a few who are sympathetic and give their well wishes. This world is a funny place full of interesting people I tell you! ๐Ÿ˜‚ย & I am lucky enough to work with the public dispensing their medications! ๐Ÿ˜‰ My goodness have I learned a lot medically while spending time over the last 2 months in the hospital, that may even help me with my job.

E262726E-24F2-4E16-B2A7-750C6587A363(I am going to miss this snuggle bug all day! ๐Ÿ’•)

Cruising On Autopilot

Lilliann’s gestational age is officially 34 weeks now, which it’s crazy to think they wanted her to try and stay in the womb for that long! I’m glad we have got to get to know our warrior princess for over the last month instead of me being miserable stuck in a hospital bed. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Things this week have been going very smoothly for little Lilli! Just keeping her on autopilot as one doctor says. She is growing well with no major setbacks. She was borderline anemic as of last week but is doing better this week without the help of a hormone booster. She’s well over 3 pounds now. Over 3lbs 7 ounces and keeps getting her feeds increased! She’s getting 30mls at each feed now and has outgrown her nutrients and is only getting a breast milk enhancer and will be weaned off of her one and only medication which is caffeine. (Aka her morning coffee), soon! Hoping her breathing and apnea continue to improve. Her oxygen flow is also decreased down to 2 which is a big change since she was at 4 earlier this week, doctors are talking about stopping it all together and see how she does next week! She would love it! The less tubes/wires the better! Ever since her Cpap came off again last week she makes the funniest and cutest facial expressions.

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IMG_9827(So much personality already!)๐Ÿ˜œ

Lilli has officially fit into preemie diapers for a while now! No more micro or macro diapers for this little lady! Garry and I have been able to successfully (without any fuss or nurses help) take her out of her isolette and put her back after each hold and manage well around the sometimes twisted cords! Each day is a step closer to going home! One nurse said last week she has about 3 more weeks left in the NICU! Which is very optimistic and makes me kind of nervous but part of me thinks it will be closer to 4+ more weeks! She needs to safely fit in her car seat! Since things are moving quickly we have a few pediatrician interviews lined up in the next couple of weeks to find the right choice for our little family! Fingers crossed we fall in love with one of the 4 doctors we have lined up! ๐Ÿคž

Next week will be very busy for us with baby shower prep and tons of appointments! We will manage just fine! It’s going to be chaotic at times but totally worth it in the end since we can relax and have a fun baby shower/BBQ party with our favorite people celebrating Lilliann’s birth!

Two major things that are big in my eyes is #1 -Lilli finally gets to start wearing clothes! She has been clothed for the first time this week and oh boy is pink her color! ๐ŸŽ€ We have some preemie outfits we got her/were gifted but have been advised to not bring anything we love since they could get lost in the wash in the NICU. We can’t wait to officially dress her up! But she may enjoy being a naked baby after all this time with just a diaper on! (If she’s anything like her Mother that will be the truth) ๐Ÿ˜‚ From the looks of her growing so nicely she won’t need preemie sizes for much longer!

D32F27B0-9EF6-4376-8BE5-6E1288FD41F3๐Ÿ’•ย (Pretty In Pink!) ๐Ÿ’•

The Second big thing is that we have officially started practicing breast feeding! We call it nuzzle nursing for now while she gets the hang of it! I think she will pick it up officially in no time, especially now since I’ll be going in for at least 3 of her feeds to try it and see if she is getting any milk via mouth after they weigh her before and after. It’s amazing seeing such a small baby know what she’s doing already! She impresses me everyday! We are such proud parents, Lilli is truly our HERo! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘Œ Watch out Wonder Woman, you’ve got nothing on little Miss Lil! ๐Ÿ’ช

25B5A7D8-0D50-41FB-9986-2D8BD07E3575(Lilli still LOVES her kangaroo time!)๐Ÿ’

Her little smile lights up our world/lives! Lilli smiles with her eyes, just like her Mama! I think she has my eyes, and hopefully inherited my long natural eye lashes! They definitely look to be growing that way and are very curly, which makes me semi jealous since mine are so straight!
Some nurses say she looks like me but I don’t see it. I see a miniature Garry when I look at her big time! She is all his and there’s no doubt about that! ๐Ÿ˜˜โค๏ธ
Lilliann’s hair color is ever changing! It started out very blonde and turned strawberry. We could have a spit fire red head on our hands since it does run in our families! But now it’s getting much darker! We shall see what it turns out to be especially by week 40.

Lilli’s new friend finally was delivered and she seems to like it! We still need to give it a name! Any suggestions?!

7AE399B7-A3A8-47BD-A439-10F7421AEA95(Nameless knitted octopus friend!) ๐Ÿ’œ

My follow up appointment went well last week! I’ve been off of my blood pressure medication for officially a week now! Seems to be normal and going just fine! My weight is staying stable at 114 pounds and I like it! I was worried I would lose a ton since I pump so much but I eat a lot to compensate! I really don’t ever want to be as small as I was when we got married last year. Barely hitting 100lbs is not a good look for me and isn’t very healthy either! Healing from a C-section isn’t that bad! It was honestly very easy and not as painful as people make it out to be, maybe it’s just my high pain tolerance but I would totally do it again if I had to.
I am unfortunately running out of short term disability pay in the next few weeks. I will only have up to 12 more additional unpaid weeks of parental leave after the end of June. So basically no paid time off with Lilli when she’s officially home. Which really sucks because my short term disability runs out before her release, when most Moms have that paid time off to be with their babies at home recovering that first few weeks of life with them to bond especially. The USA is so behind in parental leave laws, it isn’t even fair, especially for a well developed/established country!ย I want to be able to spend everyday & all day with her! She’s just so dang precious! ๐Ÿ’•

IMG_9824(Smiley girl and her OG baby hat – photo cred goes to her Daddy!) ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ“ธ

Baby Steps

What a scary, cruel world we live in! Being a parent (especially a new one) makes evil/sad news stories hit you even harder than before. I pray for the world and I pray our daughter is a bright light in it, I know she lights up our lives and hopefully does to many others in her time here on Earth.

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(Our Earth angel Lilliann, already cheering up the place) ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ‘ผ๐ŸŽ€

There’s still so much to do and so little time! we at least accomplished a lot the last few days and got some big things checked off of our list!
It is seriously hard work balancing life at home and our new life at the hospital. People are always telling us you should do it like this or like that. No one knows how it really is unless you are in our shoes so we appreciate the advice but it doesn’t always work for us. We’re navigating our new life as best as we can. One thing I don’t understand is the amount of surveys and questionnaires we are asked to do lately regarding our recent life events. Like really?! Who seriously has time for that kind of thing? We already have so much paperwork to worry about…

We did accomplish one big baby item and got her changing table/dresser set up! What a task that was! Thank goodness for my puzzle loving Husband and his handy skills and tools!

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(Tada!!! All done! Only need a few more finishing touches, She is a fancy baby already!)

Lilliann is now 3 weeks old! Officially over 31 weeks in gestation! She is still gaining weight and they even increased the amount of calories she will receive to help her grow even bigger and faster! She is 1155 grams which is about 2.8lbs! She is also 14.5 inches long! That’s an inch and a half increase from her birth length of 13 inches! One minor set back we have encountered is Lilli was using a lot of oxygen via her nasal tubes so they went ahead and put her back on Cpap for about a week or so. It will only benefit her so we aren’t worried. Even though she was gaining weight every day, she was basically using more calories trying to breath than focus on growing to her maximum potential. So she is getting a little bit of a break to get those lungs stronger! Taking baby steps is all. Garry thought the Cpap came off too early in the beginning anyway, he has a great fatherly intuition. ๐Ÿ‘Œ This little set back is totally normal for premature babies to go back on and off the Cpap aka her “snorkel gear!” Some babies will be off of it for weeks then all of the sudden need extra help temporarily. They are the ones deciding what works best for them afterall.

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Everyone loves Lilli! One of our favorite nurses is so sweet to her! Treats her like her own! She says some babies that come to the annual NICU reunion recognize their nurses voice. How sweet is that?! She is known by a few nurses as a pixie badass! LOL that’s our girl! Today the hospital care chaplain came to her room to introduce her self and blessed Lilli with some beautiful words! We are so happy with the amount of care she receives! The other night during Lilli’s daily care and kangaroo time she initiated me into parenthood by leaving me gifts of a giant continuous poop and yucky boogers! It’s amazing how things that usually gross you out are totally fine/normal with your child. They do share your DNA after all so it doesn’t seem as nasty. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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(All cleaned up from her messes, content on Mommy’s chest) ๐Ÿ’•

Here’s a touching article a nurse shared with us…
http://www.peekabooicu.net/2013/07/confessions-of-a-preemie-why-i-am-different-than-a-full-term-baby/

So much can go wrong in pregnancy to cause a baby to be born early. Some people cause it and others it’s out of their control, like in my situation. I think in my case since the new extra organ known as the placenta was basically diseased from the get go which is why we have such a little baby girl, she wasn’t getting the full amount of blood flow and nutrients, which could be why she was always measuring behind 2 weeks is my theory. Outside of the NICU they have a “wall of hope” it has pictures up and down the hallways full of graduates of the NICU and what their birth weight was and how early they arrived in the world. It’s really awesome and truly does give you hope seeing all of the healthy children that they are now. Some were bigger and younger than Lilli and some were older and smaller so it really varies, it’s quite interesting.
I really wish we could have a live steaming video on Lilli at all times, leaving her in the NICU is hard not because we are really worried about the nurses or doctors but more so the other parents and the sketchy people that come around, some are unfortunately unfit to care for children due to their own struggles and battles they are fighting, hearing some of the nurses stories of things that they have seen is truly heart breaking. That’s why the NICU has a 24 hour trial/test to take the baby home. Where you can receive extra help if needed. Some of those uncertain parents don’t get the choice or option of opting out but I feel it would be good for us to do it for being new parents, we’ve hardly been around newborns before especially a preemie. It’s like an official parenting training course, where many parents are thrown into it, you either sink or swim!

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that if visitors have been exposed to illness or are sick or recovering, please don’t visit. Nurses could even expose her. Lilli had a sick neighbor recently and the same nurse cared for both babies. Makes a paranoid Momma even more nervous, praying the nurse takes every precaution and protocol seriously. ๐Ÿ™ We just want to take a healthy thriving baby home! ๐Ÿคž No we can’t protect her from every germ and in a way exposure helps build the immune system but until she’s full term I don’t want to take any risks!

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(Calmed her down from being fussy)

Road To Recovery

Writing this blog has been VERY therapeutic for me. My mom got Garry and I a journal to share, to jot down our thoughts and feelings through this new journey of ours. Garry has already wrote Lilliann the cutest poem! He’s such a good Dad already! I don’t have a lot of sadness regarding having a premature baby, I think because I know one day she will be coming home soon (time will fly) and until then she’s in the best hands being cared for while growing big and strong! The only emotion I’ve had to put myself in check with is agitation. Little things like loud noises get to me really easily. Maybe it’s the protective mama bear coming out, nobody better wake up my baby! ๐Ÿ˜‰ For example I wanted to rip the yard maintenance guys head off for being loud and annoying with his equipment while I was pumping, the poor guy is just doing his job I should really take a chill pill. Or the downstairs neighbor with the little yappy dog could really keep a muzzle on that thing, so unlike me since I really love animals and usually don’t care about barking. At my check up Monday after being discharged Saturday I let the midwife know of my angry emotions and she reassured me that it’s all totally normal! I was robbed of pregnancy! It’s ok to be mad! When the placenta gets removed especially unexpectedly your hormones plummet leaving you in almost a state of instant menopause while your hormones regulate. Hello hot flashes! How could the amazing life source for my baby over the last 7 months make a Momma so sick?! Dang you placenta! Overall my check up went great, my blood pressure is still pretty stable, not as low as it was before baby. I am still on 1 BP medication and hopefully can be taken off of it soon. My surgery incision is healing great and I’m back to 118lbs like I was a month before I developed preeclampsia. Talk about mostly all water weight I had! All the swelling is now magically gone. Granted I didn’t get very big but it’s nice that I escaped this pregnancy without a single stretch mark (thank you coconut oil) and getting back into shape will be easier for me, got to focus on the positives vs. negatives!

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I thought it was interesting to see these posters on the wall of the exam room at my checkย up appointment…

172BE881-F825-4043-90E2-E33D800D38B0.jpgI only made it through the the first poster and still had all of the second poster to look forward to! One friend of mine mentioned how cool it is that we get to watch her grow on the outside vs the mystery going on inside during that last stretch of pregnancy. Good way to look at it! We just got to meet her sooner and love on her a little bit longer! ๐Ÿ’•
If we do decide to have more children, I have a 25% chance of getting preeclampsia again and to try and prevent it, I would have to take 1 baby aspirin daily during my next pregnancy to help the blood vessels flow better. One thing my body can do is make milk! Not really slacking in the milk department. By day two I was a pumping machine! Nurses are saying that I am pumping more than most full term Moms! Thank you Jesus! At least my body isn’t failing me there! Thanks to my mama milk aka “liquid gold” that’s all she needs right now with added nutrients and a little caffeine that she would normally be stealing from me, not the caffeine part since I don’t drink it. ๐Ÿ˜œ
My milk is best for Lilli to grow big and strong! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ She is up an ounce from her birth weight! I am so glad and blessed that we haven’t really seen any set backs with her! I know with preemies it’s a day by day process.

FF8D7E23-C8DC-47B9-B3B2-57593B00DBA1.jpgI’ve got a nice stock pile going, already having to freeze a bunch. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

My husband likes to help pump, well as much as he can. He mostly cleans all the equipment for me every time. Gosh I love him! This whole experience is only making our marriage stronger, bringing us closer to our faith, and making us better people. Holy moly has a lot changed in one years time for us!
We were just getting ready to start the home buying process and got pre-approved for a home loan but that will have to be put on hold since our priorities are definitely somewhere else currently. It would be nice to get out of our outgrown and over priced apartment we’ve had for the last 6 years though!

DNA is incredibly amazing! What I’ve noticed so far of mine that baby girl has inherited is that Lilli got my universal O negative blood type and my weird long middle toe, taller than the big toe! It’s part of our Greek heritage I guess or I was told growing up it meant royalty (she is a little warrior princess after all!) ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘‘ Our mother and daughter bond is going to be amazing! If you know me, her nails are always going to be stylin’! She will be in heaven with my polish collection! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿผ

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It’s been so fun to see who she acts and looks like. She is super alert, and is strong! She is already lifting her head by herself and lifts her booty up like she’s doing push ups! (Watch out Puddles!) ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ’› I can’t imagine how big and strong she would be had she gone full term! #tinybutmighty. Like dynamite, big things come in small packages! She’s a fighter! (She would have sooooo much hair also if we did go full term) She definitely stretches and sleeps like her Daddy! I am almost positive she will look a lot like Garry when she gets all plumped up. She has his auburn hair color I can already tell.

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All of the doctors and nurses in the NICU love Lilliann and her feistiness (she gets it from her mama) but how could you not love that precious little peanut?!
NICU rules and adjustment has been as smooth as we could hope it would be. It’s not an ideal situation any parent wants to be in. We get one hold for usually a half-hour every 24 hours while she is still so little.
The first 2 weeks of life for a borderline extreme preemie are critical! There can beย no over stimulation to keep her heart and breathing steady. She still has episodes of baby apnea but she pulls out of it herself! It is so common for a baby of her size to have it, just something she will grow out of! We Can’t wait for the rest of the family to be able to hold this new member of the clan! ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ง

IMG_8607.PNGFirst kangaroo time for Daddy Garry! ๐Ÿ˜ Only took 6 days and lots of phototherapy to get to this point. She’s already got him wrapped around her little fingers! โ˜๏ธ๐Ÿ’ž

We get updated daily via phone by the neonatologists where they go over her progress and goals for the day and they will answer any questions or concerns you have about your baby. It’s so refreshing to get good updates so far! Her goals this week:

1.) Tolerate increase in feeds

2.) Decrease respiratory support

3.) GROW

I won’t get my hopes up but typically preemies go home at their due date but I think she will be home before that. I know it’s a day by day basis and that can change but she has made huge progression already for being a week old!

Most people hate it but we LOVE changing her diapers because we actually get hands on interaction with her! It is so hard to see her cry and can’t do much to soothe her but she does calm down to our voices immediately! ๐Ÿ™

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I was thinking lately about having a May baby and not a July baby like originally predicted. I just discovered howย cool it is that both months have a Lily as the birth flower. July being a water lily and May being a Lily of the Valley, pretty fitting since she was born in the PNW, the Willamette Valley to be exact! “April showers bring May flowers!” ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒธ

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The symbolization of Mays birth flower is happiness, humility and sweetness. Perfect symbols of our current situation. We are so incredibly HAPPY for our daughter and our health. We are definitely more HUMBLE thanks to the current events that have taken place over the last few weeks. And sweetness because well of course Lillianns SWEET temperament or the fact she loved sweets while growing in the womb. I am positive that she will have a bad sweet tooth just like her Daddy! ๐Ÿญ
โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›

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