3mo=1wk

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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Home Sweet Home

There is truly no place like home!Β 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 allΒ 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!

9F95C128-0DF8-4B46-87A4-406B142BC475(Baby rolls and double chin!) πŸ’ͺπŸ˜πŸ’•

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. πŸ˜‚Β She really only cries when there is good reason, for food, diaper change or snuggles! Can’t really complain! πŸ˜‰πŸ‘Œ 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!!! βŒπŸ’‹

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!) 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 ✌️)

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!Β 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) πŸ™πŸ˜

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 they’re 6-7 months old, babies can breathe and swallow at the same time. Adults aren’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 withΒ 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.Β 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. MyΒ 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!Β If one thing in our life finally had to go right we’re glad it’s her! πŸ’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?Β πŸ€”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰πŸ˜œ

Lilliann is still doing awesome without herΒ 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!) πŸ’žπŸ’ͺπŸŽ€

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.Β 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! 😳 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.Β 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! πŸ™…

IMG_0402(Prettiest little face on the planet!) 😍🌎

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 πŸ™„ 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! πŸ˜‚Β & I am lucky enough to work with the public dispensing their medications! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ’•)

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. πŸ˜‰
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!)😜

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! 🀞

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! πŸŽ€ 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) πŸ˜‚ From the looks of her growing so nicely she won’t need preemie sizes for much longer!

D32F27B0-9EF6-4376-8BE5-6E1288FD41F3πŸ’•Β (Pretty In Pink!) πŸ’•

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! πŸ˜‰πŸ‘Œ Watch out Wonder Woman, you’ve got nothing on little Miss Lil! πŸ’ͺ

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

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! 😘❀️
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!) πŸ’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!Β I want to be able to spend everyday & all day with her! She’s just so dang precious! πŸ’•

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

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) πŸ’•πŸ‘ΌπŸŽ€

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. πŸ‘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. πŸ˜‰

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

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. πŸ™ We just want to take a healthy thriving baby home! 🀞 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)