True Boss Baby

After 70 days in the NICU, what a humbling experience and week it has been! Lilliann is over 38 weeks in gestation and was unexpectedly on her way to discharge over the weekend. Lilli has not had an apnea episodes since the 29th of June and after having her NG tube removed Thursday morning. Unfortunately she had a Brady/apnea episode not related to eating a few hours away from going home…therefore our apnea watch restarted and she can’t go home for about a week now, as long as she is free of any more episodes during this week. She is the boss and showed us right in time she really wasn’t ready to go home, she must have felt rushed, like we thought. As frustrating and upsetting as it was to finally be there and after being there all night with her for it to happen last minute, I’m glad if it did have to happen it was there and not at home. NICU babies here can’t be discharged on a monitor, that got discontinued about 5 years ago one nurse told us. Thanks to parents who relied too much on the monitor itself rather than their own baby and body language and would think all of the false alarms weren’t the real deal once it really happened. We pretty much can tell when Lilli is going to have a Brady and can usually proactively prevent it.

9B47D25B-5A6E-4C30-B28D-7D1A4E463859.jpgLilliΒ passed her car seat test by sitting (mostly sleeping)Β in it with no issues for almost 2 hours! We are also all trained in infant CPR and choking now. Lilli had her 2 month vaccines last week and did just fine with them, no breathing complications one bit! She’s really close to hitting 5 lbs which is almost big enough for her amazing nesting days wrap we have for her and can’t wait to use (the company is awesome and reached out to me via Instagram regarding our situation.) Lilli is also close to fitting into her ergo 360 carrier too! It’s amazing watching her grow and see how far she has come. A few things we have to keep an eye on is Lilli had a hearing test Sunday and barely failed in her right ear but the equipment they used had been acting up. So she will get checked again in a few weeks. She also has higher blood pressure for a small preemie, a normal sized adult its normal but higher than it should be for her age and size so she is on a small dose of daily blood pressure meds with her vitamins and fortifier for the breast milk. We have to take a trip up to OHSU in Portland in 3-4 months to see a specialist about it. Her kidney scan was totally normally so they don’t think that is the issue, they are just being cautious and preventing any long term issues she could have from uncontrolled blood pressure problems. We were left in the dark and didn’t even know about them monitoring her BP until they prescribed her meds (which is expensive and has to be compounded due to the low dose), that is a little frustrating. Sometimes we aren’t informed/told about things going on with our child and have to always ask questions to get the answers. We as parents are Lilli’s voice and have to put our foot down for her when we sense something isn’t right, like her being over fed a few times (hello spit up!)

B06FA4B6-9392-4931-8EA8-7112F3BEA908.jpgπŸ’›πŸ’–(Sweet little Lill in yellow)πŸ’πŸ’›

Garry is so calm with her and was holding her when her Brady episode happened and knows just what to do to get her out of it, I’m the one who goes in freak out mode so I’m glad he’s always there to help. Garry keeps telling me whenever I feel discouraged that it’s ok, Lilli isn’t even supposed to be born yet and is still kicking butt! I told him after going home without her and crashing out for a well needed nap Sunday after the failed discharge that look at it like I was having a false labor since I still would be super pregnant. Many women go to the hospital thinking it’s baby time only to be sent home with no baby yet. That was what we experienced, I’m thinking. Lilli will
be ready on her time and we want her 100% ready and healthy for going home. She is truly the boss after all, in charge of everything!
This last week really has made us turn on turbo speed and get everything we need officially set up this week we are just fine tuning! So to our prayer army please continue to pray for our little family that we can finally go home here soon with Lilli on board! I was supposed to start my parental leave this week but because of the events that happened over the weekend I decided to keep working until she is officially discharged. As hard as it is to keep up the busy weekly schedule it will all be worth it in the end. I’m glad I’ve got at least 3 weeks in of work (toΒ help our finances) until her homecoming. I’ve got to keep myself distracted otherwise I might go crazy. 😜

60556FEF-80BF-4B44-B852-E01A1C91D2C8.jpg(Happy tube free face girl cheesin’) 😍

If we survive the NICU stay we can survive anything! People think they can relate and unless you’ve been in this situation you really can’t. We are still parents and get no credit sometimes. We will cherish our baby even more now thanks to working so hard and fighting to get her home! Last week we got out for a while and enjoyed the Fourth of July for the last time just being the two of us. We so badly wished Lilliann could be around all of our friends and family for the annual parade and firework show, next year we will celebrate big time! It was hard seeing all of the cute babies and pregnant women walk around since that should have been us! Oh boy do some babies look huge compared to our Lilli bug! We also had our last date night until Lilli gets discharged. Since we couldn’t celebrate Garry’s birthday a few weeks ago, months ago I got him tickets as his present for a meet and greet concert to one of his favorite rappers B.o.B! We had a blast! We’ve been wanting to see one of his shows forever and so glad he came to town and we got to meet him and hang out up close and personal before the show! It was totally worth it and he is an awesome person! It was truly our last hurrah! 🎢❀️🎀

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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’•)

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)

Welcome To Parenthood

Life gets busy and as new parents we just can’t seem to find enough time in the day sometimes. We’ve had a busy last few days focusing all of our time and energy on or around Lilliann as she grows on the outside, she is our main priority after all. We got her birth certificate in hand and had a lot of paperwork and insurance things to handle and deal with. It would be so much easier to do if we could just take her to run these errands with us. Going back and forth to the hospital multiple times a day dedicating hours there isn’t the easiest task to do. We are basically co-parenting with all of the nurses and doctors. We love mostly all of them except one nurse seems to do things differently and we really don’t care for it. She feeds Lilli way earlier than anyone else, which is totally acceptable if Lilli is hungrier sooner, she is a growing girl after all! For the most part she needs to stay on her consistent feeding schedule. There are some other things we won’t discuss that we addressed our concerns about, let’s just say anything and everything that has happened that hasn’t been good with Lilli happens on this nurses watch. We are pretty easy parents to get along with and please but we had to put our foot down a few times with this specific nurse. She leaves us in the dark regarding OUR child and that is just not ok! With everything that went on in the last few days we are handling our situation well, as best as we can. Right now I really can’t handle surprises, my blood pressure still seems to be high at times, even being on the blood pressure medication, so I have been getting frequent headaches. They really aren’t fun but I tough it out to be with Lilli and because I know eventually my body will get back to its normal BP rates. Besides blood pressure fluctuations I have been having crazy dreams lately. My whole pregnancy I really didn’t have many dreams, especially weird ones but now that these hormones are all out of whack they are frequent and bizarre. We do have some favorite nurses who care for Lilliann so when they are around we have so much relief that she is in the right hands being cared for properly. Our favorite nurse lets us be hands on as much as we can. She’s real and is a great teacher, we learn so much and she’s straight to the point and tells it like it is! We appreciate that! She wants us to start learning bath time and give breast feeding a shot soon! (Omgsh I can’t wait for that.)
Lilli gets to graduate into a crib once she can fully maintain her own temperature, hits at least 1800 grams for a solid 3 days and is off any respiratory support! So please pray our little Lady keeps on growing smooth and steady.

Lilli had a lung scan this morning which showed a little haziness but totally expected with a premature baby, nothing concerning. So she gets some extra respiratory care with increased oxygen throughout the day to help. Overall she’s doing wonderful she is still gaining weight and gets more caffeine since she outgrew her last dose, she also is needing less added nutrients to my breast milk. πŸ‘ Because of all of her progress and advanced skills I joke about my pregnancy and how I cooked her on broil instead of bake! πŸ˜‚ I do miss being pregnant but then I see how much she has grown since birth and glad I didn’t have to carry on that weight, how uncomfortable I would be sharing my tiny body. Glad I didn’t get big also because of the stupid questions pregnant women get from strangers. I avoided all of that awkward & uncomfortable stage. I just had to risk my life to bring her into the world is all, Lilliann will always know that! Lol (She is worth it though!)

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(Her weight gain since birth πŸ’–πŸ’ͺπŸŽ€)

Lilliann is so expressive already she’s throwing up wannabe gang signs and her dukes to the nurses. How cute would it be if she wanted to be a tough tiny fighter rather than a pretty dancer. My Mother in law says Lilli is a little champion prize fighter in the micro weights division! I cracked up when I heard that, it’s so true! πŸ₯ŠπŸ˜‚πŸ₯‹

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Lilliann is such a daddies girl! Garry is already making excuses for her so this Momma will have to be the bad guy! We jokingly mentioned how his old nickname “Scary Garry” will have to make a comeback during her time in school, our little lady will never be bullied and if she is it won’t be for long! πŸ˜‰ With her dad, Grandpas and Uncles behind her, no boys will ever mess around with her! πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Š

IMG_9234.JPG(She loves her daddy so much, she’s always content in his arms. 😍 Side by side pic of her Great Grandpa, may he “rest in paradise”) πŸ™

Garry did mention how he’s a little nervous for her teenage days/years and her boy band phases! LOL (I couldn’t help but think that could be the least of our worries?!) She will know good music so hopefully she won’t be interested in those popular music/boy crazes.

IMG_9276.JPG(She’s already a little embarrassed by us parents, we will get this look a lot I’m sure!) πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€£

As new parents we have soooooo many pictures of little Miss Lilli on our phones we had to back them up! I would never forgive myself if we lost those pictures, it would be devastating! I will end today’s blog post with our favorite video of our angel baby! πŸ‘ΌπŸ’
https://youtu.be/mI-K8uAoUbc

Tiny But Mighty!

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A week ago today we gave birth to our beautiful bouncing baby girl! A week already?! It is so true that time flies even more now, didn’t think that would be possible! Our little warrior princess Lilliann Marie Percell was born May 2nd 2017 via C-section at 6:20am less then an hour after doctors made the decision it was time! She weighed in at a solid 1 pound 12.4 ounces and is 13 inches long (at least she’s longer than a footlong subway sandwich) lol She was born @ 28 weeks and 3 days, less than 12 weeks early according to the adjusted due date. My body gave her a day longer then doctors wanted for the steroid shots to fully work. Thank goodness for incredible medicine, and the angels on earth disguised as doctors and nurses! My biggest fear was for Garry, I didn’t want him to lose either of us. Our family has faced so much tragedy and loss already, I couldn’t imagine him going through this too. The medical team who cared for me was truly amazing and thank goodness full of precaution when dealing with two lives at the same time! We were treated so well by everyone and had an army of people praying and thinking about us! We are so forever grateful. Prayers do work! Miracles do happen! My surgeon and treating doctor for my stay in the hospital was AWESOME Dr. Clausen I like to call her! She’s truly incredible! Garry and I were both exhausted from getting little rest (there’s no resting in a place you should get it most) and from all of the news we had received in just the last few days time. We are getting ready to become parents 8-12 weeks earlier then we anticipated. We better be ready! We had Lilli’s name picked out before we knew what we were having. It was the only name we had set in stone so obviously there was a reason for that! This is how we came up with her name: https://instagram.com/p/BTgsiL8BDQdIp5Um3ccUpIg_sUN-Eo0ydE90Z80/

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She was born 3 days after Garry’s Moms birthday. Which is funny because she was originally set to be born 4 days after my Mom and a day after Garry’s Birthday! She wanted to have a close birthday to someone in the family! I know she’s a diva already though so of course she needs her very own day! Lol (unlike me I was born on one of my Brothers 4th Birthday, so I’ve shared my B-day my whole life.) Lilliann was born a strong Taurus lady just like her new Grammi! 🀘❀️ Usually I hate Tuesday’s. I call them terrible Tuesday’s since usually bad things tend to happen to me on that day of the week. Well my outlook has changed completely now since our daughter was born and Garry proposed on a Tuesday. Two amazing, unforgettable moments in my life…I don’t hate you any longer Tuesday…sorry for the long grudge I kept!

Besides emergency cases most people have time to prepare for major surgery and maybe with my over analyzing and need to always plan, it was best it happened this way. I was terrified of having surgery! The closest thing to this I had was an oral surgery procedure done and I was awake for it too. I’m glad I didn’t have to be fully put asleep for the operation because that scares me even more than a spinal block! We met with the anesthesiologist right away who went over the procedure with Garry and I briefly and answered any questions we had. He was very smooth at what he does! Once they wheeled me back to the operating room to prep me for surgery Garry was busy getting ready in his scrubs to be by my side in the operating room.

IMG_8316.JPG(Such a tired handsome man in his sweet scrubs)

While he waited to be called back he had to wrangle our parents together into the waiting area. I was with my wonderful medical team getting prepped for surgery. Receiving the spinal block wasn’t that bad at all the nurse even said I didn’t flinch a single bit she was impressed having had the same procedure done 4 times with all ofΒ her boys. She’s the true rockstar raising all boys! The anesthesia made me cold and I began to shake so they gave me my favorite heated blankets to keep me calm. My arms were strapped down to the table and they finally got my husband into the room. Everything went smooth, quick and easy like a well oiled/operating machine. They said it was a total text book procedure, they even mentioned how awesome my stomach muscle tone was as I was being put back together. lol I would heal up in no time!

My dear baby girl Lilliann Marie,
The very moment you were given life when I heard your warrior cry and the doctors and nurses were saying how perfectly cute you are. The time stood still and everything was right in the world for a minute. I’ve never felt so much calm and peace in my life! You made us parents! As I looked over at your Daddy as tears were falling down my cheeks, Never had I seen his eyes so blue as a single tear fell from his eyes down his face. He was so strong! In that moment I never knew I could love him any more than I already did. Someway somehow you brought us even closer! I was thrilled to see him become a father. As you were whisked away to the NICU your Daddy rushed to be by your side and met you right away and you held his finger so strong with your tiny hands but mighty grip, you must have learned that from the angel you met in Heaven recently by the name of Dwight Lee (Daddy said he almost broke all of his fingers when he shook his hand for the first time almost 9 years ago) Your Daddy got to cut your umbilical cord and recorded the whole thing for me to see later, even though the last 7 months he wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to do it. He surprised himself! You make us stronger and better people baby girl. I felt like the Grinch and my tiny heart instantly grew 3 sizes! I never knew a love so big until we had you, how is this even possible?!
β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•β€οΈπŸ’•

Everyone says how amazing it is that something so small can steal your heart so quick. It is so true! I was wheeled back to recovery where I saw my family for the first time since becoming a mother. I believe I said… “I survived!” Everyone was so relieved! Garry finally came into my room to show me the beautiful pictures he had of our princess! Dr. Leonard the neonatologist who cared for Lilli right away was there with him and I asked what her survival rate is and he said is “college!” That is music to this new Momma’s ears!
Recovery wasn’t easy for me I was in some pain and they gave me fentanyl for it, luckily I only needed one dose. The hardest part was since my blood pressure was so high I couldn’t meet my baby yet! It took me 15 hours of recovery for my BP to stabilize enough to meet her! If I saw our baby right away I knew it would go down drastically! Guess what?! I knew it did the moment I saw herΒ beautiful face. It was so hard for me to see her hooked up to some wires and machines. (Luckily she never needed a ventilator, just a cpap) I never liked seeing pictures before of innocent babies hooked up to medical devices/equipment, it breaks my heart. But science works! For that I’m thankful. Lilli is perfectly healthy! She just has miniature parts that need to grow! She will have some future tests and scans soon to make sure everything is properly working. She’s made huge progress for only being a week old! She’s off her Cpap as of day 5 and her IV was fully removed by day 6! She’s tolerating her feeds and they keep getting increased! She’s our little champion fighter! The 3rd day of her life is when this new Momma got to hold her baby for the first time! Oh my goodness is it the greatest feeling to have her on my bare chest!

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Who needs drugs?! I was so high on life!
I remember how perfect that day was. It was Friday and Cinco de Mayo and there was a gorgeous sunset as I got back to my room after holding her. PlusΒ Garry went out that same night and brought us a pizza to share in my room! πŸ˜πŸ• I was in heaven!

IMG_5975.JPGGOD IS GOOD!!!

I was on cloud 9 and my BP was almost normal that night. It also dawned on me that Garry and I would get to celebrate our first Mothers and Father’s Day this year! That’s pretty exciting if you ask me?! By day 8 in the hospital it was finally time for me to discharge! I couldn’t wait to be in the comfort of my own home, granted it was hard leaving the hospital empty handed but I was ok since I know one day she will be coming home and because I knew she is in the very best hands being cared for and we also live literally 5 minutes away from sacred heart where she got her start! In a way it was a blessing in disguise, glad it happened to us. We are strong! We may have a long road/journey ahead of us but I have so much faith it will be alright!

Grow Baby Grow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once Upon A Time…

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It was early spring 2008 I was 18 years young and was still a senior in high school getting anxious to finally graduate and be DONE with school! This is when I met my future husband Garry. We met on MySpace of all places! Hah! He had already graduated high school the year before in 2007. He was a busy working man at the early age of 19. (I knew him before all of the tattoos and mustache rockin’!) πŸ‘ŒΒ When we first met there was just something different about him compared to the other guys I had previous relationships with. He grew up an only child so you would think he would have selfish tendencies like the others I had dated…but no he was raised right by his wonderful mother who I have an awesome relationship with! He treats me with nothing but respect and he makes me laugh like no one else which is truly the key to a girls heart. I always felt like I could let go and be free around him and he would never pass a single ounce of judgment towards me. I can be a handful to deal with at times being full of energy and tendencies of being a high strung, over analyzing, control freak (definition of a Scorpio woman). I like to plan and have never been big on surprises…little to my knowledge I would get the biggest surprise of my life many years down the road. Fast forward 6+ years later and he finally popped the question to take my hand in marriage November 25th 2014 and we got to planning the wedding of our dreams right away!

http://www.jaymeandruss.com/engagement-photography/becca-garry

We officially tied the knot September 10th 2016 and finally sealed the deal in front of God, family and friends! Best decision of our lives! I love being married!

http://www.jaymeandruss.com/real-weddings/chateau-lorane-winery-wedding-rebecca-garry

We didn’t take a honeymoon per se (we both don’t like to travel much) we spent a long weekend at the Oregon Coast which is our favorite place to getaway! We stayed in an awesome ocean front suite with a jacuzzi, and had a blast! We weren’t planning on having kids right away we thought it would take us a while to conceive but God had other plans for us. I found out I was pregnant late in October/Early November. I had been off the pill and just thought my cycle wasn’t back up and running yet…hah! Little did I know I already had a bun in the oven!

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I have always wanted to be a mother but I was nervous because I had the best Mother and Mother in law in the world and they set the bar high. As a little girl I always thought of my birth plan and how cool it would be to give life to something…my Mom did it three times without drugs and said there is no better natural high then when you finally meet your children and become a mother. Garry has always wanted kids he was the one who couldn’t care less if we waited until marriage or not, he wanted to be a Dad! He grew up not knowing who his was so he wanted to be the father he never had. Once we found out it was finally our time to become parents he put every fear and worry I had in mind to rest. Things were going super smoothly and I did not really have any morning sickness until I hit about 8-10 weeks then I only had a few episodes of it here and there I was totally healthy, pretty in shape and ate well and didn’t even ever have caffeine. Doctor visits went great and everything! This little baby was going to be the first grand baby on both sides, Can you say spoiled?! We finally told family and friends the news on Thanksgiving!

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Everyone was thrilled! Mutually thought wow that was fast. I guess we just don’t waste any time now! Our little bundle certainly was eager to come into the world! Due date was set for July 2nd 2017 a day after Garry’s Birthday! He was pretty tickled. We also shared this little poem with the custom onesie to Announce with the family.

I do not have a face to see,
Or put inside a frame.
I do not have soft cheeks to kiss,
I don’t yet have a name.
You can’t yet hold my tiny hands,
Nor whisper in my ear.
It’s still too soon to sing a song,
Or cuddle me so near.
But all will change come July
That’s when they say I’m due.
I’m your new grandson or granddaughter,
I can’t wait till I meet you.
All I ask between now and then,
Is your patience while I grow.
I promise I’ll be worth the wait,
Because of all the love we’ll know.
So what I have to give you now,
is a wish to you from me.
I cannot wait to be a part
Of this wonderful family.

Little did we know we really wouldn’t have too long until we met YOU!