No March Madness for the Percell’s

 

 

It’s amazing how much a child changes in one years time, especially Lilli. Babies learn and grow so much each and everyday. It’s a joy to watch and observe the magic. We love looking at older pictures of Lilli to see how far she’s come! She does not even look like the same baby! Lilli has multiplied her birth weight 15 times (15lbs 4oz), she’s more than double her length (26.7in) and her head has also almost doubled in size since birth (17in). Lilli’s growth curve is insane to look at, she’s in the 7 percentile (vs the 2% she’s been at) for her actual age now. She has surpassed any and all expectations anyone had set for her. We recently had her CDRC (child development and research center) visit at our local university who partners with OHSU for another re-evaluation on her progress and we are happy to announce she will never have to go back! She meets or exceeds all tests she was given! There is no concern for ANY delays for this micro preemie. We cannot thank and praise God enough for blessing her life with all the tools she would need to succeed. In fact Lilli exceeds her social skill ability than most full term 10 month olds so the occupational therapist told us we will have a chatterbox in our life. Watch out world! They told us they are always here for us if we have any future concerns but she doesn’t need to go back according to their standards regarding delayed development. She’s fine! Her vision and hearing is great, she has no lasting pulmonary, renal or heart issues. We are are so grateful! There are so many parents who have sick children and I couldn’t image what they go through. 75 hard NICU day’s seems like enough stress for a lifetime for us. It’s amazing looking back at our tiny baby who weighed less than a pineapple in an incubator fighting for life and facing the unknown that prematurity could mean for her. Well she’s kicked butt and is truly a tiny but mighty miracle warrior princess. Another last thing Lilli had to do this month is get her last monthly synagis (RSV) vaccine. She had 5 total shots and stayed clear of catching RSV thanks to our diligent hand washing and prayers. Having a baby get a monthly shot that increased in the amount and volume as she grew was hard! I wish I could have done it for her but she only became even more strong because of it each and every time.

 

Having a daughter/princess in our life is such a blessing. Girls are so much fun!!! Shopping is a blast but is dangerous on the wallet because there are so many cute outfits and accessories for girls. I always wanted a boy but girls really do rule the world. 😉 We got Lilli’s first Easter basket done and outfit all picked out for her first church outing, thank goodness flu season is getting better. It’s been a relatively smooth month for us, there’s no madness going on in our March! We’re excited it’s almost spring so we can be outdoors more as a family! My Mom is awesome and ordered Lilli’s first birthday outfit already since it will be right around the corner before we know it! 💜 We plan on doing a small cinco de mayo weekend party equipped with lots of yummy Mexican food and a smash cake! Lilli is going to have a blast! Lilli still hasn’t quite crawled forward yet but she likes to stand any chance she gets. I think she will be walking before she masters crawling honestly. Lilli constantly wants to be busy and keep moving! It’s exhausting! Lilli learns and does something new every single day and it’s such an honor to be her parents! What a fun and rewarding almost 11 months its been! 💕

Lilli’s 10 month update

  • Lilli loves brushing her teeth, fluoride drops 😬
  • She can hold her bottle but is a princess and likes you to do it for her 🍼
  • Red Hair growing quickly (can’t wait to do pony tails) 💁‍♀️❤️
  • Has the two cutest bottom teeth (loves to show you) 👶
  • Top teeth are almost poking through ❕
  • Loves kissing the cute baby in the mirror and her stuffed animals 😘
  • Grabs and feels anything and puts everything in her mouth 👄
  • Eats anything we give her with no complaints 😍
  • Her favorite food is officially anything that’s green (avocado, pickle, pears, apples, peas, green beans, zucchini, etc.) 🥒🥑🍏🍐🥦
  • Practices her ninja skills well 🥋
  • Likes peekaboo 🙈
  • Sippy cup pro 🥤
  • Grabs your cell phone any chance she gets 📱
  • Always gibbering and jabbering
  • Says some words (Ma, Dada, Yum) 🗣
  • Working on clapping 👏
  • Sits up all by herself like a big girl 💖
  • Loves holding your hands and taking steps “walking” 🚶‍♀️
  • Standing alone with object support for small amounts of time 💪
  • Takes a minimum of 2 naps a day now, still sleeps all night 😴
  • Looks at her kitties when you say where’s the kitty?! 😻
  • Loves jumping and being thrown up in the air (the higher the better) will Scream and giggle so loud and hardcore 😂
  • Very vocal (will have all kinds of voices like her Dad) 🤩
  • She finds diaper changes funny and makes gross noises and blows raspberries and screams at you during them 😝
  • Growls and can sound like a dinosaur real well 🦖
  • Claws you and herself way too good (no matter how often you trim her nails) 😫💅🏼
  • Has a hard right and left hook 🤜🤛
  • Studies everything new intensely 🤓
  • Loves being tickled and belly and neck raspberries (left side is ultra ticklish) 🤗
  • Snorts & sniffs and think it’s funny 😜
  • Had her first homemade chocolate chip cookie 🍪
  • Tried her first French fry 🍟
  • Tried a bite of pizza 🍕
  • Squeals and laughs at animals 🤣
  • Greatest expressions 🤪
  • Splish splashing fool in the bathtub 🛁
  • loves to snuggle and hold your hand 🤚
  • Can’t take things away from her, but will give you things when you ask 😭
  • Dancing and singing machine 💃🏻🎤
  • Climbing and rolling off of things 🤦‍♀️
  • Loves playing with plastic water bottles 💧
  • Copies a lot of what we do ♥️
  • Slams and drops toys/objects all over the place 💥

 

Advertisements

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. 😉
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.

IMG_9817

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! 🎀 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) 😂 From the looks of her growing so nicely she won’t need preemie sizes for much longer!

D32F27B0-9EF6-4376-8BE5-6E1288FD41F3💕 (Pretty In Pink!) 💕

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! 😉👌 Watch out Wonder Woman, you’ve got nothing on little Miss Lil! 💪

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

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!) 💜

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! I want to be able to spend everyday & all day with her! She’s just so dang precious! 💕

IMG_9824(Smiley girl and her OG baby hat – photo cred goes to her Daddy!) 💗📸

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! 😉 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!

IMG_8760.JPG

I thought it was interesting to see these posters on the wall of the exam room at my check 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! 💕
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. 😜
My milk is best for Lilli to grow big and strong! 💪🍼 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. 👌

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!) 😉👑 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! 😍💅🏼

IMG_8494

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!) 🐤💚🏈💛 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.

IMG_8657.PNG

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 be 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! 👨‍👩‍👧

IMG_8607.PNGFirst kangaroo time for Daddy Garry! 😍 Only took 6 days and lots of phototherapy to get to this point. She’s already got him wrapped around her little fingers! ☝️💞

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! 🙏

IMG_8954.JPGMicro Diaper!

I was thinking lately about having a May baby and not a July baby like originally predicted. I just discovered how 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!” 🌧🌸

IMG_8614
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! 🍭
❤️💗💜💙💚💛

553AB71B-B260-4E92-A3DE-81FF70C2CF30.jpg