April Showers Bring May Flowers

I always thought the phrase “April Showers Bring May flowers” was a silly one mostly because growing up I was ready for sunshine and was over the Oregon rain and didn’t want to wait for the weather to improve for a whole month! Who am I kidding nice weather doesn’t hit Oregon until July. In all seriousness the phrase now has an entirely different meaning to us because reality last year was that the April Showers and bad news clouded the month and by May our forever joy and sunshine arrived and we got our most colorful Lilli bug in early May 2017! I can’t believe a year ago I was incredibly swollen that it hurt to walk up stairs, my shoes didn’t even fit and I carried so much water weight and had sky rocketing blood pressure. I was officially diagnosed with preeclampsia admitted and lying in an ICU labor and delivery room/hospital bed being closely monitored and facing the complete unknown on if my health or the baby’s health was going to turn out ok. Well look at us almost a year later just thriving!!! Thank you Jesus and for all of the thoughts and prayers we receive! 🙏

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Lilli has been doing great this month! Other than a first little cold she got then gave to me that was way worse for me which I’m honestly glad for. Lilli had many firsts over the last month. She had her first trip to the Oregon Coast, first Easter and first trip to Costco! We are also busy preparing and prepping for her first birthday party which is this upcoming week! I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact our micro preemie miracle is so close to being a little toddler!!! Time seriously flew by, you just blink and babies are now big kids! Time is such a funny thing, as a child it seems to move slower compared to how fast it feels like it moves as a busy adult. 🤔

Lilli still isn’t walking but her early childhood intervention teacher thinks if we work diligently with Lilli she could be walking shortly, in a few weeks even. She’s standing well just has to get more steady to take her first steps alone. I mean that’s amazing considering she is technically 9 months adjusted. Early childhood intervention also mentions that once Lilli Starts to walk and talks even better she will be DNQ (does not qualify) from early childhood intervention and will be considered caught up milestone wise! Lilli is a rock star and know she is destined to do big things in her lifetime, even if she started out very small!

Garry and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary together by having our first date night out with dinner and a movie completely baby-less. It was nice to get out just the two of us but we missed Lilli. She is such a small being but a big piece of us now, couldn’t imagine life without her, we would be so incomplete! I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful she has only thrived with no real set backs since making her appearance almost a year ago. I’m proud of ourselves for reaching our own milestones of a decade together and surviving the first year with a new baby. That first year with a baby especially a micro preemie like in our situation will either make you or break you as a couple. You literally only have each other to relate to and you have to leave your hope and faith in the Lord and doctors and nurses and losing control of that first time protection with a tiny preemie newborn is so hard! We did it! It wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy. I’m pretty sure I have many grey hairs now going through this journey so far! & What a joy it’s been to watch her journey unfold! 💞

Lilli’s 11 Month Update

  • Has 4 teeth (2 top front and 2 bottom front, cutest smile ever) 😬
  • More teeth on the way! 😖
  • Sleeps all night and wakes up everyday at 7am ⏰
  • Still fits in infant car seat but near 20 lbs now 💕
  • Blows some crazy big mouth bubbles 💦
  • Sippy cup master (necessity for the car) 🥤
  • Signals when she’s hungry 😋
  • Loves shredded cheese 🧀
  • Loves peanut butter 🥜
  • Has a Potato salad obsession 🥔
  • Loves Yogurt 🥛
  • Loves her snacks 💜
  • Loves goldfish crackers 🐠
  • Loves Ranch baby puffs 💙
  • Loves rice 🍚
  • First cold virus for Mom and Baby 🤒
  • Pulls herself up to stand from sitting 💪
  • Can stand up on her own without help for a good period of time 🚶‍♀️
  • Waves like a princess 👋👑
  • Working on clapping but she will clap on your hand 👏
  • Climbs daddy, mommy, grandma mountain ⛰
  • Makes kissing sounds with mouth 💋
  • Says Mama, dada, baby, yeah, yum almost says uh oh (says mama non stop) 🗣
  • Crawling better and better 🚼
  • Crawls all over you and the bed/pack n play aka pig pen 🐷
  • Plays with moms belly button ring 💍
  • Takes steps well for long distance with help 🏃‍♀️
  • Played with pots and pans for the first time 🍳
  • Does the zombie baby trick her dada taught (Video posted below) 🧟‍♀️
  • Demands to eat what you have 🤤
  • Loves ripping up grass 🌾
  • Loves Tearing things off the fridge 🤦‍♀️
  • Loves watching family feud 📺
  • Watched Moana for the first time 🌊
  • Sits straight up when she wakes up 😳
  • Throws things for you to pick up 🤽‍♀️
  • Loves putting things she isn’t supposed to in her mouth like phone charger cables 📲
  • Took first trip to Costco loved looking up at the big fans on the ceiling 🏦
  • Unbuckles her self from her bouncer and chair 😱
  • Plays the where’s Lilli game with her blanket the best 🙈
  • Tried a cupcake and wasn’t a fan 🍰
  • Ticklish on her neck, back and back of thighs, mostly on left side 🤗
  • Sticks her tongue out at you 😛
  • Tugs at your pants when in walker ✋
  • Kicks her feet when she 💩
  • She thinks it’s hilarious when you snort 🐽
  • She is a dare devil and is standing up on everything 😈
  • Gives the best saddest pouty lip 👄
  • Thinks it’s funny when you blow your nose 👃
  • Being held is still her favorite ❤️

 

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Half A Year

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It feels like just yesterday that Lilliann was born but also feels like an eternity since she spent time in the NICU. She’s meant to be home and that’s where she is happiest! It’s been 6 whole months since she blessed earth with her presence and the world is a brighter place because of it. We couldn’t imagine life without her! She steals the hearts of everyone she meets and we just love her to pieces! A year ago I found out we were pregnant with our blessing so it just blows my mind she’s been alive for over half a year already! Blink your eyes and they grow up! November is prematurity awareness month. I never noticed before but prematurity is discussed in television quite a bit. One of my favorite shows growing up “Rugrats” has a preemie baby by the name of Tommy Pickles on it.

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If you told me a year ago our tiny premature baby would teach us so much in her short life I would tell you you’re crazy. Having a premature baby teaches you patience, endless love, strength, faith, hope and courage. These tiny babies are the true hero’s fighting for life everyday. They have such resilience! Lilli is weighing in at 11lbs 7oz when she was checked last! 💪 She’s come a long way since birth, only baby we know almost 12x her birth weight at this age.

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I’ll be trying to post an update on a monthly basis. October was a busy month! With Work, Halloween, appointments and lots of snuggling! We’ve also tried oatmeal and banana for the first time with Lilli and it went pretty smooth but for now we just feed her oatmeal in her bottle. She loves it, and the cats love cleaning up after her food messes! She even helps hold her bottle sometimes…

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When you start feeding real food and oh boy do baby’s get messier and stinkier so she gets a bath every other day. She loves bath time! Lilli giggles lots when she splashes us especially! We met with an early childhood intervention pediatrician, occupational therapist and physical therapist who are amazed at how well Lilli is doing! She won’t need to be seen by them for a while! We still meet with an educational therapist twice a month who sees no delays with Lilli’s development so far! 🙏  She is reaching milestones for 3 and 6 month olds. We also got her eyes checked again by the specialist and she is right where she should be for her age and won’t need to be checked again for 9 months! This appointment was much less invasive than the last appointment thank goodness! Lilli also had her first dose of synagis which is a vaccine that gives her anti-bodies to RSV which is just usually a cold for adults or full term babies but for preemies it’s deadly and if contracted almost always results in hospitalization and well we spent 75 long days already with her there and never want to go back. Lilli will have her 6 month check up this week. She will have her 6 month vaccines and lab work to check her hormone levels. We’re hoping they can split up her shots so she doesn’t receive such a heavy “cocktail” at once, since last time resulted in a high fever and an ER visit so we will see what her pediatrician suggests. 👩‍⚕️🤔

Lilli’s 6 month update

  • Giggling harder 😂
  • Blue eyed red head cutie 💙❤️
  • Still drooling a lot 🤤
  • Growing into size 2 diapers 💪
  • Loves to eat new things 😋
  • Major thumb sucker 👍
  • Still enjoys family walks if weather is nice ☀️🌞
  • Blows raspberries, chatty and mimics you 💋
  • Loves standing and dancing with Daddy 💃🏻
  • Rolling a little from tummy to back and back to side 🙌
  • Fights her sleep hard but sleeps at least 7 hours if not more every night 😴
  • loves to wake up and eat then have her morning nap 🍼
  • Found her toes and pulls her socks off 🧦👣
  • Now likes her binky if she is extra tired 💗
  • Likes to play in her walker and jumperoo 🐵
  • Plays with her toys & light up ball 🚨
  • Loves her Sophie giraffe teether toy, it goes everywhere with her 🦒
  • Playing with her kitties & getting head kisses from her little fur brother PJ 😻
  • Loves to be called beautiful or pretty and I love you, she will smile like crazy 😍
  • Umbilical hernia is completely gone 🙏
  • Fitting snug in 0-3 month clothes and perfect in 3-6 month 😫
  • We have too much fun playing dress up but her Dad doesn’t like all of her bows 🙄🎀
  • Lilli loves her ducks! 🦆💚🏈💛

Lilliann loves to be outside especially staying active with her Daddy! He helps get all of her energy out, so she sleeps well for us at night. It was nice to enjoy the outdoors as a family since the weather WAS cooperating! We aren’t looking forward to the cold months ahead where we will stay isolated at home away from all of the germs that come along with the season! 🌧☃️❄️

As Lilli gets older the less she looks like her dads twin and more of a perfect mix of the two of us! She is just beyond perfect for all the odds that we’re against her. She exceeds our expectations day after day. I may be biased but she is the cutest, smartest, happiest baby I’ve ever met. I love that she isn’t as needy as we were warned preemies could be. She’s truly a miracle baby! 🙏👼

(Lilli compared to Momma & Daddy, Lilli and I were wearing the same knitted outfit 27 years apart)

We had a fun Halloween and look forward to eating our little hearts out for Thanksgiving! (Our favorite holiday) Can’t wait to feed Lilli mashed potatoes for the first time! We also have a lot to be thankful for this year! 💕

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!

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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! 😍💅🏼

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

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All of the doctors and nurses in the NICU love Lilliann and her feistiness (she gets it from her mama) but how could you not love that precious little peanut?!
NICU rules and adjustment has been as smooth as we could hope it would be. It’s not an ideal situation any parent wants to be in. We get one hold for usually a half-hour every 24 hours while she is still so little.
The first 2 weeks of life for a borderline extreme preemie are critical! There can 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! 🙏

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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!” 🌧🌸

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The symbolization of Mays birth flower is happiness, humility and sweetness. Perfect symbols of our current situation. We are so incredibly HAPPY for our daughter and our health. We are definitely more HUMBLE thanks to the current events that have taken place over the last few weeks. And sweetness because well of course Lillianns SWEET temperament or the fact she loved sweets while growing in the womb. I am positive that she will have a bad sweet tooth just like her Daddy! 🍭
❤️💗💜💙💚💛

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