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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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)

Where Does Time Go

I seriously can’t believe that we’re almost half way through the year?! Where has 2017 gone?! This time last year we were in full wedding planning mode! My oh my can a lot happen and change in one years time?! If we thought time was flying before, we had no idea how fast it would soar once Lilli was born! Time is just slipping away from us most days! We knew my pregnancy was going by quick but now she will be walking and back talking before we know it! πŸ˜‰ We can totally wait on that to happen, we really don’t want to rush anything! We’re enjoying each day as much as we can! We are so glad that Lilliann won’t remember any of this NICU phase. She will only remember it by the pictures we will show her. We are going to raise her to remember how fragile and precious life really is. This will all be behind us and just a memory for us all one day.

Guess what was in the local weekend newspaper?!

Lilliann’s Birth Announcement!

IMG_9180.JPGOnly girl born that day @ Sacred Heart! (Well that was at least announced)
πŸ’•πŸŽ€πŸ’— #Girlpower #prettyprincess #babyfighter #lilwarrior #tinybutmighty

Last night Lilli and Daddy got some long kangaroo time/cuddles and kisses in. It just melts my heart to see their bond already growing strong! He cherishes her and she has him wrapped around her little fingers already! He is also so protective already! (when he found out we were having a girl he had to buy another powerful gun to add to the collection right away) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰ She will definitely be a Daddies girl! He loves to talk to her and sing her little songs and can’t wait to act out her story time with all of his many crazy different voices he can do! She will love it and him so very much! Can’t wait to see their love keep growing!

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After he finished holding his princess, Lilli was making the cutest yet funniest grunts we have ever heard! (You can’t even get mad at the fussiness) The nurse said she sounded like a baby goat, I chimed in and said those grunting sounds she makes remind me more of a Mad TV sketch/character. When Mo Collins plays as Lorraine Swanson. YouTube it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ll get a good laugh. πŸ˜‚ She is going to be our little comedian! πŸ‘Œ We just love every little thing about that nugget of ours! She is our universe and our everything! We wouldn’t trade her for the world. I was so scared to bring her into this dark and crazy place, just watching the news gives me anxiety! We will raise her right though so she can be a positive light in the world, it really needs it! ❀️🌎

Lilliann is still doing great and gaining weight and not needing as much oxygen! Keep on growing little lady! I like simple easy daily updates! πŸ‘ŒπŸ’•

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Look at all of that cute soft furry shoulder hair! Those forehead wrinkles, expressive eyebrows and soft squishy lips…πŸ€€πŸ‘Œ
πŸ˜˜πŸ’—πŸ‘Ό
P.S. Don’t mind her feeding tube by her head. Oh boy, we can’t wait for all of the tubes and wires to be gone! And pick her up as we please. That poor medical tape on her face is really blocking some of her beauty! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ’œπŸ’