Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

This is what we live for every day....our beautiful children! Sneak pick of Christmas pics!!

The most precious smile ever! She was awake too but I snapped the pic when her eyes were closed!
Happy Thanksgiving! It is hard to believe also that 5 months ago today our little girl was born. WOW....the past 5 months have really flown by. When we think about everything the past 5 months has brought our way it is just almost surreal to sit back and remember everything that has happened, everything we have been thru and amazing to think that it is our love for our children and each other that has pulled us thru.
This year our family has many things to be thankful for. Foremost we are thankful that today our family was able to spend the whole day together, away from hospitals, doctors etc. Our children were able to relax and we as parents were able to enjoy every single minute of them, all day long. Our family has been very fortunate this year with the surprise birth of our precious daughter, Danielle. She came in to our lives a surprise and we could not be happier to have her as our daughter and to have another child warming our hearts daily. Danielle, as Dylan is also, is a miracle baby to us. She has been through many things in her little life that most people never go thru in a lifetime. Her amazing strength has gotten her thru everything and our belief in her and her belief in herself is truly showing as wonderful as she is growing, and thriving, especially now it is even more noticeable with her being at home.
The lord has blessed our family in numerous ways. We are so very thankful for our 3 beautiful children, it is truly a testament to our love for each other as we look at our children every day. What a wonderful gift we have been given, the symbol of our love, our beautiful sons and our daughter. It is so rewarding being a parent, and truly it is so amazing to think about how our children were created and chosen for us and now we have the wonderful gift of being able to raise them into the amazing people they will become.
We hope that your Thanksgiving has been filled with family, and memories, especially of the wonderful times that were spent with those you love that you were not able to be with today. We are very thankful for our first son Dalton, he was and always will be our first child, our first love. He is the one who gets us thru every day when trying times arise. It is Dalton who helped Brad and I become the strongest couple we ever thought we could be, united together he made us realize how strong we have to be for our children. We have really realized over the past 4 years that no matter the trials and tribulations that come your way, it is your love for each other and gods love for you that will get you thru anything. We hold this very close to our hearts.
We are very thankful for the gift of family. Thank you for blessing our family, keeping us strong, keeping us believing and never giving up and helping us become the united family that we are today.~

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy week....

Danielle had a busy week last week. We had 2 trips to the doctor's office. Dylan has had a nasty cold for about 3 weeks that turned in to Pneumonia and we were very concerned about Danielle catching something also. Even though Dylan is at daycare during the day and we wash our hands like still never know. Danielle has had a dry cough since before she came home from the hospital. Well Tuesday we woke up and Brad went to get her out of her bassinet to feed her and she barely moved. We could pick up her arms and legs and move them and she would not even blink an eye, where as usually she would fight back a bit. She was very, very pale and we couldn't get her to wake up, eat or anything. So I got her into see the doctor and they also had us turn up her oxygen to .75 before the appt to ensure she was getting enough oxygen. She had a pretty buggery nose but upon suctioning I was not getting many secretions, even with saline, but she sounded so buggery. So the doctor examined her and tested her sats. Her sats were fine on .75, she just was diagnosed with upper respiratory crud basically as her lungs were very clear. I also needed to make sure the doctor ok'd her to get her RSV shot on Thursday, so it was good we went in. So I kept her on .75 for 1 1/2 more days to ensure she was oxygenating. Well over that 1 1/2 days her cough got progressively worse. She was back to acting like herself but starting coughing up a lot of phlegm after feedings. So I had a gut feeling like I just thought I better get her back into the pediatrician. I also had the in home nurse check her out on Thursday because she came to give Danielle her RSV shot. She said her lungs were clear but best to get her checked out again. So Friday off we went and good thing because Danielle has......double ear infection. Poor little girl, I felt horrible for her, one of her ear drums was bulging, the same one as had ruptured when she was in the NICU. So this bought her 10 days of antibiotic. Good thing is that despite the nasty cough, it is all upper respiratory as her lungs still sounded clear. We are starting to do breathing treatments with her though to help keep the cough loose and anything from settling into her lungs. Today she spit up only 1 time, phlegm, and is eating much better, pretty much back to normal. We are still hesitant to feed her the whole 4 ounces at one sitting because we don't want her to spit up but today she wasn't having it, she wanted her food when she wanted it, which is great!
So tomorrow Danielle has another eye exam in Iowa City. We are praying for a great report. Danielle weighed 10 pounds 11 ounces on Friday. With her not eating much last week, the middle part of the week this slowed down her weight gain, but we are praying that now it starts creeping back up again!
Here is a pic of Danielle's precious face without any oxygen on! I had to take a pic before I put on her new canula after her bath today. Her face is just too precious to not get a picture without anything on.
We pray for a great, healthy week!~

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

*November is Premature babies awareness month*Checkup report & over 10 pounds....

Go Bears!

You'll have to excuse the messy living room, but this is a pic of both kids taking a weekend afternoon nap, rarely happens they sleep at the same time for weekend naps :)

Go Hawkeyes!

Danielle has had a few checkups this week. Yesterday mommy and daddy took Danielle to the University for her MRI and Neurosurgery 6 week post op follow-up. It is hard to believe that just over 6 weeks ago she had her shunt put in, was transferred to the University and just weighed 5 pounds! Now she is 10 pounds 2 ounces, home and doing great! Oh, how time can change things for the better!!

The MRI went good. They had us signed up for 'no sedation' which I was really hoping would be okay. They told us we could give her Tylenol before and a bottle so hopefully she would sleep. I opted for no Tylenol and did the bottle. It worked fine. We were able to stand right next to the machine while the MRI was taking place. We of course had ear plugs because if any of you have not experienced the noise from the MRI, it is insanely LOUD....they of course had 2 sets of ear plugs on Danielle. We had to take off her monitor for the MRI but she was still of course on oxygen, she was still able to be dressed in her clothes. It was pretty sad watching her little tiny self being slid into that huge tube. Thank goodness it only took 5 minutes and she was done. She was such a trooper and things went fine. We then had to wait for 2 hours to see the Neurosurgeon, originally they were going to have us see the nurse practitioner but I was not going for that. There is no way that I was going to have her checked by a nurse practitioner I wanted to see the doctor plus ask him any questions we had. After we finally got in to see the Resident doctor who assisted on the original surgery, they had to reprogram her shunt setting, because the magnet from the MRI threw off the setting. Well the Resident could not get it programmed, she tried 2 different magnets. Brad and I were sweating bullets and really worried because we had no idea what this meant. The Neurosurgeon finally came in and with no trouble at all got the shunt re-programmed, he actually took it back down to the inital setting she was at after surgery, taking out less fluid. Her ventricles looked good and they do not want to drain too much fluid so they changed the setting. We will have another MRI in December to re-check that the setting is accurate.
Today, Danielle had her Hip ultrasound. This went good also. They took ultrasound pics of her hips then the doctor came in and put stress on the hips and took more pics and he said from the preliminary report that things look pretty good.
So, tomorrow the in home nurse comes and Friday the Physical Therapist. So things are going great for Danielle. Since we got her started on medicine for the reflux she is eating so much more. Anywhere from 3-5 ounces every 2-4 hours. The only time she really cries, a full out cry is when she has a dirty diaper or when she is hungry. She will definitely let us know if we have not fed her enough! She is still sleeping great, and still in her bassinet in our room :)

So things are going great for Danielle. We are just so appreciative especially now of having both children at home and sleeping under the same roof every single night! It is such an awesome feeling. Last weekend we watched both the Hawkeyes and Bears games and both kids sported their appropriate 'team gear'. Daddy really enjoyed that, Dylan does 'touchdown' now and I am sure he will be soon teaching Danielle to do the same! Thank you lord for blessing our family, we sure do have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!~

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big week for Danielle....

Danielle's 1st Photo Shoot!

Danielle in her 1st Organic outfit w/ matching blanket!

Danielle has had a wonderful 2nd week home. The days just keep getting better and better being able to spend time with both of the kids at home!
On Monday we took Danielle in for her Upper GI test to see if she has Reflux. She indeed does. She had to drink the nasty Barium thru a bottle, I watched on the screen, the Barium go down her esophagus and into her tummy and down thru her small intestine. It was pretty amazing to be holding my baby and watching her 'insides' digest on the screen above me at the same time. The doctor was just behind the screen watching as well. The test did not show any blockage which is great news! He told me that her stomach, her small intestine and her esophagus look perfectly normal. But as I witnessed what we did see was that as soon as the Barium reached her stomach it refluxed strait back up her esophagus and to the back of her throat, she then swallowed it again. So this is a pretty strong amount of reflux she is having. She also did not aspirate which is very very good news. They put her on Prevacid 2 times per day and she will more than likely grow out of the reflux. She has not spit up at all since last weekend but we can tell that she is indeed still refluxing, she does not have to spit up to have reflux. The medicine we can tell has started to work but we will not see the full effects for a week or so.
Also, yesterday Danielle had 2 appointments in Iowa City for her eyes and High Risk Infant Follow-up with the Neonatologist. Both appointments went great! Her eyes look better yet, they continue to regress (get better). This is great news and her next eye exam will be in 3 weeks. Then she will be over 45 weeks gestation and they will more than likely stop the accute checks, meaning the checks every 1-3 weeks.
Her High Risk Followup went great. The feeding specialist came in and watched me give Danielle a bottle. He was SO amazed and kept commenting on what a different baby compared to when she was in the NICU. He never saw her eat as good as she did yesterday for him and she was never that awake for him either. She is really a totally different baby at home, thriving so much!She of course gobbled down all of her bottle for me, and her weight is showing she is really growing great. She weighs 9 pounds 15 ounces now!!! Just a hair away from 10 pounds. I told him I took out the NG tube 2 days after we came home because she had been eating so well, he was like 'yeah, I would say she is doing great'. She is eating anywhere from 3-5 ounces every 3-4 hours now and most of the time sleeping 5-7 hours at night. They were impressed. They took her off oxygen while she ate, she lasted over 10 minutes before her sats dropped to the low 90's, so oxygen will stick around for awhile longer. They also tried her down on .25 litre, she did great on this but her heart rate got up to around 160 and they put her back on .0 litre. They like her heart rate to stay below 160 in order to take her down to .25. This was a little irritating, because she was more active etc when her heartrate went up, but we are perfectly fine with where she is at now and we know how great she is doing and that is the most important thing.
Dr. Seager is who follows Danielle. He did not have her while she was in the NICU but he followed Dylan and we really like him a lot so we chose him again. He was so impressed with her. She was holding her head up for him some of the time and she was cooing a little bit as he was interacting with her. He is very happy with her overall growth, weight gain, length and development. After all she is only supposed to be 3 1/2 weeks old right now. For a 3 1/2 week old she is in the 90th percentile for height and weight! This is WONDERFUL news!!! This is of course her corrected age and what they go by until she is 2. So she will go back for another followup just before Christmas.
Next week we take Danielle in for her MRI and she also will have a Hip Ultrasound. The Hip ultrasound because she was born c-section and breech, the University does this for all babies born breech and /or C-section. She has not had this yet so we will have it done next week.
Also, here are some pics of Danielle's 4 month pics and her first photo shoot. We decided to get her pics taken last weekend when it was very warm outside and the first appointment of the day before all of the germs filled the studio for the day. She did great, towards the end she was fed up though, and the pics we are very happy with, she just looks like such a big girl. She is still tiny, we hold her on our shoulder and she still comes to about the middle of our chest, so still a little thing but growing stronger every day. That is all we can ask of our little bundle of joy!~