Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Growing slow and steady

Last Friday Whitney was at the doctor for her 2 month shots and overall check-up. She weighed in at 9 lbs 3 ounces and was 22 inches long. The doctor was once again pleased with her progress and development. She has now increased her bottle to 5 ounces every 4 hours which seems to keep her more content. It is truly amazing to think that at one point we were worried about her not being able to suck and swallow and now she is drinking so strongly. Also amazing we didn't think she would cry, well she DEFINITELY knows how to cry now. I knew I should have enjoyed that quiet time more!

The shots went really well and just as I suspected both Whitney and I took them like champs. I guess seeing her with all the tubes and wires desensitised both of us, she let out a cry both times when she was being pricked with the needle, but was quickly calmed by her pacifier. She also didn't have any reactions and didn't even need baby Tylenol or any other calming medication. She gets to stay clear of the pediatrician for another month, but can stop in to get weighed if we want.

The next big appointment is next week when she will have her follow-up MRI done. I have such mixed feelings about this appointment. Obviously I want to know what the test will show, but on the other hand, its not like we can change the results. At this point we are so happy Whitney has blessed us and is here with us I can't imagine our life without her, regardless of the results. I am taking the advise of many who say to just enjoy each day with her and enjoy her for who she is at the moment. She really is doing SO GOOD right now, acting like other 2 month olds that I can't complain. We also tried putting Whitney in the Bumbo last night, but we were a little early. She could only keep her head up for a few seconds then it flopped down again. It was long enough though for me to get a picture, although she doesnt look too thrilled her. She is thrilled to be watching her mobile though, she loves listening and watching it go around and around.

On a complete side note, we survived Hurricane Irene. We did see wind and rain, but nothing like the devistation to the north of us. We made sure to have water, formula and dog food for our babies and figured Andy and I could live off of "stored fat" for awhile. Luckily we never lost power, and only had a few broken tree branches.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy 2 month birthday Whitney!

Today is Whitney's 2 month birthday ~ Happy Birthday baby girl White! I received a funny email from my Mom this morning wishing her a happy birthday and her hopes for her to drink as much milk as she desires. teeheehee.

I'm a little late updating this, but Andy, Whitney and I went to Florence last Thursday to meet with the physical therapists. We had a really great meeting with them and they thought Whitney looked really good. They laid her down on some mats and started doing some exercises and stretches with her. Once again, I wasn't completely sure what they were checking for, but whatever it was they liked what they saw, they said they don't need to see her until she is 6 months old. Her muscle tone and movements look good thus far.

We were all so happy for her and the strength that she is showing. They requested we keep doing "tummy time" with her, as it will only help strengthen her neck and arms and we are also to keep working on some exercises we received when we were discharged from the hospital. These "exercises" are nothing terribly hard, and seem like something any newborn should be doing so we really don't mind working with her on them and I'm sure in time she will just think of them as games we play rather than exercises we are doing. I cannot say how excited I am at such great news we have gotten this past week. Between the infant neurologist and the therapists I am thanking God constantly. I know she may have a rough road ahead of her, but for now she is doing so well and we are learning to live in the moment and enjoying all her little milestones and not taking ANYTHING for granted.

On Friday, she has her 2 month shots scheduled so I'm excited to see how much weight she has gained and see how she does with the shots. I've seen her get pricked, poked and prodded so much she will probably SLEEP through the shots (probably not, but hey, wishful thinking) but at least it will be a little less heartbreaking for Mom, I've seen her through much worse.

Oh yes and one more thing, we went to Charlotte this weekend for a friends wedding and on Sunday night when we got back to the house we decided to start putting her in her crib in the nursery, rather than the playpen in our room. She's done great so far (sleeping about 5-6 hours at night) and I really like having her use the nursery. She also did really good traveling to Charlotte. We were able to introduce her to some of my clients for work and she got to see some of our friends at the wedding as well. I was really proud of myself for not overpacking or under packing for our first 2 night overnight trip with her, all went pretty smooth, and LOTS of sleeping for her in the car.

Here are her 2 month old pictures and "milestones" for those of you who don't know, you can double click on the picture and it will enlarge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Patience and Hope, the life of this Mom

Today Whitney had her first follow-up appointment in Florence with the infant neurologist. As you know, I have have voiced my concerns and nervousness for this appointment. I actually ended up calling yesterday to find out if they were going to run an MRI on her brain, or was this meeting just a scheduled check-up. They advised there was no MRI scheduled, so that put my mind at ease for a night at least.

When Dr. Murthy met with her, he was very pleased with how she looked. He did a series of reflex tests, I'm not quite certain WHAT he was looking for or testing, but whatever it was he was happy with the results. He said from what he could see today she looks very good. He scheduled an MRI for early September and suspects it should be "normal" (shudder...I HATE that word). Each MRI gets progressively  better and based off of how she looks and is reacting he would think this one should follow suit and be even better.
Regardless, this was the best possible news we could have heard. He explained once again, how infants brains can repair itself from early injury, and he suspects the cooling treatment worked properly which allowed just that, the brain to repair.
I of course, am still worried and will just WAIT (once again) for the test and results. I do feel confident though that they should be positive. Whitney is doing so well. She is alert and strong. She's responsive and learning new things every day, I have so much faith in her to do great things, she is already amazing us in so many ways.

After the doctor appointment I swung on by the NICU to show Whitney off to some of the nurses that took care of her. It was a very surreal moment for me walking through the halls of the NICU, something I will probably never be able to shake. All the emotions I was feeling is just too much to write about, but I can say I was so proud to be walking in there WITH my baby girl and not going there to visit her. I saw people in the waiting room and parents walking out. I know that feeling and what they are going through. The struggles and the fears and the questions. But this time I was the face of hope. When the nurses were ohh'ing and ahhh'ing over her, I saw parent's faces peek around the corner and give a little smile, for they got to see a bit of hope too. And when you are in the NICU, that is all you want, hope. You hope for the little things, little milestones. With the help of the nurses, friends, family and God, they gave Whitney hope for a brighter future. She is here now with a purpose and we are feeling oh so blessed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Growing bigger and bigger and WI-FI too!

The pediatrician's appointment on Friday went as good as it could. Whitney gained 14 ounces in 14 days, which the Doctor was really happy about, she now weighs 8 pounds 14 ounces. He continues to relish in her strength and is very proud of her growth and development. He added once again that she looks like any other newborns who are 7 weeks old and really only time will tell what her outcome will be. At age 2, 3 and 4 is where we will really see if there are disabilities. Ahhh patience.
We also got the clearance for her to stop using her monitor, she is COMPLETELY cord free. The monitor thankfully never went off due to her heart or lung failure, but it really was a good piece of mind for us though. We are extremely happy to have this disconnected and put away in the corner though.

This is a big week for us, for I will be traveling to Florence on Tuesday with Whitney for the neurologist appointment and then Andy has off Thursday and all three of us will be going back to Florence for a physical therapy meeting. Please keep the prayers coming for this long journey.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Busy week

The past two weeks have been very busy with Grandma "JuJu" (Andy's Mom) in town. She headed back to Wisconsin on Tuesday morning, but left with many memories. While she was in town it allowed me to run some errands, see some friends and even have a night out with our friends who came to visit. Thank you again so much Julie for all the help!

Whitney continues to do very well. She is eating four ounces every four hours and is still sleeping a good amount. She also is getting so much more alert and focused. When she is awake she enjoys playing both on her back and tummy. I just got her some wrist rattles yesterday and it's fun to see her discovering them and the sounds she can make.
We have an appointment with the infant neurologist next week Tuesday. We are not sure yet if they will do a brain scan on her on Tuesday or if he will just write up the orders to have one done a different day. It would be great if they could do it all on one day. I am so nervous for this scan I can hardly take it. The good news is we have had enough time now to process and accept all that has happened. Whitney is a miracle just being here with us and we will continue to love her no matter what the outcome. I hate to keep reverting back to the bracelets we received, but "Strength, one day at a time" is so very true.

She has started to smile more and more each day which is so fun to watch.
 Last night was a really special moment for our family, all our visitors have left for awhile and it was just Andy, myself and Whitney. We were putting her to bed and reading some stories to her when she unleashed some really great smiles. This is one of the first times Andy has seen her purposely smile and so many smiles at that! We laughed together and ALL smiled, what a great feeling and moment it was for me.

The time I get with Whitney right now is just so great. She is such a "cool" baby. And so to leave you with a little bit of fun, we just wanted to share a super fun picture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A star is born

Sunday night was a really special night for our small family, we made plans to go back to the Conway Hospital and have Whitney "meet" some of the nurses that helped her.

Since she was whisked away the night she was born and taken to Florence NICU, most of the nurses did not get a chance to see her or meet her. Most probably had a horrible vision in their head and it was important and exciting for us to bring her back and show them how their hard work paid off. It was also a chance for me to see some of the nurses who helped me through the difficult few days after Whitney was born.

Gina, the nurse holding Whitney was my nurse during my recovery. She was so kind and wonderful and shared many uplifting stories to keep me positive. She is the mother of a friend of ours, who always told us what a great nurse she was, so it was extra special that she was assigned to me. She was one of the many blessings that happened to us at Conway Medical.

Katie, on the far right, worked on resuscitating Whitney immediately after birth. We were told she was the nurse that first heard Whitney's heartbeat. It was quite emotional for us to meet her and her to meet Whitney. The words "Thank You" hardly seem right to say to someone like her. Someone who is responsible for saving your babies life. Someone who was with her from the start and DID NOT give up on her. Someone who KNEW this little girl was destined for great things. Unbelievable. This past month has truly been a month of emotions and disbelief.

Conway Medical also has a beautiful mural on the wall with personalized stars that you can purchase (proceeds go to the nursery) in which you can have engraved with your child's name and birthday on. We didn't get a large photo of the mural, once the star is there we will take another one, but we reserved a star for Whitney and can't wait for it to come in. We picked a star right in between the trunk and leaves of a palm tree, a perfect place. For some reason I can't figure out how to make our vertical pictures show up vertical on the blog, so use your imagination for the photo below.
A star is born!