Friday, October 21, 2011

Flash Back Friday

The return of Flash Back Friday...

Billie the day we brought her home...

And here is Harper...

Wearing the SAME OUTFIT, 10 years later!

Isn't that great?! I am so glad I saved the outfit I brought Billie home in. Billie was newborn and almost exactly the same size as Harper is at almost 6 months old. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. Harper seems so big now, and her size is so normal to us, but she should really be much bigger. She is over 8 pounds now, I don't know exactly what she weighs because we haven't had to take her to the doctor this week! That's right, not one doctor visit this week, at all! Of course, we will make up for it next week when she has 5 different appointments, but it has been nice to give her a whole week off. She doesn't mind going to the doctor, really. It's not like they stick her every time, or give her shots every time. But this week she will have shots for her 6 month check up, plus a heal prick and she hates the eye doctor and she has to see the retina specialist and the pediatric optometrist this week. We also will see the apnea/synagis and she will get her first RSV vaccination soon and we visit the physical/occupational therapist this week, too. So, it is a busy week coming up and we have enjoyed the week off.
All of these visits are really just routine, though, and just so that everyone can keep a watchful eye on our growing girl. She is doing excellent! As you can see from the picture, she may be the size of a newborn but she does not act like a newborn at all. She is very vocal now, laughing and cooing at us and at her mobile. She holds her head up so good, too. She has discovered her hands and loves to "chew" on them all of the time. She actually prefers her hands to the paci when she is awake. We are just so blessed. She is our little miracle. I looked back yesterday at pictures from the day she was born and was just awestruck at how far she has come. She is so strong and brave and I am humbled at what the Lord has done for her and for us. I can't imagine our family without her now, and I am so thankful for every minute of my life. I my have had some hard minutes, but they were worth it to get to this.
Billie is doing great in school. I met with her teachers this week for parent/teacher conferences and they just love her and sing her praises. Her report card comes home today, but I already know she made second honors, and almost first! She was so close to straight A's! Maybe next time. She says that is her goal, to make straight A's, and she is so close. I know she can do it. She is a very good student and a very hard worker. I will keep you posted on that front as the year progresses. She loves her sister and is so sweet with Harper. Harper just adores Billie, too, of course. Billie is so caring and tender with her sister. I know I have said it before, but I would not have planned to have my girls 10 years apart, but it really has worked out just fine. I think they are growing closer every day and I think that will continue to the rest of their lives. I pray they are always close and special in each others lives.
Harper is waking up, so I must go. I wanted to tell you about Harper "talking" to the picture of her brothers but that will have to wait until next time! I hope to get a video of it, so maybe that will be over the weekend while Matt is home to help me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Every Smile and Ounce Count

I am so sorry it has been so long since my last post. I totally mean to blog every day, even "write" entries in my head as I try to fall asleep, pump, or pace the floors with Harper and somehow the day gets by me and no blog has actually been completed. So to make up for it, I included a sweet video of Harper talking to me. She is all smiles whenever she wakes up, and loves to stretch her vocal chords with sweet coos. Those smiles are the most rewarding and uplifting sights to my eyes, and the sounds are the sweetest to my ears. I just have to reflect on how far Harper has come since April 23! She was so tiny and sick when she was born, and look at her now! You have to see the amazing way the Lord works when you see her talk and smile. God is so good and has been so good to me.
Yesterday when I picked Billie up from school we had to take something to Matt at work and the whole drive out there, which is about 25 minutes, she talked to Billie and smiled at her. It was the sweetest thing in the world to listen to my 10 year old talk baby talk to her sister. Billie has got to be the best big sister in the history of big sisters! She always puts Harper first - always, no questions asked, no whining, no complaining and even with a joyful heart! If I had not been driving I would have taken video of it to keep forever and to share with you, too. You will have to take my word for it, but it was a beautiful sight to behold. I would not have planned to have children ten years apart, but God is blessing me so much through this experience. Billie is so mature and amazing, but she doesn't try to mother Harper, either. We have all just put these new "hats" on in our family and they all fit superb and are so comfy, too. Billie just naturally loves her sister to pieces and appreciates the little strides Harper makes. Billie gets so excited to receive a smile or a coo from her sister, and she treasures every second she gets to spend with her, too. I just can't tell you how blessed I am to see my daughters together. They each are so strong and amazing, and the two together are just enough to make my heart completely burst with gladness.
To get to the "ounce" part of my blog title, Harper is gaining weight! Yes, it may be ounces - but put every ounce together and they add up to POUNDS! 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces, to be exact! She is doing so great! She has really taken off on eating this week, too. Just last week, 40 mL (just over 1 ounce) was an average meal for her, and this week her smallest meal is 70 mL - almost double - and her big meal of the day is 95mL (over 3 ounces!) With that big jump she isn't spitting up, either. We no longer have to force feed this sweet baby, she gobbles it up all on her own. Dr. Greg said after she hit 7 pounds everything would get better and it sure has! Since he was so right about this, and everything else so far, too, when he tells me not to worry about her hernia or if she might have CP, I am going to listen to him. Harper has such an amazing team of doctors and nurses working for her future and watching over her, I am just trying to love her and nurture her and let all of them worry about the serious stuff. I say that and I mean that this morning, but I do admit that I may have moments of weakness in the future when I worry about some of it again. But "when I am weak, then I am strong," 2 Corinthians 12:10 is always on my mind and it helps me to remember God is perfect in my weakness and He has this. All of this. He always has and He always will. God is so good that He keeps giving me more chances, too! So back to how everything has gotten better, Harper is now sleeping so good. She is still in her pac 'n play, but that is fine with us. I still put her in her crib during the day to play and try to get more used to it. I think it is just still too big for her, she likes to be in a little cocoon all snug and safe. She sleeps 4 to 6 hours at night, and I think some nights she would sleep right on through if I let her, but until she is 8 pounds we will not be letting her go that long with out a meal. Usually she goes 4 hours for the first feeding and then back to 3 hours for the rest, but last night she went a full 6 hours! She usually goes right back to sleep after she eats, too. She has has a few bad nights sprinkled in there, too, where she just doesn't want to sleep and all she wants to do is eat. I have noticed that I can predict if she will have a fussy day by the kind of night she has. If she sleeps good at night, she has a great day with lots of long naps and she eats good, too. If she is up all night, she has a terrible day needing to be held all day and eating only small, frequent meals.
She has started getting fussy every night for about an hour, usually between 5 pm and 9 pm. Sometimes it lasts up to three hours, but usually I can figure out something to fix it and it is always because she is over tired. I guess that is colic, right? Billie did the same thing and it resolved when she was three months old. Harper's corrected age is two months and she really seems like a two month old baby. The changes and strides she has made tells me she is going to be OK. I am sure she will "catch up" eventually and we will one day say "can you believe she was even a preemie?" Since she was born I have heard wonderful stories of other preemies that are now in college and are so smart and so successful and you would never know they were preemies. In fact, my own sweet cousin, Kelly Wells, is one of those preemies! I had no idea until Harper was born that Kelly was a preemie, either! Born around the same gestation as Harper, too. She spent 4 to 6 months in the NICU, and now she is a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)! How cool is that?
Every ounce counts, and Harper is gaining 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce a day! She is just a little miracle, and I can't wait to see how the Lord uses her. We are so blessed and so happy!
To update you on Addison - she had her shunt placed this week. She has been doing pretty good, considering the seriousness of the surgery. She came off the ventilator a few days after surgery and is breathing good on her own. They are now just praying that there will not be any infection. They do have her back on NJ feeds, and Rachel said she is spitting up some. She was very swollen still from the surgery since last I heard from Rachel, but it was getting better. Her eyes remained stable, but she does have Stage 3 ROP with a little Plus disease in one eye, so she remains at risk for eye surgery. Please continue to pray for this sweet family. They have been through so much and have a long road ahead of them. The shunt surgery was a big step on the road home, though. The shunt is permanent and will require additional surgeries as she grows and will always be at risk for infection or failure.
Milly is doing really good! She is over 11 pounds now! We will get to see them on Halloween when both girls have a doctor appointment at the same office. I can't wait to see them. I made such sweet, life-long friends in the NICU. I am so thankful for Rachel and Jenny and that our girls will all have each other.
We have big things happening this month so I will try to update more often. Until then, thank you for your continued love and support!