preemie bird's first christmas

christmas eve

with mommy, happy as can be on christmas eve.

look at how big she is!

(ok, so this was really taken about 2 weeks ago... but it's christmas-y, and she's wearing the same outfit.)

this was wren's first christmas... and it was loads of fun. we were snowed in at our house, so we didn't make it to the grandparent's in time for


another year, and a baby with skillz

we found out i was pregnant 1 year ago today! (amidst the throws of vomiting and the bleary eyed sickness of stomach virus.. came news of great joy!) here's a look back at that post:

our christmas present

on christmas eve we got the best present we could have imagined!
i'm pregnant. about 4 weeks along now.
we were both hopeful, but doubtful, since we had only tried for one


wren <3's echocardiograms....

i apologize for not knowing the technical terms in this post... hope you'll forgive me. i wanted to talk a little bit about wren's echo she had the other day.
it was a little scary. one of the qualifiers for continuing to wean her off the oxygen is the condition of her heart. the pulmonologist explained that when the lungs are damaged, as hers are, that it causes the heart to work extra hard to oxygenate the blood. (this is where i would normally insert the term here _________________) anyway, they had to check her heart and make sure it wasn't overly muscled up.. that it was pretty relaxed and doing it's thing without overworking.


developmental pediatrician

it was the appointment of the year.. much anticipated.. and here are the results:

*wren is beautiful
*she's doing great

that is what i had to promise to post on the blog. haha.. yes, i told the pediatrician about my blog, and asked her to write everything down so i could post it, and she wouldn't do it. she also made me promise


well.. as i've posted, wren got put on albuterol. after just a few days of giving her the treatments it became clear that that was not. an. option.

the first day it wasn't that bad.. that i noticed. but she didn't nap as she should have. the next day i made the mistake of giving a treatment at 930 at night. she was up until 330am!!! needless to say that was not a good night for momma. (especially since she's been sleeping thought the night for a month or so now.) the next day i realized that she wasn't really napping at all...and i called the pulmonologist. they have an alternative, though it's more expensive, and often denied by insurance companies if you haven't been on albutoerol for at least 3 months unsuccessfully, or with unacceptable side effects. it's called xopenex. (thanks thebump.com preemie mommies for the recommendation!) the treatment today, we only had one, went really well, and she didn't seem to have any problems at all! yay... even went to sleep just a few minutes later.
i'll keep you posted... it seems like this will be a good alternative. i believe our insurance will cover it. i suppose we'll see what good ole tricare can do for us.


pediatric ophthalmology

wren had her eye check up a few weeks ago. i was thoroughly pleased with the doctor.

the visit began with a note on the door stating:

"stop! do not enter the clinic if you are experiencing ANY cold or flu like symptoms. we treat premature babies with weakened immune systems. for everyone's health and best interest please call to reschedule

another preemie

what she says-------> i couldn't have put it better.

those parents are just thinking all the same things we thought. what did we do? what can we do? how is our life going to change? what is going to happen?

being a parent who can't just go around popping kids out whenever i feel like it, (or when the bc fails), i have mixed feelings about all of this. of course, i probably have mixed feelings about you too. (do you have kids? did you almost die trying to have them? have you lost more than 2? i suppose there could be a "jealousy checklist"... with varying answers ranking you differently on "charla's jealousy meter".) but, despite the fact that "we're so blessed" has become trite, kids are a blessing. really and truly. now, i just want my allotted reasonable amount.. maybe 3 or 4... but if i had to have beaucoups or none- you'd have to give me the "quiverfull".

so, whatever your thoughts on the alternative "public school classroom" sized family.. you have to try and understand what these people are going to be going through. take a moment... and try.


and... one very long "week" later....

she is always a happy girl in the mornings

smiling with daddy

she loves to sit up in her boppy!

that girl has some stinky poo!

this was our thanksgiving picture.. daddy was already gone to training

as you can imagine, it's been pretty busy around here. and honestly, i just got out of habit of blogging. well, here we go again! we have had some "adventures" along the way the last few months. i'll post about some of those topics soon. but, for now i'll fill you in on the latest news.


moving, moving, almost moved

sorry i've been on sabbatical lately... since my last post we've moved from hawaii with 13 bags, a baby on oxygen, a cat and a dog. we stayed over in california to visit very dear friends and my great grandad... what a trip!

taken in our empty house, waiting to leave for california... check out those rolls! 8lbs 5 oz the day we left.

now we've landed in arkansas and are in the process of finding a house... it will be next week before i've got the time to do a decent post, but here's a picture to hold you over.


etsy evening

taken from the etsy storefront

tonight let's talk about one of my favorite shops on etsy. there's a bit of a story about these wings... my mom ordered them for wren to arrive before our photoshoot. (slideshow in previous post.) being that we're in hawaii and didn't order them in time they didn't get in until the day of in the afternoon. (despite the best efforts of the seller, michelle, who did everything she could to get them here in the amount of time we gave her.) she even made a little preemie hat for wren. awww!!
enter: the dog. i never even got to see the wings. mady ate them right out of the package.. there were feathers, and plastic, and paper... everywhere...
well, i told michelle (sojomaxboutique) about the great slaughter of the wings, and she offered to send them my way at no charge! so, here's the replacement wings... as beautiful as ever! she also sent a halo, and an adorable little nest. (read: looks like a hat, with feathers on the rim) i tried to get wren to take a picture in the nest... she was having none of it... and then she peed all over it. so i'm going to try and wash it and try again.
here, for your viewing pleasure, our little bird in wings:

i'm going to be taking more pictures from different angles, soon... i'll post them when i get them. please check out our favorite costume/angel wings/photo props site: imagination couture!

convenience- A-  (i think this was mostly due to a wriggling baby!)
design- A
price- A
customer service- A+ (stellar!!!)



waiting for her exam...still in her sling... zonked out.

today was the day... we found out that wren officially has made it through her stay at the nicu, and subsequent time on oxygen without retinopathy or need for surgery.


i have to say, all the docs are really shocked by this. (as i've said many times before.)

dastardly devil: reflux

also called gastroesophageal reflux
is your baby-
spitting up frequently (more than 2 times a day);
fussy often throughout the day (specifically before, during or after eating)
refusing to eat,
fighting eating;
taking only small amounts of milk, regardless of the amount of time since the last feeding;
back arching during feedings;
choking or apnea during or after eating;
skin color turns pale or grayish during or after eating;

poor weight gain; and/or
having frequent respiratory infections.then they probably have reflux

pediatric pulmonologist- why yes, we have one

a few days ago we went to see the lung doctor. cld or bpd kids get one- so don't get jealous just yet...the doc was AMAZING! i really appreciated all the extra time she took with me... as you can guess i ask about 1 million questions when i don't understand something. she was great with ms. wren and long suffering with me.

i know it's the question on everyone's mind- and lips- "when will she be off oxygen?"


simply baby photography

thanks so much to lisa!!! please please check out her website!

many faces of wren

while waiting in the doctors' office i had the opportunity to take a bunch of pictures of wren's funny little faces... here are a few...


where's the milk?

well, shortly after my last post disaster struck! wren's thrush and following poor feeding led to a bit of a supply issue with me. ugh. and here i'm always talking about how to keep supply up and whatnot. those 8 hours were TERRIBLE. particularly the overnight ones where my body was telling me to sleep,

how to keep your sanity in the nicu

advice compiled from nicu nurses across the country... believe me.. they've seen a bunch of us crazy eyed parents... they've got some good advice here. (and ways to make their jobs a little easier.) take heed.

- take care of yourself! moms, that means you need to take your pain meds, get plenty of sleep and make sure you heal up. the baby nurses don't want to have to work on adults. if you pass out in the nicu it ruins their day.

- take a break from the nicu. one nurse said:


write a message to wren

if you're reading this... you probably know a little about our little bird... please take the time to post a comment or a letter to her.. i'd like to preserve this as part of the blog book i'm making.
if you're interested in making a book of your blog, you can do it here. i'll let you know how it turns out.

on the couch... zonked. that "dress" is actually the shirt
of a shirt/pants outfit, newborn size, from target. she was wearing brown bloomers- but she pooped on them. gross wren.


a shot, a nasty mouth, and some good friends

welcome to wednesday my 7lb 1oz little bird!!! (i'm pretty sure that's largemouth bass size uncle randy. :)

it wasn't a very good day for her today though. she had her synagis shot, as well as a blood draw to check her sodium levels. both went off without a hitch, but left her pretty pooped out. (sodium and potassium levels were fine. they worry about these because of the diuretics. babies on oxygen have to be on diuretics. don't ask me why- they just do. so, anyway, she went home on the diuretics, but not on any electrolyte replacement. they just wanted to make sure everything was ok- and it was.) i did find a pro-vaccination point: mommy break. she slept all afternoon. we both got to take a nap- mommy needed one more than she did. maybe i should do this every few months...hmmm...

yesterday her mouth exploded in white yeasty nastiness. she had a bit of white on her


letter to family and friends...

taken (and modified) from a fellow bumpie with twins...(thanks or sharing!)

dear friends and family:

i am posting about a very important matter: RSV. for those of you who plan to visit us over the next few months, and even if you are not, please take a few minutes to read this.

i want to start by saying that we are experiencing the biggest challenge of our lives, and we’re lucky to be surrounded by so many family members and friends who have shown us so much love and


i'm laying in puke, it's just easier this way

i don't want to wakethe sleeping baby i'm holding...

getting used to our new addition has been an interesting process- one that i have to say i haven't quite completed yet. here's my confession:

my house that threw up baby

so, lets just say that i don't have the laundry under control right now. i decided that i had to get some sleep at some point.. after almost falling asleep while driving last week. my solution: pick one chore a day. i'm actually doing pretty good with that so far. it keeps me a little more tolerable and a little more relaxed... while i beat into a bleary eyed submission the stressed part of me that's aghast at my house.
all i can say is.. whew.. what a wild ride. i wouldn't trade this little bird for anything in the world..but lordy is she wearing me out. it's nice though, feeling like a real mommy. like a normal mommy... a little like a termie mommy. it makes it easy for me to almost forget the past 3 months. (until i see wren's little friend william, born a week after she was, and weighing in at twice her weight or so- then i remember.)
even though i'm sleepy, covered in vomit, and my sheets have pee on them... i embrace my wild, unstraightened hair.. i cherish my crazy eyed midnight feeds...and i absolutely love that overwhelming feeling of not having it all together. because as strange as it sounds.. i have a lot of stuff to hold together... and that means i have a lot of blessings on my plate right now. i liken times like these in my life to riding a bike downhill with no brakes... you just hold on and hope for the best and try to avoid any major obstacles. you're going to get to the end one way or the other.
check out this baby fat... we're on the verge of wrist rolls people!

we've got our synagis (RSV vaccine) appointment on wednesday... she's also going to get a regular checkup with weight and whatnot. thadd and i expect she'll be close to 7lbs! what a chunk!
and the bigger she gets the less oxygen she'll need. which is why yesterday when she pulled the cannula completely away from her face, she was still sating at 85! woo-hoo! off of oxygen soon... lets hope! our move is quickly approaching- sometime in mid-late october.. please pray that she'll kick the stuff before then... moving on oxygen... ugh. but if we have to do it we have to do it..it's just all part of that downhill bike ride...


nicu pictures you'll want to have

photos are so important. looking back i'm glad to have 873 pictures of our time in the nicu... i can see my daughter's growth day by day.... but there are some shots that are super important. and some pictures that seem hard to take at the time- but you'll wish you had later if you don't take them now.
remember, it's hard to look at the IVs, breathing helps, hernias, procedures and sometimes it's even hard just to look at the babies... let's be honest- no one expects a 1lb 11oz baby... and finding a place for that in our minds can be troubling. but, trust me, once you get to know that little personality,


etsy evening

picture taken from etsy storefront

tonight i'd like to highlight one of our new favorite items. it is a blanketless swaddler. we picked this up on etsy last week- and it's a huge hit. i've heard from my termie friends that their babies have quickly outgrown swaddling... not wren... i think she'll want to be tucked in tight until she's 12... this is PERFECT for her. i would recommend this as a unique shower gift, or thoughtful present for a new mommy. preemie mommies will definitely get long term use out of this.

convenience- A
design- A
price- A
customer service- A

great job SleepPeaPod!

actual or adjusted?

for those of you who don't know, there are two ways of aging a preemie. there's the actual age, which is, well, the chronological age from the birthdate. and the adjusted age, in which the age is determined from the expected due date. for instance, wren's actual age is 3 months and a few weeks... her adjusted age is about 3 weeks or so.
this of course, presents a problem for parents. what do i go by? what should i expect? all of our doctors have said to go by the adjusted age. i think this is to keep us from getting discouraged. after all, it really could take longer for her to catch up... she did so much womb growing out here in this terrible CPAP and IV world.
for wren, we're just trying to keep her challenged and at least caught up to her adjusted age. with preemies it's ever so important to keep them stimulated... they can do so much more if you constantly



we recently got a package from my sister in law, tabitha morris. she's simply amazing! here are some of her great things (please excuse the terrible lighting):

you can find more of her screenprinting work at her store ocalifauna on etsy.com
we are soooooo happy with the design we're ordering a bunch of shirts for "team wren". (the doctor, nurses and others who cared for her on a regular basis.) i'll post pictures when we get them.
thanks tabitha!

housekeeping for new mothers

this could also be titled 'housekeeping tips for nicu moms who just brought home their 3 month old babies'

welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first session of housekeeping tips for new mothers. if you're a martha stewart type of housekeeper, this column is NOT for you. however, for the rest of you, this is your chance to learn 15 secret shortcuts to good housekeeping that your mother never told you. 

all about the milk

pumping (read: giving your baby breastmilk. because eventually you'll probably choose to breastfeed rather than pump) is the best thing you can possibly do for your little one.

some information about preemie benefits to bm:
better immunities- your breast milk passes all the protection to your little one that they can get and need. at the beginning the colostrum is a power boost to babies. so even if you only get a few drops, SAVE it! and tell them to give it to your tiny little one. even if you have to freeze it initially, which you probably will, it will be so beneficial to them. about 80% of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. breastfed babies are protected in varying degrees from a number of illnesses including, pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and german measles. and mothers produce antibodies to what ever disease is present in their environment

big angry boogers

we went to a little appointment yesterday. i called the doc to see what she thought about wren's increased oxygen needs. see, we'd weaned her down to 1/8 liter, then within a few days she was needing 1/2 to sat well. (with 1/4 she just hung out in the 80's.) obviously we've got a schedule to keep, so i was a little concerned with her increased needs. and of course there's the sidepoint that it could be something serious like an infection or virus. the doc said she'd like to see her in the clinic, so... off to the hospital we go- again.


a look at the impracticality of leaving my house

i used the sling for the first time yesterday during church... wheeling the stroller around everywhere offends not only my ideals on how to interact with a baby, but also locomotion in general... navigating the world with a stroller is a whole new ballgame.
so, i gave the ol' diaper bag w/ pulse ox monitor, and oxygen tank in shoulder bag, and sling with baby a try. it wasn't a total bust. she LOVED it. she had been crying in the car the entire trip [insert torn rotator cuff here] and when i delicately stuffed her into the sling she immediately went to sleep and started sating 100%. it seems impossible that anyone could have good oxygen saturation with their head


animal house

this post is for papa with love. :)

pets have been the center of some controversy in my household lately. my dog went off the deep end... we moved to a new house, within a week i was in the hospital on bedrest then delivering, 3 weeks later i was out, for another 2 months we were back and forth everyday to the hospital, then the last month or so i was living there. so, needless to say, the mutt didn't adjust to the new place, and went into puppy mode. yes, i guess that's what you'd have to call coming home each day to something new being destroyed. she had a bit of a coping problem, thus daddy has had a bit of a coping problem as well. i can't count the threats that have been made to her life. he was in training for a few weeks over the course of the great pillow massacre... he asked me one night on the phone, in a tired and broken voice "do we even have any pillows left?"

in the mean time the cat went native on us. he's fixed and everything... but that didn't stop him from climbing out windows, (he's smart ok? he figured out how to push the screens out), opening doors t


don't worry, her comfort sensor is working fine

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my healer

I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need

-healer, kari jobe

i've written several times about the amazing things


you said what?

today, while out with wren, i received the expected "how old is she?",and some of the "she's so tiny/small/little", and a few "what a little miracle!".. all of these are perfectly acceptable.. i fully expect that people will be curious and would much rather someone ask outright. (that's what i would do, after all.)

BUT, as i'm walking to the car, pretty pleased with our little trip,

wires, and tubes, and alarms- oh my!

i have to say, i really expected that i would have to ease into the mommy thing... but i've been pleasantly surprised. not much adjustment was needed at all. after all the separation and worry and experiences of the nicu, bringing her home just completed the picture... all was right in the world.
taking our first nap together was amazing! it was literally the best sleep i've ever had in my life. no more worries... i nursed her lying down, then covered her up with my skirt.. and we both dozed off.. giving daddy time to take a picture.

i will say there are logistical challenges that have nothing to do with feeding etc.. just trying to organize the

september 9- jiggity jig- day 98

what a surreal experience:


september 6- empty nest

in the baby in a bed with nothing else way...

today they moved all of wren's comfort objects out of her bed, and laid it flat. then i put her in it on her back and she proceeded to cry and spit up for an hour. according to the AAP the babes are supposed to be lonely and uncomfortable. well, really i suppose that might be over dramatizing it.... wren sure felt that way though. i'm not totally sure what i think about all this... perhaps the statistics on SIDS aren't accurate... or perhaps there's another correlating cause... i just haven't done enough research to know. (don't worry- i'm sure more information will be forthcoming on the topic. check back soon. i know you're chomping at the bit for my opinion on EVERYTHING. right?)

we've made a pretty controversial decision to do what she wants. we're going home on oxygen and a monitor anyway. if the kid wants to be swaddled (arms out) then i'm going to do that to put her to sleep. i even have a sleep wedge! gasp! but it will really help with her reflux. i might even cover up her little eyes too... our monitor just came in yesterday. i suppose i won't have to use it yet... but we got the angelcare monitor. i've recommended it for several years now. i know of 3 cases where a baby stopped breathing and the monitor alarmed, saving the baby's life. i think it will definitely help me sleep at night. if i got a video monitor i'd just spend all night staring at it and running in the kids room to make sure she was still breathing. this cuts out the first step. :) anyway, this monitor also gives me confidence in our positioning decision.

wren weighed in at a whopping 5lbs 9oz today! (i wonder if i will ever type her weight without an exclamation point after it.) she is almost 18 inches long... she's creeping closer and closer to real baby size! (some are even born full term at this weight believe it or not.) she's still eating a TON! we picked up a new bottle yesterday... she'd been totally collapsing the nipple on the medela low flow. (which came highly recommended... and i wouldn't not recommend it even now.) she would pretty much occlude the flow altogether. i'd read good reviews on the adiri, and the baby store was having a sale, so we picked one up. it is AMAZING! i probably won't need a whole fleet of bottles for feeding, but even if i did i'd invest in these suckers. thadd's first response was "that's obscene!"... and the nurses have taken to calling it "the boob bottle". but hey, that's what we're really looking for isn't it? all the nurses that have seen it so far are sold. (i think one is even picking up some for her daughter.) it gives her a natural latch, and since she's taking in more than just the "nipple" part, she can't occlude the flow. she also gets NO air. to the point that she hasn't even really had a burp! so far i just can't sing the praises of this bottle enough. it ran me about $10, which is really outrageous- i realize this. but for a gassless, happy, also breastfeeding baby... who can put a price on that? (in the interest of full disclosure: 1 downside. i don't think the milk can be heated IN the bottle due to the construction and insulation of bottle. i need to investigate it a little more.)

her crit is up to 32- still climbing. it's up from 31 last week. from what i've found the normal for a female is about 36-45. though i think what i've found is referring to adults. her c02 is down again as well. from 62 to 59. this is GREAT! since we've been slowly weaning her flow down and down it's important that she's able to rid herself of the c02. they told me last week that because of her cld they expect that her c02 will be higher anyway. so, her norms are higher than what they would usually expect.

speaking of oxygen flow requirements... i was a little worried that she'd hit a wall in her weaning- but tonight while i was with her she got weaned down to .10liters or 100milliliters. she's still got a long way to go to get to 0... but i'm giving myself a little more hope, each time that she's weaned, that she'll be off of it by the time we move. we've talked about maybe even postponing our move by a week or so to give her extra time to get off the tank. we'll see.

so, big week this week. tomorrow my husband is spending the day cleaning up our house. i went home for an hour or so yesterday to do some laundry and it doesn't look like much has been getting done. (one of my plants is just shy of impending demise.) i've also got a few other honeydo's like setting up the cosleeper... making sure the stroller is in one piece. we ended up going with the maclaren easy traveller due to the basket size on the bottom. most of the other universal strollers had smaller baskets... and we were worried that the oxygen and monitor might not fit. (which is the whole purpose of the stroller. if you remember, i wasn't even going to get one- being a fan of wearing my baby- but that is not really an option now that she comes with so many accessories. ) we went with the universal to have a cheaper alternative to the peg. this way, if the airline demolishes it next month, we haven't lost an arm and a leg.

i'll still be here. hanging out. doing my breastfeeding thing... waiting on the oxygen to arrive on tuesday. i assume they'll have some sort of rigorous training for me. i guess we'll see. i'm only moderately nervous about it. maybe i should be more nervous. any oxygen toting mommies have any advice?

i'm working on a sign to hang on the stroller/carseat... any ideas on the wording?

"you're cute too- but i don't get in your face"... or maybe, "thanks for the handshake, now i have the flu"... no... how about "please de-gross yourself before getting in my space".... i think all this will be so much easier when i can just pop the kiddo in a sling. as it is i'm not sure the size of the oxygen tank/monitor so i don't want to doom myself to days of wearing a baby on front, and all the gear on the back. i was talking about this to some friends yesterday and they brought up the point that it's taboo to invade the space of another adult- that's why slings are so awesome! but kids space? that's for everyone! wooo- free space people... jsut take it for yourself. i'm not totally neurotic you know.. i have a baby on oxygen. now that i'm writing about it it's freaking me out a little more than i'd realized. oh well, i'm definitely not the type of person to hide in my house for a year. i just can't do it. so, we'll have to be on guard with the purell and the hands off responses.

am i the only one struggling to connect with my baby?

this is what you expect: this is what you get:

i thought it was time to do another post on this issue after reading some of the replies to this question on thebump.com preemie message board. the issue of bonding and preemieness is SUCH a common one. but i have to say, even i didn't have the courage to talk about it in the first few weeks of wren's little life....

seeing her in that isolette (plastic box), not being able to take care of her (nurses constantly over my shoulder- telling me what to do, and how to do it), constant fear of attachment (there are so many things that could take away this little life), she is so fragile (what if i do something wrong and hurt her?), i feel like she won't love me (look what happened to her! i couldn't even keep her in my womb and care for her like i should have. the guilt is so heavy), there's so much to learn (throw out what i thought i knew about being a mommy, and any tiny bit of security on the subject).

kudos for the mommy who posted the question... that takes courage and honesty- something we should all have more of. (i've chopped them a bit, but hopefully got the intended point across, if you'd like yours taken down or changed just let me know.) here are some of the responses:

"Your body is very likely in panic mode. Your emotions are just on the back burner while you deal with what is essentially an "emergency situation."
- i had never thought about it this way... but it's sooo true... i've often heard that preemie parents can have a form of ptsd. just dealing with all the trauma and loss of pregnancy and stress of baby's (and often mommy's) health is a lot to ask.

"While Zoe was in the NICU, and even once she came home, I was in crisis mode. Letting myself bond with her was a slow process of leaving crisis mode and slowly releasing my fear, worry, and hyper watchfulness for/of my daughter.
Zoe is my first child and I don't have anything to
compare the process by which I felt bonded to her to. I would say it took many many months and was never a sudden feeling. In all honesty the process is still happening now."
-ditto. i haven't gotten to take wren home yet. but i feel more and more like her mom everyday.

"While in the NICU things that helped for me included (once they would let me do them): kangaroo care as often as they would let me, being there for feedings once we started to nipple her, giving her a bath, changing her diapers myself, and doing other "cares", dressing her and changing out her isolette, and just sitting there reading to her. I was in a different situation, I had only one and no other children at home and I was off work the whole time she was in the NICU. I say those things helped in the NICU and they did, but I didn't feel really really bonded with her until after we were home."
- i can't agree with this mommy more. the only way that i started to feel connected was to care for her, cuddle her, and comfort her. i would add in too that information and actively being part of wren's care helped me feel like a mom. (though i'm sure the docs and nurses hate me for it! :)
as well as being there for proceedures and tests to "contain" her, or soothe her with words or holding a dummy or whatnot.

"Zoey has been home with us since May, and I am just starting to feel like her mom. I feel confident and more connected to the rest of the world, and I think she feels it, too. Be patient with yourself."
- what a great point. you know, being married to a sociology major, i have to bring up social interactionism. (the theory that we see ourselves through other people's eyes.) i hadn't really applied it to preemie mommyhood. but i HATE having baby fat (not much, since my little one only cooked about half of what she was supposed to) and no baby to show for it. i HATE buying baby stuff and being given a gift reciept. i HATE seeing other mommies with their babies and feeling like i'm some sort of three eyed monster who leaves my kid with strangers across town. part of what makes this so hard is being a mom, and no one in the whole wide world realizing it when they see you- you're missing the kid. the other day one of the nurses was laughing about me getting spit up on. i believe i replied something like, "it means i'm holding my baby, my baby's eating, and possibly that i'm feeding her. i can't begrudge the spit up." in essense, it's proof that i'm a mommy. take that skinny girls- i have spit up on my shirt, i'm allowed the gut and gigantic boobs.

"It is very normal. When DS was in the NICU and even first home I didn't feel a bond with him. I liked him, but I just didn't really feel like he was mine. I really think it has to do with not being able to make decisions for/about them."
- i liked wren. as i've said recently, i loved her in an "everybaby" sort of way. in an "i hope this baby makes it out of this" way... but now, i'm beginning, just beginning to love her in a "this little poop machine is mine and i can't get enough of her" way.

"I remember about 2 weeks after Lily was born finally telling her that I loved her when we left for the day, and I wondered why it hadn't occured to me to say this sooner. "
- i think it took much longer than that for me. in fact, i still don't say it all that often. i cry everytime i do. i'm crying now just thinking about it.

"To be perfect honest, I was almost scared of my son at first! I was scared of what was to come, I was a little disappointed in myself, and he looked a little scary (red skin, very skinny, tubes, etc...)"
- so true. for those of you who've only had experience with termies, take how you feel looking at the picture, subtract my baby, add your baby, now multiply by your freaked-outness by 10, that's how preemie parents feel.

"In the NICU, any time something quasi-normal would happen, we'd (us and any of the other parents around us) always say "like a real baby." The nurses would always correct us and say "he IS a real baby" or just look as us like we were nuts. I don't think they get how surreal the whole thing feels as parents. "
- if you read me much or talk to me often, you know i say this all the time. and i almost always get the same response or look from people and nurses.

sept 6- stupid monkey

i'm trying to get it off my back...
reglan's the monkey i'm talking about.... reglan! of all things to have a problem with.

i (stupidly, and unnecessarily) started taking it 3 days ago to boost my supply. it's an off label use for the anti-gas/heartburn medicine... and boy does it work. i went up from my normal 120ml+ to 200ml+ each pumping. and having to pump after i fed her to feel empty. take that ob/gyn that wouldn't prescribe it to me.
the Rx said to start it with 1/day, then 2/day, then 3/day, take 3 for a few days then taper off... 3/day, then 2/day then 1/day for a few days then none.
today i didn't take any at all- ugh. let me tell you, that was STUPID! you really should follow the instructions on the bottle people. i knew it had a possible side effect of depression, so i thought i'd just try to keep good tabs on my temperament and mood. i realized my supply was more than adequate, and not wanting the negative side effects, decided to stop taking it.
so, by 11am this morning i was reaaaaaallly feeling it. nausea, headache, lethargic, just overall sickly. i felt like i just might die. (ok, that may be an exaggeration) i asked the doc in the nicu if the reglan could cause all that. (knowing that i had been a naughty girl and not followed the Rx.) shocker: yes, it could. apparently reglan is a dopamine blocker. AND, after doing some research i found this. perfect!

verdict: it REALLY works to boost supply. but only use it as a last resort... and be sure to follow the instructions folks.

sept 4- one baby, unshaken, to go please....

the discharge class was largely a waste of time. for those of you who haven't been to one here's the overview:

intro to infant cpr- one step is actually to pat the baby on the foot and say "are you ok? hey, are you ok?". no, i'm not kidding.

preemie video- telling me what i already learned in 3 months of nicu life. ie. don't overstimulate them. be aware of their needs. aren't preemies neat. wow, you have a preemie.

PURPLE video- this is the new, trendy name for the still terrible condition better known as colic. (i wonder what colic really is. how much of this is caused by formula? diet? environment? or some sort of undiagnosed health issue?)
p- peak of crying
u- unexpected onset
r- resistant to soothing
p- pain like face
l- long crying bouts
e- evening
why don't they just call it colic? if your baby has it, believe me you'll know.
some tips to help parents not lose their mind-
just trying to comfort the baby can actually lessen crying by up to 50% (imagine how bad it COULD be!)
also, my sister used baby's bliss gripe water methodically when my nephew had colic. i would, and i'm positive she would, recommend it highly.
carry them more, walk and talk.
it's ok to be frustrated.
it's ok to walk away.

which brings me to the "don't shake your baby" video. really? do people need this? it seems like no amount of talking about it will prevent it from happening... am i right? maybe i'm not. but if i get one more pamphlet or reminder not to shake her, i might shake the person telling me.

they also said that half of all preemies will be readmitted in the first year of life. ick. let's hope not. i'm posting a poll on that. please take the time to fill it out.

[poll discontinued] 60% of you said that your preemie was not readmitted.


post for prayers

please remember ridge cary in your prayers.
here's the link to his blog... which tells all about his rare illness. please raise awareness for little ridge, and his cause...

september 5- treading water

we're stuck here till wednesday... though i suppose i should just be happy we have a date! haha.. which is more than i ever really thought we'd have.


i can't stay away from her now. it's strange.. now that i know she's coming home i feel like she's really mine. it's almost like i feel they gave me my daughter- now she's mine and i can barely leave her to sleep. i actually walked down just to hold her a little bit ago, i roused her just to hold her.. i haven't done that in a long while.

she's been taking around 100ml at each bottle feeding! i think that they may have been underfeeding her for the past month at least. when she was still getting some feeds gavaged they had her at only 45ml. she's taken more than that for the past few weeks from day 1 of being on an ad lib schedule. (ad lib means they feed her as much as she wants, whenever she wants. or, they call me whenever she wants to nurse for as long as she wants. :) right away she was taking at least 80ml by bottle. she now weighs 5lb 7oz! and has been gaining weight like the champ that she is. or heifer that she is. that's my little pet name for you wren- heifer... though i suppose little bird is a bit more endearing.

i'll be rooming in on tuesday night with the oxygen equipment just to make sure that i'm confident with it. then wednesday, it's off to the nest!

sept 3- going to be a car rider someday

i think this was the first time dad realized we were going to be taking our little girl home.

she passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

everyone seemed surprised- but i knew she could do it. of course this assurance of her amazingness in a car seat didn't stop me from having to leave the nicu while she did the test. it was the longest 7 minutes of my life! (and there were 83 left.... i had to go.)
to pass she couldn't have any desats, bradys or apnea while in the car seat for 90 minutes. she also shouldn't require more on her oxygen. it's fairly common that when the little ones get hunched over in the seats they require more help.

against the advice of the certified car seat expert on staff at the hospital... i decided to go with the peg perego primo viaggio. it's good from 5-30lbs, great in crash testing... and with the money we saved by not having a nursery- what the heck? i went with the papaya color so it would work with our next one too... boy or girl.

also, i'm not sure if you noticed... but i'm a great mom... did you see that her outfit matches her car seat? things like that are just way undervalued in our society today.

septemeber 3- doctors and other strangers

here's the plan:
today: discharge meeting, carseat test
tomorrow: discharge class
saturday: hearing test
wednesday: oxygen gets delivered to the hospital
thursday: ROP exam
friday: day 100!!!

somewhere in between wed and Friday we're going home!!! :) and it could not come soon enough for this nicu mommy!

i've had enough of being told when i should and shouldn't give a bottle (a different doctor again??!!!) to being told what car seat i shouldn't buy due to cost (who is this lady anyway??!!!) i've had just about enough of micromanagement of my parenting (why is this nurse torturing me??!!!) i also had conversation number 8 regarding vaccination.(did i stutter??!!!) which, surprise, we're still not doing... big shocker.
it will be so great to be able to parent amongst ourselves, asking for advice when we want it- without being pressed to compromise our stand or change our minds.

the discharge meeting went ok. they actually said there's a decent chance that she could be off oxygen before we move! woot! we're not getting our hopes up- but we're holding a little teeny tiny bit of hope in the very back of our minds that she could be off soon.
we went over some of the logistics of traveling with oxygen... ugh. what a crappy trip that will be. but at least they're setting it all up for us ahead of time.

i'll send more of the play by play in the days to come.

love to you all.