Friday, February 27, 2009

Mindless Mom Moment

This morning I had planned all kinds of things for us to do: playdate at the park, picnic lunch, errands, groceries, shopping for birthday party favors, ect.

But nothing got done, because in the middle of our playdate, Aliah needed to be changed. And it was there, at the park, when I realized that I had left the diaper bag at home, in the middle of the living room! So we had to drive home at lunchtime to change a dirty diaper. And my energy and patience just sort of fizzled out after that.

Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

no fair!

Today I learned that one friend is pregnant, and another friend just had a miscarriage. Why? Why isn't life fair?

I have so many things that I'd like to say, so many things that I want to remember, but I never have enough time to properly record them.

Aliah slept from 12-5a, last night. I hope that trend continues.
I am not longer in that newborn-mom fog, but I sure could use more sleep.
I am, however, still in a fog when it comes to household chores like folding laundry and putting dishes away. I just can't seem to finish any of the tasks I start. It doesn't help that Hannah hasn't been extremely helpful lately, but still, thats not a good excuse.

Tonight, I had the wonderful opportunity to have my hair brushed by a brand new four-year-old. It was sweet. She brushed my hair longer than I've ever seen her hold a brush before (she is formerly known to have hairbrush-a-phobia). While that was happening, I was also holding the baby and reading the umpteenth Bernstain Bears book. Nice family moment. If only Daddy was around to take a picture of us (he's working the night shift this week).

We're getting ready for Hannah's birthday party on Saturday. She's excited to dress-up and play princesses with her friends.

I think we need to get out more.

PS: I forgot to mention about Hannah's four-year-old check-up. We went to the doctors with her on Tuesday. She still only weighs 31 lbs, but she is 41 inches tall! She had to get four shots in her legs. She was SUCH a brave girl, the nurses were all very impressed. She didn't even cry... until I got her into the car, and the nit was a major meltdown. But she got stickers from the doctor, and a temporary tattoo, and a new headband, AND I bought her a new book at the bookstore for being so good. Hopefully she wont be traumatized for life.
We get to repeat the process again next week, when Aliah gets her 2-month-old shots. What fun.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Four Years Ago....

Four years ago, at 10:15am, I became a mother for the first time. It changed my life completely. Hannah will always be our special little girl, no matter how many others come after her.
Becoming a mother was breathtakingly beautiful and pitifully painful all at once (as other moms know!). Having Hannah forced me to be more loving, more appreciative, more joyful, more relaxed, more responsible, more selfless, more protective, more playful, and more attentive to the little things in life.
Hannah continues to teach me values such as patience, gentleness, and love. She reminds me daily that I should have faith as simple and straightforward as a child's. That I should say, and show, my "I love you's" every chance I get, and that usually the process of creating something is even more rewarding and enjoyable than the actual product at the end.
I love how helpful she is how easy to please she can be. She's such a great help with Aliah, she absolutely adores her, and it is precious to watch. Hannah thinks eberything is better if you can hold someone's hand while doing it.
My favorite Hannah quote of the day: It is 11am. Hannah knows that today is her birthday. We are talking about how old she is. She tells me "Mommy. Im not four. I'm still three, because we didnt eat my birthday cake yet!" So I guess she didnt 'officially' turn 4 until 7pm, after dinner, when we finally ate dessert.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Visitors

Aliah is doing great, we had another check-up yesterday and the peds nurses couldnt believe that she'd just spent a week in ICU. She still has her chubby little cheeks and long hair and everything. She did lose some weight, kuz she wasnt allowed to eat for a few days while on the vent, but by the time we came home she was back to her originial weight from when we got admitted: 10 lbs 6 oz.

If she hadnt gotten sick, she'd probably be over 11 lbs by now!


I feel so terrible. Yesterday I got a fever, chills, sweating, throbbing headache, intense sore throat, naseau, ect. Went to the doctor. Strep test was negative. So was their flu test. So they dont know what exactly I have (a virus?), but it is wretched. I have no appetite. I just want to curl up on the floor and do nothing. but I cant.

Mike was working the night shift all weekend so Im also running on very little sleep. I feel really awful.

To make things more fun, my grandmother is coming to stay with us for the rest of the week. She is a very kind, yet stubborn and overbearing type of lady. This means that she and Mike don't always get along.
We've had people visiting us since Jan 30, and I really just want the house back to myself! How can we enjoy being a family of four if we are never actually all together?!

Hopefully Granny will be helpful, and not a hindrance.

Gotta go make lunch for Hannah. Gotta lead MOPS tonight.
All I want to do is take a nap!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

so many visitors

We have gotten a plethora of phone calls and cards in the mail, from all different places, all wishing us well. It's so nice to know that so many people are thinking of us and praying for us! THANK YOU!
Our church friends have been so kind and helpful. They gave us a beautiful flower arrangement when Aliah and I came home from the hospital. And they've been bringing us meals all week, which we very much appreciate.

My brother is visiting the east coast from his new home in California. He hasn't met Aliah yet, so my dad is driving with him to our house this weekend. They should be here in an hour or two. Just for one night (my father is very understanding, and great at not overstaying his welcome). Then, Mike's parents are arriving here Saturday, on their way home from Florida (I dont know how many days they will stay).
There is also an overbearing grandparent who wants to spend an entire week with us. I think that's a bit much. I truly love our family, but entertaining and feeding so many people will be absolutely exhausting!

Plus, to make it even more interesting, Mike starts working again tonight.
I think it's going to be a loooong weekend.

Honestly, all I want to do these days is take a nap. But that's impossible when you have an active four-year-old running around your house (poor Hannah). Right now, Hannah is floating water toys inside the bathroom sink.

I have to go; I need to clean more before everyone gets here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day Ten - Last One!

We are getting released today!!!


Doctors are filling out our discharge orders and finishing up paperwork.
I cant wait for the four of us to be all together again at home!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009


At 1:30 this afternoon, they turned off the oxygen support. Aliah's o2 levels have consistently stayed at 96-98%, even when she falls asleep!
If I'd wanted to push for it, we could have probably gone home tonight - but Mike & I decided it would be safer for Aliah to stay here in the hospital overnight for observation, to be absolutely sure that all is well.

I am so relieved that this is our last night here, and I cant wait to get out and go home tomorrow!!!

God has been so faithful to us this week.
A friend of mne was talking about "grace" tonight, which happens to be Aliah's middle name. It also reminded me of the meaning of "Aliah": ascending, going up to God.
Aliah is our miracle baby, in that we struggled for a year and a half in order to have a healthy pregnancy - but now she is even more of a precious miracle, because of all we've gone through lately.

We are just so thankful that this ordeal is almost over.

Day 9 - Almost Home!!!

Right now, Aliah is on the lowest possible oxygen setting. The lead doctor said she'd love to see her be completely breathing on her own by tonight, or maybe tomorrow, at the latest. As soon as Aliah can successfully do that (the most difficult part is when she's sleeping), for at least 6-8 hours, without any setbacks, then we'll get discharged!!!

Im really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed later this week. My other favorite thing will be helping with Hannah's bedtime routine, reading her stories and tucking her in. I miss her so much, and I feel terrible that Ive missed the last week and a half of her life! Plus I know it will take a little extra work to undo the amount of spoiling that my mother got away with, while she was helping us here. Last time I went home to take a shower, our living room floor was literally covered in toys. My mom was a gigantic, indispensable help with laundry, washing dishes, and especially good at entertaining Hannah - she just didnt do a good job of setting any kind of boundaries. Its ok to have fun, but when you live in our house, you should still follow our rules. But, enough of that. Mom is home in Maryland now, back at work today.

Aliah is learning to self-sooth by sucking on her fist. Shes kind of funny - she hates pacifiers, and cant get ahold of her thumb, so I guess thats the next best thing? Sometimes she tries to stick her entire fist, all five fingers, right down into her mouth! At least it helps her settle down and go to sleep.

Ahh, Sleep - another commodity that I really need to catch up on as soon as possible. Last night I got two seperate 2-hour naps. She was awake from 2-5am, and I wanted to rip my hair out! But in a way, that is healthy, because its almost like her typical routine at home.

Please pray that our little girl stays strong and healthy, so that she can breath on her own, with no problems, very soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 8 in the hospital

Hi all. I would have loved to update earlier, but with everything that happened yesterday, I didnt have computer access. Sorry!

So, yesterday afternoon, we were released from the PICU!
THANK YOU GOD! Goodbye, intensive care!
Our room here on the children's recovery floor is much more private, has its own bathroom, and I get to sleep in one of those pull-out couch beds, instead of a rocking chair. I'd say that is a big improvement over last week.

Welcome to Day 8. Aliah is doing well. They are continuing to lower her oxygen level. Right now it is varying between .4 and .2 Ls. She needs more oxygen support when she sleeps. Doctors said that as soon as she's breathing on her own, then we'll get to go HOME for good! I would guess that might happen on Weds, at the earliest. We'll see. The most important thing is that she is continuing to get better, and grow stronger. Im trying to convince her to eat more often, because she still isnt eating as mocu as she used to, and is having some trouble latching on correctly.

My mom left today, shes driving back to Maryland right now. We'll all miss her, Hannah most of all.

Mike & Hannah were visiting us this afternoon. It was the first time that Hannah got to hold her baby sister in the last eight days! She was so excited, and so proud. We were really proud of her too, for wearing the gloves, gown and face mask without omplaining! (Yes, we still have to get all suited up to be in the same room as Aliah. It's a small price to pay for her health.)
I walked out to the car with them, while Aliah was sleeping soundly in her bed (but I felt guilty for leaving her in the hospital while I stepped outside for 10 mins!). Then I felt incredibly sad because Hannah had a huge meltdown and screamed "Dont leave, Mommy! NOOOO! Dont leave me! Come home with me!" in the middle of the parking garage. It was so sad!!! I was in tears as I walked back into the building.
I am really torn between here and home. This ordeal has been hard on all of us.
I want to go home soon. I want to sleep in my own bed.
I know there is an end in sight. and Im so so happy that she's getting better - it's just hard to go through this.

I just realied that Im supposed to have my 6-week postparden check-up in the morning - but Im going to have to rescheulde it - there's just no way that I can leave Aliah here for 3 hours by herself tomorrow. Compound that with the fact that my car is not here at the hospital, and its just not happening.

I'll let you know if anything changes tomorrow.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Goodbye breathing tube.

Aliah is off the vent! They took out her breathing tube early this morning and she's doing excellent! She's still getting a tiny bit of oxygen through her nose, but they will be slowly decreasing that throughout the day. We should be able to pick her up and hold her really soon, amybe later this afternoon? If all goes well tonight, we might even get out of the ICU tomorrow! If not tomorrow, then we should be in a regular recovery room by the end of the weekend.

Right now Im at home, about to take a shower, wash my clothes, and spend some time with Hannah!

Tonight will be difficult because Aliah isnt allowed to eat anythign by mouth until she's been successfully breathing on her own for 24 hours. That means we cant feed her again until 9am tomorrow morning! Its going to be a really long night.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.

Mike and Nicole

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thanks for your prayers

Good news from ICU: Two other tiny infant RSV babies got their breathing tubes out today. Another patient staying in the room next to us was released into a regular recovery room today. Maybe we'll be next!

The nurses got my hopes up this morning, saying that she might get off the ventilator today. But after more careful review of Aliah's chest x-rays, they found out that the left lung is slightly weaker and still more congested than the right one. So they decided to wait one more day and try again. We will reassess things again in the morning, but hopefully Aliah will get her breathing tube out (and the fedding tube, too!) early tomorrow afternoon.
Please pray that she does well breathing on her own!
Nevertheless, Aliah has been incredibly alert and awake all day. And she entertained the staff by having lots of dirty diapers too.

Mike came to visit us for most of the afternoon.
Topday we had a male nurse. He was funny and it made things just a little more interesting.

I am missing Hannah a lot right now.

Pumping is getting really frustrating.

That's all the news I have right now.


Yesterday, Mike spent the afternoon in ICU while I went home to spend time with Hannah. For my birthday, my mom took Hannah and I to get new haircuts. It was a cute girly thing to do and it got us all out of the house for a little while. Even better, I got to take a shower for the first time in four days!

Aliah was awake for about three hours in the afternoon. It was so nice to see her bright blue eyes open and looking around. Mike is such a good father! He sat by her side for eight hours and barely left the room!

Now Im eating a midnight snack, and Aliah is AWAKE! This is especially exciting because normally at home she would be awake at this time, between 1-2 am.

The attneding dr said that the RSV virus should be running its course and ebbing away within the next couple days, and that we should start to see more recovery very soon. Her iron levels are still dropping. We have decided to supplement with vitamins first, to see if that helps, and wont worry about doing a blood transfusion quite yet. (Alisha, you are totally right about the hemoglobin levels! She is five weeks old and just barely beginning to produce it on her own. They explained it to me, I didnt know that.) Im sure im forgetting something, but these are the main things.

I was excuse from jury duty this week :) And my aunts/uncles left me a really really sweet birthday message a few hours ago that made me cry! In spite of all this, Feb 4th turned out to be a positive day after all. We are feeling much more optimistic right now about her recovery. I'll update more as we know more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poor baby

It's my birthday today. Not such a happy one.
Aliah is having some issues this morning.
Her core temp. went down to 95 degrees and stayed there for a few hours, so she is now under a big warming lamp. Her bp has been kind of erractic, and she didnt pee at all while I was sleeping from 1-5am.
They are also concerned that her iron levels are low and continuing to drop. (This is mostly my fault, since I'm an anemic vegetarian.) They said the usual course of action to fix it is... a blood transfusion. This seems a bit extreme to me, as a first course of action, but then again, what do I know?

My main concern right now is pumping enough milk to feed this kid. I am worried that I might not have enough supply for her. Right now she is getting about 3 oz every three hours. At home, I had no problem pumping out this much, but as it is, I am struggling. Maybe the stress is getting to me?

One good thing: she's still gaining weight! When we were admitted she was 4.78 kgs and now she is just over 5 kgs (sorry, I dont do metric conversions in my head).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pray for Aliah!

For those that dont know, Aliah is in intensive care. She stopped breathing on Sunday. It was a parents worst nightmare.
She has been diagnosed with RSV. Right now she is stable.
It has been the worst 48 hours of our lives.

Update for today: Mike is at home with strep throat! This means he cannot come to the hospital until he has been on antibiotics for at least 48 hours.
This morning, Aliah's chest x-rays were the same, not any better than yesterday. Last night around midnight she was very alert. But then she got a little too feisty and pulled out her breathing tube. Her feeding tube came out with it! It was a scary moment. I was right there holding her head while the nurse fixed her airway. We got her stabilized again, but because of that, she will continue to be sedated for the rest of the day. She still is not strong enough to breath on her own.

Poor baby.
Thank you so much for your prayers.