Emily was born via emergency c section at 12:49 pm on May 25. She weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces. The amniotic fluid was full of meconium and she had heart beat deceleration issues with the contractions. She has been life flighted to the NICU at Providence Hosp in Anchorage and I am staying in the Fairbanks hosp for at least three days. Bill and the kids are on their way to Anchorage. This was not what we anticipated so please keep us in your prayers.
I flew to Anchorage last night and got to be with and hold Emily for hours. She was sleeping most of the time but woke up before I had to get some sleep. She ate colostrum that I pumped yesterday, the first food in her tummy. Before this she only had IV nutrition. I am hoping to start nursing very soon, as soon as she is interested. She is no longer intubated, although she still has an IV through her belly button. She is receiving some oxygen, but not a whole lot. She will remain in the NICU for at least a week, as they want to do a full week of antibiotics. Prognosis is VERY GOOD for a FULL RECOVERY. She looks healthy and brightly aware, but has a lot of dry skin on her hands and feet. Thank you for all the prayers, and continue to pray that her lungs stay clean and clear, that she wants to nurse soon, and that no infections set in.
I was released from the hospital in Fairbanks under strict orders to come to Anchorage and do nothing but spend time with Emily and rest. I am sore this morning from the c section, getting up out of bed was difficult. I have a lot of pain medication so I am sure the uncomfortableness will be manageable, but still. Please pray for a full recovery from surgery for me.
Aerin and Ethan are spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. They like that but really want to see Emily and Mom. They went to the zoo yesterday and will go off to Whittier this afternoon for about a day I think. I didn't get to see them last night, so I really want to see them today. They are not allowed to see Emily as long as she is in the NICU. Pray for patience for them, as they feel cheated out of the whole experience.
Emily was allowed to start nursing yesterday, however, she was not really interested as she is still sleeping most of the time. She is getting my expressed milk through a feeding tube, however, so she is getting all the nutrition with none of the work. She now only has one IV line through her belly button. She is receiving antibiotics to ward off any infection and to help her heal from the little bit of pneumonia they can see on the xrays. The nurse tried to remove the oxygen supplement but her saturation levels dropped too low so the nurse replaced it. Emily just can't breathe quite well enough on her own, so she is receiving a low amount of oxygen just to help her along. She has great color and looks so much like the other kiddos when they were babies. She has a very round head and chubby cheeks and the cutest little bowed mouth.
Bill went shopping yesterday and bought us all some clothes at Value Village, we were only prepared to be away a couple of days. He had to buy a few things for Emily too as she is too small for the newborn size clothes we already had. She is not ready quite yet for clothes but maybe in a few days. Bill is pushing me everywhere in a wheelchair and it is about half a mile from the NICU to the place we are staying. It is all connected through skyways so it is pretty cool but a long ways.
The kids are spending time with my parents. I am so thankful my parents live here in Anchorage, they have come to our rescue many times. We authorized my mom to see Emily in the NICU before we were able to arrive in Anchorage, so she had someone who loves her intently here with her, singing her songs, and praying over her. I know my mom really cherished those few hours. Aerin and Ethan got to see a video of Emily crying and they both just melted with "Awwwwwwwww, she's so cute!" They are desperate to see her and love on her.
I am still very sore. I am not moving much, but more so probably than I should. I am still up and down out of bed for pumping milk, so not a whole lot of rest at one time. But I am taking it easy, and Emily and I nap together when I hold her.
Thank you for all your prayers. Emily is recovering above and beyond expectations. God is Good. All the Time!
Aerin and Ethan were able to stand in the room doorway and see Emily today. They were about 8 feet away from her but it is the closest they have gotten to be. Thank you so much to the kind NICU charge nurse and supervisor for their compassion. They got to look at her for about 15 minutes, and watch Dad change a diaper. Aerin says she is the cutest thing ever and Ethan says she is the cutest baby he has ever seen. Emily was sleeping though so they haven't seen her with her eyes open.
Emily was taken off the oxygen today and she did great all day without it. That means that her lungs are working well and are not too damaged. She is also having the umbilical IV removed this evening, but now has one in her hand. This is an improvement because it allows the umbilical to completely heal. The course of antibiotics will continue through the hand IV. She nursed for a few minutes today and got her little engine running, all the suction, breathing and swallowing action going in sync. I gave her some breast milk in a bottle and she didn't really want to suck on that so I just squeezed it into her mouth and let her swallow it. They will remove her feeding tube when she is nursing more efficiently. A day or two is all it should take, the nurse said babies that have been intubated don't really like to have things in their mouths right away. All her internal systems seem to be working well, she pooped three times while Bill was trying to change the diaper! He was very pleased to be able to take care of some basic needs for Emily.
Last night Emily's feeding tube was removed so she currently has no tubes on her face! I will take a picture today and post it as soon as I can. Her IV nutrition has been discontinued as she is eating enough breast milk to sustain her blood sugar levels. Her platelet count went up as the doctor was hoping it would when the IV was removed from her belly button, but he is testing her for a virus that causes low platelet counts just to make sure she doesn't have it. Her last IV antibiotics are due this evening and then the IV will be removed from her hand. She might be removed from all monitors at that time. The doctors are talking discharge tomorrow after her hearing test, which can not be completed until the antibiotics are finished. I may be able to have her in a room with me here in the hospital tonight, off all monitors. Please pray that the room is cool enough (it has to be less than 80 degrees and there have been problems with the rooms being too hot) and that we can be together; and that all is a go for discharge tomorrow. When she is discharged we plan on staying in Anchorage a day or two so my parents and grandma get to spend time with Emily too.
We went to Chuck E. Cheese's for Ethan's birthday yesterday and he was thrilled. We met up with some friends who had a baby in NICU a few years ago, it was so nice to see them.
My recovering is going well, I am up and walking all the time (no more wheelchair for me). I feel great and am no longer taking pain medication, although I am taking ibuprofen for inflammation.
God is Good. All the Time!
Emily got to spend the night with me in a room by ourselves, with no cords, wires or monitors. Aerin and Ethan got to see, hold and play with her. However, the doctor yesterday said that Emily is not eating enough and he was not going to discharge her today. So we have been tracking her eating and her weight. We are so close to discharge but it seems so far away. Personally, I think babies will eat when they are hungry and how much they need, not a certain number of ml that a doctor says they should. So I am struggling with my attitude about this. Please pray that Emily will eat enough so the doctors are happy. She is nursing better and taking breast milk from a bottle. She has a hearing test today that she should pass with flying colors.
We were released from the NICU at noon! Yea! Praise the Lord. We will be traveling home on Saturday.
It is so good to be home. Everyone is so comfortable here and relaxed, Emily included. She is nursing so well and sleeping soundly. She is never sitting alone, there are four willing sets of arms to hold her. Since she was born she has been in the NICU, the rooming-in room I was in, Hickle House (where we stayed Thursday night), my parents house, and home. I am hoping that after a few days of being home, we will all settle into a routine.