Monday, June 30, 2008

What a Morning

First, a weekend update, then the story of the week...

This weekend was such a nice break. Eric was (obviously) off, so on both Friday and Saturday nights he got up with the baby so I could sleep. What a wonderful husband I have! It was great to feel like I could hold my eyelids open on Saturday and Sunday- a nice change from the normal I-fall-asleep-standing-up newborn tiredness! :)

On Saturday the ladies from church threw me a post-baby shower. It was supposed to be held back in May, but since Eli decided to come really early, it got postponed. It was so nice to be with these dear friends and to receive such a blessing from them! I'm so grateful!

And now for an amusing story that really wasn't that amusing when it happened but is slowly becoming more amusing as I think about it... Warning: This is pretty gross, so read with caution. All moms will understand. :)

So last night was a really sleepless night for me and Eli. We have to fortify the milk he drinks so that he gets enough calories to grow, and this makes him really constipated. (I told you it was gross- it gets grosser.) Last night was particularly bad- he was up most of the night fussing and squirming and crying, and I just held him and prayed! By 7am I couldn't stand it any more- he was breaking my heart!- so I gave him a glycerin suppository, which work like a charm for all those of you who need a good constipation remedy for babies! :) It did it's job after about twenty minutes, and Eli calmed down and went right to sleep- he was probably exhausted after a long sleepless night!

I decided to change his diaper and was planning on going right to bed myself- I was just as tired as he was! The diaper was FULL, and I had waited long enough for him to be done filling it (or so I thought). I pulled back the diaper, lifted up his legs, and he BLASTED poop all over me, the bed, and the carpet. The bed (where I was changing him) is about four feet from the dresser, and the poop covered the carpet all the way from the bed to the dresser. And it's that orange mustard poop that newborns have. And the carpet is white. I almost started crying.

Eli, of course, was sleeping like a rock, leaving his mother to strip the bed, strip him, wash him, clothe him, put him to bed, douse all the linens with a hearty portion of spray-and-wash, start a load of laundry, and begin the process of scrubbing a gallon of poop off of the white nursery carpet. As I sat there on the floor, scrub brush in hand, poop on my shirt, going on about an hour of sleep, I thought, "Welcome to motherhood." And I was able to smile.

This is just the beginning, I am sure, of things like this. And the crazy thing is that it is SO WORTH IT. I am slowly learning that motherhood is a tremendous sacrifice, but one that has the absolute greatest reward imagineable. As Eli sleeps off his long night, I am smiling and laughing about our morning adventure. And I am thanking the Lord again for my wonderful husband who comfortingly said, "Just leave it- I'll clean it all up when I get home." What a man! I hope Eli turns out just like him.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life with a Newborn

I kind of expected that since Eli was in the NICU for six weeks we'd skip over the "newborn" stage here at home. But apparently since he wasn't even supposed to be born until tomorrow, we get to experience all the normal newborn stuff- i.e., the sleepness nights. :) But it is a JOY to be rocking my son at 2am in his nursery here at home, even if it does mean little sleep.

Eli is doing great. He's still on oxygen, but at such a small percentage that we think he'll be off of it completely soon. We're much looking forward to this, as it is annoying to have him hooked to big heavy equipment all the time! He has this oxygen bottle that is about 4 feet tall and must weigh 80 pounds. :)

Eli's parents are tired, but we're doing okay too. We're adjusting to the no sleep thing and trying to just enjoy this phase of life. Eric is a wonderful father, and it is so fun to watch him interact with and care for our son. We're just so thankful for the miracle of his life and to the Lord who sustains us with His lovingkindness.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eli is home!

Yesterday, June 19, exactly six weeks after I checked into the hospital to give birth to Eli, Eric and I brought our sweet little son home! It was such a joyful, emotional experience.

The night before we brought him home we "roomed in" at the hospital. The NICU requires that before a baby is released his parents stay with him in a hospital room to make sure that they can care for his needs completely. So Eric and Eli and I had our first night together in the hospital, and it went really well. I think I got a total of 30 minutes of sleep, though, and poor Eric had to sleep on a fold-out chair! :)

Yesterday we got a slew of information about taking care of Eli at home, signed a bunch of papers, strapped him into his car seat, walked with the nurse to our waiting car, and then drove away from Baylor hospital with Eli! I was crying- it was the culmination of so many emotions of so many weeks.

Eli has been doing great. He's on oxygen still, but hopefully his lungs will develop quickly so that we can get off of it soon. We have been really enjoying caring for him here at home! My parents came over last night to hold him and my dad gave him his first bath at home. Last night was a typical night with a newborn! :) Though I am really tired, I couldn't be more thankful at 2am to sit and rock my son to sleep. It is the best feeling in the world.

Your prayers have carried Eli through, and we couldn't be more grateful. Please continue to pray for his lung development- that he won't have to stay on oxygen for much longer. We can't wait to introduce him to all of you!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Out of the blue today the doctor announced that Eli will be coming home on Thursday! If all goes as planned, we'll finally get to take our sweet little son home with us, after almost six weeks in the NICU. We're trying to hold this loosely, because things notoriously don't go as planned in the NICU, but our hopes are up, for sure!

Eli will have to be on oxygen for a while because his lungs still aren't fully mature, but we'll gladly manage oxygen in order to have him here with us! Other than that, he's doing really well. He's eating well and slowly gaining weight and is as cute as ever, in our non-biased opinions. :) He's "a little guy," as every doctor and nurse tells us- he just has a lot of catching up to do. We're just glad that now he can keep on growing at home and not in the hospital!

We cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers on Eli's behalf. We will be forever grateful, for we truly believe that your prayers pulled him through this time and will continue to support him as he matures. Though we are incredibly grateful for the amazing medical care we have received, we are acutely aware of the fact that Eli's life is supported by the loving hand of God and that He alone is to be praised.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Maybe a week?

Eli is doing pretty much the same. He's eating great, which the doctors are pleased about. He's on his own schedule, too- he tells US when he wants to eat!

The issues right now are his weight gain and his oxygen, both of which seem to be improving. He has held steady at around 4 pounds, 4 ounces all this week, which isn't great, because the doctors want to see him steadily gaining weight. They keep playing with the calorie additives and formula supplements that they add to his milk to see if they can get him to gain weight, and last night he gained two ounces! We're so thankful, and we're just praying that this trend continues.

He was moved to "microflow" oxygen, which is a step in the right direction. The doctors are trying to wean him off of this in the hopes that he doesn't have to come home with oxygen, but we'll see how he does. His lungs are improving- his oxygen saturation levels have been much better even in the last couple of days. We're praying that God continues to mature his little lungs, and quickly!

The doctor told us yesterday that he hopes to get Eli home within the week. We CANNOT WAIT! Please continue to pray for him- particularly for his weight gain and oxygen needs. Thank you for your support during this time! We can't wait to introduce Elisha Dane to all of you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coming Right Along

Eli continues to do really well. Yesterday (Monday) he was put on "nipple all" feedings- meaning that he takes a bottle or breast feeds for each of his eight feedings every day. His feeding tube is going to be taken out, and he's eating like a pro. We're so happy that he made this last step!

The issue now is his lungs. He's still on oxygen and is pretty dependent on it. If he wasn't on oxygen, he would be able to come home in the next day or two. But since he's still having trouble breathing on his own, the doctors want to keep him for a while longer to see if they can wean him off of it or at least decrease his levels. He is allowed to come home on oxygen, but, obviously, that is not preferred, and, even if that's what he needs, his levels still need to be decreased before they let him go home.

Really it's an issue of lung development. Eli is just so small- the doctors always say that he is healthy but small. Once he starts gaining weight really steadily, his lungs will start to regenerate cells more quickly, and his oxygen needs will decrease. His little lungs just need to mature so that he can breathe easily on his own.

We are praying that the Lord heals Eli's lungs just like he healed his heart. The doctors think he'll need to come home on oxygen, but we know that God can work a miracle and mature those tiny lungs so that he doesn't need oxygen any more at all. This is what we're praying for. Will you join us in praying that God will mature Eli's lungs so that he can breathe easily on his own? Thank you so much!

It doesn't look like he'll be home for Father's Day like we had hoped. We're okay with this, though- we know that he's where he needs to be, and if it helps him get better, we're all for it. Really, he's doing SO WELL. He's made so much progress and is so healthy now. He's interactive and expressive and so sweet. Hopefully in less than two weeks we'll have him home with us!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Moving On Up!

Today Eli graduated into another nursery- the last nursery before he goes home! We're so happy! He has 8 feedings a day, and 4 of them are from a bottle now. Once he is able to bottle/breast feed for all 8 feedings, he's ready to come home! We're praying for quick progress.

He's up to 4 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces, and we think he's the cutest thing. He's still on oxygen, but that's not a hindrance to his coming home. If need be, he can come home on oxygen. We are praying, though, that his little lungs mature quickly so that he can breathe easily on his own.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for little Eli. I can't wait to introduce him to all of you. Please continue to pray with us that he can be home by Father's Day! Thank you so much!

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Clothes

Yesterday Eli got to wear his very first outfit! He's been in just a diaper inside his isolette (fancy incubator) for weeks, but yesterday they moved him out of the isolette and into an open crib. This means that he has learned to regulate his own temperature, which is such a praise! Now that he's in an open crib we get to put him in clothes, which is so cute. His first little preemie onesie, though it looked so tiny, was huge on him. :)

Eli continues to do well with feeding. He's getting better and better at his one bottle a day- soon they'll move him up to two bottles a day. He does really well with the suck/swallow thing, but breathing still isn't perfected. He has been back on a nasal canula to give him a little oxygen for the past few days. Though this seems like a step back, I am glad that he has less trouble breathing now that he has a little extra oxygen. The nurses all assure us that this is just the way premature lungs are- that he'll soon mature enough to breath without any extra oxygen.

Please continue to pray for our little son! Pray that his lungs mature so that he can breathe easily on his own, that he continues to learn how to eat, that he can continue to gain weight (he's up to 4 pounds now!), and that he can come home SOON! Thank you so much, and love to all of you!