Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One Month Old

Obviously I've done a lousy job keeping everyone updated on Annalee as she has progressed over the last few weeks.  I'm going to blame it on the second child syndrome.  It's not that we aren't thankful when she takes steps forward, it's just that we've done all of this before!

Day 2: First time doing kangaroo care.

She needed the bili light for about a week.

Day 8: Annalee's first attempt at breathing without her oxygen cannula.  She wasn't quite ready.

Day 9: She ditched the oxygen, they removed her IV, set her isolette to room temperature (yay for wearing clothes!), and moved her to the step-down nursery.

Day 11: I went home for the first time in 11 weeks.  I had a fabulous day with my boys and was amazed at how grown up Samuel is!  Annalee did well while I was gone and it was great to be able to check on her via webcam all day.  The nurse found her a bow (no, it didn't match, but it was sweet of her to do!) and left a note that we could see:  "Love you Mommy, Daddy, and Samuel.  Love Annalee."  Samuel cried when I left to go back to the hospital.  As I was leaving he asked, "Mommy come back?"  Broke this momma's heart.

Day 13: Annalee surpassed her birth weight.  4 lbs 1 oz

Day 15:  She got her very own big girl bassinet.  She had a head ultrasound and the results were completely normal.  The occupational therapist gave Annalee her first bottle.  And later that night she got her first tub bath!

Day 21: She weighed 4 lbs 9 oz and worked up to taking six bottles out of eight feeds a day.

Whether they liked it or not, I made a few of our favorite medical professionals pose for a photo with Annalee.  My OB doctor, Dr. Wendel.  The doctor who delivered Samuel, Dr. Sandlin.  Dr. Shah, the NICU resident who cared for her the first few weeks.  And one of the fabulous nurses from antepartum who kept me sane during my eight weeks of hospitalized bedrest.

Day 22: We heard that several babies were sick with RSV.  I posted this sign on the door, hoping to discourage the sick from entering and to encourage handwashing from everyone else!  The day before I posted this, we spent several hours in the hospital hallway with other parents and babies because of a tornado warning.  The day after I posted it, a water pipe broke in our NICU wing, and we were evacuated to other pods (which we had to share with other babies and families.)  I could NOT believe how unfortunate it was that those two things would happen in the middle of an RSV outbreak.  The last I heard, there are ten babies with RSV now.  Annalee has been swabbed for it twice and has tested negative each time.  I tried to get her transported to another hospital in an attempt to keep her from being exposed.  Unfortunately no other hospital will take her at this point.

Day 25: Annalee was taking all feeds via bottle.  The nurse pulled the NG (feeding tube) and we planned to leave the hospital in a few days.  We knew we were rushing her a bit, but since she was doing so well and because the RSV outbreak was so bad, we wanted to get her out of the NICU ASAP.

Day 27: On the verge of going home, Annalee seemed to forget how to eat.  She began having events (desats and bradies) with her bottles and lost all coordination.  We cut the number of bottles she has in a day from eight to four.  Two steps back.  (In case you're wondering...I've been feeling a little under the weather, so anytime I handle her, I wear a mask and gown.)
Annalee is one month old on Friday - which makes her 36 weeks gestation.  She weighs 5 lbs 3 oz and is 17 inches long.  She likes to sleep during the day and party at night.  I suspect that part of her set-back was due to reflux, but she has fed well over last twelve hours so we are going to bump her up to six bottles a day.  I love that she is looking more like a baby and less like a little spider monkey (ok people, let's be real...preemies just have that funny look about them.)

For the most part, this NICU stay has been WORLDS easier than Samuel's.  I have been correct in thinking all this time that there is a drastic difference between 20-something weekers and 30-something weekers.  The most challenging part of this journey has been dealing with all of the baggage I have from our previous NICU stay.  It's easy to worry more when you're aware of how badly things can go.  But I will's never easy to watch your child be poked and prodded, to leave them in the hands of strangers, or to be patient during their set-backs.  No matter how many times you've done it.

It's taken me a while, but I have finally adjusted to this NICU.  My favorite thing about being at UAMS (besides the private room) is that I feel heard as a parent.  My concerns are addressed and my opinion is sought.  I LOVE that.  After all, I spend 98% of my day in the NICU just so I can advocate on Annalee's behalf.  There are still a few things that I miss about ACH...our nurses and doctors obviously, but I also miss how diligent they are in other areas.  Such as the rules they have in place to keep things like RSV outbreaks from happening.  All in all though, I can appreciate the more laid back atmosphere that UAMS has.

I hope that Annalee will have the endurance to feed appropriately so that we can go home soon.  I don't want to rush her, but I miss my two guys so much!


  1. Congratulations, she is beautiful and yay that she is doing so well. Best wishes to your family.

  2. She looks wonderful! I hope she continues to improve so you can bring her home :)

  3. Thanks for the update. I read every word! I loved hearing your thoughts about 20 weekers vs. 30 weekers. I am so happy for you that you made it so far with bed rest and that Annalee has been a feeder/grower. It's pretty amazing!

  4. Oh my finally good to hear from you. Thank God she is doing so well and get chubbier. She is gorgeous! Will be home in no time by God's grace.

  5. She is gorgeous! Looks like a doll I played with and loved when I was a little girl. And I, an 8-pound full term baby, didn't have as much hair as Annalee does until I was two years old!

  6. My boys were 29 weekers who weighed 2 pounds each and they TOTALLY looked like spider monkeys for weeks and weeks! We have a picture of one of them sprawled out on a donut blanket and he is just all arms and legs. 14 months old and he's still very tall, his brother is a chunker though! I love Annalee's hair, so cute!

  7. Wonderful to hear...Ive been praying for you and Annalee. I will add RSV and bottles to that list!! We are in RSV isolation at my house...scares me to death I wouldve posted that note too!! God Bless!

  8. Just a silent follower who has been praying for your family. I've been so worried so I thanked God when I saw the update. Will continue to pray. Best wishes.

  9. Beautiful family. Thanks for sharing and updating on Annalee.

  10. I'm so glad that Annalee is doing so well!!!!

  11. Thank you so much for the update. I'll admit it. I was worried. I'm so happy she is doing well. She is a beautiful little girl. :)

  12. It's so encouraging to see her doing so well, and even thought it's not easy to be back there, I'm so glad it has been a much smoother stay! I'm sure you will all be home together soon. And YIKES about the rsv stuff. I would totally post that sign too. I posted a few when Asher was at Children's --- I was the crazy ex-teacher mom posting color coded signs everywhere. Ha. She is looking beautiful and yes much more like chubby, sweet baby than a preemie!

  13. It's wonderful to see how well Annalee is doing. Praying you will all be home together very soon.

  14. Beautiful!!!! I'm crying reading your account of events. My son was born premature due to his birth mom exposing him to meth. I wasn't there when he was in the NICU (we adopted him at 8 months old) and reading this and looking at the pictures makes me want to hug him all night long.