Ella Brooke is BLOOMING...and Carter is too!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support! Trust in the Lord...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big girl bed

Ella has had a great day with great progress!
She moved to a BIG GIRL CRIB! Sandy, one of our AMAZING nurses waited for me to get there so that she could be moved. She knew I would want to be there and help! :)

Here are a few pics of her "move" and new bed (with green sheets). The other picture is her last picture in her incubator.

She is 34 weeks today...doubled her weight to 4 pounds 4 ounces! We are so happy with the progress she has made in the last 7 weeks. We are blessed!

Thanks for the prayers and thoughts for our family.

eating well

We love spending time with Ella. She is up to 38 ML of milk each feeding! The doctors are happy with her progress and so glad she is able to tolerate her feedings now.
Isn't her outfit so cute? So tiny--we love the ruffles!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gaining weight!!

Ella has gained weight the last four days! We are so glad. She weighs exactly 4 pounds!!! She has almost doubled her weight. She is 16 inches in length.
She is able tolerate her feedings-finally! They have found a formula that does not upset her stomach and gives her the added calories she needs. The formula is added to my milk.
I am able to spend much of my time up at the hospital. I love it! Ella Brooke makes the cutest noises. She can tell when it is almost feeding time and always grunts at us.
The only machines she is currently on are her oxygen (nasal cannula) , feeding tube (in her nose) and her stat probe( on her foot) that measure the oxygen in her blood. It is not nice to have her hooked up to less cords.
One thing the doctors recommended was that she may try massage therapy to help with her digestion. She has been given 4 massages by the therapist-and she LOVES it! She is so content during her sessions. I have met with the therapist a few times she taught me the correct ways to give infant massage. It is such a neat bonding experience for Ella and I!! Saint Lukes believes in Massage Therapy for preemies so much that Carolyn(the massage therapist) is a member of the team and actually works for St. Lukes. She is so nice and I can tell already it has been beneficial for Ella.
Thanks for all your prayers and continues support. We appreciate it more than you know...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mommy gave her a bath!

Ella got her first "sponge" bath from mommy! I hope she loved it as much as I did. Her nurse, Alisha, lead me step by step. We were laughing at Ella along the way beacause of her squeals.
After her bath, I got to hold Ella in a warm blanket while Alisha changed her sheets. She chose an adorable cupcake sheet for Ella to lay on. (I LOVE polka dots and cupcake decor!)
After a lotion rub down, Ella got to change into a cute outfit that Debbie and her daughter Jennie picked out for Ella. (Debbie is our AMAZING daycare provider and neighbor). It is Preemie size and fits pretty good! Notice the ruffles on her rear!!
She has had a good day today. She is eating more, but not gaining very much weight. They continues to be the main concern right now. She remains on nasal cannula and her oxygen needs continue, but are less than they were a week ago. She continues to have desats, but not as frequent.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

good days

Outfit #2 for Ella! A sweet onesie with a rainbow on it. Carter ate a Valentines cookie from "Pappy" and "Guh Guh" (my parents-named by him) and he made a HUGE mess of it on his face. He looks like a clown with the red icing. Not to mention his crazy hair...

We hope to continue on this positive path!! Ella has gained weight the last few days, although it has not been much. She weighs 3 pounds 7 ounces. The doctors would like her to gain 30 grams a day, but lately she has gained 10-20 grams. They continue to work with the dietitian and decide what to add to the milk to help Ella gain weight. Right now she gets 22 cc of my milk and 2 cc of formula in a feeding. She gets this 6 out of 8 feedings, and the other 2 are strictly formula. Her tummy is tolerating this well.

Her oxygen needs have decreased.She is on 21% oxygen (what we breathe) and all nasal cannula! Yea! No C Pap and we hope she never goes back to it.
She is more awake lately. This is a sign that she is maturing and getting older. She is 32 weeks gestational and it has been 6 weeks today since she was born.
The doctor called (they do with an update every morning) and said she had a restful night with few alarms! Yea!

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I love these guys and our little girl! We had a great day together. The top picture is our first family picture! I love being a family of 4 now.

Ella got to wear the onesie we decorated as a March of Dimes NICU activity. It says, "I AM LOVED". It was fun to see her in clothes for the first time. We had fun trying to dress her, she seems so fragile at 3 pounds 6 ounces. Her "hats" are supposed to be headbands, but since her head is so little they look more like hats!

As you can tell from the pictures, she was very wide eyed when we were there today. She is much more alert lately. She loves to look at her daddy and hear his voice.
She is doing okay. She had a blood transfusion yesterday because she is showing signs of anemia, and the doctors want to catch it before it gets worse. She also has had pretty good blood gases and was able to be on nasal cannula for 6 hours a in a 12hour period. She is eating well...although nothing is added to her milk so that her stomach can settle down. They hope to try a fortifier again in a few days so that she can have added calories and gain more weight.
Her spinal tap was officially negative...great news!

Happy Valentine's Day! We love you all!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

little pink booties

I got to put something PINK on Ella's feet. The nurse said she is ready for clothes, so Ryan and I will dress her for the first time tomorrow. We can't wait to see her in clothes!
The last few days Ella has done well. Her blood gasses have all been good and her oxygen needs have decreased. She in now on 6 hours of nasal cannula and 6 hours of C Pap each shift. She is doing very well on C Pap. She has had only 1 red alarm/Bradycardia/ "B" in the last 3 days. THIS IS AWESOME!!
Her blood never showed sign of infection last week, although she acted like she did not feel good. She finished the 10 days of antibiotics. On Wednesday they performed a Spinal Tap to make sure she did not have Meningitis. The fluid that was removed was clear and so far has shown no signs of infection. We will get the "All clear" at about 5pm tonight, as they keep it "growing" in the lab for 48 hours before they say it is totally clear. Ella did great as they were giving her the spinal tap. She was awake and held in a C position. It was performed in her incubator in her room. They had put on some numbing cream about 30 minutes prior, and she did not feel it or flinch. They said it was one small poke and she did not mind. I waited in the waiting room off the NICU and then went to see her when they were finished.
Her eye exam went well. Her right eye is categorized as "immature" and her left eye shows stage one ROP. This is a fast moving disease, so they will check her again next Thursday. The doctor told me due to her early birth, she expected to see some sign of ROP. They will not do anything if it is stage one or two, but at stage 3 laser surgery would probably be performed. (I think)...
She is eating well, although not gaining weight as we would hope. They have added more calories with formula to my milk...but at times her tummy is not tolerating it. She currently weighs 3 pounds 4 ounces.
Thanks for the prayers! Please pray for her continued progress with the decrease her oxygen needs and for her to gain weight.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beautiful eyes

I spend my days with this precious girl and her beautiful eyes!
She has outgrown her first two hats! I like the light green one she had on today. The nurse told me I could bring socks to have her wear. My friend Summer gave me some adorable PINK ones that she will be sporting tomorrow! So excited for the PINK!
She is still on C Pap today, although she was able to be on nasal cannula for an hour today while I held her (and in the picture). They had to move her feeding tube to her mouth while she is on C Pap.
Her temperature probe was discontinued today, so she has one less cord attached to her tiny body. She has never really had a problem with her body temperature being too low or too high. They will continue to take her temperature under her arm every three hours.
Her first eye exam is scheduled for Thursday. They will be checking to make sure the blood vessels in the retina are not growing abnormally. A complication called ROP is common in premature infants and can lead to blindness and other serious eye problems. However, we are not worrying until the doctors tell us to worry. So I hope that the eye exam goes well on Thursday!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thanks Be To God!

The ultrasound of Ella's head came back with good news tonight. It shows that the spots they were watching have decreased in size and are minimal. Thanks be to God! They will do an MRI on her head about a week before she is dismissed from the hospital just to make sure everything has developed correctly. This is routine for all babies born before 28 weeks.

She continues to be on C Pap. Her PIC line was removed today. She was sleeping while we were there tonight. Ryan said she opened her eyes for him and then drifted back to sleep.

I just checked in with the nurse and she just weighed Ella. She weighed in at 3 pounds 3 ounces-what a BIG girl!!

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Ella Brooke is ONE MONTH old today! So much has happened over the last month. We are so thankful to all of you for your prayers, well wishes, notes, meals, gifts....we appreciate them all!

Ella has had a hard time with her oxygen de-saturation over the last few days. What that means, is she is struggling and not able to take deep breaths. She was taking a lot of shallow breaths, and her alarms were going off much more than normal. Ryan and I were both surprised with the amount of desats while we were there on Saturday.

The decision was made today (Sunday) to put her back on C Pap. She has not fought it at all...that shows us how much her lungs have been working to keep up and she is exhausted. The doctors hope it will only be a few days until she can go back to nasal cannula.

Her gases were already better this afternoon, so she is already improving.
The doctors started adding fortifier to her milk yesterday during her feedings. Mother's milk alone does not have the amount of calories that she needs for her body to mature and develop. The fortifier upset her stomach and she had loose stools the rest of the day. They have stopped the fortifier and will continue for a few days on milk only-poor girl!

Today is her last day for her 10 day antibiotics, although no infection was found. I am glad they continued to treat her as a precaution.

They are repeating her head ultrasound tomorrow. Please pray for some positive results...

The good news we heard today is that her PIC line will probably be removed in the next few days. Her feeding tube (in her nose) and her oxygen needs will continue to be her main concerns.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

3 pounds 1 ounce!!

Daddy's girl already!
Beautiful eyes
smiling and happy

Ella is so special and precious

I am happy to say that Ella has had a few good and stable days. She continues to desat, especially when she is taking shallow breathes, but quickly resolves it on her own. We think a lot of it has to do with immaturity of her little body (only 30 weeks)..it is still learning and growing!

I am so excited to say she is 3 pounds 1 ounce! Our big girl almost has "butt cheeks" and a double chin! She is filling out and does not look so fragile.

Ryan got to hold her tonight for the first time. He loved it and his face was glowing. I know she loved it just as much.

Thanks for your prayers and support. We appreciate it all so much than you know!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Miss Ella

On Monday, Ella rested comfortably under the oxygen hood. Her gases were good. She only had one "B" or Apnea that caused her alarm to sound but she was able to self resolve it. I spent most of the day with her and loved it! She opens her eyes and responds to our voices. Her feedings went well and she was able to tolerate her 7 cc of breast milk.

Last night as I was talking to her nurse, Alisha, on the phone she told me how feisty Ella is. She said on her shift she had checked in on Ella and then went back a short time later and Ella had kicked out the IV in her foot. Silly girl! It did not seem to bother Ella at all not having the IV.

This morning, Tuesday, they were able to put her PIC line back in because her labs still show no signs of infection. The had to attempt it 3 times before they were able to get it in successfully. She did not mind because she was in a warm blanket and sucking on sugar water. While they were putting in the PIC line, they put her on nasal cannula and she did well. She is still on it currently and the nurse is waiting to hear if the doctor wants her to be put back under the oxygen hood or stay on nasal cannula. They will continue monitoring her oxygen level, breathing and feedings today.

Since she is doing so well, I am going to run and go pick out a baby crib for her! Carter's crib converted into a "big kid bed", so we need a crib for Miss Ella. I have not been shopping in over 5 weeks...I am ready to spend money!! :)