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

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ella loves to be carried around with me

Ella loves to be held and not put down. I had to borrow this carrier from my friend, Jenny. It has helped a lot. I know it will fit her better once she gains a little more weight.

Ryan happened to come home this morning to grab something and he snapped a pic of us. This is how I look most days--no make up, hair is a mess....no time for myself! I enjoy spending the days with my two kids! I usually try and clean up before Ryan comes home.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

8 pounds

Ella his 8 pounds today! Nurse Carol comes into our house once/twice a week to check her blood pressure and weight. We were so excited to see 8.00 pounds today! She has gained an average of 35 ounces a day this week. In the NICU they hoped she would gain 30 ounces a day--so I am happy!

We met with the kidney doctor on Tuesday. He is going to be watching her high blood pressure closely over the next few weeks. It continues to be high. We are trying to order a blood pressure pump small enough to fit Ella so that we can take her blood pressure at home each evening.

Above is a picture of her sleeping in her crib in her "tucker sling". She is still sleeping prone (on her tummy) and the bed is elevated due to her reflux.
The other pic is of Carter and Ella. He loves to hold her. He is a GREAT big brother. He has started calling her "sissy:. So cute! I know they will have so much fun together in the upcoming years.

She is a happy girl, except when she is hungry. Then we really hear her. She has "woken up" and has such a fun personality. Everyone that has met her has commented on her big eyes-they are so pretty. I can't wait for everyone to meet her soon! Thanks for your continues prayers and warm thoughts.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

100 days old

Today Miss Ella is 100 days. What a journey it has been. We are so blessed that God chose us to be her parents and brother. We are so blessed!

She is already BLOOMING in so many ways.
* She is out of preemie sized clothes and is in newborn size.
* She HATES having a dirty diaper and will let us know as soon as she needs to be changed.
* She wakes up right before her feedings...I usually hear her about 10 minutes before my alarm goes off in the middle of the night.
* We are still feeding her every 3 hours around the clock. The doctor says this will continue for awhile...
* She can lift her head up!
* She cries and it is loud!
* She recognizes our voices. She smiles occasionally. She follows us with her eyes.
* She loves to be held and has a hard time when we lay her down at first.
* She enjoys the bouncer and swing for awhile, but lets us know when she is tired of it.
* She is LOVED by all!

This week was a slow week for doctors appointments and will be this coming week. We will have the nurse from Children's Mercy come into our home for a weight and blood pressure check.
Her blood pressure still is a concern. We have set up appointments at Children's Mercy with a kidney doctor and a cardiologist. They have also ordered an Eco Cardiogram of her heart.
Her eyes continue to have the ROP disease and it is healing itself. We will go back in two weeks to have them rechecked. Her right eye is almost resolved and mature, but her left eye still needs more time to correct itself.

At our doctors appointment on Monday, APril 12th, they thought she looked good. She sure was squirmy as they were checking her eyes. They changed her formula in hopes of the new one helping her gain weight easier. We continue to add formula and clear gel thickener to each bottle.

We got her first initial hospital bill. It is just for her stay in the NICU--not counting any of the doctors seeing her and their individual charges. It is over a quarter of a million dollars...thank goodness for insurance.

We have counted our blessings over the last 100 days and will continue to for years! We are so blessed...and it really does not seem like 100 days to us! :)

Ella and I found "our song"

Ella is my sunshine! I can't wait to see her smile each day--even at the 2:30 am feeding!

March of Dimes Walk

March of Dimes Walk is May 1st here in KC at the Power and Light District.
I have joined the "Friends of St. Luke's NICU" team.
Does anyone want to join me on the walk or contribute a donation? (NO PRESSURE!!) I hear the day is a fun one and that it is great for kids close to Carter's age. They have a blow-up jumping thing. :)

The March of Dimes is an wonderful program that really helped me through the tough times at the NICU. They have a March of Dimes representative (Julie) at the hospital that put together activities for the NICU families. Julie and I became very close and I was always excited to see her at the activities. A few of the activities I participated in included: making a valentine's onesie for Ella, making a memory box, scrap booking, calendar making, donuts, valentine's day brunch, hat making...Julie also provided classes, such as safe sleeping that we enjoyed.

Our team goal is $4160 to represent $10 for every baby admitted to the Saint Luke's NICU in 2009. If you can't walk with us, please help by donating to our team or saying a prayer for us on the day of the walk.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

To find out more, you can visit my website at : http://www.marchforbabies.org/personal_page.asp?pp=3439901&ct=4&w=4329096&u=mrjasperson

first road trip

Ella had her first road trip and did quite well. Ryan's Papa passed away on Saturday, so we traveled to Newton/Salina for the funeral.

We are SO BLESSED to have had 9 grandparents for our kids. Not a lot of people can say that. Carter (and now Ella) enjoy spending time and seeing each of them.

Papa was very special to Ryan. Papa and Ryan's grandma have always gone to as many activites of the grandkids as they could, especially while Ryan was growing up. They would come to Newton when we were home to see Carter.

When Ryan and I were taking our marriage preparation class, we had to choose a couple whose marriage we wanted to resemble. We chose Papa and Grandma. Their love for eachother was amazing! They were best friends-and it showed.

We are very sad that Papa was not able to meet Ella. But we know he loved her the moment we found out we were expecting. Ryan remembers them calling right after Ella was born (and I was still in recovery) to congradulate us. Papa loved Ella and was praying for her healthy recovery. He was able to see pictures of her and we know they made him smile.

Carter and Ella will continue to be brought up loving and remembering Papa.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ella loves her bunnies

She loves all the bunnies she has received. I think she has a collection started!

April 11, 2010 DUE DATE

Today is our due date. It is hard to believe. SO MUCH has happened in her 94 days of life...I remember the doctors telling me the day after she was born that she had a 95% chance of being home and healthy on or before her due date. God has blessed us and answered our prayers! She is a precious little girl that is doing so well. We love you, Ella!!

3 months old

Ella turned 3 months on Wednesday, April 7th. It is so hard to believe it has already been three months. She has accomplished and went through so much. She is a strong one!

It has been great having her home. We are all adjusting well. I am deprived of sleep, Ryan has become a deeper sleeper and Carter is learning to be patient. My mom here all week which has been wonderful! She loves her grand kids so much and is a fun grandma. She enjoyed her one on one time with Ella and her play time with Carter.

Ella goes back to the NICU tomorrow for a follow-up appointment with the eye doctor and them we will see a member of the NICU team for a check-up. I think she is doing great and adjusting well at home. She is getting big. I am excited to see what they think of her.

Ella has a home health care monitor, and I think she will have it awhile. She is hooked up to it by a band that goes under her armpits and has a probe on each side. It does not seem to bother her and we carry the monitor box everywhere we go throughout the house. She has had minimal alarms, but the apnea still alarms at least once a day. (She forgets to breathe and self resolves it on her own).

Her bottles take me forever to make and she gets a little impatient. Whether the bottle is my milk or formula, it needs extra formula added for extra calories and then a clear gel, called simply think, that thickens it so it is easier for her to swallow.

Ella poops constantly. She is a stinky girl! She is more verbal and actually cries now.

Her room is coming together. We took pictures of her in her bed with her adorable, cute, pink bumper...but took it out for safety. They recommend not using them due to suffocation...so it looks cute, but was removed after the pics! :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

first outing

Ella had her first outing on Monday. We went to see Dr. Stuppy for her first visit. Dr. Stuppy had been keeping up with our blog, so she was up-to-date with Ella's care. She thought Ella looked really great. Ella was 6 pounds 13.5 ounces at her office. We will see Dr. Stuppy again for Ella's 4 month appointment. In the meantime, we have plenty of check-ups with other professionals. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

It was a wonderful day. We had beautiful weather for the Easter egg hunts, Mass and a BBQ!

Ella's first Easter was special. She wore a bunny one piece most of the day. It was a special gift from a special student in my class.It is light pink with little bunnies all over it. So cute! She got a white bunny holding flowers from another special student that Ella and Carter both enjoyed playing with today. I think bunnies may be her "thing" to collect. They are so cute and she already has a collection started.

Carter woke early and enjoyed seeing his Easter basket and hunting for eggs in the house. He soon told me, "The Easter bunny is so nice. I want to give him a great big hug!" He also said, "The Easter bunny gave me all my favorites." He was worried last night that bunny would not know Ella was home and would not bring her a basket. :)

Ella's actual due date is one week from today, April 11th. I had hoped to make it and not deliver until after Easter. Obviously, God had a different path for us. I have always enjoyed Easter and the special and celebratory day that it is. Since the day Ella was born, I was hopeful she would be home for Easter. Her being here made it that much more special.

Alleluia, we are blessed! Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ella is HOME

Ella was born Jan. 7, 2010 weighing 2 pounds 2 ounces. She came home today, April 2, 2010 weighing 6 pounds 12 ounces!

It is great for all of us to be under one room. We are able to enjoy her so much more.

We are tired, but it is worth it.

Carter, Jay, Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Ryan were waiting at the house when we got home. Carter was excited to see her. He is a great big brother!

The Bartel girls stopped by to see her and Walter and his mom tried, but Ella and I were busy. We are blessed to have great neighbors!!

It is a great day for us! Ella is home. Our prayers have been answered!

Last day at the NICU

Today was great! We saw so many wonderful people and were able to say a proper good-bye to them.

Becky and Denise were my caring nurses while I was sick. They went above and beyond for me. They were both able to be with me in the delivery room. They continued to check-on us during Ella's stay. They both touched my life forever.

I saw and said good-bye to Dr. Lu. He was the doctor I was sent to in December from Shawnee Mission Medical Center to him at St. Luke's to perform the surgery. I truly believe because of him, Ella was able to stay inside of me and develop a few more days...which I realize now were crucial days. God Bless him!

Alisha and Sandy were two of our amazing nurses and they were both working today. They were able to discharge us and hold Ella one last time. Kim,(who was off today-but we said good-bye on Wednesday)Sandy and Alisha have been Ella's primary nurses. They have taken such great care of Ella and taught us so much. I would not have made it through the long days and nights without talking to them and them guiding us. Ella and I had so much fun with them...it was bitter sweet leaving them. Tears were shed...and we were off!

Sandy was Ella's first nurse the day she was born and her last nurse today. She got to pull her in the red wagon leaving the hospital!

Rooming-In with Ella

Last night went great! She passed her car seat test and stayed with us in our little room. We woke and fed her every 3 hours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ella is coming home!!!!!!

We have excited news to share!! Ella is to be coming home tomorrow! I will stay the night at the hospital tonight and if all goes well, she will come home tomorrow! It has been a long 84 days…thank you so much for your prayers and warm wishes!

She took all 8 bottles yesterday by mouth, not through the NG tube. So if this continues, we will be on our way. She needs to take all bottles by mouth for 48 hours to go home.

And this is not an April Fools Joke! :)