Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ella's Making More Progress

Ella's bottle feedings are now every feeding! Wooo Hoooo! She only has the NG tube just in case she doesn't finish all of her bottle. Tonight after she finished her bottle, she was rooting around for more. This makes me so happy! The only thing keeping us in the NICU now is just waiting to see if these lumbar punctures are going to work. I'm a little confused by the whole thing, so it's hard to explain it exactly. There is a little bit of a language barrier between us and the doctor she has had the past 2 days. She keeps calling Ella a "he"....drives me crazy :) They did another lumbar puncture today and took off a little over 8cc. I'm not sure how many of these they are going to do. I knew one procedure wouldn't correct the hydrocephalus, but I don't know if it's a temporary fix or it they think it will permanently fix it. There are so many different people working in the NICU. We have a different doctor every couple of days and a different nurse every couple of days. Therefore, we hear a different story every couple of days. Hopefully we'll know more on Monday when a different doctor works. Ella's roommate got to go home today. I'm very happy for them, but Ella's room was so empty tonight. I was so sad to leave her alone :) Maybe we'll get another cool roomie soon!

Chester's Party Barn

Haunt the Zoo

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Bows

We received these adorable bows in the mail yesterday from April Shrader. Oh, I can't wait until she can wear them all the time!!!!
There is not much news to report today. Ella keeps eating well. Oh, and she is up to 5lb 14oz. The Dr.'s would like her to gain at least somewhere around 20-30 grams a day. She is gaining about 80 grams. I think it is because when she does eat from her bottle, she gets a few extra cc's at each feeding. So, when she eats, she really eats!!!! Way to go Ella! She will have another lumbar puncture done again tomorrow to drain off the fluid. Please pray that this will work so she doesn't have to get a shunt!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Option

God has proven once again how good He is. The neurosurgeon told Ella's neonatologist that Ella's need for a shunt was kind "iffy". Basically, she is riding the fence if she needs one. Her head size growth has considerably slowed down the past few days. Also, her soft spot remains soft which is a good sign that fluid isn't building up too rapidly. Her CT scan showed once again the increased fluid on the ventricles, but it is growing at an equal amount on both ventricles...another good thing. So, they opted for doing a lumbar puncture today. Ella got a little epidural to drain off the excess spinal fluid. Hopefully this will be a huge success, and then she won't have to get the shunt. Once again it will be a waiting game on the results. We'll have some more ultrasounds and lots of head measurements. The Dr. was able to take off about 7cc of cerebrospinal fluid. Her Dr. said to not be too overly confident about this procedure, but she wouldn't have done it had she not thought there was a chance that it would work. Look at everything else God have proven He can do, why not this? Ella ate fantastic today! The upped her feedings to 48cc, and she can be bottle fed 2 out of every 3 feedings. Her Dr. today was looking at her charts and was totally "wowed" with the things Ella is doing. It's nice getting a good report! Oh, she now weighs 5lb 10oz. I can't believe how much she has grown in the last week. Her cheeks are really starting to fill out. I love it!

On my way home tonight, I realized that Carson and Cooper have never stayed more than 2 nights away from me. My precious baby girl has stayed 27 days away. Maybe a 7 day cruise should be in the works for next summer for Jason and I :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

School Days

Carson and Cooper go to Mother's Day Out once a week. They absolutely love it! I was so torn taking Carson out of daycare, but I am so glad I did. These are their school pics. I was super lazy and took a picture of the picture (I didn't feel like scanning them in). Family, you'll get the acutal pictures one day :)

Carson 3.5 years

Cooper 1.5 years
I still haven't heard any news from the neurosurgeon. When I went to see Ella today, her oxygen saturation had decreased a little bit. She also has had a few bradycardia (heart rate too low) episodes. This could be due to the ventricles enlarging. If she is going to have to have a shunt regardless, I wish they would have done it yesterday. The waiting is driving me nuts. She is eating so well. I really think we would be home by now if it weren't for the ventricles. The neurosurgeon's office had misplaced the CD of her ultrasound and MRI scans. I was about to drive them over to their office myself until they "found" them. urgh!!! I guess we're the only ones in a rush here. Ella had to have a CT scan today. I somehow managed to go down to the room with her. I saw the machine they were putting her in, and then I had to step out. It sounded like they were putting my little baby in a centrifuge and spinning her around. I about lost it. I hurt for my little girl. Then, I saw her after the 2 minute CT scan. It was like it never fazed her. She slept through everything! Ella has a chart full of papers. She has been poked and prodded on more in her 26 days of life than the rest of our family together. Poor little thing! I know it will be totally worth it, but it is so hard being patient. As my cousin Amy said, we definitely will have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Thanks for reminding me Amy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween

Papa Mac and Grandma Connie got this Halloween outfit for Ella. I think she looks pretty darn cute!!!!

Ella had another good day eating. She finished 2 whole bottles in a row. Hopefully her feedings will go up tomorrow. We'll see. The neurosurgeon will look at her MRI's and ultrasounds tomorrow. Then, we'll know more about when she'll get her shunt. I'm typing all these big words like neurosurgeon, neurologist, neonatalogist....whew, I'm becoming a doctor wizard :)haha! I have a tendency to look at her charts and try to read them like I know what I'm doing. I'm waiting to get a slap on the wrist :) Hopefully I can post more news tomorrow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Day

Ella has been eating so well the past few days. She has finished so many bottles lately that I can't remember how many. Her bottle feedings have increased to 4 feedings a day (basically every other feeding). She is up to 46cc. Her weight is 5lb 4oz. From what I've heard we will definitely do the shunt, it is just a matter of when. Her MRI and ultrasound results have been sent over to Children's and we are just waiting for Dr. Mapstone to look at them. Hopefully we'll know something by Wednesday or Thursday. I have had quite a few people reassure me lately about the shunt. My sister-in-law has a student in her class with one, and he is perfect. His only limitations are no contact sports. As most of you know, I'm a huge sports fan. But, this opens my eyes to many new opportunities. Maybe Ella will take after her Auntie Deana and love theater. Ella has really long fingers, so maybe she'll be an awesome musician. Maybe a cheerleader ??? We'll see.

Hopefully Ella will keep up her eating after her surgery. Then, maybe we'll be home within a few weeks. Her due date wasn't until November 21st, so my goal is for her to make it home by then. I can't believe she'll already by 4 weeks old on Friday. The time is going by fast, yet slow at the same time.

I had my 3 week checkup and got to talk to Dr. Hager a little more on what exactly happened. My placenta completely abrupted. It just happened! The only risk factor I had is being a red-head. I guess besides being know for having tempers, we bleed weird :) After talking to her, I realize more and more what a blessing Ella is. Dr. Hager did such an awesome job. She had an angel on her shoulder telling her to get my baby out when she did. I guess I had a blood clot half the size of my head. When she did the c-section, out came Ella, the blood clot and my placenta. My uterus was was black because it was so bruised. I am so thankful for my precious doctor! If any of you are looking for an OB/GYN, get her NOW! She is awesome!

Lots of Love to All!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good Eats!

Ella finished her whole bottle tonight!!!!!! She ate 43cc!!! She was wide awake and went to town on that bottle. I have had such a bum day today, but this gave me a happy heart :) I had to give her a mini high five. Papa Mac and Grandma Connie are visiting tonight. They gave us some good eats, too! I love Papa Mac's chocolate chip cookies :)

Ella's ultrasound did show that her ventricles aren't shrinking. I wasn't there when the Dr. explained this, so I'm going on what I heard from Jason and Connie. I guess the bleeding caused scar tissue which is keeping the spinal fluid from being reabsorbed (therefore, the ventricles are swelling). It looks like Ella will probably have to have a shunt put in. Mercy doesn't offer this procedure, so Ella will have to be transferred to Children's sometime next week. I thought I would have to be in a waiting room for 6 hours while my daughter is having surgery, but the procedure should only take about an hour. She'll probably stay at Children's for a few days, and then hopefully she can be transferred back to Mercy. I originally thought that she would only need the shunt for a couple of years, but she might have it for the rest of her life. I wish her ventricles would just shrink, but I'm trying to remain optimistic since there is treatment for her. Our nurse tonight told me that maybe Ella will eat better after she gets some of that pressure off of her brain. She can't eat any better than she did tonight!!!!

Jason went car shopping all day. His little Honda Civic isn't quite big enough for 3 kiddos. I feel sorry for him having to deal with car salesmen all day. I told him good thing he didn't take me. I probably would have punched a few of them :) It would have been a bad day for me to do some wheeling and dealing. He has the car here at the house. The contract was written with a "wife contingency". My contingency is yes as long as I get to drive it :) J/K.

Lots of love!

Blood Type Answer

I noticed on Ella's chart today that her blood type had been corrected to A+. The nurse practitioner later called me and said that there was an error when her blood type was originally put into the computer. I feel like they kind of blew the whole thing off like it was no big deal. 1st the lab technician stupidly saying there are recessive A/B/O. I don't know exactly what the idiot said :) Then, one of the neonatalogist blew it off and wouldn't request another test. I'm glad I persisted though. Finally one of the Dr's ordered the test "to put me at ease". Urgh!!!! Ella's roomate almost had the wrong bag of IV medication administered to her. Fortunately, the error was caught an hour later! Being in the medical field, I know that mistakes are inevitable. But, admit your mistake and truly be sorry for it! And, don't let it happen again!!!!!

Ella decided she wanted to be lazy last night and only eat 11cc (she's supposed to be eating 42cc) - Mom, that is no where near 5 oz (inside joke). I got her to eat 25cc in about 5 minutes today, though. I think I might have to start feeding her every time. I told Jason he could use this as an excuse so he never has to get up in the middle of the night with her when she comes home. She has been crying a lot more lately. I guess she likes to hear her voice now that she is finally using it! She weighs 5lb 2.7 ounces today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jason and I went on a Date :)

Thanks to this awesome family, Jason and I got to go out to eat tonight for Jason's Birthday. We figured we would take them up on their offer since they are our future inlaws :) (sorry Wes, couldn't resist) This precious little girl is Carson's "girlfriend".
There isn't much to update on Ella. Her only orders today are for another head ultrasound tomorrow and for another blood test (because I keep insisting on it). Ella still isn't wanting to eat much. She had a couple of good days, but she was very sleepy today. I was very hopeful that she would eat well for her Daddy tonight, but she only ate a small amount before she fell asleep. Jason said she was crying quite a bit before he got to feed her, so he thinks she wore herself out crying. Oh, Ella has finally reached 5 pounds!!! And, she passed her hearing test. Her hearing could have been damaged during the brain bleed, so we're pumped that she passed! Carson flunked this test 3 times :)

Keep praying that Ella will increase in the amounts she eats!!!! Then, we can increase the frequency of her feedings! Then we can bring her home!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blood Type Question

Ok, put your thinking caps on back to good ole biology/genetic days. My blood type is A+ and Jason's blood type is O+. Ella's blood type is AB+. From everything I have found from the good ole Internet, this is impossible. To answer your 1st question, Ella is 100% without a doubt Jason's child! AB+ is one of the rarest blood types, so it raised my concerns. We asked for them to recheck her labs to see if this was just a clerical error. The lab said they wouldn't redo it and that blood types have recessive traits. I still see this as an impossibility. I guess Ella has defied all the "medical possibilities" so far, so why not another! Since Jason is O+, I said she could only receive blood from him just in case they did a clerical error.

On another note, we had another good day. Ella is definitely getting interested in eating. She is showing strong signs. Now, she just needs to eat more at each feeding. She also learned to cry. It is sweet music to our ears! (at least right now it is :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Jason's Birthday is tomorrow (10-22)
Happy Birthday! We love You!Ella started eating better once we put this hat on her. Her Uncle Mark said something funny. He said "If Ella were a texas baby, she would probably suck better"...haha! I love it!

Ella's Gifts

Good News

Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday. There was really no news, so I waited for the good news today :) Ella ate really well again for her 11:30 feeding this morning. She ate almost 30cc. She is learning how to pace herself. She was so alert during her feeding, and she looked so darn cute! I'm going to spend the night with her tonight to ensure she gets bottle fed. Yesterday her feedings didn't go as well, but it was because she was sedated from the medication she got for her MRI. Speaking of MRI, we got the results. The blood clots are definitely dissolving. It also showed that there was minimal to no damage done to surrounding tissue on the brain. Yea!!! Her ventricles are swollen more than they were the last MRI, but her head size is growing at an appropriate rate. She has orders for her head to be measured daily just to make sure no abnormal growth is happening. The nurse practitioner made it sound like the swelling sometimes happens and it will correct itself. The worse case scenario would be that she would have to have shunts put in to drain the fluid. The shunts can stay in for 2 years if she even needs them that long. The condition she has is called "hydrocephalus" or "water on the brain". This is not like babies born with water on the brain. Her brain didn't develop this in the womb, so her condition can heal on it's own. And, importantly, it is treatable. All along I thought the swollen ventricles was the biggest issue. I was wrong. The bleeding was the scary problem, but it resolved. God healed her and protected her brain!!! They wouldn't have been able to stop the bleeding, but they can stop the swelling. Ella WILL get to tell her amazing story one day. I am so thankful for all of you for joining us on this roller coaster ride. I am very optimistic that with the way her feedings have been going that we will get to have our baby girl home with us soon!

I have so many people that I personally want to say thank you to. However, if I start listing personal names, I will definitely leave someone one out! So here our my shouts out to all of you! (I feel like I just won an Academy Award and I'm trying to not leave anyone out) Thank you to both of our families. Grandparents have helped us so much with Carson and Cooper and loving on Ella. They've been there at our beckon call. Our siblings have checked on us so much and love Ella just like she was one of their own. Our cousins constantly check on how we are doing and how sweet Ella is doing. Our church family has more than amazed me. We have been provided meals, love, visits and lots of prayers! Our co-workers have checked on us, taken care of insurance issues and provided us meals. We are both blessed with incredible jobs and incredible co-workers! Our friends (everyone fits into this category) have given us more love than we've ever known. We have received so many calls, emails, facebook messages and blog comments that are SOOOO encouraging. We have had so many people offer to do so much for us (including cleaning up our poopy boys). We love you all so much! As I have said before, I know our journey isn't close to being over, but you guys have made the ride so much smoother. Thank you for your constant thoughts and your constant prayers! To God be the Glory!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Love my Friends!

I had some girlfriends plan a girls night out last night. We ate at Hideaway and they threw a little surprise shower for Ella. She got some super cute stuff! I can't wait for her to wear it. Thank you my dear friends for spoiling me last night and for planning some much needed Girl Time!!! I love you guys! (I'll be posting pics soon)

Yesterday when I went to see Ella, they had messed up her feeding (bottle) schedule again. She hadn't been given a bottle overnight, so her her bottle times had changed. It stinks because we plan our schedule around Ella's eating so that we can give her the bottle. Once again I insisted that I get to give her a bottle. When I fed her, I had the occupational therapist and nurse hovering over me. Fun times :) Ella started out great, but she just tired out. The occupational therapist said she did a good job. I've decided to try to feed her every chance I get since they don't seem to want to do it overnight. So, I decided to go feed her last night at 11:30. When I got there the nurse had already fed her at 8:30. I was so mad! I asked if I could feed her again since I drove all the way up there. Her nurse said Ella was just so alert at 8:30 that she went on and fed her and she ate almost all of her bottle. I couldn't be angry at that! Anyway, after some convincing, I did get to feed her. She ate awesome! I think she's getting the hang of it!

Ella does have another MRI today. Last time she got so cold and her temperature was already a little low yesterday. Please pray that she stays warm and that the MRI goes well!


Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well, all Ella has left to accomplish is to EAT!!! It seems so easy, but yet so hard. I guess our frustration is that the overnight nurses keep telling us that she isn't showing the signs of wanting to eat, so they don't even attempt to give her a bottle. They have some kind of rating. I call it laziness on their part. The nurse told me today that Ella wasn't showing signs of eating and she would advise me not to give her a bottle. I insisted anyway and Ella ate half of her bottle. In the middle of feeding her, I decided to change her diaper and then the nurse wouldn't let her finish the rest of her bottle. They just keep giving her milk through her NG tube. Maybe some of you previous NICU Moms can help me out here. Somebody explain it to us. Jason and I are beyond frustrated. Most of you know that you don't want to get Jason mad! I understand that it is still 5 weeks before she is supposed to be here, and I understand that her condition might delay her a little. She has maintained her temperature and everything else is going well. Her ultrasound showed that the bleeding has stopped and is resolving itself. However, the ventricles are still swollen. The ultrasound did show that they could possible be a little more swollen than before, but our doctor today told us not to worry about it. She said it could have been then angle of the ultrasound or a different person reading it. Ella will have one final MRI before she comes home. They just want to wait to get the best results (they get better results the further away from birth).

Grandma Susan came and visited this weekend. She helped take care of these crazy little boys!

I seem to always be talking about Ella and Carson on this blog, so I thought I would share something about my little Cooper. He basically was born smiling. Cooper has the best personality and can cheer you up in a heartbeat with his ornery smile. He is so easy going! He's my baby boy and will probably get by with anything from me! My mom has told me that you love all your kids the same, just in different ways. I completely understand this now! They are all my favorites!

p.s. Pray for our sweet girl to EAT, EAT, EAT!!!!! (from the bottle) & for the ventricles to shrink on their own!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Cooper's Room has Turned Pink!!!

Poor Cooper has been booted out of his room. He and Carson got bunk beds about a month ago. They both seem to enjoy having a roommate now. As you can see from this picture, they are sleeping very well!

I finally bought paint yesterday for Ella's room. The boys enjoyed getting to help out. Jason wouldn't let me take a pic of him just being in his undies painting :) j/k. I'm getting used to the idea of pink...lots of pink. Ella's room is going to be zebra with lime green and hot pink. I'm excited to see how it turns out. I'm the world's best procrastinator. Needless to say, I had nothing ready for my baby girl. I gave my friend, Tisha, the material for making Ella's bedding 2 days before she was born. I was like, I have over 7 weeks :) Jason is not a procrastinator and will probably have the room painted tonight.

I had a great day hanging out with sweet little Ella. I kangaroo held her for almost 2 hours. While I was there for 4 hours today, that girl pooped at least 5 times!! I never had the boys poop during the middle of a diaper change. She ate 25cc from her bottle tonight. I am proud of that. She is officially in a "crib" and out of the warmer. Praise God! So, as soon as she decides to eat more from the bottle we'll get to bring her home. Oh, and she did gain back some weight yesterday. She is 4lb 9oz.

The nurses the past 2 days have both commented on Ella's physical improvements. I guess last week her muscles didn't have much tone. She is responding and moving just like she is supposed to be now! She did have an ultrasound today, but we haven't heard the results yet. I was told that no early results is good news. I feel confident in positive results. I keep hearing over and over how resilient kids are! Our little miracle is beating all the odds! Thank you so much Jesus!

One last thought, BOOMER SOONER!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Ella got moved again tonight. I think the NICU is moving babies on out so that there is plenty of room in the new unit. I guess my little girl is getting "promoted". HaHa! She now only has 2 neighboring babies. One of the Mom's bought Ella a little Halloween toy. After talking to this Mom a bit, it put things in perspective for me. This sweet little baby was born at 25 weeks and has now been in the NICU for over 4&1/2 months. We are going on 2 weeks, and I'm getting tired. This wonderful mom has been up at the hospital daily for 4&1/2 months and she is working full time. What a trooper she is! She had so much excitement to see her little girl. I just loved seeing her excitement.

Ella was wide awake when I went to feed her at 2:30. She makes the cutest faces all the time. I hope this little personality she's developing stays with her. It really looks like she is laughing at us for all she has put us through. She's like, "that's right, I'm the princess." The nurses up there all think she needs a tiara :) She made a lot of eye contact today which was awesome. She ate pretty well from the bottle. She is using so many calories trying to eat from the bottle that she lost weight yesterday. That's not so good. So, for specifics, prayers for her eating and prayers to keep her temperature up are much appreciated. She is having another ultrasound tomorrow. I thought she was having an MRI today, but I must have made that up. Oh I love Mommy fart brain :)

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Here's a pretty cute pic Jason got of Ella smiling
(I refuse to say it's just gas :) She smiles a lot in her sleep!
Carson and Cooper got their flu shots today. It was interesting to say the least. I had to bribe them with McDonald's. Carson cried a lot harder than Cooper did. I had to hide my smile. I don't know why, but I have always laughed when Carson has gotten a shot (even when he was a little baby). Does this make me mean? He just gets the most dramatic frown, and he cries so hard. I tear up when Cooper gets a shot, though. I guess he'll be my baby boy forever :)

When we were leaving, there was this cute little 4 year old girl in a tie-dyed sweat suit. I thought it was pretty cute, but Carson had to ask "Why does that girl still have her jammies on?" I told him to be quiet, but louder he said "Look, that girl forgot to take her jammies off." Hopefully her Mom didn't hear him :) It was pretty humorous, though.

Jason said that Ella moved on up to Intermediate care this morning. I'm not quite sure why she didn't move sooner. Anyway, she is completely off her oxygen again. They had to decrease her bottle feedings to every 3rd feeding. She was just getting too worn out. She is also still in the warmer to maintain her temperature. So, I guess we won't be coming home this weekend. I'm hoping for next. Jason said Ella was very alert today. She's been so sleepy.

Mercy is opening up their new NICU unit next Monday. I get to go tour it this afternoon. There will be actual rooms for the babies - 2 babies per room. We're pretty excited because Carson will get to come visit his baby sister now! Both of the boys have been looking forward to meeting their Baby Sister!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Hopefully we'll get some trick-or-treating in this year. The boys are loving playing "dress-up"Sweet Baby Ella sleeping
My spirits are high once again. I had a great day hanging out with my baby girl, and I'm having a great time hanging out with my boys. Yesterday Ella got visits from her Uncle Mark and Aunt Tami. Cousin Reid kept crying to see baby Ella, so Mark and Tami took him to see the "big" babies in the nursery. I think they pretended one of those was Ella :) Today Ella got to meet her Aunt Deana. This little girl is definitely going to be spoiled!!!
I met with the lactation consultant today and Ella latched on well. She didn't eat long, but she tried very hard. She is now eating 34ml every 3 hours. Ella tires very easily from her bottle, but I'm seeing an improvement. I was told today that she will have to eat from a bottle every feeding for 24 hours before we're allowed to go home. So, hopefully by next week. Someone must have been praying for my confidence with taking care of this precious little gem. My confidence went through the roof today. She all of the sudden didn't seem so small and so fragile.
Love you guys!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's No Crying in Baseball

There is no meaning behind the title of this blog, it's the only thing that came to my mind. Oh have I had an emotional day. I think some postpartum hormones have hit....hard!! I don't know if I got a bit overwhelmed with the possibility of bringing home a baby that is less than 5lbs. But, then I remembered that I was this way even after bringing home my big ole boys. You poor Daddies dealing with us emotional Mommas. When I got home tonight, I started crying for the 100th time today. Carson asked "are you crying AGAIN Mom?" Then he asked "why?" I said "I'm sad and I want Baby Ella to come home. " That smart little fart said, "Momma, she can't come home, she's too little." I guess I should listen to him more often! He then filled me with hugs.

Ella is totally off of her IV fluids. Her ultrasound came back good today showing what the MRI had confirmed. Ella's doctor said this was good news. She didn't try to nurse today. I'm going to meet with a lactation consultant tomorrow. Nursing isn't a big rush at this point. She did consume about 1/2 of her bottle this afternoon when I fed her. The rest of the nutrition came through her NG tube. She will definitely have to be able to consume a lot more by mouth before she gets to come home. She just gets so tired trying to keep warm and trying to eat. She's missing all that good ole fat to keep her warm! She has had to stay in the warmer to keep her temperature up, so this will have to improve too before we come home. We did get some good cuddle time in today, though.

I definitely want my baby girl home... now! But, I feel so comforted with her being hooked up to all those monitors. I know you Momma's of preemies know this feeling. We are exhausted from all the driving, but at the same time we're getting good sleep at night. I think the doctor might have been a bit optimistic about coming home this weekend. Ella still has a bunch of hurdles to jump over, but not near as many as she's already jumped. I was reminded that she still has 5.5 weeks before she was supposed to be here.

I told a good friend yesterday that I feel like I've matured about 10 years over the past week and a half (spiritually, mentally, physically). I had a couple of flashbacks today of being young and having no worries. A ton of my memories are at my Grandparent's house with Deana, Mark, Cindy, Joe and JC. There were no worries out on the farm! I sure do miss those days!!!!

Found Dog :)

We got a call this morning that some people a little over 1/2 mile away had our "muddy" dog in their garage. So, there's another answered prayer. I know this isn't near as an exciting update, but we are glad she's home. Thanks to my mom for going house to house asking about Phoebe.

I haven't been to see Ella today, so I don't have any updates on her yet.

That's all for now!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Showers of Blessings!

God is so good! Once again, we have had an awesome day. Ella got increased to using a bottle every other feeding. And....I got to nurse her. She did a really good job. Its a little different nursing a 4lb 10oz baby versus a 9lb or 8lb baby :) It was definitely a challenge, but she did latch on a bit. She also will be taken off of her IV fluids which means all of her nutrition will come from milk. She's up to 25ml every 3 hours. She is on a little bit of oxygen just to stimulate her only. She keeps having a few little spells where her heart rate will take a dip and we have to remind her to breath. That's a little scary, but I guess its a preemie thing according to the nurses. Her EEG results came back great. She has had no more seizure activity, just a few of those electrical waves. She'll stay on the seizure medication but at a low dose for a few months. This medication makes her a little more sedated than we like, but each day she is getting more and more alert. She is working hard with all these new transitions. I didn't understand how hard a premature baby has to work until now. It's work for them to eat, to breathe, and to keep their temperature up, etc. When Cooper was born, everyone was like, I can't believe you had a 9lb baby. 9lb babies are EASY to say the least.

I guess I'll spill the beans for the really good part. The Dr. today told us that Ella can come home this weekend if she keeps up her eating. Yes, you did read that right! I think my jaw is still on the floor at the NICU. I was in total shock....I'm still in total shock! Not sure why I'm in shock after all the awesome prayers that have been lifted up for sweet Ella. My baby girl has made more than strides since Friday. She has made huge leaps. She is a fighter! Carson and Cooper better watch out! They've got one tough sister!!!

We'll have another MRI on Thursday to make sure that the ventricles haven't swelled anymore. It will check for any possible damage that the 1st MRI didn't find. Please keep this in your prayers (I know you will!) In the next few weeks after we're home, our regular pediatrician will be measuring Ella's head size weekly to make sure it is not growing abnormally. We had an occupational therapist work with her today, too. She was doing everything he wanted her to be doing.

I can't say thank you enough for all of your prayers and all of your support! Seeing God work through each and every one of you has been so amazing. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!

Please sing with me "God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He's so good to me"!!! I've been singing this all day!

Lots of love!!!!

Lost Dog

Well, to add to our madness, we have lost our dog, Phoebe. She is a little bitty shih-tzu, but somehow manages to climb our 4 foot fence. I feel so bad, but what can we do? Hopefully someone kept her out of the cold last night. I have a love/hate relationship with this dog :) She was my "first baby". She's one crazy dog! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just some pics

Sweet Baby Girl!

Maybe a little smile :)

Grandma (Jason's Mom) and Ella

Looks like she's praying

Nana (Traci's Mom) and Ella

Ella eats like a MacKinnon

Oh my goodness we have had a great day today!!! We got a call from the nurse about 10:30am that the doctor gave orders for Ella to have a bottle today. We rushed up there for our hands on time and while scrubbing in, a nurse came up to us and said "I heard you got great news yesterday". I knew we had received good news, but this came as a great encouragement to hear from someone else, too. She said, "see, I told you the radiologist doesn't see the whole picture."

Ella slept all night with her warmer off, and she maintained her temperature. She was wrapped in 3 blankets along with having on a onsie and a sleeper, but hey, she kept her temperature up on her own. Yea Ella! She pooped a lovely diaper when we were there, too. Her bilirubin levels are going up a bit, but I see this as a good sign. Jaundice shows up when blood is breaking down. So, hopefully all that blood on her brain is breaking down and going away.

Now, for the really good part! Ella ate from the bottle (the picture above is her 1st bottle). She ate like a champ! It took her just a bit to get the hang of it (really, it was more me getting the hang of it and not putting the bottle in her mouth far enough). She is only eating 15cc (1/2 ounce) but she did awesome!!! Jason will go back tonight and feed her again. She'll only eat from a bottle a couple of times a day, but this is a huge step! Also, they completely took her off of the oxygen today. Once again, I have to say Yeah God! This is totally His miracle! To Him we give the glory!

Painting with water

These pics were taken a few weeks ago before this cold weather hit. I stole this idea from my friend Melodie. The boys loved it!! I filled up a couple bowls of water and let them "paint" the driveway. It occupied them FOREVER! Great idea Mel!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Notes from our wonderful nurse

Here's Ella's update from our wonderful nurse's notes (paraphrased by me with only the important stuff). Ella's EEG on 10/5 was abnormal, but revealed no seizure activity. It was electrical irregularity which could result from blood in the cerebral fluid. Dr. Hille says that the blood would resolve and would go away in a few days to a week or two. The MRI showed that there are enlarged ventricles of the brain, but the fluid is not obstructed. This leads him to believe there is no need for surgical treatment (shunts) at this time. Ella appears better than he expected for today's exam. She moves her legs, arms not as well, she cries, gags, sucks not so well, and withdraws from pain. She will have another EEG on Monday, and a possible additional MRI. Dr. Hille said there was no urgency for the MRI as long as she is stable.

Dr. Hille discussed her prognosis saying that he believes she will do well if this is only a grade III ICH without the need of a shunt. Dr. Hille stated that the question of oxygen deprivation is not so much after birth, but rather before birth. Ella did receive CPR immediately following birth and was receiving oxygen as her heart was pumped. He says that this provided oxygen delivery. His question was how oxygen deprived she was before birth depending on if my placenta completely abrupted/partially abrupted and for how long.

The MRI was suggestive of an acute injury to the brain. He did not see a major diffuse area from the lack of oxygen, rather small localized areas. He stated Ella is becoming more responsive. For prognosis, he said she may have mild to moderated injury. If the injury was only bleeding than he believes that there would be no permanent damage. He doesn't want to speculate on any impairments for the future. He did say we are not out of the woods, and there is a possibility of long term permanent injury.

This is a very medical post. Hopefully it will explain things a little more. Dr. Hille's attitude seemed optimistic to Jason and I, and these results are much better than we (probably more me) expected. Continue praying for Ella's complete healing. God has shown His miraculous healing already. God is so good to us!

A Little Bit of Optimism

We met with the neurologist today and heard some optimistic news. I'm waiting on Jason to bring back the nurse's notes so I will post some more specifics once he gets back from the hospital. Everything Ella has gone through doesn't look so great on paper, but I guess she impressed the doctor in person. She responded well to his testing, got mad at him and yelled at him ;) The neurologist said we're not out of the woods yet, but he wants to remain optimistic on long term results for Ella. Praise God for good results. We are still full of questions, but we are sighing with a bit of relief.

Please lift Jason and the rest of the MacKinnon gang up in prayer. His great grandpa died this morning. He was such a spunky old man, even at the age of 102.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kangaroo Hold

I got to hold Ella in a kangaroo hold tonight. Oh my goodness, it was awesome! They layed her sweet body on my chest skin to skin. She was upset and crying right before they put her on me. Immediately after being put on my skin, she stopped crying. She slept so hard for those 30+ minutes. It was just the therapy mommy needed!

When they took her off my chest, she started crying again. But, she got to snuggle up with Daddy for about 30 minutes. She immediately quit crying when Daddy held her, too. She loves her Daddy time!

I'm missing seeing my boys. I'm so torn between going to see Ella and spending time with Carson and Cooper. I did get some good hugs from Carson when I got home tonight, though! He's such a sweet boy! Coop was already asleep. I'm tempted to go sleep in the bed with both of them :)
I think I should update my blog each time after seeing my baby girl. My spirits are much higher. Hopefully this will be a more optimistic blog than yesterday's. We still haven't met with the neurologist, so we don't have any news there yet. Ella seems to be truckin' right along with her feedings. She is still getting fed milk through the NG (nasogastric) tube. She is up to 2 teaspoons every 3 hours now. She is digesting all of it!! She can't decide what bed she wants to sleep in. She has moved into a crib a few times, but is having a hard time keeping her temperature up. Yesterday, when she had her MRI, she was in a 60 degree room for 45 minutes. I think I would have a hard time keeping my temp. up too after that. So, she's back under the warmer for right now. I get to give her a pacifier as she's getting fed through the NG tube. She is doing very well learning to suck on her paci. Hopefully we'll get to start on a bottle, soon.

I'm feeling 100% better physically which makes me a better mom. I was beginning to think pain after a c-section and post spinal block headache epidural would never go away. I'm sleeping like a champ....I know, I know, I've always slept like a champ! My milk supply is in full force (this might not be important knowledge to all of you, but it is something that is definitely going well). I woke up in the middle of the night and pumped 12 ounces!! We will have a heck of a supply when Ella gets home.

The boys are adjusting well. They have been so exhausted that they are sleeping incredibly well (naps and bedtime). We decided to put them both in the same bed last night. It worked awesome. They both came running into our room about 8:15 this morning. I consider that a successful night! My parents have been awesome being at our beckon call and taking care of our boys.

Jason is my support right now! I know I could not endure this without him. I knew I married an incredible guy, but he is beyond incredible!

Thank you dear friends for all of your comments and emails. I cry with each one I read. These are good tears. God has given each of you the perfect words to say to me.

I guess that's it for now. I never realized that blogging could be so therapeutic. I should've started this years ago :) Hopefully I'll post some pictures soon. Love you all!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Well, we have our good days and we have our bad days. Unfortunately, today is one of those bad days. The weather explains my heart quite well :( Its a rainy, stormy, cloudy day. We haven't got the full results back from the MRI. There was a radiologist that gave the results to our neonatologist who shared them with us. I heard that the news wasn't so good, so I kinda blocked everything out of my mind he said afterward. 1st of all, Ella's brain did begin bleeding. They think it has stopped but it caused the ventricles to swell in her brain. If this swelling does not stop, they'll have to put shunts in her brain. If this makes no sense to you, it doesn't to me much either. It just sounds bad. Anyway, she has had an intracranial hemorrhage that is a level III. level I and II mean no damage has been done. Level IV means a lot of damage has been done. Level III is a big unknown. There is definitely a possibility that minimal damage has been done, but there is possibly a chance that damage has been done. My doctor, Dr, Hager, came by and gave us much comfort after hearing this disappointing news. She said "Numbers are just numbers. Each baby is different. Don't write Ella's story." We also had an awesome nurse who said she has worked a number of years in the NICU and said to never give up. She has seen these things mean absolutely nothing. We can't go off of these results and be upset. We will have a pediatric neurologist look at the MRI and hopefully he can give us some more definite answers. He'll either read the scan tomorrow or on Saturday.

I'm trying to remain optimistic. Holding sweet Ella lifts up my heart so much. She looks so good and in every other area she is rocking right along. I've had some very encouraging verses and words sent out to me today. Thank you dear friends! I know God will be glorified. I keep seeing this image of little Ella being like 6 years old and telling her awesome story. I see her being loud and spunky ;)

Sorry if I don't answer phone calls or respond to messages. Right now, its not easy to talk about it. Thanks for your continued prayers. Love you all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Today has been a great day. Ella was able to increase her milk intake to 5cc every 3 hours. This is one little teaspoon, but it makes us very happy! Her bilirubin levels have decreased so hopefully she'll be off the biliblanket very soon. It weird how this was such a concern for us when Carson was a baby and its such a minute little detail in the life of Ella. She is going to be our little princess! Wait, she already is our little princess. She has her MRI tomorrow. Hopefully we'll know the results tomorrow evening. This test is going to show if any damage was done to her brain when she was without oxygen. I'm praying so hard it turns out with perfect results. I'm also praying we get the results back fast and that the results are clear and don't lead us toward more questions. Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day for us. I had a hard night last night trying to make up "my" own results. I cried and cried and told God I wanted things my way! I told Jason about it today. Man, my husband has been blessed with wisdom. He told me, "No matter what the results are, God will be glorified." Wow! That has given me total comfort today. God WILL be glorified!!! God has given me a peace that passes all understanding (thanks Daysha for reminding me of that). Think of those words "a peace that passes all understanding"....those are some incredible words!

I also had a couple of other neat things happen today. I was needing to talk to my doctor about some pain I was still having. We went to see Ella this morning, and there was Dr. Hager. Perfect timing. Dr. Hager has been so wonderful to us and is praying for us. Then, I was having a little pain from the epidural procedure. The anesthesiologist had left me a voice mail while I was seeing Ella and gave me his cell phone number to call him back. How often does an anesthesiologist personally call you to see how you are doing? Then, at the end of our conversation, he asked how Ella was doing. And, he told me he was praying for her and thinking of us. God has put amazing doctors in our lives! Christian doctors!

Before Ella arrived, I had began reading into 1 Corinthians 13 on "love". My friends and family have been the perfect portrait of "love" during these past few weeks. Thank you so much! All of you! We're comforted today because of your "love".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I decided to begin a blog. 1. To keep everyone updated on precious Ella and the rest of our family. 2. It will help me keep a little journal of our journey. 3. It seems to help clear my head to type this stuff out. 4. Peer pressure finally got to me :)
I finally got my headache fixed by the blood patch this morning. It was an amazing difference that happened very quickly. Praise God for that!

Ella didn’t have a very exciting day yesterday, so sorry you didn’t get any updates on her. She got the tube out of her mouth and is now being fed through a tube from her nose to her stomach. She’s starting on 2ml of milk every 3 hours. It’s such a small amount, but hopefully she will tolerate it well. She had an EEG done yesterday that didn’t give us the results we were exactly hoping for. It didn’t show that she has had seizures, but it showed brain waves that could easily produce seizures. So, they put her on a large loading dose of seizure medication. She’ll more than likely remain on this medication for the first 3 to 6 months of her life. She will have an MRI done on Thursday and hopefully we’ll get some positive results on Friday. This test is to determine if any damage was done to her brain when she had the lack of oxygen to her brain. We’re not sure how long she was deprived of oxygen before she came out of my belly, but it was about 10 minutes or so once she was out. This test has me very fearful. The doctor seemed optimistic and said she bounced back very quickly after those 10 minutes. It’s been so easy for me to have faith in all of this so far, but right now I’m struggling. I keep telling myself that little Ella is our miracle and will continue to be! She wasn’t a planned baby and she’s very lucky to be here! God has provided us with this awesome miracle and He will continue to provide! Please lift this up in your prayers!!

I have totally neglected updating on Carson and Cooper. They are receiving lots of love and are getting spoiled by their Nana and Grandpa, Grandma Susan, and Papa Mac and Grandma Connie! We have gotten to see them about everyday. Carson keeps asking when he can see Ella. He doesn’t quite understand why he can’t see her. He asked me “is your belly not big anymore?” He’s so cute! Cooper doesn’t have a clue of what is going on. He’s been a little scared of seeing me with all my hospital gear on. I can’t wait to see them tonight and love on them.

We are now home. It’s bittersweet. We are so glad to be in the comfort of our own home, but its tough being away from Ella. Praise God we have little Carson and Coop to keep us busy and to cuddle with (as much as 2 little boys let you cuddle). Jason is off of work until the 19th, so that will be nice. Hopefully I’ll be driving soon so we can take turns going to see our baby.

We’ll update soon!

(update from 10-5-09)

Ella continues to be doing well. They are going to do an EKG today to make sure her heart has closed properly. They are also going to do the CAT scan to make sure there is no seizure activity going on. They don’t think there is, but they just want to make sure her little fits aren’t little seizures.

I haven’t posted any updates on myself yet, but I do have a prayer request for me. I’ve been having some pretty severe headaches. We talked with the anesthesiologist today. He thinks I’m having spinal block headaches. These headaches aren’t very common these days, but since the whole procedure happened so fast, I am probably leaking spinal fluid. The first line of treatment is caffeine…lots of caffeine. But, it doesn’t seem to be helping much. So, sometime later today, I get to have a blood patch done. This has been explained to me as taking blood out of my arm and placing it in my spine to keep it from leaking any more fluid. They will do this much like an epidural. There are some risks, but hopefully it will be a quick fix.

I will update you later this evening. Hopefully it will fix it immediately and I can enjoy some precious time with my baby. I haven’t been able to spend much time with her today b/c the only way I find relief is lying down. I’m also anemic, but it’s not severe enough to treat. I could have had a blood transfusion a couple of days ago, but my doctor said I would build the blood back up quickly. It is slowly going back up.

I am so thankful for my incredible husband. He has been right by my side through all of this. He is so selfless! So, continue praying for him and his strength too. He and Ella are getting to bond a lot. She’s going to have him so wrapped around her sweet little finger! I love it!!!

Thanks again for all of your prayers. We serve an awesome God!!!

The MacKinnon’s
(update from 10-4-09)

Ella had another awesome day! She is doing great breathing on her own. We got to hold her twice today. She definitely has a little temper. Her face turns bright red and her pulse gets really high. She calms down pretty quick, though. She might start getting feedings through a nasogastric tube tomorrow. They will feed her milk through this. They also took her off of her blood pressure medicine today along with decreasing her oxygen. She is doing awesome with both!

Lots of love,
(another update from 10-3-09)

Ella pulled out her ventilator tonight! (this is good news). So, she’s breathing on her own. She is still getting a little oxygen from one of those nose thingy’s. We’ll probably get to hold her tomorrow!!! She has had her eyes open most of the day, and she has the cutest little cry. I love to hear it! Her kidneys worked awesome today, too. I can’t believe she’s not even 2 days old! This email is very random (sorry, too much Percocet :) Oh, when she pulled out the ventilator, she did it with her middle finger and showed it to the nurses….I guess that’s what she thought about that thing!!!

Love ya,
Hi all Friends and Family, (this is an update from 10/3/09)

Here’s an update on our precious little girl. She had an awesome night and is doing very well. They are able to keep decreasing her oxygen, so hopefully she’ll be breathing on her own very soon. Her brain x-ray came back good with no bleeding on the brain. Her heart is slowly getting stronger. (I really want to say each day, but I realize she’s not even 2 days old, yet….) Her kidney’s decreased production last night, but the doctor isn’t overly concerned about that. Her blood sugar keeps flip-flopping between high and low, but that really isn’t of too much concern either. So, for specifics, her kidneys are the thing to be watching right now. She is so precious. They’ve had to tie down one of her arms because she keeps pulling on her breathing tube. They also had to give her some medication to keep her still. She’s already working on keeping up with her big brothers. She will have a CAT scan/MRI done sometime next week to check on brain activity. The doctor thinks this will turn out great, too, because she is reacting so well to everything (she went a little while without oxygen to her brain). Thanks for praying for our little miracle! I’ll continue to keep you posted.

Here’s the story on exactly what happened. I began having side cramping on Thursday night about 8pm. We had some friends over, but I dismissed myself to go take a bath to see if it would help the pain. It didn’t ever let up. Then I began having contractions about every 5 minutes apart which made the cramping hurt worse. I called the hospital and my dr. and they both decided it would be best to come on it. I thought I was being a wimp and didn’t want to be “that person” with preterm labor that’s nothing but gas :) My awesome hubby told me we need to go in and just get it checked out. Praise God for my hubby’s wisdom. My parents were able to come over quickly and watch Carson and Coop. Anyway, I got hooked up to the monitor and the contractions were showing up every couple of minutes. I was put on IV fluid and given medication for the contractions. At this point Ella’s heart rate was at 150 but wasn’t fluctuating at all. This became a concern. My doctor talked to me on the phone and realized she needed to come in. Soon it was decided I was going to need a c-section. The Dr. did an ultrasound and Ella wasn’t moving. The Dr. found a blood clot on my placenta. Then, Ella’s little heart rate dropped dramatically. All of the sudden, I was having an emergency c-section. When Ella was born, she wasn’t breathing. I was trying to figure out everything and looked over and saw many people working on my lifeless little baby. Then, I heard a precious little sound. She had responded to CPR and a shot of epinephrine. I don’t remember much from that point. But, I do know Ella is a miracle. My Dr. told me we are very, very blessed after everything that happened.

It’s going to be a journey, but thank you all for walking this journey with us! God has blessed us with such great friends and family. Thank you for all of your support, and thank you even more for your prayers!!! We love you all!

Jason, Traci, Carson, Cooper and Ella