Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Morgan Kate is doing well, but her oxygen continues to be a concern. There are three things to be aware of when thinking about oxygen:

1. Flow - This is the amount of flow coming through the nasal cannula and is measured in liters. Morgan Kate started on 5 liters of flow and has since been reduced to 3 liters. Today she has to go back up today to 4 liters.
2. Percent of oxygen - This is the percent of oxygen being given. It  can range anywhere from 22% -100% - remember room air is 21%.  Morgan Kate started off anywhere from 22% - 30%, however in the last few days she has gone anywhere from 30%-45% and even up to 50% today (highest she has been)
3. Oxygen saturation - This is a percentage that is monitored with a pulse oximeter or "pulse ox". This is a tiny band wrapped around her foot, it measures the amount of oxygen in her blood and then sends the numbers to the monitor. They like for this number to be between 85 and 95 (based on her age).  When it's too high or too low the alarms go off  and when her numbers drop we call it oxygen desaturation or "desatting".

Morgan Kate began on 5 liters of oxygen, stayed around 22 - 30% and was "swinging" (meaning she would go high and low). With time, she was reduced to 3 liters, stayed around 30% and stayed in the 85-95 range. For the past few days, she has been needing more oxygen because she keeps "desatting", therefore, her percent of oxygen has been anywhere from 35% - 45% and up to 50% today. So,they have increased the flow to 4 liters and she is still around 35 - 40% of oxygen. The nurse listened to her lungs today and said they sounded a little "wet". Sometimes babies are given diuretics to help pull out the excess "wetness" and then they pee it out. However, Morgan Kate's weight had been a concern at one time and they don't want her to lose weight on the diuretic, so they have increased the flow to help. 

Sorry for all the information, probably more than you ever wanted to know. For those of you who are very technical I know you will love all the info, for everyone else - Just please continue to pray that Morgan Kate's oxygen needs will get better and the "wetness" they heard will disappear.

Other than her oxygen concerns she is doing very well. She and Travis got to "roo" for almost two hours today and she did really well. Toward the end of the "roo" session her oxygen even looked great! She weighed in tonight at 2 pounds and 14 ounces. She did not gain any weight, but we were still thrilled. She gained two ounces the night before and she has been VERY regular ever since, if you know what I mean. We are praying for 2.15 tomorrow night.

They did not do Morgan Kate's eye exam today. She is still considered to be really young and they will wait a little while before doing it.

Mom(Heather) and Dad(Trav) are holding up pretty well. We are so in love with this amazing little girl, but so very worried, especially me. I worry about everything! We both just want her home so badly and we want her to get better. It's so difficult to see her lying there and not be able to help her. It's frustrating and overwhelming at times, but I know we will get through it. I had my 6 week check-up today and everything went well. Dr. Salley wanted to talk about what we would do "next time" and I told him I didn't know if there was going to be a next time - I know too much now and I am way too scared. He told me that with a little bit of time I would most likely change my mind and when I did he had a plan. Next time he would use a cerclage to keep my cervix shut. This is something they would do at about 12-13 weeks and it would hopefully help us avoid what happened this time. We will see...

Monday, September 29, 2008

We give thanks to you, O God,
we give thanks, for your Name is near;
men tell of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 75:1

I am so thankful for how well Morgan Kate is doing. God is truly watching over her and keeping his hand very close. Morgan Kate is so strong and amazes me each and every day.

Updates for 09.29
1. Tonight Morgan Kate hit two pounds and 14 ounces. We couldn't believe it, nor could her nurse, so we weighed her twice and both times the scale read 2 lb and 14 oz. Way to go, Morgan Kate! I was a little worried about her gaining weight because I knew her temperature was a little warm on Saturday and then a little cool on Sunday. When small babies have to work to get their temps correct they burn more calories. Looks like it didn't phase Morgan Kate...

2. Morgan Kate is still tolerating her new feeding schedule. The only change they have made is the amount of food. Yesterday she was getting 23 ccs for 30 minutes every 3 hours and today they bumped her up to 24. Remember from our earlier lesson - there are 30 ccs in an ounce, therefore, Morgan Kate is getting a little under an ounce every three hours. :)

3. I was able to hold her for almost an hour and a half today. She did really well and only had one heart rate drop (her only one of the day). Of course I feel awful that her one and only heart rate drop was while I was holding her. :( She was really sleepy and still at first, but toward the end she was very alert and looking all around. It was so nice!

Prayer Requests:
- Please pray that Morgan Kate continues to grow.
- Please pray that her eye exam goes well and she is not in any pain.
- Please pray that she will begin to need the oxygen less and less.
- Morgan Kate's Kaky (my mom) has to have surgery on October 8th. Kaky has been having some problems and the surgery will hopefully help with this. She is expected to be in the hospital for at least three to four days and out of work for 6-8 weeks. She has so selflessly been putting this off for sometime now because of my hospitalization and then Morgan Kate's arrival. Please pray that the surgery will go well, that she will get some relief and that she will be up and ready in no time to welcome home Morgan Kate!

I realize there is quite a lot to pray for tonight, but I know firsthand how powerful prayer is and I know you are all so great about praying for us. Thank you so much!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 5 Weeks, Morgan Kate!

It is hard to believe that Morgan Kate was born five weeks ago today. It seems like it has been just a few days. My one week in the hospital felt like an eternity, but the time Morgan Kate has spent there has gone by rather quickly - thank goodness!

Morgan Kate had a good day today. She is continuing to grow and hit 2 pounds and 12 ounces tonight! We are hoping and praying that she will hit 3 pounds by next weekend. She is still tolerating her feeds and the new schedule seems to be suiting her perfectly. I wasn't able to hold her today because she was a little cold (her body temperature). Last night she was rather warm so they turned her bed down a little, then today she got a little cold. However, I am sure that by tomorrow morning she will be the perfect temperature and I will be able to hold her again.

Mothers of premature babies that are in the NICU at Baptist must have a culture of their breast milk done every three days until their baby reaches a certain weight. In order to provide your baby with the breast milk your culture must come back okay and you must get your cultures in on time or else their will be a lapse and your baby will have to be fed formula. There have been a few instances where Morgan Kate has had to have formula and she has done fine on it. However, I think tonight she finally reached the weight where we no longer have to do cultures. Yahoo! This is huge for us!! 

Morgan Kate's eye exam is either tomorrow or Tuesday. The opthamologist will come by tomorrow and write orders for the eye exam. Then the opthamologist will either come back Monday afternoon or Tuesday to perform the exam. From what I understand they will put drops in Morgan Kate's eyes to dilate them (Awful isn't it?) and then they will use some sort of device to hold her eye lids open. The nurses say that it's not painful, but that the babies hate it. I plan on standing right outside the door - far enough away to avoid hearing her cry (it breaks my heart), but close enough to comfort her the minute it's over. Please pray that the exam goes well, that Morgan Kate is not in any pain and that things turn out okay. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7

God has definitely heard our prayers! Morgan Kate is continuing to grow and weighed in tonight at two pounds and eleven ounces. Travis and I were both thrilled! She is growing and changing each and every day. It is absolutely amazing to watch. We are so thankful for this precious baby girl!

She is continuing to tolerate her feedings. Morgan Kate is now being fed for thirty minutes every three hours. Our nurse told us that Morgan Kate would eat, then sleep really good, and that she would start to get cranky right before the next feeding. Wow! She was so right. Morgan Kate slept so peacefully right after her feeding. However, shortly before the next feeding she got really fussy and just plain irritated - as soon as the next feed started she was content once again. 

Please pray that Morgan Kate will continue to grow, continue to tolerate her feedings so that one day very soon Travis and/or I will be able to bottle feed her, and continue to have such great days! 

Many people have asked so many great questions about Morgan Kate and the NICU and I wanted to try and answer them. If you have a question please leave it in your comment and I will try my best to answer it or find an answer to it. :)

Frequently Asked Questions and Heather's Best Attempt to Answer:

1. When do the nurses weigh Morgan Kate?
Morgan Kate is weighed each night. Once the night nurse arrives she gets Morgan Kate ready for bed and then they weigh her. They do not have to take her out of the incubator to weigh her because the scale is located within her bed. I told you...this bed does everything! 

2. When is Morgan Kate expected to come home?
We were told from the beginning to expect her original due date which was December 3rd. There are several things she has to be able to do before she can go home. She must be feeding exclusively from the bottle or breast, she must be off of all IV fluids and she must be able to maintain her body temperature in a free standing crib. She also needs to be off of the oxygen and not having any heart rate drops. Basically this means she could leave on her due date, it could be a little before or it could even be a little later. It's all in God's hands and we pray that it's sooner rather than later. :)

3. What does "kangaroo" mean?
Kangaroo care (KC) is a way of holding a preterm or full term infant so that there is skin-to-skin contact between the infant and the person holding it. The baby, wearing only a diaper, is held against the parent's bare chest. The label kangaroo care was chose to describe this strategy because the method is similar to how baby kangaroo is carried by its mother.

*Check out some of the new pics to the right - they are located in the same slideshow with Travis and Morgan Kate "rooing".

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blessings for 09.26

1. Morgan Kate gained another ounce bringing her to 2.10! This means that since birth she has gained a pound. Remember, she came in the world weighing 1.12, but lost two ounces the next day. Isn't is crazy that as adults we can easily gain a pound in one day and maybe even more, but for little ones it takes over a month? 

2. Morgan Kate has continued to tolerate her new feeding schedule, therefore, they have started her on a brand new one as of 9pm tonight. Starting tonight she will be fed through her tube for thirty minutes every three hours. For instance, tonight at 9 they started her feeds and she was fed until 9:30. They then cut the feeding tube off and will start again at 12, then 3, then 6 and so on. Her next step is hopefully the bottle!!!

3. We got to visit with some of our NICU friends tonight (they are right down the hall from us) and they let us see their baby. She is absolutely beautiful and tonight she weighed in at 5lb. It's hard to believe that she was Morgan Kate's size just a few weeks ago. She is doing extremely well and will hopefully go home sometime next week. She is doing better with her heart rate drops and will most likely go home on a heart monitor just for precautions. 

4. We are so thankful for our wonderful doctors, nurses, and respiratory techs. 

*Tomorrow I will post some new pictures. I have been meaning to bring my camera home each night to download some new photos, but my mind is not what is used to be and I keep forgetting. Please forgive me...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am so thankful to God for blessing Travis and I with this amazing little girl. He has taken care of her and us since the minute of her conception. Each and every day I look at her and think how lucky I am to be her mommy. I know we still have a long road ahead of us, but I can't help but think of the day that we can bring her home. Until then I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, to be able to touch her, hold her and kangaroo with her. I can't wait to be able to give her a bottle or hold her for an extended period of time. 

Morgan Kate had another really good day! She did swing a bit on her oxygen and she had a few heart rate drops, but overall it was a good day. Miss Rhonda, her awesome day nurse, helped Morgan Kate and I "roo" for a little over an hour. I would have held her longer, but she was getting a little fussy and I didn't want to wear her out. She is continuing to tolerate her new feeding schedule and has no residual (left over food that was not digested). As long as she can tolerate her feedings she will hopefully continue to gain weight. Her super night nurse, Miss Kim, gave her a bath and weighed her. She weighed in at 2.9 pounds!! Travis and I were both super excited. When she was born she weighed 1.12, but actually lost two ounces which put her at 1.10. Therefore, when she gains just ONE more ounce and makes it to 2.10, she will have gained a pound since birth!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Morgan Kate had another really good day! She did not gain any ounces last night, but she did gain grams - which is still a good thing. They have not weighed her yet tonight because she was sleeping so soundly (she was absolutely adorable) and they did not want to wake her up. She had a few heart rate drops today, but was able to self correct almost all of them. Her feeding schedule has changed somewhat. She is typically on a continuous feed for six hours and then off for two. Today she took a step up in the feeding department - she is now being fed for two hours and then off for one. This is a step in the right direction which will eventually lead to bottle feeds one day. I can hardly wait for that day! I will be so excited to feed her!!

Each day Morgan Kate changes and grows so much. She is so perfect, just really, really tiny. It's amazing to see her and think (or know) that she is a combination of Travis and I. I look at her and think about how awesome it will be to get her home and just do simple things with her - push her in a stroller, have her sleep in her own house, give her baths, take her for rides, love on her and snuggle her. I don't think she really needs a crib or anything else because Travis and I just plan to hold her all the time. I did get to kangaroo with her for almost two hours today and it was SO nice. She did a really good job and I can't wait for our next "roo" session.  

Her eye exam is definitely scheduled for next week. We are thankful for this and pray that everything turns out okay. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136

Morgan Kate had an awesome day! It is such a huge relief for Travis and I when she does so well. We constantly thank God for being so good. Over night she only had two heart rate drops and she was able to self-correct both times. Today she only had one heart rate drop that required stimulation (rubbing her back, flicking her foot, etc.). She was on about 28% oxygen through the night and most of today. She is still "swinging" on her oxygen, but it's a lot better that it used to be. She does really well when she is on her stomach. I know many of you are thinking, "Her stomach?? Babies shouldn't be on their stomachs" (or at least that is what my grandmothers thought). Well, it's actually easier for preemies to breathe when they are on their tummies. There chests are not fully developed and it's harder for them to breathe when they are on their backs and requires a lot more work. Morgan Kate LOVES her tummy and all her numbers are really good when she is in that position. However, she sometimes gets so comfortable in that position that she forgets to breathe. Please pray that Morgan Kate continues to grow and do well. 

Not only did she have a great day, but she had some pretty awesome visitors as well. Kaky, Mrs. Jackie and Owens came to check in on her and see how she was doing. Mrs. Jackie was actually at the hospital the minute that Morgan Kate began to make her grand entrance. Thanks for coming and visiting! 

It's definitely difficult to "live" at the hospital, but the staff at Baptist are so nice and caring, especially the NICU staff and the High-Risk staff (where I was during my stay). We are so grateful to all the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. We were joking with one of our favorite night nurses just tonight and told her that when we leave the NICU (We can hardly wait!) we are probably going to have separation anxiety. Ha!

The NICU parents (we mentioned the other day) that were supposed to take their little girl home sometime this week will not be doing so. The little girl has been experiencing quite a few heart rate drops and they want to keep her a little longer. The dad said he is perfectly okay with this. Of course he misses his little girl and wants her home, but he knows that she is in the best care and that the doctors, nurses and RT's at Baptist know his daughter better than anyone. Please pray that they will be able to take their baby home very soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I praise You because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made;
You works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Today was a good day! We found out early this morning that as of right now Morgan Kate does not need another blood transfusion. Apparently the iron is working and her numbers continue to look good. She is continuing to tolerate her feedings and is currently at 10.4 ccs an hour. Her little tummy is so big and round - sounds crazy, huh - but it's true. I was worried about it at first, but I know it's just all that food in her tiny little belly. She had a really good afternoon and slept so well. Tonight she was really alert for a little while and weighed in at two pounds and eight ounces. We couldn't believe that she had gained another ounce - she is now two and a half pounds. Way to go, Morgan Kate! She will not have her eye exam this week. We thought she might have it tomorrow, but it looks like it will most likely be next Tuesday. Please continue to pray that the eye exam goes well. 

Don't forget to check out the photos to the right - pictures of Morgan Kate and Daddy "rooing". Also, I have added some pictures of the day Morgan Kate was born. You can find those photos in the second slideshow to the right. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him. - 1 Corinthians 2:9
I cannot wait to see what God has prepared for our little girl!

Happy 4 week Birthday, Morgan Kate!

I can't believe our little girl is already a month old. 

Are you ready for this? Not only is Morgan Kate a month old, but she is also 2 pounds and seven ounces. I know - we could hardly believe it either. And.......she was able to gain those two ounces while I kangarooed with her yesterday and Travis did today. Travis has held her twice, but never kangarooed. Today he decided that he was ready to "roo" and he did for a little over an hour. I know he enjoyed it because he smiled the entire time and Morgan Kate did an awesome job as well.

Morgan Kate has had a really good weekend. Not only has she gained three ounces, but she has been able to keep her oxygen around 30%. Room air is 21% - that's what we all breathe -and she is not far from that. Tomorrow morning they will take some blood and check her blood level again. We are praying that the iron has worked and that she will not need a blood transfusion. However, if she does need a transfusion we are prepared for that as well. We should know more this week about when her eye exam will take place. She will be 30 days old on Tuesday and they typically do the first exam around that time. 

By the way, I had pictures of Travis and Morgan Kate "rooing", but I left the memory card reader at the hospital. Hey, Mommy can't remember everything! I will post those pics ASAP.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

To the right is a slideshow of the pictures from yesterday. Our wonderful nurse, Rhonda, helped us capture some really special moments.

Today was another good day for Morgan Kate, as well as for Mommy. After exactly a week of not holding her or kangarooing with here I got my chance once again. It was so comforting!

Morgan Kate is still at 2 lbs. and 5 oz., but she is continuing to tolerate her feedings which are now at 10.4 ccs an hour. I expect her to reach 2.6 by tomorrow evening (let's all say a little prayer). Her temperature fluctuated a little today. It wasn't high like a fever, but at times she was chilly and then she would be normal, chilly, normal and so forth. They are going to keep an eye on this. While I was kangarooing with her we used lots of blankets and my body heat to keep her warm. Afterward, we took her temperature and it was good. I was relieved about this! 

Many people have asked how they weigh her. Well, her incubator is a "do it all" kind of bed. It has a humidifier, a warmer, a lamp, the top comes open, the sides come down and it even weighs the tiny babies. I am sure the bed does much, much more, but that is all I know about so far. Each night the nurse sets the bed to weigh Morgan Kate. They start the weigh and then Travis or I lift her up for several seconds and then set her back down. Several seconds later the weight pops up in grams (they use grams in the NICU) and then they always convert it to lbs/oz for us. Like I said before, she was 2lb. and 5oz. or 1060 grams. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Updates & Blessings for 09.19

1. Morgan Kate is blessed with a wonderful grandmother, Kaky (my mom). For those of you wondering -  my mom's real name is Kathy and we are using Kaky because we think it's absolutely adorable and it's kind of a play on her real name. Today was Kaky's birthday and Morgan Kate sent her a special rose to remember the day. Kaky also came later in the day to visit and was able to be there for the "weigh-in" and bed time "procedures". Happy Birthday, Kaky! We love you and thank God each day for you!

2. Morgan Kate weighed in at 2 pounds and 5 ounces! I am so proud of my little one. Since the feedings and calories have increased, as well as the limited activity, Morgan Kate has been able to gain four ounces. They will be changing her incubator Sunday (the babies get new incubators every two weeks) and I should be able to hold her then. I can hardly wait!!

3. Her feedings have increased to 10.1 and will increase by .1 every eight hours. Once she is up to 10.4 they will stop the increased amount until she gains more weight. So far Mommy dearest here has been able to keep up, but with this increase I am not sure how long it will last. 

4. She had a really good day today and we were able to get some really good pictures. I can't wait to share them with all of you. It's late tonight, so I will post the pics tomorrow. 

5. Blessing #5 - We are so blessed to have each of you in our lives. Thank you for your continued prayers, support, calls, visits, and words of encouragement. We love you all and can't wait for our baby girl to meet each one of you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  - Philippians 4:13

Morgan Kate already has such a personality! She will let you know rather quickly whether or not she is happy. I have even been able to figure out the cry she makes when she needs her diaper changed (or at least I think I have). :)  I sit beside her incubator sometimes and just watch her. I watch her sleep, I watch her look around at all there is to see, I watch her scrunch up her face and turn beet red when she is not happy with something. The more I watch her the more I long for the day when we can bring her home. 

She had a really good day today. She slept a lot, but was also a little more active today. This afternoon she was awake for quite a while and seemed to be just looking around the room. Morgan Kate is still at 2lb. and 4oz. and she is also continuing to tolerate her feeds (10ccs per hour). They are still giving her the iron drops and will recheck the blood level on Monday. Her first eye exam should be sometime next week, but I am not sure of the day. 

One of our favorite people, Ms. Francena, from the OB High Risk unit, stopped by yesterday to visit. She is such an amazing person! Anyway, she hasn't seen Morgan Kate in almost two weeks. She walked in and said, "Wow, Heather, Morgan Kate has really grown and.....she looks just like Travis". Of course Trav ate this up when I told him and then he said, "Is that a good thing? I mean I wanted our daughter to look like you". In our eyes Morgan Kate is the most beautiful thing we have ever laid our eyes on, whether she look like me or Travis. I think she does have my nose and mouth though! Ha, ha....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blessings for 09.17.08

The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. 
Psalm 145:13

1. We received the results of Morgan Kate's brain ultrasound and once again they came back great. Last time there was no bleeding and the only thing they even noticed were that her two lateral ventricles were on the high normal side. Today there was no bleeding,one ventricle looked fine and the other was on the "slight" high normal side. The doctor said this is nothing to be concerned about and that they probably will not do another brain ultrasound until she is discharged. I am so thankful to God and to all of you for all of your prayers and words of support and encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2. Morgan Kate "lives" in a little incubator. This incubator has a humidifier built in that helps preserve moisture around her body. However, she is now "old enough" and does not need the humidifier anymore. Therefore, she is still in the incubator, but they have turned the humidity off completely. Trav says, "Wow, they sure do grow up fast". Ha, ha!

3. And.........Morgan Kate gained another ounce. Yahoo! She is now 2 pounds and 4 ounces. I guess the rest and lack of movement is paying off. We are so happy about this and pray it continues.

4. One of the couples we have met in the NICU have a daughter that was admitted the week before Morgan Kate. She was born at 29 weeks gestation and they are getting to take her home sometime next week. We are so happy for them and wish them nothing but the best!! 

**I am adding some pictures of Morgan Kate's room to the slideshow on the right. There are also pictures of all her "machinery", as well as some pics of a special visitor today - Kelly Jean came and spent the day with Morgan Kate and I. It was so, so very nice and we already miss her!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Updates for 09.16

1. I left the hospital at 11:30 tonight and the ultrasound techs still had not made it to Morgan Kate's room for her head ultrasound. I am sure they are super busy. We knew it could really be any time tonight, but we were just hoping and praying that it would be when we were there. They will come through sometime tonight and we will get the results tomorrow.

2. Morgan Kate is continuing with the iron drops to increase her blood level. They will recheck the level on Monday.

3. They have increased her calories from 24 to 27. Therefore, she is getting about 81 calories a day. Wow! That just doesn't seem like enough.

4. Tonight Morgan Kate reached 2 lbs. and 3 oz!!! We are super excited! 

Please pray that all is well with the brain ultrasound and continue to pray for her weight gain. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

I wish I would have thought to use Travis' wedding band in some of our very first photos. However, I was too scared that I would contaminate the incubator or bring in germs. Today I thoroughly cleaned his ring and took some pictures with it. The ring would definitely fit over her arm, but it will not fit over her hand. I placed it around her fingers and in the palm of her hand. I also put it around her ear and it fit perfectly. (In the photo with the ring in her palm her little face is very dirty - I do apologize...the oxygen cannula creates a lot of yuck stuff.) The picture with the puppy dog was to give everyone an idea of her length at this time. This is a beany bear puppy that her Kaky and Gator gave her. I will continue to use it to show how she grows.

Today was a really great day for Morgan Kate! She rested a lot today and had very few heart rate drops. Her nurse today, Kim, let me help with so many things - checking her temperature, turning her over, changing multiple stinky diapers, etc. Kim is always so great about letting me help out and I love it! Not only does it make me feel useful, but I know it's helping to prepare me for when I finally do get to bring her home.

As of tonight her feedings are up to 10 ccs (10ml). She will stay at ten until she gains a little more weight. At her "weigh-in" tonight she was still 2lbs. and 2oz. I had a little talk with Morgan Kate and told her that I really need her to start packing on the pounds. I am giving up precious kangaroo time so that she can get bigger! 

Her blood level was low this morning so they have put her on some iron. Typically they would do a transfusion, but she was not exhibiting any other signs of needing one. Therefore, they are going to try the iron for a few days and check her blood level again. 

Morgan Kate is scheduled to have her follow-up brain ultrasound tomorrow. This procedure will be just like the last - the ultrasound tech comes in and spreads gel all over Morgan Kate's soft spot and runs the probe over that area. Afterward, Morgan Kate has a nice little mohawk! Last time they didn't come to do the ultrasound until 9pm. I am assuming that they will come at the same time tomorrow. We will not know the results until sometime Wednesday. I'll keep you all posted. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy 3 Week Birthday, Morgan Kate!

Today Morgan Kate is three weeks old or 21 days. Not only is she a day older, but an ounce heavier - weighing in tonight at 2 pounds and 2 ounces. We decided that for her 3 week birthday we would let her wear her "precious party dress". We couldn't actually put it on her, but it won't be long. I was glad to see that it was a tiny bit too big - that way it will fit perfectly when we can finally put clothes on her. This little dress was handmade by Betsy Crawford. Thank you, Betsy, for this beautiful dress and all the time you put into it. It is very special to Morgan Kate and myself. Betsy mentioned in her note to me that Morgan Kate could wear this now and use it for her baby dolls later. I think I will have to buy her baby dolls other dresses because this little dress is going to be framed and hung in her nursery!

Dr. Yajnik was the doctor on duty today and tonight. She said that Morgan Kate is doing very well, but that they would like to see her gain more weight. Preemies typically gain about three ounces in one week, averaging about a half ounce a day. With that, Morgan Kate should have gained 10.5 ounces since birth, but she has only gained around 6. They have increased her feedings to 9.1 ccs and hope this will help. If not, then they will add another fortifier to her food to increase calories. Dr. Yajnik said they want to minimize her activity because she is burning too many calories. Therefore, the kangaroo sessions will be a little more sparse. Of course this saddens my heart because I want to hold her so bad, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure she is okay and growing like she should. They took head measurements and measured her length tonight. Last week she was 36 cm long and this week she is 37. Last week her head circumference was 24 cm and this week it's 25. Her height and head circumference are moving up the growth curve, but her weight is not.

She had a really good day today. She napped a lot and only cried a little - actually just twice and both times were because she was uncomfortable. Once her arm was stuck under her and she didn't like and the second time was because she wanted to turn her head in the other direction. Believe it or not but this little girl can already pick her head up and attempt to turn it. Talk about burning some calories!! Her heart rate dropped several times today, but she only had to be stimulated twice. 

My prayer tonight is that Morgan Kate will continue to gain weight and that her breathing will get better which will help with the heart rate drops.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Unfortunately even with their newest and tiniest fan, the Gamecocks still couldn't pull it off. This was actually Morgan Kate's third USC football game. However, this was the first one she was able to "dress out" for. Her booties (aka "Knee-highs) were actually made for preemies (Thanks so much, Shellie!), but were still entirely too big. Mom and I still thought they were adorable and so did all of the nurses. We thought the precious hat (Handmade by Brandy - Thanks girl!) would be too big, but it actually was a little snug. Finding clothes for this little girl is going to be difficult! 

Travis stayed with Morgan Kate last night and they both had a good night. Trav was a little tired when he came home this morning, but he was able to nap quite a bit. Mom and I spent the morning organizing Morgan Kate's closet, while Travis put the last coat of paint on the walls. See picture below.
We spent the afternoon hanging out with Morgan Kate and cheering for the Gamecocks. She had a really good afternoon and I got to hold her for about an hour. Her feedings are now up to 8.9 cc and she is tolerating them very well. They will increase the feedings again at midnight (9.1 cc) and then hold her there until she gains some more weight. Her night nurse weighed her and she was still holding steady at 2lb. and 1 ounce. I am hoping and praying that we make 2.2 tomorrow. 

Morgan Kate will have another brain ultrasound on Tuesday. This is just a follow-up from the first brain ultrasound. The doctors like to re-check things a few weeks after the first. The results from her first ultrasound were great. The only thing they noticed were that her lateral ventricles were on the high side of normal. This isn't causing any problems, but they want to check again and see how things are. Please pray that things still look good!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Morgan Kate had another great day and I am feeling much better as well. It's tough work being a mommy, but with the help and support of awesome family and friends and a terrific hubbie I know I will make it. Tonight Trav is with Morgan Kate at the hospital. I worried a lot while pregnant with her and I let myself believe that that worry would go away the minute I saw her. (Ha, ha! We all know this is not true.) However, the minute I saw her the REAL worry set in. She has fabulous doctors and nurses, but of course you always believe that YOU will take much better care of your child then anyone else. It has been such a comfort to Travis and I that we can stay with her when we want to or when we feel like we need to. These past two nights have been nights where we needed to.

She did really well last night and today. The respiratory therapist has to come in every couple of hours (day and night) to suction her nose and mouth. The oxygen creates a lot of mucus and build up. Morgan Kate hates being suctioned and while it is happening we get to hear and see what great lungs she really does have. The first week of her life her cry was very faint, almost like a kitten crying. However, her cry has changed a lot and it is VERY loud now. It breaks my heart to hear her cry, but I absolutely love her little voice. Dr. Yajnik, one of the other great neonatologists, saw her today and called her "amazing". I definitely agree! 

They have increased her feedings by .2 cc's - she is currently up to 8.3. At midnight tonight she will be up to 8.5 cc's. She has done so well tolerating her feedings and I pray that this continues. 

Tonight she weighed in at 2lbs. and 1 ounce. She hasn't gained any more weight, but she is maintaining which is great. She typically gains an ounce and then hangs at that weight for about three days. According to my calculations she should gain another ounce by tomorrow night!
Not a lot of time to post tonight. I decided to stay at the hospital tonight with Morgan Kate. I am using a laptop, but the battery is fading and my internet signal is not strong. Morgan Kate is perfectly fine - I just had a hard time this afternoon and wanted to stay with her tonight.

She had a really good day today. Her daddy got to hold her for over an hour late this afternoon. She did awesome in his arms! She is still 2 lbs and 1 ounce, but I know more weight is in our very near future. Her feedings are still at 8.1 cc's. The only thing that really changed today was her caffeine medication. They increased it from 6mg to 10 mg because of her NEW weight.

Please continue to keep Morgan Kate in your prayers - they are definitely working - and say a little prayer for Mommy too. My emotions are getting the best of me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blessings for 09.10.08

1. Morgan Kate's feedings have been increased to 8.1 cc's. She is actually getting 8.1 cc's every hour for six hours straight and then she is off the feeding tube for two hours. Which means that in six hours she is getting 48.6 cc's - equivalent to an ounce and a half. Therefore, in a day she is getting almost 5 ounces total. (As most of you know, I am not the best person in math so my numbers could be off SLIGHTLY.)

2. Morgan Kate came off of all IV fluids today and they were even able to take the Broviac out. The surgeon came in around 2:30 this afternoon to remove it and it only took about five minutes. Of course mommy here had to leave the room - I can't handle things like that. The surgeon said that she did very well. She amazes me with her bravery and courage! Unfortunately, there was some moisture under the bandage which caused some yeast to grow on the skin of her leg. They are treating this with a cream and say that it shouldn't be a problem. Please pray that this goes away quickly!

3. Our big girl is even bigger tonight - Morgan Kate weighed in at 2 lbs and 1 oz. She is growing bigger and bigger each and every day. 

4. I got to hold her for about an hour today. I absolutely LOVE kangarooing with her, but I can't ever see her face. Today I asked if it would be okay to just hold her in my arms and the nurse said this was perfectly fine. I sat there for the entire hour just looking at her in awe. I have to agree with many of you....she does look a lot like her daddy, but I do think she has my nose!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cause for celebration!! Today Morgan Kate hit 2 pounds!! Her daddy and I were thrilled. As of right now she has maxed out her feedings for her size. However, with her weight increasing the feedings will be doing the same.

Morgan Kate had a really good day today and had very few bradys. She is still "swinging" on her oxygen - meaning it's up too high one minute and too low the next. This of course keeps the nurses working very hard! The nurses and doctors assure us that this will get better with growth and with age. We are so thankful for days like today. We know that God is watching over Morgan Kate and us with a careful eye. It's as if he knows exactly when we need a little boost. 

At the end of this month they will check her eyes for something called retinopathy. They wait until preemies are at least 30 days old before checking. Retinopathy is the abnormal growth of the blood vessels in an infant's eyes. As with the brain ultrasound there are several stages of this. Our prayer is for this eye exam to go well and for Morgan Kate to get an "A-OK". I will keep you posted on a specific date.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We are still sitting at 1 lb. and 15 oz., but Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feedings and I feel certain that 2 lbs. is in our near future. I'm not sure if she has outgrown the tiny diapers (aka "Wee-Pees") or the NICU was just out of them, but tonight she got to wear a big preemie diaper (they are for preemies around 4-5 lbs.). It was so funny to see her in it. It looked like a coat! I'm pretty sure they were just low on "Wee-Pees" - these other diapers are entirely too large.

At 11pm tonight they will increase her feedings to 7.6 cc's. After tonight they will not increase her feedings again until she gains some weight or until they come down or off of IV fluids. She has maxed out on her feedings for her weight. 

This morning her blood gases (blood work they do each morning) came back borderline. Up until this point her gases had looked great. Around 3ish today they were talking again about the CPAP. They did her blood gases again around 4 and they looked good. Therefore, she is still without the CPAP. Yeah, one more day!

Morgan Kate and I got to kangaroo again today. It is such an indescribable feeling. It's a feeling of contentment and peace. It breaks my heart that I don't get to hold her more or that I can't comfort her when something is wrong. Today she was a little fussy and all I could do was hold her little finger. I couldn't rock her or hold her, or even pat her back. It was such an awful feeling! However, I just keeping looking forward to our "kangaroo sessions" and the time we get to spend together.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy 2 Week Birthday, Morgan Kate!

Numerous blessings today:
1. Morgan Kate had terrific nurses today - (two of our favorites) Ms. Amy and Ms. Tonya. These two women are extraordinary and take such good care of our tiny one.

2. Morgan Kate did well last night and today with her "bradys" and managed to make it another day without the CPAP. 

3. She is still tolerating her increased feedings and is up to 6.4 cc's. Mommy is trying her best to keep up with Morgan Kate in this area and so far we are making it.

4. Morgan Kate got to spend the afternoon with Kaky and Gator (my parents) while Travis and I ran a few errands. I know all three of them must have been in heaven!

4. Morgan Kate and mom got to kangaroo for almost two hours. While we were kangarooing they were able to cut her oxygen all the way down and she was just on room air.

5. Ms. Tonya gave her a bath and she is all nice and clean! She was also weighed and measured. She is still 1 lb and 15 oz., but had grown half an inch. She is now 14.25" long. 

6. One of the biggest blessings of the day - her daddy got to hold her for the first time. Of course it was amazing for him and very momentous, but it made my heart melt to watch.

*See pics with daddy and of bath time in the first slideshow to the right.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wow! Our baby girl has made it to 1lb and 15oz. I guess the increased feedings and added calories are paying off. Tomorrow is her 2 week birthday and she could very well hit 2lb. God is good!

Morgan Kate had several heart rate drops last night and earlier today. When she stops or pauses her breathing it's called apnea and when her heart rate drops because of this it's called bradycardia or "brady" for short. They call these two things the A and B of prematurity. Usually she is able to pull herself back up almost instantly. However, several of these "bradys" required stimulation - a back rub or a pinch on her foot. Dr. Yajnik, one of the other great neonatologists, said that if this continues then Morgan Kate will have to go back on the CPAP. She was on the CPAP the first night of her life, but has been off ever since. It's NOT the ventilator and doesn't work like one. It simply helps keep her lungs open, but does not breathe for her. It's bigger in size and a step up from the clear tube she has now. This is a great website for more information on the CPAP - http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/medical_problems/aop.html 
Of course this wasn't what I wanted to hear because it seems like step backward, but if it's going to help her then I am all for it. I just pray that if she has to go back on the CPAP then it will be short and she will be off of it soon. It's a much larger tube and covers up her pretty little face. We did not kangaroo with her today because of all the bradys and because we did not want to tire her out. 

She is continuing to tolerate her increased feedings. Tonight she is up to 5.8 cc's. My prayer is that she continues to tolerate her feedings and that she will be off of all IV's soon. I also pray that I can keep up with her increased feedings. For several days she had quite a stock of my milk, however, with increased feeding times and volume the stock has started to diminish. 

Today Mom and Dad came up and are spending the night. It was such a blessing! Our house has been quite neglected over the past few weeks and Mom helped out tremendously - laundry, vacuuming, dusting, straightening, EVERYTHING. Dad ran errands and made trips to the grocery store for things we needed. Everyone has been so helpful and generous! We are forever grateful for all the support, help, encouragement and prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I laughed today more than I have in quite some time. Morgan Kate kept me quite amused all day long. She was very active today, even in her sleep. One minute she pulling her oxygen tube out of her nose, the next minute she was taking off her temperature probe, and the next minute she was trying to pull out her feeding tube. She would not leave all the wires and cords alone. I think she was trying to tell us that she had had enough of all of that. Also, I must have changed her diaper a thousand times today. Every time I would change one she would mess up another. Her nurse, Becky, was really good and let me change her diaper each time. I was so thankful for this because I LOVE to help with ANYTHING.

We talked with the neonatologist, Dr. Coates, today for a long time. (Laura J., if you are reading this, I loved Dr. Coates. You were right - he is wonderful! Laura and Mark's precious angel, Luke, was under Dr, Coates' care for a little while the night he was born and now he is thriving and growing each day and absolutely adorable.) Dr. Coates was fabulous! They have increased Morgan Kate's feedings. They are still increasing the feedings by .3 cc, but now every 8 hours instead of 12. I was talking with another NICU mom yesterday and she told me her daughter was only taking 2 ounces and they just couldn't get her to take more than that. I started thinking and wondering....what was the correlation between cc's and ounces? Well, there are about 30 cc's in just one ounce. Wow! We have quite a ways to go, but I must remember this is a day by day process and we will eventually get there. Also, they are adding a fortifier to my milk to increase the calories. Breast milk is about 20 calories and the fortifier adds about another 4 - so 24 calories total, three times a day. I know....It just doesn't sound like enough, but her stomach is only the size of her tiny fist and they have to move slow. They also took her off of the "gatorade" (a fluid given through the Broviac that contains vitamins and such) and they also took her off of the fat (a lipid that was given through the Broviac. The next step, which will hopefully happen in a few days, is to take her off of IV fluids completely and get rid of the Broviac. Part of me is really excited about this because it's one step in the right direction, but another part of me is a little worried because they just put the Broviac in and I don't want them to take it out and then have to replace it anytime soon. The doctor wants to get rid of it as soon as possible because the less "stuff" she has the less chance that she could pick up an infection. The main focus right now is to continue increasing her feedings and pray that she is able to tolerate it, reduce the chance of infection as much as possible, and to help her gain weight. She is currently still at 1 lb and 13 ounces and the doctor would like to see her start gaining. 

I got to kangaroo with Morgan Kate for about an hour this evening. It is the highlight of my day each time I am able to do it. Tomorrow Travis is going to give it a try. I'm a little hesitant to share my "kangaroo time". I know he is going to love it and I don't want him thinking that he can do it everyday. Ha ha! 

Please check back tomorrow for an update and new pictures! 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Each day I am amazed by my little angel's strength and determination. She proves every single day that she is indeed a fighter. She has definitely stolen my heart and everyday I fall more and more in love with her. I just stand at her incubator and watch every little thing she does. 

Morgan Kate had another good day! I spoke with the neonatologist this morning and she said that Morgan Kate looks and sounds really good. They have put another tube down her throat. Morgan Kate was not happy about this at all and let them know vocally. The tube is to help with any oxygen that might be getting into her stomach. Sometimes the oxygen can bypass the lungs and cause gas and bloating in the stomach. This tube is to help pull that oxygen out. Her oxygen stats continue to go up and down - one minute the alarm is going off because it's too high, the next minute it's too low. One big problem is that Morgan Kate loves to sleep with her mouth wide open (she may have inherited this from me), therefore, the oxygen coming in through her nose is escaping through her mouth. She has a respiratory therapist (RT) that comes in several times a day to check the oxygen and to suction her mouth and nose. Morgan Kate hates the suctioning. She throws her little hands in the air and even tries to hide her face. The first time I saw her do this I could hardly believe it. The RT said that she is quite a little pistol. Hmmm...imagine that! Her feedings have been increased to 4 cc and she is still tolerating them very well. Tomorrow they will increase to 4.3 and then 4.6 by the end of the day. She is still at 1lb and 13oz so I am hoping that she will start to gain some weight with the increased feedings. The nurses gave her a sponge bath tonight and I got to help. I am thrilled to get to help with anything!! I got to hold her while they were weighing her and changing her sheets. I also got to change several diapers and it was so much fun. It's so difficult not being able to do more for her, so I get really excited about doing anything.

Of course the doctors have told us that we should intend or plan on Morgan Kate being in the NICU until her original due date - December 3rd. However, there are three qualifications a baby must meet before they are released and sometimes they meet those before their due dates. The baby must be:
1. Completely off of all IV fluids.
2. Be able to come out of the incubator and stay in a crib while maintaining their body temperature.
3. Be able to breast feed or bottle feed.
Typically when these three things are in place the baby weighs at least 4lbs. One of my nurses from the high-risk floor, Ms. Francena, assures me that we will be home before Thanksgiving. I sure hope she is right!

I met two moms in the NICU today. They shared their stories with me and I was able to share mine. There babies are larger than Morgan Kate, but have difficulties with eating or with breathing. It was really nice to talk with them and learn about their children. As you are praying for Morgan Kate, please keep the other moms in your prayers as well. The new NICU has 17 rooms and at this point I believe 15 rooms are filled. There are quite a lot of babies!

Each day is a little easier than the day before. However, it is still very painful to see her lying in that incubator and not be able to do more for her. It's hard for me to grasp that my body wouldn't cooperate. I have promised her that even though my body failed her, I will not. I will do everything in my power to make sure she is okay and I have promised her that I will take the very best care of her. Each night I say my prayers with her and we thank God for another day! I can't believe that in just three days she will be two weeks old...

Thank you all for your continued support, words of encouragement and prayers! They mean so much to Travis, myself and Morgan Kate. Also, we love reading your comments. I can't wait to check the blog each night to see any comments that might be there. It really warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. Keep em' coming! I love you all...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I snapped this picture earlier today. I like to think that Morgan Kate was saying her prayers and thanking God for such a wonderful day. 

Morgan Kate had awesome nurses today and we got to see Dr. Edelson. She is one of the female neonatologists and she was great. I got to talk to her for a little while about the increased heart rate, her weight, etc. She was very patient and answered all of my questions. Morgan Kate's heart rate has increased some (it was perfect today) because she has been on caffeine. Yes, the same stuff I wasn't supposed to drink while pregnant with her. They are giving her this to help with her apnea prematurity and it causes her heart rate to rise some. I was also a little concerned about her weight. She hasn't lost any, but she hasn't gained any either. Dr. Edelson assured me that this is okay. Morgan Kate has been tolerating her food which they have now increased to 3.8 cc and will continue to increase by .3 cc every 12 hours. She also delivered the results of the brain ultrasound and it was beautiful. There was no bleeding on the brain at all. I was so relieved!! Your prayers are definitely working - please keep them coming. Her lateral ventricles were on the high side of normal, so they will rescan in about two weeks. However, Dr. Edelson said this is typical in preemies and should fix itself. 

I also got to kangaroo with her for over two hours today. Her nurse got the room really dark and quiet and situated Morgan Kate really well. She was a perfect little angel and they were even able to turn her oxygen off the entire time I was holding her. It was a great day! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Today has been an emotional day. I think things are finally beginning to sink in. I found myself stopping several times today and asking myself, "Is this all really happening?" It is still so hard to believe. I look at this precious little baby in that incubator and I just think, "Why?" I know God has a plan for us and that he wouldn't give us more than we could handle, but it's just so hard. Also, Travis went back to work today for the first time in two weeks. It was very difficult for him and he hated to be away, but he knew it was time to get back. He came to the hospital as soon as he got off and spent the evening with us.

Morgan Kate's heart rate was a little high today, as well as her blood pressure. She is still breathing on her own (Yeah!), but is on some oxygen. The oxygen helps put pressure on her lungs when she forgets to breathe. Her oxygen levels fluctuated all day so her nurse was in and out a lot. I got to kangaroo with her late this afternoon and all her levels started going back down. I felt really good about this. Her night nurse (which we love) arrived at seven and all of her levels returned to normal. I think she was stressed out earlier today. The ultrasound tech did not come in until 9:00 tonight to do the brain ultrasound. We will not have the results of that scan until in the morning, but I will post as soon as I know something. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

Today was a really good day for all three of us. Trav and I were able to catch up on some much needed sleep last night. It killed us to come home and leave our baby girl, but it paid off today. We were much more rested; therefore, we could interact with her, I could really work on pumping, we could listen to the doctor and take everything in and we could talk with her nurses and help them with things like changing her bedding, weighing her, and changing her diapers. These are things that have been quite difficult to do in the past few days. We are doing the best we can or the best we know how, but it's very overwhelming and our emotions get the best of us at various times during the day. 

I was able to "kangaroo" with Morgan Kate for a little over an hour and a half today. This is something Trav and I can do every day as long as she is doing well. It was awesome! It provides me with such a feeling of comfort and contentment. She looks tiny in person, but feels so much tinier in my arms. When I am holding her she is still hooked up to all her monitors - which is a good thing. Her heart rate, oxygen and respiration all stayed the same and looked good while I was holding her. I told Trav that it was his turn, but he insisted that I kangaroo with her. He said it's important for her to get to know me now because once she gets home she belongs to him. Ha ha - we will see about that. 

Tomorrow Morgan Kate is scheduled to have a brain ultrasound. Many preemies experience some type of bleeding on the brain within a few days of birth. There are various stages of bleeding and symptoms that go with each. She has not exhibited symptoms of any bleeding so we are very hopeful. However, tomorrow we will know for sure. Please keep us in your prayers. 
Today Morgan Kate had to have a blood transfusion. Trav and I were both really nervous about this. Blood transfusion sounds so big and scary. I would prefer something like..."Morgan Kate needs a little blood, so we are just going to give her some this afternoon and everything will be fine." The doctors assure us that this is common with preemies and that having multiple transfusions is also common. She has lost some blood because of all the poking and prodding and she just isn't making it back fast enough. They started the transfusion around 2:00 and were finished by 5:00. It went really well and her color was already improving. She looked really good this morning, but was a little pale. Tonight she was beautiful shade of pink. Dr. Bendeck said that pink is definitely her color. 

After the transfusion this afternoon I got to start kangaroo care. I had never heard of this until I was admitted last week. In simple terms it is just skin to skin contact between mother and baby. The nurses simply put her on my chest so that she can feel my skin and hear my heartbeat. It was absolutely amazing! Holding her so close and for so long (I got to hold her for over an hour) was such a comfort. Her day nurse told me that kangaroo care is really good for preemies, but I think it's just as good for the mothers of preemies. Not being able to hold your baby is one of the most difficult things I have experienced. 

Travis has been at the hospital each night with Morgan Kate since last Sunday. I started staying with them Thursday night. We go non-stop all day at the hospital and then sleep there at night. The only downside is - we really aren't sleeping. A NICU is a very busy and very noisy place. There are lots of people coming and going and we were averaging about three hours of solid sleep a night. This morning we both could barely move. My eyes were bloodshot and stung just to hold them open. The nurses told us both that we needed to go home and rest. We came home around 9:30, ate breakfast and went to sleep. I woke up around 1:00, got dressed and headed back to the hospital with Mom, Daddy, and Kyle. I let Trav continue to sleep - he has been doing this hospital thing for almost two weeks now and it is getting the best of him. Tonight we are staying at our house and it is killing me. I feel like the worst mom ever. It broke me heart to leave here there and I cried the entire way home. I know that in order to take care of her I have to take care of myself, but thinking about myself at a time like this is very difficult to do. I am here now and can't think of anything except her. I'm heading to bed now just so it will be morning sooner and I can see her precious little face again.