Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Morgan Kate had a terrific Halloween! She had five different onesies to choose from today. When she was able to wear clothes last week I thought she could wear a Halloween onesie everyday this week. However, after the tiny set back that didn't all work out, but today she got to dress up and she was Mommy's Little Pumpkin. She was too cute!

Today her oxygen was around 26%. She was doing so well with her oxygen and I was able to hold her. It is very difficult to hold her with the CPAP and all its accessories. It either pops apart, pulls her nose, or just doesn't cooperate. She was doing so well that our "Angel Nurse" asked Dr. B if we could try the nasal cannula. We did and she did awesome! At one point her oxygen was down to 24%. She was actually doing so well that I held her for four hours. When Trav got there he held her for another two. She definitely got spoiled today and I am SO glad! Please pray that her oxygen levels remain in the 20's. 

She is continuing to get 40ccs every three hours and tolerating it well. She is very vocal about when it's feeding time. She knows! We weren't able to weigh her tonight or get her ready for bed. It was a little too chilly in the room and the nurse wanted to wait. I certainly understand why, but it was still a little disappointing. We get so excited about doing anything so weigh in and bed time routines are really big for us. When we called back tonight to check on her they said she weighed in at four pounds and thirteen ounces. Five pounds here we come!

Thank you all so very much for all of your prayers and your specific prayers regarding her oxygen. Travis and I can already tell a big difference in her breathing and oxygen needs. We know that the steroids are working, but we also know that all of your prayers and thoughts have played a vital role in her healing. God is good and he continues to bless us each and everyday. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blessings for the Day

1. Morgan Kate's feeds have been increased to 40ccs. This is great not only for her growth, but her increased appetite. The steroids have made her quite fussy and food seems to soothe her. Sounds a little like her mommy!

2. She weighed in tonight at four pounds and twelve ounces. She hasn't gained any weight, but she hasn't lost any either. I am thinking that the slow down in weight has been because of the lasix and that she is getting rid of some fluid. 

3. God is so good! Her oxygen has been 27% - 28% all day long! Oh my goodness, what a relief. They have reduced the pressure on her CPAP from +6 to +5. Once she gets down to +3 we should be moving back to the nasal cannula. Yahoo! 

4. My awesome neighbor and dear, dear friend Mary and her mom threw a shower for me tonight. It was so, so very nice and Morgan Kate got so many nice things! I can't wait for her to see them all. Thank you Mary and Ms. Kathryn!

I know I promised pictures, but you'll have to wait one more day. My camera is at the hospital, my memory card is here at home - too many things to remember...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nurses are a lot like teachers. Some nurses are good, some nurses are great and some are pure angels. We have been so blessed and so fortunate to have angels in the NICU at Baptist. Today we had an absolute ANGEL help to get Morgan Kate back in a "big girl bed". When I arrived today I was shocked to see Morgan Kate in a crib. She was not in a bassinet as it will not support the CPAP, but she was in a small white crib and I was thrilled. We even got to put clothes on her tonight. It is an incredible feeling and we have her awesome nurse to thank. She knew how disappointed we were on Sunday and today she put big smiles back on our faces. I will post pictures tomorrow night.

Today Morgan Kate's oxygen hung around 44%, but when we left tonight it was down to 41%. She got her third dose of the steroid tonight at 6pm. The steroid is in liquid form and is given to her through her feeding tube. She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and is still at 38ccs. Tonight Morgan Kate weighed in at four pounds and twelve ounces. She has gained three pounds since birth! Morgan Kate is staying awake for a little while longer these days and seems very alert. Oh, how I can't wait for the day when we can taker her home!

Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's growth, lung development, and that she will continue to tolerate her feeds. 

We are thankful for:
-Angels disguised as nurses.
-Doctors that are patient and willing to sit with parents and talk.
-Family and friends who are supportive and encouraging.
-God's love and guidance through this journey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thank you all for your continued prayers and words of encouragement. Nothing about this entire process has been easy. However, the support of family and friends has been very comforting and reassuring. We know God is walking with us every step of the way and he will take care of us. Baptist has a channel on the TV that plays continuous soothing music. Often times we leave this on at night for Morgan Kate. Since we have been "watching" it more often I noticed that they also show various bible verses and inspirational quotes. Most of the verses shown today dealt with strength and finding that strength in God. I thought it was very fitting!

Travis and I spent a lot of time with the doctors this morning discussing Morgan Kate's lungs and the options we have. This is not something we take lightly and we wanted to make an informed decision. Dr. B gave us several pieces of reading material last night. Our homework was to read the material and write down any questions we had. I am very good at writing out all of my questions (and believe me, I had a lot of them). My mom taught me quite a lot, but two things that really stand out are 1)always get/record the name of the person you are talking to (especially on the phone) and 2)write down any and all of the questions you have before talking with a doctor. Thanks Mom! We did our homework and talked with other doctors, nurses, pharmacists and even another preemie mom -all in favor of the steroids. After much research, deliberation and prayer we decided to go ahead with the steroid treatment. Morgan Kate got her first dose tonight at 6.

About twenty years ago (give or take) doctors used steroids with A LOT of preemies. Basically, if there was a lung issue or breathing problem the preemie received steroids. The steroids were given from day one, in large doses and for forty something days straight. These steroids helped heal the preemies' lungs. However, years later when they followed up on some of these same babies they found that some had cerebral palsy, some had growth problems and others had developmental delays. It was a catch-22 - you give the steroids to ultimately help your child breathe, but these same steroids possibly cause problems later on. You must also keep in mind that every preemie runs the chance of having cerebral palsy and even some developmental delays because of being born early. So, did the steroid use cause this or just the fact of the child being premature? There is some debate on this issue. Due to these studies doctors discontinued using steroids for quite sometime. In the past several years they have started using the steroids again, except now they are given later on in a preemies life, they are given in much smaller doses and given for only ten days. The children that first started receiving these doses of steroids are only three or four now, but so far the same side effects are not present or as widespread. Because of the past studies and results the doctors have to tell you EVERYTHING - all the good things about steroids and the possible side effects. 

Travis and I wanted what was BEST for Morgan Kate and we also had to remember that there are side effects with EVERY medication, including something as simple as Tylenol. It is extremely difficult to watch Morgan Kate struggle each day with breathing. She works so hard and gets so tired. Without the steroid Morgan Kate could lay in that incubator with that CPAP for months and continue to cause damage to her lungs. She could pick up an infection (which is not a good thing in the NICU) or even develop pneumonia. Her lungs COULD eventually get better on their own, but we could be there much, much longer. She is getting to the age where she needs to be out of the incubator and she needs stimulation. Dr. B said that at her age she needs more than just lying on her back staring at the ceiling. With the steroid we should begin to see results in about five days. It will decrease the inflammation and help with her airways. They don't expect her to come off of oxygen completely. They do think she will be able to come off of the CPAP, as well as the high flow cannula and probably be sent home on low flow oxygen. 

We asked a ton of questions, but we especially wanted to know how Morgan Kate developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) or chronic lung disease, especially since she was born breathing on her own. This is NOT something Morgan Kate developed over night. She has been having issues with her breathing since about day four of her life. This is the best way to explain it...
Preemies are born with immature lungs. The lungs of a baby do not fully develop until about 35 weeks. When premature babies are born they sometimes need assistance breathing. This assistance can come in the form of the ventilator, the CPAP or supplemental oxygen. Each one of these things helps the baby breathe (good thing!), however, they can also cause damage to underdeveloped lungs. This damage - scarring and inflammation - causes BPD. Therefore, the same lifesaving device can cause other problems. You're darned if you do, and darned if you don't! When Morgan Kate was born she didn't need immediate breathing assistance. This could have been because I received steroid shots one week before she arrived and they were helping her or even masking the problem. Also, a woman's body gives off numerous hormones during pregnancy and childbirth that can also help with a babies breathing ability at first. They do not immediately diagnosis a baby with BPD. They try to give the child ample time to recover and get breathing under control. However, by 36 weeks of age, if a baby is still requiring more than 30% oxygen they are diagnosed with BPD, a type of chronic lung disease.

Please pray that these steroids will do the trick and that Morgan Kate will get some relief. Please pray that God will continue to heal her lungs and make her strong. 

On a lighter note, Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feeds and weighed four pounds and eleven ounces. She has lost a little bit of weight because of the lasix - which most likely means it was water weight anyway, so no reason for concern. 

Stay tuned for tomorrow's conversation about RSV and what this means for Morgan Kate...

*All of the above is my interpretation of the information presented to me. I try my best to take perfect notes and get everything correct. Remember I am NOT a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one, I am just a wife, mommy of one awesome daughter and a fourth grade teacher. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Morgan Kate had another chest x-ray this morning and Dr. B said it was not good. Her lungs are very cloudy and puffy and just don't seem to be getting any better. She is on the CPAP and her oxygen is still around 43%. Morgan Kate has been diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a type of chronic lung disease. A preemie is typically diagnosed with this if he/she has been on supplemental oxygen for more than 28 days or still on oxygen at 36 weeks. Morgan Kate has been on oxygen for over 60 days and will be 36 weeks on Thursday. Today they started her on lasix again to get rid of any fluid that might be in her lungs. We are praying that this helps her some. Another alternative is to try a low dose, short course of steroids. The steroids are used only when all other options have been exhausted due to some of their possible short term and long term side effects. We talked with several doctors, nurses, and pharmacists today about the steroids and will continue talking with the doctors tomorrow before making any decisions. Everyone that we have talked with so far is in favor of the steroids. Please pray that God will help Travis and I make the right decision for our little girl. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One step forward, two steps back....

Ask any parent that has experienced the NICU and they will tell you that it's always a roller coaster. A roller coaster of emotions, feelings, events, illnesses, high, lows, etc. You have really good days and then you have just stinky ones. Yesterday was an extreme peak on our roller coaster in the NICU and we are so thankful. Today our roller coaster took a little dip or detour and we are praying that God gets us uphill again very soon. Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 43% - 47%. Once she reached 47% they decided to put her back on the bubble CPAP. I know...very disappointing. They tried leaving her in the crib with the CPAP because her temperature was fine. Unfortunately, the CPAP was pulling too much on her face and Morgan Kate had to be moved back to the incubator. Clothes off, only diaper. 

I'm sure some of you are saying, "Now, Heather, it could be worse." I realize this. I know we are very fortunate, very blessed and we have so much to be thankful for. However, it's still been a rough day. 

Tonight I pray that God gives all of us strength, especially Morgan Kate. I pray that he continues to heal Morgan Kate's lungs and that her lungs will begin to mature. It breaks my heart that she struggles so much with something most of us do so effortlessly...breathe.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What a wonderful day!

Trav and I spent the entire day with our baby girl and her new bed! She did fantastic and we couldn't have been happier. Morgan Kate was able to maintain her body temperature all night and was moved into the bassinet early this morning. When we left tonight she was still maintaining her body temperature very well. I got to change numerous diapers today and I got to change her clothes three times - she is already getting clothes dirty. Ha! Below is a picture of her in an outfit that her great grandmother, Mammie, bought for her. Isn't she precious? Thank you so much, Mammie! We love you. There are also new pictures posted in the first slideshow to the right. I know, I know - there are lots of pictures of me and Morgan Kate and not so much of Daddy dearest. I promise he was there and we do love pictures of him, but Mommy just couldn't get enough today!
I can't remember if I posted this last night or not, but Morgan Kate is now up to 38ccs every three hours. The increased food is definitely paying off because Morgan Kate weighed in tonight at four pounds and eleven ounces. She also was weighed on the "big girl" scale (pictures in the slideshow to the right). Trav and I thought that she might lose a little weight because she had numerous poopy diapers today - I think we counted six - and because she was out of her incubator. Preemies have a hard time maintaining their body temperature and doing so burns extra calories. However, it doesn't look like either one bothered Morgan Kate!

She is still on the nasal cannula and we definitely love that! Her oxygen ranged from 33% - 39% today. The doctors would like for that number to be a lot less. She is not breathing nearly as hard or as fast as she usually does, but she is requiring more oxygen that they like to see. She has another chest x-ray on Monday and the doctors will know more. Once we can get her breathing under control we can began bottle feeding and then it will hopefully be home sweet home!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another good day for Morgan Kate!

Today Morgan Kate had the last two shots of her two month immunizations. She did very well and only cried for a second. Relief! Some of you may have been concerned about Morgan Kate receiving these immunizations because of her size and because she is a preemie. However, the doctors assure me this is perfectly fine and normal and that she really does need them. Below is a picture of her tiny little leg right after her shots. 
She is also continuing to grow and weighed in tonight at four pounds and ten ounces. They have increased her feeds to 38ccs every three hours for thirty minutes. Below are two pictures of her and her puppy dog that Kaky and Gator
gave her. The first picture was taken on September 15th and the second picture was taken yesterday. She's growing!
Today they started getting Morgan Kate ready for her "big girl" bed. To begin, they start reducing the air temperature in her incubator while monitoring her body temperature to make sure she is able to maintain. Once the bed reaches room temperature they dress Morgan Kate in clothes (a onesie, an outfit, booties and a hat) and wrap her in two blankets. They also open the portholes to her incubator. If she can maintain her body temperature like that for 12 hours then she will be ready for the bassinet. So...Tomorrow morning our baby girl might have a brand new bed. We are so excited!! This step may not seem like much to some, but to us it is enormous. This is one step closer to going home and it also means we can hold her as much as we want to and for as long as we want to. I can hardly wait! See pictures below of Morgan Kate in clothes for the very first time! The first pic is of just her in her onesie, the second of her in her outfit and the third is of Morgan Kate all wrapped up with her wonderful nurse, Jennifer.
We are thankful for so many things, but today we are especially thankful for:
-Morgan Kate's continued growth
-Morgan Kate being able to tolerate her feeds
-Morgan Kate progressing to her "big girl" bed

*Please say a special prayer for Kayleigh Freeman, the other preemie on our blog. She had what was supposed to be a minor surgical procedure this morning. It turned in to a lot more and there were complications. Please pray that she will recover and heal quickly and that God will watch over her tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today was quite an exciting day for Morgan Kate (and Mommy and Daddy)!

Blessings for the day:
1. Morgan Kate is still on the high flow nasal cannula! Her oxygen was between 32% and 38% all day. 

2. Her immunizations went well and she wasn't fussy afterward. She got three of them today and will get the other two tomorrow. Please pray that the immunizations tomorrow will go as well as the ones today.

3. She is continuing to grow, grow, grow and tonight she weighed in at four pounds and nine ounces. The nurse weighed her 3 times just to be sure and each time it said four pounds and nine ounces. So, our little girl is over four and a half pounds! 

4. they started to turn down the temperature in Morgan Kate's incubator. As long as she can maintain her temperature through the night and tomorrow she will move to a bassinet. Oh my goodness!!! She will be in a big girl bassinet (same bassinet newborns are in) and get to wear clothes. Travis and I are both on cloud nine and praying that Morgan Kate is able to maintain her body temperature. 

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray that Morgan Kate will continue to do well on the nasal cannula.
-Please pray that Morgan Kate will continue to grow and that her immunizations go well.
-Please pray that Morgan Kate will be able to maintain her body temperature.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last night I wrote, "I can't wait for the day when I walk in and she is back on the cannula. It will definitely be an answered prayer." I know God answers prayers because I experience it everyday and he has blessed my life in so many ways, but I didn't expect him to be so quick this time! When I walked in to Morgan Kate's room today I did a double take. Yep, you guessed it... She was off of the CPAP and back on the nasal cannula. At that time her oxygen was around 32%. Since she was doing so well I was able to kangaroo with her. Oh, how nice this was! My heart has been longing to do this for over three weeks and today I finally got to. While we were kangarooing her oxygen went down to 28%. Wow! I felt so good about it. Once she went back in the incubator she just seemed so relaxed. She was very alert and looking all around. As the day has progressed her needs have increased some and when we left tonight she was up to 37%. I realize that tomorrow is a new day and she may or may not be back on the CPAP, but even just one day off is a true blessing. God is so good and I am so thankful that my little one has had a break from the CPAP. I pray that she is strong enough to continue on the cannula, but if not I know that things will get better in her own time. 

She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and weighed in tonight at four pounds and six ounces. Looks like she might be four and a half pounds by this weekend. Can you believe it?

Tomorrow Morgan Kate has Part 1 of her two month immunizations. I couldn't believe it when the doctor mentioned immunizations. I was like, "Ummm, already? Is she old enough for all of that?" Apparently she is old enough and there are five immunizations due. She will get three of them tomorrow and two of them on Friday. Please say a little prayer for her because I am sure they won't feel too good.

Yesterday my devotion was about choices. The devotion talked a lot about how we can't always choose what situations we are in, but we can choose the attitude we have about those situations. I have heard this before, but it never really sunk in until now. I did not choose this situation and I can't do a lot about it, however I can choose the attitude I have. I am trying my best to have a positive and patient attitude. I have been very anxious about Morgan Kate's breathing and oxygen needs. Most of this anxiety is because I am just so scared and I want everything to be okay for her. However, I know that this will all happen in Morgan Kate's time and God's time and until then I just need to try and relax and enjoy every minute with her.

Earlier this week I promised pictures of the signs Kaky has been making for Morgan Kate. The first picture is of the "Sign Wall". The second picture is my attempt at signs while Kaky is out of commission.

Below are pictures of Morgan Kate's nursery and new furniture. The night before Morgan Kate arrived Travis went home and my mom stayed in the hospital with me. I assured Travis that I was perfectly okay and Morgan Kate's arrival was weeks away. Ha! Little did we know... Anyway when Trav went home that night he painted the nursery along with the help of Owens, Kyle, Mary and Matt. I had no clue he was painting the nursery that night and it was a great surprise! It turned out perfectly and I can't wait for Morgan Kate to see it. Her dresser and changing table arrived a couple of weeks ago and we finally have them assembled and in her room. Thank you so much Kaky and MJ! We love it! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today was a pretty quiet day for Morgan Kate! She slept, and slept, and slept some more. 

The CPAP is still turned down to +4 and when we left tonight she was getting 31% oxygen. They have decided to hold her at +4 for several days. If she continues to do well then they will reduce her to +3 and then to the cannula. I can't wait for the day when I walk in and she is back on the cannula. It will definitely be an answered prayer! 

She is also continuing to tolerate her feeds and is now up to 36 ccs. They will keep her at 36 ccs until she gets bigger. Speaking of bigger, she weighed in tonight at four pounds and five ounces again. She did not gain any ounces, but did gain 20 grams. Way to go, Morgan Kate! 

I am still not able to hold her much because of the CPAP. It is so hard!! However, I do get to help with baths and change diapers. I never thought I would love changing diapers so much, but it gives me a chance to be with her and touch her. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Updates and Blessings for 10.20.08

1. Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feeds. 

2. Morgan Kate weighed in at four pounds and five ounces or 1950 grams. Remember, when she was born she only weighed 790 grams. Wow!

3. The CPAP pressure has been reduced to +4. When we left tonight Morgan Kate was on 30% oxygen. If this continues then they will try taking her off of the CPAP and put her back on the nasal cannula. Please pray that God will give Morgan Kate strength and continue to heal her lungs. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy 8 weeks, Morgan Kate!

Another good day for Morgan Kate!

Morgan Kate seemed much more relaxed today. Lately, she has been quite fussy and somewhat irritable because she does not like the CPAP. However, I am thinking or hoping that she is beginning to get used to it a little. Hopefully, she won't have to like it and it will be off very soon. Her oxygen ranged from 28% - 32% today. This was really good, especially since she is down to +5. She has an x-ray scheduled for in the morning. My prayer is that her lungs have improved and will continue to improve.

Tonight her feeds were increased to 33ccs every three hours. She is continuing to tolerate them very well.

Morgan Kate weighed in at four pounds and three ounces. I know this is a much more accurate weight because she had nothing on! Sunday nights are bath night andwhen the nurse weighed her she was completely bare. I got to actually give her a bath tonight. We couldn't put her in the little basin because of the CPAP, but I could give her a sponge bath. She did really well and didn't fuss too much. See pictures below. The third picture looks a little funny. To protect her nose from the CPAP and the high flow of oxygen they use a cannula-aid. It looks a little scary, but seems to do the trick!

Kaky has been making weekly signs for Morgan Kate since she was a week old. They are adorable signs with a photo and bible verse or short note. They are super sweet and we look forward to them each week. The staff in the NICU are so kind and let us decorate Morgan Kate's room with all sorts of cute things including Kaky's signs. We have an entire wall dedicated to them. Since Kaky has been "out of commission" I took a try at it and made Morgan Kate's seven and eight week signs. I know they probably aren't nearly as great or as special as Kaky's, but I gave it my best try. We are so looking forward to the day when Kaky is completely recovered and can come back to visit. We miss her! (Well...I was trying to post pictures of the signs, but the server is not responding. I will try again tomorrow.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today I got to hold Morgan Kate for almost two hours and it was heavenly! She is getting so big and is so alert at times. I love just looking at her and watching all her little moves and listening to all the sounds she makes. She has that wonderful baby smell that I just can't get enough of. I just want to sit and hold her for hours.

1. Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 24% - 33% for most of the day. At one time she was up to 39%, but it wasn't for long and I think it was because of her position. She was also reduced from +6 to +5. Please pray that she will continue to do well on +5.

2. Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feeds.

3. Morgan Kate weighed in at four pounds and four ounces. I'm not sure how accurate this is. Sometimes she is weighed with the CPAP off and other nights she is weighed with the CPAP on. Last night it was off and she was four pounds and one ounce. So...I think she is probably more like four pounds and two ounces. Please continue to pray for her growth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today was such a good day for Morgan Kate! Therefore, being a good day for Mommy and Daddy as well.

Oxygen wise, Morgan Kate ranged from 24%  - 33%. I was so excited about the 24%! Hopefully this will continue. I got to hold her for about an hour today and her oxygen needs increased from 24% to 27%. It wasn't a huge increase, but I was a little disappointed because I don't want to do anything to stress her out or hinder her progress. 

Tonight when Travis and I went for our "night time" visit Morgan Kate was very alert. She was looking around and moving her arms and legs. She also got a bath and we were able to help. She wasn't thrilled about the bath, but looked so nice and clean afterward. She didn't have any wires or "equipment" on and we were able to see her beautiful little face. I must admit - she looks just like Travis! Her poor little nostrils are so wide and stretched out because of the CPAP (you will notice this in one of pictures on the new slideshow). It looks painful and I am sure it probably really is, but they will go back down once she is off of the CPAP.

She is continuing to tolerate her increased feeds and tonight she weighed in at four pounds and one ounce. God is so good! I can't get over that she is already four pounds. Hopefully as she gets bigger and older her lungs will improve as well. Be sure to check out the two pictures below, as well as the new slideshow to the right. In the first picture below Morgan Kate was three weeks old and the second picture is from tonight. Wow! What a big difference!

We are thankful:
-that God has been so good!
-that Morgan Kate continues to grow so well.
-that Morgan Kate's oxygen needs have decreased some.
-that Morgan Kate continues to tolerate her feeds.
-that we have such wonderful family and friends.
-for all your thoughts, prayers and words of support and encouragement. 

Prayer Requests:
-Morgan Kate's growth
-Morgan Kate's oxygen needs
-Please pray that Morgan Kate's time on the CPAP will be short. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had a pretty good day! Her oxygen ranged anywhere from 27% - 34%, but mostly around 27%  - or at least while I was there. They have increased the pressure of the CPAP from +5 to +6 and it seems to be working. I pray that this continues and that Morgan Kate is off of the CPAP in no time. She absolutely hates the CPAP! She puts up quite a fight! Last night she was giving the CPAP a fit and even pulled it off of her face several times. They decided to take her off of the CPAP and try the nasal cannula again. She did okay for about an hour and then they had to go back to the CPAP because she was breathing entirely too fast and working too hard. I am happy that they tried, but a little sad that it didn't work. However, I know that with age her lungs will mature more and eventually she will go back to the cannula.

She is tolerating her increased feeds very well. They are continuing to pay off as she weighed in tonight at three pounds and fifteen ounces. Yep! One ounce shy of four pounds. I still can't believe that the tiny little girl that once weighed 1 pound and 12 ounces is almost four pounds!!! Now I know that I mentioned earlier than once she hit four pounds she could wear clothes and sleep in a crib rather than the incubator. However, as long as she is on the CPAP she will stay in the incubator and clothes are probably out as well. I think it depends on how easy they are to get on and off. 

Please continue to pray for her growth and continue to pray that her lungs will mature. 

*Tomorrow I will try to post some new pictures! I'll show you what a four pounder looks like. Ha!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Updates for 10.15.08

1. Morgan Kate's feeds increased today. They will increase by 1 cc every eight hours until she reaches 32 ccs. Basically that means that by tomorrow she will be up to 32 ccs every three hours for thirty minutes - a little over an ounce!

2. The feeds are paying off because she weighed in tonight at three pounds and 13 ounces. We are so close to four pounds!! Thank you all for praying for Morgan Kate's growth - please continue to do so.

3. Morgan Kate hung around 34% on her oxygen today. At one time she increased to 38% and while I was holding her she got down to 31%. It made me feel great! However, when we left tonight she was back up to 43%. I certainly don't understand what is going on with her oxygen, but I pray that it gets better. It breaks my heart to see her with the CPAP. It covers her entire face and it makes her little nose bleed. I want her oxygen to improve so bad! I am trying to be patient because I know that in reality she is not even supposed to be here, much less breathing, but it's just so hard.

Prayer Requests:
-Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's growth.
-Please pray that Morgan Kate's lungs will continue to mature and breathing will become easier.
-Please pray for Morgan Kate's mommy to have PATIENCE. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blessings for 10.14

1. Morgan Kate is continuing to grow and weighed in tonight at three pounds and twelve ounces. She has gained two pounds since birth!

2. Her oxygen levels have been much better today. Last night she stayed at 29% and today she stayed at 30% all day!

3. Morgan Kate had her eye exam this morning. She screamed the entire time, but the results were great. The doctor said everything looked great and that he will be back for the next check-up in two weeks. 

4. My mom is beginning to feel some better and is trying to walk around the house as much as possible. I know it won't be long before she is back up here visiting Morgan Kate!

5. I am so glad to see that our "Commenters" are back! I was beginning to get a little worried over the weekend - everyone must have been out of town for Columbus Day. Ha! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 50 for Morgan Kate

Today is Morgan Kate's 50th day in the NICU. It's hard to believe it's been that long. 

Morgan Kate had a pretty good day today. Her oxygen was around 32% for most of the day. Her lung x-ray showed that she still needed help from the CPAP to inflate her lungs. Therefore, Dr. C increased the flow from +4 to +5 - remember we had decreased the flow over the weekend. He said her lungs didn't look worse, but just needed some extra pressure from the CPAP. They will do another x-ray in three to four days.

I got to hold her tonight for the first time in over a week. It was awesome!!! It was an incredible feeling and while I was holding her she got down to 27% oxygen. Trav and I were both thrilled. I told Dr. C that if needed I could just sit there and hold her until her lungs were mature. Ha, ha!

She is continuing to grow like a weed and weighed in tonight at three pounds and eleven ounces. I am so excited about her growth and pray that she continues to do well. 

She has her 2 week follow-up eye exam tomorrow at 9:30. Please say a little prayer for her at that time. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy 7 Weeks, Morgan Kate!

Okay, so I know I said I didn't have the heart to post a picture of Morgan Kate with the CPAP, but I changed my mind. At first I felt that is was cruel and not needed, but it seems to be helping her. I have prayed and prayed for her lungs to mature and asked God to heal them. Maybe, just maybe, this was God's way of healing her lungs. She still absolutely hates it, but it does seem to be working some. Her breathing is much slower (it was extremely fast) and her oxygen is down to 38%. She has another chest x-ray in the morning to take her a look at her lungs. Please pray that the CPAP has worked and that her lungs look better.

Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feeds and is still growing, growing, growing. Tonight her weight stayed the same - 3.9 pounds. Travis and I are both thrilled with that and feel like it's an accurate weight. Last night she was quite fussy and we were trying to get everything completed in record time. Therefore, she may have actually been 3.8 last night and 3.9 tonight. She could reach 4 pounds by next weekend!!

My mom is doing well. It is killing her that she missed a weekend with Morgan Kate. We definitely missed her tons, but we want her to be home and to recover quickly. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blessings for 10.11.08

1. Morgan Kate is continuing to grow and weighed in tonight at three pounds and nine ounces! I cannot believe that she is already three and a half pounds. She is really filling out. She now has a tiny bit of "baby fat" and I LOVE it. It is absolutely adorable and I just want to kiss all over it. 

2. Morgan Kate is continuing to tolerate her feeds. She is still at 29ccs, but I am sure that with the weight gain those numbers will increase. Some of you may be wondering why tolerating her feeds is such a big deal. Many preemies have a very difficult time eating and digesting their food. We have been very blessed not to have encountered these problems. She must take after her momma!

3. Morgan Kate is still receiving about 45% oxygen on the bubble CPAP, but her flow/pressure of oxygen has been reduced from +5 to +4. The RT said that once she can get down to +3 they may take her off of the CPAP and put her back on the nasal cannula. Morgan Kate (and Travis and I) will be so ecstatic when that does happen. Morgan Kate HATES the CPAP and I am not exaggerating. This morning she was highly aggravated and the nurse was looking and searching for anything to calm her down. Thank you, Mrs. Phala and Mr. Lyn, for the little lamb that plays "Jesus Loves Me". Morgan Kate's nurse wound up the little lamb and left it in her bed. She fell fast asleep listening to the soft music. 

4. My mom was discharged this morning and is now at home with Nurse Dad. Ha, ha! I talked with her earlier and she was feeling some better. Of course she has done too much today - I am sure none of you can imagine my mom doing too much - and tonight she was hurting a good bit. Hopefully she will be able to get some rest and have a better day tomorrow.

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray that Morgan Kate's lungs will mature and breathing will become easier.
-Please continue to pray for her growth.
-Please pray for Morgan Kate's follow-up eye exam which will be sometime this week.
-Please pray for my mom's speedy recovery.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today was a rough day for Morgan Kate. At 6:00 AM this morning Dr. E decided that Morgan Kate needed a little break from working so hard and put her back on the bubble CPAP. She was having to do to much work to breathe and her oxygen needs were continuing to increase. She has not been on the bubble CPAP since the day she was born and even then she was only on it for a few hours. There are pictures of her with the CPAP on that day in one of the slide shows to the right. In some ways this is a step backward so it's been a most difficult day. 

The bubble CPAP is much larger than the nasal cannula and it delivers a certain amount of pressure to her lungs. The pressure opens the air sacs in her lungs that she is not able to open on her own, therefore, making breathing easier. The nasal cannula also provided some pressure, but not as much or as controlled as the CPAP. The CPAP is a very scary looking contraption and Morgan Kate does NOT like it. It covers most of her face and she has to wear a hat. You can only see her eyes and part of her mouth. I did not take pictures because it broke my heart to see her that way. Once the RT's hooked up the CPAP it took almost three hours to get her settled down. Fortunately, she had a terrific nurse who knew what needed to be done. Morgan Kate had to be "constrained" in a swaddle because she would not leave the CPAP alone and she was very aggravated. She has been so alert and so active this week and that made it even more difficult to see her constrained. 

Even with the CPAP her oxygen needs were around 50% for most of the day. The doctor told us that it may take several days for the CPAP to really start working. Once it starts to do its work and her oxygen needs decrease they will take her off of the CPAP and she will probably move back to the nasal cannula. I pray that this happens very soon! When we left around 9:30 tonight she was down to 44% oxygen. Please pray that the CPAP will give Morgan Kate some relief and help her breathe easier.

My mom is doing a little better. They FINALLY found a pain medication that actually helped with the pain. It only took two days! If she has a good night then they may let her go home tomorrow. Please continue to pray for her recovery. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kyle called this morning to check on mom and Morgan Kate. While we were talking he said, "Well you sure are spending a lot of time at hospitals. Do you think they could get you some scrubs and a nurses' badge to wear?" Ha, ha!

I got to talk to the Dr. E, one of the neonatologists, this morning for quite some time about Morgan Kate's lungs. It's been weighing very heavy on my mind and I just wanted some additional information and a plan for what is next. Dr. E did an excellent job of explaining things in my kind of terminology. In a nutshell Morgan Kate's lungs are like a small bunch of balloons (air sacs). Some balloons are easy to inflate and some aren't so easy. Therefore, Morgan Kate is only using a small percentage of her lungs. Also, because she is a preemie her lungs have some scarring and inflammation. As she grows and gets older the percentage of her lungs that is scarred will become smaller and smaller. She will also be able to inflate those difficult balloons (air sacs) that will not inflate now. We should be patient and let her grow. I wish it was as easy as it sounds! They are also giving her some medication to help with the inflammation and fluid in her lungs. She was up a little on her oxygen today and stayed around 44%. Hopefully they will be able to get her down some tonight. Since she has been under the hood we have not been able to hold her. In order to hold her we would have to put the cannula back in and I just don't want to put her under any stress. Of course my heart breaks not holding her, but I don't want to do anything to jeopardize her progress. We may try using a mask tomorrow. One of the RT's said we could attach a small mask to the end of the oxygen hose and hold it up to her face while we are holding her. I don't think we would be able to kangaroo or hold her for very long, but anything is better than nothing at all. We'll see I guess, like I said, I don't want to do anything that stresses her out.

On a good note, she is continuing to tolerate her feeds and weighed in at three pounds and six ounces. That is what we like to see  - growing, growing, growing!

My mom is also doing some better. She was able to shower today and walk twice. She is still in A LOT of pain, but I know or I pray each day will get easier and easier. Yesterday as soon as she woke up she asked about Morgan Kate. I told Owens that we had been knocked down a few notches on mom's list and Morgan Kate was now #1. 

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray that Morgan Kate's lung will continue to mature and breathing will become easier for her.
-Please pray that my mom will get some relief soon and have a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today was a long day, but a good one. Owens and I spent the day "hospital hopping". We began the day at Palmetto Richland with mom, moved over to Baptist with Morgan Kate, back to mom, back to Morgan Kate, one final time to mom and ended the day with Morgan Kate. Travis and Trenholm caught up with us on the last round of visits. Travis and I have now spent a total of 51 days at the hospital - we can tell you which elevators to use, the best foods to eat, and we can even help with some medical needs. Ha!

Morgan Kate is doing well! When Travis and I left tonight she was down to 32% on her oxygen. Today she ranged anywhere from 31% - 42%. We were thrilled to see 32% when we left tonight. Please pray that she will continue to need less oxygen. She is also continuing to tolerate her feeds and weighed in tonight at three pounds and five ounces. Yes, you read correctly - 3.5!! The nurse weighed her several times just to be sure. 

My mom's surgery also went well. The surgery was supposed to start at 9am and they didn't end up taking her back until almost eleven. Once back, the surgery took two hours. The doctor removed an ovary and fallopian tube (the other ovary and tube had already been removed). The doctor also removed a large nodule of some sort from her left side. The nodule was very inflamed and irritated which was causing lots of pain. They sent the nodule down to pathology. The final report was not back this afternoon, but they were almost 100% certain it was NOT cancerous. As she was leaving the operating room they gave her some pain medication. She had a reaction to the medication and actually stopped breathing for a while. They were able to give her another medication to counteract the pain meds. Fortunately, this helped with her breathing. Unfortunately, it knocked out all pain and anesthesia. Therefore, she was awake long before she would have been and she was in very intense pain. They tried several different pain meds this afternoon and most of them caused her blood pressure to drop. As of 10pm tonight I think they had finally found one to work and she was starting to get some relief and trying to rest. 

God has been so good to our family! We are so very thankful! Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's lungs to mature and for my mom's speedy recovery. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had a better day! She is still under the "cookie jar", but seems to like it more than the nasal cannula. The nasal cannula stuck directly in her nose and the air flow went straight in. It really irritated her nose and dried things out. Her oxygen was up and down all day and ranged anywhere from 29% - 44%. When Travis and I left tonight she was on 31%. It's a relief to see her coming down some, but ultimately we would like for her oxygen to be in the 20's.

She was very alert today. At one time today Morgan Kate was awake for almost 45 minutes. She was busy looking around, holding my finger and wiggling her arms and legs. It was adorable! Her eyes are beautiful and she had then wide open. I could have watched her for hours. However, as soon as her next feed started she was out again.

Morgan Kate weighed in tonight at three pounds and three ounces. Our little girl is growing, growing, growing and we couldn't be happier. Once she reaches four pounds she will be able to wear clothes. I already have some precious preemie onesies that I can't wait to put on her.  

Tomorrow is Kaky's surgery and we are all pretty anxious. We are ready for it to be over and for Kaky to be well on her way to recovery. Tonight Morgan Kate and I prayed that Kaky's surgery would go well, that the doctors and nurses would have the knowledge they need and that Kaky would be brave and strong. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Short post tonight as Travis and I are both dying from sinus infections (or at least that is what we are praying it is) and we are heading to bed very soon.

Morgan Kate is still under the oxygen hood. Last night her oxygen was anywhere from 28%-35%, which was great and a good improvement. Today her needs have increased some and late this afternoon she was up to 40%. It's not exactly what we like to see, but we know that she is tiny and young and that her lungs just need time to mature. While she is under the oxygen hood we cannot hold her, which is killing both of us. 

Prepare yourself - at first sight the "cookie jar" looks very uncomfortable. However, it's not as bad as it looks and Morgan Kate is actually very content. The first picture is of Morgan Kate on her back. While she is on her back the nurses use tiny pink bean bags to keep her head in the correct position. The second picture is of Morgan Kate on her tummy. I told you it looked like a cookie jar, didn't I?

She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and is up to 29ccs -just one cc short of an ounce. She weighed in tonight at three pounds and two ounces. Wow!

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray for Morgan Kate's lungs to mature and her oxygen needs to go down.
-Please pray for her growth.
-Please pray for Kaky's surgery which is this Wednesday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy 6th week, Morgan Kate!

Today was yet an another eventful day for Morgan Kate. Even after the lasix and blood transfusion Morgan Kate's oxygen needs were still not decreasing. They weren't increasing which was great, but the oxygen levels were not where the doctors wanted them. Therefore, Dr. C decided to try something different - an oxygen hood.

When most preemies are born they immediately require the ventilator. The ventilator is a machine that breathes for babies. Morgan Kate was an exception and did not require the vent. God surely did bless us! She was able to breathe on her own, but needed a little assistance in keeping her lungs open. Therefore, the doctors put Morgan Kate on the CPAP (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and can be seen in Morgan Kate's earliest photos). When they believed she was ready for even less assistance they put her on the nasal cannula which you may have seen in almost all of her pictures. It's the small clear tube that runs into her nose. I know there is a difference between the CPAP and the cannula, but I don't know the exact information and I don't want to misinform anyone. The nasal cannula sends a constant air flow directly into her nose. This causes her nose to dry out and become irritated. It causes a lot of congestion and just yucky stuff in her nose (aka-lots of boogers). This yucky stuff interferes with her breathing, therefore, requiring more oxygen. Earlier today when the respiratory therapist came to suction her there was lots of yucky stuff in her nose. Due to this Dr. C wanted to try something different - the oxygen hood. The best way to describe the oxygen hood is a cookie jar without a bottom and an opening for her little neck. Under the hood she doesn't have to have the cannula which provides some great relief for her nose. The hood also provides humidity which will help with all the yucky stuff in her nose. It looked quite scary at first and I thought I might have a bit of a break down, but after I saw how content she was I was relieved some. They are going to try the hood for a little while to see if it helps, if not then they might go back to the CPAP. Dr. C said that she is still really tiny and young and that her lungs just need time to mature. Please pray that Morgan Kate's lung continue to mature.

Morgan Kate slept much of the day. She seemed very content under the oxygen hood. Tonight she had wonderful nurses who were so gentle and kind with her. Sunday nights are bath night in the NICU and I was a little worried about how that would all work out with the oxygen hood. The nurses took their time and it worked out perfectly. She only fussed a little bit. Travis and I got to see her for the first time without anything on her face. Our baby has been here for six weeks now and we have never seen her face without tubes or bandages. We already knew she was beautiful, but tonight we got to see that she is absolutely gorgeous. I got to hold her for a few minutes with nothing attached to her and it was amazing! 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Today was another busy day for Morgan Kate and an overwhelming one for Mommy.

The day began with another chest x-ray. Morgan Kate is still taking the lasix for the fluid on her lungs and they wanted to see if it was doing the trick. The technician reported that the lungs looked normal. 

Dr. Y ordered some blood work this morning to check Morgan Kate's hematocrit level (the amount of blood that is made up of red blood cells). Dr. Y was concerned about her increasing oxygen and the fact that she looked a little pale. The doctors check her hematocrit level every Monday to make sure she is not anemic. Anemia is very common in premature babies and is even termed "anemia of prematurity". Anemia can be the cause of several problems, increasing oxygen being one of them. Red blood cells move through your body delivering oxygen - if there aren't enough red blood cells then there most likely is not enough oxygen being moved through the body. They like for the hematocrit level to be 30 or above. This past Monday the level was 31 and today that same number had dropped to 22, therefore, indicating the need for a blood transfusion. In order to give her the blood they had to insert an IV in her arm - her veins were large enough this time to do a basic IV. I was glad they didn't have to do a line in her arm or in her leg like before, but the IV in her wrist looked very uncomfortable and she absolutely hates it. They started the transfusion around 3 pm and were finished around 5:30 pm. She tolerated the transfusion well, but was very fussy. She likes to move her arms around a lot and pull them up near her face for comfort. However, with the IV and huge board that her wrist is taped to she was not able to do this. About five minutes after the transfusion was done it was time for the RT to come in and suction Morgan Kate. The RT's are wonderful and very gentle with Morgan Kate, but she still hates it. She just cries and wiggles around. Needless to say she was miserable and I was a wreck.

Kaky was here this weekend to spend time with Morgan Kate. It may be a few weekends before she gets back because of her own surgery. :( It was a very emotional day knowing that Morgan Kate was having a hard time and knowing that Kaky has to have surgery on Wednesday. However, we were all together and that made it better. Kaky and I left the hospital around 7 pm to have dinner and get her on the road to Orangeburg. When we left the hospital Morgan Kate was still trying to get comfortable and her oxygen was still around 44%. I was really discouraged because I thought the blood transfusion should "fix" things immediately. I think I cried most of the way home.

Trav and I ate a very quick dinner and headed back up to the hospital. Morgan Kate had a terrific nurse, her oxygen was down to 33% and she weighed in at three pounds and one ounce. That's right - our little girl is growing like a weed! We were both super excited and my heart felt so much better! It may have started off as a rough day, but it definitely ended on a good note. 

My devotion on Thursday morning ended by saying that God teaches big lessons through small things. It was very fitting because I know that God is using this little girl to teach me so many big things. 

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray that the blood transfusion will help with Morgan Kate's need for oxygen.
-Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's lungs.
-Please pray for Kaky to have a speedy recovery. I'm not sure what we are going to do without her for a few weeks! She will be missed badly!

*Be sure to check out new slideshow to the right.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Morgan Kate had a much better day! Everyone was so thankful, especially Mommy. There were no chest x-rays, no blood work, no echocardiograms, no eye exams and no baths - just lots of time for sleeping and kangarooing.

Morgan Kate stayed at about 35-40% oxygen all day. She typically does really well when she is on her stomach, but she even did well on her back today. The doctors are continuing to give her the lasix to help with the fluid on her lungs. Morgan Kate will have another chest x-ray in the morning. She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and gets really fussy right before the next feeding. Tonight she weighed in at 2 pounds and 15 ounces. She did not gain any weight, but she didn't lose any either. Way to go, Morgan Kate!

On a funny note...for the past few days Morgan Kate has been wearing pink-striped booties to keep her little toes warm. They are absolutely adorable! A little large, but way cute. Anyway, when I got to the hospital this morning she had one bootie on her foot and the other was on one of her hands. Apparently, she would not leave her feeding tube or nasal cannula (clear tube that delivers oxygen) alone. She kept trying to pull them out with her tiny little fingers. The nurse had decided that the bootie now needed to serve as a glove. Of course my camera battery was dead and I missed this photo opportunity, but it still brought a smile to my face.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Morgan Kate had quite a day! She was very busy today and when we left tonight she was sound asleep.

The day began like every other, with a visit from the doctor. Dr. E was listening to Morgan Kate's heart, lungs, and bowels. In the lungs she detected fluid and in her heart she detected a heart murmur. Of course, I assume the worst and want to just break down, but I somehow manage to keep it all together. With Morgan Kate's increasing oxygen needs Dr. E ordered blood work and an echocardiogram to take a closer look at the heart. When Morgan Kate was first born her heart ultrasound revealed that her patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) was open. They gave her medication (ibuprofen) to help close the PDA and her second ultrasound revealed only a trace of an opening. They discontinued the medication and said that the PDA would completely close on its on when Morgan Kate got older. Today Dr. E was concerned that the PDA had re-opened. The official report has not come back as of 9:30pm, but as of this afternoon Dr. E had spoken with the tech. The tech said that there was a slight opening in the PDA and this was classified as trivial. They do not do anything for trivial openings. However, Dr. E has decided to continue giving Morgan Kate lasix for the fluid on her lungs for the next several days. Not only will the lasix help with the fluid, but with the opening in the PDA as well. All of the blood work came back fine. God is good!

In the midst of all of this I found out that Morgan Kate's eye exam was scheduled for today at 1:00. I had heard awful things about the eye exam and had decided that when the opthamologist showed up I would step right outside the door and wait patiently. However, with everything else going on I decided that I needed to be with her and that I had to be strong for her. Wow! What a mistake! This procedure isn't supposed to be painful or that's what the opthamologist said. However, you wouldn't have known that listening to Morgan Kate cry. It was absolutely awful and broke my heart even further. I held everything in while the doctor was there and the minute he left I called Travis and just lost it on the phone. Of course I am hysterical and Travis thinks something is terribly wrong. I manage to get it together and explain that she is fine, it's me that's having a hard time. The entire procedure lasted only five minutes. The opthamologist said that as of right now her eyes look good and he will check her again in two weeks. Her retina and the blood vessels surrounding the retina are still very immature, but there is no sign of scarring or of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Her eyes will mature rapidly at 36 weeks and they will officially know more at that time. 

After blood work, an echocardiogram, and an awful eye exam, it was also bath night. Typically baths are nice and relaxing, but when you are only 2 pounds and several ounces baths can be quite stressful and a lot of work. Morgan Kate did pretty well, she did fuss a little. However, the minute she was finished and got situated she fell fast asleep. 

I am thankful for...
-I am thankful that God has been so good!
-I am thankful for great results on the echocardiogram and the blood work.
-I am thankful that the eye exam is over for this week and that the results were positive.
-I am thankful that my baby girl is such a fighter!
-I am thankful that she is continuing to grow and weighed in at 2 pounds and 15 ounces tonight!!
-I am thankful for wonderful family and friends.

Prayer Requests:
-Morgan Kate's lungs will heal
-the PDA will close
-Morgan Kate's eyes will continue to mature and develop in a positive way
-continued growth
-Kaky's surgery - October 8th