Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy 14 weeks, Morgan Kate! 
Earlier today Travis and I decorated the house for Christmas. We didn't put out as much stuff as usual, but we did decorate the tree and the mantle. We still need to hang the wreaths and lights outside, but the inside is finished. We wanted to go ahead and get things done so that when Morgan Kate finally does get home it will all be ready! Our tree is artificial and so is the garland on the mantle - no fear of the smell bothering Morgan Kate. It's all very safe!

We spent the afternoon and the evening with Morgan Kate. She was asleep for most of the time, but awake some too. She had a great afternoon and evening, which means we did as well. Sunday nights are bath night so we got to really help out. We love being around for bath time. She did a great job and seemed so relaxed. Once bath time was over we dressed her and swaddled her and she was out like a light. She weighed in tonight at 6 pounds 11.8 ounces. Six pounds and twelve ounces is right around the corner meaning she's gained five pounds since birth. Wow!

Be sure to check out the new pictures in the slideshow to the right. I added new pictures to the old slideshow.

The above pictures are the instruments used to measure the amount of oxygen Morgan Kate is receiving. Both instruments are used with the low flow cannula. The first instrument is used if the patient requires 1/8th of a liter or more of oxygen. As you can see it ranges from 1/8th of a liter to three liters. When Morgan Kate was first on the low flow she was at 1/4th of a liter and then reduced to 1/8th. The second instrument is used if the patient requires less than 1/8th of a liter and if so, then it's measured in ccs. It measure oxygen from 200ccs - 25ccs. Morgan Kate is now using the second instrument and she varies anywhere from 25ccs - 75ccs. As you can see 25ccs is the very last mark. Yahoo! From what I have been told they like for patients to be on 25-50ccs before sending them home. This ensures a lot of room to move around in case a patient were to need more oxygen. I just wanted all of you to see these contraptions. Travis and I are both so excited that she is on the low flow and that she is around the 25 mark. It's absolutely amazing!

Today marks Morgan Kate's 98th day in the NICU and our 104th day at Palmetto Baptist. Who knew we would be here so long? Travis and I were talking earlier today about how long it has been and just how we have done it for so long. We are very fortunate to have the support of one another, as well as awesome family and friends. However, I know I have relied a lot on prayer. I find myself praying all of the time. I pray on my way to the hospital, while I am at the hospital, in the morning, in the middle of the afternoon, before bed, at 3:00am when I wake up wondering how Morgan Kate is doing. I pray all of the time. Before Morgan Kate was born I prayed, but it was nothing compared to now. I also find that my prayers are more like conversations with God. I have really learned to talk to him and rely on him. He has been and continues to be an awesome God and my prayers have definitely been answered. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Travis and I finally got to spend time with our darling little girl while she was AWAKE! She was so alert, looking all around and making all sorts of noises. She was so awake that Travis was able to feed her a bottle at three. She did an awesome job with the bottle and took all 60ccs in less than thirty minutes. Yahoo!

We got to spend a lot of time with her today, while she was awake and asleep. She is the most precious thing I have ever set my eyes on and it breaks my heart more and more everyday to leave her. I don't want to take her home before she is ready, but I certainly long for the day that she is ready to come home. 

Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 25-50ccs today. Tonight when we left she was at 25. While I was holding her today her cannula came out and I didn't notice it right away. When I finally did notice it (it may have only been out for a few seconds or a few minutes) I also noticed that her numbers were still good and she was holding her on. Way to go, Morgan Kate!

Tonight she weighed in at six pounds and eleven ounces. Her weight stayed the same and for that I am glad. It makes me feel a little bit better. Maybe the weight gain last night wasn't fluid after all and she is just growing, growing, growing. By the way, I have been meaning to post Morgan Kate's new news for several nights now and I keep forgetting. News Alert #1: Morgan Kate is now wearing newborn diapers. No more wee-pees or preemie smalls, she has made the big step. She's been wearing these diapers for about a week now. News Alert #2: Yesterday she started wearing newborn clothes. I noticed over Thanksgiving that her pants and onesies were getting a little too short, she just didn't seem to have any room to move. We tried the newborn clothes and they fit perfectly! Now she has lots of new clothes to wear. I'll be sure to post some new pics tomorrow night.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I spent the afternoon and the evening with Morgan Kate. She slept the ENTIRE time. Apparently, she was awake this morning and decided she needed some rest. I got in some good quality time even though she was sleeping. It was so nice just to hold her and rock her and talk to her (even though I am sure she wasn't listening). My plan for tomorrow is to get there early so that I can see her awake and interact with her. We will see how that works out. Ha!

Her oxygen was fantastic today! She was between 25-35ccs for most of the day. It was awesome. At time she still breathes fast, but as long as her oxygen saturation numbers are okay it's fine. Her feeds have been increased to 60ccs - two ounces. She weighed in tonight at six pounds and eleven ounces! I am a little worried about her weight gain. I am praying that it's not fluid. She is still on the diuretic and her diapers have been good, so hopefully it's just my girl growin'.

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but November 27th was my very first due date. When I went for my 7 week appointment back in April they calculated my due date to be November 27th, a turkey baby. When I went back for my 12 week appointment the computer predicted December 3rd based on Morgan Kate's size. I guess they were both wrong and she had plans of her own. It's hard to believe that her due date is here and she is already almost fourteen weeks old. Crazy! According to the November 27th due date she was ninety-five days early. Wow! Truly a miracle!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Last night Trav and I stayed at the hospital with Miss Morgan Kate. I have learned that our daughter is a "growler". She growled and moaned and groaned all night long. It was too funny! Needless to say, Mommy was not able to sleep too well. Daddy didn't seem to have any problems, but Mommy did! However, it was so nice to stay with her and wake up to her precious face on Thanksgiving morning. 

Morgan Kate's oxygen was around 50ccs for most of the day. Several times she was bumped up to 75ccs, but when my mom and I left tonight she was back to 50ccs. She did not take a bottle today while we were there. She was breathing rather fast and I didn't want to stress her out. They may try to bottle feed her later tonight. She also weighed in at six pounds and eight ounces. Big girl!

Today was such a great day with our family. Travis and I both love having family over. Typically we celebrate Thanksgiving in Orangeburg, but because of the circumstances we celebrated here. Our house doesn't have near the room that my parents' house has, but it worked and we all had such a nice time - not to mention that the food was out of this world. This time together made my "un-normal" life feel a little more normal. Although I had a terrific time, I missed Morgan Kate terribly. I thought of her all day and how I wanted her to be with us. It's so hard to be away from her. I want her home so badly. 

I am so thankful for each and every person that reads this blog. I am also thankful for every prayer. God has blessed my life in so many ways and I am so very fortunate. Thank you all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tonight I am posting from Palmetto Baptist - our home away from home. Travis and I decided to spend the night and wake up with our baby girl on her very first Thanksgiving. Kaky, Gator and Mama Jean are back at our house spending the night. Tomorrow morning we will head back to our house for breakfast and then an early Thanksgiving dinner with more family. We are super excited to spend the day with family!

Morgan Kate had a pretty quiet day and slept a lot. Travis and I spent the afternoon with her and she slept the entire time. They are only attempting one bottle feed a day right now. We attempted a bottle tonight at 12 because she was semi-awake. However, she was not interested at all and basically wouldn't take it. Her oxygen has been at 40ccs for most of the day - which is great. Tonight she weighed in at six pounds and six ounces. Almost six and a half pounds! Wow!

Travis and I met with a pediatrician earlier today. She was fabulous! We have several meetings set up with various doctors, but are most certain we will go with the doctor we met today. She was very kind and patient and really wants to get to know her patients. She answered all of our questions and gave us great information. Needless to say, we were very pleased.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is already here. Sometimes I feel like it's still August. I seem to be trapped in that month, almost like my life is stuck there. When I am writing the date on checks I still start with 08. I also can't believe that our 26 weeker, 1 pounder and 12 ounces is now three months old and almost six and a half pounds. We have so much to be thankful for this year. We have been incredibly blessed!

We are thankful for:
-A loving and generous God
-A beautiful baby girl who has stolen our hearts. She is the light of our life and we are so fortunate to have her. God has been so good!
-Incredible family and friends who have supported and encouraged us every minute of this journey.
-Terrific nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists who have loved our little girl and taken the absolute best care of her.
-We are also thankful for prayer and for all of those people out there who have prayed for Morgan Kate. Your prayers have done wonders! Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Morgan Kate's day began with an eye exam. Great news is the exam went well and her eyes look great. Not so good news was that the exam stressed her out some and she required a little extra oxygen. (It might have also been the attempted bottle feed shortly after the exam.) She was still on the cc flow meter, but was requiring about 100ccs. However, throughout the day her numbers have come down and this evening while I was there she was down to 40ccs. Incredible! 

I tried giving Morgan Kate a bottle around 12pm today. She was not the least bit interested in the bottle. She only took 5 of the 55ccs and ended up getting the rest of the feed through the tube. I have found that Morgan Kate has to be completely awake (which makes finding a time very difficult), she has to be really interested and the room has to be super quiet. When all of those things are in place she usually does a good job. I tried giving her another bottle tonight at 9pm and she did some better. She was still rather sleepy, but took 30 of the 55ccs. Dr. Y says that we are not going to stress about the bottles. Morgan Kate CAN go home on the low flow oxygen and tube feedings, but she can't go home on high flow oxygen and all bottles. We've got to decide what is more important and we all agree her lungs are!

Tonight was bath night and she seemed to really like it. We put her in the little tub and she did a great job. We also weighed her and she weighed in at six pounds and five ounces. She didn't gain any, but she didn't lose any either. 

Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's growth and that her lungs will continue to mature and heal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today is Morgan Kate's 3 month birthday. Happy 3 months, Baby Girl!

Today Morgan Kate had a really good day. She slept for a long time, but was also awake and alert at times. I love it when she is asleep and awake. While she is sleeping I just sit and look at her. I watch every little movement or facial expression she makes. I am just in awe of her! When she is awake I love to talk to her and attempt to sing to her. She makes the sweetest noises and faces.

Today was Morgan Kate's 4th full day on the low flow cannula and she is continuing to do well. I feel like I am holding my breath everyday, hoping that she continues to tolerate it. Then I have to remind myself that this will happen in God's time and I have no control over the situation. It's just so hard to let go sometimes! She was around 50ccs of oxygen for most of the day. She did have to be turned up some for feedings and occasionally while she was sleeping, but other than that it was 50. Yahoo!

Morgan Kate's feeds have been increased to 55ccs. She is just 5ccs short of two ounces. They are increasing her feeds because they decreased the calories. She is also getting a bottle every eight hours - so three a day. This is just a slight increase. Tonight she weighed in at six pounds and five ounces

Several weeks ago I mentioned my friend Donna. She was expecting a baby mid-December and she was on bed rest. Well, she delivered a healthy, happy baby boy today! He was three weeks early, but is doing great! Christian Spivey weighed in at six pounds and ten ounces. Congrats to Donna and her husband, Shaun! Morgan Kate and I can't wait to meet him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy 13 Weeks, Morgan Kate!

Wow! It's still hard to believe that 13 weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She has come so far and continues to amaze us each and every day.

Morgan Kate was between 50-75ccs of oxygen for most of the day. She stayed mostly in the 50's, except during feedings. She took a bottle at 6pm and did a fabulous job. She is now up to 50ccs of food. Wow - almost two ounces! They have decreased the amount of calories she is getting per feeding, but have increased the volume. She was getting 27 calories, but because of her awesome growth they have decreased her to 24 calories. 

As you can see from above, we were able to help with Morgan Kate's bath. Some nights we just give her a sponge bath and other nights we actually put her in a little tub. When we first put her in the tub she isn't very happy, but after just a few seconds she seems very relaxed and at ease - almost as if she likes it. She did a great job tonight!

We are so thankful that Morgan Kate is doing so well! We pray that this continues.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Imagine having a baby and not hearing the word "home" for ninety days. Yes, today, on the 90th day of Morgan Kate's stay, we heard the word "home" for the first time since her birth. It wasn't a definite or even a set date, it was just the mention of the word, but it sure did help give hope to parents who are so ready for their baby to come home.

Morgan Kate is continuing to do well on the low flow cannula. She has done so well that she is down to 50ccs. Wow! Dr. Y said that as long as she can continue to do well on the low flow then we can talk about going home. I asked Dr. Y if it would be possible to bring home at least one neonatologist and a few nurses with us. Ha ha! At this time Morgan Kate would come home on oxygen, as well as tube feedings. Dr. Y said that we would be trained on her oxygen and tube feeds, as well as have CPR training and several other things. I know these all sound a bit scary, but I know they are things that Travis and I could both do if it meant bringing Morgan Kate home. Now, with all that being said, we are trying not to get our hopes up. We both know all too well that things don't often go as planned. We are also not trying to rush things. We know Morgan Kate is getting the absolute best care and we want her to be her absolute best before we bring her home. We are just thrilled that we finally heard the word and that it is a real possibility. 

Morgan Kate took two bottles today. She took one at 12pm and then another at 6pm. She did great with her 12pm bottle and did okay with her 6pm. She is getting extra calories in a her formula, as well as iron. The combination of these two things is causing her to have A LOT of gas. Her little tummy has been bothering her for a few days now. Hopefully, with her great weight gain she will be able to come off of some of the extra calories and this will help with the gas and the gas pains. Tonight she weighed in at six pounds and four ounces. Wow!

God is awesome and is truly doing amazing things in Morgan Kate's life. We are so thankful and in awe at the work he does each and every day. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lesson on oxygen:
Morgan Kate started life on the CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure. She stayed on the CPAP for just a day and then required nothing at all. The CPAP delivered a blend of oxygen and medical air, as well as pressure to keep the lungs open. The CPAP was measured by pressure - +4, +5, etc. Since the first day, she has been back on the CPAP twice. (Remember, I used to say Morgan Kate is on 40% oxygen at +5.)

High Flow Cannula
After a day of nothing at all, Morgan Kate needed a little assistance so she was put on the high flow cannula. It puts a small amount of pressure on the lungs as well. The high flow is also a blend of oxygen and medical air and is measured in liters. She started at seven liters and most recently was on four liters. At one time she got down to two liters, but then needed more. (Remember, I would say Morgan Kate is at 36% oxygen.)

Low Flow Cannula
The low flow cannula or regular cannula is where we have dreamed to be. It's the cannula Morgan Kate can come home with. It is straight oxygen (no blend) and does not put any pressure on the lungs. It is measured in liters and ccs. They like for babies to be well under a liter before going home - most of the time they prefer babies to be around 25-50ccs. Today when I arrived Morgan Kate was on the low flow cannula. Oh my goodness! Shocker! Dr. C decided that they would give it a try. If she does/did great then they will/would leave her on it and start to wean her down. If she didn't/doesn't do well then they would or will put her back on the high flow cannula. She has done beautifully all day today! She is on a 1/8th of a liter - very small amount. The next step down is cc's. Her oxygen saturations have been great and she has only had a few drops. She has seemed much more relaxed and is breathing at a nice rate. It's just something they are trying. Sometimes the high flow of the other cannula can bother babies so much that they actually require more flow/oxygen. Anyway, this is something they are trying. If it works...YAHOO...if it doesn't work and we have to go back to high flow we are okay least we know this is possible. We are just so thankful that Dr. C was willing to try it out. 

Morgan Kate took one bottle today at 6pm. She was really sleepy and just not interested in the bottle. Sometimes I think we should wait until she is really, really hungry and maybe she would be more interested. Anyway, we tried for a while and then one of our awesome nurses came in and tried and was able to get Morgan Kate to take a little more. In the end she finished 30 of the 45 ccs. 

Tonight she weighed in at six pounds and three ounces. Big girl!

Also, can I just say that we have the best nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists around. I know I have said it before, but I truly mean it! Tonight these awesome people did such a nice thing. A NICU graduate and mom came by to see all of the staff today. This NICU graduate also required oxygen for a length of time and went home on oxygen. When the graduate came back today he was no longer on oxygen and everyone said he looked great. (Trav and I missed this because we were at the vet with Lola and Cash.) Dr. C asked the mom if he could pass her name and number on to me so that I could talk with a mom that had been through something similar. We could talk about the NICU, premature babies or the fact that our babies required oxygen for a length of time and needed it once being discharged. I am super excited about calling her and talking with her. Just being able to talk to someone who just experienced this at the same place will be great. I am just so, so thankful that our doctors and nurses thought of us and were sure to get this mom's information. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today was one of those roller coaster days in the NICU world. Thankfully it ended with a high point on the roller coaster.

Each morning as Travis is driving to work he calls to get a morning report on Morgan Kate. When he called this morning everything was fine, she was doing good and her oxygen was around 31%. A high point. 

Several hours later my mom and I arrived only to find that Morgan Kate's oxygen was up to 41%, she was breathing a little harder and faster and just didn't seem to be herself. She was really fussy and didn't want to be bothered. I tried picking her up and holding her, but she continued fussing and even had a heart rate drop. Of course my mom and I were very concerned. Dr. E came in to take a look at Morgan Kate and ordered blood work just to be sure there was no infection. A low point.

Around 5pm the blood work came back and everything looked great. Thank goodness! Around that same time Morgan Kate's breathing started to slow down and her oxygen needs started to decrease. When we left tonight at 9pm she was down to 30%. Wow! She also took a bottle at 6pm (first of the day because she was finally awake) and she did awesome! She took every bit of it and finished in about twenty five minutes. She even took another bottle at nine and did pretty good with that one too. She was pretty tired by this point so she only took about 30ccs, but she did a good job with what she did take. The roller coaster is on its way back up. A very high point.

By the way, our "little" one weighed in at SIX POUNDS AND ONE OUNCE. Oh my goodness! Can you believe that just 12 weeks ago she only weighed a pound and twelve ounces? God is truly working miracles!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer." Psalm 94:19

Morgan Kate says, "Happy Birthday, "Aunt" Kelly! I hope you had a great day!

Morgan Kate was quite a sleepy girl today, which is good because when she sleeps, she grows. I gave her her first bottle today at 12pm. I wish I could say she did great and took the entire thing. Unfortunately, she was entirely too sleepy and it took us forever. In the end she finished all except for about 10ccs. However, tonight for the 9pm feed she did awesome! She finished in about twenty-five minutes and took the entire thing. Way to go, Morgan Kate!

Her oxygen stayed between 33%-36% for most of the day. This is slightly higher than yesterday, but still lower than it has been lately. Tonight she was at 34% at had very few desats (oxygen desaturations causing an alarm to go off) which is great.

Morgan Kate weighed in at five pounds and fifteen ounces. We have a big girl on our hands! I know she will hit the 6 pound mark by this weekend. One of my good friends, Erin, who is a NICU nurse, gave me a great idea. She told me about using little hanging toys to mark Morgan Kate's weight. For instance, when she hit two pounds we hung a small toy from her isolette, when she hit three we added another and so forth. Erin's mom, Mrs. Donna, actually sent the very first hanging toy. Thanks ladies for the great idea and for the toy! We no longer hang them from the isolette since she has outgrown it, but we do hang them from the cabinets in her room. Some of you may have noticed them before and wondered why they were there. Well, they are in honor of each pound gained! Morgan Kate now has four toys hanging and I am hoping we will get to add another this weekend. It's funny though, when Erin first told me about this idea I never imagined we would still be in the NICU at six pounds. 

Be sure to check out the new pictures in the first slideshow to the right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When I walked in Morgan Kate's room today I was pleasantly surprised and shocked to see that her oxygen was at 28%. Wow! She was able to stay between 28% and 31% for most of the day. They only had to turn her up during diaper changes and when sticking her feeding tube back in after bottle feeds. I pray that this continues. I sure hope it's a sign that her lungs are improving.

Morgan Kate took a bottle at 9am and then again at 3pm - her two bottles for the day. She did well with both and only left about 5ccs at the 3pm feed. I have found that she seems to do better when she is wide awake, and I mean wide awake, and she also seems to like the formula better than breast milk. FYI - Breast milk has approximately 20 calories and Morgan Kate needs more calories in order to help her grow. Therefore, they add a human fortifier, as well as an oil to the milk to increase the calories to 27. I don't think Morgan Kate is a big fan of the fortifier or the oil. Now, I could be completely wrong about this -  it's simply an observation I have made in the past few days.  

Tonight Morgan Kate weighed in at five pounds and fourteen ounces. Since last night she has gained two ounces. Now, typically I would assume that she must have some fluid. However, right before she was weighed she had a really, really wet diaper. So, my hope is that her weight is accurate and not because of fluid. Again, I am just a mom making guesses based on my observations. 

She will have a head ultrasound sometime tonight. When we left at 10pm they still had not come by. We should have the results in the morning.

Many of you have asked whether or not Morgan Kate needed to see a pediatric pulmonologist (aka children's lung doctor). She has been scheduled to receive a consult sometime this week. The pulmonologist will take a look at her charts, records, x-rays and so forth. From all of that information he will make a recommendation on a course of treatment which will most likely be some sort of inhaled steroid. We are very fortunate to have wonderful neonatologists who have been excellently trained and who have tried numerous medications and treatments with Morgan Kate. They have treated Morgan Kate with many of the same things a pulmonologist would recommend. Therefore, we are not expecting any earth shattering news or miracle drugs. We must all remember that Morgan Kate has chronic lung disease and her healing time will most likely take a good bit of time. It will be a good opportunity for the pulmonologist to see her, get to know her history, and possibly recommend some type of inhaled steroid. This is the same pulmonologist she will see once she is released from the NICU

We were able to talk at length tonight with Dr. Ed. She was wonderful, very patient and really helped put my mind at ease. It is not uncommon to see babies at this age (38 weeks gestation) still requiring this amount of oxygen. Would we like to see her requiring less? Of course. Would we like for her to be off of oxygen completely? Yes. However, Morgan Kate has chronic lung disease and this is not something she will outgrow overnight. She still needs oxygen and WILL need oxygen once she gets home. She may only need it for a few weeks or a few months. Right now the plan is to keep Morgan Kate at two bottle feeds a day. Bottle feeding is tough work for her and requires a lot of energy. It tires her out and when she is finished she typically requires a little more oxygen. Instead of trying to increase her bottle feeds, they are going to work on getting her lungs in better shape. They will continue with the diuretic and possibly an inhaled steroid, they will also monitor her oxygen and begin to slowly wean the flow down, as long as her body will allow it. Once she is well under a liter of flow they will talk about releasing her. She will come home on oxygen and at this point she may even come home on tube feedings. It is important that she stay healthy, and that she stays away from smoke and from other infants/children. This will help with her recovery time. 

At times it is very difficult, but Travis and I have to remember that she is doing things she is not even supposed to be doing yet. Travis and I both love her dearly, more than we could have ever imagined and have her very best interest at heart. We are doing the best we know how to do with the situation we have been given. Overall, for a 26 weeker we think she has done phenomenally and we thank God everyday for this blessing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had a pretty quiet day. 

I was able to feed her a bottle at 12pm. She was being very stubborn and just would not take it. One minute she was sleepy and the next minute she was grunting and groaning - she makes the funniest noises! I wasn't sure if she just wasn't interested or if she was showing off for her company. Her Great Aunt Deborah and John stopped by to see her while she was feeding. I think she was more interested in entertaining them rather than taking her bottle. Her nurse came in after about twenty five minutes and worked with her some. In then end she took 30 of the 45ccs. Tonight Travis was able to feed her and she did a lot better. She took all except about 5ccs and finished in less than thirty minutes.

Morgan Kate had a chest x-ray early this morning. Dr. E said that the x-ray did not show any significant changes, but that Morgan Kate sounded better and her breathing looked more comfortable. She stayed between 34% and 38% on her oxygen for most of the day. 

She weighed in tonight at five pounds and twelve ounces. I have some new pictures that I will post tomorrow. 

Please continue to pray that Morgan Kate's lungs will mature. Please also pray as she is scheduled to have a follow-up head ultrasound sometime tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy 12 Weeks, Morgan Kate!
12 weeks
84 days
90 days for Mommy and Daddy

Blessings & Updates for 11.16.08

1. I got to spend a lot of time with Morgan Kate today, but some really good quality time tonight.

2. I was able to bathe Morgan Kate, get her ready for bed, feed her the 9pm bottle and rock her to sleep. Wow! I kind of felt like a real mom. She weighed in at five pounds and eleven ounces. Her length and her head grew, but I can't remember the exact measurements. She did AWESOME with her 9pm bottle! She took all of it and burped numerous times. 

3. Morgan Kate's oxygen stayed between 34% and 38% for most of the day. Tonight when I left she was at 35%. She has a chest x-ray tomorrow morning, as well as blood work. 

5. Morgan Kate has gotten so many nice goodies from family members and friends in the past few weeks. Thank you all so very much! One of my dear cousins threw a shower for Morgan Kate this past summer, my sweet neighbor gave one a few weeks ago, my fabulous friends did one for Morgan Kate two Saturdays ago, my awesome 4th grade team threw one, and yesterday my dear cousins, aunts, grandmother and "sister-in-law to be" (one day hopefully) hosted a shower for Morgan Kate. Wow! We are one lucky family! 

Please pray for continued growth, good bottle feedings, and that Morgan Kate's lungs will continue to mature. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today my devotion was about being content. We should be content with the blessings God gives us and try not to focus to much on the "if onlys".  For example, today Morgan Kate did really well with both bottle feedings, which is indeed such a blessing. I should try to focus on that instead of thinking, but only if we were closer to going home. I may not being doing a great job of explaining it, but the devotion really made sense to me and hit home - especially after the day I had yesterday. I am going to try and work on being content and recognizing the blessings God does give me each and every day.

Morgan Kate had a much better day today! 

The day started with Morgan Kate meeting her Great Aunt Terry and cousin Maggie. They live in Macon, Georgia and got to see Morgan Kate for the first time. While they were there Morgan Kate was awake and alert and even took her bottle. I fed her a bottle at 12pm and then another one at 9pm tonight. She did really well with both, but did an excellent job with the 9pm feed. She finished the entire bottle in 25 minutes!

Her oxygen is still at a flow of four and around 36%. I am so glad that her numbers were down some today and that overall breathing seemed a little easier for Morgan Kate. She didn't have to work nearly as hard.

The diuretic must also really be working because she didn't seem nearly as puffy either. While she is on the diuretic her diapers have to be weighed to see how much fluid she is losing. Last night one of her diapers weighed 56ccs. Wow! Tonight she weighed in at five pounds and ten ounces. 

To top the day off, she had two wonderful nurses who are very attentive and take such good care of Morgan Kate! For that, we are so very thankful!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Today was a stressful day for Morgan Kate, meaning an emotional one for me. 

1st issue of the day:
When her day nurse (Who by the way was fantastic!) arrived she checked Morgan Kate's vitals and took her temperature. Her temperature was 96.9, a little too chilly. So she wrapped Morgan Kate in several blankets, put her hat on, and turned up the thermostat in Morgan Kate's room. By 11am or so her temperature was up and she was doing much better in that department.

2nd issue of the day:
Last night Morgan Kate weighed in at five pounds and ten ounces. Sounds great, but actually it isn't. Weighing five pounds and ten ounces means she gained over three ounces in one night. She also seemed a little puffy. The doctor came in and examined her and determined that it is most likely fluid and she will need more diuretics. She received her first round at about 6pm tonight and will get a dose every 12 hours.

3rd issue of the day:
Morgan Kate is still having a hard time breathing. She just has to work so hard! She was on a flow of three at 38% for most of the day. However, around 1:30 they increased her flow to four. They hope this will help her as well.

4th issue of the day:
She seems to be really tired when bottle feeding and gets worn out very easily. Due to this and the fact that her oxygen needs increase while she is eating they have backed her down to only two bottles a day. I am assuming that once her oxygen gets under control they will increase her bottles again. I am really okay with this because I just want her lungs to get better - we can work on bottles later.

On a positive note, much more positive, Kaky and Kyle came yesterday and are staying through the weekend. It is SO very NICE to have them here. It is such a comfort and really helps me through my days. Yesterday they arrived around 11am and Kaky cooked dinner for us. Yummy and very much needed! We have gotten to spend a lot of good time with Morgan Kate and with each other. I wish they could just move in with us! 

My prayer tonight is that Morgan Kate has a much better day tomorrow! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had a pretty quiet day. Her oxygen stayed at 35% for most of the day. She took a bottle at 9am and did really well. She finished the entire thing in about twenty five minutes. She took another bottle at 3pm and struggled a little. When I fed her tonight at 9pm she did well again and almost finished, she left 4ccs. Last night she weighed in at five pounds and seven ounces. They had not weighed her tonight when we left at 10pm, they were waiting until her 12am feed. 

By Thursdays Travis and I are worn I am heading to bed. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gator! Big 5-5! Morgan Kate wishes you a happy day!

Morgan Kate had somewhat of a stressful time today. Her oxygen flow was decreased from three to two. She did okay at first, but after several hours and an attempt at a bottle feed her oxygen needs began to increase. At one point today she was up to 41%. I tried bottle feeding her at 12pm, but she was way too tired and breathing was very difficult for her. Around seven tonight she was still breathing fast and her oxygen was around 38%, so they decided to go back to a flow of three. Hopefully, this will help and her oxygen needs will again decrease. I guess she just wasn't ready for a flow of two - maybe in a week or two they will try again and it will work. 

Oxygen ranged from 30% - 41% at a flow of two and then three.

Morgan Kate attempted to take a bottle at 6am and again at 12pm. At 6am she was extremely tired and at 12pm she was also tired and having a hard time breathing. They were going to try and bottle feed her again at 9pm. 

She was finally begin to settle down around 7:30 tonight, therefore, they were going to wait until later to weigh her. I will report tomorrow with her weight. 

Please pray that Morgan Kate's lungs will continue to mature and that breathing will become a lot easier for her. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We all had another great day! Morgan Kate was awake and alert some during the day, her oxygen was good, she tolerated her bottles and she grew. Wow! God is so good! 

Morgan Kate's oxygen was 30% for a majority of the day. Around 5ish or so she went up to 34%. These numbers are still down from yesterday so we are really happy.

Morgan Kate took a bottle at 9am for me and another at 6pm for Travis. She did well with both bottles. This morning she left about 5ccs, but tonight she finished the entire bottle. Since she seems to be doing so well they have increased her bottles to every other feed. She will be getting a bottle at 6pm, 12am, 6am, 12pm, and so forth. Please pray that Morgan Kate will continue to do well with her bottles. This is a BIG step!

Tonight we were able to bathe Morgan Kate, get her ready for bed and be there for weigh in. She did a great job with her bath and seemed really relaxed. In the past we have given her a sponge bath, but tonight we were able to put her in a tiny basin of water. She seemed to love it! She weighed in at five pounds and six ounces. Woohoo!

Morgan Kate had her fourth eye exam today and it went well. I had to leave the room and she cried a little. Eye exams are no fun! No signs of ROP and Dr. C will return in two weeks for the next exam. She has been getting exams every two weeks and I am assuming she will continue to get them until she goes home. She was really upset after the exam and today was the very first time I have been able to pick her up and console her. The three times before she was either too small or in her isolette. It was so nice and comforting for me - I hope it was for her!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Updates and Blessings for 11.10.08

Today was a great day all around! It started good and ended even better. God sure does know when we need a little pick me up!

Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 31% - 36% for most of the day. However, tonight when her Daddy was holding her and they were watching TV her oxygen was down to 28%. Woohoo! Travis and I were both thrilled!

Morgan Kate did an awesome job with her feedings today. She was awake at 12pm and 3pm and took a bottle both times. Tonight she took ANOTHER bottle for Trav and almost finished it too. Way to go, Morgan Kate!

Tonight big girl weighed in at five pounds and five ounces. She is growing like a weed! I wish you all could see her cheeks. I don't know if it's from her growth or from the steroids, but it looks like she has acorns stored away in there for the winter. It's precious! As I was holding her today I was thinking about how small she used to be. She was teeny tiny!

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray for Morgan Kate's continued growth.
-Please pray that Morgan Kate will continue to tolerate her bottle feeds.
-Please pray for Morgan Kate as she has her eye exam tomorrow between 9am and 9:30.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Updates and Blessings for 11.09.08

Happy 11 Weeks, Morgan Kate!
It's hard to believe that Morgan Kate is already 11 weeks old and her original due date is only 24 days away. Wow!

Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 31%-33% for most of the day. She has been around 31% for the past few days. Hopefully, her oxygen will stay around this number and not continue to increase. Thirty-one percent may seem like a lot compared to last week, but we have to remember that her flow is down to three and her parameters have increased. I pray each and every night, every morning when I wake up, on my drive to and from the hospital, in the elevator and in Morgan Kate's room that her lungs will continue to mature and her oxygen needs will decrease. 

Morgan Kate took a bottle at 12pm, but was too tired the rest of the day. The nurse will try again tonight at 12. She took her 12pm bottle very well and finished in about 25 minutes. Sometimes while she is drinking her bottle her oxygen sats will drop or she will have a heart rate drop. At 12 today everything went smooth and she didn't have any heart rate drops or sat drops. We are so very thankful!

Morgan Kate weighed in tonight at 5 pounds and 4.9 ounces. She is growing like a weed and has the chubbiest cheeks! I love it!

Morgan Kate has her fourth eye exam Tuesday at 9am. Her first three eye exams were all very good and did not indicate ROP. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

As I have said before the NICU is a roller coaster of events, but it is also a roller coaster of emotions for parents. There are days when things are great and you feel really good and positive about things. There are other days when you are numb to everything around you. And then there are days where you are just having a "low" and can't seem to get out of it. This past week Travis and I have had our share of lows. It's not because things weren't going well or because something happened necessarily, it was just a dip in our emotional roller coaster. You just wonder if you are doing all you can do, or if you did something wrong. You wonder if things are ever going to get better. We worry all the time, we want nothing but the best for Morgan Kate and we are trying our best to be patient, but we just want her home so badly. Today all three of us had a really good day. Travis and I are trying to stay positive!

Dr. B decided to turn Morgan Kate's oxygen flow back up to three. She was having to work a lot harder and going back up to three has made things some easier. Also, her oxygen parameters have been changed. For the past several weeks her oxygen saturation parameters have been 85 - 95 - meaning that if her oxygen sats dropped below 85 (too low) or got above 95 (too high) then an alarm would go off. Today her parameters were increased because she is older and are now 90 - 98. With the increase in parameters her oxygen needs have increased slightly (where 87 was okay before, now it's too low). So today she was at a flow of three and and anywhere between 30% - 35% oxygen. When we left tonight she was at 31%. All in all, she is holding her own and doing a great job! 

Dr. B also said he was a little concerned about her rapid weight gain. Remember, Wednesday night she was four pounds and thirteen ounces and last night she was five pounds and four ounces, meaning she gained almost seven ounces in just two nights. Dr. B said it could be because she is catching up from last week or it could be fluid. They will keep a close eye on this because if it is fluid then it could make breathing a lot harder. Tonight she weighed in at five pounds and two ounces

She did much better with her bottle feeds today. They are continuing to keep her at three bottles a day. I fed her at 3pm and then again at 9pm. She did well with both feeds. She ate, burped and then was out like a light. 

This afternoon Morgan Kate got to watch some TV. The hospital had the USC game playing so Travis and Morgan Kate got comfortable and watched some good ole' college football. Adorable!

Every time I look at Morgan Kate I am reminded of how amazing God is. He has truly blessed Travis and I. We have this precious perfect little gift that is working incredibly hard. I wish I had the strength and courage Morgan Kate has! I am also reminded of all the moms who told me, "You will never know a love like the love you have for your child". As cliche as it may sound, it is so true. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had some very special visitors!

Kyle and Kaky came for a visit! Kyle stayed for a few hours and then had to leave for work. Kaky was able to spend the day! I was so excited and so very thankful. Kyle has only been a few times to visit - hospitals make him a little nervous, so we were thrilled to see him. Morgan Kate was wide awake when they got there and stayed awake for quite a while. Kaky was able to hold Morgan Kate and even rock her to sleep! Gator has been on day shift this week, so when he got off at three he too was able to come by. Oh, happy day!

Please say a special prayer for Kyle. It seems like 2008 is the year of "surgical events" for my family. I had surgery back in January, then my c-section, Mom had surgery four weeks ago and now Kyle is scheduled to have surgery on December 17th. He has to have some "repairs" done to his right shoulder that he injured a few weeks ago. 

When I arrived this morning the nurses had dressed Morgan Kate in this adorable little outfit that Ms. Jackie bought her. Thanks so much, Ms. Jackie! She was sitting up in her boppy fast asleep and looked so content. It was the most precious sight ever!

Morgan Kate's oxygen stayed around 31% today and her flow is still at 2. She seemed to have a difficult time breathing today, but I think it's from having to work a lot harder. Drinking a bottle is a big deal and takes a lot out of her. 

She was also really sleepy today and didn't do well with her bottle feeds. They tried to increase her to a bottle feed every other feeding, but she isn't quite ready for that. She took her bottle at 9am with no problem, but at 3pm and 9pm she was entirely too sleepy. At the 9pm feeding she got a little choked, her oxygen dipped way down and she turned several shades of blue. Needless to say, Travis and I were a little startled (for lack of a better word), but we just slowly sat her up and patted her on her back. In just a few seconds she was okay again! Whewh...thank goodness.

She weighed in tonight at five pounds and four ounces. Wow! Typically I would account this to extra wires and tubes, but there weren't any. I would even say maybe she had a little fluid, but she has been on lasix so I don't think that is it either. Maybe she is just growing and catching up from this last week! 

Tonight I dressed Morgan Kate in a little outfit that my friend Donna bought for her (see below). Donna works with me and is pregnant with her first child, a baby boy named Christian. She is due in December - just a few weeks after my original due date. She too has been recently put on bed rest. Please say a prayer for her, her husband and baby boy Christian. 

Things are progressing very well and Travis and I are thrilled. However, it is still so difficult because we hate to see her struggle and we just want to bring her home so bad. We know we have to be patient and that we can't rush things, but it is so hard. We have now been at Baptist for 81 days (Morgan Kate has been here for 75) and that is quite a long time. I read a great devotion today about having courage during times of struggle. I am praying that God will help me be courageous and continue to help me with my patience. Some days can just be so tough and scary! 

One of Morgan Kate's angel nurses...

*Check out new slideshow to the right.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today was a good day for Morgan Kate!

Her oxygen flow was reduced from 5 liters to 2 liters. Her levels ranged from 28% - 31% for most of the day. If she can continue this then they will reduce her to 1 liter and then eventually off of the high flow cannula and on to regular oxygen. 

She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and it quite regular. :) She was really sleepy with both bottle feeds today. This morning she took all of her bottle, but tonight she wasn't able to finish. Guess all of the extra work is wearing her out! In the next few days they will increase her bottle feeds. Remember, we have to get to eight bottle feeds a day and right now we are at three.

Tonight we were able to weigh and bathe Morgan Kate. Travis and I teamed up together to get it done. Morgan Kate did an awesome job and just made noises the entire time. She was too cute! She weighed in at FIVE POUNDS! I know...I can hardly believe we have reached five pounds. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another terrific day!

Morgan Kate is doing really well with her oxygen. God is so, so good! She was doing so well with her oxygen that they reduced the flow from 5 to 4. Way to go, Morgan Kate! She stayed around 26% - 27%. It sure does make a mommy happy!

She is continuing to tolerate her feeds and her bottles. I was able to feed her this morning and Trav got to feed her tonight. After eating she is so alert. I love it! Her feeds have been increased to 44ccs. 

Last night she weighed in at four pounds and fourteen ounces meaning she gained two ounces since the night before. However, tonight we were able to be there when she was weighed and she was four pounds and thirteen ounces, so she lost an ounce. Either way she is making good progress!

We are so thankful for Morgan Kate's progress! God has truly blessed us with a very special gift and believe me - we certainly do treasure her!

*Please note the blue onesie Morgan Kate is wearing above- "What happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's". We put this on her especially for Kaky!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today was another great day for Morgan Kate! 

I was able to give Morgan Kate her morning bottle and Travis fed her tonight. She did really well both times. She wasn't quite able to finish her night time bottle. She was worn out today! She worked really hard for me this morning - taking her bottle and attempting to nurse- so she was quite tired this evening. She was more interested in counting sheep!

Her oxygen stayed around 27% - 28% for most of the day. Although it's not as low as it has been, it's still really good. I think it's because she is working a lot harder these days.

We have not been there to see her weigh in for the past couple of nights. Since she is feeding at six they are letting her rest and waiting until later to weigh her. Last night she had lost an ounce and weighed in at four pounds and twelve ounces. Part of her weight loss is due to the lasix and the other part is burning more calories because of bottle feeding. Hopefully she will start packing on more ounces very soon!

Please pray for Morgan Kate's growth, development of her lungs and that she will continue to tolerate her bottle feedings. Please also pray that Morgan Kate will be able to rest easy between the feedings so that she is alert and ready to feed. 

Morgan Kate's preemie friend, Kayleigh, had her heart surgery today. The surgery went well and she is doing as well as can be expected. The next 48 hours are very critical. Please pray for her recovery and for her family. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Today was a terrific day!

I was able to feed Morgan Kate her morning bottle (9:00am) and she did awesome! I was also able to try nursing her for a little while and she did a great job with that as well. Of course I had no clue what to do, so Jean (the wonderful lactation nurse who has been helping me since day 1) sat with me and talked me through it. I sure don't know what I am going to do once we do finally get home and I don't have the help of the nurses. They have been terrific and so patient. After I fed her she was so awake and alert. She and I spent some good quality time together. It was so nice!

Travis was able to feed her this evening (6:00pm). This was his very first bottle feed ever and he did a WONDERFUL job. Morgan Kate was so content and did an amazing job! While I was feeding her I kept a nice little cloth type thing under her chin so that she stayed clean. When Trav fed her he decided he didn't want to use the cloth thingy so she and her cute little outfit got covered in food. You can find pics of Trav and Morgan Kate in the same slideshow as last night. She will get another bottle later tonight and then I will go back for the morning bottle. Since she was doing so well with her feeds they increased her to three bottles  - the ultimate goal will be to bottle feed at all feeding times (8 bottles). 

Yesterday Morgan Kate had a hearing test and I completely forgot to write about it last night. I don't know how I forgot because she did terrific and passed with flying colors. Way to go, Morgan Kate!

Morgan Kate's oxygen ranged from 23% - 28% today. While she is feeding they increase her oxygen some so that she doesn't have to work so hard to breathe and eat. It's a lot of work for a little girl! 

Please pray for Morgan Kate's growth, the development of her lungs and that she will continue to tolerate the new bottle feedings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We had a fabulous weekend! Morgan Kate is STILL on the cannula, her oxygen levels are really good, we got to hold her for long periods of time, we got to spend a lot of time with her and she took her first two bottles.

Yes! This morning at 9am they tried Morgan Kate on her first bottle. She did really well and finished 40ccs in just fifteen minutes. She did so well that they decided to try another bottle at 9pm and I got to feed her! Oh my goodness, it was terrific. I felt like a real mommy! (See new slideshow to the right.) I was really nervous, but thank goodness our terrific nurse was right there by my side to assist me. I have fed babies many times, but not my own baby and I forgot how to do everything. Our nurse was soooo patient and helped me so much. Thank goodness for her! I knew how to hold Morgan Kate, but I did not really know how to get her to take the bottle or how to burp her. Burping babies always confuses me. In the end it worked out great and Morgan Kate did an awesome job. I am so proud of her!

Her oxygen levels ranged from 24% - 28% today. Travis and I are both thrilled over this. We did a lot of thinking and praying and more thinking and praying before deciding to go with the steroids. However, it looks as if we did indeed make the right decision - it definitely seems to be working for her. She seems much more comfortable and relaxed.  

Each and everyday I am amazed at Morgan Kate's strength and determination. I am so lucky to be her mommy! God truly blessed my life with this precious baby girl and for that I am forever grateful.

Morgan Kate got so many nice goodies today! My fabulous fourth grade buddies threw a baby shower for Morgan Kate. It was absolutely beautiful and I was THRILLED to see all my friends from LMES. They are some of the best people on this earth and I miss them all dearly. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today was a terrific day!

Morgan Kate is STILL on the nasal cannula and her oxygen is ranging anywhere from 26% - 29%. We got to spend a lot of time with her - holding her of course - and she did wonderful. We also got to help weigh her and change her clothes. It really made our night! She was very alert at times and just looking all around. She is continuing to tolerate her feeds. Morgan Kate did not gain any weight tonight, but she is still holding steady. 

Below are pics of her new big girl crib and her Gamecock mobile. Morgan Kate's great Uncle Bubba sent her the mobile and she loves it! Go Gamecocks! 

Also, Trav is modeling Morgan Kate's socks. They are finger gloves for him!