Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's funny how things change so in just one year. Last New Year's Eve all we could think about was how much we wanted a little one. Yes, we were extremely happy together, just the two of us, but we were so ready (beyond ready) to expand our little family. Now, in just twelve months we are complete! We have our little bundle of joy and our hearts feel content. It's amazing how God works!

2008: Year in Review in Numbers
I have one amazing husband. He is my strength, my support, and the love of my life. He knows just when I need a hug or even some space. He is a tremendous help. Who am I kidding? He does it all, I help out. Hee, hee. He is not only an amazing husband, but an extraordinary daddy. I love seeing him with my our little girl.

I have also only been able to work one day since the school year began. Yikes!

I have been blessed with two terrific parents. They are my biggest cheerleaders and give more support and encouragement than you have ever seen. And I know they love me unconditionally and love Travis as if he was theirs.  

I also have two pretty awesome brothers. One who cooks a pretty mean spaghetti and the other who can fix anything, and I mean anything.

And we have two fur babies, Lola and Cash, who tug at our heart strings as well. 

Our little miracle, Morgan Kate, has been with us for four months. Four months, can you believe that? In those four months we have seen some pretty frightening things, but we have also witnessed things most people will never have the opportunity to see. We have been truly blessed with this gift and we treasure every moment with her (even if it's 4am and she is screaming).

If my memory serves me correct six is the number of surgeries that occurred this year in my family (extended family as well). I may be off by one or even two. 

My family and I spent seven glorious days at Folly Beach this past summer. It's as close to heaven as you can get!

Morgan Kate "lived" in Room 8 while in the NICU. We will never forget room 8 or the wonderful people there. 

I spent ten days in the hospital back in August. Six were before Morgan Kate made her debut and four were after she was born.

Travis and I have rung in the New Year together for the past thirteen years. 

It is exactly eighteen miles from our house to Baptist, one way.

I was pregnant with Morgan Kate for 26 weeks, well actually, twenty five weeks and four days to be exact. 

Travis and I have been married for forty-one months and each one has been so very special.

Morgan Kate takes 66ccs of formula every three to four hours.

We spent 107 days in the NICU.

It's exactly 236 steps from the parking garage on Sumter Street to the NICU - according to Travis' footsteps.

We have been blessed with countless family members and friends who have been so loving, so supportive, and so encouraging to us this past year. Your warm words, kind thoughts and faithful prayers have meant the world to us. You all will never know how fortunate we feel to have each of you in our lives.

I wish everyone a new year full of love, hope, happiness and faith.
Happy New Year everyone! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yesterday afternoon and last night were pretty rough. Morgan Kate was quite fussy for most of the afternoon and into the night. She didn't end up going to sleep until after her 3am feed. I then got in bed myself and set my alarm for 6:00am so that I could feed her again. At 7:15am I finally woke up to my alarm. I NEVER sleep through my alarm, NEVER. I have only overslept twice in my life (once in college and once while student teaching) and it's because I set my alarm for pm rather than am. Anyway, this morning the alarm had been going off for over an hour and Travis, nor I, had heard it. I guess it didn't bother Morgan Kate much either because she was sleeping like a rock. Unfortunately I had to wake her up to feed her again. I tried my best to be really quiet and not move her around too much. She was doing great until the feed started. The minute I pushed the food through the tube and it had time to reach her tummy she started fussing and squirming. You could tell she was in a lot of pain and it broke me heart. Awful, awful.

If you ever call my house and I am holding Morgan Kate there is no doubt that you will be able to hear her. She makes noises non-stop. The only time she is quiet is when she is in a deep sleep. She grunts, groans, moans, etc. all the time. It's very rare for her to be completely quiet. Yesterday when we were at the eye doctor one of the nurses heard her and said, "Oh, she must be really mad or working on something BIG for you guys to handle later." Nope, not the case. If that were the case then I guess she is mad and "working on something" all of the time. I asked Dr. G about it today and she thinks some of it is caused by the reflux/stomach issues Morgan Kate is having.

Our appointment this morning went okay. Morgan Kate had only gained an ounce since Friday (8lbs 12.5 oz), but Dr. G was not concerned. The best part is - she's gaining. We talked a good bit with Dr. G about Morgan Kate's eating issues and we are going to try some new things. Dr G was great as usual and spent a lot of time with us.  
Some of our issues:
1. MK has to be very still and quiet while we are OG feeding her. If she grunts, groans or cries it pushes the food back into the syringe and we have to stop.
2. The minute we start an OG feed she begins to arch her back, push on things, flail her arms, and fuss. 
3. After OG feeding her she cries and continues to squirm and arch.
4. Her stomach makes horrendous noises, she has lots of gas, and she spits up frequently.
5. Bottles have not been going so well since the ear infection. Not sure if it's because of the infection or the fact that we have added rice cereal to her formula and it's now harder to get through the nipple. Go figure.
6. She will suck on the nipple a few times and then just stop.
7. If she is fast asleep she will not take a bottle at all. 

These were the concerns we brought to Dr. G this morning and this is our current plan. With our luck, it's subject to change at any given time.
1. Stop the rice cereal. We need the formula to be thicker so that it stays down in her tummy, but we will have to use another substance. I can't remember what the substance is called but it has the consistency of formula and the minute it hits the stomach it thickens.
2. We are to give MK Levsin drops every six hours. These drops are given to babies with colic and babies with irritable bowel syndrome. We are hoping this is the trick.
3. Continue with her reflux medication.
4. Dr. G's office is trying to schedule an appointment for MK to have an upper GI done. They would like to get it done this week, but not sure how that will work out with the holidays. The upper GI might give us all a better idea of what exactly is going on.
5. After all of the above we may meet with a gastro doctor to get his/her take.
6. The very LAST resort would be for MK to have a surgical procedure to hopefully correct the reflux. This is the very last option and we are praying that we never get to this point. 

We are trying to be positive and remain upbeat. We are just so tired of seeing our precious girl in so much pain. Feeding an infant is supposed to be a bonding time and a time for mother/father and child to relax and spend time together. There is NOTHING relaxing about feeding Morgan Kate. Every time she is due for another feed I find myself hoping and praying that Travis will just take over and I won't have to do it. It's that bad. 

Her oxygen needs have been about the same, maybe a little less. She averages anywhere from 16ccs - 40ccs. She has a pulse ox attached to her foot and it tell us what her oxygen sats are. As long as they stay between 86 and 100 the alarm will not go off. However, the minute she drops to 85 the alarm begins to ding and it will continue to ding until she is able to pull her sats back up. Ninety-nine percent of the time she can pull her sats right back up. There has only been a few instances, very few, that we have had to turn her oxygen up to help her. The pulse ox is a big reassurance for me. I don't mind carrying it around or hearing the alarm go off. It gives me peace of mind. The only bad part about the pulse ox is there are a lot of false alarms. If Morgan Kate moves a lot or kicks her feet too much the pulse ox can't read and the alarm goes off. As I mentioned before, she moves a lot. Yep, you guessed it! And that means the alarm goes off. So, we spend a lot of time holding her down and trying to keep her foot still so that we can determine whether it's a true or false alarm. 

I gave Morgan Kate her first dose of Levsin drops earlier today. After the drops I fed her and then she and I had "play time". She seemed really, really content and at ease. I put her on her "mat" and she kicked and moved and looked all around. She did an awesome job! She was on her mat for close to forty-five minutes or so and she was completely happy. She then had some tummy time and worked on holding up her head. After all the "work" she got to relax some in her new boppy chair that Kaky and Gdaddy gave her for Christmas. I am hoping that the Levsin drops gave her some relief and if that is the case, then terrific. It was a great afternoon and I am hoping that all the "work" and "play" will make her nice and sleepy for tonight. Wish us luck...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today Morgan Kate had her eye exam. It happened to fall at the same time as one of her feedings. Argh! So we packed the OG tube, 30 cc syringe, 5 cc syringe, tape, and stethoscope. We also packed a bottle just in case Morgan Kate was feely froggy. Thank goodness she was feeling froggy and took the entire bottle. Yahoo!

Good news! Morgan Kate's eye appointment went very well, except for the fact that Travis and I had to hear our sweet baby scream in pain. Oh, it was awful. However, Dr. C is terrific and tried to be quick. He said that her eyes have completely matured and are fully developed. He also said there is no sign of ROP. Awesome news! He no longer needs to see her, as he is a retina specialist, but she will need to see a pediatric opthamologist for the first few years of her life. Premature babies have a higher incidence of being nearsighted or cross-eyed, so these visits will be a preventative measure. We will not see this doctor until April. We are both so thankful that things went well today. We had a really good feeling about it, but then again you never really know. Needless to say, the news was a much needed relief.

Morgan Kate did a terrific job with the bottle at the eye doctor, but feeding has gotten progressively worse all day. She only took half of her bottle earlier and tonight I basically had to force it down. She has also been pretty fussy. I'm not sure if her ear is bothering her or if her stomach is hurting because of the antibiotic. We have a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning...hopefully we can figure it out.

Before Morgan Kate ever came home I briefly mentioned one night in a post about RSV. I never really talked about it or went into detail. At least I don't think so anyway. My brain is not nearly what it used to be and a lot of things run together. Anyway, RSV stands for
respiratory syncytial virus. I had never heard of RSV before our NICU days. However, I learned very quickly that it is something we MUST avoid. In adults, RSV is much like a simple cold, but in infants, especially premature infants or infants with other issues, it can be much more serious and even fatal. If Morgan Kate were to get RSV she would be back in the hospital and on a ventilator. Since Morgan Kate was born prematurely and has chronic lung disease she receives an Synagis injection each month during the RSV season (November-April). This Synagis injection helps prevent RSV and she will get these injections until she is at least two years of age. The reason I mention all of this tonight is because 1.) it's RSV season and Morgan Kate's lungs are extremely weak and 2.) a "fellow blogger" known as "MckMama" is dealing with RSV at this very moment and it scares me to death. This particular mom has her own blog which I keep up with daily and it's absolutely amazing. I don't know her personally, we have never talked, but she seems like such a great person. She dealt with some extremely scary things while pregnant and now she is having to deal with this. Bless her heart!  Her youngest child, Stellan is about eight weeks old (maybe a little older) and was just diagnosed with RSV. This weekend it started as a cold, little bit of mucus, runny nose and so forth. Today he was having an extremely hard time breathing, his oxygen sats were below where they needed to be and just recently he was admitted to the pediatric ICU. He is on the verge of needing the ventilator. It scares me to death because he is healthy and nothing is wrong with his lungs and he is now in the ICU. This is something that Morgan Kate HAS to avoid. It kills me that we can't share her with all of our wonderful family and friends, but at the same time I realize her health is our top priority and she cannot afford to get RSV. Tonight I will be praying for baby Stellan. I pray that he will be healed and he will recover. I also pray that his parents have strength and courage. Scary, scary! You can check out their site by clicking on this image:

On a much, much lighter note please take a look at the picture below.

Now, you may be wondering, "What is this?" or "Why is Heather showing us this?" Well, around 10pm last night I was drawing up some meds for Morgan Kate in a syringe. The syringe was not cooperating and I noticed that it shot some of the medicine into the air. Okay, no big deal. I chuckled a little. (It doesn't take much to amuse me.) I saw some of the medicine fall on the island and thought nothing more of it. I simply cleaned it up and told Travis what had happened. He started laughing and said, "Did you check the ceiling?" The ceiling? Why would I check the ceiling? I walked back in the kitchen and looked up. There it was, amoxicillin all over our ceiling. Oh, and the best will not come off. Apparently, Travis had an experience similar to this the night before, but he missed the ceiling by a few inches.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yesterday was an extremely tough day for my family. My Aunt Ann passed away very unexpectedly. She leaves behind my sweet, sweet Uncle Jimmy and their two precious daughters, Lucy and Jamie. Needless to say, this was a tremendous shock to my entire family and everyone is still trying to make sense of it all. Please keep my family, especially my uncle and cousins, in your prayers.


Morgan Kate seems to be having a better day today. Yesterday was tiring. She was in so much pain from the reflux and her ear. She cried the entire day, she wouldn't eat and would only sleep if being held. I called my mom in tears because I didn't know what else to do to help her. Finally last night around midnight she began to settle down. For several hours we all slept in the den. Trav was in the big chair and I was on the couch with Morgan Kate on my chest. It was the only way that any of us could get any rest. Today she seems much more content. I am praying that the antibiotic is working. She has napped several times today and just seemed much more relaxed. We have had to primarily tube feed her because she will not take a bottle. However, at the last feed she took an entire bottle for Travis. Yahoo! 

Tomorrow we have an appointment with Morgan Kate's eye doctor and Tuesday we meet with the pediatrician again.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

I promise we are still around and I have not forgotten about the blog or the wonderful people, like you, that read the blog each day. Since Wednesday we have not had a lot of spare time. 

Brief synopsis: During the day since Wednesday Morgan Kate has been wide awake and crying. She will not sleep, except for a few 10-15 minute naps here and there. We were at a loss as what to do Wednesday night and even called the after hour line for our pediatrician. Wednesday she was doing great with bottles, Thursday not as good, and this morning she would not take one at all. By 8ish each night she falls fast asleep because she is flat wore out. We have been tube feeding her at night because she will not wake up. The tube feedings were going okay until last night. Last night she fought each one and it took forever. Thank goodness Kaky was here to help! 

This morning we were exhausted and decided to call the doctor. She asked us to come in. Thank goodness! Not only does Morgan Kate have awful reflux, but the reflux has caused an ear infection, thus causing her to be fussy and irritated. Morgan Kate is now on increased reflux medicine, an antibiotic for her ear, and we are adding rice cereal to her formula to make it thicker. 

Other than our poor baby suffering from an ear infection we had a wonderful Christmas! Morgan Kate got lots and lots and we did too. I didn't know it was possible for a little girl to get so much. Santa was definitely good to her! Not only did Santa spoil her rotten, but Kaky and GDaddy did a little too. Ha, ha! Imagine that! She had two stockings, yes, two and her Daddy gave her a precious little bracelet. Sweet. Here are some pictures from Morgan Kate's first Christmas...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How could I forget? Today is Morgan Kate's 4 month birthday! Wow! Time sure is flying by....It's hard to believe that only four months ago Morgan Kate weighed only 1 pound 12 ounces and each night we worried what the next day would bring. She sure has come a long way in her short little life. Miracles do happen!
After spending a few hours running errands shopping for Morgan Kate yesterday morning, I came home to the most precious sight. Definitely melted my heart!
Our appointment with Dr. G went well. Morgan Kate weighed in at eight pounds and three ounces. Dr. G said she looked and sounded terrific. While we were there Morgan Kate was wide awake and making all sorts of noises. She did a great job and didn't cry at all. We have decided to keep everything the same right now - same meds, same amount of food, same feeding times, etc. We go back Tuesday to see her again.

Morgan Kate had a good night. She slept a lot better and was only awake during her feedings. Speaking of feedings. Yesterday she took five bottles and was only tube fed during the night. Since 4:30 this morning she has taken a bottle at every feed. She has done a fabulous job and finished each bottle in about twenty minutes and sometimes less. It's crazy how it seems to have just "clicked". I pray that this continues. Tube feeding is no fun at all.

After fussing for ten hours, laying in the crib, time in the swing, countless times in the rocking chair, an after hour call to the pediatrician and an additional medicine for reflux we are all exhausted. Today has been "not so good". Morgan Kate has been up since 8:30 this morning and has only taken a few cat naps (10-15 minutes) here and there. She has been extremely fussy and seems like she is in pain. Travis and I both think it's her reflux acting up. We have tried everything. We just gave her a dose of her new medicine and she is now in the swing with nothing on but a diaper. As I am typing she is starting to cry again...

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas Eve and will have a very Merry Christmas. My dad's entire side of the family is at my grandma's eating dinner at this very moment. I have done that for twenty eight years and this is my first Christmas Eve away - however, for very good reason. I hope everyone is eating lots of ham and oyster dressing. Enjoy! (Oh, and I hope you guys save us a few wreath cookies!) I guess Morgan Kate is trying to stay awake so that she can meet Santa. I have tried telling her that Santa knows when she is sleeping and knows when she's awake. We will see how it all works out!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Similac Sensitive is the best. This formula has made a tremendous difference. So far today Morgan Kate has had three bottles and done well with each. She has been able to completely finish each bottle in less than thirty minutes. She is not fighting the tube feeds and she is also sleeping better. Did I just say sleeping better? I did. Last night she was only awake when I was feeding her and then she would go right back to sleep. She didn't wake up until 6:30 this morning. Only problem - now I have to adjust my sleep patterns and start sleeping at night. I was wide awake last night and really only slept about two hours. I will say that Sunday night TV is a lot better than any other night. 

This morning after I cooked Travis and I an omelet we had a photo shoot. Yep, you heard right. I was feeling so refreshed this morning that I actually cooked. I have to admit that I make a pretty mean omelet and I learned it all from my daddy. Anyway, Morgan Kate was wide awake and alert and seemed to be loving the camera. I just couldn't resist. 

I know I am her mommy, but isn't she precious? And those eyes...I could just hold her, and love her and kiss on those cheeks all day long. 

I have been holding my breath hoping that these pictures would upload. Some nights the upload works beautifully and other nights it is extremely frustrating. So glad that tonight it was cooperating. *Note: Picture 3 includes another pair of baby legs. I love them!

Last night (Saturday night) I was hoping for a quiet, low key night. A night where we fed Morgan Kate, rocked her for a bit and then put her down for the night. Ha, ha, ha, ha! I can always hope, right? There was nothing quiet or low key about last night. Morgan Kate was awake the entire night again. I think I slept from 2:30 - 3:15. Now when I say she is awake I don't mean she just has her eyes open. Awake all night means that she is very noisy, mostly fussy and wants to do anything other than lay in her bed. We rocked, we sang, we talked, she ate, I ate, we did it all. Oh, and she pulled her OG tube out three different times. When I do try to put her in her bed she starts grunting, then groaning, then crying and then screaming. I try to let her work it out and fuss a little, but when she gets that upset she starts breathing really hard and her oxygen alarm goes off. What do you do? When Travis and I changed shifts around 9am she was still awake and stayed awake until lunch time. I thought babies were supposed to sleep a lot? My baby doesn't. Well, I take that back. It is now 1:30am and she has been asleep since lunch time. She has only been awake for feedings and diaper changes. We try our best to keep her up during the day, but it doesn't work. For the past several nights Travis sleeps and I hang out with Morgan Kate. When morning arrives I find the bed and Travis begins his shift. Maybe, just maybe, tonight will be different. 

Feedings have been going a lot better. She has taken three bottles today and hasn't fought her tube feedings. It is such a relief to have found a formula that is working. I pray that it continues to work. I have read that feeding times are supposed to be bonding times. We have not had that experience up until this point. Tonight while I was feeding Morgan Kate she was so calm and just looking around. It was so very nice!

I think our home health nurse will be stopping by tomorrow. She will just check in, bring supplies and weigh Morgan Kate. We have another doctor's appointment Tuesday morning. 

I can't believe that Christmas is this week. It sure doesn't feel like Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I think we have found a formula that works. Morgan Kate is not fussing, she is not fighting the feeds, and she has taken four bottles for us. Amazing! It's incredible what a change in formula can do for a baby. I pray that this success continues.

Last night Morgan Kate slept for most of the night. It's funny though. She was sleeping and I was wide awake. Maybe I am nocturnal now or maybe it's because my hubbie allowed me to nap for a very long time yesterday, therefore, giving me lots of energy. Either way I was awake all night long. Literally. I saw the sunset late yesterday evening and the sunrise early this morning. I mostly rocked Morgan Kate and actually watched some really good movies on TV. Guess there is more on that just the late shows and poker TV. Ha! Thankfully Travis had slept a little during the night so he took over this morning while I slept a little. Hopefully we will all be able to sleep tonight. Morgan Kate has been awake a lot more today and I am getting ready to wake her up again. 

Other than that it's been a pretty quiet day around here. We've just been hanging out and watching every little thing that this precious little girl does. 

I've been trying to post pictures of Morgan Kate in her Christmas attire, but the web is not cooperating. Check back tomorrow for new pics!

According to the pattern last night was supposed to be a sleepy night. The pattern finally broke. Last night was not a sleepy night by any means. It was an all out "fuss, cry, scream, wide-eyed" kind of night. I think we slept for about thirty minutes.

I must say that I am kind of getting used to little sleep. Three months ago I would have never imagined getting by on such small amounts. However, when I wake up to that precious face, whether she's smiling at me or screaming her head off, it just makes it all so worth it and I have the energy to keep going. It also helps that I have an amazing husband who happens to be a fabulous daddy and we have great teamwork. Now, with all that being said I must admit that this morning I was struggling. After no sleep and a daughter that has cried all night regardless of your efforts to soothe and console her I was exhausted. However, I think and I am praying that we have solved the problem.

We went back to the doctor this morning and I think she could tell we had been through the wringer. Not sure if it was the dark circle under our eyes or the fact that I have had the same outfit on for two days. Anyway, she decided that we needed to try another formula - Similac Sensitive - and she also changed the reflux medicine. Morgan Kate is now taking Prilosec. We started the new formula this morning at 10:30. I don't want to speak to soon, but so far so good. She has actually slept today, not been nearly as fussy and she even took an entire bottle for me in about twenty minutes. Amazing! I pray that this is the ticket and that her little tummy will be better in no time. Dr. G also prescribed some awesome diaper rash cream and it seems to be doing the trick too. Oh and she weighed in at eight pounds even. Yes, our little one pounder is getting to be a big girl! Makes me so happy.

Tomorrow I will post some new pics of our little one. I have taken some cutes ones of her wearing all her different Christmas clothes. Since we can't get out and about and we definitely can't visit Santa we can just have a "Christmas outfit wearing" kind of week. It will be a fashion show of sorts. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sleepy night, awake night, sleepy night, awake night. You guessed it. Last night was an awake night - an all night awakenight. Travis and I got an hour of sleep. We got in the bed at midnight, Morgan Kate awoke at 1 am and remained awake and fussing until about 6:30. We tried everything. We rocked, we walked (as much as you can walk with an oxygen tank and two monitors attached), we used the car seat, we played music, I attempted to sing or hum, we changed her diaper, we tried a bottle. Nothing worked. We tried taking turns and letting the other rest, but last night called for double duty. Needless to say, we have slept every available chance today and we are praying for a better night tonight. At this very moment she is fast asleep in her car seat. 

We thought the new formula was working, but now we aren't so sure. She has been spitting up a good bit and tonight she had some projectile vomit. Sorry to be so graphic. I was covered in it. The new formula has also made her quite regular and now we are dealing with a diaper rash. Good thing our appointment is first thing in the morning. Hopefully we can figure something out. She is just not very happy right now and I really think it's her stomach bothering her. 

On a little lighter note, I ordered Morgan Kate several pair of Baby Legs. I found them on another website and thought they were adorable. I just ordered them Monday and they arrived yesterday. Talk about fast service. They look like leg warmers from the 80's, but they cover her entire legs. When I first saw them I wasn't really sure how they worked, but their website had tons of pictures on how to use them. Morgan Kate has a ton of newborn onesies, but it's a little too cool to wear them without pants. Pants are a whole other topic - too much to take off to change a diaper. Anyway, with the baby legs you don't have to take them off to change diapers. Also, when a baby has a diaper rash and needs to air out, the baby legs can stay on and keep the baby warm. They also happen to be super cute on her! I love em' and highly recommend them to any moms with infants. 
First picture: Baby Legs
Second picture: Morgan Kate with a pair of her baby legs on

I'll be sure to post tomorrow about our doctor's appointment. Wish us luck and say a prayer!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Located in the sidebar to the right is a link for another preemie's blog. Her name is Kayleigh and she is almost six months old. She was born two months before Morgan Kate. When Morgan Kate was first born I was looking on the internet for ANYONE who might have experienced something similar. I needed to see someone else's story and hear about their success, set backs, etc. I came across her blog and also found out that she lives not too far - North Carolina. I have read her blog each night since finding it. You should really take a second to check out her blog if you haven't had a chance to. She has been through so much in her short little life. Her parents have been so strong and courageous and shown such unwavering faith in very difficult times. They received news yesterday that no parent ever wants to hear. They may never be able to bring their baby girl home. My heart breaks for this family. No, I don't know what they are going through exactly, but I do know the fear they are experiencing right now. Please keep them in your prayers. 

Last night Morgan Kate DID sleep the whole night. She was only semi-awake during feedings and diaper changes. I think I am starting to see a pattern. Sleepy night, awake night, sleepy night, awake night. I think that means awake night tonight.

We started Morgan Kate on her new formula last night. She is now taking Nutramigen by Enfamil. It's for babies with allergies. The first two feeds on the formula we saw no change. She was still crying, grunting, groaning, etc. And it still took almost an hour. Talk about discouraging. However, early this morning I started to see a difference. Exciting! As the day has gone by the feeds have gotten easier and easier. No screaming, no crying, just a few grunts and groans every now and then. Ah! Relief for everyone. 

As you all know Kaky left yesterday and Travis had to work today. I was a little very nervous about being here alone with Morgan Kate. I know the "alone" day is coming, but I wasn't quite ready for it today. So, my wonderful brother, Owens, came and spent the day with us. He actually came last night, cooked us dinner and then stayed with me today. Wow! How nice! He didn't touch or hold Morgan Kate, but he did help lug equipment around and anytime an alarm went off he was right there. Brothers are the best!

Speaking of brothers...Kyle's surgery went well. The doctor said the procedure was close to perfect, but there was a lot more damage done to the shoulder than first expected. They sent him home with lots of pain meds and he is in mom's care. She will have him better in no time. 

We have another appointment with our pediatrician Friday morning. We also have an appointment with Morgan Kate's eye doctor later this month. He is the same eye doctor that saw her in the NICU and just wants to do a follow-up exam. The last time he examined her eyes they were still a little immature. This check-up is to make sure things are still progressing well.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last night Morgan Kate slept the whole night only slept an hour. She was up all night long, meaning that Kaky and I were also up all night long. I have learned some interesting things in the late night/early morning hours. For instance, did you know that not only is there a "Tonight Show" and a Late Show, but also a Late, Late Show? And did you know that people play poker on television at 4am? Do people really watch this stuff? After about an hour of poker TV Kaky decided the HGTV channel would be better. I must agree, it was. Oh, and Morgan Kate already knows every Christmas carol by heart because Kaky and I sing them so beautifully take turns humming them all night long.

Kaky left today. Sad, sad, sad. As she was getting in the car I said, "Now, we expect you back ASAP." Ha, ha! She has been a TREMENDOUS help. I can't even begin to explain how helpful she has been. She has changed numerous diapers. She has given Morgan Kate bottles and tube feedings (yes, she can do those!). She has cooked the most "awesomest" meals (since it doesn't look like I will be cooking anytime soon). She has done load after load of laundry. She has cleaned. She has carried the car seat that is oh, so heavy. She has carried all of Morgan Kate's equipment in and out of the doctor's office. She has rocked Morgan Kate at all hours, day or night. She has even sat up all night with us so we didn't have to be alone. You name it and she has done it. She is one great mommy and a terrific grandmommy! We love you and miss you already!!

Morgan Kate's doctor's appointment went well. She weighed in at seven pounds and fourteen ounces. Eight pounds is not that far off! Dr. G said she sounded good and looked good. I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but Dr. G lets us come before any other patients arrive. It is SO nice because then we don't have to worry about Morgan Kate being exposed to colds, flu, etc. I just thinks it's really nice of them. Our biggest concern at the doctor was FEEDINGS. Ugh, even typing the word makes me cringe. Don't get me wrong - I know my daughter has to eat and grow and all of that, but feeding time is TOUGH WORK for all parties involved. When we first brought her home she fought the bottles, now she fights bottles and tube feedings. Bottles might actually be a tad bit easier these days. Whenever we are tube feeding her she fights it, she cries, she squirms, she just hates it overall. We have tried feeding her in the crib, feeding her while we hold her, feeding her in the car seat, you name it we have tried it and nothing is working. Oh and she is spitting up. We have her on Zantac for reflux, but I haven't seen much of a difference. It just seems like she is in so much pain and it absolutely breaks my heart. Today we talked about putting her on a different formula. Currently she is taking Similac Neosure (formula for preemies), but tonight we are going to try her on something different. Wish us luck!

Her next Synagis (RSV) shot and pulmonology consult will be on January 9th. I am very interested in seeing what the pulmonologist has to say about Morgan Kate's oxygen needs, lungs, etc. 

This is a picture of Morgan Kate me when I was little. I happen to think it looks a little like Morgan Kate. I can always wish can't I?

P.S. I learned this new strike through thing from another mommy blogger. Just trying it out! 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maybe Morgan Kate is not really nocturnal. Last night she was only up from 2-3. Of course we were up every three hours for her feeds, but she slept through most of them. Last night Kaky and I were on duty. Travis went back to work today (he is only back through Wednesday and then he's ours again until January) so he was "off duty" last night. Of course the one night he was "off" she slept fairly well. 

She has been doing some better with the bottle feeding. She has really good days and then not so good days. Saturday night she took two bottles and did a fabulous job. Yesterday she took one bottle really well and didn't do so hot with the second one. I know it's just going to take time and practice. 

These three hour feeds are hard work. By the time we get her feeds ready, her medicine prepared, diaper changed, and actually feed her an hour has gone by. We have two hours to sleep (and that's if you can fall asleep right away) and then it's time again! I know it will get better, it's just an adjustment right now.

Her oxygen has been the same, right at 1/16th of a liter. At times we can turn her down a little. Today she had a little episode while we were feeding her and we actually had to turn her up some. However, once she settled down we were able to turn her down again. 

We are getting a little more used to things. We are figuring out little tricks and ways to save time. And sleeping is getting better too. I guess you just get used to very little sleep. For those of you who know me I am sure this comes as a shocker. I love my sleep!

This past weekend was our first weekend home since August 16th. Every weekend since then either I have been in the hospital or Morgan Kate has been there. It was so nice not having to leave our house, but it also felt kind of awkward, like we were supposed to be somewhere else. I asked Travis if he missed our trips to Palmetto Health Baptist. Of course we don't miss the trips there each and every day, but we sure do miss the people.  

It is still an amazing feeling having Morgan Kate at home. It's so very nice to wake up to her sweet little face each morning. I am constantly reminded each time I look at her of how good God is. He does amazing things and has taken such good care of our little one. We are so very fortunate!

Our home health nurse came by today and said that Morgan Kate looked and sounded great. Good deal! Tomorrow morning we have an appointment with our pediatrician. Please pray that all goes well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If you call our house at 4 in the afternoon we will not answer. However, if at 4 in the morning you are in need of a late night/early morning conversation, we are definitely all yours. It's official. Morgan Kate is nocturnal. And Mommy and Daddy are struggling.  

Kaky's back! After a just a few days (seemed a lot longer to us) Kaky is back and we are ecstatic. She will be with us through the middle of next week. Then little brother, Kyle, will need all of her attention. Remember - he has shoulder surgery next Wednesday. Can Kaky possibly put a few more things on her plate? Earlier today Kaky helped bathe Morgan Kate and then she fed MK a bottle. I was able to get some great pics of them together. Special!

Yesterday Morgan Kate had her second doctor's appointment with Dr. G. All went well and Morgan Kate had gained an ounce. *Side note: Morgan Kate was weighed Wednesday at Dr. G's office and she weighed in at seven pounds and ten ounces. I know, I know - is that possible? I told Dr. G that she was only 7 pounds 3 ounces at the hospital just the day before. There is a small discrepancy, but Dr. G says we are going to go by the scale at her office and go from there. When weighed again yesterday she was seven pounds eleven ounces. Dr. G increased her feeds to 70ccs and also put her on Zantac for reflux. We are scheduled for another appointment on Tuesday. 

We are continuing to work on bottles. Trav has the most success, but even I was able to get Morgan Kate to take an entire bottle yesterday. Yahoo! It sure did make me feel good. It was hard work, but I felt like I had accomplished a huge task! As soon as she finished the bottle she was OUT!

Morgan Kate's oxygen continues to look good. She is still at 25ccs or 1/16th of a liter and reading high. Dr. G gave us the go ahead to slowly turn her down a little. Today she has spent some time at 1/32nd of a liter and she has done really well. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Then and Now

Day 1 - August 24, 2008

Day 107 - December 9, 2008

First Time Kangarooing with Morgan Kate

Holding my baby girl anytime I want

Only a few days old with the "Sock Man"

Day 107 with the "Sock Man"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I can't even begin to tell you how I have longed to just curl up on my bed and hold my precious little girl. Today I got my chance!

I was so content holding her and I think she was pretty content herself.
Sleeping the day away!
Morgan Kate wore this little Christmas outfit all of about five minutes. She then proceeded to pull out her OG feed causing her to throw up everywhere.
Bath time at the Callahan's! Now bath time may be scary for some "new" parents, but we have had 107 days of experience with assistance from some of the best nurses in the South. This we could handle!
Diaper changing time and I think Daddy was actually changing this one. Ha!
Daddy feeding Morgan Kate her first bottle at home!
Morgan Kate loves this swing!

Well, we survived our second night! Morgan Kate was awake until about 2:30 this morning, but then she went to sleep and slept the rest of the night. Of course we were still up doing her feeds and changing her, but she slept right through it all. Travis and I also took turns which helped out tremendously. I took over the 3am feed and he had the 6am. She has been up a lot more today so hopefully she will sleep more tonight. I have heard time and time again how little sleep parents get, but I never truly understood it until now. However, at the same time, it's crazy how just when you think you can't go another step you get a second wind. Thank goodness!

We are continuing to struggle with bottles. However, Travis fed her yesterday at 9pm and she took one. He has this amazing patience during bottles and I think she feeds off of his energy. She did a great job and almost finished the entire thing. We are just going to take it slow and take it day by day. It's frustrating at times. I don't get frustrated with her, I just get frustrated because it's something that comes so natural to most babies and it is so difficult for her.

Today Morgan Kate's home health nurse, Maggie, came for her first visit. She will continue to come 2-3 times a week. She will weigh Morgan Kate, check vitals and provide any help/supplies that we need. Today Morgan Kate weighed seven pounds even. Maggie talked with us some about the bottle feeding and told us not to get discouraged. She said that even if Morgan Kate only takes a few ccs at least she is trying and getting some practice.

Tomorrow we have another doctor's appointment. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Our pediatrician is also in the process of scheduling an appointment with the pediatric pulmunologist. We should have that confirmed by Monday.

It has been so nice to go to bed each night and awake each morning and have Morgan Kate right there. As I rock her I tell her over and over again how special she is and how her Daddy and I have waited so long for this time with her. It is absolutely amazing how God creates these perfect little people. I am at awe by his work!

By the way, our fur babies, Lola and Cash, seem to have adjusted pretty well. We were worried about how Lola would react, but she has actually done really well. The very first day she jumped right up in my lap and wanted to check out Morgan Kate. Cash has been a little more leary. He will attempt to smell her and then jump back like something has frightened him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sorry it has taken so long to post, but guys, we finally have a baby!

Morgan Kate is home!

Wow! It feels so good to say that. After 107 days in the NICU Morgan Kate is finally home. I cannot even begin to describe the emotions I experienced yesterday or continue to experience every time I see her sweet face. Yesterday was such an incredible day! God has truly blessed our lives and we are so lucky to be Morgan Kate's parents. She is one little trooper!

Monday Night, December 8th
Travis and I "roomed in" with Morgan Kate Monday night. We arrived around 5:30pm and began to assume all "responsibilities". We adjusted her oxygen, gave her all of her medications and took over all feeds. Needless to say, we didn't sleep much at all. For starters it's hard to sleep in the hospital, as I am sure many of you know. Secondly, we were both just to anxious and excited to really sleep. And finally, Morgan Kate is on a three hour feeding schedule, therefore, the minute you feed her and get her to sleep it seems as if it's time to start all over. I know, I know. All you moms out there are probably saying, "Yep, that's what babies do, but it will get better". With all of that being said, I think we did a pretty good job. We helped each other and took turns feeding her. Travis is such an amazing daddy! Morgan Kate's night nurse was great and came in and checked on us frequently which was perfect because we had lots of questions. 

Tuesday, December 9th
Morgan Kate woke up around 5am on Tuesday. Travis got up with her and rocked her until it was time for her to eat and I attempted to sleep a little. Around 9am my mom arrived. All three of us were so excited we could hardly sit down. We would sit, then pace, sit, then pace again. On the day of discharge babies have to first be seen by the neonatologist on duty for an "exit exam", then orders have to be written, then packing up, then mom and dad sign some papers, and then you are off. Dr. E came by around 9am for the "exit exam". It was kind of ironic that Dr. E was there the day of discharge, because she was also there the day Morgan Kate was born. Dr. E then had to see all of the other babies in the unit and then go back and write orders. While we were waiting we had a few visitors. Dr. Salley stopped by to see us and many of our nurses came by for a final visit. Around 1:30 we got the word that Morgan Kate was ready for discharge. We began to pack our things and the supplies Morgan Kate needed - diapers, formula, OG tubes, syringes, stethoscope, wipes, cannulas, etc. 

At 2:30 Morgan Kate's day nurse came in for us to sign papers and "wheel" us off. I had been doing really good all day. I have told you all before that I HATE goodbyes and I usually get really emotional. Up until this point I had done great. I had said goodbye to a lot of great people and I kept it all together. I was really proud of myself. However, the minute I picked Morgan Kate up from that crib and got in the wheelchair I lost it. I was overcome with emotions. Emotions about leaving the NICU- yes, it was a great day for our family, but this was the only place Morgan Kate knew. Everyone had been so good to all of us and taken such good care of Morgan Kate. I felt like we knew everyone there and they were all so great. It was very difficult to leave this "second home". Emotions about finally getting to take our baby home. I remember the day I was discharged from the hospital back in August. It was such a sad day. I remember one of the nurses wheeling me out and I was miserable. Here I was with all this "baby stuff",  but no baby. I felt so empty. However, yesterday I finally got to be wheeled out WITH my baby and it was the greatest feeling in the world. Emotions about finally having this precious girl in my arms. Travis and I have been working on this miracle for quite some time and now we finally have her in our house with us each and every day. Such feelings of relief and contentment. Emotions about finally coming home. When we pulled in the driveway at our house I lost it all over again. Here we were with our little girl and we were finally HOME. Not to mention that Kaky made our homecoming so very special - complete with big pink balloons (15 balloons for every week Morgan Kate was in the NICU), a beautiful stork announcing "It's a Girl" and a welcome home banner. It was so perfect! 

Morgan Kate did awesome on the way home. She sat in her car seat like such a big girl and didn't cry at all. She looked out the window for most of the ride as if she was thinking, "Hello World!" and then fell asleep. Travis and I just kept talking about how this was the ride we had been waiting for for so long and that we were finally a real mommy and daddy. 

Once we arrived home we were greeted by GDaddy and Owens. We got Morgan Kate settled in and she went fast to sleep. She slept until around 10pm. Of course we fed her and changed her, but she didn't wake up once. Now as most of you parents know - if your baby sleeps all day, she is most likely going to be awake ALL night. Well, that is exactly what Morgan Kate did. I think she must have had regular "nightly parties" with the night time NICU nurses and she thought we should have another one last night. Ha! She stayed awake until almost 4am. Yes, that's right - 4:00 in the morning (and we had a doctor's appointment at 8am). We took shifts entertaining and feeding her. Kaky rocked her for a LONG time while Travis and I slept. THANK YOU, Kaky! Not only was Morgan Kate awake, but had a little bit of an upset stomach so she was also quite fussy. At 4am we all settled in for a few hours of rest. I was so sleepy that I went to sleep with my bathrobe and shoes still on. At 6:40 the alarm was going off for another feeding and for our doctor's appointment. 

Wednesday, December 10th
Morgan Kate's first doctor's appointment went well. She did a great job and didn't cry at all - matter of fact she slept through the whole thing. They took us first thing so she wasn't exposed to any other babies. We exchanged a lot of information, Dr. G looked at her throat and ears, weighed her, and examined her little bottom which is quite raw from her upset stomach. Our biggest instructions were "NO VISITORS". Morgan Kate is not your typical term baby and it's winter time which is cold, flu and RSV season, but there is also an outbreak of whooping cough. All of these things would be minor to an adult, but very serious for Morgan Kate. We just left the hospital and we certainly do not want to go back. So we promise we are not trying to keep Morgan Kate all to ourselves (Hee, hee), we are just trying to make sure she stays healthy. We have another appointment Friday morning. Dr. G just wants to see her again before the weekend. 

Today Morgan Kate has been sleeping away. And we finally followed everyone's advice and slept too. Whenever she was sleeping and didn't need to be fed we slept. We are trying to prepare ourselves for another "wide awake" night. Let me just tell all of you "mommies to be" (and I know quite a few of you) sleep now! Don't worry about being lazy - sleep, sleep, sleep! (I know all of you "veteran" parents know this.) Kaky was with us yesterday, last night and all of today. She even cooked us an awesome home cooked meal. Yummy! She left just a little while ago and will be back this weekend. We already miss her and wish she was here! 

Morgan Kate has been on 25ccs of oxygen all day and we have not had to adjust it once. We have attempted two bottles, but had no success. She was not interested! Hopefully once she gets adjusted to home the bottle thing will get better. Travis and I have gotten much better with the feeding tube. We just have to remember that she needs food to grow and get strong and the OG tube is helping with that right now. 

Travis and I finished dinner a little while ago and Miss Morgan Kate is hanging out in her swing. She is loving it! We are very sleepy and feel a lot like zombies, but it is SO worth it. It is such an amazing feeling to be at HOME and have her here with us. Several times today I have thought about calling the NICU just out of habit. It feels kind of strange not calling them or going up for our daily visits. Hello to all our NICU friends! We love you and miss you!

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, calls and well wishes! You have all been so supportive and good to us. We can't wait for the day that Morgan Kate can meet all of you! Please continue to pray for Morgan Kate's health, and our strength and courage. 

*I just looked back and this post is SOOO long. Sorry - I was making up for several days!

Be sure to check out the new slideshow to the right. Pictures of "rooming in" and discharge day.  
We are home! Just wanted to leave a quick update and let you all know we got home around 3:30 today. Everyone is doing great, especially Morgan Kate. She slept for most of the day and is wide awake right now - by the way it's close to 1am. I am still floating in the clouds and can't believe we have her home with us. I will be sure to post details and pictures ASAP. Please continue to pray for all of us!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Updating a little earlier tonight - it may be my only free minute. Travis and I are officially "rooming in" with Morgan Kate. Trav just finished giving Morgan Kate her 6pm bottle. She did an awesome job and finished the entire thing - all 68ccs. Yes, they increased her feeds today and she is doing well. Thank goodness! They have also weighed her for the night and she weighed in at seven pounds and three ounces. Big girl! Today Morgan Kate has been as low as she can be on the oxygen, it can't be turned down anymore. They even tried the cannula off for a while today. She did a great job and her numbers looked great. We put the cannula back on while we were bottle feeding her so that she wouldn't have to work quite as hard.

I slept well last night, but woke up with huge knots in my stomach. I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning. Who am I kidding? I still feel like that on Christmas morning and I am far from a little girl. I tried my best to make sure the house was in order and that I knew where all of Morgan Kate's "supplies" were - diapers, wipes, pacifiers, blankets, clothes, etc. When we left the house at 5pm it felt funny to think that the next time we were back at home we would have a precious little baby girl with us. I can hardly wait!

Morgan Kate has a doctor's appointment first thing Wednesday morning. We will be seeing Dr. Guerkink at Ballentine Pediatrics. We met with her right before Thanksgiving and LOVED her - not to mention that she is like two minutes from our house. We are actually taking her before any other patients arrive. Because of her prematurity and her chronic lung disease they want to get her in and out so they aren't exposed to other things. We will be seeing Dr. G once a week, maybe more. She will help us make decisions about her oxygen and her feeding tube.

In just a little while we will switch Morgan Kate over to our monitors. We have an apnea monitor that will monitor her heart rate and breathing. We also have a pulse oximeter that will monitor her oxygen and heart rate. These are the monitors we will read and follow throughout the night. Wow! This is so real! I am not sure what time we will leave tomorrow. It may be late morning or early afternoon, but I will try to post tomorrow night to give you all an update.

Please pray that the night goes well and that our trip home tomorrow will be smooth. Please also pray that we will all have strength and courage!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy 15 Weeks, Morgan Kate!

I've been sitting at my computer now for over 45 minutes trying to post a picture of Morgan Kate. Today is 15 weeks! After numerous failed attempts I am giving up. I promise I will try again tomorrow (hopefully). While sitting here I have also been thinking about how tonight is the last night I will sit at this computer and wonder about how and what Morgan Kate is doing. The next time I sit at this very spot Morgan Kate will be home and I will know exactly what she is doing. Wow! It still doesn't seem real.

Today was a great day for all three of us. Trav and I cleaned out both vehicles, did the laundry, tested the car seat in the vehicles, vacuumed and mopped the floors, vacuumed the furniture, finalized Morgan Kate's room and made a trip to Wal-Mart. Afterward we headed to see our baby girl. While we were there she slept a little, but was awake for most of the time. I fed her a bottle at 6pm and she did fabulous. I am so very proud of her! She took the entire thing - all 64ccs - in about twenty five minutes. She burped well and even fussed a little when I took the bottle away so that I could burp her. It was so nice to feed her and not have to fight her. Her oxygen was below 25ccs for most of the day. Tonight when we left she was as low as she could go and she was still reading high. Amazing! Tonight was bath night so we helped bathe her, weigh her and get her dressed. She was quite fussy during her bath, but I think she was super tired. By this point she had been awake for quite a while. When we finished dressing her I swaddled her in a blanket and after only rocking her for about ten minutes she was out like a light. 

Don't get me wrong, we are SUPER excited about Morgan Kate coming home. We have never wanted anything more in our entire lives. But today was a little sad. We had to say good-bye to some of our terrific nurses and other staff. They won't be there on Tuesday when we leave so we said goodbye today. Trav said I did a good job. I hate goodbyes. Really I do. Typically I cry and get very emotional, but today I kept it together. These wonderful, awesome people have been with us since day one on August 24th. They have taught Travis and I how to care for our precious little girl. They have seen our highs and many of our lows. They have loved and cared for our baby girl each and every day. These "angels" will always hold a special place in our hearts. When Morgan Kate grows up I will tell her all about these "angels". 

Well, tomorrow night is the night we "room in". Trav is working tomorrow, but once he gets home we will head to the hospital. We will then assume all responsibilities - feeds, meds, adjusting oxygen, etc. Tuesday morning there will be some discharge stuff to take care of and then we will be on our way home. HOME - can you believe it? Oh my goodness how we have longed for this day. We are a ball of excitement and nerves. My mom, dad and brothers will be with us on Tuesday and then my mom will be staying with us. Praise the Lord! I have asked her to stay and help out until Morgan Kate is at least twenty-five. Ha! God has been with us each step of the way and we know he will continue to be with us. We pray for strength and courage. 

Several people have commented, "I hope you continue to keep up with the blog", "Be sure to update when you can", or "I hope you will keep posting pictures." Don't worry a bit! I promise I will continue with the blog. I will update and I will post pictures. I am very much addicted to the "blog world". Now, I may not be able to post every night especially when Morgan Kate first comes home, but I promise it will be frequently. You have all been so good to us and so faithful in thoughts and prayers. You have seen the beginnings of our little one and we want you to continue watching her grow and seeing God's miraculous work. Thank you, thank you, thank you!