Sunday, September 30, 2007

Day 68 - Sunday, September 30 - Jesus slept on my sofa

The title of the blog. This morning as we were getting ready to leave for church, Madelyn looked at the sofa and told Greg and I that Jesus slept on our sofa last night. I am so comforted by the fact that he felt comfortable to sleep at our home. I would have surely offered him a bed!! Anyway, I thought that the innocence of a child is something that we should all have, so I just wanted to share with you that Jesus sleeps on my sofa.

Well Kathryn is doing well. She was having some residual Friday night and Saturday morning. We really need to keep her feeds going and advancing since that is how she will grow and get off of the ventilators. Dr. Strange wrote orders to change her formula to Neocate. Evidently you can only get this formula in England where it is made. They were going to order some for her, but really needed to go ahead with it so they were able to find one canister of it at Children's which they couriered over for Kathryn. So our daughter is starting out right with British formula. She is going to be one expensive little eater!! I hope that this doesn't spoil her for the rest of her life. I feel awful for the wonderful young man that someone else is raising who will one day become her husband. He will have a wife with expensive taste!!!

Kathryn had another eye exam on Friday and it continues to show that she has premature eyes, but still shows no signs of Rentinopathy Of Prematurity!!! That is amazing!! Dr. Strange was very pleased with this!!

Other stats: Kathryn was on 4 1/2 ccs per feed last I checked and she was up to 2 lbs, 4 ozs as of last night!! Please pray for her to continue to do well with the feeds, these are sooooo important!!


Oh and by the way - WAR EAGLE!!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Day 66 - Friday, September 28, 2007

Well, another boring day yesterday!! Kathryn is now up to 3 1/2 cc's per feed every 3 hours and her nurse today speculated that they may go up to 4 cc's per feed sometime today. She maintained 30-40% oxygen through the night and so far today. I know that is higher than room air, but it's about where she was before she got sick, so that is good. Plus, now that she is off the pavulon and fentinel and she had her shots yesterday and Wednesday, they said she may be a bit agitated for a day or two. She dropped 10 grams last night to 980, so she is 2 lbs, 2 ozs, but still that is fabulous - can you believe that we struggled for the first full pound a little more than 2 months ago!!

Other news for the Ellis family:

Madelyn's birthday is fast approaching. I can't believe that she will soon be 4 years old on October 10. She is getting excited about her birthday party and has requested a princess cake for her friends at her party. She also wants cupcakes to take to her school on her actual birthday and she wants to go to Chuck E Cheese for her birthday night. Sounds like healthy eating at our house for a few days, huh?

We are also anxiously awaiting the moment that Greg and I get to be aunt and uncle again and that Maddie gets another cousin. My brother, Beau and his wife, Brittany, are due October 22, but they may induce early. I know that they want to make sure that Reed is ready to meet this world. After seeing a 24 week-er, I feel certain that he must be ready by now since he is almost 37 weeks. He will be a monster compared to Kathryn!! We will be meeting him sometime in the next few weeks so please pray for him as he prepares to meet all us!! And pray for the new parents to be also. They are first timers, but I am sure that it will all come naturally. Although I must say that I absolutely can NOT wait to see both of them change their first yucky diaper!! I may even have the video camera rolling!!

Here's to praying for an uneventful weekend at our home and at Brookwood. We are doing some fall planting this weekend since we are now down to the 80's and 90's instead of the 100's. Please pray for Greg's back and pray for much needed rest for all of us!!!

Please keep Kathryn, her nurses, and her doctors in your prayers!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday night and pictures

Well, today Kathryn got her first round of immunizations. She got dtap and polio shots. That way she should keep up with other babies her same age (at least in one area)!! They gave her tylenol by mouth before giving her the shot and you would think that she just had tasted the world's most delicious ice cream!! She licked her lips for probably 5 full minutes. Now if she could just teach Madelyn how to take medicine!!
Here are some pictures from her birthday. The first shot shows the birthday girl and the sign on her isolette! Happy 2 month birthday!!

The second one shows signs she has on her wall - mostly pictures a la Madelyn and the new birthday sign made by Nurse Ginny!!
This third and fourth picture is of Greg's hand with the tiniest Ellis you will ever meet!! The dark spot on her ear is like the one on her toe. It is really small.

Thought you might enjoy pictures of the celebration. As you can tell, it tired Kathryn out!!


Day 64 - Wednesday, September 26

We celebrated Kathryn's two month birthday last night at the hospital with cupcakes!! Maddie enjoyed hers and several of the nurses joined in with us!! Nurse Ginny put up signs around her bed yesterday that say Happy 2 Month Birthday. I have pictures that I will post (hopefully tonight), but I just couldn't get to it last night!

Kathryn is now up to 2 1/2 cc's per feed yesterday and 3 cc's per feed as of this morning - oh, by the way, it is now considered a "feeding" not gut priming since she is above however much per day. She also weighed 2 lbs, 3 ozs last night. This time that weight is legitimate (last time it was the swelling).

Keep praying for Kathryn!! She is having some really great days!!

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up . . . pray for each other so that you might be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:14-16

See what all of our prayers are doing for Kathryn. I fully believe that medical science is necessary, but ultimately it is the Great Physician healing our sweet baby Kathryn. And all of our prayers let Him know just how much she means to us!!

Thanks so much for the privilege of being part of your prayers! Our family can not begin to extend our grattitude!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 63 - Tuesday - Happy Birthday to Kathryn!!

Kathryn is two months old today!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, Kathryn is two months old today and we are going to celebrate tonight at the hospital with cupcakes!!! (for her one month birthday, we had peti fours - little person, little cake. now that she is bigger, we get cupcakes!) She had a fairly good day yesterday. I went to visit yesterday afternoon after work and she had an episode while I was there. She dropped her heart rate to about 70 (she is usually 120 - 180) and her sats went to 39. Needless to say, I think I turned a light shade of green myself. The nurses and her respiratory therapist (RT from here forward) jumped right in and brought her back up within a few minutes and nurse Heather said she had no more of those through the night and had not done that all day yesterday either. Just like that little one to act up when mom comes to visit. I guess she wanted to make me think she wasn't getting enough attention. The nurses said that is her way of letting them know that she is uncomfortable. They re-situated her and she was fine.

She gained another 10 grams last night and is up to 950 grams = 2 lbs, 1 oz. Her feedings are still progressing, although Heather said that she did have some of the icky residual with leftover formula in it, so they may slow down just a little today. Her ventilator still remains on about 25 - 40%. It's a little higher right now as she adjusts to being off of the fentinel. Everything else remains boring!!

Happy Birthday to Kathryn, Happy Birthday to Kathryn, Happy Birthday dear sweet Kathryn, Happy Birthday to You!!

Please pray for Kathryn!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Day 62 - Monday, September 24

Well, Kathryn continues to impress me right now. She is up to 2 cc's every 3 hours for her feeds!!!! I am not bragging, just stating positive facts! They said that she is having some residual, but not the bad kind, so Dr. Mena is forging ahead!! She needs this to get bigger and stronger so that one day, she can leave the ventilator in the dust! She also weighed 2 lbs, 1 oz last night, so she is gaining again. No other news!


Please pray for Kathryn.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Day 61 - Sunday, Sept 23

Kathryn is off of the fentinel!!! It kinda crept up on us. She has been slowly weening from it and I didn't know. She seems to be tolerating it and she is having baby fits again (just like a normal term baby)!! She is still weighing right at 2 pounds. No big gains or losses. We saw Dr. Mena today and he said that they are going to increase her feeds to 1 1/2 cc's every 3 hours. It's hard to keep up with the amount and frequency of her feeds because it is such an up and down process!! They have to go slow because of possible NEC, but it is also very important because it will help her grow which will help her get off of the ventilator.

Greg and I will go back tonight for a visit, just us, after our bible study. Please pray for Kathryn!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day 60 - Saturday, Sept 22

Well, Kathryn is doing well. She is now on feedings every 4 hours and is getting 1 1/2 cc's each time. So far so good with that. She is also doing well with her oxygen - she has been 21-40% in the last few days. She had a small episode last night, we hear, but they said it is typical preemie stuff and should be fine now! She is still weighing 2 pounds even, but has gained another 10 grams (it just didn't push her back over the edge of 2lbs, 1 oz yet!). No other changes right now - just a boring day!!!! Yeah!!

Please pray for Kathryn.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 59 - Friday, September 21

No real big changes yesterday. Kathryn was having a little residual Wednesday night so they backed off of her feedings to every 6 hours again, but that's really not a big deal. She will go forward and backwards a lot. I checked on her at 5:45 this morning and nurse Brandy said that she had a good night. Brandy made a sign for her that says "Jesus Loves You" and hung it in her incubator on the "ceiling". When Kathryn wakes up, she likes to look around a lot. This way she has something to look at and who knows we may have a genius who starts to read at the ripe old age of almost 2 months and size of 2 pounds!!

I checked with nurse Ginny this morning and Kathryn gained 10 grams last night. She is still 2 lbs even at 910 grams, but she has been losing a little fluid so that is good news!

In our Sunday School class, we are reading the book Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll. The chapter this week discusses impossibilities and uncrossable rivers of life. It talked a lot this week about the miracle of feeding the 5,000 and how the disciples focused on the impossibility of the situation, but Jesus did not. Luke 1:37 says "For with God nothing shall be impossible." This chapter in the book reminded me that God specializes in making the impossible possible. It even refers to God as the Specialist.

Sometimes I wonder how Kathryn will get off the ventilator or how she will move to 2 cc's per feeding, much less a bottle feeding. Then I have to remember two things. First, she is not supposed to be learning these things yet, so it is already a miracle that she is making small strides. Second, this is definitely not impossible for God to help her grow strong. If he can make the heavens and earth, I have no doubts that he can teach her how to breathe all by herself and that he can show her how yummy formula can be!! God specializes in making the impossible possible - I don't know anyone else who can do that!!

Please continue to pray for Kathryn and that she continues on this calm and steady path!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another new picture!

This is Kathryn's foot and my finger.

This is my wedding band on her foot. Just to give you a point of referrence, my wedding band is the same circumference as a penny. (I checked.)

We are having some good days! Please pray for Kathryn!

Good night!


Day 57 - Wednesday, September 19

Well, Kathryn seems to be tolerating her gut priming. They originally started her at 1 ml every 6 hours, then moved to 1 ml every 4 hours, and I just called and she is now at 1 ml every 3 hours. So far, she is doing well with it. We actually got to see the "big" feeding last night. It took all of 1 minute, but she started sucking on her tube as if she tasted it!! The tube actually goes straight to her tummy so she really doesn't "taste" it, but she acted like she did.

She is still having good lab results lately and they are not seeing any unusual residual from her feedings.

Last night was a very nice visit. The NICU is down to only about 10 babies right now because a good number have gone home this week. It's certainly exciting to see babies go home, but as a long timer, it's tough to see. I want to get to the magic day where we take Kathryn home too!! It is so hard for me to be a patient person!! I'll settle right now for the first day we can hold her!! The nurses tell us that Greg and I can fight over being the first and second in line. After that though, the nurses plan to form a line to get their chance. Who are they kidding? Do they really think that Greg and I plan to put her down?

Please pray for Kathryn!! Boring days are great!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A new picture

A picture from today - looks like she might be a red head - or at least strawberry blond!!
Here's one more!! Notice that there are no IV's or Arterial lines in either hand. Might be one of a few days that we see that until she goes home.

Day 56, Tuesday September 18

Kathryn started back on gut priming yesterday. They are giving her 1 ml every 6 hours (that is NOT a lot of food)!! When we visited last night at 8 pm, she had received two of those and was tolerating them well with little to no residual. They will go really slow though to make sure not to stress her digestive system and hopefully avoid NEC. They also performed her first eye test (that I am aware of) on the 14th. Last night we were told that it looked as if the results were normal - so far no signs of ROP (retinopathy of prematurity)! (Look that one up, I can't really begin to explain it well!) She also has been producing a lot more poops - again sorry for the gross details, but these are minor victories folks!! She had a total of 4 yesterday alone and they were sizable enough that the nurses were surprised that she could produce that much!! Her last weigh in showed 2 lbs, 1.7 ozs. Even though she is going backwards a little, it's because she is losing some of that excess fluid, which is a good sign. They have also moved her labs to once a day - mornings only. That is definitely an improvement over every 3 hours where she was a few weeks ago! She is moving around a little more now and opens her eyes during a lot of our visits. She looks around and you swear that she is looking straight at you. Her hair is still looking blond (and she may even have more hair now), but her eyebrows have tinges of red like Madelyn, so she may be a strawberry blond, or who knows, she may change at the last minute and be a brunette like her mom!! There is just no way to tell yet.

I received a comment on our site from a family in Atlanta. The Hess family had a very similar NICU experience and Lauren was kind enough to share her story and blog with us. It sure gives you hope to see babies come home. The Hess family also had to hug goodbyes to dear sweet Cooper. Please pray healing for this family as I can not begin to imagine their joy and their sadness each day as they watch Carson at home and think of their angel Cooper. I have added their blog to our list of friends here on our website (new feature). Hopefully they do not mind. I am sure that they would love your prayers as we do!!

Here are a few pictures from our house!!

I forgot that we went Friday night to the Hoover High School football game. Here is a picture of Madelyn and Nini.

Also, yesterday at the shower for Uncle Beau and Aunt Brittany, we were able to get a picture of Brittany, her mom, and her sister - and of course, Madelyn jumped in the picture!! (Brittany is in the front right by Madelyn.)

This last one is a side view of Reed in Aunt Britt's tummy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Day 55 - Monday September 17

There were no big changes over the weekend with Kathryn. She is off of her antibiotic, her Fentinel is still a little reduced,and she is only taking the steroid once a day right now. She has maybe one or two more days of that and they will reassess to see if they continue them. They were able to take her arterial line out from her left hand yesterday since she is only doing labs every 12 hours now, so they will go back to heel sticks. If they have to increase her lab frequency, they will do another art line, but not for now. She also had her IV removed from her right hand yesterday too because it was running slow, so when she needs her next blood transfusion, she will get a new one of those. But for today, she has no "equipment" on either hand!!! She maintained around 2lbs, 2ozs to 2lbs, 3 ozs over the weekend, but she looks like she is losing some more of the fluid too.

They were talking about starting gut priming late last week or over the weekend, but they decided to hold off. There were two babies in the NICU this weekend that were very sick, so the doctors were a little overwhelmed with their care. We don't know who those babies were, but please pray for healing for sick babies in the Brookwood NICU.

We went yesterday to Montgomery for a shower for my brother and his wife. They are expecting a baby boy in October and received so many wonderful gifts for Reed. Kathryn could fit in one arm or one leg of some of the outfits they received for him!!

Well, better get to work!!!

Please pray for Kathryn.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Day 52 - Friday, September 14

Madelyn and I went to visit Kathryn last night (Greg went by after work for a dad/Kathryn visit by themselves). Greg said that he and Kathryn were "playing a game" yesterday afternoon. He was able to touch her hands and her head yesterday (we don't get to do that often). Every time he would touch her head she would open her eyes, so he would try touching her nose and then she would close her eyes. He said that it happened several times so it felt like a game.

She is doing well and stable and hanging in there! As you might remember, she has been off of the Pavulon for a while now (several days). She is also starting to ween from the Fentinel now too and is tolerating it well. She is now back to labs every 12 hours and her steroids are every 12 hours too (remember, she started on steroids every 6 hours, moved to every 8, then to every 12). And actually her steroids are probably getting ready to move to once a day for 5 more days and then off of them. Antibiotics are still going to make sure to get the infection completely. Her weigh in last night was 990 grams which is still 2 lbs, 3 ozs, but she looks like she is losing her excess fluid! Her little legs and her arms still have some puffiness and her girl parts do too, but her body and her head don't look puffy at all anymore. She is also still on room air - 21% oxygen - for the most part and I believe that they are trying small changes to her ventilator settings too to see how she handles it!! They were planning to start gut priming again yesterday, but decided to give it a little while longer - maybe a day or two more.

Speaking of her head, Dr. Strange came by last night to her bedside to officially show me the results of her last head ultrasound. She said we needed to hear the good news!! It specifically stated "No hemorrhages detected. No abnormalities detected." Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!! She is very lucky to have had no complications in that department!!!!

I also spoke with nurse Jennifer this morning, and Kathryn had two big poop diapers last night and one this morning. I asked her if they were good ones (a nickel size is usually huge for Kathryn). Jennifer said that all three were probably quarter size! Wow!!!!! By the end of the day, we may hit a dollar in total!!! Sorry for the gory details, but we have to find the humor in the little things!!! Plus, I am proud of her for her big accomplishments!!!!

It's so wonderful to see her having much better days right now. I sometimes feel like I am sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next roller coaster hill we are going to race down. I have to focus on not worrying!!!

Greg received a wonderful article from his boss the other day regarding Worry. The article was written by a man sitting in a doctor's office waiting to find out if his baby Isaiah has a brain tumor. He has already lost one child to something similar and he constantly worries about tomorrow, feeling like "today's troubles are nothing compared to what might happen next." He speculates as to how Christ handled worry because He knew what the people would do to Him . . . . . .He knew he was going to be crucified, and yet He did not weep or cry until the day it happened. The author reminds us that "Christ did not promise deliverance on this earth FROM trouble, but instead he promised deliverance IN trouble." If we worry, we focus on the possible suffering ahead and not Christ's comfort in the midst of it!

When we worry, we leave no room for grace. The author leaves with this , "Sometimes, as happened between the first and last sentences of this essay, the doctor says our child is fine. All that worry wasted. All this grace ignored." (I thought you would want to know that Isaiah is fine.)

So with that said, the challenge to myself is to sit back and enjoy God's grace and not worry about the things that may or may not come. If you know me, you know that this is a serious challenge!! Maybe God's way of showing me that I can let go. I know that Kathryn is such a special baby and such a blessing to us - just look what she is teaching us already.

Please pray for Kathryn!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Day 51 - Thursday, September 13 - Another sound off

Ok - so a big favor again from everyone checking on Kathryn. . . . .

Would you mind to sign this blog again and let us know who you are, where you are from, and how you know us/Kathryn? I can't wait until she is grown and I can show her the huge laying of hands she experienced before people even got the chance to know her!!

I hope to write more later this evening when I get to visit with her.

Please pray for Kathryn.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Day 50 - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kathryn is 50 days in the NICU - and she is 7 weeks old today and 31 weeks gestation yesterday. Madelyn was born 3 lbs, 3 ozs at 31 weeks and 2 days (at the same age, Kathryn is 2 lbs, 3 ozs). She "gained" again to 2 lbs, 3 ozs (1010 grams). I asked how she could lose so much the night before and then regain it all back in one night. The answer is . . . . the weigh in the night before must have been really off and she really never dropped that much. So, she is still just over a two pound baby!! She seems to be doing pretty stable lately with no big changes. Dr. Dicarlo mentioned that she may start the gut priming again any day now since she is feeling better. That will be our next big hurdle in hopes that she doesn't have problems with NEC. (check back in old post, I think I described NEC.)

Otherwise, no big changes. Madelyn sang a new song to Kathryn yesterday so Kathryn now officially has heard The Hokey Pokey. Her nurse was helping sing, saying "put your IV in, put your IV out, put your IV in and you shake it all about!!" It was a relaxed and funny moment. We need those!!

She started on her first bag of directed blood yesterday. Libby, thank you so much for giving Kathryn the gift of life!!! Libby guarantees us that her blood donation may lead Kathryn to develop a stubborn streak, which we will gladly accept.

Please pray for Kathryn.

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up . . . pray for each other so that you might be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:14-16


Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 48 - Monday 09/10/07

No big news today. Kathryn continues to remain stable. She had gained up to 1000 grams (birthweight was 400 grams). This was the 2 lbs, 3 ozs. Last night, she dropped a considerable amount to 850 grams which is back to 1 pound, 14 oz. But that means that she is losing her extra fluid!!! She has a small spot on her ear that is dark from laying on the one side for 4 or 5 days without moving. It will probably do just like her toe and she may have a small misformation on her left ear, but it will be very minor. Plus she's a girl and her hair will cover it up anyway!!! Other than that, she is just being a sweet girl and relaxing and giving us a few boring days. (And still hanging out at 21% oxygen - room air.)

Please pray for Kathryn.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

A few new pictures - it's been a while

One of our favorite nurses - Ginny!! Madelyn took this picture tonight.

Maddie and Miss Ginny!! The stickers on Madelyn's arms are Ginny's present to Maddie for being such a great big sister. Madelyn sometimes colors at Kathryn's bedside.

This is Kathryn from today. She was opening her eyes at us for the first time in almost two weeks!! It sure was great to see that!! You can tell that she is a little bigger, but some of that is still puffiness from all that she has been through for two weeks. Being off of the Pavulon should help that!

We took Maddie to the zoo today and she thought it was fun to stand on the water holes!

Another picture standing on the water hole. I am partial, but isn't she just adorable?

Maddie and Nini at the Lorikeet exhibit at the zoo. Greg held the nectar water for the birds. (And then he got pooped on!!)

Maddie also met Barbie Island Princess at the zoo today!

This is a picture of Kathryn from earlier this week. I didn't want to share some of these pictures until she was getting better. She got pretty puffy for a few days. This was probably about 4 days ago.

This was about 2 weeks ago. We let Madelyn touch Kathryn's hand for one minute! It was right as she was getting sick - only we didn't really know it.

Here's the girls holding hands.

Greg and Maddie at Chappy's Deli. About two weeks ago. She's a Daddy's girl - just like Kathryn!!
Hope that you enjoy these. I've spent the last two weeks really focusing on updating instead of picture taking.
Please pray for Kathryn.

Day 46 - We are having pound cake at our house

Kathryn was weighed last night for the first time in a long time. Who's ready for this? . . . . . . .

Kathryn is 2 lbs, 3 oz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe we have multiple pounds!!! We are celebrating tonight with pound cake at our house (and some for the nurses too!!) (She is still swelling, so some of that weight gain may be fluid retention, but I am trying to be optimistic to think that at most 3 ozs is fluid, so she still would be a 2 pounder!!)

She continues to hang in there with no additional oxygen right now. Her vent settings are down a little and now that she is off of the Pavulon, she can open her eyes and look at us. She was wide awake this morning when we went to see her!! I have a little bit of peace knowing that it looks as if Kathryn is making her way past this infection. (The doctors remind us that she is still fighting through it, but she may be nearing the other side of this one!)

We took Madelyn to the zoo today to meet Barbie, so Maddie had stories to tell Kathryn!! We'll go to the hospital this afternoon for a visit and then settle in to watch our Auburn Tigers.

Please continue to pray for Kathryn.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Day 45 - still no bragging, but a few positive facts

I have slept through the night for two nights in a row!! I am still exhausted, but this certainly helps towards my zombie-like state. Greg returned from Florida yesterday afternoon around 5:30, so it's a big relief to have him back and have had no eventful activity with Kathryn while he was gone! Evidently he feels a little relaxed with Kathryn holding stable too since his head hit the pillow and he was snoring in less than 2 minutes. I know because I was still awake doing my Disciple bible study and I had to shake him several times so I could concentrate :)

Kathryn seems to be tolerating her twice daily rotations. Each morning and each night they turn her from front to back or vice versa around 6am and 6pm. So far, no large drops in her oxygen when they do it. She is also up to every 6 hours for her pavulon - a sizable improvement over every 2 hours just a few days ago. She is still on labs every 6 hours (which is better than every 3 hours just a few days ago). When I checked on her this morning at 7:15, she was still on 21% oxygen and had remained that way pretty much since yesterday. (If you didn't catch the importance of 21%, that means she is currently tolerating room air and not requiring any additional oxygen!!) WOW!! - OK, I have to relax about it and remember that I am not bragging, just stating positive facts. (but, wow!!)

Greg and I received several gifts last night from our fearless Sunday School teachers and wonderful friends, the Wheelers. The dinner they brought was wonderful and the gifts for Kathryn and Madelyn were so sweet. Greg and I were blessed to receive a book called Powerful Prayers for your Baby by Heather Kopp. There is a verse just following the forward of the book that is from Lamentations 2:19. It says this,

"Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children."

I feel like I pour my heart out everyday and ask my Heavenly Father to bring us through this and to carry Kathryn in His arms safely through this journey. I definitely lift my children to Him each day, for He is the Great Physician.

There was also a prayer in the forward that I thought was so befitting of everything we are experiencing.

"In Jesus' name I pray, and am confident, that the God who gives endurance, encouragement, and hope (Romans 15:5,13) will accomplish immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine. How thankful I am that His power - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:21) - is at work in me, and my family, and in the baby I love so much (Ephesians 3:20)!"

Can you imagine that the same power that resides in all of God's miracles is at work in a tiny 1 lb, 14 oz baby - my baby!! Thanks so much for all your love and support of Kathryn, Greg, Madelyn, and I. I'm not sure what we did to deserve such blessings, but I sure am thankful.

Please pray for Kathryn.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Day 44 - September 6,2007

Still a quiet night last night. They have written orders to turn Kathryn from her back to her tummy and vice versa every shift. That's a big deal for her because there are times when they just rotated her head last week and she would drop her oxygen sats and take a day and a half to recover from it. So needless to say, it makes me nervous when they are going to turn her.

They turned her yesterday around 5:30 and she tolerated it just fine. They turn up her oxygen to 100% when they do it and within half an hour, she was back down to 30%. (remember, room air that we breathe is 21%, so 30% is not much artificial oxygen over what we breathe). Last night she looked so peaceful again on her tummy and she actually doesn't look as swollen that way either. Madelyn and I sang to her and spent some time, "just the girls," since Greg was in Florida last night for his final trip to Naples!! I missed my 3am "appointment" with nurse Heather this morning. I guess I finally had a somewhat restful night of sleep for the first time in over a week that I just slept right through. I did check on her at 5:30 this morning when I got up for work. Heather said that she stayed stable and had a good night. Dr. Strange has to remind us that she is still sick, but she is having some good days!!

I talked this morning to Kathryn's nurse for the day, Christie. She told me that they have now moved her Pavulon (the paralyzer) to every 4 hours (another ween). That's a good step in the right direction. They have also changed her labs to every 6 hours instead of every 3 hours. Another good step - this should mean transfusions are a little less frequent too - maybe back to every 3-4 days instead of every 2-3 days. They also said that she was at 21% oxygen at the time that I called. Course she does go up and down on her oxygen (or her O's as the nurses call it), but I'll take 21% even if it's only for a little while!!

I also checked to see how we are doing on directed blood donations for her and I think we are great for the moment, but they are going to let me know this afternoon when we may need more. So all you blood donors out there that offered to give for Kathryn, just hang on, we may need you soon!!!

Please continue to pray for Kathryn, Dr. Strange, Dr. Mena, Dr. Dicarlo, all of our nurses, me, Greg and Madelyn. I actually saw Dr. Strange smile about Kathryn last night with a very small sign of relief that Kathryn is just starting to act like she feels a little better (did you catch all of the cautiousness in my words?). Right after she smiled, she said that she did not want to jinx anything by bragging on her, because right after we bragged about her last week, Kathryn had her second downturn last Thursday night. So, Dr. Strange said last night that she is NOT bragging on Kathryn, but is just stating FACTS about some of the positive things going on with her right now. So I too am stating positive facts and I am certainly not bragging about my little fighter.

Isn't this such a roller coaster? Wow, they told us this is possible. I thought that they meant good days and not so good days. I had no idea that they meant this much of swing changes in just a moment's notice. So it seems as if we may be starting to head up the next hill of the coaster. Let's all pray that if we have more dips, they are a lot smaller (and I certainly don't want any upside down loops or corkscrew turns).

I always hated roller coasters anyway - they frighten me!! (Except for the one time in high school that I pretended that I liked them so that Donald Butler would hold my hand when I "acted" scared. Little did he know, I was petrified, but at the time, it was worth it.) I already have the guy this time and he holds my hand even when things aren't scary to me and I like that a lot better!!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Day 43 - Wednesday 09/05/07

Sorry that my posts aren't as regular, but with being back at work and balancing the hospital, home, an almost 4 year old, me and Greg, etc, it doesn't allow much free time. Well, we have had two relatively "boring" days. Please don't mistake that comment - I think we needed a few of those days. The plan right now is treat her with antibiotics for the bacteria infection, then sit back and wait for it to work. By the way, the bacteria they found was not sudamonis (I think I misspelled that). It's actually one called Citrobacter. I couldn't find much on it, but it's another common bacteria.

So, here's the short list of what we are seeing the last few days:
- she's on 2 antibiotics for the infection
- she's still on the pavulon which paralyzes her, but they are starting today to try giving it every 3 hours instead of every 2 hours to ween a little bit
- she's still on the fentinel to make her comfortable
- still getting the HAL (vitamins/minerals) and the lipids (when she needs them)
- she's still on the steroids, same dosage amount, but now every 8 hours instead of every 6 hours (a small ween)
- she's getting vibro every hour - which is a vibration therapy to help open her lungs a little more
- blood transfusions are about every 2 -3 days because her labs are more often through the infection
- lasix usually follow the transfusions to help her with fluid retention
- she is swelling due to the combination of everything, but the doctors say that when she has fought the infection, she will slowly lose all the extra fluid by having lots of wet diapers (so pray that her kidney function remains good!!)

She had a spinal tap today (they also call it a lumbar puncture). It's like getting an epidural. They do that to test her spinal fluid to see if the infection in any way affected the brain. This is a common procedure when preemies get an infection and it lets the doctors know how long to continue the antibiotics, etc. We won't know the results on that for 5-7 days, just like these blood cultures that they do. By the way, they also did another blood culture today to see how that is looking after being on the antibiotics now for 10-11 days. Again, we will know the results of those in another 5-7 days.

Please pray for continued stability for Kathryn as she rests and lets the medication fight this infection. I pray each night that God will be a part of the medicine and heal her from the inside, so that she can start to grow on the outside!! I think that she has had the odds against her at times this past week, but she is proving what a fighter she is and what a stubborn streak she has. (For those of you who know both Greg and I, you do realize that she gets the stubborn streak from Greg, right? Just kidding!!)

Please also pray for wisdom for Dr. Strange, Dr. Dicarlo, and Dr. Mena and for steady hands when they are working on Kathryn. Pray for her nurses each day and each night. Several of them have told us that they call to check on her when they are not working to make sure that she is doing alright. Kathryn has several nurses that are with her a lot - Donna, Jenni, and Jennifer during the day and Heather and Susan at night. It feels like Heather and I have a nightly 3 am appointment since I usually wake up each night around then and call to check on Kathryn.

Please also pray for Greg and I. We get tired a lot!! This is tough physically, mentally, and emotionally. I thank God that we both are not tiring spiritually and that we know how much God's hands are in this. Please also pray for Maddie. I know that she doesn't understand everything, but she is doing so well. She asks a lot of questions and the nurses are so astounded by her interest. Despite Kathryn's swelling right now, Maddie said that Kathryn looks beautiful. She is such a proud big sister. I think that any boys out there that might be interested in Kathryn later in life will have to go through protective big sister Madelyn.

One last thing, Maddie started 3K kindergarten today. What a big girl she has become. I am so proud of her!! Now if we could just figure out how to get her to take medicine - but that's another novel!! (Oh and we had dinner this past Saturday at the Redmond's house for the Auburn game. Evidently, Maddie and Alex (remember the boyfriend - scroll to a posting in July) got married on Saturday night during the game. She even said that she kissed him - Greg made sure that it was only on the cheek.)

Love, Kelly

Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday, Labor Day - Day 41

Sorry that I haven't posted much the last few days. Kathryn hasn't had a lot of changes. She has had her good days and her bad days, but no great leaps and bounds either way. She is starting to swell a good deal from the combination of everything -pavulon, fentinel, not moving, steroids, etc. The bacteria culture from last Sunday was tested and it was found that the antibiotics she is taking are the ones that will best treat this certain bacteria - sudamonis. Please pray that the antibiotics take hold of her body and really start to do a number on this infection.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday, September 2 - Day 40

Kathryn has remained fairly stable throughout the weekend so far. She has had a few small drops in sats, but no really major events. They did finally find that she had an infection. The cultures they took last Sunday came back positive for bacteria 5 days after the initial culture. They are running antibiotics against the culture in a lab setting to see which medicine will beat her strain of bacteria and they hope to start administering the particular medicine today or in the morning. Meanwhile, she is on three broad spectrum antibiotics for now and has been for the week. She is still on all the other medications and is having blood transfusions a little more frequently now (every 2-3 days) because they are checking her labs more frequently through this infection. So, no large changes right now.

Dr. Mena talked to her yesterday afternoon and explained to her the "importance" of SEC football and told her that she needed to remain stable and calm last night so that Auburn could concentrate on their game. Evidently Kathryn minded her doctor (or as Dr. Strange would say, Uncle Wahib Mena). She did well, and so did Auburn. Well, I wouldn't say Auburn did well, but we did win!!

Please pray for continued stability, improvement, and wisdom for our doctors and nurses (and some much needed rest and stress relief for Greg and I)!!