Whitlee | 1 Month

IMG_4488

Our sweet little Whitlee was a month old on Christmas day! I can’t believe it all flew by so fast! She is adjusting well at home and we’re thrilled to have her there. The first couple of nights were a little rough while we found our groove but we’re definitely getting there now. She is so much fun to play with and everyone comments about how alert she always is. She makes the funniest faces and I love talking to her when she’s awake.

IMG_4490

Stats:
The last time we went to the pediatrician she was up to 5lbs 7oz and was 18 1/2″ long. They didn’t tell me what percentile that was but I don’t think they put preemies on that type of chart until later. The goal is for her to grow and she’s doing that nicely now. At our first appt, which was only 2 days post nicu, she hadn’t gained any weight at all and they were concerned. They had me rearrange our feeding schedule (more about that later) and said our goal was 20 grams per day of gain. At our next appt 6 days later she should have been 4lbs 14oz to have gained appropriately but she had exceeded that at 5lbs 7oz. So I was a proud momma that we’re doing good in that aspect.

Eating:
Whitlee left the NICU eating 40-50 ml (about 1.5 ounces) every 3 hours. She was taking two feedings by breastfeeding and the rest were bottle feedings. They told us we could continue to breastfeed every other feeding but that the other times needed to be breastmilk with an added fortifier. Breastmilk is typically anywhere from 19-20 calories and they have us adding Similac Neosure to make it 24 calories. The first couple of days we continued her normal schedule. She was breastfeeding well, but I have an over supply so she wasn’t emptying me and I was still pumping after each feeding. For her bottle feedings we were using the Avent Natural bottles and she just would not finish a bottle. I was so upset thinking she wasn’t getting enough to eat. When we went to the pediatrician we talked about it and they wanted me to feed her every 2 hours. We also visited the NICU to take them some thank you goodies and they gave me some of the bottles and nipples that she was used to. I also stopped breastfeeding so that I could measure everything she was eating and be sure that she was eating enough. We fed her every 2 hours for a few days and now she’s on a routine of eating 2.5-3 ounces every 3-4 hours. We’ve swapped over to the Parent’s Choice bottles from Walmart and using the Gerber latex nipples. We’ve determined she doesn’t like silicone nipples at all to eat from, but oddly enough doesn’t mind a silicone pacifier. (Idk.. makes no sense to me?) I’m sad about not actually breastfeeding but I’m still pumping so she’s still getting breastmilk exclusively with every other bottle being fortified with extra calories. The good thing is she’s growing, so that’s what I focus on!

Sleep:
The first couple of nights home were a little rough. The NICU kept telling us it’d be a breeze “because she’d be on a schedule”. Pffttt… that did not happen. The first couple nights she would only sleep if I was holding her. So that’s what I did. I slept sitting up with her on my chest.  The third night got a little better and the night after that was even better. She sleeps anywhere from 2-3 hours at a time now. She normally eats, then stays awake for about an hour and is adorable, then goes back to sleep for couple of hours. I’ve gotten a few glorious stretches of her sleeping for 3 or 4 hours and I was able to sleep too. Right now she mostly sleeps in the Rock & Play, sometimes I let her nap on me and sometimes if I’m able to keep an eye on her I let her nap on her belly on the couch. I don’t let her sleep like that if I plan to sleep at the same time because she has gotten strong enough to lift her head and I get worried she’ll smother herself.

Milestones:
Whitlee can lift her head up and look around when she’s doing tummy time. I havent really pushed tummy time a lot get because she’s still so little but in the past couple of weeks she has gotten much bigger and much stronger. She’ll lay on my chest and pick her head up and look at me. If I put her on her belly to sleep, she can pick her head up and swap sides depending on what she feels like looking at.

She also looks at us a lot. She’s so alert sometimes and will just stare at something or someone forever.

She smiles sometimes too. And she does this little thing where she breathes kind of fast and then smiles really big… it sounds and looks like she’s laughing but it’s probably just gas. 🙂

PhotoGrid_1419974091210

Whitlee had her first Christmas and it was pretty low key. Some of the family was sick, so we’ve actually postponed some of our get-togethers until everyone is well. I really wanted to get her first Santa Clause picture, but was concerned about the germs of the mall. Thankfully, Whitlee’s great grandpa plays a pretty good Santa and he came to visit on Christmas Day! So sweet!!

Family Christmas 2014

New ImageChristmas

New Image3

Likes:
Being held
Baths (unless she gets cold, which I try to prevent)
Her rattle elephant she got for Christmas
Eating, of course
Being talked to, especially by mommy and daddy

Dislikes:
Diaper changes
Waiting on a bottle
Being put in or taken out of the car seat (she’s fine once she’s in or out)

Thankfully she’s not really a fussy baby. She basically cries when she’s hungry or when she needs a diaper change. She does grunt a lot but I’ve read it’s pretty common and she’ll outgrow it. We’re trying some gas relief drops to see if that’s what’s causing the grunting.

Being a mom for this first month has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. I am sleep deprived occasionally and rarely wear more than a t-shirt and yoga pants but when that little girl falls asleep snuggled next to me or smiles (even if it’s gas), it is SO worth it. We love her more than the world and can’t wait to see more and more of her personality to develop. Our hearts are so full! ❤

IMG_4442

Advertisements

Merry Christmas

I had a Christmas card all planned and waiting to be purchased… about the time I was being admitted for high blood pressure the first time. After that whirlwind, then having our sweet little girl, traveling back and forth to the nicu, and then finally getting her home, they never got ordered. So to all of my readers – family, friends, and new followers – Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

image

Love,
Nolan, Jaime and Baby Whitlee

NICU | Day 20

Whitlee’s 20th day in the NICU was her last! I called today at lunch to see about her getting to leave and they said to bring Nolan when I come so that means they were sending her home!

image

image

So after 20 long days of driving back and forth to see her, our sweet girl is finally home with us. We are thrilled and so in love with her! Happy graduation day, Whitlee!!

NICU | Day 19

Whitlee’s 19th day was another good one. I’d been telling Nolan that he needed to go with me during the day if he could because she’s so awake after she eats at 2 and she’s so fun to look at and talk to. So he was able to go today and she was perfect! She breastfed wonderfully then stayed awake just long enough to be adorable then went back to sleep.

image

image

She has also continued to eat everything by mouth and they told us to bring her car seat when we came back that evening for her car seat test! And I just got word that she passed that perfectly. She’s actually big enough now that the newborn insert that came with our carseat fits her great even though she’s not quite 5 lbs yet. Just an FYI, they make all preemie babies that have been on oxygen sit in their car seat for 90 minutes and make sure that A. they fit safely, and B. they don’t have any bradycardia or apnea spells, basically make sure they’re not going to get in their car seat to go home and freak out and stop breathing. But she passed, so that’s great news! That means as soon as her doctor gets back on Monday, he has to get caught back up on all of his patients, but I’m hoping like crazy she gets to go home. It should either be Monday or Tuesday! We’ve got lots of nurses and even my OB backing us saying she’s for sure ready to go. Tomorrow could be our big day! 🙂

NICU | Day 18

Day 18 of Whitlee’s stay in the NICU fell on 12-13-14. We basically knew early on there was a slim chance on me making it to my due date, so 12-13-14 was the day I was actually hoping to have her, as I would have been a day short of 37 weeks. Turns out 12-13-14 ended up being a significant day anyway. At 2pm, it marked 24 hours that our sweet girl had eaten everything by mouth! Her doctor won’t be back until Monday and the replacement doctor will not be discharging her, but she has finally met the last milestone! Now she just needs to keep up the eating so they don’t have any reason to put her tube back in, keep her weight up with all this extra work she’s doing (she’s 4lbs 11oz now!), and pass her car seat test. We are so excited and so proud! I hope we are home together as a family very soon!

image

NICU | Day 17

Today was another good day! Whitlee is doing really well in her open bassinet and starting to take more and more of her feedings. When I got there for my daytime visit, in 24 hours she’d taken all but her 11 pm and 11 am feedings by mouth, so that was a great improvement! She breastfed great for me and then we just rocked for a while like usual. She’s always wide awake this time of the time day unless we’re rocking and I’m holding her. As soon as I go to put her back in the crib, she’s awake. This is becoming her normal schedule though, she’s done it three days in a row. So I got her settled, even though she was awake, and let the nurse know she was back in her crib and awake, but seemed content and would probably eat good for her at 5 if she stayed awake.

image

image

Here’s the good part – when we went back for the evening, our favorite night nurse, Wendy, was back. She said she’d gotten there early and picked her favorite babies for the next few nights, which of course includes Whitlee. Then she said she’d been there for the 5 pm feeding and she’d sucked down her 40ml bottle in 8 minutes! I think she’s got this eating thing down! So Wendy was able to get a jump on her assessments for the night, and get all of her weighing and baths done. Whitlee is up to 4lbs 9oz now. Our girl is growing! Then she told us Whitlee had pulled her feeding tube out again… and that she was going to leave it out for as long as she takes her feedings by mouth! Her theory is (and I’ve personally witnessed it happen) is that babies that are on the verge of eating all feedings by mouth will normally go ahead and do it if you’ll take their tube out. There was a baby boy in there recently that was at the same point as Whitlee and kept gagging every time he’d eat, then he’d fight the bottle, so they’d drop the rest down his tube. Wendy let him keep his tube out after he pulled it out, thinking it was the tube irritating him, and she was right – he went home like two days later! Unfortunately, Whitlee’s doctor is out for the weekend so even if she does amazing, the replacement doctor doesn’t like to discharge babies that aren’t her admits, so we’d have to beg and really make her case, but it’s possible. Or it could end up being a situation where her doctor comes back Monday and the nurses are like, “Look how good Whitlee did while you were gone. Can she go home now?” I’m hoping, praying, wishing on shooting stars (I saw one on the way to the hospital tonight), wishing on 11:11, and crossing my fingers and toes that it’s soon!!

image

Even at nearly 5 lbs, she still looks tiny with her Daddy!

Update – I called the NICU this morning while pumping (which is actually Day 18) to find out how she did through the night and she’s still going strong without her tube!! She has taken all of her feedings by mouth since 2pm yesterday. She just needs to keep it up and she can leave the tube out and come home very very soon!

NICU | Day 16

Our girl is finally in an open bassinet!!

image

image

They gave her a little Christmas hat!

Today was a really big day for her. She moved to the open bassinet and just suddenly seemed so big. Her umbilical cord stump has fallen off also. To me that means it is definitely time to come home! (Unfortunately, she hasn’t quitteee met the next milestone.) She breastfed like a champ for my daytime visit and was wide awake when I left,  causing me to worry she’d be thrown off again for the evening.

image

But her nurse called me later that evening and said she’d stayed awake all the way to her next feeding and that she’d taken the entire bottle by mouth and was finally asleep. Then when we went back for the feeding after that, she ate again for me – just barely enough though. She was very very sleepy. But I feel like her taking three feedings in a row by mouth is a major leap forward. I was hoping that being in the open bassinet would help something click for her on the eating front. This is her last major milestone – she just has to eat everything by mouth for 24 hours, but also maintain her body temp and weight gain. She should also be getting close to her car seat test!