Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dr. visit for boys

I just have to share this story because, well, it made me laugh!

Yesterday, both boys had to go to the doctor for a checkup...just a general physical and talking about any issues we have, such as getting a referral to an allergist for Corbin (and Logan because we think he has some allergies too). While there, the nurse checked their hearing, vision, weight and height. While checking their vision, we decided to have Corbin do the picture chart instead of the alphabet because he seemed unsure that he would recognize all of the letters. The nurse had him cover his right eye and name the pictures...then she told him to cover his other eye. He did, but did not realize she would expect him to put his other hand down. So, he was standing there with both eyes covered about to read from the chart....it was too funny. I know he must have been wondering how he was going to see the pictures! ;)

By the way, both boys are healthy...Corbin does not need glasses at this time.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rainy Days

We've had some days of rain this week: dreary, gray days but in the mix were some very mild, beautiful days too. The kids got to spend several hours outside with the neighbors on Saturday, and they played outside a bit today ( between rain showers) too. I am excited about the arrival of spring, even with the rain (nothing like the rain storms in Florida thank God!) and though it's possible that we'll have more cold weather or even snow (not likely I hope) I think we're out of the worst of the weather. Now we have months of green grass, beautiful flowers, birds singing, and good driving weather. I'm so looking forward to beginning to get out and do some walking along the canal or going hiking with the family in a state park. We didn't do much together in the fall because of the pregnancy. The kids are also happy to finally be able to get their bikes out to use and have been riding along our street. It's great because we live on a cul de sac and the only traffic (basically) are those who live on our street. So not too many traffic worries...now to get helmets so they can ride fast. ;)

We went to church this morning for the first time since Emma's birth. We were a little late but only missed the first song. Emma slept the whole time and the other kids enjoyed their classes. They are glad to get back to church, and Hailey got to explain to her class why she'd been absent for so long. I'm pretty sure she was thrilled to share about her baby sister! And her teacher came out to peek at Emma when we were leaving.

I've been able to talk to Karl every day. He's been busy up 'til yesterday (Sunday for him) when he had some down time. He was going to do some tourist-y stuff, some of his school work, and just relax. Hopefully he will get to blog about his adventures soon but I'm not sure. I know he was going to try to get some good pictures too, but we'll see. We miss him so much. I know he's got to do this for work, and I'm so thankful that he has a job that he loves, but I will also be very glad when he's back. It's just not the same without him. :(

I'm still tweaking Emma's schedule. She sleeps well in the mornings during her nap time; it's the evenings we need to figure out. She is also sleeping very well overnight. She slept all night once, and last night (after being awake from one feeding to the next) she slept from 1 a.m. to about 8:15 a.m....so technically slept 'all night' again, though 1 a.m. is not our goal bed time. :} Most of the time she wakes just once during the night to be fed. She is fussy during the evenings most days, I haven't really figured out the reason. Otherwise she is a happy baby.

Well, not much else to share.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bowling and other stuff...

Today we went to home school bowling...our 2nd time back since I had the baby. I'm happy to say Corbin did well today and scored 75 points...only 1 point more than the other top scorer on his team. I don't really know how Hailey and Logan did because the two teams were at complete opposite ends of the alley, but I think they have had kind of a tough time because they are of course playing without bumpers. And, I think they spend much of the time goofing off. ;} I guess everyone is having fun and getting some exercise, which is the point. I was told that there will be a half-session starting after this one is over, and they also do it over the summer. I'm not sure if we'll participate, but we may. It's been nice to get out and see other people, for me and the kids.

Sunday night we had our first all night cry fest...I think Emma just slept too much on Sunday; Karl says she just misses him. :) She woke up to eat at 8 p.m. and never went to sleep until about 4 a.m....she would start to doze off, startle, then start crying. I was trying to get some sleep but was not successful. I kept getting up to reassure her, hold her a moment, change her diaper, feed her when it was time. None of it helped until I fed her at 3:30 a.m....then she went down until I got her up at 8:30 a.m. Well, I tell you I was very determined on Monday to make sure she spent plenty of time awake during the day to try and avoid the whole all night wake time! So, I developed a plan of sorts. When I get her up, I change her diaper, and use a wet cloth to wash her face. This is usually sufficient to get her awake enough to eat. When I stop feeding to burp her mid-way through, I usually use the cloth again and maybe take off her outer layer of clothing (we always keep a Onesie on her right now under her clothes). And once she's done eating I will again check if she needs a diaper change; wipe down her body with a wet cloth; apply lotion to her legs, arms, belly, and back; then re-dress her. All of these things take more time but they do ensure that she is awake for a bit after feeding. I have been tempted to just put her back to bed after feeding sometimes because it's easier than working so hard to have that 'wake time' but it pays off to do the work. Last night she slept great...from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m....and yesterday and today we had great day time sleeping with no fussing. Yeah! I know there are going to be times when she will just be fussy, but I truly believe a schedule minimizes that and makes for a happier baby (and mom). Once we've gotten this wake time thing down we'll be good to go...then I just have to get the rest of us 'scheduled'! We are using the book Baby Wise (maybe you've heard of it) to help with scheduling...we've used it with each child and it really has made things easier.

We started back up with school yesterday, trying to catch up on what we missed these last few weeks. We will be doing just the basics until we've caught up to where we should be. So far, it has worked well. Emma sleeps well enough right now that we can get our reading portion done and any other things that I have to do with them while she's napping. Logan and Hailey get their independent work done right after chores in the mornings so that's a great help. As for me and my chores, I'm working on it. I am able to get laundry done and dishes fairly regularly...it's the floors and cleaning the bathrooms that are taking a backseat. I know as we get into a better routine it will get better. I'm not overwhelmed..things aren't that dirty, but I do want to get to a point where I'm getting things done regularly again. I'm trying to cut myself some slack, but I can only use the old I have a newborn excuse for so long! Something else that is helping us so much is that people have been bringing us meals for the last week, and there are several more to come. It's such a blessing and I'm so grateful! It allows me to do the other necessary things and not worry about getting food on the table while Karl is gone. Maybe by the time he returns everything else will be under control and I can easily incorporate meal preparation back into our lives. :}

There won't be any new pictures for a while. I am taking them with our small camera, but I don't know how to transfer them. So, upon Karl's return we will transfer the newest ones to our computer and post them here all at once. So, please be patient.

We have made a hand and footprint of Emma...just as we did with the other three kids. We just have to send them off for bronzing and we'll be able to put them in the shadow box to display. We actually still don't have Corbin's in a shadow box, nor do we have Logan's or Hailey's hanging up in the new house yet. I guess we'll get that done all at once when they are all ready and we have some time. It could be a while...

Well, nothing else to report. Karl did say he might post about his days as he gets time so check back for that. I have no idea when he'll get to it, but it's sure to be interesting reading. Until later...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Routine..

I don't have anything exciting to share right now. We've been staying home as much as possible in order to get Emma's schedule straightened out. She's done great, but going to the doctor daily was beginning to interfere! We have her on a schedule...considering the context of each situation of course...feeding her every 2.5 to 3 hours. This will help regulate her metabolism and my milk supply. I think we are on our way...sometimes it doesn't go the way I plan but for the most part it's going very well. She only wakes up once during the night right now, and I hope that continues. It's so nice to get 5 hours of sleep at a stretch...even if it doesn't last I'm enjoying it right now. It takes me no time to get to sleep these days. Having a newborn is exhausting I guess, even when she's happy and content!

We are planning to start back up with school on Monday. I'll have to work with our schedule a bit to see what's going to work. The kids will still be able to get their independent stuff done in the mornings...and we'll have to do the part I'm involved with whenever Emma is sleeping. I could do some of our reading when she's up too, it really just depends on each day's situation.

I am hoping we can get some more pictures of Emma this weekend. Karl is getting ready for another trip soon, so we'll have to spend some time preparing for that. I need to have him remind me how to transfer the pics from the camera to the computer, then maybe I can post some pictures while he's gone. Otherwise, there will be no new ones until he returns. :}

A friend of mine here has coordinated meal preparation for us, and I have to say it's wonderful! It's so nice to know I have a meal coming every other day for a little while. Then I can plan for leftovers, sandwiches, or to prepare a meal on the opposing days. It relieves some of the stress because sometimes I am feeding Emma when I would normally be cooking, it helps that we don't have to have as many groceries right now...it's great and I so appreciate everyone who is helping us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Not much else to share right now...I'll be back when I have something new.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Last visit to the doctor and other news

Today I took Emma Grace to the doctor one more time, expecting that she would have one last bilirubin check. However, I was given a choice about whether or not I wanted them to do it...I guess she looked good enough for them to feel comfortable enough to offer that. I declined...although I would like to know what her number is to compare it to the others, I could not bring myself to have them stick her poor heel again just so I could know the number! Unless she has other problems, or begins to look yellow again, we do not see the doctor again until her 2-month well-baby appointment. Then she'll get some immunizations and the like. She continues to nurse well, she's sleeping a lot, and her diapers have been plenty wet and messy...a great thing when it comes to getting rid of the excess bilirubin!

In other news, we got a new stove today. We've been having problems with our other one beeping at us at odd times...Karl thinks it was a heat sensor issue. However, after checking prices for installation and part prices, he decided it would serve us better to just get a new stove. The delivery time was scheduled for the same time I would be at the doc with Emma Grace, so Karl ended up coming home to be here for delivery. The rest of the kids stayed with him, so I didn't have to take them with me...I could have managed, but it would have proved more difficult. Now, I get to cook a nice meal on my new stove tonight (burritos and spanish rice) and I won't have to worry with the beeping when he goes out of town! It's haphazard and you can't cook while it's on...and so very ANNOYING.

It's time to feed Emma Grace again soon, so I'll end here. I'll be back when I have a few moments.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pictures of Emma Grace

Here are a few of the latest pictures of Emma Grace for your enjoyment.


She likes to sleep donwstairs in one of our wicker laundry baskets in the morning. Everyone wants to be in the kitchen!

Sacked out after a getting a full tummy.

Corbin is funny when he holds Emma...he likes to place his finger right on her cheek and leave it there. He loves how 'squooshy' her cheeks are!
So Logan did not want to hold his sister when we first brought her home. It took him a good day for us to convince him to do it. I think maybe he was just nervous that he might drop her. Once he saw all of us holding her and realized she'd be fine he was ready.

Relaxing at home

On our two visits back to the doctor, Emma's weight was 7 lbs. 9.5 oz on Thursday and up another half ounce to 7 lbs. 10 oz. on Friday. Her number went up Thursday to 14.5 but was down again by Friday afternoon, to 13.3. The doctor thought that was a significant reduction, so gave us the weekend off. No heel pricks for two whole days...yeah! We will go again tomorrow at 1 p.m. to do one more blood test, but I really expect it to be down a good bit and that we won't have to go back to see them until maybe her 1 month well-baby appointment. She continues to nurse well and sleep well, producing good diapers, too.

My parents, after being here for 3 weeks, decided to head on home this morning. They have some appointments of their own to see to and they need to just settle back in at home for a while. It was so nice to have them here, and such a great help. Things would have been much more difficult to manage had they not been here to stay with the other kids. God knew what we needed, and He provided as He always does. Prayers for their safe travel home are much appreciated.

Today we decided to stay home from church one more week. I had thought we would attend services, but after such a busy week and with the upcoming busyness of the first part of next week, I decided it might be best to stay home and just relax a bit. We've definitely done that, and it's been nice. We did clean up a bit, trying to get some of our accumulated clutter under control. It's a beautiful, 'warmer' (it's 52 right now) day so Karl grilled some burgers and I made some baked beans for us to enjoy for lunch. The kids even chose to eat outside on our deck. We also had some of my dad's leftover cake (his birthday was yesterday) with some coffee. So yummy!

It will be time to feed Emma Grace again soon, so I should go. Just wanted to post a little update from the last few days. We will post new pictures soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Holding her own...

The Dr. visit went well yesterday. Emma now weighs 7 lb 7 oz, and her number was 12.5...up a little...but the doctor did not act too terribly worried. We do go back today at 3:15 for another test to see what she's doing. However, I think her color is great, and she's having more dirty diapers, so I'm thinking she'll be fine. We do still covet your prayers though, that she'll continue to do well and that her number will continue to decrease. I'll be back to report sometime tonight about how the doctor visit went today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We're home!

After being off the lights since this morning, Emma's 2 o'clock blood test came back a 10...3 tenths of a point below the previous number. This is what we've been waiting for! The doctor released us this evening and we have to take her in tomorrow for them to do another blood test in the office...just to be sure the number is still going down. So, we've all been enjoying being home together. We're so glad to be here where we can relax. Thanks for all the prayers. Please keep us in prayer tomorrow too that she'll have a good number then.

She has been doing a great job nursing, and as a result has been sleeping well. So thanks for all the prayers for that too.

I'll pop back on tomorrow and let you all know how things went at the doctor's office.

off the lights...again

When we got to the hospital this morning the doctor had said to take Emma off the lights again...her number was down to 10.3 at 6 a.m. So, we are waiting now to see what her number will be when they get it again at 2 today. Depending on what it is the nurse will call the doctor and we'll go from there. The main issue has been the number begins to rise each time she comes off the lights, so our goal is not so much a low number (though we want that too) but more that the number just needs to stop rising.

The rest of Emma's feedings went well yesterday, so thanks for all the prayers for that. It's something we will continue to work on together.

Monday, March 9, 2009

update on Emma Grace...

We did not get a chance to get back on here last night to tell what was happening...we did not find out until 10 p.m. what her number was. The doctor wanted to keep her overnight to see what her next number would be, so we went home and to bed.

We were up again this morning to be here by 8 a.m., hoping to meet with the doctor and go home...no such luck. Emma's number is up another point, so they are putting her under the lights yet again. We will get another check of her blood at 10 p.m. tonight, then again at 6 a.m. tomorrow. At that point it will be up to the doctor again as to whether or not he will release her...though I expect they'll want to have her off the lights awhile before checking a number, then talk about discharging. So, it will be at least tomorrow, but we expect it to be more like tomorrow night or even Wednesday morning.

Our main struggle right now, besides the fact that we don't have her home, is trouble with feedings. We can only have her out from under the lights for 30 minutes every 3 hours. That puts a lot of pressure on her and me to feed properly. There are times that she won't latch on well, so she doesn't eat much. (A higher bilirubin level causes her to be sleepy, so that does not help with nursing.) This morning she did not latch on at all, probably because it had been so long since her last feeding,...she wanted instant gratification! I ended up having to express milk and bottle feed her...not a big deal except I don't have time to try to nurse her, and pump, then feed her when she's got to get back under the lights. She has to eat every three hours...sometimes just because she wakes up and is hungry...but mostly because eating helps her to produce stools and urine, which gets rid of the extra bilirubin, which will reduce that number. So, if you all could pray for Emma to eat well, to produce lots of urine and stools, and just to get well as quickly as possible. My parents are being great, Karl has been wonderful bringing me back and forth to the hospital and making sure I'm fed properly, but we're all tired and ready to just relax in our home with our new baby girl. I know she will be fine...her color is great right now, we just have to get her number to stop rising and come down once she's off the lights.

Another update will be coming either tonight or in the morning.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

off the lights

Emma is off the lights now...her last number was down to 11.1. Now we are waiting to see what her rebound number is; they'll do another blood test at 8 p.m. Depending on the number, we may get to take her home, though I'm not sure they will do a discharge that late at night. The nurse will call the doctor after she gets the results to see what he wants to do. So we will post again tonight to let you all know what the latest is.

Another day in the hospital...

We arrived at the hospital at 8 a.m. this morning. Emma was just waking and ready to eat. She did great at this feeding, nursing well, and was content when I took her back in to be placed under the lights. She settled in nicely and is sleeping now.

I will be hanging out at the hospital today, while Karl heads back home to rest and help my parents with the kids. He is feeling a bit under the weather so we thought it best that he not hang out here today, both for the babies in the nursery and for himself...he'll be more comfortable at home. The nurses will take another blood sample to test at 2 p.m. Emma's most recent numbers were 13.1 and 13 so they are decreasing but not at a quick rate. After we get the next number back the nurses will speak with our pediatrician and find out what he wants to do next. At this point it looks like it will be another night before she is released, but no one has said that...we don't really know. It certainly won't be before late tonight. I want her home so much, but I would much rather have her stay again and be more sure she won't have to come back than take her home today and end up right back here in a day or two. Her color is definitely better, so that's wonderful.

My parents have been a great help, staying with the kids so we can be here. It would be so much more difficult if they had not driven up to be with us...I'm so thankful that it was possible for them to do that. My mom has been cooking and trying to at least maintain the laundry...a daunting task in our household! I feel terrible that they have not had a lot of time to spend with Emma, but I know they'll take advantage of that once she's home again. :)

I will be back later today to post about what comes next.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

the day's events

After the 11 p.m. feeding last night, Karl and I decided to head home for some sleep...they were planning to feed Emma expressed breast milk and formula during her night time feedings. We thought it best that we get some good rest before the long day here today.

We got up this morning early so we could get to the hospital for her 8 a.m. feeding. She nursed well and was wide awake for a while. Then we went out for breakfast...it's nice to get out of the hospital for a bit to see day light and breathe some fresh air! We came back for her 11 a.m. feeding and stayed through the 2 p.m. feeding in a little room they have set up for breastfeeding moms to use. We both got in a bit of a nap, I spoke to the lactation consultant to get some tips on helping Emma nurse better, and then we fed her.

It's nice that we are able to stay here and be with her for the feedings when we can...but it is difficult to get her to nurse well during the 30 minute time limit. And it's disappointing not to be able to hold her more, just to enjoy being with her. However, I know it's best that we stick to the time limit because she needs to be under the lights as much as possible. Her latest number was 14.4...which is pretty good for her age now. I think we're waiting for it to get down to around 12 before they take her off the lights again. Once they do that, they will do another blood test after 4-6 hours off the lights...then we can see if we'll be able to take her home yet. We are hoping it will be tomorrow, but obviously at this point we'd rather she stay longer now so we can avoid another trip here to re-admit...it's been an emotional roller coaster ride for me and I really want to avoid doing that again.

We ended up going out for a late lunch around 3 p.m. to a place called Delmonico's Italian Steak House. We'd never been there before; things turned out pretty good. We both had steak..I think I liked mine better than Karl liked his, though. We also had some dessert...a delicious piece of chocolate chip cheesecake...and some coffee (decaf. for me). It was good to leave the hospital again and have some decent food.

We've just finished Emma's 5 o'clock feeding...she nursed okay but was still hungry so I was able to give her a bottle of breast milk. She's not nursing as well as we'd like but it is going better than it ever did with the others. I expect that we'll both get better with time and experience. ;) Karl and I are planning to stay here until her 8 p.m. feeding then go home for the night. They have expressed milk to give her and the doctor ordered supplementation anyway, so she should be fine. That way we'll both be well rested when it is time to bring her home again.

The rest of the kids are fairing okay, though my mom told me Hailey has said she misses me...actually she said this morning, "I miss you already" when she saw us getting ready to leave. They are not used to being away from us so much, so it is an adjustment. My parents say they've all been behaving pretty well, so that's a plus. EVERYONE is ready for us to be able to be home soon, though.

The nurses will do another blood test at 10 p.m. tonight, then again in the morning. It will be up to the doctor when they take her off the lights...but it sounds like it will be sometime tomorrow.

We will be sure to get back on here and post more info. as we have it. Thanks so much for all your prayers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

newest info...

The latest bilirubin level came in and was 2 points below the first number they took...a great thing! Emma has been under the light since about 2 p.m. today, except for the 30 minutes I've been able to feed her every three hours. It's been difficult not to be able to spend time holding and enjoying her, but I know the more time spent under the lights at this point the better. The nurses have also been giving her supplemental formula to help speed the process of elimination...in short, the more she poops the better! ;)

I will be going home overnight, after the 11 p.m. feeding, to get some rest for tomorrow. The nurses will give her formula or expressed breast milk for those feedings.

We don't really have any idea yet when she'll come home...the number still has a long way to go before they will consider that. But it should be a matter of days...We will be back on to post more details once we have them. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Back to the hospital...

I was waiting to post anything until we saw our pediatrician today, hoping to share more good news. However, it turns out Emma's bilirubin level has increased significantly and she has been admitted at Strong Memorial Hospital so she can be under the bili lights again. We're waiting now to get the new level they just took...to find out what steps, if any, will be taken next. All prayers are appreciated.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We're Home! (kjw posting)

Just got back from the Hospital. Bili levels were under the limit, so I got to take everyone home. Wendy is busy talking with her mom, so I'll just post a bonus pic until she has time to type a post for herself.

I suppose this weekend we will dress her up in something cute and take a few pictures for Grandma.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

more baby news...

Not a lot to report yet...I was approved to stay one more night since Emma is so I can feed her through the night and into tomorrow...

There will be another blood test at 9 p.m. to see what the level is, but the last one was at 9.9...lower than the previous #. At some point they will turn the lights off and do another test after going without them to see what happens. The hope is that the number does not increase, but continues to decrease...this will help determine whether she stays yet another day or goes home tomorrow. We still don't know if the lights will be turned off tonight or tomorrow; hope to find that out when they give us the new # tonight.

I am visiting the special care unit every 3 hours to feed her and spend a little time holding her, however, they only let her stay out from under the lights for 30 minutes at a time to maximize the time she does have to be under the lights. It's certainly not as nice as having her in the room with me, but I'm glad she' doing so well. I can definitely see a big difference in her coloring now. That's about all I have...will put up more information as I get it.

More Details...

Today I will be discharged from the hospital. I'm feeling well, maybe a bit tired. I got some good sleep last night, as the baby is now in the special care unit under bili lights, so the nurses were just bringing her to me for feedings. Plus, my night nurse was very courteous and only checked on me (vitals, etc.) when I was already awake! So sweet...

The bili lights are necessary because Emma has a higher bilirubin level than they would like. The lights will help break down those extra blood cells that are causing her to look 'yellow'. She is doing wonderfully in all other areas. She has been an old pro at nursing and she seems to be a happy baby. I guess we'll find out once we get her home! ;) We are expecting that Emma may have to stay an extra night in the hospital to be under the lights, but we won't find out until around 11 a.m. today. We're hoping her number will have come down enough that they will discharge her with me, but we just have to wait and see. Then, I'm sure we'll have to take her to the Dr.'s office for blood tests until the number is exactly where they want it. We've been through this with each of our children for different reasons, so it wasn't a big surprise that she followed suit...already following her siblings' example.

Logan and Hailey were preemies, and unable to break down the cells quick enough due to immature systems. Corbin just had a lot of extra blood cells to break down due to the extensive bruising he had from his delivery. Emma happens to have a type A - blood, which apparently conflicts a bit with my type which is o+. So, that is what is causing the issue with her...she can't break the cells down by herself either, hence the help from the lights.

We will be back on with other photos and more information once we know more. Hope you're all enjoying her with us. Can't wait until you all get to meet her!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Welcome Emma Grace!


I'm sure Wendy will be posting in more detail later, but I'm sure people are waiting for some pictures. Short story is everyone is doing well, and we hope to go home tomorrow.

Arrived 1 March, 2009

1:26 pm
7lbs, 12 oz
21 inches long