Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

We were given our very best Christmas gift earlier than expected, but we wouldn't change a thing. My due date was actually December 17th, but Elliana decided that she needed to join us August 22nd instead. Yes, at first we were emotional wrecks. The odds for Elli were not very good. But we were blessed with the comfort of the spirit so many times, we knew that it was going to work out. Heavenly Father would always place wonderful people in our path to comfort us, and help us understand what was happening. He has been right beside us through this whole thing. We have felt of his love and compassion for us. It makes this Christmas that much sweeter and meaningful for us.

Elliana really loves her big brother. She is watching him so attentively while he sweetly talks to her. She recognizes his voice, and rarely fusses when he is holding her. There might be 7 years age difference, but these two already share a special bond. It melts my heart to watch how tenderly Bradley talks to her and how gently he touches her and holds her. He is so proud of her, and his sweet little testimony has been strengthened. Bradley knows that prayers are not only heard, but they are answered. He has been so faithful in praying not only to be able to have her join our family, but for her to be able to come home.

Bradley had a fun year trying new things. He was on a T-ball team at the beginning of the summer, and then tried soccer this fall. He enjoyed both, but was usually a little more interested in wiggling his loose teeth. He lost one while running the bases. He took the time to come running over to me and give me the tooth, then he quickly ran back to second base. Thank goodness it was T-ball. He is now in 1st grade and doing well. He is such a good boy who tries very hard to do the right thing. He has a soft spot for any living thing. Any bug found in the house is released to "the wild" rather than being disposed of. He wants to be a zoo keeper when he grows up, and can't get enough of Nature on PBS and the Crocodile Hunter. He is a little artist, and will sometimes spend hours drawing Star Wars scenes, pirates, and construction sites. He is such a cute kid!!

Elliana probably won't make it home by Christmas, but that's okay. We want her to be ready, and will wait as patiently as we can for her to be ready. She is healthy, and that's all we could ask for. She now weighs over 6 and 1/2 pounds, and is such a content little thing. She loves to snuggle right into you when you hold her. She is still learning to eat. It's hard and a little scary for her. When the doctor clamped the valve in her heart, the nerve to the left vocal chord was also clamped. This has compressed the nerve and paralyzed her left vocal chord. It isn't a permanent injury, and she will be able to talk. It just leaves her feeling nervous about choking when she eats. She doesn't have as much control over her airway as she would like, but she improves a little each day. We are working on a plan that will allow us to bottle feed her my milk with a thickening agent in it. She feels much more in control with the bottles and does really well with them. It really shouldn't be too much longer and we will have her home.

We are so grateful as always for your love and prayers. It brings us a lot of comfort to know that so many are thinking. You have all blessed our lives so much! We also want to thank all of the nurses, doctors, and therapists in the NICU. They have become like a second family to us. We are really going to miss them when Elli comes home. Thank you!!!!!!

We love you, and wish you a


Love- Wayne, Tami, Bradley and Elliana

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a change!

I love these photos that show how far Elli has come. We just took the top and bottom picture on Friday night. The middle picture was taken when Elli was a couple of weeks old. The little stuffed Clifford is about 3" long. You've come a long way baby girl!!!

Elli has been moved over to nursery B. That is the side where the stable babies are that are getting ready to go home. Right now we are working on teaching Elli to eat. Who knew it could be such a hard and exhausting thing to learn. She will do alright for one feeding, then she is wiped out for the rest of the day. If you wouldn't mind, we could use the extra help from all your prayers again. This is the last hurdle to get over so that we can bring Elli home. Thanks for all you have all done for us to get us to this point.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So Thankful

We are so very grateful this Thanksgiving for the amazing blessing Elliana is. She is a miracle in every way. This is a picture that was taken not long after Elli was born. She was 1 lb. 2 oz. and 10" long. She was on blood pressure medication, and a slew of other medications that I can't even remember. She had a heart murmur. She was on a ventilator. Her eyes were sealed shut, and her skin was like tissue paper. It was a scary time for us, but also a time to grow and learn.

Here is Elli now. Thanksgiving day is her 3 month birthday, which makes it a little more special this year. She is 17" long and weighs just over 5 lbs. Her eye exam last week showed that her eyes are immature, but normal. Her brain ultrasound was also normal. Her bones are making steady improvements, and aren't as fragile as they were a few weeks ago. She is on low flow oxygen and is learning how to coordinate eating. She is just so darling!!!!

I listened to a song on the new Christmas album by Josh Groban that has a beautiful description of our experience.
So for tonight we pray for all we know can be,
and on this day we hope for all we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change,
and even though we all could still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for.
I am grateful for my faith that has been strengthened and my prayers that have been answered. I am grateful for a husband who considered it a blessing to take care of me while I was on bed rest, and who continues to do more than his share around the house. I am grateful to my son who demonstrates daily what faith really is. I'm grateful to my family and friends who have served our family and have felt our joy and our fear right along with us. It is so much easier to go through this when you know you're not alone. I'm grateful for a tremendous medical staff who love Elli, and know exactly what to do for her. I am grateful for the countless ways which the Lord has shown me He is aware and that He loves me. The third verse of I Believe In Christ has been particularly powerful for me. I was praying silently and tearfully after I was told to go on bed rest. I was terrified of what statistically should happen, and prayed desperately for everything to work out. I wanted my plan to be the Lord's plan, and was fearful that it might not be. I was listening to a tabernacle choir CD as I cried and prayed. My attention was suddenly directed to the third verse.
I believe in Christ who stands supreme.
From Him I'll gain, my fondest dream.
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard, ye shall obtain.
I am so grateful for the mercy of a loving Father who hears and answers prayers, and for the empathy and comfort given to me by the Savior. They live and they know us. I am grateful for this time of year to be able to focus on the Savior, and to be able to recognize how involved He is in my life. He has had His hand in everything all along, and though I have gone through some really difficult times in my life, there really is so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Got Milk?

Elliana may not be home yet, but she sure has staked her claim on the freezers. We had to start giving our good steaks away to make room for more milk. That was a bit painful for Wayne. We decided it was time to do something about it and called on friends with extra space in their freezers.

We barely had room for any food in our kitchen freezer, and pretty much zero space in the deep freeze. What we do have in the deep freeze was inaccessible, unless you were willing to freeze your hands off digging for something. Luckily, we can get in their now. We have 6 bags full of milk stored at 2 different places. The only problem is that the freezer is filling up fast once again. It won't be long until I need to call on our generous friends again. We sure do appreciate them!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween Pictures....

We hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween. I'm sorry these are a few days late, time seemed to get away from me last week. Here are just a few of the pictures we took.......

This pumpkin was carved by my nephew at our annual pumpkin carving party

Bradley was a skeleton this year. He didn't love the make-up. It's too hard to remember not to rub your face with the sleeve of your shirt. One of those habits that we haven't been able to break yet. Below is the pumpkin I carved for Bradley. He wanted Frankenstein this year.

Elli had a bath on the 28th and she looked so cute with her CPAP off that they took a few pictures for us. It wasn't until we looked at the pictures a little later that we realized she looked a little like a Buddhist Monk or the Dalai Lama. We thought it worked for a Halloween costume as well as her cute little cheer leading costume. It's really for an American Doll, but hey, it worked perfectly as a costume. It was good that Halloween came when it did because Elli almost didn't fit into the shirt. She's getting so big!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Big Brother

I was given two wonderful presents for my 34th birthday. One was that Elliana was put back on CPAP Saturday morning at 11:30, and she is still on it right now. It has been more than 72 hours now. She's doing great!!! The other was seeing Bradley hold Elli. She is much easier to move now, and that gave him the chance to hold her without us worrying about her tubes coming out. Bradley was a little nervous about holding her, but once he did, he was hooked! He is looking forward to his weekend visits a little more than he used to. He was so sweet and tender as he held her and spoke to her softly. He is a very happy big brother.
UPDATE: Elliana had her eyes examined again last Thursday, they are developing normally. The diagnosis was that there was no ROP*, which is wonderful! Her bones are still fragile, but all her levels of calcium and phosphorus have gone back to normal, which is a good sign. We will still have to be very careful with her for the next few months as her bones regain their density. She weighs about 3 lbs. 8 oz. now.
* ROP is when the vessels in the eye grow abnormally. If it goes on too long and nothing is done about it, it will detach the retina. It is diagnosed in stages, and Elli was at stage 1 a couple of visits ago, but is back to normal again. For babies who reach the highest stage, which is stage 4 I think, they will do laser surgery to stop the vessels from growing further.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Elli's birthday pictures

Elliana is now 2 months old. HOORAY!!!

The light above her bed was too bright for her, so I shaded her eyes a little so she would open them. When the overhead light is off, Elli will look around at her world. She is starting to have her little moments of interaction with us. They only last a few minutes, but she is oh so cute when she looks up at you. Underneath Elli's bow is an IV. She is being treated for a mild pneumonia right now, and is doing well.

Isn't this so sweet! I love how her tiny fingers curl around my finger.

I think we tuckered her out, poor little thing. Actually, preemies let you know that they are done by yawning, or with hick-ups. They will even stick their hands stright up in the air like they are saying stop. We try to pay close attention to her behaviors so we can do the right thing for her.

These 2 pictures are great to compare to her pictures from her one month birthday. You can really see how much she has grown. She is about 4" longer and is getting close to tripling her weight. We are grateful that she hasn't been very sick, and we are working hard to get her off the ventilator. We continue to see miracles with her. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


How many people does it take to give Elli a bath?

Answer: Three. One mommy, one nurse, and one respiratory therapist.

Elli did love her first tub bath. I would too if I were her. We wrapped her up in a nice warm blanket and then put her into the warm water. She seemed very pleased as we cleaned her up with cotton balls. She didn't fuss until we had to take her out of the blanket to put her into a dry one. It got a bit nippy for a few seconds, but in no time she was back in her heated bed, cozy and warm in her cute pink blankets.

Birthday pictures are still coming..... I promise!

Monday, October 22, 2007

2 months old!!!

Elli is now two months old. She is now almost 15" long and about 2 lbs. 12 oz. She has a couple of moments of being very alert each day now. They only last about 10 or 15 minutes, but we enjoy the time we have to visit with her. She is such a miracle, and we have all of you to thank for that. We wouldn't be where we are without all of your prayers and fasting. We love you all!!

Elli looks so cute in her little Halloween onesie. We do have a Halloween costume for her, you'll all have come back again to see her all dressed up. I am also going to have some birthday pictures taken. Hopefully I can update you in a couple of days.

Elli does have a few challenges to overcome right now. We have been assured by the doctor that all she needs is time to grow and mature. If you could remember her in your prayers, she needs her eyes to continue to develop normally, as of right now she may end up with with little or no peripheral vision. She also has the fragile bones, and needs her ability to absorb calcium to increase. And she simply needs to grow and gain weight to help her come off the ventilator. We are grateful for your love and willingness to remember us. With everyone's faith combined, miracles are happening. Thank you!!!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007


We have reached a few milestones with Elliana. The first one is that we have finally been able to hold her. At first it was just at the edge of the bed, with our hands underneath her as you see below. She was still on the ventilator they call the "jet" and there are too many risks in holding her in your arms. We were just happy to have her in our hands at least. We knew that holding her in our arms would come shortly.

Elli was switched to a traditional ventilator on October 2, which meant that we could actually hold her on our arms. HOORAY!!! She looks like a little pink burrito all wrapped up cozy and warm in her daddy's arms.
Some other milestones that have been reached are:
  • Elli weighed 1 lb. 2 1/2 oz. when she was born. She doubled her weight the first week of October. She now weighs 2 lbs. 12 oz.
  • She breaths on her own about 95%, she stills needs a little help from the ventilator when she exhales. And when she is tuckered out. It's hard work for her, but she is doing great!
  • Last Friday they pulled her breathing tube and let her try what is called C-PAP (I'm not sure if that is how it is written). Basically she had a little help taking a breath, but did everything else by herself. She stayed on the machine for about 6 hours, which the staff said was a great first try.
  • I don't think this qualifies as a milestone, but her hair is getting thicker and longer. I just think it's really cute!!

This is the photo taken by the nurses for the cute scrapbook page they made her for her one month birthday. Knowing that Elli's daddy is an accountant the scrapbook page read: "This darling little dividend is worth more than 100 grand. She will bring joy throughout the land. (And a tax deduction)" We got a good laugh out of it!

Elli's 2 month birthday is coming up next week, we will post some birthday pictures again soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Glimpses....

Bradley has enjoyed his weekend visits. Sometimes he draws Elli pictures to hang on her bed, other times he will reach in to touch her while he talks to her softly, or he will read to her. Go Dog Go was Elli's first bed time story. Well, the first 5 pages or so anyway, after that Bradley was ready to do something else.

She really enjoys listening to her big brother. If she is awake she will look in his direction with the sweetest contented look on her face. If she is asleep while he talks you can watch her stats stay level or sometimes they even get better. She knows who he is, and is happy when he's around.

Elli was transported by ambulance to McKay Dee hospital in Ogden where she had her PDA repaired. (her heart murmur) She was 2 weeks old and only weighed around 1 and 1/2 pounds. We were really nervous about the whole thing, but in the end it wasn't as scary as we thought. She did marvelous. She now has a very healthy heart with a little tiny piece of titanium hardware that shows up on her x-rays. These 2 pictures show the life flight team placing Elli in the portable incubator. It took about 45 minutes to get her into the bed and stabilized so they could go down to the ambulance. It is very nerve racking to watch your baby drive away, but we couldn't have asked for better people to care for her both in the ambulance and at McKay Dee. We were very glad to get to our NICU though. It is our second home right now, and we really enjoy the staff there.

We will have some up to date pictures soon, please come back again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm growing

Although Elli is still tiny, she is making significant progress. Elli is 10 days old is this picture. Her eyes were still fused and she was still just over 1 lb. Her eyes opened 5 days later, the day she came back from her surgery up at McKay Dee. We were standing next to her bed after she had just settled down from her transport when she looked over at us for the first time. It is so wonderful to watch her grow.
This is our bright eyed birthday girl. This was taken on her one month birthday. She weighed nearly 2 lbs, and her skin has improved tremendously. Her lungs are making steady improvements, and she remains very stable overall. Elli now weighs just over 2 lbs. We are so blessed!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


When I got to the hospital today our nurse told me that we had been told the wrong weight last night. Instead of being just under 2 lbs or 900 grams, she still has a little to go. She weighs almost 1 lb. 13 oz. or 800 grams. We will hopefully reach the 2 lb. mark within the next few days.

Happy Birthday Elli...

Happy Birthday Sweet Heart!! You are now one month old. It's hard to believe, the time has gone by a lot faster than we thought it would. You can see that she has gained some weight in this picture, just look at those little cheeks poking out from beneath her tape. Bradley has been calling little chubbs lately.

These pictures help a little with understanding just how little our miracle is.
Elli's toes are one of my favorite features. When I reach in and put my hand behind them, she will curl her toes around my finger and hang on. I love it!!!
Isn't this just the cutest picture ever!! I think so!

Elli is making steady progress. She is ever so close to 2 lbs. She should reach the 2 lbs mark today or tomorrow. Her biggest issue is still her lungs. She is responding to the treatments for her pneumonia, and then we will be able to work on getting her off of the ventilators.

Thanks again for you love and prayers. We love you all!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Our sweet little Elliana has been a miracle right from the beginning. We have hoped and prayed for her for the last 5 1/2 years. Bradley has prayed faithfully for a baby, and always hoped for a sister. We found out Easter weekend that we were expecting. Just 2 weeks later I almost miscarried. We were blessed to have a wonderful doctor who found the problem. Wayne gave me shots for the next 6 weeks to help me maintain the pregnancy.

We had an ultrasound at 16 weeks and found out that we were having a girl. I had always had favorite names for a little girl, but none of them seemed appropriate. I searched the Internet for a name that felt right for her. When I typed in the definition; "an answered prayer", the name Elliana came up. Her name is Hebrew and means "My God has answered". The name was perfect! Just how perfect we are finding out.

Elli was born August 22nd at 11:30 am. Just one hour after the steroid shots I had been given to help her lungs develop had reached the 48 hours needed to be of maximum potential for her. The doctor had decided that I needed a c-section that morning because he'd rather deliver a healthy 23 weeker rather than a sick 24 or 25 weeker. We know that we were being watched over because my water broke on the prep table, and the doctor found out that I had a raging infection in my placenta. Had they decided to wait any longer Elli no doubt would have been very sick. We know that Heavenly Father has had a hand in this. Our sweet little girl has not had many complications, and has remained pretty stable in the NICU.

For some perspective on her size, these are Elli's diapers with a width of 3" and this is the hat the she wore coming home from McKay Dee hospital where she had her heart murmur repaired.
(Her surgery went really well, although a 3 centimeter inscision is pretty big on her little chest. But she has recovered well, and her scar is healing up nicely.)

These are the most precious treasure we have been given so far. When Elliana was only 4 days old one of our nurses made these castings of her hands. She is absolutely perfect, and we couldn't be happier!

This has been a wonderful time for our family. We have felt a lot of stress to be sure, but more often we have felt tremendous peace. We are so grateful to all of you for your prayers and fasting. We know that there is great power when we all come together with one purpose. Wayne and I have always had a favorite scripture that has come to mean even more to us these last several weeks. D&C 123:17 "...let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." Elli is now in his hands, and there is no place we'd rather have her right now. He has heard our cries, and we have been benefactors of his tender mercies.

We thank you all again for your faith and prayers. It is such a blessing to have so many that care about our family.