Monday, March 24, 2008

Elli's cousins

My mom and dad were happy to welcome 4 new grandchildren in 5 months. It started with Elli in August and ended with Ian in December. It was fun for me to be pregnant at the same time as all my sisters, and I love that Elli has 3 cousins her age to play with.

It isn't easy for a grandpa to juggle 3 babies at once. Elli is on the left. Clara, who was born in November, is in the middle. Taylor is on the right, he was born in October. The only one missing in Ian who was born in December. Elli is officially the oldest of the 4 babies, but had she been born when she was suppose to then she would have been 2nd to the youngest. Taylor still looks like he is the oldest, he certainly has her beat size wise.

Elli also has 2 new cousins on her daddy's side of the family. Both Megan and Aaron were born in December. She will never be without someone to play with at family gatherings. What a lucky girl!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My New Look...

When we brought Elli home in January we were told that she might need to stay on oxygen for a few months if not for the year. We were at least planning on having her on oxygen until it was much warmer outside. Well, once again Elli has proved what a little trooper she is. After being on oxygen for only 2 and 1/2 months she is done. Isn't she lovely!? It is so nice to be able to look at her precious face without all the extra stuff.

Elli is enjoying the freedom too. No more blasts of water shooting into her nose sending her into sneezing fits. No more painful removals of the little cheek tabs that held the cannula in place. No more yanks or tugs on the cannula from people tripping on her oxygen hose. No more sore nostrils from the cannula rubbing against her nose. No more indents on the head from laying on the cannula. I do think that she misses holding onto the cannula behind her left ear though. She had recently started hanging onto it while she is eating, now she plays with her ear instead. She seems to be sleeping a little better, and she doesn't scratch at her face like she used to. I think she is really happy to be done.

She is still hooked up to her apnea monitor, which monitors her breathing and her heart beat. She will keep that for another month just to be sure that she is really ready to be off oxygen, and that she doesn't have any other issues. She hasn't had any legitimate alarms on the apnea monitor in over a month though. She's doing great!

Good job Elli! Keep on beating the odds!

Now we just need her to have this kind of success with her eating and gaining weight. She is eating a little better, but sadly it hasn't shown in her weekly weights. Last week she only gained 1.6 oz. which puts her at 9 lbs. 14.4 oz. Hopefully we will see her break the 10 lb. mark this week.

Thanks for all your prayers. They are being heard and answered.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

quick update

Thank you for all your prayers. They are helping. Elli still struggles to get the volume she needs, but she is holding her own. Last week she still gained the minimum weight that the doctor likes to see even though she wasn't eating as much as she had been the two weeks before that. Her volume is up a little from last week, so hopefully she will continue to do well on her weight gain. She is currently at 9 lbs. 12.8 oz. and roughly 23" long.

Tonight we are doing her over night study to see if she is ready to come off the oxygen. So far she has done well. I will post the results soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a request...

I would like to ask for your faith and prayers in behalf of our sweet little girl. She is having a hard time with eating. In the last several days she has dropped in the volume she takes everyday. If we can't get her volume back up she may need to get a feeding tube. I know that a feeding tube wouldn't be the end of the world by any means, but I would still rather her not have to go through surgery at all if it can be avoided. The feeding tube would be placed directly through her abdomen. As of right now she doesn't need one. She has been gaining the weight her pediatrician wants her to. However, if her volume doesn't improve soon, that may not be the case.

If you could please pray for her to have improved stamina for eating, as well as an increase in appetite. Thank you for your love and for your help.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

You Are Loved

I was listening to my Josh Groban album today and remembered something my sister told me a while back. Elli was born just a few days before the Josh Groban concert in Salt Lake and my sister was lucky enough to go to the concert, which was fabulous! He opened his concert with one of my favorites, You Are Loved. Of course the crowd went wild, and I'm sure my sister was cheering along with the rest of the fans.

Elli was so tiny and it was a very scary time. We weren't sure about anything at that point. We had hope, and felt as though things would work out, but when you looked at her tiny 1 lb. 2 oz. and 10" body, it was paralyzing. My sister was at home listening to her Josh Gorban CD a few days after the concert when the song You Are Loved came on again. This time in the quiet of her home she heard the song a little differently. As she listened to the words she pictured in her mind the Savior talking to me. The song has meant more to me since she shared that with me. I have been comforted many times since then my these words:

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I, I will lift it for you
Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I, I will break it for you
Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
Don't give up
It's just the hurt the you hide
When you're lost inside
I, I'll be there to find you
Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I, I will shine to guide you
Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
You are loved
So next time you are having a rough day, which I have had a few lately. Just listen to this song. It is a great reminder that we are not alone, and we are loved.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Adoring Eyes

Elli is just a bit sleepy in this picture, but it shows the sweet gaze she has when she is looking up at her big brother. She just loves him! She starts looking for him as soon as she hears his voice. If she is fussy at all when she should be eating I will have him come over and talk to her softly. She will calm right down and start eating. Bradley and Elli have a very strong and special bond, it is remarkable to watch.

Here is an update on Elli:

She now weighs 9 lbs. 6 oz. Her weight gain is slow, which concerns the doctor a little. We are hoping the her appetite and stamina will improve soon. But all in all she is still doing well. Most babies born as early as Elli go home with their feeding tube, so just the fact that she eats at all is wonderful. She has grown in length a bit too. She left the hospital at just over 18" long, and she is now almost 22".

We could have done our over night study this weekend on her oxygen which would allow her to come off of it if she did well. What they do is turn off the oxygen over night, but keep the apnea monitor on as well as an oxygen saturation monitor. If she can stay above 88% on her saturation, then she no longer needs her oxygen. I'm just a little nervous not to have the apnea monitor. As much as it's a pain to lug around the house, it's also a big comfort. But the day is not far now. So, hurray for Elli! She will actually appreciate not having tape and hoses on her face. She is starting to discover her ears and nose and really likes to pull the nasal cannula out of her nose. She will also appreciate not getting a shot of water in her nose every so often. There is humidity pumped into the hose as well so that her nose doesn't dry out too much, but sometimes drops of water come through and are shot right into her nose. It sends her into a sneezing fit that can make her sneeze 6 or 7 times in a row. So, it is a little scary not to have the safety of the monitor and oxygen, but her progress is exciting. We really didn't know what to plan on. Some kids end up staying on their oxygen for up to a year. We are at 2 months right not. Not too bad!!

Elli is also making eye contact a lot more, as well as recognizing us when she sees us. She gave me a huge grin the other day when I sat down next to her to change her diaper. She still loves her diaper change, her bath up until the moment we take her out, and tummy time. We will hopefully be able to add eating to that list eventually. She is a pretty content little girl, and loves to cuddle with anyone that is willing. She makes the cutest little noises awake and asleep. She is just so much fun!!!