11 has always been my lucky number - November (the month my dad, myself and sweet Emmie were born in) is the 11th month of the year; "K" is the 11th letter of the alphabet, and my delivery room for Em was Room 11! On this 11th day of her NICU stay, I am feeling eternally blessed that she is doing so well. While the Neonatologists encourage us with how well she is doing, they still remind us she is not out of the woods and we must still take each day hour-by-hour.
The biggest issue we are facing right now is that sweet Emerson Claire is not gaining weight, still weighing in just under 3lbs. Her feeds have increased to 30mls at 8x a day, still through a tube in her nose, but we are finding she isn't digesting the entire amount, requiring about 1/3 of each feed removed by a pump. Her reflux is also adding to the issue, spitting up quite a bit but extended skin-to-skin sessions with both Grant and I seem to be helping with digestion as well as temperature regulation (she keeps dipping to 36.1c) Aside from digestion, the other big ticket items we are watching are her Bradys and Apnea episodes - which fortunately have become fewer in the past 24 hours but are still heart-stoppingly terrifying, especially when the alarm goes off and she is asleep in my arms.
The 24/7 schedule is still taxing, I am unsure I have had more than 75 minutes of continuous rest since Emerson was born as I am pumping every 2 hours (fortunately supply is EXCELLENT) with each pumping session + equipment cleaning taking about 30-45 minutes. On Monday, Grant & I snuck away to see 007 at the movies to celebrate our wedding Anniversary, and I slept through the whole thing- obviously in need of rest. The getting up at 4am to pump, dress and be at the hospital by 4:30a.m. to take her temperature and change her is becoming routine, and I am actually looking forward to our 5am cuddle sessions more and more with each day. We have been bringing in books from Grace's library to read to her little sister which has proved a memorable way to pass the time.
Leaving the hospital has not gotten any easier, my chest is heavy and mind clouded with confusion every time I reach for my keys. Fortunately, Grant surprised me with a new car for our anniversary/my birthday, so now we finally have two, making trips to the NICU and navigating schedules exponentially easier.
Spending more time with Grace after being gone for 5 weeks on bedrest has been incredible for my heart, she is such a brilliant and precocious little bean - the excitement of witnessing her explore the world with contagious curiosity makes each day brighter. We took her to the pediatrician on Monday for her 15 month check-up and the big sister is doing great, weighing in at 25 lbs and 2 feet 8.25 inches - she needs to teach her little sister how to grow like a champ!
The whole family is doing well, everyone ensuring all bases are covered. On top of caring for Grace, Grandbarb (my mom) has been crocheting hats and making preemie hospital gowns for Emmie - ensuring she is the most stylish little one in the NICU. Grant has been managing the remodel of the new house (hopefully moving in over the next two weeks!) and my dad has been cherishing the moments when he comes home from work and Grace runs to him - much like I did when I was a little girl. Kellydog is a bit neglected and wishing she was still our only child, but she is loving her time romping around Camp Kennedy digging up tennis balls from the ponds.
With Thanksgiving and my birthday coming up tomorrow, a reflection on this past year, our pregnancy journey and most specifically these past 11 days makes me so grateful for how the stars aligned and that we are out here in California where we have such tremendous support from family that is near, as well as friends that are far - helping our growing family face the difficult days and celebrate with us on the good ones. With the news flooding with stories of terrorism, murder and abuse of power that make us question humanity, this past year has taught me so much about the intrinsic good of others, the celebration of new life, and the power of community and prayer. I am so thankful for each bump on this journey that has brought us to today. I am a work in progress, and grateful for the education of these past few weeks.
A quote that was included in my Mother's Together email this morning seemed quite fitting, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9