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April 28, 2014

#MillieMonday {32 Gestational Weeks, 3 Weeks Old}

I am sorry this update is later in the day. Tyler and I were talking about how the day just flies by and there just aren't enough hours. I sometimes lose track of time when I am up at the hospital. I clocked in this morning around 10:30am and the next time I looked at the time, it was 4:30pm. She just consumes me and I love spending every waking minute with her. I know you all will think I am crazy, but I am looking forward to the day when she comes home and I get to get up with her in the middle of the night. I just want to be with her. 

I have also started back to work. Thankfully, my boss/job is being incredibly supportive and allowing me to work from home or the hospital whenever I can. Now that we are starting to introduce breast feeding, it is important that I am there during the day to work with her and the lactation consultants. She can't go home unless she is exclusively nursing which is going to be a long process.

This past week was tough for me. I think my true feelings were masked by all of the post-birth adrenalin for the first two weeks and I finally realized just how long of a journey this is going to be. I told Tyler that I just want to take care of my baby. I feel like she was ripped from me and now I'm just there for her part-time. For instance, I walked into her room last Tuesday night, looked in her incubator, and she had spit up all over the blanket she was laying on and was chewing on her own spit up. Normally, a mother would just grab their baby and clean them up. Instead, I had to watch her eat her own puke because I didn't know where her nurse was or if it was acceptable to reach in there and do it myself. I also didn't know what I could use to wipe her up. This was hard. I spent the next few hours crying. I felt so helpless. Since then, I have just taken the initiative to do things on my own even if I do it wrong. I have to learn somehow and have to feel like I am caring and providing for my baby.

On a very positive note, there have been so many wonderful people who have voluntarily reached out to us in support and love. I cannot express how grateful we are for these people! There are quite a few in particular who have had preemie babies as well and it has been extremely comforting knowing their experiences. A sweet girl sent me a huge book on Neonatal Intensive Care and a lot of my questions that I don't want to bother the nurses with were instantly answered. Thank you, Rachel! I can't wait until the next time we can get down to Oklahoma City and just spend some time with you, Clay and sweet John Luke. I received Facebook messages from a sorority sister that have been key in making us feel like we are not alone. Tyler has also connected with several women from the church who have shared their experiences and offered any support they can. Someone was even kind enough to lend us a freezer for my milk. Thank you Sarah and Kasey! And the list goes on and on.

Now on to the super star…

Millie has gained ONE WHOLE POUND! Her birth weight was 2.14 and she is now 3.14 in just 3 weeks. Grow, baby grow! As a result of this, she can now fit into preemie clothes! We stopped by the hospital Saturday morning before my baby shower and she was in a pink onesie that was labeled "Daddy's Cutie." The NICU has a lot of clothes they provide for the babies. Now, personally, it wouldn't have been an outfit I would have chosen for her but I honestly did not care because she looked so dang cute just wearing clothes in general! She won't be able to fit in preemie clothes much longer, though. By the time she goes home, she will be in newborn size!

Millie in clothes for the first time!
My heart just melted knowing she had grown enough to fit in something other than a saltine cracker sized diaper. See said diaper below.

Speaking of diapers, holy cannoli…this child has some blow outs. As soon as I found out she could wear clothes, I brought a few preemie onesies up to the hospital that her Aunt Emily got her. Not even 10 minutes after I put her in her new clothes, she pooped ALL over and had to be stripped naked again.  Then, she flashed me huge smile and it made it all worth it. I am sure she felt like a whole new woman after that release. :P

Tyler and I were able to give Millie her first bath Sunday afternoon. It felt so nice and was such a bonding experience as a family. She felt really good afterwards and was so relaxed while we rubbed lotion all over her. 

"You better not post that on the internet."

"Nope! I don't think so! I specifically asked for Bath and Body Works' Baby Cheeks and Milk Bath Gel!"

After Millie had her bath, it was time to feed her through her NG tube. However, when I was holding her, the nurse noticed that she was actually starting to show signs she was ready to nurse. This usually isn't introduced until week 32 or 33 but we decided to give it a try for the first time and see what she would do. Millie was only 31.6 weeks at this point. Sure enough, she opened wide and latched on! Multiple times! Tyler and I just bursted out with laughter because we were not expecting that at all. It is just amazing what she knows to do on her own. God is so good. Now she didn't actually nurse, but the fact that she knows what to do and is ready to start learning is so comforting. We were so proud of her and the nurses were blown away by her developmental maturity. They all say she acts older than she really is and is very intelligent. One nurse even asked me if I was sure about June 23rd being my due date. I am indeed sure. June 23rd was definitely my due date.

Millie's alarms (oxygen saturation, heart rate) have been very infrequent and the doctors are still comfortable with the amount she has. We pray this continues and that they will start to diminish all together. 

Going forward, we ask for continued prayers for Millie. Her red blood cell numbers have dropped significantly and when she drops below 25, the neonatologists will recommend a blood transfusion. She is currently at a count of 27. Apparently, this is very common with preemies. This is scary for us because they recommend we use a blood bank instead of a direct donation from Tyler or myself. There are risks when getting donor blood from a blood bank even though it is highly screened. There is risk for infection or negative transfusion reactions. Obviously, we would love for her body to take care of this on its own but it is unlikely that will happen. Once she has this transfusion, she will likely have better feedings, less respiratory distress, less apnea, less trauma to the brain and possibly even an earlier discharge. We pray all goes smoothly should we have to face this procedure. 

That pretty much covers everything for this week. I will leave you with a couple pictures from the week. Thank you all again for your support, love and continued prayers. 

After her first bath. We think she kind of looks like a chimpanzee with her fluffy post-bath hair. Sorry Millie.
 It's true. 

Also, this was right before that major mess she made on her new outfit.
Love this baby so much.


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