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May 6, 2014

#MillieMonday {33 Gestational Weeks, 1 Month Old}

After giving birth, it is difficult to put your baby's welfare entirely in someone else's hands. The natural instinct is to step in as a mother and resolve every clogged up nose, every hungry cry, and every diaper issue. When your baby has health needs above and beyond those, including breathing, heart rate, red blood cell issues and a host of other complications due to premature birth, you become thankful for the expert, loving hand of the NICU nurses. There is a degree of comfort in knowing that regardless of her status, they are there 24/7. As if that weren't enough, the nurses, lactation consultants and concerned, competent doctors watch over our every need. I can't say enough about all of the individuals who not only perform their responsibilities but manage to be kind, comforting and caring along the way. As this is Nurses Week, it is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge them. I don't know if they follow this blog, but we would especially like to thank Kyla, Kim, Whitney, Allie, Shelly, Jennifer, Brittney, Lori, Susan, Lauren, Cassie, Cathy, Carolyn, Charlene, Bonnie, Summer and Karen. I am sure there are many others that I am forgetting to add to this list. The point is, these NICU nurses and lactation consultants have become like a second family to us. We've laughed and we've cried together (though mostly laughter)…especially when Tyler is changing her diaper and accidentally attaches/velcros one of her legs to her torso. We hope and pray that when Millie graduates from the NICU we can maintain our friendships and remain in contact with everyone.

The last I updated you all, we asked for prayers regarding the possibility of an upcoming blood transfusion for Millie. We are happy to report that after two rounds of blood tests over the last week, Millie is now producing her own red blood cells and we are now able to avoid a blood transfusion all together! This little girl amazes us every single day with her strength and her body's natural ability to grow and accommodate her needs.

Millie now weighs 4 pounds 7 ounces. Her growth is incredible. I look back on pictures from 3 weeks ago and she looks like a completely different baby. She even has multiple chins now! See said chins below.

Papa and Millie

I am continuing to work with Millie multiple times a day in the breast feeding department. As I have mentioned before, it is difficult for babies this little to know how to suck, breath and swallow at the same time. Currently, Millie is able to latch on and suck a few times but then she pulls away. I am not really sure if anything is really transferring. We will get it, I am sure. It is just going to take practice. One of these times she is just going to take off, I just know it. We ask for prayers as she must learn to eat on her own before she goes home. We cannot take her home feeding her through an NG tube. 

One of Millie's night nurses, Shelly (whom we love), swaddled her for the first time last night and she LOVED it. I have heard either babies love it or hate it. I am very happy that we have found something that makes her feel safe, relaxed and comfortable. This will come in handy for when we bring her home.

Cinco De Mayo…Rolled like a big burrito
Millie gets spa treatments now. No really…I'm not joking. St. Luke's is one of the only NICU's that offers massage to preemies. Studies have shown that the stroking touch of massage provides babies with much of the same type of stimulation on the skin that was present when the baby was in utero. The benefits include increased weight gain, increased nervous system development (leads to less apnea and bradychardia), better muscle tone, lower levels of stress hormones, better sleep and awake patterns and increased bonding and attachment. Yesterday, we visited with the massage therapist, Carolyn, and she showed Tyler how to do a 10-15 minute massage on Millie. Since I am able to connect with her while I am nursing, this will be a great way for her and Tyler to bond. Her first session was yesterday afternoon and about 10 minutes into the massage, Millie was out like a light. She especially liked her feet and toesies rubbed. We hope to start establishing a bedtime routine…bath, nursing, massage. This will be fantastic for when she comes home as well. #PrincessMillie

In my spare time, (what time I have) I have really been trying to get her nursery all set up. We are still waiting on curtains, a crib skirt and her rocker. Hopefully those will be in within the next week. Tyler is going to build her some wall hanging shelves to put her books and nicknacks on. He went to NYC this past weekend to marry one of my best friends. I was sad I couldn't be there. {Tara, if you are reading this, you looked so beautiful. I am so happy for you and Brad as I know what a beautiful life awaits you both now that you are married. Love you!} While Tyler was there, he bought the most adorable wooden toy to put on her shelves. As I have mentioned before, her room is very Scandinavian so this will be a perfect addition. I can't wait to show you all the finished nursery. Hopefully it will be complete within the next few weeks.

I will leave you all with a video of Miss Millie and daddy from last week. At the very end, she showcases her feistiness as she tries to pull the tubes out of her nose. She obviously knows what she wants. Love that baby. As always, thank you all for your prayers for our sweet girl. 

Happy 1 month birthday, Millie Catherine. We love to you pieces and are SO proud of you. You are such a fighter. By the way, I kissed your lips last night for the first time and it was the best. I might just do it again today. 

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