Monday, April 30, 2012

27 weeks

Little Miss Olivia is 27 weeks gestation today. She is as cute as ever and is showing her personality more and more each day. She weighed in at 1 lb 8 oz this morning. After a break for surgery, they started feeding her breast milk again on Saturday. She is getting 24ml a day and this number will increase depending on how well she is digesting. Please continue to pray that she tolerates her feeds!

Here are a few pictures of Olivia showing off...


Snoozing away.


All snuggled up.


Really ticked off during her assessment. She does NOT like being messed with! :)


Look at that expression! Finally settling down after her diaper change. The score, if you're keeping track, is now Daddy 3, Mommy 2.


Already saying her prayers. ;) Have I mentioned how much I love her hands?


Daddy calming Liv down.


Look who found her fingers!


We love you, sweet girl!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Three weeks!

Guess who's three weeks old today... Olivia!




The nurse she had last night made her a pretty bow for the occasion. Nothing like a tiny girl with a big bow in her hair! The nurses say they can't believe a baby born so early has so much hair already. (The lighting wasn't very good today. She threw a fit when we took the blanket off of her isolette so we quickly apologized and put it back.)

We discovered this afternoon that she might sleep with her eyes open like her daddy. I'm trying to be OK with it. ;) Olivia is doing well and still recovering from the surgery. We are hoping that she'll get to start eating again tomorrow morning. You can pray that her gut will be ready and she'll be able to start packing on the pounds.


Sucking on a paci for the first time.


Covering her eyes from the light.


Mommy and Liv earlier this week.


 Daddy changing her diaper again last night.


And, we thought she needed a three week birthday present. Tiny girl jammies and first year stickers!

Happy weekend everyone!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baby Love

Reid got a hundred few good pictures of Olivia showing off yesterday. She must have yawned fifty times after the nurse woke her up to turn her from tummy to her back. Then, during her diaper change she got mad and cried a few times. We can't hear her because of the ventilator, but that face just breaks our hearts. She already has us so wrapped around her teeny little finger.


Big yawn for such a little girl.


No doubt in my mind its a big cry, too!

I can't get enough of her little hands.


And, because there's nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.

Olivia had surgery on her heart today and made it through like a little champ. The procedure was to repair a PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus). It is basically an unclosed hole in the aorta that is extremely common in preemies. Reid and I were really nervous about the surgery. In these situations I feel like we are way too young to make major medical decisions. But, apparently, we are not. With recommendations from her doctors we felt it was best to go ahead and surgically close the hole. We are so thankful that everything went smoothly and it was an easy repair!

Hello World




Look who finally opened her eyes! Reid and I got to the hospital yesterday and found her snoozing on her tummy. We started talking to her like we always do and all of a sudden she woke up and started to open her eyes. I may or may not have shrieked in the NICU. And then I cried. It was such a fun moment for me and Reid. The nurse said that her eyes just "popped" open when they were changing the tape around her respirator earlier in the day. She said Olivia was wide-eyed and looking all around. The nurse had to put her on her tummy for her to finally fall back asleep. I love that her sweet nurse didn't tell us about her eyes as soon as we got there. She made that milestone so special by letting us experience it for ourselves.

I also got to do something really exciting yesterday! The nurse let me pick up Olivia while she changed her bedding. When I picked her up she opened her eyes and looked right at me. She can only see about 6 inches so I'm sure I was just a talking blob, but it was such a sweet moment. Just when I didn't think it possible to love her more, I do.




Tummy time.




Daddy's hand on sleeping Livi.




Mommy holding Olivia.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

26 weeks

Olivia is 26 weeks gestation today. Last night she weighed in at 1lb 7oz - getting to be such a big girl! The doctor upped her feedings because she is continuing to tolerate them so well. She's getting 3ml every 3 hours. We are so thankful! Reid changed her diaper for the first time today. The bravest I've been was taking her temperature. Reid is officially Super Dad! I'm so proud of what a hands on daddy he already is. Olivia is one lucky little girl.

And, due to overwhelming response, here are a few more pictures of livi... :)



We thank you for continued prayers!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Introducing our daughter...

Olivia Bain, our little Livi.


We fall more in love with our little girl everyday. She has quite a big personality for someone so small. All the nurses comment on how opinionated she is for a baby born just shy of 24 weeks. We love our feisty fighter. The doctors and nurses continue to tell us how well Olivia is doing. Her weight is hovering around 1 lb, 5 oz (her birthweight). She is stable, tolerating feeds that are "priming her gut", and is regulating her blood pressure well without meds. Everyday she continues to thrive is a huge milestone. Her eyes are still fused, but she is trying really hard to open them. I'm thinking this week, week 26, will be the week. We can't wait to see her pretty eyes! 

Friday, her two week birthday, was the first time she really responded to our touch. She held and squeezed our fingers for a long time. Not being able to hold her has been really hard, but Friday I felt like we finally made a connection with our daughter. Here are a few pictures that show just how small she is.


Mommy taking her temperature.



 She loves to keep her hands by her little face.


Livi holding daddy's finger.

Olivia, 
Being your parents is such a gift and makes us so proud. We have so many hopes and dreams for our life with you. We can't wait until you're keeping us up all night long. Daddy says someday we might not be so happy about it, but mommy disagrees. You have stolen our hearts, sweet girl. We love you fiercely.
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Celebrating our girls

Two weeks ago yesterday at 4:07 pm our second little girl, Madelyn, was born. Her sisters, Mary Grace and Olivia, would follow closely behind at 5:31 and 5:32. Reid and I knew on their birthday, delivering babies at 23w4d, we'd more than likely have some tough decisions to make in the days that would follow. I don't think I grasped at the time just how hard those decisions would be. This morning, we celebrated the lives of Catherine, Madelyn, and Mary Grace with friends and family in a beautiful service. I don't think any element could have been more perfect.


A close family friend made these beautiful dresses for the girls to be buried in. The detail on them is so precious and they mean so much to us. Reid and I went to the grave by ourselves to say a final goodbye to our babies. We sat and watched as they lowered our sleeping angels into the ground and as the earth gently covered them. It was hard, but it was a sweet time with Reid that I'll never forget.


I can't imagine what today would have been like without hope in Jesus Christ. As devastating as it has been to lose three of our girls, we have had a peace that doesn't come from the strength of man. The Lord has always been near.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
        (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thoughts...


The past few days have been good. Reid and I usually visit Olivia twice a day - once during the morning/ afternoon and again at bedtime to "tuck her in" and say her prayers. :) She is still stable. The neonatologist told us that she's doing really well for a baby that's so small. Those words give us so much hope.

I've been battling a lot of guilt this past week (and I don't share this to try to get you to tell me I shouldn't feel this way). When it was time to leave the hospital last Monday afternoon several people said things like, "I bet you are so relieved this is over," and "Aren't you so glad you finally get to go home?" The truth is, I wish I was still lying flat on my back in antepartum. I wish I was still on magnesium in L&D. I wish I was still pregnant, feeling my babies move and kick inside of me. As nice as it is to be home, I wish I was still at the hospital. On Saturday when we walked in the hospital there was a birthing class that was touring the NICU. They were standing around talking about their due dates, their baby names, and I wanted to scream. I got in the elevator and cried to Reid, "I would give anything to still be pregnant." My pregnancy was perfect and I was so grateful to be carrying our girls. Still I have these feelings that I could have done something different. Something better. I play scenarios in my mind through out the day, wondering if I had done something differently would the outcome have changed. My doctor has assured me that there was nothing else I could've done. Aside from God ordaining their birth date before the beginning of time, my uterus was measuring beyond 40 weeks. My body did what it knew to do. I went into labor and there was nothing that was going to stop that. I also keep thinking about our girls. They were absolutely perfect in every way. If I had made it a few weeks longer would we be in a different situation? The "what ifs" play constantly in my mind. I know combating the guilt is something that will just take time.

In the last week I've heard several people refer to us as "heroes." If this is what it takes to be a hero, I'd prefer not to be one.

I think Reid and I are doing as well as can be expected. We've been making it a priority to get out of the house everyday and do something for ourselves - drive through sonic, have a lunch date, go outside with Samson. We went to church on Sunday morning which was really good for both of us. I thought it would be really hard and had even planned on us leaving early, but I had such a peace being there.

We finalized burial arrangements for Catherine, Madelyn and Mary Grace. I see the Lord's hand so clearly in the place He provided for them to be buried. If there's one thing I can say, as terrible as this has been, He has not abandoned us. It doesn't mean I haven't questioned His plan. I have. It doesn't mean that someday, as I work through this sorrow, I won't be angry with God. He is big enough to bear my anger. I would give anything for our story to be different, but through all of this horrible mess I can see He is still good.

Today my mom's life is being celebrated at a service in my hometown. I had planned to be there, but when it came down to it I just couldn't stand leaving Olivia for the day. If anyone would understand, my mom would. I made peace with her death a long time ago. The last time I saw her was February 26. We took pictures with the girls monogrammed burp cloths in the parking lot of the nursing home. I hugged and kissed her like it was the last time I would see her. When Reid and I drove off I looked in the side view mirror at my mom for the last time. That image of my dad bending down kissing on her cheek and wheeling her back inside will be etched in my memory forever.





For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mom's obituary

My mom passed away very early Tuesday morning. I feel so happy and relieved for her - she's finally healthy and whole standing in the presence of her Savior. I would give anything to see her beautiful smile and hear her laugh. She was the most incredible mom and I'm so thankful she was mine.

My cousin and sister wrote the obituary and I think it is such a special tribute.

Mary Allan Dickey Bain, 60, went to be with her Heavenly Father April 10, 2012. She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to the late George W. "Skeeter" Dickey and the late Mildred Allan Neal Dickey on June 11, 1951. Mary Allan attended Forest Park Elementary, Pulaski Heights Junior High and Hall High School. In her early twenties, Mary Allan went to work as a travel agent for Poe Travel where she had the opportunity to see the world. In 1983, she married Jim Bain and together they had three incredible children, Mary Virginia, George and Eleanor. Her three children were truly the joy and loves of her life. Mary Allan was a faithful member of Fellowship Bible Church where she gave of her time in the Children's Learning Center. There, she was able to serve her Lord with her gentle spirit and her gift with children. Everybody loved "Miss Mary Allan." She had a true free spirit whose kind heart, laughter and incredible smile touched everyone who ever knew her. Mary Allan had many creative talents including photography and art which she passed down to her children. Even to the last of her life, she was known as "Mary Allan with the beautiful smile." She touched the lives of the people who cared for her and came to love her. Mary Allan is preceded in death by her parents Millie and Skeeter Dickey and her granddaughters Catherine Della Grandle, Madelyn Barrett Grandle and Mary Grace Grandle. She is survived by her husband Jim, her children Mary Virginia Grandle and her husband Reid, George Bain and Eleanor Bain, and her granddaughter Olivia Bain Grandle. She is also survived by her sister Joye Dickey Cook (Mack) and brother Bill Dickey, sister in law Sharon Adkisson (Jeff), nieces and nephews Mary Neal Cook Bridges, Sam Cook, Nathan Cook and Elizabeth Cook Johnson, eight great nieces and nephews and many beloved cousins. The family wishes to thank her friends who faithfully visited her especially Becky Porter, Donna Johnson and Jim Rule, The Valley Ranch Nursing Home and staff and the doctors, nurses and aides at Arkansas Hospice for the loving care and comfort they gave to Mary Allan and her family during the last days of her life. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Arkansas Hospice 14 Parkstone Circle North Little Rock, AR 72116 or Alzheimer's Arkansas at 10411 West Markham, Suite 130, Little Rock, AR 72205.
To share your memories of Mary Allan or to sign the online guest register, please visit www.griffinleggettforesthills.com


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 13, 2012

One day at a time

For the first time in my life I feel like I'm truly living one day at a time. Reid and I had a pretty good day yesterday. We were able to sleep in which was wonderful. Reid made us lunch and we sat outside in the backyard. It was a beautiful day and being outside did a lot of good for my mental health. :) There were still a lot of hard moments as memories from the night before would come rushing back to mind. We miss our sweet babies so much.

Olivia had a good day yesterday. It was uneventful (which is a very good thing in the NICU) and they were able to turn down some of her medicine. We call every morning to check on our sweet girl and her nurse was quick to tell us how feisty our daughter is. We picked up on that in her first day of life, but it was funny to hear that someone else had observed the same. We are so in love with our feisty little Olivia.

After we left the hospital, Reid and I went on a dinner date. It was so good for us to get out and feel like we could do something normal. I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing man I'm married to. The Lord has strengthened our marriage and deepened our love for each other so much over the past three weeks. I can't imagine walking this road with anyone else.

A lot of people have asked when they can visit Olivia. For the duration of her stay in the NICU, only our immediate families will be able to see her. We look forward to people meeting her once she's home!

We are so thankful for all of the support our friends and family have provided this past month. One thing we would ask is that you would leave comments here or use email to get in touch with us so that we can control when we read them. Reid doesn't mind getting texts, but its hard for me - if I'm have a few good moments, sometimes the texts bring everything back to the forefront of my mind. And we do have to leave our phones on 24/7 in case the NICU doctors call. But we really do love all the prayer and support. Please understand that we are grateful to have you all walking this journey alongside us, we just need to set this boundary right now. Thanks, in advance, for understanding.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mary Grace

At 2:00 am this morning, our sweet Mary Grace was welcomed to Heaven. We found out this afternoon that she had a large brain hemorrhage. Reid and I spent three precious hours holding our daughter tonight. The nurses wrapped a pink bow around her little head and we swaddled her in a soft pink elephant blanket. During those hours, we told Mary Grace how proud we were of her fight, how she fulfilled our dreams of one day having a daughter to call "Gracie," and we even took a little nap, snuggled together as a family. If we told her we loved her once, we told her a thousand times. We prayed over her and gave her back to the Lord. We miss her more than words can say.

I feel like we were punched in the stomach today and left with the wind knocked out of our lungs. Its so hard to understand "why?" in all of this. Tonight when we left the hospital, Reid turned on this song by David Crowder Band and we listened to it on repeat the whole way home. Its the exact state of our hearts. We are weary and tired. Oh great God, give us rest.


Oh great God give us rest
We're all worn thin from all of this
At the end of our hope with nothing left
Oh great God give us rest

Oh great God do your best
Have you seen this place it's all a mess
And I've done my part to well i guess
Oh great God do your best

Could you take a song and make it thine
From a crooked heart twisted up like mine
Would you open up Heaven's glory light
Shine on in and give these dead bones life
Oh shine on in and give these dead bones life

Let it shine, let it shine
On and on, on and on, come to life


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Madelyn Barrett

I really don't even know where to begin or how to write this post. I've put it off for several days hoping that maybe if I let things sink in a little more it would be easy. This will never be easy.

As you know, we welcomed three beautiful little girls into the world on Friday afternoon. We had hoped to continue to "buy time" and hold off on delivery for several more weeks. God has always had a plan much bigger than either Reid or I could ever imagine. I have to chose to believe, everyday, that somehow this all fits perfectly into that plan.

We knew from the time of her delivery that Madelyn was struggling the most. The circumstances surrounding her birth caused a lot of trauma to her tiny body. After a day of fighting for a positive outcome, the neonatologist came to visit with us and told us it was time to let her go.

Late Saturday night we went to the NICU to hold our precious baby for the first and last time. She was absolutely perfect and looked just like her daddy - right down to her little ears. We spent time talking to her, praying over her, and grieving that we had such a short time with her here on earth. At 12:20 am on Easter Sunday, our sweet Madelyn Barrett met Jesus.

Through the last three weeks I keep repeating the song lyrics:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

As long as I live I may never understand why we had to say goodbye to two babies. What I do know is that He sustains. He is still on the throne. And, He loves me more than I will ever have the ability to fathom.

Mary Grace and Olivia are stable and still fighting. Its so sweet to already see their differing personalities. We think that Mary Grace is more laid back, goes with the flow, and looks more like me. Olivia looks more like Reid, has dark hair, and already let's us know what she does and doesn't like. They both, however, are fighters. We are so proud to be their mom and dad.

We ask for continued prayers for Mary Grace and Olivia. Please pray the Lord's protection over their lives and that, with each day, they would grow and thrive.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Early morning thoughts

Reid and I are finally getting situated into "normal" life again. I had lots of emotions about leaving the hospital - as absolutely horrible as the circumstances were for us being there we could not have had better people taking care of us. Nurses we had in L&D spent the weekend coming to visit us, checking on my recovery and the status of the babies.

I'll give an update in another post later this week. For now I wanted to leave you with a quote from a book I started reading by Jennie Allen called "Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul."

"To risk is to willingly place your life in the hands of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch Him come through. He starts to get real when you live like that."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, makincg peace the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1:13-20

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The babies are here!

Friends and Family,

Late this afternoon we became the proud parents of three little girls. Madelyn Barrett: 1 pound Olivia Bain: 1 pound, 5 ounces Mary Grace: 1 pound, 10 ounces The babies are stable in the NICU  tonight and we are hopeful that God is going to move mountains as they grow and thrive.

Madelyn's (Baby B) amniotic sac ruptured on Sunday night. We had a sonogram done each day this week to check her heart beat, fluid level, and position. The doctors told us Friday morning that she was not likely to make it and that delivering her was not an option as it put too much risk on Mary Grace and Olivia. Once again, we were told to wait and see. Around 4:30 Friday afternoon I delivered Madelyn. The NICU team was here immediately to begin working on her. When the doctor checked on the status of the other girls, he saw signs of infection and he immediately performed an emergency c-section to deliver Mary Grace and Olivia.

We have seen the Lord's mercy through each tough decision we've had to make. He has kept our decision-making in sync and we are so humbled by how He chose for that to play out during this difficult time. We will know much more about each baby's condition in the next couple of days, until then we ask that you would pray His perfect plan over our girls' lives.

They are beautiful and absolutely perfect. Quite the little fighters. We can't wait to share pictures soon. We feel so confidant that they are being taken care of by some of the best neonatologists and nurses in the country. It was a relief leaving them tonight knowing that their teams of specialists are doing everything they can to help them thrive. Thank you so much for all of your calls, emails, texts, etc, over the past few weeks. We are truly so grateful for your love and support.

 Love,
Mare and Reid