Friday, May 25, 2012

Big Yawn (7 weeks)
































Olivia is seven weeks old today! It's so hard to believe and time is finally flying by. I'd like it to continue to fly by and then come to a standstill as soon as we are home from the NICU. :) As of last night she weighs 2lb 5oz, so she's up a pound from her birthweight. The nurses and dietician told us she is gaining perfectly and is still doing great with her feedings. They also removed the central line (or broviac) from her chest this week. We know she has to be happy to be getting rid of all the annoying wires... Or maybe it's just that mom and dad are very happy for her!

Olivia,

Each day you make significant steps toward being ready to come home makes us so excited. We can't wait to walk out of the hospital with YOU in our arms. What an amazing day that will be - to really start our life as a family! We feel so blessed we were chosen to be your parents and can't wait until the day you fully understand what an incredible miracle you are! We love you fiercely, Olivia Bain.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Weeks: 29 & 30

This past week has brought the most changes - very exciting changes! We found out last Monday morning that they were going to switch Olivia to a different ventilator. To be honest, I have no idea what the differences were except that one gave much less support than the other. She was only on it a few days and on Saturday morning they extubated her and put her on the SiPAP machine. At the same time all of that was going on Olivia was starting to eat more and tolerate her feeds like a little champ! She has done amazing on the SiPAP and is nearly breathing on her own! Yesterday we hit the 30 week mark and she weighed in at 2 pounds 3 ounces. We are so proud of you, Olivia!

Here are a few pictures from this past week...


A little smile.


A hat that fits! Thank you to our friend in Birmingham!


First day on the SiPAP.


Mommy and a paci, what more could you need?


Stretching and a big yawn.


Proud daddy.



These last two pictures are my very favorite. Our first time to see her without anything (well almost anything) on her face! Every four hours they take her SiPAP head gear and nose mask off. When they do this the nurse is always ready to give oxygen manually, but Olivia was loving having that thing off her face and was breathing perfectly on her own! She's so ready to be a big girl and breathe on her own all the time! :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Daddy and Olivia

A true father is always there. He is there to spill tears of happiness when his eyes fall upon his infant daughter. He is there with arms to catch her when she takes her first steps or stumbles. He is there to teach her at the youngest age, even though she might not understand half of it. 



He is there to help her color inside the lines, make her grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and tie her shoes. He is there to hug her and kiss her on her first days of school, and to walk her in if need be. He is there to teach her and tease her and laugh with her. He is always there to embarrass her, but that’s part of life. 




He is there to tell her to go ask her mother, when her mother told her to ask him. He is there to lecture her, prepare her for the monster called high school. He is there to put up with her teenage moods and her co-ed relationships. He is there to approve, disapprove, accept and forgive. 



He is there to give her a big bundle of flowers when she graduates, to smile when her name is called and feel proud. He is there to embrace her and kiss her before she goes to live and learn a thousand miles away. He is there to see her become a working woman, to walk her down the aisle (or not, if her independence and stubbornness prevail after all). 



He is there to watch her grow as the lines on his face grow. He is there to welcome her home, always, and let her hug him and smell the smell she remembers from childhood, the warm, protecting, comforting smell of dad. 




But most of all, he is always there to love her. And she is always there to love him back.


(by Katie Schmarr via Life to Her Years)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Redeemed


Redeemed: To buy back. To change for the better. To atone for. To restore.


Today I held my little girl for the first time in her almost six weeks of life. It was a glorious hour that I'll never forget. Each moment and movement so vividly carved forever in my memory. Oh, how I love this child.


For a long time I've been afraid of the day they would tell me I could hold her. I held Mary Grace and Madelyn as they breathed their last breaths. To me, holding my child meant a painful goodbye.


I worried for weeks that Olivia's life would end the same way - that my first time to hold her would also be my last. There was a part of me that had been hurt so badly and, whether I fully realized it or not, I was trying to guard my heart from more pain. 


Over the last few weeks something in my heart began to change. I ached to hold her.


In my mind, yesterday afternoon was the beginning of redemption. 


O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. (Psalm 130:7)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Mother's Day

Sunday was so special in so many ways. I've always dreamed of being a Mommy and this year those dreams came true, not just once but four times over. I'm so thankful for each of my girls and the special privilege God gave me when He made me their Mommy.

Reid made my first Mother's Day especially amazing. He gave me cards and gifts from each of our girls. It was so special of him to honor me as a mom of four. We had a great morning at church, spent time with Olivia in the afternoon, went on a walk, and out to a nice dinner before heading back to the hospital to "tuck" Olivia in.

Sunday could have been a really hard day, and I definitely did think about Catherine, Madelyn, Mary Grace and my mom quite a bit. At the same time, I was so happy to get to celebrate being Olivia's mom! Our sweet girl brings so much JOY to my heart!










Olivia, with the help of her sweet nurse, made a card for me! So special!





























Friday, May 11, 2012

One month thoughts

I have so many thoughts, so many that I've put off writing them down for a long time.

We made it through the first month after losing our girls. If you had told me a month ago that I'd be able to live normal life without crying through it I would have thought you crazy. But, alas, life does go on and I'm thankful for our new normal. His mercies truly are new everyday.

I've thought so much about our girls these last few weeks. Those first days after their deaths were so much harder than I'll ever be able to convey with words. I had a lot of guilt. I still have moments each day when that guilt and fear start to overcome. I know intellectually that we did everything we could have for our girls. At the same time the emotional, and sometimes irrational, pain of grief causes me to believe differently.

In the early 1920s my maternal great grandmother gave birth to identical triplet boys - they weighed 1 1/2, 2, and 2 1/4 pounds. The doctor who delivered the babies wrapped them up, laid them in bed with my great grandmother thinking there was no chance of survival, and left. A midwife and friends of my great grandparents came and did everything they could think of to give those three babies life. Even without the advancements of modern medicine - no ventilators, no isolettes, no IVs, no lamps to treat jaundice, no TPN fluids, no broviacs, no PDA surgeries, no neural ultrasounds, no feeding tubes - all three boys survived and lived for 16, 70+, and 80+ years.

In moments when I doubt myself I find great comfort in knowing that God had plans for my girls' lives just as He did my great uncles. Simple logic would tell you that my uncles should have died shortly after birth and my three girls should have lived. Unfortunately, I've learned all too well that life doesn't always make logical sense. Its because of that that I have great faith in knowing that God is in control of everything. He knew that Catherine would never live outside of my womb, He knew that Madelyn would live for 32 hours and Mary Grace five days. Even with all the advancements of modern medicine you can't change God's plan or mess it up in any way. Though I may never understand this side of Heaven why their days were numbered as they were, I know He is sovereign over all and that their short lives hold great worth.




You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
(Psalm 139:5 ESV)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The paci

I got to the hospital today to see Olivia and she was sucking away on her huge paci. The nurse said that she had been really alert all morning and was trying to suck her fingers and thumbs. The nurse finally propped the paci in her mouth and Olivia was going to town. She was so content and looking all around. Happy as could be! If I had to guess, I'd say that she's going to be a paci/thumb lover and keep a tight grasp on a lovey of some sort. I can't wait to see what her preferences are as she continues to grow!




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First bath

We had a big day today... Reid and I got to give Olivia her first bath! She had been wiped down, but never had a thorough "scrubbing." I was really excited that her nurses included us and let us do most of the work! In true form Olivia wasn't very happy about the bath, but loved getting her hair washed. Sweet little girl likes greasy hair about as much as her mom! :)



The other big treat of the day was Reid getting to pick her up while the nurses changed out her bedding. I could have just cried the moment was so special. This daddy loves his little girl SO much!


 Does that smile not melt your heart?



One word: Smitten.


Notice the pouty lip.

Below is a little comparison of how much her hair has grown in the last month. The first picture was taken today and the second was taken when she was about a week old. I can't even imagine how much hair she will have in another month!



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy one month!

Our tiny girl is one month old today! We can hardly believe it!


Hard to believe that sticker is supposed to fit on her chest!

Olivia has been hard at work on some projects the last few days... First she pulled out her feeding tube. Yikes! And then she scooted herself off her little bed during tummy time yesterday. We love our feisty girl!




 So proud of her hard work!


Her bottom should be tucked nicely under that white blanket. ;) 

Hard to believe someone so little has such strong legs. Her nurse says that we're going to have our hands full, and we can't wait!