Quilting Away

It’s been well over a year since a vision formed in my mind of a quilt for Abigail. It looks like that vision is ever so slowly becoming a reality, and I thought I would give a little update on how her quilt is coming along. Things go slowly when you’re working around two little ones, but progress is progress.

Here’s the original picture that I sat down and put together on the computer one night shortly before Abby was born. Next to it is the revised color scheme I decided on to make it more girly.

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Literally the weekend before Abby was born we went out and bought the first fabric and I got busy embroidering away…for the next six months!

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When that was finally finished, Dan and I put our mathy degrees to good use. We sat down together one night and tried to calculate the smallest amount of fabric I would need for the inner border and binding if I was to cut the fabric on a diagonal instead of straight across. The good part is, after all that calculating, we ended up just buying the amount I needed to cut it straight across. It just wasn’t worth the risk for the few pennies or dollars that would have been saved. The better part is, we accidentally did all of our calculating based on the shorter end of the quilt (my fault) and I had to cut it all on the diagonal anyway to get it long enough for the longer sides of the quilt. So I guess our mistake saved us a few pennies after all.

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Next it was time for me to tidy up my edges. I was afraid to cut into the fabric from my embroidery work. What if I made a mistake? That was six months of work I was cutting into!

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But I put on my most courageous face and cut away.

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Lydia had fun playing with the scraps.

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Then I laid out my freshly cut fabric to get a glimpse of the quilt-to-be.

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Sewing the inner border on was almost just as scary, but once I finished I breathed a sigh of relief and laid it out again to see what the corners would looks like someday.

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Then, for the hardest part of the quilt so far…I cut out the hills and sky. I laid it all out once more to see how the colors looked and if everything was cut well enough. Looks like it might work!

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But, that’s as far as I got. I still don’t know if those curves are going to work out, because shortly after that last picture was taken we had to pack up and move. Half of the quilting supplies made it to our new place but half got put away in storage.

I’m keeping busy around here, learning piano and cross-stitching a birthday card for Lydia, but as day after day passes I get a little gloomy thinking about this on-hold project. I had hoped to have it done by Abby’s first birthday but now that’s only three months away I’m re-hoping for an eighteen-month gift.

This week we put in an offer on a house. If it’s accepted I may just wait it out to get back to my quilting. If someone else gets this house, I’ll probably ask Dan if we can dig through our storage to get my supplies. For now, I’ll just post this update so I can look back on it and be encouraged that this little vision has come so far. For someone who has never quilted before (except for a rag quilt for my nephew), I think it’s turning out pretty nicely.

2013 in Review

One of our favorite things to do at the end of each year is remind ourselves of some of the year’s highlights. Originally I intended to post the “Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013”. However, as I looked at what those posts were, I realized that most of them were the first Abby updates. Rather than include ten Abby updates, I’ve edited the list slightly to give a fair view of some of the favorite posts of the year:

10. Wasted Seasons

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This is one of Dan’s favorite posts of the year.

9. Anniversary Date

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A sweet story of a special date just days before Abby was born.

8. Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

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Some thoughts on the lessons I’ve learned this year about suffering.

7. Ten Things I’ve Learned in Three Years of Marriage

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An anniversary post.

6. Abby is Home!

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This was the highlight of our year!

5. A Letter from Abby

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Abby hijacked my blog one day and wrote this sweet letter of thanks.

4. Abigail’s Birth Story

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A detailed account of the day Abby was born.

3. The Birth Story I’ll Never Tell

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In this post, I shared why we will never have the birth story we had always hoped for, and how God helped us to accept the situation.

2. Abby Update: 66 Days Old

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This is the day Abigail was transferred from St. Joe’s over to UofM Mott’s Children’s Hospital due to her excessive spit up and weight loss over the past several weeks.

1. Introducing Abigail Faith

 photo pregnancies_zps233c3fe6.jpgWas anyone surprised? This was the first post published after Abby was born announcing her early birth at just 28 and a half weeks.

Already Worth It

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Before I was ever a Mom, I had a conversation with a mother of four. She was telling me about a friend of hers who had recently had her own baby and “would already do it again”. She was encouraging me because we had recently announced that we were expecting our first baby.

Now anyone who has a baby goes through some period of pain, especially those who choose to have an all-natural birth or who have to have a c-section (I can’t speak for those who take any other route as I’ve not experienced them myself, but I’m assuming they have their fair share of pain too). However, once the baby comes, the pain passes and the new mom enters a new state of euphoria at the joy of welcoming her new baby into the world.

For us, the “labor pains” last much longer, extended through weeks and months in the NICU before we finally get to bring our baby home. But, even with the labor pain, the painful time of separation, and all the difficulties that come along with a NICU baby, I just wanted to let everyone know it has already been worth it. Our long hospital stay is over (sometimes I still can’t believe it!) and it feels like an old dream or a distant memory.

Every long night spent apart from our baby, every frustrating day of weight loss, every minute spent apart from Lydia while we were in the hospital, the messy house, the infrequent sleep and meals, the stress of dealing with a hospital change and new nurses, doctors, and practices…

Having our sweet little blessing at home for the past 17 days has already made it all totally worth it.

Wasted Seasons

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Two and a half years ago, after Lydia was born, we missed the best weeks of summer. They happened while we passed our time in the hospital. After Abby was born I kept hoping she would come home while the weather was still nice. I love fall. And I wanted to really enjoy it with Abby at home.

Instead, the days, then weeks, and even months passed and the season went with them. Occasionally, during a drive to pick up Dan from work, I would notice the brightly colored trees lining the highway. Those were the in-between moments when I was able to enjoy fall…just a little. There was no apple picking, no pumpkins, no walks in the crunchy leaves for us. I kept telling Abby, “You have to come home before it gets cold.” She didn’t.

Somewhere in there I was having a conversation with a friend at church. She had just gone through her own share of troubles that had “interrupted life”. It was after this conversation that I noticed a running theme. A lot of people were going through different difficulties that were interrupting their life. Mold problems in the home, sickness, hospital stays, unemployment…and our lives were all put on hold until the troubles passed.

And I realized that day that I have to stop putting my life on hold, because what I thought were interruptions in life were actually the seasons of life slipping away while I neglected to enjoy them.

So I made a renewed effort to make the most of my season. I tried to enjoy the leaves during our in-between drives. I took Lydia to the hospital garden and watched her balance as she walked along the short stone wall. And I captured a precious moment in the picture above when Lydia marveled in one of the first snows of the year while looking out from Abby’s NICU window.

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I realized that three months in the NICU were not a chunk of my life just wasted. Life is too short for me to decide certain seasons are “interruptions” in the real thing. “That’s life”, as the saying goes, and I have to make the most of it or it will slip away from me unenjoyed.

Now we’re in a new season. It’s a lovely one. Abby is home and Christmas is coming. But, like all seasons, it has it’s own difficulties. For now, though, I’m remembering my lesson. If I was too absorbed in the difficulties, I wouldn’t have time to enjoy this cuteness:

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Abby Update: 11 Weeks Old

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Gestation: 39 weeks, 4 days
Weight: 5 pounds, 3 ounces
Feedings: Continuous feeds of HMF fortified milk through a post-pyloric feeding tube on a pump running at 16 ml per hour

Things have been moving along (slowly) over the past couple of days. We are hoping to get a more definitive answer tonight as to whether Abby has pyloric stenosis or not.

Monday Abby got to eat her tiny amounts and she consistently spit them up.

Tuesday morning they decided to just keep feeding her a larger amount to see what she would do. After watching her spit up all of her feeds I wasn’t too eager to put more in her poor little tummy only to have her spit it back up, so I emphasized how much she had been spitting up and asked what the next step would be. They still decided to feed her 12 ml every three hours, but said that if she spit up, they would do an ultrasound.

Abby was allowed to nurse twice yesterday. Both times that she was allowed to nurse, she was so happy and eating great only to forcefully vomit everything back up while she was still eating (and only after a few minutes). At her 5 PM feeding I decided that, if the doctors didn’t make the decision, I was going to ask that she stop receiving food to her tummy until something else was figured out. I was grateful not to have to make that decision when they did an ultrasound that seemed to show (again) pyloric stenosis.

Then things got more interesting as I heard the doctors fighting discussing (with raised voices) Abby’s next step. Pediatric Surgery watched the ultrasound and remained unconvinced that Abby has pyloric stenosis. The neonatologist team watched the ultrasound and remained convinced that Abby does have pyloric stenosis.

This morning it was decided that Abby will get an upper gastrointestinal series to test (again) for pyloric stenosis. An upper GI is a test that Abby had done a couple of weeks ago at St. Joe’s. For the test Abby will be fed a mixture of barium and water and then x-rays will be taken of the mixture traveling down her stomach and through (or not through) her pylorus.

There was some disagreement about whether or not Abby’s post-pyloric (NJ) feeding tube has to come out for the test. Pediatric Surgery said yes, the neonatologists said no, and radiology said the tube could stay in. So Abby will hopefully be able to have that test done today. The results will determine our next course of action, that is, whether or not Abby will need surgery.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Holidays are no fun when you’re in the hospital, not just because they are holidays spent in the hospital, but because the hospital is down to a skeleton crew. If you need any tests or procedures done, it’s hard to get them scheduled. This is also true during weekends. So, if Abby doesn’t get her upper GI (and possibly surgery) today, it may not happen until Monday. So, as you can imagine, Dan and I are pushing for things to get done as fast as possible.

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-a possible (fixable) diagnosis
-that Abby remembers how to nurse

Please Pray:
-that Abby can get her test and possible surgery before the weekend
-that the upper GI will be conclusive
-that we won’t have to repeat the upper GI without a feeding tube to appease Pediatric Surgery
-that Abby will only receive surgery if she truly needs it
-for patience for Dan and I…we really want Abby home!

Abby Update: 75 Days Old

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Gestation: 39 weeks, 2 days
Weight: 5 pounds, 3 ounces
Feedings: Continuous feeds of HMF fortified milk through a post-pyloric feeding tube on a pump running at 16 ml per hour plus 6 ml by mouth every three hours

Well, the staff decided to wait until today to feed Abby anything by mouth or into her tummy, but we had a full weekend anyway.

Over the past week, Dan and I had noticed that Abby just wasn’t doing very well. She was sleepy all the time. She was moving backwards in her development. She used to be so bright-eyed and noticed everything. She would turn to the sound of Dan’s or my voice. She could look all around and track you as you moved over her from one side to the other. But all of that stopped and she was just sleepy all the time. Even when she was awake she would just stare off in one spot. She stopped sucking on her fingers. Then we noticed that her heart rate was continuing to increase from the low 100’s at rest to high 100’s and even low 200’s at rest.

So on Saturday as I was holding Abby, I was praying for her as I often do while holding her nowadays. Suddenly as I prayed a thought flashed across my mind: “iron”. For the past two months Abby has been receiving iron supplements to fight her anemia of prematurity. When she started getting rice cereal added to her feeds they cut out the iron because the rice cereal was fortified with iron. However, UofM took Abby off the rice cereal and never put her back on iron supplements. As I looked at Abby I started to notice how pale she looked and started thanking God for bringing this all to mind.

I went to find my nurse, but couldn’t, so I found a tech instead. “Is Abby getting any iron supplements?” I asked her, but she couldn’t figure out where to find that information in her charts. So she summoned a resident to come talk to me. A few minutes later the resident came in only to assure me that Abby was getting “the correct amount” of iron just from the HMF in her feeds. I was so surprised that I could only nod and thank her before doing my own research to find that, indeed Abby was getting way less iron than she had at St. Joe’s. In fact, Abby was receiving iron while on HMF at St. Joe’s.

I didn’t want to be annoying to the resident, so I asked our nurse if he could check her latest hematocrit level. Now, in the past Abby’s hematocrit had reached its lowest at around 7 weeks old and then started coming back up. Those who have followed Abby’s progress long enough may remember my saying that if it got as low as 23 Abby may have needed a transfusion. If it reached 20 she would definitely need a transfusion. Her numbers over the course of the past month were 27, 26.5, 24.5, and then back up to 28.3 (measured weekly). Abby’s hematocrit at UofM hadn’t been checked since she was admitted, and at that time it was 27.1. So I asked the nurse if it’s normal for it to decrease.

The nurse spent half an hour explaining to me that Abby is not anemic. She doesn’t need any more iron than she gets from my milk and the HMF. He told me that she had a good color to her skin and wasn’t showing any signs of anemia. I listened, asked lots of questions, and finally thanked him, still unconvinced.

When Dan came back from his walk with Lydia I relayed all of my thoughts, observations, and conversations to him. And he agreed. So when we went back to the hospital we asked to speak with the resident again. Again she came and assured us that Abby was getting sufficient iron. But because we were so persistent, she finally agreed to check her blood count the next morning.

On Sunday morning Abby’s hematocrit was down to 22.8 and she had already received orders to start taking a large does of iron daily. By Sunday night, we were already noticing improvements as Abby seemed more alert and bright-eyed once again.

Today Abby gets to have her first milk by mouth in over a week. The plan is to feed her 6 ml (a little over a teaspoon) once every three hours to see if she keeps it down or spits it up. If Abby tolerates the 6 ml, tomorrow we will increase her amount. If she spits it all up, tomorrow she will probably get another ultrasound to test for pyloric stenosis.

At 11 PM, Abby refused to nurse but took in 2 or 3 ml by bottle. Then she spit it all up. She didn’t seem to have any interest in eating at all, let alone nursing. So it’s really looking like she might be getting an ultrasound tomorrow.

Praise the Lord
-for showing me that Abby needed iron before she was in need of a transfusion
-that God is taking care of Abby especially when the doctors fail

Please Pray:
-that Abby will have a conclusive test for pyloric stenosis in the next couple of days
-that, despite the days she’s spent not eating, Abby would quickly “remember” how to eat and nurse
-that God would keep showing us what Abby needs that may otherwise be overlooked
-for Dan and I as we are still struggling with this transition to UofM

Abby Update: 72 Days Old

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Gestation: 38 weeks, 6 days
Weight: 4 pounds, 14 ounces
Feedings: Continuous feeds of HMF fortified milk through a post-pyloric feeding tube on a pump running at 15 ml per hour

Dan and I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of days discussing our “theories” with the doctors as to what is causing or contributing to Abby’s issues. I won’t go into all the gruesome details here, but will instead share the decisions that have been made and the upcoming plans.

Last night at 6 PM, Abby started receiving milk that was fortified with HMF to 22 calories per ounce. Over the night and through today she had four small spit ups of the mucus-like liquid from her stomach. Today the doctors decided to increase Abby’s fortification to 24 cal, which will start at 6 PM tonight.

Since Abby still hadn’t had a dirty diaper, today she was given a suppository. Within minutes she had a very full, very stinky diaper.

If Abby “tolerates” the feeds tonight, the next step will be to pull her post-pyloric tube back up into her stomach. The anticipation is that she will start to spit up again and we will repeat the ultrasound to look for pyloric stenosis. However, it’s a little more difficult to schedule ultrasounds on weekends, because less people are working, so it may be Monday before the feeding tube is pulled back into Abby’s tummy. Either way, by the next blog post I should have some sort of results from Abby’s first attempt(s) at getting food directly to her tummy.

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-that Abby finally had a dirty diaper, even if it was with “help”
-as UofM still does routine “rounds” on weekends (St. Joe’s didn’t always), we’ll be able to stay up-to-date over the next couple of days on Abby’s progress

Please Pray:
-that Abby will continue to tolerate the HMF or that it would be clear if the HMF is causing (or contributing to) any problems
-wisdom and direction for this doctor, the new one who comes on next week, and the residents as they make decisions regarding Abby’s care
-that they will go ahead with Abby’s plan this weekend instead of making us all wait until Monday

Abby Update: 10 Weeks Old

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Gestation: 38 weeks, 4 days
Weight: 4 pounds, 14 ounces
Feedings: Continuous feeds of unfortified milk through a post-pyloric feeding tube on a pump running at 9 ml per hour

Abby didn’t get her post-pyloric feeding tube placed successfully until 6:45 PM on Monday night. Eventually she had to be taken down to fluoroscopy (which is kind of like a real-time x-ray video), where they could actually see to put the tube down past her pylorus. After the tube was placed feedings were started at 5 ml per hour.

Since having the feeding tube placed, Abby has occasionally spit up what looks like (excuse me for being graphic) bloody mucus. The doctor isn’t concerned about this, as it it probably just from all the irritation that occurred by poking that feeding tube down her throat all day.

Tuesday morning Abby’s electrolytes were almost normal, but her potassium was still low (2.9, but they would like it to be 3.5). So it was another day of waiting as her feeds were bumped up to 9 ml per hour.

Tuesday night Abby had an eye exam which came back normal, but the blood vessels in her eyes are still developing. She’ll have a follow-up visit in two weeks.

Today Abby’s potassium was still low, but everything else appears to be ok, so she is off of the IV and only receiving the milk feeds through her tube. She will receive oral potassium supplements and they’ll check her levels on Friday morning. Her feeds will be increased by 1 ml per hour every four hours until she reaches 13 ml per hour sometime tonight, which will be considered “full feeds” for her weight (which is now 4 pounds, 14 ounces, the biggest she’s ever been).

If Abby demonstrates that she can tolerate full feeds well (and hopefully starts stooling!) then tomorrow they will introduce a fortifier to see if she can tolerate the fortifier fed to her intestines. If she tolerates the fortifier, then we will be able to introduce oral feeding again and try to identify where the problem lies. She could still have a surgery on her pylorus, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

We asked the doctor today about Abby’s infrequent stooling and found out that they aren’t concerned at all. If Abby only stools once a week, they’re fine with that. As long as Abby’s stools aren’t dried out or causing any pain and her tummy stays soft, they’ll let her go as long as she needs to without giving a suppository. And Abby’s tummy is nice and soft.

Our big prayer request is that the doctor will decide to give Abby a fortifier other than HMF, the fortifier they like to use for all their babies, and the one that seems to be giving Abby the most problems. Or, if they do start her on HMF, that she’ll be able to tolerate it better when it’s not going into her stomach, but past it.

Dan’s Mom came down today and is, as I type, cleaning our apartment for us. After seeing Abby, she feels a lot better than she did just reading the updates, so I thought I would include her observations for the encouragement of anyone who doesn’t get to see Abby in person. Abby is very healthy. In fact, they have mentioned the possibility of moving her out of the intensive care unit, because her issues are just not intensive care material anymore. Abby’s only problem, that we know of now, is that she can’t keep her food down. She is alert and comfortable (except when they’re poking her for blood work) and looks like a small, but very healthy baby. And, even though we contribute some of this to fluid retention from the IV and not stooling for 6 days, she is up to a whopping 4 pounds, 14 ounces.

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-that Abby is almost to full feeds of unfortified milk and off the IV
-that Abby’s eye exam was normal
-that Abby is gaining a lot of weight

Please Pray:
-that Abby’s potassium will come up quickly
-that Abby will tolerate her full feeds very well (and stool!)
-that the doctors will decide to put Abby on a “friendlier” fortifier than HMF

Abby Update: 66 Days Old

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Gestation: 38 weeks
Weight: 4 pounds, 5 ounces
Feedings: However much she wants by bottle, every three hours

On Thursday we were disappointed, once again, to hear that Abby had lost 2 grams. Two grams is almost nothing, but it’s not a gain and it really confirmed that Abby was not making progress as we had hoped. After a disappointing day and lots of spit up, I sat and held Abby for a long time that night praying about what to do next.

I got a couple of ideas, some new medicine that could be tried and maybe a different formula, which I talked over with our nurse. On the car ride home I spent more time praying and was very encouraged. I was pondering the “Why?” questions. You know, “Why is this happening to us?”, and “How can this possibly be for good?”. It’s not that I was asking those questions myself, but that I was realizing how it has never been a struggle to be since Abby’s birth. Though all the ups and downs of this season, I haven’t questioned that this is what God ordained and this is for the best.

I went on to reflect that I really have been learning a lot and can see God building my character like the Bible says in Romans 5: “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I thought about the many Christians who have had to learn some of the same lessons that I am, but by losing a child. How grateful I am that God is teaching us these things in a more merciful way, by not actually taking Abigail from us!

The night ended with my having a very clear sense that God is carrying me and the feeling that I need to keep being carried by Him, no matter what comes next.

The next morning I was remembering these lessons as we walked into St. Joe’s, the hospital where Abby was staying. Though we missed rounds, the doctor sought us out to talk and dropped a bombshell (as she put it). Abby had not gained weight again. She had lost 4 grams. Looking back over the past two weeks made it very clear that Abby had ceased making any forward progress and the doctors at St. Joe’s had essentially done all they could for her. There is a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist at the University of Michigan who could help, but we would have to transfer to Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor to be able to see him.

So, it came about that our departure from St. Joe’s was not the happy one of a discharge, but the disappointing situation of a transport. Dan took Lydia to work so I could stay with Abby all along, and I got to be with her as they loaded her into a transport isolette, wheeled her through the hospital and outside, and loaded her into the ambulance. I got to ride along in the front seat and come with her as she was resettled in her sixth bedspace so far, now at Motts. For the record, Abby enjoyed her first car ride. She slept the entire time, from being in her crib at St. Joe’s until her next feeding time in her crib at UofM. She didn’t open her eyes once during the whole trip, but squinted whenever the sun came in through the window (her first taste of sunlight, crazy to think).

The first hour was very crazy with lots of new faces and lots of chaos as Abby was settled in and I got the grand tour. UofM gives patients all private rooms and nursing moms get three free meal orders a day. There’s a big playroom for healthy kiddos including a complete playground indoors. But even with those perks, it’s been a rough transition.

You might think all NICUs work the same, but they don’t. Of course they are similar, but every NICU is run differently, and (as you might expect from the UofM) Mott’s is much less personal. There are also something like a million (exaggeration) neonatologists instead for the five we had at St. Joe’s. But that doesn’t matter too much because the resident is really the one making calls for Abby these days.

However, we have always said that St. Joe’s is our preferred hospital unless our baby has something weird, in which case UofM would be better. There are more specialists and they have much more experience with the weird cases. And with Abby’s excessive spit up, she qualifies as having something weird.

Abby did ok for the first feeding. Not a lot of spit up. Took the whole bottle. Went right to sleep. At her second feeding she spit up all over Dan. After she was finished and settled in her bed, she spit up again, and again, and again. The nurse came in to change all her clothes which only aggravated the situation and she ended up wrapping her in blankets and putting her back in the isolette (they had moved her to an open crib that morning).

Abby is back on HMF (human milk fortifier), which is the very first fortifier she was on, because the doctors want to get a baseline for what works and doesn’t. We argued a little (we were very tired and worn out and maybe a little too forceful) asking if she could please be put on Nutramigen, because that’s the one that has worked out the best so far. The resident said they would observe her overnight and discuss a change in the morning.

Dan and I understand and appreciate the reasons for Abby’s transfer. We are hoping the GI specialist will be able to get to the bottom of Abby’s issues, and that she’ll be able to come home soon. However, there’s a different attitude in the new hospital, less of a drive to get Abby home, which is hard for us as we thought she would be home two and a half weeks ago. Poor little Abby is showing the signs of her spit up. She is very skinny now and looks almost like she did as a newborn two months ago. (She is bigger, but now just as skinny) Dan says she looks a little better than that, mostly because she opens her eyes now. We are thankful that she is still bright eyes and energetic, but we think it’s likely that we will soon find Abby on an IV unless things turn around quickly.

We trust and we know that God is still carrying us. He is working this all out for good. It was the greatest comfort to me to know that, as we left all of the familiarity of St. Joe’s, the same God went with us to UofM and will take care of us there.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-a chance to see a GI specialist
-new hope with doctors more experienced in weirdnesses
-some of the perks of being at Motts

Please Pray:
-that Abby’s new caregivers will get to know her quickly
-that Abby won’t get worse in the meantime
-that we’ll be able to get to the bottom of Abby’s issues
-that Dan and I will be able to adjust to Abby’s new hospital

Abby Update: 9 Weeks Old

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Gestation: 37 weeks, 4 days
Weight: 4 pounds, 5 ounces
Feedings: However much she wants by bottle, every three hours

Right now, everyone is just waiting on Abby. On Monday she had lost 10 grams (1/3 of an ounce). Tuesday she stayed the same. Today, however, she gained 36 grams (1 ounce)!

Every feeding time has become a circus act of trying to feed, frequently burp, and hold Abby all while moving her as little as possible. I think it might be working, even though she still spits up at almost every feed. The nice part for us is that she eats like a champ, and frequently wants to eat more after spitting up. On Monday night Abby finally nursed again, and then spit up more than she took in. Then she followed up with a full bottle which she did manage to keep down. Other than that one feed Abby still won’t nurse. We’re trying not to focus on that right now and just try to get enough food in her however she will take it.

Edit: Abby did nurse again this morning and took in 42 milliliters, a full feed!

Abby’s blood and urine cultures came back looking good, which means she doesn’t have an infection. Still, we’re holding off on the hernia surgery until she is a little more stable, consistently gaining weight. It’s possible that she may have her surgery Monday morning.

Abby’s isolette temperature is set at 27.5 degrees Celsius. Every three hours, they take her temperature, and if it’s a little high, they’ll turn down the isolette by half a degree. When it gets down to 26, she can move to an open crib again.

Everyone was so excited at rounds today because of Abby’s big weight gain, that they jumped right to talking about discharge. No, she is not ready to go home yet. But now that she gained weight once, everyone is eager to send her home soon (babies always do better once they get home).

Dan and I are hanging in there. One night as we walked into the hospital, I was insisting that I can’t take any more. It’s one thing when you feel like you can’t take it. It’s another matter when your body starts having problems. Dan and I have been getting a lot of headaches, and mine threaten to become migraines that make me sick and keep me from being able to do much. Dan suggested that it must be possible to handle all of this without “freaking out” or completely “losing it”, because “Hudson Taylor could do it”. I pointed out that, while Hudson Taylor was able to handle trials, heartache, responsibility, and all other sorts of stress all while calmly and peacefully “resting in Jesus”, he did have two wives that both died. Well, in light of our stress and that conversation, we’ve been re-reading a favorite book of ours, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret during our numerous car rides to and from the hospital. I think it might be helping.

Praise the Lord
We are thanking God for:
-that Abby gained weight!
-that it seems like Abby might be spitting up slightly less
-that Abby doesn’t have an infection
-a couple of successful nursing attempts in the past few days
-Hudson Taylor’s story and the encouragement it has given us

Please Pray:
-that Abby will continue to gain weight, spit up less, and keep her temperature up
-that our family will continue to “hang in there” until Abby comes home
-that Abby won’t have any more setbacks