Friday, June 18, 2010

Road to Recovery & Life at Home

Sorry it's been awhile since we've updated the blog. As you can imagine, life with a new little baby has been quite busy.

Here's an update on Evelyn and how she has improved since Kane's last post.

Evelyn improved so much while in Atlanta that she was too well to stay at Egleston after only 3 days in their care. Because Children's only take and keep the sickest babies we were told she would need to be back-transported to the Rome hospital where she was born.

In Atlanta---waiting on the transport team to pick her up and take her back to Rome.

Last Monday evening a transport team came and picked her up and she arrived back at the NICU in Rome late Monday evening. Kane went and made sure she was settled in that evening and the next day we began a busy week of visiting her multiple times a day while she focused on regaining strength and learning how to eat. I had worked diligently to make sure she had enough pumped milk for each feeding (every 3 hours). I also worked with her 2-3 times a day in the NICU to learn how to nurse, but always offered her a bottle of pumped milk afterward to make sure she was eating enough. I wanted to breastfeed her more often, but we had to find a balance between pushing her to learn to nurse, without wearing her out. She wasn't strong enough while in the NICU to nurse at every feeding. But, thankfully I was able to attempt breastfeeding with her a couple feedings a day during that week. I was so glad that she took to it well and was well on her way to understanding the concept before she even came home.

The time she spent in the Rome NICU was very draining to us all. Although we were "at home" and able to sleep in our own beds, we were making multiple trips to the hospital each day, working hard with her while we were there and trying to find time to rest, pump, eat and sleep in between. Emotionally is was very difficult for me as well----going to "visit" your baby for an hour or so then just leave. I fought some feelings of guilt and had to pray through each moment of discouragement. I also prayed many, many times for patience through those days. I so badly just wanted to bring her home and having to wait until the proper time was very wearing.

During her time in the NICU my parents were here (my dad arriving the day after she was brought back to Rome) so my dad was able to come up to the hospital one time to meet Evelyn and so did my niece Alley who was visiting with my parents and helping take care of Mara Kate. Mara Kate also got to come twice during that week to visit her little sister. The first time she just got to look at her and rub her head and the second time she got to hold her, which were both very special family moments for us. I was so thankful for my mom who held down the fort at home with household things that needed to be done, cooking and taking care of Mara Kate so Kane and I could be freed up to go back and forth to the hospital. I felt like those trips and feedings each day were my full-time job for that week.

At the Rome NICU---Mara Kate meeting her new little sister for the first time.

The blankets surrounding her were ones Kane & I slept with, so she would be able to smell us even while in the NICU. Hard to see your baby attached to so many tubes, but oh so thankful there wasn't one stuck down her throat anymore, breathing for her. She was doing much, much better at this point.

Mara Kate holding Evelyn for the first time. She was very loving.

Working on a bottle of mommy's milk---getting stronger by the day!

We were SO thankful when doctor in Rome told us she could come home on Saturday (June 12, only 1 week and 1 day after birth), once her round of antibiotics was finished. It was wonderful waking up that morning knowing that I'd get to go pick up my baby and bring her home to STAY! We did exactly that and it was fun to finally see all the wires, iv port and electrodes removed from her chest and arms and be able to dress her up in the "coming home outfit" I had bought. It is hard to believe it was only 8 days since she was in such critical condition until the time that she was perfectly healthy and ready to come home. When we were getting her ready to come home the doctor told us, "You should care for her as if she is a normal, healthy newborn---because that's what she is." All I can say is---ONLY GOD!!

Getting her dressed to come home!

All dressed up---with a bow! As someone said,
"She's a gift from God and came home wrapped in a bow!"

Finally home

Mara Kate (and my parents and niece) were waiting
and ready to greet her when we arrived.

We have had such a wonderful time having Evelyn at home. Life actually feels much calmer now that we aren't having to think about when to be at the hospital next or when I should pump. She is rapidly becoming a nursing champ and I've already put away all the bottles and the breast pump. We've spent a lot of time cuddling together and just learning more each day about who this new little family member is!

So far she has been a pretty easy baby. She only cries when she has a good reason to and she sleeps fairly well too (as well as can be expected from a 2 week old). I feel much calmer and more confident in the mothering realm this time around, which is nice and Mara Kate is learning how to be gentle yet still loving. It been a wonderful week all the way around!

My parents have gone now and Kane's mom Tuie is here and is also enjoying lots of Evie cuddles. Evelyn will meet some more family this weekend too! We are simply enjoying our baby, enjoying time with family and enjoying the help they've all been to us as well!

Life at Home...

Awake and happy---swaddled in her cradle.

Snoozing in the bouncy seat

Getting lots of attention

First bath at home

Squeaky clean :)

Sporting their matching Big Sister & Little Sister t-shirts
As a friend on facebook said,
"SO big, SO little... SO awake, SO asleep!"

We are just extremely thankful to God for giving her back to us after we thought we might be losing her! We are humbled at the gift she is and are praising God for her life and for the love He has given us for her. My heart is much bigger today than it was even just a few weeks ago---simply amazing!

Thank you to EACH and EVERY friend and person who said a prayer for us and for our sweet little Evelyn. We truly needed and felt your prayers and love!!!

We are so very blessed!


Dad said...

She is such a blessing. We seem to appreciate her even more after her medical crisis, and are already looking forward to the next time we will be able to come back and see her again!

Christy said...

Jana, she is precious!!! Praising the Lord with you!

Susanna Rose said...


It will be so special when Evenly is old enough that you can tell her what a big miracle God performed in her life from her earliest days on this earth! She is so cute and it looks like she is doing pretty well weight wise!:) Look forward to keeping up with you as you do life with two little ones now!:)

Katie said...

What a sweet post Jana. I cannot wait to hold Evelyn! The pictures are adorable and I love her already!