Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gimme Five!

Isabelle was officially a 5-month-old on Sunday…hard to believe! She sure has come a long way, as evident in her monthly pictures, but it’s funny to think that on Izzy’s 5-month birthday, she still weighed less than her daddy and I did when we were born. I was 9 lbs 4 oz, and Griff was 9 lbs 6 oz. Our poor moms...we were some chunk-o’s!!!

We got great reports from all of our recent doctor visits. The pulmonologist gave us the best news…he said her lungs sound great, and we don’t have to stay home anymore!!! We can venture out into the real world with Isabelle. Obviously, we still have to be very careful, avoid overly crowded places, wash hands religiously, and definitely keep her away from anyone who is sick, but it is nice having some freedom. He said to get out now because come October, which is the beginning of RSV season, we will pretty much be on lock-down.

Izzy’s neurologist was also impressed with how well she is doing. He said she looks great. It’s still very early in the game, but at this point, she isn’t showing any signs of cerebral palsy or any other issues that could be symptoms of the cerebral hemorrhage she experienced early on, and we’re praying it stays that way! He wants to see Izzy again in six months, and at that time he will probably schedule a second MRI to check things out.

More positive news from the ophthalmologist! He said both eyes look fantastic. He said she is a little far-sighted, which is a good thing, because the eye surgery can cause extreme near-sightedness. We will see him again in two months, and then hopefully only once a year. Yay!!!

We saw Izzy’s general pediatrician last Wednesday, and he is in agreement with all of her other docs…she looks great! She weighed 8 lbs 14 oz at the appointment, and he was happy with her weight gain. Happy enough that he doesn’t need to see her until her 6-month check-up, not even for Weight Watchers meetings! We do have a dietician from ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) who comes to the house to weigh and measure Izzy, and she helps with any feeding or nutrition questions we have. She has been coming weekly, but she was here last night and decided that Izzy is doing so well that she can start coming every other week. By her scale (which is usually lower than Dr. Worsley’s), Izzy weighed 9 lbs 4 oz yesterday, which is a 10 ounce gain since last Monday!

I’m so excited my little 1 pound 9 ounce baby girl is 5 MONTHS OLD that I feel compelled to celebrate with a 50 Cent remix…

Go, go, go
Go, go, go, go Izzy
It’s ya (5-month) birthday
We’re gonna party like it’s ya (5-month) birthday
We’re gonna sip ya bottle like it’s ya (5 month) birthday

….and that’s about as far as I can go with that song before things start getting wildly inappropriate for a 5-month-old. ;-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Photos

Our amazing photography friends have struck again. Those of you who followed our CaringBridge site will remember Niji and Lali, the friends of friends who graciously offered to take photos of Izzy during her NICU stay. They came to the hospital twice to capture precious moments, so we thought it was only fitting that they also take our first family photos. Niji came out to the house a few weeks ago and got some great shots. You can find the proofs at http://www.nijistanley.com/, click on proofing, select Isabelle, and the password is miracle. Thanks Niji and Lali!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh No She Didn't!

So, recently Griff’s parents slept over at our house. They took the entire night shift so Griff and I could catch up on some much needed sleep. As we shut our bedroom door for the night, we did a little happy dance, and said to each other, “Suckas! They have no idea what they’re in for!” If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that Izzy is not a big fan of sleeping at night, especially not in her bassinet. Well, our alarm went off at 6 a.m., and Griff went in the living room fully expecting to find both of his parents wiped out from the night’s exhaustion. He was shocked at what he found…she slept the ENTIRE night in her bed. Yes my friends, she slept from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., all in her bassinet, only waking to eat. Isabelle clearly knows how to work the grandparents. She was a perfect angel all night, no doubt with a huge grin on her face the entire time as if to say to me and Griff, “Who’s the sucka now???” Now you’re wondering if she’s slept the entire night since then, right? Well, the answer would be a big fat no, but she is getting much better. She slept in her bed last night from about 10:30 p.m. – 5 a.m. with no problems, so we can’t really complain much.

I almost forgot to post her Weight Watcher’s results. As of Friday (7/10), she weighed 8 lbs 2 oz, which was an 8 ounce gain over 9 days…not too shabby. I'm also late at posting this picture from the 4th of July, but here is Izzy being the diva that she is. If this is any indication of how her teen years will be, we are in trouble!

Monday, July 13, 2009

No More O’s…Can It Be So?

Well, if you have followed Isabelle’s progress since she was born, you know that her lungs have been very weak from the beginning. When Isabelle was born, things actually started pretty well. She was only requiring about 25% oxygen and was on a conventional ventilator. Things went downhill over the next few weeks. Isabelle went from the regular ventilator to two high frequency ventilators (the Jet and the Oscillator). At one point Isabelle was on 100% oxygen on one of the high frequency ventilators, which was obviously a very scary day b/c there weren’t many additional options.

A few weeks later things started to get better, and Isabelle was able to move back to the conventional ventilator and then to the Bubble CPAP. She was on the Bubble for over six weeks, but it seemed like so much longer! Isabelle moved from the Bubble to the High Flow Cannula and then to just the regular cannula. When Isabelle left the NICU she still needed some oxygen support, so we have a beautiful tank in our living room and several small tanks to take with us if we leave the house.

As you can see, the oxygen journey has been a long one! Isabelle’s doctor wanted us to start to wean her off the oxygen when we got home. We did this a little bit at a time and on Tuesday (7/7/09) we gave Isabelle another shot off the oxygen. I guess she decided she was sick and tired of having stuff all over her face…so she has been breathing cannula free since then! Can you believe it? It is very nice and gives us much more freedom, even if that freedom is just taking Izzy to different rooms in our house. We have basically been confined to the living room since we have gotten home, so it is very nice just walking around the house with Isabelle whenever we want. We’re taking her to the pulmonologist on Friday, and we’re hoping he will discontinue the oxygen and pulse-oximeter all together. He’s going to be so proud of Izzy. I know we are!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This has been a hard week. My Grandpa passed away Friday morning. He struggled for many years with Emphysema and COPD, and after being in and out of the hospital numerous times, his lungs finally had all they could stand. His health started rapidly declining Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday afternoon, the hospice nurse didn’t expect him to make it through the night. Griff left work early to watch Isabelle so I could go visit Grandpa. When I arrived, he not only knew who I was, but he asked me how the little termite (referring to Isabelle) was doing. I saw him again Thursday night, after his condition had gotten much worse, and spent several hours with him and the rest of the family. It was so sad to watch him suffer in pain during his last days, but I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to tell him that I loved him one last time. Grandpa came to visit Isabelle during her first week home, and since he was also on oxygen, we got a sweet picture of the two cannula buddies. A few days after his visit, he called me to check on Izzy. When I told him my only complaint was that she didn't want to sleep at night, he replied, "Well, if she wants to stay up all night, teach her to play poker." I'm so glad he was able to meet Izzy, and I know he’s up in Heaven now, peacefully holding our little Lily. Love you, Grandpa!

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Tricks

Isabelle has learned a few tricks, including lifting her head and turning it from side to side while on her tummy, pulling out her nasal cannula and putting it in her mouth, and the art of looking exceptionally cute in order to get exactly what she wants. Enjoy the photos!

Sleep Achieved!

After trying everything we could think of to get Isabelle to sleep in her bassinet, we decided to try, try again. We pulled the swaddler back out and gave it another try, and something magical happened. She calmed down, so we placed her in her bassinet, and she fell asleep!!! I was so excited that it actually worked that I couldn’t even sleep. I just kept taking pictures of her sleeping so I would have proof that she is capable of sleeping in her own bed. I know flashing a camera at a sleeping baby is not a good idea, but I couldn’t help myself.

Rachel, a friend of Griff’s from college, and now an email buddy of mine, recommended the book, Babywise. I bought the book the very next day, but of course I haven’t had a chance to read it. Rachel outlined the basic concept, which is feeding time, awake time, nap time repeated consistently throughout the day, cutting out the awake time at night. I’ve been attempting it, and have had great success during the day (thank you, Rachel!). Izzy eats, stays awake for about an hour, then I swaddle her and put her in her bassinet and she naps for about an hour and a half. I even put her in bed awake, but sleepy, and she just falls asleep. This has made our days much more predictable and has made Mommy much more pleasant to be around. Night time is still a little crazy. My system seems to fall apart around 7-8pm. But…I do have to report that two nights ago, she slept in her bassinet the ENTIRE night, of course waking to eat. I realize there’s no such thing as a perfect schedule for a newborn, and even if there is, it’s probably not accomplished after two weeks at home, but we’ve made some progress, and I’m happy with that.

One last thing - I asked Griff to attempt to keep Isabelle awake after she ate the other day. I told him to read a book to her or sing to her. So, I was in the bedroom, and from the living room I hear Griff singing his best rendition of Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby to Isabelle. Maybe I should be more specific next time…

Hookah Lounge

Isabelle’s appointment went well on Wednesday. Dr. Worsley was very happy with how her lungs sounded, so we can cut back on the breathing treatments, or as Griff and I like to call them, Izzy’s hookah lounge. Surprisingly, she doesn’t mind the hookah lounge. We do it right after she eats, so she is content just to chill and breathe in the medicine.

We were also relieved to hear that Izzy’s doc wasn’t too concerned with her choking episodes. He says all babies choke occasionally, and their heart rate may even drop for an instant, but since they are not hooked up to a monitor, we’d never know. Hopefully we won’t be slaves to the monitors much longer. In fact, Isabelle has been O2-free for almost two hours this morning, and is doing well. We fully expect to have to give her back her O’s at some point today, but someday soon she’ll be able to give them up for good. That will be a good day!

Little Miss now weighs 7 pounds 10 ounces. Dr. Worsley was pleased with her gain, but still wants us to come in every week and a half or so for weigh-ins until she’s nice and chunky. Our good friend Emily refers to these weigh-ins as “Weight Watchers for Preemies.” So, our next WW meeting is next Friday. We’ll keep you posted…