Friday, March 30, 2012

Celebrating with a Realistic Frame of Mind

We had a wonderful day in the NICU yesterday! I must say, I wasn't looking forward to the 'gown and glove' policy. More than anything, I was worried with how it might make me feel. "Normal" had just started approaching us within the last couple of weeks, and I hated for a silly gown and a pair of gloves to change that.

When we arrived, Donna (Elise's nurse), showed us what we could/couldn't do based on the new MRSA guidelines. She did inform me that once Elise gets ready to breastfeed, I will need to wear gloves while breastfeeding her. That seemed quite ridiculous to me. My child can face plant herself into my chest, but I need to wear gloves??? Ahhh hospital policies. Don't get me started.

Regardless of the craziness of the new policy, we rolled with it. Both of us had great snuggle time with Miss E and she gained a WHOPPING 95 grams...which puts her at 2 lbs. 13 oz! The nurse did tell us to not be alarmed if she loses a little tonight since gaining 95 seemed extreme for one day! Elise's average is to gain around 20 grams per day. However, gaining 95 grams is definitely more Raynor/Olsen style!

Her foot is the length of my pinky finger

Elise was also moved from CPAP of 5 to CPAP of 4. Next step will be to nasal cannula! Dr. Maylock told us that the Easter bunny might just bring nasal cannula for Elise's first Easter basket. We simply cannot wait! I am so ready to see her head...seems crazy, I know, but I haven't seen her head (and really the majority of her face) since she went on CPAP two weeks ago today. It will also be a pleasure to not see Elise with huge, scrunched up nostrils. Oh the lovely CPAP. We will be thrilled to say goodbye to the device when the time arrives.

We certainly aren't out of the NICU woods yet, but we are starting to see some much appreciated light. Like we've said before, Elise has dodged many NICU bullets. That doesn't go to say we haven't had our worrisome days...we certainly have! But Elise has had her guardian angel, Nana Lisa, working overtime for her. For example, we saw the eye doctor yesterday. Elise is now going to see him once every two weeks instead of once a week because her eyes are right on track. Elise also saw PT and OT yesterday. She is moving and acting exactly like a 33 weeker. Therefore, they are only going to see her one to two times a week instead of daily. Can you say miracle baby? Yeah! Odds were stacked against us when we started down this road in February. Now we find ourselves being able to relax slightly and count our many blessings rather than worry about what's to come.

Unfortunately, the NICU roller coaster is hitting other families around Elise's area in the NICU. We've made friends with Miss Olivia's parents who are across the way from Elise. Olivia was a twin, but sadly her brother passed away 3 hours after birth. The twins were delivered at 24 weeks and Olivia is 11 weeks older than Elise. Olivia has had a lot thrown at her since her very early birth. We don't know all the details, because sometimes we hesitate to ask. Many things are kept private among the NICU families. Voices are low and many times kleenex boxes are past back and forth not knowing what exactly is going on. Whenever I see Olivia's mother crying, I know it hasn't been a good day. I'm sure Olivia's parents feel the same way when they see our tears. We try to rejoice together during the happy moments, but give each other the 'I'm sorry' look and privacy when things aren't going so well.

I was so happy for Olivia and her family when Olivia's mommy told me yesterday they were discussing going home next week. Olivia's mother was soooo thrilled! Her smile was HUGE- as I'm sure mine will be the day when we start discussing the 'going home' process.

It wasn't 4 hours later that Olivia was seen by the eye doctor (the eye doc had just left us and had given us our good news). Olivia had an eye surgery done at St. V's a few weeks ago and it went very well. I don't think the parents expected the eye doctor to tell them that Olivia's retinas were detached and she needed emergency surgery in Chicago. That wasn't the news they wanted after being excited to talk about going home, but that was the news they received, unfortunately. By 5:00, Olivia was picked up by the transport team and shipped off to Chicago. Olivia's parents were right behind in their car.

My heart absolutely broke for Olivia's parents. They've grieved the loss of their son while their daughter has received so much medical work while in the NICU. They finally heard about the 'going home' process only to hear 4 hours later about an emergency eye surgery that needed to happen as soon as possible. The NICU is truly, TRULY a roller coaster.

We celebrate Elise's milestones in the NICU with a realistic frame of mind. We absolutely are thrilled with her progress! However, we know of the ugly roller coaster that unfortunately, always lurks in the background. I don't think we'll ever take our first deep breath until we are home. Maybe we never will (especially being first time parents!)

The best part of yesterday? Karrie, Elise's favorite night nurse, knew how I felt about the 'gown and glove' policy. I had talked to her quite a bit about feeling deflated that I wouldn't be able to touch Elise with my own bare hands. Right after we put Elise back in her isolette for the night, Karrie whispered, "take your gloves off and love on your girl." I couldn't get my right hand glove off before I just started to kiss all over her teeny hands! Loved this time. Thank you Miss Karrie!

Love, Love, Love!

Goodnight Mom and Dad! 


  1. I absolutely LOVE this blog! Praise God for Karrie! The pic of momma And daddy kissing baby Elise is SO wonderful!!! I cannot wait til we can see her at home and hold her and LOVE her!

  2. Beautiful pictures!!! I absolutely LOVE her little hands and fingers!! She is so precious!! I'll pray for Elise and her friend Olivia tonight! Love you!

  3. Great news about the cpap!! I can't wait for the day she won't need it anymore and you can stare at her beautiful face wo everything on it! :)

    Olivia had a couple time of extreme weight gain and then wouldn't gain for days or would have a couple night of weight loss. It all starts working out!! Great to hear she is gaining though!! :)

  4. Constant loving and praying for you and Miracle Lady Elise!!!