Saturday, March 16, 2013

What a Difference a Year has Made!

 Wow! I think the hustle and bustle of parenthood can be seen by my lack of writing since last fall! There aren't many nap times that I have the energy to do much besides grab some lunch and veg for a minute, but today I wanted to provide an update to all of Elise's tride and true followers! 

Catching You Up

A big moment last fall was Elise's baptism. We were so honored to have all family join us as Elise officially became a child of God in our Presbyterian Church. This day was also very special because Grant became a member of our church! Elise's baptismal gown has been in my family for 40 years. My grandmother made it out of her own wedding gown. Many Davis cousins have worn this gown, including me and my two brothers. What a special treat to add to a very memorable day. 

Special thanks for the tedious work by Take the Cake. This is a replica of one of the stained glass windows in our church. Way cool! 
Another exciting fall trip was Elise's first road trip to Arkansas for Uncle Matt and Auntie B's wedding! She was fabulous in the car (9 hour trip one way) and fabulous coming home. She slept through the entire wedding, but she will see pictures and hear stories as she grows older! 
The beautiful newlyweds
What's New with Elise? 

Elise is doing absolutely amazing! She has had two "setbacks" with the stomach flu this winter, but nothing tooooo major. The first occurrence was a few months ago. I was feeding Elise her morning bottle while watching the Today Show (she looked fine and seemed like she was feeling well...we were about to head off to our workout class like normal). 

All of a sudden, I felt Elise go limp in my arms. Her color quickly became ashy while her eyes rolled into the back of her head. I told myself I could NOT panic, because what good would that do?? I called out her name several times and tried tapping her cheeks. Nothing was working. I also tried splashing some water in her face. No go. I started to grab my phone to dial 911, and Elise came to slightly acting like something was stuck in her throat. She vomited a little and seemed to perk up again. I called my husband, Grant, instead of having a fire truck, police cars, and an ambulance show up at the house! 

Grant immediately knew what had happened...she was choking on her vomit and aspirating. She would aspirate (take fluid into her lungs...lower her heart rate....and breath shallowly) in the NICU many times. However, that "handy-dandy" monitor would tell you exactly what was happening. This was an instance (9 months after the NICU) when I really could have used one of those monitors ....and one of our NICU nurses or doctors right around the corner! 

God always works in mysterious ways...just when you desperately need Him. I started to realize Elise needed to vomit more, but couldn't. Around this same time, our cleaning ladies came through the front door. Ahhh, another mom to help me! Grant was quickly driving home from work to come get us. Our cleaning lady helped me clean myself and Elise while keeping a very watchful eye on our little girl. 

We decided to take Elise into the hospital to get checked out by her pediatrician and make sure this scary episode was just a one time event. Poor Elise vomited the whole 5 minute drive to the hospital and continued to become dehydrated in amidst being admitted to the pediatric floor. She got a round of IV fluids while we stayed overnight to have her monitored. She was her usual bouncy self the next morning. 

Round one of the stomach bug was history. 

Round two was just last week. We decided to take our first beach vacation as a family of three. We eagerly packed up the car one early Saturday morning and took two days to make the 16 hour drive to St. Petersburg, Florida. Florida was experiencing a cold front when we got there (high of 62), but the locals promised us brighter days ahead. We had our own little house on the bay with a private swimming pool and hot tub. We were set, right??? 

Our ONE good day in Florida...we made the best of it. Elise seemed to enjoy the hot tub!

Grant became ill the first night in Florida. He battled through a GI bug for four days. On the 5th day, I woke up with the same symptoms he had just gotten over. (Keep in mind the weather was still super chilly at this point...our pool water was a delicious 58 degrees!) Grant became worried that Elise would be next, so we packed up the car and decided to end our "vacation" two days early. We were three hours from home and Elise started vomiting. A few days later, we thought we might need another round of IV fluids to kick the bug goodbye, but thank goodness Elise was able to keep down small amounts of formula and we did not need a hospital visit. Hopefully round two (and we pray the LAST round) of the stomach bug is ending very, very soon! 

Where is Elise developmentally? 

We celebrated her very first birthday on February 8, 2013. (I know, it doesn't seem real!) She weighs 16 pounds and 1 ounce. She is 27.25 inches tall. 

{Scroll down for birthday party pictures}

As I write this, Elise is 13 months old chronologically. Her adjusted age is approximately 10 months old. She has a list of sounds that she likes to express (i.e. da, ga, bree, wray, wee, ah, ma). I think my all-time favorite sound/word of Elise's is 'nana.' I'm going to believe that she has heard us speak so much of her Nana Lisa, and that is why she has developed this very cute nasally sound :) She also squeals and laughs, especially when she is in her exersaucer. As for medicines, Elise continues to take Prilosec for reflux issues twice daily. Add a daily vitamin to the mix and that is IT...blessed beyond belief. 

Last month, the eye doctor graduated Elise from routine follows up to yearly visits. This was GREAT news! We were so relieved to know that her eyes were doing very well considering the odds they were up against as a 25 week preemie. Elise's eye doctor told us most preemies by one year of age are wearing patches to strengthen their eyes or are already wearing prescription glasses. Praise God for those gorgeous brown eyes being so healthy. 

Lately, our biggest challenge area with Elise has been food. About two months ago, she started showing a lack of interest in her formula bottles (we've always thickened these bottles with rice ever since she showed signs of aspirating in the NICU). We thought her lack of interest was a sign she was ready for baby food. Hooray, right? 

For 2 straight months, Elise would ONLY take sweet potatoes (and a "good" table session would be 4-5 small bites once a day). I tried every other kind of jar food with her (even the meats!) and she always gave a "tequila face" for everything (a tequila face? The face that is made after taking the first shot of tequila in college...come on, you remember!) 

Just recently however, Elise has expressed interest in what WE are eating. She now has added guacamole, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and pudding to her list of preferred foods. Within the last month she has also had her two bottom teeth pop out! Now with some 'munchers,' she is showing more signs of gumming foods such as Gerber puffs. Elise's pediatrician really wants her to gain weight so she has told us to give Elise anything that is high in fat. I kid you not, I recently fed her nacho cheese sauce from Steak n' Shake and she LOVED it. Who says a few stares from other Steak n' Shake customers bothered me? ha! 

What is ahead for us?

This past summer, we were honored to be asked by the Indianapolis headquarters of March of Dimes to be an Ambassador Family for the southern Indiana region. Part of this fun responsibility is to speak at different engagements and possibly even make local television appearances! The 5K March of Dimes walk (for Seymour) is being held at Seymour High School on April 20th at 10:00am. We will have our team out in full force and we would love for YOU to join us! Many, many thanks to a dear friend, Alison Vinciguerra, for establishing us with a website to answer all your questions. 

Travel to {} to see our team page Elise's Elites: giving our best for her best! On our web page, you will see simple instructions that will guide you on how to donate to March of Dimes on behalf of our team, order a team shirt from us, and/or sign up to walk with us on 4.20.13!
Without the love and support of March of Dimes, we cringe to think of Elise's possible outcome. Thank God we don't have to, but now it is our turn to raise money for future preemie babies so they may have a chance in this world! 

Seventy-six cents of every dollar goes directly to saving the lives of premature babies

I leave you with some updated pictures of our miracle baby. Enjoy! 

Those eyes!! 

The necklace my dear colleagues at Jackson School gave me after Elise was born. That is her first footprint! 

NICU Grad 2012

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!"

February 14, 2012...6 days old

February 14, 2013...what a difference a year makes!
For Elise's first birthday, we decided to do something a little different. Since her NICU doctors and nurses mean the world to her, and us, we held her party at Bravos Italian restaurant on the north side of Indianapolis...a restaurant G and I frequented several times for dinners while we were visiting Elise in the NICU. We invited all her primary nurses and doctors to share in yummy appetizers, cake, and...snuggles! We were honored to have so many family members make the drive for this special party. It was also so wonderful to see her NICU buddies again...or as we like to call them, "Elise's miracle family."  Elise is so loved, and it is times like during the "Happy Birthday" song that I look out over the crowd that adore her; family, nurses, and doctors, and I am overcome with Mama emotions. The beginning of this journey was dark and scary, but now I feel as though we have weathered the storm, and we are basking in the blessings of those who prayed so hard and fiercely for Elise and our family.

Invitation courtesy of Alison Vinciguerra
visit her blog here!

Elise and Auntie B! (Her Uncle Matt and Auntie B made the long drive from Arkansas for this first special birthday...9 hours!)

Winter ONEderland theme
cake courtesy of Take the Cake 

Nurse Donna and Dr. Ben Saad

Grandma Raynor


Elise's God family got her a rocking elephant named "Daisy."

photo trees with photos from Elise's first year

Until Next Time....
G & J & E