Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Device...

Not much has changed today. Karsie is still on 1hr feeds and we are hoping that the spit-ups will decrease a little. Her Nurse Practitioner wanted to give her another 24 hours to see if she might have fewer spit-ups before condensing her feeding. No change in calories or amount either.
Her weight stayed basically the same, which is also ok, since the one night gain of 88 grams was enough to cover 3 nights growth!
The exciting news for today is that the orthotic device is almost ready. It was fitted again today and fits pretty well. The orthotist wanted to cut down a couple areas along the bottom and then add the strap. Tomorrow we will be testing it with her car seat to make sure everything fits!


Movin' On Up

On Tuesday, Karsie did pretty well!
She is now eating 67mL an hour with 25cal per oz. She is handling the increases very well. She is still having some spit-ups but well within her normal range (and mostly always when she is pooping). The plan is for her to condense again (30min of feeding and 2.5hr off) sometime today.
She is now taking 20-30mL from the bottle on a regular basis (and once she took 50). Last night she took 36 breast feeding too! She is working hard :) She is also growing... the other night she went all the way up to 3.305!!! This was an increase of 88grams in one day. It very well might be lower today, but even so, the trend is moving in the right direction. Her head and length both increased 1cm this last week also!
The Orthotics department at the hospital is creating a device for Karsie to wear in the car seat so she can use a regular rear-facing seat. They brought it by yesterday to try it on and it was just a tad snug. They are coming by again today and I will try to get a picture of it. It was inspired by a device made for another "O" baby (an article in a medical journal). It is a fancy foam doughnut that will go around pinky when she is in the car.
Finally, Karsie made the move last night to C-Pod. This is the step-down unit at Children's. She still has the same doctors and nurses, but is in a much larger room with way fewer babies! We LOVE C-Pod. There are only 10 beds in the whole giant area. It is much quieter and more spacious.
Nana is getting Karsie all settled in her new bedspace!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kevin's Top Ten

Things I'm looking forward to:

10.  Getting a weekend where I don't have to drive ANYWHERE.
9.  Walking a few steps to check on our baby instead of driving 20 min. (after the 5 hour drive)
8.  Getting to see Karsie between the times of 6:30 and 8:00.
7.  Not having to wait for a phone call at 11:00 p.m. to get an update.
6.  Seeing Karsie on a Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday.
5.  Not hearing bells, sirens, alarms, etc. 
4.  Not having to feel like I need to hush people talking too loud around my daughter when she is trying to sleep without feeling like it's not my place.
3.  Spending time with my girls without anyone else around once in a while.
2.  Getting to take off my hospital band.
1.  Having grandma, aunts, uncles, godparents, adopted aunts and uncles, friends and relatives able to see Karsie when they want to.

Michelle's Top 10

Day 74... we are on day 74 of Karsie's life.
She has endured 74 days in the NICU... with all the surgeries and tests and fear and strangers and medicines and shots and noises involved.
We have endured 74 days of parenting in the NICU... with all the stress and fear and commuting and nurses (mostly good) and doctors (also, mostly good) and information overload and time apart and waiting involved.
In these 74 days, we have changed her diapers and bottle/breast fed her approximately as many times as the average parent does within the first 3 days of life.
The average NICU stay of a premie with similar gestational age and weight is between 10-35 days. Karsie has doubled the high end of average... and lasted seven times the low end. We knew that we were in for a long stay even before she was born and we feel so blessed that she is on track to be home far before the doctors expected. However, the closer she gets to coming home, the more patience we feel we have to exercise. It is hard to see her daily progress and then have to leave the hospital without her.
Therefore (to help me focus on the positive), here are 10 things I am looking forward to when we get to bring Karsie home!

10. Getting to make our doctors appointments at a time that works for us (and actually taking Karsie to the doctor, instead of us going to visit Karsie at the doctors).
9. Not worrying that I will offend the nurse if I ask her to do something a different way.
8. The idea that someday, I might be able to retire the breastpump.
7. Nursing somewhere other than the NICU (like the rockers on my parents balcony).
6. Retiring a small amount of my germ-a-phobia that comes with the nasty hospital.
5. Going out in public without worrying about how long until I have until I have to pump again.
4. Not having to ask the nurse if she pooped yet today.
3. Not having to coordinate all the wires when I want to hold my girl.
2. Having all our friends and family meet the little miracle they have been praying for.
1. Being a family, all together, at home, alone.

Thanks for all your prayers and support... they really do help us get through this all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Progressing

Karsie is still working to get out of the NICU! Today (or rather sometime last night) her feeds were condensed to 1hr on and 2 hr off. She now gets 67mL over 1 hour! She is doing very well with that and in the next day or so she will condense again down to 30min!!! She is also having fewer spit-ups. Over the last three days she has only had maybe 2 medium sized spit-ups. This means she is tolerating the condensing. She is getting better at taking the bottle, taking from 10-30mL each time within the 30 minute limit. She also went up to 25 calories/oz today. The dietitian is still a little concerned with how slowly she is gaining weight. She is at 3.217 today for her weight. Therefore, it is possible she might get a blood transfusion within the next week. She is working on making her own red blood cells, but with everything else her body has to do, she is a little low. This is not a huge problem, because her body is working on fixing it... but a transfusion might help her have a little more energy. The problem with doing the transfusion would be that it would signal to her body that it can stop making red blood cells because she has enough, and it would start the whole process over again. The doctors and nurse practitioners will watch her weight and her levels closely this week and decide if the benefits are worth the risk. This will also give us a chance to donate blood for her to receive if she does get the transfusion.
She is doing really very well, just progressing slowly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lonely Day (Pics of Pinky)

Today Kevin went back home to rest more and try to keep the rest of us from getting sick. We really didn't get to spend much time together as Thursday we were in meetings most of the day and then he got sick Thursday night and moved into the other bedroom until this morning.
As a result of the illness, Karsie has not had much in the lines of visitors today. Michelle went out for a very short visit this afternoon to take some more milk to the hospital. Michelle doesn't feel sick but we are being extra careful not to give Karsie any germs! Grandma and Grandpa are staying home too just to be safe.
However, despite the lack of visitors, Karsie is having a good day. She took her bottles last night and today pretty well. At 9pm last night she ate 15mL, at 3am she ate another 15mL and then this morning at 9am she ate 30mL!! Pinky looks good. Michelle changed the way it is wrapped just a tad to give her skin a rest from all the tape on her sides. Instead of the Morgan Straps (big tape pieces) she gets wrapped with something similar to an ace bandage to hold the foam in place. This is allowing her skin to breath a little more and is probably much more comfortable than having tape halfway across her back. She lost a little weight last night and is down to 3.21. Hopefully that was just after a big wet diaper and today will even out a little more. According to the nurse, Karsie spent most of the day awake and alert. She watched a little Nature Baby video and spent a good chunk of the day looking at her mobile. It is really hard for Michelle to stay home knowing how awake she has been today. Hopefully tomorrow, if Michelle still feels well, she will get to visit more.
Here you can see the giant tape pieces that hold the foam stable. Those have been removed and the sides are now being supported with a gauze wrap. The straps might return, but for now we are giving her skin a rest.
Here is what Karsie sees of Pinky. The granulation tissue looks amazing!
This is a side view, and you can see how far up the skin/granulation tissue has grown.
A view of Karsie's face... only one tube left (her feeding tube). Hopefully within a week or so that will be gone!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Germs

Kevin is officially sick. He has been locked in the bedroom feeling icky for two straight days now. He is really bummed that he seems to get sick on the weekends; when he has a chance to relax his body lets the germs take over. The rest of us are doing everything we can to stay well, which includes skipping the nighttime visit to Karsie so as not to possibly give her any germs. So far she is doing well.
Eating: she is still getting her feeds over 1.5 hours and then has 1.5 hours to digest and rest. She takes 2 bottles and 2 breast feeds a day. She took 8 and then 16mL today on her bottles, and did pretty well with breast feeding last night and this morning. It looks like she will be moved to 1 hour on and 2 hours off on Monday. She still is having some spit-ups, but not more than her usual 1-3 a day.
Growing: Karsie is on a 2-day streak of big growth. On Thursday morning she weighed 3.170, Friday morning she weighed 3.205, and this morning she was up to 3.248. That is a 78gram increase over two days! This is great and will hopefully continue! The goal is 30-60grams a day, and Karsie has some catching up to do! Hopefully this is a sign that the Elecare (formula) is helping and she will continue to gain weight at 24 calories.
Moving: still no word on if she is going to move for sure, but it might be in the works. She will still have the same nurses and nurse practitioners and doctors, just down the hall.

Please pray: for Kevin as he fights this sickness, that the rest of us would manage to stay well (we have bought out the Target supply of disenfecting wipes), and for Karsie to be healthy and to continue to make progress with eating and growing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Evening Update (9-25)

Kevin is still fairly sick. We're pretty sure his weekend with Karsie is done. Even if he got better through the night we would want to give it at least a day to let it pass, which brings us to the end of the weekend. He's really bummed.

Karsie, however, is doing great! She is getting just a teensy bit more from the breast every time, so hopefully she will be a good little eater by the time they push her to bolus feeding (3 hours worth taken in 30 min.). She took about 22 mL this morning and 24 mL this evening. She is also getting 2 bottles a day and taking 10-15 each time. She is still spitting up, but she is producing much less volume. They decided to hold off on bumping her feeds up to 1 hour on-two hours off. The reason is not that Karsie isn't handling it, but that they want her to take a break from the daily increases before moving on. We're okay with that decision. We were thinking that she would need a break soon anyway, however we were thinking it wouldn't be until the next increase... but this one's fine.

Finally, there's been some talk about moving her to a different unit in Children's. The current unit she is in is the one in which she started, and it is for very acute babies. The other unit is a little more spacious, quiet, and for babies like Karsie that just need to eat and grow. We hope that if we move we still get our primary nurses, but we are very excited to move if given the opportunity.

Until tomorrow...

Morning Update (9-25)

Unfortunately, Kevin is in bed sick so that may mean a ton of blogging today.  We hope it goes away soon, but if not he will probably go home tomorrow to avoid spreading it around the house. The meetings did him in yesterday.  

Lots of good news to report today.  First of all, Karsie measured heavier yesterday.  She weighed in at 3.205 kilos.  We measured her three times to make sure and that was the lightest but it was the one that read twice.  

Breathing:  This will be our last report on breathing.  She has been off of her nasal cannula for a few days now and handling it just fine.  We of course will update if it gets worse, but we are confident it won't.

Pinky:  Still looks good.  Nothing to report except continual growth of skin.

Feeding:  She has handled the 1.5 on 1.5 off well.  She had two small throwups today (one last night and one this morning) but nothing big.  Michelle didn't stay for rounding, but from what we can tell she will be pushed to 1 hour on 2 hours off.  This is the area we think she will struggle the most, but she has surprised everyone thus far, so maybe it will be a breeze.  She has been taking more from the breast lately (thanks to some accurate latching and help from Reva and our lactation specialist at the hospital).  She took 22 mL this morning in the half hour time.  We're getting there!  Also, she took from the bottle last night.  We're very excited about that because the bottle feeding is the feeding that has the extra calories (that and the ng tube feeding) which helps her get bigger.  She had been barely taking any when we last tried the bottle, so we shelved the bottle for a while and let her take only the breast.  Yesterday she took 10 mL, which is what her average was before she wouldn't have anything to do with it. However, last night she took 15 mL.  We're in the process of experimenting with different equipment (bottles, nipples, etc.) so hopefully there will be a solution soon.  Closer and closer we are to the end.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Random:  The hospital put the final order form in for Karsie's turtle shell (the thing that will protect her in the car seat and such).  We're very interested to see how that turns out.  Also, physical therapy is coming by around noon to do an assessment of her.  They'll check out how she is doing with muscles, neck strength, etc. based on her weight and age.  Lots of stuff happening.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Such a Looooong Day!

Don't get excited...this is just a fart smile! But it's cute.

Alright, first we will tackle Karsie's current situation.  Then we will tackle the meetings.  We were at the hospital from 9 to about 5:30, not with Karsie most of the time.  But we did get a fair amount with her.

Breathing:  Still off and doing well.

Pinky:  Looks great and healing well.

Feeding:  At noon today she has been increased to 1.5 hours on 1.5 hours off.  She still is not gaining weight.  She sits currently at 3.17 kilos (just under 7 lbs.).  She had two spitups today. One was fairly sizable and one was just a small amount.  

Meetings

Family Conference:  We love our neonatologist for this week, Dr. Settner.  We all talked about Karsie's situation first.  Basically she is doing very well except for the weight gain.  They expect her to throw up a bit, but they need to do something to help her keep the calories she needs to gain weight.  With throwing up that makes things interesting.  At this point we are working on condensing her feeding, increasing her calories (until she gains weight consistently), and oral feeding all at once.  They want Michelle to breast feed for about half of the feeds (3 times a day at this point...once with a bottle at 3 a.m. as Michelle probably doesn't want to get up at 2 everyday).  At this rate, barring a setback (which we expect but hope against), she could be bolus feeding in a few days.  If she starts to take everything orally soon thereafter and gaining weight...well...we won't say it, but we'll say there's not anything left.  

Orthotist:  Michelle and Reva did a lot of researching this week and found some devices (along with help from our MOO friends...thank you guys so much) to help support Karsie's omphalocele after she leaves...like in the car seat and tummy time and such.  The orthotist came by and did a bunch of measurements of Pinky and he is going to create some devices to help protect that during times that we need it.  We're pretty excited about that because it looks like we can use this to support it in her normal car seat.

Dr. Saenz:  He just happened to stop by and chat with us a bit.  He okayed the use of the device the orthotist will create and put in his input.  We really didn't get to discuss everything about the compression wrapping with him, but he did look at it a bit (in fact, he knew most of the doctors that wrote some of the articles of case studies we found).  At this point he says he doesn't think Karsie will benefit from it as there really isn't anywhere for it to go, but we can reevaluate later.  Until Karsie is older she really won't need it other than to keep in what goes in naturally, but we are very happy that he is looking into it.  Also, it looks as though we will need the tissue expanders anyway even with the compression wrapping, but we'll have to play that by ear.

Dr. Gosman (plastic surgeon):  We really only had a bedside meeting, but we got most of our questions answered.  The surgery is relatively low risk.  They put in the expanders to help stretch the muscles and skin so that when they need to do the final surgery(s) they have something to work with and the organs have somewhere to go.  The good news is that most babies go home the next day.  The bad news is that the expanders need to be constantly pumped with more fluid to expand them.  This will be done with a shot, that will hurt Karsie, probably by either a member of Dr. Gosman's team here in San Diego, or us.  Both cases cause an issue with us.  If it's done here in San Diego, that means a trip down weekly.  If it's done by us, that means we are the ones hurting Karsie every week.  We have a hard enough time giving our puppies their shots.  Most likely this surgery won't be until Karsie is a year old and eating and breathing very well for a long time.  The expanders will probably be in for a few months and then they will do the closure surgery.  The closer surgery might be one surgery or a few depending on how much muscle they can get around the organs.  If they can't they will put a patch connecting the muscle tissue (sound familiar?).  

The long day ended with a class we were encouraged to take for discharge.     

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just a Tease (Update Added)

 This was taken today without her nasal cannula. We'll have more for tonight, but we thought we would give you a sneak preview of Karsie's face. The tape is off now, so other than her tube and the tape that holds that, she has a face!

Update:  So, Kevin forgot the camera on the kitchen table.  We'll have to extend the promise to take pictures without the tube until tomorrow. Sorry.  But she's still adorable...and still no spitups so far tonight.  Keep eating your calories Karsie!  

Little Steps

Well, today has been another pretty good day.
Feeding: Karsie has only had two very small spit-ups today and has been tolerating the feeding well. She is still getting 2 hours of continuous and 1 hour off. She is getting a total of 64mL in the 2 hours. That will be increased to 66mL over 2 hours now. Today she is going up on calories again. Last time this was attempted with the formula Pregestimil (and she threw up lots that day). Today she will be going from 22cal/oz with rice cereal and breastmilk to 24cal/oz with rice cereal, breastmilk and the formula Elecare. This is the most digested and hypo-allergenic formula used in the NICU so hopefully she will tolerate this well! If she tolerates this, the plan for tomorrow is to condense her 66mL to 1.5 hours on and 1.5 hours off. Karsie is also being given oral feeding attempts 4 times a day. She can breastfeed 3 times and will be offered a bottle in the night. This is all trying to move towards having her take all her feeds orally. She is still doing a good job breast feeding, but the scale is giving mixed results, so we are not sure exactly how much milk she is taking by breast. She is also having less spit-up lately (which is good for her healing and good for our emotions).

Breathing: She is still off the nasal cannula and doing very well!!! She has been breathing at a good rate and her O2 saturation has been 98-100 the whole time! YAY!

Growing: Last night when Karsie was weighed, she went from 3.195 down to 3.17. However, she was weighed for the first time without the nasal cannula. This probably accounts for the loss... but it also means she is not really gaining. Therefore it is even more important that she tolerate the increase in calories... she really needs to grow! The dietitian, Laura, feels that she will tolerate everything better as she gets bigger... but she has to tolerate everything to get bigger. So she is kind of stuck in this neutral area until she tolerates an increase in calories and grows.

Meetings Tomorrow: We are having two meetings tomorrow and they are both important. We are meeting with the plastic surgeon tomorrow to talk about the tissue expanders and how that surgery will work, when it will happen, and what we hope to get out of that. We will also be able to ask some questions about the long-term cosmetic effects of all this (aka will Karsie ever have a belly button and what will her scar look like). We will also be having a family conference with one of the neonatologists, a nurse practitioner and possibly Dr. Saenz, our surgeon. We will be discussing the next steps in treating Karsie and maybe starting to discuss her discharge! We will also be spending some time talking about both compression wrapping as well as the car seat situation. We have done some serious research on both of these topics and hope the doctors will listen to our concerns and take into account the experience of other families in this situation.

Kevin is coming down tonight to attend these meetings (which we thought were going to be today when he got down but ended up getting pushed back), and spend the weekend with his girls! So, you can expect more pictures over the weekend as he is the one who is technically savvy! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Very Quick Update (9-22)

Breathing:  They actually took off the nasal cannula to see how she would do.

Feeding:  Still doing well.  Tolerating 2 on and 1 off.  Laura, Karsie's dietician, wants to start increasing her calories again, but not at the same time as a condense day.  We'll see how they work that out.

Compression:  Dr. Saenz came by the bedside when Michelle was there and she mentioned the compression method.  He said he would be happy to look into it.  That willingness really makes us happy, even if it doesn't work out that she can have that done.  

Until tomorrow...

Daddy Note (9-22)

Kevin here: I'm just sitting around and thought I would pass the time by writing a little note on the blog. This is probably the worst time of the day for me: right about 9:00 anxiously waiting for an update. Other times go by quicker because I'm at work. Michelle usually goes in around 8 or 9 in the morning and gets out around 11:00. It's perfect because it's my prep period and I can usually take a quick phone call. She also goes in around 3:00 and I get a phone call around 4:00ish, which is around when I get home, so the time doesn't seem so bad. However, this is the worst just waiting. It's time for Karsie to prove she's a Turner by eating everything and then more so she can come home.

Speaking of which, since our last post Karsie has been doing quite well. She is handling the 2 hours on 1 hour off feeding well. She didn't have anymore spitups today, which is great. At least her stomach is getting a chance to digest and get hungry for an hour. She needs to know what that feels like (my humble opinion). I am very excited about her doing so well breast feeding for one very big reason. Once she is handling the condensed feeding on 1/2 hour on 2 1/2 hours off, they will try to get her to feed orally. I figure since she is doing so well already and getting much more than her hour's worth in one feed, once she is hungry and used to having a lot to digest, she will do okay on her oral feeding. At least that's what it seems. I'm not sure what would keep her in the NICU after she is feeding completely by mouth, so here's hoping.

Michelle also told me that they took her down on her O2 flow today to 200mL. That's just a tad lower than the 1/4 L. The only reason it's staying on at this point is by our request. We really want to give Karsie the best chance at feeding smoothly, and since she's just a click away from being off the nasal cannula anyway we figure what's the harm at this point?

I got in touch with another mom with an omphalocele baby today. She has commented on our blog before, so if you get a chance to read her blog (I hope she's okay with me saying this) go to Baylee and Blair's website. It is so very similar to our story and it was nice to be able to talk to her about some of the things we can expect with Karsie during her first year. Little Blair is just about 1 1/2 years old and has just had the surgery to close up her stomach, so she will need lots of prayer, but she is doing very well. Their family still needs lots of prayer for the two girls (and the mom), but it's wonderful to see the progress made.

Well, I guess I've blabbed enough. We'll probably put up another post tonight for an update (unless there isn't any news, which is very probable), but for now, take care.

Two Ponies and Counting...

So, Kevin's a sucker!  God forbid the day Karsie learns to work him because all she has the ability to do now is look at him and he has already promised her two ponies during that time (we're erasing this message when she's old enough to understand).  This message is courtesy of Ruth.

Karsie is doing very well today.  She has grown to 3.195, up 10 from yesterday.  That is still below par, but she's at least growing.  She has handled the 2 1/2 hour condensed feeding and, barring any setback between 11 and now, she will be brought to 2 hours on, 1 hour off.  In other words, they are giving her time to get hungry, one hour to be exact.  So, she is getting about 70 mL of breast milk in 2 hours and then getting an hour to rest and let that digest.  Hopefully she handles that.  Again, our goal is to get to 1/2 hour on, 2 1/2 hours off and eventually completely orally fed.  The good news with that is when she gets breast fed (especially at night) she has taken 30-40 mL, so she has it in her to do it.  We just need to keep her from throwing up.  She did have a VERY tiny spit up earlier today and a more moderate one when Michelle was there with her.  Other than that, as far as we know, she is keeping dry.  We're still keeping her on nasal cannula (per our request) to help keep her tolerating the feeding and not having trouble breathing.  


Monday, September 21, 2009

All is Still Well...



..knock on wood.  Karsie did well her first day of condensed feeding.  She threw up twice, but that's well within her normal range.  She also drank a good 30 mL of breast milk tonight and, when Michelle left, kept it down.  Also, we know we put up a video of Pinky a day or so ago, but even from that there is a noticeable improvement of the skin.  It looks very, very good.  We are very excited about that.  Time marches on..

A Plea to MOOs

We're doing an all out blitz for information lately on tissue expanders versus compression. We're still not sure we have all the information on each of those, but we definitely don't want to put Karsie through a surgery if she doesn't have to.  

Therefore, if you're a MOO (Mother of Omphalocele) or know one, or know information about:

1.  Compression Method/tissue expanders; and
2.  Who does them around us in Southern Cal (or the west coast) 

...please let us know.

Thanks.

Update (9-21)

Weight:  Karsie dipped a little today to 3.185 kilos.  This is not surprising as it seems to be her trend.  She gains and then she dips a little.  Hopefully she continues to gain.  

Feeding:  Karsie did not throw up again last night or this morning.  She also got a lot of milk breast feeding today.  Good news:  They are starting to condense her feeding today.  She will be getting three feeds in 2 1/2 hours instead of 3 hours.  Most babies take their full feed in a half an hour (a full feed roughly being 3 hours worth on average).  Karsie is currently getting 23 mL an hour, which would give her 69 mL in 3 hours.  We want to move her to taking all 69 mL in a half an hour instead of pacing the feeding hour by hour, so they are condensing her feeding.  So, instead of giving her 69 mL in 3 hours, they are giving her 69 mL in 2.5 hours.  This should go for a couple of days (assuming she handles it) and then they will start giving her 69 mL in 2 hours, and so on and so forth.  

Surgeon Meeting:  Please pray that this meeting goes well.  We absolutely love our surgeon and want him to continue with Karsie, but we know that he is not in practice doing compression wrapping.  We're going to ask him to look into it, and we really want him to seriously consider doing it as it will save Karsie one surgery.  Surgery will put her back a bit (depending on when they do it) so any time we can avoid that, we want to.  

Breathing:  We felt like we had an option.  Karsie's nasal cannula was supposed to come off today, but we also wanted her to start condensing her feeding.  When they start to do this, sometimes babies need a little extra breathing support.  We felt like we could have either taken her off of the cannula or start condensing her feeding (doing both would likely alter either the breathing or the feeding).  At this point we are of the belief that feeding is more important to start now than breathing, since she is so close anyway.  So, we asked that she stay on for a bit longer so we can start condensing the feeding.  Who knows she might be off anyway when Michelle goes back tonight, assuming Karsie handles being off of it and her feeding.   

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Changing Pinky (UPDATE ADDED)


video

Other than the awesome dressing change, watch it again and pay attention to the pacifier battle.

Update:  Karsie has had a bit of good news lately.  We're still concerned with her oral eating, but lately she has been gaining weight.  

On Saturday we went in and we were told that they increased her calories to 24 an hour by supplementing formula.  However, she threw up 5-6 times that day, which is well above her average, so they backed off the calories.  However, they increased her breast milk to 23 mL an hour (keep in mind that the mL and calories are different, but their numbers are very similar). We were a bit bummed on Saturday until we started to see a string of weight gains that made us feel better about the throwing up.  She was up to 3.17 kilos on Friday night (really Saturday morning) and she jumped to 3.21 kilos on Saturday.  Tomorrow we'll find out if she's still on that trend.  

To add to that, we had a good breast feeding the past few times.  Two of those times she didn't get more than 5 mL, but one we're not sure what happened.  In order to find out how much she is getting, they weigh her before she eats, and then weigh her after she eats.  They can calculate the mL based off of the weight gain.  Last night she breast fed for about 10 min. and then promptly threw up a bit.  But we tried to keep everything on the towels that we weighed her with and then weighed her, and it said she drank 44 mL.  We actually were not surprised by this as Michelle had pumped a bit before usual (which makes her flow faster).  In any case, she took a lot of milk and did very well on the breast.

We have a meeting with Dr. Saenz and the plastic surgeon on Thursday to assess Karsie's situation.  Their next step is to put tissue expanders in Karsie to stretch out her abdomen for it to accept the organs.  If this is necessary, then we understand.  However, we've been doing some research lately, and we're very interested in something called a compression method (or something similar).  This is where after a few months they wrap an Ace bandage around Pinky and compress the organs inside.  Every situation is different, but we really want to find out about this.  We're pretty sure that our surgeon has not done this (it's not really surgery) and so it will be interesting to see how he takes it when we bring it up.  

Finally, Karsie should be off nasal cannula tomorrow.  Pray that her body does well without it. It's time to see her face! 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pictures After Two Months

A good yawn after two months of life.  Compared to her first month, this one was pretty boring.
Giant Phantus - Karsie's new NICU toy.  She's not sure what to think about it yet.
Aerobics with Grandpa.

The mirror.  Karsie loves to look at herself in the mirror already.  
We're not exactly sure what happened to the flying pacifier in this picture.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update (9-18)

Breathing:  Karsie is going to be taken off the nasal cannula on Monday, which means if she handles it, breathing will be something to check off the list for now.  

Feeding:  Karsie has been throwing up about 1-3 times a day according to the nurse practitioner today.  We're getting to the point that we believe she's just going to be a pukey baby especially given the fact that she has her bowels on the outside of her stomach.  We think the plan at this point is to start condensing her feeds starting at 2 hours 45 min (hopefully they stick to this plan).  She is currently getting 24 calories an hour, which means in a 3 hour block, Karsie should be getting 72 calories.  Normal babies will just drink up 72 calories in a single feeding and then need another 72 in 3 hours.  Since Karsie is getting continuous feeds, she is just getting 24 calories an hour.  When we condense her feeding to 2 hours 45 minutes, she will get those 72 calories in that time rather than 3 hours.  The goal is to get her condensing her feedings in a shorter amount of time.   

This weekend Karsie will not be getting the bottle, but getting breast fed two times a day. They increased her calories today by using formula mix as well as rice cereal.

Weight:  She weighed 3.15 kilos last night.  She has gone up by .05 kilos every day for the past few days which is much lower than what she needs to be gaining.  We're hoping for a growth spurt soon.     

Pinky:  Dr. Saenz came in today to look at Karsie's dressing change and said he is continued to be impressed with her skin.  In fact, he said that his work with her is pretty much done for now. In other words (we asked him to clarify this for us, so it's not just our interpretation) according to him, he's about ready to let her go home skin-wise.  So, it looks like we're just waiting on her to eat like a Turner.  We are all praying very hard that she gets over this hump and starts to handle the condensed feedings and starts to take it orally soon.  As soon as she does, we will have a little one at home.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Status Quo Not Good Anymore

Since many of you pray for Karsie every day, we have a specific prayer request for her. Karsie needs to start to eat orally and more often. We feel that a lot of this is due to waiting for her to grow and not doing much (which we are not sure we understand anymore) and part of this is the fact that we think she is getting an oral aversion to her bottle. When we started giving her the bottle she was taking all of it or most of it. Since then, we feel she has been taking less and less of it. We're not sure if it's because we give her the feeds continuous anyway and since it's easier to let it go to her stomach than suck and swallow the milk, she would rather not, or if it's because she associates the bottle with throwing up. We think it's the latter because, thankfully, she is still into the breast milk. However, that obviously poses a problem because if she gets an oral aversion to the breast then we're not sure what happens, but either way it looks like our time in the NICU is being extended every day she does not improve.

We are going to start to push for them to start trying to condense the feeding so her stomach can hold more at one time. She is not throwing up nearly at all when she is just laying down getting it into her stomach, and she did well when they were increasing her feeding every day. If she can handle the increases her stomach will stretch and she will be able to handle more at once, which is the goal. But if she has an oral aversion to the bottle, we're going to need help with that. Thus, your prayers are coveted to be with the doctors as they come up with a plan (as we're not really sure if there is one, which is understandable since they usually deal with more accute situations, but we need a plan) and for Karsie to start being able to handle more food and like the bottle again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hungry Karsie

video

Karsie had just eaten and thrown up before this and became obviously very hungry.  We could not feed her, but we did what we could.  Pretty funny!

Back to the Updates (Pinky Picture)


No post yesterday.  We decided to take a day off, and luckily we didn't get any hate mail.

Breathing:  Karsie has been weaned to 1/4 liters of flow from her nasal cannula.  They tried to take her off completely, but she breathed a little too fast for comfort, so they put her to .250 L of flow which was down from a half liter.  Her O2 saturation levels have been great.  It probably won't be long now until she is off of it altogether, but she needs to tolerate it.

Pinky:  Everything still looks real good with Pinky.  Dr. Saenz came by today and looked at it and said everything looks real good.  They are still putting adaptix on the two yellow spots, but other than that, Karsie is growing a little skin each day.  Here's a picture of what it looked like a few days ago:
Feeding:  This is going to be our most frustrating area, we think, until Karsie goes home.  She continues to throw up every now and then, which we have been reassured is not a big deal as long as her frequency doesn't go up.  She has been put on vitamins to help supplement the breast milk as well as an increased dose of the rice cereal.  The vitamins are orange, and the other day was a little freaky when she spit up and pooped orange before we knew she was on the vitamins.  She has gained a small amount of weight since we last posted her weight.  We'll start to post that to keep track.  Her lowest weight (since a week or two ago) was 3.08 kilos. (in order to find out her weight in pounds you have to multiply by 2.2).  The next day she went up to 3.12, then to 3.11, then today she was 3.14:  A good weight for a math nerd.  We're not exactly sure how each nurse weighs, so we're not sure how to feel about each weight day by day. Sometimes they weigh with socks on, sometimes socks off...etc.  Also, she has lost her PIC line, which would have bumped her up just a tad.  Anyway, lots of variables, but the small progress is there.  We were also told that growing is not just in weight but in hair growth, length, head circumference, etc. and she is doing all those things, so all is good so far.

Feeding (cont.):  She is still not increasing tremendously on her bottle feeding appetite.  There is talk to moving her feeding to more times a day, but she still hits a wall at about 10mLs at one time.  There is also talk to try and condense the feedings so she is getting more at one time and less right after so she will start to work her way to going 3 hours of getting nothing followed by a big bottle of food.  And we thought the breathing was long.     

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Memory

Warning:  The beginning of this video contains extremely graphic birth scenes



This is a little early for Karsie's two month birthday, but we wanted to give a tribute to Karsie's grandparents that are no longer with us.  Every generation gives to the next, and we think they did a good job.


video

P.S.  We would also like to say Happy Grandparent's Day to Marie Koch

Happy Grandparent's Day!




Dear Nana Royal, Grandpa Royal, and Grandma Turner,

I am working hard to get out of the NICU so that we can all be together at the same time.  I have loved getting to be held by all of you at different times, but I can't wait until you can all fight for me at once.  Thank you Grandma Turner for dropping everything this weekend to come down and see me for just a little time.  I'm sorry I was so tired when you came, but when you held me, you put me right to sleep.  Nana Royal, thank you so much for helping Mommy with taking care of me.  When Daddy is gone, you make that time seem much shorter by being there to help. Grandpa Royal, you are so nice to me as you come in right after you have had a long day at work. It's hard to stay awake when you are there because you calm me.  Thank you so much for praying with me too.  I am also missing not getting to meet Grandpa Turner.  From what Daddy tells me, he was a great man, and I will meet him in heaven one day.  But not for a long time.  Thank you all for loving me so much.  

Karsie Gene

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Update (9-12)



Karsie was a huge sleeper today.  Kevin and Grandma Turner went in at around 9:00 and aside from eating about 10 mL of milk, she slept the entire day away.  She wasn't interested today in breast feeding, but she has taken her new milk (with rice formula) well.  She had one small spit up in the early afternoon but for new ingredients, she has done well.  

Grandma was very excited to hold Karsie for the first time (and unfortunately probably the only time until she comes home).  

Kevin was able to change Karsie's dressing in the morning and reported AMAZING results. According to us (not confirmed by the surgeon), the skin is not the thing that will keep Karsie in the NICU.  It's almost all skin already.  We're getting to see the dressing change at 9:00 each day, so we should be able to get pretty good pictures, so we'll put them up when we can, but until then take our word for it.  It looks so good!  Almost all of it is pink.  There is only a little part on top of Pinky that is that greenish color, but the rest is pink.  Most of it looks just like skin, or healing skin.  

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breast Exam


Karsie a little milk drunk after feeding


No, not that breast exam.  Karsie passed her third breast feeding test with flying colors.  She latched on extremely well today and stayed on for about 10 minutes straight (which is long for her). At one point Karsie looked up at Michelle with her mouth covered in milk, so we know she was getting a good amount.  No spit up so far today, so as long as she is gaining weight she is looking good.  The nurse today said that they are just now starting the rice, so hopefully it won't be long before we have a little fatty.

Also, Dr. Saenz called us on the way home from the hospital (we just missed him).  He said that he was extremely pleased with the way Pinky is progressing.  He said there is a lot of pink now and that the dark spots are either gone, or not sticking anymore (we forgot which he said, but it was good).  Also, they have been covering the spots that are sticking with adaptic film, which is a film that is slimy on one side so it doesn't dry out and stick to the bandage when dressing changes happen.  It lays directly on the skin as a buffer between the skin and the dressing. Those have been working so well that he is now ordering them to be decreased and cut down because things aren't sticking anymore.  This is good news because that means Pinky has healed enough that her skin is dry, which means it will be even easier to heal as it will get more weathering from the environment.  We have been very happy today with her progress, but are still praying for weight gain. 

Cribs

Not a whole lot to report since last night.  Karsie is weighing around 3.1 kilos which roughly translates to 6 lbs. 13 or 14 oz.  She has stayed that weight for quite a long time - lost a bit but roughly stayed around the same.  When the nurse practitioner rounds on Karsie today she will decide whether or not to put her on rice cereal, but we're pretty sure she will because Laura, Karsie's dietician, recommended it. 

Also, Karsie has a new crib.  This bed, while it looks more fun, has fewer features than her giraffe bed.  She lost a warmer and a built-in scale, but she really doesn't need those anymore. Other babies need them more, so we will oblige.

Finally, there was some bad news given about the hospital visiting policy, but there was also a silver lining involved.  They are getting real close to shutting down the NICU visiting to only parents.  Reva will still be able to go in with Michelle, but only on days that Kevin is not in town.  This means Grandpa will not get to go in anymore, which is very sad as he is very soothing to Karsie.  She will just need to start healing faster for him.  However, Jennifer, our social worker, told us that Kevin's mom could come in one more time before they shut it down. They are not sure when it will be shut down, but it could be real soon with very little notice. We are very excited that Grandma gets to come down one more time since she will now get to hold Karsie.  This way all the grandparents will have gotten to do that.  
In between feedings.  She's a sloppy eater, but real curious about why Dad is doing the feeding now.
Karsie in her new digs.
Mom helps out with the tubes while Karsie dreams of not being in the NICU (we're not sure how she would do this as she has never not been in the NICU).
Karsie's new Big-Girl-Bed.  It can tilt up more to help with reflux.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Issues


Karsie did not throw up much more today. She did a little bit this afternoon after oral feeding time, but none after that. However, Laura, the NICU dietician, came by and worked with us on a plan to supplement Michelle's breast milk as Karsie is not gaining weight. Her length is great (a bit long) and her head circumference is okay (a bit small) but she is not getting heavier. This is probably due to a ton of reasons, but mostly we think she isn't getting enough nutrition with the breast milk. For most babies, breast milk is all that is needed. It contains everything a baby needs. However, Karsie's situation is a bit different as she was a preemie and also because she has Pinky.

Pinky takes up a lot of calories and energy to fix, so the dietician thinks that supplementing with a tiny bit of rice cereal will help. This should help a bit with her weight, but it also could help with her reflux as it can settle the stomach a bit more than the milk as it is heavier than the milk. The other reason that she might be losing weight is that she is not getting all of the nutrients as she has to feed through the tube, so some of that value is lost before it even gets to her. Laura did say that she thinks we're right around the corner from getting to where we need to be, but she is concerned about the weight until it goes up.

Dr. Saenz came by today and told the nurse to keep the dressing on until he could come by and look at it tomorrow. So far everyone has been very impressed with Pinky's growth. We haven't seen it in about a week, so when we can see it we'll try to take a picture. Hopefully we'll be in when Dr. Saenz comes by.

Finally, we happened to be in there when a doctor named Dr. Hilfiker came in with another patient being admitted. This is significant because she was the surgeon who repaired Karsie's umbilical vessels when she was bleeding out at birth, thus saving her life. We haven't been able to thank her personally yet, but until then, we appreciate everything that you have done for our daughter. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Feeling the Blues

Karsie had kind of a rough day today.  She has been advanced to 19 mL an hour and her goal for her weight is 20.  She will be at that tomorrow if they decide to stay at the same rate.  But she has been having a couple spit ups lately.  One of her spit ups happened today a few hours after her bottle feeding.  She vomited quite a bit and then tonight she vomited after her bottle feeding.  As far as we can remember this is one of the only times she has spit up multiple times a day.  Plus she was visibly in pain from reflux or something else.  She was quite fussy, and it's hard to see that especially with the possibility of going backwards on the horizon.  We are hoping and praying very hard that she continues to handle her feeding because she is so close.  Nonetheless, we are a little blue today.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roller Coaster Day

Today was a decent day. Karsie started off with a dressing change done by the surgeon. He was very pleased with what he saw. According to him, Pinky looks really great. This was followed by her morning bottle, but she only took 12mL of it... and then proceeded to spit all 12mL back up. She was given the remaining 5mL through her feeding tube. She went up to an hourly total of 18mL at noon. She ate 11 of the 18mLs at her 3:00pm bottle. Then she was given the last 7 in the feeding tube. She didn't have any more spit-ups the rest of the day. Then she took tonights bottle in record time... 18mL in about 4 minutes. And she kept it down (as of when we left). She is still working on stretching her stomach, so it is ok for her to not take all of the bottle every time it is offered to her.
Her O2 was a bit of a roller coaster as well today. She has been at 1L flow for a while now, so she was dropped down to .5L flow. She didn't tolerate that so well, so she was moved back to 1L flow. She did spend a good chunk of the day breathing 21% O2 though... she just needed a little help with the flow of air into her lungs.
Tomorrow, Karsie might get to try to breast feed. If the lactation consultant is available and she has tolerated her feeds, Michelle will probably get to try to breast feed her for one of her oral feeds (in place of the bottle). This is super exciting for Michelle, who has until now spent countless hours pumping her milk. Hopefully this will go well and this will be a daily thing!
Everything is moving in the right direction, today was just a bit of a roller coaster.

Karsie Works on Her Bottle

video

Monday, September 7, 2009

Evening Update (9-7)

Karsie took her feed well tonight. She has had a good day with the bottle as she has taken all of her milk without any spit up (except the very little bit this morning that we reported). She is off of the TPN!!! She is getting clear liquids with glucose for a few days just to make sure she handles the switch okay, but so far so good. We may have forgotten to mention that if she handles being off of the TPN for a few days she will most likely have her PIC line taken out. This is the line that is inserted from her foot into one of her veins and goes directly into her heart. We will be happy to get this out for multiple reasons. One being it gets a line out of her body; two being it keeps a possible infection away; and three being we can dress her feet with socks and onesies and such.

"Goodbye Daddy, See You Soon..."



Karsie should be off of her TPN in a couple of hours. Around noon they typically change the feeding, but they may wait a little longer today to make sure she is handling everything okay. She had the tiniest bit of spit up during her feeding today, but they aren't going to change anything it sounds like. That means that unless she spits up more, which she hasn't done on the continuous feed in a very long time, she will be on nothing but breast milk (feeding wise) at the end of the day. We are very excited about that as it will hopefully give her liver a chance to heal itself.

We are noticing that Karsie hits a wall, so to speak, when eating orally. Around 10 mL she kind of gets tired, or full, and doesn't really want more. We haven't talked to a doctor about this, but our theory is that on continuous feeding her stomach only has to hold a certain amount of food at any given time. During the course of an hour she is getting about 16-18 mL in even increments. When she is bottle fed, she is given the same amount of milk all at once, which we think makes her fuller quicker and might be a bit uncomfortable, which could trigger reflux. We're hoping that when they start to consolidate the feeding into bigger chunks that this will start to expand her stomach so that she can handle more milk in a shorter amount of time. Just a theory.

Her breathing has been consistently okay. She does desaturate (go down on her O2 level) when she cries or moves a lot, but hopefully that will go away.

So far Pinky still looks good. They are covering it with a slimy film instead of wet gauze so that it stops sticking to her scab when they pull it off. Other than that, there isn't really any news to report. It still looks good and looks like it is healing the way it needs to. One day at a time...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thank You Babybeblesseddolls.com




Karsie LOVES her doll!  We tried to get a good image of her interaction with it (after she examined her for a long time) but they all came out a little blurry.  We continue to be very thankful for babybeblessed.com for featuring Karsie and promoting prayer.  She is a real testament to the power of prayer.  

A quick update:  Tomorrow she goes off TPN providing there are no setbacks.  They have power weaned her on her feeding to the point where she will be taken off of it tomorrow.  Also, she has taken another small step forward on her breathing as her O2 flow is now at 1 liter.  When she is weaned to .5 then 0, they will most likely take her off of the nasal cannula.  

Prayer request:  This isn't a major concern yet, but Karsie is having some bad reflux lately, especially when she is orally fed.  We are a little nervous that she will develop an aversion to the oral feeding as it makes her stomach hurt, but so far it hasn't.  We're trying to develop ways to stop that, so we request a little bit of prayer on that.  Also, her blood pressure has been a teensie bit high lately.  The doctors aren't real concerned about it, but they are watching it.  We have a continual prayer request that she does not develop an infection as well.  That would set her back quite a bit from all of the progress she has made over the past few weeks.  Thank you so much.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Strawberry Girl Plus a Game Day Photo



Karsie and Her Hiccups

video

"Pinky" it is...

We know it's a half hour early, but we're going to call the name race:  Pinky wins!  For now, her bump will be called Pinky.  We say for now because we have gotten a lot of response from people who didn't realize that many of the names meant anything or stood for anything and they would have changed their vote.  We also have had a lot of other names sent to us (or attempted) after the deadline.  We definitely don't want to make this a huge ordeal because, let's face it it's not, but it was way fun, so we'll put up another poll in a few weeks with the other names INCLUDING explanations.  Our fault for not including that this time.  However, it was fun to have a little interactive website for a while.  We also thought of putting up a poll in a while about what her first halloween costume should be.  Thought that would be fun.  Love you all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Karsie and Her Clothes




All is still going well.  Karsie's bump still looks great!  It's getting pretty dry and looks like it's healing quite nicely.  Her feeds are up to 3 times a day and she's handling them real well.  She is up to 14 mL an hour and will be at 15 tomorrow.  This was adjusted again today because when they have to bottle feed her, she has to have her continuous feed turned off an hour before and after.  Therefore, she has to make up all of the mL she is losing from that hour in the other hours.  In other words, we have no idea what her goal is at this point, but at some point she will be just bottle feeding.  She is probably going to be increased to 4 times a day pretty soon now. Breathing is still going well.  On to the next.  

More Pictures



Brief Update (9-4)

We haven't gone it today yet, so we may have a lot more to say later on, but for now everything is status quo. When Michelle left yesterday, Karsie was on 12mL of breast milk an hour and if she is still handling it she will be increased to 13mL an hour. Her goal has been moved to 17mL an hour due to the fact that she is gaining weight, so in about 4 days, assuming there is no more significant spit up, she will be completely on breast milk: a major triumph for little Karsie. Breathing and bump (soon to be named "Pinky" it looks like) are still good. The newest part of the exposed skin actually looks a little better than some of the other parts. It looks very skin-like.

Also, we appreciate all the prayer for Kevin to start to feel better. He does. He is well and going down to San Diego this weekend. Hopefully, and we think this is the case, he was just very drained and started to feel a little vulnerable to being sick (which brought on some symptoms).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the Snowball Rolls On....

We're not so sure what we're going to do if things continue to go this way other than run down the street flailing our arms about squealing for joy.  We know it's probably not wise to get so excited, but whatever.  

Preface:  

Before we get started, there is a poll up for naming Karsie's new belly.  We just couldn't make a decision because they were all so good, so we put up a poll and will let you all decide.  At noon on Saturday we will take the highest voted name and that will be what we call it.  We decided since Bob was the first name given to it, and us being all about gender equality, we would put up girl names (or references) to vote on.  However, even though we could only put up five, we absolutely loved the other names too!  You guys are so creative!  We'll make a special post dedicated to all the names submitted because they were so great!

Chapter 1:  Bottle Feeding

What could have been a struggle ended up a triumph of gluttony.  She INHALED her food and did wonderfully on it.  She did so well that what was supposed to be one feed a day starting today was immediately increased to two feeds today and further increased to three tomorrow.

Chapter 2:  More Feeding

She is up to 11mL and hour and 5mL TPN.  Starting tomorrow they will go up 1mL a day instead of .5 so she will be getting more feeds faster.  At this rate, she will be where she needs to be within a matter of days, and then they will start to try and bulk her feedings into 3 hour increments.  Meaning her goal at this point is to get to 16mL an hour breast milk.  Once that happens, the goal is to lump it all together, slowly, to getting 48mL every 3 hours....like a normal baby would.  They are also going to start to try to dry breast feed next week.  

Chapter 3:  Discharge Estimate

Yesterday we had a family conference and Kevin asked if they had an estimate for when she would be able to go home.  The doctor said that she would need to conference with the surgeons, other neonatologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses and get a rough estimate.  It is understood that this estimate is completely dependent on how she continues to progress.  It could go quicker, and it could go slower.  But they did give us an estimate.  Ready?  6-8 weeks!

Chapter 4:  Breathing

They are starting to try and wean her off of her nasal cannula.  The only thing they can wean her on at this point is her flow.  She is currently on 2 liters of oxygen flow.  She will be weaned to 1.5, then 1, and so on.  Our guess is that if she continues to do well, they will just go until she has no flow, which means they take it out.  We'll update you guys on when they start to do this.

Epilogue:  

Prayer request.  While Karsie is doing well, Kevin started to feel very slight signs of getting sick today.  He took off half a day of work to nip it in the bud and rest, but if he continues to feel sick tomorrow after work he will most likely not be coming down this weekend.  We're hoping it's just allergies or rest that is needed.      

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What a Day!

If you want good news, keep reading.  We have plenty to share.

First and foremost, Michelle got to hold Karsie yesterday and today.  We thought the picture and Michelle's smile spoke way more than anything we could type.  Karsie went right to sleep and stayed calm when Michelle held her....both times.

Patch:  GONE!  We now need to find a new name for Karsie's lump.  Any ideas?  We'd love to hear them on the comment section.  Dr. Saenz came in today and took the rest of it off.  Her skin has done a Magellan and it covers all of the organs.  Now it's just time to toughen up.  The doctors are going to try and find a way to see if Michelle and Karsie can orchestrate skin to skin contact when Karsie is being held.

Feeding:  Still going strong.  TPN is slowly dying in Karsie's feeding.  It's down to 5.5, which means her breast milk feeding is at 10.5.  They did labs today and her bilirubin levels are down, which is fantastic seeing as they had been going up slightly.  The more she continues to feed the better she will do on that because the TPN will be decreased.  Also, even more exciting, is that tomorrow she will start to try to bottle feed.  They will do this for one hour a day and see how she handles it.  Moving on.....

Breathing:  Karsie is still doing well on her breathing.  She stays real close to 22% on her O2 levels, which is only 1% off of room air.  We think we're getting pretty close to having the breathing under control.

EEG:  Yup.  There was an EEG.  We didn't know about it.  Thank the Lord!  And, for all intents and purposes, it was normal!!  The doctor did say that there was some spiking happening, but she was also moving.  It's almost impossible for a baby to have a normal reading as they move, but all of the previous two issues that was seen is now gone.  She looks as normal as any baby would look at this point.  And moving on.....

Discharge:  So...the doctors are at least talking about that now.  Not that she will be discharged any time soon, but they seem to be getting their ducks in a row.  Michelle has been questioned on what kind of car seat she has and if we had found a pediatrician.  These are questions that are new and suggest a finish line at least on the horizon.  Again, it will still be a long time before she comes home, but the word "discharge" has been uttered.  

What a day indeed.....   

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Good Day

We Are Blessed!

On the day Karsie had her surgery to get "Patch" I stumbled upon a website that has turned out to be such a blessing for us. I was needing some encouragement that day... and that is exactly what I found.
Baby Be Blessed Dolls
is a little organization run by a few amazing gals who love to sew and love the Lord. They have taken their talent and created these beautiful dolls. Each doll comes with a scripture patch right on the belly (fitting eh?). They have little girl and boy dolls as well as super adorable lamb dolls. I am in love with these dolls.Each month these ladies select a family to bless as part of their "Give a Blessing" ministry. For the month of September, we are that family! We are humbled and thankful to be a part of their ministry. And we are so grateful for the way this will spread Karsie's story and hopefully bring more prayers to the Lord on her behalf.
For those of you who have been following the blog, you have seen the progress she has made so far. We are convinced that her progress is a direct answer to the many many prayers lifted up by our friends and family and even people we have never met! We know this journey is far from over and we know your support will help us continue walking.
So, please check out the website, and continue to pray for our little miracle!