Friday, March 27, 2009

Lily Goes to Hollywood

We were contacted by Aurora Healthcare (who owns West Allis Memorial Hospital, where Lily and I stayed from April-June) to be filmed for a video for Aurora of a success story. They thought our story was very dramatic, but had a good outcome in the end – that Lily is doing wonderful (and she is so cute!).

I hadn’t really told anyone, because I didn’t think it was that big of a deal and wasn’t sure if it was actually going to happen. We ended up shooting last week Wednesday at West Allis Memorial right outside the NICU. It was a much bigger deal than I anticipated. I guess I was picturing a guy with a home video camera, no big deal. When we exited the elevator on the 2nd floor of the Women’s Pavilion and stepped out, there was a huge shoot setup with lighting and everything. We were “miked-up” and were interviewed, reality show style, like some sort of confessional, about our story. They asked lots of questions. I was a little nervous that I would breeze over some pretty intense details, because it had been so long, and there were some things that have just become memories for me, but I think overall we told our story and the emotion did creep back in, especially when I talked about leaving the hospital without Lily.

We went into the NICU and they interviewed some of Lily’s nurses, I was amazed at how much they remembered, and how much I seemed to have “blocked-out”. They played with Lily and couldn't believe how big she is.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience, I am so glad that we did it. It was another step in this whole healing process and it will be something that we can show Lily, we have lots of videos from her NICU stay, but no videos of us talking about it. I also think that it made me see things in a different light…what happened sucked, there is no way around that, but we were in one of the best, nicest places, even if we weren’t in the best situation, the people we were surrounded by and services they offered were wonderful, and we had a great “experience”.

It also felt really good to talk about it all, back in the place it all began, with Lily as she is now, as "punchy" as ever….and, I think…I just may have left it there this time…I feel good.

They thought our story was so compelling that they are going to use it to train NICU nurses and also use it for Aurora to show how all of the departments work together (Labor & Delivery, NICU, Postpartum, Family Services, Social Workers, etc.).

It will be edited a lot (we did 2 ½ hours of filming, probably for a 2 minute video), but they will give us both versions of the video.

I think it was a neat thing to do and am really glad that we will have it forever, because it seems each day that goes by, I forget more and more about what all has happened...which is something I thought would never happen. Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lily's Aliases

Peanut butter - most often used by me
CBE (Cutest Baby Ever), if you know Chris, he has an acronym for everything :)
Lily Oakalany - Auntie Donna says this is her Hawaiian name
Lily Putt - another one from Auntie Donna
Lily Pie
Pudding Cup
Lily Lu
Lily of the Valley
Little Miss Lily - My cousin Corrie has to get credit for this one, but it has stuck and even became the name of this blog!
Little Miss Grunts-a-lot - Chris called her this when she first came home and slept in our room, we didn't get any sleep because it sounded like a baby piglet (I mean that in the cutest possible way) was sleeping in the bassinet next to us Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saying Goodbye to An Old Friend - Retiring the Pump

I have been fighting a losing battle with my supply for about 4 months now, and after a really bad stomach flu in the beginning of March, I went a whole day without nursing or pumping. When I felt better there wasn’t much happening anymore. And then I had to go in for a CT scan to make sure my blood clot didn’t move to my lungs, and I had to Pump & Dump for 24 hours – so frustrating! I tried for another week and then decided that it’s maybe time to give-up, it’s taking me about 3 days to come up with 5 ounces, I used to pump 24-30 oz in a day. I am still nursing Lily at night, but know that will be coming to an end soon as well. I have only about 15 frozen bags left, and imagine when we really run out, I will be sad.

The pump has been with me for 10 long months. I remember it being one of the first gifts I received in the hospital from my Aunt Angie. Billie (my sister) opened it up and showed me how everything worked, I didn’t get it at all – I guess I am more of a “hands-on” learner. She explained to me how to use all the parts and what she did when she pumped at work, how long I could keep milk out at room temperature, how long it could stay in the fridge before having to be frozen, how long it could be frozen, when I would need to use it by after it was thawed, how to get my supply up, blah, blah, blah….I remember feeling overwhelmed and scared, I must have looked like a deer in headlights, her words went into one ear and out the other, it was so much more information than I could ever remember, I did not know that in about a month I would be able to spew random facts about pumping and breastfeeding to expecting moms and scare the “you know what”, out of them too.

I was excited to breastfeed and pump and at that time thought it would be easy (I had no idea how hard things would be for us). Pumping was the first thing I did after Lily was born, once I was feeling well enough to sit-up, and although I was totally out of it from the Magnesium Sulfate and had not seen Lily yet, Billie pumped me and Chris took the colostrum down to the NICU. It was the first thing I did that felt like I was helping Lily, when there was so much that I couldn’t do. It was also there with me the first week I went back to work and sat with me while I cried in the small storeroom, because I missed Lily so much.

Although it never “talked” to me (Billie thinks it says “more milk, more milk, more milk”, while Chris thinks it says “wacko, wacko, wacko”), it was there for me through some tough emotional times and I was sometimes comforted by it, even though a lot of times, it just seemed like another thing I had to check off my list of things to get done.

As I sterilized everything…washing all the bottles and pieces one last time by hand (Chris and I do not have a dishwasher, so we have washed all my pump parts and bottles by hand for the last 10 months – ugh!) and packed everything up…I was amazed by how much “stuff” there was. The bag, the pump, the bottles, the shields, the membranes, the caps, the storage bags, the nipple cream, the freezer organizer, Yogi Tea, Women’s Nursing Tea, Fenugreek pills, nursing pads, nipple shields, and the coveted adapter for the car (in case you need to pump ‘n go or your power goes out in your house?). I had two sets of everything, because of washing everything by hand, it was much easier to have an extra set in case something wasn’t dry and ready to be used. I had also gone through two sets of tubing (you can order on because of condensation in my tubes (that’s why you should let the pump run after you have stopped), and after complaining of pain while pumping I was told to try the 27 mm shield, which was so much more comfortable and increased my milk supply, so I had two sets of those too.

There was a part of me that was really sad about packing it all up. There was a time…actually lots of times, where I just wanted to give-up and stop pumping...I always reminded myself that it was helping Lily. And once I got over the hump of wanting to quit, it just became part of my life. Toting the bag everywhere, milk all over the house, milk all over my shirts at work, crying when a bag would leak or I would accidentally spill some milk, always being thirsty, hungry and tired, pumping while half asleep in the morning before work, pumping with one hand so I could eat breakfast, pumping while sitting on the floor playing with Lily, packaging and storing milk – it all started to seem so “natural” – ha!

In just the couple of days that I have stopped, I already can’t believe how much more time I have and how much less tired I am.

This weekend I was so excited to rid my body of a nursing bra and couldn’t wait to get back into my Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Bra and see the girls “elevated” again, it’s been a long time people. I also…dare I say…thought it would make me feel sexy…to my dismay, after only an hour, I could not believe how horribly uncomfortable an underwire was and wanted to take it off and put back on my Bravado Nursing Bra…sure there’s not much sex appeal, but boy, it’s comfy. I wondered - How was it that I had been wearing underwire bras for so long and thought they were comfortable?

So the pump is cleaned and ready to go for baby #2…, we aren’t pregnant, but we do plan on having another baby in the future, and hopefully I will try to nurse and pump again…although I am wondering how you would find the time with two little ones?

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Waving Bye-Bye

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Friday, March 13, 2009

10 Months

I'm way too cool for these photo shoots mom

Sorry for the delay in posting...Lily has been sick and with Chris working second shift, there isn’t a whole lot of time at night for posting…

In the last month Lily’s development has taken off…she started “army” crawling (video in a previous post) and most recently after a day of hard work by dad, has started waving “bye-bye” (sometimes it even sounds like she tries to say it, but that could be a proud mom reading too much into baby babble - video coming soon).

She only gained 2 ounces this month and grew a half inch, putting her at 15 pounds 3 ounces and 27.5 inches, she was really sick for a while and wasn’t too interested in food.

Lily being tortured with a nebulizer treatment - sorry :(

I am happy to report that she seems to be back to her old perky self, even with a cough, but we keep doing the nebulizer treatments and hopefully that cough will be gone soon. She is now wearing 3-6 month clothes, so it’s time to pack up another Rubbermaid and take it to the “baby storeroom” (think basement). She is wearing size 2 shoes or anything in 6-12 months. Lily still doesn’t have any teeth, but is pretty much done with baby food and is almost totally eating “finger foods” now.

Since her recent boost in activity, it is hard to keep her stimulated, she no longer wants to play in her exersaucer, sit and play with toys, or sit and watch Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids (one of her favorite shows on Noggin), she would much rather be crawling and trying to chase Boots or Beans or walking back and forth between mom and dad (holding our hands, of course).

Her therapy is going really well, we are seeing improvements every week, even with the small things they are doing and we are trying to practice at night. We have two swim lessons left and are looking forward to getting outside more with the great weather …we even used our Zoo Pass (thanks mom) this weekend for the “Behind the Scenes” weekend – Lily loved watching the birds in the Aviary.

Lily’s 10 month birthday also means she is going to be ONE in less than 8 weeks, umm...was anyone going to tell me that my baby is turning ONE! You probably figured that out, but I just realized that and am now panicked! As my grandma would say – oy vey!

::off to start planning a party::

Big Girl part of her stroller
on a walk in the nice weather

Bat Girl
for some reason she loves this, maybe a bat in a former life?

Big Girl booster seat at restaurant

Loving Swim!

I had to put a naked butt pic in,
she's already going to hate me for all the bows :)

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Poor Little Sick Baby

Lily's Nebulizer

Smiling because the machine is not on

Mr. Bubbles Lily's Mask

Lily had a running nose since Sunday and had been getting worse on Monday. Tuesday morning we were supposed to take her to PT in the morning, but when she woke up she was crying (so unlike her, she is a morning person), and was really congested. She was wheezing and her breathing was labored, she had a terrible cough.

I called the pedi that morning and they got us in at 9:30 a.m. They don't have a test at our pedi's office for RSV, but said Lily does have a bad cold (which is what RSV is, only in babies it can sometimes be life-threatening) and a lower respiratory infection, she called it bronchiolitis. They wanted to use the nebulizer on Lily to make sure the congestion could be broken up. They used the nebulizer on Lily for 10 minutes (1o minutes of painful screaming, kicking and ripping at the mask...we are talking about the same Lily that used to rip her nasal cannula off her face at 2 weeks old, just over 3 pounds). The nebulizer, or Dr. Neb, helps open Lily's already tiny, and now congested airways, so that she can breath.

She sent us home with a nebulizer that we are to use on Lily every four hours (not at night) with arbuterol, and hopefully she will start to get better. If she doesn't, or starts getting worse, we will talk about next steps.

I feel so bad for Lily that she is sick. We almost made it all the way through RSV season without incident. She hates the nebulizer and screams and tries to get away from it. It takes 2 people to hold her down - poor thing, but it is opening her airways so she can breath better. ::frowning with a big fat lower lip::

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Monday, March 9, 2009

On The Go

Lily has a bad cold, but still decided to start "moving" forward, she has been spinning in a circle since Thanksgiving, but now it looks like it won't be long until she's crawling :)

Video from tonight
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

How God Chooses a Preemie Parent - Author Unknown

Did you ever wonder how mothers of premature babies are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint. . .give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."

"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it."I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?" God nods."If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.

She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see, ignorance, cruelty, prejudice--and allow her to rise above them.

She will never be alone.I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles."A mirror will suffice." Best Blogger Tips
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