Blog Archive

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What I wouldn't give for an otoscope

Good News! Last night around midnight, Elizabeth was discharged from the hospital with a raging ear infection. Amazingly we managed to make it through a visit to our pediatrician, and the ER without anyone looking in the poor girl's ears! I'd even called our Pediatrician's office yesterday to see if we could bring her in for a look, but the schedule was full and our Dr. thought he'd already checked them out. Oops. So we're home, and after a shot of antibiotics in the hospital, and a couple of doses of Tylenol, E is still sleeping soundly and-we hope-on the mend. We're not sure how this is going to go over with our insurance, but I'd choose an ear infection over heart failure any day.
Thanks for sticking with us,

Friday, June 27, 2008

Elizabeth Update...

Just one week shy of our planned trip to California, Elizabeth is being admitted to Children's Hospital tonight. She's had some bizarre symptoms over the past week that culminated in a trip to the ER yesterday. After going home for the night some lab tests today showed in increased level of ammonia in her blood and she's begun spiking pretty high fevers. That combined with her symptoms means they want to keep a close eye on her and give her some IV fluids.

Praise God that:
~ALL the tests to rule out really nasty causes for her symptoms (heart failure, a GI bleed, a problem with her spleen, a blood infection or reaccumulation of fluid in her abdomen) have come back clear, so while we don't know the cause of her fevers, her high ammonia level or her other symptoms, we have an idea of what it's not.
~Elizabeth is in good spirits today, after quite a few miserable days, so that at least is an encouraging sign. she was singing, "Who built the arc? Noah! Noah!" and "God is watching over us" as Matt buckled her into her car seat to leave tonight. It about broke my heart.
~Tomorrow is Saturday, so despite being slammed at work, Matt has a bit more flexibility than he would have on a weekday.
~Ruby has been a rock-star throughout the whole thing and has been super easy to shuffle around.
~God has given us good friends here! Some friends are loaning us their car for the weekend, since the one I drive has died suddenly & another friend brought us dinner tonight.
~Our babysitter, has been available for a few hours on short notice, which has made these past two days of running back and forth to the hospital more doable

We would appreciate your prayers for:
~Complete healing
~Wisdom for the doctors treating Elizabeth tonight and this weekend
~Grace, peace, and encouragement for all of us
~Sleep for Matt and Elizabeth in the Hospital and Ruby and Me at home tonight
~Our trip to California...we really want to go this time!!

I posted the words from this hymn as a comment on a friend's site this afternoon. Her 7 week-old son is in the PICU tonight with a serious infection and I was hoping to encourage her. I guess I encouraged myself as well.

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand"


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

7 Months

We have a 7 month old! Crazy. She's 20 1/2 lbs and doing all sorts of fun things...jabbering, sitting, watching every move Elizabeth makes, playing a bit of peek-a-boo and taking baths in the tub and sleeping through the night....FINALLY! She's not much of a fan of food with flavor we're sticking to rice cereal and oatmeal...though today she managed to mash an avocado down and seemed to enjoy it. We're having fun!


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cousin Camp Round Two

We are so blessed to have family who is willing to come all the way to St. Louis to see us. We've been showered with attention all spring and couldn't be happier. Last week, my brother, Micah, his wife Tawni and their daughter Rachel came to visit for 6 days and we had a ball. Not only did they spoil us by cooking fabulous meals and helping with the girls, we also loved all the great conversation and hang out time. Rachel and Elizabeth were two peas in a pod (they're 8 weeks apart) and by the time Rachel left, Elizabeth was a full-flegged Rachel impersonator...including when it came to eating! Elizabeth learned to feed herself with a fork, eat more table foods than she's ever tried, and had so much fun being a "big girl" with her cousin. Here are some pictures of our week together followed by a post linking to a few videos of "feeding therapy with cousin Rachel".

Feeding Therapy with Rachel

Drum Roll Please...

Feeding Therapy with Rachel

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Table Food

For the first time ever, one night last week Elizabeth ate exactly what we did for dinner. I made red beans and rice from scratch and decided that the flavors might be right up her alley. She's a savory girl like her Mama. Well, She loved it! She ate all 10 ounces (her regular volume for meals) and though she ended up throwing it all up after the last bite, she was willing to eat the same meal again the next day and the experience has inspired me to offer her more table food ground up in our trusty food mill. Unfortunately, the food we regularly eat is no where near as calorically dense as Elizabeth needs it (she'd have to eat more than US in order to get the 300 calories she needs at each of her 4 meals!) so I'm adding butter, sour cream and milk to everything these days.

Our Dinner

Her Dinner

Elizabeth enjoying a snack of sour cream. I had some on my plate with lunch and she came over, scooped some up on my fork and ate it...and then said, "YUM"! I immediately scooped her some and she at ete it up! Here she's leaining over admiring herself in the mirror....yeah, she's a cutie pie.
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Sunday, June 1, 2008

"Eating" Defined

Many of you have emailed with questions about Elizabeth's eating. I thought I'd try to answer some of the most common ones.

Amazingly, Elizabeth's eating doesn't appear to be influenced at ALL by Ruby's recent move to solids. At least not yet. Elizabeth started eating again a week or two before Ruby started on rice cereal, and in the few times that I've managed to feed them at the same time, She's less interested in copying ruby and more interested in encouraging ME to feed Ruby more, saying, "Ruby's turn." I'm hopeful that we'll see more "corporate enjoyment", but we're taking it one day at a time.

I still feed her all of her food...she really dislikes feeding herself, though we can usually get her to give herself 2 or 3 bites during the course of a meal...with a limp spoon in a limp hand, food dribbling down her chin because she's not really trying to get it into her mouth. She's willing to try some finger foods though...pieces of cheese, egg, chicken, graham cracker, and she and I had a blissful time over a salad 2 nights ago. She ate a piece of cheese and tomato and enjoyed it!

As a result of her increased oral intake, Elizabeth's now vomits 2-3 times a day. All of it is in response to food. (still this is better than a volume related--or worse, unexplained--vomit) She's come so far in regards to her tolerance of textures, but sometimes it's just too much stimulation in her mouth and she can't stop from gagging and vomiting. We know this is just par for the course though...and as much as it frustrates and saddens us to watch her throw up all her food at some meals, she is amazingly resilliant and her willingness to keep eating is a real blessing.

We're regularly feeding her over 50% of her diet by mouth now...and usually can manage to feed her at least 1 meal a day entirely through her mouth. I'd appreciate your prayers for energy and encouragement for the task of feeding. It can still be quite a struggle some days. I feel awkward even typing this, because we've prayed so hard for her to EAT, but there is so much energy and work required to teach her and help her and cajole her to eat, our 4 meals a day are still my most dreaded task. For more insight, you can hop over to my friend's blog for her recent post on this same subject. McCarthy Micro Preemie Blog: Continuing the Vomit plea post

All in all, we DO see that God is slowly healing Elizabeth. She is really thriving. Her language expands every day and she says the funniest things. She's decided to start learning to dress herself & tie her shoes, ("make a loop, pull it through....") and often helps me around the house with dusting, folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher. The other day, we did some cleaning in the morning, then had a rather hard afternoon. She needed lots of my attention and was whining quite a bit. At the end of the day though, while she played on her rug, she repeated to herself something I'd said hours earlier, "Elizabeth, you are a BLESSING!" I couldn't agree more.