December 15, 2012

when we haven't been at the doctor....

Even though most of my time as been spent in a doctor's office the past few weeks, I am glad to say that we have still made time to do some fun things to celebrate the holidays and make great family memories!

Before Thanksgiving, we went to the Lights of the Ozarks parade with some sweet friends.  Lights of the Ozarks is seriously my favorite thing about Fayetteville at Christmas.  And it was the perfect way to kick off the holidays!

These two loved the lights, dancing to music and bundling up together.

These girls did a little window shopping at some of our favorite downtown shops.

Checking out the Christmas trees on the square.
We also had a neighborhood Fall Festival.  It was so fun hanging out with neighbors that we love and meeting new neighbors.  I am so thankful for where we live!

One Sunday afternoon, Rebekah and I took Cilla and Hannah to see Beauty and the Beast.  Hannah loved it....especially getting to dress up like Belle!  I love doing fun, girly things with her and her friends!

Hannah went camping with my parents.  She had a blast!  And how old does she look in these leggings, shirt and UGGS??  What happened to my baby??
Jason and I got to go to a Friendsgiving/Holiday Dinner with some sweet friends that we don't see very often.  It was nice to have some adult time during the craziness of the holidays!
We've had lots of fun and are enjoying the holidays to the fullest this year!  We've had lots more fun things going on getting ready for Christmas and I can't wait to blog about it all! (One day I'll actually be caught up.... :))

December 13, 2012

10 days of sickness

Olivia had her first "sick baby" doctor appointment last week and it broke my heart!  She had been super congested and not eating for about 24 hours so we were pretty worried and went straight to the doctor.  Fortunately, the doctor didn't hear or see anything of concern so we just continued to do what we could to get her to eat and sleep.  I've spent many nights on the couch with our sick little girl trying to keep her comfortable and asleep for more than 30 minutes at time.  It was a rough week for all of us with very little sleep and lots of stress over Olivia's eating.

LOTS of sweet snuggles with this sick baby

Over the weekend, things seemed to improve.  Olivia was eating better and we were getting back on our "schedule".  However, Monday things seemed to get a little worse again.  This time her congestion had turned into a pretty nasty-sounding cough.  So back to the doctor we went.  The doctor ordered a chest xray because even though she still didn't hear anything in Olivia's lungs, she wanted to make sure she wasn't missing something.  Unfortunately, Jason didn't go with me to this appointment so I was by myself doing this whole xray thing.  Not the greatest experience ever but Olivia and I both survived. :)  The xray came back completely clear (Praise the Lord!) so now we are just back to focusing on her eating and staying hydrated.  Even though Olivia hasn't eaten well the past 10 days, she hasn't lost weight so that is an answered prayer for sure!  She hasn't gained but we'll take the not losing at this point!

Cuddles with Daddy after the horrible xray experience made everything better!

Today she woke up less congested, eating better and less fussy. YAY!  Hoping that continues through the week (and through Christmas) because we've got some super fun things planned this year!

December 6, 2012

olivia's appointments and EEG results

Last week was a busy and long week for sweet Olivia.  We had a doctor appointment every day and ended the week with an EEG.  Even though it was a long week for all of us, we got more information on Olivia's development, growth and brain activity.

We started the week with another check up with the NICU doctor.  Olivia is gaining weight but unfortunately she did fall to the 10th percentile (9 lbs 4oz) from the 25th a month ago.  I was incredibly discouraged at first but we have the ability to up her calories in each bottle so we are trying that and hoping for better weight gain this month.

The NICU doctor was impressed with her development so far.  We continue to be encouraged with what Olivia is doing physically and know that therapy is helping tremendously!
We also went to meet with the Developmental Pediatrician.  Basically this pediatrician will track with Olivia's growth and development for the next 25 years.  We were asked lots of questions, especially about Olivia's eating since that is the main concern of all the doctors we see.  The doctor gave us some great advice and new things to try.  We will see the developmental pediatrician every 3 months (or more often) as needed to help keep Olivia on track to meet developmental milestones for the next 2 years.

Friday was the big day that we have been anticipating since leaving the hospital two months ago.  This was Olivia's first EEG after discharge and we were all a little bit anxious about it.  Thankfully Jason went with us and I was SO thankful after the cry fest that happened while the tech was putting the probes on Olivia's head.  Olivia hates being restrained so this was pretty much torture for her.  Jason is so good with her in these type of situations and remains super calm.  I was on the verge of tears the entire time.
There were 24 probes glued all over Olivia's head.  Even though this looks pretty terrible, it doesn't hurt her at all.
The tech had to monitor her brain activity for an hour.  Thankfully she slept most of the time and really did look super peaceful.
Towards the end of the scan, she woke up and the tech did a strobe light test.  Olivia HATED it!  But thankfully that didn't seem to induce any seizure-like activity that we could see.

During the test, the tech couldn't say really anything about what he was seeing.  He did say that he would go get the neurologist if there seemed to be any severe/crazy activity and he didn't have to do that so we were pretty encouraged.  However, we spoke with the neurologist's nurse this week after the results came back from Little Rock and there is still abnormal brain activity.  It has improved since her last scan so that is encouraging but I'll be honest that I am a little bummed by the results.  We were hoping to be able to stop the seizure medicine but that won't happen as long as there is abnormal brain activity.  We go back to the neurologist in January and hopefully will get more information about what is next for Olivia and her brain.

We know that God is in control and He is the Ultimate Healer.  We are trusting in His timing for complete healing of Olivia's brain.  And if He chooses to heal just a little at a time, we wil choose to rejoice in that and praise Him for each little touch of healing we see.

We've had another long week around here but I'll save that for another post. :)

November 26, 2012

thanksgiving 2012

We have a crazy busy but fun week and I have lots to blog about but I want to start with our super fun Thanksgiving.  We had several firsts this Thanksgiving and SO much to be thankful for!  Because of Olivia and us wanting to protect her as much as possible, we decided to host Thanksgiving this year.  Jason smokes a turkey every year anyways so it was actually a pretty easy decision.  And we kept it super small with just our parents and my aunt and they took care of all the other cooking so I really didn't do was a great deal for us! :)

We started off the morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while Jason perfected the turkey.

It was the first holiday that I got to dress these two alike and I LOVED it!  Having two girls is SO much fun (and expensive!) especially during the holiday season.

Not only was it Thanksgiving but it was also Olivia's 3 month birthday!  I can't believe she is already 3 months old!  (I'll have an official 3 month post later this week after we visit the doctor and get her stats.)  We seriously fall in love with her more and more each day.  Even though it has been a tough 3 months, I couldn't be more thankful that God chose us to be Olivia's parents.  We are very blessed. 

Hannah loved having both her MiMi and her Khaki here.  She also spent most of the day playing outside with my aunt.  I am so thankful for the women in our family who love Hannah and Olivia so much!

After everyone left Thursday evening, it was time for some football and snuggles for these two. :)

On Friday, Jason took Hannah to the Razorback football game.  It was super cold so they only made it through the first half but I know it was fun for both of them to have some daddy/daughter time.

I got to stay home and cuddle with Olivia.  It was perfect for all of us!

On Saturday, we went to have dinner at my parents' house because Jack and Kristy were in town.  It was so fun seeing them and catching up since we didn't get to spend Thanksgiving Day together.

We had a full, long weekend with family and I loved it!  Now I am busy getting our house decorated for Christmas....I forgot how time consuming it is, especially while caring for a newborn and a busy preschooler, so hopefully we'll have it all done by this weekend. ;)

Olivia also has lots of doctor appointments this week, including her EEG on Friday.  I'll be posting lots of updates as we find out more about her growth and development this week!

November 15, 2012

our visit to the neurologist

Today we had Olivia's first visit post-hospital to the neurologist.  The doctor checked Olivia's reflexes and responses to different stimuli such as lights and noises.  The doctor was beyond thrilled with how well Olivia was doing today.  And Jason and I were beyond thrilled to get such great news!  We were both feeling a little anxious this morning about this appointment but God answered lots of prayers and Olivia is definitely surprising doctors with her progress. 

We will go back to the neurologist in two weeks for an EEG and at that point the doctor will determine if we can begin to wean Olivia off of the seizure medication.  Unfortunately, because Olivia hasn't gained a lot of weight, she is not weaning herself off the medicine as the doctors had hoped so we really don't know what she will be like without it since the amount she is given is still pretty significant considering her size.

The one concern the neurologist has about Olivia is her head growth.  Olivia's head is not growing as it should but there are two different things that could be causing a slower head growth: 1)her brain injury....the skull grows as needed and if her brain is still trying to rewire itself, it may not be growing properly just yet or 2)her lack of weight gain...because her body overall isn't growing at a rapid pace, her head/brain aren't either.  We really won't know the cause of her slow head growth until she gains more weight and her head either grows with the gain or not.  The neurologist will measure her head again in two weeks and we are praying for great growth at that appointment.  Most of Olivia's "issues" at this time are related to her weight gain, or lack thereof, so we will be working hard to get her to eat well and adding formula to every bottle in hopes of giving her more calories that will up that number on the scales!

I want to take a minute and give a shout out to my sweet husband.  Jason has missed work on a number of occassions and even missed part of his agency's annual meeting this morning to go with me to Olivia's appointment.  He has been to every doctor appointment and I couldn't be more thankful for that.  Olivia's life right now revolves around doctors and therapists and it is so nice to not have to go to those appointments alone.  Jason works so hard to provide for our family and always puts our girls first.  We are all truly blessed to have him taking care of our family.

Thankfully we are done with doctor appointments for a couple of weeks and can really work on Olivia gaining weight and getting stronger.  So today we are celebrating and praising Jesus for His work in Olivia's life because we know what the doctor saw today is nothing short of a miracle.

November 12, 2012

olivia update

We have a big week for Olivia as we have a follow up appointment with the neurologist.  We are hoping the doctor will do another EEG to assess Olivia's brain activity.  We believe there will be nothing abnormal on the EEG and if that is the case, we will be able to stop the Keppra prescription that has been used to prevent/control seizure activity.  But we have had an exciting few days around our house that I wanted to share.

Olivia is cooing! This is HUGE because we have no idea what parts of her brain are injured so it is so incredibly encouraging that possibly the part of her brain that controls speech is not injured or if it is, the injury is minimal.  It is THE sweetest sound ever! (Except for at 3 or 4am :))  I seriously do everything I can during the day to get her to "talk" to me.  Every milestone that she meets is truly a miracle and we praising God for this little blessing.
We have also finally found a formula that Olivia can tolerate.  We struggled for a couple of weeks finding something that would set well with her little digestive system and not aggravate her reflux.  Again, something that seems so little to some is a huge miracle and blessing to us.  Olivia isn't gaining weight as she should so we are hopeful this new formula will do the trick and our little one will start growing and amaze all the doctors!
It is still so hard how far Olivia has come in 2.5 months: (her story starts here)

I am so thankful for these little miracles we have experienced over the past few days. We know God has big things planned for this little girl and it is truly humbling to be a part of it and entrusted with her life to be her parents.

our weekend

We had a very relaxing weekend at home and it was just what we all needed after the craziness of the past few weeks.  We enjoyed lots of family time, naps and movies. Perfection.

On Saturday, Hannah and I went with my Mom to the NWA Boutique show for a little shopping.
Hannah felt like such a big girl all morning shopping with us and loved looking at all the fun Christmas stuff.  But she was definitely more interested in her Bliss cupcake than shopping. :)

The girls spent some sister time together watching Baby Einstein.  I cannot wait to watch them become best friends as they grow up together. 

Olivia fell asleep in the bathtub one night.  Might be one of the cutest and funniest things yet.
We ended our weekend cuddled up watching movies on a rainy Sunday.  My momma heart was so happy and so full!
We have a busy week ahead so I am counting my blessings of a quiet, restful weekend with my sweet family.

November 10, 2012

finally back to normal

We finally had somewhat of a normal week this week and I couldn't be more thankful.  Hannah didn't got to school this week because she still had a few rash spots on her face and I wanted to make sure she was completely well before we entered the social world again.  Once I knew she was completely fine, Hannah and I went to lunch with some friends.  Olivia was having a rough, fussy morning so Jason came home for his lunch break to be with her so Hannah and I could get out of the house for a bit and maintain our sanity.  (I think he's a keeper ;))
It was unseasonably warm this week so we spent some time outside.  Hannah rode her bike while Olivia and I followed.  It was a fun little outing with my girls!
Olivia started 2 of her 3 therapies this week.  I am so very thankful for the awesome therapists that we have been connected to during this time.  She's eating better and better thanks to the guidance of our speech therapist.  And her muscles are getting a good workout to help with her tone during her time with the physical therapist.

Olivia also had a weight check with the pediatrician this week.  She has only gained 2 ounces in 2 weeks so her weight is still not where it should be for a 2.5 month old.  We have started adding formula to some of her bottles so hopefully that will help with her weight gain in the coming weeks.  While we were at the doctor, Olivia also had to get her first Synagis shot.  We will go once a month from November until March for this shot.  The shot will help her body fight off any viruses that she may be introduced to so she doesn't develop RSV.  

After her morning at physical therapy followed by the doctor visit, she was one tired baby!

Jason and I also had our first date night in awhile thanks to my sweet parents.  It was much needed after the last couple of weeks!  I am so thankful my parents help us make our marriage a priority and offer to keep the girls for a few hours just so we can take some time for ourselves out of the house.  It was refreshing and helped Jason and I reconnect because our relationship can definitely be pushed to the back burner if we aren't mindful of each other and the importance of our marriage as we are figuring out life with Olivia and not getting much sleep in the meantime.

So far we are having a pretty relaxing weekend and I am soaking it all up! :) 

November 5, 2012

our week and our halloween

Well it has been one crazy week around our house!  After I blogged about Olivia's shots, Hannah was diagnosed with the flu.  How this happened, I have no idea!  She got the flu shot about a month ago and we haven't been around anyone sick since Olivia came home. (Except we did learn from the pediatrician that the flu vaccine is only 59% effective this year.  Awesome.)  But it happened so Hannah spent all of last week with my parents because she couldn't be home and around Olivia while she was running a fever.  It was SO hard on my momma heart to not be able to take care of Hannah while she was so sick but I am SO thankful for my parents and how they sacrificed their week to take care of Hannah since I couldn't.

Poor sick baby :(

While Hannah was at my parent's house, I was taking care of Olivia while she recovered from her shots.  Fortunately she didn't have any severe reactions and I got to enjoy some extra snuggling for a couple of days.  We even went for our first official walk one day to enjoy the exceptionally warm fall weather.

Unfortunately Hannah was sick on Halloween so we had to skip the parties and trick-or-treating but my sweet aunt had a bowl of candy for Hannah to enjoy while she was sick.
We enjoyed a little evening at home and I played dress up with Olivia for her first Halloween. :)

She wasn't too sure about the hat but I love it!  I can't wait until her head is a little bit bigger and it actually fits.
Hannah finally got to come home after 24 hours of being fever free and we were so excited to have her home!  However, shortly after coming home, Hannah developed a horrible head-to-toe rash so we ended up at an after hours clinic.  And we learned that she is allergic to Tamiflu.  Crazy, right?!? (Jason looked up the stats on that and less than 1% are allergic to flu medications and of course our child would be in that 1%....)
Once we got the rash thing figured out, we decided to do our own little trick-or-treating.  Hannah LOVES Halloween so I was super disappointed she didn't get to dress up in her costume.  We remedied that, let her dress up and headed to my parent's house for some trick-or-treating. (Plus, I couldn't let this super cute Wonder Woman costume go to waste!)
Though the past week didn't go according to plan, I am so thankful both my babies are well and no one else go the flu.  We are praying for a healthy winter for all of us and protection over Olivia and her immune system as it continues to develop in the coming months.