Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Date Night

For the first time in 5 years we did the dinner and a movie thing! We were so gracious when Lauren gave us this present for Christmas, which included babysitting. The Italian restaurant was very romantic and the movie Juno was adorable...a great night all together.
So I was just realizing how much God has blessed us as a family to get through the hard times. Life is so much more complete with Emily in our lives, and recently life has gotten much easier. It's great that we've added hours onto our day in that we don't have to commute to see her and scrub our hands raw if we want to open the door to the NICU. She's no longer on her heart monitor which we had to drag around the house, she is only on one medication a day (rather than 4, 3 times a day), and she primarily breastfeeds (which means I'm not pumping 8 hours a day and cleaning bottles in my sleep). I think I'm most grateful for being able to leave the house with Emily and going to public places...we've been grocery shopping once and she slept the whole time! Eli and I love going to mass as a whole family, and I love getting out of the house nearly everyday to go to daily mass with Emily.
I don't think we ever really envisioned what life would be like with Emily without family here. While in the NICU the doctors and nurses tried to prepare us, as did the support groups, but I think I walked away more scared than I needed to be. She did not need seclusion until April, she has not gone back to the ICU, we can take her on walks!!! Emily is not fussy all the time--rarely is she fussy!! She is sleeping more at night, and she is happy! Truly happy...not dazed because of her medicine, but joyful. We couldn't ask for a better feeling when she smiles. This is the absolute best time of our lives, and we cant thank you all enough for the prayers. Praise the Lord! God is good.

Monday, January 28, 2008

She slept through the night!

Yes, that's right. Emily didn't wake up until 8am--and went to bed at midnight!!! She must have been exhausted from playing with Lauren's roommates while Eli and I went to mass at UD. I have to admit though, we didn't exactly put her down early on Saturday either...Eli invited a few guys over for poker, and it turned out to be a full house. We let Emily have her friends over too, so she stayed up late to play with Matthew. This picture is of them standing on the coffee table--for being a week younger than Emily, he sure is a tall one!
Realizing that we haven't taken a video of Emily's newest feat (standing up and holding up her head), we were trying to get her to smile. You'll have to watch the video to find out what happens. She has this new drooling thing going on and she's starting to imitate sounds. Yesterday at family brunch Lauren was cooing at her, and while asleep Emily would make the same sound back! She's definitely finding out what her voice can do and how much mommy loves it when she shrieks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good News from the GI

When Emily's pediatrician called with abnormal blood results (very high liver enzymes, low electrolytes, high sodium, high potassium, etc.) Eli and I just kind of stood in our tracks for a minute. I just kept thinking that God had blessed us this far with Emily's good progress and we had much for which to offer thanks and praise. However, in the back of my mind I was terrified. I'm not quite sure how we survived the NICU for so long, but I know we don't want to ever go back.
So we asked for a second opinion from the gastrointestinal doctor--a specialist in the metabolic process. Not only did he tell us that these results could be common in preemies and not to worry, but he also allowed for Emily to cut out one of her medications. Apparently being on this med made her feel like she had just consumed 15 cups of coffee--no wonder she was so irritable and couldn't sleep!
Once again we can praise our Lord for carrying His sweet little Emily in His hand. We thank all of your prayers and continue to ask for love and support during this wonderful time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Bittersweet Weekend

Well we don't really need to talk about the Cowboys tragedy, but it's definitely been fun watching them crush so many teams this season.

On a better note, Caroline Regina was born January 11, 2008 at 12:09 p.m. weighing 5 lbs 6 oz. to Justin and Katy Lemieux. She is such an adorable little girl! We've heard rumors that they may be moving to DFW sometime exciting!

The weather in Dallas has been amazing and Eli and I have been taking Emily for a walk every day around our neighborhood. On Saturday Anne came with us to the Katy Trail, which runs through downtown. We hopped over to the Farmers Market to buy some phenomenal produce for cheap cheap cheap prices. Eli had another poker night, and I was sad because he gambled away all of my car wash quarters. haha:)

So Emily's pediatrician called with abnormal blood work results. I'm not really sure what this means, because Emily seems so happy these days--she loves to play, and eats and sleeps great. Dr. Trinh said we could get another metabolic panel done just in case the results were inaccurate. Please pray for Emily!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Grandma's Visit

Yesterday Eli's mom came up to Dallas for a short but busy visit. I was totally amazed that we were out of the house by 10am (usually impossible but so much easier having a helping hand!!!) Emily really has taken to Sheri and smiles a lot--Grandmas are the best! We checked out some houses in our neighborhood for Kyle and Teresa, who will be moving to Irving this summer. We really love our area with the canal that we walk by everyday, the convenient shopping nearby, and the quick trip to downtown on the weekends. We also went to get Emily's blood drawn again, and after lots of screaming, crying and poking with needles, the nurse gave up and we'll go back next week. Emily totally passed out and didn’t make even a peep during mass and lunch afterwards.
I found the most adorable pictures of Felix and Hejjo, Emily's two cousins. Hejjo is very active and curious, and is very much a social butterfly. Eli and I had fun pulling him in a wagon at the Rock and running around the barn. He will turn two in March, while Felix will be 4 months old in late January. Felix is quite the character too--he is a strong little guy very interested in shiny things on your clothing. Extremely strong, he is also very pleasant and definitely living up to his name. Olivia says that they are starting to play together--amazing!

Monday, January 7, 2008

An Update on Emily

I think it's been awhile since I've updated Emily's great progress. She's hit some big milestones for a preemie: no more formula is needed for extra calories and her heart monitor will be gone this week! Although another Synagis shot was needed this morning to protect her from RSV, we were thrilled to discover she weighs 8lbs 10 oz!! After a visit to the plastic surgeon, we have decided to remove the ulcerating hemangioma on her left arm and laser the one on her right hand some time this year. Emily saw her speech therapist who performed the Barium Swallow X-Ray, showing her latch-on is weak and her sucking pattern is still disorganized, but we're working on strengthening her muscles. Good news is that she's not aspirating as much anymore and her acid reflux medicines are working! (Hence, gaining almost a full pound in a month!)

Emily looks so healthy and happy--and is so well behaved. We feel more comfortable taking her to public places now, and we can pass her around to our friends and family just like other newborns. Loving the attention, Emily now smiles, giggles, and coos constantly! When the Early Childhood Intervention team assessed her last week, they said that her development is improving. She loves to look at faces and black and white patterns, she can hold her head up and she brings her hands to her mouth. I love the way she can communicate with us...she has distinct cries for being tired, hungry, or when she wants the mobile to keep going. (haha!) Emily is also sleeping more in the night and is awake and alert during the daytime. She really enjoys her swing and her afternoon walk to the library, and of course, playing with Daddy!

Here's the video I made for Eli for Christmas.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well we can't believe that Christmas and New Years have already come and gone. It seemed as though when Emily was in the NICU time stood still--and now, 2 months later, the time is slipping through our fingers. We certainly had so much to be thankful for this blessed Christmas, including good health and a wonderful family.

After visiting the NICU nurses and doctors to deliver a special gift from Emily, she was introduced to Eli's coworkers and later on met her Uncle Kyle, Aunt Teresa, and Uncle Paul.

Going from Austin to San Antonio to the Rock, we had so much fun with both families. To top it off, Aunt Lauren and Aunt Teresa came to visit us in Dallas this weekend and we went out to Fort Worth's Stockyards. Now it's just back to reality...but we're looking forward to getting into a family routine. We wish you all a wonderful new year filled with merriment and accord.