We Are Walking in Honor of Briella. Please Help Us Meet Our Goal.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

Briella has been doing great with her body temperature. They have turned her isolette all the way down to the lowest temp it can be and she is still the highest number on the normal side of warm. She's trying to tell them that she wants to go to a crib! But they say she is way too small for that. She is now 3 pounds 5 ounces!!! 1499 grams! She is also getting long! 15 and a Half inches!!!!

Also, when I got to her hospital room yesterday, she had pulled her oxygen tubes out of her nose. They were sitting above her nose. She was not having any alarms. I stood there and just watched her. I held her hand and paid close attention to her coloring to make sure she was breathing perfect. Well she was. She was almost at 100% on her oxygen!!! She would bounce from 97-95% all by herself! The nurse came in and we both stood and watched her in amazement! I kept telling her how proud I am of her. I watched her myself for 15 minutes with NO help whatsoever!!!! It brought my heart such joy!! We decide to put the oxygen back on because she was getting ready to start a feed and she sometimes refluxes and has a spell during a meal.

I'm looking forward to hopefully in the next couple weeks starting to introduce Briella to a bottle! I can't wait until her feeding tube is gone.

On Wed I was so excited to get to the hospital for scrapbooking day. I really enjoy sitting near Briella and being able to make whatever I want with all supplies provided. I had to run first to another city to try and resubmit paperwork for Briella's secondary insurance that has been denied twice. Well I get there to this crowded room. I pick a number. I am 38 people behind. Everyone was coughing and I started panicking. I left the room an stood in the hall where I could still hear the numbers being called. The room got so full that people started filling the hall. I kept trying to pull myself together but with every gag hack and cough I lost it more and more. I felt like I was just standing there getting germs to bring back to Briella. I waited almost an hour when this mom brings in her child who was coughing every few seconds and I swear he sounded so bad if it were my child I would've taken them to the ER. That was the final straw for me. I ran out of the building and to my car and literally broke down. I went home and took a shower and changed my clothes before going to see her, by then i missed scrapbooking. I am so terrified of getting sick or bringing a germ to her that could be fatal. It is so hard for me to wonder if my throat hurts from allergies or am I sick? I have had my throat swabbed 3 times to check for Strep throat, all negative. I'm sure the nurses think I'm crazy for keep coming in. I even did a round of antibiotics so I wouldn't freak out so much. But I'm finding it really hard not to worry. When I go to the stores, if they do not have the sanitizing cart wipes I will just carry the items I need. I'm sure it looks humorous to watch me struggle at the grocery store. In elevators with other people I hold my breath, like that is going to prevent me from getting ill. And that's really hard to do sometimes when I have to get to the 4th floor and the elevator stops at each floor, ha. I guess this is a lifestyle I will get used to, but right now I'm driving myself crazy being overly paranoid. I can't imagine losing my baby, so for the winter/flu season I will try to be ok with being over the top careful.

Briella has officially "out drank" me. She is eating so much every 3 hours now that she has went through my stockpile of milk at the hospital. Today I have to bring in my small stash from home. I'm pushing for a milk bank referral instead of her being switched to more formula. I am still pumping and storing all the milk I can, but its not enough. Briella will come home on 22 calorie formula, even if I am using breastmilk it will be mixed with it for higher calories. The formula is more expensive. If anyone wants to sign up for Enfamil checks or Similac checks and donate them to us I would be grateful! You would have to sign up that your household is expecting a baby, then they mail you checks/coupons, I believe monthly. They are usually high dollar $5-$15 coupons! I just googled "how to sign up for enfamil checks" and found the link.

Two times this week I have been up late at night (or actually early in the morning) to pump when I have accidentally spilled my milk. Whoever wrote the saying "Don't cry over spilled milk definitely never had issues pumping for a baby who needs it for an under developed stomach!! It was heartbreaking to watch what little milk I am able to get Briella just be wasted! And the fact that I could've just stayed asleep but instead was up pumping. I wanted to cry but just took a deep breath and thought that it is not worth it. My baby is here and that's what matters.

We are looking forward to seeing and talking with everyone tomorrow at the party!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Briella is 3 pounds!!!

We have really had a great stretch of days! Briella has had her awake moments where she is so alert! Her eyes are doing really well focusing on faces. Yesterday we just stared at each other for 5 minutes or so before it was bedtime again.

I am so excited to announce that we have a 3 pound baby!!!!! 3 pounds 1 ounce, 1403 grams! We are so proud of our big girl! She looks so much more healthy now!

Today she is being moved off of her high flow cannula to just regular cannula. That means there won't be a lot of help keeping her lungs open. She is doing more and more on her own!

They have been turning the temperature of her bed down throughout the night and day today, and she is still handling it great! That means she is regulating her body temperature. Something that lots of preemies struggle with. She needs to be able to completely regulate it before they move her to a crib. They also won't move her to a crib until she's around 1700 grams, but she's working her way there!!

Tonight we have our "Homeward Bound" class!!!! I am so excited to go! This is just another assurance that she will be coming home. And home is in sight. Maybe not for another couple months, but we will get there. I am excited to be able to hold her whenever I want and kiss her whenever I feel like it. Currently I can only start to hold her before her feeds start, which is every 3 hours.

Sister Aubrey is really starting to miss her little sister. She looks at the daily pictures I bring home, but she really is wanting to hold her and just be able to be around her sister. She's waited a long time to become a sister and now she has to wait more. Last night I heard her saying prayers when she was supposed to be asleep. She was praying for Briella and her papa. It was so cute I didn't even scold her for still being awake.
Well, I'm going to end this so that I can hold my big girl!
Enjoy these pictures of her awake and alert!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 50

I can't believe we've been in the NICU for 7 weeks. 50 days! And 50 long sad nights without my princess.

I had a great day with Briella today. Just feel like we are in a good place and felt joy being around her all day. And it helps that our favorite nurse was here. I can't explain how warm it makes me feel to see her in actual clothes. Today we put on little sock booties. She didn't kick them off like I was for sure she would.

I brought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to put in Briella's room at the hospital today. The box said "All you need is a little love." I thought it was perfect. Briella is a lot like that tree. She was born small ad fragile and there were doctors that didn't want to try to have her here, but with a little love we have a happy and healthy baby.

Briella is 2 pounds 15 ounces and 1332 grams. They have went down on her extra calories. That is great news also. It means its 2 parts my milk and only 1 part formula. She is also taking 24ml every 3 hours! So proud of my big girl! I believe 28 mL is an ounce.

Please pray that little Briella stays infection free and can come home healthy!

We are so thankful this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was a great day. We were able to spend it with both sides of the family and make 2 trips to the hospital to see our precious baby.

The nurse surprised us by dressing her in a onesie we had in her cabinet for when she got bigger. Well now she can be dressed everyday!!!!! This is so great for me. She looks less like she's in a hospital and more like a baby. And to my surprise, she actually fills out the clothes pretty well!! They are preemie size, but that is for 3-5 pounds. By the way, we are now 2 pounds 14 ounces! 1301 grams.

Last night we had our first attempt at nursing. They said they around 34 weeks is when that should happen. Well since Briella was so premature, they wanted to give her 30 minutes a day to just try to figure it out. Not expecting her to know how for weeks. Well of course my baby does great the first time! The nurse said she is light years ahead of most babies. I said I expect nothing less :)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and feels as blessed as we do. Next year Briella will be eating mashed potatoes with us at Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh, The Ups & Downs

Today has been one of those days that makes you see the power of prayer. The doctor came in to talk to Brian and I about how Briella is doing. He said they are going to chalk up Briella's fever to her new isolette malfunctioning. He said that the temperature the bed was reading must not have been the actual temp inside the bed. That it was too hot inside and it made Briella hot. The doctor believes that her high lymphocytes, extra spit up and loose stool were all just separate random unrelated events. He also showed us her brain ultrasounds from Nov 5th when we were first told about the white spots that meant possible brain injury. We compared it to her ultrasound yesterday and..........THERE ARE NO WHITE SPOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! He isn't sure what it was, but it wasn't scar tissue because that doesn't just go away. Incredible news! And even more exciting is she now weighs 1247 grams= 2 pounds 12 ounces! We are working our way up to 3 pounds!!!!!!

Doc said that they consider 32 weeks to be the hump that once they cross they are not so concerned on life threatening problems. They would consider her more a feeder/grower. She would be just hanging out, eating and gaining weight so that she can get strong enough to come home. With that being said, we were also told that Briella was just born the wrong time of year. It is so very important that we, or her staff caring for her, cannot bring ANYTHING in to her. Not a cold, not a virus, not strep throat. I say strep because our oldest daughter Aubrey (6) gets strep multiple times a winter and has it now. So it's going to be hard to stay home when we have a runny nose or a cough, but that's what we have to do to keep Briella alive and healthy.  Hand washing is so important to our family. Aubrey now is allowed to keep a bottle of Purell at her desk at school so she doesn't have to make a ton of trips to the bathroom to wash her hands. We have a bottle of Purell in every room of the house and we practice the same foam procedures at home as we do at the hospital.

Also, Briella has moved up AGAIN to the next size of diapers. We are now out of the medical supply sized diapers and into Pampers preemie!! Her diapers were so small only medical supply companies made them.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers last night. I believe that is what got Briella through this. Briella's army :)

Also, please note that you may use our new address of www.briellasjourney.com
It will bring you to this same site.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Sick Baby

Briella has had a fever all day. Her heart rate has moments of sky rocketing into the 200s. She is having a loose stool and more than normal reflux/spit up. And I would say that my baby was more lethargic today. I had to make a break for the parent room today where I completely lost it. I wanted to scream "Why my baby?" I had a moment of self pity. But then I read the message from a dear friend who just had a preemie herself, and all the loving comments on facebook from all of you. I was reminded of how far Briella has come. She is strong. I need to remember that. I think she is probably stronger than me.  This is the scariest news I have got so far, as infection could be deadly for such a fragile micro preemie. After they ran her CDC, the initial report showed no immediate infection. However it showed her Lymphocytes were high. That could mean that she has a virus. Still scary. They keep turning the temperature of her isolette down and Briella still will get warmer. So we do not know what is going on yet. We just have to wait and see how she does. That is so hard. Not sure how I will get any sleep. I did get to hold her, only for an hour. It was interrupted by her head ultrasound.

We have the results back on her brain. Again it showed no bleeding anywhere in the brain. It also said that nothing abnormal was found! It was wrote by a different radiologist than the last one. I am hoping and praying that these results are accurate and that there are now NO bright/white spots in her brain anymore. That would mean the risk for brain injury goes way down!! I will clarify with the doctor tomorrow and view the films from Nov 5 to today's films to make sure the results are accurate. I am learning to not get too excited until results are confirmed.

Brie lost weight tonight for the first time in almost 2 weeks. I think it was 20 grams that she lost.

Please continue to pray that Briella gets and stays healthy. Stays infection/Virus free. Pray for her continued strength. Pray for the staff taking care of her.

The picture of the three babies are Briella with her new cousins who were born 9 weeks early on Saturday night.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Held My Baby!

Today was the first time I was able to hold Briella like a baby and not just have her in my shirt for kangaroo care!! I cried just sitting there looking at her beautiful face. See, during kangaroo care, to see her face I have to hold a mirror up. It was also her first time being swaddled in blankets.

Briella is 1207 grams or 2 pounds 10 ounces. Her nurse told me today within the next couple weeks I can start dressing her!!! And in the next month she will be in a crib!!! I am so excited for these changes, especially dressing her! I'm sure there will be lots of pictures posted!

I asked about 3 weeks ago for prayers for my cousin. Our due date was the same week and she was pregnant with twin girls. Well Alexa gave birth last night to Kate and Jena at 30 weeks. Both weighing 3.5 pounds. Too bad we don't live in the same town! It would be helpful to be at the hospital, going through this with her! So if you could add them to you're prayers I would appreciate it!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Weeks Gestation

I was so excited for today!! Grandpa Smith got to come see Briella for the 1st time since the afternoon after she was born!! If you remember from a post in August, he has a blood clot in each lung and an ankle to thigh clot in his leg that makes it very hard for him to walk for more than a couple minutes and needs to keep it elevated. So it was a big trip for Papa to ride all the way to the hospital and back.

Briella was a little firecracker today. Papa got to hear her cry a lot. Mommy got to hold Brie while Papa and Grandma were there. Then great grandma Beemie came and we were able to get a 4 generations picture! It was just missing Aubrey. Aubrey can no longer come to the hospital because its flu season and the NICU doesn't let anyone under 12 in.

After we left the hospital, Briella's nurse switched her feeding tube from her mouth to a smaller one in her nose. I can't wait to get back up to the hospital to see how she looks now!

Please continue to pray that Briella stays infection & NEC free and gains weight at a healthy pace.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 Weeks Old!

We had so many things happen today.
1st off, Briella is on the next size diaper! She is now 2 pounds 8 ounces (1134 grams.) Her stage 1 diaper was so shockingly small. (Pictured below)

Briella got to move to the next stage bed! She moved out of her giraffe bed and into a regular isolette. The next bed is a crib!

Today was such a rowdy day. It was the first day that I was able to hold Briella in 5 days. Soon after the nurse put Brie in my shirt, her oxygen level plummeted. Anytime this happens, Briella is 90% of the time able to come back up on her own without turning the oxygen up. And she usually only drops to the 70s. Well she was in the 40s and 50s for about 5 minutes. The nurse kept taking her off of me, trying to make her mad so she would start fussing and remember to breathe. Then the nurse would try to put her back down on my chest. Then pick her back up again an rub her. Nothing was working and I was starting to panic. Brie was turning colors. Finally the nurse realized that the oxygen wasn't plugged in!!!!!!! So Briella was left to breathe on her own and was struggling a lot. As soon as it was plugged in, her numbers went right back up. Then the nurse started her feed. She is up to 20ml. The nurse asked if I was comfortable and went to lunch. There are usually 3 or 4 nurses on a row so if there is an alarm while 1 nurse is at lunch the other one helps. Well not 5 minutes later Briella's oxygen levels drop big again and were not coming up. I checked and everything was connected right. 3 or 4 minutes went by until I could finally hear a nurse. So I shouted out to her. She came in and turned Briella's oxygen up. She apologized and said I shouldn't have had to be in the room worrying for that long. Another 5-10 minutes go by and Briella drops her numbers again. And her heart rate drops. This is what is called a Brady and I have referred to it before. Briella does have these usually several a day. But she comes right back up by herself or if someone tickles her back. This time, I was talking to her, tickling her, rubbing on her and it wasn't working. I hear someone running down the hall. A nurse I had never seen came in to up her oxygen. Then the NICU receptionist came running in. I was terrified and practically in tears. The amount of fear that they showed freaked-me-out. So we sat in peace for a couple minutes while I snapped some photos, sang her a couple songs and FINALLY managed to catch her lifting her head up off me on video.
In the begining of the video, she had already moved her head away from how it should be positioned, so I am moving it to where it should be.
To see the video you have to watch it from a desktop/laptop.

And then. Again. Another loud alarm sounds. This one is her feeding tube alarm. It says empty. Briella is supposed to have her feeding over the span of 1 hour. Mistakenly it was set to 30 minutes. So her poor tummy was so full and she kept what they call "vageling". Too much reflux touches a nerve and her heart rate and oxygen levels will drop. So poor Briella had all those spells from human error. I'm just glad that I was able to understand what was going on and figure it out to bring to their attention.

Please continue to pray that Briella stays infection & NEC free and pray that her nurses and doctors have the wisdom to care for her and make proper decisions.

Here is a picture of kangaroo care time and another of her diaper!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 41 NICU

We haven't been in to see our little pride and joy for 3 days!! With colds and allergies going around the house, we were too scared to bring any germs up to the hospital.

I cried for about half an hour after arriving to her room today. She is SO much bigger than the last time I saw her (Saturday!) She has gained half a pound since then!!! She's averages 40-50 grams gained a night now!! Her eyes are open so wide now! The CPAP was a wet mask that irritated her skin. She had red spots from the mask. Now since she's been off CPAP for several days, her face is perfect coloring and no irritation. She just looks, so beautiful!!!! To me, she looks less fragile. I'm not afraid of taking her home. I feel so excited to be able to dress her in clothes soon and to be able to actually hold her like a baby, not just chest on chest kangaroo care!! Exciting times coming!!!

Speaking of home, we have our Homeward Bound class the end of this month!!! WOW!!!!

Briella is completely on nasal cannula alone. She is doing so well on cannula that they are talking about weaning her oxygen level down next week!! Also her murmur has been silent for awhile now, so they will revisit un-restricting her fluids next week. That is huge because they won't have to add calories to her milk. What they do is add 2 parts high calorie formula to my 1 part breast milk. Next week we can (hopefully) reduce or eliminate formula so she is on 100% breast milk. That will reduce her chances for NEC greatly.

Briella will have a follow up brain ultrasound on Monday to monitor the white spots that were found last week.

On Wednesdays the hospital provides a free scrapbooking event. They provide all the pages, materials and pretties. It brought me so much joy to be able to sit near her room and just have a fun project to do and have someone to chat with. It was like free therapy. I was able to make 2 pretty pages today and hope to continue to make additional ones weekly. Maybe by the end of the stay I will have a whole book!

Please pray that Briella stays infection and NEC free and that her white spots in her brain disappear and she is healthy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Good Weekend

We are having more good days than bad days, thank goodness!!

Lil tiny princess is 1010 grams!!! Or 2.22 pounds! She looks SO big to us!! Each day I keep thinking she is going to lose the weight tonight, since for the last month she would gain weight one day & the next lose it. But she keeps proving me wrong! For the last 3 days straight she is gaining!

Briella's nurse the other day said that he was a rock star, a teeny tiny little thing showing up all the big guys. She has had a great weekend. Mommy got to hold her all day yesterday! It was so peaceful and just, great. The little girl did pull out her feeding tube DURING a feeding on me yesterday. But it just made for a funny memory.

Briella is still doing good on her nasal cannula. I have complete faith that she will be on it full time next week, instead of rotating between cannula and CPAP every six hours. When she's on CPAP, she's usually at 21%-25% oxygen. We breathe 21% oxygen. So that's great!

Friday the freezer at the NICU went out so all my (little amounts of) milk I had to rush home and clear out our freezer to save it! It's a huge deal because we are still trying to prevent NEC. It is very life threatening, and breast milk is the only way to decrease our chances of getting it.

This weather has me dreading this winter! I am not looking forward to the drives back and forth (40+miles) in slick icy roads. Hopefully it is a very mild winter like last year! Otherwise we might be using hotels near the hospital.

Edited Sunday night 9pm: Briella now weighs 1050 grams, 2lbs 5oz!!
Edited again at midnight: They are leaving her on the cannula (since noon) to see how she does. As of now she has been on it 12 hrs straight and has not tired out!!! So proud of my baby!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We Have a 2 Pound Baby!

Briella weighs 910 grams...or 2 pounds!! She is so incredibly physically strong! She is pushing herself on all fours. She squirmed up like 4 inches today! I have a video of her doing it and it looks like she is trying to crawl to reach her binkie.

Also, big news, today Briella was able to move her eyes to follow her nurse!! Her nurse moved to throw something in the trash can and she screamed "look she's tracking me!" That means Briella is at least not completely blind!! Also, today when I said something to her louder than I usually speak, she shook like she had been startled. So I believe she can hear also.

Today we were able to see the pictures of her ultrasound of the brain. These bright spots are actually white areas on both sides of the brain. It could mean 4 different things. 1 of those 4 are pretty dang scary. I was proud that I didn't completely lose it while talking about it. Brian was there with me so that helped. We are hoping for the best outcome which would be for the spots to go away. They aren't planning to do another ultrasound. Just the MRI before we go home.

Please please please continue to pray that Briella stays infection & NEC free and that the bright spots in her brain disappear.

Picture if Briella sleeping, holding her white binkie in with her forearm.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Weeks Young and 28 Weeks Old

Last week they tried to put Briella on nasal cannula but her tiny lungs weren't strong enough to breathe on her own, (CPAP sends air pressure to keep the lungs open.) They tried again today and it worked!! My little girl held her numbers just fine on just oxygen! She is on just regular oxygen. Well, they are rotating oxygen & CPAP every 6 hours this week to see how she does. Again, I was told that most babies her size poop out after a couple of days of having to do this on there own. I've heard this a lot now and lil missy has always showed them! I have posted pictures of her on her nasal cannula. This is a GREAT step not only for the medical reasons, but now she does not have an oversized mask on that blows wet air into eyes. She keeps them open for so much longer than we've ever seen!!! CPAP was so incredibly noisy that I couldn't hear well when other people spoke to me while holding her. Today I got to sit with her in complete silence. I just stared at her with her eyes open and she was so peaceful. Nothing loud, no head gear covering her ears and head, no wet mask on her nose. She kept her eyes open for probably 15 minutes. Which to us is huge. Before we have only had brief moments of them open, and were lucky if both were open at the same time! I kept telling her she had to shut her eyes and go to sleep so she can rest and grow! I also got to snuggle with her for the first time!! The FIRST time and she is 5 weeks old!! Since the CPAP was off I was able to gently put my cheek on the top of her head. I was able to kiss her head. Just to let you know, I am not able to "hold" my baby yet. The nurses take her out of her isolette and put her on my chest and in my shirt, then take her out when kangaroo time is over. So snuggle time was extra special.

I spoke with the doctor today to try and clarify yesterday's findings. She said that Cerebral Palsy is a brain injury that would fit in that category. She said that motor skills, fine motor skills like picking objects up, speech and intelligence are developed in the brain in the third trimester. Well we never made it to the third trimester. She says we don't know which one of those categories will be affected, or how many will be affected. We won't know before she comes home. We will find out as she gets older. We have to wait and see if she properly hits her milestones.
Since we were on the topic of going home I asked the doctor if she thought Briella was going to make it home. She said that Briella is at a really high risk still for infection and NEC (a stomach tissue killing disease). Both are life threatening and she said she considers those her biggest threats. But she said her odds are alot better than the day she was born. And its a good sign that she's off the vent. The Doctor said that Briella is defying the odds of a "23 Weeker!"
We have to be so very careful to spread any germs. If we even bring a small cold to the hospital, that is life threatening for my little girl. That is very scary being we have an older daughter in a very populated school. I worry that Aubrey is going to catch something from someone at school and we will pass it on. Just to show you how serious they take germs, if I touch ANYTHING, I have to "foam" my hands before touching her or her incubator. Even my cell phone (which I use as my camera.)

Briella is 1lb 15 oz and 14 & 1/4" long today.

Please pray that Briella stays infection free, continues to not have NEC and that her PDA closes on its own.

Picture 1 is the 1st time I had seen her in the sitting position & 1st time with nasal cannula.
Picture 2 is me snuggling with her
Picture 3 is when they first took CPAP off and did her massages. The tube in her mouth is her feeding tube. Notice the large amount of tape on her chin-that's because she pulls her tube out a lot!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Roller Coaster Ride

Well every nurse, doctor and preemie parent I have met has warned me of this "roller coaster" ride called NICU. Yesterday we had such a high, and today I hit such a low. After talking to the doctor today, she confirmed that the results from the ultrasound yesterday showed that all the blood is gone. But it also showed that there was an area of brightness on her brain tissue. I don't remember exactly how the doctor said it, it was pretty much a haze, I wanted to break down. Something about they will do a MRI before she goes home and will let us know what that means then. I asked what that meant and she said it could mean a brain injury and there was some talk about a cyst. After the dr left my mind was racing. I asked Briella's nurse what exactly a brain injury was, like is Cerebral Palsy a brain injury? She replied that I just need to wait until the MRI and they will explain more then. I have googled and googled an can't figure out what the bright spots on the ultrasound could mean. I think I will press for possible answers tomorrow. As always, Brian is calm and just says there is nothing to stress about, we'll just have to wait and see.

After the doctor told me about the bright areas, I asked how her murmur sounded. She said, with a regretful look, that it is not as soft as it was yesterday. But it did sound somewhat softer than last week.

Briella lost 10 grams and is 1lb 14oz. They are going to try this week to take her off CPAP and move her to nasal cannula (just a regular oxygen with no pressure help to keep her lungs open!)

I learned my lesson of getting my emotions so high. Hopefully I can wake up tomorrow with more strength and hope than I have tonight. The highlight of my day is being able to kangaroo with her. I usually get to hold her at least 2.5 hours a day.

Please enjoy the pictures below. My mom captured them during Briella's head massage she gets every 3 hrs. They remove all of the mask and massage so it doesn't irritate the skin so much. The picture with her eyes closed just makes me want to cuddle up with her and kiss her all night long.

Please continue to pray that her PDA closes, she gains weight, and is healthy and happy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Came Early For Us!!

Briella's heart PDA/murmur is sounding softer!! I am sooo happy I could scream. She had a new nurse last night & a new one this morning. Neither nurse even charted a murmur on her paperwork because they didn't hear one! I told the day nurse what the dr said about it sounding softer and she said she didn't even know she had one. I told her that for the last month everyone has said how loud it is when they listen to it. So it sounds like a huge improvement. Thank you God!

Briella is a whopping 1 pound 15 ounces! She looks so big to us! She has stayed the same weight the last 2 nights. Now that her murmur is closing they can up her dose of food quite a bit. They were restricting her liquids to try and prevent fluids in the lungs. Hopefully now she can start putting on the pounds :)

Briella had her 1 month head ultrasound today.....and..... Her brain bleed is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No evidence of blood in her brain at all!

I finally caught her smile on camera!!! I had to sit with the camera pointed towards a mirror & tell her story after story. The one that got her to smile was when I was telling her about the play area I was making for her & her Sissy. I told her that her sister can't wait to read her books.

Many prayers of thanksgiving from our house tonight!!!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Smile From Briella

Briella had went up to 850 grams and the next night back down to 760. Last night she was 800.
When I got to the hospital yesterday, I was telling Briella all about her birthday party her Papa had for her. I was telling her about her Minnie Mouse Cake and ice cream and she smiled! At first I figured she must be going the bathroom. Then she smiled two more times within 2 minutes!! I asked the nurse about it and she said that she was happy about something! I cannot wait to get a picture of her tiny mouth smiling!!! It was so amazing!! I have also been trying to get a video of Briella turning her head and lifting it off my chest during kangaroo care. It has happened several times now. Once my Mom was there & she started yelling "catch her!" Because if you hadn't known how little she was it would've looked like a baby getting ready to fall backwards! She can lift it so high! She's not supposed to be able to do that for a long time!!! The doctors say that Briella does not know she is a "23 weeker" as they call her. She is strong, and feisty. Feisty is a word they use to describe her all the time. I am so glad for her feistiness! She is not going to just lay around & get sick. She's a fighter!
I will try to do the "what I am thankful for each day."
Day 1: I am thankful for Surfactant. Without this drug my daughter would not have made it.
Day 2: I am thankful for the nurses that give her 24 hr care
Day 3: I am thankful for the power of prayer

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nov 1st- Briella's 4 Weeks Old

Briella is doing better after she had the blood transfusion. They said it was like if you were extremely anemic and just so tired and couldn't move. She was too tired to breath. Today she has had half as many apneas as yesterday.

She had her first eye exam today and it went well. She has no ROP. They will do another exam in a month. Apparently she was so mad at the exam she screamed so loud her nurse could hear her in another room. I've never heard her sound loud. She also pulled out her feeding tube since she was so riled up.

Tonight my Dad planned a birthday party for Briella. She is 4 weeks today! He got her a cake and birthday cake flavored ice cream. It was great to be able to celebrate how far she has come.
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