NICU Life: Week 5 & 6

Day 29 * Thursday, November 6, 2014

Today Marjorie received her first of many eye exams. I was thankful I was not there to witness what Nurse Lisa describes as “Not fun.” Premature babies are born with immature retinas, which puts them at risk of developing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).

The pediatric ophthalmologist came and spoke to me when I arrived. He explained that it was too early to diagnose a stage of ROP (Stage 1 being the best, 5 means total retina detachment). Therefore, she is Stage 0 and Zone 2. The zones signify how far out her nerve endings have grown from the retina; Zone 5 is the best.

They will return next Thursday and recheck her. Our hope is that she will remain low in the stages and high in the zones, meaning her nerves will continue to grow outward (and in the right direction). If they end up growing the wrong way there are measure we can take to hopefully correct it. But for now, we focus on her resting and pray her eyes develop with minimal issues.

The very exciting news of the day is that Marjorie and Manning have a baby cousin! My sister gave birth to her first child in Bangkok, Thailand last night. I can’t say if it is a boy or girl because I’ve stolen enough of her baby thunder in the last month I don’t want to steal the big reveal too! All I can say is that I am one PROUD aunt of a gorgeous and healthy child.

Of course I would not be being honest if I didn’t say that my sister’s final days of pregnancy and birthing experience did not make my heart ache. Seeing the pictures of her precious newborn did not hurt though – I was too busy beaming with pride at 5am to feel sad. It was the pictures of her bags packed and big round belly and the excited texts from family with their pictures of champagne ready to go for when the baby was born. This all happened yesterday morning on my drive to Jacksonville.

I received the first of many family texts yesterday as I drove over the causeway to Brunswick. My breath was knocked from me as I had to pull over into a grocery parking lot. The tidal wave of emotions came pouring out. I could not breath or speak through sobs of tears.

I felt so confused. I was so happy for my sister, but I could not stop the tears. I wanted to be the one with a big belly, bags packed and my family squealing with excitement. I wanted that for Marjorie. I wanted the picture of Manning meeting his little sister in the hospital with me glowing in the bed and Jordan standing over us all.

I had to pull over three times yesterday on the drive to Jacksonville. At one point, I thought I was going to throw up it was so bad. I called Mary (my therapist), but knew the chances of catching her between clients was slim to none. I even called my former therapist. I needed support beyond the “She’s getting stronger every day” and “Focus on the positives.” I focus on the positives every day and love Marjorie more than life. But in that moment I needed the guidance of someone who would say, “Yes, this does sucks and it is okay to fall apart.” I know in my head it is okay to feel angry, but I needed someone to remind my heart of that.

I finally got a quick chat with Mary today on my drive in. Her voice of comfort, support and validation was just what my heart needed. She did not fix anything or give me a therapy tool to make the pain go away. She sat with me in the pain and reminded me to take care of myself and that it was so understandable (and okay) to be feeling the way I was – the way I am.

I parked the car and walked to Marjorie breathing a little easier. As I arrived at the NICU, I received ten more pictures of my sister and her baby. Seeing them made my heart soar, not sink. I walked to Marjorie and found her snug as a bug and my heart soared a little more. One day my Marjorie will have those chubby cheeks that her cousin has. And one day Marjorie will brag that she is older than her cousin.

For years, I have teased my sister for always stealing my thunder.I always felt I lived in her shadow and the only thing I ever won growing up was the 1991 Disney World costume contest (true story). My mom and I laughed through tears in the hospital thinking about how I stole Jessica’s pregnancy thunder (of course, giving anything to not steal it!). So today when I saw my Marjorie I couldn’t help but crack up. She is hardly a month old and has already stolen her cousin’s birth thunder. And she stole it in a BIG way when she came kicking into this world on October 8, 2014. Marjorie: 1, Baby Cousin: 0. Catch up ‘Lentil’…we love you so much! I can’t wait to spoil you rotten!


Day 30! * Friday, November 7, 2014

Marjorie learned the art of accessorizing today. I figured if she can’t wear clothes, then we have to put on some stellar accessories. Her boot got a sequin makeover and her headband grew a big pink flower. What is the saying? The bigger the flower, the closer to God. 😉

My little flower had a pretty good day. Unfortunately, she lost weight the last two nights. When I left today her doctor still had not come by, but hopefully they will up her feeds or add calories so we can get back to putting on the pounds.

Tomorrow Marjorie turns one month old. Crazy to think that we’ve been in our ‘new normal’ for a month now. My twice daily drives to Jacksonville have become routine. Some drives are better than others, but for the most part it goes by quickly because I’ve driven it so many times.I have a million people to call back, but have trouble picking up the phone. My energy is so drained and the quiet is nice. I rely on my iPod and Pandora to keep me company on the drive.

I love music. I could drive and listen to my iPod for hours. Music speaks to me. It soothes me. Music has always been a big part of my life. I played piano for 12-years and guitar too. My passion for music is something I hope to pass on to my children.

On today’s drive I found myself singing to one of my favorite Avett Brothers tunes. I also love to sing. I am no Whitney Houston, but can carry a tune. This afternoon I stopped myself mid-solo. I suddenly remembered that I was alone. My heart sunk. When I was pregnant, I loved singing to Marjorie. I would sing and talk to her on car rides. She was always with me and always listening. I felt so empty today not having her with me.

But I cannot dwell too long on the sadness. One day Marjorie will back in the car with me. In a few years we will be singing together…and sharing accessories ❤

 

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Day 31! * Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happy ONE MONTH birthday to our precious Marjorie!!!

We celebrated big in the NICU today with a bath and breaking the no clothes rule (just for a minute).

Since Marjorie now weighs over 1300 grams, (she hit 1305 last night, back up to 2lbs 14oz!) she gets baths on Wednesday and Saturday. I was elated at the chance to give her a “bath” – it’s more like a washcloth rub down, but hey, I’ll take it!

After she was squeaky clean, I lotioned her up and dressed her in her birthday dress. I snapped a few quick pics while her incubator “lid” was still up. She was alert for the bath and birthday party, but quickly fell back asleep. It’s hard being a birthday girl.

Since it was bath day, I did not get to hold her. That would be too much stress for her. It makes me sad I can’t bathe and hold my baby anytime I want, but I will take the time and touches I have with her.

My Marjorie has grown so much and I am so proud of my little fighter. I can’t imagine our world without her. In her short month, she has had made an impact on so many. She continues to prove that thought she be but little she is fierce. Ready or not world, Marjorie is growing and coming at you!

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Day 32 * Sunday, November 9, 2014

Today I made the hard decision to stay home, to not make the three hour round trip to Jacksonville. I knew I needed to rest. I was so tired driving home yesterday and I wanted a day to be lazy with Manning and Jordan. It feels selfish, but I know staying home today is good for me. In my head I know a healthier me means a better momma to both of my babies (or all of my babies if you include my husband and furry babies).

We all wadded up on the couch this morning, played in the bouncy house and snacked on goldfish and cookies all day. It has been a wonderful day. After Manning went down for a nap, I found myself relishing in the whir of my washing machine and NFL football cheers coming from the TV. Everything seemed so…dare I say it…normal.

I took advantage of my resting boys to satisfy my nesting need. Nurse Lisa and Mary stressed how important it is for me to ‘nest’ and get Marjorie’s nursery ready now because she will be home before I know it. I sorted through old baby things, reorganized the attic (because that is nesting) and washed her hospital blankets and hats. It feels so wonderful to do things for her because right now there is so little I can do. I love every tiny load of blankets and socks I do for Marjorie.

Marjorie’s nesting also comes with the unique task of organizing insurance and hospital bills. I wandered back to my desk to tackle that chore and put away the interesting Thai treats. But for some reason the bills lay stacked next to me because Facebook seemed like such a better way to spend my time. Even though I am on Facebook a lot (a whole lot), I had not found time to read through the hundreds of messages I received after I was admitted to the hospital and Marjorie was born. Message after message, friends and even strangers sent prayers, support and stories of other NICU miracle babies. My eyes overwhelmed with tears reading through the touching messages. The world is filled with such loving and caring people and I am so blessed to know many by name.

I responded to a few before getting sidetracked again (yes, I am easily distracted: SQUIRREL). Once more I was staring at pictures of my beautiful baby girl, missing her like crazy and trying to push away the inevitable feelings of guilt for not being with her today. Then my pictures were suddenly of life before her birth, before I ruptured. A time when life was my son and husband, Southern Smash and complaining of pregnancy aches. It seemed like a lifetime ago. That is no longer normal for me. This life is. My daughter and her needs are my new normal and I am slowly making peace with that.

So as for our Marjorie…guess who is THREE POUNDS?! She had an amazing day and pushed the scales right passed the three pound mark. We are certainly on our way! It is almost as if she knows her momma needed to hear such amazing news. My heart is soaring.

Little by little, gram by gram we are getting closer to home. I go to bed tonight feeling rested and rejuvenated. I spent the evening with our Island family and I feel so content and grateful. Thank you all for the prayers. Sending everyone love and good wishes for a week ahead.


Day 33 * Monday, November 10, 2014

Marjorie had a fantastic night and day today. I even got to snuggle with her for over two hours. She was so alert this afternoon when I changed her diaper and did our daily photo shoot. To have my baby girl open her eyes and turn her head towards me makes my heart melt. Newborns sleep a lot, but preemies sleep A WHOLE LOT so it is such a treat when she is awake and alert…and calm (no heart rate jumps or oxygen dips). She looks up at me with those precious eyes and everything just seems right in the world.

Today was the first day I can remember being truly happy and energetic. I bounced into the NICU and left with that same pep in my step. It felt so good to feel somewhat back to myself. I have always been a person with lots of positive energy and as you can imagine, the last month and a half has drained me. I’m now regaining energy and finding balance and ways to recharge my batters (like spending a lazy Sunday with my boys).

Part of the reason my pep is back is because it’s girls night! I am ECSTATIC to say I am going out with the girls! My island besties and mommas are taking me out to dinner and I am thrilled to have a night out of the house with good food, wine and laughs. There’s nothing like a good girls night – it’s just good for the soul.

As I enjoy this time getting ready, curling my hair and putting on make up, I can’t help but think of a valuable lesson I learned from someone who played a huge role in my recovery journey. I was in treatment and having a particularly good day, which was rare given my situation. My therapist, Christy, told me a story of when she first starting working at the Carolina House. She said she left with such gratitude and peace knowing she was working her dream job. Rather than fear what might be to come, she relished in the present moment, soaking in all that was positive. Her advice to me that day was to journal about the joy I felt. We so often journal and dwell on the negative, she said to write down the positive so I would always have it to go back and look on for motivation.

I have carried that story with me because I think it is something valuable for all us to remember. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but on those days when it seems like everything is right in the world we must soak in the goodness. So today, I soaked in every drop of goodness. And tonight I will be soaking in every belly laugh and sip of wine. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring for my family and me. So for now, I will stay mindful of the peace and happiness in my soul and say a prayer of gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for.

Goodnight…and CHEERS!

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Day 34 * Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy to report both Marjorie and her momma had a successful night. Our baby girl gained another 40-ounces, which puts her at 3-pounds 1-ounce! And I gained a little headache from a much needed night out with the girls. I’m not sure if the headache was from the wine or from laughing so hard. It was the best therapy.

Both Marjorie and I also had the added treat of having daddy come along for today’s visit. It had been a week since Jordan saw her and it was amazed by how big she looked. His face was pressed so close to her incubator I’m pretty sure the nurse will have to windex it off tonight.

Jordan jumped at the chance to change her diaper and had already declared he was going to hold her on our drive in. Marjorie loved her cuddle time with daddy. She slept so hard and was so snuggled inside of his sweater.

I teared up watching him today. It hurts seeing a father have to watch his daughter through plexiglass and only see her a few times a week. She should be home cuddling with him every day. Jordan has been the best husband throughout all of this. He is always so positive and has been a rockstar dad to Manning, which he always is.

We drove home this afternoon under an extraordinary sunset. We talked and laughed the whole way home, mainly talking about the day we get to bring our baby girl home. I feel like we are getting close since I’ve started pulling down baby things and getting her nursery ready. Today I got giddy looking at a mamaroo swing to order for her. Manning’s swing is in Baton Rouge and she is way too small for it. I’ve seen other NICU babies using the mamaroo so I am excited to get one for Marjorie.

Knowing that she will soon be big enough to be out of her incubator and in a swing makes her homecoming feel real. We still have a road ahead, but she is getting stronger and bigger every day. Before we know it she will be in the backseat, driving home with us under the glorious Georgia sunset.

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Day 35 * Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Marjorie had another great day, but her momma struggled a bit.

She is up to 1415 grams, 3-pounds 2-ounces. Nurse Lisa thinks she will be wearing clothes (1500-grams) by this weekend.

Today was bath day, which is quickly becoming my favorite two days of the week. For just those few precious minutes, I feel like a normal mom. The lid to her isolette comes up and I get to truly be with my daughter. And even as I have to fight through the wires to do it, I don’t care. I am finally with my child the way I should be. I get to touch her skin and cradle her tiny body in my hand. I softly pat and dry her and smooth lotion over her precious skin. Her leads come off her chest as we change them for new leads and for one glorious minute I get to admire my beautiful miracle without the wires and tubes.

After her day at the spa, Nurse Lisa changed out her bed and I got to do something for the first time: hold her standing up. My heart skipped a beat as I picked her up in her pink swaddle. I had to fight my motherly reaction to rock Marjorie back and forth. Preemies nervous systems are not developed and you have to be careful with how you touch and hold them.  I smiled and said to Lisa, “This is the first time I’ve held her standing up.” Of course Lisa’s reaction was, “Where’s your camera.” Gosh I love Lisa – she reads my mind.

When I placed her back in her fresh new isolette and closed her up, my heart sunk. I wanted more time with her. Those minutes were not enough. I wanted to scoop her up again and hold her close to my chest. I wanted to not have to press my face against glass to admire my child. I want her home.

This evening as I did her daily tiny load of laundry, I pressed my face into her blankets. I wanted to smell her smell. It is all I have of her at home and I want more.

Marjorie is doing so well, and yes, I am so thankful for that, but some days I leave her devastated and angry. I just want to scream out and cry (which I may or may not have done in the car). Today is one of those days where I need a whiffle ball bat, a pillow and a sound proof room.

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Day 36 * Thursday, November 13, 2014

What a day! Much to Marjorie’s dismay, it was eye exam day. (Insert evil music). It is not a fun exam, not even the nurses like to see it, but it is a necessary part of our journey. As I explained last week, the pediatric ophthalmologist is looking for the progression of her eye development and ROP.

Last week she was Stage 0, Zone 2. This week she remained the same – Stage 0, Zone 2! That is AWESOME! They will not examine her again for two weeks, which Marjorie appreciated. Nurse Lisa (our beloved and extraordinary primary nurse) was on today and said Stage 0 and Zone 2 is practically unheard of for a baby her size. Of course I then reminded Lisa that Marjorie is gifted 😉

But like all things in the NICU world, we aren’t ‘out of the woods’. Although, are we ever as parents? Marjorie will continue having eye exams for some time to come to ensure proper development. It is just part of the preemie world and we are thankful for the good news so far.

Lisa said Marjorie screamed her head off the entire exam. Now most of us don’t want to hear our babies cry, but in this case, cry on Marjorie! Since she was screaming she was not going to Brady – and it just shows what strong lungs she has and of course what a fighter she is, but I think we all already knew that.

Now for the really exciting part of my day as a momma…Many of you probably already saw the video because I couldn’t wait a second to share it.

I typically pump twice a day while I’m with Marjorie. After this morning’s pump, I placed my bottles, marked with their appropriate hospital labels, next to Lisa’s computer. I then spied Marjorie’s paci in her bed. I turned to Lisa to ask if I could dip her paci in the breast milk to see if she would start sucking and taking her paci.

Bottle feeding is quickly approaching. We are hoping within the next two weeks. It is something I am absolutely anxious for, especially trying to nurse. When Lisa excitedly told me I could dip the paci, I wasted no time.

The result was nothing short of spectacular. Marjorie was slow at first and then started to lick her sweet little lips and even suck at the paci. Her eyes were dilated from the eye exam, but you can see her trying so hard to open them.

Moments like today, make all the sadness and grief of this journey disappear if only for a short period. Because for one quiet moment in time, I am just a mom feeding her baby girl.

 

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Day 37 * Friday, November 14, 2014

I’m late to the computer tonight because I was busy enjoying some time with my family. Manning, Jordan and I had a Disney dance party and tickle session. I will never get tired of hearing his belly laugh.

After our party ended, I finally got to ‘meet’ my precious niece, Amelie Elizabeth. And by meet I mean Skype since she is in Bangkok, Thailand. The time difference is twelve hours so as I am sipping on a glass of wine my sister and mom are drinking their coffee.

Seeing Amelie made my heart both burst and break. I am SO happy for my sister. Truth be told, Jessica was never a baby person, she was downright awkward with kids. But seeing her rock her baby girl tonight just seemed so natural. You can’t help but smile when you see a new momma with their baby.

Then of course my heart broke because I want to have my girl chubby cheeked and in my arms. And I know I will soon. Just not tonight and in this moment I am at peace with that. I might have an anger rage later, but tonight I feel content because I know Marjorie is right where she needs to be.

It was a wonderful day with Marjorie. Dare I say it was uneventful! Besides a few dirty diapers (yay!), she sailed through the day. We both enjoyed a long snuggle time and even more paci practice.

I just hung up the phone with our favorite night nurse, Becky. She is sent from above because I am pretty sure she loves Marjorie as much as I do. She squealed with excitement to tell me Marjorie gained another 30-grams, which puts her over the 3lb 4oz mark! Only 20-grams to go until we are dressing our baby girl.

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Day 38 * Saturday, November 15, 2014

Today I stayed home to spend the day with Manning since Jordan worked all day. As much as I love spending the day with my precious son, I missed my Marjorie. Taking a day ‘off’ from the NICU tears me up, but I know it is beneficial in the long run.

Manning and I spent a lazy morning making biscuits, playing blocks and trucks and watching Micky Mouse (or ‘Nicky Nouse’ according to him). I did my best to stay present and fully attentive to him, but it was hard. How can I be in one place when my heart is split in two?

The heartache grew as the afternoon wore on and tonight I found myself in her nursery. I walk in there multiple times a day, wanting to ‘nest’ and prepare for her homecoming, but feel so lost. I want it to be perfect for my girl. I also don’t have the room or permission to do what I would want since we are in a rental house.

Tonight, as I shuffled into her room, I decided to do something. I threw aside my perfectionistic tendencies to decorate perfectly and just went for it. I picked up a hammer and hung gifts from two friends who mean so very much to me. One is a painting from my lifelong best friend who happens to be an insanely talented artist. The other two are from my newest best friend, my Island bestie. We’ve only known each other a few months, but she knows me well and can keep up with my smart mouth. She gave Marjorie a cross and a beautiful wood painting with a quote from a classic gospel song, “Just a closer walk with thee”.

I stepped back to admire the wall and spied another precious gift from a best friend. One of my college sorority sisters sent me a beautiful monogramed pillow with Marjorie’s initials and birth date. I cried when I opened the gift because it was the first thing I had received with her birthday on it. Her birth was so chaotic and scary it has yet to be truly celebrated. But stitched in this pillow is a day I will never forget – and not because it was traumatic, but because it was the day my beautiful Miraculous Marjorie kicked her way into this world.

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Day 39 * Sunday, November 16, 2014

It was a big, no wait HUGE day for our Marjorie Mims! She hit the 1500 gram mark so we all know what that means…
DRESS UP!
Jordan came along today and I was ecstatic he was there for her big day.
Before we dressed our angel, it was spa time. Daddy helped with bath time and enjoyed seeing his baby girl so alert. She looked up at him and listened to him tell her she was grounded until she is 18. Silly daddy. Doesn’t he know she already rules the house and his heart?
It was a day to remember with our baby girl…

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Day 40 * Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy National PREEMIE Day! This is certainly a day I never thought would apply to me personally, but I truly feel blessed to say that now it does. You are baptized by fire when you become the mom of a preemie, quickly learning the lingo, diagnosis and the beeps. Sweet Jesus, the beeps and alarms.

Your world suddenly turns into a dichotomy of feelings. Your precious child has just been born and yet it is the scariest day of your life. You want to celebrate, but you can’t stop crying. You feel lucky she is alive, but so damn angry she has to fight so hard for her life. You are happy the baby next to you is going home, but so jealous it isn’t you. You are so grateful the breast pump was invented and you are able to give your baby milk to help hergrow and yet, all you want to do is throw the damn thing out the window.

But the one thing that does not have dueling emotions is the love you have for your precious child and the appreciation you have for the staff that so lovingly cared for you and your miracle. My eyes immediately well with tears when I think of the gratitude in my heart for the incredible doctors, nurses and staff that cared for me during my stay at Baptist and now for my Miraculous Marjorie at the Wolfson NICU.

From the first minute I entered the Baptist Hospital, I felt comforted and in such loving and competent care. Being on hospital bed rest was the scariest 10 days of my life. I was afraid to get up, afraid to breathe. But leave it to my extraordinary nurses who took my worry away. Sweet nurse Amy (someone I adore and am proud to call a friend now) repeatedly would tell me, ‘I will own your worry. You need not worry until I tell you to.’ It was that trust that carried me through. Sam, Amy, Christi, Angie, Chrystal…there are too many names to count.

And then there is the amazing Dr. Erika Glas, it was by chance I got her. She was on call the night I ruptured and arrived via ambulance at Baptist. Her calm demeanor and sincerity gave me peace in what was the most frightening time of my life, which was the day Marjorie was born.

I will never forget being wheeled into the sterile OR room. I was literally shaking with fear and uncontrollably sobbing. I did not know a soul in the ER. These weren’t the nurses I knew from the third floor. A masked nurse held my hand as I laid on my side to receive the epidural. However, I felt so alone in the room where I was living out my worst nightmare.

Then I saw familiar eyes. Underneath a scrub cap and mask was sweet Dr. Glas. She moved the nurse aside and took the position of holding my hand and told me it was going to be okay. She did not have to do that. In fact, most doctors arrive in the OR when the patient is ‘prepped and ready’. Dr. Glas treated me like a person and not a patient that day and I am forever grateful.

Next on the list of gratitude is the world I live in now: the NICU world. It is one amazing world. I didn’t get to see Marjorie until the day after she was born. And on that day I also got to meet Marjorie’s earth angel: Nurse Lisa, a main character in our story. Where would we be without Lisa? She has loved and cared for our Marjorie since Day 1 as if she was her own. But Marjorie is hers because I consider Lisa family. Just like I do Becky and Mary, our other primary nurses – and all the nurses in the NICU. They love Marjorie and me as family. It is so hard to leave your baby every day, but having angels like them make it a bit easier on my aching heart.

There are countless doctors, nurses and staff to thank. I rack my brain every day for something to give to them. How do you repay the people that helped save your daughter’s life? I’m lucky to have the answer from my previous life experience: pay it forward. Once again I don’t know how, but God will unfold it to me. That I know for sure. And no, I do not plan to start another non-profit. I plan to go back to smashing scales and advocating for positive body image, but until then my job is my Marjorie.

No one every plans to be a NICU mom or have a preemie, just like no one plans to have an eating disorder. These are just some of the cards we are dealt in life. And in these dark times, we find beautiful moments and meet some outstanding human beings. This is what makes life so amazing. I feel so incredibly lucky to be a NICU mom because of the people listed above.

So on this special awareness day, I send up a big prayer for NICU babies and moms around the world. Just like a fellow NICU mom commented today, “We NICU moms have got to stick together.” Miraculous Marjorie has taught me and all of you so much. Every day is a new adventure and a new day to be thankful for. We take progress and set backs in stride and live in the moment…all the while with a massively grateful heart for all of our angels on earth.

Thank you Baptist and Wolfson and all those who care for our precious preemies ❤

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And of course today’s photo shoot…

 

 

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Day 42 * Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bottles up people! Today Marjorie decided it was time to give bottle feeding a shot. She nailed it. Out of her 32mL feeding, she was able to take a whole 7mL by bottle. That’s awesome! Even daddy came down to see our miracles big day.

Marjorie is 33-weeks and bottle feeding usually happens around 34-weeks, but my children are gifted. Clearly. They are just advanced at life in general and Marjorie is certainly no exception 😉 Another reason she got the order to bottle feed once a day from Dr. Cortez may be because she is doing well on her oxygen and has been giving us little feeding cues. I like to think it is just because she is advanced. Potato, Pohtahto.

Now she will continue to try bottle feedings once a day. They give her thirty minutes to eat what she can and the rest is through her feeding tube. Today she tuckered out long before the thirty minutes, but that is okay she did awesome.

I stayed later than usual today because I just couldn’t get enough time with my sweet girl. I still hate leaving, but my heart isn’t as heavy as it once was. The light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. I see it in Marjorie’s eyes.

As difficult as these few months have been (and I know we will still have days ahead), it days like today that make it all worth it. Seeing Marjorie achieve these incredible milestones takes my breath away. I am so proud of my little girl it hurts.

What a miraculous day! Bottles up to Marjorie! Cheers!

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