Sunday, November 29, 2009

After the Turkey!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We didn't do anything special but it was nice to just be together as a family. My parents came over for lunch. My mom made a great meal and it was nice to watch the parade and dog show (Ben loved them both!). Matt's family then came over for dinner. They brought over leftovers from his family's big lunch. We enjoyed playing some games and visiting. It was a great day.

The super cute turkey cookies Ben and I made out of Ben and Kate's hands.

We weren't really expecting Kate to be here for Thanksgiving but we did have a 1st Thanksgiving bib leftover from Ben. Isn't she cute in her little dress!

Friday was the big game!! We really weren't expecting it to be much of a game but it turned out to be great! We wished it would have ended differently but Auburn played their hearts out. We'll get them next year!

Kate snoozing through her first Auburn-Alabama game

Ben loves football so he loved cheering on Auburn!

Matt chilling with his kiddos!

Mommy and Kate. Kate had a super cute Auburn shirt, hat and booties. We didn't think she would get to wear them but she got to wear them for this game and will for the bowl game!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are very blessed this year and have so much to be thankful for! It is so wonderful to have our little girl home with us to celebrate Thanksgiving! Hoping you all have a wonderful day!!

(it only took 30 pictures until we got one that worked!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Outing!

We braved our first outing today as a family. Let me tell you it was a big one! We drove the 1/2 mile to the neighborhood park. It was just nice to get out of the house. It is a beautiful day so it was perfect park weather. Ben had a blast playing and Kate enjoyed a nice nap in her stroller! It was fun to be able to play with Ben after a couple of months of not being able to. We had fun climbing and sliding. Here are some pictures from our park outing.

Here are a few pictures I took last night that I thought turned out pretty well. I forget how hard it is to photograph a newborn let alone a 2 year old and a newborn!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Family of 4

Life is beginning to get back to normal for us. Well I guess you could call it our "new normal." We are adjusting to our new life as the Eckley family of 4. It is going surprisingly well. After everything that had gone on I didn't really have time to worry about how we were going to make it once we all got home. I guess that is a good thing. We are just doing it!! Here are some pictures and updates on our new life...

Miss Kate is doing great eating. This was her last bottle. Once we got home I was able to start nursing her and she did great. That was a huge answer to prayer that she didn't have any problems. She is eating every 3 hours or so. We went to our pediatrician today and he said she looked great. Her weight was 6 pounds 9 ounces which is up a little from the hospital so she is eating good. He pronounced her a healthy normal newborn at this point!!

She is a super calm baby. Maybe a stay in the NICU is good for babies. She is so much calmer than Ben ever was. Noise doesn't bother her and she is able to really quickly self sooth herself. She is sleeping pretty good. She wakes up every 3 hours to eat at night but then goes right back to sleep (so not what Ben did!!) She likes to look around at things and is taking it all in!
Ben is already an awesome big brother!!! Here he is meeting Kate for the first time. He was taking a nap when we brought her home so we just waited until he woke up and he came out and met her. He was a little shy at first and didn't want to get too close. I love the smile on his face in this picture.
In her short little life Kate was able to get Ben a present. He was so excited about his trains and DVD that of course he thought Kate was awesome! Ben went and made Kate a bear at Build-a-Bear. He had a blast getting to pick it out for her and making it. He of course got her a pink bear. It is almost as big as her.
Here is Ben trying to make Kate laugh!
He was so sweet wanting to stay with Kate yesterday during nap time. He wanted to sleep on the floor next to her.

It didn't take long for him to get over his shyness. Here he is holding her for the first time. He loves to hold her (for about 10 seconds). He also loves rubbing her head and squeezing her hand. He is such a great big brother!
We are adjusting really well. Trying to get back in the swing of life with a newborn. So far so good!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Huge Surprise!!!

We got a huge surprise on Saturday morning. We had been up at the hospital at 8 am and the nurse said Kate was doing great but she thought it would be a couple more days before she got to go home just because they were finishing up her phototherapy and had a few more tests to run. Matt and I split up. He went with Ben to wash the car and I went shopping with my mom. We got a call while we were out that they doctor thought Kate was ready to go home!!!! We needed to get back to the hospital to take care of everything so she could go home!! AHHHH!!! We were so excited but also very anxious about it all. We knew she was ready to come home but it was scary! She passed all of her final tests so we were heading out the door of the hospital around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. So hard to believe that 6 days after getting there we were finally all headed home!!! It was such a blessing and answer to prayer. They had told us that once she turned the corner and started to get better it would move fast but it really did. We know it was all God's working and doing!! Here are a few pictures from the homecoming...

Packed up and ready to go! It cracked us up that she rode down to the car on the carts they use to carry flowers.

A couple of proud and excited parents!

She snoozed the whole way home in the car!

Coming inside for the first time at her home!

We are so thankful to be home! I have lots more pictures of life since we got home and of Ben meeting his baby sister that I will get up tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holding Kate

I was having trouble getting the pictures on the last post so here they are...

Chilling like a Hollywood star!
No tubes!!!!!!
Little gloworm!

Here are those eyes!

Daddy holding her for the first time

1st feeding

Being tube fed (the RD mama had to put this picture in!)

Mama holding her for the first time!

Best Day Ever!

Holding your baby is one of those things that you just take for granted so many times. I just assumed that I would have this perfectly healthy baby that I got to hold and make over right after she was born. But as well all know that was not the plan. Yesterday we finally got our chance to hold sweet baby Kate!!!!! She had been doing really well yesterday morning and afternoon when we went and visited her. She pulled out her CPAP once again (and I am not going to tell you how much encouragement she had from us to do that) so the nurses decided to try her on room air. That was totally skipping a "step" of going on oxygen but she did great. Her stats stayed way up and she wasn't working to breathe at all. They also put a feeding tube down her yesterday morning and started tube feeding her and she was handling that great.

When we got to the hospital last night the nurse asked if we wanted to get her out of the crib and try holding her and feeding her a bottle. Did we????? That was a stupid question. Of course. It was so awesome to just be able to hold her and look at her and touch her. She did great having us hold her. Kept those sats up and didn't get too excited. I got to feed her a bottle which she loved. It was only 15 cc (1/2 oz.) but still it was something. We just took it all in and enjoyed every minute.

This morning when we got to the hospital she wasn't in her bed. She had been moved to the progressive nursery side!!!! That is a huge step. She was unhooked from everything except for her IV and monitors. It was so great to see her with no tubes! She is rocking along. They are increasing her feeds today and weaning down her IV. We have a few more tests over the next few days but hopefully we will be able to bring her home sooner than we thought. Her billirubin did decide to go up yesterday so she is on the lights but that is nothing. We are old pros at handling that.

Thank you all for your prayers. They have been answered in a mighty way!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Just a quick mid-day update. We went up to the hospital this morning and had a great time with Kate. When we got there she opened her eyes. It was the first time she had opened them since right after she was born. She was checking us out which was totally cool!! She is now on room air with her CPAP and doing great. She is breathing much slower. The doctors came by and were very impressed with her progress. We then got to watch her get her first feeding!! It was 10 cc that they gave her via a feeding tube but she seemed to do great with it!

72 Hours

When Kate first got to the NICU the nurses and doctors told us the first 72 hours would be really rough. During this time she would most likely continue to get worse. They were trying to prepare us which I totally appreciate. And they were right. She did continue to get worse but thankfully it looks like yesterday afternoon (even before the 72 hours was up) she started to turn the corner. Yesterday afternoon around 4 pm the extubated her from the ventilator!!!! YEA!!!! She went back onto CPAP. She made it through the transition great (not that she liked the CPAP but she did well on it - we caught her trying to pull it out again). And then all afternoon and evening they were able to continue to wean down the CPAP!!!! So very great news. We are still prepared for set backs and know it could happen but it is great to see some forward progress.

Yesterday was a really rough day emotionally for us because we had to leave the hospital. I was discharged around 10 in the morning. I continue to do great. Really a huge praise that I am doing so well physically. Some tears were shed at the thought of having to be so far away from Miss Kate but it is going to be ok. We had a very strange moment yesterday when we left the hospital it was just Matt and I. We were going to pick up Ben from school at 12:30 but we had about an hour to kill so what do the parents of 2 do when you have no children??? We went out to lunch. Very strange feeling to be sitting and eating by ourselves. Not really what I imagined leaving the hospital to be like but that is ok.
We are readjusting to life on the outside. It is a very hard position to be in. We are torn between wanting to just sit with Kate but also having other things we need to do and spending time with Ben. We are so grateful to have our parents helping us out so much with Ben. We would not have survived without them. We are trying hard to spend as much time with him as possible. He is dong pretty well. He seems to be more emotional the last few days. He gets upset when little things don't go his way. Pray that he continues to adjust well and that we can spend the time with him he needs. We have discovered very quickly that it takes only 18 minutes to get from our garage to the front door of the hospital. Not bad. We see other families in the NICU that live out of town and are really struggling to be with their babies so we feel blessed.
Overall things are going well. We thank you all for your prayers and great support. The emails, phone calls and visits are helping us make it through!!! We continue to pray that Kate improves quickly so we can get everyone home!!! On a good note they checked her billirubin yesterday and it was great. So no jaundice. That made us laugh because we struggled so much with that with Ben. It also made us laugh yesterday at all the nurses stopping by Kate's bed talking about how chubby she was. She is huge compared to most of the babies in there. Don't think about a 6 pound 14 ounce baby being chubby. We told Kate she was not chubby. We don't want her having body image issues : )!!

I keep forgetting my camera but I do have a couple of new pictures to share.
Not only is Kate the biggest baby in the NICU but she also has the most hair! So the nurses put a sweet bow in her hair yesterday. Doesn't she look great. I am not a bow person I thought but when it is the only thing your baby can wear it is the sweetest thing ever!
Ben and Mama hanging out. We have tried to do some fun things with him so we had a little birthday party for Kate. We had cupcakes and sang to her. We can't wait for him to meet her.
Mommy and Kate

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Update on Kate

Today has been another emotional roller coaster of a day. I am guessing that the next few weeks will be that way. Kate got put on the ventilator around 9 this morning. She was just struggling so hard to breathe so we knew it was what she needed. It was not an easy thing to think about. When I saw her for the first time on the vent it was really hard. The vent tube goes through the middle of her vocal cords so she is unable to cry or make any noise. It is hard to see her trying to cry but unable to. Since being on the vent she has done very well. It has allowed her to rest. Her respiratory rate is way down and she is not requiring as much oxygen. They also gave her a dose of surfactant which helps her lungs develop. She did great with that. Her weight today was 6 pounds 14 oz so she is holding steady which is awesome (as an RD I am a little obsessed with weight). So overall she is doing good now. We continue to pray that she will continue to remain stable so that she can begin to get better. We also continue to be so impressed with the NICU and the care that Kate is getting!!

After working in pediatrics for years it is a very different experience to be on this side of things. I do think both of working in a hospital has helped us to stay calm. The doctors and nurses have been great to explain things to us in medical terms and really make sure we know what is going on. I now wish I had paid more attention to vent settings when I was working with vent patients.

As far as mama I am doing good. I feel great. My recovery has been super easy and quick. It is so much easier than last time. I will be going home tomorrow so we will readjust our schedule to make it work once we go home.

Ben is doing great through all of this. He has not gotten to meet Kate so we are very eager to bring him home to her. I think one of the hardest things for me has been giving up on my perfect idea of how this experience was "supposed to be." I had all these great plans of having Ben and Kate meeting for the first time right after she was born. But I am learning truly what it means to leave it all in God's hands.

We really appreciate all the emails and messages we are getting from everyone. We have enjoyed visits today from friends and family. We feel so loved!!

I will update more later but for now here are some pictures...

Here she is on the vent. Everyone is saying she looks just like Ben did as a baby and I have to agree!
Sweet baby feet. Even though they have been poked and prodded all day they are still sweet. I had forgotten how tiny her little toenails were going to be.
The sweet sign over her bed

Here she is trying to suck on her fingers.

Daddy's little girl. Yesterday Matt wrote the sweetest thing in an email to a friend - "It's certainly trying not being able to hold her like we anticipated right now, but we have entrusted our Heavenly Father to wrap her in His loving arms until we can."

Smack Down!

One of Ben's favorite "games" to play right now is smack down. This is where he pretends to punch you like you are boxing and then you fall down. Well he now has a new friend to play with. Miss Kate is a fighter!! Matt and I finally got some sleep last night (I had been up for almost 48 hours straight). I woke up at about 4 this morning so I made it down to the nursery for "cares." Gretchen, Kate's nurse, told me that Kate had pulled out her CPAP 2 times during the night. While I was there she was flailing about trying to "punch" Gretchen as she was changing out her tape. It was cracking me up. It was making Kate very upset and her stats were falling. She was even holding her breath when she got mad. It makes me very nervous for when she is 2 years old (and a teenager). She is going to be strong willed! They were trying to decide what they were going to do with her because she was fighting the CPAP so hard. Fighting is a good sign that she is feeling better. It was also cool because I was able to give her a paci for the first time and she loved it! So she is doing pretty well this morning. Pray they can figure out the best way to keep her comfortable today. I will try to take some more pictures today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kate's Here!!!

We got a huge surprise yesterday!!! Miss Kate decided to make her arrival 3 weeks early. I started having contractions Sunday morning around 3:15. They were about 5 minutes apart so we weren't sure what to do so we just went on to church. The contractions started getting closer together so we decided it was time to head to the hospital. It was a long complicated labor but Miss Kate made her arrival at 2:16 am!! (Yep, that was 23 hours in labor if anyone is counting.) She weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and was 19 inches long. She was beautiful!!! She has a head full of dark black hair.

Right away she was struggling to breathe. They called the NICU nurses to come check her out and they thought she needed to go to the NICU. She has continued to struggle to breathe all day today. The started her on an oxygen hood but that wasn't working so she is now on CPAP. They have told us to expect her to be on the ventilator sometime soon. She is just having to work so hard to breathe. They are not sure why at this point. They think her lungs were not fully developed for some reason. Needless to say it has been a long and stressful day (well 2 days actually). The NICU is wonderful and so are the nurses! We are so grateful for the wonderful care she is getting. It is a very scary time for us but we are trusting in God's bigger plan. At this point we don't know what the immediate future holds. They have told us to expect her to be in the hospital for up to 2 weeks but that this should not be a long term problem at all. We sure do appreciate all of your prayers!!

Here she is!!! Well, she doesn't look so good in this picture but this was the 30 seconds that I have gotten to hold her. She looks so much like Ben did as a baby!

This was her this morning on the oxygen hood. Just hanging out with so many wires.

We can see her just about any time we want to and they let us take part in as much of the care as we can. Here is Matt changing her diaper this afternoon.

Here she is hanging out on the CPAP tonight. She has been stable for the last 2 hours so that is great news! We hope to get some sleep tonight! I will try to update again tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Couple More Thoughts and a Ben Funny

So I had a couple more pregnancy thoughts after I got done with my post yesterday and I just had to share! Feeling the baby move inside of you is just weird. Once again some people say they love it but I think it is strange to feel something moving inside you. It is not natural!! And if one more person asks me if we are having any more kids I am going to scream! Why do people feel it is any of their business to ask those kinds of questions? And most of the time they are total strangers or casual acquaintances (probably because my friends know I would yell at them if they asked me that right now!) They ask "When are you due? Are you guys going to have more?" I want to tell them I have no idea. We don't know what it is like to have more than 1 kid so I don't know if we will have any more. Right now we are very happy with things the way they are. Really people respect the privacy!!!

Ok I will stop rambling about pregnancy!! Now for a happy Ben funny. The other day I asked Ben what he thought Kate was going to eat when she got here. He thought for a couple of seconds. And then said without hesitation - "goldfish." I can just see it now. He is going to feed my 1 week old goldfish!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on Pregnancy

So I am now 37 weeks pregnant and very ready to have this baby. I was hoping to have a great report from the doctor to share with you this week but my doctor was out of the office delivering a baby so I didn't get to see him. I have to wait until next week. I did learn I have severe anemia. I am a horrible patient because I had the beginnings of anemia back in July and they put me on iron pills but I didn't take them. So now I have a Hbg of 9 which is transfusion level. So be praying that I don't have to have a blood transfusion when Kate is born. All I am eating for the next 2 weeks is steak.

I thought I would share some of my thoughts on pregnancy since it is coming to an end. Let me start by saying I do feel that babies are a blessing so I am not complaining about that. And Ben is the most wonderful thing ever so I would do this again and again if they could all be like him. But I just do not enjoy being pregnant!! These women who say they love being pregnant and they never feel better than when they are pregnant are crazy!! I looked up the symptoms of pregnancy and I think I have every single one. Really it doesn't get much worse. And this time around was even worse than with Ben (I have heard girls just make your life miserable and I am seeing it!). I mean I threw up daily for 24 weeks. Now I have horrible heartburn and sleep about 3-4 hours at night. And I am just tired all the time. None of that pregnancy glow for me! I hope Kate appreciates what I did to get her here!! Just my random rumblings for a few minutes! I should probably follow this up with a picture of my pregnant but I don't take those because it is not a time I want to remember.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nap Time

I went in to wake Ben up from his nap a few minutes ago and this is how I found him:
Sound asleep in his chair. And yes that is his diaper lying beside him. The only time he wears a diaper is when he is sleeping so I guess he doesn't like it.