Sunday, March 28, 2010


Steven here...

I know, I know...I'm a terrible blogger. But, in my defense, it's been a little crazy and hectic.

Last Tuesday, Jamie decided it was time for me to go back to work; at least temporarily. She says it was because she wants me to save up some days off for when Miss Elliot comes home; I know better though...she just wants to hog that little bundle of joy all to herself!!! Or she's sick of seeing me 24/7!!! ;-) For those in Rio Linda (as the great El Rushbo says), I write that dripping in sarcasm; in fact, your monitor could probably use a wiping down. :-)

As the week progressed, Ellie kept making baby steps progress towards going home. Overnight Thursday night, Ellie got moved from her radiant heater bed to a "big girl" bed. In doing so, they moved us to a corner area with far more privacy and room to sit, feed, etc. She likes this new little home and is regulating her temperature well. In fact, they've had to quit swaddling her in 2 blankets due to an internal furnance apparently inherited from me. As you may know, I'd wear shorts in Antarctica if the wind wasn't blowing!

Friday saw me work the afternoon from the hospital as Jamie had a bit of a rough morning. Dr. Tolentino hadn't heard Ellie's murmur in several days but heard it Friday morning while making rounds. He noted that this was possibly due to the amount of fluid (Lipids and TPN) being "fed" through the PICC line. As you will recall, the PICC line starts at her left forearm, runs up a vein and outlets in her chest near her heart and lungs. Given the "outlet" location, the fluid being put in her body could be (was?) putting excess pressure on her heart and lungs.

Late Friday evening, Elliot received a single dose of lasix to get the exess TPN and Lipid fluid out of her system. BOY DID IT WORK. I have never seen a diaper so loaded! In fact, she soaked through her two swaddling blankets AND both her folded-in-fourths blankets that she was laying on. Suffice it to say the fluid issue was resolved!

Over the course of Saturday (the 27th), they finalized the weaning process from TPN and discontinued her lipids altogether. This was able to be done due to Ellie's ability to eat increasing content's of milk (albeit from a feeding tube).

In addition, we slowly kept backing her nasal cannula oxygen down to zero. By Saturday afternoon, Elliot was OFF OF OXYGEN!!!! Dr. Tolentino even mentioned that he was hopeful (not to be confused with thought, believed, certain, or any other more confident word/phrase) that Ellie would go home sometime in the middle of next week. In order to do that, she is going to have to eat 8 consecutive feedings by herself, without receiving any food through her tube.

We are so so close, but this last hurdle is pretty high. I've gotten her to eat 5cc out of a bottle on a couple of different occasions; Jamie has done the same as well as getting her to breastfeed a couple of times. But, nothing monumental; we WILL GET THERE! Right after she was born, Ellie did fine with a suck-swallow-breath test in the nursery before her downward turn during her bath. Difference between now and then, at least in my non-medical head, is that she's had LOTS of oral stimulation - feeding tube (which has since been moved) and a ventilator tube, not to mention oral swabs to clean her mouth and lips, bottles, a Soothie (pacifier), her fingers/thumbs/fists, etc. She is staring to figure out that when she wants food, she has to work for it to a certain degree; she's just lazy and likes getting a full belly while relaxing and taking a nap. After many morning runs to the donut shop and Chick-fil-a, I know EXACTLY where that comes from...her Momma! LOL

When I went in for her 9:00am feeding (we changed the schedule from 12-4-9 to 12-3-6-9 yesterday), Nurse Jamie couldn't wait and immediately asked me if I noticed anything different! I looked hard and fast, but not quick enough. Nurse Jamie uncovered Ellie's left arm to reveal a lack of a PICC line! NO MORE IV ANYTHING!!!

Another step closer to home!!!

What a great weekend and Sunday it has been. Not to mention, and I shamefully almost forgot, it's Palm Sunday. What a gift we have all received marked by this coming week and weekend.

Praise be to God.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Steven here...
Daddy, Momma, and Baby Ellie
3 Generations
Grandma Janice, Momma, Baby Ellie
A sleepy Baby Ellie and Grandma Janice
Giddy and Baby Ellie

Grandma Janice, Papa Howard, and Baby Ellie
Well, it happened. BIG hurdle cleared today!!! Ellie's ET tube came out around 10:30am. HUGE RELIEF!!! Thanks be to God!!! Making it even better, she has not regressed (as I write). Praise be to God!!!
What this meant, you see above...we got to hold our baby girl for the first time (for most) and again for me (I got to hold her right after she was born and for about 10 minutes last Wednesday). How this all transpired is worth noting.
This morning, I slumbered awake late after a LATE night (it was even later for Jamie). As I pried one eye open, I realized that playing possum was a must. Jamie and the lactation specialist had no idea I had awoken and the last thing I wanted to do was make the situation weird. So I lay there, trying my hardest to look asleep and keep from "going postal" as the President gave undeserved accolades to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and a host of other baffoons (but I digress).
Then it happened, my iPhone rang. Fortunately the lactation specialist had departed and it was just Jamie and I in the room. Now it turned from awkward to Mission Impossible...get Janice's purse to her without Jamie (a) knowing or (b) asking what I am doing or (c) asking why I am doing it. Needless to say, I failed...sort of.
I told her to pretend she didn't know, that her mom wanted her purse and I had no idea why. I took Janice her purse (in the hall)...she was headed to her car to get Ellie's clothes; it was then that I knew...her ET tube had been taken out!!!
Upon reentering the room, Jamie began with her customary interrogation. I said the first thing that came to mind, which in hindsight sounds far worse than at the moment; "I don't know, she wanted her purse; I don't understand Elliott women...I just follow my instructions." I meant it with love and a grin; most of all, it worked...Jamie was still "in the dark" about the tube, it was still a surprise.
So Janice and I met up in the NICU and Ellie's nurse, Marissa, handed her right to me. I grinned a larger smile than I knew I had in me and held on tight!!! After about 15-20 minutes, Jamie came in. She saw me holding Ellie, knew something was up, but hadn't quite processed it all. Then it hit her; and her electric smile lit up the room!!!
After about 10 minutes, Janice reminded me to share (which I was about to do), so it was off to Momma's arms. Jamie = not so good at sharing...but, I suppose that's ok; afterall, she carried her, suffered through 5 bladder infections, 4 months of "morning" (translated ALL DAY) sickness slowed only by Pfinergrin (sp??), untold bouts of heartburn, trips to the bathroom, etc.
This also gave me a second to send out notice to a few, if not the email list; that detail escapes me now 12 hours later.
By 1:00, Jamie, Janice, and I had all taken at least one turn holding Ellie. That's when my dad (Giddy - pronounced Ju-id-dee - Arabic for Grandfather) arrived. He sent a proufoundly humble and excited email reply to my announcement that it was time to hold her. He simply replied "[m]ight her Giddy get some time today?" By 12:45 I texted him "Skip lunch!!! Come up here!!!" He laughed, giggled, held her, and got his index finger gripped with all Ellie had. He, like the rest of us, got a particularly good giggle out of Ellie's sneezing. For being a pint sized little girl, she's got a FEROCIOUS sneeze!!!!
My mom (Sitty - pronounced Sit-tee - Arabic for Grandmother) came up. She's not pictured because she had a coughing attack just as I was about to take pictures of her holding Ellie. Too bad for mom...her mug isn't on the internet...yet! Around the same time, Janice's mom, Great Grandma Nita, was here and stepped in for a peek at our pretty little girl. She was the only one today who showed any self restraint and said she would hold her a little later not wanting to pull on a wire and set off an alarm. She's right when she says there will be plenty of time to hold Ellie.
Against our wishes, we let our better judgment prevail and gave Ellie a break until Papa Howard made it to Deaconess from working at a car lot on the southside. He initially acted a little hesitant about holding Ellie; but we all saw right through it! That's been the singularly most present thought in his mind since September when we told them Jamie was pregnant. Honestly, he loves that little girl so much and has longed for her so long, I'm almost surprised we got her back! This little girl sure is loved!!!
It was a long day for her, but she soldiered right through it. She has a nasal cannula to boost her blood oxygen levels, but that is just fine by us. It won't be long before all of that is gone!
This evening, Jamie's best friend Casey and her mother Shannon (Grammy Shannon) came by to peek in on our little princess; they were also here just after her birth 1 week ago today. They are both salt of the earth people; words cannot express how much we love them and look forward to Casey's boys (McClain and Max) and Ellie playing together!
Just before Casey and Grammy Shannon (on a random note, Ellie is going to be SOOOOO confused as we have some many people close to us who are de facto Grandma/Grandpa or Auntie/Uncle) left, my cousin Sean arrived. We all chatted in the room. Just before 8:00, Sean said he was going to leave. It took 1 little try to get him to come see Ellie.
He is smitten. You see, Sean lived with us for a couple of months while he was house hunting and Jamie was pregnant. So, in a lot of ways, "Uncle" Sean went through this whole pregnancy with us. He has probably learned a whole lot more than most single guys ever think about knowing about pregnancy. He's just smitten with Ellie...and has promised to behave (as much as he can) when it comes to teaching her that filthy saying "Go Pokes!" It's okay though, we'll let her root for oSu...only for Sean (and his older brother whom I once lived with Chris (Critter - the nickname I gave him when I, apparently, couldn't say Christopher)) and only with the express understanding that she is a winner, she is Sooner Born and Sooner Bread, and when she dies, she'll be Sooner dead.
Well, this novel of a post has come to an end...I'm off to NICU to hold my little girl one more time before bed!
Goodnight and God Bless.
P.S. - while praying for Ellie and us tonight, please say a prayer for Chad, Caredy, and their son Noah. He's got a bugger of an ear infection and a nasty cold. Also, for Brandy, Scott, Cheyenne, and their twin babies Cam and Sophie who are battling croup and ear infections.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Top of the Hill

Steven here...

With each passing hour, even if I don't post, we work our way toward the top of the hill we are climbing. Now, that's not to say that we are going home with our little girl today, tomorrow, or even this week. In fact, it'll probably be closer to her 2 week birthday or later.

Disclaimer out of the way, we are darn close to being at the top of the hill! Still have a couple of climbs to go (with pooping, bottle feeding, and temperature regulation without the aid of a heater). But, if this was the Tour de France, the grueling mountain stages are coming to a close.

Ellie's vent has been worked down to 20 breaths per minute and 23% O2 over the course of today, well, really in the course of 18 hours. Her nurse today, Priscilla, told Ellie that her ET tube better be out when she returns to work tomorrow! I got cautiously excited about that statement. Then, while Ellie had a death grip on my pinky and she was sleeping, I heard Priscilla explaining to some nursing students (here on a shadow day) the process they typically go through to take a baby off of the ventilator. Long story short, backing down the reps and O2 slowly is the process. Translated, exactly what we have been doing (which we knew); it was just a function of when. That point is RAPIDLY (we think) approaching! Hopefully sometime tomorrow.

Once it is out, then we just have to pray it stays that way! But, there is a real possibility that she could need the vent back or some other assistance (CPAP or nasal cannula, etc.). I pray she never in her life needs any of this again, but any time off of that vent for her Momma (and me) to hold her is a sure blessing.


While typing this update, my dad came by. Took a break and we went to visit Ellie. Feisty little turd had pulled the tape on her ET tube loose (From shaking her head and sucking on it). So we had to wait while the nurses repositioned everything. While in there, the Dr. called to check the results of her 5:00 blood gas test. Upon hearing Priscilla read the results, he instructed her to lower the breaths per minute from 20 to 10. When Priscilla came to lower the respirations, she told us all of this and that no blood gas test was ordered for tonight. Further, the Dr. would be in tonight or tomorrow and, in all likelihood, (in my best medical professional-sounding voice) extabate the tube!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Say a prayer...and believe it will be so!

Until later...God bless...

Bundled Up and Moving

Steven here...

Last night, Jamie and I went to tell our sweet angel good night. While resting her head on the top of the wall of Ellie's bed and holding her precious daughter, Jamie dozed off. Just as she left the NICU, Lisa (Ellie's nurse last night) decided that Ellie had been just irritble enough already though we could bump up the midnight "touch time".

We didn't have a poopy diaper, but that was ok. Lisa checked Ellie's stomach contents and her 8:00pm feeding hadn't digested yet so it was just a matter of waiting. Lisa mentioned that she would swaddle Ellie, as she likes being bundled up. In addition, it would keep Ellie's hands from grabbing her ET tube (intubation) and her feeding tube.

Just before I left the NICU, Lisa mentioned that Ellie was doing so good she might adjust her vent to 25 breaths per minute and 25% O2 around 2:00am. She thought Ellie was ready for this and it was yet another step in the right direction.

At her 4:00 "touch time", Ellie had a LOADED DIAPER. Yet another pleasure that just seems so odd.

Jamie and Janice took a peek early this morning before Janice headed to the office; she'll be back around noon or so. I woke up upon their return and heard the joyous news. Lisa had in fact adjusted the vent as planned and Ellie was responding famously. Another step in the right direction!!!!

The moving part of the title is that we are ending our stay at Hotel Deaconess today. They have not booted us out, nor have they mentioned anything about us leaving. We just feel it is the right thing to do. And, we are at peace with it. Mostly because Janice's boss, Ricky, is loaning us his 5th wheel trailer and we will be staying just behind the hospital in the RV parking. It should be A LOT more comfortable than a delivery bed with a mattress that is more like a stiff pool floating device, a roll away bed that is so springy a large man might sag to the ground, and a pullout couch that is more like a piece of ply wood with a 1/2" of worn out foam matting. Not to say I am ungrateful for our accommodations, but, our body's are pretty worn out and need a little more support. So, HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Ricky!!!

And, just in case you read this, Ricky, Jamie would really like it if you let her Carson (our Corgi) come stay with her in the trailer! Just kidding...she does miss her Carson Bug though.

All in all, another great start to a gift of a day.

This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoyce and be glad in it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Answered Prayers

Steven here...
I know, I know. The updates were coming fast and furious; but we reached a point where no news was good news (the night before last and over the course of yesterday).

Yesterday there were few changes really. Not so today!!!

Early this morning, Jamie and Janice went to see Ellie and even saw her Dr. He noted that everything looked good and that he thought the chest tube would come out today. He also noted that her "tanning bed" would be discontinued.

When I went in for "touch time" - translated as poke, prod, test, adjust, and diaper change - I changed her diaper. This is one of the oddest things in my life I've ever gotten excited about...but, here goes - after 4 days IT WAS POOPY!!!!!!!!!!

No one was genuinely concerned, etc. but she was about to earn herself a stimulating massage or suppository(sp???). NO NEED! It was a full diaper.

As I sat there staring at our little miracle, I notice her nurse (the FABULOUS Angela) gathering some medical trinkets and tools. The thought immediately hit me, thank God Jamie isn't in here. It was time.

So, I "assited" on my first medical procedure today. I held Ellie's legs and her right arm as Angela worked to remove the tape holding her chest tube in place. Once that was done, I held my breath and baby. Angela pulled and it was over.

THE CHEST TUBE CAME OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Ellie is LOVING it!!! She's awake and alert. We got to talk to her, tickle her feet (just a bit), kiss her, and put lotion on her dry and chapped little skin, hands, legs, and feet!

While writing this post, Jamie made a quick trip to the NICU. Upon her return I learned that Ellie was doing so good and her 4:00pm blood gas results were so good that they turned the vent breaths per minute down from 40 to 35 and her oxygen down from 30% to 28%!!! Another answered prayer and blessing!!!

Ellie is well on her way...we have to remain patient though.

God is good!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Snow and Scare

Steven here...

Well...the morning started out just like the weather man here in OKC. It looked like it was going to be something of a bad news day (or a giant winter storm that was going to cripple the city and state causing the Lt. Gov. to declare a state of emergency in advance).

Then the Dr. came in, had another chest xray done, took a good look, etc. (decided to sniff the dirt like Bill Paxton in Twister or Gary England in the "olden days" as opposed to rely on computer models). What he found brought relief and smiles to my, Jamie, and Janice's face...he ventilator tube had worked its way down too far and was giving Miss Ellie some fits (or a little dusting of snow in lieu of 14"). I'm sure part of this is because clearly has a fun time sucking on the tubes. Maybe that's a bad thing - I don't know as I wasn't smart enough for med school (like my cousin JK and his fiance Katie (who is about to start PA school), or even his sister Regina who is a labor and delivery RN) - BUT this father chooses to believe that it is a good sign, an indication that she knows that when something is in her mouth it is there to suck on and maybe learning to eat won't be so tough. But, we'll figure that out when we get there.

So, bad news, like the crippling snow storm, has been averted for now. It was actually a nothing. That said, I'll take the prediction of 14" of crippling snow and shutting the city down for a week (or whatever) over the fear and anxiety of the human mind leading us to think there was a setback in store today. Maybe there will be, I don't know; but I'm going to stay positive. Afterall, this little girl is feisty!!! She was reaching up trying to help the Dr. move/adjust the vent tube!

It'll be another good day...God's too good to us all to not be!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night

Steven here...

I know, I's been a while since an update. BUT...that's a good thing. Though the updates today were few, the work that went into them, and how much it took out of Ellie, were actually pretty intense. And she perservered like the finest of soldiers!
Mid-evening, we got an unofficial word from Jay (who performed her EKG) that her PDA defect (that allowed blood to bypass re-oxygenation in the lungs) appeared to have closed itself off!!! We all believe Jay and think the cardiologist will say the say. Her PFO heart defect (the other source of her murmur - I think I mis-abbreviated it earlier) is still present, but could possibly resolve itself as well. My impression from Dr. Tolentino was that is was a concern, yes, but a somewhat lesser one than the PDA.
Ellie enjoys her tanning bed! It's making her better (preventative maintenance for some jaundice)...and she's getting a "tan"! Now, it'll be really hard to make her understand in later years how I could justify this tanning bed exposure, but will be SOOOOO opposed to her laying in a tanning bed "because".
The insertion of the PICC line takes (a) a lot of sedation and (b) a lot of energy out of a little bitty girl. As such, it's not surprising that Ellie's O2 level had to be bumped up to 40%. That's ok for a couple of reasons: (1) it helps calm her down a little bit and rest easier and (2) late this evening her arterial blood gas report showed her O2 was a little low. It's a little step back on a big step forward day; well, really it was like a little hesitation in the step forward to make sure her footing was sure. When I saw her about 30 mins ago, her O2 level was back down to 38% and they planned to leave it put over night. At the same time they bumped her O2 up, they increased her breaths per minute (BPM) from 35 back to 40; this was short lived as they felt good enough about things to lower her BPM back to 35 around 7:30 or so.
So, she's resting quite comfortably and all is well. For tonight, no news is good news as we look to wean her O2 boost back down.

***UPDATE 2:30PM March 19, 2010***

Praise report!!!

PICC line insertion went smoothly!!!! Dr. Tolentino believes it is in a good location and no issues face us. Reconfirmed the collapsed lung is no longer collapsed and looks to be in good shape!

Ellie's O2 is still somewhere between 28-30% and the breaths per minute has been dialed down from 40 to 35.

Another blessing sent our way; thanks be to God!!!


Steven (for Jamie)

Today has been a good and blessed day so far!!!

This morning we awoke to the fairly rough realization that we were scheduled to go home without our precious angel. In fact, it was hitting Jamie really, really hard. Not a surprise; it's tough enough as a father, but I am not sure that I, or any guy, can really ever understand the emotions or, some form of, guilt that go into growing/delivering a baby that isn't just "perfectly normal". But, it wasn't long before the good came along to wash away the bad!

Ellie has been doing good (the same) overnight. They moved her ventilator down to 40 breaths per minute late last night. At that time, her O2 was set at 25% (just 4% over plain air we all breathe). Her nurse, Lisa, was under some instruction from Dr. Tolentino to see what she could take and have much Ellie was ready to step forward. The lowered her ventilator O2 all the way to 20%; which she didn't like too much. So we went back up to 28%, but that's just fine!

While lying around awaiting our impending "doom", Jamie (Ellie's nurse today) came into Jamie's room and said "Why don't you guys just stay here over the weekend?!?" Jamie L. had a BIG grin on her face when asking this; and Momma Jamie LIT UP...BIGTIME!!! So, that's good news number 1. We don't have to fight "the great blizzard of Spring" to come be with our angel. Not that a little snow would have stopped me!!! So, while officially discharge, the wonderful, truly wonderful, people here at Deaconess have made room for us right by the NICU - 232.

Now for an even better note!

Ellie has being doing SO SO SO GOOD that they removed her (unsightly) umbilical IV. They said from the beginning that it didn't go just where they had hoped so it wasn't of much use and that was ok. They also told me that it didn't hurt in anyway because they are no nerve ending in the umbilical cord. Of course, thinking of how sensitive belly buttons are, I just thought it looked like it hurt so, Daddy was plenty happy it was gone!

Tthe best note (so we believe and pray God has more in store today)!

ELLIE's CHEST TUBE HAS BEEN TURNED OFF OF SUCTION AND SET ONLY TO WATER SEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! This means everything is holding and working just like it is supposed to and her little lung is staying inflated well enough that soon she won't need the tube!!!

So much for a short update!!! But, I don't really care...I'm still over the moon with that little girl (and her Momma too)!

While typing this, Dr. Tolentino's nurse practitioner Julie came in. They are bringing Ellie a "tanning bed" to thwart any jaundice that kind of looks like it is starting. Gonna do another EKG later to double check Ellie's heart murmur. They just want to monitor her duct to make sure the opening is staying small; if not, they will administer some medication to close it. All is a-ok.
My favorite time of day....visiting with my sweet girl!!!

Not the best picture but making sure Miss Ellie can suck and swallow with no problems and she can!!! If you read her Daddy's update emails you'll learn this is before she started having breathing problems. You can see all her little light blond peach fuzz hair. It sure doesn't look like there is much but there is it's just SO SO light!

My last belly picture with my mom. Please disregard the terrible face had needless to say been a long day! I am amazed by how quickly my belly has disappeared. It by no means looks the same but even the doctor yesterday said holy cow did you really just have a baby. Hopefully one day it will look the same again. However, I would do it all over again for my sweet angel!
As she grows stronger and we have better pictures to share I will definitely do so. We do have some but it's hard for us to see her the way she is so we know not many people want to see that! It's 'hands on' time so i'm off to visit my baby and change her diaper......who would've ever thought that would be your favorite part of the day but we will take all we can!

Ellie Grace Feisal

Ellie Grace Feisal entered this world March 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm weighing 5lbs 7oz and measuring 18 inches long. Of course in her Mommy and Daddy's eyes she is absolutely perfect. Below is her story.

As I posted previously on Tuesday March 9 I had a doctors appointment and learned that I was already dilating. My doctor was not overly concerned but she wanted me to watch for any cramping, pressure, contractions, etc. If any of these things happened I had strict instructions on what to do immediately and if they didn't subside I was to head to labor and delivery.

On Wednesday March 10/Thursday March 11 I started having some pain. It was late evening and the cramping was back and worse than ever. I wouldn't say I was having time able contractions but I was having pretty severe cramping and back pain. I followed all my doctors orders and nothing would subside so I called Labor and Delivery after reviewing my file and doctors notes they told me to come immediately. We get here and get hooked up to the monitor and miss priss is just kicking away and doing exactly what she was supposed to. She did have a couple of heart rate drops so to be on the safe side the nurse ordered a biophysical profile and sent us down to get an ultrasound. We had the ultrasound and came back to wait on the report. The report was perfect our sweet girl scored an 8 out of an 8 so we were getting discharged. The monitor picked up VERY VERY slight contractions that were not regular at all!! They felt the cramping and pain was mainly due to her position.

We made it through the rest of the week and weekend without any problems and spent some time preparing Ellie's nursery.

Sunday March 14 I was having what I would call really severe pelvic pressure. I've had lots of pressure come and go throughout my pregnancy and I've been told pressure is SOMEWHAT normal and I would probably have more due to her breech position. My pressure typically subsides with rest so that's what I did! Monday morning the pressure hurt worse than ever. I headed into work with plans to call my doctors office as soon as they opened....I REALLY REALLY wanted to avoid a trip to Labor and Delivery. I knew Monday was my doctors surgery day but I planned to talk to the nurse.....little did I know my doctor was on vacation but I would obviously learn that later. The nurse of course sent me immediately to Labor and Delivery to be monitored. I was not pleased but knew that I needed to do what was best for Ellie and myself. We got to Labor and Delivery, heartbeat was strong, contractions were MINIMAL and very irregular, I still wasn't dilated past a one but she was really positioned deep in my pelvis so they once again thought that was the problem. They ordered another biophysical profile just to make sure there were no major changes from a few days before. The Sonographer stated everything looked good to her but she would send the final report to the nurses so they could determine the next step. She stated that my fluid looked lower than before but fluid was so subjective and good be anything. I knew from the previous biophysical profile my fluid was just over 11. The nurse came in about 20 minutes later and said A+ she scored an 8 out of an 8 I let the doctors office know that and they said to release you. I was thrilled with this news and knew that I could deal through the pain I was having and headed back to work!!!

Tuesday morning March 16 is when everything went crazy!!! I got a phone call from my doctors partner. She introduced herself and stated my doctor was out of town. Panic was already setting in because I didn't know why she would even be calling me. She let me know that she was very upset with the nurses and herself for accepting a verbal report of the biophysical profile from Monday. THANKFULLY my nurse at the doctors office reported it to her first thing that morning when it had came in....that was definitely God looking out for us! The doctor said had she gotten the report on Monday I would had never left the hospital and would have already had a baby. My amniotic fluid level was down to 3.24. They did not know the reason for the drop as I had been checked and I was NOT leaking amniotic fluid. Due to a number of reasons she felt that it was better at this point and time to have an outside baby immediately instead of an inside baby. My world was changed from that point forward. I was told to stop eating and drinking, get squared away at work, get my bags and get to the hospital quickly.

From that point on things were a whirlwind even after arriving at the hospital. Finally at around 4 pm they started the admission process and got me hooked up to the monitors. The nurse immediately asked me if I was ok and what I was feeling because it turns out I was having VERY regular and VERY strong contractions. I didn't feel any different then I had the past week when I was having pain. Around this time Ellie's heart rate begin to drop. They rushed a team of nurses in so they could complete my paperwork, insert a catheter, get my blood to the lab and begin my iv. Everything was moving so quickly I could feel myself starting to panic and could tell it was getting to Steven as well who is normally calm and collective. By 4:50 pm they were wheeling me to the OR and by 5:13 pm we had our sweet angel in this world.

If you read below you can see how our world changed from that point forward. We had discussed with the doctor what could happen with Ellie arriving early but we agreed with the doctor that those complications were worth the risk rather than keeping her in utero.

I am taking things one minute at a time. That's all I can do at this point. I know we are so very blessed and we could have had a very different outcome and even though we are looking at a long road ALL of the doctors are confident and I trust that we are in good hands! I struggle with blaming myself and my body that I couldn't keep our sweet angel where she needed to be for at least a few more weeks but I know that I was taking care of myself and doing all that I could but God had other plans!

I know all of these posts are lengthy but we really wanted somewhere to document everything, share our thoughts and ask for prayers for those willing to pray!'

We love you all and our so appreciative of the love and support we have received over the past few days.

She's here......

I am working on a post as to what happened and why it all happened so quickly. In the meantime I will post some emails from her proud daddy letting everyone know what is going on.....forewarning these may be lengthy updates.

Subject: It's official...I'M A DADDY
Well, she couldn’t wait any longer to grace us with her presence. Mom and baby Ellie are doing great. Jamie is resting comfortably (who wouldn’t be on morphine)

Elliot (“Ellie”) Grace Feisal arrived earlier this evening at 5:13PM weighing in at 5lbs 7oz and “standing” 18 inches tall (long); pretty darn good for being 35 weeks and 1 day, not the typical 37-40 weeks. Her Momma sure did a good job, she’s BEAUTIFUL. And I don’t say that lightly; I’m not really a fan of newborns as a rule. Am I biased? DAMN RIGHT! But, she really is pretty!

She’s got quite a lot of fuzzy BLOND BLOND BLOND hair; I mean toe head blond (as did both Jamie and I until we were both about 7 years old). Not tons on top, but about a half inch or so just about all over. She’s got a pretty, clear complexion. The only “blemish” is either a bruise or a birthmark on her right side just in the crease of her hip/pelvis; let’s put it this way, it’ll be the “date quiz” when she’s old enough and comes home…I’ll simply ask the lad if he found her birthmark, he says yes…it’s trouble!

I would attach some pictures here, but somehow (hello frantic!) left the data cable for the camera at home. Hopefully I can get one up here tomorrow.

We’ll be going home late Thursday or sometime Friday.

Now begin the updates on our little angels health/situation. Not that I expect anyone to read through all these updates but we are directing family and friends here for further updates and I would like to have everything in one place. However, if you feel compelled to read and add us to your prayer list they are greatly appreciated!!!!!

Subject: Baby Ellie News
Rather than send the mass email, thought I would send this group an fairly comprehensive and chronological update. No need to share all the details with the whole free world, or so says Momma.

All was well post-delivery, Ellie was checking out a-ok including her little initial suck/swallow/breathe test to see how she would do with a bottle. As we began giving her a bath ~7:00pm, her color began to fade very slowly. It became more pronounced once the nurse picked her up and placed her chest down in the palm of her hand to wash her back. This continued to the point that she (Ellie) was getting lethargic and cyanotic when washing her hair.

As soon as the bath was over, we put her on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (known as CPAP to those of the snoring and sleep apnea persuasion). Did this for 15 minutes with an oxygen “enrichment” of 35% (so 14% over air). After 15 minutes of back to breathing on her own, her oxygen levels weren’t staying above 90 without the CPAP assistance, so she was taken to NICU. Jamie got to spend maybe a total of 7 minutes with Ellie on the day of her birth (5 in the OR with me holding her where Jamie’s hand could reach her and 2 seeing her in Jamie’s room on the way to NICU.

Ellie did fantastic over the course of the first night being weaned off oxygen-CPAP at 4:30 and off CPAP altogether by 7:30am on 03/17/2010. All was looking way, way up…to the point I started thinking there was an outside chance she’d go home with us on Friday. It wasn’t to be; and that’s ok.

By 11:30, she was back on CPAP and 30% O2 as her oxygen level just wouldn’t stay up and she began working harder and harder to breathe. By 6:00pm yesterday, they had bumped here CPAP O2 level to 45% and it slowly crawled it’s way to 100% by sometime after 7:00pm. That said, we did get the good news that her kidneys were properly functioning (not a concern of mine but a common issue for premise). Around 3:30, Jamie got to hold her for a little bit while they changed bedding prior to performing an EKG to check her heart murmur.

Over the 7:00 hour, they were doing more blood gas tests and messing with Ellie quite a lot, so we let her rest and recuperate. We also found out sometime in the late afternoon that she has a small heart murmur, which is very common; she has both a PDA and PFA murmur, both of which are normal and fix themselves with time and/or antibiotics (rarely require surgery). This, especially the PDA, contributes to her low oxygen level in her blood as the duct has not completely shut and that allow blood to bypass re-oxygenation in the lungs. That will heal with time.

I called NICU to check on her around 9:00, hoping to get good news and go spend some time with her. It wasn’t good news, but it wasn’t terrible.

It was during this call we learned that Ellie’s CPAP O2 had been increased to 100% and that she was really laboring pretty hard to breathe. At that time, Dr. Cho decided Ellie needed more help than CPAP was providing; all the hard work was making her TIRED and making her work harder to breath. As such, they intubated her and began giving her surfactant, the liquid that keep the little lung sacks expanded when we exhale. Herr’s were collapsing all the way down making her have to really breath hard to get them opened for air. With the intubation, they backed her O2 “enrichment” down to 50% and down to 40% (at 9:15).

They also ordered a 3rd round of chest x-rays; the x-ray revealed that my little angel’s right lung had collapsed due to a leaking lung. We found this out at about 11:00pm. Dr. Cho initially thought that she would need a chest tube but was able to withdraw 43cc of air from her chest cavity and by 11:30, her lung had already begun to rein late. Between 11:30, when I kissed her goodnight, and 1:00 (when I called to check on her) they backed her O2 down to 35% where it remains. She slept GREAT throughout the night (compliments of the sedation) which is exactly what she needed and was supposed to do.

So…all is well; but it will be a bit of a process. The law of averages says that she will be home before her due date of Apr 19, but I think/hope/pray before then. She’s a tough and feisty little thing. Send an extra prayer for her if you would!

Sorry for the Homeric email; but I had to fit in 40+ hours of updates for y’all!

Subject:Baby Ellie news #2
for some, an update; for others a massive run of updates. working from my air card so pics will have to follow as soon as I can get to a better internet connection to upload them to an email.

after the chest tube, they bumped Ellie's O2 level up to 50% and increased the vent from 50 to 60 (which means the machine was doing more breathing for her).

Bless her pretty little heart, she looks like a cyborg or something. wires running all over the place, tubes all's almost unfathomable to think that she's actually doing much better than she was, despite the steps backward.

I spent 20 minutes with her from 1:50 to 2:10-ish, when they kicked me out to do a blood gas test. I'll head back in shortly. While I was in there, they moved her O2 down from 40% (it was moved down from 50% between 11 and 1:45) to 35% and ultimately 32% just before i left.

I had my hand on her and was doing some praying; if you don't believe in God or the power of prayer, my event (if you had experienced this one event) would unequivocally change your mind. As my hand is on her and I'm praying, just when I'm getting REALLY choked up, tears squeezing their way out of my closed eyes trying like mad to drip down my bowed face...she brought her little foot over and touched my hand (I almost can't type this; and you guys know I can talk/type). Jamie had a real emotional afternoon and when I was praying for Jamie, Ellie touched my hand again with her foot. God calming me down using little sedated Ellie.

Another of the most special of moments, she was just waking up from sedation following the insertion of her chest tube. She got just one blinky blue eye open and I leaned in. Just then I leaned in just a bit and, I know physiologically she can't focus, but she took a good long look at me and relaxed back into sleep when I said "Daddy loves you!" She's doing REALLY good...all things considered.

All this sounds terrible, but it's all expected and moving in an ok direction. To date, she's maintaining weight, color (no jaundice), heart is good (despite the murmur), liver and kidneys all working fine.

Subject:Baby Ellie news #3
Ellie’s oxygen on the intubation has been weaned all the way down 25%!!!! PRAISE JESUS!!! Moving in the right direction! Also, moved the breaths per minute from 60 down to 50, so she is DEFINITELY getting STRONGER!!!

Praise be to God!

Subject:Baby Ellie news #4
Quick update on Miss Ellie.Vent is down to assisting on only 40 breaths per minute (was 60 early today and 50 earlier this evening). She's doing the other 20-30 breaths per minute all on her own and a yowman's work on the 40 assisted. Also, her O2 level has been bumped all the way down to 26%. So praise report all the way around; thanks be to God!!!Her lung is staying good and inflated so the chest tube may come out sometime late friday or over the weekend if things stay good!I'm off to tuck her in!

Like I stated I am sorry all these updates our jumbled into one post. I will work on a 'birth story' post here shortly! I will also try to post some pictures of our precious angel. Let's just say it's been a long few days. I know that things could be MUCH worse and that we are VERY VERY VERY blessed that things are going as they are but it's still been a rough few days! The nurses keep reminding me I HAVE to take care of myself and I am definitely trying. Last night I did get a solid 3 1/2 hours of sleep which I know isn't much and isn't good for me but at this point i'll take what I can. Rumor has it we will be discharged later today but I don't expect to see the doctor until around lunch time. It will be very hard to go home without our sweet baby...I know I can look over in the corner at the 8 vases of flowers and plants and the growing stack of gifts in the hospital room and know that we are all loved and being prayed for constantly!

Friday, March 12, 2010

4 weeks.......

4 weeks from today if things stay the way they are currently headed we will be holding our sweet bundle of joy! HOLY COW!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baby Things

Sweet little wall letters! We had these painted to match her bedding. They are now hung on the wall so I will try to get a better picture soon!

I couldn't resist this swimsuit!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still no pictures......

I haven't unloaded any pics. After all the belly pictures and my shower this weekend I am scared to unload the pictures and see how many are still on my camera.

On another note I did have a doctors appointment. It was pretty eventful to say the least. On Sunday night I had some pretty bad cramping but I thought I was just starting to get dehydrated. Once I finally got some sleep I felt pretty good when I woke up. Last night I had the same cramping but it was much more dull. So I mentioned it to the doctor today. She agreed that everything I described sounded like dehydration but she wanted to do an internal exam just to be sure. WARNING....maybe TMI ahead for some my cervix is still long so it is not thinning out however I am dilated to a 1. She is not overly concerned because as we all know dilation isn't a sure sign of anything. However, the cramping coming 2 nights in a row concerns her somewhat. So I left the doctor with strict instructions on what to do if the cramping returns....even if I don't think it's anything! She is letting me continue work at this time and we will just see where things go. Our sweet little girl is still breech. We will still have an ultrasound on March 23 to see if she has flipped. If she does not flip I will have a scheduled c-section on April 12 which will be 39 weeks. However, if my body decides to go into labor prior to 39 weeks and after 37 weeks she will do a c-section. The goal is to keep her put for the next 3 weeks then after that the goal is April 12.

I am trying to take it easy but learning that she could come as early as 3 weeks away has put my brain into overload mode of what needs to be done!!!!

Steven is out of town which the doctor was not happy to hear. In his defense after Sunday nights episode he tried to stay home and I assured him I was fine to just go to DC. He will be home late tonight and she said unless he wants to miss something she suggest he stays put.