Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's been a while!

It has been too long!  So much has happened since November that I feel like I'll forget to share something about my sweet baby girl!  So lets see... where to start.

In December we had a bit of a scary moment, Caroline actually ended up spending 5 days in the hospital.  It started with a breathing episode that scared the life out of me!  Tom was working on the road at the time and she had had what I thought was a cold.  She oddly woke up in the middle of the night wanting a bottle... strange for my sleep through the night baby.  She drank her bottle and we sat up and played for a few min. then she got the sleepy eye rub going so I laid her back down with me.  We were co-sleeping that night because of my mama fears... she's done this breathing thing more than once.  So I laid her down and was drifting back off to sleep with my hand resting on her tummy.  It took a second for it to click but I remember thinking in my head am I just imagining things or is she not breathing.  Well my mama instinct kicked in and I immediately sat straight up!  I literally felt like everything was in such slow motion.  I took my hand already on her tummy and shook her and said her name.  When I had to describe this to the doctors they asked how hard I shook her, what did it look like, how did she feel etc.  My response was I shook her hard enough to wake her up, I shook her hard enough because I thought she was dead.  Even telling the story now makes me shaky.  Yes I jostled my baby... call it what ever you want I did what I could to try to wake her.  I did this shake/jostle movement twice both times saying Caroline... nothing I had a limp lifeless baby.  So my next reaction was start CPR.  I slid my hand under her back and moved her.  She was too close to me.  I at the same time reached for my phone to call 911.  My hand was on the small of her back and she just flopped both directions... head and feet.  Just as I grab my phone and put my hand on her chest to start CPR... she took a big breath!   She still didn't wake for a few minuets but she was breathing.  Talk about a sigh of relief.  Lost and not sure what to do at that point I called Tom.  I wasn't sure do I call 911?  She's breathing and seems ok.  Her doctors office had said as long as it wasn't over 20 seconds it was normal... like I said she had done this before and even then it was concerning enough for me to mention it.  Since I had been told so many times it was normal Tom and I decided to wait for her already scheduled appointment for the following day.

Long story short we got to her doctors office and had the same answer... "It's normal mom, you need to calm down, it's just periodic breathing."  Well this mama wasn't taking that for an answer.  I spent 56 days in the NICU, I saw periodic breathing... it's why my baby couldn't come home.  So with the advice of a family friend who worked in the NICU, I left the doctors office and went straight to the ER.  Although I got some of the same the doctors in the ER were concerned enough (maybe for my peace of mind more than real concern) we got admitted.  The next few days were a whirl wind.  That night I spent 2 hours with the pediatric doctor.  She was amazing and thorough.  She left no stone un-turned.  The decision was to monitor her for the night.  Tom was still on the road and I didn't think he needed to come home yet... they weren't saying much.  Well that changed very quickly.  The next morning a new doctor came in I was standing bedside with Caroline who was happy and awake but had no issues that night.  I could tell that something was wrong by the look on the doctors face but I didn't really pay it any attention.  She said mom we have to look at all options and I know that you said that she goes to a nanny some during the day.  Even though we see no signs of trauma we have to look into the possibility that someone might have hurt her.  WHAT!  I couldn't fathom this conversation.  She explained that the concern was that the brain tells the body to breathe... what if something was wrong with the brain.  So they ordered a full body x-ray and a ct scan of her head.  We went and did these tests... the waiting was terrible but I had my mom there.  During this waiting at some point I made the decision to call Tom home.  The results were life changing.  The CT scan showed an area that they were concerned about.  It was in the front of the head and was a dark area that looked dense the doctor explained it and said that because they know it was not there when she was in the NICU they were concerned it could be blood.  The only way blood could appear out of no where would be shaken baby syndrome.  I was devastated .. how could someone hurt such a loving wonderful baby that never cries.  The doctors told me they were going to emergency transport us to Dell Children's Hospital so that further testing including a full brain MRI could be done.  Tom was on his way and I was in total shell shock.  Tom got to the hospital just as the paramedics were putting Caroline on the stretcher... Not a good sight for any daddy. 

We got to Dell... the looks from nurses etc were awful.  They really thought we hurt our baby.  The MRI was scheduled for the following morning and the talks of police, CPS were being had.  They let us know that everyone that was around/watched here would need to be questioned.  I explained that I had 100% no issue with that and if the test came back conclusive that someone had in fact hurt my child they better get to them before I did.  They had an awful time trying to get an IV started and watching that was Tom's breaking point.  To hear his daughter cry like that was simply heart breaking.  They never got the IV they had to do it when she was already out. I held strong until the MRI.  Tom had stayed in the room and I didn't realize to do an MRI on an infant they have to sedate her and put her completely under.  Caroline had never been on any breathing machines and that did it for me.  I called Tom... I needed him.  To finish up this long story it turns out that there was in fact no fluid.  The CT scan was not correct and although they saw something it was actually nothing... but that still left us with the breathing issue.  The next step was a swallow study/upper GI it turns out that Caroline has awful reflux.  She refluxes bad enough that her body does exactly what it should and protects it's air way when the stomach acids are coming back up.  By protecting it she's closing it.  All of this for a really bad case of reflux... we were simply exhausted from the ordeal.  I had actually started a job 3 days prior to all of this... I had to go back to my new job  but at least my baby was ok!  

The rest of the month was pretty uneventful... We celebrated her first Christmas!  It was wonderful and I loved every minuet of it.  While she was in the hospital we got referred to a therapy program.  ECI is monitoring her for physical, speech and occupational therapy.  She's behind but that's expected with a preemie.  She is growing by leaps and bounds and learns something new every week.  On Friday (tomorrow) my big girl will be 9 months old.   She is talking saying mama, dada, baba, up and pup.  She yells at her puppy (our 70 lb lab) she has a ton of personality and knows she's in charge!  Daddy is wrapped around her finger!  Here are some photos from the past few months starting with her in the hospital to current! 

All above are when we were in the hospital!

 Christmas and New Years

 Her PUP!  Buck
Green Eyes Now... wonder what they will end up being!
Finally rolled to her belly!
 First time with her sippy cup!
 Cheesy poofs are yummy!
 Bath Time!

My sweet baby girl!

I will update as often as I can.  We are just here and doing our thing.  Before I know it her 1st birthday will be here!  Lots of love to all of our followers.

Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mama Moment

Hello y'all.  It has been such a long time since I have updated on general life.  I give small updates on my facebook and add pictures of our sweet girl but I don't really have much going on.  Caroline is growing like a weed!  She's got to be well over 12 lbs maybe closer to 15.  I should have an appointment with her doctor this week so I'll get an update on weight then! 

Caroline wants to sit up and stand up now versus being held in a cradled style.  She's too big for that!  We are FINALLY in 3 month size clothing... She will be 6 months on the first.  Other than that she's a great baby.  She is sleeping through the night 90% of the time.  Going to bed between 9-10 and not waking until 7-8 and then most of the time she wakes up for a hour or so then back to sleep until 11!  I know I'm a very lucky mom.  We will see how long this lasts but we started a routine early so when it's bed time, it's bedtime she lets us know!  She has not rolled over yet but I feel like she may walk before she bothers... she will take small steps if you hold her up by her arms.  I know she's not even close to that but I also feel like she's strong enough that if she wanted to, she could roll.  She just hasn't had the need. 

She has also found her feet and her tongue and is still very fascinated by her hands.  Her thumb seems to be her favorite thing next to Daddy.  Although Tom is not home but for a few days every few weeks she is infatuated with him.  She laughs at the silly faces he makes and the kisses he gives.  Tom is such an amazing dad with all of his girls.  I still ask myself how I got so lucky.  Caroline isn't the only one who loves her daddy.  On Thanksgiving both Mikayla and Kirstin were jumping for joy and bugging him every 30 min until he got home.  The were ecstatic!  We were lucky to have him home late Thursday night.

While Tom was home we asked Gaga aka my mom Judy to come watch Caroline so we could take Mikayla and Kirstin to see the final movie in the Twilight series.  For those of you who are Tighlight fans please know that this might be a bit of a spoiler but I want to share my mama moment.  Let me start with the fact that while Caroline was in the hospital I had a song that I would sing to her on a regular basis.  It is Christina Perri's A Thousand Years.  It was perfect because of the lyrics.  It says in the chorus,  One step closer, I have died everyday waiting for you, darling don't be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years, I will love you for a thousand more.  It could not describe my journey to Caroline any more perfect.  To get to the point the song was a big part of the first half of the last movie in the series and it was in the second as well.  So that alone has an emotional effect on me but there is a moment where Bella meets her daughter for the first time and Renesmee reaches up and touches her mothers face.  The memories of her birth are shown to Bella from her daughters eyes where she sees her mother so sick and Bella says "She's Beautiful" then the memory goes away but the connection is there.  It is the PERFECT way to describe exactly how I felt the first time I reached into her isolette and touched her.  The first time I saw my beautiful daughter.  I can not even type this with out tears.  I am not sure how it is possible for a person to love something with all of them.  The joy and love and emotions that come with becoming a mother are amazing.  The journey to Caroline... the only way I can show all of you the exact way I felt when I met my beautiful daughter would be to have you watch the movie.  While watching it the girls were in the row in front of us and Tom was diligently on my right side.  He simply turns to me sees my tears and squeezes my hand.  He too is effected.  

We have such a wonderful gift, a blessing and an amazing beautiful daughter.

Love to you all,
Casey Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

The first moment I saw her before she was taken to the NICU...

I waited 36 hours to see her again.  This was the first time I touched my sweet girl.  This is the moment that we officially met.  This is the moment I describe above.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Busy Mama

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” - Rajneesh

The title mom should be allowed to be placed on a resume.  I am in the process of job searching. People ask me why I have not worked since November of last year and I simply say I had a baby.  The truth is that isn't enough of an explanation.  It is all I choose to elaborate on unless asked but I think it is a job that is over looked.  I have a special story but to a stranger it's just another cute baby.  I realize this because before Caroline other peoples babies were just cute and something I was positive I wanted.

Being a mother is a rewarding yet demanding joy.  I don't like to call it a "job" because no amout of money in the world could equal what this sweet little girl does for me.  Tom has asked me how it is I can be going on four hours of sleep and be so darn happy and awake.  The answer is because I have to.  She consumes me.  She pushes me like no job will ever do.  She is an amazing joy!

So much has happened since I last blogged.  I've been very busy.  I took care of an extra baby for almost two months.  Kaydence and Caroline would have been only about a week apart had Caroline not been born early.  Jennifer, Kaydences mom and I are determined they will be best friends!!

Tom started a new job.  He is an extradition agent.  Basically he transports prisoners from prison to prison all over the US.  Unfortunately he travels 90% of the time now but it's a great job that supports our family.  He is also staying in the law enforcement field so if need be he can utilize that experience later on.  We miss him like crazy but it's a great opportunity and he loves to travel so it's pretty perfect.

As I said I have made the decision to go back to work.  We have found a great nanny for Caroline.  It wasn't easy to pick someone but Rachel is a great addition to our village raising our sweet girl!  I hope to find something that will let me be a mom and have a job too.

Caroline got her 4 month shots and her ears pierced.  She did well with the ears but the shots weren't much fun for her.  At the appointment last week she weighed 10.2 lbs!!  Growing again this week.  I'm sure she's up over 11 now.  She has also started slowly eating bites of cereal!!  She laughs on occasion... It's typically in her daddies direction!  She talks frequently.  We are working on animal sounds so far all she seems to make is an owl sound.  :)

I have downloaded the app for my phone I hope to now have a bit more time for blogging.  I hope this finds all of you doing well.  Thanks for checking in on our baby girl.

Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The land of Caroline

Back by popular demand...

We are rocking along here in the land of Caroline.  Every time I look at her she seems to be growing bigger and doing more than she did the last time I looked at her.  She smiles randomly... of course I haven't caught it on camera yet but there seems to be a theme of smiles and poop coinciding.  We were having major spit up/reflux issues but I took her to her peditrician and we have changed formula.  The issue has all but gone away but unfortunately having a thicker formula creates other issues... I'll let you guess what those are.

Tom is working and the girls are back in school starting their 4th and 6th grade years.  OH how I don't envy Mikayla and the mighty middle school experience.  They will be here this weekend.

I decided to take advantage of the WIC program... after all of this time not utilizing it.  It is amazing!  We will recieve 10 cans of formula a month which will save us so much money.  The can's of formula are around $17 each and after having to pay for her special preemie formula since she came home we needed help!  The program helps support breast feeding and making sure that our little ones are getting what they need.  I am somewhat prideful and don't want to take advantage of the system so to speak but this really is an amazing benefit for moms.

On September 22nd we have our first NICU reunion.  I can't wait to see other preemie moms and babies!  I love connecting with them to share stories and experiences.  There really is no journey quite like this.  I have come to terms with Caroline being called tiny.  LOL she is kinda little but she's getting so big now!  She was 8.5lbs at her Dr. appointment last week... and almost 9 at her WIC appointment!

Aunt Hailey did a photo shoot with my itty bitty... We had a ton of fun!  Here are two preview shots!

I just wanted everyone to know that I did in fact delete my facebook... not for any particular reason or person but I want to focus on some other things for now but mainly needed a break from it.  It can consume you and sometimes makes it a little too easy for people to have a glance into your life with out actually taking the time to really know or care what is going on and only see what facebook tells you.  I just wanted to be a little more private with things and will eventually start it back up but I felt it was the best move for me for now.

I will do better to blog more often.  I know that Caroline has a huge support group out there.  She's an amazing blessing and continues to touch the lives of so many people.  God gave us such an amazing gift.  More soon.

Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

Friday, August 10, 2012

Let me introduce you to your two beautiful sisters!

Caroline got to meet Mikayla and Kirstin for the first time!  They are mesmerized by her!  Mikayla is 12 and Kirstin is 9.  They live in San Antonio and were here for the first half of the summer... actually came into town the day I delivered but the NICU has strict policy about siblings so they were not able to meet her until now.

Life at home has been good.  Caroline is a sweet baby and grabs every ones attention.  We could be very rich if we had a quarter for every time we heard she's so tiny, she's so beautiful or look at all of that hair!  I love showing her off finally!  Watching her grow and learn daily is an amazing path.  She is learning that she has arms... they are crazy arms right now.  I am still unable to breast feed though I am still pumping.  I wish it was easier for the both of us and that she could actually latch but I have read that preemies typically have a tough time with it.  I plan to pump for as long as I can... it's very tedious but I know the benefits.  Any suggestions or help any of you can offer I am very open to suggestions!

My shower was wonderful.  Thank you to those of you who were able to come.  I know it is summer time so many of you were not able to come but we are very happy to let you visit and meet our sweet girl here at home!!  Visitors are welcome!  Come and love on our girl as often as you can!

That is all for now we are just enjoying our time with our girls.  Poor Tom is so out numbered!

Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's been a while...

Well as most of you know Caroline came home on Friday, July 27th!  I didn't post about her sleep study in fear that I would jinx her again!  Life has been a whirlwind since then but an amazing experience!  We are enjoying having her home and love all of the little things that we missed while she was in the hospital.  The simple things excite us over and over!  We have ventured out a few times with her and the common theme is comments on how tiny she is... I just laugh and say she was born at 2.12 lbs ;) that was 4 lbs ago... Then they tell me how beautiful she is.  It boosts my ego ; I think it's because she has good looking parents but I might be partial!  :) 

Get these wires off me mom!

Happy mama!

Pretty baby!

Daddy getting baby all tucked in for the ride home!

2 months old and 6.11 lbs at her first doctors appointment.  She got her first shots and a had a great check up!

I want to say thank you to my second cousin Teddye Sells.  She sent me a wonderful gift that I am super excited about.  She sent me a copy of a book that Tom read to Caroline while we were in NICU 1 and some money.  I used the money for developmental items.  Her pediatrician recommended starting now so we get a head start.  So I bought a tummy time mat and she loves it!  (Her cute outfit is care of her Aunt Elizabeth)

Well the rule is sleep when the baby sleeps so bedtime for us.  Night night to all.

Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline

Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Well after a long sleep study and a car seat study our sweet girl isn't coming home just yet.  Sigh.  She had what's called periodic breathing which is where she holds her breath then breathes fast to catch up.  After she does this her oxygen saturation drops.  :(  A breathing baby is necessary for her to come home.  We like breathing baby... right now the doctors have said that we will re-test in 3-5 days.  If she fails again then they will consider sending her home on caffeine and or an apnea machine.  We really hope for that not to happen. 

Good news however because she is growing they took the tube out of her nose so the only wires/tubes she has are monitors!  Check out our beautiful sleepy chunk!  She weighs 5.8 lbs!

We will update more in a few days when we repeat the test.  Tomorrow we take our discharge class and meet our pediatrician Thursday.  Busy week for us we just need to give our sweet girl a little more time!  Keep the prayers coming.

PS we have had 10,140 views at this point.  Please feel free to share our story.  If Caroline's story can help one family fighting a similar fight or do something positive for just one person we are happy to share! 
Casey, Tom and Our Sweet Caroline