Isabella Danielle, born at 24 weeks and 1 day, 1lb 11oz, 12.5in

Zachary Michael, born at 36 weeks, 5lb 13oz, 18.5in

Alexander Charles, FULL TERM, 7lb 1oz, 20in

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baby Bella Day 26

Baby Bella is such a little trooper. She is doing well on the conventional vent, she started to do real well after mom and I visited and she got her new Zaki. (More on that below) Her blood pressure was a little high, but stable and her heart rate was staying between 160-180. So all in all she is doing quite nicely. In the middle of the night her stoma, one of the pieces of bowel protruding from her belly, released a small smear of poop! This is a very good sign and indicates that the bowels are trying to start working again. Once she has some significant discharge from the stoma they will put a bag on the stoma to collect the waste. Right before the doctors came for rounds a nurse practitioner came over to talk to us. We had never seen her before, she is with the pediatric surgery unit and wanted to talk to us about Bella's PDA. Since most of the swelling has subsided from the laparodomy, the chest xrays show that her lungs contain an increased amount of fluid. They believe that the PDA is causing this to happen and also causing her to have some saturation and pulse swings from time to time. Rebecca, the NP, went over the ligation procedure with us to make sure that we understood what would be done. This is a much less invasive surgery and even though it is around the heart is less risky than the laparodomy. They also do the surgery in the NICU and don't have to take her to the OR. The entire surgery takes about 2 hour, most of which is prep time, the actual surgery itself only takes about 15 minutes. They make an incision between the 3rd and 4th rib and make their way to the ductus near the heart that remains open. They clamp it with a little staple and then close her back up. By closing the ductus less blood will flow to her lungs and more will circulate throughout her body. They are hoping that this will allow her to breathe better and that she will be able to come off of the ventilator sooner. This should also help her stabilize a little better and allow her to continue to grow with fewer complications. We were a little apprehensive about another surgery so close to this last one and I asked about a dozen different questions. The doctors and nurses answered all of my questions and assured us that they thought this was the best course of action for our Bella. We were reassured by the answers and signed off on the ligation. It will occur Monday morning and hopefully if all goes well and she continues to heal from her laparodomy as well, we will be feeding Bella some mommy milk in about 10-14 days! We spent most of the rest of the day just watching her and then we made a quick trip to Barnes and Noble and Hallmark to get a little gift for Bella's neighbor Cherish. Cherish really needs our prayers and is fighting for her life, so please pray for her tonight as well!!

We received some more packages today and I must say everyone has been so amazing, generous and thoughtful! Adam, your note was awesome, but the UT stuff was not! (Except for the little monkey, that is way cool!)

[Note from Machel: Like Chris mentioned, we received two packages today. The first we received was from Aunt Clara. She included some Julio's chips for Chris and my all time favorite dried apples from Central Market. The other thing in the box was an adroable bunny that she obviously made. Clara is super crafty and I know loves to sew/make stuffed animals. Thank you so much Clara & Ace. The second package was from my extended family in the CMC Seguin office. This package was full of ALL kinds of goodies and cards. Thank you all so much for the well wishes and items you enclosed! Take care, God Bless and can't wait to see you!]

Also, this weekend we will probably be taking a lot of pictures with Bella and a lot of her new stuff. (I must warn a lot of people who read this, she has a lot of UT gear already, so you can skip some of the pics!) She will be decked out with some A&M, UT, UVA and other clothes and blankets that she has received from her many, many wonderful family and friends!

Here's our baby girl with her Zaki!!! She absolutely loves it!!! Mommy and I slept with it last night and her nurse Taylor got her in a nice snugly position and then placed the Zaki on top. She was asleep and SATing very well!! THANK YOU SO MUCH CANDICE!! We hope that the last week with Rhys at home has been amazing!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So.......guess what we got to do this afternoon? We got to hang out as a family!! Bella was doing well on her vent settings and her chest xrays looked good, so when we went back into the NICU after mommy had her follow up exam and we ate lunch, we were greeted with a question. Do you want to hold Isabella? Carol, her nurse, already had the chair ready to go and everything!! I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about it, but the nurse practitioner Danielle came by and told me not to worry. SO AWAY WE WENT! Jeff, her RT, was there the whole time making sure she was ok while Carol moved her onto mommy's chest and let me tell you Bella was in heaven!! She squirmed for a minute, got comfortable, and then was in snoozeville!!! Her breathing got better, she was at room air and at 95% absorption almost the whole time, heart rate was steady and in the 160s and she was as peaceful as could be!! Near the end, I played with her a little, "hugged" her head, patted her back and she even wrapped her little hand around my pinkie (she wouldn't let go)! So the three of us just hung out there for almost an hour, peaceful and happy!! Thank you to the NICU staff for always being so helpful and making these little joyous occasions happen! And thank you God for watching over our family, please continue to guide us with the Holy Spirit and your loving hand!

Lauren, we met Courtney in the NICU today and can't wait to go grab a bite to eat with you soon (we need a break from the hospital every once in a while)!! Machel will send you an email soon, she promises!! Also, we don't think you are crazy :) and we really appreciate all of the posts and support. We can't wait to meet little Abby too, all of the nurses rave about her!!!

Well here we are, the happy fam!!

Baby Bella Day 25

She is doing well and is peeing a lot! She lost 50 grams or roughly 2 ounces, which is good, because she looks much less swollen. During rounds there was nothing significant, except that they think she is doing well. Her stomas look very good, but still she has not passed anything significant through the stomas. Once her bowels start working properly and she starts to poop through her bowel they will add the ostemy bag and begin her feeding. Bella has also been doing well breathing and they are moving her off of the oscilator to a conventional ventilator. She looks so cute and big to Machel and I, we are amazed by her growth. We hope she continues to do well and grow!!

Oh, forgot to tell you guys, she got her fist bath last night!! Unfortunately, it was in the middle of the night so we did not get to see it! She got a sponge bath and now today she has awesome bed head!!

We would like to send out a special thank you to my co workers at COP, both in Houston and in Bartlesville. We received care packages yesterday afternoon and this morning. Thank you all so much for the well wishes the prayers and the gifts. I am very honored to have worked with you and have you all as my friends. I hope that baby Bella can come and visit all of you soon and show you her amazing smile and thank you all in person!

Candice - we just got the package at the hospital almost got sent back to you since she is under my maiden name for insurance purposes (sorry about that). The Zaky is awesome. We are going to sleep with it tonight so that it smells like us. For those of you that don't know, a Zaky is a comfort device developed by a mother of a preemie who happens to also be an engineer PhD. It is designed to replicate the comfort and scent of a parents hand. This is an incredible gift and will definitely be tried for our little girl.

Here are some pictures of our cute little chunky monkey!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Others In Need

Over to the right you will see Kayleigh's Story. If you don't get to these other sites often, please take the time to look at this one today. Kayliegh needs your prayer and support to pull through her struggle with lung disease and pulmonary hypertension. We also found out that Bella's neighbor (who is about 3.5 months old) is battling similar complications, her name is Cherish. She could also use your prayers at this time. Please, take one minute to pray for these precious angels and their families as you have so graciously done for us.

Also, in reading about Kayliegh there is a great preemie drive going on right now. The following blog will help you learn more about it if you are interested:

Peace be with you & God Bless!

Baby Bella Day 24

Well, today has been another steady day for the most part. Bella has been a little more fussy today when Carol was giving her care and desating some. Dr. McGahren saw her again today and said she looks good, the stomas look good and they aren't as concerned about her belly swelling. That makes me feel good, but I am still a little worried, I won't worry anymore when they put the ostemy bag on her stoma, air starts flowing through her bowels and she starts drinking mommy's milk again; so hopefully only 1 more week of worrying! She looks so beautiful and I can't get over what an amazing little personality Bella is. She has a great disposition and seems to be just hanging out most of the time, she kicks her feet and moves her arms whenever she's awake and hears mommy and daddy talking to her. She even tries to open her eyes to see us, it is so adorable!! She fusses at you whenever you are doing things she doesn't like and when you move her arm or leg to get it into a different position she will fight you and move it back if she doesn't like the new position. She is so fiesty, just like her mommy!! Well, another day and she appears to be doing well, she is still swollen in the belly area, but her head and arms and legs and upper chest are dramatically less swollen. She is looking chunkier though!! We hope she packs on the weight, our little chunky monkey!! Well, here are some photos of little Miss Isabella! Ok, I went a little camera happy today, and this is just a small sample of our Baby girl. She looks bigger to us and she has on a cute pink beanie!!

The cross has her birthstone in the center and was sent by her Aunt Ashlee. The prayer quilt is absolutely beautiful and was made by the First Methodist Church in Hobbs, NM (thank you Balez Family).

Shauna wanted to make sure that everyone in the NICU knows about the little princess Bella!! Thank you, all the nurses think it is Legend........wait for it.......DARY!!

I wanted to again comment on the unbelievable love, prayers and support being given to us by our family, friends, the NICU staff and our online NICU support group. You guys help us out more than you will ever know and I know that we will repay your kindness and generosity. We will raise our daughter to understand the glory of our Lord and how his healing power, loving nature and Holy Spirit live in each and every one of us. We will raise her to understand that she is a precious miracle and has brought much joy into this world. I hope that she will be able to see all of you someday and be able to say thank you for your prayers and love. And so that you can see what a little princess she is!!

"And Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." - Proverbs 16:20

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby Bella Day 23

I have to say, today has not been an easy one. Isabella still has totally stable vitals but there were a few hiccups during the day; her heart rate shot up several times, her blood pressure went a little high, and she desated on several ocassions. In addition, her belly seems to be a little fuller than yesterday. During rounds Dr. McGahren said that he was pleased with the way the wound was healing and how the stomas looked, but her x-ray showed that her bowels were dialated. Which could mean that her bowels are in the early stages of beginning to function or there is the possibility that she has another problem in another part of the bowel. Then this evening we noticed that the wound is starting to ooze (something the nurse had already caught). We pray that all is well and that Bella is in the midst of recovery.

I guess after getting to hold Bella on Monday I have become even more attached to her. I constantly want to see her and do not like leaving her. I want our baby girl to know we are there, that we know she is doing well, and that she is such a fighter. I have been more stressed today than any other day since she had surgery. I am figuring that part of that has to do with wanting to see her progress a little more. I read on Parker's website today where Mere said that she wouldn't wish going through the preemie rollercoaster on her worst enemy -- Amen sister!!! I know that God only gives us what we can handle. I know that He is by our side and holding Isabella in His hands. I fully trust in the Lord and His divine plan. But there are still difficult days and it is still trying.

Beyond all our friends and family that have been so wonderful, I really want to thank all our NICU family out there and all the support they have given us. Even though we have never met you, we can honestly say that we love you and will support you as much as we can for the rest of our lives.

Romans 13:8
Love your neighbor as yourself
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Baby Bella Day 22

As you can see I am using some of my time to release some creative energy. My husband thinks I am a silly mess. I have been creating different headers for all the different seasons on powerpoint...too much fun!

Isabella is being her stable self today. All her vitals look to be about where they should be in range. They have started giving her hydrocortizone again. Her blood pressure was getting a little low on the diastolic side and her urine output has gone down from yesterday. Pediatric surgery came by to look at her belly and said that it is looking as they would expect. They had removed the gauze this morning to let it breath, Dr. Smith was pleased with the results of doing that. Bella is still pretty swollen; we did some reading today and seems that it could last about another three days. She is definitely more active today in swinging her little arms and feet around, so we are hoping this will help to get some of the fluid out of her tissue as well. Overall she is doing good, praise God!

I wanted to thank Erin Powell for coming to see us yesterday afternoon. We had a very nice visit and I probably gave her too much information about all my after pregnancy stuff than she wanted to hear. I really appreciate her listening to me. I absolutely adore my husband, but there are certain womanly things that I know he doesn't care to hear me gripe about. Not only that, he has discovered all his favorite shows online and is absorbed in watching them when we are not with our baby girl. Which can be nice for me because I get quiet time. Oh except for when he lets out his huge gasping roar of a laugh and clinches his fists together...come on, most of you can picture it now.

Ephesians 3:14-21
A Prayer for the Ephesians
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Friday, December 26, 2008

FIRST Family Photo

This is our true first family photo!!! What a precious moment! Colleen took this early Monday morning and was kind enough to leave us a CD of photos that we just found today.

We hope that you all continue to enjoy this Christmas season, Love and God Bless. Here are some more of Bella's adorable face...

Happy 3 week birthday Baby Bella!!

Wow, our little angel is 3 weeks old!! She is doing much better today. She is really peeing a lot, which is helping to remove a lot of the excess fluid from her body. She is starting to lose some of the puffiness and has actually lost some weight. (She gained almost 300 grams of weight after the surgery, mostly water and fluid retention.) Her heart rate is more stable now and ranging in the 160s and her O2 levels are very low, she has been between 21-24% for the last 12 hours!! She is having some blood pressure spikes, but for the most part it too has stabilized. She is off of the Dopamine and Hydrocortozone and is still taking some fentenyl for the pain.
She looks so peaceful and it is so exciting to talk to her and watch her move her little arms and kick her feet when she hears mommy and daddy talking to her. She is sleeping a lot still, but is getting back to her squirmy ways!! She is becoming more active and that is a really good sign. Dr. McGahren, her surgeon, examined her earlier and is happy with her progress. He said the stomas look good, (those are the two portions of her bowel that are protruding from her belly), her belly is getting softer and everything seems to be progressing well.
We are very thankful and are hopeful that she continues to improve so that she can begin to get some of her mom's milk soon. If she continues to progress well sometime next week is when she might get to start eating again, then hopefully our little chunky monkey will start to gain some weight! Some more good news, the nurses said that once the swelling goes down and her condition stabilizes, Machel will be able to hold her again!! They want her to do skin to skin again, but Bella would just have to be on her back rather than on her tummy as mommy holds her! This made us so happy!!!

Well, here are some more pictures of our baby today....

Here's Mommy and Erin visiting.

Thank you all for your continued support, prayers and well wishes! We hope you all had an amazing Christmas!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas cont....

Mommy hugging Bella and Bella close up with mommy hugging her!!

Merry Christmas all, we have spent the day with our little baby and have witnessed the true meaning of Christmas. The Lord, our savior has helped to heal her and is continuing to watch over her, may he bless you all with love and happiness! She is doing much better, her HR is down, her blood pressure has stabilized and her O2 levels are between 21-25%!! We thank you all for your continued support and wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and God Bless!!

Merry Christmas my beautiful little gift from God. May the Lord bless you everyday of your life and may your heart and spirit be filled with the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Machel and I went to a beautiful Christmas Eve service at St. Paul's. We were overcome with emotion. Joy, peacefulness, sadness, fear and REJOICE!! REJOICE!! Our Lord and Savior was born on this day to bring peace and love to this Earth. May he grant you all peace and love!! Mommy and Daddy then hurried up to the NICU to wish our little, joyous angel a Merry Christmas. I snapped a photo of Mommy and Baby Bella (with KoKo!!) Then Laura came by and wished us a Merry Christmas and took a picture of the entire Delange family celebrating Bella's 1st Christmas together!

An update on Bella....her O2 oscillator settings remain low, 25-30%. Her heart rate is down to the low 160s, but her blood pressure is now high. She seems to be doing well, but is still quite puffy. When Machel and I showed up to her bedside to wish her a Merry Christmas we both spoke to her and she immediately moved her arms and kicked her feet. MOM and I were overcome with joy!! She opened her eyes briefly too, we showered her with loving words and then returned to our new bedroom the last two nights, the NICU couch. Bella needs her sleep!! We appreciate the prayers and love very much!! GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!!

Baby Bella Day 19

We spent the night up here outside the NICU and thankfully it was uneventful. Isabella has been reacting as they expect; her belly, chest and head are swollen. Her heart rate has slowly come down, but is still higher than a few days ago. Her blood pressure is a little low and they are giving her Dopamine to help bring up the pressure. Dr. McGahren came by and told us that the bowel looks good and the swelling is an expected amount. He is checking up on Isabella daily. Then we were around during rounds and got to hear them go over her condition. We had heard most of it already because Ellen, her nurse practioner, and Sarah, her nurse, have done an outstanding job of informing us of everything that is happening. They also do a good job of telling us what to expect and what the daily plan of action is for Bella today. Machel and I are tired, but we are very thankful for all of the wonderful care that she is receiving here at UVA. We are very blessed for all of the support and prayers that our family and friends are providing. Please continue to keep Isabella and all of the other babies in your prayers this Christmas Eve. Also, please pray for our friend Chris, we went to dinner with them a few nights ago and we found out that last night he had a heart attack. His family is so wonderful, Amy his wife and Chaysen his son are amazing and we are praying for them.

Here are some pictures of our little girl. The first one was right after she got back from the OR. The second is of mommy looking at our little angel (look in the background, nurse Jen is working so fast to get Bella stablized that she came out blurry). The last picture was taken today and she is quite puffy.

Thanks to my dad for sending me an email that pointed me to the following.....Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Surgery Follow-Up

Isabella got out of surgery and back in her spot at the NICU at 3:30pm est. It was a frenzy of different doctors for the first 15-20 minutes as everyone continued to stay up-to-date on her status. Several doctors briefed us on how everything went because Dr. McGahren got called out for another emergency. But not long after they let us in to see her, he popped up and gave us the run down. Overall he felt like the surgery went well and she handled it well. He was able to determine that it was a perforation that occurred 2/3 of the way down her small intestine. They think that it happened some time early last week and was the result of the endomethicine (the medicine given for the PDA). We had asked what the possible side effects were of this drug and they said that the drug can effect the intestines, but that is why they stop the feedings so that the gut is empty. They also mentioned that only 10% of patients taking this drug would have some type of reaction. Bella fell into that 10%. Over the weekend and through yesterday all the staff felt that she was healing this perf on her own. Dr. McGahren said that sometime last night she had another perf in the same spot. When he was doing the procedure he could see the scar tissue from the prior opening right around the existing one. So they cut the area where the perf was and she will have an ostemy bag as soon as she starts to have some type of bowel movement. This also means that she cannot have any of my milk for at least the next 7-10 days. Chris and I plan to stay up here tonight (I am sitting next to her while I type). Her heart rate has come down about 20 points, she is saturating well on lower oxygen than she was this morning, and her blood pressure is fairly stable. They are going to take their time weening her off of the medicines they have been using to keep her stable but will administer pain medication so that she remains comfortable. I am watching Jen work away at Baby Bella and do her great work...she just made the comment that she earned her monies worth today and should go right to sleep when she gets home.

Chris received a very nice phone call from Tanausha at Woodard Properties (who we are renting from) this evening. She was a 27 week preemie who is now 30, which we found out when we moved in. Come to find out, she actually had the same surgery Bella did back in 1978. She was very kind and it was so sweet for her to share this story with us. And then there is baby Abby (see Abby's Storry on the Preemie Blogs to the right). She is a glowing image of the great work the staff here does and also had the same surgery as Bella. (Lauren, thank you for getting in touch with us, I have told the staff you said hello, and would really enjoy getting to meet you and Abby.)

We will of course keep you posted on her status, but will leave you with this for now...

Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Baby Bella Day 18

Please pray for our little angel. This morning we received the call that you do not want to get. She had a rough morning and was not breathing well, her blood pressure was low and they had to switch her from the ventilator to an oscillator. Her breathing stabilized, but her belly grew and hardened. The upper GI fluid was blocked in her bowel at a point and it appears that she has an obstruction in her bowel. Surgery was called and after examining her they concluded that a laparotomy was the best course of action. They prepped Bella for surgery and we got to walk down to the OR with her. Dr. McGharen is going to operate on her and remove the obstructed bowel. The incision will be horizontal along her belly and allow them to do a little bit of exploration too. They want to make sure they get the problem fixed. So we are now waiting and praying. I am so thankful that Machel got to hold her yesterday, because it is likely that we won't get to hold her now for a long time. The surgery will need a follow up surgery later to reattach the bowels (6-8 weeks later). We are praying that the Lord is watching over her and uses his healing hand to help our baby girl pull through this procedure. God bless everyone. -Chris

I am so thankful I got to hold my baby girl yesterday. There is not much that can describe the feeling of having her on my chest. Feeling her chest move, having her little hand gently lay on my chest, and seeing how stable she was and peaceful. I was completely in awe of being blessed to have her on me; don't think I have been so relaxed in years. There was a sereneness to it that is amazing. And with so many other things that have happened on this journey so far, I definitely know God had his hand in letting Colleen be so convincing yesterday morning. He gave me my Christmas present early and for that I am so truly thankful. I am also thankful for the swiftness as to which all the medical staff moving with all that happened during the night and this morning. They promptly called us at 4:45am to let us know about the change in vent. Then they called just as we were leaving to see her about her bowels. By the time we got to her bedside Dr. McGahren was already there and prepping everything to go. All of the doctors monitored her very closely prior to our arrival and even afterward. And then there is Jen...she did an unbelievable job of preparing everything and paying attention to detail with our angel. All of our nurses have been so kind and knowledgeable...they are truly gifted and special souls. Even though Chris and I are sad and scared, we are so grateful for everything that God has given us and the medical attention that he has granted Bella the privilege of having. We have prayed many, many times this morning and I know I feel comforted in his hands. Please pray all that you can for Isabella today and in the days to come. The next few days will be hard for her. We know that she feels all of the love and kindness that so many of our friends and family from around the world are sending her. Our family is truly blessed to have all of you in our lives. Peace be with you on this day and in the days to come. -Machel

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bella Day 17

A glorious day of firsts!!

The day started off very early. Colleen, her night nurse the very first night and she has been Bella's night nurse every Friday, Saturday and Sunday since, was on duty last night and we left while she was attending to another little girl here at the NICU. We were unable to say goodbye and Merry Christmas to her last night, so we woke up at 5:45 this morning and ventured out in the 18 degree weather to say goodbye to Colleen who has the next 2 weeks off. So when we arrived Colleen was super excited to see us and we were excited that Beautiful Bella had a very good night. Her belly looked better, her color looked good and she was breathing very well. So Colleen asks Mommy Machel if she wants to Kangaroo her little angel. OF COURSE!!! Mommy replies!! So as an early Christmas present Machel got to hold our precious little one. They brought a recliner for her to sit in and 3 different nurses helped transport Bella onto mom's chest. Machel was glowing with excitement and anticipation, she was absolutely beaming!! Then they placed Bella on her chest and instantly mommy and baby were as one. They looked so relaxed together, so at peace, and I was a happy mess!! I had the camera and was snapping away!! I was so excited for Machel, I am sure she will blog about it later. I sat right next to them and was so happy to see my two girls hugging for the first time. THANK YOU LORD!!

After this we were very tired and went and had breakfast and then napped until almost 2!! When we returned to her bedside they had already done rounds and started the upper GI. We were there just in time to see them take an x-ray to track the fluid. It was moving down her bowels, slowly, but steadily and appeared to be going to its final destination, her poop!! We were very excited, if she poops it out tomorrow then surgery will come back and take a look at her, if everyone feels comfortable with her progress then they will continue to watch her, but it looks like her stomach problems are behind us for now. I personally think this is because of 3 things, the medicine and care that she is being given, all of the love and prayers that she is receiving, and of course the healing power of the Lord who continues to watch over her and fill her with his healing spirit. Machel and I were excited so we went back to the apartment and then took a walk to a nice little restaurant not far from our apartment. We ate and recharged.

So then this evening we came up to her bedside, and the final firsts occurred. When we got here Angela was about to give care to our little girl, change her, weigh her and take her temperature. She asked if we wanted to help and mommy said, why don't you do it daddy. SO I DID! I have been very apprehensive to hold, move or even touch our little girl, given my giant, rough hands and her tiny, frail frame. But she has been doing so well, I wanted to help out. (Plus mommy has already taken her temperature and changed her diaper several times, so I wanted to get a chance to do it too!!) Well, I took her temp and she was so sweet, she loves her daddy!! She felt so soft and warm, but then out of no where she reared back and tried to punch her arm out. (We have been telling you she's a little fighter!!) She was surprisingly strong, which gave me more confidence to then change her diaper!! I got the old one unstrapped and placed the new one underneath before removing the old one. (I have learned this is the best way to do it because on occasion she likes to pee with no diaper on, she is so fiesty!!) So as I was pulling the old diaper off, I saw a small mucus smear of poop, it was exciting, another pooh!! Then I changed her diaper and the x-ray tech came in again. It looks like the dye is continuing to flow well, but is moving slowly. Then I got to help weigh her. It was awesome holding her head and lifting her up and then placing her back down to see her weight. IT came up 930 grams, she is over 2 lbs!! Machel and I smiled, cheered and high fived!! It was so funny, like she just won a major award. Here are some pictures that mommy took.

So it has been a good day, we are very tired and heading home soon. I've been blogging from her bedside tonight, another first!! Well here are some more pics of our little angel. (I WAS CAMERA HAPPY TODAY!!)

Lord, through you all things are possible, thank you for your gracious love and continuing to watch over our baby and the other little angels here at the NICU. Please bless all of the wonderful people in this world and fill their hearts with the spirit of our Lord.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby Bella Day 16

Today was another stable day, which is mighty okay in our book! On our first visit this morning we did get a small piece of good news. Isabella had a little mucus of a stool early in the morning, indicating that something is likely moving in her bowels. Then the nurse practitioner said that she heard small bowel sounds on her examination. And then the x-ray Bella had this morning showed a little portion of air in her bowels. So it appears that she is getting a little better in the abdomen area. She has her upper GI tomorrow that will tell more of the story. Everything else with her is about the same...we are blessed for that!

Luckily Colleen was back tonight, that meant weigh-in was first thing. So on our good-night visit to see Bella, to our pleasant surprise Colleen already had her weighed and measured. Our little chunky monkey gained another 30 grams today. That means she is up to 1lb. 15oz. They also measured her today (as they do on Sundays) and she is just over 13 inches. (By the way, Colleen won't be back until New Year's weekend...we will miss her!)

I think each time we visited her today I stared a little harder than I have before. I cannot wait to hold her this week; that is what I asked for as a Christmas present. Skin to skin holding is supposed to be very good for them. Chris and I felt it would be best to wait until Bella's tummy was a little better. So we are thinking Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!!!

Here are a couple of pictures from this evening.

We wanted to toss these of the puppies from granmommy going to pick them up for us. Thank you so much mommy for taking care of the puppies.

Praise God for another glorious day. Thank you all for the continued prayers. God Bless!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baby Bella Day 15

Well all is stable today, they reiterated that the ultrasounds look good and that she is reabsorbing the fluid in her belly and the small amounts of blood in her brain. The chest x-rays still show no air in the bowels, but they are hoping that she continues to do well and then they are going to do an upper GI contrast dye to see if the perforation is sealed and to make sure she doesn't have any blockage. She looks good, and everything is stable, except for her O2 levels are up a little but they are still in the upper 20% range. Also, the DRs said the PDA sounded louder today and that ligation might be a good option, but she is doing so well with everything, they want to wait a little bit to see if she can clear it up herself. She is sleeping a lot and really doesn't like to be messed with. I am attaching some photos I took today, the nurses were changing out her stabilizer, so you can see a little of her face without the big white stabilizer in the way. Thank you all for the comments and prayers, we continue to stay strong and every piece of positive news fills us with great joy!! Hopefully soon she will be eating mom's milk again!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby Bella Day 14 cont.

What an awesome day it has been!!! As Chris mentioned earlier, my boss Kyle came to visit us. It was very enjoyable and great to see someone I consider family. I want to take this time to thank all my coworkers back in Seguin for being so dear to me and continuing to fill me (and Chris) with encouragement. You all have been through so much with me and have always stuck by my side. I know that I am often very strong, but you all have been a rock for me in so many ways. I love and cherish all of you!

After Kyle's visit the two of us kind of bummed around for a bit. We had dinner plans with a coworker of mine from the plant I was visiting when I went into labor, so we didn't want to do too much before that. Amy, Chris and Chaysen took Chris and I to dinner. We had great conversation, a very nice meal, and a fun time watching Chaysen being the center of attention. He is precious!!! Thanks to the three of you for dinner and showing us a good time tonight. And when we left Amy had a car full of surprises for Isabella, Chris and myself. Several people at the plant passed along gifts to Amy to bring to us. Each of them was very nice and much appreciated. All of you have been so kind and generous. THANK YOU! (By the way, I have already eaten three cookies Carrie.)

Now the most important part...our BEAUTIFUL baby girl! After dinner we went straight to the hospital. All of her vitals are about the same, which is pleasant; and she gained 20 grams. That means she is just over 1lb. 13 oz. In addition, the resident came over to tell Chris about the ultrasounds she had today. Her preliminary read of them (the official one will come in the morning) was good. It appears from the head ultrasound that she has started to absorb some of the initial bleeds in her brain (that were grades 1 and 2). In addition, it appears that she maybe starting to absorb some of the fluid sitting around her abdomen as well...which is what they were wanting to happen so that they do not have to do surgery. So several signs are pointing in the right direction tonight. All of your prayers are working and the strength of God is shining through Isabella.

The verse I want to pass along tonight came in the card we received from Iris tonight (it is perfect!).

Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Short, simple and powerful...take care and God Bless you all!