Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1/3 of a year

Below is a recap of the first third of Virginia's 1st year

4 days old
1lb 7oz
12.5 in

1 month
1lb 14oz
13.75 in

2 months
16 in

3 months
4lbs 10oz
17 in

4 months
6 lbs 10oz
18.75 in

Going through the posts to recap her lengths and weights each month I was reminded that each month was its own rollercoaster of good days and bad days, highs and lows, fears and excitement. Now that we are home I realize that this rollercoaster continues, it is part of parenting. There will always be fears and joys, good days and bad, we just got a crash course in these extremes for the past 5 months.

Our first week home has been mostly exciting, with just a little fear. We are settling into a routine, we are getting some sleep, and we are enjoying life. In the next few days we will add doctors appointments, visiting nurses, and developmental evaluations to our routine. The rollercoaster will continue...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Under One Roof

Virginia is settling into life at home beautifully. She eats every three hours during the day and sometimes sleeps up to 3.5 to 4 hours at a time at night. We are enjoying life with Virginia free of monitors beeping and the hustle of the hospital. We can finally spend quiet moments with her without 10 other people in the room and she seems to be enjoying the calmer environment at home.

This is what life looks like without wires, monitors, hospital linens, metal cribs, and those amazingly wonderful people in the blue scrubs :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

4 months old and Home!

After 124 days in the Newborn Special Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital and at exactly 4 months old, Virginia has joined us at home. We couldn't be happier. We have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everyone at YNHH, especially the nurses, physicians assistants, respiratory therapists and doctors that cared for her the past 4 months. They saved her life, they enhanced her life, they changed our lives. It slowly became more than a hospital, it became home. I cried for the first time ever in the unit today. All my tears of fear and frustration were always saved for the car ride home, but I simply
could not hold back the tears of gratitude and happiness.

We prayed, pleaded actually, for this day and we are so grateful to all of our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers for the prayers, support, and love. A whole new journey starts now. The blog will continue and we would love for all of the good thoughts and prayers to continue for Virginia.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Getting Closer

Virginia has done really well with her feedings the past few days. Well enough that they even removed her NG tube yesterday. The NG tube was the small tube that went through her nose and to her stomach (previously was an OG tube going through her mouth and to her stomach). The OG and NG tubes were the life sustaining method of delivering milk to her before she was able to feed by bottle.

Heath and I are spending alot of time at the hospital lately so that we can feed her as much as possible. Feeding a preemie is not as simple as feeding a term baby. We must pay close attention to her pace of sucking, the color in her face, and know what to do if she chokes. We are all getting more comfortable and confident with each feeding.

Heath's parents came for a quick visit yesterday. Virginia was wide awake for them most of the day and got lots of snuggles.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our little cupid

Happy Valentines Day xoxo Virginia
Virginia has really "woken up" this week. While she is still a fairly content baby, she is acting much more like a newborn than ever before. At one point there was concern that she really never cried and when she did her voice was quite hoarse from her lengthy intubation. They even ordered an ENT consultation and endoscopy to investigate . Virginia has definitely found her voice now.....
It does not take much to calm her down though....
We think Virginia may be starting to get the hang of bottles too (**knocking on wood**). She took all of her bottles during the day yesterday and only had a few choking episodes. We are trying not to get our hopes up too high, but we are very proud of her.

We have spent Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King Day, My Birthday, The Super Bowl, and Valentines Day in the hospital, please say a prayer that the luck of the Irish will bring Virginia home before St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

lots of love

We tell Virginia everyday how many people love her and how many people are thinking about her and praying for her. We know that she draws strength from all of the thoughts and prayers that she gets. Heath and I thrive on the support, prayers and love too. We got through the darkest days with the strength of our friends and family and we are getting through these tiring days with the love of our friends and family.

Virginia had a special visit from BobBob this weekend. She loved snuggling with him, listening to him sing the dollycat song, and reading books with him.

Ginny had a great weekend and made quite a bit of progress. She is finished more than half of her bottles each day. She now weighs 6lbs 3oz and is very quickly getting too big for the rest of her preemie clothes.

We may be tired, we do get frustrated, but we are so proud of Virginia and we love her more with each day. The sun has risen and set 114 times since she was born and we just want to show her the sunshine. We are ready to have her home and begin our next journey.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

bottles, bottles, bottles

Its all about the bottles these days. Virginia is taking more and more of her feeds by mouth each day. The past few days she has taken a few full bottles each day and a few partial bottles. She has definitely made alot of progress, but we are still a little ways away from the end goal. Eventually she has to be taking all of her bottles by mouth without having any episodes of choking and dropping her heartrate. These two things will likely go hand in hand. Once she is doing that consistently for a several days she will come home. Sounds pretty simple, right? Unfortunately the suck, swallow, breathe sequence is the most difficult things for preemies to master.

Virginia is up to 5 lb 15 oz and 18.5" long!!! She is getting so big! Our routine each evening consists of feeding her at 6pm, snuggling, reading books, practicing tummy time, getting her weighed, changing her clothes and blankets, feeding her at 9pm and snuggling her back to sleep. She almost always wakes right back up when I put her back in her crib to go home. She is getting smart, she knows that if she wakes up and looks at us with her big blue eyes that we will stay just a bit longer. It is so hard to leave her at the end of the night these days. Its so hard to not be there all day knowing that she is more and more wakeful, that she is doing all sorts of "baby" things. We hope and pray that she will master that complex suck,swallow, breathe sequence and be home with us soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Virginia, we are ready for you

As I mentioned before, there was a time where we couldn't even think about preparing for Virginia's homecoming. There was a turning point sometime in December where we realized that she was going to come home some day. We had emerged from the scariest days of our lives and had more hope than ever that we would all be under one roof eventually. Preparing Virginia's room was therapeutic for us, it felt good for Heath and I to put her room together.

Most of Virginia's quirky little room are items that have special meaning to us. Let's take a little tour.

We bought the school map several years ago at a consignment shop and had planned on mapping our travels on it. We hope that Virginia takes on the world and eventually maps her own travels.
Heath's parents bought Virginia's crib and bookcases for her. The bookcases are filled with books, toys, and stuffed animals that we have received as generous gifts.
The globe was given to Heath and his sisters many years ago, again we hope Virginia will see many parts of the world in her years to come.

Virginia's changing table/dresser belonged to Heath's grandmother. We painted it and added new hardware.

Above the dresser are baskets full of her fluffy cloth diapers.
This is a shadow box of some of Virginia's first clothes and her tiny diaper.

Giraffes have a special meaning to us for a few reasons. Her isolette that she spent so many weeks in was called a giraffe bed. Additionally these 4 feet tall stuffed giraffes are always in the hospital gift shop. For many weeks Heath and I joked that we would buy Virginia one on her way out of the hospital on discharge day. Instead Santa brought Virginia one for Christmas.

Virginia's closet is filled with many hand me downs thanks to her cousins Clare and McKenna!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Virginia got to be held by 3 of her 4 grandparents for the first time last weekend! It was very special for all of us for her to have extra special snuggles with her grandparents.

Virginia now weighs 5lb 5ozs and is growing so quickly! She is still struggling with bottle feeding, but is making slow progress. We could use some extra prayers that she continues progressing and starts consistently taking full bottles soon! We are trying to be patient but knowing that bottle feeding is the only thing that is keeping her from coming home makes this struggle understandably frustrating.