Monday, November 29, 2010

Manicures, Doctors and Thanksgiving oh my!

Hello friends!
Sorry it has been awhile since I have posted. It is hard to believe we are on our 3rd week of having Ava home with us, it seems like it has been much longer so I guess that means that we are getting used to her and into a routine. Our days have been full and sharing lots of firsts.

When Ava was in the NICU they could tell from the start she was fiesty and did not like to have her arms held down, she LOVES to have her hands next to her face. Because of her favorite cuddle position which is her arms up and hands next to her face I was forced to do something about her nails to help prevent her scratching up her face. While she was sleeping one afternoon I took out a mini nail file and gave her a baby manicure. I did think about painting her nails but resisted and just filed them down nice and short. I must say this was a first for both of us!

We have also had our 1st well baby check up with her pediatrician. It went well and there was no shots this time thank goodness but was warned her December visit would not be the same as she would have to go back for an RSV shot the first week in December and then lots of shots at her 2 month checkup in later December so Troy will have to attend because I simply cannot watch that. Our other doctor visit was to the eye doctor, this is common for preemies to be checked early after release if not while still in the hospital. I will say that to date this was the most upsetting for me visit as her eyes had to be dialated and then pryed open using what looked like a steel tweezer, again Troy had to be the one to hold her and watch as I about passed out and cried. Overall the visit was good and her sight it just fine, she has a small hemmorage in her right eye but they think it will correct itself and that it is not impacting her vision. She will go back in 3 months to be checked. She will also have her 1st preemie checkup on the 6th of December (her original due date). They have told me this is a marathon visit and to be prepared for a 1/2 day there at the hospital. They will check her monitor to see how her heart rate and breathing is going as well as do an overall check of her growth and see how she is improving. So December will be jammed packed of doctor visits! My blood pressure is improving slowly so I continue to have weekly doctor visits as well but it is a good sign that slow progress is progress no less!

Our other first was a road trip to Minneapolis. I must say that Ava is so tiny in size but requires a lot of stuff! It was probably because I wasn't really ready to travel yet and unsure of what exactly I needed but the Yukon was packed! We made the trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa Fink and Ava was also able to meet her Uncle Jon and Aunt Farrah! As most of you know Grandpa Bill has cancer and each visit and memory we make is quite precious so the trips to Minneapolis are a fun adventure. We are planning to go as often as we can and continue to make more memories and spend time together.

Thanksgiving marked Ava's 1 month birthday. I will say that we are most blessed in many ways and this Thanksgiving was a very special one. We are thankful for all of our friends, family and having Ava our precious miracle.

I will keep blogging when I can but thank you all again for your continued support, prayers, love and friendship!
-Troy, Stef, Ava and Einstein

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Monday!

Well it is Monday. I celebrate Monday's now as each one brings 1 week older for Ava. She is 3 weeks old today. She has been home since last Wednesday but it feels like yesterday. We are still learning her signals, sounds and needs but we are getting there and enjoying every minute!

Last night was one of little sleep. Her heart/breathing monitor went off several times for low heart rate during the night. We had not had any of this prior so it was a bit surprising to us. I think it was mostly false alarms as today we have not had any beeps but I am not dismissing the alarms from last night as that is the purpose of the monitor and the need to have it. We will see how tonight goes and hope to catch a few zzz's!

Yesterday was also exciting because Uncle B.J. (my brother) came to visit. He was as excited to see her as she was to him. She liked his voice and cuddles and was sad to see him go today. It was so fun to have him visit and hope he will come again soon. I posted a few pictures of his visit..granted he is a big guy and she is a little peanut they looked really cute together!
Have a great day!
Troy, Stef, Ava and Einstein

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1 Night Down!

Well we survived our first night! Ava did great and Troy and I are still standing. We are just so excited to have her home and I think this will help all of us greatly get into a routine and more comfortable. We have discovered that such a little thing can produce a lot of dirty diapers so thank goodness Troy is getting good at that task.

I am also proud to announce that for all of you who know my evil cat Einstein,he is doing really well with Ava. I am sure he will still be evil to all outside guests but for the time being even he is doing great.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday and that it has been just 3 weeks that Ava was brought into this world at 34 weeks. She is doing amazing and I am excited to watch her continue to thrive. Well it is time for bath and both Ava and I need one tonight.

Goodnite everyone!
Troy, Stef, Ava and Einstein

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekend Whirlwind, Terrific Tuesday and a Wonderful Wednesday!

Hi everyone!
Sorry for the delay in updates. This weekend was a complete whirlwind of activity. I had a good appointment on Friday and my blood pressure started to go down slowly. Saturday we installed the car seat which was at the top of the to do list! As I pulled into the parking lot at the hospital on Saturday the NICU nurse for Ava that day called and asked that I bring the car seat up. This was kind of out of nowhere and since I just happen to have it in the car I brought it up with me to my visit. They had wanted the car seat on hand so that Ava could test possibly for her car seat to see if she could breathe and such while in it. This is a sign that they are close to discussing letting her leave. As I brought it up I had very mixed emotions but moved ahead carefully. The nurse explained they would test her Saturday or possibly Sunday. As I sat and fed Ava on Saturday I felt she looked yellow again. The doctor on call was doing rounds while I was there and he also agreed and put in a request for blood work. I left shortly after 2 to watch the Huskers (as pathetic as the game was) and when we returned that night she was back under the lights. Again, we had been warned of the 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. I was just glad to see she was getting the medical attention she needed. She remained on the lights on Sunday so we kept our cuddle time with her limited so that she can improve.

Monday I had my usual appointment and my blood pressure was back up. I experienced the bad headaches, dizziness, feeling sick to my stomach so my time with her was short on Monday but still good. Ava had passed her car seat test and also her hearing test. The nurses told us that she could possibly go home within the week. They would also do a scan/sleep test on her Monday night to establish her breathing and heart rate patterns and see if she needs to have a monitor when she comes home. Again, we were still unsure when her homecoming would be!

Tuesday morning around 11am the nurse called to let us know that Ava would need to have a monitor because her results were borderline. They informed me that training would be at 1:30p for about an hour and a half and then we were to pack an overnight bag and we would be "Sleeping In" at the hospital that night. Well Troy and I cleared the schedules, got our bag pack and headed to the hospital for the activities. We got through the training and were relieved it was very simple to use but still overwhelming. We are so thankful that Cathie the instructor is just AWESOME and somebody we actually know through her family so we felt we could ask all the questions we wanted. We left to grab some dinner, run an errand and return to "Sleep In". Let me tell you that it was quite the experience. I was nervous the entire time the alarm on the monitor would go off (which is SOOO LOUD) but it seemed that was the least of our worries as we were kicked out of our room at 3am to accomodate a recovering mommy who had just given birth. We were relocated to the NICU to the room that some mommies use for pumping and such that was the size of a large closet with a small pull out chair for 2. Despite the movement, lack of sleep and excitement we made it through the night.

Wednesday is just wonderful! We were packed up, discharged and on our way to the clinic at 8:30 for her 1st RSV shot. We arrived home shortly after 9am as a family of 3! We are still adjusting but it feels good. We just have to hope that Ava adapts well and continues to eat as she needs to and if not we will go from there and figure it out! All in all today is a wonderful day!

Because Ava is a preemie we have lots of rules and such to follow. The first is that she is to stay out of public places and such for at least the next 4 weeks. We are also to limit visitors daily (especially children for a couple of weeks) and to keep anyone away that is sick, has a sick child or has been sick within the last week. All I can say is that Ava is so anxious to meet everyone but it will take a little time and patience.

We are so excited for today and again cannot thank everyone enough for their support, love, thoughts and prayers. We are looking forward to this next chapter and getting her to know all of you! Stay tuned for more pictures and updates!
Troy, Stef, Ava and Einstein

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Update

Last week was a blur! I worked every day from home and kept up with emails and issues as well as doing hospital visits, doctors appointments, laundry, etc. It felt good to get some things in order and by Friday it seemed I was just waking up on Monday. Friday was a good day. My blood pressure had a slight decrease and Ava got another increase of food! I had a good time with her on Friday with the exception of having to give her a dose of iron with her late afternoon feeding. She HATES it and I agree with her. It smells bad, it dark black and when she gets some in her milk it takes her breath away. Shortly after ingesting it she throws it up and it is bright green and nasty, thankfully the burb rag is always on her when I feed so she and I stay clean but she looks at me with the saddest eyes when she drinks it. She will be on it for quite awhile so I guess I better get good at being tough!
Saturday I went to the hospital in the morning and stayed until game time. She was looking quite yellow and when the doctor made the rounds he agreed so they rechecked her belirubin. She increased her feeding to 35ml and would prepare for a full feed later that night at 42ml. She is 4.5 pounds so the food is doing her good. The shift nurse was awesome and spent alot of time talking with me about preparing things now for her to return, how to care for her (ambilical cord, bathing, etc.) and keeping her on a schedule. It was a lot of information but very helpful.
When Troy and I returned Saturday night she was back under the lights! She really loves to be under them and she looks so comfortable in her isolette with her tanning goggles on and hanging out in her diaper. Her belirubin level had spiked and the lights were just what she needed.
Sunday she was still under the lights. Her level was dropping but not very fast so it is what she needs. She is taking her full feeds at 42ml and that is a great sign. She was content again just hanging out under the lights but we did take her out for the feeding we did so it was nice to cuddle with her and she was very sleepy so she didn't eat very much and I didn't have to get her iron in her. She later took her feeding and the iron well the nurse said when we called late Sunday night to check on her.
We will see what the week holds for us!
Troy, Stef, Ava and Einstein

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's all about the numbers...

It seems that lately numbers have become an important part of our life. As most of you know I hate numbers and math but Troy is much better in that department than I. When I went to my doctor's appointment yesterday they warned me when I sat down that my blood pressure number had to be within a certain range to keep me out of the hospital. The goal was the bottom number had to be less than 98. Well my bp was 148/97. Talk about just barely getting by! I will take it and see what today holds and hope this medication keeps on working.

Miss Ava also has many daily stats. I won't bore you with them but as soon as I get there each day they provide me her daily stats. Most of them go over my head but I am learning. Yesterday Dr. J decided that starting this morning (Friday) she would increase her feeding to 25ml a day. This is just so great and it is important to keep her growing. She also had a good stat from yesterday..she now weighs 4 lbs 7 oz!

Today during feedings Ava and I will talk about the Husker football game tomorrow. She wears her little N hat faithfully and has converted many nurses in the NICU to become Husker fans! Last night she was sound asleep in my arms after her feeding when Troy came. As soon as she heard her Daddy's voice she opened her eyes and started smiling..what a great way to spend the evening. Maybe that is when they should check my blood pressure!?

Well more updates likely after the weekend. GO BIG RED!
-Stef, Troy, Ava and Einstein

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making Progress

As I left my doctor's appointment on Wednesday I was full of frustration and concern. My blood pressure just isn't moving and the drugs just keep increasing. My doctor wanted to check me back in to the hospital to keep an eye on me and provide a constant stream of medication to try and make some progress but I begged him for one more day for the higher dosage to kick in. I can sleep and relax all I want but blood pressure is controlled by your body and not your mind or relaxation so I figured it was realistic to ask for one more let's just hope Thursday there is some progress. For those of you who have asked, the high blood pressure is concerning for me during recovery because I can have seizures and possibly a stroke so the concern is to get it down so that I am safe doing normal daily activities.

So after the appointment I ventured down for my afternoon/evening session with Ava. To much surprise I arrived and she was in a "crib" and out of her isolette. The crib is what babies are usually in after they are born and hanging out in the hospital. I joked when I saw her that she looks almost like a normal baby! She was also dressed in a preemie sleeper that hides all her cords and tubes so it was a fun moment!

When I asked about the move to the crib the nurses provided me some updates on her progress. It is a good sign and it is to get them used to regulating their body tempature and learning to do other things at the same time such as feeding, breathing, etc. When they are in the isolette the tempature in there is regulated so they don't have to work on that aspect when learning other things. They went on to let me know that her first feeding out of the isolette and in the crib went ok but not great. They said Ava was a hot mess! She was confused and unorganized in her processes so her feeding wasn't great. At 4p she had another shot, I watched closely as the nurse needed to feed her to monitor how she was responded. She did great! She ate her new increased food amount (20ml) with no issues and didn't have a single heart drop! I burped her after she was finished and she took her paci and acted still hungry, this is great progress. We hope she gets a good report Thursday as well and can stay in the crib.

Well let's hope for a good Thursday report for both Ava and I. Troy and I are starting to get into a routine and that makes our days go much smoother.
Thanks again for all the prayers and support!
Stef, Troy, Ava and Einstein

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ava Evelyn Fink

Hello everyone!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, thoughts, flowers, food and support. We could not have gotten through the past 2 weeks without all of you. I have decided to try and utilize this blog to keep everyone updated on our progress and news. I have been trying to return calls, texts, emails and facebook with little success as my time gets away from me quickly between all of that and trying to get into a schedule at the hospital.

Ava is doing good. We celebrated her 1 week birthday yesterday and celebrated she is 35 weeks. She celebrated by getting an increase in her feedings, she is up to 7ml of milk every 3 hours. She looked fuller to Troy and I yesterday but laughed because she is still right around the 4 pound mark. She continues to breathe on her own without assistance and has very few heart rate drops which is a good sign. She did have to return to the light therapy because her belirubin level increased alot after being off lights Saturday and Sunday. This is normal and to be expected and harmless to her. She gets to tan under the lights with her fancy goggles and stay warm. The only downside to this is that our time to hold her is limited and holding is restricted to mom and dad only but we will hang in there and stare at her if nothing else!

Troy and I attended a car seat safety class last night before our visit, it was very educational and we will work to get the seat installed and inspected soon because they said 90% of all car seats are installed incorrectly. It is best to get it in and inspected instead of waiting and having it in wrong when she is ready to come home.

One thing that we get asked quite frequently is when will she come home. This is a taboo thing to ask in the NICU. The doctors will only say that they hope she will be home around her due date (December 5). This is to not get the hopes up for parents and also to have a realistic approach to her care.

I will do my best to update as often as I can and thank you all for your support and prayers!


Stef, Troy, Ava and Einstein