Our little Miracle

Our little Miracle
"And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him." ~Luke 2:40

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 weeks gestation

Today Austins age is adjusted at 30 weeks gestation!  He had a rough day today.  Due to anemia, he had another blood transfusion, which went well.  He needed his oxygen levels up because of it, and was also given a diatetic to help him urinate out some excess fluids. 

He wasnt very comfortable while I was there.  Very squirmy and desatting often.  The vent causes his lungs to get "yuck" in them, and its hard to breathe well through it, so he needs to be suctioned... he hates it.  His ventilator tube was a little too far in, so they needed to pull back 1/2cm, and he hated that too.  Poor guy.  His belly xrays look good, but his chest xray showed to be a little hazey... something to watch.  Possible signs of CLD (chronic lung disease). 

It was very hard for me to leave him today.  He was wide awake, but still just looked so uncomfortable.  So "over it".  It broke my heart to see him like that.  I wanted to hold him so badly today, but with all else going on, they suggested I wait another day.  He held my finger for a long time while I told him about our family.

 Drew asked me to take this dog tag he received at a basketball camp with a cross on one side and it says "with God all things are possible" on the other side to Austin this evening.  He is so thoughtful.  He told me Austin could have his guardian angel coin too, but a nice lady at a restaurant gave me one already.  Drew also told my husband tonight not to buy him anything for Christmas this year... that he'll just take what Santa gives to him.  He told us to spend our money on Austin this year, that he doesnt need anything.  He said he understands we have to worry about a house, our dog, Austin at the hospital, and him, and that its a lot and he understands.  :o)    We told him we have plenty of money for all of that and him too, and that he is so sweet, but he needs not to worry about those things, we'll do the worrying!  He is an angel, too!!! 

I also feel like I'm not giving Drew enough of my undivided attention lately.  I know my mind is always running wild... but I am having a rough night myself.  This isnt a very nice roller coaster... but I'll make it through it all... one day at a time... with a true smile on-- because I am very happy.  I love my life just the way it is... although when Austin is out of the NICU and home, it'll be easier!  I am so BLESSED with two amazing little boys that are strong in so many ways, and with a supportive and loving husband who knows how it feels.  I am full of positivity and strength... just need a hot shower to let the tears run once in a while.

Please pray for Austin and the maturity of his lungs.  He needs a little extra help in that area right now.  I pray for healing of his lungs from the Lord.  And continued strength on his end... and on mine.  Continued knowledge and patience for the doctors and nurses. 

Thank you to all of you for your support, prayers and for caring about Austin!  He melts my heart!  I hope he's touched yours.....   he's amazing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

teeny tiny baby steps.... in the right direction

Today Austin is doing well.  He had a pretty good night.  His belly is distended again, but with a little rectal stimulation he had a large blowout bowel, and then his belly was down a little bit.  He is trapping gas in his belly.  The doctors would like to fortify with amino acids in my milk, because he needs to gain weight.  He needs to double his average daily weight gains.  Little guy!  He weighs 1089 g = 2lbs 6.5oz.  He is 14 inches long!  He looks really good.  His nose looks GREAT.   He has a new attending this week, Dr. Valentine.  I like her.  She had done a lot of research on kangaroo care.  She has a lot of really good information!  I'm totally fascinated with the kangaroo care.  As a mother, while holding baby, if baby's temperature needs to rise, our bodies warm up... if baby needs to cool down, our bodies drop temperature to cool down baby.  Oh, and so many more really neat things!

Austin will be on the ventilator, on very low settings, for about up to another week.  He needs to really start putting on the weight... that will help improve everything.  They are giving him 20 breathes per minute, and he's on average taking about 30+ breaths per minute on his own, and his oxygen is on about 36%-40%.  This is what needs to go down... the oxygen their giving him.  Once he "fattens up" a bit, his lung tissue will develop more and allow him to "hold on to" the oxygen better.

He's already much bigger from the "first time" I held him.

I did kangaroo care today for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I love him so much!  Its so awesome to hold him.  I am going to do it everyday!!!!  I'm glad he's back to himself enough that we are able to hold him again! 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

My little Austin (Saturday and Sunday updates)

Austin had a great day and night on Saturday.  The doctors are weening him off the ventilator, from 30 to 25 now to 20.  His feeds are going great, at 20mls.  His belly is still soft and measuring at 22cm.  They are continuing his ventilator through Sunday, and hopefully it will be out on Monday.  While I was visiting him on Saturday night, he was very attentive... his eyes were open a lot.  He doesn't like having the ventilator down his throat, I can tell. He does suck on it a little bit but, if he squirms at all, it is rubbing his lungs walls and he doesn't like that.  

Today the doctors this morning were suggesting to ween him down again to 15, and the did, but then his oxygen requirement went up to 38% from 30%.  So they put him back up to 20.

I called to check on him at 4:00 and he was having a few more desats than yesterday, so they are not positive of how he will do off the ventilator at this time.  So its a wait and see. 

Continual prayers, please.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...time for UPDATES

I haven't had time to update the last few days... and they have been crazy. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Austin is doing okay today.  His blood counts came back normal today.  He is having trouble pushing his stools, due to gas.  His belly is distended more, about another 1/2cm.  He had a few A's and B's (3) and quite a few desats.  The nurses upped his oxygen to 35% to 40% and gave him a chin strap to keep his mouth closed.  This has been helping some with the desats.  My sweet angel!

Weds, November 23, 2011
As I was getting ready to drop my older son to a friends, and my husband had just left to go into work, the hospital called about their rounds.  The doctor said Austin didn't have a good night.  She wanted me to be prepared for some things when I arrived.  He stopped digesting his feeds (back on TPN's and lipids).  The neonatoligists believe it all could tie into the amount of gas his belly is holding, but are also worried it could be an intolerance to the "cows milk" they fortify my breast milk with, so they are stopping his feeds for 48 hours.  His blood work came back with no infection, no inflammations, x-rays look good, however his blood gas is high for carbon dioxide again, even higher than the last time.    His belly is filling with so much air that it is causing pressure on his lungs and diaphragm, not allowing him to fill his lungs to capacity, therefore not able to get all the oxygen he needs.  He needs to be off the CPAP to let his belly, bowels, etc rest, but still needs a "boost", so they are going to intubate him with a ventilator again.  :*(   They are going to put a large tube down into his belly with a slight suction on the end, to vent out the air.  His belly is still "soft" but very pressurized.  It is measuring 24cm.  The ventilator will be on very low settings since, Austin doesn't necessarily need a ventilator, but cannot have the CPAP at the time.  They hope to have him off of it Friday or Saturday.  As of now, they will just administer TPN's and lipids through an IV, and see how tests go to decide if he will need another PICC line.

I call my husband, distraught.  I am so upset.  Re-intubating him is so extremely invasive, and uncomfortable, and long term can cause a lot of damage to my sweet boys lungs.  I'm holding on to the fact that he hasn't stopped breathing to need the ventilator, they just need an alternative to fix the other problem... the gas trapped in his belly.

We head to the hospital and talk with the doctors through our tears.  Dr. L was very uplifting and positive about these steps.  We talk to Austin about being proud of him and about hanging in there and being strong.  We leave as they do the intubating of the ventilator.  We come back and see how everything is set up.  We have a clear view of his face with out the CPAP.  He is so sweet.  The ventilatior placement went well.  They had to pull out the first attempt because his HR dropped low, but had no problems the second go.  He was fighting them a bit, which is good.  He is resting, and hopefully things improve soon.  We sit and visit for about an hour and say our "i love you's" and head out.  I am exhausted and go home to sleep for a few hours.

Thursday, November 24, 2011
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!  We wake in the morning and head to the hospital to see how Austin has been doing.  The doctors do some xrays this morning.  He is doing a little better, not as many desats, no A's and B's.  His xrays show the gas is still hanging out around his stomach.  His lungs are still  not extended to full capacity, but his belly is softer.  He has been able to have his oxygen settings lowered just a bit. 

After thanksgiving festivities, we head back to see how Austin is doing.  He is doing AWESOME.  His afternoon xrays came back showing a lot of practice.  Dr. Heather showed us the two xrays.  His lungs are now fully open and his belly has a lot less gas.  His stomach looks so much smaller!  His blood gas levels are fantastic, where they need to be!!!!  He is doing well in just the few hours we were gone!  He is such a fighter.  He weighs 1080g = 2lbs 6oz today.  He did rip out his ventilator. So they have gloves on his hands and tucked them snugly beneath him.  The also has a strap and tape all the way around his head to hold the vent in place.  He's feisty!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011
After rounds this morning, Dr. Heather called to tell us how well Austin is.  His blood gas is perfect.  He did loose a little weight 2lbs 4oz today, but he will start feeds at 10mls again this evening at 6:00pm.  They have begun weening him off of the ventilator.  Hoping if his feeds go well tonight that he will be off vent tomorrow!!! Praying this goes well!

We will be heading down to see him soon.  I hope he keeps climbing up the wall of progress!  I love him so very much!!!!!

Continued prayer is getting me through my everyday.... so THANK YOU from every depth of our hearts!!!!  xoxoxoxo

Sweet little angel!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today Austin is doing well.  He went a little over 24 hours with out any A's and B's, but was still having desats with his feeds and with his "care" (vitals, etc).  He is still squirmy with getting the gas out of his belly, but he's getting some out.  His belly is still a little big, but just full of air.  (poor buddy)  I forgot to mention yesterday... I saw Austin's first tear from his eye yesterday!  Sweet baby boy.  And his cry is a little louder! 

Today Austin weighed in at 1024g = 2 lbs 4 oz.  However, he isn't gaining enough fatty weight, so I am now separating my breast milk.  There is fore milk (beginning of pumping) and there is hind milk (end of pumping).  The hind milk is full of fats and calories... So that's where we are with that.  We'll see how he does with it, and if we need to go a step further and add some protein powders, we will.  But for now we are keeping our fingers crossed that I carry enough fats for him! 

I notice that Austin is "changing" the way he looks a little.  I feel like he's growing into his skin... Its not as loose on him.  His cheeks look a little "pinchable".  Here is a couple of pictures from last night.

Holding Daddy's finger!

Not very happy to be messed with!

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Last night we went to a seminar... met some other moms and dads.  I hope to stick by one another with a few of them.  This is a hard road, but having each other will help each of us out! 

God continues with his blessings!  Continue to pray for Austin and all the premature babies.  This is TOUGH for them...  their teeny tiny bodies. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby steps...

Yesterday I didn't have a chance to post.  I saw Austin in the morning and he was doing okay.  He had some A's and B's through out the night, with his feeds, so REFLUX.... but his belly was measuring larger as well.  It was still soft and not discolored.... and he showed no signs of pain.  He is getting so much air in his belly, and because his feeds are on a 2 hour pump, it doesn't leave much time to vent his feeding tube to allow air to escape.  He is also releasing a lot of air with his bowels.  Oxygen is up a little to 35% and they have put on a chin strap, which keeps his mouth closed so oxygen isn't going in his nose and escaping his mouth.... this has shown to work... he is desatting less.

This morning Austin is doing so well!  He had a total of 8 A's and B's... and a total of 8 feeds.  His spells are happening about 20 mins after his feeds.  His desat's are less, but still up and down.  He looked really good, feisty while doing his vitals, diaper change, etc.... and very relaxed and comfortable otherwise.  He did have a bradycardia (B) at 10:30a.m. while we were there, but he dropped to 93 and brought himself back up.  Austin has gained more weight.  He now weighs an even 1000g = 2 lbs 3oz.  When he hits 1200-1300g the doctors will see how he handles being without his CPap.  At 1500g, as long as Austin can regulate his own body temperature, he will be out of his isolette.  So 1000g sounds so good to me!!!!  I feel like he is beginning to "fill out" a bit too.  His skin doesn't seem so loose and saggy.  I think he's getting pinchable cheeks!!!!!   

This evening we went to a seminar where speaker OTR  Sue Ludwig spoke to us about preemies.  It was very interesting and I learned alot and was able to have my questions answered!  We of course went to see Austin after the seminar.  His nurse Felicia said he was doing very well.  His belly looked better, but was still measuring the same, just not getting bigger.  His feeds were put back to a 1 hour pump, rather than 2 hours to allow for more venting for his belly.  This seems to be helping him a little.  He hadn't had any A's and B's since his 10:30 a.m. spell, and he seemed to be able to release his gas easier.  He was doing well!  He looked good!!!  I love him so much!  I did get a couple of good pictures today, so I will post them tomorrow.  I am so tired and heading to bed.  I've turned into a milk machine and it's wiping me out!  I know if he were home it'd be the same... but I'd also be napping more if he were here.  When I have the time for a nap, I always take that time to head down to see Austin. 

OH!  The NICU has a Christmas party for us!  Santa comes to the NICU with some ELVES (Bengals players) and takes pictures.  Siblings are invited to the family room for craft time and to for autographs and photos.  SO cool for Austin and Drew!  A brother thing! So cool!

Continued blessings for Austin everyday!  I thank YOU Lord! 

We met a sweet baby girl today as well.  She is only a few days old.  She was born at 24 weeks.  She is so tiny... but so beautiful.  Her name is Miracle.  She has the teeny, tiniest, cute little nose!!!!  Pray for Miracle too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet baby boy

Austin is doing well today.  He did well with the blood transfusion.  If his body would have any reaction, it would have had it in the first 15 minutes. The transfusion is pumped in so slowly, and even with such a small amount that Austin was receiving, its a process that takes hours.  He did very well, and his blood gas levels, and CBC came out very good today.  His anemia was improving. 

My baby boy did have a very rough night last night/early morning.  He had quite a few A's and B's, but most of them he was able to pull him self back up with the numbers, only requiring stimulation a few times.  However, he receives 19 ml feeds, and he did have a 5 ml bile come up not long after his feed.  His belly measured a little big (1cm bigger than normal) and so they ordered a belly scan (bile and enlarged belly raises much concern).  His scan came back normal, but showed a lot of air trapped.... Doctors are sure that is what caused the bile, as his belly was trying to push out the air.  I was also told that the transfusion can cause some temporary problems... that the intestines take time to absorb the new blood, and while trying to adjust to the new blood that they do not always digest things properly or immediately.  He has not had more of the bile come up after his feedings for the rest of today.  The doctors had his gc tube (feeding tube) changed and had him repositioned and angled and this seem to help as well... much less frequent A's and B's and seems to be more comfortable.

Austin did gain a tiny bit of weight.  This morning he was at 975g (2lbs 2.50 oz).  He's still getting two caffeine doses a day, and they are keeping him on antibiotics through today-to be safe (bile build-up).  When I called his nurse this evening (about 8:30p) he was doing very well. He hadn't had any concerning A's and B's for the day.  He had gained another 9g.= 984g.  :O)    He is doing well with his feeds (still on the pump).  He was a little "warm" so his nurse turned down his temperature of his "bed" (isolette).  Not a fever grade warm... so not a reason to worry.

All and all today is a good day for Austin.  Scotty went down to the hospital early afternoon and said he looks great.  He opened his eyes at his daddy a few times and seemed to be comfortable.  Scotty is sure to always tell him that his mommy and brother love him so much!  I am finally feeling back to myself... 100%... so I will be heading down early in the morning.  I miss him so much.... I wonder if he'll look bigger and tougher to me?!   ...  AND THEN ITS DREW and MOMMY DAY!!!  I miss my time with my older son.  I was on bed rest for 8 full weeks, and then these past two weeks I have not been "here" mentally.... and so tomorrow is a much needed day!  Movies and popcorn and candy and living like a kid again- no worries.  Its going to be a great time!!!!

We are continually blessed each and every day.  I thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers!
And I thank GOD for another day of progress for Austin.... b/c its one day closer for him to come home!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Support for Austin

My 7 yr old son and I wearing purple for AUSTIN ALLEN

It's the little things that make life worth living,
It's the little things that help us make it through.
I never knew how true those words were,
Until I first set my eyes on you.
I feared because it was too early;
I cried because it was too soon.
Yet I underestimated
The strength in one as small as you.
You were born a fighter, a warrior;
You would not quit nor move on.
You strove, you fought, you tried,
Until your battle was won.
When hope might have faded,
When the trial seemed too great,
A tiny child, despite the odds,
Fought what was thought fate.
And a little baby triumphed,
A baby thought too small to live,
A baby knew that life
Is the most precious thing to give

Sweet baby boy. 
Austin's cousin
Friends Alicia and daughter Izzy
Austin's second cousin
My aunt and uncle
Mommy's friend
NICU grad L.  She's a miracle baby too, and today she showed her support for all preemies including Austin!
Mommy's friend
My cousin
Abby.....  ;o)

Facebook Status' on 11/17/11
"Got my purple on today..thinking of you and baby Austin today!" ~ Brandy K.
"Wearin' my purple jammies tonight in honor of the tiny man! " ~Becky S.
"So I wore purple today!! Granted it was only my socks and undergarments, because my purple scrubs were dirty, but I found something purple to wear for little Austin!!" ~Heidi C.
"So tonight while saying our prayers which of course include baby Austin, Nate asked how long will he be in the hospital and i said i don't know but each day he gets stronger and stronger i guess maybe a couple of months and brady said "wow a couple of months then he will be as strong as a pro wrestler". Just wanted you to know we are praying for you all everyday." ~ Erin C. and her boys
"I'm wearing purple today just for him and had to mention that it's my favorite color too!" ~ Krystle B.
I worn my purple for Austin today!!!! I told everyone about him!!! Prayers always coming your way!!!!" ~ Debbie F.
"Purple is my least favorite color, but I am rockin it for my boy Austin" ~Jason R.
"It's World Prematurity Day...thinking of baby Austin Kimmey, son of Andrea Kimmey who was born 11.3.11 at barley 26 weeks, he is both a miracle and a little fighter! God bless these little ones, the dedicated parents, and the amazing Doctors and Nurses who take care of these tiny miracles!"  ~ Tanya N.
"all babies are blessings.
premature babies are miracles.
esp austin. ♥
wearing purple for you & your amazing mommy
Andrea Kimmey." ~ Natalie L.
"Today is World Prematurity Day! Wear purple in honor of all the little ones born premature! I'm wearing purple in honor of Austin Kimmey who was born on November 3, 2011 at 26wks 2days! He is doing great and has a very strong, loving family cheering him on and praying he continues to grow stronger each day! God is amazing and baby Austin is living proof! — with Andrea Kimmey." ~ Christi K.
"Today is world prematurity day! Wear purple in honor of all the premies! I am wearing purple today in honor of Austin Kimmey born 11/3/2011 at a whopping 26wks 2days! He is growing stronger everyday! We love you guys and will continue our prayers! — with Andrea Kimmey." ~ Beth K.
"Today is world prematurity day! Wear purple in honor of all the little peanuts!! ESP for Austin Kimmey!! :) — with Andrea Kimmey." ~ Katie S.
 "None of my girls were premie's. Just supporting a friend, Andrea and all the other families that have had premie's.. Stay strong and keep believing!!! Austin is a fighter and this is just a speed bump in life that he will over come.. Keep praying for ya little man" ~ Mike M.


Two weeks old

Today my sweet Austin is 2 weeks old!  He is still strong to this day!  My little miracle.  I am having symptoms of a little cold coming on so I am staying home from the NICU until I have 24 hours of no symptoms.... but Daddy is still going while I am home.  It breaks my heart...but I know whats best for him and my other son...  A nice and healthy mom.

Today I called to get Austins stats.  He is still doing very well.  His feeds are up to 19mls, and are given to him on an hour pump.  His A's and B's seem to be happening with his feedings, but he is able to bring himself out of them on his own.  The doctors do believe its the reflux, but after his cbc blood tests today, he is a bit anemic and has a low blood count.  He will be receiving blood this evening to help with the anemia and to up the numbers.  He has been giving blood so much for tests, he just needs a little more to replace the blood loss, and to help with his anemia.  Non invasive and very common procedure for preemies.  The blood is tested time and time and time again before given to him and there is 0.00% chance of infection. 

He will be off the antibiotics tomorrow.    They changed his CPAP prongs out to some that seem to hold them in better, giving him more efficient airflow....He is very alert and doing well.  I wish I could go and see him and tell him I LOVE HIM and let him know how many WONDERFUL people are celebrating him today on the WORLD PREMATURITY DAY... showing support and awareness.  I can guarantee if he could speak he would say "Thank You and I love you all!"

Thank you again, for all of your prayers.  Keep them coming!!!!  God Bless each and everyone of you! 
The Kimmey's

~all babies are blessings.
premature babies are miracles.


Today is the first ever WORLD PREMATURITY DAY. 
In honor of AUSTIN ALLEN KIMMEY and all premature babies of the world (13 million born each year) I vow to wear purple on each and every November 17th.  This post is in purple today, to honor and support this day.  As will the post later to update my sweet miracle.

You, please, wear purple and spread the word! Show your support!  Spread the awareness!!!!

.... and THANK YOU ahead of time!!!!!


 Austin Allen Kimmey.... the littlest, yet mightiest, baby ever!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Moving in the right direction

Today Austin is doing well.  His xrays and scans on his belly and chest are normal.  He has a strong heartbeat, with no murmurs.  His blood gas is back to normal, and he is negative for the RSV.  HIs blood cultures are still showing no signs of infection.  He has gained another ounce *2 lbs 2 oz* and he looks great.  The doctors and nurses have put their "heads" together, and they are pretty sure the uprise of his A's and B's is from reflux.  The majority of the time they're increased are during and after feeds.  He is now on a thrity minute pumped feeds.  So far, so good!  My husband said Austin had his eyes wide open most of the time he was there this morning ((mommy's not feeling well, so I'll be staying behind for a few days)).

Thank you for your continual prayers!!!  God Bless!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So this is how a set back feels......

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today has been quite an emotional day.  Austin is having the A's and B's still.  Although A's and B's are common in premature babies... he was having such minimal spells, and then they just increased the past few days.  The spells are the result of "something".  His 48 hour blood culture came back negative for infection.  The doctors are keeping him on antibiotics, until we figure out what is causing the A's and B's.  While my husband and I were visiting this morning, the doctor came in to do an exam.  His heart sounded good and strong.  His belly sounded good.  He pushed on it to see if Austin reacted to be in pain (first sign of NEC -necrotizing enterocolitis- a serious condition in which part of the intestine is damaged, and may become infected).  Austin did not show signs of pain, and his belly felt good.  Doctors ordered belly and chest x-rays.  They removed his PICC LINE (it had become clotted) and put in a new IV to continue antibiotics.  He is doubled up on antibiotics -Tobramycin and Naficillin.  The results of his chest and belly x-rays came back normal.  The doctors and nurses all say to us continually "he does not act or look like a sick baby".

I called at 5:30 pm to check on Austin.  He is still having his A's and B's.  They have ordered another round of blood work and will be focusing on his blood gas, and are now checking for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)- a virus that causes a severe chest cold and wheezing.  This is troublesome and serious to a preemie with sensitive lungs. 

Today has been a rough day.  We are trying to stay positive.  I have said many prayers to help me to keep the negative thoughts at bay.  We have been told that we would experience set backs, several, and to try to prepare... but how do you prepare not knowing what is causing your small little baby boy to have these episodes...especially when he's been defying all the odds.  Its so hard to stand by helpless.  My husband was really looking forward to holding his sweet boy again today... and although we understand as to why he cant be held today... we just want to make things better for him.  We dont want him in pain.  We dont want him to be sick.  We dont want him to be stressed.  His little body is working so hard to keep everything going in the right direction.  I get it... he is fighting so hard to survive that once in awhile he "forgets" to breathe.  BUT why is it happening all of the sudden.  That is what the doctors are trying to figure out and get a hold on.  Get this stopped.

I ask only for prayer at this moment.  I do not want to chat about it.  I just want to pray.  And cry. 

A prayer I say daily and nightly......

Lord, I pray that You would deliver Austin from any destruction, disease, injury,or infection that could come upon him.  Specifically I ask You to heal his immature body and organs, and his episodes of A's and B's.  While we are seeing these doctors in the NICU, I pray that You, Lord, give these doctors wisdom and full knowledge of the best way to proceed.  Thank you, Lord, that You suffered and died for us so that we might be healed.  I lay claim to that heritage of healing which You have promised in Your Word and provided for those who believe.  I look to You for a life of health, healing and wholeness for my child.  Amen.

Weds. 11/9-Mon 11/14

Austin is hanging in there.  He is such a tough little guy!!!  We love going to see him.  When we talk to him, he opens his eyes.  Kangaroo care time is so amazing.  Austin is still defying the odds

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
 Today at the doctors morning rounds, they told us how well Austin is doing.  His sodium levels have been dropping and are now where they need to be, and are maintained.  His feeds are going up to 5ml's for four feeds, then up again to 6ml's.  His septum has become very bruised from his CPAP, so they changed out the padding and the prongs. His bilirubin is still slightly high, but he is looking better.  He will remain under the lights.

Today they are doing his brain scan to check for any brain bleeds.  Brain bleeds are very common in extremely premature babies (born under 30 weeks gestational), and even more common and expected in micro preemies (born 26 weeks or earlier- Austin).   Babies born at 26 weeks and under 3 lbs almost always have some bleeding in their brain.  I read this and confirmed with the doctors. There are different levels of bleeds: Level 1 (which may or may not "fix" itself) and up to a level 4 (the worst type and is likely to injure he brain).  Brain bleeds  or IVH (Inraventrical hemorrhage) are not something if the baby has can be fixed... but if detected the doctors have a better idea of what type of behaviors and trends to look for in a baby.  Levels 1 and 2, are the most mild, and most likely will take care of themselves, levels 3 and 4 are more severe.  At this point I am praying for just a level 1 or 2.  I am sure, from statistics, that this early of a life, he must have a bleed.  The scans can take up to 24-48 hours for results.  Dr. Heather called us this evening at 6:30 p.m.  (And in case you were wondering- when your caller i.d. reveals its the hospital, your heart drops and you become nervous nancy immediately).  She asked if my husband was home... he was not- he had just left to pick up our son at church.  She told me she had the results of the scan... and that they are "normal".  I asked "Normal?  As in a level 1??"  She replied, "normal, No bleeds!"  I began to cry and thanked her!!!  When my husband came home, my mother -in town to help out- asked my older son to join her on the computer.  I looked at my husband and said "the hospital called" and I began to cry.  The look of fear came across his face, and i blurted "no bleeds- he has no bleeds".  He was so thrill, yet did tell me when I have good news, I cannot approach him and say the hospital called followed by un-readable tears.  :O)  This was AMAZING news.  Almost unbelievable.  A true MIRACLE!!!  The Lord is on our side!!!  God Bless!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Happy 1 week birthday AUSTIN!!! 
WoW!   I cannot believe its been one week since that crazy night in labor and delivery, BUT, on the same note, I cannot believe its only been one week since I've been making my trips to the NICU... it feels like much more time has passed.
Austin is still doing well.  He's still having minimal A's and B's (apnea and bradycardia spells - A pause in infants breathing that causes the heart rate to slow- common and easily treated).  He is still doing well on the CPAP and continues to require minimum oxygen.  His bilirubin numbers are borderline where they need to be, so doing one more day of lights, and hoping to check the levels tomorrow morning and find they are where they need to be, so that he may come off the lights.

Under the lights
 Today they are double upping his feeds.  Yesterday he did well with 5 and 6mls... and today they aer going to increase his feeds to 9ml's for four feeds, and then up to 10 ml's.  (5mls = 1 teaspoon).  His septum looks so much better today.  Bruise is minimal, and he seems more comfortable with the new prongs.  Today I was able to change his diaper all by myself!  I was nervous for 1/2 a second, but then the mom in me kicked in and I was so excited to feel like I was able to "take part" in the care for Austin.  I am also allowed to "wet his whistle".  LOL.  His little mouth gets so dry.  He has a feeding tube down his throat, and he seems to almost always have his mouth open.  It gets so dry... So I get to swab his little mouth with sterile water.  Nobody wants a dry mouth!  Scotty and I both agree how wonderful Ausitn is looking.  He's beginning to rest more and more (which will allow him to grow and mature), yet he is still feisty when being "messed" with.  His skin color looks excellent.  Another positive day! 

Friday, November 11, 2011
Austin has graduated from the lights!  His bilirubin levels were 4.3, well below where they need to be.  He's gained some weight.... 866g.  Up 38g from birth!  His feeds are still at 10 mls and they are adding calories to my milk.  Yesterday a small, unmeasurable amount of bile came up after one feeding, however it was such a small amount, it didn't raise concern.  With as much air pumped from the CPAP, his belly gets some in there and it sometimes may cause some "back up".  His septum looks great.  He did very well over night.  Is having frequent bowels and urination.  This morning Dr. Heather referred to Austin as a "ROCKSTAR".  I must agree.  Nurse Kelly is so happy to hear the good news that Austin does not have any bleeds!!!!  My in laws were able to touch their grandson for the first time today!!!  They were in heaven!

Saturday, November 12, 2011
Today my mom touched her grandson for the first time.  She was so elated.  His nervous system isn't quite developed, so when he is touched, it must be a firm, hold your hand there kind of touch.  No rubbing his back, or stroking back and forth.  Once you put your hand there, leave it.  Firm.  Other wise he twitches alot, and that's causing un needed stimulation... remember, we want him to gain weight, so any movements he's burning calories.  My mother has been so great to have down here all week.  She helped out so much.  Between housework and cooking, she would watch our 7 year old son at the drop of the dime, so we could get down to the hospital with Austin.  With her here, we were able to learn how to get our day started and down to the hospital by rounds.  We had some adjusting to do, and with her help, it worked out!  Austin is still moving in the right direction.  He gained 3 more grams and is now at 870g.  Kangaroo care today was so relaxing.  My mom was there to see this!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011
Scotty and I make it down at the very end of rounds.  Austin looked a little agitated and stressed to us today.  He kept squirming and tensing up, kind of squeezing his eyes closed.  I mentioned this to his nurse, Kelly.  She said he had a very fussy night.  He was having spells of A's and B's.  His lowest bradycardia hit 56.  Most of them had been right after feedings.  His belly was a little bigger (1.5 cm) but wasn't hard, discolored or loopy feeling.  To err on the safe side, the doctors have ordered some blood work.  A cbc (complete blood count)-to check to see if his bacteria fighting cells are increased, a blood gas-to check his carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the blood, and a blood culture-to check for infection.  This is all proactive, to be sure nothing serious is going on.  Starting Austin on antibiotics in case his blood culture comes back positive (takes 48 hours).  Austin's blood gas shows his carbon dioxide levels are slightly high.  The RT's (respiratory therapists) up his oxygen peep to 6, and his percent to 30%.  His weight is up to 916 grams (2lbs 1oz).  He is holding onto his weight, and that is good.   We do not do kangaroo care today, as he has been poked and prodded alot and needs some rest.  Bless his heart.  Lord, Jesus... watch over my sweet boy.

Monday, November 14, 2011
Austin's weight is up to 927g, which is still in the 2 ob 1oz range... but again he is moving in the right direction.  Early morning scans of his belly came back normal.  His 24 hour blood culture came back negative of infection, and will be checked again at 48 hours.  His blood gas numbers are improving... moving in the right direction.  These numbers will continue to be checked every few hours to make sure the numbers are moving in the right direction.  He has no heart murmurs and his heart sounds good and strong.  His feeds are up to 16 mls.  He went off his TPN's (total parenteral nutrition- provides nutrition through an IV mixed of carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals), and off of his lipids (fats) and is strictly on my breast milk, fortified with more calories.  I was able to do kangaroo care twice today.  I called his nurse before bed-11:45pm-(Lauren-she's so sweet) and since she had arrived on shift at 7pm, he hadn't had any A and B's.  My husband and I were able to go to bed and feel good about the end of the day.   
       Lord, continue to bless Austin with strength to get through his day.  Continue to have mercy on his small body, and allow his numbers to improve and continue to move in the right direction.  Give the nurses and the doctors caring for Austin the knowledge needed to care for him in any and all specific ways.  Please give me and my husband the strength and courage to continue to stay positive on our new path of life! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet Austin, my sweet little miracle... the first days

Austin Allen - He arrived 13 weeks and 5 days early, but has every bit of fight in him as a full term baby.  The size of a peanut, he's mighty strong.  He was born on Thursday, November 3, 2011, weighing in at 828 grams (1 lb 14oz).  He is the sweetest boy.  Dr. Amy Collins delivered Austin, and passed him off to an excellent group of NICU pediatricians.  Austin had a little bit of a rough start, needed a lot of assistance to begin his life, but has been defying the odds since! 

Austin started out on a ventilator, taking 28 of his 48 breathes on his own... the ventilator doing less than half of the work.  This impressed the doctors, along with his feisty attitude, strength, and "fight" that he had in him.  There were blood tests ordered to check for any signs of infection, and he was put on antibiotics as a precaution to the chance of infections.  After the first 24 hours, Austin doing awesome, the doctors took his ventilator out, and put Austin on the C-Pap (continuous positive airway pressure), which allows air to flow continuously through his nose to help keep his lungs open, with Austin breathing on his own.  He started out receiving 30% oxygen, and quickly proved to only need about 25%.  (The air we breathe is 21% oxygen, so he is only needed a small amount for an extra boost).  Austin started his feeds on day two as well.  He started out on 2ml's of breast milk.  Austin's blood work after the first 24 hours came back clean without any signs of infections.... Day one ... day two, we're exhausted, but are excited and confident of the positive progress Austin is already showing!!!

Lord, have mercy on this child and be with him at all times of need.  Give him the strength he needs everyday to grow and mature.  Give the doctors the knowledge needed to make the best decisions for Austin and his health.  Lord Jesus Christ, in Your name, we pray... AMEN.

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Its been 48 hours and Scotty and I go in for the morning rounds.  After a first attempt to get a picc line (a more stable, permanent IV ran through his arm into a main artery), failed Friday night, the doctors decide to try again today.  His blood work came back clean and no signs of infection and Austin is taken off of the antibiotic.  He is doing well with his feeds and with the C-Pap.  His sodium levels are high and he is a little dehydrated, so immediate goal is to figure out his electrolytes and lowering his sodium levels.  His bilirubin is 7.2 so he will begin the lights today.  I am to be discharged to go home today, but Scotty and I cannot leave until after they try to get the picc line in place.   It was a success.  They are able to get the picc line in place and have done xrays to verify its in place.  We are able to go home on a positive note.  Austin is doing so well... Our little peanut.  My mother and sister have come to town to stay and help out.   They visit Austin this night, and are amazed at how much bigger he is than they expected.  He is a little guy... ;o)   So this totally warmed my heart!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011
Austin is still doing excellent.  He looses a few grams in weight, to be expected by a newborn baby, and he's being pumped with fluids to help him out with his sodium, he is urinating a lot!!  He is starting to "calm down" and become comfortable with his new / imitation "womb".  He is on his lights for the second day, and I already notice a difference in his skin.  I think he looks like he's suited up for a motorcycle ride.  What do you think?

He looks like he has his sunglasses on and he's ready to hit the road!!

Today, the 6th is the first day I was able to hold Austin!  It is called Kangaroo care and helps the baby so much!  I love the skin to skin time we get!  Its amazing.  I did not anticipate getting to hold Austin this day, and forgot my camera.  My husband took a picture on his cell phone, so when I figure out how to post it from there, I will!!! The picture of my face in that photo speaks volumes as to how I felt!  Amazed!

Monday November 7, 2011
Today Austins sodium numbers are going down, but still need to fall a little lower.  Still have him on the extra fluids.  He has his first bowel movements today!!!  YAY!  His feeds are upped to 3ml's for his first four feeds and then up again to 4 ml's.  He does very well with his feeds and has gained just a few grams back!!!  Way to go Austin!!!  Keep up the good work buddy!  God is with you, my sweet baby!!!  Lets get those electrolytes figured out, and those sodium levels where they need to be!!!!!

Tuesday November 8, 2011
Today Scotty holds his second born son for the very first time.  Although this seems a little stressful and scary at first, he is able to relax and enjoy this time.  Austin loves his daddy and opens his eyes while daddy talks to him.  He is handling his feeds very well and continuing to have normal bowels and urination.  His sodium levels are still falling in numbers but have a little bit to go yet.  Yay, buddy!  You're doing awesome!!!


From the beginning.....

We wanted to have another baby.  Our oldest son was only getting older and our want for another baby was only growing stronger.  It was a long time until we saw the "positive" marker show up on the pregnancy test- about 2 1/2 years of trying.  Finally, on June 6, 2011, it was positive!!!!  This pregnancy was different from my first. I felt different and craved different foods.  I swore I was having a little girl. 

On September 9, 2011 things changed even more.  I awoke at 3 a.m and my stomach was hard as a rock, and I went to the bathroom and was bleeding.  I called my doctor and woke my husband and we rushed into the hospital up to Labor and Delivery.  They immediately found a strong, healthy heartbeat, but were also tracking contractions.  After "checking" me and giving me a shot of brethine to stop contractions, they sent me home.  We spent the next day at the doctors office, and then the weekend worrying, (nothing seemed to get better), and then that monday at the doctors office, and then off to the High Risk doctors office.  I was classified as to having marginal placenta previa and was ordered to at home bed rest with weekly check ups at the Maternal Fetal Medicine offices.  

After about 3 weeks at home on bed rest, everything seemed to be getting better.  The bleeding subsided and the contractions were no longer present, and I was feeling good.  Almost a week had passed and everything was fine.  Thursday morning, October 6th, I went to the bathroom and a small gush of blood had returned.  I called my OB and she sent me off to Labor and Delivery again.  Baby looked fine, and I was sent home.  I went to my high risk doctors the following morning, October 7, 2011, and everything looked okay and the bleeding was not active, so I went home with the instructions that if I had any more gushes of blood, to either call an ambulance or get to the hospital immediately.  I was fine, or so we all thought.  About 11:30 a.m, everything returned.  I was having light contractions and I felt a warm gush and thought my water broke.  Luckily, my water did not break.... the bleeding had returned and it was more than I have ever seen.  EMERGENCY.....  My mother-in-law rushed me down to the hospital, and there I stayed.... My new home.

I stayed very positive and upbeat.  I knew that this was the best place for me to be.  It didnt take long, and only one or two good cries, to come to terms and to be mentally ready for the long haul.... it was early October, my due date February 7, 2012.... okay, four months to go.   I was mentally ready to spend Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas at my new home - the hospital.  I made several trips between 3South (ante-partum) and Labor and Delivery, until they stopped moving me back to 3 South and just kept me in L&D.  I had several major bleeds and continual contractions, leading to two rounds of magnesium iv drips (if you've never had this- I hope you never have to do it... imagine poison going into your veins, dibilitating you, and keeping you from moving any of your muscles)... I was constantly on monitors and would go from being allowed to get up to shower and use the restroom, to being on strict bedrest, and on a bed pan.  But I was still mentally okay.  I knew this is what I needed to do for my unborn child.  He needed more time. 

On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, an ultrasound showed my previa had infact corrected and was moving up as my uterus was growing!!!  YAY! The bleeding had subsided, and contractions were only here and there, usually at night, and not very consistant.  Things were getting better, and I was feeling good!  Wednesday evening my contractions returned.... and seemed to be a little different.  I could tell they were different.  As the night went on, and became early morning of the 3rd, I could tell, something wasn't right.  These contractions were now hurting me.  They were more localized.  The monitors were not picking them up, but they were so incredibly strong.  They were lower uterine... the damn nurse swore if I was contracting my entire uterus would tense and insisted the monitor stay put (by my belly button)... So I moved it on my own.... and look at that.... I WAS RIGHT.  These contractions were about 4 minutes apart and I was in pain (2:00 am)  I was 2 cm dialated and 50% effaced.  They wanted to keep an eye on things... baby looked good.  They administered a low dose of morphine and gave me visterol (to sleep) and were keeping an eye on me.  The contractions were only getting stronger, and more painful.  (3:30am)  I was not getting better.  Contractions were staying consistant...they were giving me more morphine... I was checked... still 2 cm.  Keep an eye on things.  (4:10am)  Nothing is helping... I am having very painful contractions...  They're getting a little closer together, about 3 1/2 mins apart.   I am checked, UH OH, 4 cms dialated.  "You're in active labor, I'm going to go call Dr. W.."  A couple new nurses come in.... things are being set out on a table, baby warmer is turned on, lights are on.... I look to my nurse and ask... "should I call my husband".  She says "yes, you'll be having a baby in a few hours, by morning."   I called Scotty at 4:16 am.  I was transfered to a birthing bed, begging for an epidural.  They were qucikly administering the magnesium again, trying to get this labor to stop.  BUT NOTHING WAS GETTING BETTER.... ONLY WORSE.  My husband, Scotty walked in about 5:05-5:10 am.... I was in so much pain, contractions were on top of one another... "Please, I need the epidural"  "honey we called, they're on their way down.  You can not sit up, do you think you can stay still on your side"  "I need it, tell them to hurry, call them again"   It was awful.  As soon as she came in to administer the epidural, I felt I needed to push.  In my own words i told my doctor what I was feeling, she looked and yelled "no epidural!  WHERE ARE PEDS.... call them again!!!!"  "We've paged three times"...  "get them here  now!!" ....  IT WAS CRAZY!   Two loud screams, and two pushes, and Austin Allen was born (5:18am)... It was like a football pass off, the nicu peds and nurses were walking in as he was coming into the world.... He had a very rough start.  Apgar at 1 minute was a 1.  At 5 minutes, a 2.   At 10 minutes, a 7.   But he made it!!!!!  After he was revived, and stable, they walked him over to us for just a second to see him, and then off to the nicu.  He had one eye a little open - peeking at the world.  His color looked great.  I knew he was fine.  My little baby boy!!!!  I love him so!

From this post forward, you will be reading about Austin- a miracle!!!  A child from God, blessing our lives and giving us strength we did not know existed!!! I hope Austin's story touches your heart as much as he touches mine each and every day.  He is the strongest person I have ever met in my entire life... and he's also the smallest. Imagine that!!!  We always said this would be like having a first again (7 yr span between kids).  Little did we know, it was really going to be a first.  My happy little family just grew from a family of three to a family of four, as planned, just a little early.  And thats okay.... because he is so special and so amazing.... OUR LITTLE MIRACLE!!!!