Monday, November 29, 2010

An easier night

Hopefully I'm not speaking too soon considering it's only 5 a.m., but tonight has been a much easier night. Every three hours after Sami had her bottle, I held her until she fell asleep in my arms and then set her down and she actually slept until the next bottle!! I have gotten more than two hours of solid sleep between each bottle so far tonight, which is the most I've gotten since she came home.

Saturday night/Sunday morning, I was not so lucky. Sami was awake literally all night long and I wasn't able to go to sleep until 11:30 a.m. and then woke up at 1 p.m. when it was time for her next bottle. So considering I only slept 90 minutes the whole night, three two-hour blocks of sleep is amazing tonight!!

I spent most of Sunday very tired, but tried to keep Sami as awake as possible between feedings with hopes she would sleep better tonight and it seems to have worked! My sister and niece came over for a visit late in the day and I was like a zombie while they were here. My niece helped me take care of Sami for a few minutes, until the sight of spit-up made her run. lol.

On Sunday evening, Sami didn't scream as loud as usual during her bath, which was also good. One day I was sure I was going to have social services knocking on my door after one of her baths due to all of her screaming.

Sami is an extremely active baby. You cannot turn your back to her even for a minute when you put her down on the changing table as she rolls and squirms all over the place. She is so alert and curious and often has her eyes open and looks all over the room, seeming to be trying to take in everything. Every day is an adventure with Sami, and I can't even describe the love I feel when I look into her beautiful face. I feel so lucky, and I am so grateful, that she is here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not so tiny to me!

It's after 2 a.m. and I just finished feeding Sami. It's only a few hours away before I have to wake her (if she doesn't wake me first) for her next feeding. She is wide awake, even though I held her for a while with hopes she would fall sleep. I put her down but she is laying there making baby noises and looking around the room with wide curious eyes. She isn't crying though, and seems to be happy entertaining herself for the time being.

Today was a nice Saturday. I took Sami for a walk in her stroller, and Penny came along. Penny, our greyhound, has decided her new role in this family is to protect Sami. At every cry or sound, she runs to Sami's side, sometimes getting to her before even I do. It's sweet; she looks from me to Sami completely helpless. I think she wishes she could hold Sami. She even barks and growls at some people when they approach Sami, although she does seem to have calmed down on that front.

Tonight my friend Jesse came over to meet Sami, and she kept saying she couldn't believe how tiny she is. It's funny to me now when people say that, because at 4 pounds and 12 ounces, Sami doesn't look small to me anymore. Her face is filling out and she has adorable little cheeks now. To me, she seems like she has grown so much and isn't so small anymore, so it really seems odd to me when people still remark that she is "so tiny." I guess it's just a matter of perspective. After all, as you can tell by the attached photo, pacifier is about half the size of her beautiful face.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

another night with Sami

It's almost 4:30 a.m. and I just finished feeding Sami. She ate very slowly tonight, and it took her almost an hour to finish just 1 1/2 ounces of formula. She is now in the bassinet next to me as I lay in bed typing on my laptop, while I listen to her steady breathing as she sleeps.

I'm exhausted but sometimes it takes me a little while to fall back asleep after feeding her each time. Last night I think I slept 2 and a half hours total, and considering she'll need to eat again at 6 a.m. I am not expecting tonight to be much more than last night. It's funny the way we adapt.

I definitely notice the two inches Sami has grown. The preemie clothes are actually still a little wide, but when it comes to the onesies with the feet, they are starting to be a little short and I think that soon she may not be able to extend her legs fully out when she wears them. I am thinking of cutting the feet part off of the outfits and putting socks on her feet, because I think the newborn size will still be too big for her to wear. The preemie clothes that are regular pants without feet still fit her just fine.

Sami "talks" in her sleep. She may little noises, and I love listening to her. Sometimes the sound like squeaks, but usually they sound like little baby cooing noises, if you know what I mean.

Friday, November 26, 2010


On Wednesday, Sami's weekly pediatrician appointment went very well. She now weighs 4 pounds 12 ounces, and is expected to gain an average of one ounce per day. She is also now 18.25 inches long. She is now three weeks old and has gained 1 pound and 3 ounces and has grown two inches. At this rate, she will most likely weigh more than 5 pounds at her next visit next Wednesday. The pediatrician said she is doing great, and the only sign of her being a preemie is her small size. Sami is already making me proud to be her mother.

I'm still very tired but I'm getting used to it, and finding I do not need much sleep to function. It's a good thing, considering my other half sleeps through the night ... through every cry, every feeding, etc. Sometimes I think a freight train could go through the room and it wouldn't even wake him up. So yes, I'm tired and a little frustrated, but I am happy even when I am tired, and feel that Sami and I are bonding through all of the time we spend together during the wee hours of the nights and mornings, and the days while I try to balance working from home and taking care of Sami. Yes, my work is suffering right now, but when she gets a little bigger and on more of a schedule, I am expecting that to change. All of my clients are being very understanding.

We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house, where my sister and her two daughters and my mother took turns holding Sami while making baby talk and laughing each time she smiled, scrunched her lips together or stretched her arms up in the air. It's so funny how every expression a little baby makes turns into entertainment. Sami was definitely the center of attention tonight.

Of course I think it made her schedule a little more off than usual, since she didn't sleep as much this evening. So when it was time to feed her around 2:15 a.m., Sami only ate one ounce instead of two, and even the one ounce was a struggle. It's now 3 a.m. and I finally gave up and am letting her sleep, but of course this means she will need to eat again before the usual three-hour break. I am expecting her to wake up hungry by 4 a.m. I am not sure if I will be able to stay up until then as I am getting very tired, but I'm sure she will wake me up. LOL. She has unbelievable loud pipes for her small size. Then I'll take a nap until it's time to feed her again around 7 a.m., and then will feed her around every three hours. I don't really remember what it's like to sleep. I'll have to ask my husband to describe sleep to me since he still knows what sleep is like. LOL.

All joking aside, this Thanksgiving I know how much I have for which to be thankful, and I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our big day

It's 3 a.m., and I just finished feeding Sami. I am waiting now to see if she is going to stay asleep before I let myself fall back asleep.

Today was a big day! Sami got all dressed up to go out and meet her amazing great-grandmother, who will be 98 this February. I know that I am not supposed to take her out before her two-month vaccinations, but I just couldn't resist the urge today to introduce them. And of course, it was love at first sight!

Today I completed the finishing touches on Sami's nursery. It is officially my favorite room in our house. It's so cheerful, and I hope that she will love her room as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In love with Sami...

I'm not sure I've ever felt the kind of love I feel for Sami. Yes, I wake up every couple of hours around the clock and walk around in a semi-zombie state. Yes, I have not associated with any adults aside from my husband, sister and mother since she has come home. And yes, I haven't left the house since she has been home aside from her first appointment with her pediatrician. But it's worth it all. It is SOOOO worth it all.

Sami does need a bit more care than full-term newborns. She is on a special high-calorie formula, which she will need to stay on for one year. She will have weekly appointments with the pediatrician until she reaches average newborn weight. She needs to eat every 3-4 hours. If she sleeping I have to wake her up to eat. And because she takes a long time to eat, and takes a while to fall back asleep afterward, I am basically waking every every 90 minutes. And because I am full-time freelancer, I do not receive any kind of maternity leave, so I am trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to continue to work from home. But I find myself falling asleep with her in the morning. (Yes I admit that I do mean "with her" as often we fall asleep together with her in my arms.) She will probably become extremely spoiled as she is held almost all of the time.

She's still in preemie clothes. Newborn size is definitely still too big, and 0-3 month clothes are something I probably wont be thinking about for a while. She will most likely be smaller than other children her age, until she is somewhere between 2 and 5 years old. And she might be a little behind in some developmental things, but I am told that this is only a possibility since she is already doing so much better than expected, and that even if she does have these issues, she will be caught up by the time she is 5 years old or sooner.

I can look at her for hours without getting bored. In fact, I do. I just hold her and stare at her. She looks back at me often with her eyes wide with interest, and sometimes it almost seems as if she has an older soul inside of her the way she looks back at me.

I just adore Sami. (In case you couldn't tell.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sami's coming home

Sami is coming home today! I feel like a little kid the night before Christmas, I'm so excited.

Last night was the first night I didn't go back to the hospital (I did still go during the day) and I missed her so much. I decided to stay in and finish some things to get ready for her arrival and to try to get a little rest.

I'm doing some last-minute things this morning before it's time to go get her and bring her home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodnight (or should I say morning?)

There is a very good chance Sami will be discharged from the hospital at noon today. After getting home from the hospital at 2 a.m. this morning, I wound up pulling an all-night disinfecting every corner of my house for Sami's arrival. It's now almost 6:30 a.m. and I have to call the hospital between 10:30 and 11 a.m. to confirm if she is coming home today, or if I'll be spending another day with her in the NICU. Hopefully I'll be able so sleep shortly for a few hours...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big changes! :)

Sami gets it! She's eating! Well it's more like inhaling! LOL. She is finishing her bottles now in about 8 minutes flat. Of course she still only gets an ounce at a time because her stomach is too small for any more than that, but because of how well she started eating yesterday and all night last night, her feeding tube was removed this morning! We were warned that there is a possibility she wont keep it up, and will wind up having the tube put back in, but it's still a very good sign! I almost cried last night each time that I fed her because it was so great to watch her eat so well.

In other good news, she had a big weight gain over the past day and a half, and is now weighing 4 pound and 2 ounces! This means that in the next day or two she will most likely be moved out of the incubator and into a crib! There is a chance that will stress her out a little and cause her to stop eating so well, but it's just a wait-and-see situation. Either way, this is great news.

Sami definitely has a temper. When she does not like something she really lets you know. Last night when we were cleaning her belly button (she lost her cord last night, too!) she was screaming so much she turned bright red and her heart monitor went up to 200. It quickly went back down afterward, but boy is she a character already.

It looks like she may be home before Thanksgiving :) I am so proud of our little girl.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Waiting to visit Sami

I go to sleep missing Sami, and I wake up missing her. This morning I can't be there because we are meeting with who-will-most-likely-be her pediatrician at 12:40 p.m. today. Then I am off to see Sami.

I had been working in the middle of night every night to be able to spend every day and evening with Sami, but I had finished everything I needed to do for the week Thursday morning, so last night I finally got to sleep a little bit. I think I slept about 6 hours, which is a lot better than the 2 or 3 hours I've been getting every other night.

I called the hospital this morning, and her nurse today said that Sami took an entire bottle at 6 a.m., and at 9 a.m. she decided to let her rest and just fed her through the tube. I really hate that. I sometimes feel that when I am not there, they don't even try with the bottle. I want to believe that it is truly because Sami needs to rest from eating, but sometimes it seems that it is just the easy way out for them. The nurse did say that at noon she will try the bottle again and see how Sami does. I wish I could be there for that, but I will probably not make it up there until before her 3 p.m. feeding. I will probably stay at that point until they close the NICU at 6:30 p.m. for the nurses' shift-change. I plan on being back when they reopen at 8 p.m., and Steven was planning on going back with me tonight. It's only 10 a.m. now and it feels like seeing her around 3 p.m. is a lifetime away right now.

Tonight I will be bring something of hers home with me. I read an article about how to get your pets ready for a new baby, and it suggests bringing something home that smells like the baby and letting your pet smell it, so that I are used to her scent before she comes home. I talked to a nurse about it last night, and she said that is the best way to start the introduction, and that is what she did when she had a baby. She said that when her baby came home from the hospital, her dog felt like he already knew her because he had been smelling one of her items for a few days previously.

Missing Sami

Sami now weighs 3 pounds and 14 ounces. It's so great that she is gaining weight every day. Now we just need to get her to eat better. That's her biggest challenge still. Tonight when I fed her, she took about half the bottle and had to have the rest through the tube. The same thing happened during the day when I fed her, and during the feeding the nurse did when I wasn't there. If I wake up after her 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. feeding, I will call the NICU to see how each of those feedings went.

I spent most of the day with her today. Then tonight Steven was able to go with me when I went back to the hospital, and we got home shortly before 1 a.m.

Tomorrow we have an appointment to meet with a pediatrician that was highly recommended to me. She does consultations with new parents to introduce herself and answers questions before you bring in your child for the first time. After that Steven will be going back to work, and I will head back up to the hospital. I hate that I can't go there first thing in the morning to see Sami, but I know that meeting the pediatrician is important.

But more than anything, I just want Sami home with us. When I leave her, I feel that I am leaving a piece of myself behind. I miss her so much.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I am in love with an NICU nurse named Tilda, who got my daughter to take two entire bottles tonight. One at 8:30 p.m. and one at 2:30 a.m. The second one only took Sami 15 minutes to finish. I don't understand why all of the nurses can't be like Tilda, after dealing with two not-so-great nurses over the past couple of days. I pray that her daytime nurse will be as patient.

It's almost 4 a.m. I finally finished proofing pages that I have to drop off at 9:30 a.m., and then will be heading to the hospital. I'm still awake since I'm so happy about Sami's night, but hopefully will be asleep before 4:30 a.m., then I have to be up before 8 a.m. and will have another long day ahead of me. My back, which had been feeling a lot better, is hurting something fierce right now. I'm laying on an ice pack, and hoping that feels better in the morning, too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not a great day

Today was upsetting. I spent the day in NICU at the hospital with her. Her nurse today said it could be a few more weeks before Sami can come home because she is eating poorly and is being tube fed. I was expecting her to be home this weekend or early next week, so this was heartbreaking. They can't and won't predict when she will come home, because they say it's really up to Sami. I had a talk with her about her needing to eat from the bottle so that she can home. I came home for a little bit, and will most likely be heading back up tonight. The hospital is 45 minutes each way, so I'm spending a ton of time driving back and forth, and losing a lot of freelance work, since I am spending most of my time with her in the hospital. It's worth it, of course, and I hate every second I am away with her. I just want her home.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

another day with Sami

I spent the whole day today with Sami. She eagerly ate when I gave her a bottle, even though she doesn't do so with the nurses. They joked that I should be there around the clock for every feeding. She is still alternating bottle feeding with tube feeding.

I was also reminded again that until she is at least two months old, she cannot be around groups of people or anyone that has a chance of being sick, and everyone must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before touching her. Premies are much more susceptible to germs than regular newborns, especially because she is so small, and will most likely be small for a while. She is wearing premie clothes now, and will move on to newborn clothes in the next few weeks, but most likely wont be wearing 0-3 month clothes until she is 3 months old. We were told that if she gets sick at all before six months old, she will have to be in the hospital on IV antibiotics, so we have decided to follow these rules very strictly until she has had her two-month vaccinations, which may come even later than two months depending on her size. We aren't going to take her out to restaurants, stores or anywhere with large groups of people. Her outings will consist of walks in the neighborhood and doctor appointments. lol. But that's OK. I don't mind us having her mainly all to ourselves for a while.

Today was one of the best days of my life. I sat there for hours just holding her and talking to her rocking back and forth in one of the NICU rocking chairs. She had her eyes closed almost the whole time, but did open them occasionally and look up at me. She also kept one hand wrapped tightly around my finger the whole time. She is amazing, and so cute it melts my heart.

another update

Sami is continuing to gain weight. Last night at 11:30 p.m. she weighed a little more than 3 pounds and 11 ounces.

The biggest challenge right now is that she doesn't really want to eat so most of her food is coming to her through the tube down her nose. Every other feeding she is offered a bottle, and she gets through about half of it before refusing to eat any more, so then she gets the remainder of it through the tube. Every other feeding between those, she is strictly being fed through the tube. I know it's good because this way she can get her nutrition without exhausting herself by eating, but it's disheartening to watch her with the tube down her nose, and I was really enjoying sitting with her and feeding her every few hours when I am there. She ate so well her first two days, and then it seems she just exhausted herself. At her small size, even eating is exhausting for her.

Aside from that she is doing well. She is keeping herself warm, and I'm hoping that soon they will move her out of the incubator into a crib in the NICU. She will also have to pass a car seat test before she can go home. We will have to bring in her car seat when they tell us to, and they have to make sure she can sit in it safely. She is getting close to meeting all of her criteria to go home, aside from the eating issue. The criteria are: she has to weigh at least 4 pounds, she has to be totally bottle-fed, and she has to regulate her own body temperature. Her weight is going up, and the real main battle we still have to get through is her eating regularly from a bottle.

I miss Sami when I am not with her, but I know she is very good hands. Each NICU nurse only care for two babies per shift, so she is getting round-the-clock care.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sami update

We got home tonight from the hospital after midnight again. I now have so much work to catch up on, and imagine I will be up working until about 4 a.m. since most of it is due on Monday morning. Tomorrow (Monday), I have to get up early to drop off the edited pages at one of my clients. Then I need drop of a very large check to the attorney for the remainder of Elizabeth's support and legal fees, and then spend the day with Sami. My mom is going with me to see Sami.

Tonight broke my heart. Sami isn't eating as well as she had been, and now is being tube fed through her nose. Unless you've experienced this firsthand with your own child, I think it may be hard to understand what it feels like to witness this. She is so tiny and helpless, with wires on her chest, a monitor on her ankle, and now a tube down her nose, and she sleeps enclosed in a clear incubator.

The good news is that she gained half an ounce, and now weighs 3 pounds, and 9 and a half ounces. It was still such a surprise that she was born almost 6 and a half weeks early. She may have some developmental delays, but is expected to catch up completely by the time she is 5 years old. The other good news is that she is no longer jaundice, and she is regulating her body temperature on her own. If that keeps up, she will probably be moved to a crib very soon.

Elizabeth called me today because she was discharged from the hospital and is home now. I had been visiting her every day and she didn't want us to take the time to go up to her floor in the hospital when she wouldn't be there. We had a nice conversation, and she thanked me for everything we did for her. She told me that she loves me, and she knows we will be good parents, and she is very sure she made the right decision. I thanked her for helping us create our family. The conversation made me feel good, and I felt emotional when we said goodbye and hung up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wishing she was here...

We just got home from spending time with Sami. She is doing great, and is so precious. It's so hard to leave her.

We were originally going to have a party for her a few weeks after she came home, but after talking to the pediatrician and nurses and the hospital, we have decided to wait until she is at least two months old, after she has received her two-month vaccinations. Because she is a premie, she is even more susceptible to germs than full-term newborn babies, and she really shouldn't be around large groups until after two months. No shopping malls, parties, events with large groups, etc. We also will only be having a couple of people over at a time, and will wait to have any group of people over at once for a couple of months. (This was also advised to us by the NICU nurses. We also are not supposed to have anyone around here with any symptoms of a cold or even not feeling well, just in case.) We also have to take her temperature often, and if it's ever above 100.4 we have to call the pediatrician. But we wont mind being cautious and limiting guests, because we know we will just be so happy to have her home with us where she belongs.

I have been visiting Elizabeth every day in the hospital. When Steven is with me, he visits her with me, and my mom and sister have each met her now. She is so grateful for the company, because she has no other visitors. Today we brought her a gift of bath products, and her whole face lit up. I know she hasn't done everything right, and I know she got a lot of financial support from us for the adoption, and she still gets support for the next eight weeks, and will have her December and January rent paid, but I still feel a connection to her and am so grateful to her. What she did for us is something I will always feel overwhelmed about. I do not agree with everything she has done, and we are very different people, but I feel bonded to her. I can't put it into words.

This morning Elizabeth signed the papers giving up her parental rights to us. In Florida, you can't sign those papers until 48 hours after giving birth, and once you sign the papers you can't change your mind. So she's ours for sure. The only thing still left is we wait for our court date, which should be in about 90 to 120 days to make it completely official and get her new birth certificate with our names on it, and apply for her Social Security card. Once it is official, we can convert her and do the baby naming, which will be a very special time for us.

We still needs tons of stuff, everything from clothes to diapers to bottles and blankets, etc. etc. etc. She will need premie sizes for a little bit, before moving on to newborn size. It may be a little while before she is wearing the 0-3 month size though. Only time will tell.

As I am writing this, I already miss Sami so much and wish she was here with us.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

She's here!

I have so much to say, but I am sooo tired so I need to make this short, but promise to update more over the weekend. Samantha "Sami" was born at 10:33 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4. She is doing so great. Eating on her own, breathing on her own, but she can't come home until she weighs 4 pounds. She weighs 3 pounds and 9 ounces. It will probably be about two weeks, but hopefully a little less. We miss her so much when we leave the hospital, where she is in NICU, and can't wait until she comes home!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Here we go!

It's 6 a.m. and the attorney just called. Baby S' heart rate dropped again and they are doing the C-section at 9 a.m. She said it is definite. We are quickly getting ready and are off to the hospital!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I spoke too soon

Well I spoke too soon. We just back home from the hospital. Everything seems stable and they are hoping to be able to keep Baby S in Elizabeth for at least another 3 weeks. I'll update more later because I have tons of work to catch up on. But everything is OK.

Today is the day!!

We are leaving for the hospital in a few minutes. They decided to do a C-section today, as the baby's blood pressure went down a couple of times during the night. It is expected right now that Baby S is fine, just small.

I will update when I can.

We are very nervous and very excited right now!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

waiting game

A pretty decent day turned into a very stressful one around 6 p.m. At Elizabeth's regular check-up this afternoon, the ultrasound showed very low amniotic fluid, and Elizabeth was immediately admitted to the hospital.

Tonight they are monitoring her, doing blood work, and giving her tons of fluid both orally and intravenously, with the hope that she is just dehydrated. However, if the fluid level doesn't increase, this is not safe for Baby S, and they will have to induce labor. Right now it's a waiting game.

It's hoped that Baby S will stay inside Elizabeth longer, as she is only 34 and a half weeks along, and Baby S only weighs 4 pounds and 2 ounces right now.

We planned to go to the hospital tonight to visit Elizabeth but she didn't answer my phone calls, but did answer my texts right away for some reason. I asked her if she was up for visitors, and she replied with "I'm fine. There's no need to come up here." Then I replied with that "I wanted to be there," and "can you talk on the phone instead of just texting?" She finally replied with "Yes, but give me 20 minutes." I called her 30 minutes later and she didn't answer. I don't understand why she didn't answer my calls, but if I texted her she wrote back immediately. I am done calling her or texting her tonight because I don't want it to seem as though I am harassing her, but I expect to be worried all night, and not get much sleep. In the morning, I will contact the attorney and try to reach Elizabeth again.