Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We've come a long way, baby!

Saturday, Miss Ella celebrated her half's crazy to think it has been 6 months. The first 3 months of her life went by quite sludgey slow with so many ups and scary downs, but the last 3 have just flown by. We love having her home. She fills our home with so much joy and lots of full body smiles and belly laughs! She is THE love of all our lives. To honor her, our family walked in the New Orleans March of Dimes march for babies. We remembered our cousin, Noah, and brother Charlie. We also walked to honor our other sweet preemie (born 6 weeks early), Jack. It was a very special (and quite emotional for Mommy) day for us.

Ella seemed to know the importance of the day. She smiled and laughed through it all. Hilton, Jack and Sophie took a short break, but Sam and Maddie were walking maniacs! They absolutly would not stop! They wanted to finish without taking a break. I was so proud of each of them for dedicating their time, heart, energy and sweat to this wonderful cause.
After the walk, a visit with Grandpa and Grammy, and a fun trip to the zoo, we stopped by the RMcH and the hospital to catch up with friends and our NICU family. It was a bit difficult and emotional for me to be at the hospital again. But as soon as I saw the sweet faces of our dear nurses, I was so happy to be there. Ella was worn out from a very long day, but I think she was a trooper, smiling at her "nother mother" nurses. It was as if she knew exactly where we were and exactly who they were. It was precious. To our NICU family-Thank you is not at all enough to express the gratitude I have for each one of you who cared for my Ella. She truly is the girl she is today because of your above and beyond care, compassion, kindness, friendship and love. We will always hold you dear and near to our hearts. We love you all!

That chubby foot is precious to me. I remember when it was the size of the top portion of my middle finger. We have come so far and feel so blessed to have been a part of this miracle. At her last appointment (about 1 month ago), Ella weighed 8lb 9 oz. She has another next week, and I am positive she's pushing 10. She is a chunk. The kids have given her the nickname "Chuboily"- chubby and spoiled. She has monthly visits with her pediatrician and eye dr. She has a hemmorage in her left eye...probably left over from her ROP eye surgery...that is being followed. It may need to be lasered if it remains active. She also sees the cardiologist to check the open valve and hole in her heart. Her gastrointerologist will see her in May to determine the next course of action for her belly. He has wanted her to get bigger and stronger before proceding forward. Ella has been unable to tolerate my breast milk (probably due to a malabsorption disorder), so she has continued on the Elecare. Not being able to nurse her or atleast give her ALL the milk I pumped for her has been a sad thing for me, but I have tried to focus on what is best for my girl. Her Elecare smells so bad (it's a predigested amino acid modified medical formula)...and when she spits it up (and she does that A LOT), it really stinks- like double puke! She struggles with reflux and takes meds for it. She receives in- home therapy bi-weekly. In fact, her therapist just left, and says Ella is doing great. She is meeting all the markers for her "adjusted" age. She loves her therapy time because she gets so much attention. The girl loves attention! We stay busy with life- feedings, family time, diaper changes, church, ball games, school plays, doctor visits, etc... but we are sooooooo happy to be doing all of it together as a family. This last 6 months has been full of many emotions and trials, but I am thankful for what we have gained through it all. We are truly blessed! Heartfelt thanks to each of you for your continued prayers, friendship, love and support. We could not have survived this miraculous, scary, blessed journey without each of you. Here's to the next 6 months! BRING IT!

My little family

My little family
This is my beautiful, little family- Hilton, Emily, Jack ( 7), Sophie (4), Maddie (9) & Sam (11). Aren't the azaleas gorgeous? This was taken Easter sunday at my mom's house. The dogwoods and azaleas were in spectacular bloom.