Friday, December 23, 2011


There have been lots of firsts around here lately...

First time in the bumbo...I think the verdict is still out on this one

Finally pushing up, and she rolled 3 times the other day - not a fluke in my book!

Happy girl seeing Santa for the first time!  Obviously she loved the big guy!  I'm sure next year's picture will be one of a screaming Adeline

Wearing her Christmas tutu...yes I know it's a little much, but it came as part of the outfit!  (Notice Cooper had to get in the picture as well)

First neighborhood Christmas party 

Doing her leg exercises with her leg warmers on, but her legs are too skinny to keep them up :)
And our Christmas tree fell yesterday...that was a first...but sadly no pictures to document.  We still have to redecorate it or at least enough to make it look good in pictures.  I'm assuming next year Andrew will have it rigged up and tied to the walls.  

We're so excited to be celebrating Adeline's first Christmas as she is such an amazing gift.  Merry Christmas!!  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Week of Doctors Appointments

I'm sure that Adeline is happy to know her week of doctors appointments is over!  On Tuesday, we drove to Charleston for her repeat swallow study and to see ENT.  As we made the drive into Charleston, parked in the parking garage, and walked in the hospital, I felt like I had made that walk the day before.  But this time was different as I pushed Adeline in her stroller knowing that we would be leaving that afternoon.  Even the soap in the bathroom brought back so many memories.  It's crazy how your senses kick in with memories.  As we walked in, we ran into the cardiac PA on the step-down unit.  It was good to talk to her and for her to see Adeline.

Adeline passed her swallow study with flying colors so she is now able to have thin liquids.  This means no more rice cereal in her bottles!  She is able to have regular breastmilk, and I'm allowed to breastfeed but that's a story for another day...let's just say lots of little baby steps in that effort.  Instead of 20-30 minutes, feedings now only take about 10.

Between appointments we enjoyed a nice lunch, and even though Andrew wanted to eat in the cafeteria, I convinced him to eat at a restaurant across the street :)  Much of life at MUSC appears the same except that the large tree in the horseshoe is now decorated for Christmas.

ENT rescoped Adeline to check on her left vocal chord paralysis.  She screamed of course proving to him that she's much louder than she previously was :)  He wasn't able to see her left vocal chord moving, but he was able to see the muscle that moves the vocal chord moving so that was very encouraging.  Clinically, all the doctors are concerned with is her ability to swallow thin liquids.  He said she's compensating well and is probably 50% of the way recovered.  Adeline does not have to see ENT again unless something comes up, yay!  He did mention that she might not have that great of pitch distinction, but it's not like we expected her to have much musical talent when you consider her genes. 

Yesterday, Adeline saw her cardiologist, and he said she looks great!  She won't have to see him again for 3 months!  After that, she had to have a repeat hearing screening because she's considered at-risk because of spending weeks in the hospital and being on heart-lung bypass during surgery.  She passed the screening and will have screenings about every six months for a few years.  If she's like me, she'll have great ears though and hear everything.

Hopefully no more doctors appointments for Adeline in 2011 and no more visits to MUSC even though we are very thankful for it.  She's learned to be quite leery of any doctors office.  Now it's time to finally get the house all decorated for Christmas and start new holiday traditions for little Adeline.

Not quite sure what this face is 
Can you tell she was mad after being scoped by ENT??  She had this look on her face for a good 30 minutes.  

Big tree in the MUSC horseshoe decorated for Christmas

Monday, November 21, 2011

All Smiles

I'm a little late on posting Adeline's 2 month stats from her last visit to the pediatrician - she's up to 9 pounds 3 ounces (but even more now)!  Yes I know that many babies are born this big, but considering the little peanut she was and what all she went through, her weight is fantastic!  She might only be in the 4th percentile, but she's a growing girl :)  She makes up for it in her height - 55th percentile!  Don't know where that height comes from at all!  She was a brave little girl during her shots but then screamed for a good few hours.  She was back to her happy self the next day.

Adeline's latest trick is that she's turned into a little Houdini.  She somehow manages to either move all the way down her crib or turn 90 degrees at night.  We're not sure how she does this, especially considering she's swaddled, but I'm not willing to sit up all night and watch her to figure out how.

Having Adeline in our lives has blessed us with more than we could have ever imagined.  We are incredibly thankful to have a happy, healthy baby girl.  Seriously, she smiles ALL the time, and I can't ever get enough of it.  Sometimes she gives a little smile, but more often she gives a huge smile with her whole face and ends up shaking her head back and forth with excitement.

Daddy's girl sportin her rattles (Andrew calls them her workout bands)
 And a series of pictures with her many expressions...

We are looking forward to a Thanksgiving week spent with lots of family, where I'm sure she will be spoiled.  According to Andrew's grandma, she's not even sure why she's concerned about food because  she knows no one will care about the food - they'll just be happy to see Adeline!  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


34 days spent in the hospital and 34 days of being home.

To think that we've been home with Adeline the exact number of days that she spent in the hospital is incredible.  Her hospital stay seemed to last forever yet it feels like it was a long time ago.  And then when thinking about our time at home, thankfully at times I feel like she's always been home with us.  If you can't tell, it's hard to wrap my head around this.

The hospital stay as a whole seems like a distant memory.  I feel like I was pregnant and in labor years ago.   I am incredibly thankful that I don't fixate too much on her time in the hospital or worry that something is going to go wrong now that she is doing so well.  I know this is God protecting my heart.  Now specific hospital events seem very vivid...

My labor and delivery nurse sitting by my bed for over an hour watching Adeline's heart rate telling me that everything was going to be ok after they lost her heart rate for a few minutes

Hearing the nurse say that Adeline weighed 5 lbs 9 oz and thinking "that's all??"

Getting the first page while Adeline was in surgery saying that all was going well and she was very stable

Walking back into PCICU and Andrew waving at me to hurry up because Adeline was awake and looking around after surgery - quite drugged I might add!

Obviously holding Adeline for the very first time and watching all of her monitors stay at very steady numbers - all the while "hiding" in her little corner of PCICU with her nurse and my mom because they were bringing a new case in and we weren't supposed to be there

Being so proud of Adeline for taking her first full bottle and not knowing I could have that much pride in someone else

Praying throughout the night after Adeline had continued to constantly throw up that nasty formula that something would change

Frances walking in on Day 34 and saying "guess what, you're going home today"

Andrew and I walking out of 8D with Adeline, saying goodbye to Ms. Mary (who had tears in her eyes), and feeling like we should almost walk around MUSC some more because our days there were thankfully over

I don't hear the constant beeps of monitors like I did for the first few weeks while she was in the hospital.  Although, if I watch a video of her in the hospital, the beeps of her monitors are almost a comfort because her numbers always stayed pretty steady, and we relied on those beeps so much.  Now the beeping of a fetal heart rate monitor is another story.  If I'm flipping through the channels and catch an episode of "A Baby Story" (yes I still watch it some), I can't listen to those beeps because Andrew and I spent the night while I was in labor listening to her heart rate and it's too constant dips.

Is it odd that when I'm up in the middle of the night feeding Adeline I wonder what the nurses on 8D are doing?  They were who I talked to when I was up with her in the hospital, and it was such a comfort to know they were right there.  When we got discharged, I was sad that we didn't get to say good-bye to some of our favorite nurses because they weren't working that day.  After spending so many hours and days with the amazing nurses, I wanted to say good-bye and thank them for everything.  They cheered each day as Adeline got stronger and stronger and showed their excitement because they wanted her to go home almost as much as I did.  I'm incredibly thankful we aren't seeing them everyday anymore, but it's strange for them to have played such an important role in her life during the first month, and now we don't see them anymore.  But that's hospital life and how it's supposed to be.  Let me just say, those nurses and doctors have amazing hearts and are definitely answering a call to service.

At some times I ask myself and God "why us?"  Not why us in the sense of why did this happen to us though.  This isn't the story that I would have chosen for us, but it's the story that God wrote for us.  When talking to a friend who spent months in the NICU, she told me that she wouldn't change a thing.  At this point, I can now say that I wouldn't change a thing either.  Andrew and I have a miracle child with a very special heart.  I think that God has big things in store for her.  We treasure each moment with her.  We are stronger and our marriage is stronger.  We know that Adeline is one strong little girl as well.  We view life differently as things have been put into perspective for us, and the trivial things don't matter anymore (well at least most days).

I ask myself "why us" in the sense of why are we home and other babies are still in the hospital.  When you watch other babies have ups and downs and get to know their stories, you want them to go home almost as much as you want to take your own baby home.  Thankfully, Adeline's heart was strong at birth, through surgery, while she recovered, and today as I'm watching her sleep peacefully on her tummy with her legs tucked up underneath her.  Andrew and I still can't believe that the majority of her stay turned out best-case scenario (despite feeding issues).  I don't know if it's normal or not for me to ask God why she's done so well and other babies have not.  I try not to let the fear creep in that something will go wrong.  All I can do is trust God and have faith that Adeline will continue to thrive and live a long life.  We cannot live our days in fear but rather rejoice that she is home, and when looking at her sweet face, I see the face of Christ.

People have commented throughout this journey that I was strong.  I knew I had to be strong for Adeline because she was having to endure so much and was stronger than any of us.  Whatever strength I had was not my own, it came from God.  He held us in the palm of His hand the entire time and gave us comfort and peace.  It was harder than anything I've ever done and definitely scarier, but I'd do it all again in a heart beat to have Adeline home with us.

I hope that one day Adeline will be able to meet everyone who prayed for her throughout this journey.  People all over the country have prayed for her, and we have witnessed so many prayers answered.  Thank you will never be enough, but I do ask that you continue to pray for all babies and families living in a hospital. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  
James 1:17

Look how far our sweet baby girl has come...

September 3 - 1 hour old

Day 1 - her bed in NICU and a picture without her scar

Day 1 - holding my finger

September 13 - day after surgery when she woke up

October 7 - first morning waking up not in the hospital
November 3 - playing on her playmat

And today - November 9 - one happy baby, even though she still won't smile big for the camera :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cardiologist Appointment

Adeline had a check-up with her cardiologist (whom we love) this past week, and everything went great!  She had an echo to check on her repair and all looked wonderful on the echo.  She was pretty well behaved during the echo but got fussy at the end.  She kept giving me the look as if saying "Hey mom, I thought I escaped the hospital and got rid of all these doctors and tests!"  She's also up to 8 lbs 8 oz which considering she was 5 lbs 9 oz at birth, she's putting on the pounds!  Heart babies can have feeding issues and poor weight gain so we are very thankful for her weight.  After seeing her cardiologist, we ran by for a weight check with her pediatrician.  Her pediatrician was quite impressed with her weight gain, and we no longer have to add olive oil and formula to increase the calories in her breast milk!  Her cardiologist dropped her lasix (only cardiac medicine she was on), and we dropped 1 reflux med so she's only on 2 reflux meds now.  Slowly but surely Adeline's medicine and bottle making counter in our kitchen is losing items!  Next up for Adeline is her repeat swallow study in early December to see if she can swallow thin liquids and hopefully breastfeed.  That same day ENT will rescope her to check on her left vocal chord, but we can assure you that we think her vocal chord is just fine :)  She can let out a loud cry when she wants to, and her cry's come a long way since those first few days after surgery. 

In other Adeline news, our sweet baby girl is sleeping through the night (hope I didn't just jinx us)!!  I attribute this to the hospital having her on such a schedule because I didn't do anything special to try and get her to sleep through the night.  One of the perks of being in the hospital for a while - a good schedule.  She's a very happy baby, and she smiles and coos all of the time.  I keep trying to get a good smile on camera, but of course she stops smiling every time I pull out the camera.  We think she'll be an early talker but that shouldn't be a surprise when you think about her parents! 

And because no post is complete without pictures...

Gayle finally getting to hold Adeline

Best we could get of the oldest and youngest cousin together - not sure Will knows what to do with a girl!

Happy 2 Month Birthday - November 3

And she's finished...ripping the sticker off herself!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Shoot

Here are some more pictures from photo shoots :)  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

I think she was about done at this point and really questioning what her mother was doing!

I'd like to think that Cooper was watching over Adeline as she slept, but it's more likely that she wanted to be on her favorite rug.  


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Littlest Pumpkin

We took Adeline to a pumpkin patch last weekend to get some cute pictures.  She of course slept the entire time but that didn't stop us from taking pictures!  We'll continue to be those parents and stage photo shoots until she's old enough to fight back :)  Adeline's excited to celebrate her first holiday soon (we won't count Labor Day since she was only 2 days old).  The adorable pumpkin hat is courtesy of her "Aunt Emily" who's already spoiling Adeline with as she says "all things cute and not practical."