Sunday, May 31, 2009

New clothes and visitor

This is an organic outfit from the Gap that was a gift from cousin Trisha and Thurston!  And it has room for her to grow!!!!!  (0 to 3 months)  Olivia is really cool and hip in her Gap clothing!
This is an outfit from Aunt Suki and Uncle John III.  So very very cute!!!!  It has an adorable sweater that goes with it. She wore the sweater outside.  (0 to 3 month; Janie and Jack)
Uncle Doug came to visit O this afternoon. O showed him just how MUCH she can sleep during the day!!!!  (Mama O and O have quality time at night with the mood lighting of the night lights!)  O also showed him how stubborn she still can be about getting the bottle in her mouth to start feeding. We thought we were doing better at that, but then she decided to entertain us again with her old tricks! 

Today was O's Due Date!  She can no longer use the excuse:  "But I am not even supposed to be born yet!"

Olivia meets her cousins

This morning, Olivia had a brief visit from her cousins.  Daddy O's brother and his wife have 5 children. The youngest is just a month older than O.

Jesus Loves Me

Please excuse the singing, but O was so cute in the way she responded to the song that I just had to share.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hooray for gas drops!

O's digestive track was causing her some difficulties this week (I will spare you the details. Mama O called the pediatrician and she suggested gas drops and the old fashioned Karo Syrup remedy.  We decided to try the gas drops first, and then in our typical cautious fashion, use them at half the recommended dosage.  Well, O feels much better just with the drops.  I have also discovered that she had been flailing around on the changing table because her tummy was bothering her. Now between the towel roll to support her shoulders, hips and keep her body in alignment and a tummy that feels better, she can relax and enjoy some social play time during changing.  
She is a much happier camper!  

Into the Great Outdoors

Olivia ventured outside into the back yard yesterday. She was not really thrilled about being in the stroller. It was good to be outside for Mommy though!  We will try again another day. Perhaps just carrying her outside and sitting with her. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Visit with Aunt Connie

Today Daddy O went to the office. This was the first day he was away from Mama O and Baby O since O was born.  We really miss him.  Aunt Connie came last night and has been with us all day.  O has slept all day except when we gave her a bath this morning.  Aunt Connie, retired hair stylist, studied O's hair growth and now O has a new hair style!  Mama O was combing it the wrong direction for the way that her hair grows.

We have commented about O's strength and determination, her powerful legs, her wiggly squirminess. Well, today during a diaper and t-shirt change she threw her leg over the other leg and rolled completely over with arm moving her over, too.  Yes, probably a fluke. But Wow! We were saying that one has to anticipate O's every move! Here is one example.  The early on therapists are scheduled to evaluate her the beginning of June. It will be good to get regular professional directed advice.  O moves around A LOT!  We have heard the opinions that this is normal baby movement and then the opposite that this is not normal.  The early on therapists will say for sure.  The good thing is that even if this is not normal, that addressing whatever this issue might be early will help us to overcome any obstacle it might place in her way in the long run.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today, finally, O's umbilical cord finally fell off. Perhaps she was waiting until the date she was scheduled to be born.  With this milestone, she can finally wear real clothes other than nightgowns and t-shirts.  So, we put her in this preemie sized sleeper.  Of course, it is very hot today, so she basically only wore it for photos and then she declared it was too hot.  The nurses told us not to bother buying preemie clothes.  Luckily we did not buy many.  She is outgrowing them quickly.  O is finally getting some baby fat. She really appeared that she had not an ounce of fat on her when she was born. She looks so cute and newborn baby like!

We are doing really well.  Thanks to Grandma B we even have a clean house!  Daddy O is back to work this week. He has declared that playing with O is more fun than work. I agree!  

O is getting stronger everyday. She is a hard worker during her physical therapy play time. I am impressed by her daily progress.  (although there are days when she seems to take a tiny step backwards.)  Daddy O is currently sitting with her and practicing holding her head up.  Quite a balancing act and a feat of neck strength.  

O let me sleep for 3 hours straight last night!  What a great kid!   No wonder I love her so much!

Aunt Connie just arrived and is having a sleep over!  We will play all day tomorrow while Daddy is at the office.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Video (again)

I have uploaded the recent video footage of O to our MobileMe acccount. As such, the video should be viewable at much higher quality. You can select the quality of the video by selecting one of "tiny," "small," "medium," or "large" below the video.

If you don't already have it installed, you may need to install the Quicktime movie player. For those with a Mac, it should already be on your computer. For those running Windows, it is a free download here. You do not need to purchase the "pro" version, the "free" version is fine.

Please let us know if you have a problem viewing the video this way. We prefer to use the MobileMe account for quality reasons, but don't want to leave anyone behind in the process. On the MobileMe account you can also download the video to your computer if you want to.

- Daddy O

Monday, May 25, 2009

Baptism Video

Here is some video from O's Baptism this past Saturday.  We appreciate all who prayed with us and for O on this special day in her life.

Video - Part1

Video - Part2


Here are some video clips taken of O over the past few days.  My how she has changed during the past 3 weeks.  We must be over fertilizing - she is growing like a weed :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"What Happened????"

I just had to share this cute photo. 

(be sure to scroll down and read the Baptism post)


Today we celebrated O's Baptism in a very quiet small service.  Due to O's early arrival, low birth weight and Down syndrome, we were advised by doctors and nurses in the NICU to keep O out of crowds (germs) and from being overstimulated. We did not want to wait any longer than necessary to begin her life in the Church, so we opted for this private service.  Pictured is who was in attendance.  (also, Peter's brother and his wife were there to drive Grandma Kate and take photos and movies)

O was very quiet and slept through the 45 minutes that we were at Church.  She did not let out even  a whimper during the Baptism, but was peaceful and positively radiant of God's Glory! (We DO think she is the best!)  Towards the end when Daddy O was opening gifts, O was softly whining that it had been enough and she was ready to go home. At home,  she got a bottle, then slept for 3 1/2 hours solid until we had to wake her up to eat. 

 Eating is going well and she continues to gain weight and grow.  She is feeling like less of  a preemie and more of a baby.  She actually is starting to fill out!  She is getting stronger every day. We are impressed by how well she holds her head up and moves her head around during tummy time.  She likes tummy time! Today I tried a black and white card for her to look at.  I believe she was seeing something, because she got very peaceful in her breathing and facial expressions and stared in that direction for a long time.

I hope all of you can know that we would have wanted to share this big day with you.  Prior to O being born we had planned to invite everyone to the Baptism and have music and a party. But O had other ideas!  Our little Fiesta Girl born on Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Settling in

I have to apologize for not posting for the past few days. We have been catching up on the housework and getting settled with O.  We are all doing great!  Special thanks to Grandma B for being here Monday and Tuesday helping with whatever we needed, from scrubbing toilets to folding towels to holding O.  We could not have gotten back on track without you.

I am trying to keep up with emails, but as many of you know, it is tricky for Mommies to get computer time with a baby.  Babies are much sweeter and warmer than computers, anyway, but I want all of you to know that we appreciate every kind word and every gift.  Thank you list is sitting there waiting for me, and Peter and I are working on ordering birth announcements.

We are truly enjoying every aspect of having O in our lives!  She is the sweetest baby and it is an honor to spend time with her day and night!
Rory is glad to have Mommy and Daddy home.  She is a great help!  Always following me around.  The cats have a very healthy cautious respect for O. They have seen these little babies grow up and they know that before long the tables will be turned.  Lorelai is not that interested. She is just glad that Mommy is home to feed her on a more normal schedule.
Today, we went to the doctor for a well baby check up.
O weighs 4 lbs 14 oz.
Feeding is going well.  She just finished 2 oz. in 10 minutes!  An all time personal best for O!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home At Last !!!!

This morning, sweet baby O graduated from NICU.   We are home and settling in.  Will write more later, but wanted to let everyone know that O is home.  Praise God!!!!

Daddy working to bundle our tiny ray of sunshine into the big car seat.

All three of us leaving NICU.

Mama O sitting next to Baby O in the backseat of the car.  All tucked in and ready to head for home.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bonus Photo

Silly face!
 Silly nurses!
This gown was WAY too big!


We have to share this funny story.  The night nurse put Olivia in a pretty pink nightgown that was way too big for her.  When we came back from lunch, Olivia had managed to squirm her way out of her swaddle and her clothes.   I will be glad to get her home to put her in clothes that fit better.  The nurses have been great, though.  Even the nurse that was not so great on Monday was a completely different person today.  I guess we all have our bad days.

Coming Home! Hopefully!

We have great news!
O is supposed to come home tomorrow if she continues to manage to get her formula quota consumed.
It is difficult to get her to stay awake to take it all, but we manage to do it.  We feel like we are forcing her, and that we are. 
We will have to continue this until the doctor says we don't.  But she is low birth weight and struggling gaining. 
Prayers please for our success and hers, too!

We were busy getting the finishing touches ready for O's homecoming so that is the reason for the short post yesterday and no photos today.

Recent highlights:
Getting tube out of her nose!  (Think of that Thurston!!!!)
Car seat test.... she passed!
First Physical Therapy appointment.  Mama O and Daddy O learned which exercises to begin to strengthen and stretch muscles.  We also received special instructions for tummy time.  O has gained in strength so much since birth.  During tummy time, she can pick her head up and turn from side to side.  Her legs are strong.  Her proximinal muscles are weak.  But she is going in the right direction.
She is beginning to arouse herself to eat.  She actually will let our a little cry sometimes when she is hungry. 
Her endurance still is not very good. She gets tired too fast.
When she comes home we will have to make sure that we feed  her every 3 or 4 hours whether she wakes up herself or not.

Car Seat Test photo

Friday, May 15, 2009

More tomorrow....

O got her feeding tube out!!!  Eating well!!!

She passed her car seat test, too!   90 minutes hooked up to monitor.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Way to Go O!

Someone has a full belly!!!  :-)   
O's ranking for feeding by bottle was:  Meets or Exceeds Expectations!
Keep up the good work O!
We did all of her feedings and they all went beautifully!
Notre Dame Fan already!  Daddy has taught her the Victory March!
The night nurse moved her feeding tube to her nose from her mouth. This was to allow for easier feeding.  It worked!  It makes O sneeze though.  If O continues to eat well, she gets her tube completely removed.  This was the first day that we ever saw her chin.  It is cute, don't you think!  It does appear to be small as is typical for a person with Down Syndrome.
Although O keeps her mouth closed and her tongue in as a typical baby does, here is a photo of her being silly.  Actually we rarely see her tongue and usually have to pry her mouth open to feed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bitter-sweet Milestone Day

Today we reached a bitter-sweet milestone.  The birthmom signed her papers indicating that she will not be parenting O.  We ask for your prayers for her. This is never an easy thing to do, even when the birthmom knows that it is in her best interest and in the best interest of the baby.  We so very much admire her strength and her sweetness. She has done so much this week to help us to feel comfortable with being given the great privilege of raising her beloved daughter.  She wants us to be the parents and feel comfortable that this is what she wants for her baby. She is grateful to us for parenting O.  We just feel so privileged!!!!  We cannot imagine a more perfect daughter!  We love her more and more everyday!
Mama O gave O a bath today.  In the photo above and below, she is all clean, bright-eyed and happy!
Just some time looking at Daddy O and Mama O before going back to sleep. She did much better eating today. The occupational therapist (OT) gave us great tips to keep her more alert during feedings.  Her sucking is strong and in good form.  All the reading about Down Syndrome is paying off as we understand very clearly what the OT person is saying having done our reading ahead of time.
Here is our little apple blossom stretching out.  She now weighs 4 lbs 8.3 oz. !
We are taking one day at a time and just enjoying every moment that we are with her!  Today we were in the NICU for 9 hours. Usually our days will be shorter so that we don't wear ourselves out before she comes home. The bath delayed our departure.

Thanks to every one for your support and prayers and emails. I try to keep in touch as much as possible, but I know that I don't always do as well as I would like. But know that we so very much appreciate all the support and emails and facebook comments!

Video on You Tube

Yesterday was a better day.  
We will still be in NICU for some weeks, but things are going smoothly.

I was busy making this movie yesterday.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Set back day

We were spoiled by so many good days in a row.  Today was a tough one! After days of nurses who were 10's, we had a nurse who was.... not a 10.  Her young intern was a 10 though!

O was not very interested in bottle feeding today. She was more interested in sleeping!  She would eat a very little, then would get tired and not want to work so hard any more.  The doctor said that this is typical pre term baby behavior, but that it may need more help to be overcome because of the Down Syndrome low muscle tone.  Tomorrow an occupational therapist (OT) will work with the three of us.  

She will not be going home until she is feeding by bottle completely.  So, O is already teaching us to slow down in our expectations and just enjoy each day.  And she is SO VERY enjoyable!!!!  We cannot believe what a neat kid she is!  She is worth everything!!!!!
O had her follow up echo cardio gram today.  We should hear the results tomorrow. The first one was good, so we are hopeful.  She did not care for the test, but as usual she was a really brave girl.  I tell you! She is the coolest kid! Yes, we are probably incredibly biased!!! :-)
Here is our little angel sleeping instead of eating.  

Tomorrow  will be a better day!
But everyday it is really wonderful to be with Baby O.
When she opens her eyes and looks at us it is The Best!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day

Free Free Free at last!!!!
Today O got rid of all of her medical equipment except the feeding tube.  She got to put a nightgown on over her t-shirt, and she can be swaddled in one blanket and not need any more blankets.  She is out of the incubator and in the isolette. She is regulating her temperature just beautifully!  It was amazing how all of the sudden her temperature regulation kicked into gear! 
O still will need to spend most of her time swaddled since she was a pre term baby.  They want the babies to have to kick hard against the swaddle as if they were scrunched in the womb. This strengthens their muscles.   O is floppy.  They tell us that most of what we see is probably the Down Syndrome low muscle tone floppiness.  She will need to be swaddled for the first 4 to 6 weeks after she gets home.
Look who woke up today!!! O slept all day yesterday.  It was great to see her eyes for a little while this morning.  She seemed to wake up and look Mama O in the eyes and say, "Happy Mama's Day, Mommy!  I am glad I got here for the big day!"  We were so excited by all the progress that O made today. The biggest milestone was moving to the step down unit of the NICU.  She is classified as feed and grow.  That means that once she is feeding completely on her own by bottle with no feeding tube and still growing that she can go HOME!!!   (the driving back and forth 1 1/4 hours each way is getting to be a bit much!)   O is doing good with the bottles, but she needs to be able to eat all the ounces they want her to before she can go home.  
O now weighs 4 lbs 5 oz  (our weight yesterday was inaccurate)

The doctor said that she may be ready to go home as early as Wednesday!  Please pray that we can go home soon!  We are all ready to be home together!  Doctor also said that O is very healthy for a baby with Down Syndrome.  Music to our ears!  She will have another echo-cardiogram done to make sure that her heart is truly doing well. Doctors tell us they hear no murmur and believe that her heart is good!  Praise God!

We had been praying for the birthmom, as I know many of you have too.  It has been rough emotionally.  In addition to the adoption plan, she had a C-section (emergency) and it was rugged.  She also was worried about O in NICU.  Today, the birthmom called Mama O to wish me a Happy Mothers' Day!! Wow!!! Hearing her say that gave me permission to be truly Happy about my first Mothers' Day.  I told her that entrusting O to us made us happier than we could ever express. She was so happy to hear this.  We have a great birthmom. She has a sweetness about her that is so dear.  We think that O has her eyes.  

O is a great kid!  She is so cool!  We are so blessed!!!  

We began praying with O the first day we met. She really likes the Our Father.  She will flutter her eyes when we pray.  She cannot wait to be Baptized!!!  She thinks that is going to be awesome! We have told her all about St Mary's and she is so excited to join! She cannot wait to hear Father Dave tell all the stories about Jesus!  (and hear Deacon Roger sing!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Peaceful Day!

She looks so adorable sleeping.... even in her incubator. We spend a lot of time just watching her sleep. They keep her in there for long periods of time so she can simply rest. She should not even be born yet.  She sleeps almost all the time now, except to squirm for diaper changes, and fuss about getting her temperature taken.  She barely wakes up to eat.  She is taking over an ounce via bottle.

Today was a peaceful day for us and all of NICU.  We were moved to a new room. We had been in an observation room, because there were 49 babies and 45 beds.  Our new room has a window!!!!! It is great to see outside and get natural light. We had been feeling as if we were locked up in a kennel.  I think seeing outside and natural light probably helped us regain our calm.  

Todays FYI:
Weight   4 lbs 4.6 ounces
No IV nutrition
No supplemental Oxygen
Only some feeding by feeding tube.
over an ounce of formula by bottle every 3 hours.
Bili-blanket for jaundice, but numbers are improving.
Regulating her temperature much better.  Not perfect. But improved.
We are watching instruction videos and reading binders full of info from the hospital on Down Syndrome, pre term babies and low birth weight babies.  They make sure that their parents do the homework assigned by the hospital. Very thorough!

She needs to get fully eating by  bottle and regulating her temperature for herself before she can go home. They usually want the babies to be waking up to cry to be fed, but sometimes they will send the baby home on an every 3 hour care schedule.  That would be fine with us. We are in the rhythm of that schedule at the hospital and would welcome seeing her in the middle of the night every 3 hours!  New parents!!!!  Just want her with us!!!!

A nurse who knows more about DS said that she is doing really well for a baby with Down Syndrome.  She said that she is more floppy than typical pre term babies. That is what we thought.  But we are doing really well handling her and feel confident.

More tomorrow....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Little Glo-worm

Today O's bilirubin level was up (jaundice), so she was put in a bili-blanket.  This is similar to the grow light therapy.  The light makes her swaddle blanket glow a neon blue color.  We could hold her with this on.  If her levels go up, then they will have to use the grow lights. 

Today her skin was less of that new born "I just spent 8 months in a bathtub" shriveled up look.

She is gaining weight.  She now weighs 4 lbs 4.8 oz.  Either we are getting used to what she looks like, or she is filling out some.  

Her platelet count was low today. They are rerunning the test, and if it is still low then they will request a transfusion.  O's veins don't like to give blood or take IV's so it takes a team of nurses and about an hour before they get the job done.  Our brave little sweetheart usually falls asleep during the process. After it is all done, she is exhausted.  

She is taking more formula from the bottle and less IV nutrition.  When she has been exhausted by the medical team, they will give her a feeding by the tube.

Mama O is getting really good and quick at changing a diaper through the little holes in her incubator.  

Thanks to everyone for their care, concern, support and prayers!  It means so much!

(We learned today that for the time being no one but us (and birth-mom) can visit her. It gets lonely for us in NICU, but this is adoption and we just say Yes and Thank you.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

3 days old

The woman with Peter is our adoption social worker. She is a sweetheart!

Some highlights of the day:

O weighs 4 lbs 4 oz. and she can take 5 cc of formula from a bottle. The IV is still in though to give her enough nutrition.  She sucks the 5 cc down in no time flat!  She is sucking well on her pacifier when it is time to do a medical procedure. She is such a brave little girl. The nurses were struggling with doing a new IV "poke" but O just fell asleep. I think that Daddy's warm hand on her belly helped!  She loves her Daddy!

O is sleeping a lot so we spend a lot of time just standing by her incubator watching her sleep.  We have "action" movies of her sleeping!  :-)

Yes, she does look a bit jaundiced today. Her numbers were higher, but no grow light yet.

We are now licensed for Foster Care. This helps an adoption go more smoothly in Berrien County, as it gets the judge involved sooner in the whole process. He is very good at protecting the rights of birthmom.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and support! We appreciate you all so much!!!  Your support means so much!  

That is the latest on our beloved little chickadee.  (she has bird legs :-)   )

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2 days old photos

O had a good day! 

This afternoon the oxygen came off! Hooray!!!!

The doctor says that her heart looks great and that she doesn't need another cardiologist appointment until she is one year old!  Praise God!  So many prayers were answered!

She took some formula through her feeding tube. It seemed to go well.

She is peeing and pooping!    Mama O changed diapers and also took her temperature (under her arm).  The wonderful nurses are training us.  It was a bit tricky to change her diaper through the two holes in the incubator. But all went well.

All is going smoothly for the adoption.

Doctor says she might be in the hospital for 2 to 3 weeks. We are praying for the shortest amount of time.  

Baby O is the best!