Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Dearest Joshua David~

Happy Halloween little man! Daddy and I brought a bag of candy for the nurses today when we came to see you. It didn't last long! :-) Most of these ladies work 12 hour shifts, so they were appreciative of the extra chocolate.

When we came to see you, you were sleeping away. Your O2 level is still great. Your blood sugar is doing better. You're on a low level of IV fluids to help you regulate more. Right now, you're at a rate of 1.8ml/hr of fluids. They will check you again tonight and if you continue to do well, they will decrease you to 1.5ml/hr. They will continue to check you twice a day. Slowly, they'll try to get you off and see if your body will do well on its own.

You're room is considered level "medium." You'll likely be in here for awhile. The last room you'll be moved into is called "feeders and growers." Once you're there, you're almost home free. :-) I'm glad you're not in the first area any more. This means you're doing better. And, hopefully, you'll continue to do well so we can take you home soon!

You still weigh the same, so you need to bulk up! You're doing better with your feedings. You had 1ml of residual milk in your belly earlier, but since then you've had none. Your feedings are still every 3 hours at 17ml of mommy's milk each time. They positioned your feeding tube through your nose, which is where they like to have them. But, they had to wait until you were off the CPAP and cannula to do that. It looks uncomfortable, but you appear to not mind it. You still sleep calmly with it there. :-)

Daddy and I were there for 3 hours today. Your grandpa Jim and gigi (mommy's parents) were there earlier. While there, daddy and I watched a video about preemies. There are 3 in the set, and we've watched the first 2. The last one has to do with going home, so I'm sure we'll watch that one in December.

Your temperature was checked and diaper changed while we were there. Your temperature was fine, and your diaper was nice and poopy!

I love you so much little Joshua! Be strong for us!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Two Weeks

Dearest Joshua David~

Today you are 2 weeks old! Yippie! I pray you continue to grow and remain healthy. I'm counting the weeks until I can take you home. :-)

They pricked your foot this morning to check your blood sugar. Your level was low, so you're back on some IV's. We have to wait and see if your body will adjust, or if there's something more going on. Hopefully, your body will adapt and you won't have any more problems. They will check you again later and keep monitoring you.

You still have no nasal cannula! You continue to be on room air with no assistance. :-) You've been doing better with digestion. When I was there, they checked you for your 5pm feeding, and you only had one ml of residual milk in your belly (out of 17ml). The nurse said you've had some good poopy diapers as well. :-) She also took your temperature and you were fine.

During your feeding, daddy and I placed your pacifier in your mouth and you loved it! Since they repositioned your feeding tube, it was a lot easier for you to keep the pacifier in your mouth.

Guess what? Three of us got to hold you today! I got to hold you for over an hour. Then, daddy got to hold you for about an hour. After that, mimi (daddy's mom) got to hold you! What a full day! You were peaceful in all our arms! Once you were back in your bed, you were alert and kept following us with your eyes. :-) You have such light and soft eyebrows and eyelashes.

All the nurses love you! Everyone is continuing to pray for you and your health!

I love you so much, my sweet little boy! :-)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

No Cannula

Dearest Joshua David~

Today is your grandpa Jim and gigi's (mommy's parents) wedding anniversary! Thirty two years ago they got married at Carolina Beach. Mommy and Uncle James lived on the beach when we were babies. When you're well enough, I'll take you to the beach so you can see everything!

Big news .... you're off your nasal cannula! You're only breathing room air with no assistance from any machines. The nurses say you may go back on the cannula. We just have to see how well you do on your own. You were off it for hours by the time daddy and I saw you today, and you didn't have any problems.

Also, you've started to gain weight! When you were born, you were 2 lbs 4 ozs. You lost weight the first few days and were down to 2 lbs at your smallest. Now, you're 2 lbs 5 ozs! Since they've increased your feeding, you still have small amounts of residual in your belly at each feeding, but you appear to be getting better at digestion. Also, you had a nice poopy diaper earlier in the day!

Mommy and daddy got to hold you today! They wrapped you up like a burrito again! We got to the hospital at around 2:30pm. Mommy held you for about 1.5 hours, and then daddy held you. You were very alert and kept your eyes open looking all around before falling asleep in our arms. You got a little fussy towards the end and spit up on daddy! :-)

Still can't wait to take you home!

I love you little Joshua! :-)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Room

Dearest Joshua David~

When daddy and I walked into the ICN to see you this afternoon, you were gone! We figured you had walked away! :-) One of the nurses took us to your bed, which was moved into a different room. It's still in the Intensive Care area, but less busy and quieter.

I got to hold you again, Kangaroo Care style, from about 3:30pm-6pm. Then, I got to take your temperature and change your diaper. Everything looked good. You were really peaceful just sleeping there. You sneezed a few times. Towards the end you were getting fussy. You kept your left hand out and kept trying to grab daddy's fingers. :-)

The only concern was your digestion. They increased your feeding, again, to 17ml every 3 hours, but dispense those ml over an hour (it was 30 minutes) to give you more time to digest. You still leave some residual milk in your belly at each feeding (a few mls), but they continue to monitor it. It could be due to the increased feeding. Or, the fortifier that they added to the milk to increase calories. They weren't too concerned about it, since it's also common for preemies. So, we just have to keep waiting and checking on your digestion.

Your O2 levels were good. They placed an extra piece of tape on your nose since you like to pull your cannula off. Hopefully they will take the cannula off soon.

Keep growing stronger! I love you so much!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Hat

Dearest Joshua David~

Today mimi (daddy's mom) and I came to visit you! I held you again so mimi and I could kiss your little head. :-) You were out for quite a bit. I believe we got to the hospital around 2pm, and I got to hold you pretty soon after I got there. At 6pm, daddy was at the hospital to hold you. So, daddy and I BOTH got to hold you today! The nurse wrapped you up in a towel like a burrito. You were all warm and cozy in there. Mimi brought homemade cookies for the nurses and decorated them for Halloween. :-) When we held you, the nurse found a new, little hat for you to wear! You pulled your nasal cannula off, but once you got settled, you didn't mess with it.

You scared me a little because when they checked you for your 3pm feeding, you still had 10ml of milk in your belly. They skipped your 3pm feeding to let you digest the milk more. They increased your feeding to 14ml every 3 hours. When they checked your belly at 6pm, you were fine, so they gave you your next 14ml. Keep eating for us!

Another baby came into the nursery while I was there. So far, I believe there are 27 babies with you. You have 26 friends!

You seem to be doing well. Keep getting stronger for us!

I love you so much! :-)


Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Sneezes

Dearest Joshua David~

The leaves are changing outside. It's really pretty. Wish you could see them. You'll have to wait until next fall to see all the beautiful colors!

Today is your Great-Grandma's (mommy's daddy's mom) birthday. Mommy called her earlier and she asked about you. I told her you were doing well. She has a teddy bear for you! When you're out of the hospital, we'll go see her. I gave you a kiss from her. :-)

The nurses said you had a good night last night. The doctor was concerned about your digestion because you were only wetting your diapers. But, after a little, tiny suppository you had a nice poopy diaper (as your mother I'm allowed to say that!). After that, you were doing a lot better with your feeding! Your color looked better and they may even increase your feeding to 11ml after a while.

I got to hold you again! I held you from 3:45pm-6:35pm! Almost 3 whole hours! You were so snug and didn't want to leave. You sneezed a few times, which was incredibly adorable. After holding you for a bit, you started to lift your arm up. Once or twice you tried to grab me. :-)

We spoke to the nurse about the radiograph that they took yesterday. The radiograph was taken to check the placement of the PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line that was placed. She said everything looked good. The doctor was pleased at the placement and you did well with the procedure. This will help you take in any extra IV nutrients.

I love you so much! Keep getting stronger! :-)


Sunday, October 25, 2009


Dearest Joshua David~

When daddy and I came to visit you today, you were sleeping on your belly all snug. We could see your cute blonde hair. :-)

Your grandpa Jim (mommy's dad) came to visit you this afternoon, after running in the March of Dimes race to help raise money for preemies like you. Your mimi (daddy's mom) came to visit you right before daddy and I came. Daddy and I came around 4:30 and stayed by your bedside for 2 hours.

You now have a PICC line in your right arm to help you receive nutrients better, which means you no longer have a line going through your belly button. While we were there, they took a radiograph of your right arm (where the PICC line is) to check on placement. We met two different nurses today .... the one who placed your new line and the one in charge of you for the evening. A few more babies have come into the nursery since you've been there, so the nurses have been busy.

The doctors and nurses are watching your digestion. They have increased your feeding to 8ml of mommy's milk every 3 hours (you were just 2ml a few days ago!). But, they have to keep checking on you to make sure it all goes down. Eat up so you'll get bigger and stronger!

You're still on the nasal cannula, but only on room air. You looked so peaceful and opened your eyes a few times while we were there. Since you had such a busy morning with the PICC line placement, and with them needing to take the radiograph, mommy and daddy didn't get to hold you. But, it was better for you to get your rest. Just know that we were there and touched you while you were in your bed.

Oh, and guess what .... the snickers are almost gone! Your mimi said she would bake some things for the staff this week. Mommy and daddy will bring something too.

It's always hard to leave you .... we keep praying that you stay healthy for us. We love you so much!


Rewinding the Story

Dearest Joshua David~

I still haven’t told you how we all got here …. you in the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) and daddy and I visiting you everyday. It all started on your birthday ….

Someone once told me that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans for the day! Things always happen for a reason and under God’s timing. If someone had told me the morning of October 16th, 2009 that I would be a mother by lunch time, I would have laughed at them.

Mommy had a normal OB check up at 8am on the 16th. Up until then, all appointments had been uneventful. I always had normal vitals and blood work. Your heart beat was always good. Never any real reason for concern. A few days prior to the appointment, I had not felt well, but it appeared to be normal “pregnancy symptoms” like nausea, heart burn, fatigue, and swelling for example. When daddy and I went to the appointment, the nurses noticed that my protein level had really spiked and my blood pressure was unusually high. I saw Dr. Rush that morning and she ordered for some blood to be drawn. Once that was done, they took my vitals again …. blood pressure still high …. and then put me on a fetal monitor so we could see how your heart rate was. Dr. Rush mentioned that with these levels, I would either need to go on bed rest or have to deliver early (of course, I thought she meant a month early or something planned).

After having the monitor on me for about 25 minutes, Dr. Rush came back in with some really scary news for daddy and I. Every time I felt you move, you were having a late deceleration in your heart rate. My blood work showed a marked decrease in platelet count and I was suffering from HELLP Syndrome and pre-eclampsia. It came on suddenly, but the only course of action was to deliver early to save both you and me from getting any sicker. They gave me a shot to help you breathe, and then I was sent via ambulance to Wake Med Hospital where Dr. Bass, the on call OB from my office, saw me.

The numbers were amazing. They drew blood again at the hospital and took an ultrasound. My blood pressure kept elevating (though I’m sure the whole shock and stress of the morning didn’t help!) and my platelet count did not go up much. My count was 77,000 at the OB office and 83,000 at the hospital. An epidural can not be given if your platelet count is under 100,000, so I had to have general anesthesia. Which means, only the doctors and nurses could be in the room. Daddy could not be there.

You were only 30 weeks gestation and we didn’t even have a name for you! We knew David would be your middle name, since it is your daddy’s name. We had been thinking of a few names, but never decided on one. I have always liked the story of Joshua in the Bible. He was strong, courageous, and had a strong faith in God. As I was being wheeled away for surgery, daddy asked me what name was on my heart, and I just stated “Joshua!” Mommy and daddy did a pinky shake and then I was taken away to an operating room.

While in the OR, I could hear the doctors and nurses talking, but I couldn't see anything since they put a blue sheet over my chest as a divider.  There were two anesthesiologists there (male and female) and the female talked to me to keep me calm.  She asked if I knew what I have having.  I said a boy.  She then asked what your name was .... I said, "Joshua" with a smile .... then the male started to cover my nose and said, "Good night!"

So, an emergency C-section and 16 staples later …. you were born on October 16th, 2009 …. 2lbs 4ozs …. 14 inches …. at Wake Med Hospital …. at 1:11pm …. by Dr. Brian Bass. I had to receive IV fluids and magnesium sulfate in an intensive care recovery room for 24 hours. Daddy got to see you on your birthday. I was not able to see you until the evening of the 17th …. it was love at first sight! I got to hold you, my son, on the 19th for the very first time! :-) 

They released me from the hospital on the 20th and we’ve been to visit you everyday since then. It was hard for mommy to leave and not be within walking distance to you, but we’re blessed to not live far from the hospital. So, on the 21st, I started to write you these letters to let you know what was going on. And to let you know mommy and daddy are always there for you. You will stay in the ICN until December. Christmas Day will be 40 weeks gestation, but the doctors always re-evaluate babies at 37 weeks. So, you may even be home close to mommy’s birthday! :-)

We are blessed to have such wonderful family and friends to help us and to pray for you.

I love you so much my little Joshua!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Daddy Time

Dearest Joshua David~

Well, big day for you and daddy! We came to visit you this afternoon and got another surprise .... you were off the CPAP and only had a nasal cannula. :-) It appears your breathing is doing well. You're still just on room air with no supplemental O2. You are so cute without that CPAP on since we can see your head better (no hat). I like your little fuzzy hair! :-)

Then, daddy got to hold you for an hour! He did the Kangaroo Care hold, like what mommy does with you. It was good to see you all so close, even though I was jealous that daddy got to hold you. :-) You were very cozy and comfortable against daddy!

You've gained an ounce! The nurses talked to us today and your belly button IV line will be removed soon. They will place a different one in your arm, or leg, for a larger artery. That way, you will be able to gain weight and absorb nutrients better.

We brought the nurses a little treat for all they have done for us. FYI, the nurses like snickers!

You are now 8 days old! We still can't wait to bring you home!

I love you so much .... forever and ever! :-)


Friday, October 23, 2009


Dearest Joshua David~

Well, we had a good surprise today when daddy, gigi, and I came to visit you .... you were OFF your CPAP machine! The doctors have you on the CPAP machine for 3 hours, then off for 3 hours, then back on again. When we came to see you, you were off the machine. It was the first time I've seen you without the CPAP and without your hat on! Your little bit of fuzz hair is so cute! I played with it and made some of your hair stand up. :-) If you continue to do well without the CPAP machine, then you may be off it for a while. It seems as though you are doing well with breathing on your own. I pray that you continue to do well!

I got to hold you again for 2 hours! We came to see you around 2:30pm and I held you from 3-5pm! You were snug as a bug laying on my chest again. You were curled up against me under my shirt with your little head sticking out like a turtle.

Oh, guess who came to the house and brought you some gifts tonight? Your cousins Stephanie and Charlie and your (Great) Aunt Beth! They brought you little "premie" outfits! The tags on the inside say size "P" for premie. They look like the tags on my shirts that say "P" for petite! You and mommy both wear size "P"!

I love you very much! Keep growing strong! Can't wait to bring you home!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kangaroo Care

Dearest Joshua David~

Today was a great day at the hospital! :-) Your daddy and gigi (mommy's mom) took me to see you around 3pm today. Once we scrubbed in to see you, the nurse offered to let me hold you again! I first held you on the 19th around 4pm. I held you for an hour and you were all curled up in a blanket. :-) Today, I got to do "Kangaroo Care" where we hold each other skin-to-skin! I sat in a chair and held you against my chest from 3:30pm to 6pm! You were so cozy and comfortable. Every once in a while you would wiggle your hand around like you were waving. I kissed you on your head and you yawned and opened your eyes a little. I love holding and touching you! Your daddy and gigi took some pictures and videos.

You're still off the phototherapy. They turned down your O2 level on the CPAP, and the doctor said you may be off it in the next few days. You're breathing room air, so you're doing well. In fact, the nurses say you sometimes pull your CPAP off, but you're stable without it! The CPAP is basically "reminding" you to breath, though you appear to be doing well on your own.

While I was holding you, the nurse took your temperature and fed you. You have a little feeding tube that goes into your mouth and you're fed every 3 hours. You get fed 2ml of mommy's milk each time. It'll make you stronger and healthier so eat up!

The doctor came in while I was holding you and stated that you were doing really well. You're gaining weight bit by bit. Can't wait until you're bigger and we can take you home! :-)

Your daddy and I love you so much!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Adventure

Dearest Joshua David~

Well, when you decided to come into this world, no one knew what was coming! Your daddy and I were completely in shock concerning your entrance .... but, I'll get to that more later. The more important thing is that you're here, healthy, and we all love you so much! :-)

Today was a good day for us. Your daddy took me to the hospital to see you and we sat with you for a good hour and a half. It was nice to hear you cry because we knew your little lungs were working. :-) You're still on the CPAP machine, but breathing room O2. They took you off the phototherapy, but you may go back on later.

Your diapers are so small. :-) On the 19th, I got to hold you for the first time for almost an hour. Afterwards, I changed your little diaper. The nurses and doctors are all very nice and have been so good to your daddy and I.

Both sets of grandparents have come to see you. Since you were born during flu season, only parents and grandparents can see you. So, we've been trying to take as many photos and videos as possible to show others. You have so many family members and friends who can't wait to meet and hold you. Everyone is praying for you!

You are the most important thing to your daddy and I .... keep growing strong and we love you! :-)