Monday, August 29, 2011

First Doctor's Appointment!!!!

Today we had our very first doctor's appointment with Dr. Foster. Getting out the door together as a family of three was a "first" for us but surprisingly it was pretty smooth (with a lot of planning ahead of time... making sure she was fed before we left).  It helps to have two adults to take care of a tiny being! 

Athea did great... all she did was sleep in her car seat and when it came to being weighed and measured she cried a little but she got through it. 

Results showed that she gained weight just within a couple of days of being out of the hospital and actually hit the 4 pound mark! She also grew two inches since birth!

Dr. Foster was quite impressed and so were we. The nurses in the NICU had warned us that if she didn't gain weight the first few days at home to not be alarmed and if she did gain weight that we shouldn't be celebrating too much since she might lose a little once she settled into the routine of being at home. We were just happy that she was slowly gaining weight... the NICU had us fortify my breast milk to give her 22 extra calories per feeding. It's amazing that 22 extra calories in our diets doesn't really do much but for Athea... WOW... what a difference it makes in her weight gain!

18 days old
4 lbs, 5 oz
18 inches long

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hanging out with Grandma Lil

Our first Saturday at home. It was a great feeling to be able to hang out. Grandma Lil dropped off Grandpa Tom at the airport and then came over to hang out! Here are some wonderful pictures of Athea with Grandma.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Athea Vivian is Home at Last!!!!!

Today started like any other day.... we dropped the boys off to get their hair cut and headed to the hospital to make it for the morning feeding. Our nurse, Lynn, made a comment about making sure we didn't forget our milk that was in the freezer and I asked her if she knew something we didn't. She wouldn't answer my question... all she would say was whenever we were discharged... she didn't specify a day but it made me wonder if we were headed home soon. While we were in a family room the nurse practitioner (Cheryl) told us that we were going home! Hallelujah! Athea was gaining weight consistently and they thought that she was ready to make it out in the real world. The next couple of hours went by... the staff advised us to go get something to eat before we took her home. So we had our last meal in the hospital. The lady at the cafe even paid for the rest of our food (nursing moms from the NICU received meal vouchers so she really paid for Ben's meal) as a congratulations. It's amazing at how you become so familiar with people that you don't even know when you see them everyday and they know your situation. 

Thursday, August 25, at 2 weeks old, Athea is coming home! We didn't think this day would come... Athea left the hospital at 3 lbs, 14 oz.

Athea's very first car ride and very first time being outside!

Athea is home!!!!! Check out some great photos of being at home the very first day!

It feels so good to just be able to hang out at home without incubators and machines!

Athea is wiped out!

The socks look like moon boots.... they didn't stay on for very long... that diaper is a newborn size... she's still on the small side!

Lorenzo and Moon Doggie were getting their hair cut when we brought Athea home (we figured they needed to be clean and didn't know she would come home the same day as their cut... good thing). They didn't realize that she was even here... until Ben lifted up Lorenzo to see her. Leading up to this day we had brought home something that smelled like her everyday so they could be familiar with her scent. 

Moon Doggie lost interest pretty quickly but Lorenzo was very intrigued. For the next couple of days we would hear him barking and would find him in this exact spot barking at her sleeping! Of course Athea didn't even budge (she can sleep through anything) but Lorenzo continued to show his opinion. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The next two weeks were spent hanging out in the NICU with our new, tiny, little girl and the wonderful nurses. We learned a great deal from each nurse and became more confident in taking care of a preemie. After I was discharged from the hospital (it was very difficult to leave without taking her home with us) we spent the next two weeks traveling back and forth from the hospital and home. I even did a day by myself and realized it was very difficult to be in the NICU by myself. Work was still being done on the sunroom and my parents flew in after I gave birth. We were juggling a lot and wanting to be at the hospital as much as possible. Needless to say we were experiencing a lot: physically, mentally and emotionally. This experience was unexpected and definitely challenging but we somehow survived! I will do my best to document with as many pictures as I can!

This is the first time I was able to see her... early Friday morning. 

Saturday, Aug 13... some of our first pictures with her!

Only 2 days old and just amazing!

Amazing at how tiny she is... and her feet were the biggest part of her body! Imagine that!

5 days old (her IV had been taken out the day before... hers was actually put in her head... pretty crazy)

Hanging out with Grandpa Tom in one of the family rooms (rooms set aside for feedings/spending time together)

This is her isolette (incubator)... she was in it for 9 days.

August 20, at 9 days old she was moved to an open bed!!!! This is big news... she can control her body temperature on her own. PLUS... we started a new feeding schedule... she determines when she wants to eat. This is great!

Athea Vivian is trying to break out of her bed!!!! Yes... by this time we had finally named her! It took us a while to decide! For a long time the nurses were calling her "Nuegue" (their spin off our nickname: little nugget). She even had a name tag made with that nickname! 

Sunday, August 21... our first bath time!

She was still so tiny even in the small tub!

Athea's nurse (JD) made her the bow! She also passed her newborn hearing screening as well as her car seat test (she had to sit in it for two hours and be able to hold her head up to breathe)... this was a humongous day for Athea!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Thursday started off like any other Thursday since being on bed rest. Ben went to work, I ate breakfast and then headed off to my NST (non stress test) appointment. I waited forever (as always) and after the NST, I was scheduled for the growth measurement ultrasound. The past couple of weeks I had other ultrasounds done to check the amniotic fluid level (always on the low side) as well as to check for fetal movement (she was moving just fine). This ultrasound was different since they would be measuring her body and determining if she was growing appropriately for her gestational age. We had one done just 4 weeks ago when I was hospitalized and according to that measurement she was growing just fine.

Well, the results showed that she was in the 4th percentile and not growing enough for her age. Another doctor met with me and indicated that I would need to be admitted into the hospital to do stress tests to see how the baby would respond to stressful situations (contractions). Upon further questioning, it became apparent that regardless of how she did with these tests that I would be in the hospital until she was born (whenever that would be).

At this point, I wasn't exactly in shock... more like "what else will happen to change our plan?" SO, I called Ben, he took the rest of the afternoon off and I checked myself into the hospital. I was pleasantly surprised to have nurses that I had already met exactly 4 weeks earlier when I was in the hospital for my blood pressure. After just a short amount of time monitoring the baby respond to small/tiny contractions, the same doctor that admitted me 4 weeks ago was the same doctor who told me... the baby was coming out tonight! SO... once again... our plan had completely changed and nothing was going as we had originally envisioned... now we were giving birth in a hospital and having an unplanned c-section. Here are pictures of us getting ready for the big moment. Thanks to our awesome nurse ("Red") we were able to watch the entire season finale of So You Think You Can Dance before we went into the surgery room. That was our last moment as "Ben and Kelly." Soon we would have a little one in our lives.

Born at 34 weeks and 3 days, Baby Girl Koss (we didn't have a name for her at the time) entered the world at 3 lbs, 6 oz, 16 inches long at 9:28 PM. She was super skinny but we were just happy that she was now with us.

Since she was so small, she was immediately whisked to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and proud papa followed her to make sure she was well taken care of. I was completely out of it thanks to the top notch medication that was knocking me out. I wasn't able to see her in the NICU until hours later since the doctors wanted to monitor my blood pressure before moving me to my new room. I do recall one moment amidst my drugged up realm... Ben was such a proud father that he took every opportunity to be with our daughter in the NICU... he would come visit me and then sneak away to be with her. He was already a wonderful dad!

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to catch you all up to speed....

Well, since the last post... a lot has happened and I will try my best to catch you all up to speed... although I'm sure you've heard about most of it by now!

I think I left off at the beginning of July... July 12 we celebrated our 3 year anniversary and little did I know that it would be my "last" social outing that I would have! It's a good thing we went all out and had a lovely dinner... the restaurant even surprised us with this dessert!

That Thursday, July 14 was my first day back at work and our centering birth class. The certified nurse midwife was concerned about my blood pressure and so she sent me to the hospital to be monitored. Being "monitored" ended up being a three day stay in the hospital. My blood pressure did eventually stabilize with medication and monitored bed rest (lots of laying on my left side). Further test results showed that I was in the mild preeclampsia stage which meant that I would need to be put on bed rest and monitored carefully. Unfortunately, due to being hospitalized, our baby shower was cancelled. However, we did have our friends who were planning it come visit us at the hospital.

Lovely flowers from the fam and of course... my lovely wheelchair (I wasn't allowed to even walk down the hall... although I didn't know and had already taken a short walk!)

SO... our plans of starting the school year and getting the house ready were quickly readjusted as I was now not able to work until the baby was born. The goal given by the doctor was to get us to 37 weeks to allow for the baby to have enough time to fully develop. To get there meant being on bed rest.

Ben and I had to readjust our thinking and Ben ended up taking a lot of the responsibilities that we normally share upon himself (not to mention he was starting the school year). 

The next couple of weeks involved me staying at home, trying to work from home as much as possible and making it twice a week for my NST's (non-stress tests) to monitor the baby's heart rate and movement. Those visits were the highlight of my week! Something to look forward to. We ended up hiring professionals to help us finish the sun room since Ben wasn't able to work on the sunroom while working and pulling double duty at home. 

I did try to take the advice of my brother-in-law (Uncle Dave) who basically suggested that I enjoy being on bed rest... I have the rest of my life to work! SO... thanks to the wonderful librarian at Ben's school, I had a long list of books that I could read.