Sunday, October 28, 2007

Avey: 1, Dad: 0

I was just changing Avey's diaper a few minutes ago and just after I'd finished wiping her all clean, she exploded all over me, her onesie, her sleeper, her changing pad, her blanket, and a washcloth. It was incredible how far it shot and how wet it was. It was like the pressure building so much in a bottle of champagne (like I would know) that the cork can no longer keep it all in the bottle. What a mess!
And Kira doesn't believe me, but I am almost positive I saw a little satisfied smirk on her little face as I was struggling to get control of the situation. I'm convinced she was saving that up, biding her time until the opportune moment to catch the unsuspecting new dad unprepared. Well, Avey, you may have won the battle, but the war still goes on...
I'm not sure what else there really is to say. She's sleeping very well in between feedings, she seems as healthy as can be, and she's cute as a button (a really really cute button, that is. Not those ugly or less-cute buttons). Kira is positive that she smiled for real for the first time today while I was at church. She's had those random-movements-of-the-face-muscles smiles before, but Kira thinks that she for sure had a sincere reactive smile today. They grow up so fast!
My family came to visit us (meaning Avey) this week. It was a blast to have them here and get an excuse to leave the house and take her out on the town a little bit. This just whetted our appetites for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and corresponding trip home. Nothing quite like family. I just hope Avey appreciates us that much some day instead of sabotaging my attempts at clean bums and then snickering at me in baby language.
More pictures soon...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Many Faces of Cute

"After a hard day at the office"

"Doesn't Dad ever shut up?"

No caption necessary

"This is when I realized my problem was affecting how others saw me."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

There's No "IV" in "Avey"

Sorry it's been a while between posts. I kept waiting for some good pictures and for those, I kept waiting for us to be able to shoot her without the PICC line in her arm. And I got my wish on Friday! Below is what the PICC line looks like. The very thin tube is what went into her arm and next to her heart. The rest is what was outside her body, strapped to her skin. As you can imagine, it's quite small. Our little champion has been doing very well, overall. She sleeps through the night most nights, except for feedings every 3 or 4 hours. But every now and then she'll have a really rough night and simply will not be sedated. She no doubt is having nightmares about nurses and doctors poking her with needles, extracting body fluids of all kinds, and IVs sticking out from every vein in her poor little body.
She sleeps a lot during the day also, which is nice in its own way. She has become much more alert at times too, which makes for some fun interaction. The cutest thing is when she sneezes; huff, HUFFF, TTtttssss!
Kira has cut down her pain medications quite a bit and is still not getting enough sleep, but feels better and better physically all the time. She gets a bit of cabin fever every now and then, and so yesterday spent half of the day at her sister's, and today she and I went to clean out her office.

We appreciate all the support! More updates in the near future!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Homecoming!

Yesterday we got the fantastic news that Avey could come home with us! The pediatrician said her labs looked much much better. In fact, she said that she had never seen a baby with such bad labs at birth and then be where she is only 4 days after that. That's my girl!
So around 1, after she got her last shot of antibiotics, we were off to Salt Lake to get a PICC line put in. That's a line for an IV where a thin, long tube is inserted into her arm and the line travels almost to her heart. This allows for quick disbursement of the medicine and it's the kind of thing that will not fall out very easily. I should point out, however, that I now hold a personal grudge to the persons who poked that thing inside of her. Actually, she didn't even cry. The part she whimpered at the most, was taking off the tape from her wrist. What a trooper!
We were home by 10:15 pm, absolutely exhausted, but home. A nurse met us there to educate us on how to give her the doses of antibiotics, and we were in bed around 1 am.
Kira's mother is in town to help out for a couple of weeks, and that allowed me to go back to work this morning. Yay!
Naturally, we had a photo shoot today to celebrate all the progress. What a little angel...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happenings

Today was actually a very good day, filled with good news. The pediatrician came and talked to us with some details about the spinal tap results. She honestly thinks they caught the infection early enough to prevent any permanent damage. That was a huge relief, even though we still need to keep an eye on her.

Her blood and spinal fluid cultures came back clean, meaning no bacteria has grown so far. Obviously, that's a good sign, but doesn't mean the bacteria wasn't there before. The pediatrician also said that her labs are looking like a normal healthy baby now. That's my girl!

The best news of all was that we found out there's a good chance Avey could come home with us as early as tomorrow! We'd have to go up to Salt Lake City, get a PICC intravenous line put in her arm, get trained on how to change her fluid at home, and then we could bring her home with us! We had a little bit of homework to complete to improve her chances, including getting a pediatrician in Provo, getting her to eat well, and filling her diapers more.

We hooked up the Dr. in Provo, watched her diapers more closely, and after a rough feeding attempt this morning, were close to throwing in the towel, but two further attempts in the afternoon and evening went very, very well, so our hopes are high!

Thank you again for all your comments and prayers. We'll get through this yet!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Brief Update

A little news from today:

1. Spinal tap- the results came back this afternoon around 3:30, and were not what we were hoping to get. It turns out that she does have meningitis. In other words, she had or has an infection in her spinal chord. What that means for us is that she is in the hospital for a while longer than we'd thought. She needs to be on the antibiotics for 14 days. The prognosis is good because they put her on antibiotics so quickly after the birth, and the way they figure that she had the infection in her spinal chord is because of her elevated level of white blood cells in the spinal fluid. But even so, it was only moderately elevated, so it's possible that the infection did little or nothing. Best case scenario is that she's just fine. Worst case scenario is deafness, or other neurological problems anywhere from epilepsy to cerebral palsy. For now, we're trying not to think about it too much, except in our prayers.

2. She successfully breastfed tonight! After about four tries in the past two days, and a lot of crying (both baby and mother), she latched on and sucked for just under 10 minutes tonight! We are thrilled at her progress (they grow up so fast!), and hope that this means she's beginning to feel better. To look at her, you would never think she's even sick, except that she sleeps most of the time. We did have a nice treat today when she opened her eyes for 10 minutes or so.

3. A note on Kira: she was up and moving around much better today. She still didn't get much sleep, but she's feeling more herself and much more like a mother. She's right on schedule to be discharged on Wednesday, and we're contemplating our plan for her while Avey's still in the hospital.

Thanks again for the prayers and support. We hope you can all meet her soon!

Avey Elaine Ricks

Here are just a few more pictures and an update from yesterday: Avey is quite the little trooper! She came off the oxygen early in the morning and hasn't touched the stuff since! Her breathing is down to the normal range, which thrills us and makes us think that her lungs no longer have so much extra fluid. And her pulse is phenominally regular as it always was.
Because of all the progress, Kira got to hold her for the first time yesterday, and attempted breastfeeding for the first time as well.
An unfortunate turn of events is that, because she was born with pneumonia, they are worried that her spinal chord may have been infected as well. There are no real signs of it, but just to be sure, she is in the process of getting a spinal tap as I write this. It's a fairly routine procedure, but scary for us new parents to think how our little girl is being welcomed into the world.
We'll keep posting updates and pictures as she starts to be more active. Thank you all for your prayers and support. We truly have the best friends and family in the world.

P.S. It looks like Codee, Kira's sister won the bet by just under three hours. Congrats!