Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Home, Sweet Home!

Home, Sweet Home....that is where our precious peanut is now!  We are rejoicing that Leah was discharged from the NICU at Albany Medical Center on August 3rd, after just under 5 weeks since birth.  This is definitely an answer to prayer as we were originally told to expect a stay of 8-10 weeks.  The last 2 weeks have been even more of a whirlwind as once things started happening, they happened all at once.  We were continuing our daily visits to the NICU in Albany and the first couple days of this month it seemed that each day we came there was a new surprise.  Within the span of 48 hours Leah's oxygen was discontinued, her nasal feeding tube was removed, and her supplemental heat was turned off.  Much to our surprise, it was first suggested on Monday that Leah might go home on Tuesday.  Partly because we were concerned that things were moving too fast, her discharge was delayed to last Wednesday (August 3rd).  The first week at home has been very challenging because at first we really had to work to get her to drink all of her bottle as she would drink very slowly.  Feedings have been "double work" as Leah has not yet been able to effectively be put to breast, so she is fed most of her feedings with a bottle.  It is double work because not only does she have to be bottle fed every 3 hours, but Ralanda also has to pump milk every 3-4 hours.  Looking on the bright side of things, this has allowed opportunity for "quality time" together for Mommy and Daddy as - in an effort to help where he can - Daddy has been getting up with Mommy for the 2am and sometimes 5am feedings where he feeds while Mommy pumps.  This helps to save a little time, allowing a short nap before we have to start it all over again.  It will definitely be easier as Leah gains strength and the ability to nurse, decreasing the time spent pumping.

All bundled up and ready to go home!
We've been to the doctor twice in the last week for weight checks and we are glad to say we are growing well.  Leah is now up to 5 1/2 lbs. in weight!  She started at 4lb 4oz, got down to 3 lb 7 oz, but has gained 2 lbs! 
Relaxin' on Mommy and Daddy's bed
We are thankful every day for the blessing that God has given us in this precious new life.  Even though we are a little weary, we are so thankful for Mommy's and Leah's health.  Even as tired as we are, we are trying to enjoy this time as we realize that the children grow so fast and soon we will look back, longing for these days.  Thank you Lord, for blessing us so abundantly!

Pretty in pink
Thank you to all who have prayed and called to check up on how Mommy and Leah are doing.  Please continue to pray that all will go well as Leah has a good deal of "catch-up" growing to do.

A Very Special Blessing

This post is a bit delayed, but we still wanted to talk about the joyous blessing we received.  On our visits to the NICU on July 30th and 31st, we were afforded an opportunity for the whole family to visit Leah at once by her bedside.  This might not seem like a big deal, but it was for us because to this point the children could only be brought into the NICU 1-2 at a time.  If we allowed them to visit and not rush, it would take nearly an hour to rotate through everyone and allow for ample visitation.  This is because the NICU rule (understandable to keep order, and due to cramped space) is that only 2 visitors are allowed by the bedside at one time and any additional visitors was up to the nurse on duty's discretion.  We are thankful that throughout most of the visits with the children, they allowed us to take them in 2 at a time (for a total of 3 visitors).  The difference on the 30th and 31st was that most of the babies that were in the section of the nursery where Leah was had gone home and there was a good deal of open space in the area around Leah's bed.  Even though, we know there were some nurses that despite this, simply would not allow SEVEN children, plus TWO parents, for a total of NINE to be by Leah's bedside at once.  Thankfully on these evenings, we had some very gracious nurses who not only allowed us to all visit, but actually offered the opportunity.  We were thinking and praying of asking for this opportunity and were prepared for a negative answer; but in an answer to prayer, when our nurse found out that all the kids were in the waiting room, said that since there was so much space around Leah's isolette and since she knew the kids are usually exceptionally well behaved, we could bring them all in.  We were as happy as could be as we were able to get our first family picture with Leah :)
Yes, they're all ours....we are blessed beyond measure!
We are so thankful to the nurses who go graciously afforded us this opportunity.  We are glad that they recognized that (provided you are dealing with children that can behave) it is important for the family to be together.  Especially since we did not know at the time that Leah would be going home in a matter of days, this was such a blessing to us to be able to all be together at once.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thank You, Mom and Dad

Having a preemie baby, Ralanda spending half of July in the hospital, and making daily trips (one hour each way) to Albany to the NICU were not the ways we intended to spend the month of July and the first part of August.  Needless to say, this has resulted in one tired and weary family.  We are so thankful for the prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf, and the help of some special people.  Two of those people are Mom and Dad Pagano (Ralanda's parents).

After Scott called to ask for prayer for Ralanda the afternoon of Leah's birth, Mom and Dad dropped everything and headed to New York.  Simply having them here as Ralanda recovered from surgery proved a special blessing and was a comfort that was much needed and appreciated.  Mom had planned on coming up for a week when Leah was scheduled to be born, under planned circumstances, the middle of August.  Instead, she found herself here with no advance notice or planning.  She graciously committed to stay for two weeks as Ralanda began her initial recovery and for the first while after she came home from the hospital.  It was then that Ralanda was readmitted to the hospital with complications and Mom, without hesitation, said she was staying longer - until Ralanda returned home and settled in again.  She stayed with us for nearly a month, watching the children, doing laundry, dishes, cleaning, and simply encouraging and being a mom/Memaw.  Her loving presence helped to lighten the load of a very stressful July.

We are also very grateful to Dad.  For it was he who had to sacrifice being without Mom for the whole time she was here.  We don't know how he did it, but we sure appreciated his great sacrifice.  We are thankful for the time that he was able to spend here before needing to head back home as the other children love any time they get to spend with Bumpa!  We think Leah liked the time she had with Bumpa too :)

Thank you Mom and Dad for your love and encouragement during this very hectic time.  We will be forever grateful for the love and sacrifice you have shown.