Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tis the Season!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Well, it certainly is the Season for Celebration! I can't believe how quickly time passes! This time last year I was blissfully unaware of the challenges that lay ahead of me. Last Christmas I was on bedrest with Elaina, but anticipated the best conclusion for my pregnancy. Little did I know that this wonderful, scary and blessed journey would begin a few weeks later. In a way, I'm glad that her heart condition wasn't pre-diagnosed, since I was able to enjoy the holidays in ignorance of the journey that awaited me. However, now that I am well into the CHD journey, I must express my gratitude. As Christmas gets closer, I am so grateful to be able to celebrate my Savior's birth. I know that it is through the prayers and faith of many that we have survived this year intact! What a beautiful time of the year to reflect on the many blessings that I have in my life. I am so grateful for Ben, for the way he makes me laugh, for his perseverence during this tremendous trial, and for his never ending hugs and kisses. I know that God sent him to me for a reason, and he really is a wonderful, kind, loving, and strong boy. I cannot imagine what my life would be like now if I did not have my sweet little Elaina. She is truly a miracle. Her eyes are wise and filled with love and happiness. It seems that she is always smiling when you gaze into her beautiful brown eyes. She has taught me so much and I will be forever indebted to her for the lessons I've learned this year. She continues to grow and get stronger.

I just found out this morning that they are planning a GJ tube surgery for the 7th of January. She goes in on the 6th for a pre-op workup, the same day that Ben has his neurology follow up. I hope I'm able to juggle both appointments! Holy Cow, I never seem to be able to get a rest! As I mentioned in a previous post, my move to Bountiful has been delayed. I think that I've been able to work out a solution, and I'm hopeful that Ben and I can be settled in soon after the New Year. (Fingers Crossed!!!!) Ben hasn't had any more seizures, at least while awake, that I'm aware of. I still don't know the results of the MRI, so I'm hoping that no news is good news. Otherwise everything is still as crazy and out of control as usual! My jobs are going well, and I am very hopeful that the 2nd job I took on will soon allow me to have some of this financial burden lifted off my shoulders. My car is still on the outs, and with colds and sniffles abounding, I've been a little limited in my ability to be with Elaina as often as I'd like. It's a good thing that her love is so unconditional. She lights up every time I walk in the room, and the sound of my voice will wake her up from her naps when I get there. She's really getting big and is really a happy little girl. All the nurses and aides at South Davis are in love with her. Every time I go to see her, she has had her hair done, or nails painted and is all dressed up and content. They've really taped her NJ tube well (tons and tons of tape!), and so they're letting her have lots more hands free time, with her no-no's off. She loves to suck on her fingers and play with her tongue. She's not very verbal yet, some coo's and growls, but she's a smiler. She's got a room-mate that is 18 months old, and they sit and stare at each other. It's too cute! He loves to watch Disney movies, and she's started to become interested in them. Her favorite is Nemo, she smiles and kicks the whole time it's on. What a sweet-heart!

Well, I'm a Super Slacker, not only in the Blogging department, but in the Christmas Card department as well. So, instead of gathering addresses and all that jazz, here's your Christmas card! These are some of my favorite pictures from the last several weeks. Happy Holidays!!!


All dressed up in her Christmas dress!

On Santa's lap at South Davis!


Ben was so nervous that he forgot to ask Santa for what he wanted. It was hilarious once we got back to the car, all of a sudden he remembered all that he'd forgotten and wanted to go back for a 2nd trip!


Elaina loved sitting on Santa's lap!


Back in her room, still in her pretty dress.


Watching Mom put up the Christmas decorations around her crib.


Playing with that crazy tongue! :)


Kicking her feet at the garland above her crib, she loves the decorations! I even tied some bows on her mobile!


Trying to "talk" to Mom!


"Please take off these No-No's!"


Blowing bubbles at Mom. She was so stinking cute that day!


I just barely missed her smile. She was still happy though!


This is one of my favorite outfits. The pink leopard pants just make me smile! She's getting so chunky! Go Girl! Not bad for a heart baby!


I hope and pray that everyone has a safe and wonderful Holiday season! Give all those sweet babies a kiss from us and I hope you all know how much I appreciate your friendship and support!
Happy New Year too!

Hugs,
Hollie, Ben and Elaina

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I need more hours in my day!

Well, life continues to be hectic. It seems that there is never enough time to get everything done that I need to. Elaina is doing very well. She's not throwing up as much the last several days, and her NJ tube has stayed in for over a week now! She's happy and smiling and cooing and growing, growing, growing!!! She will be 11 months old on Thursday! Holy Cow!!! When she was born in January and I was told about her heart condition and then with the events of the summer following her Glenn, I didn't think that I would be able to celebrate her 1st birthday. Now that day is just a little over a month away, and it's looking like we'll be able to have a fun Birthday celebration for her! Still no word on when they are going to schedule her g-tube surgery, but I keep asking. She's still struggling with a runny/stuffy nose, but it doesn't seem to be affecting her saturations or her happy disposition. She is just the sweetest thing and I'm thrilled to be able to plan her first Christmas this year. South Davis allows decorations (including small trees) for 1 week before Christmas and 1 week after. I've got the cutest little tree ready to go and a couple of wrapped presents as well as other fun decorations for her room. I'm so excited!
Ben is doing okay. We got the results of his EEG back, and it shows some abnormal activity in his left frontal lobe. We've met with a neurologist and he is somewhat concerned. He told me that the type of seizures that Ben is experiencing usually occur when the child is sleeping. His 1st two seizures did happen in his sleep, which would be expected according to the EEG and neurologist. The fact that he has now had two more seizures while awake is very concerning. The doctor started him on some medication and ordered a sedated MRI. The MRI results are not back yet, so I'm still on pins and needles wondering and worrying about him. I've had such a hard time sleeping. I keep checking on him throughout the night because I am so worried about seizures. He seems to be his normal self though. He's SUPER excited for Christmas and has already mailed 3 letters to Santa! It's so fun to watch his enthusiasm.
Well, that's about all the news. I've been burning the candle at both ends. I'm working 2 jobs, taking 2 kids to doctors appointments and still juggling my time between Ben and visits to Elaina. My move has been delayed a couple of weeks, but I'm still hopeful that I will be in my new place by Christmas. I'm excited for the move, mostly because I'll be so much closer to my ElainaBug, but I'm dreading the packing, etc. I've got lots of helpers lined up, so hopefully it will be an easy move this go around. Things really are looking up. Deciding to take on my 2nd job is really going to benefit my family in the long run, so it really is worth all the lost sleep and stress it's giving me right now. I am so grateful for all the blessings that my Father in Heaven has given me and I am looking forward to celebrating the birth of the Savior this Christmas.
All my love!
Hollie, Ben and Elaina

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life of a Crazy Woman!

So, I last left off by mentioning that Ben had been sick. Well, as the weekend progressed he seemed to get better. He claimed to be feeling better on Monday, so against my better judgment I sent him to school. Well, about an hour after school started I got a phone call. It seems that while playing at recess, Ben had a seizure!!!! I freaked out, prayed for my car to start (my alternator is out!), and sped to the school. I took him straight to the doctor. A little past history, the week that Elaina was born Ben had 2 seizures. He had blood work done, at CT, and an EEG. The results were inconclusive, and since he hadn't had any problems since, the doctor told me it was probably something random and wouldn't happen again. Anyway, I ended up having to take Ben up to Primary Children's for some additional testing with this new event having happened. I won't have results back until after Thanksgiving. Then to make my busy life even busier, I was able to take Elaina to her cardiology appointment on Wednesday at Primary Children's. SHE IS DOING GREAT!!!!!!! Her cardiologist was amazed at how well she's doing. He said that her numbers were all in the normal range! Hooray! He told me that there still aren't many options for her future, but her present looks fantastic. He also gave the go ahead for her to have a nissen/g-tube proceedure! Yay! I think that the nurses at South Davis are almost more excited for that than I am! Just this last week Elaina has pulled out her NJ 5 times!!!! Little stinker, she's wiggled out of no-no's and pulled the tube out with socks on her hands, any way that she can do it! So now she's being watched VERY carefully and we're just waiting for the doctors to decide when the best time for the surgery will be. She'll go back to Primary Children's for the surgery and initial recovery, but her bed at South Davis will be saved. Hopefully I will be able to have her home some time this spring, if all goes well. It's getting there!
Oh, and did I mention that I caught Ben's gomboo? I've spent the last week in bed with a fever, sore throat and cough. I'm finally feeling better today, but I'm sure grateful for the friends that took me to their house to take care of me and Ben through this last illness. Well, I'm sorry for the short post, but I only had a few spare minutes and really wanted to post an update.
Life is crazy!
Hugs!
Hollie, Ben and Elaina

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update

Things are going well. Another INSANELY busy week for us. I've started working a 2nd job to help cover expenses, and I think I'm going nuts. Not because of the job, I LOVE IT! But because of the time that it is taking. Like my 1st job, it's something that I'll be able to do from home and do in my own time. But now, while I'm learning the ropes and getting started, it's taking up a lot of my time. I was able to see Elaina several times this week and she is doing great! Her sweet little personality is really starting to show, and boy oh boy does she love Mommy! :) Every time I go in to visit she is full of smiles, coo's and is just a wiggler! The last 2 times, as I've put her back in her crib when I'm ready to leave, she's started to cry. Talk about breaking my heart! I've stayed and played with her in her crib until she's happy and then sneak out while she's watching her mobile. The velcro strips on her no-no's have come off, so they have been putting socks on her hands to help her not pull at her face. Well yesterday, with her nurse at her side and socks on her hands, she pulled out her NJ again! Silly, silly girl. So she took a ride to Primary Children's to get it replaced. They told me that she was pretty happy to take the ride, and when she got back to South Davis she was exhausted and slept really well through the night. I was going to go in to see her today, but Ben woke up with a fever, cough and a tummy ache. After throwing up several times, he slept for a few hours, but he still isnt' feeling good tonight and I'm going to go and snuggle in bed with him and watch a movie. Poor kiddo. I guess it's the season. Well, please know that I check on all my blog friends all the time, but I haven't been able to post much due to how busy I've been. I will be able to move into my new place at the beginning of December, so hopefully things will calm down and I'll be able to post more often again. Elaina has her Cardiology appointment on Wednesday, so I'll be sure to let everyone know how she's doing. Hopefully this weekend will allow me to do some much needed catching up (on sleep as well as other things!)
Hugs!
Hollie

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Prayer Request for Katie

There is a family that I've been following closely. Their sweet heart, Katie has HLHS, and is REALLY struggling. Their struggle closely resembles the struggle that I had with Elaina this past summer and my heart is filled with emotion for them. I know that prayers can be answered and would like to ask anyone that is willing, to join in prayers for this family as they contiue to fight this battle. Katie is not doing well, and is not expected to survive the next 48 hours. They are praying for a miracle.
Thank you SO much!
Hugs,
Hollie, Ben and Elaina

Friday, November 07, 2008

Still here!

Sorry for not posting more lately. I have been SO busy that I barely have time to sleep! I have tons of pictures, but I am having problems getting them downloaded to my computer. Ben has been coming along on several visits and I was able to get some good pictures of the two of them together. Elaina really loves her big brother. She follows him with her eyes and smiles at his goofy faces. She especially likes to be tickled. There have been a couple of times that I thought I heard a small laugh, but then I couldn't get her to do it again. She's getting there though! She's still congested with a small cough, but no fevers. It seems to be getting gradually better. I'm chalking it up to season change and reaction to the flu shot she got a couple of weeks ago. Her sweet personality is really starting to show and I am so pleased. She is such a pleasant, happy little girl! She is easily entertained by her mobile and colorful toys. The nurses and techs at South Davis actually fight over who gets to play with her! It is so nice to know that she is so well taken care of! I am very anxious to be able to move to Bountiful. I think I finally found a place near South Davis. It is about 5 minutes away from Elaina, so if I needed to get there quickly it would be possible! If everything goes according to schedule, I should be moved into my new place before Christmas! My fingers are crossed! I am going up to visit Elaina on Saturday, my Aunt Marney is going to be in town and Ben and I are going to visit with her when she comes to see Elaina! I am very excited! I will take more pictures and hopefully I'll be able to get the silly things downloaded for my next post!
Love,
Hollie

Monday, November 03, 2008

Elaina Bug and Jedi Ben

What a weekend we had! Halloween was a blast!
Thursday was super busy trying get costumes organized and sewn. A special thanks to Colleen and her super sewing skills! She made Elaina's costume as well as Ben's. We spent the afternoon planning and shopping, and then were up late making the perfect costumes for my kiddos!
Friday I volunteered as one of the room mothers for Ben's party. Since I was in charge of the game portion of the party, I decided to dress up for the event and went as a witch with purple hair. Ben was so excited that I was there and that I wore a costume! We played Halloween Bingo and I think that the kids liked the game. We played until everyone won, and I gave out some fun party favors and suckers to all the kids. Ben had fun giving out the leftovers to his friends at the end of the party. After school we stopped by Aunt Kathryn's and Uncle Don's for a quick hello and trick or treat and from there we went up to South Davis. We got there in time for a visit from my sister Liz and her husband John. Liz helped me get Elaina dressed in her costume before they left for another Halloween get together. They have a really neat tradition at South Davis. All the residents (including the Adult Units) dress up for the event. All month long the nurses donate candy. They have a contest for the department that donates the most. There were TONS of treats donated. Everyone lines up in the main lobby and down the hallway in their costumes and then the fun begins. Families from the community bring their kids for a safe trick-or-treat environment. Ben got SO MUCH CANDY! He was in heaven. After he'd gone through the line, he came and sat with Elaina and helped me hand out the candy. It was a lot of fun. I had Elaina in a small stroller and she really did well. I took her out a couple of times and held her in my lap, but people tended to want to touch her when I was holding her, so I put her back in the stroller where she wasn't getting touched. She was very interested in all the costumes and was happy and content. I didn't keep her downstairs for the entire evening, I was worried about exposing her to so many people, but it was fun to spend the evening with both my kids. After I got Elaina back up to her room, we spent a little bit of time playing with her, but the excitement of the evening wore her out and she was tired, not to mention that all the candy had wired Ben, so I decided to leave. We stopped by my Grandma's house and did a little bit of trick-or-treating on her street, and then we went to Colleen's house. I'd forgotten my camera at home, so she had been sweet enough to let me borrow hers. I've been spending the weekends with Colleen and her husband Najee. They live closer to Bountiful and so I don't have as far to drive when I stay with them. They are also so good with Ben and we have really been having fun playing games and watching movies at their house on the weekends. They are also helping me in my search for new living arrangements, so we keep pretty busy on the weekends.
Anyway, here are some fun Halloween pictures! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Elaina Bug!


She was in such a good mood!


Ben was "Luke Skywalker" super Jedi!


Okay, now he's a Vampire Jedi. She's just a cute Bug!


Sitting up so well in her stroller.


She's a people watcher!

All worn out from our evening fun.

Elaina wasn't sure what to think about Mommy's purple hair and giant eyelashes. At least she didn't cry!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Little Miss Houdini Strikes Again!

Elaina was absolutely beautiful today! She was all dressed up in one of her hot pink dresses with a big flower in her headband. She was extra sweet and cuddly and made some really funny faces at me. She's found her tongue again and was actually smiling a big smile while sticking her tongue out as far as it would go. She wouldn't do it once I pulled out the camera, but I'll keep trying. She's starting to get a little bit ticklish, but hasn't quite figured out how to laugh yet. We played with some toys, sang some songs and I got in quite a few kisses (one is never enough!) during my visit.

When I got to South Davis today, Elaina was napping. She'd managed to wiggle out of one of her no-no's and was holding onto her oxygen cannula. I looked at the monitor, and her saturations were 81%! Not bad for having the oxygen out of her nose! While I was holding her, the alarm kept going off because she was as high as 89%! HOLY COW! She's doing this with a stuffy nose and a cough, I can't help but wonder what she'd be doing if she wasn't congested. Right now Cardiology doesn't want us to turn her oxygen any lower than 1 liter. At least those were the instructions that I was given before leaving Primary Children's. Although at that point, we felt that she was having a good day if she was 75% and didn't think that she'd ever truly sat over 80% on a regular basis. I'd been told that when she was 80% or higher, it was probably a false read on the pulse oximeter, and to be fair, that was most likely true at that time. But Elaina has been showing these high saturations for several days now, and I'm wondering if I should call her cardiologist and ask if it is still necessary for her to be on at least the 1 liter or if it can be turned down to 3/4 or 1/2 liter settings. We have a cardiology appointment on November 19, so I may just wait until then to ask, but it is so suprising to have her sats so high (for her!).

Anyway, my visit ended far to soon. They always do. :( I gave her some extra kisses, and put her back in her crib. The nurse was in the room, and I mentioned some concern about the tape (or lack of it, to be exact) on her NJ tube. I told her that I was worried about it getting pulled and she told me that she had re-taped it this morning and that it was quite secure. She was in the process of putting Elaina's no-no's back on as I left the room. I made my hour drive home, and no sooner had I given Ben his kiss and hug hello, and my phone rang. It was South Davis. The charge nurse was calling to let me know that my Sweet Little Miss Houdini had struck again. Somehow, she'd wiggled out of her no-no's and had pulled her NJ tube out of her nose. So, she had to take her 1st trip back to Primary Children's tonight to get her tube replaced. One of the nurses told me that she was so cute on the stretcher in her pink dress and big bow. She told me that Elaina was looking around and seemed excited to take her ride!! She's not back at South Davis yet, but they have been calling me with updates. The last I heard they were just waiting for the transport to come and take her back. Silly girl! She just doesn't understand that if she pulls it out, they've got to put it back in. In any case, I'm sure she enjoyed having no tube in her nose for the short amount of time that it was out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Princess Elaina

When I got to the hospital this afternoon, Elaina was all dressed up! She was in her prettiest pink frilly dress with a huge bow.


The nurse told me that she was out of clean clothes, and this was the only thing that was left in her drawer. In my defense, I'd brought her clean laundry with me and there were a couple of onesies and 3 pairs of pants in her drawer. If you ask me, I think the nurses were just having way too much fun playing dress up! Elaina was asleep when I got there, she'd spent the morning doing physical therapy and in her swing. I put her clean clothes and blankets away and then pulled her out of the crib for some Mama snuggle time. While she was glad to see me (I got a huge smile when I kissed her cheek), she wasn't happy about being awake. So, we snuggled and rocked for a couple of hours while she finished her nap. When she woke up she was ready for some more fun. Luckily I had my camera in hand and was able to capture her cuteness!

She's still congested, but not quite as much as Monday. However, I think that her cough sounded a little worse. She doesn't seem to mind that much though, and the medical team continues to watch her carefully.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the cute little video! She was being so sweet!

video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Picture Time!

Elaina had a pretty good day today. Once again she's having a little bit of throwing up, it's mostly secretions and bile. They are watching her closely so that it doesn't happen when she's on her c-pap. I talked with the doctor about her cough and stuffy nose, but we didn't really get anywhere with it. She hasn't had any fevers (can you belive it?), so they aren't too concerned. The nurses and respiratory are keeping her nose suctioned to help her be comfortable. They are going to keep a good eye on her and see if it gets better or worse and then treat it accordingly. At least she's turned into a really good mouth breather! She was making all kinds of noises in her sleep as I held her yesterday! The congestion could be one of the several things I talked about in my last post; reaction to flu shot, teething, or a real cold. She seemed better to me today than she did yesterday. Hopefully that's a good sign. Today though she just wanted to be a snuggle bunny. She stayed awake my whole visit, but she didn't really want to play, she just wanted to be snuggled close while I sang to her. As soon as I'd sit her up and try to tickle, or play with toys or peek-a-boo, she'd start to fuss. So I obliged her and just rocked and sang her lullaby's with her snuggled up close. What a sweetie! She did give me some smiles and that always makes my day!!

Okay, it's picture time! These are some of my favorites from the last week or so.
Ben came to visit! He loves to hold her even though she's getting so big! He's so cute, we taught him how to hold his arms to support her head when she first came home from the NICU, and he still puts himself into the same pose now when I put Elaina in his arms. The poor kid's arms are too small for this growing little girl!


Looking at her mobile.
I LOVE the big flower on her headband. I found them at a local grocery store and the flower is just basically glued to a hair clip and detaches from the band! I bought 2 bands (they came with 2 flowers) and an additional 3 big bows. Since they're all interchangeable, we'll be having lots of fun!



My sweet friend Ann sent me this cute pillowcase. I use the pillow to help prop Elaina up when she's playing in her crib, or to help support my elbow when I'm holding her in the rocker. I had a pillow with a white pillow case on it, and housekeeping took it away thinking that it belonged to them!!! Thank you SO much Ann!!!


For the life of me, I couldn't capture a smile with camera that day!
She did give me several though!


"Hmmmm, wonder if I can pull this NJ out when nobody is watching?"


"Oh, just saw my mobile! That makes me happy!"


Silent laughter? Could be, she absolutely LOVES her mobile.
She won't smile at me, but as soon as the music is on and the mobile is turning, she's all grins!


Even in a blue dress with a blue blanket, she's absolutely adorable!


Well, that's it for now! I'm up WAY too late and have TONS to try to accomplish in the morning!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I feel like such a slacker!

I have been so incredibly busy that I just haven't had time to post. Elaina is doing very well at South Davis. I think that she might be getting a cold, so I'm a little bit nervous about that. I'm hoping that it is because she got a flu shot (not the live virus mist) and that is what's causing it. Ben and I need to go get our flu shots this week. Anyway, Elaina's very happy and content in spite of having a stuffy nose and a little cough. Maybe she's finally teething? Who knows. I will be talking to Dr. Murphy on Monday morning and see what she thinks about it. Otherwise she is absolutely adorable. She's smiling so much more and is starting to anticipate when I tickle her or play peek-a-boo. I've taken some very cute pictures and some super cute videos over the past couple of days, but I am too tired (and lazy - at the moment!) to download them all and post them tonight (it's after 12:30 am and I need to get to bed!). I will continue to take more cute pics and hopefully post them all within the next couple of days. I took the opportunity to spend some time with one of my very best friends this weekend as well. For all intents and purposes we're sisters. Colleen and I have been friends for 23+ years. Wow! She and her husband live about half way between my house and South Davis. Colleen and her husband Najee are two of the kindest and most generous people I've ever been privledged to know. Ben loves Najee, he's such a good role model, he builds Lego's with Ben and encourages Ben to make good choices. They invited Ben and I for dinner and a movie on Friday night. We stayed up late talking and laughing and playing games. Sometimes that close friendship makes it hard to leave. They have a nice guest room in their basement, so Ben and I ended up staying with them all weekend long. It was nice to spend some good quality time with my friends and Ben. I was also able to take Ben with me up to South Davis to visit with Elaina. All in all it was a perfect weekend. I didn't get any of my Saturday "to do" list accomplished, but I guess I have the rest of this week to work on it!
I'll try to post pictures on Monday night! Thanks for checking in!
Love,
Hollie, Ben and Elaina

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More decisions

Not much exciting going on around here! ;)
We're trying to get into the new routine with South Davis. I've decided that I can't go up every day to see Elaina, as much as it breaks my heart. There are several reasons for this, one being that I've been spending approximately $400 a month in gas, and I just can't afford it any more. South Davis is in Bountiful which is actually further north than Primary Children's, and adds an additional 10 minutes each direction to my commute. Another reason is that I really feel like I need to take some extra time with Ben. It's been so hard on him to not have me home after school every day, and to have me get home so late every night. Most nights I get home between 7:30 and 8:00, which is so super close to bedtime. I spend all morning with him, but no time after school. All my morning time is also shared with working, so I'm not able to give him my full attention. Once he leaves for kindergarten, I've been heading up to see Elaina and spend the afternoons with her. I get there around 2:00 and stay until 6:30 and then head home. This schedule is getting more and more difficult for me to handle. It seems like everything else that I need to get done is being pushed aside so that I can spend (split!) time with my kids. I'm not able to keep up on laundry, grocery shopping, and other household chores as well as I'd like. I feel like such a slacker sometimes. So, now that I've listed all my reasons, I've decided to stay home 2 days a week to see if I can get back on top of everything. In a perfect world, I'd have a maid that would come and clean for me and I'd send my laundry out (or have unlimited $$ to just buy new clothes all the time!) and have all my groceries delivered to my door. Oh well, this is just for a short time, it won't be forever. That's because I've made another decision as well! I currently rent my home, and my contract ends at the end of December. So, I've decided to re-locate up to Bountiful. It will be hard on Ben to change schools, but in the long run it will be for the best. If I'm 5-10 minutes away from Elaina, I can visit her while Ben is in school and then go back later in the evening with him for another visit. I should be able to manage my time a little better if I don't have have a 2 hour commute added to my daily routine. Not to mention the gas expense. I'm glad the prices are coming down, but it's still a lot of money every week. I'll be able to look around town on my visits, especially when I take Ben with me on Saturday's and don't have to worry about hurrying home. Moving isn't something that I like to do, and I've done it too many times recently - 6 times in the last 6 years!! Hopefully I'll be able to find someplace that we can stay for a long, long time!

Elaina is doing really well. She's adjusting well to South Davis and seems to like it there. The nurses are falling in love with her, and have lots of fun dressing her up and playing with her when I'm not there. She's still been having problems with throwing up stomach acid, but I don't know if we'll ever not have that be a problem. They adjusted her reflux meds again today, so hopefully that will help to control it a little bit. Her nurse told me today that she rolled from her back onto her side! WOW! She must be feeling better! She's still getting out of her no-no's, but they have her NJ taped better so she's mostly just pulling out her oxygen. They moved her into a different room this weekend. She's so quiet that they couldn't hear her cry, so they moved her into a room that is much closer to the main nurses station. She still has a window, but it looks onto a covered patio so she doesn't get direct sun anymore. She also has a room mate, so there isn't as much privacy as we're used to. That's okay though, we had shared rooms in the PICU so it's nothing new. I'm planning on taking some pictures when I visit tomorrow. I went to Wal-Mart (first time in months!) tonight and got her some cute new clothes. She's growing so fast, she's outgrown most of the clothes that I have for her now. I just HAD to go shopping and buy some new stuff. Thank goodness for Wal-Mart! :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Double Tag

So, I've been tagged a couple of times in the last week, and I'm finally getting around to doing my tag post!

TAG #1
My friend Megan tagged me for a photo tag. You have to pick the photo from the fourth file and then the fourth photo.


This picture is of Elaina when she was in the hospital last spring. This was before her heart cath and all her surgeries.

TAG #2
I was tagged by both Megan and Emily for this one!

Random Facts about me:
#1 I lived in Paris France for 1 year when I was 13 years old, while my Dad was on a research sabbatical.
#2 I lived in Omaha Nebraska until I was 15 years old.
#3 I was a nanny in Philadelphia for 2 years after I graduated from High School. (1988-1990)
#4 I was 32 years old when Ben was born.
#5 I was widowed when I was 33 years old. Ben was 11 months old.
#6 I can honestly say that I was 37 when Elaina was born, she was born 1 hour before my birthday!
#7 I love to cook and bake! Soups are my favorite, and I love to make up my own recipes. I really enjoy baking and decorating cakes, I even made a wedding cake for one of my friends once!

Okay, I double tag: Brytten, Melynda, Kathy, Stephanie, Tina, Camille, and Aimee!
So hard to just choose 7! :) Have fun!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Getting Settled in

Well, it seems that we are finally starting to get settled in to South Davis. Transitions are always difficult for me, but so far this one has gone very smoothly. I must say that the atmosphere at South Davis is much different than I expected. It is a long term acute care facility. The majority of the residents are on ventilators with a traech, or are confined to wheelchairs. Most of them have significant developmental delays as well. In a way, it feels like Elaina doesn't quite "fit in". That said, I think we're going to like it here. Rooms are shared, but the other bed in Elaina's room is empty, so she has the bed by the window. So far it's been fairly quiet and it's nice. The nurses are on teams, and the teams rotate every 8 weeks, so there is quite a bit of consistency of care. Someone comes into the room every 30 minutes to check on her, so she seems to get quite a bit of attention. I have a "get to know you" care conference on Thursday, so that will be good to make sure everyone is truly on the same page. She is such a content little thing! She rarely cries, and if she does, there is a good reason for it. I think she likes that she's not getting poked as often! I had a good day holding and loving her, I keep the no-no's off the entire time I'm there. I was getting ready to leave, so I put her back in her bed and put the no-no's back on. I turned on her mobile as I was walking away (it breaks my heart to leave...) and she flashed me a beautiful smile! I think her mobile inspired her, but I still had to stay and take a few pictures while she was willing to give those precious smiles away, so enjoy!

"You almost caught me Mom!"


There's the smile!


getting some sun from her window


Happy girl :)


I LOVE THIS SMILE!!!!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Surreal Day

What a day!!!!! I think that pictures can tell it best:


Getting in some good snuggles.
Yes, she's smiling!!!
She decided yesterday that she was ready to share some smiles.
She's still stingy with them, but these are the first smiles she's given out since May! There is nothing more beautiful than her smile! I thought my heart was going to explode when she smiled at me today!



All packed up!
Can you read the sign?
It says:
"I'm leaving Primary Children's after 143 days!"
Unbelievable!! I didn't think this day would ever come!



We weren't the only ones that were excited that this actually happened today!
I couldn't stop crying, I'm such a baby!



Getting loaded into the ambulance for the transfer.



Ready to go to South Davis!!



Getting settled into her new bed. They'll soon learn to put pink blankets on her bed. The blue (and some purples) don't compliment her skin tone.
She was behaving herself without the no-no's for a minute.



She loves her mobile!!
She's getting so big, she weighs 16.5 lbs!



Such a pretty girl! I love her eyes, she's getting so expressive.



This is another one of her new tricks, she loves to blow raspberries. She was doing it all day long today. She's so funny!



Can you believe this? She's holding her rattle all by herself and moving it around. She never ceases to amaze me!

Words just cannot fully express how I'm feeling today. I am so blessed. I know that I've witnessed a miracle. I am so proud of Elaina, she amazes me each and every day. My heart is full of love for this sweet soul that has graced my life. I know that my Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I see His hand in my life on a daily basis and I am so grateful for it. Today starts a new chapter in our lives, I hope and pray that we continue on this road to recovery and that home can be in our future.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Running Away...

Ben and I are off to Bear Lake! We're hoping to enjoy each other and get rejuvenated this weekend! It might be stormy on Saturday, but we'll try to get a little bit of lake time in on Friday then we'll be home on Sunday.

Elaina is just so precious. I spent last night with her and she was very interactive and playful. She got a new toy from her friend Mercydez (thanks Ashley!) and she loved it. We played with it for about 45 minutes before she lost interest. The physical therapist played with it this morning too, and she was just as excited about it. She was able to grasp it and she brought it to her mouth. The most exciting part was that she cooed! I was holding her and playing and singing to her, and she cooed at me!!!!! It was so beautiful! Up until now, the only noise she made was crying when she was unhappy. This was definitely a happy noise. It just made my day! Of course it also made it harder to leave her, but I am so pleased with how she's doing. I have lots more to share, but I'm outta time, so I'll post more when I get back from the lake!
See Ya!!!
Hollie

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting Closer

Well, we're getting closer. After meeting with the doctors from South Davis on Monday, a decision has been made to transfer Elaina on Monday Oct 6th. She still needs to finish up some IV antibiotics, and a tiny bit more fine tuning of diuretics and then we can go! They stopped her antibiotics on Sunday, and by early Monday morning her fever was back, so they decided to have her finish the anti-biotics (as well as the work up) at Primary's before she goes. Her NJ tube got clogged again (some of the nurses are just not flushing it well...) and when they replaced it, her throwing up stopped. I think it's odd, her throwing up started last week when the tube was put in. I almost think that there was something wrong with the tube or placement that caused the throwing up. She had several x-rays to check the placement and they looked okay, but it just seems odd to me.
Anyway, I decided to stay home today to get caught up on errands, laundry, dishes, etc. I'm going to take Ben up to Bear Lake this weekend for our last weekend of the season. I'm not sure if any of my sisters will be able to join us, but I think that the fresh air will be good for us regardless. So, I have a lot to do to get ready for the weekend. I'll be spending the night with Elaina on Wednesday and then Ben and I will be off! Hopefully I'll be able to post again before we leave.
Thanks again for all the love and support!
Hugs,
Hollie, Ben and Elaina