Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome Baby Emily!

Hello! Welcome to our new blog. We thought with all the recent and upcoming changes in our lives, it would be nice to keep people updated with a dependable blog (the babiesonline site we used for our other children is frequently "unavailable").

We'll start with Emily's birth. Emily Kathryn Darling was born on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010. She weighed 2 lbs. 11 oz. and will be in the NICU for about 8-10 weeks while she continues to grow and develop. Although she came earlier than anticipated (born at 28 weeks), we are so thankful that she is in a nationally-ranked NICU with some of the top doctors and nurses in the country. Since she is no longer in the womb, this is the next best place!

I went into labor on Labor Day with contractions that were 3 minutes apart. We had to make a quick decision about where to go to get them checked out... my local hospital, or the University of Chicago Medical Center where my specialist practices. We went to Chicago and are thankful we made that decision. They tried to stop my labor through many interventions, but all they did was slow the contractions; they never stopped. I labored for 24 hours as they monitored me, but when they couldn't stop the contractions, my heart-rate wouldn't come below 120, and I started spiking a fever, the doctors discovered that I had an infection, which is why my body went into labor. Emily needed to be born immediately. It was safer for her to be born early than to remain in an infected environment. (As a side note, our daughter Brianna -- born and died at 23 weeks in 2008 -- was also born as a result of an infection that caused my water to break.)

It all happened very fast. They started prepping me for the c-section and gave me my second dose of steroids to improve Emily's lungs. Within an hour, Emily was born. Two doctors and four NICU nurses quickly whisked Emily away to an adjoining room where they took care of her.

Emily is doing remarkably well. They intubated her and put her on a respirator right away to help her breathe. Within a day, they moved her up to a CPAP machine. And on Friday they moved her up once again to a nasal cannula which delivers high-flow oxygen. This is 3 steps up in the matter of 5 days! She is breathing on her own now with just a little extra oxygen.

There was also some concern that she might develop an infection after birth since I had the infection before birth, but after 3 days of prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics, they looked at her bloodwork and she never developed an infection. They got her out in time!

Emily was under the bililights for the first 4 days to treat jaundice, but those lights got turned off yesterday because her bilirubin numbers are fine for now. They started feeding Emily yesterday using some of the milk I have been pumping and feeding it through a tube that runs through her mouth into the stomach/intestines. We pray she will tolerate these feedings well.

Yesterday, I got to meet Emily's doctor who will be following her case for the month, Dr. Boos (say: Bose). He was very encouraging and said that Emily is doing really well. He said "she's a superstar" and the fact that she has done this well this far should give us a lot of hope. We know that an extended NICU times -- like Emily will have -- include a lot of ups and downs, but today we are extremely thankful for her progress so far.

Luke and I have already gotten to hold Emily once, which was very special. She does cry in her incubator, but we're told that's a good sign. Crying helps develop her lungs and it shows she's a fighter! The first time I got to see her, I touched her hand and said "Emily... Emmm-i-leee" and every time I'd talk she'd open her eyes. The doctors and nurses say it's very important for us to talk to her because she recognizes our voices.

Back at home, I am recovering from my c-section and the kids are adjusting to having me back and a new sister in the hospital. Logan is eager to meet Emily, but no kids are allowed in the NICU so he'll have to wait quite a while. He started preschool last week (the day after Emily was born) and is enjoying that. Audrey is pretty oblivious to the fact that she has a new sister (whom she calls "Lolly") and remains to be a very busy and talkative 17-month old! Both kids were eager to see me when I got home from the hospital which really warmed my heart. Multiple times over the past two days, Logan has come up to me saying "I love you Mommy" and giving me a big hug.

We have been back and forth to the NICU every day so far. Now we begin the task of dividing our time between home and the NICU. It's hard having babies in two places at once. Thankfully we have parents who are willing to help out with Logan and Audrey so Luke and I can get away, and there is a Ronald McDonald house at the University of Chicago Medical Center that we can use for an overnight stay.

Ok, this update is long enough... I just wanted to let you know what was going on and thank you all so much for your outpouring of love and support! When I go on facebook or check my email, I am moved to tears with your love and prayers for our family. Thank you so much. And please continue to pray for Emily's health and development. We love her so much and would love to take her home with us in the next few months!


gmama said...

She is beautiful!!!!!She is just training her "fighting" spirit so that she can handle Logan and Audrey!

Thanks so much for sharing this blog, it's so nice to hear updates.

My prayers and thoughts are with you everyday!!


Traci said...

Love your new blog! Praying for your family and for little Emily. She's adorable and seems to be a strong little girl. Looking forward to reading more posts!

Sandy said...

Thanks for keeping everyone informed about Emily's progress. SOOOO many people are praying for her and your family. It was such a joy to see her yesterday and I can't wait to hold her and spoil her like I do my other 4 grandchildren! She is beautiful and a gift from God.

I'm so thankful that I am able to help out your family at this time.

Love you all,
Mom (Sandy)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the update. Everything sounds great so far. We will pray for continued good news. Your family is so loved and missed right now too. Can't wait to see you all together as a family at church. Our prayers are with you all.

Crystal said...

when i read your blog, it's like i can hear you tell the story of emily in your own voice, kim. in my mind you sounded very proud of your sweet baby girl!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Starting a blog can sure take a lot of work! I am praying for your family and look forward to many more great updates. Get some rest!

Love you,

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing these updates with us and for the pictures too! She's a beautiful little addition to your family and is loved by so many already. So happy to hear of her fighting spirit and her progress already. Keeping your family in our prayers and can't wait to meet baby Emily!

The Prims