Thursday, March 31, 2011

NICU: day 22

today's update thanks to jay:

"today was another steady good day. got to admit, i enjoy going during my lunch break to visit baby jemma because it's also when the doctors make their rounds and i get to ask lots of questions. with each day, i feel more comfortable in knowing that she will be just fine. they reported that we will not find out about the factor 13 lab test that hematology sent out until next week. dr. coghill says that the results will not change how they are going to continue to treat her.

also, the blood she had under her scalp has shrunk. her pocket for her spinal fluid looks good and her shunt is operating correctly per neuro. they spoke about developmental issues that may occur because of the bleed she had while on ECMO and dr. coghill said it would be highly unlikely that she'd have any issues learning to eat. she's just 2 weeks post ECMO and it normally takes about 30 days to get everything learned correctly with suck, swallow, and breathe. this was in response to her spitting up some of her oral and NG feeds. the occupational therapist is going to continue to bottle feed twice a day. today jemma took 36cc but coughed up 11cc. she's getting a total of 55cc now and her weight is at 7.35lbs.

additionally, dr. coghill spoke about how the shunt stops working. basically, the "pocket" they create continues to get smaller and smaller until it's unable to remove any more fluid, thus clogging the shunt. i asked how long after the shunt "stops working" will they take to decide on if a permanent shunt is necessary. he said that it depends on the size of the ventricles from a CT and if her head circumferences are stable. there is a chance that the clot caused from the bleeding during ECMO can excavate itself naturally and relieve the pressure, thus might not needing a permanent shunt. we are hoping for this to happen, but will not get our hopes up just in case it doesn't.

lastly, i asked dr. coghill if they would consider an MRI to get a more detailed picture of the vegetation on her heart. he thought that was a good idea and would bring it up to cardiology next week when they meet to determine to keep her on antibiotics. his concern is that it might be difficult to get a good picture of the moving mitrovalve. all in all, it was another good day. sweet baby jemma is continuing to progress for the good."
meanwhile on the home front today, stacy came over to pick up the girls and take them to the mcwane center while i cleaned like a mad woman. it's amazing how much easier it is to organize, clean, and do laundry when my wee little tornadoes aren't there to undo everything i just fixed. thank you so much, stacy! that helped me out big time.

furthermore, my doorbell rang twice today which meant my front door was greeted with special surprise utmost favorite! one was a gift basket filled with assorted cookies and a super cute storybook that i have already read to the girls twice. this very thoughtful gift was given by my cousins in california (the merlos). the other surprise was a beautiful bouquet of rainbow tulips...simply gorgeous and definitely brighten my day. these were given by my cousin, joy-joy, who lives in florida. again, very thoughtful and nice. also, big B colored sweet baby jemma a very pretty card that i have kept along with other cards that she has received. all of these sweet surprises mean so much. thank you, guys...we love ya'll immensely!! XOXOlastly, the day is winding down and jay gets home from work. our friends christi and stacy along with their kids come over to our house to watch the girls for us while jay and i drove up to the hospital together to see our sweet girl. when we first walked up to the NICU, we noticed that visitation was closed. one of the ladies whispered to jay that a baby had just died. we were all devastated. it made my heart hurt and made me want to hold sweet jemma that much tighter tonight. so we waited for about 2 and a half hours...there was no way we were going back home after hearing such a tragedy. they opened up the doors, and we practically went running. we fed her, changed her poopie diaper, and then held her all night. she was so awake and active tonight that it made us very happy.

jay took a close-up picture of all of us and then told jemma to "get use to it because it's all mommy wants to do." obviously the man knows me well. very well indeed. we rock you until you fall asleep and then lay you back in your crib for a good night's rest. you looked like such a sweet angel. then jay and i headed back home where christi had dinner cooked and ready for us...did i mention that we have the most bestest best friends in the whole wide world!? seriously, i have no idea how we would manage without all the help we have been receiving. thanks a million!!

thursday's thoughts

fair warning: i haven't done these in a really really long time. in fact, some are from before i gave birth to sweet baby jemma. i'll start with the oldest tweets to the newest...enjoy!

1.) I hereby solemnly swear that this house was clean before entering my shower. What my kids do to it while I wash my hair is not my problem.

2.) Headed for a pedicure before these little piggies are up in stir-ups...

3.) UABathletics: Jamarr Sanders scored 15 points and Aaron Johnson had nine assists to lead UAB to a 66-48 victory over ECU and the outright C-USA title. #GoBlazers

4.) Hubs totally rocked being Mr. Mom this weekend. He took care of the kids' every need & finished ALL of the laundry. #BlessedSpoiledThankful

5.) Hope I finally get some good sleep tonight because I'm so damn anxious as to what the doc will say tomorrow. #PeaceBeWithYou&AnExtraPieceForYou

6.) Heidi Montag said she's concerned for Charlie Sheen. If my Spring Break is half as rock bottom' as that sentence, I will die happy. #SGP

7.) my nose is so swollen that it'd make Bozo jealous. #ItsGoTimeB!tches #CantWaitToMeetBabyJemma

8.) I'm already calling my girls by the wrong name. Therefore, I am becoming my mother. #OneSlipUpAtATime

9.) Quote of the day directed towards my Hubs: "Hey big fella...why don'tcha com'er and massage my fundus." #HospitalFun

10.) This hospital tv remote has two volumes: 1) LOUD and 2) Off. Right now, I prefer the latter. #NightyNight #SleepTightBabyJemma

11.) "Even on my weakest days...I get a little bit stronger..." #PrayForBabyJemma

12.) 2 consecutive good days in NICU & now this exhausted mommy can't sleep. A blessing & a curse, but I'll take it. #ContinueToFightBabyJemma

13.) Dear Medela, I didn't really need my nipples. Go ahead, you can have them. #PumpingWithSeriousSuction

14.) Rascal Flatts' song "I won't let go" makes me whimper like a puppy who's tail just got stepped on...EVERY.TIME. #ContinueToFightBabyJemma

15.) Is fairly certain that an exorcism would be easier than extracting a splinter from my 4 year old. #HolyGuacamole #MommyNeedsMedication

16.) RT @anjeanettec: Some people just want to watch the world burn. Others just want to escape. I'm watching Real Housewives of OC. Killing two birds, people.

17.) it's nearly 11:00pm and hubs is currently outside putting together the girls' new trampoline. Simply couldn't wait to do so until the morning. #DaddyWantsToBounceToo

18.) My sleep cycle is whack, yo. #Insomnia #BooHiss

19.) Just schooled my kids with a quick color lesson by urinating in fresh clean toilet (ie, blue water + yellow pee = green result) #GeniusMommy

20.) hells bells. my internet connection is so painfully slow, i'd rather dig my eyes out w/ a dull spoon than upload pics to #Blogger right now.

21.) "picture pages, picture pages, time to get your picture pages, it's time to get your crayons and your pencils..." #Delirious #BillCosbyRocks

22.) So verrrry verrrry cold, yet I sit here in flip flops with the heat on. Isn't it ironic, don'tcha think? #SpringInTheSouth

23.) With every sentence and every made up song, my eldest daughter is obsessed with rhyming. #NeverEndingRhymeTime

24.) Thanks to #Netflix & friends, Hubs & I have recently discovered the tv series: The League. #IThinkImInLove #AbsolutelyHilarious

25.) Not sure which one is worse: A) Having to wear a bra while you sleep or B) Waking up in a pool of your own breastmilk. #TheUglyTruth

26.) I prefer to type in all lowercase letters, yet my handwriting is always in all uppercase letters. Odd, no? #100FactsAboutMe

27.) i just finished pumping & now it's nearly 4am...tomorrow has a full on recipe to SUCK. @Mommatootoo odds is discussing it at nearly 3 am!

28.) "Where there is great love there are always miracles." ~Willa Cather #MissingMySweetBabyJemma

29.) the nan likes to surprise us with yummy home-cooked meals. she'll call me up, tell me she's making xyz, that she's never made it before so she has no idea how it will turn out (which btw, it's ALWAYS awesomely delicious), and if we would like carryout from her house. of course my answer is always "YES!" so i then phone up jay and he picks it up on his way home. it's wonderful. i love these phone calls because they are yummy meals that i didn't have to cook myself. thank you, nan. we love you! xoxo

30.) You know it's a good day when you let your friend know that you're ready to have your kid back, but they want to keep her longer. #WinWin

31.) Clearly not skipped a meal, but yet I'm 16 lbs down from pre-pregnancy weight. Who'dathunk stress & breastfeeding would look so good on me?

32.) My first born has a show & tell "Talent Show" at school on Friday. Wonder if it would be frowned upon if she brought her #MarioKart to play?

33.) Conflicted: I like my sleep, but I love my late night computer "me time" more. #WhatsAGirlToDo?

34.) i love my kids and their quirks. they all have them. some times abby likes to put her arm behind her back and under her shirt when she's in the car because "she's hot." lyla likes to play dress up and change clothes at least 10 times a day. i only wish i was kidding. i don't even fold the clothes in her drawers any more because it's pointless. up until recently, she has also started wearing big girl panties over her pants. she only does this while at home and it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NICU: day 21

this morning while i took lyla to dance class, jay was up at the hospital visiting sweet baby jemma. he reported that her O2 sat is looking awesome and that she's off IV fluids. he talked with her doctor who said everything is looking good. they will continue to work on her feeds since it usually takes ECMO babies a month to get the hang of it. the doctor also stated that they'll have a meeting of the minds next week to discuss her heart and the antibiotics. also, they've upped her feeds to 50cc. mamaw and julie came by to visit her today as well. very sweet.

meanwhile at lyla's dance class, i couldn't help but take some pics of her frolicking around and dancing to the piano. she has so much fun in there. during class, keri and i were talking about how everything was going with sweet baby jemma. we discuss and then next thing i know, a deal is made where lyla got to go home with her friend KB so that they couple play for a couple of hours while i ran some errands and took a NAP!!! and it was heaven, by the way. did i mention that i have awesome friends and my kids do too? you know it's a win-win for everyone when i call keri and she wants to keep lyla longer since they are having such a great time. love it. thank you, keri!!soon the time came for abby to get out of school. since stacy and i rotate turns with who picks them up from carpool, i didn't have to go back out in the dreary rainy weather again. score. she drops off abby and as we entered the den, abby couldn't wait to show me all the goodies she got in her bag from their "ultimate author day." also, hannah's mom made us the best homemade lasagna ever along with some yummy sides and best of all...cupcakes from dreamcakes!!! i swear this day couldn't have gotten any better. the flavors were "over the moon" and "caramel sea salt mocha." TO.DIE.FOR. thank you sooo much, sarah! here are some pics...after dinner, i snuck out for a bit for my much needed "mommy and me" one-on-one time with sweet baby jemma. you don't know how much i look forward to this. just a couple of quiet peaceful hours holding her in my arms and rocking her without having to move, get up, scream, or discipline any other small children (aka, your big sisters). it's just wonderful. i arrived to the NICU, talked with the nurse as we got your vital signs, i changed your poopie diaper again (twice actually since you like making another one as soon as i lay a clean one under you, go figure), fed you through your NG tube, and then got to rock you as you gazed into my eyes all while i talked your ear off. luckily, you haven't spit up on mommy yet so that's always a plus. the nurse said that you haven't spit up after your last two feedings. good girl. also, the preacher gordon came to talk to me for a bit tonight while at your bedside and that was nice.

jabbin' jemma, we've found some pink boxing gloves for babies and we can't wait to put you in them. thanks to our friend, heather for coming up with the idea...i think it should be your birth announcement picture. hehe. classic. anywayz, i believe your daddy and i have found a system that works when we can't always find babysitters to watch abby and lyla or when we don't want to have to deal with all of us going up there and rotating out...instead, daddy goes to see you at lunch while mommy comes up after dinner. i love our time together, sweet girl. xoxo

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NICU: day 20

before i begin with news about our little fighter "jabbin' jemma," i'd like to take the time to show the pictures of abby's new dance recital costumes that they received today. when we arrived to her class, her teacher started handing them out while each girl tried them on. they all looked so ridiculously cute in their fluffy little tutus striking a lovely ballerina pose. can't wait to watch my big girl dance on stage alongside some of her classmates. here are some on to the most recent news with our sweet baby jemma...

this morning's report:

"heart echo still showed the growth, no change. plan is to continue the antibiotics. temp is good. they moved her to 0.25 liters of oxygen between 21-30%. no head ultrasound yet, however head circumference has decreased in swelling. no news yet on hematology labs either. jay talked with dr. coghill about the growth on her heart...he said it might be a skin tag that may have formed during development. if it was a clot it should have changed in size. he's not convinced that it is an infection but is taking the infectious disease's recommendation and he'll bring all the doctors into agreement next week when they decide to take her off the antibiotics. if it's a malformed tag and it's not hurting her, they'll just leave it and continue to monitor it. the reason they thought infection initially is because she seemed to show signs of sepsis. also, when she came in, they are not 100% sure that she had PPHN. they are considering that she might have had RDS (respiratory distress syndrome), but he said they may never know what caused her to go on ECMO. also, they plan to continue with her "well baby" development by feeding her via the bottle. she ate 30cc earlier, but has been moved up to 45cc."

this evening's report:

"nurse said that earlier in the day, sweet baby jemma spit up some of her feedings so they elevated the head of her bed. since then, she has held down her latest feeds. tita karla and i got the chance to help feed her through her NG tube and then later we changed another blowout she created in her diaper. atta' girl. she currently weighs 7 lbs 2 oz. also, her physical therapist came by to talk to us. said that baby jemma is doing developmentally what she should right now as far as the movement with her arms and legs. they are also working with her to grasp her stare, but she tends to use the "avoidance" method where she looks away because she doesn't want to be messed with. this however is improving since she is being more comfortable with who handles her. in other words, she will gaze into her mommy's eyes and that makes me happy. we got to hold her all night and thanks to the oh-so comfortable boppy that we brought along, sweet baby jemma rested easy."

lastly, words can not describe how appreciative we are of everyone's offerings of help (big or small) along with thoughts and prayers. every little bit goes a long way. we truly feel blessed to have such a strong support system to help us pull through the ups, downs, and unknowns. so thank you, laura and fam, for dinner tonight and thank you to everyone else near and far. you guys are the best! xoxo

Monday, March 28, 2011

NICU: day 19

today, sweet baby jemma continued to have another steady good day. they increased her feedings from 25cc to 45cc and started feeding her 25cc by bottle every 3 hours and the rest through her NG tube. the occupational therapist thought they were pushing her too hard so they changed her to bottle feeds twice a day to give her rest. also, the doctors are happy with how she looks. the only negative is the diaper rash that her antibiotics are giving her so spackling on the diaper cream is a must.

around lunch time, nana lin came to visit her sweet grandbaby and gave her some much needed hugs and kisses as she held her for awhile. it was a very sweet moment and jay even got a picture of it...also, now that lola and pawpaw have discovered that grandparents are allowed inside the NICU for visitation hours without having us required to be there, they like to visit nearly every night. they went up to visit her again tonight and called us after wards with the news that sweet baby jemma looks so good. they also said that she started rooting because she was hungry so the nurse fed her and then she fell right asleep. admittedly, i can't wait till i get to start breastfeeding her...this all day pumping isn't half as much fun as the bonding with skin-on-skin contact. give me that baby!! LOL. in due time, sweet jemma, in due time. we love you, sweet girl. xoxo

lastly, special thanks to kathryn and family for the lovely dinner that was exchanged while sitting in carpool. all of it was delicious and luckily, i was able to hide the cupcakes from the girls throughout the entire car ride home...i was pretty proud of that minor feat. hehe.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NICU: day 18

today was a good day. actually, i take that back. today was a great day. one of those "better" days that make everything else seem that much brighter. our weekend felt like a well balanced meal so what better dessert than to end it with a cherry on top by finally letting abby and lyla into the NICU in order to be reunited with their baby sister jemma. this visit was only their second time to see their lil sis. the first time was shortly after jemma was born and moved into the well baby nursery. needless to say, it's been too long and everyone was super excited.

backtrack if you will...grands made abby and lyla "bigger and big sister" shirts as a gift before baby jemma was born. they are absolutely adorable. well the game plan was to have them wear their shirts proudly throughout our initial hospital stay, but we all know how that turned out. needless to say, i've been itching to find the right moment where they could both wear them and "hold" their baby sister for the first time ever. considering sweet baby jemma had a very nice and much-needed relaxing weekend, we decided that now was the perfect time. also, the girls brought the pictures that they painted for her, and the nurse gave them tape so that they could hang their creations on the side of her crib for baby jemma to see and enjoy.we all enter the NICU and immediately wash our hands like every visit before. we walk over to where sweet baby jemma was sleeping and pull up a chair for abby and lyla to sit in. the nurse tells us that we can lower the side rail so that they can get a better look. they were anxiously excited as their baby sister started to wake up and open her eyes to look at them. it was the sweetest thing. lyla nearly wanted to climb into bed with her and tried to lean in for a kiss, but we had to remind her not to touch jemma's hands or face. as for abby who has a better grasp that baby sis is "sick," you could tell that she was a little apprehensive and concerned. truthfully, she prays for her all the time..."to get better so that she can come home and i can teach her how to talk, walk, and brush her teeth." yes, those were her exact words. god love it. here are some pics...our little "wanna-be-mini-mommies" were so sweet. baby jemma is definitely going to have a lot of little helpers surrounding her when she finally comes home. luckily, the nurse took our very first picture as the douglas party of five. shortly after, abby kept asking to hold her so we got everyone situated as daddy laid baby jemma in her lap. abby's face was all smiles. of course lyla wanted a turn too so she was next. both girls enjoyed patting her on top of her blankie as she rested in their laps. here are some pics...after having a wonderful visit of all three sisters enjoying their time together, jay took abby and lyla down to the second floor where the play area is located so that i could soak up some one-on-one time with my jemma bug. i held her for awhile and was then given the chance to feed her through her NG tube, take her temperature (normal, hooray!), and change my first poopie diaper of hers...i never thought i'd be so excited to change a poopie diaper. i digress. the nurse also reported that sweet baby jemma drank her entire bottle (25cc) by mouth and tolerated it well. once again, it was a great day. we ran a few errands, came home, cleaned house, and then auntie gracie came by to drop off dinner and chat for awhile. cousin douglas even made sweet baby jemma a cute card. very nice, indeed. thank you so much, we love you guys! rest easy, baby jemma. mommy and daddy will see you tomorrow! XOXO

Saturday, March 26, 2011

NICU: day 17

today started out with a whole house of over-sleepers...i believe the past couple of weeks are finally starting to catch up with us. thankfully, our friends (lindsay and haswell) had made previous plans with us to watch the girls for us for a couple of hours while we took our time visiting with sweet baby jemma at the hospital. we dropped them off and they were so excited to play with baby greer. we were told that they walked to their nearby park, had a picnic, and played on the playground before the rain came. later while inside, they painted, read books, and watched tv with haswell. lindsay also said that while they were at the park, abby heard her nearby school's church bells ringing and told everybody that they needed to pray for her baby sister jemma. so stinkin' sweet. the girls had a blast and thank you guys SO much!while the girls had fun at their playdate, jay and i soaked up our time with jemma. we entered the NICU and saw her resting so sweetly. jay pulled me up a chair and then the nurse let us pick her up and hold her. i rocked her for two and half hours until the visitation hours closed. it was the highlight of my day. here's her daily report:

"jemma's feedings are back up to 25cc. they are feeding her once a day with a bottle and today she was able to take down 15cc. on monday, they'll look at increasing her bottle feeds. she had a very relaxed day and her sats looked great. they hope to get her down to a 0.25 liter of oxygen in the next couple of days. they do not think she'll require oxygen when she comes home. they are only using it now so that she doesn't wear herself out and drop sats too much when she gets mad."

also, if you look at the picture below of the chart that is used to measure her head circumference, you will notice that today showed a decrease in swelling. YAY!! we were really happy about that. it's good to see her shunt doing it's job properly. here are some pics...after our visit with sweet baby jemma, jay and i ate lunch at Do Di Yo's in homewood and then picked up abby and lyla. from there, we drove them over to lola and pawpaw's house where they played all night while we enjoyed a hot date night. you know you're old and exhausted when you've been given the golden opportunity of a kidless evening, and all we wanted to do was catch up on sleep. inner spoon? don't mind if I do. did i mention the stormy weather was perfect for it? goodnight girls, we love you all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

NICU: day 16

today was definitely a "better" day, thank God!! as usual, jay went to visit sweet baby jemma on his lunch break to check up on everything. when i can't make it up there (due to either one of abby or lyla's activities), i SO look forward to seeing the pictures he takes on his camera phone as he sends them to me through a text message along with an update.

jemma bug, today...YOU.LOOKED.AMAZING. i'm not gonna lie, after seeing you yesterday so fragile and pale, it scared the bejesus out of me. but today was a new day...a new uneventful day. and a day you made me feel sane again. thank you for that, sweet girl. here's your report brought to you by daddy:

"much better day. hematology is checking her for factor xiii deficiency being the cause of her two bleeds. 1 out of 2 million babies get this. it is extremely rare, and i think the head bleed was just a complication of her being on ECMO and having fragile vessels. at least, that is what i'm hoping for. i think they're just checking everything just in case since everything else is normal. the test cannot be read over the weekend so it will be sent on monday. we should found out the results after 24 hours. also, OT came by and fed her 15cc of breast milk by bottle. she is still trying to get the hang of it, but doing good. her swelling has gone down and she looks so good. even dr. karle stated twice that she looks much better today."

R.E.L.I.E.F. here's a picture of sweet baby jemma, sleeping in daddy's arms...later in the day, maggie came by to drop off dinner for us (thank you, thank you!!), we ate and then got ready for a fun family night out at the BJCC to see "Mickey Mouse's Magic Show." many thanks to stacy for giving us these free tickets that she won. since she wasn't able to make it, she gave them to us thinking it'd be a great chance for all of us to get out for a bit and enjoy some quality family time together. boy, was she right. we really needed that and enjoyed watching the girls have so much fun throughout the entire show. it was sweet watching lyla wave at minnie mouse (her favorite) and all the princesses as she pointed and called them by name. abby was hilarious considering after every illusion act, she would ask "how'd they do that?" every.single.time. of course my reply was, "i don't's magic." oh, and when cinderella magically came out of her pumpkin carriage in her beautiful blue ball gown...her jaw hit the floor in astonishment. love it. also, did i mention that the cotton candy there was $2 cheaper than the price it is at the circus? yeah, daddy was super happy about that. it was definitely a win-win night for everyone. here are some pics...lastly, the show ended a little sooner than we expected so being the anxiously excited parents that we are, we decided to make a quick trip to see baby jemma since we were already nearby. we knew our sweet girl would be sleeping so we didn't want to move or talk to her much, thus waking her up. it felt so good just to see her. i got the chance to sit by her for awhile while jay took abby and lyla on the second floor to play in the children's play area. that said, the girls have made new friends with two little girls (both around the same age as ours) who's little baby brother is in the NICU as well. every time we go to visit, they are always there too. it's comforting to have a family right there beside you going through the same thing. we compare notes on our little ones and pray that they both get better soon. goodnight, jabbin' jemma...we love you so incredibly much. xoxo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NICU: day 15

two weeks ago, we endured two consecutive scary days of bad news and now it feels as if history is repeating itself. i'll never forget hearing though in those earlier days the nurses and doctors telling us that, "it'll get worse before it gets better." at first those words were really hard to swallow, but i tucked them in the back of my mind for times like these because for the most part, they have deemed to be true. i'm assuming that this is one of the "worse" because tomorrow will be "better." that said, here is what went down via jay's recollection (thank god your daddy is smart, jemma...mommy would have just written, "bad day" and been done with it)...

"today our little fighter had two surgeries: a shunt and a central IV catheter. she came out of surgery like a trooper. right off the vent and onto her nasal cannula at room air oxygen levels. the surgeon called to tell us that the shunt was successful but that because heads are so vascular, she had developed a bleed between her skull and skin which formed a nice pocket of blood. they were concerned with her pale color and low hematocrit levels when she returned to the NICU so they ordered her more blood and her pink color came back. they assessed the scalp bleed by ultrasound and determined that it was stable. they noted a decrease in ventricle size (good) due to the shunt and called for a hematology consult for a second opinion because of the bleed. currently, all of her clotting factors are within normal ranges and so they are trying to determine if they missed anything. in other words, does she have a blood disorder which is causing all of these small bleeds or is it because her blood vessels are so sensitive due to being on ECMO? i spoke with the hematologist tonight after we left and she asked if we had any history of any bleeding disorders in either sides of our family (answer is no). baby jemma had a tough day, but when we came in, she was wide-eyed and sucking on her paci. such a tough little girl. we stayed with her until she fell asleep, said a quiet prayer and wished her a restful night."in the above picture, you can see where the incision from her shunt is located. no worries, my sweet child...your beautiful hair will cover that right up. also, lola and pawpaw came to visit again tonight as our little fighter "jabbin' jemma" held pawpaw's finger while she slept. they love you so much, sweet girl. the nurses also saved a piece of your hair for us since after all, it was your first true "haircut." we all know that needs documentation too, right? but of course. big sisters, abby and lya, also came to visit but they never went inside the NICU. instead they played in their wagon (their most favorite thing about children's hospital) while in the waiting room. they want to see you so bad, but abby has a lingering cough which forbids them from entering. it shouldn't last much longer and then you can be reunited with your big sisters for a bit. now that will be one of those "better" days, i just know it.all in all, today made me mad. that's one of the emotions i haven't fully felt yet. speaking for myself, it feels like every time we try and get one thing resolved, another pesky little complication pops up. rinse and repeat. i feel like i can't truly feel relieved or even celebrate the one thing because now i'm worried about a new thing. even dr. karle joked with us and said, "i'm going to stop telling ya'll the possible negatives that could happen because they keep happening." so then she kept saying that jemma was going to do this and that (all positive things) and tomorrow they will happen. we love dr. karle. she really gives us in depth information to let us visualize the big picture because after all, "it'll get worse before it gets better."

lastly, my dear friend slammy sent us a big box of cookies today. ummmm, how did she know that of all days, i would NEED those cookies!? in fact, we DESERVE those cookies. thank you so much, slammy. we love you!