Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 1-3 Update

Welcome to our first official blog post...I've copied below all the emails being sent out over the last month but I figured as time progressed this would be a lot easier than continuing to send out emails. Also posted a few photos from the last few days as well.

Since Riley's birth a LOT has happened. She's had all kinds of things done to her, but is handling it all really well. They did put her on a ventilator right away, but by the end of the first night she was moved from an oscillating one to a conventional one, and the oxygen level has been moved down to almost normal levels - which means she is only getting assistance with moving the air into her lungs and not needing extra O2. You'll notice the extreme swelling on her right arm/shoulder in the early pics - this was from her arm trying to "deliver" itself down the cervix. It took quite a bit of wrenching to get her unstuck during the delivery. I am happy to report that as of last night the bruising and swelling there is almost all gone. In fact, pretty much all the bruising around her body is gone - still a little left on her face, but with all the stuff attached it will take a little longer. She is about as healthy as she can be, and the only problems we have run into are typical for someone as premature as her. She has Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA), which basically means there is a blood vessel between her heart and lungs that should close after birth that hasn't - but this is very common in premature babies and she is being given medicine to help force it closed, if it doesn't work then surgery will be required to fix it. Speaking of her is actually on the RIGHT side of her body instead of the left. They do not believe it will move back, but also don't think it will cause her any problems. In fact, they said this is actually more common than people realize - some of you might have a right-sided heart without even knowing it. She also has some minor physical defects that are most likely attributed to her tight positioning in the womb - curved spine, underdeveloped left jaw, etc. They do think most of this will "fix" itself as she continues to grow. Last night she had her feeding tube installed (small tube in her nose). You'll notice the blue light on the last photo - she is being treated for jaundice, but again very typical for premature babies. Other than that, everything with her is going well.

Now on to Mommy... By the morning after delivery, Pam was starting to feel the numbness wear off and the pain setting in. They put her on Percocet, along with quite a bit of antibiotics. They had told us they thought she might have an infection, and after opening the uterus they did smell an odor, indicating bacteria. They tested the placenta and she did in fact have an infection. This morning we were told it was a strep infection, similar to strep throat (not related to strep b). They are pretty sure this is what caused the contractions, and could even be the reasoning why the water broke in the first place. Pam did start pumping the day after, and while hasn't had much results we have been able to get just enough colostrum (starter milk) for them to inject in Riley's feeding tube. As most of you know, this is the most important thing we can do for her right now, as Mama's milk is always the best source of nutrition and antibodies that will help her develop quickly. Pam's 16 staples will be staying in for a couple days longer than expected, thanks to the infection. They have told us we will be going home today, since Pam is able to get up and around on her own, and the pain and fever have subsided quite a bit.

Over the first 24 hours, we had tons of hospital staff coming in with different things. We also got to sign the birth certificate, which was a good feeling. At some point, they will be posting a "GrowCam" on Wesley's website with a 90-second video for all to see little Riley. It is only a one-time thing however, unless we decide to pay for the service. It is password protected, but I'll post the code on here when we get it (should be any time). Photos on the nursery section of the website won't be posted until she's ready to leave.

Over the next few months, we'll be making daily trips up here to see Riley. Our presence will be a huge help in her development - holding her, touching her, talking to her, etc. They strongly recommend "skin-to-skin" holding, as it is proven to have huge positive effects. Pam will be up here at least a few times a day to pump, hold, etc. We are hoping to be able to bring Riley home sometime in August. To be released, she just needs to be able to hold her own temperature, breath on her own, bottle or breast feed, and gain weight consistently.

We've had tons of visitors over the last few days and weeks, and appreciate everything everyone has done for us - both directly and indirectly. We would love for each and every one of you to be able to see Riley up close. The NICU has special rules and visiting hours, but we will try to accommodate as many of you as possible. As long as you are a healthy adult (sorry no children), and are with one of us, you can come in and see her. Depending on her condition and mood at the time, you may even be able to touch or eventually hold her. While we can go in 24 hours a day, visiting hours for others are restricted to 8:30-9:30am, 12:30-2:30pm, 4:30-6:30pm, & 7:30-8:30pm. We hope to set up some kind of regular schedule for us, so feel free to ask when we are coming are we won't mind bringing a few people at a time to show off our little angel.

I'm sure I forgot some details, as my brain is sleep-deprived and has been on over-drive the last few days. But I will continue to post as I remember things, or as updates become available. In the meantime, please pray for us as Riley still has a long road ahead of her. Pam and I know we will be strong parents, and with the huge support system of family and friends we are confident we will get through this better than we came into it.


    your little one is adorable and looks great!! She is little but she is strong... I cant wait to see her!! If you need anything let me know!!


  2. Congrats to you on making it thru this first week. Keep the faith, take it hour by hour. soon it will be day by day, then week by week. You have a precious gift. Just want to send a note to say thank-you for taking the time and effort, out of your very busy schedule to make up this blog. We have been reading all the notes and blogs on e-mail and facebook and sending many prayers heaven-word as we read them. Love you all.

  3. We love you and are sooooo proud of you both for all you've been thru and how well you've handled everything. You are TERRIFIC parents already and Riley is very luck to have you!
    Bless our little angel (no longer known as Tinker Bell - ha) She truly our little miracle
    Love, Mom and Dad

  4. Riley is a strong girl. She has the Skach-Bearth combination.. she's a fighter. She will get through this with all the prayers and the amazing support system that she has. Riley has so much love coming her way, and God will take care of her. She is in good hands now, and all we can do is pray for the best.
    We Love You Riley Alexis Skach!!! Can't wait for the day that you come home, and we can all hold you.

  5. I have been thinking about your family and I am glad to hear everything is going well. This page is such a wonderful idea and it allows you to reach so many people. That just means more prayers and support for Riley. All of you will be in my families prayers. -Hollie Harter

  6. Congratulations! You guys are amazing and inspiring. We are eager to someday meet Riley. Until then, we will continue to send our love and most positive thoughts from Minnesota.

    Greg & Melissa Bearth

  7. My dear Riley- I am so incredibly happy you are here, despite the circumstances. Unlike your parents and my other siblings, I have not gotten to know the joy of being an aunt to someone on my side of the family. You are my very first niece in our family. Although it is hard to see you so tiny and know that we can't do much to help you with your incredible fight, I know you will improve by each hour, day and week. I miss you already and can't wait to see you again. One day soon, you will be held so much, you'll be fighting us all to put you down! I can already tell you're a very strong-willed baby girl. I am positive you will be a beautiful, spirited addition to our family. You have amazing parents who love you immensely and will treat you well. I love you more than you could ever know!

    Love Always and Forever, Aunt Nikki

  8. Pamela & Joey - congrats on Riley! She has Bearth blood in her so she is plenty tough enough to make it through whatever comes her way. We look forward to reading more on the blogs. Positive thoughts and lots of love come your way from Minnesota.

    Glen and Judy