Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Movin' on the 3rd floor!

Wow...seems like a whole lot longer than 3 days ago that I last posted. So much has happened! On Monday they did try bottle feeding, and Riley did great! Took about 56mL on the first try, a whole bottle (60mL) on the second, and when Pam got to do it for the first time Monday evening, she took an entire feeding (78mL)! She doesn't do so well laying on her back, but when "side-lined" (laying on her side towards you, like when breast-feeding), she does much better. Here's a picture of Pam feeding her, still awake after getting really full...

Also Monday night, we had another first. Riley has gotten big enough and stable enough, that the nurses told us we could let others hold her (at our discretion). We're going to keep it very limited, but decided to let the Grandma's go first. My Mom came to visit Monday night so after Riley's feeding she was doing really good and was tired, so we let Grandma Skach hold her for the first time. She was SO excited and couldn't stop gushing! Riley did great, and loved Grandma holding her. Here's their first photo together...

On Tuesday it was Pam's mom's turn to hold her, but since John and Emily were visiting for the last time until John ships out to Korea for a year, she decided to let John hold her instead. She's been begging to hold her for so long, so I know it was a huge sacrifice. They both did great, and Riley really enjoyed being held. It's becoming obvious that she can't stand lying in bed, and always wants to be in some one's arms. We wish John all the best, and I know everyone will be praying for him while he serves our country over seas. Here's proud Uncle John with his niece.

Also on Tuesday, they informed us that it was time for Riley to be moving upstairs, as we had been expecting any day. We figured it would happen sometime last night, but didn't get the call until this morning. She moved upstairs at about 3:30am into a satellite room in the Special Care Nursery on the 3rd floor of Wesley (just above the NICU). It's a little different setup than the NICU with different rules and regulations. It is a converted normal hospital room, with 3 babies and 1 nurse that never leaves the room. Ironically, one of Riley's roommates shares her name, but it's a boy. The visiting hours are more open (8:30am-8:30pm), but we can only have a total of 2 people instead of 4. So if anyone wants to come up with us, only 1 of us and 1 visitor can go in at a time, which isn't very convenient. As a result, we probably won't bring very many visitors up now until Riley comes home. Here's a picture of her new digs, with Mommy holding her next to her bed.

Today Pam got to try breast-feeding for the first time. Has done it 3 times now, and each time it gets better and better. It will be a little while before she takes to it fully, but its a learning process for both Pam and Riley. The nurses are trying to give her bottles as much as possible when Pam isn't there, but she's still getting a good chunk of her feedings through the NG tube. Her last step to complete in order to come home will be to take 100% of her feedings through bottle/breast and no more feeding tube. It will likely take at least a week for her to get to this stage, so our hope will be to bring her home sometime next week, or by the end of September at the latest. No doubt she'll still be on the oxygen when she comes home, as she has some pretty consistent O2 needs the majority of the time. She's still gaining weight every day, up to around 9lb 9oz now. She's looking cuter and cuter every day as well, and seems to have the best of each of our qualities. Here's a good closeup of her sleeping today...

This has been such a long and emotional ordeal for our entire family. It is so wonderful to see the light and the end of the tunnel, and we can't wait to finally bring our angel home. I want to thank each and every one of you that have touched our lives and helped us in so many ways over the past 4 months. Looking at the bottom of this page, over 4,100 people have visited this site, followed Riley's progress, left us wonderful words of wisdom, and sent their thoughts and prayers our way. Pam and I are so amazingly blessed to have this shower of love around us, much of it from people we don't even know. This support has given us such strength, and we couldn't have gotten through it without all of you. Once we bring her home, a whole new adventure will start and we look forward to sharing it with everyone. We attended the baptism class at church last night, and plan to welcome Riley into the Catholic Church soon after she comes home. I'll post more information as the date approaches.

So for now, our concentration will be to keep Riley moving forward on her feedings. This likely means that we'll be up at the hospital even more. Pam has already started making plans to be there 3-4 times a day so she can breast-feed as much as possible. I'll make my usual evening trips after work, and lunch visits if I am in town. Keep checking back, I'll probably post another update this weekend, with pics of Pam's mom when she gets to hold Riley for the first time on Thursday.


  1. I has been a busy few days and what progress our little angel has made. I was overwhelmed and blessed to hold her Monday night and LOVED every minute of it! To think back over the last 4 months and the 'fight' she has put up brings tears to my eyes! Keep up the good work, Riley! We all love you very much!
    Grandma Skach

  2. is it sad that i cried when reading this? i cant wait to get our angel home either! she is doing soo good and its so close... hopefully its right around the corner! cant wait to see her this weekend!

    Love you!
    Aunt Jill

  3. Joey & Pam, Riley is just beautiful!! She has made such amazing progress. You have a real "fighter" on your hands. Her bottle brings backs memories of feeding our little premie Katrina. The picture of Grandma Ginni brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine the pride she felt holding Riley. My prayers continue to be with you. I hope to meet this amazing little angel when I'm in Kansas the end of Oct.

  4. So good to hear the great news! And to see the picture of your mom with Riley. Let me know if there is anything we can do to help in the next week. Scott is on vacation this week working around the house -- so I will have a greater chance of being able to break free and help if you need anything!!!