Sunday, October 4, 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel

Well folks, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a really great weekend for Riley. Friday they moved her up to full feeds, then pretty much immediately moved her to "on demand" feeding - meaning SHE decides when she wants to eat, not the schedule. Basically, they give her a window to eat in, and whenever she wakes up and acts hungry she gets to eat, and depending on how much she takes determines how long the next window is. She has been eating around 100+ mL each time, which gives her the maximum 4 hour window before her next required feeding. She is getting better and better each time with the bottle as well. These bigger feedings have triggered more weight gain too, as she hit the 11 pound mark this weekend - which is kind of funny because she is officially "off the chart" (small conversion chart for grams to pounds on her clipboard only goes to 10lb 15oz). The nurses say that means they have to kick her out, haha.

Also on Friday, her care was transitioned from Dr. Hsiao (neonatologist) to Dr. Heflin (hospitalist), who will serve as the liaison to our pediatrician, Dr. Nichols until she goes home. Almost immediately, Dr. Heflin began making plans to get us into a family care room ASAP. We received our apnea monitor and oxygen training on Saturday morning, and today they adjusted her O2 settings to what they want them to be at home. They've already changed their mind on what monitor we'll be on, and how the O2 will be set twice today, so who knows exactly what it will be by the time we finally leave.

Today, Dr. Heflin informed us we are free to move to a family care room (a.k.a. mother-baby room) tomorrow morning. We will be there, just us and Riley in the room with a nurse on call if we need, so that we can learn to manage her care and use the new equipment just like we will need to at home. We're signed up for a 48 hour stay, which means we get to go home Wednesday! It's almost surreal to think that after all this time we are finally going to have our baby at home with us. Another week and it will be exactly 5 months since Pam went into the hospital and this whole ordeal started. Since then we have learned so much, grown a lot together, and been blessed to have such an outpouring of support from so many people. I know we couldn't have been as strong and gotten through this without all of that love and support.

She has been spending more and more time awake, which can be both a blessing and a curse. When awake, she needs attention and stimulation, so she's been spending a lot of time in her bouncy seat. She seems to really like it, staring up at her mobile or watching the animals that attach to the seat. But when she sleeps, she can be really sweet. Here's a great photo of her after we put her back in bed the other day. Gotta love that hand holding her face!

She has gotten really good at holding her head up and working her neck muscles. She likes being held with her chest on your shoulder looking out around the room. Here Riley is staring at Daddy and that annoying flashy thing he's always pointing at her.

Many have asked if we are going to have a big homecoming party or anything for Riley. Originally, we had planned to have a big reception at our house after her Baptism in the next few months, but after talking with the medical staff we don't think that a big party would be such a good idea. She is going to be at very high risk for flu and other infections, which would be very bad for her to get. So as a result, we won't be taking her anywhere this winter, and don't plan on getting her around any large crowds. Unfortunately, this also means we will have to be very selective and careful about letting people come over and/or hold her. So in advance, please do not be upset if we decline your request - it is just for the best interest of Riley. If you have even the slightest sign of a cold or anything else (sniffles, tickle in your throat, etc.), we ask that you do not come by - otherwise, we will try to welcome as many visitors as we can. By Springtime, her immune system should be built up better and we'll be out of the flu season, so we'll try to hold some sort of gathering at that time.


  1. Amazing news, Joey! We are counting down the days until this weekend when we can finally see you all again! Enjoy your alone time with her in the hospital the next few days! I'm sure Baxter will be very excited and curious about meeting his new sister FINALLY!
    Love to you all!!
    Auntie Nikki

  2. WOW! How exciting! Please let us know if we can do anything to help. You are always in our prayers. The other day I was talking with Larsen and somebody else about a little baby (I think we were talking about a little doll) and Larsen's response was "Like little baby Riley." We show him pictures of her and pray together for her, and her mommy and dadyy, lots. We are so glad you will soon be home with her.


  3. Joe,

    Sound great! Hope all goes well for you and your family. Good Luck!

    Bill Rice

  4. I've been smiling since you told me the great news about Riley coming home! What a great day for you all! I look forward to getting to know my granddaughter up close and personal - ha!
    Love and kisses, Riley!
    Grandma Ginni