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Friday, May 6, 2011

Dear friends and family,

This is probably going to be the last post for while, anyway. Ryleigh is doing so well and having two little ones to care for is a full time job in itself so I don't have much time to keep this page updated anymore. Ryleigh is doing so well and she is over 4 months old. 1 month adjusted age. She is starting to smile at us, she can hold her head up and she weighs a whopping 8lbs, 12 oz. That is an even 7lbs since birth! She is very healthy and appears to be a very content baby. (except when she is hungry, then look out!)

Ethan is adjusting well also. He loves her very much and says the cutest things about her and to her as well. My favorite thing he says is "Baby Wiley, your my best fwiend". (his r's are w's) Too cute! He smothers her with hugs and kisses. Sometimes I think it is a little too much love but at least he's not trying to push her down the stairs or anything like that!I will leave you with a video that I made of her journey to this earth and through the NICU. Thank you all for following us, for your prayers and for all of your nice comments. We love all of you very much. If you wish to still keep track of Ryleigh, I am still posting pictures of her on Facebook. Please catch up with us there.

Until we meet again...

Friday, March 18, 2011

We're Home!!

We brought Ryleigh home on Monday (March 14). She is adjusting well to being home and she is really a pretty good baby. Finally, the rollercoaster madness has come to an end.

I look back and I see 11 1/2 weeks of bedrest, an emergency c-section and then 10 weeks in the NICU. Do I see tragedy? Do I see despair? Is this an experience that I will have nightmares about? The answer is "no". I see this whole experience as a blessing. It doesn't mean that it wasn't hard as hell to go through. But I have always said that a difficult experience is for naught unless you learn something from it. So have I learned anything? You bet! Here's what I've learned....

I have learned that people are not all bad. I was usually a pessimist about the hearts and souls of others. I am ashamed of that. Yes, there are bad people in this world but I am surrounded by people who are anything but bad. Mostly, they are angels. People that I don't even know who offer to help out or do whatever they can to comfort someone in need. It has taught me that I need to be more aware of other people in crisis.

I have learned the value of true miracles. They do exist. Not only do they exist, they happen every day and we need to learn to look for them in the ordinary things of life. There are no coincidences in this life. Only God-incidences. And because of this, I have learned that I must pray more and be more aware of God in my life. He is everywhere! I know that both of my children are miracles by their very creation itself and by the fact that neither one of them were supposed to be on this earth.

I have learned that my daughter is the most amazing person I know. I know how many lives she has touched and how many people she pulled together in prayer and thanksgiving. She is very special and I will never take that for granted. She is a fighter and she knows how much we all love her and want her with us.

So this whole experience, as difficult as it was and as many times as we thought we would lose her, has been a true blessing and shown us the true meaning of what our family means to us.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Miracles really do happen...

...we are living proof of that. Seems like so much time has gone by since Ryleigh was born. It is hard for me to remember now just how tiny she was. It is hard for me to remember that we almost lost her. I don't think I ever let that thought settle in my mind. I dismissed it. What a long road this has been. But even though it has been long and full of challenges, I do believe we are better for it. I will never take the grace of God for granted again and I will make time to cherish every moment with my family and my children. Even when they act up. It is sometimes hard to take the good with the bad but even the difficult things I will embrace especially when it comes to my kids.

I am starting to feel more like a mommy to Ryleigh. I get to hold her more and now I can feed her and change her and get her out of her crib without cords and wires attached. She is growing every day and we are so blessed and thankful for that.

I have been thinking a lot about the things that have happened in the last 9 months. This is one of those periods in time that changes the rest of your life. I believe the birth of a child is a life altering event in itself but this one has really made some changes in my life. Ryleigh really should not be here on this earth. It was God who allowed her to stay with us. The odds were stacked totally against her but He is the one who let her remain here. It seems as if he wanted to keep her for one of His own angels. I thank Him every day that He left her in our care.

I will now sit back and watch as my children grow together. I hope they will be the best of friends.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ryleigh weighs 3 lbs!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing else to report. I had a wonderful snuggle this weekend. Actually, I got two. She is such a strong little girl. She is starting to open her eyes and look up toward my voice when I talk to her. We brought her a Valentine Teddy Bear yesterday and we brought all of the nurses chocolate covered strawberries. Ethan handed his Valentine's out to his two favorite buddies. One is the unit secretary and the other is one of Ryleigh's nurses. He really enjoys seeing those people and he really loves his baby sister. Ryleigh has led us to so many wonderful people in the ICU there. We feel as if they are family in a way.

We are doing ok. Dwaine is my rock of support. Without him, I would be a puddle of mush. I am feeling myself spread very thin lately. I am trying to handle everything that comes at me all at the same time. I feel like I haven't had time to really process all of this that is taking place right now. I am extremely grateful for the miracles that have taken place in our lives with Ryleigh so I don't want to sound like I am not truly grateful for all of these things. It is just that I don't have time to even think about what is going on. I want to keep all of these memories in my heart but I feel as if everything is happening around me and I am going in slow motion and all of the other things are getting in the way of the here and now. Trying to juggle my family at home with hospital visits, a pumping schedule, work, paperwork (insurance etc), phone calls, a vehicle in the shop, household duties etc. When I do visit Ryleigh and hold her, I usually am so exhausted that I fall asleep with her in my arms. So I am feeling as if I am trying to be everything to everyone and in the process I am no good to anyone. Not even myself. I am trying to take care of myself too so I don't get sick and so I am not stressed out. Lack of sleep lately has hindered that as well. Just feeling a little overwhelmed. I know Dwaine is too. Both of us can't remember our own names half of the time just because there is so much other stuff cluttering our minds. Prayers are still greatly appreciated. That seems to be the one thing we can count on is the support and prayers from so many of you

Friday, February 11, 2011

A poem I found...

Dear God, as you look down upon us,
We know that you might have to squint.
We're located here in the NICU
It's the nursery that we rent....

There are many alarms and sirens,
Connected to condos and flats.
The nurses tape our booties on,
And dress us in funny hats.

We have a lot in common;
All of us were in a hurry.
For many different reasons,
Our storks came a little early.

Some of us don't know why
,We bursted out from our bubbles.
We entered into this world,
Never meaning to cause any troubles.

Mommy and Daddy are worried sick
About the odds that we must beat.
Please God, help them to realize,
That seeing us grow is a treat.

Breath by breath, we'll learn to breathe.
Ounce by ounce we'll tip the scale.
We're like a boat in the ocean,
That knows not sink- only sail.

For we are living miracles,
Mommy and Daddy must simply believe,
That you have angels watching over us;
From the time we arrive, till the time we leave.

From the March of Dimes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30

Ryleigh has been doing so much better since the onset of her tummy infection last week. They are slowly beginning to feed her once again. Hopefully the 3rd time is a charm. She has done very well considering she hasn't eaten in about a week. She has been getting IV nutrition but nothing through her feeding tube. Now they are giving her 1ml per hour continuously. She has done ok so far but it hasn't even been 24 hours yet. Time will tell. Our doctors are so great. They have really been on top of her. If the least little things seems wrong, they are ordering tests to figure out why. I love Boone Hospital. There are some amazing people that work there. The nurses are beginning to be like family. When Ryleigh became sick last week, the nurses were hugging me and trying to comfort me. They really do take a personal interest in all of these little babies. It takes a special person to do that job. We pray for the nurses and doctors every day. They are truly special.

Ryleigh weighs in at 2lb, 1oz!! What a big girl. I held her today for 2 hours. It was heaven! She slept the entire time. The other day while I was holding her, she was awake and I read a book to her. She stayed awake for at least 20 minutes and just seemed as if she were looking at me while I was reading to her. It was so precious. We have had to keep Ethan away from the hospital this week as he has taken another cold. The rest of us are fine so far. Hopefully we won't get sick either. There is a huge snow storm headed our way tomorrow. I am praying that it doesn't keep us away from seeing our baby. I will try to update again tomorrow. There hasn't been too much new to report. That is a good thing! Hopefully she is on the road to recovery and we can't wait until she can come home. She will be one month old on Monday :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Well, yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. We started off with another phone call from the hospital. Ryleigh was not tolerating her feedings at all again and they needed to discontinue them until her belly was better. She was full of gas again and unable to breathe well and just not very comfortable. Her heart rate would drop and her oxygen sats would drop also. The bad thing about having to discontinue her feedings is that they would have to try to restart her IV which was taken out a few days ago. In a baby that small, a regular IV doesn't last very long. Their tiny veins can't handle it. That meant that if they discontinued her feedings for as long as they did last weekend, they would have to insert a central line. They don't do that at Boone which meant she would have to be transported over to the university to have that done. Dr. G. wanted to wait until evening to see how her belly did. She also discontinued her cpap which she thought was one of the causes of so much air in her belly. She is on a nasal canula now.

So yesterday afternoon was a waiting game for us. When we went back up to see her last evening, however, her belly was back to normal!! So no trip to the U, and no more cpap, and they started feeding her today continuously instead of a huge bolus all at once. She is getting food at a rate of 4 cc's per hour. She has tolerated this very well!! I think she is so much more comfortable without that cpap in her nose too!Today I got to hold her again for almost an hour. It was so nice today because now I can see her face without all of the machinery attached to her. It is the first time I have seen her face! I saw her for about 2 seconds right after she was born and then they whisked her away but I got to stare at that pretty face for the longest time today. And what a pretty face it is...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quick post

Just have a few minutes to post. It is hard to keep up with the Caring Bridge, this, and miscellaneous phone calls. So this one is going to be quick.

Ryleigh is doing fantabulous! She is getting better every day! Chest tubes are gone, she is on cpap breathing room air, and is taking 13 ml. of milk every 4 hours. She is well on her way. Dr. O'Connor says she is starting to put on weight. She graduated from her critical care isolette to a new isolette. I visited with her yesterday and she had her eyes open for a little while. She is starting to squeeze my finger and we get to hold her once every day for at least an hour. Last night was dad's turn. She loves to be held. Her vitals stay nice and even when we hold her and she usually sleeps so sound that she snores.

I am doing better every day. I haven't needed any of my meds for a couple of days now.

We have witnessed so many miracles since Ryleigh has been born. There are too many to count. One miracle is that I was able to keep her as long as I did. Another is that I went into labor when I did. It was during shift change and there were 2 doctors who did my surgery and Dr. O'Connor had just come on after being on vacation. So Ryleigh had a whole team working on her. Dr. O'Connnor is an amazing person. He takes these babies and cares for them as if they were his own. He is always at the hospital. We are so blessed to have such good care from these people.

Another miracle is that Ryleigh was really doing poorly when she was born. She was not getting enough oxygen into her lungs. As soon as they let me hold her, her levels started increasing and she has not had a setback since. Another miracle is that she is doing as well as she is for a baby who weighs less than two pounds. We have experienced so many miracles and we are very grateful for every one of them. I will never take this experience for granted and I will hold it in my heart forever! For as many problems as this pregnancy has had, we have been very blessed to have this experience.

Until later,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryleigh

The reason I haven't posted any updates about my latest doctor visit is because Ryleigh was born.

Ryleigh Elizabeth Gelnar

born 12/31/10 at 6:18 a.m.

2 lbs. 14 inches long

Here is the story:

Thursday evening, I had some cramping. It wasn't severe and I had a cold so I thought I just didn't feel well and went to bed. Cramping went away but at 2 a.m. it woke me up. The cramps were worse and about 5 minutes apart. I don't know what labor feels like so I wasn't sure if this was it or not. I took Ryleighs heart rate and it was 184. Not good for a girl who usually runs 140-150. I woke Dwaine and told him we needed to either call the hospital or go to the hospital. Next I passed two huge clots and then we knew for sure it was time to go. We called David and he was there to stay with Ethan in about 2 minutes. Thank goodness the boys were around. When I got to the hospital, I was admitted and they did my vitals. My temp. was 102 which meant infection had set in. Knowing that, Ryleigh had to come out NOW! I was admitted around 4:00 and I was on the surgery table at 6:00. Ryleigh was born at 6:18.

She had a pretty rough start. They showed her to me and she was gray. I heard one tiny squeak come from her and then they intubated her and put her on a vent. right away. I was terrified. The time they spent sewing me up seemed like eternity because they had taken her away and I would not get to see her until my spinal wore off. I had no idea how she was. As soon as my spinal did wear off, they transferred me to a wheelchair and took me right down to the NICU. They had spent a lot of time trying to get her oxygen sats. to come up and it wasn't working so we all feared that she would not make it. The doctor seemed pretty grim and they let me hold her since we may not ever get to.

As soon as they gave her to me, her sats went up 10 points. After we left, she went up another 10 points and her blood pressure went up too. Must have been that she needed her mommy and daddy. She has been stable ever since. She had to have two chest tubes because they had to turn the vent up as high as they could to get her lungs inflated and she had some small tears in her lungs. Today, both chest tubes are out and they are talking about taking her from the ventilator and putting her on cpap. She came off one of her meds and all of her blood work and scans have come back normal.

All I can say is GOD IS GOOD! That is who I give all the credit to.

She is stable today and has had a good day today too. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully just as good as this one has been. Please, please keep praying for her, she is so tiny and has a long way to go. Thank you for keeping up with us and thank you for all the prayers. I will close by posting one of her pictures. :)