Monday, March 31, 2008

Abigail is doing good. We got a vaporizer, which really seems to help her sleep even better at night. Tomorrow, we have some nurses coming over. Jenn is doing great. I was stressed a little, but am adjusting. Abby is helping me be more patient and not get frustrated so easily. She really is a good little girl. She gets fussy, then toots, then goes to sleep.

For some reason, my level of free time seems to have diminished quite a bit! Things that we were able to get done in a relatively easy and quick fashion, now take forever!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Abby is doing good. She really sleeps a lot - which is great. That lets her heal, recover, and grow. The feeding is going well. Her head and neck are getting stronger. Grandma gave her about an hour of belly time this afternoon.

Grandma flys back tonight. We are all going to see her off to the airport.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Abby is doing well. It is kind of hard being her nurse at times, but we are managing. Jenn's Mom has been a big help during this period of adjustment. We had to change her NG tube today because the ends of the old one were leaking. Jenn did it no problem. Abigail didn't like it too much. She has been sleeping fairly well during the night. It is good to see her get some much needed rest.

We have a nurse come in on Tuesday and Friday to change her dressing and check her overall well being. It is so good to see her here at home. We drove by the hospital and it is weird to know that she isn't there anymore. She is home, where she belongs. She is still recovering though. It's no where near a normal situation yet. But, she'll be fine. It's so much better than being in the hospital!

KATU News Report - "Miracle Baby"

Thursday, March 27, 2008


We had our first excursion today. We went to the pediatrician. Abby weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long. The funny thing was that Grandma packed our diaper bag. We had clothes, hats, wipes, butt paste, lotion, etc. But no diapers!!! She's not going to live that one down for a while.

I will try to get a copy of the newscast tonight from friend who TIVOed it. I'm pretty sure I can somehow get a copy to the blog. Many thanks to everyone who has sent cards and left messages. We are so appreciative.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Abby is Home!!!!

22 weeks after being born, Abby finally left the hospital and came home. We are super happy! I really can't believe it.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tomorrow, Take Two

Well, this is as close as we are going to get; Dr. King signed the official order for Abby's discharge - we're breaking out of this joint. The dietician will be meeting with us tomorrow at 9am to go over the feeding equipment that we will need at home, KATU News will be there at 11am and I expect that we will be on the way home a little after lunch. Bring it on.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sorry Folks - Not yet

Dr. King said it will be Wednesday or Thursday. He wants to make sure Abby is "close to perfect" - so she doesn't have to come back anytime soon. She took her car seat test and basically passed. That's when they place the baby in the car seat for 1 hour and monitor them.

Tomorrow is the day!

Abby had a very busy day for her 5 month birthday. She went to the OR to have her broviac taken out, every culture they sent due to her fever came back negative and as long as she does not have a fever, she is coming home tomorrow. Greg and I are learning how to administer feeds, medication and other fun stuff that Abby will need when she gets home. KATU News will be there so we are very excited for this great day and can't wait to update you all on our adventure.

Reflecting back on our experience tomorrow will be very bittersweet. Whereas we are so thankful that she is coming home and ready to start the next chapter of being "parents", we are sad to leave the friends and staff at Emanuel Hospital. Not because we are afraid of doing things on our own, but the staff at Emanuel have been the best support system for Greg and I. First and foremost they saved Abby's life and were with us through thick and thin, shared laughs and cries and became our family. We will definitely make sure one way or another they will be a part of our family as Abby grows (just not as a patient :))

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

We got some polaroid pictures with the Easter Bunny yesterday. Today, Abby had her Easter outfit on.

Dr. John changed her dressing. He said it looked really good. Her broviac cultures came back negative - so that means so far, it has not grown anything. She still has a temperature, but seems to be in fairly good spirits. Jenn took off her oxygen and she was in the mid 90s.
Posted by Picasa

Not quite yet...

Abby had a mild fever of 101.5 last night. Tylenol helps to get it down to 100-99. They think her Broviac may be the source. She is getting antibiotics. If that doesn't do the trick, they will just take the Broviac out. She was also having some minor breathing issues and is back on a nasal cannula. Her oxygen levels were upper 80s to lower 90s, instead of her norm of upper 90s. This means we wont be going home tomorrow. Right now, it's a minor setback. Probably just delay us a few days or a week. I had gotten my hopes up a bit, but now won't believe she is actually coming home until she is in her room and Butt-Butt is checking out his new BFF. Please everyone continue to pray and send positive thoughts that this turns out to be no big deal.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Day With Our Grandbaby Abigail Rose

Friday and today were very busy days for our Abigail. Wound vax was removed, monitors remove, 3 techs working on stretching and relaxing Abby's muscles....she just loved all the attention. Then, she got to lay on her belly for the first time in a very long time...that was great also. When we walked into her room today, her daddy was holding her and she was laughing, out loud, it was amazing. Today her Grandpa and I had Abby laughing and it's funny but you just start laughing with her. Then, while mommy and daddy were working on the car seats, the three of us hit the "road", (the Halls of the Hospital), in her little red wagon. She loves the wagon. She looks as though she is trying to take everything in that she might have missed these last few months. She is a happy camper and loves to be moving....that's good for the future camping trips that I'm sure she'll be making in the future....I can just see Jenn and Greg getting her hiking shoes for her "first" pair of footwear. This visit is very special and we are very thankful for how wonderful our Oregon family is doing.....many thanks to all our family and friends for their prayers, and well wishes.
Happy Easter to All!! Carol & Tom

Abby continues her great progress!

Sorry for the delay! Mom here ~ Abby is doing wonderful and had a great night. Dad spent the night last night with Abby. We are learning how to mix Abby's feed, give her medicine and lots of other things. Today we are going to have her car seat tested and put into place and Grandma and I are going to thorougly clean the house in preperation for Abby's arrival home. Check out the pictures below of her tummy time!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Smiling with Grandma!

Abby had a good day. Jenn and I took a Infant CPR class down in the NICU this morning. While we were there, a volunteer named JP (Jean-Pierre) held her. He said it made his Easter. Tomorrow, she gets her wound vac off and we can get her some much needed "tummy time."

Things are still looking good for Monday. Lots of stuff happening.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Abby got moved back out to the floor today. She is off oxygen. We are coming home on Monday, March 24th - her 5 month birthday!!!!! We are coming home soon!!!! Jenn's parents fly in tomorrow, so that will be great. Things are looking good.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Abby got her breathing tube out today. No problems at all. Her throat is very sore, every time she swallows, she grimaces. Coughing is also painful. I told her that everyday her throat will feel a little better.

She looks great. It's amazing what having all your arteries the way they are supposed to be will do for you. We move out to the floor tomorrow. We should get the wound vac off on Friday. After that, we may come home at any time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Huge Weight Off!!!

Abby did great today. She continues to amaze. She looked great after the procedure compared to what she looked like on Wednesday. Dr. Kaiser was able to balloon her left artery from less than 1 mm to about 4 mm. He also re-did her right side to 5 mm. Later on, 6 months down the road, he might put in some stints. She will not need surgery at this point. I can't believe it. It still hasn't sunk in. She could come home next week. She will get extubated tomorrow morning. Get the wound vac off this week. She should come home with oxygen and the feeding tube - which is awesome. It's no big deal.

Jenn and I were talking, and she has challenged Dr. King, Dr. John, Dr. Kaiser, Jason, Dr. Hagop to their max. It's unheard of. She will be 5 months next week. It's been so unbelievable. We can not tell you how much we appreciate everyone who has sent their prayers, love, and support. Jenn said it is like Dr. John is almost like a religious figure. He is always so peaceful and was like a man who was full filling his Purpose. Those doctors literally saved Abigail's life. I remember the first time I met Dr. John. I asked him questions that, looking back, were so naive. We really knew nothing then. He sees that stuff every day.

The father of the baby who got moved in to our room today could see me and Jenn talking to all the nurses, doctors, and therapists. He asked me if I worked there. I told him, "No", we just have been there quite a while.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Abby was looking around today. She's such a good little baby. Tomorrow will be a big day. We are scheduled for around 2:00pm. Please pray and hope for a successful ballooning.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Abigail is still doing well and is kind of in a holding pattern until Monday. We are still confident Dr. Kaiser will be able to balloon her left side.

Abigail's great grandfathers are both really just plain awesome. Jenn's grandfather, P. Abbott Asplin, Class of '39, Franklin & Marshall, was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2000. He played football on offense and defense. He turned 90 last year and is a recent newlywed. My grandfather, is in his late 80's, is doing good, but just went into the hospital today with some seemingly minor symptoms. They will check him out and monitor for a few days. We know they both care and think about Abby all the time. We are honored that Abby is a great granddaughter to such admirable men.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 14, 2008

Abby is doing well. She is still on the vent - probably until Monday. She is comfortable. Her vitals have been fine. She's still a little puffy, but continues to pee a bunch.

This is a tough one. Believe me, that was not what we wanted to hear yesterday. We are all hoping they can balloon the left side open on Monday. That would be the best case. At this point, there is no sense in worrying about anything else. We just have to wait and see what happens.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Latest Update

We met with Abby's team today and they do not want to wait 3 months to attempt the balloon procedure again, they want to go back in on Monday. Bad news is if the procedure is not successful on Monday she will have to have surgery and they will have to open her chest again. This is a setback but we are as optimistic as we can be that Monday will be successful since they already know what the left pulmonary artery looks like and will not have to spend a lot of time exploring. Overall, Abby is doing well - labs, blood gasses and white blood count were all spot on. We aren't sure if they will take her off the vent since she will have to be on the vent for the procedure on Monday. Until then she will remain in the PICU. Please keep your fingers crossed and send your prayers our way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Lip!

Here it is. But, she can do it a lot more than that.

The procedure took a long time. They wanted to balloon out both of her pulmonary arteries. They did the right one fine, the left one's opening was too narrow to get the wire in there properly, about 1 millimeter. They will try again in about 3 months - give her a chance to heal and grow. We are back in the PICU for a few days. Abby is on the ventilator until tomorrow. She is puffy around her eyes, hands, and feet. Her vitals were fine the whole time. She is a trooper, poor little thing. Lying on her back again with that tube down her throat. She is not a happy camper. But, so far, we were told that she could possibly come home next week!

We saw an "educational" video about the procedure filmed about 10 years ago. Dr. John had a moustache! It was pretty awesome.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Procedure on for tomorrow

Abby's balloon procedure is on for tomorrow at 10am. They will open both the left side and the right side. Dr. Keiser will be performing the procedure (he is awesome) and it should last a few hours. Not sure if she will return temporarily to the PICU afterwards, hopefully she will - even if she does not need it we prefer the care in the PICU. She will have to go back on the vent - but only temporarily.
Abby and I had a nice visit from our friends Clarencia, Iris, Dana and Shelly last night as well as our friend Dawn and her little boy Tim. It is really nice to be with friends and have them share in Abby's success and progress.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We are cleared for takeoff!

Jenn and I both feel that Abby is getting closer to really getting her feeding going. She is clearly trying very hard at it. I have a feeling that once she gets it, which we both feel will be in a few days, there won't be no stoppin! Physically, her mouth is starting to get into shape. Once she gains a little more control and calms down a little bit, that's it. Right now she just gets so excited, she is too funny. She literally tires herself out in a few minutes. Today she took about 6 ml legitimately, and started sweating a little bit, so then we let her rest, and she falls asleep.

Besides smiling, she also does "The Lip." We all know that fathers have little or no defense against this deceptively evil attack! I'll try and get some pics.

Abby weighed 3960 grams this morning. She is starting to gain some weight, which is great. She still gets physical, occupational, and speech therapy every day. We massage her back a little bit. The kidney doctor, Dr. Guillery, stopped by to talk about the blood in the urine. There's not much or anything, just under a microscope you can see the red blood cells. He's not too worried about it. He is doing an ultra sound and urinalysis to get some more info. The balloon is still on for the end of the week, so we'll see what happens. Cultures all negative. Wound vac thing is getting smaller - looking good. She got some blood because she was little anemic.

Jenn and I worked out a schedule for the next week or so, until Jenn's parents come out on the 20th at least. Hopefully, Abby can home sometime when they are here. It might be close, but certainly possible.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Abby is doing good. I spent the past 2 nights with her. She is awesome. I love just being with her. She started smiling at us. Jenn stayed home to super clean everything at the house. We had our friend Pam watch Abby today while we went out and got all our baby stuff, like stroller, car seat, etc. It was pretty fun going out and getting everything.

Things out "on the floor" are definitely different, but manageable.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Good Day

Abby's cultures from her blood labs all came back negative today ~ this means that she no longer has an infection, so we will be able to move forward next week with the procedure. Greg spent the day with Abby and I stayed home to thoroughly clean the house and play catch up. Greg said that Abby is starting to smile more and he thinks that she laughed, but were not sure. We are looking forward to the next couple of days. Remember to spring forward.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Busy Day for the Abinator

Abby had a very busy day today, she had an EKG, X-ray and labs all before 6:30am. She also had a wound vac change (one more week until we are done), speech, physical and occupational therapy today as well as an echo. Since Abby is now out of the ICU, Greg and I are doing a lot more of the work - which we are very happy and excited about. We are both working on sleeping schedules because Abby can't be left alone at this time. She was put back on the canula last night with a little bit of O2. But no worries, it is a weening process.
Abby will need another procedure next week to fix her pulmonary branch stenosis -which is a narrowing of the artery in one short segment, this procedure will consist of using a balloon to open the artery his is similar to an angioplasty. We are hopeful that this will happen next week. She needs to get over a new infection that they found yesterday - the Docs are suspicious that it is due to the broviac since it has been in her for a long period of time - downside of that is it will make it very hard to pull labs and give medicine. We are hopeful that with administering antibiotics, rest and nutrition she will beat this infection without removing the broviac. Either way, she will need to be put back on the ventilator for the branch stenosis treatment but it should be no longer than one day. This will push back her discharge date back.
On a very exciting note, we were contacted by Emanuel Hospital's public relations office and wanted to know if we would like to share Abby's story. Which of course, we do. KATU News which is an ABC affiliate picked it up and will be doing a story on Abby the day that she leaves the hospital they are also going to pitch Abby's story to Good Morning America! Thanks for all the prayers - keep them coming.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wagon Hoooooo!!!

We took Miss Abigail on her first wagon ride around the hospital - something that we have been looking forward to for a long time. It was great. She loved it and got quite a few compliments about how good she was looking.

She is not on any oxygen anymore. She is completely breathing on her own fine for the first time ever. She still has the wound vac and has an NG tube. The wound vac will be on for about another week, maybe less. Dr. John said she has an incredibly fast healing capability. The feeding is going ok - it's going to take some time - but I'm sure things will be alright. Jenn and I are both patient. Abby always does things on her schedule.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

19 Weeks Old!!!!

Abby was sleeping in her new room this afternoon with the daylight coming in through the bright window. This was the biggest day ever. Finally coming out an ICU for the first time. We went left down the hall instead of right - which was down to the O.R. We are in the School Age section - which is awesome because its in the same section where BINGO is played!

Abby is doing awesome. It's truly incredible. I couldn't believe a week ago she was intubated. I never would have said we'd be out on the floor in a week. Jenn and I so thankful. We are kind of in shock. Not in a bad way though. We're excited - but just can't believe it. I am going to take her for a wagon ride soon. Maybe tomorrow or the next day.

Jenn started breast feeding for the first time today. It is going to take some practice, but should be fine. She is also eating a little from a bottle, but still gets tube fed for now. Her wound was cleaned today and parts of the skin have come together already -which is so fast - she's like Wolverine from the X-men. She is barely on any oxygen/lung support.

The entire staff at the hospital - all the doctors, nurses, surgeons, therapists, chaplains, food, life, etc. have been so kind to our family. Thank you so much. For everything.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

First Time Feeding Abigail!

For the first time ever, Abby took the bottle 3 times today!!! She drank 10 ml each time. It was amazing. She would suck a few times, then get excited because she would forget to breath. Then she would breath, and get excited because she wanted the bottle. She is still feed through a tube too. Of course, Abigail Rose continues the "genius baby" theme in our family and eats from a bottle the very first time.

She will be leaving the PICU and going to the floor tomorrow!!! This is huge and will be a big transition for everyone. She is doing so good. I can't believe how fast things are going. But, it's fine with me. She may be home sooner than I thought. It's crazy to think about how fast she is continuing to recover. It just makes me think about how long it took to recover from her surgery and how sick she really must have been. It seems like a million years ago.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 3, 2008

Abby was enjoying her new swing. She falls right asleep. She was on just regular nasal cannula - really only getting a whiff of air. So she has been doing great. The therapists have been working on her neck, back, and shoulders. We are swaddling her so her arms and legs are in close to her and moving her to her sides. She still loves her pacifiers. Her voice still has to heal quite a bit. Dr. King did not decide to try to feed her yet. I heard he spoke with Dr. Baxter in the NICU. Abby will be going to the floor and not back in the NICU. The neonatologists said she is too far along. The insurance also said she didn't need to be in an Intensive Care Unit.

Also, she got her last catheter taken out, plus got her wound vac changed out. I saw the wound. Jason said it looked great after 3 days already. The skin is coming closer together. He said maybe another week or two.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The pictures do not do her justice. Abigail Rose is truly beautiful. She was being real active and alert. But not fussing. I think her neck is still a little stiff. But I'm sure she loves not having those bars in her chest and that tube down her throat. Her voice is getting a little stronger each day. Her progress continues. We also found a little birth mark on her back - so that was cool.

Today we went to a concert. Our friend Tim plays the tuba in the Portland Community Wind Band. It was pretty awesome. They played with a local 6th & 7th grade band too.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I got Dr. King - who is very conservative - to say that he could see Abby coming home in 3-4 weeks!!! This is huge news!! Jenn and I are so excited to have our baby girl finally coming home. Her progress since Wednesday has been remarkable. She seems to have crossed a major threshold in her recovery.

She did get extubated today and skipped right past cpap and is on a high flow nasal cannula. She has been doing great. She could come out of the ICU soon too. She can either go out to the floor or to the NICU. There are 2 sides of the NICU and she would be on the less critical side.

She's had a room mate for the past few days. I think she is about 7 and has cancer. She seems to have gone through some tough times, but is recovering well. Her parents are really nice.