Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Scan

We have finally heard the OFFICIAL report that Lily's brain scan was clear from yesterday. This is an incredible blessing and a huge prayer answered! We thank you for praying specifically for this. The doctors will still continue to monitor her platelet counts, activity, and physical signs as she is still susceptible to head bleed. Lily is still on antibiotics in case of infection; the final word on that should be coming within the next 24 hours. It takes a while to get blood cultures back.

Lily continues to do well, and they are able to scale back some of her blood draws so they don't have to stick her so much. Her eyes are still not open, but I think it is getting close.

As I mentioned in my last email, Holley's strength was not returning to her very quickly and she was definitely not recovering like we expected her to. She went back to her doctor early today for some blood work and other tests. Unfortunately and fortunately Holley will be having an outpatient surgery tomorrow and we believe this should remedy her recovery.

Please pray that there are no complications tomorrow and that she is able to recover quickly!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Week Old

I cannot believe that Monday morning Lily will be ONE WEEK OLD. What an emotional week it has been, one that we could not have persevered alone. We are thankful for your prayers for our family and especially Lily. We can definitely feel God's presence and your prayers for Lily when we look over and touch her in her isolette.

Over the past few days, some big things have happened. Holley changed Lily's diaper, and I think we both almost passed out. Lily's lungs and respiration continue to look good, and we feel like we have a closer relationship with her doctors, which probably naturally occurs, but it pleases us nonetheless. Lily is still able to control her blood pressure with out medication.

However, last night the doctors noticed her white blood cells trending high and her platelet counts trending low. The white blood cell numbers typically mean some sort of infection is occurring somewhere. Since Lily is not able to fight this on her own just yet, the doctors have started two broad spectrum antibiotics. It takes long to find out from blood cultures what we are dealing with so when we receive the results the doctors will decide the best course of action. The platelet counts being low can also be a result of infection, or it can also indicate a bleed somewhere. Micro prematures are very susceptible to head bleeds, so we are obviously worried. The good thing is that the platelet counts have not dropped quickly (which would indicate a sudden move to clot a big bleed), she is still a very active baby, and there are no physical signs of a bleed. As you remember, the first scan came back clear and another was to be performed at 10 days. With the platelet numbers down, the doctors have decided to do a scan in the morning at 7 days. We will be anxiously awaiting the results of this scan.

Lily has still not opened her eyes yet, but we can tell it is close. Maybe in the next few days, we will be able to look into her eyes. The picture with this email is Lily holding my (Greg's) wedding ring. It should give some perspective to her size.

Holley is still recovering and trying to build back up her strength.

Please pray for:
Lily to fight infections
Lily to have a clear head scan
Holley to regain her strength quickly

Thank you all so much, and as time passes, I will continue to update and ask you to pray for specific challenges and milestones.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lily Cate Dickinson

That's right we have a full name now...Lily Cate Dickinson. We will call her Lily.

Lily continues to follow the course and script that her doctor would have written at birth. Prayer Answered!!! We are so thankful for every minute on this course because we know the fragility of life, and especially her life at this age. The doctors are also pleased with what she has done so far, but understand and explain well the whole picture of a life at this age.

Lily is maintaining weight and managing most of her vitals on her own. The doctors have said that weight loss will be fine, as this should decrease the amount of fluid in her body and allow for better respiration. Then we will just replace that fluid loss with good FAT AND BONES!!!

Blood cultures continued to return negative for infections, and the antibiotics have been turned off!!! Prayer answered!

She is slowly receiving nutrition (fat, lipids, electrolytes) through her lines which is a postitive sign. True feeding will begin at a later date and will be introduced on a very slow schedule. This will allow for the doctors to monitor for necrosis of the intestines which is very common in prematures. While we want her to feed and gain weight immediately, it is necessary that her body be ready for the change.

While the blood cultures have continued to be negative, Lily is still very susceptible to outside infections due to the number of tubes, catheters, etc. that are attached to her young body. It is critical over the next few weeks that we ward off these infections or recognize and treat them as early as possible.

Lily's first brain scan came back clear which means there are no signs of head bleeds, and will have another at 10 days. Head bleeds happen in about 50% of prematures at this age and range in scale from a Grade I to Grade IV. The severity of the possible side effects slide with this scale.

Lily is doing well on the ventilator. She is taking some breaths on her own and the doctors are able to keep the ventilator settings at a minimum. The ventilator is critical for lung development and security right now, but we would like to see her weaned off sooner than later.

As you can see, there are a lot of things on Lily's plate right now and some very specific things we could really use your prayers for over the next week or two.

1. That the course scripted by the doctors is actually the course scripted by God, and that it is a course to full life.

2. That Lily is able to avoid outside infections that would inhibit her development.

3. That Lily does not have a head bleed.

4. That the ventilator do its part to lung development and then Lily take over and wean quickly and safely.

Thomas came and visited the hopital to see mom today and we watched some Lily videos together. He is still too young to go visit her in the NICU. It was great to see Thomas and I think it boosted Holley's spirits. Holley is recovering fine, up and walking around some today. She will be discharged tomorrow, but we are going to try to secure a room at the Ronald McDonald House here at the hospital. If that does not work out, we have a family from our church who has offered us their garage apartment and they live super close to the hospital.

God has truly been gracious to us in this time by placing us here in Houston with incredible medical care, friends, church, and a family that is able to visit and take care of Thomas. We have seen his peace through Thomas as he is adjusting to not having us at home and handling it well. He has also comforted us with the fact that He is in control of this situation and will work this all out for us. We still ask the why questions, cry a bit, and are nervous, but He gives us rest.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lily ????? Dickinson

Wow! It is with an incredible honor and pleasure that we can announce the arrival of Lily ____ Dickinson.

Lily was born this morning and weighed in at 1 lb 6 oz.

Mom had a C - Section and is recovering nicely.

Lily came into the world obviously very small and young, however continues to do well in the NICU. She is as beautiful as I pictured her in my mind, and as stubborn also. I was able to see Lily just after birth, touch her hand and foot which she promptly kicked my hand away. It is so amazing to see how God has ordered things in our and our family's life to prepare us all for this.

Although early, we are confident in the fact that every soul is born with a purpose and God will see that Lily's purpose is fulfilled.

Please pray that Lily continue to do well in the NICU, that she grow and hit the milestones that the doctors would like to see, and also that no other outside illnesses or complications would arise.

It is with an unexplainable peace that I send this message about our new little girl.

I have taken some pictures and as soon as I can get to a different computer, I will send them out.

As for now, Holley is resting and recovering and we are visiting Lily in the NICU.

Your prayers, friendships, and thoughts are so warming.