Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Month # 3

Harper Kate,
  During your third month you took a couple of your very first road trips!  You also continued to go to doctor appointments for checkups. You continued gaining weight and weighed about 10.5 lbs by the end of the month.  First of all, Aunt Abby brought Memaw (your great-grandmother) and your cousin Gage to visit.  We went to lunch, Memaw and Aunt Abby cleaned our apartment and we got some fun pictures with you and your cousin.  He was (and still is) enthralled with you.  He loves you so very much, and we could tell right off as soon as he saw you!
  Then we went to Birmingham to visit family for the very first time!  There were SO many people excited to meet you.  The first weekend we went home was Easter.  We spent that weekend with your Nana, Poppy and Daddy's family.  We hung out Friday & Saturday night.  Friday night we had people who had been praying for you for months come to meet you.  Nana and Poppy had drinks and some snack food outside and we kept you on the screened porch.  All of our friends came to meet the "princess."  After people left, I got your first Easter basket all put together.  I had bought lots of books for you and carefully placed them in the basket and had it ready for you Easter morning.  I sang "In your Easter bonnet" to you the night before.  I wanted you to experience Easter the way I had as a little girl.  Sunday morning we woke up at Nana & Poppy's and got you all ready to go to church.  I can't explain to you how much the people at Poppy's church love you.  They prayed (and continue to) for you constantly.  Their love and concern for you is unbelievable.  You wore the dress Cookie made for you and headed off to church.  Good heavens, you were the star of the show on Sunday.  Poppy took you up on stage and used you as the introduction to his sermon, but really between you and me, I think he just wanted to show you off! :)  Everyone wanted to see you, love on you, and pray for you.  Then, we headed to Memaw's house for Easter lunch and met your Uncle Jeff, Madison, Uncle Jonathan and Hunter for the first time.  Aunt Abby took some pictures of you with her wonderful new camera and you got even more loving there!  Then, we had to head back home to Atlanta.  I'd say your first Easter was a success.
  The very next weekend was Mothers Day.  Once again, we packed up and headed to Birmingham.  This time, we went to Cookie and Doc's house.  Your Uncle Dave, Aunt Sharon, 4 great-grandparents and Mike & Betsy (Cookie & Doc's best friends) came over to meet you too.  Once again you were loved on, cared for and admired.  Aunt Sharon & Uncle Dave gave you a beautiful pillow and Betsy & Mike gave you a sun-hat that we would use soon after!  Your cousin Whit was being dedicated on Sunday at church, so we just spent the weekend at home, relaxing and being calm.  Sunday morning we woke up and got ready for church and headed off to yet another group of people who had covered you in prayer and couldn't wait to meet you!  It was my first Mothers Day and I felt so special.  God had given me the greatest gift in a child I could ever have asked for.  After church and watching Whit be dedicated we headed back to Cookie and Doc's house for a lunch.  We ate, then we had to head back home.

Aunt Carrie holding HK and Whit...forgive Whit's screaming face. :)

Gage & HK

HK with her 4 great-grandparents

HK & her Memaw...another great-grandmother

Mamaw & Mimi with their 2 great-grandchildren

The family at Whit's dedication
HK is very loved and adored by her cousin Cole
Aunt Abby's pic of HK on Easter...she still loves the sun in her face! :)
Easter family pic! 

Whit trying to explore Harper Kate. :)

  Two weekends in a row you were loved more than you can possibly imagine! You continue to be loved every day by nearly every person you come in contact with.  You have influenced more people than I could ever think possible and God is doing a mighty work in you.  I can't wait to see what else God has planned for you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

We FINALLY came home and Month #1

It was a long time journey to be able to come home from the NICU.  We had gotten so much news, had so many tests, had learned to breathe on our own and now it was time to come home.  Northside Hospital's NICU was wonderful.  They encouraged us to stay a couple of nights in a separate room on the NICU floor with Harper Kate.  We kept her in the room with us with all of her medical equipment, and made sure we felt comfortable using it.  We gave her medicines, made sure we knew how to insert the NG tube and got ready to go.  Those two nights were hard, but we were so excited to take our little angel home.
  NICU stays don't go without setbacks.  Of course, the day we were supposed to go home, HK decided to have a spell of choking on some reflux that had come up and her oxygen levels dropped.  When things like that happen, her stay gets extended so our going home day was postponed just a couple more days.
  When we finally got to the hospital ready to take her home it seemed to take forever!  The doctor had to give our discharge instructions and for all of Harper Kate's doctors to give instructions took almost all day.  Once we had our discharge summary in hand, Jarod loaded up the car with all of our "stuff" that had accumulated over a month.  :)  I got Harper Kate dressed in her going home outfit that her Cookie made.  It all seemed so surreal.  We were taking our angel home.
  Jarod drove extremely cautiously going home and I sat in the back making sure Harper Kate's head held up and that the feeding tube was working.  When we arrived home, we took a couple of pictures and all three sat on the couch at OUR home for the first time without oxygen tubes, feeding tubes, heart monitors etc.  all around us.  It was one of the greatest blessings we could have imagined.  I'll never forget how it felt leaving that hospital knowing we would never have to be in the NICU again.  I am eternally grateful for all the nurses, doctors, specialists that took care of Harper Kate.  She was in fantastic care and I never once doubted that she was loved and cared for by each person that visited her bedside.
  Harper Kate, your first month of life was spent at the hospital.  You saw lots of doctors, had lots of tests done, charmed the nurses, got them to change your clothes at least 3 times a day, worked with a physical therapist and learned to lie on your tummy.  You loved to swing so that you could get out of your crib and off your back for a little bit.  You heard mommy and daddy's voice for the first time and felt our hands touch yours, you met all of your grandparents, aunts and uncles and 3 of your great-grandparents.  They rocked you and held you, prayed for you and cried for you.  You weighed about 8 1/2 pounds when you left the NICU.  You were the cutest little thing as you laid in the bed.  You tried to nurse with mommy, and really wanted to learn how, but you couldn't quite figure out how to suck and swallow at the same time.  You learned to like a paci for a few weeks.  You loved your bath time when the nurses would get you cleaned up after an EEG test.  You loved your daddy rubbing your head so you could sleep (and still do!).  Even though you spent your whole time in the hospital, you accomplished a lot.  That first month went by pretty slow since we visited you instead of having you home, but bringing you home was the best day of our lives!  We love you so much sweet pea.  We wouldn't trade you for the world!
  Here are some pictures from her first month & her first evening home.