Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NICU Visit

Lovin Bathtime!

Tummy Time!

Resting with Poppa
(everyone says she looks just like him!)

Wore out from our lil trip

Well we had another great weekend in Vidalia. Nonna and Poppa are such a big help! Also, my friend (and boss) Dewana had her baby. Addison Claire - such a cute name! She is really a beautiful baby. Unfortunately, she had to go to the NICU for a few days but is doing great and going home today. Since I wanted to go see her I thought it would be nice to bring the NICU nurses a little treat. I ordered a tray of cookies from my favorite coffee shop and took a picture of Avery with me. I also took my premature baby books and breastfeeding books for another NICU mom I had met while I was there. Her baby is also named Addison, she was born in January and due in May! She weighed a pound! We have been praying for her so much and she is in an open crib now. I got to see her when I visited and she'll be going home soon! It is amazing. The NICU nurses are the best, they are all so nice and hilarious. They were disappointed I didn't bring Avery this time, but I figure the hospital probably has more germs that anywhere else in town. We did get out today and have lunch at Copeland's (can't beat a good meal at Copeland's!) It went great - Avery slept the entire time and there were no little kids in there and we didn't sit close to anyone. The Early Steps therapist called to set up an appt and was supposed to come today but she called this morning to say that she was running a low-grade fever. She said she could still come, but it was up to me. I politely declined! She said her baby was a preemie too, so she completely understands. She said if she is completely better she'll come Thursday. I'm looking forward to seeing what she thinks about Avery's developmental steps and if we are way behind or not. I think Avery may have smiled at Charlie last night, but I'm not positive. It was just a little smile. So I still don't know if she is smiling socially or not and I haven't heard anything I would consider a real 'coo'. So we will see! She'll get there, I'm sure : )

You know what is crazy? Every single night Avery has fussy time where she just starts to cry for no reason. I try everything I can, but sometimes she just cries. Charlie has been off the last 2 days and I always tell him I just can't cook at night because there is no way she will let me put her down for that long during fussy time. So I cook at lunch time, before he goes to work. (Well, that is, if I cook at all!) So last night I'm thinking he can get a taste of what I go through and I gave her to him while I cooked a nice, big supper. She was the most content, happiest baby in the whole wide world. She laid on the floor, in her crib, in his lap - it didn't matter she was so happy! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she was a happy baby but I guess she is already a daddy's girl! Oh well, I have to go grocery shopping....leaving Avery with Charlie - I'm sure she'll be a perfect lil angel! :)

PS - Can someone tell me how to upload multiple images at once to a post? THANKS!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


OMG I'm sooooo excited. We just took newborn pics a week ago and Jami has already put some on her blog. She is suuuuper busy so I didn't expect them this soon. They are gorgeous. Please go to her website to see them:


She is the BEST. If anyone is interested in doing a session with her, let me know and I'll give you all her info, or comment on her blog! She does amazing work!!!

Happy Birthday, Avery!

Although I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, it was Avery's 3 month birthday! That is unbelievable to me! She is 1/4 the way to her 1 yr old bday party! (Omg, better start planning!)
: )

I don't think she had a very good birthday - she had to have immunizations. We waited for 2 hours there, it was ridiculous. (Not to mention it was the THIRD attempt to get her shots done). We went to this health clinic where someone told me it would go really fast. We don't have the option of doing them at the doctor's office, which infuriates me. If they want to make it cheap for people - fine - they can go to the health clinic and wait all day with a bunch of sickly people. If I want to opt to go to the doctors office and wait in the well baby waiting room and file insurance and pay the rest out of pocket - i should have the option! UGHHH! I am really getting disgusted with this whole 'system'. The other day I had a WIC appt to see if we could get approved. The lady said it would last 2 hours. I called right before the appt to check the income levels, and if I could use just my income we would make it, but with Charlie's we're over by a lot, so I told the lady to cancel my appt. Later that day, someone from the WIC office called and asked me if I was coming (no one told her I cancelled). I explained that I didn't want to waste my time and hers if our income was well over the limit. She asked if I got Medicaid and I told her we have private insurance and also make too much for Medicaid. She (the lady who is employed by our state to make sure that ppl don't cheat) told me what I needed to do was go to the Medicaid office, don't tell them about my husbands income. She said after I'm approved they'll pay any extra bills from any doctors, hospitals that aren't covered by insurance (which at this point is thousands). She also said once I'm approved for Medicaid, I automatically qualify for WIC so I can get the free Preemie formula (also expensive) AND I may be eligible for an SSI check b/c Avery was 2 lbs when she was born. I was blown away. My tax money pays her salary to screen ppl so that the state isn't ripped off and she called my house from her state office to tell me how to cheat - and not only how to cheat WIC but how to cheat Medicaid and Social Security. So, one little white lie and I have doctors bills covered, formula, milk, cheese, etc paid for and possibly extra income! I told Charlie all of it and we agreed: at the end of the day a lie is a lie. And whether or not the state practically told me to do it, when God says Thou shall not lie, he means even the little white ones. This is not to say I'm not cringing at the thought that they're taxing our checks out the WAZOO and every other person in the state is getting WIC and everything else- believe me it makes me CRAZY. Our system is so, so broken on so many levels. But I just can't see blatantly lying to get money and then praying that God will continue to take care of Avery?

Last night was pretty hard Avery was extrememly fussy and inconsolable after the shots. I slept in her room, well I wouldn't call it sleeping but I laid in the bed in her room with her until 5:30am and then I made Charlie take a turn! She seems fine now though, thank God!

Well, Early Steps came today. I thought the therapist was coming but it was more stinkin paperwork! For the third time they came to my house (this time with 3 people) and I just signed, signed, signed! They still didn't even look at Avery. I was a little concerned because she still isn't smiling socially, cooing, lifting her head for long periods and a few other things on the list. But I have to look at it this way: When she was born she was the size of a 27 week gestation baby. So that is 13 weeks early. 13 weeks is about 3 months. So basically she is 3 months behind and yesterday was her 3 month old birthday, so she is basically a newborn. That makes since because she is still just about 7 lbs, average newborn size! Its just hard to accept that, I really want her caught up on the developmental charts but I need to just take a deep breath and relax I guess! Oh well, sorry for all the ranting...I'm done now! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This is a video of Avery I took tonight. Charlie's mamaw gave her the dress she is wearing. It was in a set, there was a matching one for a little girl and one for a baby doll. She gave the larger dress to another little girl and gave Avery the baby doll dress. It fits perfect! I think it is adorable.

We have had a pretty busy day. We had a plumber and refrigerator repair man working. I went grocery shopping and went to Blockbuster to find a movie and couldn't find a single thing I wanted to watch! I'm trying to take care of all the little things around here that need to be done before I go back to work. Too bad I'm not putting the house up for sell - but Charlie is just not ready for that yet. I guess I'm just dreaming anyway! It really doesn't 'feel' like a Saturday. Charlie works now on Saturdays and since I'm off work anyway, there's really no 'weekend' to it. That makes me kinda sad...I used to LOVE to look forward to the weekend, now I have to look forward to Mondays and Tuesdays (his days off). So weird, who wants to look forward to a stinkin' Monday? Ha!

I bought a scrapbook today from Walmart so I can print out all of my babycrowd journal entries from when I was pregnant and make a scrapbook for Avery to read one day. I'm new to scrapbooking and its a little overwhelming. It would be easy to spend hundreds to make it cute, but I'm way to cheap for that! So, we'll see. Its going to take a while to get it all together, hopefully it'll be done before I go back to work though!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Break

We just got back from our trip to Vidalia. It was really great to get out of the house and Avery had her first 'out to eat' outing! The first of many, I'm sure! It was pretty pleasant. She got fussy just as we were ready to leave. It is so nice being at home and having so much help (I still refer to Vidalia as 'home' and always will). We even stayed an extra day. The photo shoot went great. She cooperated pretty well and the photographer even taught me a trick on how to get her to fall asleep. I stroke her head up and down and say "Shhhhhhhh" really soft and she falls asleep! Its great! We took 158 pictures! We used different props from the nursery and some that Jami had. We took a 4 generations picture (Avery, me, mom and grandma). Charlie, me and Avery took some shots and we did a lot of shots of her alone and her with me and her with Charlie. I cannot wait to see them! Its going to be so hard to choose! Last night she slept almost 6 hours straight. I guess after that long day she was tired. We did the photo shoot, then went to eat, then she had a few visitors and finally put her to sleep. I was so excited that she slept so long. Also, my mom got her to turn over today - well kinda. She put her on her stomach and she rolled to her back. I didn't know that 'counted' as rolling over. I guess i thought of rolling over as completely rolling all the way over, lol, I have a lot to learn!

We have the appt with the cardiologist tomorrow - hopefully that will go well.

Dr. Pennebaker's office (my OB) called today and the results of the homocystein lab are normal. Since all the results are coming out normal and Avery and I seem to be just fine, I'm not going to worry about it right now. What we do know is that I do have the heterozygous trait for Factor V Leiden and that is linked to blood clotting. I really feel like that was the problem. I spoke with a girl on the message board at the Nest Baby and she gave me a lot of info about it. So when and if the time comes to have another one I'll definitely talk in depth w/ Dr. Pennebaker and see specialists to see what medication we can start to control it. But we may just be happy with our one little spoiled princess! (I know I am!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The best thing in the whole world...


Wow! Today I am just overwhelmed by how in love I am with this child. She is just so amazing! I was changing a very dirty diaper this morning and in the middle she pooped all over me. Later I was burping her and she looked right at me and spit up everywhere and I just thought it was hilarious both times. I think its too funny that if any other person came into your life and used the bathroom or spit on you, you'd want them out of your life as soon as possible, but if its your perfect little baby, you couldn't be happier! I think I got my first social smile today too. My mom bought this little stuffed animal that laughs (it sounds like little kids laughing) and I played it for Avery and she gave me the biggest, opened mouth, gums showing SMILE! She was hungry too at that point so I know it wasn't just a 'I'm full and happy' smile or gas either! YAY! Its so neat watching all the things they do. Charlie can lay her on his stomach in the recliner and she uses her legs and grabs and literally crawls almost up to his shoulders. It is crazy! And she is doing so good keeping her head up.

In other news, I think I'm in love w/ our pediatrician. LOL, ok not the kinda 'gonna leave my husband for him' love BUT the kinda 'this man is extremely smart and nice too' love. He is the best! He called before Avery came home from the NICU just to check on her. He also sent a little notecard, hand written to say he was happy to have her as a new patient. His office has a 'well baby' waiting room so we don't have to sit w/ any sick kids and they are SUPER fast! We went Friday and Avery weighed 6 lbs 6oz! She has tripled her birthweight in 2 months, most newborns don't triple their birthweight for one year! (Of course, she was only 2 lbs at birth :) He said she looks excellent and completely normal. He said she is a beautiful little angel baby - and I agree! Ha.

Well, we have a busy week planned. We are leaving first thing in the morning to go to Vidalia. I have a suitcase packed full for Avery, not to mention the Diaper Bag, Moses Basket, Bouncer, Car Seat and Insulated Breastmilk Bag! It is UNBELIEVABLE how much I had to pack! We are going to spend time w/ my family, my grandma from Tennessee is coming Sunday, my mammaw and pappaw are coming Monday and Tuesday we have a newborn portrait session with Jami. Charlie and I are going to be in some pics too, I'm so excited!!!

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Early Steps...

We met with Early Steps today. If the baby scores 78 or below they are eligible for the program. Avery scored 78 or below in 3 different catagories: Cognitive (78), Social (72), Communication (77). The early interventionist (Carmen) said that these scores are borderline which means Avery doesn't have any significant issues right now, just a few things that she needs to work on. I considered this good news b/c we know there is nothing to really be concerned about but since the scores are borderline they will send a therapist to my house (completely free of charge) to work with Avery for the next year. At the end of the year she'll be reevaluated and if she is eligible again, she'll get another year. And so on, until age 3. They want me to make a list of concerns for the next meeting and I'm a little confused because I don't have any major concerns. (Then again, I've never had a baby before either, so I don't know what she should and shouldn't be doing). I guess I need to do some online research about what 2 month olds can usually accomplish. When we have tummy time she lifts her head pretty well. She smiles now and then, usually after she has a full belly and burps a few times. I don't know if these count as 'real' smiles. I remember she smiled the same way very early on in the NICU. When did you write down that your baby first smiled??? Was it a social smile or maybe just a gassy smile?

Last night was a little better. I got about 6 hours of sleep. I'm trying to keep her awake during the day as much as possible, but it is hard b/c if she gets tired she gets fussy, so I hate to not let her sleep if she's screaming at me b/c she is tired!

I went to the doctor this morning. They drew more blood work to try to find out why the baby came early. The nurse told me about a woman who was very healthy and lost 3 babies in the third trimester. They tested her for everything possible and never determined why. The doctors were convinced it was some type of blood clotting (like they suspect for me) and gave her the medication to control it. She had a completely healthy fourth pregnancy, once she took the meds but they still have never ran a lab on her that didn't come back as normal. She said for some conditions there just isn't a test available yet to indicate what the condition is. I guess that is just another way of telling me "We may never know." Oh well, at this point I'm not taking any chances until we know. I had an IUD put in a month ago: so far, so good!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Little Miss Piggy!

Today we saw the neurologist. He did some strange little tests on Avery. He held her upside down with his hand and then held her up and made some high pitched noises to see how she responded. He said she 'passed the test'. He said she looks completely normal and that the very small bleed (if it is a bleed) is nothing to be concerned with. It is extremely common in preemies and rarely ever causes damage. He will see her in 3 months to do a head ultrasound and if all goes well that will be the last time we have to see him. (He always sees his patients at least 2 times). So that is great news! Tomorrow, Early Steps is coming to tell us if she is eligible and what areas she may need therapy in and then Friday is the visit to the pediatrician.

Guess what? Little Miss Piggy weighs SIX POUNDS, TWO OUNCES! WOW!!! I couldn't believe it. I used the last preemie diaper I had last night and it was pretty small so I tried a newborn size and it worked! Also I tried an outfit on her today and it was too small. And the little pants she wore are now capris! Everyone always says 'you'll be surprised how fast they grow' but I thought it would be different for Avery, a little slower. But its not! It makes me a little sad to see how quickly she is growing! We are going to go ahead and do the newborn session with Jami as soon as she can fit us in because I definitely want to have quality images of her this small. Jami does such a good job, I can't wait!!!

I'm pretty tired, we only slept about 4 hours last night. I don't know what her deal was she just didn't want to go to sleep! Tonite I'm going to increase her feedings since she is six pounds she can have three ounces of milk or formula, maybe that will help?

I'm excited about this weekend, my grandma is coming to Vidalia to visit my parents and my mom will be off work for Spring Break so I'm going to Vidalia for a few days and Charlie is going to come meet us on his days off. Yay - A trip out of the house! I'm starting to get a bit stir crazy.

My mamaw saw on the news that if you have a baby this year by age 18 (before college tuition) the cost will be about $204,000.00. I thought this was pretty funny because about a week ago we got a bill in the mail from St. Francis for $204,879.61. Well, Avery has used all her money, I'm not spending another penny on her...HA! The bills are outrageous. That bill was only for the hospital, I'm getting separate bills from the actual doctors who took care of her in the hospital and other specialists who saw her. Of course, I'll be billed by the genetisict, neurologist, cardiologist and the pediatrician. Charlie says she is our million dollar baby. Well, she is worth every single penny. She is the best thing that I've ever experienced in life!

Monday, April 7, 2008

March of Dimes

I was so excited to see that one of my best friends since Jr. High, Nicki Smith Kennon, has started a March of Dimes team for Avery! It is called Avery's Friends. Of course, I joined the team and would love for you to do so as well. Please go to http://www.marchforbabies.org/caseydwelch (which is my personal website linked to Nicki's team) to donate. It is quick, easy and secure. My personal goal is to raise $500 and I know I can with your help! We don't have much time, so please visit the site today. ANY amount is appreciated!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tummy Time is a Success!

We had a great weekend! Avery's nonna (my mom) came for the weekend. Ahhh, it is so wonderful when she's here. I get a break!!! She's been gone for 3 hours and I miss her already! Now that Avery is here, I really REALLY want to move back to Vidalia to be with family, but there just aren't many jobs there. So I guess for now we'll stay in stinky West Monroe, but maybe in the next year we can make plans to move back. (wishful thinking!) Anyway, Avery's mamaw and papaw Nelson (Charlie's mom and her husband) came from South Louisiana to see Avery too. She bought her a cute lil bag with her name on it and some bloomers with her name on the butt...so cute! My mom put her on the Boppy to do some tummy time and she did so good! I'll post some pics....she lifted her head up like a big girl! Also, mom weighed with and without her and there was a six pound difference! YAY! If she weighs six pounds I'll be shocked, but I think she weighs at least five. We have a busy week ahead - Monday is shots for tots, Wednesday we have an appointment with Dr. Pena, the pediatric neurologist to see about the possible bleed in the brain. Thursday I have an OB appt and have to do more bloodwork to try to find out why Avery came so early. So far, all the bloodwork is looking normal. I am afraid my answer may be the same as the first pregnancy: We just don't know, these things happen. Also on Thursday Early Steps is coming to tell me if Avery is eligible for the program. And Friday we have to see Dr. Khanfar, that will be exciting because we can get her weighed! Man, I can't imagine how I'd be doing this if I were working! Hopefully, all these doctor appts will slow down by the end of May!

Well I think we're getting the sitter situation figured out. Kelly O'Gwin said that she has decided to stay at ULM another semester so she may be able to do it. Another girl that is from Vidalia, but lives in West Monroe, is interested and my mamaw called to tell me that they would move here until Avery was big enough for daycare, if need be. Charlie found out his days off are probably changing to Monday and Tuesday so I would only need someone 3 days a week for 2 hours a day! I guess I'm going to get off here and go watch the LSU game with Charlie and give Avery a bath. GO TIGERS! : )

Thursday, April 3, 2008

OK, OK we'll get the shots! : )

After posting yesterday I did some google research on preemie immunizations and yes, you are all right! We definitely have to get them. I guess I should've looked at some medical journals, doctors opinions, etc before taking Jenny McCarthy's advice and running with it! LOL. So, I have rescheduled her appt for Monday so Charlie can go and they can sit in the car until we're called back so we don't get sick for all the germs in that waiting room!

I've noticed something the last few days. Yesterday she was sleeping and I really needed to vacuum so I was like "Oh well, guess I'll wake her up, cause I have to vacuum." I vacuumed the whole house and she slept so soundly! She loved the noise. Today we have some people working on replacing some cracked window panes and working on the yard, the noise is driving me crazy - but Avery - I can't wake her up! Maybe tonite when she won't go to bed I'll vacuum again! Ha! Oh well, all for now....thanks so much for everyone's advice, I reallly do appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yes I'm a Crazy, Paranoid MOM!

Today we had an appt with Shots for Tots to have immunizations. Me, being Mother of the Year, forgot her shot records. I felt sooo stupid! I can't believe I dragged her out, all the way over there and didn't have the shot records. There were like 10 kids in this tiny waiting room. I got the paperwork and went outside to sit in a different area so she didn't have to sit around all those babies and then realized I forgot the shot records. I'm kinda glad after all because I'm super nervous about immunizations. I saw Jenny McCarthy on Oprah talking about Autism and how the overuse of immunizations could be the cause, so it totally freaked me out. Not to mention she's supposed to be getting these shots at 2 months old (which she is) but she should only be 2 weeks old. Its crazy to me that if they have a 14 lb 2 month old they give the same shots as a 4 lb 2 month old and the same dosage. I called the doctors office and shots for tots to ask them to adjust the dosage and they both acted like I was crazy. I know she has to have the immunizations and if she didn't get them, she would be at much higher risk for all sorts of terrible things, but I agree with Jenny that the dosage should be adjusted or they should let me wait until 2 months after the due date! So maybe this will buy me some more time to do research about what my rights are as far as demanding the dosage be lowered. It is so crazy to me how so much is dictated by other people and not the parents. I mean, i understand the NICU having to be very strict and call all the shots but even now I feel so powerless when it comes to things like immunizations and feeding her formula even though I'd rather not. So, what do you guys think? Am I overreacting to the immunizations or where you concerned with your little ones?

By the way, thanks for all the advice about rice cereal. We definitely aren't starting that any time soon. If all its buying me is an extra hour or two of sleep and it could give her allergies or a tummy ache, whats the point?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Busy Day

What a busy day we had yesterday! I had to go grocery shopping (charlie was off so he could keep Avery) and stop by Dr. Khanfar's office to pick up some formula. Charlie talked me into buying a new recliner so we picked that out as well. Charlie's mamaw stopped by to see Avery. She bought her the cutest little dress! While she was here, Carmen from Early Steps called to say she was about 5 minutes from our house - I had COMPLETELY forgot she was coming! She came and asked me a lot of questions about what Avery can and cannot do. Basically everything she asked Avery could do except I don't think she is smiling socially yet. She smiles a lot but its not like its something I've done, she just smiles mainly after she eats and burps! There were a few other things that I haven't noticed her doing (like knowing the difference between a human sound and non-human sound?) so Carmen will key in the answers on the computer and if she scored below a 78 she is eligible for the program. If not, it would indicate everything is completely average or above average with Avery and she would not be eligible. If she's not eligible now but I notice she is behind in some developmental area later on then I can always call her back to be reevaulated. So we'll find out next week how she did.

I had a few people contact me about the sitter job. Kelly O'Gwin was the girl who was originally supposed to do it but she was thinking about moving to South Carolina to join the services. I think she has decided she's going to stay another semester at ULM so she still may be able to keep Avery. Also, Courtney Wyles contacted me, she is from Vidalia and said she would be interested. I was happy to have two possibilities! Also, my mamaw said they are always available to come here if I need them (they don't live here though, so that wouldn't be permanent).

Other than that everything is going smoothly. Avery usually wakes up about 9am, breastfeeds and sleeps till 11 or so. This gives me time to clean the house and have some time to myself. She eats again around 12 and usually takes another nap. After she eats at 4 I try to keep her up until 8:30 or so, when I give her the last bottle and put her to sleep. She sleeps till around 12 or 1am and eats again and sleeps till 3 to 4 am. So it isn't bad at all. She only fusses when she had a dirty diaper or is hungry or tired most of the day. She does have a fussy time around 6 every night where just about nothing I do can make her happy. She is so amazing though. The little faces she makes, her mannerisms, little smiles and everything else! Now that she's here, I can't imagine not having her around!

When the lady from Early Steps asked about her sleeping schedule and I told her, she said she would give her some rice cereal in the bottle at night. I think it is way too early for that. She is 2 1/2 months almost, but adjusted age she's only 2 weeks! I don't think its really necessary. Maybe when I go back to work we can start that? Any suggestions....????