Saturday, January 30, 2010

Movin' all around!

One of the things I love most about coming to see Addie each day is seeing how much she changes.  Now, don't get me wrong, the changes are not major, but we can tell just because we have seen her and we spend a lot of time looking at her pictures when we are not at the hospital.  Her little face is filling out and she is moving A LOT!  Here are a few shots we got yesterday of Addie in action:

Sometimes, I like to sleep with my leg out like this. :)

I have figured out how to move my arms...

...and I move them...

...a lot...


I just love this squishy picture! :)

Naturally, I could post more... I think we've taken about a million pictures of her.  Sometimes I wonder if some of the nurses think we're crazy... then I remember that I don't care. :) hehe

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yes, sir... that's my baby!

We have had a great couple of days!  When Addie doesn't change much, it's a blessing. :)  Her stats are about the same except for the fact that she has GAINED two ounces!  Woot woot! :)  She is now a whopping 2 pounds 13 ounces! :)  We're almost back to her birth weight, and that is fantastic!  We are praising the Lord for this and praying that the trend continues.  We get to put t-shirts and onesies on her when she weighs 3 pounds.  I can't wait!  Here is a pic that Nurse April took of her when she was wearing her strawberry hat (thanks, Mrs. Caron!)... the nurses just loved it!  What is even better about this pic is that she doesn't have her feeding tube in her mouth.  Addie pulled it out earlier this morning (who can blame her?!), so the nurse grabbed her camera to show how precious she is without that thing in her mouth!  Major brownie points for Nurse April! :)

Hello world!  Don't you just love my sweet cheeks? :)

Eric and I also got to hold her again today!  We do "kangaroo care" when we can which is when we have skin-to-skin contact.  It is very beneficial for preemies, and I've researched it a lot... there are a ton of studies that show the benefits of kangaroo care so we are all for it!  The nurse just puts her under my neck/on my chest, and Addie just curls up and falls asleep.  Melts me every. single. time.  I cannot express the feeling of holding your child when all you've done is watched her through plastic since she was born.  Don't get me wrong, I am SO thankful for that plastic Giraffe that protects my sweet baby, but I cannot wait for the day that Eric and I can hold her and touch her anytime we want!  I know that the NICU is the best place for her, but sometimes I get selfish and just want her home.  Lord, give me patience to wait for the day we get to bring her home with us...

Here are a few pictures from our time today:
Mommy and me... this is Mommy trying to hold back the tears...

Look at all of that hair!  We love it!  I can't wait to put a bow in there! :)

Daddy and me... I love being in Daddy's arms!

...and he loves me, too! :)

Thank you all again for the support and prayers!  I know I say that every time, but we really, really do feel your prayers every single day.  I'm not quite sure how people survive without God... especially during times like these.  I'm hoping that our story reaches someone who needs to know God and that they would come to see how amazing He is.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bright Eyes

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am so glad Eric caught our baby girl with her eyes open!  We have been trying and trying to get one, but she always seems to close her eyes when I click the camera.  Thankfully, the last few days she has been more alert before it is time to eat, and she seems to stay awake for a little while after her feeding.  Anyway, he got this one today, and I LOVE it! :)

Seriously.  How sweet is that face?!

Here is the latest info about baby girl Jackson:
-She is now eating 23 ccs of milk at each feeding.  They are adding calories to it to help her gain, so hopefully she'll turn a corner soon and start packing on the pounds!  I wish it was as easy for her to gain as it is for her Mommy! :)
-Her breathing is about the same.  She is on 3 liters of Vapotherm, and it takes a while for babies her size to get used to it.  She loves laying on her belly (easier to breathe), but she's getting better at laying on her back.
-Addie is an all-around content baby!  We love just sitting in the NICU and looking at her.  We can't get enough of her! :)

Thank you all for continuing to pray for Addie and for us.  The past 10 days have been a major adjustment in our lives, but we are managing to figure things out finally.  We keep reminding ourselves that God is in control of this whole situation... resting in His hands makes life so much easier. :)

The Big Cousin :)

Not too many people were more excited about the birth of Addie than her big cousin, Abbie!  She has been excited since we told her Addie was coming... she has asked me questions about Addie, told me things that she wants to do with Addie, and even told me she would be the boss of Addie. :) ha! 

Of all of the sweet moments I've had with my niece, one of my all-time favorite moments with Abbie went something like this (we had this conversation about a week before Addie arrived):

Ab:  So, Baby Addie is still in your belly, Aunt Johnnie?
J: She is.  She's still growing and getting strong.
Ab: How is she going to come out of there?
J (Hmm...): Well, how do you think she'll get out of there?
Ab: Does she just come out of your mouth?
J (holding back tears/laughter): Well, not exactly.
Ab: Well, what happens?  Do the doctors get her out of there?
J: Yes!  I go to the hospital, and the doctors work to take her out of my belly.
Ab: Like out of a big hole?  Do they fix the hole back up?
J: They do.

:) One of the best moments ever.

Here is the Big Cousin on the day after Addie was born.  Love her. :)  I can't wait until the day she gets to meet Addie for the first time!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shout out! :)

I absolutely LOVE our new blog design!  A friend of mine from my days in Campus Crusade at USM has a blog design business, and I am so glad I asked her to help me!  Her family blog is "Moments with my Miracles," and you can click below to go to her blog design site!  She is super talented! 
Thanks so much for being so wonderful, Rachel! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am in it.  I can just stare and stare at this sweet baby girl who, a week ago, was still growing inside of me.  The week has been so eventful... honestly, it feels like longer than a week.  Thankfully, it's been a great week!  Praise the Lord!

Here is the latest information about our angel:

-Addie has progressed from 1cc of Mommy's milk to 18ccs starting tonight!  She is digesting the milk so well, and I am SO thankful.  One of my first worries was that my milk would not agree with her, but I let God handle that one, and He totally took care of it! :)  18ccs is a normal amount for a baby her size, so we are excited!

-She is down to 3 liters of VapoTherm (these are the two little tubes in her nose that help her remember to breathe).  She started at 6 liters, so getting down to 3 is a big accomplishment!  She is breathing room air---another big deal!  Addie works hard when she is breathing so much on her own, but we are so proud of her! :) She's a little fighter!

-One of the most amazing things that the doctors do for NICU babies is run their IV through their umbilical cords... I mean, really.  How freakin' smart is that?  They don't have to prick the babies to draw blood or feed them or anything.  I think it is awesome that they just do all of that through the umbilical cord!  Anywho, they've been feeding her lipids and other vitamins and minerals through that IV line, but tonight they are planning to remove it!  She will get her nutrition through my milk and some vitamins they add to it.  The vitamins are actually something that NICU babies take for a year after they are born, so we'll add it to her milk once a day after she comes home. :)  I love that sentence... after she comes home.  I can't wait for that day.  I actually have had a dream or two about that day... :)

That's pretty much it for now... aside from being the sweetest baby I have ever seen, she is doing very well.  The prayers are being said for Addie are truly felt and seen each time we look at her sweet face.  God is doing awesome things through her, and I know that He has a great plan for her life.  He is using her tiny little body to do some pretty big things... not only in my life and in Eric's life, but in the lives of some other people who have shared their stories.  I am not one to fish for compliments or messages/comments on my blog or facebook, but these days, hearing from others makes the day a little easier.  I would love to hear from anyone who stops by to check in on Addie, so feel free to leave me a note. :)

As always, thank you so much for your prayers, concern, and support for us through such an emotional, incredible time.  God is so good.

P.S. On a side note, I am also praising God tonight for working out my work situation... I was worried about what would happen since my maternity leave began much, much earlier than I planned.  I am a planner, and this totally stressed me out at a time when more stress was really not healthy. :)  Again, God worked it out and now things are groovy.  I can be out as much as I need to be with Addie and that makes my heart smile. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

Me!  Me!  I'm Daddy's Little Girl! :)

See?  I'm already wrapping him around my finger. :)

I just lay here and look cute, and Daddy just falls more in love with me every day!

He even poses with my pink blankie!
That Daddy... What a guy!  I'm so glad he's mine!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank you, Addie :)

I have realized so much over the past few days thanks to the arrival of my bundle of joy. :) I reflected a lot on these things today and I wanted to make sure I got them on here before I forget them... :)

-I see, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what an awesome God we serve! I mean really... anyone who does not believe in God has apparently never experienced the birth of a child. There is no way that this could just happen. Addie was so perfectly formed by God. He knew exactly what she would need and exactly how big she would need to be to come into the world when she did. He knew that we would need to be her parents... He knew that we would need people in our lives to help support us through this... He knows what nurses and doctors need to take care of her and help her grow... He knows the amazing plans he has for Addie and for us as her parents. He just knows. What a great comfort it is for us to know that HE knows. :)

-I now see my husband in an entirely different light. I knew I would continue to love him more and more as the years went by, but I never imagined how quickly my love would grow after Addie was born! Eric is just awesome! I swear, I hope other women have such great husbands to support them during such a crazy, hormonal time. He supports, encourages, loves, helps, talks, cries, loves... I could go on and on. I just sit sometimes and can't believe God chose him for me. :)

-I also see how a child changes everything in an instant. I have so many other things going on in my world that I could be concerned with, but she is now our priority. Even though it's only been four days, I find myself not worrying so much about the small stuff... cleaning that load of laundry, washing those dishes, resting my swollen feet, where we'll get money to pay for everything, etc. Eric and I are now focused on God, each other, and our baby girl. We can't help but trust that God will provide all we need.

So, sweet Addie, one day you'll read this... thank you for coming into our life. Thank you for being you, sweet girl. Your Mommy and Daddy love you more than you'll ever know! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

More pics :)

Here are a few more pictures of Addie. :) We are working on posting some videos soon.

Little frog... she absolutely loves sleeping on her belly. :) She tucks herself into her little nest, and she falls fast asleep. :)

She's learning to like the pacifier. Yes, this is a preemie Nuk paci... it covers a lot of her little face!

Hello, everyone! :)

Daddy's pinky :) I've already got him wrapped around my finger!

My Mommy and me :)

Baby Girl is here! :)

If you had asked me a week ago what I would be doing today, my list would have probably included something about working out... or National Boards... or celebrating my 29th birthday. Well, as you know, God has plans that sometimes surprise the heck out of us, and now--instead of all of those other things--today I am rejoicing in God's goodness with the arrival of our baby girl! Adelyn Noelle is here, and I am just in awe of how amazing she is!

Here's the background of how she arrived so soon...

-Monday, January 11: That evening, I was more uncomfortable than I have been my entire pregnancy. I was a little nervous, but I just thought it was because I was about 7 months pregnant and being uncomfortable was part of the process. :) I woke up quite a few times that night with a lot of pressure in my belly, so I didn't sleep very much.

-Tuesday, January 12: My pain level increased when I got up that morning, and I knew I couldn't make it to work. Part of me wanted to "tough it out" and try to go to work, but another part of me kept saying that the health of my baby girl was at risk, so I arranged for a sub and typed out some plans... I don't even know if they made sense. :) My Mama happened to be on her way to see me because she was going to help me videotape some lessons for National Boards, so instead of meeting me at the school, she met me at the doctor's office. This was the first clue from God that He knew what He was doing... it was a major blessing that she was here. :) At the doctor's office, he discovered that I had an infection (a UTI, he thought), so he prescribed me some antibiotics. He said the pain was also because Addie's head was low and pressing on my bladder. Made total sense. He kept me there for a little while to monitor and make sure I wasn't having contractions and to make sure Addie's heart rate was fine. Everything looked great after 30 minutes on that machine. :) Mama and I went home, had some lunch, and rested for a few hours.

I rested fairly well... I wasn't totally comfortable, but I was at least able to relax for a while until around 5 that evening when the pain got increasingly worse. Mama started writing down how often the pain came, and it was nearly every 5 minutes. Every once in a while, I would have a good 10 minutes or so of pain relief, but for the most part, I was in some serious agony. I got sick for the first time around 6, and we paged the doctor. I hadn't been sick throughout the entire pregnancy, so I knew something wasn't right. Dr. Tom-Tom said to go to the hospital and let them monitor me for a few hours. He called ahead, so we headed to Baptist. Eric had just gotten home from visiting his dad at Williamson Medical Center, so the timing was perfect. He walked in and hopped in the car.

We made it to Baptist in record time :) and got checked in and hooked up to a monitor. I was sick again and in more pain than ever. The nurse initially said we would probably go home after a few hours (ha!). Then she checked to see if I was dilated. She didn't say anything about how far I was... instead she said, "Let me go call Dr. Thomas and see what he thinks." Yeah. Major clue to me that something wasn't right. She came back in and said he was on his way to the hospital and that she was going to get me checked into a room in Labor and Delivery. Dr. Tom-Tom arrived and told me that I was dilated 1.5 cm, so I was going to be put on some different drugs to make sure the contractions and dilation didn't continue.

-Wednesday, January 13: Happy birthday to me! :) My 29th birthday was pretty eventful! I woke up to find out that I was dilated to 5 cm. Dr. Tom-Tom ordered an ultrasound and pretty much told us that we would have a baby in the next couple of days. Holy cow. It started to sink in at this point. Mama and Eric had stayed with me the entire night before just watching the monitors. I slept thanks to Ambien. :) After we met with the doctor, Mama called my Daddy and he hopped in the car and headed to Tennessee.

The ultrasound showed that Addie was measuring about 2 pounds 13 ounces. They couldn't get a totally accurate measurement because she was positioned so low. The doctors were pleased with her size, so that was encouraging. This was the moment I was so thankful to God for being a person who makes big babies. :) Eric and I were both big babies, so I was very likely to have a big one, too. Thank God for that! She was only 27 weeks old, but she was measuring 29 weeks and 3 days. What a blessing!

I received another shot of steroids to help Addie's lungs develop. Tom-Tom said that ideally, the steroids need 48 hours to work to their greatest potential. He said if we could keep her in through that 48 hour period, Addie would have a much better chance of being developed... not only her lungs, but her entire body, too. He also informed us that baby girls develop faster, so the fact that she was a little girl was a great advantage to her. :)

Needless to say, the steroids and other millions of things they were pumping into me were taking a major toll. I was very swollen and really hungry. Clear liquid diets are not my favorite. :( The rest of my birthday was spent visiting with sweet friends and family and praying, praying, praying...

-Thursday, January 14: This was probably the longest day ever. I didn't do a whole lot on this day... the doctors didn't check me much so as not to dilate me more or trigger contractions. I relied a lot on God this day... more so than the others. I was so restless and nervous and tired and hungry. The good thing was that Addie stayed in this whole day. At the end of it all, I was so thankful. :)

-Friday, January 15: After cramping all night long and not sleeping at all, something changed around 5:45 that morning. I called for Eric (who had been sleeping on the oh-so-comfortable hospital couch :) and told him something was wrong. Apparently I was bleeding, so he ran and got Tiffany (our fave nurse who had been with me all three nights). She discovered I was dilated to 10 cm, so she immediately called in the troops. Dr. Tom-Tom was on his way and the NICU team went into full action. Eric started calling everyone, and Tiffany went into "calm Johnell down" mode. She was absolutely amazing. Eric and I were so, so thankful that she was there for Addie's birth.

Anywho, Tom-Tom arrived, and I started having contractions. I didn't have time for an epidural, so it was au-natural for me. Yikes. Never in a million years did I think I would have been able to give birth without any pain meds, but again, when God is in control, anything is possible. The anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural, but I could not sit still long enough for her to give it to me, so it was no longer an option.

After about 20 minutes of pushing, Addie was here! It was the most magical, weird, amazing, crazy experience of my life! Eric was wonderful throughout the whole thing (naturally)! When Addie came out at 6:51 that morning, they wrapped her all up and showed me her sweet face before whisking her away to the NICU. She weighed 2 pounds 14.8 ounces and was 15 1/2 inches long. :)

They had warned us and prepared us for what could happen when she arrived. I've said to everyone... I know they say all of those things to other parents, but they have a way of making you feel like they are just talking to you. They were genuinely concerned with us and with the care of Addie. Whoo... I tear up just typing about it. We were told we may not hear her cry because of her lung development, but she did whimper a little right when she came out! It was the best sound to hear... even after all of the pain I had just experienced. It was really all worth it to hear her sweet little cry.

Ok, this post turned out to be way longer than I anticipated... I have so much more to tell about her progress over the past three days. We are about to go to the hospital, so I'll have time to type everything else while we are there.

I will say this... Eric and I are just completely overwhelmed at the support we have received over the past week. God has truly shown His face through each and every minute of this time in our lives. "Thank you" will never be enough. Our prayer is that God will bless each and every person for their care and concern for us and for Addie. :)

One more pic for the road:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sweet Stories

I had to make myself type this tonight before I forget... these are moments I don't want to forget, and ones that I want to share with Addie one day...

The day we found out we were having a girl, Abbie called to find out what we were having. Here is how our conversation went:

Ab: Aunt Johnnie, what's your baby?
J: It's a girl!
Ab: Oh! I LOVE girls!!
J: Me too! You can have so much fun playing dress up with her one day!
Ab: Yeah, we can! But she can't wear my clothes.
J: Oh, okay.
Ab: My clothes would be too big for her. We will have to get her some tiny clothes.
J: Good idea! She would love that!
Ab: You know what? If she cries, I could get her her paci.
J: That would be great! That would make her feel better!
Ab: It would. And you know what else? I could tickle her, and she would just laugh and laugh! That would be funny.
J (holding back my laughter and hormonal tears of joy): I bet she would love for you to tickle her and make her laugh!
Ab: Okay, I'm done talking. Bye bye!

The next morning, my mom called to talk to her on her way to school. It's usually a good time to chat with her since there aren't too many distractions. :) I don't know the exact story, but Trae (my brother) told my mom that Ab had been talking about the baby and this is one conversation he and Abbie had:

Ab: Daddy, you know the baby is going to be teeny-tiny.
Trae: Oh really?
Ab: Yeah, but not teeny-tiny like a bird. Not that teeny-tiny.
Trae: Oh, okay.

I love that she explained it to Trae... making it much easier for him to understand. :)

One more: when we were leaving church the Sunday after Christmas, we were on our way back to my Mom and Dad's house. Amber, Abbie, and I went to get the car, and Ab began asking when we were going to get our stockings at my Mom's house. Amber explained that we would have to ask Nonna (my mom).

Amber: Nonna is in charge of the stockings. We can ask her.
Ab: So she's the boss of the stockings?
Amber: She is.
Ab: Like you and Daddy are the boss of me? And Aunt Johnnie and Uncle Eric are the boss of me... sometimes?
Amber: Right.
...after a little thinking, Ab: Well, I'm gonna be the boss of baby Addie.

We shall see how that one goes. :)

That's all for now. Like I said, I just wanted to have these in my blog so I can show Addie how much her cousin thought of her and loved her before she was born. Abbie talked to Addie a few times when we were home for Christmas... each moment melted my hormonal heart. :) She was so excited that Addie could hear her voice!

Ah... I can't wait to see them grow up together! What a blessing!