Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our New Roommate

We have a new roommate in our little hospital corner.  She's cute as a button, loves to snuggle, and is snoozing away in her crib.

Yesterday we met with our neonatologist, case manager, and a nutritionist to go over goals and milestones we need to meet before Aurelia can come home.  One of the big things that she needs is well established feedings.  Although we will be spending lots of time at doctor's offices over the next few days/weeks/months years, our neonatologist summed up the basics of neonatal care by saying, "As long as she can breath, eat, poop, pee, and keep a healthy temperature, she can go home."  We've met most of the other milestones (temperature has been iffy, she's always a little chilly).  But she was having a hard time with feeding because she doesn't take a bottle well and only breast feeds.  Since it's hard for us to constantly be in the ICN area or be "on call" for feedings, the decision was made that our daughter could room in with us.  Technically, she's still in the ICN, but our little neck of the woods outside of the ICN.  It's one step closer to going home, and we are thrilled!

If all goes well with her blood sugar and labs, we've been given a departure date of approximately 48 hours!  Giving praise and praying that she'll continue to makes these remarkable strides towards going home!

Papa Pandiani was excited to finally get to hold his granddaughter:

Please pray for her tomorrow as she has a MRI and an ophthalmology appointment.  She did great in her first physical therapy appointment and was only given a few things to work on.  And she passed her hearing test with flying colors!

7th Anniversary, 1 Week Birthday

9 years ago, I fell in love with this guy:

From wedding photo

7 years ago yesterday, I married this guy:

From wedding photo

We joke that we're never able to celebrate our anniversary because we always have major life events happening around our anniversary (move to Texas, first day at LeTourneau, another move to Texas, move to Afghanistan, etc.).  But this year takes the cake for major life event occurring around our anniversary:

From Aurelia

Our ICN nurses assured us that Aurelia would be in good hands if we wanted to pop out for a quick date.  So, we left our 1 week old with the babysitters and went out to eat.  Granted, we talked about our daughter for most of the evening and ran into our pediatrician and his wife at the restaurant.  But it was refreshing to be together and out of the hospital (my first time in a week!).  And Aurelia was sleeping soundly, just the way we left her when we got back.

It's been 7 years of adventure and so much love.  I can't wait to see the adventures our future holds, where we'll go and what we'll do.  And I'm so excited to have this little bugger joining us for the adventure:

From Aurelia

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baby Hawk's New Crib!

This morning we were told to expect the photo therapy to last 24-28 more hours.  At noon we found Aurelia in her new crib!  It's amazing to be able to pick her up and hold her, to feed her and not worry about getting her back under the lights, to not have to change her diapers through the little hand holes in the isolette.  She is growing up so fast!  Tomorrow we hope to meet with our care team to get an idea of what appointments she'll have this week and even when we might be able to head home.  She keeps surprising us each day.  God is good!

Please pray that she's able to maintain a healthy temperature and that feeding time will continue to go well.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where we are now

Since our situation is changing so rapidly, I thought it would be a good idea to start my update with where we are at the moment and work my way back to where we were earlier this week.

Aurelia is currently living in the Intermediate Care Nursery (ICN).  This is a step up from her first home in the NICU, and we are so pleased that she's progressed enough to be up here.  She is still living in a pod as she's had a little trouble with temperature control.  She's also getting some photo therapy to combat some jaundice.  Most of her fluids are given through an IV drip, but we have feedings with her every three hours trying to establish some weight gain and normalcy.  For the most part, she continues to exceed expectations.  She is alert and responsive despite having a very tough first week.  In the next week, we'll begin meeting with specialists including eye doctors, occupational therapists, neurologists, developmental pediatricians, and all kinds of other incredible doctors.  She will have an MRI in the next week to look at her response to the shunt surgery and to get a better look at her brain structures.

How long with Aurelia be in the hospital?
The answer to that is still unknown, although we tentatively hope it will be in the next week.  In order for her discharged, she needs to be on a regular feeding schedule, gaining weight, able to come off the IV drip, and maintain her temperature (although we think this last one is under control).  She also needs to see some of the specialists as an in patient.  If she's unable to eat regularly, the response would be to have a feeding tube put down her nose to teach her what it feels like to have a full stomach and to be hungry.  Of course, we'd like her to figure this out without the tube.

What's going on with the hydrocephalus?
Another question without an answer.  We know she has responded to the shunt surgery as her head circumference has gone down since birth.  At birth, she measured 43 cm, on Thursday she measured 40 cm.  This is actually a whole centimeter smaller than her head measured at my last ultrasound!  However, we don't know what all is going inside of her head and how her brain tissue has been affected.  Hopefully the MRI will answer some of these questions and show a better picture of the ventricles.

What do you need?
Right now, we need a lot of prayer for strength and perseverance.  We are staying in the hospital still in rooms designated for parents of ICN/NICU babies.  It's been a great blessing to be just a hallway away from our girl.  When we get home, a meal calendar will be set up and I'll post the details of how and who to contact.  But for now, we are trucking along as best we can.

We appreciate all the prayers for our little one.  She is quite the amazing little lady and we love having her on the outside.  It's incredible to watch her fight and win so many little battles.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Introducing Aurelia Kathleen Joy Hawkins

First Family Photo

Precious Little Lamb

Getting her diaper changed

Being held by Mom for the first time!

Aurelia is doing great.  She had her surgery on Tuesday evening, she was off the ventilator less than 24 hours later, and she has been moved from the NICU to the ICN unit.  We'll post the birth story, the surgery story, and the "where we are now story" now that we have our laptop in the hospital with us.  

Thank you for praying with us and being patient as we update!  

-Team Hawkins

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

She's here!

Just a quick note to announce that Aurelia Kathleen Joy Hawkins arrived yesterday evening at 4:51 PM. Mom is doing well after a little scare with high blood pressure. I hope to be moved from special care to the regular postpartum wing. Aurelia weighed in at 6 lbs 15 oz and came out crying. She's strong and ready for her surgery. Joey got to hold her and even change a diaper (his first ever!) in the NICU last night. I'm looking forward to holding her as soon as they can wheel me over there! The surgery should be this afternoon, although we're waiting for confirmation. Meanwhile, we're both pretty worn out. We'll post a more detailed update later today. Thanks for all the love and support!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

While We Wait

It's offficial, at least mostly official.  Baby Hawk will arrive via c-section on August 23rd at 38 weeks.  After my most recent scan and ob/gyn appointment the decision was made to wait an extra week to ensure lung development.  I go in for an amniocentisis at 11:00 AM on the 23rd, and was told to have my bags packed and to be ready for delivery.  The amnio is one more safety net to make sure that she is as ready for delivery as possible.  We are so excited to meet our little lady and enjoyed watching her rub her eyes and kick the ultrasound tech during the scan. 

Many people have asked me why our doctors are waiting to deliver.  At one point there was talk of delivering as early as 35 weeks.  The tricky part of dealing with hydrocephalus is weighing the pressure on the brain versus the regular development of a baby.  Since our baby will be having brain surgery shortly after birth (anywhere from a few days to a week), it is important that she is as developed and ready to fight as possible.

So, now we wait!  Here are some snippets of life while waiting for Baby Hawk:

We celebrated Joey's 32nd birthday with friends . . .
and cupcakes. . .

and a piñata that ended up on fire. . . 
and friends that hold flaming pinatas for the birthday boy to hit.

I had a baby shower.
Yes, that is a box of mayonnaise, and yes, I am so excited about it.  If you are from the south or have lived  there, you have most likely experienced the wonderful condiment that is Duke's mayonnaise.  I hate mayonnaise, but I love Duke's!  I received this thoughtful gift from friends in Virginia.

We also had a visit from some of our very best friends from Central Asia/Switzerland (we lived with them in K-town).

It was so fantastic to have them with us, even though it was only for a short visit.  But we've learned that with friends all over the world, it's important to take any moment you can get!  I should also point out that all of these pictures are from one giant weekend of parties and celebrations.

We capped off this full weekend with a Sounders game

Baby Girl is a fan already!  She kicked the whole game!

I don't think that this post would be complete without mentioning that while we celebrate birthdays, visiting friends, and upcoming BIRTH days; we are also mourning and processing through the loss of friends and colleagues in Central Asia.  We were thankful to have our friends from that part of the world with us when we all received the news of the tragic loss of a medical team in Afghanistan.  As I've talked to other friends that are back in the states working through this news, a common conversation has been how difficult it is to grieve with our community while being away from that community.  Transitioning back to life over here has been difficult and ongoing; we really miss life over there.  And as we sit in the comfort of our little apartment over here, we grieve with our loved ones over there and all over the world.  I can't think of words to express this type of emotion.  As Joey said, people have been trying to put words to grief and loss for thousands of years and nothing is quite adequate.  Senseless tragedy is always senseless and tragic. . . In light of God's sovereignty, we mourn the loss of friends that were great storytellers, exceptional volleyball players, selfless givers, and fun to have at poker nights.

And to make this post even more full of news, my younger sister had her baby yesterday afternoon.  Padraig Gordon Brooks was born via c-section at 2:32 PM, 7lbs 10 oz.  He's one cute little guy and we are all so in love with him already.