"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

November 30, 2011

Foot Turkey

Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen??!!  I think so!  Baby Katea's nurse Meredith made it with her footprints on Thanksgiving day!  Love it!  :)

She also made a Thanksgiving card from baby Katea for her brother's and sister....

Love our nurses....can't say enough about how great they are....besides saving our baby's life.....and providing us parents emotional support and information.....they also make us these cute little things that we can keep and cherish.  I'm so grateful for them!

Daddy's turn...

I've been able to hold my baby Katea several times....the first time she was 11 days old.....she did so well with that that they let me hold her once a week for an hour.  I looked forward to every chance I got to hold her.  When she hit 6 weeks, I had held her 6 times already.  When she was extubated and on the CPAP and nasal IMV, I got to hold her more often...maybe twice or if I was lucky 3 times a week.  Now that she's in an open crib, and she's more awake and aware of things....she's constantly looking for more social interaction....which means I get to hold her every single day, several times a day!  Yay!  :) 

I've been asking Ova since I first got to hold her....if he wanted to.  Even though she could only be held once a week in the beginning, I was willing to share that time with him.  He never wanted to...he was just scared and intimidated because she's so tiny and he didn't want his big hands to hurt her.  At first it was ok, we were happy with him being involved with changing her diaper and taking her temperature...so I just took all the opportunities to hold her....but lately she really needed her daddy, so we've been trying to push him a little more. 

He would keep telling me to just hold her and then while I was holding her, he would kiss her little head over and over again.  We kept telling him that once she hit's 3 pounds, she won't be so tiny anymore, so he'll have no excuse not to hold her.  He just kept laughing at our attempts to pursuade him.  One of our primary nurses, Meredith, helped baby Katea make this cute little note for him....to help him understand how much she wanted her daddy to hold her.
(excuse the smear...Lautala got a hold of it!)

When Ova saw this little note, he kinda giggled about it.....but it worked!  On Wednesday November 23rd, baby Katea got to snuggle with her daddy for the very first time!  It was such a special moment, and Ova even started to cry a little, just overwhelmed at how grateful we are for our tiny little miracle.  He kept looking down at her, smelling her hair, kissing her little head.....it was so special to sit there and watch the bond between father and daughter. 

(Meredith helping get all the wires situated)

Special father/daughter moment

And they both got so comfortable bonding with each other that they both knocked out....snoring and all!  haha  It was so cute, we didn't bother them the whole time.  He got to hold her for 3 whole hours, and she did amazingly well.  Her oxygen needs went down, she was breathing way over the machine and she was calm and comfortable.  She LOVES her daddy!  Now I'm afraid I'm gonna have to fight him on who's turn it is to hold her!  hahaha  Big steps!

November 29, 2011

So Thankful....for His hands

I always remember a lesson one of my institute teachers taught me a long time ago, before I left on my mission.  He told us a story of a huge storm that hit a small town....it was a really bad storm with lots and lots of rain, wind and flooding.  The streets were covered with water and it kept getting higher and higher.  There was an evacuation notice sent out long before the storm got too severe, but there was this one certain man who didn't listen to the evacuation warnings....he believed in God, and he believed that God would save him.  As the storm got worse and worse and the water rose higher and higher.....he was more in danger of drowning.  He climbed out his window onto the roof of his house to escape the water below.  He sat on his roof as the water rose higher and the current got stronger....and he kept saying that he wasn't scared because he knew that God would save him.  He watched as the force of the water carried cars and trucks down the road, but he still wasn't scared.  A man in a boat came by his house and asked him to get in.  The man refused and said "no, it's ok, God's gonna save me"....the man in the boat begged him to get in, but he wouldn't....so he left without him.  A little while later, a helicopter came to try and rescue him...the man said the same thing "it's ok, God's gonna save me"  the helicopter operator pleaded with him to please get in or he would die, because he could see the water was getting higher and higher.  The man refused to get in the helicopter, he had so much faith and he knew that God would save him.  The helicopter took off and the man was still on the roof of his house....the water got higher and higher and the force of the current stronger and stronger.  The water eventually covered the roof of his house, and the man drowned and died.

When he got to heaven he asked God "why didn't you save me?  I believed and had so much faith in you...why didn't you save me?"

God responded "I sent you a boat to save you, you didn't want that....I sent you a helicopter to save you, you didn't want that either.....what did you expect?  Did you think I was going to reach my hand down and pick you off that roof myself to save you?"

The man was silent.

The moral of the story was that God, in so many ways uses other people and things to help "save us" and  help us through our difficult times.  We need to have faith in him, but we need to see his hand through the help of other people.  He purposefully places people in our lives at certain times and for certain reasons....and it's just as if He was reaching down himself to help us.

I've thought a lot about this story lately....and have noticed how many times I've seen His hand through other people during this whole ordeal we've been faced with.  With it being Thanksgiving...and a time to reflect on all that we have and all we're grateful for.....I'm constantly reminded of these people.

I got a call from Sister Choke, the relief society president of the palangi ward in our neighborhood.  They had heard about everything that happened with me, losing baby Cindy....having baby Katea so early and that she'll be in the hospital until January.  As soon as she heard about it, she came knocking on my door.  She wanted to see if there was anything I needed, or anything she or the relief society sisters could do to help me out.  She came not to long after Katea was born, when I was still an emotional wreck everyday....and her kindness made my emotions flare even more.  I was so touched that they would think of me, especially since we're not in their ward.  She asked me if it would be ok for them to bring us dinner for a week.  I thanked her so much for the offer, but told her it was ok because we're not even in her ward...we go to the Tongan ward.  She simply said that it didn't matter what ward we attended, we are all sisters in the gospel and we're in the neighborhood...and they wanted to help us however they could.  I cried and thanked her over and over again.  When she got up to leave she gave me the biggest hug and told me that everything would be ok and then she asked me how to spell Katea's name.  She told me she had gone to the temple the night before and put her name in, but that she totally spelled her name wrong....she giggled and said "I hope He knows who I was talking about" and I said "I'm sure He did"....she wanted the correct spelling so that she could put her name in again when she went back in a couple days.  She left that night and I sat and cried.....for a long time.  That whole week the ward members brought food for our family.....they went all out and brought full 4 course meals every single day.  I really don't think they understand how much those meals helped me.  I'm so extremely grateful for them!  After the week passed, Sister Choke came by again to visit.  She asked me again how I was doing and if I needed anything.  She asked me if I wanted them to bring more meals.  I thanked her and told her that it was ok.  What they'd done for me was so much already and I really appreciated it.  She told me she'd keep in touch and that if I needed anything, not to hesitate....but to let her know.  I gave her a big hug as she left......so so thankful for her and the relief society and the whole ward for everything they had done for my little family...especially since they didn't have to.  The Bishop of the palangi ward stopped by my house a couple times too...just to see how I was doing, to check up on baby Katea and see how she was doing.  He offered a prayer in my home and blessed my whole family and baby Katea with comfort.  I am so grateful for them.  To be honest, I was feeling a little down.....I'd had probably the most difficult time in my life the past few months, both emotionally and physically....and I broke down to Ova one night about how I didn't feel like my ward even cared about me at all.  I know they don't have to do anything, but I just always thought that's what the relief society was for....to help sister's that are in need.  Never once did they visit or even call....not when I was in the hospital for a month, not when my baby Cindy died....and not since baby Katea's been born.  I'm really more hurt and sad about it than anything....just feeling like I they don't care and I'm not important.  Just a couple days after having that conversation with Ova....Sister Choke showed up on my doorstep.  If that was not a direct answer straight from Heavenly Father to my prayer and need to be loved....I don't know what is.  As if everything they'd already done wasn't enough, I was visiting baby Katea the night before Halloween and I got a phone call from Sister Choke.  She was just calling to check on me and to see how baby Katea was doing.  She's so sweet and truly a woman of God.  She told me that she had met with her presidency and their ward compassion leader and they decided that they wanted to make my family dinner twice a week, every week until baby Katea came home.  I couldn't even say anything....I just started crying.  She was calling to ask me which days worked best for us, and they would bring dinner the same two days every week.  I thanked her so much and told her that she really didn't have to do that.....it was way too much, and plus baby Katea wouldn't even come home until January....and that's a long time!  She just told me she knew, they'd talked about that when they met and that they really wanted to do this.  Her exact words to me were: (and I'll never forget them) "Monica, this is one of those things where the giver gets the joy....so please don't take that away from us"  I almost couldn't talk because I was so emotional.  Just overwhelmed with gratitude for her and her ward....who showed that they loved me and my little family, even though they didn't know me.  We decided that Monday and Tuesdays would be the best days....and starting that week....every single Monday and Tuesday....a different member of their ward has brought us dinner.  I am so overwhelmed and grateful for them.

Another person I'm so grateful for....is my husband Ova.  I honestly thank my Heavenly Father everyday for him.  I feel like I'm so lucky and blessed to be with him for eternity....cause I don't know who else would be able to put up with such a clingy wife...haha.  He's always there when I need him, and he's really the only person I want.  I put a lot of pressure on him.....when I'm sad, he's the only one I want to make me happy.....when I'm having a bad day, he's the one I want to cheer me up......when someone is mean to me or hurts my feelings, he's the one that hugs me and makes me feel better...and gets mad at whoever hurt me..haha.  He knows I'm the biggest crybaby, and he's ok with it.  He lets me cry when I need to, and he makes fun of me sometimes when I cry to lighten the mood.  He just knows me and exactly what I need, when I need it.  When I got admitted to the hospital, he took two months off work just to be with me.  He never left my side throughout everything that happened, he was always there...literally, like right next to me.  He cried with me, lifted me up when I was down, made me laugh when I was having a bad day.....and was just there all the time when I needed him most.  There was a million other things he could have been doing, but he chose to be with me....and I'm so grateful for him!  If I could have it my way, we'd be together 24-7....but I think he cherishes his time away from me so he can breathe...haha. j/k

Ova's work is another one I'm extremely grateful for.  Honestly, it's a huge blessing that he was even able to get that job so quickly...when so many other people have been applying and have been waiting for months and months to even get an interview.  I don't know of any other job that would do for anyone what they have done for us.  He works for US Synthetic and he started back in July....the way their company works is that they don't hire anyone directly, everyone has to go through SOS Staffing and work as a temp for 90 days...and if they like how you work, after the 90 days they'll hire you on permanantly.  Since he started in July, his 90 day probation would have went until October.....he was honest and open with them about our situation, and they did everything they could to work with him.  Seriously, I'm overwhelmed at what they did for us.  When we found out that baby Cindy died, they sent me flowers and gave Ova some time off work.  All the many times I was rushed to the emergency room while I was pregnant, he just had to call and let them know what was going on and they would either let him stay home or come in late.  When I got admitted to the hospital, I was sure he was going to lose his job.....but they gave him time off....and they told him not to worry about his job, to take as much time as he needed and to let them know when he was ready to come back.  Ova took almost two months off.....all of September to be with me in the hospital, and most of October to be with me and baby Katea.  He called them towards the end of October and told them he was ready to go back, and they started him the next day.  He was a temp...not even a permanent employee, and they still did all that for him.  I am forever grateful for that company for allowing my husband to be with me when I needed him the most, and for making sure he still had a job.

I can't say enough about the staff at the IMC NICU.  I'm seriously forever indebted to them for everything they're doing for my little miracle.  We have our primary nurses (nurses that we chose, who specifically take care of Katea when they're there.....just to provide more consistant care) and I just love each of them so much.  Anjanette, Meredith, Annica, Charise and Stacey.....they are my baby's 2nd mom when I'm not there.  I try to be at the NICU as often as I can...but when I'm not able to be there, I know she's being well taken care of.  All the NNP's the RT's the Neonatalogists......everyone has such a huge part of baby Katea's progress and I'm so grateful for them.  They have a group at the NICU called Common Bonds, it's a group of mom's who have been in my situation...with preemies...who have taken time out of their lives to come back to the NICU to help us new and inexperienced NICU moms cope.  They're positive attitudes and outlooks have helped me so many times.  They hold classes on different things we might need to know, they take pictures of our babies and scrapbook them for us...I have a special page for Halloween, her 1 month, Thanksgiving, her first bath, when she hit 4 pounds....and I'm sure I'll get a lot more.  I appreciate so much all they do for me in making my stay at the NICU a little more bearable!  It's crazy because as much as I can't wait to be able to take my baby Katea home....I'm honestly going to miss all the friends I've made at the NICU.  They are amazing, miracle workers and like I said before...I'm forever endebted to them for everything they've done for me and my baby Katea!

I'm grateful for my kids...every single one of them....Makai, Filimone and Lautala.  I'm grateful for their understanding throughout this whole situation.  To be honest, I had a really rough time at first worrying and stressing about how I'm going to be able to divide my time between everything I had to do...but my kids, being so understanding has helped ease my stress level.  I was worried that they would get mad or resent me for needing to spend so much time away from home, at the hospital...but they don't, and I'm grateful for that.  They know and understand that I love them so much, but that their baby sister really needs me right now.  So I think I've finally figured out how to juggle things to make them work.  I wake up when Makai gets up to get ready for school....I make breakfast for Mone and Lautala and I spend the morning with them...we eat lunch together and play and watch tv....then I pick up Makai from school and then I head to the hospital....I'm at the hospital from about 4-9pm and then I come home and read or do homework with Makai.  We usually end up falling asleep all together on my bed, watching movies at around midnight.  That's super late, I know...but we're just a night owl kinda family!  I feel good about this schedule and it's working for us right now.  It'll be nice when baby Katea gets to come home, cause then I'll get to spend a lot of time with all my kids at once!

I'm so extremely grateful for my baby Katea.  She amazes me every single day.  The fight she has and the progress she's made is unbelieveable.  I guess you never really realize until it happens to you, or someone you know.....I will admit that I was so naieve before this whole experience.  I didn't know that NICU exsisted....I didn't know that a baby could be born so early....weighing only 1 pound and survive and be okay.  I'm so grateful for medical technology and for how much can be done to save baby's that were born too soon.  I still sit and think sometimes about how much we're forcing baby Katea to do.....we're forcing her to breathe, when she shouldn't have to yet....we're forcing her to keep her temperature, when she shouldn't have to yet....we're forcing her to grow....and pretty soon we're going to be forcing her to learn to eat....suck,swallow and breathe all at the same time....when she shouldn't have to yet.  All those things amaze me because she's doing them.  All those things that she shouldn't even be doing yet, she's doing.....and she's amazing!

I'm thankful for my mom for always calling to check on me and for always coming to visit baby Katea.  I'm grateful for my little sister Marie for taking time to come every week, a few times a week since I was admitted and since baby was born to come to the hospital to visit me and baby....I'm grateful for Tea for always being there for my kids, for watching them and taking care of them when I'm not at home...she does so much for me and I'm so grateful!  I'm grateful for everyone who has reached out to me....it's funny when you're faced with situations like this, you learn who really cares.  I'm grateful for good friends who have constantly been there for me and lifted me up....Dianna, Kassie...my blogging buddies.....other NICU moms....and so many more. 

Even through it all, I know I am blessed.....and I am so thankful for His hands!

November 27, 2011


This has been baby Katea's home for the past 2 months.  A humidified incubator that had to be covered because bright light and loud noises were too much for her little eyes and ears...
But on Wednesday afternoon when we walked in her room to see her, we were so excited to see that she's all grown up....and a big girl!  She graduated to an open crib!  :)
She's still on the nasal IMV, but she was getting way too hot in the incubator, so they figured it was time to get her out of it.  When she's too hot, it makes her heart rate skyrocket up in the 200's, which in turn affects her breathing and so it's all around a bad thing.  Usually they just keep them in the incubator until either they're on a nasal canula, or they weigh 1800 grams.  She hadn't quite reached either one of those goals yet, but it was time!  The nurses were joking that she was the smallest baby they've ever seen in an open crib.  haha...But that's just another example that she's the boss, and she'll do things when she wants and not when we want her too!  The crib is about half the size of a regular crib, and she looks so tiny in it....but at the same time, she looks like such a big girl!  This was a huge step and we're so proud of her!  :)  Besides moving to a big girl bed, another important 'first' happened on Wednesday.  That was the first time her daddy held her!  It was such a precious moment that I'm not gonna go into detail about it in this post....it deserves a post of it's own!  :)

Daddy so happy to see me in my big girl bed

She's been doing so well with her respiratory status.  They'd been able to wein her breaths like they'd planned, and she was tolerating it.  They started out slow at first, because they didn't want to overwhelm her....but she was doing so awesome that they picked it up a bit.  At first they were just taking 1 breath away every 12 hours....then they up'd it to three breaths a day, two during the day and one at night.  She did so well with that that they started taking away 2 breaths every 12 hours.  She was tolerating it so well, that the NNP and nurses were so impressed.  They decided on Friday at their rounds to start taking away 3 breaths every 12 hours, starting that night.....and when she got down to 0 (meaning the machine wasn't giving her any breaths at all...she was doing all the work on her own) they would take her off the nasal IMV and move her to the high flow nasal canula.  They also decided that since she'd been able to consistantly keep her Fi02 under 30% for the past couple days, they would drop her PEEP(pressure) by 1.  A PEEP of 5 is the lowest they go, and they went from a 7 to a 6.  She was doing amazing and we all (me, Ova, the nurses and NNP's) were so proud of her!  On Friday her rate (breaths the machine was giving her) was down to 15.  Saturday morning, down to 12.  If she would have continued with the plan, she would have been to a 0 by Monday morning.....which means she would have been able to go to the nasal canula by Monday night....but she had a little set back last night.  :( 

She hadn't had any ABD episodes at all since she was extubated....and it had already been 8 days!  I was hoping that meant she was clear of them....that the awesome progress she had made meant she was good.  But last night she started having ABD episodes....she had 3 within 10 minutes.  I got scared all over again.  I was holding her when she had them, and I noticed she wasn't coming out of it...I was rubbing her chest and patting her bum trying to get her to start breathing again.  It wasn't working.  Ova was sleeping in the chair right across from me and I tried so hard to get his attention, but he was just too tired, and wouldn't wake up....I was panicking so bad.  The NNP was doing her rounds and she walked in the room in the middle of it.  I was crying.  She went straight to the machine and pushed a button to give her a few breaths....that helped and she finally came out of it.  It only lasted like 30 seconds, but it scared me to death and felt like it lasted forever.  The nurse came in and took her from me and put her back in her crib...where she continued to have a few more episodes.  The NNP immediatly ordered a chest x-ray and blood work to be drawn to test a CBC and a Blood gas.  She wanted to make sure baby's lungs weren't collapsing, and that she wasn't developing any infections....She also moved her rate back up to 15 breaths per minute and increased her PEEP from a 6 back up to a 7.  All those steps forward.....and now steps back again.  :(  Rollercoaster.  She finally stabilized and calmed down.  I was trying so hard to fight my tears.  My poor baby girl.  The chest x-ray came back and the NNP said it didn't look bad...but she wanted to keep the rate increased to give her a little break.  Maybe they had too much confidence in her and they were trying to wein her too fast.  We didn't know.  Her blood gases came back perfect again....and her CBC showed no signs of infection.  Why all the sudden after she had been doing so good for so long, without showing any signs of distress.....why all the sudden now, is she back to having ABD episodes?

Ova and I sat by her bedside for a little bit after she had settled down.....then after she fell asleep, we left.

I kept thinking about her all night last night, wondering what was going on....hoping she was ok.  I got here today around 4pm and she was sound asleep in her crib.  The machine was set at 20 breaths.  5 more than what they went up to last night.  When her nurse Stacey walked in, I asked what happened.  She said that last night they had to go all the way back up to 25 breaths.  She just kept having those episodes.  Then, they asked the RT to come and do prong cares (clean out the prongs that were down her nose) and they found tons and tons of boogers, mucus....and one of the prongs were completely plugged up with a big booger.  That was the reason she was having so many episodes.....she wasn't getting any oxygen at all through one side, because it was blocked.  Stacey told me as soon as they cleaned the prongs and suctioned her out, she didn't have any more episodes and was stable.

She turned 2 months old yesterday too.....can you believe it?  I can't believe two months have already passed.....thankfully, the time just flew right by!  Because she hit 2 months, she had to get her 2 month shots (just because she's a preemie and super tiny doesn't exempt her from getting her immunizations)  They were giving her a total of 5, combining some of them she would only have to get 3 shots.....and they'd do it over 2 days just to give her little body a break.  Yesterday she got 2 of her shots, and today she got the last one.  The NNP and nurses were thinking that her episodes were a combination of all the boogers and the shots.....it was just a lot on her.

Today at rounds, because she did so much better after cleaning her prongs, they put in her chart that she needs to be cleaned every 6 hours instead of every 12....just because she's more boogery than most other babies.  And the NNP told them to wein her breaths down 3 every 3 hours at cares...until they get her to the 12 breaths she was at last night.  Then they would reasses her and go from there. 

She had an awesome day all day long!  They weined her breaths throughout the day with every cares, and at her 8pm cares, she should have been back down to the 12 she was at yesterday.  But around 6pm she had a couple more episodes :(  the RT came in and suctioned A LOT of boogers out of her....they're thinking that and her other immunizations she got today is causing it again.  So they're gonna hold where they're at right now instead of continuing to wein......give her a day to recover from the shots.  Tomorrow they'll talk about how she did tonight and decide what to do to continue.  Aaarruugghh.....2 steps forward, 1 step back!  She's still making progress though, and I'm so proud of her!

Since they've been fortifying her milk to 27 calories....and adding the protein, she's been gaining weight like crazy!  On Thursday she weighed 1680 grams.....Friday she was 1700 grams.....yesterday (Saturday) she jumped to 1790 grams....that equals 3lbs. 15 1/2 oz!!  Only 1/2 oz. more and she'll be 4 pounds!  Can't believe it!  At her cares tonight, since it's Sunday we'll get to see how much her head has grown and how long she is....and I'm sure she'll break the 4 pound mark!  Good job baby....grow, grow, grow! 

November 23, 2011

Busy Days...Lots of Changes!

The past couple days have been super busy days for my little baby girl.  She's been doing so well....so so well....so much better than last week!  Last week I was a wreck, I felt so emotionally drained and exhausted and I didn't think I'd be able to handle one more bit of bad news.  My heart hurt so bad when I would see my poor baby Katea struggling.  I needed a break from everything for a little while so I asked Ova if me and the kids could drop him off at work that night and go and sleep at my parent's house.  Then we'd pick him up when he got off work in the morning.  When we got to my parent's house, it was like 11pm and all the lights were off.  At our house we're night owls, so 11pm is still so early....but it looked like everyone was sleeping at my parents house.  I texted my little sister Leka to let her know we were coming, so she was waiting up for us.  My dad was actually still awake, reading his scriptures, and when he heard us come in, he came downstairs and hung out with us in Leka's room for a couple hours.  We were just talking and my Dad was playing and wrestling with my kids.  It was just the break I needed.  We started talking about baby Katea and I just started crying.  I was telling my Dad how sad I was and how she was not doing good that week.  Honestly, I was expecting him to tell me to have more faith, or pray more....but he didn't.  He hugged me and told me that everything would be ok...that the Lord knows her, that he will answer our prayers and that he knows the many times that he, my mom, and other people have put her name in the temple.  And he kept mentioning that she's already a miracle just for being alive.

That Sunday while I was on my way to the hospital to spend time with my baby girl, I got a call from my Dad.  He was already there waiting for me.  He had come all the way from Provo with one of his counselors to give baby Katea a blessing.  It was a beautiful blessing, short and sweet.  Blessed her with the strength to keep fighting and blessed her little body to function properly.  I cried.  It was like 4pm and he had a priesthood meeting in Provo at 6pm so they had to rush to leave....he hugged me, told me he loved me, told me that she would be ok....and then he left.  Being that he's a stake president, and Sunday's are his most busy days, I really appreciate him taking the time to come up and bless her.  I don't think he knows how much that helped me, and her.  Since her blessing, she's been doing amazingly well.  She's been improving everyday and I know and see the Lord's hands in all her progress.

I got to hold her Sunday night.  She did so good while I was holding her that they actually let me hold her for 3 hours.  I loved it!  She loved it!  That was the longest I've ever got to hold her before......so happy that she can tolerate it now!

Yesterday (Monday) when I got to the hospital, I uncovered and opened her incubator to put my hands on her and I noticed she was wearing clothes.  That was the first time she'd ever worn clothes before....she's usually just been in a diaper so the nurses could see her chest and make sure she's breathing.  The nurse LeeAnn told me that she'd been getting too hot, so they were able to turn her incubator off and she's just on room air temperature.  That's so awesome and such a huge step because that means she's now able to hold her temperature on her own....and when her respiratory status is more stable, she can graduate to an open crib!  They set the temperature in the incubators pretty high and humid because babies who were born too early don't know how to regulate their temperatures yet, so the humidified environment keeps them warm and they don't need to wear clothes....now my baby girl has grown enough not to need the humidifier, just room air and clothes!  Yay!

Her first little outfit

Her eye exam was scheduled for this Wednesday, but since it's a holiday week.....the optimologist was trying to finish all his eye-exams on Monday.  They came in, dialated and numbed her eyes and conducted the test....they did it during shift change, when the NICU was closed, so I didn't get to see it.....the results were in and showed that her eyes are at a zone 2...almost zone 3 (zone 3 is fully developed) and she was at a stage 1.  Last eye exam she was at a stage 0, which is the best....stage 1 means she is starting to develop and has mild ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity)  They told me not to worry about it, that it was very mild which could mean anywhere from absolutely nothing, to she might have to wear glasses when she's older.  I'm not too worried about it.  The longer babies are on oxygen, and the higher percentage of oxygen they're getting is what causes ROP....but since she's finally off the ventilator and her oxygen needs aren't as severe as they were just a couple days ago, I'm not too worried.

Puffy eyes from the eye-exam

Today was a special day too, because I got to give her her very first swaddle bath.  I was so excited, and had been looking forward to it all day long!  I was so glad that my little sister Marie came with her husband to visit that night, because they were able to take pictures of her first bath for me.  She loved the bath!  I was nervous because she's still so small, but she loved it!  Now we'll get to bath her once a week!  To keep her warm in the swaddle bath, we wrapped her in a fleece blanket and dipped her and the fleece blanket in the water.  We unwrapped just one body part at a time to wash it and then wrapped it back up right after so she would stay warm.  I really can't believe how calm she was...she looked so relaxed....like I said, she loved it!

Knocked out after a nice warm bath
Aunty Marie combed my hair for me
Snuggled up after my bath, with my fuzzy hair and puffy eyes

Today (Tuesday) she had another excellent day.  Since she's gone 3 days off the vent without any ABD episodes, they decided to start weaning her rate again....very slowly.  When they took her off the vent, they changed the settings to give her 30 breaths again....just since she was getting so much less support than she was when she was on the vent, they went back up to 30.  Their plan is to take one breath away every 12 hours....hoping that they move slow enough for her to tolerate it.  Today she's down to 27 breaths and she's doing great!  When they are able to get down to 10 breaths a minute and she's tolerating it, that's when they'll take her off the nasal IMV and put her on a high flow nasal canula.  That's our next big step to take....because once she's on the nasal canula, that's when she'll get to start to try and eat from a bottle or from the breast instead of having her food pumped into her stomach.  Can't wait for that day!  She's been getting better on her Fi02 as well.  Sunday she hung out at around 44%, Monday she was down to about 32-37%, and today she was sitting at 29%.  That just shows that her body is kicking into gear and her lungs are working more and more requiring less and less oxygen.  Slow and steady is making progress, and I'm so proud of how well she's doing!

The only other thing they've changed is that they stopped her soduim supplement she was getting because her labs came back high on sodium....that's great because it means her body is finally producing the right amount and she doesn't need to be getting any extra.  They also up'd her feeding by one more ml.  Now she's getting 28ml every 3 hours.  She's gaining weight, but still not as much as they want her to, so they're fortifying her milk to 27 calories instead of just 24....and they're still adding the betaprotein to help her grow in length.  On Sunday she measured 16 inches and weighed 3lbs.9oz......Monday she lost 40 grams and was back down to 3lbs.7 1/2oz.  and today she was exactly the same...she didn't gain or lose.  Hopefully the extra calories and protein will help her start growing and gaining weight a lot quicker now!  The bigger she gets, the stronger her lungs become and the more developed her body and all her organs get. 

Good job baby girl, you're amazing and I love you!  :)

November 21, 2011

Preschool Thanksgiving Feast

Filimone had his Thanksgiving Feast today at preschool.  Each kid was assigned some type of finger food to bring and the teacher provided turkey and ham (the sandwich meat because you can only bring store bought stuff....school rule!)  They sat around in a big circle and talked about why we have Thankgiving.....they learned about the reason for the feast.....they learned about the pilgrims and the Indians.  They made little indian headbands and played some Thanksgiving games.  After they were done eating and playing.....Mrs. Shannon sat them all down and gave them 3 paper feathers to put on their headbands.  She told each kid that they had to name 3 things they were thankful for....and she would help them write it on their feathers....then they could stick it on their headbands.  These were the three things my Filimone said he was thankful for today:

1- That his baby sister is still alive

2- For his mom and dad for always visiting his baby sister so she can get better and come home

3- He's thankful for himself

I was laughing at the 3rd thing he's thankful for....because that's just totally his personality....I can just see it....his teacher asked for the 3rd thing he's thankful for and he probably said "Me" with a duh sound in his voice.  haha  My little fatso Mone cracks me up!

I was grateful for the first two things he's thankful for.  One of the things that makes me so happy and proud is to see how much love my boys have for their little sisters.....and I'm glad that he understands how important it is that we take time everyday to go and be with baby Katea! 

After I picked Mone up from school, we headed over to pick Makai up from his school.  When Makai got in the van, he looked at Mone's headband with the feathers and he started reading the things that Mrs. Shannon wrote....the things Mone was thankful for.  Before he was able to finish reading them, Mone interrupted and put a little disclaimer out there.....he told him that he didn't get to tell his teacher that he's thankful for Makai or Lautala because he only got 3 feathers.  But he told Makai if he had 5 feathers, he would be thankful for both of them.

So cute!  I love my kids!  :)

Makai Grandkid #17

My little brother Misi is officially a daddy!  I'm so excited for him....even though  I still feel like he's a little kid...hahaha

I got the call on the night of the 19th that they were on their way to the hospital because Pola's water broke.  I was so excited!  I anxiously waited for the call to tell me how much he was going to weigh....but the call never came that night...

The next morning at 10am, I got a text from Misi saying that she was at a 9 and that baby would be here soon!  My mom was heading up to the hospital to see him and I asked her to stop and pick me up first.  We got there about 20 minutes after she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy....the first Makai grandchild that can carry on our family name!  :)

They named him Semisi Folau Makai....but we're gonna call him Folau!  He's so handsome and perfect!  He weighed 6lbs.9oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long.  He has lots of long black curly hair and super fair skin.  Can't really tell who he looks like yet, but he's so cute! 

I love that they named him after my dad!  Now my dad has 3 grandkids named after him.....my son is the oldest.....Semisi Folau Makai Fangupo....but we call him Makai.  Marie's is next Semisi Folau Makai Kinikini....and we call him Misi.  And now Misi has one that we will call Folau ....and the Makai name will live on!  We told them they needed to have a lot of boys because Misi is our only chance of continuing the Makai name!  hahaha  no pressure!  :)

I'm beyond excited for him!  It's crazy to see how time has flown right by...and to see my little baby brother grow up....and be a daddy.  I know he'll do a great job, and if he's ever overwhelmed, he's got 3 sisters with lots of kids that can help him out! 

C.O.N.G.R.A.T.U.L.A.T.I.O.N.S  Misi and Pola....he's beautiful and we love you guys!
Proud Mama

Just for fun!

My mom says these are my big, black "Puss in boots" eyes....haha

My daddy's wedding ring fits me like a bracelet

One of my primary nurses, Anjanette, croched these adorable things just for me!  She's so talented and I LOVE them!
 My owl beenie

And my oh, so cute little shoes.....they're a little big for my feet right now, but I'll grow into them before I even know it!
It's fun to play dress up!  :)

November 19, 2011

Who's the boss?

So baby Katea has been doing amazing for the past couple days.  The RT's have been able to wein her rate quite a bit and she's been tolerating it pretty well!  They got the title volume to the lowest it could, and so they switched the way they were ventilating her back to the SIMV, which is where it gives her breaths.  She was down to 23 breaths and doing so good....the plan was to lower it by one more breath every 6 hours until they got down to 15 breaths a minutes...then they were going to leave her there for a little bit to make sure she could tolerate it and then they would extubate her again.

Friday morning she was down to 18 breaths and if they would have continued with their plan, she would have be at 15 that day.  The NNP called me to let me know that baby was doing awesome and that they were so happy with her progress....they could tell her lungs are working more on their own and she's breathing more often.  She was letting us know that they were going to extubate her on Saturday.  Ova and I had already planned to be at the hospital all day on Saturday, so it was perfect because we would be there when they take her off the vent.

She had a different plan though....afterall, she's the boss!

When the NNP called me on Friday, Ova and I were actually getting ready to head out the door to go to the hospital.....when we got to the hospital, I saw Natalie at the door (the nurse who helped me give her a sponge bath)  She told me that baby Katea had a surprise for me.  I said, "I love surprises"...but as I was walking down the hall to go to my daughter's room, I double thought that statement I made.  When we got to her room, her nurse and the RT were standing by her bedside.....we walked up and looked at her and sure enough....the surprise was that she was on the nasal IMV!  She had managed, again, to pull her tube out of her throat....but instead of putting it back down again, since they were planning on taking it out the next day anyway, they went ahead and put her on the nasal IMV.  It was a good thing, but I was so nervous....I just really want her to be ready....I would hate for her to have to go back on the ventilator again. 
She was visibly irritated.....just from all the stress....but she was stable and doing good!  She had blood running down her face, puddled on her pillow from her nose.  For some reason this time, the prongs really irritated her nose and both nostrils were bleeding pretty badly.  She also had a lot of mucus in her nose and in her mouth.....when she's on the vent, if she gets too much mucus in her chest, they push a tube down her throat to suction all the gunk.  Since she doesn't have anything down in her chest anymore, she has to figure out how to get all the gunk out on her own.  She coughs it up, but it just sits in her mouth and nose....so we have to do oral cares often to make sure to keep her mouth and nose cleaned out.

The RT (Gorgi) told me she had a surprise for me.  I asked what it was and she left the room for a little bit.  She came back in and gave me this picture!  She snapped it when there were no tubes or wires in her mouth.  I LOVE this picture.  She looks so different without all the tape on her face.  Such chubby cheeks....I think the 2 lbs she's gained since she's been born went right to her cheeks.....hahaha!

(please excuse the quality....this is a picture of a picture!)

Today is Saturday and she's been doing awesome off the vent!  What I was most scared about was her having those ABD (Apnea Bradicardic Desaturations)....but thankfully she hasn't had any at all....not one!  That was since she was extubated on Friday at 5pm.  I'm so thankful for that, and I hope and pray it stays that way so she can just work on her getting better and stronger at breathing on her own.  She is amazing!

They haven't really changed anything else with her, they're kinda just letting her rest and get used to being off the ventilator.  Her blood gases look great....so she's still doing what she needs to be doing.  They have her second eye exam scheduled for this coming Wednesday.  She's up to 27ml of breastmilk every 3 hours, still fortified to 24 calories with protein.  She's gaining weight and growing which is exactly what we want her to be doing.  Tonight at her cares she was up to 1600 grams....that equals 3lbs. 8 1/2oz.  That's my girl!  :)

November 17, 2011

Beautiful Smile

Can you see my smile??  :)
There is a reason for my beautiful smile!  Today was a great day!

780 X 2 = 1560
I was 780 grams when I was born....today I weighed 1560 grams!!  That means I've doubled my birth weight!!  Whoo-hoo!!! 

Today I am 32 weeks 4 days gestation. 
51 days old. 
 7 weeks, 2 days.
3 lbs. 7 oz.

They were able to wein my oxygen rate down a couple more breaths today.  They've got me down to 23 breaths a minute and they're going to try and go down 1 breath more every 6 hours. I've been tolerating it pretty well.  I like to play games with the nurses and yo-yo on my oxygen just a little bit, it's fun for me to see them run in and out of my room...hahaha...I keep them busy!  But when my mom is here I try to be a good girl because I know it really stresses her out!  I love it when my mom is with me, and when she puts her hands on my head.  I love it even more when she holds me, and I know she loves to hold me too.  She loves me a lot, and she tells me all the time.  I love her more.  I'm trying really hard to be a good girl, and to be strong....because I don't like to see my mom crying.  But my older brother told me she crys a lot anyways.  haha.  Sometimes I get tired, nobody understands how hard I have to work just to breathe and when I'm too tired, I don't have the best days, but I'm trying really hard.  My mom talks to me everyday and tells me she's proud of me.  That makes me want to keep on fighting and try even harder.  I smile a lot actually, usually when I hear my mom's voice.  Today I finally let her take a picture of my smile.  I love my nurses and RT's, except when they suction me...I don't like that.  But everyone takes really good care of me and I'm really grateful.  My mom is really grateful too...and so is my dad.  I especially love my primary nurses, (Anjanette, Meredith, Annica, Charise and Stacey) my mom always says they're like my 2nd mom when she's not here with me.  I can't wait until my mom and dad can take me home so I can meet my older sister Lautala.  I heard she's a little monster sometimes.  She's going to be my best friend.  Today when my mom got here, she immediately opened my incubator and put her hands on me.  I love that.  I was already having a good day, but that made it even better.  I grabbed onto her finger...and what did she do?  She took a picture of course.  She always takes pictures of me, I bet she has like 2000 pictures of me in the 51 days I've been alive.  haha.  I am kinda cute though, so I don't blame her.  haha.  :)
I'm so glad she noticed how dirty I was, and how much I really needed a bath.  She asked my nurse when I could have a bath and I was so happy when I heard the nurse ask my mom if she wanted to give me a sponge bath right then.  I've been wiped down a few times, but never had a real sponge bath....I was excited.  My mom did the whole thing by herself.  It felt so good!  I wish my daddy was here to see me, and to take pictures of my first sponge bath.  But my mom let the nurse finish washing my hair so she could get some pictures of me.....here are a couple:

(This was me getting ready for my sponge bath....so excited!)

(Getting my hair washed)
(I really loved it!)

(After my bath I was so tired...so my mom snuggled me up in my blankets and I fell asleep)

(My mom put a bow on my hair after the RT came in and accidently called me a boy...haha...she's so funny)

I loved my sponge bath, it totally relaxed me and I had the best sleep after that.  The nurse today was Natalie, that was the first time she's ever taken care of me, but I really like her...she's really nice!   She tried to give me my food over 30 minutes instead of an hour.  I really don't know why, but my stomach didn't like it that much.  Natalie told my mom that they really want me to tolerate my feedings over 30 minutes instead of an hour....cause if not, I might have problems when I get to start breastfeeding or eating from a bottle.  I'm going to try really hard though.  Really really hard!

Today was a good day.

Baby Katea