Tuesday, January 31, 2012

let's march

On April 28th Avery and I will be walking in what I hope will be the first of many March of Dimes walk. The March of Dimes assists with research and programs for a cause very near and dear to my heart-the prevention of premature birth (among other things). I have made a personal pledge to try and raise $500.00 for the cause. I have no idea if this is too ambitious since it has been YEARS since I've done any kind of monetary fund raising, but it is worth a shot. I know times are tough financially for a lot of people, but just today my blog had nearly 250 page views so even if every body donated a dollar we'd be half way there! :) No pressure though.
If you prefer to join us in the walk and set your own fund raising goal or just give us your valuable company you can join Team Avery. (Click the link below to enter your registration information).  I plan to make shirts for anyone who decides to join our team as my way of saying thank you for supporting us, the March of Dimes, and such an important cause.
 The following is a little write up on the page about the walk:
Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. I'm walking in March for Babies because I want to do something about this. And I need your help.
Please support my walk. Making a secure donation is easy: just click the 'donate now' button on this page. Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start!
The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
Your gift will support March of Dimes research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And it will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care.
Click here to join our team or donate: Team Avery Ruth

We've come along way. Let's help other families prevent this. 
Avery helped write this post since it is something very important to her. 
I'm good with this computer stuff. 
Blogging is exhausting!

Monday, January 30, 2012

4 months.

Holy moly. Where has the time gone? I can NOT believe that today my baby girl is 4 months old. That's a 1/3 of a year come and gone. Of course it wouldn't be a celebration without a picture of Avery next to a pop can as we've done every month so far. This month the changes are truly AMAZING. And it is the first time we've taken the pictures at home! Fun.
We go on Thursday for her 4 month pediatrician appointment and I can't wait to see how much she weighs these days. I tried doing the old trick where I get on the scale and weigh myself, then hold her and reweigh and take the difference. Well that only works if my weight is consistent time to time, but every time I got on it was different by a pound. Not so much a big deal for me, but a pound is a HUGE difference for Avery :)

Pretty sure I could fit the old me in my belly. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

happy saturday.

This is the same outfit that I wore when I came home nearly 4 weeks ago! 4 weeks! What, what? 

Friday, January 27, 2012

yep, she can do that.

Avery had her first in home therapy appointment today. The therapist was mostly assess her today based on her adjusted age (meaning the age she would be had she gone full term).  They wouldn't expect that Avery would be doing things that a normal 4 month old does, but are hopeful that she will meet milestones for a one month old and if not that they will catch it soon enough that we can work on correcting it.
Of course she did great. The therapist said she looks wonderful and for the most part is doing all the things she should be. She rocked her tummy time and was moving her head from one side to the other.  She was showing good cues of self soothing, although we need to work on reminding and helping her figure them out when she is starting to shut down.  I felt like a "good mommy" because most of the suggestions she made are things I already do because I picked them up during her NICU stay or they are common sense things.
We do need to work on her with head control and visual tracking. She has a 3 second head control right now and they would like to see it around 5+ seconds. It isn't a huge deal but will help her down the line when it comes to holding her head up and to center line.  She also does not visually track things from one side all the way to the other. She can go from center line to each side, but not the full spectrum.  She gave me some ways to work with her so by the next visit hopefully she'll show some signs of improvement.
Today's visit was a huge sigh of relief.  As a first time mom it is one thing to worry whether your baby is making  adequate progress. Add on top of that prematurity, adjusted ages, low weight, etc and the stress goes to a whole new level. So just some reassurance that she is doing good helps this mommy relax a bit.
The therapist also suggested that we bring in a speech therapist for feeding issues. Recently we've been having more difficulties with agitated feedings, irritation post feedings and puking. I wish my friend Paula, who is an awesome speech therapist in Seattle, lived her! But it'll be fun seeing first hand what she gets to do every day with the kiddos.
Other than that life is good. We've been up all night, sleep all day.  We need to work on that.  I miss sleeping in bed with my husband. Our couch is only so comfy but after spending 2.5 weeks of bedrest on it, I was hoping to never spend that much time on it again. But alas, I would do anything for my little lady and I do my best to do it with a smile on my face (poor Bill usually gets the brunt of my over tiredness).
Hold daddy's hand. Yep I can do that. 

Snooze for 4 or more hours. Yep I can do that. Except at night. Then I like to party like a rock star. 

Make my grumpy face. Check. 

Stretch like a big girl and rock the one sock look. Yep, I can do that. 

Snuggle with my blanket. Yep, I've got that down. 

Tell my momma when enough is enough. Yeppers, I can definitely do that. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

today i cried.

Today I dressed Avery in our favorite onsie. It is a onsie she has worn since Thanksgiving weekend and when I put it on her today it was clear that this may be one of the last times she wears it. My baby is growing out of her clothes. I looked back at pictures from the first time she wore the onsie and shed a few tears on how far she's come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

avery's room

So it is finally 'nearly' finished. I say nearly because there is still one project that I am debating doing for a wall that currently only houses her dirty laundry hamper. But it'll take me some time if I do decide to do it and if I don't, well then the room is done!
I have loved putting her room together. It was the one  thing in the pregnancy that I didn't have to give up on.. Well besides Avery of course! Once I felt confident and ready to start working on it, I poured my heart in to every detail. This room was truly put together with so much love. I hope as Avery grows she appreciates it for everything that to me it stands for. This is her space, in our home and the thing that completes it more than anything is having her in it.
So I took a bunch of pictures and will just post away, so please forgive any duplicates; I'm a wee bit sleep deprived.
The unfinished wall. 
I love love love this dresser! Homemade changing pad cover by moi.
Oh hello beautiful chandelier (mentioned in earlier post)! This was made by Mary and obviously took HOURS 
Its like a waterfall.

The 'a' plaque made w/ love by auntie jill. 

Ariel view. 

Bedding all made by me. 
I love the book nook. Now we just need more books to fill the nooks. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

dear anonymous

AnonymousJan 19, 2012 10:18 AM
I have to say, you are truly an inspiration. I stumbled on your blog by accident and I love following it. Keep it up and FANTASTIC job on your cute little daughter. What a trooper, she's come a long way.
 Thank you for your kind words. Initially I started this blog to keep family and friends up to date on what was going on to avoid numerous phone calls and texts during a very emotionally trying time in my life. And soon I found that blogging is one of the most therapeutic things I have ever done. I have been told by friends and family that they know a person who knows a person who knows a person who reads the blog. While that was never my intention, I must admit it feels good to know that I am sharing our story with others and hopefully inspiring others through the strength Avery has shown us all.
So thank you to EVERYONE who reads the blog. I know my friend Mary said one of her co workers is a faithful follower-thank you. And my friend Joanna shared the blog and Avery with her elementary school class-how fun! People from all walks of my life, strangers, who ever you are.
So to everyone who reads if you ever feel inclined to leave comments, maybe words of courage or love for Avery, I promise to share them all with her. Anyone can comment and can even do so anonymously. I know someday Avery will love to see how awesome it is that her story is documented for others to share.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

hip hop baby.

She got them ruffle butt pants

Boots with the fur

The whole room was looking at her

She hit the floor

Next thing we know
Baby just grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow

I feel like I've been neglecting our blog and my faithful followers! Sorry. We've been busy with eating, sleeping, and growing over here at the Eller house. And visitors too! Last weekend my dear friend Mary was in town to meet Avery and give mommy a little social relief. She brought gifts including the adorable ugly doll in the above picture and an AMAZING homemade chandelier that will be featured in the upcoming post of Avery's 'nearly' completed nursery (hopefully sometime early this coming week).

On Thursday my parents braved the biggest snow storm we've had all year and drove over from MT. Nothing was going to keep them from holding their grand daughter any longer. They visited a number of times while she was in the NICU but with a hands free visiting policy this was the first time in her 16 weeks of existence that they could hold her. (BTW *yikes* that I have a 16 week old baby already!) They have spent the weekend loving and holding her. Clearly as you'll see in the picture below, my dad and Avery have a lot in common and will get along just fine. 

Other than that we've just been hanging out. Avery is growing like a weed. Especially her hair and eyelashes.  She is becoming such a good eater and no longer takes an hour + to finish a less than 2 ounce bottle! She is such a good baby. We did go to the hospital last week for blood work and while everything is looking 'good' she has to continue all her meds including the yucky, icky, horrible sodium she takes. She hates it. We'll just keep tracking it and hope that sooner or later her alch phos levels go down and we can eliminate some of the extras she gets on a daily basis. 
Bill went back to work last week and made it through 3 days before the weather interrupted their progress. Having him gone makes me appreciate even more how much help he is when he is around. I look forward to the weekends for a whole new reason now!
I promise to be better about posting. I am really excited about sharing pictures of her nursery so hopefully I'll finish up some small projects and can get some pictures hung and then take pictures. Keep an eye out!

Friday, January 13, 2012

you know you're a preemie mom when...

You get emotionally attached to your rental pump.  Yep that right. Today I had to return the breast pump I had been renting for the past few months and I got oddly emotional about taking it back. That pump and I have spent a lot of time together. We have successfully been able to produce enough milk to feed and grow Avery for the first 3+ months of her life AND create a huge stockpile. So when I packed the little lady up and got a little teary eyed, really it wasn't that surprising to me (well that and the fact that I get emotional over everything these days).
So thank you my dear Medela Symphony rental pump. I'll never forget the times we spent together. Hopefully my fancy new Medela Pump In Style Advanced will fill your shoes adequately.

Its been quite the journey, hasn't it? 

You weren't exactly a petite lil' thing. 

Together we've grown this! Thanks for your assistance. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

paying it forward.

I've had a few life altering moments in the past few years that I would have thought would have made me step up. Really live life to the fullest. Not take a single day for granted.
First off there was that day when Bill, his dad, grandma and I were flying over the fireworks on Coeur d'Alene Lake when we lost power in the plane. In an instant I thought we would die, until I realized that instead of my life flashing before my eyes, all the things I had not yet done flashed before me. The wedding we were going to have. Our kids. Retirement. The instant faded and by the grace of God we landed safely on I-90 in a stretch that could have only been cleared by someone who has a little pull from above. My father in law instantly became my hero. I instantly became a wreck. I thought in that moment "I will never take another day for granted." I did.
And then there was that time back in March, when we were in Maui on our honeymoon. We went to bed that night watching the devastating coverage of the tsunami in Japan. We watched as the ticker across the bottom of the screen suggested evacuation from the Hawaiian islands and Bill asked if we should go ask the front desk if we were ok in our ground floor, ocean side bungalow. I told him they would let us know if we weren't ok. In the middle of the night the fierce, loud knock on our door let us know. We needed to evacuate immediately. A tsunami was coming. The images from the TV screen were still fresh in my head and I was sick to my stomach. I threw a few thing in to a bag; our coats, toothbrushes, and a few bottle of water and off we marched up a hill to "safety." It turned out when it was all was said and done that the aftermath that hit Maui was insignificant compared to what they expected. It could have been worse. I told myself I would never take another day for granted. I have.
When the doctors told us at our 22 week ultrasound that there was a significant chance that Avery would not make it, that she would be stillborn, I couldn't believe it. I remember very little from the conversation with the perinatologist from that day but I do remember having only one question after he said his part-was there ANY chance our baby would survive? Hadn't we had enough chance encounters in our life and walked away ok? What were the chances that for a 3rd time we would be lucky enough to have everything work out in our favor.  I let my mind wander to places that I am embarrassed and ashamed to even admit. Can't admit. But I did know one thing. That if we were lucky enough to come out of this with a health baby I would NOT take another day for granted.
So here we are today. At home with Avery. Living the daily life. And I am still reminded of how much people have given to us over the past 3+ months.  This time has been blessed not just by the birth and health of our baby but by the people-friends, family, strangers-who have touched our lives. We have been given both tangible and intangible things. I wish I could thank each and every person individually who has prayed, sent their love, given our family gifts, donated their time, etc. but since there are more people than I will ever know one thing I can do is pay this kindness forward. This is my mission. This is how I will live to not take any day for granted.  I promise to do for others what they have so selflessly done for us.
So while Bill and I have been through some interesting times and experiences, I hope that I have personally found something from it all that I can share with others.
blogging with mommy

is it ok to wear bear with zebra?

ahh :) 
my newest niece-Avery's cousin-Drew Kelin. Born today. Congrats to my sister 's family: Jill, Travis, Lia and Drew ;)