Sunday, January 27, 2008

And the weaning begins...

Yes..sadly I am not superwoman and keeping the blog updated daily is becoming more and more difficult with the demands of a 3mos. old baby (well, just about 3 mos.) and trying to get back to a normal life in Birmingham with my precious husband--not to mention the numerous doctors appointments between Par, Tiffany and me. In short, our life has become no different than anyone else! Praise God! The blog has been a great source of therapy for me--especially during the early weeks of Par's life. I can't thank you enough for the support you've shown our family. The power of prayer is a true testament to the faithfulness of our Lord.

I don't know how often I'll update--although I know it will at least be once a week. So, I'll try and wean all of us slowly--and of course, you'll never be deprived of a super cute picture of Par--I'll post those as they come!

This weekend has been quiet--my parents have both been out of town and Rusty worked for part of the weekend giving Par and me a chance to run some errands. He was a perfect little baby in church today--slept most of the time--how great is it that his "morning nap" falls at the same time as church--it just happened--praise the Lord for little gifts! (Now that I've acknowledged it he'll be screaming through the entire service next Sunday I'm sure!) We went on a long walk this afternoon and now Par is asleep--and in about 30 minutes he'll wake up abruptly startled by his own hunger and start screaming for food--thankfully this is easy to remedy.

Much love and peace to everyone!

Liz, Rusty & Par

Friday, January 25, 2008

Woo Hoo!!!

Par went to the doctor for another vaccine--he did great--cried the necessary amount and then was fine. He didn't even need Tylenol this evening, he has been completely himself! Great news from the doctor--he seemed "pleased" by Par's weight gain. I was relieved because we sort of got off target when I went into the hospital--but for Par to go from just 1 ounce in 11 days to 13 ounces in 16 days--that IS a major improvement! Anyway, I think we will hang onto the scale for another week--mainly because of the switch-a-roo we've pulled on Par with bottle/breast--I just want to
be sure that all is going as it should be.

Par's eating seems fine--I know I sound like a broken record, but he is just a different baby when he is breastfeeding--praise God for this gift! It definitely helps to confirm that it was worth all the pumping--in the NICU and the past week of pump'n'dumpin...I pray--I sincerely pray--that I will not have to pump any more. But of course, I will if something else happens.

It is VERY cold in Birmingham--but somehow, Par has made a few trips outside today without it bothering him--I think he really likes the fresh air, I know I do! Apparently, there is a "winter weather advisory"--not sure what that means--I guess we'll see tomorrow morning!

Par has been very happy today--we told him that his friend Ella was released from the NICU today and is at home. He could hardly contain his excitement and was cooing a bunch this afternoon. He has just now gone to bed--we let him stay up until we had confirmation via Ella's blog. He is now fast asleep in our bed--and now, Rusty and I are enjoying some "down time"--yet, I'm still writing this blog...
We continue to be very thankful for all of the prayers.

Good night,
Liz, Rusty & Par

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another "Great" Day

Par and I had lunch with my mom and my Grandaddy, Par's other great-grandfather--needless to say, it was a "great" lunch! I'm feeling much better--probably will be 100% by the weekend. Par is eating well--we're back breastfeeding--Par is/was a little confused--like, "Make up your mind Mama!"--but he does so much better breastfeeding, he is way more relaxed.

Ella has some really exciting news...check it

Thank you for your support. We praise God for each day--and thank him for such great friends and family.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our STRONG little boy

Par loves to hold his head up--he has amazing control over it and prefers to be sitting up to "converse" with us. He also is enamored by the television--once he zones in he can't be distracted--not even by his daddy with the camera!

He's been eating a lot today and napping--I am starting to pick up on his own "schedule"--so far it works for me!

Tiffany seems to be acting a little jealous--my mom has noticed how she sits right next to you when you sit on the sofa. She does this anyway, but not with anyone but me or Rusty before--now it is just whoever is holding Par. Tonight she wanted to sit with me but there was no room--she tried anyway. Picture her hopping up on the sofa and then backing up into my lap where Par is already sitting. I was cracking up--she was so frustrated...we've tried to give her some extra lovin' lately--if only it would get a tiny bit warmer and I could take her on some walks with Par!
We thank God for our precious Par and for my continued recovery--I'm feeling even better than I did yesterday--I'm looking forward to feeling 100%.
Liz, Rusty & Par

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just a regular day.

Nothing exciting happened today--and you can't imagine the relief! Today was our first attempt at a normal day--and Par did great! We were up and rolling mid-morning. Par had his bath and then slept while I washed lots of dirty clothes, sheets & towels. He woke up very hungry and has been eating ever since! The witching hour isn't any better--but it doesn't bother me too much--I like trying to comfort him.
Par was smiling a lot today and kicked it up a notch when his dad came home...but of course, he was a little camera shy tonight--so we have some "serious" pics...

We thank God for your prayers and each day--we praise Him for the miracle of our son. Thank you.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Monday, January 21, 2008

No....not twins.

I know. I know. The resemblance is uncanny! It is AMAZING how a simple nasal canulla can make two people look so much alike! Actually, the person to the right is Par's great-grandfather, Daddy Joe (my grandfather)--the person to the left is Par. :)

Praise God, my IV has been removed! Rusty administered my final round of antibiotic intravenously this morning and then I went to the doctor around 1pm to have it removed. For the next 6 days, I will be on an antibiotic orally that prevents me from breastfeeding Par--so for now we'll be putting a good dent into our collection in our freezer--and I'll be pumping (a lot). Hopefully the hospital stay and pumping are a penance that can be applied retroactively...not that I have anything in mind.

Par was very excited to wear his outfit that his Aunt Sally gave him for Christmas. He was very warm and cozy in it all day!

Well...for those of you wondering "what else could happen!"--we took Tiffany to the vet today because she had a heck of a case of halitosis! As many know, stinky breath can be a sign of something bad going on--but for Tiffany, she has a mean case of gingivitis. Later in the week she'll have her teeth cleaned, which means she has to be "asleep"--I'm nervous for her, but surely--SURELY--nothing else could possibly happen.

We are looking forward to getting into a routine (again)--or at the least, we are looking forward to clean clothes, fresh sheets and nice showers during reasonable hours--all in our own home.

Thank you for your continued prayers. We thank God for our health and for the great news we're hearing from Ella's camp--looks like she might be headed home this week. Please pray that all will fall into place.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Par's Baptism

With all the drama going on with me, praise God that we were able to proceed with our plans to baptize Par today. This is most important to us because Fr. Donohoe (our priest and dear friend) was celebrating his last Mass at The Cathedral of St. Paul for a long while. He will be studying in Rome for the next two years--we will miss him very much but plan to visit.
At 10;30AM I was temporarily discharged from St. Vincents Hospital to attend the baptism and due back at 4pm for my next round of antibiotics. At around 1pm we received a call that a home health care person would be able to finish out my antibiotics at home via IV. This is huge--although it is just one more day in the hospital--I am still trying to care for a new baby with special needs and it was just time to go home. Rusty has been the one administering my drugs and so far he has done a great job. It does help that this is all very familiar to us from our long NICU stay--can you believe that NICU stay has already proven to be a great resource for us!?!
Mom threw a gorgeous reception at my parent's house. The food was delicious and the cake was beautiful. Although I was completely exhausted, I so loved being surrounded by family and friends.
Rusty and I look forward to having life back to normal--which involves getting this IV out of my hand--we hope that will be tomorrow. I know I'll have to take it slow--I'm prayerful that the infection is gone. We thank God for our precious baby. We thank Him for the powerful cleansing waters of baptism. Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ!

Liz, Rusty & Par

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snowy Saturday

Today was Par's first snow...although he wasn't able to make any snow angels outside, he was still my little snow angel! We had a great view of the snow from my hospital room window. Thankfully, Rusty took some pictures at our hour for us to see...and Tiffany told her dad she wanted to wait for Par and me to come home before she played in the snow for the first time--how sweet! So--although we'll be the only people in Birmingham, our family will be praying for a snow later in the week when I finally get home.

We slept okay by ourselved last night--though we really missed Boo. Par slept through the night--I woke up around 5:00 AM in some pain and with a fever. I went ahead and woke Par to change and feed him and then we slept until around 8am when the doctors made their rounds. The doctor on call said that there was good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the doctor feels I'll probably be here through Tuesday. My heart sank--I am going crazy in here!!!! She said that they (the collective pronoun is meant to indicate she and the other doctors consulted) feel that we are SO close to getting this infection beat--my fevers are much lower and with more time between the pain episodes--but the fevers and pain still indicate a problem. Hopefully the tweaking of one of my antibiotics will be the trick.
Please pray that I will be fever free and pain free through tomorrow morning--technically, by 5am I will have gone 24hours without fever and could possibly be discharged. But--Above all, I want God's timing--my vocation is motherhood and being a wife to Rusty--unless I get well, I can't continue with these gifts from God.
The good news is that no matter what the decision is on discharging me tomorrow, I will get a "pass" to go to Par's baptism at 11am. It happens to fall between my schedule of antibiotics and so they will just unhook me from the IV (leave the IV in though) and let me out for mass and the luncheon. Praise God for this gift. I plan on starting a trend of hospital tape and IV's with needle marks and bruises--so tomorrow will be a great day to debut it!

Par is still the favorite baby in the unit. All the other babies are newborns and not much fun--so nurses are so surprised when they come in and see an alert baby with lots of smiles! Plus, this has been a great way to spread the word about Dr. Kays and Shands--everyone is so interested in his journey and this boy is not afraid to show his tummy scar--not to mention his tummy trick. One thing we've discussed with Ella's parents is the need to educate the medical communtity on the capabilities in medicine with saving CDH babies--hopefully, Dr. Kays will be able to point us in the right direction. But it was definitely reassuring to hear just how interested and "hungry" the nurses hear are to learn about Par's amazing journey and this famous "Dr. Kays"! Par is still eating well and still trying to nurse on everyone which is reassuring to me.
Now for the even better news--Sal is coming to spend the night with us tonight! Yep, Par's aunt/godmother is driving in from Furman as I write this for a slumber party and the baptism. I was worried Sally might not make it for the snow and ice--but as Sal texted, "neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet can keep me from getting to you" Welcome Home Sal!!!!!

I thank you for all the thoughtful phone calls, emails, notes--your prayers and support mean so much to me. I ask that you will continue to pray for Par as he is still "enjoying" his nasal canullas for his oxygen and for Par's friend Ella who is making HUGE progress. May God bless you.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Friday, January 18, 2008

Don't take their place!!!!

For every mother and father out there--there have probably been many times when you've seen your child struggle or in pain and you responded to this struggle/pain by saying, "Oh, if I could take your place, I would"
Well I am here to tell you--those are stupid words. Children are much better at handling the pain and will soon forget the trauma than adults--from now on I'll just say "I would take the pain away if I could."
You see, I discovered today that I am just a big wimp. I have long prided myself on a "high tolerance for pain" yet today I found myself wincing at the alcohol wipe and immaturely not inviting the nurses into the room when they knock. Today has been rough--I was all excited to find out that plans were in process for me to be discharged tomorrow and then things started to unravel (uh...remind you of anything? NICU2?) Anyway, I started to run a fever and then my kidney started hurting a lot--to the point where I needed a pain killer. On top of that, my vein blew and so I lost my IV--I thought they might finish my antibiotic orally but that was a no go. So--count them--one, two, three, four, five nurses attempted to place the IV--yes, that gigantic needle was stuck into me 5 times unsuccessfully. Not to mention the number people who came and checked to see if they saw a vein and left without a stick. Finally, the nurse who had first put the IV in on Tuesday showed up and saved the day--but I do look like a drug addict with all the needle marks.
So, I don't know when I am going home. I can't control my fever--and in the long run, I need to get better or I could end up with kidney damage. As I may have mentioned before, my hurry is Par's baptism on Sunday.

Par enjoyed himself today--my nurse just loved him and was very attentive to both of our needs. He was all smiles this morning--and of course when his dad showed up (he always smiles for Rusty). He was so good when I went through a bad spell of pain/fever this afternoon--but was very intent on letting us know when he was hungry--and in turn, very good at eating it. Go Par! We haven't weighed him since Tuesday so I am anxious to weigh him when we get home.
Par and I are spending tonight alone--because of the pending snow storm, I didn't want my mom stuck here at the hospital and Rusty needed to be at home with Tiffany. Par and I are all snuggled up in the bed waiting on the snow--we are quite the pair--IV drips and oxygen--both of us tethered to these machines--thank goodness Par isn't a toddler or we would be way tangled up. I feel alright--the nurse just brought in a hot pack for my kidney to go to sleep with--please pray that my kidney will be healed and the fever gone and that we will be able to leave tomorrow, even if it is snowing. Praise God for all the blessings he has given us.
Hopefully we'll have snow pictures tomorrow.
Liz, Rusty & Par

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who needs Grey's Anatomy?

Yep, who needs Grey's Anatomy when they spend most of their times hanging out in hospitals! I sick of the beeps, the smells, the lights that are on 24 hours a day--for some reason this didn't bother me so much in Gainesville--but today it is starting to get to me.

My ultrasound of my kidney was fine--nothing abnormal--so we are still just dealing with a severe kidney infection. I didn't mention in the other posts--but apparently kidney infections are known to have up and down fevers while being treated. So--that is what I have been experiencing--thankfully this is the first day my fever hasn't been up to 105--my high today was 103ish--but that was around 9-10am--it has been around 100 most of the day and right now I am fever free. But Dr. Christine said she wouldn't be surprised if it spiked again during the night. Hopefully it won't!

Par is doing well...he is missing his mama/Par time. But he is enjoying his Boo being here to comfort him. My room is very happy right now--I have beautiful sunflowers from the Feagins, the Petreys brought me some tulips, Tina & Josh (Ella's parents) sent some roses and my grandparents (Mama Carol & Daddy Joe) sent some very sweet balloons! And I thought I missed out on delivering at St. Vincents! Julie was suggesting we put a blue bow on the door and just play it up like I've just delivered! (For those of you confused, I am in the postpartum part of labor & delivery so I can keep Par with me without fear of him catching anything from a sick person). Well, all I can say is that the generosity we've received with Par and now with me is only encouraging me to find more drama in our life--I'm not sure how we'll get along without all the attention! Obviously I am kidding, we are very anxious to get back to "normal" life--we praise God for the wisdom of Dr. Christine in putting me in the hospital without hesitation--(105 can cause seizures) and we are thankful that it is only a kidney infection and that it is treatable.

God is good. We praise Him for all the good He gives us in our lives--these wonderful nurses, our friends and family, Ella's recovery, Par's breastfeeding,--how great is it that this list could go on and on!?!

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your concern for our family.
Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!
Liz, Rusty & Par

PS--If anyone has any good ideas for an illness for Rusty--let us know, we don't want him to miss out on good hospital time!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not so fast...

I want to first put your minds at ease about Par. I know a lot of you are probably freaking out that my baby is with me when I am so sick--but his pediatrician made a "house call" (his practice is in a different wing of the hospital) and gave Par a head to toe assessment and said he is fine. He is also aware of the situation with me and told me I can call him at any time to check on Par.

As of this afternoon, we finally have an official diagnosis of kidney infection. Dr. Christine is still growing the culture to figure out how we can attack it better with antibiotics (right now we are using a broad spectrum of antibiotics). Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be here through the weekend...but Par is being a great sport and enjoying the extra attention from the nurses. I had an ultrasound of my kidneys this morning, we hope to hear back this afternoon if there is anything to speak of...but I'm hopeful that we're just dealing with a plain infection. I'll update later when we know more.

Par says hello and "thank you" for the prayers for his mama!
Liz, Rusty & Par

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We missed hospital living...

Well...I guess we just missed the hospital.

I was admitted to the hospital today for a kidney infection. I am typing this with Par sleeping right next to me. My doctor was nice enough to get us a room on the postpartum floor of labor and delivery so Par could stay with me.

Last Thursday my lower back started hurting and I called the doctor and the nurse said it sounded like a urinary tract infection and to just up my fluids and drink cranberry juice. She also said I could take Motrin for the pain. So that is what I had been doing, but the pain was getting worse. This morning I woke up with a fever of 100. By lunch time it was 103--then 104. I called the doctor and they said to come in to be checked out. Basically they said that it was past the point of treating with a shot and that I would need to be hospitalized for a few days to take care of the infection. By the time I was admitted, my fever was 105.4 and they put ice packs on me to bring the fever down. It is finally down to 98.5 and I am finally feeling like myself again.

On a happy note, Par weighed in at 8 pounds .1 ounces today. The doctor was satisfied with me giving him the weight over the phone so I didn't need to take Par in to be weighed--he said to just keep doing what I'm doing because it is working. Unfortunately, I can't breastfeed him right now because of all the antibiotics--but probably by the weekend.

Par has been a REALLY good little boy today--especially with everything going on. He just goes with the flow--we are so blessed to have such an easy going baby.

So, for the next few days I'll be here at St. Vincent's Hospital just hanging out with Par. My mom is spending the night with me and helping with Par--earlier today I couldn't even pick him up because I was afraid I would drop him because I was dizzy and shaky--but now I feel 100 times better--so hopefully mom won't feel obligated to hang out in a hospital all day.

I ask that you will pray for healing of my kidney infection and a quick recovery so we can go home soon. We continue to pray for Ella and of course, for our little boy Par.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Monday, January 14, 2008


Par woke up hungry...but after he ate, he was all smiles. We are trying to get moving earlier in the morning--we are doing well if everyone is up and dressed before the Today show is over (thank goodness for that new 4th hour!)

Praise God for Par's little appetite! Although we still aren't gaining an ounce/day--we are gaining and several times today Par weighed in over 8lbs!!! But, we've seen that he burns those ounces off while sleeping (he isn't very good about waking up for a middle of the night feed). We go for another weigh in tomorrow, please pray that his weight gain will be good enough to continue with what we've been doing.

We had hoped to go on a walk today, but it was just too cold. I was feeling a bit stir crazy when Rusty came home from work--I'm sure it was more of a fresh air thing than a "stuck at home" thing--it just stinks that it is so cold right now...but anyway, I ran a little errand and left Rusty and Par hanging out together. When I came back (about an hour later) both of them were happily sitting on the sofa together--and Par was in a clean diaper (Rusty's first diaper change!). I was so proud! It was much needed bonding time for Rusty and Par--Par tends to get upset if his mom isn't holding him--but I know he is just using me!

I've been learning about "the witching hour" (also called, "arsenic hour")--it seems this is a common term among my mom's generation for when precious quiet babies turn into crying inconsolable babies--I've actually been gaining first hand knowledge of the phenomenon for the past 2 weeks--it is only in the past few days that I noticed the pattern--but it usually is sometime between 5-7pm and it comes on out of the blue. I have found that just feeding him calms him--even if he isn't hungry, he is still calmed. I think it is so strange that this is a common occurrence with babies...

We continue to pray for Ella--it seems that they have a plan--so we pray that every step in their new plan will prove fruitful to the recovery of this precious little girl.

We thank you for your continued prayers for Ella, Par and their friends. May God bless you and your families.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday with Par

We're pretty efficient...this is the second Sunday in a row where we've woken up, both taken showers and made it to church with a happy and full baby....beginner's luck? I don't think so!

Par had a full day--after church his Boo came to visit him and then he went to see his Gigi and Memommy (great-grandmother). Later, my cousins came over for dinner and a game of "pass the crying baby"--Par was just SO tired--but he didn't want to sleep--so he cried. Later (after they left) he was happy and content to just fall asleep in my arms.

We are still working on gaining weight--he's consistent--not quite where we need to be, but definitely improving.

Thank you for your prayers for Ella--and for Par.
Praise God for all of our blessings.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Par's Friend Ella

We are so blessed to have so many people visit our blog to check on Par--he is doing well today, we are just working on adding those pounds, ounce by ounce. We thank you for praying for him. Below you will see some pictures of Par from today.

As many of you know, Rusty and I became friends with Josh and Tina, another CDH family in the NICU at Shands. There daughter Ella was born in late July and is still in the NICU on a very long road of recovery. Our families became close and leaving was difficult--I was so sure we'd leave around the same time. It was difficult to say goodbye to our friends, but also because Ella was still in the NICU. Since we have been home, precious Ella has not been doing well and it breaks our hearts to read of her struggles--but it gives us joy and hope to see how strong her parents are, and what a fighter she is--we know all too well the helplessness one feels in the NICU at times--their strength and desire for God's plan is amazing. We ask that you will take this time to pray for this precious child who is now back in the NICU 3. We ask that you will specifically pray for answers to the unknowns perplexing Dr. Kays and the nurses.

Liz, Rusty & Par

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pudgy Par? (not quite...but working on it!)

Par had a weight gain of 2.7 ounces--not quite an ounce/day--but definitely an improvement from last time!!! Keep praying for continued weight gain-we go back for another weigh in on Tuesday.

We ran a few errands while out--we picked up Boo's birthday present and dropped off some items with our favorite hand-engraver. Par was a perfect angel during the errands--but did not enjoy his weigh in very much. Charlotte met us and saw Par in person for the first time--and then got to listen to Par exercising his vocal cords while we undressed him and weighed him in the lactation consultant's office. Thankfully he had gained weight or I might have also been exercising my own vocal cords.

The rest of the day was spent eating (Par, not me) and sleeping (both of us)--with a few visits from friends and family. Rusty, Par, Tiffany and I watched WE ARE MARSHALL last night--good movie--really sad, but good movie. Par seemed interested in the football, so in the next few days he is going to watch Rudy--we just want to keep things realistic for him.

Many of you know that Par received an i-pod while at 25 weeks gestation as a gift from his dad. Our cousin was kind enough to load over 7,000 songs onto it...yet, Par refuses to listen to any other song than The 12 Days of Christmas sung by a choir of children--we probably listened to it 20 times today--he screams out during the song sometimes as if he is singing--so it is worth it--but hopefully we'll get to the other 6,999 songs some day.

Please pray specifically for Ella today--for more info,

Thank you for your prayers.
Liz, Rusty & Par