Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let's Eat - no I think I will sleep

In the last blog I commented on how different Patrick and Eliana are. However, there are some similarities. Patrick would rather play than eat and Eliana would rather sleep than eat. For now that is all Eliana does these days, eat and sleep and eat and sleep and poop. In matters not, however, they are both wonderfully cute and fun to play with.

Life is moving into a sense of normalcy and for that we are thankful. Eliana is on a 4 hour eating schedule so that usually means a 3 hour nap for the girl. Her first appointment with the doctor since leaving the NICU will be on Tuesday and that will officially mark a new chapter in her life. I am interested in finding out how long the feedings must be every 4 hours. For premature kids the feedings can't be any further apart than 4 hours or you risk dehydration. Eventually that will move into the next phase of eating but until then we will stick to the schedule!

Just for the record, if you are local and you want to visit just call and come by. We are as normal and normal is going to get for the next 3 months.

Looking forward to the grandparents visiting in September along with my sister and cousin "A". Fun times await!!

Thanks for reading

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 1

I remember writing a bit about Week 1 in Patrick's life and it was so different. Patrick had a 2 hour drive down the mountain from Lake Arrowhead and Eliana had a 2 day drive down from Walnut Creek with a stop in San Luis Obispo. That was a long trip for even the adults!!! These 2 kids are in no way the same, but isn't that how it always happens? I can recall many parents who have said that the 2 kids were not the same. Whether it be in personality or in eating habits, sleeping habits etc. these kids really have only 1 thing in common. They are both super cute. Now, of course, that is a generalization and they obviously have some things in common but if you have kids you know what I mean.

I am overjoyed to have the girls in our home. It is sooo much easier to manage 2 kids with 2 adults as compared to 1 kid and 1 adult. It is an almost exponential difference. I am sure that authors have written books on the subject but having 6 weeks of experience as proved it to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

If you are wondering how quickly bonding happens with kids that are adopted let me give you my opinion on that. It happens pretty immediately once you are at home. There is an amazing bond that builds between the family members living under the same roof. Before Patrick I wouldn't have believed that could be true but it is very true!! Combine that fact with God's role in adoption and you have a combination that can't be beat. The spiritual component of this cannot be underestimated in any respect.

I feel like my comments are mirroring life. Without regular sleep the thoughts come in random batches and you just have to deal with them as they come. Eventually Eliana will sleep through the night also, but until then it is a 24 hour day with a few naps of various sizes.

And all you guys and gals you have helped, prayed, supported, written, cleaned, shopped, called, etc...YOU ROCK! Thanks to everyone for all the support you have given our family.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading. The pics below are from the first park day with the whole family!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Destination Home!

Really, no really, the time has finally arrived. I will be given the pleasure of having my family back together again and all of them in the same house in Aliso Viejo!! What a journey it has been in so many different aspects. On Tuesday evening I will travel after work up to Fresno (had to pick somewhere to stay) and spend a few hours sleeping with Patrick. Then on Wednesday we will travel to Moraga and drop Patrick off at our wonderful host's house for a few hours while Vivian and I go to the hospital and pickup Eliana. Then, assuming all that goes well and no forms are missing etc (after all this is a hospital :)) we will pickup Patrick and begin the journey to San Luis Obispo where we will visit our friends and spend the night. On Thursday it is destination Aliso Viejo!!

This journey has been punctuated by some much incredible support from our friends and family that to say thank you almost seems a bit trite. But as much as I can in a blog let me say a very big "Thank You" to those who have supported, prayed, helped and been a part of this in any way. The blog will continue as her little life grows into a big girl but it is now time for Chapter 2 in the life of Eliana Grace!!

Thanks for reading

Here is some photos of Eliana along with some photos of Patrick when he was 2 months old also.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Decision Time

So the Brady events continue as the nervous system is developing. These events make us nervous (pardon the pun) but she comes out of them on her own as long as you stop feeding her for the moment and sit her up. She is now 6lbs 7oz. She lost 2 oz yesterday which was the first weight loss since being in the NICU. From my perspective that is remarkable as newborns typically loose weight in the first week of life outside the womb. Now the time has come....DECISION TIME!!

Even thought the Brady events have not stopped we can take her home if we feel comfortable. Since these events only happen when she eats and not when she sleeps they are willing and actually encouraging us to take her home. We have decided to wait until Monday and see how the weekend goes. A little more time in the NICU won't hurt anyone :) If nothing out of the ordinary happen it appears that Patrick and I will drive up sometime early next week. Maybe Tue evening. We will make firm plans on Monday.

So it is adventure part 2. She will be at home and we will be a family living in the same house again. Just for the record, 5 weeks apart from each other is difficult. I am not complaining in the least since this is God's plan for her and it was a very easy choice to make. It will be so nice to see her in the room that was prepared for her and see her grow up to be a little sister for Patrick. I guess the bottom line is that the adventure of kids never ends and the adventure of adoption adds another layer to that wonderful adventure.

Here are some recent pics of Eliana along with here room to be!!! The blog won't stop even after she is home so keep reading

Thanks for reading

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Some of the hardest times in the adoption process involve waiting for milestones. Each milestone is important and the next milestone is always contingent on the previous milestone. Combine the adoption process with the NICU and there are even more milestones to navigate through. Today we passed through another medical milestone. To state the plainly can't leave the NICU with a feeding tube stuck inside you. I have seen that tube in Eliana for so many days that it will be a little bit odd in a very good way to see it gone. Well that is exactly what happened tonight. Vivian sent me a text saying that the night nurse removed the tube and Eliana is using the bottle for every feeding during the day. This is super exciting!! The next milestone is ad lib feeding. This is when she wakes up hungry and cries for the bottle as opposed to eating on a prescribed schedule. Is it something that full term infants do naturally when they are born. Still no definite date on coming home but the more milestones that are achieved the closer we are. I will post pictures, sans tube, as soon as I have them

Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sleep or Eat?

What do you like more in life, sleeping or eating? I guess that depends on the meal being served. If you are tired enough it will take a serious meal fixed by some serious chefs to peak your interest. But what if the meal was the same each day, I would think that you would choose sleep. this is because, like groundhog day, the next meal will come and it will be exactly the same. I often wonder why we worry about feeding our kids the same meals more than twice in a week. When they were born they ate the same meal for the first 6+ months. That is a long time. I do know the importance of variety and a balanced diet but do you ever just stop and ponder...hmmm...?

Eliana is faced with the same question, to eat or to sleep. Newborns and especially premies do most if not all of their growing when they sleep. There is a reason behind the statement, "Don't wake a sleeping child" :). The problem arises when Eliana is trying to learn how to suck on the bottle nipple, breathe and swallow all at the same time. It is a lot for a little one to deal with. And on top of that if she has had an especially tough day, such as the testing days, remembering to do all of those things is difficult. This leads to what is called Bradycardia. It is a condition where they forget to breathe. With Eliana this can happen during feedings. The consequence is that the oxygen in the blood drops, the heart rate drops and she becomes lethargic. Eliana's heart rate can drop to below 70 and this is a big deal for a child that has a resting heart rate of 150+. This is an oversimplification of the condition so if you want to read more just google premature birth and Bradycardia.

She will come out of the "event" on her own and it is something that she will grow out of so we are not panicing. It does make us pause and remember who we put our trust in. We put our trust in God and we trust Him to develop Eliana in every way needed to come home from the NICU. We trust Him to lead the doctors and nurses in their decision making and we can't wait until we get to take her home. But each event signals the start of a minimum 5 day period that she has to go through without any events before she can go home.

So while you wait with us, here is brother ( 3yrs in Oct) and sister ( 6 lb. 3.1oz ), Orange County and Bay Area. Soon the girls and the boys will be together as a family. Until then, we wait, hope, pray and trust

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Uncertainty is one of the pleasures in life that we all want to avoid. No one likes it and those that tell you they like it probably are just hoping it will go away. We don't like uncertainty with our health, our friends, our family, our lives, etc. Putting your complete trust in God doesn't take away the uncertainty, since we still don't always know the outcome, it gives you an amazing gift of knowing that the decision is out of your hands completely and in God's hands. That is the ultimate comfort that we rely on in our waiting and decision making.

Adoption has many layers of uncertainty. It has many times of waiting and wondering and many ups and downs along the way. As we go along the journey, one by one these layers are removed and the family starts to take shape. It is an awesome process to be a part of. The beauty of open adoption is that the bond with the birth family is forever. It is one layer that is constant. It may take different forms during the life of the child but it will never go away. Unlike closed adoption of past decades, open adoption allows for contact to continue as the parties decide. On Monday this week another layer was removed as the papers were signed as we became official foster parents of Eliana with the adoption agency as the legal guardian. This is a great support during the first year because the adoption agency is dedicated to making sure everything goes as smoothly as possible and is completely supportive in the process. In 1 year or so the last layer will change and the adoption agency will no longer have a role and we will be the legal parents in every way. Super exciting times abound!!! While on the outside everything seems the same it has changed substantially.

It is wonderful that another layer of uncertainty has been removed and we can start this new chapter in our family. Eliana is still growing in the NICU and is at 5lb 14.5 oz and cute as can be. She needs to be able to take food from a bottle for all the feedings and have her eyes develop before she gets to come home and there is not one doctor or nurse who will predict the date that will happen. But each day we get 1 day closer.

Here are some pictures from yesterday evening at 11pm

Thanks for reading.