Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daddy Kangaroo

Mama is up and running around early this AM... I am headed to the US Embassy today to try to register Valentina as an American citizen!  Apparently being born abroad to an American mama isn't enough these days, but because it was an emergency birth, there is a better chance that I can hurry the process along faster than a long list of Visa- waiting... 

SO!  Short post today.. just wanted to give you a few cute photos of Daddy & Baby...  And guess what?!  1336 grams... 2 lbs. 15 oz!  (I think I posted yesterday that she was 1315 grams.... 2 lbs. 14 oz... These conversions make me nutsy sometimes... )  I think TODAY we may be 3 lbs... <3 

Pardon the glare from the incubator... Daddy holding baby post diaper change...
Vivi's eyes were so heavy, so so so heavy.....

Daddy's First Kangaroo Snuggle!!
He teared up for a few minutes,
then he smiled for 2 hours straight,
and floated the whole way home...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

happy 7 week birthday, baby vivi!!

Our sweet little petunia is 7 weeks old today!  We are also about 35 weeks in our gestational age, meaning baby would be due in about 5 and a half weeks... OMG!!  That is the approximate timetable that NICUs predict preemies will be kept in the hospital, give or take a few weeks.  I am still betting that we will be home by the second week of August, as Vivi was extra tiny, but she has proven to be a competitive little champ, so who knows?!

As of yesterday, Monday, June 25th, Baby weighed 1315 grams.  That's 2 pounds 15 ounces!  We are so close to 3 pounds!!  Yay!!  We are no longer on any antibiotics, and her catheter was finally removed!  Her anemia is subsiding, though not gone yet.  Which means, no transfusion yet...  I think that as she is no longer on the antibiotics and catheter, she is at less risk for the anemia.  And while Mother's Intuition is no medical degree, I believe that she will be off her oxygen sooner rather than later.  And now, the next hoop to jump through.. Yesterday Vivi had an eye exam, and is showing signs of Retinopathy, or ROP, in her right eye.  While it is common among 90% of preemies, and even more common among babies that are classified as extremely premature (Valentina, of course...) it can be mild and spontaneously go away on its own.  If it is moderate, it can be corrected with laser eye surgery, and severe... can lead to blindness.  ROP is a condition that is the result of preemie birth, and baby's eyes getting blasted by oxygen.  It is scarring inside the capillaries in the eye.  Something like that... They don't really know why some babies get it, some don't, why sometimes it goes away on its own, and sometimes it doesn't...  *sigh*  Again though, this Mama's sheer willpower is going to ensure that Vivi's eyes are perfect.  Our little baby is going to be just fine.  More than fine.  Amazing.  Perfect.  Healthy in e.v.e.r.y. w.a.y!!!!!

But ultimately, ROP can mean she ends up with glasses, which, by the way, both Victor and I wear... So that is nearly a guarantee down the road, anyway.  Sorry kiddo... Consider it a fashion accessory and it ain't so bad... :)     

Time to jet off to the hospital...
Here are some photos from yesterday... <3

i love those little lips <3

i love snuggles with daddy

so comfy
happy mama

Sunday, June 24, 2012

vivi's first cute-face photos.... these past three weeks!

while we are not "out of the woods" and out of the ICU room quite yet... here are a few photos of vivi over the last three-ish weeks.  you can see that her "true" face is starting to show... she is only on oxygen via nasal prongs (and her teeny feeding tube in her mouth) but she is doing really well.  since she no longer has that hat wtih the tubes all over the place, her face is no longer so... smushed...   vivi is filling out those cheeks, and while the swelling still kinda comes and goes, she is most certainly a happy baby. (once she is fed...)  she is our sweet little doll... next photo i have to capture is her "O" face when her belly is being massaged during naked time (aka the diaper change).  it is such a relief (finally) to see that she is getting bigger and better every day.  every day, just a little bit more baby...  

my papa had a little cold... but he is still a great snuggler.
first photo of baby & daddy <3
 ohhey... whats happen' bro?
ohohhhohhhhhh <3 <3 <3

crusty milk mouth... very happy baby

we're a good sleeper. <3

oh hi daddy.  are you going to change my diaper?

shes lookin' at you papa! 

yes yes just hold me, nice like that

snuggle time

handsome husband

sleeping in my chair... so i don't have flat-head.

this is my "i just woke up and yr taking my picture?" face

thats me and my mama.  

i like my binkey

and i really love my monkey <3

i love you valentina lee castro.

*grow. baby. grow.*

valentina lee's first photos

these are some of the first photos of our little preemie.  valentina lee was born tuesday, may 8th, 2012 at 8:16 AM in lisbon, portugal.  she was born at 27 weeks 6 days (gestational age) (about 13 weeks/ three months- early)  baby weighed 726 grams/ 1 pound 9 ounces.  due to my pre-eclampsia/ HELLP syndrome, she was "measuring" at about 24 weeks, which is why she is extra tiny.  in the last six weeks, we have been kicking some serious ass... and weigh 1295 grams/ 2 pounds 13 ounces.  while we have had some infections and blood transfusions, we have had no major setbacks.  we moved from a ventilator to a CPAP after two weeks (?) and are now are on the BLEND machine i think it is called... which is just pressurized oxygen blowing into her tiny perfect nose. and god willing, we will ride out the rest of our time in the NICU smoothly, quietly, and with nothing but big full diapers and lots of growing.  and snuggles.  we love snuggles.  baby was due july 29th, so we anticipate another 6 to 8 weeks in the hospital.  but vivi can take as long as she needs to come home perfectly happy healthy and chubby.  cos we just love chubby babies.  she is our tiny miracle baby, and it is truly an honor to be a part of her life.  my tiny baby shows me what it means to be strong...  i am so proud to be her mama.   

these are among the first photos... maybe the first two weeks?

daddy victor posted this photo not too long ago.... but she is getting bigger and better...  no longer on the ventilator, having moved to the CPAP...

these photos are from the weekend that we found out she needed her first blood transfusion.  why is why she was burrito wrapped, as she "wasn't feeling well." despite how animated she is about being vacuumed out and having her diaper changed....  i discovered she is a much happier baby when mama massages her belly to get the extra air out....  a result of sleeping with her mouth open while having oxygen pumped in... the air gets pumped into her belly... and she is *famous* for shooting little tiny mustard seed turds across her incubator, during diaper change time.  the nurses now know to "open with care," massage, wait, *ready-aim-fire,* and then proceed with diaper change...  

we are getting pretty!!

daddy loves me

mama loves me

jax... hospital photos...

i thought that id share some of the worst photos of me ever.  in my entire life.  i dont know why i feel compelled to share these.... but you know...  here they are...  here i am at the hospital de santa maria maternity ICU.  i was admitted late thursday, may 3rd, and had my emergency c-section tuesday may 8th.  i was moved out of the ICU to the regular maternity ward for about 10 hours.  basically i was finally able to get up, walk around, pee in a toilet, brush my teeth at a sink, then i ate dinner and then got to bed, woke up and cried in pain for about 6 hours and then the baby was born via early AM surgery..  yeah.... it wasn't heartburn.  it was liver failure.  *sigh* i guess i should have stayed in the ICU??  

anyhow,  these are from friday, saturday and sunday....  i started epic rounds of steroids to help mature valentina's lungs, so you can see how i changed from "normal face jax" to "hulk jax" as my dear sweet love victor likes to describe the transformation...  thank you dear.... :P

the "ice pop" photo at the end was from sunday, may 6th, after i begged and begged for ice chips. i wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything the entire time in the ICU, as i had to be ready for emergency surgery at any point. i finally convinced the nurses and doctors that frozen sugar water wouldn't do any harm...   it was the most amazing ice pop of my life.  i would say "it was so delicious i could have died" but i nearly did.... so i guess we dont joke about that shizzah anymore.... : /   


a rare smile... maybe i was happily eating my ice pop and
vic was content that he could make me feel better?
yes yes yes i think thats why he was smiling... 

hulk-jax and the central line in my neck

not pictured:  the epic black and blue and purple bruises on 
the tops of my hands, inner and outer wrists, and crook of my 
arms from all the collapsing veins during blood drawing.

if there is a photo of my left arm after my artery was nicked and
leaked, i could probably get free parking at this hospital for 
the rest of my LIFE.  my arm was BLACK from leaked blood 
for three weeks after i was finally discharged....


best ice pop in the universe. 
oh my goodness i cant believe that is me...  and this was
after i was stabilized...  apparently i was worse before these
photos were taken... and i was stable enough to have the 
sweet husband of mine... never left my side.