Friday, January 25, 2013

6 months down...

Avery loves her daddy
soooo cold outside! Glad we got the bear suite from Grandma Argo
Wow, how time flies! It's been 6 months since our sweet little girl was born and we can't believe how big she's gotten. It's been soooo fun to see her sweet little personality coming out. She's always making us smile and she laughs at everything. She also has learned to say her first word: DaDa... nomatter how hard I tried to make sure MaMa was her first word, it didn't work. Over the past 6 months We've had our first family Christmas, spent some time in Northern Idaho with family, celebrated 3 years of marriage, learned how to function on very little sleep, that it's the small things that make life worthwhile, and we've also learned a lot about team-work and what it means to be a parent.  We can't imagine our lives without her and love her more than we could have imagined.

Avery 1 month old

Avery's blessing day
First Christmas
Her favorite thing: Her jumper from Uncle Dillon
sitting up like a big girl! 5 months
Avery loves to make noise.
Girl time

she loves her swing

Cutest baby hands down!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Home At Last

Sorry this post has been so delayed. I tried writing it as soon as we got home but our internet has been down. We are finally home after 8 long days in the hospital and it feels amazing. We are soooo in love with our little girl and couldn't be happier. Avery finally passed her carseat test last Tuesday and was cleared to go home last Wednesday. And thanks to Grandma Pabst she had the cutest dress in the whole world to go home in :)

 My mom, brother and sister were able to stay with us and help out as soon as Avery got home and left two days ago on Sunday, they were amazing!.

 We definitely have been blessed with a good baby. She sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time and has done really well at night with the exception of that one day when I ate mexican food.

 She's constantly making us laugh with her funny little faces and sweet smiles. She's a very active baby, and although she scares us because we still have to constantly check her to make sure she's breathing and not holding her breath, we wouldn't have it any other way.

 She has a check up with the doctor this week and a visit to the hearing specialist next week to make sure that her medications she recieved in the NICU didn't cause any long term damage, but we're sure both appointments will go great.We've learned not to take any time with Avery for granted and getting up at 2 in the morning and seeing her smile makes everything ok... These last two weeks have been absolutely crazy but we feel so incredibly blessed. Our house now feels complete with Avery in it. And we want everybody to know how much we've appreciated the phone calls, gifts, meals, prayers, and thoughts on behalf of our little familiy. Life couldn't get much better.

With Love
The McCandless Family

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No More Cords!!!

Today is so great! Yesterday Avery was able to be taken off oxygen. It was awesome! They have had to monitor her for the last 24 hours to make sure that she didn't need to go back on and so far so good :) She also had a hearing test yesterday that she passed with flying colors which is a relief because the medications she's been on have been known to cause hearing loss.  We'll have to go to a hearing specialist this week so that she can have a second screening just to double check everything but I'm sure she'll do great. The nurses were also able to take off all of her cords today! It's so nice to be able to hold her without a bunch of machines beeping at us. The last test that she needs to pass before she can go home is her carseat test. In order to pass she has to sit in her carseat for an hour and a half while keeping all of her levels stable including her oxygen. She had a carseat test last night but she failed because she couldn't keep her oxygen levels high enough but hopefully she'll be able to pass tonight. All of the nurses and doctors here have been amazed by the progress she's made and by how quickly she's been able to hit different milestones that would allow her to go home. I know that we've been super blessed and that all of the prayers that have been said on her behalf and the priesthood blessings that she has received have played a huge part in her recovery. When she goes home we'll still have to be extra careful with our peanut and monitor her breathing for awhile but we can't wait to just have her home. If everything goes well tonight and she passes we'll be home tomorrow. I couldn't ask for anything better!

with Love
The McCandless Family

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Day Of Firsts

Today was such a fantastic day! When I woke up this morning I left my room and went to see Avery like I do every morning. I got the best surprise when I got to her incubator. The nurses told me that she had done so well overnight that they had been able to completely wean her off of the Nitric. I was sooo happy! She is still on oxygen but hopefully she will be able to be off that by tomorrow evening. Wyatt was also able to spend most of the day with us which was soo great! It was nice to be able to just spend time together as our little family of three and talk about everything that's been going on lately.
Avery also decided that she doesn't want to be fed through a tube anymore so when I was feeding her this afternoon she reached up and pulled the feeding tube completely out of her nose. It really scared me but she was happy as could be as soon as it was out.

Once again the IV that they gave her didn't last and since all the veins in her hands and feet are blown we have now moved on to her little tiny arms. So far so good. This IV has lasted longer than all of the previous ones so we're hoping it's a keeper. Avery also hasn't lost any weight since she got here so the doctor decided to only keep her IV for her antibiotics that she has to have every couple hours but to stop the IV fluids so that her little body will start to level out and she won't be so puffy and swollen. I was so happy when they told me that because it's one less cord to get in our way when we're holding her.

Today we had our wonderful nurse Jessica who worked her magic once again. She is always so sweet with Avery and she always makes me feel comfortable and if I need to leave Avery to go sleep or eat I know that she'll be well taken care of. Jessica helped Wyatt and I give Avery her first bath today! Wyatt did so good and helped out a lot. It was only a sponge bath but she smelled so much better afterwards and she really liked it. Avery loves to have her hair washed and she was dozing off the whole time. It was sooo cute. And because a couple of Avery's cords have been taken away she was finally able to wear pajamas for the first time. Compared to all of the other NICU babies here she looks huge so I thought that the pj's i brought for her would probably be too small but they definitely weren't. They're a little baggy but she loved them and went right to sleep after we put them on.

Wyatt and I constantly talk about how much we love our little girl and how much our lives have changed in the last week. We fall more in love with her every day and can't imagine life without her. We just feel so blessed to be able to be her mommy and daddy and can't wait till we can finally take her home and take care of her, and love on her and not have to constantly check monitors to make sure that we're holding her right correctly or that her oxygen levels aren't going down. She's getting stronger every day and we know that our time at home as a family is just around the corner and we can't wait!

The McCandless Family

Today Has Been A Good Day

Once again our little fighter is deciding to show everybody that she's in charge. Today was the first day that she didn't have to be sedated at all. She's had some trouble with IV's today. She had to have 4  because they stop working or she keeps trying to kick them out of her feet. Her foot and leg got really swollen from an IV that stopped working this morning so they moved it to her arm, which later swelled and she now has an IV in her head. Hopefully it'll last a little longer than the previous ones. Avery was also able to breast feed twice today. She was a champ and now throws a fit if they have to feed her through a tube. Just being able to spend time with her, hold her for a little while, and talk to her was the highlight of my day. She is starting to become more alert and tends to go cross-eyed more often than not. She's always making little faces that make us laugh and she loves to hear her daddy's voice more than anybody else's.  Whenever he's around her oxygen shoots to 100% and she does everything she can to move her head so that she can see him. Once in awhile we're lucky to see her smile and she also has a tendency of flipping people off. The pediatric specialist is very positive and has been keeping a close eye on her. Because of her progress they are slowly going to try to start to wean her off of the Nitric tomorrow and hopefully that will completely get her off the oxygen as well. If that happens and she's able to be weaned off both 100% it'll be one less tube in our way and will be a step closer to taking our little peanut home. Being here has been a great experience. We've been able to talk to several other couples who have babies here in the NICU who are in our similar situation. Talking to them has helped us to realize that we're not alone and has also given us a positive outlook on our situation. We've also been able to give encouragement and support to those who are just starting out on the same journey we've been on this week and to offer them hope that things will be ok because we know what they're going through and how they feel. We are also so thankful for the nurses who have been taking care of our little Angel. She definitely has them all wrapped around her finger. We appreciate all of the love, support, and prayers that have been offered on behalf of our little family. Words can't really describe how greatful we are for all of your kind words and thoughts and want everyone to know that your sweet gestures don't go unnoticed.

All Our Love
The McCandless Family

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feeling So Blessed

Today has been a really good day. Every morning at 9:30 the pediatric specialists, nurses, and doctors all get together and have a meeting at each baby's bedside. Here the parents are invited to listen in as they talk about that individual baby, what procedures they will be having that day, how the baby has been doing the past 24 hours, and any changes that will be made to the care of that baby for the day. This morning I sat and listened to them as they talked about how Avery was improving. They decided to not have her sedated at all today,they moved her IV to her foot from her head because the one in her head was causing her eye to swell, they also decreased the amount of oxygen and nitric they had to give her which is fantastic, and then they decided to only take her blood gas levels once a day instead of every 3 hours. Her blood gases are measured through a tube that goes through her belly button and up into her heart. Because they are only going to measure these levels once a day they decided to have that line removed. After talking about removing the line they asked me if I had held her before. I told them that I'd never held her and they said that today was our lucky day and as soon as the line in her bellybutton was removed (which would be a day long process) we would be able to hold her. I immediately started bawling and had to call and tell Wyatt who was soo excited!

The nurse that Avery had today was sooo wonderful. Her name was Jessica and she definately made my day. She brought me a bag of bows today and said that she thought that I might want to make Avery pretty and pick one out for her hair. I also made the comment that her hair was still crunchy because she hasn't been able to have a bath since she was born. So Jessica got a small tub and filled it with warm water and then swaddled her up tight in a blanket and helped me wash her hair and comb it and then put the bow on. To her it may not have been a big deal to get a baby a bow and help a mom wash her baby's hair but it meant the world to me and made me feel a little more normal.

After Wyatt got off work he came to the hospital and we were both finally able to hold our little girl. It was amazing. Seeing Wyatt holding her melted my heart and made today a great day. I couldn't have asked for today to go any better. Every day is a blessing and it's amazing to see the small improvements that Avery is making. We're still praying that next week we'll be able to take her home but along the way we're learning to be grateful for all of the small things and enjoying every minute.

The McCandless Family

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Avery Jean McCandless

Although it's only Thursday this week has been absolutely crazy. Full of tears and lots of blessings from our Heavenly Father.  On Monday I was over  40 weeks pregnant when I went to my Dr's appointment. He checked the baby and said that everything looked pretty good but that he felt like she needed to come out and that we should get her out asap. He sent me over to Mountain View an hour later to be started on cervadil ( a cervix softening agent). I had the cervadil inserted at about 6:30p.m. and was having contractions by about 8:00. Normally people don't dilate on cervadil but by the next morning I had dilated to a 4. They then decided  to start me on pitocin to keep things rolling at 7:30 and by 10:00 my contracitons were about 3 minutes apart but completely do-able. At 11:00 my doctor came in and said it was time to break my water so that this baby could come now. Up until this point labor had been intense but I had been handling it really well and was still planning on having an unmedicated birth but as soon as my water was broken I was having contractions that were a minute apart with no breaks and was still not dilating past a 4 because my body was so tense. That's when I asked for some meds in my IV just to take the edge off. Whatever they gave me made me feel loopy and I didn't like it at all. So after a little while longer I opted for an epidural. When I recieved the epidural they decided just to give me a test dose just to see how my body would react. As soon as I got the test dose I was numb from my mouth down. I had been having such intense back labor that the pressure in my back pushed the epidural up and made my entire body numb. I couldn't swallow, they had to put a tube down my throat to suction me out so that I didn't choke, Avery's heart stopped, and my blood pressure crashed. It was extremely scary but thankfully Heavenly Father blessed us with some amazing nurses that were able to take care of everything in about a minute and a half. Not long after everything was settled it was then time to push. My nurse Bonnie was absolutely amazing and did everything she could to make sure that our birth plan was followed as closely as possible. Avery Jean McCandless was born at 2:21 on July 24th weighing 8lbs 8oz and she was 21 1/2 inches long.

 When she was born she wasn't making any sounds and hand asperated on meconium. She was quickly rushed away to the NICU where she had an amazing team of respritory therapists and nurses. It was really hard for Wyatt and I to see her taken away without being able to hold her or touch her. She was then transported to EIRMC around 9:00 that night because she needed to be put on a special drug to help her lungs open and her heart not have to work as hard to pump blood through her body called Nitric. She also has to have an echocardiogram and xray every 6 hours because they found that she has fluid surrounding the outside of her lungs so they need to see if the fluid levels are going up or down. They think that she may have gotten sick before she was born

The past 2 days have been extremely rough. There have been lots of tears and we've worried a lot about our sweet little baby. Today has been a really good day though. They saw from her xray today that the fluid around her lungs is starting to go away, They were able to decrease the amount of Nitric and Oxygen that she needs, and she has been able to go 8 hours without being sedated. She has such a sweet spirit about her and I've loved the time I've had to just sit with her and hold her hand.

 When we talk to her, her oxygen level goes up 99 to 100% which is really exciting and she loves to hear her daddy talk. She gets really excited and starts moving around and her oxygen levels automatically shoot up.  She is so beautiful and has a good head of hair. It's been hard to not hold her or feed her or love on her but we know that those times will come soon. Right now we're just grateful to see her small improvements and to know that what we're going through now is just a small moment in time.  We've been blessed with amazing nurses over here that have been taking excellent care of her and every 3 hours we're able to get into the incubator and change her diaper and help them take her stats which has been fun. Hopefully sometime in the next couple days her oxygen levels will be stable enough for us to be able to hold her and she'll be able to start eating on her own. Right now we're just greatful for baby steps and the opportunity we've been given to call her ours.

Feeling incredibly blessed
The McCandless Family

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Bump Diaries

So lately everybody has been asking me why I don't post any belly pics. Well 1st of all bare belly pics are not my thing. Plus i would  never want to expose anybody to the roadmap that my stomach has currently become. But for my own records I have been taking pics bi-weekly (w my shirt down!) to see how much I've grown. So to satisfy all those curious belly staring/stalking people and for posterity as well.... HERE YA GO!
10 WEEKS.... sorry for the dirty mirror...