72 Days Old: A Baptism, A Long Walk, and the 4th of July

Some days in the NICU are quiet days, and others are so full of activity and events and fun that it makes it hard to summarize in a single update to friends and family. Today was one of those days.

First, and most importantly, this morning we were joined by Father Mike from our church and Olivia was baptized. It was a short, but special ceremony, with just Luke, myself and our nurse Inna as a witness. We didn’t pick out a traditional baptism gown, but we did get Olivia ready in her best dress!

She looked like a angel. A perfect, little, sleepy angel.

72daysold_NICUbaptism_sm_01_DSC0905 72daysold_NICUbaptism_sm_02_DSC0909 72daysold_NICUbaptism_sm_03_DSC0911 72daysold_NICUbaptism_sm_04_DSC0924 72daysold_NICUbaptism_sm_05_20160704_102510_00172daysold_NICUBaptism_sm_collage

After the morning’s event, Olivia snuck in a snooze and a hold with Dad, before venturing outside for… get this… the 3rd day in a row! Late last week word began to get out that we were really itching for Olivia to see a bit of the world beyond her NICU room. The staff knew how much we wanted to take Olivia outside, and have graciously allowed us to do so every day this weekend. It takes extra equipment and extra staff, but with everyone on board it’s been such a gift.

We have some of the funniest pictures (and videos) of Olivia’s outdoor adventures, so we’ll share another post with our favorites soon. For now, here are some from today’s trip.


Olivia had even more visitors this afternoon. Mike and Jen met us outside and joined us for a stroll around the garden before a mini-meltdown made us decide to head back inside.

Jen came bearing gifts, which I’m going to keep as a surprise until the time is right to share them with you all. I’ll give you a hint: both items will help Olivia check off items from her bucket list! And by her bucket list, I mean, all of the things we want to make sure she experiences, despite being in the NICU.

Last but not least, since today is a holiday (and Aunt Bey’s birthday!), Olivia was subjected to another one of Mom’s holiday photo shoots. Per usual, she slept through the activity.

00_DSC0945 01_DSC0970 02_DSC0954 03_DSC0951

Continue Reading

58 Days Old: Daily Update

There’s very little to share today, aside from a few of my favorite pictures from yesterday’s Father’s Day themed bed. Obviously, Olivia needed to let Dad know that she fully supports and shares his love of golf.

Today’s plan from morning rounds was to stay the course:

  • full feeds with supplemental formula, liquid protein, and now oral antibiotics (no more IVs)
  • same ventilator settings
  • lots of chest PT and suctioning, and
  • sessions with both PT and OT for some exercise and movement

As expected, having no food for a couple of days last week did result in a slight weight loss (3100g), but she was growing steadily before she got sick so we expect her to pick back up with weight gains soon.

57daysold_fathersday_DSC0784 57daysold_fathersday_DSC0789 57daysold_fathersday_DSC0798 57daysold_fathersday_DSC0804

Continue Reading

I Love It All – Olivia’s Father’s Day Letter

Hi Daddy,

It’s me: Olly olly oxen free! Just kidding. Olly olly OLIVIA. Ooooh-LIIIV-iiiia! Isn’t saying my name so fun? I love my name. I love music, and milk, and my mobile, too! And guess what else? I love you! Duh, Daddy. I love you more than most things. Except maybe my milk. My milk is my most favorite thing. I think. Actually, maybe I love you and Mom more. I’ll think about that one and get back to you soon, okay? I’m still figuring out lots of things so I just need a little more time to think.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.


I think you already know this, but you’re pretty rad, Dad. See what I did there? I made a funny! I made a rhyme! I learned about rhymes from you, Dad. From when you read me books, like Dr. Seuss. And books about little trains and little blue trucks. They all rhyme and you read them really well in this special voice that makes all the words flow one after another, in a voice that sounds almost like a song, where all the words somehow rhyme! You didn’t always read them that well, but you do now. And they always rhyme. I don’t know how you do that, but you do, and it’s pretty cool. So you taught me about rhymes, Dad! How cool is that?

I know it’s only been two months, but I’ve learned a lot from you, Daddy. I’ve learned about rhymes, and literature, and fancy music like Mozart and Yanni. Yanni is my favorite. But you already know that. I’ve learned about light switches and stinky shoes and golfing and even how to cook a potato.

You taught me about hugs and kisses, too. And you taught me when they all come at me at once, lots of hugs and lots of kisses one right after another, really fast, that’s called a smother. And it’s your favorite thing to do. You taught me it’s not Mom’s favorite, kind of like the mornings, but smothers are your favorite and I think they’re becoming my favorite, too. Mostly because they come from you. Daddy smothers! Keep them coming, Dad. That can be our special thing. Smothers. But no squeezing, okay Dad? Sometimes you talk about wanting to just squeeze me so hard, but Dad! I’m so little! You can’t squeeze me, or my head might pop off! So stick to the smothers. I love your smothers.

Your hugs and your kisses and your stories and your music.

I love it all. I love everything about you and everything you do with me and all of the seconds we spend together. All of it. I love it all.


I love you, Daddy.


Continue Reading

Celebrating Firsts

Spending the first portion of Olivia’s life in the NICU is certainly not what Luke and I had envisioned for our family, but it is what it is and here we are: #NICUlife. There are countless things that cross my mind while being in the NICU, many of which include the laundry list of ‘typical’ memories we are missing – or hopefully simply delaying. Our first night at home, walks around the neighborhood, car rides, errands around town, visits with friends, afternoons at the park, evenings on the deck. Not to mention summer vacations, trips we had planned, and places we wanted to take our sweet girl.

Also on the list of events that are unfolding unexpectedly are holidays.

We spent our first mother’s day in the NICU, not at home how I had hoped. I turned 30 while hanging out with our sassy gal in the NICU. And today marks the beginning of summer holidays: Memorial Day. Olivia’s first Memorial Day! Instead of spending the day with outdoors, introducing Olivia to our friends at a picnic, we’re still here.

Celebrating these firsts… experiencing our family’s early memories in the NICU… is sad. My heart is often flooded with sorrow, sometimes jealousy, and even resentment. But at the same time, my heart is full. While sad, unexpected, and not exactly typical, this is our situation, our life right now. And so despite our environment, despite where Olivia spends her days or where she sleep, despite her condition and the string of unanswered questions, we carry on. We spend every day with our little girl, just as we would have under ‘typical’ circumstances. And we celebrate all sorts of firsts, as any other new parents would… just with slightly different surroundings.

So today, on Olivia’s first Memorial Day, we celebrate the start of summer and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country, NICU style: with a decorated bed and festive clothing.






Continue Reading