Sunday, August 28, 2011

Girls Rule

We have just returned from a girls only trip over to Oxford for a big shower for Sage, Anna, Irene, and Brooks, and it was a great weekend!  We piled in the minivan Friday afternoon and could not wait to get to Oxford and see Sage's belly.  She isn't lying, its quite large....not in an "OMG that girl is huge" way....more so, she looks about like most gals do right before giving birth.  She looks absolutely beautiful to us!  She is 25 weeks tomorrow and those babies sure are making themselves at home in Sage's belly.  It's pretty comical to watch her describe where each baby is positioned.

 The baby shower was perfect.  There is a lot of love going around for all these girls!  Technically, Carolyn and I were hostesses, but we can't take a bit of credit for it.  Sage's friends did such an incredible job with the food and decorations.  I was in heaven with all the cake and candy!!!  Since Sage is on pretty strict bed rest, she was just laid out on a couch so the guests could come visit with her.  Worked out pretty well! 

The grandmothers, Meme and Honey
Great idea to display all the gifts since Sage couldn't sit and open them all herself.
Sage was strategically placed to hang out in arms reach of the candy
How good does Sage look???
All the girls minus Lyndy- no telling what she was up to!
The rest of the weekend was spent separating and (trying to) organize A TON of baby stuff.  As you can see in the pictures, they have a pretty good diaper stock already.  We all spent time laying on the couch and in the bed with Sage, and watching her attempt to get up every 5 minutes for yet another potty break.  We hated to leave today, but thankfully Sage has sweet Jack and her wonderful friends in Oxford until we return.  Will, Frances, and I already have our next trip on the calendar in a few weeks.
Lots of baby stuff- and this is only part of it!
Lounging on the air mattress
Cousins watching "Praise Baby."  There will be 6 cousins watching it soon!
In other news, Frances continues to amaze us with her recovery.  She is almost 4 weeks out of surgery and she is full of personality and energy.  The pictures don't lie- she really is getting some chubby little cheeks!
Frances loves snuggling with Sage (and the triplets).  See you again soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Frances got a great report from the cardiologist this morning!  They seemed extremely pleased with how fast she is recovering and loved hearing how much she is eating now.  They will continue to monitor a few little things at monthly visits, but I feel like I can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that her little heart is mending just as it should.
Getting so big!
I went armed with my little notecard of questions and got the answers I wanted and needed to each one.  So with Frances' glowing report from the doctor, came a list of freedoms for us. First on my list was getting out of the house!  I just happened to have my Publix list with me at the doctor, so Frances and I left UAB and went straight to Publix (I'm pretty certain she was excited as I was).  I feel like a new person knowing I have the liberty to leave the house if I need/want to.  Of course, we will still be EXTRA careful about germs for the next while, and we won't be taking her anywhere with lots of people touching her.  In addition to the excitement of not being on house arrest, we also will be ditching the high calorie formula very soon and we have one less medicine dose during the day.
Worn out from playing
Up until now, we have had to try to keep Frances from rolling and squirming on her belly, which has led to quite a few battles between she and I the past few days.  She is now allowed to do whatever she wants!  We were instructed not to "make or encourage" her to do strenuous work that puts stress on her sternum, and I still can't figure out why the Dr looked at the therapist-mom when he said that????  Frances is loving being able to freely play on her belly!
Back in action!
And finally, I got approval for Frances to travel to Mississippi next weekend for Sage's baby shower!!!  Speaking of Sage, she is doing great.  She continues to entertain us with her hilarious blogging- check it out here.

I'll leave you with a video of Frances' newest trick:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Everything Really Is New

 We have entered unchartered Frances territory since we came home from the hospital.  So much so that I have even checked a few times to make sure we brought home the right baby!  Frances has turned into the bottomless pit- something that I never thought we would see.  In the past few days she has gone from eating 2-3 ounces per feeding to 6-7 ounces, and she actually really lets me know that she is hungry.  This has made me realize truely how fatigued she was before her surgery.  We knew her heart was working hard, but we have seen a miraculous difference in her.  We decided to start trying some baby food with her since her appetite was getting so strong.  I could lie and tell you the first trial was great, but it was a huge fail...I was determined to try it this night even though she was already being crabby:
That is not a bottle- what the &*% are you putting in my mouth???

However, the next morning, she took right to the cereal and she LOVES it!  She is really starting to get the hang of the spoon.  Tonight we tried some pears also and she is definitely a fan. 

Now this is tasty stuff!

 Frances has an incredible amount of energy during the day and is definitely back to her old playful self.  She doesn't have quite the strength and energy to return to turning flips, but that's not such a bad thing since we have to be careful about her being active on her tummy for a while; however, I see it coming so hopefully we won't have those restrictions too much longer!  Here is Frances playing with some of her toys.  It just makes my day to hear her sweet voice.

Finally, I thought it was time to pay a little attention to the big sister.  Bella has really enjoyed her extended stay at Meme and Grump's house (we really are planning on going back to our own house on Sunday).  She always makes sure Frances' blankets stay nice and warm. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Sweet Home

....well, almost home....We are actually camping out at Meme and Grump's for a few days, but we are out of the hospital!  The entire last week is a big blur to us right now, and we are so thankful that we are over the big hurdles.  Today was an incredibly long day for Frances, with needle sticks, suture removals, and not really knowing if we would get to go home.  Now its time to rest and recover. 

Let's get the heck out of this place!
We will see the pediatrician tomorrow and follow-up with the cardiologist next week, as they continue to monitor Frances' progress.  She has been so brave and has come so far in so little time.  I can't imagine having such a major surgery and being such a trooper like she has been!

PS- Today is Frances' 6 month birthday!  It seems impossible that she has been here for half of a year.  We were hoping we would avoid taking her 6 month picture in the hospital and we did! 
So I have some bags under my eyes....Looking pretty good!
We will be flying somewhat under the radar for a little bit and have to be extra careful about germs, but we will continue to post updates when we can.  Will and I can't thank everyone enough for the prayers and encouragement we have received during the last week.  Reading all your messages really helped get us through!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Feeling Better

Looks who's out of the bed and starting to feel better.  Frances definitely looked more like herself today and we even saw a few little smiles this morning.  She is on a good recovery track and we might be moving out of CICU tomorrow!
Thank you Nurse Jennie for taking such good care of me!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Little Superstar

First of all, Will and I want to thank all of you who have been checking up on us and for all the prayers- the prayers are definitely being felt.  It is so comforting to know we are surrounded by friends and family who care so much.

Just to sum up most of Will's postings.....Frances has done great so far, and we expect that trend to continue.  Yesterday was a long and scary day for us, but she came through the surgery just fine.  I knew it was going to be hard to hand her off to the surgical team yesterday morning, but it literally broke my heart to let go of her.  Frances was a lot stronger than Mommy and Daddy were!

The actual repair went just as expected, and Dr. Kirklin is very pleased with her progress so far.  She came off the ventilator around 10am this morning and it was soooooooo good to get her in my arms.  There are lots of tubes, wires, and iv's, but hopefully those will start to disappear soon (we did get rid of two of the chest tubes this morning!).  Frances is being so well taken care of- those nurses in the CICU are awesome!  The main thing they are watching right now is the drainage out of some of the remaining chest tubes.  Please pray that the drainage will continue to slow down (it seemed to be slowing some when we left this evening). 

Frances got to eat a little bit this afternoon and she seemed to be acting hungry when we left a little while ago- we are ready to see some fat rolls on that girl!  So tomorrow we will do more of the same, which means I will park it in a rocking chair and hold her all day.  Its wonderful!  Here are some pictures from that past few days.....

A little sad after getting her IV:(
Just hanging out with mommy the night before surgery
It doesn't get much better than this!
Field trip to get an x-ray
We love Aunt Amy!
A visit and hug from Angel
Last shot of the belly
Frances telling mommy that it's all going to be fine- I can't wait to see this smile again soon!
Finally getting to love on her
Kisses from Daddy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here We Go.....

It's finally here- tomorrow we check in at UAB for Frances' surgery, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  For so long, this date seemed so far away and now we are ready to roll.  Last night we had an extra special Frances celebration at family dinner.
Getting some love from (fresh in from the beach) Meme
A cake for me????????

I don't really even know how to put in words the way I feel right now.  For one, I'm terrified....add in anxious, worried, etc, etc...But, at the same time, I'm excited for Frances because this surgery is going to make such a huge difference in her life.  It will allow her to breathe easier and grow!  We are thankful to live in a city with an incredible medical community; I have no doubt that she is in the best hands.  
Hanging with the cousins- I LOVE this picture!
Please say extra prayers over the next week for Frances and our family, and of course all the doctors and nurses who will be taking care of her.  God is in the driver's seat now, and yes I'm guilty of being a backseat driver, but I'm really trying to sit back and let Him drive.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made

Oh yeah, one more thing.....
We have known we were going to be moving in the next year or so, but this happened suddenly last week.  Yep, it might be a little crazy to take this on right now, but apparently God thinks I'm good at being crazy because we are following His lead on this one.

All of your prayers, love, encouragement, and support means the world to us.  We will continue to update this week whenever we are able to!