Saturday, February 28, 2009


We had a great night in the NICU last night. Anna Claire did wonderfully (and so did we I might add!) Mike and I were both nervous wondering what it would be like having her all to ourselves for the first time, but she settled into her schedule and we all made it through the night. We can't thank the doctors and nurses enough at Baptist Hospital; they have all been so encouraging and wonderful during the last 17 days.

We are home now and Anna Claire has a tummy full and is sleeping. We took this picture before leaving the hospital. The gown she is wearing is the same one I wore when I came home from the hospital (my sister and niece wore it as well). It was cold outside so we weren't able to get any pictures of us "coming home."

Last night, Mike read to her out of his newest Backpacker magazine. She knows all about how to find a pair of perfect fitting hiking boots now.

As I sit typing this, Anna Claire is stirring a's so fun to have these new noises in our house! We are thankful to the Lord for our daughter and that she is finally home!

PS. Pictures of the nursery to come! I know you have been waiting!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Good News...

Sarah has asked me, her sister (Christy) to give a quick update and share some good news. Tonight, Sarah and Mike will be "rooming in" at the hospital with Anna Claire in preparation for bringing her home... tomorrow! They are able to stay (all 3 of them) in a hospital room while having the nurses and doctors there if need be. Anna Claire has been taking bottle feedings for over 48 hours now, has passed her hearing test as well as the 30 minute car seat test and has not had any apnea spells. This baby girl is ready to come home and her Mom and Dad are SO ready to have her there too!

Sarah would also like to say thank you to all of you that have sent emails, phone calls, and left comments here on her blog. Your prayers and words of encouragement have sustained them all through this time. We are once again praising God and giving Him thanks for what He has done!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Little Snuggle Bug

We should find out today when Anna Claire gets to come home. The doctor gave some hints that it would be by the end of the week.
On the night prior to coming home, the hospital allows the parents to "room in" with the baby in a room off of the NICU. This helps ease into the transition and also to give the parents some reassurance. The nurses and doctors are available if we need them, but Anna Claire won't be hooked up to anything.

She passed her first two tests yesterday and her father, who is also a teacher, couldn't be more proud. She passed her hearing test and her car seat test as well. She looked so small in the car seat!!!
Hopefully the next post will news of her coming home!!!
Thank you for continuing to pray for our sweet girl and family!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Weeks Old

Our sweet girl continues to grow and change every day. I am amazed that it has already been 2 weeks since she was born. Yesterday she took 4 bottles and did great! She is gaining weight as well and we will find out today how she did on her car seat test. She has to be able to sit in the car seat for 30 minutes without her heart rate dropping in order for her to "pass."

Yesterday, I had a special moment with the charge nurse. Leanne walked by me several times during the day and mentioned how every time she saw me I was holding Anna Claire. I told her I was catching up from not being able to see her for 2 days when I was sick. She then asked me if we had any other children. Knowing what these nurses see and experience on a daily basis has made it a bit easier to share our story so I said, "actually no, we have 2 other daughters." I then proceeded to share with her about Allison and Emily and our loss. (You can read our story here and here). She looked at me and showed me the goose bumps on her arms and immediately understood why all I want to do is hold and snuggle her.

I was reminded of how GOOD God is. I was reminded that out of death comes life and that spring will always follow the harsh winter! We couldn't be more thankful for our daughters...all three of them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Three Generations

Me, Anna Claire and Didi (my mom)
She finally has all of the tubes off of her pretty face!
Anna Claire continues to do well and amaze us all! She gained 3 ounces in one day and has now surpassed her birth weight. The nurse said if she continues at this rate she will be driving herself out of the hospital!
We know we are close to bringing her home because yesterday the nurse told us some things that we need to do in preparation for her to be home with us. The NICU at Baptist Hospital in Nashville is amazing! They have the parents watch a child CPR video and also a preemie care video so that you don't feel so overwhelmed when you are finally able to take your child home. We will also be taking her car seat in this week to see how she fits. She has to be able to sit in the car seat without any "spells" and/or her heart rate dropping for 30 minutes (the drive home). If she can do that, that is one more thing to check off the list.
We love her so much!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

First Family Picture

It has been a tough couple of days. Friday morning I woke up to the flu rushing through my body. Sadly, you have to be symptom free for 24 hours before going to be with your baby after you have been sick. So today, Saturday, I will be spending the day here at home again until my body recuperates. As long as I don't get sick today I will be able to see and hold her tomorrow. It has been so difficult and sad to not be able to see her, touch her and kiss her the past 2 days. I know she is being taken care of so well by the nurses and couldn't be in a better place right now, but I miss my girl.

Thankfully, my sister was here and was able to go and be with her when I couldn't and Mike was able to go up after school and spend the evening with her. She'll get some loving today from grandparents today and tomorrow and so she certainly isn't without any love--just hugs and kisses from Mommy.

On a HUGE positive note....Anna Claire is doing wonderfully! She has been moved to a crib and is out of the incubator. She is holding her temperature steady on her own and is taking several bottles throughout the day. It seems she is mastering the suck, swallow and breathe fairly quickly! They limit the amount of times she feeds from a bottle due to the fact that since she is still so little, they don't want her to burn extra calories by attempting to bottle feed than with the tube. With that in mind, the babies have to be able to take the bottle within 15 minutes in order for it to be a "well" feeding. She has had several "well" feedings and just a couple "fair" ones.

Right now it is just a matter of time and maturity. She hasn't had any "spells" in the past couple of days and as long as she continues to mature with the bottle feedings, she should be coming home soon!

Mike is putting the car seat and stroller together today as well as the bassinet. I will be resting and getting better so that I can love on my girl as soon as possible!

By the way...being off of my feet for the past couple of days has alleviated the swelling. My feet are back to normal!

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Yesterday was a good day. We found out that Anna Claire will be moved from the incubator and into a regular crib, hopefully today or tomorrow. The only stipulation for her to stay in the crib is that she has to be able to keep her body temperature up on her own. Up until now, the incubator has helped her do that. I talked to the nurse this morning and she had a "spell" last night (apnea) which means she wasn't able to revive herself on her own. As I mentioned before, she has to be able to go at least 7 days straight without a spell to come home. So...we start counting down the days.

She also attempted to drink from a bottle yesterday. It was so much fun holding her and feeding her and not just holding a syringe at the tube that is down her throat. She got the bottle in her mouth and fell right to sleep. It's hard work being as cute as she is!!! She managed to get a little bit out though and we are proud of her. Babies don't learn the suck, swallow reflex until week 34 (gestationally) and since yesterday was the 34 week mark, the doctors said it was okay to try. Hopefully now that she has had a taste of the good life, she will want more. That is what we are praying. Being bottle fed is another milestone that will get her home sooner! Please pray that this reflex will kick in quickly. One of the nurses said that once she gets it she will just take off with it.

Oh how cute!

Please pray also for the swelling in my feet, legs and hands to go down. I would take a picture of it and show you how funny they look, but I value your friendship and don't want to gross anyone out. My doctor said it is just a side effect of the epidural and the IV's from when Anna Claire was born and that the only thing to do to help it is to keep your feet up. That's hard when you are traveling back and forth to visit with your daughter. I am drinking tons of water but it just doesn't seem to be getting any better. My emotions have been up and down too, which is totally normal given our situation and our story but I am taking it a day at a time, thanking
God for the beautiful blessing of Anna Claire and her life--that overall she is strong and healthy.
Thank you friends.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday - 1 week old!

Happy Birthday Anna Claire!

She is doing wonderfully and at the last check-in her bilirubin is down (YEAH!) which means she will be able to come out from under the lights soon. We were given the news that she has moved to the "step down program" which essentially means they are preparing us to bring her home soon. She could still be there for another week but she is progressing well and is still working on those poopies!

Once we know when she will be coming home, we will have the chance to spend the night with her in a room off of the NICU. This gives the parents the opportunity to "room in" with the baby and still have the nurses there if there are any questions or needs that might arise.

We love her so much! So does Aunt Christy!!!!
Thank you for continuing to pray, we are so blessed to have friends and family like you who care!
Sarah, Mike and Anna Claire

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Look Who Opened Her Eyes!

Last night was AMAZING! As the nurse was changing out the blankets and sheets in her incubator, she took off the "sunglasses" Anna Claire has to wear in order to be under the lights for the jaundice. As soon as she took off the velcro glasses, she opened up her eyes and we immediately started talking to her. She followed the sound of our voices and we were able to look our daughter in the eyes for the first time she was born! Oh, how beautiful she is!

Later in the evening, we were able to weigh her, give her a bath and then hold her. Karen, her nurse, was so sweet and encouraging to us as parents. Mike took this picture when I was holding her. We tell her how much we love her and all of the things we can't wait to do with her. She also got a stern warning last night that we expected her to have a "big poopie" so that she start to feel better! :)

I just got off the phone with her nurse to get the overnight spells! Praise the Lord! We just need to work on that poopie!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

True Love

Our little girl is taking it one day at a time. She has begun digesting her food more regularly (which will mean more poopies!) and maintaining a good weight. She continues to have "spells" which essentially is apnea (where she stops breathing) for a minute or so sporadically. This is normal for preemies, but in order for her to be able to go home, she has to be "spell free" for at least 7 days straight. So far today, she hasn't had one, which is good news!

She is still under the lights for jaundice and her bilirubin count is still high but hopefully with the digestion issues behind us, this will resolve itself soon. The nurses have said that it might take a couple of days for this to happen.

The baby across from Anna Claire just got moved up to a regular crib and I was so hopeful watching them transition the little guy, knowing that her day will come soon!

The nurses talk so positively about her and how she is doing, but everyday I wake up to an empty nursery that is waiting for her. Yesterday I sat for about 2 1/2 hours just looking at her and journaling so I wouldn't forget (not that I think I could) what these moments have been like. She changes everyday and I am trying to remember that everyday that goes by just brings us one more day closer to her coming home.

Look at our sweet Valentine!!!

PS. Thank you to all of you are praying and checking in to my blog! Keep praying!!!! I am trying to catch up with emails and posting comments, so even if you don't hear from me, know that we appreciate each and every one of you. Hopefully this next week I will have some time to sit down and reply to everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Anna Claire! We are so in love with her!

She continues to improve everyday. She has been taken off of the oxygen and is breathing on her own at this point. They have also started to give her small amounts of formula through her belly button IV and she is pooping! A big milestone for such a little girl. Her weight is stable but the goal, obviously, is for her to digest the food they are giving her in order for there to be a weight gain. Until yesterday, she was on fluids and her tummy had not yet experienced "digestion." The doctors have reassured us that it might take a few times for her body to recognize that her tummy is full and to go ahead and start the digestion process.

As soon as I can provide it, they will be able to put breast milk through the IV as well. I am working on it, but we have been told that it can take a bit longer for mothers of preemies to get their milk. I am trying to not get discouraged and am seeing bits of progress everyday.

Before being discharged yesterday, we found out that we were going to be able to start holding her for 20 minutes a day. Can I just tell you that it was the most amazing thing I have experienced, other than holding her when she was born. My arms have ached for her for the past several days and to get to hold her, even if just for a few minutes, melted this Mommy's heart. I couldn't stop looking at her and telling her beautiful she is and how much we love her.

Mike has started calling her "Small Pants" and tells her about all of the dates he has planned for them...opening day of the 2009 Baseball season, the PGA tournament, trips to Lowes. It's so sweet. He is a Daddy and I love it!

We are trying to spend as much time as we can with her at the hospital and are so thankful for the nurses and doctors who are there to take care of her. They love her as much as we do!
Your prayers mean so much and they are working!
Some of you have asked through email and the blog about our registry. We are registered at Target--you are sweet to ask and want to give. We appreciate it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Great Day...

Sarah wanted me (Christy) to post some pictures of sweet Anna Claire. They are having some difficulty having internet access at the hospital but wanted to keep you all updated.  It has been another great day for her. The doctor in the NICU told Sarah that she is going to do really well and we just continue to thank God for His provision and care. WE LOVE THIS LITTLE GIRL!!!

Don't you love the bow? The nurses put it in her hair yesterday...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome Anna Claire....

Hello everyone.... It's Christy (Sarah's sister) letting you know that at 12:50 a.m., Sarah and Mike welcomed the arrival of their sweet and beautiful daughter, Anna Claire. She weighed in at 4 1/2 pounds (which according to the NICU nurses is a very healthy weight for a preemie) and measured 17 1/2 inches long. Because Anna Claire arrived 7 weeks early, she will be spending the next 2-3 weeks in the NICU. Everyone is doing great as you can see from the pictures. This baby girl has all of us wrapped around her tiny finger already. The nurses put a little purple bow in her hair awhile ago and Sarah was very pleased with the fact it was purple. For those of you who were aware of Sarah going into pre-term labor yesterday, Sarah and Mike want to thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. We truly are praising God and rejoicing that this sweet little girl is doing so well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another "P" Word

Pre-term labor. That's all I have to say.

Well, not really.

We spent the morning in the hospital after I woke up having some contractions. Our little girl is fine, but evidently she is attempting to make an early entrance. The doctor sent me home to be on bed rest until Wednesday when I can go in and see her. In the mean time, they put me on Terbutaline, which makes me feel like I just drank a 6-pack of Red Bull and gets my heart racing.

At this time, there doesn't seem to be cause for any concern, other than she needs to stay in there for a few more weeks. I'm not quite sure she is going to wait until March 31st!!!!

Another "P" word is party! Mike's side of the family threw us a baby shower this past weekend.

Aunt Susie made this cute corsage with baby socks! Mike got to wear a boutonniere too!

He was able to get some practice in with his new cousin, Colten, who is only 3 weeks old. Too cute!

His family blessed us so much with many things that we still needed. Now, all I need is the go ahead from the doctor to get her room organized with all of her new things!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A "P"ost for Wednesday

My sister, Christy, was recently tagged to list 10 things she loves using a particular letter. I was afraid that she might assign me "Q" so I hesitated for a day or two before relenting. I love posts like this because it gives you a tiny glimpse into bloggers personalities and it's always fun to see what you might have in common! So I emailed her this morning and asked for a letter....She gave me "P."

1. Purple...if we are going to be really specific, I am loving "Lightly Lilac" right now; it's the color we painted the baby's room. It turned out exactly as I had envisioned it.

2. Peanut Butter...this has been a HUGE weakness during this pregnancy. When I say weakness, I mean all I need is a spoon and a jar of Jif. I've been known to make an extra grocery run in the middle of the week just so I can get my fix.

3. Poppyseed Chicken...a family favorite for sure. Before I moved to TN, I would go over to Christy's house on Wednesday nights/Poppyseed Chicken Night for the stuff. We actually had it last night and I'm so glad there are leftovers! It's so yummy!

4. Prenatal appointments...I love going to the doctor to hear my little girl's heartbeat. I have one more 2 week appointment and then we are in the final stretch and I get to go every week. In fact, I went yesterday and her head is down and the doctor said she wouldn't be surprised if I have already started to dilate a bit and I go early.

5. Pretty books...okay, I do judge a book by it's cover. If it has a pretty cover, then I'll pick it up for sure.

6. Pajamas (aka "jammies")...I love getting a new pair of jammies and love even more winding down at night and getting comfortable.

7. Planning...I feel the need to have a plan. I like to know when, where, why and how. I can be spontaneous as long as I know what is going to happen! :)

8. the sister, Steve, Jessica, Samuel and Benjamin. The most beautiful family I know which consists of the most amazing mother and friend, a kind and gentle husband, a beautiful and generous daughter, a quiet, yet, loving middle child and a wild, funny little brother.

9. Pedicures...I need to get one before "she" arrives. I'm going to be really embarrassed in the hospital if I don't.

10. Purposeful Living...I have learned over the course of the past year that this life is not about me; it's about Who I live for. If I'm not doing that, I'm not living; I'm existing, going day to day with no purpose. With every day that passes and as we prepare to meet our little girl, I want nothing more than to live each day with purpose. What am I doing and Who am I doing it for? I want to be the best daughter of the King I can be. If I'm doing that, then my other responsibilities and relationships will benefit, especially with my husband and my daughter.

Want a letter? Let me know in your comment and I'll send one your way!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Shower

On Saturday, three of the most amazing women I know threw me a baby shower!

Marilyn, Katharine, Me and Jennifer

They truly out did themselves. I was handed a bottle of water with a special label on it when I walked in the door; it said, "In Celebration of Baby Girl Caldwell, January 31, 2009" Too cute!
When Katharine hosts a get together, she doesn't just host, she puts on a show. Her house is mixture of Shabby Chic and vintage things so it was the perfect place to have a group of ladies celebrating the arrival of a baby girl. The brunch was so good!
These were the most adorable cupcakes I have ever seen!

I think one of the best things about the shower is that the majority of ladies that were there are friends who I haven't seen in several months. Since we moved last summer, I don't make it down to that part of town that often, so this was a great opportunity to spend some time with them! Long time friends, friends from where I worked and friends that I have come to know just recently were there. My mom, Christy, Jessica (my niece) and her best friend, Morgan all came down too (for some reason we didn't get a picture of all of us).
I couldn't have been more blessed!