Sunday, February 28, 2010

Three months have flown by...

Well, on February 23rd Emery turned 3 months old! I can't believe three months have already flown by. It does not seem like that long ago since we brought our precious Emery Jane home from the hospital in Amarillo. We had a wonderful six weeks together lounging on the couch in our PJ's till late in the afternoon waiting for David to come home from work. Occasionally, we actually got ourselves fixed up and would go eat lunch with him or we would meet up with some of my girlfriends. But really, most of the time we just hung out at home and cuddled! I loved every minute of it. Emery was six weeks old when we were admitted into the hospital in Amarillo. It's crazy to think that seven weeks have gone by since then. I am so thankful to have had this extra time taking care of my baby girl. We have had so much fun together despite all of the hospital visits and chemo treatments. We still spend a lot of our time in our PJ's and cuddling but she is getting bigger now and is a lot more active these days. Here are some cute pictures of our sweet baby girl. You can really start to see her personality shining through! I love this girl!

Sweet Emery Jane,
Here are a few of the things you are doing now at three months old. I'm sure there are many more but my brain doesn't work too well these days!
I love our mornings together. After I feed you early in the morning, I keep you right next to me in bed so that we can sleep a little bit longer. You always are so happy in the morning.
You smile at anything I say and I can tell you're going to be laughing any day now! I love how you smile with your eyes. They are so beautiful.
You are making the cutest little sounds now too. It's adorable when Gigi or I am talking to you and you act like you are joining right in with us. So cute!
You are holding your head up really well now but still don't like tummy time too much! We have been working really hard with you on rolling over and you are doing so well! Some kids at the hospital gave you a bright fuzzy catapillar that has become your tummy time friend! Gigi can always get you to hold your head up for a long time with him!
You hold your hands together a lot of the time and look adorable doing it!
You are so close to being able to put your paci back in your mouth when it falls out. You will use your hands to keep it in and sometimes pull it out on accident. Pretty soon you'll be a pro at it!
You have slept through the night twice! Shh! Don't tell Dr. Thompson! For a while you had been waking me up every two to three hours at night and Dr. Thompson didn't want you going longer than three so you could gain some more weight. Now you are sleeping for 3-5 hours a night. The night you slept from 11:00 to 6:00 am was wonderful! ;)
You are such a good girl riding in the car! Gigi sits in the back seat with you most of the time but I think you'll be just fine back there by yourself when she goes home...I hope I'm right!
You like the swing more these days and nap in it when we eat dinner with Dan and Lauren. It's really funny when the one of the dogs bumps into the swing and we can't tell who is more stunned, you or the dog!
You threw your first big fit at a restaurant not too long ago and scared Dan and Lauren into having dogs for the rest of their lives instead of children! Lauren said you sounded like a Gremlin getting drenched with water! Sorry baby girl, but she was right! ;)
You have had three rounds of chemo and have handled them beautifully! You are such an amazingly strong girl! I can tell you are going to be able to handle anything!
You have started to lose your hair...don't know if it's the chemo or normal baby hair loss. Either way, you are starting to look like an old man who is bald on top and has long hair in the back! Pretty funny!
Well, it's been a wonderful three months with you baby girl. Your daddy and I love you more than we ever imagined possible and can't wait to see your personality unfold even more. You have brought so much joy to our lives and we cannot even remember what our lives were like without you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yay for 80%!

Emery's tumor is now 80% smaller than it was when she was diagnosed! We are so thrilled to know that the chemotherapy is working and were absolutely blown away when we heard how much the tumor had shrunk. I honestly didn't have any expectations going into the scans this week because I didn't want to be disappointed like I was after the first round. We weren't the only ones pleasantly surprised by the scan results - our doctors were quite pleased as well! Our team of doctors had a meeting yesterday to discuss her treatment plan. There were three possiblilities:
1. Stop treatment and observe since this type of cancer should go away on its own
2. Continue with another round of chemo to shrink it some more
3. Remove what's left surgically

After much debate, they decided that it would be best to do another round of chemo since she is handling it well and the tumor is extremely responsive. There is still a small portion of the tumor going into her spinal column but the pressure on the spinal cord has reduced drastically. The surgeons decided that it still would not be an easy surgery to remove the tumor. They also decided that since it is still in her spinal column it would not be wise to stop treatment and observe. If the tumor were located somewhere else in her body, they probably wouldn't treat her anymore. We were prepared to hear that she would need another round since we really didn't know before this week that there were going to be other options. So, tomorrow we will go in to the clinic to see our doctor and will be admitted into the hospital for her third round of chemo. She will receive three days of chemo and then we will probably stay in the hospital for observation for a couple more days. After that, we will go into the clinic a couple times a week to check on her blood levels and get transfusions if necessary. Last time it took a couple of weeks for her platelets to recover so we will be prepared for that. After this round, they will do scans and re-evaluate her situation again. More than likely they will have to surgically remove what is left of the tumor if it is considered safe for Emery.

Thanks so much for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support! Emery is one lucky little girl to have so many people pulling for her. We are so happy we were able to give you all some good news!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Been a while...sorry!

Sorry it's been a while since my last post...I'm sure most of you have been keeping up with my mom's blog. She's much better about keeping everyone informed! Here are some pictures from the past couple of weeks.

Emery and daddy early one morning. I thought this was too cute!

Here's my mom talking and getting some work done! She's been such a huge help to me since David's been gone. I'm sure her work and her hubby miss her terribly but I'm glad she's here!!

Emery loved the crib soother at the hospital so mom bought her one from Target the other day. Emery is totally mesmerized by it...I think it looks like she's watching a movie! She's also started sucking on her hands a lot. I keep thinking she's going to become a thumb sucker but so far she's sticking with her passy.

Well, Emery is finally up to 9 lbs...doesn't sound like much but we're happy! She made it through a bath today without getting upset! She's not a fan of bath time since we have to give her sponge baths due to the location of her central line. Dr. Thompson called last night to tell us her platelets made the appropriate jump after the transfusion so hopefully they will stay up. We head to CyFair tomorrow for her audiology test. They started it the last time we were in the hospital but she didn't stay asleep long enough to complete the test. They told me to bring her sleepy and hungry tomorrow so that I can feed her when we get there and she'll go to sleep for the procedure. I hope she cooperates! Monday and Tuesday we have to be at the hospital at 6 am for her MRI and CT scans. If there is not a significant decrease in the tumor then we'll start the third round of chemo on Wednesday. It will be three days of chemo this time and then we'll probably stay in the hospital for a few more days for observation. It will probably take two weeks from first day of chemo for her counts to come back up. Then it would only be one more week before we would need to do another MRI and start the fourth round. So, you can see why it's hard to figure out when a good time would be to try to come home. It seems like we should just stay for all of it instead of coming back and forth. I hope we'll be coming home to Amarillo soon but it's so hard to figure out when. At the same time, I am so comfortable with our doctor here and the clinic that I can't imagine leaving and continuing treatment in Amarillo. After talking with our doctor Wednesday it was pretty obvious that he thinks we should stay as long as possible but he wouldn't come right out and say it. He wants us to get back to a normal way of life though and really emphasizes the importance of us bonding as a family when Emery is so young. I can tell he is really torn when we ask him what he thinks we need to do. He's such a great guy and I am so thankful that we have him taking care of Emery. He is so great with all of his patients - he makes all of us feel like we are his number one priority. Of course, since Emery is such a cute little 'peanut', we know we really are his favorites!
So, do we know when we are coming home? NOPE! This could drag on for a while but I'd rather be here and get the best care possible. In the long run, a few months being away from home is nothing if it means we are doing what's best for our precious baby girl! I hate being gone and I'm so ready to get back to a normal routine but for now, I'm going to keep doing my number one job and that's taking care of Emery!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Well, we are out of the hospital again and back in Katy. We only had to stay one night in the hospital last week for Emery's chemo. She did really well with the exception of one crying episode. It is normally pretty easy to calm her down when she is upset but that night it took forever! It really was only about 15 or 20 minutes but it seemed like an eternity! I don't know how moms of colicky babies do it! We were happy to only have to stay one night and are happy to be back at Lauren and Dan's house. Here are some pictures from our stay in the hospital.

We have been working on Emery's neck stregth lately. Since she's been in the hospital so much the past few weeks, we have fallen a little bit behind on the normal baby things she should be doing. She's working really hard to get caught up! My sister Sarah got her this tummy time water toy and as you can see, she is really enjoying it! Thanks, Aunt Sarah!!

Here's one of our many nurses, Scott. He changes her dressing on her central line once a week. She doesn't mind too much until he pulls off the tape! She lets him know that she's not his biggest fan when he does that!

Here's our favorite resident, Alok Katari. He is another one of the doctors on Emery's team. He is so great with all of the kids on our floor. He even let a little girl paint his nails green! He is a super nice guy. He is moving on to another hospital so we're sad we won't be seeing him anymore.

This is our nurse, Debbie. She was very helpful and informative! She was full of suggestions and she tried to talk me through how to give Emery her shot the night we left the hospital. I was too chicken to give it to her though. I have now learned how to give it but it's just as hard every time. I thought it would get easier but every night it takes me forever to get up the nerve to do it!

Here's Emery hanging out in bed at Dan and Lauren's. We spend a lot of time in bed! We haven't been doing much the past few days. We ate dinner last night at Lauren's parents' house. We had a good time visiting with them. Today, mom and I ran to Target to get out of the house for a little bit. Other than that, we have just been hanging out at the house. David left to go back to Amarillo for the week and will be back Thursday night. I put him on speaker phone last night and Emery smiled several times listening to his voice. She misses her daddy and so do I! We look forward to him coming back!
We head back to the outpatient clinic Wednesday to do labwork. Hopefully, everything will look good and I won't have to give her the shot anymore! I believe they will do an MRI sometime next week. Other than that, there's nothing big coming up! I guess that's it for now!