Monday, September 28, 2009

There Ain't No Stoppin' Me Now!

Guess what we learned to do yesterday...

Yeah, my girl is getting big. And I don't say that just because she can sit up now...she is really getting big!! I cannot take her to be weighed yet because she is still on house arrest :) but next week we will see just how fat she is!!

I am so excited that she is still hitting those milestones. I had a fear that surgery would hold her up on somethings but she is proving me wrong. And I couldn't be happier about it. Now if I could just stop taking pictures of Presley and get some work done I would be good!!

**Ew, I just noticed how messy my house is in the background of these pictures. Well, that just goes to show how much work needs to be done!!!**

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember When

I remember when the biggest problem I had was if I was going to play horse with my brother or play school with my dolls.
Or when I had to decided what to do after not making the cheer leading team.
Or the silliness of what number football jersey to wear to the game on Friday night.
I remember thinking those were the BIG decisions of life! Ha..ha, ha!
Today it seems with each decision comes another bigger and harder one shortly thereafter. Maybe decision isn't the word I am looking for. Maybe it is more like event or happenstance or trial. Whatever it is, God keeps 'em coming.
I don't want this to be a post of complaining. It really is a post of celebration (I promise I will get there)!
It is crazy to me that September is but one week from being over and yet I don't remember a bit of it. Where did the last 23 days go?? Nonetheless this is and has been a big month for us.
We made it through big event 1. Of which was Presley's open heart surgery. We are not adjusting to life back at home ~read, sleeping one hour at a time~.
Then came big event 2. This one has become expected each year but doesn't get easier. That is of course the day of my late brother-in-law's birth.
Big event 3 came and went without very little recognition but it is just as big as the others. That would be the day my sweetie and I tied the knot! We repeated our vows to God and our loved ones and went on our merry way to what is now marital bliss!! I love him more each day and am so proud of the man he has become. So, why did it come and go with nearly no celebration?? Insert big event 4.
The re-injuring of that sweetie's back. Which led to babying all three of my babies on my anniversary night. Yes, I am supermom. But I know that you are too!! This event also led to doctor's visits and x-rays and a lot of pain medicine! I am sure more about this event will come if we can find out what it is that happened to the 'ol man!
Next is the not-so-big-but-big-for-me-event! My baby girl is 7 months old today! Way to grow big girl! And, yes, she is growing...finally!!! She is even a little bit heavy.
And last (I hope) big event, um 6, I think. I will celebrate a quarter of a century and one year! Did you get that? I am not sure I did! 26. I will be another year older on Friday. That is just one year closer to the big 3-0. Sigh.
So, the years of silliness and slumber are behind me. I officially feel like a grown up now. However, I used to say that when I "grew up" I would go by my full name, Elizabeth. I still don't want to do that!! But maybe for old time's sake I will find a football jersey to wear to the game Friday night and fret over which number it shall be!! But for the time being I will celebrate my anniversary with you my bloddies (blog+buddies) by showing off my wonderful wedding pics!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Champ

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Happy Birthday

Twenty-five years ago today was a big day for my husband's family. This was the day that my brother-in-law would make his appearance into this world. He was born September 21, 1984.

A short eighteen years later, this same boy was gone just like that. He was taken twenty nine days after his birthday. Twenty nine days after getting his driver's license. Only weeks before he was to get his braces removed. He was taken. But when I think of him on his birthday I smile as big as he would have smiled!

So, today, I am celebrating the day God blessed us with Zach and the eighteen years he enjoyed here. And on October 20th I will be remembering him on the day he left us to be with his heavenly Father. Happy Birthday, Zach.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

*SIGH* Great, big, long sigh! We made it!

We survived:
Day 1...6 hours of pre op
Day 2...8:00 a.m. surgery
Day 3...retaining fluid/drainage of fluid
Day 4...still retaining fluid
Day 5...rapid heart rate/missing heart beat/turning disturbing purple/low electrolytes
Day 6...taking out the chest tubes/could move upstairs
Day 7...could move upstairs/still improving
Day 8...move upstairs
Day 9...remove drainage tube
Day 10...fever
Day 11...fever
Day fever/waiting on cultures
Day fever/cultures negative/GO HOME!!!

Yep, we survived all that!!! And we are home. And we are excited! And I am overwhelmed already. There are clothes to be washed and put away and there are dishes to be washed and put away and there are suitcases to unpack. And you probably don't want to hear my to do list being that you have one of your own, I am sure.

So, I just wanted to let you know that we made it home. Presley is sound asleep in her own bed (on her stomach of course) and I will be following her shortly!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I have so many pictures to share from surgery. But I cannot get them posted until we officially get home...or if we ever get home. Presley was running a fever last night at 8:00. From what I understand from the floor cardiologist, she will not send her home until she is fever free for 24 hours. So, I 8:00 is was 100.7; at 12:00 is was 98; at 4:00 is was 98; and at 8:00 it was 99. You tell me is it worthy of keeping her??? Anyway, if we end up having to stay another night I just might blow a gasket. But I digress, that is not what this post is about!

I have a major tease coming your way!! A friend of my sister-in-law came to the hospital Friday night (two days after surgery) to get some practice under fluorescent lights for her photography portfolio. I was pleasantly surprised when I received them yesterday that I had to share some with you. She did a great job. And my sweet baby will have the most unique 6 month pictures!!
So, enjoy!! And know that very soon I will have post a timeline of pictures from the last 10 days!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here goes...

I have a lot to update!! I don't even know what day it is!! Sunday was a day of great rejoice. Monday was a day of greater rejoice!!

Like I said in the last post, I thought we would end up being discharged from the PCICU. Well, much to our surprise we got a room on Monday! Woohoo!! Presley was in shock as we rolled down the hallways to her room on the 6th floor. Presley took her time getting oriented with her new cute!!!

But it didn't take long for her to realize she did not really like it there. She got very fussy as the evening went on. My theory...she is aware that she is on her back and she will not sleep on her back!! I listened to her cry for so many hours and doctors wanting to try everything to not medicate her that my patience wore thin. I was forced out by my mom that night! She made me leave and get some rest without a baby crying in the background!

When I arrived Tuesday morning they had removed her drainage tube from her stomach and she seemed to be much better and more mobile!!! When they checked her vitals, however, her fever was up and they were unsure why. They drew more blood and placed a catheter to check her urine for infection. They gave her some Tylenol and her fever broke some throughout the day.

But by 8:00 Tuesday night it was back. At this time, they decided to start her on IV antibiotics. The first dose went off without a hitch. The second one, not so much. The second medication is "hard on the veins" and can cause itching and redness. Well, you know how it goes, if it can happen it will happen to her! She got itchy and extremely fussy. At around midnight, the nurse gave her some Benadryl. Ah!!! Sleep!!! For an hour anyway. As they came into the room for one thing or another each hour.

Presley ate like a champ around 2:30, 5 ounces to be exact. And, yes, that is double what she was eating prior to surgery.

So, Wednesday morning reared it's ugly head as quickly as Tuesday night faded away. I listened in on the "rounds huddle" only to find out that the earliest we could go home would be F-F-Friday. Yeah, you heard me right, Friday. That is two days from now. That is two more nights of that sleep. That is two more days of my baby girl being poked and prodded. Two more days of laying on her back getting more and more restless.

As of today, I have been at the hospital most of 7 days. So, I took it upon myself to leave and head home for a few hours. Ya know, shower in my own shower, lay on my own couch, and whatever you do when you are at HOME!!

So, they will keep her on the antibiotics for 48 hours and then she must be fever free for 24 hours. That means that even though they say Friday if my girl decides to keep that fever even after antibiotics we will be here even longer.

I have appreciated all the prayers and virtual hugs. And I will beg of you not to let those fade. I am so ready to get my baby home and trust me, she is ready too!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Never Ending Roller Coaster that is Open Heart Surgery...

~Update as of 6:00 pm...No room tonight. They did not get an open room on the 6th floor so we will be staying in the freaking PCICU again. Sorry for the disgust but that it just stinks!! I was so pumped for her to have her own personal room. I know she does not know the difference but I do!!! Anyway, they said if they anticipate her leaving on Tuesday she may just be discharged from the PCICU. She has been fussy this evening and not eating as much but I am hoping it is not going to be a big deal.

on our six-month old baby. Will she EVER get through this. Unfortunately for you, I will tell you about yesterday first and then get to what has transpired today. Sorry to those of you who like to read the last page of the book first!

I had been with Presley for a few hours yesterday morning when I left her side so they could remove the tubes that were draining from her incision. As they were fidgeting with them she was getting quite irritable. I knew it was causing her some pain.

Once they finished removing the tubes Daniel and his dad went back to see her. It wasn't too long after that that Daniel's dad came to get me. My heart sunk as he said she was not doing well. All sorts of thoughts races through my head as I waited to go back to her. When I saw her room around the corner I could see the doctor giving her oxygen. When I arrived at her side she was grayish. She was very short of breath and struggling to breathe. I got the story from Daniel that she did well with the removal of the tubes. She fell asleep for a short while after that was done and then woke up fuzzy. Daniel proceeded to feed her and she could not keep her breath while she was eating. She got choked on her food and turned a disturbing color of purple. The doctor walked in the room at that very moment. He got things settled down and began to assess what the problem could be. Is there air on her chest? Is it reflux?

He ordered a chest x-ray and we waited. The x-ray showed that there was no air on her lungs. They would continue to monitor her for the reflux. Whew. Next...

Daniel and I left to get some dinner and watch a little of the UT game. When we arrived back at the hospital Presley was sleeping well. She had not eaten yet again but she was comfortable. We spent some time with her and were waiting on the edge of our seats to see if we would get a room or not.

As the night nurse did her assessment she notice that Presley's heart beat was becoming irregular. She was missing a beat all to often. Her bandage from the removal of the tubes was oozing blood a bit too much and she was just acting abnormal. The nurse said her intake/outtake was so much better (she was releasing enough fluids) which was a great sign. But now all these new things kept popping up.

They ran some labs and performed an EKG. She was low on some electrolytes because of all the diuretics was on and it was causing this irregularity. They changed the bandage on her chest and it seemed to clear up so that was not longer an issue. But they said she needed to be NPO (no food) for the time being because of her heart beat.

We ended up getting a room and having a fuss about who would sleep in it (and I won) but we slept none-the-less!!!

This morning we went in to see our precious girl and the new day nurse appeared like an angel out of the Heavens. We so badly needed good news and she had that indeed. Her heart rate became regular as of 1:00 A.M. She had eaten at 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 A.M. Her swelling was almost completely gone. She would get to be moved to her own room if one person gets discharged!!! I could have jumped out of my skin after hearing this news. My happy dance started and it is still going!!!

Not too long after that she woke up to our voices and began playing with us. She smiled twice at Daddy and of course I did not have the camera ready! But I cannot tell you how much we needed to hear this. They said as long as things remain this good she could go home Tuesday!!! Praise be to Jesus!!!! I could dance down in the aisle right now!!

So, roller coaster?? Yes!!! Fun?? Not always. Worth it?? Absolutely!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Restless and Weary

I just don't have the energy to say much today. I will say I have the best friends in the world...dinners and lunches and visits keep my spirits up. Thanks you guys...I love you!!

As for P head she is doing ok. She is still retaining a lot of fluids. Her kidneys are just taking their sweet time getting back to work. She is still draining from what they PD drain that was done Thursday night. I stayed in her room last night with her but didn't sleep much. What can I say, no one can take care of you baby to your standards.

The plan for today is to remove the tubes from her chest. That in itself is a blessing. I got to hold her yesterday but this will make it easier to hold her. They are also adding another diuretic to try to get her to urinate. Of all things I am in shock that this is the issue we are dealing with...peeing! But they do foresee us being in PCICU for still another night. That frustrates me but I know it is for the best. I pray we get a room again tonight so that I can sleep in it this time!!

I will post if anything drastic happens throughout the day. Thank you all for making this so much easier on me. Your prayers are not overlooked. And I love reading all your comments...the cupcakes were demolished yesterday!!! And I hope to get some pictures up soon. Internet access here is a joke!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

But First...

***Update as of 10:25. The docs have made their rounds and set an agenda for today. They will do another blood transfusion today as well as an ultrasound on her upper extremities. They want to make sure she is not clotting. They have her on extra potassium as it was low this morning. They will remove her central line and her folly (Sp?) so she will pee in her diaper. She seems very uncomfortable. She has a lot of "junk" in her chest and is trying to cough it up. They informed me that she is where most babies would have been yesterday...she is a day behind.

I have a pretty big update on P head but first...

I must rave like raving has never been done. This is what I had for breakfast/lunch yesterday at the hospital:
OH MY! My first taste of Gigi's cupcake and I fell in love! I cannot tell you the joy it brought to me despite all the blahness (read crap) going on right now. Yes, I am spending long days and nights in the hospital while my baby girl tries to recover from open heart surgery. But when you got friends like this that go out of their way to bring you joy-in-a-huge-chocolate-cupcake like this, all things seem better. Thanks, friend!!! :)

Now, the update. Last night was a little rough. As the day progressed Presley grew very swollen. She looked like a teeny tiny oompa loompa!! That's not funny, I know. They were giving her a lot of diuretics and the girl would not pee! They pulled out the handy-dandy ultrasound to find the problem and find it they did. She, obviously, was retaining a lot of fluid. All this fluid on her abdomen was putting pressure on her kidneys and not allowing them to work correctly. So, what did they do? Another stinkin' procedure. Just when you think you have given your child up for all the surgeries she can stand, you're wrong. You have to give her up again.
So, they placed a drainage tube in her stomach to release the fluid. It instantly drained about 6 ounces of fluid off my baby's belly. Ah, relief!!! She looked like a totally different child. It was amazing. She slept pretty good through the night but woke up cranky this morning.
She did eat some this morning and that seemed to ease her fussiness! But when her surgeon came in this morning, she was not impressed. She said Presley is taking her sweet time recovering. She said her belly is still too puffy for her liking and her eyes are as well. It is looking like we will spend another night in the PCICU. By the way, Daniel and I did not get a sleep room last night so we have communal living and it was very strange for me. Ew!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made

Today has been a blessed and stressed day. The good news is whatever today brings the Lord has brought us to it and He is healing her minute by minute.

The Good...Presley was taken off the breathing tube early this morning. She did just fine afterwards. PTL!!!

The sweetie lost the keys to our car and I lost my purse. We did find out that someone turned out keys into the police department. And we found my purse in the cafeteria where it stayed for 2 hours! Ahh, good times!

The Ugly...Presley is in quite a bit of pain today. She was very fussy this morning when I first saw her. They then tried feeding her some Pedialyte and she got choked on that. She lost a lot of coloring and got very still. Since then she has been working very hard to breathe on her own. She is on some oxygen and maintaining where she should be. She has moved to a different area of the PCICU where she and another baby are monitored by one nurse. She is quite puffy from all the fluids. They are giving her a lot of medicine to reduce the fluid. She will most likely be in the PCICU again tonight. She is opening her eyes to see us just a little bit. That helps me more than anything. But I hate to see her hurt.

I will post as I can. But I anticipate less "bad" and more "good" from here on out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What There is to Tell

Is there really anything I can say at this point? Well, I can start with this...thank you, Mon, for updating my dear audience. Thank you, audience, for all the prayers. I have felt them down to my core all day. I sort of feel like I just won a Grammy and am thanking all my fans!! But that's not the case now is it?!

I do not have much to update right now. Daniel, Monica, and I went to dinner, which was a nice break. They say now is the time to be "away" since she is under such intense care in the PCICU. So, I took the advice and headed out. We also attempted a run to Gigi's for some delish cupcakes...but no such luck. Yeah sure they had Pina Colada and Caramel Sugar Mama but that was just not my style! Maybe we will have better luck tomorrow.

What's that you say...? You want to know more about precious P?! Oh, so sorry. Well, while we were out to dinner, my parents went in to see her and got some grim news. I said some, not a lot. Her fever was a little elevated. I suppose nothing to be concerned with. She is in such a good hands that I am not worried at this time. I have not been back to see her since we have been back from dinner (I had to update my blog peeps, right!).

So, I will make my way back there now and let you know if there is anything to report.

Thanks, all, for the prayers!!! Much love!!

Update on Presley


4:14 PM: Beth and Daniel were able to see Presley. Please continue to pray for peace. In Beth's own words, "It was the hardest thing I have ever done."


As of 3:30, Beth and Daniel have yet to see Presley. We are getting anxious, but know that she is in good hands. All is well, this is just a delay. But still. We are ready to get to her! It has been a long day, but spirits are good, and there is even talk of getting some dinner. =) Thank you, still, for the constant prayers.


Hello, friends.

Monica here, updating on behalf of Daniel and Beth. The wireless connection at Vanderbilt was being uncooperative -- but if that is our biggest worry, praise the Lord!

As of approximately 12:30 CST, Presley is out of surgery. They ended up finding a second smaller hole in her heart, and both were successfully closed up. She has been taken off the bypass machine and her heart is working on its own. They are closing her up now, and all is as well as can be expected!

Daniel and Beth should be able to see Presley at approximately 2:00 PM CST; please pray for peace and grace for their tender mommy/daddy hearts.

Thank you all for bathing this sweet girl in prayer this morning. Please continue to pray for the following:

  • Strength and painless rest for Presley as she recovers
  • Protection from illness, especially H1N1, for all those who will be in contact with the family
  • Grace for Daniel and Beth as they split time between the hospital with Presley and home with Triston
  • Compassion and wisdom for the ICU doctors and nurses who will be tending to Presley
  • Safety for all those traveling between their homes and the hospital as we support the O'Neils

Thank you again for your prayers.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

As of Today

As of today...
Presley is...

  • 11 pounds and 2 ounces

  • 6 months and 2 weeks old

  • 59 centimeters long

  • full of dark hair

  • eating 2 and 1/2 ounces of formula each bottle

  • eating lots of bananas and sweet potatoes

  • sleeping 4-6 hours at a time at night

  • loving her new favorite bear, Pookie

  • having open heart surgery at 8:00 am on 9-9-09
Today has been such a long day. Our pre op testing went about as expected. It took right at six hours. And, of course, we were running late this morning.

Presley had an echo done first and was absolutely wonderful for it. She got a little cranky towards the end when they were under her neck but she managed!
Then she had the EKG done. She was perfect for the nurse. It took all of 90 seconds for this to be done! And she finally got to see Dr. M again. It has been awhile but as soon as she saw him she lit up. He is just so wonderful. And he did an excellent job of coddling me!!

After that the nurse sent us to have blood work done. As I was afraid of it was hard to find Presley's vein and the lab tech ended *guessing*. But she did a good job at it. She got a vein and she began withdrawing blood. Which was a slow process. She ended up giving up before she even had enough. But I suppose that will have to do. At this point Presley was past ready for a nap and Daddy got the butt-end of the deal; as I made him hold her for the poke and I went to grab lunch.
By the time I got back to our appointed room Presley was out like a light. And she took a nice little 40 minute nap. Which would end up to be the only one of the day...yeah, fun, I know!

So, after we ate a quick bite we went over all the pre op instructions and took a tour of the hospital. Then we met with the surgeon again. I did feel better about this meeting. She was a little more pleasant!!

Then we went for the last of the tests, the chest xray. By this time, Presley was sick of it. But she held it together pretty well. She was still laughing and smiling at her daddy!!!

Right now...I wish it was tomorrow! No food or drink after midnight. That ought to be interesting! And we have to be at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning. Bring on this sleepless night and the stress of tomorrow. Just let me have it!!!

A Prayer for Peace

Lord, give me patience today. I am just dreading a long day at the hospital with a 6 month old (and possibly a whiny husband)!!

God, I know you have such big plans for this baby girl. I know that you have her ~heart~ in your hands. I also know that that alone should give me peace. But I am only human and it doesn't.
I am so thankful to be going through this a christian, though Lord. I could not imagine not having faith and experiencing all this without Your love and compassion.

Hold my hand as I walk down this road. Hold Presley's heart as she endures this time of healing. Father, heal her like you healed the leopers. God mend her.

Help us to get through this day and make it to the next.
Please carry the nurses and all those that care for these babies. Give them rest.

Lord, help me to realize that this is Your child. That whatever happens Your Name will be glorified.

Thank you, God, for saving our souls. For making us whole again.
I pray you continue to work in our family through this procedure. I pray you keep us calm and relaxed and that Your peace may become ours.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wish That I was on Ole Rocky Top...

The excitement of this weekend has almost become overwhelming. Earlier in the week I would have sworn that I would be miserable on our trips this weekend. I was not excited about leaving my baby. I was not excited about it not being Wednesday the 9th. I just wanted to get the weekend over with so that it would be the day of surgery, already. Well, I was quite wrong. It was very theraputic for me to be gone, to have a good time with my sweetie and good friends!

Friday night was the Big Orange Blast. It was a "rally" for the fans and a concert featuring Sara Evans, who was only eye candy for the boys! You know we can't go anywhere without some sort of chaos. When Daniel and I walked into our hotel room we shut the door without finding the light switch first. So, Daniel dropped the suitcase (in the middle of the floor unbeknownst to me) and went to find some light. I proceeded to the bathroom to turn that light on. I soon met the floor with my face. I completely tripped over the suitcase and almost wet myself laughing so hard. So, I woke up this morning all bruised but extremely pumped for the game! Daniel was like a kid on Christmas morning!

We arrived at the Vol Walk early so we could get a prime spot and that we did. We did get (or have to, you would understand if you were there) an evangelist. A story for another time. But the atmosphere is just amazing. There was a sea of orange! It is hard to even put into words how incredible it was and the pictures don't even do it justice. It is just an environment that cannot be duplicated. I am sure it is like that whoever your team is!

We found our seats about an hour early but that gave us a chance to get pumped up for game time. Our seats were perfect. We were in one of the end zones and only 6 rows away from the field. There was a passion at this game that has been missing from UT football. There was a fire! You could see it and feel it all over the place. There is just nothing quite like it.

We are home for tonight and then headed to KY tomorrow for another exciting night of music with Jamey Johnson. Then next week it is back to business. 4 days until surgery.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Do You Think?

So, who do you think she looks like?? We get mixed reviews. I have my opinion but I will wait to share.

Does she look like her Momma??

What about her Daddy? (I love how far we have come in picture quality since the 70's!)

And just for fun, here is a pic of Bubba. Do they resemble? (Of course we know if they do then it is common sense that her Daddy is the winner of the look-a-like matter!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't tell Mom I Snuck on her Blog...

"8 days, Momma, and I will be all fixed!" "This tree is for my friend Duncan. He is watching me grow from Heaven. I love him so!" "Nonna got a little taste of the wonder that is me! I think she liked me!!"

"I like yellow. It is the color of my room. I like to look at the lady bugs that look like they are crawling on my wall. I sometimes laugh out loud at them!"

"I also like orange. I think my daddy makes me like orange. Something about a football team and a rocky top. I guess I will understand one day."

"I am a fan of brown things, too. Like my dog Scooby, ya know he walks different that everyone else in my house. And the sock monkey that my Nana and Poppa got me when I was first born, it is brown too. So is my momma's hair!"

"I went and watched the Blue Devils play football Friday night. They beat Portland real bad and it was fun to watch."

"So, like I said, my surgery is in 8 days. I have no idea what to expect. I know my mom is real worried and my dad always tries to make her feel better. I know my Bubba is praying for me lots, too. I know that Dr. Christian will take good care of me. Mom and Dad had some friends that made them feel much better about her. They know she is good at her job! I think the stay in the hospital will be fine. I will have a big ole room all to myself. And lots of nice people taking care of me. I know that I will be really sleepy, too. I wish they could give some of that sleepy medicine to my parents. I think they might need it! I know I will have lots of friends and family there to help my mom and dad get through this. They talk about this often. They are so thankful for these people. It helps them to take better care of me! I guess I am not so scared about surgery. I just know I will feel so much better afterwards. And, hey, I may sleep through the night now!! I think that would make mom happy. She is getting kind of cranky but don't tell her I said so. Right now I am not feeling so well. I got a little cold yesterday and can't breathe very well. My eyes are real watery and I got a little fever. But I think it is good that I have this now rather than next week when I am supposed to have surgery. God is gonna take care of me, for sure. He makes everything okay!"

~Presley B~