Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome Home Ella

All dressed up and ready to go home

Saying bye to Nurse Florence and waiting for Daddy to come pick us up

Daddy putting me in the carseat

Taking everything in on the ride home

After 76 days in the NICU Ella is finally home!! We left the hospital this past Saturday and cried tears of joy the whole way home. It was such an overwhelming feeling to finally be bringing our sweet girl home. We are so thankful to have her and to not have to leave her anymore. She had quite the home coming! Our sweet friends and family lined our driveway with balloons and signs and were cheering as we pulled up to the house. More tears then too. :) They waited out in the wind and cold for over an hour to welcome us home. Amazing! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful support system and we couldn't do this without our friends and family. Thank you to all of you for everything you have done and are doing for us. We love you so much!

It has been so fun having Ella here with us. Eva just adores her already and Ella seems to feel the same about her. Eva loves giving her hugs and kisses and Ella just smiles back at her. It is so sweet! Eva loves to help burp her and give her a passy too. She is such a good big sister. Ella loves the attention and loves being held. We think she got a little spoiled by all the attention she got from her nurses. Thank you NICU nurses for taking care of our girl!

So what is life like at the Carder house? A little crazy but good. There is not a lot of sleeping happening right now so we are very tired. It is a big adjustment for all of us but we know that with time we will get into a routine and things will get a little easier. We are really working hard on Ella's feedings. It is slow going so I feel like all we are doing is feeding. We offer her a bottle every time and whatever she doesn't finish we put through her G-button and because she still doesn't do well with the bottle it is quite an ordeal each time. She has taken several full feedings since she has been home. Yea Ella! Her bottle feedings are still inconsistent but better than what they have been in weeks so we are trying to be thankful for the small steps she is making. However, we still have a ways to go and it is still a struggle for her so please continue to pray that they improve. We are trying to be patient and not get discouraged when she really fights it so please pray for patience and perseverance for us as we work on getting her to eat better.

The other news is that we have an appointment with Scottish Rite on December 9 to evaluate Ella's shoulder. As I mentioned in a previous post the MRI she had at Cook's last week showed that she has an abnormal scapula (shoulder blade) and there appears to be no clavicle (collar bone). There will be more evaluation done on the
9th and hopefully then we will know more. We are so glad to have gotten an appointment so quickly and we're thankful to be getting things moving on this. It will probably still be several months before any kind of surgery but it will be good to have more information. Please continue to pray for this as well as we are anticipating an extensive surgery and recovery.

That is about all the news we have. We are just trying to enjoy our time as a family of four and rest when we can. Thank goodness for grandparents! We would not survive without them. Here are some pictures of Ella leaving the hospital and her home coming. More pictures to come! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. Keep praying, we love you, The Carders

Ella and CC

Ella and Dee

Ella with Mimi and Pawpaw

Home at last

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ella is coming home!!!

Yes, it is true, Ella is coming home this weekend! We are SO excited and can't wait for little Ella to be home and FINALLY meet her big sister Eva. We will spend the night at the hospital Friday night and "room-in" with Ella. She gets to sleep in the room with us and we will take care of her just like we would at home. If all goes well then sometime on Saturday we will be discharged and ready to go home. It is hard to believe that this day is finally here. It's been over 2 months that Ella has been in the hospital so it is definitely time and we are very ready. We are thankful to be at this point.

She is doing very well and has recovered well from her surgery this past Monday. We are learning to use her G-Button for feedings and are continuing to work on feeding with a bottle. She has not been taking a full feeding with the bottle but we are hoping that once she gets home that with time this will improve. Even though she has the G-button there is not that pressure to take a whole bottle but we are really praying that her feedings will improve soon so please keep that in your prayers.

We also got her MRI results back this week. The preliminary results showed that she has an abnormal scapula (shoulder blade) and there appears to be no clavicle (collar bone). Basically this means she will definitely need major reconstructive surgery on her left shoulder. We are beginning the process of talking with doctors and trying to get in to Scottish Rite in Dallas. This news was hard to hear but we are thankful and hopeful for a positive outcome. There are still many unknowns at this point and it is still going to be a long road with more surgeries to come so please continue to keep this in your prayers for Ella as well.

Overall, Ella has come so far and we are very thankful for the amazing progress she has made. She has had the best care and the best nurses and doctors. We love them so much and will miss seeing them but we are overjoyed that we are finally going to get to bring our sweet girl home. We still have a lot to overcome and work on with feedings and her shoulder so please keep praying for Ella and our family. We'll keep you updated on the big homecoming this weekend and hopefully have some fun pictures to post so stayed tuned. Love, The Carders

Monday, November 10, 2008

Update on Ella's Surgery

Spending time with Mommy and Daddy this morning before surgery

Getting ready to go in for surgery

After surgery...what a cutie!

Ella's surgery went very well today. Praise God! Thank you all for your prayers, phone calls, texts, and emails. We felt at peace today and surrounded by so much love from friends and family. We are constantly in awe of how God is carrying us through by using all of you and all you do for us. Thank you!

We are very glad today is behind us, it was a very long day. Ella's surgery was scheduled for 12:30 but it didn't start until close to 2 pm so needless to say things were running behind. They did the MRI after the surgery so things weren't done until around 6pm. We got a quick peek at her when they transported her back to the NICU at Harris and then we weren't able to actually get in to see her until after 8 pm tonight. So it has been a really long day but a good one. Dr. Black, her surgeon said that things went well and he was pleased with everything. Ella did great through it all! Tonight when we finally got to see her she seemed peaceful when she was asleep and when she was awake she was very alert and not fussy at all. We are so thankful for that. Dr. Black had talked about the possibility that he was going to close up her tummy from her omphalocele surgery during this G-button surgery but it has already healed so much on it's own that he just left it alone which is great news. Her tummy has really healed well and it looks so good. Yeah! We don't know anything about the MRI or what they found so hopefully tomorrow we will have more information on all of that. Please keep praying for that because we are anxious about what the news will be and what the road ahead will be like regarding surgeries, etc. for Ella. We'll know something soon!

Tomorrow morning they will start Ella back on her regular feeding schedule so please continue praying for her with her eating. The NG tube in her nose is gone so now whatever she doesn't eat they will put through her G-tube in her tummy. Even though she had to get the G-button we are hoping that she will really just start eating well and we won't have to use it very much. So please keep praying for feedings to improve. The good news is that hopefully if there are no other complications we are just one step closer to coming home. Thank you for your continued prayers and support for our family. I've got to go to bed and get some sleep. :)
We love you, The Carders

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ella's surgery rescheduled

The Carder family is feeling better now and we have been able to return to our regular routine of visiting Ella. Thank you all for your prayers for us.
Ella’s eating habits remain consistently inconsistent. We have scheduled her surgery to have a feeding tube put in on Monday at 12:30 at Cooks. They will also do an MRI on her shoulder either before the surgery or after (while she is still under anesthesia).

Although we are not thrilled about Ella having another surgery, we are at peace that this is what needs to be done. We are praying this surgery will move her closer down the road to recovery and ultimately get her home where she can recover quicker.

In times like this, it is easy to get down and just keep going to the Father with request after request after request. Believe me, we are doing that. However, recently, we have been moved to think about all we have to be thankful for. All of you who are keeping up with us and calling and praying are so special to us. Whether you know it or not, we believe God is using you to hold us up and carry us through.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ella's Surgery Postponed

Plans have changed a bit since the last time we posted. Something that hasn’t changed is Ella’s eating habits. As of today, Ella is still having trouble feeding. Therefore, we have decided it would be best for her and us if she has the G-button surgery. As much as we hate for her to have an additional surgery it is a step in getting her home soon and we can continue working on her feedings from our home field – possibly a little home field advantage will help. However, all of the Carders have been sick all weekend. We only got to go up to the hospital a couple of times all weekend. We went to the doctor today and we both (Eva seems to be getting over it) have a viral infection. We are on medicine to get us back on our feet but have been ordered not to go up to the hospital until our symptoms are gone. We really hate not getting to go up and hold sweet Ella but know it is best for her if we stay at home. In addition to not getting to go up there, we have decided to postpone her surgery. Because we would not be able to be at the hospital during the surgery or after, we did not want to go ahead with it. More than likely, the surgery will be later in the week or early next week. We’ll keep you posted as things are decided.

In the meantime, you can be praying for me and Rick to get better quickly. Also, we have some more time for her to start feeding well – so keep praying this week for her feedings to improve.

That’s all we have for now. Thanks for all your support and prayers.