when does hannah get to come home?

There are two major hurdles left that Hannah still has to clear before coming home.

First, she has to be Apnea free for a certain amount of time. Although her episodes are rare, they still happen. She just had one last night. She is so little that she still forgets to breath sometimes. Most of the time, however, she recovers on her own, and quickly. Most NICU babies get a shot of caffeine in their feeding tube every day to help with overcoming apnea. It has proven extremely effective. Hannah just transitioned off her caffeine a few days ago so she is being monitored to see how she does without the extra help.

I am allowed to take her off the monitors when I breastfeed her, which is giving me practice at not relying on the monitors to know if she is okay. It is a good thing, but a little nerve-racking when it looks like she is not breathing. :)

Second, Hannah has to eat a full feeding from the breast and/or bottle for a certain amount of time. We are up to three breast feedings a day, she gets really tired and cannot eat the full amount. Lately she has been getting between 16 and 2o mls on the breast. Lactation calls her their little rockstar too. She is doing great. But her full feeding is 38 mls right now so we give her the rest down her tube. The doctors will up the amounts of time per day she is allowed to try from the nipple until it is full time.

Hannah has tolerated her food well from the beginning, which has helped her gain strength at a really good pace. She was just taken off the added protein, which has helped her gain muscle. Her food is still being fortified, and will continue to be for awhile.

She is four pounds, just about what she would be in my tummy. She gains about an ounce a day, which is very normal for a baby in utero or out. She’s not gaining too fast or too slow. We couldn’t be happier with her progress. All in all, she is doing great…keeping up with her two little boy buddies…showing them who is boss!! We can’t wait to bring her home. Only a couple of more weeks!!!!!!

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what does hannah eat?

Several people have asked about Hannah’s food and breastfeeding. For those who aren’t familiar with NICU transitions, here’s the skinny:

When Hannah was first born she was only given nutrients through the IV…that went on for a few days. As I would bring colostrum down from my room, though, the nurses would swab her mouth with it. Those swabs started coating the stomach lining preparing it to tolerate feedings…since her tummy wasn’t meant to have food in it yet. That went on for a few days and then they slowly started pumping my colostrum and milk through her feeding tube. They started at 3mL every six hours for one day, then went to 3mL every three hours, and then slowly went up from there, upping her volume every one to two days.

The NICU doctor said that usually babies as small as Hannah are really good at either breathing or eating, but they cannot seem to do both right away. :) Hannah’s strength has been eating, for sure, because now we are up to a full ounce every feed. She has had only milk and colostrum from me the entire time. We have been super blessed!!

I pump every three hours and take the milk into the NICU. They then mix it, use it, and store it at the hospital until Hannah comes home. They provide all of the bottles and supplies we need too.

We just started practicing breastfeeding on Saturday, the seventh. Hannah thinks she is big. She wants to eat from me and tries so hard, but her mouth is so tiny and she tires out easily. She’s like a little birdie with her mouth open. We are using a shield to try and help her, but even still, it will take a little while. We also moved her into the regular size hospital pacifier. That will help her practice opening her mouth wider, as well. At least, she is content to practice and hang out with me.

The goal is to have her transitioned to breastfeeding with supplemental bottles from pumping, if necessary, when she leaves the NICU. Once she reaches four pounds we will be more diligent in the transitioning to the breast. She’ll need to prove she can maintain her weight off of the feeding tube before the doctors will consider sending her home.

So we are looking at another three to five weeks. It all depends on her maintenance of weight and breathing ability. Happy three weeks today, Miss Hannah!!

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Hannah’s First Week

A summary of Hannah’s first week in the NICU has been posted to our family blog.

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Welcome to Earth, Hannah Catherine McCracken

Hannah Catherine McCracken
Born Monday, August 19th at 7:04 AM
2 lb. 9.1 oz., 14.5 in.



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Back in the hospital

We came into the hospital on Thursday with a headache and general icky feeling. Although there were some high blood pressure readings, they calmed down after some rest, and the OB triage doc sent us home. An appointment was already set for Friday morning and the doc said to just come back in the morning as scheduled.

Friday morning rolled around and the baby monitoring went great. The blood pressure not so great. When the nurse says you’re “just trying to show off” with the high numbers, it is definitely not a good thing!

After some additional discussion and analysis, it was decided to put in an IV to administer the blood pressure medicine. Oh, and by the way, we want to observe you for at least 36-48 hours. There goes the weekend plan for skydiving and whitewater rafting!

At this point, “baby Crack” is probably coming in the next week. Doctor Mac will keep her in as long as possible, but is making the plans. She received a steroid shot for lung development and the docs like to wait at least 48 hours after the shot to deliver. Rach is on a few different things to keep the BP and heart rate down, and baby is doing fine.

Oh, by the way little baby, you’re worth it. :)


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29 weeks and all is (kind of not) well

I cannot believe we have made it this far. Feeling the baby move inside of me, and seeing her move on the gazillion ultrasounds I have had is more than Adam or I ever hoped for when we started fertility treatments last summer. No matter how the next 10 weeks play out, we feel truly blessed.

My second trimester was so amazingly uneventful. After an utterly terrible first trimester, riddled with nausea, touch-and-go doctor appointments, and bed rest, second trimester was like a tall cool drink of water. Awesome! I was able to walk most days, play volleyball, and feel normal most of the time. Aside from being tired, I didn’t usually feel pregnant. Aside from a flutter here or there, I felt “real” movement in week 22. And Adam was finally able to feel baby from the outside over July 4th weekend. It was actually on our anniversary….which was really cool.

And now….well, all good things must come to an end, right? I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia this past week. When I went in for my one hour sugar test, I asked if I could get my blood pressure taken, on a whim, because I just felt off. I was swollen like a marshmallow, terrible headache, seeing spots, dizzy, and just felt bad. I thought it was from overdoing it at our camping reunion the weekend before. This is how little I know about pregnancy! :)

They sent me straight to the hospital for monitoring. Then home for a couple of days on bed rest. When I went back on Friday for my next monitoring, they ended up admitting me. I spent two more days being monitored. I peed in a jug for TWO 24 hour period. I had multiple blood draws and ultrasounds. Lots of recordings of baby’s heart rate. All to confirm what we already knew from my symptoms.  This is what we know now:

Baby is doing well. She doesn’t seem “stressed” in her heart rate or blood cord flow yet, but her belly is now measuring three weeks behind, which is concerning. The slowing down or stopping of fetal growth is one of the tell tale signs that the disorder is worsening. Baby girl has measured about a week behind for most of the pregnancy, which is no big deal, as most of you know. But now there is a wide discrepancy that wasn’t there before. The head and the belly are the two areas where the doctors concern themselves with growth measurements at this point. Regardless, baby is curled up in her breech little ball as she has been for the entire pregnancy. She seems content, and doesn’t like to move much. She especially doesn’t like the heart rate monitor. She typically runs from the nurses when they put it on. It’s kind of adorable!!!

As for me, I was put on blood pressure medication yesterday. That should help regulate my end of things for a little while, hopefully. I have weekly monitoring at the hospital and weekly appointments with my OB now. Oh, yay! Modified bed rest and lots of water are the only things I can do to help the situation…or at least how my body is feeling. The swelling is really bad some days, and others it is not. It just depends on how much I can stay off my feet. I have also been referred to the high risk clinic for a second set of eyes. I really do love my doctor. She has been so thorough and helpful. I completely trust her and her partners at the clinic.

Apparently, once this starts, it does not go away and cannot be mitigated. It is just a matter of time until they will have to take the baby either because of risk to me or to her. Doctor Mac said to pack a bag because it could be at any appt that they decide to take her. It is just impossible to tell how quickly it will progress. My niece was born only three weeks after my sister was diagnosed, but Jaimee’s progressed rapidly into Eclampsia with full seizures etc. So we are all on guard and will do what we are told around here. :)

It is slow for some, and fast for others. The doctor will not deliver me past 37 weeks. So we at least know she will be a little early. I am really hoping we can make it another month, at least. I don’t want her in the NICU any longer than she needs to be. But we will take her however and whenever she comes. And we will ever remain grateful for the blessing of a baby in our family.

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seven to eleven to maybe eight

Okay, first thing’s first, we have made it to nine weeks of pregnancy. Yay! We had our final ultrasound before our big move, yesterday. Doctor Fisch couldn’t be more pleased with our progress. HB of 177, measuring in range, yolk sac not too small this time, umbilical cord visible, and we even saw fetal movement. Uh-Mazing!

Tonight is my last night of hormonal support. I will stay on Thyroxin and the prenatal, but no more blood thinner, estrogen, or progesterone. I am slightly nervous to go off of it. But baby is doing great so there is really no need at this point. I have no known clotting disorders or hormonal deficiencies…they were precautionary, anyway. So, we will see! Doctor would normally take me out to 12 weeks, if we were staying here, but we are not so I am on the hunt for a great doctor in Yakima.


As for the foster babies…they have moved into another adoptive placement. The night we brought the kiddos home, I had a terrible bleeding episode accompanied by horrific cramping. Adam and I sat in the bathroom crying, sure that we were miscarrying. So we went in the next day for an almost seven week ultrasound…fully expecting bad news. Doc even expected he would be giving us that bad news. However, miracles happen, and there was a little tiny thing in there with a healthy heartbeat. No known reason for the bleeding etc….except the stress I had been under with packing and getting ready for the new little ones. I was ordered to stay down as much as possible, which is simply not going to happen with so many little ones who needed my care.

I had also been terribly nauseous and sick from the pregnancy (first time for that too). I knew from the moment I left the doctor that I would probably have to say goodbye to the foster kiddos. The problem was that I didn’t want to. I mean, who lets go of a legally free for adoption sibling group of so many little ones. It is not in my nature. Or in Adam’s! After much pondering, prayer, and thought, I knew I needed to do it. Even if this pregnancy failed, we have another shot. And I was over my limit on what I could give during this time. Adam was devastated. I was sick to my stomach over it….but as soon as the decision was made and a new placement found, I felt an enormous amount of relief and peace wash over me. It was the right and best thing for everyone.

Here’s the amazing part: we thought for sure the kids would be placed into foster care while an adoptive resource was found. But within three days…a family popped up with open beds who has been waiting for two years for an adoptive placement. They are also the same religion as we are (which meant a lot considering we thought of the kids as ours, you know!). So Kristin, the new mommy, and I were able to transfer the kids from my house to hers. We can have as much contact as we want with the kiddos, and they get to stay together. The little girls were transferred last Friday, and sweet adorable baby K was just transferred on Tuesday. I will forever treasure the two weeks I was blessed to be his mommy. He brought light into my life, and joy to the children. He reminded us why we are trying to have a baby. It was painful to let him go, but not as difficult as when we lost Gaven because it was our choice, and he gets to be raised with his sisters in an excellent home.

The kids’ caseworker was disappointed at first, of course. But looking back she is grateful we took the kids when we did. She and I both believe it all happened how it did so we could get all of the kids together and out of the not so good homes they were in…while Kristin’s home was being prepared.

A BIG SHOUT OUT to my dad. He came down for the week while I was on bed rest and took care of the little girls so that Adam could go to work. He cooked, cleaned, changed diapers, played, rocked, etc….he was quite literally the foster babies’ dad and mom. It was difficult for him to let them go, even though he knew it was right. I know exactly how he felt, and so I am extra grateful for his sacrifice of love and service on our behalf. He even packed a couple of rooms for me….and made me lay on the couch the entire time. Dad literally save this pregnancy. I KNOW he did.


Needless to say, it has been a crazy two weeks, but everything has worked out for everyone. God’s hand has been on and in this home…tangibly moving and healing us through a most difficult time. We are so blessed. And so grateful to once again be small instruments in helping little ones who cannot help themselves. No regrets!!

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yep, it’s official…

…we’re crazy. Just in case you didn’t know that about us yet.

We met, fell in love with, and committed to a sibling group of three last week. We bring them home next Tuesday, the 5th. We are so excited. Through a long string of compounding events, we feel this is the adoption we have been waiting for.

Oldest sister just turned three. She is so sweet and shy and adorable. She reminds me of Annie two years ago, but quieter.

The younger twins girls are 14 months. But they act about 9-12 months. I’ll give more background once they are legally adopted, but they are healthy…just need some family members to give them attention and push them a little bit. They should “catch up” quickly.

We will be changing all of their names. Because we can. And because we have never been able to before. That’s kind of exciting. But now the pressure is on to find not only one great name, but three.

THE BIGGER SURPRISE: they have a two month old newborn baby brother who is in a foster home right now. He has a court hearing soon…like next week. And he is probably coming to us too. It is more than we ever hoped for.

And we are excited.

And you can talk about us behind our backs….it’s okay…because we know you do. And because we probably would too. :) We know it is right. And we know they belong with us. And we are grateful to be God’s instrument in some small way in the lives of some little precious beings who just need a family.

Pictures (with blacked out faces for the next six months) will be forthcoming. Next Week! Maybe! If I’m not too tired!!

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baby hope….in more than one way

8dpt= 53


Our numbers are more than doubling… Doc thinks it’s one. So do I.

Ultrasound= 8 March (Friday)…at seven weeks.


In other news. We’re meeting a sibling group of three little girls today. They are legally free for adoption, and have kind of fallen into our laps. We know there is one more adoption out there for us. We haven’t been sure when or how that would happen, but we are kind of excited (and overwhelmed) that this might be it. The oldest just turned three and she has twin baby sisters who are just over a year. They are beautiful.

The question: is it the right time and the right placement for us? We have said “no” many times over the past year for lots of reasons. So I am confident we can make the right decision this time too.

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and the number is…


Higher than our first beta last time. That’s good! We’ll see what Thursday’s number holds.

Possibly two babies…but probably just one good one. :)

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