Friday, November 25, 2011

Preemie Community

At some point while Veronica was still in the NICU, I began to notice comments on this blog from a few other preemie parents.  It meant so much to know that there were people out there who knew what we were going through and who were cheering us on.  Soon after, I came to realize the multitude of blogs out there written by preemie parents.  It is an entire community which I am now glad to be a part of.  I have learned much from some of these women and I enjoy following the stories of their children.  A recent post by Jack's mother shares some of their amazing stories and I feel honored that Veronica was included.  Please take a look!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


What a year it has been.  Last Thanksgiving, we found out we were expecting our 6th child.  Little did we know that Veronica would be born less than five months later.  The weeks and months that followed were some of the most challenging of our lives.  We never imagined that come Thanksgiving, we would feel so incredibly grateful for all that happened this past year. 

During Veronica's NICU journey, we were supported in so many ways - by friends, family and even acquaintances.  Prayers, meals, babysitting, quarters for parking, gift cards, gas money, etc.  We were humbled by the outpouring of support and we will always be thankful. 

The doctors and nurses that cared for Veronica will always have a special place in our hearts.  I know I have said this before, but they were simply amazing and we are eternally grateful for all that they did for Veronica.  To put your trust in people who are caring for your child 24 hours a day and essentially keeping her alive is not an easy thing.  But it quickly became clear to us that Veronica was receiving the highest level of care.  Knowing that made our NICU experience, and our lives, so much easier. 

Veronica's NICU journey could have been so much more challenging and we feel so incredibly blessed that she has fared as well as she has. Every day I look at her in wonder, amazed at how far she has come and that 7 months after her birth, there are virtually no signs of her extrememe prematurity.

Thanks to all who continue to visit Veronica's Journey and for keeping her in your prayers.  We are grateful for all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Baby Veronica!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Aments!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

7 Months

        Happy 7 Months, Veronica! 
                                            (1 day late!)

Besides turning 7-months-old, the big news this week is that Veronica had her final ROP exam.  The retinopathy of prematurity is completely resolved and according to the opthamologist, her eyes look "great"! Amazing!!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

What if...

Besides Veronica's size (looking more like a 3-month old as opposed to an almost 7-month old), the only physical reminder of her extreme prematurity is a small scar on her abdomen.  We're not entirely sure what the scar is from but my guess is that it's from something that was taped to her skin - when you look at those early photos you can see how delicate, practically translucent, her skin was.  (If any of the micro preemie moms out there have an idea about the origin of the scar, please share if you will.) Anyway, every time I change Veronica's diaper, I see the scar and I am immediately reminded of her NICU stay and how far she has come.  I am still amazed and incredibly grateful that she is doing as well as she is.  But my mind has a tendency to wander at times and I begin to ask myself  'what if' questions.  Being connected with multiple micro preemie/preemie groups, I am constantly reading about prematurity issues.  I have read about all of the possible complications associated with prematurity and for most of those complication, if not all, the smallest and youngest babies are at greatest risk.  24 weekers such as Veronica definitely fall into that category.  I want so much for her to continue on the path she is on - medication free, growing, developing.....but what if, just what if that doesn't happen?  Or what if the worst is yet to come?  I would like to think that the fact that she has done so well up to this point means that she won't have any long term issues.  But nobody can say that for sure.  I try not to dwell on these thoughts because I know we are incredibly blessed....but to be honest, the thoughts and worries are never far from my mind. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


We did our best with hand washing and staying close to home but the inevitable happened - Veronica got sick.  It started with a mild cough yesterday which evolved into a stronger, more consistent cough this morning.  Eventually, her breathing sounded like that of a purring kitten.  So off to the pediatrician we went where she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, which is basically an inflammation of the airways in her lungs.  Bronchiolitis is often caused by RSV but when they tested Veronica she came back negative which was a huge relief.  (Even though she had her Synagis shot this week, I am still terrified of RSV.) The doctor recommended a nebulizer treatment which took about 10 minutes - she fussed a little bit but overall she was such a trooper.  I guess she figured 10 minutes of a nebulizer treatment is nothing compared to almost four months on CPAP.          

Bronchiolitis tends to last from 7 - 10 days so unfortunately, the worst might still be ahead of us.  We were given a nebulizer to take home and a prescription for albuterol.  Hopefully, the two will provide some ongoing relief over the next few days.  Poor Veronica - after everything she has been through, I just hate seeing her sick.  Please say some prayers that she gets better soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011


For some time now I have been following a blog about Jack, a now 2 1/2-year-old who was born at only 23 weeks, virtually on the cusp of viability.  When my water broke at 23 weeks the doctors told us the grim statistics and asked if we wanted our baby resuscitated if she were born that early.  I remember the tremendous relief I felt when we made it to 24 weeks just a few days later.  The six days I spent on bed rest were a blessing in so many ways.  Not only did Veronica get more time in the womb, but it also gave me and Andrew a chance to at least try to prepare ourselves for her early arrival.  Jack's parents didn't have that opportunity.  Their story is inspiring to say the least.  Jack's father has written a book about their experience which he is now trying to get published.  The excerpts are beautifully written and I hope you will take a look.  They call him Miracle Jack, and that is truly what he is. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

3 Months

Veronica is 3-months-old!  Well, not exactly....her adjusted age is 3 months.  Prior to her birth, I can't even remember if I knew there was such a term as a child's adjusted or corrected age.  But Veronica's adjusted age is the one we focus on and I am happy to report that she seems to be developing on track, at least for now.  She smiles, coos, lifts her head off the ground, recognizes us....all the things a 3-month-old should be doing.  Her growth, however, is tracked by her chronological age, which doesn't really make sense to me.  But given that fact, it will probably be a long while before she is even on the growth charts for her chronological age.  But if that ends up being the greatest of our worries, then I would say we are in pretty good shape.  

One thing we do worry about these days is RSV.  Any parent of a micro-preemie is all too familiar with the risks associated with RSV.  Since micro-preemies miss out on the valuable 3rd trimester antibodies passed through the placement, they are at greater risk of contracting RSV and becoming seriously ill as a result.  It is the leading cause of re-hospitalization for preemies and can even lead to death.  So it's certainly something we think about.  Some of the micro-preemie blogs I follow reference RSV isolation  or quarantine.  But given the fact that we have five other children, in addition to both Andrew and I working full time, it is just unrealistic to think we can keep Veronica home all of the time.  Instead, we try to avoid crowded areas (shopping malls, church) and we frequently wash our hands.  We have hand sanitizer in just about every room in our house.  Did I mention that we wash our hands, a lot?  Keeping Veronica at home all the time is not even a guarantee that she won't get sick.  Just this week Josephine was ill with some sort of virus - a fever and a horrible cough. We did our best to keep the two separated but trying to keep an active toddler isolated is next to impossible.  It was a little nerve wracking at times but we made it.  But how many more colds and viruses will we go through over the next few months?  Next week Veronica will get the first dose of five synagis shots to help protect her from RSV.  Synagis is an antibody used specifically to prevent RSV and, at $2700 a dose, is reserved for those babies at highest risk for contracting the virus.   Unfortunately, since its not a vaccine, there is no guarantee that she won't get the virus.  I'm thinking this is going to be a long winter.....please say some prayers for us!

Veronica's Halloween Outfit

A Pink Butterfly

Tummy Time