Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas and Lots of Brynn-Style Smiles

Merry Christmas everyone. Although I'm a few days late with my Holiday wishes, I'm right on time wishing Brynn a happy two-month birthday today. Crazy how time flies!

Anyway, our Christmas Dinner was a lot of fun. We included the LDS Missionaries along with Cameron and Lori McDonald. Lori and I are not pictured.

Look at all that good grub! You'd never know we forfeited the plane tickets for our family food festivities!

We carried on the Baum (Natalie's family) tradition of big stockings. Can you guess what's in Brynn's stocking (middle)?

Okay, so our Christmas Tree is kind of modest, but the presents were great! Matt's favorite gift was a game called Power Grid, where each player basically builds an entire power generation network, managing the economics of supply vs demand and cost of resources. Call him a nerd, but it's the perfect game for his brilliant economics/engineering mind. I'm actually excited to play it with him since it's kind of like Settlers of Catan (my favorite game). As for me, Matt got me a date to see the Nutcracker for my Christmas surprise!

The night of our date to the Nutcracker, I decided to get Brynn dressed up, too--even though she couldn't join us. The shirt says "This is my little black dress" and she is sporting her new outfit, as well as her double chin, in true baby style--asleep:

Daddy and Brynn having some bonding time:

Brynn looking at Daddy with her big eyes (her shirt says "hug me, hold me, kiss me"):

Brynn's best smile is hard to catch on camera, but here are a few. Do you think she has dimples? It might be the cheek wrinkling up next to the sticker on her face, but I think it's dimples:

Well, as you can see from the photos, Brynn is doing really well. She seems quite happy with her life and is obviously unaware that she's "abormal" in comparison with other kids. Shhh, don't tell her.

Overall she's finally out of the woods, but as one last minor dilemma she has been diagnosed with ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) which we hope is our last surprise. Basically, all that means is that due to her prematurity, she will eventually be blind if the doctors don't do something about it. To avoid the blindness, they plan to do an injection of a new, relatively-untested drug called Avastin. Without getting technical and boring, this drug blocks the eye from growing a bunch of crazy, messy blood vessels that will ultimately scar, contract, and cause the retina to detach. She is scheduled for her shot on Monday.

Although it's always a little nerve-wracking to feel like she is a guinea pig for a new drug, we are hoping that the outcome will be better than the current standard procedure of laser surgery. The laser surgery would have destroyed much of her peripheral as well as night vision, but Avastin supposedly has no long-term side effects.

Other than that, she's just gaining weight (is exactly 3 lbs as of last night), smiling a lot, improving in her breastfeeding skills, and making Matt and I love her more each day. I keep calling her a "cute toot," (a phrase I think I got from my grandmother), but Matt insists we find a different nickname for her. But hey, if the doctors are right about the cause of her smiles, the nickname just might fit!

Love you all,


Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, she is growing fast now! Three pounds! I just had to comment and say that from my perspective that looks positively like a dimple! We are praying for you and your little family that things will continue to look up.

Emma had to get two tiny stitches in her forehead this week and although I had to help restrain her, I couldn't watch and I just cried the whole time. I don't think I could live what you've lived as well as you've lived through it.

Monique said...

We used Avastin here and there for our chemo patients for the same mechanism, and I personally didn't see the bad side-effects they warn you about. But again, this was with adults, so I understand your concern about letting them 'experiment.'

Just curious, are there alternatives besides the laser surgery?

Monique said...

OK, you're gonna think I'm crazy, but I discussed this case with my friend who is a PharmD in the ICU.

I didn't realize it was intravitreal!!! *Phew* In a few pilot studies there weren't any obvious, immediate adverse effects.

A lot less to worry about had they wanted to give it systemically.

(As you can see, I'm invested in your family's success).

The Diggins Family said...

Wow - those have to be the cutest little smiles ever! And I think that it's a dimple too :).

Lori said...

I don't care what the doctors say - those sure look like real smiles to me and pretty cute ones at that! Brynn is so lucky to have such great parents. Thanks for a wonderful Christmas! We love you guys!

Cori Henderson said...

Oh she is so adorable! I love her smiles and I bet those are dimples! What a little doll.

Matt and Tommi +4 said...

I can't believe how strong and beautiful she is! I am so excited for you that you can breastfeed now and that you get to hold her for so long. The time Mattie spent in the NICU and what she went thru is nothing compared to Brynn's but I remember how special those moments were when I got to do mommy things. Congratulations!