Thursday, August 18, 2016



I apologize for the delay in posting. These past three weeks have been overwhelming. I need to apologize to all the mothers I have ever offended by saying, "Don't you get bored when you stay at home?" Oh if all of those preciously patient women could see me now. I am a mess. I am lucky to shower at noon when Mike gets home for lunch. It seems like if I am not feeding her or pumping I am holding her because she is fussy. I feel that a 'routine' is nowhere in sight. 

When Louisa came home from the NICU, Mike had to go back to work so I was parenting solo and there were lots of tears. In the NICU Louisa nursed like a champ. She would eat and nurse every time I was there. When I brought Louisa home, she would not nurse and would hardly take her supplement from the bottle. As I stated before, there were lots of tears. Many of my close friends have given me all kinds of perspectives when it comes to nursing and even with all of that prep I still feel like a failure.

I was told by a couple of our doctors that babies with Downs often don't nurse well, however, because I have pride issues I refused to accept that fate. When Mike and I found out we would have a little girl with Down syndrome I remember thinking to myself, 'she is going to be exceptional'. There is a lot I need to learn about Down syndrome but what I have already found out from other parents is that every single child is different. Crazy right... kind of like children that don't have Downs. Your first child will most likely be different from your second and you are different from your spouse. I assure you I am not living in a place of unrealistic expectations but I also don't want to lessen her opportunities because I choose to categorize her a certain way.

I promised myself I would not stress about her not nursing and I am going to continue to try everyday to nurse her during one of her feedings. Once Louisa went to only nursing once a day I started to exclusively pump which is a load to bare. 

We went to our first doctor appointment last week and little girl lost weight. This shouldn't have surprised me because she wasn't nursing well, but in true Momma Hilary fashion I had to cry just a little. We saw a lactation consultant who changed our feedings and today when we went to the heart doctor she gained all her weight back AND some! 

I may sound old when saying this but I am amazed by the medical technology that is available! I mean seriously. Phillips has created these tiny EKG stickers that are placed on baby and they BAM an accurate EKG is done in 15-20 seconds. Our heart doctor is Dr. Cottrill, a 71 year old WONDER woman. I promise you cannot say her name to anyone in the medical field without them absolutely RAVING about her. When you walk into her office there are 5 walls FILLED with pictures of little patients she has seen over the years. She has written articles and articles have been written about her. Dr. Cottrill is truly a blessing. I know she has been told that for years but I pray she feels the Lords presence in her work. 

Louisa's oxygen level was 94% and Dr. Cottrill said she doesn't really hear her laboring to breathe. All of this is precious words to my heart because we were told her breathing would be labored and she wouldn't have a lot of energy to eat, but little girl has abolished both of those expectations. We will keep you posted and continue to share updates of our sweet girl. Thank you to ALL of you who have been praying for her. I feel your prayers and I am truly so grateful for them.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

It's Official We are Parents!

She arrived!!

Louisa Jean Riley arrived to us on July 25th at 5:28pm. She weighted 7lbs 5 oz and was 19 3/4" long/ I will spare you the details of birth, although I now understand why Moms will share their story it is pretty fascinating.  I mean think about how many months have lead up to this marathon moment. It is rough but amazing. I will be honest I did not enjoy being pregnant but I do understand why moms will promise to never get pregnant again and then immediately after the birth we forget the last 9 months. 

Once Louisa took her first breathe and started crying everything in my body relaxed. She was here and her heart handled labor/deliver just fine. Mike and I decided prior to her arrival that if she needed to go to the NICU, Mike would go with Louisa and my mom would come stay with me. The NICU nurses were in the room and ran their initial tests on baby. They decided she would need to go to the NICU to do further testing. I held my little girl for probably 20 seconds and just cried and cried. I was so grateful she was here and was safe. I didn't want to let her go. It hurt my heart to give her back to the nurses. 

Often moms will talk to me about their hearts overflowing and bursting with love and joy for their baby and to be honest I didn't feel that way right when she was born. I loved her of course but I think because she was taken away so quickly that I didn't get the chance to really enjoy her. Then my mom walked in the room and the tears wouldn't stop. I was feeling so many things that I couldn't express except through tears. It was confirmed that Louisa had Downs, I just had a baby, I wanted my husband to be next to me, and I wanted my mom. My mom cried too, she was very nervous and glad everyone was okay. 

Once I recovered from the Epidural I wanted nothing more than to go to the NICU to see my little girl. The moment I was wheeled into her NICU room tears streamed down my face. I loved her. I am her momma and she is my baby girl. I held her close to my heart and just cried happy tears with Mike crying next to me. Mike and I were both exhausted and starving so we then went back down to our room where Mike's parents and my parent's were waiting for us. We all cried joyful tears together and then Mike and I inhaled a cold chicken meal. 

That night Mike and I went up to the NICU at 1:00a and 4:00a to hold and feed our precious baby. We were a bit delusional and I was extremely swollen but it was in this room that we would find ourselves for the next 8 days. The day I was discharged I sobbed. I didn't want to leave Louisa at the hospital. Everyone kept telling me it was for the best and I believed them but it didn't make it any easier to leave her there. Even though it was extremely painful to leave her there I will say the one sense of comfort I found was that every single one of her nurses in the NICU at Central Baptist were the most amazing people I have ever met. I am pretty sure they loved her as much as I do. They spoke so gently to her and cared for her so deeply. It didn't feel like she was just a patient to them. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation I pray with my whole heart that you have the same experience as we did in the NICU. 

Tomorrow I will post more about the NICU and why little girl was there for 8 days and our first 24 hours at home.