Little Bella has captured the hearts of our family and everyone that meets her. We want to share her story with all.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Day Getting to Know Bella

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Our family continues to fall in love with Miss Arabella.  Isn’t she adorable?

Our pedestrian got in touch with the formula rep who is going to get us Similac Special Care 30 – yeah!  One less stress!

Our cardiology appointment is on Wednesday.  Life is starting to form some sense of normalcy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home At Last

We are home!  Check back because I’m going to update the last couple of days, but I wanted to post about today.

Bella and I woke up (after our 2 & 5 o’clock feedings, of course) to curious and loving sisters:

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Welcome home Bella!




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Becca loves baby clothes!  Here she is going through Bella’s many clothes. And the fun jungle – there’s some big girl stimulation.

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Bella went to the doctor this morning.  He is going to be following her and helping us get into the cardiologist ASAP.

It’s wonderful to have her home.  :)  The sisters are trying to keep up the spoiling that the nurses started.


For those of you who want to visit:

Please know that you are welcome – but please stay away if you are ill. 

If you do visit, please don’t be offended when I ask you to wash your hands and to avoid touching her face.

We are trying to keep our little one from all the nasty bugs out there.  Thanks!

I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

This is the message that Maureen, Arabella’s nurse, left on my cell phone Wednesday morning.  We were going home!  I was so excited!  This post is full of pictures – pictures of the dear people that kept our sweet girl alive for 85 days.  They dearly love Arabella.  They have our thanks and gratitude for all of their care.  We are grateful that they held and loved on Arabella during that long, long stay in the NICU.  THANK YOU – truly and completely!

jan 29 006 Saddleback Memorial Hospital, Arabella’s home for her first 85 days.









These are some of the dear nurses that cared for Arabella.  I know of at least two people that came in on their days off to say good-bye to our sweet girl.

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Saddleback has this crazy rule that mothers have to be wheeled out to their cars when their babies are discharged.  So, I had to be wheeled out – crazy, I was never even a patient there.  :)








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Two of Arabella’s doctors.  She was blessed to have such capable care.






In the car, Mama and baby.  And Ann and Arabella.  I have to admit that these wonderful people love our sweet girl so much – and she knows it.  She would turn her head to their voices.  How blessed we are that she was surrounded by such love.  Ann bought this ladybug for Miss Arabella’s car seat.  Thank you Ann.  You are kind.

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Then we were off to the airport!  Arabella and I returned the rental car.  Michele and Octavia helped me get all my bags from the car to the check-in.  I am grateful for this kindness and the trust that Michele and William have in Jason and I to raise their daughter.  She is a beautiful gift.  She will always be loved.

After checking our baggage and saying good-bye to Michele and Octavia, we had TSA to deal with.  Our sweet nurses had drawn up all of Arabella’s medications in little individual bags, so that all I had to do was grab the appropriate bag and feed Arabella.  This was such a life saver during the trip – thanks ladies!  The TSA had no problem with any of the medications or formula bottles.  I am so grateful.

I feed Arabella in three airports that day – Orange County, Phoenix, and Houston.  Arabella slept through both flights.  I, on the other hand, prayed very hard.

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Daddy and Arabella getting reacquainted  at the Houston airport.

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My poor Mother-in-law stayed up till after 1 AM so that she could meet her new granddaughter.

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What a busy day!  I am so grateful to be home.

Thank you to everyone who made that possible!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Social Bug

The nurses love Arabella and Arabella loves her nurses. They have been like her family for all these days and weeks. She knows their voices. She turns her head when she hears one speaking.
When I walked in this morning and then again after lunch, Arabella was not in her crib. She was back visiting with all the nurses. She is a social little thing.

On the health side, she did not do well with her feedings last night. They let her try to go 4 hours between feedings, but she was just as tired after the 4 hours of sleep as with 3, so she ended up eating less than they wanted over night.
They also did a chest x-ray and are afraid she has more fluid in her chest than before. They are increasing her diuretics accordingly.

Fun pictures - Becca, here are pictures of Arabella's hands.

And Arabella looking at a big girl toy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2 Quick Videos Before I Head Back

Rooming In

Sorry there was no new post yesterday. They asked me to spend the night at the hospital. They call it "rooming in." I showed up at 8 PM and we took Arabella and her gear down to an L&D room. Then they left me. I had her formula and her meds. I had to make it through the night and take care of this little baby. We made it through! She slept really well. I didn't. :) I was afraid to sleep too soundly. We woke up and ate every 3 hours. This is our room.

Oh! She weighed 8 lb 3 oz last night! This is Arabella at 3AM - blurry because I didn't want to use the flash.

If you feel inclined to pray, please pray that she will continue to get stronger. Eating is still very hard work for her.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A video to round out the day


Arabella smiled at me today!  Happy day!

Good Day

This morning Michele, Octavia, and I spent a lovely two hours down at Laguna Beach.  I posted more about that on the family blog.

When I got to the hospital, I was greeted by this cute face:

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Look carefully.

No NG tube!!

Just a beautiful face!

Did you notice, Becca, she is a coat rack just like you.  :)


She weighed 7 lb 13.4 oz this morning! Wahoo!  She is eating.  So, the prayers are working.  Thank you for praying.Arabella Jan 2 038

Bella had a renal ultrasound done.   Like most babies, as soon as we convinced her that we weren’t killing her, she was fine.  We should hear something back from radiology fairly soon.  She had enlarged kidneys in utero, so this is the follow up.

Dr. Vogel talked to me this morning – she is looking good. WAHOO!  She is going to receive her immunizations today and tomorrow.   They will watch her over the weekend, and then (dare I say it) we are outta here!  I am so grateful to the staff of this hospital.  Bella is doing so well.  I am grateful that our Father watches over all of His children.

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Awake and tubeless

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I thought it would be fun to show you what she looks like when she eats – all swaddled up and then a big burp cloth tucked around her.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

She is ours!

Today I signed the papers that made Arabella our daughter!
Arabella Michele Hope Turpin celebrated with Similac Special Care, 30 cal. laced with two diuretics and some sodium! Yummy stuff!
I am hoping to be home soon. I can't wait to post a picture of all six of my daughters!

Quote of the Day

God didn't promise days without pain, days without laughter or days without sorrow. He didn't promise days without sun or rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and a light for the way. "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Day Getting to Know Arabella

Today we talked a lot with nurses, doctors, case managers, and social workers.  We are all trying to look toward discharge and how to make that happen.  Arabella was on a special formula called pregestimil at 27 cal.  The reason is because Arabella was a very, very sick little girl.  Anyway, the reason for the formula has been resolved, but she still needs the high calories because of her heart.  So today after talking between the two doctors and the nutritionist, they decided to try her on Similac special care, 30 calorie.  so we’ll see.  The higher calorie should help her gain weight, but we have to see if her body likes all those calories.

I was able to feed her three bottles today.  Every time she took 60 cc’s (2 ounces).  The thing is that she gets so tired.  She takes about half of it really well, and then we have to work for that second half.  The nurses tell me that I am as good or better than they are at this point.  I give her all of her medications when I am there.  This is good because I am feeling confident that I can keep her alive :).

Jason left for Houston today.  I am glad that the girls will have their Daddy home.  I’m hoping that will help with some pretense of normalcy – at least at night.  Sandi is doing such a wonderful job with the girls.  I am so thankful, but she is getting tired.  I can hear it in her voice.  So I’m glad Jason will be there in the evenings.

I went to the monthly NICU mother’s meeting today.  It is interesting to listen to this talk from the OT about preemies as an adoptive mother.  It was a good presentation.  I had forgotten a couple of things.  They do a really good job at this hospital taking care of their parents.  I’m impressed.

I wonder about Arabella.  She amazes me.  Here is she trying so hard to live.  From what I’ve been told, she has come back from the brink of death and here she is a beautiful, bright eyed girl.  Ahead of her is at least one open heart surgery.  But holding Arabella I sense a purpose.  She has something to accomplish in this life.  People keep thanking me for what we are doing, adopting Arabella, but I feel privileged.  This girl will live a life with a purpose.  She will be someone special, and I will be privileged to be her mother.

Now, onto cute little Bella…..

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There is so much life in those eyes!




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Who are you?  Mama and Arabella getting to know each other.



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Monday, January 19, 2009

Prayer Request

If you will, we do have a prayer request today.  We know that faith can move mountains and help little tiny girls.  On Sunday they were talking about releasing in a day or 2.  Today they were talking about releasing in a week or 2.  Arabella lost weight last night.  It might be due to the excess stimulation of having all of us hanging around her and loving on her or maybe she didn’t get enough to eat.  The doctor wanted to give her 24 hours to see what she would do on “demand feedings”  - I’m awake, feed me.  So I left hearing we’ll probably have to go back to tube feeding a feeding or two tomorrow.  Ugh!  Please pray for our girl.  Please pray that she will be strong enough to eat, to eat the amount the doctors say she must, and that she’ll gain weight.

Last night I leaned over to Jason and told him that I have put Arabella’s name down on the temple rolls often.  Little did I know how much she really needed it.  I am grateful that Heavenly Father has watched over her.  He knows and loves all of His children.

In other news, We ordered Arabella’s formula.  It’s not the cheap and easy stuff you can just pick up at HEB or WalMart.  It has to be ordered through the pharmacy.  They didn’t have it, but ordered it for us.  It should be here late tomorrow afternoon.  Yeah!  We also had to come up with a car seat.  Five stores later, we had a simple car seat.  No one sells just car seats anymore – they sell “traveling systems.”  Only thing is that I don’t want a stroller.  I just want a car seat.  I want to get a twin stroller since Joy isn’t walking yet.  Of the five stores, there was ONE that carried twin strollers.  One was a side by side umbrella-like stroller.  Not enough support and I don’t want a side-by-side.  Joy tends to love on people a little roughly, so it’s for Arabella’s protection.  :)  Babies R Us had one duo glider (one in front, one in back), but it was baby blue.  They even had the matching infant car seat.  But it was seriously light blue – baby BOY blue.  I just couldn’t do it.  I tried to talk myself into it.  I thought of myself in the airport by myself with all my junk and the baby and the car seat (you know Asia’s life – my hats off to you babe.  I have a new respect for you.  I am so used to having an extra pair of hands around.)  But I just couldn’t bring myself to have to endure “oh, is it a boy?” for the next year.  I found out that one doesn’t just walk into a store and make a purchase.  One chooses what one wants online and then purchases it.  That’s lovely when you have 9 months!  Oh well, the kid has a car seat and we’ll get a stroller in Houston when I have time and the inclination to shop again.  :)

So the long and short of it, Heavenly Father is aware of Arabella’s needs.  He has already watched over her and sustained her.  We are asking for your prayers to help her over this last little hurdle.  Thank you. 

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When we walked into the NICU, they had her in the swing.  So cute!  She was pretty sleepy today.





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Sunrise in Laguna Hills, CA




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We had to do laundry today.  The facilities are pool-side, so here is Jason waiting for the wash to get done!  Poor thing.  :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bella, Bella

Today we were able to talk with more nurses and learn more about Arabella’s beginnings.  The poor thing!  She was one very sick little girl.  We said good-bye to many nurses who only work weekends.  By the time next weekend rolls around, Miss Arabella will be a free woman!  One nurse in particular said with tears in her eyes, “We didn’t think this day would ever come (discharge).”  I am so grateful to all the nurses and doctors who helped our little one.  She is a strong girl.  We have been blessed with an unexpected blessing.

Jason and I were able to spend another couple hours with Arabella’s family.  We took some pictures of them holding Arabella.  I am so glad to have these.  We will put them in her room.  I wish we had similar pictures for Joy. 

The doctors and nurses have decided to not treat Arabella like a preemie anymore – meaning forcing her to wake and eat every 3 hours.  She is an older baby now.  She doesn’t want to wake up at 12 and 3 to eat anymore, she wants to sleep!  So they are going to allow her to stretch those times outjan 18 bella 3 008 a little.  She still has to take in the same amount, but if she wants to start sleeping more at night, so be it.

When we came into the NICU, she was wide awake, check it out.  She is so cute!

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And just a short little video:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

She is doing well

We walked in this morning and meet Dr. Vogel, another neonatologist (they have 5).  He told us that they were thinking of adding another cardio drug, but the cardiologist decided not to because she is doing so well with what she is on.  Good girl!

He also told us that they increased her to all nipple feedings.  The nurses say that I am very good at getting her to nipple all of her milk.  Today we were able to do three of her bottles and she did all of them.  I gave her all of her meds (except one) orally.  She doesn’t like her sodium chloride, we’ll have to mix that with more formula.

We spent almost two hours today with Arabella’s family.  They are really sweet and loving people.  Their daughter, Octavia, is so cute.  She has this long, wavy, brown hair and the cutest smile.  Jason hopes Arabella gets Octavia’s smile!  Octavia and I are now very good friends!  She climbed right into my lap and let me love on her.  It felt good for this Mama who is missing her babies at home so badly!

They are prepping us to go home – home as in stuck in a hotel.  I must be honest and say that is mildly terrifying!  Preemies I can do.  Babies with complete AV Canals , umm…………  The nurses are starting to train me on how to draw up her meds.  And be very careful with this one, they tell me.  It’s her cardio med and you don’t want to overdose on this one – ugh!  ( In my mind I’m screaming and running madly from the NICU, outside I’m smiling sweetly and nodding my head).

Thankfully, I am able to hold Arabella, sing to her, rock her, and feel my love for her beginning to grow.  I’ll be honest and say I’m scared of being alone in a hotel room with her.  Reading about ASD and VSD and valves of the heart is not helping, but we will get through.  Jason says I am the queen of charts, so he tells me I can do this.  She has six meds with various times of delivery!

Enough rambling, on to the good stuff, pictures!temple and arabella 2 037 temple and arabella 2 040

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Isn’t she just adorable?  Another baby to swaddle.  :)





And for those who understand these things and their significance to me, I found a ladybug waiting for me outside the hospital today.  Grateful for those tender mercies!  He knows I’m here.temple and arabella 2 033

Today's Favorite Quote

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Meeting Arabella

We took care of many legal matters all morning, but the excitement started at 10:50 when we meet Arabella’s mother at the hospital. Michele is a wonderful, caring woman. I love her very much. We also got to meet Arabella’s sister – she is so cute!

After Michele signed all the necessary papers, we were allowed into the NICU. We meet two of the neonatologists and many of the nurses that have cared for and loved Arabella for these past two months. They love Arabella! She was a very sick little girl. A lot sicker than I realized. I have so many new words to look up and learn. The scariest thing for me to hear is that Arabella is in heart failure. Wait – don’t panic. The doctor told me that most babies are younger when they go into heart failure. Is that good? We are playing a crazy game now. They want her to reach this all important goal of weighing 10 pounds before they do the heart repair. They can do it before, but it would be better to wait till she is that big. So they support her heart function until she gets to the magic ten pounds and then they operate. She is on Lasix (I thought that was something people did to their eyes, but it is a diuretic) and lanoxin(helps the heart beat stronger and in a more regular rhythm)and aldactazide (another diuretic) as well as sodium and potassium because of the diuretics.

It is scary to sit and watch this little one breathe so fast because her body has to work harder than you and I do to get the oxygen her body needs.

Arabella is a fighter. She has overcome so many obstacles. We will get through this. Now, enough with my ramblings and onto the good stuff……….Arabella.

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I love her toe - it’s higher than the others, so cute!