Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Graduation of Sorts

Yesterday was a good day for Emma. She is back off of the ventilator and they moved her over to another section of the NICU. For the first 10 days she was in a section of the NICU for the most critical patients. Yesterday another 30 weeker was born, so they needed a new space. Since Emma was doing the best out of her row, she moved. It isn’t quite as private in her old home, but there is more room for us to move around. She is breathing well on her own again and will hopefully be off the ventilator for good. If she starts to have labored breathing again though, they will have to put her back on. They also started her on milk one more time. Even though she had made it up to .7 cc per hour before taking her off the milk, they started her back at .1 cc per hour. We are hoping that the milk will help her start to gain some weight. In other news, Alissa was cleared by her doctor to drive. They originally told her 2 weeks, but she seems to be progressing well enough. She is happy about that because she can go to the hospital whenever she feels like it now rather than waiting for me or someone else to take her.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More Photos

I have posted a second online photo album of Emma. Click here to see them.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Weekend Update

This weekend had its ups and downs. Emma was one week old on Saturday. Time is flying by, but not fast enough. She continued to lose weight until finally gaining some back yesterday. She is currently 1 pound 11 ounces. She was off the ventilator for several days, but then she kept forgetting to breathe. They had to put her back on a nasal breathing apparatus on Saturday and ended up putting her back on the complete ventilator yesterday. Since going back on the ventilator, she is doing better. It was a hard weekend for us to see her go from doing so well to taking a couple steps backwards. They took her temporarily off the breast milk because of all the extra tubes in her again. We got to help change her diaper a couple times this weekend as well. I am back to work today for most of the day and Alissa cannot drive for another week, so she is really missing Emma. Thanks for all your continued prayer and support.

Friday, July 22, 2005

We got to hold her!

Alissa and I were able to hold our daughter for the first time yesterday. It was amazing to have her lying on our chest. She is no longer on any breathing devices and is taking mom’s milk. They are increasing the amount she receives everyday. Alissa was able to hold her first. The nurse placed Emma skin to skin on Alissa’s chest and she only took a minute to adjust. All of her vitals indicated that she liked being out of the incubator and on mommy’s chest. After about 20 minutes, Alissa asked the nurse to let me hold her. She wasn’t sure how long she would tolerate being out of the incubator so she didn’t want for me to miss my chance. As it turned out, Emma really liked being out. She cried for about a minute after being put on my chest, but then did great. I ended up holding her for an hour. I have to say it was one of the best hours of my life. To feel her move and hear her breathe made it all real. It has been a difficult road and it is still going to be, but it is all worth it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mommy's Home

Yesterday Alissa was released from the hospital. While it was nice to finally be out of the hospital after 2 weeks, it was hard to leave our little girl behind. Even though she wasn’t in the room with us, it was nice to know that we could see her within minutes at any time of the day. Alissa is very sore from the c-section. Emma is doing well. On Tuesday they took her off the ventilator in her throat and put a breathing apparatus in her nose. Then yesterday they took her off of that and put a small oxygen tube in her nose. She is breathing on her own now; the tube is just to provide extra oxygen as needed. In addition, yesterday they gave her a feeding tube down her throat so that she can start taking mom’s milk. She gets 1 cc an hour and she is doing well with it. Today we should get a chance to hold her finally. We are a little nervous, but extremely excited. It will make this all a little more real. Emma does have a couple of minor issues that are typical for preemies. She has a small hole in her heart that will hopefully close on its own. If not, a minor surgery can be done a year or two down the line, but it is not life threatening. In addition, they found a minor brain bleed. There are four grades of this. Grades 1 and 2 are minor, while 3 and 4 are major. Emma has a grade 2 bleed and in many cases the brain will just reabsorb the blood. We are praying that that is the case. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Doing Well

Emma is continuing to do well. For a preemie, she is really fighting hard. She is feisty and loves to kick her legs and wave her arms. It looks like they will be removing her from the ventilator today so that she can breathe on her own. They may have to put her back on it later, but for now they are going to give it a shot. They also hope that she will be able to start on mom's milk through a feeding tube soon. These are all steps towards us finally getting a chance to hold our daughter. I don't know how much longer that may be, but at least we know there is progression.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Emma Day Two

I started the morning yesterday spending about a half hour alone with my daughter. I just sat and stared at her and touched her little arms and legs. She is so tiny, but looks great. She is going to be under the lights for the next week or so to help with her jaundice. Apparently 99% of preemies have it, so it's no big deal. I have posted an online photo album if you would like to see some pictures.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Info

Now that I have had a little time to process everything, I thought I would write a little more. I don't know how long Alissa was in surgery for, but it seemed like forever. It was a long several minutes as we sat behind the blue curtain. It was maybe 5 or 7 minutes total until we heard that Emma was out. They lowered the curtain for just a second for us to see her and then took her to a table to work on her. There were at least 10 people in there working. It was quite amazing. She is definitely in good hands. After she was all cleaned up I got to follow her up to the NICU and got an introduction. I spent a few minutes in there, but it was almost shift change, so I needed to leave. My good friend Nick Askew drove in from Riverside as soon as he got the call this morning. He was there as I walked out of the operating room. He was the first person to see her besides Alissa and I. We went downstairs for breakfast as we waited for me to get to go back in the NICU and while Alissa was in the recovery room. We had a great talk and I am so blessed that he was able to be there with me. We have been through so much in our lives together and it was fitting for him to be there. It is something I will never forget.

Emma is now only needing 22% oxygen as opposed to 100% when she first went to the NICU. Besides that she is doing great. The nurse made her a little princess sign to hang over her bed. Hopefully Alissa will be well enough this evening to visit our daughter. So far Grandma, Grandpa, and aunt Karen have been in to visit her. We have had a few other visitors as well. It has been a great and tiring day so far.

More to come....

Emma Grace Is Here

Good Morning everyone. At 5:42 this morning, July 16, Emma Grace Ford was born. She is 945 grams, which is just a hair over 2 lbs. There were some complications over night, so they decided that she needed to be born this morning. I got the call at 4:42 from Alissa and at 5:42 she was born. Mom and baby are doing well. Emma is in the NICU and under constant care. She needed some medicine to help her lungs. After the medicine she is doing better. She will be here for a while. Thanks for all your prayers.
Love, Mark, Alissa, and Emma

Friday, July 15, 2005

Good News Bad News

Alissa has been in the hospital for eight days now and everything looks great for Emma. She continues to have a strong heartbeat and there have been no changes in the bloodflow during the ultrasounds. As a result we just keep pushing along. Yesterday our doctor came in to check up on us and he said that if everything continues to look good and if Emma begins to grow more, we could let her stay in the womb until 36 weeks. This is great news for Emma if it pans out. It is rough on Alissa though. That would mean another six weeks in the hospital. She will be happy if Emma can stay inside her that long, but it has been hard enough being in the hospital for just a week. Obviously, we want what's best for Emma. And we have had so many different scenarios thrown at us that we don't know what to think. For now we just take it day by day and see what God has in store for us. Please continue to pray for Emma's growth and health. Also pray for Alissa's sanity as she is cooped up in a hospital room indefinitely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Katy and Eddie's Wedding

On Sunday afternoon, my sister Katy got married to Edward Manuel Leno Eccker at a park in Irvine. It was a great day. It's hard to believe that my baby sister is married now. Eddie is a great man and I am happy to have him in our family. They are a perfect match. Sunday was very hot in the park and as a result I am a lobster with raccoon eyes. Katy and Eddie left for Jamaica immediately after the reception. I just hope that hurricane Dennis didn't cause too much damage there. I also hope that there is no residual bad weather for them. They will return on Sunday so that Katy can start her new nursing career at Hoag hospital in Newport Beach. She starts Monday night in the oncology unit working the graveyard shift.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Good morning. I have some positive news this morning.

Yesterday Alissa and I got to take a tour of the NICU to see where baby Emma will go when she is born. It was hard, but at the same time a good thing. We saw a baby in there that weighs 1 pound 6 ounces, which is roughly Emma's size. That baby was only on oxygen and otherwise healthy. That was very encouraging. We will have almost 24 hour access to see her except for during the two daily shift changes. For now though, we may not have to be there for a little longer.

We met with the perinatologist yesterday and he says everything is still looking good with the baby except her size. So for now, we are going to continue to wait and see. Alissa is hooked up to the fetal heartbeat monitor 24 hours a day and Emma's heartbeat remains strong. We are also getting doppler ultrasounds twice a week. They cannot measure her weight for another two weeks, so unless something changes in the heartbeat or ultrasound she will remain pregnant until at least then. At that point, if Emma is still not growing, we will have a c-section scheduled. What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday we were told that we might be delivering as soon as Thursday and now we just continue to be encouraged daily. Please continue to pray that Emma grows inside of Alissa so that she can stay inside the womb.

Thank you,

Mark, Alissa, and Emma

Monday, July 11, 2005

Quick Update

Alissa and the baby made it through the weekend without any declines, so we are still pregnant. The original goal was to make it to this coming Wednesday as that will be 30 weeks. Our specialist last Tuesday didn’t think we would make it to Wednesday, but it looks a little more attainable right now. I am not sure if we will be able to go beyond Wednesday, but we are hoping to. Every day the baby stays inside the womb is less time in the incubator afterwards. Ultimately, whatever is best for the baby will determine whether or not to deliver. I will be checking my e-mails periodically throughout the day, so feel free to e-mail me if you need to.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


It's been a long week at Mission Hospital. Each day we feel a little more assured of our impending premature delivery. We have seen a lot of specialists and met with the head of the NICU. We have gotten a lot of good statistics about the probability of having a normal healthy girl. Most babies born this early are fine after the first couple months in the NICU. We are just waiting now for the opportune time to deliver. So for now, no news is good new.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Alissa and Baby Emma Grace

As you may or may not know, my wife Alissa is pregnant with our first child. On Tuesday we went to see a specialist to see why our little girl is not growing at a normal rate. Alissa is 29 weeks pregnant and the baby would typically be about 3 pounds. Right now she is only 1 pound 4 ounces and getting further behind. As a result, Alissa has been hospitalized for 24 hour monitoring and we are just waiting to see when we will be delivering our baby. As of right now, we are taking it day by day, but the doctor thinks we will need to deliver her in the next week. That would be about 10 weeks early, so there are a lot of challenges ahead. We are at Mission Hospital in the anti-partum wing as we wait. Mission Hospital has one of the best NICU departments and we are in good hands. There is also CHOC there as well. Please pray for little Emma that she will grow strong after she is born.