Friday, December 30, 2005

Thursday Night

Ansel continues to do well with his feeding tube. Tolerating additional milk daily, he is up to taking 4.2 cc each hour on Thursday. Testing continues to show optimistic hopes; his PDA has closed and there is still no hemorraging in the brain. Kerri & Cody get to hold Ansel for a few minutes each day. Cute, little eyes peer from the blankets to check out Mom & Dad.

Kerri, gaining strength every day, continues having a myriad of procedures performed. On Thursday,she had new lines attached surgically to her neck for the dialysis and a PICC line inserted in her arm to lessen the needle poking for IVs, etc. Dialysis continues on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The rash on her face is lighter, but is still heavy on her back and chest. The staples were removed from her stomach on Wednesday. Doctors now use wet compresses on her stomach to cleanse and slow the oozing of her incision. Although she doesn't have much toleration for food yet, Cherrios seem to stay. We are impressed with Kerri's great attitude, she is a real trooper throughout the ordeal.

Cody continues to spend most nights at the hospital and works construction during the day. It's fun to see his strong hands holding little Ansel so gently.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two Weeks Old

Tuesday evening marks the two week birthday of Ansel. We are passed the critical period marked by the Doctors. Now the numbers are on Ansel's side.

Each day Kerri shows improvement. The rash is fading, the kidneys are putting out more. Dialysis was performed Monday and is scheduled Wednesday. The need for dialysis will be evualuated before each session. Wednesday doctors will again examine her tummy and perhaps remove some staples if the wound is oozing less.

Kerri is now strong enough to perform some of Ansel's care. Last night she bathed, diapered, & weighed him in the isolet - and discovered another milestone - Ansel is now 2lbs 4.9 ozs, officially passing his birth weight. Kerri's loving, gentle caresses and soothing hums while peering in the isolet are quite special.

Thanks again for all the cards, well wishes, and visits. Your love and concern are much appreciated.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas from Kerri and Cody to all that are reading these updates. They send their love and appreciate all everyone has done.

Kerri continues to improve and increase her strength daily. Tonight she plans to change Ansel's diaper. Cody already completed this test, and will be onhand for coaching.

The best news is the kidneys are finally starting to dribble some. Cheers erupted from the nursing staff upon the news.

Ansel continues to do well. His feeding rate was increased again today. A blood transfusion was given to replace blood taken for testing. His respiration was somewhat high, and the treatment tonight will be for Kerri to roo him.

Kerri and Ansel continue to make good progress.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Today brought a battery of tests for Kerri. Gaining strength daily, she is walking better and further. Ansel gained a little weight, almost 2lb 3oz, close to his birth weight. Doctors are increasing the milk feedings and Ansel is tolerating them well. Glucose levels were lower today, so that is also good news.

The highlight of the day was visits by Kerri's parents, sisters and nieces. Tonight, after spending time with Ansel, Cody and Kerri prepared to celebrate their second Christmas together. Three stockings were hung in the hospital room, gifts were placed under a small tree, and the Bible Christmas story was read. During the past couple of days, several families have brightened the hospital with Christmas carols. The family is still together and doing well.

Kerri wants everyone to know she appreciates everyone's prayers and concerns, and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Night Update

Now in a private room, Cody and Kerri are preparing for Christmas at the hospital. The room is adorned with a Christmas tree, ginger bread house, flowers, gifts and items from friends and family.

Saturday, Kerri's family will be able to visit from Springfield and Tulsa. She is in good spirits and we all are looking forward to a special Christmas.

Friday was busy, starting with dialysis, then several visits from doctors and friends. The white cell count is up, and staying up. There are no other signs of infection. Kerri is slowly getting her strength back. She is able to eat a little at a time. The abdominal pain and drainage is slowing getting better.

Ansel is being watched carefully for any signs of infection. He didn't gain weight today, but typically weight will go up and down. He does cry when his little heal is poked for blood. The dedicated nurses are content with his progress.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and comments. We continue to print the comments and read them to Kerri. She keeps the notes close and rereads them from time to time. She sends her love.

Thursday Night Update

The ICU is behind Kerri now, as she moved into her own room close to Ansel in the NICU. Last night the ICU nurses stayed up late chatting with Kerri, washed her hair, and wheeled her down to the NICU for a visit with Ansel, about 3am. This morning, when a room opened up, goodbyes were said, and Kerri promised to return and visit sometime. Her doctor gave her a nice gift basket with a book, soaps, chocolates, creams.

Ansel is now 2lbs 3 ounces, gaining about an ounce a day. Grandma n Grandpa heard a cry, so a high five was performed. The doctors and nurses are carefully monitoring his progress and are making adjustments as things change.

Momma and Baby enjoy being together. Ansel goes right to sleep during the Roo, then likes to streatch and move after being put back in the isolet.

We are grateful Kerri is gaining strength everyday, and her spirits are very good.
Kerri and Cody appreciate all of the gifts, flowers, cards, and thoughtful expressions from everyone as well as your prayers

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wednesday Night Progress

After a few days of incremental progress, Kerri made super strides today. This report will be the most fun yet. Kerri is feeling much better, is cleared for a general room when one opens up close to the NICU. The meal menu has been upgraded to a full liquid diet and Kerri loved her first taste of milk. Tonight, ICU nurses packed her up in a wheelchair and rolled into the NICU, where Kerri and Cody visited Ansel. Kerri and Ansel did their first ‘Roo’ (kangaroo care, see link on right). Early tomorrow morning, Kerri and her nurse are plotting a return to the NICU around 4am! Hope they don’t get caught. Tomorrow’s plans include starting Kerri walking again, along with trips to the NICU. Dialysis was done again today, as the kidneys haven’t awakened. With everything else perking up, we hope the kidneys won't stay asleep much longer. Your prayers and wishes have made a big difference. The change in Kerri’s condition from last week is truly miraculous.

Ansel continues to progress. The nurses are pleased with his growth. The vital signs are good and strong. Tests don’t indicate any intracranial hemorrhages (bleeding in the brain – common with low weight babies). There is no sign of infection yet, but nurses caution that one is inevitable, and they are ready to handle it. Ansel is tolerating eating well. Ansel’s nurse describes him as having ‘an attitude’ - that is music to our ears.


Tuesday night, Aunt Rachel and Grandma Jeanne made their way to the outside window to watch Ansel. Maneuvering for a better view between the blinds, Grandma accidentally smashed her nose hard against the window, announcing their presence. Warning to future peepers – beware of nose print on glass.

Kerri was smiling and chatty when we read today's comments. She remembers each student that left a message, and told us all about each relative and friend.

It seemed all the nurses in the ICU close to Kerri’s room stopped to ask about Ansel. They truly love and care for Kerri, and go out of their way for her.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

First Week Birthday

Congratulations to Kerri, Cody and Ansel - we have passed the week mark! What progress they have made. We have been truly blessed. Thanks everyone for your prayers, messages, visits, gifts and support.

Kerri was able to sit in a chair for four hours today. She is actually getting hungry. Antibiotics were stopped in an attempt to clear up her rash which is spreading. Tomorrow we may finally get the private room - leaving the ICU behind. If so, she plans to take the route through the NICU. No change in the kidney situation. Doctors are saying the kidneys will come back with time. Until then, dialysis will happen about three times a week.

Ansel is being succesfully fed. He was awake during our visit, taking peeks out of one eye. There are rumors that he cries, but not everyone has been blessed with his sound. The NICU nurse told us he was giving her the 'what for' during the last diaper change. Perhaps tomorrow he will cry for us. All his vitals look good. When Ansel was born, the Doctor said that the first two weeks was the critical time. We are half way!

On the right side of this page are some information links which currently pertains to our own micro-preemie, Ansel.

Tuesday Morning Update

This morning we got to talk with Kerri on the phone instead of the nurse. Things are getting better everyday. Kerri has some energy now, and is working on sitting in a chair. She is hopeful to score a wheelchair soon and start making visits to the NICU. The rash itches still, but we didn't hear Kerri complain.

Ansel had a good night, is settled into his new home - the isolet. When first laid down, he looked around a little, then went to sleep. Vitals look good on the cpap. Today, he may get his first meal. A tiny bit of formula will be given through the NG tube, that goes through his nose to his stomach.

While Ansel was moving into the isolet, Cody held his new baby for the first time. Removing the vent yesterday allows holding, feeding, isolet placement. Truly a milestone.

Clicking on a picture will enlarge it some.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Monday Evening Update

Today was a special day for Kerri and Ansel. The NICU staff brought Ansel to Kerri, who saw and held her baby for the first time. To accomplish this, a team of doctors and nurses hooked up Ansel to portable devices and carried him up. Our hats are off and special thanks to this special group from the NICU! Kerri was still beaming when we visited tonight.

Ansel, besides being introduced to his Mama, had other milestones. Two treatments of Indomethacin successfully closed his PDA. During the heart echo, the PDA was still open, but the doctors watched it close before ending the examination. With the heart fixed, the ventilator could be removed, replaced by the less invasive CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The CPAP puts a bit of constant pressure to Ansel’s lungs. Tonight, Ansel graduates to an isolet (or incubator). Also to be removed tonight is the last connection to the umbilical cord. Everything now will go through the PICC. Because the vent is gone, feedings will begin soon, and Cody will soon be able to hold Ansel. This was a big day for Ansel.

Kerri received another dialysis, which makes her feel better. She was able to sit in a chair for the first time since giving birth. Doctors are concerned about her rash, and changed the antibiotics. The white blood count is still high, so the move from the ICU is still a day or two off. We all are concerned about the kidneys, but doctors are saying they should mend in time.

We are settling in a loose routine, where we leave for the hospital around 6:30pm after printing the messages and comments to Kerri. Comments sent later will go over the next day. Kerri enjoys your messages and love. Plus we really do feel the power of your prayers. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful support.

Sunday Evening Update

Kerri still has significant abdominal pain. Dialysis didn’t happen today, so we can expect it tomorrow. The dialysis relieves Kerri’s edema. No one knows when the kidneys will start up – it could even be a couple of weeks. A rash, probably a reaction to medicine or perhaps the dressings has developed over her face and chest. Kerri is awake, alert and is improving each day. Tonight marks the fifth day in the hospital. We are thankful for the tremendous turnaround in such a short time, and still think she may get out of the ICU in the next couple of days.

Ansel had a busy day. This morning he weighed in at a tadpole over two pounds. The birth weight was 2lbs 4 oz, the lowest weight was 1 lb 15 oz. He is on his way back! When they start feeding Ansel, weight gain will become more rapid. The PDA didn’t close entirely from the Indomethacin treatment that finished this morning. Another treatment is currently underway, scheduled to end Monday about 6am. The PICC line was installed this evening, and a tube to the artery in the umbilical stump was removed. The vent is still set at 10, meaning Ansel is doing 40-50 breaths a minute on his own. The vent will not be removed until the PDA issue is resolved. Monday, an x-ray will verify the PICC is in the proper place. A little fussy over all the happenings, we watched his face wrinkle up to cry, but with the vent he couldn’t. There will be high fives when we finally hear Ansel cry!

To keep things short, we are not explaining the medical terms each day, but think they are explained in the previous posts. If something is not clear, post a message with the question. Anyone is invited to ask or answer.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Morning Update

Kerri had a good night. Vitals are good but there is still little kidney activity. She sat up in bed this morning, and the nurses are planning on having her sit on the edge of the bed. We expect a kidney doctor in sometime, and probably another dialysis to take place.

Ansel had a good night. They are weaning him off the vent, which is down to 10 breaths a minute, with Ansel doing the rest. The current Indomethacin treatment should end at about 1pm. The heart will be echoed to see if the PDA has closed. If all is successful, two possible events are in store – a PICC line will be put in place and the vent may be removed. A PICC is a long term IV that replaces the umbilical cord stump currently being used, lowering the risk of infection.


Support from Friends and family continue. We have offers from two new mothers to pump breast milk for Ansel until Kerri recovers. The NICU nurse hadn’t heard of such an offer before, but will see if/how it could be done.

Our superbly maintained van :-), (sometimes ambulance) blew a radiator hose yesterday at 30mph with grandpa driving. It’s the same vehicle that Jeanne successfully flew 90+ MPH to the hospital last Tuesday. Another rarity - Tuesday, it actually had gas in it.

The ICU nurses really love Kerri and regularly tell us. Kerri is very sweet and nurses enjoy working with someone who progresses well. There are many older patients that take much longer to respond to treatment, or are preparing to pass.

We hope you enjoy the pictures of Ansel getting treatment from the lights. In a dozen or so years, imagination puts him on a beach with similar shades.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Evening Update

Kerri and Ansel continue to make progress. Thanks for the notes of encouragement from everyone. We will read them to Kerri. She loves them!

Kerri continues in the ICU regaining her strength. The white blood count is up somewhat, so there may be a slight infection. Doctors are trying to stabilize other blood numbers which will have to be fixed before going to a private room. Still bleeding some, she received two more blood units. Kidneys are passing a little fluid today, so that is promising. Kerri’s parents, Bill and Joyce Miller, and her sisters are visiting from Springfield.

Doctors discovered a heart murmur in Ansel today, which they say is not uncommon in premature babies. The Indomethacin medication is continuing for the Patent Ductus Arteriosis.

Top Knot, where Cody works part time, let Cody know they will pay him for last week! Cody has spent all his hours at the hospital.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Evening Update

Baby Ansel had a good day. The drug Indomethacin was administered to close the small blood vessel that bypasses the lungs which usually closes after a normal birth. The ventilator is still connected. Ansel is much calmer today and is receiving less sedative.

Kerri is still in the ICU. Maybe tomorrow she will move to a room. Some of the body functions are kicking in, but her kidneys may take a couple of days to come fully on line. She received dialysis again today. Some blood was transfused, and she is resting well. Progress wasn’t as spectacular as yesterday, but Kerri had a good day.

Thusday Night, Friday Morning Update

Kerri continues to rally. News is all good. The ventilator is off, one of the abdominal drains is plugged (shut down on purpose). Occasional blood/blood products are administered as doctors muse over and adjust her numbers. She is alert and talking. Cody fed her some food – green jello, sherbet, broth, water. Although the amounts were small, it didn’t set too well, but still that is great progress. Lots of visitors came and visited her Thursday, which she tolerated well. We decided to leave her last night, as she is now resting much more comfortably, and needed the solid rest. Again the doctors and nurses are superb, and help us understand the best course of action. The kidneys began to pass a little liquid Friday morning. She may be able to leave the ICU soon, perhaps today! Thursday was a good day. Friday is starting good too.

Baby Ansel is doing as expected. There is a predictable path preemies follow. The first day or two is considered a ‘honeymoon’ as they look good. His is ending, but the kind nurses are helping us understand that this is normal. Ansel is back on the ventilator, and has been sedated as he doesn’t like his new home. Nurses try to make his surroundings as close as possible to a womb. He wears tiny ear muffs to muffle noises – just like a womb. The environment is warmed, he is gently bundled up, and his eyes are covered. He tolerates laying on his side and tummy. But the new surroundings and activities frighten him and take a toll on his energy. Sedation is part of the answer to protect him from expending unnecessary resources needed to grow and breathe. Tests and evaluations are being conducted daily, and hopefully some of the results will make its way to the blog.


Schreiber partners donated a basket of food, magazines and misc items. Along with the basket from the Carthage Jr High, we had enough items to share with everyone the ICU Waiting unit. Water and juices were the most popular, but the crossword puzzles were gobbled up too. The fruit was great. Most visitors politely refused at first. As we sat with them and visited, they would soften, share why they were there, begin to smile and accept the gifts. The generosity of the Jr High teachers and Schreiber Partners brought comfort to many somber people.

Cody read to Kerri your comments from this blog. Your comments and love are really apreciated! Thanks for taking the time to write.

This link is an easy to understand article on toxemia, the disease that caused the placenta to separate. An important realization is that these events were unpreventable, and unpredictable. No one is to blame for what happened.


Kerri shared her recollections of the arrival to the ER. She heard them say the baby must come out now! We have to cut! Put her out now! She saw surgical instruments being frantically prepared while doctors worked over her belly. She was still awake! Yes, yes, ‘put me to sleep now!’

We chatted with one of the neonatal nurses who was on duty when Ansel arrived with poor vital signs. She has learned to not predict an outcome and shared an experience where parents were called in to say goodbye to a dying baby. The baby rallied, and she saw him years later being a normal busy boy! All the nurses we talked with speak of the special feeling that exists in the NICU. Jay is exactly right in his comments.

We still don’t have an internet hookup at the hospital, so these updates have to wait until we are home. Hopefully we can work something out. Pictures are coming sometime today.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday Morning Update

Kerri had a good night. The dialysis was successful. The potassium level in the blood is still too high, so we expect continued efforts in that area. Doctors plan to begin weaning her off the ventilator today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Summary of events of Dec 14, 2005

After a summary of Kerri and Ansel's conditions, we will list some interesting notes of the day.

First, thanks for all the support from friends and family. It is truly overwelming the love we have received. We really feel the power of your prayers, and it is bouying us up.

We feel Kerri has turned for the better. Doctors placed an abdominal compression which successfully slowed the bleeding. We spoke with Dr Johnson at 3pm, who still described her condition as critical. But her vitals have improved throughout the afternoon and evening. Kerri wasn't fighting the ventilator as much which allowed Doctors to lessen the sedation. She is mostly awake and trying to communicate with hand/eye signals. Doctors plan on removing the ventilator Thursday morning. Her kidneys have shut down at least for now. Kerri is suffering from swelling throughout her body. Tonight, doctors are planning dialysis to alleviate some symptoms. Although we haven't talked with doctors since early afternoon, we see definite improvements. Sure there is a long way to go, but it was a great day!

Baby Ansel is holding well. They have removed the ventilator, at least for now. Ansel is working hard to breath, with the nurses watching carefully for overstress. They will replace the ventilator if needed.

Many are looking for updates to this blog during the day, but we don’t yet have a way to do this from the hospital. We (Jeanne and Dale) will try to update in the evening or morning as possible throughout the recovery.


Kerri’s parents and sisters visited from Springfield. Their presence seemed to rally Kerri. Kerri’s condition was a shock, but this is a brave family, and source of strength.

Jeanne’s fellow teachers (3rd Lunch Bunch) put together a basket of food, drinks & magazines.

Some of Kerri’s students brought a card to Kerri, expressing their prayers and love. Kerri works as an aide at the Carthage Jr High.

Dr Johnson noted that several doctors are impressed that Kerri and Ansel survived the drive from Carthage with the detached placenta. Apparently, this condition is fatal unless medical help is immediately available. Jeanne felt impressed to drive to Freeman, picking up Cody who administered a Priesthood blessing. She was aware that McCune Brooks Hospital was much closer, but not as well equipped to handle this situation.

Cody was able to stay for longer periods tonight with Kerri, brushing her hair, showing her pictures of Ansel.

We hadn’t read the comments of the blog until tonight when we returned home. Thanks to everyone pulling for this small family! Kerri’s Mom and Dad are staying in Joplin tonight. We will print all the comments and read them to Kerri and Cody on Thursday.

Cody has been fasting since yesterday. He will stay tonight with Grandparents Sneddon in Joplin where he will get a good meal, and a real bed. Cody, a student at MSSU, is getting cooperation from his professors to postpone his finals. Cody is also employed at Top Knot, a construction company that is also helping during this time.

Some of Cody's work companions visited the ICU, relating that when this crisis was announced, silence fell over the entire construction site. Many workers, wives have expressed willingness to donate blood for Kerri.

Bishop Martin announced that a Carthage Ward fast (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for Kerri and Ansel will occur Thursday. Other family and Friends have expressed they too will join in fasting and prayer.

Despite not being able to directly visit Kerri or Ansel in the ICUs, many visitors have dropped by the ICU waiting room to express their love and best wishes. We started sharing a secret -- during the day, through an outside window, Ansel can be seen in his bed. Milage may vary, as sometimes the drapes are pulled. But if someone drops by, directions can be provided if we are present in the ICU waiting room. Calling in advance is advised.

Thursday, Jeanne and Dale will be at work during the day. Cody and Mr. and Mrs. Miller will be at the hospital during that time.

Thanks again for everyone’s efforts, thoughts and prayers.

December 14, 2005 - Welcome and First Post

Thank you for your love and interest in Kerri and little Ansel. This blog may help everyone keep up with their progress.

Here is a summary of the events leading to Ansel's birth.

Yesterday afternoon, about 2pm, Kerri was released from the hospital where she was being treated for preeclampsia (Toxemia of Pregnancy).
Sometime after 5pm, Kerri started bleeding. Jeanne imediately rushed her to the hospital, picking up Cody at a pharmancy on the way. Kerri was seriously bleeding, and Cody gave her a blessing in route. Preeclampsia had caused the placenta to separate.

They arrived at Freemans at about 5:50, and the baby was delivered by emergency C-section at 6:04. They were able to revive the baby, and started treatment on both mother and baby. Efforts to stabilize Kerri continued through the evening and early morning hours. A second surgery was performed, but was only partially successful stopping the internal bleeding. A reduction of blood clotting agents resulting from the preeclampsia is complicating her recovery. She is receiving massive blood transfusions and blood products. The next 24-48 hours are critical, where we expect her to remain in the ICU.

Little Ansel is doing well in NICU. They are giving him nutrients through his umbilical cord stump, and keeping him warm. He is on a low level ventilator. His critical time will be the next two weeks, plus the usual preemie complications.