The Coplin Family


Our NICU story

Here is our NICU story.  We are so thankful for all of the nurses and prayers and support by friends and family.  I still keep in touch with 2 of the NICU nurses (Tricia and Karen).  I have included what I can remember of each day, her stats, and some emails that Luke sent out that day.  I don't want to forget this experience nor do I want to forget seeing God's faithfulness through trial.  I may never know the reason why I had Adele 6 weeks early, but I trust that it was for good (Romans 8:28).  Thank you for reading and I hope you are encouraged.

Day 1 ~  Wednesday, 1/5/11
5 lbs. 0.7 oz (51-75%tile), Head Circumference: 30, Length in cm.: 44
Fun fact: She's O- blood type like me!  It's the most rare, but universal donor.

I expected to have a baby laying on my chest after delivery and to nurse her an hour after giving birth, but not everything goes according to plan.  Adele was born a full 6 weeks early and had to be whisked away to the NICU minutes after birth and I was told I wouldn't be able to see her for the next hour and a half.  While I was still in the delivery room the Nurse Practitioner (NP) on call came down.  It was Elizabeth Ivey - my cousin's best friend whom I had met and watched her kids before.  God placed her there, that day, that time to be able to break the news to me about Adele's poor state.  She was in respiratory distress from either pneumonia, disease, or lack of surfactant (which is released around the 34th week of gestation that coats the lungs for easier ballooning or breathing).

She had to be put on a warming table, naked so they could see everything going on with her body, hooked to a monitor that shows her heart rate, respiratory rate, and her O2 processing.  Her rates were really high and she was having a really hard time breathing.  Very labored and grunted on the exhale.  She didn't grunt as much by the end of the night and she even took a paci with some of my colostrum on it.  She was on an IV with fluids and they did not feed her this first day.  Also through that IV they gave her daily doses of antibiotics - penicillin and gentamicin.  She had quite the cone head and was still a little swollen from delivery.  She was on forced oxygen but we are glad she didn't have to be intubated.  The saddest part was not being able to hold her or really touch her.  She needed to concentrate on breathing.

I was exhausted from being in labor all night and so sad for my baby girl, which made me even more exhausted, yet restless.  We asked for no visitors because we needed to rest and wanted to use any free time or energy to go visit Adele in the NICU.  Luke was amazing.  Lots of prayers shot up that day by us and MANY others.  We feel so supported and surrounded by God's great hand even though we feel hopeless.  I began pumping trying to get my precious baby girl some antibodies from the colostrum.  Pumping was interesting when it was only tiny drops of colostrum or nothing at all coming out.  I would go to her room to pump so I could see her and envision her nursing.  Supposedly that helps milk production when you cannot physically nurse or hold your baby.  It's funny to look back at my pumping journal.

That first night she was able to enjoy a paci with a little of my colostrum on it :)  The doctors told me they would probably start tube feeding her the next day.

Day 2 ~ Thursday, 1/6/11
5 lbs. 0.3 oz

The NP decided to give her a dose of surfactant to see if that would help her breath better.  They still don't know if that is what she needed or whether or not her lungs were fighting infection.  She began being tube fed this afternoon.  The tube was inserted down her mouth into her tummy.  They feed her by letting the food gravity drip.  For now, since my milk hasn't come in, they are giving her my colostrum and supplementing with Similac Neosure, which is a preemie formula.  They let her suck on the paci while receiving the tube feeding to simulate nursing somewhat.  So she thinks sucking = food.
Her oxygen was lowered to 30% that night, so things were looking better.  We could start laying hands on her to make her feel like she was in the womb still, but no light touching or really much talking.  I sang and spoke to her some, but tried to let her rest.

I was feeling pretty good, but still very puffy and exhausted emotionally and physically.  I was still in the hospital - we told them we wanted to stay another night so we hung out all day, worked on paperwork/birth certificate stuff, and tried to rest.

That night I received a text picture from one of my favorite NICU nurses, Tricia, who put her first bow on :)

This is a note that Luke sent out that day:
Hello friends,
Just some quick news...Lindsey and Adele are both resting and progressing well. They are in separate rooms on different floors.  Adele is getting her first feeding through a tube down her throat into her stomach. Her ability to suck, swallow, and breath at the same time is the biggest hurdle for now. They've done some procedures to facilitate better breathing and she seems be making positive strides. Thank y'all so much for the prayers and calls and support. Let us not let this opportunity pass without pondering and awing the miraculous sustaining power God has over our life. Every vain and beat and breath works just fine without one intentional thought.
Let's use this situation to marvel at Him for a moment.
We would love for you to come visit us. More than likely it will just be Lindsey and I. Adele has to stay in her room. We are in Methodist Germantown in room 403. Just give a call or text so we can make sure we are in Lindseys room. Thanks. 

Day 3 ~ Friday, 1/7/11
5 lbs., Head Circumference: 31

Oxygen raised back up to 48% Things weren't looking good.  Since she didn't respond well to the dose of serfactant, they now think it is infection in her lungs based on her chest x-ray and elevated CRP (C-Reactive Protein), which usually means inflammation of the lungs in infants, which probably meant pneumonia.  Our time in the hospital had come to an end, so we were discharged and got home around 10:00 PM - my milk finally came in and, well, let's just say my stomach relaxed too.  It was nice to be home with my love, but sad not to bring Adele home with us and start our family.

This is a note from Luke this day:
Hello family. You have been so great for us lately. Thanks so much. Just a quick update. Adele's breathing is still very labored and xrays show potential signs of pneumonia.  Please pray for wisdom of the nurses and doctors. She has been on antibiotics from day one for any infection so that's a very good thing. Pray her body can process any fluid in her lungs and fight any infection. Pray for Lindsey's mind, thoughts, and emotions. She being very strong and working very hard to begin making food for Adele. Also pray for her rest. She is sleeping some now but has to get up often. Thanks again for all the visits and comments and messages. Lindsey will be released by midnight today, but we will be here and at home on some unknown schedule. I am resting fully in the One who sustains my on life. Not once has my Father deserted me. He's not surprised by one second of our day. What an opportunity to worship. Please also pray for our parents. They are trying to balance helping us and allowing us to rest.
Please forward this generously.
More to come later.
Thanks friends.

Day 4 ~ Saturday, 1/8/11
4 lbs. 15.6 oz.

Exhausted, but woke up and went to the NICU to pump and check on Adele before my Memphis friend baby shower at 11.  The nurses said I would probably be able to hold her today since she was looking pretty stable.  So, I hurried to the shower in hopes to get back! The shower was fun but I was super tired and overwhelmed afterward.  However, very very thankful for the support of friends that rallied around me and for all of the gifts!
When I came back, I found her on the bili blanket because she had Hyperbilirubinemia aka "jaundice."  This is called phototherapy and it speeds up her body's process of getting rid of all of the waste in her body.

Luke was struggling with a head cold, but he came up to the NICU with me to take pictures and video of me.  The monitor behind him is what told us her heart rate (green), O2 processing (blue), and her respiratory rate (yellow).

Holding Adele for the first time!  I cannot even describe this experience in words.  Holding her skin to skin still makes me want to cry (dang hormones)!  You wear a gown opening in the front.  Something about that skin to skin is beneficial for mom and child.  It's called Kangaroo Care.  It almost felt like she was back in my belly again - feeling her feet wiggle on my belly.  I was so neat to feel her breath - I felt so connected to her for the first time.  I cried.

She's just a little relaxed ;)  She was wide eyed when the nurse first placed her on my chest.  That crusty looking stuff around her mouth was because of the oxygen.  She would bubble out the mouth because of the forced oxygen that had a slight bit of moisture in it so it wouldn't dry her out.  Pretty pitiful looking.  I would wipe her mouth every time I visited her.
As I held her they gave her the night feeding.  When I pump I put my breastmilk in a syringe and they have been using this slow forced flow instead of the gravity drip which was going in to her too fast, which was not settling in her stomach well causing her to spit up.

Here is a note from Luke this day:
Success!  We are currently in Adele's room and Lindsey has Adele on her chest while she is taking her 8pm feeding. Lindsey was able to unknowingly pump the exact amount needed for this feeding. Coincidence??  We are very excited and Lindsey is enjoying it very much. Adele did not even cry in the transition. She will be with Lindsey for almost an hour for all the food to be pumped in to her belly. She has been reduced down to 35% oxygen.  I filmed the whole thing and have attached a few pics for your enjoyment. Please feel free to forward to anyone. Its impressive to see the amount of folks thinking about us through things you all have told us and through our connections on Facebook.  The hospital has wireless so I just took these and am sitting in Adele's room sending these out. Thanks for all the support and prayers. For six weeks early she has done very very good. We especially want to thank our parents who came at the drop of a hat on Tuesday night. It was very meaningful and helpful to have you all here with us right before and after delivery. We rest very easily knowing you all will be playing such a vital role in raising Adele.  Thank you so much. I will keep you posted.
I dont want this ordeal to be my crutch in order to make super-spiritual comments, but lately Ive tried to take advantage of little moments and consider their worth.  Ive found that there are moment all around me lately that I call Worshiping Moments. These are moments when it hits you that we have an Amazing God who is extremely active and involved in this whole process. I believe fully that things are exactly the way they are and He orchestrated them that way and I welcome it. This was only a surprise to us. Lindsey and I rest fully in His providence and all-powerful ability to heal and grow and sustain. So lets make sure we dont let this opportunity pass without making sure we thank Him who gives us our breath even now. Thanks family!


Day 5 ~ Sunday, 1/9/11
5 lbs. 1.3 oz.

Adele got her first snow and we came home and cooked as a family without her...trying to get back to normal.  My milk is coming in better since I held her - pretty neat how God orchestrates hormones!  I got to hold her again :)

Luke wrote this note:
M101 family, 
Lindsey and I can feel you all praying for us. We have had some very good rest the last few nights. Lindsey is doing so well and producing nicely. She has gotten to hold Adele twice and both times were very calm and peaceful.  Adele is doing so well. They have continued to lower the oxygen levels she requires. They have also taken her off extra fluids because she is taking milk so well.  Thanks for praying for me as well. I started feeling under the weather during our first day in the hospital. So I have avoided being around Adele as much as possible. I have not held her yet except a few minutes after delivery. Please continue praying for my strength so I wont make her or Lindsey sick. I am feeling much better though. Staying away has given me time to get some last minute work done at the house. It also has given Lindsey some much needed sweet alone time with her little girl. Again thanks for your prayers and support. M101 is simply amazing. Have a great days rest and remember to not pass up a worshiping moment.

Day 6 ~ Monday, 1/10/11

4 lbs. 15.5 oz., Head Circumference: 31.5, Length in cm.: 44
I did Kangaroo Care for the 3rd time.  She is almost off of forced oxygen and we are both very relaxed.
Luke got to do Kangaroo Care for the first time :)
Adele got to come off forced (or high flow) oxygen!!
This is a good picture of the nurse handing Adele to Luke, but you can see all the mechanisms in the background.  There was so many cool tools there and it was such a nice room.

This picture shows the sink area.  The only part we didn't get a picture of was the couch and tv area, which was nice to take naps on!

Day 7 ~ Tuesday, 1/11/11
4 lbs. 15.8 oz

This was quite a busy day and we jumped some huge hurdles!!!

Off the Bili Blanket!  It was good to see her face and eyes again.  The small treasures.  It was hard to connect to sunglasses and it made me sad that she couldn't see what was going on around her.

Got to take her first bottle since she was able to come off of forced oxygen!  She only took 10ml of her first bottle and got the rest by tube.  The second bottle fed by nurse Carolyn she only took 15ml of.

She then got to wear her first shirt (which was way too big, but I didn't have any clothes there that fit her) and was swaddled for the first time!  She loved is SO much and smiled sooo big for a while.  I captured a few photos, but it's something I'll never forget.  It brought so much joy to my heart to see my baby progress so much in one day and be able to feel loved and cuddled and satisfied.

AND she got moved from the warming table to a crib.
That night Luke fed her a bottle and I hadn't even yet!  He got her to take the most she had taken all day - 20ml!  He was so confident yet gentle with her.  I couldn't ask for a better teammate in life.  He is a great husband and daddy!!

 Just look at that precious face

Day 8 ~ Wednesday, 1/12/11
5 lbs. 0.2oz

She has proven that she can stabilize her own temperature!  Loving being swaddled in the crib :)
Kangaroo Care!
She took her first full bottle by nurse Tricia today!!  However, she didn't do well on the bottle after that - she was too worn out :(  She had a heart rate drop aka Brady in her sleep this night.
Day 9 ~ Thursday, 1/13/11
5 lbs. 0.5oz, Head Circumference: 31

Her gas blood tests came back and her CRP is down, so they were able to take out the IV from  her hand!!  They finished her last round of antibiotics last night, which had to be administered twice a day for at least a week post birth to make sure any type of infection was gone.  Well, with her CRP being down that meant the infection isgone!  Praise God!  Now, all we have to perfect is "suck, swallow, breath" in order to get this feeding tube out!

I gave her her 8AM bottle and she took it all!  However, during her 11AM bottle she was so worn out that her heart rate dropped twice during the feeding :(

I was doing Kangaroo Care with Adele and she started rooting so much they let me put her on the boob...she was more just pacifying herself than anything since she just ate an hour prior by picture for that ;)  I am nervous my milk supply is not going to be what it needs to be when we leave the NICU based on what she is eating by tube or bottle every feeding vs. what I'm pumping.  Trusting God.
 I cannot believe we are a week old already!
Giving another bottle and she's looking cute!

Day 10 ~ Friday, 1/14/11
5 lbs. 1.2 oz.
Adele will be taking bottles every other feeding today (she feeds every 3 hours) and taking it by tube the others to rest. NP thinks she is getting lazy on the feeding since she has now taking 3 full bottles successfully and becomes disinterested on the others.  Tomorrow they plan to take out the tube and let her eat by bottle every feeding and if she doesn't take the full feeding they'll just lay her back down and let her get hungry for the next. May integrate breastfeeding in tomorrow based on how she is taking the bottles.
Poor thing scratched her nose good.  Hopefully she can get that feeding tube out soon.  She has to be taking feedings (whether by bottle or breast) well for 48 hours and be gaining weight.
We brought clothes home to let Pip smell them :)
Poor Luke has the stomach bug :(

Day 11 ~ Saturday, 1/15/11
5 lbs. 0.7 oz.

1st successful breastfeed!!  Yippee!!!  Breastfeed 2 times today.
Conserving her energy and making sure she's getting enough good stuff, so daddy got to bottle feed her at her 5PM feeding.
Another successful breastfeed at 8PM. I was just talking to the nurse about when we would be able to take out her feeding tube because she's been sneezing/pulling on it. Went back in there to peek at her 1 more time before I left and she had ripped the tube out.
Sadly, the tube had to be put back in at her 11PM feeding but she took the 2AM and 5AM bottles fully. She is just not good at the bottle yet due to immaturity. She gulps a lot at first, gets a lot of air, and then is REALLY hard to burp. Just gotta learn!
Day 12 ~ Sunday, 1/16/11
5 lbs. 0.4 oz.
Today went well, breastfed from 8 to 8 and she was like clockwork. She did loose weight yesterday and today bit that's okay because she is burning more calories.  She burns more calories because she is not tube feeding at all unless she doesn't finish her bottle. I hope she turns the weight corner soon so the nurses will let me continue to breastfeed. On another note, I learned how to give her a bath tonight (without Luke because he is sick, sadly)...I think Adele wishes I hadn't - she doesn't love the half wet deal. She would rather be submerged. Who can blame her?
 Mommy does love you :)
fuzzy hair after bath :)

Day 13 ~ Monday, 1/17/11
5 lbs. 0.6 oz., Head Circumference: 31.5, Length in cm.: 48
The NP said Adele could be coming home Wednesday or Thursday! I'm trying to keep an open mind though.  Still breastfeeding every feed!
Luke sick with tummy bug - get better soon daddy!

Day 14 ~ Tuesday, 1/18/11
5lbs. 0.8 oz.
Like daughter like mother - I sleep with one arm over my eyes too!
The NICU social worker is trying to find an apnea machine for us since we will have to go home with one attached to Adele and will probably have it 1-3 months unless there are issues.
Adele a little off schedule last night and got a little crazy and ripped out her tube again. Hopefully we won't need to put it back in. They are starting her on a 4 hr. but I'm not so sure we will be able to do that breastfeeding...we'll see!
My dear friends ~ Mandy Payne, Whitney Joiner, and Missy Hamilton came over and helped me clean/disenfect the house tonight!!  What a blessing to have such great friends :)

Day 15 ~ Wednesday, 1/19/11
5 lbs. 2.1 oz. 

Adele had a great night, ate very well and gained a bit of weight. Hopefully we can get an apnea monitor today so we can go home tomorrow. Who knew they are so popular that there are none available? Crazy.

I want to go home!
Passed car-seat test and learned CPR!

Luke and I decided to go on a date night just in case we were discharged the next day - Longhorn Steakhouse here we come!
Delicious bacon bits on cheese fries - bacon bits are the fairy dust of food!

Day 16 ~ Thursday, 1/20/11
Discharge Day!!

We loved this nurse in the gown (Karen) and love Nurse Tricia that put the blue bow in her hair - I don't have a pic of her.  Tricia was here when Adele was admitted into the NICU and was such an encouragement and support.  I see her as a friend and we stay in touch and I stay in touch with Karen too.  A cool God thing - ran into Tricia at the OBGYN the other day.  She was there for her yearly check up. What are the odds?

Adele's second snow!

We made it home and introduced Pippet to Adele.  Luke came in first and let her potty outside and get some energy out, set up the camera/video, and I came in, put Adele in her carseat on the dining table, then gave Pip some lovin.  We then put the carseat on the floor and let her sniff Adele (kind of holding her back).

Her sweet going home outfit was worn by Luke and his brother (but not the bow of course ;)  Here is the explanation behind the outfit from Luke's mother:
The gown was a baby shower gift from my great aunt, Birdie Bowman Matlock.  She was a sister of my paternal grandfather, Dallas Bowman.  So I guess that made her Luke's great, great aunt and Adele's great, great, great aunt.  

We were sent home with an Apnea Monitor and will keep it until 43 weeks post menstrual age and 2 months of clean downloads.  It is a strap around her chest that has 2 different connectors aka "leads" to her body that monitors her heart rate and breathing.  If her heart rate gets above 220 or below 80 or if she stops breathing for 20 seconds (or if the leads are placed incorrectly) the alarm will go off, and it's not quiet ;)  She has to have this because she had 2 documented apneas and more frequent bradys (drop in heart rate).  We go to see the Pulmonologist (Dr. Wise) on February 14th.

We go check in with the Physical Therapist on February 22nd to see how she is developing and whether or not she will be behind or be closer to her due date age.  She is at risk for developmental delay and may not be caught up until she is 2 years old.  She may be "behind" about 1 to 1.5 months in what the books say she should do at certain months.

We already had our first pediatrician appointment the Monday (1/24) after our discharge with Dr. Blake Bergeron (our friend) at Pediatric Consultants.  We feel so blessed to have him as Adele's Dr.  We go back March 7th for her 2 month check up.  I'll blog more about this later.

In summary, we may never know why I had Adele early and for future pregnancies I will see a high risk doctor.  Most pre-term labor situations are unknown.  My placenta pathology came back saying that I had mild chronic deciduitis.  My  labs after my DandC (will talk about later).  All in all, we are thankful for our experience and wouldn't have it any other way.  We've learned a lot about God's comfort and provision and realize that we have such a huge support system in our family and friends.  We are thankful for all of the prayers.


  1. Thanks for sharing! So glad you had great nurses and that Adele has done so well. Congrats!

  2. I tear up every time I hear Adele's story. So glad you captured every detail.

  3. I'm glad you all are doing well and Adele is home in her beautiful nursery. I know we've never met but I've kept your family in my prayers! I read Phillippians 4:13 the other day and thought of you :-)

  4. Loved reading this, Lindsey. That Adele is one precious little girl!