We're Breaking Out of Here

By Corey Nicolaides - August 31, 2013

Let's Keep This Short

I’m determined to prevent this from becoming another somber, long-winded post, so I’m just going to update you and keep it as short as possible.

We’ve been in the NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for 151 days. We’ve tried, as you probably know, to get out of here two other times. Both discharge dates were cancelled when we discovered that Ayla wasn’t quite ready. If we’re really being honest, Alaina and I weren’t ready either.

This time is different. Alaina and I are ready, and Ayla appears to be ready too. So, on Wednesday, September 4th, we are going to pack up our things and take our little girl home. Well, we’re going home, but we aren’t driving.

Ayla will be transported home in the MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit). She failed her first couple of car seat tests. She’s had more practice in her car seat over the past few weeks, but they want to be careful and make sure we get home without incident. So I’ll be riding with her in the back of this:

St. Louis Children's Hospital MICU

Earlier this month, Ayla became sick with Rhinovirus and it was really rough on her for a while. The worst day was coincidentally the same day that Alaina had to go back to work. I bagged Ayla 6 times that Monday, and 3 times on Tuesday. From there her episodes tapered off and became less frequent. By the end of the week she was feeling much better.

Ayla has been great since then, for 2 full weeks. She’s been happy and playing and she’s been such a little sweetheart to be with. She’s growing like crazy and she’s full of energy. She kicks and jumps and she’s trying to roll-over. She pulls my glasses off and squeezes my face. We bounce and dance and make faces and she just smiles and even laughs. No, Ayla doesn’t make any sound when she laughs, but that’s ok because you can tell by the way her mouth opens and her tounge moves and her neck stretches back and her cheeks are pushing her eyes up to a squint, that she’s laughing. We wish so badly that we could hear her laugh, but we don’t need to hear it to know she’s happy.

Family Participation Unit

Today we’re spending time in the FPU room with Ayla. This is kind of a formality, really, as we already handle all of her cares, but the hospital recommends it to most NICU families and it will be good for us to experience. We’ll spend the night in a little “hotel room” on the NICU floor of the hospital. We can call a nurse to our room if we need to, but we hope to spend the evening being a family and that Alaina and I can take care of Ayla on our own.

I’m confident that we’ll do just fine.

Ayla Stats

Age: 21.5 Weeks
Weight: 12lb 14oz.
Length: 23”
Facebook/Twitter Status: “I don’t know where ‘the Zoo’ is, but I can’t wait to go there! That’s where Delmar lives.”

(The nurses refer to “going home” as going to “the Zoo” when around Ayla. They say it’s bad luck to tell her we’re going home.)

Pray for Us

Please say a little prayer for all of us. Pray the transition home is easy and happy and exciting. Pray that Ayla adapts well to our home environment and that we can get back to some kind of routine. We have so much to learn about life at home with our special little girl, and while we’re very excited to get there, we’re also nervous about the challenges in Ayla’s future.

Thank you so much for thinking of us and praying for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Pictures of Ayla

Drying off after a bath
Daddy making my footprints
Hello. How may I help you?
Laughing at Daddy
Playing with Daddy in the FPU
Getting some sleep with Mommy in the FPU
Wearing the sweater Nana made me

We Are


See you soon!
Corey, Alaina, and Ayla

Comments: 19
Aunt Barb

So excited for you all! God is so good. Love to you all…see you soon at “the zoo”!

Tabitha Meadows

I am Keeping Your Family In My Prayers… May GOD Keep Blessing Your Lil Girl And Your Family…

Denise Capitano

We are friends with Katie Geisler and we live in Canada. I have been following your blog through Katie’s sight. You have a beautiful little girl and I keep her in my prayers daily!! God has given you the love and strength to be magnificent parents and you will do an awesome job when you get to the ‘zoo’ !!! God Bless you all !!!!


So excited for you! I will continue to pray for as you get ready to head to zoo! (we went to the zoo, too, after about 100 days in the nicu!)

Carol Barry

Oh my goodness… I can’t stop crying! I’m so thrilled that you are “breaking out” and heading home! Your daughter is so beautiful and stunning! I can’t wait to one day meet her! God Bless you all as a family unit heading home and into your future!

Mike Snider

This is just THE BEST news!!! Prayers for all of you as you bring that little one to “the zoo”! What a time of joy!!

Stacy Moss

Oh I am so excited for your family!!! She is just a little miracle and she couldn’t have happened to two better people!! Excited for your new adventure! Welcome to your Zoo!! Xoxo

Great Mimi

Praise the Lord for answered prayers. You will both be fine and Ayla will thrive at home, I am sure. Love to you and will keep praying for a safe and comfortable transition.

Shirley Bell

OH My GOODNESS! This is the BEST news I’ve heard in a LONG Time. I am THRILLED for you guys and cannot WAIT to meet Ayla! I will be praying for a smooth transition home.

Jackie Meyers

Ross & I were so glad you are finally going to the “ZOO”. We know you two will be able to handle all that may come your way. You are so lucky to have Vicky as your & Alya’s Guardian Angel. You’ve been doing it for 151 days, you can do it for 3 more. We pray you have an easy transition to the Zoo.

Doris Baker

What a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing. You all will do fine at home.God will lead you every day.


I’m sooo happy for you guys! I hope your trip to the “zoo” will be fun, exciting and i’m sure full of adventure-As always Lots of Prayers and Love

Rhonda Downs

Corey, Alaina, and Ayla. You have been an inspiration to all of us. Your patience and love is bringing that darling girl home on Wed!! I’ll be praying for a safe ride home with no complications and for you all to settle in being a family in your home. I hope to meet this young lady sometime soon!!


Dear Corey, Alaina and Ayla - I am so happy for all of you it has been a long time to wait but always worth it when the time arrives. This is just the start of a wonderful journey together as a family. I am so excited for you and once you do get settled in at the “zoo”, I promise to come visit. Love, prayers, hugs and kisses.


I am anxiously awaiting a beautifully written update on how home is going…no pressure.

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