Thursday, June 26, 2008


in order of appearance......

Sidney Alun Howell - 6:19 PM - aka"baby A"

Ivy Elizabeth Howell - 6:19PM - aka "baby B"
Mitchell Thomas Howell - 6:20PM - aka "baby C"

Luke Harrison Howell - 6:21PM - aka "baby D"

Briellen Jeannette Howell - 6:22PM - aka "baby E"

They are overall doing well. Each one has their ups and downs, and individual personalities.
Ellen is doing better and is off of the Mag! She is recovering quickly.
More to come, we are still running hard. We will fill in the gaps, and return calls and emails as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birth Day!

30 weeks and 5 days, Ellen's water broke in one of the babies. Hear is the short version. We will fill you in later.

Ellen is doing well. We just saw the babies in the NICU. They are doing well.

A - Sidney Alun - Girl - 2lbs 10oz
B - Ivy Elizabeth - Girl - 2lbs 8oz
C - Mitchell Thomas - Boy - 2lbs 15oz
D - Luke Harrison - Boy - 2lbs 15oz
E - Briellen Jeanette - Girl 2lbs 6oz

Promise to tell more later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Week 30!

Week 30 is an incredible milestone! Ellie is not feeling well, and cannot do much more than grow babies right now. She is doing a wonderful job though. This is Stephen filling in for her. I hope she will feel better soon. The babies are doing well and moving all of the time. Ellen and I enjoy feeling them move around.

Susie, our nutritionist arranged for a special dinner setting for Ellen, Neal, Gwladys, and I. We had Cheesecake Factory.
Here is Susie with her arrangement....Thank You!
Ellen's dad Neal popped in for a surprise visit! It really made her weekend!
He perked up Gwladys a little as well. I kind of liked having him a round too to be honest.
Dr. Gioia came in to do heart tones on her day off. She is very sweet!
Ellen had to have a picture with Dr. Gioia's adorable outfit. That is Ellen's word. I mean I think it is a very cute outfit also, but I rarely use the word adorable in public. Any way it is a good picture with two beautiful women.........and Neal in the background a bit.

As I said before Ellen is not feeling very well. Her feet are swollen as well as her tummy. She is tough, but still a fighter. I am so proud of her, words cannot explain.

We are so close now. The babies are growing well. Ellen's labs are level, meaning she can make it further still. Please pray for Ellie's comfort and perseverance. She is so strong, but getting tired toward the end of the marathon. We have a few more miles to go. Please help cheer her on with some uplifting comments. Thanks for all the support we have received so far, and to come!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Baby Pics!

Ellen is not up to blogging quite yet, here are some baby images in the meantime.

These ultrasound shots are from week 24. They are much bigger now, but it is also much harder to get a decent image. There are baby parts everywhere.

This baby is crossing her arms.

Looks like this one is sucking their thumb.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday the 13TH!!!!!

This is Stephen, for Ellen. I am not superstitious, but Friday was the worst day yet for Ellen(and me). She was unable to talk or even open her eyes. She hurt all over. Fortunately, I was here to complain for her because she still handled it like a trooper. The staff was worried because Ellen was not her normally chipper self, and ran a blood test to check her mag level. She was at a toxic level, which means her body is not processing the mag as well as before. This is to be expected because it has been 8 weeks already. The doctors lowered her level to 3.5g/h and she began to feel better within 4hrs. We were worried because her contractions are always worse at night, and we were headed into the evening. She did great, only needing one extra dose of terbutaline throughout the night.

On a brighter note, the D backs won their baseball game. I don't care for the D backs....Go Astros!......but this was important because they shot off fireworks from their stadium, which is in view of our room.

Anyone who knows Ellen, knows she LOVES fireworks! They lasted for 15 minutes. It was just what she needed going into the scary evening.

More to follow...Ellen is doing much better.

P.S. we are now in our steroid window! (the window in which the babies receive the maximum benefit)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Steriods and Stuff

We're one day away from Week 29. Things are starting to change - my contractions picked up, so I moved downstairs to the "high maintenance" floor, where they do continuous monitoring. I'm starting to swell and retain fluid (my feet look like bricks!), so they're monitoring for pre-eclampsia as well. So far, I've dodged that bullet!

An update on Baby A's position from last week: they put in a pessary. In non-medical terms, this device keeps her from wiggling out the "wrong" way...I'll leave it at that :)

They finally decided that we couldn't wait any longer to do the steroids shots, so I'm going to get my first round at 1:00 PM today (second round tomorrow). I'm a tich nervous because when they tried to increase my magnesium levels yesterday to slow down contractions, my body didn't tolerate it very well, and they had to turn the mag back down (although my contractions DID slow down somewhat). The doctors don't seem too concerned -- they've assured me that they've got other tricks up their sleeves, should it come to that.

Bottom line: we're still okay and the doctors don't seem worried. And I do my best not to worry as well! It's just too soon, still, for these babies to come into the world!

My brother and sister, Neal & Amy, came to visit me over the weekend. Amy extended her stay to give my mom a break and go home this week. It was super fun having them here. We did the normal stuff: wheelchair ride, laughing, eating, playing games. As Amy is three months pregnant, she is the perfect napping partner!! We missed our little sister Margaret, but it was fun being together again. Stephen stayed at home this weekend for the first time since I've been in the hospital and I couldn't have asked for two better sit-ins to keep my mind off the fact that he wasn't here!

My road is getting a little bit rougher, so your prayers and support mean everything to me right now. We're so close to our goal of 32 weeks!!

Amy & me in the Healing Garden

All three of us in the Healing Garden

Neal & me with typical Arizona greenery

Neal "walking" in my shoes

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dispelling the Myth...

I got way too many comments about being "tiny", that I have to dispel the myth... I am HUGE! It must have been magic in the previous picture. See below the reality of my belly.... It could be used as a weapon!

Today is Week 28!!! A HUGE milestone in terms of survivability of the babies... Dr. Elliott is trying to find the best time to give me steroid shots... We have been putting it off since Week 24. We were going to do them yesterday, however, they want my contractions to below 4 an hour before giving them to me because they have found that the shots will increase contractions and sometime put a mom into labor. I seem to be a night contractor and have around 8 an hour... They are going to try and play with my levels of medications to get them down before giving me the steroid shots. The steroid shots will speed up the development of the babies lungs in case I were to go into preterm labor.

We did another growth ultrasound today... it took 2 1/2 hours! It looks like baby soup in there. I don't know how the tech could tell one baby from the other. With 10 arms and 10 legs all moving about, I am amazed that they could measure anything at all. Unfortunately, we didn't get any good pics to post.

Baby A - Girl - 2 lb 5 oz
Baby B - Girl - 2 lb 8 oz
Baby C - Boy - 2 lb 11 oz
Baby D - Boy - 2 lb 8 oz
Baby E - Girl - 2 lb 7 oz

We did another FFN test and it came back negative. My cervix, although is getting very short, is still closed. The only concern we have now is that Baby A has dropped very low and is putting pressure on my cervix... They will decide tomorrow if she has dropped low enough to do something about it.

My sweet, sweet friend Suzy came into town to visit me last weekend... She is from Austin, so it is rare that we can spend 3 entire days with each other. She entertained me by chatting, reading me gossip magazines, painting my nails, rubbing my feet, etc. It's amazing how the time passed so quickly.

Suzy & Ellen

Suz, Elle & Stephen in the Healing Garden

Stephen & Elle with Bed Head

Thanks for all the encouragement that you give through your comments! I love reading them. I miss everyone so much and am looking forward to seeing everyone soon!