Sunday, July 20, 2008

Together Again!!!

We got to put the babies together for 30 minutes over the weekend!!

Our First Family Picture

The Howells When we unwrapped the babies to see what they would do, it was hilarious!!! Baby limbs were everywhere... Poking each other, sucking on each other, pulling each other. Here is just a small video clip of what it was like. I LOVED having them all together. It pooped them out, but it was sooo worth it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

NICU Ups & Downs

It's been 3 weeks since we had the babies!!! Can you believe it?? I am starting to get a schedule down... Pump, Hold Baby, Pump, Hold Baby, Repeat -- Try to eat and nap somewhere in between. My best friend Misty worked out a schedule for me, so I at least kind of have an idea of which baby I am supposed to hold when. At first I was running myself ragged trying to do everything for every baby. I now see why multiple moms are organized and live by a schedule.

Everyone warned me that the NICU is two steps forward and one step back. The doctors say that the NICU stay is filled with speed bumps. And we have hit a couple.

The great news is that all of the babies are doing really well. They have normal preemie issues such as dropping their heart rates and oxygen saturation levels every now and then. BUT they are all gaining weight and all but Briellen are off oxygen! (Briellen is only on room air nasal cannula.) Yesterday, the doctors ordered that they start trying to take a bottle. (They call it "nipple", but I get the giggles saying nipple.) They boys and Sidney did really well, Ivy is still thinking about if it's worth the effort, Briellen can't try until she gets her breathing rate down. They all smile at us everytime we hold them. Every day they fight to get bigger and stronger and we are so proud of them!

Now for the speed bumps...

The first is that Luke, Mitchell and Briellen have large PDA's. (Patent (open) Ductus Ateriosus) This is a blood vessel near the heart and lungs that was necessary for circulation when the babies were in utero. It is meant to close within a few days after birth and then disappear. In 40-50% of preemies born under 34 weeks the vessel stays open. Large PDA's can burden the lungs with too much blood and make it hard for the babies to breath and overload the heart. The PDA's can still close on their own or if they don't and they are not causing breathing or heart issues, we just watch them closely. If they are causing issues, then we have to think about surgery. Luke, Mitchell and Briellen have been asymptomatic so far, so we are just watching them. I am worried that Briellen being still on the oxygen is because of her PDA. I am praying that all of them will close on their own soon.

The next speed bump is that we found out that all of the babies have fragile bones. This is because of all of the magnesium that I had to take. It depleted the calcium in both me and the babies. They x-rayed Briellen for her PDA and found 3 fractured ribs and a fracture in each arm. The bones were not displaced and the fractures were tiny... The good news is she was/is not showing any signs of discomfort. The doctors are increasing the babies nutrition and giving them a vitamin D supplement to build strong bones. In the meantime, we have to handle them carefully and we can't hold them skin-to skin. They have to stay tightly wrapped. It will take a few weeks to resolve.

On a lighter note, another bump that I would like to go away is my belly bump. I finally have the cute belly bump that I never had and look adorable in maternity clothes. The thing that is not so adorable is that there is no baby! A MILLION strangers have made comments on it. Now I know why the guys at work didn't say a word when I first started showing!!

Here are the 3 week pics of the babies... We just love them to death!!

Ivy - 2 lbs. 13 oz.

Mitchell - 3lbs. 6 oz.
Wild Hair After Bath Luke - 3 lbs. 8 oz.
Briellen - 2 lbs. 15 oz.
Sidney - 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cuddle Time

Elle & Sidney

Stephen & Luke

They are sooooooo adorable!!!!


I am finally out of the hospital... On Monday, they discharged me. I thought that I would be the happiest ever, but I was super emotional about leaving. I think it was more about not being able to walk down the hall to see the babies anymore. But after being able to sleep well in a normal bed with covers on, I woke up feeling like I was let out of jail. I will miss all of the friends I made at the hospital, but as I will be at the NICU everyday for the next couple of months, I will get to see them often.

My Aunt Margie and Mom took me home... We were going to have a big celebratory dinner on Monday night, but I was too pooped and emotional, so we ate Whataburger and went to bed. Last night we went to a fun steakhouse to celebrate. It was so much fun, like a piece of my old life. (Minus the cocktails and high heel shoes.)

It's been a week since delivery.... I guess I was expecting my body to be superhuman and return to normal, but my stomach is still huge and jiggly despite loosing 40 Lbs already. I have to wear a big binder to keep from feeling like my innards are falling out. Sorry -- Too much information. The other thing that I was surprised about was how sore my muscles are. I walk for 2 seconds and my muscles scream like I had run a marathon. I guess that's what lying flat for 13 weeks will do to you. The doctors say that I am doing extremely well and that I just need to give it time. So I will go back to being patient.

We moved from the condo to a house, so we would have more space. The house it a little far from the hospital, but is GORGEOUS. (Rooney's -- We LOVE the house... Thanks for letting us rent it from you!)

BABY UPDATE -- They are 1 week old now and doing so good. Sidney is off all oxygen. Luke, Mitchell and Ivy are nasal cannula and little Briellen is still on her C-pap. They tried to take her off yesterday, but she didn't do well. She just needs a little more time. All babies are off the Bilirubin lights for jaundice and all are tolerating the feedings that they are getting through feeding tubes through their mouths. Every time the feeding amount is increased, the amount of IV fluid is decreased and we are one step closer to getting the yucky IVs out of the babies. This is one of the hardest parts for me because I know how miserable the IVs are and I don't want that for our babies. They are all gaining weight and the doctors said that they are doing extremely well. God has been so good to us!!!!




Mitchell (After a bath!!)


Thank you for all of your phone calls and emails!! Please be patient with me as I return them slowly. Again, Stephen and I are so overwhelmed by how much love we have been shown and want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts!