Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy 2 Week Birthday and Happy First Valentine's Day

Pictures: Emma in purple and the cute hat. Kendall in pink. Clark in his "tanning bed" keeping warm before bathtime. Daddy giving his first bottle feeding to Kendall.

Yesterday was their 2 week "birthday" and also their very first Valentine's Day. Troy and I ended up visiting them late last night and got to spend some quality time with them and also the nurse and nurse practitioner.
First of all, I should backtrack a little and explain what's been going on....
Tuesday night was our first chance to "room in". We had already scheduled the required Infant CPR training class (with Aunt Karen also) for 7:30-9:30p, so we did not get settled into the room with the girls until after 10pm.
The intention of rooming-in (I think) is to give us the opportunity to learn how to care for them "on our own" and still have the help of the nurse on duty. What it also means is that we are at the mercy of the nurse and the hospital. As Troy pointed out, the room was not really set up for success as it was very small and didn't have certain things that would have been helpful (a small fridge so that we could have had breast milk when we needed it, rather than having to call and wait for the nurse, for instance).
The first 8 hours were pretty rough as we learned more about both girls (we only had the girls and Clark stayed in his room with the nurse since the room is set up for twins with two monitors, etc). We have heard that Emma is "feisty" and had a few fits for the nurses, but we had only seen brief glimpses. During the first night, we experienced what they were talking about. As soon as we started to go through the routine (take temperature, change diaper then feed baby), she would get really upset. And it would quickly escalate. Since she is on a heart monitor and she got so worked-up, her heart rate would get as high as 225 and the "red alarm" would continue to go off while she screamed. I believe I have mentioned how challenging it is to change a diaper when there are wires everywhere, so we weren't particularly fast. And then it would take some time to either get ready to try to nurse or to get the bottle ready. All the while, Emma is pitching a HUGE fit....and the's still going off. Needless to say, it was a little stressful at first. BUT we learned a MUCH better routine and either I would be ready to go or have the bottle ready to go as soon as Daddy got started with the rest and we did just fine by Wednesday morning.
Kendall didn't have the 911 emergency to eat, so it wasn't as difficult. We've decided that Emma is going to be our little "drama queen". Aside from those outbursts, she was really sweet and was definitely more interested in cuddle-time even after she had eaten. Kendall did a lot of sleeping in between feedings as she was pretty pooped.
We decided that it was best to just spend the 24 hours rooming in and then left late Wed evening as we found out that the girls would not be going home this weekend as they had originally discussed (the reason we "roomed-in"). According to the nurse practitioner, it looks like we could have all THREE of them home with us as soon as next Friday (Feb 22), provided things continue to go as they are.
All three babies continue to gain weight and are doing really well. We have switched them all to bottles (of expressed breast milk) or breastfeeding and are trying to eliminate the need for tube feeding completely. In order for them to come home, they have to be able to feed without the tubes for 48 hours straight.

Kendall tipped the scales over 5lbs last night, which is a major milestone as they were not able to send her home in our car seats if she is under 5lbs. She is eating well, although she did have a tube-feed yesterday afternoon. She is still "chatty" with her little noises and coos. She tends to get pooped-out during feeding time, but still manages to gain quite a bit each day. The results of the repeat head ultrasound came back and she is showing the brain bleeds on both sides of her head. Both of these are ONLY LEVEL ONE problems and will therefore correct themselves and are NOT a concern. We were relieved to hear that. In other news, the nurse this morning says that she has passed both the car seat "fit" test (she can sit up in it safely) and the car seat "tolerance test" (where she can maintain her heart rate while sitting up in a car seat), so that is GREAT NEWS!

Emma is up around 4lbs 12oz, so she is very close to hitting the 5lb goal. She is very good at sucking down a bottle quickly so we expect her to get there fast. While she has gotten a bad rap for her outbursts, she is still oh so sweet as she tends to want to hang out with you and always seems to be watching or listening very intently. She also had a repeat of her head ultrasound and they found that she also has a LEVEL ONE brain bleed. Again, this is no cause for concern as it will correct itself and she will suffer no long-term effects from it. Emma also passed both the car seat "fit" and "tolerance" tests this morning, so she too can come home in a regular car seat whenever that happens. Woo hoo!

Clark is gaining weight really well as he's up to 4lb 8oz (that's 8 oz over his birth weight!). He still looks like a little peanut, but is working hard to catch up to his sisters. He is most likely going to require a car bed in order to bring him home as we don't expect he will hit 5lbs by next week (assuming they MIGHT be discharged then) and even so, he's still pretty skinny, so it would be hard to fit him into the car seats as they are. This would be VERY temporary and we are just glad that the hospital offers these as an option to get smaller babies home (and at no charge to us). Mommy gave him a bath last night (her first try at this). He did great and seemed to love being under the warmer (I called it his tanning bed), but wasn't particularly thrilled once I applied the wet washcloth, etc, but we managed to get through it.

So, it sounds like there is a very good chance that they could be coming home one week from now! We are SO excited and happy that they are doing so well. We will "room in" again next week before they are discharged and will hopefully be able to have all three with us at once. This will give us a better view of the "logistics" of three babies before we bring them home a day or two later.

We continue to be so thankful for the prayers and support of everyone. I know that many of you have contacted Chanda because you are interested in helping out. We had decided that we would wait until the babies come home before really needing too much. It's difficult to find time to eat at home, let alone meet people who might bring meals since we are going back-and-forth to the hospital everyday, so it seemed best to wait a little while before getting started. We ARE going to need your help, so please do not be "discouraged". :) We just realized that it would make more sense to hold off until we are all under one roof.
Also, I should mention that since the babies are preemies and VERY susceptible to illness and infection, we will probably not be able to bring them out in public or show them off as much as we would like - at least at first. Please be patient with us as we figure out how to keep them safe and still get to show them off to visitors. Our biggest concern is anyone who is in contact with school-aged children, esp elementary school aged children as they pose the biggest threat in terms of the germ-issue (sorry kids). Hopefully everyone will understand that we have to do what is best for our little ones. We will try to make sure to post pictures on the blog or have them developed and out at the house so we can share them with any of you who might stop by.
Thanks for checking on us. We'll be in touch again soon.

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