Monday, December 31, 2007

Captain Flails A Lot & Mr. Pitiful

If you look very closely at this picture you will see some baby fingertips peeking through the blanket. We always know when Daniel is awake because we see his hand raking across the top of the blanket and hear some little Daniel grunts to go along with the movements. He is notorious for finding his way out of his "baby burrito" wrap as we call it. We have to swaddle him in two blankets to keep his hands at his sides, otherwise he will work his arms out and flail them around rather than sleep soundly. It is so cute when he is awake, as his arms are extended and his hands are widespread (like jazz hands for you with a dance background) and he waves them around at us. From time to time, we like to imitate him and say, "Who am I?" to each other and that gets a great big laugh from David or myself.

Here is a good example of what I am referring to in what I call his "Touchdown Flail" pose.

Caleb isn't as loud or active as his brother seems to be (though that is surprising since he seemed to be the active one in the womb), but he has his own distinctive characteristics this early as well. We always know who it is that is crying because Caleb has this very pitiful "help me right now or I will die" cry. He doesn't cry too often, though we have been noticing lately that in the middle of sleep he will cry out from time to time. We think he might have gas or something that wakes him up, because he goes back to sleep soon afterward. Daniel has more of a laughing cry...a little stutter that sounds like he is laughing at us. Sometimes this is perfectly timed with a conversation that David and I are having and it gives us a laugh too.

Another funny Josiah story for today: David was changing Caleb's diaper and he was crying and Josiah said, "Baby crying!" and David said, "Yes, he is hungry and wants to eat!" Josiah then said, "Feed Daddy's milk," and David said, "No, I will feed him Momma's milk," and Josiah said, "Oh yes." Our cute big boy pumpkinhead it making his own conclusions about things!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Life at Home with the Twins!

Our little Josiah is adjusting pretty well to having his brother's at home and we are making a big deal about how he is Mommy and Daddy's big helper with the babies. He has been fetching diapers, putting diapers in the garbage, patting the babies heads when they cry, etc. to help us. He gets a big kick out of that too. Here he has his "I'm the big brother" shirt on as he is holding Daniel with Mommy's assistance.

Another funny interaction with Josiah the other day went as follows: I was dressing Josiah for the day and he said, "Where going Momma?" and I said, "Later we are going to the store to buy some things," Then he said, "Go to Walmart Momma?" to which I said, "No we are probably going to Safeway." Then he says, "But WHY?" in a very whiny voice. Usually when he goes to Walmart of late someone (namely Grandma or Grandpa) buys him a toy or something and so I think he associates Walmart with presents.

Another funny thing is Josiah's reaction to Mommy pumping mik all the time. One day as I was pumping, he came up and started breathing in and out of his nose really loudly. I said, "What are you doing?" and he said, "Sound pump makes!" Incidentally it does sound a bit like someone breathing in and out! David asked him the other day what the babies eat and he replied appropriately, "Milk" and then David asked him where the milk comes from and he said "Pump." And then David said, "Yes and the pump gets the milk from Mommy." Then Josiah said, "OH!"

It seems that the twins are used to having noise around them when they sleep, and so they actually do really well sleeping out in their carbeds set upon our dining room table. Josiah plays noisily around them and they stay asleep during their down times no problem. And for those of you who have never seen a carbed, now you have! They are essentially just baskets you strap the babies into that allow them to lay down rather than be propped up. The down side to these is that unlike a normal carseat, they don't have a handle above for convenient carrying and they are much wider than normal carseats and have to be horizontally laid in the car. This means that our children don't all actually fit in the backseat now with Josiah's seat also. Coming home from the hospital, we had to put one of our babes in the front seat and I was squished in the remaining seat in the back. We discovered that this would be OK to do legally as long as we disable the front air bag, which our local Chevy dealership will do for a price I am sure. Needless to say though, it would be nice to eventually have a bigger vehicle, so start praying now!

So far it has been going really well having the twins home with us. David and I have devised a schedule that we heard recommended by one of the twin moms in the group I attend (Tacoma Parents of Multiples), which is to have him take the night shift from around 8pm to 1am and I take the 1am to 6am shift after that. In both of our shifts, we can take little cat naps between their feedings, but we at least have a greater chunk of time for undisturbed sleep which helps a lot! Honestly, I am no more tired that I was when I was pregnant, so for me this isn't as bad as I had heard it would be. David is still adjusting to the sleep deprived life, but he is managing OK too! God is good and thank goodness we are organized! We have been tracking all their feedings & diapers (wet/dirty) to be sure they are getting enough nutrition and are staying healthy. Little Caleb had to go to the doctor today though because he wasn't racking up points on the dirty diaper scale. We got some medicine for him today though and that did the trick to clean him out!

It has been so wonderful to have my dear husband home with me to help out! He is such a great helpmeet and has done more than his share to make this transition go well for all of us! Now you all can pray that when he has to go back to work that I will survive without him! He has the next two weeks off and then he will work from home 3 days and go into work 2 days. It will be those 2 days that will be the challenge as he will not be able to take his night shift and still get up at 4am. We know that it will work out somehow, but are open for suggestions and lots of prayer!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Going Home Photo

Here we are on our way OUT of the hospital today! I ended up holding both babies because Josiah would not cooperate to pose for a picture.

Josiah was thrilled to come to the hospital to see Mommy today and when David told him that he was going this morning he said, "Go now?" When he first arrived and saw me, he hugged me quite a few times and stayed put in my arms for quite a while (this is a rare occurence for Josiah).

When we got home we fed both boys and put them in their crib to sleep. We have heard them gurgling a little bit in their crib, but for the most part they are quiet trying to sleep. We can tell that they know they are in a new place as they have been looking around at their new digs quite a bit.

Thanks for all your prayers for the boys! God is good and we are so blessed to have our little pumpkinheads home before the New Year. Love to all of you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Hello all! Sorry for the delay in posts, but as it turned out I was at the hospital with the babies the last day and night and didn't have my computer with me. They scheduled us to room-in with the boys on Christmas night, and so I came to the hospital to do that! They are coming HOME tomorrow!! More about that story in a minute, but I wanted to tell a little bit about how our Christmas went!

Josiah woke up around 6am and so I went and woke David, and then as he was rising I sat in Josiah's room with him, prepping him for the "presents" he would see very soon. The first thing he saw as he came out was this Thomas the Train fort, and he was very excited to get in it right away! We ended up putting this in his room over his bed (which is also Thomas-themed) and it fit just perfectly!

We thought that perhaps Josiah wouldn't want to come out of the fort after seeing it, but we lured him out by telling him to come open his presents under the tree. This was the first year that he knew how to rip the paper and was more interested in the gifts than the boxes they came in! He had a couple of stages to opening the gifts. First it was, "What's inside it Momma/Daddy?" And then once we got the wrapping off it was "Open it Momma/Daddy!" And as those of you know who have had to wade through all the annoying twist ties and hard plastic covers for the various toys you buy for children, you will understand that the command "Open it" takes a bit more effort that you initially expect (not to mention some scissors and perhaps in some cases a blow torch!)

Josiah got lots of toys related to the movie "Cars" and that was VERY popular! By the end of the gift opening session though he was in a bit of a toy coma; not sure which toys to play with first!

Later on in the day, Grandma and Grandpa came over as well as Uncle Brent and Aunt Katie and there were more gifts to open. He got upset when he couldn't open other people's gifts, but we explained to him that not all the presents were his to open through his tears of unhappiness. We had a nice ham dinner with the extended family complete with scalloped potaotes, green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls, and a yummy sweet potato dish also. We called it "marshmallow potatoes" so that Josiah would try some and he actually ate them! Usually when there is something new, he doesn't like to try it!

Below are a couple more cute pictures from the day you might like to see.

As for the babies coming home, I have been here at the hospital hearing about the final details about how to care for these little ones once they are home. There are lots of discharge instructions that they have when your babies have an extended stay at the hospital. They also check the carseats to see if the babies fit in them properly and can breathe while seated in them. Since preemies have very soft trachias, they can't usually be in normal carseats because their heads fall forward and crush their trachias, which of course can result in suffocation. It turns out that our carseats failed for their current weight and gestational age, and so they provided us with these "car beds" which are essentially just a basket/bassinet like deal that is strapped into the car via the seatbelts. This is much safer for their respiratory health and later when they are bigger and older, they will be re-assessed to see if they can be in a normal carseat.

The main concern for us when they come home is to make sure that they are eating enough. They have given us a plan to track how much they are eating and if we can keep to it then they will continue to gain rather than lose weight. David and I could use your prayers in the next few weeks as we adjust to our new schedule. Please pray for Josiah as well as he has been very distressed that Mommy has been gone the past few days! Our little Pumpkinhead is not our one and only anymore and certainly will be finding that our attentions are divided now!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Open Cribs & Feeding Progress!

As promised, both boys are in open cribs now! (Pictured above is Caleb on the left and Daniel on the right.) It is nice to be able to pick them up or touch them without having to open little doors and bend over to peek at them, etc. Another big piece of news today is that Caleb took almost all his feedings by mouth (minus one feeding where they purposely did a tube feeding so that he would have strength to breastfeed) and so if he continues on doing that throughout the night, then tomorrow he will be put on an "on-demand" schedule for food rather than the set 3-hour schedule. Then they will see when he wakes up for his food! Of course they would never let him go TOO long without nourishment, but they are waiting to see when he naturally asks for the food and then will reward him for that cue. Daniel shouldn't be far behind as when we came today, he also took a bottle after breastfeeding and sucked it down dry in about 15 minutes.

One of the joys of today's feeding was that David got to participate and helped Caleb get the rest of his feeding. Today he got 12mL from the breast and the rest from the bottle. Caleb looks asleep while eating, but he isn't! He just apparently likes to keep his eyes closed while having his meal! The nurse (Gail) told us that for all the bottle feedings it was the same too, eyes closed, but ate all the food each time with no problems. She says it takes him about 25-30 minutes to take his full feeding because he pauses between sucks and also has to be burped.

I also got to top Daniel off with a bottle after he got 8mL from the breast. Incidentally, I switched sides for the boys today and so I think that one side is easier to eat from than the other. Daniel took to the bottle nicely though (as mentioned above) and we requested that they try to bottle feed him the rest of the night, so perhaps he can catch up with his brother.
Gail told us though that even though they are both progressing nicely on the bottle/breastfeeding that they could have setbacks and to be prepared for that as well as the fact that one baby may come home before the other. She said that if one is ready before the other that I could room in at the hospital for a couple of days until the other one is ready (that is if they are within a couple of days for being ready I assume). Keep praying that they will progress well on the feedings so we can have our pumpkinheads home with us!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Feeding Two at Once!!

Today I got a chance to try and breastfeed both babes together on my new twin feeding pillow. The nurses assisted me in gettting them positioned with lots of blankets and things under their heads, etc. and it worked pretty good once we got them positioned!

This was Daniel's 2nd day trying to breastfeed and in the first feeding I did them separately and he got 12mL (a little less then half and oz. of milk) and again later on the twin pillow he also got 12mL of milk. Caleb on his 1st feed got 8mL and on the 2nd only 4mL. Part of the problem for him was that it wasn't quite time for his 2nd feeding yet, and so he was rather sleepy during the 2nd time. He is the smaller of the two babies though and perhaps gets tired more easily as well.

Daniel is weighing in at 4 pounds 15 ounces and hopefully he will move to an open crib either late tonight or tomorrow morning. Caleb is weighing in at 4 pounds 6 ounces now!!! He is already in the open crib and is maintaining his temperature very nicely! The boys seem to be in a race to see who can leave the hospital first and progress in their own ways! I hope they keep racing and get out as quickly as possible!

I talked to the nurses today and the next step with their feedings is to wait and see if they start waking up wanting to feed between their scheduled 3-hour feeds. If they do that often enough, then they will move to on demand feedings where they will feed them when they cue for food throughout the day. If I am there, I can breastfeed and if I am not, they can give a bottle of my breastmilk to them. Then if they are doing well and are getting the majority of their food by mouth, at some point the doctor will say they are ready for "rooming in" where they would schedule us to come for 1-2 days and stay at the hospital with them doing all the feedings on demand and making sure they are still gaining weight and are doing well. After that, we can take them home! Please pray for this process to move quickly as we are anxious to have them here with us. Certainly we don't want them home if they are not doing well enough, but since they are progressing so nicely, the quicker they can do the above the better in my opinion!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daniel's First Try!

Today, after I breastfed Caleb for a bit, the nurse suggested that at Daniel's next feeding that I could try breastfeeding him also, and so we tried today! This gal (named Gail) who was helping us had lots of experience helping mom's with preemie babies learn to breastfeed and had all sorts of tricks of the trade to assist me and my little ones, so that they can be successful at feeding.

Daniel didn't know quite what to do with himself at first and just latched on and kept looking around, but had a good first try and after being weighed we discovered he put down 2 milliliters of milk (not much but a start) and his brother Caleb only downed 3 milliliters today, so considering it was his first try I thought he did really well!

Over the weekend, Gail said that she would help me try to nurse both of them at once at some point! I was thrilled at how supportive and helpful she was! The sooner they get to feeding well, the sooner they can come home! We didn't check on their weights today, but they are both getting to the point where they will be moved from the isolettes to cribs. They are turning down the inside temperatures of the isolettes little by little until they get to 26.0 Celsius and then the nurses check at each care session to see that the boy's can adjust to keep their own body temperatures up to what is considered a normal range. If they can do that with the isolettes set at 26.0 Celsius (which is considered room temperature) for 24 hours, then they will be ready for cribs.

Below is a video of Daniel with the hiccups. He sounded like a little squeaky toy when hiccuping. You can also hear David and I talking in the background, which is a funny little dialogue as well. You will see him smile towards the end, which is also very cute.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thank You Pemco Friends!

Today when David went to work he was presented with a big basket of baby stuff for our little ones. And not only that, but Josiah got a small little gift as well that produced a super big Josiah smile!

He was given a couple of cars from the movie "Cars." One was a small Lightning McQueen that makes little turns on his own when you wind him up and let him go and another was one of the Sheriff police car from the movie. Josiah wasted no time in reinacting the scene from the movie where the Sheriff is chasing Lightning McQueen and we added in the quote for him, "Crazy hot-rodder!!" and he thought that was pretty funny. Following this gift, he begged us to watch "Cars," and so you can perhaps guess what we are listening to at this moment! As David says, "I will give you 3 guesses and the 1st two don't count."

Thank you Pemco friends for your generous gift of the baby basket and for also thinking of our 1st-born and giving him a present to enjoy also! We are blessed with wonderful friends and family and are grateful for all the help and support we have received thus far! Blessings to all of you!

Babies' New Digs

Today we got to visit our little ones in their new digs, the Intermediate Care Nursery. It is decorated in a Beatrix Potter theme and very appropriately above our little Caleb is "Peter Rabbit" the mischievous one. Our little Peter Rabbit pulled out his feeding tube while Mommy was changing his diaper! He did it so fast and I didn't even notice until it was out! Thankfully it is fairly easy to get back in, but Caleb might have something different to say about that process, as he seemed rather upset to have it put back!
It is a nice little area and both boys are in the same space with curtains that go around us all to give more privacy. I got to spend lots of time with them today because my parents dropped me off at the hospital around 12:30pm and then David came later to spend some time with them too after work, and so I got to be around for two different care sessions for both babies.
Daniel and Caleb's weights are the same since yesterday, though they are both on the verge of showing gains in weight tomorrow as they both gained about half an ounce. At the hospital they use all metric measurements and so we are constantly trying to convert the figures to give us and all the other American folk the lowdown. David thinks we Americans ought to convert to metric (his famous quote, "Everything is then divisible by 10 or 100 or 1000, etc."), but until then we are stuck thinking in pounds and ounces I guess! Today, Daniel had his PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line removed and I discovered that Caleb's was gone also. This means they have no real need to draw their blood everyday anymore. They used to do that to check their blood gases, but now they are breathing well on their own instead.
My parents took Josiah to Toys R Us to see what kind of toys he might like for Christmas and my Mom managed to distract him while my Dad bought the gifts he liked the most. Incidentally, they are all related to the movie "Cars," which was not a big shock to either of us! Although, recently David got Josiah hooked on watching "A Bug's Life" too and so there has been a little reprieve from the daily dose of "Cars."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Moving UP to the ICN!!

Today my Mom took me to see the babies because David had been sick all day. Finally, the whole family (minus the twins thankfully) have gone through the flu bug, so we should be OK health-wise for a little while now I hope! Here pictured is my Mom holding little Daniel.

The good news for the twins is that at around 9pm this evening they were moved to the Intermediate Care Nursery (ICN) which is the nursery NICU patients go to after their care isn't as intensive. In this stage of their care, the staff really focus on trying to meet the goals the babies need to meet to get them home as soon as possible. Since, both of the boys are breathing well on their own, they have accomplished the first major step. The next steps are for them to feed primarily by bottle or breast only (no feeding tube) consistently for 24 hours or more and gain weight in the process. Daniel is gaining weight well (about 2-3 oz. each day so far) and today is weighing 4 pounds 13 oz. Caleb is gaining, but not as much (about 1 oz. a day) and is now officially back to his birthweight of 4 pounds 1 oz. However, it has been Caleb who has shown an interest in breastfeeding and Daniel who isn't quite ready yet. They are both showing progress in different ways though and we are thankful for that! We have been told by the nurses and doctors that the ICN is also a more "homey" environment. They have a breast pump at every station with built in curtains for privacy, which will be really nice!

Another nice piece of news is that Daniel is off the nasal cannula as well and his feeding tube was moved from his mouth to his nose. This will be much better when he does decide to breastfeed as he will get a better latch without a tube coming out of his mouth!

Little Caleb was too tired to breastfeed today. We came at a time when it wasn't his feeding time, so I just held him today and sang and talked to him. He wasn't as interested in opening his eyes as he usually does, but he was making faces at me; practicing how to frown and smile quite a bit.

It was nice to see them again today and I am thankful that they did not get our family flu! Praise God for that! David was sad he didn't get to come today, but we are hoping he can come in tomorrow instead! Daddy misses his little boys!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Pictures Today...

Hello all....sorry there are no pictures today, but I wasn't able to leave the house due to the fact that I caught Josiah's flu bug. Of course I was concerned because last night I visited the twins and was hoping that I didn't give them something, since it was last night that I came down with the flu. I have called all throughout the day though and so far, so good, the twins are doing great and have no sign of the flu. David may or may not be getting sick now too, but he has plans to go to work tomorrow regardless as he wants to save the rest of his days for when the babies come home.

Daniel weighed in today at 4 pounds 11 oz. and the nasal cannula was taken off! I didn't get as much information on Caleb today, only that he was tolerating his feeds well....he is up to 36cc of milk (a little over one ounce) and will stay there for a while and his IV has been taken away. Little by little all the cords attached to my little ones are being removed....yeah!

I found out around 7:30pm that they were running out of my milk for the babies and they called and said they would need to give some formula feeds during the night if I didn't have anyone to bring in the milk. Since David was extremely tired today and didn't get a nap, (he went to bed at 6:45pm) I called my parents to see if my Dad could bring some in tomorrow morning at least. He then volunteered to come tonight and bring all the milk I had in the freezer to them! I was so thankful, as I have SO much milk and there is no need to give them formula!

Please pray for us as this has been a rather hard couple of days. I am heartbroken that I couldn't see them today and may not get to see them tomorrow (depending on my health). I know it is for their safety that I stay home, but it is still hard! Tomorrow will also be the first day without David here, so I will need some strength to help with Josiah throughout the day. My Dad is coming to visit for a bit tomorrow too, so that will help out as well.

Blessings to you all and goodnight!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Decorations are Up!!

Amidst all the hospital trips and things going on, we managed to get the Christmas decorations up today! We got a fake tree this year....hard to tell, isn't it! We are very pleased with how nice it looks!

Josiah had a great time helping Daddy put the tree up as you will note with the pictures we have below. He was feeling a lot better today and only had a mild grade fever off and on during the day. Thanks to those of you who have been praying for little Josiah! Hopefully by tomorrow he will be back to his old self! He took a super long nap today, so we are hoping that will contriute to his feeling better as well.

Apparently, Josiah somehow managed to figure out where his presents have been hidden (in the new babies crib in the nursery) and today after his nap he went in and got a present, put it under the tree, and then wanted to open it. Daddy rescued the present in time and Josiah hollered after him, "My present, my present, my present." It was pretty funny!

Caleb Minus the Cannula!

Today our little Caleb got his be free of things on his face! The only thing left now is his feeding tube and though he does tug at that also, it doesn't seem to bother him as much as all the other things on his face did before. This means also that he is breathing well all on his own now, which is a very good sign! I am still attempting to breastfeed him a little each day, but it is more for his comfort and my enjoyment than it is for his nutrition at this point. We were told that he weighs 3 pounds 14 ounces now, so he is not quite back to his birth weight of 4 pounds 1 ounce yet, but is getting there. He is up to 30cc of milk (1 oz.) in each feeding and due to go to 33cc tonight. The doctor said that any day now that the boys will move up to the next nursery where there a more "homey" environment for families. They have a breast pump at each station and curtains for more privacy, so that will be nice!

This picture above is our little Daniel, who is now up to 24cc of milk in each feeding (almost one ounce) and although he still has his nasal cannula, the doctor said he is due to get his out soon also. He is weighing in at 4 pounds 8 ounces and so has gained 2 more ounces since his birth. We think this is because he is a lot less active than our little Caleb. We haven't been able to get a family photo of both boys and David and I together due to the fact that the babies are pretty much tied to the small area near their beds and their cords wouldn't reach to get a group shot. However, today we got separate pictures of each of the babes with David and I that I thought I would share with you on this post.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Off the Lights....For Now!!

The news for today is that both boys are off the jaundice lights! Both their bilirubin levels came down quite a bit and so for the time being they are able to be swaddled and the little sunglasses are taken off! This is great for Caleb as he hasn't had them off since birth and he tends to be our curious one that likes to look at everything.

I had another session with Caleb today to try and breastfeed him and it went very well. He is still latching on great, but doesn't suck too much. Although, today he sucked a lot more than yesterday, so that is progress. When I had to take him off to adjust his latch he gets really upset and his heartrate goes up, but when he is back with Mommy he settles down and is OK. It is very sweet and it is such fun to work with him in this way. The nurses have told me that it is pretty early for him to be successful at breastfeeding, but that tomorrow they would weigh him before and after to see if he is getting anything down. Today before they gave him his normal dose of milk (now 24cc or almost 1 ounce of milk) they check to see what is in his stomach and it looked to be 3cc of milk, which we think was from this feeding with me because it was well past the hour where he would still have undigested milk from the last tube feeding.

My friend Melissa drove me to the hospital today because David had to stay home with our sick Josiah. Josiah had been throwing up all morning (poor little guy) and of course we decided not to pass that on to anyone else! Thankfully for now, neither David nor I have the illness and we would ask that you would cover us in prayer that we don't get it, as it is very important to us that we can go to the hospital each day and we don't want to endanger our precious little ones also!

Here Melissa is holding Caleb, which she was happy to do! She too is pregnant (16 weeks) and is looking forward to holding her own little boy/girl in a few months. We are so thankful to have such wonderful friends and family to help us in this time!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Nursery Is FINISHED!!

Today, David put together the changing table and dresser for the nursery (& yesterday he set up the other crib in the guest room for when the babies come home). Mom and Dad came over to help today and she finished up the nursery while David and I visited the twins at the hospital. Dad took care of Josiah as well as helped re-organize/clean out our refrigerator and freezer. As usual, our house is emaculate now that my Mom has had a chance to do her work, so that is a nice feeling. Tomorrow we will be putting up our Christmas tree and decorations, so that will be fun too! As for the nursery, we got all the Winnie the Pooh items from our friend Kim in Spokane (we purchased the bedding and are borrowing the lovely decorations on the walls). It turned out really nicely that the room itself was already painted yellow! My Mom did a great job at organizing all the stuff in the room. Before it was just a mess of boxes and gifts given from the recent baby shower. Below are the rest of the pictures of the nursery.

Caleb's First Try

Today the nurses said I could try to breastfeed Caleb since he had been "cueing" quite often of late. This means he roots around when hungry as well as cries before it is time to eat. He also is very soothed by his pacifier and sucks away vigorously when he gets upset. We did try today and he latched on really well, but then didn't do much sucking. He was more interested in looking around since the nurse took off his little mask. We used a syringe to drop little droplets of milk into his mouth, so that he would associate food with this feeding and it was clear he liked the milk he did get! However, he did spit up a little at one point and though he didn't get all that much down in this feeding, it was good practice. Each day I will try again with him and hopefully by the time he leaves the hospital he will get the hang of it. Daniel isn't quite ready to try yet, but he will soon enough also. A quick update on him, he is back under the lights for jaundice treatments because his bilirubin levels went up last night. So he is back on the mask too like his brother. Caleb should lose the lights in the next couple of days we think as his levels have finally been dropping.
We also were told today that both boys had a brain scan done and that all is normal. Guess what? They DO have brains! Ha ha ha! It is good to hear though that there are no abnormalities in their brains.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Continued Progress!

I called in to the hospital today around 11:00am and discovered that both Caleb and Daniel had been taken off the CPAP machines and now have nasal cannula's instead. This is what you see on Daniel's nose pictured here and is what they put on people during surgery. For instance, I had one of these on my nose during my C-section. So they are breathing on their own fine and this little device gives them some extra oxygen nearby to breathe easier. David and I got to hold both Daniel and Caleb for an extended period of time today and that was so precious! Daniel was much more animated for me today and I got to see him looking all around at things and such. Caleb was sort of sleepy when I held him, but was rather animated when Daddy held him. Caleb received a milk feeding in his feeding tube while I was holding him. He was crying out for food when they first handed him to me and then when he got it he was very content and fell right asleep on my chest. He really likes his pacifier too and sucks away on it, which is some good practice for later when I try to breastfeed him.

Thanks to you all for praying for our little ones, they have been progressing so quickly! We were told that they could move up to the next nursery for infants that "graduate" out of the NICU very soon. We are certainly praising God for helping our little ones to mature and thrive despite coming into the world a little early. Today we got the 2nd crib put together and I put the linens and things on it to prepare for the boy's arrival home at some point. It is neat to see it all ready to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Answer to Prayer!!

So since yesterday I got to hold Caleb, I asked the nurses who watch Daniel if they could arrange for me to hold him as well, and they were happy to oblige. It might sound odd that I have to ask to hold the babies, but depending on what is happening with them it may or may not be in their best interest to be moved around and such. However, now they are both in a good place, and so we are able to hold them more often. Daniel was very comfortable in Mommy's arms and we even got to see him peeking at us a little today! The wonderful answer to prayer for him was that they told us that the little hole in his heart is closing! Thank you all for praying! They said that it is mostly closed, but only opens a little bit off and on now, so that is a good sign that it will close permanently at some point on its own. Praise God! Daniel also started feedings today of my milk in his feeding tube and is tolerating them well thus far!

Caleb is doing well also! He has moved up to more milk in each feeding (9cc) and apparently the nurse says he knows when it is feeding time because he gets really upset and lets them know he wants the "good stuff!" Today he was very eager again to see Mommy and Daddy, and so we got lots of nice time interacting with him as he opened his eyes to see us. He is still under the jaundice lights, so the next prayer is to get him through that stage so that they can permanently take off his little mask that covers his eyes (it protects his eyes from the lights). He is our "looker" and so it would be nice if he could see what is going on more often without the mask! When I was holding Daniel, David noticed that Caleb was crying (in the next bed over) and so he went over there to soothe him. Once Caleb got his pacifier back in his mouth, he was happy again! He really likes that thing!

TWINS making progress!!

Today when we went in to visit, the nurse told us that Caleb needed to be moved from his first bed to an isolette, so she said that "someone" would have to hold him while they swapped the beds out. I gladly volunteered of course!!! Because he couldn't wear his CPAP machine during the swtich, the nurse had that little blow by device (as pictured) to give him some extra oxygen help in case he needed it. He did really well and continued to breathe just fine without his CPAP though, which she said is a really good sign. As I was holding him, he tried many different times to open his eyes to see his Momma. He has very dark colored eyes! It was so precious to hold this little bundle and we even got to hear his little voice a few times also. When he cries, Virginia (the nurse) found he likes to have his little pacifier to soothe him. We may have a pacifier baby this time (Josiah hated them!). Caleb is also taking some of my milk through his feeding tube to see how well he tolerates food. So far so good and he is tolerating it great! I have been supplying the babies with LOTS of pumped milk, so they will have plenty for feeding in the upcoming weeks. So far they only give 3cc of milk at a time and then they increase the amount as they begin to do better and better with real food in the tummy.
When we arrived, they were preparing to remove Daniel's breathing tube to give him a CPAP machine like his brother. They allowed us to take some pictures once they got all the stuff off his face. Daniel is done with his jaundice treatments (Caleb still needs a few) and so they were able to remove his little sunglasses as well as wrap his body in a swaddling blanket (to keep him warm now that he doesn't have the hot jaundice lamp shining on him). As pictured here, Daniel keeps his eyes closed, he apparently likes it that way. The green tube in his mouth now is his feeding tube. Soon after they see that he tolerates the CPAP machine, he too will go on to some milk feedings through the tube. They have still heard the mumur in his heart that indicates that the litlle hole is still open, however, he has had no ill side effects from it thus far. The side effects could be that he doesn't get enough oxygenated blood in his system, which would mean he is struggling to breath because of the hole. It looks very promising though that despite the hole that he is making progress in his breathing and moved on to the CPAP. Please continue to pray that this little hole will close though so it won't have the opportunity to cause any problems for him.

Once both of the boys are ready (their breathing very stable) David and I will be able to administer "Kangaroo Care," which is where we come and have some skin to skin contact with the babies, just holding them near our skin for about 2-4 hours at a time, talking to them, singing to them and just allowing them to be close. I am very excited for the opportunity to do this, but the nurse said they wouldn't do it if the babies weren't ready for it (ie: not breathing well enough, etc.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update on the TWINS

Today, I was discharged from the hospital and so we took some "going away" photos of the boys. This is Daniel who is getting a nice taste of his 2nd finger apparently! They checked his blood gases and he was due for a wean on his ventilator today, so that is a good sign. They did find that he has a little hole in this spot above his heart that normally closes in most babies after delivery. His still might close, so we can pray for that. So far however, he has had no real complications from having it open, so hopefully it will stay that way! Daniel has a cute little personality already, he does NOT like to be disturbed from his comfortable spot and when I helped give him his care (diaper change, temperature check, weight check) he was none too happy about it! Since he has the tube in his mouth to breathe, we can't hear his voice yet (it interferes with the vocal cords) but he is mouthing a silent cry, which of course just breaks Mommy's heart! He settles right down though after he gets a nice cozy spot again, so all becomes right with the world in his mind at that time! We think for now that this little guy resembles Josiah with his fine, blondish hair and features. Time will tell of course though!

This little guy is Caleb and like his brother he wanted to get a taste of his fingers today also! Incidentally, their beds are next to each other, but of course they aren't awake or alert enough to notice each other at this point. Caleb had a 2nd attempt at getting his PICC line (a way for them draw blood easily without poking them all the time) yesterday and it was successful, so today they were able to take out the two lines they had in his ambilical cord and he also has orders to get the CPAP machine (sleep apnea machine to assist with breathing) now that his breathing has gotten a lot better. He started off needing the most care, but is doing great now! He doesn't mind being moved as much, but on occasion he gets particular about it too. The other day I helped change a diaper and as I was getting wipe I came back to find a little yellow fountain making its way down to the floor! Silly little boy! His nurse laughed and together we changed his bedding and such. When we take his little mask off (they have to wear them while they get their jaundice treatments) he just loves to try and peek at us. He works SO hard to open his eyes and can't always do it. We got a picture though with a speck of his eyeball showing recently to prove he likes to "pose" for the camera just like he did in the womb. We are not sure who he looks like yet, but think he resembles David's Dad with his darker hair and features. And again, time will tell on that count!

Friday, December 07, 2007


So....SURPRISE!! The babies arrived much earlier than we had expected! They came into the world on December 7th, 2007! I was only 31 weeks and 4 days along, which is a bit earlier than I had wanted, but the Lord had other plans for these boys! We had anticipated them to come closer to Daddy's birthday on Jan. 6th, but instead they were a two day belated birthday gift for me!

This little guy pictured above is formerly known as Baby A and was born at 7:25am and is now called Caleb Del Carpenter. He weighed in at 4 pounds 1 oz. and is 16 3/4 inches long. He had to be assisted to breathe with this breathing tube from the start, but that is normal for someone his age. Currently, he is getting better and better at breathing and may soon move to a C-PAP machine (like those for people with sleep apnea).

This little guy pictured above was formerly known as Baby B and was born at 7:26am and is now called Daniel Joshua Carpenter. He weighed in at 4 pounds 6 oz. and is also 16 3/4 inches long. He was breathing on his own from the start and had this lovely C-PAP machine on to encourage his lungs to keep on working. However, after the first day he was put on a tube like his brother because his blood gases weren't as good as they would have liked to see, but they also warned us that this may happen.

The good news is, they are VERY good with the boys in the NICU (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit) and they are very attentive to their needs. They are also very protective of our little guys and make sure that no one touches them or even enters the NICU without properly washing up or obeying the rules they set up there.

As you probably deduced, I had a C-section and I am doing very well also. If you want to hear the full story you can call and chat with me, but the gist is that I went into labor around 1:30am in the morning and then we came to the hospital at around 5:00am thinking that they would give me a pill to stop the contractions, however, because I was dilated to 6 centimeters, the doctor chose to do an emergency C-section instead. My recovery is going very well and it seems to be even easier than my recovery from my first pregnancy! Time will tell of course though. It will be helpful that I will have about a month to recover before the twins come home, which will make it much easier for me to care for the twins and Josiah! The Lord is good and we are discovering many things to be thankful for in this time! It is hard not to be able to hold the babies and such right now, but we are thankful they are so well cared for and will look forward to the day that we can take them home. They estimate they will be here at the hospital for 4-6 weeks (depending) and I will be released Monday morning.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Baby Shower Fun!

So for all of you who have been wondering exactly HOW big I have been getting, you can now see a nice shot! Here I am almost 31 weeks along and of course it looks more like I could have the babies tomorrow or something! I get a lot of comments like "Oh your baby must be coming soon, eh?" too which I have to reply, "Nope I am actually due Feb. 4th, but guessing THEY will be born in mid-January sometime." That usually starts another conversation about me having twins and how I am "in for it" and such. Ha ha ha! Well, comes with the territory I guess!

My good friend Melissa just recently hosted a baby shower for the twins and it was such fun! In this picture here, my mom was showing off her "string" that accurately measured my belly the closest. The funny thing is I came in 2nd on this game...I estimated the yarn based on how big I thought my pants were, ha ha ha! My seamstress mother eyeballed me with the yarn and from a distance measured one side and then doubled it.

We also played the "make a baby out of bubblegum" game and I got to pick out the best bubblegum baby sculpture. We also looked at/sniffed diapers with different varieties of candy bars that were melted in the diapers and had to guess the type of candy bar. The people who were mothers had no qualms sniffing the diaper readily, but one of the single gals who came was making odd faces and grimacing at the diapers. It was pretty funny! Lastly, we played a game where one gal brought around a tray with many different items on it and we were told to study it and that later we would write down what we remembered. It turns out we didn't write down what was on the tray, but were asked to write down all the things we remembered about what the gal was wearing who carried the tray. That threw people for a loop, but many did pretty well anyway!

There were many nice gifts given, too many to really list here, but my main joy and blessing was to share in fellowship with the ladies that came to the party. For a Mommy who has felt rather cooped up in the past month or so it was a real joy to be out with other ladies chatting about baby and family stuff! I have all the pictures from the party in a snapfish album if you are interested in seeing them. I sent a link already to most of those who either came to the party or gave a gift that was given at the party, but let me know if you need the link again and/or didn't get one and would like one.

A BIG, BIG thank you to my friend Melissa for hosting such a fun and blessed event! We had a nice little snow flurry to view out her window and her house was nicely decorated for the Christmas season, so it was a nice cozy environment for the shower. Thankfully, the snow melted soon after coming down and so all the ladies could make it home safely!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Longsuffering Doggie

Josiah decided to pile things on top of Echo last night and our sweet, mellow doggie just sat there and took it! Maybe you can't see the camoflauged dog amidst the black and white objects, but look carefully, her sad face which seems to say, "HELP!" is there! Josiah piled on top a pillow, blanket, and a stool and even left out his Thomas the Train book for her to peruse in her covered up state (how nice, right?). Echo only left this place when either David or I called her and then she gleefully got up and came over with the blanket in tow though! Josiah thought it was really fun to dress up the doggie and did this more than once! Then he proceeded to throw the blankie over Mommy's face, who was resting on the couch and this prompted lots of Josiah laughter for quite a while after seeing Mommy with the blankie on her head.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Josiah Post!!!

We went on a family outing along with Grandma and Grandpa to the pumpkin patch this year since we didn't go to the fair. And of course, I got a few photos taken and then my camera died, so I was glad at least to get a picture of my little Pumpkin with a pumpkin anyway! In previous years, we have posed him near pumpkins (check back in the fall month archives) but this year he decided to show his strength and pick one up for all to see!

We went to this pumpkin patch and met with a bunch of other people from the Tacoma Parents of Multiples group that I am now a part of. It was fun to see all the twins there!

Josiah has been a real trouper this past month or so and we have a month or so more to go before the twins are born. I have been stuck at home a lot due to limiting the time on my feet and so we have had the TV on as entertainment an awful lot. Oh well....I am hoping we can break him of the habit a little later on when I am able to do more!

Josiah has found a new "fun" way to wake me up in the morning. Instead of gradually waking up and crying for me to come get him, he now seems to wake up quickly (not to mention EARLY) and says "Mommy, Daddy, QUICK" over and over again or just "Mommy, HELP," or sometimes the nice variety of "Mommy, OPEN DOOR!" Poor pregnant Mommy hears this and is in a near dead state of sleep and tries desparately to wake up quickly and can't seem to move quick enough for Josiah. So I get a long chorus of the above statements until I open his door. Then I say "Good morning" and he says "Good morning" and sometimes also "Good nap!" He calls any kind of sleep a "nap."

He still loves to line his cars up in rows like this and when I took a picture of him with them he gave me the "Mom, please, I am working here!" face! Daddy taught him to take the monster trucks and drive over his line of cars, which has been a very popular pastime!

His new fun thing to do is to create a "playground" in the living room, which consists of him pulling all the cushions and any pillows he can find down onto the floor and jumping on them from the couch. When we try to put the couch cushions back in their places, we get Josiah's laments of "MY playground, MY playground."

When we pray at nighttime, he has been adding his "prayer requests" as I pray. He likes to thank Jesus for these specific things: Car Movie (the Disney movie called Cars), Mater and the Ghostlight (a little cartoon on the Cars DVD), Animal Movie (Baby Einstein show), and sometimes we get a thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa's house and we can't forget "Walmart cars" (Daddy bought him some cars from Walmart) and Lightning McQueen (the main race car from the movie). It is very sweet that he adds to his prayers now I think!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Twin Update--25 weeks

Today I went in (with David in tow) for another full growth ultrasound with the ultrasound technician. This is where they take a more extensive look at the babies and do all the measurements and such. And apparently we always get a 3D shot at these type of visits too because we have another couple to share at this stage!

Baby A pictured on the left here is weighing in at 1 pound 14 ounces (approximately) and his heartbeat was a steady 140 beats per minute. When she first started checking him he was feet down head up (on my left side) and then later on he was head down feet up. He was moving around a lot during the visit I guess! I might add that she told us that both babies are in the 90% for weight!!! UGH!! I hope they slow their growth at some point or I am going to be HUGE (I already feel huge enough by the way!)

Baby B here is weighing in at 1 pound 15 ounces and his heartbeat was a steady 146 beats per minute. You can see Baby A's body in this shot on the far left corner and that line across his face is the membrane sac between the two babies. The cord like deal coming from the back of his neck is the umblical cord. If these early pictures are any indication I would say that this one looks more like me and that Baby A looks more like David (Baby A seems to have that longer angled nose and Baby B has more of a pug nose like mine). Baby B has been laying with his head down (on my right side) and his feet more diagonal across my body on the left side. This could be why I typically feel the most kicks on the left side. I have up to this point attributed all the kicking to Baby A, but not have to give Baby B some props for doing some of the kicking too! I suppose that is why they have to do so many ultrasounds as it really is hard to tell who is doing what in there!
Oh and we had her check again just to make sure we were having two boys (just in case!) Her first response was, "Well in the 20 years I have been doing this I have never had a penis fall off." We laughed! However, I have heard of an instance where people were told they were having a boy and it ended up being a girl (mistake obviously on the technician's part I assume!!) Usually it turns out the other way around where a girl is expected and they get a boy.

You can pray for me as she also told me that though my cervix is not dialating yet, I have a "warning sign" that it is getting a little stressed out. I have already been having Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions leading up to delivery), which I think is rather early for this symptom. It could mean that my activity will be even more severely limited in the last months. I have already been using those motorized carts at grocery stores and such to limit time on my feet. However, I may be required to be on bed rest if this keeps up! She said that when I feel a contraction/cramp that I should sit down and put my feet up and drinnk some water. This I will do!

I thought I would include the black and white ultrasound shots this time to show you the drastic difference in how they look as well as show you the funny shot of Baby A kicking Baby B in the head! Baby A is in the top picture and Baby B's head is in the bottom picture with Baby A's body in the shot. As we discovered in the last pictures too, Baby A is a camera hog!