Monday, December 31, 2007
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
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
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
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
Saturday, December 22, 2007
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 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
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!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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
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
Sunday, December 16, 2007
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
Friday, December 14, 2007
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
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!
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
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
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
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!