Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's a Rough Life.....

...but someone has to do it! :) So this morning, like all mornings, I called for an update on the girls. The nurse's comments: no big concerns, they had a great night, their only issue is how darned CUTE they are. Such a nice girl. We love having Jen for our night nurse! :) She, like many of the nurses, comment quite frequently on how cute our babies are. We of course agree! :P

Miss Olivia...yawning for her mommy. I learned how to turn off the flash on our camera today. (I know, high tech, but it makes the girls happier. And pictures are MUCH easier to take b/c the flash doesn't stimulate them and it usually forces them to close their eyes, which is no fun).

Miss Sydney....lazing as usual with her foot out. They have the darndest time getting her to keep her feet in her snoogly.

By the time I arrived at the NICU around noon, sadly, Miss Olivia was back on her billi-light. Dr. Harris (our neonatologist), assures me is a temporary thing. I sure hope so b/c the poor baby HATES her sunglasses that she has to wear when under the billi-light. We also discussed the ultrasound that Sydney had yesterday of her heart. Dr. Harris said that while she has a heart murmur, and they are keeping an eye on it, the ultrasound didn't reveal anything that they are currently worried about. What has happened is that her PDA valve hasn't closed yet (b/c she was so early). If it were to become an issue, she would potentially need to take some meds to correct it but for now since it's not causing problems (meaning her heart rate & respiration are not extremely elevated...really it's the respiration that we'd notice it more with), then they are not going to do anything just yet. He's not worried, so I'm not worried (odd to hear isn't it)?

Additional news is that the girls are FINALLY gaining weight... While neither of them are at their birth weight, I fully expect (as does Dr. Harris), that they will be there by the end of the weekend, at the latest, if not by tomorrow. Olivia weighed in at 2lbs 8.5oz which is up from her 2lb5oz that she weighed yesterday and Sydney weighed in at 2lbs 7 oz, which is up from her 2lb4oz weight that she was yesterday! You go girls.

I also spoke with Dr. Harris today, he wanted to address the fact that b/c of the high levels of patients at Children's there is a chance that they will desperately need to move the girls back to MoBap in a couple weeks, when they are nothing but feeders and growers (working on being able to eat, breathe on their own, and maintain their body temperature). Of course the ultimate choice is up to Matt and I, but he also revealed that he'll be cycling out of Children's to return to working at MoBap in August (do I detect an alterior motive as to why the babies need to be moved? (I think so... but he just laughed at me.) Olivia FINALLY got some time with Daddy and Mommy to do some kangaroo time. (I'll explain what this is AND its benefits in another post, I promise!) She didn't get out of her isolette yesterday, just Sydney did b/c she was having a rough day.

In other news, not too much is going on. As usual, Matt and I are exhausted. I even got a lecture from my NICU nurse today that I need to nap more, which is hard at the NICU b/c there are alarms and OTHER loud babies that disturb not only my sleep but the girls as well! Even though the babies are not home, I'm occupied every 2-3 hours pumping, which means I never really sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time, which stinks. While Matt actually gets to sleep through the night, he's still doing the majority of the work around the house...what a great guy. This evening (around 8 when we got home from the NICU), we saw our neighbors for the first time since I've been home (okay, Matt's seen them plenty, I on the other hand have not seen them very often). Our next door neighbors, gave the girls 2 of the cutest sleepers. Angie, their daughter who is in 7th grade, picked them out. Great job Angie and thanks from all of us (including the babies AND Cassius & Sugar whom think they own your family). I tell you we REALLY got lucky when we moved here. I could not ask for better neighbors. They are all pretty awesome and so very nice.

Well, I'm off. We were going to just do a post tomorrow in celebration of our anniversary, but I figured I may be lynched by some parents of mine, in particular, if I didn't provide NEW pics of the babies today, so here goes.

Miss Sydney....

Miss Olivia.....

Olivia....Watching to see what Mommy is doing! :)

Until tomorrow.....


Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Very Busy Day for The Girls

Today, the girls are 1 week old. And today was a very busy day with lots of visitors!

Jeni went to the hospital this morning to see the girls along with Grandma Sharon and Aunt Carolyn. Aunt Carolyn was VERY eager to see the girls for the first time.

Later in the morning, Grandpa Gale and Grandma Vicki arrived at Children's to visit the girls. This was the first time that Gale & Vicki had seen the girls since their birth at MoBap a week ago.

After Sharon and Carolyn left, Jeni hung out at the hospital with Gale and Vicki for a few more hours. She was very tired and fell asleep on the car ride home (No big surprise to me since she sleeps on virtually every car ride more than 10 minutes long when I'm driving...)

After getting back home, Jeni napped to get some energy back before I came home.

I got home, changed clothes, and we headed over to Keith & Amy's for dinner. On the highway, we saw Mike and Nozomi and Jeni called them on their cell. Turns out they were headed down to the hospital to see the girls as well!

At their house, Keith and Amy had picked up some food from Pasta House and we chatted over dinner. After that, we all headed down to Children's for 'Uncle' Keith and 'Aunt' Amy to see the girls for the first time. Up until this point, they had only seen pictures. It seems to be a common reaction, but Keith & Amy were amazed at how small they really are. Pictures really don't do them justice... (showing their size or how damn cute they are either!)

As for their conditions: Olivia had a bit of an issue last night. The IV in her hand ruptured and is being monitored by the doctors. This could potentially cause some scarring in her hand, but it is being evaluated by plastic surgeons and looks o.k. for now. Since she is doing well, the IV came out and won't have to go back in. (Did I mention that Jeni cried for 45 minutes last night when the pediatrician called about Olivia's hand? She was upset because they 'messed up' her perfect baby)! While I was upset as well, apparently Mama was having a harder time dealing with her babies having 'issues' or concerns.

Today was also a busy day for little Miss Sydney as well. Today, Sydney had an ultrasound of her heart to check out the murmur that she has, we are still waiting to hear from her neonatologist about it. However, he didn't seem too concerned when he and Jeni were watching the ultrasound. The nurse also commented that if it was serious we would have already known about it. Just a reminder something like 85% of all babies are born with heart murmurs that correct by their first birthday. Sydney is still on the IV for now until she puts on some more weight. Both girls gained 2 ounces today, which is great! Olivia is off of the humid air and Sydney should be as well in the next day or so.

Overall, another good day for the girls, even if it was a bit exhausting because of the number of visitors... In total, they had EIGHT visitors today, not counting Jeni and me! They must really be loved! :)

Now, what I know you all came for....


Olivia sound asleep on her belly.

Apparently someone is being too noisy for Olivia's taste.

Jeni says, just like her, Olivia likes to stick her foot out from under the covers when she's hot.

"Uncle" Keith and "Aunt" Amy checking out the girls.

Sydney is attempting to keep her eyes open. She was sound asleep until she heard her Dad's voice.

Sydney sleeping on her back with her foot in the air.

Until tomorrow...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

6 Days Old!

So the girls are 6 days old today... And things are still going well for both of them.

As updated before, they are both off of oxygen and are breathing room air, like you and me. The small tubes you see in their noses helps keep their nasal passages moist with humid air. It's not really to help them breathe, but to keep them from drying out. Babies their age are usually still surrounded by amniotic fluid, so they have to adjust to the drier environment.

They are both being fed through tiny feeding tubes that run into their noses and down to their stomachs. Both girls are being fed Mom's milk in tiny doses. Sydney, since she is smaller, is getting a fortifier added to the milk for extra calories. This will help her grow and put on weight faster. As you may know, babies typically lose a few ounces after birth, and the girls have as well. Only tiny amounts but we want them to start putting on the weight so that they can go home sooner.

So today, Grandma Sharon & Grandpa Rick took Jeni to the hospital around mid-day. She hung out with the girls until I joined them this afternoon on the way home from work. This is beginning to be a routine and works well. I typically get there in time for the girls to have their diapers changed and to be fed. Jeni and I are both active in doing these things and I've become quite comfortable (and skilled) at changing their diapers inside the isolette.

Here are some pictures from today.

First up, our Miss Olivia.

And now, Little Miss Sydney.

We tucked the girls in and told them we would see them tomorrow. It's really really tough leaving 2 things as cute as these behind at the hospital!

After getting home, I whipped up some pasta and salad and Jeni attempted to clean and organize the kitchen. Apparently in her absense, I had let it spiral downward into chaos that she couldn't take...

That's all for now. Tomorrow the girls are a week old!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I am happy to report that I am moving MUCH better today...I'm still REALLY tired and my stomach still really hurts (getting in and out of bed is a treat let me tell you), but all in all I can tell I'm making strides to the return of me!

I spent a couple hours this morning organizing some things in the nursery, pumping (of course), and returning some calls/making ones that needed to be to get our air conditioner fixed, I called our potential babysitter to discuss when we could meet again (Sept. it is), and to my insurance company (that was a great use of 1 hour of my time), and to the NICU, of course to check on the girls. :)

Today, when I arrived at the NICU at Children's Hospital (courtsey of my personal chauffer Grandma Sharon), my nurse announced that I would be changing the girls diapers today AND repositioning them in their isolettes (the babies are moved from different positions every 3-6 hours)... Wow, I never thought I'd say that I was so excited to change a diaper in my life and I'm sure in a couple months I won't be so excited about it! :) (Remember, yesterday Matt and I changed our first diapers)....HOWEVER, the repositioning, well that was pretty intimidating. What if I hurt them? They are so tiny I am sooooo afraid that I will hurt them in some weird way...

Each of the girls were laying on their sides BEFORE their diaper change and would need to be moved to their stomaches and curled up inside their 'snoogle'. Much easier said than done. 15 minutes later, Sydney was repositioned and changed and then another 15 minutes later Olivia was changed and repositioned. WOW, I did it... I was so proud of myself.

Olivia BEFORE I changed her diaper and repositioned her...with her eyes open at the sound of mommy's voice... It is very exciting that they both open their eyes and try to respond to the sound of my voice. :) Makes me feel loved.

One 'coping' strategy that all counseling books talk about, in terms of helping parents who have babies in the NICU adjust to being parents, is to involve them in their babies care (like we were doing today). Since I am a counselor, I did know this and I, of course, was working my way into doing this, but I some how thought it would be a couple more days before this happened. Not the case today. It was good, though. I also learned how to feed them (through their feeding tube unfortunately), take their temperatures and record them, weigh their diapers and record them in their charts, and we reviewed all the different machines they are on, codes, etc. It was great. After learning how to do an assessment with our NICU nurse, I asked her when their next assessment would be, and she told me around 5pm... Great! Just in time for Daddy to change diapers and reposition, etc.

Some people probably wonder, what do I do all day at the NICU... Well, I don't do much, not that I've really had tons of days to hang out in the NICU all day... Today was only my 2nd day there. After assessments, Sharon and I hung out... I would put my hands in the girls' isolettes ocassionally and talk to them... Sharon just looked and sighed over how cute they are (typical Grandma I am sure). I of course pumped every 2-3 hours, had a counsultation with the lactation consultant (who gave me more free stuff for breastfeeding), and then came the exciting part... I got to hold the babies again. I'm not sure if Matt commented yesterday, but the girls are only allowed out of their isolettes for 1 hour each day, so as to not over-stimulate them. So, it is the HIGHLIGHT of my afternoons when I get to hold them. Until then I am content to talk to them and soothe them by placing a hand on them (you aren't supposed to rub b/c it over-stimulates them as well), which makes them miserable and cry, which is so pathetic. Their cries vary from sounding like a kitten to a baby bird.

The following pictures are courtesy of our fabulous NICU nurse Melanie......

Olivia and I

Sydney and I.......

Olivia waving or saying "STOP, no more pictures, I'm tired." She was super active today, sticking her tongue out at me, pursing her lips in response to mommy kisses, and she kept her eyes open the ENTIRE time I held her, which was pretty amazing.

Sydney, was not as happy as her sister today. She had her blood drawn to test her levels for jaundice to see if she has to go back on her billi-light and was terribly upset the rest of the afternoon. BUT she did keep opening her eyes for her mommy during kangaroo care time and her daddy when he got there. Poor baby. She's had a rough go of it lately. :(

Matt was able to spend about two hours with the girls before we decided to leave. I was tired and boy did my back hurt, plus we needed to run a couple errands before we made it home to save the Boxers... Topic of discussion on the way home: do we think the girls are identical or fraternal? We think fraternal, BUT the Dr seems to think that they are identical (you would think he would know and he does claim to have medical proof (they shared a placenta), BUT it could have fused, etc.)... Guess we'll have to wait for the pathologists report to come back at Mo Bap; either way, I don't care. :) Matt seems to think that Olivia looks like me and that Sydney looks like him...we'll see. :) They are beautiful and perfect, that is all I really care about.

Have a great night!


P.S. If you called me today and I haven't called you back, I'm sorry....I can't use my cell phone in the NICU, and we didn't get home until very late, so in the interest of having a personality again and feeding my daughters, I decided that I'll start making return calls tomorrow. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Free at Last, Free at Last!

So today Jeni was finally emancipated from the hospital. She was counting down the hours before I arrived to pick her up. I got to the hospital around noon and she was dressed and ready to go.

As I was coming into the hospital, I ran into the OB who we met the day that we nearly lost our little girls almost 7 weeks ago. Dr. Kim was on duty at MoBap the day Jeni felt her first contractions and started into pre-term labor back in week 23. Dr. Kim walked us through a very scary moment in our lives and made us feel comfortable, yet very aware of how serious the situation was back then. It was great to see her again and even better to be able to share a happy ending with her and show her pictures of our beautiful little girls. After she hugged us both, Jeni and I headed for the car, with the help of a nurse and a large cart for all of Jeni's belongings...

We headed home to unload the car and to drop off some prescriptions at Walgreens before making our way to Children's for Jeni to see the girls for the first time since Thursday.

Jeni is still very sore and her speed is 'slow' at best, so I could tell it was frustrating her how long it was taking to get up to see the girls. That was probably one of the longest walks and elevator rides of her life. It was all worth it though when she got into the room and saw the girls. She gushed with joy and emotion as she saw them again.

Jeni and I both helped change their tiny little diapers, which are about the size of a maxi pad. Naturally, Jeni was like I was and afraid we could break the tiny little things just by picking them up.

After their diaper change, we took some quick pictures before settling into our chairs to hold them. Again, Jeni was beaming with joy to hold her babies.
Olivia is still getting treatment for jaundice under the bili-lights. That's why she's wearing the little mask.

Jeni holding Olivia for the first time.

Here's Sydney sleeping. It's one of her favorite hobbies.

I'm holding Sydney. Kinda proud. :)

Jeni's turn with Sydney.

Here's a tiny foot!

And a cute face!

We took a quick break to go to the cafeteria for a snack and then back up to hold the babies again.

We left the hospital around 7:00 and got home where Mike met us. He brought us over some homemade lasagna. YUM.

Great day, all around!


It's Christmas, RIGHT!???????????????

That's what I feel 8 year old who just KNOWS that they've been good enough that Santa is going to leave them presents.....

I GET TO SEE MY BABIES TODAY....and I cannot wait!


Now if only time would pass by a little faster so it's noon and Matt's here to pick me up.

A Busy Sunday!

I attempted to catch up on some much needed sleep, but the Boxers have needs apparently. They both like to wake me up around 6:30 no matter what day of the week it is... Luckily, they are fine with going back to bed afterwards. I was able to get some additional rest until Jeni called a little after 10 to check on me.

I started my day preparing for the events later that day. I had to get Amy's shower gift together and make it look nice. We got her a baby tub and Jeni's mom made some adorable blankets to go in it along with a bunch of outfits, rattles, and toys- all revolving around a bunny theme! After arranging that, I wrapped it up. I also did a small load of baby laundry (some of the new premie clothes I bought yesterday). Unfortunately, these things took longer than I thought and I was quickly running behind. In addition, I had to stop and get a shower card at Walgreens.

It never fails that when I'm running late, I get behind the slowest people on earth in the checkout lane. One women was buying groceries for what seemed to be a month and another guy was purchasing 6 quarts of motor oil... and then inquired on how he could get his rebate, which totally stumped the awkward young man behind the counter... What should have been a 3 minute stop for a card turned into nearly 10... By the way, who changes their own oil these days? Haven't you heard of Jiffy Lube, dude?

I stopped by Lion's Choice and picked up lunch for Jeni AND myself. Again, I'm in line behind super slow people. A young couple with a little girl proceded to order enough food to feed 6 people...

Finally I made it to the hospital with our lunch and we chatted while we ate. Her doctor then came in to do his rounds for the day. We talked about how Jeni was progressing along with the finer points in raising girls, dining out in St. Louis, and how he goes through 10 pairs of shoes a year thanks to random fluids from deliveries...

I headed out to Amy's shower and dropped off our gift for her and Keith. Then I went to a bar and had some beers with Keith, his dad, 2 brothers, and his nephew. Afterwards we went back to his mom's where I helped them load up the car with the bounty from the shower.

I made it back to the hospital where Nancy was visiting with Jeni. We hung out for a bit longer before I collected the milk that Jeni has been able to pump and headed home.

I grabbed a bite to eat and fed the Boxers before heading up to Children's to see the girls again.

As for a status update: Sydney is off of her Bili-light, but Olivia is not. Sydney has a new main-line IV in her arm because she kept wiggling too much and knocking out the others. Olivia has now caught up to her sister in her volume levels... she's just as noisy, the nurses report. Both girls are now feeding on mommy's milk. They are also off of their CPAPs and are just getting some humid air in through their nasal tubes. They both opened their eyes quite a bit tonight as well...

The girls were a little more active tonight and I got some good pictures! I also got to hold them both (one-at-a-time) for the first time really. Wow, what an amazing feeling. They are sooo beautiful. Yeah, I know I'm biased, but you can see for yourself how adorable they are...

Here's Olivia looking into the camera.

Here's Sydney trying to be awake.

And here's some more random shots of them in their isolettes.

Jeni gets discharged tomorrow and will get to spend some much needed (and much overdue) time with the girls. I know she is looking forward to this a TON. It'll be great to see her with them finally.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lessons from Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery, & Recovery....

In my absence from the Blog, I thought I'd return with some thoughts....Here are a few of the fabulous lessons that I have learned in the last 7 months.....
1. Pregnancy does WEIRD things to your body...enough said....Labor and Delivery...well that does weird things elaboration required, I am sure! :)
2. Babies have their own schedule and be darned with what their parents want/think.
3. My body HATES anesthesia.....
4. There are few pain meds I can take without throwing up. :( Sucks to be me.
5. C-Sections ARE NOT the EASY way out...a pox on those of you whom have/had suggested that.
6. Recovery from a C-Section is HARD, it hurts, but not as bad as other post pregnancy joys.
7. ALL women who are recovering from a C-Section should have a sign on their door that says NO LAUGHTER ALLOWED.
8. I USED to be lactose intolerant...until I got pg...well, now apparently I am to be me.
9. I rarely ate fast food before I was pg b/c it made me sick, then I got pg and the twins LOVED fast apparently my body hates fast food again.
10. I used to have IBS....then I got I have it again.
11. Pregnancy brain does NOT go away once you give birth, if anything it's worse afterwards.
12. Things never really go as planned. :(
13. Bedrest does a number on your body, hopefully by the time the girls come home I'll regain my energy! :)
14. I have never loved my husband more than I do now.
15. NOTHING else in life matters but my precious darling little girls and my husband, well, my dogs too. :)
16. I can't wait to BUST OUT OF THIS JOINT and go see my babies. It seems like everyone else has seen/touched them but me, and that STINKS. :(