Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bottles & Baths!

Friday morning arrived and I headed out to work while Jeni had some errands to run. As Jeni mentioned yesterday, we scheduled our carpets to be cleaned on Friday afternoon. So, she packed up Cassius and Sugar and took them down to Sharon & Rick's for the weekend. After that, she headed down to the hospital to spend some time with Sydney & Olivia.

Since she's working on getting more practice time with the girls, I came home around noon to work from home while the carpets were being cleaned. Since I've had Cassius for nearly 9 years, I've gotten used to having him or him and his sister waiting for me when I arrived home. It's earily quiet in the house when the dogs aren't there!

After the carpets were cleaned and I finished my work, I hit the road for the hospital. Upon arriving, Jeni had just finished pumping. It was time for a diaper change for Sydney and to get her ready for her 5:00 bottle. Sydeny was a champ again on the bottle and the nurses continue to be impressed at how well both girls are doing with eating from the bottles.

Sydney taking her bottle and doing a great job!

While Sydney ate from the bottle, Jeni got to give Olivia a bath for the first time. Olivia was very happy in her bath and the warm water. She was so cute sitting there! With her little fat belly, she looked like buddha sitting in a hot tub. Very Cute!

WHOA, Mommy! That water's COLD!

Just chillin' in the hot tub...

After her bath, it was Olivia's turn taking a bottle. She too did a good job! As she finished her bottle, I was putting her back into her crib. Right then, she had a huge EXPLOSION in her diaper. Normally this wouldn't be something important enough to tell you about, however, less than 45 minutes earlier Jeni had changed a very FULL diaper AND had to clean Olivia up as she messed the new diaper before Jeni could even get it on her... THE GIRL WAS FULL OF IT! Not surprisingly, when Jeni called to check on the girls later in the day, the nurse told us that Olivia had actually lost weight! :)

We made it home in the early evening and decided to grab dinner out. We wanted to eat outside and enjoy the continuing pleasant weather. However, everyone at Frankie G's decided to do the same thing and were basically camped out on the patio. We ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes and then gave up and ate inside. I promised Jeni we'd be able to eat on the patio soon!

We spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the quiet, boxer-less house and watching more Olympic events. We were both happy the weekend was finally here... Just can't wait 'til the girls come home!

More to come tomorrow!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our Little Chunky Monkies.....

...are so gosh darned cute it's scary! And hungry. And getting fatter. Today, Sydney weighed in at 3lbs 14 oz and Olivia weighed in at 4lbs 11 oz. You go girls...I want you HOME and soon would be nice! :)

As anticipated, today was the much awaited day of FIRST bottles for the girls. Seeing as how I've had tons of firsts with the girls, I decided (without really talking it over with Matt), that he (Daddy) would the FIRST person to give the girls bottles. I spend plenty of time with them all day while he is at work and we nurse (something he OBVIOUSLY cannot do), so I wanted him to have a first, besides changing clothes and diapers. Even though he WAS the FIRST person to hold the girls while I was still in the hospital. Anyway, enough of my whining... back to today.

After arranging it with Matt that he be at the hospital on time for their 5 and 6 o'clock feedings to make sure he could feed the girls, I talked with Michelle our LPN and our nurse Anita, who were both excited that the girls were going to officially start bottles (this is a HUGE step towards coming home). They both made a point of telling me not to be shocked if the girls don't eat all of their bottles or even very much at all because it's their first time and it's often hard for preemies to coordinate sucking, breathing, and swallowing.

So, how this works/worked is that each of the girls eats 41 militers of breastmilk. Sydney ate ALL but 6 militers of her bottle and Olivia ate all but 3 militers of her bottle! So, they were CHAMPS. I'm so excited! Now that we've given them their first bottles, the nurses will continue to work at bottle feeding them for each of their feedings. Whatever they do not finish from their bottles will be fed to them from their feeding tube. However, eventually they will get rid of their feeding tube and have to get all of their food from nursing or bottles.


Sydney with her first bottle....

Sydney with Daddy...

We're still working on nursing, but it's still hard for Sydney and sometimes hard for Olivia as well to get latched on and consistantly suck while nursing. They'd rather play and look at mommy while she's feeding them. I, however, refuse to give up on the nursing, SOOOOO we will continue to practice and then feed them afterwards to make sure that they are getting what they need to eat. Sadly however, the times that they nurse with me, they cannot be bottle fed (for now) because that would be too much stress on them. :(

Olivia when I arrived today....just chillin'.

Olivia in her new outfit for the's a newborn size. :)

"Mom...I like this sleeper!"

Also, today, PaPa Gale and Grandma Vicki came to visit. Now that the girls (okay, Olivia) is bigger, he wasn't as nervous to hold her. In fact, he was like a little kid in a candy store. It was so cute seeing him hold her! She loved it too, because she was able to eat (through her feeding tube) while he was holding her. Next time Grandma Vicki comes, I promised her she could hold Miss Sydney. Of course, that means we will have to schedule their next visit around her eating schedule because that's the only time the girls are awake and thus allowed to come out of their cribs/isolettes.

Olivia with PaPa Gale...

Other than that, not too much happened today, well, if you don't count guy's night out and my happy hour date with Gretchen... AND my trip/quest to find wooden letters for Gretchen to paint for me. I found some I like today, but they have to order 2 I's and an A and they are not sure if they can do that for me. :( Pains. One of these days Matt and I will discuss the Disney print idea that I had too. Whenever we have time for trivial things like that. :)

Tomorrow we are continuing on our quest of getting the house ready for the girls... We are getting our carpets cleaned, so the boxers are going to Nana Sharon and PaPa Rick's for the weekend. The chemicals are not good for their paws and they have a tendancy to lick them too, so that's bad. This weekend will be a pretty typical weekend running back and forth to the hospital to see the girls and feed them. So, very soon we'll be 'rich' for a week or two because we won't have to use as much gas. Yeah right. Something tells me this endeavor that we've embarked on for the rest of our lives is NEVER going to be cheap! :)

Have a great evening....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Happy Wednesday All.

So, a few weeks ago when the doctors and nurse practicioners were discussing milestones and steps towards coming home, they mentioned a few things specifically that the girls had to do: breathe on their own, eat on their own, and maintain their own body temperatures.

Well, Sydney has accomplished #1. Olivia is almost there. She's still on her tiny bit of oxygen and humidity.

Both girls are working towards task #2. Olivia totally gets the breastfeeding concept but will need to perfect it more. Sydney, well, she's getting there. Improvement is needed on her technique. And they both will have an opportunity tomorrow to learn about eating from a bottle. This is a normal progression for kids that won't be exclusively fed from the breast. Dad will get some time in with feedings and keep Mom from needing to be present at all eating times. So tomorrow I'll be introducing a bottle feed to them both.

Thirdly, as we discussed yesterday, the girls were moved into open-air cribs. This really challenges them to maintain their own temps since there's nothing but their clothing and a blanket to keep them warm. Well, one of the girls made it through this challenge... Back when the doctors first gave us the list of milestones, they told us that the open-air crib step wouldn't happen until the babies reached 4 pounds. Well, it seems this was pretty accurate. Seems Sydney wasn't able to stay warm enough. Since she's really only 3lbs, 10oz, she really doesn't have enough muscle and fat to keep warm. Olivia, on the other hand, did well today in her new crib. So, when I arrived this afternoon, Sydney was back in her old isolette. :( Oh well. Not a big setback, but it does delay the possibility of them coming home by a few days.

Other than this, not a lot new going on with the girls today. As I said, Sydney is now 3lbs 10.5oz and Olivia is 4lbs 8oz. I've warned Sydney that she's falling behind and is about to be passed by nearly a pound by her sister. We'll see how she responds.

Grandpa Gale and Grandma Vicki plan on visiting the girls tomorrow. It's been about 2 weeks since they saw them last, so they'll probably be surprised at how much they've grown. We'll see if Grandpa Gale decides that they aren't too little and actually holds one of the girls...

Until tomorrow!


PS..there are no pictures tonight because HORROR OF ALL HORRORS...we forgot the camera today..but we'll make up for that tomorrow night, we promise.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Isolettes? We don't need no stinking Isolettes!

...Hopefully one day my girls will enjoy films like 'Blazing Saddles' as much as their father...

Anyway, good evening blog readers. As you might be able to guess by the title of this entry, the girls made another big step in their quest to come home. This afternoon Olivia & Sydney were moved to open air cribs and out of their isolettes. Since their birth on 7-10-08, the girls have been residing at the hospital in what was formerly known as an incubator... As someone who is constantly curious about the English language (what, you didn't know that about me?), I did some digging on what the actual definition of 'isolette' was. According to 'isolette' is simply "a brand of incubator for premature or other newborn infants, providing controlled temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels and having armholes through which the infant can be reached with minimum disturbance to the controlled environment." Yeah, that. And by now, you've seen plenty of pictures of these things... A little over a week ago, they were taken out of their fancy-schmancy (that's a technical term) isolette and put into a 'stepdown' (i.e. older, not as fancy-schmancy) isolette. Now, because they have been able to hold their own temperatures, they are living in open air cribs. These are much friendlier looking and less like something that belongs in an ICU.
The new "convertible with the top down" model of crib

I think we need more stuffed animals on the wall behind me...

Jeni was late in getting down to spend time with the girls today because the baby that was just moved into the room across the hall had to have some sort of surgery today. In the NICU, they don't actually take the babies to an operating room, rather they bring the surgeons into the unit and close it down to visitors. Since we were right across the hall, our nurse called us to tell us that we'd have to wait to visit our girls until the surgery was finished.

So, Jeni did some more things around the house and spent more money (again) on the girls. Don't get me wrong... I know we have lots of expenses and my girls are worth it... I'd just like to see fewer outfits and stuffed animals thrown in on these shopping trips... :P Sorry, Jeni.

I stopped by the hospital as usual on the way home from work and visited with the girls and then Jeni and I had a romantic dinner in the hospital cafeteria. Following that, I walked Jeni back to the girls' room and headed home. She stayed and made up for time missed earlier in the day to practice with Sydney and Olivia again.

I watched some more Olympics tonight and tried to get over my frustration from last night. In case you missed it, we've been watching quite a few events in the Olympics. Some of my favorites have always been gymnastics. WARNING: I'M ABOUT TO RANT. Last night, I was reminded of my love-hate relationship with gymnastics and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the ridiculous rules involved with both. Another American girl was crushed and robbed, as really crappy judging (and an even more ridiculous tie-breaking system) stole the Gold medal from Nastia Liukin. In a clearly superior performance, Liukin received the same score as one of the 7 year old chinese gymnasts. The 7 year old had a great performance, but with several more errors... To add insult to the tie score, the convoluted tie breaker actually awarded first place to the Chinese 7 year old! Nearly every other Olympic sport simply gives out multiple medals if there is a tie... but not gymnastics. This is on top of the clearly ridiculous scoring from 2 nights ago, where my favorite gymnast of these Olympic games, Alicia Sacramone, was hosed by the judges who gave another Chinese gymnast the bronze medal even though she FELL DOWN on her landing during the vault competition... I think I'm going to stick to swimming and track & field events where it's competitor versus competitor, with no crooked or unqualified judges involved. Not sure if becoming a father has made me more sensitive to the plights of these girls or what, but these things just really ticked me off... OK, RANT OVER.

So, now that you had to put up with that (kinda like watching the undercard fights before the main event), here are some pictures from today...
Olivia either deep in thought or sleeping... before her diaper change

Olivia after a wardrobe change & just before being moved to her new crib

Olivia likes her hat & hates her cannula

In this picture, I told Sydney to give me her "Sneaky" Look. She's good.

Next, I said "Look surprise & puzzled." She's just a natural.

Finally, like all models, she was fed up and tired of the photo shoot.

More of our little models tomorrow. I'll try and keep my rantings to 2 sentences or fewer.


Getting Bigger!

Today (well, actually yesterday, since I was practicing the theme of our blog from this weekend last night), when I arrived at the NICU, it was time for the first of 4 nursing practice sessions with the girls. HOWEVER, before you can practice with the girls it's assessment time (diaper change, temp check, placement of feeding tube, looking for PGA (how they tolerated their feeds), outfit changes for both girls since they hadn't been changed the night before, and long they are.

Miss Olivia is now 17.5 inches long (she was 15.5 at birth) and 4lbs, 6.5 oz.
Getting her outfit changed for her new sleeper!


Miss Sydney is now 16 inches long (she was 14.5 at birth) and 3lbs, 9 oz.

Getting her outfit changed for her new sleeper!

Shockingly enough, Olivia is working on her first little fat roll on her leg, it's soooooooo cute! Sadly, Sydney's outgrown her cute little yellow, pink, and purple hat, it was so cute for them to have cute DIFFERENT hats. Now she'll be in her (equally as cute hat), but the same pink and purple hat as her sister! :)

Also, yesterday they turned off their isolette's AGAIN. So, hopefully while I am there this afternoon, they will still be keeping their body temps up so that they can get into Open Air Cribs. After this we'll just need to work on continuing to keep their temps up and then eating on their own. SO, we are STEPS away from them coming home! YAY! WHich is why I've been scheduling some of those things on that LONG list I listed last week of things that need to be done before the babies come home (like carpet cleaning, thankfully Nana Sharon and PaPa Rick were able to watch the Boxer babies this weekend for us, OR we'd run the risk of having wet carpet potentially when the babies came home)! Some things are still getting worked on like the organization of the nursery and purchasing of last minute things from our registry, but a potential end is insight! :)

My only concern from yesterday's conversation with our LPN is that there is a potential that Olivia COULD go home on her oxygen. So not happy about that, so unmotivated breather you need to get with the program. THey have upped her levels to encourage her to breathe better on her own and they will try her again off her .5 liter of oxygen again, but you never know. I know that Michelle (LPN) was just trying to prepare me in the event that they have to go home and she's still on that oxygen. We also discussed my concerns about their reflux. Apparently ALL preemies have reflux and it is something they outgrow as they get bigger and learn to manage their airways better. We also discussed what happens when they are in big girl cribs, in terms of helping them maintain their body temps, so look to see them wearing JUST sleepers from now on as they are warmer than onsies. :( Oh well. Guess I'll be running to Walmart or Babies R Us for some more of those, but I'm hesitant to buy anything that is preemie anymore because SOON they'll start outgrowing those. Story of our lives I am sure!

Last night we again enjoyed another meal prepared for us by my mom, which was nice because there just never is enough time in the day. BUT, while it was cooking, we were able to squeeze in a walk with the puppies who were SOOOOO happy to have some mommy and daddy time. After dinner we again watched some of the Olympics (I was able to wake up/stay awake for my favorite part...the Gymnastics)...where Matt got a little heated (again) as the US/Nastia Lukin was 'cheated' out of another gold metal. He's very passionate about his Olympics...I don't remember this from years past, but oh well. It's cute! :)

Have a great day..I'm off to nap for a little bit!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sleep... Get it while you can.

Where does the time go? As the girls hit the 5 week mark on Thursday, it seems like only a few days ago I was making my first trip to the NICU to see the girls while Jeni was still in the hospital. Now, they are making daily improvements towards going home. They still have a few setbacks, but we can definitely see progress.

Speaking of setbacks, only a couple of days ago, Olivia was able to have her cannulas removed and taken off of oxygen & humidity. Well, overnight on Thursday the nurses decided she needed to go back on it. Seems she was having too many periods of low oxygen saturation... So we hope by next week she'll have them removed again. As we were told when the girls arrived, we would have ups and downs with their progress.

It was a busy and an exhausting weekend for everyone. As I write this, I'm the only family member not snoozing. Jeni (on the couch), Cassius (on the floor), and Sugar (on the chair) all seem to have taken this weekend hard!

Friday night, after the hospital, we enjoyed some Shepard's pie for dinner, courtesy of Grandma Pat. It had been nearly six months since we had this for dinner. Jeni calls this meal a "winter meal." It was tasty whatever it is...

On Saturday, the girls had lots of visitors. Jeni went down early in the day and spent time with them before heading out to West County for a hair appointment. Grandma Pat & Aunt Judy visited the girls in the mid-afternoon. Nana Sharon (that's the nickname that Sharon has decided upon, instead of Grandma) & Grandpa Rick came by and picked me up later in the day and took me down with them to see the girls as well. After the grandparents left, "Uncle" Keith and "Aunt" Amy came down. They met us at the hospital for a brief visit before we headed to dinner. As you may remember, Jeni was on bed rest on her birthday and couldn't make it out to dinner. So, she requested that we go to dinner somewhere she could sit outside. Typically, Jeni requests going to Hacienda in Rock Hill, so we gave it a try again. Unfortunately, it's been so nice that the patio there was packed. It was an hour and 45 minute wait for a table! So, our backup plan was another one of Jeni's favorites, Bandana's. We were quickly seated and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and some drinks and dinner. Not quite margaritas and Mexican, but a good 2nd choice.

Upon getting home Jeni and I settled in to relax on the couch and I pulled out the laptop to check my email... Unfortunately, when earlier in the day we reorganized the nursery, we had to unplug the internet router and modem... Apparently, this screwed something up, because our network was gone...NO internet access. So I literally spent the next 3 hours on my own and on the phone with tech support trying to get our internet back up and running. I finally got to bed after 1 AM.

Sunday morning the internet connection was back up but our wireless network was still whacked, so I spent another hour getting that fixed on the phone with the Linksys tech support guy. Not sure what his name was, but thanks Indian-tech-support guy! I'm sure he told me his name was Steve or Harry when it was really something else... Regardless, he helped me get us up and running... That's one of the reasons why this blog is just now being updated... Sorry if I've disappointed you. Indian-tech guy and I did work as hard and as fast as we could.

So after my education on the programming of a linksys wireless router and reassignments of IP Addresses (blah blah blah tech-y stuff), I enjoyed another beautiful day of weather by mowing the lawn! Fun! Oh, and pulling weeds and trimming. Jeni ran some errands and then went to see the girls. I cleaned up from the yard work and watched a little bit of NASCAR and took a little nap on the couch before heading to the hospital myself. I arrived at the hospital to find a very tired Jeni. She did one last round of practice with Sydney before I talked her into calling it a day there. We made it home and ordered some pizza for dinner. That brings us to now... I've been watching some more Olympics and preparing for my upcoming fantasy football draft and generally just putting off writing this entry... Oh well, looks like its bed time.

Here are some more pictures of our beauties...
Sydney just chillin'

Olivia relaxing as well...

Sydney during a diaper change

Olivia snoozing

Jeni with the girls together

Olivia with a BIG yawn

And Sydney making a silly face & looking surprised...

More updates tomorrow!

- M