Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inside Jokes

Apparently I'm becoming more and more lazy...or at least my procrastination has gotten worse...or time must move faster. I think it's actually the last. We got on the other day and I couldn't believe it had already been two months since I posted last. The girls look completely different now than they did even then. I'll give the update on what they're up to and then just let you browse pics and the best video ever uploaded to the internet in the history of the internet. I'd love to know what the joke is that they find so funny. I have a feeling that it would make me appreciate life so much more. I suppose just watching them entertain each other like this is about as much joy as I can handle right now though. I wonder how similar God feels when his children are enjoying each others' company and delighting in each other. (I think the biblical word is fellowship, but I hesitate to use that word for fear potluck meals will be the only mental image that is conjured up.)

Here's what they are up to:

  • Can't stop rolling over
  • Can't wait for the next bite of apples and pears...not so much for the rice and oatmeal
  • Sitting up like pros. Considerably better even in the last couple of days.
  • Reaching for us to be picked up (I feel like I'm doing a good job of not getting wrapped around their fingers...if you believe that, you don't pick up on sarcasm well.)
  • carrying on conversations with each other...just not in anything we can interpret yet.
  • Getting very, very expensive shots to prevent RSV each month...we are very, very thankful for insurance.

9 months check up is on Monday so I'll try to report weights and all that boring stuff next week. Here's the fun stuff:)

Mattie

I'm not sure the antler to body proportion is exactly right.
Sophie going for Santa (Papa should be happy:)

Sophie



video

Monday, November 1, 2010

All worth while

video
I recently wrote to a friend saying that Amber and I are learning just how exhausting babies are...especially when they come in twos. Laughter like this makes it all worth while though. Thought you would enjoy.
This is a pretty good snap shot of our paranoia and our friends support. Trick or Treat was really just an excuse to get a peek at the girls. I don't think the girls knew exactly what to think, but Sophie finally started talking to everybody...apparently she enjoys the lime light. Mattie on the other hand just stared at everyone as they barked, panted, mooed, danced, and whatever else I told them to do to get the girls to laugh. The girls didn't laugh, but Amber and I had a good time. :) Speaking of Sophie talking and Mattie not- we had no idea that twins periodically switch personalities. Everyone always asks if they have distinct personalities, and they do. The problem is that they pass the distinct personalities back and forth. I'm convinced that since they came from the same embryo, they had to split the same personality in half as well. Right now they are simply "trying on" the different halves before they settle into who they want to be for the rest of their lives. I ran this theory past Jolie who has 6th grade twin boys and she confirmed my theory. Her boys switched personalities back and forth as well. (Of course, they aren't identical, but that's just a technicality)

Here's what they're up to now:
  • sharing- A.K.A.- Stealing each other's toys and crying when the other one does it
  • oh so close to rolling onto their stomachs
  • sucking on their toes
  • oh so close to crawling
  • oh so close to saying "daddy" (may be wishful thinking, but I'm sticking to it)
  • sitting up almost completely by themselves
  • spitting up almost completely all day
And they can't wait to meet you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Officially graduated from preemie status!

Happy October!
Mattie and Sophie at the wedding...sort of.

Madelyn the Ladybug
Sophia the Watermelon

I think it's been about 2 months since I updated the blog...a fact which has earned me a couple threats lately. So...I guess I should fill you in on the progress made over those two months. Both girls are now speaking in complete sentences. They are quickly gaining their balance and starting to wobble less when they jog and are finally figuring out how to balance their check books.

I'll let you know what's going on next month if I get a chance. Thanks for reading!









Ok. So maybe I exagerate a little. I think that's part of my job, right? :) Truthfully, they got off of O2 last month on a trial run and today were officially graduated from the BPD clinic. That means we can finally send back all 20 O2 canisters that are all over our house! Sophie gets to get off of her blood pressure med. on a trial run (we're about 98% sure that will go without a hitch) and doesn't have to go back to Vandy to check that for 3 months. All that means...we can finally take a break for a while from Vandy visits to monitor preemie complications.
Now for the fun stuff. They talk like crazy now (not complete sentences...or even intelligible words, but you would sure think so by the expressions, change of tones, and laughter), are experimenting with rolling over both directions, and want oh so badly to crawl. That may take a little longer, but you can see them both working hard to figure it out. As far as size goes, unless I misunderstood today, they have caught up to term babies. Mattie clocks in around 15lbs and Sophie almost 14.

Their first outing was my baby sister's wedding at my parents' house last weekend. The wedding was beautiful (as were my sisters) but I was still kind of partial to the beauty of my wife and girls watching from the upstairs window. The girls handled the crowd of my family all together surprisingly well and contrary to all of our paranoia and fears, they came away healthy. That's not to say we weren't exhausted by the end of the weekend from trying to make sure we didn't expose them to unnecessary germs.

Lest we offend anyone, let me explain why we seem paranoid and somewhat rude. Right or wrong, Vandy docs and our pediatrician warn constantly about RSV. Even though they are off O2 now and doing great, their lungs are still fragile since they were so underdeveloped early on. Add to that the fact that the third trimester (which they saw about a week of actually in the womb) is when babies get all of the stuff they need to develop their own immune system. To top it all off, we were also told that the mother's milk quits providing immunity benifits at 6 months...just in time for cold and flu season to get going. Needless to say, we are probably going to seem a little rude trying to ward people off. I even got called out by a nurse today for an attempted body block (shifting the baby from one arm to the other to put my body between Mattie's and the nurses....awkward that she noticed. Need to work on my subtelty apparently) Trust me, it kills us, but we're not backing down. I don't plan on going back to Vandy until scheduled appointments if I can help it at all. So, we're hunkering down till spring time and the end of RSV season. Sophie and Mattie can't wait to meet you. Please pray for them not to get sick this season. We start RSV shots this week and will get them once a month throughout the season. (You may want to pray for our sanity too:) Our friends from the NICU will be going through the same thing so keep them in mind too. Crimson, Brayden, Isaac, and Eli.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Smiles



It's almost ridiculous how hard adults will work to get smiles out of babies. If someone hasn't recorded you trying to make a baby smile at some point, then you may think you look cool, but let me assure you...you don't. Maybe you're the exception to the rule, but I doubt it. I've wondered several times who was actually being entertained- the baby or the full-grown mature adult that is making a fool of themselves and not even realizing it. I have a theory that if we could read babies' minds we would hear something like this: "I can't believe how long this guy has been making that face. He looks ridiculous. I'm gonna see how long he'll act like that....Wow this guy really is pathetic. Now he's getting on my nerves so I think I'll cry. Wow he really doesn't get it. Now he's making even dumber faces. I'm gonna have to scream."

One of my favorite things to do now is wake the girls up in the morning. They are usually stirring a little sooner than us but still dozing when we come in. A few tickles on the feet and high-pitched, very un-manly "good mornings" and they are all smiles and ready to play...at least until they get hungry.
We started therapy this week finally with Tennessee Early Intervention. It's a state program that is a pre-cursor to the CDC but is intended to work with babies to prevent some developmental delays and give them a head start if they are going to have any. We are really excited to say that the therapist said today (unofficially) she doesn't see any signs of CP or anything else for that matter. That's not a guarantee. Nobody is even allowed to diagnose stuff until 18 months because apparently that is the magic age where you can really tell what's going on developmentally. However, we were told yesterday that she can usually see some signs of the babies that are going to have issues and our girls don't seem to have any so far. Praise God.

Here's what they are doing these days:
Rolling over, scooting (barely), smiling a lot, mimicking the raspberry sound a little (trying hard to get video but no luck so far), sleeping more at night, staying awake more during the day, crying when they're hungry, crying when they're tired, crying when their tummies hurt, and crying when I make to many faces or to few. Mattie is a girl of extremes. She's really quick to smile and play but pretty quick to erupt as well. Sophie is the contemplative one. She likes to smile and scream too but will think about it a little longer before deciding it's worth doing.

Isn't it incredible to think that as foolish as we allow ourselves to look just to make a baby smile, God does it infinitely more to give us reason to smile. He humiliated Himself in front of everyone while his children were thinking, "what in the world is this guy thinking" just to give us everlasting joy. I thank God for my babies and I thank God that I am His.
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
- Jesus
John 15:11

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Good reports, automatic doors, and awkward reunions

Friday was a looooong day with great results. We had VBS all week last week so Amber had the girls to herself every night which is chore enough in itself. Friday we had to leave the house at 5 am (we wound up leaving by 5:30) in order to get to Vandy in time for all of their checkups. That means that we were up at 3:45 to change them, feed them, get them ready to go, and get ourselves ready to go. That wouldn't be so bad if we hadn't been up till 2:30 the night before trying to get everything ready to go. (I'm still not entirely sure how time seems to move infinitely faster now...especially after 9pm!)

Our first appointment was the eye doctor. Both girls checked out with flying colors. No more ROP! which means they won't have to go back for an eye exam until April to watch for crossed eyes, lazy eyes, etc. The eye people called the BPD clinic (lungs) for us to let them know that we were gonna be late in order to finish the eye exams. At the BPD clinic we learned that both girls are doing very well. (We already knew that...they fight us tooth and nail to keep their tubes out already!) The girls only have to wear their apnea monitors and O2 tubes at night now which is huge. That means we can actually carry them out of the nursery without prior planning. I know...pretty exciting, right! (you might have had to have a kid on O2 to really understand the joy that brings). We will go back in a month to make sure they are still growing well and breathing easily without O2 during the day and if that all checks out, they'll be free at last.
Finally we made it to the Nephrology clinic to check Sophie's blood pressure, which is drastically improved. The doctor lowered her medication pretty significantly and will check it again in a month before pulling her off. Apparently, the extra O2 sometimes triggers higher blood pressures so as the O2 comes off it should continue to improve.

We figured 3 for 3 checkups was pretty good and headed to Amber's parents' mini-van for Amber to nurse the girls. I'm pretty sure if someone had a camera on us tripping over ourselves folded up in the van trying to change diapers and get situated, we could win some money on AFV. The Bowman's are letting us borrow their Nissan Quest. It's one of the nice ones. Power everything. TV. Dual sliding doors. And the back door and passenger sliding door both open by remote.

Keep in mind that this is in the Vandy parking garage where people are coming and going constantly. Needless to say, Amber is a little paranoid. Therefore, my job was to hold a blanket up over the window until we figured out a way to hang it. The girl parked beside us had to think I was pretty weird sitting in the back seat holding a blanket since she couldn't see Amber or the girls. Once we got the blanket hung free of hands, I was given the duty of changing one of the girls in the front seat while Amber continued nursing in the back seat. I'm 6'1''. The van is not. As I was trying to get everything situated I accidentally headbutted the remote control...for the back door and the sliding door! Dingers started dinging, Amber started panicking, and I started bumbling over myself and whichever girl I was changing (my memory is already shrinking from lack of sleep!) to remember where the buttons were and how to close the doors. Thankfully, no one was walking by at that exact moment...or the second time I accidentally hit the buttons again and I have not been sent to sleep on the couch!

Somehow we managed to get both girls changed and fed and headed back inside to see if any of the girls' former nurses were there. We got to see a couple of them and a few of the receptionists that we had gotten close to and were ready to head to Spring Hill for the night. But we were starving. So...I'm off to the food court to find food. Amber kept the girls around the corner to keep them out of the crowd.

When I got in the checkout line, I noticed one of the girl's last doctors that we really liked standing one line over.

I said, "hi."


He said, "what are you doing here!?" which sounds like a strange greeting at first until you realize that he was worried there was something wrong with one of the girls again.

I let him know generally about the success of all three apointments and mentioned that Amber was around the corner with the girls. At this point I had gotten in line behind him in order to talk with him. He asked specifically about Mattie. I resonded, and was impressed that he remembered her name. After all, he is the head of the Neonatology department and has to see countless patients.

I said, "you have a good memory." Now that I think about it, that was probably a pretty big understatement considering his position. His reaction, naturally was to pay for his food and walk away without any response at all as I was left to pay for my sandwiches laugihng about the unended conversation.

The truth of the unanswered compliment on his memory, however, is that when I mentioned that Amber and the girl's were around the corner, he apparently tuned me out and was singly focused on going to see them because when I got back to Amber he was already there with her. Alas, I was reminded once again that from my parents, to Amber's parents, to the head of the neonatology department that when babies are present, I am invisible. Which I am perfectly happy about. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Routines and Heros

Sophie Mattie

Sophie



Mattie

I'm not sure if anyone is still reading. Amber has been on me for some time to update for fear that people would stop checking, but somehow, I've just not felt like posting when I had a few spare moments. I do know that Mrs. Countess is still checking once a week to see new pictures, so this is for her...and our moms. :)

Somehow, we have settled into somewhat of a routine. Both of our moms have gone home now unless I have to be somewhere over night, but other than that, we have found a way to take care of the girls in, what I think anyway, an acceptable fashion...the house is a wreck when our parents aren't here to clean it, we are still getting two meals a week from great women at Fairlane, and the neighbors have to be wondering what in the world is going to happen with my yard!, but the girls are doing well enough that our pediatrician said we were doing a good job. (By the way, can I just mention how incredibly relieving it is to hear someone with a white coat on say that after you are absolutely sure that you have no idea in the world what you are doing!)

I thought you might want to hear what our basic routine is to get a peak inside the incredibly cluttered for now Schwartz home.

Both girls are sleeping pretty well at night now. We give them their medicine and a bottle around 11 and then I hold them up for a half hour while Amber pumps. When she's done, she wakes me up around midnight and we do our best to get the girls in their beds without waking them up. Most night we're pretty successful and they sleep until around 4:30 or 5. It's unbelievable how good 4 straight hours of sleep feels! We do the same routine at 5 and get them back in bed around 6. We get another 1.5-2 hours of sleep and get up again a little before 8 to feed them again. Most mornings we go ahead and put them in their Nap Nannies (a special seat designed like a car seat to help them stay more upright...not quite as up as they need to be most of the time though) after they finish eating around 8:30. I get in the shower and Amber pumps again. I kiss everyone goodbye and head off to work.

From then until around 5 all I can tell you is that my wife is my hero. Somehow she manages to nurse both of them at the same time. That includes burping one while nursing the other which is very impressive. She somehow manages to keep both of them calm at the same time or manage the double screams when they just won't calm down. I have trouble managing both of them for an hour or two by myself so I have no idea how she can do it for all day! I had a nightmare while the girls were in the hospital that I wrote an article about to get it off my mind when I couldn't go back to sleep and finished it by saying that I'm not nearly man enough to do the work of a mom emotionaly or physically, and I'm more and more convinced of that every day when I watch Amber with the girls!

Amber changes diapers, nurses every 2-3 hours, holds them up for 30 minutes after each feeding and somehow manages to get at least one room straightened each day before I come home.

We try to do a few dishes and laundry at night, play with the girls for a while (they are smiling a lot more now and are oh so close to laughing out loud), give them a bath when we and they can handle the extra time before eating (last night Amber gave them baths alone...another reason she's my hero) and start the night shift over again.
That's pretty much our life right now. Our living room is stacked up with diapers and gifts from an unbelievable baby shower that Fairlane had for us on top of all the gifts people had already given us.

We take the girls back to Vandy to check their lungs, eyes, and Sophie's blood pressure on the 30th (next Friday), so please pray that we will be able to be done with at least one of those appointments. We are really hoping they will come off of their oxygen next week which would make a world of difference. When that happens, we'll be able to at least start thinking about when we can get them out a little in a very careful, hands off, and threaten anyone who tries to touch them kind of way (seriously) before cold/flu season hits and we have to pull them back into isolation from germs that could rack their lungs again.

All of our friends that we met in the NICU have gone home now so we are hearing from each other less and less....it seems that communication with the outside world is just hard to do with infants at home! Amber does talk to Stacy from time to time and they seem to be doing really well. Crimson will be on Oxygen for something like 6-12 months from what we understand so they will need a lot of patience and strength and can still use your prayers. Enjoy the pics and video for now and we can't wait to let you meet them...even if they're 2 by then!

video

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Sophie Mattie
Sophie Mattie
Mattie Sophie
Mattie Sophie
Mattie
Sophie below and Mattie above

Sophie Mattie

We've got several pictures to post since it has been a while. I could try to make excuses about not having time and all that, but I'll just leave it by telling you that Sunday morning when we woke up at 5 to feed the girls again I got out of bed, unplugged the baby monitor, and started swadling it. Before I finished I quit because I realized that the blanket was too big for the monitor. It wasn't until I was actually feeding Mattie that I realized that a monitor doesn't really need to be swaddled any way.

That pretty much sums up what's been going on since we got home! :) Amber's mom has been staying with us during the week and my mom has been here on the odd days. They have been lifesavers. I'm not sure how anyone eats or keeps their dishes clean without Nanas and Grams's!

Sophie's blood pressure has finally leveled out so we are really excited about that. We are heading back to Vandy tomorrow for their eye exams.

The girls are starting to get more cuddly with each other. Mattie especially will curl up on top of Sophie just about any time they are being held together....their have been a few head-butts and smacks to faces when arms were flailing though! :)

Every time I see Amber holding both of them I have to wonder why in the world God gave me three girls as beautiful as these. I'm pretty sure I'm the most blessed person in the world. For a while anyway, I'm just incredibly blessed and tired.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Burger King Comes through in a pinch!

If you haven't already heard, WE ARE HOME! Sophie got discharged on Wednesday. I think you'll appreciate that we have had our first big adventure and we understand completely why people with babies are always late!

We were surprised when the doctors said we were going home Wednesday. We were expecting Thursday because Sophie's blood pressure stayed up a little too high Tuesday night. Wednesday, they were comfortable enough with it to up her med. just a little and send us home. So...we got to packing. We had it all planned out to leave just after we held them up after their 2:00 feeding. (They both have reflux pretty bad and have to be held upright for 20-30 minutes after they eat.) By 2:00 we were just about ready to go, fed the babies, held them up for a while. I ran to the pharmacy in Children's and took the last load to the car while Amber got the girls ready to go. Unfortunately, that's as far as we got before our brilliant plans for a calm car ride went awry. Sophie's prescription had been faxed to the pharmacy so it would be ready when we got there. Apparently, the handwriting was illegible. They told me it would be about a half hour before it would be ready...and they needed Sophie's social. Being the forward thinker that I am, I asked them to go ahead and fill it while I ran to the car to get her social security card and ran one last errand. They agreed....although I'm not sure what they thought they agreed to, because once I got back and gave them Sophie's social the lady said, "ok, great that's all we need. Now we just have to fill it. Shouldn't be much longer."

So, instead of leaving at 2:30 we left at 4:30. The girls are supposed to eat at 5:00. Rush hour is from 4-6. The girls aren't supposed to be in the car for more than an hour at a time. Needless to say, shortly after we finally go on I24 it was time to stop and stretch at 5:30. Burger King was the first place we found.

Now try to picture a Toyota Matrix (same build as a Pontiac Vibe) that has two infant car seats in the back seat which means my knees are in the dash. Amber is smashed (literally) between the girls in the back so she can watch them. And the back end is full to the brim of diaper bags and our things from living at or near the hospital for 2 months. Somehow we changed both girls' diapers in our laps and thankfully they didn't blow the dash off like they've been known to do. I ran in to get hot water for their bottles. I'm sure I looked half out of my mind asking for a cup of hot water, but they knew what it was for and obliged...in a hurry! We finally got home around 8 and it was time to eat again. I'm sure that's the first of many adventures.

Yesterday was the first check up with the pediatrician here in town...and of course we ran late. We started getting ready as soon as the girls ate and somehow still couldn't get them in the car on time. Sophie blew her diaper open just before we left so their outfits didn't get to match like Amber had planned. We changed their O2 over to the portable canisters and fought wires and monitors all back into the car and somehow got through the appointment without the girls going crazy for not eating for an hour after they were due.

They are finally starting to sleep a little in their cribs, but I'm afraid they've gotten spoiled to being held after they eat and tend to grunt and squirm and finally cry until they are picked up again. I realized this morning that I slept better for the hour and a half with both girls on me than I do when they are in their cribs and we're worried about them breathing, and refluxing, and spitting up, and everything else! (I also realized that I couldn't remember which girl was on which side and had to really sort it out and finally decided based on weight who was whom!) It looks like we'll be sleeping in a recliner and a pull out chair in the nursery for a while! We're tired as all get out and overwhelmed...but loving every minute of it...the daytime minutes are just a little less stressful. :) I'm just glad Amber's mom is here to feed us and pick up our messes. Otherwise DCS might take the girls if they saw the state of our house!

Looking back on our stay at the NICU, it became more and more easy toward the end to complain about stuff going wrong and longing to come home, but we have so much to be grateful for.
1. Neither of the girls ever really got an infection which is pretty uncommon from what we understood at the beginning.
2. Neither of the girls had to have surgery while there. (We've still got checkups on eyes, but aren't that worried about it.)
3. While Mattie got out a few days earlier than Sophie which was difficult, I'm pretty sure a lot of twins go home at very different times. I have no idea how we would have survived with our minds in tact if that had happened.
4. If Sophie hadn't choked last Tuesday and scared us half to death while the nurse was working to get her breathing again, she would have been discharged on Thursday or Friday along with Mattie...in which case, they wouldn't have noticed her high blood pressure. While it wouldn't have caused immediate problems, it could have caused serious damage down the road if left unattended.
5. The girls won the "best dressed award" in the NICU. (I'm not sure if that's a real award but it was the head of the Neonatal department that made that comment, so I figure it bears some weight) The catch is that Amber and I have maybe bought one or two outfits for the girls. Everything else they wear are gifts from you. Between clothes, cards, gift cards, and money to help with gas and expenses, and more than anything else reminders of prayers on our behalf, we have felt more love in the past few months from God's people than we've ever experienced before.

I'll put pics and videos up soon to let you see some more of their fashion. I'm finding that being at home with them leaves even less time for blogging than being at the hospital. For now, from Burger King and a hot cup of water, to Natchez Trace, to friends and family, to people we've never met, thank you for giving us your strength and reminding us of God's strength to get through this. Now we'll need that strength to get through the rest of their lives! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We just can't seem to leave!

We'll take an informal poll. leave a message to guess which baby is which. They are definitely looking more and more alike. Both girls had to pass their car seat tests to go home. We were'nt thinking and didn't get a picture of Mattie in her car seat for the first time, but we got Sophie above. Mattie is just taking it easy now that her mom and I are the ones taking care of her...either that or she just needs to relax because we're stressing her out! This was their first attempt at co-bedding...and possible their last for a while! Well,...

we were supposed to get out on this past Friday, but Sophie had a little trouble with getting choked on reflux, so she bought another 5 days. Mattie did get out Friday, but we didn't want to drag her all over creation coming back and forth to see Sophie, so we are "rooming in" in Sophie's room. Basically we are responsible for Mattie and the nurses are still in charge of Sophie, but we do most of both of their care....and we are pretty tired. Sleeping in a hospital is fun enough already, add two newborns to the mix and you have a recipe for fatigue! We're really enjoying being with the girls all day though.
Sophie was supposed to get out today...we had already gone through the discharge check out process with the nurse, but then the doctors came in and discussed Sophie's blood pressure. It is running too high recently. High enough that they don't want to let her go before they try to get it regulated and run some tests, but not high enough that they would admit her if she weren't already here. I'm beginning to think that Sophie just has extremely expensive taste and is very high maintenance and enjoys the incredibly expensive room and baby sitting! It looks like we will be home some time this week, but I think I'm gonna quit trying to pick the day...Sophie is just to fond of being here!
When we moved into Sophie's room, the hospital was so full of babies (it was a full moon) that they needed Mattie's basinette. That meant that the girls got to try sleeping in the same bed. It was very cute...but we didn't sleep a wink. We were glad to get them back in seperate beds. We'll just have to let them visit together while they're awake.

video

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The end is in sight!

I tried to update Tuesday afternoon, but got distracted and left my computer on the floor of Mattie's room for about 5 or 6 hours before we finally had to head back to Spring Hill. Now it is Wednesday night and I have been threatened by sweet ladies at church :) if I didn't get an update on, so here we go.

I'm doing my best not to get too excited about coming home as soon as I'm hoping but we can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. We came in Tuesday to find out both girls had been turned down to a low enough amount of Oxygen that they could come home on that level if the doctors decided to send them home on O2. When we walked in the alarms were going off and didn't quit going off for about 20 minutes. Normally alarms are a bad thing, but these alarms are set to go off when the girls aren't getting enough oxygen pumped through their body (which is bad) and when they are getting all the oxygen they need which is a good thing. Both girls were at 100% oxygen saturation. Basically, they were getting next to no extra flow of oxygen and doing great with it.

They still have several tests to pass and other hoops to jump through, but if they continue to do very well for 5-6 days with no "spells" where their oxygen saturation drops out, then they will be ready to come home. Thankfully, the doctor said today that she would like to finish getting them off O2 before sending us home if possible. Apparently, she feels like 2 oxygen tanks to carry around with 2 little girls in two car seats would just be a little 2 much for us to handle. Here is what to pray for now:

  1. Both girls will get MRI's on Friday, which makes us a little nervous just for the whole process anyway. Pray that they will be sound asleep so the procedure goes smoothly and that the MRI's show no new dead spots on either of the girl's brains

  2. Sophie's eyes to heal so she won't have to have laser surgery (not a huge deal but we'd rather slip out without surgery if we can) Their eye exams should be next Tuesday. As of the last one, Mattie's eyes had started to improve and she should be pretty well out of the water. Sophie's had gotten just a little worse.

  3. For both of the girls to come off oxygen before they come home. (that's more of a want for us than a need so pray for that one last:)

  4. Amber talked to Stacey a few nights ago and Crimson is doing great. He is over 4 lbs now so they got to raise the lid on his isolette. That was a huge deal for us and I know it is for them too. He also got to quit wearing a c-pap breathing machine and is on vapotherm like the girls had for so long. That is also a big step. And he gets to wear clothes now...which just makes parent feel a lot better:)

The first picture is Mattie and the second is Sophie. We thought you might enjoy video this time instead of just pictures. Even when we come home, it will have to be a pretty long time before people really get to meet the girls because their immune systems are so far behind, so we'll try to keep the videos and pics rolling.:)


video video

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To my Dad's office staff...

Ya'll can't possibly be getting any work done for the amount of time it seems you're looking at pictures. Please give my apologies to the poor patients waiting in the waiting room while ya'll are gathered around the computer in the back. :) Just kidding. Thought my parents and in-laws would enjoy showing off getting to hold them.

Grams and Sophie

Pop Pops and Mattie

Papa and Mattie
Nana and Sophie

Living in the tree house

Sophie and Mommy


Mattie and Mommy
We've been moved again. This should be our last move before we get home though. The girls' are in the "Tree House" which is their nickname for the step down unit where they get parents and babies ready to go home. We thought that meant sooner than later, but, unfortunately, it looks like it will be another 2-4 weeks minimum. Apparently their addiction to Oxygen is just a little more demanding than it should be!

Amber had a good first Mother's Day. Thank you to all of you who wished her well. We let both of our parents hold the girls for the first time for Mother's Day. ...Although I feel like our dads kind of snuck a fast one. Some feel very strongly that they should have had to wait until June for Father's Day.

Today we took an infant CPR class. I've had that class before, but it isn't quite the same when you're in college vs. picturing your own child when you are practicing on the dummy. We did get to spend some more time with the other parents of twins, though so that was good. The girls will probably both have an MRI before they leave. Not sure when those will happen. Right now, we are really just being held back by weak lungs.

I guess the worst news in the last day or two was the instruction about sickness prevention once we get home. We were under the impression that we would need to be careful for several months and then get closer to normal while still being careful. Apparently, we get to be overprotective parents for a while. We were told to limit very carefully contact with basically everyone. We've heard the words "chronic lung disease" more times that we can count. I guess we'll see what happens down the road and follow the advice of our pediatrician as the time comes, but I figured I should put the word out now that we are gonna have to have the girls pretty secluded for a while...as much as that breaks our hearts. I'll definitely put more specific things we'll try to do as we get closer to home, but you'll just have to settle for more pics for now. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can you notice what is different?

Mattie

Sophie

They seem to look more and more alike every day. We don't have any freckles to help us out, but, Grant, you'll be happy to know that Mattie has a double crown (I think like Seth's) and Sophie only has one swirl in the back of her hair. It's just to bad we already tatooed them! ;)
They both did really well in vibrating seats...which is great because they are shaped somewhat like car seats. Both girls have to be able to sit in a car seat for the amount of time it takes us to get to Shelbyville before we can leave.

Both girls are getting all of their feeds from a bottle now. They got their feeding tubes out yesterday morning. So far, they are doing really well. They get pretty tired still, though, so there is a chance that the tubes may have to go back in if they quit eating from fatigue. Sophie has weaned down a little further on Oxygen and we expect Mattie to make that move by tomorrow. If they both do well on the lower level of Oxygen for a couple of days, we'll get moved to the "Tree House" which is the step down unit where they get babies and parents ready for the move home. Hopefully, we will be able to stay in the hospital with the girls at that point and find out what it's like to wake up and change diapers all night long We can't wait...I think. :) Once we get to the Tree House, it should just be a couple of weeks before we can come home so we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hands down, more adventure than we ever wanted...

well, I guess at least the type of adventures you think of wanting anyway! Amber and I have always had a knack for getting ourselves in over our heads and having unusual adventures, but I'm pretty sure I never would have guessed in a million years that we would be in Nashville at a hospitality house when the flood waters came to middle Tennessee! Russ asked me Sunday if I was documenting all of it, so I guess I should let everyone know that we survived the flood with little more than wet feet.

Thankfully, the reports coming through channel 5 about the power and oxygen failure possibilities were completely the comments of the news guy and not the hospital. (If by chance someone connected to them or to any news people read this, which I doubt, please pass on to news people that it is very unwise, foolish, ignorant, and unthoughtful-I could probably think of a few other words- to report on something like that without knowing the facts. Even if they had been right about the O2 and Power failures, what good does it do to report it during the crisis. I'll tell you what good it does. It panics families of patients who then flood the hospital with calls and attempt to get to the hospital to make sure their family members are ok. Then the nurses have to deal with family members at the cost of the patients' care. How about waiting to make comments like that until after you have a reason to comment on it other than hyping up hysteria so people will stay glued to the TV all day.) There's my rant. I wanted to call the station, but I've calmed down enough now to just talk bad about them behind their backs. (If you're talkinga bout a station and not a person, does that count as gossip?)

Adam (the host at the hospitality house) and I walked over to the hospital during the downpour to see if there was any way in. If you've never seen a real flash flood, it's pretty impressive. I still don't understand how it comes and goes that quickly and I'm sure no matter how someone tries to explain it, I never will. On the way there, Wwe saw cars up to the windows with water and twenty minutes later the water was completely gone. When we got to the hospital the fire alarm was going off, but it was only because the garage and the lobby were flooding. The basement level of the garage had a torrent going through it and Children's Way was a flood that the cops had to pull someone out of their submerged car from what I was told. The lobby never got more than an inch or two from what I could tell. The staff had it dry by a couple hours later. By the way, if you know anyone who works at a hospital, tell them thanks. When things like this happen, they have to pull 24 hour shifts or more when their replacements can't get to work. I'm not sure how they do the 12 hour shifts that they already do, but I sure am grateful for them.

The hospitality house basement flooded up to the second from the top stair to come into the kitchen, but thankfully stopped there before it started going back down again. Unfortunately, the water took out the hot water heater and the air conditioning unit. With that in mind and the fact the Nashville has is under a water conservation order, we are staying at Amber's parent in Spring Hill for the night until things calm down a little.

Both girls are in cribs now and they are taking nearly all of the feeding by bottle now. They still tucker out before they can finish their bottles on a few of the feeds and the rest simply goes through the tube, but they do a little better each day. They both slowed down a little on weight gain as well because of the extra energy to bottle feed. Mattie is now 5lbs 1oz and Sophie is 4lbs 14oz. I mentioned in the last post that the thing to pray for was that their O2 dependence would decrease, but I found out tonight that the problem for their O2 dependence may actually be their blood count. Both girls are just a little low on their red blood cell count which could account for why they aren't coming off of their O2 a little quicker. They are both working hard to bring their red blood cells up though, so we'll just pray for continued improvement. The nurses and doctors are talking about moving us to the step down unit once their O2 requirement takes the next step down and from their it could potentially be a matter of weeks before they get sent home. (although, when we actually sit down to look at a calendar, it is really only a few weeks before Amber's original due date anway!) They still have to come off of the O2 before anything happens at all and that will only happen on their schedule, though. It is incredible how time flies when you're having fun...or at least when you have lost all sense of time due to never really changing your routine from day to day.

Crimson continues to improve a little each day from what we can tell. We don't get to see Alex and Stacy as often now, but try to keep updated through phone calls and texting. We are also having dinner with another couple whose son is about 3 weeks behind the girls so keep them in your prayers as well. Now we are down the hall from the couple who has the twin boys that the grandfather tried to arrange our kids' marriages for on Easter Sunday and have been blessed to meet them. I wouldn't choose to go through this again in a million years, but I continue to be encouraged by the people we are meeting. The only problem now is that we seem to be collecting babies to worry about! I'm just thankful God is watching over all of them.

Sorry for the incredibly long post. I'm finding it's harder and harder to get time to update...plus we're in the stage when the most exciting thing that happens is that nothing really happens other than growth and maturing. Thanks again for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bottle Feeding and Cribs

Mattie

Sophie

Sophie's first bottle

Sophie
Mattie
Mattie and Mommy

I'm too tired to write a whole lot so I'll just give the bare minimun and put a couple of pictures...which I'm finding out are really the only things people look at anyway:)
Sunday we got to start bottle feeding them just a little. 10ml once a day. The rest of their milk still goes through a the tubes. Both of them have done very well with their bottles. Today the nurse let us give Sophie her entire bottle and she finished it in about 10 minutes. Mattie downed about half of a bottle once...but we're pretty sure she would have finished it if given the chance. She's still just getting a little less in a bottle since her O2 is still a little higher. She fell asleep a little early today too!
We've been moved to the Chilren's Hospital NICU which is much quieter and we have both girls in what is almost a private room. We're pretty excited about that. We are gonna miss seeing Alex, Stacy, and Crimson and a new family, the Horkeys across the room, though. We had gotten pretty used to the other NICU and we feel like the New Kids on the Block (not the band) again, but I'm sure it will feel like home in no time. (Which as Hannah Danley pointed out is pretty sad)
Mattie is in a crib for the first time. Sophie will be in one as soon as they find one for her. They are still having a little trouble coming off of their O2 so keep that in your prayers. Thanks again for praying for them. We are just barely starting to see the finish line from the NICU and I'm afraid that might make the wait for the next several weeks that much harder for me!
...I tried to post this last night, but got disconnected just before I got it online and was too frustrated to finish it. This morning we found out that both girls are going to get to bottle feed ever feeding as long as they want to. If they are too tired or aren't awake when it is time to feed then the rest will go through the tubes. We'll see how it goes!