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Sunday, February 28, 2010

10 Days Old and the Kangaroo Hold

Tim holding Brooklyn
Mom and Dad with their babies (scary hair mom)
1st family photo
Daddy and his baby girl
Tayden and Mommy
sweet boy
Tim's family - Trenton's 1st time meeting his niece and nephew

I could not have asked for a more perfect day.  Tim worked this morning and then came home to get me for a visit.  When we got there it was time for the twins to eat and the nurse told us that we could hold them through their feeding.  Tim got to hold Brooklyn and I got to hold Tayden in the kangaroo hold (skin to skin).  This type of hold helps with the bond between premies and their parents.  It is really interesting because when I hold him that way, my body temperature rises to provide him the heat that he needs.  We were able to sit together in the quiet of the NICU as a family of four for over an hour.  It was definitely the best moment so far in this journey.  The babies change a little every day.  I look back at photos of them from the day they were born and I am amazed at how much they have grown.  God has blessed us daily and we know that His hand is guiding our babies over each hurdle they face and successfully overcome.  He is also holding Tim and I in His hands.  It gets harder and harder to leave the hospital, but He gives us a sense of peace that everything will be okay.  We both believe that everything happens for a reason and we know the early arrival of Tayden and Brooklyn is part of His master plan.  This evening Tim's family treated us to a delicious dinner at Uncle Julio's and then came to visit the babies.  Trenton was able to meet his niece and nephew for the very first time - a very special time.  We greatly appreciate all of the phone calls, prayers, and well wishes you have been sending our way.  I apologize for not being prompt in returning phone calls.  I am still catching up on sleep - a losing battle, but please know that your support and encouragement means the world to us.   

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mom's 1st Dirty Diaper (to change that is)

Brooklyn - with her eyes open sucking her finger, even though you cannot see
Tayden breathing on his own
Tayden and his purple passy
Most mom's can vividly remember changing their child's first dirty diaper.  It is awkward and stinky, but soon becomes routine.  I had my first experience tonight and it was quite a task when you have your arms stuck through two port holes trying to get just the right angle all while lifting little bitty legs and keeping squirting objects covered at all times.  I was able to get the old diaper off and had the new diaper waiting underneath and then Tayden decided he wasn't finished making his deposit, so out came some more.  The nurse told us that wiping their bottom actually stimulates more poop.  Interesting!!!  As far as updates go, Tayden is off his nasal canula and is breathing completely on his own!!!  They were able to move the tube that feeds him from his mouth to his nose now that it is free of clutter.  Brooklyn is requiring less breathing reminders and was awake for much of our visit tonight.  They continue to up the amount they are getting at each feeding and they now both weigh 3.4 lbs, which is more than Brooklyn weighed at birth and a little less than Tayden did.  So, the good news is that they are back on the side of gaining weight.   

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy 1 Week Birthday Tayden and Brooklyn

Holding Brooklyn
Daddy holding Brooklyn
Sleeping Beauty
Changing my first diaper of many
holding Tayden
Getting kisses from Daddy
looking at Daddy
Daddy and Tayden
Mommy, Daddy, Tayden, and SueSue
Today was an amazing day!  After one week of life we were finally able to hold our precious babies.  It was frightening, wonderful, sad, and perfect all at the same time.  They are so tiny and still have some wires connecting them to various machines, but when the nurse put them in my arms all of that seemed to fade away and everything was just as it should be.  We held Brooklyn first because she was getting ready to eat.  She is still on the cpap, so she slept through being held.  I was tempted to give her a little spanking for scaring us so much and trying to enter the world foot first, but I quickly forgave her.  Her breathing was better today and they think that she will soon be moving to the nasal canula like her brother.  Next, we got to hold Tayden, who was wide awake.  He looked right at us and seemed to understand everything we said to him.  It was so wonderful holding my children for the first time, but it was equally wonderful watching Tim do the same.  It truly hit me that he is a daddy and our children are so very lucky to have a father who will do anything in the world for them.  We were so tempted to make a run for it and bring them both home, but then reason got the best of us.  Tayden moved to a new isolette which means he is making great gains in maintaining his body temperature.  I changed his diaper for the first time and it was definitely a challenge.  I felt like he could break at any minute.  We left the hospital and ate our first meal "out" since Feb. 15th.  It was great to get out!  We will cherish this day for the rest of our lives!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

31 Weeks Gestational Age

Brooklyn still on the cpap - Sleeping Beauty
Daddy changing Tayden's diaper
Tayden grabbing at the wires
Tayden starting to open his eyes
Hi there buddy!
Checking out his little isolette
looking at mommy and daddy
The wave

Tonight was truly an amazing night.  We got to the hospital around 8:15.  Both babies were sleeping, but it was time for Tayden to have a diaper change.  Tim gladly stepped in and before long he was wide awake just looking at us like - so you guys are my parents.  He stayed awake for our entire visit just checking everything out.  He continues to try and pull on the wires and they have to give him mini bean bags to keep his hands occupied.  The nurse said that he is really good at pulling out his nasal canula and putting it in his mouth.  The report today on both of them is good.  They have increased feedings for both of them and are giving them 18ml per feeding.  Tayden is ready to move up to a different kind of isolette that requires him to maintain his body temperature - something they feel he is ready to do.  Brooklyn is still on the cpap machine, but the nurse said she only needed to be reminded twice to breathe today.  We are going back tomorrow evening to feed and hold both babies.  It will be the perfect thing to celebrate their one week birthday.  I never imagined it would take so long to be able to hold them, but I know it will be well worth the wait. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I was finally able to go through the camera today and get all of the pictures organized, despite both dogs having the stomach bug - it is not physically possible to clean up the floor when you can't bend.  Here are some of my favorites:

Brooklyn with her SueSue
Brooklyn and Daddy
Tayden with his arms restrained - he wanted to remove the wires
Brooklyn opening her eyes

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home

Brooklyn - still on cpap
Tayden - only on nasal canula
Tayden - all snuggled up
It wasn't as easy as clicking my red sparkly shoes together three times, but we did finally make it home today.  The dr. came by bright and early and said that he would be putting me on oral antibiotics for a week so that I could continue to get well at home.  He is pretty sure that somewhere a long the way I got a uterine infection that just went crazy.  The nurse then came in and removed my staples - around 18 of them - SPECIAL!!!  It is still very hard for me to get around due to my "classical" incision.  I'm really still a little bummed at the thought of never wearing a bikini again, but I realize sacrifices must be made - ha ha!  We visited the NICU one final time before getting in the car.  The babies were snuggly in their isolettes and one of our favorite nurses - Stephanie was taking care of them.  She explained that Brooklyn had regressed a little and was needing more help remembering to breathe with the cpap.  Tayden on the other hand had progressed very well and is no longer on the cpap, but rather just the nasal canula (two little nose spikes) that just gives you extra oxygen to support your own breathing.  His mask was off and his eyes were actually open for a little while we stood there.  They lay in some of the funniest positions touching their faces or holding their bellies - very sweet.  We would have been able to hold them today, but due to my infection we have to wait until Thursday.  Tim has been so precious in waiting to hold his children on my account.  I know that he has never wanted anything more, but he is being extremely patient.  It was super hard to walk out of the door and come home like nothing had changed in our lives when so much has.  I truly felt like I was abandoning my babies, but I know that they are in the BEST place right now.  I immediately went to the nursery and felt the need to start getting everything ready and put away.  That helped a little.  The remainder of the day was spent resting due to a pretty bad headache.  My mom brought us over some excellent stew that my Aunt Sara had brought through town this weekend.  I have been pumping every three hours since Friday and finally today I started seeing some results.  I will be able to take what I get to the NICU and they will give it to the babies.  My goal is to have a huge supply there and an even bigger supply here for when they come home.  We have called a few times to check on the twins and they are doing well.  Tim is leaving extra early for work so that he can stop off and visit them first.  I will be going up every afternoon until I get my driving priviledges back and then I will try and go in the morning and early evenings.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The masked mommy

This morning we got very good news.  My blood chemical levels came back within nornal limits and the ct scan from yesterday was clear with the possibility of a kidney stone.  I will have my staples removed in the morning and then we"ll be heading home!!!  It will be extremely hard to leave without Tayden and Booklyn, but I know I will be up here daily to watch them grow and become strong enough for home.  In order to enter the NICU I had to wear a gown, gloves, and a mask - very cute!!  I will have to continue wearing that attire until Thursday morning.  Hopefully we will be able to hold them in the very near future.    When I visited with the babies today they both tried to open their eyes, so I am thinking that they recognize my voice.  They have increased their feedings and both babies are still doing extremely well.  My heart is heavy tonight for the Bizaillion family who lost a daughter, wife, mother, and friend this afternoon.  I pray that the family will be wrapped in peace.  Please keep us in your prayers, especially as we make the transition to our house.  We will be coming to visit at least once a day if not more.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On the Up and Up

I was able to get some good sleep this morning.  I was assigned to a new doctor - the infectious disease guru of the hospital.  He said that my blood culturess were low and ordered a repeat culture.  Had the numbers come back at 7.5 or lower I would've had to have a blood transfusion.  Luckily the number came back at 7.6.  The new doctor put me on stronger antibiotic and requested that I have a ct scan to locate the souce of the infection which contains gram negative rods - a bacteria related to sepsis and e coli.  I had the scan at 10 p.m. and the results will be back in the morning.  We are hoping for good news.  My visit to the NICU today was postponed, but I will  get to go this morning at around 8.  They will not allow you to go unless you have been fever free for 24 hours.  Tim is still bringing me pictures and video so I feel connected.  The babies are doing excellent!  They are eating, pooping, and breathing on their own with very minimal assistance.  Tim and I will both get to hold them tomorrow - I can't wait!!!!  Parenthood has definitely been bumpy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  We have been blessed beyond measure!  Two of my very dear friends Lindsy and Kate came to visit me today.  It was so great to see them.  Kate and her mom brought us some necessities for the nursery such as a Diaper Genie, diapers, wipes, and premie outfits.  I definitely can't wait to get home and start setting up their room!  We did order their bedding this morning, so hopefully that will be here pretty soon.  I will definitely let you know how my visit goes in the morning,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Getting Hot in Here

Today was a rather challenging day.  The doctor believes I have developed a uterine infection.  During the night my fever spiked and when the doctor came in to check on me he put me back on IV antibiotics.  Before they could hook me up to the IV, my fever spiked again and I got a bad case of the shakes and chills.  My pulse jumped up to 160.  They quickly got me hooked up to the IV and have antibiotics pumping every 6 hours.  My fever broke around 6 pm and with that my pulse went down to 100.  The nurse did check my temp at 3:00 a.m. and it was back up to 102, but then at 4:00 a.m it was back down to 100.  I was very fearful that this setback would keep me from seeing the babies tomorrow, but they have assured me that I can enter the NICU at 3:00 p.m. when I have officially been on antibiotics for 24 hours.  Tim has taken so many pictures and even showed me video of the babies, but I am very ready to stand next to them and see how much they have already grown and changed.  My mom spent the day at the hospital and we had several of Tim's family members stop by.  Thank you Nina and Juls for all of the goodies!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life in the NICU

I was able to get up at around 3:15 this morning and attend the 4:00 touch time with Tim.  Tayden grabbed my finger and both of them were opening their eyes.  I still cannot believe that I have two babies that are here and doing well - God is so great!  After getting some sleep, the nurses woke me up to let me know that I am running a low grade fever.  In order for me to go back and see the babies again, it has to be under 100 for at least 24 hours.  They have checked it all day and it goes down only to go back up again.  So as of right now I can't see them tomorrow, which is really hard to handle.  Tim goes frequently and takes pictures for me, but I wish more than anything I could be in there.  The babies had many visitors today - SueSue, Branma, my Aunt Sara and Uncle Dean all the way from Houston, my sister Lauri, and a few of Tim's great friends from work.  The nurse practioner from the NICU came to visit us this afternoon and she gave us very detailed information on their progress.  Both babies are now off of the ventilator and breathing with very minimal assistance using the aid of a CPAP.  So far they are making great progress and are even both starting tube feedings.  We know this is a result of prayers being offered up by those who love us and we are so thankful and blessed.  I think that I will be discharged on Monday evening.  They are trying to keep me here as long as possible with the babies.  It will be extremely hard to leave them behind, but they are exactly where they need to be!

Tayden and Brooklyn Have Arrived

Tayden James Russell

Brooklyn McCarty Russell
This evening at around 5:00 as I was laying in bed I felt a huge gush of fluid.  I called the nurse and she quickly confirmed that my sac had ruptured.  They paged the dr. on call and he came to confirm that I needed to be delivered.  Brooklyn's foot was still engaged in my cervix so that deemed it an emergency situation.  Tim was on his way to the hospital, but they wouldn't wait for him.  I was wheeled into the operating room and knocked completely out - which was not what I was expecting.  They said that the position she was in would make it difficult to do a spinal block.  At 5:49 Brooklyn arrived weighing 3 lbs. 3 ounces and measuring 16 1/8 inches long.  Tayden arrived a minute later at 5:50 weighing 3 lbs. 5 ounces and measuring 15 1/2 inches long.  By the time they arrived Tim, my mom, and his parents were here.  I spent an hour and a half in recovery and then was able to stop off in the NICU to meet my babies before being placed in my room.  Brooklyn's lungs are a bit stronger than Tayden's and he is on a tube to help him as he transitions to a breather.  The nurses said that they both look good and are doing well.  Tim went at midnight and spent an hour of touch time with them.  He was able to change Tayden's diaper and take his temperature.  They are going to come at 3:15 am to get me up for the first time so that I can try and make the 4 am touch time.  I am not in a lot of pain due to being on a drip of wonderful medicine that dispenses every few minutes when I push the button.  We have a super nice room and the nurses have been extremely helpful.  We are so very excited, but still in shock that we are parents!!!  Thank you so much for praying for our family.  God is holding us in His hands and giving us a sense of peace that everything will be okay. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hospital - Day 4

They woke me up early this morning for a sonogram.  The good news is that the sac of water now seems intact, but the bad news is that it is bulging from my cervix which is now dialated to a 2.  They have put me on strict bedrest with my head lower than my feet except when I eat and for 30 minutes after.  I also got a catheter - good times!!!!!!!  It was a rough morning, but I keep reminding myself it is only temporary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hospital - Day 3 and 30 Weeks!!!!!

I am happy to report that I have reached 30 weeks and am still pregnant!  The prayers are definitely working and I feel such a sense of comfort.  I am getting used to my "temporary home," slowly but surely.  I was caught trying to get water for myself and was sent back to my bed, so I must now be on my best behavior.  I do sneak a peak out the window when I get up to go to the restroom.  It is strange being in the same room for three days without even seeing the hallway.  One of my doctor's partners came by this morning and stated that I can now take my antibiotics orally and that they would like me to wear leg cuffs to prevent blood clotting since I am not moving around a whole lot.  They have been an interesting - it is an adjustment, but kind of like little massagers in a way.  Tim's mom is spoiling me on a daily basis.  She arrived with a delicious lunch, wonderful dessert, reading materials, and helped me dry my hair.  The hospital food is not bad at all, but it sure doesn't come close to the goodies she brings.  I took a shower last night and when I came out my mom was sitting in my room.  I knew she was going to come but figured she would call first.  It was such a great surprise.  I hadn't seen her since all of this started because she has been staying with my sister Jamie who just had a baby last week.  She was able to sneak away to come and visit with me for a bit.  I had been maintaining my composure this entire time, but when she prayed for the babies, Tim, and I before leaving- I lost it.  How are mothers so good at bringing out the truest of emotions in us, the stuff we try to ignore because we want to be tough?  They came in to monitor the babies this afternoon and their heartrates are still looking great.  All of the nurses have spread the word about how difficult Brooklyn is to track and so they now save me for the last patient on their round.  I knew she was going to be quite the diva from her prior actions during sonograms, but I am even more convinced now with all that has happened.  We will have another sonogram tomorrow to measure the level of fluid in both sacs.  Hopefully it will have remained the same.  I am drinking at least 10 huge glasses of water daily (with wonderful Soniclike ice) so I am hoping the level has been maintained.  My wonderful sister Lauri is now helping watch our dogs so that Tim doesn't have to go straight home to let them out.  It works out nicely because the hospital is on his way home so he can stop off and watch some tv and eat dinner with me.  I seem to always have a list of things I need him to bring from home and he keeps reminding me that I am not moving in.  A woman came to look at our house this past weekend and she is extremely interested.  She is coming back this weekend for a second showing.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that she will put in an offer and that we can move by the end of March.  I hope everyone has a wonderful evening - I will definitely post after the sonogram tomorrow night! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hospital - Day 2

They were finally able to get my contractions stopped around 4 a.m.  Dr. White came by this morning and said that they would continue to control the contractions as they occur and if they get more regular I will require more intense medicine on a regular schedule.  He said that they will do everything possible to keep them inside until 34 weeks, so 4 weeks is our goal - each day beyond that is a gift.  My sweet mother-in-law spent the afternoon with me yesterday and is on her way back up to bring me some lunch.  She is such a blessing and is helping me from going stir crazy!!  We are so fortunate!!!  Thank you for all of your prayers.

Bedrest at the Hospital

I went in this morning for a check-up because I had noticed a different output of fluid.  The doctor ran a test and quickly confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid meaning that one of the membranes had ruptured.  I was dialated to a 1, but not in labor.  He handed me orders admitting me to the hospital and directed me up stairs to the antepartum unit.  He was quick to point out that 75% of women admitted with a ruptured membrane deliver within one week.  The afternoon was a blur - signing consent forms, keeping everyone updated , and getting used to my new home.  I am on IV antibiotics and have received one round of stereoids to aid in fetal lung development.  A little after 5 the specialist we saw 10 days ago came and performed a sonogram.  Tayden looks wonderful.  He has plenty of fluid.  Brooklyn looked great as well, but you could tell that she has less fluid than her brother.  The doctors stated that they will try to keep the babies inside as long as none of us develop an infection.  The neonatologist stopped by to tell us what we could expect if the babies were to come soon.  It was overwhelming to hear about all of the scary factors they could face, but he seemed extremely well prepared to care for premature babies.  Tim went home to get me some clothes and reading material.  He hung out here until almost midnight keeping me company.  He has been such a source of encouragement and I am so lucky to have him in my corner.  Around 11 they noticed that I was starting to have some mild but frequent contractions.  Since then I have received three shots and a pill to get them to stop.  It seems to work for awhile and then they get started back up.  The nurse has been great and seems to think I will be okay until my doctor checks in within a few hours.  What a day!!!  I had no idea when I left the house this morning that I wouldn't be back for awhile, but I am definitely commited to doing whatever it takes to have healthy babies. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Big Bellies

My sister Jamie, who is 39 weeks pregnant, and I realized that we didn't have one single picture of us together since we have both been pregnant.  This past weekend we went out to dinner and finally got the chance to take some pics.

27 weeks and the 3D/4D Sonogram

Tayden's foot in 2D
Tayden's foot in 3D
Tayden yawning

We finally had our 3D/4D sonogram on Saturday.  We had looked forward to the getting to see both of our babies for weeks, and then things didn't really go as planned.  The sonogram center was extremely neat.  The room had a huge flat screen tv so that our parents could watch and then smaller flat screens around the room so that Tim and I could see as well.  I got to lay in a real bed with a head board and foot board, not just the uncomfortable doctor's table.  Everyone took their seats and looked to the nearest screen in anticipation. 
The first things we saw were Tayden's bottom and his boyhood.  The sonographer laughed and said that he was definitely showing off for the crowd.  This "showing off" continued for most of the next hour.  Brooklyn was facing downward so we could never get a shot of her face.  The few times we got close, Tayden's bottom would end up in her face - poor thing!  The sonographer had me turning to the left, to the right, and I even got up two different times and drank two bottles of cold water in the hopes that she would move.  We were able to get a few shots of Tayden's face, but not as close-up as possible, because he is underneath Brooklyn.  From what we could see, Tayden looks just like Tim and is no doubt a streaker.  Keep in mind he is also the one who waved to us before in a previous sonogram.  I am predicting that he will definitely keep us busy!  Brooklyn on the other hand seems to be content just relaxing and letting him steal the show. 
The sonographer did let us schedule another appointment in two weeks so that we can hopefully get some pictures of Brooklyn and closer pictures of Tayden.  It was definitely amazing to see the difference in the 2D and 3D technology.  Our parents patiently sat through the hour long peep show in awe of how advanced sonograms have become.  It was wonderful to see both babies moving around.  We are so excited that in less than 10 weeks we will be meeting them in person.  We can't wait!!!!