Each day is a new adventure

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

36 Weeks Gestational Age - 3 Bottles Here We Come

Brooklyn has successfully completed two bottles a day for two days now so they have added one more bottle feeding a day.  I got to feed her this evening and she did spit up, but it wasn't a big amount.  Tayden took 35 mL again at his feeding today so they are going to move him to two bottle feedings per day.  He is still breathing on his own, so it looks like he has finally kicked his cannula once and for all!!!  We are so proud of the babies and the giant strides they have made these past few days.  We have to remind ourselves that they are not even technically supposed to be here yet and they have already accomplished so much.  Each day brings new blessings and answered prayers and proof that we serve a mighty God of miracles.  We can't wait to bring our two miracles home!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Big Day for Bottle Feeding

As of this evening, Tayden is still off his cannula!  His breathing is much better and they gave him one more round of medicine to help with fluid retention.  During his bottle feeding session today he took 35 mL - which is double the most he had ever taken before.  Miss Brooklyn not only finished one whole bottle at noon, but finished her evening bottle as well!  Tomorrow they should be moving her up to three bottle feeds per day.  It definitely seems that their blood transfusions helped give them the energy they need to improve at feeding.  I stayed in bed for most of the day due to my incision bothering me.  I saw Dr. White this afternoon and he explained that I am still in the thick of the healing process, so it will be very painful at times.  I now understand why most women that have c-sections take 8 full weeks off rather than 5.  After my appointment I was able to go upstairs to see the babies.  I helped give Brooklyn a bath and then gave her bottle #2 of the day.  When Tim arrived he was able to help give Tayden a bath.  Bathing will definitely be a team project when we get them home.  They are so tiny and I definitely don't feel comfortable doing this on my own quite yet.  I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities to practice!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Look Mom - No Cannula

Brooklyn getting her transfusion
Tayden getting his transfusion
The blood
Mommy feeding Brooklyn

Tayden has been off his nasal cannula since midnight last night (Sunday).  So in an hour and a half it will be one whole day!!!!   I don't want to speak too soon, but this is the longest he has been without oxygen support and he is breathing very well on his own.  He officially hit 6 lbs. tonight!  Brooklyn weighs 5 lbs. 4 1/2 oz.  They take blood gas counts from the twins each week.  Their numbers should be in the 30s and numerous nurses had told us that it would be very rare if we were to take the babies home without them having a blood transfusion.  Today their numbers were a little lower (Brooklyn 21 and Tayden 24), so they decided it was time for a transfusion.  This is extremely common in preemies because they have such a little amount of blood to begin with and then they take tiny amounts frequently to monitor their progress, so their blood supply starts running low and they become anemic.  They told us that this would improve their energy for bottle feeding and hopefully even help Tayden with his breathing independently.  The blood they give preemies has been screened numerous times and is ultra clean.  They hooked the babies up to tiny IVs and gave them the small amount of blood (around 2 1/2 ounces) over three hours.  They tape their arm to a little pillow to keep it stable throughout the transfusion.  When we got to the hospital they were about halfway finished and we were able to sit with them until they were done.  They had no trouble getting Brooklyn hooked up, but they did have to stick Tayden a few times because his hands have gotten so chubby - making it hard to find a vein.  We attended a discharge class from 6:15 - 7:30 to learn infant CPR and many other useful tips for how to best take care of the babies once they are home.  We learned a great deal of information.  After the class we were able to go and love on the babies while they ate.  Tayden got his feeding tube (he only bottle feeds once a day) and Brooklyn took 33 mL from her bottle.  Earlier today she took 35 mL, so she is definitely moving in the right direction.  She eats 46 mL at each feeding, so she is getting close to finishing a whole bottle.  They were both sleeping very well when we left for the night.  It was a very eventful day, but full of many celebrations.  We greatly appreciate your prayers - please keep them coming! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Away From Home

Tayden's chest x-ray today looked good.  They didn't see any fluid or haziness that would be a cause for concern.  His breathing was fast a few times today, but overall it is much better and at a normal rate.  We were able to hold the babies for many hours today which was very nice. The bottle feeding went okay.  The babies are taking some from the bottle and then getting the remainder of the formula from their feeding tube.  Both babies were awake for over an hour just looking around and looking at us.  They definitely have distinct personalities.  Tayden is very laid back like Tim and Brooklyn is more like me.  We have our own little corner of the NICU and it has become our home away from home.  We are able to dim the lights and rock the babies just like we would do at home.  Tim and I spend the time they are asleep talking about how hectic and great things will be when we bring the twins home.  We met a set of parents tonight that had twin boys this past week born at 25 weeks.  We welcomed them to the NICU and gave them some of Tayden's clothes that no longer fit him.  I watched from afar as the mom said goodbye to her babies (she was discharged this evening), my heart aching for her as we are all too familiar with the journey they have just started.  We have been so blessed to have such an amazing group of people taking care of our babies.  The doctors and nurse practitioners are great, but the nurses are phenomenal.  We trust them completely and have formed friendships with many of them that will continue long after we walk out of the unit for the final time.  Today was just another glimpse of how wonderful it will be to bring them home and it gets harder and harder to leave the hospital without them.  Hopefully we only have a few more weeks of living in Keller while our hearts dwell inside Baylor.

Dr. Brown Bottles - Attempt #1

Tim feeding Brooklyn
Lazy Saturday in the NICU
Nurse Stephanie feeding Tayden - 25 mL
Sweet sleepy Tayden
We were blessed to spend a lot of time at the hospital today.  We were both able to try to bottle feed the babies this evening using the Dr. Brown bottles that Tim bought.  Brooklyn took 6 mL and then fell asleep, but Tayden took 25mL!!!!  This is the most interested he has ever been in the bottle and the most he has ever taken.  His breathing is still a little rapid, but they have been able to turn down the flow of his cannula a little.  They have scheduled him to have a chest x-ray in the morning to see how his lungs look.  Hopefully the fluid will no longer be present.  Brooklyn now weighs 5 lbs. 3 oz. and Tayden weighs 5 lbs. 11 oz.  Please pray that Tayden's chest x-ray will be clear and that both babies will continue to improve on their bottle feeding.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Two Five Pound Babies

Tayden - blurry because he was moving
Hand up as usual
Brooklyn with both hands up
Holding her own pacifier
The medicine they gave Tayden yesterday to help with fluid retention seems to have helped his lungs a little bit.  His breathing was less rapid today but still not as low as it should be.  He remains on his cannula and the flow is still a little higher than it was on Wednesday before they took him off.  Due to the medicine for fluid retention working, he did lose two ounces overnight.  Miss Brooklyn hit the 5 pound mark!!!!!!  She still seems so very small, but she is definitely fiesty.  She still has episodes where her oxygen levels drop and/or she holds her breath due to reflux.  She did take 25 mL during her bottle feed session today - which is a big success.  I tried feeding Tayden tonight and he would suck on the bottle until he realized something was coming out and then he would push it out of his mouth.  Tim did go and get Dr. Brown's bottles today, so hopefully this will help them with the feedings.  We are looking forward to the weekend and getting to spend extra time at the hospital.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 Weeks Old

Brooklyn started out the day with a big poopy diaper.  Some even ended up on the floor - go figure.  Sweet Tayden had a rough day.  He made it all night without his cannula and then this morning his breathing was pretty rapid so they put it back on.  This afternoon his breathing continued to be fast and the nurse noticed that his lungs sounded crackly - like they had some fluid on them.  His hands and feet were also a bit swollen.  The nurse practitioner decided to give him some medicine (Lasiks - not sure about spelling) to help with fluid retention.  We were pretty worried, but the nurses and nurse practitioner all assured us that this is perfectly normal.  The road to breathing independently can be rocky for preemies and requires numerous trial and error periods for several babies.  By our second visit this evening, his breathing was back to normal (on the cannula) and he was sleeping soundly.  During our first visit both babies were wide awake.  It is so neat to see their little eyes looking around and you can start to see their different personalities.  We had our first "storytime" and read to the twins. It was such an amazing experience to have the babies looking at us and listening.  I realized that as someone who loves reading and knows how important reading to your children is, I should have done this weeks ago.  We read to them when I was pregnant, but I just hadn't thought about taking books to the NICU.  Now I will each day!!!!  They didn't try to bottle feed Tayden tonight due to his breathing, but I worked with Erin (one of the nurses) to feed Brooklyn and she took 11mL before getting tired.  Several nurses have suggested we get some Dr. Brown's bottles to try them on.  They are supposedly great for preemies, so we will be getting some this weekend.  Please pray that these bottles will help with the feeding and that Tayden's lungs will get stronger each day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

35 Weeks Gestational Age

The twins both had a busy, but good day.  They had eye exams and the doctor said that their eyes look "normal" for preemies at their age.  We will follow up with him in 4 weeks to make sure things still look good.  They also had ultrasounds of their heads and both of their brains look great!!  There are no brain bleeds, which is excellent news.  Tayden's breathing was slower today and they had him off of his cannula for part of the time that we were there.  Each day God is working miracles and we are so grateful and stand in awe!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not Liking the New Pacifier???

Tayden wrapped his hand through the ribbon on his lovey doll and was holding it
so cute
Brooklyn getting kisses from daddy

The biggest news for today was that the twins moved back to the original room they started in.  There was only a few babies in the big room, so they moved all babies from the small room (where we were) back to the big room.  The twins are definitely in no hurry to bottle feed.  They both root around and go to town on their pacifier when we change their diapers, but by the time we give them the bottle they are not interested or too tired.  They have figured out that the bottle is not like their pacifier - something comes out of it, and they aren't sure what to make of it quite yet.  Tonight Tayden was breathing pretty fast and the nurses have pointed out that he has been doing that the last few days.  The nurse practitioner said that it could be due to his PDA having a small opening, but they still don't seem worried.  The nurse did take his cannula (yes, I have been spelling it wrong this whole time) off for his bath and for a little while after that, but ended up putting it back on because he was breathing so fast.  Please continue to pray for both babies as they bottle feed and also for Tayden so that he can get off the cannula.  Brooklyn weighs 4 lbs. 14.7 oz and Tayden weighs 5 pounds 9.9 oz.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Great News

The twins both had EKGs today and we already got the results.  Both twins still have small holes in their PFO valve.  The nurse practitioner assured us that this is not a problem at all and that the holes will most likely close as the twins get older.  Brooklyn's PDA valve (the one we were concerned about) is closed and Tayden's has a small opening.  Since it is not causing him any problems they are not going to do anything at this time.  It should close as he gets older, and if it ever becomes problematic they will treat it at that time.  Thank you so much for your prayers!!!!  I did not make it to school today due to a bad case of insomnia last night.  When my alarm went off this morning I was still awake.  I did get some sleep throughout the day and am about to head to bed now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daddy's Turn

Daddy, Tayden, and Brooklyn
Tayden and Brooklyn - together at last
Today Tim was able to hold both babies for the first time.  We were able to get them closer together than they have been since being born.  Seeing them side-by-side, I really don't think they look alike.  They have the same coloring, but that is the only thing I can see that is similar.  Tomorrow the twins will be getting EKGs.  The nurses have heard murmurs off and on with both babies and they seem to be getting louder, which is a good sign.  Preemies are often born with the PDA valve in their heart still open, and in some cases medical intervention is required to get it to close.  If the murmur is louder it could be a sign that the valve is starting to close, causing a louder sound when the blood is pumping through.  It will take a few days for us to get the results, but they will give us a much better idea on what is going on inside their little hearts.  Please pray that the news we get will be good for both Brooklyn and Tayden.  Both babies are now strictly on formula.  I tried to provide other nurishment, but after a month the well ran dry.  I am disappointed, but glad I was able to contribute for a month.  The formula is combined with high protein, high calories, and rice cereal to help with their reflux.  Both of their digestive systems got backed up today and they had to get tiny enemas.  The results were instant and both babies got relief and were able to get some good sleep.  The diapers were quite unpleasant and the entire room was filled with a terrible odor, but it was well worth it.  Neither baby showed much interest in the bottle today, but this is probably due to their stomachs being upset.  I am heading back to work tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone and getting back into a routine.  We will still being going to the hospital every night to spend time with the babies.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Our First Snow

Today it snowed for the first time in the twins' lives, but unfortunately they were not able to see it.  Hopefully the next time it snows, they will be big enough to go outside and check it out.  The twins are still growing away.  Brooklyn is 17 inches long and weighs 4 lbs. 11 oz.  Tayden is 16 3/4 inches long (yes, his sister is taller than he is) and weighs 5 lbs. 3 oz.  It is hard to believe that we have a 5 pounder!!!!  Both babies tried bottle feeding today and took less than 10 mL.  Hopefully as they get bigger they will become more interested in taking the bottle.  We hope everyone is having a great weekend and staying warm!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Feeding 101

My mom and I arrived at the hospital early this morning to get a crash course on feeding the twins.  The speech therapist Kelly was so sweet and walked us through the steps of swadling the babies with their hands by their face, positioning them in a sidelying position, inserting the bottle, and pacing them so that they don't gulp too fast.  You are also not supposed to talk to them while they are feeding because it distracts them.  She demonstrated on Tayden who took 4 mL.  I tried with Brooklyn, but she was fast asleep and had no interest in taking the bottle.  I will admit I was quite nervous, especially when burping her because she is so tiny.  She explained that the twins are on opposite ends of the preemie feeding spectrum.  Tayden has no interest in feeding and Brooklyn goes to town, but forgets to breathe.  They do keep reminding us that this is something that their brain is not yet prepared to do, and each step, however small is a step in the right direction.  When we went back this evening Tim was able to feed Brooklyn and she took a few mL.  He took to it like a pro and showed no signs of fear as usual.  I will be returning to work on Monday, so I am hoping to get a lot of last minute things done this weekend that I have been putting off for weeks.  The nursery is really coming together.  It is really crowded, but the furniture is beautiful.  Tim has spent many hours this week putting it together and it has definitely been a labor of love.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our One Month Birthday

1st sonogram picture of the twins

Tayden - 3 lbs. 5 oz.
Tayden getting help breathing
Tayden today - 4 lbs. 15 oz.

1 month ago exactly Brooklyn made her entry into this world.
Brooklyn - 3 lbs. 3 oz.
Getting help breathing
One of our few pictures without her mask on
Brooklyn today - 4 lbs. 7 oz. Breathing completely on her own!!!!

Today we celebrate so very many things.  One month ago our precious twins entered this world and changed our lives forever.  At the time we were worried, anxious and filled with fear, but God took control and has been holding Brooklyn, Tayden, Tim, and I in His hands ever since.  He replaced our worry with comfort, our anxiety with peace, and our fear with pure joy.  He gave us two awesome gifts that we will thank him for daily.  Every time I hold one of the babies I am reminded of just how blessed we are.  They have made huge strides every day and have received exceptional care from wonderful nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors who never would have been apart of our lives if they had arrived when expected.  I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, and at times I have struggled to find the reason that God would bring our children into this world 7-10 weeks early, but I cannot imagine my life without them in it now.  We are the fortunate ones who got an extra 7-10 weeks being their parents.  Tayden is back on his canula, but slept really well today.  He took 7 mL from the bottle, which is more than he has ever taken.  Brooklyn took 30 mL once again and will feed again during the night from her bottle.  I am meeting with the speech pathologist in the morning so she can show me the best way to feed them.  There are supposedly many tricks to feeding preemies like holding them away from your body and not talking to them while they are eating.  Thank you all for your prayers, support, encouragement, and love over the past month.  God is amazing and He definitely has answered so many prayers!!!     

Our 1st St. Patrick's Day - 34 Weeks Gestational Age

The big news for today is that Tayden is once again off his canula.  We will keep our fingers crossed and the prayers coming that he can stay off of it for good.  Brooklyn took over 30 oz. by bottle today during her feeding and Tayden took 4 oz. - which is definitely a start.  We looked for St. Patrick's Day outfits for the babies, but we couldn't find any for preemies.  Oddly enough, the preemie clothes we have for the twins are fitting perfectly and the nurses have warned us that very soon they will be too small.  Then they will be ready for newborn clothes.  Please pray specifically for Tayden today - that he will be able to stay off his canula for good and will have peaceful breathing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Furniture

The last bit of furniture of furniture for the nursery arrived today, so Tim now has a new project (if he wasn't busy enough already).  It is starting to really come together and I am excited to see how the final product will look.  We just got home from the hospital a little while ago.  Everything is going well.  They changed up Brooklyn's feeding schedule just a bit to see if it helps with the reflux.  She is still spitting up really bad - poor thing.  Tayden gained two ounces and now weighs 4 lbs. 14 oz. and Brooklyn has gained a full pound since birth and now weighs 4 lbs. 3 oz.  She showed a little interest for the bottle today, but he is content with his feeding tube.  I promise to post pictures tomorrow!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Just Can't Kick My Canula

Tayden made it through the night and most of today without his canula, but this afternoon the nurse put him back on it because his oxygen levels were lower than she wanted them to be.  His lungs just need a little more time to mature and that is okay.  Both babies were still in their open air cribs this evening, but were a little cold, so we made sure and covered them with blankets while we held them.  During the night, the nurse attempted the bottle again, and Brooklyn at 30mL.  Tayden showed no interest again.  They are starting to slowly take them off the donor breast milk we have been giving them.  I am able to provide some, but not enough for two babies at every meal, which has been very disappointing for me.  So now, instead of supplementing my contribution with donor milk, they will start adding in formula.  They also have been adding in extra calories, which we will continue to do even when they come home.  Their feeding times will be very sacred and we will have to carefully measure and record what they are eating at each feeding.   

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

Brooklyn without her canula
Brooklyn during her bath
Getting her hair washed
Brooklyn and daddy
Brooklyn's 1st attempt at bottle feeding
That's pretty good stuff
Getting the hang of it
Tayden during his bath
He really liked getting clean
Cleaning his big belly
Washing Tayden's hair
Tayden's 1st attempt at bottle feeding
Mommy and her babies
Mommy looking at Tayden
So handsome
Tayden's open air crib
Brooklyn in her open air crib
Brooklyn's open air crib
Tayden without his canula
Today was a BIG day for both babies.  Stephanie called this morning to let us know that during rounds they made a few changes.  They removed Brooklyn's nasal canula and she is breathing all on her own!!!  She also told us that the doctor said they were ready to start trying to bottle feed twice a day.  When we got to the hospital we got to watch Stephanie give both babies a bath.  They seemed to really like it and Tim and I both learned a lot.  It was really strange to see them without all of the wires and monitors.  After each baby's bath, Stephanie tried feeding them from the bottle.  Both of them would suck a bit and then forget that they were supposed to keep breathing.  Brooklyn took 10 mL and Tayden took 3 mL.  He was worn out from his bath and was ready to sleep.  We left the hospital for dinner with Tim's parents and when we got back, Brooklyn had been moved to an open air crib.  They told us that Tayden would be moved tonight for sure, but we had no idea that she would be as well.  The other surprise waiting for us was that Tayden didn't have his canula.  He kept pushing it out so the nurse was trying to see how he would do without it.  So far, he is doing pretty well.  Tim was able to hold him for awhile and then we called it a night.  Please keep the twins in your prayers, specifically that their breathing independently will continue to go well and that they will start to get the hang of bottle feeding.