Friday, May 21, 2010

Three Months Already!

To those of you that check in frequently, thank you, and I apologize for the long delay between posts! As I'm sure you can imagine, things are more than crazy around here! As I type this, I'm trying to feed Nick. It's a bit of a challenge because he can't go long enough without smiling or giggling to actually eat! All three of them are like that and it's such a joy! They are still the best babies and every day is a little bit better than the last as they become more and more alert and responsive. We're more than ready for them to sleep through the night! We had some success last week when they fell asleep in their car seats and actually slept for about 9 hours! Now, why can't we have them sleep there every night????!!! Well, hopefully that was a sign of good things to come!

Luke is absolutely wonderful. He's definitely testing his limits....there's no doubt he's almost two! He's starting to understand what's his and what is not. Every time he says, "That's MY mommy!" it melts my heart. He loves his brothers so much. Every night he has to make sure to say goodnight to one of them and every morning he wakes up and says, "See my brothers!". He loves to play with them which stresses me out because he plays like a two year old buy and doesn't seem to grasp "gentle". I love that he loves them.....I worried so much about that before they were born.

We have been so blessed to have Joe's family nearby. They have helped us so much. My sister-in-law Lee Anne comes every Wednesday with our niece, Sophie and our nephews Doug and Sam, to watch the babies so I can get out of the house for a few hours. For my birthday, my sisters-in-law Sheila and Mary Ann and my niece Emily came to watch them all and Joe and I went to the casino in Cherokee, NC and got to spend the night there! It was such a treat! Papaw comes a few times a week to help us with Luke. They go out back and play golf or play on the swing set. Luke likes to take a tennis racquet and go with Papaw to "hitted the bumblebees". I so wish my family was closer but got so lucky when I married into such a wonderful family.

So....that's about it. We're happily plugging along. It's nice to have warm weather here so we can get the babies outside since we don't get to go on too many outings :-) Hope you're all well. I'll try and update again soon! Love to you all!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Road to Recovery

I am finally able to breathe again. Luke is walking! It's been a week today. I don't think I've been more afraid in my life...and I can admit that now that it looks like things are back to normal (knock on wood!). I about had a nervous breakdown last Sunday. I just couldn't take it anymore and the thought of having to put Luke through more blood work was absolutely tearing me apart. It had been 11 days of him not walking and more than anything, I NEEDED him to walk again. I was so afraid of what "might be". And of course, I was thinking the worst.... Well, Sunday night Papaw was over and he was determined to make me feel better. He had Luke grab onto his fingers and together they walked from the family room to the kitchen. I was elated but still very concerned because he looked as though maybe he had forgotten how to walk. But....the bottom line was he had taken some steps and that was a good sign.

Monday morning my sister-in-law, Lee Anne, came over to stay with the babies because I was convinced we were going to have to take Luke to the hospital for more tests. Joe and I took him to the pediatrician and he wanted to see him walk. I grabbed Luke's hands and we moved out into the hallway. Luke hates being at the doctor and I swear I have never sen his little legs move so quickly....trying like hell to get out of there! Dr. Cobble decided that since he was improving, we would wait another week and if things weren't back to normal we'd run more tests then. It was such a relief but I was also dreading the wait of another long week. I dropped Luke off at daycare following his doctor appointment and prayed for even the tiniest amount of progress. At the end of the day Joe picked Luke up and I heard them come in the garage door. What happened next was a moment I will hold in my heart forever. Luke walked in from the garage, by himself, and walked all the way over to me in the family room with a huge smile on his face and the most wonderful "Hi Mommy!" I had ever heard!!! My baby was walking without help!!!! He was wobbly but he was walking! That night he was all over the place and he was so happy. It was obvious that not being able to walk was getting him down and we finally were getting our happy boy back!

Here we are, one week later and he's back to normal. He's been a little bit stiff in the mornings but within an hour or so he's perfectly fine. This morning I didn't notice any stiffness what-so-ever. Every day I hold my breath and pray that we won't ever have to face that nightmare again. It was so, so scary. We had the best weekend playing outside, climbing on the play structure and running around in the yard. Ugh......phew.

As for the three other boys....we couldn't have been more blessed. They are the best babies. They fuss when they're hungry but other than that they're content to sleep in their swings or just hang out looking around the room. They're such little angels. (Let's hope it stays that way!) It's so interesting to see their different personalities coming through. Mack is exactly like Luke. He even looks just like Luke did when he was a baby. He is so chill. He never fusses, never spits up, sleeps well, and is just an all around easy baby. His little belly has been bothering him and if not for the little noises he makes, you'd never know it.
Jake is the most alert right now. He's awake a lot of the day and is so aware of everything that's going on around him. He's not much of a fusser either. Nick is our noisy one. He doesn't fuss much either but boy, you know when he's hungry! And when he wants something, he wants it NOW. Hmmm...wonder who he gets that from :-) He makes a lot of noises when he sleeps and moves around a lot. So much so that he was waking his brothers up and we finally had to move them into separate cribs. They all seem to be sleeping well, even though they're apart. Thank goodness.

We hired a nanny to come at night and that was the best decision we have ever made. She is here from 11pm to 7am. She is such a gift. She's a wonderful, caring, thoughtful woman and she absolutely loves the boys. Joe and I both sleep very well at night knowing that they're being well taken care of. Thank you're a lifesaver!

Life is more than great right now. It's so nice to breathe easy at least for today. Mom and Dad will be here in a week and we can't wait for them to get here! If I don't get a chance to update before then....Happy Easter!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Toxic Synovitis

I have so much to update.... I have all my boys home now!!! Mack came home first on March 2nd after 16 days in the NICU. Jake was next, on the 3rd and Nick came home on the 5th. Nick was there for 19 days. I honestly can't believe the longest stay was only 19 days. It seemed much longer but in the whole scheme of things, 19 days is close to nothing. We feel so blessed that these boys basically just needed a little time to eat and grow. They've all been checked by our pediatrician and given a clean bill of health! It is so wonderful to have everyone under one roof!

Our little Luker....he's our concern at the moment. Last Thursday (the 4th of March)we were playing with him and I noticed he seemed to get "stuck" in a squatting poisition. He needed help getting up. Then I noticed that he looked like an old man when he walked and it looked like his legs were going to give out. Friday morning Joe took him to the doctor while we were waiting for the call to go pick up Nick. They were there for about 2 hours and took four x-rays. They x-rayed his hips, knees, feet and ankles. The x-rays looked fine and the doctor said to give him Motrin and Tylenol for pain relief. It was good news that the x-rays were fine and that he wasn't running a fever but we still had no answers. Saturday came and he wouldn't walk or stand at all. We decided to take him to the emergency room. I couldn't watch him suffer without getting some idea of why this was happening. Thank God mom was here to watch the babies. The doctor there was wonderful and made Luke so comfortable. Unfortunately though they had to take a ton of blood and it took all Joe had to hold him down. It was heartbreaking. His bloodwork came back normal (thank God) with nothing but a little bit of inflammation and a sign of a possible virus. Based on that information and the x-rays, they diagnosed him with what is called Toxic Synovitis. It's basically a diagnosis they come to when they've ruled other things out. It's like a virus in the hip. Apparently it usually lasts a week but on occasion can last 4-5 weeks. We just pray that it doesn't last that long. It's been 5 days now and he seems to be improving some. Still no weight on his legs but he moves them both more often and his mood is great. That kid is such a trooper. He's so frustrated that he can't get around but continues to smile and laugh. We're keeping him busy with walks in the wagon and trips to the backyard to swing. Bubbles are a lifesaver too. If he's not better by the beginning of next week we have to have the bloodwork run again. I'm praying we don't have to do that.

As far as Luke's reaction to the babies.....he's been absolutely amazing. I was prepared for the worst and he has totally surpried me. The other day I was in the kitchen and a baby was crying. Luke fought his pain and hobbled out to the kitchen, in tears, not because he hurt but because he was upset that Mack was crying. He truly is a remarkable little boy.

So.....that's where we are right now. We're elated, concerned, happy, name it, we're feeling it. We're so thankful that mom has been in town especially with all that's been going on. We're hoping for things to get back to normal really soon and we'll definitely keep you updated.

Monday, March 1, 2010

So Close.....

Here we are...Day 15. I hate to even type this, for fear that I'll jinx things but...... Mack might be coming home tomorrow! He has been moved to an open crib which means his environment is no longer temperature controlled. They moved him early this morning and as of tonight, he's managed to keep his own temperature regulated AND continue to finish all of his bottles. That may not sound like much but for a tiny 4lb 14oz peanut, they both require a whole lot of energy! He was given a hearing test this morning and passed with flying colors! Tomorrow he has to pass a car seat challenge. They strap him into a car seat for about an hour to make sure his heart rate doesn't drop. That will ensure that he makes it from the hospital to home without any problems. IF....(and it's a big IF)...he continues to eat and keep his temp up and IF he passes the car seat challenge than MR. Mack will be sleeping in his new home for the first time tomorrow night!!!

Nick and Jake are close. Both of them are taking almost all of their bottles. If they don't finish, there is very little remaining that needs to be gavaged (fed through the tube in their nose). They have to take all of their bottles for 24 hours before they move to an open crib. We're hoping they'll do that this week and won't be far behind their brother.

Our Luker.....he is such an angel baby. He talks about his brothers every day even though he has no idea how life is about to change. I know though that he is having a difficult time with the way things are right now. He cries more and he's much more needy these's breaking my heart. I know in the long run he is going to LOVE having three younger brothers, I just need to get through this transition successfully to help calm these insane emotions (or do we call those hormones???). As much as he's going through right now he continures to get great daily (well....almost daily) reports at school and remains the happy, playful, wonderful light of our lives.

Will post pictures soon but wanted to make sure to send this update. I'll absolutely post again to let you know if Mack indeed made it home! Thanks to everyone for keeping us close in thoughts and preayer. We're in the home stretch!!!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Together Again!!!

13 days out and the boys are still doing great! We're still working on eating but the other night both Nick and Jake ate their entire bottles! The goal is to get them eating all of their bottles withing 30 minutes. We're on our way! Yesterday they were all acting hungry either right after they ate (making us think they needed more) or much earlier then their next scheduled feeding. So, today I'll ask about moving them to a three hour schedule. I know the doctors there are wonderful and trust their decisions but I don't like seeing my babies hungry! It never hurts to ask!

Our nurse yesterday, Bridgett, is a mother of twins. She was asking me if I've held all three boys at the same time yet. I told her I had not and she was floored! She was determined to make that happened. She unhooked all of their monitors, brought me a big chair and filled my arms with three precious bundles of joy. It was the first time the three of them have been together since they were born and it was wonderful! They all seemed so content lying there together. It was 15 minutes I'll never forget. All that was missing was my Mr. Luke.....then it would have been perfect!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Almost Cord-Free!!!

(Jake, Mack, Nick and Luke!)
The boys are ten days old today and still moving through all of this like little champs! All of them are off of their IV nutrition which means their getting everything they need just from the food they're given every four hours! Because of that, Jake was able to get the UVC out of his belly and Nick and Mack were able to get their PICC lines removed! Nick got his out yesterday but we had to wait and do Mack's today because his temperature warm around 99 yesterday and they were worried he might be trying to fight something off. It turns out his isolette (his little condo!) was too warm and he's doing a great job of regulating his own body temperature which is something else we're working on right now! So....although we were concerned that he might have a fever, it turns out that it was great news and we're another step closer to getting him home! Our little Jake is now 4lbs 2ozs so he's finally in the 4lb range! Nick was 5 lbs yesterday but lost a couple of ounces today so he's weighing 4lbs 14ozs and Mack is at 4lbs 8ozs. The doctor said he's not concerned about them losing a couple of ounces and is going to continue to increase their feedings. They're all trying to nurse and we're trying to get them to take their entire feedings from a bottle. Once they get that down they'll be able to get the ng tubes removed from their little noses (that's how they're fed right goes directly into their bellies). It's much easier to hold them these days because the only wires hanging from them are from the electrodes that measure their heart rate and respiration. It's such a relief to know that if one of those cords gets "stuck" it won't hurt them if it pulls! They're all finally in little jammies and look so cozy! So....things continue to look up and we're looking so forward to the day when we can bring them home!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Growing and Feeding

The babies are a week old today and doing amazingly well!! It's been an emotional week but every day gets better and better. We really have been lucky and have had only minor obstacles in our way, and the boys have overcome every single one of them fairly quickly and easily. Here's the latest on each boy...

We'll start with Jake. He came out breathing on his own and has been ever since. He never needed any oxygen, which was wonderful especially since he was the littlest of the bunch. On Monday, the nurses told me they needed to put a PICC line in him. That is basically a port for an IV. They kept having to change the site of his IV and were worried about breaking the skin in too many places. The picc line would allow them to use that instead and that can stay in as long as they need it to. I was a mess when they told me that.....just so hormonal. Well, they tried to get it in an weren't able to so they ended up going through his belly button. It's basically the same thing but this can only stay in 7 or 8 days before it has to be taken out....a higher chance of infection if it stays longer than that. Then....the next obstacle. He wasn't digesting his food and they were pulling yucky stuff out of his belly. They made the decision to stop feeding him for a couple of days just to let his belly rest. That too broke my heart. But...they started him again on Friday and he's doing great and has actually just about caught up to Nick (they're eating the same amount)!!!! We got the news yesterday that he was digesting everything and it was the BEST day yet!!! He was also jaundiced and had to be under the bili lights but was taken off of those yesterday too. He's doing great.....such a little fighter!!!

Nick.....He came out breathing on his own too but started having trouble when they got him up to the NICU. They gave him some surfactant to help his lungs and put him on oxygen. He was only on oxygen for a couple of days and has been off for probably 4 days now. He got a picc line put in too and that went fine. He's digesting fine. He was jaundiced too and I think they're going to take him off the lights today! Joe called last night and they were trying to get him to drink from a bottle!! So....everything's awesome with him!

Mack....(His picture is not updated....he's no longer on oxygen!) He wasn't breathing when he came out and they had to intubate him. The little stinker had pulled the tube out before they even got out of the OR!!!! They got him taken care of and put him on some oxygen (none of them needed a ventilator...just a tube in their noses). He's been our little champion. He got a picc line too just to avoid having to keep changing the IV placement. He's been digesting fine and is eating so much he's almost ready to come off of IV nutrition completely. He was jaundiced but has been off of the lights since Thursday. There really haven't been any issues with him (knock on wood). He's doing amazingly well and at this point just needs to learn to eat from a bottle. They actually tried the other day but he wasn't ready. He also tried to nurse too! It was awesome!

All of this stuff is VERY common for babies born at 34 weeks. In fact, the nurse the other day told me she couldn't remember the last time they had "healthy" triplets in there and told me how much fun it was to take care of them. So...despite all the things that we think are so scary, they're actually pretty routine and the boys are considered "healthy" among the NICU staff.

The doctor told us that they'll probably be able to come home in two weeks!!!

Luke's been amazing through all of this. He has yet to meet his brothers but is very excited about it. (it'll be interesting to see how enthusiastic he is once they're really home!). He's been having a blast with Moma and Boompa and feeding the ducks with Aunt Sheila! I think the time we have with him now preparing him for their arrival is priceless.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Valentine's Day Gifts

The boys have arrived!! On Saturday, February 13th I started having contractions that were about nine minutes apart. Contractions were nothing new to me.....I had gotten quite used to having them and having them often, they just normally weren't consistent. Joe and I went back and forth about whether or not we should go in. I kind of thought maybe I was just having them because I had been on my feet a lot that day and not resting as much as I should have been. We finally decided it was better to be safe than sorry and we should just go make sure everything was OK. Papaw and Aunt Mary Ann came over to watch Luke and we were off to the hospital. It was about 6:30pm. We called mom and dad to let them know and they were in the car on their way. I thought it was a little ridiculous that they were coming but they insisted.

I was taken to a room shortly after we arrived at labor and delivery. They started monitoring the babies and the doctor came in to check me. I had dilated to 4 (the last time I was in I was at a 2) and I was 50% effaced. They made the decision to check me again in an hour and if nothing changed they would keep me until morning and check me again then. hour passes and they come to check me again. At that point I was still at a 4 and about 60% effaced so the decision was made to just check again the next morning. About 15 minutes after the doctor left I started to have very painful contractions and horrible back pains. I decided to call the doctor back in to check me again. This time I was dilated to about 4.5 and 80% effaced! She went to call Dr Demay who had been caring for me all along. She came back in and said "Are you ready to have these babies?" I asked "when" and she said "Right now!". I was scared to death....

They had given me a drug called Stadol to help with the pain from the contractions and it made me absolutely loopy. I hated the feeling! When it came time to head to the OR (c-section, of course!) they had to give me a spinal block. I was so dizzy and so was absolutely awful. Thinking back, it was actually an amazing experience. I was awake, so I could hear the babies cry as they came out but I couldn't feel a thing.

Jake was born first at 1:36am weighing 3lbs 15.5ozs and was 17.5 inches long. Nick was second at 4lbs, 11.5ozs and 17.5 inches long. Mack came third at 4lbs 5.5ozs and 16 inches long. Jake and Nick were breathing on their own but Mack needed a little help so they had to intubate him. He had pulled the tube out before they got out of the OR....little stinker!!

Oh....Mom and Dad.... They weren't able to be there when the babies were born but they made it all the way to TN and arrived at 4:00am!! Mom stayed at he hospital with me that night and Joe and Dad went home to try and get a few hours of sleep. Aunt Sheila was able to be there when the babies were born and she was our official photographer!

Welcome to the world Jake Douglas, Nick Brendahl and Mack Joseph! We love you so much and are so thrilled you are here! Can't wait for you to meet your big brother, Luke!!!