Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nicu Days 14 and 15

Day 14, Thursday, April 17th, 2013

Spent a couple of hours at the nicu with John and Susan, then took a break for lunch at Cafe Felix. Totally off the nicu topic, but I love that place. Could possibly be my new favorite Ann Arbor lunch place. Stayed at the nicu awhile longer while Denise and Tom came to visit. Denise held Evan and Tom held Oliver and, as Denise said in a later email, they are in love with those boys. Picked E up from preschool, then I don't remember much after that...the days are starting the blur together...

Day 14, Susan and John meet Evan:

Day 14, Evan:

Day 14, Oliver:

Day 14, Visits from Denise and Tom:

Christina and Oliver

Day 15, Friday, April 18th, 2013

After dropping E off at preschool, Alex and I both went to the nicu and got to bath and feed the babes. And then a big solo Costco shopping trip - complete with a romantic lunch at the "Costco Cafe". We live exciting, crazy lives these days. Nice night with Emmeline and my mom...went back to the nicu with them for a little bit and Amy came to visit.
Day 15, Evan:

Day 15, Oliver:

Day 15, Oliver and mom:

Day 15, Amy, Emmeline and Evan:

Day 15, Dad, Emmeline and Oliver:

Day 15, Christina's post-pregnancy belly:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nicu Days 12 and 13

Day 12, Tuesday, April 16th:

Wow, busy, busy day, I took care of both boys for about 6 hours. Not 24 hours, not a week, but 6 HOURS. And I was amazed how busy it actually was. The nurse reminded me of something, though. She said that everything in the nicu takes extra time because there are still tubes and wires to work around. It takes a lot of extra time to get them undressed and dressed, change a diaper, etc.. It even takes extra time to get them in and out of their isolet.

It was bath day for both. Both got sponge baths. Both had some good bottle feeds. And either one or both got some kangaroo time...cant remember. Alex had to stay home because we were getting some new carpet installed. Yes, we set up a couple of home improvement projects because, you know, the twins weren't coming until around May 6th. We considered postponing them, but then decided that there will not be a "good time" for a long, long time. Alex did come up and have lunch with me and the boys.

It was a special day for Emmeline - she was "star of the week" at preschool...which means she gets to show off a bunch of her pictures, pick helpers, be first in line, etc.. We continued her special day by skipping evening nicu hours and going out for ice cream.

Good day.

Day 12, Emmeline "star of the week" at preschool:

Day 12, Evan pre and post bath:

Day 12, Oliver pre and post bath:

Day 13, Wednesday, April 17th:

For the first time, I headed up extra early this morning because I knew we were going to have a busy day and I wanted some alone time with the boys. The nicu is a pretty peaceful place at 6AM. Got to do the 7AM feeds and have some good cuddle time. A nice visit from Auntie Lauren and then Alex's dad and Susan. John and Susan got to meet them for the first time and hold Evan.

Emmeline had a playdate in the nicu with her friend Olivia. I think it was fun for her. They played for awhile in the play area, shared a cookie, saw the babes, etc..

In medical news, the physical therapist did initial evaluations on both boys. The result is that both boys show some weak muscle tone, which is not unusual with preemies. She didn't see anything that may be specific to the twin-to-twin transfusion, which is good. What this all means is that she will come once a week and work with them, in addition to teaching us some exercises for them. They will probably be followed by PT for some time.

Also, we were told that because the boys are so stable, we may be moved to a step down floor in the near future. This is good news as it is an indicator of their continued good health, however, it will be sad to leave the awesome staff in the nicu. No definite date on the move.

I also asked the nurses if we could put them on alternating feed schedules so that we could feed them both. So Evan now feed at 9, 12, 3, 6 and Oliver feeds at 10, 1, 4, 7.

Emmeline had swim lessons tonight. And when everyone got home, we had Thai and a Big Sister to Twins celebration. Emmeline enjoyed her chocolate cake.

Day 13, Emmeline's playdate with Olivia in the nicu:

Day 13, Emmeline's "Big sister of twins" celebration:

Day 13, Evan:

Day 13, Oliver:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nicu Days 10 and 11

Day 10, Sunday, April 14, 2013:

Knowing that they usually run late with rounding, we delayed are arrival till about 10AM today (we have been heading up there around 9ish). We started our day by giving Oliver a bath for the first time. Alex held him in a tiny pink basin, and I bathed him. He seemed to enjoy it. We had an interesting discussion with the nurses about the frequency of baths. Apparently, the hospital mandates that nicu babies get bathed every two days. Three nurses told us that they thought that was too much, that every three days would be more appropriate. So we may tell them that's what we want.

Oliver took a huge amount of his bottle for the 10AM feed...22ccs! He is up to 42ccs now, which is a little over a ounce and a third. I fed Evan at his 1PM feeding and although he seemed to take a lot, he quickly barfed it all up. They are getting there. They are 34 weeks gestational age today, so the feedings should start to go better. Oliver showed some interest in the boob yesterday and I hope to have some appointments with lactation this week. Evan might be a little longer before he takes the boob. I tried today and got the nipple in his mouth, but then he just got wide-eyed and stared at me. I'm sure these boys will love reading about my breastfeeding experiences when they are 18 years old. lol.

My milk production is going well...if I only had one baby to feed. After a trip to the milk bank, I realize that I'm going to need to step it up. Yesterday was Day 10, and they had just finished going through Day 7 milk - only 3 days ahead! Since I realistically can't pump more than every 2-3 hours (which is what I am averaging), I am going to start the teas today along with a couple "power pumping" sessions.

We had some visitors today - Uncle Mark and Aunt Cathy, Uncle Rodge and Aunt Barb and Sandra and McKenzie. Emmeline stayed home with my mom because she had a cough and sniffles. She had a great time and is adjusting so well to staying with my mom, which eases our stress so much.

Today was the first day I felt that post-birth fog. I remember the same fog with Emmeline....that underlying exhaustion that is not going to get resolved for several months. But I'm happy and my children are thriving - all three of them...still can't wrap my head around that!

Day 10 Oliver's bath:

Day 10 Visitors:

Day 10 Oliver:

Day 10 Evan:

Day 11, Monday, April 15, 2013:

We took a little time off from the nicu today, only going up for a little in the morning (so my dad could meet them) and in the evening, so Emmeline could hold Evan for the first time. This week promises to be busy as we become more and more involved in the boy's care. They continue to do fantastic. I can't wait to get Oliver on the breast, as I am definitely developing a love/hate relationship with this pump. The weather was great today, close to 70 degrees, so we spent some outdoor time with Emmeline at the park. Wow, was that nice. Although she really impresses me (and all the nurses, for that matter) during our visits to the nicu. She gets the biggest kick out of having one of the many snacks that I have stocked for her in their rooms, and she also very much likes walking independently between there rooms. She has a nicu bag, filled with stuff of her choosing...but really, she is most interested in her bros while we're there. Life is good...totally exhausting, but good.

Day 11 Emmeline holding Evan:

Day 11 Dad visiting the boys:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nicu Days 8 and 9

Day 8, Friday, April 12, 2013

Dropped E off at preschool and headed to the nicu. Milk bank, pump, feed, kangaroo, pump, lunch, hangout and then try to get home before it is time to pump again. One week out, this seems to be the routine. Today was a little different because we had a bunch of visitors - Lauren, Lauren's mom, and Aaron, Anna and our neighbors, Peg and Nick. It was great to show off the boys. The boys got their main umbilical cords out today which means a lot more freedom in holding them. We also can take them in out and by ourselves now. Emmeline came back with us in the evening and she got to touch them and help feed Oliver. We, of course, also fitted in some playtime in the nicu play area.

Day 8 Emmeline feeding Oliver:

Day 8 visitors Aaron, Lauren's mom, Peg and Nick and Anna:

Day 8 Emmeline and Mom looking at Evan:

Day 9, Saturday, April 13, 2013

I headed to the nuci by myself this morning. Yes, I drove a couple of days early, but the hospital is only a couple of miles away. It was so great to walk into Oliver's room and see the top of his isolet was open. This means that we can take him in and out as we please without the assistance of the nurses. Usual routine and then I got to feed and kangaroo Oliver. He did pretty well on the bottle, and then I decided to put him to the breast to see what he would do. He did great. Stuck in that nipple and took a couple of strong sucks. I think, with some effort, he is going to get it. Alex, my mom and Emmeline came up around lunch time. We had a "picnic" in the nicu, which Emmeline got a huge kick out of. Then, the highlight to Emmeline's day, Emmeline got to hold Oliver. She was so perfect with him. I took Emmeline to the play area while my mom then held and fed Oliver and Alex held and fed Emmeline. Headed home a little later than expected, but after a fantastic morning.

In the evening, Alex and I went out for a celebratory dinner at The Quarter, then we stopped at the nicu for a late night visit. Evan's top was now also up which meant that he could now also easily come out. So we asked the nurses if we could hold them together for the first time. Amazing, amazing experience. It was surreal to realize that this just wasn't a fun photo opportunity...this is our life. And life is good.

Day 9 Emmeline holding Oliver:

Day 9 Grandma holding and feeding Oliver:

Day 9 Boys reuntied:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nicu Days 6 and 7

Day 6: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What a busy day! Today was the first day that I was home from the hospital and Emmeline was not at preschool. Emmeline's last music class was this morning, so Alex dropped me off at the nicu before taking her to that. My mom stayed at the house because we were having granite counter tops delivered. We had obviously made this kitchen remodeling decision before we knew that the twins would be arriving early. We contemplated changing it, but than quickly came to the conclusion that it will always be a bad time. They look fantastic, btw.

Busy, busy morning at the nicu. First was milk management. This nicu has an amazing milk bank. You just label and drop off your milk, and then they coordinate with the nurses and handle everything else. My milk production has been out the roof (which is surprising because I really was a low producer with Emmeline), which has been great. But it meant the I had a lot of unlabeled bottles from the night that I had to separate and organize and take to the bank. Pump then kangaroo with Evan then pump...then meet with lactation consultant to fix the pump. Then chat with the social worker. Oh, and do our children want to be part of the blah, blah, blah research study? I finally made it to triage to get my staples out. Yay! Wow, does that ever feel better. Ordered some lunch, took a breather and then Alex and Emmeline came up around 1:30PM.

It was cute...I have stocked one of the nicu rooms with some of her favorite snacks. She asked for one as soon as she came in and I think got a big kick out of it. After saying hi to her brothers, we went to the play area down the hall. Yes, according to Emmeline, the nicu is a "fun place". I'm glad she sees it that way. I know if the boys were sicker, she may have a different impression.

Left the nicu, a short stint at home, then off to her swim class. Then back to the hospital for a fun dinner at the hospital cafeteria. Seriously, she got a kick out it. Back to see the boys. Special times as Emmeline got to see Oliver out of his "crib", help put on his hat and sing to him. She also got Oliver's stuffed tiger all situated for the night and asked the nurse to watch over him too. So many nurses commented how nice, calm and sweet she was. I was proud. Came home and crashed.

Day 6 Evan "no more pictures please":

Day 6 Emmeline, dad and Oliver:

Day 6 Emmeline, taking it all in:

Day 6 Emmeline before swim class:

Day 7: Wednesday, April 11, 2013

After dropping Emmeline off at preschool, we both headed to the nicu. Pump, kangaroo, pump, rounds, eat, milk management. These are our mornings. After 7 days, we are settling into a routine. Rounds went well. Probably the best news is that Oliver had taken 58% of his feeds by mouth. Evan took some by mouth, but less. But really, just the fact that they are taking any by mouth is impressive. Auntie Lauren came for a morning visit and even got to feed Oliver a bottle. Tonight, after we pick Emmeline up from preschool, we are going to this indoor jungle gym area with her. We've decided that we wouldn't go back in the evenings on her preschool days (as long as they are doing well).

Day 7 Mom and Oliver:

Day 7 Dad and Evan:

Day 7 Evan eating: