It seems like we’ve been saying the girls will be home “in a couple weeks” for about 6 weeks now. Come on, ladies. Just. Eat. With. Your. Mouths. Please. The first 2 months in the hospital seemed to fly by, but the last 4 weeks have definitely slowed waaaay down. We’ve lost count of the hours that have passed with us wiggling bottles around in passed-out-baby mouths, begging them to wake up and eat. Our go-to strategies (singing inappropriate rap songs, threatening to draw on their faces with sharpie marker, and telling them stories about how AMAZING their pimped-out cribs are at home) now elicit nothing but milk-drunk eye rolls. To be fair, both are making progress, and Nora was piiiiissed about that blog post last week, so she has sucked down a few impressive feeds to shove in our faces. But we’re not gonna lie. We’re ready to blow this popsicle stand. Even the girls are getting cranky.
In order to light a fire under her cute little baby bum, the doc suggested a 12-hr trial with no feeding tube feeds for Nora. We would only feed her when she woke up and acted rip-roaring hungry. I mean, it made sense. For the girls, sucking milk out of a bottle for 30 minutes is the equivalent to us doing 30 mins of P90X. When you know it’s just gonna get pumped into your stomach every 3 hours, why break a sweat? A minimum goal was set for the 12 hour stretch, which if she met, Nora would continue on bottle-only feeds. She ended up about 45 mL short of the goal, but her bum definitely showed signs of being held over a fire. =) YEAH, GIRL! Let’s get this show on the ROAD!
The doc definitely sensed our impatience this week, so she suggested going ahead with the girls’ car seat tests. This is one of the get-out-of-jail tests they have to pass. It seemed a little premature to us, but she told us to go ahead and bring in our car seats. Now, those of you that know Nick, know that he has had the car seat bases installed in his car since the girls were wee embryos (like, April), so he was PUMPED to test them out. The dry run went well, and the empty car seats made it all the way to the hospital safely without having a meltdown or spitting up.
Now after 85 days in the hospital, we’re pretty much on a first-name basis with about 12 staff people that we see before we even get to the girls’ room. So of COURSE when they all saw us walking in with empty car seats, they got all excited and started congratulating us for FINALLY being able to go home! After crushing their hopes and dreams with the reality that we’re NOT going home yet, we made it to the girls’ room, only to find out car seat tests had been postponed.
Bryn has an inguinal hernia. =( Surgery is set for Wednesday.
Hear that? Yeah, that’s the wind being taken out of our sails. Seriously? We’re like 3 bottles away from making a clean break and we gotta put our almost-5lb nugget under general anesthesia?? Not. Cool.
So here are the (sorta) positives:
1. It’s very common for preemies to have hernias, and a very common and routine surgery.
2. The surgery is quick, and the recovery typically very short and easy.
3. This shouldn’t set Bryn back in her awesome feeding progress.
4. Afterwards, she’ll be free to push out insanely huge poops without further risking pushing her innards through her abdominal wall. Girlfriend already has a 6-pack from some of these purple-faced pushes.
So now let’s focus on the real disappointment here. Bryn is going to miss Halloween. This is a mandatory Windschitl holiday, and we can’t have our girl missing her first one! So0oo–Tuesday will be Halloween in room 3128. We’re gonna party it up in style, and have already bribed the nurses to let the girls take a little un-wired lap around the ICC in their costumes. They’re gonna be so cute, that nurses and doctors are going to be throwing candy at them. Maybe if we load Bryn up tomorrow night, she’ll have such a big sugar crash she won’t need any anesthesia on Wednesday! Genius!
Both girls had their final head ultrasounds today, and neither one have any pregnancies in their brains.
Bryn has her weekly ret-cam exam tomorrow. She is still hanging out at stage 2 ROP, so we’re really hoping to see improvement this week.
So I guess this is what we get for being “bored” the last couple of weeks, huh? (Dangit!) Please keep throwin’ out those prayers for our little Bryn, especially this Wednesday. Little nugget needs ’em, but mom and dad might need them even more. Not too thrilled to see our girl going into surgery. =..(
So you’ve probably figured out by now which one of us is the germ police (hint: starts with an N and ends with ick). I know we have preemies, and when preemies get sick it means hospital stays, so I get it. But I just wanna show off these bada$$ babes to the world already! One of the ICC’s rules are that no kids can visit, and I get that too, but recently I broke the rules and snuck some cuties in…..via FACETIME!! Check out my awesome third graders!
Thanks to A2 for workin the ipad/smartboard setup in the classroom, Becky for being iphone holder on my end, Jackie for being my long term sub, and Anne Grace for being the best intern I never had (sorry, AG! I blame the babes!). =)
You’re probably wondering how much these HUGE babies weigh now, aren’t you? Nora weighed in today at 6lbs 9oz and Bryn at 4lbs 10oz! Since Bryn hit the 2 kilo mark last week, both girls got their first immunizations. Mom and dad sat this one out, choosing instead to imagine the serum being administered via little butterflies licking their chubby thighs. Bryn must not have taken very well to the butterflies, because the next day she was back on her nasal canula (insert BIG sad face here). Apparently this is common for the little ones after they get shots (and Bryn was BARELY over the 2kilo weight minimum. She hung out at 1.9999999999kg for a couple days, cleverly timing her huge poops for right before weigh-in time in order to avoid hitting the 2kg requirement for shots–atta girl!). In protest, she decided to remove “deep breathing” from her repertoire for a few hours, landing her back on O2. Nora sympathized by tapering her weight gains for a couple days to let little Bryn catch up. Well, no pity needed, sister, because not only did Bryn lose the canula after a brief 24 hours, but she also slammed an entire bottle at her next feeding! This was the first time EITHER of the girls had ever taken an entire feed by bottle. The last week or 2, they’ve both been lazily sipping down about 1/4 of their feeds by bottle/breast a few times a day, frustrating mom and dad because oral feeds are the ONLY thing standing between us and the outside world right now. But as of press time, Bryn has taken 2 full feeds orally, and is ahead of her big sister when it comes to total percentage of feeds taken orally! Hey-O! Scrappy little underdog Bryn could technically make it home before Nora if she keeps this up!
Have we told you about the awesome entertainment at Children’s? The Starz Studio in the lobby area has bingo, musical performances and guest entertainers almost daily, and it’s broadcasted live to patient rooms throughout the hospital. This mostly serves for entertainment for us, since the girls aren’t allowed to take field trips that far yet, and don’t have TVs in their cribs. But last week the ICC had THIS in their lobby area!
Pretty awesome, but again, a little farther than the girls’ wires would stretch. =( Finally, the girls got an in-room visit from the hospital’s music therapist! I just about crapped my pants when she walked in, because she just happened to be the same musician who Nick hired to play the piano in our backyard when he asked me to marry him!
Talk about things coming full circle. =) Erin, I fully expect you to randomly be the person playing Pomp and Circumstance at the girls’ graduation (in 2030….OMG! 2030!!?).
And because now I’m totally side tracked looking at photos from the day Nick proposed:
Ok back to the babes’ other news tidbits of the week:
1. This week I squeezed Bryn into her first outfit from the NICU, which she was swimming in the first time she wore, and has now officially outgrown (sniff).
We continue to sneak them into each other’s cribs and wait for them to do cute stuff to each other, but mostly end up with long videos of one or both sleeping. Got a little more excitement on this one (but you gotta hang on til the bitter end for it):
Seriously–when am I going to learn to turn my phone sideways?! Sorry.
Discharge date is up in the air again. Just gotta get rid of the feeding tubes! They keep saying one day a light will just go on for them and they’ll start slamming bottles like frat boys. We can’t wait.
Ret cams for both girls again tomorrow. Bryn’s scan last week showed continued stage 1-2 ROP. It could still go away on its own. Keep prayin’!
Each week we’re always looking for one step forward–either something the girls are doing to grow, or something that they lose. Bryn has always seemed to be a step behind her big sister, but this week she decided she was ready to do some catching up. She started out by getting rid of her nasal canula! After a couple weeks of ups and downs with her forgetting to breathe, and her parents finally accepting that it’s just pretty typical for preemies, the doctors decided to slowly ween her off the airflow and see how she did. As they decreased the amount of air each day, we could almost hear Bryn say, “OMG. FINALLY!” (That’s how I would imagine her saying it when she’s 14). All of a sudden she was having NO spells at all, and continues to rock it Gangnam style. Being off that canula made her lungs do a dance like this one.
Bryn was also tired of living in her cramped plastic box. Looking through the plexiglass at her sister in her big girl bed was motivation for her to start packing on the grams so she could hit 1800–the magic number for getting sprung from her isolette.
Bye bye isolette!
Both girls have been on the move when it comes to gaining weight. Bryn is just over 4lbs and Nora is pushing 6! Pretty incredible to see pictures of those first few weeks. In fact, we just got their pictures in the mail today from the Mother Baby Center photo shoot in August. Can you believe this was Nora?!
With all these huge milestones being accomplished, it seemed fitting that it was time for their grandparents to finally get to hold them. Of course, there were a few reservations. I am slightly neurotic about keeping them completely safe and healthy. I would love to keep them in a bubble, but the reality is that they needed that grandparent lovin.’
So, with their continued growth and development, the girls have been cruisin’ along, and we’ve been content in Preemie Fantasy Land. Then, BAM. The doctor threw us an estimate of Nora’s discharge date. As excited as we were to find out that she might be ready to go home in 2-3 weeks, I almost pooped my pants. Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t post anything further about poop, but I really did almost poop my pants. And now, after Bryn’s kick ass week of milestones, they’re thinking she won’t be very far behind, if at all. She still has a few more hurdles, but none of them will prevent her from going home. One of those hurdles was her recent ret-cam exam, which showed some mild ROP (retinopathy of prematurity). It is stage 1, which corrects itself in the majority of cases, but she will have more frequent eye exams to keep an “eye” on things. We’re continuing to stay positive, but wanted to ask for some extra prayers from all our warriors out there.
Bryn and Nora love visitors! Thanks to those of you who have come by the hospital to cheer on our girls. Now that cold and flu season is upon us, the hospital has stricter health screening for visitors, and since I am also slightly neurotic, I will lovingly reinforce them here in this blog.
1. If you are sick, have recently been sick, or have been around a sick person in the last 48 hours, please save your visit for later.
2. Unfortunately, because it is RSV season, and we have premature babies, the doctors are recommending that nobody outside immediate family touch or hold the girls. Trust us–the MINUTE RSV season is over (May), we will be thrusting babies into your arms!
3. Even though visitors can’t touch or hold the babies, please help us keep their environment as germ-free as possible by foaming when you arrive at the hospital, using the handwashing machine when you enter the ICC, and then foaming when you enter the girls’ room.
All of this being said, visitors are absolutely welcome! Sara is there in the mornings and we are both there in the evenings. Generally we like to keep the visits to about 30 minutes or less, as Sara has to whip out her boobs pretty often due to eating and pumping schedules.
Well, hello there. It’s been a couple of weeks, hasn’t it? I’m sure you’re thinking that, if the girls have continued on their recent trajectory, this week they are probably teething, singing along with The Wiggles and fighting over equal bathroom time. Let us catch you up to speed, friends.
This past week, Nick and I have felt things get REAL. I think we might have said that before, but now we mean it. =) Up until now it’s felt like Preemie Fantasy Land, where we’ve been coming to visit these tiny little humans, put cute hats on them, take a ton of pics, laugh about their huge poops in their tiny diapers and watch them slowly get close to what we call “Almost Real Baby Size.” Several times this past week we found ourselves in disbelief that these babies are the same ones we held 9 weeks ago in pictures like this one:
The crazy realness is that the girls are now 36 weeks gestational age, which is a pretty normal gestation for twins to be born. I remember being in the hospital just trying to make it to the magical “out-of-the-woods” week #28, docs telling us daily how each day I could keep them cooking decreased their chances of a myriad of issues. During my jailtime, a nurse practitioner from Children’s NICU came to visit us and brought us a booklet published by Children’s that contained a bunch of bar graphs, showing babies’ odds of having things like Necrotizing Enterocolitis, Retinopathy of Prematurity, and Bronchopulmonary Displaysia if they were born at each gestational week between weeks 22 and 28. Everything pretty much dropped to a 0% chance at 28 weeks. Pretty intimidating stuff, considering I was only 24 weeks at the time, and already having occasional contractions. After delivering her spirit-shattering info, Nick and I both a little deer-in-headlights-ish, I imagined her saying, “SOOoooo, keep those babies in there, mm k?! (evil smile).” Each day that a new doc rounded, I asked them what they thought my chances were of making it to 28 weeks. They tried to seem optimistic, but they would all say things like, “Let’s get you to 25 (or 26, or 27) weeks first!” They all agreed that if I could make it to 32, they didn’t care what I did–off roading ATV trip, rollercoasters, re-live my jump rope team days (don’t judge)– the babes would be fine if they came anytime after that. In the end, we were a week short of the magic number. But here we are at 36 WEEKS–deep into the safety zone and out of Preemie Fantasy Land. So when I get emails like this from websites I’m subscribed to that still think I’m pregnant,
I just think, “BAH! Due date, schmue date.” Nora and Bryn were always meant to be 27 weekers. How true is this?!
(Thank you, Shelley Heck from Etsy! http://www.etsy.com/people/Houseof3?ref=ls_profile).
Also, when I hold both of these largish-nuggets, I cannot picture them both still fitting in my belly. Fist pumps to my twin mom friends who carried to term. New. Respect.
Ok, enough of this waxing poetic. I mean, who do I think I am? Nick? =)
Onto the babies!
Miss Bryn has been pretty damn scrappy these last few days. Tired of being the underdog, she has spent her time packin’ on the grams and breathing like a champ. The docs are weaning her off of her nasal canula, and in the last week she has gone from a full Liter of airflow to 3/4L, then 1/2L and is currently hanging out at 1/4L! She’s holding up her end of the bargain by remembering to breathe ALL the time and should be completely off the canula by week’s end. What WHAT! But she’s not stopping there. Today Bryn surprised EveRYoNe by sucking down almost a FULL FEED by bottle. The doc had said last week that we could give it a try just for shits and giggles and see if she’d take anything. Well, check out this little rockstar:
Yeah, Bryn! (note to self: turn my friggin iphone sideways when taking videos)
The nurses are also slowly lowering the temperature inside her isolette to see how she does regulating her own temperature. She is almost 1700 grams, and at 1800 grams she will hopefully get her big girl bed, just like her sister.
Here are some sweet Bryn shots from the last week:
And both got the results the docs expected, since they are still pretty little–“immature development”–but this time to Zone 2, which is an improvement from their first exam where the vessels in their eyes had only developed into Zone 1. They’ll have another exam next week.
Nora is truckin’ along, just being Nora. Consistent weight gains, good poops, cute cheeks. She has also added some occasional breastfeeding to her repertoire.