Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blog 1st

Alright y'all, let's do something totally cool! This may even be a blog first so you'll definitely want to be a part of this.

Here's the deal: I know a lot of you read this blog and I know many of you have said at least one prayer during this journey, from pregnancy til now. I want every single person who has said a prayer (formal or informal) and that prayer has been answered, to post a comment. You do not have to say what you prayed for unless you want to and you do not have to sign your name unless you want to. It will also be cool to see where everybody is from so please put that in there as well. This would be such awesome testimony and would be amazing to look back on in years to come. If you have never posted a comment and are unsure how to do it, give it a whirl, you won't break anything!
On a different note, do not tell Finn this, but he is scheduled to come home Thursday. Yea!

Also, Noah is tolerating and absorbing his feeds well. He is now off TPN and lipids and is solely taking almost 2 oz of formula now; they plan to remove his central line Wednesday. He could be home as soon as next week!!! Maybe these were answers to your prayers.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yes, we're still alive....

Can you believe the babies will be 2 months old tomorrow? Can you believe Noah and Finn have been in the hospital for 60 days? Despite how frustrated we sometimes get that we don't have all of the boys home yet, we are thankful that there is an end in sight.


Earlier this week, Finn was slated for discharge on Sunday (today) since he was doing so well with his feeds now. Not the D-word! Finn freaked out and decided to hold his breath, dropping his oxygen levels to 30%. Since this is considered a "life threatening event", he has to stay for at least another week. We are pretty certain he is a ladies man and just wants to hang with all the cute nurses. He is still doing well with his demand feedings and is gaining weight. Hopefully, he'll be home soon!
Don't make me go home!

Noah is recovering very well from surgery. He pooped on Wednesday so he was able to start bottle feeds again, but remains on TPN and lipids. He started gulping down 30cc of EleCare formula to aid digestion. According to the GI specialist, he should be able to switch to breast milk or regular formula soon; lets' hope so because EleCare is about $40 for 14 oz (only 4 feeds). As he begins to take full feeds of 50-60cc every 3 hours, he will no longer need to be on TPN and lipids. His incision is healing very well and we hope to have him home within 2 week!
Anesthesia hangover


Cohen and Sophia are doing great! They are becoming much more alert and even playing with some of their toys (we played laser tag yesterday - just joking). We can't tell if their movements are intentional yet but they are pretty much geniuses. Grammie, her friend Sherri, and Busha came over today to visit and love on the babies. They could not believe how big these two have gotten!

Here are the new weights - Cohen 9lbs; Sophia 7lbs; Noah 6lbs 8oz; Finn 6lbs 5oz

We are entering the home stretch now as we close out the NICU chapter; hopefully we never have to return. We thank everyone for their continued prayers, support, and beautiful comments. Keep 'em coming!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rejoicing for Noah!

Today has been such a long day. We woke up around 6:30am at the Memorial Hermann Ronald McDonald House (RMH) to make sure we were with Noah when they took him to surgery. At 8:30 I thought I'd go get some coffee but decided not to in case they came to get Noah. At 1030, I grabbed a sandwich from the cafeteria and brought it up to the RMH for a quick bite so we wouldn't miss surgery. At 2:00pm, they finally called to come get Noah. We dubbed this time our "sympathy fast" since Noah could not have anything by mouth since midnight. We decided to head back to RMH for a few zzzzzz. They called us at 5:30pm to let us know Noah's surgery was finished and he was back in the NICU. When we saw him, he was wide awake and just a little fussy - can't blame the little guy after all he's been through. We had been praying - along with hundreds of others - for a quick recovery. Well, let me tell you, his recovery may be quicker than expected because they opted to do an epidural with very light sedation so that Noah would not have to be on a ventilator. This will cut down his recovery time significantly because now he won't have to be on a ventilator for 2-3days and then weaned off with oxygen for another couple of days. Instead he has an epidural pain pump which blocks the pain to his lower torso and body but does not make him so relaxed (ie relax breathing muscles too much) so that he can function normally. In fact, the surgeon said that the part of Noah's intestine that was closest to the stomach had grown back quite a bit so that made surgery less difficult and he should not have any additional problems. The goal now is for him to have a bowel movement and then he can start bottle feeds. It was so amazing to see him without his ostomy bag and we could see it in his eyes as well. The end result of all the waiting today and for the past 8 weeks brings so much joy and relief to us. Praise God for a smooth surgery, hastened recovery, and for holding Noah's hand when we couldn't!

Noah After Surgery - It'll All Be Over Soon


We are trying lots of different techniques to get Finn feeding better. We asked to try feeding him less volume but more frequently but this did not work. The occupational therapist (OT) tried feeding him on his left side to reduce reflux, which didn't help a lot. Finally, OT came up with the idea to feed him on demand. So now, they let him sleep until he wakes showing he is ready to eat, instead of waking him every 3 hours regardless. With this plan in place, Finn woke up after 3.5 hours and scarfed down his 60cc bottle in under 30minutes! We think we are on to something here and hope this continues to work so we can get the little guy home safely, but soon.
Finn About to Get His Drink On



Cohen and Sophia were in good hands with grandma and grandpa last night and all day today. We just continue to give thanks for their energy and abundant love! We are also celebrating grandpa's birthday today, but with circumstances were unable to spend a lot of time with him today. He told us "it was a great birthday being able to spend time with my grandkids." We love you, Tim!
How Can You Not Have A Great Birthday With These Two?



Auntie C and uncle Mark came to visit on Saturday and fed and loved on the babies for us. Now that they have a one year-old, I'm not sure how much they miss the days of feeding a baby every 3 hours. Carli the dog also came to visit and would check on the babies when they started to cry.

Auntie C & Uncle Mark From Austin



We have also been so blessed with all the meals that have been provided by the Community of Faith (COF) meals team - http://www.communityoffaith.tv/. They have been so wonderful helping us out. At church on Sunday, they announced that we needed help with the babies when they are all home, and 38 people have signed up so far. Our friend Susan is spearheading our volunteer schedule which is taking a huge burden off us since we are not ones to ask for help. We will post more info on that soon.

This is the time we have been looking forward to for a while now. It feels like there is an end in sight to the NICU days. In retrospect, this has really been a short time and has flown by. Also, being up there all day puts things in perspective as we remember to realize not only are we not alone in this, but that there are lots of other babies who are much sicker than ours. We need to remember to pray for them as well. God has been so good to us!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

3rd Times A Charm

Well, the day is almost here. Noah will have his third and final surgery tomorrow to reconnect or "take down" his ostomies. This will be almost 7 weeks from his first surgery and just two days after the babies' actual due date which was October 20! Thank you all for your prayer during this. Please continue to pray, especially tomorrow, for a successful surgery and quick recovery. We know that God is at work here and has been from the start. It was a miracle that they found the NEC disease in Noah so early and we continually praise God for that.
Noah Waiting Patiently


Chris and I are planning to stay overnight tonight at the hospital. We were told Noah is the first case of the day, so we are hoping they'll bring him down about 7:30 am. Luckily, Mom and Dad will be at home with Cohen and Sophia so we are able to be there with Noah.

We'll post an update on the surgery as soon as we can tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hook it up!

Cohen & Sophia checking each other out

Wasssuuuuuup!
Disco Dancing (Cohen has daddy's genes - not a good thing)
Today we met with Dr. Tsao, Noah's surgeon. We requested the meeting because we wanted to see what he thought about Noah's condition, his skin breakdown, being on TPN for so long, etc. He told us that the longer they can go without doing the surgery the better the re-connection will work. Basically, he didn't want to do the surgery yet unless there were reasons to do it. However, because of all the factors with Noah, he decided it would be beneficial to do the surgery sooner. As of today, the re-anastamosis (re-connect) surgery will be on Monday, barring any complications such as infection that could arise before then! We are pretty excited about this because it feels like there is an end in sight and Noah won't have to endure the discomfort of having his site changed 4-6 times per day.

Can you believe this? Check out these weights..

Cohen 8lbs
Sophia 6lbs
Finn 5lbs 13oz
Noah 5lbs 11oz

An occupational therapist is working with Finn on his feedings and he seems to be doing better. While we were there today, he finished his full bottle without any breathing issues, but before that he only took about 1/3 of his bottle. We are thinking this might be his break through week as this weekend would be the 40-week mark. All in all he is doing well and we are being more patient to not rush him home before he is ready.

Sophia has such spiky dark hair and big blue eyes, especially when she is feeding. We tried to capture it on video. Some say that hair that stands straight up as a baby will eventually be curly; we'll have to wait and see. We tried to swaddle Sophia and Cohen together in the same blanket but Cohen kept trying to eat Sophia's nose to her dismay - must be the milk breath.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our first date



Mari's parents watched the little ones on Saturday night so we could go out on a little date after visiting Noah and Finn. It did feel good to put on some real clothes and hit the town. Oh, how dates have changed. We had 8:30pm reservation at Crapitto's (I know, it doesn't sound like a good restaurant) for a nice dinner al fresco. By 7pm we were asking each other why we made such a late reservation and that we should go early and then get one of those hotel rooms by the hour - not for that, to take a nap! Like I said, date night has changed. We had a great time on our date and made it back home for the 12am feeding to relieve the weary grandparents. Mari looks amazing and as stunning as she did when we first met!



We were checking out our friend Suz's blog yesterday (http://thelifeofsuz.blogspot.com/). Mari and her were keeping up with each other during pregnancy. Suz had her babies 1 month before we did. Her little girl has reflux really bad and does what Finn does when he eats. This time, she threw up while sleeping on her back and thankfully, Suz saw this on the video monitor and ran into the room. Her little girl was not breathing and Suz had to do CPR to revive her - a parent's worst nightmare. Praise God she is ok! This could happen to any parent so make sure you take infant CPR class. This incident helped us realize that we do not need to rush Finn to get home and to just let time and God do their thing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Finn - Come on Home!

Well, we thought we'd have Finn home by now - he was due to be home on Wednesday then they pushed it to Thursday or Friday and now it could be another week or longer. He took his car seat test on Tuesday, which he failed the first time by having a sleeping Brady during the test. So he studied up that afternoon and passed it on Tuesday evening. Still, they called me on Wednesday and said they'd like to keep him a bit longer because he isn't taking his bottles in full and he is still having problems with his oxygen saturation while feeding. I guess the little guy wants to stick with his brother, Noah, for a while longer. One nurse told me that every time Noah starts crying Finn opens his eyes and looks over his way as if he knows it's his brother in need. She thinks Finn and Noah have a deal that they are going to stick together no matter what.

Finn's Car Seat Test




Noah needs our prayers. He is having some breakdown of the skin around his stoma which is making it difficult to keep his ostomy bag in tact. This makes for uncomfortable days for him as they have to replace the bag 4 - 6 times a day. Every time they do this they change the feeding tube which is causing ulcerations and bleeding of his fistula. The bag change is also painful for him since each time they have to rip the tape off of his irritated skin. We were hoping to be talking second surgery next week, but it looks like patience is the name of the game for us right now. The surgeon told Chris that we should expect the surgery to be at the end of October or later. Chris is off on Tuesday and we would like to meet with the surgeon in person to voice our concerns about his skin and the fact that he has to go through that pain so many times each day. We'd like to know if it's better to chance doing surgery early to relieve this or if they think it's still better to wait. My heart is broken right now as I desperately want my boys home and to have the family all together. Won't that be a joyous day!

Noah's Best Friend - The Paci


Cohen and Sophia are doing really great at home. I had them by myself for an afternoon last week while my parents went to the hospital to visit Finn and Noah. It was so much fun but I was having a bit of a panic thinking about being alone with 4!

Sophia and Cohen Swinging
video



Chris and I are adapting to parenthood. I have heard over and over from my girlfriends how hard children can be on your relationship. I am starting to see those effects. I think it's the lack of sleep and just plain lack of knowing what to do that makes it very easy to bicker about anything. Yesterday I accused Chris of not caring about his children because he hasn't read all 110 books that I have stacked around the house on how to raise a good family, child development, breast feeding, sleep patterns, etc. I mean - he should have had time for at least half of those in between working, coming home and feeding two babies, going to the hospital, right? After he asked me if I'd like him to take a sabbatical and spend the next two years reading, I quickly apologized and we both got a good laugh about it. I'm sure we'll have many laughs ahead. :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rejuvenated

Grandma and Grandpa Glass took the night shift last night and we got an excellent night's sleep! They said it went well but were staring at each other wondering what it's going to be like with two more in the mix!

We feed Cohen and Sophia every 3 hours, which is the same schedule they were on in the NICU. It is working well so far, though it seems one is ready to eat and the other just wants to sleep, so we wake one up so we can feed them both at the same time. We are finding that Cohen needs an extra feeding as he wakes up starving about an hour after his 4am feeding and still manages to throw down (not up, thankfully) a full bottle (90-100 cc now), so we are now going to try to add a feed at 8pm to see if that will help him sleep for 3 hours in the early morning.

Jazmyn, Cohen & Sophia


Below are some video and photos from yesterday. We are having a blast with Cohen and Sophia home and are anxiously awaiting Finn and Noah's arrival.
Cohen Crying
video

Busha, Cohen & Sophia



Noah Smiling


Finn's Upside Down Smile

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Notes from the NICU

We made it back to the NICU today to see Noah & Finn. Even though it has only been a few days since we've been there, it is kind of strange to be back there, especially since we already have two at home. Hopefully, the video below works - this is my 1st time to try video. If it goes well I will start posting more videos.

video


Noah is looking much better today. He has good coloring and appears more alert. He has also gained some weight back and is now 5#, thanks in part to being back on lipids and the new Elicare formula to help him process fat and protein. The plan is for the surgical team to assess him in about a week and a half to determine if he is ready to be re-connected (intestines sewn back together). They usually do this surgery 6-8 weeks after the first one.

Finn is doing better as well. He does not de-sat (drop oxygen level) except after taking about 3/4 of his bottle, but the oxygen levels come back up sometimes on their own and sometimes with a little oxygen. He, too, is growing like crazy is next in line to come home. I imagine he feels lonely now without Cohen & Sophia by his side.

Thankfully, Mari's parents made into town and took care of Cohen and Sophia for us. Cohen and Sophia go to christen their swings - not like that, they haven't pee-ed on them yet. Cohen has officially grown out of his preemie clothes; trying to put those on him reminded me of that scene in Black Sheep with Chris Farley when he is on the airplane and gets the life vest stuck around his neck. It seems like he could eat constantly all day long.

Sophia seems to be going through a growth spurt right now. She has almost doubled the amount she eats. She is closing in on the 5.5 lb mark and will probably be there before Monday. It was so funny to her and Cohen in their swings because their eyes would go side to side with the swing. I tried to get video of it but you can't really tell what's going on.

9 months ago when we found out we were having quads, we were so stressed about the financial burden of raising 4 babies, especially as we went to one salary. We have been so blessed with God's grace and miracles; now we see that it is all so worth it and we don't even think about the medical expenses or any of that stuff. God has really taught us what is important.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Day 2 - We Made It!

I know you checked the blog 1st thing in the AM the other day, didn't see a post; checked again the next day, didn't see a post; checked this AM, didn't see a post, and began to wonder if we made it or not. Well, let's say we are alive right now to talk about it. No, it really hasn't been that bad. Cohen & Sophia sleep well and eat very well. The trick has been to wake them to eat before they wake us. Knowing that we have 2 more still to come home makes twins a piece of cake.

Cohen & Sophia had their 1st pediatrician appointment yesterday with Dr. Herman (what is it with this connection to the name Herman?). They did well and are looking healthy. He told us to limit the amount of exposure to people and crowds for the next 3 months because at this stage, the babies immune systems just aren't strong enough.

The blood work came back on Noah, and the little dude has a bladder infection - we all know how much those hurt! He has been on the appropriate antibiotics for a few days and is already feeling better. The nurse told us Noah did not have any bradys yesterday! The surgeons consulted a pediatric GI specialist, Dr. Roads, to check in on Noah to see what he thinks. Dr. Roads said that since Noah is not getting fed by mouth, he is not able to use the pancreatic enzymes used to break down fat and protein. So he started Noah on Elicare, a formula specially designed with these enzymes so that he can process the protein and fat in milk. He also met with the surgeons last night to discuss re-connecting his intestines, but also said that Noah had to complete 2 weeks of antibiotics prior to surgery. According to his nurses, Noah is tolerating these feedings very well and gained a little weight.

They are still assessing Finn's response to the reflux meds to see if they are working. They place him on oxygen during feeds to help with this, but as of now, they don't think he'll need to come home with oxygen.

We miss Finn and Noah right now and will hopefully be able to see them this weekend as Mari's parents fly in today - yea - help!! Busha has been at the hospital loving these 2 little guys everyday and we are so appreciative of her love.

The past few days have been awesome! Yesterday, we got the house scrubbed down from top to bottom while the babies were sleeping --- thanks Merry Maids courtesy of NW Houston Mothers of Multiples! We are also back to eating homemade meals --- thanks Jen for coordinating meals. The Community of Faith meals team will spring into action over the upcoming months for us. What a huge blessing!

Diaper Count = 42
Bottles Fed = 32
Smiles from happy parents = Countless

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Welcome Home! - 1st edition

Cohen & Sophia in their double wide

My babies in their new ride

Well, despite all the naysayers, we are awesome parents! We made it through the "Care by Parent" overnight stay program without a hitch. We are also infant CPR saavy. "Care by Parent" was pretty cool and an eye opener. We know things are going to be tough, but we really got an idea of how hard it will be to feed 4 babies. Well, feeding them isn't the problem, it's more of finding time for us to sleep. Cohen had been eating 105cc of milk for the last few feedings but we decided that was too much because he kept having blow outs. So, last night, being the awesome padres we are, decided to scale back his feeding to 70cc. Cohen not happy and up every hour and half ready to go again, so we decided to feed Sophia at the same time. Now we know...live and learn...don't mess with the baby tummy! Speaking of tummies, on the way out of the hospital, all eyes were on the babies and not Mari's quad bod.
Welcome home!

Noah is back on antibiotics for an infection. They are doing cultures to see what kind of infection he has so they can treat him properly. They think this is the reason for him having so many bradys the past few days. Because of this, they stopped his feedings and put him back on TPN (total parenteral nutrition), which is basically super Gatorade, and will start the lipids again as well.


They started Finn on medication for acid reflux, although the pH study said it could be reflux or it could not be reflux - glad we paid for that test! We'll do a little trial to see if that keeps him from dropping his oxygen saturation. The unexpected news about Finn is that he is tentatively scheduled to come home next week - wow!


We are so excited to have the babies home and love the monitors. They have not gone off nearly as much as we thought they would and do allow us to sleep a little better. We have our first pediatrician appointment tomorrow - wish us luck!
Sorry Jaz, daddy has a new little girl

Though we are celebrating such a momentous occasion, we are also deeply saddened by the passing of our good friend's mom. She passed away Monday from a short battle with stomach cancer, the same thing my dad had. Our hearts and prayers are with them during this time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mama, I'm Coming Home

Update....This morning we found out that Cohen and Sophia posted bail and are coming home!!! They will be coming home with monitors, which is not a big deal, especially after all the helpful comments. We will both take infant CPR tomorrow and do "Care by Parent" for 24 hours. We will stay in a room on the same floor as the NICU and take care of the babies as if we were home. This is the test to see if we cut it as padres. If we pass our test, we get to keep the babies and bring them home Wednesday!
Cohen & Sophia strapped in


Cohen and Sophia took their car seat test (60 minutes without crazy vital signs) today and passed with flying colors on the 1st try! In fact, Cohen passed with the color brown as he had his 1st blow out in his car seat - it is now officially broken in.
A little perspective on how small they still are
Mari is off to the Fire station tomorrow morning to have the car seat bases installed properly. I placed the seat protectors on the seats, put the bases in the car, and stroller in the back. We put together one swing and 2 bouncy seats this evening as well. And believe it or not, not a single fight the whole time! Things are defintiely getting real! I think I felt butterflies today for the 1st time.
We hope to post soon if our eyes can stay open long enough.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Up and Runnin'

Sorry for the delay. Our DSL keeps going in and out on us.

Still no babies home yet. I think they are taking what I said literally - you can't come home until you can sleep through the night.

Cohen may come home later this week, but with a heart rate monitor since he has a brady while sleeping sometimes. We are a little mixed up about this. On one hand, maybe he'll grow out of it if he stays in there another week or two so we don't have to worry about the monitors and training whoever takes care of him on what to do while we go to the hospital. At the same time, it would sure be nice to have at least one of the little guys home. If anyone has any input on the monitor situation please let us know. Cohen is now 6 lbs!

Finn, Cohen, Sophia & Proud Papa


Noah was wide awake for the first time in a really long time this weekend. He still gets milk through a feeding tube directly into his small intestine and takes a small bottle twice a day. He has lost a little weight since being on milk only. The hard part has been trying to get the feeding tube and ostomy bag to stay in place. There have been times when all the milk has leaked out of his bag for several hours. I think we have finally got that straightened out after some creative taping. After a little weight loss, Noah enters the pod at 4 lbs 9oz.
Wide-Eyed Noah


Finn is still de-satting where his oxygen levels drop to 50%, especially when feeding. We are waiting for the results of a pH probe study to determine if he has acid reflux, which can cause his oxygen to drop. If this is the case, he will begin meds to help to out. He is still gaining weight and we wouldn't mind if all the babies could come home with the feeding tube and pump. Just think...wake up in the middle of the night, hit the power button, go back to sleep. Works for me!

Finn - Passed Out With the Pacifier



Sweet Sophia - what can I say!? She is doing very well, despite the occasional brady. She is always the most awake, checkin everything out. She is quite the eater, out-eating her 3 brothers. She will likely come home in the next 2 weeks and probably with a monitor as well. She is almost 5 lbs now!

Sophia Finally In the Crib With Her Brothers


I have somehow found myself in the JC Penney dressing room on two occasions in the past week trying on different girdles to see if I can miraculously suck in this skin that still makes me look like I'm 6 months pregnant. This is not an easy task. After a lot of huffing and puffing to cram myself into a piece of fabric that looks like it was meant for a small child, I finally got the first one on. Instead of looking pregnant, it appeared that I was having an asthma attack as my face was turning blue from not being able to breathe. In the second attempt, I decided to try one of those corsets with all of the hooks, thinking that would be a much better solution. This one was an improvement from the first trial until I tried sitting down and realized I couldn't bend at all. After seriously considering purchasing this and planning to simply stand up for the next month or so, I left once again empty handed and laughing to myself as a nice lady congratulated me on my upcoming arrival.