Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas and Fixing Hearts

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was wonderful. We actually took the babies out to enjoy the festivities... a first for us! Everyone is doing great. The girls are now in between 9 1/2 and 10 1/2 pounds, about triple their birth weights. They are all so chunky :) Really, their rolls have rolls. It's such a welcome sight after seeing them all so thin and sickly looking when they were born. I'm telling you, my breast milk must be cream. We took Lia and Claire to the Cardiologist on the 16th. They both had Echo cardiograms and we were told that both of their PDA's have not closed and they will require surgery to fix the valves. They like babies to be older and bigger for these procedures, but we were told that in about three months these will need to be taken care of. Apparently both of their hearts are enlarged on the left side due to the extra blood flowing through the open valve that should be closed. We will do the surgeries on separate days, because they will need to stay over night and I want to be able to give each baby all of my time and attention after the surgery individually. It shouldn't be a big deal. It sounds pretty routine, but anything like this kind of feels like a big deal. My girls are smiling all the time and Miriam absolutely adores them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Family pix

My good friend Suzy took these beautiful pictures of my sweet girls. I highly recommend her!!! You can find her at Thanks Suz! Love ya!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Daycare is Seriously Understaffed

Here are some pictures from the joyful ciaos I call home.Above is me and my sweet babes. I can now hold them all at the same time because there are no more oxygen tubes or monitors. It's fabulous. Below is a shot of the way the girls sleep. We found that if we cuddle them all together so they are spooning each other they sleep much longer and much more sound. (L-R Claire, Brynn and Lia.)

Despite the look on Miri's face, she really does like her sisters now. She has adjusted really well. She used to just stand back and give them the stink eye. Now she is concerned when they cry ("Mommy! Mommy!! Baby sisters cryin'!") and offers them her stuffed puppies. She gives them kisses on their foreheads and has to be reminded to be gentle not to push them too high in their swings. She can't tell them apart yet, but tries to guess.
Claire and Lia just hanging out.

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Miri

We felt that it was very appropriate that Miriam's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. Derek and I both agree that she is one of the greatest blessing of our lives. She has brought us more joy that we can express.Here is Miri playing with her new kitchen. Poor cousin Henry is looking on... We're still working with Miriam on the art of sharing. By the way, Kudos to Derek for staying up until 2 am the night before to put the kitchen together. Seriously, not one single part of it was assembled. The hinges weren't even attached to the doors. At least there was a 28 page instruction manual.

Strawberry flavored cupcakes with strawberry frosting and Strawberry Shortcake decoration. What more could a 2 year old want?

Here's Miri with her cousins Jake and Abi.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Going the Extra Mile

Some people are exceptional at what they do and we crossed paths with one of these people while Lia, Brynn and Claire were in the NICU. We had so many wonderful nurses, but Susan was our favorite. I met her when the triplets were just a few days old. She seemed like such a kind and nurturing person, so I asked her if she would be a primary nurse for our girls. From then on she took care of our babies several times a week. There were many times that she didn't know I was watching her and she was not only taking good care of my daughters, but speaking to them sweetly and being so gentle. I can't even explain how much comfort it gave me to know that my girls were with someone who not only took the job of caring for them seriously, but really loved them. We love Susan and hope that she will always be a part of our babies lives. She has visited us in our home since the triplets came home and we hope to see her again soon.
Below is a picture of Susan, Claire and I. I think this was the last time she took care of them before they came home. And in the other picture, the girls are wearing little sweaters that Susan MADE for them. Yes, she made them. I have no idea how. (L-R Lia, Claire, Brynn)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My New Life

Do I dare say that I'm starting to feel like things might be under control? We've remained on our same schedule, which basically consists of feeding every 3-4 hours, then "play time" if you can call being in a bouncer or tummy time "playing" then back to sleep after an hour or two until it's time to eat again. During the night, they all go right back to bed after eating and are actually sleeping very well. Last night they slept from 11 pm to 4 am. Fabulous. I must give credit where credit is due here... Derek is super dad and not only are these girls incredibly lucky to have such a hands on, affectionate and loving daddy, but I would be in the lunie bin without him. After the first few days of the girls being home, I was pretty exhausted and my breast milk supply was diminishing. He decided to take the night shifts and since then I've turned back into a dairy cow. Derek comes and gets me when it's time for feedings, and in between time he soothes them if they wake up. He rotates them sleeping on his chest. He says he loves the night shift because he doesn't get to spend time with them during the day while he's at work. What a wonderful man I married. Feeding time is basically down to a science. I have this enourmous pillow that straps to me and allows me to breastfeed two at a time. Once I get them both to latch on, I can hold a bottle for the third baby who is next to us on the floor in a Boppy. Burping them all gets pretty interesting and they all enjoy projectile pooping the second their diapers come off. We turned our living room into a nursery. All four bedrooms are upstairs and it would be difficult, even dangerous to be hauling oxygen tanks attached to babies up and down the steep wooden stairs.
The girls are doing great. Claire is off of Oxygen and Lia is getting close to coming off. The girls are growing like weeds! Lia is over 8 pounds, Brynn is 7 1/2 and Claire is almost 7 pounds. I fall in love with each of them more every day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's tough being two

I knew it would be hard on Miriam going from an only child to having three newborn sisters. She has gone from being a confident happy little girl to clingy, whiny and even naughty. It breaks my heart. I love you little Miri.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday turned out to be quite chaotic. Both my mom and Derek's mom wanted to be here when the babies came home, which was great because we needed someone to watch Miri. Well, my mom ended up with a terrible cold and poor Carol had an awful stomach flu. We didn't have anyone to watch Miri and little kids are not welcome in the NICU for more than 15 minutes. We ended up taking Miri to her Aunt Becky's house after Beck got off work and showed up 4 hours late to pick up the girls. Also, it snowed like crazy that day. We literally had over a foot of snow at our house. We loaded the girls up and headed home. Derek had a dream back in high school when we were dating that he was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat. He looked in the back seat and saw two car seats. I bet if he would have kept looking he would have seen two more car seats on the third row of the mini van. Sheesh. The ride home, which is usually 40 minutes was over an hour after picking up Miri and braving the slushy roads. After we got Miri in the car, she pointed to Lia and said "Whose that?" We got the babies home and before we could even get them out of their car seats, they all started to cry. I was unsuccessfully trying to feed two at a time and then I started to cry... things have calmed down quite a bit since. Bless every NICU nurses heart who helped to get these girls on a schedule. They eat every 3 hours in the day and every 4 hours at night, and have been pretty content in between. We'll just keep taking it a day at a time!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Halloween; Miriam's last chance for undivided attention from Mom and Dad.

For Halloween, Derek and I decided that we should spend some quality individual time with Miri and make sure she had some good fun before the babies came home. The night before Halloween we took Miriam to Mabey Farm, a great pumpkin patch. (Thanks for the tip Rachel.) She had way too much fun climbing on the haystacks, pulling the wagons and picking out pumpkins.
On Halloween I took Miri to Derek's work were they had an office trick-or-treat. She is very particular about WHICH candy she chooses. She mainly likes suckers and occasional smarties. I rarely let Miriam have candy, but figured Halloween is once a year and just let her go crazy. I really regretted that decision 2 days later when she threw up all over in Sacrament Meeting. Lovely. Anyway we then went and visited Miriam's great Grandma Garlick, Great Grandpa Behling and then went to my moms and Derek's moms. Halloween has never been a favorite holiday of mine, until kids came along. This was Miriam's original Halloween costume, to go along with the triplets dressed up as carrots. Miriam hated the ears and hated having her face painted, so we went to plan B. I told Derek to go to Old Navy on his lunch break and pick out a cute little warm costume there. So what did her come home with? A rat. Yes, that's right. Other people's 2 year olds are cute little fairies and princesses. Mine was a rat, but a darn cute rat she is. Below are pictures of Miriam with her great Grandma Garlick ("Grandma Great") Great Grandpa Behling and her cousins Kylee, Abi and Jake (Jenette's kids.) The cute little piglet giving my cute little rat a hug is Miri's cousin Andelun.
And here I am with two of my favorite people in the world; my sisters Julianne and Jenette.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Let the fun begin

This morning Derek and I were informed that our girls will come home on Wednesday. I have wanted them to come home so badly, but the news made me feel a little bit of panic. I can't even imagine how my crazy house is going to run. I don't function well on little sleep, I really like my house clean and love schedules. I'm going to just need to get over all of that. We had a great nurse at the NICU today. Her name is Becca and she is actually the one who resuscitated my little Lia after she was born and wasn't able to breath on her own and had to go on the Ventilator. I think she saw in my face that I'm a little nervous. People are constantly saying things to me like "I don't know how you are going to do this" and "I could never do that." While I totally understand why people say things like that, I would have said the same thing to someone in this type of a situation before I was thrown into it. But really, I just needed to hear someone say "You can do this, you will do this and you will do it well." Becca did. She told me that she has watched Derek and I since day one and that she knows we will do this wonderfully and the babies will be great. Thank you Becca! That encouragement meant the world to me. We were really surprised at how quickly this all happened. The girls have taken off with their feedings. They are now doing on demand feedings and eating tons. We thought some other things might keep them in the NICU longer, but apparently not! Lia will come home on Oxygen. She has had a bacterial infection called C-Diff (aka cooties) Anyone who touches her has to pretty much put on haz mat gear but they are going to let her come home anyway. She has had to be so patient waiting for her needs to be met while people suit up in the plastic gown and gloves. Her sweet little cry sounds like a goat. :) This past week we found out that little Lia has the exact same 2 heart issues that Claire has. She has an ASD and PDA. They are not going to treat at this point, just watch it and we will have to follow up with cardiology. They say it's random that they both have the exact same conditions, but I'm not convinced. I'm not a super smart girl, but in my mind there has to be some other sort of explanation. I took a lot of medications to get these babies and I hope that didn't negatively affect their development. Since the heart is one of the first major things to develop it seem like the strong hormone medications could still have been in my body. Luckily these conditions are treatable - if they even end up needing treatment. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Girls

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I now am the mother of 4 girls. Here are some updates on each of my cuties!
Miriam Jenette is named after my sister Jenette and will be two next month. She is such a talker. She speaks in complete sentences and says things that I have no idea where she picked up. She has started singing... she loves the songs on Cinderella and tries to sing along. Bless the little girls heart - she is COMPLETELY tone deaf. The sound of her singing makes me happy. She loves books and puzzles. She went through a phase where she wanted to color constantly (on everything.) Now she likes to sit and peel the wrappers off the crayons. She is very independent and very social. She loves people, especially her cousins. She loves outside and has an obsession with animals, particularly puppies. She won't let go of her binky and has NO interest in the potty. She has a great laugh and smile and an enormous gap between her 2 front teeth. She can be be a little bit of a bully, but gives great kisses and is excellent at saying "please" and "thank you." Derek followed her around the house one day and took these pictures. He's trying to train her to be a sports fan... so far so good. She will chant "BYU COUGARS!!" when Derek is watching football and when basketball is on she'll yell "Ally Oop!!"
Lia Marie is named after Derek's mom, Carol Marie. She has always been and still is the biggest of the triplets. Last night she measured in at 5 lbs 15 oz. She is even getting some rolls on her... a very welcome sight on a preemie. As far as her little personality, she is very pleasant. She is laid back and calm and rarely fusses. She grunts a lot and is very expressive with her face. She's a little cuddle bug. She has had the most complications, initially with having to go on the Vent and she's now dealing with a bacterial infection called C-diff, but she's also come the farthest.There is a real sweetness about little Lia.

Brynn Rebecca is named after her Aunt Becky, Derek's sister. She is in the running for being the biggest and last night weighed 5 lbs 11 oz. Her little personality is so determined! It's so interesting how a preemie can already have such a strong personality! It's not that she isn't pleasant, she is. She just knows exactly what she wants. For instance, she tries so hard at breastfeeding. She becomes frustrated when she can't latch on right, but won't give up. Even when she is exhausted, she fight sleep because she wants to try and try again. She'll freak out if she feels like sucking on her binky and it falls out of her mouth. As soon as it's put back in she's as happy as can be. She's just figured out how to get the attention she wants. We affectionately call her "stinky." I don't know what her deal is, but she definitely can't go without a regular bath.
Claire Denice is named after my mom and is still our little runt. She is now 4 lbs 10 oz and still feels like a preemie. She scrunches her little body up like a monkey and always has to have her oxygen turned down when we hold her. She gets so comfortable and content she doesn't require the machine supplying her with the extra oxygen. Even though she is tiny, she is not shy. She has big eyes that are always looking around. She loves her binky and will hold it in her mouth with her tiny fist. She gave us quite a scare when we first learned about her heart issues, but things seem to have turned out OK and she will just need to be watched for now.

So, there they are. My four girls. I wish I could have seen this post 3 years ago when I was wondering if I'd ever have a child of my own. My cup runneth over....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Could carrots be any cuter?

Penny strikes again. I mentioned her in a previous post... she is the awesome NICU nurse who took the pictures of my girls when they were a few days old. Well, she did it again, but this time MADE them Halloween costumes first. Lia is on the left. Another NICU mom said something about this pic of Lia that made me laugh. She said "That's the face I would be making if someone put me in a costume like that." Brynn is in the middle and Claire of the right. The girls are getting closer to coming home. Brynn will most likely be the first, followed shortly by Claire. Lia will most likely come home last... she's had a little bit of a hard time, but is making progress. I'm hoping they will all be home within the next two weeks. We had a scare a few days ago that luckily turned out to be nothing. Lia had a bloody stool and at the NICU they just went crazy with millions of tests and they stopped her feedings. Apparently they were afraid that she had something terrible called NEC where there is a part of the colon that actually dies and can be very dangerous. One NNP actually said to me "Now I'm not trying to scare you, but babies with NEC can get very sick very quickly and sometimes emergency surgery is required, and sometimes babies don't make it through this surgery." Ya, that doesn't sound scary, that sounds happy. All the testing has (so far) come back normal and she hasn't had any more weird poops. Claire is still getting an ECHO every week to monitor her heart issues. Things haven't changed, but they don't feel its necessary to treat her right now. So basically she's just being watched. My babies are getting so big! Claire is now 4 lbs 6 oz, Lia is 5 lbs 8 oz and Brynn is 5 lbs 6 oz. They are starting to look like normal newborns, especially Lia. They are all learning to eat so they can get rid of their feeding tubes and are all still working on getting off their oxygen. Things are going well... thank you all for the prayers and please keep them coming!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Update on Claire

Claire had another echocardiogram today. Her PDA looks the same. Last week I was told that if it was the same or any worse, we would move on to medication and if that doesn't work we'd move on to surgery. Well, today they told me that in babies as "old" as Claire, the medication rarely works. It has a high success rate if it's used within the first 4 days of life. Surgery is still a possibility, but they want to watch the PDA for awhile longer. They are hopeful it will close on it's own... kind of a different story than I was hearing last week, but I just have to trust that they know what they are doing and will take the best care possible of my little Claire. Oh, and Claire did make some progress today. She latched on and breastfed like she's been doing it for years. That makes her one step closer to coming home!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Happy Moment

Last night I got to hold all three of my babies together for the first time. Even though Brynn is tipped over, Claire is sliding down into her blanket and Lia looks like she is missing her left eye, this is one of my favorite pictures ever. Holding them all together brought me great joy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two steps forward, one step back...

Everyone tells me that's how it goes in the NICU. Lately it feels like one step forward two steps back with little Claire. Last week I got a call from one of the NNP's (neonatal nurse practitioner.) She said that they had done an echocardiogram on Claire's heart and they found two abnormalities. The first is called a PDA and is common in preemies and even sometimes happens in full term babies. Basically it's an abnormal opening between two major blood vessels leading from the heart. This opening usually closes on it's own soon after birth, but Claires hasn't. A PDA can be mild, moderate or severe. Claires is moderate. She has another echo on Thursday. If her PDA is the same or any worse, they will try to treat with medication, which I was told "sometimes" works. If it isn't successful, they will have to do a surgery to close the opening. The thought of surgery on little Claire's heart makes me sick, but I've been reassured that it's not as scary as it seems. The success rate is super high and recovery is only a few days. So, that's the first issue. The second problem is that Claire has an actual heart defect called an ASD. She has a hole between the two upper chambers in her heart. She will have to be followed and if she starts becoming "symptomatic" things like chronic chest infections, fatigue, high blood pressure, she will have to have surgery to basically "plug" this hole.
Besides the heart issues, Claire has just gone down hill a little bit. Her oxygen sats are all over the place, her respirations are high, and she used to be pretty alert and always seems pretty lethargic now. I can't breastfeed her... apparently it would force her to exert too much energy and they want to avoid that. Oh, but she is so beautiful. She crunches up like a little monkey and loves to be held. She is still gaining weight, which is promising. Please keep my little Claire in your prayers!
Lia and Brynn are both doing fabulous. Brynn is about 4 1/2 lbs and Lia is approaching 5 lbs. They should be in open cribs by the weekend and are maintaining their body temperature pretty well. They are both just on minimal amounts of oxygen and are progressing with feedings. Hopefully they will be home in a few weeks.
The drive to University Hospital twice a day is getting a little old, but there's no way I could stand going without seeing my babies.
All in all I have many blessings to count. Claire will be OK, it will just take some time. When I see other babies in the NICU and hear about all of the issues my girls could be facing right now I realize just how lucky we are.
Here are some updated pics taken a few days ago when the girls were two weeks old. Claire is in the first picture, Lia is in the middle and the bottom picture is Brynn with her daddy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good news from the NICU

Just a quick update on the girls... they were moved from "room 2" to "room 3." For those of you who are unfamiliar with the different NICU rooms, room 1 is where you don't want the babies to ever have to be. Those babies are considered unstable and that's were babies are typically lost. Room 2 is the more urgent care, but fairly stable. In room 3 they are considered very stable and just need to grow and learn how to feed. My girls had a short stay in room 1 right after they were born and have been in room 2 until a couple of days ago. Derek and I got to the NICU for our nightly visit and saw them wheeling Claire by us in her little isolette on her way to the new room. I'm so proud of my girls! They make little steps of progress and then have small setbacks, which is very typical of preemies. For instance, little Lia was able to come out of her isolette and be in an open crib for a couple of days, but stopped maintaining an appropriate temperature and had to be put back in the isolette. She is still on 1/2 L of oxygen. Brynn and Claire are both completely of of Oxygen. Little Brynn has a small eye infection which I was assured isn't a big deal at all. They girls tolerate their feedings really well and luckily I've been able to pump loads of milk (almost twice the amount they need!) They are gaining weight. As of last night, Lia was at 4 lbs 4oz (up 5 oz from birth) Brynn was at 3lbs 15oz (up 7 oz from birth) and Claire was at 3lbs 8oz (up 4 oz from birth) They are on track to be home by their due date, which would have been November 14th. I'm hopeful that they will be home by Halloween.
Right now my life is just a constant cycle of going back and forth from the hospital (which is a 40 minute drive each way) to spend time with my girls, spending as much quality time as I can with Miriam and pumping, pumping pumping! I'm feeling SOO much better now! I haven't felt this way for months and every day gets better. My belly is very slowly but surely starting to shrink back down, even though I could still pass for 4-5 months pregnant. I've lost 30 of the 40 pounds I gained during my pregnancy and figure the last 10 will be pretty slow to come off. I am just in absolute awe of what my body was able to do in carrying and giving life to these three babies. I couldn't feel more blessed.

Derek, Miri and I with Lia. This was one of the days she was in an open crib dressed in regular preemies clothes. Even though she's now back to being in the toasty isolette in just her diaper, I'm know she'll be back out soon. And below is my mom with Claire. Claire seems so much tinier than the other two. Holding her feels like you're holding a beenie baby.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A very over due update on my incredibly adorable little preemies

First off, I just need to apologize to all of my friends and family and others whose calls/emails/texts I haven't returned. I love each of you and I'm so sorry to leave you out of the loop. I hope I haven't offended anyone. I appreciate so much your concern and prayers and I will be getting a hold of each of you soon.
So, let me introduce you to my beautiful girls. Penny, a wonderful NICU nurse took these pics.
Meet Lia, aka "baby A." She was the first born at 8:01 am. She has always been the biggest and was born weighing 3 lbs 14 oz. Despite being our biggest, initially she had the most trouble. She only scored 6/10 on her APGAR and they had to put her on a ventilator to breath for her. Fortunately, she was able to come off the vent the next day. She is now only on 1/2 L of Oxygen. She is gaining weight and doing so well. She is our furry little monkey and has fuzz covering her shoulders :)

Little Brynn, our "baby B" was born 1 minute after her sister at 8:02 weighing in at 3lbs 8 oz. She initially was doing great and scored 9/10 on her APGAR. The next day she took a turn for the worse and had to go on the Ventilator, but that didn't last long either. She was off the vent the next day and is now just on 1 L of oxygen. She has shown the most personality. One nurse described her as "feisty." She very much prefers breast feeding... something a little unusual for how young she is (usually is takes them awhile to get used to the sucking and Lia and Claire have been moderately interested) This little one just goes to town. Her little mouth opens SOO wide and she sucks like there's no tomorrow. :)

And last, our little runt Claire was born at 8:03 am. She was the tiniest weighing 3 lbs 4 oz. Even though she is our smallest, she has had the fewest problems. Apparently that's common for the smallest. They've had to fight so hard that often they are the strongest. She scored 9/10 on her APGAR and has never needed the ventilator. She is now on just 1/2 L of oxygen. I cant even express how happy and grateful that my girls are here and doing so well. If all goes as planned, they should most likely be home in about a month.

So, I'll back up a little and tell you about the craziest week of my life. Like I said in my earlier post, the news that they were coming so soon was a complete surprise. I barely slept Thursday night. I laid in my hospital bed in shock. I felt my babies moving in me just overwhelmed with what the morning would bring. It felt too soon... I had expected to carry these babies for several more weeks and knew that 32 weekers are still very premature and have the potential for serious issues.

The C-section is like a nightmare I don't even like to think about. I was terrified. I think I just really was not mentally prepared for this yet. Everything had happened so suddenly. I was shaking uncontrollably. They kept putting warm blankets on me until I was sweating. I wasn't cold, just terrified of the procedure and terrified for my babies. A C-section is so surreal. I heard them announce that they were going to start cutting and then it was a lot of pulling, tugging and ciaos. The only baby I saw was Brynn for a split second and she was the only one I heard let out a cry. After they put me back together and stitched me up, they wheeled me through the NICU to see my girls. This is all pretty fuzzy in my mind.

Over the course of the next few days I got really sick. I had lost half of my blood during the surgery and had to have a blood transfusion. My oxygen sats kept dropping down in the 70's. I'm not sure why my body wanted to stop breathing. I had some internal bleeding as well. After the blood transfusion I got really sick. I remember holding my stomach so afraid that my incision was going to rip open because I was throwing up so violently. I had an elias (which I guess is where the bowel twists and blocks after your bowels are put back in you after surgery- not sure if that's the correct spelling either) which was tons of fun too. Every nurse or doctor that would check my abdomen would gasp and say something like "I've never seen bruising like that" or "What happened to you?" Even my doctor and the resident who did the c-section seemed so puzzled as to why my bruising is so terrible. It covers my whole abdomen, wraps around my back and goes down the side of my thighs. Needless to say, those first 3 days of my babies lives were a nightmarish blur, but little by little I started getting better. I am a world better know and just so incredibly grateful that my girls are doing so well. They are so sweet, so adorable and I can't even express how much I love these three little tiny people.
I have more pictures to post later, so stay tuned!