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.