NICU Day 6 in pictures

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Sweet Cullen all curled up

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Lane enjoying some kangaroo care with Mommy

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This is the best way to sleep!

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Cullen loves holding your hand

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Cullen’s sweet face

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Lane opening his eyes!

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Cullen getting some skin on skin with Daddy (if you couldn’t tell by the chest hair!)

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This was just plain cute – Lane after we put him back in his isolette.

The boys are still doing great – they are keeping them on the cannulas for a little while longer because they’re having a couple brady’s (bradycardia, where the heart rate drops for a second) but both coming out of it on their own for the most part which is good.  They’d just rather let them stay on it than take them off and have to put it back on or give medicine to help when it’s not necessary.  They’re still on room air so not getting any extra oxygen.  They are steadily increasing their feedings and they both started gaining weight back last night! All babies lose weight for a bit after they’re born – last night they both showed an increase when weighed – yay boys!  We’re home from the hospital now.  Leaving without them was incredibly hard but hopefully they will join us at the house soon.  We are sure in love with these guys!

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NICU Day 5

The boys continue to do so well and surprise us every day with the great progress they’re making.  Yesterday they were both moved into isolettes (incubators) which looks intimidating because it’s so big and closed off but is a good thing – it means the nurses don’t need to be able to get at them as easily so they can just relax in these and be isolated from all the light, noises, & other stimulation.  They really seem to like their new homes; they are resting much more easily.  They also weaned both of them to just room air on their nasal cannulas (meaning they’re not getting any extra oxygen anymore) and by tonight they may both get rid of the cannulas and be breathing completely on their own!!! That is amazing… we can’t believe how fast our little 32-weekers are transitioning considering when they first got here on Sunday, the staff thought they’d be on the CPAP all week.  Praise the Lord!

Lane’s central line had to be taken out because there was some irritation around the site and they couldn’t get it where they wanted it – so he got an IV in his scalp (mommy was not a fan), but had that removed as well because it was leaking.  The little guy just doesn’t have good veins – so he’s back to just an IV in his arm for now.  The good news is they have started increasing their feedings, and as their feedings increase, the IV fluids decrease.  Lane is a feisty little guy who tries to remove tubes & wires almost every time you check on him – we’re not surprised considering he was the active one in my belly and always a trickster when doctors/ultrasound techs tried to monitor him! Cullen is a little more chill (at least right now) and loves to sleep on his belly, all sprawled out, in the exact strange position I sleep in – he is definitely mine!

Grandma got to hold the babies as well – my mom has been amazing taking care of me in the hospital (I’m still here – more on that later) and has gotten to spend a good bit of time in the NICU with us since she’s off for the summer right now.  I’m so grateful for all her help and it is priceless to watch her hold her grandsons.  Her life is now complete (and that is a direct quote).  🙂  We’re so excited for the rest of the grandparents to get here this weekend and meet them!

I’m still in the hospital for high blood pressure – I was supposed to go home on Wed. but they still can’t get it under control.  I’m now on 2 different medications and it’s starting to seem like we might have it managed enough to go home on the meds tomorrow (Friday).  It’s not like I’m really in a hurry to leave the hospital without my boys anyway – but it would be nice to stop spiking BP’s the likes of which I’ve never seen!  All of this is because of the preeclampsia and should go away in a few weeks as I recover from the pregnancy.

And for the good stuff…

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Holding the boys together for the first time – our first photo of all four of us!

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Grandma in heaven.

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Cullen’s new home

IMG_0296Lane in his “condo.”

Daddy’s turn

Dear boys,

Last night your daddy finally got to hold one of you in the NICU.  I wish I could’ve captured the look on his face and the tears in his eyes for you.  He is SO excited you’re here.  You will probably never know how much he loves you and how proud of you he is – and you’re only 3 days old!  We are all very blessed to have him to love and protect us.  I can’t wait until you get big enough to come home with us and we can hold you anytime without any tubes or wires attached!

We love you!

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Best Morning Ever!

Man these boys are strong!  Just a quick update and then some more pictures (since that’s what y’all care about anyway)!  Last night the doctors spoke to us and said that they were dropping the pressure in Lane’s CPAP since he’d done so well.  Cullen was a little behind, but doing great.  They kept testing their blood gases and each time there was some improvement.  Their chest x-rays were MUCH better than the first ones and they had started giving them their first nourishment (a concoction of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fat) that would prepare them to take breastmilk. Lauren’s blood pressure was still too high, so they kept her on some medicine to help with that.  They wanted her to stay in bed and rest last night so we didn’t get to see them too much.

This morning we woke up and the doctor upped Lauren’s dosage of blood pressure meds which has helped a lot and dropped her BP to normal levels.  Satisfied with how she’s doing, they were good with her walking to the NICU to see the boys.  That’s when the fun began!  When we got inside, the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner spoke to us and said that BOTH boys were doing well enough to be removed from CPAP and put on just a nasal cannula (tube to the nose that gives some extra air)… huge improvement and Praise God!  Immediately after hearing this good news, the nurses asked if we had been able to hold them yet.  Maybe it was how quickly we answered “NO!”, but they made sure that Lauren was able to get Cullen some “kangaroo care” almost immediately!  They were doing some tests on Lane (nothing out of the ordinary), so we started with Cullen.  She got to hold him for a long time (I was starting to get a little jealous, I’ll be honest) and then she was able to spend some time with Lane as well.  What an amazing morning and how special it was to see the boys with their momma.  It was so cool to see them relax more when they were skin-on-skin with Lauren and momma definitely felt much better when this was happening as well.  In addition to these great things, we were also in the NICU for their first “feeding”.  Lauren’s been pumping like a champ and the boys were each able to take 2ml of colostrum to prepare their guts for future feedings.  Wow… I feel like I’m speechless, but it’s obvious I’ve been rambling… without further ado, here are some awesome pictures for y’all:

It was so sweet to see Lauren get more hands on with the boys

It was so sweet to see Lauren get more hands on with the boys

Mommy holding Cullen for the very first time!

Mommy holding Cullen for the very first time!

This was such a treat!

This is such a treat!

Little man Lane showing his beautiful eyes!

Little man Lane showing his beautiful eyes!

Cullen enjoying a nap without the CPAP

Cullen enjoying a nap without the CPAP

Both boys got their first feedings... exciting stuff!

Both boys got their first feedings... exciting stuff!

Grandma and Mommy with Lane

Grandma and Mommy with Lane

Our sons are here!

Surprise!  Ok, well… a LOT has happened since the last update.  We got some good sleep until about 5:30 in the morning when Lauren woke up bleeding.  She had a placental abruption and so they called the doctor back in.  They started monitoring her again and were able to get her stabilized… Around 9:30, Dr. C came in and told her that so long as she didn’t progess towards delivery, he would try to hold off until she had the steroids shots in her system for 48 hrs (8:00pm tonight) and since baby B decided to surprise us all and turn head down this morning (after being in the exact same position the entire pregnancy), he was going to let her try delivering without a c-section.  She began to contract around 10am and they tried to put her on terbutaline to stop the contractions. Dr. C came back around 10:30 and let us know that things had changed and it was time to deliver these boys NOW, before anything else happened.  Lauren’s pulse and blood pressures were getting worse quickly and the boys’ heartrates were starting to drop.  This was right after I had gotten 2 RedBox movies since we thought we’d just be hanging around the hospital all day long.

Things progressed very quickly from there and they took Lauren in to the OR around 11am.  I got all dressed in my sweet scrubs outfit and joined her after they set her up and got her spinal in place.  It was so fast and crazy that I didn’t even have much time to get nervous… just to go from one place to another and get ready for the next event.  I came into the OR at 11:15ish and the boys were born shortly thereafter. Since we still have family and close friends out of the country, we’ll share and give explanations for their full names once they return next Saturday.

July 26, 2009 – Happy Birth Day Boys!

Baby A – Cullen was born at 11:32am. He was 4lbs, 30z and was 17.25 inches long.

Baby B – Lane was born at 11:33am.  He was 3lbs, 8oz and was 16.25 inches long.

Mom did great and is recovering nicely (narcotics are wonderful!) and the boys are doing really well considering how early they were born (32 weeks, 1 day).  They are both on some CPAP machines for help breathing, but the NICU nurses feel pretty good about how they’re doing currently though they definitely will be in the NICU for a while.  We haven’t gotten to hold them yet (besides the 10 seconds I held Lane in the OR) which is really hard but may be able to tomorrow.  Below are some sweet pics of the boys and us and we’ll certainly put up more as time allows!

Thanks for all your love & support – the calls, texts, emails, and visits have meant SO much – we can’t wait for everyone to meet these boys!  Join us in praying for them to get bigger and stronger quickly so they can come home with us!

Lauren and Jeff right before her C-section

Lauren and Jeff right before her C-section

Cullen getting weighed

Cullen getting weighed

Lane getting weighed!

Lane getting weighed!

The proud papa holding little Lane before he went to the NICU

The proud papa holding little Lane before he went to the NICU

Mama giving her boy a kiss!

Mama giving her boy a kiss!

Cullen in the NICU

Cullen in the NICU... what a stud.

Lane chillin' in his NICU warmer... such a handsome devil

Lane chillin' in his NICU warmer... such a handsome devil. So tiny...

Mom and Dad's first visit with the boys... so excited that they're here!

Mom and Dad's first visit with the boys... so excited that they're here!

Preeclampsia Update

Hey everyone… we are so thankful for your prayers and they are definitely continuing to be felt!

Just a short update for y’all: Lauren is completely off of all monitoring (she has to have her bp checked and the boys’ heartbeats checked every 12 hours, but she’s mostly tube/wire free except her IV) and she’s been eating regular food all day.  She’s feeling better and has regained “bathroom privileges”.  The doctor called and said depending upon some test results and how she reacts to coming off of the 2nd steroid shot tomorrow, she may even be able to go home on STRICT bedrest.  If the doctor isn’t comfortable with her leaving right away, she’ll remain in the hospital on bedrest for possibly the remainder of the pregnancy.  We’re definitely praying for wisdom for the doctors’  decisions, but it would be so much nicer for her and she’d get better rest at home.  If she’s allowed to go home, she’ll have at least a couple appts this week to monitor her and see if the preeclampsia is worsening (it’s a matter of “when” not “if” it worsens)… obviously the longer we can go before meeting these boys the better.  We’re hoping to get another week out of them so everyone is home and here for their arrival (and more than anything to give them another week to get bigger and develop their lungs).

We love you all and can’t thank you enough for your visits, calls and texts… y’all are amazing.

More in the morning,

Jeff, Lauren and the boys

p.s. Special thanks to Kristen for taking Tucker for us so when we go home, it’s one less thing to deal with.  We’ll miss him, but it’s definitely for the best.

Prayer Request

Hey Everyone,

I’m writing you from a Labor/Delivery Room… Lauren went into her doctor’s office today with a persistent headache (the last few days).  They checked her blood pressure and it was really high (160/110).  They immediately sent her to the Maternity Ward Triage and did some blood work and tested her for a while.  After checking everything, they determined that she has preeclampsia and was in pre-term labor and admitted her.  They’re trying to stop contractions and lower her blood pressure.  They started the steroid shot treatments to strengthen the boys’ lungs (trying for 2 treatments) and will have them finished by Sunday evening.  They are going to try to delay delivery as long as possible, but it depends upon Lauren’s reaction to their efforts.  Please pray for a LOOOONG delay as her dad and sister just left today on the Peru missions trip.  We’re hoping for dramatic improvement and for her to be able to relax and keep these boys inside as long as possible.

UPDATE – 7/25 9:30am

Lauren is doing a good bit better!  Her blood pressure is down to normal levels and they have been able to take her off the Magnesium.  This is wonderful news in several ways: it means her contractions are spreading out (approx. 9-10 minutes currently) and it means that she’s no longer a menopausal woman (Magnesium gives you hot flashes like whoa).  She was able to eat some food this morning which was heavenly since she hadn’t eaten since 1pm yesterday.  Life is much better now.  Thanks for your prayers… they’re working, so keep them coming!  We seem to have contractions under control and are waiting on a lot of tests to see if the preeclampsia is getting worse or staying the same.  Basically, the boys are doing well but we have to watch Lauren’s health really closely and determine when they need to be delivered (delivery is the only way to get rid of preeclampsia).

We’ll keep you updated…

Love,

Jeff, Lauren (and the “hopefully not to be introduced until the Peru team comes back” boys)

Walla Walla

Jeff just got back from a trip out to Walla Walla, WA for Jeff & Laura’s wedding.  (Jeff’s mom and her best friend Carolyn both had sons who grew up together and named them Jeff; one married a Lauren and one just married a Laura.  It’s not confusing at all.)  I was really bummed to miss it but turns out doctors frown upon women traveling across the country at 31 weeks pregnant with twins.  I’m glad my husband got to go fulfill his best man duties though and we didn’t have to use the trip insurance we got “just in case!”  I’m so glad he’s home again though b/c (a) I missed him a ton and (b) it’s rough getting your own peanut butter sandwiches when you’re nauseous in the middle of the night… am I spoiled? Anyway, congrats Jeff & Laura – we’re so happy for you two!  Here are some pictures of the beautiful wedding and the beauty of the West:

Avoiding the 4 E’s

As promised by my lovely wife… here are my thoughts in regards to our ridiculous childbirth and breastfeeding classes last week.

Lauren wasn’t too keen on going to the childbirth class for numerous reasons:

  1. She watches “Birth Day”, “A Baby Story” and “Maternity Ward” about 327 times per day.
  2. There are generally a bunch of weirdos at the classes and she’s read more books about childbirth/child-rearing than Dr. Spock (p.s. is he still alive or did I just make a morbid reference to someone I don’t even know?)
  3. She knows how goofy I can get whenever we go out in public and wanted to save herself the embarassment.

Eventually she relented because she thought it would be good for us to be on the same page and go through the classes together.  Man, it was the best money we spent.   Not necessarily for content (although we did learn some new things, moreso me than her), but for some really funny stories and quotes about giving birth.  We opted for the “condensed” version of the childbirth class (2 nights/ 7 hours total).  Wise choice… the nurse leading it was hilarious and she made the time go by pretty quickly.  Some of my favorite things:

  • Quote from the nurse: “Coaches, you’ll generally want to avoid watching and/or being a part of anything that begins with the letter E – For example, Enema… although these are fairly uncommon, you’ll want to take  a stroll by the nursery while we’re taking care of this if need be.  Also, Episiotomy… (guys if you don’t know what this is… ignorance is bliss).  Another E that you don’t want to see is the Evacuation of the placenta (she even made a big point to turn off the video before we got to that part – I mean, seriously?  Is the mere sight of the placenta… or placentas in our case… so appalling that we’d ralph all over the room if we saw it?!?!.  Let’s hope I don’t sneak a peek while they’re removing those bad boys.) Last but not least… Epidural.” This one actually bothered me a bit.  I’ve always watched when blood was being taken or when I’ve gotten shots… for some reason, it’s always intrigued me… it may be gross, but it’s who I am.  We’ll see if I try to watch that happen or not.
  • “Skin-on-skin contact” or “kangaroo care” – the nurse told us a story about how important this was to a couple that was giving birth that they BOTH, I repeat BOTH, decided it was important to be in the delivery room nude… aka… buck naked.  Now, I understand if the mom doesn’t want to wear a hospital gown for personal reasons (chafing, doesn’t like the color selection, is hot, etc.), but for the dude to be naked is extremely weird.  She mentioned that this has happened not once, but twice in her career.  She then said that she asked the couple if they would be alright if their nurses kept their clothes on… Wow, I mean… just wow.  I don’t even know what to say to that except that I will most definitely NOT be # 3 on that list.
  • We were kind of VIP’s as no one else in these classes was having more than one baby.  Not to the point of them bringing in velvet ropes for us (although that would’ve been nice), but we always got special treatment from the nurse and little notes regarding how “special” we are.  She kept making sure to point out the differences between twins and singleton births.  (“You’re pushing, you’re pushing, the baby’s out, you’re DONE!  Well, except for you, Lauren, you have to do it again.”)  Basically, Lauren is an all-star and we’ll have at minimum twelve (12) people in the delivery room for us (and we have to deliver in an operating room)… 2 doctors (one for each baby), 2 teams of 3 for each baby, 2 nurses specifically for Lauren and then an anesthesiologist and assistant.  Wow… I mean, can someone spare a nurse for me?  Aren’t I at least a little important???
  • We had some very interesting people in our class.  You have to be pretty open and get over some modesty in these situations where you’re using terminology that isn’t normal for daily conversations and apparently some people just cannot handle this… we had a few different types of couples in our class, but three types of them stood out:
    1. The Gigglers – We had this one couple in our class that just couldn’t control their laughter.  Any things that we had to do (breathing techniques, massages, etc.) they just snickered and laughed like 14-year old Asian girls text messaging each other.  Get over it people! Yes it’s weird, but we’re all in this together.
    2. The Holy Crap we’re in Over our Headers – There were a few couples that seemed to fit this mold.  It was more guy-related than total couple, but it was priceless.  They were easy to identify: just look for the glassed-over eyes and the open-mouth stares as they hear pregnancy terms and watch videos on childbirth.  It’s like they have no clue what they’re in for and just stepped out of a horror movie that’s changed the way they’ll look at life forever.
    3. The Gran Mals – Ok, this is certainly not to make fun of anyone who has seizures… because obviously it’s a serious thing, but we had this lady in our class who convulsed upon seeing/hearing anything that might cause her pain… umm, what?!  You do realize that you’ll be in some pain during this whole experience, right?  There actually isn’t a stork that drops off a perfect little newborn to your door… you have to LABOR for the child.  I even heard her say to the nurse “I have ZERO pain tolerance”… good luck with all that.  The worst thing was that her husband had the glassed-over eyes look.  That’s a recipe for trouble.

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like we are going to be the perfect parents or never have any trouble because that would be crazy to say and completely irresponsible to think, but I feel confident that with our faith in God and in each other, we’ll make it work.  Also, I’ve been watching several episodes of “16 and Pregnant” on MTV and if those girls can make it work, we DEFINITELY should make it happen.  (Also, feel free to hold against me that I watch MTV and specifically 16 and Pregnant… I’ve come to terms with it. However, I will note that it’s the only show I do watch on that terrible network and only when I’ve had a rough day and need to feel better.  Maybe that makes it even worse).

In addition to the childbirth class, we took a breastfeeding class.  Lauren was much more excited about going to this because of the challenge she’ll have in breastfeeding twins.  Unfortunately, the instructor was pretty much awful.  Her personality was about that of a dish towel… but I’ll give her credit that we were given a lot of good information.   I think that she was VERY NERVOUS since one of Lauren’s doctors (with his wife) was in the class with us since his wife is due in August.  This was only a two-hour class and it seemed pretty torturous.  I think we’re still glad we went, but wish that it would’ve been at least a little more interesting.

Wow, 1000+ words later and hopefully you’ve gotten some idea of what we learned and experienced over the last week.  The best thing about these classes was that it’s made me all the more anxious and excited about these boys getting here.  We’re getting ready and hope that these boys know how stinking overjoyed we are to meet them!

-J

the sleep-talker

So at this point I’m not really sleeping very well (not that I was ever a great sleeper) which means I’m realizing Jeff’s sleeping habits a lot more… he TALKS. at the most random times.  about the MOST random things.  some little snippets:

J: What about the dinosaurs?

L: Uh, dinosaurs? What dinosaurs, honey? {snicker}

J: The dinosaurs…they need… take care of them…

Last night, I made him so annoyed with my questions he actually came out of it, semi-woke up, and snapped at me.  while I tried not to laugh.

J: The missionaries…

L: What about the missionaries?

J: They’re coming.  Things for the babies.

L: What things?

J: Blankets.  (rolls over in a huff) Stop asking me questions!! I want to sleep!

Ummm… you ARE asleep.

I wish I could remember some other ones… what a weird habit.  He must have some pretty interesting dreams!