Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some New Photos

Just in case anyone is worried...The sock in Adam's mouth had just come out of the wash--I was folding clothes :) The look on Eleanor's face in the photo with Jim captures her personality perfectly, the little stinker!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Slow and Steady Progress

(Pictures soon!)
Well, we aren't ready for Christmas. Not even close. We're even doing a fake tree this year, which I've always called, "Going to the dark side." But with the little ones around, I just can't chance that they will end up kneeling on sharp little needles. I think the tree will be done tonight, but we'll see. Adam has been doing much better. He isn't throwing up nearly as much and his weight has started going up again. After the November he has, this is good news. We're starting occupational theraly for him on Thursday to help him enjoy eating more. We'll see--I just can't believe that anything will help. The hypo-allergenic formula is gone now, too, since it really wasn't doing anything and he's eating yogurt and ice cream. I don't even care about the sugar--just get this kid some calories! Today is our pediatric neurology appointment. I've been watching Adam and his hands and arms and legs twitch/jerk while he's sleeping, particularly in the 20 minutes when he first falls asleep and the few minutes before waking up. I don't know if this is going to end up as anything (Jim and Dan both think he's fine) but I'd rather talk to the doctor. I think since he was born at 23 weeks, the doctors want to check out everything. The pediatric GI also wants to do an edoscopy on Adam which is an outpatient procedure under anathesia. This is because of our trip to the ER when Adam had blood in his vomit. I'm REALLY nervous about putting Adam under, so for as long as he is keeping his food down, I'm going to put it off. I hope that's the right choice... So much has been going on with Adam and has been concerning me that I haven't made much time for the blog. On the flip side, Adam is crawling everywhere and can go from crawling to sitting and sitting to crawling now. He LOVES to crawl through the tunnel we got at IKEA. If Alex is at one end of it, both of them will shriek with delight!
Eleanor is quite the little stinker--but with the most gorgeous smile, so no one can ever get even slightly irritated by anything she does. She does not want to walk at all and we thought for sure she would want to walk by Christmas. I think she can get where she's going so quickly crawling that she has no interest in walking since it takes so darned long. She has begun climbing the stairs, so baby gates are up in full force. We unfortunately had to give away our dog yesterday (Alex reads this, if you know what I mean...) because she was becoming a danger. She never so much as gave the babies a mean look, but she chased a jogger down the street the other day and it was really the last straw for poor Buffy. It was a very sad day, nonetheless, since we picked her out as a 6 week old puppy and everything. Now, though, the babies can crawl into the kitchen, so we will be investing in cupboard locks. A friend of mine has some magnetic ones that you use a little "key" to open. Has anyone had any luck with those? You don't have to drill into the cupboard doors. Hope everything is going well for all of you and that your Christmas is coming together better than ours!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Long Time No Write

Well, hopefully everyone is still reading the blog even though I've taken almost a month off from updates :) A lot has happened so I'll try to cover it all without going on and on. Most of the reason that I have been absent is because of my worry about Adam. Since the end of October, I've been concerned on and off that he hasn't been acting like himself. There was about a week there where he was quiet and a little zoned, and then has come back to be more of our little smiler recently. The pediatricians have looked at him a couple times, done blood work, and determined that he must have had a virus.
He still has a rash right now that they think is part of a virus as well. I hope that is it and I won't have to continue to worry, at least at this level, for much longer. His gross motor and vocalization have both really taken off in the last month.
He is crawling all over the place now and prefers to stand holding on to whatever is the right level. He can't pull himself up to stand yet, but I'm sure that will come soon. It looks like he's decided to make up some lost time. The only place he hasn't made up any time is in the weight category. He was throwing up like a madman there for about a week, so we've stayed steady at 19 pounds 5 ounces. There was a 7 week baby in the pediatricians office today who weighed 14 pounds. Are you kidding me???? Anyway, to sum it all up, I'm still pretty concerned about him, even though my fabulous husband and brother-in-law who I've mentioned before both think he looks fine. I'll keep you posted.
Eleanor is talking quite a bit and I am hoping that she will be saying "mama" and "dada" and meaning it soon. She is a proficient crawler and likes to take the most difficult path to wherever she is going for the obstacle course effect. She can do circles around the house now, and pulls up on every piece of furniture avaliable. I have to watch her like a hawk because hardwood floors can be slippery. We've had to do another round of babyproofing just to make sure little fingers can't reach all of the wires with the XBox, etc.
We didn't do any Christmas decorating this weekend like we should have, so it looks like we'll be doing a little bit here and there. I can't help but love Christmas time...it's a great time to be thankful for my perfect little ones and their health. I know during our time in the NICU there were so many people out there who prayed for us and for Adam and Eleanor that we couldn't help but feel the overwhelming sense of love. For those of you who prayed for us who are reading this now, I have a request. Could you please pray for a my best friend's sister's little girl...She is only 4 years old and has been to the oncologist and it looks like she has some kind of cancer. They will be starting chemotherapy soon. I can't understand how such awful things can happen to such sweet innocent children. Please, please keep Madison in your thoughts and prayers--it looks like we're asking for another miracle.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kissy Kissy

Even though today was actually Elenaor and Adam's second Halloween, it really seemed like their first. Last year they were in the NICU and had just had their first picture taken together. They were just over a month old and had these little pumpkin hats that someone had knitted for them. Adorable, yes--but HUGE. So we taped them and rolled them up and the twins had their first taste of Halloween.

It's funny, I thought they looked so big in the photo from last year, but really they were still scary tiny. This year, the Hershey's Kiss costumes fit much better! Just for the record, Eleanor was 21 pounds 4 ounces last I weighed her, so she barely fits into the costume. Who knew that when I bought them in August (I was a little excited) that she would be that big a couple months later.

We live on a street with only about 10 houses, so we just stuck to a few houses there for trick-or-treating, then Alex who was a chef this year, went on to do the real heavy duty stuff with his dad and cousins. Alex only likes to wear costumes that are of real people. He's been a baseball player, a doctor, and now a chef. I wouldn't care if he wanted to be all scary and monster-like but he just doesn't like it. One of these days he's going to want to be a mummy or something difficult and I'm going to be sorry I mentioned it!

When Alex comes home, he separates out all the candy he doesn't like--which incidentally is all the really good stuff--and donates it to his dad and me. Then he makes long lines of each type to make a sort of bar graph on the floor. He's going to be just like his dad and LOVE math. Adam and Eleanor were not that excited about this whole dressing up idea and would have much rather been playing on the family room floor. I don't know why, but Adam was engrossed in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Perhaps it's because on more than one occasion, family members have called him "Chuck" noting his similar apppearance to one Charlie Brown. Hee hee.
Last year's Halloween photo:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's Always Adam

The last week or so, we've noticed Adam's right eye crossing in sometimes--not all the time, but it never has before so it was noticeable. At first I thought I was seeing things, just because I thought we had already passed by the eye issues for the time being, but when my Dr. brother-in-law came over to check out Eleanor (she got a rash on her chest which I'm pretty sure is from the MMR vaccine) he said something about his eye.

So I called and got an appointment right away and sure enough, his right eye is definitely crossing in sometimes. Poor kid--everything that happens seems to happen to him while Eleanor just cruises along. The doctor gave us a few eye patches for him and I just ordered some other cute ones online and we have to keep his good eye (left) patched for 2 hours a day. Sounds like no big deal. Two hours--not so bad. Then you try to put the thing on him. I have started putting it on during his first nap so when he wakes up it's already there and isn't as bothersome to him. It seems to be working. We go back to see the doctor is 6 weeks and we'll see if there has been progress. She did say that for him we could try glasses before talking about any corrective surgery. I hope these patches work. Also, Adam started acting funny about a week ago. Just foggy and less happy and responsive than his usual self. I called the ped GI and asked if there were any side effects to Prevacid. The nurse said she had never heard of this side effect so it must not be it. He didn't get any better three days later so I took him in to the pediatrician and she agreed with me that the only thing that had changed during this time was the Prevacid and to cut his dose down to half. Three days later, Adam is his old self again. I knew that was it. I don't understand why some doctors don't listen to parents--I watch my kids like a hawk, and I know their behaviors. It's like if it hasn't happened before, it can never happen. Say a little prayer for Adam if you think about it.
Eleanor has decided that she is one-year-old and shut up about this adjusted balogna. A and E have this Fischer-Price house they got from us for their birthday and she loves to play with it! She opens and closes the window over and over, she turns the light on and off, and she presses the buttons to hear the weather. She also pulls herself up on the door and the drain spout and giggles, just to make sure everyone around looks at her. I've caught her kind of waving, but not at the correct times, so I'll have to see what that turns into. She has cruised from the exersaucer to the couch and moved a couple steps down the side of the couch. SHe has also let go of whatever she is holding on to for 3 or 4 seconds and just stood there before crashing to the ground. I can't believe how quickly she is advancing from one milestone to the next. Anyone want to place bets on the day she takes her first step? We're pretty sure it will be by Christmas.
Sorry for the delay in posting...Alex and I have been sick. We think he may have pneumonia. He has a chest x-ray tomorrow, so I'll let you know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Continuing Adventures of Puke Man

For the most part, this week has been uneventful. At our house, that is happy news! Jim and I got to go out to a friend's wedding last Saturday and even came home after midnight. Both grandmas babysat and Adam didn't even throw up for them. The Prevacid has been a pain in the neck so far. Adam won't take it mixed with water since he has texture issues with thin liquids. So in the end, it was actually starting to make him throw up more than he was before--plus we had to give him 2 or 3 pills before any of it stayed in him for more than 30 seconds. I called the nurse and she said go ahead and dissolve it and mix it in the a whole container of baby food if that's what it takes. We may not notice a difference immediately, but he's on a BIG dose (15mg 2x a day) so it should still be fine. The jury is still out on this stuff. It may not help the vomiting, but at least it won't burn his esophogus. The good news is that he weighed 19 pounds this morning. He's holding tight to the 3rd percentile (unadjusted). Strangely enough, I'm still as worried as I've always been about him. I looked at what the 50th percentile is for weigh of a 1 year old boy. Twenty-three pounds! I shouldn't have looked. In other stress-out-Michelle-news, I noticed little lumps on Adam's neck tonight and flipped out. We called my brother-in-law the pediatrician (isn't that the BEST?!) and he came over and looked at him. There are actually little lumps under his armpits and on the back of his head, too--wherever there are lymph nodes. We think this might be a small reaction to the MMR vaccine he received about 10 days ago. Thank goodness he came over and calmed me down. Thanks, Dan!
Eleanor has become a little giggle queen. She giggles all the time now. At the TV, at Alex smiling at her, at a paper plate we gave her to play with while we tried to eat dinner, at her dad walking by in the hallway. I love seeing her so happy.

I had gone to get her bath ready and when I came back, this is what I found--the little stinker standing right up in her crib. A year ago yesterday she had her PDA surgery on her heart. When I look at the pictures, it's just incredible how much both of them have accomplished in such a short amount of time. This is Eleanor one year ago with my hand. Can you believe she was already on a cannula at only 3 1/2 weeks? She's been going beyond what was expected of her from the very beginning.

Her favorite thing to do is to pull herself up on the end table and reach like crazy for my iPod, or pull herself up on the exersaucer while Adam is in it and play "Who Can Hold on to the Toy the Longest". Another preemie mom, Kim (see Ava and Jackson's blog!) mentioned that kids this small aren't supposed to play together--they more or less do their own thing and bump into one another once in awhile. But her twins who are several months ahead of Adam and Eleanor are doing the same thing, only more involved. The research must be different for twins because they are obviously interacting while at play.
This is Adam one year ago on his best friend and worst enemy, the CPAP. He was on CPAP forever.

When I take a good look at those photos I realize that it's no wonder the little guy doesn't like anything on his head or in his mouth--look at all that stuff! I can't believe how far he's come.

Note from Adam to Cole: Hey, Cole, you gotta get yourself a pair of these flannel lined courderoy overalls my grandpa and nana bought for me. I look like I just packed on an extra five pounds. I hoping they won't make me eat for a day or two this way. What?? You live in Arizona?? Shoot, maybe you could make them into shorts...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's Snowing!

The high today is supposed to be 39--I was already excited about that. But then, this morning, is snowed! I don't mean a few little flakes in the air either--they were those big, wet, stick to the bushes kind of snowflakes. (This is out my back door.)

I was so excited I took pictures. Eleanor thought it was quite interesting and kept jumping up and down on my lap shrieking. Guess she takes after me. Adam could have cared less and continued to try to stuff the yellow box that comes with the shape sorter into his mouth. But it put me in such a good mood. Then it snowed twice more. WooHoo! Of course it's melted already, but I'll take it anyway. Good thing I already bought Alex a winter coat to wear to school...
Not much new news. Adam has a discolored tooth coming in. It's on the top to the side. It looks like it will be a yucky brown color. I called the doctor and although the nurse kinda flipped and made an appointment right way, it's really nothing. Since he was on TPN (total parenternal nutrition) for several weeks when he was born before he was able to digest milk, he ended up with high direct bilirubin levels. High indirect bilirubin results in jaudice and can be taken care of with the bili-lights. Direct bilirubin isn't the same and can only decrease by digesting food. I remember this was a careful balance in the NICU of the bilirubin levels and when he was old enough to be tube fed. Anyway, the high levels can cause damage to the baby tooth buds and cause them to be discolored. He may have more teeth like this, he may not. Eleanor may also have the same thing happen. The good news is that it's temporary and their adult teeth will be fine. With all the problems we could have, this one isn't one to worry about, so I was quite relieved!

Can I complain about insurance once more? The RSV shots were finally approved. Great. For the last week, I've been trying to fill Adam's Prevacid prescription. BCN (grrr...I love my insurance from teaching, which of course I don't have right now) says they won't fill it and to try Prilosec OTC. Did anyone bother to look to see that he's one?? Here Adam, will ya just pop this pill real quick for Mommy? So I had to go through a bunch of red tape for the last week. I called this morning and it was finally approved so we picked it up this afternoon. I was so excited to finally give this stuff to Adam thinking maybe we'll at least see an improvement. So what does he do with the first dose? Throws it right up. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for teaching me irony in 9th grade.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pediatric GastroEnterology

Adam has his pediatric GI appointment Friday. Before we get into that, can someone tell me where the I in GI comes from? I discovered it is spelled "gastroenterology" which has not one little I in it, so I am baffled. Remember, I teach English and have my little grammar/spelling obsessions, so humor me. The doctor changed Adam's medication to Prevacid and a pretty big dose at that and also has us start using hypo-allergenic formula. Ok, I've complained about the 22 cal formula before but this is outta control. It's $24 for one of the small cans. I think it'll last us about 2 days, so that's $360 a month in formula. I'll do anything to stop Adam from vomiting, but wow, I was shocked. (Check out the bottom teeth...he's getting 2 more on top.)The preemie parents have lots of conversations about the drug Reglan. It is given to many preemies with eating issues because it affects the motility of the stomach/intestines. This doctor does not like the stuff AT ALL because of the neurological side effects. Only if it looks like Adam would need surgery (he doesn't think he will) would he try Reglan--or if I request it. He definitely wants to see what happens with the Prevacid and told me, "Don't worry too much," about Adam. He may keep throwing up but as long as he's growing, even if it's not at the ideal pace and he is weight/length proportionate, he isn't that concerned. He also said, "He doesn't look skinny." Ok, great. Maybe he could take over some of the feeding shifts here at our house and perhaps do the grocery shopping. That would help. On the other hand, it's nice to know that the doctors aren't too worried about him. Maybe with that vote of confidence, I can weigh Adam every other day instead of every day. Hmmm...yet another obsession.
I called our case worker at the insurance company (she's wonderful) and she got the RSV shots approved for us. One little call. No nasty, sarcastic comments needed. And I was so ready.
On Monday, Adam gets a weight check and they both get three vaccinations. Then they get flu shots soon and RSV shots after that, toward the end of the month. They are going to learn to hate the doctor's office soon, but I'm glad there is so much out there to protect the little ones.
Eleanor is ful fledged crawling all over now. No more army crawl. She is also pulling herself up on furniture and looking quite proud of herself for it. Check out her little face in the photos. I love how she does something new and then looks over at us as if to say, "Do you see how faulous I am? You do know how fabulous I am, right?"
We went to the NICU reunion yesterday afternoon. Of course, it was during nap time, so the twins were alternately social. The doctors coudln't believe how big they were--even Adam. It was nice to see some of the people we were in the NICU with and chat for a while. We had to leave a little early to go feed Adam. Too much to distract him there--and no bouncy seat. Someday, he will feed himself, right? Adam has a good time trying to pull on the pigtails of one of the little girls there (Eden's--for those of you who know her!). A flirt already. Kindergarten should be interesting at this rate!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All About Adam (Finally)

So I'm sort of glad that I put off writing about Adam for a little while because in the last couple days, he has started sitting up unassisted! I was starting to think it was going to be about Christmas before it happened, and them yesterday he decided he has it all figured out. Isn't that how it seems to work, though? One day, he's toppling over constantly, and the next he just sits there and plays like he's never done anything else. He rolls all over to get toys he wants and pivots, too, most often to defend his toy from the grasp of his more mobile sister. He's showing the beginning signs of crawling by scooting his knees up under himself and getting up on his arms. Every few days I notice he can stay in this position longer, and now does the cute little butt wiggle thing on his knees. You can tell this all still takes work and concentration for him, but we are so proud of his accomplishments. It seems like once Eleanor could sit up, her development really took off, so we're hoping to see that with Adam as well.
Eating, well that's another story. Pretty much still the same situation. Both babies have had colds, though, for the last few days (since the night of their party...) which they have in general handled quite well, but Adam has vomited more with all the drainage down his throat. He was up to 18 pounds 11 oz., and then was down to 18 pounds 2 oz. yesterday. He's starting to feel better today, so hopefully he'll pack those ounces right back on. That's the problem with him walking this line he is on--he has no reserve weight, so illness really affects him. We were at the pediatrician yesterday for their one-year check up. The NP was a little concerned about his weight, so we're going back in a week for a weight check. I'm not too worried. We have our pediatric GI appt. on Friday, so maybe we'll finally have a plan by that time. Otherwise Adam looks great and the NP was totally impressed by their progress this year. Unfortunately, they are doing so well that our insurance says that they don't qualify for RSV (Synagis) shots this year. I want to remind them that they were born at 23 weeks only one year ago, no matter how well they are doing now. I don't know if that will help, though. What it does mean is that our hibernation will be even more strict that we had thought it was going to be. Basically, I should say, "See you all on April 1" at this point. The shots are $1700 each, so that's $3400 a month for 5 months. The math speaks for itself when it comes to insurance companies. You'd think they would realize they have already invested about 1.5 million dollars in these two kids and they could spend a few thousand more to keep them healthy, but I have the impression they don't think like I do.
Enough of that--back to Adam. Adam has become quite a mommy's boy and will lean over to have me hold him whenever I get close enough to whoever is holding him at that moment--usually Jim. He also loves to be (read: must be) rocked to sleep now, where he used to thrash around if you tried to hold him while he slept. I guess I shouldn't get him into that habit, but I love it--and he's only this little for such a short time. He talks to you most when his diaper is being changed and "mmmba" and "gegegegaa" are his favorites. Alex is his absolute best friend/brother and will make him laugh harder than anyone can. I wish I knew how to put video on here because his chortles, guffaws, chuckles, and squeals are something to hear! Speaking of Alex, he made the twins wonderful birthday cards for their first birthday and Adam's says, "To a fabulous brother who is 1! You squeal, you jump, you make me happy when I am sad. You are fabuous. Happy 1st Birthday" I cried when I opened it, so I couldn't even read it out loud. Eleanor's says, "To a talented sister who is 1! You get up on your knees, you scootch yourself around, you go up, up. You are talented. Happy 1st Birthday." I put all birthday cards in scrapbooks, so these are going on page one.
Have a great week--I'll update again after the GI appointment.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Birthday Party

We had a great birthday party for Adam and Eleanor yesterday. All the grandmas were there, as well and aunts uncles, cousins, and many of our friends who now have kids as well. All in all, about 45 or 50 people came, so things were pretty busy around our house. It wasn't nice enough for the older kids to play outside, so Alex's room was Lego/K'nex central for them. There were babies everywhere, too! Both A and E loved the great amount of attention they received and Eleanor even got to take naps on both grandmas. Talk about heaven. When cake time came, Adam was quite enthusiastic about the frosting on his cake and smeared it everywhere. I even found it on the under side of the highchair try. Nice work! Eleanor on the other hand, put her hand in it and you could almost hear her say, "Eeww, this is messy. Can I have a knife and fork, Mom?" I think they both tasted a little frosting, but that was it. By the time we got to the opening gifts section of the agenda, they were soooo tired. Adam had even skipped a feeding. (Can you hear him thinking, "Hey this party stuff is great. A kid can skip a meal and get away with it!") Their gifts are fabulous. So many fun toys and cute clothes! Aunt Rachel and Uncle Ron got Eleanor a shirt that says, "I'm in charge around here. The parents are just for show." That's exactly how the little girl thinks. She is pulling herself up on all objects lower than the couch, and can crawl right over her daddy's legs, just for fun. Adam's favorite gift was an envelope from a card, and he kept tasting the sticky stuff where it seals. Figures. I know I owe you all an "All About Adam" post. Since the birthday stuff preempted it, I'll make it next. A highlight of the day was the cards from their brother, Alex. I'm going to try to take pictures of them to post. He is such a sweet little boy. What lucky twins to have such a wonderful brother. We had a ton of help from the grandmas and Bernadine with cleaning up, so at the end of the day, it wasn't looking too bad around here. I wish I had had time to talk to everyone more, but I quickly realized that when you're trying to take care of 2 babies at a party, socializing comes last. Thank you to everyone who was able to come and celebrate with us! We are so blessed with love and friendship.
Sorry for the delay in photos...I was too tired :) Also, a little plug for my talented husband--he made the table and chairs in the photo of the decorated kitchen.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Eleanor and Adam! (with photos)

Eleanor and Adam are a year old today! Our big celebration will be tomorrow, but there is a lot of what I'll call "internal celebration" today. We have so much to be thankful for, I don't even know where to begin. The progress that they have made in one year just astounds me. Eleanor has gained 19 pounds in one year, and Adam has gained 17.5. They have gone from tiny, frail babies covered in wires and tubes to the happy, excited, curious little stinkers they are today. The odd thing is, I've been so...sad. I didn't see this coming, but I probably should have after reading about so many micropreemie birthdays. This is perhaps, one of those experiences that only another micropreemie parent might truly understand. In thinking about their birthday, I can't help but think about their actual birth and what a horrible time it was. I wish that weren't the case, but there is no other way to put it. We had no idea that Eleanor and Adam would be so healthy a year later, so the feelings of dispair and disbelief easily come flooding back. The horrible way they put mothers of perfectly healthy full-term babies and mothers of very ill children who can't leave the NICU right next to each other in the maternity ward... The sound of other people's babies crying at night when I didn't know if I would ever hear mine cry... Thinking over and over "only a 30% chance..." I slept with their little hospital hats every night for weeks since that was as close as I could get to them. I suppose this isn't the post most of you were expecting to read on such a joyful day as today, but along with the millions of kisses and the rounds of "Happy Birthday" comes such strong feelings of sadness that it almost takes my breath away. I wan't sure that I wanted to write all of this here, but I think that if another preemie mom reads it and feels like I do, we can empathize and nod our heads, thinking, "I know exactly what you mean." But I only think these things when I am away from them for a moment, because as soon as I walk into the room and they both smile and giggle at me, those thoughts disappear and are replaced with the thoughts of a very proud mommy who has personally discovered that miracles can honestly happen.

Happy, Happy Birthday my pretty Eleanor and my sweet Adam.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick Request

As you probably know from last spring's blog entries, the March of Dimes has been an intergral part of helping save babies who were born prematurely. Most importantly, they funded the research to create surfactant which goes into the baby's lungs to help their tiny lungs breathe as well as possible. This was part of the reason Adam and Eleanor could survive when born at only 23 weeks. The March of Dimes is trying to raise awareness of prematurity by asking Google to highlight National Prematurity Awareness Day on Nov 14 in on their home page. Please go to the following website and sign the petition that the M of D has set up to support this cause. Thanks!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Everything Eleanor

So Eleanor is officially 20 pounds! And that's before her first birthday and before she's 8 months, medically speaking. Boy, I wish Adam likes to eat like she does. It's not so much that Adam gets so much less food into him--it's that so much more comes out. But he's doing well, too, and we'll be happy to see the pediatric GI in October.
The other fun news is that Eleanor is starting to pull herself up onto things--particularly her Dad. She has been seen using his ears or nose similar to the way you might see someone use one of those rocks on a climbing wall. She's not quite up to the couch yet, but she's often kneeling in front of the bouncy chair pushing her legs up straight so that she's got her rear end in the air, sort of shaped like a triangle. In general, her motivation is centered on the remote control. Now, this is no ordinary remote. It's got a touch screen that lights up blue, so that makes it extra-special fun. I think if I put the remote at the top of the stairs tomorrow, Eleanor would find a way to get herself up there. When she gets it, the TV goes all wonky. We have picture in picture. Didn't know that until Eleanor got her little hands on the remote. She will also crawl/scoot herself out into the center of the foyer, turn herself around in a full circle on her belly, assessing the area, and then crank it into high gear once she has set her sights on something. You should see the sparkle in her eyes when she sees a forgotten catalogue on the floor. I'm pretty sure she was asking for Samantha from the American Girl collection yesterday.Notice that she also thinks it's fun to try to wake up her soundly sleeping brother. Good thing it was time for him to eat, anyway.The only problem with all of this is that she doesn't like to sit still anymore. Here come the baby gates. Next entry--All About Adam.

Monday, September 11, 2006

8 Month Developmental Assessment

Today we went back to the hospital to go to the twins' eight month developmental assessment. Since preemies often have delays in their development, the hospital likes to see them every four months (for now) to see if things are going as they should. If they are, great. If not, they are a source for things like physical therapy. The physical therapist we saw today is the same one who has evaluated both kids at home before and I really like her. We also saw one of the neonatologists that the twins' had in the NICU. The evaluation went very well. They check all the major milestones, plus a whole list of little things that most people wouldn't think about: do they pass a toy from one hand to the other (both yes), bang toys together (Eleanor does), smack flat surfaces (Eleanor does), look for a dropped toy (Adam does), look for a toy that has been covered with a blanket (both do), etc. This time, there was a woman (I don't know her title) who asked a series of questions about the twins' socialization. She asked if they respond to their name (yes), react to angry voices (when do they hear angry voices??), put their arms up when they are going to be picked up (yes), wave bye-bye (neither do), and so on. Honestly, I don't always know the answers to the questions! I don't know if that makes me a bad mom or a really busy one. Believe it or not, both Adam and Eleanor did so well that the PT said they don't need any physical therapy (!), but to keep her number in case I have any concerns. They are both in their age range in the socialization area, so the only issue we have to deal with is Adam's eating. When it comes down to it, we are extremely blessed, so I'm going to stop getting so upset about it. He's in the 40th percentile for his adjusted age for weight and 55th for length, so even though he's not 19 lbs 13 oz like his sister, his 18 lbs 4 oz. is just fine, thank you.
After our appointment, we went to visit the NICU since it's in the same building. One of the nurses who took care of Elenaor just about every day for the first three weeks was there. When she saw Eleanor, she scooped her up, gave her some cuddles, and then whisked her away. She said, "I'm taking her away, Michelle." Ok, fine, I mean she knows how to take care of a baby, right? I find out she took her to where the neonatologist and staff were rounding about the current patients! So I pushed Adam (who slept through the whole visit) over in his stroller to say hello. We saw another neonatologist that the twins' had while in the NICU. She just happens to be the wife of their current pediatrician--which I love because I know they can chat about them at home--which I found out they do :) The nurse rocked Eleanor to sleep and put her back in the stroller and we were off. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day. Our next assessment will be in January when they are one year adjusted. (Photos to come.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Go State!

I couldn't resist the little Michigan State hats. Check out the grin on Adam--he's so darn cute! Miss Eleanor was not as enchanted with the idea of a hat. Perhaps she would have preferred to visit the milliner herself.

Adam had an appointment with a speech pathologist who specializes in eating issues today. It was mostly evaluative, but she gave us a little flexible cup to try with him and basically said that we can pretty much call this the end of the bottle for Adam. She would rather focus on learning to use a cup/sippy cup because by the time we made any headway with the bottle, it would be time to wean him from it anyway. That's all fine with me--I'm not attached to the bottle either :) Now it's time to see if insurance will cover feeding therapy. Grumble,. grumble. I hope I don't have to fight with them.
Nothing else new, really. Developmental appointment next Monday. I'm sure we'll have more news then.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Staying Home

We stay home a lot. For someone who used to travel everywhere in the summer, this is a huge change. It's not that we don't want to go out on walks or run to the mall, or even to Target. We just can't. There is almost no time between when Adam eats, Eleanor eats, Adam throws up, I clean up and have to refeed him, and the next feeding. I guess I pictured us out on walks like all the other stay-at-home moms--strollers and iPod, taking a little tour of the neighborhood. Here it is, almost autumn, and we never went on one walk. Not one. I keep thinking this will all get easier when Adam learns to feed himself, but I don't know. Maybe it will be worse because he'll have more control. Who knows... Until then, we play on the family room floor a lot. Let me just tell you now, though--if you see any stains on the carpet in the photos, you can be pretty sure it's sweet potatoes or bananas or something. Our poor family room carpet has really been through the mill.
We have a bunch of doctor's appointments coming up. Next week Adam has an appointment with a speech pathologist for his eating issues. She works with swallowing problems, gagging, etc. I would've never known that speech pathologists did that kind of thing, but when you have a baby who hates to eat, you quickly find all the options. I'm still feeding him formula with a spoon, thickened with a little rice cereal so it doesn't just slide down his throat like he wishes it would. This cuts down on the giant air pockets in his tummy that can shoot food out of him like a cannon. You wouldn't believe it unless you saw it. People have finally stopped telling me, "Oh, my baby used to spit up a lot, too." Ugh! No...it's not like that, really. Come see my carpet. Good thing he's so cute! It's just about impossible to get upset with him, no matter how big a mess he can make. He's so expressive with those eyebrows! He can even lift just one at a time.
Both Adam and Eleanor will be at the Developmental Clinic the following week for their 8 month evaluation. Adam is just starting to sit up for short periods of time. He flops backward often, though. He's also getting up on his knees for a second or two at a time. He even did the little rocking thing today for a moment before crashing down on his little face. He's so much more sensitive than Eleanor and will cry with the littlest bump. He's just about 18 pounds. Eleanor can pull herself acroos the room at an alarming pace. She has decided that Alex's Playmobil stuff looks like fun and will shove a direction booklet in her mouth in two seconds flat. Eleanor is approaching 20 pounds! Not yet, but I'll let you know when the big day arrives. Her hair is getting longer and I'm going to try my darndest to get some barrettes in it. I've been waiting a long time for tights with ruffly butts, bows, ribbons, and black patent leather shoes. Poor thing is going to be a girly girl, whether she likes it or not. I think she's going to like it though. I couldn't imagine having a daughter who was more like me than Eleanor is. Plus I think she's just the prettiest little girl. Her smile is infectious.
I'm going to a meeting at the NICU soon for a Parent-to-Parent planning committee. I guess you can be trained to talk with other parents who have preemies in the NICU in a similar situation to your own children. I think that sometimes that perspective can be just as helpful as the medical perspecitve, so I'm really looking forward to going. There is also a reunion and fashion show to plan. I don't know what is being modeled at this fashion show--hospital gowns and blankets? Got me. My friend Elise (her son has been pictured in the blog before) is going with me, so I'm looking forward to getting out for the evening. We should stop at the bar for a drink. Crazy, crazy thought.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So Many Blessings

All three our kids were baptized on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and the kids looked great. We are fortunate to have wonderful godparents for all of them who I know will always be great influences on each of them. For me, as a parent of micropreemies who were given a 30% chance of survival, I think that days like that are particularly meaningful. The first photo has the kids' grandma (my mom), great-grandma (my grandma), and Uncle Kevin, along with Jim and me. The second is their grandpa (my dad), nana (my stepmom), and Aunt Stephanie. The thrid is their grandma (Jim's mom).

To have Alex bapized with them was even more special. Now my husband is surrounded by Catholics... We had everyone back to the house afterwards and fortunately my mom and grandma came by the day before to help us clean and hold the kids while Jim and I worked around the house. Adam had an especially good time as shown by the photo with the Corona. No silly, he didn't really drink any. Think teething...though he once went after a margarita at Chili's...

It was also Alex's 8th birthday, so we had a party for him, too. I thought I'd just post a bunch of photos since so many were taken that day. And an 8th birthday definitely deserves blog space!
Eleanor has really blossomed in the past few weeks. Wow, her personality is obvious. She is just starting to move her little legs one at a time, as if she may be getting the concept of crawling. Dan, Jim's brother, put her on the floor and coaxed her with his cell phone to get her to move along. Anything that Eleanor knows she isn't supposed to have is exactly what she is interested in. Phones, remotes, shoes, magazines, balloon ribbons from the party, whatever. Forget all the learning toys, the stuff that says the alphabet, the textures. That's all old news to her. If I would have known we could just throw a couple pairs of flip flops and some old Pottery Barn magazines on the floor to entertain her, I wouldn't have spent all that money!
Adam is as adaorable as ever, but the whole eating thing is just awful. He's thrown up some more again, though now it is from choking on solids. He gets tired and just opens his mouth and lets the food slide back. Once it hits the back of his throat, it's almost inevitable that it's all over. We're still feeding him most of the formula off a spoon, though he's been taking a few ounces here and there from the bottle. It's so time consuming that my priorities in life have entirely changed. Let's just say that if you stop in unexpectedly, I may still be in my jammies and the house will be a disaster. Oh, well. There's always time for cleaning later.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Shhhhh...It's a Secret

Serves me right for thinking everything was going so well. Adam has been doing great as far as the reflux goes. Now he just won't eat from his bottle. At all. Unless he's sleeping of course--but that doesn't really count. I don't know if we're back to the teething problem again or what because it just sort of came out of nowhere. He is getting another bottom tooth, so we're crossing our fingers that once it breaks through, he'll be back to himself. Meanwhile, I'm being creative. He will still eat solids, so I've made his cereal soupy so there is more liquid, I've added scoops of formula powder to his sweet potatoes or green beans or whatever to add calories, and I've used a little espresso mug as a cup to have him drink from it. He isn't very proficient (to say the least) but he swallows some. I'm also feeding him formula from a spoon. Kinda like you're scooping up the milk left over from your Cocoa Puffs--but no chocolate. This has been quite successful! I get so stressed when he is like this... I keep trying to look at the big picture and see that he does weigh quite a bit for a preemie at his age, and he will eat from a spoon. But it doesn't usually help for long. On the bright side, he has really started enjoying the illegal Jumpster that we put up this week. I say illegal because physical therapists can't stand them. Nonetheless, I regiatered for it and received it as a shower gift. And he is in his glory in that contraption. He sucks in his bottom lip and grins like crazy while he's looking at me thinking, "Why didn't you crack this thing out earlier, Mom?" We don't put Eleanor in it at all since she can tend to walk on her toes, but it is worth it for Adam. Just don't tell anyone, ok?