Thursday, April 27, 2006

Heads Up!

Eleanor and Adam both have their heads up now. They are much more fun to play with on the ground this way. Of course, I had to order some fun tummy time mats for them to play on. A good excuse to go catalog shopping, don't you think? Eleanor is quite steady and can keep her head up for a much longer period of time now. It's something new for Adam, so he can only manage for a couple minutes, then it's back to sucking on the blanket that he's laying on. He's predictable, anyway. They both have started to grab at things around them--mostly easy things like blankets. Of course, they stuff them in their mouths, then and we have lots of wet cuddly blankets laying around. Eleanor drools like crazy, so hers are especially soggy!
We went to the pulmonologist yesterday. He is the doctor that determined the amount of oxygen they were receiving. Eleanor's monitor has been discontinued. She is officially wire-free all the time. Even at night. Which is pretty scary for us, since their heart and breathing has been monitored at night since we've been home. I'm sure I'll be running into their room just to make sure she's ok. Adam still has his monitor for at least another month. Because of his reflux, he will sometimes have bradycardias in the middle of the night, setting off his alarm. They don't last long and his heart rate doesn't go down too much, but it's enough to keep him on the monitors for awhile. I'm hoping until he's two. I don't think the doctor will go along with that, though.
We also went to the pediatrician on Monday. Adam is now on Zantac and we are trying to get him to enjoy eating again. He is only eating about half of what he used to and his weight gain has basically stopped. Fortunately, he was a bitt on the chubby side, so now that he's growing longer and not gaining weight, he's getting to be a little more proportionate. It's still quite stressful when your baby doesn't want to eat and I spend all but a couple hours a day feeding them. Showering has become an afternoon activity. Sometimes an optional activity. I figure that if reflux is the only thing we will have to deal with, I'll be patient and know that it will come to an end one of these days. If anyone has any advice on how to get Adam to like his bottle more, please feel free to share!
Next Friday is the Developmental Clinic appointment. I'm sure I will have lots of updates then. Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A New Friend

We've really done some travelling this week! Considering how long we've been cooped up inside, it's no surprise we've taken advantage of the nice weather and the lack of oxygen paraphanalia. We are still only visiting people without school-aged children, so visiting my grandma and my friend Alissa and her 5 month old little girl was perfect! You can see them together on the couch. They are similar in size, but she is quite far ahead of the twins developmentally, which is to be expexted. I did call Alissa today, though, and told her we need to visit with her daughter more often because she made such a good impression on Eleanor. How do I know that? Because today at my grandma's house Eleanor rolled over for the first time! I was so excited I think I squealed. She has done it one other time since, but is always trying. She also can keep her head up at 90 degrees very consistently and is starting to push up on her arms. Adam is still at about 45 degrees, with little bursts of 90 degrees, but he is so much more vocal than Eleanor. He squeals, giggles, and babbles, often sayng something that sounds a lot like, "Hello!" Of course it's not, but it's fun to hear him start to make baby sounds. Eleanor squeels once in awhile, but is not the conversationalist that her brother is.
This is all good news, but on the other hand we have Adam's feeding issues continuing. He often will only eat if he is sitting in the Boppy bouncing, will only take about 4 ounces at a time, and it will sometimes take 90 minutes to get him to take that. He screams at the beginning of the feedings and I think his voice is sounding hoarse. I've decided that I'm going to call the pediatrician and see what we can do for him. It's very sad to watch the little guy so upset.
I went to school this week and packed up a bunch of my teaching materials. I have to go again because one trip with the minivan wasn't anywhere close to enough. I love staying home with the twins and I am so fortunate to be able to, but I miss my classroom and my students--packing up was definitely bittersweet. Hopefully I will be able to go back to teaching part-time in a couple years. I know many of you had spring break--or at least some vacation--recently. The weather has been beautiful and I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy it!
Next Sunday is our day for Walk America 2006 with March of Dimes. Thanks to your amazing generosity, we have raised $1075 so far! We know that because so many wonderful people have donated to the March of Dimes in the past, Adam and Eleanor were able to survive when several years ago they probably wouldn't have because of their contribution to the creation of surfactant for the babies' lungs. We know that the money we have raised will go to further research and save more babies born prematurely. Thank you again!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Hangin' Out

This was just too cute, so I had to post pictures. Jim and I were watching Fantastic Four on DVD (his choice tonight, obviously...) with the twins. You can see a glimpse into their personalities with these photos! Eleanor was sound asleep while Adam decided to use the popcorn bowl as a foot rest. Then he put his feet completely into the bowl, so we finally had to move it. I guess Adam like the movie. Yes, he's on the pink Boppy. Whatever is closest!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Day to Celebrate

Today is the day that Adam and Eleanor have officially been home longer than they were in the hospital! Their stay in the NICU was 98 days, and to day is their 99th day home. To show you how for they have come, I've included pictures of them right after they were born (9/29/05), half way through their stay in the NICU (11/25/05), the day they came home from the NICU(1/04/06), as well as today's photos. They will be seven months old at the end of April--but three months adjusted. At the beginning of May, we go for our first visit to the developmental clinic. I don't know what the requirements are, but I know that all very premature babies go every four months or so until they are 24 months. They will check to see if the twins have developmentally appropriate behaviors, such as raising their heads while on their tummies, grasping objects, and checking to see if their infant reflexes are waning, etc. Mainly I think they are looking for signs of cerebral palsy, which is so common in such premature babies. The pediatrician implied that he didn't think we had too much to worry about. Hopefully, this is the case. Enjoy the photos! (Eleanor is on the left/on top, Adam on the right/bottom)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oh Adam...

The new phase in the life of raising preemie twins is all about reflux. Specifically, Adam's reflux problems. Eleanor has it a little, but it doesn't affect her eating at all. She is still gaining weight pretty quickly and now weighs 13 pounds 12 ounces. Adam, who used to be our little chow hound is now picky, picky, picky. He cut down how much he was eating to the very minimum and hasn't gained weight for over a week now. Since he was the baby who was gaining a pound in two weeks, this is a bit frightening. I talked to our pediatrician about it--and researched it on the internet, of course, because that's what I do, for those of you who know me well. Anyway, he prescribed Zantac for him. We've been giving it to him for about 5 days now and we have definitely noticed a difference in how much Adam cries during feedings, and afterward. I think this must mean the acid coming up his esophagus has been reduced, so it's not hurting as badly. He still doesn't really want to eat much, though. I think he has been programmed now to think it will still hurt, so he's a little afraid. While reading all this information about infant reflux, I came across a woman who said that it takes 50 good eating experiences to convince a baby that everything is fine now. One bad experience and you have to start all over. Hopefully this will be the solution and we won't have to worry any more. Some babies have really severe problems with reflux to the point they need to be tube fed, so we will count our lucky stars that we only have a picky eater who takes and hour plus to feed. And I thought I wasn't getting much done around the house before! I think there is a load of laundry in the washing maching that has been there for three days. I am certain it's going to have that funky small by now. Oh, well! Adam has now gained two ounces, so wish us luck that things will be looking up this week.
On the happy side of things...Adam laughed for the first time tonight! Now he doesn't want to stop. It is so darned cute. Eleanor loves to look at TV screens, computer monitors, and smiles all day long. She can lift her head up to 90 degrees now, though it doesn't stay there too long. Adam is still stuck at about 45 degrees. They are really starting to interact with us. You can see them with big brother Alex in our family room hanging out on a Saturday night.
Alex went to the one room school house in our community on a field trip this week. He had to dress up in costume to go and made old-fashioned toys and candles and learned about the history of Michigan. I thought I'd include a photo since he looked so great!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Woo Hoo!!! No More Oxygen!!!!

I was so hesitant to even write ahead of time that Eleanor and Adam were going to the hospital Monday night for their MCR. I thought that might jinx it! So we checked in yesterday afternoon and at 7pm they were hooked up to the MCR machine (an annoying thing) and their every breath and heartbeat was being recorded. I should have taken pitures, but I didn't think about the camera with all the other stuff I had to remember. There were two leads stuck to their chests, two pulse oxymeters--one on each foot, and a little white sensor taped below their noses. Each of these things has a wire leading from it plugged into the machine which makes for tricky feedings and diaper changes. It was a long night of almost no sleep--mainly due to the alarms going off because they had squirmed and a lead came loose. They actually slept great. The machine recorded until 7am this morning and the doctor came to see us and check out how it had gone. He looked at Adam's results and immediately could tell us that he no longer needed his oxygen! But Eleanor STILL had some periodic breathing, so they would have to do some more analysis at the office. Well, the nurse just called and the good news is...that Eleanor can come off too! I guess she had 6.4% periodic breathing and they like less than 5%, but her oxygen saturation was so good (97-100%) that she gets to drop it as well. They will still have their monitors for at least three weeks, but I'm glad--just to reassure us that they are doing well without their "O's", as the doctors say. We've never cared that they were on the oxygen--we've just always been so blessed that they even survived that the inconvenience was of no consequence. But now that we are enjoying this freedom that most parents take for granted--and I would have too, had things gone differently--we are just tickled! I hope you enjoy the photos of Eleanor and Adam tubeless and stickerless!