5 Months, Harper’s Improvement

The last time I posted an update here it was at 11 weeks. Things are just insane right now, it’s hard to juggle family, work and school and still keep my head above water. I get so discouraged sometimes, but I know that in the end, our security and my career will be all worth it!

The twins were 5 months old on April 8th, and we have been very busy.

As Ashley wrote about before, we have been very worried about Harper’s inability to hold her head up, her hypertonia and the possibility of her having CP. Ashley has worked tirelessly and finally found a great physical therapist at the hospital that the twins were born at, and we have just been working with Harper to strengthen her neck muscles in the meantime. A couple of days ago, she did this:


First of all, how cute is this baby? Second, of all, this cute ass baby straight up faked us out. Not only did she do this for me, she immediately rolled over from belly to back. Then, she held her head up without the pillow for support. Of course, she now holds her head up during every tummy time session and rolls consistently from belly to back without issues. I don’t know why we are so surprised, Harper has always been like this. In the NICU, she did this to us three times. First, with her feedings, she would have these insane residuals. We would feed her 5ml, come back three hours later and the same 5ml would be in her stomach. She kept this up, not pooping or digesting, looking like the top picture:

IMG_4641And one day just started pooping and eating like a champ, and looked more like the bottom picture. She did the same thing to us with her oxygen, requiring just the tiniest little amount and desatting as soon as we tried to wean her. Over and over we tried to wean and she would hover in the low 80s until we turned that tiny little whiff of O2 back on. One day, we took everything off of her and she was completely fine. Finally, with her feedings, she stayed on the NG feeding tube for so long that we were discussing taking her home with it. A couple of days before Christmas, she took her first full bottle. By Christmas day she was NG tube free. The moral of the story is that Harper is a procrastinator. She likes to be lazy and take her time just up until it becomes a serious issue, and then she gets it together. Basically, she’s me in High School. We are going to keep our therapy appointment to really get a better idea of what’s causing the hypertonia (she does become very rigid, especially when mad) but we are feeling really great about her physical development. Harper now takes about 5oz bottles every three hours and sleeps through the entire night (up to about 11 hours once!) We have started feeding her, and she’s tried avocado, apples and bananas. She doesn’t quite know what to do with the food in her mouth, but we are practicing with her about twice a day. She’s FINALLY on the curve for her weight, in the 5th percentile for a 3 month old (her adjusted age.) She weighs about 11 pounds now, wears size 1 diapers and has outgrown her newborn clothing! We are mostly putting her in 0-3 or 3 month outfits now. She smiles all day long, but the biggest seem to be in the morning when she wakes up and sees us. She’s still very feisty, and instead of crying will “protest”, basically just loud grunting and yelling. She coos and gurgles, but we’ve only had one real giggle. We are so ready for belly laughs!


Elliott is really just such a great baby, he has been low maintenance (at least in a big-picture sense) from the get go. The only issues we have with Elliott are his spitting up (every feeding, lots of laundry) and his sensitivity. He’s such a sweet, snuggly boy. He gets upset when he’s not being held or paid direct attention to, and we think he’s definitely going to be a mama’s boy for life. He takes 6 ounce bottles every three hours and sleeps through the night just like his sister. He has tried apples, avocado and bananas, and LOVED them. We tried chicken, which he gagged on and did not like at all. Elliott is so chunky, with big rolly thighs and a double chin that makes his cleft chin so much more pronounced. He wears 3-6 month clothing and weights about 13 lbs, putting him in size 2 diapers now. His herniated bellybutton has pretty much resolved now, and he just has a cute innie-outie. Elliott coos, gurgles, squeals and basically just makes a ton of cute noise. Just one laugh from him so far as well, but we know laughs are right around the corner.



Easter was so much fun this year, we got to dress the babies up and take them to both of our moms’ houses.



We have worked out a pretty great schedule thanks to my mom. Ashley works Monday through Friday and I have school until 12:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also work three 12 hour shifts during the week including every third weekend, so I am out of the house 4-5 days a week as well. My mom watches the babies while we are away, and she does such great job with them. They love waking up in their carseats and seeing her, and she spoils them all day long. We miss them so much, so it’s great to know that someone who loves them is caring for them.

We are also pretty deep into a Ketogenic diet right now, because being healthier has been a huge priority for us since the babies were born. We want to feel and look better, and most importantly set a healthy example for the twins and they grow up. It’s been a challenge but we are both seeing results and feel really good about it.

Here are some pictures I took of the twins this morning, a little past their actual 5 month birthday but still close!













As always, everyone is in our thoughts! Best of luck to everyone with TTC, pregnancy and parenting. We’re all in this together ❤




Looking for IVFers

Hey everyone! One of my good friends and her husband are just starting out on their IVF journey and have already had a few frustrating roadblocks along the way. I recommended blogging as a way for her to vent and seek support for some of her concerns, since I know how much having you all as a support system helped us with TTC and losing Rohen. Who are some of your favorite IVF bloggers, both successful and still TTC? I want her to see some of the amazing women out there that can make her feel less alone and crazy!

You’re all the best,

❤ Devan

A Quick 11 Week Update

The twins will be 11 weeks tomorrow, 3 weeks, 2 days adjusted! Since I just got around to posting their 2 month update, I thought I should probably post this update now before I get too busy again 🙂

We had Harper’s weight check yesterday. Elliott hasn’t needed one since his 2 month appointment because at that appointment he had gained 9 ounces in 7 days, 2 ounces more than we were expecting. Harper, however, had only gained 5 ounces when we would have liked to see 7. Our appointment was on Thursday afternoon, and Harper had gained the appropriate 7 ounces in 7 days, putting her at 6 pounds, 4 ounces! What a chunk!

Both twins have now been approved for Synagis, which is an RSV vaccination that is hard to qualify for. Harper qualifies due to her premature lung disease (she was on oxygen for 5.5 weeks) but Elliott was initially denied. Since my insurance carrier has just switched, they reviewed the case agin and Elliott is now approved! They will get the shots once a month through the end of RSV season, which will be March or possibly April. After RSV season is over, we can start to bring them around other babies (finally!)

Also, as of a few days ago Elliott is ROLLING OVER! We can’t believe it. He rolls over from his belly to back consistently whenever we put him down for tummy time. Apparently most babies don’t do this until about 4 months, so we are very excited about it. Our pediatrician was impressed, and we are too.

I cross my heart, we will have the three month update up on time!

❤ Devan, Ashley, Elliott and Harper

Two Months – Harper’s Discharge & Getting Settled

Once again, I have sinned. These kids are ridiculously time consuming, hours and hours slip away and we are just to in love to remember all the things we are supposed to be doing! Harper came home to us on December 29th, one year to the day from the day we were discharged home at 3am without our son. She spent a total of 51 days in the NICU, 51 nights without her mothers. Harper continued to have issues feeding in the NICU, we felt like we were fighting a losing battle with her when it came to her bottles. She would take between 5-20ml at each feeding though she should have been taking about 45. We had even spoken to the doctors about possibly sending her home with her NG tube and continuing tube feeds at home just so we could get her out of there. As it turns out, that wasn’t necessary! A couple of days before Christmas, she began to take a couple of full bottles. The first time, our nurse was so excited that she actually made her a “congratulations!” card to encourage her to keep it up. By Christmas day, she had been taking her full feeds for a full 24 hours. We spent Christmas traveling around among family. Christmas morning was with Ashley’s family, we opened gifts with Elliott and had breakfast. Afterwards, we headed over to my mom’s house for some more gifts and left Elliott with her to visit Harper. At the hospital, we got to spend the day with our primary, Jami, and we took Harper’s NG tube out as soon as we arrived. Harper continued taking her full feeds and never looked back, she has been doing very well ever since.

We had a very awful last couple of days… Harper started having terrible gas pains and her feedings really suffered. She was crying nonstop and would not relax unless she was being held upright. We were told that they would not give her anything for gas in the NICU because there is “no proof that it actually works.” We had been consistently told that she would be discharged after her mandatory 5-day bradycardia-free period, which would end on the 28th, so we expected her to be discharged then. On the 28th, the doctor who was covering the weekend blatantly told us that he would not discharge her as he was not familiar with her case, and we would have to wait until Monday morning. Granted, I understand to an extent. However, our primary was insisting that Harper was ready to come home. Two physicians (his colleagues) who had been seeing Harper for weeks and were very familiar with her case were present in the NICU that day and could easily have shed some light on Harper’s case had he asked. We were furious, not just because we wanted her home THAT DAY (Rohen’s birthday) but because she was still in awful pain and we would have to leave her there overnight in pain again when there was no medical reason to do so. We asked if we would be able to pick her up first thing in the morning and were told that she would not be able to leave until after noon. Thankfully, our nurse that night was one of our primaries and we grudgingly left her there for one more night. Of course, one of our favorite doctors was on call the next morning. He had her discharged by 7am and told us to give her gas drops in the parking lot if we had to! We said our goodbyes to our other day primary, Nancy, and we were finally free. We did speak up about the way Harper was treated the last days of her stay… we felt that leaving her overnight in the hospital with no medical reason to do so was completely inappropriate. We have also decided to join the Parent Advisory Board, a group of NICU moms who set up meet and greets/support groups. We’re excited to connect with other parents who are just starting out on the journey we have finally finished. Now that we are both home, we get to start looking for those milestones every new parent is so eager to see. The twins were due on January 1st, and they turned two months on January 8th. Here is what they have been up to!

– Harper –


Harper on the left, Ashley on the right. Creepy, right!?


All bucked up for her ride home! ❤


Weight: 5 pounds, 9.5 ounces (update: 5 lb 14oz on 1/16)

Length: Diaper & Clothing Size: We are finishing up the last of our preemie diapers but she does fit into newborn now. Her preemie clothes are officially outgrown and we have donated all of her sleepers to the NICU. Her newborn clothes are a little big, but she’s filling out nicely.

Nicknames: Harpee, War Bird, Harpina, Turkey

Health: We want to see a little more weight gain from Harper. At her first pediatrician appointment after discharge, she weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces. 9 days later, she was only up 5.5 ounces when we would have liked to see 9. We’re working really hard to get as much fortified breastmilk in her as possible. She’s taking Mylicon for gas and Poly-vi-sol (multivitamin) to keep her from becoming anemic. She passed her hearing exam, her followup eye exam was normal and her last head ultrasound was normal. Her small heart murmur has resolved. If we can get her to gain the right amount of weight, we will be golden!

Sleep: We are still finding our routine. We usually start them out in our Arms Reach cosleeper, and then at their middle of the night feeding we will occasionally bring them into bed with us. We wanted to avoid bedsharing at first, but it really is a lifesaver on the nights when they just won’t relax. We don’t have to resort to it every night, but all four of us sleep so well that we feel it’s the right choice for us in those situations. We wake her up when Elliott wakes up so we can keep them on the same schedule (it’s way easier to change/feed/get them back to bed when we can tag team them and get them and do them at the same time) but the record for length of sleep is about 5.5 hours. Pretty good!

Diet: Harper takes about 65-70ml of breastmilk fortified with Neosure to 26calories/ounce every three hours, though we only wake her to feed during the day.

Baby Gear: Harper has been in her Moby wrap once and loved it! She isn’t sure about her DuetConnect swing, she would much rather be closer to moms. She isn’t a huge fan of her carseat, but she does pretty well once we start moving.

Loves: Snuggles, being sung to, taking showers and baths with moms, eating big bottles, eye contact.

Dislikes: Being moved while sleeping! Yikes…

Milestones & Firsts: First Christmas, discharged from NICU on December 29th, reunited with brother, first pediatrician visit on December 31st, 2 month shots.



Weight: 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces. (Update: 7lb 14oz on 1/16)

Length: Diaper & Clothing Size: Newborn for both! Preemie clothes are OUT!

Nicknames: Smelliott, Monkey, Drama Queen

Health: He’s just fat and happy! Elliott is gaining the correct amount of weight, about 1 ounce per day. His ear and eye exams were normal, the small bleed that was present on his first head ultrasound at a few days old has resolved, as has his heart murmur. He takes mediation for GERD, gas and also takes Poly-vi-sol for anemia.

Sleep: 5.5 hours overnight is our record, and we are very happy with it! He will sleep so soundly until he realizes that he’s hungry, and then it’s time to sound the alarm. It would be impossible to starve this child or sleep though him fussing 😉

Diet: Elliott takes about 80-90ml of breastmilk fortified with Neosure to 24 calories/ounce about every three hours except for overnight.

Baby Gear: Elliott loves the Moby wrap and the Ergobaby. He is not a fan of his swing, he just prefers to be held or just be near us. He doesn’t mind his carseat, especially while he is in motion.

Loves: Being sung to, being held closely! He loves to be snuggled and can just sleep forever in our arms. He also loves baths and taking showers with us, especially when we run the water over his head or belly. He loves tummy time and is practicing holding up his head like crazy. He loves to look around and is tracking very well, especially things that light up.

Dislikes: Being left alone, waiting for a bottle to warm up.

Milestones & Firsts: First Christmas, due date, reunited with sister, 2 month shots, first overnight stay with Grandma.


Elliott and Harper meeting our doctor, Shane, for the first time!


Meeting our OB, Dr. Bullaro


Ashley is still home with the babies for now, and I went back to work on Monday the 5th. It’s been hard and I have been very sleepy, but we are making it work. I am starting classes again on January 20th, and once that happens I will be away 5 days a week from 8-12 hours each day. It’s going to be very challenging, but we are ready to make it work.

Our friend Lisa turned 40 on Saturday, so we went to dinner with her and ended at a bar for a giant surprise party for her! My mom watched the twins overnight so we could stay the night at Lisa’s house, and they did very well (other than not letting her get much sleep.)

We just fall more and more in love with the twins everyday! We are looking forward to being able to take them out more (once RSV season is over) and have some vacations in the works already. Our friends Jeffrey and Michael are getting married in Utah in July and we are both in the wedding, so that will be the twins’ first plane ride and out of state trip! So exciting! We are also trying to work out a trip to New York and Pennsylvania to visit friends and family, and of course Disneyland in December to celebrate their first birthday.

Ashley already posted her Facebook information, but if you aren’t already my friend on Facebook please add me! We love staying in touch with everyone! My Instagram is Devanshirr and my Facebook is here.

I hope everyone is doing well out there! I love hearing your news, especially the good ❤

– Devan

NICU Days Twenty-Eight through Forty – Elliott’s Discharge and 6 Weeks Old!

You guys… I am a bad, bad blogger! It’s just been so crazy lately. Three days after our last post, Elliott was discharged home! It’s been a whirlwind having a newborn at home and another baby still hospitalized, but we’ve been making it work the best that we can. Here’s an update on the Davis Twins’ last few weeks! ❤

First, I want to share a sample picture from the NICU shoot our awesome friend Suzy Goodrick did for us. We are waiting on the rest of them, but how beautiful are these kids? We were laughing so hard, Elliott would NOT wake up and made this total chub face the whole time. Look at those chins! Suzy is an amazing photographer, we can’t wait to have their newborn pictures done and our family pictures as well! Thanks, Suzy 🙂


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NICU Days Nineteen through Twenty-Seven




NICU Day Nineteen was Wednesday, November 26th

NICU Day Twenty was Thursday, November 27th (Gobble, gobble!) – 35 weeks adjusted!

NICU Day Twenty One was Friday, November 28th

NICU Day Twenty Two was Saturday, November 29th

NICU Day Twenty Three was Sunday, November 30th

NICU Day Twenty Four was Monday, December 1st

NICU Day Twenty Five was Tuesday, December 2nd

NICU Day Twenty Six was Wednesday, December 3rd.

Today was NICU Day Twenty Seven (my lucky number) and the twins are 36 weeks adjusted today!

– Elliott –

Elliott has been a boring baby 😉 Being boring is a great thing to be in the NICU, it means that all he is doing is growing. Elliott was taking his bottles like a champ, so his NG tube was removed Tuesday morning. As long as he takes at least 25ml of his 40ml feedings every three hours he can keep the tube out. He had a pretty bad diaper rash that has been clearing up nicely with zinc oxide and he is still pooping normally. The doctor removed his pulse oximeter since he hasn’t had any issues with his o2 saturation, so he is free of one more wire! Elliott passed his car seat test today, which is a huge step towards discharge. He had to be strapped into his seat for 30 minutes and not have any issues with his heart rate or oxygen to pass. He did extremely well with the exception of losing his binky and screaming a few times! He weighed in at 5 pounds 3 ounces tonight! It’s crazy… we are expecting him to go home by the end of this week. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. He’s like a normal baby now, we pick him up and carry him around, burp him, cuddle him, all of that. We have set up his first pediatrician appointment for next Wednesday with a pediatrician that has come highly recommended by other preemie moms we have met. I can’t wait to get him home, but I’m sad that we won’t be able to fully enjoy it while sister is still in the NICU. We want them both home so bad, but we are SO proud of our boy! What a champ ❤





I made them turkey hats for Thanksgiving! ❤



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NICU Days Seventeen & Eighteen

NICU Day Seventeen was Monday, November 24th (My sister’s birthday. Happy birthday, Aunt Sarah!! <3)

NICU Day Eighteen was Tuesday, November 25th


– Harper –

We woke up yesterday to a call from our night nurse, Crystal, saying that Harper decided to remove her own OG tube. She pulled it out, started to gag, dropped her heart rate, stopped breathing, her o2 sats dropped and she turned blue. This response is considered normal for preemies when they gag, but it was still a pretty traumatic episode for her. She had a few more episodes throughout the day during which she would brady down (drop her heart rate and do all of the above) for a few seconds. She brought herself back out of most of them, but she did need to be jostled to remind her to breathe a couple of times. This is scary when it happens, but it’s really not out of the ordinary. In fact, one of the criteria for babies leaving the NICU is to not do this for 5 days. One of her biggest episodes yesterday was during her cares when we decided to remove her OG tube all together in favor of an NG tube (in her nose instead of her mouth) and that was pretty rough on her. She turned blue pretty fast, but we were able to get her suctioned and she came back with no problem. Harper had two BIG improvements yesterday that we were SO excited about. First, she was weaned off of CPAP and onto high-flow, which is another step closer to breathing 100% on her own. Less pressure going into her nose means less air in her belly, which means better feeding. Today, Harper received feedings of around 17ml every 3 hours with NO residuals! She had two really big poops too! This kid is kicking ass with her feedings today, we are so excited. We knew that CPAP was making this more difficult for her because she was filling up with air and we really suspected that we would see an improvement when she was weaned off of it. Thankfully, we were right! Her weight today was 3 pounds, 11 ounces…. officially ONE POUND up from her birth weight! This kid is just growing chins like crazy. We are so proud of her. Ashley go to do about 3 hours of kangaroo (skin to skin) care today and she just does so well with it, her heart rate, temp and O2 sats are perfection. We are looking at weaning her down more on her respiratory support ASAP as long as she continues to do well. She’s catching up to her brother, slowly but surely!




Our nurses have craft time and leave these little gifts for us ❤





Hanging onto Grandpa Mikey’s finger.


Just. So. Many. Chins.


She was sleeping like this! Mouth wide open… crazy kid.




– Elliott –

Mr. Elliott has had a HUGE couple of days, it’s incredible. Yesterday, he was moved to the continuing care nursery where he will be focusing on learning how to eat from a bottle and nurse. Feeding is our big hurdle now. Ideally, we wanted to have then twins be exclusive nursers or at least only have breast milk, but that is not recommended for preemies. Because they aren’t getting the same nutrients that they would have been getting from the placenta for the last two weeks and another 6 weeks on top of that, they need a ton of calories really quickly to gain weight. Gaining weight and taking in calories is a huge undertaking for their underdeveloped bodies, so we fortify Ashley’s breast milk to have extra calories. Depending on what our pediatrician wants, we will have to supplement their diets for up to several months post discharge. This means they will probably only be able to nurse every other feeding, and the others will be pumped breast milk with special formula added for supplementation. Fortunately, our view on nursing isn’t “formula is BAD” as much as it’s “breast milk is GOOD” so as long as they are getting all those important nutrients and antibodies from Ashley’s milk we are all good in the hood. We are also not feeding them just formula or just breast milk. Every feeding is breast milk with a little extra goodies added in. Ashley is working on nursing, and he does very well for only being 34w4d adjusted. They don’t expect much of a latch from babies until about 35/36 weeks but Elliott roots and finds her nipple on his own very well. He has latched a few times and has gotten a few good swallows! Since I can’t nurse, I am in charge of bottle feeding. Speech therapy came in to observe me feeding him today, and it felt good to get an A+ on my preemie feeding technique! We were expecting it to be just like feeding a normal baby, but there is a lot more to it. We hold him in the side lying position (like nursing) and tickle his cheeks and nose with the bottle to get him to root (also like nursing). Because preemies haven’t figured out the whole suck-swallow-breathe thing yet, they need breaks after each couple of swallows to avoid them choking and having a brady episode (like Harper had) as a result. It sucks to take the bottle away when he has a good latch and is getting some food, but it’s better than having him choke! He has been taking anywhere from 10ml-17ml from the bottle at each feeding and the rest is then fed to him through his feeding tube as usual. Like I said before about the calories, we have to be careful with his feedings since they take so much energy out of him. By fortifying his milk, we are making sure that he’s not burning more calories by eating than he is taking in. Elliott’s other big achievement today was getting his first bath in a real tub! We gave him a swaddled bath and he absolutely loved it (though the pictures don’t make it look that way!) especially when we washed his hair. We are loving being able to dress him up in more clothes, he just looks so cute and fits right into those preemie clothes so well. Our friends Lisa and Kaitlyn were able to visit and hold him yesterday, Grandpa Mikey was able to hold him as well. Elliott weighs 4 pounds, 11 oz and is also exactly one pound up from his birth weight! He also has about 94 chins.



Kaitlyn ❤


Lisa ❤


Grandpa Mikey



Elliott’s new room, that he is moving out of this evening. Our new one will be similar! My mom is cheesin’ around 🙂


All chins.







My awesome friend Retha got the twins some really adorable stuffed animals from The Land of Nod, and Elliott’s alligator dwarfs him!


– Moms –

When we left they were about to move Elliott to yet another room, because our new unit has twin rooms. Both twins will have their own rooms, but there will be a sliding door between the two that we will keep open. This way we can actually take one of them into the other’s room and have them nap or be held together! Since the rooms are all usually occupied, we are moving into a room tonight and then we will move Harper in next door when she is ready to come over. (Should be within about a week if she keeps up the good work!) It is SO NICE having an actual room. We have a bed to sleep in, a fridge, a recliner, a TV, a desk for me to do my homework and even some family showers that we can use if we spend the night. We’ve been getting a lot of exercise walking back and forth between the two units all day for their cares, but we love having a home base where we can sit down for a minute. We’ve stayed later than usual the last couple of nights. It’s getting more and more intense every time  we interact with the babies, they are so alert and have so much personality. It’s amazing to see them gain weight and become more responsive to our voices. We are still just totally in awe of our nurses and doctors… One of our doctors is a former customer of mine from the cigar store I used to work at, and he has been so supportive and sweet. He’s a friend of my mom’s as well (she worked at the cigar store for 6 years before I did) and we all got the chance to sit down and catch up about life and the babies last night before having a nice dinner with my mom and Mikey. Today, my sister in law Traci came to meet them for the first time and was able to hold Elliott, and then my Aunt Shellie and cousin Cassidy came to visit. It melted my butter when my Aunt Shellie got tearful looking down at little Harper. We are just surrounded by so much love, it’s overwhelming sometimes. ❤ My wonderful friend Lili flew in from Colorado today and we are meeting up with her tomorrow morning so she can meet them for the first time! Our friend Trisha (one of the three people actually present at our wedding lol) will be coming from New Mexico for Thanksgiving and will get to meet them on Thursday. Thanksgiving is going to be a challenge because we just can’t imagine leaving them alone on their firs Thanksgiving. Even though they won’t know or care, we will.

Ashley is still lactating like a mother (ha, see what I did there?) and we woke up to this unpleasant surprise after I apparently turned off her pumping alarm in my sleep and she slept through her pumping time by two hours. Whoopsies.


All in all, everything is going very well. The kids are not doing anything we wouldn’t expect from preemies, and everyone still agrees that they will not have ANY lasting physical or cognitive disabilities down the line. We just have to be patient with our little ones, and they are amazing us and making it worth it absolutely every day.

HUGE NEWS, by the way… We were sitting at lunch the other day and received a message from a woman in Portland who has a 3 month old daughter that was conceived using our same donor! The twins have a half sister! It was so exciting, we’ve all added one another on Facebook and we’re looking forward to keeping in touch. We think she looks like Elliott (or, Elliott looks like her haha) as they both have cleft chins, just like our donor. I know there are more babies out there that were conceived using the same donor, but we have yet to hear from any others. It was just really cool that she found us 🙂

Until next time,

Devan, Ashley, Elliott and Harper ❤

NICU Days Six, Seven, Eight and Nine – The Twins Turn One Week Old!

Yesterday, the twins were one week old! I can’t believe how fast this week has flown by… I don’t know if it’s because of the joyful awe or the sheer terror, but either way we are just feeling so fortunate to have one week and some change down and behind us!

NICU Day Six was Thursday, November 13th

NICU Day Seven was Friday, November 14th

NICU Day Eight was Saturday, November 15th.

NICU Day Nine is today, Sunday November 16th

– Elliott –

IMG_4080Milk coma.

Oh, Elliott… what a personality on this kid! Elliott has been taken off of his phototherapy and is now goggle-free! This is great because we get to see those open eyes all day long, and he is just so alert. He cracks everyone up with his sweet, quiet, curious stares and when he catches you in the eye it’s a pretty incredible experience. Elliott was very active in the womb and always made sure that we saw his face for pictures, and I really though that meant he was going to be loud, expressive and extroverted as a baby. I can see now that maybe it just meant that he was super cooperative! He is such a chill baby, with the exception of getting SUPER pissed whenever we reposition him during his cares. He also absolutely hates to have his temperature taken under his arm, but we’re told all NICU babies do. Dr. Hamburg decided that it was time to wean Elliott off the vent, which was really exciting. Normally, babies go from NIPPV (which he was on) to CPAP and then to a high-flow nasal cannula. We totally bypassed the CPAP and he is now just on a nasal cannula at 2 lpm with no extra oxygen. We gave him a bath a few days ago, and he LOVED IT. He was alert and engaged the whole time, didn’t cry at all.






Ashley held him on Thursday.



Ashley and I both got to hold him Friday (the first day off the vent)



Near the end of Ashley’s kangaroo session, he started breathing a little too fast. We all decided that he had been overstimulated and needed a day to just relax and get used to his new vent settings, so yesterday we did just that. With the exception of providing his cares every 3 hours, we didn’t even touch him at all. He tolerated everything really well and he’s looking great.

Ashley’s mom and grandma (mommymom) came by today and helped out with his bath! (I will add pictures of that on the next post)

His feedings are going great as well, today he is up to 8ml every 3 hours and he was properly digesting it all. (Nice poopy diapers for mama to clean up!) As long as he continues to tolerate these feedings, he will go up 1ml every 12 hours. In his morning exam today the doctor told us he has a heart murmur. Apparently this is common in preemies and she didn’t seem concerned at all. She said that it will most likely correct itself and that they will keep a close eye on it for the time being. He also received a head ultrasound this morning and we are waiting on results but the doctor is confident they will come back normal. His weight last night was 3lb 12oz. He is breathing very fast, and they originally told us today that holding was out of the question after his bath seemed to overstimulate him. Ashley went over to him while he was fussing this evening and when she put her hand on him his respirations dropped to near-normal immediately. After 10 minutes, our nurse insisted that he be held! I got to hold him, and he did very well. Respirations were much better while being held than they were just being on his own.

Elliott looks like a baby monkey! (This is how I pass the time in the NICU)


– Harper –


Elliott has one hell of a personality, but Harper makes him look tame. This girl is a wild child, so vocal and opinionated! She will make sure to let us know when she is displeased. One of the funniest things about the two of them is that they turn BEET red when they are upset. In addition to her amazing color change, she sticks her tongue out, flips everyone off and refuses to stay swaddled.


She is alert and happy, with those big eyes just watching everyone who comes up to her bed. Every time she looks up at us we can’t help but laugh, she has the most expressive face. I can tell she’s going to be so sarcastic and will love to run the show (after all, it was her idea to come out this early!) Ashley thinks I’m crazy to think I can already tell her personality, but I am telling you, I would put my life on it! I was able to hold Harper on Thursday, which was a really amazing experience. She tolerated it so well, her breathing was great the entire time and we both just felt so relaxed.




Harper is having an issue with her digestion, and it’s a tough one. She was getting about 2ml every 3 hours or so and none of it was going down. At each feeding, the nurse will evacuate the contents of her stomach through a syringe and measure what comes out. If she gets a little breast milk but it doesn’t look too nasty, they will give it back. Harper was getting 100% of her milk back after three hours and also several syringes just full of air. Her belly was distended and rock hard, and she wasn’t pooping at all. They did an abdominal X-ray and found that her belly was just totally full of gas. NIPPV forces air through the nose to help her breathe, but since there is so much of it, the belly gets a bunch as well. She’s been swallowing air through her NIPPV and it’s been totally blocking her up and making her uncomfortable. To remedy this, we put her on a strict rest on Friday. We only touched her during her cares and we didn’t give her any feedings at all. (Ashley really wanted to hold her, but she couldn’t)  They have started to wean her vent settings to ease up on the pressure, and by yesterday she was able to resume her feedings! Ashley finally got to hold her yesterday and she tolerated it very well.


She also had a bath and loved it, as well as a head ultrasound. Her weight is about the same at 2 lbs 14oz – still not at the 3lb mark yet!





Harper looks like a baby bird. We’ve been calling her Turkey, but Eagle is also appropriate!



– Moms –

As of last night, we have each officially held both babies! We are still holding up pretty well, but it’s crazy how exhausting being in the NICU all day is. It seems like it would be a lot of sitting around, but our nurses really encourage us to participate in their cares every three hours, so we are changing them, talking to them, taking their temperatures, and repositioning them a ton. (Not to mention the emotional toll it takes to see you babies with tubes taped all over their sweet faces and a PICC line in their tiny arms!) We going home to sleep every night, and when Ashley pumps we just call the nurse for an update. We are giving the dogs lots of cuddles when we get home because they aren’t getting as much attention as they’re used to lol.

We both had a rough night Friday night, I think it gets harder and harder to leave as they improve each day. They are so alert, and they will sometimes cry just to get you to come over and rub their heads or give them their binky. On Friday, I was looking into Elliott’s eyes, rubbing his head, and I called him “Rohen” by accident. It felt like a knife in my heart. It feels incredibly unfair to Elliott and Harper to not be there 100% because Rohen is still so heavy on my heart. And it feels equally unfair to Rohen that it hasn’t even been a year since his death and my heart now belongs to two more babies. Ashley had a rough day Friday too, and we both had to cry it out when we got home. Then, we ate some weinershnitzel and went to bed. Is there anything a corn dog can’t fix? The reality of what is happening crashes down in waves sometimes, but for the most part we are feeling very positive and optimistic.

We were told yesterday to stop bringing in breast milk because our “breast milk basket runneth over” haha. Ashley is lactating like crazy, which is awesome. They’ve told us to start freezing it at home and we can bring it in when they run low at the hospital. Our freezer door is already full of bottles, so we are doing great with that.

We have little improvements every day! The general consensus is that they are maturing slower than would be expected but they are still improving. They are just slow, and we have to be patient with them. We aren’t anticipating any long-term issues at all. We’er starting to look forward to being transferred to the Continuing Care Nursery, where we will have private rooms and the babies will focus on eating and gaining weight. We took a tour yesterday and it seems really nice and comfortable. We really just can’t wait until this is all over and we can take out littles ones home. It sucks not being able to pick them up and snuggle whenever we feel like it!

We will post more updates as they come, thanks again to everyone for your support!

❤ Devan

NICU Days Three, Four and Five

It’s unbelievable how quickly the last four days have gone by. It feels like everything has changed so frequently that every day just sort of blends together. The twins have been having lots a visitors and have been getting a lot of attention! Here’s the rundown on how they are each doing: NICU Day Three was Monday, Nov 10th NICU Day Four was Tuesday, Nov 11th NICU Day Five is today, Wednesday Nov 12th   IMG_3829

Elliott and Harper, pre-extubation! 

– Elliott –

IMG_3762 Elliott was extubated on Tuesday morning and is tolerating it SO well! He is breathing a little fast, but he’s not working as hard to draw each breath as before. Our doctor today said that breathing fast isn’t as concerning as breathing hard, so we are doing well. He got his PICC line, so no more IV pokes! (He had to get on in his scalp, as pictured above. That has since been removed since there isn’t a need for it with the PICC line) Elliott has been put under the phototherapy light due to a little bit of jaundice, which is something we’ve been told will happen on and off through the duration of our stay. IMG_3969 Elliott is currently undergoing feedings of Ashley’s breast milk through his feeding tube and is taking in about 3ml every 3 hours and he is tolerating those very well. He is on NIPPV, which is airway support given through his nose instead of a breathing tube, and he’s on room air with that (meaning he does’t need any extra oxygen to keep his O2 saturation up). Because he’s tolerating the NIPPV and tube feedings so well, we were allowed one hour of holding time today. Usually they like to have them do kangaroo care (skin-to-skin) for several hours, but he is on phototherapy and had to get back under his light. He loved being held, sucked a lot on Ashley’s skin and only got upset and restless when he heard Harper crying during her cares. IMG_3905 IMG_3923 IMG_3900 I can’t wait to get my hands on him tomorrow… There’s something so precious about feeling a soft, warm baby on your chest. It melts my butter every time! We also got to SMELL him for the first time while he was on her chest, which sounds weird, but most women I know LOVE the smell of a baby’s head. My baby smells the best so far 😉 Elliott LOVES his binky! Just over the course of today he progressed to being able to hold it in his mouth on his own. Overall, Elliott is advancing really well and we are so proud of him. He needed a little baby enema today to get things moving, but he had a nice big poop for mommy to clean up shortly after, and he didn’t waste any time going ballistic and letting us know he needed his diaper changed. He woke up from a dead sleep, flung his arms out and started screaming! His weight this evening when we left was 3 lb 15 oz, so we are almost to 4! What a little overachiever. IMG_3979

– Harper –

IMG_3822 Harper isn’t doing quite as well as her brother, but she’s still looking pretty good for such a tiny thing! She was also extubated on Tuesday morning! Her tube feeds were started at 1ml every 6 hours, but she wasn’t tolerating them very well. During her cares (every 3-4 hours, during which they are changed, repositioned and have their vitals/measurements taken) the nurse will use a syringe to pull out the contents of the stomach through the feeding tube. If there is a little bit of partially digested breast milk, they will send it right back through the tube. Harper has had a lot of residual, and it is not just milk. There is a lot of bile and mucous, and her belly was very distended. IMG_3957

You can see the residual in the syringe in this picture. Also, this is a yawn and not a cry!

She was made NPO (nothing by mouth) after her first feed this morning, then our doctor put her back on feedings. We stayed for her last cares this evening before heading home and she had quite a bit, so we are assuming she will be NPO through the night. With preemies, we worry about NEC, which is when the intestines become infected and die. The baby may need surgery or may just need antibiotics, but either way it’s scary. Luckily, our nurse today told us she doesn’t think that is what’s going on since the baby will usually be very lethargic and have a fever when NEC is present. She had an abdominal X-ray yesterday and it was totally clear, so we just need to be patient with her and keep an eye on her bowels. She had an enema today as well, and that was also very successful. (We have great poopers!) Harper’s breathing is still a little labored, but it’s still improving. There are no plans to intubate her again, we are just going to keep going with the NIPPV. She doesn’t like room air very much, we tried to bring her down to RA a few times and her sats dropped each time, so she is receiving just a little bit of supplemental oxygen. She loves laying prone (on her belly) and breathes the best when she’s in that position. We still can’t get over how hairy these kids are, and we laugh every time she has her phototherapy goggles (I call them sunglasses) taken off, since the pressure from them leaves indentations in her face and head. I think she looks like a little shar pei puppy with those wrinkly eyes. IMG_3778

Benjamin Button!




IMG_3932 She just has the sweetest face and I can’t wait to get my hands on her! Though she’s a bit behind her brother, we are just keeping in mind that she was drastically smaller, had the poorly performing placenta and wasn’t even breathing when she was born. All things considered, this kid is kicking ass and taking names and we are so proud of her. When we weighed her today during her cares, she weighed 2 lb 10 oz (down an ounce, not bad!) IMG_4003 I also got a picture of her hand next to my tattoo of Rohen’s hand (actual size) IMG_3752

– Moms –

Ashley was discharged from the hospital yesterday! Even though we were staying in the same hospital, we spent more time today with them than we did while she was also a patient there. When we were staying there, we had to be back in her room for vitals, meals, meds and the like. Today we were able to stay from about 9am-9pm, only leaving to have a late lunch in the cafeteria. Yesterday, we missed out on a lot of time with them since we ended up waiting in our room for the doctor to come by for HOURS. When we finally got home, we threw some cozy clothes into the washer and I took a 25 minute power nap (I didn’t sleep at all through this whole thing… over the 4 nights we spent in the hospital, I slept for about 9 hours total.) We headed back over to the hospital for a while for cares and then went home and slept in our own bed. Ashley woke up to pump a few times overnight and I took the bottles downstairs to the fridge, but we were both so sleepy that we fell right back to sleep after each pumping. Speaking of pumping, Ashley is one hell of a lactator! (Is that a word?) We were laughing so hard while she was manually expressing this morning because a jet of milk just came shooting out of her. She’s getting more and more each pumping session, and that is so great since there are two little mouths to feed and breast milk is the best option for them. IMG_3971 IMG_4005 When we were admitted, I noticed some signs up for a meet and greet in the family room that was being organized by the NICU Parent Advisory Board, a group of NICU graduate parents. We get kicked out of the unit from 7-7:30 every day for shift change anyway, and the sign said there would be free food so we decided to check it out. There was only one current mom there, but there were 6 former NICU moms who shared some amazing stories with us. We had such a good time with them, just talking about our stories and getting some really great advice. One of the moms there gave birth at 27 weeks after becoming infected with listeria from eating lunchmeat ONCE. (So yes, it does happen and no, we weren’t crazy for avoiding lunch meat through this pregnancy!) Her son has very mild cerebral palsy but is otherwise just fine. One of the best things we were told was that no matter what happens, no matter how hard things get, you will rise to the occasion. The mother who said this has twin girls who were born at 29 weeks, one of whom has cerebral palsy. She said that when you are a mother to a NICU baby, you just have the strength to handle whatever you are thrown. Her girls came home on heart monitors and feeding tubes (something we likely won’t need to do) but she was so happy just to have them home, no matter how much she had to work to do. No matter what comes up, you just handle it and keep moving on. One of our nurses told us today that we didn’t have to be there every day and that it was OK to not come in at all some days. I was horrified at the thought since our plan is to be there 9-9 every day, and the moms there told us that they spent 12 hours per day EVERY day at the bedside and that we aren’t crazy for wanting to do the same. (Phew!) I just can’t imagine not being there for them, and if something were to happen I would just be so upset. We are participating in their cares as much as possible, mostly just taking their temperatures and changing their diapers. I think most women know how to change a diaper, but no matter how many you’ve changed, it doesn’t prepare you for the terror of changing a 2 lb baby! They are just so tiny! They invite us to participate in weighing them now, so we get to pick them up while they zero out the scale in their beds. They get over stimulated so easily, so it’s nice to have times every 3-4 hours when we can interact with them without the goggles, phototherapy lights, positioning aides and everything else. We are just so in awe of these little people… we like to think about the fact that one day these kids will go to prom. They will play sports (or act, or play piano, or whatever!) and will go on field trips and sleepovers… We are moms now, it’s incredible. We love them endlessly, breathlessly, just more than we can explain. Sorry to squeeze three days into one post, we will try to update quick little developments each evening after we leave the NICU for the day! Thanks again to all of your for your unending support and love. Harper and Elliott don’t know how lucky they are!! ❤ Devan and Ashley

NICU Day Two

It’s been almost two days since these littles made the decision to come out when they damn well pleased! It is now NICU day three, but we haven’t been in to see them yet today. NICU Day Two was November 9th, 2014.

– Harper –


Miss Harper is still intubated. After the bleeding in her lungs stopped, they did a repeat platelet count and it was completely normal. She’s not having any trouble with bleeding right now, so we can relax on that front. She has jaundice, so she is undergoing phototherapy (I think she looks like a cabaret singer with that spotlight on her!)


She wasted absolutely NO time catching up with her brother and flipping the bird. That makes both babies officially vulgar and hilarious like their moms within 24 hours of their births. Nicely done, the apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree!


She’s not the smallest baby in our “pod” (5 babies are being treated in our pod, separated by curtains) but her veins are still so small that they are wanting to place a PICC line to save her from having her IVs go bad over and over. She isn’t receiving feedings yet, but instead she is receiving TPN which is specialized nutrition that is administered through her IV. She’s getting a customized amount of nutrients to meet her needs. Once her breathing is stable, they will insert an NG tube to feed her Ashley’s pumped collostrum. She hasn’t had a bath yet because she has been so sensitive to every little movement, and they want to avoid doing anything to her that could lead to more distress. Even without a bath, we can see that Harper is a blonde and her hair appears to be nice and curly. The nurses have started letting us participate in her care every four hours, so we got to change a diaper and take her temperature yesterday.


During her care, she opened her eyes for us so we could see her pretty face without her sunglasses. (She looks a little inconvenienced!)


She stayed pretty stable through the night, and the nurse said that she didn’t do much for her at all. Rest is the key right now.


– Elliott –


Elliott had a rough night on Saturday and had to be intubated early in the morning on Sunday. He is working very hard to breathe, you can tell by the way his chest pulls in when he takes a breath. He was intubated and given surfactant, which will help his lungs to function properly. He does really well when he’s laying on his tummy, and when the doctor came by last night he doing well enough for her to write an order for extubation this morning at 5:30am.


Unfortunately, he didn’t do well through the night. He was still continuing to struggle and they did raise up his oxygen level through the vent. He is really running the show at this point, we just have to wait for him to be ready to come down off the vent and onto NIPPV (the type of respiratory support he was on before being intubated). We were able to participate in his care as well, changing diapers and taking temperatures. Ashley sat with him and talked to him and was actually able to get his eyes to open as well, so we were able to see both twins’ cute little eyes! He hasn’t had a bath yet either, but we can tell that he has nice dark hair.








Our moms came by and got to watch the babies receive their care, and my sister Sarah came by last night to visit them as well. We are expecting a lot of visitors today, lots of people are exited to meet these kids! Ashley and I really can’t wait to hold them… It’s frustrating to see them there and not be able to just scoop them up and snuggle them. Their nervous systems are still developing, and any type of stroking of their skin is very unpleasant to them. All we can do is rest our hands gently on them for now, but we should be able to hold them in a few days. We are hoping that they can be extubated within a few days as well.

The good thing about all of this is that everyone is on the same page and agrees that there is nothing happening here that is uncommon. 32 weeks is very early, and they have a lot of catching up to do. We feel very lucky, especially because the other babies in our pod are not as big and healthy as ours. The goal for discharge for them is still looking at about 35-36 weeks adjusted, which is 3-4 weeks from now (Thanksgiving-ish!) We can’t wait to get our hands on them and never let go.

Ashley is having a pretty rough time, she’s having a lot of pain and discomfort coupled with the stress of having two sick babes and having to travel back and forth from the NICU to visit with them. She spent a lot of time standing at their bedsides yesterday, and it took a lot out of her. She’s been very resistant to taking painkillers since she’s pumping, but everyone involved in their care has agreed that the risk to the babies is minimal and it’s in her best interest to get some relief and spend some more time with the babies. On the other end of that, she has been incredibly groggy and is actually sleeping her percocet off right now before we head down to the NICU for the first time today.

We were anticipating going down for the extubation at 5:30 so we woke up and pumped at 5, which sucked considering the fact that we didn’t go to bed until 2. Ashley stayed up for a while and wrote her blog post while I slept for a couple of hours, and now we have swapped and she is taking her nap. We’ve met with the midwife that was present at the c-section today and everything looks great, she is healing well and they believe that vaginal birth would definitely be an option for her in the future because the c-section went so smoothly. We’ve been pumping every 2-3 hours and sending it to the NICU to be frozen, and she’s producing a great amount.

I’ve started the process of getting their birth certificates worked out (we both want to be on them, since we are legally married in AZ now!) and it’s going to be a pain in the ass. Vital records doesn’t even know how to go about this, so I’m waiting for a supervisor to call me back.

The nurses in the NICU are great about calling when there are changes and they haven’t touched base yet today, so the twins should be doing fine. We will head over there as soon as Ashely wakes up and pumps, and tomorrow we will have a NICU day 3 post for you all!

Thanks again to everyone for your support. Don’t forget to like their Facebook page for more frequent pictures and updates!