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 –
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!