Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How time flies!

Christmas Day. Babies in birth order: Ricky, Heath, Ty and Leah 4months and 1 week.
Dr. Levy holding Ricky. He was amazed how big he was so he had to feel for himself. Our sickest is now the biggest.

Dr. Levy and the nurses checking out our crew.

Lisa holding her little boyfriend Ricky. That's Cody, one of our care partners in the background.

The babies at 3months old. Lt. to rt: Ricky, Heath, Ty, and Leah

Jenna holding Ty and Leah with Ricky in the boppy.

Picture before we headed out for our 1st visit to peditrician.

Ty snoozin on his boppy.

Sweet smiling Heath.

Laughing Leah.

Ricky crashed out on the boppy.

Tummy time in the boppy.

Jenna with everyone lined up.

Leah snacking on Ricky's arm. Makes a good pacifier.

Super Girl Jenna taking down the evil Mollie.

Me crashed out with my boys, Heath and Ty. Sassy's in the boppy trying to sleep too.

Dr. Tabor with his "Stache" Gotta Love the Man! I feel like I need to buy him a do-rag!

I started this post on December the 9th and am still trying to get it done! I can't believe we've already been home 2months now! Sorry I've gotten so far behind in updating! How time flies when your sleep deprived!! You'll have to excuse my present and past tense all jumbled together since I've tried to finish this many times with no luck! Well, after we left on Thursday the 30th of October, we went for our first visit with the pediatrician the following Tuesday. All was well, we did weight checks and Dr. Ong did an assessment on each one and I tried to summarize our hospital stay until she could look over their discharge papers I gave her. Ricky's weight was 6-6, Heath-6-4, Ty 6-2, and Leah 5-11. All had gained except for Heath and he lost 2 oz. Heath was started on Zantac and Leah was kept at the same dose for now. Heath had given us a scare the night we got home and the next day too, forgetting to breathe once after we got home and then once again the next day. Some good stimulation from Mama made it all better. We took turns staying up all night watching him and got a pulse ox monitor to put on him. We figured he was worn out from the trip and also may be having some reflux issues too, hence the Zantac. He had only one more episode at end of first week on Sat. after he had eaten and nothing sense. What a trip that was getting everyone in the doctors office. I checked to make sure before we got there that we could go straight back and not sit in the lobby. Too many people staring at our parade of car seats coming through. We made it and did good! the next day, Randy and I had to take Leah to Fort Worth for a follow up eye exam for the ROP (there was concern of her Lt eye). then the following Monday, we had to go back to pedi office for rotovirus vaccinations and for Heath and Ty to get blood drawn to recheck their thyroid levels, there's was a little low still when we left the hospital. Leah's eyes looked good but we had to go back this past Wednesday, 12-3, for a recheck. Leah and I left the boys with Aunt Kristi and we headed out! After waiting for over an hour we finally saw the doc and everything looked great! She will followup with the boys in July. The very next day, 12/4, we headed over to Stephenville with the whole crew for 4 month shots and their 2nd Synagis shots (for RSV). My friend Toni and sister Kristi came along to help. All got 4 shots, assessed, weighed and measured. The kiddos had gained more than I expected! Ricky weighed in at 8lbs 12oz! and 20 3/4 inches long, and head circumference of 14 3/4 inches. Heath was 8lbs 2 oz! 21inches long and head was 14 3/4 inches. Ty was 8lbs! 20 1/4 inches long, and head was 14 1/2 inches. Little miss Leah was a whopping 7lbs 2oz!, 19 inches long and head was 14 inches. WOW! I was quite proud of how much weight they had put on. Ricky is my little chunky monkey! The boy loves to eat! Dr. Ong wants them to stay on the Neosure formula. So I breastfeed 1/2 their feeds and then mix the Neosure with breastmilk for their bottles. Ricky and Ty will be referred to Cook's to be checked out for possible hernias. Heath and Ty's thyroid lab work came back normal. Leah had her Zantac increased to 0.3ml q8amd Heath's dose stayed the same. Leah doesn't have projectile puke yet, it just seems to roll our of her like a fountain! Ty on the otherhand has looked a little possessed at times when he pukes. Oh joy! But Dr. Ong wanted to wait before starting him on anything since he had only done it about 3 times. He added another to that yesterday when he got Kristi and me both on the couch. The milk looks like it doubles coming back up!

This past week has been even busier. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 12-9&10. ECI came out to evaluate the babies. ECI is Early Childhood Intervention. We were referred automatically to them because of the babies being preemies. Right now they have been placed in their follow up plan until they get a little older and then they will be re-evaluated to see if they have any needs to be addressed (need for physical therapy, speech, etc). Then on Thursday, 12-11, we loaded up the gang to head to Cook's for their follow up brain MRI's. This is one last look to see if there were any bleeds. The MRI shows it better than the head sonograms they first received. Everything went great. They called me the day before and said we weren't going to sedate them because then they would have to stay overnight since they were still so young. So we had to try to sleep deprive them and hold off on their next feeding until right before they went into the MRI scanner so they would be more apt to fall asleep and stay asleep through the scan. And Low and behold, it all worked out! I took Leah in first because she was still asleep from the ride over. She woke up a little when we were positioning her, but gave her her pacy and wrapped her snug in a warm blanket and back to sleep she went. She didn't wiggle once! While she was scanning, Ricky was getting fed and then I came back dropped Leah off and picked him up. And that's they way it went down the line, Ty and then Heath. We started around 12:30 and finished about 2:45. the MRI tech said she had never had to do 4 babies in a row and it go that smooth! Answered prayer! Then we headed upstairs to see the nurses and see if we could catch Dr. Levy. Jada, one of the child life specialists had come down and picked up preemie clothes I had brought for them to use or give away and some chocolate popcorn I had made for them to munch on! It was great to see some of the nurses who took care of our little ones. We also got to visit with Dr. Levy. He of course said they looked awesome! I got tickled at him as he went to look at each one. He had to hold our little chunky monkey Ricky; he was the sickest out of them all at birth. Lots of thanks were given again for them taking such good, loving care of our babies. They helped them grow and thrive and loved on them each day for us too.

Then this past Saturday the 13th, we had a sweet gal volunteer her services and come take pictures of the babies for us. Her name is Chelsea McGowan from Morgan Mill. She did a wonderful job taking family Christmas picture and ones of the babies and sisters. I decked the babies out in Santa suits for the boys and Leah a sweet little red dress with the white fur trim! They were darling!! She will have some of our pictures posted on her new website after the first of the year, McGowan Images. The first of this week has been quieter. Had to run Jenna to the doctor on Monday the 15th. Her eyes were swollen so bad from allergies but I had to make sure it wasn't pink eye since many had been sent home with it at school. She was fine, just bad allergy eyes. The next day, Tuesday, Jenna had her school Christmas program. They did a great job! Then on Thursday the 18th, Jenna had her class Christmas party after lunch and then they were out on Friday for Christmas break!

One thing I haven't mentioned was how the boys have been working hard for the past 2 months to finish up the add on to the house. Randy and his brother, Lance laid the tile in the new bathroom, the hallway and now the half bath off the kitchen (was the old full bath until we took out the shower so we could put up a wall for the room to have a closet. Randy and my brother in law, Brad had been bustin it, framing walls, fixing the bath, you name it -they were doing it. A volunteer from our church, Don Gilbreath was also in the mix doing the electrical end of everything. By the end of this week we were ready for carpet!! I got it ordered from the Hico Building Center. Thank you Mike and Wendy for your help with great pricing all throughout this project! Our carpet came in Monday and it was out it on Tuesday! We finished before Christmas! One last thanks to everyone who had helped from start to finish on the McLean project. We are truly grateful for all the hard work and hours put in to make it happen. Thanks to all who donated materials, their time. money and resources to get the job done. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful church family and friends to make this happen!!

Randy and I ran and did the last bit of shopping on Sunday. Thanks you Jamie Cozby for sending the cutest little ornament, "Peas in a pod" ! I love it! The first of the week, Jenna was home being a big help to me with the babies. Nana came by on Tuesday to help out with some laundry, clean the new bath so Jenna could get in the tub that night while Jenna and I made cookies for Santa and chocolate covered pretzels. This and check mix was my holiday cookin. Maybe next year I'll figure out a way to get some other goodies cooked. Or it could be the end of my fun baking for a few years! Christmas Eve we had Christmas with MoMo and Randy's brother, Lance and his family; Katy, Quinton, and Abbi. Jenna was in an awful rush for us to go to bed so Santa could come. Christmas morning of course was just us and then my family came over that afternoon for Christmas and Mexican food. It was quite different having everyone come to you instead of us going to everyone elses house. On Friday my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bud came in from Eldorado. they were all meeting up at Granny's for supper and visiting. Saturday 12/27 my cousin Cody and his wife Christy came in with their kiddos for some time at Granny's too. They came by on Saturday with Barbara for a visit. Thank you Barbara for the knitted blankets. She said she finished Leah's between San Angelo and here, but she got it done!

Today, the 31st Jenna and I ran to Stephenville while Kristi and Mollie came to babysit. I had waited to the very last day to get my eyes checked so I could use my vision insurance that I had paid on all year long! The we ran by the hospital. I plan to go to work on Tuesday while Kristi comes and stays with the kiddos. We'll see how it goes. I'm already getting a little perplexed about the whole thing! I have such a wonderful family at work too! Those sweet guys gave us diapers for Christmas, not to mention everything else they've already done for us. I'm truly blessed to call these sweet people my friends! I also need to say thanks to all the ladies who've fixed us meals and have some to help feed a baby and help around my house. I'm oh so grateful! It was a quite New Years Eve at our house. We watched a movie and tried to stay awake after feeding the babies to watch the ball drop. Jenna roused to watch the ball drop and was a little made when she realized it was New Years Eve and we didn't do anything. The girls had been going to MoMo's for New Years the past couple of years. January 2nd we had to take the babies in for rotovirus and synagis vaccinations/checkup. I thought I had seen a possible hernia on Heath too and Dr. Ong confirmed that it looked like a little one. Same as the other 2, right inguinal hernias. So we are going the 9th to see Dr. Vaughan. You won't believe what the little chunky monkey's are weighing in at! Ricky is 11lbs 2oz and 23 3/4in long; Heath is 10lbs 1oz and 21 1/4in.; Ty is 9lbs 3oz and 21 3/4 in.; and Leah is 8lbs 13 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. How they've grown! Ty is now on Zantac too for his projectile spit ups, Heath and Leah stayed the same on their doses. So all looked great except finding the hernia on Heath. I'm hoping that if he needs surgery then they'll put them all on the 15th. If they can't I plan on rescheduling to a day they can all be done. We're making one trip! Especially since we have to stay overnight. I went to work on Tuesday the 6th while my sister, Kristi cane and stayed with the babies. My grandmother also came over to help with feeds. All went well, Kristi and I both survived. I got a little panicy the night before but all went well. I warned by manager KK, that I wouldn't be on time and she was ok with that and said I could leave if something came up. But I lasted all day. It was good to be with my friends at work but also weird not to be home with my chickies. Love my sista and my family at work! They've all been soooo good to me! So tomorrow the 9th Heath and I travel to the Dr. at Cook's to see what the game plan is. Randy's mom and volunteers LaDonna and Cathy will be here in the morning and my mom joins in after she gets off at noon.

Now I'll talk a little about what it's like to be the mom of 4 sweet miracles.

What an amazing first 2 months its been at home! Its been a little stressful at times, but for the most part everything has been going great! Do I sleep much? Yes and No. The first 2 weeks I may have slept an hour or two a night. Then I went to at least 3 hours, now I get 5-6. Am I tired? Yes, that's why I drink a pot of coffee each morning! But I think my body has adapted well (my mom keeps waiting for me to collapse!)! The first week the grandmas took vacation and helped out. I had volunteers come during the week. They help feed babies and get housework done. but for the most part, I'm it! Our feeding schedule in the beginning was every 3 hours 8-11-2-5, etc. I would breastfeed 2 while the other 2 got bottles. It's still about the same but the times seem to be ever changing. They occasionally go 4 hours between feeds. After the first month I started them on a cereal bottle at night. They were so cranky in the evenings. This seems to have helped but we still occasionally have a cranky/colicky spell after they eat around 6:30pm. When they first came home they were eating around 2oz a piece. Ricky and Heath are up to 5oz and Ty and Leah eat 4-41/2 oz plus half a bottle of cereal at noon and a 4oz bottle of cereal last bottle of the night. They've for the most part have been really good babies. Leah really started cooing and baby talking at the beginning of December. The boys have gradually followed by middle to end of the month. I call Heath and Leah smiley these days. Always smiling. They all love looking up at the things hanging above their changing table. Ty has really gotten more expressive and smiling more in the mornings. He was our serious one. Ricky is cooing and smiling up a storm too. We got the ocean wonders lights and sounds for their beds. Jenna loved hers, wore it out so I thought it would keep them occupied too. they love them especially Ricky. He'll lay in their and get his arms and legs going and just talks up a storm to it. Randy has given Ty the nickname "Screamin Steven". He's the squealer of the bunch. Sometimes all he wants is to be put on his belly, alot of the times he wants you to pick him up. Spoiled! Him and Heath especially like to be upright so they can look around. they are really holding their heads up good, getting very strong and watching/mesmerized by the fan and lights now. Some days are crazy and I get absolutely nothing done. I getting to where I do what I can. There's always another day to try to get it done. I'm trying to get back in the swing of cooking too. It's hard to find time for that also. Yesterday I started fixing a casserole at noon, but it got done! No day is ever the same with 4 little ones running the show! Sorry this post is so long, like I said I've been writing it since 12-9!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Home

For those who do not know, all the babies are home! All four came home together on October 30th. I'm so type A about keeping things in order, that I'm going to back track from my last post, but I'll try to be short and get everyone up to speed of what's happening at home as of now. On Saturday the 25th, we went up to be with the babies after Jenna got through with mini cheerleading camp. Randy's grandparents also came up to visit a bit. All the babies were doing great but needing a little O2 during their am feeds. On Sunday , we visited again because I was having to work on Monday. The baby's weights as of 10-26 were: Ricky:6lbs 2.17oz; Heath: 6lbs 6.18oz; Ty: 5lbs 10.4oz; and Leah:5lbs 5oz. All the baby's were sleepy today and made it hard to get them to eat. Dr. Levy came in to round that afternoon when we were there. He asked about their feeds. I know he was itching to see if he could start sending some of them home. But due to lazy feeding, no orders today to room in. On Monday, I had to stay home to work. No one needed O2 with any of their feeds today. The baby's lengths were Ricky, Ty and Leah:18.9inches (48cm) and Heath:19.3inches (49cm). No new orders today. Heath still slow with feeds and having to be gavaged at end of feed because he runs out of time to nipple (they get 30min. to finish a bottle). On Tuesday morning Kristi went with me to see the baby's. I told her on the way up that I felt like Dr. Levy would probably try to send at least 2 of them home by the weekend. It seemed like he was wanting to Sunday but couldn't yet because they had needed a little O2 the other day during the feeds. Lisa Bell, one of the baby's primary nurses was going to ask Dr. Levy when he came in if we could get a big bed to put all of them in one. when he got there to make rounds, Lisa said, "I've got a question to ask you." Dr. Levy said , "Yes, they can go home." We were all a little took back. Lisa said "that's not what I was going to ask you, but OK." He decided to d/c the )2 sat monitors on everyone. We would get to room in the next day with all of them during the day and probably only with Ricky and Leah that night. We would do car seat test on all of them tomorrow. If they pass that and do good overnight then he would send Ricky and Leah home first (they were on same feeding schedule) and them Ty and Heath to follow in a couple of days depending on how Heath was eating. The boys would get their circumcisions tomorrow. Heath would have his NG tube pulled and see how he did without gavaging the last of his feeds. He could feed as needed and not just every 3 hours if that's what it took to get his milk in but if he took less than 20cc left after 2 consecutive feeds, then he would have to have the NG tube put back down. Dr. Levy also ordered to change to 22 calorie to add to the breastmilk so I could use the Similac Neosure formula powder to do that at home. At home I could breastfeed 4 of the 8 feeds so that they would get the added calories in the bottles. I couldn't believe it! I might have 2 of my babies home by Thursday! My mind started going crazy trying to think of everything I needed to get done and pick up before they came home! I knew the day would be coming soon, but it still was like a dream when he said it. Take them home. Yes, that's right, I'm going to get to finally take them home! So after lunch off Kristi and I went running here and there getting things done. I even went ahead and got Jenna a dress for Christmas program at school and winter coat at Target since who knows if I'll be out any before they are needed! We finally got back to Hico around 9 o'clock at night! Wednesday morning the 29th I headed to Stephenville for last minute errands while Randy went to Glen Rose for an interview at Comanche Peak. We loaded up which took some doing with 4 carseats and how to get them all to fit in the trailblazer. But we did it and off we went! When I called that am for an update, everyone had done good that evening. Dr. Levy was still watching Heath, possibly go ahead and let him room in too . He wrote orders for Ty to room in overnight and plan to d/c home with Ricky and Leah. It was still up in the air about Heath. They had done the circs. at noon which I was glad they were done before I got there. Kate, one of our care partners, who was also a wonderful artist made the sign for the kiddos.

Monica, one of our primary RN's with Leah.

Janet, one of our night primary RN's with Leah.

Ricky and Leah spooning.

Heath and Ty cuddled together.

Big Sis Ashley and Ricky.

Jenna changing Ty's diaper.

Wednesday morning, carseats ready to go.

Heath and Ty doing their carseat test.

Ricky and Leah doing their carseat test.

As soon as we got their we finished feeding the babies and started their carseat tests. they had to be able to sit in their carseats without any apnea spells or drop in O2 sats. they all did great and passed the first go around. After that was done we were moved back to the largest of the observation rooms and still had to scoot the bed over against the wall to make room for all of us and the 2 cribs. So before shift change we were settled in for the rest of the day and evening with the babies. Dr. Levy and I had talked before about how we would room in with the babies. I'm glad he decided to let us have all of them at once (even Heath got to room in overnight after all) and be done. Heath got to room in also but they kept in on the monitor. So we were on our own with the babies! We maybe slept an hour the whole night. At about 3am Ricky initiated Randy with a big squirt of poop on his shirt. Glad I packed him an extra one! We only saw the nurse when she came to bring us bottles and to do their weights and assessments at the beginning of the shift. They moved all of our stuff out of our bay so I was sure hoping we got to go home.

Me working on getting Heath to eat.

The beds squeezed in the corner of the room.

Sign on our room.

Thursday morning, all the babies together again on the bed.

THE MOST WONDERFUL NEONATOLOGIST, DR. LEVY!!! We received such wonderful care from Dr. Levy, his partners, and the nurse practitioners. He was always down to earth and told me straight out what I needed to hear and know. They always kept us well informed and didn't mind me bugging them (which I did alot). And yes, we had the best nurses too!! I knew my babies were loved and well taken care of when I couldn't be there. They always asked if we had any questions and didn't mind all the ones asked. Our nurses were very personable. I enjoyed getting to know them all. They are like family to us, which did make it hard to leave them, even though we had a wonderful reason too. I hope to stay in contact with them so they can continue to watch the quads grow. We'll be back at Cook's December 11th for the follow up head MRI's (last check for past bleeds or anything else) so we plan to visit everyone then.

The quads other primary nurses, Elizabeth and Lisa. They had to have their last fix one last time before we headed home.

Dr. Levy came in to round about 11am. He came to our little room and did one last full assessment on the babies. Then he says they look great and can go home. I said, "Even Heath?" He said, "yes, but just keep a close watch on his eating." I'm tearing up just thinking and reliving this day in my mind. He said we could take them ALL HOME. HOME. My voice began to tremble as I tried to hold back tears. "Thank you for taking such great care of my babies." I had to hug him. He also was amazed at how well our children have done, even Ricky and Heath who were so sick in the beginning. Randy and I both were crying when he left the room. They all had grown and thrived, overcoming the obstacles of coming so early. Once again, answered prayers. God never ceases to amaze me and his power to make all things possible.
It took us all day to get out the door. Lisa came in just to do the babies discharge. The poor girl had like 4 hours of charting to do just for the discharges! Randy had to make 4 trips down to the car with a packed cart each time. He did some major packing to get it all in. they had to have their Synagis shots that afternoon before we left. this is a new vaccination for RSV. RSV for us is a cold. RSV for a preemie means they could be back at Cook's on a vent in no time. So this should give everyone an idea why we will be in quarantine till spring! the pulmonologist, Dr. Hadeed, came by that morning also and said we didn't have to follow up with him at this time. If we needed him, call him; if not, take care! All the babies go see the pediatrician on 11-4 and Leah goes to get her eyes examined the next day 11-5. The boys don't have to follow up with eye exams till July. Even some of our nurses who weren't working that day and ones that were came to see the babies off. I tried to get as many pictures of them as I could and get them to sign the preemie baby books. A bit after 3pm we started getting them situated in their carseats. I'd forgotten how tight you have to get those things! The day we left Ricky weighed 6lbs 4.25oz; Heath weighed 6lbs 6oz; Ty 5lbs 15.5oz, and Leah 5lbs 9oz.

Then the parade/caravan began shedding tears along the way!

We made it out the NPICU doors and headed to the elevator.

Smile girls! It takes a crew to get everyone downstairs.

Off the elevator as everyone stops and stares at our caravan or carseats!

Last photo before we walk out the doors!

Babies first time outside!

The fun begins; loading the carseats.

First in, Ricky Shane.

Second, Heath

3rd, Ty

Last but not least, Leah.

Loaded and ready to go! Bye everybody! And off we went, home with our babies! I sat between Leah and Ty so I could keep an eye on everyone. They were so tiny in the carseats! We made it fine without any problems.

We're home!!

We didn't tell Jenna we were possibly bringing home the babies so we could surprise her. She thought she had to spend the night with Nana the night before so we could take the carseats up for their test. Doesn't she look surprised! She was so excited to see them all at home.

Together again in our own bed!! Truly God's little blessings!