Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Nursery..

I wanted to share with everyone pics of the nursery murals that my Mom did while I was in the hospital. She did such an amazing job. I had asked her to consider painting the nursery early in my pregnancy...little did I know at the time I caused her some stress over this. I knew she would do a good job, everything she touches is always beautiful. If for no other reason that she will work until it is perfect! As ya'll can see she is extremely talented and put a lot of love into the paintings. Even knowing how talented Mom is, I never imagined it would turn out as great as it did.

She also put the cribs together, made curtains, decorated the room, put the bedding together, got all of the laundry done, and pretty much completely organized the entire closet. On top of all of that, she did our laundry, cooked Brian breakfast in the mornings, and brought me things to the hospital. I could have NEVER gotten any of this done on my own. Prior to going in the hospital I had slowed down ALOT. Sitting or standing for any amount of time either caused pain...or contractions. After getting home from the hospital I could barely walk across the room, much less decorate a room! She really took over, saw what needed to be done, and got it done. As I've said before, I have the greatest Mom in the whole world. While she couldn't take away any of the discomfort or uncertainty I was feeling...she did what she does best. She put my mind at ease...I knew that when the time came to bring these little guys home everything would be ready and perfect. And it certainly was. Check it out for yourselves...

This is Ben's mural that goes over his bed. Notice the "Welcome to the Jungle" sign...quite fitting, huh?
Here's Jack's alligator. Pretty fitting for his personality I'd say!
And here's our little Monkey's picture for over her bed. Notice the tiara and purse! You can't tell from this picture, but they are done in sparkly cute!
Here's the palm tree, complete with 3-D monkeys sitting on coconuts. You should have seen the fits that those coconuts gave my Mom. Apparently it's pretty difficult to crack one?
Another big thanks goes out to Nana who made all of the babies' bed's bumper pads and dust ruffles. Each baby had a different color and material. They look so good in the room and with the cribs. She also made covers for a rocking chair and a glider...We sure do use those a lot.

I can't tell you how many hours Mom must have spent not only on setting up the room, but getting the whole house ready. She made trip after trip to various stores to make returns for me and buy necessities. She even put together "Command Central" downstairs in our room. This is where the babies will be located for a few months before they get to enjoy their new digs upstairs...

All the mental preparation in the world can't get you ready for having premature babies. Even all those days and hours spent in bed at home or at the hospital thinking about what was to come couldn't really get my mind ready for the emotions I would feel the days and weeks after they were born. I knew they would be little, I knew they would have to stay for a period of time in the NICU, and I knew that they would have to work on simple things like feeding and temperature regulation. I thought I was fully prepared, but now I know that there is just no way to be prepared for it all. Your heart just goes out to them when you see them in their little isolettes, or stuck under those stupid phototherapy lights. You worry about how they are feeling, what is happening when you aren't there, and how all of this will affect them in the future. You want to make it all better...and quick! It's so hard to leave them up at the hospital, but there's just nothing that you can do but let them rest and grow and get strong.

I imagine this is how my Mom felt the whole time. She gave me the best gift in the whole world...peace of mind. She let me just worry about myself and the babies and she took care of all of the things that I couldn't. I know there is no way I could ever repay her. I just home I'm half the Mom she is. I know I've got pretty big shoes to fill.

On a less sappy note, I thought I would leave ya'll with some humor. The babies are getting so big! They got a clean bill of health last week from the pediatrician. In one week they had all gained a 1/2 pound. Jack is up to 6 lbs 1 oz, Lily 5 lbs 10 oz, and Ben 5 lbs 4 oz. This week both Lily and Jack are out of preemie diapers... They are even wearing a few newborn outfits because the preemie ones are too small - YEAH! So, I go to get Jack out of the crib and I find this. Apparently he didn't have enough room in his outfit so he tried to get out. Pretty funny, huh?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry (late) Christmas from the family...

Don't worry, we haven't fallen off the face of the earth...we've just been extremely busy. Between feeding, diapering, laundry, napping, making formula, sneaking in a quick shower, washing bottles, making bottles, holding babies, and pacifier chasing I have really fallen behind on my posting duties. I have, however, missed it! It's funny, as each day goes by I think about all of the things I want and need to write about...and all of the sudden the day is gone in a blur. Then days turn into a week and then into 2 weeks. I then begin to feel overwhelmed about all of the things I want to say and then don't write because I worry I will miss something. The only way to solve this is to here goes.

I have many stories to tell over the past few weeks. Alas, you will have to wait, though. I want to talk about Christmas! This was the babies' very first Christmas. Poor things, they had no idea what they were in for! Lots of dressing up and pictures. As you can see from the picture below they were none too happy about their photo shoot! O.K., really it was just Jack who wasn't happy... I wonder what he's thinking? "Stop the flashes... Get this stupid hat off of me... Why am I always stuck in the middle??? Where's my trusty blue pacifier??? Stop this madness!!!" Meanwhile Ben is trying (unsuccessfully) to cover his ear and Lily is trying to get away from the screaming!

We had a great holiday. What with the RSV scare we weren't able to leave the house with the babies...but never fear, again the party was brought to us...on a small scale. We had close family over on Sunday for presents and barbecue. Thanks to everyone for making the trek our way to bring us Christmas cheer! I must say, re-integrating myself back into the real world sure has been nice. Brian and I both missed Thanksgiving, for obvious reasons, and we were extra excited about having everyone together and celebrating our little Christmas miracles.

One member of our family was REALLY missed. Aunt Debbie was sick, and she was so worried about contaminating our house that she stayed away. Thank you so much for sacrificing the fun time... I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that she cared so much about all of us to keep her germs away! I must admit I've become a bit neurotic about germs coming into the house. It was a bit of a tough decision to have everyone over, but all followed our hand washing and hand sanitizing rules! We also tried to keep the babies back in their cribs, much to their dismay...they REALLY like to be held and cuddled with after their evening meal. (I mean the babies, not the family...come to think of it, maybe the family too?) Thanks to Nana and Grandmother for cleaning up the kitchen while we tended to the kiddos. Nana even found some laundry to fold!

Christmas Eve was spent with our parents. Mom cooked a wonderful Mexican meal and we all spent some good quality time together. We even had a special treat...Brian's parents moved the kiddos up to their room to do the night and early morning feeds. We actually got a full night's sleep. Well, Brian did anyway, I still had to get up and pump in the middle of the night. Oh well, my day will come. We had more presents and breakfast in the morning...not to mention the famous Christmas photo shoot...

We got good old "fusspants" to stop crying, finally! Maybe one of the others was pinching him when we weren't looking?
So, here's wishing you all a wonderful, but late, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The First Pediatrician Visit

All of these years Brian just thought it took a lot to get me out of the house. I can't tell you how many nights on the town began in arguments about just how long could it possibly take for me to get ready to leave. Apparently in his opinion too long, I guess? Hey-I just wanted to look good, can't help it if it took a couple of hours sometimes, right?

And then we had kids. Three of them to be exact. Three tiny little sweet babies. Then he learned just how long it can REALLY take to get out of the house. Is this my revenge? Maybe so.

Our morning started bright and early at 5:45. That is of course after feeding from 12:00-1:00 a.m. and 3:00-4:00 a.m. So we were working on very little sleep to begin with. We fed, I took a shower and got ready, we prepped bottles for the day, packed everything they could possibly need, had some coffee, changed the babies, lined up the car seats, had some more coffee, dressed the babies, fed the babies again, got the babies in the car seats, cleaned up spit-up, re-checked four times to make sure we had everything, called for directions, re-checked a fifth time and realized I forgot to put bottles in the bag, and loaded us all in the car. ON TIME! Of course, little did I realize that it would take 20 minutes to drive just down the road because I am so paranoid of driving around our little treasures! So we were five minutes late, but no big deal.

Brian waited in the car with the kids while I went in to fill out the paperwork. Little did I know at the time that I had locked him in the back of the car...oops. So, we've all filled out paperwork at the Dr.'s office, right? Try filling it out for 3 PEOPLE! My hand almost fell off. Not to mention that it took about 30 minutes of incredibly messy and fast handwriting.

We waited in the car for them to come get us. Apparently you get the VIP treatment when you are super-cool triplets! I must admit I felt like part of the entourage. The nurse came out to get us and ushered straight in the back door and to the room. No waiting in a sub-standard, germ-infested waiting room for us!

So we met with the pediatrician, Dr. Hopkins, who we really liked. He spent a lot of time with all of the babies and was really excited to have them as patients. Who wouldn't be, they are obviously SUPER cute. They had all gained good weight, with Jack over 5 lbs! Crazy, huh? He still seems so little... They got a clean bill of health. AND, he said we could transition them to a 4-hour feeding schedule, which was the best news we had ever heard. Yeah!!! More sleep!

The whole visit lasted...are you ready for this? From the time we got there at 10:20 until the time we left at 1:00! THANK GOODNESS I remembered the bottles...the natives were definitely getting restless. Our next appt is next Tuesday for a weight check and to check out the boys' circumcisions...So we get to do it all over again.

We wanted to get right to that 4-hr feeding schedule so we started it last night. Of course, apparently we didn't discuss it with the kids because they were up all night screaming at us. Good times, so much for more sleep.
Hey guys, is this over yet???

Monday, December 10, 2007

Together at last...

Well, yesterday afternoon we made our last and final visit to the Harris NICU to pick up our last remaining child! That's right....Ben is home!!! So we cut those stinking bracelets off for good..

We got Ben home safe and sound. I drove, much to Brian's dismay... He seemed overly worried that I had somehow completely forgotten how to drive in the past few months. It's amazing how cautious you become with something so precious in the car...and how paranoid you are that everyone around you is either drunk, crazy, or Kamikaze's.

But, we made it home safe and sound and the first thing we did was warm Ben up with extra blankets and put him in the crib with his peeps. This was the first time they had all been together since before their birthday. How sweet is that? We just kept looking at them...and taking pictures of them...and kissing them! The feelings of wonderment abounded! My Mom, Brian's parents, and Nana all got to enjoy this fantastic day with us. We ate, we laughed, we decorated the Christmas tree, but most of all we celebrated our family being together at last. I think this was the best day of my life.
Ben got his first bath at home today...they are going much better these days.

Today we wrapped them all up in their blankets and put them on a Boppy Baby Lounger...That's right, they are so small they all fit on one! Brian and I took picture after picture! Ben is on the left, Jumbo Jack in the middle, and Lily on the right.

Life is so good!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

We busted them out!!!

The word on the street is that we are now the proud, and very scared, owners of two brand new babies. That's right, after a LONG...LONG...LONG...sleepless night Harris Methodist Hospital of Fort Worth has deemed us fit parents and let us take our two little angels home. Great thing they started us off as new parents with no sleep, huh? I'm guessing it's not getting much better, though.
So, rooming in wasn't really all that tough. We checked in at 7:15 last night and they gave us instructions. Pretty simple, actually. You keep the two babies in your "room", and take care of them. Take their temperatures, change them, and feed them every three hours. You also have to write down everything you do. They did give us a break from about 2:30-4:30 a.m. when they took Lily to do her car seat test and let Jack come along to sleep. Of course, I still didn't sleep all that well. I'm convinced they had to search long and hard to find a bed that was actually that uncomfortable. I swear my ribs and back are sore from it today! I must admit, though, I thought they were going to give us some sort of massive instruction list or share with us the secrets of raising babies...but they didn't. What a shame, we probably could use a little advice.

Having fun in our luxury hotel suite...

We heard you could fail if you put them on the bed. Too tempting, you know we had to try....

The pulmonologist came by this morning and said that they weren't really candidates for synagist shots, which is the RSV antibody shot. Bittersweet news, I guess. The good side is that they are really healthy and they don't fall into any of the risk factor categories. The bad news is that they don't get the shot. This means we have to be REALLY careful who comes into our house until Easter. RSV is a very serious illness to babies. It's just a bad respiratory infection to you or I, but it could easily land any of our babies in the hospital. She definitely put the fear in us. So bear with us as our little ones come home and know that we can't wait to show them off, but we want to keep them safe as well. Just think how crazy cute they will be by Easter!

"Hey, I remember you!"
So now we just have little Ben left. I sat next to his crib this morning and I'll admit I got really sad. Of course, I was completely overwhelmed with taking the other two home, but it really got to me that we had to leave him behind. I'm actually getting a little teary now. I know he's not ready, but it just feels a little cold hearted to abandon him like this. We will continue to go up to see him twice per day, me in the morning and Brian in the evening. Brian's actually up there right now. On a really good note, he went into an open crib after we left and they started him on all oral feeds. I pray with all my heart he does well. I know how tired he gets while trying to get all 40 ml of his feed down, and I hope that he finds the energy to be able to do it 8 times per day. He's just a little pokey, but we really want him home with us. It sure would be better to be slow at home. We hope it will be just a matter of days. Everyone did such a stellar job sending their good thoughts toward little Lily...say a little prayer for my Bennie Bear tonight.

"I don't want to leave Ben!!!"

"Adios"....(Clearly ready for her own crib...)

"Don't drop him now!"
"Home at last!" (Can you tell it was a rough night?)

So we've had them home for almost 8 hours now with no major catastrophes. They were fussy because they were hungry when we pulled into the driveway, but we got it under control pretty fast. We grabbed a much needed cat nap this afternoon while they slept. And then we were off again. In all honesty they are really easy right now. Change their diapers and feed them every 3 hours. Pretty simple. They are preemies so all they do is sleep right now, thank goodness! At least they are breaking us in fairly easy. Of course, Jack was circumcised yesterday and he's been a tad bit on the fussy side, but not too bad...all things considered. I think we have the new parent jitters. Afraid to leave the room, constantly checking on them, jumping up to every sound. Afraid of our own shadows!

They don't seem too worried, do they?

I am so thankful to have Brian. It's amazing what a wonderful father he is already. Must be some kind of natural instinct...or GREAT role models. We've had a lot of adventures over the years, but this is sure to be our greatest. I can't think of a better person to have on my side, especially when we are ankle-deep in poopy diapers! I have a feeling this little social experiment will show us a lot about ourselves as well as each other. He's taught me a lot along the way. His kindness, patience, and empathy is what endears me so much to him and watching him with his children makes it all the sweeter...

Good night my sweetest Ben, we love you...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Good News!!!

We just found out yesterday that Jack is ready to room-in! We were planning on rooming in with him tonight and taking him home tomorrow!! I'm so happy I almost can't stand it!

I woke up early and called their nurse to ask a few questions and found out Lily had been put into an open crib and if she could maintain her temp all day then we may room-in with her as well tonight and take them both home. What an amazing blessing!

Please keep little Lily in your hearts today and say a little prayer that she will pass her temp test. We are so ready to get them home and out of the hospital. I'll keep everyone posted..

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Big Boy Bed Already?

Well, Jack has made big progress since my last post. He has now moved out of the isolette and into an open crib! One more step closer to home...

A quick explanation. Isolettes are little enclosed cribs that they use in the NICU. They are used to help babies keep and regulate an appropriate body temperature. The ideal temperature is between 97.9 and 98.9. The first step is to keep a sensor on the babies' skin to see what their skin temp is then adjust the isolette to make sure their body temp stays between those levels. They prefer for the babies to not wear clothes and just stay in a diaper. The next step is for the babies' to maintain their body temperature within the appropriate ranges and adjusting to the air temperature of the isolette. They can wear clothes during this stage. This requires that they do the work. The isolette is then basically turned off and they are monitored to see if they can keep their temps. Then...they make it into open cribs! Friday night both Jack and Lily were put into open cribs. So exciting! Jack is doing great. However, Lily has had a little difficulty keeping her temperature up and had to go back into the isolette yesterday. Not a big deal, she probably just needs to put on a little more weight and they will try it again. I heard today it will most likely be some time this week.

Updates, Updates...

The babies have been moved to a new room. We had our own private suite all week and were extremely spoiled. They had moved us into an isolation room last Monday. It was a tight squeeze, but we were the only ones in the room so it was pretty nice. No other crying babies, monitors going off, or loud noises. We also liked to keep the lights down... AND play soft music! Yesterday we were moved to room 2 which is a large open room with quite a few babies who are all working on feeding and growing. We all have been adjusting to the additional noise and craziness that goes on in there. Oh well, I just keep thinking that we are so close to home!
All of the babies have been gaining weight this last week. Ben is still the smallest, but he's on his way up. All had lost weight from birth, which is to be expected. Apparently life out in the big world is pretty hard. Jack is up to his birth weight finally, at 4 lbs 3 oz, Lily is around 3 lbs 12 oz and Ben is 3 lbs 10 oz. Both Ben and Jack's bilirubin levels have been down and neither have had to go under the "lights" again. Ben almost had to last week as his levels had climbed to 8.9, but he got a pass from the neonatologist that day and the next day it had started to drop...Way to go little guy! All of their IV's are out, so no more big padding on their hands or feet. Of course, this just leaves them with two working hands to pull feeding tubes out of their noses! Which is what happened in the pics below!
Little Bennie....
Mischievous Lily...can't you see it on her face???

Jumbo Jack....Grumpy face, huh?

Feeding is our BIG goal right now. Jack is a little ahead of the game...our little piglet. They are fed 8 times per day. He is up to oral feeds (bottle) every feed as of today. THEN...the tube comes out and he will probably we on his way home very soon. YEAH!!! I can't wait. Lily is being fed by bottle 2 out of three times per day. This means that she is fed by bottle two times in a row then by tube the third, then two times by bottle and one time by tube, and so on. Her next step will be feeds every time. Ben is up to being fed by bottle three times per day. He's still pretty inconsistent. Sometimes he takes his bottle like a champ, and sometimes he sleeps and won't suck at all. Life is hard being the little guy. Hopefully, she Lily will be less stressed back in the isolette and will gain weight faster. Then, out into the hard, cruel world again! Ben and Lily are having some problems with spitting up, but it's getting better... Here's a pic of Lily attempting to burp...
After one or all of the babies are ready to come home, they have to pass a car seat test. This is where they sit upright in a car seat for 90 minutes with no problems with heart rate or breathing. I don't think this will be an issue because none of them have had any problems so far with this. Then, Brian and I will be required to "room-in" overnight to take care of whoever is ready to go home. This is where they just sit back and let us do all of their care...I guess this is our big test as to our ability to be good parents! (On that note, I updated the prayer list.)

Unfortunately the chances are really high that we will not be taking all of the babies home together. Most likely Jack will be first, then Lily, then Ben. Then the real fun begins. Juggling babies at home and at the hospital. Oh well, we can do anything for a little while, and the end result is SO worth it. I can't believe we're getting so close. I long more than anything to have my family together at home...I'll be glad to say goodbye to hospital life as I'm fairly sick of it. On a really happy note, our fuzzy baby came home yesterday! After over a month Kita is back and happy as ever.

Other than that, life is rolling right along. I'm feeling so much better, almost human. I saw Dr. Tabor this week and he took me off the blood pressure meds I had been on. I'm also off of all of the pain meds, just the occasional tylenol or ibuprofen. I'm still suffering from being incredibly out of shape, but that gets better every day. Quite a change from being pregnant and each day getting more difficult. Not getting a whole lot of sleep, but not sure that will be getting any better. Pumping has taken over my life...especially in the wee hours of the morning. I never knew how soundly Brian slept at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the morning...he looks like a little angel... (Did you catch the sarcasm and jealousy???)

Funny story of the day....

I have officially been initiated into the world of being a novice Mom. Yesterday I went to change Jack's diaper while in a hurry and forgot to take certain precautions...I found that he had left me a "present" and was busy cleaning and scrubbing his bottom to get rid of the evidence. About halfway through the cleaning I feel something warm and wet hit my left hand...I looked up and there was a steady stream hitting Jack squarely in the face. Served him right, I guess...little stinker!

Immediately after that fiasco I go to change Lily's diaper. She had left no "presents" for me. She was however, tooting. So, I laughed and made a comment about our little "tooter". About that time a steady stream of extremely runny poop shot out of her bottom. It went halfway up my arm and even hit the end of the crib. I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't has a hold of her legs she would have been jet propelled off the other end. I clean her off, go to put a diaper on her and get poop all over the new clean diaper from my hand. I actually had to call the nurse over to wipe all of the poop off of my hand. I then try another clean diaper and she pooped in that diaper as I was putting it on her. I am then laughing pretty hard...a real problem for someone who was just cut open via c-section. I then managed to get the last diaper on at a freakish speed...