Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks

We've seen so much progress in the last few weeks, Rich and I keep taking stock of just how incredibly lucky we are. Both girls are in open cribs, both girls are nursing, and both girls are working on being able to come home.

Sadie's over five pounds these days, and Zoe's over four. The doctors think that Sadie could be home within the next two weeks and we're hoping Zoe's not too far behind her. To come home, the girls need to keep gaining weight, maintain their body temperature, keep their heart rate and oxygen levels from dropping for at least a week, and take all of their food by mouth. At this point, the only thing keeping Sadie from coming home is that she just doesn't have the energy to take all of her food by mouth yet, but she is really working on it, especially when we remind her just how much her parents cannot wait to bring her home! We're not positive, but we're almost certain that the thought of coming home sounds like a pretty good idea to Sadie too!

While we're quite certain Sadie is coming home first, we don't think it will be too long before her little sister comes following right behind her. As she's done throughout this journey, Zoe continues to surprise everyone at the hospital with all of her accomplishments. At this point though, Rich and I aren't that surprised by everything she does because we're perfectly aware of how strong and amazing she is! In fact, we often refer to her as our little tough girl, and we're pretty sure that if she were old enough to form sentences, she'd probably agree.

Seriously though, neither of us need the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to remind us of just how lucky we are. Every second of every day that we are in the NICU, we are aware. And we are so grateful. Grateful that Zoe has made it to, and through, her surgery. Grateful that Sadie needs only to work on getting bigger. Grateful that we have such wonderful friends and family who have done so much to make this journey easier for us, donating or lending us every piece of baby gear we could imagine, making us dinners, and sending us helpful gifts that encourage us to be stronger. While these last few months have been a tremendous struggle for us, there are many days that we feel as if we have definitely hit the jackpot. We have each other, we have our two little baby girls, and we have amazing friends and family. What more could we ask for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rich and Debbie

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Update with Photos

The days are somehow growing longer and shorter at the same time. While we are still spending hours and hours each day at the hospital, (and if that isn't exhausting enough, Rich's hours and hours at the hospital don't start until he is done working for the day) it seems that the critical, life-threatening moments are coming fewer and farther between KNOCK ON WOOD a thousand times. The days that turned into all-nighters at the hospital for some type of emergency are more frequently being replaced by all-nighters at home, usually getting in sometime after eleven and then getting up every 2.5 hours to pump and call the nurses to check in on the babies.

In fear of jinxing ourselves, I should say that the bumps in the road have not entirely vanished. For example, little Sadie spit up last week and couldn't breathe while she was doing it, so that turned into a bit of a terrifying emergency that involved an oxygen bag and a nurse on high alert . . . and that's about as far as my mind can go on that one. And just a few days before that, Zoe's IV infiltrated, which means the vein in which the IV was in had broken down and all her meds when straight into her leg. We didn't find out until I got to her bedside and saw that her leg was almost three times its normal size and she was writhing in pain. That was horrible but it didn't end there. Before she had fully recovered, the nurses put in another IV, but it went bad a few hours later (those veins are SO tiny) and then the nurses spent over an hour and a half, while Zoe had to lay perfectly still, trying to get a central line in. Notwithstanding their best efforts, they were unsuccesful and little Zoe had to spend the rest of the night getting poked repeatedly while they moved her IVs around. But all was resolved when they finally got the central line in the next morning and Zoe's pain and discomfort vanished (for the time being).

As time goes on, it does seem like days like these are spacing themselves out and the babies are starting to act more and more just like little babies. Sadie is really working hard on nursing, while Zoe is still focusing her efforts on breathing, but they are both completely and entirely adorable. While we are utterly drained, running back and forth to the hospital every day and completely without sleep, every single second is 100% worth it. We will take this kind of exhaustion any day.

Anyway, enough about us, here are some recent pics of the little babes.

Sadie's over four pounds now so she's gets to move to an open crib soon. In preparation for the move, she gets to wear clothes while they lower the temperature in her isolette. Here's a shot of mom and dad getting her dressed for the very first time--thanks Auntie Christa for being there to commemorate the moment :).

And here she is in this adorable outfit that her nana bought for her:

When she's in her isolette, she keeps warm with this beautiful hat, handmade by her Cousin Judy (thanks Cousin Judy!!):

And here's Zoe in her matching hat, being snuggled up by her nana on her dad's side:

Now that Zoe is no longer hooked up to CPAP, she gets to come out of her isolette more often. She's still a bit sensitive to the world outside her isolette, but there is nothing she loves more than being held by people who love her--while she has her binky. This little girls could not be any happier:

And finally, here's a shot of little Sadie, just because we had to:

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Few Steps Forward and Hopefully No Steps Back

I know it's been too long since we last posted. We've had some very long days in the NICU and have essentially been too exhausted to do much else but sleep when we're home. In a nut shell, all is well. Zoe is off of CPAP (the really uncomfortable oxygen machine) and she's now on a high flow nasal canula; but, she has developed a minor staph infection. Apparently this type of infection is quite treatable and not at all uncommon for hospitalized premature babies, nonetheless, a few of the nurses did a great job of unnecessarily scaring the bejeezus out of us while we were waiting for the cultures to come back. Thus, we had quite a few could-have-been-avoided sleepless nights over the weekend. Thankfully, though, all is well and Zoe is doing much better. She is, however, working pretty hard on this breathing thing (like sometimes she completely forgets that she needs to) so we're just going to have to be patient and keep rooting her on while she works it all out. All in all though, she's doing great. She's getting fed breast milk, she's loving her long-awaited skin to skin time with her parents and she even enjoyed a visit with one of her mommy and daddy's favorite friends today--aka Keri C! Here's a shot of the little one sans ventilator or cpap but with binky!

And here's one of her finally getting some skin to skin time with her mommy:

Sadie is also doing well. She pretty much spends her days working hard on nursing, eating, growing and, of course . . . sleeping: