Tuesday, December 21, 2010

year's end

As we come upon the new year, we are in awe of how much we have to be grateful for. Things were so incredibly different this time last year, and not a day goes by that we fail to remember just how lucky we are.

A little baby named Ava was recently born with a diaphragmatic hernia, just like Zoe. She fought so hard for 47 days, but her body was not able to adjust. I have thought of her parents every single day since Ava passed away, and I have had a very difficult time wrapping my brain around the fact that so many babies born with diaphragmatic hernias die. It absolutely sucks. There is no explanation for why some babies make it and some babies don't and while we are so lucky Zoe survived, it makes me sick to think of how many little ones don't. So, to you Ava. May you smile upon your parents every single day of their lives.

On a lighter note, which I, of course feel guilty about, our little ones are really coming along. It is so fun to watch them play together, laugh with each other, hold hands and give kisses. Of course they have their moments too--usually when Sadie has decided to push Zoe over or yank on her oxygen tube. But all in all, they are doing amazingly well.

BTW, Zoe needs oxygen intermittently. She has grown SO fast since getting her feeding tube, that her lungs have a little trouble keeping up. Some days she needs it all day, some days she doesn't, but the doctors really don't seem worried at all.

Sadie is 21 lbs, and Zoe is just shy of 19. They both say mama and dada and Sadie says dog, all done, papa, and she loves to sign. Zoe says ball and uh oh (they both love that one) and she is an amazing observer. She doesn't like to say new words until she knows she can get them just right, and you can really see her brain working before she says something new.

They love to play in the snow
and both of them will stop whatever they are doing to watch baby signing time!

Sadie is standing all by herself and she is going to walk any second. While Zoe likes to stand too, she still needs a little support and she is not yet crawling. Even with a nissen, our little one manages to throw up--often--so she has up until now hated being on her tummy. But since she's gotten over 18 pounds, she's really started tolerating her tummy time. We used to think she was going to be one of those kids who skips crawling b/c she LOVES to stand, but we've since changed our minds and I think her crawling is right around the corner.

Zoe still doesn't like to eat by mouth very much, but she had progressed a lot, and lets me get the spoon in her mostly closed mouth every feeding. She takes small amounts of yogurt and pureed foods and we are working her up to solids. Her sister on the other hand, eats everything, and we couldn't be happier that we have at least one baby who is very easy to feed.

THis was our first holiday season with everyone home from the hospital and we are so very, very grateful.

Happy holidays.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Birthday Girls!

The girls turned one on Sunday. It is so hard to believe that they are already one year old!

We spent the weeks leading up to their birthday taking lots of walks and reminiscing--thinking back to when my water broke, when we were relegated to the hospital, and when we really didn't know if the girls were going to live . . . or not. It was hard to think back to that time, physically and emotionally, but we are so grateful to have that behind us.

We are also so grateful, every single day, to have our little munchkins with us, happy and, for the most part, amazingly healthy. We are acutely aware of just how lucky we are, and also acutely aware of the fact that so many parents have had to suffer a different outcome, either from prematurity or a diaphragmatic hernia or both. We really, really wish we could change that.

On a lighter note, here's a little rundown of the girls' actual birthday: They woke up in the a.m. to a few nicely wrapped presents:

Zoe found this whole idea very exciting:

Then we all went to the zoo, where the elephants, tigers and giraffes were all a very big hit!

Then we went home and had cupcakes:

Well, actually, Sadie had a cupcake, Zoe just played with hers. She's developed quite the oral aversion since her last surgery, so we are working very hard to get her to take food by mouth. As anyone who is a parent of a child with an oral aversion knows, this is a very long, difficult process, that just takes time. That being said, Zoe is doing better and better every day, and we are so proud of her.

After cupcakes we took another walk, then read the girls stories and put them to bed. It was, in the end, the most perfect day ever!

Happy Birthday Sadie and Zoe!
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, July 19, 2010

We made it through surgery, a brief stint in the ICU, and a few days in recovery. Baby Zoe is doing much, much better, keeping food down, taking in tons more fluid and . . . breathing on her own! That's right, the doctors took her off oxygen as soon as she recovered from surgery. And our little girl took right to all the changes. We'd say, from the looks of things, her appetite started to increase immediately.

She's home now, adjusting to her new tummy situation and learning to love food for the first time.

And it appears that her sister could not be happier to have her little buddy back by her side.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wow. . . it's been a while since we've had a second to breathe, yet alone post, but there may some relief in sight. After months and months of trying everything under the sun to get Zoe to gain weight, we have finally resorted to surgery. Two days ago she had a nissen fundoplication (which is supposed to fix her reflux) and a feeding tube was surgically inserted into her tummy. While the last few days have been rough and the next few weeks are likely to be more of the same, we are hoping that our lives can start to take on some sort of a normal pattern in the near future. For the past nine months we have counted every mililiter that has gone into Zoe's body, we have created a chemistry lab in our kitchen trying to get as many calories as possible into each millileter of her food, and we have spent hours and hours and hours and hours trying to feed her when she absolutely does not want to eat. We are really hoping that this surgery does the trick and that our little girl, who is five pounds behind her twin, will finally start to catch up.

Here's our little munchkins practicing their tummy time:

Sorry to keep it so brief, but I've gotta get some shut eye while baby Zoe is sleeping. . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 2010

Pardon us for not posting sooner, but things are still a bit crazy around here. We still struggle to feed Zoe, and in fact, she was actually scheduled to go in for surgery first thing tomorrow. The doctors wanted to give her a nissen fundoplication and a g-tube (to help diminish her reflux and increase her appetite respectively), but we ended up getting another opinion over the weekend, and based on all of the information in front of us, have decided to wait a little longer. We're going to take a more therapeutic approach, using a nutritionist and a GI doctor to see if we can get somewhere that way and if that doesn't work, then we'll consider surgery. Needless to say, we are very glad that our little girl isn't going under the knife tomorrow--or getting reintibated--or going under general anesthesia--or being admitted to the hospital for five days . . . you get the picture.

Aside from all the eating drama, we are having so much fun with our little girls. Our flu season restrictions have been lifted and we're actually starting to get out and about with them. We are also so excited that we have had so many amazing visitors, including my old next-door neighbor, Rich's brother's, and the girls' nana, and we've got another grandma on the way out soon!

Here some pics of our little muchkins enjoying themselves.

Here's Zoe gearing up for one of our outings:

And Sadie, plotting her next move:

And both of them, preparing for their first Mother's Day walk:

And here we are, out on the town:

Happy Spring everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

All is Well

While it's definitely still a struggle to get Zoe to eat--and to care for two newborns in general--it's really starting to feel as if all our hard work is paying off! Both of the girls are doing really well, growing, developing and getting stronger.

They've just recently started focusing on each other

They laugh and stare at each other

And it seems no matter how we lay them down to sleep,

they always find their way to each others' hands.

They also love to bathe

And read their books

and dress up for walks

But when all is said and done, we find that they enjoy leaning on each other most of all

Monday, March 1, 2010

Things are a little tough around here these days. Zoe has lots of feeding issues--she has severe reflux that makes eating incredibly difficult and when she does manage to get food in, she often times has lots of trouble keeping it down. This coupled with mom going back to work has made for some very stressful days in the katz levi household. But, we're working it out. We don't get a lot of sleep, have little time to do anything else but we're thinking about it. In between playing with babies, pulling our hair out, doing laundry and trying to find ways to feed our little champs, we are thinking of all the things we should be doing like cleaning, writing thank you notes, washing clothes or G-d forbid actually put a load of laundry away.
Anyway, we're not complaining, we're just sayin' things are a little tough around here these days. That being said, the girls are getting bigger and stronger and we couldn't think of two better people to spend most every second of our days with.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Settling in Again

The girls are doing much better and we're settling in yet again. Zoe seems to have recovered from her second bout with the stomach flu and she's back (knock on wood) to eating like a champ again and gaining weight!

Sadie's eating consistently well too, and just this week she passed the nine pound mark!

Mom went back to work this week, and we're all adjusting to this new schedule. But, the adjustment was made much easier by the fact that the girls' Gigi came to visit again. The girls LOVE spending time with their grandma,

and it was so great to have an extra set of hands on deck!

Now that Gigi's gone, we're back to feeling pretty sleepy around here,

but we're quite certain that our little cuties make all our bouts of sleeplessness completely and entirely worth it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turn Around Jumper

We're happy to report that everyone is home in the Katz Levi house, but we're not so happy to report that Zoe was BACK in the hospital from Friday through Monday. While there was some cause for alarm on Friday and Saturday and even Sunday, it turns out that Zoe had a little stomach virus that for a tiny peanut like her is just not that little. She's doing much better--she's not 100% yet--but she's definitely on the mend.

While we wouldn't wish hospital trips on our family again, the good news is that Zoe was admitted into the infant unit, and unlike in the NICU, babies in the infant unit get private rooms where moms and dads can spend the night. So nobody had to desert anyone this weekend. Mom stayed at the hospital with Zoe while dad stayed with Sadie. But tonight, thank goodness, we're all back under one roof again!

Well, before I even hit publish on this post, we found ourselves back in the hospital. Poor little Zoe had been given some barium in the hospital for a test and it did not agree with her at all. She's back home again and hopefully that's it for a while, but boy are we tired!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting Settled In

We've had some crazy/wonderful/sleepless days and nights around here lately. On Zoe's first night we actually had to call 911 and were dangerously close to taking her back to the hospital that night and again the next morning, but she really pulled through. She was having some real trouble adjusting to the dry air and the elevation, but after making a few adjustments to her oxygen* she thankfully got much, much better!

Sadie's adjusting quite well too. She wasn't sure what to expect at first.

In the short time she was home, she had grown quite used to being an only child.

And to be honest, Zoe wasn't sure what to expect either. In fact, when she left the hospital for the first time, we think she was a little bit overwhelmed!

But we think they're getting used to the idea of having someone else around,

especially when it's time to do things like go the doctor and get shots, nobody likes doing that by themselves.

So, now that the first few days are behind us, mom and dad are getting into a routine and everyone has adjusted to their new living arrangements, we are all very happy. But we think, for the moment, the happiest little girl might just might be Zoe.

*Zoe is on oxygen because she has chronic lung disease. After being on a ventilator for thirty days, she developed some lung damage and it will take a few years for her lungs to repair themselves. We hope she's not going to be on oxygen for too long, but she will have very fragile lungs for quite some time (as will Sadie, simply because she was premature), so if you come to visit, please only do so when you are feeling absolutely healthy and germ free. Thanks!

Friday, January 1, 2010

She's Here!

Zoe Alexis Levi made it home just in time to ring in the new year with her mom, dad and sis! She got home at approximately 7:00 last night, and she has been soaking in the love ever since. We can't seem to put her down, not even for a second and it is SO amazing to see the two girls together again! Happy New Year everyone.
The Levis

p.s. pictures are coming very soon, we promise!