Friday, October 30, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 14: October 29

One of the neonatologists called us yesterday morning to tell us that we could start Jonah on his first bottle! He has taken off! He took 19 of his 25 ounces by bottle. He did so good... especially since he has first time parents who are learning with him!
The nurses let me hold both of my sons at the same time for the first time yesterday. I can't wait for them to be close again. We will get to watch them discover each other. We will see if the other's presence seems familiar or not.
Last night when we went in and I got to hold Silas he opened his mouth wide as though he was ready for a bottle... too cute! The NP was there and gave me permission to give him his second bottle for the day. She gave us even more tips on bottle feeding. We are getting so much training that we really need. Silas did spectacular! He is improving everyday along with his parents!
This is a huge blessing, the hospital has provided us with a hotel-like room to stay in across the street. It is right on the St. Johns River and is beautiful. It is for people with family members in the hospital and they let NICU parents stay there for free. We plan on moving in on Monday. This will make it so much easier as Jonah and Silas get more holds, bottle feedings and eventually mommy feedings.
This is the kitchen right when you come into the building.
This is the common area.
This is our beautiful room that is directly across the hall from the free washer and dryer!
This is our bathroom. It really is just like a nice hotel.

There are so many positive things going on but I do not take anything for granted. It is scary leaving them each time and worrying about germs and viruses. Watching them work so hard at things that would have been much simpler for them weeks from now breaks my heart. I cannot imagine going through this without a loving God. I am so thankful that He is watching over our sons. Please keep praying for Jonah and Silas as we praise Him for all the answered prayer!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life in the NICU Days 12&13: October 27&28

Our boys are both 4lbs 3oz. now! The nurses say they look alike. I still don't think so, but I've studied all of their features for hours! Jonah's eyes seem to be more sensitive to light, so we rarely get to see him wide-eyed. This was an exciting event!
Jonah at 12 days old
Silas at 9 days old
Notice Jonah has more tape on his feeding tube because he likes ripping things out! Silas is my easy going, always happy little boy.
This is Jonah being dressed after being weighed. He is holding onto the scale and doesn't want to be moved!
Me and my mom while I was kangarooing Silas.
Father and Son (Jonah)
Us with Jonah. Can't wait till we can get family photos taken with all four of us together... maybe Lucha and Fije too!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 11: October 26

Silas is getting a fortifier mixed in with his mommy milk for a little while to help fatten him up and give him a little more calcium. He weighs 4.07lbs. It is normal for babies to lose weight right after they are born, but he has worked himself back up to 4lbs! Jonah too! He is 4.0lbs exactly... he has caught up with his chunk of a brother! We knew Jonah would take off in the isolette.
Mommy has been officially initiated by Silas. We were doing kangaroo care and he spit up on me when he was under my shirt. (He is fed through a feeding tube during that time.) I took him out to burp him hoping that would help and he spit up all over me again! It's nice to bring home a reminder of our boys! I brought in tiny blankets in the morning that I had slept with so that they could smell mommy all the time. Silas already threw up all over his by evening time!

Preemies have reflux issues. Please pray for them. I feel so bad when they work so hard to get the food down and then it just shoots right back out. Up to this point things have been moving quickly with little victories each day. The nurses warned us that babies learn how to suck at weeks 35 or 36 gestation, so they are going to be at this stage for a while... the gaining weight, learning to suck and digesting their food stage.
This is Jimmy and my dad on dimple watch. It's official Jonah has one dimple in his left cheek just like his Daddy. Love it!!! Silas has 2.
Jonah Dinsmore... the only baby ever to walk in the NICU! He cracks me up! He kept pushing his bum up into the air with his back legs and the nurse would make him lay down and then he would get up and do it again. I think my mom would agree that I deserve to have at least one hard headed little boy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 10: October 25

When we walked in today, Silas was having tummy time! He has so much hair! I think both boys have their Daddy's cowlick!
Silas is completely off of his IV's and is only on Mommy milk feedings, either through the bottle or his feeding tube. Right now Jimmy gets to feed him a bottle everyday at 2:00. He is up to 33cc a feeding, which is the max. Once he gets to 3 bottles a day he will be promoted to an open crib rather than an isolette! This is Jimmy burping Silas. I love watching them interact!

Since Jonah had been plugged up long enough for them to take him off my milk for a while, poop is a really exciting thing for us now. His mommy milk feedings have increased and he pooped while we were there! He is also off of his Bili blanket and has been promoted to an isolette. We think this will help fatten him up! His bed is right next to the door and he is constantly jumping from noises, so this will diffuse some of the noise and give him a chance to get more sleep.

He still moves a lot and is constantly grabbing at all his tubes and wires. He likes pulling off his sensors! Here he has his feeding tube wrapped around his head... crazy boy!

So I fixed his tube and he already has it in his hand again! He is going to be a very active boy who likes to figure everything out for himself!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 9: Something Extra!

My parents went to the NICU with us tonight. Jonah and Silas had a new nurse, Susan, that let all 4 of us in together. The rule is 2 people at a time, but we have 2 kids, so no one ever knows what the rule is for twins. Some nurses let us all in and others don't. Well Susan called the NP on duty and got permission to write it in Jonah and Silas' charts as an order to each let us bring someone in with us! So now grandparents will always be allowed in at the same time! I feel bad for Jimmy's parents when they read this. They missed this privilege by a day.

Tonight Jimmy gave up his Jonah hold time so that my parents could hold one of their grandsons for the first time. Now both of our boys have been loved on by grandparents It was wonderful to see!

Life in the NICU Day 9: October 24

Since I am behind I am going to start current posts and then add the pictures and stories from days 1-8 in order as I have time. There are sooo many pictures!

Jimmy's parents said goodbye to their grandboys early this morning. They prayed over Jonah and Silas before they left. I am so glad that they already feel attached and got a chance to love on our boys.
Today was such a good day! Jonah's bilirubin has come down and he should be off of his blanket some time tomorrow. Silas is off completely!!! I cannot stand looking at those lights, they give me a headache. Jonah will be happy to get rid of those glasses.
When we walked in, he was sleeping on his tummy. I know they are supposed to get tummy time, but Jonah didn't really like it before. He was so cute with his little bum in the air! He looked like a little frog.
Sarah was their nurse for the day shift... love her! They stopped monitoring his oxygen, so that means he has been consistently doing well for a while! His tummy x-ray came back completely clear, so they started him back on breast milk feedings through his tube and there was no residual! He was our little superstar today! Soon he will be in an isolette.
Since we still only get two 30min holds each day, Jimmy has been doing the bottle feedings with Silas so that I can kangaroo care with him during my time. He got Silas to take 23 out of the 26cc... without any spit up!
This is Jimmy burping Silas. The nurse always laughs because Jimmy doesn't pat hard enough! He is so gentle with Jonah and Silas.
I am so proud of my little boys, they are doing so good. Thank you so much for all your prayers for them. Please keep praying!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 2: October 17

The day after they were born I got to take a shower and eat real food!!! I had my first cup of coffee in several months! I felt like I waited forever for them to come take out my IV so that Jimmy could wheel me down to the NICU. I was very excited about looking down at my babies rather then looking up at them from a bed. I wanted to memorize all their features and just soak in their presence. They seemed so unreal.
Silas was a little chunk for being that little. He was off of his ventilator and back on just the cannula.
Jonah held my finger and when I tried to let go he would grab it harder! He was a little fussy, but when I spoke to him he calmed down. Maybe he recognized his Mommy's voice from when I would speak to him in the womb. His arms, legs, fingers, and toes looked so long and lanky. He is a mover. He hears every noise and feels every draft. They want to keep them from being over stimulated so that they can rest, so they put a blanket over his eyes. I think his eyes are more sensitive than Silas'.
In the evening when we went to visit them Elizabeth, a lady from our church, was Silas' nurse. (At this point they each have their own.) She was so nice and it calmed my heart to know she was taking care of my son.
They get weighed each night. Since we were there she let me hold him for a couple seconds! It was so wonderful to hold one of my boys! He felt so tiny.
We got to see Jonah and Silas peek open their eyes just enough to see that they were born with blue eyes. We will see if that changes.
Jimmy has been so supportive of breast feeding. He keeps us on time and cleans all the pump stuff afterwards while I hobble back to bed. I am so exhausted and medicated there is no way I would have been able to keep up with all of this. I know he is exhausted too and still he is so encouraging and it has been going really well because of that. This is one way that we can feel like we are helping our little boys. Both will start receiving mommy milk through feeding tubes in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 1: Their Birthday

The neonatal care is why we came back to the States. We knew with twins there was a chance for them to come early. It is also why we chose this hospital. We were prepared geographically, but not emotionally. We went from having a pretty uneventful pregnancy to 2 boys in the NICU in what seemed like minutes.

After they finished sewing me up, Jimmy went immediately to visit his sons!
Jonah Lawrence (The middle name is after Jimmy's dad.)
Silas Henry (The middle name is after my dad, plus it was my grandfather's and great-grandfather's name. They called the latter Hank... too cute!)
We didn't know it at the time, but both boys had wonderful nurses that day... the day it really counted! We would get to know them well over the next month and appreciate them even more! Jonah's nurse was Suzanne and Silas' nurse was Rosemary.
Robin, my completely awesome labor and delivery nurse, rolled my bed right into the NICU on the way to my new recovery room!!! I am pretty sure that is not allowed!
Both babies were breathing on their own with just the aid of a cannula. Later on when the results of their blood toxicity levels came back they realized Silas' CO2 was way too high. God was protecting him. He was immediately placed on a ventilator and given surfactant to help his lungs.
You have to scrub into the NICU each time. Grandparents get two 30 minute visits a day.
This is my parents' first time seeing their grandson!
Thankfully Jimmy had called his mom at 3:30AM to tell her the boys were coming. I kept telling him they weren't but somehow he knew. She quickly bought her tickets and was there a little after noon.
These blue armbands, one for Jonah and one for Silas, are our parent badges. They get us into the hospital at all hours and into the NICU. We will wear them until they get discharged. It is still surreal that we have 2 sons especially since we cannot bring them home yet. The armbands are like proof it isn't all a dream when we're not in the NICU. One of our friends said this photo reminded her of the ring shot you take at your wedding. Now these rings represent the new lives we created together. I thought that was sweet!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jonah and Silas' Birth Story Pt. 2

Friday morning was the beginning of the 32nd week. That sounded much better than 31 in our minds. Dr. Virtue was more positive, so that was calming too!

My nurse Robin went into surgery with me. She held me while I got the spinal block so that I could be awake during the birth. During that time I could hear Jimmy outside speaking with Dr. Virtue. He was asking a lot of questions about Guatemala.

We had explained that their names were Jonah and Silas. Silas' name means "third" since he would be our third child, in memory of our first baby that is in Heaven. The staff was cute talking about how that would be their main concern... pulling Jonah out first! He was always the presenting twin, so we knew that would be the order anyway.

At this point everything started moving very quickly. I was a little worried Jimmy was going to tell me each thing they were doing on the other side of the screen... I did not want to know. The smell of cauterizing flesh was enough! Jimmy told me when he saw Jonah's head and then right away I heard his quiet but confident cry. It will always be the most amazing sound of my life. I had been feeling the boys move inside me for months, but now I could hear my son. It was so hard to believe.
The neonatologist brought Jonah around the screen to show me my son quickly before they handed him off. Less than a minute later I heard Silas!
The doctors checked them out quickly and then bundled them up to bring them back for Jimmy to hold.
Silas was the first one that Jimmy got to hold! He looked so wonderful as a daddy!
Then came Jonah all bundled up!
Jonah was 4 lbs 5 oz, 17 in long and Silas was 4 lbs 8 oz, 16.75 in long.

While Dr. Virtue was sewing and stapling me back up he explained to Jimmy that he was able to cut me horizontally rather than vertically so that I should be able to give birth vaginally in the future. He said that was better for Guatemala in case we had an emergency there one day. God worked everything out! That was something I had been praying for throughout the pregnancy.
After the C-Section we met our neonatologist, Dr. Schwartz. He was completely positive and said that there should be no long term issues for the boys and he would guess them to be in the NICU for 4 to 5 weeks. He took so much time explaining things to us. He was very articulate and reassuring.

We have been praying for children for almost 5 years. There were so many days when I would ask Jimmy, "Do you really think God will ever let us be parents?" Without hesitating he would always confidently answer, "Yes!" This has been our hearts' desire for so long. Our journey is much more intricate than 2 blog posts, it could have only been designed by a loving Father. We praise Him for every step of it because we got to experience Him. Now we get to enjoy our little miracles that He has blessed us with!
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