Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Tale of the Green Booger

So not sure if this was a nice little warm up or if it is going to be this scary every time. Before we left the NICU they went over how delicate our babies' immune systems are and that we need to be very careful and not even take them anywhere for a while. No one should see them unless they are willing to bathe themselves in hand sanitizer. If they do get sick it is probably RSV and that is absolutely HORRIBLE! Well, that is how I processed everything we were told and stored it in my mind. Jimmy's version is much calmer I'm sure.
Last night as I was swaddling them after their feeding I saw a booger coming out of Silas' nose. It was nice and clear. I wiped it gently and realized it was one of those nasty ones that just keeps coming. It basically extended all the way back into his throat. At the other end was a nice green blob. GREEN! That's bad... right? Well you know I googled the mess out of "preemies with green boogers." We had been so careful with him. Where could he have found germs? We immediately took his temperature. 98.6... it was just a normal digital thermometer. Us being still very concerned, Jimmy made a 1am run to Walgreens. He returned with some saline drops to clean out his nose and a temple thermometer for babies. Sure enough his temperature was still at 98.6.

Silas made it through the night... and seems perfectly fine! This was the States where Jimmy could run up and talk to a pharmacist. Not sure how I am going to handle something serious in the middle of nowhere. Maybe this was a practice round to condition me for Petén!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fun Times With Jonah and Silas

Before the boys were discharged they had to pass a 90 minute car seat test to make sure their blood saturation would stay up being that small bent in a car seat. Jimmy took our vehicle with car seats installed to get inspected by the highway patrol. They showed him how to add blankets to make it safer for preemies. Jimmy is so careful with his boys!
I thought this was a pretty good Silas face as he was observing the situation.
Jonah couldn't care less about what was going on. He was comfortable.
When we got home we just studied them. It was nice seeing them without their feeding tube and monitor wires. We could walk around with them without tripping or setting off any machines!
I cut their fingernails right away so that they would stop scratching their faces. I didn't realize that they had this cool trick of peeing on their backs. We put their diapers on real tight, but still seem to have the problem. Now I know why their bed was always tilted in the NICU!
The perinatologist warned us that the first 2 days or so would be hard on them adjusting to a new environment. They did not like their new big crib at first. Curled up on one of our chests was the only way they would sleep for those first 2 days. We were happy and didn't want to put them down anyway!
It is fun seeing them interact with each other. Here Jonah reached over and grabbed his brother's hand while in Grandma's lap.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They're Home!

Jonah and Silas were discharged from the NICU this morning and we have been enjoying them all day! Thank you so much for your prayers for our boys. The fact that they got to come home the same day is a specific answer to prayer! They both weigh 5lbs, 11oz.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 26-29: November 10-13

Happy 4 Weeks in the World, Jonah and Silas!
They are 36 weeks gestation today. It is hard for me to think that they should have still been in my tummy for another month. We have already gotten to know so much about them.
They have been doing so well nursing. I think that if we brought them home right now, they would do fine, but they have to learn how to take a bottle for all 8 feedings to be released. A bottle is harder and more tiring than nursing.
This is Sarah, their nurse for the morning. She took a lot of time talking with us. Today I was a little down. Each day one boy does better than the other. If you take just a snapshot, it looks like one is ahead of the other, but they flip flop. Well yesterday the doctor wanted to bump up Jonah to 2 out of 3 feedings and leave Silas at every other. I was concerned because 2 days ago, Silas was doing better than Jonah, but the doctor didn't asses them that day.

I want to keep them on the same feeding schedule, one, so that I can feed them myself as often as possible, and two, so that they come home at the same time. My greatest source of anxiety right now is that one would have to stay longer than the other. They sense each other and cry if we leave one in the crib without his brother. It is already hard enough to leave two without their Mommy, now we would take away their brother too... it would break my heart. I would be concerned that the one left would even regress and take longer to come home.

It seemed like every time we tried to talk to the doctors they would say, "Well I haven't looked at their charts yet." The healthier babies in the NICU get looked at last. I understand that, but it was getting frustrating. Sarah must have spoken to the head of the NICU, because he spoke to us for a while today and agreed to give Silas a try at the 2 out of 3 to be on the same schedule as his brother and... they both were successful as of their last feeding. Now the little sleepy guys just need to keep it up.

Sweet Silas snuggling with his Mommy!
Jonah falling asleep with his crazy leg sticking straight out!
Jimmy changing a diaper... this is a big deal! We are still at the point where we like changing diapers! We will take any moment we can get with them.
Jonah with his Daddy!

Please keep praying for them. I want them home with us to get loved on all the time!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Baby Showers

My Aunt Grace and her daughters threw me a family baby shower when we first got here. It was beautiful and so much fun to talk about babies with all my aunts and cousins. I learned about all kinds of family traits! I wish I had taken more photos!
Our friend Rebecca who has been to Guatemala tons of times to visit us threw us a wonderful shower at Trinity. As missionaries we do not get to be here to celebrate all the special moments in our family and friends' lives, so the fact that they would celebrate ours while we are here really means a lot to us.
It was so great seeing old friends! My roommate from my sophomore year in college came and I hadn't seen her in 7+ years!
Here are some of the cute decorations Becca made! One for Silas and one for Jonah!
Thank you to everyone who came to our shower and celebrated our little boys' lives with us!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 25: November 9

Great News!
We went in today and their nurses told us that they are being bumped up to a bottle every other feeding! One of those will be a bottle if they want after they nurse. That's 4 bottles a day! They are doing so good, they got to skip 3 a day. They have to get to 8 a day to be able to come home. The step in between is 2 bottle feedings then a tube feeding (6 a day). It is harder for them without a rest in between (tube feeding). And... they are both 5 lbs as of last night. Silas is 5lbs, 1.6oz and Jonah is 5lbs, 1.5oz! We are so excited. They will be home soon!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 21-24: November 5-8

Both boys have taken up to 2 entire bottles a day on their own. They might be bumped up to 3 a day tomorrow. We think they could have been bumped up sooner, but that's a parent's opinion! Our two favorite doctors haven't come in for awhile, they seem to be more aggressive than the ones looking at their charts for the last week and a half.
Yesterday Jonah started opening his eyes more. His eyes are very sensitive to the bright lights above his bed, so we had to wait a little longer to enjoy them!
Each day I feel like we connect with them more. They have their little mouths open when we get there like little birds ready to be fed. One visit Jimmy walked in about 5 minutes before I did and picked up Jonah for his feeding. Silas, still laying in the bed, was very upset and started to whimper. Soon his Mommy came and fed and snuggled with him too. I was worried at first that they wouldn't distinguish us from the nurses, but they know who we are! We are very much attached!
Silas caught on to the nursing before Jonah, mainly because Jonah just wanted to sleep! Since they get a feeding through their tube while they are being nursed, anything they get is extra. For that reason, Silas hit the 5 lb mark first. Jonah is 2 oz behind. Jonah did really good this morning nursing. Yesterday seemed like a turning point for him in many areas.
Silas was taken off the pump they were using to slow his feedings and hasn't had any problems with reflux. Jonah's slight reflux is better too.
Silas found his thumb for a little while!
I was on a mission to find them more hats since they lose so much body heat through their heads. I found some sunglasses too. They need something to protect them from the harsh lights in the NICU!
I think they would have liked them if they hadn't already been asleep! They will wear them in KS. We only put them on them for the photo op! (Silas is on the left, Jonah on the right)
They are still on track to come home around 36 weeks gestation. That should be in a little over a week! Please keep praying for them!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 19&20: November 3&4

When we walked in Monday night Jonah and Silas' nurses, Elizabeth and Amanda, had a surprise for us! They got permission to double bunk them! Amanda took some photos for us of when they first saw each other. I haven't scanned them yet. Right now they pretty much sleep all the time, but I think they still sense each other's presence.
Silas has the generic hospital hat on because he spit up on his.
Since they had so many IV's and wires, their old tags had been cut off, so the next day their nurses put new name tags on their ankles so that no one would get them mixed up.
One day we came in and found this! I thought one of the nurses had Silas, but nope...
He had just slid down the tilted bed.
Both of their reflux issues are getting better. Silas does good if he gets his food slowly and you don't move him. Jonah does good if you keep his head tilted up. Since the bed is so much at an angle the nurses keep a piece of tape across them like a seatbelt so that they don't fall out!

Both of the boys are 4lbs, 11oz! They are doing well with their one bottle feeding a day. They both take up to 35ml on their own. Suzanne, one of Jonah's daytime nurses got us special permission to start trying to nurse once a day as well! Tomorrow they will be 35 weeks gestation. Their suck, swallow, breath reflex is kicking in, they just need a little more stamina. Home is getting closer every day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 16-18: October 31-November 2

Jimmy had a great meeting yesterday and made it back safely last night!
I have so many updates on the boys today!
Jonah is 4lbs 6oz and Silas is 4lbs 7oz. Jonah has surpassed his birth weight and Silas is close. Preemies are prone to refluz issues, but Silas seems to struggle with this more than Jonah. He was started on a pump (in the chair next to me) for his tube feedings, it is slower than the regular gravity fed tube feedings he has been getting. This has helped him spit up less and I think it is why he has passed his brother again in weight.
Since Silas has been able to regulate his own body temperature he was moved to an open crib yesterday! With the open crib comes unlimited holds. Still, we want to be careful not to wear him out. He needs to continue to gain weight and keep his temp up so that he doesn't go back to an isolette. We try to visit him the same time he gets his tube feedings since he is already awake.
This is Daddy telling Silas how proud he is of him!
This is Silas looking pretty proud of himself too!
Both boys get one bottle a day right now. Some days they take 25cc from the bottle and the rest through a tube and other days they take 10. It expends a lot of energy to practice the suck, swallow, breath rhythm they have to get down before they are discharged. We get 20 minutes with each attempt, after that they would be expending more calories than they would be gaining from the milk.
Silas looks around the whole time while he's getting his bottle. Jonah likes to hold my fingers while I feed him!
Yesterday Jonah finished his last IV and got his picc line removed (IV in his arm in the photo above).
Jonah, the spaz, also yanked out his feeding tube part way, so before the nurse put in a new one we got to enjoy his little face tube free!
Jonah was only a couple of hours behind his brother. When we walked in today he was in an open crib too!
Every day we praise God for strengthening our little boys!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life in the NICU Day 15: October 30

Jimmy is on his way to Tampa right now to be in Pastor Mike Grover's church tonight. Pastor Grover just came down and taught in our Kekchi institute last June. His church has been supporting us for the past 3 years and Jimmy is going to give them an update in their evening service! He is driving back to Jacksonville tonight, so please pray for his safety.

Another big prayer request we have right now is for Quincho, our friend that is staying at our house and taking care of our dogs while we're gone. He really needs some encouragement. Please pray that his relationship with God would grow. He has a lot of decisions to make after New Horizon kicked him out. Please pray that he follows God's leading.

I forgot to download the photos off my camera before Jimmy took it this afternoon, so poor Silas is going to get left out because this update is all about Jonah.

I got to change my first diaper on Friday. Of course it was Jonah's and it was messy, so the nurse just told me to give him a bath.
He was much more calm this time and only fussed when the nurse pulled off some tape on him. That is one thing that's hard to watch. I would have been more gentler with him. He didn't fuss about the tape I removed, but I'm his Mommy! Not all the nurses handle my boys like they would their first baby, but most of them do and I really appreciate it.
Jonah clung to his Daddy's finger with both hands while I washed him.
Afterwards he smelled much better! Love him!!
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