Sunday, August 30, 2009

6 Weeks Old!

The babies are now 6 weeks old (or 31 weeks or -9 weeks) and are doing amazing! They are all little rockstars in their own way and we just love watching them progress as each day is a day closer until they come home. Claire did GREAT on her cannula having no additional a&b's than normal which is better than expected (they figured she'd have a few more). So far so good! It was great watching Brian hold her and be able to see her face. Every time I got the camera out though she closed her eyes:)

As for growth, Ella & Claire are now tied at 3lbs7oz, but Claire is a tiny bit longer by .2 at 15.6 inches. Mr. Slade is still growing at the fastest pace and is now 3lbs3oz and 14.8 inches. They aim for 6-7oz's per week and all babies hit that number this week! Yeah!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Claire Leaps Forward!

Yipppee today is a wonderful day as Claire has been breathing so well she has officially made the jump from the cpap to the nasal cannula. Basically, all a cannula is is that little clear oxygen thing they put on your nose at the dentist while they are doing a filling, very noninvasive. This is a HUGE step and we are sooo excited! Now it is pretty typical for a baby to have to go back onto the cpap when they get too tired and then try the cannula again in a few days but we are hoping that Claire just sails on through. We finally got to see her entire face and it is soooo cute! Now her nose is still a little misshapen from the cpap but that should all work itself out in a couple days. Hopefully, Ella will get a chance in the next week or so. Slade may need a little more time as statistically white males progress the slowest opposed to their female and ethnic counterparts (the nurses call them "wimpy little white boys").

We are just thrilled and can't wait for the day that all three of them can finally show their beautiful tiny faces! Go Claire Go!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just a little Blood...

The babies are all doing well. Slade has improved a ton after getting the antacids and a little bit of blood via transfusion (since they prick them to do tests so often). He only had a couple a's&b's today...of course one while I was there...scary! We are hoping this keeps helping and he gets breathing better soon! Oh and drum roll please..... Slade is now 3lb's and is wearing clothes and being swaddled like his sisters! Hooray!

Ella had another head ultrasound and again her brain bleed is improving immensely which we are soooo thankful and happy about! She is breathing and eating well. Her eyes have been kind of goopy the last few days so she'll start drops for that but otherwise a-ok!

Claire too has been a little low on blood although she is showing no outward signs of being anemic. Regardless, tonight they are giving her a little blood to keep her feeling well. Otherwise, she is still doing great and they think they will try the nasal cannula in 4-5 days, can't wait!

So other than a little bit of blood for each baby, we are making strides in the right direction...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small Step Back...

So Mr. Slade has been having an increase in apnea's and brady's which is definitely not a step in the right direction. They thought he might of had an infection but his blood work came back good, which we are happy about. They also noticed his stomach was puffy and so they did an xray on it and that too came out perfect. They then began realizing that the small amount of acid reflux he was having had gotten worse. They were already spreading his food over an hour (the girls eat over 30 min) but that hasn't been helping. So now they are going to start him on antacids for the next 3 days. If this doesn't work they then will push his feeding tube down further past his stomach to the intestine to hopefully combat the problem. As with most things, this sounds worse than it really is. This is an issue he will grow out of by age 1 or 2, but it may slow things down while in the NICU. From what I've read, babies with reflux tend to grow slower due to the inability to digest all their food. So far that's not Slade's case as he grew the most last week at 1/2lb. So we are hopeful these antacids work and he can breath a little easier and grow a little faster!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome to the World Miles!

My friend and fellow blogger, Sara Kenton, welcomed Mr. Miles Austin Kenton to the world last night! Congratulations Sara & Adam, we can't wait to meet the little guy!

The triplets are doing great! The Dr. said the little heart murmur that Claire has is sounding more normal and not so much like a PDA murmur anymore which is good news. They will keep an eye on it but for now, we are happy. The girls handled their swaddling well overnight and have stabilized their temps for now. The beds still have some heat to them so it will still be a few weeks before they are moved into open cribs. All of them have had their breathing machines adjusted to lower setting and Claire still remains at the lowest setting waiting for the all clear to move to the nasal cannula. The Dr. said they prefer to wait until 31 or 32 weeks (gestational age) before trying it, so we are in anticipation everyday!

Here are some pictures of Ella getting dressed for the first time and Claire snug in her swaddle. Slade should be big enough to swaddle in the next week or so and we can't wait to see him in his tiny little clothes!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yippeee 3lb Babies!

Its official, both ladies are now over 3lbs! In addition, in the past week Slade has grown the most, an entire 1/2 pound putting him at 2lbs12oz's. Their foods have all been increased and we are hoping that each baby grows at least 7oz a piece this week. Also, Claire & Ella have begun to be swaddled today opposed to just being on their tummy's in a diaper. This is the start to getting them to regulate their own temperature so that they may come out of their little houses and go into a crib. We were also instructed to bring clothes to dress them in to keep them warm in their swaddle. So we went to Walmart today and bought some preemie onesies which was really fun and very parent like:) Slade is still working on keeping his temperature up so hopefully in the next few weeks, he will begin the swaddle as well. Tomorrow I'll try to remember to bring my camera and take some pics!


In the meantime, I finally got some baby shower pics, so below is a picture of the cake they had made for us, soooo cute:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Steady Goes the Ship...

Everybody is doing just fine and following the "book" on what to expect with preemies born at 25 weeks and maybe even a bit better than expected. In fact, they are doing so well that I believe I am going to start just updating this blog every other day as not to bore you all to death:)

Today was exciting though as Brian and I held Slade & Claire at the same time next to each other where the babies were able to hear one another and we were able to chat. This type of kangaroo care increases the bonding experience even more as we all snug in a little group. Now only if Ella could have been in the mix (she will be soon though when we get to hold two babies at the same time). All babies did well with holding today although both Slade and Claire kind of lost it when they were put back in their houses and Slade's heart rate reached a whopping 210, he was really mad!

Everyone is breathing well, Slade and Ella have both had a few A's & B's, but that is to be expected at this point. They are all eating well (E 29cc's, S26cc's & C30cc's) and digesting. Claire has a little ouchie on her neck that is healing well with a neosporin type medicine and all babies have diaper rash which is being treated with destin. Claire's heart murmur comes and goes and we are waiting to find out when the next scan will be to see if her PDA is closing up or not.

But the biggest news of all.... Claire is now a HUGE 3LBS!!!! The others are growing as well and Slade is now 2lbs10oz and Ella 2lbs15oz. Grow Babies Grow!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

FAQ's

So there are several questions that we are asked frequently that I wanted to give "official" answers to. Brian says you're only supposed to have FAQ's on websites that either deal with computers or sell you something, but I figure they will satisfy some curiosity:

1. Were these triplets the result of IVF (In-vitro Fertilization)? No. However, I did take some medicine to help things along, so I wouldn't call them 100% "natural" either.

2. Are you done having children? I have no idea. I would like to have these babies home first and then make that decision. However, I will say that I've always wanted a big family and its hard for me to imagine not ever having any more children (I wasn't pregnant long enough and I really enjoyed it!) But we'll see, three is a lot of kiddo's...

3. Are they identical triplets? No. Each baby is completely individual as much as you and your siblings. Ours were just born at the same time.

4. Can I come visit the babies? We are so happy that so many people want to meet our babies, however at this time we are only allowing immediate family and their spouses. The risk of infection is so high we would like to limit their exposure to as few germs as we can during this important time.

5. OK, but can I at least come peek through the "window"? There is no window to peek through. This is an intensive care unit with 100's of very sick babies in it. We must be buzzed through large doors, sign in, scrub our hands with bristle brushes, get buzzed through another set of large doors, walk down the hallway to our room, spray alcohol on our hands, go through 2 more sets of doors, and then we can see our babies houses which are covered with blankets. To actually "see" the babies, we then lift up the corner of the blanket to peer at the babies without letting in too much light which may hurt their delicate eyes. But I'll try and keep uploading more video's!

If you have any other questions, definitely leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer or feel free to email me at lindsaymmilligan@gmail.com.

Claire loves her paci and for the first time today did the "rooting" reflex around lunch time and began sucking on her pacifier when given. This is a step in hopefully the right direction...

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Heart Weekends!

Here are the top 10 reasons I love weekends... Although I sure do miss sleeping in!

1. Brian's Home!
2. We get to spend more time with our babies and do kangaroo care with all three of them.
3. We stay up late so the 10 pumping sessions can be further apart and still meet the "requirements."
4. Brian washes all the dirty pumping equipment and gets me all set up before each session. Doesn't seem like a lot but it gives me close to a 1/2 hour more free time between pumps, time precious time...
5. We don't have to sit in stand still traffic on the way to or from the NICU.
6. I get to eat brunch with my sister and my folks!
7. Brian gets me breakfast on Sundays so I don't have to eat oatmeal like I do every other morning (they say it helps with milk production so I haven't missed a morning bowl on the weekdays since they were born).
8. Either my favorite nurse Tonya or my second favorite nurse, Ali, are taking care of our babies. No more random weekend people.
9. Did I say, we get to spend more time with our babies??
10. I get to get out of the house for special events, Happy Birthday Coley (aka Big Daddy, aka Grandpa)!

On another note, all babies are doing TERRIFIC! Claire had her iv line removed today so no more antibiotics, yippeee! Slade's cpap rate has been dropped from a 25 to a ZERO like his sisters, hooray! All babies are tolerating their food well (Claire 30cc's, Ella 29cc's, Slade 25cc's) and are on the max amount of milk allowed for their weights. Right now the thing I'm most excited for is the dr said that as long as Claire continues to breath as well as she has been doing, she will probably be taken off the cpap and moved to a nasal cannula within the week. A nasal cannula is that little oxygen tube that they put in your nose at the dentist when they fill a cavity, very noninvasive and we'll finally be able to see some nose! Oh and all babies are very near to being 3lbs, Ella only has 2 ounces to go!!

Ella and I doing kangaroo care...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk...

So I figure the phrase, "crying over spilt milk," actually refers to spilling or losing a bottle of milk after pumping for 20 minuets. Today I did just this and it was devastating. They are already up to using about 400ml's per day and I only pump about 1000ml, so to lose 60 is terrible. I also messed up and slept for a whopping 7 hours last night which in breastfeeding/pumping land is a HUGE no no! I felt the pain and was awoken and punished for what I had done. My alarm will now be triple checked to make sure that little PM is actually an AM from this point forward... However, I did fill a whopping 5 bottles (sorry guys)!

On another note, a few people who have read this blog and then see the actual items in it have commented that the pictures online don't do the tininess justice. Therefore, I have put some of the trio's items next to popular items so you can see the size a little better. Now they have just graduated from all the items below, but in the beginning that little pacifier wouldn't even fit in Slade's small mouth.
Slade's Binkie vs. Normal Binkie

Deodorant vs. Micro-Preemie Diaper

Makeup Compact vs. Hat Size

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kangaroo Care 3

Hooray! I finally got to kangaroo with my last tiny baby, Miss Claire today! She handled it so well and just snoozed through the whole process. They say this kangaroo stuff is good for them and I feel that it is evident by this evening, Claire has been moved down to the lowest possible settings on her cpap machine! We also found out today that the spinal tap from Sunday still has not produced any bacteria so it looks like we are in the clear with that, whoo! Finally, Claire is now up to 25cc's per 3 hours, my freezer stock is declining fast:)

Slade too is doing great and his rate has been reduced to 20 (reminder pushes of air) and he is now up to 24cc's per every 3 hours. Catching up with those sisters!

Finally, Ella is a champ as well, breathing room air with no added oxygen, a rate of zero and just a little pressure. Her feeds are holding strong at 24cc's.

As for me, who knew this pumping/breastfeeding stuff was so tough! Some days are easy, but then days like today I just wish it was acceptable for all women to walk around topless all day long, or wear long cloaks... Maybe Obama will put this into law for the next time I birth triplets??

Here is a video of Ella trying to get some zzz's if her mom and grandpa would just close the curtain...

video

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Big Fat Thank You!

Wow, I don't think I ever quite realized how great our family, friends and complete strangers were until I became pregnant with triplets. We have so many people to thank and are just overwhelmed with gratitude. I will probably miss someone in this post, but know that I appreciate all that everyone has done.

First of all, our families have just gone above and beyond. My mom has not only been a person to vent and talk to, but also the worlds greatest chauffeur. From 1 mile drives to the hairdresser to driving coolers of milk to the NICU in rush hour traffic when I didn't realize we were out, she has done it all. Thank you mom! My sister-in-law Amy has not only brought us dinner and driven me to the hospital several times, but has also been the gatekeeper to arranging everyone else's kindness for us. Thank you Amy! My dad, Brian's mom & step mom, Brian's brother, Brian's dad, Brian's twin sisters, thank you all for your constant support and weekly rides to the NICU, I really appreciate you all! My sister and brother, who constantly check in on me and are there to help me research the scary stuff when I just can't google anymore, thank you! To my sister in law Kate, who made the babies beautiful irreplaceable quilts, thank you so much, they are perfect (see pics below). To all the cousins, aunts and uncles, thank you for your prayers, offers of help and phone calls! Kacey, Charlie, Mom, Amy, Barbara & Marsha, thank you for the dinners you've provided on our exhausting evenings when I couldn't begin to think of what to cook. Finally, thank you grandma Karla for the beautiful crocheted items, they are all gorgeous(see pict)! We love you all!

To our friends, thank you all for your offers of help and your prayers. Jason & Shirl, I haven't talked to either of you in awhile, but you were the first to volunteer rides and I am forever thankful! Shirl, thank you for the wonderful homemade spagetti as well! Thank you for your hospital visits, even those who had to drive from far away (It was great to see you Dominique)! Thank you Danielle for the customized baby hats that will forever be in our home (and the delicious dinner) and to Sara for the first burp cloth you have ever made (see pics below)!

To my internet buddies, you have been a source of constant support and I'm amazed at the friends I've made out of cyberspace. Noo Noo it was so nice to meet you and thank you for the preemie clothes and car seat, Alexander is beautiful! Jen & Dre, you two keep me going when I feel no one else can relate. Wanessa, Heather & Lisa I wish you all the best on your journey and I'm glad we've traveled this path together over the last year or so! Thank you bed rest buddies and my November due date ladies!

To the ladies from the Austin Mom of Multiples, who knew there were so many wonderful parents of twins and triplets that I would befriend in this process! From people who I have yet to meet who have lent us their books on Preemies and given us diapers and hats (thanks Miranda) to ladies who have provided their stories in support like Jean to my triplet mom friends in Buda and Kyle who have brought me supper (Thanks Laura!), given me clothes and answered all of my questions (Thank you Laura & Kaci)! I look forward to getting to know you all better in the near future!

To the people at my work, who have not only been understanding of my situation (thank you Wyona!) but who also have sent well wishes and lavished me in flowers, I thank you! Brent & Carrie, thank you for the dinner and visit, it means a lot! Thank you also to those at Brian's work and for being understanding of the Dr's visits and the time Brian had to be with me in the hospital (thanks Hugh)!

To the nurses and doctors in the NICU who have put up with my questions, anxiety and at times, inability to function, you are wonderful and I owe so much gratitude to you! Tonya, you are awesome and we appreciate all that you do, thank you for being the primary with out trio! Thank you also to my many doctors and nurses, while we didn't make it as far as we all wanted, it could of been a lot worse!

And finally, thank you to all the strangers out there that have posted comments of well wishes and sent me emails and private messages. Its amazing to see that some days this blog has 300+ visits and it really makes me realize that there are so many people out there thinking of us and wishing and praying for the best. We appreciate you all!
Thank you everyone reading this for your support!

Sara gave me the first burp cloth she had ever made!

My sister-in-law, Kate, handmade these gorgeous quilts for our trio!

My friend, Danielle, made these personalized hats for the babies when they come home and minature caps for them to wear while in the NICU!

My grandma crocheted these pretty touques, sweaters and a few other non-pictured items for some of her newest grandkids (she is adding 6 grandkids within a 3 months period)!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Month Birthday Babies!

Yipppee I am just so excited and overjoyed that it has been a month since our tiny beautiful little babies were born! They are now one month or 29 weeks or -11weeks, whichever way you look at it:) While its definitely been a roller coaster, it has actually gone very fast in the scheme of things. We've had brain bleeds, a heart surgery, ventilator issues, heart rate drops, random bacterias, infections and many other setbacks, but at the end of the day the nurses and doctors agree that they are all doing terrific and everything should turn out a-OK! In fact all of those issue I've listed have already pretty much resolved themselves or are on the right path. The babies have grown terrifically and are eating more and more each day. They are now breathing the same air you and I breath with just a little pressure and hopefully by month 2 will be upgraded to just a small nasal cannula. Their lungs are getting stronger which is evident by their powerful cries when the respiratory nurse messes with them and their bowels are functioning properly evident by...well I'm sure you can guess! Speaking of bowels, they have all been upgraded to official preemie diapers rather than the doll diapers they were previously wearing, yippee! I'm so happy to post this blog and hope that this next month goes by just as fast and hopefully in another 2 months we will have at least one bouncing baby home with us!

Below are the babies updates. They are growing fast and now Claire has outpaced Ella as the biggest baby. Grow babies grow!

Ella Milligan
Birth Weight: 1lb 15oz
One Month: 2lb 10oz (Difference 11oz's)
Birth Length: 13 inches
One Month: 14 inches (Difference 1 inch)
Feeds: 24 ml every 3 hours
Slade Milligan
Birth Weight: 1lb 7oz
One Month: 2lb 4oz (Difference 13oz's)
Birth Length: 12 inches
One Month: 13.6 inches (Difference 1.6 inches)
Feeds: 22 ml every 3 hours
Claire Milligan
Birth Weight: 1lb 11oz
One Month: 2lb 11oz (Difference 1lb)
Birth Length: 13 inches
One Month: 15 inches (Difference 2 inches)
Feeds: 22 ml every 3 hours

Here are the babies 1 month photos, hopefully next month their cpap tube will be gone and you'll be able to see their entire beautiful faces.

Miss Ella

Mr. Slade

Miss Claire

Revision

I posted a few blogs back about how lucky parents with full term infants were but I did want to revise and make sure you realize that I know that no matter what the situation is, it is worrisome and difficult for all new parents. No one said anything, but reading back I thought my comment may of come off insensitive. Sorry if it did and props to all your ladies out there with both full and preterm babies!

Kangaroo Care 2

Everyone is doing terrific and we are just loving getting to hold them! I feel so much better today after getting to kangaroo with Miss Ella again and watching Brian do the same with Slade for both of their first times. Its so neat to have them skin to skin and really does increase the bonding experience. Brian loved it and is excited to try it again tomorrow with Ella. Claire should be done with her antibiotics next week so we should get to do her first round sometime soon. Otherwise all babies are eating well and slowly but surly are learning to breathe better and better!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slade & I

Today I ended up holding Slade for the first time and he did really well. Initially, after crying so much when the nurse was removing him from his house, he calmed down a little too much in my arms and had a heart rate drop. It went back up quickly, so while it was scary, its good that his body is learning how to self correct. I was able to maintain my calm so my own heart rate didn't excel too much and scare him (not sure how much he can feel but I know its best to stay calm). Otherwise, he was as calm as can be and was awake about 50% of the time just staring away. Since he responded so well, he should get to do kangaroo care with Brian tomorrow as I do it with Ella. We will also hold Claire, but will wait until she is done antibiotics to kangaroo with her.

On another note, I'm a little overwhelmed today with the thoughts of their care once they return home. Not the whole three babies crying at the same time thing but the extra Dr's appts due to their extreme prematurity and what each of those appts will hold. I'm sure everything will turn out ok, but its very possible that one or more babies will have to have surgeries after returning home and while they are common, they are also terrifying to have done on a infant. Anyways, I'll get into all of that another day with more detail but for now I'm going to just ponder it myself. I really don't know if people know how lucky they are when they get to have a nice big full term baby with the biggest issue being if they are colicky or not. How wonderful that would be! However, I'm grateful for our three tiny babies and am ready to deal with any issues to come, no matter how exhausting and scary the process may be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slade's Turn!

Yipppeee, our final tiny baby had the first trip out of his little tropical house (its very warm and moist) and into Brian's arms! Slade cried a bit on the way out but once in his dad's arms, he did great! He had no apnea's or bradys and went in and out of sleep, taking a peep at us here and there. On the way back into his house, he didn't even cry, just took a nice long stretch and then fell right back to sleep, what a good boy:)

We didn't hold Claire or Ella today after all though. Claire had an IV in for her antibiotics and it had just been reinserted so at the nurses suggestion (which we agreed with) we decided to wait to make sure the IV didn't come out and have to be reinserted for the third time, ouch! Tomorrow I will try kangaroo care again with Ella as long as she is still doing well. Great day babies! (no word on Claire's spinal tap yet, not sure anymore if or when they will be doing it)

On another note, I've begun to realize that there is a bit of celebrity that comes with being a parent of triplets. My triplet friend Laura had mentioned that people recognize her sometimes at stores even with out the triplets but until today I didn't really realize how strange that feels. At the hospital, there are a couple nurses that remember me from the c-section and frequently ask me how the babies are. I only remember one of these nurses since the other nurse never actually attended to me but I'm not sure with the tons of people they meet how they can possibly remember me?
Now even more strange, today I went to the gift shop to buy a drink and the clerk asks me, "how are the babies?" At first I figured she must know I had a baby due to my still receding pooch but then I realize she said babies and not baby and I got confused. So I asked how she knew me and she said that on the weekends she volunteers in the NICU and she remembers me and my family and how cute our babies are. She then proceeds to tell me about my husbands coffee drinking habits from when I was in the hospital myself. Then speaks of how they had "heard" that there was a triplet couple in the hospital and how she soon found out it was my heavily caffeinated husband and myself and she just remembered me. Soooo... I'm beginning to wonder if all anonymity is gone and once people see you with triplets or hear you have triplets, if you are forever etched in their eternal memory? The other question is whether this is a good or bad thing?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quick Post

All babies are doing well. Feedings have been increased. Claire is on antibiotics and will undergo a spinal tap sometime this week to ensure the infection didn't spread. Tomorrow I kangaroo care Ella again and Brian should be getting to hold both Slade & Ella. We are now starting a daily routine of holding each baby. I'm tired.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rockstar takes a day off...

Our little rock star Claire has decided to take a break from the band... The test came back positive and she has a little infection. The Dr. said its not a big deal and figures it was from the long IV they had in her and when they took it out, some bacteria probably got into her blood stream. They started her on antibiotics and he figures in a few days it will clear up. Also, like her siblings they detected a heart murmur, did an echocardiogram, and she too has a PDA. However, since hers isn't causing any issues to her breathing or heart, they are going to take a wait and see approach and hope it closes on its own. We are hoping this is what happens but if not hopefully the medicine will fix it like Slade's and she won't have to go under the knife like poor little Ella. Even with these little issues she is soooo very cute and was active and crying so sweetly when we were there today. Its funny, but crying is actually a good thing, its the overly calm and lethargic baby that usually signals a more serious issue.

Otherwise, the babies are all doing well, they are up to 18ml's of food and still on a good path of learning to breath correctly. I'll give more details at the one month mark, but Claire is now up to a whopping 15 inches, that's 2 inches growth in 3 weeks, she is going to be a tall one!

Yes, I am a super dork and took a photo of their first mail courtesy of the Social Security administration...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kangaroo Care

Today I had the pleasure of hosting my first session of kangaroo care with little baby Ella. Kangaroo care is when you hold your baby bare chest to bare body in order to re-create a more realistic reenactment of the womb. Your baby is able to hear your heart rate and breathing patterns and feel your warmth, all of which they will remember from being inside. Ella did terrific and was completely relaxed. She even enjoyed sucking on the tiniest pacifier you've ever seen. I too loved this process as it felt so much more real and loving that wearing a sterile gown with a tightly wrapped baby. I can't wait to do it again! To read more about kangaroo care and its benefits to preemies, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_care

On another note, all babies had their IVs and all other wires removed today except for their feeding tube and breathing apparatus. Since they are now eating so much they can derive all of the necessary calories from my milk and a little supplement that they no longer are in need of IV calories or fluids. Another step in the right direction!

The only issue we are concerned about right now is Claire's platelet count is low and could indicate an infection. They are redoing the blood work in the morning and if its still low they will start her on antibiotics.

Below is a short video of little Ella a couple days ago with her eyes open that I thought was neat to see. Also, due to request are pictures of my new storage closet pumping room. Enjoy!
video


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy 3 Week Birthday Babies!

On one hand time ticks by slowly, on the other, I can't believe its already been three weeks since our surprise triplet birthday. At this three week mark all babies are now over 2lb's, yipppee! We have Slade at 2lbs1oz, Claire 2lbs3oz, and Ella at 2lbs7oz! I'm already excited to see where they will be in another three weeks.

Today my heart had a bit too much as Brian held Claire for the first time and she had a whopping three Brady's in his arms (huge heart rate drops). It seems that she just gets too comfortable and her little heart just takes a break. For me this is absolutely terrifying. To see your baby in your husbands arms as the nurse is lightly shaking her saying, "wake up baby, wake up," is not an easy thing for your heart to handle. I understand that they wouldn't let us hold her if it wasn't safe. I understand that it is proven to be good for them to be held. I understand that she has these Brady's even in her little house. But all that understanding doesn't make my heart race and my mind spin any less. But all in all it was so sweet to see Brian with another tiny baby!

Otherwise, not a whole lot going on. Oh except one little funny thing. If you've been reading you know that our babies and three others have a contagious bacteria on them that can potentially hurt other babies although it is perfectly safe for kids and adults. Anyways, at the NICU their is a lactation room for women to go to to do their business while they are there. Today they announce that us moms of these sweet bacteria babies must use a separate room so we don't spread it to the other moms and thus to the other babies. So now when I go, I have to go pump in our bays storage closet with my head hung in shame:) I hereby am an official bacteria laden, lactation room banned, storage closet pumping mother of three!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"One Day at a Time"

For a fourth day in a row, we have had just a wondermous day! Today I got to hold my 2nd tiny little baby for the first time, Miss Claire. Its just so amazing how different her and Ella look and how much smaller Claire's head is right now even though the two babies only measure two ounces different. Once again it was just so great and it made me just that much more eager to have them home, chubby and in our arms. I did however get ahead of myself today I suppose because I asked the nurse when she thought they'd come home or if one of them may come home early. She projected November however reminded me that, "you have to take it one day at a time in here OK? That was a tiny infection the two babies had but they most likely will have more of them and they could be bigger so lets just think about today." I really was just wondering for work purposes but I do understand that they don't want us getting too excited thinking we may have one home in September and then having none come home until December. And then as if that wasn't reminder enough how tiny these tiny babies are, Miss Claire's heart rate plummeted from the 160's to below 100 in my arms as she got a little too comfortable. It was only for a second and as soon as the nurse shook her little foot it went right back up. But it was enough to remind me to be grateful for today and not to worry about tomorrow.

Adjusted Age 28 Weeks

Today the trio is 28 weeks, otherwise known as negative 12 weeks. What on earth does that mean you ask? Well since they were born so early they are essentially measured as if they were still in the womb rather than being compared to babies born at term. So if you use 40 weeks as when a baby is supposed to be born and these babies were 15 weeks early but have now been out for 3 weeks then they are essential -12 weeks. Make sense? However how the nurses and doctors refer to them is now as 28 week old babies because if they were still inside I would be 28 weeks pregnant and that's the milestones they compare them to. So when they hit 41 weeks they will essentially be equivalent to a any other baby that is 1 week old even though they are in fact 16 weeks old, strange right. And this goes for clothes and everything else until they are about 2 years old. So at their 1st birthday they will not be measured the same as other 1 year olds but to babies that are 9 months old instead. They say this all evens out at about 2 years but until then, this may get really confusing!

I bring this up because as I said they are at the 28 week milestone today and are doing so well. Ella & Claire's oxygen levels are now equivalent to the same air you and I breathe...room air. Ella has zero "rate"(pushes of air) and Claire's are down to 15 per minute. Slade is still having some difficulty and is getting 40 pushes, however he is still gaining weight and is now only 1oz away from the big 2lb mark.

Today, I got the chance to take Claire's temperature and change her diaper and while I did the whole temperature thing well, I really blew it on the diaper. Its really hard to do with your hands through little holes, with gloves, with wires all around, an IV running threw her leg and her kicking like crazy. I couldn't get it done and the nurse had to finish. However, I paid very close attention and will be better next time!

Finally a lot of people have been asking how I've been recovering and I'm doing fairly well. My incision is healing nicely and the pain has subsided immensely. The only issue I'm still facing is the blood loss issue. During the surgery I lost 4 units of blood and as of my Dr's appt a couple days ago I still have not regained any. This leads me to tiring very easily when walking and also a very ghostly complexion. However, they have me on a lot of iron and expect that it should regenerate within the month. So all in all, for almost three weeks out, I would say I'm doing pretty darn well, thanks for asking!

Below is a picture of their three little houses in a row. They are all covered with blankets to keep out the bright lights. The one closest is Claire's, next is Slade's and the one in pink the nurse is blocking is Miss Ella.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Beautiful Day...

Today was another beautiful day. It was Sylvester Stallone's birthday, Jamaican independence day, and even more relevant and important in our world, Brian got to hold one of his daughters for the first time. It was a beautiful sight and both parties were very pleased. You could see this on Brian's face and you could tell this from Ella's "reaction" monitors. The doctor warned us to not get to high with the highs but when you have a few days in a row like this, its hard to not get too excited and think that the next three months are going to go exactly the same. I suppose this is the reason why the low days are soooo very low. But our hopes are high that these types of days will continue. Last night only Claire had a single apnea (see def. page) and today it was just Slade with a few. Ella hasn't had a single breathing or heart issue since the 29th of July. Slowly but surely I feel they are learning to breath and this is so refreshing, however I know they can tucker out and need more help again at any time. In addition, all babies grew an ounce and their feedings were increased to 10cc (10ml) per 3hr. feeding. We shall sleep well tonight with yet another day of good news to keep us going...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reality

The reality is is this: We have three tiny babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Everyday for the last 17 days we have made the trek through the hospital, up the NICU hill, washed out hands with scrub brushes, and signed in. We may do this more than 100 more days. Every two hours I extract milk because I don't have the option of formula if I wanted. These tiny babies only can have this milk or milk donated from another. We phone and check on these tiny babies every morning and every evening with our hearts thudding hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We try and enjoy some TV after dinner but have a hard time concentrating on the "little things" in life. We wish everyday that it was the next and that time would fly by so that they would be bigger and stronger and that we could get on with our new and exciting lives.

But in an instant what I thought was reality disappeared because today I finally got to hold on of those tiny little babies and it was incredible. The reality became that it didn't really matter how long it took, how many hand washings it was, how many hours pumping I did, how much TV we missed, one day we would get to bring all three of these gorgeous little creatures home and it would be perfect.

Tomorrow is Brian's turn and if all continues to go well, we will trade off days with Ella until the other two are breathing well enough to hold. So far they are doing well and all three are now up to 8cc's per feeding. Slade gained another ounce and is determined to catch up with his sisters.

Today is a wonderful day and for now our reality couldn't be better!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nice & Quite

So today we got to go see the babies private suite only to find out that it wasn't so private after all. There are two other babies with our trio that are also "colonized" with the same bacteria. So I wonder who had if first, not our sweet little babies of course:) But its still a neat little room that now has two nurses assigned to it so there is still a little more attention However, I wasn't a huge fan of the nurse we had today but I think that I may be getting pickier the better I get to know our babies. Since I just love this one nurse, everyone else seems unqualified.

Not a lot to update on the trio which is terrific! Claire is up to eating 8cc's and Ella/Slade are up to 6. Claire has now also hit the 2lb mark and while Slade still has a ways to go, he is up now 4oz which is great! Eat babies Eat!
Slade is still having too many brady's & apnea's and I'm thinking they are getting closer to venting him to let him rest a bit. The only real reason they think is just that he is still so tiny and just keeps forgetting to breathe.
They did another brain ultrasound on Ella today and the nurse says that its looking like its getting better, I didn't get much details but she said all around it was a good report. Yipppee! I'm going to try to find out more tomorrow when I go in and hopefully I can talk to one of the doctors about it.
So all in all, nice and quite on the trio front, hopefully tomorrow Slade will breath a little easier, Ella's brain will become even calmer, and Claire will get even bigger!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yipppeee a Good day!

Today the Dr. told me this, "the NICU is like a roller coaster, it goes up and down with really high ups and really low lows. As time goes by the ups and downs are less steep. The important thing is not to get to high with the ups nor too depressed by the downs because it will all happen again over and over until the babies are all big and strong..."

He also explained that Ella and Slades cultures came back negative for infection however because they have tubes and wires in them, they will probably have lots of infections and as long as they aren't causing any symptoms, they probably wouldn't treat them all. In fact, he probably wouldn't of even put Ella on antibiotics for hers in the first place since she was fine. But there are seven different doctors all with different opinions. While this is strange to have so many different schools of thought, its actually reassuring to have so many educated and highly trained eyes assessing our babies. Therefore, Ella and Slade will continue their antibiotics course and then won't be treated again unless they display symptoms, so that their bodies can learn how to fight infections by themselves (overuse of antibiotics is not good).

On another note, being that all our little ones are "colonized" with that really contagious bacteria, they are being moved to a different "bay" tonight and will be put in one large private room all together, yippee! While this is done to protect all the other babies, I actually love it because it decreases their chances of new bacteria and infection b/c they won't be near any other babies and they will have their own nurse. Plus it will give us a lot more privacy now and when we begin kangaroo care. Oh and they have to have the center for infectious disease control come in and do a consult of the NICU because of our beautiful bacteria ridden babies to make sure all the proper precautions are being taken not to have an outbreak of the entire NICU. Ooops!

Claire has now been increased to 6cc's every three hours for food and both Ella & Slade are up to 4. The food intake is beginning to rise exponentially and we LOVE it! Also what comes in must come out and that process is working perfectly as well!

Slade had less apnea's today so again they are waiting on the ventilator and we are still holding out hope that he will pull it together on his own and stay on the cpap machine.

So all in all a good day. The roller coaster rides up again, our favorite nurse returns from her weekend off and our babies now get the rock star lifestyle they deserve!

Here is a picture of my favorite meal from the room service menus when I was in the hospital, the fruit and cheese plate...yummm! (more pics to come of babies, I'm trying to figure out how since my camera even with the flash off shines a bright green light which hurts their little eyes).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Could be better, Could be worse..

So I just don't know what to think anymore when we visit the hospital. Somedays I'm told so much in a language I do not speak that its hard to comprehend and even harder to explain. But I'll give it a go. So the infection that Ella has is due to certain type of bacteria that spreads really easily thus her confinement. It can cause infection in babies or it can just lay dormant in the body. A lot of adults have this bacteria in their mucus and on their skin but it is such a simple bacteria that it does no harm. When a person has been exposed to this type of bacteria it is called colonization. This just means that it is now a part of that person and as they grow older they become immune to it, but with a baby it can or cannot cause infection. Are you with me? So we find out today that both Slade and Claire have also been "colonized" with this bacteria, however do not have infections from it. However, since they have it, they now too have to be isolated to protect the other babies in the NICU from getting it. In addition, they will have blood cultures done daily to make sure it doesn't cause an infection in them. The dr. said it is kind of weird that they all have it since they've been in incubators but it could of come from nurses touching one baby and then another or it could of even come from my c-section and them having contact for a brief second with my own beautiful bacteria. As they get bigger this bacteria will be less of an issue as their own immune systems will easily be able to tolerate it. Grow babies grow! So while it may not cause a problem, its just another thing to worry about although we are trying not to.

On another note we are still waiting on today's cultures to see if Ella's infection and Slade's infection (not due to the bacteria above but due to the common strepa...?? one) are still positive or negative. Once they are negative they will do antibiotics for 10 days more and then stop. We don't want them on antibiotics too long or they can form an immunity. Slade is still having a few too many breathing episodes (apnea's) so they are considering putting him on a ventilator for a few days to let him rest a bit and then let him begin learning the breathing process again. We are hoping that he just starts remembering to breath more often on his own so this doesn't have to have this happen.

Good notes. Well Ella was taken off the ventilator and handled it great. In fact, her cpap machine is pushing the lowest amount of "breathing reminders" than the other two babies already. All three babies are handling feedings well and Claire today was increased to 4cc's, Ella to 3cc's and we are still hoping Slade will get increased sometime soon (more food = more growth). And finally, I haven't heard much of anything out of the nurses or doctors regarding brady's (heart rate drops) this week, so I'm figuring those are getting better too. The little things definitely make our days and all babies are opening their eyes and looking at us when they are awake which is just awesome.

Once again, I hope tomorrow is a better day for the Milligan trio and that they have a growth spurt kind of day!

Another Rollercoaster Dip...

Well it looks like I spoke too soon in my last post and now both Slade and Ella have infections. Both are very common and are being treated with antibiotics however Ella's is SUPER contagious (only to other babies, not adults or kids). She has been put in a room by herself off to the side of the main room (with door open) and every time we or the nurses visit her we have to wear a gown and gloves now. Its hard to say how either one got these infections as they are so easily spread that you can carry both types of these bacterias on your clothes. We are definitely not happy about this new news however the Dr. assures us that they will both be cured easily with antibiotics. To help reduce the chance of the infection spreading, they will also be removing Ella's ventilator tonight if she lets them. On a good note, neither baby is acting "sick" but rather have a lot of movement and no fevers. Please keep these babies (& our little Claire) in your thoughts as they fight through these next few difficult days.

On a good note, all babies are tolerating food great. Ella & Slade have now been moved up to 2cc's every 3 hours and Claire up to 3cc's every 3 hours. In addition, they are definitely putting on weight now with Ella now up to 2lbs 2oz, Clair 1lb 14oz and Slade 1lb 11oz. We are so happy Ella has surpassed that 2 lb goal and can't wait for the others to join her. We also got to get all the babies foot printed today, which while it was neat to watch, I sometimes wish they'd just leave the poor things alone and quit messing with them all the time (they actually don't touch them too much but we had a nurse today that I felt was overdoing it in the show off department). Hopefully tomorrow will be a better days for the Miligan trio

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where did all that hair come from? (+ 2 Videos)

All three babies once again are thankfully doing well. The only real concern we have right now is that Slade continues to have too many apnea's (breathing pauses). They have tried several different methods of fixing this and are not sure why he is having them. To be on the safe side they have did a blood culture and have sent it off to check for infection. Just in case, they have also started him on antibiotics. The Dr. tells me he doubts this is the case since he doesn't have any of the other attributes of a sick baby like fever, inactivity, or skin discoloration but they would rather be proactive. The other possibility is that he is low on blood due to so many tests so they are giving him some extra of that as well. We will find out tomorrow evening regarding the culture and hopefully these extra apnea's are just due to too little blood rather than an infection.

Ella is doing well and no issues thus far from her surgery, yippee! She is still on the ventilator and they will take her off as soon as she is ready, she's getting closer and closer each day. One of her little eyes popped open today so now I've seen one of each babies eyes which is so neat, I love progress! They have upped Ella's feedings to 1cc every 3 hours so hopefully she will start growing fatter and fatter real soon! Oh and we've decided that she definitely has my side of the families ears while Slade is a Milligan in that department as well as several others.

Claire too is doing great and received a little extra blood today to keep up with the amount they take out for testing. She was doing so well on her 1cc that they are now feeding her 2cc's every three hours. She still is on a rate of 30 on her cpap machine although I am hoping they reduce that soon as she seems to be having less and less apnea's.

All in all we are very happy with their progress, they seem to be right on track. However, while every day seems too short for Brian and I to get everything done and visit them enough, the days can't go by fast enough for them to get bigger.

Today the NICU was extra full and it was really sad to see so many sick babies. Being that they are the largest level 3 NICU in Texas they often get quite busy and today was no exception. They had several babies flown in from other cities, one that is just so small. Seriously, this baby makes our trio look full grown, so sad. In our room of babies (room 4, there are 7 rooms total), every bed was full and it was hard to watch so many couples at the bedsides of their babies, some crying and some just staring. I didn't realize how hard it would be to see all the other babies and the raw emotions that they induced in their families. Also, the difficulty when one baby you were used to seeing is suddenly no longer there and your not quite sure what the scenario is and you cannot ask. And while it makes me so sad, it makes me also so grateful that while our babies are small, they are thankfully healthy and not sick like so many of the other babies. So so grateful!

Below are videos of Ella with her hat off so you can see a full head of head (looks brown to me but the nurses say she'll definitely be a blond.) Also, is a funny video of Slade with a super tiny pacifier in his mouth that pretty much covers his whole face...oh and you can see his little foot in this video too!

video

video