Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nursery

Mr. Slade continues to be a winning little white boy and has ate well and had zero heart rate drops, so far so good! Its so amazing that we may have a baby home next week. Not knowing exactly what day makes me feel like a person about to give birth, all sorts of anticipation, fright and excitement!

We will be working frantically over the weekend tying up loose ends. Our nursery is done for now and at least 1 bouncy chair is assembled. Still need to get the car seats in, assemble the other two bouncy seats, assemble the swing, wash all the linens and clothes, finish the beginnings of the baby books, return some of the newborn sized diapers and buy bigger sizes, have a home phone line installed, organize all the stuff we got out of the storage shed and get the carpets cleaned. YIKES!

Below is picture of the nursery thus far. Since we didn't find out the genders in advance, we decided to go with a neutral color scheme. We have hired a photographer for when the babies come home and their photos on canvas squares will end up on the back wall so its not so bland... But for now, we like the softness of the room especially since its attached directly to our bedroom (I'm actually on the bed taking this picture). I'm just so glad everything fit so they could stay in the room with us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Countdown Begins...

Hooray, Slade did so terrific over the last day with all of his bottles that his 5 day countdown has begun! Basically what that means is that he has to go 5 days with zero heart rate drops, eating consistently and gaining weight. If all of this happens, he then will do a sleep study and then come home! Now, if he even has one heart rate drop, the countdown with start over again. My expectation is that it will be more than 5 days, I'm betting on a week from tomorrow. However, when I asked the doctor she said he could be home as soon as Monday, wow! But I'm trying to not get my hopes up as it is pretty common to have a heart rate drop once getting off the caffeine like he has so well see! Oh and him and Ella tried out bouncy chairs today and seemed to really enjoy them:)

Claire too was doing so well that they now have moved her to eating every 4 hours and she can eat as much as she wants. They will be removing her tube as soon as she proves that she can handle eating and not losing weight. They have upped her calories since she is so small so hopefully that will help her chunk up a bit. We still think the problem is that she rarely to never sleeps and we aren't really sure how to fix that??? Oh and today our little redhead donned her first dress...sooo cute!

Ella is giving it a good effort and does terrific until she hits about 50cc's and then she is done. The problem is that she needs to eat 80cc's to maintain her weight and she is not willing to do that yet. They've moved her to eating only every 4 hours as well so hopefully she'll be a little bit more hungry and finish all her bottles.

Another great day!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

100 days

Well we were hoping to never have to write this post but our babies have now been in the NICU for 100 days. When you walk up the long NICU hill there are photos lining the walls of other NICU graduates where they are now and the stats of where they were then. When we first read the inspirational captions we were amazed at the babies that had spent 2 weeks - 30 days in the NICU, how sad we thought! But now as we read through the captions, we smile at our own ignorance as we now fall into a very small category of babies who have been there 100 days +. I will say though that the fact that our babies, as tiny as they were, are ALIVE and thriving, makes every single day worth it. We'll take what we have to to ensure a successful transition home and a lifetime of hugs and smiles.

With that said, our 100 day birthday was terrific! Slade has been doing so well on his feedings that today his feeding tube was removed! From now on, he will eat as much as he is hungry for and can have more if he wants more and less if he wants less. So if he doesn't finish a bottle, it won't be tube fed to him, but rather he will have to hopefully make up for it on his following bottle. This is a huge step and we couldn't be more excited. The girls are still only eating 4 of 8 bottles per day and aren't quite ready to lose there tubes, but hopefully they catch up soon. Also, all the babies have been on caffeine since their birth to help with heart rate drops. Well Claire was removed yesterday and Ella/Slade will be removed tonight. So far so good with Miss Claire and we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for the other two!

The only downside to today is that to ensure that the babies aren't getting the thrush from my milk, I must begin taking some medicine and for the next 24 hours must dump everything I pump. It already looks like their thrush is clearing up but they want to take every precaution to make sure there is no cross-contamination. Arg....the agony of flushing oz's down the drain, I couldn't even do it, but Brian took care of it for me:)

Unfortunately before we could get a picture of Slade without his feeding tube in, the eye doctor came to inflict his bi-monthly torture so instead below is a video of him and Claire hanging out with their aunt Heather...
video

Monday, October 26, 2009

Still Waiting...

A nurse made a joke the other day asking if they trio was walking yet and I think that's what our once tiny babies are waiting for, they want to be able to walk out those NICU doors:) Nah, but Ella is now 8lbs and it really is time they came home. And they are steadily improving at their eating, just not there yet. They still have the thrush so the doctors are now going to treat it with an internal medicine rather than just the topical ointment. Supposedly thrush is painful so hopefully when it clears up the babies will take all their bottles. Yesterday the babies also got all of their vaccinations and did really well with them. I'm amazed at the difference of opinion on vaccinating babies out there but I decided to side with the neonataligists and get them done (if I trust them to do my babies heart surgery, I better trust them with a shot, right?) Ella's brain bleed has resolved which is terrific, however whatever damage it did is done and we will just have to wait and see if there are any lasting effects. Luckily there are some great early intervention programs out there if there are any motor skill delays. All the babies eyes are looking great and only Claire is at any increased risk of future vision issues like glasses(although due to poor eye genes, I think they are all at risk for glasses).

Brian and I are doing well and trying to be as patient as possible. Our cats have found a perfect new home (Thanks Melissa!) and we are beginning to get some of the stuff set up that we had to wait on due to the cats (i.e. bouncy chairs, swings, etc). I've decreased my pumping to 8x per day so I can get a little sleep before the babies come home and so my emotional stability increases as I wait for them. So all in all we are good, just ready.

Ella - 8lbs (18.9 inches)





















Slade - 7lbs 11oz (18.3 inches)




















Claire - 6lbs 14oz (18.9 inches)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Divided

All the babies are doing well and getting a little bit more consistent with their bottles. Unfortunately its consistently about 1/2 bottle per feeding rather than an entire bottle per feeding. Claire is still pretty variable from an entire bottle one feeding to 1/8th the next. One of these days they'll catch on....or so they tell me...

Once again Ella & Slade have thrush and are being treated with this blue/purple goo that makes there whole mouths purple. Its very halloweenish. Because they are having a hard time getting rid of this, they have been separated into different cribs rather than the big triplet crib. This way pacifiers and such won't get accidentally shared and the infection spread. Once that is cleared up they will move back in with each other as there are studies that prove the benefits of co-bedding such as increased bonding, more self-sustaining comfort and even developmental benefits.

On another note, their personalities are definitely changing again. Our once "chill" Claire is now our "if you put me down, I'll cry" Claire. Our "easily irritable" Slade is now our "chill" Slade. And Ella, well, she remains our sleepy little girl that varies from one day to the next. I'm guessing this will continue to change for many years to come...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goodness

Goodness, I don't think that the doctor meant that the babies would be giving cues almost every single feeding, but today they did just that. Ella and Slade attempted 7 out of 8 bottles and Claire 6 out of 8. Now they didn't finish all of those bottles and in fact sometimes only drank 15 out of 65 ml's, but its definitely a step in the right direction. Just the fact that they were alert enough to make the attempts is great news. As one doctor told us, "its the process that is important, the volume will come." Way to go babies!

Miss Claire is almost always wide awake when we are there...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cue Based Feeding

Well, my hopes are up again today after the babies were upgraded to a new type of feeding structure called cue based feeding. This is where at every feeding if the babies are awake, alert and showing signs of being hungry, the nurse will attempt a bottle feed. This is to ensure the babies get all the chances they can get to learn rather than be just scheduled to 3 distinct times per day. Already Slade has now finished two bottles in a row, although they said he was pretty sleepy through the second one. This is so great as we really feel it will give the babies a better chance of increasing their bottle feeds and hopefully come home sooner. I'm still doubtful on the Halloween prospect, but very optimistic about Thanksgiving. Yeah for progress!!

Ok, so this is the funniest picture of Ella ever, the kind of picture your kids beg you not to show their boyfriend when they are 16...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Neck and Neck

Claire has been upgraded to 3 bottles per day so the babies are now all on the same amount, go Claire! Some days its a real struggle for them to eat and then others like today are no problem. We are so ready to have them home, its getting really difficult to leave each day without them. I don't have much to write as not much has changed, although we are hoping it soon changes for the better. It doesn't look like we'll have any babies home for Halloween after all and it makes us very sad. Now we are just hopeful for a baby filled Thanksgiving at least... They are all just so wonderful and beautiful and we are so thankful to have them in our lives.

13 Week Stats
Ella - 7lbs 7oz
Slade - 7lbs 1oz
Claire - 6lbs 5oz

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thrush

Its been a long week. I feel like the days have gotten shorter or something, because by the time Brian and I finish work, go to the hospital, drive home, eat dinner, sterilize pump pieces, and wash baby clothes, its time to go to bed and start all over again. Oh well, it will soon be over and the fun will begin!

This week all the babies have developed thrush. Thrush is a common infection found in infants mouths that usually clears up without any treatment. However, ours are getting some cream to resolve things a little quicker as it can interfere with eating. Due to poor performance yesterday, Ella was downgraded to 3 bottles a day as not to create an aversion to the bottle due to her thrush. On the other hand, Slade has been doing great and has been increased to 3 bottles per day. Claire maintains her status as the laid back baby and is staying on the 2 bottles per day for now. Hopefully once this clears up all the babies will begin to increase in their bottle feeding tolerance again...

We have a lot of hats. We have so many hats that we've decided to bring a few to the NICU to give the babies a new less institutional look. Thank you to all of you that donated your used hats, we are having lots of fun with them!



Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Today is such a happy day for us! All three babies drank their entire bottle without a struggle. In the past on various days they've drank them but this is the first time they seemed like they wanted to and not like we were forcing it down their throats. We are hoping this is the beginning of them actually having the desire and ability to drink. Now they just need to do that 7 more times per day and we'll be good to go:)

At a whopping 12 weeks old, they are growing great and are starting to get particularly chubby. Ella is now 6lbs14oz, Slade 6lbs9oz, and Claire 6lbs. Most of that weight is now coming from formula as my best work doesn't even make up 1/2 the amount needed for a day anymore. But I am coming to terms with that as I've done everything in my power. I shall keeping on trying but without a baby at home for 3 months, a persons body gets very confused on what its supposed to be doing...

Below are our babies three month photos and one with the five of us...
Ella Landis

Slade Oscar
Claire Ann

The Milligan Clan

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Doing Good...

The babes are doing good and just trucking along... Really there have been no changes this week although Slade has been eating way better and is starting to catch up to Ella in his skill level. It will be so funny if our "wimpy white boy" ends up being the first one to come home! Claire is really variable as she will do great one feeding and then not so great the next.

A few things I want to remember about the babies at this stage:

Ella is a chubby little thing and the strongest baby we have ever seen. Today I watched as she lay on her stomach and rotated her head from one side to the other. It was a little poltergeisty but I was amazed how strong her neck muscles already are. She loves to stick her tongue out and when she is done eating, it is her way of refusing the bottle. Even though she has dark hair, she is like Brian and has bleach white eyebrows. My two little calico's!

Slade has the softest fluffy hair and its hard to resist rubbing it when he is eating. Once he falls asleep, he whines as if he is a puppy that is dreaming of chasing a cat. We laugh that he is probably the noisiest sleeping baby ever and hope that his future wife is a deep sleeper! Oh and when he gets mad, you've never seen a baby turn a deeper shade of red, it looks like he just might explode:)

Claire, is the most chill baby that has ever lived. She infrequently sleeps and we figure that's why she is the smallest. However, while she is awake she rarely cries but just looks around as if she is contemplating the world. She has a million expression from squishy forehead lines to the sweetest smiles you've ever seen!

Today is my birthday and I've already gotten three times the gifts that I ever wanted. I've never felt so satisfied on a birthday as I do today and I can't wait to my next birthday when I get to celebrate with our tiny little babies!

video

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Meow

So this is a sad post for me to write, but its time I find a new home for our two sweet cats. They are two of my favorite things in this world but unfortunately will not "fit" with the new additions coming to our house very soon. When I got these cats, I thought I would have them forever. I never imagined I'd have premature triplets and that it would be an issue. However it is and we must part. I am looking for homes for them so if you or someone you know is interested please let me know. If no one wants them I'm trying to figure out other options?? Is it more humane to bring them to a "no kill" shelter or to keep them here but make them "outdoor" cats? I'm also not against asking someone to just babysit Gary for 6 months until the babies can handle the hair again since he really is so good with kids??? Here's a little bit about the cats... Oh and I would of course provide shots and all accessories...

Gary: You could not ask for a better cat with children. I have seen my nieces repeatedly carry him under his front arms with his legs nearing the ground with no real issue. He likes to "hang" around people but is not an in your face type of cat. He snuggles when he wants but most of the time prefers to lay on his back in the center of attention. He is the perfect cat and I would only get this breed in the future. Oh he is a registered American Short hair and has papers however he is neutered... The only downside to Gary is that he enjoys licking tape or eating any bits of plastic that get on the ground and this causes him to puke. Now if you are a cleaner person than myself it shouldn't be an issue (except for maybe Christmas unwrapping time, he loves that)


Popcorn: This white fuzzball is the most cuddly animal that has ever existed. He is not intelligent what so ever but will lay on and love you until you make him get off. Seriously, he likes only the people who feed him for the most part, but he really likes us. I've never seen such a cuddly cat, he is limp when you hold him. The downside to Popcorn is that he is not kid friendly. I mean he won't attack them but I really wouldn't recommend he live in a house with kids as I've seen a few too many hisses at little ones...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stupid Phone

So my phone had a fatal error and continuously flashed the the words "Life is Good" across the screen every 10 sec. or so for the last 24 hours. Now the phone is correct that life is good, however this sentence repeating while I was unable to use my phone made me want to throw it against a wall (lack of sleep makes me irritable:) However, I knew violence was not the solution so I took my phone in to be repaired. They could not repair it but happily gave me a sparkly brand new phone minus ALL my contact/phone number information... Five or so years of numbers down the drain:( So the reason I tell this story is because I'm hoping some of you will either text or email me your digits as I am lost without my people. Already so many times I have picked up my phone to call someone and been saddened to not know their number... perhaps it was you??

Oh why won't the paparazzi leave me alone already...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yeah for Babies!

I finally got to see the babies today and they really did look different just in a matter of days. Slade's cheeks have really puffed up and I feel like Ella has more hair than ever. Ella has been put back to only 3 bottles per day rather than 4 as they feel she is having too hard of a time with that 4th bottle. This is frustrating for us as every time we are there she has eaten the entire bottle. I wish I could be there for all four bottle feedings but that just wouldn't work out with the distance to the hospital from where we live.

Both Ella and Slade grew the right amount this week but little Claire only grew 4oz (we aim for 7). I haven't talked to the doctor about this yet so I'm hoping its ok since she has grown over the 7oz the last few weeks in a row.

Pumping: The other night we were at a wedding rehearsal when I had to retreat to a bedroom in the lodge to do my business. The room had a comfy bed and I proceeded to let my hair down and lay back against the pillows as I pumped. I guess I didn't realize how close the rehearsal was to finishing as my husband came in and told me we needed to go as it was over. I still had a few minutes left so I took my time, washed the pieces and packed up. But to our surprise, we walked out of the room and the caretaker had turned off all the lights and closed up the building. As we walked, I finished buttoning up my outer blouse and we quickly proceeded to exit the building to the few remaining patrons. It was only when I saw a couple surprised faces that I realized how inappropriate we probably looked., tousled hair, half buttoned shirt, dark building.. Oops!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waahhhmbulance...

So I went to the clinic and they ruled out the flu by sticking a long q-tip up my nose. This was not fun, it really goes in very far, made me really appreciate what the babies have been through with their breathing machines in the past. The PA figures I just have bad allergies like I had suspected since all of the rain has brought in some molds. The problem is I cannot take any benedryl or sudafed anymore as I learned it can dry up your milk supply, just what I don't need. To be sure, I still didn't go to see the babies today, just to be on the safe side. Tomorrow as long as nothing has changed, I will go see them and I cannot wait!

Today is 11 weeks since they were born and I'm SOOOOO ready for them to come home. I'm beginning to get impatient. I truly want them to be fully healthy before that happens but I think the lack of visitation over the last few days is driving me crazy. I'm tired of how the hospital smells and of all the noise. I'm ready for the sleepless nights, I'm ready for diapers without wires, I'm ready to fold laundry and not put it in ziplock bags for protection before delivering it to the babies. I'm ready for this chapter to be over and the next one to begin...

Wahhhhh....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Still Sick but with a New (Used) SUV...

I awoke still feeling ill today and once again was unable to see the babies. I hate it. I have no fever, although I have a runny nose and an upset stomach. Tomorrow I will go to the rediclinic and have a flu test done just to rule it out but I still think I just have allergies... Hopefully I get the all clear to go to the NICU because two days is waaaayyyy tooo long to go without holding the babes.

However, I did take a few sudafed and drove to the car dealership in San Marcos to look at a vehicle the salesman had called me about. We've been looking for awhile now since Brian's truck won't hold 3 car seats and my work vehicle doesn't have room for them and their stuff either. After looking at several vehicles, we were so happy to find one that was PERFECT! Its a Ford Expedition which a lot of the twin/triplet moms drive and have recommended to us. It has a third row, leather seats and low miles which is what we were looking for. The leather wasn't required but we sure did want it so that all the spills that are soon to come would be easy to clean up. We feel that we got a great deal and it feels nice to be able to cross that chore off the list!

Since I was unable to go to the NICU today, my sweet husband took a few videos of the kiddos for me..

Ella is frequently "Milk Drunk" after a feeding and unable to be awoken...
video

Slade too has a difficult time focusing right after being bottle fed..
video

Claire however, has a hard time waking up to be fed but once she's awake, she's really awake...

video

Sick

It was bound to happen. I knew with little sleep and being back at work dealing with people on a daily basis, my chances were increased. I got the flu, diphtheria, tetanus and whopping cough shots but you can't protect yourself from everything. Now I believe that what I have is nothing more than a tiny cold or sinus infection, it definitely has reminded me to use more hand sanitizer! I took the day off today and literally slept ALL day except for 2 conference calls and some oatmeal. I am feeling a bit better but was very sad not to get to see the babies today. I've only missed 2 other days where I had a fever in the very beginning in the hospital. I'm hoping after a benadryl induced evening that I feel better tomorrow and can see the kiddos.

At least Brian and Grandpa (aka Big Daddy) got to go and hold/feed all the babies so they did get some loving. Our little chunky monkey Ella is still leading the pack at a whopping 6.1 pounds today! Slade is close behind at 5.12 and little Claire is 5.6.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chow Time

Well today I finally have an update as nothing really new has happened until today. Today Ella has been increased to 4 bottles per day, so she is halfway there! It should go a little quicker now as she is getting the motion of suck, swallow, breathe down. Slade & Claire have also been increased up to 2 bottles per day each. They haven't really finished 1 per day but the doctor wants to give them each another opportunity per day where maybe they are a little more awake. Hopefully this way, they will at least be able to get a little more practice.

The nursing has been interesting as well. Claire actually does better at it than Ella but it will take awhile until they are pros. Its not as natural of a process for me as missing out on 2 months and then having babies that don't really "get it" makes things kind of weird. Oh and having the lactation nurse, the student she is teaching, a nurse and my sister in law all "helping" is a little strange as well. But as strange as it may seem, I'm enjoying learning from the lactation lady and hope that one day the babies catch on. If they don't, I'm a little concerned that I won't have the energy to bottle feed and pump once they come home...a girl has to sleep sometime!