Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 6

This morning Charlie opened his eyes for the first time, and I swear he looks like someone took a shrink ray to my 91-year-old grandfather, Freddie. He has the cutest little face; his mouth is always open and he loves to make the sucking motions. He has a minor heart murmur, but the doctor didn’t seem particularly concerned. His major issue right now is the fact that he just stops breathing sometimes. He’s getting breathing help from the BiPAP machine, which forces oxygen into him about half the time (he breathes an average of 61 times per minute and the machine is usually set to 35 times per minute, meaning he’s doing it on his own about half the time).

Lily remains the smallest of the group. She actually needed some extra blood today so they gave her some of my brother John’s blood that he came and donated earlier in the week. We were told to expect Annaleigh to need it first, but Lily apparently wanted the first crack at the new blood. But she’s geting breastmilk through her feeding tube and digesting it without any problem, so that’s a good sign. They may actually increase the amount of food she gets, which will help her add some weight.

Annaleigh calmed down a bit today and they were finally able to get the central line into her. That was a relief. Unfortunately, she’s still so covered up from theBiPAP tubes and feeding tubes that we can’t see her face that much. She still hasn’t opened her eyes because they’ve been covered by the foam eye shields that she wears because of the warming jaundice lights.

Well, we’re home. We’re now a long 45-minute car ride from our babies. Most people are thrilled to leave the hospital; Brooke fought with all she had to stay, and was hoping to get a fever or an ulcer or something that would force them to keep her for another night; alas, it did not happen.

Brooke has been in the hospital for two weeks; I’ve been with her there since Saturday afternoon. As you can imagine, we’ve accumulated a LOT of stuff. Luckily, my mother-in-law used the “I’ll help you pack up” excuse as a cover to come up and see the babies, so we had some much-needed assistance. After we packed up the car, Brooke and I went down to say our tearful goodbye to Annaleigh, Lily, and Charlie.

First we talked to Charlie. As we were about to leave, he had another episode in which he stopped breathing. It was only his fifth one today, as opposed to over a dozen yesterday, but seeing it immediately before leaving him was extra hard. And then, as we were about to walk away, he raised his tiny right arm up through opening in the plastic warp that surrounds his bed and he used his hand to grab on to Brooke’s finger—he looked like he was reaching for Brooke! While we’re sure it was just a coincidence, it made us both break down in tears.

Lily was no easier. We were already worked up from Charlie’s antics, and Lil’ Lily decided to make it even harder to leave. She has been sleeping pretty soundly during that entire visit, and just as we said “goodbye baby, we love you,” she raised her right arm up as if to wave goodbye! If I weren’t there to see it I wouldn’t have believed it. These babies couldn’t possibly be waving—heck, they can’t even focus their eyes on anything beyond a few inches from their face—but it was as though they were saying “see ya later, mom and dad; we’ll be fine.” Well, Brooke and I must have looked quite pitiful as we were leaving.

Annaleigh’s goodbye was less dramatic but more personal. As we were telling her we were going to miss her, her nurse came over and asked Brooke if she would like to rub some Aquafur lotion on her skin. I got to do it yesterday so I know just how fragile and bony her flesh feels. Brooke was thrilled to have this last physical bonding with our little girl.

But we’re home now, with plans to drive back up tomorrow (maybe more than once). We’ll be spending our summer there, so if anyone knows any good New Brunswick restaurants or malls or other time-killers, please let us know.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments on our posts. We’re continuously amazed by how many people follow our story, and we love reading the comments that are left. We really appreciate all the well wishes, prayers, stories, and advice that you’ve shared with us. Please keep them coming!


Cox said...

There's a lot of good restaurants in the New Brunswick area, although malls and such are a little bit further out, about 10 minutes or so from the downtown area. Plus, they require traveling down either Route 18 or Easton Avenue to get to, and neither of those is any treat to drive, at all hours of the day. The downtown area is nice, though, it's a short drive down Easton and since school is out, it's not full of annoying college kids to visit. One of these days, we will hang out and I can show you some of what I've learned since moving up north.

Courtney in CT said...

Hi guys!

Just checking in to say hi, and that I'm thinking of you on your first night home. Your strength continues to amaze me. I don't know how you're doing it, but it seems like the babies are in excellent hands. And I am so excited to hear that these first few days have been full of positive news!

Stay strong - all five of you!

Big hugs,

The Paro Family said...

I just wanted to say hi & send e-hugs your way.

My baby was only in the NICU for 2 weeks (born @ 33 wks), but I know that going home without the baby was by far the hardest part for me.

It sounds like your 3 tiny miracles are fighters and I hope they're big, strong, healthy babies before too long and can go home where they belong!

The NICU experience sure isn't easy, but those 3 babies are worth it! Congratulations!!!

Lani said...

I so vividly remember the day I had to go home from the hospital and leave my kids there.. heartbreaking. But they WILL be fine, so use this time to rest and heal so you can be strong for them. You guys are doing great!

Michele from FTHS said...

Glad Brooke was healthy enough to go home but can imagine the angst in leaving. Spoke with Lorraine T-G today and she said to let you know you all are in her thoughts and prayers. Katie and I keep iming back and forth in amazement over how beautiful the babies are and how strong and amazing you two are. God bless and you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers!!!!

Nichole Koval said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi - you don't know me, but somehow I landed on your page (TC maybe?) Anyway - I have been following your recent posts and wanted to let you know my hubby and I are praying for you and your sweeties!

I remember those NICU days, even though it has been 11 yrs now. But I look at my trio and cannot even believe they were ever so tiny. Someday you'll look back in disbelief too. So glad you have such a nice photo/blog of the events. You'll be glad you do when those days become a blur because you have 3 babies at home!

God bless.

mike said...

hi, joe and brooke, it's mike d from fths, congrats and best wishes to youguys from us and our trio. i too am reliving he nicu days from 2005. all we can say is its a rollercoaster ride but nicu staffs are AMAZING as you prob already know...good luck

Mrs.McJeep said...

Hi, I wanted to tell you, I had to leave one of my twins 45 minutes away in the NICU. It was hard, but knowing they were in good hands made it easier. I advise you during this time, take at least one day to do something for yourselves. Babies in the NICU is draining and you'll be glad to have had a day after they get home...I wouldn't do it right away maybe in a month.
I think of your little ones every day and say an extra prayer for them!

Andrew's Mom said...

I wish I weren't in Long Island but New Jersey - I would volunteer to do whatever I could to help you. The babies are beautiful. Continuing to pray.

Jade said...

Brooke, I have been following your story on the WC board. I am glad to hear that the babies are doing well. You, Joe and your little firecrackers are in my thoughts.

Marcie said...

Ahhh, know that your little angels will be well taken care of. I work in a Special Care Nursery and we really adore these babies more than you know. Take care of your selves. They are so beautiful.

Colleen said...

Leaving sounds really hard...but hopefully you guys can get into a routine both at home and in the hospital. As for NB - lots of good restaurants there as well as surrounding areas, and the Bridgewater mall (hint, hint) is about 15 minutes away. I can send you some more details over email if you want.

Thinking of the 5 of you!

Jamie FTHS said...

I have begun starting my day by checking the blog to see how those amazing babies are doing. They are just beautiful!! I can't imagine how difficult it much be to leave, but with the warmth and love you both have for those babies, I am SURE they will feel it the whole 45 minutes away! New Brunswick has a lot of good restaurants, you DEFINITELY need to go get some Thomas Sweet ice cream over on Easton avenue (my fave is their cafe au lait ice cream with heath bar blend in...I could go for that right now!) Old Man Rafferty's is a good one, the mongolian buffet is different and for casual food, stuff yer face (also on Easton) is a yummy choice (they do lots of boli's). Let me know if you need specific suggestions! I am thinking of the 5 of you and you are constantly in my prayers. Be well.
Jamie :)

shawnandlarissa said...

It has to be rough leaving the little ones behind. I will be praying for you and all three of your babies as everyone gets bigger and stronger

Anonymous said...

I know leaving your babies behind in the NICU is so hard, and that's not anything that any of us can say to make it any easier, so I won't try!

Just know that we're all thinking of you and the babies and sending well wishes your way.

-Kirsten (kmcclelland from the private multiples board)

Anonymous said...

i will take you on a tour of new brunswick!
...ok, that's just an excuse to see you guys and congratulate you in person, but so what?!?!
those babies love you =) and they're in wonderful hands.
lots of love and prayers for big, fat, strong babies!!
-nikki joy

Katie Quinn said...

Hi Joe and Brooke, it's Katie Quinn from FTHS. I have been reading your blog since Day 1 and I look forward to it everyday. I am so moved by your love for each other and for your babies. I can't wait for the day your children can read this and appreciate how much they were wanted and loved before they even got here. I wish you all the best of luck, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...


I SWEAR that I left a message for you earlier today but I have no idea where it went. WHEW! I thought it would be easier than my texting abilities (wink). Anyway, I read this blog every day as you know. Joe, I am sure that I will talk to you in a day or two. Your babies are beautiful and I continue to pray every day for you all.

Sending lots of love and prayers,

The Madeira Triplets said...

The babies are so beautiful. We're all so happy for you two + three!!! What a bittersweet day, I am sure. I remember how traumatic it was for us as well...we felt like we were abandoning them! But what super caretakers they have. And you can call any time of day as well and get updates.

The days before you bring them home are interesting in a way. You're parents, but you have no babies at home (other than in your hearts!). That was very hard for me. I didn't feel like a "real mom" for a long time, even though that sounds silly! At the same time, I knew that they had to be in the hospital and that I needed to heal. That also gave us some time to get ready for them though--I had been on bedrest for 11 weeks and in the hospital for 3 beforehand, so I really hadn't gotten to get stuff organized. I did enjoy that time I spent getting ready for them!

I know it's hard to imagine now, but we rarely think of the NICU days anymore. It actually didn't take that long either for us to forget--probably about 1 day :D And the NICU did some amazing things for us, like putting the boys on a feeding schedule, that were so helpful.

Know that so many are thinking of you and the babies!!!

Lauren said...

I can't even imagine the pain of leaving your babies. I hope you are mildly consoled by the awesome care they are getting and what amazing powerhouses your sweeties are!

As far as things to do... N Bruns is full of great places to eat, and Bridgewater Mall is a short drive away. You have to pass me to get there, though, so swing by and pick me up first. ;) Or just come hang out!

Anonymous said...

Of course those were waves of reassurance. They feel comfortable and they want you to know that. As hard as it is leaving them - feel confident and know that they are receiving the best care possible. Charlie, Annaleigh and Lily are amazing and have shown each of you and their care takers just how amazing they are. Be proud of those little buggers and give them all those positive messages. Charlie, Annaleigh and Lily - you are perfect in everyway. Thrive my little angels - get strong. We need you bouncing around.

All My Love Always, Auntie :)

Mom2Be said...

I can't imagine leaving my baby in the hospital while I went home...just reading about your story made me teary eyed. I will continue praying for your babies to get stronger and healthier.

BuckeyeBundle said...

I've been following since you arrived at the hospital and finally wanted to say hello, Congratulations and Hang in there, you're doing great! I know how hard it is to leave 3 babies in the NICU, but as my husband and I were just remembering (tonight actually), that while they were there, it was so reassuring that they were in such great hands. I probably would have freaked out if they would have allowed me to take 3 babies home with no clue how to care for them. I feel like we learned a few things (ok, a lot) during their short, but important stay in the NICU. and I have to add, NICU nurses, must be some of the most caring, loving, good-hearted people on earth. Congrats on your babies. I will continue to pray for you all and hope that things keep going positive. You're already amazing, loving parents, thanks for letting us share in your joy! oh and ps...I'm Winterbuckeye from our private board and have 16 month triplet girls. :)