Monday, July 13, 2009

We've Got Birth Certificates!

Imagine yourself in our shoes for a moment. You have three babies, all tiny and vulnerable, and you are completely in love with them in a way that you still have a hard time grasping. You know that these little beauties were born way too early, and that any little problem could be potentially life-threatening; infections, especially, are cause for alarm bells to go off. You’re already on edge from a few rough days in a row; you’re tired; you’re stressed. And then…

This morning, we walk into the NICU for our morning visit and the only change is that Charlie is now on an antibiotic. Our ears perk up immediately, and I blurt “what for?” to the nurse. Her response? “I can’t tell you. The doctor wants to speak to you.” Our hearts drop.

What does this mean? Does Charlie have an infection? Is it something that isn’t fixable? Is it serious? Can it be that we’re going to lose our son? Our minds were full of the worst case scenarios, and we were convinced that poor Charlie was really, truly sick. We’ve heard from a lot of parents in the comments on this blog, and if you’ve ever noticed that some comments have been deleted, it’s usually because people leave stories about how their babies didn’t make it. Why you would post about the death of a baby on a blog about sick babies I have no idea, but it happens. And I read the comments and get a whole new batch of things to fear. The most common cause of death in preemies seems to be infections, which I only know because of those comments. And now this is exactly what is running through my head.

After the most nerve-wracking ten minutes imaginable, Dr. Hiatt comes in and casually updates us on Lily’s progress, and then talks about how well Annaleigh is doing—he didn’t realize that we had been set up to have such horrible thoughts in our heads. Finally, we demanded, “BUT HOW’S CHARLIE???” We had braced ourselves for the worst, only to hear the basic equivalent of “oh, Charlie’s fine. Why?”

Essentially what had happened was that Charlie’s central line came out yesterday and that caused the fluids that were running into his veins to leak into his arm, which caused a great deal of swelling. They know that’s what happened, but any time there’s swelling they have to check for infections. It’s really just a precaution, but the nurse didn’t want to tell us herself because she was afraid we would be upset. Like giving us the impression that something serious was wrong wasn’t going to upset us!!!

So anyway, it ended up being a decent day. We spent a good amount of time talking to Dr. Hiatt about all the drama and he assured us that what we’re feeling is completely normal. He said that most parents feel the sense of extreme exhaustion that we’re feeling now, but it doesn’t usually hit them until a month or so into their NICU experience—we’re just lucky enough to have the stress times three! He said “it’s not reasonable to expect stability at this point,” and that we should prepare for another “three or four weeks” just like this past one. After that, it should calm down a bit.

He also told us that everything right now is a waiting game until the babies can start putting on more weight. The goal for them is to add 20 grams each day. To that end, Charlie is still the biggest (but we don’t have a current weight since his nurse is waiting until midnight to weigh him today) and he’s eating three ml of breast milk every three hours. Annaleigh is up to 730 grams, and is eating one ml of breast milk, though she just started back up on that this morning. Lily remains the smallest, weighing in at 710 grams, but that’s up from 679 grams yesterday. She’s still eating her two ml of breast milk, but we’re happy with that since she’s had so many problems lately and eating anything right now is a bonus.

Lily’s behavior has been better for the most part today. She had a lot of episodes early in the day. Her nurse actually was quite impressed with Lily Bug’s ability to tell time—she had episodes every half hour, almost exactly on the 30 minute mark. But she calmed down early in the afternoon and has been doing well since. Let’s just hope that keeps up! She’s getting additional caffeine and the last of Uncle John’s blood. Luckily Grandma Pam is going to donate tomorrow so that should tide them over for a while.

Annaleigh is pretty much exactly the same as she’s been, so there’s no report on her. And that’s a good thing!

During our evening visit, we got to watch both Annaleigh and Lily get bathed (well, wiped down and massaged with a damp washcloth) and weighed. If you’ve never had the chance to watch a pound-and-a-half baby get a bath, I highly recommend it! Oh, how Lily hated it! She squirmed and flailed her arms and legs about, and she kept trying to cry but her lungs aren’t strong enough yet. The looks on her face were just priceless! And Annaleigh was just as funny. She was able to make a tiny squeaking cry despite the feeding tube that was still in place, and that’s always wonderful to hear. The nurses have to remove all the breathing tubes and wires in order to get an accurate measurement, so it was really special to see Annaleigh’s face for the first time. Her poor head is all elongated and dented from the tubes that have been pressing against her for so long, but she’s still beautiful.

The only other news is that we went to the New Bruswick City Hall today and picked up their birth certificates! So as of this morning, these babies officially exist!

And that’s the update for today. Thank you everyone for reading—we really appreciate all the support!


Annaleigh likes being left alone, so I just put my hand near her so you can see how small she still is.


Lily likes to snuggle with her blankets. Brooke is now snuggling with this same pink blanket. The nurse gave it to us to wash and Brooke is determined to get every ounce of Lily's baby smell from it first!


Charlie looking comfy as always.


Lily does not like bath time!


Lily being lifted onto the scale by her nurse. She is not happy about being airborn, and certainly not thrilled about being unhooked from her breathing tubes. Poor Lily!

29 comments:

Michele from FTHS said...

I was nervous for a minute there, Big D. I can't even imagine how the two of you must have felt. You two are so strong and are amazingly lucky to have each other's support (and your following on here, too). Keep strong all five of you. Good job gaining weight, Little D's!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG I love Annaleigh's little legs all curled up. Angels you are doing so well. Keep fighting... keep growing my little ones.

Hang in there all of you. You are so strong - keep it up - You're great... No more infections - from now on - it's uphill all the way...

Joe and Brooke - ignore the comments - people are either cruel or not thinking. You are on the right track - stay positive...

All My Love Always, Auntie :)
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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

I follow your blog since reading about all that was happening with you on the multiples board. I had twins in St. Peter's on May 13. We were right behind you today at Vital Statistics, I didn't know what to say or how to say it, (And I was just updating my hubby about your babies on the way over.)
I know how hard it was to have my 2 babies there for almost 2 weeks. Your a very strong person, I cried alot, when one baby came home and the other didn't, but I promise one day it will all be a distant memory. Congratulations! I hope they continue to do well and are home with you soon.

The Madeira Triplets said...

Wow...looks like everyone is doing so very well-it certainly appears from your updates that they are making tremendous strides. How exciting!!! This new, infectious love for your children is so wonderful, isn't it? We just couldn't believe how lucky we felt when our guys were born. There's no words for suddenly realizing you are parents!!

All of these things are completely part of the NICU roller-coaster ride--ugh, right? There will come a day--soon--when you no longer dread getting calls from the hospital or strange mysterious updates from nurses because the babies will be healthy and home :D Though our guys were born at 33 weeks we still had many, many days when the "spells" happened one after another, and we left the hospital heartbroken only to return again and have a great visit the next day. The unpredictability of it all killed us, and it was something that you can never really get used to.

We love reading the updates, and absolutely are tickled by your observations on their personalities and family resemblances! It's so neat how much you can tell about each baby so early on :D They are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I found your link on the multiples blog website, and have been following along everyday to check on your beautiful babies. I have twin girls that are 2, and while I have no tales to tell of NICU experiences, I just wanted to let you both know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog since you posted on TC and anxiously await your updates each day. I had my triplets last June at 29w 6d. (We had an 11 week NICU stay.) It is so wonderful to hear your good news about your little ones and how you describe each of their little personalities. You are in our thoughts and prayers each day. Just think next year at this time you will be where I am....trying to keep up with 3 little ones all going in different directions. Stay strong, you are both doing a most wonderful job.

Amanda said...

Yay for birth certificates!!! I was to get them for my boys too. :)

I'm sorry things have been so difficult and scary for you all. I pray everyday that the babies grow strong and healthy. I hope this time in your life passes quickly and that the babies are home with you in no time!

Mrs.McJeep said...

Yay for birth certificates, such a fun moment! I can only imagine how draining it is for you, one of my twins was in the NICU with what seems like nothing compared to what you guys are going through. But it does get better, unfortunately NICU time is like being on a rollarcoaster, there's up s and downs and thrills and scary moments. But the end result is beautiful!

Please ignore the negative comments, I think people relate to the story of how hard it is but forget how scary it is.

BTW, I have 2 chubby boys now, you're little ones will be there just takes time and love oh and of course good doctors and nurses! And I know they have a ton of love!

Marcie said...

Of course they exist and now you have these certificates to hold and know. It's unbelievable how small Lily looks when the nurse is lifting her up. I
will have to say though, I am also very shocked that she had a bath. This is usually a big no no but I am sure they had a reason.
They are all so beautiful and I am so glad that yesterday did not include any any setbacks. One day at a time....

Becca said...

I got linked to your blog from a friend who knew you on some board somehow but am nearly in tears reading through your blog. I myself have a 6 month old little girl...my first...and i was blessed to not have to be a NICU parent. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to not be able to hold your babies for such a long time. You all are in my prayers. I'm so glad that they are doing well so far, being born so early you all have a long hard battle ahead of you but you two seem to have a great support group through friends, family, and mostly each other. Stay strong for your babies, they're staying strong to come home and be with you soon!

Krystal said...

OH they are SO cute! When we were in the NICU on slow nights (once the boys were pretty "big") the nurses gave them bubble baths. They took the O2 and blew it into the bath...maybe Lily will like that more in the future!

Anonymous said...

Amazing isn't it?

Been in your shoes hoping for the very best news each day, and get little tid bits that make your heart almost stop only to find out sometimes the nurse staff just plays too much into situations. Just tell me and I can deal!
About all the stress you are going thru, go ahead and get it out. If you have crying days, cry it out. When the days of frustration take over, go ahead and be frustrated. I held mine all in. Never fell apart the whole time, but when it was all over I really fell apart. Wishing I had let go during the time it was all going on. Then when you get the little one's home, you will be like, oh ok, been there handled it all before.
Never feel bad about just letting go.....best medicine is letting go and letting God. After all we are human.
Thanks for letting us all have a peek into your Blessed journey.
Sherry

Jen said...

Brooke and Joe,
Isn't it great to get those birth certificates. I shared your blog with my mom. She wanted me to give you her love and know you are in her prayers. My baby sister was born early and so tiny. Mom told me about the blood transfusions my sister had to have and how she wishes she was more like Brooke and bonded more to my sister from birth. Mom really admires your courage.

She asked me to share that while Beth was so sick at birth and in the NICU for so long she is now 19 an Honors student at college and working this summer for my company. I agree with my mom that you have fighters in your little ones.

Know my family's love and prayers are with you.


Love
Jen

citygirlcooks said...

You're so lucky to have such a great doctor who takes the time to talk you through some of the emotional "stuff." Sounds like the care there is incredible for all of you! Keep smiling at those milestones!

goldenmama said...

Just wanted to say I read your blog every morning with fingers crossed for a good day!! Lots of love and prayers coming from Charleston, SC.
goldenmama

mrsolsenk12 said...

yay for birth certificates. It made me feel so much better to finally have it in hand. It is amazing how well the triplets are doing. It is so wonderful but I am sure that the rollercoaster is still going on.

Minnie said...

I can't recall where I saw a link to your blog, but sending prayers your way for your beautiful babies

Amy said...

I'm so sorry that people have left you undesirable comments. I'll leave you with a little better of one. My Husband was born premature as well, around 24wks. He is now a healthy, vibrant, and loving 23yr old!! Miracles happen and your babies are well on their way!

Keep up the hard work babies!!

Anonymous said...

So precious that I just want to squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze them!!!

I'm so happy that they're growing and getting stronger. I love reading your descriptions and thoughts on their personalities. They will love to read this when they're older. Take care

Beth

Brooke said...

I added an edit to the blog, but I wanted to elaborate on the "bath" the babies receive. The nurses call it bath time, but it is simply a wipe down with a damp washcloth.

The Home Cook said...

Yay for birth certificates. I'm so glad everything was OK with Charlie. That must have been a horrific wait. ((HUGS)) to you both.

Denise said...

Brooke & Joe, God is on your side, so don't give up on the faith. It won't be long before their home with you in your arms. My thoughts and prayers are always with you.. Denise (Travis's mom) I remember when you use to come down to my house to hang out with Travis..

Mom2Be said...

sorry that some people are leaving you sad comments...I'm glad that things with Charlie turned out okay. I'm guessing that the central venous line is for feeding and for drawing blood from?? I'm just wondering because I just finished a phelbotomy course and I learned that for premies you can take their blood from their heals rather than their veins in their arms (depending on what lab test they need done of course) and that way you don't take as much blood from them and they'll less likely need transfusions. I don't know too much about premies though, just how to draw blood LOL. Have they been getting lung surfacant (I think that's what it's called)? It helps babies born early breath easier because they don't produce enough of their own (but I could be wrong : ) Anyway, I pray everyday for them to get stronger! Good luck!

Colleen said...

Oh boo, I must not have typed the right verification word in my comment this morning.
Just wanted to say that I am glad you got the birth certificates and try not to pay attention to the people who feel they need to scare you with their stories or criticize things in your life after reading a blog post (because that always tells the whole story!).
Hope your roller-coaster smooths out soon...

Anonymous said...

I love seeing the pictures of your babies. They look perfect. Your entire family is in my thoughts and prayers. It's truly awful that people would even consider leaving a devastating comment as you mentioned, but remember there are so many happy endings out there. There will be a day when you are trying to run in three different directions to chase these little ones and the thought of them being such fragile peanuts will be a distant memory.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I am in and out all week, but I ran in and checked your blog as soon as I got home this evening. I am praying really hard every night for you. The pictures are precious!!!!

Cheryl

Katrina said...

Loving all the updates and pictures. So sweet. More thoughts and prayers for you all!

Melissa said...

Such sweet little buttons! I am glad to hear they are doing well. I love all the pictures, you two have such beautiful babies!

Melissa (MelZull)