Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Puyallup Fair 2008

We were able to have a family excursion to the Puyallup Fair yesterday. David has been looking forward to it all summer, hoping I'd be out of the hospital and up to going before it passed us by. It was a beautiful day - even almost a little too warm when standing out in the sun for a while - and felt so good to be outside and doing something fun together.
Last year, Ethan's favorite parts of the fair were the horses. He was into the animals and thinking they looked pretty cool. This year, all he cared about were trucks and tractors. The very first thing we came upon was a fire truck. He LOVED it! Mostly he is infatuated with wheels but he thought the whole thing was pretty cool. He started throwing a fit when we took him away from it to move on to the next attraction. It was funny!
Every time he saw a truck or a tractor he would point it out and try to climb out of his stroller so that he could be next to it. I think his next favorite display was the John Deer tractor tent. There were more than a dozen tractors out for show and he was just in heaven. He finds the wheels so facinating. It's hilarious. You'd think if you've seen one, you've seen them all but no - not for him.
David's favorite part was the people watching and meandering. His favorite attraction was the man shooting out of a cannon stunt. My favorite part was the grange displays. The array of vegetables, beans, canned fruit, etc. was amazing and beautiful. I couldn't imagine how long it took to design them and then to put them together. I would LOVE to grow all of those things - how fun! A lot of work but fun!
Here are the pics we remembered to snap:
We had to tear him away from the fire truck.

Tractors, tractors, tractors!

The quad display he raced toward.

First Family Visit

On Sunday, Daddy, Mommy and Ethan went to visit the babies. This was our first visit together. Since they were up in the satellite nursery where there were only the two of them and one other baby, the nurses were a lot more relaxed and allowed us to be a bit noisier than usually permitted. Ethan really didn't have much of an attention span for interacting with brothers or for anything else either. We brought lots of snacks, his matchbox cars as well as a DVD player so he could sit and watch his favorite movie right by the babies' bed. As soon as we turned our attention to the babies though, he was up and running around, trying to get the attention back over to him. Then, Daddy started holding Emren and it was all over from there. Ethan started screaming and climbing frantically up David's knee, wondering why he was holding someone else besides him.

Soon, we got him calmed down though and he sat for about 60 seconds with Daddy and brother Emren. He even tried to touch him nicely. His favorite part was finding the pictures of balls on Emren's blanket saying "ball" and pointing to them. After that, he was done, ready to get down and do something else.

There was a waiting room right near the nursery so David and I then took turns keeping Ethan entertained while the other spent time with the boys. I got to hold Emren while he got his milk through the tube this time and then was able to feed Elijah his bottle. Elijah took the whole thing and in record time! I was so excited!

Sunday's weights were as follows: Emren 4lbs 11oz. and Elijah 4lbs 14oz. Grow, grow, grow!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ethan's Update

Ethan is learning so much, so fast! He has known for a while that shoes go on feet but is learning how to get his feet into the "hole" of the shoe. His are a bit small and more tricky so he's been practicing his new skill with Mommy's shoes. David wasn't too excited about our son walking around in women's shoes but I didn't mind so much. I had to capture this new discovery. I'm so proud of how he's trying new things and making so many connections.

Emren's Update

Little Emren is doing great! Every time I go to see him, it seems like he's progressed in one area or another. It's amazing how many times the nurses will say things like, "He's doing such and such on his own now but he could go back and forth with needing help," yet he never ends up needing the help. They give him a new challenge and it seems like he meets it and keeps up.
He's now at 4lbs 4.2oz - over a pound bigger than when he was born, only 3 1/2 weeks ago. He can maintain his body temperature on his own now (as long as he's wrapped up well) so he's in an open bed. I'm sure he misses the coziness and quiet of the incubator but he's a trooper.
Every time I am around Emren when he is getting fed, he always gets the hiccups. I used to think it was so cute when Ethan got them as a newborn - the little squeaks - but now I don't think they're so amusing. It looks like it hurts the poor little guy. His whole body moves with each hiccup and it just looks so uncomfortable. He never cries about it though. I think I would if I got the hiccups that often.
The two boys got moved to a satellite nursery where there are only three babies total in the room. It's nice because it's a lot quieter and they get the nurse's full attention. She doesn't have to leave the room to attend to another baby for a feeding or their distress alarms. I think they both like their new home. Hopefully their next move will be our home!

Elijah's Update

So much has happened since I've last posted. Elijah is doing very well. He is able to maintain a healthy body temperature on his own so they took him out of the incubator and put him in an open bed. It's so great because I can touch him and see him so much better now.
He's up to 4lbs 8.2oz and getting bigger. The exciting thing lately is that he has been trying to nurse from a bottle. It's only a very small amount and only on occasion but he's doing it! I'm so excited. I know every little thing makes it that much closer to him coming home! I'm going up there to spend tomorrow and Friday with them so I'm very much looking forward to bottle feeding him for the first time!

I noticed on Sunday that when I was holding him, he stayed wide awake for almost 1/2 an hour. That's the longest I've seen him awake and alert. I was worried I was stressing him out and he wasn't able to sleep but the nurse said that he is getting older and was just very aware that "Mommy" was there and he didn't want to miss out. I liked her version best. It made me feel so good - like my baby did know who I was.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Twins Together

So this was my favorite part of my day - I got to hold the boys together for the first time. They haven't been next to each other since they were born. I know they missed one another. They snuggled up side by side and fell asleep after just a couple of minutes.
Usually Emren breathes a little faster than Elijah. On the monitors, he is up around the 70's and 80's while Elijah is in the 50's or so. Today while they were sleeping next to each other, they were both breathing exactly the same. It was so beautiful! It's like Emren just needed his brother to show him how to do it correctly.
Having the two of them in my arms together just made me cry. I am so grateful they are both here and are healthy enough for me to hold them and kiss them. There really is nothing like holding your precious new babies. And being able to take part in their special bond between each other is such a blessing. I cannot describe how happy I am to be their mommy.
It's amazing how much we have been blessed through these tough times and trials but then to be even more blessed with having these babies here and healthy.

Amazing Progress...

I just got home today from staying with the boys Wednesday and Thursday night. Elijah and Emren are doing amazingly well! Today, they just graduated to the ISCU (Infant Special Care Unit) from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They are both stable and don't need the extra attention anymore.
Elijah weighs 3lbs 13.6oz and Emren is up to 3lb 10oz. Elijah is up to his "full" feedings of straight breast milk (35mL - a little more than one ounce) every three hours and does not need any IV nutrition. That means he has one less tube going into him, which I'm sure he's grateful for. Emren will probably be to his full feed tomorrow at around 30mL - one ounce. After a couple of days, he'll be finished with his IV too. He is still needing some extra oxygen once in a while so he'll keep his nasal cannula in for a couple more days.
Little Emren swimming in his preemie sleeper.
I was so excited to see him in clothes, even if they are a little big.
Here is Elijah in his big boy T-Shirt. He's so adorable!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Holding the Twins

Yesterday David and I got to go to the hospital to visit the boys - just the two of us. David has only gotten to be with them for small increments of time lately because we've had Ethan with us. This was such a special time. We got to devote 100% of our attention to them together as parents.

I held Emren first while David held the feeding tube up for his 5:00 mealtime. Then Daddy got to hold him for the first time. He was apprehensive at first but then realized how much Emren liked to be held and how it calmed him.
Next was Elijah's turn to eat and be held. Elijah is now breathing completely on his own without any respiration help at all. He only has the feeding tube that now goes into his nose and down into his stomach as well as PICC line in his arm to give him whatever IV nutrition he still needs. It was so wonderful to see his little face so much better now! We were so distracted by enjoying our time holding him and talking with the nurse that we didn't get good pictures of him. I will make sure to make up for it later on in the week when I'll be staying there.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Ethan

I have been writing about the twins so much that I haven't said much about my E1. Now that we are back together (the three of us) these past few days, he hasn't let us leave his sight. One of us seems to need to be with him at all times or else he starts calling out for us and searching around for us. He gives us hugs and holds on to us so much more than ever before, it seems.

It's kind of sad because you can outwardly see how much he realized we were gone from him. I knew he missed us but I didn't think he minded too much since he's been so well cared for in our absence. I do feel happy though that he knows we love him and are his parents who want to be there for him. I'm happy he still feels like he wants to rely on us and come to us for comfort and love.

When you're away from your little one for so long, you start thinking things. I hope I don't forget how important my role as a mother is to my children. Sometimes, it's easy to forget and to feel like you're quite replaceable. I know my mother isn't to me so I need to remember that for my children. I have things to give them that no one else can. What a beautiful thing!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Yesterday the boys got to have their first real meals. Well, kind of real. We're going to count 3mL of milk dropped down a tube that goes from their mouths and into their stomachs as a real meal. They are eating every three hours now and will build up volume over the next 10 days. Hopefully by then, they will not need any nutrition through the IV. Yea for them!

I got to hold little Elijah yesterday for the first time. It felt soooo good to have his tiny warm body up against mine. He felt like my little baby. I changed his diaper and took his temperature. Then, after he was pretty mad at me for bothering him so much, I got to calm him down by holding him. That's when he received his first feeding too. It was a good feeling to be there for that. I was sad I couldn't stay around for Emren's but I am REALLY looking forward to our next visit. I can't wait to take part in caring for them again. Changing those tiny little diapers is actually such a blessing. I love it so far. I'm sure these things will lose their luster eventually but I am cherishing every minute of them now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

5 Days Old and Ventilator Free!

Emren - enjoying his new ability to breath all by himself. Emren was taken off the ventilator this morning around 11:30. He was awake and trying to see what was going on around him when I was in to visit at 1pm. His carbon dioxide levels in his blood are stable and did not change when they ex-tubated him. They'll continue to monitor the levels but are very happy with the lack of change. He's showing very good signs of being stable with only the small amount of oxygen around his nose (just for backup). I'm so proud of him!

Elijah - adjusting to breathing all by himself. He went off the ventilator around 2:00 this afternoon and so far is doing well. His carbon dioxide levels went down a little but not enough to intervene. They will keep a close eye on his breathing patterns and gas levels through the evening and night. Poor guy had the hiccups the last time I was down with him but he seemed to be breathing well despite the annoyance. I held his little hands and he seemed to get more relaxed. It made me feel good - like I was helping him maybe just a little. I just started crying when I saw him without his ventilator tube. He looked so much more like a little baby now that I can see his face better. I love his little lips and nose. He's so beautiful to me!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 2 - Mommy and Daddy visiting the boys

Little Elijah Thomas enjoying his time with Mommy and Daddy.

Little Emren Bradly having some tummy time - cozy as could be.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How the Twins Arrived - Mommy's Story

Yesterday seemed to be more like a dream than reality. Everything happened so quickly that it was hard for me to realize what was going on. Even though I knew they would be born sooner than later, I just didn't think it would be that much on the sooner side.

I started having contractions at around midnight - not too strong but definitely real contractions. Then they slowed down quite a bit but got stronger. They continued all throughout the night but weren't getting any closer together. I figured they would go away since they weren't very consistent and really wasn't thinking I was in real labor.

At around 7:45am I went headed to my usual Friday ultrasound session to check on the babies' fluid levels and dopplers. Since I was having the contractions, they wanted to do a cervix check by ultrasound too. By the end of the check, the sonographer didn't tell me anything but I could definitely tell I had dilated from the images I could see.

I got back to the room starving and very thirsty. The nurse came in and announced that my doctor wanted to do an exam and for me not to eat or drink anything. I asked if my cervix had changed and all she said to me was yes. At that time, I knew I was in true labor and that they would need to deliver the babies that day. The doctor came in and did a check very quickly as she was on her way to another delivery. She told me that I needed to get ready for the O.R. because I was going to have these babies very soon.

I started panicking because David hadn't even left work yet and I knew I couldn't go through the delivery without him. The doctor wasn't sure if he would make it in time though since things were happening so quickly. She rushed out and I just bawled as I called David. I told him that he had to hurry here because they were going to start the c-section as soon as they could. He had carpooled with his friend Brad to work that morning so his carpool buddy let David drive his hummer into Seattle, knowing David would need to drive a little quickly. Good friend, huh? Luckily, the O.R. had backed up and they couldn't get me in as quickly as they had wanted to. David arrived safely (despite a bit of brake problems) with even a little time to spare. I couldn't have been more relieved to see him!

We headed to the O.R. and got situated. There were at least five people in there already telling us who they were and what they were going to do. I have no idea what any of their names were or frankly, what most of them did. David got "suited" up in this trendy white jumpsuit , blue hairnet and face mask. I only got to wear this boring old hospital gown. The anaesthesiologist started numbing my back for the spinal. There was a lot of pinching and really thought I should be feeling a lot less. He then moved on to placing the spinal needle in the right spot. However, after 15 minutes or so of sharp, shooting pains down my back (not to mention the contractions hitting me ever few minutes by now) he gave up being able to find the right place and had the other assistant give it a try. I'm not sure what it was but she was able to find the spot on the first try - Thank Goodness! It was like torture and had to be the worst part of the surgery.

The boys popped out so quickly and I was so happy to see that the doctors didn't have to pull them much at all. Elijah was first and then pulled over to his "bed." David was able to cut his cord and watch them clean him off. Emren was out only 35 seconds later and moved over to his "bed" right away. I'm not sure if David was able to see as much of him. After just a few minutes, they got them both cleaned and wrapped in blankets with their little hats on, placed on a transporting bed together and got wheeled by me so that I could peek at them. Then, David followed them up to the NICU.

I stayed there and got all stitched up. It took a little while, it seems. They did a lot of scraping and cleaning out because old membrane separating the boys that had torn and started disintegrating left a big mess. I could see them do some stitching and then use this pen-looking thing that I think was cauterizing tissues together. It made things smell yucky so I'm assuming some burning had to be taking place. Lastly they stapled my skin closed. It was like I was watching a show on TV rather than being the one who the doctors were working on. A very strange feeling!

After all of the surgery was complete, the nurses wheeled me into a recovery room. They started giving me some medicine through an IV that I did not like at all. It took everything for me just to keep my eyes open and my head from swimming. A couple of times I thought I was going to black out. I could barely talk a couple of times. Finally that started wearing off a little and I asked them to cut the dosage in half. The next time I got some of it, it wasn't as bad. I still didn't like it though. I was so groggy and felt completely disconnected from reality. The nurses said that it kind of made you feel like you had taken some kind of street drug that makes you feel "good" but I don't know why anyone would want to feel like that. I felt anything but good.

Once the babies were settled and I was more stable, they took me up to see the boys. They wheeled me on the bed so that was kind of strange. I was glad to at least be able to see them though. They looked so small and helpless but they were alive and wiggling around so I was happy. I wanted to do more for them than just leave them in the hands of the doctors and nurses but there really wasn't much else I could do. I cried on the way back to the room feeling so grateful that they were ok and here but so sad I couldn't be with them.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty blurry for me. Just getting the feeling back into my legs and lower body was a long process. I kept getting so nauseated from the medicine - I felt awful! I couldn't imagine if I was feeling like that but having to take care of them all at the same time. They finally started giving me perkaset and ibuprofen later on that night and took me off of the IV meds. That made my stomach and whole sense of well being much better. I was able to move my legs and body more so I got up to go to the bathroom for the first time I think around 11pm. Everything was painful but I felt so happy to be able to get up and use my body again. By early next morning, they even gave me permission to get up and go all on my own. I was very happy about that! I felt so independent!

I really don't know why anyone would choose to have a c-section over pushing out their baby. I know that every woman has to do what they have to do to get their baby here safely but I just don't know why someone would choose it just to have one. I am so grateful everything went so well and that I'm healing so well. I guess I'm just a big baby but I am hoping that is the last time I have to go through that. Hats off to the many women who have done it a number of times. You are so brave! Now that I know what it's like, I have a new respect for them.

The Twins Are Here!

Well, a little sooner than expected, the boys arrived yesterday at 12:22pm. Elijah Thomas was born first weighing 3lbs. 6oz. and measuring 16in. long (pictured left). Emren Bradly (pictured right) came out 35 seconds later (still at 12:22) weighing 3lbs. 3oz. and measuring 15.5in. Daddy got to cut Elijah's cord and then followed them both up to the NICU while they were weighed and settled into their "beds." Mommy had to stay behind and get sewn back together but was later able to be wheeled up to see them a little better.

They were both on ventilators pretty much immediately as they needed a lot of help breathing. Elijah wanted to do things by himself and really wouldn't use the help of the ventilator. He was struggling so hard, determined to breath on his own. This caused him to use all his energy and strength up and wasn't too good for the rest of his body. The doctor ended up changing him to a different ventilator that ended up working much better for him. He decided to take the help and calmed down quite a bit.
Emren ended up having a decent sized bubble of air in one of his lungs so he was in distress and pain later on in the evening. The doctor was able to poke a tiny hole with a needle and release the trapped air which made all the difference in the world for little Emren. He was then put on the other ventilator also and has really been doing much better since.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

30 Week Ultrasound Update

During yesterday's ultrasound, they couldn't find a dividing membrane between the two boys. The doctors think that it has torn away and that they are kind of just sharing one area or sac now. This presents the issue of cord entanglement between each other. However, since there isn't much fluid for them to swim around in, I don't think they're going to do too many somersaults and flips. The fluid level in the total area is pretty low but there is some in there - so that's good. Their blood flow through their cords and through their heart and the vein they check was really good still.

The doctors have bumped the monitoring up to 4 times a day instead to keep an extra close eye on the cord issues that could occur. And since they've gotten bigger and neither one of them have much fluid around them, it's easier for the cores to get pinched. They are hanging in there though and have been monitoring well despite all the stress they're under. What troopers!

Yesterday one of my docs spoke with me and wanted to make sure I was aware that in most cases of twins sharing one sac, they need to be delivered between 32 and 34 weeks. I'm hoping we can get through the month and into September but I know they will come when it's best for them to. They've been watched over and protected so amazingly thus far - who am I to guess what is best.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday David!

With some help from Lori before she left to go home to Spokane, we decorated my hospital room with about 40 balloons, a happy birthday banner and some crate paper. She also picked up an ice cream cake for him that we stored in the "community" freezer here since Thursday. David was very surprised on Sunday when he got here that we were able to throw something together to celebrate him. We didn't have quite 27 candles but he said he didn't mind.

David and I enjoying the (hopefully) once in a lifetime chance to celebrate his birthday in the antepartum unit of Swedish Hospital.

Ethan's favorite part of Daddy's birthday was all the balloons. He ran through and played with those for at least 20 minutes. Surprisingly none popped on him despite his attempts to bite through them.

Update on the Twins

Today's ultrasound went well. Their surrounding fluid levels have remained about the same as last week's so they still have something to swim in. Their blood flow through their cords and their little bodies is very healthy still. They both measured about 2lbs. 12oz. so they've gained 7oz. in 2 weeks. I honestly was really hoping for more but after talking with one of the doctors, I felt a little better. She said that at around this gestational age, they start to fall off the "singleton" pregnancy growth charts and start gaining weight more like "twins," sharing a placenta. She said the average weight gain every two weeks is between 4oz. and 8oz. around this time in the pregnancy for twins. So, I'm happy with the 7oz. - good job boys! It's just a reminder to me that I REALLY want them to stay in there at least the rest of the month though.

Another new bit of info this past week is that I've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes this time around. At first I was pretty bummed about it. I mean, what else do I have to look forward to on the days I don't have visitors besides what I get to eat. But, after a week of finger poke blood sugar level testing 4 times a day, they have decided that it's really a mild case of it. I have had below level numbers every test. The last couple of days this past week, I started eating the same as I had been eating before and was still passing the tests with normal numbers. They changed the testing to only 2 times a week now and really don't seem too worried about what I'm eating. I'm so happy it turned out to be not such a terrible problem - and really happy I can still enjoy my breads and chocolate!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ethan's Love Pats

I love this picture. I was patting the babies while talking about them to my parents. Ethan was watching and decided he wanted to "pat the babies" too. I'm sure he just thought it was fun to copy mommy and pat my big belly but I can pretend he really was trying to love his brothers and tell them that he was there, cheering them on.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I miss...

  • crawling around on the ground chasing after Ethan, tackling him and tickling him while he giggles uncontrolably.
  • sleeping in the same bed as my husband.
  • baking cookies and trying new recipes.
  • going for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • shopping at Target and grocery shoppping at Winco.
  • vaccumming.
  • the smell of my house.
  • cooking for then eating dinner with my husband.
  • giving Ethan a bath.
  • taking a bubble bath of my own.
  • driving.
  • wearing a dress/skirt - looking "pretty."
  • being the caregiver.
  • kissing both of my boys whenever I want.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ethan's Froggie Pool Adventures at Grandpa and Granny's House

Ethan had tons of fun with Granny and Grandpa in Spokane these past couple weeks. Grandpa got him a Froggie pool that he very much loved. His favorite part was the sprinkler feature. He also loved running and diving in head first. He's quite the water bug.

My Healed Heart

I am a slow reader and really have a hard time finding time to read at home. This period of bedrest though has given me much opportunity to catch up on books I've wanted to read but haven't taken the time to. I started the Harry Potter series and am onto #5 but have taken a week or so off from it. They are so fun but I needed a break.

Thursday I had a really tough day - just missing David and Ethan. More than just missing them, I think. I really was missing taking care of them and being the Wife and Mother figure to them. I felt like I haven't taken care of them in so very long...everyone has been taking care of me. I was feeling useless and purposeless (besides the fact that I'm trying to help these babies to grow and get their bodies healthy - but I wasn't thinking about that).

I tried watching movies but that didn't help. I couldn't sleep and I really didn't feel like doing anything. I remembered bringing some books about the Savior with me so I pulled one out. My step-mom, Lori, brought it over for me to read when she came to stay with us back in June. I thought I would give it a try finally.

It's called The Peacegiver, by James L. Ferrell. I read it all the way through in one afternoon (that's pretty good for me). I can't tell you how much I needed it. It allowed me the chance to ponder about the Savior's role in my life and helped me find deeper testimony in the Atonement. The scripture stories that it pulled messages from were so perfect. I hadn't even remembered reading about one of them before. It made me forget about my little worries and sadness and lift my thoughts to a completely different level - which was precisely what I needed.

I've really been feeling the need to study Jesus Christ's life and I think this was the perfect way to get me started. By feeling a deeper love for Him and recognizing His love for me on a deeper level, it's gotten me more motivated to really start building my testimony and studying more. I know the basics - the stories that have been taught to me since primary - but I want to really know Him better.

Here are some of the truths I found while reading this book: Through His atoning sacrifice, I know that he has provided me with everything I need to overcome all my sins, heartache, mistakes, pain and loss. That because of Him, I can forgive anyone and everyone and be truly happy and at peace. I can be freed from the bonds of sin that so quickly surround me when I fall. His healing power is beyond comprehension but as real to me as anything I've ever known.

I'm so grateful I know these things. I am grateful I know He loves me, individually - that His suffering was for everyone, but also that it was for me personally. The healing that took place in my lonesome and sad heart on Thursday was only through my Savior and His amazing love for me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today's Ultrasound

This morning's ultrasound went really well. The sonographer who did it today was much more thorough than Tuesday's. It took about an hour and 20 min. this time - about what the last ultrasound should have been, but oh well. She had to get Elijah at a difficult angle and then had a hard time finding fluid around Emren. The doctor came in though and double checked things. She said that his stomach looked full and that was a good sign that there was ample amounts around him at least a while ago in order for him to have swallowed it. Levels change all the time so I'm sure even by now he has a bit more around him than earlier.

I like being able to see them so often. Even though it's hard to see things clearly, it's nice to watch them and see all of their parts (kind of) before they're even here. I like knowing how they're sitting/laying on or around eachother...it's fun! Elijah is still bum down and Emren is head down. Their heads are on opposite sides of eachother with Elijah's on the right and Emren's on the left. I wonder if Elijah has been kicking Emren's head lately because I've felt a lot of kicks in that area the past couple of days. They're probably both kicking eachother's heads! Ethan better get prepared.