Cuteness Everywhere

Posted on 23rd November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

The twins were doing great today.  Cameron’s still gaining weight quickly.  Sophia started back on her food, although she’s lost a little weight since yesterday.  They both really enjoyed being held today.  Most importantly, they did some serious posing for the camera.  Here’s the fun!

Bless you!

Psssst….I’m cute…

Sophia locked eyes with Tanya as soon as they cuddled.  An earthquake happened and neither one of them even blinked…

I have a feeling that Cameron’s not going to like being swaddled when the time comes.  He sleeps just like me…he takes up as much of the bed as possible…

Cameron doing pullups on his cannula again…

Cameron’s feedings got bumped to 18mL each time.  He strategically gurgles up just enough to coat his mouth with some cake and not enough for his nurses to count it against him.  (I’m not sure why he likes that, but whatever makes him happy I guess.)  At this rate, he’ll be doing a shot of milk each time before long…

The raisins are still hanging around…

After he got his meal, Cameron went right back to his favorite position.  STRETTCHH!

Sophia got a new bracelet today (my wedding ring)…

Sophia also tried on Tanya’s engagement ring.  It might be just a little too big for her still…

Sophia’s little round of food intolerance a couple days ago meant that her feedings got cut back to 6mL.  Don’t worry though, they both are “fed” all the additional nutrients they need through one of those many tubes directly into their blood.  Here’s Tanya getting ready to feed her…

Cameron wasn’t quite so gazing during his cuddle time.  As soon as Tanya cuddled with him, Cameron went into hibernation and didn’t wake up until I got him…

Cameron was completely out.  He didn’t even do any cannula pullups (which he’s learned to do in his sleep)…

Think of this as Cameron’s snack bar.  He may one day open his own snack bar.  Hopefully it doesn’t look like this…

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS!!!!!

Cameron’s little fingers…

Cameron behaved for the photos with me.  As soon as Tanya put down the camera, Cameron asked to cuddle with Tanya some more…

YAAAWWWNNN!!!!

Hey, have you seen my neck?  I can’t seem to find it…

He’s thinking about something here.  It might be the solution to world peace…or it might be poop.  You decide…

 

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Happy Thoughts

Posted on 22nd November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

The kids had a great day today.  Tanya really needed some cuddle time with the kids and she got it. After Cameron learned he was going to get to spend an hour cuddled with Tanya, he had one thing to say…

NO WAY!!!!

Tanya can’t stop smiling when she’s holding them…

Cameron’s feedings got ramped up to 14mL (almost 1/2 oz).  The feeding syringe looked giant compared to his last one…

Cameron got his first Gershwin concert tonight (via iPhone).  I chose this photo of him because it made it look like he didn’t hate it.  I’m not sure he’s quite ready for Gershwin…

I can’t tell if the kids’ expressions are on purpose or just involuntary muscle movements.  Either way, Sophia kept doing cute little poses for the camera.  She had her vent tube removed from her mouth, but she was a little coy about showing off her chin…

She got distracted for a bit by her cannula, so I was able to steal a couple shots showing her chin without the feed/vent tube.  Her oxygen line kept slipping out of its little holder this afternoon.  So, all the slack kept disappearing and it yanked on her face pretty regularly.  She wasn’t a big fan…

Sophia’s foot…is small.

If you hadn’t noticed in the earlier pictures, Sophia’s starting to show some cute fat in her cheeks now.  Yesterday’s skin blotchiness was back a little, but wasn’t too bad.  I keep trying to guess at her hair color.  Today I thought it looked darker than it normally did.  She doesn’t seem to be too worried about it though…

Sophia asked her nurse to hold her butt while she did some crunches…

Sophia will probably ditch her cannula sometime over the next couple weeks.  Until then, her wrapped in a pink fluffy blanket (with her cannula) is the cutest thing in the world…

Here’s Sophia trying out part of Cameron’s favorite sleeping pose.  She might also have been practicing her “PICK ME!” for when she starts school…

The blue thing on the left side of the photo below is an IV line connector.  Sophia’s hand…is small.

Sophia hadn’t really smiled much until today.  Here’s Sophia dreaming about going home…

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Bump in the Road

Posted on 20th November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

We just did a quick visit today with the twins. Today wasn’t their best day. Based on how they were doing, we decided to leave them in their playpens (mostly) uninterrupted.  We did clean them up a little and change their diapers, but there wasn’t any cuddle time.

Sophia took a nap during shift change this morning and woke up with very blotchy skin. Her stomach also wasn’t tolerating her feedings.  She had a bunch of gas trapped in her GI tract, so they stopped her feedings.  They did a chest X-ray and a whole battery of blood tests to rule out all kinds of possible bad things.  Most of the test results were back and nothing showed abnormal.  To help remove the gas, they put in a bigger stomach tube that acts like a vent.  Call it an auto-burp tube (it doesn’t make any fun sounds though).

They also did a culture on Sophia’s oozing eye.  The first part of the test came back normal, so (thankfully) there are no organisms growing in her eye.  Seriously though, kids this small shouldn’t have parasites!  The actual culture part of her eye ooze test won’t be back until at least tomorrow though.

The nurses didn’t come out and say “don’t hold your kids,” but they hinted that the kids needed to stay in their playpens.  So, against every bone in Tanya’s body, we didn’t take them out to play.

Larry & Sandy stopped by to see the kids again.  This time I remembered to bring a wider angle lens to get some snaps of everyone.  Here they are with Sophia…

Here’s everybody with Cameron…

Sophia was (mostly) asleep, but was making all kinds of unhappy faces.  Her skin color was much better than this morning, so hopefully things are on the swing back up…

When we first got to the hospital, Cameron was doing well except for not digesting all of his food at one of his earlier feedings.  Tanya popped the lid on his playpen and tried on his new hat from Sandy’s sister Joanne.  Cuteness is here…

We did get to pop the lid on Sophia’s playpen to change her and check her temperature.  She wasn’t overly unhappy today, but she wasn’t really smiling about anything either.  She wasn’t in the mood to try on her new hat.  Hopefully soon…

Sophia has a temperature probe constantly hooked up to her.  That probe feeds data to what’s probably a hundred thousand dollar specialized computer monitoring system.  To make sure that $100,000 system is correct, they take the twins’ temperature every couple hours with a $3 digital thermometer.  I’m guessing this is really just a test to see what kind of mood the kids are in.  Sophia hates getting her temperature taken, even when Tanya or I do it…

Look at Sophia’s giant foot!  It’s actually small.  Really, really small.

After Cameron tried on his new hat, he decided to throw up all over the place.  He was laying on his back, so it didn’t go well for him.  I’ll spare you the details, but Cameron was extremely unhappy.  Tanya cleaned him up (with the bulb sucker thing & other torture devices) and got him settled back down.  It took about 30 minutes, but Tanya convinced Cameron to go to sleep.

It wasn’t all bad news & unhappiness today though.  Cameron’s putting on weight very strongly.  He’s up to 3 lbs 10 oz now.  Sophia’s still gaining, but slower than Cameron.  She’s up to just over 3 lbs 2 oz.  About an hour after Cameron’s puke-fest, he’d settled down enough for him to get his regular feeding.  He’s still getting 10mL every 3 hours.  If he gets more consistent at digesting that amount, they’ll ramp it up in the next few days.

It was horrible leaving them today.  The last thing either of us wanted to do was leave them in their playpens when they felt bad.  It was especially hard for Tanya.  We’re really hoping tomorrow will be a better day for them.

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Food smiles

Posted on 19th November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

Tanya’s dad and stepmother, Larry & Sandy, came to visit for the weekend.  They met the twins this afternoon.  We spent a couple hours with them and the twins.  After they left, Tanya & I spent the rest of the day in the NICU with the twins.

Finger holds never get old.  Tanya looked at this photo and told me I need lotion on my hands.  With all the hand washing and sanitizer at the NICU, there can’t possibly be a way to steer clear of nasty parent hands.  I’m a huge fan of the cracked knuckles we both have now.  The twins don’t care either way.  They’ll pretty much finger hold anything with a finger…

It’s almost impossible to explain how excited Tanya gets to see the twins.  The twins must have some secret device that works the opposite of kryptonite.  Tanya can pretty much fly when she’s near them…

Cameron tries his best to remove his tubes.  Right after this picture, it looked like he was going to dig his eye out just to get rid of his cannula.  Luckily, he realized he’s attached to his eye & it hurt when he dug into it.  I think we might have to do a tube removal party when they finally get to go home to teach him that dedication pays off.  Keep at it, Cameron!

For the previous 6 days, the twins have been on 3mL meal sizes every few hours.  A few days ago, the doctor told us they were going to double that.  The kids are doing well enough that they’ve ramped up their meals to 10mL each (about 1/3 of a “shot” of milk).  They’re still a couple weeks from even trying to eat on their own, but they definitely like getting fed…

The food tube’s connected to the feed tube…the feed tube’s connected to the tummy!

Cameron wouldn’t hold up the quarter I had to show you how small his ears are.  Imagine that this ear is really small.  And cute.

Cameron spent most of today smiling.  We’re trying to figure out if the twins have little baby dreams.  Cameron would look as if he was completely asleep then bust into an ear-to-ear grin.  He’s also started smiling at lots of things.  He smiles when he sees Tanya.  He smiles when we say hi.  He smiles when he gets fed.  He smiles when he poops.  Life is good…

Finger hold.  Never.  Gets.  Old.

OH NOOOOO!!!!!

Tanya held each of the kids for about 45 minutes and I held them each for about 15 minutes.  Sophia was apparently out partying last night, so she was pretty tired today.  Even while sleeping, she can bust out a post for the camera.  She’s cute.  She knows it…

Here’s Cameron showing off his sleeping prowess.  Better yet, here’s Cameron showing off his sleeping prowess WITHOUT HIS FEEDING TUBE!  When I was holding Cameron, he ripped out his feeding tube.  When his nurse removed the tape, I almost ran her over to get pictures of him without tape on his chin.  She put in a new feeding tube and taped it to his chin, but it’s great to have proof that he actually has a chin…

We typically spend enough time at the hospital that we’re pretty hungry by the time we leave.  Tanya’s favorite snack is…

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I’m the king of the world!

Posted on 19th November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

Today was the twins’ first full day in the Level 2 NICU.  I was right in my initial impression of Level 2 – lots of crying.  Our twins do get fussy when they need attention, but they’re not really loud about it yet.  They’ll learn soon enough.

Over the last couple days when Tanya picks up Sophia, she looks at Tanya intently for a few minutes then falls asleep.  Today was no different.  The kangaroo holding is going really well for both kids.  They seem to really like the warmth (it’s skin-on-skin holding kinda under your clothes).  I’m sure they’re also really familiar with hearing Tanya’s breathing and heartbeat.  Feels like home…

Sophia’s foot was in full glow tonight.  Her oxygen sensor makes her look like something out of Tron…

After her time cuddling with us, she was in full relax mode.  She asked me to do her nails, but I had no idea what to do.  I snapped a photo instead…

The twins have some weird black shriveled up thing coming out of their belly buttons.  They look like they’re going to fall off soon.  Kinda raisiny…

Cameron was a wiggle worm when we first got there.  He’s always been really good at pulling out his tubes and wires.  I missed him actually pulling anything out tonight, but I did shoot a little video to show his valiant efforts.  When the kids squirm, their sensors miss some of their readings so it gets all beepy and boopy.  You can hear some of that in the video too…

Cameron went from full wiggle to loving life as soon as Tanya held him.  The giant green binky definitely helped too.  The twins are working on the basics of eating still.  They’re now pretty good at sucking on something while still breathing.  They haven’t added swallowing to that mix yet though.  Soon…

Like Sophia, Cameron was content with life after we held him.  Here’s his favorite sleeping position.

I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD!!!

 

Like I talked about in an earlier post, the docs are always extremely good at relaying the latest info on the twins.  The on-duty doc was busy with some scary bad off Level 3 kids for a while, but he caught up to us as we were leaving.  He ran through everything they’re doing for the kids and their plans for the near term with them (at least the non-secret to moms and dads kinda stuff).  Awesome.

This was a great date night.

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Moving Up In The World

Posted on 17th November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

Just in case the doctors decided to say that our kids could go home today (that didn’t happen), the nursery is ready to go.  The drawers are full of all kinds of cute and loads of baby-related things I didn’t even know existed.  For now, the chair gets some good use by Tanya, but that’s about it.  No crying.  Yet.

Today we got the great news that the twins are moving from the Level 3 part of the NICU (the super-scary, kids-are-barely-hanging-on area) to the Level 2 part of the NICU (not quite so scary).  Here’s Cameron’s playpen (he’s in there) during his last hour in Level 3…

It seems like there’s a different type of something every day around their beds.  Today that something was just some labels I hadn’t seen before.  So, is this line a PICC or TPN?  I have no idea what I’m talking about…

Since Cameron’s Level 3 playpen is tied to all kinds of fancy computer equipment, he had to get a new playpen to move to Level 2.  They’re pretty much the same, except that he hasn’t pooped in the new one yet…

Here’s up close and personal with Cameron’s Darth Vader machine.  This contraption apparently warms up and humidifies the air he breathes.  Must be nice…

I stole Cameron from Tanya for a little bit today.  He uses his time with me to practice crying.  He’s keeping his skills secret from Tanya for the time being.  One day, he’s going to show her how great of a crier he is.  He wants to make her proud.  Here’s a shot of the 4 seconds he wasn’t crying when I was holding him…

Here are Cameron’s old and new playpens.  The new one’s on the left.  They’re like one-man backpacking tents, except they’re heavy, loaded with wires and computers, roll any way you push them, have built-in heaters, and they’re not actually big enough for a man…

OH MY! WAIT!!  THERE’S A NOSE ON MY FACE!!!!?!!?!!!

Oh wait.  Nevermind.  There’s a nose on daddy’s face too.  It’s cool…

Sophia left Level 3 several hours before Cameron did.  Apparently, once Cameron got the “first born son” title, he decided he could slack off a bit.  We need to have a talk.  Anyway, here’s Sophia’s empty Level 3 area…

Sophia keeps getting little eye boogers on her left eye.  Tanya cleans them off every day, but they keep coming back.  Maybe the nurses put them there because they think eye boogers are cute.  Here’s another picture Sophia will one day be mortified about.  Eye boogers…Yay!

Sophia’s getting more & more “fill” under her skin every day.  Tanya & I both think she looks more like Cameron as time passes.  Her hair’s also getting blonder every day.  Cute blond daughter…I’m sooo in trouble.

 

Here’s her foot sensor.  It makes sure her foot is still there…

While Tanya was holding Sophia, Cameron moved over to the Level 2 area right next to Sophia.  I snuck over (all 10 feet) to snap some photos of him.  He wouldn’t dance, so I got some shots of him sleeping instead…

Here are the magic mommy vibes in action.  Sophia completely loves cuddling with Tanya.  She is absolutely never more happy than when she’s with her mom…

Here’s proof of the happiness.  See those cute cheeks?  Yes, you do.

Sophia totally loves me.  At least that’s my story.  I’m writing this, so you get my story.  She loves me.  Lots…

The twins don’t get covered in blankets when they sleep, so we cover their playpens in blankets instead.  There’s a sort of “keeping up with the Joneses” that goes on at the NICU with playpen blankets.  Ours match with different his & hers color palettes.  We haven’t upgraded to the blankets with gold plating yet though…

It may not seem like much, but the step up to the Level 2 NICU is a big deal for us.  It’s a quieter place with less frequent evil beeps and boops.  One thing it does seem to have more of though is crying babies.  The Level 2 kids seem to be older with stronger lungs.  When kids in Level 3 need something, their monitors beep and boop.  When kids in Level 2 need something, they cry.

Let the crying begin!

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One week old!

Posted on 16th November 2011 in NICU, Week 2

 

This kids were born a week ago today, so this marks some sort of parents-who-can’t-celebrate-enough kind of anniversary.  They don’t have colleges picked out yet, but they’re now one week closer to talking, walking, and lots of other stuff.

We spent much of our time today with the kids amazed at how well they’re doing – especially compared to some of the other kids in the NICU.  Tanya did an outstanding job raising them for the 31 weeks they hung out with her. If the twins were still in the womb, they’d be at 32 weeks gestational age today.  That’s still roughly two months before a “normal” single kid would deliver.  Twins often show up in the 36 week range.  By either mark, well, 32 isn’t quite there.

Sophia’s saving up for a sports car for when she gets her drivers license.  Every real sports car has a stick shift.  She’s already practicing…

I’m not sure if it’s really visible in the pictures, but Sophia’s gaining weight.  She hit 3 lbs today!  When she was first born (and even more so the few days following her birth), she looked really thin.  Preemies in this age range don’t have a lot of fat on their bodies yet, so they can have a slightly “interesting” look.  Our kids were, of course, gorgeous when they were born, but they’re now more gorgeous…

Sophia’s dinner portion was precisely measured and delivered.  She’s getting the exact amount of food her body needs.  That’s pretty much the same plan as that guy we saw at Jason’s Deli today getting his third super-stacked ice cream cone with chocolate syrup.  He must have been pregnant and wanted to make sure the kids inside of him were getting all the right nutrients…

After her dinner, Sophia nuzzled up with Tanya.  Tanya got to hold her for about 45 minutes today.  Sophia definitely knows her mom.  No matter how fussy Sophia might be (that her dinner wasn’t covered in chocolate syrup), laying on Tanya’s chest immediately cures it…

When Tanya’s time was up, she put Sophia back in the playpen…cute hat and all…

Today was a day of a thousand smiles from Cameron.  He’s really an alert little boy with lots of expressions.  So far he definitely knows how to look happy and sad.  Any time he looks at Tanya, it’s a happy look…

(Sorry, it was REALLY dark when I took that last shot…handheld macro photography in the dark isn’t conducive to awesome photos.  Deal with it.)

I mentioned earlier that we felt lucky today about how healthy our twins are.  The kid that shared a monitor with Cameron was not doing so well today.  We don’t know the story behind that kid, but he was fighting nonstop to get enough oxygen.  Below you can see heart rates, breathing rates, and blood oxygen saturation for Cameron (on the right…149, 50, 98%) and the other kid (166, 70, 50%).  The other kid’s oxygen kept falling…lots of alarms.  To translate for you, 98% oxygen saturation is good…50% is not so good.  Did I mention how happy we are with how great Cameron & Sophia are doing?

With food in tummies comes messy faces.  I guess spitting stuff up is fun.  Tanya did some great work making Cameron look showroom new…

After the extra attention he got (including his first hour-long cuddle time), Cameron celebrated with a manly stretch…

…and continued his celebration with a nap…

We begged for quite a while for Cameron to pose for us.  He woke up just enough for me to nab this photo of him…  (awwww….)

5 seconds later, he was asleep…

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