I know, I know...I've been a negligent blogger--sorry!! :) So much to update everyone on!
Having 3 babies home has been easier than we expected however don't take that the wrong way--its absolutely exhausting!!! Jacob and I are adjusting to life that doesn't allow us quiet alone time until about 1:00AM-haha! The day is filled with bottle washing, laundry, running to the hospital, arranging and meeting volunteers, and normal daily cleaning things--Thank God my mom is here helping us out otherwise we might not have clean clothes to wear!! The hours in the day literally fly by lately!
The volunteers we have worked with so far are truly some of the nicest people we have ever met. Their generosity in willing to spend time with our babies never ceases to amaze us. They are all naturals when it comes to babies and its such a relief to not have to worry about them while we are away.
Being back to work part time has been good and bad. Good because I feel a sense of normalcy however bad because the only thing I want to do is be at home with the babies. It's just too bad we didn't win that lottery last night--I had most of it spent before we even bought the ticket! haha...
Giovanni: He is getting close to the 7 lb. mark already! The newborn clothes finally fit him perfectly. He is a great baby--when he wakes up he typically doesn't cry. He will look around with his big dark brown eyes until you notice him and can't resist picking him up! His only issue is that he is a very stubborn pooper (TMI??...haha) He gets cranky when it has been a couple days but other than that he is a happy baby.
Brooklynn: She has been very stuffy and almost sounds like a little pig when she breathes because it is more of a snort than anything else. We are not sure if its a cold or possibly allergies but the pediatrician recommended using saline drops and those seem to be working. She is a little over 5 and half pounds now. Brooklynn is definitely the "diva" of the bunch so far. She always needs to feel some time of connection--whether it's lying close to a brother or sister or someone holding her--she isn't happy unless she feels someone close. It makes perfect sense because she was right smack dab in the middle of my belly so I'm sure it feels like home to her when she is cuddled tightly.
Jade: FINALLY OFF THE CANULA....again! She also had her feeding tube removed which means she receives all of her feedings from the bottle and is breathing completely on her own w/out any support!! When we were there last night we both thought she looked like a different baby--her face is starting to fill out and she is taking on many more physical similarities of her brothers and sisters.
Kensley: I'm starting to doubt my accusations of her being the wild one in my belly--thinking maybe it was actually Brooklynn I was feeling because she has been such a mild-mannered, happy, laid-back baby so far. She is always smiling whether she is awake or sleeping and doesn't get too cranky when she has to wait to be fed or changed. I call her my little homecoming queen because she can get along with anyone and appears to be the social butterfly. She loves to cuddle with both Giovanni and Brooklynn but doesn't mind being by herself either.
Leighton: ALSO OFF THE CANULA AND NO FEEDING TUBE...huge improvement!!! He seems to be doing really well so far. Its hard to believe since he was being so laxidazical with his breathing but maybe he just needed pushed to do it all on his own...some people perform better under pressure right??
Can not wait to get Jade and Leighton home!!
I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures but as you can imagine things have gotten a little crazy! We brought Giovanni and Brooklynn home last night and they did not disappoint everyone who hoped they would test our patience... Haha! They were restless a majority if the night and between them and the nerves of new parents Jacob and I didn't sleep much more than hour.
Things have already calmed down today and they have been sleeping better and adjusting well to their new home! It is a wonderful feeling to hold them here at home! God has truly given us many things to be thankful for this year!
The other three are progressing well. Jade has not had any significant spells in the last 24 hrs which is fabulous news! Kensley has been taking full feedings from the bottle each of her last three feedings and even Leighton is adjusting well to the bottle taking about half of every feed.
This week has been filled with so many blessings and reasons to celebrate as well as reasons to remember we still have a road of progress to be made ahead of us.
Brooklynn and Giovanni are ready to come home tomorrow!! They have been outside of the isolette for several days, taking their feeds without needing to be tube fed, and regulating their own temperature. This morning they passed their carseat tests and will be getting a hearing screening this afternoon as well as their last set of shots needed. Jacob and I just need to take the infant CPR class (scheduled for tomorrow) and they are able to finally come home with us! Needless to say there will be many tears of joy tomorrow when we walk out with them in our arms. Six weeks is a long time to wait to bring your babies home!
Jade had a rough morning today so they bumped her down to feeding from a bottle only once every shift (3 times a day) instead of every other feed. She had thrown up (not just milk spit-up but actual curdled, un-digested formula) twice in the past 24 hours and had 2 pretty significant spells. We are hoping that by not pushing her quite so hard she will be able to progress at her own speed. I have to remind myself that they are each their own individual and just because one is progressing at a particular rate it doesn't mean that they all will. She may need more time to become independent with her breathing and feeding and its important to remind myself that it doesn't mean there is anything wrong.
Kensley was bumped up to being able to be bottle fed at every feed. She has been taking full feeds when offered to her and usually doesn't waste much time when she is fed either. She has always been one of the most alert babies--even before birth if you remember--and she continues to be that way. We anticipate her to be on the fast-track to home within a week or two...or least our wishful thinking tells us that!
Leighton remains relatively the same. He remains on his canula and typically takes about half of his feed when bottled. His personality is so laid-back in everything that he does. He still doesn't like to be held for an extremely long amount of time. I usually get a good 30-40 minutes in before he starts getting dippy which usually is a sign that he has had enough and wants to be left alone for awhile!
Wish us luck as we enjoy our last night of restful sleep tonight!! :)
It looks like the big day will be pushed back about a week or so. Eventhough Brooklynn and Giovanni are both doing really well they aren't quite ready to have their feeding tube removed which means they aren't quite ready to come home. Hopefully this will be a productive week for both of them
Today's update is more of the same news as before...Giovanni and Brooklynn are taking their feeds really well and still on track to possibly be home by Thanksgiving and the others continue to make strides everyday. I think I've seen the most growth in Jade in the last week or so. She looks healthier and seems to like being held much better these days. I also feel more confident in myself to bring her out of a spell when it does happen--even if it occurs during a feeding.
Amy has been up visiting and trying to get to hold each one of them--I think Jade is the only one left for her to hold now...she always gets the best pictures of them smiling so I wanted to share those with everyone. As you can see they are all starting to be more reactive and show a wider range of expressions. I thought I fell in love with them before but when I see them smile I have to fight back happy tears!!
Lots of good news today!! I love being at the hospital in the morning while the doctor does rounds on the quints b/c I get to hear all of the updates and plans for them first hand.
There is talk that Giovanni and Brooklynn could be ready to come home as early as next week! Today they increased their bottle feeds to every other feed. As long as they tolerate them well and continue to take full bottles they will be on track to be home soon!
Before we can get them home they have to be taking all feeds from bottle and have their feeding tube removed. They also have to be able to regulate their body temperature outside of the isolette and pass the car-seat test. The doctor said they are usually in a regular crib for about 48 hours before coming home and they need to be able to sit upright in their car seat for about an hour without any respiratory issues before being cleared to come home. It sounds like a lot but as long as they do well with their feedings it can all be accomplished rather quickly!
Kensley is doing well with her feedings so far...She took about 30mL this morning (only 10 mL shy of a whole feeding). Leighton took 15 mL yesterday which was a surprise to me because he had only tried the bottle a few times so it was more than I expected.
Jade is taking between 3mL and 5 mL when we try feeding her. She still struggles with breathing, sucking, and swallowing all at once. Its something that I never thought of as a complex skill but for preemies its a lot of work to master everything at once. She is such a fighter I know she will have it down soon! Its hard being a mom and seeing her struggle with it though--as parents we never want to see our kids struggle but I know it will only make her stronger:).
Jacob and I have been given an opportunity that we are still trying to believe has been given to us!!
Gibson Newborn Services, owner, Cortney Gibson, has offered to manage a team of volunteers who will help us care for the babies once they come home from the hospital in December. Cortney and Placement Director, and Rachel Lawrence, will be screening all professional caregivers who would like to volunteer with the babies. These caregivers will make up the members of the new Baby Dream Team, including many members from the original BDT who cared for the Masche Sextuplets in 2007.
They are developing a care plan for the babies, as well as volunteer guidelines. They will also be training friends and family who want to volunteer with the babies. Their goal is to provide seamless care for the quints and to teach us all the best tips and tricks to manage everything.
If you are interested in volunteering in any way please complete the form found below or visit the GNS website directly (click the picture below) to provide your information. Even if you have already emailed us with your desire to volunteer please complete one of the forms so we know exactly how you would like to be involved.
WE CAN NOT POSSIBLY EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE FOR THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY AND GREATLY APPRECIATE EVERYONE'S WILLINGNESS TO HELP!
This week the babies were moved into the developmental room. Its nice having them all in the same room and being able to keep a close eye on all of them at once.
We also did a group photo shoot today too--sooo cute---you are going to LOVE these pictures:)!!! A huge "Thank You" goes out to the nurses today...they do such a great job of not only taking care of them but also at little things like this that make a big difference to us!
Giovanni: He is currently on 2 bottle feeds per day and doing really well with them. Last night he took an entire feed from the bottle! He is weighing in at 4 lbs. and 14 oz. already!! We love getting to see him all dressed up each day-he has that great Italian skin tone that makes him look handsome no matter what color he wears:).
Brooklynn: She is also on 2 bottle feeds per day. Last night she took an entire bottle and did again this morning for Jacob! She weighs 3 lbs. 14 oz and continues to be the fairest skinned and lightest haired of all of them. She is wearing clothes too and proving to be a typical girl changing several times a day--she tends to spit up after feedings causing a wardrobe change!
Jade: Jade continues to struggle with her breathing but has been making progress since being put back on her canula. She tends to dip most frequently after her feedings which we are told is completely normal for babies with a full belly. She hasn't had as many episodes where she dips low enough to change her color which makes me feel much more at ease as well. She still doesn't like to be held for long amounts of time but we are at least getting some time to connect with her as long as we don't try to hold her right after a feeding. Today she weighed 3 lbs. 8 oz.
Kensley: Today Kensley tried the bottle for the first time and took about 3 mL. Its so cute to watch them as they do these things for the first time because you can tell they are trying to process everything by their facial expressions. She will continue to try bottling during 1 feed per day and increase to more as the doctors feel is appropriate. She weighs 3 lbs. 14 oz. The surgeon who last evaluated her skin tag said it isn't connected to anything within her throat and will be able to be removed after she is discharged from the hospital-
Leighton: He remains on his nasal canula and dips down once in a while but not too frequently. He weighs 3 lbs. 8 oz and continues to be as laid back as he was inside me! Its amazing how much personality he has already. He has no problem lying back, relaxing and taking things slowly. He isn't ready to be taken off the canula or to try bottling yet--just growing and progressing at a slow and steady pace.
See these pictures larger on the page titled Looking Back.