Friday, December 16, 2016

Week 2 Update

Hello Friends!

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers for our children this week, especially Ava.  Ava is doing better.  The surgeon removed the drain from her tummy and it's healing nicely.  Now, we'll start feeding her with breast milk. If her body tolerates it, she'll be able to move forward like her siblings.  If she can't tolerate food, then we'll have to meet with the surgeons again and discuss other options.  Please continue to hope and pray Ava can tolerate her feedings and that this weekend is a success.

Ava is now well enough to be out of her isolette and held by Daddy.

Other good news this week is that the NICU staff was able to move all of our children into the same "pod."  For those of you unfamiliar with the NICU, this means that all of our children are now in the same room, sharing the same nurses.  We can close the glass doors and read/sing to all of our children all at once.  It's such a blessing.  
Before moving to our own pod with Isabelle, Luke, Clara, and Millie.  Holding two kiddos at the same time is absolutely amazing.

In other news, the children (except Ava) are now "non-nutritive feeding."  This means we are allowing them to practice breast feeding right after I finish pumping.  This way, they're not getting too much milk, but they are able to practice sucking, swallowing, and breathing.  Classic overachiever style, Clara has taken to this like a duck to water.  We practiced again today and she immediately latched on.  She's such a smart cookie.

We also like to think of Clara as the healer.  Shortly after she and Millie held hands (see below), Millie's breathing has improved and she came off of her ventilator and supplemental oxygen. We are hoping Clara and Ava can get some time together this weekend.

Clara and Millie hold hands

The other news from this week is that the hospital would like to host a press event next week.  We would love to celebrate the hospital and all they've done for us, but we'll admit that being the center of attention is not our normal. But, I am very excited to dress the quints (they're big enough to dress now!) for their introduction to the world.  

I've also spent time this week talking to other moms of multiples, pediatricians, insurance agents, and much more.  When we aren't at the NICU, I'm usually on my phone or computer trying to finish paperwork and tie up loose ends.  I don't think it's even hit me that Christmas is next week.  But, we have all the presents we could ask for, so I'm content to let the season wash over me with peace and joy.

I am continuing to heal fairly well.  I developed a bladder infection this week which was no fun, but we've got it under control now and I'm feeling much better.  I got my staples out and I'm only using pain medication to sleep.  I'm looking forward to being able to drive myself this weekend (freedom!!!!) and walk a bit more each day.

I think that's all for now.  Thank you so much for your prayers and generosity. We so appreciate the gifts, the donations to GoFundMe, the homemade dinners, the gift cards to restaurants, and much more.  We are so humbled.  Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

One Week Old

Greetings Everyone!

I apologize for the lag time in our posts.  As you an imagine, things are moving at lightning speed now and we are trying to hold on to some sense of normalcy (whatever that is!).

Let me update you.

Miss Ava is first. Ava is battling digestion issues and a perforation in her bowel.  She had to have minor surgery last Wednesday, but we are indeed seeing some progress from the procedure.  The surgeons at Phoenix Children's have been so good to us.  Still, when we arrived at the NICU today, Ava was clearly in pain. This didn't sit well with me, the 'ole Mama Bear. Doctors say she's just dealing with gas pain and they are pleased she's "fighting through it."  As much I appreciate that, that wasn't enough.  I insisted on holding my Ava.  I held her for over an hour, singing to her and comforting her.  She settled down quite a bit, but leaving her at the hospital brought on the tears all over again.  Please pray for God to heal Ava's body and bring her some pain relief as soon as possible.

Ava hasn't started on the milk yet; she's still on liquids, antibiotics, and pain meds.  Given that Ava is behind on her feeding schedule, we imagine she'll be in the NICU longer than most of our other kids, but we'll have to wait and see.  We are thankful that doctors took her off the ventilator yesterday and she continues to breathe well on her own.

Our Ava is a fighter.  We know she will be stronger for this.
The other children, Luke, Millie, Clara, and Isabelle, are now together in the same "pod" in the NICU, so they're roommates. We love that!  When we first joined the NICU, the children were spread out over several pods.  So, we'd walk in and the nurses would say, "Isabelle is in pod 2; Luke in pod 6; Clara in pod 4; and Millie in pod 3.  Then, we'd literally travel from pod to pod spending time with each one of them.  Now, all four are in the same pod and we're in heaven. We can literally sit in one space and be surrounded by our bundles of joy.  It's absolutely wonderful.

Clara continues to be our overachiever.  She's taking the most breast milk and gaining weight very well.  Luke had to slow down his eating due to some air in his belly, but he's slowly picking up steam again in pursuit of Clara.

Sweet Clara is mesmerized by her Dad, especially his Christmas songs.

Millie is doing much better in the later half of this week.  As you may remember, Millie was born with the cord wrapped around her neck, so she had fluid in her lungs and some trouble with her breathing. We were thrilled when doctors took her off the ventilator earlier this week.  Her breathing is still a little erratic, but doctors say she's slowly adjusting and they're pleased with her progress.  Millie is just a dear.  Not our complainer in the least.  She leaves that to Luke.  He loves to make a lot of trouble when you try to take his temperature or change his diaper.  That little man in opinionated!

Isabelle is a snuggler.  She loves to be held, sung to, and rocked. She is eating well and seems to be happy with her little lot in life. She's quickly catching up to Clara on feedings as well.  All five of our children have some issues with jaundice, which is normal for preemies, so each one spends a bit of time in the "tanning bed," as we call it, to help improve their bilirubin levels (and fight jaundice).
Isabelle and Luke celebrating their one week birthday with Mom.

As for me, I'm doing pretty well.  I was discharged on Friday with several different kinds of blood pressure medicine.  I've battled BP issues for the last several weeks, so doctors are trying to bring it back to a healthy level.  After two days at home and a bit more sleep, it's coming down nicely.  The nurse took out my staples before I left the hospital on Friday, so now it's just taking care of my incision and trying to re-train my ab muscles.  I'm trying to increase the distance that I walk each day and ease off the pain medicine.  

I've already lost 35-40 pounds since the delivery and that's helped my back pain tremendously.  Now it's just a matter of getting back to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

That's all for now.  Please send some positive thoughts to our Ava.  I'll try to write more tomorrow.