Friday, February 22, 2008

Doctor visit

Chris had a weight check visit this morning, since the previous seven day period had only shown a 3 ounce weight gain. The most recent seven days, since the boys initial doctor visit last Friday showed a gain of 15 ounces for 5 pounds 7 ounces. Wow! The doctor was so impressed, we checked him a second time to be sure. Now I'm wondering if possibly last week's weight was off...? Regardless, the boys are gaining like crazy. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Pictures!

For those who want to see more pictures, we have posted 221 here. Enjoy!

Slowly Digging Out

At the airport in LA

Finished with our security check!

Rebecca on the airplane with Daniel

Grandma and Nathan happy to be done with the first long flight

Mary likes the babies

Mary helping to feed baby Chris

I must apologize for the delay in updating the Boys' Fan Club about our trip home and weekend after. Wait--no apologies necessary. I'm lucky to be conscious right now!

Anyway, we left our new friends in Riverside at 5:00pm PST with tearful goodbye's. They truly became like family to us. By 7 pm, we were at LAX with rental car turned in. We (Jeff, Rebecca, and his Mom) walked with trepidation up to the check in desk with our four checked bags, three carry on bags, three baby monitors, and three preemies in car seats. Jeff and his Mother checked in at the computer kiosk easily, but I got some strange message requiring a ticket agent's assistance. Finally after waiting several minutes and being shuttled to different agents, a grandfatherly gentleman working the ticketing desk became aware of our circumstances, and decided we needed a free upgrade to Economy Plus seating. He moved our tickets about 30 rows forward, and put us in rows with a little extra leg room (which also helped ensure the car seats would fit). He also assigned us seats with little likelihood of seat mates (so that we could use the car seats in the empty seats nearby). Finally, he escorted us to the security check, and cut us in line to near the front. What a blessing!

We reached the front of the line, and the security personnel instructed us to put our carry ons onto the x-ray conveyor belt. Then they could not decide what to do with us, our kids in car seats, and our baby monitors. Finally, a supervisor decided we should be pulled aside for special screening, despite Jeff's objections over walking around a corner out of sight of our belongings including two notebook computers. Finally when we arrived at the special screening area, one of the security personnel consented to Jeff's claiming our items before being patted down and wanded. Praise the Lord, nothing was missing, and we were quickly screened (they hardly looked at the boys in their seats and the monitors!) and permitted to move on.

By this time, it was 8:00 pm PST. It was time to feed the boys, and we wanted to boost the batteries on the monitors before leaving LAX. But of course, every power outlet we saw in the terminal was in use. Finally, Jeff inquired of an airline agent about an outlet, and he said we could use the outlet behind his desk, on the floor (in an area not generally permitted for general passengers). So we settled on the floor, somewhat apart from the crowds of travelers, plugged in the monitors, and fed the boys. Afterward we enjoyed some sandwiches prepared by Suzanna before our departure to the airport. Our flight was nearing boarding by this time, so we re-assembled ourselves, and were preparing to head closer to our gate, when we attracted the attention of some flight attendants, and travelers as well (whom we encouraged to keep their distance!) After some ooohing and aaahing, we moved toward our gate and boarded shortly after.

We boarded our flight and Jeff's Mom quickly found that the seat next to hers was occupied. But, another passenger on another row with an empty seat next to hers, volunteered to swap with her, allowing Mom to use that seat for her traveling companion, Nathan. We were all seated and the flight went rather uneventfully. The boys were all great travelers--they slept way more than we did! Chris was Jeff's "partner", and Daniel was mine. The flight left close to on time (scheduled for 10:20 pm PST), and arrived at Washington DC about 6:20 am EST, Thursday. We exited the plane and had to change terminals in order to catch a flight at 7:00 am to Charlotte. We made it, but had to get the kids out of the car seats and check the seats since the flight was full. So, it was quite a sight, us all in the cold jet way, unbuckling and swaddling three preemies. But, we made it, got ourselves gathered and were the last to board. The flight was quick, and we arrived in Charlotte shortly after 8:00 am...without our luggage. We were told it did not make the connection and would be delivered to our home the next day. But considering the fact that everything I had for the boys, other than about a 12 hour supply, was in luggage, we decided to wait for the next flight coming in about 10:20 am. Our luggage arrived around 10:30 am and we left the airport shortly after. By now it was time for the boys to eat again, so after they ate, we needed lunch, so we did not arrive home in Anderson (exhausted!) until about 2:00 pm.

Once we unloaded the van, it was time to feed the boys again, and we all six of us went to bed. Somewhere about 6:00 pm, Mary decided her nap was over, and she woke me from a sound nap with a greeting. We ate again, fed the boys again, did our nighttime feeding schedule, and got up Friday morning at 5:45 am (keeping in mind our bodies are still on PST--so really 2:45 am), to prepare for and arrive at the pediatrician's office for an 8:00 am appointment--and we made it!

We were very happy with our new pediatrician. He said the boys were all doing great. Only Chris needs to gain weight a little better, so we are "spiking" his formula with a little extra calories provided by baby cereal. That has been a little challenging, finding a nipple that does not clog with the cereal (we think that's resolved now). Over the weekend we slowly caught up our laundry, unpacked, and caught up on sleep (somewhat), and started organizing things at home (a little). We still have a ways to go.

I am anticipating the arrival of my parents (specifically my mother who has volunteered to spend a couple months with us, helping with these early challenging days of the boys).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Home At Last

Everyone is home safe. While the trip was long (we were up most of 30 hours) and we are very tired, everything went very smoothly. Thank you for your prayers. It was very clear in many of the little details that God's hand was on our journey. More later...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Leaving Tonight...

Dueling Diapers

First Bath

Our Chef, Suzanna holding the boys

It's been nearly six weeks since I traveled out to CA on my own. Now all six of us are anticipating heading to the airport in a few hours to return home. Enjoy the pictures from the last several days we have spent with the Pattens, getting comfortable with the boys. Please pray for a safe and healthy trip, and an uneventful process as possible at the airport.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Next Best Thing to Home

We arrived at the hospital this morning, unsure whether the boys would come home today or tomorrow. The doctor had discussed the situation with us Friday, especially with regard to Jeff and his mother's comfort level with working with Christopher, Nathan, and Daniel. I learned quickly Friday how much I have learned over the past several weeks, as Jeff and his Mom struggled somewhat with preemie care issues. We brought up the subject with the nurse practitioner, and the decision was made for us. She said the boys are in great shape, and Rebecca can help show Jeff and Grandma everything she knows. (By the end of the day, both Jeff and Grandma Bate were feeling more confident handling the boys.)

So, after two more opportunities to feed the boys at noon and 4, we started getting ready to go. We dressed the boys, detached the hospital monitors, set up the take home apnea monitors, and got them into their car seats. That whole process (and indeed, it WAS a process!) took about an hour and a half, including the 4 o'clock feeding time. We finally pulled out of the hospital and headed for Pattens' house at about 5:30.

I think it kind of hit me in a new way that this was real, and that they are ours about the time we started down the hall out of the NICU toward the elevators. Wow! What an incredible blessing from God.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

News Flash

The neonatologist is anticipating releasing the boys this weekend. On that basis, Jeff and his mother have booked tickets to fly into LAX on Friday around noon. We will all return home (Lord willing) together on Wednesday night/Thursday morning--next week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Nearing the End...

Chris, Dan, and Nate

Chris and Dan

I have thoroughly enjoyed having "Grandma" Patten join me in the NICU on some evenings. The boys are all progressing very well. All three boys are out of their isolettes now (and in fact are transferred to a larger shared crib), and their umbilical cord stumps have all fallen off. The boys all weigh over four pounds each now, and are all feeding by bottle all their meals on a flexible schedule (3-4 hours, depending on how much they eat each time). We are nearing the end of our NICU stay, but the boys are still having brady’s (including some spontaneous ones-not related to feeding). The doctor says once they get past that, they will be just about ready to go home.

Please continue to pray, especially, that the boys will mature quickly and grow out of the apnea/brady (breathing/heart rate dip) symptoms that are so common in preemies. It's not a huge problem in the hospital, but for obvious reasons we can't go home until they are pretty much past that.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Good Doctor's Report...

Rebecca holding Chris and Dan, "Grandma" Patten holding Nathan







Yesterday I spoke with one of the neonatologists who does rounds at the hospital. He says in a word the boys are doing "Great!" We are looking at one to two more weeks in the hospital. Chris is "nippling" the best of the three (though he is the smallest at just a smidgen short of 4 pounds). They may remove his feeding tube today. He's supposed to be nippling all his meals now. Daniel is at 2 out of 3 meals by bottle (and weighs 4 lb 2 oz), and Nathan is at 1 out of 2 (weighing 4 lb even). All 3 boys are out of their isolettes now, and in open cribs.