Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our "Claim to Fame"

We made the front page! Here's our article:
Anderson Independent Mail

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Latest Developments and the Anderson Newspaper!

Last week on Monday we went to the pediatrician for the boys' two month checks. At that time, Chris weighed 7 lb 2 oz, Daniel 7 lb 9 oz, and Nathan 7 lb 10 oz. The doctor decided to get read outs of the boys monitors, so Wednesday the monitor company came by and swapped our machines out. Meanwhile as the week progressed, Nathan seemed to be developing a worsening spit up, even to the extent of losing half his meal 20 minutes later a few times. Also, several times on Tuesday (of course, after the check up) Nathan set off his apnea monitor, which was highly unusual for him. We called the pediatrician about that, and they said that they would look into it on the monitor reports. We concluded that since there were no obvious signs of problems, it was not necessary to bring Nathan in immediately to be seen. Well, after doing some research online, Jeff began to wonder if Nathan had reflux. We began to treat it as such, holding him fairly still after feeding and not laying him down immediately. His symptoms did improve somewhat. Monday morning we got our call back from the pediatrician. He said all three boys showed signs of reflux, and are going on Prevacid. We will see how that goes. If this works, it may help to eliminate the still occasional bradycardia, and hopefully Nathan's recent start up of occasional apnea alarms as well. That will be a huge step toward going off the monitors. We are incredibly glad to have the monitors, as the apnea/bradycardia spells have not completely stopped on their own, and they have helped the pediatrician to identify the reflux.

Also, at the doctor's appointment we got the go ahead to start playing with the boys' schedule, and try to let them sleep longer at night. I'm a great fan of BabyWise (although like anything, you have to be flexible with it). For anyone who's not familiar with the book, the idea is you compress more feeding times into the day in an effort to let the baby sleep longer at night. Last week we did our own "disaster" cross between that and a four hour round the clock schedule. After a week, we started a new daytime 3 to 3 1/2 hour schedule, and we feed the boys as they demand at night (which is generally one time between 11 pm and 7 am.

Saturday, we had a visit from Uncle Lance and Aunt Julie, along with Grandpa and Grandma. This was Lance and Julie's first opportunity to see the boys. We all had a great time visiting together. Julie was in town for her (and my) 10 year reunion from BJU. On that note, we had our first real babysitter on Friday night. Carrie Smetana, a friend of mine from church agreed (I think rather enthusiastically) to help Mom watch Mary and the boys for the evening. Jeff and I enjoyed a supper out at Olive Garden, and a visit over to BJU for a Bible Conference service, as well as my college reunion. I had a great time seeing people again that I had not seen in ten years, and going out on a date with Jeff (which doesn't happen too often right now!)

One final note, the Anderson newspaper, the Independent Mail called yesterday, and wanted to interview Jeff and I for a feature article. We had a reporter come to the house for an interview today. For anyone who is interested, we are scheduled to have an article run in the Sunday paper!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Adventures in Triplets

Time is moving too quickly in some ways. The boys have outgrown their preemie clothes already. I can just feel them getting bigger every time I pick one of them up. So, today we went to a photographer's in-home studio and had pictures taken for the first time. It was a pretty intensive 3 we should have lots of good pictures. We even got Mary to cooperate holding the boys, although she seemed a bit tired and hungry. Though we very rarely would use such a tactic, a mention of McNuggets and fries afterward was just the incentive Mary needed. The pictures were taken compliments of Anita Goodman of Goodman Photography and Video, and she is giving us the CD. The boys were her first multiples.

After leaving the photographer's studio, we stopped past our adoption attorney, Ray Godwin's office. Ray and his staff worked tirelessly to assist us with the progress of this placement, which has been challenging at times. We are so indebted and thankful for their work. The staff had not had the opportunity to see the boys yet, so we stopped by for a brief "peek" at the boys (since cold/flu season is still alive here in SC).

Daylight savings time, as you can imagine, had an interesting effect on the boys' schedule. Because Jeff and I had plans to attend a wedding Saturday at 11:00, we decided to go ahead and move the boys meal time from 11:00 to 10:00 am, so that Mom could babysit without having to feed all the boys while we were gone. The second benefit would have been to have them on the new daylight savings time 3-7-11 meal schedule, once the time changed. We only encountered a few unanticipated challenges.
Challenge #1 Pop quiz. If you feed a baby used to a four hour schedule a whole hour earlier than usual, what will happen? Well, the boys did not want to wake up and eat, and they did not eat well at all. Mom continued feeding for awhile after we left for the wedding. So, by what should have been the 2 o'clock meal time for the boys, they were not in the least interested. So, we waited until 3 o'clock Saturday to feed them. We were still not ready for daylight savings time.
Challenge #2 We decided to slowly adjust the boys over the next four meal times, by 15 minute increments each time in order to arrive at the new schedule. It would seem relatively simple, especially since we are shortening the time between feedings, rather than lengthening. So we went through the process Saturday evening and night. 3pm. 6:45pm. 10:30pm. 3:15am (daylight savings time). 8:00am (daylight savings time). Oops. Now, the 3:15 is correct, since you spring forward, on standard time the 3:15 is really 2:15, and means that the time until that feeding is only 3:45 minutes. But when someone forgets to set an alarm clock, or it gets turned off (no one is sure what happened), nearly five hours will elapse between between 3:15 and 8:00. And that puts you right back on the old schedule.
Not to belabor this discussion more than is necessary, throughout Sunday we re-adjusted back 15 minutes each meal time for the boys, and by 3:00 PM daylight savings time, we were on the new time. By the way, we could have just carried forward through the time change without changing the boys feeding times, but that would have been rather inconvenient for lunch (12:00) and for supper preparations (4:00).

One other miscellaneous bit of trivia. I decided to start mixing up formula in larger quantities this week, rather than to mix each bottle individually. The manufacturer says its okay to prepare up to 24 hours at a time. So, I do that. I mix 58 ounces of water with 2 1/2 cups powder formula each day to make a half gallon of formula for each day. That's 3 1/2 ounces for each bottle for Nathan, Chris, and Daniel, six times a day.

Also, in an effort to make feeding time a bit more efficient, we have begun co-feeding, predominantly at night. As you can see in the pictures, one of the two "feeders" sits on the floor in between two bouncy seats, and holds a bottle in each hand, and feeds two boys at one time. We haven't felt comfortable trying this up until recently due to the boys' need for one on one attention because of feeding slowness, and related preemie feeding issues.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

All Those Little Noises or Why They Don't Sleep in Our Bedroom

The nursery is never quiet with these three. Somebody is almost always making some noise. They all make funny little grunting, congested type sounds which are typical of preemies. More often than not, one of them will have the hiccups.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Day in the Life of Triplets

All the gifts from the baby shower at church.

One days worth of bottles

The more diapers, the better!

Changing table for short people, and changing table for tall people

The nursery is mostly done

We've been home now for about two and a half weeks. We are slowly...very slowly...trying to catch up on life, sleep, etc. In between 3 am, 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm, and 11 pm. It takes two people usually around an hour to feed three babies 2 1/2 ounces each of formula. Each feeds a baby, and whoever finishes first feeds poor Nathan who actually feeds a half hour or so behind his brothers. So Mom and I rendezvous at 3 am (Jeff sleeps through from midnight to 7 am), and I sleep in until about 10 am while Jeff and Mom gather for the 7 am feeding. Meanwhile, Jeff and I feed the kids at 11 pm. That lets Mom go to bed early (with Mary at 8 pm) and sleep through until 3 am. If that was confusing, the basic idea is each of us gets a 6-7 hour stretch to sleep each night, as well as in some cases an additional nap of about 2-3 hours. Each meal is preceded by a diaper change.

So, for those of you slow on math, we go through 18 bottles a day (which takes about 40 minutes to assemble each day). We also go through approximately the same number of diapers each day, unless we need extra changes (which as you can imagine occasionally does happen). We are thankful the boys have moved on from Pampers preemie diapers at about 27 cents each to generic (at least they work at this size--I have friends who have told me that generics don't work for boys-at least in bigger sizes) newborn size diapers at 14 cents each. We are also very thankful for the 220 newborn size diapers I received last week at my UBC shower. I haven't "inventoried" the larger sizes yet!

One additional incredible blessing has been our sizeable gift of free preemie formula from Enfamil. Our pediatrician says we can switch to free preemie Similac if the free Enfamil runs out. The boys will stay on preemie formula for a good while even once they reach full term age/size, due to differences remaining because of prematurity. A can of preemie Enfamil would retail around $15/can, and lasts us not quite two days. We have not had to pay for formula (except a few cans at deep discount) yet!

The boys are growing well...perhaps too well. It's with a bit of sadness that the boys are starting to outgrow their preemie clothes already. The nursery, bit by bit is starting to come together. Saturday afternoon Mom and I picked out fabric (yes, you guessed it, between 3 and 7 pm) for curtains that she's agreed to make for me while she's here.

One additional note. We had been going back and forth between insurance and a clinic our pediatrician referred us to about getting the boys' Synagis shot. It's an immune booster (not a vaccine) that helps protect them from RSV, a common upper respiratory virus that can be very serious in premature infants. It's administered every 28-30 days, and the boys were coming up on their shot since leaving the hospital. The complication is the fact that the shot costs over a thousand dollars per child, so the clinic was concerned that insurance would cover it. Anyway, we got past that on Friday, and today received a call from the clinic about scheduling the boys' shot. They called me around 2:15, and said they only could do it on certain days. They had an opening this afternoon at 3:45, otherwise we would have to wait until next Monday. Well, we didn't want to do that, so I said we'd be their Greenville clinic! So, I got off the phone, called Jeff to come home, and Mom and I started feeding the boys (Chris and Dan) about 40 minutes early. Jeff got home around 2:30 and spent about 15 minutes getting car seat bases reinstalled (he had taken them out to take the seats out the back of the van the previous week). Jeff then fed Nathan while Mom and I got the other two ready to go to Greenville, and packed a diaper bag, and got Mary ready to go to Greenville as well. We all got packed up and left the house by 3:10. We pulled into the parking lot at the clinic at 3:50, only 5 minutes late...and I feel pretty good about that!

Also as an additional aside, the boys were weighed today in order to calculate the exact Synagis dosage. Chris is still slightly behind his brothers, weighing in at 6 lb 3 oz, and Dan and Nate both weigh 6 lb 6 oz.

We posted another 124 pictures here