Friday, June 19, 2009

Feedin' and Growin'

The boys were two weeks old yesterday evening. According to the NICU staff, they have graduated from their tethered life of cords and IV fluids to the status of "Feeders and Growers." Sounds like they've been put out to pasture. In a sense, I guess they have. 

Monday they left the confines of their isolettes for the freedom of an open crib. They began stage 2 feeding protocol (two oral feeds per 12-hour shift). They had their first bath, first prolonged "awake time," first bottle feed and first burp. Basically, they just need to keep eating and growing until all feedings are oral, the NG tube comes out, and we can take them home!

Last night while I was with them, both boys kept "de-sat-ing" (when blood oxygen saturation falls below 80%). Two hours of hanging out in the low 80's, 70's, and sporadic 60's (%) had me and the nurses a bit concerned. I arrived this morning to find them both back on oxygen via nasal cannula. A minor setback. But the forced flow is helping them eat better, have more energy, and will guard against any developmental issues. Doctors will re-evaluate in a few days. 

Tonight Gordon weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs. 7 oz! And Spencer finally joined his brother in the "fours" at 4 lbs. 1 oz!

This is Gordy after tonight's feeding. Both Gordon and Spencer are breast feeding on average 6-10 minutes twice a day.  A big accomplishment for their tiny bodies, mouths and stomachs.

One night I peeled back the blankets to find Spencer all tucked up in a little ball like this (prone!) A "no-no" you might think, right? But because babies are so closely monitored in the NICU they can sleep on their tummies. They digest better, breathe better, and feel more secure. Looks comfy. I thought Spencer was so cute - curled up, snug as a bug.

Unfortunately, Doug had a cold this week. So he wasn't able to come into the NICU for four days. He finally returned with me tonight. As a result, I've had lots of wonderful drivers/visitors accompany me. And it's been so fun to share the boys. Above Spencer (Left) Gordon (Right).

Grandma Nae with Gordy.
Grandma Ronda with Spencer.

Poppa Bob with Spencer.

Eliza's drawing of Spencer.

And Gordon. Her artwork used to grace the boys' isolettes. Now it hangs above their open cribs.

Spencer after his first bath.

Gordon after his.

BATH TIME! This is called a swaddle bath. We wrapped the boys in a piece of fleece, put them in the "tub" and poured warm water on them. One body part at time, I washed them and finished with a shampoo. The fleece keeps them warmer and contained (so they aren't flailing around). They seemed to enjoy (tolerate without crying) their first bathing experience.

This is Jessica. One of our favorite nurses. She's taken care of our boys many days AND nights. She left town last week for Washington DC where her fiance' lives. We told her about all our favorite restaurants in Alexandria and wished we were going with her. 

In her absence we've had a slew of different nurses, with varying styles (some great ... some not so great). The night I walked into the NICU and saw her again I nearly cried! I told her she CANNOT leave again - or get married for that matter - if it's going to take her away from POD A Rooms 1 and 2. She has been absolutely wonderful. We love her.

Auntie Kara with Gordon. 

Mom with Gordon.

So that's the update. We're hanging in there - looking at another two weeks or so until we bring the boys home. Ali and Sami are troopers. They run to the car with two or three hugs and kisses for me each time I leave for the hospital and seem fascinated by the process of "pumping milk for the babies." Personally, (after this experience) I don't want to lay eyes on that formidable breast pump ever again!!

Eliza is feeling the upheaval more than any of us it seems. But she is doing the best she can. She prays for Gordon and Spencer, gave me some little grapes to take to them at dinner one night, helped me sort clothes for their drawers today, and talks about how much she loves her brothers. She wants to be close by me when we're together, has cried a bit when I've had to leave, and has been waking in the middle of the night occasionally. It is going to be an adjustment for all of us.

Doug is on the mend (we hope) and said to me tonight. "Do you feel like the parent of 5 children?" "Nope!" I said. It's something we're both still processing. Tomorrow we will celebrate Doug's fast and furious daddy-hood. What a blessing he is to me, our home and family.

I'm needing a nap some afternoons but healing well from surgery. I'm tired of pumping - literally. Who knew one could fall asleep while being milked like an industrialized dairy cow?? But I am feeling completely grateful for the meals brought to us, the rides to the hospital, the visitors, help with our girls, laundry and errands, and the outpouring of love shown to our family.  

Feeding and growing. It's the family project right now. We'll keep you posted.


  1. The boys look great and you guys certainly are all troopers! I am praying for you and all your little ones.

    Happy Father's Day to Doug!

  2. I am so happy for you guys! What a fun Father's Day, to have to future fathers on your hands. They look darling. I think Gordon looks so Keddington! I can't wait to meet them. You are amazing. I want to bring your family dinner after I get settled next week in the new house. Right now, we are in limbo, fun stuff! See you soon.

  3. We, too, are praying for your family, and it looks like the blessings are getting to you.

    We hope things continue at this good rate, and we'll be able to meet the boys when we come visit in July.

    Ethen is going to be the big boy compared, though he is off the charts small at this point.

  4. The boys look great. Truly. They look like sweet little Arvy boys! Jonathan and I have enjoyed viewing your blog. Happy Father's Day Doug x5. We love you guys.

  5. Thanks so much for the update. I am in awe of all that you have done, and all that you have yet to do. What a sweet little family. We love you!

  6. Oh my goodness. It's so good to see pictures of you and your family. Those little boys...they are so tiny. I can't imagine what a 3 lb baby feels like in your hand. I cringe at the CPAP pictures. Yuck. I hate CPAP...a necessary evil.Yet, it is all so amazing...the wonders of modern medicine. The boys look so healthy, I am so happy for you and grateful for all the people that go to school and study so long and hard and make these miracles happen in people's lives.

    I echo what you say about favorite nurses! Not all nurses are created equal. It's amazing the peace of mind a nurse you trust can bring in to your life during a time such as this when you feel so vulnurable. When someone is taking care of your most precious treasure it's exhausting to worry if they are doing so in the competent and tender way.

    I can only imagine your milking stories. Heck, I feel like mooing when I am feeding one baby let alone pumping around the clock for preemies.

    Our prayers are with you and your family and we continue to root for the boys- grow boys grow! Swallow boys swallow! Breathe boys breathe! Poop boys poop! Grow boys, grow!

    Aaaah, I love celebrating the basics.

    Happy Father's Day x5 Doug! Your the man!

  7. The boys are beautiful and you look great too! I'll keep your big little family in my prayers. Wishing you all the best in your adventures!!


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