Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo...urns

If you don't watch the Simpsons, you won't get it.

Happy Halloween everyone! I love Halloween, even now that I'm a "big girl" and can't get dressed up as often and most definitely can't go out trick or treating. But hey, I have two boys now...I'll just have to wait a few years until they're old enough.

Here's how I spent my Halloween. Woke up at 6:30 am to go nurse the boys, get settled in to tandem nurse, get about 10 minutes in, and suddenly my tummy hurts. It came on that fast, no warning. So I gave the boys back to the nurse to get the rest of their feeding through their tubes, told Nathan I wasn't feeling good, and went back to the Ronald House to crash. I was really hoping it was one of those short-lived things and it would be gone after a nap...but no.

I was chained to the toilet, first by the south end of my body and then finally, after hours of pain in my stomach, by the north end. Praying to the porcelain god. But only once! After which I went back to sleep and it's now 6:00 pm. I haven't seen my boys in almost 12 hours. And I feel a lot better...still a little shaky, but no tummy pain. I really think this was some sort of food poisoning because I didn't have any of the typical flu symptoms (nausea, chills, achy body, etc), just pain. And I had some questionable meatloaf that one of the Ronald House volunteers made yesterday for a late afternoon.

The biggest bummer? I don't get to see the boys in the cute Halloween shirts that Kate, Nathan's sister, got the boys! One says "I Love My Mummy" and has a little mummy on it, while the other one says "Little Monster" and has Frankenstein on it. Nor do I get to see them in their "Baby's First Halloween" bibs that were a gift from (are you ready for this?) Nathan's Dad's friend's daughters, or their hooded pumpkin blankets that Kate's inlaws got the boys. Major pouting going on over here! I knew I should have put all that stuff on them at the 1 am feeding!

Anyway, I'm still quarantined to our Ronald room until tomorrow morning. Nathan is staying in the Nicu again, just in case what I had/have really is contagious. Thank goodness I picked out a bunch of movies from our Great Movie Escapade to keep here in the room, so I won't go completely crazy with bordome.

Again I say, BOO...URNS!

Just in case the mystery is driving you crazy, here's the link to the video.

Simpsons Boo...urns!

Mommy Moment

It's 2 am, and I'm awake. Still. Granted, I slept pretty much all day yesterday between feedings. I'm starting to feel like I'm back on graveyard shift. Thankfully, I'm starting to get tired, especially since I have to be up for the 7 am feeding...Nathan, bless his heart, is taking the 4 am feeding. We're staying in one of the NICU rooms again tonight in order to do another 24 hours of being at every feeding, so we'll see how that goes. So far we're 2 feedings down, both nursing, and both of the boys' have taken full feeds (and then some).

The Patient Care Consultant that I talked to the other day said that one day we'll just see a light come on with the boys and they will suddenly start feeding perfectly...is it getting my hopes up to think that maybe that's happening? Keep your fingers crossed for us. Oh, and I think the boys are trying to tell us that they're ready to go home...Levi has had his feeding tube pulled out twice today; once by himself and once by his oh-so-helpful brother. I think it means they've decided they don't need them anymore...right?

When I got done nursing the boys at 1:30 this morning, I had a big-time mommy moment. It was something so simple yet it almost brought me to tears, in a happy way. The nurse had put Asher back in the crib for me (kind of hard to put one baby in the crib by yourself when you're holding both of them) and when I stood up with Levi in my arms, he woke up and started getting incredibly fussy. So I put him up to my shoulder, gave him a binkie (he can't fall asleep without sucking on something) and just started swaying from side to side while softly humming to him. A few moments later, he was curled up under my chin, sound asleep with his arms holding me back (as much as a tiny baby can). And it hit me...I know my baby well enough to give him what he needs to feel happy and safe. I'm a mom. The precious burden in my arms is a gift from God for Nathan and I to love and nurture and I've been given the ability to do just that. Wow.

I really can't put into words how these boys make me feel. Blessed is a good place to start, I think.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And It Starts

Yesterday (day before yesterday now, I guess) we had the opportunity to do a 24 hour sleep in inside of the NICU. While the boys weren't able to stay in the room with us, we were offered one of the rooms to stay in over night so we could easily roll out of bed and be to the boys' room within about 15 seconds for each of their feeds. Nathan and I took turns, me nursing them and Nathan bottle feeding them, so that we could each get longer stretches of sleep between our feedings. At this point, "longer stretches of sleep" has become a relative term...3-4 hours is great, while 2 is ok, and 1 is enough to get by on. We figure it's good practice for when we take them home.

One of the goals was to see if the boys could go 24 hours without needing to be fed through their feeding tubes. The other was to see if they would still gain weight when being nursed 5 out of 8 feedings, with only 3 bottle feedings. The milk that they get from the bottle or feeding tube is fortified with formula in order to bring it from only 20 calories up to 24 calories, which helps them gain weight. While we still had to give them about half of their feeding through their tube a total of two times in 24 hours, we did manage to do primarily bottle or nursing. And they continued to gain weight!

The tentative plan was to do another 24 hours of staying in the NICU if the first 24 hours was a success, but unfortunately they did not have a room available that night. We have our names on the list for tonight in case a room becomes available, so we'll see. We're also in the "let the boys tell us what they need" stage. They've started waking themselves up when they are hungry, which they weren't doing before, and they're waking up every two to two and a half hours instead of the three hour schedule we had them on. So we've been having the nurses call us if they wake up earlier than we were planning on being there for their next feeding. Which is why I am writing this at 5 am...the boys woke up at 3:45 rather than sleeping until their 5:00 feeding, so I just got back to our room at the Ronald House.

Along with letting the boys dictate when they eat, we're also learning to work with them in terms of keeping their energy up for their feedings, so they don't fall asleep 1o minutes in. With the help of their nurses, we've decided to start postponing their cares (diaper change, temp check, listening to their heart/lungs, etc) until after they have been fed, because we've noticed that they will be wide awake just before and during their cares, use up their energy being fussy, and then don't have very much energy for eating. And yet when we have waited to do their cares, they generally stay awake for the entire feeding. We're hoping that doing it this way will help the boys get full feeds even more consistently (without the feeding tube) so they can go home sooner!

Speaking of going home, I realized this morning that the closer we get to going home, the more likely it is that our nightly (or morningly?) goodbye to our nurse will be the last time we see them! It's bittersweet...it's super exciting because it means we are going home soon, and yet sad because some of these nurses have become like friends. Tonight's nurse was Grace, and she's had the boys more consistently than any of our other nurses, so she's gotten to know them (and us) really well. She's the perfect blend for a nurse; knows that we have been here for almost a month and a half so we have a pretty good handle on how things work, and yet isn't afraid to speak up if she thinks that doing something differently will help the boys. She's incredibly competent, and super willing to help us brainstorm ways to work with the boys. And she won't be back on duty until the end of next week. So when we said goodbye at the end of this last feeding, it was with the knowledge that we may never see each other again. And she's not the only nurse who we will miss when we leave here...you can't be around people day in and day out for well over a month without them becoming a part of your life and we're incredibly thankful for the amazing nurses we've had during our time here.

On a closing note, there were times before we started going to almost every feeding (ha, times? try most of the time actually) when I felt guilty for only going to three or four of the boys' feedings. I felt like I was being a bad mommy, like I needed to be there more often even though they were still sleeping most of the time and we were only doing rec feeding and I needed the sleep myself. But in the past few days I've been getting a lot of encouragement from the NICU staff. I can't remember if I've already posted this, as it's 5 am, but on Monday I spoke with a Patient Care Coordinator (who is also a lactation consultant) about my frustration with how slow things seemed to be moving in terms of the boys' ability to feed. And she told me that even though she works in another section of the unit, she has seen me come in every single day, several times a day, much more often than most other parents, and as a result, our boys will be going home sooner than most babies do. That just made me feel good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Far Does Forgiveness Go?

I'm sitting in our room at the Ronald House, eating a heaping plate of my mom's lasagna (don't judge me, I'm feeding two boys here), half-heartedly watching Grey's Anatomy, and thinking about forgiveness...talk about multitasking.

Here's the latest big news in Baker, and it's something that effects a huge part of our community:

http://www.bakercityherald.com/News/Local-News/Another-possible-victim-in-sex-crime-case

The defendant, Dean, is someone I've known for years...10 years in fact, ever since I worked as a courtesy clerk at Safeway and he worked in the bakery. He was also one of the "teachers" for the young adult bible study Nathan and I were going to.

I'm trying my hardest to keep an open heart. But as someone who works with teenage girls, it's so hard. I trusted him as a spiritual teacher, as did countless teenagers. So again I ask...how far does forgiveness go? Where's the line? Or is there one?

Ever since I became a Christian, I've strongly believed that we, as humans, do not have the right to judge the hearts and souls of people around us. Only God is wise enough to do that. And I am most definitely not God. So somewhere in my heart, I need to find the ability to forgive and love. I've been struggling with this all day long and I've come to one conclusion...

I can't do it...alone.

The only way I can is through God's love.

Please keep Dean's family in your prayers, as well as all of the teenagers whose lives are being effected by this.

What A Difference A Month Makes!

I've gotten a lot of comments from people lately about how much the boys have grown and put on weight, which made me go back and look at some of their earliest photos. I guess being around them every day makes it a little harder to see the drastic change. So I decided to put "before and after" photos of each of the boys on here, mostly to remind myself how far we've come. The first photos were taken on 9/24/08, three days after they were born. The second photos were taken in the past two days. That's a difference of 33 days and about 2 lbs. On the top row is Levi. The picture on the left was taken at 3 days old on 9/24/08. The picture on the right was taken at 36 days old, yesterday on 10/27/08.













These are Asher's photos. On the left is him at 3 days old on 9/24/08 and on the right is him at 35 days old on 10/26/08.













Wow, what a change!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photos Du Jour

Just thought I'd throw these photos that I took today on here for you to ooh and aww over. Because I think they're pretty stinkin' adorable. The boys absolutely love snuggling together and get fussy when one of them is taken out of the crib, which I think is the cutest thing in the world. I hope they continue to love each other this much throughout their entire lives.

Levi holding Asher's binkie in for him, because Asher hasn't quite gotten the hang of holding his own binkie. Such a helpful guy.


Levi asleep after a feeding.


Asher finally holding his own binkie, trying to get rid of his hiccups so he can fall asleep.

This is what I was greeted with when I walked in for their 10:30 pm feeding tonight. Snuggles! Just look at Asher's big smile!


More snuggles!

New Photos!


There's a preview for you. There are now new photos posted on the boys' online album. Also, I have created a second album entitled "Levi & Asher's 2nd Month". There is now a link on the right side of the blog to that album. So there are new photos posted on both the 1st Month album (at the end) as well as on the new album. Yay!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Levi and Asher?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What A Pair

But first...a slight rant.

Yeesh, what a day! I swear we ran into every stupid person we could possibly meet. But the biggest example of this was our attempt to get a late breakfast. Nathan had seen a "greasy spoon" just down the street from the Ronald House called Miss Addie's. He said the parking lot in front of it was full, which is usually a good sign. So after giving the boys their 11:00 feeding, we headed down there. When we got there, sure enough, it was packed, which was fine.

It wasn't until we got sat that the trouble began. It took almost 10 minutes for someone to come by and offer Nathan some coffee, and neither of us got any water. It was then another 10 minutes before our orders were taken, at which time I asked for water and cranberry juice...which took another 10 minutes to get to me, and then only after we asked for it about three more times. At that point, I had been sitting there for about half an hour with nothing to drink. Our things were brought to us by several different people, all of whom looked like they didn't have a clue what they were doing there. Also, when the gal refilled Nathan's coffee cup, she only refilled it about half way each time.

When our food finally arrived, my toast was MIA for a good 5 minute. Nathan took a bite of his scrambled eggs and crunched down on some egg shell. And my omelet was undercooked...as in, raw egg. It was at that point that we finally complained to the waitress...nicely. I mean, most of this was probably not her fault. When we told her about our food, her reaction was like "oh not again", as though this were a common thing. I asked her for our check, and she told us not to worry about it, took our food, and walked away. We waited for another 5 minutes or so for her to come back, but she never did so we left a $2 tip and walked out. That's the first time either of us have ever left without paying for a meal. It was literally the worst restaurant experience either of us have ever had. So if you're ever in Boise, DON'T go to Miss Addie's!

Oh...and we had to blow the whistle on a couple at the Ronald House who had just gotten done smoking pot by the smell of them. Great.

But on a bright note, our boys are amazing. Levi is now 4 lbs 8 oz and Asher is 4 lbs 6 oz. They continue to improve on their feedings AND we have now managed to do two full tandem feedings!!! That's when I feed both boys at the same time. Which cuts our feeding process down from an hour and a half to about half an hour. That rocks my world. We only get to do that if both of the boys happen to be awake at the same time, but hopefully once we get them home it can become a more regular occurrence. I think the boys are going to be real heartbreakers. They already have all the nurses in love with them. It cracks me up, we have several nurses who come to visit the boys even when they are assigned to other sections of the Nicu, just to see how they're doing.

I can't even explain how much I love these two boys. I remember when we first found out we were having twins...it seemed so incredibly surreal. But now...I simply cannot imagine only having one. One of my favorite times of the day is right after the boys get done feeding, and both Nathan and I are just sitting there, each snuggling one of the boys. Seeing Nathan with one of his sons curled up on his chest just makes me smile and gives me warm fuzzies.

Oh, and evidently the local Blockbuster donated a TON of their videos to the Ronald House, and they were all sitting in boxes in the downstairs living room. We asked the house manager how many we could take and she said "PLEASE take them ALL! Get them out of here!" So...we did. They had a few zillion kids movies and old cartoons like Tom & Jerry and Thomas the Train. Maybe we went a little overboard, but we got about 300 movies. And that wasn't even a fraction of all the movies down there. Just call us Labunski Videos.

Thank goodness I got a nap today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting Closer?

We are officially just waiting for the final milestone...the boys being able to consistently take full feeds orally, whether through breast feeding or through a bottle. Yesterday, Nathan and I gave them their first bottles, and they both did great. They were at 38 ml feeds, and Levi drank 22 ml of that while Asher drank 19 ml. Their nurse today gave them a bottle twice and said that Levi didn't really drink much of it while Asher drank about half again, but I'm wondering if she was just doing something wrong with Levi because he drank from the bottle just fine when Nathan gave it to him yesterday.

As for feeding them the way nature intended (I'm being subtle for you guys out there), according to the nurses, 15 minutes is a full feed. If the boys feed between 6-10 minutes, the boys are only given half of their milk through the tube. If they reach 15 minutes, they aren't given any through the tube. Yesterday, both boys fed for about 12 minutes. Today, Levi only did about 9 minutes, but Asher managed to feed for 16 minutes!!!! YAY! It's the first time either of them has been able to forgo being fed through the tube! We're getting closer!

I can't remember the boys' exact current weight in terms of grams, but I believe they're both at around 4 lbs 2-3 oz. So they're continuing to grow like weeds. Also, the boys had their 1 month head ultrasound (a norm for preemies) yesterday and it came back completely normal. We weren't expecting to see anything abnormal, but it's still nice to know for sure.

As for us...we want so badly to bring these boys home. We're tired. In the past 11 weeks, I've only been home for 2 of them. I'm tired of getting different stories, suggestions, and techniques from different nurses. Don't get me wrong, the nurses and doctors are still doing great. I think we just see the light at the end of the tunnel and are getting a little impatient for this whole chapter to be over. Yes yes, I know, we'll miss the nurses' help when we're home. We know. But that doesn't change us wanting to have us all home.

And yet...beyond that impatience....we are still completely aware of how blessed we have been through all of this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Month Old!

I can't believe it, our boys are already a month old. A month ago today, I had two absolutely beautiful baby boys...and about this time, I was letting the drugs take effect and was thoroughly asleep, ha ha ha!

There are really no updates thus far, just the same old same old. I forgot to check their current weights this morning, so I'll check them this evening and let you know what they are. Until then, here's an adorable picture for you to coo over. Go Broncos!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4 Weeks!

The boys are now four weeks old! Yay! Day after tomorrow, they will be a month old! My big handsome boys.

Oh, and not only are they four weeks old, they're also now four pounds! FOUR! Double YAY!

And the other great thing...the boys' doctor came by today and told us that there's a good possibility that the boys might be able to go home in a week or so!!!! I actually had to ask him to repeat himself. I was thinking that they wouldn't be going home for another three or four weeks but no...a week or two! He also wrote an order to have them taken off of the caffeine, which they were getting to help them not have the Brady episodes. If they handle being taken off of that, it means that they have accomplished two of the three prerequisites for being sent home. The last one is being able to do full feedings consistently. I seriously can't believe that we might all be home so soon...wow!

Anyway, Mom will be here any minute to pick me up for the boys' 11:30 pm feeding. So I'm off!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Packing A Full Load

And so the journey begins...

The boys are now really feeding, even though they still fall asleep about 10-15 minutes in. I'm not suppose to pump before coming to visit them, so they can start working up to full feeds. Woohoo! I think both of the boys have already been doing this a bit...they just HAVE to be getting something. I mean, they're rocks stars!

On top of starting to do real breast feeding, they are still growing like WEEDS! Levi is now 3 lbs 14 oz and Asher is 3 lbs 13 oz. I think they're gaining about 30 grams every day. Oh, and can you believe they are going to be a month old in only 3 days?! My babies! A month old! I just can't believe how cute they are getting. Maybe it's the fact that their cheeks are getting chubbier every day, but they get cuter and cuter every time I see them. I'm definitely in trouble. One look from those faces and I melt. Speaking of looks, their faces are also getting more expressive. Yes, I realize it's probably just gas, but it's still adorable and not just a little hilarious.

Except when I change their diapers. Oh man. Let me give you an example. Yesterday afternoon I was changing Levi and he didn't have any poop in his diaper. Now, when I change the boys, I get their new diaper and their wipes all set out, put their clean diaper under their dirty diaper, open the old diaper, pull it out from under them while holding them up, wipe them off, and close up the clean diaper. Unless the boys have other plans...like Levi did. I managed to get him cleaned off and got his new diaper closed up when we heard a minor explosion. I checked him and sure enough, a ton of poop. (Someday he's going to hate me for this.) So I go through the whole process again and as soon as I got his new diaper under him (not yet closed), he let loose again. New diaper. More poop. New diaper. More poop. You've heard of a Five Alarm Fire? This was a Five Diaper Poop! No kidding...FIVE DIAPERS!

And yet all I could do through the entire episode was laugh. I never thought I'd be so ok with being in such close proximity to another person's bodily...stuff. Funny what being a mommy does to you. To my friends who are about to become mommies (or daddies), you are about to embark on the best adventure of your life.



I love my boys.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Big Step!

The boys are out of their isolettes!!! They are now in one crib together, which is totally exciting. They usually don't put them in cribs until they reach 1800 grams, and the boys are only 1650 grams right now. But they have both been maintaining a temp of around 37.4 degrees celcius, which is a little warm, even though their isolettes were set at room temp. So now it's a matter of seeing if they can maintain their temps out in the open air. If not, they go back in the isolette for a couple more days. But I think they'll be able to handle it.

I've also been given the green light to do rec feeding twice a day and when the doctor came by today, he mentioned attempting some real feeding (no pumping before hand) this weekend. We'll see how that goes. So far, Levi has pulled ahead of Asher in terms of latching on and getting anything done during rec feeding. Maybe feeling like he's actually getting something done will help Asher get motivated.

It's so nice having Nathan back in Boise. It was definitely a good thing that he went home, but both the boys and I missed him. The hardest part was probably going in and holding one of the boys, and then knowing that the other boy was laying in his isolette, awake, and not being able to hold him. I did hold them both at the same time once, which was entertaining because all the sudden I had no extra hand to scratch my nose or adjust a baby.

Every time a doctor comes in to see the boys, they always exclaim over how quickly they are gaining weight. Yay! They are growing in leaps and bounds, and I'm loving seeing them change from skinny preemie babies to just small babies. They're actually starting to have chubby cheeks! Maybe they don't look like it in the pictures, but even my mom agreed that the pictures make them look skinnier.

It's amazing how little time I actually have during the day, even though I only go to three or four of the boys' feedings. Here's a typical day in my world right now: wake up at 9:00 or 9:30, take a shower, pump by 10:00, grab some food real quick, leave the room by 10:35 to get to the boys' room by 10:45 in order to help with Levi's cares before his 11:00 feeding. Start rec feeding with Levi at 11:00 for about 20 minutes until he falls asleep, put him to bed, start rec feeding with Asher until he falls asleep. By the time they both are asleep and I get out of there, it's usually 12:00 or 12:30. I usually head back to the house, eat, pump at 1:00, and then take a nap because I woke up every 3 hours the night before to pump. Wake up by 3:30, pump at 4:00, leave the room by 4:35 to go to the boys' 5:00 feeding. Repeat the rec feeding schedule. Done by around 6:00 or 6:30. Back to the room to pump by 7:00, eat somewhere in there, back to the boys' room by 7:45 for their 8:00 feeding. Done with that by around 9:00 or 9:30. Back to the house to eat something, do laundry, catch up on the blog, pump, spend time with Nathan, and collapse. Although sometimes we through an 11:00 pm feeding in there too. And most of the time, because I'm a night owl, I stay awake to do a 1 am pump before I go to sleep and set my alarm to wake me up every 3 hours (4 am and 7 am). I usually only get about 2 1/2 hours of sleep between pumping.

Anyway, I think I'm going to call it quits on this post and finally edit the photos from the past few days! Look on the boys' album for them! And then...pump and bed...now that the laundry is finally done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And Good Times Were Had By All!

(Enter witty blog intro here.)

First of all, let me just say that giving birth to and caring for two children has caused me to go more than just a little brain dead. My wittiness seems to have abandoned me and sometimes I get so tired that things come out of my mouth before I can really think about it. Which means that I sometimes come across a lot less tactful than I mean to be. Or I completely space off in the middle of a conversation. So I apologize if I appear rude to anyone! Just blame the babies, ha ha!

Yesterday (Saturday) was my birthday, and I was lucky enough to get to celebrate with my hubby, my adorable babies, my parents, and my father in law. It was a great weekend, if a little tiring. I'd have to say the best part, though, was most definitely dinner. We went to the Melting Pot and...wow. Just...wow. For those who have never heard of it, the Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. We ordered the all inclusive meal that included a cheese fondue appetizer, salad, an entree fondue, and a chocolate dessert fondue. Because there were five of us, we ordered two of these meals, which was more than enough food. Oh, and we went through two bottles of red wine. The entire meal took us almost four hours to get through...it was wonderful. I couldn't have asked for better company, we had a ton of laughs, and I loved that the meal itself was a wonderfully relaxed pace.

After dinner, Nathan and I went to see the boys between their feedings, which we usually don't do because they're asleep at that time and we have to leave them alone. Well, this time they were wide awake and fussy, so we got to hold them both for almost an hour in order to get them calmed down. Which meant that I didn't have to go through baby withdrawals!

Let's see, other big news on the twin front...

Yesterday (Saturday), the boys got their first real baths. Before now, they had to be sponge bathed inside of their isolettes because they were too small to hold a good temperature when wet. They've both been maintaining good temps with their isolettes at room temp though, so we got to pull them out of their isolettes, take all of their monitor leads off, and use a bathtub. They both seemed to like the bathtub better than the sponge baths, so that was a ton of fun.

Today was a milestone as well...they both got to wear clothes for the first time!!! The funny part is that even preemie clothes are big on them! That doesn't diminish the cuteness, however! As of their weigh in last night, Asher was 1577 grams and Levi was 1571 grams. That's 3 lbs 7 oz. Only 9 oz to go until they hit the 4 lb mark! They're definitely starting to look a little chubbier, at least to those of us who see them on a daily basis. I did find out tonight, however, that there is no minimum weight requirement in order for the boys to go home. They have to be able to do a full feeding without their tubes, maintain their body temp in a regular crib, and not have any Brady episodes for about 5 days once they are taken off the caffeine they are currently on. Not too bad.

The only damper on the whole weekend is that Nathan had to go home tonight. We decided that it would be a good idea for him to go home for a couple of work days each week. Hopefully that way he'll be able to pave the way for him working at home once the boys come home. We will definitely miss him, but the last thing we want is for him to lose his job or be bumped down to part time hours. And it should only be a couple of days each week.

Enough on that, it's time for this momma to get some sleep!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where Are My Mittens?!

I took a nap this afternoon because, well, I hit the wall. When I woke up, I heard dripping outside. Thinking maybe it was raining, I peeked outside of our bedroom window and saw..........

............

............

SNOW!

Not even kidding, it was snowing here in Boise! Evidently this is the earliest snow in recorded history for Boise. The record prior to this was October 12th. Crazy, eh? I think it's my fault, because we regularly had our first snow in Baker show up on my birthday.

Anyway, the boys continue to do amazingly well. They are now 3 lbs 4 oz, and only have a 2 gram difference between them. That's 1.5 oz more than their birth weight! Evidently they have both been holding a slightly high temp for the past day or so, but the nurses seem to think that this is just environmental (they're in a warm isolette, therefore they are warm). Which is good news because the isolette is basically at room temp and yet the boys' are maintaining a good temp themselves, meaning that they should hold a good temp when they are moved out of the isolette.

Last night, Nathan got to hold both of the boys for the first time. After holding them in his arms for a few minutes, he then laid them side by side on the pillow in his lap so the boys could lay together. It was so cool, because they just snuggled up together and immediately fell back asleep. Seeing them side by side, their faces look amazingly similar, but we do notice a difference in their head shapes. Asher's head is skinnier (side to side) and longer (front to back) while Levi's is wider from side to side and shorter from front to back. Adorable! See photos on their online album!

It's also been fun seeing the boys' personalities coming out more. Levi has definitely established himself as the more vocal, impatient twin, while Asher is a lot more laid back and quiet. But regardless of those differences, they both REALLY love snuggling with Mom and Dad! :) They've also developed a knack for pulling their feeding tubes out of their noses. Thankfully, this isn't that big of a deal because the tubes are smooth and just slip in and out really easily. But that also forces the nurses to get really creative with the tape that they use to keep the tubes in. Goofy kids.

And now...a video of the boys snuggling! Talk about tugging on the heart strings! Asher is on the left and Levi is on the right. Gotta love the big yawn!


video

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Exciting Day!!!

Wow, what a cool day! It started with us going to the boys' 11 am feeding, where Asher had another great rec feed before falling asleep. Levi wasn't as fussy today as he was late last night because we finally got his constipation relieved. The poor kid hadn't pooped in almost 24 hours by their 11 pm feed last night, at which point he was almost screaming and it took about 30 minutes to get him to calm down.

We then got to give the boys another bath at their 5 pm feed...Levi was predictably more vocal about his annoyance with us while Asher was much more relaxed about the whole process. Rather than going back to hold the boys at their 8 pm feeding, we decided to take that time off and go back at 11 pm. During our time off, we went to Barnes & Noble, where we got a few books to read to the boys...Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and His Purple Crayon, The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverley Clarey), and Are You My Mother. After picking out those books, we hung out in the Starbucks that is in the center of the store and drooled over some cookbooks written by Chef Gordon Ramsey (ala Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, only one of the best chefs in the world). It was nice to have some time just hanging out together.

At the boys' 11 pm feeding, I finally got Levi to do a little rec feeding, which he's kind of been refusing to do. The little goof ball gets frustrated when he isn't doing it because he really wants to, but then when we try it, he gets really frustrated also, like he's annoyed that it isn't as easy as he expected. But we finally managed to get him settled down enough to give it a chance. It was about that time that Nathan realized that the boys' monitor cords were long enough that we could put the boys side by side...it only took us 2 weeks and 3 days to figure that out. So we got to see the boys right next to each other for the first time EVER!!!! Asher was asleep through most of it, while Levi was absolutely fascinated by Asher. But both of them really calmed down as soon as we got them close to each other. It was so cool!

And then, even more exciting...I got to HOLD both boys together for the first time!!! Both of these things just took my breath away. It made it all the more real that there are TWO of them, especially when I was holding both of them and I realized that I did not have a free hand available. But what a blessing! We have two beautiful, healthy boys and I got to hold them both at the same time. We noticed more differences between them that way, most obviously that Asher has a bigger head than Levi. Basically, Asher has the Morgan head while Levi has the Labunski head.

I still can't believe how lucky we are!

Go check out the latest photos on the boys' online album! Includes photos of the boys side by side!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tired

Sorry it's been a couple of days since the last update but this last weekend was draining, both mentally and emotionally. Not to mention very frustrating. Oddly enough, it really had nothing to do with the boys, who are both still doing amazingly well. And it all ended with things coming to a head with our Sunday night nurse (the one I talked about in the last post).

We were both hoping to avoid seeing her again, so we skipped the boys' 8 pm feeding and went to their 11:00 one instead. No dice, she was still there for another hour. She continued to talk to us in a very condescending way and every time we passed on information about the boys to her, she just blew it off and acted insulted. But here's the thing...we were told from the get go that we are the keepers of information on the boys that may not get passed on from nurse to nurse. For example, the boys were having some trouble digesting all their milk and previous nurses had found that they both digested better while laying on their tummy. We tried to tell this nurse that, and she just brushed it off. This happened over and over again.

On top of that, she kept fiddle farting around so that we ended up holding the boys about half an hour later than usual. At this point, all I wanted was to be able to touch my boys and hold one of them. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I sat down with Levi and the nurse was trying to figure out where to put his feeding pump so it would reach where I was sitting. All the other nurses put it on top of his isolette, which worked great, but when I offered that information, this nurse just glared at me and put it INSIDE of his isolette...umm, the pump is not a sterile machine and you're putting it on my baby's bedding? It was at that point that Nathan lost his temper and got into an argument with the nurse.

Thankfully, one of our previous nurses, Jana, came in at that point, found me crying because all I wanted was some peace and quite while holding Levi, and stepped in to help. Nathan attempted to apologize to the other nurse and explain to her our frustration, but she was just too stubborn to see where we were coming from. So Jana pulled her aside and talked to her, and then stayed with us for the rest of the time, which was great. Jana is my hero. I'm so tired of drama and childish adults. I would feel like it's something wrong with us, but we get along great with all of the other nurses!

As for the boys, they continue to do great. As of yesterday, they both weighed 3 lbs .5 oz. Asher had another successful recreational feed yesterday morning. I still can't get enough of staring into their eyes while I'm holding them and I love watching them memorize my face. That's really all I've got in terms of an update on the boys, which I guess is a good thing because it means that they are continuing to thrive and aren't having complications!

Yesterday, after the boys' 11 am feeding, Nathan and I decided that we needed to drive home for the night in order to pick up the mail, let me do some damage control at the house after our hasty departure, get one of Nathan's prescriptions, and let him go into work for a couple of hours. It was also the first Young Life club of the school year, which was too much fun! It was so great to see all of my co-leaders and YL kids again, but oh man was I tired after club. And wow did our own bed feel good after the sleep number bed here!

We had to leave Baker by 6:30 this morning so I could be here in Boise for my 10 am follow up appointment. Dr. Lee (the dr who did my c section) checked my incision and ok'd me to drive! So today I drove for the first time in exactly 10 weeks!!! Yay for freedom!

Ok, now you're caught up on the last 2 1/2 days.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Two Weeks Old!

Yep, the boys are two weeks old today!!! They are also at 32 weeks 3 days. Oh, and more adorable than ever. I never get tired of just staring at their faces and marveling at how perfect they are.

Today I did recreational feeding with Asher and he was just a pro! He managed to get latched on several times and lasted about ten minutes or so before he got too tired, at which point he simply curled up in my arms and fell asleep. I'm loving holding them in the cradle hold, because I get to look them directly in the face from up close instead of through the isolette.

It was also bath day again today. Nathan and I went in for the boys' 5:00 feeding and when we got there, we had the third new nurse for the day. Evidently there really IS something to the whole idea that a drop in atmospheric pressure causes women to go into labor. It was storming when my water broke, and that same morning there were 10 other c sections that came in. And then it happened again on Friday...weather changes, tons of women go into labor, NICU gets slammed. So all the nurse rotations are thrown off. Our nurse from last night (who is awesome by the way) was here from 7 pm last night until 11 am this morning. Poor gal.

Anyway, our nurse during the 5:00 feeding left something to be desired. I don't know if she realized that we've been here for two weeks now and that a lot of our nurses have been teaching us the basic care of the boys. The entire time we were there this evening, she was incredibly condescending. She was also training another nurse from pediatrics, and man oh man was he slooooooow. You gotta feel for the guy though, I'm sure it's a little nerve wracking to move from pediatrics to the NICU.

So between the slow nurse and the nurse who thought we didn't have a clue, it was just too many cooks in the kitchen. The main nurse was telling the one in training that every nurse has their own way to give baths, so we probably learned differently than she would do it which was fine. As soon as she got done saying that, we asked for one of the sponges we had previously used to give the boys a bath and she started hemming and hawing, giving us funny looks and saying she had never done that before. Yeesh. She also gave Nathan a hard time for lifting Levi so I could take the wet towels out from under him after his bath, which is how all of our previous nurses had told us to do it. I think by the end of our time there, though, she may have realized that we actually have a clue.

Other than that, we've had a very lazy day. We left the boys' 11:00 feeding and immediately came back to the room for a nap. It felt great. Now we're watching Leatherheads until we go to the 11:00 pm feeding. Gotta love it!

Oh, by the way, we had a big event a couple of days ago! The boys lost their umbilical cord stumps, so now they have big boy belly buttons! Yay!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quick Update

Today was yet another good day! The boys continue to gain weight AND we get to hold them twice a day now instead of just once! YAY! So we held them at both their 11:00 am and their 8:00 pm feedings. During the 8:00, I was holding Asher and he was rooting around like crazy, wanting to feed. So tonight, we tried recreational feeding for the first time. It didn't last for very long, but he did manage to latch on for a couple of minutes before he got fussy. Probably the best part of that entire time was when I was transitioning Asher from his tummy on my chest into a cradle hold and I got to look him full in the face while holding him for the very first time.

Nathan's mom and sister are here this weekend, so it's been a ton of fun seeing them spend time with the boys. Both Mom and Kate got to hold the boys for really short amounts of time, either when helping with the boys' baths or handing the boys to us for our skin to skin time. I just love showing the boys off.

Kate and Jan took some great photos of the boys, which I then nabbed from her and uploaded onto the boys' album. So enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good Stuff

Today was another really good day. The boys continue to do amazingly well. When I went to see them at their 2:00 cares, one of the practitioners was in there to see the boys. They are now at full feeds, 28 ml every three hours, and no longer have any IV's in!!! YAY! So now the only things attached to them are their feeding tubes and their lead wires that monitor their heart rates, oxygen levels, and breathing. So cool! As the practitioner put it, now it's just about "feed 'em, grow 'em".

He also said that we will probably try recreational feeding this weekend. That's when I pump myself pretty much dry and then go hold the boys while they are being fed via their feeding tube while letting them practice breast feeding. This will help them learn how to breast feed without them needing to have the suck, swallow, breathe instinct completely down. I'm super excited!

We also had a great time holding the boys tonight. We got to hold them for about an hour and a half, and neither of them had a single Brady episode. That's the first time that's happened and it was great! Levi immediately fell asleep and didn't move a muscle as soon as we got settled in. Meanwhile, Asher was busy pulling on Nathan's chest hair. It was also the first time that we've touched both boys at the same time...we were sitting close enough to each other that we were able to reach out and touch the kid that we weren't holding. Too much fun! It sent a little thrill through me to touch both of my sons at the same time.

After we put the boys back in their isolettes, we hung out for a while just chit chatting with the nurse and watching poor Levi have the hiccups for half an hour straight. Poor kiddo! The cool part was that Levi kept holding my pinkie and then putting it into his mouth. He refused his binkie over and over again, but REALLY wanted to suck on my fingers. Talk about tugging on the heart strings! Asher, on the other hand, fell back asleep as soon as he was put back in his isolette and was down for the count, so we let him be since he usually takes forever to fall asleep.

We're pretty dang lucky to have two such amazing boys in our lives!