Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just Hangin at Home

Hi everybody! Just wanted to share a really cute picture of Holland and Eden hanging out on the couch at home... They had a pediatrician appointment on Wednesday. Holland weighs 7#, and Eden weighs 7#10oz. They've done another switcheroo on us, and Holland has been eating like a champ! Eden has been having a little more trouble. She has started to get really crabby in the middle of eating and doesn't want to finish her bottles. Just normal baby tummy troubles, we suspect, and we've been troubleshooting trying to figure out how to help her. She went one full week last week without gaining any weight, but gained 6 ounces last week. We're hoping it's just a phase and it won't last long. Fortunately, she continues to be really mellow and happy between feedings. Holland has been eating more than Eden recently and has a good time while doing it. With her, we have more trouble with the sleeping thing... She sleeps great during the day, but has been awake and kinda crabby the past couple of nights. Oh, the joys of parenting twins!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Holland weighed 6 pounds 6.5 ounces at her last checkup. She stores all her fat in her chipmunk cheeks and big round belly, but still has skinny legs and a tiny bottom. She's a really spunky gal with a lot of energy. We have many nicknames for her, including squeakerbox and LJ (little John) because she is always making squeaky noises, and has eyes exactly like her daddy. Holland's bright eyes always appears really animated. She, like her sis, likes to cuddle with mom and dad and is really sweet. She tends to fuss a bit more, and it takes more trial and error to figure out what she wants. Both girls are pretty good-natured, but I must admit that I am NOT supermom and there are nights when I'm so tired and cranky that Holly and I both just sit and cry!


Eden weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces at her last doctors appointment. She is doing well and getting chubbier every day. She feels like a real chunk when you pick her up with many rolls on her thighs and neck. She is quite the cuddler and loves to sleep on mom or dad. She also really loves to eat and is very noisy when doing so. We like to say that she burbs like a boy! Eden tends to be the calmer of the girls, and she is generally easy to pacify. She has recently began gazing into mom and dad's eyes when they feed her and looks amused, like she might smile any minute. We can't wait! When Edie gets mad she doesn't really cry. Instead, she turns bright red, grunts, and hisses until someone picks her up. We always do, because she looks so sad and pitiful when she is upset:)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


The girls have been home for 2 weeks now, and boy are they growing fast. We had a pediatrician appointment today and Holland weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces, and Eden 6 pounds 9.5 ounces. They have each gained over a pound since leaving the hospital! Our lives now are busy, busy, busy, and without much sleep. The babies are on a good schedule, but they never sleep for more than a three hour stretch. It was okay at first, but that kind of sleeping schedule really catches up with you. When they wake up at 4am, it takes over an hour for us to warm up bottles, feed and burb the babies, pump, and clean up, so I don't get back to sleep until around 5:15, only to wake up again around 7:45am. I guess that's the life of a mommy. But on top of all that normal baby/twin stuff, we are also dealing with 2-3 doctors appointments a week, medicine schedules, and all kinds of equipment and alarms.

It is more than worth it when I look into their sweet faces and remember how far they have come. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

One Big Happy Family

On the first few nights without Holland, Eden didn't sleep a wink and fussed through most of the night. We got quite nervous that this was a preview of how our nights would be with TWO babies at home. Thankfully, it didn't turn out that way. It turned out that Eden just missed her sister. We brought Holly home on Wednesday night and Eden finally went to sleep. In fact, so far both babies have been sleeping wonderfully through the night, cuddled up together in their bassinet. They wake up like clockwork every four hours to eat. We can definitely handle that! We are insanely happy to have our family home, healthy, and together. Both girls are on oxygen and apnea monitors, so we have a lot to cart about when we have to leave the house for doctors appointments. At the last pediatrician appointment on Friday Eden weighed 5 pounds 9.5 ounces, and Holland 4 pounds 13.5 ounces.

We are overjoyed to be home, yet we do miss our surrogate family at the NICU. The doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists at St. Joe's saved our babies lives many times over, and we will always have a special place in our hearts for them. It was an emotional farewell on Wednesday. Doctors Ivacko and Everett were both there to say goodbye, the same doctors who were there with us the night that Holland and Eden were born. There is no way to express the gratitude that we feel for all that the NICU staff has done for our babies and for us. They loved our babies and treated us as more than just a job...thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We will be back to visit and will see you all at the reunion next summer!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Eden came home on Saturday!!! We've spent the past two nights cuddling and watching her sleep. She weighed 5 pounds 1.5 ounces when she left the NICU, and 5 pounds 5.5 ounces today at her pediatrician appointment! I think we're growing her good. She loves to eat and takes 90-100 cc's with every bottle. We're continuing to breastfeed twice a day, until she gets bigger and we can move toward full time (her mommy's goal!).

As happy that we are to have one baby home, we were really sad to leave the other behind without her sis. Holland won't be far behind though. We're going to bring her home with us on Wednesday. Holland seems to have finally established a good growing pattern, and weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces on Sunday night.

After 108 days it's really hard to believe how far our babies have come. I clearly remember the day they were born and the way they looked when we saw them for the first time. They were so beautiful and perfect, but so tiny. It seemed impossible that we would ever get to this point. Now we're looking at two babies who will be home with their parents by the date they were expected. Their due date is November 17, the very day that Holland will be joining us at home.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Almost Home

We've really made a lot of progress since the last post. It looks like Eden is coming home on Saturday!!!! Holland won't be far behind. Likely sometime toward the end of next week. Both girls have their feeding tubes out, and are taking all of their food from breast and bottle. Holland got rid of the oxygen cannula on Sunday and has been breathing room air for the past few days. She is a wireless's the wave of the future!

Eden is going to be coming home on oxygen and with a monitor. So, Holland may be the breather in the family, but Eden is the eater. She can suck down 50 cc's from a bottle in 10 minutes flat. Today she took 50 cc's while breastfeeding in 20 minutes. She is very efficient. Also very good at conserving calories by sleeping a lot.

John and I are so excited about getting our babies home. But also very nervous... They are going to be very susceptible to colds and other sickness so we need to be very diligent about keeping them as protected as possible. As much as we love company (and all of our family and friends), we probably won't be able to see much of anybody. We will be pretty much homebound for much of the winter. We look forward to more visitors in the spring! Of course, we will be keeping you up-to-date via the website :)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Back to Bed

Just wanted to let everyone know that Holland came through the eye surgery fine. It wasn't nearly as extensive as last time, and only took about 30 minutes. Today she is back in bed with her (big) little sis, as well as back on her cannula and full feeds.

Tomorrow is mommy's last day of work! We've got a LOT to do to get ready for our babies to come home...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

ROP Update

The eye surgeon came out today for the girls follow-up eye exam. He says that Eden's eyes are looking good and healing just fine. She will continue to have regular checkups, but won't likely need any more work done. Holland, on the other hand, will need additional eye surgery on her left eye. Her right eye looks good, but the left hasn't resolved to the point we would like. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, at 1:00. Once again, she will have to be reintubated (put back on the ventilator), and put to sleep. She's a fighter so I try not to be too worried. I just wish she didn't need to be so tough...

The good news is that on Sunday we moved to a different room in the NICU for kids that need less critical care. I guess you could say we "graduated"! Eden weighs 4 pounds 6 ounces, and Holland weighs 3 pounds 11.5 ounces. It's looking hopeful that we will be home by Thanksgiving. I hope the surgery won't set Holland back too much...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Yesterday was bath day for Holland and Eden. We got them dressed in their Halloween best, complete with pumpkin hats (courtesy of St. Joe's hospital). They seem to love bath time and always stay so relaxed and alert.

Happy Halloween to everyone, from the cutest little pumpkins in town!
Holland and Eden

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Four Pound Club

On Friday morning the babies got their first bottles! They sucked them right down like little champs. Getting them to take full feeds from the breast or bottle is the next hurdle on our way home. So far, they have done so well at it that it might not be long at all. On Thursday and Friday Holland took full feeds (34cc's)while breastfeeding. Eden is taking at least 20cc's at a time, which isn't too shabby (her full feed is 38cc's).

As of Friday night Eden has joined the FOUR POUND CLUB!!! Yay! It took her 16 days to gain a pound. Amazing. Today we weighed them while giving baths. Eden was 4 lbs 3.5 oz, and Holland was 3 lbs 9.5 oz. It looks like we could be bringing home some five pounders some day down the road.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

So Happy Together

Holland and Eden had a busy day today. They both got back to breastfeeding and were quite happy about it. In fact, I am sure that was their favorite part of the day. Our favorite part was seeing them in a crib together for the first time! When we left the hospital tonight they were cuddled up together listening to some Baby Beethoven. They seemed more content than they had been all day. Their recovery from the eye surgery was better than expected. They are still a bit grumpy and keeping their eyes closed more than usual, but overall they seem pretty peaceful.

Oh, that's Holland on the left and Eden on the right.

Friday, October 22, 2004


Well, we've got good news and bad news to report. We'll start with the good... When they were last weighed Holland was up to 3 pounds 2.5 ounces, and Eden was 3 pounds 6 ounces. They are getting so chubby that we almost don't recognize them as the same babies! Check out the double chins in these pictures! Wednesday evening we made some really good progress with the breastfeeding. They weighed the babies before and after and Eden was able to get 7 cc's. Holland got 16! They adjusted the amount of their gavage feedings by that amount, giving them less through the tube. As they get more practice and get better at it (and get started on a bottle), we will start eliminating the tube feedings a little at a time until they are taking full feedings from the breast or bottle. This is one of the requirements for them to be able to come home.

Bad news is that both girls had their eye exams yesterday (they have been having them once a week), and the eye doctor saw that they had progressed to Zone 2, Stage 3 Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), which would require laser surgery. The surgeon came yesterday evening to look at them and decided to do the surgery last night. They both had to be put back on the ventilator and sedated for the surgery, and weren't able to have anything to eat last night. The surgeries went well and both girls are now recovering. The most significant risk of ROP is that it can cause retinal detachment, which can lead to blindness. With the surgery, the risk of that happening is significantly decreased. Holland required more extensive laser work than Eden as her eyes were more premature. The surgeon said that the prognosis for both girls is good. They will continue to monitor their progress and we should know after two weeks whether or not they will need to do any further work. It is pretty likely that one or both girls will need to wear glasses, maybe at an earlier age than most kids.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Big Girls

Holland has passed the three pound mark! Yesterday she weighed in at a whopping 3 pounds 1/2 ounce. Holland had to go back on CPAP for 3 hours every 12 after my last post, but today she did the cannula full time and was doing great. Yay Holland! Eden is at 3 pounds 5 ounces. There's no stopping them now. They are really growing fast.

It was fun seeing so many of my best buds today. I am lucky to have such awesome friends! Love you guys!

(Make sure you scroll down to see the long awaited bathtime pictures)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Positively Plump

We have a THREE POUNDER! Eden is 3 pounds 1 ounce to be precise, and looking like quite a chubby bunny. She is also doing very well on her full time oxygen cannula and holding her body temperature.

Last night Holland got to try her hand at breastfeeding for the first time. She was soooo good at it. You could hear her sucking and smacking her lips clear across the room! She would sometimes start sucking a little too soon and would be sucking loudly on her top lip. It was really funny and cute. Also today will be Holland's first full day on cannula only. No more CPAP. I'm sure she will be relieved, as she was starting to complain loudly when she had to go back on the CPAP. Both girls were weighed on Tuesday night and little Holly hadn't gained any weight:( That's a bit worrisome so they began fortifying her breastmilk up to 28cal. I was really hoping we wouldn't have to do that because I worry it could cause belly aches or more gas for an already full belly. I guess we will just have to hope for the best. They'll get another weight tonight and a good 60 grams would be nice...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Squeeky Clean

On Saturday John and I gave Holland and Eden their first full-fledged baths. They each sat in the little tub with their eyes WIDE open looking around. They seemed to like it a lot! Mommy held each baby while Daddy scrubbed their little backs and heads. Then Mommy got them dressed in the little outfits that Kendra, Katie, and Patti Roberts bought for them, and brushed their hair. Well, Holland's hair at least. Eden doesn't really have any!

In other news, Eden has graduated to the oxygen cannula FULL time. Holland is doing 6 hours on cannula and 6 on CPAP. I'm sure she is ready for 9 and they will probably bump it up today. They were weighed yesterday and were up to 2lbs 12.5oz, and 2lbs 15.5oz. They'll get another weight tomorrow and I am SURE Eden will hit the three pound mark. Holland won't be far behind.

A special "Thank You" to Mom, Laura, and Lisa for a beautiful shower on Sunday, and to all of those who attended, from Billie, John, Holland, and Eden
We love you!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Cutie Pies

Holland and Eden had a great day today. It's really quite incredible how quickly they are growing and changing day to day. Little unique personalities are starting to develop and we definitely have no problems telling the two of them apart. Holland is now on a special cannula device called a vapotherm that works kindof like CPAP in that it keeps pressure in the lungs but without the big bulky head gear. She is on this for six hours every twelve and is doing great. She now weighs 2lbs 9oz!!

Eden is almost completely off CPAP and on the cannula full time. She does ten hours of cannula and two on CPAP. She really hates those two hours on CPAP so hopefully she won't need it much longer. Last weigh-in was 2lbs 12oz!!

The girls are spending more time together now and really seem to enjoy it. Pretty soon they may be moved to a crib for some co-bedding! We are really looking forward to that day.

Here are some great pictures that Billie took today. A couple of cutie pies. Hope you like them!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Getting Bigger!

Our little girls are growing and getting stronger every day. Eden is now on her oxygen cannula 10 hours every 12. Won't be long before she doesn't need the CPAP at all. And she is up to 2 pounds 11 ounces! This morning Holland came off the ventilator again and is back on the CPAP. A big step...the next step for her will be giving the cannula another try. It may not take her very long now that she is so much bigger and has kicked the pneumonia. She's up to 2 pounds 8 ounces!

It was fun to see many of you this past weekend for our first shower. Thanks for all the wonderful gifts!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Day at the Spa

Today Ruthann treated both of the girls to a day at the "St. Joe's Spa." They both got baths and were dressed in their first little outfits to surprise me when I came in. They were so cute I started crying the moment I looked at them! Eden and I also had our first attempt at breastfeeding and she surprised us all with how well she did. The bonding experience was amazing for both of us.

Holland has had a rough couple of days with a bout of what seems to be pneumonia. She started taking antibiotics and had a blood transfusion yesterday and was already looking and acting better today. Eden went through the same thing when she was back on the vent, and I am hopeful that Holland will respond as positively and catch back up in no time.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Another Try

On Friday night both girls came off the CPAP and tried the cannula for an hour while we held them. That was a LOT of fun because we got to see their cute little faces and kiss their heads while we held them. They both did pretty well, but Holland had a more difficult time. Eden was a little champ! On Saturday morning they both had blood gasses drawn, and Holland's CO2 was elevated so they reintubated her (put her back on the ventilator). Her doctor did a thorough examination of her nose and said that one side is pretty inflamed and it looks like she may not be getting much air through. That's most likely the reason for the elevated CO2. We don't think she will need to be on the ventilator for long, probably not even a week. She'll stay on it just long enough for her nose to heal and get her breathing a bit easier. Holland is gaining weight better now and is up to 2 pounds 1 ounce.

Eden is attempting the cannula for an hour every twelve. So far she has done really well and seems to like it. In fact, she gets really mad at her nurse when they put her back on the CPAP! Gradually they will increase the time that she spends on cannula as long as she tolerates it well. Eden weighed in on Friday night at a whopping 2 pounds 5 ounces.

Their nurse took these pictures while the girls were on cannula. We were amazed at how much alike they look now! Eden seemed so much darker at birth, but now it looks like she has a lighter complexion. I'm sure they will continue to change as they grow...

Thanks so much for the offers of help. We really are doing okay and there's nothing specific I can think of that we need. Just keep us in your thoughts and hopefully we'll see you at the shower!
We love you all.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Another Milestone Behind Us

Great news this morning...Holland weighs 2 pounds!!!! Eden is up to 2 pounds 4 ounces, chubby little thing. John and I had a really nice visit with our babes last night and left the hospital in good spirits.

Holland has been having some ups and downs with her breathing and CO2 levels and her doctors have been putting their heads together trying to generate new ideas. They have thrown around the idea of putting her back on the ventilator for a little while to give her a break. That might help her to gain weight and get rid of some of the air in her belly from the CPAP, but it is not as good for her lungs in the long run. As of now, we are just in the "wait and see" mode. So everyone say extra prayers for Holland over the next few days that she will rally (once again) to get past this hurdle so we can move on and get her off the CPAP for good! Those CPAP's are such a pain! I can't wait to see their little heads again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

One Foot in Front of the Other

Last night Holland and Eden weighed in at 1 lb 15 oz, and 2 lbs 3 oz respectively. Eden is back off the ventilator for a third attempt at CPAP. We think she can do it this time!

After 53 days in the NICU progress continues slowly but surely, but unfortunately with no end in sight. I can't complain much because both girls are doing so well, but I must admit that the long haul is starting to take it's toll emotionally. I've always liked the quote "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." Well, if it's true I should be one tough cookie by the end of this!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Yay Eden!

Hi everybody! Great news...Eden weighs 2 lbs!!!!!!!!! Plus 1/2 an ounce.

Holland is still at 1 lb 14 oz and isn't gaining quite as fast as we'd like. To help them out a bit I have started separating their milk into foremilk and hindmilk. The hindmilk is higher in fat and calories so we will give them that over the next few weeks to help them get nice and plump.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Yay Holland!

Holland tried out the oxygen cannula tonight and did a great job! That means that she was off of the CPAP and breathing on her own with just oxygen. It took her a little bit to get used to the idea, but once she got settled she seemed to like it just fine and lasted the full two hours. For now the plan is that she will be on the CPAP for 10 hours, then the cannula for 2 hours, until she gets strong enough to go to the cannula full time. She also gained a little weight and is up to almost 1 lb 14 oz.

Eden had a good day today as well and is up to 1 lb 15 oz. Both girls are becoming much more social lately and are waking up more to look around, especially when I'm there. Got to hold both of them tonight for a good cuddle. I sure needed it after my first long day back to work!

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Little Setback

Eden had a little setback last night and is now back on the ventilator. She was having the same problem as last time with her CO2 being too high. Her doctors have assured us that we shouldn't worry, that she probably just needs a little more time. So we'll wait to see how she does over the next couple of days, then we will try again. Both girls were weighed yesterday...Holland is up to 1lb 12oz, and Eden is 1lb 14oz. A couple oz more and we'll be joining the 2 pound club! The babies were keeping their nurses hopping today by using their tongues to push out their feeding tubes. Not a good thing when you are in the middle of a feed...Eden. Their nurse Jeanie got a funny picture of Holland caught red handed with the end of the feeding tube in her hand.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Together Again

Hi everybody! We're so happy to report that Holland and Eden have had a couple of really good days recently. To top it all off, tonight I got to hold them both at the same time!!!!!!!! It was the first time that the three of us have been together since I was pregnant. I spent the first 10 minutes crying. Then I sang them some songs, rubbed their backs, and listened to their simultaneous hiccups. They made these cute little squeeks, first Holland then Eden. It was so amazing. I had to keep peeking under the covers to look at their little backs cuddled up next to each other. They are both making a lot of progress.

Eden is back on CPAP and doing well. It's a good thing they got that breathing tube out today before she pulled it out herself! She's been pretty feisty recently and is getting good with her hands. On Monday she pulled her feeding tube out 5 times! She's also been liking to suck and bite on things in her mouth and was really chewing on her tube and pacifier. She was wide awake and gave us several big smiles last night. We stood around her isolette watching and laughing at her for a good while. What a cutie!

We had a little infection scare with Holland on Sunday night. She had a positive blood culture, but since then repeat cultures have been negative. She has caught up to Eden with full feeds on breastmilk, and has gained some noticeable ounces over the past 2 or 3 days. Thank goodness! She needed a little meat on those bones. Holland taught Mommy a good lesson today on diaper changing. Lesson: One must wait to change the diaper until the baby is finished going...three diapers later and all new bedding and we were back on track!

Thanks again for all of your wonderful comments. Daddy (aka John) and I really enjoy reading them! Love to you all...
Billie (aka Mommy)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cruising Along

Wow...A lot has happened since the last update. Sorry to all of you who check in everyday! Holland and Eden are both doing okay, but both have had their ups and downs over the past couple of days. Holland is cruising along with her breathing. She is now on CPAP and breathing well on her own. She was on room air all day today and wasn't needing much extra oxygen. Her biggest issue as of late has been nutrition. Her triglycerides have been running high so they had to stop her lipids. She started feeding again and has been doing okay on 2 cc's of breastmilk every three hours. She'll probably stay on that for a couple of days to make sure she can handle it. She has been having some problems with high levels of direct bilirubin and her doctors are hoping that the breastmilk will be enough to help bring that down. Unfortunately the down side to difficulties with nutrition has been that Holland is looking very scrawny, like a baby bird that has fallen out of the nest. We don't let her looks fool us though. We know that she is a LOT tougher than she looks!

Eden was doing really great over the past couple of days, but had quite a rough day today. It started last night with a lot of secretions in her nose and mouth making it difficult to breathe. She had a pretty scary bradicardia episode last night while her Mom, Dad, and Aunt Laura were there. Today her CO2 levels were much too high and they ended up having to put her back on the ventilator. Much of the day was spent figuring out the appropriate settings to help her get rid of some of that carbon dioxide. When we left the hospital tonight she was starting to look better. On the bright side, the CPAP was making her nose pretty sore and being on the vent will give it time to heal. After giving her a couple of days to rest we'll try the CPAP again. Eden is starting to look like a little chub, isn't she? She is up to full feeds and isn't getting any more IV nutrition. She's up to a full 1 pound 10.5 ounces!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Safe and Sound

Holland made the trip back from Children's hospital today and is now resting safe and sound at St. Joe's in her isolette next to her little sis. In some ways I feel that she knows she is back. She definitely looked to be resting so much easier after they cleaned her up a bit and got her settled in. The staff at St. Joe's was so kind during her absense and asked about her everyday. They all missed her and were excited today about her return. I know they will give her the TLC that she needs over the next few days. In no time at all she will catch back up to Eden and they will be sleeping in a crib together. I can't wait!

Eden had another wonderful day today. She is the model CPAP baby! Take a look at the picture and you will see just how cute she is. She is up to 6 cc's of breastmilk every three hours. That's half way to full feeds! She should start getting fatter any day now. Both babies are at 1 lb 8 oz. We're hanging in there for the two pound mark. Tonight at 3:02am is their 4 week birthday. I can't believe so much time has passed so far. 28 days with many more to come...and every one of them a blessing.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Roller Coaster

Other families that we've talked to, as well as the doctors and nurses, have described this experience as a roller coaster ride. Boy, isn't that the truth! We continue to be thankful that each "down" has been followed by a new "up". This has been especially true over the past couple of days.

I got a phone call from the doctors at Children's Hospital yesterday morning at 7:30am saying that Holland was very sick and that I should come to the hospital to be with her. Around midnight following her surgery she took a turn for the worse and was having a lot of difficulty maintaining her blood pressure. She also had very high levels of CO2 in her blood, was not producing any urine, and a respiratory culture indicated that she had another bacterial infection. They began treating her with blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and greatly increased ventilator settings. Many of the symptoms that she had were similar to those that Eden had and she responded very similarly to treatment. Throughout the day yesterday she began to show signs of improvement. Today she actually had a very good day, all things considered. Her blood gasses were much better and they were able to wean her vent settings back down. Her urine output was back to where it should be and one dose of hydrocortisone yesterday worked to improve her blood pressure. She also got her chest tube out and appeared much more comfortable. She should be able to return to St. Joe's tomorrow morning if all goes well. Each day I am totally amazed by what a strong little girl Holland is. More than one doctor has commented that even when she is very sick, she doesn't act sick! She continues to move around and gives her nurses quite a hard time when they mess with her. I hope that she'll always be the kind of person who makes her needs known!

Today was an incredible day for Eden and they saved a great surprise for us at St. Joe's when we got there this evening. Eden was on CPAP!!!! She was doing a great job breathing on her own, and she looked so cute in her little helmet. She had been on it for about 6 hours when we were there and her blood gas at 9:30 was as good as it had been on the ventilator. They'll be keeping a close eye on her for 24 hours to make sure she can maintain it, but even if she is only on through the night she has made a lot of progress. I held her tonight and got to hear a couple of little squeaks. As her throat heals we'll be able to hear her more and more. I am looking forward to some lusty cries someday, and even to the day when I just wish she would be quiet!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Hi everyone. Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments. We are so lucky to have such awesome and caring friends and family! Holland had her surgery this morning around 10:00am and everything went fine. It was a bit better this go around because we knew a little bit about what to expect. Of course, it was still a LONG and stressful wait until the doctor came out to tell us how it went. The surgeon said that she showed improvements in her blood pressure as soon as the surgery was finished. She's been having some other problems, such as high levels of urea and creatinine, and blood in her urine and ET tube. She also had low hemoglobin and hematocrit levels which could be related to another infection so they have started her on antibiotics in case. We've been told that it is possible that some or all of these problems are related to the PDA, but we'll have to see how things progress from here before we will know for sure.

Eden had great blood gases today and they were able to turn down some settings on her ventilator today. She is making excellent progress! They also started her on a dose of caffeine and we're hoping that she will be able to come off the ventilator and try CPAP before the weekend. I got a nice long cuddle with Eden today and we both enjoyed it very much!

Here's a picture from our first double kangaroo session on August 21st. Dad is holding Holland and I am holding Eden.

Monday, August 23, 2004

PDA Blues Part 2

We found out this morning from Dr. Judge that Holland's latest echo shows that her ductus which was nearly closed the other day is now "wide open" and will need ligation surgery to be closed. We are a bit disappointed but not too surprised as this was always a possible outcome. We talked it over and decided that the best option for Holland is to have the procedure done quickly and get her back to St. Joe's asap. Children's Hospital in Detroit is able to take her today and perform the surgery tomorrow so we will be transferring her there this afternoon. Dr. Judge tells us that we should be confident that Holland will do well as she is in a better place healthwise than Eden was when she needed the surgery. Holland is just now starting to put on some weight and her feedings were increased to 4 CCs this morning. This may be a small setback for her as they will have to take her off the feedings and put her back on IV fluids.

Eden, on the other hand, is now doing well and catching up to her big sister. She has had no problems digesting her feedings of 1 CC every 3 hours and will be increased soon. She also had another head ultrasound today and is showing no change in the IVH, which is a good thing because it has not gotten worse. It seems like they keep passing the buck. If one is doing well the other is doing poorly. Hopefully that will change soon and both girls will show progress in the right direction and continue to grow.

Well that's all the news for today. I just want to say thank you everyone for all the love and support! We appreciate it more than words can say. Please continue to keep the girls in your thoughts and prayers as we approach this new bump in the road...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Tiny Miracles

Today Eden took a long nap on Mom during her first kangaroo session. Both Mom & baby really enjoyed it. Billie also got to give Holland a little bath this afternoon. She washed her hair and brushed it. Dad got to change Eden's diaper :)

Dr. Ivacko reported that Holland's PDA is "tiny" and will not require surgery for the time being. We are really happy about that. Also another head ultrasound was done today for Holland and what they thought was a grade 2 brain bleed (IVH) from Tuesdays ultrasound was gone!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What's New

Hi everybody! I know you have all been anxiously awaiting an update, so here it is... Holland is doing excellent. She loves laying on her belly and cozying up in the lamb's wool. She looks really comfy and occasionally wiggles about. She's even wiggled out of her diaper and off of her bed on occasion! Holland has continued on really low vent settings and as long as all goes well, we are looking to try the CPAP again soon. Her weight today was up to 1 lb 10 oz and the difference is noticeable. She actually looks big to us! They are still detecting a small PDA. An echocardiogram tomorrow will show how big it is and will help to make decisions regarding whether she is going to need the ligation surgery. As long as it continues the same with no clinically significant flow through it, and no symptoms, or if it gets smaller or closes, she will not need the surgery. If it gets larger she will need it. We found out yesterday that Holland also has a grade 2 IVH in her left ventricle. We're really hoping the bleeding will resolve without any lasting problems for both girls. So for all those praying out there keep this in mind.

Eden was transferred back to St. Joe's on Monday afternoon around 1pm. We were so happy to see the team from St. Joe's walk through the door at the U. It felt like they were coming to take her home! She got great care at U of M, but it is so much nicer to have them together again. It is also a lot easier for us visiting at only one hospital. Eden is doing good since her return. Today she began feeding. Her weight is down to around 1 lb 4 oz, but within the next week I expect that she will be fully recovered. Eden also got to lay on her belly for the first time today. She loved it as much as Holland does! Eden's bilirubin level was high on her return (up to 16), so she has been on phototherapy for the past couple of days. Today it was down to 6.6 so the lights should come off by tomorrow morning. They would like it to be below 5. You can't really tell in the pictures, but Eden is quite a fuzzy little girl (lanugo). Her hair seems to grow by the day. The hair on her head is dark and is starting to flip out around the edges. She's quite a cutie! Of course they both are. In fact everything they do is cute. They may even be the cutest babies ever. Could I be partial??? I think not...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Kangaroo Love

Today was a good day for both of our daughters. The most exciting part was that we got to do Kangaroo Care with Holland! This is where you hold your baby against your bare skin all wrapped together with warm blankets so your baby can get to know you better. I held her for a half hour before her Daddy held her. We'll start doing this on a regular basis once the girls are stable enough. Thanks so much to Holland's nurse, Kim, for helping us make it happen! It was a very fulfilling experience and helped us feel even more connected to our baby.

They took Holland off of her ventilator today and tried out a CPAP. Instead of breathing for her, this is a machine that holds some pressure in her lungs as she takes her own breaths. She stayed on it for about 20 minutes, but had to go back to the ventilator because she just wasn't breathing enough. She is on caffeine to stimulate more breathing on her own, and we'll try CPAP again in a few days. Holland also began feeding today. Yay! Finally a use for all that stored breastmilk! It makes me feel good to know that I am able to do something to help make her strong.

Eden's chest tube was removed today and she will be returning to St. Joe's to be with her sister tomorrow. We're very ready to have her come back. She had a rough day on Friday trying to recuperate from her surgery. She was having some difficulty with her blood pressure being too low (hypotension) and was given several medications to raise it. Hydrocortisone, which is given as a last resort, finally worked, but has actually raised it a bit high. We've been worried about that the past couple of days, but the nurses assure us that it is okay and not too high at this point. We also found out on Friday that her doctors at U of M did a head ultrasound prior to surgery on Thursday and found that she has a grade 2 intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), also known as bleeding in the brain. We've been reassured by Dr. Weiner that most Grade 1 and 2 bleeds resolve on their own with no lasting effects, but it makes us nervous nonetheless. A followup ultrasound, which was done 24 hours post-surgery showed that there has been no change, so I guess that is a good sign that it hasn't gotten worse. Hopefully over the next few days we'll be able to report that there's been improvement. The good news is that Eden came off the oscillator yesterday and is back on the conventional ventilator and doing well. She really is moving in the right direction!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Post Surgery

Eden had the PDA surgery and everything went very well. It took only 15 minutes for the actual procedure and she is now recovering nicely. We got to see her around 5:30 today post surgery. She looks peaceful but it was a little scary for me to see her so still from the sedation that she was given. I guess I should keep in mind that it is better to see her like that than to see her in pain. The incision is under her arm between some ribs. It is only about 1.5 cm but it looks big on her! Right now she has a chest tube in the incision to drain any excess fluids. That should come out in 24 to 48 hours then she should be able to transfer back to St. Joe's to be with her sister.

Holland had a really awesome day today. She is being weaned off of Dopamine and is holding her blood pressure up nicely. The humidity in her isolette was turned off and her body temp has been steady as well. Her platelette counts have been stable without having to receive any transfusions since Monday. Today the line in her belly button was taken out and a PIC line was put in and worked great with just one attempt. I was very happy about that because I just hate when they have to be poked! The nurses at St. Joe's have been really supportive, compassionate, and thorough in their care of our babies. Holland has had the same nurse pretty consistently during the day and we feel really secure leaving Holland in Ruthann's care. She is great!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Eden Opens Her Eyes!

We had a nice surprise today while visiting Eden. The respiratory therapist came by to help her nurse Natasha suction Eden. They put the top to the Omnibed up and we were able to get a good look at our baby without looking through plastic. She chose the perfect time to open up both of her eyes and look up at us. We talked to her and we like to think that she looked right at her mom and dad. We told her what a good girl she is and how pretty she looks with her eyes open. It was a really awesome moment for both of us and we got some really cute pictures of her looking at us.

Eden Transferred to U of M

Yesterday evening Eden was transferred to U of M to wait for heart surgery to close the open ductus. We didn't get to ride in the ambulance because it was full. A team of three rode with her a neonatologist, respiratory therapist, and a nurse. She did really well on the ride over and settled in nicely at the Holden NICU. They put her back on the oscillator and she now just has to sit tight and wait. We like the NICU there. They have Eden in a really high-tech isolette called a Giraffe. The nurse said they run about $35,000 a piece. She is a cool nurse. She did Eden's first foot and hand prints for us. They also weighed her and she is up to 1 lb 8 oz! After getting familiar with our new surroundings and making sure Eden was settled we headed back once more to St. Joe to check on Holland and see how she is handling her sister not being there. It was a late night. Long and exhausting...

Today I left work to see Holland during my lunch break and everything is going good. She is doing well except a bit temperamental whenever the nurses reach into the isolette. Once Mom (Billie) shows up and puts her hands on her she is very calm. They weighed her yesterday and she is a whopping 1 lb 7 oz! She is gaining little by little but they tell us to take it with a grain of salt as they are pumping a lot of fluids into her. They also tell us that her platelets are at 124,000, up from yesterday's count of 111,000. This is good. Billie called U of M and they said Eden had a good night. They still haven't heard when the surgery will be. We are waiting patiently...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

PDA Blues

Based on today's echocardiogram Dr. Weiner tells us that Eden's ductus is still open (PDA). It appears that the 3 rounds of indomethacin helped to make it smaller but it did not close all the way. She will have to have surgery to have a clamp put into place. We were so hopeful that it would close. No such luck. For some reason they don't do the surgery at St. Joseph so she will have to be transferred to either U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor or Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. Dr. Weiner says that there are really good doctors at both but that he believes it would be wiser for her to go the short distance to U of M instead of a long ride out to Detroit. For the ride over they will have to take her off the oscillator and put her back on the conventional ventilator which she did not do so well on. We agree that the shorter trip seems like a better idea even though she may not be able to be transferred back. I guess U of M likes to keep them whereas Children's always sends them back. This is somewhat disheartening as we really don't want to separate the girls. We will see what happens. Hopefully after the surgery on Thursday she will be able to come back. Although Holland may be joining her shortly if the drugs don't work to close her PDA.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Holland's Bout With Infection

Holland took a turn for the worse on the evening of August 5th. Her platelet count dropped rather suddenly and the doctors indicated that they suspected she had an infection. Her platelet count was between 10,000 and 11,000. A normal range is between 140,000 and 450,000, so the drop was extrememly significant. Following a blood culture we found out that she was infected with a "gram negative rod" and they began treating her with some broad spectrum antibiotics to treat that type of bacteria. We eventually found out that the bacteria was called Enterobacter Clocae and the antibiotics were changed to target that bacteria. On the night of the 5th Dr. Ivacko thought it would be a good idea to sample some spinal fluid to make sure it was not infected as this would change the length of treatment. They attempted a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) but were not successful in obtaining any fluid. The morning of the 6th we called the hospital to check in and found that things were not going well. Dr. Everett informed us that Holland's platelet counts were still extremely low and that at any point things could go downhill. We rushed to the hospital early that morning and stayed all day. This was a very emotionally draining day for me as I really began to contemplate the fact that one or both of my babies might not make it. Over the course of 3 or 4 days Holland received several transfusions of platelets and packed red blood cells. She also received 2 doses of immunoglobulin. The 6th and 7th were really long stressful days and we didn't get a lot of good news regarding Holland's condition. Her platelet counts would crawl up to the mid 20's, then drop again into the teens. It was very disheartening. Finally on the morning of the 8th we were overjoyed to get good news. Platelets were up to 140,000! Through it all Holland was a really tough cookie. All of her tiny little parts continued to function and she plugged right along...

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Happy Birthday?!

We actually had a good day on Friday with no contractions until around midnight when they began to get really bad. They soon discovered that I was dilated to ten and would be giving birth that night. An ultrasound revealed that Eden was in the breach position and the safest option for the babies was a cesarean section. Things moved quickly from that point and the girls were born at 3:02am weighing just over a pound each. They were taken straight to the NICU for care and were moved into isolettes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Premature Labor

I began having contractions Monday night around 11pm and we ended up going to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. They did an ultrasound right away and discovered that we were having twins! Amazingly shocking for us as I am sure you can imagine. Soon after that we got the bad news. I was already dilated to 4 cm and we were only 23 weeks 6 days into the pregnancy!!!

A Box of Chocolates

It's hard to know where to start. Those of you who know me, know that I've been wanting and waiting to have a baby for several years. Up until last summer, John's reply was always "I am a kid, how am I supposed to RAISE kids?" I finally convinced him that we'll always feel like kids and that this might even help in trying to raise them. We started "trying" to get pregnant at the end of last summer shooting for a late spring, early summer baby that would fit well into our schedule. I got pregnant really quickly only to suffer a miscarriage at 7 weeks. After a couple more failed attempts, I made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist and we decided to take it easy for a couple of months. The following month, just after John's birthday, we discovered I was pregnant yet again. This time, everything progressed normally and I experienced the full range of pregnancy symptoms from extreme exhaustion to neverending nausea for the first 12 weeks. Around 16 weeks I began to feel pretty great and started getting a bit of a belly. It grew quite quickly from that point on and I absolutely loved it, especially around 20 weeks when I could really feel the babies moving (though at that time I thought it was just one baby). John and I had talked extensively about the type of birth experience that we wanted to have, and did a lot of research, before deciding that a home birth was the best option for us. We went to New Moon Midwifery and saw midwives, Mickey, Merilynne, and Amanda, for excellent prenatal care. I excercised and ate right and took very good care of myself. Throughout it all I suppose I thought I had things under control. Guess I have learned quite a lesson since then. It's just like Forrest Gump says, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."