Sunday, July 31, 2005

Happy 1st Birthday Holland and Eden!

We officially survived the first year! Yay! Yesterday we threw a big bash in honor of Holland and Eden, complete with a tent, moonwalk, kiddie pool, sprinkler, a whole lotta food, and about 175 of our nearest and dearest. Some might think we went a little overboard for a first birthday, but I say WE EARNED IT! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who came, to those who brought gifts, and for the donations people made to the Saint Joseph Mercy NICU and the March of Dimes. Also thank you to our friends online who have sent messages wishing Holland and Eden a happy birthday. We appreciate the love and support so much more than we could ever say.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Splish Splash!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Post Eye Surgery

Take a look at the new and improved Holland. Doesn't she look great? Just when we thought she couldn't possibly get any cuter! And just for fun, here is a picture of Eden getting her first drum lesson from Daddy.

Friday, July 15, 2005

CT Scan and Eye Surgery

Holland had her eye surgery this morning. Everything went as well as could be expected and she is now home recuperating. In technical terms she had a "bilateral medial rectus recession." This basically means that the eye doctor moved the muscles on the inside of both eyes to straighten them. Hopefully this will prevent her from starting to favor one eye over the other and developing amblyopia, or loss of vision in the other eye. With a little work, it should also help her to start using her eyes better together. Holland was under general anesthesia for the surgery. They gave her gas through a mask to put her to sleep before putting in an IV. I was glad about that because I had spent a lot of time worrying about the IV. Holland loves Dr. Tisch and was all smiles when she carried her back to surgery. She even had some smiles for her after waking up from the anesthesia. All in all it wasn't too bad of an experience. Holly was a little crabby waking up, her eyes are really bloodshot on the insides, and are swollen and really watery. When she gets tired she tries to rub her eyes and I can tell that they are sore. I feel really terrible when she cries because I can't stand the thought of her being in pain. One thing we all know is that Holland is one tough little gal.

After a nice long afternoon nap, Holland woke up in a good mood and was ready to play. She kept staring at Eden and smiling at every move she made. It was so funny watching them because Holland kept wanting whatever toy Eden had. She would drop her toy over the edge of the table and try to grab Eden's toy. Eden has quite a strong will though and can definitely hold her own!

Last week Eden had her first appointments with the cochlear implant team at U of M, and with the surgeon who will perform the surgery. Yesterday she went in for a CT scan of her temporal lobes to check the structure of her inner ear and to rule out any physical abnormalities. She had to be put under sedation for the procedure (just like when she went for the sedated hearing test in April). She was given this nasty tasting medication called chloral hydrate. The nurse told us it would take about 15-30 minutes to work, but after gagging and choking the medication down Eden was snoring in less than 5 minutes! She slept for about four hours straight when we got home. We don't have results back yet, but the surgeon said that based on how Eden looks it would be really rare for there to be any major problems. We have heard some incredible stories about the implant and are really excited about it. At this website,, you can read about a little girl who got the implant around 18 months and is now around 8 years old. They have auditory clips that show how her language has developed over the years and it is really amazing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Keeping Busy

We've really been keeping busy and have experienced a lot of "firsts" with the babies over the past couple of weeks. Let's see, there were the first fireworks, first time staying at a hotel, first time swimming, first time seeing a live band, first time spending the night at Nana and Papa's, first friend's birthday party, and Eden's first time sleeping through the night! We took a mini family vacation to stay at the Quaker Square hotel in Akron, Ohio over the 4th of July weekend. The hotel is an old quaker oats silo that has been converted and all the rooms are round. There is some really cool art in the lobby, as well as a couple of nice restaurants, little shops, and a pool in the hotel. I remember staying there as a kid and thinking it was really cool. I have wanted to take John there for a long time, so we thought it would be fun as a relaxing getaway before a really busy week.

John took a vacation from work last week to help me out with doctor appointments because we had 3 important ones in a row. I use the term "vacation" very loosely because he actually ended up having to do some work from home and was probably more busy with that and appointments than he usually is! We had our developmental appointment at U of M on Wednesday. Holland now weighs 14 pounds 12 ounces, and Eden weighs 12 pounds 13 ounces. Holland has jumped up to almost the 50th percentile for very low birthweight girls, and Eden has dropped to a little below the 25th percentile. Holland is 26 inches long, and Eden is 25 3/4. Their head circumferences are exactly the same. Holland is pretty close to target with her motor skills, except for slightly decreased central tone. Eden has more of a developmental delay with motor skills in the 3-4 month range. She has more significant low tone in her trunk and mild tightness in her legs. The doctor, who is a pediatric neurologist, said that at this point Eden's tonal issues are too mild for her to feel comfortable making a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, but we are fairly sure that the diagnosis will be made sometime in the future. For now, we are doing all that we can to help make sure that Eden continues to make progress by getting physical therapy and working with her stretching and exercising at home. All of the therapists and teachers working with her now are very pleased with the progress she has made in a very short time. She has a great attention span, and seems really motivated to move and play with her toys. It's a lot of fun to watch how excited she gets when she sees something that she wants!

This is a picture of Holland and Eden with their buddy Giovanni. Gino and his family spent time with us in the NICU. He was born at 27 weeks on July 11th weighing 2 pounds 2 ounces. Look how big and adorable he is now! It was a lot of fun celebrating with his parents and seeing how far we've all come over the past year. It's just unbelievable.

Friday, July 01, 2005