Thursday, October 15, 2009

5 Months Old!

Our 5-month old trio

Happy boy

Tummy time!

The babies' new playroom!

Too much fun.

Mommy and Audrey

Strong boy!

Grace is mesmerized


Oliver enjoying his new interactive playmat


Nakie on a bed of stars...

Grace wasn't too happy about this outfit:)

All bundled up!

Feeding babies in the car after our walk

Our little cupcake!

Audrey in her Davis Farmer's Market outfit - thanks Auntie Mary:)

Watchin' daddy

Oliver's fancy little chair

Brudder and sister

Huggin' my toy

Sweet Audrey

Time to get weighed again!

Ready to go for a ride to Grace's appointment

Together

Aaahhh. After 6 grueling days apart, being back together this week has been so wonderful. The babies seem really happy to be together again. And the babies are 5 months old today! Wow, I just can't believe it. They have been doing such cute things: all three babies are fascinated with lights. So when I feed them, they stare at the lights. When I hold them on my lap or walk around the house, their eyes go from light to light. Audrey has become such a smiler! If you talk to her, she smiles. If you sing to her, she smiles. If you just look at her, she smiles! SO CUTE! Oliver continues to talk and chatter all day long, and is getting so big! He can hold his head up for extended periods of time and has started grabbing things and bringing them to his mouth (including his fist and thumb)! Even little Gracie is now making little sounds, and at her doctor's appointment this week, was up to 9lbs 8oz! Now that the babies are getting so playful (and so big!) Robert and I decided to clear out the front room of our house and turn it into a playroom for the babies. Now they have room to roll, swing, and all lay by each other for tummy time. Happy 5 month birthday, Audrey, Oliver, and Grace!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Audrey's Stay at the Hospital

Audrey's hospital crib

Poor baby girl

Our sick little Bunkaboo

The stickers on her cheeks were to keep her oxygen cannula in place


Playing with Daddy

Audrey looking out the window

Part of our view from Audrey's hospital room


On October 4th Audrey was readmitted to the hospital - this time to the pediatrics ward rather than the NICU. She had begun to wheeze about a week earlier, and by Sunday it had gotten so bad that after her visit to the doctor's office, we agreed she should probably be monitored around the clock at the hospital. It was snowing really hard that day, so we bundled her up and headed back to St. Charles. The doctors were pretty sure it was croup (an infection of the respiratory system), so they started an IV with steroids to reduce the inflammation of her airway and began doing recemic epinephrine breathing treatments every few hours. We stayed at the hospital for 6 days and poor little Audrey had to have multiple swabs down her nose and even a camera scope down her nose into her throat. All of her flu swabs came back negative, and the scope didn't reveal anything, so the doctors wanted her flown to Portland immediately to have a bronchoscopy performed (a procedure where a scope is placed further down the airway past the vocal chords) to figure out why she was having so much difficulty breathing. The doctors were ready to have her on a flight within the hour, but Robert and I were not convinced it was the right thing to do, and just didn't feel comfortable with their plan. While we would like to know what is causing her to wheeze, the risks of exposing her to the germs of a flight to Portland and entrance into yet another hospital, coupled with the risks of putting her under anesthesia and sticking a scope down her throat (when she's already inflamed and having breathing problems!) felt riskier than just bringing her home and keeping a close eye on her. We were ready to sign an AMA (against medical advice) the next day, but thankfully the doctor on duty understood our concern and agreed to send Audrey home. We brought home a nebulizer machine so we can continue her steroid breathing treatments at home, and praise God, Audrey is actually doing much better! She's still wheezing throughout the day, but it is much less pronounced and there are many periods of time when she is completely silent and seems to be breathing with ease. Robert and I are so happy to be back home (we took turns spending the night with her at the hospital) and to finally be back together as a family with brother and sister! We have Audrey in our room with us at night so we can hear her breathing and keep a close eye on her, and Robert is administering her breathing treatments twice a day. Little did we know when we became parents we'd also be our babies' at-home nurses and respiratory therapists!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oliver Says Hello!

video

Over the last few weeks, Oliver has started "talking" quite a bit. Whenever he's really happy he starts smiling and making all sorts of new sounds. I think it is quite possibly the cutest thing we have ever seen - and we can't wait for Audrey and Grace to start "talking" too! Sorry for the poor quality of the video - this one's from the video camera on my phone. And for those of you who have Facebook - sorry about all of the duplicate posts! It's just that I know there are a lot of people who check our blog who don't have FB, so I need to post things here, too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back at St. Charles...


Well, folks, it has been a CRAP day. Since Audrey is a patient in the pediatrics unit this go-round, someone needs to be with her at all times, and since Robert is home taking care of two babies (with some help from the grandparents of course, but I know, rockstar dad), that left me penned up in her hospital room for the third day in a row (she was re-admitted Sunday because she was wheezing so hard she could barely breathe). Thankfully I have a gorgeous view of Bend (we're on the 5th floor); from the huge windows in her room I can see the mountains, Pilot Butte, and hundreds of lovely trees changing color as autumn unfolds before my eyes-and just outside my realm of reality. Now that I think about it, I watched it change from Winter to Spring while I was on bed-rest, from Spring to well, the end of Summer since I spent 3 months crammed up in "the hole" (aka the NICU) where I barely saw the sun from May to August, and now I'm in yet another wing of the hospital watching Summer turn to Autumn...and Winter simultaneously (when we got here October 4th there were several inches of snow on the ground). I cannot believe we have been in this hospital every single day since April 10th- minus the month of September. Almost half of an entire year. Unbelievable. And every "phase" has had its own emotions and challenges. On bed-rest I was, well, hugely pregnant with triplets, flat on my back for 5 weeks, and worried my babies were going to die. But God was faithful: I managed to stay relatively comfortable and we managed to keep those babies in for 5 critically necessary weeks. In the NICU I was, again, scared my babies were not going to be strong enough to survive, felt uncontrollably helpless to help my babies, extremely jealous of the nurses who spent more time with and touched my babies more than I could, desperately guilty that they were born so early - as if in some way my body had failed them, and heavy with sorrow that they were no longer inside of me where I could feel them and protect them. Again, God was faithful: although born three months early and extremely small, those babies grew strong and healthy and never once had any infection or major health issue, I ended up developing some really close friendships with some of the NICU staff, and I left the NICU with three beautiful, healthy babies that are now about 6 times bigger than they were at birth. And now I sit alone in room 512 with my sick baby girl in an iron crib beside me, yet again hooked up to oxygen, listening to her wheeze and struggle to breathe. These past three days have been so rough on her and it just breaks my heart. She's had IV needles jammed into her tiny veins, swabs pushed down her nose into her throat, she's been pinned down for an x-ray, and several times has cried so hard she has turned blue from being unable to catch her breath. But God is faithful: aside from her wheezing and difficulty breathing, she has no other symptoms of illness, we have access to a good hospital where she is being well taken care of, and neither her brother nor her sister are showing any signs of being sick (praise God). I have much to be thankful for, but yet I keep getting emotional about the whole situation. The NICU doctors warned us that our odds of being readmitted to the hospital with three babies born so early were not in our favor, and yet I desperately wanted to prove them wrong. We've done everything we could think of to keep the germs away, but there's only so much a person can do. No matter how careful we try to be, and how much we try to control, ultimately, we just don't have that kind of power. I think the hardest part (aside from watching my baby daughter suffer), is having to come back to this place after being home for a month. I miss the comforts of home. I miss being in my warm, cozy bed curled up next to Robert, waking up to a pot of coffee, taking long, hot showers, and sitting in my big, leather recliner with the fireplace on holding and rocking my three happy babies. I know I'm where I need to be - protecting and comforting my sick little girl, and more importantly, I know she's where she needs to be - where doctors and nurses can monitor her breathing and protect her tiny little airway with oxygen and meds, but I just don't want to be here anymore. It has been a very long road, and Robert and I are so tired. Unfortunately, (and probably to our advantage that we cannot see what lies ahead...), that road is just beginning to stretch out before us. The nurses keep warning us that it's going to be a really bad flu season and to keep the babies home for at least 6 more months, and I'm beginning to question whether we should even be letting our parents in to help with the babies. Every person that walks through the door is one more germ-carrying risk to our babies. I can't believe most people won't even meet our babies until they're about a year old. It's kind of sad to have to keep our babies home and to be the only ones who get to enjoy them as babies. It's funny how the actual work and exhaustion of having three babies at home isn't really even the hard part; in fact, that's the part I enjoy! The true challenge of having triplets has been the underlying effects of multiples: their prematurity (which will continue to be a threat to their health), the division I feel when I can't be with all three, the inescapable reality that eventually when one gets sick they'll probably all get sick, the strain it puts on our marriage to not get to care for our sick baby together or comfort each other because one of us has to be home with the other two. And as I type this I'm realizing what a sly character God is: in part honored that he deems us capable of handling such an enormous, taxing task (and promises He will not give us more than we can handle), and yet slightly annoyed that we have to go through all of this, and keep going through it. I know He uses these challenges and hard times to grow us and mature us, but I'm ready to be done growing and maturing anytime, Lord! And seriously... THREE?! I mean God must have a serious sense of humor: not even one year ago I was crying and throwing a fit that I couldn't get pregnant after a year of trying, so God gave us exactly what we demanded... and more. Not just one little baby, not even TWO little babies. God decided to give us three for the price of one (well, considering we've already gone way over the million dollar mark, maybe not quite for the price of one), and after taking just one tiny pill for 5 days (the lowest dosage too, of course) - BAM! Pregnant with three. And life has never - and will never - be the same ever again. But you know what? It's worth it all: the time, the pain, the money, the tears. And I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat... or three:)