Thursday, December 31, 2009

tiny happenings and passing thoughts during this year...

January: Pregnant with hope, anticipation, anxiety, happiness and of course 3 precious babes...quitting the job I loved to try and keep them safe...selling the Jeep I adored and buying a used Sequoia to try to make room...having the most amazing baby shower (seriously-this thing was like a small wedding reception) I could have ever dreamed of...hearing Brent tell me I was beautiful - over and over...being admitted to the hospital at 20 weeks - on March 19th - only to be told that the odds of bringing home even one baby were slim to none - much less the 3 I had kicking in my (40+ week measuring) belly...clarity, focus on nothing but enjoying each moment I had left with my little ones safe and warm...the fastest, most horrific yet amazing month I would venture to say I'll ever have...seeing firsthand just how much an unbelievable amount of meditation and prayer can do...

April 19th: a MAJOR operation...3 babies...first thought, "put them back!!!"...first feeling - gut-wrenching pain (emotional over physical)...feeling lucky to say, "hello" to baby Kuylen...saying, "goodbye"...pumping (I kid you not) every 2 hours without fail for a full 2 weeks in an effort to get my milk in (seriously, I think Brent could have produced breastmilk at that point)...feeling the grass under my feet and the sunshine above for the first time in just over a month...being able to touch David's hand for the first time when he was a few days old...the first time I left the hospital grounds in almost 2 months was to go to the funeral home with Brent to sign paperwork for Kuylen...the heartbreak and fear I felt when I learned David needed an operation at just 10 days old when he was still under a pound...fogging up his isolette window with tears begging him to pull through and promising him that if he would just produce wet, dirty diapers and breathe on his own, we'd be the proudest parents EVER!!! (a promise I still stick to today)...holding Mary Louise for the first time on mothers' day...holding David for the first time almost a month later...going to Damon's law school graduation just a day or 2 after getting mastitis, pumping in the car on the way...holding both babies (at the same time)just before I left to help make arrangements for Mommom...loosing so much more than a's June now...

Transferring to another hospital with David for his eye surgeries - something we were so hoping we'd not have to do...being absolutely overwhelmed by the immense support of family, friends, strangers, work colleagues, distant relatives and many many more...ahh - beautiful humanity- you don't get enough credit...running after Mary Louise like a mad-woman in the parking lot and hospital when she was transferred in (ha - I still laugh about that)...getting the baby's footprints and a photo taken by their nurses for Brent's birthday...Mimi and Granddaddy coming to the NICU to see the babies for the first time...the babies reaching 4 pounds...having to sit and watch the EMS crew load David up and transfer him back - because he needed to gain another 1/2 pound before coming home...getting to take Mary Louise home from the New Orleans area - the loooooong drive and how well she did...stopping to breastfeed just off the interstate (ha again)...seeing a baby in this house for the first time...David coming home one week later...

August through December is quite a blur - filled with diaper change after diaper change...too many (good) sleepless nights to count...colic babies...colic babies...colic babies...the dreaded reflux...Mary Louise being put back on oxygen for one month - and how wonderful it was to see her face again the day she got to get rid of it!...seeing us all on the couch TOGETHER for the first time...remembering tiny Kuylen with pride, sorrow, and grateful peace...still being is complete awe of the support of our friends, family and not so complete strangers (anymore)...visits from family and friends in which we never left the house - just stayed here and played with our little ones for days!...David's babbles and coos...Mary Louise rolling for the first time...first cereal!

And finally - this year I've gained 75 pounds and lost 62 (ha - never thought I'd say that!)...I've re-prioritized - many times- but never changed my top ranking "family" spot...Brent and I have been through some of the most difficult, tumultuous heartache I think anyone can go through and have come out much much closer than I NEVER realized we could be...I've learned more lessons than I wanted to learn, aged more than I wanted to age - both spiritually, mentally and (gulp) physically - but I aim to do a little something to fix the latter - however, I hold each moment, each experience in my heart as a contributor to the bigger picture of what we are - a family - and I look forward to see what this next year will bring.

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and happy happy new year!


What a week

We have had my mom and youngest brother (Sean) here all week as Sean has had some MD appointments here in town. This weekend, Collin should be making a pass through as well. The babies are doing well with the visitors as we make sure to keep their schedule constant regardless of what we have going on otherwise. They are getting a bit more mobile each day - working on rolling, and the newest crawls which Mary Louise is working very hard to do. They seem to have figured out that if they want "that toy", all they need to do is find a way to move their little bodies over to get it!

They are also getting more and more interested with what we have on our plates, in our hands, etc. Starting solids is not that far off I'd say...Brent and I have long discussed getting back to our almost vegetarian, low sodium diets we maintained prior to THE pregnancy. Looks like our day of reckoning is coming sooner rather than later. It's very important to us to set a good example for our little ones. We aren't far off now - but definitely need to "trim the fat" so to speak in a few more areas.

So we've been quite busy here and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I often feel that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get things done. I must stop in the moments that I'm overwhelmed, take a deep breath, re-focus and see the smiles on the little ones' faces - the laundry can wait - there's tummy time to be had.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Merry Little Christmas

So we expected 6, cooked for 12 and only had 3...Brent's family didn't make it to us this Christmas as Ma Mere was concerned that she may be coming down with something. Though we were disappointed that they couldn't make it, we set out to enjoy the day at any rate.

Damon (my older brother) was here for a few days. We cooked, visited, played with babies, walked, chatted, and really had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas (as trite as that sounds). Brent and I had done pretty much all of the cooking during the 2 days before so on Christmas day, we popped the turkey in and were done! The rest of the day, we lounged, opened the wonderful gifts we had here and just enjoyed our little family.

Mary Louise and David did not take a decent nap for almost 3 days however with all the excitement of presents and people so yesterday, when all was quiet, they both fell fast asleep for some of the longest naps they've taken since they've been home! (I took advantage and Brent graciously conceded to let me sneak off and take a much needed nap myself at that time!)

David gave us the gift of eating on his own - holding the spoon and proudly slopping cereal on his nose, eye and finally in his mouth. He is such a hard worker! Mary Louise is getting interested once again in rolling over. She did it front to back again yesterday and of course looked at me as if it was nothing special afterward.

David eating...

We had a really nice surprise visit from Brent's very good friend Shane and his parents on the 26th. As Shane lives out of town now, we see him on rare occasions but are always so glad when he drops in!

We look forward to the rest of my brothers making it here in the next week or so. Collin is in from his island medical school and as we don't travel well, has agreed to make the trip here to see us instead! It will be so nice and such a rare treat to see him.

Hope everyone had wonderful holidays, a very Merry Christmas and is planning a Happy New Year!

Oh and I almost forgot - the excitement of the day was the oven catching on fire! Ha - I put the sweet potatoes in to warm but the turkey had apparently dripped a bit earlier in the day. Just after I put the potatoes in, the bottom of the oven caught fire. Possibly the best part was my ridiculous reaction...I stared at it for a second (delayed), closed the oven door (denial), waved my hands overhead (completely non-productive), and pointed at the closed oven while yelling, "there's a fire in there - come quick - I don't know what to do!" (ha- alarmist). So, obviously, I will not be a fire fighter any time soon. Way to save the day Heather. Thankfully, Damon walked up, blew on it - and it went right out - nothing hurt.

Christmas 2009


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Precious moments

I just love watching Mary Louise and David interact. They have such sweet moments with one another- playing, "chatting", holding hands, exploring their surroundings. They seem to comfort one another as well.

I got a few photos of them - a difficult task as they are mesmerized by cameras and the sounds they make.

dec 23 2009

Cooking for Christmas 2009 is well underway here. Hopefully, it will turn out nicely - if not, at least I know we'll have good company.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Miss Mary Louise

So, our little Mary Louise is determined to use a spoon - all by herself!...

She's doing such a great job!! David is eating very well from a spoon too - just not as interested in doing it by himself yet. He is, however, very interested in playing with the keyboard on his Leap Frog learning table and with how things work - he seems to study and analyze everything while Mary Louise does more of the shaking and throwing of things. (wild woman!) Yesterday, Mary Louise also surprised me when I went to pick her up - she put her hands out in a "hold me" stance!

They just learn more and more each day - so exciting to see what this day will bring!

Sean's Visit Dec 2009


Monday, December 21, 2009

hubby of the year!

I went to run a few errands this afternoon - they (of course) took much longer than expected. When I got home, Brent was on the sofa with the babies - a proud grin on his face. He had (after a full day of work) taken them on a walk, bathed them and readied them for bed, gave them their medicines, and was feeding them "dinner"!!

Thank you so much Brent for all of your work.

I'm (once again and always) a lucky girl.

eww cooties...

With the peak of RSV and flu season fast approaching we are renewing our efforts to quarantine our little ones from illness of any kind - but especially respiratory bugs. If they get even a tiny cold, it would be likely to land them right back in the hospital and very quickly on a ventilator with their present lung condition (they have chronic lung disease).

Accordingly, upon entering our home visitors will be required to remove their shoes or use the hospital grade cleaning wipes that I have here to clean the soles. There will under no circumstances be any shoes allowed in the playroom - this is really the only place the babies are put on the floor right now. Immediate and proper handwashing is a must - followed by the antibacterial gel we have by the sink. Proper handwashing means rubbing your hands together vigorously for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

Please do not "get in" the babies' faces, put their hands in your mouth (they grab at faces an awful lot now) or put your hands in their mouths (umm - they also attempt to put everything in their mouths).

Only healthy adults who have not been ill nor been around anyone else who was ill for the previous 10 days will be allowed to visit. This means as long as that "little cough" or "just a sniffle" lingers, our door is closed.

It is one of my greatest wishes that these babies prove their momma a complete over-protective lunatic. I will (I promise) wear the title proudly if it means that they stay healthy and thereby allow their lungs the best possible chance at healing. We are hoping to relax a little in the spring / summer months but for now are remaining vigilant in our efforts to keep our babies home and healthy.

We are so thankful for the support and compliance thus far and feel that we truly are doing what's best for our little ones - no matter how hard and isolating it is for us to keep them under wraps.

Much love and happy holidays to all.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All the single ladies!

So Brent went to the Saints game tonight...about 3 hours away - and is staying the night with his parents...are you catching on? That's right, home alone (well me, 2 babies, 3 dogs and a cat - so as alone as I'm going to be these days). Getting a taste of the single mom life...props to you single moms. That's all I can say about that.

Thank you Brent for coming home each night, waking up in the wee hours with David, letting Tootle out for literally the 6th time AFTER midnight so I can get just a few minutes of the uninterrupted sleep I so desperately need to function during the day. Ha - 2 babies?! At least I have 2 arms in which to cradle them I suppose.

They really have been good sports though. We've walked twice today - and in the jogging stroller to boot! We've done about 5 miles altogether with about 1/2 a mile of actual running. That's a record for us I'd say. Even David fell asleep in the stroller today. We have played, sang (ok I did the singing), bounced, giggled and fussed - all together.

They are actually resting for the moment - at 6:30 no less. So, I'm trying to take advantage and get a good pumping session in and possibly have some dinner (though the dinner part may be asking a bit too much I realize).

So far so good though. Go Saints!

Poo - the Saints lost! Oh well (ok - you can tell I'm a not so avid football fan right?) Last night ended up going quite well if I do say so myself. Today was much of the same routine - except we did our early walk again! The babies have now tolerated the stroller 2 days in a row!! We also started to throw in an extra cereal time - and an extra teaspoon per baby! They are eating and eating - and seem to really love it!

Brent is back and we are so so happy to have him home again.


P.S. The babies are 8 months old now! (*gulp* - can you believe it?!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Baby

We've had a wonderful visit with my youngest brother Sean (Uncle Bean). After settling into our routine for a day or so, he got the hang of things...and seemed to even get used to the noise around here - even the 5am fiascoes.

Sean is "the baby" of 5. He's always loved being the baby - and used it as an excuse to get his way until...well he still at the age of 20 uses it actually. We are all very caudal ed by my mother who is forever doting on one or all of us. Despite all of that - despite being well aware that he is in fact the baby and the youngest, etc., for some reason it escaped me that he's never really been around babies. Ha - poor guy comes here, and for the life of me I can't figure out why he isn't the master rocker, bouncer, jiggler - why it isn't just second nature after all these years of...oh yeah - I'm 10 years older than him. Right...So, being the good sport that he is, he caught on and by day 2 was a little more comfortable and even handled both of the babies for short times so that I could pump! So, way to go Sean! You definitely got thrown in here, but did just fine! Thanks so much for your help!!

Will post photos soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chow time!

Ok, I'm running out of witty sayings to convey that the babies are in fact eating cereal so this may be my last post about the matter...maybe not - but I realize that I'm over zealous in writing about it. Having said that...

Mary Louise has gone, in the past 2 days, from not eating and actually gagging when cereal touched her royal palate to opening her mouth happily (yesterday) to grabbing the spoon and "do it myself mommy!". She also has started to fuss and point when I feed David and gets quiet and opens her mouth when I turn the spoon to feed her. Ha- little firecracker she is. I will say this for the both of them though - they do all things on their terms - in their time - but when they do finally make a decision to start something, they commit wholeheartedly!

I had to take some pictures- they just crack me up - some favorites...

From feeding time!

From feeding time!

and the album...
feeding time!


P.S. We're so excited that the semester is over and Uncle Bean has been able to come for a quick visit! oh and also - I hope I didn't loose anyone by changing the look of the blog- it was time for something new.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Open the hanger!

Mary Louise has decided to begin eating! She giggled when I brought out the cereal this morning and opened her mouth big and wide just like David does! Although she's quite sloppy - drooling and sticking her tongue out - she seemed to enjoy the whole thing. I love that things have progressed slowly with their snacking excitement. It's given me the time I needed to process the new as well - not such a traumatic experience for any of us - always good.

They ate all that I'd made - estimated at a heaping teaspoon each - then I followed up with their bottles / nursing. I try to stop the spoon feeding early every time - keeps them smiling when they see it reappear later.

They've otherwise been quite a fussy pair today - always the weathermen - they are wild before a storm!

The weekend was nice. I went to lunch with a good friend on Saturday. It ended up being the longest I've left the little ones since they've been home. Brent did a FABULOUS job! I compare leaving without them to leaving the house without my left arm (I'm right handed). So I can function without it, but it's really hard - and I am so keenly aware that something very important is missing. Kudos to Brent for holding down the house while I got some much needed "me" time though.

That's the exciting news to date - there are some videos mixed in with this album as I have been unable to upload to You Tube lately...the quality isn't as good with just Picassa, but you can still get the idea.

christmas tree 09


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet Kuylen

Tonight we lit a candle for our sweet little jelly bean Kuylen Stafford as a part of a movement done by an international bereavement group. One little light for our tiny baby boy. Our son. Honestly, there are no words to appropriately describe any of this - though I sure have tried in my own feeble way.

My Kuylen,

You will forever live in my heart and be on my mind. I still-and always will- remember your soft kicks, your ultrasound wiggles, your sweet peaceful final grin when all was quiet and there were no more tubes, no more machines and you were able to gently fade away in our arms. I can still trace your features in my mind - your nose, your eyes, your mouth, your tiny tiny toes. 10 little fingers. My perfection. Our beautiful gift. Our lesson in grace, strength, and knowing when to let go - no matter our agony or perceived need.

My angel. I am so so proud to be your mom.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

star pupils!

We had truly an amazingly busy morning yesterday! The babies' entourage showed up in full force - all expected visits - I should have figured everyone would somehow show at the same time!

Plan was: house keepers typically come at 8am for 2 hours, home health before 11am (around 10:30), physical therapy and case worker to come between 10:45 and 11am - that way, everything would be done for their typical long nap at 12 or so...

In general what actually happened...
Case worker was the first to show at 10:45 followed closely by PT at 11. Luckily, I just planned for us to be holed up in the playroom for the morning which is what we typically do anyhow - except for naps...Brent and I cleaned the playroom the night before, arranged their activity areas and I made little spots for each to nap. I had bottles and diapers ready to go - I even had a protein bar for me! (I really hate interrupting the cleaning service when they're here). So, we'd actually been set up since about 7:30 in there - the babies played, ate, and napped and were rested and full for the therapy session. (umm - pat on my back please for such good planning - ha - as if they don't just do what they will anyhow!) So, pt, and case worker were here and started.

Mary Louise was first. Actually the case worker just comes every couple of months to review progress and go over new goals. She and the PT are very sweet and LOVE the babies (as the babies seem to do them as well- an another necessary side note - how could you not love these babies!) so I really get excited about their visits as it's a chance to get a decent in house evaluation and get a little pro feedback on Mary Louise and David's status. As the physical therapist started to work with Mary Louise, all I heard was "ooo's" and "ahh's" and "my goodness! Heather! She looks amazing!" Oh I was so proud! Mary Louise really seemed to enjoy the whole thing and "performed" beautifully!

We discussed my concerns about her - eating, rolling over a couple of weeks ago and then suddenly not being so interested, and where do I go from here to promote further development - all "normal" concerns considering their corrected age, and the fact that ultimately, I would like to encourage them as much as possible while they seem to be so so interested.

Phone rang: home health nurse: "Heather I'm running way late. (it was 11:30 now) I'm heading in your direction to see Mary Louise." Me, "(sigh- I'd been up and entertaining or feeding or cleaning since 5am) ok, well she's done with her therapy now so if you're on your way, we'll get this done before her nap."

Knock on door: housekeepers here. I gave them a quick run down. Luckily for me, the pt and case worker have gotten comfortable enough with us to take care of both babies for a few minutes when stuff like this happens. The babies were just fine.

Back to therapy: David's turn: He was so funny. He'd been awake and done eating for awhile and was content for a bit just watching Mary Louise but by the time it was his turn, he was so ready to strut his stuff that he was dancing and "agoo-ing" before the therapist ever got to him! He did beautifully as well. She seemed very impressed with both of them saying, "you know, I would have been perfectly happy with LESS progress than that! They've done incredibly well today and have made HUGE strides since last month!"

Meanwhile, the home health nurse arrived to weigh and measure Mary Louise - 21 inches long - 10 pounds 11.5 ounces = completely ridiculous weight gain since her pedi visit! (David was not due for a check so she left after seeing Mary Louise)

We discussed a few exercises for the little ones - their upper body is the constant source for their weak areas - they need to gain strength in their arms and chest to make it to their next milestones...CRAWLING AND SITTING UP!!!! Oh I'm so thrilled with the possibilities!

Perhaps the biggest immediate deal of the day? They made it through ALL of that excitement WITHOUT CRYING!!!! My goodness, to be honest, I was the one feeling a bit over stimulated after all that. They promptly went to sleep after their appointments though Miss Mary Louise had other plans and didn't sleep for long - about 30 minutes and she was done and ready to eat and play again.

Last night though, they were still a bit tired and went to sleep in good time. Brent and I then had a make shift date night- he picked up food from one of our favorite restaurants and I surprised him with a crystal and Christmas china set - up complete with a nice glass of wine on his return (um - because who needs a holiday for crystal and china I say?) We were even able to eat and visit uninterrupted!

Good day - congrats babies for all of your hard hard work!!!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

our olympian

Mary Louise just had, seriously, the BEST bath ever!! I really think she swam the distance of an Olympic sized pool - in place! She kicked her little legs so hard, splashed herself, me, and the floor (that's quite a feat considering her size and the fact that there was only a few inches of water in the tub!) She was just precious - wiggling around and having a grand time.

This was a much needed happy bath as she has been quite slow to warm up (ha) to the idea of the grown up tub. She was fine for the first time or 2 we tried it, but after that, she would panic. I've been working with her little by little to try to get her used to the idea - and tonight, she came around!

It was really wonderful and I just had to share. Unfortunately, I am still unable to upload any videos so I'll have to just get some photos on here tomorrow. Not sure what's happening with that...

good night all!

wait, what just happened?!!

My goodness. It's 3:20pm now and one or the other baby has been up since 3:30am. They had slept on 3 hour blocks for a few night but before we got too spoiled...Craziness! David has been quite the little clinger today but did manage to calm down just enough to allow himself an afternoon nap. He has also been quite the eater...he's nursed, taken his bottle and eaten from a spoon a few times. He LOVES to play "airplane" with his cereal and opens his mouth (aka hanger) every time now.

Mary Louise is still a bit finicky about cereal and honestly, today, wants nothing but a bottle ("filled to the top please mom!").

Their appetites are amazing - and seem to be growing by the day - or the hour! I am thankful for such good eaters - I've heard some horror stories from other preemie parents - and I've also heard that "to catch up" preemies have to grow quite a bit faster than term babies during their first 2 years...I can confirm the latter thank you!

We're having lots of fun here with play time. The babies get really into things now. They are grabbing, watching, tracking, squeezing, pulling, pushing - and learn a bit more everyday. They love the soft lights and sounds. They are absolutely fascinated by the Christmas tree. (which by the way, took us exactly 3 days to complete but was well worth the trouble to see their little faces go into that amazed stare when we turned the lights on in the dim light of evening).

We have our at home physical therapy tomorrow so I'm kind of excited to see what they're going to do - and what our next goals are as far as their medical care goes.

Just a quick update - Daddy's home!!! must run!


Monday, December 7, 2009

little cookie monsters

The cereal feeding is coming along slowly. I try a few bites each day and have ended up putting the tiny remaining spoonfuls in their bottles in an effort to see if they seem to feel a bit better. The system has worked. They get a tiny bit in the early morning, nap, then play and then get a tiny bit at the end of their day in their "good night" bottles. I still try to breast feed relatively regularly but they are pretty much stuck at their current levels - they latch and feed but can't seem to get the hind milk and are never (and I mean NEVER) satisfied with just breastfeeding so I must pump and bottle feed afterward.

The spoon feeding is a bit of hit or miss. Most days, one or the other "goes crazy" over it - but even if they aren't insanely excited about it on a particular day, they will typically take a bite or 2 and they seem to have fun exploring the new taste and texture with their hands, noses, and mouths. Mary Louise still has a bit of a tongue thrust which comes into play most days but she periodically controls it enough to get a legitimate bite in there somewhere. They don't seem to have GI upset over it though their stools have definitely changed (for the stinkier) in both smell and frequency. (ok - maybe that was a little too much info there...).

They do seem to be sleeping better. Overall, they eat the same amount but the little bits of cereal seem to actually make them satiated whereas before (and in hind sight) they were wanting to feed more and more often but could never seem to get enough to satisfy their needs. I think (this is completely my opinion) that their small size was limiting their ability to take in the amount they needed to meet their caloric requirements. With the cereal, they seem more relaxed (again, in hindsight) and are in fact sleeping a little better - back to 2 feedings during the night rather than the constant waking and feeding we were doing before.

Also, their spitting up is minimal - if it happens at all. For the first time since they've been home, we've had days - whole days- in which they didn't spit up at all! So, despite my extreme wariness, they seem to be doing well for now with the introduction of rice cereal.

Mary Louise has started to not only help hold her bottle every time she's fed, but sometimes she is actually able to hold it herself if it is more than half done. She is also trying to sit up when we lean her against a Boppy pillow - using only her abdominal muscles! When she plays with the Leap Frog table, she almost insists on doing it while being assisted in standing (yes, I said standing...) some of the photos show here doing this. She sort of leans against the table for support and plays with the buttons. We try with her sitting on a knee or in a lap, but she squirms about until we put her in a standing position - miss independent - I can almost hear her say, "no mommy, I do it MYSELF!"

David is still working so hard at turning from back to front by himself. He's almost there, but that pesky arm of his keeps acting as a speed bump and interrupting his momentum when he rolls back and forth. He also loves the keys on the Leap Frog table! (actually, more so than Mary Louise who is sometimes a bit timid with such new fangled lights and sounds) He is helping to hold his bottle consistently and was quite the champ at eating and chewing this morning. With his short frenulum, he has actually had a bit of an easier time learning how to keep the cereal in his mouth and seems to enjoy taking bites and getting praise.

In addition to all of their other strides, they are both "asking" for things they want if they are in their line of vision. For example, if their bottle is on a table or floor area that is almost within reach they make noise (fuss, grunt, cry) while looking and reaching for it. This also applies to toys they like, etc. Accordingly, we are hoping to teach them a few signs in the near future.

Enjoy the photos! We had a great visit with Brent's parents this weekend!

sidenote: I have been having quite the unsuccessful time with uploading videos to You Tube. We've also had a bit of trouble with our wireless internet - hopefully, I'll get them up soon...
Dec 09

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Silly Mom!

I forgot to mention on their check-up day that we got almost to the pedi's office (which is literally walking distance from our house - actually I would walk if it weren't on such a busy road) and I looked at my feet...there they were, my fuzzy pink slippers.

How ridiculous. We came back home, I ran in and got some more appropriate foot wear and double checked to make sure I had pants on as well!

I may just have to start dedicating a weekly post to my mishaps and inadvertent embarrassments judging by the way things have been going!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mary Louise, Mom and the yellow hat

Ok - when I posted this picture before, why didn't SOMEONE (Mom) ANYONE (Mom - Mommom - whatever you want to be called today - MOM) tell me that her hat was on upside down?! This was my old hat, sweater and booties ensemble.

From 4 mile hike - Sam Houston - Nov 09

This is the way it SHOULD look...
From first cereal nov 2009

The problem? The stinkin' hat doesn't stay on properly if it's backwards! Ha- poor Brent held onto the thing for most of our 4 mile walk that day and kept saying, "she looks like she's German." I suppose she did look a bit Gretal-ish...

Anyhow, I put it away and conceded that she may never get to wear Mom's old duds as they weren't very practical - until yesterday. I decided to try again (maybe she needed to grow or something?) I tried them on again and after studying the hat for a bit, realized it was a Bishop style and turned the thing around.

pft - I never claimed I was a baby wear guru...Sorry Mary Louise. But really - if this is the most harmful blunder I've made thus far as a parent (though I have a sneaky feeling it's not...), I think we're going to be a-ok! (I am quite entertained by my silly novice parent self though)


Here are the rest of the photos from the album...
first cereal dec -09

Bite number one - a little bit of fun...

****I've tried all day to upload the videos and there seems to be an issue with You Tube. I'll try again tomorrow and edit this post with them later - but here's the dish anyhow...***

We tried cereal for the first time this morning - just a bite or 2 each. I opted for the spoon approach for a few reasons...1. I spoke to a few other moms whose pedi told them not to put cereal in a bottle and to introduce the spoon at the time of the cereal intro. in anticipation of foods to come. 2. That is the same thing the pedi I worked with while in clinicals told me and would tell all of the new moms that came through the clinic. 3. I thought that using a spoon would be a fun experience for them - if they were in fact ready for it- allow them to explore texture, taste, and coordinate their tongues and swallow at the same time (my they have big jobs). 4. I love making messes with food (ha there's a reason I said WE tried cereal today...). and 5. I was bothered by the fact that when Brent asked our pedi if we could just use a spoon, he said, "if you want to, but it takes longer." (he obviously doesn't know me very well if he thinks "taking longer" will deter me from something that will otherwise benefit the babies).

So we tried...Mary Louise went first and I think did pretty well. They both made "umm what is that?" faces for their first impressions. But she actually took a few legitimate bites and kept her tongue in her mouth pretty well to swallow it.

David tried to help with the spoon which I was pretty excited about! He was not just crazy over the cereal - but in his defense - in the video, he was umm "busy". (I have said multiple times in this big blog that the cornerstone of nursing is poop - can you? how do you? what does it look like? - it seems this is one huge parallel between nursing and "mom-ing" - yes, mom, you were right - no surprise there.)So, after a few minutes and a diaper change, we made another - much more successful go of things...until he sneezed. Oh yes, I will be scraping cereal flakes off of Heaven knows what in their little playroom for YEARS to come.

So, I think we were successful enough to try again later. But ultimately, I will continue with my original goal of pumping / breastfeeding / providing at least some fresh milk (and therefore MUCH needed immunities) for the little guys through their second birthday. (i.e. the 2 most crucial RSV / flu seasons. Fair enough?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ch ch ch changes - and a check-up!

David has gone full throttle on his mission to flip over from back to front. I don't have the heart to tell the little guy that it's easier from front to back. He grunts and groans and kicks his leg back and forth for momentum. He rocks back and forth from side to back in an effort to gain enough gusto to make it all the way over. Oh my little teeter totter. He's made it to his front almost completely on his own twice today!! He grins and big proud grin once there then promptly smashes his face into the blanket and bursts into tears until I flip him back so he can start again.

Mary Louise has shown first signs of being interested in turning from back to front - though she hasn't quite figured out just yet how to get that pesky elbow out of the way! She has a fizzled interest as of late when it comes to rolling from front to back, but I know she can do it - I just haven't found her proper incentive yet to get her to do it all the time.

We went to the pedi today for their (late) 6 month shots and check-up (they are a few weeks behind on their shots because of the way they fell after their eye surgeries and transfers back to Lake Charles.) Anyhow, they did very well. The doctor was quite impressed with their growth and progress. Mary Louise is 10 pounds 3 ounces and 21 inches long. David is 9 pounds and 21 inches long. Ha- David looks so much smaller than Mary Louise - which he is in weight - but he measures the same in length (P.S. we didn't believe it either - so we double checked when we got home - they are in fact the same length!) They also have totally different builds which accounts for their difference in appearance. They still aren't officially on the growth chart, but they are trending up in a bell curve all their own - and that's what matters!

The Dr. suggested that I start adding a small amount of rice cereal to their breast milk in the evening - we will try during the day at first to see if it agrees with their systems. The purpose for the addition is to 1. possibly help their reflux issues and 2. help them to sleep a little better at night. I was super concerned about the nutrition it would or would not provide and was assured that it does have nutrient value and that they would be needing solids to be added to their diet at the next visit anyhow so it'd be safe to start this now. Honestly, I am STILL (well I've never) not producing enough breast milk for them. I have come close a few times, but cannot quite get them there. I have been supplementing with milk I stored when they were eating a bit less - that way up until now, they have been strictly breastfed. I will continue to pump for quite some time - but will gradually add solids to the breastmilk to add variety, nutrition and extra calories to their diets - preemies have an awful lot of catching up to do in the way of growth and development - especially micro preemies. Anyhow, we'll see how it goes tiny steps first! I should probably mention that I'm really typing this diet change part to try to pump myself up for it as I'm really pretty nervous about the whole thing. But, with David sleeping a grand total of 2 hours at a time during the night - at 7 months old no less - and after 3 months at home, if this will help, and it's safe and possibly beneficial to his reflux, I'll try it I think.

Finally, David's inguinal hernia has gotten bigger. The doctor has recommended for us to call and consult with the surgeon after the first of the year. He also said, "having the surgery sooner rather than later may make David a little more comfortable as well." Ha - so now the hernia is making him uncomfortable eh? Anyhow, we will see what the surgeon says. I think we're going to have it done in town here as the surgeon is the same one that did David's perforation surgery when he was 10 days old. We can also try to request the anesthesia personnel on board during the procedure which eases my mind a bit (to a level 7 rather than an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale - ha). I want it to be fixed - I want him to be comfortable - but there is a huge part of me that would surely put this off until he was 52 (the same age he will be allowed to date!) if I could - regardless of his grumpiness. (in case you're wondering Mary Louise will officially enter the dating scene at the nice mature age of 43 - though I may flex a little depending on how many children she'd like - maybe 35 would be more reasonable?)

So, that's the plan - and latest update. Photos coming soon!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

keep those babies rollin'...

So, David and I were playing, he was on his back and gripped my finger by reaching across his chest with his left hand. He then started kicking his leg back and forth to first pull onto his side...then his FRONT!!!! yay!!! He then realized that pulling himself over from back to front did in fact put him in the dreaded tummy time position. So after a quick smile from my over the top excited reaction to his newest trick, he promptly burst into tears. (I'm still the proudest momma on the planet though!)

Hoping to catch a video later, but wanted to update on such exciting news anyhow...


Monday, November 30, 2009

insurance - nuff said

Ok - So the babies were up very early this morning. We played for an hour, David took about an hour nap but Mary Louise was a little busy body all morning. At about 9:30, she finally shut her eyes only to be disturbed by the phone ringing...the lab calling AGAIN!!!

ugh - they have an automated system that apparently flagged our (David's) accounts as delinquent. Thanks alot computer. Each time he had lab work in the hospital, an account was created - that's a different account number times I don't know - 50 open accounts right now. So, that would in fact be 50 phone calls. I spoke with the rep - twice and was told - twice that there was nothing they could do to stop the calls. Needless to say, I turned the ringers off on our house phones and am hoping no one from the md offices needs to reach me today.

In addition (because nothing could be that simple with insurance) our primary company has yet to properly deny the claims meaning they are STILL in limbo and have not been sent to Medicaid for review. I love that I've spent a total of 3 afternoons - and I do mean full afternoons -trying to resolve (completely futile mission) this issue by mediating between the 2 companies (which is more like mediating and argument between 2 16 year olds as they both think they have done their job and the other is at fault. Oh- and no they will not talk directly to one another (again that would be too simple no?)). I just love that they are so quick to tell me that they won't cover any more medical expenses for our now uninsurable son, but they can't just write a damn letter saying as much and send it to the companies making the claims.

So, thanks bureaucracy. Thanks alot for sucking the life out of yet a few more precious moments and thanks government for setting up a system to penalize families who find themselves in similar situations and yet caudal many of life's little woopsies and unexpected -uhem- bumps. I love that your only loop holes or flexible areas are ones that perpetuate and in some cases actually outright encourage cycles of bankruptcy, poverty, and broken families. Oh and let us not forget the AWESOME insurance companies - the one we've paid out the wazoo for a policy for years never making a claim only to have them turn their backs when we actually need something (props to you of course for actually paying some of the hospital bills with minimal prodding), and the ones who claim they insure high risk groups but have long waiting periods to insure preexisting conditions. Could someone please point out the person who needs high risk insurance and does not in fact have a condition warranting such high cost, low value coverage? Amazing.

I suppose I could go on another tangent about the real issue...why it costs $50 for a bandaid and cottonball in the hospital or $1000 for a dressing change that would cost about $10 at any drugstore or why we get charged $175 biweekly to have a nurse stop over, take a weight and measure the length (which anyone can do) on 2 babies and sometimes give a $2100 shot that we have to beg the ins. company to pay even partially for in the first place. I could give my opinion on that, but I think that may be a bit much right now.

Pardon my frustration. Today, I've had it. Maybe I'll get my sense of humor back tomorrow. Rant over (I think). I just wish our policies and safety nets would catch up to technology making million dollar caps appear so ridiculously high that it'd be impossible to ever need such costly care - I suppose it is for most - unless you are born 16 weeks premature...

Oh my morning

It's 5:30am. I so wish I would have been able to snuggle under the covers just a bit (or at least 3 hours) longer. But Mary Louise and David have other plans today. Complete with the largest gummy grins their little faces can muster, they have told me, in so many words, that regardless of the clock I really rarely pay attention to, it is in fact play time...

I hear them playing - together - cooing, laughing, "chatting" in a language that I'm positive only they understand. It warms my heart to hear them. I LOVE knowing that they are my reason to rise (even if on this very early morning I was reluctant to do so to say the least). I know in my heart that today will be better simply because they are here.

Mary Louise has continued her progress of rolling over - not all the time, but consistently never the less. David is not far behind and can roll on soft surfaces. He has the motion pretty much down but has a little more muscle to gain across his chest before acrobatics come into play for him. He can babble with the best of them though and has learned a bit better communication with his poor old momma. He still goes from quiet to tantrum in no time flat, but at least there are different tones of hysteria involved when he needs a diaper change, is hungry or is just plain exhausted. He's definitely a pistol but I wouldn't expect any less from him after watching him stay tough and strong through a NICU ordeal the vast majority of adults would never have consented to endure. His sheer will to get what he needs never ceases to amaze me - even when it's simple play time that he wants.

They both continue to gain weight like carb loading athletes. They can kick with incredible strength and love the big bath tub for showing off their new found skills. They both have wonderful head control now and can pull to a sit and stand while holding fingers - though they do need a little forearm support to maintain the stand. Mary Louise is pretty consistently doing stepping motions when she is pulled to a stand as well. I joke that I may have a 20 in walker totling around the house before long. We'll get through crawling first I suppose... speaking of which, Mary Louise can actually get her legs underneath her when on her belly now - I keep waiting for her just to take off with crawling - I know the day is coming...David can lift his rear and squirms his little legs back and forth, gets tired and aggravated and goes back to play time on his favorite section of the Einstein mat (the one with the octopus rattle and teething ring duck).

They are just so neat together. Brent and I watched them from the doorway the other night - they would actually use their little fists to pacify one another when upset. They would stare in amazement at the other playing with a dangling object, stare at themselves in the little mirror and giggle. Mary Louise even seemed to lecture David at one point - though always true to his personality, he remained engrossed in his own play and continued happily swatting away at his octopus (it seemed - much to her chagrin).

We had a wonderful Mommom filled weekend and look forward to a visit from Ma Mere and Pop this coming one.

So we're doing just fine. I've had my slump time and am trying to pull myself out of it. Back to the positive I say - back to it! Though a HUGE part of my misses my absent family members so terribly it's almost unbearable, I still have so so much to be thankful for - here in this little house - such beauty and strength lies. The chatty thankful continues to outweigh the mopey introvert. That imbalance is a-okay with me for now.

Much love, and gratitude - and many happy wishes this holiday season...

Mommom weekend Thanksgiving 09

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful

We had our first ever major holiday on our own today - complete with a turkey and all the traditional fixins'. Team LeBlanc did quite well to get it all done. We cooked, cleaned, walked, rocked, fed, played, laughed, ate (WAY too much), rocked (again), and so on.

What a day. Success. (Started on Thanksgiving)

Today (Saturday).
Mommom (my mom) is here visiting. We are having such a fun time with her here for the weekend. We are continuing our little routine - afternoon walks, bathtime at 5:30 or so, rock rock time afterward, bed around 7 or 7:30. I know - I'm highly technical...that's about all I impose here. The rest is as they demand - which typically works out pretty much the same each day.

Just wanted to quickly update - not too much happening - just enjoying family and each other. I must admit...this holiday has been a bit difficult for me...

More later, hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rollin' rollin' rollin'!!!!

Mary Louise ROLLED OVER TODAY!!!!! She flipped front to back and looked up at me like she'd done it 100 times before! It was amazing - and luckily, when I put her back on her front a little while later, she did it AGAIN!! (ha - and I got that one on video...)

Way to go baby girl!

oh and please excuse my ridiculous excitement with the whole thing - but I am really really really pumped. Oh - I just can't believe it!! Take that worksheets and homework from the OT!!

She also made 10 POUNDS!!! and David is closing the gap once more at 8 pounds 14 ounces. Way to grow babies! Mom and Dad are just so proud beyond words!


Monday, November 23, 2009


We went on a 4 mile hike through the woods at the state park yesterday. It was the longest I've done since getting out of the hospital. I think I've done ok - considering I literally couldn't walk 100 yards without stopping and taking a significant break after the delivery. In my defense - this has been quite the unusually tough year for this old body of mine!

It was nice and cool, the babies slept in their carriers and really didn't make a sound the whole time. Brent and I got some much needed "us" time - and Lizzie got a little energy out of her system. We really did have a good time.

Also, Mary Louise and David FINALLY tolerated a full session of that stinkin' tummy time! Ugh! it has been our nemesis for all too long, but then yesterday, I tried a different type of play mat with them and voila! tummy time was happy time!

4 mile hike - Sam Houston - Nov 09

fancy seein' you here!

Mary Louise and David have (finally) noticed one another! I mean really noticed. They've had moments of awareness before, but as of this weekend, they have begun to actually play with one another - holding hands, touching faces in amazement. It's fantastic to watch. I'd ordered a mat for their room - which is turning into quite the playroom. We are constantly working to make it more functional - I suppose that's what happens when babies come 16 weeks early and momma's in the hospital for a full month prior to that- not much is done. Anyhow, the mats came in - they are the foam puzzle kind with numbers and letters on them. They are WONDERFUL!! I can't wait to have our next PT session on them!

So, the babies have started to interact and, well, they have actually started to really play! They LOVE their playmats all of a sudden and when put on their backs under them, they bat at the toys and giggle and smile...just fantastic!

A couple of play time videos...

This one is a little long - minutes...but they were doing so well that I just kept it going...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Playtime in Full swing now!

We've had a wonderful couple of days with a more active play time. Mary Louise and David seem to notice one another more and more and are beginning to really interact during our floor time with them.

So we've had a week full of progress - hiking through the woods with babies in tow, enjoying longer floor sessions and Bumbo time, baths in the big kid tub and last but not least, they have been on a pretty straight schedule with 2 hour blocks of wake, feed, play, snack nap, feed, play, snack nap, feed, walk, snack, play, feed and rock until bed between 6:30 and 7:30. Their night time schedule isn't always constant but in general, they wake up about twice for feedings then are up for good between 6 and 7. We've been making every effort to follow their rhythm and keep their general routine as uninterrupted as possible - especially concerning the morning and noon naps. If we can keep those constant, I find the day runs much more smoothly. They eat on demand during the day so that's where the smaller (snack) feedings come in. Poor slow momma is getting better at reading the cues they send. I think we're in sync most of the time now.

A few photos of the week...
end of Nov 2009

Mary Louise - ok she's hungry - and hilarious! (We do have a bottle warming and fed her as soon as it was ready - but in the meantime, the opportunity to catch her blatant request for "yummies" was one we couldn't miss!) I must compliment her communication skills though!

David cooing - definitely getting more vocal and expressive. I'm just so proud of our little ones and all of their hard work!

I am uploading a few more videos but it takes quite awhile. Will post as they finish.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Big kid baths

The babies had their first "big kid" baths last night. Truthfully, they were baby baths in the big bathtub - without me in there with them. They kicked and played - so much fun. It worked out just fine. I was only brave enough to do one at a time of course - they can't sit up on their own just yet so they need full individual attention. But, we're just about ready for the swimming pool I'd say!

Mary Louise actually out grew the bathroom sink quite a few weeks ago - but I kept bathing her in it for the convenience - and I was a little nervous about trying the big tub. I don't have a baby bathtub, though after months of not wanting one, I may bite the bullet and get the over-sized - ridiculous to store hunk of plastic as these little ones will be little for quite some time. I'm just not sure what else to do.

Anyhow, things went well. We had our usual massage time afterward and the babies seemed to enjoy the whole experience.

David in his first big boy bath!

After a couple of good nights with some nice 4 hour sleep blocks, both of our little guys decided it was time for a train wreck. We have therefore been up since the ripe old time of 3am bouncing, babbling, cooing - at least they smile pretty often - it's not all screaming. But they may be having another big growth spurt as they both suddenly couldn't put the bottle down!

Anyhow, growing is good if that's what they're doing. But, if this post doesn't make any sense at all, there's my big excuse.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bless her little heart (she's perfect!) - and Happy 7 months!!!

Well almost anyhow...Mary Louise went back to the cardiologist today for a follow-up visit. Since her last visit with him, she has stopped using her oxygen and we've stopped her Lasix. In addition, we've started her on Zantac...

In the doctor's words,"her heart looks beautiful!" He was very pleased with her progress. Her tiny leak that I discussed from last time is almost gone and her heart muscle is now the appropriate size for her growth (it was slightly enlarged due to over working when we started all of this). He even said, "well, she looks like a real little girl now!" Ha - I was a bit afraid to ruin the moment by asking what he thought she looked like before so I bit my tongue on that one.

She was fantastic at the doctor - FOR ONCE she did NOT poop in her diaper as soon as we walked in the door. That is an absolute first for her. She smiled her way through, sucked away on her hands, drooled, laughed, wiggled, and batted those beautiful blue eyes with the Venus fly-trap lashes.

We had fun - and keep in mind we were at the doctor. He's cleared both David and Mary Louise to be re-checked once more just before their first birthday!


The babies are 7 months old today!! Oddly, this day last year was the day I found out that I was (apparently VERY) pregnant. My my how things work out. David is 19 3/4 inches and 8 pounds 8.5 ounces today. Mary Louise is 9 pounds 14 ounces. (I don't have a current length on her for today). They are just doing so well!!

We all went to the state park this afternoon as Brent took a day off to stay with David while I brought Mary Louise to her appointment. The babies were tucked snuggly in their carriers and Brent and I walked about 3 miles through the wooded trails - so nice - so much fun. We even took Lizzie along for the adventure. Brent and I joke that we'll soon have the strongest back muscles around carrying those bundles on our fronts and baby supplies in back packs on our backs. You'd think we were really traveling somewhere to look at us - lest you know those backpacks are filled with nothing more than a blanket, diapers, wipes and binkies - and of course a bottle or 2.

So we've had a wonderful day - happy 7 months babies. You are more than we could have ever dreamed, and we've only just begun! We absolutely adore you!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

moving right along

We've had quite a good week this week filled with long(er) walks - even a trip to the park - and cooler weather. I remember waking up for school when I was little - way too early (as I've said, I've always been a fan of the nap). I remember one morning my dad seemed so chipper - well more chipper than usual anyhow - (umm he was one that would run anywhere from 5 to 10 miles BEFORE sun-up). I asked him what he was smiling about...he said (with a boyish grin), "I love cool weather. It makes the water come out of the faucets ice cold." Ha - always the little things with my family...

I've uploaded the photos of the week - there are plenty - I tried to get some of the 2 little ones together - almost an impossible task as they seem to take turns with everything (which is a positive attribute for anything but photographs I'd say). So, one kicks, then the other kicks and so on.

Oh and in case anyone is wondering, I did discuss the use of the Bumbo seats, etc with the physical therapist that comes here - I specifically mentioned the possibility of hip issues. She apparently really likes the Bumbo seat for its assistance in the development of back muscles as well as a few other things. She recommended that I not leave the babies in the seat all day of course. (ha - as if David would even tolerate being left in ANYTHING all day!) They have "playtime" anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. But usually by the 15 minute mark, they have had quite enough stimulation and are ready to eat and rest again. So that's the story on the Bumbo's 'round here.

In other news, the babies are starting to "belly laugh" pretty often. David is still easily upset by louder voices and sounds, but is getting a little better with stimulation (i.e. he doesn't scream with panic if a toy makes noise AND lights up at the same time).

Mary Louise's reflux has improved immensely. She is not drooling near as much, spits up upon occasion but nothing like before and is able to take in enough milk comfortably to satisfy her. So, the Zantac has been a success!

In addition, both David and Mary Louise have really gone full force with bringing EVERYTHING to their mouths. They chew on toys, pacis and fingers. Mary Louise is actually pretty aggressive with the whole thing. It is on that note that I make a request that should probably go without saying - but I'll ask it anyhow. If you visit, see, hold, or are around the babies in any way, please don't put anything foreign in their mouths - especially fingers - even if you've washed impeccably. It's very easy to hold them and not pay full attention - before you know it, they've gravitated to your hand and are sucking or biting away. Please don't let them. We have tons of (their) paci's and toys available at all times that you are welcome to give to them instead. We have done incredibly well with everyone's help so far keeping the little ones healthy. All we want to do is continue that trend. As always, we really appreciate everyone's understanding and support.

Have a good day and enjoy the mass of photos!!!


November 2009 at home

Monday, November 16, 2009

By the way...

I should have mentioned it much sooner. Brent and I have known one another for 11 years as of this past Friday 13th. Ha!

Insurance oh insurance...

We had a nice weekend overall. We went to the state park for a walk on Sunday and David maintained his sanity through a ride there, 3 mile walk in the carrier and the ride back. He was hungry but still took things quite well.

Today the insurance drama had to sneak back into my life. UGH! you'd think the company could at least DENY claims properly. NOOOOO! I got delinquent notices from the Pathology lab - a whole slew of them - for bills that I discussed with BOTH businesses just 2 weeks ago (and spent a nice 3 hours dealing with might I add).

Actual conversation with our healthcare company:
After going through the ridiculously extensive menu of options, and staying on hold for 15 minutes, rep says, "yes may I help you?"

Me: yes, (recite member ID number...wait for him to type it...account is on his screen...) I am calling about the Pathology bills I've received for my son David and would like to be connected to the rapid resolutions department to discuss them (so I've done this before - 100 times - and the rep is surprised I even know what the raps dept is much less that I know to ask for it)

Rep: wait just a minute and we'll go over the claims together. First of all congratulations on your baby! Oh, it looks like you had triplets.

Me: yes, I suppose I DID have triplets. My son David has maxed out his life time payable benefit so these bills will not be paid. However, I need to speak with the rapid resolution department so the I can get them denied properly and they can then be reviewed by Medicaid. (try number 2 - still a no go...)

Rep: well if you'll just go through the claims with me, we can see what can be done. What are the dates of service.

(Mary Louise starts crying - I'm with her on this one)

Me: well, there are 17 of them, would you like them one at a time and will you just forward them TO THE RAPS DEPARTMENT PLEASE?!

(David starts to fuss)

Rep: oh it sounds like someone isn't happy. You must have your hands full with 3 at home.

Me: I'm sure I would have my hands full with 3 at home but I only have 2 which is a snap.

Rep: (feeling a little uncomfortable): well I think you need to speak with someone in our rapid resolution department. Will you hold for one moment? Have a good day!

Raps rep: How can I help you?

Me: Do you have the claims in front of you for my son David and did you speak with the first rep about the reason for my call?

Raps rep: yes ma'am?

Me: good, then I need you to deny the claims officially and properly so that it looks as if you would cover them but can't due to the lifetime cap - does that make sense?

Raps rep: I think so.

Me: here is their number, I've spoken to them but would prefer that you do so directly. I'll wait.

Raps rep: it'll be a few minutes.

Me: I understand.

Raps rep: 5 min later: thank you for holding. These claims will be denied and an explanation of benefits sent to the lab in 10 to 15 business days. I can only do 4 claims at a time though so I'll do the next 4 when I have down time from the phones.

Me: I'm sorry, what? So I have to wait until you have a break for you to take care of my claims?

Raps rep: Well, I don't have to have you on the phone. The computer system is set up to only take 4 at a time. They'll be right here for when I get time then I'll send the paperwork out.

Me: please send a copy to my house as well. Thank you for your help.

I then spent an hour discussing the pending claims with the path lab so that they could be marked as such rather than as delinquent. (and the argument with them about our benefits...that's a story by itself...maybe later)

good times...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Age appropriate toys

A work friend of Brent's gave us a walker for the little ones. Her daughter has outgrown it so she handed it along. (so so nice by the way - we are very appreciative) Age appropriate toy? Yes of course. I always get a kick out of things that the babies technically are developmentally ready for - but simply aren't big enough to use. (ok - I get a kick out of it but feel a little sad at the same time). Anyhow, the walker was really funny. I put the babies in it to see just how much they would have to grow before they could "walk" in it. In short - they may actually be walking before needing this particular assist ave device! No matter - they absolutely LOVED it!! I think they like the feel of their little legs dangling - they sure seem to get excited about it anyhow. They kicked and grinned and giggled and looked at things I put on the tray. Umm - of course I got video and pictures...

walker play

It was so fun - and the babies were definitely tired post playtime! I love that they are getting strong enough to handle the sitting required for the Bumbo and Walker. It's so much fun to see them explore their toys and drool all over (which by the way has much more to do with their reflux poor things - they are not teething).

Speaking of which, Mary Louise has had increased difficultly with her eating and swallowing. She is gagging frequently, wants to eat but then wails when she does. She can saturate a bib with drool within 10 minutes, and she spits up more and more in frequency and amount. In short, she has reflux. When we put her down - even on her nap nanny incline, she often burps and spits up so we have to watch her and keep her on her side. I am feeding her sitting straight up and holding her for at least 30 minutes afterward. I am also feeding her smaller amounts more often. It's not helping. I've phoned the doctor - he is aware of her issues, but as last night was worse than the night before with her and this morning wasn't any better, I phoned again and think I've finally made my point. She needs at least a tiny dose of reflux medication. I just heard from the doctor - Zantac it is. We'll start today.

They had their physical therapy here at the house this morning. Mary Louise did very well. David, bless him, just couldn't keep it together today. He did fine for about 5 minutes and then had had enough. He was hysterical. I calmed him and learned the exercises and will try again with him this afternoon. They are both developing well overall though. David must work a bit more on bringing thing to his mid-line and Mary Louise needs work on her rolling but is well on her way. So, great report again - hopefully, David will cooperate a little more next time. But, as I said, I can learn the exercises and do them on our own so it's not a total loss if he's fussy.

For those interested, we're still in limbo over insurance and waiting until the new requirements for state programs come out in March to really get any further. There are 2 state programs that are remote possibilities. That's about all we have as far as options though (and at least we have a small hope for getting accepted to one of those). I'm really quite frustrated and disappointed with the whole thing (as I'm sure I've said before).

That's it for now. Oh - and David is shiny in his videos because Mommy shamelessly attacked him with Aquaphor. That's all I have to say about that (sorry peanut).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So easily entertained...

So if you ever questioned where my sense of humor comes from - and why I'm so easily entertained, look no further...

This would be Mommom "talking with her fingers". She has laid claim to having this talent since she was little. Umm - note how entertained SHE is...

Mommom's are so much fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baby Steps

One, two look what they can do (now)
Two, three she looks like me
Three, four he favors Brent more
Four, five they've changed our lives (well, that's an understatement)
Five, six they've taken their licks
Six, seven but with Kuylen in Heaven
Seven, eight he'll keep them (and us) straight
Eight, nine we're doing just fine
Nine, ten I'll say it over again...

We're just so so lucky.

The babies have had quite the productive day:
Mary Louise is now pulling to a stand with me holding her hands, but is still uninterested in rolling really. She took 3 toys off of her Bumbo tray today, shook the rattles and threw them on the floor, grinned when I told her how well she was doing, brought toys to her mouth, and really talked up a storm with all sorts of noises.

David rolled over from back to front twice today with minimal help from me (he would get almost to his side and I would support him with an open palm on his back so he could go the rest of the way from there. He looked so proud with a huge grin across his face when I congratulated his hard work. He reaches for toys regularly and of course is chatty with his "agoo, ooo, and ugg" sounds.

They were both quite good sports on an afternoon walk today as well. They both made it a full 30 minutes in the jogging stroller before starting their "I wanna get out NOW" fits. As it turns out, they were both tired and finally gave in to an afternoon nap as I rocked them together as was (finally) able to put them down.

What a busy and beautiful day we've had!

Another bit of progress - David can stick his tongue out!!! If you'll remember, he has a short frenulum which causes him to be "tongue tied", have a little difficulty latching on, and long term could affect his speech. We were told by his doctors that there was a possibility that he could stretch the little connective piece of skin however, so we weren't planning on doing anything about the issue. As it turns out, David started working at sticking his tongue out over the last week or so and has had quite a bit of success in doing so!!

at home - november 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

a visit with Mimi and Granddaddy

After their appointment, we exited the hospital just as stealthily as we'd entered. We were off to a pit stop at Mimi and Granddad's (Brent's grandparents - they lived just 10 minutes away). They had not seen the babies since their eye surgeries at the end of their NICU stay!

Oh it was so so good to see their reactions to our little ones. Such proud great-grandparents! What a special time it was. Brent and I were indeed exhausted- almost as if we'd been in a written test all morning. This stop and a good lunch was just the ticket to get back on track and defeat the hour drive back to Mommom's. Pops and Ma Mere were there with Mimi and Granddaddy as well so it was quite a family affair - and there were plenty of open arms for babies!

Mary Louise fell asleep on Pops' belly and David rested quietly on one of his favorite shoulders belonging to none other than his Ma Mere. The great grandparents were able to hold each baby for the first time. Just sweet and touching beyond words.

We had a nice visit and made it back to Houma and Mommom and the Uncles without too much trouble. The babies actually slept better than ever for the rest of the visit there!

follow up eye exam in New Orleans - 11 09

Monday, November 9, 2009

They can see clearly now! (part 2)

So David and I returned home and I threw some clothes together and we were off to Houma (my mom's house) at a mere hour and a half post planned departure time (not too shabby considering). Unfortunately, the delay put us driving through not only their newest grumpy time (5pm) but also their bedtime (between 7 and 7:30). So, by the time we finally made it to our destination, I was frazzled from feebly trying to entertain 2 "newborns" that wanted anything but and Brent had a HUGE headache from the super sized tear fest happening in the back seat. We put them to bed asap but it was too late- they were over-tired, over-stimulated, and under-cuddled. Mary Louise did eventually sleep a little but David never slept more than 20 minutes (oh I wish I were exagerating that time) the entire night.

I was beside myself (exhausted) the next morning as we gathered our wit and courage (what we had left anyhow) to make our appearance at the long anticipated follow - up eye exam. With the babies tucked safely away in our carriers and with blankets covering the tops of their little heads that did actually stick up over the top (they are just growing so much!), we snuck through the hospital to the clinic portion on the 4th floor. We must have used every single hand sanitizer they had - twice - on our way. We had funny moments when a passer by would hear one of the babies coo or fuss and they would realize that the bundles attached to us were actually little babies - not one, but 2!

We made it to the clinic waiting area - a large room full of people waiting to see any number of doctors. We hung around the outer hallway and entrance area. The babies were fussy off and on so we couldn't really sit without upsetting them anyhow. We danced our little jigs while waiting to be called - about 45 minutes - we got our workouts in!

Once in the back, they began to dilate their eyes. Another 45 minutes or so later - and after I'd squeezed a pumping session in to a corner bathroom down the hall, we finally saw the doctor - just as sweet as ever (he really is a nice man - a little quirky - but always remembers us even though he sees people from all over the state!) He immediately remarked when he saw the babies, "oh my, are those the triplets?!" He said how good they looked. The man really amazes me - he looks straight at people's eyes - as if that is the only thing in the room - always analyzing eye movement and focus. He did the same with the babies. Then he told us the news we so badly wanted to hear, "their eyes look great!" No problems at all! (oh my gosh - we are just so so pleased with this! they aren't even near sighted which is very common in preemies with ROP) They don't have any signs of a return of the disease process and don't have any residual problems. They will be rechecked in 6 to 12 months and if they still look good, they will be cleared to come in every 2 to 3 years or so!!!!

So, we have babies with perfect eyes and I am now a self-proclaimed public pumping pro!

More about our weekend adventures in a bit!


They can see clearly now! (part 1)

We're just back from our trek to New Orleans / Houma...and what a journey it was! We left Thursday afternoon after some (uhem) David excitement....

Brent came home from work about 1pm and took David and Mary Louise so I could get ready to go (of course I'd packed for everyone but me!). After going through the baby things one more time, I began to get myself together. When I got out of the shower, both babies were crying and Brent called to me for help. I took David as he was hysterical and Brent voiced concern about his hernia. I checked it and it did indeed appear bigger, red, swollen. But it could have been because of his fit or because it was getting worse / bigger. We couldn't get him to calm however and Brent was a bit frantic.

He phoned the pedi - there is a branch of their office just around the corner from us - of course it was not our pedi covering that branch that day (we would never be that lucky right?) and the receptionist told Brent that the pedi was booked and he should phone another. I got on the phone, spoke with a nurse to tell her that we had a micro preemie that was at very high risk for illness and I needed to know prior to exposing him if it was warranted. I even offered to be there in 5 minutes with a naked baby so they could just peek at him and tell me if I needed to bring him to the hospital. The pedi refused to see me! She said she likes to keep a tight schedule. HA! What a donkey!

She also said that if the area was red, David probably needed an operation so I should just take him to the emergency room. By this time, Brent was more stressed, David was still crying, I was flustered, and angry, Mary Louise was beside herself with fussing. So, with wet hair and in pajamas, I collected David quickly and we were off to the ER. He quieted on the way and by the time we got there, he was SMILING! I stood in the parking lot for a moment. Holding him, staring at the doors of the ER, petrified of the dire consequences from a likely unnecessary trip inside one of the germiest places in town.

I took a deep breath...

I opted to check David's hernia one last time...

It was fine. Ha- as if you were expecting any differently. It was nice and flesh colored, soft, I was able to reduce it easily and without any grimace on his part (um - he laughed when I palpated it - that punk). I held him for awhile, calmed myself down, phoned Brent and told him the trip was back on, and went home.

Yay for spontaneous fieldtrips.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Your baby is considered "uninsurable!" Super! David is not eligible for individual insurance. I am currently back to exploring the state emergency and high risk systems and seem to be hitting brick wall after brick wall there as well. We'll see what happens from here...I'm really quite upset about it all.

They (Mary Louise and David) are doing well - keeping me on my toes. Mary Louise has started to chime in with David's "agoo" sound. But, not to be a copy cat - she says "agee" instead in this sweet little breathy voice with a HUGE proud grin on her face.

They are also noticing one another more and more. They stare with rather puzzled looks on their faces as if they are saying, "what the heck?! excuse me - could someone tell me what that is please?" They love moving objects - sound or no sound involved - and are lifting their heads almost automatically now and fine tuning their reaching skills to get rattles and toys from our hands. They still hate "tummy time" (umm - in turn, I'm not so fond of it myself), but we are finding more pleasant ways to isolate their chest muscles - using a ball or boppy and last but not least trying it on the floor for a minimal amount of time.

Size one diapers and Newborn sized clothes pretty much fit Mary Louise now which means it won't be all that long until she can officially put them aside for all 0 to 3 month clothes and size 1-2 diapers. David still has a little room in both but is still (on his own time) growing and gaining very well.

We've been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful fall weather and going outside to calm and bounce babies. They seem to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine - which brings me to another small milestone...Mary Louise can actually wear her sun glasses now. Of course they are still a little big, but they stay on well enough to protect her eyes - especially after the pending eye exam. David's whole face shape is a little different - but with a little rigging, I think they'll work for him as well - at least for the short term. They'll be so cute when they really fit well - and it's so funny to see them realize that they don't have to squint so much when they are outside when I periodically put them on them for a few minutes.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Ready go fwimming?!

Brent ran bath water for Mary Louise while I finished David's massage. He dangled her feet in the water and she just went to town kicking! It was so so sweet and funny and cute and everything mushy and gushy! Oh I just can't wait to take them swimming!

Test Run

In honor of premature baby awareness month (yes, there actually is one of those) and because we will be unable to attend this year's NICU reunion, I baked...alot. I'm not quite sure what possessed me to bake 3 different things from scratch no less, but with Brent's help and because his parents were here helping with the babies, it all got done - and it was actually pretty fun. We're just so thankful for the NICU staff's hard work and efforts in making our little family possible.

The delivery of said confections took place this evening and Brent had the bright idea to make it a family affair (in other words, he asked if the babies could come along for the ride). I conceded as it was an opportunity to test out my latest idea for car riding with David the Hysterical. I strapped one of his swaddling Kiddopatomus velcro blanket things (that finally fit him by the way) into his carseat and was able to swaddle him tightly thereby (I suppose) making him feel safe and quieting him down. He lasted through 2 stops (one at the store and one at the hospital which is when I actually went in for 15 minutes or so and Brent stayed in the car with him). He didn't cry at all after being swaddled. Of course he needed constant reinforcement that someone was right there and oral soothing with either bottle or binky but I'll take that over hysterics any day! So, thank you Kiddopatomus for mass producing baby straight jackets with whimsical designs on them and calling them swaddlers to make the idea more appealing. Thank you! You gave me a moment of peace in the car today with my sweet little peanut. I am forever grateful. We'll see how it works for the long trip we must soon take for their eye exams...

Photos from the past week -including Halloween...
Halloween 2009