Tuesday, June 30, 2009

definitely losing it

So the golf tournament went beautifully from what I hear. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as David has been rushed to Tulane Hospital today via helicopter. Another fiasco has begun. His eyes worsened and he is scheduled for surgery Thursday morning. (They were rechecked once here and the doctor decided he would do the surgery on Thursday assuring me it was major surgery and he needed "his regular team" to feel most confident.) So, we went to see the babies this morning and signed consents for the transfer. I had a small fit of hysterical "why us?! why our babies?! enough already!!" and off my mom and I went to New Orleans to watch over our tiny David. He tolerated the trip well overall but has regressed quickly back to 2 liters of oxygen at 35%. Maybe in part to his eye dilation (AGAIN). I've spent most of the night there (it's now 1am) and finally dragged myself away for a couple of hours of sleep. I'll go back shortly. (In case you're wondering, I miss Women's and Children's already and will leave things at that for now - then again, I will say that unfortunately, most of the rumors I've heard have turned out to be spot on - with few exceptions and it's only the first day).

Brent is still in Lake Charles looking after Mary Louise who is doing well - nippling all feedings now. She has another eye exam in the morning to look for any signs of progression. As of Monday, her eyes were holding on to stage II status.

For the surgery, David will be intubated and under general anesthesia. So far, I have requested to see the person in charge of administering said anesthesia 4 times and have yet to hear from anyone in the department. The NICU is supposed to nail down the time of surgery and give me a time to meet with the doctors just prior to the start. Wow - what a leap of faith they're demanding from us - especially with a less than spectacular first impression.

So, as a split team - working together from hours apart, Brent and I embark on this newest adventure with our little ones - and here I sit in a rather seedy hotel room holding on to all the courage I can muster at this point.

HUGE thanks to all those who participated in the tournament today!!! I'm so so sorry to have missed it and am truly humbled by such incredible generosity.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

more progress!

Mary Louise is such a champ! She is now scheduled to nipple for every other feeding. Brent and I went this evening and gave her a bath and bottle fed her! She did beautifully! Both of our little ones gained more weight and we are just thrilled with their progress. David is slowly being weaned off of his oxygen and was down to 1 liter at 21%.

Their eye exams are scheduled once more for in the morning. We have not heard good things about Tulane (the hospital they would go to if surgery is needed) so we are really really hoping that a transfer is not necessary. We've already inquired about transfer to a different hospital and have been informed that the doctor who will do said surgery has privileges only with Tulane so we're pretty stuck. (the doctor is the only one in Louisiana that does the eye surgery on babies this small).

Please please please let their eyes be ok.

Brent and I went to the LeBlanc family reunion today and really had a wonderful time. Lucky for us, there was a celebration just an hour away and we were able to attend. We continue to be truly amazed with the immense support and incredible prayers and happy wishes we receive from everyone. It may take a village, but we feel we have a whole country behind us!

Much love and many (humble) thanks (again).

June 28th 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

got milk?

Mary Louise finished all 36 mls. of her bottle tonight! Brent did a fabulous job getting her to take her entire feeding and she looked so happy to be with her dad! Such an exciting milestone for her!

The doctor wanted to try nippling David although he is still on oxygen. David did very well with sucking and swallowing but couldn't figure out the breathing part. So each time he would try to eat, his heart rate and oxygen saturation would drop. He did take 3 mls in though and we are so proud of his efforts. One thing at a time peanut - let's get you off that oxygen first then we'll see about the feeding.

good night all,
Love, Heather

P.S. I'm just so excited about Mary Louise's feeding! I had to post the photos we took of today. Both babies were so sweet - it really was a wonderful visit. (and oh so hard to leave)

June 27th 2009

new photos

Mary Louise's first feeding - June 25th


We fed Mary Louise last night and bathed both babies. (The long awaited mundane parenting duties put such smiles on our faces!)They did so well. Mary Louise nippled a little over half her feeding!! Fantastic for only her second time. She did so well that the doctor increased the frequency of nippling to twice daily rather than once!

They were able to wean David's oxygen a bit as well. He did beautifully with it while we were there. He is now on 1 liter and varies between 21 and 30%. OH and that little booger is developing quite the habit of pooping on either me or his blankets during bath time! Last night I took his diaper off, he pooped. I cleaned him and put another on, and he pooped again just after that change. Obviously, he wasn't done in the first place but it was in such great amounts that I thought otherwise - I'll learn. I'm just glad everything in there seems to be working well. He barely even has a scare from that abdominal surgery!

The nurse last night watched us holding our precious little bundles and said, "it's crazy that they'll never know how much all of you went through - I mean you can show them photos and tell them, but no one really knows unless they are here." I said that I hope they never ever know what they went through - that they never really know how much we've all been through. It'd mean they could just be children. No expectations, just children. Yes they were born at 24 weeks, but all I've ever wanted was for them to have every opportunity to be regular children - not to identify with their difficult start. If anything, it allows us as parents to have some small insight into their character and determination. I'd say we're really going to have our hands full!

Both of our little ones gained a small amount of weight though their overall pounds and ounces didn't really change - David is just under 3 pounds 3 ounces and Mary Louise is 3 pounds 10 ounces. They seem to change everyday - and grow bigger and stronger all the time. The other night we watched as Mary Louise got frustrated with her position and picked her head up just enough to turn it all the way to the other side! Amazing!

Their next eye exam is on Monday. (ugh!)

Continuing to cherish our many blessings...
Love, Heather

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tootle update

Just as I was starting to feel as if my life had turned into a really terrible country song..."I lost my dog and my grandma and sweet Kuylen's watchin' overhead..."and on and on - Tootle reappeared at a dress shop a mile or 2 from the house in Houma. Ha - I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up. The dress shop girls called the pound and the pound contacted my Mom who just picked up an exhausted and filthy but generally ok Tootle. The rescue didn't happen of course before my poor Mom put an add in the paper complete with the escapee's photo on it that will run for the next week. I know Mom didn't want to make that call to tell me she was missing in the first place and was frantic in trying to find her.

A sidenote: all of this makes total sense to those of you who know how weirdly obsessed I am with my pets. To those of you who don't, it's ok, you can laugh- out loud- at me. I really don't mind - at least I can cause a smile or 2 that way.

So Tootle will be delivered back home when Memom (the newest in a list of grandma names for my Mom - of course we all know that what will stick will be whatever comes out of our little ones' mouths)comes for a visit next week.

That reminds me - the golf tournament benefiting the babies is on Tuesday and there are still spots available for teams. It will be a fun day if you'd like to join. Please email me at heatherbowe@gmail.com for more information and I'll send you the flier.

We go in an hour to feed Mary Louise!!! Will give you an extended version play by play when we return!!


overdue post

I'm sorry, I went to post last night and our internet wasn't working. The babies' eyes were the same as they were on Monday. They will have another eye exam this coming Monday. David is not tolerating the eye exams well. The medication they use causes him to breathe too fast and causes his heart rate to drop. It takes him a day to process everything. They both end up totally exhausted.

David is still on the nasal cannula and they have been unable to wean him with the side effects of the eye exams. He still has some desaturation after feedings as well. Hopefully, that will resolve soon. Other than that, he is gaining weight for the most part - a slight loss yesterday but overall, he's gaining. He is now at 28 mls for feedings - almost a full feeding for a newborn (which is 30). He is doing well with his pacifier but they will not try nippling him until he is off of oxygen supplementation.

Mary Louise is doing really well. She is up to 33 mls for her feedings and started nippling last night. Brent and I have scheduled to go and feed her at 5 pm today. We are so so excited about that. Right now, it is only once a day that she gets bottle fed so we'll see how she progresses. She only has about 12 more ounces to gain before they consider sending her home!! This is of course contingent on their eye exams - if they need surgery, everything gets pushed back.

I have been setting up things at the house - finally able to get excited about things like folding onsies! Still have a long way to go, but progress is happening.

In other news, my mom was taking care of my 16 year old terrier mix. I got her when I was just 13! She got out yesterday afternoon and has not returned - although many of the neighbors saw her running around. Please, if anyone in Houma sees her - she is about 20 pounds, small/ medium Terrier mix, curly tail - light brown fur. Please contact me or my mom. She still gets around really well (obviously, if she has enough spunk to run away) but gets stiff after sleeping due to an old back injury. Her name is Tootle.

Many thanks,
XO, Heather

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

another eye exam

We found out this evening that the babies' eye exam will be repeated tomorrow. We are not really sure why - only know that there is an order for it so there must be cause for concern. The doctor wasn't there and we were asked to leave as a new admit was coming. Anyhow, I will call in the morning to see what's happening.

Both babies have started to hold on to their pacifiers during feedings! They look so sweet - and their sucking is getting more productive and stronger. The order still has not been written to start Mary Louise on nippling so, maybe tomorrow? (that is, if the eye exams are ok).


moving up in the NICU world

The babies were moved to a spot closer to the door today! Really it was because another baby needed their spot as he / she was being put on a ventilator. I'm so sad for that mom - it's so difficult to see your little one's face one minute, the have to look through tape and tubes the next.

But both babies are doing well. Their feedings are done on pumps right now as David was having trouble oxygenating post feedings and Mary Louise was having trouble digesting hers. This way, the feedings go in over a full 30 minutes and they have 2 and a half hours until the next feeding to digest. It seems to be helping. Mary Louise has not yet tried bottle feeding and when we went to visit today, the doctor had not yet made rounds so that is still up in the air.

Another day of progress!

Love, Heather

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eye update

Mary Louise and David both have stage II zone II retinopathy of prematurity. So, they are considered stable for now and will be rechecked in one week (on Monday again). Therefore, no transfer yet, but they are still keeping close watch on their eyes as they could worsen or reverse at this point. Our unending gratitude for the prayers and happy thoughts and continued hard work of the NICU staff.

Mary Louise is off of the nasal cannula once more and is on room air. David's weaning has been slowed because his respiration rate has increase significantly over the last 2 days signaling stress. His blood tests have been ok ruling out infection - though they are still at significant risk. Remember, he tends to do his own thing when it comes to weaning off of anything so they have slowed the process in an effort to let him level out. He remains on 1.5 liters at anywhere between 25 and 30%.

Mary Louise is scheduled to begin nippling on the bottle tomorrow! YAY!

Much of the babies' progress and discharge planning depends on their eyes now. If they need surgery, their length of stay will be increased. If they don't, and they keep gaining as they have been, there is talk of us taking one or both home during the next 3 to 4 weeks! Honestly, it just warms my heart to hear the word discharge in reference to our little ones.

Sean (my youngest brother) is here helping me to organize things around the house. A major undertaking as I hadn't been able to do a thing throughout the pregnancy and have pretty much been in the NICU every spare minute since delivery. Anyhow, I have finally been able to relax just enough to enjoy setting things up here.

Please please let their eyes be ok - and let them keep gaining good chunky monkey weight!! Fat days are our favorites!!

Love, Heather

newest photos while waiting...

These are the newest photos - including Collin Kyle and Sean visiting and Brent giving fabulous Father's Day baths! We are still waiting to hear the eye exam results for today - last time, it took all day. Sean is still here and we will probably head to the hospital shortly to see Mary Louise and David. Exciting news!!! David was 3.02 pounds last night!! What a Father's Day gift that was!

Mary Louise was still on her nasal cannula but was doing well. Both babies have developed sensitivities to adhesives so only sensitive skin tape is used but really, they are still getting rashes across their little bellies. They are both on topical ointments to combat the reactions. Sweet little ones have been through so much and now this. Thankfully, the number of lines taped to them is rather steadily decreasing so hopefully, we won't have this newest issue for too long.

Enjoy the photos. Eye exam results coming ASAP.

Love, Heather

614 to 622 babies

Sunday, June 21, 2009

where ever did the time go?!

My goodness! I seem to have lost an entire week - and what a week it's been. Brent and I both feel as if we've been run over! (oh - and a side note - I feel yet another bout of mastitis coming on - not such a surprise with the stress, and total lack of sleep, but awful just the same).

The babies are doing well. Mary Louise is 3 pounds 6 ounces and David is 2 pounds 15.8 ounces - if he gains at all, he'll reach the 3 pound mark for sure tonight. Mary Louise no longer has humidity running in her isolette as she is larger than 1500 grams and is starting to better maintain her temperature. Last night she became tachypneic (not sure of the spelling, but it's a big fancy word for - oh my goodness she's breathing too fast.)Anyhow, her oxygen saturation dropped slightly and xrays and blood work were done. All has come out ok but the doctor felt she would be better off on oxygen again for the night. She is on a simple nasal cannula at a half liter and as of this morning, there was a possibility that she would be taken off of it today. (It is a low dose of oxygen). She is doing much much better with the pacifier and there is talk of starting her on nippling with a bottle tomorrow. Her goal with nippling will be to master the art of sucking, swallowing and breathing at the same time - all the while maintaining her weight. It is expected to be a slow process but I know she can do it given the time.

David is continuing to wean well from his vapo therm. He was down to 1.5 liters at 30% this morning. The percentage continues to fluctuate depending on his position but the nurses have been working with him on that - changing his position regularly to get him used to all positions rather than just wanting to be on his belly all the time. He (of course) is doing very well with the pacifier - our little thumb sucker. I think he's been wanting to try that for an awfully long time now! He's a much happier baby these days - although still not as laid back as his sister who relaxes and sleep the days away with her sweet grin on her face. He has his grumpy moments and ones of frustration, but has started smiling much more and relaxes in our arms when we hold him.

Both babies enjoyed their quick visits with their Uncles Collin and Kyle who hadn't seen the babies since their first week in the NICU. The uncles were of course amazed with the progress - and looked so proud of their tiny little niece and nephew.

For those family and friends unable to attend. The service, burial and reception were small and beautiful. I miss Mommom more than I can say but truly cherish the moments and memories. She has taught us all so much throughout her life and has set such an example of beauty - inside and out. I know I say it all the time, but I am truly such a lucky girl.

Brent has enjoyed his first Father's Day I think. We have been quite lazy here - relaxing and catching up on sleep. We will end on a high note - bath time with our little ones.

Eye exams tomorrow. I am so nervous about the results.

Love, Heather

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eat, Sleep, Grow

Sorry for the lack of posting and keeping everyone updated. It has been a very stressful and busy week with all the travel Heather has been doing. She is exhausted beyond exhausted, and we still have to travel back to Houma today for her Grandmothers funeral tomorrow. The family had to wait to have the ceremony to celebrate Mrs. Mary's life until all they could all make it in from their various locations.

The babies are doing really well. They are gaining weight now, and Mary Louise weighs 3#5.8oz, and David is 2#12.2oz. David gains big one day and then loses a little the next, but all in all he is doing well. Heather made it back Wednesday evening in time to bathe both of her babies. I sat with them while they were being fed and introduced the pacifier while feeding. David likes his pacifier, and Mary Louise needs a little bit more encouragement.

Yesterday evening it was my turn to bathe both babies by myself, what a great feeling. Unfortunately I am crazy about getting them clean and take too long. The babies got too cold, so Heather helped me lotion them up so I could get them back in their isolettes. I just love to sit there with them and am mesmerized by their personalities. We are getting ready to go to the hospital to see them before we head out of town. We will race back tomorrow evening to see them - Can't miss a day, they progress so much, we don't want to miss anything.

Thank you for your continued prayers and happy thoughts.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a stay of operation

I'm not sure how, but Mary Louise's eyes were back to a stage one today and David's were just barely a stage 2. The doctor in New Orleans (Dr. Gordon with Tulane hospital) ordered another exam for Monday and said surgery (and therefore transport) is not yet necessary.

I know I'm asking an awful lot, but do you think it possible that they'll have completely healthy eyes next week? (OK, I'll settle for vast improvement if I must).

I will go back to my original travel plan now. I will return to Lake Charles tomorrow to be with the little ones and go to the internist on Thursday.

The services for Mommom are on Saturday. Visitation is at 8:30AM and the service starts at 10AM. Burial will be in Scott (Lafayette) that afternoon. The obituary will run on Wednesday and Thursday at least - possibly Friday and will have all of the details for those interested.

I am in total disbelief that all of this is happening - yet I feel present and in the moment at the same time...or maybe I'm just totally emotionally and physically exhausted. That could easily be it. Nonetheless, I'm here and I refuse to feel sorry for myself as it wastes the precious time I've been given. I maintain that I am in fact lucky.

Many thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers.

XO, Heather

Monday, June 15, 2009

oh, I see

Both of the babies had eye exams today - both of which showed they have stage 2 ROP (retinopathy of prematurity). With such a progression, it is very likely they will need surgery as early as Wednesday or as late as next week. We will know more tomorrow as the images of their eyes will be repeated in the morning.

The surgery is much like lasix - a bedside procedure most likely done with some sedation on board - takes about 30 minutes with one week recovery time. Unfortunately, the closest doctor for this particular procedure is in New Orleans which means that both babies would be transferred to Tulane for a minimum of one week -possibly 2 as there is a 50/50 chance that with a recheck, more work would need to be done which would entail another laser procedure and another week of healing. They would then be transferred back to Lake Charles.

I'm not quite sure what to say about all of this - Brent and I are both completely over-loaded with all that we have happening. I am hoping that the ROP somehow magically reverses overnight and none of this is necessary to be honest (however unlikely this may be).

In the meantime, I am helping to get plans together for my grandmother's funeral here in Houma. Brent and I agreed that I should stay here for now as New Orleans is an hour away from me and I can be there when the babies get there. (If you are wondering, no we are not allowed to ride in the helicopter or ambulance - however they end up being brought - the mode of transport has to do with cost and ins. coverage by the way as this is considered an urgent, not an emergent procedure.)

The visitation and service will be this Sarurday morning.

Thanks to all for the support and prayers.

Love, Heather

Sunday, June 14, 2009

new photos

I think I may have added on to the previous album but the newest photos are there. They include the first time we were able to hold David as well as the 2 together.

babies 68 to 614

precious life

Today, Mary Louise made 3 pounds! David has lost a bit of weight since extubation and was 2 pounds 7 ounces. So, we're hoping that he levels out and starts to gain soon. They are both on full feedings every 3 hours. Full feeding for them means 25 mls. Full feeding for a full term infant starts at 30 mls. so they aren't far off. They both look great and seem to be coming along well overall.

Brent is going solo for bath time tonight as I rushed to Houma this evening to be with my mom. My grandmother (Mommom) passed away this morning. She was truly such a beautiful person that touched so many lives - really no telling how many in her 94 years.

I am just heart broken that she is gone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What a weekend!

My apologies for not blogging last night! We've had a nice visit from Brent's parents this weekend and in between, I have been totally exhausted. I am basically keeping a baby feeding schedule - but without the babies which to me, makes it more difficult because I've turned the alarm off a few times and awoke a couple of hours late for a rather unpleasant pumping experience. I am doing my best to keep up with it all though - the pumping and running about town. We still have not set up the babies' room but have one cosleeper and plan to order the next one - so a place to sleep and plenty of diapers from the huge shower I was given just before going into the hospital - we're set to start right? (I mean - these kiddos won't come home walking! ha)

I held David and Mary Louise together today!! I was holding David and Brent came and put Mary Louise on me - said I needed it today. I was rather frumpy. It was absolutely wonderful!! The 2 of them fell fast asleep on my chest as I rocked. I don't remember when I've been able to relax that much. Honestly - such an amazing moment. (and I'm such a lucky girl to have such an intuitive hubby - seriously!)

In answer to a question - when I refer to feeding the babies, it means we hold a syringe of milk plus whatever caloric additives while it trickles down their feeding tubes. They are still gavage fed. I would have been 32 weeks this past Wednesday. They don't allow the babies to try nippling until 34 weeks. Then they start with one bottle a day and add as they tolerate - they cannot drop weight and the sucking burns calories. I will not be able to try to breast feed until they master the nippling most of the time as breast feeding burns more calories than bottle. (This little fact in no way makes me happy - but we'll see what happens).

Continuing to realize my many many blessings.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Every day is special

I got to hold David today!! I mean - really hold him - for a long time! It was absolutely wonderful! I walked up to his little incubator and he was flailing his arms about, had pulled his feeding tube out and was fussy. Then he finally found his thumb (his new favorite toy) and sucked away. The nurse came over and got him out for me and I sat and held him. He did so well - maintained his oxygen saturation pretty much the whole time.

Later, Brent and I went back together and I held Mary Louise while he held David. We each fed one and sat next to each other. Amazing how much the two little ones look alike. As I sat and watched us all together, it finally felt real - that we have 2 children - 2 little babies. Everything until now has been so separate. So individual - ha - so emergent. It wasn't really real before.

Amazing, amazing day. I just know Kuylen is sitting there smiling for us.

The babies are doing well. David is tolerating the Vapotherm beautifully and they are weaning him slowly but surely. Mary Louise is doing just fine without any respiratory support. She desats a little after feedings but recovers just fine. There will be concern about her eyes until there are signs that the retinopathy is reversing. David is definitely not out of the woods there either. Although his eyes have shown no changes, they are still classified as immature. They will have eye exams weekly for awhile.

I was told today that the doctor likes the babies to get to at least 4.5 pounds prior to putting them in a crib (rather than a warmed incubator - at 4.5 pounds, they can potentially maintain their temperature). Our babies have other issues, but the weight gain is a big goal. In addition, they must breathe completely on their own and maintain their saturation. Those are I think the largest long term goals. I will address others as they come up (such as the vision problems). I continue to learn as I go.

How wonderful it was to see our babies together for the first time and to be able to hold our little peanut David.

We will sleep well tonight.

Love, Heather

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Photos!

I couldn't wait to post this group of photos. It shows David's last day with his vent tube in, and his first day without it! It also has Mary Louise's first day with NO O2 supplement!! I'm still so excited about all of this!

We have not yet held David. Last night we did bathe him but it was in his incubator - we didn't actually take him out. He had had such a long day and seemed to be oxygenating well so I didn't push the issue. Hopefully, we'll get to hold him today or tomorrow.

David gets extubated!

In other news, I had my post partum visit yesterday and am healing normally. I have an appointment with an internist next week to see about my blood pressure and am cleared to exercise again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A breath of fresh air!

Our little David was extubated today!! He is breathing beautifully and his blood gas values are actually better without the vent than they were with the vent. He is now on the Vapotherm (nasal cannula) and they were able to reduce the oxygen supplementation already today. His eye exam also came back with no signs of ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) as of yet. His eyes are still very immature though, so the weekly eye exams will continue and could change at any time. We were so excited to receive such good news today though. His face is so sweet - and he was wide awake the whole time we were there this evening. We even got to bathe him in his little incubator. Brent did a wonderful job with that - wiping him clean and covering him with lotion. Then David sucked on his tiny pacifier happily for about 30 minutes. We are just so excited about his progress!! He was up to 2 pounds 12 ounces but lost a bit today and is now 2 pounds 10 ounces. (Maybe we'll have a chunky monkey day tomorrow?)

Mary Louise is officially off of Vapotherm. So, she no longer has a tube across her face and is breathing entirely on her own!! Brent and I gave her her first sink bath tonight!! It was absolutely thrilling. (Really - tonight was just beyond words wonderful). Her eye exam did show that she has stage one ROP which we were told corrects itself most of the time. Surgical intervention is not indicated unless stage III ROP is detected. Again - weekly eye exams will continue. She is now 2 pounds 12.5 ounces and just barely beginning to fill out in some areas. (YAY!)

Brent and I had such a good time tonight - we heard both of our babies cry a bit - Mary Louise is getting quite loud actually - we also got to do some "normal" parent things - change diapers, give baths, help with the changing of the bed linens. We just couldn't have been more excited.

Hoo-ray for a good day!! Keep breathing babies - keep breathing.


Oh my - I almost forgot...we moved up in the NICU hierarchy! We are no longer tucked in the darkest corner of the NICU. No no, the LeBlanc babies are now taking up the big bright far wall by the window! Technically, it's not really closer to the door, but it's farther up in the NICU line! Ha - now Brent says he misses our dark little corner as it was quieter and we were more out of the way there. I'll take any improvement we get - even if this one is sort of imaginary!

Auntie Zoo's photos

Babies 6-5-2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

to satisfy your photo cravings...

These are all of the photos we took this week - there are tons! Hope you enjoy!

First week of June with the babies

I phoned my Mom to check on Mommom this morning. She is doing quite well considering - resting well. Mom is going to work with her about eating and drinking today as she didn't feel well at all yesterday and wouldn't eat or drink much. Sean is there helping with the getting up and down and moving around. Hoping for a speedy recovery for her and continued improvement with mobility. Thankful for a better day today...


P.S. Brent's sister Jolie (Auntie Zoo) also came for a wonderful visit this week. Unfortunately, our camera battery was out so the photos from her visit are on her camera and I couldn't get to them this morning (in my computer illiteracy). Hopefully, I'll get to them soon and post them then.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


To the many family members and friends who read this blog...my grandmother (Auntie Mary to some, mom's mom, Ms. Mary to others or just Mommom to me)fell while getting out of bed this morning. Mom called an ambulance to bring her to the hospital. She has a pelvic hairline fracture. She was discharged home this afternoon with pain medication and is resting comfortably there. (There is not much to be done for a fractured pelvis - pain management is the main issue. It will just take alot of time to heal).

To those that don't know her...
My grandmother moved in with my parents when I was 2. She has played many many roles throughout my life - my (other) parent, babysitter, driver, tutor, spiritual adviser, competitor (she never let us win when we played games!), teacher and of course best friend. After being diagnosed quite a few years back with Alzheimer's disease, she became my most beloved patient - and I've learned more than she could ever know from helping my mother to care for her. She is without question one of the most beautiful and absolutely amazing people I know.

I thought this might be the easiest and fastest way to inform our family and friends. Please send happy, healing thoughts her way.

Sincerest thanks,

there's a competition brewin'

Both babies are now 2 pounds 10 ounces! They seem to be growing more and changing more each day. Both draw up the sides of their mouths and seem to smile. Both can pick up their head and turn it with some effort from side to side. Both can tuck their little legs under them when placed on their bellies and push with their toes. So sweet - I sit at their incubators and smile a big silly smile everyday now. I smile until my cheeks hurt just thinking of all of their progress.

Then I say, "Thank you." Thanks to all of the doctors, nurses and hospital staff whose careful efforts have brought us so far. Thanks to our church for such amazing spiritual and emotional support. Thanks to our family and friends - those friends who are as close as family and those we've never even met. Thank you. We are truly blessed, privileged and just plain lucky to have made it so far. May the progress continue.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fat days make me smile!

Yay for both of our little ones having a fat day!! They are BOTH 2 pounds 9 ounces today! We could barely believe that little David is not so little anymore compared to his once much bigger sister. Mary Louise gained 41 grams today and David gained 60. Of course he is not burning quite as many calories as he still has vent support and is not moved quite as much. He has been started on the human milk fortifier and microlipids. The concoction seems to be working for him. Mary Louise continues to maintain her oxygen saturation while on room air (21% oxygen) at 1 liter. We are very excited about her progress there.

I haven't spoken to the doctor yet to see what his thoughts are on David's weight and the possibility of trying to extubate him again. Of course we don't want to try anything prematurely.

To recap...Mary Louise was born at 1 pound 6 ounces and is now 2 pounds 9 ounces. David was born at 14 ounces and is now 2 pounds 9 ounces. That deserves a WOWEE!

We hope and pray that their progress continues on in a positive direction as we truly enjoy this moment.


P.S. I once again forgot that darn camera in the NICU - I need to put a bell on it or something! I'll get it this afternoon or tomorrow - more photos coming - I promise!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Almost 7 weeks old

Sunday will be 7 weeks since the babies were delivered. My what we've all been through and how far we've come.

Unfortunately, Mary Louise dropped 14 grams today. She looks beautiful all the same though. David gained a bit and is now 2 pounds 6 ounces. Mary Louise is 2 pounds 7.9 ounces. Our little guy is incredibly determined to catch up to his (older by 2 whole minutes) sister.

Both babies truly look amazing. The only change today was to David's pressure. His vent pressure was decreased slightly which is good. He had some trouble today with apnea but recovered nicely with minimal stimulation.

lucky lucky lucky - each and every moment.

We have had a nice lot of family visitors today - and will this weekend. My Uncle Charles and Aunt Millie were driving through and said hello. Sean (my youngest brother) and Jolie (Brent's sister) are visiting for a day or 2 as well. So we are busy and having a nice visit with all of them. It's especially nice for me as I was a little out of sorts post delivery and honestly don't remember much of their previous visits! HA!

More news tomorrow. Also, they are having another eye exam on Monday I think - if not Monday, then Tuesday. Anyhow, they are checking for further development of their eyes and ensuring that all is still ok (please please please).


Thursday, June 4, 2009

growing and growing

Both David and Mary Louise put on weight today! Mary Louise gained an overly modest 8 grams which doesn't yet get her over the 2 pound 8 ounce hump, but it's a gain all the same. David is now 2 pounds 5 ounces and gained somewhere around 28 to 30 grams (I can't remember that exact number.) So, he did very well with weight gain today.

Mary Louise is down to 1 liter on O2 at 21% most of the time - they increase the percentage during holding time and bath time but otherwise she tolerates the 21% well. (21% is considered room air). Technically, she could tolerate a regular nasal cannula now rather than the vapotherm but the nurse said that sometimes they leave them on very low vapotherm settings until they can tolerate no oxygen supplementation altogether as the vapotherm oxygen is warmed and humidified and dries the sinuses less. The physical therapy group will start to see her tomorrow for range of motion exercise to ensure proper muscle and joint development.

David is not quite ready for physical therapy. He continues to desat some with too much contact - though he is much much better than last week and is continuing to improve each day. He is tolerating the low vent settings beautifully and hopefully will grow enough over the weekend to give extubation another go sometime next week. We'll see though - we're just so very excited about all of the progress he's made.

I spoke with the nurse for awhile today about long term care. I know I'm early but my mind does much better if I can process things and ask tons of questions and research everything before having to go through it. (I've been called "obnoxiously inquisitive"- I just always have to know why - about everything.) Anyhow, we will most likely have a minimum of home health visiting 2 or possibly 3 times a week - sometimes they come just to check the weight of the babies. They will also come to give the monthly Synergist vaccinations during RSV season so that we don't have to bring the babies to the doctor for that and expose them to more germs and illnesses. We will have to attend monthly appointments at the perinatologist's office as well and see physical and occupational therapists there to help the babies develop and catch up in developmental skills that are appropriate for their age. The nurses also started to talk to me about ways we can prevent RSV and other illnesses in the babies once home as their immune systems are and will be underdeveloped and their lungs already damaged from all of the ventilation and supplemental oxygen needed now. In short - we must keep them inside - only allow healthy adults to visit, and practice constant and meticulous hand hygiene. Makes sense.

Anyhow, it was nice to have a "so when they are at home, what do I do" conversation - even though the nurse kept reminding me how far we have to go and that anything can happen at any time.

Another happy day.

Love, Heather

P.S. Mary Louise got to wear her sass!y new hat from Ma Mere today - looked fantastic on her and kept her very warm while I held her. Sweet baby girl.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

look Mom! No IV's!!

A big HOORAY for our little ones as they are officially free from IV's! We haven't seen David little foot in ages! They are both doing well. Both tolerating their full feedings well. Mary Louise put on 8 grams of weight this evening. They had not weighed David just yet when we went there. He is doing well though - they were able to decrease the rate on his vent once again. He is now back down to a mere 10 which means he is doing most of the breathing work on his own once more. He seems to be tolerating it very well - sleeping soundly. He also seems much less agitated since his feedings became substantial. Full bellies seem to make happy babies!

David has also graduated to the larger sized diapers! He also floats in them but were are excited all the same to see our little peanut out growing his oh so tiny diapers in exchange for just plain smalls.

Way to go babies! Keep up the determination! We are so very proud of them.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The doctor said today that the babies were "doing very well" and are "amazing". I actually teared up when he said it - he just smiled. It meant so much to hear him say that - the man who does not gush - and gives all news in a straightforward, incredibly honest manner. I totally believed him.

David's medications were all changed to PO preparations this evening. (They will all be given by mouth). Most exciting is that they will remove his PICC line tonight!! (That is his central line access). The IV is sure to follow! It will be wonderful to see him minus the 2 IV tubes - and no IV access is always a HUGE plus. (Greatly reduces risk for infection). His feedings were increased so he is now at full feeding status. He is not gaining enough weight currently (same as Mary Louise) but they will give him another day or 2 prior to supplementing his breast milk. He is now 2 pounds 5 ounces. They were also able to reduce his rate on the vent once more. His CO2 has remained low (which is a good thing - it means his breathing is effective) so they will reduce his rate as long as it does not increase. Blood gases are done via heel stick throughout the day to check his CO2 reading as well as other values. YAY for our little peanut for tolerating all of this so well.

Mary Louise had her first bath with Mom and Dad tonight! We actually ended up watching mostly as the nurse gave us lessons on the most efficient and effective bathing methods. There is always a huge worry about her getting cold so the bath must be as quick as possible. She seemed to enjoy it overall though-especially the warm water over her belly part. Her weight is increasing very slowly - again not as much as needed but it is going in the right direction all the same. She gained 4 more grams this evening. She is now 2 pounds 8 ounces. She has also graduated to what I affectionately call the "big girl" preemie diapers. The tiny ones she was wearing were getting a bit tight around the waist so the nurse switched her to the larger size. (I think these go up to 4 pounds or so.) They are quite big on her but not ridiculous so we were excited to see her floating around in them.

Of course we have photos of all of it which will be posted sometime soon.

I've gotten a couple of questions since yesterday...
1. Are you still pumping? ABSOLUTELY! I feel lucky to be able to produce anything at all and diligently pump every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day and night. The mastitis is slowly clearing and I have 2 days of antibiotics left. I would love to breastfeed when the babies are ready, but they may still need supplements and increased calories even when they go home, so, I will at least continue to pump if breast feeding remains out of reach.

2. Why isn't Brent doing kangaroo care in the photos? He knows he can if he wants to. Many times, he gets home from work, washes up a bit and we head to the hospital so he just doesn't have the right kind of shirt on. At any rate, it isn't because he's not allowed - he just hasn't done it just yet.

Those are the only 2 I think. Hope everyone is doing well. We are "AMAZING!" and doing "very well".

Love, Heather

Monday, June 1, 2009

Financial questions answered

We (Brent and I) have received some questions about, well, finances. As it's always an uncomfortable issue for me to discuss, I've avoided it until I had all of the information I needed. So, I'll attempt to answer them here...

1. Is there a way we could just donate money to help the babies? We have started a donation account for the babies at Capital One Bank. Any money we have received or will receive for them will be put into the account and used to pay for supplies and medical expenses or anything else the babies may need. The account is under Mary Louise and David's names and checks can be either brought to any Capital One Branch, mailed to a Capital One branch, or mailed to us for us to deposit. Checks may be written to Mary Louise LeBlanc and David LeBlanc Benefit, or to the LeBlanc Triplets Benefit. All donations are tax deductible. If mailing a check, your canceled check will serve as the receipt. The address and phone number of the Capital One branch closest to us is as follows:

372 Sam Houston Jones Parkway
Lake Charles, LA 70611

Please email me at heatherbowe@gmail.com for our home address. Also, please let me know if there is any trouble in donating to the account. I've already accessed it once and didn't have trouble so I'm hoping this goes smoothly.

2. Are you registered anywhere? Yes, we've updated our registries at Target and Babies-R-Us. They will be active until the end of the year from what I understand. They can be accessed using Heather LeBlanc or Brent LeBlanc in Lake Charles Louisiana

3. This wasn't asked of us, but a golf tournament benefiting the babies is scheduled to be held at Kosati Pines golf course in Kinder, LA. Brent is the superintendent there and his fellow co-workers, the GM of the course and many many friends in the business have been incredibly compassionate and generous to us to arrange such an event. It will be hosted by Kosati Pines at Coushatta and sponsored by The Golf States and Louisiana-Mississippi chapters of the Golf Course Superintendents Association Of America.

All monies made will be put into the donation (benefit) account mentioned above. Coushatta Casino has also provided rooms at their Inn at a discounted rate for participants. The tournament is on Tuesday June 30th with a 1:30pm shotgun start and the deadline to sign up is on Friday June 26th at 5pm. The field is limited to the first 144 players and anyone is invited to participate.

Please email me at heatherbowe@gmail.com with any questions or for a copy of the flier with complete information.

4. What ever happened with the Medicaid supplement program? HA! what a racket! We've explored all suggested avenues and made some progress. David and Mary Louise now have social security benefits and should have Medicaid supplement while in the hospital since they've been approved for SSI. The catch is that we couldn't get (Medicaid) coverage for Kuylen's care as he passed away at the end of April and we applied for coverage in May. They would not back cover him because we had not applied during April (woops - how silly of me to have them at the end of the month right?). We pay attention to all comments posted and are so thankful that other preemie parents have been so willing to help. If there are any suggestions on our situation with Kuylen, please let me know.

I think that just about covers it. The babies did well today. I think I have arranged for us to help with Mary Louise's bath tomorrow which I am very excited about. I noticed that her hair looked a bit fluffy today and asked if she was now getting "real baths". Her nurse said that as she doesn't have all the wires connected to her anymore that yes, they can give her real baths now. I will call tomorrow to see if I can arrange a time for us to go and assist. YAY! She gained 13 grams today. A step in the right direction. She is now 2 pounds 7 ounces. Her next big milestone is weaning from her oxygen - specifically the vapotherm used to humidify it.

David is also doing well. They are concentrating on weight gain and waiting for him to put on a bit prior to taking him off the vent. They are weaning him from the vent as much as possible (very slowly). His cultures have come back negative and his antibiotics we discontinued today. His weight was the same today as yesterday so he is steady at 2 pounds 3 ounces. He slept so soundly today while we were there - not agitated at all which was WONDERFUL to see. He is up to 17 mls with feedings now and progressing and tolerating very well with it all.

What precious little troopers they both are!!

Oh!! The most exciting news of the day....drumroll please...they had eye exams today and they both did well!!! They are still very immature and will need another exam in 2 weeks and maybe one or 2 more after that, but, so far, so good!! The nurse said that Mary Louise's eyes were marginally worse than David's but they both seemed pretty good and he didn't see any obvious problems! YAY!

Sleep well my little ones, you are so loved.

goodnight (it's very late as I'm writing this)