Wednesday, October 28, 2009

David's chat with Dad

So Brent razzes me about junk food all the time - especially hamburgers - namingly - the "quadzilla". Prior to getting pregnant, I worked out like mad, did yoga regularly, and spent much (but not all) of my time following a mostly vegetarian, low sodium, low fat diet. Of course as of late, many of my dietary guidelines have fallen by the wayside. ha - enough about me - the video is Brent getting a rise out of me via David in the beginning - but really is just the sweetest interaction between father and son.

Bumbo babies

David's first time in the Bumbo - and the first time both are playing in them together!

playtime take 2 - the videos!!

David loves to just stare at the camera when I'm trying to video or take photos. I thought I'd let him try to get it out of his system...

This is the first time Mary Louise ever held a rattle all by herself - she actually took it from me and held onto it for awhile!

And a sidenote - poor Mary Louise had a HUGE mosquito bite on her cheek this week. It has healed quickly and never seemed to bother her though. (You can easily see it in the video).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Play time

I'll have to do this in 2 posts - I'll post the videos tomorrow. Mary Louise is now 9 pounds 1.5 ounces!!!! David is 7 pounds 8 ounces!!! Both babies are taking about 4 ounces of breastmilk every 4 hours and are continuing to breast feed like little pros!

I put them in their Bumbo's today to play. Mary Louise has (in the past week or so) managed to hold a wrist rattle a couple of times and actually bring it to her mouth, shake it, etc. Today, they both made actions suggesting that they were trying to grab for their toys!! I'm just so excited about it! What progress! They also both did very well in their Bumbo seats - I put the trays on them and they tried to grab at the toys I put in front of them. They are tracking objects in all directions and holding their heads up very well. We are still working on lifting their heads and chests from flat on the gound but I have to believe that will come with time - when they gain a bit more strength - and when they are ready.

So, photos to follow...the pictures also include the babies wearing our (mine and Brent's) christening booties. They are so sweet - and fit really well!

The insurance update: Brent met with HR for the casino he works for and they are not looking at new plans for next year, and there is nothing they can do. They did say it was fine for us to leave him on the policy so there is no lapse in coverage. I am set to speak with a very dear friend's mother tomorrow regarding our options for individual coverage for David. I will see where that leads. I went to the Medicaid office today and they couldn't tell me anything about anything. (I had some errands to run in the building so I just stopped in). I only wanted to know the criteria for "re-upping" the babies' supplemental coverage for another year. They couldn't tell me - only said that they filled out the forms and sent them off but they never hear about them after that. They also said that this happens "all the time with those premature babies" but didn't have any advice at all. I will call our case worker tomorrow hopefully.

It's sort of ironic. The vast majority of David's immediate bills have been paid already. Barring any other (unforseen) hospitalizations, David has his hernia surgery but is otherwise in relatively good health. We have another year (hopefully) of Synagis, but it seems the bulk (and by bulk I mean rather than millions, we are now dealing with 10's of thousands) of the cost has been dealt with. I feel like phoning some decision maker and promising that we'll be on our best behavior if they just take my little David back.

Until tomorrow...


Monday, October 26, 2009

Healthcare Crisis

I called the insurance company, again, today to discuss, again, why services were not covered and we were billed. I never expected the answer I got...David has reached his LIFETIME maximum payout. What does this mean exactly? At the ripe old age of 6 months, David essentially is no longer eligible for insurance coverage through Brent's company. Less than 1% of businesses in the country have a cap on their policies - and Brent happens to work for one of those less than 1%. Were we aware of said cap? Well, in short, no. I suppose (well I admit) that's our mistake - not that it would have mattered anyhow. We couldn't have done anything differently to produce a better outcome. We thought there was a yearly cap - but now, unless Brent finds a different job, or his company changes insurance carriers or policies, David will simply no longer have benefits with them - ever. I only reiterate the point because for me, it was a little hard to believe.

I actually had a sort of panic attack on the phone and the representative told me to take deep breaths and compose myself. Ha - when I asked about the bill when I finally got a live person at the insurance company, I heard some typing, more typing, silence, sigh, and a whole different tone of voice - it was almost as if they were about to tell me that someone had died.

So this is not like a life term in prison - you do not become eligible for benefits after good behavior for 7 years or so, this is never - all claims from here on out will be denied, and there's nothing we can do to change that. Luckily, he has Medicaid until his first birthday. They have been notified. I got the same weird tone of voice change from them as well. Funny, the times I've interacted with them before, they acted like we were dirt on their shoes - that needed to be brushed off. Now, when they actually hear we've run into yet another problem, they finally show a smidgen of empathy and stop acting as if we are just sitting here with our hand out.

So, until April, we are ok. After that, we must purchase a separate policy for David in order for him to have any sort of insurance coverage. Thankfully, he will still be listed as insured through his primary for now. He will therefore not have a lapse in coverage.

Could I get a full time job and carry the babies on a policy through me? Sure I could. Unfortunately though, that would mean incurring the cost of not only that policy, but full time daycare for 2 fragile babies. They would almost assuredly end up with colds and sniffles from being exposed to other small children and germs which would increase their risk of immediate hospitalization and long term respiratory issues tenfold. For us, it just isn't an option. I can't make as much as Brent does, and for him to stop working for a period would be detrimental to his long term career.

I saw a commercial a few days ago. The man was staring at a photo of a woman while packing up a house. He unpacked the photo and put it on the sill of a window in a small apartment. The next shot was of him visiting the woman in the hospital. It asked for health care reform and wanted a clause or rule or whatever putting a stop to caps on payouts. I'm sorry - but how were we supposed to know we would have micro preemies needing such extensive care? Furthermore, even with years of warning, how exactly would or could we have planned for such care? At the time, the commercial provoked a bit of emotion - empathy for their situation as I've known more than a handful of patients who found themselves under my care at the charity hospital because of this exact situation. However, in my wildest of paranoid, downtrodden thoughts, I just didn't think I would be weeding through all of the legal mumbo jumbo of the insurance and medicaid systems desperately hoping for some sort of loop hole, or hoping that if I speak to a person one rung higher in the corporate hierarchy, that I'll get a different answer. I didn't think that we would be that family on the commercial.

Nope this is where we are. I write to inform, I write to record, to vent, but also to ask if anyone else has found themselves in a similar situation. I'd appreciate it if anyone has any advice or knowledge on the subject.

Ugh - I feel deflated.

And P.S. Mary Louise's cap is closing in - she has 150k left before she is in the same boat as David.

Friday, October 23, 2009

David needs a nap

So during Mary Louise's bath yesterday, David became really fussy. I put a diaper on her and went to console him and found him making a series of his puddin faces - he pouts with his lip out! It's so funny and sweet and I swear with that face, he could get just about anything out of me! (let's hope he doesn't read this blog until well after his teen years right?


So when the exercise sheet from the speech therapist said that a 3 month old should be saying "agoo" and making "motor boat sounds", I thought, "hmm - that's rather specific." That is until David opened his apologies for the odd angle - if he sees the camera, he stops - so we must record on the fly!

our little ragin cajuns

So, before everyone (Sean) gets in an uproar (Sean) about their favorite (LSU) college team...Brent and I met in Lafayette while attending this school - and I thought it'd be only right to pay some sort of homage to it (right?). In addition, let's be realistic, they pose no threat to your precious tigers (Sean).

They were so sweet in their little outfits - Mary Louise will actually soon outgrow hers! I thought we'd get a few snapshots while we could. Brent just kept snapping while there was no crying in hopes that we could get one or 2 decent shots. Funny the way their size difference looks in these though. They don't look all that different to me - of course David appears a little smaller - but the difference in the pictures is huge!

Anyhow, enjoy!

little ragin cajuns

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Tube video debute

Ok - we'll see if this works...

The gurgling in the video is Mary Louise's favorite sound - seriously, if someone answers her, she typically thinks it's the funniest thing ever. Of course as soon as she (or David) sees the camera, they become more interested in that than anything making it rather difficult to get a decent video. Nonetheless, this is what I got on Monday. It's about 5 minutes - fun for me of course - but not all that action packed.

Ok, now I'm just spoiled.

So last night the babies slept for 4 hours!!! IN A ROW!!! This is the first time in awhile that they have both stayed asleep for more than a 2 to 3 hour stretch - in fact, David has been running us ragged waking up screaming every hour to 2 hours. We've put so many hours on our rocker, I'm afraid we'll have to trade the poor thing in soon!

So, sweet things had their AM feed, played for awhile with 2 uncles and Momma (my older brother Damon is doing his first (half) Ironman in Austin this weekend. He and Kyle came here last night and left this morning. (Much luck and light speed to Damon - and hang in there with the crazy early hours Kyle!!) So, after playing for a good hour to an hour and half...they TOOK A NAP?! WHAT WHAT?! I was actually able to eat a hot breakfast - uninterrupted. There have been no tantrums (as of this morning) and they have been all smiles. Crazy. I suppose their hellatious growth spurt is coming to an end.

I've read that growth spurts can last up to 2 weeks - and can now attest to it. Please don't misunderstand, I LOVE the fact that they are growing. (Of course I do). But the screaming, eating every hour, spitting up, and eating again, wildness wildness wildness can weigh on a girl a bit and this morning is a much welcomed break in the chaos.

I am trying my hand at putting a video of Mary Louise on You Tube. Will post the link when it is done. I'm not really sure what I'm doing - but if successful, this will be a way for me to give access to some of the longer videos to our friends and family.

In the meantime, here are some of the latest photos...including... one of BOTH babies smiling at the SAME TIME!!!

end of october 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a reminder

To our family: our photos will be on the Lindsey Janies site for 2 more days only (they will be taken down on the 22nd). If you were planning on ordering anything, now is the time. Hope everyone is doing well.

Oh - if you need directions again on how to view our portraits, please email me - - or refer to the earlier blog post.


that day

From christmas 2007

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of my dad's very sudden death. It was the day our little family's shield of "it'll never happen to me" was shattered. The day that confirmed (unnecessarily I might add) how lucky we were to have each other. The day that the tired old cliches used to feebly make mourners feel better went from just empty to plain irritating. ("everything happens for a reason", "God doesn't give you any more than you can handle" HA - I say - you handle what you are given. Regardless of what or why it is. Perhaps most damaging..."I know just how you feel." I'll leave that one alone though lest I go into a rant I'd rather not participate in today.)

We are still reeling from his absence. I know there are days that I'd love to call him still and tell him what funny thing the babies he'll never meet have done.

It's hard to believe how much my immediate family has changed in the 2 short years since his passing. He missed my nursing school graduation by 6 weeks, Damon's law school graduation by just over a year. Sean had just started college - and this week he signed his undergrad papers and is marked to finish next fall. Kyle is working to finish around that same time. Collin started med school (I know, we are just a school addicted family). Mommom passed away. I had triplets - his first grandchildren. Mom went back to teaching...and those are just the major happenings, never mind the countless intimate family moments now left bittersweet and incomplete.

I will never see the joy on his face as he holds his grandchild(ren). One of his greatest wishes was to educate all of his children to the point that they were completely financially independent. I can only imagine that he knows we are actively accomplishing that goal.

I remember Mom and I talking with the priest in planning Dad's service in Houma. We both said how Dad was a man of few words, but the ones he uttered mattered immensely. If he said things were ok, they were. If he said act - we did. He would add his opinion only when he felt incredibly compelled - which wasn't very often. But his silence made him that much more influential in our lives. I can't imagine a day in which I won't ask myself if he's proud of me - of my family - of our accomplishments. There are many instances in which I mentally ask what he would do given the same situation.

He was fair, stern, reliable. A rock in our family and a head of our household (even though he let us believe we were all somehow in charge!) Of course he was not without faults but he was one who knew what they were and was accordingly humble. The sting of his loss was felt immediately and is in most ways undiminished still today.

I hold a few stories of him close to my heart - ready to tell when the babies ask, "who's that in the pictures?" or when David asks, "where does my name come from?

Dad, you made more of an impression here than you ever could have realized (or ever gave yourself credit for) and will be sorely missed and dearly remembered always.


Monday, October 19, 2009

poop on Mondays...

So up at about 6am. (umm - a sidenote - if you haven't inferred from previous posts, sleep is one of the MOST important things in the world to me personally. I hate waking up early - have never been a morning person. In fact, I can sleep from 8pm on or stay up all night - either way, I'm just as grumpy early in the morning. I have always taken naps. I was the kid in kindergarten who had to be physically stirred post naptime. I was also the kid who was disappointed in first grade when I found out there was more play time and no nap time. Really. I'm that bad.)

So I've been trying to get up with Mary Louise who wakes up (ugh!) bright and early with a HUGE grin on her face (ok that part never gets old) and usually about a half hour or so before David. We can therefore have a bit of play time before Mr. Grumps wakes up and it really does make my entire day a bit smoother to let her get some of her energy out. Not the case this morning though. Both woke up with little warning at 6am - a mere hour and a half after their last snack which was an hour after their last full feeding (are you doing the math?). So, I went to make their bottles, trying to tata as much as I could in between.

I propped them both on boppies on the sofa and started to feed them. They were satisfied for a few minutes, then David started again with the fussing. Mary Louise needed a little break from feeding anyhow so I scooped up David and rocked him while Mary Louise kicked, grinned, cooed and played. She really is the sweetest little thing. I realized that David was pooping - about 2 to 3 minutes post diaper change (isn't that usually how it goes?) Since David cannot stand ANY wetness on his royal hiney for any amount of time, I set off to change him again. I found what I can only graphically describe as a tiny skid mark soaking into his new diaper. Of course he calmed down as soon as it was removed and he was clean. Ha - he's something. In fact, I'm sure he's working on finishing his BM right now - but he must have interim diaper changes anyhow.

So after his cleaning, I wrapped him tightly and put him in his swing. He was fine for the moment. No doubt revelling in his almighty power to puppet his mommy. (oh I totally respond to their every whim - no shame in that right?) I went to pick up the happy Mary Louise - ha - I thought her back felt a little wet...

SHE POOPED - and I'm not talking just any regular baby poop - I mean she defied gravity and pooped up - seriously, it hit her shoulder blades, went through her clothes, her blankets and thank goodness for sealed leather sofas because a fabric one would have never been the same! Oh my - that's really my response...and still grinning? of course she was. I took her to the bathroom - there was no avoiding a full bath now - as David started to realize that the attention was in fact on something other than him. Poor guy fussed through the whole 5 minute bathing experience.

So, she's clean now, smells like honey and flowers (yumm - thanks Noodle and Boo lotion and body wash). I'm thankful in more ways than one for being able to breastfeed. It makes othewise stinky moments like these smell that much less - umm- potent. Seriously - I remember when the NICU nurses were able to start tube feedings with my milk. The babies went from smelling like band aids to something different. Almost indescribable - but it was absolutely breathtaking to me (not that the poop is so breathtaking - but it does just smell like vinegar as my mom so graciously pointed out). I would sit at their isolettes for literally hours smelling the little seams - even when we couldn't really touch them. Believe it or not, it helped my milk production immensely. Ha - don't worry, I was the strange stand offish mom way before I started sniffing incubators! (at least I realize the weird things I do, and laugh at myself for doing them - for the most part anyhow).

So yep - a post about baby excrement, way to have nothing but gross momma stuff to talk about Heather. Way to sink that much further into anti-socialism. It's ok (Heather) embrace it - be that person at parties who talks about poop and spit up like it's perfectly acceptable dinner conversation. pft - at least now it's about babies rather than various adult patients right?

Have a good day!
xo, Heather

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We're cured!

Mary Louise trying on "vintage" winter clothes (aka momma's old duds)
From ul tri

We went to Lafayette on Saturday to cheer Brent on for his last triathlon of the season. Successful trip? more ways than one.

Ready to race?
From ul tri

We left the house crazy early - but on time - proving that Brent and I can work effectively as a team - even in the dark when we are groggy, grumpy and in a hurry. We of course had enough baby provisions for a short trip out of the country - or a couple of hours away from home!

It was cool outside so our wool blankets made their first appearance. My mother was there and met me at the vehicle to assist me in carrying the babies. One in my carrier - one in her arms was the way we moved about that day. Of course we stayed on the outskirts but at these triathlons, it's almost unnecessary. The participants are worried about one thing - themselves - and couldn't care less what I have or what I'm doing. They are more worried about their last dose of salty sports drink than they are about what's under my blankets. Also, as it's a race, people show up healthy - win win if you ask me! Nary a sneeze nor sniffle is heard. But I have my space rules all the same.

momma and Mary Louise waiting to cheer Dad on!
From ul tri

Proud Mommom with David
From ul tri

My little brother Kyle was also there to cheer on the boys (Damon - older brother; and Brent participated). He has grown what I affectionately refer to as a squirrel on his face (he has a crazy red beard). Anyhow, I saw him coming our way and prepared to defend the parameter until I realized that the creepy beardy was in fact a relative! I told him as he walked up and he said, "well I was wondering why those 2 wild eyed women were carrying around loads of laundry!" I had the babies so bundled that it looked like we were carrying a mass of blankets! (touchet Kyle - touchet)

Kyle, his squirrel, Mom, Sean, "the loads of laundry"
From mom's photos from ul tri

Overall it was a good day. It was a beautiful morning. We found a place on the race route - just around the corner from the finish line where we could see everyone, but we were alone just the same. The babies did well - but may as well have an expiration time stamped on their foreheads which reads, "do not remove for more than 2 hours or you'll be very very sorry!"

From ul tri

It was a good test run for them however. We have an eye appointment in New Orleans in the beginning of November. Ha - after Saturday, I am DREADING that trip! Ugh - poor little David. He is my constant attachment at home, and on our walks. No riding in the stroller for him still (that one time was apparently a fluke- David has now gone back to laughing at the stroller - well he laughs at me for trying to put him in it then proceeds to scream as if I'm beating him until I take him out and put him in a carrier). The car seat is much the same situation, but is a legality - no getting out of it there. We just avoid going anywhere - for more reasons than just that one obviously - but it is definitely a factor.

We stopped on our way home to say a little prayer and "introduce" the babies to my grandmother. No words can describe how much I miss her everyday.

looking at this photo, the babies' hair color makes a little more sense.
From mom's photos from ul tri

From mom's photos from ul tri

So, I was getting a little antsy to brave a visit with our family. Ha - cured now! Homebody it is. The triathlon season is over and I know Brent really appreciated our support. But in addition to the miserable hour trip home, RSV and flu season is known to get worse as the months roll on - with its peak in January and February. This house will be on lockdown shortly. Of course, it's not all that far off now!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Then and Now

With the babies almost 6 months old, I thought it might be interesting to see a little of how far they've come - in pictures!...

David then...
1 day old - 14 ounces - 10 and 3/4 inches long
From first days with the babies

and now - 6 months...a little over 7 pounds and around 18 inches long
From then and now

Mary Louise one day old...1 pound 6 ounces (my big 'un) and 12 inches long
From first days with the babies

and now - 6 months - a little over 8 and 1/2 pounds and about 19 inches long...
From then and now

Their diapers - then and now
From then and now

From then and now

From then and now

My soapbox - and an update on progress...My my - it has been a long road (and that is an incredible understatement). Brent and I will never be the same. We will never be so carefree. I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone, but at the same time, I own and accept that this is simply how this pregnancy turned out for me (and for us). With the media hype about multiples, and with me being in the medical field and always having had a keen interest in women's health, I thought long ago that we (people) just aren't "meant" to have (higher order) multiples. This experience of course, did nothing to change my mind. There are and always will be plenty of exceptions to the rule - but all of the people who so excitedly compared me to the octomom and said I would be fine just because she was...would there have been a story if she were typical? Would there be reality shows about higher order multiples if there were so many success stories? Would there be such a fascination with having a litter of toddlers trailing behind you if it were a sight seen on a daily basis? (umm - I've obviously been frequenting the preemie mom yahoo group message board again - sorry)

It's funny that I never for one second doubted that I could "handle" triplets - my doubt lay (in hindsight justifiably so) in weather or not we could all make it through the pregnancy.

Not that it really matters now. In this moment, we have 2 fabulous babies that have persevered through a kind of hell no adult should have to face. They are beautiful, perfect (no matter what any current or future evaluation says), and I am so lucky to be able to hold them, love them, and nurture them. I will go to any length to protect them and make sure they are given the space and opportunity to become healthy and grow into their potential; because, quite simply, that's what a mother does.

Mary Louise and David have been working very hard learning to roll over and pick their heads up from flat on their tummies. They have made wonderful progress and are tolerating their tummy time in increased increments by the day. It's such fun to watch them explore their surroundings. Sounds, and sights are beginning to play much bigger roles in their little worlds. They are fascinated with rattles, music, mobiles, facial expressions, and are starting to bring everything they touch to their mouths. Smiles and coos are the norm and outright demanding roars have replaced the muffled kitten pleas I once heard. Yes, much progress has been made. But regardless, I keep my quiet promise I made to David when he was just 5 days old...we continue to celebrate wet and poopy diapers in this house.

And my sweet little Jelly Bean...he will always be with me - carried safely in my heart; a testament of how short and meaningful life can really be; how something so so tiny yet larger than anything I've ever witnessed changed the very fiber of my being and the dynamic of our (mine and Brent's) relationship in an instant. We will never be the same - nor would I want to. As I said, I own my experience. Everyday I struggle to think of it not as the incredible nightmare it's been, but as the GIGANTIC stepping stone that got us from yesterday to today. I remind myself that it is my point of before and after - but not my present - and not my family's definition.

Happy 6 months babies!
xo, Heather

Monday, October 12, 2009

Physical Therapy

So the babies are followed by 2 different early intervention development teams - one organized by their neonatologist and one made possible to all NICU babies by the state. The physical therapist for the state agency came today for her first visit with our little guys. She was WONDERFUL!!!! She was upbeat, positive, let me chat the whole darn time (I am a bit over-talkative these days if and when people come by - it's like I'm starved for attention and I just automatically pounce on any poor unsuspecting person stopping here - I've even had a full conversation with our mail lady - never done that before. Anyhow, I talked, she laughed and played gently with the babies.

David was fussy, she was unphased and gave him breaks and calmed him easily. Really - amazing. The babies did really well. The even seemed to enjoy parts of the activity - even David smiled some!

The therapist didn't see any reason to think that they wouldn't eventually catch up to their peers - though they may be a little slow in doing so. She said (and I quote...) "every baby is different - every baby does things in their own time." THANK YOU!!!! She showed me some exercises to do with them to encourage them to roll over and pick their heads up from flat on the floor. She will see them once monthly for the time being and more often if warranted (or needed) when they start to crawl (oh my goodness! they will crawl one day!) or (sniff, tear, huge grin) walk!!!

The appointment was fun and left me hopeful and excited as opposed to beat down and desperate. She even (bless her) helped me put the babies to sleep for a nap after she was done - so needless to say, she took her time and (I feel) got a good idea of where the babies are currently.

We are doing well - of course in need of sleep - but doing well all the same. I am excited and surprised to say that David has started to much prefer nursing to a bottle. Mary Louise LOVES nursing, but really - if there's food involved - doesn't care a whole lot where her milk comes from.

That's the latest.
xo, Heather

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Saturday

5:30am. Brent is trying to get out the door to go to his running club. David does not care about running club- only wants his feeding. Feeding started...

5:45 Brent still trying to leave. Mary Louise wants her feeding too...NOW!!

6:10 Mary Louise done with feeding and back to bed. David still poking around with his, but making progress. Brent finally leaves for running club.

6:15 Mary Louise cries because she is pooping and lost her binky. Binky replaced, baby yoga move assists with digestion, crisis averted. David not happy.

6:30 Mary Louise drops her binky again. Binky replaced. Still pooping. David decides he would rather play than finish his feeding...and by play, I mean he wants to bounce up and down on Momma's lap and grin and laugh. Very sweet - just wish it were about 2 hours later.

6:40 Mary Louise wants some Mommy time. The binky is just not cutting it anymore. Ummm - and she needs a diaper change.

6:45 David cries while Mom changes Mary Louise's diaper. Mary Louise happy lying on Momma's chest on the sofa. David happy when he gets to jump on Momma again. Momma - very very tired.

7:30 David still bouncing (believe it or not) -fusses anywhere but bouncing on Mom - and by fussing I mean crying hysterically. Mary Louise fussing and moving around (probably feeding off of David).

7:45 Mary Louise spits up - down mom's back - down the sofa, down herself and the blanket - somehow smushes her face in it and gets it on her forehead. Looks at me beneath the white curdles and grins - so she may have had a little tummy ache - hence the earlier fussiness (ok - of course hindsight is 20/20).

8:00 David has burped, pooped x2, and bounced to his hearts content. He now wants to go to sleep - on Mommy. Mary Louise resting on my shoulder post hasmat cleanup. David across my lap. Diaper patting x2 = 2 happy babies - one deleriously tired Momma.

8:30 We are all able to move to our respectable co-sleepers and beds. Mary Louise settles in...David not so much.

8:33 replace David's binky

8:35 replace David's binky

8:36 tape David's binky to his head (just kidding!)- put David's binky back in his mouth. At this time, he does not want said soother. He would like Mommy to hold him please.

8:45 David asleep in his makeshift "bed" in Mommy's bed.

8:45.30 Mommy asleep - dreaming of flicking Dad in the forehead for being all spry and running about on this lovely Saturday morning.

10:30 Mommy and babies all wake at the same time. Feeding time again. Mommy comes out of bedroom to find fresh cut flowers, breakfast, and Dad cleaning. Also, dinner has been started in the crockpot - one of Mommy's favorites. Dad has done grocery shopping, even bought a cute cotton dress for Mary Louise, Halloween t-shirts and diapers for both babies, and fresh berries for Mom. Mom rethinks her flicking fantasy and decides it'd be a good idea not to act it out.

I'm a lucky girl in more ways than I can count.

xo, Heather

Friday, October 9, 2009

and the weather man says...

TORRENTIAL down pour!

So I've mentioned before that David can tell the weather - particularly stormy weather. Today is no exception. My poor little guy has been so fussy since this morning that I'm having a very difficult time keeping it together myself. Sweet Mary Louise has waited her turn so patiently for undivided mommy time but today that time has been quite a challenge to find. Enter - rain. It's just started. David is finally calming - it's 1:15 - he's been upset since about 6am. It seems that once the rain is actually here, he has some sort of release and can rest easily. I just wish I could find something to make him happy during his stressful time. I know it's likely the barometric pressure that bothers him - and I haven't heard of anything but sedation helping issues like that. (and that trick was learned as a vet tech - in a different life - and used only on dogs afraid of the weather!) So I just sit, tata, rock, tata, feed, sing, tatatatatata - and tata. If he does fall asleep, there is no way to put him down - it's almost as if he's waiting for me to try and screams hysterically if I even think of putting him in his Nap Nanny, swing, bouncy chair - or even on the bed or sofa next to me.

Anyhow, it's quiet now, and I did get a few minutes here and there to play with Mary Louise. She's hilarious - smiling all the time and she gets so excited about bouncing! I'm thinking of getting a little bouncey chair for her but fear that none with accomodate her small stature safely - she's 8 pounds now. Her quads would make some weight lifters jealous! She is so muscular and strong! I'll have to look into it (the bouncer that is). If anyone has a suggestion of one they just love and advisory email would be very much appreciated. Meanwhile, momma and daddy's laps work just fine for bouncing!

In other news...I have not had to defrost ANY milk this week! Yippeee! and I have also gone up a little on their feeds - they were at 3 ounces for so so long and would rarely take anymore. But with this last growth spurt, I have gone up just 10mls to make it an even 100mls for each feeding. Way to grow guys!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I'm feeling a bit under the weather so I'll be trying to get all the rest I can muster.

Oh speaking of feeling bad - I've started to receive phone calls with automatic recordings reminding me of how dangerous RSV season is for babies and that the season has started so we should be careful and take as many precautions as possible blah blah blah. Though I understand their vigelance, it is a bit strange to receive such calls - almost as if you're being warned of some CDC crisis - " IT'S HERE!! KEEP YOUR BABIES INSIDE!!" What a weird, awful, beautiful, stressful, devastating, lucky, happy, blessed year we've had.

xo, Heather

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I heard that!

Mary Louise had her follow up hearing test today. They were finally able to complete all they had to do. She behaved beautifully and passed the tests with flying colors on both ears. So, she is cleared for another 6 months which is when I will bring both babies in. They will be followed for hearing loss / difficulty every 6 months until they are 3 years old.

Just wanted to give a quick update on their progress - more later - they are both fussy.

xo, h

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a day of blogging

Ok so I may not have been so consistent about blogging lately, however, in my defense, when I do blog every few days, I make it count! David is so funny in the mornings! I finally captured a few of his most entertaining looks from this AM...

David the Entertainer

and a message to Pops - "Pops, Mary Louise would like a pink and purple pony please!"...
From Pops I want a pony!

"Pleeeeease Pops?"

From Pops I want a pony!

"But I want pink and purple!"

From Pops I want a pony!

"Yes there is such a thing!"


Oh this definitely deserves its own post!!! (drum roll puhlease...) David and Mary Louise slept soundly from 9:30pm to 2:30 am last night!!!! HA! how great is THAT?! David has started "cluster feeding" (thanks Astrid for keeping me abreast of the terminology) and has gone a little longer in between feedings at night but NEVER that long! Wow! Brent asked if he'd slept through a feeding or something and pointed out how long they'd slept.


we're big babies now!

David is just under 7 pounds and Mary Louise is right at 8 pounds now!! They are both out of preemie clothes - well David can still wear one onsie - but I'm pretty sure that the current time, is the last time. They are both in newborn clothing and can wear a couple of 0 to 3 month outfits. They are also in size one Swaddlers!! The newborn size was getting a little snug and we had a few leaks, so I switched them to the size ones to alleviate that problem - they are a little big, but work well so that's where they'll stay. This week's goal? start cloth diapering. They are finally getting big enough to handle the extra bulk of the cloth diapers so I think I'll try again this week - I had tried once before with Mary Louise and it worked, but really was just too bulky for her. Since we are home much of the time, I am going to ultimately cloth diaper them here while leaving open the possibility of using disposables when we go out.

I started the babies on probiotics a little over a week ago and have noticed subtle digestive differences: less discomfort, less gas, easier stooling. Anyhow, Brent and I have been very pleased with the results. That along with stopping the Fenugreek seems to have fixed the issues we were having. I think that the amount of Fenugreek I was having to take to increase my milk supply in conjuction with their immature digestive systems was just a bad combination. They were on probiotics in the NICU for awhile as there is some research that shows that it helps to guard against NEC. The research is debatable - with the bottom line being "it might help and it will not hurt". Anyhow, we turned to the probiotics again and have almost stopped using Mylicon - which umm P.S. doesn't exactly work wonders. David's reflux has lessened as well - which likely has little to do with the probiotics but is a notable difference in his digestion all the same.

Mary Louise and David both consistently "help hold" their bottles. They follow objects and faces without noise or prompting of any kind. They hold their binkies with the backs of their hands. Though they haven't made any obvious advancements in rolling over or crawling, they will both "walk" if you hold their forearms only and stand them on the floor. We're still working on the holding the head up from being flat on the floor - though both can do it with an incline as an assist. Mary Louise is still quiet, David still chatty. But both are making appropriate sounds for their adjusted age. We have our eye exam in the middle of next month which will be interesting. I am so hoping that they don't need glasses yet!! (oh my gosh - can you imagine 2 newborn sized glasses wearing kiddos?!) But if they do need them, we will take that in stride as well and work things out. At this point, I'm just so so thankful they can see at all!

Yesterday, we went on our evening family walk and David FELL ASLEEP!!!! Oh I'm just beyond thrilled about that! I've been trying to put him in the stroller a few times a week but always end up having to stroll Mary Louise and put David in the sling. I've been waiting for him for so long (it seems) to tolerate riding in the stroller. Though I don't expect a daily repeat of yesterday, it seems to be a step in the right direction. I will be running again after all!

The little ones have both made vast advancments with nursing as well. I have been trying to nurse them more and more and although I still have to supplement some with the bottle post feeding, it's not near as much as I used to. They are also getting more efficient - I am getting less and less when I pump post nursing. We still have quite a road ahead really if I want to strictly nurse, but if they stopped right now, I'd be more than pleased with our progress.

They both cry when they can't see me and calm when they can - most of the time! They have developed different cries for different wants, but momma is slow and still learning their cues poor dears.

We had an exciting beginning of the week with the rain storms here. If you came in and viewed our home during the night, you'd think we were preparing for a tornado or something. The dogs have long shown a pattern of becoming increasingly afraid of the rain. Lizzie takes one bath mat, Tootle the other and Chester gets under the covers in our bed. Mills sleeps in our closet - all but Mills must have a full view of our bed at all times. But, David was something I was not expecting. He puts on quite the show - only letting me hold him - screaming inconsolably otherwise. He screams if he is put down, is restless all night and fussy and clingy all day. He does not sleep more than about 30 minutes at a time. (and I am so not kidding - though I honestly wish I were embellishing this at least a little!) The excitment comes just before the rain gets here and lasts until it is over. Then he is my sweet grumpy David all over again.

I think Brent believes he will be a "Momma's Boy" forever. I keep telling him, that'll change over night and eventually he'll not want anything to do with me but poor Brent doesn't believe me.

Meanwhile, Mary Louise is pleased as ever to have the undivided attention of her daddy. She grins ear to ear when he walks in from work and falls asleep every night lying on his chest listening to his heart beat.

With both babies settled for the moment, I'm going to try to rest a bit. Hope everyone is doing well!!


Oh - David's hair is finally growing a bit - it's coming in red...genetics - what a funny thing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Off to the races!

Today is the very first day the babies and I exited the house (and entered the car) for something other than a doctor's appointment - or a trip 'round the state park. We bravely went to the race Brent's running club was putting on.

I tucked the little ones into a Moby wrap - which I should have been using long ago - it was really great once I got used to the technique of putting it on. Really, you could barely see them - I just looked really lumpy. I put a light blanket on over the wrap so the wind didn't get to them and set off with Sean to meet Brent. He was helping at the finish line. We stayed for 2 hours, the babies slept and/or grinned - they really did beautifully. People respected our space and just seemed happy that we could attend. It was a really nice morning followed by a fantastic 2 hour family nap!!

The boys are now watching THE football game and I am once again pumping. It's going very well and the babies seem pleased as punch that I've weaned off of the Fenugreek. I am able to give them all fresh milk for about a day and half to 2 days before having to add a little frozen for a day. I still hope to eventually be able to keep up with their total demand with fresh, but for right now, this is a vast improvement.

I must say, I sort of forget sometimes how isolated I am here - being a hermit of sorts out of general necessity. It felt good to get out even for a few minutes - a little disorienting - but nice. So, if you do see me with a bewildered look on my face, please bear with me. In addition to sheer exhaustion, I don't get out much - everything is a little exciting and little scary at the same time when you've essentially been locked up for 7 months. (The babies will be 6 months on the 19th and I was in the hospital a full month prior to them being born).

I should mention - David has been quite the chatter box these days. He proudly says "agoo" over and over with a huge grin on his face, he giggles upon occasion, and he says "a" sometimes as well. Mary Louise is starting to chime in with her own "agoo" sound and makes a sort of motor boat sound as well. She is surprisingly quiet compared to David though so I must make sure to talk to her often as David typically demands a bit more attention. She is a little more advanced with her motor skills but is still working on getting her noggin up from lying flat on the floor. They both sort of instinctively scoot when put on their bellies, but don't get their heads up quite enough yet to get anywhere. We are working very hard though and they are getting stronger by the day.

Thanks to everyone at the running club for making our first outing such a pleasant experience!!

From babies first time out

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Platinum babies

First: milk production: the Fenugreek I was taking was causing some serious gas and tummy problems with the babies so I had to cut way back for their comfort. In consequence, my milk production went down again. (it had finally come back up a bit). I am still diligently pumping every 3 to 4 hours, etc. The Domperidone came in yesterday afternoon. The pediatrician was very familiar with it and discussed it with me patiently assuring me it would be just fine to take it. He looked almost as worried as I was about my decreased production and wished me much luck.

Ok, I've thought alot about discussing finances on here. Mainly because it's always a sensitive topic with people. But also because I don't want to solicit funds or fish for sympathy. Honestly, I think our bills are a bit amusing (you'll see why shortly). I follow other blogs (in my - ha- copious spare time) and much of this doesn't seem mentioned. Finally, along with the rest of this blog, I haven't left anything out thus far and really hate to leave this hilarity out now - I'd like to look back on this post and see the rigmarole we went through...Having said that, please don't feel the need to tell me "not to worry about finances". I AM NOT WORRIED!! (I promise - at least not this year - next year, maybe a little, but we'll see...thanks to the generosity surrounding the babies' donation account, much of the financial pressure has been lifted from our shoulders!) I think this side of things is interesting - especially as a nurse. We never know what the patients go through on the business end of their care.

Ok - estimated total for all hospital care for the babies (this includes Kuylen's 5 days in the NICU which was just over 200k): just under 6.5 million (I said million dollars). HA! Have you ever seen the Austin Powers movies? That's all I can think of when I hear that number. Dr. Evil asking for a bada billion fa fillion dollars. Anyhow, I've thought a bit about it throughout this whole ordeal, but with it being 2 months after the babies' homecoming, the bills have started to roll in. So it has been high on my mind this past week as my part time job of calling about our medical coverage has quickly begun to take up a bit more of my attention. (P.S. in case you're wondering, my hospital stay alone - delivery excluded - was 95k - this is not included in the total above).

We did finally find a way to get the Medicaid supplement for all 3 babies. I had so many moral issues at first with taking it but any hesitation was quickly dropped when I heard their first week alone broke the million dollar mark. I honestly went into this thinking that we had been responsible - that we had increased our insurance to the premium policy when we found out I was (finally) pregnant; that we had saved and saved in preparation for starting a family. I still think we were responsible - but could never have anticipated this!! The supplement lasts for their first year and is based solely on their low birth weights. After their first birthday, their cases will be re-evaluated based on our income and we will loose coverage from what I understand.

So, this week, David's hospital stay bill came in - this excludes added surgeries and only addresses his stay here - not the transfers back and forth or the New Orleans stay. It is 1.67 million dollars. I feel I should frame it. We got the entire bill because our primary insurance company has dragged their feet on payment. Someone is probably still standing there looking at the paper work with their mouth wide open I'd say - in total shock of a young family - otherwise healthy with no claims - and suddenly, the dam breaks...then again, I suppose this is a likely senario in the insurance business. It's fair to say you're healthy until you're not right? So, I didn't know what had happened - and why we got the entire bill at first. Brent said I should send them $20. Instead I phoned the hospital. The sweet girl on the end of the line sounded like she felt embarrassed about telling me the total - as if I didn't know what it was or something. I thought about asking who I should write the check out to and telling her, while trying to maintain a straight face, that I'd have my accountant there to "take care of it" shortly. Ha - she went over their billing processes with me and I was able to request an immediate review from our ins. and a hard copy of the records is being sent to the Medicaid office. What a racket.

The hospital bill is a bit like all of the other bills we've received. We'll get a total, denied by insurance. I'll call, and an hour of phone recordings, "press one now" later, I'll find out (when I finally stay on hold long enough to speak with a real person) that the wrong form was sent in for the claim or the claim was made to Medicaid before it was made to our insurance company. With a little determination, alot of borrowed time and perserverance, I am pleased to say that I have always been able to get the claim reconsidered and paid appropriately. I do wonder though, how much extra money the insurance company makes by denying claims for people that should have been paid on the basis of improper filing. Once you pay a claim from what I've found, there is no reimbursement.

Perhaps the worst system to deal with? The Medicaid system. I have found myself on the phone with some of the rudest most disrespectful people while trying to work my way through that mess. They originally didn't have our primary insurance on file. I had to spend 3 hours with numerous departments - most of the time on hold - in an effort to work out the confusion - and that was just one afternoon. I have pumped on the phone, fed, changed and burped babies on the phone, sung lullabies on the phone, cooked dinner, balanced the check book - anything to take my mind off of the fact that I had in fact been on hold for a full 30 minutes. I have been beraded for having multiples that I "cannot afford" by the state workers. I have been told that "I didn't do my job" when I requested a change in the listing of our insurance. Ha - I was trying to essentially save them money and still was met with snyde remarks. Ultimately though, I have worked things out to our advantage and I'm proud to say that we did things honestly and legitimately - using programs put in place specifically for situations like ours. Without getting too political however it does frustrate me that even though we did as far as I'm concerned prepare properly for expanding our family, we were basically set up for having to relying on the system eventually with the ridiculously inflated cost of healthcare.

Seriously - over 6million dollars? The first time I heard it, I smiled, then giggled out loud. It was as if it was absolutely nothing and everything all at once. Really, how does one even begin to stress about such an abstract concept? So, I've resigned to simple enjoy these little ones, every day, and be thankful that their caliber of care is even available to us. It gave us our family. Who can really put a price on that?

The babies are doing better today as far as their tummies go (this post is another that has been 2 days in the making). They slept a little more last night as well which was nice. The Domperidone seems to be working already - just 2 days in so I'm hoping that continues and appreciating what I can do now. Since Mary Louise and David are gaining in their head control each day, we tried Mary Louise (since she weighs more) in her Bumbo today. She did beautifully! Funny to see such a little thing being so grown up. Before we know it she'll be smashing Play Doh into her brother's hair!

Uncle Bean (my youngest brother Sean) came in last night to stay with us for his fall break. We've had a nice lazy visit so far...

Mary Louise and Uncle Bean
From Mary Louise in her Bumbo

Brent and David
From Mary Louise in her Bumbo

Mary Louise in her Bumbo
From Mary Louise in her Bumbo