Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's spreading!!!

David's "phase" has officially spread to Mary Louise. She clings like a baby monkey to my neck 24 hours a day now (well, since yesterday anyhow). I'm pretty acutely aware that there simply isn't enough of me to satisfy them sometimes - though I am doing my very best to compensate.

Today started off rather roughly. At about 2am both little ones were wide awake and VERY fussy. They stayed that way until about 4, slept an hour, and were at it again by 5. They did fall asleep again around 11am and rested for about an hour which was nice.

The afternoon sunshine has worked wonders for our mid to end of the day morale. Today after being drenched in sun block and our walk, I set up a blanket on the grass for them - no toys - kept things simple. They loved it. The grass is still a bit dry and makes a sort of crunchy noise with which David was especially fascinated. Mary Louise was more into pulling up the grass than making it crunch. They both walked about holding on to my fingers and seemed to love the feel of the earth under their little toes. I'm just really excited that the experience seemed so positive - no issues, no sensory overload. They have made and continue to make soooo much progress every day.

David, my champion eater, has outdone himself once more and increased his puree intake to 4 servings yesterday and today. Amazing. Due to his size, he gets hungry about every 2 hours or so - meaning he (and I) are constantly covered in various colors and textures of veggies and fruit.

Mary Louise is continuing her slow and cautious eating progress as well. Today, they both had quite a bit of fresh avocado - something she has previously been consistent about turning down. She ate it as if she's always enjoyed such - no gagging- no wretching.

So we're doing well - getting through. We're all present as my Papa always says...

I do aim to upload some photos and videos asap! We had a wonderful few days last week and over the weekend with Mommom helping out and a quick visit from Nanny Pan!

xo,
Heather

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our HUGE news!!!

DAVID HAS INSURANCE!!!!!!! I just can't believe it! In fact, I'm really worried I might get a phone call to tell me that they mailed a packet to the wrong David Oliver! BCBS accepted him!!! It's actually a better policy than Brent's company offers - though of course we'll pay a hefty (but do-able) monthly sum for it. No matter. It's insurance! For that, we are appreciative!

I'll leave this big news as is - untainted by any other experience. We are just so so so excited!

xo,
Heather

Monday, March 29, 2010

to the Doctor we go...

David has not slept (well) since Saturday. He'll settle down for about 30 minutes only to suddenly wake up screaming and balling up his fists as if something is really wrong. Last night it got so bad that we considered taking him to the hospital...I phoned the nurse on call and she felt it was likely fluid in his ears and head congestion. He hasn't had a fever, his belly is soft, he does have thin, clear nasal discharge though...He also hasn't been sucking as well. He'll take the bottle and then after drinking just a few sips, shove it away as if he's frustrated. He does still drink well when he's sort of half asleep during the night though.

Anyhow, I brought him to the doctor this morning. He's just fine. In fact, he slept all the way there and was all smiles during the little more than an hour we waited to see the doctor - AND during the 30 min. or so appointment. What a booger. Maybe we should move the playroom to the doctor's office eh? So his ears are apparently beautiful and he looks healthy. The doctor proclaimed that he's just going through a phase. Awesome. So why was I walking up and down the driveway at 2am last night in an effort to just get him to stop. crying.? Why did I only get 2 (as in 1. 2.) hours of sleep last night? I maintain something is making him uncomfortable. It may not be obvious, but it's happening and he's just not acting like himself. In case you're wondering, he's not teething either.

Ha - so I've been chipping away at this post all day - little by little when the mood hits...David WAS uncomfortable! It seems (I know you're holding your breath for this) David...was...HUNGRY! Ha - he's been eating purees like a champ over the past week or so -but never like today! He at: 3 servings of purees today (compared to 1 to 1.5 normally), a serving of fresh pears, a few fresh blackberries, 7 tablespoons of oatmeal AND 20 ounces of breast milk - so far! (he's still going on the breast milk front). I feel awful. I honed in just fine on the runny nose and with my lack of sleep and visions of chest colds, paranoia about hospital stays, vents, and all of the excitement that goes along with all of the above, I apparently over-looked basic body processes. I'm sure he was thinking, "woman! what the heck are you doing wringing your hands and making frantic phone calls?! get in the kitchen and cook me some pie or something!! sheesh!" With the amount of eating he did today though, I will definitely have my work cut out for me - it takes the better part of the day to get that much in him! (In comparison, Mary Louise is UP TO about 1/2 to 1 whole serving of puree and really either will take as much fresh in as I give them. Mary Louise, however will not, under any circumstances, be spoon-fed cereal-regardless of how it's mixed.)

I did give David some Benadryl (per Dr.'s orders) to help with the snot nose - the Dr. thought it was allergy related as the pollen here is flat ridiculous this year. It seems to have done the trick.

Mary Louise is really trucking along with her motor skills! Tonight, Brent saw her tuck her head and roll when she lost her balance. She is pulling up on EVERYTHING! Including attempting to stand up in the bath tub. Oh and speaking of bath time, that little stinker puts her face in the water - regularly! I definitely have to keep a very close eye on her!

Please please let Mommy get a little rest tonight!

xo,
Heather

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Up All Night Phase

Mary Louise and David are going through another phase of staying up quite literally all night - and all day. They do seem to need a nap from about 7am to 9am but are otherwise on the go go go constantly! Exhausting? Frustrating? Mind blowing? All of the above!

Mary Louise crawled yesterday!! I mean real crawling - AND she was HAPPY about it!! What a change! She crawled all around the house, walked outside while holding on to my fingers, then walked up and down the driveway in her walker so many times that I lost count - and again with Brent 6 more times. Her eating has at least doubled in terms of amount at each sitting. She is doing much much much better and making progress all the time. Amazing what a few simple exercises can do!

David is doing more organized walking when holding on to my fingers, and he is getting the hang of controlling his walker. Always the big eater, he had half a fresh pear, a serving of fresh blueberries and half of a serving of green peas last night for dinner - all followed with his "night night" bottle of 5 ounces. (I'm thinking he may be having a growth spurt.)

I on the other hand seem to be coming down with Brent's funk from last week. I am drinking tons of fluids and sleeping whenever possible in hopes to ward it off at the beginning...

Hope everyone is well!
xo,
Heather

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One on One

Big news this morning as David finished a full serving of sweet potatoes!! This would be the first time ever he's finished what is considered a full serving! (4 ounces). Mary Louise finished about 3 ounces!! The most ever! They both did so so well!

It's been another beautiful day here and an exciting afternoon as Nannie Pan has come for a long awaited visit! She has not seen the little ones since their days in the dark corner in the back of the NICU!

The following are some photos of the babies in Bowe originals - my old dress and an outfit that made it through (gulp) all of the boys...

individual photo shoot 32310


xo,
Heather

Monday, March 22, 2010

(What a) Happy Monday!!

Well, things seem to be turning around here at the LeBlanc homestead...without getting into the politics behind it, the new health care reform bill may in fact ensure that David gets covered again by our group ins. policy this year! At the very least, we'll be able to reapply for private coverage in 6 months or so and should be able to get into the high risk state plan until then. More as I find out on that subject...

Brent (always my hero) sent some cross emails to animal control after I'd called twice without any response to my messages. They finally got back to him - actually, the head of animal control got back to him. THEY APOLOGIZED!!! They said that what we are doing is far more than adequate for our pets and said that the officer who came here and gave me such a hard time "must not have listened" to what I was saying in reference to our daily routine and pet care. They assured us that we would no longer be bothered but if for some reason some one did come here again that I am to refer them directly to her and she will personally take care of the matter. Unfortunately, in an effort for immediate peace restoration, Mommom (the good sport that she is) took Lizzie back to Houma for the time being. So, the Lizzie dog is enjoying a bit of one on one spoiling (as I swear, that dog gets away with absolute craziness over there) and though we are missing our 60 pound toddler, we take comfort in the knowledge that she is being very well taken care of over there.

We had an afternoon visit from our dear friend Kortnie and Brett yesterday after church. The babies put on quite a display during afternoon play time - too funny. When our guests were leaving, Mary Louise suddenly waved "goodbye!" My goodness, those little ones are just making progress all the time!

This morning, I called our pedi just to followup with Mary Louise's digestive troubles. She does fine for a few days, then seems to get backed up again - and round and round we go. The doctor ok'd a change in cereal to oatmeal and recommended plain prune juice twice a day until things are back to normal. I just wanted to know that nothing more serious could be going on. He seemed certain that it was a dietary matter and gave me a few more pointers on getting her on track. He also mentioned that some babies just have these issues - not a really good explanation for me, but I'll make it my first priority to remedy her immediate situation -then get back to figuring out the long term.

So, that's what's happening around here today.

Mommom's photos from over the weekend...
2010-03-21


xo,
Heather

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nap Time for Momma!

Mommom and Uncle Kyle popped back in for a quick visit last night. They will stay today and leave in the morning. Purpose? To give me some nap time! Ha - it has been a very very busy week and poor Brent has really felt under the weather with all of the heavy pollen in the air here. So, late yesterday afternoon, we graciously accepted the offer for a few more sets of hands.

Another beautiful day today means another gorgeous afternoon walk and playtime on the driveway. Mary Louise holds on to my hands and walks rather quickly now. Yesterday, she started to pull up on anything offering the opportunity. However, Madame Bravery has quickly decided that she is big enough stuff to LET GO and then look around for something else to grab onto - i.e. me! She can now pretty much crawl though she is incredibly disgruntled about it. She grunts and pulls with her arms and sounds like a body builder working out at the gym - but boy can she go places! I have a sneaky feeling things will only get faster from here...

She has been doing really wonderfully with eating. She is gagging less - well gagging later in the meal (which is when we stop - regardless of how much she has taken in). The exercises seem to have helped immensely so far - so we're hoping that things in this area only get better. I've been using the baby feeders in which I put fresh foods in a netted area and let them hold the handle. I call them the lazy mom's puree makers (and I would be the lazy mom). Anyhow, she and David absolutely LOVE them. This week, fresh pears. I've given them blueberries, blackberries and the pears so far. They also love to chew on fresh cut bell peppers and carrots. So she may never be a fan of Cream of Wheat or mashed potatoes like her dear old mom, but she hasn't turned down a fresh whole food yet! (Although having a professional tell me that she has sensory issues was far from unexpected, it's never fun to hear that there is something amiss with your baby wouldn't you agree? Anyhow, it's taken me a few days, but the stubborn-ness has kicked in and I've decided that this is a non-issue. - I decided...with the help of a quick email exchange with the occupational therapist who assured me one more time that she feels Mary Louise will in fact make great progress in this area.)

David is slowly getting acclimated to holding fingers and walking and he is still making progress with crawling. He seems to have full conversations with whomever is around - so funny. He loves to study things. The sweetest so far (or my favorite anyhow) is to watch his fascination with shadows. Ah - my little Peter Pan. When playing outside, he gets so so excited over the way his shadow moves, my wild hair shadows, finger puppets, etc. He also loves the texture of the cement and laughs when he touches it with bare feet.

Must run as it's feeding time here! Happy weekend to all!

xo,
Heather

Friday, March 19, 2010

Let the Anniversaries begin.

Today marks the anniversary of my admittance into the hospital. Funny that it's already been a whole year and here I sit with not 3 but 2 little ones who are barely larger than a typical newborn - though I should point out that they have all the sass and pizzazz if not more of any other almost toddler on the block! I am amazed daily - no by the minute or second by how much we've endured - by how our priorities have changed- by the many many MANY blessings and peaceful moments we've been given in the midst of absolute chaos. What a different perspective we have now. What matters - what, well, just doesn't...

I still remember my sweet doctor's voice on the other end of the line when he phoned about my lab results. He was worried, sad, scared, but tried so hard to sound upbeat. He said he was sorry but he'd have to admit me for "the duration" of the pregnancy. I insisted on knowing my exact numbers. He hesitated, but went over them with me knowing that it would stress me less to know what was really going on. I called Brent. He didn't answer. I hung up and phoned again. He answered. (the first time I used this tactic was to tell him about my dad - it's worked for emergencies ever since) I told him I was being admitted. He thought it was for the weekend. I told him it was for the rest of the pregnancy. He responded, "but Heather, you're only 5 months along!!" All I could manage to say was that I would be there for however much longer we had together. I just couldn't tell him that statistically speaking it was more than likely that I would loose the entire pregnancy - it was a fact that I didn't or couldn't face at that point. So surreal - to feel the babies kicking happily as always - knowing that we really were at this point living on borrowed time. Of course I thought about hiding - insisting that staying home and pretending everything was ok had to be better than entering a sort of lion's den. I mean these were the people that said they wanted to help, but at the same time talked of "loss of a fetus" and "evacuating a uterus" as if it was removing a mole or something.

Then in the midst of scattered thoughts, horrible fears, and many many tears, I had to remain calm, serene, focused on keeping those babies to myself as long as my poor body would allow. That was my only job - to sit there and bake.

Fast forward to today. My lovies napping quietly in their swing and Nap Nanny. We split and avocado and a pear from breakfast this morning - so much fun. Mary Louise got upset that she couldn't see me when I was preparing the food and crawled out of the playroom and was in the hallway when I got to her!! We are doing just fine - in our new normal. Have we had hard days? of course! Who doesn't? As I said, it gives us perspective - a frame of reference. I'm still thankful every time I change a dirty diaper - still giggle sometimes when I hear them fuss or cry. I love the smell and feel of the tops of their heads. They love to have their little head fuzzies brushed. They grin and wiggle when Brent walks in the door at the end of his work day. These are such simple things that we waited so so long to do - and not a day goes by that I don't appreciate the opportunity to do or experience them with my Mary Louise and David Oliver.

xo,
Heather

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh what a (crazy, insane, surprising, deflating, exhausting) morning!!

We were up with the sun today to get ready for our morning. The babies needed to eat early, get bathed, and dressed - then let me do the same. I did get a really quick shower and got dressed...complete with underwear! (I think that's pretty good these days). I even dried my hair - though I just threw it in a ponytail afterward AND put on a little makeup for our morning o business. Mary Louise and David did their best to cooperate though I'm pretty sure I was asking a little too much of them to really get it together right off the bat - and shifting meal time up a little over an hour to boot.

First stop: BCBS private division insurance office...the agent I've been speaking to was very nice and politely told me there was little to no chance that we'd be approved. He then added that stranger things have happened in his 23 years with the company so I should remain cautiously hopeful until I get an official denial letter. He said that regardless of David's current health, his respiratory history is what would flag him as uninsurable. I asked him how long their prematurity would follow them as far as issues like this are concerned and he said that his company reviews back 5 years. This means that if David stays healthy and without further hospitalizations or diagnosis for 5 years, he would likely be considered insurable again. Not that it matters now, but in the past I've been told that a private insurer wouldn't even consider them as healthy adults - because they were micro-preemies. This would mean that if either of them wanted to be self employed, they couldn't because they couldn't get benefits. - I know - one thing at a time. Part of me loves to ponder such luxurious issues - as at one point we could barely look 5 minutes into their future, much less 5 years or more!

So, the application is started and is being processed. If denied, we will hear within a week or 2.

I did overhear an interesting conversation while meeting with the agent...He answered a call while filling out David's application (I will resist the urge to chastise him for being rude). Of course his cellular was turned up way too loud and I could very clearly hear a woman on the other end of the line. "I need to look into a private insurance policy for myself as my husband's company doesn't have open enrollment for theirs until...and (here's the kicker)I'm pregnant." (Agent's response- said in about the same tone as if he was telling her she had the wrong number ): "Ma'am, no one will insure you while you're pregnant." Then he just hung up the phone. Ha - pregnancy falls under the same category as cancer or HIV or any other terminal disease process. My knee jerk reaction was to reach across the desk, pick him up by the shirt collar and shake him screaming, "How in the world do you sleep at night?!" I secretly feared he'd just upset that poor woman so much it would send her into labor.

Rather than making a scene, I just leaned forward, grinned, and said, "all I really need is a denial letter from you so that I can start the application process for the fabulous sub-standard Louisiana high risk plan." He replied that he knew what I needed but unfortunately, I had to take the time to fill out and pay for the entire application process in order to get it (don't worry, the money gets refunded once we're denied). Anyhow, it's done. All I can think is "the house always wins." I feel that rather than all of the fluff they try to sell you for their "premium policies", honesty would be more appreciated. I picture their honest sales pitch going a little something like this, "Ma'am, I can sell you a pillow. Not just any pillow - this one is completely invisible. It doesn't get in the way and it's not something you have to store. In fact, this particular pillow lies there making you feel all warm an comfy. It's a pillow of propaganda there to make you feel protected. But, your pillow is really owned by a company that is in the business to getting paid rather than paying out. So, when you really need a soft place to fall, your pillow will be ripped right out from under you- because you see ma'am, the house ALWAYS wins. But as long as you're healthy, you get to keep your big, fluffy, beautiful pillow for the bargain price of (insert dollar amount here)."

Next stop: the Pediatric Cardiologist. By this time I was (apparently obviously) exhausted. I walked in, the receptionist said hello, that the babies looked good, were getting big, etc. We waited for a few minutes and were called back for EKG's. The nurse (who smacks gum - UGH such a pet peeve of mine) said, "wow. you look tired." She said this while watching me try to maneuver a side by side double stroller through the door - not holding the door - watching. I looked up through my glasses (that I desperately need now when I'm tired) and my falling hair (that Mary Louise so graciously pulled out of my not so neat ponytail. I frowned and said, "thanks, I am exhausted." I should have asked her what her frame of reference was. Geez. Just what I needed - someone to tell me how bad I look on a day that I bothered trying to look, well, less bad. Telling someone they look tired - ESPECIALLY when you don't know the person - ranks right up there with telling them they look fat, bloated, and or swollen in my book. Moving on...

The babies did as well as they could. They were definitely ready to have some genuine playtime when all was said and done. David has a small PFO (patent foramen ovale)- very tiny and not very concerning. He is expected to grow out of it with a little more time. He will be rechecked in 3 years just to make sure this issue has resolved and there aren't any others.

Mary Louise still has her PFO. It is a little bigger than David's but is expected to resolve. More concerning is the fact that she still has a coronary artery fistula. It is a branch from the coronary artery (that supplies blood flow to the heart muscle) to the pulmonary artery (that goes to the lungs) - a branch that is not supposed to be there. Now, if you are to have a fistula, this would apparently be the one to get. The pressure in the lungs usually keeps them from getting big and causing symptoms. The problem is that it steals blood flow from the heart muscle and drips blood into the lungs. The amount of blood in the lungs should not cause an issue- it is a negligible amount. However, the loss of blood to the heart muscle is concerning. Hers steals up to 5% of the blood flow that should supply her heart with nutrients, oxygen, etc. She is currently asymptomatic. But the fistula size has not changed in 6 months. From here, it could: 1. stay the same (most likely), 2. resolve (just a possibility), or 3. get larger (not likely but if it does happen, she will need surgery). If it stays the same, it could come into play when she is (gulp) more active - as in running or in organized sports. So, if nothing else, before putting her in any sports like activities or classes, we would need to consult with a cardiologist and likely have a stress test done. Currently, the doctor wants to recheck her in 6 months. If the fistula is the same again, he will check it yearly until or unless symptoms develop.

I had to smile when the doctor said that Mary Louise and David were some of the most relaxed and happiest preemies he's ever seen. David is so funny. Ever since his hernia repair, all he does is smile. But, the relaxed part really got me - those babies never. stop. moving. (I'm not kidding). The doctor said this is typical of preemies - which is what I've heard from other moms and read in preemie related articles. Little fireballs. Ha.

We came home and of course as the babies slept in the car on the 30 minute drive, I was once again the only one who was tired. So, walking we did, then we had playtime in the driveway. Each of them held onto my fingers and walked. They loved to watch their shadows on the concrete - David kept trying to catch his. Mary Louise has started a new belly laugh thing that she does when she's outside. She just bursts out laughing really loudly - wrinkles her nose and flaps her arms. It's just too funny. So, in the end, we had a really wonderful day - so beautiful in the sunshine.

Mary Louise has also started a new cling to mom phase - oh and even better - a buck the bedtime phase. Last night she was wild until 9pm - they go to bed at 6pm...

xo,
Heather

P.S. After just one day of doing the recommended facial exercises with Mary Louise, I have already noticed an improvement in her eating. Today, she was actually excited about the spoon for the first time ever!

Photos and busy busy day!!

Hopefully, I'll get to tailor this album later but I didn't want to wait anymore to post them or I'll likely forget altogether!

February March 2010


We have a super busy day today...an appointment with an ins. agent for David, and a cardiologist appt. for both Mary Louise and David. I'm going it alone as Brent had to work - sooooo wish me luck!!! More later!

xo,
Heather

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Well, I never!

There are so so many huge events that have happened over the past couple of years that I truly with all of my heart NEVER in my wildest dreams or nightmares thought would happen to me and my family...I never thought I'd have any trouble getting pregnant - then after 2 years of trying, I started to believe we'd just never have children...

When I FINALLY did get pregnant I NEVER thought I'd be one of the less than 2% of people to have conceived triplets - and as a borderline vegetarian, avid about meditation, yoga and obsessed with exercise - how ironic that I'd be the one to get all of the possible blood pressure related issues so incredibly early. I certainly never thought we'd go home with 2 of our little loves and have to go through the most intense heartache (in my opinion) imaginable - loss of a child. I never thought my dad would be gone way before his time - and very shortly before he got to be a grandfather. I never thought my babies would not be able to know the joy and privilege of meeting and knowing my grandmother...

I never thought I'd be here today - a mother of multiples no less - with such intense yet almost invisible medical needs - doing my best to meet and exceed all of them and protect them in any way necessary.

I've always thought I was so so lucky - in fact after the initial shock of my dad's death, I thought "why not me" over "why me"- I've been so lucky to have this family - we all have pretty open relationships and lean on one another, though we - many many times - don't see eye to eye, we usually can appreciate our differences and get through it (whatever it may be) and without question, are there for one another at. all. times.

But today, today I never ever ever thought that I'd be accused of such a foul and filthy, horrible horrible thing...animal cruelty. No, I'm not kidding - and I am absolutely that offended. My dogs were under the carport in their kennel - a new wire kennel in mint condition WITH clean towels in it for a bed. I put them out there during appointment days so they 1. don't bark every time someone comes to the door, 2. aren't in our business when I'm trying to learn the newest therapy exercises, and 3. because I can - it's a carport for crying out loud!! They are in a kennel, fed, bathed, and watered with bedding - they don't even bark!! Tootle was in the backyard because...well, she's 16 and has all of the makings of any other 16 year old dog - meaning she has to go out every 30 minutes and it's really hard to keep up with that and babies and therapists and AAAHHH- enough already!!! So one of my "concerned" neighbors (mind you that there is only one who can see the kennel anyhow) reported that I had a large dog in a "tiny" kennel and told animal control that they might want to "check things out". They came, interrupted me while pumping, woke the babies just after I'd put them down, and told me that it was considered "animal cruelty" to have a dog in a kennel under a carport because it was inadequate shelter...the dog must at all times have access to a dog house. Then the guy went on to say that the dogs are beautiful, obviously taken care of and the kennel is more than adequate to accommodate Lizzie's size. Thanks tax dollars at work. This "I never" obviously doesn't compare to the aforementioned ones, but nonetheless is a true "I never ever ever". I worked as a vet tech for just over 3 years in both day and emergency veterinary clinics. I once stayed 4 hours over to assist in a surgery ON A PIGEON only to have the thing die at the last minute anyhow. I've saved 2 3 legged rabbits from being eaten by their owners who just didn't want to take care of them anymore. ALL 3 OF MY DOGS ARE RESCUES that people pretty much begged me to take because they couldn't find homes for them!!! I am scared to think how many more "I nevers" will be overturned with time...

I'd had a rather rough morning anyhow- the occupational therapist came to evaluate Mary Louise. She does in fact have some official sensory issues - but the therapist showed me some exercises and feels that with some time and diligent daily work, she can overcome them - so it's very hopeful. They are likely due to the harsh stimuli she was exposed to so early on. Anyhow, it was difficult to hear - though I'm really trying not to get all up in arms about it - just another thing to work on really. I must add that the therapist is absolutely wonderful - not phased at all by the zoo here and by my rather lax approach to feeding and an official schedule. Moving on...

Then David had his Synagis shot -always a fiasco - but they've each had their last ones (as it turns out, they were not approved for any more) so that's one less visitor we'll be having until (hopefully) the next RSV season starts.

After that is when I'd finally put them both down for naps and animal control showed up...

What a day - I feel quite defeated. Tomorrow is thankfully a new day...

xo,
Heather

Friday, March 12, 2010

sweetest moments

I woke up this morning just before Mary Louise and David. David woke next and I gave him a teething ring to play with for a few minutes as I knew Mary Louise wouldn't be too far behind. David lay cooing and smiling at his toy. Mary Louise started to stir. When her eyes finally opened - wide as always - she immediately searched for her brother. An enormous sleepy grin spread across her face when she found him just across from her, playing quietly. She then turned her gaze to me and smiled even wider (if that's possible) and snuggled up on my shoulder for a moment before really getting active and wanting to start her day. What a sweet way to wake up- what a wonderfully simple happy moment!

xo,
Heather

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One down...

Well, we have officially been denied by one private insurance company - United Healthcare's private division...the reason? "History and illness related to premature birth". Awesome. I have one more to complete the application for in an effort to fill the denial letter requirements to get David into the state high risk plan (sub-standard at best and crazy expensive but better than nothing) and am waiting to hear from the Medicaid review board which I've been verbally told that we don't qualify for but filed the application anyway - can't hurt to try right?

model citizens

The babies had another professional photo session this morning. I am very excited to say that they behaved incredibly well! We did our best to keep it quiet and relaxed and they responded beautifully. They had a very short moment or 2 in which breaks were taken but really for the most part played and hammed things up for the camera. I'll be really happy to see the photos when they come out sometime over the next 2 weeks.

Mommom helped tons with the photos - keeping Mary Louise and David looking and entertained - holding one so no one ever felt neglected and helping out with placements and positioning. All 3 of us were coming up with innovative ways to get them both together, looking and comfortable. They are such opposites really - what pleases one, many times, doesn't do much for the other so it helped to have an extra set of hands there for entertainment purposes as well.

When we came out of the session, the fog from this morning had lifted leaving a really beautiful day. We are looking forward to a warm and sunny afternoon walk!

xo,
Heather

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

busy body babies!

Mary Louise and David are more mobile every day! They can scoot a few feet from where I park them in no time making things around here quite exciting indeed. Mary Louise is doing something in between an army crawl and an actual crawl - though it seems she'd much rather stand. When holding 2 fingers, she walks very carefully where ever she likes. David of course is one step behind- no pun intended - and is now army crawling a bit. Ever the attention seeker, he'd much rather you just move him where ever he points than do the work himself. But, he's begrudgingly making progress all the same (as long as we concede to hold his bottle for him sometimes).

They are just starting to really get into things as well. Hands grabbing cups of water - or plates of food. I am having a harder and harder time sneaking off to pump as I must at all times be in full view - preferably on the floor and within tiny arms' reach. They are figuring out how all of their toys work - and getting a little bored with some of them. They are also really interested in textures: the feel of different fabrics, their play mat, the tile, the carpet, the sofa. They touch and taste everything they can get their hands on. A new favorite activity is putting their hands under running water - and turning the faucets on and off. Our next task to work on is stacking - blocks, etc - just fine motor skills. All in due time - right now they are more interested in knocking down the stacks!

We have quite a few visitors coming this week (end)...Mom, Kyle, Sean and Auntie Zoo!!! Good times!

xo,
Heather

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Our many blessings

We've had a really wonderful weekend here with a visit from one of Brent's very best childhood friends and a family outing!!

William, his wife and son stopped in on Saturday for a quick visit as they were in town for a tournament. William had not seen the babies since they were in the old dark corner in the NICU - still on ventilators and still in their "wee one" sized Pampers. So, it was really amazing to see his reaction. Even more amazing was the fact that Mary Louise LOVED him!! So funny.

Mary Louise has been in quite the "stranger danger" phase as her physical therapist calls it. So much so that poor Pops must work overtime to get her to warm up during their weekend visits. Oddly enough, William came in, sat on the floor, and within minutes, Mary Louise was gravitating toward him; inching her way around her music table to grab his nose, then his beard.

David, ever the ladies' man, loved Laurie (William's wife).

This morning (Sunday), the babies decided to rise with the sun (or actually before). So, Brent and I decided to bring them to early church. They behaved absolutely beautifully! The congregation is of course quite small for that service so we were able to quietly sneak in the back and have plenty of room for the little ones to wiggle and fidget. They cooed a bit, blew a few raspberries and literally grinned the entire time. Brent and I were just over-joyed to be out and in attendance for the first time as a family.

Beautiful weather, wonderful new experiences, happy times.

xo,
Heather

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mama and Dada

Since our last Kid's Team visit, we have been working with the babies on their consonant-vowel sounds: "Ba-ba"; "Ga-ga", and of course the ones coveted by every devoted parent..."Da-da" and "Ma-ma".

I've been saying "Da-da-da" more with them as it's supposed to be easier to grasp and the first one they typically pick up. Brent - the hopeless romantic and always the most sentimental of the two of us (surprised?), has apparently been hard at work on "Ma-ma"...apparently...

This evening as we were winding down play time, discussing our days over "I want" noises and rattle sounds, David put his arms around me (he was getting fussy) and while burying his head in my shoulder said it...that golden sound that likely has little to do with me and everything to do with simple expression..."Mama". He said it a few more times - enough to make me completely misty eyed and silly grinned while Brent said proudly, "we've been working on that."

My gosh - something I never knew I wanted so badly to hear has suddenly filled my world with rainbows and butterflies - all things sweet and cuddly - with a dash of snuggly on top. Seriously - it was that good.

Physical therapy went really well today. Mary Louise and David's case worker tagged along during the appointment to re-certify them - as it has to be done every 6 months. I love to hear the comments made by people who maybe saw the babies once in the NICU or saw them (in this case) 6 or so months ago. She sweetly gushed at their progress, and massaged my Mommy ego a bit saying what a good job we've done with them (I can't help but wonder what other peoples' homes in this situation are like as they seem to mentally compare ours to theirs).

We had a good laugh at how blissfully unaware I am about their status. Staying so isolated does have quite a few perks...the main one being that we can have our little Utopian world and never really be faced with comparing or opinions or anything else for that matter. The fact is, this is our normal. We don't know anything other than raising 2 micro-preemies. Staying home with them and getting to know them so well has built our (both Brent's and mine) confidence and allowed us to form our own system - what works best for us- with very little outside influence. So, when the case worker asked me what my concerns were with Mary Louise and David, I really didn't have any - and I don't have the words to properly describe how good that felt. We are ok - better than ok - right now, in this moment, we are fantastic!!

Anyhow, the babies "performed" beautifully and we agreed that a speech therapist should evaluate Mary Louise in particular to ensure proper progress with her eating and work a little with me on their fine motor skills (stacking blocks, etc.). This is in effort to stave off any future issues by catching them early.

...and finally, I am getting very excited that the end of RSV season is upon us - and to date, we've had NO SNIFFLES, COUGHS, OR COLDS!!!! Keep proving your momma over-protective and crazy babies. I don't mind - and after 3 years of growing healthy lung tissue, I will breathe a little easier (pun intended) knowing that we've done absolutely everything we can to give you the best start possible. Again (we can't say it enough) many thanks to our friends and family for being so respectful and understanding.

Happy Weekend to all!
xo,
Heather

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The numbers are in!

The home health nurse came this morning to give Mary Louise her Synagis injection and weigh and measure both her and David.

Mary Louise: just over 10 months (actual); 6 months (adjusted)
Head Circumference: 17 3/4 inches
Length: approx. 24 1/2 inches
Weight: 12 pounds 10.5 ounces (with onesie and clean diaper on)


David Oliver: just over 10 months (actual); 6 months (adjusted)
Head Circumference: 16 1/4 inches
Length: approx. 24 inches
Weight: 11 pounds 6.5 ounces (with onesie and clean diaper on)

So, they are growing - I haven't looked up how their numbers fare with the actual full term growth charts - they are likely not even on them still...but growth is growth I say and they are doing just fine!

The nurse told me that she thinks we've been approved for shots through May! Wonderful news (though I don't like the actual shot days of course, the benefits have been wonderful!)

That's all for now!

xo,
Heather

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The evening installment

So at the end of the day, the brown rice cereal has been a HUGE success! (I will leave it at that and keep you posted if anything changes).

Also, we think Mary Louise is officially crawling. Note "we think"...she can now get her knees under her but we haven't actually witnessed her going anywhere. I have however noticed that if I put her on the floor with her toys to play and leave her alone for a few minutes, she gets across the room rather quickly (as in not army crawl or roll quickly - she's turned in a different direction and all the way across the room). However, she'll only do that to try to find me or Brent. If we are standing there, she gets angry but just throws an all out fit complete with balled up fists and kicking feet. So, my goal is to catch her in action - but it'll be tricky...

xo,
Heather

Day 1

So with a constant teetering on constipation as the main immediate issue here, I've researched and opted to try a new cereal. Happy Bellies brand (ha - sounds good to me!) Organic Brown Rice with Probiotics is the winner and we started today.

Yesterday was a wild morning and afternoon filled with fits, exhaustion (for all of us) and a crazy - solo Mom lead bath and bedtime. It was rainy, we've had visitors and Daddy time all weekend, which leads to the last contributing factor - it was Monday - the start of our "work" week. We were up most of the night with Mary Louise grabbing at my hair (I'm highly considering a crew cut) and David restless and fussy - and Brent had an out of town meeting all day which meant a very late home from work time.

Honestly, it was the first time since the first week the babies were home that I wondered how I'd get through the next day (today). It was a very disheartening feeling. I've been frustrated, so tired that exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe it, felt like I was being pulled in 100 different directions, felt like I was trapped in a box, but I usually don't feel like I'm drowning...We got through though, and a big grin from Mary Louise at 3am this morning settled my heart and mind as I went off to pump and get our very early morning routine started (medicine and probiotic bottles and a little more rest before our 6 or 7am wake-up).

Hopefully (fingers crossed), this new cereal will be just the thing to get their little systems back on track. I'll let you know...

xo,
Heather