Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Friday, October 28, 2011

Feeders and Growers

Our biggest news this week is that our girls have been promoted to “feeder and grower” status. In other words, their main goals at this point in time is to feed and grow, and then they can go home!! Both girls got their PICC lines out this week, which iss a long-term IV line that gave them IV nutrition. We were so thankful for the lines because it prevented them from being stuck with IVs over and over again, but now we  are super thankful that they no longer are a part of the picture! The girls are still growing in a controlled temperature environment (isolettes), but now can wear clothes…oh you can only imagine the fun I’m having with that! At first, the girls were getting two outfit changes a day…just to see them in more cute outfits in one day!! Avery and Aubrey were both offered bottles once a day this week. Although the suck/swallow/breathing coordination doesn’t occur until 34-36 weeks (yay for the upcoming next two weeks!), we are promoting oral stimulation. They don’t take much—anywhere from 7-20ml, which is a few teaspoons, but they will get there. It is a matter of maturity and we tell our parents that it will be a like a “light switch”—one day they don’t get it and the next day they do.  Once they can comfortably take two full bottles a day, we can transition to breastfeeding. The next two weeks are going to be action packed!!
Avery, the older and bigger sister is now 4lbs even! She has surpassed her birthweight this week and is growing every day. Aubrey, the younger and smaller sister is 3lb 8.1oz. She continues to gain weight daily too and has also suprassed her birthweight this week…don’t underestimate her size, she is feisty! My favorite time of the week with Avery was giving her a bath with daddy. She is a very laid-back, calm, and peaceful baby and it is rare to have her eyes open for an extended period of time. For her bath, she had her eyes open the entire time and just couldn’t get enough of staring at us and her wide open eyes--it is a moment in time I will not forget (even if I am very sleep deprived!). My favorite time of the week with Aubrey is watching her being fed--this girl loves to eat (maybe not the bottle yet, but that will come). At least 30 minutes before feeds, she is pitching a fit for her food! When she gets fed through the tube and I’m holding her, she smiles at least 5 times during her feeding. She just absolutely loves it when her belly is getting full. The girls are recognizing our voices and even when they are resting, they will at least peek open one eye to let us know that they are love us holding them and talking to them.

Here are a few pictures from this week for you to see how big they have grown…watch out, before we know it, they will be crawling!!!
Avery wearing her very first outfit.

Avery showing how exhausting it is to have to get dressed every day.

Up close and personal (yes, I had to get a lot of pics in her first outfit!)

This is how we know Avery the best--sleeping!

Avery's eyes were this wide open during her first bath from mom and dad. It looks like she is questioning something....Hmmmm, to sleep, or not to sleep?!

Cute as a cupcake...matching outfit with her sister.

Avery's first bottle feeding.


Aubrey being held skin to skin. Both girls love to have their hands up at their faces. This picture was taken earlier in the week and you can see how a little bit of weight really makes a difference!

Little Aubrey before she was able to wear clothes.

Aubrey and Avery have very different facial features...this pictures shows her petite profile as she sleeps soundly on her belly.

Aubrey's first day in clothes. She is sporting the ruffles on her butt!

Cute as a cupcake-just like her sister.

Aubrey yawning...sort of like her sister in the picture above. When I flip through my pictures fast, you can actually see the entire yawn-it is really cute!

**No I did not forget to take pictures of Aubrey's first bottle, but those pictures are on my camera and I can't put my hands on the cable right now. I'll add one more picture this weekend of Aubrey taking her first bottle.**

See you next week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Couldn't Be More Thankful...Having A Family Is Better Than We Ever Imagined

Can we say we are now at 33 weeks and counting? Or do we now say we are 1 week and counting?! We have both officially known our girls now for 1 full week and it has been such an amazing week!

Babies born at 32 weeks are right at the border of needing respiratory support. We are happy to report, other than the first 12 hours of life, only Avery has needed respiratory support. That is a huge, major feat...we are so proud that our girls are so strong. Otherwise, the girls are behaving appropriate for their age. Typical things include phototherapy to treat jaundice, IV fluids and starting feeds (slowly), having episodes of dropping their heart rate and holding their breath (Aubrey is now on caffiene--just like for us, it is a stimulant, but it reminds her to breath), and reflux...but all in all, these are very minor things compared to what could have been the case if they were born at a much earlier age. We were very blessed that even though we had some hiccups during the pregnancy, the babies were able to grow inside for a full 32 weeks--to the day!

I apologize in advance that I have not been able to return phone calls, emails and texts at times. During the time when we were in the hospital, we were either visiting with the babies, or I was just in my room to get nursing care or eat. Now that I'm at home, well, there isn't much more to my life...either visiting babies, pumping to provide breastmilk for the babies, or eating, and well, I'm not really sure I should include sleeping in the mix because there is very little of that going on! I have been best buds with lactation consultants and due to some circumstances, I have to frequently pump, and pump, and pump, and pump some more! The good news is that it is a good way to establish my milk supply, the bad news is I only have one hour between sessions to get anything and everything done....keep in mind, this happens too at night, so I get 1 hour sleep at intervals...I'm pretty sure God is just preparing me for when the babies come home! God knew I needed some training! Of course, I couldn't do it at all without my husband and help from family and friends, we are so blessed. Our family and friends have helped us in so many amazing ways all along our journey and now is no exception. Thank you so much!

Recovering from the c-section is a slightly slower process because I don't have the stamina I once used to from over 8 weeks of strict bedrest. I might not be ready to run a marathon yet, but I'm sure I'll bounce back before I know it. I have to admit, being home is so refreshing. Not that I wouldn't be willing to give up my shower and have very limited abilities on strict bedrest until the end of the pregnancy, but I got to be honest, being home and sleeping in my own bed (I didn't even do that while at home on strict bedrest), I'm feeling pretty lucky all around!

We know everyone is waiting for pictures, and we got some so to share with you. What parent doesn't like to brag about their babies?!  I plan on continuing the blog weekly while the babies are in the hospital. Once discharged to home, it might be a bit more sporadic, but definitely  will post once a month at a minimum. Enjoy the pictures!

Picutres of Avery, the older and bigger sister: (She looks more like Jason and also has his personality, just like in the womb!)

Shortly after they removed her breathing assistance (CPAP), and when she is at her highest weight.

Sleeping with her pacifier, busy developing her muscles in her cheeks. An early picture when she is "chubby."

Daddy changing my diaper---wow, daddy is a pro at this!

Avery checking us out with her eyebrows raised. Check out all that pretty hair and her gorgeous eyes!

Sleeping comfortably....waiting for mom and dad to hold me.
Close up view of Avery's beautiful face. See how much she thinned out?!

Avery with Gramma and Nana

Pictures of Aubrey, the younger and smaller sister (She looks more like me and also has my personality, just like in the womb!)

Aubrey is more petite with blond hair--remind you of anyone you know?
Catching some zzzz's on her back. Just like mommy, she wasn't getting her hair washed every day in the hospital!

Close up view of Aubrey. I was just held by mommy and daddy and I'm a little bummed that now I'm back in my isolette!

Mommy loving on her little sweet baby. Looks like she is pretty cozy!
One of my favorite pictures ever...looks like she is praying and thanking God!

Aggh, the NICU life is so tiring, I think it is time for another nap.

Believe it or not, I'm the more active one, although you might not know it from this picture!

See you next week with more happenings and pictures.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We love our little girls so much

Even though both Aubrey and Avery landed in the level 3 NICU, there were very few complications at birth.  Avery was having trouble breathing on her own, so they provided her with a cpap.  The cpap has since been removed and she is breathing well.  Aubrey has already started eating and digesting well.  Avery should start eating today.  Keep your fingers crossed because there's a good chance they'll get to go to the level 2 NICU today!

Both Grandmothers (Grandmom and Nana?  We're still waiting for the final verdicts on what they want to be called) arrived yesterday and got to meet their granddaughters for the first time!  They'll have to get some pics with the babies today.

I'm doing well and walking.  They said we'll probably get to go home on Tuesday, but there's no hurry since our babies are here!

Now for what you're looking for:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow God decided today was the day!

After a long day of progression on labor, Jason and I sat here talking to our doctor about scheduling a c-section or trying to hold off for a few more days.  Well, we didn't have much of a choice because while we were talking, my water broke!  Here we are right before we got wheeled to the OR:

Shortly after we were able to meet our beautiful girls.


Aubrey Hope               and                   Avery Grace
3#  5oz                                                3#  14oz



Friday, October 7, 2011

Orange you glad we're at 31 weeks!

Today marks 31 weeks and we are happy our babies are continuing to do well.  Each baby is about the size of 4 navel oranges (8 for me!).  Orange you glad we're still talking about the pregnancy!  Though we can't wait to meet them, a little more time is the best thing for them.  Each baby now is about 16 inches long and about 3 lbs 2 oz.  We are really hoping our babies have hit that 3 lb mark each. 

This week in development the babies brain continues to work faster than ever, perceiving information from all 5 senses.  Our babies are so well developed now, you might be able to see them sucking their thumbs.  The lungs continue to develop, bones continue to strengthen, and the babies are plumping up.

This week there is concern for an infection in the fluid around baby B.  We pray that this not the case for if it is, we will need to deliver right away.  By Saturday, we will know official results.  If the coast is clear, I will continue to hang out here on bedrest and wait for these precious babies to arrive.  If we can make it one more week (32 weeks) it would be a major success considering my current circumstances.  Please continue to pray that there is no infection that affects the babies.  My body has adjusted to the medicine and I am feeling much much better....I might have a new definition of feeling normal and good, but feeling leaps and bounds better than last week.  I would do this for two more months if I have to but I'd love to get out of here and take care of myself at home!  Thank you for your prayers and support.

Jason was kind enough to take a few snapshots of the nursery so you could get an idea of what our babies have to look forward to.  He has done an amazing job putting this all together while I've been on bedrest. Hope you all get to read a 32 week blog posting because I'm looking forward to my cupcake!