December 30, 2007

Explosive End To '07

The stomach flu has brought holiday joy to the Myers household. Yesterday, it hit Greta. Today, it infected the triplets. The washing machine has not stopped working all day and our house, quite frankly, smells like a sewage treatment plant. Each baby has had at least four major diaper blowouts necessitating a complete change of clothes. All 3 have thrown up just about everything they have attempted to eat. The beds have been stripped and the bedding washed due to a triple puke during this afternoon's nap. By this evening, the poor little guys were worn out. Even Lukas wanted to cuddle, which never happens. Hopefully this one skips over me. We have been pretty lucky so far as the babies have not really gotten sick. The babies have had a couple of minor colds here and there, but this is the first major virus. On the bright side, when everyone is puking we don't have to wonder whether it's shunt related.

There really aren't any cute pictures associated with this event, so I decided to include a few more from the Christmas shoot.



December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!


This Christmas is without a doubt much better than the last one. A year ago we were at my house just praying that the phone didn't ring with a call from the NICU. Today, we are packing up the babies and heading up to Dimondale. After all of the bustling around this year, all Greta and I want for Christmas is a nap.

December 20, 2007

Happy 1st Birthday!


Exactly one year ago I sent out this email to coworkers…

I am in the office this morning, but will be working from home this afternoon, stepping out at 1:00 to take my wife to yet another appointment. I will be back online shortly after.

I was completely clueless as to what was in front of me. One year ago I was wandering around the NICU staring at our little babies who shouldn’t have been born yet. I wanted to be a proud father, but proud didn’t really seem appropriate. I remember looking at all of the machines and thinking that this was now my life. This is never going to end. That day I put things in God’s hands. I must say, in the course of one year, all of our prayers have been answered.

When I look back on 2007, it was truly an amazing year. There are about 3-4 months which I have almost completely blocked out. I remember the bits and the pieces, but I am perfectly happy not recalling the details. Around May, things started getting fun. The medical equipment was gone and we became a ‘normal’ family. Since then, time has started accelerating and the babies have been doing something new almost every day.

I want to thank everyone who has read and made comments on this blog, it has been a big part of us being able to cope with everything that we have faced this year. This site is going to be something I will continue for a very long time and will someday be my gift to the triplets. Consider this a birthday card. Sign it by leaving a comment. Even if you don’t normally leave posts on here, please make an exception this time. It will be fun for these guys to see all the people who were following their progress.

On Wednesday, Greta brought the triplets to the Christmas lunch at Arbortext. Afterwards, she took the triplets over to Briarwood mall to see Santa.  What a difference a year makes!

December 16, 2007

Suvalgysiu

So now it's Niklas's turn to demonstrate what makes him go nuts. Basically, it's being eaten. If you look at him from the across the room and say "I'm gonna get ya!", or "I'm gonna eat ya!" he starts laughing and screaming. In the video Greta is saying "Suvalgysiu" which means "I'm gonna eat you!" in Lithuanian. The maneuver I am executing is referred to as "Niklas on the cob".

December 9, 2007

Beeee-uuuuuu!

When you find something that Lukas thinks is funny, it's awesome because he laughs hysterically. The problem is that he generally only finds material funny during it's first performance. One day you have a trick that makes him go completely nuts, but the next day he looks at you like you're crazy when you try it again. In this video, Greta & Anne have found a noise that drives Lukas over the edge.

December 1, 2007

Pinball Number Spaz



Recently I bought the Sesame Street Old School DVDs which is a 'best of' collection ranging from 1967 to about 1980. It's kind of fun watching this stuff with the babies while having these crazy little childhood flashbacks. Anyone who grew up in the 1970's undoubtedly remembers Pinball Number Count (sung by the Pointer Sisters by the way). Gabbie absolutely goes nuts when this comes on, especially during the beginning.

November 30, 2007

Life At 34


Yesterday was my 34th birthday. All of the sudden I am in my mid-thirties with 3 kids and a dog. How did that happen? The triplets have been an absolute blast lately, although very demanding. They are on the verge of crawling and climbing, so we have dropped their cribs down. They don't like sitting in their bouncy seats anymore as they always want to be part of the action. They want to mobile and they are ready to take on the world, even if that means falling off of the couch and smashing their faces. All that said, by Friday we are both completely exhausted. Below is a picture of us with my Aunt Nancy over Thanksgiving.

November 25, 2007

Ann Arbor News Ad


We were lucky enough to have our picture selected by the Family Advisory Board to be used in an Ann Arbor News advertisement thanking the sponsors of the NICU Fashion Show. The color ad took up a 1/4 page of A2 in today's paper.

November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!




This year we made the trek to Grandma and Grandpa's house in snowy Dimondale for the babies 1st Thanksgiving. It's weird that we haven't been to my parents place in almost a year. Sarah made the trip solo from Minnesota as well as my Aunt Nancy (my Mom's Sister) from North Carolina. My brother Ben and Sister-in-law Emily came for dinner and have also been popping in and out. We've done a lot of sitting around and relaxing so far. In fact, I have taken 2 naps with the babies so far today. It's really nice having all these hands to hold and feed the trio so Greta and I can take a breath.

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays and this year we have plenty to be thankful for, so Greta started a new tradition. She cut out a bunch of leaves from construction paper. Each person wrote what they were thankful for on one of them and hung it on the tree. We then took turns pulling one off, reading it, and trying to guess who wrote it.

November 16, 2007

NICU Fashion Show



Last night was the NICU Fashion show, and what a complete blast it was. A good time was had by all despite the utter chaos of getting puked on, peed on, and pushing the kids 3+ hours past their bed time. In the midst of all of it, I lost my speech a few minutes prior to going on stage. Luckily I found it just in time. This is truly a special event, and a really wonderful being surrounded by the doctors and nurses that cared for our babies as well as other families who have shared similar experiences. The whole event was beautifully produced and the stage looked awesome. Just before Thanksgiving it's good to be reminded of how blessed we all are and what is really important in life. The NICU Staff and Family Advisory Board are a really neat group and some of the most grounded people I have ever met. I really see some good friendships coming out of this experience, and am already looking forward to doing it again next year, although I hope the kids are easier to manage at that point. One of the highlights of the night for me was while I was giving my speech. As I stood on stage and spoke, Gabbie definitely knew I was up there and was cheering for me. I kept hearing her loud "Ahhhhh!, Ahhhhhhhh!" as if she were saying "That's my dad!, "Hi Dad!".

Thanks to everyone on the Family Advisory Board for putting this together and to Macy's for providing all the clothes. I also want to thank Greta's friend Susie, a mother of 10 year old quadruplet girls, for helping us back stage. She really made the night survivable. I say this all the time, but I still can't believe how far these babies have come. One year ago I could never have imagined our life the way it is now.

November 8, 2007

Phase IV


The first phase of our babies lives was the three months in the NICU. Phase II started when they came home. They were newborns, for all practical purposes. We got up every 3 hours to feed them and life was very demanding. Phase III was pretty much the entire summer. The babies were sleeping 12 hours a night, taking a 2 hour nap in the morning and a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. When they were awake, they were perfectly content sitting in their bouncy seats and being read a story. We started to feel like a real family.

Over the past few weeks, something has changed and we have entered a new phase. They are definitely not toddlers yet, but they are not babies either. Gabbie has two bottom teeth, Lukas has begun to shove finger foods into his mouth, and Niklas likes to mock the noises we make and to sing along with music. They are all sitting and can stand if you hold their hands. They are not mobile really, but they can roll from point A to point B. In fact, they are frustrated at the fact that they can't run around. They no longer take good naps during the day and are no doubt as demanding as they were in Phase II, but they are a total blast. This winter is going to bring a lot of fun as the triplets make their transition from baby to toddler and pass their 1 year birthday. My whole life I have hated morning, it is now my favorite time of day. I go up to the nursery to find 3 little heads peering over their cribs, smiling at me. I get them all changed and take them downstairs for breakfast and a cup of coffee for me. At the end of the day, I get to come home to these 3 little people who think I am the most hilarious man alive.

Greta, on the other hand, has to endure the storm of this new demanding phase while I am at work. She is truly a soldier, and has weathered and won a number of bloody, pissy, pukey and poopy battles flying solo. She is an amazing woman, and still finds time to set up and take these beautiful pictures that will cherish for the rest of our lives.

October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!




I have mentioned before how baffled I am at the fact that no one in my neighborhood ever goes outside. It's a relatively new neighborhood and almost every house has kids. Every time Greta and I walk the babies its like a science fiction movie where everyone suddenly vanished. Tonight was no different. I set up to scare the trick or treators with decorations and a stereo system in the yard and we got only 3 groups of kids. It's not how I remember it as a kid, do children trick or treat anymore? Are their parents too protective to let them outside? Are they too fat to walk around for their candy? Do they trick or treat online in 'Second Life'? I really hope this is isolated to my neighborhood and that other ones are bustling with little children everywhere screaming and having fun. Anyway, with everything that is going on Greta did manage to get the trio dressed up for a photo shoot. Lukas is on top, Gabbie is in the middle and Niklas is on the bottom.

In other news, Gabbie has cut her first two teeth on the bottom. The babies are progressing more and more into the toddler phase every day and are becoming more fun all of the time. I do, however, need to get in shape again if I am going to keep up with these guys. They are getting heavier and more active with each day that passes. They are going to wear mom and dad out.

October 29, 2007

Back Home




I realize that a disproportionate number of these posts revolve around poop, but it's amazing stuff. The big things to watch for after a surgery like this are infection, nausea, and vomiting. The vomiting is an indication that something could be off neurologically. However, each day when neurosurgery stopped by to check up on him, they kept saying "It's really hard to get worried about a kid who looks and acts so good". Even though Niklas could not hold down any food, he was still laughing, smiling and playing. The only thing we could think of was that he hadn't pooped since a day or two before the surgery. Could it be that he was so full of you know what that he couldn't eat? His belly was definitely sensitive to the touch.

I kept advocating for a stool softener or a suppository to relieve him of this discomfort. As it turns out, codeine and other pain killers are much easier to get a hold of in the hospital than a suppository. Finally, after nagging and nagging for a day and a half, one of the nurses relented and just gave one to him. After about 45 minutes, along came one of the most epic poops I have ever seen. Although it wasn't hard (sorry for the description), he screamed in pain as if his belly had been strechted to the limit and was collapsing again back to it's normal size. From that point on, Niklas held down everything he ate.

It's so good to be back home after spending 3 nights in the hospital. I did all the stayovers since we need mommy to be fresh and happy because without her the household completely falls apart. Our "cellmate" was a baby fresh out of the NICU. She was 4 lbs., was on constant monitoring and was still being fed by feeding tube. Over the course of the 4 days and 3 nights I spent there, the parents showed up for about 20 minutes total. They didn't even hold the baby, although they dressed her up in cute clothes before they left. On Sunday's visit, the dad watched the Lions game the whole time instead of Kangarooing his tiny little daughter. Because she couldn't regulate her temperature, the room was cranked up to about 90 degrees, and there were constant bells and whistles going off. I had to page the nurses station about once an hour to get them to come shut off various alarms so Niklas could sleep. Every time I leave UM, I always remember how incredibly blessed we are.

Finally, I want to thank our genius neurosurgeon Dr. Cormac Maher. This guy, in conjucntion with the rest of the brilliant staff in Pediatric Neurosurgery, is one of the primary reasons why Niklas is doing as well as he is. Earlier this month we were saddened to learn that he would be leaving. Greta and I seriously considered finding out where he was moving to and following him. It turns out that he has declined the position of Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic. Not exactly a position to scoff at. Apparently he has taken a hit to both his prestige and wallet to stay in Ann Arbor. I don't know what the reasons are, but we both feel blessed that he will be taking care of Niklas at least for a little while longer. I wake up in the morning and go write code. Dr. Maher wakes up in the morning and operates on the brains of children. God bless him. If anyone out there is reading this blog because they are going through the same thing, you need to be talking to Dr. Maher and the Pediatric Neurosurgery department at the University of Michigan.

October 28, 2007

Slow Recovery

I am actually writing this from the Family Lounge at Mott Hospital as we have not yet brought Niklas home. The surgery went very well. In fact, the surgeon told us that he could not be more pleased. Niklas woke up in the recovery room a happy camper and immediately scarfed down 6 o.z. of formula. It looked as if we would be coming home first thing Saturday morning. Around 11 p.m. he spiked a low grade fever and wasn't able to hold down anymore food. On Saturday it was hit or miss as to whether or not he could eat without puking. Although we were stuck in the hospital another night, things looked like they were improving and that we would be able to come home on Sunday. Last night he slept wonderfully and I was really thinking that he would eat today and be ready to go home. Unfortunately, as of 1:00 p.m., he has still not been able to hold down a meal. He is happy, smiling and acting completely like himself, but he just has a hard time eating. The doctor's surmised that it may be constipation as his belly was sensitive to the touch. The surgeons are pretty confident that this nausea is not neurological as they said they couldn't even justify a CAT scan on a kid that looked as good as Niklas. It seems as though his digestive system has just not started working fully since the surgery. Finally about 12:00 today he passed through what we think was bothering him and we are praying that things start getting better from here on out.

October 25, 2007

Pre Surgery Update

Tomorrow we are to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m., which is much earlier than we had to be there for the other surgeries. Hopefully this means that the surgery itself will also be earlier. To be honest, we just want to get this thing over with. Niklas has been doing very well up to this point, and it’s really hard for us to put him through surgery when nothing is outwardly wrong with him. We are doing this so that the ultrasound looks better and to avoid any issues in the future that this “pocket of fluid” may cause.

Niklas will be undergoing his fourth brain surgery in just 10 months which, when I think about it, seems absolutely terrible. The truth is, Niklas has been an absolute joy and surprise to us this whole time. He has kept up with, and in some areas surpassed, Gabbie and Lukas developmentally. He is such an incredibly happy baby who will always smile back at you, even when he is not feeling well.

One of the toughest things for me is that Niklas has much more of a personality now than he did back on the first surgery. Then, he really didn’t know what was going on and we just wanted our baby fixed and home. Now, he is much more cognizant of what is going on and will probably be somewhat scared. We know that this is for the best, but please pray for us that all goes well tomorrow.

October 21, 2007

Wiped Out

October has been an exhausting month so far. We had the news of Niklas's surgery followed by the baptism and then a road trip vacation. When we returned from our trip, all three of the kids had come down with colds. We took them to the pediatrician on Wednesday to get another round of immunizations and flu shots. Thursday, Niklas developed a fever of 102-103, so we took him back in.

We were a little worried since fever is a sign of shunt failure (but also a reaction to the flu shot). What we need to do is to start trusting our instincts. Although he didn't feel great, he was acting fine, eating, and still smiling and laughing. My gut was telling me that this was just a run of the mill fever, but what if? On Friday, the fever was not gone, so we were advised to take him in once again.

Friday, the in laws left and we were sad to see them go as they were a lot of fun to have around and a huge help too. This week, however, we get the relief of my mom coming down to help out while Niklas has his surgery. I think we are mainly wiped out in anticipation of this. It's hard to even fathom that my kid will be having his 4th brain surgery in just 10 months, but we know that this is for the best and that it is all in God's hands. Thanks again to everyone who has been reading this and offering their support.

October 14, 2007

Holiday Road Part III


It's funny that this little trip has taken up 3 posts, but we crammed so much in that it's warranted. No Clark W. Griswold family vacation would be complete without over-extending yourself. After 3 wonderful nights in Traverse City, it probably would have been best to call it quits. But no, we had St. Ignace, Mackinaw Island, and Taquamenon falls yet to tackle. After all, we're the Myers family.

So we packed up the van and headed North up M-31 towards the bridge, having lunch in Petoskey on the way and feeding the babies while we were there. Pestoskey is also one of those places that I wouldn't mind living. It really was a beautiful drive, but exhaustion started to set in. I had lost the papers for the hotel in St. Ignace, but that really wasn't a big deal since I knew the owners of the Best Western also owned the hotel that we were staying at and it wouldn't be hard to find.

The whole drive to the bridge was beautiful. We stopped and looked at a bunch of gorgeous lakes that I had never seen before and picked out yet a few more places I would like to live. We crossed the bridge into St. Ignace, and I spotted the bed and breakfast I figured to be the one we were staying at. To be sure, we pulled into the Best Western to ask them. Turns out, they didn't own another hotel, I was confused. However, the B.W. looked pretty nice and I thought we would stay there. I asked the receptionist if I could use their computer to find where we were staying so I could cancel our reservation and book with them. We now had our hotel, but we all concluded that we were exhausted and that this would be our last night. Tomorrow we would head home and take the rest of Sunday and Monday to recoup.

But if this was our last night, then Mackinaw Island was out of the question. Taquamenon Falls was our only option, after all it was only a 45 minute drive. We would do the falls, and then head home in the morning. The 45 minute was really almost a 2 hour drive. It turns out that measuring mileage on the map with your index finger and thumb is not all that accurate. By the time we got to the Falls we were at the end of our rope and ready to jump over the falls. On the site is a brewery and restaurant to which we headed to eat, feed the trio and enjoy a much needed beer. Once everyone had their food, the outlook was much sunnier. We had an absolutely incredible stroll around the falls which were nothing short of awesome this time of year. We got back to the hotel late, put the babies to bed and prepared for our drive home.

The next day, we stopped under the bridge in Mackinaw City to take some pictures and then headed home. Again, the babies were angels the whole time. Our little guys are troopers and have encouraged us to venture out even more. Before long, they will be world travellers like Mom and Dad.

I created a map outlining our trip with each day's route being color coded. Click on each of the markers to see more about the location. Click here to see more pictures.

Holiday Road Part II



We woke up on our first morning in Traverse City not really knowing what we were going to do. The original plan was to visit downtown Traverse, but it was cold and rainy and that didn't seem appealing anymore. Dailius suggested that we go to the mall as he did not bring along a warm enough coat. The weather was supposed to clear up and we figured that by the time we did the mall that we could continue with the plan. We got to the mall around 10:00 a.m. and went to T.J. Maxx to get a coat. 11:00 rolled around and we needed to eat and feed the babies, so we went to the food court. Once the babies and adults were fed, the babies needed to be changed and then it was 12:30.

Halfway through the first day of our 'adventure' and we had seen T.J. Maxx. I figured we might as well head over to Best Buy, J.C. Penney and Target making this the most exotic vacation ever! When we left the mall it was still cold and rainy. I had the Leelanau trip planned for the next day, so I had to come up with something. We decided to drive up the Old Mission Peninsula, and it was a good choice. It was such a beautiful drive up this narrow peninsula which is now among the top 5 places I wish to live. The lifestyle up north is so different. No one is in a hurry driving as they will even politely pull over to the shoulder to let you pass them. Along the way, we stopped at a self serve road side stand to buy some apples. The owners just left the cash box out so people could pay and make their own change. I could get used life up there.

The next day, we took our trip around the Leelanau Peninsula. Quite honestly, I think this is the most beautiful part of Michigan and maybe one of my favorite places ever (and that's saying alot). We heading across M-72 over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes for some site seeing. We posed for some pictures, but took turns staying in the van with the babies as the temperature on some of these overlooks was in the low 40's with 40+ mph winds. We continued on to have lunch in Leeland, drove through Northport, Suttons Bay, and then headed back to the hotel.

We didn't sleep to well in T.C., but it wasn't until the last night that we discovered the reason. The cribs provided did not have a bumper around the edges. As a result, when one of the babies lost their binky and started to search for it, there was a good chance they would knock it on to the floor. We woke up every 2 hours in order to give someone a pacifier. In addition, the mattresses were too soft and the babies could not flip over because of it. Once we got the pack 'n' plays set up at the next hotel, all was well. The picture is of Lukas deciding it was time for lunch.

I created a map outlining our trip with each day's route being color coded. Click on each of the markers to see more about the location. Click here to see more pictures.

Holiday Road Part I

So Greta, her parents, the triplets and I took our first Griswold style family road trip consisting of over 900 miles of fall color viewing and Michigan site seeing. I created a map outlining our trip with each day's route being color coded. Click on each of the markers to see more about the location. Click here to see more pictures.

We rented a minivan for this trip with me in the Captain's seat, Dailius riding shotgun, Niklas and Irena taking the two bucket seats behind me, and Greta sardined between Lukas and Gabbie in the rear bench seat. We left Ypsilanti Wednesday afternoon, making our way up to my parent's cottage in Cadillac for a break to feed the babies. After giving them their bottles and a jar of food each, we moved on to Traverse City. When we got there we figured the best course of action would be to eat dinner, check into the hotel, feed the babies and then put them to bed.

This was our fist restaurant experience with the babies. As we stood outside the doors of the establishment, Greta was very nervous to go in. I think she was afraid we would burden the patrons with our over abundance of babies. In my tired state of mind I decided that I no longer cared. I figured that this is my family and the world just needs to deal with it. Besides, every where we go my kids are pretty good and I generally see much worse from other peoples offspring. The babies were angels and just sat in their strollers while we had a glass of wine and enjoyed our meal. In fact, besides breakfast, we (including the babies) ate every meal on this trip in a restaurant. This was a real eye opener for us, as we have been reluctant to take the babies out to eat up until this point. Now we are seasoned pros, and our efficiency continues to amaze me. Having the grandparents along was priceless, and having a saint for a wife doesn't hurt either.

While letting the babies play (supervised of course) on one of the king sized beds, we suddenly realized that are babies are mobile. I turned my head for two seconds only to hear a loud thud. Lukas had rolled off of the bed and onto the floor and was not one bit happy about it. He screamed for a while, but was just fine. Once everyting calmed down we put the babies in the cribs provided by the hotel. Although we did lug along 3 pack 'n' plays, we thought it would be easier to put them in the provided cribs. Despite that little incident we survived the first day. The picture is of Niklas catching up on his reading during the long car ride.

October 7, 2007

The Baptism



Sunday was the baptism of the triplets followed by a lunch at our house. Everything went very well, aside from the fact that it was one of the hottest days of the year. I was worried that we would be trapped inside because of rain, in October you just don't think heat will be a factor. As part of the celebration I put together a sappy video commemorating their first 9 months of life up to the baptism, which I posted above. Thanks to everyone who came, it was a wonderful time. A baptism is always a very special occasion, but considering the miracle these little guys are it was even more so. We are both exhausted now and are looking forward to our vacation up north this week and to the hot weather finally going away.

God parents
Niklas - Kevin Currie & Indre Miseikyte
Lukas - Ben & Emily Myers
Gabriella - Adam Licari & Sarah Myers




October 2, 2007

Common Courtesy


I don't want to put up an angry post. We have so much to be thankful for and nothing to complain about. However, I feel the need to rant. Sometimes I feel like the only way to get things done in life is to be an adversarial and unpleasant person (there is probably a better word that is unsuitable for this blog). We all deal with the customer service phone jockey whose only lot in life is to irritate you, but when it comes to the health and well being of your child things are different. We had an appointment last Tuesday with neurosurgery at U of M. We were advised that the best course of action would be for Niklas to have another surgery. The neurosurgeon informed me that he would be out of the office on Wednesday, but that he would get a hold of me on Thursday or Friday after he discussed things further with the radiologist.

Sept. 28th - Early in the afternoon we have not yet received a call so Greta leaves a message with the doctor.

Sept. 30th - Still haven't heard anything, so I send the doctor an email asking him to call us to discuss the surgery.

Oct. 2nd - Still haven't received a call, so I leave a message with neurosurgery asking that someone call us. I don't really care who, just someone.

At the end of the day today, I still had not recieved a call so I left a voicemail in which the tone started to change. This is where I start venturing over to the dark side. Tomorrow, if I don't hear from them, the message will start to border on nasty. Eventually it will progress to me taking the day off of work and sitting there until someone talks to me. I dont' understand why people can't just communicate with me. This is my baby's health we are talking about and although it is a matter that is not pressing, I feel I deserve a phone call. This is not some call center in India I am dealing with, this is a neurosurgeon. A highly educated individual that should understand my level of concern and treat me with some respect. From what I understand, he is leaving the practice soon, so I imagine he has one foot out the door and doesn't really care too much. I actually understand this, I have mentally checked out from jobs before, but all I ask is that someone call me...Anyone! Again, this is not really a huge deal, but lack of common courtesy is a pet peeve of mine.

September 25, 2007

Another Surgery?


Although it does not dominate our thoughts, the shunt is always in the back of our heads. Niklas and Lukas, for example, are both pukers while Gabbie is not (she wouldn't dare waste food). However, when Niklas does one of his four-pump projectile fountain pukes, we can't help but wonder if it's shunt related. Usually he smiles when he's done to let us know we shouldn't worry and so we usually don't. Developmentally, Niklas could not be doing any better. Pam, our physical therapist, is generally in shock when she comes to our house because Niklas is doing so well. She constantly reminds us how lucky we are.

Today was our 6 month follow up at U of M in which Niklas received a CAT scan. He was such a good boy that he did not need sedation. He's a seasoned vetran. After the scan we met with the neurosurgeon to examine the pictures. The good news is that the ventricles are completely back to normal. The shunt is functioning perfectly and things look pretty good, but there is a pocket of fluid outside the ventricles that has just refused to drain. This pocket is not connected to the ventricles and so it doesn't get drained by the shunt. This was noticed at the last appointment, but neurosurgery just cranked up the shunt a notch and hoped it would go away. Now we are faced with the choice of whether or not to treat it, and either choice would be a perfectly legitimate one. On the one hand, Niklas is doing completely fine, so do we want to treat the patient or the CAT scan? On the other hand, is this something that could affect him in the future in a way we don't see yet? The good news is that we are not treating a sick kid here, so that makes things a little better. I would rather see an issue with a CAT scan than visible issues with my baby. Our neurosurgeon seems to lean towards fixing the issue as do Greta and I, although we both hate these kinds of decisions. Each surgery seems to get harder and harder as Niklas seems to be more aware of what is going on each time. In the long run, this will be for the better and I thank God for the incredible progress he has made. We are probably looking at the end of October for the surgery so, again, your prayers are needed. By the way, I love this picture (Niklas is wearing the dark stripes).

September 17, 2007

Tornadoes (Post 100)




I never thought that I would take to this blogging thing. Originally, I thought it would be cool to document the ultrasounds and sort of chart the growth of the babies. I never really anticipated that life would become what it has, but I guess you never do, and that is the fun of it. But here we are, 100 posts later.

I used to have this recurring dream that started sometime in college and occurred a couple times a month. It was always sort of the same, but each time the circumstances and setting changed a bit. My surroundings were always familiar, but varied from my childhood home in Dimondale, to the cottage in Cadillac to the house I live in now. Generally, I would look to the sky and see inclement weather approaching far off in the distance. Invariably, I watch in awe as one, then eventually multiple tornadoes spin out of the sky. I stand there in fascination and fear watching these multiple tornadoes spin around (I want to say that there were always three, but I don't really know for sure). I was a meteorology major for about 1 semester in college because of my interest in the weather, so each time the sight of the tornadoes would be captivating. I remain in complete awe until I realize that the tornadoes are headed directly at me. No matter the location, I find the best place for cover, feeling the vibration of the approaching storms. The house begins to rattle, the roof begins to come loose, and I become completely terrified of my impending doom. Just before what would be my certain death I, of course, wake up. I used to wonder what on earth this dream could possibly mean, but I think I know the answer now. The tornadoes are here.

September 15, 2007

Six Months Adjusted

Yesterday, the Triplets turned 6 months old adjusted. This means that it would have been their 6 month birthday had they made it to their expected due date of March 14th. Next week, however, they will actually be 9 months old. Time continues to fly, and these little people get more fun (and exhausting) every day. I used to wonder how my dad could just sit in a chair and instantly fall asleep , now I get it. In fact I just woke up from an "old man nap" a few minutes ago. I mentioned a while back that the exhaustion is a good thing, and I do stand by that. Life is never boring, and it never slows down. Tonight, Greta and I are actually going out to dinner. We have only been out together 2 other times since the babies have came home. That's it for today, as I have the mental capacity of a rock right now.

September 7, 2007

The Mad Pooper Strikes Again

Last night we were giving the babies their last bottle before bed. Often during a feeding, one of the three will fill their diaper and stink up the room. We thought this was the case with Gabbie, when all of the sudden Greta noticed what looked like a pile of dog crap on the floor. Gabbie had completely filled her diaper and the overflow left an impressive pile on our (fortunately) hardwood floor and a mess all over Greta's clothes. We are so lucky that this steamy dump didn't land on the couch or the carpet. When Gabbie is about 16 years old I will be directing potential suitors to this weeks blog posts. Needless to say, she needed a bath.

This week has been a difficult one for us. Anne (our daytime help) went back to school and can only help Greta between about 2 and 5 p.m. As a result, Greta is completely spent by the time I get home, and the kids seem to be a little crankier than normal. On top of it all, Lukas has started a new phase of constant screaming and whining throughout the entire day. The boy makes this awful, awful noise that completely rattles your nerves. I really hope this is a phase that passes because it is taking its toll on the both of us. Lukas has always been the most demanding, but this week he has taken it to new heights. But he is so cute...

September 4, 2007

Eye Exam

When new parents bring their babies home from the hospital, they will tell you how awesome it is. They will say how it is all worth it, that it is the most rewarding experience in the world, and that they wouldn't trade it for anything. I will be the first to tell you that they are lying. Bringing even a healthy newborn baby home from the hospital sucks. You are up every couple hours feeding. You are exhausted to the point of hallucination. You learn everything as you go along and worry about every little thing your kid does. It's completely miserable. When I look back on the fact that we had three little babies at home, on oxygen, that needed to be fed every three hours I wonder how we even survived. Now, was it all worth it? Absolutely! I think after about the 6 month mark, parenting becomes the most awesome and rewarding experience ever. All of that misery is completely justified when your babies start interacting with you. Parents have selective memory, which is why I don't remember the NICU or most of the first 3 months at home, but I remember all the laughs and good times. So remember, when new parents tell you how awesome it is, just smile and agree since they are in a state of temporary insanity and don't know what they are saying.

Today, we went to visit the eye doctor for the first time since last spring. I have to admit that sometimes I am just waiting for the hammer to drop. During our stay in the NICU there were many potential obstacles and it always seemed like one of the three was trying to overcome one of them. I fully expected to hear today that someone was behind in their sight development or that something would be wrong. I am not being pessimistic, but with 28 week preemies there is a pretty good chance that at least one of them is going to have some kind of vision problem. Amazingly enough, everyone was doing fine. Another sigh of relief and another hurdle leaped, although we are not completely out of the woods yet. The miracle that these babies are continues to amaze me everyday.

September 3, 2007

Summer Finale




I took Friday off to extend the holiday weekend and take the family on a second excursion to Cadillac. This time, the weekend was completely perfect. The drive to and from was uneventful. We did have to sit in any traffic, and we did not have to tolerate any crying in the car. The weather was nothing short of glorious, and to top it all off it was a perfect football weekend. MSU pounded UAB, but we all know that was not the news of the weekend. I know I run the risk of alienating some readers of this blog, but the fact that a #5 ranked U of M got beat by a Division I AA school made my football season. I cannot wait until November 3rd when the Wolverines take to the field in East Lansing to the tune of the crowd chanting "App-A-Lach-Ian". In fact, they will probably have to hear that chant in every stadium they enter this year.

In any event, it was a little sad to realize that the summer is over. At some point between June and now, the babies became fun. I have always enjoyed being with them, but this summer they went from being premature babies to little people that interact and love their mommy and daddy. There was no shortage of hands to hold and feed the babies up in Cadillac, although I think there may be one less as Gabbie completely crapped all over the 10 year old neighbor girl. Something, I imagine, she will never forget. Gabbie pooped all over the poor girl's pants and shirt. She crapped her own clothes, the couch, the blanket and amazingly the back of her head. But she's so cute...

August 24, 2007

More Pictures

I have been on the digital bandwagon for a while now with music, picture and video libraries going back over 6 years. I have always been pretty good about keeping things organized and backed up at home, but have never really put together a strategy for sharing this stuff. Now, everyone wants to see the latest pictures and they want to see them now. A couple of weeks ago my computer died and I purchased a new one. This provided a good opportunity to re-organize all this stuff and put it online. I recently deleted everything in my flickr account and started putting photos back up orgranized by "event". I now plan on updating flickr once a month with all of the triplet photos. If you have never used flickr, I highly recommend it.

Click here to go to our event page, or click on the flickr badge on the site to go to July's pictures. By the way, thanks to everyone who has been reading this over the past 8 months. Greta and I check the blog multiple times a day just to read the comments which have been a huge part of our getting through the tough times.

August 19, 2007

NICU Reunion


The last eight months have been a complete blur, even more so than the supposed 5 years I spent in Mt. Pleasant "studying". This last winter, we just rolled with the punches of the NICU and tried digest the daily news as best we could. What seems so strange now is, that for the most part, I don't remember it. I think that the experience was so painful that I blocked the vast majority of it out. I remember the faces of the doctors and nurses, the procedures, and the really, really bad news. I remember that I got off the elevator at floor 3, took a left, then a left, then a right. I remember praying in the chapel each day asking God to heal our babies. But that's about it.

Last Saturday, we attended the NICU reunion at St. Joseph Mercy. It was yet another one of those surreal experiences. Despite the fact that the NICU was such a horrible time, the doctors and nurses who took care of our babies are among the faces I enjoy seeing the most. It was awesome to see everyone outside the hospital in a social setting. I know that it's cliche to say that these people are sent from heaven, but there is no disputing that they are a very, very special breed. We ran into other families that were in the NICU at the same time we were, and even some familiar faces from the multiples picnic a couple of months ago. Everyone was out in the sun, eating snow cones and having a good time. Not so much reminiscing about how bad things were, but how things are now and how life is a miracle. Parents who have spent time in the NICU have a certain connection. It's like a club that nobody really wants to be a part of, but we are. Nevertheless, the reunion was filled with some of the most grounded people I have ever met. Maybe it's because they can relate.

In other news, physical therapy paid us another visit yesterday. Apparently, Pam told us that our babies are doing phenomenal. Not just ok, or good, but fantastic! She reminded us how lucky we really are, especially that Niklas is doing as well as he is. I couldn't be happier with these little miracles, and they continue to amaze me every day.

August 14, 2007

Up North & The Teenie Bikini




30 summers ago, my parents bought a cottage on Lake Mitchell in Cadillac, Michigan. From the time I was 3 years old I have been lucky enough to spend my summers up there. In fact, we used to head up there Memorial Day weekend and not return until Labor Day. This past weekend, we took the Triplets there. It was our first trip away from home with the trio, and it my first time out of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area in over 8 months! The babies behaved fantastically for almost the entire weekend. The drive up was relatively peaceful, they slept fairly well the whole time, and they really seemed to enjoy being outdoors. We took them for a ride out on the pontoon and I let each of them sit up on my lap while I drove the boat across the historically shallow lakes. It is so weird to think that 30 years ago I was doing the same thing with my Dad. We had a lot of anxious hands up there to help us out (special thanks to Mackenzie Davis for helping us feed). All in all it was a great weekend until the drive home. We had about 10 minutes of the 3 1/2 hour drive that were not filled with screaming and crying that was all instigated by Lukas. Still, it was worth it.

August 5, 2007

Food!





Much has happened over the past week, but probably the biggest news is that we can now start solid foods. We started with rice cereal. Niklas opened and closed his mouth as if he knew exactly what to do. Gabbie would sort of open her mouth, but would spit every last drop back onto her bib. Lukas wasn't about to let us put anything new in his mouth. In the few days we have been doing this, not much has improved. On Thursday, Greta tried sweet potatoes, which all three of them hated. Gabbie cried as if it were hot peppers we stuck in her mouth and Niklas has now decided that maybe Lukas has the right idea by not opening his mouth. When we get done, there is mush everywhere but in the babies mouths. I think that Greta is a little offended that the babies didn't like her homemade organic baby food.

Last Sunday, the five of us made it to church for the first time as a family. In fact, we got there on time which is something we couldn't do before we had kids. We sat in the back, close to the exit in case things got out of control. Much to our surprise, they were little angels. They never made a peep and they seemed to love the organ music. This Sunday, we couldn't pull of getting out of the house, so I went solo.

Niklas had a follow up appointment with neurosurgery on Friday at U of M. His doctor was pleasantly surprised at the progress Niklas has made. He thought that he was on par developmentally with a typical 7 month old (not adjusted)! His ventricles have shrunk to a more or less normal size which is a huge relief after all those months of being told how big they are. There is one area in his brain that is holding a little bit of fluid. Although this poses no risk at the moment, they turned the shunt down to a 1.0 to cause more draining and try to resolve this particular spot. If that doesn't work, they may need to do another minor surgery to connect this area to the main area that is being drained by the shunt. It's a little bit frustrating that we are still tweaking at this point, but Niklas is doing so wonderfully well that we can't complain. He is a tough kid, completely on track and smiles all the time. What more could we want?

Gabbie 16 lbs. 8 oz.
Niklas 14 lbs 15 oz.
Lukas 12 lbs.

July 27, 2007

Bath Time




Here are some pictures post bath time. They all pretty much like taking baths. Lukas splashes around like a maniac. Niklas splashes, but with a little more reservation. Gabbie would prefer candles and a glass of wine. She does not appreciate any horsing around.

This week, physical therapy paid us a visit. Normally, they tell us the exercises we need to do to help the babies compensate for this or that. This time, Pam was completely blown away. We no longer have to do anything special for any of them. They are right where they should be. Hearing that is definitely a relief, but hearing this kind of news is not as important to us as it once was. Through all of this, we have realized that God does not always give you what you are expecting. He rarely deals you the perfect situation you have laid out in your head. Things are never what you anticipate, and more often than not you are thrown a major curve ball. What's really weird is that I now see perfection as weird and boring. Of course you don't want anything to be wrong with your child, but everyone has flaws. I now view imperfection as a beautiful thing. I am seeing more and more that people who expect perfection from their children never seem to be happy. If I had a choice, I would never have let my babies go through the NICU experience. Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to the 5 of us, it completely changed my perspective. By the way, is Greta a talented photographer, or what? Also, to the folks up north, we are heading up there August 11th.