February 28, 2007

Thank You Grandma





Life has been great over the past week, but also very busy. Greta has been going to doctor's appointments with Gabbie while hauling around her oxygen tank, in addition to feeding all 3 babies who are in 2 different locations. All of this would not be possible if my Mom was not here helping us right now. She has made our life so much easier, allowing us to get some sleep and keep our sanity. It looks like she is going to keep us pretty much covered until Greta's mom gets here at the end of March. Greta and I are very thankful that we have help, because I really don't know how this could be done without it. Thanks Mom! It doesn't seem like she minds too much though, as we have to pry Gabbie out of her arms in order to hold her.

February 26, 2007

Day 67



The boys just keep on making tiny little bits of progress. They both did a little better on their feedings today, and that is really the only thing holding them back. Once they master feeding and demonstrate that they can do it without having any events, they will be ready to go home. Niklas had another brain scan today, and this time his ventricles looked slightly larger than last time, but these scans are somewhat subjective. This is really no big deal since the permanent shunt is pretty much a certainty. The last obstacle to proceeding with Niklas's final surgery is for his protein levels to drop below 250. Protein levels refer to the little particles of blood in the spinal fluid. They want the proteins to be below a certain level so that the risk of clogging the shunt is minimized. Gabbie continues to be a wonderful little baby at home. By the way, Lukas is not as short as he looks here. He is contracting his legs probably making a present for the nurses to clean up later.

February 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Greta!


This weekend was Greta's birthday weekend, and what a gift it was for her to be able to bring home her daughter. I really cannot believe what a good baby Gabbie has been. She eats every 4 hours and sleeps for the most part in between. She only fusses if she is hungry or uncomforatble, and although we didn't sleep too much this weekend it was completely wonderful. After what we have been through, this really seemed like cake. I think we were so mentally prepared for hell because you tend to hear a lot from people things like "You guys are never going to sleep", "Triplets! You're life is over", "You're going to die from exhaustion", etc. etc. I don't for one second think that this will be a walk in the park, but this kind of tiredness is very welcome.

Grandma also came in for the weekend and helped Greta and I to get some sleep and juggle Gabbie and the hospital. Greta spent Saturday at the NICU feeding Lukas and Niklas, my mom and I went today. Gabbie got her first bath in the new house, and then proceeded to make a mess in her diaper that brought Exxon Valdez to mind for some reason. It was my first experience with a mess of that magnitude. Anyway, many people say that the happiest days of their lives were the days their children were born. For us, that was not the case. The day our children were born may have been the scariest day of our lives, but Gabbie coming home was one of the happiest. The day the last of the trio arrives home will definitely take the cake.


February 23, 2007

Gabbie Comes Home!


The day has finally arrived that one of the triplets has come home, and what a great day it is. We were both a little nervous about bringing Gabbie home, especially with the oxygen and all. But, to our surprise, it was cake. After all of this, there could be nothing bad about bringing one home. We had a nice little dinner while Gabbie sat content in her bassinet. She did fine with her first feeding at home, although she was still a little full from her "snack" before leaving the hospital. Tonight really feels like this is the way it's supposed to be, and we couldn't be happier. Tomorrow Greta will go to the hospital and nourish the boys, while I stay at home with Gabbie and Grandma. Here she is asleep for the first time in her home.

February 22, 2007

Happy 9 Week Birthday!


Wow! Nine weeks. Has it really been that long? Over 2 months? It's really hard to believe that we have been going up to the hospital every day for the past nine weeks. The original estimate for the babies coming home was 10 weeks, and it looks like that is pretty close. Overall, they have made so much progress and are doing remarkably well. Tonight in the NICU I fed both Lukas and Gabbie their bottles, and each of them finished without a problem. Greta fed Niklas who also did well and had a very alert evening. He was just staring at everything with the most inquisitive look on his face. Tomorrow is a big day, Gabbie is still scheduled to come home, here is a picture of her preparation bath.

February 21, 2007

Day 62


Barring any exceptions, Gabbie is on track to come home this Friday. She will most likely be coming home on oxygen either full time or possibly just while she eats. Nevertheless, we will finally have a baby at home. Tonight I got to the NICU and fed Lukas. Shortly afterwards we were given the option to complete our infant CPR class. Basically we sat in a room for an hour and a half and performed CPR on this creepy mannequin that looked like a robot capable of shooting lasers out of its eyes. Seriously, this thing looked like it was straight out of Buck Rogers. Anyway, everyone else is making steady progress and we are hoping that the boys are no more than 2 weeks behind their sister. Each time I go to the hospital they look a little stronger and healthier to me.

February 19, 2007

Burnout



Today started like any other day. I woke up feeling good, went to work, had a good day, and left for the NICU excited to see my babies. As soon as I entered the hospital, all of my energy drained from my body. I felt as if I hadn't slept in days, and suddenly felt like this whole experience was never going to end. When I arrived in the nursery, Greta informed me that Niklas had his brain scan and his ventricles increased slightly. This is not that big of deal, it just makes the possiblility that Niklas will need a shunt that much stronger. We did expect all along for the shunt to be necessary, but it's just one of those days. Lukas also had a colder temperature when I got there, so we put on one of Connie's home made knitted hats and that seemed to rectify the situation. Lukas received his feeding through the tube tonight, and I couldn't help but think that tube feeding seems like a long way from going home. Niklas finished about half of his bottle before getting tired and needing to be tube fed the rest. All in all it was an okay day, but all of these little things on top of it being a burnout Monday made it seem worse than it was. Yesterday we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but today the exhaustion of this journey set in. I have a feeling that a good night's sleep will fix a lot of things. The picture here is of Niklas with a little bandage on his head. Each day the doctors stick a needle into the reservoir that was placed beneath his scalp and draw out 8cc's of cerebral fluid. Afterwards, they put him in this elevated crib for about an hour until the little hole seals back up. The other picture is of Lukas and I.

February 17, 2007

Light At The End Of The Tunnel


After 58 days in the NICU it's starting to look like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone is doing great and all are eating well, especially Gabbie who continues to have a ferocious appetite . It's looking like Gabbie may come home in about a week barring any setbacks. It does, however, look like she will be coming home on oxygen. There's always the chance that she will make more progress this week and not need it. Niklas and Lukas are looking like they are 2 maybe 3 weeks behind their sister, so within a month we should have everyone at home. Thanks again to everyone who has been reading this and sending prayers and support, it has really meant a lot and helped us to keep a positive attitude.
I have become very adept at handling babies that are hooked up to a bunch of cables, and in this picture I was able to scoop up Lukas and Gabbie with no trouble.

February 15, 2007

Happy 8 Week Birthday!


We are both pretty tired today, so this is going to be a short post. Every one had a good day and all passed their hearing tests with flying colors. The NICU staff hung a musical mobile over the crib today and Niklas was fascinated with it. Greta said that he just stared at it for over an hour and kept reaching up and trying to touch it. I got to the hospital for the 6:00 feeding and gave Lukas his bottle. Gabbie was screaming for her food, and it was totally a "FEED ME!" type of a cry. Every time Greta pulled the bottle out of her mouth, she would throw a tantrum, but was completely happy while stuffing her little face. Seeing these guys eat and gain wait makes us both so happy. Niklas and Lukas are both looking different to me everyday, and it won't be too long before they catch up to Ms. Piggy.

Keletas zodiu lietuviskai skaitantiems Lietuvoje. Siandien lygiai 8 savaites kai trynukai gime ir viskas po truputi juda i prieki. Niklo ir Luko dar laukia operacijos, bet tikimes kad viskas bus gerai. Si Gabbie nuotrauka labai juokinga nes ji yra pati sveikiausia ir diziausia ir labai megsta daug valgyti ir miegoti.

February 14, 2007

A Visit From Grandma


Today my mom visited and spent theentire day hanging out with Greta in the NICU. She was the first person besides Greta and I to touch the babies and she took a turn holding each of them. Shortly after I arrived, the eye doctor showed up for examinations. The babies reallly hate this, so we stepped out while the exam was performed. Afterwards, we got the update from the doctor. Just to give you a bit of history, all of the babies eyes so far have been exactly where they should be with nothing to worry about. Tonight she says "Everything is still the same except Niklas's right eye which...". I totally expected the sentence to be finished with "is blind", "diseased", or "is going to have to be removed". But to my suprise she said "improved". So everyones eyes are good, but Niklas has one eye which is actually ahead of the curve, doing better than it should be. I swear this whole experience is like walking on pins and needles. Thank God for good news.

February 13, 2007

About 13 lbs Of Baby




The big news of the day is weight gain. Lukas is now 3 lbs, 7 oz, Niklas is 4 lbs 3 oz, and Fatty Boomba-Laddy is now 5 lbs 6 oz. Everyone is looking so good at this point, but there are still some hurdles to go. Niklas's last couple of brain scans have shown improvement and we should know within the next couple of weeks whether or not he needs a shunt placement. Lukas is being watched closely as he is showing signs of a hernia. When I look back at everything, it's hard to believe everything these babies have overcame so far. Here are some terms for your googling pleasure...

CONDITIONS
Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Multiple Pneumothorax (Hole in the Lung)
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (Heart Condition)
Hemangioma
Multiple Blood Transfusions
Intraventricular Hemorrhage (Brain Bleed)
Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema (Lung Condition)
Hernia
Group B. Strep ( Meningitis)
Hydrocephalus
Jaundice

TREATMENTS/PROCEDURES
Indometacin (For PDAs)
Reservoir Placement (For Hydrocephalus)
Serial Lumbar Puntures (Spinal Tap)
Surfactant (For Respiratory Distress Syndrome)
Steroids
Chest Tubes
Serial X-Rays
Brain Ultrasounds
Blood Transfusions
Multiple rounds of antibiotics
Caffeine

EQUIPMENT
Feeding Tubes
Respirators (Both Conventional and Oscillating)
Isolettes (Incubators)
IVs
Oxygen/Heart Rate/Respitory Monitors
Phototherapy (For Jaundice)
C-PAP
Nasal Cannula
Picc Lines
There are probably things I am missing, but I wanted to compile a list so that I have a case when these 3 start asking for car keys. The single picture is of Lukas, you should be able to figure out the rest.

February 10, 2007

Day 50






Last night I got home from the NICU after 9:00 and didn't have the energy to post. It was the second night up there without Greta, so I fed all three of the babies by bottle. Lukas had a slightly harder time vs. the night before. He started off really strong, but then would spit back out everything he took in. Gabbie came very close to finishing her bottle, but left a couple of cc's behind. Niklas finished about half of his bottle (about 20cc's) which is double what he did the night before. The results of Niklas's brain scan were also better showing an overall improvement in the ventricles, but a slight increase in size (3.3 cm to 3.6 cm). However, I was told that this increase in size was not an apples to apples comparison and there really wasn't an increase. His last scan was taken right after they did the daily tap of his reservoir (removal of fluid), while this one was done right before. Hopefully Greta starts feeling better soon so that she can visit the babies. The top picture here is of Niklas, Gabriella is in the middle with Lukas on the bottom. I have also updated flickr and separated the newer photos from the older. Click on the flickr badge on the left side of the page to see them.

February 8, 2007

Happy 7 Week Birthday!

Yesterday, Greta started feeling under the weather. I guess all of this has finally caught up with her. To be on the safe side, she decided to stay home today as to minimize any exposure to the babies. I left work a little early so that I could devote a generous amount of attention to all 3. When I arrived at the NICU tonight, Niklas was off his cannula. He no longer is needing any oxygen and apparently Lukas and Gabbie are getting pretty close to freedom as well. I fed all 3 babies by bottle, and Gabbie finished it this time. This was the first time at the bottle for Lukas who finished his entire bottle, and Niklas who finished about half. A physical therapist also came to check out Niklas while I was there. He had an appointment with his brother and sister last week but his surgery caused him to miss it. At this point he is doing all of the things he is supposed to do.

February 6, 2007

Gabbie's First Bottle

Today, I had the privilege of feeding Gabbie her first bottle. This is a big step towards having her feeding tube removed. She did pretty well, finishing about half of the bottle in addition to nursing twice. Everyone else was quiet, which is a great thing. Niklas's spinal fluid was clear in color today as opposed to the yellowish color it was yesterday which is indicative of infection. The doctors here are really amazing, and never take any chances. One of the nurses made a comment on here yesterday saying to celebrate the move to the step down unit as it is closer to the elevator. It's true and it is really starting to feel like the babies are going to come home sometime soon, and at this point it looks to be about 3 weeks for Gabbie and 4-5 weeks for the other two. What scares me is that the NICU staff is not coming home with them.

February 5, 2007

Day 46

Today was relatively quiet. All 3 are still in the same crib together and are doing well with it. Niklas had his first brain scan since his surgery and his ventricles are doing remarkably well. They will continue to tap the reservoir on a daily basis until further notice. The doctors did notice that Niklas's white blood cell count had gone up in his spinal fluid, which can be a sign of infection, so they started him on antibiotics. The good news is that he is showing no symptoms of infection and the cultures done on Saturday were all negative, but he will continue to be closely watched. Thanks again to everyone who is reading and following this blog. Greta and I look forward to reading all of the comments every day and checking the hit counter to see how many people have visited. It's a great feeling to know that there are so many people pulling for us and sending their prayers and positive thoughts to our babies.

February 4, 2007

Reunited At Last


This weekend was a really good one. Gabbie got her first bath, and loved it. Everyone is breast feeding and the swelling from Niklas's surgery has gone down substantially. But the big news is that everyone was moved into the "Special Care Unit" today and put in the same crib. It is across the hall from where we were and while it is still the NICU, it is considered a step down unit and is a big milestone. Niklas is spaced a little ways from his rambunctious siblings so that he does not get hit on the head where his sutures are. Once we got in the new unit, Niklas and I took a nap together for about an hour or so.

February 2, 2007

The Gang's All Here!






Today Niklas was transported back to St. Joseph after his tour at U of M. He looked pretty good, although the area of his head where the reservoir was installed looked a little swollen. He is back on nasal cannula after spending some time on C-PAP after the surgery. Greta had called me earlier in the day all excited that Lukas and Gabbie were now in the same open air crib wrapped in the same blanket. Apparently Lukas just inquisitively stared at Gabbie for a couple of hours. There is a 50/50 chance that Lukas may have to go back in his isolette if he doesn't continue to gain weight on the outside. I got to spend time holding both Gabbie and Lukas tonight for their feedings, while Greta got to hold everyone for a good deal of time today. Anyway, we are both exhausted after a long week and I can't think of much more to say so here are some extremely cute pictures.