March 31, 2007

Gabbie Has A Cold


When you are a new parent, everything is a big deal. You feel like calling the doctor for every minor thing. With preemies it's even worse. Yesterday, Gabbie started coughing a little bit. Nothing deep or too persistent, but she is coughing and sneezing. With a full term baby, you would just write this off as a cold. However, with 28 weekers we have to be watching out for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). RSV is a very common respiratory infection that almost all babies get before they are 2 years old. Premature babies or those with lung or heart problems have a high risk of getting very sick if they catch RSV early in life. This is because premature babies do not have fully developed lungs, and the triplet's lungs are still healing from the trauma they incurred from having respiratory distress syndrome. Also, because the triplets were born early, they may not have received antibodies from Greta that help them fight off RSV and other viruses. As a result, our babies have been receiving Synagis shots to help prevent them from getting RSV and to reduce the severity of it if they do. Nonetheless, everything is a little scarier with a premature infant. Every cough and sneeze plant the seeds of worry that a stay in the hospital is on the horizon. We are just praying that it is just a common cold that will pass within a few days. I thought once we left the NICU that our days of worry were over, but I have now realized that my days of worry have just begun. Maybe I will be able to rest easy in another 25 years or so.

March 29, 2007

They're Showing Off


Last night was wonderfully uneventful. The babies were fed at 11:00 p.m., and I was awoken at 4:30 a.m. by a knock on the door and Irena saying "Jason, it's time for the feeding." The babies weren't crying, in fact they probably could have slept longer. This was the first night since they have been home that they have not been the first to wake up for their feedings. Instead of pressing my luck and letting them sleep longer, I got up with both Dailius and Irena and we fed them all in under 1/2 hour. Apparently they were little angels all day today as well, and I'm convinced that they are showing off. Lukas was the only one with a doctors' appointment today, and that was good news too. While he was in the NICU we were concerned that he had a hernia that was going to require surgery, but we are being told now that it is just a hydro seal. I am not really sure what that means, but I know it's better than a hernia and doesn't require surgery. The picutre posted is of Irena feeding Lukas.

March 27, 2007

Regime Change

Today was the last day of help from my Mom for a while, but Greta's parents arrived from Lithuania today. Dailius (Greta's Dad) will be here for about 1 month, while Irena (Greta's Mom) will be here a few weeks longer. Today went by so fast that there was no time for a picture. We started the morning by trucking all 3 to the pulmonologist (lung doctor). Everybody looked good, but no one is coming off of oxygen yet. They think that Gabbie and Niklas will be on for another month, while Lukas could be on for a month or two longer. In fact, we actually increased Lukas's oxygen from .25 liter to .50 liter so that he can spend more of his energy growing. We were really hoping to get rid of some oxygen tanks, as the cords are getting really annoying and it makes it really cumbersome to leave the house. Leaving the doctor today, I put all of the babies in the car and rolled down the windows to air it out when the rear passenger window would not roll back up. I rushed to the dealership to get it in for repair and to get a rental car because there are many more appointments to come this week and the forecast calls for rain. So, tonight marks the changing of the guard and the mad dash to get these guys sleeping thought the night before Irena leaves. Whew!

March 25, 2007

The First Walk


Yesterday it was close to 70 degrees, so we seized the opportunity to go for a walk. I lugged the stroller up from the basement and set it up in the garage. We got all three babies dressed, changed them over to their portable oxygen tanks and plopped them in the stroller (our monster stroller has room for 3 tanks with room to spare). At that point, I realized that the tires in our triple jogger were flat and none of the three bike tire pumps that I owned were the right kind. So, it was off to the neighbors to hunt for a standard bicycle pump. Once I inflated the tires to their recommended pressure, it was time for pictures. Finally, after about an hour and 1/2 we were both so tired we contemplated calling it a day and putting everyone back to bed. Instead, we headed out for a nice long walk and enjoyed the day. As soon as the stroller was set in motion, all 3 were blissfully passed out. Life felt normal.

March 22, 2007

Easter Pictures





Yesterday was the Triplets 3 month birthday, and they have come such a long way in that time. Yesterday Gabbie weighed in at 8lbs 4oz, Lukas at 5lbs 4oz, and today Niklas weighed in at 7lb 9oz. Thats over 21 lbs of baby! Lukas is growing at a little slower rate than he should be, but eventually he will catch up. We have increased the volumes of his feedings to help him out a little bit. Niklas's shunt is also healing up very well and it's easy to see how it will vanish in the long run. Time is already going so fast as Gabbie has been home for 4 weeks, Lukas for over 2 and Niklas for 1. Over the weekend, Greta decided she was going to dress the babies up all cute for Easter pictures and some of the results are posted here. In the top picture it's Niklas, Gabbie and Lukas from left to right. The 3 pictures below are in the same order from top to bottom.

March 19, 2007

Prop-A-Baby


Being an engineer, it was only a matter of time before I found a mechanism for propping baby bottles or invented one myself. The gadget displayed here in the photo is called the "Milk Maid", and it must have been invented by a Dad with multiples. These things arrived in the mail today and at this point they are working pretty well. It allows Gabbie and Niklas to be propped while Lukas is fed by hand. Lukas is still pretty small and needs to be finagled a little bit. In other news, Niklas had his first appointment with our pediatrician today and he has gained over 1/2 lb. since he came home on Friday (6lb 15 oz). Having three babies is a little more work than two, it kind of feels like learning to juggle at gunpoint. We are, however, getting our system down and each day these guys are getting stronger and stronger. I also want to thank everyone at PTC (the company I work for) for throwing a surprise party for me today and loading us up with Target gift certificates. We have diapers and formula covered for a while now.

March 17, 2007

Niklas Comes Home!


After 85 long days in the NICU, the Trio is finally all at home. Everyone is on oxygen so that they continue to grow well, but other than that everyone is doing just fine. It was sort of emotional leaving the NICU as the doctors and nurses were sad to see Niklas go. They all had this special attachment to him considering everything he fought through. It's hard to believe that there were times when we thought Niklas might not make it. It seemed as soon as we walked out of the hospital we both felt a huge sense of relief and exhaustion at the same time. We both held up pretty well throughout this whole experience, but it was like we just finished a marathon.

From this point on, the babies will each be sleeping in separate cribs in the nursery instead of a pack 'n' play outside our bedroom. I am sure the babies will have a little trouble adjusting to this at first, but it will be better in the long run. Here is a picture of Niklas resting in his bed after almost 3 months in the hospital.

March 14, 2007

The Original Due Date


Today is the day that the Triplets should have been born had they been a normal singleton birth. But that's of no consequence since Greta and I never do anything the "normal" way. That would be too boring. It's been harder to update the blog every day due to the fact that our days are now wonderfully action packed. I fully intend to keep going with this until these guys are old enough to comprehend it and see what they went through. Niklas was moved back to St. Joseph Mercy on Monday, and I went up to spend some time with him last night after work. The kid looked absolutely awesome. I sat there and talked to him and his eyes nearly popped out of his head in excitement. He was so alert. I admit that I am a gifted conversationalist, but Niklas has never looked so good. He ate over 100cc's while I was there in a combination of nursing and the bottle, and at this rate it looks like he should be home within a week. I have just started to master the dexterity necessary to feed 2 babies at once, 3 should be interesting. Similar to juggling I would imagine.

March 10, 2007

Floyd Comes Home!


Niklas was originally scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday, but got bumped to Thursday. On Thursday he was taken to the operating room at 8:00 a.m., but he didn't actually go into surgery until about 10:00 a.m. I was given a pager at U of M so that I could roam the hospital until Niklas was done. At 12:00 p.m. I got the page and found the nearest courtesy phone. The lady on the other end said "Mr. Myers, I am so glad that I gave you this pager, otherwise I don't know how we would have found you. Please come to the waiting room, the neurosurgeons would like to talk to you." So, I just about had a heart attack right there on the spot. I figured something went wrong and they were going to explain it all to me. Probably put me on a comfy couch and have a talk with me about what I could expect. The lady sounded so worried on the phone that it had to be terrible, so I ran back up to the third floor as fast as I could. I met with the neurosurgeon and he immediately told me that the surgery went great, and that there were no issues. The lady on the phone just took 5 years off of my life for no reason. Another 5 years would be shaved off overnight when we received a call at 3:00 a.m. 3:00 a.m phone calls are never good which is why Greta and I both darted out of bed and dashed for the phone. Greta got there first and had a conversation that seemed to go on for hours. I was sure that Niklas had taken a turn for the worse and that they were explaining the steps they were going to take to try and save him, if they even could. When Greta got off of the phone she informed me that Niklas was going to have to stay on the ventilator for another 12 hours or so and that they said that this is really nothing out of the ordinary. Another 5 years off of my life for nothing out of the ordinary. Today we visited Niklas and he was off the ventilator and on C-PAP. They said he could have went straight to cannula, but it's standard practice at U of M to go to C-PAP first. Niklas's recovery is really going well at this point and they think he might be shipped back to St. Joseph as soon as tomorrow. Finally, Floyd came home today and seemed to be pretty glad to see us. We haven't seen him since the morning of the 21st of December. He was really good around the babies and aside from giving them a sniff and a lick, he wasn't too interested in them. Thanks again to the Edwards family for coming to the hospital the night we delivered, going to our house and taking in our spastic dog for 2 1/2 months.

March 7, 2007

Lukas Comes Home!


Today was exhausting. Last night, Niklas was shipped off to U of M for his final shunt placement. We thought the surgery would take place sometime today, but he got bumped to tomorrow. So, in addition to going to U of M to sign consent forms, Gabbie had a doctor's appointment, Greta had a dentist appointment, Lukas's oxygen was delivered and at the end of the day Lukas came home. All in all it was a crazy but wonderful day. Lukas still looks so small next to Gabbie who weighed in at 6 lbs 11 oz. today, but to his credit he is 4 lbs 6 oz which is a long way from the 1 lb 15 oz he was born at. Our house is now like a trendy Hollywood hot spot as we now have a house full of oxygen tanks, but Gabbie has an appointment tomorrow to see if she still needs it. In other news, we received the bill for Gabbie today which came in at $321,000 which means we should have no problem crossing the one million dollar mark. Please pray that Niklas's surgery goes well tomorrow, that his recovery is speedy, and that he does well on his feedings so that he can come home. It looks like the NICU rollercoaster is coming close to ending.

March 5, 2007

Day 74


In the beginning of this whole ordeal, we were told to expect the triplets to come home around their original 40 week due date (March 14th). It looks like that prediction is going to be pretty accurate. We are expecting Lukas to come home sometime this week and hopefully Niklas to within a week a Lukas. The only thing holding Niklas back at this point is the protein levels in his spinal fluid which are stubbornly hovering just above what we want. Greta and I have been without Grandma since Saturday, and although her help is much appreciated, one baby is cake. It seems like people love to tell you how difficult having a child is and how little sleep you get. I think between Greta and I mentally preparing for the worst, experiencing what we have since these babies were born, and living 4 years with the world's worst (but also best) dog, having little Gabbie at home has been a cinch. We are definitely ready for another baby to come home. It looks like that dog of ours may finally be coming home as well. Our friends the Edwards family have graciously taken care of Floyd for us since the 21st of December when the babies were born. We are so appreciative, especially since Floyd is not the easiest dog to care for sometimes, and has also been sick for the past week or so. We both are very, very attached to Floyd and couldn't be more thankful to the Edwards family for taking good care of him. Below is a picture of the boys who reached out and held hands while I was holding them yesterday.

March 2, 2007

Happy (Belated) 10 Week Birthday!


We are now in the double digits as far as weeks are concerned, and although everyone is doing fine, we are getting impatient for the boys to come home. They are getting better at their feedings little by little, and it's only a matter of time before they come home. Hopefully it will be sometime in the next couple weeks. Gabbie had an eye doctor appointment today and her eyes are doing great, and so is she. She continues to be a very content baby, making our lives much easier because of it. Tonight I went to the NICU after work and fed Lukas. He had been doing well all day on his feedings, nursing and taking the bottle very well. However, when I fed him his bottle tonight he choked and got tired out, which is very discouraging. Sometimes you feel like it's your fault, that maybe you are holding them wrong or feeding them incorrectly. This is the type of thing that has to stop before they are allowed to come home, so you can't help feeling disappointed when it happens. Patience has never been a virtue of mine. Here is a picture of the boys in their vibrating bouncy seat taking a nap together in the NICU.