Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Friday, July 31, 2009

Escape Artist

When Eloise was just a few days old she would scoot herself to the edge of the isolette and the NICU nurses were always shocked at how much she moved around. We thought we were done with that nonsense until a few nights ago. At the 5:00 am feed, Rich woke me up and this is what we found.

Mind you, she started at the top of the crib completely swaddled. I know she is going to be our little escape artist. I'm wondering how long it is going to take for her to pile her brother and sister on top of one another and climb out.

Then two nights ago I had Adeline in bed with me because she was fussy and it was time for either the 2 am or 5 am feeding (I can't remember, it runs together) and Rich asked me if I had Eloise as well because there was only one baby in crib, Beckett. I started to freak out thinking she had escaped and was on the floor or we left her on the changing table. Finally we turned on the light and she was snuggled in the corner. Rich just didn't see her initially. Talk about feeling like a neglectful mom for an instant. I thought we has lost her.

My mom left to go back to Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon and I was by myself for the first time until late Thursday night when Rich came home. She was my photographer so I'm going to have be better about taking pictures of the little ones. I would have been overwhelmed without her here the first two weeks. It was a little scary but rather empowering to figure out how to keep the three happy, fed, held, loved and changed by myself. I did have help Wednesday night when our night nanny came from 10-6 but other than that, I was on my own. It is amazing how you can contort your body to hold one baby in your arms, another on your legs and use your other leg to rock the bouncy seat.

Rich was here during the day Friday and he was eating lunch, working on the computer and holding Eloise. When he gave her back to me I unwrapped her blanket and found a pile of black beans and rice (thanks Nanette for bringing me food!). I guess she was having lunch with her Daddy.

Today we had our first scare of almost running out of diapers. We have a stock of Newborn size but all of them are still in Preemie size so at one point we only had 3 diapers left. Luckily, we feed the babies and I ran to the store and was back in time before we ran out. Phew. I had a vision of Rich taping toilet paper or paper towel to the babies while I was gone if he needed to change one of them. We've had quite the time with the diapers. The babies are all in preemie size and I don't think the preemie size are made to hold the volume of "output" that our babies make because we change their clothes probably 4-8 times a day due to leaking. Rich is about to lose it with all the outfit changes. I think he has started to double diaper the babies by putting a preemie size on and then a newborn size on top. That's a cheap option.

Speaking of diapers, anyone who has an idea of diaper size can appreciate the small size of the babies when they were born by the picture below. From left to right is the following:

NICU diapers- diapers the babies wore for the first several weeks.
Preemie diapers- they are in this size now. Adeline may move up to Newborn in a few weeks.
Newborn diapers- diapers for babies >6 lbs

This is the play yard that we have in the living room thanks to my Aunt Joanne. We can fit two bouncy seats in it but then that leaves the question of where to put the third baby. Luckily at least one is sleeping at any given time so we will keep them in the crib.

I'll post pictures of the nursery soon but it is not that impressive because there are only two cribs in there because the third is in our bedroom.
But here is a sneak peak of the door to the nursery...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 2

This last week has been full of doctor appointments, sleepless nights and lots of hysterical laughing. I don’t know if the laughing is due to lack of sleep or daily life with triplets is really that funny. On a side note, all three have figured out how to cry in the last 2 days. Before this just kind of grunted and squealed and snorted like little pigs when they were upset. But now they found their voice. Adeline is our most vocal and really loves to be held and carried around the house. I have become adept at doing pretty much everything except showering with her on one hip. She loves to be held so much the other night she thought it would be best to be held between the hours of 2am and 5 am rather than sleep. Every time I put her down she would scream. That was a fun night.

Also, my mom thinks the babies need to be bathed more often. The NICU said they were just fine to get a bath every 3 days. But they do get a little ripe in between but that is what I think smells the best. That is what babies are supposed to smell like; a very delicate blend of breast milk caught in the folds of their neck, Burt’s Bee’s diaper ointment and that new baby smell that disappears after about 3 months.

Since last week all 3 have been getting 60 mls of milk every feed but Beckett has a hard time finishing his bottle and his weight is the most concerning because he still is pretty skinny and not gaining weight like expected. We could paint him green and he would be the perfect alien. All three went back to the pediatrician on Tuesday to be weighed:

Beckett: 4lbs 9 oz
Eloise: 4 lbs 7 oz
Adeline: 5 lbs 0.4 oz

So we finally have a 5 pounder. Adeline is getting fat little thighs and cheeks. Everyone says she looks just like me. She is a little Mini Me if my hairline was like Homer Simpson.

So the pediatrician said that Beckett has reflux and dysphasia. Essentially the muscle used to pull down milk in his esophagus is weak so the milk is pooling and he can’t eat effectively. And then when he does eat, the reflux causes him pain when he spits up. The solution is to give him reflux medication (cherry flavored) and to thicken his milk. So I had to buy a thickener that is the consistency of honey to add to the milk and new bottles/nipples. I was pretty freaked out when the read the ingredients of the thickener and I wish he wasn’t on medication but a boy has to eat. It makes the milk the consistency of vanilla pudding. I probably could trick Rich into eating a couple of spoonfuls if I mixed it with vanilla wafers and bananas and passed it off as banana pudding.

On Friday I took Beckett to what we have been calling “swallow school.” Actually it was occupational therapy where they did an evaluation of him eating. They changed the formula again so now he is on a different type of nipple so he doesn’t have to work as hard to eat, more supplements in the milk to add calories and a different type of thickening agent. I’m telling you, I’m like a little chemist in the kitchen mixing up this stuff because everything is mixed in different amounts/concentrations. It takes about 15 minutes to make up all of the bottles for one feed. It’s one way to put my nursing degree to good use. As much as I hate him not getting just breast milk, he is at high risk for aspirating his milk into his lungs with the reflux so this is the safest and best option.

Now, the girls are having problems. Our little powerhouse, Eloise, twists and turns and arches and turns red when she is eating so she is having signs of reflux as well. Adeline is doing the same thing and very irritable and visibly uncomfortable. They are both starting on reflux medication today. Hopefully the medication will work and we will not need to thicken their milk as well.

The best news is that I have a night nanny starting tonight. She is going to be here for 8 hours a night 3 nights a week to give us a break and stretch of sleep through the night. And she washes the baby clothes and bottles and organizes the nursery. I couldn’t be happier.

Grandma trying to decide which one she is taking back to Wisconsin.

Beckett before milk

Beckett after milk

The girls sharing their first secret plan to gang up on their brother

Adeline using the blanket made from her great-grandmother's (and namesake- Leona) fabric collection.

"They should write a song about my beautiful eyes." -Adeline

"Does anyone have a baby toupee I can borrow?" -Adeline

All three taking a nap in the crip in the bedroom. Beckeet is the one with the blue blanket and pink sleeper. We were dressed him in pink for when Rich came home to see if he mixed up Adeline and Beckett.

Eloise with a hold of my necklace. Daddy- I think someone wants their own jewelry.
"See grandma, I don't smell too bad." -Beckett

Beckett on his way to swallow school. We put a business card on him for purposes of scale so you can get an idea of his size.

Eloise showing off her crusty face.

Adeline is going to borrow this hair from Eloise's shoulder to put on her head.

Bottle parts getting ready to go into the bottle soup, I mean the sterilization boiling water.
An elf after an all night bottle party at the Newman house.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free at Last, Free at Last

On Tuesday I went to hospital expecting to bring home Eloise and I felt like I won the lottery when they said that Adeline was being discharged as well.
They all are doing fantastic and came home with no medications or monitors. The only thing is they get vitamins in their milk once a day and we supplement the breast milk with a powder to increase the calorie content to help them gain weight. We are incredibly fortunate to have such healthy little babies. All babies were home exactly 5 weeks after they were born so they were home at 36 weeks.
My mom came in on Monday night so she watched Beckett while I went to the hospital. I tricked her and just brought Eloise in the house in her infant seat and said I had to get the rest of the stuff out of the car and came back holding Adeline. They had to eat right away and Beckett was in his crib so my mom and I were feeding the girls and Beckett started to cry. We looked up and said, "Now what do we do?" That pretty much sums up the last 72 hours.
We are just winging it and figuring it out as we go. They eat every 3 hours and with two of us it takes between 1.25 and 1.5 hours to feed and change all three so we have about 1.5 hours before starting over again. In that time we make bottles, sterilize bottles, do laundry, eat and sleep. And I am still pumping breast milk every 3 hours as well which takes about 1/2 hour so you can see we don't have much time. We were pretty bleary-eyed the first 48 and still are. Luckily Rich came home last night and said that he would do all the night feedings to give us a break. We just laughed when he said that. But with 3 of us we can each skip 1 night feeding and get a stretch of sleep.
My mom and I took all three to the pediatrician on Thursday morning for an 8 am appointment. We both had about 3-4 hours of sleep the night before and it was my first experience trying to pack a diaper bag and their bottles for the 8 feed and anticipate what we would need. Also, I realized that we had never tested to make sure the stroller fit in the Jeep. Did I mention it was 103 degrees outside as well? But all the babies were very cooperative, loved their car seats and the car ride and charmed all the people at the hospital that were staring at us pushing the stroller. It was my first experience with the staring and questions. I don't mind, I love to show off my beautiful babies as long as no one touches them. Their small size also makes people stop and stare because Adeline is the biggest and she is 4 lbs 13 oz so they are dwarfed in their infant seats.
The pediatrician was fantastic (Thanks Lisa for the reference). The only concern is their weight so we increased their feedings form 45-50 ml per feed to 60 ml per feed. It is a bit of a challenge to get Adeline and Beckett to eat that much per feed but our little piggy, Eloise, sucks it down in minutes and eyes up the bottles for the other babies.
We have home health coming in twice a week to take vital signs and track their weight to ensure they are gaining weight appropriately. Beckett is still very underweight with these really skinny long arms and legs. The girls are plumping up nicely and Eloise is starting to look more like Adeline because she is gaining a little weight in her cheeks and face.
Today's Weights

Beckett 4lbs, 5 oz
Eloise 4 lbs
Adeline 4 lbs, 9 oz

They are pretty good about sleeping throughout the night until their feedings and then they go back to sleep but during the day they will be awake for stretches of 1-2 hours just looking around, eating their hands and squawking. Did I mention how much noise they make? They rarely cry just kind of grunt and groan.

We also have been very busy, or at least my mom has, documenting the chaos with pictures. I accidentally imported them in the wrong order and I'm too lazy to fix it so scroll down to the bottom and work your way up. At least that is the order in which the pictures were taken. Of course I think my babies are just beautiful but I'm a tad partial.

A heavy night of drinking at the Newmans...

Three bouncy seats. Not that we have a surface big enough for all three besides the floor. And you can see Pickles the pug really likes the seats as well.

My beautiful boy sleeping.

Adeline sleeping- one of the few times she will sleep without someone holding her

"I can't wear PINK everyday" - Eloise

Something is terribly wrong with this picture. First of all, the torture device, a.k.a., breast pump is documented on the left but more troubling is the length of my husband's legs and backwards socks.
Eloise and Adeline

Beckett in his big boy pants. These are newborn size if that gives you an idea of how little and skinny he is.

Eloise sleeping. She looks like a little angel.

Holding all three for the first time. I'm feeding Beckett. This is also a good shot of Adeline's hairline of male pattern baldness.

"Stop in the name of LOVE." Eloise does this whenever she is getting burped.

Beckett's little feet after his daddy wrapped him. Someone get this boy some socks.

My stroller at the doctor office. See my fancy diaper bag. It is a triathlon messenger bag so it looks like I have triplets AND I do Ironman triathlons.

My awesome stroller at our first outing to the doctor.

Beckett holding the hand of Eloise.

Mmmmm, the milk moustache on my sister tastes so good.

Oh no, I just made another contribution to the money pit, otherwise known as the diaper pail.

Eloise on her first day home.

Adeline on her first day home.

Eloise in her infant seat when I brought her home from the hospital. She has blankets rolled up on either side of her and under her in order to keep her upright and in the seat.

Eloise in her infant seat on her way home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Big Happenings on Sunday- Hopefully

Good news and bad news. The good news is that when I went to the hospital yesterday they said that ALL THREE could home with us on Sunday provided they were free of alarms and passed their car seat test. Then about 2 hours later, little Eloise had an episode of bradycardia and bought herself another 5 days. It was so sad, I looked over the monitoring strip with the nurse to make sure it was a true episode and not just a fake one where the leads where just not picking up. So that was the bad news and really, that can happen to any one of the three at anytime which would push back their discharge date 5 days. I thought we were on pins and needles before...
The other news is that Beckett is going to be circumcised in the next day or so. He is so little- a little over 4 lbs- it seems too traumatic for someone that small.
Also, they are all free of all of their feeding tubes. Now they really have to work for their food 8 times a day. Sounds like a lot but they only get 1.5 oz 8 times a day and sometimes even that takes them 30 minutes to drink.
They are having their hospital pictures taken today so I have to make sure I have all of their "outfits and bows" ready for the pictures. Just kidding. No bows for these girls yet. I just have a couple of goofy hats and a blanket my mom made. I'm not even bringing clothes for them. I like little naked babies and the outfits distract from their perfect faces, bald heads and crossed eyes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Maybe Monday

The word on the street is that Beckett will be coming home on Monday. As I've said before he has to be free of any episodes of low heart rate or forgetting to breathe and he has to pass the dreaded CAR SEAT TEST.
For them it is like running a mile in 7 minutes to make the team- not that I've ever done that. The only thing I can relate it to is when I was little, like 11 or 12, I was told by my parents that I had to take either self defense or racquetball at the Y. I chose racquetball not knowing that Johnnie Gray, an ex Green Bay Packer safety, taught the class. I was the only girl and we had to run lines on the racquetball court and beat Johnnie before we were allowed to go leave class for the day. I was always the last one left. He would eventually let me beat him because people who had the court after us would be banging on the glass waiting for their turn. I liken the babies completely and cleanly passing the car seat test the first time to an 11 year old girl beating an ex-NFL player in his 30's in a full out sprint.
Essentially they have to sit in their car seat for 90 minutes with no episodes again of apnea and bradycardia. Sounds easy enough. But for these little munchkins is it hard because it is a new position for them and they have a hard time keeping their head up and not flopping forward cutting off their breathing.
Both he and Eloise are taking all 8 of their daily feedings by bottle or breast and Adeline is taking 6 of 8. I'm not sure why they are not talking yet about Eloise coming home with Beckett because they are identical in their alarms and feedings. One of the nurses said it was because Eloise was still so small. That's funny, because I've heard repeatedly from the beginning that the weight was not the determinate of discharge. Oh well, it gives Adeline more company. I will feel terrible when only one is still in the NICU. As it is now, Eloise is always next to Adeline and when I pick up Eloise to feed her and no one is next to Adeline she starts to cry. She is going to be heartbroken if she is the last one by herself. So I talk to her the whole way through her feedings to encourage her to keep eating so she will not be left behind and be sad and grumpy for a few days when the others are at home with the pugs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Few more pictures...

Somehow this picture got tipped upside down. Probably from my little Spock-eared little girl testing out her special powers.

It looks like Adeline is smiling but she is really just rooting around looking for delicious food that tastes like Indian, Thai and veggie burgers (what I ate before the picture).

This is Eloise (trying to give a peace sign) swaddled tight with her brother to keep him warm. I wasn't joking about her being a little furnace.

Okay, enough procrastinating and I have to get back to pumping. I don't know how many people have seen one of these hospital grade breast pumps but they are pretty awesome looking and powerful. I'll do whatever it takes to keep these babies healthy, gaining weight and on their way home where they belong.

Happy 4 Week Birthday

The triplets are 4 weeks old today and the biggest news is that they have told us that if everything keeps going as planned that Beckett may come home as early as Sunday. They are taking 5-6 feedings by bottle or breast and need to be taking 8 feeding for 24-48 hours before they can go home. Also, they can't have any episodes of bradycardia (low heart rate) or apnea (long period without taking a breath) withing 5 days of discharge. For example, Beckett hadn't had any bradycardia or apnea since June 23rd and then he had an episode last night which bought him another 5 days. Eloise had an episode last night and Adeline had an episode on the 4th so for Eloise that is going to be what keeps her in longer even though she is a ferocious eater. For Adeline, she feedings are going a little slower, she only takes 5 a day while they others are at 6. Taking one home before the others is going to be a challenge and we really thought we had another 2 weeks or so this was a huge surprise that it is going to happen so soon. A happy surprise but really puts us into panic mode. That means we would take him home after just 4 1/2 weeks in the NICU and we thought they would be there for 6-9 weeks.

Beckett- 4 lbs
Eloise- 3 lbs 8 oz
Adeline- 4 lbs 8 oz

As you can see, all three were in a crib together a few days ago and then Beckett wasn't able to hold his temperature so he went back into the isolette today for 24 hours. They usually like to position them A, B, C but since Beckett was a little cold they put him in the middle of his two firecracker sisters so it is Eloise, Beckett and Adeline. Normally they don't go into an open crib until they 1800 grams which is about 4 lbs but Eloise is a hot tamale so I guess they made an exception.

Here is Adeline taking a bottle. Don't worry, in real life her ear is not pointed and she normally doesn't look like a character from Star Trek.

Another picture of the three together. This time it is Beckett, Eloise and Adeline.

This is a picture of Eloise after her bath with Beckett looking on in envy. He hasn't been able to get a bath in a few days because he is too cold so he smells just delicious. I gave Eloise a mohawk using baby lotion as gel.
Other than the normal preemie issues of bradycardia and apnea they are doing great. All the nurses call Eloise "the powerhouse" because she sucks down her bottles in minutes and breastfeeds almost her entire amount which is highly unusual for babies at this gestational age. Normally at this age they take 10-12 ml of milk by breastfeeding. Today she took 27 ml and probably would have done more but I stopped her because I had other babies to feed.

The infected IV site in Adeline's turned out to a contagious so all the babies are on contact isolation. The infection was treated and is gone but ALL the babies are on contact isolation meaning that everyone entering their little pod and having contact with the babies have to gown and glove. It is really a pain in hind end and very hot especially when it is about 100 degrees outside, I'm carrying about 30 extra lbs of weight and my hormones are going crazy because of all the breastfeeding. They are not contagious but it is policy that once they go on contact isolation they stay on it until discharge and to protect the other babies. I'm pretty upset about the whole thing because it started from her IV site but there is nothing we can do about it and just be happy when they all come home and we don't have wear the gowns.

I'll leave you with one last picture of the little pumpkins all lined up. Again, Beckett is in the middle of his two sister so they can help to keep him toasty warm.

Here is another quote from Rich when he walked into the bedroom when I was pumping.

"It smells like breastmilk in here."

I don't believe him. If anything it probably smelled like stinky pugs because both of them were in the bedroom and unlike Beckett, going for a long period of time without a bath does not make them delicious.