The pictures below mean more than words can say.....but, I typed out a 'few' words following these fabulous pictures nonetheless.....
Madison Lee Feb 16th 2010
Charlotte Renee Feb 16th 2010
Our girls are 36 weeks and thriving. They have spent 55 days in the NICU. In recent weeks we've seen them excel in leaps and bounds. Gone are the nasal cannula and isolette. Gone are the skinny legs, and gaunt faces. We now have the slightest of rolls developing, we definitely have double chins and the most adorable rounded out baby tushes. Charlotte is 5lbs, 15oz and Madison is 5lbs, 12 oz....they've come a long way from their 2lb selves and we couldn't be more grateful.
Charlotte and Madison are officially "feeders and growers". They are learning to eat on their own and to do it all while breathing. The multi-tasking is a challenge they are still working through. We have 'rockstar' days and days that are a little less glamorous, but overall - they are really coming along well. I now spend my weekdays at the pink hospital on the hill from 8-3. We start off at 8am with breastfeeding, take a break at 11am and cuddle while they get their gavage feeding and at 2pm, we try out the multitasking again. Later this week, we'll try back to back feedings as long as they are doing well with their two feedings a day.
Their last milestone to accomplish is breathing without having an Apnea, Brady or Dsat spells. They're doing well to keep the apnea and bradys at bay but the dsats to tend to occur still. Especially during their breastfeeding attempts. But, they're fewer and farther between and the girls are beginning to recover on their own pretty quickly which shows signs of maturity on their part. We had Charlotte on a countdown last week, she went four days without any spells but....alas, she didn't want to leave Madison behind, so she went big and had an ABD, all three types of events at one time, while sleeping. SO, we're back at the start again. They say "never trust a preemie" and "you'll take one step forward, then take two steps back" and that is true. But, I am thankful that our "steps back" are minor and will resolve themselves with a little more time and maturity which comes with age. So, we're being patient and doing what we can do to help them thrive. Lots of love, cuddles, and breastfeeding attempts to allow for some practice.
We had their eyes checked about four weeks ago, and they both have stage one Retinopathy (ROP) due to their prematurity. Retinopathy is abnormal blood vessel development in the retina of the eye of a premature infant. There are five stages of ROP. Stage one is the mildest, most premature infants have at least stage one. Eye development occurs beginning at month three in the womb and continues through to birth and when infants are born premature, this growth is disrupted. As a result, the abnormal blood vessel development can occur. Stage one Retinopathy simply requires some watching and waiting and should resolve itself in time. Most premature infants that have a mild case of ROP have no lasting effects of the disease, so we are optimistic that they will have normal vision. Craig and I have both needed some kind of eye correction, so regardless, glasses may be in our future. As it stands, on their follow-up appointment, the girls had not regressed, but were the same. We'll just continue watching them and they will see a pediatric ophthalmologist to track their progress once discharged from the hospital.
Overall, we have overcome some big potential hurdles. We have avoided brain bleeds, major eye problems, as well as heart and lung conditions. We are counting our blessings and letting our "feeders and growers" continue to do what they do best, with the hope that we will have no large setbacks as we begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel. We anticipate that they will come home in the next couple of weeks....fingers crossed and lots of prayers please!
28 weeks with high risk Momo twins ~PLUS~ 5 weeks inpatient care beginning at 23 weeks ~PLUS~ a 28 week emergency c-section on Christmas eve ~PLUS~ nearly 8 weeks ( and a couple more still to come) in the NICU ~EQUALS~ a long, long journey.
We are SO looking forward to the end of this part of our lives and the beginning of our next journey, life as a family of five and all the beautiful chaos that will bring.