Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wordful Wednesday - 36 weeks and one (er....two) tiny feet out the door

I'm indulging in a very wordy "Wordful Wednesday" with.....


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.

11 comments:

Mama Kat said...

I can't wait for you to take your babies home!! Giving birth and bringing new babies into the home can be stressful withOUT the scary NICU. It's great to read about how they're progressing though...keep us updated and I'll keep praying! :)

Amber said...

What an amazing story they have to tell. So proud of your family for all you are facing. The girls are just too cute for words! We are continuing to pray for them! Good job tiny little ladies! ;)

angie said...

Before you know it they are going to be home. Amazing.

Just an FYI before I forget. When you have to take them to the eye doctor once they are out of the NICU, be prepared and take someone with you! THey put openers in their eyes and then use drops and then move their eye balls around with this metal thing that looks like it has a ball at the end.

So excited that the girls are offical feeders and growers.

MoDLin said...

Feeders and growers - woohoo!!! They are progressing so well. Yes, there is a good chance that in time they will outgrow the ROP. A few steps forward and then one back will still get them home in the not too distant future. I'm sure you're feeling "the sooner the better!" but it won't be too much longer. I'm so happy for you.

Melis said...

It took me while to post a comment... And I still don't have words. Congrats, lil ones, you've rendered me speechless as I sit in awe of your strength and your Mommy's courage. I can't help but smile from ear to ear and struggle to keep back tears to read so much positive news. Keep it up, Hempeck girls!

Brandi said...

What an amazing story! So glad the girlies are doing so good, and that they are coming so far. It won't be long for sure now before you have them both at home with you and their big sister.

My twins were separate sacs same placenta. We went the entire pregnancy thinking two and two, but found out at delivery the placenta was wedged in between their sacs and it made it look like a dividing line. I think I shocked the doc, because when he said one placenta I said "Are your sure it isn't just fused?".

Melis said...

Psst? I have awards for you ;-)

PrincessandthePea said...

I was thinking about you the other day wondering if the sweet babies had arrived. What a great surprise to see that they have been here for some time and are doing so well! They are absolutely beautiful, like their older sister! Congratulations, Nicole and Craig. What a precious family you have! I will definitely be checking in to see their progress and to see some much anticipated homecoming pictures :).

girlytwins said...

I think about your girls all the time. I came across some old pics of my girls in the NICU this past weekend and I immediately thought about you and your girls. I am so happy to hear they are doing so well. They will be home before you know it. They are so precious. WTG Charlotte and Madison :)

Xmas Dolly said...

Stopped by to see how everything was going. Look at there precious little Angels. A special prayer for them & you at mass this morning to be blessed. Hope all is well with you. You're in Hawaii? Bet it was a little scary yesterday, huh? Dang! Anyway when you have some time could you stop at my blog? I have something for you. THANKS!

Christine said...

This is a great blog. I'm so proud of your hard work with both your family and taking time to share your story with the world. Your daughters are very lucky to have you as their mom.