Welcome to Our Blog! Our Story Starts Below...

Welcome to our blog! We set this up as an information hub about the progress of our little twin boys who were born on January 5, 2010. We along with our little boys first thank you so much for your love and support, and hope that this blog will give you an opportunity to follow their progress as they grow in the NICU at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton.

Our little boys had a harrowing journey to get here. They were born at 25 weeks and 6 days, which is needless to say, very early. Jared William, was born at 10:49 a.m. feet first, and on the bathroom floor of the delivery room. Anthony Michael was born at 11:30 via C-section after he decided that he wanted to come out hands first.

Our story started on Monday, January 4 after a doctor's appointment with Dr. Gray. Danielle had been feeling generally, "crappy" the day before and reported what sounded like some contractions. The doctor decided to send us across the street to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. After a couple of hours in labor and delivery the staff confirmed a few contractions, but very far apart. Her cervix was not dilated and the babies were fine.

The doctor sent us home and told us to keep track of the contractions, and so long as they weren't less than 7 minutes apart there was no need for concern. The next morning Danielle started feeling contractions again, but this time they were about five minutes apart. She called the doctor who said to wait another hour and see if they went away.

I was just getting ready to walk out the door to work when Danielle had a contraction that just about doubled her over. Deciding something wasn't right, I called the doctor and said we were coming to the hospital.

On our way to the hospital Danielle was having severe pains in her lower back every three minutes. When we arrived at the hospital Danielle was hooked up to the machines which registered no contractions at all. The doctors and nurses did not think her pains were contractions but constipation. After several attempts to alleviate that Danielle went into the bathroom still having severe lower back pain.

After a minute, I heard a scream, and Danielle was screaming that her babies were coming out. The nurses came rushing, as did the doctor, but Jared was too impatient to wait. He was born on the bathroom floor. After Danielle was moved to the bed, Anthony wasn't so cooperative and an emergency C-section was performed.

The NICU unit was quick to respond and help the teenie little babies breathe and fight for life. Jared was 2lbs. 1oz. and was 13 and 1/2 inches long. Anthony was 1lb. 15oz. and was 13 inches long.

The whole thing was totally unexpected, and frankly more traumatic than happy. But we are blessed with two gorgeous little miracle babies!

Our boys came home to us on March 26, 2010, after spending 81 days or about 12 weeks in the NICU at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton. As you may note from our previous posts below, the journey was not without its bumps in the road.

There were highs, and there were lows. We and the boys braved two laser eye surgeries, and countless other obstacles and scares. But, we never lost confidence in the medical team in the NICU, and always kept our faith that God would lead us through this time.

Our steadfastness paid off, because now the boys are happy and healthy at home! This of course brings with it a totally new set of challenges that we are exicted and eager to experience. The task of caring for twin newborns is a daunting one, but a welcome one.

So, just because the boys are now home, don't think the blogging will stop. It may not be as consistent as before, but we will do our best to keep you all updated on their progress, and give you a window into our lives raising twin boys.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daddy Back to Work Full Time, Boys Settling In

As you may have noticed by now, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the blog on any type of regular schedule. That is because life at home right now is pretty crazy. The boys are still eating around the clock and are not always the best sleepers.

Changing diapers, feeding, soothing, and everything else with them leaves little time for laundry, cleanup, showering, working out, let alone blogging. But, at least I get a break now from it all by going to work everyday. Momma (and Schnitzel!) unfortunately gets stuck holding down the fort. Along with all of the child care, she is saddled with keeping up the house during the day and somehow finding a few minutes to sleep, or a few minutes to shower.

Because she must love me that much for some reason, she lets me sleep more at night than she does. So, even though I am certainly sleep-deprived, Momma is sleepless. I don't know how she does it. I don't know how she functions. I am just grateful that she does. She's my hero.

It is amazing to me how Danielle manages to stay positive at all times. I never see her get upset with the boys, and she never seems to let the hectic nature of our house at this time get to her. I envy that because on many occasions I have felt like I just can't do it anymore. Again, I think therein lies the difference between mothers and fathers.

Going to work has actually been difficult for me. In the first place, I am not getting the 7 or 8 hours of sleep I am used to, so I am pretty tired. Secondly, I miss being home. When the boys were screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night and I was half-dead trying to feed them, I thought I would welcome work back with open arms. Strangely to me, I miss being home 24 hours a day.

I miss spending the time with my wife, and my boys. I miss watching Lets' Make a Deal, and the Price is Right in the morning with Danielle. I miss her laughing at me because I want to watch paternity tests on Maury. But, such is the life of a man. Someone has to work to make sure we can all eat, and I proudly go to work everyday to ensure that. I am blessed that I have a wife that not only can stay home, but wants to stay home and raise her children. Sadly, that seems to be more and more rare these days.

As for the boys themselves, which is why you read this thing anyway, they are doing well. They are eating well and appear to be gaining weight. Anthony seems significantly bigger than Jared at this point. When you hold them you can feel the difference. That being said, both are out of preemie diapers and have been for about three weeks now. Both are in newborn clothes now and have been for about three weeks now, so I know they are growing fast.

We don't visit the pediatrician for another week, so stay tuned for actual weights on both. As for the eye situation, we visit Dr. Adrean on Monday again. Last time we told you that if all was well he would release them to a pediatric opthamalogist. Everything is going superb with their eyes, but Dr. Adrean wanted one more visit to make sure the healing process continues to progress. If you ask me I just think his staff wants us to keep coming back, because they all gush over the boys. They are used to seeing a bunch of old farts in the eye clinic everyday, so two little babies is a welcomed sight. But, I digress.

As I noted above, the boys are still feeding around the clock, but I must say their sleeping patterns are getting much better than they were compared to the first two weeks home. Getting up every three hours in the middle of the night is really not that big of a deal for us, so long as the boys sleep quietly between feedings. At the beginning this was not happening at all. They would eat at 2 a.m. and then fuss, and cry, and make noise until 5 a.m.

When they sleep peacefully for two hours in between feedings we can accumulate 5 to 6 hours of good sleep. Thankfully, the last four or five nights we've seen their sleeping patterns at night become restful. As a matter of fact, starting at about 10 p.m., they sleep well between feedings. I've noticed as well that at the later feedings at night they are starting to eat less, falling asleep after only taking 1 or 2 ounces. This to me suggests that sleeping through the night, though a distant hope at this point, isn't really that far off.

We are keenly aware of the fact that the best way to get rid of middle of the night feedings is to ensure solid weight gain. This is of great concern for that reason, but also because the boys are preemies and weight gain is crucial for them. Hence, the doctor has informed us that we shouldn't let them sleep for more than four hours without feeding. Sound medical advice surely. But let me say this: if tonight they both wanted to sleep from 1o p.m. to 6 a.m., you better be armed if you expect to force me to wake them up.

In the first place, there is no waking them up. If they want to sleep, they sleep no matter what we may try to do to them. Secondly, who in their right mind wakes a sleeping baby in the middle of the night? Nutrition is key, but the sanity of the two people who are responsible for the said nutrition is important too.

We've worked hard to establish a routine for them to get them used to the idea that night is for sleeping. We've read a bunch of books, including Baby Wise, What to Expect the First Year, and several on twins exclusively. The books have given us many tips that we have employed that have worked. The books also are full of it a lot too.

The bottom line is that "experts" can have their opinions, but every baby is different and every house is different. You have to do what works for you. That is what we've done, and we've found our hybrid way of doing things, borrowing the best from each book, works better than any one philosophy.

As so many of you have commented, it does get better. We know that, but sometimes it feels like it may never. As one wise friend of ours commented, "The days are long, but the years are short." So, we continue on taking care of our children the best we can, still relishing the fact that after all they've been through, they are here.

So you may be asking, "Don't you have help?" The answer is yes, but if you want to help, please contact Danielle or I. We can find something for you to do for us that would be of great help. But please note it may be something as trivial as taking the dog potty. With multiples there really isn't a ton of time to do simple tasks.

Many people have graciously offered to stay with Danielle during the day, and some have even been over at night to help out. Our neighbor Jennet has been regularly doing the boys' laundry for us at her house saving us tons of time. The other night she came over and soothed the boys so we could have five minutes to eat dinner. She has been an amazing help to us, and is just one example.

I can't stress enough how much having a second or third pair of hands around benefits us. Taking the dog out for a walk, changing a diaper, or soothing one of the boys long enough to get a bottle together makes a huge difference. Essentially, doing something that gives us an extra five minutes of peace while the boys are quiet is worth its weight in gold.

Imagine a world where two babies are screaming for food, there is one parent trying to soothe one, another trying to change the diaper of one, soothe the other, all the while trying to make sure the bottle doesn't melt in the warmer: eight times a day. I'm not trying to be dramatic or exaggerate. It's just pretty nuts at our house right now. I'm just giving the facts to you to illustrate how much your help means to us.

For those who have been out to help we can't thank you enough. Your selfless dedication to helping us out is humbling. You start out as a parent with the idea that you are Superman and can do it alone. You read the books about multiples and all of them say to enlist help. You read that and think, "Yes, but we'll be able to handle it." Let me make this clear: Danielle and I can handle it alone.

But, we are also not so prideful to realize that things are easier and better with help. We are humble enough, I think, to know that we aren't Superman (at least Daddy isn't). So again, thank you for your support and help. Even the encouraging words are great. Those parents who have shared their experiences are great too, because we don't feel like we're alone in this struggle. Actually I call it a siege; we are the Russians at Stalingrad, just holding on for dear life at this point.

All kidding aside, we are enjoying our boys and are grateful they are home and thriving. Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We can't wait to see you all and share our little miracles with you!

FOR PICS OF THE BOYS: http://www.leemophoto.com/blog/

Fight On, Little Fighters! - Love Daddy

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