Monday, April 30, 2007

Beautiful baby eyes...

Tonight my mom got to change Amelia's diaper,take her temperature etc....Amelia is under the jaundice lights again and so she has to wear her "sunglasses" while under the lights. Anyway, while mom was changing her she kept pulling on the little goggles until she pulled them off! Then she opened her eyes wide and looked around like "Finally!! I've been waiting to see what's going on around here." The nurse got her out and gave her to me to do kangaroo care and she kept opening those little eyes and looking right at mom and I. It was so precious. She is also rooting a bit..moving her head all around and making sucking sounds with her mouth when I hold her. Sometime in the next few weeks we'll start doing "non-nutritive" breastfeeding where I pump and then hold her/him and let them start practicing sucking. Then once they get used to that I'll start letting them try to breast feed once every 12 hours(they will continue getting regularly scheduled tube feedings), then twice every 12 hours, then on demand whenever I am there, and then before we go home I will "room in" at the hospital and feed round the clock.
Anyway, here is our little Amelia looking at her mommy and her grammy:)

The babies were doing well today. They did follow up ECHOs on both Amelia and Sam and their PDAs are improving, meaning they are getting smaller. Hurray! Our prayer is they will continue to improve without a need for medication.

Those of you praying for baby Gavin will want to know that he has pneumonia.His mom said that his xray looked better today..but poor buddy, it is just one thing after another. Thanks for praying for this sweet family and please do continue. I can tell she is so encouraged that so many of you have started to pray for them.

Guess that's all for now. Hope you all are doing well, Jen

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Little big guy....

Tonight Amelia weighed in at 3 lbs 3 oz and Sam is following close behind closing in on the 3lb marker. Though they are obviously still more tiny than you can imagine, we are noticing how much they have changed in just (almost) 3 short weeks. Tonight I noticed it in Sam especially and so here is a picture....

They are both hanging in there...Amelia is back under the jaundice lights and they both had "breathing spells" today where they needed help remembering to take breaths...each day brings with it preemie struggles but on the whole they are doing very well. Thank you very much for your continued prayers for these precious babies...I tell them each day that they are already loved and lifted up by many. We feel strengthened by your love, Jen

Saturday, April 28, 2007

"How does it feel to be a Grammy?"

I’ve been asked this several times and tried to answer this question to one dear friend.
I’ll try to answer again.
When I heard the news that Jenny’s water broke I felt like a “mom”. I just needed to be beside her as quickly as possible. Seeing the tears of concern in both Jenny and Joel’s eyes made me respect the calm courage they both displayed through the difficult reports that followed. Watching Jenny through her c-section, watching Joel comfort her, watching my two grandchildren appear and be whisked away brought a whole new feeling. I wanted to protect Jenny and I wanted to be on the other side of the window that they handed Millie and Sam through. While watching Jenny recover and try to visit these two little people I wanted to protect her. What if there was more pain ahead? It didn’t take long for me to realize I was not in control of any of this and I was going to have to trust the One that was.
Are you wondering when I’m going to answer the question??? Every time I lift the blanket that covers the incubator and catch that first glimpse of Millie or Sam, I cry. They have been the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen (next to my very own). When I think of leaving the same city they are in, I cry. When I watch Joel or Jenny hold them, I cry. When the nurse asked if I wanted to take their temperature and change their diapers I did not hesitate one second and I did not cry. When I looked at Sam yesterday and could see Joel Jr. in his little face, I smiled. And when I look into Millie’s eyes and see Joel Hunt, well, it makes it hard to have a serious conversation with Joel H. because all I can see is Millie. I love them with a fierce love and I think that’s what it feels like to be a “Grammy”. I just had to go through a few more emotions to get there.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dad's Ramblings

I am so happy to report that there is nothing of concerning interest to report. Boring days are what we hope for now and are so happy when they come. There have only been slight little changes to the twins, I also think that our threshold for concern has been lowered a little, meaning that we are sort of getting used to the roller coaster ride and things have reached somewhat of a normalcy. But I will give you the most recent update.

Amelia - She is so cute. As you can tell from the pictures she is small and wonderful, full of all kinds of power to woo the socks off anyone who comes near her. She is quite laid back and is taking life as it comes.
They did an ECHO (a test that looks at the heart) because they thought they heard a murmur like Sams and as it turns out they were right. They found a PDA in Amelia too, but it is small and so they will continue to just watch and wait. She had to go under the lights again yesterday because she was a tad jaundiced but her jaundice level was down nicely today but they kept her under the lights through today just to be safe. She broke the 3lb mark last night, can't wait to see what she will weigh tonight. She is still tolerating her feedings well and they will increase her feeding amount by 1ml tonight, hers as well as Sammy's. Other than that she is just sleeping and eating and growing and being as cute as a bug snug in a rug. People that walk by them always comment on how cute they are, we always agree.

Sammy - He's a stud. He continues to wear a look of concern for his sister, wanting to know that everything is okay and that she's fine. We assure him regularly. After all, he was the one looking after her while they were uterine-mates and I think he still feels it his duty to continue his care and concern for her. He still wiggles around and always seems to be doing something funny. He sticks his legs straight out from the little papoose thing they're in or tucks his little hand curiously under his chin or is just 100% sprawled out.
He's still on caffeine (takes after his dad) to help with his breathing. They're going to watch and wait on his PDA as well, I think he will get another ECHO on Monday and Amelia will get one on Tuesday. He too is growing, not as much as his sister but he's catching up. He sleeps and eats and grows and waits for his parents to come and play with him. He's pretty cool. I wish you all could get to experience them with us, they're already amazing little people.

I held Sam last night, well first, Jenny and I both went up there together for the first time in a long while, thanks to school. So, we were ready to hold the twins together, she got Amelia and I got Sam. It was really fun because I got to get Amelia out of the isolette and give her to Jenny, some semblance of an actual family, dad giving daughter to mom. Then I got to hold Sam, both of us were holding them skin-to-skin, side-by-side one another, again like a little family only connected to all kinds of things. But hey, at least we can say we're connected.:-) Most of the time when I've held Sam he kind of noses around and grunts and squeaks and then settles in to take a nap, which held true last night as well. They're so amazing to get to hold, it is such a privilege to be a part of these precious and wonderful beings. They are both starting to visually and audibly respond to Jenny and I and their little heart rate goes up when we're around, which is so nice to know that they recognize us. Up until now it almost has seemed like we've been going to visit anyone's babies, but it is more and more feeling like these are our babies and we are their parents. Each day brings forth a new development and change.

One last thing. At this NICU we are able to choose to have what is called a Primary Nurse (I think that's the name). A Primary Nurse is someone who will work with your babies every time they work and I think there is some level of extra responsibility that goes along with it, kind of like they're the nurse in charge of your baby. We had not picked one yet because we were not sure who to pick, there are so many good ones. However, Jenny learned from her NICU parent meeting that it is important to pick one and we had both talked about one nurse in particular that we both really liked and she had hinted at wanting to be our Primary Nurse before. So, Jenny saw her last night and pounced on the opportunity and the nurse said yes. Her name is Allison and she is probably around 40 years old and very nice and laid back and gentle and good. We are very pleased. We get to choose two more nurses to basically do the same thing as Allison and so we have to try and pick them soon. I am going to talk to the charge nurse tonight about ensuring that one particular nurse does NOT ever get assigned to our little guys EVER again. She has impressed upon me a lack of skill and attention to detail that is so crucial to being an ICU nurse. Anyway, I think the papa bear in me just showed itself on this blog which means it's probably time to go.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support and e-mails and calls and everything. We have felt so much love through this whole thing; we're so thankful and humbled by the graciousness and selflessness of so many. Thank you so very much.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NICU parents night....

Tonight I went to the weekly NICU parents meeting. Sometimes they have educational speakers and such, but tonight was just a time to come and ask former NICU parents questions and to get to know those who are in the same situation as you.

As I sat in my chair in the circle and heard all of the introductions and heard myself say, "Hi, my name is Jenny and I have two babies in the NICU. They were born at 29 weeks and their names are Amelia and Sam," I still couldn't quite believe I was part of this club. It is still sometimes like an out of body experience, and yet I know it is an experience that will mold us and shape us in many ways. I know it will make Joel a more compassionate PA, I know God will use it in the future to bring us in contact with others in the same situation who need encouragement (just as he has done for us), etc. Right now, though, it still feels so surreal.

God is faithful, though, to keep providing those sweet moments that make me feel a little more like a mommy. Tonight when the meeting was over I went back to the NICU to get some more milk storage containers(our freezer is totally overflowing with little, plastic containers of milk! I have a friend coming over tomorrow to pick some up to store in her freezer--what a friend--thanks Liz!:).
Anyway,I walked into the babies' pod and was talking to their nurse and all the sudden we heard Amelia's little cry. Her nurse went over and lifted up the blankets that cover the incubator and looked in to see if anything was wrong. " Nope," she said. "I think she just heard her mommy's voice." Oh, what wonders that did for my soul!

So, hearing the other parents' stories helped and I know that chatting with them in the weeks to come will be a lifesaver...but nothing compares to the thought that my little baby girl may have heard my voice and cried out for me. It broke my heart and made it stronger all at the same time. Jen

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Moments of pure, baby bliss...

Even in the midst of all the beeps and cries and people buzzing about, there are moments such as this. Moments where I can't take my eyes of this beautiful, little soul lying on my chest. It is moments like this that I cling to....

All is well today with Amelia and Sam...praise the Lord. Jen

Monday, April 23, 2007

ECHO update...

So, not much news from today's follow up ECHO on Sam. It looked the same as it did before, which is good in that the heart and lungs still look fine, but not great because the PDA hasn't closed on its own yet.

I should really let Joel do the medical updates because I really have such an elementary understanding of what's going on but wanted you to know that everything is OK. They will just keep monitoring it to see if it closes on its own or of they need to treat it with medication.Amelia and Sam both were tolerating their feedings well and Amelia still hasn't had to go back on CPAP. Hope that quenches your thirst for an update for now 'cause that's all I've got:)

Today was good and had a bit of normalcy thrown in with mom needing to shop for an outfit for my brother's wedding (yeah bub and Robin!!) and us going to lunch at Paradise Bakery and Cafe and a few other errands. There was a lot of laughter and giggling and all around silliness...and, of course, some sweet baby time too...

Time with Amelia...

and time with baby Sam...

Grammy talking to her grandson...she loves them tremendously.

Me and my baby boy...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Our itty bitty babies...

We got to hold the babies today at the same time. Joel held Sam and I held Amelia. Loved that.

Here is baby Sam wearing his new hat fresh off of his Grammy's knitting needle:)Is that cute or what?

...and Amelia couldn't be left out of the fashion game. She is wearing her new, pretty pink hat from Courtney (thanks Court!)

They were both having good days. Sam will have his follow up ECHO tomorrow and will let you know the results when we get them (tomorrow sometime hopefully).
Love you guys, Jenny

Saturday, April 21, 2007


The babies had a good day today. Amelia's oxygen stayed at a good level and she didn't have to go back on CPAP and Sam did fine as well. He'll have a follow up chest echo on Monday to see if anything has changed with his PDA. They are both having calories added to their breast milk, and so if they continue to tolerate their feedings well we should start seeing some weight gain:)

It was a rough start for me at the NICU today. We had a new nurse and I had forgotten to bring my ID. I have never had a nurse ask me for an ID and we had our NICU badges on, but she wanted to see an ID as well. This is fine, and certainly not uncommon, but it just made my heart hurt to be chastised for not having an ID in order to see my babies. It just seemed wrong. Then, I was taking Amelia's temp. and touched a tube that is supposed to stay sterile and was reminded not to touch it. That was enough. I handed the thermometer to Joel and walked away with tears starting to flow. I walked over to Sam and just looked at him through the incubator glass, afraid I would do something else wrong if I opened it to touch him. I watched him and saw him working so hard to breath and reminded myself that I needed to be strong for him and let him hear my voice and feel my touch...I could fall apart later if need be. After that little pep talk I was feeling better and asked if I could hold Amelia while she ate. The nurse wrapped her up in blankets and handed her to me in a rocking chair and I got to hold her for about an hour. Joel sat close beside me and we talked and oohed and awed over her sweet lips and dark hair and perfect little nose. We played with her fingers and talked about her was a precious time.

As we were talking and I was holding her close, Gavin's mom walked by. Gavin is a baby who was in the incubator next to Sam when the babies were in Pod 1. He was born at 26 weeks and at a month old still weighs less than 2 lbs. He has had a lung collapse, has had many, many problems with his breathing, and today she told us that he has a bad infection. This is his third infection. She looked at us and said how happy she was for us that we got to hold the babies and that they might get to hold Gavin for the first time next week. A month without holding their newborn babe. My heart broke for her and as she walked away I realized how blessed we were to be sitting there with Amelia and Sam. As hard as it is to have setbacks, there are soooo many things that have gone right. Our talk put things in perspective.

So , next time you pray for the babies say a prayer for little Gavin and his family too. I am praying that we can be an encouragement to them during this most difficult of times.

Hope you all are doing well,

Friday, April 20, 2007

One of Those Days

Well, as we have known since the beginning our time in the NICU would be a roller coaster ride, and lately it has been mainly up so I have been bracing for a down, today was kind of the down day. We found out that little Sammy has a PDA, which stands for Patent Ductus Arteriosis which means he has a duct, a vessel, that goes from his aorta which has oxygenated blood to the pulmonary artery going from the heart to the lungs carrying blood that needs to get oxygenated. So, all that craziness means that patients with PDA's can overperfuse the lungs and cause some swelling in the lungs and also some swelling of the heart, all of which can have their own set of problems. There are many adults who have PDA's and don't even know it, so they're not super serious. Many times the PDA will close (heal; go away) on its own. So, the best case scenario is that the PDA will close on it's own. The other options are as follows, from most desireable to least: wait until he's a year old and then he can have it closed through a catheter much like when someone has a stent placed in their heart, treat it with a drug called indomethacin or ibuprofen but that has it's own set of risks and side effects that we want to do without, and lastly would be surgery but the good news is that the surgery is really common and quick and usually with great outcomes.

Then, Amelia is having a little bit harder time breathing and is requiring more oxygen than she used to. Oddly enough, though Sam has been the one who needed more oxygen and who has the PDA, his oxygen requirements have gone down and his chest x-ray looked great today. Bizarre. If Amelia's oxygen stay up for a while they will put her back on CPAP until she can tolerate breathing better.

They both are still so adorable and wonderful. We got see Amelia's big eyes today, she opened them bigger than ever before and looked straight at Jenny and I for a long time. I held her skin-to-skin for about an hour today and she was so wonderful, so beautiful and warm against me. She was squirming around a little and making the cutest faces and shapes with her mouth. Oh how I hurt with love for them both. Sam was just hanging out in his little house today just being Sam. I'm going to be going back up there here before too long to spend some more time with them. There's not much to do there besides sit and stare. I put my hands on them and think and pray and talk with them. Makes me feel good. Makes me feel at peace. That's all we can do. We have to just sit and wait and pray and hope and trust. That's not easy, not easy at all for Americans who want instant gratification and positive results immediately. Not easy for new parents who have wanted to have babies for a long time. Not easy for a momma who hates hospitals and tubes and wires and beeps and bells. Not easy for a dad who knows waaaaaaay too much about all the things that can go wrong in the blink of an eye. It's just plain not easy.

How does all this effect us?
There were tears today. There were heavy hearts. I had dropped Jenny and Joyce off at the hospital while I went to run errands and it was when I was out that I called and found out about the PDA. I have to be honest, I didn't want to go back to the hospital. It's a little shameful to admit that my first reaction was not to run through walls if I had to in order to be with my son, but I just didn't want to go where I knew pain awaited, lurking behind every beep and wire and tube. I wanted to stay and stare at nothing, just so long as I wasn't having to find out more of what I already knew. I just took a final that included PDA's and the complications and treatment and risks associated with it. I didn't want to face it, but I also didn't have a choice. It was my son, my wife who needed me. I went.
Jenny struggles with this whole situation like we all do, like anybody would. The NICU is a scary place and foreign place for her. The babies are so small and fragile and unreactive to parental stimulus. It is hard to be a mom like that. It is hard to be there period for anyone. It is extra hard for someone who wanted a baby for so, so, so long and wanted to bring her baby (babies in our case) into the world the most natural way and now have to go see them in a plexiglass square that makes you sea-sick to look through it. It is hard to develop a bond, and sort of true connection through a plexiglass bubble. How do you do that? How do you tell someone to go up to a room full of the tiniest people you have ever seen all fighting for their lives with wires coming out of them and monitors beeping and bright lights on and herds of people all around to bond and become close like that? How does happen? It is a very uncomfortable place for Jenny right now. A sad place. This is not how it was supposed to happen, not to us, not to her. But I guess why not us right? Nobody said we were exempt from the rules of life. And it is life we are living my friend, there have been few times when I have felt this much alive, this much life, both really good and really sad.

Sammy has a hole near his heart, we have two in ours.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I count it as a privilege...

Joel and I both woke up today with such thankful hearts. Thankful that the babies have done so well, thankful for the many, many specific ways God has blessed us throughout this time, thankful for the wonderful shower that his class threw us last night...thankful for all of the love and support that has come from all of you.Thankful for my mom who has tirelessly served us, giggled with me in the most serious of times, loved me in the nittiest and grittiest of ways. Of course there have been moments of sadness and disappointment, frustration and weariness...and yet God keeps reminding us of His goodness and His grace.

Did you listen to Steve and Annie Chapman in the 80's and 90's? They are a neat Christian couple who I grew up listening to because mom loved them and I grew to love them too. All of their songs are about love and family and I think that growing up listening to such positive messages about what family can be when God is the center is part of the reason I have wanted to be a mommy since I was about 5:) Anyway, when I found out I was pregnant I started to crave that purity and those precious songs from long ago and asked for a CD for Christmas. Joel almost cried when he heard the CD for the first time. Unfortunately, he was not almost crying from being touched by the words--he hated the dated music and couldn't stand it! So, alas, I have to listen to the CD when I'm alone. One of the lines from a song keeps coming to me. It says,

" I count it as a privilege, I count it cause for kiss my children good night at the close of everyday. For I know too soon they're up and gone, and walkin' out the door..and I'll never have a child to kiss goodnight anymore."

Now, the first time that line ran through my head it made me a bit sad. I thought,"I haven't even gotten to kiss my babies yet! Why would God let me get fever blisters right now? I only wish they were here for me to put to bed each night, etc. etc." Then I thought to myself, "Good grief Jenny. If you have that attitude now, you'll always be looking towards the future and not praising God for the moments that you have with your babies each day...even now."

So please pray with me that I will not only look expectantly forward to the days to come, but that I will remember to be thankful for each moment. So, now when the line runs through my head I have started to fill in my own praises like

"I count it as a privilege , I count it cause for praise..."
To hold my babies to my chest and feel their little bodies against mine.
To watch the man who I love be so tender and so strong with our children.
To be able to provide Sam and Amelia with the nutrients they need so badly. Etc. Etc.

It helps me keep perspective during a time when my heart seems to fall so easily. Now, really, if you want to hear some great songs run out to and get a CD. Maybe preview a few songs first, though, and see if you can handle the music. If not, maybe you should choose one of their books instead:)

Without further ado, though, here are some updated pictures for you:)

Amelia :)

Sam scratching his head and looking a little confused:)

A tired looking mommy holding her baby boy...

Such a great shower...we felt so loved!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Brief Update

Just thought we'd continue the play-by-play account of what's happening in the two Hunt isolettes on Pod 1 of the LDS NICU.

Sam -
*Still hanging in there on just the nasal cannula and is having to make less of
an effort to breath, both excellent signs
*No IV, which is good because it means he's doing pretty good by himself and is
one less place for an infection to start
*He weighed 2lbs 11oz last night
*He's active and moving and tolerating his ever increasing amounts of milk really
*His momma got to hold him skin-to-skin today, he liked it so much he went right
to sleep as soon as he laid his head down on her chest
*He continues to be completely sprawled out like he's floating down a river in an
inner tube, constantly keeping us in smiles

Amelia -
*She too is just needing the nasal cannula and doing great
*Her IV is supposed to be taken out today
*She weighed 2lbs 7oz last night
*Her feedings are going well and are increasing like her brothers
*Her mommy got to hold her skin-to-skin today too, it was the best medicine
either one of them could ask for
*She keeps us smiling with her little hands which are always up by her face in
one of her two normal spots, blocking out the world or delicately placed over
her mouth

Sam & Amelia -
*Today they are 1 week old, making them 30 weeks gestational age
*Tonight my classmates are putting on a shower for us/the twins and we are very
excited, wish the twins could be with us, we're calling it a 1 week celebration
To put that into perspective on how amazing and wonderful that is, there is a
50% chance that a neonate meeting Sam & Amelia's birth criteria would develop a
brain bleed, neither of them did. There is still a small chance that they could
develop one even now but 90% of brain bleeds happen in the first 3 days of life.
The relief was so very welcome.

A Daddy's First Kisses

Yet another blessed night of firsts, wonderful amazing firsts. If you have not been where we are, as parents, you probably will not get it, I certainly would not have got this a week ago but I get it now. There is something so perfectly and unblemishingly right about the first kisses to my babies. There was a connection not felt in any other moment so far, it was instantaneous. I have no idea if they felt what I did but it was almost like a soothing welding of me to them, a permanency declaring me as their dad and them as my beautiful little baby girl and my beloved little boy. I was not expecting that. I was excited to kiss their soft skin but had no idea, no preparation, for the bond that would be made by such a simple act. I am one whooped papa.

I'm not even sure if we are supposed to be kissing them, but I have held them a few times and wanted to but didn't. I think I did not ask if I could because I did not want to be told no, so I didn't ask. I just acted. Tonight was too tempting; just right. It was just me and my boy at first with the lights down so he would open his little eyes (Jenny's right, they are definitely blue) and then he was just talking and squeaking and squirming and making all kinds of faces again. I couldn't resist kissing him on the top of his cute tiny head, so I did.

Amelia takes my heart away each time I hold her. Someone asked me if it was different holding my daughter (first time I have ever typed those words in reference to me, amazing) for the first time than it was my son (see above parenthesis). The answer is an unequivocal YES! There's just something so pure and royal about a daughter, something untouchable really. They have a magic that is not like the magic of a son. I think a son puffs a dads chest out, but a daughter rips his heart right out of that chest. It's so weird that my time lapse between these two different gender experiences is only separated by minutes, if that at times. I held Amelia tonight after Sam and she was wide awake. Her eyes were as wide as I had ever seen them so far in her nearly 1 week on Earth. She was actively taking my heart each time she would look up at me with those helpless little eyes (color to be determined) and squeal just enough to be audible and pleasant. I was overwhelmed and was left with no other choice than to stretch my neck down to reach the top of her little head and kiss it. Oh the joy!

I would imagine that if you're not a parent or can't relate in some way you must think I am a bit off the deep end. Well, I assure you, I am a bit off the deep end and the water's just right. Come on in. And if you can relate then you know perfectly well what I am talking about. It's almost more than I can bare it's so wonderful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Me and My Boy

I spent most of last night at the NICU with my little guys. I got to hold Sam for the first time ever. He'd never been held at all by anyone and it was already day 5. They wrapped him and handed him to me in a rocking chair and we just that there and laughed and smiled and made faces at each other. He'd talk for a while and then I'd talk. We discussed things that we were going to do when we hung out together, after we decide what it is he likes to do, but until then I guess he's stuck doing what I like to do. I told him all the things I hoped to teach him about life and being a kid and then a man, but first a brother and a good son to his mommy and looking to God to be his guide and best friend of all. We had a wonderful time, me and Sammy. I got to hold him for an hour or so, a little longer I think.

When I would put my hand on his little head his oxygen saturation would start to go down, my guess is because he was getting too comfortable and forgetting to breath, neonates actually do do that. So I couldn't keep my hand on his head. He was making all kinds of cute and funny little faces, he also really did talk up a little storm. He's a bit of a wiggle-worm, unlike his sister who just lays there and soaks it all up. He sure is a cutie, all the nursing staff thinks so too. That was certainly the highlight of my day for sure. Oh, he wasn't on any kind of breathing device, just a nasal cannula like you get when you go to the hospital that blows a little bit of oxygen. He's still not out of the woods as far as his lungs go but he's looking a lot better in that department. But since they are so small they can go downhill so fast, that's where we just have to pray.

I stayed up there last night until about 4 AM hanging out with the twins and also getting in some cramming for a test I took this morning, a PEDIATRIC test of all things. NOT the kind of information you want to be learning while sitting in a NICU where your two premature infants are being cared for, I assure you!!!! Ignorance is bliss, but unfortunately I have to pay the price of knowledge and it is a heavy price right now. There is soooooooooooooooooooooo much that can go wrong, so, so, so much, but I also have the benefit of knowing that God is in control and knows exactly what is going on and He has a plan, I just hope I can accept His plan when I find it out. But still, it's tough to be reading about all this stuff with Sam & Amelia laying in their little isolettes with tubes and hoses and wires coming out from everywhere.

I just love haning out with those twins, and I know you will too when you get the chance.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Finally livin' up to my name...

When mom and dad first got married they were true blue hippies. They had decided that the earth was overpopulated and so it would be irresponsible to bring any more children into the world. So, they named their animals the names they would have named their children.

This is where Jenny the cow comes in. One day these two little hippies were on the way to church and they saw a calf running down highway 290 with it's little umbilical cord still attached. Mom yelled, " We have to stop and get it!!" So, they did. Dad tackled it and said "Now what?!" and Mom said," Well, at the rodeo they tied their legs together." So, dad ties the calf's legs together and they put it in the front seat of the big ol' car they were driving! They continued on to their new church and tied the calf outside of the little, white building where it's moos could be heard all service long. Then they took the calf home and fed and loved her (they were vegetarians of course) and named her none other than Jenny.

Now,I was always a bit upset that I was named after a cow. I always explained it away as that the cow was actually named after the future me....but still. Well, the whole point of telling you this story is that my milk came in yesterday and all I can say is WOW!! It was a happy day to know that the babies will be getting all of their nourishment from mama from now on...and I have to say I feel quite proud to finally be living up to my namesake:)

And because I know you care more about the little ones than my milk are a few pictures of Amelia from today. They are weaning Sam off of CPAP again, so maybe we can get some good ones of his precious little face tomorrow....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What A Day!!!

Today was wonderful. I already relayed to you my most wonderful time with Amelia and also that Sam was looking pretty good. Well, I just got home from the hospital and seeing my precious pair of people and I have some great news, They both gained some pretty good weight and Sam is OFF the ventilator. He is on CPAP, which I hope he stays on for at least a day, two would be great, just to get his lungs back and in good working condition. He's such a little trooper and a big time wiggle worm. He likes to squirm all around and stick his little legs straight out, just like how he popped out of his warm and cozy home in Jenny. He's so funny. Amelia is a little shy or flirty or something, she keeps her hands up to her face just enough to cover it but not enough to keep you from seeing her cute little face and wanting to see more. She was pretty much knocked out while I was there and when I went to say bye she gave me a big ole open eye stare as if to say, "And where do you think you're going mister?" Talk about making it hard to leave. Sam gave me a look over too, more of a trying-to-figure-everything-out look than anything else. They have such expressive little, and I mean little, faces. I love them so much.

Today was such a blessed day. It refilled my energy tank, which was bottomed out, and gave me hope. I know there are still many hurdles ahead but at least tonight I can lay my head down on the pillow and feel a bit relaxed because today was a good day. I know God's got the whole thing all under His control and it will happen how He wants it to happen no matter what I do or don't do, but I gotta say that having a good day is really, really nice. We hope and pray for many more just like today.

Kangaroo (Updated with pictures)

A Little Guys update:
They are both doing pretty good. They're weening Sam off the vent and he's tolerating it this far. His last blood gas CO2 was 42 (normal is 35-45) and they were drawing another one as were leaving a few minutes ago. They're hoping to have him weened by today or tomorrow. He's just on room air and his ventilation pressure has gone down too. He hasn't had any pain med/sedation since yesterday and he's just hanging out all sprawled out, he loves to have his feet kicked out of his little papoose thing he's wrapped in. He's the coolest.

My precious Amelia and I had a little special date today. I got to hold her skin-to-skin (Kangaroo Care) for over an hour in a rocking chair. I could feel her little breaths, her coughs and sneezes, her foot kicks, and see her trying oh so hard to look and see me with those cute little eyes. It was an experience that words just don't even come close to describing. It was a magical time. We had lots of talks about what she wanted to do when we went out on dates, and that boys are evil, vile, lovers of everything sinful. We discussed things like what she would want to do when she got older and also talked a little bit about her brother. She's a smart one I'll tell ya', takes after her mom. She doing great!

They both have gone up on their feedings and they are tolerating them really good as well. Today has been an "up" on the roller coaster and we wait with much trepidation for the down, but are loving the present and hope it stays.

Jenny did not get to do Kangaroo Care because she has some fever blisters (which are highly contagious). We're going to check tomorrow to see if she can hold them with her fever blisters but couldn't get a solid answer today. We did not want to take any chances. She is doing good and recovering from her surgery slowly but surely. She's only needing to take ibuprofen (Motrin) for her pain and not taking any of the heavy pain meds they gave her, so that's good. She's sleeping right now, which is probably the best medicine of all. She was able to take some more pictures today so maybe she can get those posted sometime, I bet she will.

Just for your information, Sam and Amelia are really cute babies, in case you haven't noticed. And they continue to get cuter and cuter as the days go by.

Mommy feeding Sam...

Amelia goes on a date with her Papa...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

First pictures....

Amelia holding grammy's finger...

Joel changing Millie's diaper...

Happy Papa...

Baby Sam...

Home Semi-Sweet Home

We're least half of us are. Jenny came home from the people infested hospital. She can now get some much needed rest. She can have a bit of privacy now. She can where she is familiar with her surroundings. She can be home. However,....

She is without her babies. I am without my babies. We are without our very first children. We have to be torn between here and there. We must now try and balance our time with wisdom and also with perseverence. We want and need to spend as much time as we can with our babies, we also need to be rested and try to heal. We have to try be at home in two places, but if it came right down to it our home is in the back row of Pod 1 in two little incubators in the LDS NICU. That's where home is.

So, we hope for the best and already feel like we have been forced to ride every ride at a Six Flags one-hundred-million times over, and knowing we have only barely begun. I don't think I have once been able to go and see my babies without welling up with tears. They're so amazing, those two precious little people. When I am holding their hands or they're holding my finger I have flash-forwards of all the things that they might do or be. I think of the first words and steps, the first day at school, the first cut, the first boy-girl problem, the first play, the first car ride, the time they drive, the day I drop them off at camp, the day I watch them drive away to college, the day they tell me something bad has happened. I think about all the things that might happen to the little body part I happened to be focused on, I think of Amelia in a fancy dress for some event when I look at her arms and little back, I think of the hard work Sam's back will likely see, I wonder whose love will be signified by a ring on their fingers, I wonder what ball their little feet might kick, I wonder what amazing things their eyes are going to see, and I wonder what words their tiny little mouths will utter one day. I think of so, so, so many more things and it happens in an instant. But right now I wonder when we will get to hold them free and clear of tubes and gadgets, when will they come home, and of course, what will or might go wrong between now and then. I wish you all could seem them and have them tug with all their little might at heart strings when they pull your hand close to them. Feeling their tiny limbs curl up in your palm and hear their cries subside will most certainly bring the toughest of warriors to soften. Feeling their nearly microscopic fingernails scrape against your skin will make you feel alive like nothing else on Earth. Watching a yawn has never before looked so beautiful. They are so beautiful.

I guess that was more than I intended to write about Jenny's homecoming, but I have a lot of stuff whirling through my mind and thought I'd put a little fraction of it down on "paper". Pictures should soon follow.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The touch of a baby's hand....

Bonding with babies in the NICU can be.... challenging. At least, for this momma it has been. They are so little and hooked up to so many tubes and wires and there are beeps and monitors abounding. That added to the fact that I didn't even see them at their birth or for hours afterwards and haven't held them to my breast, made it difficult for me to really feel that these babies were indeed mine and forever will be. Until today.

Today I was down visiting and Joel was there also. I was standing next to Amelia's incubator and Joel next to Sam's just a few feet away. I had my hand cupping Amelia's tiny little head and had my hand close to her face. I felt something brush my hand and I looked down to see her precious little fingers wrap around one of mine. My heart just melted and I looked over at Joel and saw that Sam was holding onto his finger too! We smiled at each other and it seemed that God was whispering,"These are your children that I have given you Jenny," and tears were soon streaming down my face. He filled my heart with love.

So, though there won't be "Gerber babies" sucking happily at my breast for a long time to come, these little ones working so hard to breath and grow and thrive are indeed little extensions of our hearts just the same. Please pray that God continues to give us wisdom on how we can best parent and love our babies while they spend time in the hospital and while they are so premature. Right now Joel is just incredible because he seems to be able to look past all of the tubes and everything and feels so comfortable handling the babies, helping with their tube feedings, etc. and I am so very thankful for that because I have felt so guilty that it hasn't been easy for me. I see one of my most important roles as mommy right now is to be breast milk provider and so I am pumping every two hours, though my milk probably won't come in for a couple of days. I hope to move beyond that, though, and feel more confident in holding and loving on them despite being surrounded my all of the medical "stuff".

I am going home tomorrow! Oh, I just can't wait to be back in our little house. It will be hard going home without Amelia and Sam and yet we are thankful to live so close to the hospital. We are about a 10 minute drive away. I know you all want to see pictures and I promise that I want to post some for you!For some reason the hospital internet won't let me attach pictures to e-mails or the blog, so that is first thing on my list when I get home.

Thanks again for your support and continued prayers. We feel so lifted up and cared for! I will try and return calls and e-mails and blog comments...but until I catch up just know that we appreciate every word. Much love and more updates soon, Jen

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"So, what happened?!"

I know this is what a lot of you must be asking:) I'll try to give you a short version for now:

Yesterday I had started feeling a little bit more crampy than I had been and mentioned it to mom. She had to convince me to tell the nurse as I wasn't feeling any contractions and didn't want to go back to labor and delivery to be monitored. The nurse called the resident and they wanted to do a vaginal exam. I asked if I could be monitored first to see if I was indeed having contractions before they did that horrid speculum exam.They agreed. I was sure the monitor would show that there weren't contractions and all was well.

Ahem. Apparently I don't know what contractions feel like. I blame it on the fact that I have always had HORRIBLE period cramps, so to me what I was feeling was just a dull, achy period like cramp. I saw mom's eyes widen as she watched the monitor and soon we were whisked away to L&D. I was having contractions like crazy. My vaginal exam showed that I was 100% effaced and 3 cm dilated!! I knew that the babies birth weight and Sam being transverse meant a Csection was coming, so I actually relished feeling the labor pains and watching the contractions on the monitor. Joel rushed into the room after finally getting our calls at school, and we both shed a few tears realizing that this was it! Our babies were coming out at 29 weeks gestation, and the OR I was going to be wheeled into was a far cry from a willow tree:) Mom and Joel both got to be there, though, and hold my hands through the surgery. There were no complications and the babies were whisked straight from the belly, through a window, into the NICU.

They are both doing really, really well right now. Neither of them had to be intubated and Amelia got to take off her little nose tube that helps her breath because she is doing so well on her own. Sam still has his little tube in and has to work a little harder, but the nurses say he is doing great and should catch up soon. Tonight I am supposed to get to hold Amelia skin to skin for the first time and I just can't wait. Joel is already the best Papa ever and loves to spend time in the NICU with his babies. He changes their tiny little diapers and listens to their heart beats and talks with them and then comes back and tells me all about it.

I am recovering well but am exhausted. The hardest part for me is the constant barrage of people coming in and out of the room all day and all night long. I think I'll do much better when I can rest in my own little home.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers. We still have a long way to go so please do keep remembering Amelia and Sam to the Lord. He has been so faithful to our little family. Much love, Jen

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

...And Then There Were Four!

Yep,that's right, Sam & Amelia were born today at 3:07 PM by urgent C-section, everybody is doing fine now though. Of course, there is much more to the story but for now we just wanted everyone to know that all is well but to please keep praying for healthy babies and momma.

Amelia came out first and weighed 2lbs 6oz and is everybit a little girl, cute and quaint.

Sam nearly jumped out at a whopping 2lbs 10oz and continues to be everybit a little feisty boy.

A plethora of pictures are sure to follow soon.

One Proud Papa

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just in case you're interested....

and because I have a bit of time to myself this morning, I thought I'd give you a play by play of life in room West 415. Let's see, I'll start with last night.

10:30 pm: After an all afternoon monitering session on a very uncomfortable bed, I was exhausted and weary and accepted half an ambian to help me sleep. The reason I had rejected it thus far was that last time I took half an ambian was to help me sleep on a plane and I hallucinated. The movie screen I was watching split into two screens and I started freaking out asking Joel if he too was seeing two Sandra Bullocks and two Hugh Grants. He finally convinced me to close my eyes and go to sleep but I remained a little leery of ever trying it again. So last night I gave it a try, turned OFF the television screen, asked mom if she could "smell the rain" (I meant "hear the rain", and dozed off.

2:00am: Aide comes in to take my temp and blood pressure. I am able to go back to sleep.

4:00am: Temp and blood pressure again. Not able to go back to sleep. Wide awake. Maybe I should try the whole pill next time around.

5:30am: After trying to push visions out of my head of operating rooms and csections, I finally sit up and turn on the lights. Sorry mom, the day is now beginning.Mom gets up to take a shower and we get a bit of Bible time in before the troops start knocking on the door.

6:45am: Grey's Anatomy team one comes in. Outdoorsy resident and a medical student are glad to see I'm awake and ask about labor signs,bleeding,infection, etc.Thankfully, there are still none.

7:00am: Sweet nurse comes in to give me my oral (not IV-yippie!) antibiotics.

7:15am: Get a little sleepy and lay back down for a few minutes until housecleaning knocks and comes in to empty trash cans, etc.

7:45am: Joelie comes--hurray! The best part of the morning. We were both refreshed from a little sleep and he was a sight for sore eyes. He stayed until about 9:30 when mom took him up to the U.

8:15am: Perinatologist comes in to check and he is without his Grey's following.Joel asked him some questions about the labor and the bottom line seems to be: Amelia is head down, Sam is still transverse. If I was to go into labor now the labor plan would be a Csection. If the babies make it until 32 weeks when their weight should be about 1500 grams they could attempt a breech extraction on Sam instead of going straight for a csection. If Sam turns head down than a vaginal birth could be attempted, even at this early in the game. Either way, I'll be giving birth in the OR. Thus my daydreams this morning with OR's and Csections abounding. Many of you know that my natural inclination would be to give birth to my babies under a willow tree if possible, or at least in my home in a birthing tub. So, this is quite an adjustment in thinking for me. It is one I have been trying to make since finding out that we were expecting twins, knowing that they often present more complicated birth situations. And here we are. I have millions of thoughts on the issue, but for now will just say that of course the main thing is that the babies are born as safely as possible and that I am totally willing to adjust my thinking as I have found myself wondering around in the 15% of births that are truly "high risk". That being said, I still think America is heading in the wroooong direction as far as how much they are medicalizing birth. My daydreams did include some pretty good speeches to the throngs of people watching the birth in the OR...words that I'm sure will never be said but that are in my heart nevertheless. Ahem, end of rant.

9:00am: Paid some bills, returned some e-mails, said goodbye to mom and Joel. Called Becca Mcminn and had a very short conversation before being interuppted by another knock on the door.

9:00- 9:20am: Visited with the midwife student,Amy, who was here when Joel and I got here on Sat.She is all naturally beautiful with the kindest of eyes, part of a boy/girl twin set herself, and just a breath of fresh air.

9:30: Social worker comes for a visit and lets me know that I don't have to wear this lovely maternity hospital gown all the time. Nice to know! I mean we talked about lots of other things, but that was the most important for sure:) Next comes the little cafeteria man. I love when he comes because he has a Scottish accent and I could listen to him talk about menu choices all morning long:)

And thus the morning continues.....I should be going in for more monitering soon.Hopefully it will be a bit more brief than it was yesterday.

Thanks again for all of your comments and e-mails and phone calls and visits.Hopefully with a bit more sleep I'll feel more like chatting...but always love to get your e-mails and hear how you guys are all doing. Most of all thanks for your continued prayers for these precious ones. I'll let you know if there are any noteworthy changes this afternoon in the life of Room West 415...Jen

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Update...

Just wanted to let everyone know that all is well right now. The night was calm and today nothing has changed. I didn't sleep again last night with people coming in and out to give IV's, take my temp, etc. so the biggest thing I'm dealing with is being overly sleepy which makes me overly emotional. Not hysterical or anything, just more weepies. One of the midwives said it's just the amniotic fluid still trying to escape:)

The babies heart rates are fine, they are still moving and there are no signs of "LBI" (my new code for labor, bleeding or infection). Guess that's all for now. Lunch is supposed to arrive soon and those who know my love for cafeteria food won't be very surprised to hear that I actually like hospital food:) Sad (well, happy for me), but true.

Until it comes can I just sing praises to midwifery once again? One of the midwives and her students were the ones that first met us here on Saturday and they were exactly what we needed. Informational, compassionate, and able to spend a large amount of time with us.Seriously, I can't imagine how much more scary the situation would have been without them there. That was also the case yesterday and today. They sit down when they come in the room. Yesterday one pulled up a chair and we had quite a long chat about her time as a midwife in Guatemala, a book I had just read about the ways children are raised in Ecuador, and other lovely topics that took my mind away from this hospital room for about 20 minutes before we talked about all the things whirling around in my mind about the present situation. I will always be thankful for their care and for their philosophy.

The doctors make their rounds at 8am and this morning I felt like I was in a scene from Grey's Anatomy as 1 perinatologist, 1 resident, and 4 students poured into the room. Thankfully I had just taken my first shower! They stayed for a total of about 5 minutes. Unless anything changes and becomes more urgent, I'll see a doctor once every 24 hours. They seem pleased with how they are going thus far and will just keep watching to see if anything changes.

Okay, here is my loverly meal...roast beef...mmmmm. Love to you all and thanks for your constant encouragement! Jen

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed...

So thankful today that He has indeed risen and as our pastor prayed with us last night, "That Jesus is not dead but is ever present and here with us this very moment ." What hope. I have felt the Lord so much during these first days in the hospital (oops, didn't know we were here? Read post below:). He has encouraged us through His word, music, wonderful and compassionate care, and through you.

Last night was wonderfully uneventful. Still no contractions, bleeding, or signs of infection. Didn't sleep much, but I really don't care much about that at this point. The doctor came this morning and was very encouraged that at almost 24 hours post water breakage, there are still no signs of labor. This is good. They monitored the heart rates and my contractions for about 30 minutes this morning and all was well.

Some of you have asked if Amelia will be okay with no amniotic fluid. My understanding at this point is that, yes,unless the three biggies show them self (infection, bleeding,and labor) she should do fine until 34 weeks.

My mom just walked in (yippie!) so I'm gonna go. Thanks for checking in, Jen

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Prayer Warriors, start your engines....

So, Joel and I had just finished eating a leisurely lunch at Cafe Rio when I sat back to let out a big "I'm so full" sigh....and a gush of liquid came out. I said, "Joel, I think I just peed on myself!" The thought that my water may have broken didn't cross my mind. Then I stood up and it felt like Mt. Rushmore flowing out of me. That was at about 12:45 pm today (Sat).

Fast Forward to now, 11:35 pm. We are admitted into LDS hospital (we have been here since about 1:15pm.) Long story short, Amelia's water did break. I am having no signs of labor, no bleeding,and I have no infections. So, they really don't know why it broke other than that my uterus is so distended it may have just thought it was time for the baby to come. I'll be here until the babies come, which will hopefully be later than sooner. Their heart rates look great, they are still moving around like crazy and I am not having any abnormal contractions or signs of labor. The best case scenario would be to stay like this until 34 weeks when they would induce and deliver the babies. Other than that, every day that they stay in is a good day.

So bottom line, pray for the babies to stay inside as long as possible! They are giving me shots of steroids to help their lungs develop, which is the main concern if they were to be delivered at this point. Thankfully, I at least made it to 28 weeks and other than lungs and birth weight (they are both 2.2 lbs right now) the babies are pretty much fully developed at this point. Still, we want them to keep maturing and growing for as long as possible.

Joel and I are doing pretty well. I have been pretty weepy all day, but thankfully things have remained calm and I am feeling much better at this point. It was just such a shock as everything seemed to be going so smoothly. We have moved from labor and delivery to the post partum ward since everything is stable and so we are feeling a bit more settled. I got to put on my praise music ("Sing over me", Anna,I knew it would be such an encouragement!)and get my computer revved up, got some fruit and fruit juice in me and am about to try and get some sleep. Joel has been my rock, which he always is in crazy situations. Thank you Lord for my sweet, solid man. My mama is coming in the morning, which is a huge encouragement too. Thanks for your prayers for these sweet babies. We are so in love with them already.

I'll try to keep the blog updated, probably more so than e-mails, so keep checking back. Much love, Jenny

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Painting a Picture...

So last night was our second childbirth class. We watched some great births on video, I got some anatomy questions cleared up, we decided to ask Claire to be our doula (labor attendant)… a lot of good things happened. BUT, this also happened….

Part of Claire’s class includes hypnobirthing. Basically, hypnobirthing uses things like imagery and self-hypnosis to help your body relax during labor. The goal is to relax the body to the point where a lot of fear/tension is relieved and you can better work through the pain, etc. All well and good.

So, last night the lights were dimmed and we were all to sit in between our partners legs. Joel was in a chair and I was sitting on a birthing ball. Soft music started playing and Claire began to “paint a picture” with her words while our partners were asked to draw the imagery on our backs while she talked. She began talking about nature and Joel went to town on my back. He was dramatically drawing the mountains and rain and sky that she was so soothingly describing. Even now, tears come to my eyes when I describe the scene. Unfortunately, they are tears of laughter. I held it in for as long as I could and then erupted in laughter. Thankfully, most of it was quiet, shoulder shaking laughter and Joel quickly got the picture and immediately stopped painting his masterpiece. And yet, we were still surrounded by 10 couples listening to this voice talking about the “large, strong tree trunk that led to full branches that reached up towards the sky”….and just imagining their husbands drawing this on their backs led to more bursts of hilarity from me. Thankfully, we were in the corner and thankfully the laughter was mostly quiet. I berated myself saying things like, “Oh Jenny, how juvenile, no one else thinks this is the least bit funny.” That didn’t work. I resorted to thinking about tragic events in my life and that worked for a minute or two until Joel dared to put his hands back on my back and started painting the “two peaks of the majestic mountains in the distance and the soft rain that was pelting my back”. I shook my head vigorously as I broke into horrible, stomach aching, silent laughter once again. Meanwhile, apparently, there were some girls so moved by this imagery experience with their loved ones that they were crying. I am hoping they thought I was just one of the gang. Hey, maybe I even started the whole crying movement. Finally, blessedly, the laughter moved away…maybe it flew up into the sky and joined the sun and moon and stars…. I don’t know. By the time the lights came on I was composed and even relaxed. I could even listen to Claire talk about “a beautiful garden that we were walking into and a gift that was in the middle of the garden, waiting there just for us.” I’m glad I didn’t miss that part. I do love gifts. I imagined mine was food, of course. One of those big, bouquets of fruit that look like a flower arrangement (I mean, we were in a garden…and I have always thought they were brilliant). I noticed a couple of people glance at me as the lights came on but I sat perfectly relaxed and I smiled back at them like “Wasn’t that great?!”

So, now I know what to do if comic relief sounds like a good idea during labor. Have Joelie draw one of his dramatic paintings on my back and let hilarity ensue.

I’m just thankful I didn’t fall off my birthing ball….Jen

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

38 cm

and growing....that is the status of my belly size( from top to bottom) according to my midwife visit yesterday. So, basically I am almost the size of a full term mama but I still have a while to go!! Let's see..what else? She did a cervical check (sorry if this is too much info for some of you) and thankfully the cervix is completely closed. Amelia's head, though, is sooo far down that the midwife could feel it. So, she said no more long afternoon walks for me. I am allowed to take a 10 minute walk, come home and drink lots of water and lay down! So, that'll be quite a change. She said we just don't want any extra pressure on the uterus since there is already so much, and of course, pre term labor is the big concern for twins. So, I went to the library again and stocked up on some more books (I found some Karen Kingsbury, Courtney:) and spent the afternoon reading. I think I'm going to have to buy a lounge chair to put in the backyard to at least be out in the sun for a bit each afternoon.

I guess that's all the news from the visit. Other than that, not much new is going on. Joelie is studying away for his weekly finals (yuck!), tomorrow is our 2nd childbirth class, things are just chugging along. The spring flowers are popping up and Joel took some great pictures of them on Sunday. I'll try to post them soon. We are both crazy about tulips:) Hope all is well with you, Jenny