Thursday, December 29

First Week in the NICU

Day 1 ~ December 22nd

In the mid-afternoon, once my epidural wore off, we finally were able to head up to the NICU to see our children! We just walked around from isolette to isolette entirely in awe of our little babies.

One of the nurses asked me if I would like to hold James, he was the first one I got to hold. Elanor was on oxygen and under the heat lamp, we just got to look at her and gently hold her hands. Henry was under the heat lamp as well, but was ok with breathing, he was receiving oxygen, but at normal room air pressure. Ellie was the worst off of the 3 of them, but was holding her own, but struggling a bit.

Henry ~ James ~ Ellie

Mommy and Daddy holding James for the first time
(the first baby we got to hold)

Day 2 ~ December 23rd

Both Matt and I were able to kangaroo with James. It was so precious holding his sweet little body against our own. He was moved into an incubator and clothed, they were slowly lowering his units temp to see how much he could do on his own to maintain body temp. Each feeding he was taking a bit more and tolerating them.

Henry's breathing tube was removed and he was doing all right. They were still tube feeding him, but he was doing ok with those feeds. Very sleepy little boy, it's definitely a lot of work for him. I told Matt that his son has more facial hair than he does. It's really rather impressive!

Ellie's breathing tube was also removed, but she was still receiving tube feedings. She's such a tiny little thing, especially compared to her brothers. We call her Princess Peanut....although, Matt also calls her his little monkey, because she has so much hair on her back.

Day 3 ~ December 24th

I was discharged from the hospital. Dr. J didn't want to let me go, because I was/am such an easy patient. It's a good thing I was leaving when I was because pretty soon my head wasn't going to fit out the door. Everyone kept telling me how fantastic I was and how great I looked. I was glad to get out of the hospital...I don't like those places, but it was beyond words-weird-to look in the back seat and see empty car seats.

Matt was able to hold James for 40 minutes, just cuddling and loving on him. The nurses all said he's exceeding expectations and could be going home the end of the week if he keeps it up. He looked a bit jaundice and they were going to check his levels. They also removed his IV.

Henry was also looking a bit jaundiced and was going to be checked. He had been moved to an incubator and was fully clothed, the clothes are so big on him! He took 16ml in his tube feeding. I was very excited to kangaroo with Henry, it was my first time holding him.

It was also my first time holding Ellie. They moved her to an incubator, but still naked, since she couldn't maintain her temp without the heat on. She's so absolutely tiny, it's like holding nothing at all. She actually does open her eyes and looks at you, like, "where am I?" and "What am I doing here?!"

Daddy and James ~ Mommy and Daddy with Ellie and James ~ Henry

We got home in the late afternoon. My mom and dad had dinner ready for us at our house, then we went to church. Ave is so torqued out from being shuffled about, we only stayed through half of the service. People were certainly surprised to see us there and everyone was congratulating us. Felt like we were cheating since there were no babies. It certainly wasn't what I wanted their first Christmas to be...them in the NICU and us home, without them.

Day 4 ~ December 25th

In the morning we got up and had Ave open a few presents that family had given to her. I never even got her presents's a good thing she's 2. There was nothing in the stockings, no fancy breakfast, nothing really to show it was Christmas. Afterward we went to Matt's parents' for breakfast and to open presents, then off to Albany to spend a little time together as a family of 6.

I will be forever grateful to Henry's nurse. She knew we were coming up and she orchestrated the whole photo session for us and a chance to have all the babies together (first and only time since they were born). What a wonderful gift to have all FOUR of our babies together on Christmas, even if it was only for a little while.

Ave was absolutely in awe! She's in love with James and she got to hold him. The nurses were great, they kept her entertained while we held the babies, and gave us a bit of time with them. It was hard leaving them and having our family be apart.

Henry's bili levels came back at 4.9, so he was in the clear, so was James' levels. Even Ellie's levels came back low, 4.4. It was such a blessing to get to spend even the short amount of time we did with our babies on Christmas. It's crazy to think how they were here this Christmas and how next Christmas they will be already a year old....a year goes by too quickly. I'm already missing their being babies, and they're not even home yet!

Our FOUR kids together on Christmas
(Ave was very serious about holding James)

Day 5 ~ December 26th

My mom went up to visit with me and was so excited that she got to hold each one of her grandchildren. I got to bottle feed both Henry and Ellie, they both did great and took above the 30mls they were supposed to. It took both my mom and me to get Ellie to finish, she just wanted to sleep.

James was doing well and taking his feeds like a champ: He was weighing in at 4lbs 15, Henry was 4lbs 8. Still no decisive word on when we'll be able to take any of them home. We've been told everything from a week to 6 weeks, but it all depends on them.

Ellie ~ Henry ~ James

Day 6 ~ December 27th

I didn't go up to visit. I was ok with that all day until bed time....then I was really missing the babies.

Henry was doing well and was up another ounce in weight. He did ok with all of his feeds and was taking about 39mls each time...he even had 2 poopie diapers! James was also doing good and weighing in at 4lbs 14....he'd lost an ounce but was ok. Ellie ended up getting retubed for her feedings, because she had lost another ounce (was down to 4lbs 3) and only taking 20mls. They were working on weaning her heat bit more too.

Matt and I just sat here looking at each other. The past 6 months don't seem we've been so concerned about keeping these babies cooking and me getting more and more pregnant, and now....I'm back to me.

I feel fine, don't have much swelling left in my tummy, I'm running around with Ave and cleaning house and doing all the things I did before, but there are no babies. I'm trying not to dwell on it, because if I do I feel the tears coming. I haven't broken down crying yet, but I've been close a few times. It just doesn't seem real. I'm trying to rationalize what a blessing it is that they're doing so well, and that I have this extra time home to get things ready for them, but rationale only goes so far.

Day 7 ~ December 28th

I drove up to Albany with Matt's parents, since FIL had yet to see the babies (they were on their way to NH), then my dad came up later in the day to meet his grandkids. The babies are still not in the same nursery, the only reason being that there isn't enough room. It's so hard having Henry off by himself on the other side, while Ellie and James are together. I never know who I should be visiting and feel bad regardless of who I do see.

I was able to feed Ellie and Henry, but James was so exhausted that he was getting all of his feeds via tube and they weren't wanting to take him out of his bed. James' heat is down to 27c, while Henry and Ellie are still at 30c.

I bottle fed Ellie, but she was struggling with taking any of it (only 10ml)...she actually had an apnea episode while we were there, but was fine after the nurse moved her about. The nurse was going to tube feed her the rest of the shift to conserve her energy.

We spent quite a bit of time with Henry: I got him to bottle feed for a little bit (10ml), but I changed 2 diapers (1 poop-1 pee). They were going to give him the rest of his feeds via tube as well because of how sleepy he is.

I'm heading back up tomorrow. It's hard to believe that they're going to be a week old! It doesn't seem possible. There's still no prognosis as to when they'll be coming home. My guess: James, maybe the end of next week, then Henry and Ellie, maybe the week after. We were talking about having them transferred closer to home once they just need to put on weight, but I think we're just going to keep them at AMC and drive up and visit as much as possible.

Even though I know it's going to be INSANE once they're home...I'm ready for us all to be a family here together. To not have to split my time between the babies and Ave, and then between Henry and {Ellie and James}.

I'll leave you now with something I wrote the middle of the other night while I was pumping....

I wake, the middle of the night
Breasts growing heavier day by day,
regardless of the babies still 2 hours,
2 weeks away.
I miss those precious lives, so much a part of me,
and not.
I curl up close to my husband, chilled, emptied,
trying to regain some warmth in my arms
while there are no babies to be held.

If you go HERE you can see all of the pictures from the past week.


Life Happens said...

Wow, what a week!!!! I hope the babes get to come hoe soon!!

sadie607 said...

Having babies in the NICU just sucks. There's no way around it, especially when they're in different rooms. We dealt with that for a little bit with E & E and it made the whole thing worse.

Many prayers that the babies learn to eat, keep their temps up and all those preemie things and come home for good very soon.

Hang in there. They sound like they're doing so good. You did such a great job keeping them in there.

Young Grasshoper said...

I remember the feelings I had while my babies were in the NICU. I knew that's where they had to be, but it was the most unnatural feeling to be pregnant for all that time and then to be separated.

It was so hard and people told me that when I looked backed it would seem like a blur. I didn't believe them, but 5 months later and it does seem like a blur. It was so hard though. I hope they get to come home soon!

I can't believe you are out and about already! :-)

Anonymous said...

What a week! I'm glad you got that cuddle time with them. Hope they come home soon!

Carrie said...

I was wondering how you were doing emotionally with not having them with you. I remember feeling that empty feeling even with them right next to me in the bassinet... it's just not the same.


Anonymous said...

If you're breaking MY heart, I cannot even imagine what it feels like, to wake up "emptied" with babies miles away... Hang in there! I am in awe, you did so great, the babies are doing well (there is no concern for them, right?) - so just a bit more - and you will all be together! I wish you all the best - and to have all three of them home really, really soon!

Bobbi Johnson said...

Oh, goodness, Jess! I'm so in love with your trio. They are so blessed to have you. You and your beautiful family are continually in my prayers. Much love!

Trina said...

you're such a good mommy, Jess! getting up and pumping, and driving so far to see them every day. Keep your chin up, we're all cheering you on!!!

Kateri said...

They are sooo tiny and sooo adorable! The photo of Ave holding james is just precious. It has got to be hard having them so far away from you. Glad they are safe though and hope they all to thrive and are ready to come home soon.

stephanie said...

thank you so much for sharing your pics! these pictures really choke me up. hoping your babies get to go home soon.

Manda said...

Oh my gosh!! They're gorgeous! Nice work, Jess!

I cannot BELIEVE how much hair they all have.

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Congratulations on delivering 3 beautiful babies who are doing so well -- and without a c-section! 34 weeks is fantastic for triplets.

Hope that their NICU stay is short and uneventful, and that the whole family is together at home soon.

Oh, and sleep now, while you can! :)