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Friday, September 21, 2012

3, 4, close the NICU door!

I am happy to say that as of Wednesday, September 19, 2012, our family was all together finally!
             We brought our sweet Hannah home!!!

When we got Tyler home, Hannah still wasn't eating full bottles and so she had to be gavage fed the rest of the food, but enough was enough.  The drive back and forth from the NICU with 4 kids already at home was exhausting and nearly impossible.  So, I learned how to Gavage feed her if need be, got the supplies I needed, and we scooted on out of there the next day!

When we got in the van I think the realization hit us that we truly, indeed had 4 infants.  Yes, Quadruplets.  Andy and I shared a lot of looks, in sort of disbelief that this was our life and that we finally were turning the corner away from the NICU to Home Life.  Fitting all of them into the van and getting them back home between feeds was a feat all its own!  We were exhausted and a little overwhelmed!  But so, so, so happy to finally have everyone healthy and home.

Getting our fourth and final installment of baby.  What a parade it was leaving the hospital with all our babies!  People kept on stopping to say something about our "parade"- and their responses varied from surprise to pity to joy to horror for us!  For us?  WE CHOOSE JOY!!!  We are blessed indeed!!!    :-)

Hannah's Homecoming (the kids are L-R: Tyler, Lauren, Hannah & Tanner)

My attempts at getting them all on my lap- not much room there anymore!

Our 5 Kids!
Since it has only been a few days since all four have been home, we are still adjusting and getting help here and there from friends and family.  We still are figuring out routines, set-ups, help, and what life is now for us!  I have had many times where it has just been me at home and I have nearly perfected the tandem feeding approach out of necessity!  Hannah does need some additional tricks sometimes to get her to feed successfully, but these are easy to do and she has been finishing all her bottles with a flourish.  Thankfully no gavage has been needed!

We also have really, really good feeders on our hands.  Everyone has been gaining weight and the doctor is happy with their health so far.  Here's the stats on our four chunkers as of Thursday!
Hannah is 6# 8.5 oz
Tanner is 6# 7 oz
Lauren is 6# 3.5 oz
Tyler is 5# 3.5 oz
We use Dr Browns bottles, which have way more parts but are great at reducing gas and fussiness. Washing them is a real treat, but thankfully whenever help comes over they don't mind being directed to our sink, which literally always has bottles in it!A dry-erase marker has been my best friend to write on these bottles!  Everyone's feed is the same except for Tyler who is still much smaller than the other 3.  We put his bottles in the same row every time and put a dot on the lid tops.  A simple old crock pot is what we are using to warm up the bottles, and it really works like a charm right now!

With 32 bottles/feeds in a 24 hour day, if I don't have help or don't tandem feed the feedings would take all my time!  As it is, the babies sometimes take as long as a half an hour to feed each.  With 8 feeds in a day every 3 hours, realistically I only have one good hour between feeds to do things like... shower, give Jenna some attention, do laundry, wash bottles, sort through gifts and clothes, schedule doctor appointments, change diapers, cuddle babies, write thank yous, pump, eat, check email, yadda yadda yadda.....
and then its time for another feeding.
Needless to say, my brain is a little frazzled!  And a little sleep deprived!

As far as sleep goes, Andy and I have been alternating night feeds so we both get better chunks of time.  We also have been so blessed with friends and family who have offered to do the midnight feedings.  As we muddle our way through what it's like with a four year old and quadruplet babies, we are so thankful for four healthy babies, a happy, helpful and healthy big sister, gracious friends and family, and especially all your prayers.  I would likely have breakdowns all the time if it weren't for God's strength and provision!
Now I must go for guess what?  Another feed!
But look at them--- awwww!  I must admit, we made really cute kids!



Monday, September 17, 2012

2 months old!

Tanner,  Lauren & Tyler having tummy time
Happy 2 Months Old to our four precious babies!

A few updates:  Tyler was able to join Tanner & Lauren and come home on Thursday, September 13!
3/4 There!

Welcome Home, Tyler!
 It feels so good to have one more home, but I must say while 2 seemed fairly "easy" (not that it's easy, just a matter of perspective!), three threw me off-kilter!  Suddenly I had more babies than arms, and the feeds & care took longer.  With 2 babies, caring for them was doable by myself.  But with 3, it's a little more time consuming and tricky!
sibling snuggle time:  Lauren, Tanner & Tyler
at Tyler's first doctor appointment

Tyler & Tanner settling in at home
 It has been a little adjustment, but now it's just life as we know it and we love lovin' on our strong little man Tyler!  Here are their weights from the doctor's appointment a few days ago:
Tyler is 4# 11 oz
Lauren is 5# 10 oz
Tanner is 5# 15 oz
They are growing so big!  I can't believe Tanner is almost 6 lbs, and Tyler is not far from 5 lbs!
Tanner & Tyler doing a "Praise Jesus!" (or a "so big!")
Bath Time!

And then there's our sweet Hannah....Who is still in the NICU!  Ugh.
I have to admit, this is so hard for me having her there!!!  With 3 infants and Jenna I can't just pick up and go visit the NICU anymore.  I have gone some days without being able to see her at all, and let me tell you- this is awful to me!  Even though I have 4 kids at home, my heart aches not having the fifth here, too.  We miss you, Hannah and want you home SOON!!!!!
Our sweet little Hannah bean
Tyler cuddling with Hannah in her bed the other day:  look how he is holding onto her arm!  It's like he is saying, "Come home with us, sister!"

We love you and miss you, Hannah!
There is lots of good news.  Hannah is growing well at 6# .5 oz, and she finally is off oxygen.  However, she still has times where she is not able to finish a whole bottle feed.  Thus, she needs to have the rest of her milk gavaged (fed via a feeding tube in her nose to her stomach) in order to get the nutrients she needs.  Technically, she should take all of her feeds for 48 hours straight before discharge.  But, when I talked to her doctor, I pleaded with him to send her home and I could just learn how to gavage her myself if need be.  He seemed OK with this given the circumstances, and it looks like Wednesday will be Hannah's homecoming day!  Tomorrow I need to go and learn how to gavage, but honestly when Andy and I have given her feeds she takes the bottle awesome, so our theory is that when she is at home with all of us she will do a superstar job of eating all her bottle with little to no problems!

Another good thing is that the doctors downloaded Hannah's monitor today, and it shows that she did not have any apneas or bradycardias in the last 5 days so she can go home monitor free!  This is good news, as we still have Lauren's monitor and it is a pain.  Hopefully Lauren can kick that thing to the curb soon, too!  Then we will have 4 wireless, healthy, strong and loveable babies at home!  Praise Jesus!
Life will continue to get crazy, and sleep will become more rare.  Thankfully we have had lots of friends and family helping out... the helps at the midnight feeds have been the best (especially when Andy has been working!).  We are getting creative and planning on Hannah coming home soon.

Andy feeding 2 at a time- a fellow quad mom friend showed me this feeding position, and I must say.  It works awesome.  Necessity breeds invention.
I had another shower on Sunday, and was showered beyond belief with lots of love and great gifts for the babies.  We have been blessed with such an amazing community of friends and family!  Everyone was so gracious and giving and kind.  One gift in particular blew me away, though!  It was from a co-worker of someone who attended the shower.  She gave us four adorable outfits for the kids, and the card simply stated, "From one mom to another."  Now how awesome is that?  I have never met this lady, and yet we are connected by the four little ones.  Wow!  People are so good.  Never underestimate the power of community!  (and thank you, amazing mom, for the adorable gift!).

Hopefully I will post again soon with news that Hannah is home.  We really appreciate all the continued prayers and support.  We feel so honored and humbled to be the recipients of so many prayers.  When I started this blog, I had no idea people would follow our story like they do!  I am floored and amazed and humbled, and at the same time forgetful and sleepy and ditzy all rolled into one.  Life is crazy.  Life is good.  And God continues to provide abundantly!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Two & Two!

On the go with the "twins", to visit the other "twins"
Posting in this blog is getting a little harder to do now that Tanner & Lauren have been home, but we are SO glad to have them home!  Now is the tricky part of learning how to organize life and balance it still with the other 2 in the NICU-- I hope we don't have to do this split too long!  It's a little tricky making it there every day, and I certainly don't get the cuddle time I use to get with Tyler & Hannah :-(

When I do go there, I let the kids have cuddle time, though!
Hannah & Lauren cuddle with mommy

Tyler & Tanner--- Tyler was on oxygen for a few days last week but now is off!

Big sister Jenna holding Tyler all by herself!

Updates on our babies still in the NICU:
Hannah is still on oxygen and still not able to do full feeds every feeding.  Today the NICU OT will start working with her on feeding, so hopefully she will do better and not need oxygen support much longer to maintain good oxygen levels!  Please pray that she is able to get this whole breathing and eating thing without support so that she can come home!!!!!

Tyler was on oxygen briefly last week but is now able to breathe room air without support and keep a good oxygen level.  He can almost do full feeds, but sometimes still needs the rest gavage fed.  In order to come home, he will need to do full feeds for 48 hours total.  Go buddy, go!  I would guess that he might come home later on this week if he can do this.

And then there's my 2 (well, 3) babies who are home:
Jenna helping with Tanner's first bath
Tanner loves a tub bath!

Jenna helping with Lauren's first bath

Lauren's first bath 

So fresh and so clean clean!
 Tanner & Lauren are doing excellent!  Both sleep a lot (basically, 23/24 hours of the day!) because they are still preemies.  Like the NICU routine, I do "care" every 3 hours where I change diapers & feed them (or bathe!), but then they sleep.  I love getting my cuddle time with them when I am not doing other things around the house!
Lauren unfortunately had to go home on a monitor for a little bit because of her last monitor's data before discharge.  It showed a period of apnea within the 5 days prior to discharge, so that's why.  I know these monitors are probably very helpful tools, but my 2 cents is this:  she has not had one breathing, heart rate or respiratory concern since being home.  However, that very shrill, loud alarm has gone off several times (my favorite is in the middle of the night in-between feedings when you finally get into deep sleep).  From what we can tell, it usually goes off because it doesn't pick up on her stats.  By and large the greatest reason it has gone off is because I have stepped on the wires that attach to the probes that stick to her abdomen, causing Lauren to cry, the alarm to blare, mommy to feel terrible & mad at the alarm/herself all at the same time.  I am not a fan.

Hopefully the monitor is short-lived and Hannah & Tyler are home soon.  We are settling into what life looks like with 2 and preparing for 2 more.  Here's some pictures of every day events at our place.

Jenna is learning to be so very careful with them and probably sanitizes her hands more than anyone else!

Tummy time!

So cute!

I love how they are so curious and comfortable with each other!

Snuggling in mommy's arms

Lauren & Tanner often sleep in this bassinet together

Life as we know it.
Yesterday my sister & sister-in-law threw a baby shower for me, where I was showered with love and presents (think many, many diapers, wipes, and other baby items!!!).  It was overwhelmingly wonderful to know I have so many dear friends and family supporting us, and to be blessed with not only presents, but also frozen meals and special bible verses from those lovely ladies!

And today my First Baby started Preschool.   She was so excited and not at all nervous or worried.  That girl is so outgoing and full of life!  I have a feeling she will try to teach her peers what she knows this year, because she loves to share information and she is one smart cookie (at least we think so)!
Jenna's first day of Preschool outfit.  Looking good, sweet girl!

Daddy and his big girl
Last night when Andy & I put Jenna to bed, I started to tear up in-between the book reading, prayers, & singing songs.  My baby is now a confident, smart, and precocious preschool girl.  God found it good to bless us with FOUR more babies ((((at the same time!)))).  Two are home and healthy, and two are on their way home soon, Lord willing.  Andy is hands down my best friend, and after almost 9 years of marriage we can solidly say it is a good marriage.  Not an easy one, and there will be challenges upon challenges in the upcoming weeks, months and years.  But it is a good marriage.

God, rich in love and mercy, has blessed us beyond what I ever could have thought.  I find the Psalms 16 v 5-6 rings so rich right now in this season of my life:  "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."  Amen!

Thanks for all your support and prayers.  Lots to be thankful for!!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sweet Homecoming!

Good News!  We thought we might go in today and pick up our little Lauren to go home, but we had a great surprise:  Tanner came home too!

Both are home now after a long day getting circumcised (Tanner) and going through all the discharge things.  Thankfully I called in my amazing family troops and they quickly did last minute things to get us all set... good grief, I was not ready for one, let alone 2!!!

Gotta get bottles prepared for the overnight shifts and then try to get some sleep myself, I will end with picture highlights from the day.  Praise Jesus for 2 healthy babies, and 2 more to come!!
Tanner & Lauren with some of our favorite nurses, Kathy & Lori

Welcome Home, Lauren & Tanner!

Lauren making a face

Don't you love their button hats?

Very proud big sis

It is so much nicer having them home than at the hospital!

Mastering the side-lying, NICU style preemie bottle feed!

"How cool to have them home!"

Aunt Cindy & Cousin Kayden visit

Lauren had to go home on a monitor for apneas, but Tanner was thankfully cordless
A very happy mommy & daddy

Now about those other 2...!

Miss you!  Hope to see you soon, Hannah!

Miss you too, Tyler!  Get bigger & stronger for us, ok?

First night sleeping at home!  They shared the bassinet!
Good night!  Hope we get a little sleep :-)