Saturday, February 28, 2009

Four Generations

This morning the boys got to meet their great-grandma Bea. She's holding Mason Joseph and grandma is holding Prior Benjamin. Great grandma stayed with my aunt for the week in Minneapolis while my mom was here helping me. It was so wonderful to have my mom here to help for the week and I miss her already. The boys are too - they got lots of cuddle time with grandma this week and Ben and I were spoiled with home-cooked meals.

Now just a few hours until the other grandma arrives!

This morning Ben also informed me that he was "getting sick of the clutter". As you can imagine that went over real well....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Three Weeks Old!

Happy 3-week Birthday Prior and Mason!

In some respects it feels like last night that we headed to the hospital thinking a shot of something would stop the contractions...In other respects I feel like Prior and Mason have been with us for years. I look back to the first pictures of the boys and can't believe how much they have changed already.

Here's something I find interesting (almost like an illusion). I honestly feel like all I do is sleep. How is that possible? Well - I guess it is because I do sleep often but not for very long. I am feeling guilty that all I do is sleep and not getting anything else done!!! I think that is probably reality?!

The boys are definitely very similar but are already starting to differentiate themselves. These are probably just "stages" and it will change in a weeks time but I wanted to write a few of them down so I don't forget them.

  • No matter which "side" he's eating on, he takes his very long arm closest to his brother and puts his entire fist or open hand directly in Mason's face. Happens every time.
  • Prior burps very loud and after every meal
  • He's definitely more calm and it he does not get very worked up easily.
  • Prior's coloring is still lighter than Mason's and their heads are still shaped differently but both of these will change with time.


  • Mason is a little less patient than Prior. When we wake him up to eat he reminds us that he is starving, not hungry, and would have preferred to eat like 10 minutes ago. He also doesn't have the patience for a bath or changing the dressing on his leg - he just wants to eat...NOW!
  • Mason has the same amount of gas as his just comes from the other end. You can essentially be sleep walking in the middle of the night trying to change him and his toots will make you burst out laughing!
  • Mason LOVES his pacifier...while Prior could take it or leave it.
Here's a video (as requested by Kelsey!) of Prior after a snack:


Prior with his thumb in his mouth.

Mason cuddling with Grandma Julie.

Mason cuddling with Mom.

Prior with his plugger.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Settling In

I'm sorry for the delay in posting...once I lost the full-time nurse when we were in the hospital I'm finding I have a little less time on my hands (even with a Grandma here!). Even though we don't have much 'free' time I do feel like we are settling in to a routine.

Today we're getting a big snow storm. I think we'll just stay inside for the day!!!

We have officially retired the "preemie" sized outfits and moved on to the "newborn" size. A little sad! The boys are just too long for the outfits. Last night we put a preemie outfit on Prior and noticed it was barely up on his shoulders because he's so long. We are going to donate them to the NICU at North Memorial so other baby boys can enjoy them. In just a few weeks I can't believe how fast they are growing...

We moved one of the cribs down to our bedroom. The boys are sleeping really well at night. Here are the boys sleeping away in their crib. Notice they are even wearing the same outfit. While we have two of everything at this point it doesn't take long for one of the boys to spit up or pee all over their outfit so they are usually not in the same outfit for very long! In fact last night both boys spit up at the same time and after we cleaned up the bedding and changed their clothes it was time to eat. After they ate just as I was going to head back to bed I realized Gus and thrown up...Good times!

I get a kick out of this picture - the boys (so far) are each very good at sleeping even if the other is awake or crying. Here Prior is not happy and Mason is out cold. Thanks Buff for these adorable onesies!

The boys are awake more and more each day. This morning we got out their new rainforest play mat. They both fit on the mat and hopefully it can stay that way because just one of these things takes up half the available space in our living room so we will not be purchasing two of these!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tipping the Scales

We made another trip out of the house today back to the pediatrician clinic for another weigh-in. Prior weighed in at 5 pounds 11 ounces (up 4 oz in 3 days) and Mason weighed in at 5 pounds 12 1/2 ounces (up 2 1/2 oz in 3 days). The doctor was very impressed and said they didn't need to come back until April for their 2 month well baby check up! She said 1/2 to 1 oz per day is what they would like to see. The doctor did think Mason's leg still looked infected and possibly a bit worse so she wanted us to see the plastic surgeon right away. She mentioned the word "readmission" and I had a mini-meltdown right there in the clinic. Luckily Ben recognizes that "a few" meltdowns are to be expected! Dr. Van Beek (the plastic surgeon) looked at Mason's leg and thought it was going through it's normal healing process and that it wasn't infected. We are still watching it very closely and will go back to see him in a week unless something changes. He still is not sure how big the scar will be but I asked Mason and he doesn't plan to be a leg model so he's OK with a scar on his leg and so am I! I am sure these boys will follow after their dad and grandpa and play lots of ball so it will go nicely with a scar from sliding.

Our trip to see Dr. Van Beek was the first time the boys were apart. I was a little sad about that but there was not any reason to take Prior out and about so he stayed with Grandma and was a very good boy.

Otherwise all is well. We have gained some efficiencies with the feeding routine and have shaved it down to about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not having to supplement the feedings with bottles has helped. They do get their vitamins (poly-vi-sol with iron) in a bottle with milk once per day. That stuff smells horrible but the boys don't seem to mind it. So it is not a lot of sleep at a time but it is around 2 hours so that is better than nothing and I'm able to fall asleep right away.

For you accountants out there..."segment reporting" has taken on a dual meaning in our household. Ben was on a call today with work about segment reporting but it also has a meaning here in baby-land. We used to use the terms "day" and "night" but we now use the term "segments". A segment is the period of time in between feedings.  With feedings every 2-3 hours there are 8-12 segments in a day. Unlike segment accounting there unfortunately is no such thing as "aggregation". There is also reporting that happens with each segment. Each boy has a chart for each day by hour so we can keep track of what is going in and what is coming out. This may sound crazy but believe me - once you change a diaper you forget within 30 seconds (or 2 seconds if it's a night feeding) what was in that diaper and whose bottom it was on. This way we know if someone is acting sick what has been going on.

Seriously Mom - can we turn the heat down in this place? Dad said it's only this hot one other place - Great Grandma Schultes' house! Mason is on the left...Prior on the right.

Mason is chillin' on his boppy pillow

Is this jail? Nope - just my new life as third favorite.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Best Birthday Ever

Before today, my most memorable birthday was probably my 16th birthday in 1996 when I got a DHS letter jacket (size XL of course) with keys in the pocket to a shiny 1987 Oldsmobile Calais (baby blue both inside and out).  I wish I had a picture of the original but this replica picture courtesy of google will have to do. And for those of you with some free time, here's a link to an old commercial for the car as well. Classic!

But now that these boys have arrived I would have to say this birthday is by far the best (and NOT because I turned 29!). 

I would like to make some updates to some previous posts:
  1. Multitasking IS possible. Last night in an effort to stay awake for feedings I mastered the skill of the TV remote with my right big toe. With the remote strategically placed on the footstool of the rocking chair I am now able to turn the TV on, push the DVR button, scroll to the previously recorded show I want to watch, push play, and then fast forward through the commercials.
  2. Within 24 hours of being at home Ben asked to increase his weekly diaper estimate to 12 per day per child. He failed to factor in the number of times a diaper change would require more than one diaper.
  3. Kristi bought me a bluetooth so I am now able to talk on the phone with one or two babies in hand!
  4. The ShamWOW is not all it was cracked up to be (surprise surprise...)
We heard from Tanja and she got her Visa from the Serbian embassy so we are excited about that and very much look forward to her arrival in April.

Tonight I was surprised with dinner delivered from Buca thanks to my Mom and Dad for my birthday. It was delicious and I was even able to hold a baby while I ate :)

The boys continue to do well. Tomorrow Grandma Julie is coming up for the week so we are excited about that!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Weeks Old

Today the boys turned 2 weeks old and they are doing very well at home. Aside from them being fussy for the first 8 hours or so after being home on Wednesday they have slept all the way through to their next feeding time since then. They aren't waking up to tell us they are hungry yet but that will come once they get a little older.

After the neonatologist warned us about germs...where did she send us on day 2 of being home? A germ infested pediatrician clinic! (Here's the sign up at the clinic...)

The boys needed a weight check and their first check up. This morning at 9:30 was the only time we could get in which was right in the middle of Ben's big audit committee meeting. Ben called the clinic and tried everything to get in at a different time so he could go but they didn't have anything because we needed a full one hour appointment and they needed to be seen by a doctor. I laughed because when he called to try and change the appointment he said "yeah - we had a couple of kids last week and they need to be seen by a doctor on Friday". A "couple of kids"!??! Funny stuff. As you can imagine taking two newborns to the doctor is not a task for one inexperienced mother. Luckily Kristi was able to help out (thanks again!). I think it was entertaining for her. We pulled up in the circle drive area of the clinic and got the boys unloaded from the car and into their double stroller. I completely forgot about the car and had Kristi not be there I would have left it parked right in front of the clinic. A double stroller with two infant car seats definitely draws attention! When we arrived at the clinic the nurse at the front desk said "Oh - is this Prior and Mason!?". I said yes and news travelled fast with all the nurses and we heard "the twins are here" about 4 times! It was cute. I wish I had a picture of us in the exam room - it was awfully crowded! After the appointment it was time to load the boys back up into the vehicle. After the boys were in the back seat (with Kristi scrunched in the middle to supervise) it was time to load the double stroller into the trunk. Unfortunately I had not be briefed by Dad on how to operate the stroller. So there I stood in the circle drive area of the clinic for a solid 10 minutes trying to figure out how in the heck to fold up the cadillac sized stroller so we could be on our way. I am sure many-a-moms got a good chuckle out of that!

Anyway, Mason weighed in at 5 pounds 10 ounces (up 3 ounces since discharge on Wednesday). Prior weighed in at 5 pounds 7 ounces (up 3 ounces since discharge). That was great news. All looked great with the boys except Mason's leg sore (IV infiltration). It is starting to look infected so the pediatrician prescribed an antibiotic ointment and he goes back to the plastic surgeon on Monday and we have to watch him very closely to make sure he's not showing any more signs of an infection. The boys go back on Monday for another weight check.

We got a card in the mail today from Ben's aunt and uncle Pam and Doug. Apparently Doug claims he knows where the boys' names came from. According to Doug Ben and I "stopped" in Mason City and Prior Lake on our way back from a weekend in Iowa last summer!

Now can you tell us apart?

How about here? 

Mason says "DOCTOR"!? I don't want to go back to the DOCTOR!!

PS: Many of you have said that you would like to leave comments but don't have a gmail account. Well - I was reading my friend Beth's blog and she said there's a setting I could change so I did so and now anyone should be able to leave a comment.  She also said there is a website: where you can download your blog into a book and get it printed off either in hard cover or soft cover. Thanks, Beth!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome Home

On Wednesday morning the boys were given the A-OK from Dr. Camp to come home! I had my 2 week doctor appointment in the morning, Ben took Barb to the bus station to head back to Carroll and then we headed home (just in time for the next feeding). The boys were in the hospital for 12 days and we were ready to take them home. I was a little nervous because with them being on monitors there was a sense of security and now the monitors are gone.

It took no more than 3o minutes after walking in the door for our house to be completely taken over by all things baby related......diapers, blankets, a pack-n-play, the list goes on and on. No one warned me about he first night at home. For some reason since the boys had developed a routine over the last 12 days in the hospital I neglected to realize (my own ignorance) that that routine just might be in jeopardy with the change in environment. The boys were pretty fussy at different times and also hungry at different times. They were trying to get on their own schedule rather than the same schedule. Our ONLY chance at survival is keeping them on the same schedule. But - they did much better at the two morning feedings so far as compared to the two nightly feedings on Wednesday night.

I was eating a handful of jelly beans we got as a gift and all of a sudden I thought I had eaten a bad jelly bean. I have eaten a lot of jelly beans in my day so I was surprised but I quickly spit it out in the sink and avoided thowing up. After spitting it out I realized it closely resembled a vitamin. I guess I had opened a bottle of vitamins and popped that in my mouth and eaten it like a jelly bean. My advise - swallow vitamins rather than chewing them...

I ran to Target last night to get a few needed things between feedings. I wasn't there more than 15 minutes when I got a text from Ben telling me to hurry home. I had gone there for some vitamin drops with iron for the boys and they didn't have it. Once I got back home I sent Ben to Walgreens and he came home with the vitamins and the ShamWOW. For those of you that have seen the infomercial (and those of you that know Ben) understand why I was pretty surprised by the purchase but that's what sleep deprivation will do!

The first night at home we slept in the living room with them (they slept in their pack-n-play). And by "slept" I mean we laid out in the living room with them. Until they get better at eating and are more awake when they eat the most sleep possible in between feedings is about 1.5 hours. There were a number of times last night that I said outloud how much more work two must be than one. I don't know of course since these are my first but the biggest thing I see missing is the opportunity to multitask. There is no opportunity to multitask with two...and this is not yet a job for one person! I also think the fact that they are preemies is a big piece of it too - they have to be woken up 2-3 times each feeding to stay focused on the task at hand. And waking them up is much more than playing with their fingers and toes. It starts with a diaper change and taking their clothes off...then they eat a little. Next is a burp and then they eat a bit more. The final wake-up technique is putting their clothes back on and if a final final wake-up technique is needed we lay them back down which usually does the trick. Hopefully once they get to be full term (40+weeks) they will be more awake and eat quicker.

Gus is doing well with the babies - doesn't really seem to care about them....just mainly cares about himself (i.e. when his next walk is, his next belly rub, his next trip outside, his next meal, etc.). 

All packed up in our NICU room ready to head home! Once the boys ditched their cords and own beds it was a lot harder to tell them apart!

On our way home! It was pretty cold out but the sun was shining for the boys' homecoming!

We made it home...NOW WHAT?! We weren't exactly ready for their arrival on the 6th so we had to scramble a bit - grabbed things from their room and the basement and made our new home here in the living room.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Last night Prior gained 5 grams (There are 30 grams in one ounce). This morning the "bottle patrol" came in (a nurse and doctor) and suggested we give the boys a bottle after they eat to try and get them over their hump of not gaining weight. They haven't been losing weight but have just kind of been holding their own. At this point all they have to do is gain some weight and we can all go home!

Here is what Mason thought about his first bottle...

Ben just apologized in advance for most likely forgetting my birthday in a few days. I laughed - I will probably forget my birthday. I am pretty amazed about how quickly the days can go when such little of them are spent sleeping. Grandma Barb stayed with me at the hospital last night so I got a lot more sleep last night so I feel pretty good.

Today is the 17th - the day the boys were scheduled to arrive. I can't believe how far they have come in 11 days. I am also quickly forgetting what life was like before them.

I call Mason "Mr. Maggie Simpson" because the pacifier is so big for him and because he does so well with it.

See - I can yawn too!

Dad - when can I wear whities?

I don't know why everyone thinks these hats are so cute!! I can't see!

Happy Valentine's Day flowers from Grandpa and Grandma Rude. The boys can't have them back here in their room so they sit at the check-in area of the NICU so all the families can enjoy them.

Gus is doing pretty well. Luckily he can spend lots of quality time with is best friend, Tucker, doing some of his favorite things (walks and car rides). Here are two pictures of his adventures this week thanks to Tucker's mom.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A few more days...

Well, we're getting close. The neonatologist thinks they might get to go home in a few more days (possibly Wednesday). At this point the boys just need to gain some more weight so cross your fingers. They are weighed each night before the 8:00 feeding. Yesterday morning Mason decided he was all done with his feeding tube and pulled it out himself. Later in the day Prior decided to do the same. The boys have been eating enough on their own not to need a supplement so hopefully it stays that way. The down side of no supplement is that I'm not able to skip any feedings but that's okay until they get the hang of things.

As of about 10:00 this morning I am officially "germophobic" for the first time in my life. The neonatologist said that if the boys end up with a fever before April 10th (30 days after their 40-week due date of March 10th) they are immediately hospitalized for a minimum of two days - no questions asked. They are given a series of tests, including a spinal tap. I guess I hadn't even thought about that. Of course I want to show off these beautiful babies to everyone in the world but now hearing that from the doctor we will probably have to wait to have any visitors unless they are helping with the midnight feedings and are germ free! I am sick of this hospital and definitely don't want to make the boys come back - they've been through enough already.

Today has been a busy day and it started early. Around 1:00 am the ultrasound tech came in and did an ultrasound of their brains to check for bleeding. This is standard procedure given their gestational age and everything looked normal. After that they each had their hearing tested (and the passed!).  Next up were the carseat checks. They each have to be able to sit in their carseat for an hour while hooked up to the monitors to make sure their stats don't drop while they are sitting in the seats. Mason wasn't real fond of the tightness of the car seat. Doesn't he look small in here? Neither boy had any alarms go off when they were in the car seats so that's good (not that we'll be going anywhere but the doctor for a very long time!)

After the car seat checks it was just in time for the 2:00 am feeding. At night when I don't have any help from Grandma or Ben it takes 2 hours for each feeding (rather than the 1 1/2 hours it takes during the day). I think some of that extra time is spent trying to keep my eyes open. I was able to then sleep from 4:00 to 5:00, feed the boys from 5:00 to 7:00 and then sleep again from 7:00 till 8:00. For those of you not good at math that is two one-hour "naps". I'm not sure what I would call it but I'm not sure it qualifies as sleep. I am pretty much delirious at this point and I think I might still be running on adrenaline. I'm sure it will be much easier once I get home.................

After the 8:00 feeding the boys made their first trip out of the NICU. They went with their pediatrician down to the nursery for their circumcision. I feel so bad for them!

I wish Mason would stop crying - I'm trying to rest!

For some odd reason my eyes look half shut in every picture I'm must be the new camera? These are the first outfits the boys wore of their own. They were also the very first outfits in the boys' closet. Kristi got them for the boys shortly after we found out they were boys. They are preemie size and fit well but probably not for long mainly because they are so long. The little froggie feet are adorable.

Hey everybody - notice anything different about me?! NO TUBE!

Dear God, thank you for giving me a brother. Mommy and Daddy told me that most boys have to wait for a long time for a brother or a sister and I was lucky enough to get one right away. Love, Prior.

Hey - where did my Daddy go? Auditing can WAIT! I am only going to be 10 days old once!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stock in Proctor and Gamble

Note:  This is a special guest-post by Ben, so it may be closer to R rated than the PG posts you're used to on this site.... actually, maybe they've already been R rated... what's more R rated than talking about one's cervix?  I'll spare you the discussion of the size of my prostate.

For anyone reading this post, it's probably a good idea to put all of your money in P&G stock, the parent Company and maker of Pampers.  We did the math earlier today and established an over/under of 126 diapers per week.  This assumes nine diapers per day per rugrat.  This further assumes slightly more cooperation from Mason, who crushed 4 diapers in one changing session with a completely ridiculous poop / poop / pee series of events within about two minutes leading to Kristin & I throwing up our arms and looking around for a garden hose in the NICU.... (we couldn't find one).  Good times.

Special thanks to our friend Theresa Steinkamp for the practical (yet perfect) gift of a big box of used-milk catchers.  We'll make sure and return every last one of them to you via mail as soon as the brothers are done using them.  They'll definitely be filled with much love when you get them back.

Happy Valentine's Day

Ben and I just had a very romantic lunch down consisting of only the finest hospital food in the cafeteria to celebrate Valentine's day. Grandma Barbie stayed with the boys and gave them lots of love while we snuck away. We got back up to the NICU just 30 short minutes before the next feeding. 

The nurses took the boys' picture and made them a Valentine's card - it's really cute.

Nothing much new today. Mason gained almost 3 ounces yesterday - he's up to 5 pounds 10 ounces. Both boys have good feedings and then sleepy feedings which the neonatologists tell us is completely normal and should be expected given their gestational age. Both IV's are out now so we're down to the feeding tubes and the heart monitors.

So far Prior is definitely the more sober one - very mellow even when he's wide awake.

Look how long my arms are!

Mason striking a pose.

I look like my Daddy.

I'm bringing 'sexy back' - once this swelling goes down...

Friday, February 13, 2009

One Week Old - Pictures!

Look everyone at how big I'm getting!

Go Hawks! Thanks, Brooke, for our first Iowa gear! The hats fit us perfectly.

Our first family picture.

Three sleepy boys.

Prior - the thinker...

One Week Old

Prior's echocardiogram came back perfectly normal!!! He did so well during the ultrasound. The little ultrasound probe was so tiny! It took about 40 minutes and he just laid there wide awake and was as calm as could be. They are calling it a 'flow murmur' which is nothing to worry about and once he is no longer anemic it may not even be noticeable.

There were several deliveries yesterday and so they kicked us out of our room. It was probably good - it was time to retire the robe and reenter the real world. We went home in between one of the feedings and it felt good to to be home even though it was only for an hour. I had two gigantic bowls of lucky charms and each bite tasted like a million dollars. After I was done eating the cereal I moved on to something else (I have this appetite you wouldn't believe). Ben reminded me that since I was no longer on bed rest I could "clean up after myself". I then reminded him that I had recently been sliced open at the midsection. He asked "how long I was going to use that excuse for?!". I told him longer than 5 days!!!

It was also great to see Gussie - he was so excited, yet had this look like "Mom - I know things aren't the same". The NICU social worker that stopped by our room earlier this week said 10-20% of Mom's suffer from postpartum depression. I think that percentage for dogs is more like 100% - especially dogs that are spoiled to the level that Gus is.

We do have our own little separate room of the NICU and it is really nice. They actually brought me in a cot so I am able to spend the night with them. This works well because some feedings they are more awake for and others they are not. Last night they did well at the 2:00/3:00 feeding but were too sleepy for the 5:00/6:00 feeding so it worked well because I was there for the earlier one but slept through the later one. It is also nice because I can put my feet up - my ankles and feet are the size of watermelons. Luckily they keep it nice and toasty warm in the NICU because my options are flip-flops or....flip-flops.

The boys are doing great. Mason has taken over as the good eater and he even is fussing a little bit letting me know he's hungry which is great. Prior had a sleepy day yesterday but is eating a little better today. I think it is because of his anemia. Both boys' billirubin scores went down yesterday so they should be in the clear for having to go under the lights. Prior's IV came out yesterday and Mason's comes out tonight by 11:00. It will be very nice to have Mason's out. He ended up with a bad sore on his leg where one of the IV's had been but they are treating it with some medication so hopefully it heals nicely. The doctor had a plastic surgeon look at it and he thought it would heal pretty well but there would be a scar. We were hoping one would have a birthmark and this may be the alternative. They still weigh about the same - last night they were both 5 pounds 7 ounces and some change. Prior is eating around 40ml and Mason around 36ml so they are making progress. Once they hit 54 (two ounces per feeding) we will start the "sliding scale" which means they will only get a supplement (feeding tube feeding) if they don't eat enough from me.

Last night the night nurse who was with the boys also happened to be a lactation consultant so we practiced tandem feeding using the 'football hold' (there is so much to learn). She was pretty hard-core and insistent on mastering the process between about 11:00 pm and 2:00 am. 

I have already called the boys by the wrong name a few dozen times. I can see why growing up my sister and I were frequently called "Car-Kristin" or Kris-Cara" by my mom. There is another set of twin boys in the NICU - their names are Reshaun and Deshaun....I think they may end up being called the wrong name as well...

Unfortunately the camera cord was left at home during the "move" so I don't have any new pictures to post. There are some really good ones on the camera so once I get the cord back tonight I will post some pictures (promise!). I can't believe how much they have changed already. Last night I was too tired to post - and I tried to wean myself off the percocet yesterday and that proved to be a bad idea.

Grandma Barbie and Uncle Brent and Aunt Angie are coming to visit and we are very excited to see them!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The birth

Several of you have asked what prompted the boys' early arrival on Friday. I'll start the story by saying that Ben hasn't been out of town since late summer. On Friday he needed to go to Mankato for work (about 1 1/2 hours from our house). We joked on Thursday night about how he hasn't missed any of the hundreds of doctor appointments and it would be our luck that something would happen on Friday while he was out of town. Well, on Friday afternoon I started having pretty strong contractions (every 5 minutes) similar to the ones I would have at night but it was unusual to have that many during the day. If I hadn't been so uncomfortable I probably would have driven myself to the hospital. I called Ben around 3:00 as he was leaving Mankato and said if they didn't get any better I was going to call the doctor when he got home. They didn't get any better so I called the doctor and they sent me in to the hospital. I was having contractions about every 4 minutes and my cervix was dilated to about 2 cm. They gave me a shot of terbutaline and said if things didn't slow down in 20 minutes they would do a c-section that night. Last time I had been in with contractions the shot calmed things down instantly but this time the shot had no effect. Nurses started scurrying and we quickly realized it was go time. They called the doctor and he arrived by about 7:15 and told us we'd have babies before 8:00. Talk about QUICK. Ben was really excited and couldn't understand why I was a little more nervous than excited. Something about cutting me open at the midsection had my mind preoccupied! I was 35 weeks 3 days on Friday. The nurses, doctor, etc. asked if we had our camera. While we had some things packed at home we hadn't brought a thing. While I thought this time there was a chance they would be delivered I was still in denial. In fact I think I still am - I can't believe it's real. I can't believe they are mine and that both of them (even though they are small) were inside of me. I can't believe how perfect they is such a miracle.

The boys' favorite nurse is Mary Beth - she works the day shift (7 am till 7 pm). Of course all of their nurses say that they are the cutest little boys in the nursery, but Mary Beth said this afternoon that the boys are very well tempered. She said she thinks babies are either born fussy or calm. I sure hope she is right!

Everything is going very well. The boys continue to eat pretty well. Today is Mason's last day of antibiotics and they are now reducing their IV fluids and the boys should be IV-free sometime tomorrow we hope. It will be very nice to have one less cord. Last night we gave them each their first bath (first bath that we gave them but not their first bath) and weighed them. Prior weighs 5 pounds 5 ounces so he has gained 3 ounces since he was born. We can definitely tell in his face that he has put on a few "O-Z's". Mason weighed 5 pounds 3 ounces which is what he weighed at birth. They are gaining weight so that is a great sign.

The doctors are hearing a heart murmur on Prior so they have ordered an ultrasound of his heart tomorrow. It sounds like the fact that he is anemic and his blood is thinner can make it sound like a murmur when everything is just fine. Many babies can have murmurs so we hope that there isn't anything structurally wrong with his heart. Please say a little prayer for Prior.

The placenta report came back today and we spoke with the doctor about it. They sent it in for testing after the birth because they were identical and there was only one placenta. The doctor used a lot of medical terms but essentially they concluded there was some "communication" (twin to twin transfusion (TTTS)) between the two babies' based on how each of their umbillical cords were attached to the placenta. This means there was some sharing of circulation between the two. In TTTS the donor twin becomes small and anemic (in this case, Prior), and the recipient twin becomes large and overloaded with blood (Mason). It is a very good thing it was a c-section because there could have been more trouble had the delivery process taken longer. The doctor also said we are pretty lucky there were no other issues with the TTTS earlier in the pregnancy as it can be very serious for both babies. What a blessing. All of our family and friends' positive thoughts and prayers definitely helped.

The boys billirubin scores (jaundice level) have been increasing but they are still not high enough to require the lights. They retest that every day so hopefully their scores stay down so they don't have to go under the lights.

Auntie Cara flew back home this afternoon. Thank you Cara for all of your great help! We are going to miss you and can't wait for you to come back and see us soon.

This is a video of Mason - enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 4

Best Buddies - Prior (left) and Mason (right)

Mason is getting the hang of eating - he definitely made progress today which is very encouraging. We are finding that we have to take at least one or two feedings off each day because the boys get tired so easily and if they are too tired they don't eat well. When we do that they sleep through their feedings but are getting mom's milk through their feeding tube. In the beginning we had to make a decision as to whether we would tube feed them or bottle feed them until they were getting enough from me. The doctors and nurses said that if we introduced the bottle instead of tube feeding it would be much more difficult to breastfeed.

Mason and Dad - you can tell how tiny he is in this picture

The boys had their first meal by tube on Saturday - a whopping 5 ml (about a teaspoon). Starting yesterday (Monday) they began increasing the feeding amount by 2 ml every other feeding. Prior did very well and he's currently getting 19 ml each feeding. Mason spit up on Monday afternoon so they held him at 7 ml until today. He's now at 11 ml and is now tolerating the increase so he will continue to go up. The doctor said they need to get up to about 50 ml each feeding before they will be able to go home. 

No more tubes! (PS - we don't know which one this is...)

Mason's bloodwork looked better today so his infection is getting better. 

I was officially discharged from the hospital this evening but they will let me "board" for 3 more nights. I don't receive any nursing care or meals (oh darn) but am able to stay/sleep here which is great so I can be closer to the babes which will equal more sleep and more time with them. I feel a lot better than I thought I would - but I guess I am distracted so that is probably part of it. I am staying ahead of the pain and am exhausted but other than that I feel great.

The boys have been busy! Last night we went down to the NICU for the 11:00 pm feeding and when I got down there I found that each boy had a present for their mommy in their isolette - a little red wrapped box that appeared to be jewelry! I was so surprised! Mason picked out a beautiful diamond ring and Prior picked out a gorgeous diamond necklace. Dad said they liked diamonds better than their birthstone (amethyst). I won't disagree! Dad also recognized that I have been through a lot with these little guys. I told him I forgot about all of the 'trouble' on Friday night as soon as they each let out their first cry. Dad then said "that's what I was afraid of!"

To Mom Love Mason

To Mom Love Prior

Auntie Cara was able to hold Mason today - very exciting! It has been very nice to have her here. She's been a great help here as well as at home with laundry and taking care of our poor neglected dog. It sounds like Gussie isn't overly fond of the blanket she took from the boys. He's anxious for us to get home and focus on him!

My Auntie Cara

Prior is as snug as a bug in a rug...
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