Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Sweet Babies!!

I things to say.  No time to say them now.  I will write more later, but we are here and I feel like we are adjusting.  Apparently, we are the only one's who need adjusting.  Elissa and Ellie are just fine.


OH be still my beating heart!!!!  I will say that someone wrote to me on my facebook wall, who is a father of twins and a great man of God, and he said to me something along the lines of just think how special God must think we are to bless us this much, which 2 little miracles at one time.  I have not been able to get that out of my head.  At night, when I'm up, I get back in the bed and say "thank you" to the man up-stairs.  It hasn't been easy, but just look at them!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We're Here and Doing Ok

The past 48 hours since coming home have been a whirl-wind.  Just alot to adjust to.  I feel like I the babies do pretty good at night.  I'm getting up with them by myself, for the most part, but I feel like I'm losing a lot of sleep.  The babies do pretty good. They eat, burp, get changed, and go back to sleep -both of them- in about 45 minutes.  It takes me another 45 mins to go back to sleep though and there lies the problem.  This morning, at 7, I was thankful that I could send both babies to Mom and Dad's set-up (the motor home) out back and go back to sleep until 10.  Both babies got a bath this morning. 

Mammie got to come visit yeterday morning for a little bit.

Both babies were laid out with Mammie.

Bailey's had a hard time realizing these aren't HER babies and that she might need a little help with carrying them around and feeding them and changing their diaper.  Amy sensed the tension in my text message yesterday and showed up to get her to go the arena.  I really hate it that I missed her first time on a horse because the child lives for horses, but I know she throughly enjoyed herself.  Sometime during the eveing, I recieved these pictures from her.

Bailey and Calissa.

And finally, Bailey and the baby she has claimed.  No babies were harmed in the capturing of these pictures.

Friday, August 26, 2011

2 Weeks Old & We Are Home

Elissa and Ellie were born on Friday, August 12, 2011, at 1:23 pm and 1:24 pm.  Elissa weighed 5.2 and is Baby A.  Ellie weighed 4.6 and is Baby B.  Today, we arrived rounded the corner to our street at just a few minutes past their birth time, at two weeks old, with Elissa weighing 5.5 and Ellie weighing 4.5 and a half.  Bless her little heart, they give her every gram they can.  It was a quite ride home.  I closed my eyes before we ever got out of Flowood and opened them just as we were passing in casino.  Literally, in the blink of an eye, we were home with 2 babies.  I still cannot believe it.

We've had an adjustment already that I wasn't quite prepared for.  We've told Bailey for 33 weeks that these were "her" babies and she literally thinks that.  I'm glad she loves them but she does not like for us to touch them or have anything to do with them.  She wants to be the one to do and take care of them.  With a little bit of training, she will be able to be a BIG help. 

It's almost 10:00 pm.  I'm blogging because they eat again at 11 and Sid and Bailey are sound asleep.  It's nice to be under one roof and not have to miss anybody tonight.  The only thing I think I'll miss for awhile is sleep.  While I had time, I thought I'd go ahead and get the pictures from today on here and let everyone know we are home and doing great.  The only thing I didn't get a picture of today were our pink, pink, and more pink balloons that awaited us on the outside of the house when we got home.  Made me cry!  I'll get a picture of those tomorrow.

These pictures were taking with the iphone before we left the NICU.  Not the best quality. 

Ellie, ready to go!

Elissa, ready to go!

EVERYBODY ready to go!!!!!!!

I tried to take a picture of them in their dresses, but this is the best I could get in the NICU with a phone camera.  Ellie, dressed and just waiting!

Elissa, dressed and just waiting.

And then we got home!!!!
(This is an iphone pic, too.)  They haven't spent much time together and I know they have to have missed each other. 

The first thing we did was take them to one of their beds.  We are going to let them sleep together for a while if they appear to want to.  So far, they do.  I had them on their backs and they kept rolling over so this was the best I could do.

After they woke up, we came out into the den and waited on big sister to get home.  I thought it was sooo sweet that Ellie decided to suck on the Elissa head.  Elissa didn't seem to mind. 

AHHHH! Such sweetness.  All those little legs, feet, 20 toes, we have sono pictures of.  There they are, for real and alive and well, in my house!!  This is what their feet were doing while Ellie was sucking on Elissa head.  I do believe they have missed each other!

Elissa back in her own space.

Ellie in her own space.  (These were after Bailey got home because she got out that pink "baby" paci and put it beside her head.)


And then sister got home!!!!!!

This one was taken a while after she got home, close to bed time. But she took up with Ellie and I think that's so funny since Ellie is her mini-me.  (Yes, that's a paci in my first-born's mouth.  Some habits die hard and that's been the hardest to die for her.)

This was her first time to hold Ellie.  (I really don't have any of her and Elissa because once she got her hands on Ellie, that was it.  That was HER baby.)

Then she wanted to lay on the bobby with her.

And at bed time, which they are all in their own beds now, but right before bed time, this was the scene at our house.  All 3 girls, they are all 3 our's and healthy and we are sooo very thankful.  I cannot believe there is room my heart for all the love I feel when I look at this picture of all 3 girls.  We are sooo blessed!

Sid and I, again, cannot begin to tell everyone how thankful we are for the thoughts, prayers, calls,texts, facebook messages, visits to the hospital, help with Bailey, etc.  It was a long 2 weeks, but we made it and are praising our sweet Jesus for the safety and health of our entire family not only these past 2 weeks, but the entire pregnancy.  When the doctor told me it was time on Aug. 12th, I had a breakdown.  It was too early and all I could see was a 7 week stay in the NICU.  But the nurses and doctors we had not only cared about the well being of our babies, but us too, and we made it.  These babies came so far in 2 short weeks and without the nurses who provided such great care to them, it wouldn't have happened.  There shouldn't be anymore babies born at this Whitehead household, but if I had to make the decision all over again, I would still choose to be where we were, in that hospital, in that NICU.  I cannot speak highly enough of them.  And we are so very thankful for them, too!

Nene and Jerry came tonight and brought supper and spent some time with us.  My mom and dad will be here tomorrow.  And that's all for tonight, I hear a baby calling.

Goodnight from the Whitehead household!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

He Has HIS Hands On You

I don't have pictures to share, I'll go ahead and say that up front.  It gets tiring to drag all that stuff to the hospital to take pictures when you have to remember clothes, milk, myself, etc. 

I thought I'd share the plan that we learned today.  Dr. Glick, the neonatologist, told us this morning that the babies would move to "well baby beds" tomorrow.  Those are those little beds that they roll to normal mother's rooms whose babies don't go to the NICU.  That means tomorrow they are treated like typically born babies, except they are still in the NICU.  BUT, this mean one GIANT step towards home.  She wants the babies to stay there 48 hours, maintain their body temp and either maintain/gain weight.  That's exactly what they expect of full term babies that don't go to the NICU.  Assuming that starts tomorrow, and they do all that for 48 hours, we'll be Philly bound sometime on Friday.  I get tears in my eyes just typing that. 

Sid went home tonight to take his truck back and will be riding back tomorrow with someone coming this way.  So me???  I went to the 5:00 feeding and stayed until 7:00, got Chick Fil A, and have been in the hotel room reading blogs I haven't read in 2 weeks and watching Teen Mom.  It feels soooo strange.  But because Sid was gone, I decided not to go to the 8:00 feeding because we are usually out til 10 or later. 

I just called the night nurse to check on their weight, since we usually find that out at night and that's what determines tomorrow's move. 

Both girls gained an ounce.  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!! So that puts Elissa at 5.1, which is almost her birth weight.  The doctor says her murmur is getting louder, which means it's closing.  We won't do anything with it except follow up with the pediatrician.  And Miss Ellie, well, she gained an ounce, too.  And it's Ellie that's really determining what happens the rest of our days in the NICU.  But her gain put her at 4.2, with a gain of on ounce a night for the last 2 nights.  That means we are headed to those well baby beds tomorrow.  All I can say is grow, Ellie, grow.  We want to go home. 

Speaking of home, we want you to know that we want visitors, but we just probably need a little time.  It's always fine to call us and ask if it's a good time.  I'll write more on this later.  We cannot tell you how much we appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, phone calls, visits, etc.  But we just have to be very careful with these babies.  After all, they are only going to be 35 weeks when they came home.  They still need that "controlled" environment of the NICU even when we get home.

A couple of weeks ago, it was actually the Wednesday of the fair, I came to Jackson for a doctor's visit.  I was a little overwhelmed when I left the office for several different reasons.  I don't really remember why, but I remember getting in the car and hearing this song.  I started crying and the tears flowed.  Ha! I don't think they've stopped since.  Clearly, there was no "hurting" as the song refers to until the babies got here early and we've been through another NICU stay, but this song has played over and over in my head this entire time.

Here's the video, but listen to his words before he starts singing.  I love the part where he says, "take solace in the fact that even though it may not feel good right now,as long as I'm in HIS hands, everything's gonna be alright. Just touch somebody, look them in the face and tell them I'm in HIS hands." 

My babies will go home on Friday (hopefully) at 35 weeks, 5 weeks before they should be in this world.  They will have spent 15 days in the NICU, with what I consider to be minimal medical intervention.  And you know why???  Because HIS hands.  They have been around us this entire time.  HIS hands have been on Elissa and Ellie as they continue to grow and thrive.  HIS hands have been on Bailey as she has endured an unexpected break in her normal life and been away from her Mommy for 15 days, and Daddy alot of the time.  HIS hands have been on me and Sid as we've walked through this NICU experience, one we had such high hopes of passing by this time.  We do realize there are worse places we could be or worse shapes we could be in.  But's it still difficult.  HIS hands have been on family, Nene and Jerry, Kylie and Ben, Mom, everyone who've put their normal routines and lives aside for our well being. HIS hands have been on those praying for us, thinking of us, visiting us, and checking on us.  And there is no way that we could ever thank everyone enough for their support and love and prayers during this time. 

And HIS hands will continue to be on us as we go home and grow from a family of 3, to a family of 5.  Please keep checking on us, please keep praying for us and remember, no matter what you are going through, no matter how bad it may seem, no matter how many times you feel like asking yourself "will it ever end", He has HIS hands on you and He WILL see you through. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Weekend In The Books

I was type type typing away and it disappeared. I don't feel like going back and retyping. 

Hopefully by next weekend, I'll be writing to you from home!

So, I"ll tell you this:
1.  Mimi went home Saturday afternoon.
2.  Nene and Bailey came to town and stayed with me.
3.  I loved loved loved getting to see my sweet baby for a bit.
4. I wondered several times during her visit how in the world this was going to work when we got home.
5.  My answer is "I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE!!!!"
6.  Nene and Bailey left this afternoon to go home, but Aunt Amy came and had a good visit with the babies.
7.  Sid is back with me for a few days.  We had a good visit with the girls tonight.

And in baby news:
1.  Elissa  and Ellie are both off the feeding tube and taking all bottles every 3 hours.
2.  They take about 2 ounces each.
3.  Both girls had lost down sort of well below their birth weight, but I was told today that Ellie had to be 4 lbs before she could come home.
4. Ellie weighed in at 4 lbs tonight!!!!!!!  Now we must keep her there.
5.  The doctor that has been on for the past 7 days went off rotation today and will not be back until next
Monday.  She says she doesn't think she'll see us.  We love her, but we'll be so glad if we don't see her.
6.  Elissa has weighed the same thing for the 3rd night in a row, which is ok. She's right at 5lbs and holding there, so that's good.

And in honor of Sid being back after being gone for 4 or 5 days, here's a picture of him and our little 4lb peanut. I told him she was so balled up and comfy, she looked like a growth on him. 

Sweet Sweet Girls!!!  They  have my heart already!!!

I can't stand these iphone pics and how they load to the blog sometimes.  I hope I get good camera pics tomorrow since today was the first day we say them with nothing taped/stuck to their face.

Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes, texts, facebook comments, etc.  Keep them coming because slowly but surely, we are getting there!!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

One Week Old

We decided to put the babies together this morning.  We figured after a week of being apart, they were looking for each other.  It was really sweet!  Mimi did the holding and I did the picture taking. 

Identical??? I think not!

 After they snuggled and smelled each other, they got comfy.

I fed Ellie this morning and had better luck than I did yesterday morning.  Mom fed Elissa and didn't have such good luck.  She's our better eater, so I don't know what was up with that.

Elissa, this morning, one week old!!!

Ellie, this morning, one week old!  (these iphone pics are not too great)

When we left them about 1:00 today, they were both snuggled up with their paci's, especially Elissa.



And just because Ellie got face time yesterday, here's Elissa last night when I was with her.

The news today was about the same.  The doctor says they both look better than they did yesterday, so that's good I guess.  Another day in the books.  Elissa has had no more apnea and she said we would mark that off the list, too!  Thank goodness.  Ellie did gain a little back, Elissa stayed the same weight.  Elissa does still have a heart murmur today, so an ECHO was ordered but it may be in the morning before we hear from it.  The doctor said it would close on it's own and probably in about 2 weeks.  It would be nothing that would keep her from coming home.  

We will go back again tonight at 8:00.  I feel a little better today, but we are just all worn out.  Again, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.  We're going to make it, one baby step at a time!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday's News from the NICU

It's about time to go back for our 2nd visit of the day, which is usually pretty low key and not a visit that we find much out at, other than how much weight they've gained or lost.  Hopefully tonight, we'll hear that they both gained. 

Mom and I went at 11:00 today and it was a bottle feeding time.  Elissa gulps her's down, poor Ellie just doesn't want to work for it yet.   They are fed by the tube in their nose to stomach every other feed to save energy/calories.  Elissa has had no more apnea so we are now 24 hours past that.  I asked the neonatologist if that meant we were in the clear with that and she wouldn't answer for fear that she'd jinx her.  Soooo, I took that to mean at this point it could go either way.   I pray it's gone.  We were told yesterday that they like for their respiration's per minute to be in the 50's or below.  Yesterday, both were still breathing pretty heavy in the 70's, but today they were down to the 60's.  So, we are getting there on that.  They continue to be in those isolette beds that help them regulate their temp.  I asked the doctor what the progression for that was and she said she just liked to see the temp in the bed going up and the babies' temp staying the same.  She looked back on the chart for me and each day for since they have been in those beds, the temp in the bed has gone down and they have held their own.  I was full of questions this morning I guess, because I also asked her what kind of time frame we were looking at in coming home.  I know that all babies do different and one might be ready to come home before the other.  I know that she could tell me 3 weeks and it could be 1 or vice versa.  Her answer was 7-10 days so I'll take that as another 2 weeks.  If you count Friday, the day they were born, today is our 7th day in the NICU.  So what's another 7 if that's where we need to be????  I'll try not to think about the answer to that question.

Now for the not so good news.  The doctor hears a heart murmur on Elissa.  She said if she still hears it the same or worse tomorrow, Elissa will have a heart ECHO.  If it's better, she will leave it alone.  The nurse later told us it sounded like a PDA.  Those letters stand for a condition that refers to a duct in the heart that should close at birth.  Some babies, especially in babies that are early, have a duct that doesn't close.  It can be treated by medicine to try and close it or sometimes it is a surgical procedure.  I haven't thought too too much about it because it's either there or it's not and it's either something we'll deal with or not.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there.  I also know enough about it to know it's fixable and not life threatening IF that's what it is. 

I didn't take but two pictures this morning.  Both were of Ellie on the iphone because that's who I was holding this morning.  This child cannot be denied by Sid Whitehead.  I wish I had a video camera and could capture her even the looks that she gives you.  She is already him made over.  I  know it's a little funny looking but she was up on my shoulder and my camera was sort of crooked.  She was also half way asleep, but she is soooo nosey she tries to look at every noise, sound, beep, person, me, whoever, before she finally gives it up. 

And just for comparison's sake, because I, along with lots of other people think that Ellie and Bailey favor, here's a picture of Bailey from her stay in the NICU.  This was the first time I got to hold her.  Little Sid???  I think so!!!!  I also believe she could be Ellie's twin.

(now that I have these together, they do a look a little different, but that's because Bailey has 2 weeks and 3 pounds on Ellie in this picture.)  I hope to get some of Elissa tonight. 

I started having spinal pains that moved up into my neck on Tuesday.  I called my doctor on Tuesday and he said lay down, use a heating pad, blah blah blah.  Well, today there was no blah, blah, blah.  I was hurting.  Mom was ready to take me to the ER.  I called the doctor back and we went in.  My bp was higher than normal, but he said given what was going on, he didn't see it as an issue at this time.  But it appears that I do have a form of a complication from my spinal.  He said lying on my stomach and not being up and on the go (REST) was what I needed, and we'd treat it with medicine for now.  If it didn't get better, I'd have to have it looked at by the spinal people.  It usually feels better at night than it does in the morning and I'm not sure why that is.

That's all we know today.  Tomorrow Elissa and Ellie will be 1 week old.  I can't believe a week has already gone by.  I wish it was a week they were still growing inside me, but it's just the situation we are in.  I'm a little better about being away from Bailey but I think I know it's because her daddy is with her.  She did ask me on the phone last night while Mom and I were at Chick Fil A if I was coming home. I lost it!!! Right there at the table.  Like a fool.  But again, I know she is having the time of her life and probaby really hasn't given me one thought.  Little stinker.  We'll all be back home before we know it. 

We continue to appreciate your thoughts and prayers.  I believe the girls are doing good despite the fact that they are in the NICU.  And I don't believe it will be long before we'll have that sister ride loaded down and Philly bound!!

Oh yeah! We had a tornado warning today after we left the girls. I called after the strom to find out if all was well in the NICU, which I knew it was, but still felt better asking.  Come to find out, they have special glass on their windows and hurricane type shutters that they let down when bad weather comes. I was very impressed with that and glad to know my babies were safe and sound inside that NICU.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hump Day in the NICU

WElllll, the flood gates have opened again.  Sid went home to be with Bailey and try to work and little and Mom is flying in until Saturday.  Saturday just seems like such a long time away.  The time flew by this summer and all of the sudden, BAM, here we are with 2 babies. 

Not much different news this morning.  Both are still off oxygen, so hopefully that is a thing of the past.  Both are trying really really hard to take bottles.  They are still in a bed that helps them regulate their temp.  The only new news is that Elissa had 4 apena spells between the time we saw her last night at 10 and 10 this morning.  That means that her brain forgets to tell her to breathe for 20 seconds or longer.  Clearly that is not a good thing and something that will have to be long gone before she can come home. 

We took the big camera in and finally got some pretty good pictures.  The nurse we had from the weekend was back an she actually took some of these for us!


Elissa, just smiling at whoever I guess, because I was in the waiting room when this was taken.

Sid with both babies, Elissa on left, Ellie on right.  Ellie is just such a tiny thing it's hard to get her in a good position and keep her there.  Clearly, they are not identical.

Elissa looking around from Sid's lap.  I think she must have been  looking for me! haha!  Soo alert!

Ellie, this was a close up of the picture where she was so far down.

They get a little too comfortable in those hosptial chairs!

Elissa saced out after I gave her a bottle and changed 2 dirty diaper.