01 December 2013

Highlights of the past 2 months...

I haven't had the time to really sit down and blog and to be quite honest I don't have much time right now.  I really wanted to share at least a little bit of what we've been doing. We spend a lot of time at home and don't really go too many places.  We've been so lucky to have friends and family who have helped us out a ton. 
 
 
Carving our pumpkins
Kirsten, Annalyse, Grant & Lauren celebrating Halloween
Celebrating Grandpa Harvey Shrack's 82nd Birthdays
along with a generation photo
Grandpa Shrack & Annalyse

Thanksgiving Day

Aunt Melody and Mommy on Thanksgiving

Ma, Grant and Uncle Tom


02 November 2013

The Final Belly Shot & Some Introductions...

Before I get to the real reason for this post, here is a final belly shot at 33 weeks! I didn't get an official 34 week shot before we delivered so this is the last one of my (few) belly shots)
 
Now that that's over, now for some fun photos! When you have NICU babies, your babies don't get to "room-in" with you so you don't get all of the visitors in the hospital and if they do come most of them don't get to meet and/or hold the babies. Since coming home, we still haven't had the opportunity to really show them off. They're slowly meeting close friends and family and we've tried out best to take a photo when that happens, but sometimes it's kind of chaotic so it doesn't always happen. With that being said, please don't be offended if you don't have a photo here..we aren't intentionally leaving anyone out...I promise!!!

Jared and Melody-they've met both babies, but we only have a
photo of them with Grant because Lauren was still in NICU
Aunt Tonya & Kirsten
Our best friends, Kim & Phil
Mike (aka Pa)
Dr. Bopp (our Fertility Specialist) his office is above our pediatrician's
so we stopped in to show them off
Lauren had an appointment with her Dermatologist so we had some impromptu introductions in Anderson so Grant and Lauren could me their Papaw (my Dad)
My Dad. None of the photos on our camera turned
out very well
My Aunt Connie
Sarah, Becca, and Tammy along with my sister, Trinna
 
Meeting Great-Grandpa & Great-Grandma Shrack (Harvey & Becky).
 
Like I said earlier, we missed taking a couple of photos when folks were visiting OR they were taken on someone else's camera and we don't have them. 

Catching Up...September Part 2

We LOVE to do things around town that we've never done before.  At the end of September, the Smithsonian Magazine sponsors a program called "Museum Day Live"where you can sign up to get a couple of FREE tickets to local museums. Since we haven't visited Science Central yet, we decided to request tickets and invited Ryan's Mom (aka "Ma") to visit to.  Even though my modified bed rest had been changed to "pay attention to your body and take it easy" I still decided to stay home because later we had plans to go putt-putt golfing with Jared and Melody.


Astronaut Annalyse
Comparing Heights to others in their age brackets
Learning what not having gravity would feel like


 
Later in the day, Jared & Melody came up to visit and we went Putt-Putt golfing. We had received some great coupons for free & cheap games. It was a GREAT way to spend the afternoon. Annalyse was the only one to get a "hole-in-one". Jared & Melody are so good with Annalyse and she loves them so much!







 
We were so glad that decided to spend this day doing different things around down because just a few days later, Grant and Lauren were born.


Catching Up...September Part 1

So, let's rewind for a blog post or two and look back to the month of September. We were pretty busy in the month of September. We had some fun times that I don't really want forgotten about. 
 
Annalyse had her first day of preschool! I think Ryan and I were more nervous than she was.  Despite being a little quiet in the van on the way, she had a great first day! The Preschool we chose to send her to focuses on both academics and physical activity.  She attends 3 days a week from 8:45-11:15 and during those few short hours she gets to have art,gym & music class along with an excellent education where she learns letters, shapes, colors, and even some basic geography. She LOVES going to preschool and showing off some of the papers she brings home.
 
 
September was also our annual visit to the Johnny Appleseed Festival. We go every year and always have a lot of fun. The week of the festival this year, I was put on a modified bed rest and the Dr. would only allow me to go to the festival if I 1) walked only a for a short time and 2) allowed Ryan to push me in a wheelchair for the majority of the festival. So, that's what I did! We don't have any photos of me being wheeled around, but we have a ton of photos of Kirsten, Annalyse, and my sister Tonya. 
Kirsten, Tonya, Annalyse, and I sitting on a bail of straw
Annalyse, Tonya, and Kirsten by the Kettle Corn booth
All the vendors and reenactors wear period style clothing
the girls were able to get a photo with a few
 
 Every year, a Boy Scout troop set up games and activities this Tonya got tickets for the girls to try them out. One of the favorites was the "bull ride". Annalyse and Kirsten did an excellent job, but I believe that Annalyse out "rode" Kirsten.

 We were lucky enough to get a good set of photos of Annalyse riding
Every year, I blog about the festival and how much fun we have.  It really is a good time. If you live anywhere near Fort Wayne and haven't had a chance to experience the festival you NEED to!

18 October 2013

The Twins' Arrival....

Early in the morning on Oct. 1st, Ryan and I headed to the hospital and discovered that not only had I been having contractions for two weeks but also my water had broke. Since "Baby B" was breech and the twins were only 34 weeks, the Doctor decided it would be best for them & for me to do a C-Section.
 
At 6am Grant Thomas was born. He was 5lbs, 10 oz and 18 1/4 inches long and at 6:01 Lauren Genevieve was born. Lauren was a wee bit bigger than her "older" brother at 5lbs, 11oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Because they were born at 34 weeks+5 days, they had to automatically go to NICU for observation and evaluation.  So, I only got to see them for a split second.
 

While the Doctor and OR staff were finishing putting me back together, Ryan went with the twins up to NICU and snapped the shot below.  It's one of the few hospital photos where neither one of them have any cords, tubes or anything. 
 The spinal block I received for my C-Section was like a super drug! It lasted nearly 8 hours and I wasn't able to go up to the NICU floor to see the babies until I was able to stand and hold weight. After 8 hours, I was able to move my feet and legs, but couldn't put any weight or stand, but I convinced the nurse to let me go up in a wheelchair for no longer than 1/ 2 an hour. I was so happy to be able to see them and know for myself that they were okay.

The 3 above photos were taken in the first couple of nights. We were waiting for my milk to come in so the babies both had to have feeding tubes.  They also had a few cords that lead to a monitor that tracked their vital stats.  October 1st was the "official" start of RSV season so children weren't allowed to visit in the NICU so Annalyse wasn't able to meet her siblings until they came home. So once we moved to the NICU room that had a window to the hall she was able to see them & we took our first family photo. We lucked out that the twins happened to have all their cords off when she was at the hospital visiting so we got these two photos!

 
I know I keep mentioning the cords, but seriously, they impeded everything! We didn't always get to hold the two babies together because the cords and (eventually) the bili blankets just sometimes made it impossible.  Most of the time if they were held together it was me who got a chance, but we have this photo of Ryan. For being 34 weekers, the babies were born really healthy and they were doing great! After a few days, Lauren's Oxygen Saturation levels started dipping so the doctors wanted to see what was going on.  Eventually, she was prescribed caffeine to see if it helped the levels to be steady. When a baby is given caffeine they have to remain under observation for 10 days after the last dose. So we knew they would be in the hospital for at least that long. 
 
 
On Oct 5th, I went home leaving both of my little ones in the NICU. They were still on the bili blankets and Lauren was taking the caffeine until the 7th. Leaving them was really one of the hardest things I had ever done. We chose to leave the hospital as close to midnight as possible so we could be there with them as long as possible.  As we walked across the parking lot to the car, my heart ached. We ran back and forth between home and the hospital (which luckily is only about 15 or so minutes away). Ryan's mom stayed at out house the majority of the time taking care of Annalyse so we could be at the hospital as much as possible.
 
On Oct 9th, Grant got to come home from the hospital. It was hard to split the two up, but it was really nice to have at lease one of them home.  Annalyse finally got the chance to hold her little brother-the first time she held him he toppled over onto the couch :) She really loves to hold him and help out.

 
After being in the hospital for 16 days, Lauren's oxygen saturation levels were finally steady enough and the drifting was attributed to Acid Reflux, which was treated by adding rice cereal to her milk. The 10 days of observation was over. After adding the rice cereal she was episode free so on Oct 17th, Lauren got to come home! While we had some amazing nurses and doctors taking care of our kids and the Dupont staff was wonderful, we were really happy to finally be able to leave and know that we didn't have to juggle or find time to come back the next day. We were happy that Grant and Lauren would be back together again, that Annalyse would be able to meet Lauren, and our entire family would be under the same roof. My sister Tonya and our niece Kirsten were here for Lauren's homecoming so we were able to get a cousins picture too.





 
 Dupont Hospital has an awesome NICU staff.  Like I said earlier we had some great nurses. They try their best to keep the same nurse with the babies as much as possible so you get really close to them and learn to rely on them.  The NICU has this tradition that when a baby goes home they put their footprint on a wall upstairs on the 3rd floor where the main NICU is.