Monday, December 22, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I can hardly believe it's December already. I have no idea where the past six months have gone. Time is just flying by these days! I can't believe that the babies will be six months old already on Christmas Eve. They are growing so quickly and are changing so much each and every day. All four babies are now cooing, babbling and smiling. It's so beautiful to see and hear! Elizabeth is especially chatty - she just loves to talk and giggle! She is one of the happiest babies I have every seen! Claire is also quite the chatterbox. She loves to make sounds that sound like an owl "who who-ing" and has aquired a real love of her hands. She is constantly searching for her hands and sucking on them any chance she gets! John is really starting to come out of his quiet little shell. His smile just lights up a room and his eyes are so big and bright. I swear they are turning a little lighter blue with each passing day. He also has a fresh crop of dark brown hair sprouting all over his head so he's really starting to look much more mature these days. Kate is also starting to grow and blossom. She is so alert and curious about everything. I bought Luke a large Barney balloon last week and of the babies love looking at it, but especially Kate. She tracks that balloon all over the living room for hours. That's pretty amazing when you remember that Kate had to have laser eye surgery because of her serious retinopathy condition just a few months ago. Kate is also starting to babble and smile and is a very contented baby.
Here's the latest weights of our little quaddies:
Claire - 11 lbs, 6 oz.
Elizabeth - 11 lbs, 1 1/2 oz.
John - 10 lbs, 9 oz.
Kate - 9 lbs., 7 0z.
As you can see, everyone continues to grow nicely. I was looking through some of my notes the other day and we are averaging somewhere around 32 bottles per day and around 200 diapers per week. Those numbers are just crazy! The babies are sleeping well also - they sleep for periods of 4-5 hours at a time during the night which is good news for when we start to do the overnights by ourselves in January.
Luke is really getting into the holiday season. John and I took him to cut down a Christmas tree this past Saturday and he had a blast! He and John spent Sunday afternoon decorating it and tonight, they put up the train around the base of it. Luke is absolutely in love with trains. He spent all night running around the house saying "we put up the choo choo train! we put up the choo choo train!" He still doesn't get the whole Santa Claus thing, but he's starting to get that there are presents involved! I cannot get over how much he has matured in the past 6 months. He is talking SO much and in beautiful, complete sentences a lot of the time. He started counting to 10 a few weeks ago and just blows me away with how much he absorbs. He loves the babies and rarely shows any jealousy towards them. He told me he wanted to kiss Kate today, so I let him kiss her on the head and he said afterwards "nice Katie, nice Katie". How precious!
I'm off to bed everyone....I'm beat! We'll try and post some new pictures again soon! Take care all!!!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Hey all...it's hard to believe that we haven't posted a blog in 15 days! It seems like just yesterday! Time is flying by so quickly...I can hardly believe that next week, the quaddies will be 5 months old!
Claire catchin' some zzzzzzz's...
Elmer Fudd's long lost brother...
Lizzie and Kate having fun on the play mat...
Sweet baby Kate...
The first born...
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sorry that we haven't had time to post more lately folks but the Lemonovich house is quickly beginning to look like a sick ward! We've all been suffering from the stuffy nose/sore throat/cough thing and just can't seem to shake it. John, Luke and I have definitely been under the weather but so far - thanks to wearing surgical masks 24 hours a day and using LOTS of hand santizer! - John, Claire and Elizabeth seem to be symptom free! My Mom, Dad and even our Nanny Fran have caught the bug. We've been trying to air out the house over the past few days with all of the beautiful weather to let some fresh air in and clean things out. Hopefully it will work!
Kate is still in the hospital but is definitely making improvement. Her lung on the one side had collapsed and she was initially put back on a CPAP machine and her feeding tube was reinserted through her nose. She WAS NOT a happy camper about this. After some testing, the doctors don't believe that she had RSV, but they do feel that she did have some type of unidentified virus. As I said, she's definitely doing better these days and is now back on just a nasal cannula and is again feeding from a bottle. They are hoping to move her out of the IICU unit soon and send her back to private room on the regular care floor. The past 4-5 days have been so hard because we've all been sick so we haven't been able to go in and visitor our sweet baby girl. With that said, I guess I'm actually happy that she's in the hospital for right now while all of us are sick. Hopefully we can all get well so that we can be healthy and fresh for when she does come home.
Well, I'm off to bed with my Zycam in one hand and my Breathe Right strips in the other! Take care every one and may good health be yours!!!!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
RSV season is now officially upon us and has already begun to hit the Lemonovich Family (PLEASE SEE JOHN'S POST BELOW ABOUT KATE AND HER HOSPITALIZATION). RSV is a very important matter, especially to premature, low birth weigh infants such as ours. For those of you who have thought about visiting us, our family and volunteers who lovingly come daily or weekly to help with the babies and even those of you who live far away who have no intentions of stopping by, please take just a few minutes to read this post.
We want to start by saying thank you for the outpouting of support we have received from everyone. So many people have done so much for us, and every bit of help we have received truly is appreciated. We are experiencing the biggest challenge of our lives and we're lucky to be surrounded by so many family members and friends who have shown us so much love and support.
We'd also like to share an important topic that we recently discussed with our babies' pediatrician following John's recent diagnosis of bronchiolitis and Kate's current hospitalization. If you are not aware of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, you are among the majoirty. Most people have not heard of RSV, even though nearly every child has had the virus by age two. For full term babies, RSV typically is not any worse than a common cold, but for preemies, the virus can be quite different. Babies born earlier than 36 weeks (the quads were born at 26 weeks, 6 days) are at the highest risk for serious complications like pneumonia, bronchiolitis and other sometimes fatal complications. This website offers a great visual comparison of a preemie's lungs compared to the lumgs of a full term baby: http://www.preemiecare.org/LungsTrees03-4.pdf
Preventing the spread of RSV is very difficult. Thus, we must be vigilant about keeping the babies safe during RSV season - October through April. The virus is spread through physical contact, in the air via a cough or sneeze, or by touching an infected object. The virus can live as long as six hours on the hands and up to twelve hours on objects, and it spreads very easily, especially from child to child. Studies have also shown that infants post an even higher risk of spreading RSV to others.
You may ask, "Can't they fight it off and build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?" The simple answer is NO. Since our babies were pre-term, they did not acquire the necessary immunities to fight off infection. If they contract RSV, they could be hospitalized (as Kate is now) and develop serious complications.
Keeping the babies illness free for the entire period will be a near impossible task, especially with Big Brother Luke constantly trying to "love up" on them by kissing and hugging them. However, we are asking any necessary visitors or our volunteers to follow a few guidelines to help prevent the babies from contracting RSV or any other illnesses.
We ask that all visitors do the following:
1. When you arrive, please take your shoes off at the door so as not to track and dirt, slush from the snow, etc. onto the carpets.
2. Please always be sure to wash your hands with hot, soapy water and use hand sanitizer as needed before touching each of the babies.
3. Please refrain from coming over if you are currently sick and have not been symptom-free for at least 5 days, if you live with someone who is sick, or have been in close contact with someone who is sick.
4. If you smoke, we aks that you change your clothing and refrain from smoking prior to visiting, as a preemie's lungs are very sensitive to smoke.
5. If you are parents to a baby or toddler, PLEASE refrain from bringing them to our house during RSV season.
It will be difficult for us to attend many public events during the RSV season. Our goal is to make it through this season with as little exposure to RSV or any other illnesses as possible.
Please, please, please understand that this post isn't meant to offend anyone or imply in any way that we don't completely appreciate all of the love, good wishes and acts of kindness that have been done on our behalf. For right now though, the babies and their health is the most important thing.
If you have any questions about RSV or whether or not you should come to the house to visit, volunteer, etc., please don't hesitate to contact me via email @ email@example.com.
Love and good health to you all!
It seems like everyone is getting sick and our babies are especially susceptible to sickness, namely respiratory viral infections, and last week Luke came down with something that sounded like it was in his chest/throat. Despite our efforts to isolate him from the babies, each baby started with nasal stuffiness and a nasty cough. We took baby John to the hospital last week as his cough seemed especially bad. He was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, a common illness, especially in infants that is most likely caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). He was given no antibiotics since it is a viral infection and they only work for bacterial infections. Trying to keep the others from getting it is pretty much a losing battle and sure enough Kate started with the symptoms before the weekend and seemed to worsen each day.
Kate has been fighting her chronic lung disease since the NICU and her "weak" lungs make her even more susceptible to illness. Kate seemed to get a little worse each day until Sunday night (in the middle of the night) Kate had a big choking episode and apnea and even a bradycardia. A special thanks to Fran, our nanny, for reacting calmly, sensibly, and in such a prompt way as the timing was critical once the choking started and went on from there. As you could imagine it was very scary and she was taken by ambulance to Children’s hospital where she is stabilized and they are monitoring her closely and providing treatment. From what we understand it sounds like she will be there for at least a week or so until they get her back on track with her breathing and eating. Whether the bronchiolitis is caused by RSV or influenza or other, her treatment is the same. They are giving her fluids to keep hydrated, increased O2, some steroid treatment, and monitoring her closely. Hopefully some of her CHP NICU friends can come and visit her while she’s there!
We pray for Kate and that God would hold her in his hands as she fights through another battle and we pray that she can come back home soon. We will be posting soon some information/restrictions on visitations and hand-washing, etc… now that RSV season has started and presents a serious risk to our babies.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Luke is an excellent big brother so far! He "helps" us by always trying to give them his food, or shove binkys into their mouths, or give them a little rock if they're in the swing. This evening Luke was going to give Claire just a little push in her swing (okay it was more than a little push - he pulled it all the way up and was about to let go as we caught him!). He loves them very much though and he kisses each one before he goes to bed. He also still likes to say "nice baby... nice baby". In the midst of being so busy, in some ways Luke is more entertained now than ever before as so many of our wonderful friends & family come to play with him, and Luke often plays with his cousins. He especially asks for his cousin Jack as he sees him the most and is close in age to him. Our friend Natalie ("Portraits by Natalie" - see the link on our main page) takes fantastic pictures and recently took a few when 3 of the babies were home (minus Kate) and Luke. She is going to take more and we'll post them but here is one she already took of Luke:
I just wanted to write a little about Luke with what little "free time" I had so that's all for tonight - hope to post again soon.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
OK, so I said 10 days ago "I'll post some pictures of Kate's homecoming tomorrow". As you can clearly see, that never happened. Ahhh....life is so incredibly "full" these days at the Lemonovich household. The babies are doing very well - everyone is growing and getting so big! It's amazing to think that they were once so incredibly small. My Mom's cousin, Nancy, came over the other day for her volunteer shift and she brought us a small wooden sign shaped like an acorn with a small squirrell on it that said "Welcome to The Nuthouse". It couldn't be more appropriate!
Poppy Wible has assigned each of the babies their now famous nicknames so I'll use them as I give you updates on how each is doing:
Kate "The Slurper" Lemonovich is doing SO well at home. She has some occasional alarms with her apnea monitor but we're slowly getting used to it and not jumping into "panic mode" when it does go off. As hard as it is to believe, she's probably the most average baby out of the four! She eats well about every 4 to 4 1/2 hours, sleeps like a dream, and has a very pleasant disposition. She even stools once a day which is amazing when you remember what she's been through surgically since she was born! She acquired her nickname because she loves to slurp down her bottles in record time and she burps quietly like a dreamboat! I think she's still decompressing from her hospital stay - although I think the NICU was actually more quiet than our house!
John "The Goat Man" is also looking much older and mature these days as you'll see in the pictures below. He's up over 7 lbs. and despite some minor reflux and major gas pain issues, John is one sweet boy. John's nickname is obvious is you've ever been around him for more than five minutes. When he stretches or wakes up from a nap, he makes this gentle nanny goat sound that is absolutely hysterical! John has actually captured it on video and when we finally figure out how to upload videos on to the blog, we'll be sure to post it.
Elizabeth "Lizzie The Spitter" Lemonovich is one pleasant baby. Lizzie honestly doesn't make a sound unless she REALLY needs something. She lays on her boppy pillow and smiles or stretches and has the sweetest disposition of any baby I've ever seen. Lizzie has got to be close to 9 lbs. these days. She eats like a champ but as her nickname indicates, she's good for at least one big projectile spit-up a week. Tonight, for example, she spit up her entire 3 oz. bottle over John's shoulder and onto our sofa! The best part is - she doesn't even make a whimper when she's done! She just smiles and waits for you to feed her more.
Claire "The Screamer" Lemonovich is also affectionately known to us a "Lungs". The nicknames should be self-explanatory. Claire is so incredibly sweet and adorable. It's hard to believe just by looking at her that one minute she'll be completely happy and the next minute she is screaming her lungs out! Claire suffers from some wicked acid reflux and gas. I feel so bad for my little pumpkin because it's evident that sometimes, she's really uncomfortable. I wish there was something we could do that would ease her pain - believe me, we've tried every product, bottle, nipple and homeopathic remedy that they make - but sometimes, babies just fuss and you have to ride out the storm. Despite all of this, Claire is a precious little baby and we love her to death.
Well, it's time for bed but I'll leave you with a few pics of the babies to close out the evening. Good night and God bless!
Momma Bear with all of her cubs :)
Elizabeth and John squeeze in some snuggle time...
Kate's homecoming day...FREE AT LAST!!!
Lizzie gettin' some love from Grandma Wible...
Claire whispering secrets to John..."if you just scream a little louder, she comes running much faster!!!"
The Screamer and The Spitter team up as the newest Dynamic Duo!!!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It seems as though I should have a much more thrilling title for this post than just simply "Kate comes home", but there are no words that can accurately describe the joy that we feel, so best just to keep it simple. At 4:00 this afternoon, brave, feisty, beautiful little Kate Lemonovich came home. She is on a very small amount of oxygen and has an apnea monitor, but that's it. She is doing so incredibly well. It's hard to believe that this little peanut was just 1 lb. 4 oz at birth. As of her discharge today, she is a pleasantly plump 6 lbs, 13 oz. I cannot share how amazing it is to see her with John, Claire and Elizabeth FINALLY! Seeing them all together with big brother Luke today made me totally "get" Jerry McGuire's famous line....my kids and my husband "complete me". Life got a little sweeter today just by looking at our family of 7 and seeing just how lucky we are.
In all honesty....I am totally exhausted. This is the best and toughest job I have ever had and ever will have, but we love it. There are days that we don't stop laughing and some days when all I want to do is cry. I'm going to hit the hay for tonight but tomorrow, I'll do my best to post some homecoming pictures, pictures of all four babies together and also post some pics of our sweet new conversion van. Oh yeah, my friends...can you say Scooby Doo's "Mystery Machine" with a fold down leather sofa and DVD player???
Until tomorrow then....
(Chief Nut of the Lemonovich Nut Farm!)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This was written last week on 09/24/2008 but we're just now getting the time to complete the post and get the pictures of precious Kate!
On a lighter note, we thought we'd post some humor. If you remember back to posts when we were in the "telling people" phase that we mentioned the funny/strange responses one receives when you tell them we're pregnant with quadruplets!
And the top 5 responses are:
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sweet baby John chillin' on the couch...
Elizabeth, Daddy and Luke...
Claire stylin' in some of her new duds...
Daddy multi-tasking with John and Elizabeth...
The boys hanging out in the "man room" watching some tube...
Mommy cuddling with Elizabeth while she says her prayers...
Daddy and his crew...
Luke lovin' up on sister Elizabeth...
Monday, September 15, 2008
I feel like it's been six years since I wrote my last post! Life is so incredibly "full" these days with roughly 24 diapers to change daily, 24 bottles to make and feed in a day, 6 doctors appointments in 13 days, laundry out the wazoo...and that's just for the quads! BUT....life is good and we're enjoying every minute of it (well, almost every minute!) John, Luke and I are getting used to having the babies here and they are getting used to us. Each baby definitely has a very distinct personality - Elizabeth is incredibly peaceful and laidback. Such a sweetheart! John is reserved and quiet but lets you know when he's not happy which isn't all that often. Claire is a masterful eater and pleasant but she wants what she wants when she wants it (sound like anyone else you might know?!?!?!) I don't think any of them look alike but there personalities make them all the more different. Fran, our nanny, has been coming in the evenings for the past week and watching them over night so that John and I can get some sleep. This has been an absolute Godsend and one of the best decisions that have made so far. I have a chance to get some rest so that I can be bright eyed and bushtailed during the day time for Luke and the babies. At the end of the day, I'm ready to crash so having Fran take the reins from 10pm until morning is a real blessing. To hear the babies at night "talking" amongst themselves is a riot! It sounds exactly like a barnyard - no joke! Each one of them sounds like a different animal- John is definitely a horse making his sweet little "neigh, neigh, neigh" noises. Elizabeth is the billy goat with her "whaa, whaa, whaa" sounds and Claire is the duck with her "quacks". It's hysterical! During the daytime, Fran's daughter Helyn comes to help 2 mornings a week and the rest of the week is filled with the helping hands of my fantastic volunteer group, the Diaper Darlings. My sister Susie has done such a wonderful job of assembling a fantastic team of ladies who come to the house in various shifts to help with the babies and Luke. Speaking of Luke, he's doing pretty well with the babies so far. He still touches their heads and says "nice babies" and loves to rub his cheek against their soft furry heads, but every once in awhile the jealousy gets the best of him and he gets very whiny and wants Mom to put the babies down and hold him. He was saying "Mom no go!" and crying quite a bit this weekend. It just breaks my heart. Luke and I are so attached to each other and for so long, it was only he and I playing together all day. Now, I'm sharing that attention with three others (soon to be four) and it doesn't always sit well with him. Grandma and Poppy have been keeping him busy and he has been spending some time playing with cousins Jack and Augie. All in all, little Luke is hanging in there and doing pretty good. Keep him in your prayers!
I also have to mention some of the other amazing people who have offered their time to help us during this transition time. Mary Hutula who has organized all of the delicious meals that have been delivered to us has been absolutely amazing. I'd also like to mention sweet Dottie Heslop who comes to pick up the babies laundry twice a week. What a huge help this has been! What more can I say other than we are blessed beyond words.
Finally, I want to end this post with a question for each of you...do you believe in miracles? If you don't, then please start at that very first post we ever wrote back in April and read all of the posts since that time up until this one and ask yourself the question again. John and I are thrilled to share some great news with you. Our fourth baby, sweet baby Kate, is not only no longer on her ventilator, she is now only on a nasal cannula of oxygen. This amazing child who only two weeks ago was still desaturating constantly and had a chest x-ray just full of haziness as a result of her chronic lung disease, is not only improving, but SHE IS THRIVING! I went to the hospital last night to check on her and I cried when I saw her. Not because there was anything wrong, but because everything was finally right. I looked and her and it was the first time I actually got to see her face - no tape, endless tubes, head gear, lead wires. It was just her beautiful sweet little face, smooth dark brown hair and beautiful soft brown eyes. Having a child in the NICU is TOUGH - emotionally, physically, mentally - but by the grace of God, we have persevered and reached the point where we can finally exhale. Don't get me wrong, we aren't out of the woods yet, but the forest isn't quite as thick as we once feared it might be. We don't always understand the what's and why's of life, but I KNOW that God holds each of us in the palm of his hand and no matter what, we can be assured of His love for us and that His plan is perfect. John and I are so grateful to God for these miracles and we pray that their lives will glorify the name of our God in every way possible. So when you pray tonight, thank God for His miracles.
AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD! Joshua 24:15
More pictures to come soon...I PROMISE!!!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Luke and I with Elizabeth, John and Claire...
Elizabeth (L), John (Center), Claire (R)...
My man John wrapped up like a sausage in his swaddler...
The ladies co-bedding in their crib - Elizabeth (top), Claire (bottom)
Claire (L), Elizabeth (R)...
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I'll apologize in advance for how short this post is, but John and I have got our hands full - LITERALLY! - caring for three babies! Yep folks, you read that correctly - we've now got 3 babies at home! YIPPPEEEE!
John Quentin and Elizabeth Avery came home today just in time for the Steelers season opener! We got a call from the nurse practioner at AGH on Friday saying that both little peanuts were doing well and were ready to join Claire here at home. We picked them up around 11am and brought them home to meet Luke. When we brought the babies up the stairs in the car seats Luke smiled and looked us like, "come on guys, you can't be serious!" I didn't have the heart to tell him there will be another one coming hopefully someday soon!!! To tell you the truth though, Luke has done pretty well so far. My darling little boy just runs around the house and says "babies, babies, babies"! John got him out of his crib this morning and "babies" was the first word out of his mouth. It's still early, but so far, so good!
John and I can't over how quickly the day goes. It seems like all we did today was change diapers and clothes and feed bottles- just as soon as you get one set of feedings done, it's time to start all over again! Grandma and Poppy came over to see our little bundles of joy and Grandma was a huge help in getting us organized, not just today but over the past 2 months. She has washed every piece of clothing, organized everything by size and then put everything in bins in the kids closets. Absolutely amazing - my Mom is a real dynamo. I'm not sure what we'd have done without her!
As for little Kate, we thrilled to say that she is returning to AGH tomorrow. She is doing wonderfully on her feeds. She gets about 1 oz. every three hours and has been dramatically weaned on her ventilator over the past week - so much so that they are hoping to possibly extubate her this week once she gets to AGH. We will be so ecstatic to finally see her off of this machine! We'll keep you posted on how she does after the move. As excited as we are to see her return to AGH, it's bittersweet in a way because we absolutely love the nursing staff at Childrens and will really miss them. They have been so supportive of us and have taken such amazing care of Kate. Courtney, Brianne, Adrienne, Joedda, Tamika and all of the other wonderful men and women on the nursing staff have been a godsend to us and we're so thankful that they were there for us when we and Kate needed them most.
We took some pictures of the homecoming today but in all honesty, we're too pooped to download them tonight! it's 11:30 and we've got to go to bed because we have to be up at 1:00 again to start the feedings all over. So, we'll try to post the pictures tomorrow. For now, it's time for some sleep...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
What an exciting day for the Lemonovich clan! We got the good news yesterday that baby Claire was ready to come home. The past 9 months have been so incredibly difficult and challenging in so many ways, but news that one of our children would be able to finally came home made all of that a distant memory. We picked Claire up today around 1:00 from the hospital. After nearly an hour of getting directions on her care, changing her clothes, getting her set up in her car seat, etc. we were finally ready to head home. I looked back at Elizabeth and John and just started to cry. Even in the midst of my joy at being able to bring Claire home, I was so sad that John, Elizabeth and Kate couldn't come too. John was laying on his side in his isolette with his bright eyes wide open looking at me like "can I come too Mommy? Pick me, pick me!" It near broke my heart! I take comfort though in knowing that they are doing very well and will be coming home soon, so we left the babies in good hands with the nursing staff for a little while longer.
My little man John... so stinkin' cute I can barely stand it!