Monday, June 30, 2008

Week 1 Quad Babies Update

We’re sure that many of you are wondering how the "lemon quads" are doing. So many of you have called, sent cards, volunteered meals, offered to watch Luke, etc. and we are truly grateful. We hope that you’ll understand if we haven’t returned your calls or emails. We’re still trying to recover from the events of last week both mentally and physically as well as trying to deal with the reality of having an 18month old who still needs our daily love and care and also dealing with the realities of having 4 tiny babies in need of intensive care spread across two hospitals in the hustle and bustle of downtown Pittsburgh. We assure you that we’ve heard every kind word or note you’ve passed along so don’t think your prayers and good wishes have gone unnoticed!

So here’s an update on how our babies are doing as of today (keep in mind this changes constantly!)

John Quentin – Baby A:
As you read in the blog from delivery day, there was much concern in the last days regarding our little boy. In addition to the hemorrhaging from the partial previa, baby John’s sac had ruptured, leaving very little amniotic fluid for him. The threat of infection became very great and John’s health was potentially compromised. As of today, we’re happy to report that John is relatively well and is experiencing normal premature issues for a baby born at 26 weeks, 6 days. Yesterday, John was breathing so well that they removed his ventilator and he began to utilize a CPAP machine to assist with his breathing. This is a step down from the ventilator and allows him to do more of the work himself. He moved back to the ventilator today but the neonatologist assured us that it’s perfectly normal for the process of weaning to involves going back and forth. We’re also happy to say that John is receiving normal preemie nutrition through intravenous methods but is also able to take some breastmilk, although in small doses. He has beautifully dark hair and seems to love to sleep all curled up on his belly in his isolette. His ribs seem very prominent in his chest and he’s definitely thinner than Claire or Elizabeth, but as of now, John is doing well.

Elizabeth Avery – Baby B:
Elizabeth is also doing well and when you look at her, she is obviously the largest of these tiny little wonders. She loves to squirm and we laugh at the crazy positions in which she falls asleep! She is currently having a Broviac line inserted into her chest, which is a fancy term for a central venous longer-term catheter. It is inserted into a large vein leading directly into the heart. It was decided that this would be best for Elizabeth as it would allow the nurses to draw blood and give fluids in a less intrusive way. Elizabeth is also currently using the CPAP machine for breathing although they’ll need to put her back on the ventilator during the Broviac procedure since she’ll be sedated. Elizabeth also has a small hole in her heart which creates a murmur. We’re told this is commonly seen in premature infants and is also referred to as a PDA, or a peyton ductus arterious. This hole can often be closed by using medications or could close on it’s own. In some cases, surgery may be required. Elizabeth is currently taking the medication route so we’re praying that this works so that no surgery will be needed. Elizabeth has light blonde hair and like her sisters, appears to be quite feisty.

Claire Renee - Baby C:
Claire has many of the same issues as Elizabeth – again, most of them are common for infants their age. Claire also has had the Broviac line inserted. She also has the PDA in her heart as does Elizabeth. She has had a course of medication and we were told today that the murmur in her heart is more faint. The doctors will wait to see if the hole closes for good on it’s own or if further medication will be needed. Claire is also on a CPAP machine for now. When we called to check on her early yesterday, her nurse told us that she had actually fussed so much that she pulled her CPAP nasal prongs out and was actually breathing on her for a short while! She seemed to do well but eventually ended up back on the CPAP. She’s receiving low levels of oxygen and doing more of the work on her own. Claire has blonde hair just like Elizabeth and fine little strands of it covering her tiny body. Everyone who sees her comment on the length of her fingers. They are SOOOOO long and thin! I like to say that they are dainty and ladylike. Claire appears to be progressing well so far.

Kate Mackenzie – Baby D:
Our little Kate has continued to struggle outside of the womb just as she did inside. As the delivery day blog stated, Kate was the tiniest of the four babies and also had this pretty rare duct remnant which doctors are speculating is connecting her bellybutton to her intestines. This connection is normal for an embryo but should be completely gone by 7 weeks of gestation. In some rare cases the connection stays and sort of grows with the intestines. Several complications can arise from this such as the bowels being twisted around it, or an obstruction due to narrowing of the intestines in the area (this is all to the best of my comprehension from the doctors). So Kate has not had a stool and even though she is on NPO (which means no food by mouth to keep her digestive tract clean) and only gets IV nutrition, she should still have a very small stool. Since she hasn’t the doctors are concerned and compounding matters are her X-rays. Her X-rays seem to have many highly skilled pediatric surgeons and neonatologists completely puzzled. It sometimes shows gas moving through some of the intestines down toward the rectum and sometimes it indicates that it’s building up and not passing through, which is concerning. Ultimately they would love to do an exploratory surgery to find out what’s going on in there but she’s so small they just don’t want to risk it. Just the other night we recorded in our journal that Kate had a good day (good blood/gas, O2 level, pressure, etc…) but yesterday, as the doctors put it, she had a bad day and they were kept very busy trying to get her readings in their proper range. Most of her symptoms would point to immature lungs, but on X-ray and listening to them they say they are fine – mystifying them further. In short the goals for Kate are that she would become stable long enough to strengthen and possibly endure the surgery if necessary, or that the abdomen issue would somehow reveal itself to them. Kate is tiny and all the nurses talk about how feisty she is, and like John she has dark brown hair.

As you can tell we’ve had a lot to learn in terms of NICU terminology and medical care for preemies. There are times we look at each other completely baffled by what the doctors are have just said. Sometimes they will take notice and even draw us pictures (but sadly sometimes we still don’t get it!!).

Tonight we ask you to keep our 4 precious babies all in your thoughts and prayers – and pray that God would bless them all with good health and that God would guide the doctors and nurses who are so highly skilled to care for them. Please keep us and Luke in your prayers also as we spend lots of time feeling as if we’re riding a roller coaster of emotion and stress. Luke is finally starting to feel more comfortable in our new home and we’re working hard to show him the same love and attention as always, in spite of the craziness.

Goodnight from the Lemonovich’s.


Anonymous said...

Much love to you all Carrie. Your strength and poise continue to amaze me.....all of the babies have "fight" in them just like their Mom and Dad. So many people care and you have so many prayers coming your way. We will keep them coming! Thanks for the update.
Love - Jan T.

Suzanne said...

praying for you guys and sending you so much love from the steece house! if you have any questions about anything--remember that not only have i been through all of this before, but i am also a registered nurse--it is so easy to get lost in all the medical lingo. thank you so much for updating and NO NEED to apologize for anything. you concentrate on your babies and we will continue to lift you guys up in prayer and positive thoughts!!!

Paul and Kathy Stanis said...

Dear John and Carrie,

Thanks for the update on your four precious "little lambss".

We continue to pray for each child's specific needs and ask the Almighty Physician to touch them with His healing hand and bring them all to a full recovery.

We also pray that you are comforted with the "peace that passes all understanding!"

We love you,
Paul and Kathy Stanis

King Quads said...

We are praying for your little miracles. Just remember nothing is too big for God. Looking forward to some pictures, I am sure they are all beautiful.

Lots of Love & Prayers!

Anonymous said...

Carrie & John-

**Thank you so much for the update... amidst all the craziness that is your lives at this moment, we know that keeping us all posted by blogging is an afterthought, but know that it is very much appreciated. We are all desperate for info, but don't want to bother you!!

**I am just tickled pink to hear how these little darlings are fighting... I continue to pray that God embraces each one of them in His strong, healing hands... and that He continues to be your support through this incredible journey.


Big Hugs to You All...
Gina & Jake

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the update. I check your blog daily to see how the little one's are doing.

They are in my thoughts and prayers constantly. So glad to hear that John, Claire, and Elizabeth are doing good, and will pray that the doctors are able to figure out the best way to help little Kate.

I also continue to pray for you, John and Luke. I can only imagine all the stress and emotions you are experiencing. May God give you his peace.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for updating us, Carrie--you & John are absolute wonders! Like everyone else, I'm amazed at how much--and how well--you guys communicate amid the chaos. We appreciate the updates so much, though we understand your own health & the childen's absolutely must come first, and your very generous updates can happen whenever you're able. (Though maybe it helps you, too, to write it all out...? I always feel that way when I'm going through something.)

Carrie, I've never been through a rugged delivery & then had to deal with an active little boy & four preemies, but coping with 3 under age 3 nearly finished me. Please take care of yourself--it's like they say on the airlines: put on your own mask first & then tend to your child. It's hard as a parent not to keep going & giving (or just worrying & spinning our wheels LOL), but take care, OK? It helps. (You, too, John! :-))

I know it's unrealistic to expect not to have some problems with tiny preemies, so all things considered, your babies have all done so very well! God has them--"and underneath are the everlasting arms"! (Deut. 33:27) "He who watches over you will not slumber...He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." (Ps. 121)

Know that you are surrounded with prayer both night & day! Susan

Charity Donovan said...

I will be praying for your family. The NICU will be over before you know it & those babies will be home in the blink of an eye! I know this time is hard so if you need someone to lean on all of us Quad Moms are here for you to share the load! Hugs!!!!

Anonymous said...

Carrie & John -

Thank you so much for taking time from your hectic schedules to post updates on the babies. I check for a new blog before bed every night. We'll continue to pray for you and your family. If anyone can get through all of this, you guys can.

Before long, all 4 babies will be home, smiling, laughing, cooing and turning your world upside down! You and John will be looking for ways to expand the "sin bin" before you know it...

Much Love & Many Prayers,
The Hunsbergers

cat said...

Keeping you in our prayers - love & light to you.

Jessica said...

Thinking about you and the babies daily here in Erie. You are such a strong woman! God has given these little ones and Luke the right parents.
Although I am a little disappointed that you didn't name them, Pumpkinhead, chickenhead, Christmas tree ... oh yeah one more.. Woof woof...
Had to try to make you laugh!
Love and Loyalty,

Rick & Jenn Payne said...

Prayers are going up for you from Oklahoma! I'm so glad to find another quad mom. Hang in there and know that God is hold each one of your precious children in His hands. Love, Jenn - momma of the herd

Patti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patti said...

Prayers for the whole Lemonovich family.
I know with a name like Kate, she will continue to be a strong fighter and amaze the doctors.
During Katie's stay in the NICU, we heard the phrase, Two steps forward, one step back. We just wanted to keep moving forward and we pray, Kate reaches that stage REAL soon.

Prayers for continued strength, love, and health.

Jim, Patti, Katie, and Felicity Neill