Monday, August 18, 2008

A big day for our little babies....

Today started like any other day...get up early to take a shower before Luke wakes up, pack all of my bags and head down to see the babies at both hospitals. I have to say that driving to both places is getting to be a real pain in the you know what! I spend more time in traffic jams and looking for parking spaces than I do with my kids and that drives me nuts!

I decided to head to see Kate first so that hopefully I could have a chance to chat with her doctors to see how they feel about her progress since the surgery and when they feel she might be able to rejoin her sisters and brother at AGH. I apologize for not blogging about this sooner, but last Wednesday was the first day that Kate was given breastmilk! She started on a only a 1/2 cc as I mentioned and she tolerated it pretty well. They have slowly been increasing her feeds and as of today, she is getting 4 ml per hour (again, 30 ml is 1 oz.) and she weighs3 lbs, 14 oz. That is absolutely amazing and if you had seen Kate when she was born vs. the way she looks today, you wouldn't believe your eyes. This little girl and her progress is nothing short of a miracle. Anyways, when I got to the hospital, I was excited to find that one of our favorite nurses (and Kate's!), Courtney, would be caring for her today. Courtney greeted me with fantastic news. The surgeons have kept a watchful eye on Kate and were very pleased with her progress since starting the feeds. They are going to continue increasing her milk 1 ml per day as long as she tolerates it well and if all goes well, they are hoping that she might be able to return to AGH with the other in a week or two! You have no idea how thankful we are to hear this - our kids can finally be together again and we can spend all of our time cooing and cuddling with them instead of driving all over the city of Pittsburgh just to spend an hour here and an hour there! And then Courtney gave me the best news of all - the doctors said that I would be able to hold Kate today. Our babies are 55 days old today and we've never gotten to hold Kate because of her various medical issues. I cried like a little baby at the news. Courtney gently lifted her out of her "cave" (her isolette) which she hasn't been out of since she was born, and placed her on my chest for some cuddle time. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing this was. We cuddled for about 20 minutes before it was time to put her back in her isolette. I couldn't wait to call John and tell him, but I knew he was in a meeting so instead, I had Courtney take a picture of me holding Kate and we text messaged the picture to him with a note that said "look who I'm holding!". We quickly got a message back from Daddy who said "AWESOME!" and told me to call him asap. I shared the great news about Kate's progress and hopeful return to AGH. John was able to go see Kate after work and he too got to hold our little princess. Here are just a few pics from our special day. Check out the cute little bow Courtney put in Kate's hair:

BUT WAIT....THERE'S MORE GOOD NEWS!!! After spending time with Kate, I headed to AGH to see John, Claire and Elizabeth. The doctor told me over the weekend that it would be a good time to try and start bottle feedings with Elizabeth and Claire. John is probably just a week or so away from giving the bottle a try but Elizabeth and Claire are ready to go so today was the big day! Elizabeth went first and her nurse, Susan, cautioned me that usually premature babies don't do so well the first time out. They play with the nipple because they think it's a pacifier but once the milk starts to flow, they get confused because sucking, swallowing and breathing all at the same time is new for them and very difficult. Many times the babies will start to gag because they don't know what to do with all of the milk building up in their mouths. So, I didn't have any great hopes for our first feeding. I gave Elizabeth the bottle and she gently began sucking on it. Her eyes opened wide as the milk went in and she began to swallow. Before I knew it, she had half of the bottle down! Susan was in shock! We took a break for a burp and then continued on and I'm proud to say that on her first time out of the gate, Queen Elizabeth finished her entire bottle! Feeding from a bottle represents a great deal of work for these tiny little babies so one bottle per nursing shift is the maximum allowed for now. After she was done, Elizabeth curled up in a little ball back in her isolette and was fast asleep on her belly in no time. She was so content! Claire was next to give it a try. I have to give mad props to my girl Claire because not only is she probably the most alert of all four babies, but she is also the first to come off of any type of breathing support. Claire breaths totally on her own as of late last week and is doing an awesome job! She also makes the nurses laugh because every 3 hours - on the nose! - she let's out a big cry to let them know it's feeding time. I placed the nipple in Claire's mouth and she also opened her eyes big and wide once she started to taste the milk. She sucked on it happily for awhile and finished probably 3/4 of her bottle before she tuckered out. Like I said, learning to breath, suck and swallow all at the same time is a lot of work for these little kiddos so I was so proud of how well both did on their first try!

My little man John was sound asleep in his isolette the whole time. John was a little pale today and will probably need a blood transfusion for a little pick me up. These transfusions are routine for premature babies and hopefully, once John gets his tank filled, he too can try and start to feed using the bottle. John also has been doing VERY well on his nasal cannula. They have attempted to remove this support and let John breathe on his own, but he stills needs a little help every once in awhile so for now he remains on the cannula.

Our mantra around the Lemonovich house these days is "we glory in the small victories". Today however, we were able to clear a few large hurdles and takes some pretty big steps closer to having our kids come home. Thanks be to God!


cat said...

Such great news all in one post!

Tubre Quads said...

Great report! Way to geaux babies! They are doing so well and I cried when I saw the picture of you and Kate. It reminds me of holding my little Tyger for the first time (which was delayed from the others due to him having MRSA).

Keep up the great work!


Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you and you look absoultely estatic in the pictures. Great report. Such a wonderful feeling after all this time to get to hold that little one.
God bless

Anonymous said...

ROMANS 8:28-35

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to HIS PURPOSE. For those God fore-knew he also predestined to be CONFORMED to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also CALLED; those he called, he also JUSTIFIED; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up FOR US ALL, how will he not also, along with Him, graciously GIVE US ALL THINGS?......Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Linda Frances said...

I had a good visit with your sister by phone last Friday - this is ALL such great news - your 4 gifts from God will be home before you know it and hopefully you will have your Share The Care team in place and ready to go for you - Linda

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful news!!! God is so good. My mom has shared every post, and I can't wait to let her hear this installment. Go, babies, go!
Susan Wright

Andria said...

What FABULOUS news! Seeing you two hold Kate is just heartwarming. What a miracle she is! And the other kiddos are doing so well. The Queen really showed you, didn't she? Wow!

Awesome post. Awesome God.

The Murray Crew said...

Rejoicing you in every victory!

Blessings Abound!

The Murray Crew

Cair said...

You're not kidding, it really was a big day for your babies - and you too! Congratulations, you're doing a great job with them. I'm so happy that they are doing so well.

Anonymous said...

These blog posts never fail to reduce me to tears... FANTASTIC NEWS for all your little kiddles... God bless each of them, those little fighters, all their amazing doctors and nurses who are helping to get them prepped for HOME LIFE, and you, their parents who have been just amazing since the day you found out about the quads.

Thinking of you all often,