Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The original due date passes and Kate pictures

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!


It's hard to believe that we are just now at the 40 week due date for the quads which brings into perspective their prematurity. All is going well and we're slowly adjusting to the busyness and chaos of our new lives. We'll take it any day as these babies are so precious and cuddly! Keeping up with who needs what when is quite the challenge but my wife Carrie is all over this. She has a huge dry erase board to write things down and a binder with entries of who ate what when, who got vitamins when, when they last stooled, etc... etc... Sometimes whichever baby is in the queue is getting restless waiting their turn to feed so Carrie and I have developed some skill in feeding/burping two at once! Although we're realizing that Luke is picking up on knowing when we're both feeding and has free reign to get into things.

John Claire and Elizabeth had a doctor's appointment today with their favorite and our favorite :) pediatrician Dr. Hennessy. He said they look great and he looked at some specific things on each of them. He gave us some things to adjust in their diet to get their bowels moving and some various other things to work on.

So anyway their due date weights are:
John - 5lb 15oz
Claire 6lb 12oz

Elizabeth 7lb 2oz

Kate 6lb 2oz (Can you believe this - it's almost 5 times her birth weight??!!)


As promised here are some pictures of Kate taken last week:
Kate actually doesn't have the tape on her face anymore since she gets all bottle feedings now! So she's left with just the nasal cannula for her O2:


The nurses had propped her up while she was awake and had some fun (read the sign and the cup has $$$ on it)


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:

5. Dude what are you gonna do...dude?...oh man...dude? what are you gonna do? This goes on for 5 minutes straight. (carpet guy)

4. ---------------------- This one is just blank because one common response is for people to be outright speechless completely.

3. Was this planned? (bank teller - I guess this was his way of asking if we actually asked the doctor to please give us four babies???)

2. Are you serious?...wait... how many is that? (plumber)

1. So was this induced? (what does this even mean???)

We're beat...good night!

Monday, September 22, 2008

An update and some pictures

A glimpse into our new life...


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...



The gang...minus Kate :(

Luke lovin' up on sister Elizabeth...


Elizabeth....



John...
Mommy with Elizabeth and Barney in the background!

It's certainly getting tough to find time to give updates, take pictures, or even relax and watch a Steeler game :) but it is so worth it every time you hold one of these precious babies. In some ways the last 9 months have been painfully long and slow yet at the same time it's all a blur and here we are! From the day we found out about the quads to the days praying to make it another week in the pregnancy, to their birth and the roller-coaster ride in the NICU - I can't believe where we're at and where we've come from.


To reiterate Carrie's thoughts in the last post we can not thank everyone enough for all the help in so many different ways. We laugh now and think back to the initial worries after we found out of "how are we going to take care of all the babies and Luke?", "how will we handle taking them to lots of doctor's appointments?", "how will we handle the financial impact?" "how will we have time for anything??" I could go on forever about this but all I can say is that we have been blessed beyong belief with each other, our beautiful babies, and all the eager and willing helpers. I won't even start mentioning names for fear of missing someone! For each and every worry there has been an equal and perfectly adequate blessing bestowed upon us.


It's amazing to watch them all grow and notice the different personalities even at this early point in their lives. John and Elizabeth are both pretty laid back, especially the chunky monkey Elizabeth. Except for some occasional gas they're so content and John still seems so small although he's gaining steadily. Claire lets the whole worls know the instant she wants fed, changed or tended to in general. Let's just say she has a set of lungs on her! They're really doing well and Claire was cleared of her ROP (Retinopothy of Prematurity) last week (it had resolved from stage I)!


And last but not least our little Kate (who's not so little anymore) is doing well at AGH. The doctors and nurses are taking great care of her and she's coming along with bottle feedings and with her breathing. We found out last week that she has ROP stage III with "Plus" which, in short and to the best of my limited understanding, is a condition with her eyes caused by being given high levels of oxygen for so long to sustain her. The optomologist has recommended a laser surgery on both eyes that is really preventative so that it does not progress and cause permanent vision impairment. This surgery is happening tomorrow late afternoon so we pray that the surgery is successful. This is our little fighter's latest hurdle but I think she'll do fine again. Courtney - she misses you!


We can't wait to get them all together to take pictures of the whole crew and we'll soon get some recent pics of Katie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Greetings from Crazy Town!!!

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

A few pictures from yesterday's homecoming...

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)...


Kate made is safe and sound to AGH today. She's doing well and the doctors are going to give her a day or 2 to acclimate. We'll keep you updated!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Holy babies Batman!!!

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

WELCOME HOME BABY CLAIRE!

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.


Claire left the NICU weighing 5 lbs, 8 oz. She eats just over 1 oz. every 3 hours. The only "medication" she needs is her infant vitamin supplement. She breathes very well on her own and didn't need to come home with any monitors. When we arrived home, we were greeted by big brother Luke. I was very suprised and so greatly relieved at how well Luke responded to Claire. He went over and stroked her quite a few times and kept saying "niiiiiccccceeee baby!" He also kept trying to put her pacifier in her mouth which was very sweet. We spent the afternoon just getting used to having Claire around and letting Claire get used to us. She slept a little, ate well and visited with Poppy, Grandma and Aunt Susie who stopped by to take a peek.
Today was also a big day for us as our new nanny, Fran, started today. Fran is a wonderful woman with a real gift for caring for children. Fran has over 30 years of nanny experience, including helping to raise her cousins quintuplets a few years back. Fran's enthusiasm, confidence, organizational skills and ability to relate and comfort kids at any age made her the perfect candidate for us and we are so thrilled to have her here! She came this morning with a whole bag of new toys for Luke - yes, bribery does work! Luke seemed slightly cautious when Fran arrived but after a short time, he quickly warmed up to her and by the end of the day was calling her "Frannie". What a big load off of my mind!

Here are some pictures of little Claire first outing into this big crazy world...

















The doctors told us today that Elizabeth may well be ready to come home by the end of this week, beginning of next week. She is doing well and is needing her oxygen less and less. They'll continue to keep an eye on her but we may have another "little lemon" home soon! I would be so sad to have little John there in the NICU all by himself....but no worries, folks because there's more good news! KATE'S DOCTORS ARE HOPING TO SEND HER BACK TO AGH BY THIS WEEKEND!!!!! YAHOO! Kate is doing so remarkably well. She is 5 lbs. and is eating 10 ml of food per hour as of today. They are increasing her feeds every 12 hours because she is doing well with the processing of her food and she is also consistently stooling which is a great sign. As of last night, she is also totally off of her artificial nutrition. She is now officially feeding on breastmilk and a dextrose/saline mixture only. This is such good news as the artifical nutrition she lived on for the past 10 weeks has the long term potential of causing damage to her liver. Kate is still on the ventilator but now that she has done so well with increasing her feeds daily, they will begin to get more aggressive with getting her off of this machine and work towards breathing independence.

Here's a picture of Kate that John just took tonight during his visit with her... check out how big my chunky monkey is and how alert she is!


My little man John... so stinkin' cute I can barely stand it!

The "oh so pretty" Queen Elizabeth.... sleeping away and dreaming of milk!


We praise God this night for these children and that God has chosen us to love them and care for them.