1.) Ellen on daddy’s shoulder 2.) Ellen and the boys 3.) Elizabeth has a dimple 4.) Snow Bird trampoline 5.) Rock Wall 6.) Zip line 7-12.) Girls ready for the fourth 13-14.) Michael and Elizabeth 15.) Michael and Ellen
I am so excited to report today. I have wanted to get these on the blog for days, but last week was very busy with Michael in town and then the 4th holiday.
Bo and Michael came in town late last Monday night. We dropped in to see the girls that night but the fun really bagan the next morning. First, Bo got to feed the girls for the first time. Both like their bottles but are quite messy. Then Ashley, one of my favorite nurses, was so thoughtful and decided to let us take Ellen into the ‘bonding room.’ Ellen is now in an open crib and is more portable. With the restrictions on kids in the NICU, each one has only gotten to see the girls once during their visits. But this time Michael hit the jackpot. We wheeled Ellen into the private room and Michael got to see her, HOLD her and FEED her! “That was the best day of my life!” quote from Michael…..yes, of course it made me tear up. And it didn’t stop there. He got to hold her everytime we came to visit and then even got to hold Elizabeth once before we left. I know things must be looking up for the girls if we are being granted more privileges…and they definitely are. Ellen is weighing in at 4lbs. 10 oz. and Elizabeth at 3 lb. 5 oz.!!! They are putting on about 1-2 oz. A DAY now…wow! They look and feel like real babies.
We made sure that Michael enjoyed his trip. It is so nice to be able to have something to do in a day besides go to the hospital. We went up to Snow Bird ski area where they have all sorts of fun stuff to do in the summer. We rode on an Alpine slide down the hill, went on the zip line, jumped on a trampoline with a harness, and climbed the rock wall. Bo enjoyed taking lots of pictures while Michael and I played. Those rock walls are harder than they look! It was my first time trying and they made me keep trying until I reached the top…and I did it! We also went to the outlet mall (Michael wanted to get something for the girls) and then bowling (Michael legitimately beat me). Lots of fun packed in just a few days. We then flew home for the 4th, of course with bragging rights for being the first sibling to hold the girls and a huge smile.
Michael also got to be in on the photo shoot of the girls in their fourth of July outfits. Lauren, our cousin from Minnesota (and cupcake girl), sent those darling outfits a couple of months ago and I have been wondering whether or not they would fit them by July. It was so exciting. That was the very first time the girls have been next to each other since they left the womb! We put them both in Ellen’s bed. It was so funny….Elizabeth slept for almost all of it, but Ellen was wide awake and trying to ‘lick’ her sister. She could feel her skin against her face and kept opening her mouth and trying to get her head closer. I cannot wait for them to get home. I am definitely going to have them sleep in the same bed. They need to reconnect after all this time. I was so amazed by the size difference. One pound really means alot and it is so much more obvious when they were laying side by side.
Now, what needs to happen for us to come home? This is the question we get all the time…and a good one. Trust me, I still ask it everyday just to make sure I know what it is going to take. First, we need to be at ‘full feeds.’ This means they have to take every feeding by the bottle rather than through the feeding tube. Ellen is feeding every other time right now, so she is getting close. We tried to throw in an extra one last night and she took half of it but slept through the rest. Elizabeth is only taking two bottles a day. Next, they have to maintain their body temperature without the help of the isolette. Ellen is doing this, Elizabeth is close (bet she will be in the open crib by the end of the week). Next, they cannot have any incidences of Apnea for at least three days. They can go home on oxygen, but can’t ‘stop breathing’ while on it. Ellen is good here, Elizabeth getting better. Finally, the eyes. Most don’t know about this one, but this can keep us here if things don’t turn around. Preemies have lots of trouble when it comes to eye development and receiving oxygen. The blood vessels need to grow around the eyeballs and sometimes they can stop and form a ridge around the middle of the eye instead of continuing around. This can correct itself as they get older or may have to be corrected with laser surgery. We are in stage two ROP (5 being the worst) and hope to go no further. The eye doctor comes once a week and we will see how this progresses. So there you have it.
I know alot of you were worried about me after my last post. I am sorry for the frustration, I just have some off days (probably shouldn’t post those days!). As you can see, things are looking up. I feel so happy that the girls are making progress and I feel like there is finally a light at the end of this tunnel! God continues to bless us and watch over us. I am very sure that He is holding us close and wants us to get home soon! Hope you all had a safe and happy fourth!
Love and happiness from Utah,