Both girls have now progressed to wearing clothes. They have lots of cute, tiny clothes, and we were starting to think they'd never get to wear them. But both are totally unhooked from all tubes and lines now, Rowan got her IV out last night. Also the temperatures in their incubators are being turned down gradually, so that we can see if they can regulate their body temperatures. Up until now, they have been, as Chris puts it "cold blooded little creatures..." We think they look more like babies, rather than preemies, every day. And the clothes definitely help. In the photos, Rowan is on the left, Saoirse is on the right. You'll also notice that there are no white patches on Saoirse's head anymore. Those were velcro stickers that her little cloth glasses stuck to. She had to wear the glasses when she was in her bed, because of the bilirubin lights. But now she's free! No velcro stickers anymore.

Both girls are working valiantly on eating. Who knew getting babies to eat could be so difficult? Each girl is now getting 40 ml per feeding, every 3 hours around the clock. Saoirse has been drinking her bottles on her own for more than a week now. Rowan, on the other hand, finds eating to be quite a challenge. She sucks pretty intermittently, tires easily, and spits a lot out. All of this is normal for a preemie, but it means she needs some work before she gets to come home. So she still has an NG tube (the little tube in her nose) so that when she can't finish her meal they can put the breastmilk in her belly directly.


Last night, Saoirse finally got rid of her bililights (UV light to remove excess bilirubin from her blood. Bilirubin is normal biproduct of the liver which accumulates in excess in newborns and premies leading to jaundice) and shades that go along with them. She also finally got rid of her nasal canula. The only thing she is attached to now is her pulse oximeter (a device to measure her oxygen and pulse) It was weird to hold her without her being attached to stuff. Rowan just has an IV and her pulse ox. At this point they both really just need to eat better and grow and then they are coming home. Yeah!!!

A good night

Last night, Saoirse was crying a lot. She wouldn't eat and we couldn't seem to figure out why. Tonight was totally different. Saoirse ate her whole bottle and took some breast milk straight from the source. She seemed happier too. Dad worked with Rowan and she ate 15 whole ml. Way to go kiddo! They both seemed very alert and comfortable. Dad even got to whole them both at the same time for the first time. It was great fun.

Rowan and Saoirse together at last

This was the first time the babies have been together since they left mama's womb. Rowan is in front. Poor sleepy Saoirse.

Another day, another NICU adventure

Hello all,
Yesterday night at about 7pm when we went back to the hospital, things started off great. Rowan got her nasal canula and UAC (umbilical arterial catheter) removed, so she is more free and is easier to hold. She is breathing well and I was able to feed her (only 5 ml. but it was still nice). Saoirse was still having desaturations, but seemed to be ok. The caffeine probably hadn't taken effect yet and the NICU attending decided to add back a nasal canula to give her a little boost. Backtracking is never fun but nothing to worry about at this point really, since her oxygen was going down when she was moving. In other words, she was holding her breath, rather than having apnea(which is when the brain forgets to tell the body to breath). Then we went back at 10pm and it was rougher. Rowan was still ok, but Saoirse was having a rough night. She had her cast changed. (Her right ankle turns 90 degrees inward. An orthopedic surgeon put a plaster cast on it last week to begin straightening it. Every week, the cast is changed and straightened a bit more. Saoirse does not seem to like it at all.) She wasn't eating and would begin screaming like crazy every few minutes. Gwen took it hard. Neither of the babies have been crying much, and that has made it easier to leave them each night, but the thought of them screaming in pain for hours over the night without someone to soothe them was torture (The nurses do a good job but they have babies who are in much worse shape than ours that often require their attention. Crying is not always a big priority.) We are both hoping when we see them later today, that Saoirse is doing better.

12 days old....

Too much has happened since they were born to go into everything, but here's a brief overview:
Rowan was on a CPAP machine to help her breathe for quite a while it turned out that she had a PDA (a duct in her heart that failed to close at birth). It was making it harder for her to breathe. The doctors gave her a 3 day course of Indomethicin (an NSAID) and as of yesterday it was closed. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it stays, because worst case scenario could be surgery to repair it. Since it's closed, she's been much more comfortable, breathing pretty well, and her little personality is really coming out. It's the same as I knew inside..she's a wiggle worm. She's definitely going to keep us busy when they're at home. Chris and I finally got to hold her last night for the first time, and she did seem to like getting out of her bed. Any day now we're going to try to start feeding her, and if the way she attacks her pacifier is any indicator, I should be very afraid...;)
Saoirse got off the CPAP machine within a couple of days, and the nasal cannula followed soon after. She's been breathing on her own for a week or so, although in the last few days she's had a few spells where she slows down. We think she's getting too comfortable, and her doctors are starting her on caffeine to keep her a little more alert. She's been sucking down bottles every three hours for several days now, she's at just under 1 oz per feeding now. Last night we got to try breastfeeding for the first time, and she took to it like a pro. Of course, she's so small that she tires easily, the bottles are still necessary to keep her gaining weight. We're hoping to be able to switch over entirely by the end of June (when she should have been born).
Mom's doing okay, (although she may have an infection from the surgery, it turns out). We're adjusting to the schedule of work, chores, and hospital visits. We're starting to feel like veterans at the NICU, when new people come in now we're glad we're further along than that. We've already put in 12 days there. We're anxious for them to be home with us, though.
The pictures at the top are from the last few days. Saoirse is on the top, Rowan on the bottom.
More soon....

They're heeeerrreeee

Born on May 11th, Saoirse and Rowan immediately melted our hearts.
Gwen was 34 weeks pregnant and had been on bedrest with contractions for 60 days. Earlier in the day, Gwen said she felt different, and that they were coming soon. At 1:15 am, she woke me up to say her water broke. I fell back asleep. At 2:30am, she said her contractions were getting painful. After some coaxing, I got up, showered and dressed. We had packed a hospital bag weeks earlier, expecting them to come early. I actually predicted 34 weeks. We got to the hospital at about 4am. Gwen was progressing very quickly, especially since this was her first birth. She wasn't able to get the epidural until she was about 9 cm dilated. What a trooper! I was amazed at her strength and courage. She said the experience gave her a whole new pain scale. When she started to push, Rowan's (baby B) heart rate dropped, so we had to go to c-section. The babies were delivered while "Isn't she lovely" by Stevie Wonder played in the background (a happy coincidence). Saoirse had a ton of hair. Her right foot was turned in, but I couldn't care less right then. She was here and breathing and that's all I cared about. Rowan came shortly after. I left Gwen and went with the babies to the NICU. I felt like I never wanted to leave their sides. Something that would later prove difficult.