Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Against All Odds . . . and then some

I've been researching statistics on the internet and have found a few.  Mostly, I was disappointed in the research out there (or I'm not looking in the right place).  The only type of statistics about micropreemies that can be found are statistics of viability.  I would have liked to find more research on prematurity.  Here are some of the facts that I was able to dig up (not 100% sure on the reliability of these statistics).

According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely.  Of those only 6% are born at 28 weeks or less.  No statistics were shown for the percentage of babies born at 24 weeks specifically, but I would imagine it is somewhere around 1%.  I scoured the internet looking for this statistic, and I don't think it exists.

According to the data from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Camdyn had a 49% chance of survival and only a 35% chance of survival without profound neurodevelopmental impairment.  Cade had a 71% chance of survival and only a 54% chance of survival without profound neurodevelopmental impairment.  These charts were based on birth weight, gender, twin gestation, and ability of mother to take steroid injections prior to delivery which we were able to do.  These charts were developed in 2003, so the numbers may be slightly higher now.  According to both of their MRIs and their development to this point, they will not have profound neurodevelopmental impairment, so we can count our lucky stars that we somehow managed to fall in the 35% for Camdyn and the 54% for Cade.

The world record for Most Premature Twins (all surviving) is 22 weeks 1 day.  Our twins were born 2 weeks later than this for which we are very thankful.  That is not a record that anyone wants.

If the fFn test that your obstetrician takes when you are pregnant comes back negative, there is a less than 1% chance of having a premature delivery within the next 2 weeks.  Interestingly enough, I had a negative result on the fFn test that my ob did at 23 weeks and had the babies one week later.  I am the less than 1%!

Fun twin facts - The chances of having naturally occurring fraternal twins is 1 in 90.  The chances of my daughters having fraternal twins is 1 in 17.  I hope and pray that they do not have twins after all we have been through!  Maybe there will be a way to make sure that only one egg is releasing at a time when they are ready to have children.

Just thought I would share some of the statistics I was able to find. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Back in April, I told Jimmy that I wish I could just fast forward time.  I remember saying that I wanted it to be Christmas or next spring already - anything but the time that we were in.  That time was too difficult.  That time was filled with too much stress, too much worry, and way too many tears.  I didn't want to walk through it; I didn't think I could do it.  I told him I just wanted to fast forward, and I would deal with whatever the babies' outcomes were at that time.  It was just too difficult to worry every second of every day not knowing what would happen.  I clearly remember him telling me that I would miss out on seeing what little fighters we have if I were just able to fast forward.   As hard as those days were, he was right.  Our little miracles showed me every day how strong their spirit was in their weak, frail bodies.  Now that it is Christmas, I can look back and see that I would have missed so much if I had been able to push fast forward on our lives.  Those days were certainly the hardest days that anyone could ever imagine, but this experience has changed how I see and appreciate life.  We were told that if they survived, they may not be able to see, hear, move, think, and on and on, so you can imagine how precious each of these things becomes when it is in question.  Fortunately, many parents never have to think twice about whether or not their children will be able to do these things.   

Do you see what I see?

When I see my children gazing into my eyes, I see the gift of sight and feel so blessed that my children are able to see!

When I see my babies roll over or kick their legs, I feel blessed that they are able to move.

When I see my babies reach up to touch my face, I am overjoyed that they have the congnizance to recognize their mother.

When I see them trying to figure out how to reach a toy or how it works, I am thankful that they can think.

When I see my children smile, my heart smiles to know that they are happy.

Do you hear what I hear?

When I see them look toward me when I am singing to them, I feel blessed that they can hear!

When I hear my children laugh, I feel that I am witnessing a little piece of heaven.

When I hear the doctors say they are amazed at how well our babies are doing, I know what it is like to be given a miracle (X2)!

When I hear Brenna singing to the babies, I am filled with joy.

Do you know what I know?

I know that I am blessed to have supportive family and friends.

I know that miracles exist.

I know that when you are told it is impossible, God knows that it is possible.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

$25,000 Pyramid

Here's a little game for all of you blog followers.  Think $25,000 Pyramid but with pictures instead of clues.  Try to figure out the category by thinking about what all of these pictures have in common.  The answers will be at the bottom.

Category 1

Answer - Things that weigh 1 pound. 
So now that you have the idea, see if you can figure out category 2.

Category 2

Answer: Things that are about 12 inches in length.

I just thought I would share these comparisons because it is still hard for me to believe just how tiny they were, and I was there to see it.  I still have moments of shock that happen at the strangest times.  I thought about doing this blog entry after going grocery shopping and buying a bag of rice.  As I held the bag of rice in my hand, I had to stop in disbelief thinking how in the world could the babies have weighed only as much as this pound of rice.  At moments like that, as I am looking at rice of all things, I am reminded of how blessed we are to get to love our babies everyday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Doctor Mom" not "Soccer Mom"

Camdyn and Cade had their 8 month check-up last week.  Camdyn now weighs 12 lbs. 11 oz., and Cade now weighs 18 lbs. 4 oz!  He might be the biggest former micro-preemie ever.  He is in the 25th percentile on the regular 8 month old charts!  That is incredible.  On the adjusted age 4 month charts, he is in the 95th percentile.  Camdyn is in the 25th percentile on the adjusted 4 month charts, but no where near being on the 8 month charts.  She just wants to be petite.  While the pediatrician would like to see her gain more weight, he is not worried because she is still gaining.  Our pediatrician said that both babies are doing great.

Cade had his GI appointment.  The GI said that we could wait on getting the g-tube but Jim and I both feel that Cade is not going to learn to eat and drink totally by mouth in the next few months, so we have opted to go ahead with getting the g-tube.  We just want Cade to be more comfortable.  I do think he is going to learn to eat soon, but I think learning to drink is going to take a lot longer.  We take him in to get a pH probe this week, and then we schedule a consultation with the surgeon before scheduling the surgery. 

We started with rice cereal this week for both of the babies, and I have been surprised at how "good" they are doing.  They both spit/drool a lot of it out, but they are eating!  Cade actually takes the cereal in his mouth, rolls it around, and swallows it!  He gets very, very tiny bites, and a lot does roll out, but he is swallowing food!  He is now accepting the bottle in his mouth and taking a few swallows of milk, but he often still coughs a lot with it.  We are scheduling the OT to come out again this week.  We were kind of on a therapy hiatus for two weeks.  The first week was because I was just too tired of therapy and appointments and needed a break, and then last week our schedule was so full of doctor's appointments there was no time left for therapy.

In November, we had 27 doctor's or therapy appointments.  Last week, we had 6 appointments.  I have no idea how people with full time jobs and preemies do this.  Taking the babies' to appointments is a full-time job.  When we eat breakfast, Brenna asks me, "What doctor are we going to today, mommy?"  She doesn't mind going; she just likes to know the plan.  I think our number of appointments is going to start decreasing.  We don't have to go back to the pediatrician for 6 weeks now, and we don't have to go back to the cardiologist for a year.  (Camdyn has a small valve that is open in her heart which we were told several people have; they just don't know it.  It is not a problem at all.  Overall, it just means that she can not be in the military or go scuba diving, and after all we have been through, those two things do not worry me very much.) We will still go to the pulmonologist monthly through March for their Synagis shots.  Cade only has one more week to wear his helmet too.  He only has to go back to take final pictures.  I know he will be happy to be done wearing his helmet, and I am happy that he has a normal looking head now.  I really don't mind taking the babies all over the place for appointments because I know that it is helping them.  I think of myself as a "doctor mom" instead of a "soccer mom".  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

8 Months Old (4 months adjusted)


The babies are now 8 months old.  It's almost hard to believe.  This has been such a long, strange journey that I don't even know what to make of time anymore.  It feels like they have been home with us for a long time now like they have always been here which is a wonderful feeling, but they haven't even been home with us for as long as they were in the NICU yet.  We have one more month to go before they have been at home for as long as they were in the hospital.  One year ago (12/8) was the day we found out we were having twins.  We knew when the doctor told us "You're having twins!" that our lives were about to really change, but we had no idea just how much they would change in only 4 months from that time. 

Brenna with Cade and Camdyn.  Cade and Camdyn's outfits say "Whooo's the cutest?" with little owls.  When I received them as a shower gift, I remember thinking that they would never fit into these outfits.  At the time, they were wearing preemie clothes and these are size 6 months, and just look at them!

Granny holding Camdyn (Camdyn's great-granny)

 Camdyn can now really "play" Polly Pockets with her big sister.  Okay, so maybe she can't play, but she has a good hold on the polly.  She is trying her hardest.

bath time - so cute!

These are my two new favorite photos (above and below).  I just love dressing the babies in coordinating outfits, and Brenna is such a good big sister.  Although she did tell me to hurry because the babies were too heavy!  Imagine that!

blue-eyed cuties

what a doll!

Camdyn just had too rough of a day.  I found her sleeping while sitting straight up in her bumbo chair sucking her thumb. 

ready for Christmas!!!

Below are some pictures with Daddy.  He is such a great Daddy. 

Daddy covered in babies.

Daddy reading a bedtime story.

Camdyn cuddles with Daddy at Aunt BB's house on Thanksgiving.


I don't have new weights for the babies because luckily we have not had to go to the pediatrician in a while.  We went from going every week in the beginning to every two weeks to now once a month.  We go this week, so I'll post new weights and other info. soon.

Camdyn - Camdyn is now laughing!  It is the most precious thing I have ever heard.  We were so excited to hear her laugh for the first time.  We couldn't believe our ears.  We were out on the deck grilling and Jim had just went inside to get something from the kitchen.  Brenna was dancing around when Camdyn started to laugh.  I yelled, "Brenna, go get Daddy!"  I think I scared her because I was so excited.  Jim came running out and we just marveled at her laughter.  It was such a joyous moment.  When you wait 6 weeks to hear your baby's first cry, you get pretty excited to hear their first laugh.  Camdyn is now rolling all over the place too.  She can push up well laying on her tummy, and she loves for you to hold her hands to stand up.  She likes to bounce when she is standing.  I think she is dancing.  Our most important accomplishment with Camdyn lately is that she will now take a bottle in 30 minutes fairly easily most of the time.  We changed formulas and that made all the difference.  We no longer have to hold her down and force her to drink a bottle for over an hour each time.  I am so glad we do not have to do that anymore. 

Cade - Cade has started to make little cooing/laughing sounds too.  He is smiling all the time now.  He is so much more laid back than Camdyn.  He likes to just watch her as she rolls around.  Cade loves playing with toys now.  He has also recently started standing when we hold his hands.  Before that, he wouldn't put weight on his legs so I was really excited to see that he can now do this.  Now, he stands really well.  He can also prop sit which means he can sit when he puts his arms in between his legs to balance himself.  He has made a lot of developmental progress in the last few weeks.  Cade now loves to hold a little blankie.  It is so sweet!  He has made some progress with sucking/swallowing.  He will now accept the bottle nipple and take a few sucks and swallows without gagging or coughing.  If he gets too much, he will still cough and gag though.  The amount is very minimal, but at least, it is a little progress.  We go to the GI on Friday to discuss getting a g-tube.  We are hoping he will be able to make more progress once he gets that awful ng tube out of his nose.

God - We thank you for sending us these little miracles.  We are so thankful that we have all managed to stay well so far, and we ask that you keep us all healthy.  We thank you for the progress that the babies have made and ask that you continue to strengthen them.  We ask that you let all of our upcoming doctor's and therapy appointments go well.  We thank you for putting such wonderful people in our lives who have supported us and continue to support us.  In your name we pray, Amen.