Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Homecoming Anniversary, Cade and Camdyn!


Today marked the one year anniversary of our twins' "homecoming" after spending a long, eventful 133 days in the NICU.  A year ago, it was a day filled with excitement, anticipation, and of course, a lot of worry.  Every parent worries when taking their baby home from the hospital, but this was worry on an entirely different level.  We were taught how to feed them through tubes in their nose and given a packet of discharge information.  (Order high calorie formula from company X, order feeding supplies from company Y, pick up prescriptions from pharmacy Z, set up pediatrician appointments, ECI evaluations, a swallow study, a laryngoscopy, eye follow-up exams, cardiologist follow-up exams, private therapy visits, and on and on.)  Even with all of these orders, we couldn't wait to take them home to live with us.  We had been waiting 16 weeks to get the news that they were ready to go home! 

That day could not have been more perfect.  If I could (without being considered completely crazy) celebrate that day every year instead of their birthday, I would.  Their birthday, April 5, was a completely traumatic day.  There was no joy - only shock and disbelief followed by an emergency c-section followed by the delivery of babies who did not cry followed by babies being whisked away to the NICU followed by watching the clock minute by minute, hour by hour, willing it to move faster to get through the first 24 hours, then the first 48 hours, then the first 72 hours. 

 No, April 5 was not a day of joyous celebration, but this day, August 14, was overflowing with joy and celebration.  Our family brought us balloons and cake, and they followed us from the door of the NICU through the hallways and out into the parking lot videoing and taking pictures the whole way just like the paparazzi.  We felt famous, loved, and supported.  It had been a long journey for all of us, and we all celebrated that day.  Although we still had a long way to go, we celebrated how blessed we were and how overjoyed we were to be able to take both of our twins home with us.

We decided that we should celebrate this homecoming anniversary with a visit to the NICU.  We wanted to show all of the nurses and doctors how far Cade and Camdyn have come in the past year.
Camdyn on discharge day - 7 lbs 2 oz - 4 1/2 months old, 2 weeks old adjusted

Camdyn today - 16 lbs 12 oz - 16 1/2 months old, 12 1/2 months adjusted

Cade on discharge day - 9 lbs. 2 oz - 4 1/2 months old, 2 weeks old adjusted

Cade today - 20 lbs. 10 oz - 16 1/2 months old, 12 1/2 months adjusted

Dr. Breed was the doctor who was on call when the babies were born.  He was the one to oversee their transfer from the delivery room to the NICU, and he took care of them their first days of life.  Here he is holding them on their discharge day.

and today at our visit to the NICU

Brenna with the twins just before we brought them home

Brenna with the twins today.  They've all grown a lot.  The babies were not interested in smiling for me even though I told them I needed this picture for a comparison photo.  They didn't seem to care.

We took this picture when we first arrived home one year ago.

. . . and today.  Look at my silly monkeys!

Jim and I with the twins and some of their nurses.

Since Jimmy doesn't write a blog, I'll have to write this for him.  Jim has an admiration (which doesn't seem to be the right word) for Dr. Breed that goes beyond words.  What word do you use to say that you are eternally grateful for someone saving your child's life?  Dr. Breed came into our hospital room the first night and told us Cade was not doing well.  He explained to us that Cade was on the highest ventilator settings at 100% oxygen which meant the highest life support possible.  Dr. Breed suggested starting him on nitric oxide, but we would have to agree to it because it was not FDA approved.  We, of course, agreed to the treatment.  I was still on major pain medicine from the surgery, but Jim went back to the NICU with Dr. Breed.  Jim says he and Dr. Breed sat over Cade's isolette the entire night.  I imagine Dr. Breed was thinking, "What more can I do to save this baby?" and I imagine Jim was thinking, "Only God and the wisdom He gives this man right here can save my baby."  Jim says they sat in silence staring at Cade into the next day.  This picture just looks like two guys and a little boy, but it's so much more than that.

Here's what Cade looked like as they sat over him in silence that night.

Here's our big exit from the hospital with balloons and babies in tow one year ago.

We thought it would be fun to have the babies walk across the threshold of the hospital doors today.  God is so good!
I hope you all have followed this long post to this point because here's the biggest news - Cade decided to take his very first steps today in the hallway to the NICU during his visit.  One of the nurses was playing with him.  He was really interested in her lanyard, so she held it out in front of him, and he took three steps to reach it all by himself!  I started jumping up and down with excitement and so did three of his former nurses.  I think he wanted to show off for the nurses - my little ladies' man!  It's pretty cool that he reached this milestone in the place he reached so many first milestones (albeit not the typical ones for most babies) like learning to maintain a steady heart rate, learning to regulate your body temperature, and let's not forget the biggie, learning to breathe!  Talk about topping off a fantastic day.  I was so proud of my little guy!                           


marcieament said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. Your children are beautiful. Congratulations. We are hoping to leave the NICU today after 119 days!

Andrea Farrell said...

Wow, Michelle, this is my favorite post ever. I was choked up reading out Jim and Dr. Breed sitting there over Cade. We also really liked and respected Dr. Breed. I wouldn't think you were crazy if you celebrate homecoming day instead of your kids' birthday. And congratulations, Cade, on walking! So exciting!

Jessi said...

WOW! LOVED this post so much. Happy homecoming day!

Sarah Pope said...

What a special day! Im sure his NICU nurses loved seeing your precious miracles. Ive been told that their job is discouraging at times! WAY TO GO CADE! What an amazing day to take his first steps!