Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Fun


Brenna pulling out the pumpkin guts.  She didn't want to reach in at first, but she soon decided it was lots of fun to pull out the "goo".

Brenna and Mommy cleaning out the pumpkin.

Jim and I found a Tinkerbell silhouette online, and he carved Tinkerbell into the pumpkin.  We both thought Brenna was going to be so excited about having a Tinkerbell pumpkin.  I went to read Brenna a story before bed.  In the story, it had a picture of a jack-o-lantern, and she told me, "See, that's what a pumpkin is supposed to look like."  Go figure - we spent all that time making Tinkerbell when she wanted the basic triangle eyes and nose and a mouth.  We then carved a "real pumpkin" out of the little pumpkin she had picked out at the pumpkin patch.  Personally, I think the Tinkerbell pumpkin looks great!

Camdyn in her cute tights and pumpkin shirt at Brenna's school.

This is the only way I can get even close to taking a picture of the twins together now.  They must be confined in a shopping cart!

Camdyn as the cutest sheep ever!

Or is Cade the cutest sheep ever?

Me and the sheep.  Getting any kind of decent picture of them together now is nearly impossible.  In this picture, Camdyn was much too distracted by the crowd.  We took the kids to a Halloween festival with lots of games, trick-or-treating, a train, and a costume contest. 

Brenna, as Little Bo Peep, playing a carnival game.

The sheep "playing" a carnival game.  Actually, they just had fun throwing the ball.

Little Bo Peep and her sheep in the costume contest.  Notice how Daddy is holding one sheep while the announcer is holding on to the other one. 

Little Bo Peep holding on to her sheep.  If she doesn't hold on to them, "Little Bo Peep will lose her sheep!"

Little Bo Peep and her sheep won 1st place in the costume contest!

Sleepy Sheep

We went to take some treats to the NICU for Halloween.  In this video, the kids are walking down the hallway.  Cade is practically running now.   I'm constantly chasing him.  Brenna does a good job of holding on to Camdyn.  In this video, Camdyn is being her usual social self saying "hi" to a lady who passed by.  I've been letting the kids walk into places more often now instead of being pushed in the stroller.  I think it gives them more practice walking, but it is quite challenging since Cade wants to go really fast, and Camdyn enjoys a leisurely stroll.

The kids walking out of the hospital doors.  If only I could have seen this little video clip when they were in the NICU, I'm sure I would have worried a lot less.  We are so blessed that our little former micro-preemies are walking out of these hospital doors on their own!  I had to stop recording because true to Cade's style, he is on the go - walking straight out into the parking lot without a care in the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mommy's Doctor's Orders

I was looking for a document on my computer today and came across this.  These were the notes I gave to my mom and sister when the babies were just out of the NICU.  I was in a friend's wedding out of town, so my husband and I had to spend a weekend away from the babies.   Leaving your kids for the first time for any parent is hard, but when your kids come with a page full of medical instructions it's a different story.  I'm so glad this was saved on my computer because it helps show me just how far they have come.  At the time, both were being fed through ng tubes.  Camdyn was painstakingly working at drinking from a bottle.  Our feeding machines were never working properly.  The twins were being fed every 3 hours around the clock which continued until they were a year old!   Cade had torticollis and had to lay only certain ways, and we were working to keep Camdyn from getting it.  Camdyn had just come home from her emergency trip to Dell after turning blue and was on oxygen at home.  The feeding machines and monitors were beeping at us constantly!  I can almost hear it in my head still.  One night when Camdyn's alarm went off, I bolted out of bed so quickly to check on her that I ran straight into the post at the foot of our bed.  Ouch!  Oh, the joys of having micro-preemie twins.

Here's my mommy notes.  I think it sounds a little like doctor's orders!

"Camdyn is getting 84 mL and Cade is getting 104 mL. Camdyn should be bottle fed at 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, and 6 PM. The other feeds at night should be gavaged. When their feeding machines say “No Food” at the end of their feed press Pause and then press Volume. If it does not say the correct amount (84 or 104) then press Prime to prime the rest out of the tube into their tummies. Sometimes it might say Dose Done when it is clearly not done. Unless it says Dose Done and no milk is left in the bag, press Run again. Cade’s machine has a tendency to shut off several times during his feed.

They will both get 1 mL of the Poly-Vitamins and .5 mL of the Iron on Saturday morning. Use a syringe and give it through the tube.

Don’t let them lay on their backs unless they are sleeping. They need to lay on their sides propped with a pillow or boppy or on their stomachs. Try to turn Cade’s head looking to the right laying on his left cheek.

Camdyn’s saturations should stay above 90. If they are lower than that, she needs to put on the cannula. Turn the oxygen to 1/32. If she still is desatting, turn it to 1/16. The pulse oximeter will beep a lot if it is not charged, so keep it plugged in. You will have to set the heart rate to a high of 200 if you turn the machine off and on again. Otherwise, it will beep at you."

Fortunately, we are no longer in that chaotic, stressful time. We have a new chaos around here, but it does not require any machines or beeping monitors that send me into a panic attack. We just have the normal ol' chaos of toddler twins and a big sister- and it is definitely chaotic, but I'll take this chaos over the previous kind any time!

Voting is still going on for the Preemie Power contest.  Please take a second to vote for the twins.  Thank You!  (It only takes 2 quick clicks to vote.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

We took these photos back in the spring, and I don't think I ever put them on the blog.  They turned out cute, but we got some even cuter ones when we went to the pumpkin patch this week.  I'll be posting their adorable fall pictures soon.  They loved exploring the pumpkins and riding in the wagon.

Please take a second to vote for Camdyn and Cade in the Preemie Power Photo Contest.  They are falling down in the ranks a little, so we need your votes.  Help us honor how far they have come by voting.  Thank You!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Striving for . . . . . AVERAGE!

Camdyn and Cade were assessed at physical therapy using the Peabody developmental exam.  They were only tested in gross motor skills during this assessment.  I was elated to hear the results show they are right at average for their adjusted age of 14 months.  This is great news!

Let me take a detour to explain adjusted age.  A lot of time I think of them as 18 month olds because I know that is how old they are based on their bithday to now; however, when looking at milestones, we think of them as the age they should be.  Think of it like this - all other babies conceived in Oct./Nov. of 2009 like our babies became embryos, turned into fetuses, grew in the womb for 40 weeks, were born and are now 14 month olds just as our babies should be.  So babies with the exact same conception date as ours are now 14 months old not 18 months old. 

You've heard the phrase "Striving for Excellence".  Around here we have been "Striving for Average"!  To hear that they are doing exactly what they should be for their adjusted age is fantastic.  We are so happy and blessed they are able to do the things they can.

In the "mommy rat race", you hear mothers comparing/bragging about the achievements of their children all the time.  I found it sickening when I had just one full-term child, but I find it particularly annoying after having micro-preemies. 

Today, I decided to let the babies walk into pre-school with Brenna for the first time instead of me pushing them in the stroller.  I figured they needed some practice, and it would be good for them.  I was so proud of them!  It was a long walk for them, and although they fell down several times, they kept getting back up and trying again.  On our way out, another mom said to me, "She looks so little to be walking already.  How old is she?"  I replied, "She's 18 months old; she's just very small."  The mom asked if she was born early and I told her she was born very early.  Even after hearing that she had to let me know that both of her kids were walking by 10 months old.  I wanted to tell her, "I really don't care.  I'm just happy she CAN walk at all."  Instead I just said, "Every child develops in their own time."  I hope I become less nice sometime soon so I can tell these ignorant people what I really think!  Is there really a pressing need to compare babies?  Next time someone tries to compare their child to mine, I might just tell them, "My baby trumps all your baby's achievements by simply surviving!"

Camdyn's Big News

I have big news to report  . . . . . . . . .  Camdyn FINALLY has enough hair to make a ponytail!  Okay so maybe it's not the biggest news ever, but I'm excited nonetheless.  I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for her to grow some hair.  She was practically bald her entire first year.  Now, at 18 months old, she has enough hair to make the tiniest, cutest waterfall ponytail.  She wouldn't sit very still for me to take a picture, so this is the best I got.  Have no fear, I'll be posting more ponytail pictures soon.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Miraculous Journeys

I finally got around to creating a video of the twins' journey so far - 0-18 months. The song in this video is very special to me. It gave me a lot of hope when the babies weren't doing so well. I remember driving to and from the NICU and hearing this song come on the radio (Christian station). I felt like it was being played for me. It was what I needed to hear - "the pain that you've been feeling, it can't compare to the joy that's coming. So hold on, you've got to wait for the light; press on and just fight the good fight." Those lines rang so true for me. I was in so much pain and the babies were in even more pain. Those lyrics reminded me to have faith that things would work out, to believe there would be a light in the end, and to know the pain would be worth all the joy.   (You'll have to stop the song on the music player at the bottom of the blog if you want to hear the song in the video.)

I have also entered the babies in the Preemie Power photo/essay contest. Voting begins today and ends in 2 weeks. You can vote once a day. Camdyn and Cade say, "Thank You"! To vote for Camdyn and Cade, please go to

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

18 months (14 months adjusted)

I am long overdue on posting.  I've been lazy lately.  I've spent lots of time reading everyone else's blogs, but I haven't given my own any attention. 

Well, Camdyn and Cade are now 18 months old.  It's hard to believe they are that old (especially since Camdyn is the size of a 6-9 month old).  They are definitely in the toddler stage now.  They get into everything and make a huge mess all over the house!

Camdyn - Camdyn now weighs 17 lbs. 8 oz.  She hasn't gained much since her last weight check.  I don't know how she doesn't gain weight.  She eats great now and drinks high calorie Pediasure all throughout the day.  We are still adding oil and butter to most all of her food.  It is becoming hard to find clothes that fit her properly now.  They make baby clothes for chubby babies.  Everything falls off her shoulders and looks wide.  She would fit best into a 6-12 month SLIM size, and even though the waist of 6-12 month pants fits her, the length isn't long enough.  We need to be able to shop in the petite baby section!

Camdyn walks everywhere now.  Her gross motor skills look very good.  Her next goals in PT will be walking on uneven surfaces and kicking a ball.  She is doing a good job in OT as well.  Her personality gets in her way on these tasks though.  She sees no point in stacking objects that she would rather keep for herself or handing the therapist an object.  She also sees no point in putting shapes in the shape sorter when she can just open the top and drop them in that way.  I think that's advanced thinking!  Smart girl!  Camdyn's biggest challenge right now is speech.  She seems a bit stuck in this area.  She says only a handful of words, and she doesn't mimic many sounds or attempt to say words or sign.  She gets very frustrated and will not cooperate.  Her speech therapist is going to consult with her occupational therapist to create a plan of how to best help her in this area.  They think it may be partly sensory related.  I think it has more to do with her very stubborn personality.

Cute things:  Camdyn loves to be tickled and has a robust laugh for such a tiny girl.  It is so joyous to hear that belly laugh of hers.  I love how she'll come over to sit on my lap for just a few seconds in the middle of playing before returning to whatever she was doing.  After a few of our mommy & me music classes, she has learned how to do the gestures for "Itsy Bitsy Spider," so she'll come over to me with her tiny little thumbs pressed together wanting me to sing the song.  She doesn't have many words or signs, but she can "tell" me this very clearly.  I love it!  In other cute news, she is almost growing enough hair for a ponytail.  I can't wait to put her hair in a little ponytail with a bow!

This is Camdyn's foot now compared to her footprint when she was 5 days old.  To understand just how tiny that footprint is, her foot now is still only the size of my palm!

Above is Cade's foot now compared to his footprint when he was only 5 days old.  When I compare their footprints, Cade's seems so much bigger, when, in reality, he was only 6 ounces bigger at 1 lb. 8 oz. 

Cade - Cade has gained a good amount since his last weight check.  He now weighs 21 lbs. 10 oz.  He gained 1 lb. 10 oz.!  That's a great gain.  Cade now loves to eat.  Back in January when we were at the hospital for his g-tube surgery, I would have never imagined that we would be where we are now.  I feel so blessed.  At just about every meal, I thank God that my son eats!  Not only does he eat, he eats a lot.  I hope he continues to eat well and gain weight well.  He is still very skinny.  He could definitely use a few more pounds.  All of his jeans fall right off.  He also needs a SLIM size in baby clothes.  He is as tall as most 12-14 month olds with the waist of a skinny 6 month old!

Cade has made amazing progress in all areas recently.  He also walks everywhere now.  He is still a little unstable at times, but he has the walking thing down.  I don't think I ever posted a video of him walking, so here's an old one from last month.  He has improved a ton since we took this.  He is doing great in OT as well.  He loves stacking objects, putting shapes in the shape sorter, and figuring out how all the toys work.  Cade has the patience to sit down and figure out how all the toys work, while Camdyn just gets frustrated and says, "forget it."  Cade has also made a lot of progress in speech in the last few weeks.  He is saying a lot more and likes to mimic sounds.  Hopefully, his sister will start talking a lot more too.

Cute things:  Cade loves when I give him "neck kisses".  He thinks it is hilarious.  I love it too!  He starts laughing so hard that he becomes inaudible (from the vocal cord paralysis).  Maybe I should be a little sad by this as it is a sign that the vocal cord doesn't work, but the way that his face lights up when he is laughing so hard brings me so much joy.  I am going to have to try to record it and post it.  Below is a cute smiling picture of Cade.  His cousin, Brylee, was making him laugh.

Aunt BB is also great at making them laugh.

In non-baby news, I had the chance to go to Las Vegas with my sister last week.  She had to go for a work conference, and I got to tag along which meant the room was free!  We had so much fun.  It was my first vacation since having the babies, and I loved it.  It was nice to have time to put on make-up, get dressed, and fix my hair!  I didn't have to change diapers, pack diaper bags, school bags, or lunch boxes, go to any appointments (besides a spa appointment- woohoo!), push a double stroller, bathe anyone, dress anyone, or feed anyone.  It was a very nice break, but I was ready to come home and love on my kids.  I didn't miss changing diapers, but I did miss all of them!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When will she say more than "aaaaa"?

Just a few weeks ago, Camdyn was talking more than Cade.  She had words.  Now she just resorts to using "aaaaa" for everything.  She was able to say mama, dada, hi, bye, dog, blo (for block), baa (for the sound of a sheep), fish, dog, ball, car, and probably a few more that I can't remember right now.  Recently, she has only been saying mama, dada, hi, and bye.  Everything else is "aaaaa".

Her entire vocabulary consists of how many "a" sounds she uses and with what emphasis.  "Aa" means "this" or "that" as in pointing to an object.  "Aaa" means "I want my sippy cup".  "Aaaa" means "Cade stole my sippy cup, and I want it back."  "Aaaaa" means "Brenna won't let me in the toy room."  "AAAAAAA" means "Brenna is trying to make me be a doll again, and I don't want to."  

It's very frustrating!  In the car, I'm constantly asking Brenna why Camdyn is screaming again.  We work so hard on speech.  She goes to speech therapy weekly.  We do flash cards.  We flip through the communication book I made for them with big pictures of objects on each page.  We read books.  We watch Baby Signing Times.  I tell her the names of objects over and over.  We practice imitating sounds.  I let her throw fits to get her to try to use words, signs, or at least gestures as to what she wants.  The therapist has told us we shouldn't just give her what she wants but encourage her to let us know with something more than "aaaaaa".  I don't know what else we can do.  I just want her to start showing us more communication skills.  I know she understands language; she is just having trouble expressing it.  It's really nothing to worry a lot about at this point as she is scoring fine on her developmental tests.  It's just very frustrating for me.