Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our New Therapy Program

I am happy to report that our therapy days may be dwindling.  We've been to a lot of therapy over the past 2 1/2 years, and I have spent countless hours on the phone with insurance trying to get more therapy covered.  We have had wonderful therapists who have helped Camdyn and Cade develop skills that come easily to full-term kids.  They have worked hard in speech, occupational, and physical therapy to get to where they are today. 

Camdyn and Cade both still go to occupational therapy twice a month.  Camdyn was seeing her speech therapist twice a month as well.  At her last appointment, her therapist said she was doing really well, and we would be able to start seeing her less frequently.  We will see her again in 2 weeks, and then after that, Camdyn will only see her once a month.  If Camdyn continues showing progress, she will be discharged from speech therapy!  Hallelujah!  What will I do with all my time that was being wasted arguing with the insurance company? 

I credit much of her speech progress to going to pre-school as well as having a great speech therapist.  Since she started pre-school, I have noticed so many new words and phrases.  She is putting words together to express whole ideas.  We had a garage sale over the weekend, and I had marked one of her baby dolls with a sale sticker.  She has a ton of dolls, so I didn't think selling one would be a problem.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  She saw her baby at the garage sale and assertively told us all, "MY BABY - OFF the sticker!" as she peeled the garage sale sticker off and hugged her baby.  I was so impressed with her "sentence".

At the twins' last developmental testing, they scored lowest in gross motor skills.  They don't jump yet, and apparently at 2 years old, they should be jumping.  Since they walk, run, climb, etc., I am not too worried.  This was the first test where they no longer adjust for prematurity which means they expect them to do the same as kids their age that were born full-term.  I think that's crazy.  Give them 4 months to account for their prematurity, and I'm sure they will be jumping.  Instead of adding physical therapy back in, I opted to sign them up for a gymnastics class instead.  They go once a week, and they love it!  I figure they can work on jumping there, and the best part is that the twins get to take a class while big sister is in another class all at the same time.  That is fantastic for this busy mama.

Cade and Camdyn stretching at the start of their class.

Brenna warming up in her class.

Camdyn doing a flip.  She loves flipping.

Even though they still go to occupational therapy, they get a little extra fine motor skill work during homework time.  When Brenna is doing her homework, Camdyn and Cade both say, "I cudder, I cudder." (color) 

Camdyn and Cade are both loving school!  They ask me all the time, "Go bye bye? Ba-pack?" They want to know if we are leaving to go to school and if they need their backpacks.  I love their school too.  Their teachers are wonderful and always come up with the cutest crafts.  They made one craft using a coffee filter glued to blue construction paper with a picture of baby Moses inside the filter (basket).  Cade told me, "Mo-sis in da wa-wa".  (Moses is in the water.)  It was so precious!  Below is a picture of them with the pet rocks they made.  Camdyn loves to tell me about the crafts she makes, "my cut, my cudder, my do it".  She is so proud.  I'm having so much fun watching them learn new things and grow into their own little people.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

NICU Reunion

We attended the NICU reunion two weeks ago.  It was so much fun to see some of the nurses and doctors who took care of Camdyn and Cade. 

Here Cade is with his nurse, Lindsay.  We didn't have primary care nurses, but she was with Cade a lot when he was the most critical.  She made cute signs for him like, "Hip hip hooray!  I weigh 2 lbs today!"  Sitting in the NICU staring at your one pound babies can get pretty lonely, but some nurses felt like old friends.  Lindsay was one of those nurses.  I always liked when she was working because I knew we would talk about things not related to the critical state my twins were in, and it would pass the time.  She was so excited to see Cade again and couldn't believe how big he is now.

Here Camdyn and Cade are with Brittanie and Lindsay.  Brittanie was one of the receptionists at the front desk.  When talk of the twins coming home began, I started to seriously panic.  I was so worried about germs and them ending up back in the hospital that I became a thief.  I began to stash extra scrub brushes from the scrub-in sink into my bag and take any foam hand sanitizers that might be sitting out.  I had never stolen a thing in my life, but somehow my mama bear instincts to protect my cubs kicked in and stealing didn't matter.  I needed to protect.  On our discharge day, Brittanie handed me a huge bag filled with scrub brushes and sanitizing wipes.  She told me she had noticed that I had been stashing them for the past week and thought I might like a few more.  She also told me I could have just asked for some and she would have given me a whole box.  We both laughed. 

Here Camdyn is with Daddy and Cade is with Thad.  Thad was a night nurse that we loved.  I remember calling into the NICU several times a night when I would get up to pump.  Thad would give me an update and then tell me, "Now you get some rest, honey."  Thad was Camdyn's nurse often when she was on the ventilator.  Thad would put teeny tiny bows on her head.  When I would call, he would tell me that she got all dressed up for mommy.

Here is a tiny Camdyn with a teeny tiny hair bow.  Those are mine and Daddy's wedding rings on her itty bitty arm with room to spare.  Amazing!

Dr. McCormick was one of our favorite doctors.  Dr. Breed, our other favorite doctor, was saving other babies' lives (working) and couldn't be at the reunion.  Both of these amazing doctors along with all of the other wonderful doctors in the NICU, I credit for saving Camdyn and Cade's lives.  I don't know how they do what they do.  They have to make so many crucial decisions every day to save these tiny lives.  I remember Dr. Breed calling me to discuss the pros and cons of using dexamethasone to get the twins weaned from the ventilators.  He wasn't rushed.  He talked to me for a long time to help us make a decision.  Jim remembers Dr. Breed sitting over Cade's isolette all night on the night he was born.  Cade was in such a critical state that first night.  Jim tells me that Dr. Breed sat right next to Cade's isolette while he sat on a stool against the wall.  They both sat in silence.  I was still on pain medications in the hospital room.  I also remember Dr. McCormick sitting and talking with me after Cade had failed his hearing screening.  She couldn't say she didn't believe the results, but I could tell she thought it.  She told me all the reasons why that test could be wrong and that several babies had failed the first screening and later passed.  Fortunately, this was the case for Cade.  She was also there on the horrible day that I was told Cade had bi-lateral vocal cord paralysis and may need a tracheotomy for life.  After my complete breakdown, she sat with me explaining that the results from the scope did not add up to the baby laying in the crib.  Cade had been off of oxygen since 36 weeks gestation.  This most likely wouldn't have been possible if he had bi-lateral vocal cord paralysis.  She gave us the name of a different ENT to see upon discharge.  We will be forever grateful to all the amazing, caring doctors and nurses at North Austin Medical Center that saved our babies' lives.

After visiting with the doctors and nurses, we took a little train ride.  I've given up on getting everyone to look the same way in pictures.  It just doesn't happen.

Daddy with the kiddos walking out to the bounce house.

Brenna probably had the most fun of all.  She loved getting her face painted.  Camdyn, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with being anywhere near this clown.  She is very frightened of anyone dressed up.  Halloween should be very interesting this year!

Brenna was all smiles after getting her face painted.

This was our first NICU reunion we were able to attend.  The first one was only a month after the babies were discharged, and we were in isolation mode.  We missed the next one because of a family event, so we were really happy to be able to go this year.  I think the doctors and nurses really enjoy seeing all of their NICU graduates growing up.