Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Plans for the Week

Get ready for Thursday or Friday.....Are you kidding me???? By this weekend my whole family could finally be at home together???? What great news! Both girls had surprisingly similar days today - in fact my report from home was about the same for Cameron at the NICU. Cameron is taking her carseat challenge test tonight and if she passes I guess we will find out soon which day is for sure. Tomorrow I take Reagan to Duke for her eye checkup. I pray that she will be retinopathy free. That's all for today!


As it turns out, we now have two babies that have been diagnosed with reflux and interestingly enough their pH's are exactly the same. They have started Cameron on zantac but she, too, had a gastric pH starting out of a 1 - (with a 4 or above being normal). Today I went up to the hospital to visit with Cameron and she was scheduled to meet with the OT today and if all went well...they were going to probably dismiss her from therapy! Talk about progress! They did a lot of bloodwork on Cameron today. Also today I saw more similarities between Cameron and Reagan in their disposition but to be honest I think it was due to the reflux more than anything.

Reagan had her first visit with the pediatrician today and it went well. According to the scale she has gained 5 ounces since she came home! Today her poor belly has been rumbling and grumbling and as to be expected she hasn't been as crazy about eating today because of it. Reagan got her first bath at home tonight and now she smells like a bed of roses (I love baby smell even if it doesn't last very long!).

So, the girls weights are as follows - Reagan 4 lbs. 6.5 oz. and Cameron 3 lbs. 13 oz. Either tomorrow or Wednesday I am going to take Cameron's carseat up to the hospital for her to take her carseat test. Reagan gets her eyes checked on Wednesday.

One other cool twin thing - just called the NICU and both girls have been laying awake now for a while - Reagan here at home and Cam in the TCN - isn't it cool how they sometimes will still do things just alike?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


We have officially been home with Reagan for 24 hours and I would say that we are all adjusting pretty well. Aubrey seems to like her little sister, but all the same I think we are dealing with some normal adjustment issues that anyone deals with when they welcome a new addition. When Reagan is awake, she runs into the room and yells - "Hey Reagan!" or "Hey Baby" and then says "Hold?" So, today I let her "help" mommy hold Reagan and she was so proud of herself. However, she has also been on super warp speed running around the house, tearing into things, and had some trouble with listening a bit - adjustment or just normal 20 month going on 2 behavior? Who knows but even still I look at her and tears come to my eyes sometimes when I realize how blessed we are to have not just one amazing daughter but three. Once things settle down a bit and we get into more of a routine I think she will be fine.

Reagan seems to be adjusting to life away from the NICU well, too. She (in my opinion) has not been crying nearly as much. This could also be due to the fact that they changed her reflux medication. She is sleeping well in between feedings - although sometimes she likes to sleep on Mommy or Daddy's chest instead of her bed - but for now I don't apologize one bit for it because for quite some time we didn't know if we would ever have the chance and I am going to savor every moment of it (even if we are spoiling her a bit). Seth and I have talked all day about how different life is without the monitors and wires. How much more peaceful life is without constantly glancing up to check to be sure that her heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate, and oxygenation are doing! I think that she definitely enjoys being away from the wires, too! Another awesome thing that has helped with our adjustments have been some of the amazing folks that we have had bring us dinner - THANK YOU!!! What a relief to not have to worry about cooking. Your generosity and thoughtfulness have definitely been well appreciated!

Tomorrow will be a busy day. Today while we adjusted to having Reagan home and Aubrey came home from Mimi and Papa's I stayed away from the NICU. My parents went to see Cameron and said that she is doing great!!! She ate 50 ccs with Papa today and they are working hard to fatten her up! The nurses at the NICU all love her and fight over who will get to be with her! Last night she gained about a half an ounce. They have now officially removed her NG tube and her temperature probe. Tomorrow I will drop Aubrey off at daycare and then head to the hospital for some special Cam and Mommy time. Then, I will rush home and later in the afternoon we will head to Reagan's first pediatric appointment.

This week is a big week for the girls as we have appointments and tests being run this week. I pray that all will continue to go well for them and that we will be finding out a specific day that we are to bring Cameron home!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're Home

As we speak, Reagan is in bed grunting away because she has lost her pacifier, Seth is watching the NCAA tournament and I am eating some yummy food that some friends dropped by for us! Here are some pictures of our day and our journey.

A Few Photos from Rooming In

See all the clothes and rags around Reagan right there...well those are there because we placed them there to store because reflux is very messy business! She had already gone through 3 blankets and outfits that day with spitting up and tinkling all over the place!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not Home Just Yet

Well, as you can tell by the title...Reagan is not home yet. Last night was a wonderful and yet bittersweet time. I found myself being very excited about the possibility of Reagan coming home and yet so unbelievably sad to be leaving Cameron. I am so thankful that she will not remember this. I told Seth that for some reason leaving one at the hospital is way harder than leaving them both because at least when they were both there they were together like twins should be. I often wonder if they even know that they are twins anymore because although they were together in the womb, they have now been apart for 86 days. Can you believe that they are 86 days old?

Anyway, last night Reagan continued to spit up and to be very uncomfortable during periods of the night. Aubrey hardly ever spit up so having a baby with reflux is a HUGE change! We did not get very much sleep and neither did Reagan. They did another gastric pH test this morning and found that they needed to put her on a stronger medicine so they have changed her meds. In doing so, they offered to have her stay tonight to watch her and for all of us to get some rest (I think the doctors took pity on us when she saw how exhausted we were!). So, tomorrow after Seth finishes with his basketball tournament, we will go to get Reagan from the hospital. And we were told today to expect Cameron within a week or so!

On the prayer request side - please pray for our family's transition to having the girls home, pray for Reagan's reflux - that it would be subsided by the medicine so that she can be comfortable (it is so hard to see her in so much constant pain...she hardly ever lays still and is constantly grunting and moving and curling up into a ball), please pray for Reagan's eyes - that they would continue to heal. Please also pray for Cameron - she is having a bunch of tests run this week...she failed a portion of her newborn screen and they are redoing it on Monday, that her hernia would either resolve itself or stay the same size, and she has also had a few bradys this week. They will not let her go home until she is brady free for a certain amount of time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bumps in the Road

Short version of today:

-The last couple of days Reagan has had some trouble with spitting up pretty bad and being extremely cranky at times - this may be due to her reflux. But we are a little concerned and are hoping to talk to the doctors about it.
-Reagan passed her carseat test.
-Reagan had her kidney ultrasound and tests today. We will speak with the doctors tomorrow but I do know that something did show up on the ultrasound but the nurse said that it does not need treatment (I guess we will find out more tomorrow).
-Cameron has had her food switched to being supplemented with formula and seems to be tolerating it well. The nurses want to try to have her switched to additional feedings taken by bottle - instead of every other feed.
-Cameron is now 3 lbs. 10 oz! Way to go Cam!
-The surgeon came to look at Cameron's hernia today and the nurse said that he also will speak to us soon but basically they want for Cameron to come back a month after she is discharged to have the surgery to correct the hernia.

-Seth and I are set to room in tomorrow and to get trained in CPR tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Plan

FRIDAY!!!! Friday is the big day! Not much time to fill in right now but Seth and I will spend the night at the hospital on Thursday and as long as Reagan passes her carseat test and she stays above 1800 grams she will be coming home on Friday! We will still have to bring her back to get her eyes checked because she still has some retinopathy that they are watching to see if the lasering proved to be effective in her surgeries. Cameron is now 3 lbs. 6 oz. (I think) and she now has no more retinopathy in her eyes. She does, however, have a hernia that they are going to have the surgical team come and consult on. I guess this is normal, though, and typically they do not have surgery while still in the hospital they will wait until they are older to have surgery for it. I think that is it for now. I will update as we have time this week!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Just a few quick notes about how awesome God continues to provide in the Carter's life:

1 - We now have a van! Hallelujah! We will post pictures later- Seth hasn't even made it home with it yet!
2 - Weights for the girls - Reagan is only 25 grams shy of being 4 pounds and meeting the weight requirements to go home (so technically she is 3 lbs. 15 oz.) and Cameron is now 3 lbs. 5.5 oz. They are really growing!

Daddy is going to spend some special one on one time with the girls tonight! So, we will have a better update for you later!

Prayer requests - Tomorrow both girls will get their eyes checked tomorrow - the pediatric opthamologist must sign off on Reagan's eyes in order for her to go home.

I also continue to pray that the Lord would not allow for either of the girls to come home before they are completely ready to have a smooth transition home. I would prefer for their sakes and for mine that they not have to come home and then go back to the hospital.

Thanks again for continually keeping our family in your prayers!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Big News....Big Day

After church today, I went with my parents to the NICU to see the girls. We were met at the door with a nurse with a screaming baby...that yes, happens to be mine. She was screaming like crazy because she had to have a bath and she was hungry. I cleaned up and got ready to feed Reagan. The nurse practitioner came in and spoke with me about this coming week - it is full of a lot of big things - including having Reagan come home by the weekend! The transition will likely not happen until at least after Thursday so that Reagan can have several days to continue to gain weight, continue to do well with all of her feedings, pass her carseat test, get her eyes examined and determined that she does not need to be at the hospital for treatment, and get her renal ultrasound. Then, if ALL of those things happen, Seth and I will room in at the hospital to get ready to take Reagan home. Don't worry though because she will need to come back to get her eyes checked each week and then also be seen by the pediatrician every few days in order to continue to get weighed to be sure that she is still gaining weight and feeding well. Talk about overload! My goodness! I am so excited and even more so - thankful because Reagan will not come home with any type of monitor or assistance at all! Her nurse even mentioned how much she acts like a term baby to her! What a miracle! Praise the Lord! Then, to top it all off - the nurse practitioner said that Cameron is not far behind her!!! Cameron got moved out of her isolette today and we pray she will not ever have to be in there again! She now has a bassinett like her sister! I am so thankful for our girls. They will be at 39 weeks gestation this Thursday and then on April 3rd will be considered full term and their adjusted age will begin. We will keep you posted as we can but have a feeling that this will be one of our busiest weeks yet! Please continue to keep the girls in your prayers and Seth, Aubrey, and myself as we work to get ready for the girls homecoming!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Pictures and Update

Both girls were sleeping peacefully yesterday at the TCN. Here are their newest photos. The first is Reagan. As you can see, she did not want to be disturbed but has had trouble sleeping with her IV in her arm for her medicine. She keeps raking it across her face. See that tube that is hanging in Reagan's bassinnet - that is how they give her whatever she doesn't eat with the bottle. When she is finished, they hang it up and pour whatever is left to go in through her NG tube. But guess what - it isn't there anymore!!! They took it out today. And all day, Reagan has only eaten with bottles today and has eaten all of her food. Her nurse today said that I better get ready because she is ready to come really soon! I asked her if she could still come home with her infection and she said that she could...they would just change her medicine to something she could take orally. Cameron, was also resting peacefully. She is so cute because she wakes up now and is so alert for so long! It really shocks me how long she can stay awake...which is great while she is in the TCN...not so great for Mom and Dad when they want to sleep through the night!! I will be interested to see, once she makes the transition to the bassinett, if she is still really alert or if it will tire her out more. Cameron wasn't very interested in eating from the bottle today for some reason. Normally, she takes the whole bottle and today she only took a small amount. Maybe she needed a break. You may also notice Aubrey's picture...both girls have a picture of their big sister watching over them during the day!
On other news, we sold our car today so right now we are a one car family (huge Praise!!)- which can make it interesting trying to schedule hospital visits. We are hoping to get a van the first of the week.
Weight update - Just spoke to hospital - Cameron lost today. Looks like today was an off day in general for her. Reagan finally really gained some weight and is now 3 lbs. almost 14 oz! Getting closer!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Countdown Begins

Today at the NICU I went in to visit the girls and wound up chatting a while with the nurse practitioners. During our conversation they told me that if Reagan can gain some more weight and make progress with her feedings (taking all of them by mouth) then we could be rooming in at the hospital getting ready for her to come home as early as next weekend!!! Since I heard that news my mind has been racing! Right now the nurses are attempting to bottle feed all feeds unless I can be there. While she attempts, she does not yet take the full feed every time. Tonight she lost weight to 3 lbs. 10.5 oz. Her nurse and I were talking that we think it might be her temper...if she doesn't get fed right when she wants it then she throws major fits and as a result burns more calories. Also today when I was visiting, she was not super happy that I put her down and worked on feeding with Cameron (Cameron however, seemed to know that she had stolen Mommy from Reagan for a while and would look up at me and smile a very sheepish grin as she heard Reagan crying - I can only imagine how much more this will be the case once they come home!). It also doesn't help that Reagan is sick, no one feels great when they are sick and they can be more irritable - which may also lead to her weight loss. Reagan will also have a renal ultrasound and test as a precaution to follow up after her infection is cleared up.

Cameron is now 1500 grams! She is officially at the weight where she can come out of the isolette and they will begin to transition her from off of all the neonatal additives and begin to add formula as a supplement instead (to boost her caloric content). So both girls continue to make progress with their feeding and I believe that maybe they are working together to be sure that they either come home together or within a very short time of one another. In the next few weeks Cameron will have another newborn screen test to check her metabolic levels - which have come back abnormal previously. The doctors think that her TPN levels skewed the results previously so they will redo the test again at full term.

We are so thankful for the great progress the girls are making. Please keep the girls upcoming tests in your prayers. Their eyes will also be rechecked on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aubrey Meets The Girls

Today Aubrey couldn't go to daycare until late and so we decided this was the perfect time for Aubrey to see the girls. We primed her all morning and when we got to the hospital she looked scared to death. I scrubbed up and then Cameron's nurse and I held the girls up for Aubrey to see. She said, "Babies?" "Reagan, Cameron?" "C'mere Mama...babies?" She got so excited and smiled so big and wanted to touch them so badly. It was very cute. And right as Aubrey was talking Reagan opened her eyes and grinned at her. So, it was a fun morning for us. I don't know that she will remember it but at least we made the effort! And boy was it a lot of effort - but it was worth it.

Both girls are ravenously eating their bottles and making great strides. Cameron's nurse even said that she only took one feeding through the tube yesterday - she said that Cameron has just seemed to have taken off and she is now eating almost her entire feed through the bottle. Cameron is determined to catch up to Reagan. Both girls now have a reputation of making pigs of themselves - but we are fine with that! Reagan has to be on the antibiotics for seven days but good news - no head IV. They were able to get one after all in her hand.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sweet Medicine

I am so thankful for all three of my girls. It is amazing...I can feel horrible, be discouraged, feel tired...anything and being with them, it all melts away. I love spending time with them. Both Reagan and Cameron were very funny today. They would scream and fuss when the other was being held by mom and then when I would hold them finally they would smile a smile that seemed to say - ha! I got my way! They have such cute little grins. Reagan does have an infection so they have begun antibiotics this afternoon and are running a few other tests to be sure that she does not have a blood infection. They had to start another IV and Reagan's veins weren't cooperating...so they had to put the IV in her head!!!!!!! WHAT!!!!! Sorry I just feel so sorry for poor Reagan - she really has had a lot this week and now a needle in her head - poor baby. I am thankful that they waited until after I was gone to do all of that - I think had I been there I probably would have been crying right along with her. Cameron is handling her new feeding schedule well.

Its funny today at the hospital I was loaded down with clean clothes and blankets for the girls in bags and someone in the elevator said - "Someone must have had a baby girl." I told them two and they said congratulations. I found myself thinking - I still can't believe that I have twins. They are twelve weeks old and I still can't believe that God would bless our family so much. I am so humbled by how generous and loving God is. What two special gifts and miracles.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Surgery Update

I spoke with the nurse after lunch and Reagan's surgery is over. She had to be placed back on the cannula for the surgery and is now off of it again. Her oxygen saturation is not as high as usual but is fine and she should have begun eating again around 2. I pray that she will continue to recover but we are going to let her rest for the remainder of the day. She has had a really busy couple of days! Cameron is doing well today. She was able to take two bottle feeds today and her feeding schedule has now been moved to every three hours...like her sister - which is one step closer to a typical newborn feeding schedule.

Reagan has continued to do well today and has returned to her spunky self. Now she is resting. She weighs 3 lbs. 11 oz. Cameron has begun to show her hunger cues and is throwing fits if she is not fed right when she wants it. Cameron weighs 3 lbs. 1 oz. They are both really growing!

Ups and Downs

So, after Seth's shocking news last night about Reagan - my mind was reeling with all of our to do's that we still have to do! We then found out that Cameron has been having some desats last night - the first culprit is blood - but they checked her and her levels are fine. They are continuing to watch her today to see what is going on. Reagan's blood tests from yesterday came back fine and they are still waiting on a culture to see if she has an infection. But as it turns out Reagan is going to have another big day ahead of her. Her other eye is in need of laser surgery for ROP. They are beginning probably in about fifteen minutes - if you get a chance please say a little prayer for her. The doctor said that the eyes that have been lasered for both girls look good and he is watching carefully where they had developed the stage 3 ROP but so far so good. We should hear back around lunch to hear how the surgery went. Reagan has had quite a week so far. Hopefully it will begin to calm down. Please also pray for Cameron that whatever was causing her to desat would either just disappear or that they would be able to figure out what is causing it as well. We will keep you posted as we hear back!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tic Toc

So I just got off the phone with our nurses and they seemed like everything was going fine with the babies. That's probably because they're asleep. Reagan's nurse said she was sleeping very peacefully. She didn't have the test results back in for her yet, so we'll have to wait a little longer to see what's going on with her reflux. Cameron's nurse said she was doing fine. She took 10 cc's of milk from the bottle and had to be fed the rest through the "nose-tube." Hopefully we can get more consistant and larger bottle feeds. They told me that a good goal is for them to consistantly drink 30 cc's, which is one ounce, at each feed without any problems (bradys, desats). Cameron got 30 once, and Reagan, of course has had more success. They upped Cameron's feeds to 40 cc's today...I think that means 40 cc's every 4 hours. But the biggest heart jolt for me was when I asked their nurse how long she thought it'd be until they came home. "Reagan will definately go home before Cameron, but it might be 2 weeks until Reagan goes home," she said. WOW! 2 WEEKS! I can't wait. I bet they're ready too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Reagan has! Poor baby has had a very rough day! This morning she started having some trouble with bradying and desatting during her bottle feeding. So, this morning when I was there the speech therapist worked with us to see what was going on. During that feeding she was having a super high heart rate, red faced, very agitated and sounded very congested and kept gulping a lot. She was very difficult to feed - which was a big change from before. She would also periodically get a big spit up smell - which was also new - and the speech therapist said that this is consistent with reflux as well. So, the doctors rounded this morning and decided to run some tests. 1 - urinalysis to check for infection 2- blood work to check white blood cell count to check for infection 3 - gastric pH check for reflux. After the order came in, the nurse tried to get all of the samples she needed for the tests and lets just say that Reagan was less than cooperative. During the course of ten minutes she went through 3 or 4 diapers, pulled out her feeding tube, yanked off all of her leads (the things that measure her heart rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, etc.) and proceeded to cry and scream so loud that she made herself gag over and over again because she was so upset. It was horrible! I thought watching your kid get vaccinated was tough!

I do not have the test results just yet but pray that whatever is going on is not something major or not something that has Reagan in a lot of pain. During all of this Cameron was wide awake trying to check out all that was going on. Her heart rate was also over 200 but she appeared to be completely calm. So, her nurse said that she might need blood - I told her that even though I had hoped that she wouldn't need it anymore that it did not surprise me. The way our course in the NICU has been so far, Reagan usually needs blood and then Cameron usually follows within a week. I do not know if they took blood to check her hematocrit or not but I guess they probably will if her heart rate continues to skyrocket. Cameron was also not really in the mood to eat with the bottle today. She just wanted to hang out with Mommy and be out of her isolette. I think she knows that Reagan is out and she wants to do the same. On a good note, I am getting a little better at changing the girls diapers and clothes over all the wires and leads. I will keep you posted as to what we find out. Please pray that the girls can remain healthy so that we can work towards them coming home as quickly as possible. I also pray that they are able to pinpoint what is going on with Reagan so that she could hopefully be treated and back on track quickly. Although I would prefer for her to not have to take medication for anything longterm, I do not like seeing her in so much pain like I did today. So, if she needs medication for reflux (if she does have it) then so be it. Also, please continue to pray for the girls eyes. Tuesday is the big day where we should really see improvement. I pray that their eyes have not progressed and that the doctor would see a dramatic improvement!

Just spoke with the NICU...on a good note - Cameron is now 3 lbs!!! Reagan's nurse said that her white blood cell count came back fine, her gastric pH came back at a level that is just above the cut off for giving medication for reflux. She said that Reagan is acting as if she may have aspirated some of the reflux into her lungs. They have decided to take Reagan off of all food by mouth for the night at least. They cannot check for aspirate by x-ray until the morning (it wouldn't show up until then) but she also said that even if it is that they cannot do anything for her but let it resolve itself. In the meantime, they are trying to elevate her bed further to help deal with the actual reflux. It appears as if reflux is the culprit of today's drama. I only pray that we can find some ways to help Reagan be comfortable and not in pain.

Weight Update

Really quickly...we did not make it up to the hospital yesterday but the nurses said that the girls were good and behaved themselves. They each worked with therapists but I do not know the exact reports. I do know that Reagan decided that she did NOT want any food through her feeding tube if possible. Yesterday during the day shift she drank 3 out of 4 feedings through a bottle - mostly because she got so mad during the time they tried to gavage (spelling? - it is her feeding tube) feed her she was mad for the entire feed and then the entire 3 hours following! So, they gave in and bottle fed her. Then, she was too worn out last night to care! Reagan is now 3 lbs. 10 oz. and Cameron is now 2 lbs. 14.5 oz. I think that Cameron is tired of playing catch up and is ready to be out of her box, too! She only has a couple hundred more grams to go! Go Cam! Reagan is not gaining as quickly because her body is having to adjust to maintaining its body temp in her bassinnett and she is eating so many feedings orally now - all of those things use up calories. So, I think once her body adjusts, she should resume gaining bigger numbers (hopefully!). That's all for now!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anybody Want to Buy a Highlander?

Today I went to go and buy a used snap n' go stroller and got some other baby stuff and boy did I forget how much room baby stuff takes!!! It was then that I finally made peace with the idea that yes, we must have a van! The dreaded van that I always swore that I would NEVER drive! So, if anybody wants to buy a Toyota Highlander that our family outgrew in less than a year - let me know!

I didn't go to the hospital today until late because my best friend, Emily, had a baby today!!! Yeah, Tommy was born today at 2:23 - and he is oh so cute! I am so excited for her and her husband! I never realized how big a full term baby would look in comparison to my girls, though. It was quite a reality check! Anyway, Reagan got blood today and yes, she was very cranky! She did still gain weigh today, though, and for that I am thankful. She ate very well tonight - 30mLs! and then she took a quick nap on Mommy. Cameron also had a great day but got a little too excited and used the bathroom all over her isolette - so, she had to have everything cleaned...including herself - which completely wore her out for my visit tonight. But she looked very peaceful afterward! Cameron also gained weight - she is now 2 lbs. 12 oz. The doctor called and told me that they hope that this will be the last transfusion for Reagan and hopefully Cameron will not need anymore. Even though Reagan's body wasn't making red blood cells efficiently enough, Cameron's has begun to make them pretty well - so they are hopeful that we are done with the transfusions for the rest of our stay!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feeding Time!

Last night Cameron decided she had had enough...enough of watching Reagan get to have all the fun! She decided that she was very hungry last night and ate 15 mLs all on her own. Then, this morning she decided that she wanted to do the same! Reagan also had a hungry night and ate her full bottle for the third time so far! They have now moved Reagan to being fed four times a day by bottle. Cameron has now had the order written by the doctors to have one feeding a day by bottle. But her nurse said that she went from nothing to being a pro because even though she only ate 15mLs - she did it in five minutes flat! Her nurse had to stop her and put the rest of the food through her tube because Cameron's belly is not used to having so much food in it so quickly. She usually gets a continuous feed for 2 hours. I expect that the doctors will be trying to switch her to being fed once every three hours (for an hour) soon to help her transition.

Reagan moved to her new home today. I plan on taking pictures of her home tomorrow. I just wanted to wait to be sure that it sticks before I celebrate too much! Today Reagan helped to teach Daddy how to feed her with the bottle and Daddy is a pro! She ate 30mLs out of 36. She did great! Then, she was so tired she took a nap against Daddy's shoulder. It was so sweet to watch Seth with the girls - he has such a calming effect over them! They are Daddy's girls already - which he loves. Seth has already decided that we need to invest in another rocking chair or glider because we both love to sit and rock with them - actually Seth loves to nap while holding the girls! He looks forward to visiting with the girls because not only does he get to visit with his precious angels but sometimes he gets a good nap, too!

Tomorrow they will be rechecking Reagan's iron and hematocrit levels to see if she will need to have a blood transfusion. When they have to have a blood transfusion she cannot be fed for 4 hours before, during the actual transfusion, and 4 hours afterward - which could be interesting since every three hours on the dot, Reagan begins to cry and throw a fit if her belly is not being filled in some way (they call it hunger cues!). It could be an interesting day tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spunky and Sweet

"Your girls are so sweet." "Your girls are beautiful" "They definitely have personality" "You wanna know which one of your girls has an attitude?"

All of these are comments from the nurses lately...and you know what? I love every bit of it! I eat it up! Of course I think they are beautiful because I am their mom but most of all I am so happy that they are healthy enough to be so spunky and to keep the nurses on their toes! Of course I say that now but when they are home and continuing to plot together to keep me running around like a chicken with its head cut off I may think differently!

Weight Update: Last night Reagan was around 3 lbs 9oz and Cameron was around 2 lbs 10oz. They are really growing. I know that Cameron maintained today but have not heard about Reagan yet.

This morning when I arrived at the TCN I was informed that Reagan had been very busy in the early morning and yanked out her NG tube ( I think that is what the tube in her nose is called that her food goes through). So, her nurse decided to bottle feed her for this feeding and then put her tube in. Reagan drank her entire feed through her bottle (which I believe is now at 33 mLs)! What a big girl! Then, when I got to her isolette Reagan had decided to play hide and seek and had wiggled her way all the way down to the bottom of her blanket that she was swaddled in - all you could see was a few hairs sticking up! After such a hard working morning she was not that interested in feeding with Mommy but that is okay. Tomorrow she gets to help Daddy learn how to bottle feed her. Cameron was sleeping so soundly and did not want to wake up to try to eat either. But, after a while she woke up and did the cutest thing - her eyes would meet mine and then she would smile the biggest grin - it melted my heart and made me cry. I do believe that is one of those mom moments that I will remember for the rest of my life - the first time she smiled at me. Could it have been gas? Maybe but I choose to believe that it was because she recognized her mom and was happy to see her. Of course afterward, she chose to show me that she loved me by dirtying her diaper (3 times!)- but that is beside the point!

Tomorrow is the big day for Reagan - they are supposed to try her out of the isolette! Her heart rate is still running pretty high and she is beginning to have quick desats despite giving her the iron. They are trying to hold out until Friday to see if she will need a transfusion but I hope all this hoopla will not get in the way of her transitioning out of the isolette. Reagan's nurse commented tonight to my dad that she really thinks that Reagan is really making great progress and I believe that Cameron has been taking notes because she has really been working hard, too!

I spoke with the physical therapist today and she said that the girls did really great on their initial assessments. She was going to examine them today outside of the isolette and then make a plan on skills to work on. I am eager to hear how their visit went and got some tips on ways to help the girls muscle tone improve and stay like it would have been had they continued to stay in utero.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eye Update

Well, tonight at 6:00 we got a phone call from the pediatric opthamologist and he had good news! The goal was for their eyes to remain the same - meaning that the ROP had not progressed. He said that Cameron's eyes are already showing marked improvement and that Reagan's eyes had not progressed. I am continuing to pray for even more improvement the next week.

Today was a hectic day with a very short visit with the girls but here is what has been happening - Cameron drank from a bottle for the first time!!! YEAH! She is working hard to catch up with Reagan. Cameron drank 10 mLs on her first try with a bottle! Today, Reagan drank 20 mLs for one feeding and then 5 for the next. Her nurse said that she was very agitated with the eye exam today and took a long time to calm down so that really wore her out. It turns out that 11 o'clock is her very alert feeding time and that tends to be when she performs the best! Reagan's heart rate has been pretty high, so they did some bloodwork and saw that her hematocrit was a little low and also that she was low on her iron. They are giving her iron starting tonight and going to check her "crit" again later to see if she still shows signs of needing a blood transfusion. Thursday seems to be the day that they are working to try to get Reagan out of the isolette - I hope that all this mess with the transfusion won't mess things up. They say that the older the girls get, the less transfusions they will need because their body will be more proficient at replacing the blood cells and making blood (I think that is right - some of this medical stuff runs together) but I guess Reagan isn't quite there yet.

Monday, March 9, 2009

11 Weeks Old!

It is so hard to believe that the girls are 11 weeks old today! It is funny to hear the nurses call the girls old - because they kind of are - they aren't newborns anymore. They have come so far. I am so proud of them both. Cameron is now 2 lbs. 9.5 oz and Reagan is 3 lbs. 5 oz. Reagan lost some under the 1500 gram mark. So, we are hoping that she will gain it again tomorrow. Reagan has been switched to feeding orally 3 times a day. Both girls worked with the OT today and got to practice feeding with Mommy today. They are getting their eyes checked tomorrow. I am praying for no progression of ROP - that will be a step in the right direction. The pictures up above are of Reagan and Cameron yesterday. The ones below are from today. Unfortunately Reagan was looking for her pacifier when I was taking her picture - hence the funny look on her face! Cameron was napping so sweetly when it was time for her picture. Mommy had just placed her back in her isolette to nap after spending time together.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chunky Munky

That's Reagan I'm referring to. She's the whopper of the two. Sounds funny calling a 3lb 5oz baby chunky, but seeing where they've come from...that's almost trippled their birth weight. Leslie just told me I spelled trippled wrong, but I'm not changing it. I'm sure there'll be more mispellings to come. Oh, yeah...Cameron is up to 2lb 9oz now too. Both of the babies are growing up well! Reagan has reached the weight requirement to come out of her isolette. They will not move her out until later in the week, but it looks like it should only be 3 to 4 more days really. She's got to maintain her own body temp at a good level, and continue to maintain or gain weight before the transition comes. Let's hope and pray all the feedings go well and that the babies eye reports come back well, and that Leslie and I will get our house in order for our two new tenants.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bottle Feeding

Today I worked with Reagan to bottle feed and she took 16mL (a drastic improvement from the 5 mLs the other night). She did so well but boy is it different than feeding Aubrey was! Reagan gained weight and is now 3lb. 3 oz. Cameron lost weight but is still at around 2lbs. 7 oz. Cameron worked with the OT yesterayto see if she was ready to work on bottle feeding but she could have cared less! She was not interested! Today out of curiosity I asked the doctor about a timeline and what would be the earliest Reagan may come home and she said about 4 weeks or so! Crazy! I worked with speech today and tomorrow we will work with the OT. Hopefully I will continue to improve the more that I do it. We have a lot of work to do if we are going to be ready in time. The criteria are: at least 4 lbs., taking all feeds orally, maintain body temperature in an open crib, pass the carseat challenge test (sitting in the car seat for approx. 1 hour with no bradys or desats). Reagan's nurse said that we would know it is getting close when she is at oral feeds 3 times a shift. Wow! I can't imagine!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Feels like I'm a Mom

8:00 am was an early appointment today - too early. How I previous got up to go to work every day at 5:30 I have no idea. Now, it seems as if my eyes will not even open before 7 after being up throughout the night! Anyway, Reagan was sleepy too so we just played together today. Today I was taught how to take the girls in and out of the incubator, I changed her diaper, practiced nursing her, swaddled her, and made more appointments to meet with the OT and Speech therapist to work on bottle feeding with the girls. Apparantly a year's worth of practice with Aubrey did not teach me anything...it is a whole new ball game with the girls. Cameron was supposed to work with the OT today on bottle feeding and both girls get to practice feeding with Mommy this weekend and on Monday. Today I feel so empowered. I can't shake this feeling. I actually feel like I might learn how to do all this. I still don't have pictures - when I have my hands full with a baby I can't take pictures too. I will have to remember to ask the nurses to take pictures for me...or see if I can schedule appointments when Seth can go too. I am hoping that in a few weeks we will be able to bring Aubrey to the hospital and let her finally see the girls through the window at the TCN. I met the docs on the team for the TCN today and I really like them. They are adding more to Cameron's milk - or rocket fuel as they like to call it. Hopefully we will see the difference in her weight over the next few days. Cameron got to sit with her Papa today and she loved having him talk to her and rub her head. I guess that is all for today. I have to be at the hospital tomorrow morning to work with the OT so I should have more for you then!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Today's Visit

Well, the much anticipated visit occurred today. It was wonderful...yet exhausting - I had forgotten how much trekking back and forth to Duke once or twice a day was! The girls looked beautiful and slept for much of the time that we were at the hospital. Did I mention that our family was going to be famous and our girls are already modeling at the young age of 10weeks? Just kidding. We really were a part of a photo shoot for Duke today for a publication. They needed a picture of a family with babies and I guess we won. Cameron was the main attraction today...originally it was supposed to be both girls but since they were not together in the TCN side by side, they decided to just use Cameron for most of the shots and then towards the end they let me go and get Reagan and we added her in as well. Cameron did great and really enjoyed Daddy holding her. Oh yes, Cameron was moved back to TCN today during the day shift...which we are so pumped about. Then, I came back tonight with my mom and Seth's mom and we held the babies. I attempted to bottle feed Reagan and boy do I stink at it! You would think that I had never fed a baby before but I was so scared. Just to let you know how much I stink...when the nurses feed her she takes about 20 mL...when I fed her she only drank 5! I hope that I will get more comfortable and learn quickly. My goal is to be there to learn as much as possible - feeding, bathing, taking them in and out of the isolette, changing their clothes. Many of these tasks are things that we did with Aubrey but it all seems brand new now that we are dealing with babies this small!

So, here is the report that I have for you tonight. Reagan is up to 3 lbs. 2 oz. Cameron lost weight and so I think she is still around 2 lb. 6 or 7 oz. Reagan is now drinking a full ounce for each feed! Cameron had a kidney ultrasound this week and she does have small kidney stones but they do not appear to be causing her trouble right now - her heart rate was in the 140s when we were there tonight.

I think that is all for the report for tonight...I have to be back at the hospital tomorrow morning at 8am to meet with the lactation consultant to work with the girls. So, not long to sleep for me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our hearts are beating a little faster now.

Reagan is now 3 pounds 1 oz! Slow down girl! I don't think we're ready for you to come home. Well, of course we want Reagan to come home, but you know...all these, "We're not ready..." thoughts are coming into our heads. Leslie and I are totally in "go mode" right now. I'm all frantic trying to get the house in order for the babies to come home, now because the way things have been going, it seems more of a reality now than ever. And the funny thing is, it's not like I'm worrying about getting their room in order. I'm so mixed up and happy-frantic that I'm telling myself I've got to clean out the attic and stuff like that which really won't affect our preparedness for the twins being comfortable at home. Anyway, I guess I just feel like if I ever want to get anything done, I better do it now. Okay....so to more info on the girls.

Cameron is doing just dandy. They started her back on food today. We forgot to ask how much she weighs. She's still not in the same room as Reagan. The docs are waiting for a room to open up. Reagan had a bath tonight, which wore her out too much to drink out of a bottle. Leslie and I are going up to see the babes tomorrow, and we'll get to hold them too.

Back In the Saddle

This morning at 5 am I called to check on the girls and heard that Reagan was doing better and had resumed all of her feedings through the NG tube but they decided not to feed her with the bottle because she was still so tired. Cameron woke up and they took her off of the ventilator straight to room air. She was doing great. She did have some tummy troubles and they ended up having to do a belly x-ray but that seems to be resolved now and they have resumed her feeds as of this afternoon. Cameron is still in the NICU but the doctors want for her to be back in the TCN as soon as possible. It may happen today...it depends on bed space because there are a limited number of beds in the TCN. Both girls met with different therapists today and Cameron has grown quite a bit in the last week but was still pretty sleepy from her busy couple of days. I do not yet know how Reagan's went because her nurse has not been available when I have called today. I am hoping to hear soon.

The Lord willing, tomorrow should be the glorious day that both Mommy and Daddy get to go and hold and see the girls again after a long time away. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I have even been planning my outfit - as if it matters but that is how much I am aniticipating this visit. I pray that Aubrey will continue to feel well and that Seth and I would remain symptom free as well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Surgery Update

The girls both had their surgeries and they went well. The surgeon said that we will not know if the surgery was a true success for another couple of weeks. Next Tuesday when he examines them, we want to see that their retinopathy progression has stayed the same and then the next Tuesday we want to see that it has improved. Some babies have to have a second laser treatment. I pray that one is all we needed. When I left the hospital Cameron was still out but they were doing blood work to see if they could wean her ventilator settings. Reagan was beginning to wake up.

On a good note, last night I heard words I never expected to hear - "You know Reagan is going to be ready to come home soon - be sure that you are ready!" I was in complete shock. Reagan drank her whole bottle last night which was a full feeding. They are hoping to begin working on feeding with Cameron by the end of the week (depending on how she recovers from surgery).

Please continue to keep our girls in your prayers as they recover from their busy day today.

Surgeries Today

Well, we got the phone call this morning that both girls are having ROP surgery today. Reagan is having it on one eye and Cameron on both. Reagan will only be sedated for the surgery but Cameron must be intubated and sedated as her ROP is more extensive. I have rushed home to degermify myself so that I can rush off to the hospital to be there. I am not sure if I will be able to see them but just want to be there - I don't know...maybe it is a mom thing. Reagan's should be taking place right now as we speak and Cameron's surgery will take place early afternoon. Please keep the girls in your prayers today and I will update you when I am back home.

Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, March 2, 2009


What a weekend! I truly do believe that we have spent more money on doctor's/hospital visits this month than in our entire lives! It has been crazy! After an emergency room visit yesterday and a 104.8 fever - Aubrey is finally beginning to act like herself again! It was very scary for me as her mom...especially since she has never really run high fevers before. But we are thankful and hopeful that she will be through all of this soon. We are praying that we do not get it as well.

In the meantime, the girls have been doing great! Cameron is back off of the cannula again - the nurse practitioners agreed that she does just as well off of the cannula as she does on it...so why put her on something that she doesn't need. The girls were bathed and weighed last night but her nurse forgot to write it down but I do know that Cameron lost a bit and Reagan gained about 10 grams....so they are relatively the same as last reported. They have added another does of beneprotein (not sure if that is how it is spelled) to Cameron's milk to hopefully help her in gaining and they are hoping to move her to being fed for one hour and then not for three soon (like a typical baby feeding schedule). Today both girls are being seen by the speech therapist. Last night Reagan drank 22mL of her feed orally!!!Yippee!!!! And when I called today, the speech therapist was feeding her while I spoke to the nurse and she was already at 15mL. I don't know when Cameron will begin to work on bottle feeding but I don't think they will do that until she transitions to the new feeding schedule. I have been told that we have now reached the point where Reagan will begin to work on feeding with Mom and the lactation consultants. I am so excited and eager for us to be symptom free and fever free (I still have a cough and a runny nose!) Last night the nurse said that both girls about 15 min. apart starting having some decent desats and crying loudly. She went to check on them and each one had made it all the way out of their blankets from being swaddled and had moved themselves all the way down to the bottom of their incubators! I guess they made a plan together and executed it to keep the nurse on her toes!

The girls will have their eyes checked tomorrow by the pediatric opthamologist. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We are All Tired!

Poor Aubrey had a rough night sleeping last night and had very high fevers of around 103 or so for most of the night. She would wake up sweating and then wake up cold. This is another new lesson in being a mom - because I have never had to do this before with her and it is so hard because you are virtually helpless - which we have felt a lot lately both with our baby at home and our ones in the NICU. So, last night the girls both gained weight - Cameron 2 ounces and Reagan 1. So I believe that puts them at 2 lbs. 14 oz. and 2 lbs. 6 ounces. This was a very big gain for Cameron and they think it might be a fluke so they told us to wait until tonight's weigh in before we count on that big of a number. Cameron was placed back on the nasal cannula last night as well - I guess she needed a little rest as well. Her heart rate has gone down a little bit since they have done that as well. The nurse last night said that Cameron is not showing signs of dehydration - which is also good. Reagan was very sleepy last night as well and did not want to wake up and bottle feed last night - she only drank 4 mL of a bottle last night and did not seem into it I guess.

So, I guess by all accounts each of the Carter girls are pooped! They are all tired and needing some rest right now. I hope that the girls will perk up some today. Seth has had to take milk out again so that they don't run out in the big snow storm they are calling for today! We'll see if it actually happens. But we would prefer that the girls get mom's milk not donor milk - so off to the hospital he has gone. The nurse said that she would try to hold the girls up for Seth so he can see them since he cannot go in now because of Aubrey's fever. I am hoping that they might be able to do that for us for Aubrey one day soon so she can finally see her baby sisters. Yesterday I asked the nurse if they were the smallest babies in the TCN and she said yes they were the smallest that she knew of. But she also said that they are perfect TCN babies - they are doing all that they should be...they just happen to be really small.