Saturday, January 31, 2009

NICU - Days 2 & 3

It is important for me to remind myself each day about the ups and downs that will be common in this experience. Things are still going well for all three, but we have experienced some tense moments the past 48 hours. Especially this afternoon with Gianna. After we finished spending some “care taking” time with Ellery, we moved across the room to do the same for Easton. As we were finishing up and planning to move towards Gianna, we heard plenty of beeps from monitors and noticed a flurry of nurses coming to her aid. Words can’t describe the emotion I felt….but for those of you who know me well, I am very protective of those close to me. I could hear what was going on, but did not want to see. As in typical fashion with our amazing nurses, Easton’s nurse realized our concern and quickly drew our attention back on Easton. She described some of the next steps in his progress and ensured we were focused on him at that moment. Then she calmly let us know what was going on with Gianna and that she would be fine. Gianna, our diva, was not having anymore of her ventilation tube. She actually managed to pull the tube out of her mouth on her own. As if to say....”mommy and daddy, enough with Ellery and Easton…it’s all about me!”

The Nurse Practitioner put a new ventilator in, but this time it is in her nose. It was difficult to capture photos of her before, now it is extremely difficult. If their was any question before on who’s who….not any longer.

This was just one part of the rollercoaster today….some great things are happening too. Just after lunch, the nursery room nurses decided to re-arrange all the incubators so that the triplets could be in the same area. This was very much appreciated, especially as Easton was previously on the complete opposite end of the room from his sisters. They are also taking in some much needed rays… with most preemies, all three are under lights to treat jaundice.

Here are just a few pictures that we would like to share.

Mommy and Ellery
Ellery Dorion

Gianna Abigail

Easton Michael
Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers!
The Sizemore 6

Friday, January 30, 2009

NICU - Day 1

What a journey this has been and will continue to be. However, all things are in Gods hands and the angels he has provided at Spectrum Hospital. We are blessed to have all these specialists involved through Devos Children’s Hospital and the NICU.

Below is a snapshot of how we reached “NICU – Day 1” to update you on the babies, along with pictures.

At 12:20am on Thursday (which was 20 minutes into our 30 week goal) Joelee was awoken by a swift kick and then felt the “gush” of her water breaking. It was time for Ellery to make more room for herself! The resident and nurses came in to check on things and Joelee was fully dilated to 10cm. The only option now was how quickly they could move her down to the Labor and Delivery Floor and how many doctors they could line up for the emergency C-section.

Joelee called me at 12:28am to let me know what was going on and find out how soon I could get there. By 12:30am, Joelee was prepped for surgery and the doctor’s were trying to hold off as long as possible for my arrival. I was able to make it to the hospital in 15 minutes from Zeeland, however I was a little late to see them born. Due to the concern that Joelee was going to go into “natural” labor, they started the C-section. In my absence, we were blessed with an amazing Anesthesiologist. He kept Joelee calm and well informed of the entire procedure (while wearing a Detroit Red Wings surgical cap!). I was able to get scrubbed in and see all 3 babies before they were taken to the NICU. We stayed in the recovery room for a few hours while they were monitoring Joelee. At about 3:30am, we were able to visit the babies in the NICU for our fist visit and an update on their health. As you will see by the pictures, we have only been able to hold Ellery as Gianna and Easton are both being assisted with breathing equipment.

Ellery Dorion Sizemore – born at 12:58 am, 2 pounds 10oz, 16 inches long

Ellery is our “determined” one. She is the smallest of the three, but has all the determination. She has been breathing on her own since birth.

Gianna Abigail Sizemore – born at 12:59 am, 3 pounds 1 oz, 15 inches long

Gianna is our “diva”. She has big, swift movements and holds diva-like poses, as if to say 'whoa is me'. She was put on the CPAP just after birth and was put on a ventilator last night. She has Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), which is common for preemies born before 34 weeks. RDS is basically a lack of surfactant, which keeps the small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. The ventilator helps to keep the lungs open without her having to work so hard.

Easton Michael Sizemore – born at 1:00 am, 2 pounds 12oz, 15 ½ inches long

Easton is our “whimpy” one. According to our doctor, boy preemies are more likely to have lung issues than girls. I like to think that he is just taking one for the team…..and doing what he can to make his sisters feel better, realizing at a very early age he is the youngest and only boy. Easton also has RDS and has been on a ventilator since last night.

We have taken many more pictures today and will post these tomorrow, along with another update. Ellery received her first bath….so look forward to some fun pictures!

Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers!
The Sizemore 6

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our 3 Tiny Miracles Have Arrived!

We are excited to announce the arrival of our 3 little miracles. Ellery Dorion (2 lbs. 10oz.), Gianna Abigail (3 lbs. 1 oz), and Easton Michael (2 lbs. 12oz). All three seem to be healthy; however the next 3 days are critical for them. Ellery is breathing on her own, and we were able to hold her. Gianna and Easton are both on CPAP, which will help their lungs with breathing.

Joelee is recovering from the C-section and hopes to be able to visit the babies in the morning. We will provide more frequent updates and pictures once we get through these next 3 days.

Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Request E-Mail Updates

I think it is working! If you would like to request/receive email updates, type your email address in the box to the right. According to the Feedburner website when we post you will get an email showing our latest post, when we don't post you won't get an email. I was trying to avoid a site that would fill your email with 'other' stuff. I hope it is more of a help than a hassle!

Thank you to Andrea for her website help. While working through the direction there, I also found

I am slowing down, but still hanging in here! Tomorrow will make the babies 30 weeks! Yay!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Question For All Of You

Happy Monday! Things are still the same here. Not a single thing to report. I continue to feel like every day is a blessing, and am in utter amazement that I am still hanging out here, incubating these babies. I have been here for just over six weeks.

I do have a question for all of you. I am so un-savvy when it comes to all of the extras on blogs. I would like to set up a system of some sort that people could sign up for updates to our blog. I feel bad for those of you who check often, yet there is nothing new. I know when we have had friends who have used CarePages, I entered my email address and every time the families’ CarePage was updated I received an email. Does anyone know if there is a way to do this with a blog? If you do, please email me or leave a comment with the website. I should be able to figure it out from there. The easier the better though! Thanks.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Little Q & A (29 wks)

We are up to 29 weeks! Amazing! Our next goal is 30 weeks, which is another big milestone for the babies.

After comparing notes, Jason and I have figured out that some of the same questions are asked when we both talk with people. We don’t mind answering them by any means. But, for those of you who we do not talk to on a regular basis, I thought I would post some of the answers. It is another long winded post, so please skip over what you already know!

Is Joelee bored yet? I really have kept myself very busy. I figured that I would have to be here near the end of my pregnancy, so I had put aside many projects that I knew I could complete. I have finished all but two. I have also read a ton of magazines (I love to read magazines – thank you to everyone who has sent them), have watched more TV than ever before, am reading a book, have kept a journal, talked a lot on the phone, and am very thankful to have a laptop here. They also have me on a schedule of monitoring, and there are always meals to look forward to. My family also visits often. I am such a busy body, so I thought it would be much more difficult than it really is. I am trying to take in as much ‘calm time’ as I can - My thought is that this is the calm before the storm!

How is the food at the hospital? It isn’t as bad as you would think. I would even go as far as to say it is good. After a few weeks of eating it, it has gotten old though. The dietary aide has been super helpful in talking to the kitchen about changing some items or coming up with new options. When I think I can’t eat another bite from the hospital menu, Jason, my parents and my friend Meagon bring me just what I am craving. I will say that I am eating a much more rounded diet than I was at home – so that is good!

Is Joelee huge? Uncomfortable? Yes and yes. I certainly feel big, but according to everyone who comes to visit, I am not. I am much larger than I was with Quin at 38 weeks, and I have to remind people that I just entered the third trimester. I can only imagine how round I will be if I make it to 34 weeks! I am growing more uncomfortable by the day! I have back issues when I am not pregnant, which only become worse when I am. The weight of my belly and the fact that I am laying in bed all day on a crummy mattress doesn’t help. I try to remind myself often that it is all short term. I also do not plan on posting any belly pics (although we have taken them), unless I make it so far along that I just look bizarre!

Is Joelee going back to work? I will not be returning this school year. I love teaching – I feel like it is a huge part of who I am, and cannot imagine my life without it! As far as when I will return really depends on the babies and their health. It will also depend on daycare – I would have to find just the right person to come and take care of all four of my babies! I love, love, love the daycare that Quin goes to now, but to bring all four kids there would cost more than my paycheck each week :{ Time will tell on this one!

Is Jason taking time off? If Jason does take time off, it would be after the babies come home from the hospital. There are so many unknowns! If they each come home separately, there will be more time to adjust. If they come home 2/1 or all three at the same time, I am sure I will need his help (if not for at least a week).

How is Jason?
Here is Jason’s response: I often think of a statement I told Joelee within weeks of her coming to the hospital, “I don’t know how single moms do it. Working full time, taking care of the house duties, and most importantly….caring for a 22 month old.” I have always been involved with these things, but it is much easier with Joelee around to help. Of course, I have not been able to do this all alone and I graciously appreciate all of you that have helped me along the way. Especially offering me a chance for a couple hours of “free time” on the weekends and sending dinners. I have enjoyed my extra time with Quin and we surely do have a great bond. She and I are now entering the “potty training” phase. I have been spending my 5 free minutes a day reading a book I recently received as a gift. I would recommend this book to all fathers with daughters; Strong Fathers Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker. Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and blessings! Although this situation can be stressing and difficult at times for me, I have the easy part in all of this. It is difficult to express how wonderful Joelee has been through this. Her strength and love for our family (including the trips) is truly inspiring. It is a blessing from the Lord and all the angels that touch our lives daily!
Joelee’s response: Who does he think he is fooling??? I think that his half of the deal is much more difficult than mine, and he is doing a great job! Potty training?!?! Yeah, hopefully he accomplishes that one before the triplets are born :) One less in diapers, I say hooray!

How is Quin? She has held it together the very best a 22 month old can. We do think she may be slowly going down hill. It is so hard for her, mainly because she can’t fully verbalize what it is that she is feeling. We are very lucky that she and Jason have such a close bond, and he is patient with her when she melts down. We have tried to keep her schedule as consistent as possible. She comes to visit on the weekends, and at least once a week. It is wonderful to see her, and I miss her terribly! Being away from her is by far the worst part about bed rest at the hospital. Not that I am looking forward to the babies being in the NICU, but I do think that time will be nice for us to reconnect as our family of three before bringing the babies home.

Do you have names yet? Yes we do, but we aren’t telling :)

How long will the doctor let Joelee go? If I continue to stay stable, he will probably schedule a c-section at 33 weeks. The farthest he would let me carry would be 34 weeks.

Is your bathroom finished? As most of you know, remodeling never goes exactly as planned (especially when you live in a house that is 108 years old). Jason’s brother Jeff and his friend Kelly have been working on and off now for over five weeks (they live over two hours away). It has ballooned into a larger project than first anticipated, but is nearing the end. Or so I am told, maybe just to help lower my blood pressure. They ran out of flooring last week, so the project came to a screeching halt. I think it will be finished after this coming weekend, with the exception of paint (I didn’t choose a color before I left and have to be there to pinpoint exactly what I want). I am excited to see it, and couldn’t be more thankful to Jeff and Kelly for all of their help!

Sorry to bore you if you already knew the answers. If not, I hope that this helped! I have worked on and off on this for a few days, so hopefully it didn't seem too haphazard. Have a wonderful weekend! Joelee (and Jason)

Monday, January 19, 2009

We're Gaining

Our appt. today went well. They checked on the measurements of both the bone structures and internal organs for each baby (all looks healthy). They also said that now that I am in the third trimester, the weight is much more of a guesstimate because space is becoming a premium. Baby A is still very low, and therefore hard to measure. Here are the estimates:
Baby A/girl: 2 pounds 5 ounces
Baby B/girl: 2 pounds 11 ounces
Baby C/boy: 2 pounds 10 ounces

We are thrilled that they continue to gain weight and everything appears to be chuggin’ along at a healthy rate! If you add up all three weights, it is roughly 7 pounds, 10 ounces – plus the weight of each sac, placenta… This weight is much more than Quin’s birth weight of 7 pounds 3 ounces. Jason and I cannot express how happy we are that my body has been able to hold on with this extra weight!

Thanks again for all of your positive thoughts! Enjoy the sun – it is streaming in my windows. Who could ask for more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

28 WEEKS!!!

We have reached what many people around the hospital have referred to as the ‘Golden Week’ – 28 WEEKS! I have made it to the third trimester. Although I had great faith that I would not deliver right away when I was admitted, I only hoped that I could make it this far! I thought I would give you a little information on what the difference ‘theoretically’ between the babies’ development when I first arrived opposed to now (it is a little long winded, so feel free to skip right over it). It is based on information that I have read on reputable websites and from the NICU, and is based on the development of a single baby.

Babies at 23/24 Weeks: Babies at this stage are about 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango). The skin is being produced at a faster pace than the fat, so the skin tends to hang loose, and is thin and translucent. The brain is also growing quickly now. The main lungs are developing branches as well as special cells that produce surfactant needed to inflate the air sacs. Babies who are born prematurely have difficulty breathing as these cells have not had sufficient time to develop or produce enough surfactant. Babies born in this period might have disabilities and would require long-term intensive care as they have difficulty regulating body temperature, possible bleeding in the brain, as well as coping with their breathing due to immature development of the lungs.

Babies at 28 Weeks: By this week, a baby weighs about two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of the head to the heels. The skin is wrinkled but is developing layers of fat under the skin making the baby look a little rounder. Fine downy hair, a protective cover, is enveloping the baby’s body. The baby has opened its eyes by now and the eyebrows and eyelids are well formed. The lungs approach maturity and the respiratory movements are now coordinated and regular. The brain develops further into a more complex organ with grooves and indentations on its surface. The number of brain tissue also increase in this week. The baby’s organs and systems are well developed by now and if born prematurely at this stage the baby can survive if provided intensive, specialized care. Babies born this week, though premature, have an excellent prognosis for survival. Of course, it's still best if a baby doesn't check out of that uterine hotel just yet — there's still a lot of growing and maturing to do over the next 12 weeks. The final two months of gestation are vital for the maturation of the body systems and organs which helps to prepare the baby for a smooth and healthy adjustment outside the womb.

As you can tell, we are not out of the woods yet – but in a much better place/time than we were four and a half weeks ago. I do recognize that this information is general and we won’t know specifically about the triplets until they are born. I do know that we will spend time in the NICU, but the babies will hopefully endure less ‘problems’ because of the additional time that I was able to carry them.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers! We couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

I have a routine ultra sound scheduled for late Monday morning. I will post what we find out as soon as we are back in the room. Have a wonderful weekend! Joelee

Monday, January 12, 2009

Still Here

Just a short update to let you know that I’m still hanging (laying) in here. It is hard to believe that it has been a little over four weeks since I was first admitted to the hospital. It really doesn’t seem like that long! I don’t have anything new to report – which is a great thing. Again, I am looking forward to this Thursday – 28 weeks will be a HUGE milestone for the triplets.

Have a wonderful week! Stay warm! Joelee

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's Thursday!

Yippee – we have made it to 27 weeks! Who would have thunk it :)

When my doctor came in this morning he told me that he would have never bet that I would have made it this long. He also commented that I must have a lot of people praying for me (us) – Thank you to all of you who have helped me get to 27 weeks through prayer!

Earlier in the week, I was given a booster shot of steroids to help the babies’ lungs. It is believed that the initial shots start to wear off after a period of 3-4 weeks, so the booster helps to continue their lung development.

Up until this week, the babies’ heartbeats were checked twice a day through the Doppler, and I was monitored for contractions over a twenty minute time period using a Toco monitor. Now that the babies have grown, they have started to monitor all three babies and my contractions, at the same time, for twenty minutes. Sounds easy, right?!? Baby A is so stuck down into my pelvis, she is pretty easy. Babies B and C like to play hide and seek, so it takes a little bit longer to find and hook them up. I have four separate ‘paddles’ hooked up to my belly all at the same time (one for each baby and one for the contractions). It is quite a sight to see! I feel like one of those potato electricity experiments that are done in elementary school. It is neat to hear all of their heartbeats at the same time, and definitely worth all of the effort. The farther I get, the more monitoring they will do. This helps to make sure that none of the babies are in distress.

Other than that, things are the same. No news is good news. Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Happened to my Little Girl?!?!

First, I am happy to report that I have been at Spectrum for three weeks now! The time has flown by. Given my stats when I arrived, I only dreamed that we could hold off the delivery this long – Thank God! I would love to gain another three weeks!

On a completely different note – I am not quite sure what Jason has done with my little girl! When they came to visit a few days ago he loaded the most recent pictures from our digital camera onto the computer that I have at the hospital (we have all of our pictures saved on this one). A few of the pictures were taken when I was at home on bed rest, but the majority of pictures were taken in the first two and half weeks that I was in the hospital. After they left, I watched the photos in a slideshow and noticed a trend. Here are just two examples of the many that were taken. Do you see what I see?!?!

The Friday after Christmas Quin was all decked out in her Central Michigan gear. At least Jason is having fun with her! I am just happy we are having one boy - cross your fingers he likes sports! :)

Jason has done such a great job balancing all of the extra duties. I couldn’t be more proud. He has a much greater appreciation of what I do when he goes away for business for more than a few days, and a huge appreciation of what single parents do on a daily basis. He is handling it well!

I also died laughing at this one. At least I know Quin is being fed (although I am not sure what kind of table manners she will have by the time I get home). Who doesn’t love to dip their grilled cheese into the tomato soup? I didn’t have to clean up the mess, so why should I care :)

And last, but not least, here is a picture that I took a few days before leaving for the hospital. I think it is adorable!
Have a wonderful week! We will update the blog if things change.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Just a little note to let you all know that I have made it to 26 weeks, and a brand new year! Now that we missed the tax deadline for 2008, I better carry these babies well into 2009 :)

I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! I could see the ‘ball’ that was lit in Grand Rapids from my window. It was far, but I felt like had a small part in the celebrations. For the first time, since probably middle school, I can say that I was in bed by 10:30 on New Year’s Eve – no complaints from me though!

As we welcome the New Year, we are given the hope of new beginnings. May your coming year be full of peace, full of love, full of laughter & full of life. Here’s to health and happiness!

Happy New Year!
Joelee & Jason