Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Fun in the Tub

Jason and I were able to give the triplets baths this weekend. We expected to do a sponge bath with each, but the nurse filled up the tub and let us have at it! I was surprised that it was okay to have each of them out in the open air, while being wet, but now that they have gained weight it was alright for the short amount of time.

Ellery cooperated at first, but quickly realized that this really wasn’t that much fun.

Gianna slept through most of the bath.

Easton squirmed the entire time!

Ellery continues to do well with her feedings. They have okayed her to try a bottle twice a day (once during each nurse shift). On average she is drinking about a third to a half of her bottle. On Friday, she drank a whole bottle. It takes a lot out of her though, so it is important for her to build her stamina. Easton seems to have had less D-SAT episodes over the past few days, so we are hoping that he is growing out of them. D-SAT and apnea episodes continue to hinder Gianna’s progress. She also continues to go back and forth between needing the nasal (oxygen) cannula and being able to go without this additional help. We are hoping that she too will soon begin to grow out of the D-SAT/apnea episodes!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How Lucky I Am To Have So Much To Lose

This was the heading that popped up when I opened my hotmail account on Valentine’s Day (on It has stuck in my head over the past few days and given me a lot to think about. I don’t think I could say it better. I truly believe that I am one of the luckiest people. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful and healthy children, amazing family, dedicated friends, support from strangers… I couldn’t ask for anything more! Thank you to everyone who takes time out of their day to think of us! I can only wish that everyone was as lucky as I :)

The triplets continue to plug along. Not a whole lot is new. The doctors have given us the okay to try a bottle once or twice a day with each one of them. There are some stipulations though – they have to be completely awake (on their own) and free of D-SATS and apneas (A D-SAT occurs when the oxygen in their blood stream dips down and apnea is a long pause in their breathing). Gianna and Easton are both known for having both of these (the doctor has reassured us that they both should grow out of this). I was able to feed Ellery the other day, and she took half of her bottle – great start! She really doesn’t have a whole lot of interest though. We will keep trying. All three are free of IV’s, and Easton has been free of breathing help for at least a week now. Gianna has been on a nasal cannula for the last few days. This just helps pump a steady flow of oxygen directly into her nose. It is on the lowest setting at this point. All three continue to gain weight also. Overall, they continue to do very well and are right where they need to be.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers! We are truly blessed!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Timeline?

We met yesterday with Dr. DeJonge. In his best guestimate, the babies may be ready to come home as early as three weeks from now – THREE WEEKS FROM NOW! Yes, that added a little stress to our list of to do’s. In order to come home the babies need to be able to do three things: keep their body temperature in an open air crib, not have apnea/DeSat issues, and be able to drink on their own (not using the tube) for 48 hours straight. More likely than not, they will not all come home at the same time because of these requirements. They do not need to meet a certain weight, although developmentally most babies need to be around four pounds to maintain their temperature. The doctor is very pleased with their overall health and believes that they will continue to be healthy. They are gaining weight each day, which is essential for them to be able to do the above three things.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Closed!!!

The doctors ordered another scan of Gianna’s heart yesterday. We found out today that her PDA has indeed closed – we couldn’t be happier! Thank you to everyone who prayed for this!

All three continue to do extremely well. They are all gaining weight now. Gianna has surpassed her birth weight (3.1), and now weighs 3 pounds 4 ounces. Easton is one ounce short of his birth weight at 2 pounds 11 ounces. Ellery is our petite little girl. She is 2 pounds 9 ounces, also one ounce less then her birth weight.

Tomorrow afternoon we have our first sit down meeting with Dr. DeJonge (he was the neonatologist who was there for the delivery). He will go over how the last week and a half has gone, but further more will tell us what to expect in the upcoming weeks before we return home. We are looking forward to this discussion and will let you know if there is any new news.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Three's Not a Crowd (Yet!)

From left to right: Ellery, Gianna, Easton

Much to our delight, we were able to ‘hold’ all three of the triplets at the same time today. The nurses pushed Easton and Gianna’s incubators close together, and put Ellery on a movable monitor. Easton and Gianna were both oxygen free, which made this a much easier task. With his legs kicked up on a recliner and pillows on his lap, they placed all three babies on Jason’s lap. He was in heaven (and they looked like they felt the same way!). Easton and Gianna slept almost the entire time. Ellery was a hoot to watch – she kept peeking over at Gianna as if to say ‘Hey, I thought I got rid of you!’ I was able to hold them on my lap as well. It was neat to see how much they really do look alike, and what features are very different.

Unfortunately, we forgot our camera today. The nurse took a digital picture for us. We have tried to scan it in.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gianna's Progress

So sorry! The time gets away from me.

They did find a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) during Gianna’s heart scan. A PDA is a heart problem that is usually noted in the first few weeks or months after birth. All babies are born with a connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. While babies develop in the uterus, it was not necessary for blood to circulate through the lungs because oxygen was provided through the placenta. In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open after birth and becomes a problem. They found that Gianna’s PDA is small to moderate in size. The doctor started her on one round of Ibuprofen. They will continue this for three days. If they still detect the PDA after a few days, they will do another round. If this does not work, there is one more medication but it has increased side effects. If the PDA is still there, they would then consider surgery. The doctor and nurses who have listened to her heart in the past few days have not heard the murmur, so we are hoping that it is beginning to close! Please continue to pray for this to close! We know that this is common in preemies, and twice as likely to happen in girls than boys.

Ellery is still doing very well. Gianna and Easton are both off of the CPAP, but are on oxygen. If they continue to need this, they would consider putting them both back on the CPAP. This helps to build their stamina for breathing.

Thank you again for your continued support! We will update you as soon as we have more information.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Movin' On Up

This afternoon the triplets were moved from the NICU to NIM! The NICU area is for intensive care, babies who are at high risk for health issues. The NIM is part of the same floor, but is the intermediate area. Babies are still at risk, but have stabilized and continue to do well. The team of nurses and doctors remains the same. Babies should be maintaining weight, tolerating feedings, breathing room air or with a CPAP, and have at the most have a picc line. Ellery and Easton are both on room air, and Gianna is using the CPAP at the lowest setting. The babies take up one wall of the pavilion (it sounds a lot fancier then it really is). Once they begin to gain weight and gain comfort with feedings, they may possibly be moved to a smaller room in the NIM, where it would just be the three of them. The difficulty with this is that they won't move one without the others (thank goodness!) and the chances of a small room being ready for all three is pretty slim at this time.

The nurses have suspected that Gianna has a heart murmur (a vessel in her heart that usually closes within the first days after birth). They think it is probably closing, but wanted to double check with an x-ray today. We should know the results tomorrow. We pray that it is closing! It is very common for preemies to have this. There are a few medicines that are used to try and close the opening. If they do no work, the next option would be surgery. We can only hope for the best.

We are absolutely stunned by the amazing gains that all three babies have made over the last week! We would have never dreamed that we would have such relatively healthy triplets. We can only attribute this to all of the prayers, and the amazing people who work on the neonatal floor! Thank you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Name Game

I have had several questions about the triplet’s names. Many of you know that I love names with a story or connection behind it. My dad’s name is Joel, hence my name, Joel-ee. I have always appreciated that my name was a little different. Here is a little insight into where their names came from.

Ellery Dorion – Jason’s grandmother’s names were Elsie and Lillie. Ellery is the closest combination of the two names that we could come up with. My grandmother’s names were Doris and Marion, so Dorion is a combination of their names (my middle name is also Dorion).

Gianna Abigail – (pronounced: jee-on-uh) My grandfather’s name was Eugene, and my great grandmother’s name was Giovannina (pronounced: Jo-va-nina). Gianna was similar to both of these names – and an ‘ode to my Italian heritage. My sister’s name is Abigail.

Easton Michael – Easton was the boy name that we had when we were pregnant for Quin. It is the only name that has nothing to do with our families. Jason is a big hockey fan, and Easton is a sporting equipment brand. Jason’s dad’s name was Michael. He passed away a few years ago, and is missed dearly. We know he is watching over all three of our miracles.

Well what about Quin Ellen’s name then? My maiden name is Aquino, so if you take the ‘a’ and the ‘o’ off, you are left with Quin (that is why it is spelled with only one ‘n’). Both Jason’s mom and my mom share the middle name Ellen.

Today’s Update – All three are still doing really well! Jason and I were both able to hold Easton and Gianna today for the very first time! It was a treat for all four of us. They are both on CPAP still, but much more stable than earlier, making it easier to hold them. Ellery is her same ol’ self – hanging in there, doing fabulous on her own!

I also wanted to thank all of you who have emailed or called! I promise that I will try to return calls/emails as soon as possible! With spending our days at the hospital and our nights with Quin, it gives me a small window of time. I will get on top of it all as soon as possible. For now, I am enjoying my time with all four children :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Free At Last

After spending 50 days in Hotel Spectrum, I have finally been freed. They have dared to let me out. Can’t you just picture me doing my happy dance! The best way to describe my feelings is bitter-sweet.

After spending over 7 weeks with the same revolving group of women, I feel as if I know them and we became friends. I feel very connected to many of the wonderful nurses, and it makes me sad that I will not have the daily interaction with them. I couldn’t have asked for more kind and caring nurses! It is nice to know that I can visit with them at any time, since I will still go to the NICU on a daily basis. I also volunteered to go back if needed. They sometimes ask ‘old’ patients to come back and speak with some of the new patients when needed (because they are in the same situation, can relate in some fashion…). It was also very comforting to me to know that I was in the same building as the triplets. I could go down and visit with them any time I wanted. My time with them will now be mainly limited to the day time, when Quin is at daycare. I felt very mixed emotions about leaving the hospital five days after having my babies, without them. Obviously, I have always known that this was going to be the way I would leave (with them at the NICU), but it is still very difficult on an emotional level.

As much ‘bitter’ as I felt today, it was also mighty sweet. To see Quin in her environment, not my hospital room, was priceless. I can’t describe the feelings of joy I have now that I am able to spend quality time with her at home where she knows me best. I can already tell that she is pushing her limits with me to see if things have changed, but she was also very lovey-dovey with me tonight. She doesn’t usually stop moving until she falls asleep. She was still her busy-body self, but would all of a sudden stop, look at me, hold her hands up with outstretched arms saying ‘mommy, mommy’ wanting a hug. How much better could my homecoming be! I am excited to sleep in my own bed, wake up at my own house, and take a shower in my own bathroom.

I will probably continue to describe the next few months as bitter-sweet. Although we will be exhausted once the triplets come home, it is definitely something to look forward to.

Jason and I spent a large amount of our time today with the triplets. They continue to do well! Today was Easton’s lucky day. They took him off of the ventilator, and put him back on the CPAP. When we left, both he and Gianna were breathing well on the CPAP. All three are also off of the bililight, for the time being. They will continue to do blood tests to make sure their levels are normal. All three are being fed breast milk through a tube that goes directly into their stomach. It isn’t necessarily for nutrition at this time. It is called ‘gut-priming’. Basically the milk is telling their intestines that eventually it will be coming ‘through the pipes’. In order to introduce good bacteria to their intestines, the breast milk is also mixed with pro-biotics (similar to that Activia yogurt). They do not have a suck-swallow reflex yet. They are given nutritional supplements through an IV.

We are cautiously optimistic about their progress. We know not to bank on all of their progress. We are continuing to make good strides, but know we are in this for the long haul. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

NICU, Day 4 - And so they meet!

Today was Quin’s long awaited debut at the NICU. She was so excited to see her new sisters and brother. She has been working on saying Ellery and Easton’s names as they are a bit easier for her to say than Gianna. She was very interested to see the babies, and attempted to kiss them each. Once we brought Quin to each of their isolates, she could only say “more babies”. The nursery has 8 babies total in the room and Quin wanted to peak at all of them. Of course, 3 babies are enough for mommy and daddy. As soon as they come home, I am sure she will change her tune and want us to bring them back.

Gianna has been doing great with her breathing, so they actually took her off the ventilator and back on the CPAP. They did this while we were there this morning, so we were able to see her face for the first time without the hoses/tubes. Here is a picture that we were able to snap after they took out the ventilator, and before putting the CPAP back on.

Easton is still doing well on his ventilator and was taken off his bililight. This gave us one of our first opportunities to see his eyes.

Ellery continues to be the champ. She may be the smallest, but is still breathing on her own.

Joelee will be discharged tomorrow (Monday). We will spend most of the day in the NICU with the triplets, but look forward to going home to spend some much needed time with just the three of us!