Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One down, one to go

Just a quick update-- the great news is the Jack was able to come home with us yesterday. He is doing really well and eating the way he is supposed to. We were surprised at how quickly he could come home, especially since he is still under 5lbs (4lbs 13oz as of today). He seems to be adjusting pretty well to the chaos of our home. Mairead could not care less that he is here. But she does NOT want him to have a bottle. She is fine with us holding him and his being here, but when he is eating, she yells, "NO!," and tries to take the bottle away.

She is recovering from her ear infection, but is still a little cranky. Jen came down today to play with her, so Mairead loved that, of course. Thanks, Jen!

Ben is doing great- he had a huge breakthrough last night. He is supposed to eat 60ml of milk every 4 hours, but he has been eating 15, 20, etc. They give him the rest through a feeding tube. But, last night, he ate all 60ml for me! This morning, he at 58 of the 60 at 9am, and 40 at 1pm. He was also much more alert than he has been. I am hoping that we are really making progress and that he joins his brother soon.

It is really hard to have Ben at the hospital because Dave and I are trying to divide our time between all of our kids, and that is very difficult when they are not in one place. Also, I feel so bad for Ben that he is away from his brother! Let's hope that motivates him to come home soon. We'll post more updates soon- thanks!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Update

Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging since the boys were born. We know that we are very lucky to have our three beautiful and healthy children. We have more than most people could ask for, and if we focus on the positive, we see how truly lucky we are. Also, during times of stress like this, we see how many amazing friends and family members we have who are instantly ready to help us out in any way they can. It's easy to take friends and family for granted, and we want to thank you all for being there for us.

The boys looked great this morning. They are both wearing real pajamas and they look adorable in them. Jack is up to 4lbs 11 oz and Ben is 5lbs 1oz. Ben just has 2 more ounces to go before getting back to his birth weight. He still has his feeding tube- I think he likes getting food that way. His belly is full and he doesn't have to do any work to get it. Both of them have good bilirubin levels, so their jaundice is pretty much gone. They are a nice color- that orangey tint is gone.

These pictures are from last night when Dave and I spent time with both boys. The first picture is Jack getting some quality time with Daddy. Dave did have a chance to hold both boys on his chest (kangarooing, the nurses call it) for a long time, so that was nice for all three of my guys. He looks so tiny in this picture!

And here's Ben in his 'big boy' pajamas. He looks so cute in them- even if they are still too big! They are also really comfy and soft.

Mairead is feeling better today after her sleepover at Nana's last night. I really missed having her here, though. The house was so quiet! I guess we had better not get used to that! Thanks, again, to all of you who have been so supportive. We can't wait for all of you to meet our boys!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Update

When Mairead was in the NICU, we did not take any pictures- I felt that I did not want to remember those moments. But now that she is older, I wish that I had taken pictures for two reasons. 1- there are no pictures of the first week of her life. I have the first day, and then about Day 10. I feel like I missed something. 2- She has come so far since those first few days, and she is truly a miracle. I think that looking at pictures might help her to see just how much she overcame and how amazing she is. So, I did take a few of the boys for those same reasons.

This is Ben in his sunbathing pose under the bili lights-- the lights are now off and he will be out of the incubator soon.

Jack is the tiniest baby I have ever held (now all the way back up to 4lbs 9oz), and he is just about the cutest, too (with his brother right there, too! After all, they ARE identical).

I am taking a break from the hospital right now so I have a few minutes to update you on the boys' progress. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive- it is a really tough time for us, but we are getting through it.

First, our eldest son--Jack is a superstar! The doctor told me that they had no idea he would do this well. He is eating way about his minimums and is now just above his birth weight. All newborns lose weight, of course, but losing too much is dangerous no matter how big the baby is. Losing too much when you are only 4 and a half pounds is very scary! But, he is doing SO well. He is in a regular crib now and his feeding tube has come out. We are so proud of our little guy!

Ben is doing great, too. His color is great and he is making strides very day. He is not eating as well as Jack, and he is not quite at his birthweight yet, but he is much better than he was and he looks awesome. His jaundice is gone and by tonight, he will be back in a regular crib, too. He still needs the feeding tube because he gets pretty sleepy while he is eating. He just likes to be comfy and fall asleep whenever someone is holding him, and this is not conducive to getting a lot of food into him.

The great thing about them getting over their jaundice is that we can hold them more often and for longer periods. This morning, I got to hold both of them together for a long time-- it was awesome. Dave will be able to do this at the 5pm feeding, and he is really looking forward to that.

The only negative is that it is pretty much guaranteed that Jack will be coming home before Ben. This happens a lot with twins, but it breaks my heart to think of them being separated. Jack should come home after a few more days, but we don't really have an ETA for Ben because he needs to eat better than he is. I can't wait until they are home together and we can really start our life as a family of five.

Our poor daughter, in the meantime, has her very first ear infection. I know, it was only a matter of time, but the timing is just awful. I feel so bad that I can't be with her all the time, and when I am with her, I can't pick her up or hold her. My mom has been awesome about taking care of her, and tonight Mairead will have a sleepover at Nana's. She is starting antibiotics, so I hope they help her to feel better soon. So tonight, Dave and I will be alone in the house, despite the fact that we have three young children. It's very strange- - we want our house to be filled with kids soon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Update

Hello all- the boys are doing really well. I don't have any new pictures, but I will try to take some soon. Mostly, I concentrate on feeding them and trying to get some rest. Feeding them takes a very long time, so it is a time consuming job.

Jack is doing awesome- he is eating more than his minimum requirement, and he even tried breastfeeding today. It took a lot out of him, but he did great. He is also not as jaundiced anymore, and will be out of the incubator by tomorrow! He will still be in Special Care with his brother, but he will be in a regular bed and we can hold him for as long as we want.

Ben will slowly be weaned from the incubator tomorrow, as long as he keeps eating. He is a little more sleepy than Jack, so eating is more of a chore for him. He is getting there, though! He did great tonight at 5, especially after a few minutes of cuddling with Jack and Daddy.

I have been discharged and won't stay at this hospital this time. Mairead needs me, too, so I can't stay away for that long. I have to say, though, that there is pretty much nothing worse than coming home from the hospital with no babies. All of you moms and dads should give your little ones an extra hug tonight, just because you can!

I am home for a few hours, then I'll go back to do the 11pm feeding. Tomorrow, I'll spend the day hanging around the hospital waiting to hold and feed them. The unfortunate thing is that since I had a section, I can't drive, so I can't just run back and forth to the hospital. And, Mairead is sick, so my mom has been great enough to take care of her, which means my mom can't drive me back and forth all day.

It is a really tough time for our family right now, but we are hanging in there. We have three beautiful children who are doing great, and we are excited to have them all together. We will keep you posted!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Update and more pictures

First, a few pictures! In this one, they are only about an hour old, so they are still very swollen. Ben is on the left and Jack on the right.

Quality time with Nana

Meeting My Nana for the first time

Big Sister handing out bottles of formula

Jack and Grandma
First family photo- They had given me about 5 liters of fluid so I was as swollen as the babies were... fun times

Me and my boys- Jack in the white hat and Ben in green.

Meeting Nana and Grampy at less than an hour old.

Thanks to all of you who have congratulated us on our boys-- they are amazing and we are thrilled! They are doing really well, especially for 35 weekers. They have had a few issues with feeding, though, so as a precaution, they are both in the NICU right now. It is really hard on us and I am disappointed because I thought I might actually get to have them the whole time, but we are trying to keep them from losing weight. Actually, the fact that they didn't have to go there right away was surprising since they were so early. Anyway, they are doing well there. Jack is eating like a champ all on his own. Ben is a little lazy and needs help, so he does have a feeding tube.
I am able to feed each one, and whatever Ben needs to supplement, he gets through the tube. We don't know how long we will be here, but we know that we won't be home on Tuesday. I am hoping to bring them both home at the same time, but we'll have to see how Ben does. Dave and I are both focusing on the the positives of how well our preemies are doing, but being a NICU mom is no fun. I thought we had our share of NICU time with Mairead, but every time I have a baby, they seem to end up there! The nurses are awesome, though, so I know they are in good hands.I'll keep posting updates to let you know how they are doing. Thanks so much for checking in with us!

They're Here!

Mairead is thrilled to announce the arrival of her two baby brothers- Jack David and Benjamin Brian Hickok. The boys were born via c-section on Friday, March 6 at 12:08 and 12:09m p.m. They are both beautiful and healthy- especially for being born at 35 weeks and 2 days! Jack is 4lbs 9oz and Ben is 5lbs 3 oz, with Jack at 17 1/2 inches and Ben an even 18. So far they are doing great. They did not need any assistance breathing and did not go to the NICU after delivery. All of the doctors keep telling us how impressed they are with these little guys and how they can't believe they didn't need any help. We are pretty impressed, too! The doctor who delivered them called them 'rock stars' because they are hanging out in the regular nursery with the big kids.

They are being monitored very closely, of course, and just about an hour ago, the doctors decided that they do need to go to the Special Care Nursery. Each of them has lost a few ounces, and they ARE eating, but it takes them a long time and they are using all of their energy, so they need to be on feeding tubes (nasal, not abdominal) for a little bit. They will be there at least 24 hours, maybe more, and it is doubtful that we will all be home on Tuesday. But, we know that they are in good hands, and this is to be expected of preemies. We were hoping that they wouldn't have to take them, but we do understand. We want them to be good, healthy eaters when they get home. I just wish that every time I had a kid, they didn't have to be in the NICU!

Mairead was not at all interested in them at first- probably because her aunts were also visiting at the time and they are much more fun- especially when they let you run down the hospital hallways. Yesterday, though, when no one else was here, she was more curious. She wanted to touch their toes a lot, and brought Jack's little bootie over to him to put on his toes. I know she doesn't really grasp the concept of what is going on, but I think she will do well with these guys.

I will post more details later about our crazy day on Friday, but I just wanted to let everyone know that we are all doing great. I have a few pictures to upload, and we will definitely keep you posted on the boys' weights and how they do in the NICU. Thanks, everyone!