Monday, February 28, 2011

Baths and Cuddles...

This past Saturday marked the first week that both boys have been home together and I am very proud to say WE SURVIVED!

We not only survived this first week home, but their first month with us!!!

One Month Old!

Ashton Alan

Aiden James

I never thought that I would say sneaking out of the house to go to Wal-Mart by myself is fun and a nice break! I went from Monday to Saturday without stepping foot outside. We are getting settled into somewhat of a routine. The boys eat about every 3-4 hours which can keep us busy as we are trying to feed them at the same time. I am no longer setting the alarm clock at night to feed them every three hours and they are waking us on their own every four hours. They are doing a great job with their nights. We don't turn on any lights or talk to them and they go right back to sleep! During the day, we make a point to keep it light, lots of talking, cuddling, and swing time so they do sleep well at night.

Another routine we are trying to stick to is bath time. At the hospital, they got baths on Sundays and Wednesdays. We have stuck to this routine for now until we get the hang of it and then we may do it more frequently. It works nice to do it right before bedtime as it wakes them up nicely and they take one last bottle for the day, and they are out for the first half of the night! Ashton does not mind his bath, although there isn't really much that he gets his feathers ruffled for.

Aiden, on the other hand, usually screams while he is in the bath. He is getting better though! Notice the worried look on his face ;)

Another event of the week was their first doctor appointment with Dr. Walker. We were excited for this special day as he was updated on them while they were at the Children's Hospital, but today was the day to meet the best doctor they could have. While Adam went into work in the morning, my mom came over to help me get the boys ready and give me the chance to get ready as well! For this first-time mom, I was pretty excited to take them on their first outing. We dressed them in their cute little outfits... and off to the doctor we went!

Ashton is ALL READY!

So is Aiden!

So... this first-time mom was so excited taking pictures for their first doctor appointment, that I forgot the camera sitting on the counter for the actual appointment! Another first-time mom thing - getting the kids dressed all cute, just to take it all off before the doctor even enters the room! Then to get them all dressed again after the appointment... ugh. We spent more time undressing and dressing than we did with the actual doctor. Zippers and simplicity next time. Convenient over rules cute! ;)

We were looking forward to getting the boys weighed. We were sure we would be celebrating having a six pounder... maybe! Ashton weighed 5 pounds 15 ounces (so close) and Aiden isn't too far behind weighing 5 pounds 8 ounces. They didn't measure their heads or length, but I am curious to how much they have grown in length. We go back in two weeks for another check-up so maybe we will have those measurements after that appointment.

For the remainder of our days, we spend the majority of our time cuddling! I really enjoy my time with both boys as I am in heaven and it is fun to see the boys become more and more aware of each other!

Izzie needs her cuddle time too... She has done really well adjusting to her two brothers!

Cuddle Time. I love it when they find each others hands...

Daddy loves cuddle time too! They could sleep all day on our chests. I wonder if it has to do with all the Kangaroo time we did with them in the hospital???


On Saturday night Aunt Katie and Uncle Nate visited and we ordered Ted's Pizza. They got extra cuddles and loves from Katie. Look at the smile on her face while feeding Aiden!

Also on Saturday, the boys had their second field trip out of the house to get their newborn pictures taken. I was VERY nervous about getting both boys settled in for some cuddle shots and getting them both sleeping at the same time, but they did a great job and I am so excited to see the final shots!

Ashton has found his thumb this week! It is sooo cute... now if both could do it on a consistent basis, I wouldn't be jumping to give them their paci every five minutes ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

This was a HUGE week for the boys! The title says it all, and the week was well documented with pictures. This weeks blog was difficult to start because of all the events and at the end of the week I had 154 pictures to sort through. The events of this weeks will be told through pictures...
First of all, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! The Boys' cupboards were decorated with Valentine's from some pretty special people!

The doctors and nurses were preparing Adam and I for a very difficult week with the possibility of Aiden going home while Ashton had a little more work to do on his feeding. Our biggest challenge was making the transition home with one and not being at the hospitol for the other. Once Aiden left the hospital he could not come back into the intensive care unit due to a possible "community exposure" to any germs (do I have to mention we are right in the flu season). It was determined Aiden would be released on Wednesday. Adam and I both stayed at the hospital with Aiden on Wednesday night with him under our full care. We wanted on last night to cheer Ashton on and work very hard with his feedings.

Before Aiden could get discharged, he had a couple tests to pass. The first on was a 12 hour scan called a MMU. Up until this point he was on a monitor for breathing patterns, heart rate, and oxygen levels. This 12 hour scan is needed for the doctor to see if he was having any "episodes" that would affect any of the three areas. He passed his first test ever given to him! What a smart and strong little guy ;) The next test was the hearing test, which all babies receive. The first was just a probe placed in his ear, the second was actually measuring brain waves. I think he looks pretty cute with his little headphones on (yes, he scratched himself already under his eye...)

The next test to be passed was his car seat test. He had to sit in the car seat for a hour and have no "alarms", again looking at heart rate, breathing patterns, and oxygen levels. He looks like a tiny peanut, but he passed!

With no monitors, wires, and tubes Aiden got to wear some "real" clothes... Dad was dressing him...

He was being SiLLy with his pants on his head and I don't think Aiden really cared! Thanks for such a cute outfit Maureen! It fits perfectly.

He is all ready to go!

The hardest part of most days was leaving the boys at the hospital to get a good nights rest. The day that Aiden went home and we had to leave Ashton all alone was by far the most difficult night. We were ecstatic to be taking Aiden home, but I was a mess having to leave Ashton. At least before he had his brother with him! :(

I rode in the back with him on the way home. A couple times he would hold his breath, grunt or stretch and turn red/purple. After about the third time, I quite freaking out.

He slept all the way home, and his little cheeks vibrated along the road.

There was one little special friend that couldn't wait to meet the boys! Izzie was very excited to see Adam and I, but at the same time very curious to what we were bringing in the house. She is very cautious around the boys, pays attention to their squeaks and squawks, and follows me into their room for changing time. The first and second night, she would follow me up for feedings, but after that decided to stay in bed! I don't blame her...

Another very special person waiting to meet Aiden (and Ashton) was Mikayla. She visited while they were in the cities, but children are not allowed in the NICU.

Next, it was Ashton's turn to pass all his tests! His tests were ordered for Thursday knowing we were also still working on his oral feedings. At this point he was still receiving the majority of his feedings through the tube, but once he passed the tests he could be off monitors! He could then be WIRELESS like his brother. They are so much easier to hold!

He passed his hearing test!

And, he passed his car seat test (this is not his car seat... but the same brand so they used it). Any baby who spends more than 5 days in the NICU or was below 5 pounds needs to pass this test and they cannot ride for more than an hour without stopping and being taken out of their car seat. He passed! His last test was his 12 hour MMU scan. I was nervous that he wouldn't do so well because he would have "spells" with feedings. BUT... he passed! He may still have a few dips in his oxygen, but with feedings they are not as concerned as they can self correct and it is common for babies to hold their breath and have inconsistent breathing during feedings. We were so excited for NO MONITORS, but didn't know what else to do when we couldn't just stare at the monitors to make sure they were alright! The nurses were great in talking us through what to expect and to just watch our babies color and actions to know they are ok.

With all tests passed, all we needed was for Ashton to be taking all feedings orally for 12-24 hours while not getting too stressed or tired. We were beyond excited when Saturday was Ashton's day to come home and join his brother! Like his brother, he was all dressed and ready to go home! His brother was wearing his outfit at home again so they could be "matching" when they got home. Thanks again Maureen for the adorable outfits! These boys are VERY SPOILED!

Ashton ready for his BIG DAY!

Such a little peanut, but safe in his car seat!

On our way out! This time it was pure excitement because we weren't leaving anyone behind... except the wonderful nurses and other families that we met during our four week stay. We are already talking about this summer's NICU reunion, to reconnect with some pretty special nurses and families we met.

Just like his brother, he was a champ. Not a peep out of him the entire ride and his cheeks too were vibrating all the way home (I watched the whole time, and was a little more comfortable with him grunting and groaning and turning red/purple)!

OUR FIRST FAMILY PICTURE... Yes, we had one with Izzie but it was even more blurry than this one.

Grandma and Gramma were waiting for their arrival home, as well as Nana. Once things settled down a bit, we were excited to have them try all their "things" at home. It was so nice putting them down in their swings and not a hard, plastic bassinet in a sterile hospital room!

Aiden James

Ashton Alan

Aiden (left) and Ashton (right) trying our their bouncies... Thanks cousin Elle for letting us borrow your bouncie, swing, and many other items you have grown out of! That way the boys have their own and can be settled and comfortable! And it helps Adam and I get things done...

Cousin Elle came over for supper on Saturday night to finally meet her cousins. I don't think she quite knew what to think. At one point Aiden started crying and it really upset Elle! Then for pictures, she didn't know who to pay attention to... so first she checked out Aiden...

and then she looked at Ashton. She looked back and forth, back and forth for a good amount of time... We cannot wait for these three to be best friends, partners in crime, and worst enemies (at times)...

Whew, It has been quite the week, but one we will never forget! We are adjusting well... Surviving the nights and making it through the days and loving every minute of it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Because Two People Fell in LOVE.

Four Years ago, Adam and I had our first "Date" on February 7th. Three years ago he proposed to me on December 2nd, and last but not least two years ago we were married on February 7th. For our first anniversary we went to a Minnesota Wild hockey game (Excel Center) with not a care in the world, and for this anniversary we ate at A & W on our way to the boys... which is coincidentally right next to the Excel Energy Center. After our dinner date we didn't want anything else but to spend the night with the boys!
Gourmet Menu...

Notice my wedding ring is back on! Adam re-proposed to me and my ring is TIGHT but went back on! I then took it back off because I wash my hands sooo much with the boys and I don't want to scratch them right now...

Happy Two Year Anniversary... seems like just yesterday.

Now, on to why most people check the blog... The boys. WE HAVE TWO FIVE POUNDERS!!! The boys continue to change daily. I had an infection and was down for the count and missed a day with the boys this past week. Missing that one day, made me realize how much they really are changing. They looked little little men when returned to the hospital! We knew that a pound or two would make a huge difference on their little frames... and they almost look chunky (sort of)!

Aiden is so hungry, he is trying to eat his hand. He is also just about growing out of this preemie outfit!

What a cutie!

This is probably the first and last time Ashton can wear this outfit!

Stretch! At times it lookes like Ashton may have a double chin...

The boys get weighed each night, and obviously Ashton is not too concerned to be stripped down and waiting for his turn!
Adam was all geared up to help with the baths this week. He gave Aiden his bath and he did a great job! You would have never guessed that 7 months ago when he held Elle for the first time, he was so nervous! He now is a pro at changing clothes, holding, diapers, and even baths!

He has such a gentle touch. Aiden doesn't mind this part, but just wait...

He DOES NOT like sitting in the tiny tub. We can't wait to get them home and in the comforts of their tub that lets them relax and lay back a bit. Again, no pictures of Ashton, as the night nurse did his bath. I promise he will have some bath pictures soon that will be able to be used in his graduation slide show ;)
To continue to grow and hopefully be six pounders soon, they need to eat! Both are doing well nursing and taking to the bottle. Aiden is showing more feeding cues and waking for his feedings. In the last day or two Aiden has taken all his feedings orally. It just so happened that on Saturday he pulled out his feeding tube, and they haven't had to put it back in yet! Ashton is getting about half of his feedings orally and gets quite tired, so the other half is through the tube. We don't want to push him too hard. He should be making the hunger/feeding connection soon! Typically this happens between week 35-37 and they are 35 weeks on the dot today (2.13.2011).
Ashton eating from a bottle!

Adam feeding Aiden. This is the first time that Adam has ever fed a baby a bottle!
The boys continue to make huge gains. It is amazing what a day or two makes. Today we were even talking a possible discharge date for Aiden. Since he is recieving all feedings orally and maintaining hydration and body temperature there really isn't much more for the NICU to do! Ashton is a little behind, but again what a difference 24 hours can make. This coming week is a big week for the boys. Their final head scans, kidney scans and their circumcisions have been ordered for Monday. Then it is just the final scan for breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and heart rates to pass and the car seat test. A lot can happen really fast! The only worry I have is Aiden may be discharged before Ashton and that may be the hardest part of the last 4 weeks... Aiden home and Ashton still in the cities. But we will work it out is that happens, and we look forward to having both of our boys home really soon!

(There are twin girls right around the corner from Ashton and Aiden... we have already told them to stay away from the girls) :0