Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Last Born...First Home

On Sunday, February 20th, Miss Mya was the first of the triplets to come home after 16 days in the NICU.  She is now up to 5 pounds and is doing great.  We are adjusting to having one baby at home now and still visiting the other two in the NICU.  Fortunately, it doesn't sounds like we will have to be running back and forth for long.  If all goes well, Ava and Lia will likely be home by the end of the week...then the real fun begins!
Mya's first car ride

Going home outfit - preemie clothes were too small!

First night in her crib.

Big brother Noa.

Great-grandma Kolb with Mya and Ava

First time holding all three babies - and no feeding tubes!

Mya, Ava and Lia

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life in the NICU

Happy Valentine's day to everyone!  Today, the girls are 10 days old, and 36 weeks gestational age.  They are still in the NICU, so we are putting a lot of highway miles on the old Trailblazer running back and forth every  day.  Wade has gone back to work, so he tries to come up every other day to see them.  I have been coming up every day after I drop the kids off for school and coming back home for dinner every night.  It's pretty tiring, but I can't imagine skipping a day at this point.  I am feeling really good.  I had a couple of rough days right after the delivery, but I came home from the hospital on Feb. 8th and have felt fine since then.  My biggest gripe is that I still have a lot of swelling.  My feet and ankles are way more swollen now than they ever were during the pregnancy.  I'm going to see the doctor tomorrow for a quick blood pressure check so I'll have to see if this is normal or not.

For the most part, the girls are doing wonderful.  They have all regained their birth weights now and are starting to gain.  They all moved into open cribs several days ago when they were able to maintain their body temperatures outside of the isolettes.  The best thing about that is that we can now hold them whenever we want, and guests are able to hold them also now.  Mya and Ava have both had their IVs removed also because they are now receiving their full feeding amounts through a combination of bottle and tube feedings, so they no longer have to receive any of their nutrition through IVs.  They have both been moved from Level 3 to Level 2 status, which basically means that they are now "growers/feeders".  So, as soon as they are able to take all 8 of their daily feedings by bottle, they should be able to head home.  Ava just took her first bottle yesterday, but she finished the whole thing and also finished today's bottle.  Hopefully they will move her up to 2 bottles a day starting tomorrow.  Mya is starting to do really well with her feedings.  She has moved up to taking every other feeding by bottle starting today.  She has finished both of today's bottles....I think she is putting in her bid to be the first baby home!

And, then there is our big girl Lia.  Lia started out doing amazingly well.  She is an extremely aggressive eater and was taking 4 bottles a day in less than a week after birth.  As it turns out, she may have been taking on more than her little tummy could handle.  We got a phone call shortly after midnight last Thursday morning stating that they found blood in her stool and that they ran labs that shows some immature white blood cells which is a sign of infection.  They told us that they were stopping her feeds completely, putting her back on her IV for her nutritional needs and starting antibiotics.  In addition, they did some X-rays that showed some thickening of her intestines.  As a result, they decided to treat her for NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) which is a condition that happens in preemie babies where the intestines become infected.  The bacteria that lives in the intestines naturally and aids in digestion begins to attack the intestinal wall in NEC cases.  While this can be extemely serious, the neonatologist believes that we caught Lia's case extremely early and we may not ever be sure if she actually has NEC or not, which is a good thing.  She is not showing any of the normal symtoms of NEC except for the instances of the blood in her stool.  So, they are treating it extremely aggressively in order to make sure they are not taking any chances.

So, this is day 5 for Lia without food.  While the IVs provide her everything she needs nutritionally, it does not fill her stomach and does not prevent her from feeling hungry.  So, needless to say, the poor baby is not happy at all.  The first couple of days were very rough.  We had to take turns holding her all day with a pacifier in her mouth to keep her content.  While the doctors say that her hunger is a good sign, it is still hard for us to watch.  Over the days, her stomach has shrunk back down some so she doesn't seem to be quite as hungry as she was a few days ago.  She is currently on some heavy duty antibiotics for 10 days and they will be checking on Thursday for improvements in her X-rays so hopefully we will be able to start back up on her feedings again later this week.

We are thrilled that Ava and Mya are doing so well and that we may be bringing babies home in the near future.  However, we are not looking forward to the inevitability of having some babies at home and some still up here in the NICU.  Dividing our time will become very difficult at that point, so hopefully it won't be very long before we have all three of them at home with us.

I will update soon when we know more about Lia's condition, but keep her in your thoughts and prayers while she is going through this rough time.

Ava Munai

Mya Anne

Lia Rose

Simone, Noa and Lia

Grandma wih Mya and Ava

Sunday, February 6, 2011

34 weeks 4 days - The Girls are Here!

Ava Munai Cunningham (Baby A) was born on February 4, 2011 at 8:39 a.m.  She was the smallest of the girls at 3 pounds 4 ounces and 15.5 inches long.  Lia Rose Cunningham (Baby B) was born next at 8:40 a.m.  She was the biggest at 4 pounds 14 ounces and 18 inches long.  Last, but not least, Mya Anne Cunningham was born at 8:41. a.m.  She was 4 pounds 8 ounces and 16.5 inches long.

We arrived at the  hospital at 6 a.m. on the morning of the C-section.  By 8 a.m. we were heading back to the operating room to prep for the surgery.  The operating room was quite the mob scene, but totally organized chaos at the same time.  The first thing I noticed was the room next to me, which was set up with the warmers for the babies to go to as they are born.  The room was packed with probably a good 20 hospital staff awaiting their arrival...a team for each baby.

There were at least 10 additional doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists in the operating room with me.  Once I was in there I had to receive my spinal block shot to numb me.  This was easily the worst part of the C-section.  It took a couple of sticks, but once they got it in I was numb within a couple of minutes and things moved quickly from there.  By the time they got Wade into the room, they were already starting the incision.  It's pretty amazing how quickly they get in there and start pulling out babies.  Wade, of course, is standing up watching everything over the curtain. 

Ava came out first and was kicking and crying.  They briefly brought her over to me to see and then whisked her away. Next, as they are attempting to pull Lia out, I hear the doctor kind of laugh and say "oops"....not something you want to hear in the middle of a surgery!  It turns out that Mya did not want to be last to be born and while they were trying to deliver Lia, Mya stuck her leg straight out to try to block her way.  It was a nice try, but Lia still got to be born second.  She was born with an attitude and an angry cry. They brought her to be also and she was obviously bigger than her sister and she did not look happy at all about being born! Finally, Mya got to come out and join the others.  It was a relief to here all three of them crying!

While they were finishing up the surgery, they called Wade back to where the babies were.  As they were checked out, they cleaned them up a little bit and had Wade bring each one out to me so that I could see them for a little bit longer and touch each one of them before they took them down to the NICU.

Wade stayed with me while they finished the surgery.  Then, when I went to post-op, he went down to the NICU to stay with the girls.  It turns out that little Ava was doing the best of all three.  She scored the highest of the three on  her Apgar test (newborn assessment).  She was on room air from the beginning.  Lia needed a little bit of help and was on some low flow oxygen for a few hours but was on room air by the end of the day.  Mya was on a high flow oxygen for awhile after she was born, but was also on room air by the next morning.

The girls are continuing to do well in the NICU.  There are several things that need to happen before they are able to come home.  They need to be breathing on their own, which they are doing already.  They also need to be able to maintain their body temperatures.  Currently they are in isolettes to help keep them warm, but I was able to start kangaroo care with them yesterday (holding skin-to-skin) and they all did well with that.  It was very exciting for me to get to hold them for the first time.  Hopefully Wade will be able to do it today.  The third thing that needs to happen before they go home is that they need to be eating on their own and gaining weight.  Yesterday they started tube feedings for all three of them and they are tolerating it well.  I have been pumping for them so we will see how long I can keep up with their feedings.  Lia and Mya are much happier now that they are being fed.  Lia especially was a little fussy, but is much more calm now that she is getting fed.  I guess it's because she is used to hogging all the food.  They are both really going to town on their pacifiers so it sounds like we will probably try a bottle feed today as well and see how that goes.

All of the girls are showing signs of jaundice which is very common in preemies.  They started Ava on bili lights yesterday, so she's hanging out under the sun lamp with her sunglasses on.  It sounds like it's a good possibility than Lia and Mya may have to do the same pretty soon.  Ava has been getting pretty fiesty and kicked her IV out of her foot last night, so now the poor thing has the IV in her head...looks like she has a unicorn horn :( 

So, all in all, everyone is doing fantastic.  I will probably be heading home tomorrow, so we will have to start trekking back and forth to see the girls everyday.  Hopefully it won't be for long and we will be able to get them home with us soon.  I'm having a lot of cramping, but I am recovering well.  I have been up walking back and forth to the NICU since Friday evening and that is getting a little easier everyday.  Thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during my pregnancy.  Obviously they worked because we couldn't have hoped for things to go better than they have.  I will continue to update often on the girls' condition and as soon as I get home, I will post some pics on here.

Ava aka Baby A

Lia aka Baby B

Mya aka Baby C

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

34 Weeks - Snowbound and Nervous

I wasn't going to add a post this week until the girls were born on Friday, but I figured that today's snowstorm deserved a mention for future reference.  Just to add a little last minute excitement to this rather uneventful pregnancy, we are in the middle of the biggest snowstorm of at least the past 15 years, just 3 days before the babies are scheduled to be born.  Anybody who has been to my house knows that the likelihood of even making it out of our driveway in nearly 2 feet of snow is slim to none.  Although Wade and his brother are out in the dark as we speak shoveling as much as they can just in case we have an emergency and need to get out tonight!  So, I am currently putting this uterus on lockdown until Friday.  Nothing is going to get out of here!  Of course, since the governor did declare a state of emergency, I figured that if absolutely necessary they can call in the national guard that is on standby to get me to the hospital :)  So, now we just have to make sure that we dig out before Friday because I am getting to that hospital, one way or another!
Over 20 inches of snow predicted for Jeff City

Blizzard Warning

Our back deck at about 4:30 - still hours of snow to come!

3 Hours of shoveling - As you can see, you can't even see the street because our driveway if such a nightmare...