Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of year wrap-up

As I'm catching up on blogging, I just need to do a random update post.  I can't believe there's only one day left of 2012!!  Every year about this time I try to run through the past year in my mind thinking of everything that's happened and changed in my life and plan what to do differently in the next year.  Last January seems like a million years ago.  We had just decided to keep the babies, I was wrapping up my work responsibilities to go on medical leave, and being kidnapped to Babies R Us to register for gifts- which I thought was the most overwhelming thing ever (those were the days ;))!  This year has been filled with many challenges, but many more blessings!  We are so thankful for everyone and everything that's helped us get through this last year.  One thing is evident as we go along everyday- God is good!

Now on to the randomness...

We brought the kiddos to their first birthday party for a good friend's 1st birthday!  They did well for about an hour then Allison got upset and we scooted on out of there.

We have officially dropped the 10:30pm bottle for the biggies and they are now sleeping 11 hours straight!!  Still feeding Levi and Allison, but it's so much easier with only 2.

Still waiting on Levi's helmet.  Leah is now on the highest calorie formula allowed and I think she's gaining weight a tad faster... we'll see.  She has started eating a tiny tiny bit of cereal and tolerating it!  I'm hopeful this will continue to improve.  I have also learned to put her g button in all by myself, so I can avoid some ER visits- yea!  It's much easier than I thought it would be.  I might just have to get my nursing degree for a 2nd career :)

Happy 2013 Everyone!

Big smiles from Caroline, Allison, and Levi

My 2 big boys- Andrew & Benjamin
Girly Girls- Allison, Leah, and Caroline

Merry 1st Christmas!

We had a nice, "quiet" Christmas at home this year.  I'll have to wait a couple of years to do all the activities I've always wanted to share with my kids at Christmas time, but it was fun getting started this year!  One thing I'm not looking forward to being peer pressured into- Elf on the Shelf!  Maybe it won't be cool anymore once they're big enough to understand?  Anyway...

Dave and I always drive around looking at Christmas lights on the 23rd, so this year after the bedtime routine, we loaded up the babies into the van and took off cruising around Houston checking out lights.  The babies slept through the whole thing, but we enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it was too hot outside for us to do our traditional hot chocolate :/.  Earlier that day, Dave's family came to visit and brought the babies some thoughtful gifts; it was nice to see everyone!  Christmas Eve was spent much like any other day.  We did take some Christmas PJ pics by the tree and open the few gifts we had for them- not like they had any clue what was going on.  The funniest part was that Allison and Andrew were scared to death by the sound of ripping wrapping paper!  My mom got them several toys and Dave and I got them their stockings and baby's 1st Christmas ornaments.  Christmas day we headed to my grandparents house for the afternoon!  The babies were great in the car and at their house.  We just ate yummy food, played games, visited, and opened a few gifts.  It was a surprisingly relaxing day.  I'm sure future Christmases will be much more hectic!

Christmas jammies- Ben, Levi, Alli, Andrew, Leah, Caroline

around the baby tree

opening their presents

Christmas outfits- Alli, Ben, Leah, Levi, Caroline, Andrew

Saturday, December 29, 2012

We really rank

While surfing around Google news, my dad saw a picture of the babies and clicked on the link.  Turns out a local news channel ranked their feel good stories of the year and we were #1 and #5!!  The birth was #5 and Leah coming home was #1.  I was quite shocked to realize how popular our stories were!

Here's a link to the article:

KHOU article

The Quints!

 Last week I had the opportunity to visit a friend who recently had quints!  In an effort to get babysitters for my own babies so I could help with the quints, I collected 4 extra quint helpers.  Yes, my friends/family and I all wanted to take a break from sextuplets to go babysit quintuplets!  She does not live in Houston, so we made an entire day of it.  We left immediately after the morning feed, got donuts and kolaches for the road, and gave the quint parents a break from their mid-morning feed until late afternoon.  It was so fun!!  The babies were excellent- just ate and slept!  We mostly chatted, watched tv, and ate yummy food all day long- and held some cute little babies, of course!  It was neat to be around itty bitty ones again.  They are doing a great job as quint parents too!  We HOM moms have to stick together you know :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Levi's Song

Yesterday my dad (Pop) made up a song about Levi then challenged me to do better.  I, of course, think mine is better!  They are to the same tune- Rawhide theme song.

Pop's version

Rollin rollin rollin
Rollin rollin rollin
Rollin rollin rollin

He's small and he's feisty
He wears a dirty diapy
He likes to roll across the floor

He likes to jump and holler
Drink milk from his bottle

My version

Rollin rollin rollin
Keep that big head rollin
Rollin rollin rollin

He's small but he's mighty
Can jump twice his height-y
Burrows his head and scoots across the floor!

He is a good eater
And rides a six seater
When there's cereal he always asks for more!

Levi in mid-flip over his boppy

Sunday, December 16, 2012

At almost 8 months...

Somehow it got to be mid-December without me realizing it.  We have partially decorated the house for Christmas (tree, stockings, nativity, wreaths) and I sent out Christmas cards.  But still no presents under the tree and I don't foresee a time when I will acquire any gifts- no time for shopping!  Not to mention no ideas for presents either.  Oh well, hopefully I will be forgiven.
Christmas card picture 2012
The days go by so fast around here.  I swear I look at the clock every afternoon and think "How did it get to be 3 o'clock already?  I haven't done anything!"  Took me 4 days to clean the bathrooms- pathetic!  We're doing 2 spoon feedings a day now (lunch and dinner) in addition to the 5 bottle feedings, and Leah's feedings in between, so I really am feeding babies all day long.  We have started veggies- sweet potatoes!  Big kids ate it, but were quite unsure about it.  Levi hated it.  Allison gobbled it up- I guess she has been waiting for real food.  Caroline is the best eater- that girl loves her cereal!  Andrew sometimes waits patiently and other times cries whenever the spoon goes towards someone else.  While waiting for food they can all get pretty cranky and tuned up.  Dave entertains them by clapping loudly and I entertain them with silly dance moves and singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider".  They calm down every time!  During the song, Caroline and Allison always giggle at "washed the spider out".  It's so cute.
Allison being her messy diva self

Levi likes it!
The babies are so fun right now!  The big ones are really starting to sit up.  Levi can do it sometimes, Alli has NO interest whatsoever.  She prefers to stand, definitely the little diva.  They all love to play with their feet.  Levi often stares at his feet and hands, but his favorite thing is jumping.  He just started rolling around and is SO proud of himself.  He has even back flipped over his boppy pillow.  They are interested in each other and Maggie as well.  Caroline seems to be the most advanced and I predict she'll be the first to crawl.  She is very curious, grabs at everything, and rolls across the floor.  She seems to enjoy Maggie the most.  Andrew is super whiny right now and is gnawing on everything... so I think he may be teething.  BUT he's twinkle toes no more!  He stands up with his feet flat.  He is the craziest sleeper and has the best hillbilly laugh. Ben is just fat and happy.  His new trick is to squeal- high pitched and loud.  He is more tolerant of being on his tummy and his big belly helps him balance while sitting.  He enjoys standing upright in his starfish position- legs wide, head high, and arms straight out horizontally.  Their current weights range from 11 lbs (Leah) to 19 lbs (Ben)!  Still 5 lb difference between bigs and littles.  They are great at sleeping through the night now, and I may get brave enough to skip the dream feed soon.
Andrew, Caroline, and Benjamin showing off their new skills
Levi still doesn't have his helmet, but I'm hoping all the paperwork side of it gets done soon.  Allison's hemangioma is being monitored by a surgeon now.  Leah's on an extra high calorie formula now to attempt to boost her weight gain.  She is still not eating well.  She managed to pull out her button again this week.  The ER visit wasn't too long which was nice, but I could handle not going to the ER for a long time.

We got their 2nd dose of flu shots recently and it went very smoothly.  The pedi let me pull up the van to the back entrance and bring in 2 at a time to get a shot then switch them out in the van.  It only took 15 min!  I love that our doctor is flexible and accommodating.  It was also raining, just for kicks.  

Did I mention they will be 8 months old in 8 days?!  I'll be planning a birthday party before I know it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The First Thanksgiving

We had a nice low-key Thanksgiving celebration with our family this year.  With an upcoming out of state wedding, I wanted to save all my traveling stress for that and stay at home for the holidays.  When I think about how much stuff to pack and plan for it overwhelms me!

My grandmother hosted Thanksgiving lunch this year (she lives about 45 min away).  My parents, Dave, and I loaded up the babies after the morning feed and drove on down to West Columbia.  We only took a few blankets and activity mats and the dancing dog (it's a lifesaver) and it was great!  The babies got plenty of attention from extended family which they LOVED.  We also did a test run of attaching the stroller to the back of the van and going for a walk in someone else's neighborhood and that also went well :)  We ate in shifts and stayed about 4-5 hours before heading home to get the bedtime routine on schedule.  The only mishap was my grandmother's oven accidentally locking the dressing and green bean casserole in!  The dishes stayed in there a week before a repairman could fix it... yuck!  And I found some pecan pie wrapped in foil underneath a van seat a few days after Thanksgiving.  Oh well.  We were very pleased with the whole mini travel experience and how well the babies handled it.
4 generations!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November catch up

The past few weeks have been a big mash up of fun and hard times.  I've been to my fair share of doctor appointments with Leah, Levi, and Allison- all follow up and future planning things.  Dave caught a stomach bug and was quarantined for 3 days.  He was nice enough to pass the bug along to my mom, one of Leah's therapists, and several of my regular volunteers.  Needless to say, that week was TOUGH!  I am thankful that I avoided it and the babies too.  But, now the babies are catching colds- especially little guy Levi :(  I feel so bad for them!  And I'm really hoping this doesn't turn into anything worse.

Amongst the sickness and doctor visits, Dave and I have managed to get out of the house a little bit- thanks to some fantastic friends!!  I went to the Nutcracker Market for the first time.  It was fun and overwhelming, and a little embarrassing when my friend asked every booth "Do you give a sextuplets discount?"  Although it did pay off once :)  One lady was from Wyoming and knew all about me from the news- weird!  And NO she did not give me a discount.  Dave and I have also had separate movie dates with friends- I saw Twilight and he saw James Bond.  I've never been to opening night before and the screaming girls were quite amusing!  I really appreciate everyone who helps with the babies so we can get a break here and there; it's nice to miss them sometimes :)

2 major things that have happened recently.... baby dedication and first solids!

Our church does baby dedications twice a year, it's a casual deal, but something meaningful and important to me.  As with all events, it took some special planning to have us there- like our secret hideout room, but it went smoothly.  I wanted us to go last so we wouldn't steal any attention from the other babies being dedicated.  No babies cried or vomited!  Can't say the same for the adults.  It was more of an emotional experience than we anticipated, reminded us of everything we've been through the past year.
Babies and their holders ready to be dedicated to the Lord
The 5 have officially started eating rice cereal every evening!  Ben and Caroline have taken to it (surprise, surprise) and Andrew likes it, but hasn't quite got the hang of keeping it in his mouth.  Allison does surprisingly well, but she is the messiest eater.  Levi HATES it!  His faces are hilarious.  What makes feeding time soooo much better is our new feeding table!!  I was totally and completely surprised with it this week.  Our small group and some regular volunteers pooled together to buy it for us :)  It happened to arrive while I was bringing Levi to the doctor and when I got home it was set up in the kitchen waiting for me!  We really have the best support system anyone could hope for and I'm so happy these wonderful people are in my babies' lives!
Ready to eat!

Levi says "I hate this stuff!"

A little backyard fun on a nice day :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Andrew's song

Here's my latest songwriting creation to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?":

My name's Andrew.  My name's Andrew.
I am loud.  I am loud.
I don't like to stand up.  I don't like to stand up.
I crouch down.  I crouch down.

I know my creativity is mind boggling!  :)

Mr. Twinkle Toes himself-Andrew!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The First Halloween

Halloween was a success!  With 2 sets of costumes, we were able to play dress up 2 days in a row!  My cousin provided us with cute little pumpkin hats and an awesome sign that says "Perkins Patch".  I plan to use this as my fall yard decor in years to come.  The day before Halloween we set everything up in the backyard for a mini photo shoot.  Unfortunately, the babies weren't quite as excited about this idea, so they're crying in most of the pictures.

Levi, Ben, Andrew

Caroline, Leah, Allison

For Halloween night the babies dressed up as animals/insects. These costumes were half hand-me-downs and half new from Gammy (my mom).  The babies weren't thrilled with being dressed up, but they did great while we trick or treated!  Our Bible study group joined us for Trick or Treating with the Perkins Pack.  It was nice having a large group so no one had to carry a baby for too long.  We walked around the block stopping at a few houses for candy.  These babies scored some major candy- which was distributed amongst the adults :)  All in all, it was a fun time!

Leah, Ben, Alli, Caroline, Levi, Andrew

Action shot of the fun

All our great baby holders

6 month check up

We had our 6 month well checks this past week.  First time taking all 6 to the doctor at once.  I had 5 helpers, so with that and a well prepared pediatrician, the visit went smoothly.  We took up 3 rooms (2 kids per room).  The nurse went one by one getting the vitals and asking developmental questions, then I "huddled" with the doctor and discussed each child and asked all my questions, then he went one by one examining them.  As soon as he finished they all got their shots.  Long process, but we were out of there in 2 hours- not too shabby.

The only kiddos who had a hard time with the shots were Allison and Leah.  Levi got a referral for a helmet.  Benjamin, Andrew, and Caroline are off the preemie high calorie formula and on regular now. Everyone except Leah got the ok to start rice cereal.  Besides that, everyone looks great and we got a big thumbs up!

I forgot to grab the after visit summaries, so these stats may need correcting after I get them in the mail...
Andrew- 16 lb 7 oz  25.5 in
Benjamin- 16 lb 10 oz  24.5 in
Caroline- 15 lb 10 oz  24.5 in
Leah- 10 lb 9 oz 22 in
Allison- 11 lb 1 oz  22.5 in
Levi- 11 lb 8 oz 22.3 in

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

My babies are 6 months old!  How did this happen??  I was once told by a fellow high order multiples mom that I just had to make it through the first year, then I'd know I could handle it.  Well, we're half way there already!  We haven't had our 6 month well checks yet, so I may update this post later with official weights and lengths and anything of interest that happens at the pediatrician's office.  But for now you just get my summary of each kiddo and their individuality.  One thing in common- blue eyes. I'm also including pictures of each kiddo at 1 month and 6 months to see how much they've changed!  Here we go...

Andrew Noah Perkins

Andrew is my beautiful boy, and he'd much rather someone hold him all the time than put weight on his legs.  That's how he's earned his latest nickname- Twinkle Toes.  Really, he looks like a male ballerina.  He is still a flirt and my future job prediction for him is an Abercrombie model or a male dancer -ha!  He's the biggest laugher.  He loves when people talk real low or make funny faces at him.  When he laughs he chuckles like a hillbilly.  He's so close to rolling over, which is actually a shocker since he and Ben are the worst at motor skills.  Andrew still has no patience and can go from 0-60 in no time.  Sometimes you can't tell if he's happy or mad, but in the mornings he is all smiles.  So far, he is the only one really showing any acknowledgement of his siblings; he looks at them often and sometimes curiously reaches out towards them.  He's in size 2 diapers and 3 mo or 3-6 mo clothing and drinks 6 oz of formula in each bottle.

Benjamin Luke Perkins

Oh Benny Boo Boo how you've grown!  He is heavy!  One of his new favorites is being lifted up high and "slammed" to the ground.  He laughs and smiles so big every time.  Unfortunately for him, his mom isn't the strongest so I can only do it a few times before I need a break- like lifting Leah or Allison.  He is by far the most "talkative".  He squeals and coos and babbles ALL THE TIME.  It's so cute and hilarious.  He is definitely the happiest, most content baby- except when you make him exercise.  He loves to sit in his Bumbo and watch TV or look out the window.  He can entertain himself as well.  Often times he is lying in his crib looking around, babbling, and leg slamming until he sees an adult enter the room, then he cries to be picked up.  This has resulted in all of us ducking around the babies rooms.  He's in size 2 diapers and 3 mo or 3-6 mo clothing and drinks 6 oz of formula in each bottle.  His predicted future job is a football stud.

Caroline Grace Perkins

Sweet Caroline- remember when you were my dainty girl?  Now you've got a belly and you are proud of it!   And the Gassy Girl nickname is still very accurate.  Her predicted future job is a Roller Derby Queen with the slogan "don't light a match around me"  Besides tooting, she loves to stick her tongue out and suck her two middle fingers.  She'll take out her pacifier so her fingers can fit.  The nice part is that she's good at soothing herself, bad part is that it could turn into a habit that's hard to break.  She's the best at propping herself up on her elbows and almost rolling.  Caroline is sticking to her 45 minute naps.  She has the biggest smile!  She's in size 2 diapers, drinks 6 oz each bottle, and wears 3 mo- 3-6mo clothing.

Leah Michelle Perkins

The cutest mean mug I've ever seen!  Especially when she makes the effort to turn her head and give me a sideways mean mug- just to make sure I know she doesn't like whatever I'm making her do.  She has the longest legs!  Her hands and feet are pretty big for her body too.  She can be easily startled and screams for everything- it's really her only cry.  That's why I predict her to be a horror film actress- she can scream!  She loves to cuddle, suck her lamb pacifier (I've named it Lamby), swing, lie on blankets, and be held in a sitting position.  She is always looking around and checking things out- especially the person holding her.  She looks like she's thinking "I don't know about you, but you are holding me and I kinda like that..."  She hardly sleeps during the day, but at night she's a great sleeper!  Of course, she's being continually fed so she doesn't get hungry.  My little Leah Peah is in size 1 diapers and just switched to 0-3 mo clothes.  Her feedings are forever changing.  I'm so glad this sweet girl is finally home!  She definitely keeps me on my toes!

Allison Kate Perkins

My little smidgen!  She's going to be my gymnast or a cheerleader.  She is the wiggliest and gets so excited.  All you have to do is look in her direction and she gets the biggest smile on her face and kicks her legs.  She loves to move!  She's happiest being held so she can see out and if you're walking around-even better.  Allison is still the pokey, finicky eater (even pushes the bottle away); but it's because she's too busy smiling at you or trying to see what's going on around her.  Or she's asleep.  She loves being on her tummy and doing assisted standing.  My dad says she has an altitude problem- she needs to be at a higher altitude, like 5 or 6ft high.  What makes me laugh every morning is when I hear Allison making her noises and cries and as soon as she sees me she starts wiggling and smiling.  I think her life motto is "who needs food or sleep when there's so much to see and do"  My mom has always told me she hopes I have a child who never sleeps so I could be tortured like I tortured her.  So, I know where the sleep fighting comes from, but the refusing to eat?  That's a mystery.  She's in mostly 0-3 mo size as of this week, still some newborn.  Size 1 diapers.  Averages 4 oz each bottle on the higher calorie formula.  

Levi Thomas Perkins

Little Guy Levi!  He sure does love that jumparoo.  He makes the best facial expressions!  He's much more smiley lately and even laughs from time to time.  One day he was hysterical over Maggie barking.  She barks all the time, so I'm not sure what was so special that day.  He'll be my professor; he studies everything and is usually fighting sleep so he doesn't miss something.  He's in size 1 diapers, 5 oz per bottle, and some newborn and some 0-3 mo clothes.  Levi is finally filling out and even has a little belly and little rolls!  His head is very odd shaped, so I'm thinking he'll need a helmet.  He loves the swing and mirrors.  His motor skills have gotten much better- he can now push up on his tummy and lift his head high.  Levi also has the most girlfriends (3) while his brothers each have 2.  

There you have it- the Perkins Pack at 6 months.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegas, Dance Parties, and Schedules- Oh My!

I will be doing detailed 6 month updates on each baby, but that's another post.

Dave went off to Vegas last week for a work conference and came home with a cold :(  So far only Caroline seems to have caught anything.  He's been quarantined for the past couple of days.

While Dave was gone, my parents were here to help with the babies.  This worked out well when Leah's g button came out!  She had been screaming for about an hour when she threw up all over herself and me and the floor.  As I was putting her down to clean up, her tubing snagged on something and the whole button popped out just like that.  Of course, this happened at 10pm.  Since her button's only been in a couple of weeks and it's not fully healed, we had to go to the ER to have it put back in.  My dad and I made it there in record time and since having a g button out is a time sensitive issue, we avoided the 6 hour ER wait.  We got home at 2am.  She had her surgery follow up appointment this week and all looks good!
Exhausted after a feeding attempt with Leah
She's drinking and content!  Keep the progress coming Leah!
Leah has improved so much since being home!  This week we have progressed from the rocket ship controlled flow bottle to a normal bottle.  And she's taken a little bit of formula by mouth in addition to the breast milk.  Also, her new record is 35 cc by mouth in 15 min!!  I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see her do it.  Of course this has only happened once, but she doesn't fight eating like she used to.  She definitely has good days and bad days, but the bad days are much better than they were.  She typically screams several times as she falls asleep and when she's hooked up to the pump for bolus feeds.  She's throwing up about once a day, sometimes twice, but the volume has decreased and the projectileness too (yeah, I made that word up).  Generally, her demeanor is more pleasant (i.e. only mean mugging half the time).  Starting this week her night nurse coverage is being reduced from 5 nights to 3 nights a week.  So far it hasn't been that bad since she's been sleeping all night and I just get up to refill her pump bag.   I randomly hear from the others, but I don't remember the last time I got up to check on them.

With my parents officially gone, we're getting readjusted to caring for 6 babies and not having back up around all the time.  Some of my regulars- including Dave- were unavailable this week, but thanks to my trusty standbys we made it through!  One friend and I did the morning feeding today just the two of us- it was a little crazy, but we got the job done.  I will say 3 or more people is preferable at feeding time though :)

6 babies is absolutely harder than 5!  With Leah requiring so much one on one attention and being on her own schedule, it's more hectic around home.  Just for my personal record...  currently with the 5 babies, we feed them at 630, 1030, 230 (skip the 230am).  We "play" for 1 1/2-2 hours and then they are supposed to nap for 1 1/2-2 hours.  They go to bed at 730pm.  The napping has gotten shorter and less consistent since they started sleeping through the night, but I'm working on extending that.  Leah eats at 930, 1230, 330, 630 and is on the pump from 8pm-8am.  Generally takes 1 1/2 hours to feed her with bottle attempt and pump time combined.  She usually is upset during the pump time, so me or a volunteer attempt to console her so she doesn't work herself up so much she gags.  I don't get much time during the day to do anything besides feedings.

Just an action shot of a corner of our home 
Some fun things lately... we got to do a quick, fun photo shoot outdoors!  I don't have the pictures yet, but it involved babies, baskets, and balloons.  We traveled all together in Big Blue- girls were horrible, boys were awesome!  A care group from church came over last night and took over the evening shift so Dave and I could go out to dinner and attend our care group- they did an awesome job and it was so nice to get out of the house for a few hours!  And I was impressed I only got one phone call about Leah procedures :)  A new routine I've started that I enjoy so much- morning dance parties!!  For those of you who know me, I love to dance and back in college my roommates and I had dance parties all the time.  So, now every morning after the babies are dressed and fed, I turn on the music and dance around before their nap time.  They'll watch me act silly and I get a song in with each one- I think it double counts as exercise too.

Lastly, some reflections...  exactly a year ago I found out I was pregnant.  A week and a half later I found out I was pregnant with 6 babies.  Excitement to shock to worry to wishing some would magically disappear at each ultrasound to accepting that I would indeed have 6 babies.  So much has happened this past year it's almost overwhelming to think about it.  And 54 weeks ago if you told me this would be my life, I would've laughed and said you're crazy.  But, this is my life now and I don't regret anything.  When people ask how I do it, I say "I have good help and Jesus."  And my random reflection- which also shows how awesome and generous people are- I have literally not cooked dinner in a year!  People have been bringing us food since I got pregnant and started feeling sick.  Thank you for that blessing!!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

The onesies say "Heaven Sent"- so true!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Smidge

My mom and I have started calling Allison the "smidgen" or sometimes '"the smidge".  Tonight while feeding we made up a song about her to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot.  Here it goes:

I'm a little smidgen, skinny and small
Dress me up like a little doll.
When I get excited I move about
Kick my legs and smile- no doubt.

Just wanted to document it before I forgot.

Friday, October 12, 2012

6 cribs up and 2 surgeries down

The schedule this past week has been packed!  Lots of major events too, so here goes the recap...

Leah did have surgery to put the g button in place last week.  The procedure went smoothly and she recovered like the little fighter she is!  Once the staff remembered to give her her reflux medicine, she stopped throwing up and tolerated her feeds well.  Her behavior was worse in the hospital and she may have gotten her nights and days mixed up again (a doctor told me they liked to play with her at night-thanks a lot!)  We are still trying bottles because our goal is to overcome the aversion and have her eating by mouth eventually.  The g button is pretty simple and has been easier to use than the ng tube and it doesn't bother her near as much.

Princess Leah in her tutu
Leah was discharged yesterday and we made our final NICU homecoming.  The nursing staff didn't think Dave and I acted excited enough, but we were just in a hurry to get out of there and, really, this ain't our first rodeo.  Good thing too, because I had to remind the doctors of their discharge duties and make sure they were all done before Leah could leave.  They were in quite the hurry to get rid of her.  Anyways.. Leah's second first night home was pretty bad.  She cried most of the night, but today she did well with only 1 screaming episode right before bed.  We did 3 bottle attempts (hardly drank anything, but no screaming!).  Right now, she's been quiet in her crib for 2 hours!  If they can all keep this up I'll be one happy mommy!!  Oh, and her new bottle looks like a rocket ship, but it's working.

Levi also had surgery this week.  His inguinal hernia was repaired and he handled it like a little rock star.  We had to be there at 6am for check in- this was made easier by a stop for kolaches.  He was pulled back at 7:30, surgeon came to talk to us at 8:30 and at 9:20 he was cleared to go home!  I'm used to everything being dragged out all day long; I couldn't believe we were home by 10am.  I gave him one dose of tylenol in the afternoon and one right before bed and that was it.  The next morning he woke up smiling and has been his same little self since :)  Love my Little Man!  One humorous thing about the day: we took Big Blue (the van) to the hospital and it's too big to valet so they just pulled it off to the side. We were curious where they'd put it.

Big Blue
This past weekend we accomplished 2 major milestones: separating boys and girls and going to church as a family!  Church was a breeze thanks to all our helpers.  We were able to meet volunteers outside and we all carried a baby into the nursery, then after the service carried them back out and loaded up the van.  The babies behaved well too!  So glad we're able to go back to church now!! It's not the same just watching it online.  We were able to get the boys room put together thanks to a group of great friends!  Had some watching babies and some putting cribs together and moving furniture around.  We got all the office stuff into different rooms and everything the boys need into their room :)  It's not quite done yet so I haven't taken pictures, but it's looking pretty cute if I do say so myself.

Sleeping through the night is going very well!!  The first night we tried skipping the 2am we made it all the way to 6:30am!  Took a week to get everyone sleeping enough that we didn't have to get up at all- they each took turns having bad nights.  It's awesome being able to sleep from 11-6 with the occasional pacifier action.  It's also easier to deal with Leah when we don't have to mess with the other ones at night.

Other random things... Andrew is the only one who doesn't put weight on his feet, so we call him twinkle toes because he looks like a ballet dancer on point.  Benjamin does crunches in his Boppy pillow from time to time- life full on grunting crunches.  He also can scoot himself by lifting his legs straight up and slamming them down- it's hilarious and a slow way of getting around.  Caroline and Levi are enjoying watching themselves in mirrors too.  Mom and I have started doing dance parties in the mornings- we line up the babies and we dance around them- they smile and laugh and love it when we pick them up to dance with us.  Sometimes we get tired after a couple songs though.

Andrew, Levi, Benjamin my little jailbirds
Current weights: Benjamin (15 lbs 6 oz), Andrew (15 lbs 3 oz), Caroline (14 lb 3 oz), Levi (10 lb 6 oz), Allison (10 lbs 2 oz), and Leah (9 lb 14 oz).  Definitely have my bigs and littles!

Ok last thing... I just made this up last night and don't want to forget it.  Leah was screaming for a bit and I came up with this song in my tiredness (to the tune of Safety Dance- you know, that awesome 80s song)...

She can scream if she wants to, she can really go to town
Cause if she screams, she's really going to scream
Turn your smile into a frown

She can scream if she wants to, she's really really loud
She throws her head back, opens her mouth
You can hear her in the clouds

She can scream, she can scream, Leah wins the prize
She can scream, she can scream, brings tears to your eyes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2 steps forward, 1 step back

A few big things have been happening lately....

  1. The big blue van is here!  It took 2 months longer than expected, but we're rollin in style now.  Haven't gotten any pictures yet, but that's on the to do list.  I'm excited that we'll finally all fit in one vehicle!  I even drove it quite a bit the other day and didn't run into anything :)  Parking, backing up, and changing lanes are all a bit scary though!
  2. We had a first family photo shoot with the fabulous Brandi Smith!  She is amazing with the babies and I can't wait to see all the pictures!  So far, I've only seen the sneak peaks she's posted on facebook.  She also did my maternity shots which I love.  
  3. Leah is back in the NICU :(  After 11 days of struggling and fighting with her to eat from a bottle, I had to give in and call the doctor.  I tried EVERYTHING I could think of and that anyone suggested.  You know it was bad when volunteers looked on in horror.  That girl is strong and can scream!  Doc was worried about dehydration, so we brought her to the ER where we waited for several hours while poor Leah starved.  Thanks to some very helpful neonatologists, Leah was placed back in the NICU where she can be monitored by doctors who know her well.  The new plan for getting her to eat is to place a g tube in her belly and still work on oral feeds.  If the g tube placement all goes smoothly, she'll be back home next week.  I'm determined to get this girl to eat by mouth!  I've seen her do it, so I know she's capable, just has a seriously strong aversion to it.  The LSSP in me wants to nip this behavior in the bud (with the help of our OT).   So, as always, prayers are needed for our Little Leah!  And Levi's hernia surgery is next week, so pray for him while you're at it :)
Here are a few pictures from Brandi...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

6 up, 6 down

In other words... Leah is home!!  We were in such a routine of home/hospital that it took a few days to sink in.  Yesterday I realized I was still carrying around my cell phone 'in case the hospital calls'; then it dawned on me that the NICU would never be calling again!  We are official NICU graduates and the first set of sextuplets in Texas to all graduate :)

I realize I was horrible about updates in September which means 2 things: it was hectic and this will be a long one.

The week before Leah's homecoming was jam packed with Allison's going ons, media, and discharge planning.  Allison had her spinal ultrasound and her echo and her regular PT appointment.  The echo came back normal which was great news!  The first review of her ultrasound didn't reveal anything of concern, but on a second look the radiologist saw a possible vascular lesion so she has an MRI scheduled in a couple of months to get a better image.

Planning Leah's discharge was quite the undertaking with setting up her follow up appointments, getting medical equipment and home nursing arranged, figuring out her feeds, and negotiating the media.  We ultimately decided to do an interview with the Chronicle and Today- with the hospital videographer filming the same footage to share with local media.  We negotiated from them coming to our house to them just filming our arrival and feeding the babies at the hospital.  The Pavilion for Women hosted a 'send off celebration' for Leah and we lugged all siblings up there for the hospital staff to see.  We also got our first family photo which I LOVE!!  I literally spent days planning for this event- arranging volunteers to help us, making a timeline of when things needed to happen on our part and media's involvement, making packing lists and packing the stuff, and arranging who was going in which vehicle.  My timeline for that day started at 8am when a friend came to pick up the mega stroller and it was nonstop from then until we arrived at the hospital at 1:30pm and then home again at 5:45pm.  In all it took 4 vehicles and 7 volunteers to have the day run smoothly.  The babies did amazingly well through it all even with a feeding and lots of waiting around.  The only mishaps were dropping the stroller headrests in muddy water (last minute washing), Dave's truck not starting (last minute car seat rearranging), and Leah having an x-ray ordered when she was supposed to be discharged and on her way to the party.  Somehow none of these things made a big impact and the party started on time and went off without a hitch!  The Today show even stuck to our arrangements on when and how long they could film and interview us.  They filmed and interviewed us during a feeding which was somewhat of a challenge, but killed 2 birds with 1 stone.  It was fun to see the people who took care of us for so long and show off how big the babies are now.  They didn't recognize them :)  And of course I enjoyed the cake!

The media coverage of Leah's homecoming was quite widespread and overall well done.  I've heard of stories done in London and South America and Puerto Rico- who would've thought?!  I felt the Today Show did well, though they dramatized Leah's situation and showed me saying "I've gotten pretty good with my stroller people" (what happens when you forget you're mic-ed).  They did bump us from airing on Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning because of the breaking news of Kate Middleton's topless photos.  Boobs before babies.  The local news did nice positive stories, as did the Chronicle.  I thought it was comical they called me a 'veteran mom'- since when does 4 months in make me a veteran?!  We also got some additional tv attention- got our 4th reality show request and an invitation from the Dr. Oz show.  At this time, we have turned both down.

Being interviewed by Today
Leah's first week has been a challenge.  Overall, I think she has done well considering how long she was in the hospital and her having more issues than the others.  The pediatrician was impressed with how she's been.  She is currently using a feeding tube at night and bottles during the day and we have a home nurse for night time for a couple of weeks.  Bottle feeding has been difficult; her original formula tastes nasty and she hates it.  It was taking an hour to feed her because of her screaming fits in between every sip.  We have her on a different formula mixed with some breast milk now and it is better, but she can still scream and fight.  She is STRONG- like had to have an extra person help hold her down when blood was drawn strong and she only weighs 8.75 lbs!  She doesn't nap much, but once she goes to sleep at night she does sleep well.  She seems to have 2-3 unconsolable fits a day besides feeding and bed time.  She is adjusting though- all she knows is her NICU bed, so everything is new and confusing and overstimulating.  What's difficult at feeding times is that she requires lots of one-on-one time and I typically feed 2-3 babies when needed.  But we just love our little Leah Peah so much and are so glad she is home!!

We have had some other fun events lately... a friend got our living room carpet and bathrooms cleaned (woo hoo!) and while that was being done we moved in to our neighbor's house for an afternoon.  It was fun to have a successful adventure even if it did throw the babies off their schedule a bit.  The best part was seeing her daughter's face when she got home from school and all the babies were there :)  Dave and I have also had a couple date nights this month thanks to some fabulous friends!  Got to do dinner and a movie and dinner with friends at their beach house in Galveston!  I've had a couple girl outings too- pedicures and lunch dates- thanks to Dave's mom coming to help and allowing me out of the house!  As much as I enjoy my babies it's always nice to get a recharge break.

Neighbor's den after we moved in

It seems like yesterday I wrote up the 4 month stats and now they're already 5 months old!  I'm really not sure where September went.  I haven't weighed them in a couple of weeks so I don't have current weights.  They are all growing like crazy though.  Caroline and Allison have flipped from their tummy to their backs.  Caroline sucks her fingers.  Ben stares at his hands.  Andrew laughs.  They are all smiling- Leah by far the least, but every now and then.  They are sleeping much much better and we may be brave and start pushing the 5 to sleep through the night very soon.  The 3 bigs are eating 5 oz/bottle, Levi is 4.5 oz/bottle, Allison is 3.5 oz/bottle.  Alli is still a finicky eater.
I will try to update a little sooner next time!  My parents are back (yea!!!) so I may get some more free time- maybe.