Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3 months old!

I'm getting to the 3 month update a few days late, but the babies have started staying awake more, so I've been busy entertaining them and trying to stop them from crying.  Luckily it's usually only one or two crying at once; when all 4 are going it can kinda drive you crazy.

They sure are growing!  As of last weekend their weights are: Ben 9lb 5oz, Andrew 9lb 8oz, Caroline 8lb 5oz, Leah 5lb 11oz, Allison 6lb 7oz, and Levi 5lb 3oz.  Ben and Andrew are in size 1 diapers and large newborn or small 0-3 mo clothes.  Caroline and Allison are in newborn diapers and clothes, and Leah and Levi are in preemie stuff still.  They are all focusing their eyes more; Andrew and Benjamin will somewhat make eye contact.  They all like looking at lights and are lifting their heads really well- even Leah and Levi.  A problem we've come across is that Levi's head is so big that we can't get preemie items over his head even though they fit his body.
Levi says "Sic Em Bears!"
Health-wise we do have some updates.  Leah's ROP has cleared up!!  She is still working on tolerating breast milk, so still no NICU graduation in sight for her.  Allison on the other hand got off the feeding tube last week and has been eating well since, so if she keeps it up she may be discharged in a week or so!  Levi developed an inguinal hernia last week and will need surgery to repair it.  Meeting with the surgeon next week to get a plan in place.

I got my 6 seater stroller last week!!  I'm so excited to be able to get out with all the babies.  We'll definitely be cruising the neighborhood, so watch out!

We've had some fun dinners lately too.  The local Chick Fil A has a new mom program where they deliver a meal for free!!  Nuggets, fruit, salad, and brownies- yum!  They even included some Chick Fil A burp clothes and tiny stuffed cows...

A few girlfriends have been coming over every week to watch The Bachelorette and feed babies.  For the finale, and to give my parents a break, Mike and Dave cooked dinner for us girls.  Megan and I had to have an impromptu baby photo shoot to avoid making too many cooking suggestions :)  The boys did great though!

Next week begins our true test as parents of multiples.  My parents are leaving Sunday to go back home for a couple of months, therefore Dave and I will be relying on the help of volunteers.  We are SO thankful for all the hours and hours of hard work my mom and dad have put in the past 5 weeks- every feeding, night shifts, yard work, house work...  really everything that needs to be done.  I'm a little nervous about August and September, but have faith that God will pull us through.  Support from friends and family and sheer determination can't hurt either :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's going on

You know the coordination trick of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time?  Well Maggie just came and got in my face so I was petting a dog and bouncing Levi in the bouncy seat at the same time and that's what it felt like.

It's been a couple of weeks since I updated for several reasons: I don't have any major updates, I didn't realize it had been that long, and 4 babies has been a bigger adjustment than 3.  After about a week we started to feel like we got a better handle on 4, plus Levi started sleeping better with his mattress elevated.  At home they are all doing well!  When I weighed them a few days ago Benjamin and Andrew were up to 8 1/2 lbs and able to fit in the Baby Bjorns- yea for hands free holding!  Caroline was 7 lb 11 oz, and Levi was just barely 5 lbs.  He still feels like a tiny smidgen when you pick him up.  Ben and Andrew are eating just over 4 oz, Caroline's eating just under 4 oz, and Levi's at 2 1/2 oz per feeding.  They've all started to enjoy their tummy time and usually fall asleep.  They are all starting to focus better with their eyes, especially Benjamin.  He seems to like looking at lights.  We're also figuring out who likes what- Ben and Caroline like swings, Andrew likes the vibrating bouncy seat, and Levi likes being walked around (really doesn't help me out too much when they're all crying).  One of Levi's NICU nurses walked him around every morning, so I blame her.  I often feel like it's Groundhog Day here at home with the schedules and routines; it does get broken up by different visitors and my random outings, which I love!
Benjamin and Levi

Gammy and Caroline in their matching orange
Speaking of outings, Dave and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary last Saturday!  We weren't planning on really doing anything, but my parents and grandparents insisted on babysitting, so we went out for a movie, dinner, and dessert :)  I'm so thankful that my family is here to help so much and that Mama and Jeanie clean the house every time they come over- even if they just did it two days before and I tell them not to.  

NICU babies are still slowly progressing.  Allison is eating more, but it depends on who is feeding her. Yesterday she took 3 whole bottles which is the best yet.  She's weighing almost 6 1/2 lbs these days and Leah is 5 lbs. 4 oz.  Allison may come home with her feeding tube if she doesn't get it together soon.  Leah's up to half breast milk/half IV nutrition, so she's slowly working her way up to all breast milk.  Her scar looks way better already.  That's about it for them.  All the babies are getting big so fast- Leah and Levi are the only ones still in preemie clothes.  

I got my 6 seater stroller today!!  Now it just needs to be put together.  I also got a double jogging stroller for cheap from my neighbor; between the rain and the mosquitos I've only tested it out once (walking), but it was so easy.  
Benjamin and Andrew ready to roll
Today while I was visiting the NICU, a neonatalogist came to ask me how I manage 4 babies at home because he wanted to share with some of his patient moms.  Then I thought other people are probably curious as well.  First of all, my parents are here which is the main reason things are somewhat under control and any of us are sleeping.  The babies are still on the ready-to-use preemie formula so bottle making is time consuming, but simple.  I make all the bottles for 24 hours at once, right now this takes about 20 minutes.  Bath time is a team effort (2-3 people); from start to finish it takes us 20-30 minutes depending on how many of us are involved in the assembly line.  Feedings are usually my parents and I - I feed 2 babies and they each feed one; however, my mom has now learned to feed 2 at once so we may be switching it up sometimes.  Luckily the babies still sleep a lot so we all have time to do other things during the day and get some naps in when we want.  I'm a little nervous for August when my parents leave and it'll be us and whoever volunteers to help out. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


For those of you who know me and have been lucky enough to receive a handmade card or invitation from me, you know about my rhyme-y poems.  So, today Levi had his post-discharge checkup at the pediatrician (all went well and he's gained 6 oz already!) and it took 3 hours!  With all that wait time, my brain decided to make up a limerick for each of the babies.  I didn't want to forget all my creativity, so here they are...

My name is Andrew Noah
I punch like Rocky Balboa
     I sound like a goat
     I fit in a tote
And I'd like to get to know ya.

My name is Benjamin Luke
Sometimes I like to puke
     on Andrew's head
     while lying in bed
And people still think I'm cute.

My name is Caroline Grace
I have a pretty face
     I'm dainty as can be
     can scoot myself free
So don't count me out of the race.

My name is Leah Michelle
Without a poop bag, I'm swell
     Strangers ask about me
     As seen on TV
Because I gave the doctors hell.

My name is Allison Kate
You can call me Alli the Great
     I have red hair
     Eating- don't care
I'll stay with Leah and wait.

My name is Levi Thomas
My head is quite humongous
     My body is tiny
     My cry is whiny
Not like a hippopotamus.

There ya go!  Hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed making them up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Little Ones

Miss Leah had her ileostomy takedown last Wednesday.  After being bumped several times, her surgery finally started at 4:30 pm and finished at 8pm- much different than the 1-3pm time slot we were originally told.  Poor thing hadn't eaten since 2am the night before so she was majorly hangry (hungry + angry).  Her surgery was a success!  She's all put back together and her poop bag is gone!  She has some serious recovering to do, but so far so good.  She is currently on pain meds as needed, is breathing on her own, and back in her crib.  We're waiting on her to have some "output" to prove her intestines are working so she can start on some breast milk.  The surgeon also took out her appendix because "she doesn't need it and it was in the way."  He warned us not to let another doctor tell us they're taking out her appendix because the scar's not in the usual place.  So, if I ever get that recommendation I'll be looking for a new doctor.  The best part is that Leah was able to return to the Pavilion to stay with her siblings.  We can add that event to the lists of 'firsts' we've accomplished for the Pavilion- first sextuplets, first bedside surgery, and first baby transferred back and forth to the West Tower.  Their policy is that once a baby goes to the West Tower, they don't come back, so I'm glad our medical team cares about what Dave and I want!  I also saw some firsts in the surgery waiting room- a foot long plumber's crack and a man carrying around a large potty chair.
Dad (aka Pop), me, Vaniesa, and Megan waiting during
Leah's surgery- what great friends to entertain me for 7 hours!

Pop taking over the front desk when the lady left

Mr. Levi is home!  He surprised everyone by passing up Allison.  He's tipping the scales at a whopping 3 lbs. 15oz. , but I'm sure he'll be growing quickly since he chugs his 2 oz bottles.  He seems a little unsure of his new environment, but we'll win him over :)  His first night was quite rough and I broke down and just "slept" on the floor in the babies room.  Since then it has gotten a little better each night.  My parents and I have developed a shift system- we each take a 4 hour shift between 9pm and 9am where one person is responsible for responding to crying babies and we all help with the night feedings.  It's working really well so far and it's nice to get a break to sleep and know someone else is getting up.

We also had a mini Perkins family reunion this weekend with Dave's parents, brothers + girlfriends, and aunt and uncle all visiting.  Dave, my parents, and I enjoyed missing out on some feedings and diaper changes :)  And Uncle Phil and Aunt Lee brought me lots of goodies from my favorite Arkansas bakery!  You know you're a sweetaholic when your hospital room was filled with cupcakes and candy instead of flowers and out of state visitors bring baked goods.
Aunt Ashley, Dave, and Uncle Kyle feeding babies