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...