Sunday, February 15, 2009

8 Months!

The twins turned 8 months old today. That's calendar age of course. Maddy celebrated by sleeping in late and Milo celebrated by getting up early. Yah, pretty much the regular routine as far as the twins are concerned. How much have the babies changed over the course of the last month? The main thing is that they are developing far more personality. They are much better at expressing themselves and their feelings and they are starting to interact more with each other.

Above: Maddy and Milo hang out in the crib this morning. Notice that we were lucky enough to find Maddy another piece of pink leopard apparel -- it was on sale too! The twins are no longer co-bedding. That came to an end a couple weeks ago. The babies got too big to fit in the same crib without banging into each other with their flailing limbs. That, and we were tired of them waking each other up. These days, Milo sleeps in the Pack-n-Play in our room and Maddy gets the plush crib to herself. That's basically because Maddy sleeps through the night and Milo typically wakes up at least once.

Above: Milo shows off his retinopathy-free peepers. As previously mentioned, Milo had his last eye appointment a few weeks ago, and his eyes are in good shape. He's still at-risk for nearsightedness - but then again, he was bound to need glasses based on genetics alone. Elaine (especially) and I both have pretty lousy vision. That said, the boy definitely got mom's blue eyes.

Milo has gotten a lot stronger over the last few months. During his last weigh in about a week and a half ago, he tipped the scale at 13 lbs and was about 24" tall. He's probably put on about half a pound since then. The boy props himself up with his arms pretty well these days. He stands and sits well with some support, and he loves being held up in the airplane position. He also giggles a lot, especially when you say "me, me, me, me, me" really quickly in a high-pitched voice. Hey, who doesn't, right? Unfortunately, lately Milo's also taken to making this noise which sounds a lot like a cross between an old, alcoholic, smoker clearing his throat and the monster Mothra from the Godzilla movies. It's absolutely horrid, but he loves doing it for no apparent reason - super! In fact he's making the noise right now.

Above: Milo mugs for his monthly shot with Mr. Bear. As you can see, Milo's at the age where he tries to get everything in his mouth. That includes Mr. Bear. In other news, Milo is pretty well healed up from his hernia surgery, and best of all he remains RSV free.

Maddy is doing great too. At last weigh in about two weeks ago, she was 15 lbs even and has probably put on a pound since then. She looks great even with her tongue out - probably better. Like Milo, she likes to grab hold of things and either put them in her mouth or shake them back an forth violently. She is also able to sit and stand with a little support. Of late, she's started to lift her head completely up and lean forward. Hopefully she'll be sitting up soon on her own. Also notable is her hellacious gas -- definitely Grampa's progeny.

Maddy snuggles up with Mr. Bear and Mr. Duck. She's getting bigger, but she still hasn't outgrown her love of Barry Manilow. She loves it when I sing "I Can't Smile Without You." Then again, she also likes old Run DMC and she especially likes the song "I Like Farts" from the Family Guy see (could there be a better kids song?).

It's pretty amazing how much she's grown! Although it's not terribly apparent, her hemangioma is also starting to reduce.

After a couple false starts, Maddy now enjoys eating (somewhat) solid foods. She also likes to smear food all over her face and head. I've probably seen photos like the one here a dozen times, and I pretty much just rolled my eyes. Of course, now that it's my kid it's a whole new ballgame. By the way, Milo is uninterested in eating by spoon. Elaine tried to feed him some banana the other day and Milo just pushed it out of his mouth and then gave her the same look I give when I realize I may need to use a porta-potty. Not too promising. I suggested he might not like bananas, but Elaine assured me that all babies like them. I tested the theory by breaking off a piece and holding it near his lips. Sure enough, he licked it a few times and smiled. Maybe next week...

Here's a fairly long video clip of Maddy eating from the spoon that's bound to bore all of you. ;). Maybe the kids will be advanced enough to do our taxes by next month. Let's hope so.

Above: Lisa Goines (just behind Elaine) attends to M&M on September 15, 2008.

And now for the complete bummer. The babies' very first primary nurse, Lisa Goines, passed away a few days ago on February 6, 2009. Lisa's obituary appears here. The obit is relatively brief, but it mentions her work as a neonatal nurse for 20 years at Alta Bates. During that time, I can only imagine how many babies she nursed back to health. I remember meeting Lisa the day after Elaine gave birth to the babies. I practically slept walked into room 11 and Lisa was right there attending Maddy (whose skin was still gelatinous at the time). Very few people can do the type of work required of a skilled neonatal nurse, and Lisa was among the most talented out there. She helped us pick our first primary nurses -- who were the A Team as far as we're concerned, and she also gave us tremendous support during the most agonizing time in our life. It's a terrible shame that the world has lost her. Before leaving the NICU, Elaine and I bought several prints by Wanda Goines (Lisa's mother) for the babies' room. They are a beautiful reminder of the contribution Lisa and her family made to the lives of our children.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Surgery Day Pics

Surgery Day

Milo ended up getting discharged the same day around 8:00 pm. He was back to his usual self within a day or so, other than wearing a looser fitting diaper. We're just about past the likely incubation period for RSV, so (knock on wood) it looks like Milo didn't pick up any of the virus.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hernia Surgery

Milo had his hernia surgery this morning at 7:30 a.m. and all went well. The surgeon fixed the inguinal hernia on his right side and checked his left side for a similar problem. The left side was all clear, so Milo has a clean bill of health in the groin area. Always a good thing!

It was a topsy turvy day for Milo and Dad, who took the little guy to Children's Hospital Oakland at 6:00 a.m. for his pre-surgery check in and preparation. Thankfully Milo woke up on his own overnight to eat, as he wasn't allowed to have any breast milk past 3:30 a.m. in preparation for his operation. He had a good meal, but choked and threw up a pretty significant portion of it all over Mom and the rocking chair. Somehow he missed himself. I guess he's getting more skilled at the fine art of spitting up.

Milo is currently sleeping after having a little post surgery meal. He's still a bit groggy from his general anesthesia, epidural, and some morphine for good measure, but seems content and pain free. He had a little blood in his diaper this morning, but it was just from having a catheter, and was nothing to worry about.

We are, however, a little concerned about Milo's location at the moment. He's in a relatively open ward with many other babies and we know from overhearing that at least one of the babies across the way has RSV. We can hear the poor thing coughing and it's horrible. The nurses have assured us that as long as the babies are at least 3 feet apart (which they are) and we take the usual precautions and keep our curtain closed it should be fine. We put in a call to the pediatrician just in case and are also going to ask the resident when he comes by to check Milo.

We'll do another post later today or tomorrow to update everyone on the little guy. Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lucky 13

I'd like to kick off this week by giving special thanks to Auntie Annette, newly wed and primary nurse extraordinaire. Annette was kind enough to swing by for several hours on Saturday to allow Elaine and I the chance to go grab some dinner and head to a movie. Thankfully, Annette didn't run screaming from the house despite the fact that the kids seemed to be having "one of those days." Of course, they were perfect today.

I talked a bit about all the upcoming doctors visits in the last post, and so far we've knocked out a few. Actually, the area pediatricians have run out of the second dose of flu vaccine, so that spared M&M a trip to the doc and a round of shots. They were OK with that - as near as I can tell. Milo celebrated by cooing and farting, Maddy did pretty much the same.

Milo did head to Childrens' Hospital for his feeding study last week, and the good news is that the boy has finally made it to 13 lbs. Better yet, he's not aspirating milk when he feeds. Sometimes when he eats, he lets milk collect in the back of his throat, and it causes him to make a raspy, gurgly sound. The therapist examining him thinks he does it as a form of play -- apparently he likes the way it sounds or feels and he's doing it for fun. That sounds like our boy.

M & M at play together - 1/27/09

Maddy tries solids - 1/19/09

In other news, Maddy gave solid food a whirl back on the 19th and the results were mixed. We gave her some rice cereal in milk, and she pretty much pushed it right back out at us. On the plus side, we have the above picture which is pretty cute. We think we'll have more luck on the next attempt: we've been giving Maddy her reflux medication by spoon and she really seems to like it. That seems like a good sign. But, there's no big rush and we're not going to push it for now. Remember, the babies are still technically less than 5 months old *corrected age, so there's no real hurry.

By the way, Milo tried solids at his feeding study with similar results.

Milo spends a little quality time with his toy monkey.

Maddy & Mom making dinner - 1/28/09

Maddy has started to like riding around in the baby carrier. She's not as in to it as Milo (who loves it all the time), but she's definitely warming up to it. The baby carriers make for an easy way to keep M & M close by without tying up our hands. The down side is that they are getting heavier. Maddy is easily a couple pounds more than Milo, so it's a akin to having a very fragile, awkward 20 lb weight strapped to you for an hour or so at a time.

Hell week is upon us! The kids will go for a pulminologist visit tomorrow (Mon.) and Milo will head to Childrens' for his hernia surgery Wednesday morning at 0600. His surgery will happen early that day, so look for a post sometime Wednesday for an update on his progress. This type of surgery is pretty minor and normally is done on an out-patient basis. But, because of Milo's medical history, he'll be held overnight for observation. One of us will be there from admission to discharge to keep the little guy company. To cap it all off, the babies will head to see Dr. Parker for their monthly Synagis shot on Friday.

*I threw in a link to explain corrected age, because a lot of folks have asked about it. In a nutshell, "corrected age" is the age M&M would be if they were born on their due date (Sept. 24, 2008). Preemies DO NOT get a developmental jump on term babies just because they were born early. In fact, it's accurate to say just the opposite. While term babies are maturing in utero in the equivalent of a quiet, sensory deprivation chamber, preemies are struggling along in an isolette, with wires and gizmos keeping them alive and growing. Not so ideal. Even though M&M are actually over 7 months old now, they are actually developmentally the same as 4-month-olds, because that's how old they'd be if they were born on time. Based on that, they're developmentally right on schedule.