Don't be fooled by the lack of head gear/equipment on the babies. They got to take a 10 minute break from their oxygen while we gave them a good bath. They were allowed to do this because they were doing well and have the ability to sustain themselves for short periods of time on room air. They are still a ways away from not having to be on oxygen though. The nurses, respiratory therapist, and mommy and daddy were impressed with how pink they stayed and unstressed their breathing was while we did this. It was nice to be able to see better what they look like without all the stuff on their faces and heads. Both babies are doing really well with their tube feedings. Because they are growing so well, they both got to have their PICC lines (fancy IV's) removed and are growing strictly from breast milk via the tube! I have heard that in another week we might get to start trying to breastfeed once a day for a few minutes at a time. This would be just to get them to start smelling it and to get them to start rooting.
Here is our very cool Jacob Pierce with his spiky blonde hair. The thing on his nose is just a piece of silicone that protects his nose when on the CPAP. Our little J man is currently weighing 4lbs. 2 oz.!! Isn't he so incredibly handsome.
Another view of our J man. He was so alert.
Our sweet little Audrey who has grown some chubby cheeks this week. She pulled her feeding tube out and her silicone nose piece off, so you can really see what she looks like. She is currently weighing 3lbs. 11 oz.
She kept making this crazy face!
This is Jacob's hand. It gives you some perspective as to how small they are.
This is the most awake we've really ever seen the babies. They sleep at least 23 hours of the 24 hours a day, so catching them alert is a rare treat. We are grateful for their sleep because they grow when they sleep (and burn calories when awake).
I know many people have commented on how much they weigh and wondered if that would mean they could come home earlier than most 28 week preemies. Unfortunately, their weight really has no impact on their development...just like a 6 lb. full term baby would not be any different than a 9 lb. full term baby....one just happens to be bigger, but they do the same things. Now, they do have to be consistently gaining weight, but their isn't some magic number for them to come home.
The biggest thing with 28 week preemies is that their brains are not mature enough to tell their bodies to do certain things. This is why they forget to breath and will drop their oxygen and heart rate as a result. Their brains also haven't matured enough to remember to breath and suck and swallow all at the same time. This is something that happens those last couple weeks in utero...hense, why God came up with the magic 40 weeks gestation. So, if you are 39 weeks and miserable, just know that it is because your baby still has a few last things to learn!
Both babies take their turns having issues. I'm not sure we have had one single day where they both were doing equally well.
Jacob probably gives us the biggest scares. He is our drama king each week (week one: not tolerating feeds; week two: pneumothorax-collapsed lung; week three: possible sepsis; week four-yet to be determined!!)
Audrey's biggest issue so far just continues to be her respiratory stuff. Although, she isn't really doing anything that Jacob isn't doing. She just seems to fluctuate more than he does. She tends to have more apnea and brady spells than he does. Jacob mostly has these because he likes to pull his CPAP off and stick it in his mouth and suck on it. Audrey just likes to pull her feeding tube out several times a day. She thinks she is all grown up.
Both babies are doing really well though. They are growing and making strides in the right direction. We continue to pray that God will protect them from any infection as that would be the biggest set back. We miss them so much and I cannot tell you how much my heart yearns for the day that we are all under one roof.
I would like to say that this is getting easier, but it is not. In fact, the more and more I bond and fall in love with these babies, the harder it is. I still have yet to find a balance to really love on every one in our family. I miss spending time with Ella. I have been going up to the hospital less in the evenings so I can go outside with her and Andrew. That has helped, but then I just am really missing the babies come bedtime.
I continue to cling to the promise that God has great plans for us. I don't really ask God "how come?" anymore. I have a peace that God has a reason for this hard season of life for us. Greater things are yet to come.