Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mic Check

I seriously need to do a mic check...testing 1-2-3...hello?


You would think with 3 adorable kiddos I would be posting a million pictures a day, right? And you would think since it was the holidays that I would have some good material to write, right?

Well, I do and I do. The issue is that I have 3 hungry mouths to feed and lots of little socks to wash. I have baby dolls to dress, train tracks to put together, and paper dolls that need dressing. I have 30 fingers nails and 30 toe nails, not including my own, that need trimming.

So, I have lots of neat and hopefully inspiring things to talk about and LOTS of fabulous photos. And a few of you asked about photography stuff and that has gotten me REALLY excited about some future posts!

But, once again, it is really late...and the babes will be calling my name many times tonight to fill their little tummies. But, I know you all will stick with me and understand if my posts are brief right are awesome like that!

So, for now, I leave you with one simple photo....because what's a post without a picture of one of my little loves?!

While some may think having a two year old AND twin babies is crazy, but I am telling you that this little girl keeps me laughing and smiling...except when she yells at me and tells me that I'm not allowed in her princess tent. *sigh*

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I'm still working on my Christmas cards...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And God will give you all the desires of your heart...

On June 28th, my life took an unexpected turn. I prayed that God would give me 5 stockings to hang on the mantel this year.

So, on Christmas Eve, I will kiss three little sets of cheeks. And while I watch Ella's every expression as she opens up the Angelina Ballerina House she has been wanting, I will also be looking at those two extra stockings...and oh how complete my heart will feel this Christmas morning.

(And in 2011, I will post much more. We are starting to settle into a routine here, so I hope to post lots of pictures soon!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The summary of my life...

While sitting here snuggling with Jacob (because it would be wishful thinking that all 3 kids would be sleeping at the same time) in bed, I was looking at my disaster of a nightstand and thinking how badly I needed to clean it off.

But, then I decided that it was way too cold to put down my little snuggle buddy. However, I got a good laugh at the actual items on my nightstand. After proper examination, I decided you could tell a lot about a person by looking on (or in) their nightstand. Here is what is currently on pretty much sums up my life right now:

1. A pink pacifier
2. A cold cup of coffee that I never got to finish this morning
3. two bottles of freshly pumped breast milk
4. a tub of lysol wipes
5. a face mask (that hooks up to our nebulizer)
6. A Norah Jones c.d.
7. A how-to speak French phrase book (to feed my intellectual side-I've been teaching Ella some words!! It's hysterical hearing her say Bonjour!)
8. Fancy Nancy Book (mine and Ella's new favorite book-we like to read while I feed the babies)
9. Blistex
10. A t-shirt covered in spit-up that I pulled off in the middle of the night
11. an address book
12. A devotion book by Joyce Meyer
13. a pad of paper and pen
14. A bottle of nail polish
15. my cell phone
16. my ipod
17. my credit card bill that is due in three days that I forgot to stick in the mail again.
18. a hair clip
19. A victorias secret coupon-(Ha!.. like I'll be buying anything from there anytime in the near future. Gotta love their free undies coupons though!)
20. And lastly, a photography magazine

And the usual lamp and alarm clock. Seriously, those are all sitting on top of my nightstand!! I wonder what that says about me? Probably just that I've become a disorganized slob since having the twins!

On a serious note, Audrey continues to sound better and better each morning. She was still coughing a good bit up until this morning. I think I've only heard her cough once today. It is amazing how quickly kids can go downhill, yet how quickly they can bounce back.

Jacob has been doing well since his surgery. Ella has an appointment tomorrow with the ENT and I'm praying she doesn't need another set of tubes. The pediatrician thinks her right one is plugged and she has been pulling at it a lot.

If I have to schedule in another surgery, I might need to get an assistant to help me keep up with everyones appointments. Geez!

It's alright. I have it all under control...just look at my nightstand!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More to come...

I will write more later, but I didn't want any more time to go by before I told you that our Audrey is being healed by our Lord. He has once again shown us how mighty He is. Audrey's tests came back as having RSV.
Had this little girl not gotten the antibodies in a shot a couple weeks ago, she would have probably ended up critically ill in the ICU. The antibodies kept her from getting any sicker than she did.
She is eating, she is pink, she is alert, and she is breathing easy once again.

Now do you believe in the power of prayer?

Seeing a body of Believers come together to pray on behalf a little 7 pound wonder...

how happy this must make God. That is all HE wants see us love each other, love and serve Him, and take care of each other.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mustard Seed

Pre-post: If you feel led by God to pray for our family, may I humbly ask you to either link back here via your own blog or ask your own small groups to please continue to pray for our family. I do not ask in a way as to solicit traffic through this blog, rather to come as a community of believers to support and pray for each other as the Body of Christ. And right now, I am telling you that I am tired, overwhelmed, and weak and need the support of believers to pray on our behalf. I am simply a mother who needs prayer.

The walls are thin here in the Children's Hospital. Audrey's room is right in front of the nurses I hear everything. I'm pretty sure I've never been so tired in my entire life. Despite the two months our twins spent in the NICU and the other stress we have had this month with Ella and Jacob somehow catching Pertussis, I'm pretty sure this is the most fear I have had ever. I sit on this hard "thing" they call a "parent bed", and watch my littlest little lady stop breathing and lips turn grey. It only lasted 30 seconds, but these spells seem to be happening more and more as this mean and awful virus (we are thinking she has either pertussus orRSV) attacks her innocent, immature lungs. And I sobbed and completely broke down...probably for the first time since the twins were born. You see, just a week ago, I was outside and snapped the most beautiful pictures of the most gorgeous little tyke. She was healthy and growing...and although she was barely 7 pounds even at 3 months...she was starting to thrive.
Isn't she absolutely lovely? She is the easiest baby of my three kids. She is always happy and such a great sleeper. Oh, and she looooooves her mommy. And oh how I do love my Audrey (and my sweet Ella and snuggly Jacob too)!!

So, when started getting fussy Saturday evening I knew something was not right with her. Audrey NEVER fusses...but, she would not let us put her down all evening. The next day, she very quickly started to go downhill.

The hard thing with these preemies is they just can't handle getting sick. You or I may just get a bad cold...but a simple cold virus makes these babies very sick. Their immature little lungs just cannot handle it. Now, full term babies carry mommies immunity for about the first 4 months after birth. But, since these babies were born so early, they were essentially born with no immune system. And although I nurse them both, it just isn't the same as a good healthy full-term baby.

She started with the awful cough that would result in her vomiting. As the day progressed, she coughed so much she would vomit and then have these little episodes of turning blue/grey. Monday, we spent most of the day in the Emergency Room being evaluated. At that time, we were able to get her to tolerate Pedialyte. The doctor was on the verge of admitting her, but felt like if she could just tolerate clear fluids for a couple days, then there was no need to admit her.

So, even though a voice in my head said "don't you let them send this girl home", I did just that. I didn't listen to my mommy instinct.

As this story is getting far too lengthy already, I will simply state that she got worse on Tuesday and we found ourselves back at the hospital again...but, this time to stay.

And if that wasn't enough, Jacob had to be brought in the next day for his scheduled surgery at 6am at the same hospital (where he would have to stay overnight). Fortunately, we were able to work it out between Andrew and I to continue on with the planned surgery. Jacob did great and pretty much slept the next 24 hours. When I saw him this morning, he was wide awake and content with a full belly...I gave him lots of hugs, kisses, and snuggles before Andrew took him home. Love that boy!! Did I mention he is almost 10 pounds of chubbiness now???

I digress.

So, here on a late (and very cold) Wednesday night I listen to the "click click" of her IV fluids being pumped into her little 7 pound body. The monitor continues to alarm and I wonder at what point will I fall on the ground from exhaustion.

And I listen to this miracle work to breathe. I watch her lip color change back and forth. I try to feed her the smallest amount of fluids, but she just can't handle it.

Andrew comes to visit at 10:30pm (he found a nurse downstairs to hold Jacob for awhile) and he says to me "she is going to be ok, right??" "Sarah, is she going to be ok?"

And for the first time in 3 months, I sob. Because I don't know if she is going to be ok...

But I know that God is a God of miracles. And I know, despite the pain, that He loves us. I may not feel like He hears my prayers right now...I may feel abandoned and forsaken...

But, then I find that small mustard seed faith of mine. And I remember that He is a healer...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The nightmare that just won't end...

The room is still and quiet. Every mother of littles ones dream, right?

But, I would give anything to hear the running around of Ella and two screaming babies...

and not the inside walls of the Children's Hospital where I sit with a sick Audrey.

As if having two kids (Ella and Jacob) with Whooping Cough/Pertussis wasn't enough...

Yet, once again, I find myself with a sick child. Only this time, it is much worse and it is my littlest of babes.

Sometimes I feel like I just cannot wake up from this nightmare. I keep thinking it is over, but then something else happens that makes me fear for my babies lives. You shouldn't have to watch your child turn blue and stop breathing at home.

But, praise God I am a nurse and knew what to do. I stayed awake with her all night last night in fear. Her cough started late Saturday and has gotten progressively worse since then. On Sunday night, she coughed so hard that she vomited an obscene amount of milk and then turned blue.

In true Audrey style, a minute later (and some oxygen from her oxygen tank that we have at home) she was fine and acted like nothing had happened. But, she did not eat well through the night. This morning, she vomited every feeding b/c of that cough.

We are all perplexed because everyone in our family was treated for Whooping Cough, yet it seems like that is what Audrey has. It is ironic that the mother who vaccinates her kids and is a Pediatric Nurse ends up having a child with this.

I cried in the car. I cried because I felt so alone. My husband has taken so much time off of work that we just can't keep having him take days off. So, I sit her alone with Audrey. I entrusted my 64 year father to care for Ella and Jacob...

God help him.

I prayed that God would do anything to me....but, don't let anything happen to my kids. Don't let another illness come into our home right now.

I am tired. I have been running off adrenaline and prayer...

But, right now, I find myself saying "It's me God...Sarah. Where are you??? Please give me rest, strength, and perseverance. And please Lord, heal my sweet and delicate Audrey.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Living the Dream

Isn't it every young girls dream to go to college, get married, travel to Europe and various other places for a few years, have a little girl with big blue eyes and blonde ringlets, and then have boy/girl twins? Oh, and buy and renovate a house with your hunky (but completely dorky too!!) hubby? There may have been some twists and turns a long the way...a good bit of suffering...but, WOW, looking at my life written out I'd say I'm living the dream. (And yes, these were all taken by me.)

Ella's latest thing that she likes to come tell me several times a day is "Mommy, God is soooooooo good!"

Have I mentioned that I LOVE this girl? Her innocence and joy for life help me get through these really hard and tiresome days. Her vocabulary has really expanded and we actually have real conversations now. I have decided that 2 & 1/2 is my new favorite age. She still needs me and wants me, I have once again become her best bud, and she is absolutely hysterical! She is constantly cracking me up from sunrise until sunset.

And, although my life is beyond exhausting and hard right now...

It is so, so sweet.

Living the dream. Who would have thought this several months ago?...

Yes, Ella, God is soooooo good!

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm alive

I know I have been terrible about posting...

But, we've been dealing with the whopping cough in this house. Yes, my poor little Jacob and sweet Ella both caught pertussis/whooping cough. (And yes, my kids get ALL their vaccines!!)

I will tell you all about it soon.

We are all starting to recover.

I am an exhausted mommy...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's in a name: Part Un

People are always asking me how we chose names for our children, so I thought I would do a series of posts on our names.
The name Audrey is English and means "of Noble Strength." The name Helene is French and means "Light."

Audrey is a name that I have loved since I was a teenager. It is a name that was a close contender when we were naming Ella. I love what it means and it is only fitting for a little girl born barely weighing over 3 lbs. She is certainly has an amazing strength. (You have to be strong to survive being born 3 months early!)

I also LOVE English and French names, so that helped narrow things down. Andrew and I knew we wanted something from those origins. They tend to be very classic names, which we love.
Oh, and a completely coincidental fact is that Audrey Hepburn's mother was named Ella. But, that is not why we chose our names...just a funny coinkidink!

The name Helene is a form of the name Helen, which is Andrew's grandmother's name. We changed it from Helen to Helene because we liked the French version better.

A beautiful and classy name for a beautiful little girl. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I had visions of posting at least every other day of the daily musings of raising 3 kids under 3...

I also had visions that I'd have these perfectly coordinated, scheduled twins who wore coordinating outfits...

But reality is, someone always spits up or poops on their outfit...which results in being put in a simple sleeper again. Someone is always screaming. Jacob is fussy. Audrey doesn't want to eat...or she turns blue when trying to eat.

And in the midst of the newborn (even though they are technically two and a half months old) chaos, I am watching my beautiful Ella grow and enjoy life with me in the background...

And that hurts way more than the sleep deprivation. The reality is I don't know how to share my heart. I love all three and no matter what I do, I feel like I am letting someone down. I feel like I am always missing something.

After months of bed rest and going back and forth to the hospital to see the babies, I REALLY just want to spend time with Ella. And although I know people can help with the babies, let's face it: newborns need mommy, want mommy, and won't stop screaming until they have mommy.

The babies have had 8 doctors appointments in the past 2 weeks. Jacob needs some minor surgery that will require him to stay overnight at the hospital...once again, taking me away from the rest of my family.

I hate that Ella rather hang out with other family members than me. It is like a knife in my heart because I WAS her best friend, her buddy, her constant companion. And although most people would think it is wonderful that she is so well adjusted to the chaos, I can't help but hurt that she doesn't always come to me to play princesses with.

I love these babies. I love my Ella. How do you give everyone equal love?

Here is reality: I don't know how to juggle all this. Now, I know that this is a unique situation in that I have two high needs preemies on my hands with feeding issues, lots of appointments, etc. But surely God can make a balance for me with it all.

Reality is hard, it's messy, and it's beyond exhausting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It wasn't really the homecoming I imagined 9 months ago...

But, nevertheless, it was the day God chose to finally fill our empty bedrooms.

My heart feels very full and my life so complete. Thank you, Jesus, for sleepless nights, sweatpants, and messy hair.

Welcome home our sweet Audrey Helene.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A piece of heaven

He is such a welcomed little blessing in our family. It is getting hard to remember what life was like before he came home.

SEVEN pounds of heaven. We are hoping to add our little Audrey to the pictures this week too!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mommy's boy

While everyone else was watching the election results last night, I was laying in bed with my little boy. Yes, we were laying in bed at HOME. And although Jacob decided to party all night, we are so glad to have our 6 pound 8 ounces little boy at home where he belongs.

Such a miracle. Such a blessing. Such a mix of emotions.

And I think back to June 28th when they said they weren't sure if the twins would make it to viability. And yet, here I sit staring at my little blue-eyed darling...wondering why God chose to let me bring him home while I watch other mothers still waiting and wondering if their precious children will ever come home. My heart aches for those mothers.

And though we still feel a little empty without our sweet Audrey at home yet, we know that she will soon follow. Very soon, everything will be as it should.

For now, we will embrace this new little boy in our house. He is definitely going to be a mommy's boy.

Thank you God for still performing miracles!

Monday, October 25, 2010


SOOC is an acronym we use in photography that stands for "straight out of camera." In other words, a picture that has not been photoshopped or changed. (And no, this isn't a post about photography...just read on).

I've been thinking a lot about the image and face I put on when I walk out the door versus the real me that you see behind closed doors. You see, when we walk out the door in the mornings and go to our mommy groups, preschools, or even a traditional job, we don't give people the SOOC version of ourselves. We put on our pretty faces of makeup and smile and talk about how fabulous our kids are. We don't talk about the fact that we screamed at our kids that morning, forgot to put on deodorant, and kicked the cat.

See the picture below? Yes, it's beautiful and bright and cheery.

But, what you don't realize is that before I brightened it up, it looked like this:

Dark. Dreary. Very Flawed. This is reality. We are very flawed, yet we continue to photoshop our lives to make it look like we have it all together.

Let me be the first to tell you that I do not have it all together. If you were to look at my life SOOC, you would see a woman who has many struggles. I am full of insecurities. Even when I am on a spiritual high and really seeking God, the enemy continues to feed me lies that I will never be good enough. God has to remind me daily that although I am a loser, that is why He extended us GRACE. Grace means I don't have to earn anything. Yet, I continue to look at other woman who I think are so amazing spiritually and think I can never be as good as them. It's a difficult life when you are always putting others on pedastals.

My SOOC personality is one hates what she looks like (may seem strange to you...but, I see the face behind the makeup). If you looked at my SOOC, you'd see someone who frequently loses her cool and yells at her child, who sometimes spanks out of anger, and someone who sometimes puts ludicrous things above spending time with my precious child.

You would see someone who at times undermines her husband, is NOT submissive to him, and forgets to lift him up with kind words. Instead of telling him all the many things he does right, I will lose my cool over the couple things that he doesn't. You would see someone who does a lot of taking, and not a lot of giving in her marriage.

You would see someone who listens to music she shouldn't, has words that come out of her mouth that shouldn't, and has been materialistic. You see, I use to think that since I worked really hard, I DESERVED things. This is the lie that the enemy feeds us...and the lie that society gives us as well.

You see, I have a face with acne and wrinkles and a heart with too much pride and snobbery.

But, I don't want to be her anymore. I want my SOOC self to be the photoshop version that you see. I want that girl to be the real me. I want to be patient with my child and always put her above those "other things". I want to stop feeling like I deserve anything...because actually, what I deserve is eternal hell and damnation, right?

Thank you God for grace. And thank you God for continuing to work on me and breaking me. I am a work in progress. I am flawed...and I need grace.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

To Him Belong

Your eyes are not fooling you. Don't refresh the page. When I first started this blog two years ago, it was simply a series of pictures and letters to my sweet Ella...hense why it was called "Dear Ella". Because our family has expanded, and I know I can't write three separate blogs, I decided that it was time to change the title of my blog.

I was in the car with Ella the other day and she was singing "Jesus loves me" at the top of her lungs. It is such a simple and old I have heard 5 million times growing up. But, something she sang struck a cord with me. In the song, there is a sentence that says "little ones to Him belong." For some reason, I found myself pondering this verse all day long. You see, our children whether they are biological or adopted ALL belong to Him. We are all foster parents. All children are given to us from God to raise up to know Him.

With this newest insight, I have changed the title of this blog to "To Him Belong"...because in reality, Ella, Jacob, and Audrey all belong to God. Andrew and I are simply God's chosen people to raise these beautiful children.

I am also changing directions a little with my blog. You will still here me ramble about the funny things Ella does and you will still watch these preemies grow and thrive...and hopefully soon listen to me ramble about being the mother of 3 precious, precious children. But, what I really feel called to do is talk more about my struggles and hardships of life and motherhood. I feel called to be open and honest.

Let's face it. We can all post pretty pictures of our kids and talk about how wonderful life is. Don't get me IS WONDERFUL. But, life behind the pretty pictures can also be hard, challenging, etc. I want to encourage others that the things they feel are normal. I want to tell you about my struggles with faith, my struggles with anxiety, and my struggles with being a GOOD mother.

I want you to see beyond the pretty pictures. Please continue to walk along side me and leave me some comments now and then.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I spoke too soon

As Murphy's Law would have it, because I said Audrey could be coming home soon, then of course she is not. I guess I spoke too soon.

There is nothing wrong with her per se. We are still just waiting for her to stop dropping her oxygen saturations with her feeds. The nurse today said that it is a neurological maturation thing...and it basically "clicks" overnight. So, I sat with Audrey this evening and gave her a pep talk. I told her she had to pull it together before brother did if she wanted any chance of some one on one attention with her mommy. You see, brother Jacob has developed the reputation as being rather needy. In other words, he cries a lot therefor he gets held a lot! Thank goodness Audrey is so easy and content because Jacob is going to need a lot more consoling.

Otherwise, Audrey is great: no feeding tube for a week, no oxygen for a week, and she is gaining weight.

Now Jacob...the poor fellow has reflux, HORRIBLE gas, and just miserable. He is still on a tiny bit of oxygen simply because the constant choking/reflux makes him drop his oxygen saturation. He still has a feeding tube although he is taking a good bit of his feeds by mouth. He actually breastfeeds way better than bottle feeding. They said it is a much slower flow so it's probably easier for him to manage with his reflux. Anyway, he's not too far behind his sister.

So, here are the current weights:
Jacob Pierce: 5 lbs. 12 ounces (Can you believe that??!!!)
Audrey Helene: 4 lbs. 13 ounces

This week, the babies turned 7 weeks old and 36 weeks gestation. It really is amazing looking back on how far we have come. I'll post some new pictures of everyone this weekend. Ella can't wait to meet her little sister and brother!

Monday, October 18, 2010

In the News...

There are some very exciting things going on in the NICU these days...

There is a most perfect, beautiful little girl who is NO LONGER on oxygen! This same girl has been taking all her feedings by mouth for 24 hours. This, my friends, is a very, very, very good sign that she could be coming home soon.

By soon, I mean maybe this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh. my. goodness!!!

And my sweet little Jacob man...well, he wants to catch up with his sister, but he has a bad case of reflux. He needs oxygen when eating, but otherwise is doing really well. I bet he will catch up with Audrey in a few days.

Miss Ella started preschool at a little church about a mile from home. She went right to her class without crying. We are hoping this will provide us with the balance we need with two babies at home. She sang "Jesus loves me" over and over again on the car ride home. I'd say that is a good sign.

Otherwise, we are trying to pull together last minute details before the babes come finding a car that actually holds everyone. This brings me to my next statement...

Never say you'll never buy a minivan. When you have three car seats (two which you have to continually get in and out entirely), you basically have one option. Yes, my friends, this mommy will soon be the proud owner of a swagger wagon. Andrew keeps reminding me that this is a good problem to have because it means we are going to have three kids!

But, don't worry...I'll class it up with some high heels and red lipstick now and then. I'm going to make a minivan look so cool you are all going to wish you had one too!

I hope my next post is telling of a certain babes homecoming!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Future Engineer

My parents like to joke that my goal for Ella is turn her into a prima ballerina. Well, I guess my goal for this little man is to turn him into a sweet nerd. Here is my future Georgia Tech Engineer in the making.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Fun

Sometimes, when life is really stressful, you just have to say "enough" and enjoy the blessings right in front of you. With of our two babies in the NICU for about 6 weeks now, it has been hard to remember that there is still another little life who needs me just as much. It has been hard to shuffle her around so much so that I can be at the hospital. So, this weekend, Andrew and I decided to have some family time with our sweet little Ella. In Southern tradition, we went to fall festival that included a corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin farm, zip line, john deer tractor rides, hay rides...well, you name it and it was there!
Instead of a sand box, they had a corn box. It sounds weird, but it was really awesome! I know...only in the South!

The highlight of the morning was going down the huge slide.

Our jeans were stained with clay after this!

Dear Ella,
Although my time will forever be torn between three children who I love equally, I hope you know that I will always make time for you. And although you may not understand right now, how blessed your life will be to have both a sister and brother to grow up with.
I love you pumpkin...a thousand times!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Words

How do you describe your love for your children? There are no words to describe the love I feel for these newest additions to our family. (Stay tuned this weekend for some beautiful pictures of big sister!) So for now, there is no post...just some pictures. They describe our love more than any words ever could...

Audrey-5 weeks

Jacob-5 weeks and so insanely handsome

Audrey Helene




Isn't she beautiful?

Our little Audrey

"...Fearfully and Wonderfully Made." Psalm 139:14

Friday, October 1, 2010

While you were sleeping...

While you were sleeping...

I counted your tiny 20 fingers and 20 toes...

I stared at my handsome mans little face...

And kissed on those 4 lbs. 4 oz. of sweetness...

And loved on sisters 3 lb. 14 oz. sweet self...

And gave eskimo kisses to both my sweet, little babies.

And while you sleep, I find myself growing more and more in love. Before you were born, I always wondered if I'd love you the same as your sweet sister Ella...and I do! God just makes your heart grow bigger and fill with more love. You are all three special in your own way: Ella-because you will always be my first; Jacob-because you are my first son; Audrey-because you are the baby! Loving all three of you is easy!

Happy one month birthday Jacob and Audrey! Please come home soon!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy 3 weeks my sweet babies

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 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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A word from David

I call it my 11 o'clock hour. You know how children have their bewitching hour around 5 pm every day? It's the time of day where there is always chaos in the home and children get whiney and grumpy. For that hour, it always feels like the home is falling apart. Everyone is hungry and tired.

I find myself having my own hour each day around 11 pm. However, it isn't a whiney and grumpy time. Rather, it is the 11 o'clock hour that I find myself sitting in a quiet home and a sense of emptiness, fear, and loneliness overwhelms my heart. Everyone else is asleep and I find myself anxious and unable to rest my mind. It is the hour where I start to doubt God's presence in my life. It is the hour each day where tears are inevitable. It is the hour where I feel like life is out of control and that no one understands.

The truth is, most people don't understand. I doubt there are many women who have endured infertility, a miscarriage, 10 weeks of bed rest, been separated from her family, and then found herself giving birth to not just one baby, but two babies that are almost 3 months premature (and will not be home in our arms for many more months). There is nothing normal about any of this. I do not say this is in a "feel sorry for me" way. No...we continue to praise God for we have much to be thankful for. But in the same breath, life is still very far from being kind of normal. I say all this because I need to be allowed an hour each day where I allow myself to feel emotional and not feel like I need to always have my happy face on.

This morning I found myself reading some of David's writings in the book of Psalms. There is no doubt that he was an extraordinary man. He too, found himself desperately seeking God to give him rest. He writes:
"In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame;in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!~ Psalm 31:1-2

Rescue me...that's definitely what I find myself asking God. I pray to Him to give us rest and a time of calmness in our lives. I know in my heart that there are many more valleys to walk through, especially while we deal with the ups and downs of preemies in the NICU. I also know that I should be saying "if this is what it takes to praise you, Lord, then ok."...

But, at 11pm each night, I need this refuge that David speaks of. I need it when the staff tells me that our sweet Jacob could possible be getting septic (an infection in the blood). I need this refuge in these coming months as we continue to deal with this ride of emotions. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a Goliath just like David.

*Update: As of September 20th (Monday), Jacob is NOT septic. Both sets of blood cultures came back negative. They are thinking now that he might just need a blood transfusion to get his hematocrit level up. This is very good news!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arms Full

Happy two week birthday to our sweet twins!

Jacob (on my right) and Audrey (on my left)

I always enjoy it when I get to hold them

A very happy (and tired) mommy!

Arms Full...I just need Ella to sit in the middle and I'd feel complete!

Miss Audrey Helene (currently weighing 3 lbs. 2 oz.)

Mr. Jacob Pierce (currently weighing 3 lbs. 3 oz.)

Sweet Audrey...always so quiet and content

Mr. Jacob Pierce with his angry face...he is a little more particular than his younger sister

Jacob now happy being swaddled in mommy's arms and checking out his mommy

Audrey and her head full of medium blonde hair (her brother's hair is super blonde!!)

The babies had been doing really well on their high flow nasal cannula, but as of Thursday afternoon, they were starting to get really worn out. So, it was back on CPAP they went. We won't get to hold them for several days while we let them rest. I'm glad I got these pictures before they got hooked back up and snuggle them both at the same time. We won't be able to hold for many days so they can rest...because remember, they aren't really supposed to be out in the world yet. We are always understanding when the staff tells us they need to just sleep for a few days.

As of today (Friday), Audrey looks so much more comfortable than yesterday. She is not breathing as fast and not working as hard. She definitely needed some extra respiratory support to give her some rest. There is also some talk that she may need a blood transfusion because her hematocrit level is a little low. Jacob is still having some apnea/brady spells, but he recovers quickly on his own. Both babies are getting caffeine to help with this.

Although this all may sound concerning, they really are doing well. We were told to expect all these things by the neonatologist last weekend when we had our meeting. The babies are just doing things that 28 week preemies do. Their prognosis is still very good.

Otherwise, many of you have asked what you can do to help. We have many needs these days...and it seems like those needs will be even larger in the months to come. The babies will have a lot of doctors appointments, physical therapy, etc. this first year of their life. And of course, I need to make special times to just spend time with our little Ella. Andrew and I are struggling to find balance at the moment...balancing our need to be with three kids whom we love all equally, but live in different places at the moment and all have different needs. We need to just as importantly find time for each other as well. Earlier this week, we literally had to schedule time to talk. In my next post, I will write about our specific needs for the next few weeks. But for now, we would be humbled if you would just pray for God to help us find a good balance in spending time at the hospital, with Ella, and each other.

I read all your notes, texts, e-mails and listen to all messages. I am always very touched by your prayers. If I don't call you back or write back, please just charge it to my head and not my heart. I love you all very of these days, I hope I can return all the favors. It is hard to depend so much on others, but it has taught Andrew and I so much about servant hood. Please don't stop calling or writing. Sometimes, it is just a simple e-mail saying "I prayed for you today" that helps me get through an emotional hour.