Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remembering Kateyln through Hailey's eyes::

Today Hailey and I were in the alligator (elevator in Hailey language) and a family asked about our babies. I replied the details and that I was going to miss Katelyn. On the way to the NICU Hailey asked me if I was going to miss Katelyn? Stumbling for an answer, I replied that Katelyn was with Jesus in heaven and was going to watch over her and her siblings. Hailey replied I want to take all my babies home. Daddy again explained that Katelyn won't be able to come home. For a little while Hailey was ok with that answer.

Later on Hailey, Jen and I were sitting in the room just chatting and Hailey brought up bringing all her babies home with her. This broke Jen's heart as she tried to explain that Katelyn was with Jesus. Hailey then asked if Jesus' mommy was taking care of Katelyn. Jen simply said yes as Hailey softly cried on Jen's lap. After a few seconds Hailey turned to me and Jen and simply said, " Well Jesus' daddy can bring her back to the hospital from Heaven. Not knowing what to say Jen and I explained that Jesus' mommy and daddy will be taking care of Katelyn but she will always love you and be in your heart. Hailey then turned again and said "I want her out of my heart" We asked where Hailey wanted her to be and she said. the hospital. At this point I could feel the steady flow of tears down my face. After a few minutes Hailey quietly accepted that Katelyn was in heaven with Jesus and in her heart.

A few hours went by and Hailey and I went to see the babies so mom could rest. While visiting her brothers Hailey brought up Katelyn again and why she cant come back to the hospital. Again I was stumbling for the third time to help Hailey, Landon's nurse turned to Hailey and simply asked if she wanted to color a picture for Katelyn. Hailey nodded. What color do you want to color it? Hailey said yellow. Any other color...well pink too. The nurse then asked what color balloon. Hailey being the girlie girlie she is said pink. The nurse asked about letting going in a park so that it can fly in the wind right to where Katelyn was. Hailey eyes lit up. This calmed her heart for a second. On the way out daddy asked Hailey about her babies. Hailey simply replied daddy " I want all my babies, all of them" Daddy hugged his precious Hailey bug and explained that they needed to stay at the hospital for longer to get big and strong. On that note Daddy and Hailey said goodnight to the babies and left to meet the "police man" (security guard) for a ride back to see mommy.

To my beloved Katelyn you are my mine and I will always love you. Thank you for the few moments are lives collided. I will alway cherish the moment I held you and got to sing you to you are my sunshine. Love your Daddy, Nich

6 days old

Where do we start?! The babies change so much each day, let alone 6 of them! I'll try to get most of this straight - we didn't bring our notebook today. :) I'll try to make this brief and avoid the medical lingo as much as possible. It's amazing how much Nich and I know! Also, we did get their official weights and measurements back (they were too fragile when they were first born):

Brennan (Baby A) 1 lb 4oz and 11 inches long
Landon (Baby B) 1 lb 7oz and 12 3/4 inches long.
Katelyn (Baby C) 1 lb 5oz and 11 3/4 inches long
Brooklyn (Baby D) 1 lb 3.5oz and 11 3/4 inches long

These were really big babies! The NICU staff was really excited when they found out their sizes! The average size of a 23 week baby is 1 lb 1oz and 11 1/3 inches long.

Each baby has had a kidney, heart and brain ultrasound in the last few days. Kidney's of all look good and are filtering out what needs to be filtered. Other great news, they should be eating in about 10 days! I've got plenty of milk stored up already for them! In each of their hearts, they found a blood vessel (ductus arteriosus) that has not closed properly. When I was pregnant and receiving Indmethocin, they found from an ultrasound, signs that this vessel was closing early in 2 babies so had to stop my dosage of the med. Turns out, it didn't close completely from the medicine or naturally. The cardiologists have seen their screens and didn't feel the problem was serious enough to warrant surgery now. Everything else in their hearts look great (a victory!!). Their brain scans came out a little different so I'll describe them below, along with baby specific updates.

Brennan - Steady rider with the hiccups! He has pretty much stayed in the middle of the pack. He's been doing really well and winning the hearts of the nurses. Many have signed up to care for him. This has helped us in building a relationship with the nurses and they're more comfortable with him. Win, win situation! :) As far as his brain scan, the preliminary results show he has a brain hemorrhage in both sides. It's called Intraventricular Hemorrhage (or IVH). There are different grades, but they believe Landon has a grade 3 in both hemispheres. Tomorrow we should learn the results of a repeat scan. He is on a conventional ventilator and slowly being weaned off that.

Landon - He is our big stinker! I believe he's up to his birth weight now. He has been the slowest to tolerate change. From the beginning, we've been concerned about him. He is on a High Frequency Oscillator, which is a different kind of ventiliator (Katelyn was on it too). This bounces his chest and gives him oxygen differently. They are weaning him slowly off this and hope to switch to a conventional ventilator like Brennan and Brooklyn. He has been able to come off much of his Dopamine (blood pressure med) as it is starting to stabilize. :) As far as his brain scan, the preliminary results show he has a brain hemmorage in both sides. It's called Intraventricular Hemmorage (or IVH). There are different grades, but they believe Landon has a grade 3 in one hemisphere and grade 4 in the other. Tomorrow we should learn the results of a repeat scan. We will deal with these challenges as they come, for now we are so thankful we have him!

Brooklyn - She has been our trooper! She has tolerated the most change and is weaning off most medications and taking less of her ventilator. They were concerned about a small air bubble they found in an artery near her live/stomach area, but have since rechecked her and everything looks good. Brooklyn does not seem to have a hemmorage. Initially they saw a grage 2, but the second scan showed it had disappeared. She moved in with the boys today!! Now when we visit we only have to check in with 1 room and hear reports from 1 team! This will be so much easier for us to stay on top of all the babies health. I'm not sure if she gets a different team of nurses, but we really want to thank her nurses for the amazing care they've given her!

I'll try to label the posts medical update, so those of you interested can search for these, others can just take joy in the victories and pray for the weaknesses! This is a totally different world for us, and we feel as though we've been thrown in but between the doctors and nurses are keeping our heads above water. We've been to see them most of the day everyday. Every part of the hospital seems to know us (doesn't help we have a million wrist bands!)

I could just sit and watch them breathe and move every once in awhile. I'm in awe of how perfectly formed they are. God knows what he's doing - he knit each of them together in my womb and they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Remembering Kateyln

Let me start by thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers! It is so good to feel so loved!

Our sweet little Katelyn went to be with Jesus this morning, around 5am after a really hard battle. She had been pretty rocky yesterday - getting her Potassium under control. It was really high and started affecting her heart and her lungs. She fought so hard. The nurses called us down around 2pm to be with her. We just cried and prayed as we watched the nurses give her chest compressions and use the bag to help her breathe. We were preparing ourselves for the worst. They were going to give her 2 more sets of compressions and then let her go. We witnessed a miracle and she came back! Her heart rate went back to 80 steadily, then they warmed her up and it was back to the 140 range. We literally watched God work. They nurses weren't touching her, but God's Almighty Hand helped our baby. We felt good and went back to the room to visit with Hailey and family. Later that day we checked on her again. She was have trouble, but no where near what it had been. We said goodnight and came back to get much needed sleep. Around 2am the nurses came back, saying Katelyn wasn't doing well again and we should go see her. Immediately, Mommy and Daddy strength kicked in and we were down in a flash to pray our baby through another rough time. We arrived to see the nurses and doctor just watching her. They had tried something, and all we could do was sit and watch. They again were preparing us for losing her. I just couldn't let her go! She was on the maximum of everything they could give, and her numbers were up again! Not just up, stable up. I physically could not let her go. I told the nurses for myself, I needed to see her numbers go down to know it was time to let her go. I couldn't give up because she was getting tired, I needed to know it was her time to go. After all, my baby was a miracle! Her numbers again stayed up, and we came to get more sleep, until 5am. The nurses came running down and said we needed to come immediately. She was doing bad again. This time they were doing compressions until we got there to watch her go. The HARDEST thing I have ever done or even imagined! That time we felt peace, and knew she was going to be in another place, pain free. They stopped compressions and let us hold her for her last moments. We just rocked her, kissed her, sang to her, everything to pour our love. We went to a nesting room and had alone time with her. We were both able to hold her, say our goodbyes and grieve.

Even though we have no idea why this happened, we have to contine trusting. Our babies are miracles and sent to us for a reason. We are so thankful for the near 3 days we had with our sweet baby and the special chance to say goodbye. Brennan, Landon and Brooklyn are all doing pretty well. Their sister cheering them on from above. We love you Katelyn!

"There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."

Friday, September 25, 2009

1st Pictures!

Thanks to Nich for posting pics! Here's the rest of the clan!



Wherever we go in the hospital, we're automatically spotted as the quad parents! :)

Birth certificates!



Brennan Nicholas



Brennan holding my finger. I was too nervous to turn the flash on, sorry it's so dark!



Landon James (waiting for his footprints!)


Katelyn Marie


Brooklyn Danielle

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Pollak Quads!

I write this post with disappointment and hope. This morning I went into labor and they couldn't stop it. Everything moved so quickly and within 5 minutes are precious miracles were born. They did an ultrasound yesterday to check a blood vessle in their heart that may close early due to the indomethacin. They found signs of it closing in 2 of the babies so immediately took me off the medicine. I then received 1 dose of cortisone shot to mature the babies lungs. It seemed that was what was holding off my contractions. After I had gotten to the point of being late for that med, my contractions started a little more frequently and I began to feel pressure. They checked me at about 12:30am and I was 1cm dialted. They hadn't checked me before so wasn't sure if that was new or not. Moved me back over to high risk labor and delivery just in case. I woke up at 3 with more pressure and irregular contractions. After that check I was still at 1cm so Nich left for his training in the morning and we were relieved. They also started me on Magnesium Sulfate to try to decrease the likelihood of cerebral palsy and gave the babies brain a boost to develop. Around 10 my contractions were every minute or 2 and getting stronger. They checked me again and I measured 4cm dialeted. I was officially in labor and they needed to do an emergency c-section. I immediately called Nich to come back to the hospital as they were prepping for surgery. It all happed so quickly! Nich got in back just in time to scrub in and watched 3 babies be born! I am so proud of him! We both did a great job (he even better since he wasn't on meds!).

Brennan Nicholas was born at 10:57 weighing in at 1lb 6oz
Landon James was born at 10:58 weighing in at 1lb 7oz
Katelyn Marie was born at 10:59 weighing in at 1lb 3.5oz
Brooklyn Danielle was born at 11:01 weighing in at 1lb 3oz.

This was bittersweet, they all cried and sounded like little kittens and were moving when they were born, but we knew the odds and what a long journey they have ahead. They are all pretty good size for their age (at least 26 week size) and the NICU staff were all very pleased at how the were progressing. They've had some bumps, but are stable. The two boys are together in one room and the two girls in another. Once there is room they will move them closer together. Their skin looks great (like 24 week babies) and they are all in their isolettes without plastic bags. The bags helped keep their skin moist, now they are able to stand the isolette temps. Tonight I got to hold Brennan's hand and it hardly wrapped around my finger! They are our little miracles. Everyday is a milestone for them. God is in control, the Lord is our strength! Please keep them in your prayers. Pictures to come!

Monday, September 21, 2009

23 weeks!

Great news! Today they took off the contraction monitor since I didn't have any contractions last night! They're going to keep monitoring my vitals and giving me the Procardia, Indomethacin and Prometrium to keep contractions calm. Things went pretty good this morning! After the doctors left, the physical therapists came in to teach me exercises to keep me strong. Wednesday I have another ultrasound to take a look at the babies fluid. I'm excited to see them again! :) Also, today's nurse made me a calendar so I could keep track of my days and appointments. She has a friend who has 4 year old quads born in Grand Rapids at 26 weeks who are thriving. That's the stories I love to hear. I'm in for the long haul! Never been more excited to be in the hospital for a long time!

Everything just keeps getting better! Turns out they needed a high risk bed and I was the most stable one there! They came in and told me they were going to move me soon, 5 minutes later they came back and packed me up! Luckily Nick & Brittney were here to visit and helped. My room now has a view, dvd player and I get cell phone signal!! Hooray!



My mom came up yesterday and helped me out of bed and our belly's touched. That didn't happen on Friday so I know I'm growing everyday!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bouncing Kleenex Box

Here's Nich and I having fun with the babies last night! It's horrible of me, but just focus on the Kleenex box! :)

video

This is Babies C & D - apparently our soccer players. We'll take another one in a couple weeks and I'm sure they'll knock it off my belly!

2cm!

I can't type this fast enough! The doctors were just in and checked my cervical length and it's at 2.1cm!!! I am on 3 different meds to stop the contractions and they are working great! They are going to keep me on them and next week evaluate a long term plan. Praise God! He is so good!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Update

Hi All! Sorry to keep you all in suspense an extra day! Well...we've got good news and bad news.

Good news first!
All the babies are growing great! Baby A, B & D are all 1lb 3oz and Baby C is 1lb 2oz. This puts the babies all between 60-75%. The kiddos are a couple grams different, which puts them in the same pound and ounce, but a different percentile. Average is close to 1lb, so hooray for big babies! They didn't see the systs on Baby B, so they are all very healthy! Here's some pics - even got a couple in 3D!



Here's a group shot with 3D, except Baby A. He was way too far down to get a good view.



Baby A



Baby B (and Baby A on the top left side)



Baby C



Baby D

Ok, now for the not so good news...

After the wonderful news about the babies on the ultrasound, they measured my cervix and it fluctuated between 1cm and 1.4cm. That's really short, especially considering it was 4.5cm 2 weeks ago. So, they immediately admitted me to Labor and Delivery to get a handle on the contractions. I haven't even felt most of them! They hooked me up to an iv & 2 antibiotics to prepare for a cerclage. I was also given Indomethacin pills to relax the uterus and stop contractions. Yesterday I didn't even realize, but they were 2 minutes apart! No worry though, these doctors know what they are doing. Today they doubled my dose in hopes of stoping the contractions to do the cerclage tomorrow (they can't do it if I'm contracting). Today I've only had a handful this morning and none since so everything is looking great! Keep us in your prayers, we need to last at least a couple more weeks! They will check me again tomorrow to evaluate whether or not I'm getting a cerclage to hold everything in place. For now, it looks like this wonderful room will be my home for the next several weeks. They have a great staff who are really taking care of me! In Christ, ALL things are possible!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

22 weeks!



Another step closer! Here I am at 22 weeks...45 lbs heavier and 42.5 inches around! I'm starting to look past due and definitely feeling like it. I'm feeling the babies pretty often in more than one place! It's just amazing that there really are 4 babies growing in there! I've been getting a little uncomfortable this past week, needing to hold my belly up when I first stand, back ache, and hard it's hard to roll over. I've felt a couple Braxton-Hicks contractions, just tightening no pain. I have an ultrasound on Thursday, which we are so excited for!! They'll measure all of the babies, check on Baby B again and my cervix and I can hopefully get reassurance that these contractions aren't doing anything. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement! :)
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

21 weeks

Well...another week has gone by! Here I am at 21 weeks - still going great! I've gained 39 lbs, so just a week behind schedule. Hopefully I can keep this weight gain going for awhile! At my last dr appointment they measured my cervix and it's 4.5 cm! That's a whole centimeter longer than it was last month! It generally shortens, not lengthens, so doctor said this is great! My body doesn't know there's 4 babies in there - boy will it be surprised when it figures it out! I've definitely surpassed my size when I was pregnant with Hailey. It's so neat to feel them move on all different sides too! Even though I'm really uncomfortable, I can't deny all the really cool things about this pregnancy!