Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Great Job Breathing!

Landon is on CPAP!! We are so proud of him and sooo happy to snuggle! He made the switch on Friday and I raced down to UofM after work to hold him! (I mean, drove very carefully :) Since Friday he has made lots of progress on the PEEP, from 8 down to 5! He's also requiring an ok amount of oxygen. He was just tired of the ventilator! I really can't express how excited we are to be able to bond with him after so long and all he's been through. Friday night I held him and sang, told him about work, told him how much we loved him & how proud we are, and gave him a pep talk to keep making progress!





One of Landon's favorite nurses, Becky



Next!...Brooklyn has started trialing on the nasal canula! She is such a fiesty girl - she kept pulling her CPAP mask off so the docs figured they'd at least give her a try! She did great for 1 hr yesterday twice (once while Daddy held her) and 2 hour trial today. It's so good to see her face and she is adorable! We're a little partial! :) It is so exciting to see the babies making great progress - there's always that possible bump in the road, but we are on cloud nine right now! Taking it one day at a time!

Brennan has also been a breathing superstar! They are increasing the length of time he's on nasal canula and he was due for 12 hours on canula and 2 hours on CPAP but he did great and didn't need the rest. He's been on it now for over 24 hours! And he's only needed minimal oxygen, about 22% - 21% is breathing room air! Way to go Brennan!

Also, the Jackson CitPat wrote an article about our journey on the FRONT PAGE of the Sunday paper! Here's the link!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

8 weeks and my how we've changed!

It is getting harder and harder to keep updated! We are able to do so much more with the babies and we want to spend every second we can with them - even if it means changing a poopy diaper! Nich and I did manage to sneak a chance to go on a date - dinner AND a movie! Our kids have been rockstars this week! I went back to work today and really needed them to have a good couple days! It was so hard to leave them last night, knowing I wouldn't get to see them today, but once I got back to work it was just like old times! I called and got an update on them on my way to work, got an update from Nich and noon and 3pm to help me get through the day. I miss them, but know they're in good hands! Hailey and I got to have MUCH needed Mommy-Hailey time :) We went out to one of her favorite restaurants, McDonalds (I know I wasn't thrilled, but really felt like spoiling her!) and shared a meal. Literally, shared her chicken nuggets and apple dippers and my chicken wrap and fries. She's so precious, every couple minutes she would wrap her arms around my neck and pull me close. I LOVE this child! :) After dinner we played "Hailey and Mommy," where we switch roles and she takes care of me, i.e. Hailey. She even got toys out for me to play with while she picked up her clothes to vacuum her room! Tomorrow after work we'll head back to the Ronald McDonald house, our home away from home!




November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, and March of Dimes gave gift bags to each preemie family in the NICU yesterday. It had beanie babies, onesies and a preemie specific baby book. The outfits are preemie size but still are way to big! Here are the babies' new friends - the bear is for Brennan (he's so cuddley!), multi-colored jackel is for Landon (he changes colors when he's upset and is such a wild man!) and an inchworm for Brooklyn (she scoots all over her bed, and arches her back, moving like a worm).



Brennan Nicholas 2lb 3oz (birth weight 1lb 4oz)

Brennan is still doing great, gaining weight and breathing! He's now trialing nasal canulas for 6 hrs at a time, then 6 hrs on CPAP. Working his way there! He was so active last night, it was hard to get a good picture! Video hopefully coming soon, it was just way to large to load (gotta work my technology magic!) He is steadily increasing his feeds and on fortified breast milk (26 calories every feeding/every 3hrs). His skin looks so much better and they're really starting to fill out and look more and more like babies! It seems Brennan may have a metabolic disorder called Biotinidase deficiency, this was found yesterday after 2 abnormal newborn screening tests. Check this link for more information. It is not confirmed since he is so young and had many blood transfusions, but to help diagnose, Nich and I had to have the same blood test to see if we are carriers of this. If he does have this, it seems he may only have a mild case which can be treated with Free Biotin supplements daily. He is being followed by experts at Detroit Medical Center as well, where the treatment was initially researched and developed. We should find out the results before Thanksgiving and will keep everyone posted. Brennan also started physical therapy on Wednesday! He will only get PT while he's on the CPAP so he doesn't tire out, but he seemed to do great! They are strengthening his arms and legs by putting him on his belly on a pillow and strapping him in his snuggly. This way he has to work his muscles to fight against the straps to move. He seems to be doing really good! We've had a couple desats (when his oxygen saturation dips below an acceptable level, below 81%) and bradycardias (low heart rate), but recovers really well on his own. He has his occassional big poop, that throws him into desats and bradying, but all in all he's pretty stable! We're thrilled!



Landon cuddling with his toy and sucking on his pacifier! We had to cut a part out so it would fit around his vent tube.

video

Landon James 2lbs 15oz (birth weight 1lb 7oz)

Big boy Landon! He has officially graduated into big boy diapers! That's size Preemie, rather than Preemie XS. I was so shocked when we checked his weight this week! He really is almost 3 lbs! He has had a better week, after getting over pnemonia, the surgery to place the resevoir and aspirating his food into his lungs. This last episode did get him a shiny new breathing tube! He is also sprinting to see if he can be extubated (removing breathing tube) and moved to CPAP like his siblings. He's had 2 trials and done well. We'll see! Hopefully in the next day or so if he's ready! Occassionaly he gets mad or stretches really big and stops breathing for awhile (called apnea). We can tell he's doing this even before the ventilator picks it up because his face turns bright red/purple. He usually recovers on his own which is fantastic! He doesn't need to be stimulated to breathe again. Feeding wise, he is the front runner now! Their feeds are increased everyday as tolerated and Landon is up to 27cc every 3 hrs! That's about 1oz! No wonder he's gaining so much weight! :) Neurologically, there hasn't been any changes since last week. Neurosurgery says he's doing great and his head is healed enough for CPAP when he's ready. Daily the docs drain 5cc of fluid out of his reservoir and will continue unless it needs to be increased or if he's able to drain the fluid himself. Once he gets to 2 kilograms (about 4lbs) he is big enough for a shunt if he still needs help draining the fluid. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. We are so thankful for a ball of energy! I finally got a video of his eyes we've been talking so much about! He's bean-bagged for his own protection, so he's not moving all over like usual! :) Funny how they have such spunk already!



Brooklyn Danielle 2lb 3oz (birth weight 1lb 3.5oz)

Brooklyn is doing great as well! Last week she had some bouts of Tachycardia (gets it from her mom!) but doing much better now. She is also tolerating being held so much more! Nich boasts of holding her the longest, but I think she and I just worked her up to it! He held her for over 1 hr and the most she tolerated with me was 30min. She's just not the touchy/feely type I guess. I did put my hands on her while she was in her isolette just to get her used to touching more. She'll get there! She is doing well eating and breathing too! That's really their biggest job right now! She and Landon are getting 24 calories every 3 hrs. If she wasn't so active she'd keep on some weight! Her new trick is turning her head! She'll be looking to the left, like in her picture this week and all of a sudden she does a face plant, then moves it to the other side! I tried so hard to get a video of her this week turning her head but didn't have any luck. I sat there for 30 min with the camera ready, but turned to a nurse to tell her what I was doing and when we looked back she was already mid turn! She is so active, arching her back and scooting and turning her head. I can't explain how good it feels to watch them be so active! They have been lying in their isolettes for so long and to watch them move is thrilling! We really could just watch them all day long!

We just praise God for these good days! We almost don't know what to do with ourselves! :) Daily, we witness miracles as these three grow! We have met so many wonderful families and had many great opportunities to share our journey and our faith. This we are so thankful for. I heard a song on the radio yesterday by Everyday Sunday called "Hanging On" that was perfect for me. Reminds us that no matter what hurt we feel, remember He is God. We turn to Him for comfort during our tough times and give Him praises for the joy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

7 weeks!

Thanks for being patient while I post this update! Now that it's almost time for 8 weeks! :) It's been so busy now that we can do more with the kids! Now there's bath time, diapers and holding! Wouldn't miss one of these opportunities!





Brennan Nicholas 1lb 15.5oz (birth weight 1lb 4oz)

Brennan has had a great week! He is being trialed onto nasal cannula and doing really well. The first day he went for 10 hours, but got really tired at the end. Now he's on a schedule of 3 hours on nasal cannula, 6 hours on CPAP throughout the entire day, of course only if he's up to it. I love seeing his face! We've got some cute babies! :) When we hold him now they let us do it when he's on the nasal cannula. He's so much more awake and active. He studies us and follows us with his eyes. Brennan's also getting so much breast milk! His amount changes each day, but I think it's about 13cc every 3 hours. They're getting 22 calories every feeding - crazy that I was eating 4500! When they were first born they were getting 8 calories for the entire day. They have come so far! We are so proud of our miracles!



Landon James 2lbs 5oz (birth weight 1lb 7oz)

Landon has had an eventful week. Earlier this week he developed pnemonia, which wasn't the best for his lungs! Also, today (Thursday) he had a McComb reservoir inserted in his head. This will allow doctors to drain fluid off his brain (due to Hydrocephalus) as often as necessary. This will decrease the pressure put on his brain. The surgery was this morning and he came through perfectly! Praise God! It was hard to see my baby go to the OR. I was able to walk with him out of the room and down the elevator to the OR, but they turned the corner and we headed back upstairs to wait. Pastor Ken and my parents came down to be with me, as Nich had to work that day. I'm so thankful for them - keeping spirits up and praying for Landon. This picture above his post-surgery. He just has a small bump on the top of his head that they can insert a needle into a tube that goes down his ventricles. His ventricles are swollen and the plan is to remove 5cc's per day and see where we're at. If his ventricles don't go down and drain fluid like it's supposed to he may need a shunt when he's about 4lbs. He's gaining weight so fast, that shouldn't be too long! Good news - Nich and I got to hold him before surgery on Tuesday night (surgery was originally scheduled for Wed morning). He did great! He was so awake and also studying us. He got the hiccups while I was holding him! So precious, now we've held all of our children! What an amazing feeling that is!



Brooklyn Danielle 1lb 15oz (birth weight 1lb 3.5oz)

Scooter Brooklyn! This week Brooklyn was moved to CPAP and she loves her freedom! Here she is in her pre-scoot position! This girl can move! We tuck her snugly around her and think she's in there good, but then we look at her again and she's out of it and moved on her bed! She's gotten up against the glass before! She can also turn her head from side to side, even with the heavy CPAP on! Brooklyn is the leader with her feeds, getting 18cc's and 24 calories. They removed her PICC line, as she's only getting breast milk, and not needing TPN (her special iv nutrients). That's a huge milestone! She'll be putting on weight quickly, if she doesn't use too much energy breathing with CPAP! I've said this before, but it's so neat to see their personalities showing, they are distinctly different babies! We love them so much!

Amongst the wonderful progress and happy moments with these three, this week was also really hard for us. Katelyn was cremated on Friday and Nich and I picked her up from the funeral home on Sunday afternoon. The funeral director was so flexible and sensitive with us, coming on his day off because it was an afternoon Hailey wouldn't be with us. On Friday when I got the call that the cremation was done, a flood of emotions came. I knew she had died, but it hadn't been final for me until then. In the back of my mind, I was waiting for her to come back, as weird as it may sound. Jesus raises the dead and my kids are such miracles, I thought it wasn't impossible. On Friday, it was final. My daughter's spirit immediately went to be with Jesus on September 27, but I wasn't ready to give up her body until now. God's peace certainly passes all understanding. Though I felt the pain of losing her all over again, I also felt joy for the brief time we had with her. We are so thankful for the time with her both in the womb and outside. She was always the most active one, sliding up and down her sack at about 18 weeks and bouncing the Kleenex box with Brooklyn at 22 weeks! We didn't have much time with her once she was born, but have happy memories watching her grow which we are so blessed to have. My mom found a really neat service called Memory Glass that we are getting to put her ashes in. I'll post pictures of that once it arrives. Continue to keep us in your prayers as we plan a memorial service for Katelyn and continue on enjoying Brennan, Landon, Brooklyn and Hailey.

Also, we were able to go back to church on Sunday!!!! It was so good to be back, words can't express how awesome it is to be around such prayers warriors! We shared pictures and updates of the babies and were overwhelmed by so many people praying for and loving us! We have a renewed amazement of God's strength, peace, power and healing. How awesome to praise with fellow believers! Daily we are blessed by our little miracles and the plan He has for them. Thank you all for continuing to lift up our family! Glory to God!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lots of pictures! :)

I couldn't think of a clever name for this post! Here's lots of pictures of the kiddo's, each are captioned so you know who's who! The last couple days have been filled with excitement!



Nich caught this great photo of Hailey! She's off before you know it!



Miss Priss herself! We braided her hair so it'd be curly the next day like Mommy's!



Daddy's first time feeding and holding Brennan!



Brennan on nasal canula. He's trying it...3 hours on, 6 hours on CPAP. Way to go Brennan!



Big eyed Landon :)



Daddy holding Landon for the first time!



Mommy holding Landon, first time too!



Landon's having a fit! :) Rocky's a swingin!




Mommy holding Brooklyn for the first time!



Brooklyn sucking on a pacifier!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who's that baby under the CPAP mask?



It's Brooklyn!!! You probably couldn't tell since they look so much alike! :) That's right though, we have 2 beautiful babies on CPAP! This time it was intentional. She's so good at pulling out her tubes that last week she extubated herself (pulled her own breathing tube out), that they decided to try CPAP. She just wasn't ready, but this time she was wiggling around quite a bit and did good on the "sprinting" exercises that we tried again! So far so good!

video

Brooklyn moving around getting used to CPAP! I just love to watch them move!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Holding a Baby!!! :)

I think my face has been beaming all day long! This morning when I walked in to visit the kids, Brennan's nurse greeted me then asked if I got to hold him yesterday. I said no, she seemed surprised and I told her I didn't ask. She asked if I wanted to hold him and I don't think she really needed an answer! Of course!!! I've been wanting to hold them since the day they were born, but wanted to do it when they were ready. Today was Brennan and my big day!



Here's super proud Mommy and tiny little Brennan! He's just 3oz shy of 2lbs. It hardly felt like he was in there, but every so often I felt him wriggle around. Just amazing, word's cannot express, just amazing!

video

I tried to catch some of his little noises on video! Forgive my left handed video, but you can hear him cry! More like squeak! :)

I got to hold him for 1.5 hours and we both did great! I have to admit I was a little nervous holding him, especially on CPAP since when he wriggled, his mask would slip a little and expose a nostril. He just needed to be adjusted, then all was well. We can hold him every other day for now...Daddy gets Saturday's shift. I bet he can't wait! Today one of the nurses was so excited and said, today was the first day holding one of my babies. I knew what she meant and it actually didn't cause me to be upset. I just smiled and remembered holding my sweet Katelyn. This was different, Brennan was squirming and crying! It brought joy back to my arms. Thank you God for Your peace and comfort and allowing me to really enjoy this moment with Brennan!

6 weeks!

Time is flying! Our precious babies are 6 weeks old today (29 weeks gestation). I can't believe we're getting closer to 30 weeks! We expected them to be born around this time. Babies are out of pandemic precautions and no one got the H1N1 (except Nich & Hailey who are feeling MUCH better!) We've had an eventful week - good eventful! :)



Brennan Nicholas 1lb 13oz (1lb 4oz)

Our leader of the pack this week! Brennan was put on CPAP Tuesday and is doing great! He is doing more work to breathe on the CPAP than the ventilator so he's not gaining weight as fast as the others. He's working it off! He has been doing great and seems to really enjoy it! He sometimes holds onto the CPAP mask now that he has a firm place to grasp. Hasn't threatened to pull it, just holding it in place. Every couple hours the nurses take off his mask to give his nose a break and massage his ears and head. We just hold a tube blowing oxygen up to his nose and he gets enough oxygen from that, for a couple minutes at least. I also got to hold him for the first time today! More on that in another blog... Brennan has had a great week! Praise God for good days!



Landon James 2lb 3oz (birth weight 1lb 7oz)

Landon, Landon, Landon...well, he's our little chunk! He has had a rough week. He was acting kinda sick a couple days ago (had a fever, lethargic, just not himself) so docs ordered a complete work up - blood, urine, sputum and cerebral spinal fluid cultures to find his bug. He had just stopped all his antibiotics 4 days previous. He ended up getting a respiratory infection that seems a little tricky to get rid of. This boy has been through so much! He need to get a break to recover from all of the infections and lung damage. He is back on breast milk (they stopped it because he was on Dopamine for blood pressure, feeds & that med shouldn't go together). He's getting about 1.5 cc every 3 hours. That's about a drop! It's ok, gotta start somewhere and it's magic milk! Landon has the biggest eyes that I haven't been able to catch on camera. When he looks at you there is just so much love! He's mesmerizing! I just love watching him!



Brooklyn Danielle 1lb 14oz (birth weight 1lb 3.5oz)

Brooklyn is our feeding superstar! She is up to 10cc's every 3 hours and will be gaining weight soon! The nurses gave Brooklyn and Landon a taste of breast milk in their mouths and they went crazy! Yesterday Brooklyn was wiggling around and self extubated (pulled out her own ET tube). Docs decided since she's on such low vent settings, they'd try her on CPAP before reintubating. She tried really hard, but just got too tired. She breathed really fast for 3 hours, then just stopped because she was too tired. They said they'd just try her again in a couple days. She's so close and they think it was just too stressful of a switch that she didn't really get calmed back down. They'll try again in a more controlled move to CPAP. She'll get there when she's ready, she's one determined little girl!

They are making incredible progress! We know for a fact that God has his hands on these kids, helping them grow. Also has His hands on Nich & I, giving us peace that passes all understanding. This week we filled out the paperwork for Katelyn's cremation. It has definitley been bittersweet milestones this week. Just keep praying for strength and peace. There is nothing we can do to bring her back, we need to be strong for Brennan, Landon & Brooklyn. One day we will get to share with them they joys of their sister and the footprints she has left. Everyday I think of her and thank God for the joy she brought us while we were pregnant and the blessing of her short life. This week Katelyn was probably jumping with joy, cheering Brennan on! Brooklyn & Landon's turn soon!! Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement! We hold on to that!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brennan's Big Day!

Today Brennan was put on CPAP! They took his breathing tube out (extubated) and he's officially off the ventilator! He had been weaning and on minimal vent settings for just over a week now, and the docs decided today could be his day. They gave him test run, called "sprinting" to see if he was strong enough. They take off some of the vent (tube still in place) and see if he breathes on his own or if he'd get too tired. He made it for just over 3 hours sprinting so they decided to after reporting (4pm). The process only took about 10 minutes and he's been tube free since! He is still needing help with oxygen and some pressure behind the oxygen flow, but doing great! Here's some pictures of our little man, the CPAP superstar!!



Before



View through the porthole! :)



Holding onto his mask. It's pretty secure, so he can hold on as much as he wants!

video

Video of Brennan sneezing and checking out his new CPAP gear.

Monday, November 2, 2009

H-A-LL-O-W-EE-N

Happy Halloween from the Pollaks!



Our diva witch-princess-ballerina! So for the last couple years I've bought a costume the year before on clearance to save money. Hasn't been a problem, Hailey loved them...turning 3 and being a diva posed a problem this year. I had bought an adorable witch costume, but she decided she wanted to be a princess ballerina. Thus, the picture above - compromise! Three part costume: original witch dress (witch), a black tutu under it (ballerina) and we added a tiara! (princess) The most adorable witch-princess-ballerina I've seen!



Brennan was a pumpkin! These hats will probably fit everyone next year too!



Landon was a pirate! How fitting! :)



Brooklyn was a candy corn! The nurses said she'd probably fit inside it!



Hailey and Mommy trick or treating! Didn't carry her the entire time...promise! It was getting cold and we all wanted to get back to the car quicker. :) She said "thank you!" to each house, which usually got us an extra scoop in the treats bucket! LOVE having a cutie! :) She wasn't too keen on saying "trick or treat" though. I think she finally did at the last couple houses.

We decided since we all did the work of trick or treating, we'd share the candy! Daddy said Mommy gets 40%, Daddy gets 40% and Hailey gets 20%. She agreed! When we asked if her brothers and sister get any, she said "Nope, they'll go next year and get theirs!" We've already got costume ideas in mind for our three little babies and big sis!



After trick or treating, we met Nich's dad for dinner in Allen Park. Supposed to go to Rhapsody, a Hungarian restaurant, but it was closed. Ruby Tuesday's instead! There weren't many people and we were able to just enjoy ourselves. Hailey sat next to Papa Dan and helped him stir coffee, eat, and play! Here's a pic of Hailey playing peek-a-boo!



Papa Dan, Mommy, Hailey & Daddy (Hailey loves having her picture taken on with the camera timer!)

video

And a video to top it all off!! Hailey loves dancing! I think these have a little Shirley Temple flair - thanks Grandma Johnson! :)