Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brennan's talking!

This week Brennan said "mama" and dada" for the first time!!! Sorry for the delay in posting - first time using YouTube!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Much needed update!

Here's a much needed update on all the kiddos!  I've got time on my calendar to blog now so hopefully I'll be more consistent!  :)  Here's a group picture with my mom, Brennan, Brooklyn (with Brennan's glasses on), Nich, Me, Landon and Hailey watching the parade of lights in Howell honoring Joe. 

Hailey, Hailey, Hailey!  Over Thanksgiving my mom and I took her to the Nutcracker at the Detroit Opera House and we left it a surprise!  I brought a dress she's been wanting to wear and had her get dressed and get in the car and didn't tell her until the show started!  She was THRILLED!!  She wants to start ballet and though we can't commit to it now, I thought we'd give her a taste!  She's in Kindergarten and so smart!  She's now the kids "teacher" and has taught Brooke to talk and is now working on Brennan!  She's so good with them and so helpful to us!!  So proud of her!

Brennan is the happiest kid!  He's always smiling and bouncing out of his seat with excitement!  He just learned how to give kisses (open mouth still unfortunately...) and is so proud of himself!  If you're lucky enough to get one, better be ready for 10!  He'll just keep going and going until your face is covered!  Brennan's been doing really well catching up!  He's walking steadier, following directions, playing with toys (instead of licking them).  He goes to outpatient therapy twice a week for physical, occupational and speech therapy and making good progress!  Brennan has a really carefree personality and unfortunately that gets him in trouble when Brooke's around.  She's pretty demanding so we're trying to teach her to share and him to stand up for himself!  She'll take a toy from him or push him down on a whim.  Sisterly love I guess! 

Landon got a new ride!  Early On let us borrow this wheelchair/stroller until he can get fitted for his own and he's really liking it!  We're just trying to figure how to bring Brooke and Brennan into daycare with him in there!  Before Brooke would walk or be carried and we had the double stroller for the boys.  We're learning!  He was unofficially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy mid November by PMR (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation).  The doc said he has good muscle tone, good range of motion and his back looks good but he's not sitting (really close though!!), crawling or putting weight on his legs.  Soon we'll have a wheelchair/stroller, stander, bathing system and AFO's (feet braces).  He'll be a different kid!  I have to admit at first it was really hard to take - the diagnosis, all the equipment, it was a reality check that he really has severe disabilities and isn't just going to outgrow this.  Before they were 2 they were just behind, now he's significantly delayed.  I've come to the realization that he's going to be what he's going to be and a diagnosis and equipment can only help him!  It's not going to limit him, he'll just have more opportunities to grow.  He's getting stronger and healthier too - hasn't been in the hospital since October!  Brooke, Brennan and Hailey are so good with him too  - giving him kisses, patting him when he gets upset, getting him toys to play with....Brooke even tries to feed him when she gets snacks!!  If she can get him to eat, more power to her!

Brooke is so much fun!  She's pretty much caught up to other kids her age and is walking, running, playing, talking and very independent!  She still has her 0-60 temperament but that's what has kept her strong!  She's hilarious too!  She knows just what to do to make you laugh!  She reminds us so much of Hailey and we've even called her Hailey!  Yesterday she went with me to food pantry and walked around visiting like a pro!  I was still directing the food pantry when we found out we were pregnant with the quads and many of them have been keeping up with the kids and praying for them.  It was such a blessing to be able to share Brooke with them!  What miracles they are!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Catching up!

WOW do I have some updating to do!?!  I uploaded my pictures from my camera and had them back to the middle of September!  

Brennan said his first word!  This isn't the first time, but a clear video of them playing together and Brennan saying "Go!"  He's definitely behind talking, but making progress.  His words aren't as articulated as Brooke, but he's starting to repeat the syllables.  It's a start!  

Just some pictures, having fun! 

Photo session, the morning of their 2nd birthday!  Thanks to for these "Triple Threat" onesies!

 Happy 2nd Birthday miracles!! 

Pumpkin picking!

First toothbrush!  Hailey was a terrific teacher!  Brooke loves it, but the boys are way more apprehensive.  They're getting there!  I just bought a vibrating toothbrush for the boys hoping it will help with Landon's oral aversion and Brennan's need for lots of sensory input.  They're getting much better!

 I know, much more to update and I promise to be more faithful!!  Landon's got a few big appointments coming up with Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation later this week (we're hoping to get a bath chair, feeding chair and wheelchair/adapted stroller) and next Thursday DeVos Children's Intensive Feeding Program assessment.  It's like feeding bootcamp for 5-8 weeks and we'll find out at the end of the assessment whether he's a candidate or not!  I'll keep you updated!! (PROMISE!) 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

God's Creation

I took this picture while waiting in the parking lot at Krispy Kreme for Nich and Hailey to come out with their free donuts and LOVE it! Aren't you just overwhelmed with God's beauty! Looking at this picture and the sky on days like this seems like a little window into Heaven and all it's glory! Knowing Katelyn and all that have gone on before bask in this ALL THE TIME - I'm awestruck!

Along the same lines, but different weather...yesterday while Hailey and I were driving home, the weather came on the radio. I usually turn it down when I know rain is predicted to save her a little freak out but didn't and asked if I knew how it rained. I said I did, but asked if she knew. She said a big spiel that sounded right and I asked if she learned it at YMCA Camp (they had science week). She said "Nope, that's what Caliou learned when he was at school but I think God does it." She also found a new freckle that same trip and said "I think God knew I was getting bigger and just put it on me. "Again I was reminded, the faith of a child. She can be satisfied with the basic knowledge...God created it, God did it. God in all His magnificence.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hailey's Spotlight!

This weekend Hailey starred in the National American Miss Michigan State Pageant in Troy!! Back in the Spring she was invited to come to an open call and was selected from there as a state finalist and went on this weekend to compete! First of all we were so proud of her for even getting on the stage!!! She didn't place but had a great time and met some pretty great friends! Here's some pictures of my little princess in the spotlight!

She had to get up on stage at 7:30AM (!!) and introduce herself in front of the judges and the whole audience!

After with our new friend Keira :)

Waiting for her interview and got to pose with Miss Pre-Teen Michigan from 2010. All the 2010 Queens were so friendly and outgoing and so good with the little girls!

Doing the dance number on stage in the finale!

Hailey and Keira again after a great weekend's work!

Think we're a little proud of her?! She's adorable!!! Such a sweet and beautiful girl inside and out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God gave us you

I know it's been so long since I've updated the blog and honestly have been overwhelmed at how far behind I am and haven't had the umph to start until last night...Hailey was so incredible with Landon I actually couldn't wait to share!!!

Hailey and I like to read the book God Gave Us You (click here if you haven't read it!!) and it shows children just how special they are in God's eyes and in their parents. She always loves that God gave her to us - to Nich & I, not anyone else. Last night she was stalling going to bed after Brooke & Brennan were already down and asked if she could help take care of Landon before he goes to bed. (Sigh, she SHOULD be going to bed first, but how cute of her to ask!:) Made my mama heart melt!) She helped clean his g-tube site and actually put the gauze pads around it by herself. She helped give him is breathing treatments (pushed down the inhaler while I held it to his face). She helped push the meds through the syringe and was very careful to go slow. And she primed his feeding pump! She WANTED to do it!

Posing giving him is meds :)

Priming the pump

Landon & Hailey have always had a different relationship...he can't play the way Brennan and Brooke can yet she always makes time for him. She tickles him, feeds him (yep she's given him a carrot stick to lick!), plays with him while he gets his diaper changed and pats his tummy to calm him down when he's throwing a fit. It just made my whole heart smile, and I realized the same about Landon and each of the other babies. God gave us them. How many other 5 year olds would take time out of playing to take care of Landon like she does?! She knows about oxygen, feeding pumps, developmental delays, therapy, surgery, ambulance rides and doesn't shy away from them. God gave Hailey them just as much as he gave them to us. He knew what he was doing when he picked this big sister for these babies!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Play yard...our new best friend!

Let me start by saying the babies LOVE being outside but keeping them in one place without them eating grass or dirt is so tricky! My parents had bought us a couple play yards and we broke them out this week! So nice!! While Hailey was at day care & Landon was sleeping, Brennan & Brooke got some fresh air!

The set up

Think he's enjoying himself?! He's the happiest baby I know!

Brooke was bouncing between toys and talking like crazy! She's getting so big!

Hopefully this video works, but they are jabbering up a storm! We LOVE being (contained) outside and enjoying the nice weather! Can't wait for the weekend...there's sun in sight! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brooke's home and first steps!!

Brooke came home Sunday afternoon, for a total of 6 days in the hospital. WOW what bonding time we had! The breathing treatments she was getting in the hospital woke her up at night even though it was through a nebulizer so nothing touched her face and she'd be WIDE awake for hours. 2 nights in a row she was up from 12:30am-5am and 1:30am-6am. I was at one point PLEADING with her to sleep but she was so wild and awake! She's still needing a little extra help with oxygen, so on .25-.5 liters at night and napping (when we can keep it on her!) and breathing treatments every 4-6 hours. She is not the the kid to have extra equipment with, but we manage and comfort her later. :) The drive home with her was so incredible - she was so giddy when we left the hospital and got in the car! She kept looking at me and laughing, keeping a sly smile on her face the whole drive - like she knew she was outta there! Hailey was waiting at the door for us and gave Brooke a big hug and kiss the minute we were inside! I'm so glad they love each other so much!!

Super exciting news....Brooke took her first few steps Sunday afternoon! Straight from the hospital, little nap, then walking!! I know we're in for it but I've been so ready for them to be toddlers! I feel like they've been babies forever and am really excited for her independence! Check out the video below - she's taking 2-3 steps!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

2 hospital admits

So let me start by saying this was STARTED on Monday!!! Having 2 babies in the hospital is so much work! Especially when one of them is Brooklyn :)

As scheduled, Nich and I brought Landon & Brooklyn to UM for their surgeries. Brooklyn was just getting ear tubes placed while Landon was getting eye muscle tightening (like Brennan for Strabisimus), ear tubes and circumcision. We got there about 6:30am, MUCH to early for the babies and got ready in pre-op. Both were prepped and ready to go at the same time but Landon went back first. Brooke was next case so waited behind a bit. We played like crazy and tried to keep her entertained as we waited. ** Side note - God has given us such peace about surgeries, that we kind of view them as "just another procedure" and don't worry about them. Our main worry was Landon's recovery. Pulmonary doc's ordered that Landon stay one night for
observation and here's where it starts to unravel.....(Landon's surgeries went great by the way!!)

Brooke got her sleepy medicine and was really loopy (and hilarious by the way!) so when it was her turn, we handed her off to the nurse anesthetist and off she went! We headed up to the Family Surgery waiting room to enjoy our very expensive, insurance paid for date! We weren't even up there for 10 minutes and got a call that the docs wanted to see us about Brooke. We got down there and she had o2 blow-by. She progressively got worse and ended up admitted on 3 liters nasal cannula. Thankfully both babies were in the same room which made it easier on me and we got a room all to ourselves! Both of them needed oxygen and breathing treatments. Landon started out needing more but then Brooke got worse just as he started getting better. They have bronchiolitis (from a virus) so it just has to run its course. Landon really surprised us and was able to come home on Thursday!! Brooke is still at UM and making improvements. She has a harder time oxygenating when she's sleeping and today has been on .5 liters o2 during the day and even was off for 4 hours (!!) but she needs 3-5 liters during the night. Here's pics of our crew! Pray she gets better fast!! :)

Landon hanging out! He knows the whole hospital routine :)

Feeling better, ready to go home!!

She kept breathing through her mouth so they had to put the cannula in her mouth. Creative!

Brooklyn not as thrilled...she stands at the edge and shakes the crib until you get her out to play! She's definitely not liking being confined in the crib and attached to the wall.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Landon can see!!!

As I'm writing this tears are flowing! Check out this video of Landon SEEING the toy and playing with it! After his bath he was just laying on my lap and I put a toy in front of him and he GRABBED IT! He didn't have his glasses or his hearing aids in so it's clear proof that he can SEE! He was/is diagnosed with probable cortical blindness which means he's blind from his brain (his eyes work fine)...the vision pathways were damaged but the brain (and GOD!) are amazing and they must've re-written themselves! Last March the hospital did a test with electrodes on his head and measured his brain's response to light. They flashed a bunch of different lights, patterns of light flashes and at different spots in his vision path and he completely failed - his brain showed no response, thus the diagnosis of cortical blindness. Before he's always stumped us, not knowing if he heard us and responded or if he saw something and responded, but tell me this boy can't see!! PRAISE GOD!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

March of Dimes 2011

What a fantastic day!! The weather was beautiful and we had so many family and friends supporting our family today!

Team LifeWays/Pollak Family! Look at all those blue shirts!

Hailey cutting the opening ribbon with the Mayor!

We were so honored to be the Ambassador Family for the Jackson County Chapter! We had the chance to share our story and show the importance of March of Dimes research. Our kids wouldn't be here without prayer and the advances March of Dimes has been able to make. Our kids have had most of the preemie complications and thanks to history, the doctors anticipated what may happen (and generally DID happen) and knew how to treat them, right at the onset. Incredible! Thanks for all your support, whether you walked, donated or were with us in spirit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter!

Sadly this was our BEST attempt at a family picture of the kids! It totally shows everyone's personality though! Happy Easter! He has risen!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our SUPER fun night at home!!

To make you, I love our crazy life!

Hailey, Brennan, Landon & Brooklyn having serious play time!

Hailey absolutely LOVES matching Brooklyn and the girls had fun playing on Hailey's bed!

Brotherly love :)

They're actually playing TOGETHER! Nevermind that Brooklyn keeps opening the drawbridge on Brennan's head :)

When we first got home Brennan & Brooklyn were waiting for her and she gave them so much love!

No matter how crazy and overwhelming our lives get, this makes it worth it!! We're so blessed!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Landon and a UTI

Landon's happy to be home!!

Wow what a week! Last Wednesday our grief support group had a potluck for spring break and we brought Brennan, Landon, Brooke & Daddy. Hailey was so excited to bring her family :) We realized about 15 minutes into the meeting Landon's oxygen was turned off so we turned it back on, a little higher than usual, to let him perk back up. He was still sleeping but his color was good so didn't think anything of it. After the group finished, we put everyone back in the car and when we put Landon in, he lost his color and stopped breathing. We got him back out and stimulate him and he started breathing again, fast, but steady. I rode in the back in case we needed to pat his chest again but he was doing better so we decided to head home (took the route by the hospital just in case, but he was looking good). We really were on the expressway for about 2 minutes when he did it again and went into a seizure. He lost his color, stopped breathing, his eyes shot open and he was staring, shaking and stiff. I turned up his o2 as far as it would go and was patting and shaking him but he wasn't responsive so we called 911. We got off at the next exit and met the ambulance at a gas station. They had to give him 15 liters of oxygen and breathing treatments and we ran with lights and sirens to Allegiance. They started an IV, gave him steroid and antibiotic and sent us with lights to UM. Within 45 minutes of us being there, his o2 dipped low to 52% so the doc's kept a closer eye on him. He stabilized and Nich ran out to the car for a minute and all of a sudden Landon wasn't moving any air. He wasn't breathing in - somehow his airway was swollen and they had to immediately intubate. They had a rough time and at one point his o2 saturation was down to 3% and heart rate in the 50s. They had to have him sedated so he wouldn't fight the vent (they know him all too well!) and admitted him to PICU. He was on the vent for 3 days, in ICU for 5 days and we came home on the 6th day.

So what in the world happened?!? A urinary tract infection (UTI). He spiked a fever on the ride home which sent him into a febrile seizure. This swelled his airway and threw his respiratory drive out of wack. Also, when they were trying to get a urine catheter, the balloon on the end that keeps it in place burst and 'traumatized' his urethra. Urology was able to get in a new catheter and he bled for 3 days. Crazy! He also got 2 teeth while he was in! The docs were also concerned about his airway being floppy but thankfully has checked out ok for now. We did come home with a suction that can help us get the buggers from the back of his throat. Since he has a weak cough, this will help get that junk out of his throat and he can breathe better.

This whole experience just took me back to the critical times just over a year ago. Even though he wasn't as sick, my mind went back there. I was able to stay at Ronald McDonald House (really our home away from home) and got back in the hospital swing of things. When the babies are sick, God is so near. He is still near, getting us through all these challenges, but it's really evident when I'm exhausted, out of my comfort zone and away from home. We are so thankful for the strength and comfort God can give! There's now way we'd get through all of this without Him!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March for Babies Call to Action!

It's that time again! March of Dimes, March for Babies is right around the corner in our community and our family is so honored to be selected as the Ambassador Family for 2011!! Please take a moment and donate if you can to support March of Dimes as they provide research to prevent premature birth, provide the best outcomes for preemies and support for families. (click the picture on the right!)

Brennan (A), Landon (B), Katelyn (C) and Brooklyn (D) just hours old!

Here's a link to show the impact March of Dimes' research had on our miracles! I also found statistics from the Quint Boenker Preemie Survival Foundation. 23 weekers have a 17% survival rate! We our confident that God has a plan for our little miracles! If it wasn't for His Hands and the knowledge he's given the doctor's, they probably would not be here.

Though we're so excited about the progress and advancements Brennan, Landon and Brooklyn have benefited from, we still remember Katelyn and the work that still needs to be done! We're proud, passionate parents of miracles and an angel!

Friday, April 1, 2011

18 months!

Wow! Time is sure flying! I can't believe the babies are 18 months old! They're getting so much more fun and definitely their own personalities! Instead of photo's this month, here's video's! They're so active, I love to catch it on video!

Brennan Nicholas Birth weight 1lb 4oz, 18 months weight 17lbs 10oz

Brennan is doing great! He's had the rest of his surgeries and hopefully they'll be the last! Since his eye surgery he's been able to sit STILL (not wobbly), standing STILL and playing with toys! Hence the video! Make sure to have your sound on so you can hear Hailey's commentary! :) Before he was always licking them and kinda flicking them with his fingers, but he can focus on things now! It's so cool to see! Brennan's in the running now for walk first too! He's fearless! He doesn't quite have the one foot in the other concept but he's totally fine letting go of our hands - and falling on the floor sometimes! :) He generally just gets right back up again! Brennan's also our little garbage disposal! He's eating so good by spoon and about 8oz at a time from bottle. Brennan and Brooklyn are now drinking Pediasure instead of Neosure formula! We're mixing it half and half with milk, otherwise it's a pretty potent drink. It's definitely doing the trick and he's gaining weight! He's also keeping his glasses on much better which will help his eyes to heal right. We're working with him on crawling (not army crawling, but on his hands and knees) and going from sitting to crawling and back up again. He's going to PT & OT twice a week and Early On is coming in once a week. That heavy dose of therapy is really working! He's such a silly, happy boy and really doing great!

Landon James Birth weight 1lb 7oz 18 month weight 21lbs 3oz

Landon, Landon, Landon! Landon's still recovering from his pneumonia a bit, but he's getting more and more active! He's also getting kind of a diva personality too! He throws a mean fit, but the trouble is he really needs to breathe during his fits! He's learned to hold his breath and play games with his breathing. He's not retracting or having trouble, just sometimes holds his breath and laughs once you tickle him. Crazy kid! Really exciting news for Landon is from his neurosurgery follow up appointment - they did an MRI to check on his hydrocephalus and it's VERY well under control! Before there was probably 2 inches of empty space around this ventricles and now there's maybe 1/4 inch! His brain has filled in the rest of his skull which means his brain is growing and new connections/skills are happening! Landon has been hitting milestones like putting things in his mouth, playing with his toes, holding things with both hands and he even said mama! My heart just overflowed! The sky really is the limit with this kid! Just as Nich and I kinda get used to the idea of having a severely impaired child, he does something new! He's so much more fun to play with (not feed, but we're working on that!) and actually interacts with us! Landon's going to PT & Speech Therapy twice a week and sees Early On at home once a week. Full schedules, but so worth it!!

Brooklyn Danielle Birth weight 1lb 3.5oz 18 month weight 17lbs 13oz

Brooklyn is still quite the diva and we're working on curbing that stubborn independence towards talking and helping us understand what she wants/needs. We're working on sign language, pointing and of course talking. Once she has your undivided attention, she is an angel, but the minute she has to share or isn't getting what she wants, better watch out! It's like breaking a wild mustang! Developmentally she's pretty much on track! Even though she and Brennan are doing a lot of the same things, her skills are a little more refined. She's got a pretty good spoon feeding technique - very proper! :) We're working with her and Brennan to lose the bottle but they don't get the concept of a sippy cup. Brennan's getting better, but Brooke preers a real glass. She takes sips out of our cups very well! She's also standing by herself (leaning on something most of the time, but at least she's confident!) and motoring all over the house either pushing this toy or holding our fingers. This video was the first time she pushed the toy without needing one of us to hold on to her! She's babbling and saying some words, but we're working on comprehension. She can say dada, mama, baba, but I'm not entirely convinced she knows what they mean. She goes to OT & Speech Therapy twice a week and sees Early On at home once a week. She's doing really well with gross motor, but needs a little help with the finer things.

We continue to thank God everyday for these miracles! And you all for all your prayers that have got them to this point and carrying us all as our lives get busy and complicated! When we were in the hospital for both Brennan & Landon, it was really cool to see the reactions of staff (nurses, residents, anesthesiologists) that didn't know their histories when we told them they were 23 week surviving quadruplets! These babies really are doing well!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brennan's (hopefully) last surgeries!

So last Wednesday Brennan had his hopefully last surgeries! He had tubes in his ears, circumcision and orchiopexy. (Check out the link for what orchiopexy not used to having boys!!) He was first case so we had to be there at 6:30am to register for a 7:30am surgeries. So thankful for Kellie for coming over at 5am so we could leave and got Hailey on the bus and Brooklyn to daycare! :) All went well - tubes were first because they took about 5minutes. There was fluid behind his eardrum so the tubes will help drain the fluid and prevent future ear infections - the boy has had them once a month since at least November! Next was Urology's turn and they were doing exploratory surgery to find his other bean (knew he had one, but was on a search for the other). They didn't find it, just the blood vessels that should be attached to it so removed them (leaving them in could put him at a high risk of cancer when he's older). This was actually the best case scenario (not for him!) since if they did find it they'd have to remove it and move it to where it's supposed to be. They also found plastic (?!?). Yep, that's what the surgeon said! We have no idea how it would've gotten there and even if we really really heard him right. They were sending the piece to pathology to learn more, but weird! We should know more in a week. Brennan was such a trooper! He was really sore and so confused about what had just happened when he woke up that we spent a little extra time in the recovery room. In about 45min he was back to himself, riding in the stroller with Landon and eating everything in sight! No easing back into his appetite! The only bad news...he can't jump for 3 weeks! Brennan lives to jump! He can't be in a saucer, jumper or any wrestling with Landon! :) He's doing LOTS of tummy time and working on standing/sitting - lots of therapy homework that doesn't involve jumping!

Brooke & Landon are recovering well from their pneumonia and should be on the surgery docket for early-mid May, since they have to wait 6 weeks from diagnosis. After having Brennan go through each of these procedures, I think God knew what he was doing rescheduling them so we wouldn't have such sore babies! :) So thankful for all your prayers for all of them! I can't wait for them to be healthy and we can just play and enjoy them! We're so comfortable with UM and hospital settings, but ready for a break!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Katelyn's Sunset Picture

Taking a bit of a break from all the sickness in our family, I have been waiting very impatiently for Katelyn's name to written in the sand at Christian's Beach in Australia and it was done and posted on Sunday! Please click here to see our angel's name.

Carly lost her son Christian in 2008, born stillborn and she has created such a ministry in his name. She write angel's names in the sun and photographs it with the beautiful Australian sunset. The website only has open waiting list at certain days and I've been waiting for almost 16 months to catch the site open and last Saturday it was! I was so excited that I quickly registered Katelyn's name then when I checked her place on the waiting list it hit me. My daughter died and her name is on a list of all other angel babies. It really caught me off guard and it was so hard to see her name in print and know that it'll never be on a report card, wedding invitation, her name is stuck back on September 27, 2009 5am. I talked with the grief group that Hailey and I go to and ironically many others had also dealt with seeing their loved ones names on a list. There was just something about the finality of her death, even though I know it happened, that was a clear reminder. It is comforting knowing this photo isn't just photo-shopped...Carly took time to remember my daughter's brief stay on this earth. She celebrated Katelyn's life with us, if even for a second.

Carly does such beautiful work, seeing this picture just brings a sense of peace. How beautiful is her view of the sunsets! How awesome just hanging out in the glory of the Lord! Her photos bring a glimpse of that beauty and awe, and it's an incredible reminder to me where Katelyn is. I'm sure she is basking in the warmth and beauty of His love and that's what I think of every time I see the sunsets. Their website has a quote "At the end of the day, all the children of heaven come together to paint the colors of the sunset." Thank you God for giving us a glimpse of Your beauty with my angel's name on it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Landon's trip to the hospital

Thanks all for your prayers for Landon! Also, sorry I didn't get the word out better, my cell phone died and I didn't have a charger! Thursday morning Landon was sleeping as his gtube feed was going in and coughed then started gagging a bit and threw up mucus. It still seemed like he was still gaggy so we got him out and patted him on his side for him to get the rest of it out and suddenly he stopped breathing. His eyes kinda went in the back of his head and it looked like he was sleeping but chest wasn't rising. We patted his back trying to stimulate him to breathe (he needed this last time he was having trouble) and he'd gasp for a breath every once in awhile. Brought him out to the family room, gave him a couple puffs of Albuterol inhaler, opened his airway, kept patting and hooked up the oxygen monitor since he was starting to turn colors and he was sating 64%. Nich cranked up his o2 from 1/4 liters to 2 liters and he was still sating low 90s. It took about 5 minutes but he started breathing consistently again. I went up to take a shower in case we needed to take him in and just when I got in Nich called up that he did it again and was going to call the ambulance. Of course by the time they got to our house he started opening his eyes and was sating better, but this had went on for about 20 minutes. They listened to him and said he was moving air well but advised us to follow up with our pedi. He was busy, so we went to the ER. There Landon was sating well so they just observed and just after we talked about getting ready to go he dropped out of the blue to 59%. ER doc decided to do a chest and abdominal xray and came back that he had severe bilateral pneumonia (he had a small pocket of pneumonia diagnosed 2/23 but we thought he was getting a lot better). They quickly decided to transfer us to UM since they couldn't handle him. So, after 5 hours in their ER, we went for an ambulance ride to UM and sat in their ER for 6 hours. Long story short....Landon has baseline bad lungs. No new pneumonia, just that hospital didn't have an idea of what Landon's BPD lungs look like. Here's a picture to compare...big picture is BPD lungs, not Landon's just from Google Image Search :) Top left is healthy baby lungs, bottom left is bilateral pneumonia lungs. That was an easy mistake to make. Good news - no pneumonia! Bad news - he has really sick lungs all the time. We didn't realize how fortunate he/we've been to stay out of the hospital so much! Kids with BPD generally have a lot of respiratory issues that require hospitalization, no wonder when you see how sick their lungs are! So what happened?? We think he may have somehow aspirated some of his tube feeding (a bit got into his lungs probably when coughed/threw up), which probably sent him a bit into a respiratory distress bout. So thankful it wasn't anything worse! He's at home, on 1/4 liter o2 and doing great!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jumping in Muddles!

Oh to be a kid again! Hailey took advantage of the flood advisory :) After breakfast she found her new raincoat (thanks Nana!), Barbie rain boots and headed out to jump in the muddles (mud-puddles). I just love that she calls them muddles!

I caught her in action!! I was inside feeding the babies but could hear her belting out her song and quickly grabbed the camera! I LOVE this girl!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brennan's Surgery Update

So WAY behind blogging! I actually uploaded my pictures from my camera tonight and had ones on there from January 27! WOW! Now that they're on my computer, hopefully that'll motivate me a little more to get them out to you!

So Brennan had his eye surgery to fix the Strabismus on Monday. Landon was supposed to have the same surgery right after Brennan but a few days before we found out he had pneumonia...never goes according to plan! Here's before and after pictures! His eyes constantly raced but now looking at these pictures, I realized how bad his eyes were.
The after picture isn't very good but I really wanted to get a picture of him tonight! He did so good! The nurses said he didn't cry at all and willingly went with anesthesia! That made it much easier on us! :) It was a 45 minute outpatient procedure and we met him back in the recovery room right after he had woken up. His eyes were actually bleeding and it made it really hard for me to look at him and feed him (I had to feed him a bottle to show he could keep food down) because I was looking at his bloody face. He is so strong! We was a little whiny the ride home and that evening, but he was playing when he got home like nothing was wrong! The surgeon said it'll probably be 8-12 weeks until we know the final result of how his eyes took to the surgery, but he looks great so far! He opened his eyes at least midway and can focus on things! It was so cool to watch him really see things! This was the best surgery ever, no complications and we saw immediate results! God is so good! Our next round of surgeries are March 23 - Brennan & Brooke will get tubes, Brennan will be circumcised and have his other boy surgery. Landon has to wait 6 weeks from his pneumonia diagnosis so probably not until early-mid April. Keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Heart of a Micro Preemie

A little different of a Valentine's Day post, but reading this today just really inspired me! Borrowing this text from an email I received today from the Graham's Foundation (a support organization for parents of micro-preemies)...

"The human heart is such an amazing thing. Over a lifetime, one heart will beat 2.5 billion times and move the equivalent of 250,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. The heart does the most physical work of any muscle.
Even more amazing is the heart of a micro-preemie...a heart not much bigger than a cashew. Very early preterm infants are more likely than full-term infants or even later-term preemies to be diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and cardiovascular malformations. And yet those tiny hearts beat with amazing strength, having had plenty of practice even though a micro-preemie's time in the womb is far shorter than it ought to be. "

-- Doesn't this just get you energized!! Our babies are just AMAZING! Having the heart of a cashew! They each went through the PDA ligation and their little titanium clips they used to close the PDA were only millimeters long. Brooklyn was the smallest baby they had ever done a PDA ligation on! Isn't it just incredible that something so small can sustain life and do the job it was intended to do! Reading this, I just stood in awe of God's workmanship. We are truly his creation - is there any other explanation that a heart the size of a cashew could keep my babies alive!? These tiny hearts overflowed with God's goodness and every beat was for His Glory! This Valentine's Day, though remembering a little bit differently, reminds of us of His love and our love as parents. We also remembered Katelyn, though her heart not beating as strong, was perfect for what God needed her to be. As tiny and young as she was, filled our hearts with such indescribable love.

We did the typical Valentine's Day too - Nich bought Hailey & I flowers (actually Hailey's was from her "secret admirer"), Hailey wrote out about 30 Valentines to school and day care friends, but tonight we picked out the perfect Valentine's for two super special people. Hailey's class made Valentine's for veterans that are in the VA Hospital and she wanted to send one to Uncle Joe because he was her soldier. Even though Katelyn couldn't read hers, we didn't want her to feel left out :) Such a thoughtful sister!

Brooke helped Hailey pick out Katelyn's, a pretty purple flower.

Hailey picked out Uncle Joe's (a smelly Shrek one!) and wrote out Uncle Joe & Katelyn's names on their Valentines and we sent them off! They actually didn't get stuck in a tree this time!!! First time ever! :) Happy Valentine's Day! Wishing you all the love!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Next surgery round - a whopper!

We've known since they were born that when the boys turned 1 year adjusted they'd need to be circumcised (they were much too fragile to do it while they were still admitted). Nich took them to their January Urology appointment and we were planning to get a date scheduled...turns out the boys need more boy surgery, both different. Brennan's missing a nut...they need to do exploratory surgery to find it since it may even be in his abdomen! Landon has had a hydrocele for awhile and they feel it's not resolving itself and may cause other issues so are planning to take care of it.

8 days later they all went to their Opthamology appointment and left with the boys needing eye surprise! Brooke's eyes are right on track but the boys are starting to go cross-eyed (called Strabismus). She has a degree of this but not warranting surgery. Read the link if you have a chance - it's really interesting what happens and the eye muscle surgery they can do. It may not work 100% but will help the eyes look in the same direction and hopefully not confuse the brain. :)

8 days later they all went to their Audiology & ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) appointment and they all need tubes in their ears! We were kinda expecting that for Brooklyn, hoping for Landon (this means part of his hearing loss is conductive/fixable!!!), but were surprised for Brennan! Since Nov, she's had 4 ear infections and Brennan has had 3. Thankfully they're such tough kids we didn't even know and were taking them in for something else!

So all in all, walking away with 9 surgeries/procedures scheduled that we learned about within 3 weeks! Brennan & Landon - 4 each and Brooke scoots out with just 1. We're hoping to do this all the same day, sometime in February. I know you're thinking we're probably crazy and torturing ourselves/the babies, but 1 round of anesthesia, 1 surgery day and 1 recovery round! They'll book 3 OR's and go right down the line! We're really praying the babies go through this well. We're praying Landon's lungs will be strong enough to get right back off the vent! This time around feels so different, even though we've already been through 19 surgeries between the three babies, this time they've been home for so long and they're older! Every time we go back, memories fill with what it was like 16 months ago. Turning them over to the doctors and surgeons is so hard but God's going before us, which is our strength!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

16 month development

As promised and almost on time! :) I also FINALLY sewed Hailey's American dress up dress! Feeling a bit motivated!

So here we go...bear with me this is a way over due update but so exciting!! We are having serious fun with the kids!
This is how we get things done! :) Brooke is such a ham and a bully - she was playing with everyone else's toys, yet giving this sweet little smile.

Yep, they play like this! He's not even phased by it and she'll crawl all the way across the room just to lay on him.

Brennan Nicholas 16 lbs 15 oz (birth weight 1 lb 4 oz)

Brennan's eyes are starting to settle down and not racing as much! This is giving him better balance and he's actually sitting by himself! He's such a scrawny boy that we're pretty much feeding him nonstop to keep up with how active he is! We found baby food jars that are 180 calories each - talk about packing on the pounds! :) He's growing well, just skinny! I know he doesn't have them on in this picture, but we're working with him for 5-10 minutes at a time a couple times a day to keep his glasses on. He was doing really well, but then got curious and pulls them off to lick them when we're not looking. That's how he's figuring things out...licking everything in sight! Kinda weird, but makes sense with his visual impairments. Brennan's also starting to craw/scoot! I really think he has it in him to be up to speed as Brooke but he's a really laid back baby. He's rolling over with no problem and now pulling toward things with his arms - doesn't quite have his legs coordinated to motor all over but he can get where he wants to!

Landon posing with his bottle! He looks thrilled right :)

Landon James 21 lbs 11 oz (birth weight 1 lb 7 oz)

This little turkey is doing great! I know I've said this before, but he's just on his own schedule! He's working with Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech Therapy to work on the skills he needs a little help mastering - sitting, crawling and eating. His therapists really believe in him and I know that makes so much difference! It makes us feel really great having them work with him too! He's doing a lot of small (but key) developments that some people may miss, but we're checking them off in our minds. Like the picture above in the exersaucer...he's standing flat foot! He used to always stand on his tip toes and this shows he's getting more control of his legs and knows that they do something :) He's sitting with much less support and when he rolls over his legs get right up in the crawling position but he doesn't have strong enough leg muscles to get his big belly anywhere! His muscle strength is something else we're working on. Even though he's almost 22 lbs, he's like a rock because he hardly sustains himself! He's getting better but used to be like sack of potatoes!

Brooklyn Danielle 16 lbs 3 oz (birth weight 1 lb 3.5 oz)

Brooklyn is doing great!! She's such a ham! We're getting through the days of her being our "drama llama" for all of you who know the "Llama llama red pajama" books! :) For the longest time her face used to be a permanent frown, one that I'd never seen before but it's so easy to get her to smile and play! A couple weeks ago she had one on one time with Meme whil Nich and I got away to Boston and she has been a different kid since! Thanks Meme!! :) So, what's Brooke doing...crawling on her hands & knees (knees are a big deal and have took a long time to learn!), taking steps with a push toy and holding onto our fingers, becoming more social, clapping, switching toys from hand to hand and eating us out of house and home! This girl is the biggest snack food junky we know! Since Nich and I rarely take care of them together, one day between the 2 of us she ate an entire package of puffs! She's playing us already! :)

Video's!!! Brooklyn taking her first steps and her playing so sweetly with Landon! I can't stress how much FUN it's getting now that they're able to play more, be more active (I know we'd better watch out!) and are more social! We thank God every day for them and how great they're doing developmentally! They are such blessings!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

1 Year Adjusted Birthday!

Can you believe it!? The babies due date if they lasted full term would've been January 17 so today we celebrated their 1 year adjusted birthday! I'm hoping to post a developmental update in the next few days - I've got some great video's of them! Around 2-3 years old preemies usually catch up and they don't need to go by their adjusted age. Since they were born so early, they give them 4 months handicap. :) In September they couldn't have cake and I really missed getting the cake/frosting all over so we had that tonight! Enjoy!

I made a healthy baby cake of flour, baking soda, applesauce & milk because they haven't really ate much people food. Frosting was made of cream cheese, applesauce and vanilla. It was disgusting, but they ate it and Hailey actually loved it!

Brennan digging in!

Landon got in on the fun even though he couldn't eat any cake!

Brooke wasn't shy and had frosting everywhere!

And to finish it off, a video of our night!