Joleigh Faith has been doing great! I got my Christmas wish when Joleigh was taken off her breathing machine just before Christmas. She is now just on oxygen and they have been working to wean her off. Her feedings have continued to increase and she is now receiving 30 cc's every 3 hours. She now weighs 3 pounds, 5 ounces and is 16 1/4 inches long. She continues to be a diva and gets kinda mad if you mess with her when she doesn't want to be messed with!
Jeremiah Wayne continues to hold his own as well. His oxygen continues to be weaned and as of yesterday he was down to 1.5 liters from 4. He now weighs 3 pounds, 13 ounces and is 17 1/4 inches long. As he grow his feedings also increase and he is now receiving 34 cc's every 3 hours. I found yesterday that when Jeremiah doesn't get fed when he wants it he can become very irritable. I would love to say that this trait comes from his father, but sadly I think it really comes from me.
There have been several small changes that have come for both babies equally in the last 2 weeks. Both are now stable enough to spend more time outside of their isolettes which equals more holding time for us! Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are shot days for the babies and not favorite days for me or the nurses. They each used to get 2 shots each day but we are now down to one. It's the small victories that count! Both babies had their last brain ultrasound on Monday and we are proud to say that they have come back normal for the fourth and last time. One more thing we can cross of the list of worries. Feeding times have decreased from 1 hour to 30 minutes which shows that Joleigh and Jeremiah are tolerating feedings more like typical newborns. As they continue to progress, we are hoping to start offerings bottles in the next week or so. Both babies are spending more time awake which is so much fun for us as we get to talk to them and see their beautiful eyes. Both have also discovered their thumbs and may be found with their "pacifier" in their mouths!
Jace and I are both doing well and have adjusted to our NICU schedule as well as we can. I spend my days with Joleigh and Jeremiah in the NICU. I get to change diapers, take temperatures, hold babies and of course just talk to them while they are awake. Jace goes to work during the day and spends the evenings with us at the hospital. We continue to be grateful to my cousin Heather for the use of her apartment. It is great to be only 5 minutes from the hospital. We also cannot thank those of you who continue to support us financially or with your prayers. We know that God has heard those prayers because our children are doing so well. It is only by His grace that they are here and doing fantastic.
The biggest thing we can be thankful for is getting to spend our first Christmas with our children. Jace and I spent the day with Joleigh and Jeremiah and even opened Christmas presents with them! Although it was bittersweet to not spend the day at home with family, we were blessed with visits from grandparents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I will try to get Jace to post pictures soon of our Christmas celebration!
I think that sums up everything that has been happening in the last couple of weeks. We hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and we pray for a blessed New Year also. I can tell you we are looking forward to our 2011 and watching our children grow!
Where shall we begin, how about with Joleigh Faith? She is doing great. While she is still on the sipap machine she is holding steady. She is getting fed more, up to 20cc’s every three hours and is gaining weight, up to 2 pounds 10 ounces. She is also holding her body temperature well enough that we are able to swaddle and hold her instead of skin to skin. It feels like progress simply being able to do that. Jo’s funny story for the week comes when I changed her diaper on Saturday. I unfastened the dirty one, kept it there, and cleaned her up, and then I removed the dirty and put the clean one under her. She proceeded to dirty the clean one. I then cleaned her up, removed the 2nd dirty one and put another clean one under her. You guessed it; before I could fasten the new one she dirtied it. This continued a couple more times. By the 4th I was convinced we were good to go and she finally had a clean diaper.
Jeremiah Wayne is progressing as well. He was taken off the sipap machine yesterday and put back onto only oxygen. That is great news! Like is big sister, he is getting more food, 23cc’s every three hours. The best achievement for him this week is the fact that he has reached the 3 pound mark, weighing in at 3 pounds 1 ounce. He too is able to be held swaddled. No real orneriness coming out of his corner this week. I am sure that will change.
Both had their weekly brain scans and while they both positively showed brains both were negative for any problems. So while they got their Dad’s orneriness and dashing good looks, it appears as though they got their Mom’s smarts. What a relief about the smarts, not so sure about the looks though.
Speaking of Jen, she is doing great. She is beaming as a new Mom and anyone that has seen her can clearly see that. Besides that her happy moment came a week after the twins arrived as she was able to put her “real” jeans back on. I reckon it’s the small things in life that make the difference. Her spirits are high and she is making great friends with the nurses and doctors in the NICU. She is a real trooper.
As for me, had to go back to work yesterday for the first time since the twins where born. While it stunk being away from my newly foursome-fied family, the time passed quickly and before I knew it I was back in the NICU holding Jeremiah. I am loving being a Daddy and doing Daddy things (changing diapers, washing faces, calming crying babies, etc).
If you are wondering where we are living these days here are those details. We only come home to Newton once a week to attend church, do errands, pick up our mail, wash clothes, and see Tucker (who is staying with Norm and Cinda…and he is loving getting to spend the days with Emma). After they were first born we stayed in the Carle Auxiliary Guest House for a week. That place was a dear blessing and perfect under the circumstances. Since time is limited in the guest house we had to find another place. God works in mysterious and miraculous ways and it worked out that Jens cousin, Heather, recently purchased her first house. The great part about that is her lease on her apartment runs through January. So she actually had a house and an empty apartment, both in Urbana within 5 minutes of Carle. She was gracious enough to allow us to inhabit her apartment at no cost. We will stay there through the end of January. If the babies aren’t able to come home yet by then we will move in with Jen’s Aunt Patti in Fisher. God always provides.
As if this post wasn’t long enough yet I have one more paragraph to add. Jen and I would like to send a special thank you to all of you who helped, supported, or had anything at all to do with the bake sale recently held at Peoples State Bank in Newton. We cannot describe the feelings we have for all the outpouring you all have shown. We are truly overwhelmed and encouraged by all of you.
While we still have long road ahead of us, about 70 more days at least (average time in NICU for their weights is approx 90 days), we feel the progress shown so far is a huge step in the right direction. God is good and continues to bless our family. Thank you again to all of you for your support and continues prayers. I will post pictures soon.
Thanks again for all who have been praying. Again today we can see those prayers being answered. God bless.
9 Hrs Ago: We could really use some prayer right now. Jen has started contracting again. They are doing monitoring as we speak and just gave her a shot of medicine to stop the progression. I will update when I know more. For now, keep the prayers coming.
8 Hrs Ago: Update: Monitoring is over. Contractions are fewer and farer between. They are also not as painful. Keep praying but know they are working.
Now: Update: Contractions back again this morning and a little worse pain than last night. Back at 6 min intervals. Jen was given a dose of meds to stop them, same as last night. They will monitor over the next 15 minutes and then if not better give another dose of meds. Will update as I know. Please continue prayers.
Please be Praying!
So here is the breakdown from top to bottow, clockwise:
Stuffing, sweet potatoes, greenbeans, ham, cranberry sauce, turkey, pumpking-pecan pie, biscuits, hashbrown casserole, and mac and cheese.
One very happy Momma to be. One happy Daddy too!
Daddy after Dinner Jace thinks he should be on bed rest!
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We definely are enjoying our day. Parade, football, meal, and nap. Enjoy your family and have a great rest of your holiday.
-Jace and Jen
How about with yesterday as it marked week 27. WEEK 27…can you guys believe it? One week away from 28, the original milestone. 4 weeks ago we didn’t think we’d still be a family of 2 but rather a full fledge family of 4. Which brings me to another point, you might have noticed I said “original milestone” above. Why? Well Doc advised that he sees no reason why Jen cannot stay stable and unchanged through week 32. Contractions are rare these days, dilation is stalled, and babies are growing so week 32 here we come.
Along with that new 32 week goal Jens other Doc mentioned the possibility of being able to be released after that goal is met if no changes happen between now and then. The limiting factor is the 2 hr drive between home and Carle. We will cross that bridge when the times come as for now we just take it day by day.
Let’s see, what else. Well, we got another sonogram done yesterday. Turns out the babies are already acting like me, active, shy, and stubborn. 30 minute monitoring at 2pm has been turning into marathon struggles lasting upwards of 3 hours to get 5-10 good minutes of heart beats. Since they are having trouble monitoring them they did another sono yesterday just to verify all is ok. Don’t worry, all is ok. In fact I am pretty sure I saw Girl J smile on camera like they are in cahoots and playing jokes on us. We even got to see them practice breathing on the sonogram. Pretty cool stuff.
We had fewer visitors over the weekend which lent itself nicely to a lazy Saturday full on napping and movie marathon watching. Norm and Cinda came Sunday and brought yummy pumpkin bars and Hickory River BBQ.
That’s about all for the update portion of this post. Now for the PSA:
Thanks to all who have offered to bring us Thanksgiving dinner. We are continued to be overwhelmed by everyone’s gracious and giving hearts. We got it taken care of. Jen and I will be spending Thanksgiving together with wonderful takeout from Cracker Barrel and enjoying each others company, being thankful for everyone and everything that has happened in the past year. People continue to ask what they can do to make our holiday better. Here is what you can do…enjoy your family. Sit around the table, the tv, the church, and the backyard and just be together. Through complications our life has simplified and let us focus on what’s really important. Enjoy what’s really important this holiday season. OK, I will step off my box now.
Oh, and if you are wondering why no “View from the 11th Floor” pics lately? It’s dark when I rise and dark when I return back so it would just be a black square so I will spare you. Have a great Tuesday…which reminds me it’s been 1 month here at Carle. Time flies when you’re having fun.
Below Jen just wanted to show everyone her favorite thing...READING.
Here she is about to finish book number 15.
Hardback, softcover, electronic...she doesn't discriminate.
Jen had a few contractions during monitoring both last night and again this morning. While nobody is alarmed, as they went away with bathroom relief or adjusting sides, we'd just rather not having in so specific prayer for that would be wonderful. All in all we are gearing up for another blessed Sunday. I hope your is too!
Since I cannot update you on what’s not been going on I will give a few updates on what has:
- We were visited by many family, church family, and friends during the latter part of last week and extending through the weekend. Always helps pass the time with people that care about you and people you care about.
- I was able to complete two whole pages in the Disney Princess coloring book, though my green Prince Eric did not pass Jen’s inspection.
- At last count Jen had read 12 books in these three weeks and was on 13 when I left this morning. Read count will probably be 13 and well on its way to 14 by the time I get back.
- Every nurse and doctor comments on the numerous cards, notes, pictures, and flowers that adorn Jens windowsill, cubbies, and cabinets. One even said coming into her room was the highlight of her day. Thanks to all that have sent things. Your caring thoughts are appreciated and won’t be forgotten.
- Please pray for the babies today as they do a sonograom to check their size. Praying for bigger, stronger, healthier babies. Also prayer for no progression in regards to Jen's dilation during the sonogram.
- Please pray for Jen also as she has a GTT (glucose tolerence test). Its a test where she doesn't get to eat for a while then has to drink this less than good tasting liquid. Then they test to see what her glucose reading is. If its low she risks going back on the diabetic diet. Lets pray that doesn't happen.
- Pray for Buffy Brooks as she is at Mayo right now preparing for surgery.
You all have been great and God is hearing and acting upong your prayers. Keep them coming.
So let’s see, weekend review…Sunday morning I snuck out of the hospital and headed south, first stopping at my parentals house and then on to church. After church the Mulveys twisted my arm so I had no choice but to enjoy Mexican cuisine and good conversation. It was tough for sure. Between loads of laundry I was able to go shoot some family pictures of the Shulls (Thanks Susan and Alissa for letting me capture your family).
Enough about me, this blog is about Jen. Sunday she was visited by her parents and its always a joy for her to see them. Visiting also was her cousin Heather and her friend Mo. She really enjoyed their company. Neither Sunday nor Monday was a contraction to be had. Doc was happy with the progression of the no progression. Everything looks great with both momma and babies.
Two notes of news from Monday. First, it marked 25 weeks gestation! Wooooo Hooooo! Second, and the lighlight of her week indeed, was the fact that the nurse and tech went above and beyond and borrowed a gadget from another floor in the hospital that would allow them to wash her hair while in bed. I don’t know how it worked. All I know is they used real shampoo, real water, and worked her head over good. She said afterwards that the tech was her new best friend, move over Tucker.
Thanks again for everyone to stopped me at church and asked how Jen was doing. I appreciate your genuine concern. Thanks for everyone that has sent things. Your general generosity has been overwhelming at times but exactly what we needed when we needed it. God is good. We have settled in nicely at Carle and you all are a big part of making it comfy for us. Please keep the prayers coming, as we know without a doubt they continue to work.
As far as the overall day goes, it was a great day. We hosted several family members and other speical guests to our "apartment" today. Aunt Patti and cousin Alicia graced us this morning. Auntie M and cousin Heather this afternoon. Jen's Mimi and Poppa came as well (Larry and Lora Short). Mixed in there Martha Allison visited and after dinner Ricky Jo Champ popped in. All our visitors today made it a great day. It's good to see familiar faces. We appreciate your conversation, your genuine concern, and your gracious gifts (especially the blizzards Auntie M, pretzels Aunt P, and Jelly Beans Martha).
Since all is good on the health front, I can fill everyone in on the great food of the day. Two blocks down I consumed giant breaded shrimp and fried okra for lunch from Windy City (a chicago eatery). Ok, I will admit the name probably has a different meaning after you eat there (Isn't everyone glad they visited today and not tomorrow?). Get that previous joke yet? Don't worry, you will. For supper I treated Jen to Old Chicago Pizza....mmm.....good.
In summary, another great day filled with no progression, great family and friend visitors, and rest and relaxation. Tomorrow more visitors for Jen and I will be traveling south to Newton for church, photography, and laundry. Thanks again for all who continue to pray for me and my growing family.
God is continuing to answer our and your prayers. The power of prayer in our case has been overwhelming and encouraging to us and I hope to you all as well. So for the rest of this entry I would like to ask you bless others like you have blessed us with your prayers. Pray for Buffy Brooks as she gears up for surgery to remove a tumor and cancer from her body. Pray for Tim Andrews as he battles and prepares to be put on the transplant list. Pray for Sara Benton and she continues to be a model of hope and encouragement to all as she battles cancer as well. Don’t get me wrong, we still need your prayers but so do these wonderful people and all the others I have failed to mention. God will do anything as long as we ask for it. We ask for it through prayer.
We appreciate your prayers, concerns, and help during this time of trial. As always check back for updates or continuances as the case may be. Hope you all have a great Friday!
I was able to go back to work today and have to admit it was a nice change for me. We also got good news on meds as after her 72 hr of one meds end tonight at 6pm there are alternative meds she can be put on that do the same sort of thing, which is a praise.
All is good and things are calm. Another good day in the neighborhood. Thanks again for all the continued prayers.
In summary, God is good and more time has been granted. The longer we wait, the longer they cook, the better off we all will be. Thank you for your continued prayer. As you can see they are getting answered.
This morning she feels physically and mentally restored, ready to take on whatever comes again. Thank you to each one of you for your prayers. We know God has his hand on this. Specific prayer needs for today: continued stall in contractions, no further dilation, and continued comfort.
On the schedule for today: Another ultrasound and continued meds.
Again, thank you to each of you. We are humbled by the out pouring from our family, our church, our JC Community, and used-to-be-strangers (as we know no strangers now, just friends). Keep the prayers coming!
Jen is resting now, as the meds are designed to relax her entire body. Still no visitors but texts and messages of encouragement are always welcome. God has a plan and this is a part of it.
As always, check for continuous updates through out the day. Thanks again for your continued prayers.
She is once again a resident of floor # 10 and now is on 100% bed rest complete with an IV and catheter. She is on stronger meds to stop progression and is back on 24 hr monitoring. Health wise she is fine and babies are still fine. Problem is labor symptoms started back up and we are trying to stunt them yet again.
With a return to the 10th floor there is also a no visitor policy. I will let everyone know when they are able to visit again. For now all we can do is pray. God is good and this again is part of His plan.
So, I had a very unexpected start to my morning. The nurse came in with a very large shot and said we were starting the steroids today. She told me it was going to hurt and burn. Not good news! I figured when you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to get there. So, I bared it and shared it. To be completely truthful, it really wasn't as bad as I expected. However, when I asked how often we had to do these shots and she said twice - I thought she meant twice daily. Not exactly what I signed up for but she really meant twice. Today and tomorrow and then no more. I thought "I can handle that." Tomorrow will be another shot and ultrasound to check my cervix again and to peek at the babies again. Nothing exciting to report for today - which is what we want!
Had a great visit with my parents today. They brought me non-hospital food - which is always a blessing. Mom brought me a few more things from home to help make me comfortable. I have pretty much moved into my room and made it mine. I figure this is my home for awhile - I might as well enjoy it! My Aunt Patti also stopped by to visit and I had a nice phone all from Cherish. All visits are and calls are greatly appreciated.
Jace said several have asked for an address here at the hospital. I have posted it on Facebook but I figure I might as well put it here too...
Jennifer Hills, Room 1146
Carle Foundation Hospital
611 W Park St.
Urbana, IL 61801
I will try to post as often as I can. Especially if there is anything new to report. Please keep praying that these babies keep "baking" for as long as they can!
As for the medical side of things today, again, absolutely nothing changed...which is great news once again! Weird how no changes are what we are rooting for. Still no roids for the babies yet but we think those meds start tomorrow. The bigger they can get now the better of they will be later.
A funny sidenote on that. My mom helped me come to the realization that a career in major league sports will be spoiled on our children. Because they are going to be steriod users they will face bans in all major league sports. Well I guess they could be pro wrestlers but thats about it.
Another funny story from this week - the case of the missing cell-phone. Jen had been texting on her phone all day. Later in the evening she was needing to place a call. We couldnt find her cell phone. Looked in her bed, around her bed, her table. We looked on the shelf, on the floor, in the bathroom. Couldn't find it. Decided to call it with my cell phone. Nothing. Couldn't here it ring, couldn't feel or here it vibrate. Poof it was just gone. Gone until Jen got completely up from the bed. Apparently our daughter had taken the phone to begin her phone talking career a bit early. (lets face it we all know its coming some day). So Jens belly had been hiding her phone the whole time muffling the sound and deadining the vibration. Just a little laughter to get us through a rather boring day.
Thanks again for all the encouragement, gifts, and well wishes. Its been 5 days and so far so good.
The good news started yesterday when she was removed from 24 hr monitoring to 6 hr monitoring which meant less interuptions during the night and better sleep for everyone. Today the blessings kept flowing as Jen was told they would stop ckecking her blood suger after every meal because she had been keeping it right on track each week. Last but not least she can now order off the cafeteria menu instead of choosing from the same menu options. All blessings!
God is already starting to remind us just how much He loves us by blessing us with family and friends tending to our needs. Yesterday we enjoyed the company of Donna and Jerry Woods and Brand and Linda Mulvey. Sitting around with dear friends always makes for a better day. Jens cousin Heather and Aunt Patti, both live in the area, have been very helpful and see that many needs are met. We are really looking forward to this weekends visitors, our parents as they, like always, have been great and are our number one encouragers.
As for daily life, we have been blessed with a great team of doctors, nurses, food deliverers, and house cleaners. Carle is a wonderful place and the entire staff is wonderful. Today they had a childrens costume parade and it was a good distraction from the normal...but these days what is normal anyway.
Plan going forward - The baby roids start this weekend. They will grow the babies at a quicker rate. Other than that its just more of the same sitting and waiting, praying and thanking. God is good and has a plan. We are just happy to be part of it. Thank you everyone who is and has and will be praying for us. We are truly blessed to have you all as friends.
Tuesday, Oct 26th Jen was going to Champaign for a scheduled doctor’s appt with her Maternal Fetal Specialist. This was a routine appt so Cinda was going to go with her to see the twins on the ultrasound and I was heading to work as normal. As I left for work at 6am something in my heart said turn around, you don’t want to miss seeing your babies on the ultrasound. I chalked it up to the storm and used that as reasoning to turn around and go home and go with Jen and Cinda to the appt. I know now it was God telling me I needed to be there at that appt.
The appointment started just like the rest, vitals, questions, and the ultrasound. With twins this process generally takes an hour to get all their measurements and such. Everything was looking great. Two beautiful, growing babies. Strong heartbeats and stronger smiles could be seen.
The doc came in a little bit later and confirmed what we already knew. Everything with the babies was going as planned and Jen was healthy as well. Our Son weighed in at 1lb 7oz and our daughter 1lb 5 oz. Then came the news nobody was expecting. “I am going to have to admit you”. Scared, stunned, and staring we continued to listen to her. Basically the weight of the two babies was making Jen’s cervix shrink. While that is what is supposed to happen, at 23 weeks 4 days this is a cause for concern. Whats next?
Well, we are now residents of Carle, floor 11. Our room number # is 1146 and this is where Jen will stay until our babies are born. While the goal is to keep the babies in their current positions as long as possible, the first milestone goal is 5 weeks, to get them to 28 weeks gestation. At 28 weeks development is complete and only getting bigger and strong remains. That is why the 28 wk mark is so important. As for Jen she is on bed rest with bathroom privileges, which mean she can only get up to go the bathroom. She will be given progesterone to slow down the labor symptoms and baby roids to get those two little wonders stronger and healthier.
Many of you know the long road it’s been to get to this point so unusual circumstances now really do not come as a surprise. First, we trust God to provide and get us through this hiccup. We have already been blessed with tremendous support from family and friends and we cannot say enough how grateful we are to have all of you in our lives.
Plan as of now, like I said Jen is officially off work and on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. I will be staying with her the rest of the week and weekend. Sunday I will come home and try to get back to work as normal, working during the day and staying at home in Newton during the week. As soon as the whistle blows Friday I will be scooting back up and staying all weekend again with Jen. That is the plan for now but we know so well that plans change.
Many of you have already said you were coming for a visit and that is great. I just want to give you some information. Visiting hours on this floor are from 9am to 9pm. Follow the signs to the Tower Elevators and head to the 11th floor. You will come to a door you cannot get through. This floor is password protected and we have to let you in. Text Jen or I or call her room. You can also call the desk and they will let you in.
As I said before, this blog will be a place for information filled updates and full stories. We want to thank all of you for being here for us and want to thank God for blessing us with these babies, this great hospital and staff, and all of you!