Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Long awaited update

I must apologize, because my intentions upon starting this blog was to update it more frequently than I do now. It turns out having twins is a lot of work...who would have thought? We have been doing very well despite the chronic sleep deprivation. It is funny how fast your body (and mind) gets accustomed to change. Having twins means having to rely on keeping up with a basic routine. The girls' original due date was Thursday, February 25th. It is very strange to think that they have been in the world for over two months now. It is hard to believe that my inpatient stay, and the twins' NICU experience ever happened! They keep me very busy and overjoyed. We had our pediatrician appointment this morning. Sophia weighed 8lb 14oz and Cecilia weighed 9lb 1oz and were both 21 inches. The doctor said that they were in the 90th percentile for their age and that was on a normal, full term infant scale. They have gained about two pounds in two weeks when Sophia weighed 7lb 1oz and Cecilia 7lb 4oz. Sophia had her second hearing appointment, and she passed with flying colors. They both had their eye appointment last week. It was a difficult appointment, because the procedure was uncomfortable for the girls. They are both near sighted, and the doctor said they should come back when they are about 15 months old. It is an amazing and beautiful experience raising twins. We have quickly learned the art of multitasking and patience. Fortunately, the girls maintain a very similar sleeping and eating schedule. They are both staying awake for longer periods of time. It is an incredible feeling when their big, gorgeous eyes are looking up at you. They try to lift their heads up a lot, and they are getting really good at it. They seem to really like music, and I play it often for them. Although they look very much alike, Tim and I are able to easily tell them apart. The differences in their personality is very apparent. Sophia is a little more independent on her own, and Cecilia is a force to be reckoned with. I have added some newer photos, and I will try to keep a better update!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and pleasant surprises. As most of you now know, Sophia and Cecilia are at home! They were released from Kishwaukee Hospital on Friday, January 29th a mere 29 days after they were born! After two weeks in the NICU at Rockford Memorial Hospital, their neonatologist decided that they were stable enough to be moved Kishwaukee which was much closer to home. At Kishwaukee, the girls spent the next two weeks eating and! They were taken off their feeding tubes after a few days and were taking all their meals by bottle. They were moved to open cribs and maintained their temperatures beautifully. They passed their car seat safety tests with flying colors. The test consisted of sitting in their car seats for 90 minutes without any apnea or heart rate spells. They also had hearing tests and cranial ultrasounds. Cecilia passed her hearing test, but they found a grade one cranial bleed on her ultrasound. Our pediatrician said that this is common in premature babies and that the bleed will resolve itself. Sophia's ultrasound looked good, but she did not pass her first hearing test. She will have another one within a month. There are many reasons babies do not pass their first hearing test and as her mother I can assure you that she can hear just fine. They are scheduled for their eye exams at the end of the month as well as their neonatal follow-up. Sophia was released weighing 5 pounds and Cecilia 5lbs 4oz. Tim and I took them to their first pediatric appointment on Monday and learned that they are growing phenomenally at home! Sophia weighed 5lbs 5oz and Cecilia 5lbs 9oz. Looks like mom and dad happen to be naturals! We have had a lot of fun so far with them at home, although sleep has been a rare commodity in the Tice household. The girls are eating about every 3 hours, sometimes sooner. They are very hungry girls! Right now we have them sharing a crib, because they love sleeping next to each other. It is amazing to watch them grow and reflect on how far we have all come in such a short time. I am so very blessed. They have very distinct personalities, and they make us laugh all the time. It is such a joy to hold them and cuddle them. The love that I feel for them is unlike anything I have ever known. Thank you everyone for all the prayers and encouragement. We will continue to update as time allows, but it is quite busy here lately!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sophia and Cecilia 3 weeks old

So much has happened since the last time I updated! The girls have been in the world another week, and they are getting so big. It seems as though time is on fast forward since the girls were born, and there just isn't enough of it to go around. Tuesday morning, the twins were transported via ambulance from Rockford Memorial to Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb. Their neonatologist at RMH decided that the girls did not require Level 3 NICU care anymore, since all they really need to do now is eat and grow. It is wonderful only driving ten minutes to see the babies instead of over an hour! Kishwaukee is a very nice hospital, and the girls are receiving almost exclusive care at the nursery. When Tim and I go to see them they are moved to a private room so that we can be alone with them. As of today, Sophia weighed 4lb 7oz and Cecilia weighed 4lb 9oz! They are coming along so well! They are growing almost a half ounce a day. They are both taking bottles very well, although Cecilia tends to take too much too fast sometimes and spits up a bit. We are working with her though. They are taking about half of their feedings by bottle now, and a little more each day. I was able to cuddle with both my girls on my chest today and bottle feed them freshly pumped milk, and they really enjoyed that! It was incredible to feel both their tiny bodies and have them near each other. I can't begin to explain how relieved and happy I am to have such healthy, beautiful daughters. Looking back at the past seven months, I know I would do it all again for those perfect angels. Everyone who sees them remarks on how beautiful they are, they are quite popular at the new hospital. The nurses are talking about possibly getting them home within two weeks (which is quite overwhelming to say the least). They still have to get their eyes checked out, and the Kish cardiologist needs to check out Cecilia for her heart murmur and make sure that it hasn't gotten worse. They haven't been moved to an open crib yet, but they might try for a little while tomorrow. They have to be able to stay in an open crib and maintain an acceptable body temperature before they will be able to come home. Tim and I are busy getting everything ready for their homecoming, and we are anxious to have them home with us and to start the new chapter in our lives. Thanks to everyone for the constant prayers and thoughts and gifts. We will continue to let you know how the girls are doing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cecilia and Sophia-Two weeks old

So the twins are two weeks old today, and it so incredible how far they each have come in such a short period of time. Sophia now weighs 3lb 15.5oz and Cecilia hit
4lbs!! It is reassuring that Sophia has been gaining weight consistently for a few days now. She had a slower start. They did an echocardiogram on Cecilia's heart Tuesday, because the nurses we concerned about a possible heart murmur. The cardiologist saw her yesterday, and yesterday their doctor said that everything checked out good. She has a slight murmur, but it common with preemies. He wasn't concerned, and it will just something we will keep in mind for when they start seeing their pediatrician. Yesterday morning, when Tim and I were with the girls, I was able to feed Sophia from the bottle. Tim fed Cecilia and both girls did very well. Sophia finished her whole bottle. The nurses were impressed how quickly they took to the bottles, and it is something we will keep working on. They get tired easily feeding from the bottle, because they are just beginning to suck and their stamina is not where it needs to be. They still get feedings by the gavage tube as well. It was such a treat to be able to feed Sophia and watch her as she ate. It is always great when the nurses invite us to join in their care and interacting with the babies is the highlight of our day. Time always seems to fly when we are at the hospital visiting our girls. They are talking about transferring the girls down to Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb. They are stable and doing so well that they don't see any reason why they can't be closer to home. It is a win-lose situation, because Tim and I really like RMH and everyone who has helped us through everything there, but we would love to be able to spend more time with the girls. With them being in town, I could be there for the majority of their bottle feedings and do more with them. It would also spare Tim and I a two and a half hour round trip every day which is tiring and limits the time we get to spend with the girls. The twins are looking better everyday that I see them, and I am so often taken aback by how lucky I am to have them. Our family has already come so far, and there is still so far to go. Our girls are so strong, and it reminds Tim and I to be strong as well.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eight days old

The twins are eight days old today, and they have come so far so fast. Both girls are officially off any oxygen support and are breathing completely on their own. Cecilia is down to just her feeding tube attached to her. She has managed to get rid of her central line and IV. She is currently 3 lbs 12 oz, and is receiving 32 mL of breast milk every three hours. Sophia still has her IV. She lost weight again last night, she is down to 3 lbs 9 oz. The doctor assured me this morning that it is normal for preemies to gain and lose weight, and he put her feedings up to 31 mL. The had two episodes of bradycardia tonight, and they are watching her closely for more. She will be given caffeine to help control it if they keep happening. Tim and I are able to hold them everyday. We are going to try the kanagroo hold on them this weekend. I believe that Sophia especially will benefit from skin on skin contact. We get to be active in their diaper changes, and it was quite adorable watching Tim change a diaper. They did a routine scan of the girls' brains and everything came out perfect. Now our goal is to put some weight on them and begin teaching them to feed from a bottle. I have a feeling it is going to take some time. Sophia and Cecilia inspire me and make me realize everyday what true love is. When I am holding my daughters, nothing else in the world makes a difference. Everything stops and I look down at the most beautiful things in the world.
Tim and I are pretty exhausted. Besides the two and a half hour round trip we make everyday to the hospital, we are feeling the results of sleep deprivation. I know that I pushed myself pretty hard this week. We are looking forward to our first weekend together since befor the hospital stay. We will be going to see the girls, but we are also going to take some much needed mommy and daddy time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Catching up

There have been so many changes since the last time I updated, and everything has changed for the better! There is no doubt that these little girls are fighters! The steps that each of them have taken towards maturity have been remarkable! The nurses refer to our babies as "the feisty ones" which just tickles both Tim and me. Sunday morning I was finally discharged from Rockford Memorial Hospital...I am a free woman again! We went to see the girls for a while before we left to go home. Sophia was still intubated and still had her chest tube in, and they were slowly lowering the oxygen percentage to make her breathe more room air on her own. If she could do that they were going to put her back on the CPAP. Cecilia was doing so well, and they decided to move her from the CPAP to a normal nasal cannula which is more comfortable for her and allows us to see more of her face! I was able to hold Cecilia for the first time three days after she was born. It was such an incredible experience! When they placed her in my arms it felt like a piece of me that was missing had been replaced. My daughters are truly beautiful. Tim was able to hold Cecilia after me, and they took her CPAP off and replaced it with the cannula as he was holding her. It makes everything seem more real when we were actually able to hold our baby. We are very lucky. We haven't been able to hold Sophia yet, because the central line that is in her umbilical cord is through an artery. It is too dangerous to risk pulling that line out. Cecilia's, however, is through a vein. We hope to hold our little Sophia within the next couple days. On day four they were able to put Sophia back on the CPAP and when we came in yesterday she had already moved on the the nasal cannula doing as well as her sister. She also had her chest tube removed. She turned around in a matter of 48 hours and keeps doing better and better. They are both taking breast milk through their feeding tubes and are doing very good digesting it. Cecilia was spitting up a little the first two days but hasn't had a problem keep it all down since last night. They both get feedings every three hours. Sunday they were only taking in 5 ccs each and as of today they are 15 cc. Tonight Sophia will get 20 ccs and Cecilia will be given 18 ccs. They are making me work extra hard to keep up! Cecilia was under phototherapy all day yesterday for her high bilirubin count. Bilirubin is a a compound that results from the natural breakdown of blood. This high level of bilirubin causes them to develop jaundice. The lights help her break down the bilirubin. When we came in today she no longer had the lights. Her color definitely looked better, nice and pink. I was able to change Sophia's diaper for the first time yesterday, and today I was able to change Cecilia's. I love being able to help with them. Sophia really likes to open her eyes and was very active last night. She was back under an isolette today and is doing just great. I was able to hold Cecilia for a while today again. As of 6:30 tonight, Cecilia was on only room air and might be off the nasal cannula by tomorrow or the following day! Everything is definitely moving in the right direction with the girls, and I will update again very soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 3

Well today started with some difficulties. Tim and I went to the NICU around 6 a.m. to deliver some milk for the girls, and their doctor informed us that Sophia had suffered a pnemothroax which is often referred to as a collapsed lung. Both twins have slight respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) which is extremely common in preemies their age. Pneumothorax is a lung disorder in which air in the lungs leaks out through holes in the lung tissue into the spaces outside the lung airways. This is a fairly common problem in preemies since they are not developing surfactant yet. Surfactant is a kind of foamy, fatty liquid that acts like grease in the lungs. Without it, the air sacs open but have difficulty remaining open because they stick together. Surfactant allows the sacs to remain open. Surfactant usually appears in the fetus’s lungs at about the 24th week of pregnancy and gradually builds up to its full level by about the 35th week. If a premature baby is lacking surfactant, artificial surfactant may be given. They managed to collect 35 cc of air out of her lung using a syringe early in the morning, and Sophia was intubated. They gave her some surfactant and left her on the ventilation. They also decided to ventilate Cecilia briefly while they also injected some surfactant into her lungs to avoid the same problems. Tim and I returned to the NICU a few hours later, and they told us that x-rays indicated that the air was still collecting in Sophia. As a result, Sophia had to have a chest tube put in which is like a catheter placed through the chest wall into the air space that continually releases any air that forms there. As of right now she is still ventilated and on some pain medication to avoid any discomfort that she might experience. Cecilia is back on the CPAP, and is off the dopamine. She is doing quite well. Both girls are still taking nutrition from the IVs, and they may try to introduce Cecilia to breast milk tomorrow. They both have lost some weight (Sophia lost approximately 3 oz and Cecilia 4 oz), but almost all premature infants lose weight before they gain it. Their nurse last night said that babies usually have one big weight loss episode before they level out. Unfortunately they won't start gaining back much until they are feeding. She said that Cecilia losing that 4 oz was actually a good thing, because it meant that some of the extra fluid was gone and would make it easier for her to breathe. It is very difficult to see Sophia so uncomfortable, but we know that she is very strong. She is stubborn and tries to take the tubes out as they put them in. She has a very strong grip, and she is absolutely beautiful (just like her sister). Cecilia still cries a lot, and I think she senses that her twin is in distress. They swaddled her up in the blankets, and she seemed to do well after that.
In better news, I get discharged tomorrow! After 59 full days in the hospital I will be able to walk out into the real world! I took a walk to the cafeteria today with Tim, and I had a smile on my face the whole time. I know it seems silly and perhaps trivial, but it is easy to take simple things for granted. I am so excited to go home and get some therapy with my kitty Clementine. I am also so excited at the prospect of sleeping next to my husband tomorrow night. It will be very difficult to leave my babies here, but we will be back tomorrow evening to check on the girls again. It will be nice to enter the hospital on my own accord as a visitor and not a patient. We have so much to do and figure out the next couple weeks. I will continue to update the blog frequently. Thank you everyone for supporting our family which doubled in size three days ago!