We have established a loose routine for now. I am still feeling really exhausted so I seem to end up running to the couch for some rest most afternoons. In the morning I get up for some coffee and time with the doggies. I spend a little time catching up on the previous day's news clips on Roku, then get showered and head over to the hospital. I am making myself walk over there at least once per day and sometimes I'm able to do it twice. I like to hold each baby while I'm there and spend time talking to them. They seem now to recognize both my voice and Andy's and react to them when they are awake. They smile a lot these days and their eyes love to roam our faces. They sleep up to twenty hours per day so those moments of smiles and eye contact are precious to us.
As of late last week all the babies are back above their birth weights. Also new is that twice per day the babies are now allowed to supplement their regular feedings with either bottle or breast. This will prepare them for a couple weeks from now when they will be expected to take most of their nourishment this way in anticipation of removing their feeding tubes. The babies are doing great with the feedings, though some are catching on more quickly than others. So far Roland is the undisputed champ! This past week the peanuts graduated to wearing clothes. They are amazingly cute in them. We have filled their drawers with clothes and let the night nurses choose what they wear. It is always fun to come in the next morning and see what the nurses choose. We did, of course, opt to dress them ourselves for the first time.
Mom putting Micah in his first onesie.
The whole crew in their duds.
Last, all the babies have lost their umbilical cords. In Roland's case, he truly lost his cord. It was sitting in the isolette next to him one minute and was gone the next. The nurse thought she may have accidentally scooped it up in his dirty diaper. Poor Roland. Hopefully he won't mind being the only one without his cord in his baby book since Bad Momma was unwilling to go rooting through poopy diapers to retrieve said cord.
Here's what we've been up to.
A flock of crows is referred to as a murder. My darling husband feels this is also an appropriate name for our bunch, and has taken to calling them "A Murder of Mielers". I have expressed my strong disapproval and suggested alternate references, such as a "gaggle", a "flock" or even a "litter", however in Andy's eyes, all lack the panache of the murder reference. So, as I continue to struggle with picking my battles and letting go of control, I breathe a sigh, roll my eyes ever so slightly, and grudgingly accept that we may forever be known as A Murder of Mielers. You win hubby, you win.
First, Micah looks so much like his Daddy. It's the first thing people say when they see him. Not only are their facial features very similar, but Micah is extremely long. His fingers seem almost disproportionately long. Think of a puppy who has yet to grow into his paws and you'll have a pretty accurate picture. Dad is 6'4" tall and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find Micah looking eye to eye with him one day.
The babies are allowed some tummy time each day, safe at this age only because they are being monitored constantly. Unfortunately, Micah thinks tummy time means "face plant" time and as soon as he is on his tummy he turns his head completely into his swaddle. This sets off his alarms and summons the nurse, who turns his head to the side, only to find him face down a minute later.
Last, a story from way back to over two weeks ago. I was still admitted to the hospital and the Mieler babes were barely a day old. Behind each baby's isolette is a dry erase board with their name, care times, nurses name, parents names, and the goal each baby had been given for that day. I had a similar board across from my hospital bed not far away. On day two Micah's goal read "poop!". Seeing this, Andy calls across the room to me, "look Jen, you and Micah have the same goal today!" And so begins life with four men.
I think I have fewer pictures of Becker than the other kiddos, but with good reason. It is really tough to catch him in different poses, other than sleeping on his side! My mellow guy is a champion sleeper. Snoozing, however, is not his only talent.
Last week the little ones were under the care of Sam, one of our fantastic nurses. The conversation went something like this, as I stood by Becker's isolette, ready to change his diaper.
Sam (looking a bit sheepish): Jen, has Becker peed on you yet?
Me (surprised, amused): No, why do you ask?
Sam: Well, it's just that, um, I've worked with a lot of babies, and never seen such a strong urine stream on a preemie.
At this point I glance down at the isolette, the top of which sits a full foot and a half above my baby boy. I see quite a bit of condensation collecting on the top, and realize that there must be a malfunction within his temperature and humidity controlled environment. As I'm about to ask Sam about this I notice a very thin stream of liquid, which I trace down to Becker, smiling happily up at me.
Me: Oh my gosh Sam! He's doing it now! You weren't kidding! He's reaching all the way to the top!
Sam (gets up from the computer, walks over): Jen, why didn't you cover him???
Me: Cover that? I'm way too impressed!
We had a great laugh as I finally covered the stream, which must have sprayed unfettered for at least thirty seconds. Of course by then poor Sam had to clean and sterilize a full half of the isolette, as well as change his sheets and swaddle. The little stinker has done it three times more under other nurses care and is, in typical Becker fashion, lackadasical about the whole affair.
Snuggling with Grandma Lin.
It's almost impossible to me that he was once considered the weakest and least likely to survive. This guy is so strong and funny! He is a champion at both his pacifier and his feedings. He and Marin are both now on the shortest possible feeding span because they are doing so well. Roland is still working on losing his old man wrinkles on his forehead. He also seems to be shedding a bit of the hair at the top of his head, but growing more on the sides. Combine these with his tendency to go red faced when he is fussy, and he often looks like a very cute, very tiny, grumpy old man!
Roland is very alert and has a thousand facial expressions when he looks at you. It's easy to completely lose track of time staring at this little one.
Snoozing on mommy with Marin Grace.
Marin continues to be our naughty little drama queen. The PDA in her heart has not yet closed, but has been downrated from "moderate to large" to "moderate". Since her other clinical signs are good, the doctors will wait it out for now and hope that she is able to close it on her own. If she still has it at discharge, we will be referred to a cardiologist, who will make a recommendation on whether she will need surgery. Please continue to pray for this naughtiest of our monkeys!
She has also developed some super dry patches on her skin, and continues to make her eyes cross on a fairly regular basis. I tell her it's not very pretty, and she'll have a tough time finding a date if she continues to make goofy faces, to which daddy nods and says "good!". Andy is quite sure that she will not be allowed to date until she is eighteen.
But don't feel to sorry for our girl here. Being the only girl in a sea of boys, she gets tons of attention. Everyone wants to hold and touch her, and of course, pinch her cheeks. I'm not too worried about her being spoiled though. Those boys will be sure to keep her in line!
And last but certainly not least, a few days ago we were able to get the family together for our first of a lifetime of family photos. It was such a precious few minutes, seeing all our babies together, and then being able to hold them all together. We continue to marvel at God's power to do amazing things. If these four miracles aren't proof of God's incredible love for us, I don't know what is.
Left to right, Micah, Becker, Roland and Marin
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We tell people constantly that we owe our amazing progress to the many people who lift us up daily in prayer!
Love and blessings,
Jen and Andy,
Micah, Becker, Roland and Marin
(The Murder of Mielers)