Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Days in the NICU

Well, like we said in our last post, our babies are here! We're so excited to welcome Graham, Avery, and Grayson into the world and into our family. As much as we'd love to take them home, we won't be able to for quite some time. Shan carried the babies to just over 31 weeks, which is excellent for triplets, but it's still less than the 40 weeks of a regular pregnancy. Because they're premature, the babies are now working to sustain themselves and catch-up on things that would normally develop during their last few months in the womb. They're working extra hard to develop their immune systems, lungs, and their ability to digest food.

To make sure they have proper care they're staying in a unit at the hospital called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. The NICU is broken up into three sections: A, B, and C. New babies and babies requiring the most attention stay in Room A, and as they progress they "graduate" to Room B where they require slightly less observation. From Room B they move to Room C which is the last stop before they're discharged. Graham, Avery, and Grayson are all currently in Room A.

Because they can't regulate their body temperature yet, our babies are in isolettes - small clear boxes that regulate the air temperature and humidity. They also have multiple IVs in their hands and feet and feeding tubes that go into their bellys from their mouths. To help with Jaundice, Graham, Avery, and Grayson are under a bright light and wear coverings over their eyes that look like sunglasses. All three babies are also on respiratory support. Avery and Grayson have masks over their nose connected to machines that deliver additional oxygen and help them remember to breathe. Graham has a nasal tube that helps give him a little additional oxygen.

This all looks pretty scary, but it's our understanding that this is more or less par for the course for premature babies. We've been encouraged as we've seen slow progress over the past few days and the babies seem to be slowly getting stronger and stronger. The NICU medical team has been amazing and they've taken excellent care of our kids. We're thankful for them and we continue to thank God for his kindness to us and our children.

We'll keep you updated!

A picture of Shannon reaching through the isolette and holding Graham's hand. When born, Graham was Baby A and was rushed to the warmer in the adjacent operating room before Shan got to see him. This is the first time they met.

Graham sleeping. The splints on his arm and leg protect his IVs, and the cover on his eyes protect him from the bright light. Graham is currently breathing on his own, but has a small nasal tube to give him a little more oxygen.

Grayson sleeping with his mouth open :) The mask on Gray's face is connects to a "SiPAP" machine. The machine ensures positive air pressure in his lungs and helps him breathe if his lungs get too hired.

Avery Mae. Like her little brother Grayson, she's also getting some help from a SiPAP machine. She's very active and moves a lot. In the womb she was by far the most active and, being in between both brothers, would frequently wake everyone up when she'd start kicking around.

Avery and her fashion shades stretched out and sleeping.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

They're Here!!!

Our triplets are here! Graham Paul, Avery Mae, and Grayson David arrived on Saturday, August 27th at 2:50 PM weighing 2lb 13oz, 3lb 1oz, and 3lb 11oz. Graham was first, Avery followed a minute and a half later, and Grayson came two minutes after that.

Shan carried the babies to 31 weeks and 1 day. Just before our doctor started the C-Section he commented that there was nothing more humanly possible she could have done to carry them longer. She spent over five weeks in the hospital on bed-rest, received 40+ shots of Terbutaline (and more needles if we counted blood-draws and steroid shots), was on Magnesium, and spent hours with her bed in the Trendelenburg position (the bed would be angled down with her head intentionally lowered below her feet to alleviate babies' weight.)

The day of the delivery came as a bit of a surprise. On Saturday, like the day before, Shan's body stopped responding to the Magnesium and the contractions started to escalate. This time, unlike the day before however, the Magnesium never started working. Before we knew it we were in an operating room with just under 20 doctors and medical staff. Each baby had a team of three neonatal nurses and an individual warmer prepped for them. As they were delivered each baby was rushed to their warmer and their team immediately went to work making sure they were OK. Baby "A", who we named Graham later that night, was first and was rushed to the OR next door where his warmer was set up. The team moved so fast that we didn't get to see him before he went to the NICU, but we're very thankful they worked so quickly. Avery and Grayson were next, and with their warmers right in the same OR, we were able to see them and Shan was even able to give them each a kiss before they took them to the NICU.

We were so excited to welcome our three children into the world, and seeing Graham, Avery, and Grayson for the first time was one of the best moments of our lives! More updates to come

Shannon meeting Avery Mae for the first time :)

You can see two of the neonatal teams in this picture. Avery is being held by the doctor on the right immediately after being delivered.

Graham Paul (Baby A, first delivered, 2lb 13 oz)

Avery Mae (Baby B, delivered second, 3lb 1oz)

Grayson David (Baby C, third delivered, 3lb 11oz)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Close Call...

The past 24 hours have had a few milestones for our triplet experience: Thursday marked Shan's 5th week in the hospital, today we're 31 weeks into the pregnancy, and the babies almost came today.

Last night Shannon's body seemed to stop responding to Terbutaline and Procardia - the two main drugs the doctors have been using to keep things under control. Without these medicines to keep things in check, she started having very serious contractions and experiencing a lot of pain. The doctor hydrated her with an IV, put her on oxygen, and used an IV drip of Magnesium, the last option on the table, to try and bring things back under control. Magnesium is the big gun of the doctor’s arsenal, but even with the Mag, the contractions kept coming.

Our doctor said that Shannon’s body has reached it’s capacity and that she was quickly approaching her pain limit. He upped the magnesium dose, ran several tests, and prepared us for an emergency c-section several hours later. He had one caveat: if the Mag started to work before we were planning to deliver, and things stabilized, we’d postpone delivery.

Well, here we are! The Magnesium seems to be working better and our babies have at least one more day to cook. This delay may seem small, but at this point every day the babies have in the womb is critical for their development. It’s also given us time to administer a second shot of steroids to help the babies’ lungs develop.

We’re on a high-alert day-to-day status (it feels more like hour-to-hour), but right now, we’re happy to get any additional time in the womb for the babies.

We continue to thank God for His kindness – we know and trust He’s in control.

Hospital Life

Looks like Shan's had quite the nursing staff... :)
The last picture is from today. We had a scare and almost delivered.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Hand me the knife!"

Today we had an appointment with Dr. Bruce, our perinatologist (a doctor specializing in unborn babies). I really enjoy our appointments with him - he's a character. He likes to begin appointments by walking into the room and abruptly ordering the nurse to, "hand me the knife!" Of course, perinatologists never use knives to do ultrasounds, so the statement is really very funny after you realize that he's only joking (emphasis on the AFTER part).

Dr. Bruce had fantastic news for us today. Our babies are growing like weeds! Two of the babies are estimated to weigh 3 pounds, 4 ounces, and one of the babies is slightly outpacing the others at 3 pounds, 5 ounces. These weights are EXCELLENT for any baby at this gestational age, and especially for triplets! We're also really happy to hear that their weights are close together - no runts! A higher birth weight will really help the babies do well once they're born, and every little ounce counts.

Overall, Dr. Bruce was happy to be able to give us such encouraging news, and he concluded our appointment in his usual comical fashion by saying, "Congratulations! You're pregnant!!!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Terbfull Tuesday"

Shan's contractions have been picking up the past few days, and we're using a drug named Terbutaline to try and keep them under control. "Terb" is the nickname used on the wing for the medicine, and "getting terbed" means getting a shot of it (we're picking up the nurses' lingo bit by bit). It does a pretty good job of stopping the contractions, but it's not the most fun. It means a shot, and sometimes Shan doesn't feel well afterward.

So, we decided to have some fun with the room's dry-erase board. The nurses usually keep it pretty basic, i.e. name, date, and phone number, but we wanted to mix it up. We originally had "Terbless Tuesday" on the board, but we had to change the name after our wishful thinking hit a snag with the fourth shot of Terbutaline today.

Our nurse Sarah hasn't seen her new nickname yet... :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Look Back...

We just came across some pictures from early in the first trimester and we thought we'd post them. Shan and I took a quick weekend trip to visit her family in Scottsdale, and to share the news with her grandparents that we were expecting triplets.

I'm looking at the three ultrasounds in the first picture. I don't have a very good poker face, and I think it's pretty easy to tell how I was feeling :)

The second picture was taken when Shan was telling Granny that she could expect three new great-grand children...Granny was ecstatic!

Date Night - 29 Weeks :)

On Friday I "jail-broke" Shan from her hospital room for the third time in as many weeks. A few white-chocolate mochas, the fountains on patio, and a 30 minute wheel-chair pass made for a nice date-night.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Catching Up

I mentioned in the last post that I'm staying in the hospital to deal with some contractions I've been having. I thought I'd give a little more of an explanation and catch everyone up on recent goings-on.

Today is my three week anniversary of being in the Prenatal High Risk Unit at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. When I got here three weeks ago I was twenty-six weeks along in the pregnancy, and my doctor wanted me to come get checked out because I was feeling a lot of contractions. They were able to get the contractions under control fairly easily with some medication, but I can't go home yet. My body is irritated from having three babies growing and kicking around inside, and without close monitoring and medication I could go into pre-term labor any day (no thanks). So it's likely that I will stay here until the babies are born, and I hope that they won't come for a while!

I'm nearly twenty-nine weeks into the pregnancy right now, and we're really hoping to make it to at least thirty-two weeks (September 2nd) before delivering the babies. That's only another three weeks away! I would really love to deliver some time closer to thirty-six weeks - we'll see how things go. The doctors are very happy with how the babies are looking right now, even though they are still very little. Each of the babies is estimated to weigh over two pounds and is developing without any complications. We're so excited to meet them, and we're thankful for every day that they get to "cook."

I like to tell Tom that I'm punishing the babies for putting me in the hospital. They're grounded, and they're not allowed to come out of their womb for at least three weeks! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Keeping Up

Welcome to our new blog! Tom and I decided to start blogging as a way to keep our friends and family updated on our suddenly-exciting life.

Why is it suddenly exciting? Well, if you haven't heard, we're expecting triplets! Two boys and a girl. We're hoping to deliver some time in September. The babies and I are all very healthy, but the four of us are in the hospital for close monitoring and to control some contractions I've been having.

As you can imagine, we are receiving new information from our (super great) doctors on a regular basis, and it can be difficult to keep up with everyone as much as we'd like to. Our hope is that this blog will help us stay connected during this busy season. We'll post updates as we're able to, and we'll add pictures so that you can see what we're up to. We're looking forward to sharing our unique experiences with you!