Friday, September 30, 2011


After 35 days, Grayson's been released from the hospital! We're ecstatic that he's with us now, and we can't wait for Avery and Graham to join us too.

Gray, Shan, and I will continue to stay in Pasadena to be close to the NICU while we wait for Graham and Avery to get released. The Pasadena Ronald McDonald House has enabled us to stay together through this transition, and we're thankful for their generosity!

Here are a few pictures from earlier today.

Grayson all buckled up and ready to go. He currently weighs 5lb 10oz - nearly 2lbs heavier than his birthweight. He'll outgrow that car seat in no time :) (9/30/11)

Shannon, Gray, and I ready to go. (9/30/11)

She's one happy mom! (9/30/11)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Family Picture

Two nights ago we celebrated the triplets' one-month birthday! We were able to hold all three babies for the first time, and we didn't miss the opportunity to get our first family picture.

The Gerstheimer family, all together. Grayson, Avery, and Graham from left to right. (9/27/11)

Happy Mom and sleeping babies. (9/27/11)

Turns out Gray isn't the biggest fan of family pictures after all. Like father, like son :) (9/27/11)

Grayson may not like pictures, but Graham doesn't seem to care a bit. (9/27/11)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Our very fashion-forward daughter has a faux-hawk. We've tried to comb it down. It doesn't work. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bottles, Beds, and Room B

It's been a banner week for Graham, Avery, and Grayson! All three babies have been moved to Room B, the Feeders & Growers room. From what we can tell, it looks like this will be their last stop before they're released to come home. Graham joined Avery and Grayson this week when he was moved from his enclosed isolette to an open-top bassinet. Most exciting of all, each baby is learning to bottle feed!

Grayson is leading the charge with the bottle feedings, and he's gaining weight! Gray now weighs 5lbs 2oz and is steadily growing. The doctors and nurses think he may be the first baby to come home...hopefully not too long from now :)

Avery is also taking to the bottle well. She's gaining weight and is currently at 4lbs 3oz! While she may be a little smaller than Grayson, she seems like she's picking up her new feeding task very quickly. Yesterday she worked so hard at eating that she actually panted when she paused for a break! We're proud that she's doing so well.

Graham is quickly gaining weight as well: 4lb 2oz and counting! He's getting bigger by the day, but hasn't been as interested in bottle feeding as his brother and sister. We're told that every baby learns at their own pace, and we're sure Graham will pick it up in time.

Here are some snapshots from the week...

Holding Avery after a bottle feeding. This new activity takes a lot of energy, and you can see that she was pretty wiped out :) (9/24/11)

A close up of Graham as he was sleeping. Each baby still has their feeding tube so the nurses can continue their regular feedings as they learn how to eat from a bottle. (9/25/11)

Holding Grayson. Today was the first time that he and his brother wore matching outfits. (9/25/11)

Avery Mae asleep. (9/25/11)

The triplets' new home in Room B. Gray is closest to the camera, Avery is in the middle, and Graham is right behind her. (9/24/11)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bottoms Up!!!

Good news! All three babies have started drinking from bottles! Up to this point they have all been fed through small tubes that run from their noses to their stomachs. Learning how to drink from a bottle is the last task that the babies need to accomplish before coming home. As soon as they've mastered the skill they're FREE!! We were surprised and happy to hear from our nurse last night that it's possible that one of the babies could come home as early as next week! Drink up, babies!!

Here's a shot of Tom feeding Avery this morning. She finished her bottle for the first time. Way to go!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bath Time!

Today I (Shannon) got my first opportunity to give Grayson and Avery a bath! It sounds kind of elementary, but every chance we get to interact with our kids is a real treat for us, and we cherish all of the little "firsts."

My phone croaked before I got pictures of Avery's bath, but our sweet nurse, Karin, helped me get a few of Grayson. You can see here that he wasn't too happy about getting bathed (unlike Avery, who apparently thought she was getting a spa treatment).

But he was fine after we got him dried off and fed. And he looks very cute in his monogrammed outfit (an adorable gift from our friend, Meredith Newton). He's much less angry here. I'm pretty happy, too. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Funny Man

YouTube Video

Graham, the apparent jokester in the family, likes to entertain us with his funny faces when we hold him.

Big Girl Bed

Avery was moved out of her isolette and into a bassinet today! She's getting tested tomorrow to see if she can drink from a bottle. If she passes she'll be one step closer to coming home!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Feeders and Growers

It's been another good week for our triplets! Our doctors and nurses now consider Graham, Avery, and Grayson "F & Gs" or "Feeders and Growers". This might not sound like a very official medical term, but it actually means a lot. The main focus for the babies has shifted from stabilizing their vitals and monitoring respiratory ability to helping them eat more and gain weight. Well, they're gaining weight!

Graham hit a milestone this week when he broke 3lbs for the first time! He now weighs 3lb 9oz and is making great progress.

Avery girl is also gaining weight and is now at 3lb 14oz! She's just 2 oz away from 4lbs!

Like his older brother, Grayson also hit a weight milestone this week - he broke 4lbs! Gray now weighs 4lb 8oz. Grayson made some additional progress this week: he was moved from an isolette to a bassinet (an open-top plastic crib), and he tried out bottle feeding. Gray's been able to maintain his body temperature in the open air of the bassinet, but it looks like he isn't quite ready for bottle feeding. The doctors said we can try again later this week.

The medical staff have commented several times that the triplets are doing exceptionally well. One doctor even said, "They must have read the text-book. They're the textbook case!"

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. More updates to come!

Shannon and Graham. (9/10/11)

Shannon holding Grayson. He's doing well with the pacifier, and will have another shot at bottle feeding later this week. (9/11/11)

Avery and I. She still squirms so much - you can see her working her little hand out of her blankets. (9/17/11)

Shannon holding Graham. He seemed to really like sitting with Shan. I think he kept his eyes locked on her the whole time! (9/17/11)

Grayson's no longer in an isolette - he's keeping his body temperature regulated, and we're loving him being more accessible. (9/17/11)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


It's been a busy week for our triplets! All three babies "graduated" from Room A, the most intense and critical room in the NICU, to Room D - a quieter room in the NICU for babies who don't require respiratory support. It's been great - for the first time all three of our kids are right next to each other. When visiting we don't need to walk down a separate aisle to see one of the three anymore, and we don't need to scrub-in a second time to enter a second room (the babies were separated in different rooms for a few days).

Graham, Avery, and Grayson are all doing very well. All three are completely off of respiratory support and are breathing room air just like you and me. Graham no longer has any IVs, and Grayson and Avery are scheduled to have their last IVs removed tonight. All three babies are eating increased amounts of formula and milk via feeding tubes, and their little bodies are doing a pretty good job of processing the food. Each baby initially lost weight this week (normal for preemies), but all three gained the weight back and are now over their birth weights!

This week Shan and I were able to change diapers, take temperatures, and hold the babies! Our level of physical interaction is still very limited, and it really varies day-to-day based on how the babies are doing when we see them. We really love the opportunities we get to hold our kids, and we can't wait to take them home in the weeks to come.

We continue to thank God for his kindness to our family, and we trust Him with our little ones. Thank you for your continued prayers and support - we're so grateful to have friends and family like you!

The first time I held Grayson. His little eyes were open for the longest time just staring up at me. I loved getting to hold him, and I love this picture (in part because it doesn't show him spitting up on me 30 seconds later.)

Shan at work changing Avery's diaper. In six months we may be going crazy with diaper changes, but right now it's an opportunity interact with our children. I don't know if there have ever been two people so eager to change diapers! Shannon's quick, does a great job, and is already a pro!

Room D, the triplets' new home. Avery and Gray are on the left, and Graham is on the right. All three of our little ones in one room, on one aisle! We'll take it!

This was the first time I held Graham. We sat like this for just under an hour and his vitals didn't dip at all. He loved it!


Three-for-three: Grayson had a great week! Like Avery, Gray started out having a rough time with feedings. His body wasn't processing the food that he was receiving quickly enough, so the doctors added a central IV, a pick-line, to deliver the nutrients he needed while his stomach learned to process the food properly. A few days after the line was inserted, Gray's body started to accept more and more food each feeding. He's now up to 26 cc of milk every three hours and he's still able to take more!

Grayson originally lost several ounces, but the increased feedings have helped him grow. Last night he weighed in at 4lbs 0oz! He lost an ounce today, but he's still leading the pack with weight. He and Avery also graduated from Room A to Room D just a few days after Graham.

Gray seems to be a very quiet, low-key little guy. The nurses were very impressed with him when the inserted the pick line. When they removed his two IVs and inserted the central line he didn't cry once! I was shocked when I heard this and I asked the nurse, "Could there be something wrong with him developmentally? I mean, should we test for anything?" The nurse said, "No, he's just a good little brave boy!" Way to go Gray!

We're so proud of this little man and we love him dearly.

Gray sleeping. (9/10/11)

Grayson wearing his first hat! (9/6/11)

Grayson flexing before his nasal cannula was removed. Like Graham, Gray loves to open his eyes and see what's going on when we read or talk to him. I held him two days ago, and he was fast asleep. When Shannon walked up and whispered, "Hi Gray, hi little Buddy", he seemed to immediately wake up, open his eyes, and lock on to Shan. It was really neat to see. (9/4/11)

Look at how much he's grown over the week! (9/3/11)


Like her older brother, Avery had a great week with each day seemingly getting better. Early in the week Avery was struggling with feedings so the doctors chose to insert a "pick-line" - a central IV that runs nearly all the way to her heart. This line enabled the doctors to deliver the calories, nutrients, and fluids Avery needed while her stomach was learning to digest food from the feeding tube. The line also allowed the doctors to take out the other IVs in her hands and feet and to not worry about having to add or switch new IVs every few days.

Their plan seems to be working! Avery is currently eating 24 cc of a special formula called EllaCare every three hours. So far, she hasn't had any residual which means her body is processing the food the way it should. She's doing so well that the doctors are planning to remove the pick-line tonight. Hopefully she'll be able to eat from a bottle in the next few weeks. Avery lost some weight early in the week, but she's put it back on and she now weighs 3lbs 4oz - her birthweight plus 3oz!

Avery is a squirmer. She loves to wave her arms around and wiggle her legs. The nurses like to swaddle her, but she's been pretty creative in finding ways to get her legs free :) Even though she likes to move around, she seems to calm right down when Shan holds her close or when I gently put my hand on her back. We love this little girl!

Our little Avery, hands waving and hat on. (9/6/11)

Avery girl looking at her mom for a picture. (9/5/11)

Avery's first outfit! Again, waiving her arm close to the camera. (9/5/11)

Sleeping. (9/4/11)


Graham's had a great week! Early in the week he was moved from Room A to Room D, which meant that he was stable enough to move to a room with a little less supervision. He's still receiving food through his feeding tube, but he no longer has any IVs, respiratory help, or need for the billi light. He originally lost some weight early in the week (normal for preemie babies), but as of last night he was 2lbs 14oz - his birthweight plus one ounce. He's currently eating 22 cc of every two-and-a-half hours and he's alternating between milk with a calorie boost and a special formula called EllaCare.

Since birth Graham has been the smallest of the three babies. This is surprising, because he's continued to lead the pack in development. Though he was small, he never required the assistance of the SiPAP machine to help him breathe. Graham also never had a pick-line inserted - he's been eating and digesting his own food since the feedings began. He may be small, but this little boy is a tough.

Graham seems to be a character and is extremely expressive! The nurses get a kick out of taking care of him and love to see all the faces he makes. When we read to him or just sit by his bedside and talk to him, he actually lifts up his head, turns toward us, opens his eyes, and furrows his little brow. I think we've even caught him smiling a few times!

Shan and I love our little boy and can't wait to get to take him home!

Don't worry, he won't have elf ears forever :) His cartilage is still growing and forming - normal for preemie babies. Is that a smile? (9/9/11)

The nurses have moved his feeding tube out of his mouth and to his nose. Hopefully this will allow him to start practicing suckling on a pacifier. By week 34 or 35 we hope that Graham will be able to feed from a bottle. (9/9/11)

Sound asleep. (9/4/11)

Early in the week Graham's red blood cell count climbed and the doctors chose to put him back on photo-therapy. He liked the tan, but his cell levels normalized and he's been off of the billi light for the rest of the week.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our New Place! Sort of...

Shan and I have moved! Well, sort of. After exactly six weeks, Shannon was released from the hospital and we checked in to a room at the Ronald McDonald house across the street. We’re so grateful to be able to stay here so close to the babies! The Ronald McDonald house may not be the typical next stop after delivering a baby; here’s the background on how we got here.

When we found out we were pregnant with triplets, we immediately wanted to find two things: 1) An OB with experience and success with high-order multiple pregnancies, and 2) A reputable NICU. We quickly realized that our best option would be to deliver at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, but we live at least an hour away. Shan wouldn’t be able to drive after her C-Section, and a possible months-long hotel stay in the Pasadena area was not a financially feasible option for us.

We were so relieved to hear about the Ronald McDonald House. They have provided us with a place to stay, parking, and even some meals all for $15 a day. The house is also only a five-minute walk from the NICU.

The house is completely maintained and operated via donations and volunteers. Shannon and I have both volunteered at non-profit organizations before, but we've never been on the receiving end of this kind of charity. We really can’t begin to express our gratitude for the people who have made this possible for us.

Shannon and I have already planned, when the kids are old enough, the first of many Gerstheimer family service projects at the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House :)

More to come!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Shan and I have been making twice a day trips to the NICU to visit the triplets, and on yesterday's visit we had a few surprises: Graham and Avery had been taken off of the Bili light, and Avery and Grayson had been taken off of the SiPAP machines! This meant that Graham and Avery's red blood cell count had normalized, and that Avery and Grayson's breathing had improved to the point that they didn't need the machine's assistance!

With the Bili light off and the SiPAP machine no longer in use, Graham and Avery didn't need the "sunglasses" or the respiratory headgear anymore. We were ecstatic to see their faces! During last night's visit Shan was able to hold one of our babies for the first time. I think Avery liked it almost as much as Shannon :)

The babies also got to meet their Utah grandparents who visited them for a few days. In the last picture you can see my parents looking through the isolette talking to Grayson.

Less support from the machines, actually getting to hold Avery, and grandparents in town. It's been a busy few days, but days of progress. Lord willing, more to come!

After five days, we got to hold one of our babies. Here Shannon's holding Avery for the first time. Avery loved the feeling of being held and snuggled right up. I have my hands behind my back to make sure I don't touch the wheelchair or anything else. In the NICU hand washing is extremely serious and we work very hard to make sure we keep our hands bacteria-free.

Avery Mae without sunglasses or the SiPAP face mask on. The tube in her mouth is to help her with feeding. It was amazing to see her face!

Graham asleep and loving not having to wear his Ray-Bans anymore. Like Avery, it was an amazing feeling to see his face without any head gear on. The tube in his nose is called a "nasal cannula" and it gives him slightly more oxygen than room air. It's very different than the SiPAP machine however, as it does not breathe for him.

Our little Grayson. He's off of the SiPAP machine, but he's still under the Bili light (completely normal for babies his age). Here Gray's wearing a beanie to keep his eye protection in place. He loves to lay on his stomach. The nurses say it helps him feel like he has boundaries and almost replicates the feeling from the womb.

The Utah Grandparents visited the past few days. They loved getting to meet the grandkids and here they're watching Grayson wiggle around a bit.