Monday, September 29, 2008

Some firsts...

Well, my mom has been BEGGING me for more pictures and a new post... so I thought I would post some pictures of some of the girls' firsts. As for an update-- our girls are doing really well! Since they have started on breast milk, they have only progressed-- weighing in now at about 3lbs. 15 oz.! Matilda is now up to a full feeding, and completely independent of any IV fluids. Avery is not far behind. In fact they are going to be taking out her last IV today, so she too will be up to full feedings of breast milk only. Also, because Matilda was able to get her IV out, she is able to wear clothes now and take baths in the tub! Woohoo-- no more sponge baths! The nurses told us that we could bring clothes in for them to wear--which made me really excited-- and then they warned us that sometimes they get lost in the laundry:( So while I am chomping at the bit to bring in cute clothes for them to wear, at the same time I don't want any of them lost, so we are just going to borrow the hospital's clothes I think. They have gone on a higher flow of oxygen, but since their IVs are out, they should be able to co-bed soon! I am so curious to see if co-bedding will help them progress even more rapidly, because I am sure they miss each other--they were womb-mates after all;). We have also been able to hold them A LOT more, which is such a treat! It is amazing to see how their heart rate goes down, and their breathing stabilizes when they are being held. There is definitely something to be said for that human to human contact. Here are some pictures of Tilly's first bath--hopefully we will be posting some of Avery's soon. Anyway, we are just thrilled with all of the progress they have made, and so grateful for the love and support of all of our family and friends. We cannot thank you enough for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!
Undressing Tilly for her first "tub"
They have you swaddle the baby naked so the warm water can be soaked up in the blanket to keep their little bodies warm
Washing baby's hands and armsScrubbing her backAll finished!

Tilly's first manicure
...and her first thumb-suck... like mother like daughter:)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just because...

Here are some random pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Taking Tilly's temperature

Eyes open! This picture of Avery cracks me up--she looks like a little bunny with her hands like that:)
Tilly opens her eyes too!

Avery is always making the funniest faces-- if only we could snap pictures fast enough!

Happy girls...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The girls' room...

Here are the promised pictures of the girls' cute new room-- thanks again to Aunt Lindsey and Chrissie for designing such a cute space, and to many of you in California who contributed to the project! We can't wait to bring the girls home to their room in a couple of months!

How do you like the new room girls?

A thumbs up from Matilda and a smile from Avery... I think we've won their approval!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our girls have come a long way in two weeks...

Me, Mom, and Linds... never mind how tired I look
My cute friend and honorary aunt to Tilly and Avery, Chrissie
The girls' "ride" to and from Ogden-- notice all of the wires and monitors and then the little tiny baby box on the top left
Tilly getting used to the new bed in Ogden-- the cute nurses put little bows in their hair
Avery catching yet another tan... I love the sleeping mask:)

Well... things definitely haven't been quiet around here, that's for sure. When we found out that the girls would be going to Ogden for surgery-- we called in for reinforcements:) My mom, sister and friend Chrissie came out for moral support and they were a huge help! The nurses in Provo assured us that the surgery was very routine and that the girls would be back in Provo within 48 hours.

 Weeelll, the surgeries did go very well, but Avery had quite a time recovering. Matilda did great and she was ready to go home at the typical time, but the hospital wanted to keep them both in one spot to make things easy on us. So, little miss Avery kept us in Ogden until Saturday. Matilda went back on Saturday and was greeted by Grandma and Grandpa Stutz--(thank you so much you two!), and Avery went back on Sunday morning, where she was also greeted by her grandparents, since we were still making our way back to Provo after seeing her off in Ogden. It is so nice to all be back "home" again at the Provo hospital:)

 Now that they are back, they continue to do well. Avery went from the ventilator to the c-pap to room air breathing all within a couple of days! They put her back on a little bit of oxygen today, but she's still breathing great on her own-- I even got to hold her again, finally! Matilda went on the c-pap today and is also doing well. If she continues to be stable, we will be able to hold her again tonight. They will also try giving Matilda breast milk today for the first time--woohoo:) We are so proud of our little girls and the progress they are making-- they make us so happy:)

 Speaking of making us happy... Lindsey and Chrissie surprised us by decorating the babies' room while we were in Ogden (pictures to follow). It was so fun to come home to, especially since that whole project seemed extremely daunting to me since the babies were already here! Having them all here made such a difference this past week! And more good news... we found out today that both girls weigh 2lbs. 15 1/2 oz...yeah...they are really beefing up aren't they?:) Almost 3 lbs-- you go girls!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

News from Ogden...

Hi everyone! I just wanted to give you all a quick update on the babes... We found out on Tuesday night that the girls' heart valves still hadn't developed and that they would be transferred to the Mckay Dee Hospital in Ogden for surgery. Tuesday was a hard day.  We have been so spoiled with the NICU being so close to us in Provo, that it was difficult to see them have to be transported far from home! Anyway, my mom, sister, and one of my dearest friends drove out that night and on Wednesday we drove out to Ogden to see the girls. The girls traveled by ambulance, and had their surgery yesterday. Everything went really well with the surgery, and we thought they would be home today but the nurses said they would probably keep them another night to make sure they're stable. We have been staying at a little hotel in Ogden so that we can be near the babies. Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers--they are so needed, and so appreciated. I will try and keep everyone as updated as I can-- and I am grateful for all the offers for help!  We have the BEST friends and family!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Some thoughts...

Proof that they actually do open their eyes! This is Avery-- Tilly was not so cooperative:)
Giving Tilly her first smooch
Holding Tilly for the first time-- They have us hold them skin to skin because it is therapeutic for their little bodies
And Avery gets her turn!

Yesterday I had somewhat of a bittersweet experience. Maybe it was because it was my first day of this whole experience without my mom that made my emotions a little closer to the surface, or perhaps it's that I have been getting little sleep-- but for some reason all of the dark things about the girls and their situation began creeping in.  I thought about how I wouldn't be able to take the girls home for months, how I would only be able to hold them for half-hour stints at a time, how impersonal breast pumping is, not to mention my still painful incision from surgery... Everything just seemed to be piling up, and then when we went to see the girls it kind of came to a head to see their little bodies wrapped up in wires.

 Later that evening we returned to the hospital with Jordan's family so that Jordan and Dad could give the girls blessings. The blessings they gave were beautiful and our girls, who are usually feisty and wiggly, were very still--as if they were listening to every word. In those moments I felt my unsettled feelings depart as well, and the love and comfort of our Savior entered in. It was still very hard to leave them at the hospital last night, and I am sure that hard days will continue to follow-- but I am so grateful for the love of our Savior and for the example my little doublets are to me. They are tiny, yet so strong and resilient!  I can be strong, too. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows our limits and will never leave us comfortless!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Doublet update...

 Jordan giving Avery her first "sponge bath," using cotton balls
My mom (Nana) lifting Avery so that they can change her bed linens
Avery's tiny little foot
Tilly sleeping on her tummy, catching a tan
I just love when she is on her tummy with her little feet scrunched up under her

Hello everyone! Thank you all once again for your thoughts and prayers--they are working! I will try my best to keep everyone posted of any changes regarding the girls, but please be patient with me as I am somewhat of a scatterbrain these days:)

This week has truly been a roller coaster ride, with some ups and some downs. I have had my mom here since Saturday night and she has been such a HUGE help. I really haven't had a need that hasn't been met thanks to her, the wonderful Stutz family and our friends--which has been really helpful for my recovery. Another huge up is that the girls' overall health is very good. Because the amniotic fluid leaked so completely and so early, the doctors were concerned that their little lungs might not have had a solid chance to develop properly. They did get at least one steroid shot in me before I went into labor that helped a little with that.  Yesterday they each had an x-ray to check their lung growth and the doctor said everything looked normal--Woohoo! Another little concern we had was for little Matilda. Because the bruising on her head was so severe, her brain scan showed two different low-grade bleeds. Fortunately they are so minimal that the doctor said they shouldn't produce any long term affects. Avery's brain scan turned out completely normal--yay! The heart valve problem is still our main concern... we should hear soon if the medication worked or not, and then we will decided where to go from there.

We are just so in love with our little girls. They are such fighters! We love watching their little movements, some of which already mimic our own. For instance, the nurse said Tilly LOVES to lay on her tummy when sleeping--just like me... And just like her Daddy, Avery loves to sleep with her little arm crossed over her eyes to block out the light. I will try to get a picture of that up here too because it is too cute! We have been blessed with wonderful primary care nurses who inspire a lot of confidence regarding the girl's care. Even though it is very difficult to leave them each night, we know that they are being well taken care of which brings a lot of comfort. We feel so blessed to have these new little additions in our family! Again, we will try to keep you all posted with new pictures and stories...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The girls had other plans...

Avery Fern 2lbs. 3 oz.
Matilda (Tilly) Jane 2lbs. 7 oz.

First of all, many thanks to all those who have shown your love and concern for us during this time. We have so appreciated all of the thoughts and prayers that have come our way.

Alright, here goes...

On Friday night we went to the Stutz family reunion at Grandma and Grandpa's farm here in Provo. It was very fun-- and at the end of the night we had a mock drive-in and against the old red barn. When the movie ended at about 11, Jordan and I went home while everyone else stayed at the farm to camp out.  When we got home I went to the bathroom (and sorry if this is gross) but there was a little bit of a "gush" as I sat there. Hmmm...

So I called a nurse and asked if I should go to the hospital or not. She said that I should wait and see if cramps follow. Anyway, sure enough....the cramps soon began. At about 4:30 in the morning I started timing them at about 8 minutes a part and decided that we should go in. So we were put in a delivery room and they hooked me up to a bunch of monitors to watch heartbeats etc. They started me on some medication to try and stop the contractions... and told us that I would most likely stay on bed rest for the remaining three months of my pregnancy--Nooooo! Anyway, obviously our main concern was the babies and their well-being, so we prepared ourselves mentally for what was to come as best as we possibly could.

At about 4:30 Saturday afternoon, the medicine stopped working and my contractions were getting really intense, really fast. I told the nurse and she said that she didn't feel like she should check the dilation because it might induce labor. At this point pretty much all of the amniotic fluid had leaked out, which wasn't helping with the intensity of the contractions. After about an hour of contractions I told the nurse "I feel like I need to push--" she asked me to hold on as long as I could.

At about 6pm there was a shift change and I told the new nurse the scoop. She checked the dilation right on the spot and said--"Yikes! You're at a 10, we've gotta get you in for a c-section right away!" At that point we already new that Avery was breech on top of Matilda so a c-section would be our only option if they were to come that day. So, they pretty much just whisked us down to the operating room and 30 minutes later they were here! They were pretty beaten up... especially Matilda since she was head down on my cervix, with no fluid to cushion her, with Avery sitting on top of her. But we were so relieved to have them here and to know that they were okay.

The nurses rushed them to the NICU and after they had finished all the procedures, they wheeled me up there so that I could see them. They were so beautiful! They looked absolutely perfect... just really tiny. Avery was 2lbs. 3 oz. and Matilda weighed in at 2lbs. 7 oz. -- both about 14 inches long.
Both started out on ventilators but the day after delivery Avery was taken off, and Matilda the day after that, which was great! They had brain scans yesterday, and everything checked out to be okay. Right now our prime concern is a little bit of a heart valve problem that they are both having. They started them on some medication to fix it yesterday, but if it doesn't work they might have to operate-- which we are hoping can be avoided.

The projected date for their release from the hospital is their original due date, so there are going to be lots of visits back and forth within the next few months. The nurses in the NICU have been great and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful, qualified care for our girls.

Again, we are so grateful for the outpouring of love we have felt from our dear friends and family. Please continue to keep Avery and Matilda in your prayers and we will do our best to keep everyone up to date on their progress.