Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Major Picture Post

Ok, so I've been a combination of lazy and busy lately to the point that I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. On top of that, we're still adjusting the levels on our new (old) camera, so we've been somewhat unsuccessful in taking our own pictures in the relative darkness of the NICU. Luckily, our nurses there have been great and have taken a bunch of pictures of the boys, which I then took to Walgreen's and scanned. This morning I picked up the CD and decided to just post all of the pictures with minimal words.

The boys are doing well and enjoyed their first Christmas, even though they weren't quite ready to come celebrate it with the rest of their family at home. Rest assured, Santa made a special visit to the NICU and the boys were well taken care of. Shane is at about 4 3/4 pounds and Dylan is slightly lighter at about 4 1/2 pounds - both great figures. Shane is still in a regular crib and has been doing well feeding from a bottle. Dylan is still in his isolette, though we're hopping he'll graduate to a crib within the week. He prefers feeding straight from his mother. Everything appears well with the boys for now, which is great news for us.

Ok, on to the pics. First a couple of the boys napping next to each other in their cute Pooh outfits. Dylan is on the left and Shane is on the right and sadly I had to ask Michelle who was who because they're beginning to look an awful lot alike, especially without being able to look at the hair to differentiate them. I had the top picture reproduced as an 8" x 10" and now have it on my desk at work because I love it so much.

Here's the boys being held by their loving mother, Shane is on the left and Dylan isn't:
And Dylan sucking his thumb:
And Shane kangarooing with Daddy (please pardon my tattoos, I wasn't always the nice guy I am today):
Dylan chillin' with Dad:
Mommy bottle feeding Shane:

Nini looking on with love at Shane (we think):
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a big thank you to our wonderful families who came through this year and made sure our little boys will want for nothing once they come home!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No News Is Good News...

Dylan seems to be feeling a bit better. The medical team have insisted from the get-go that Dylan is the "feisty" one, while Shane is the laid back one and Dylan's lack of "feist" was one of the indicators that he wasn't well. Apparently, some of the spunk has come back to him over the last 24 hours, which is good, if not particularly medically sound, news. He's lost a bit of weight, since they stopped feeding him during this latest bout with the mysterious stomach bug, though we're confident he'll put that back on once they resume feeding (tonight or tomorrow, hopefully.)

Shane took a bottle today for the first time, which is a real milestone for him since he's not exactly exuberant over his Mommy's boobs just yet. He also weighed in at about 4 1/2 pounds, having gained a full 2 ounces over the last 24 hours. Go Shane go!

I promise I will take new pictures of the boys and post them tomorrow. My good friend Chris Sullivan is scheduled to go in and visit them with me after work, so we should have some pics of that monumental event.

Dylan's Illness and Decorations

It's been a bit since I posted, mostly out of laziness, though the onset of Christmas brings with it some inherent craziness.

Dylan's sick. Poor lil' fella has some sort of stomach thing, though they're not really sure just yet what exactly is going on. They've done some tests and we should have some preliminary results later on this morning and some definite results about 24 hours after the preliminary ones. It could be anything from a simple stomach bug to a serious disease, with many possibilities between (bacterial infections, etc.) though when we saw them yesterday, the Doctor seemed to think that he was already showing signs of improvement. As always, we're trying to take all news in stride, though this had made me realize that the boys are far from being "out of the woods," and that all sorts of things may present themselves during (and following) their hospitalization.

Shane seems to be doing fine and spent some quality time with Mommy yesterday. We continue to kangaroo both boys whenever the opportunity presents itself and Michelle continues to work on the breastfeeding of the boys during her daily visits.

I bought some Christmas decorations for the boys' ICU "room" to give it a little vibe and for some reason I got really bummed out that my boys were going to be in the hospital for Christmas. I think it just hit me or something. Weird. My defense mechanisms are so "on" out of necessity that I really believe I had some weird kind of denial going on and decorating the room seemed to break it down a bit. Anyway, I got a little bummed out, even though I realize that the boys are exactly where they belong right now. It still seems unnatural to have two children in the ICU over the holidays.

The two girls at home are going well and are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa Claus. Santa will be very busy with us this year, what with him having to handle the girls at our home and then sneak into the NICU to deliver some goodies to the boys, though we are confident that he will be able to work it all out. Go Santa!

That's all. I promise some new pics within the next couple of days. This Dylan news has thrown us off a bit.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Old Camera Has Arrived

The prognosis on the boys remains very good. Shane's isolette was turned off today, since he is now able to hold his temperature, and he should hopefully graduate to a crib within the next few days, possibly as early as tomorrow. Dylan's not far behind. Both look great and are filling out quite nicely. Shane hit the four pound mark last night and Dylan is a few small ounces behind.

Also, our replacement camera came in today, thanks to a very good eBay seller who went the extra mile to get it to us. I will take a bunch of pics tomorrow and will gladly post some of them when I get back from the hospital. Michelle's heading in for the morning feed and I'm going to go in the afternoon. More when I get home.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Much Anticipated Christmas Photo

How cute is this? Shane (left) and Dylan (right) in their first photo together since leaving the comfort of their mother's womb. When I first saw this I got teary-eyed because both boys look so perfect and so right together. The Christmas 'shirts' they are sporting are actually newborn bibs, which gives you an idea of how wee these lads are.

Getting this photo digitized was a completely hellish experience and once I couldn't possibly recount without the use of profanities, so I will only say it was a very trying and torturous experience which led to me having a mini-meltdown, which is uncharacteristic of me. Anyway, it's here and worth all the hell it took to get it here.

And, not to be forgotten, here are pics of my Cousin Charlie Jackson and his wife Donna holding the boys as they fed and slept in their arms last Saturday evening. Family makes me happy.

Twin Tales

All is well. I have not posted because I had some pictures we were trying to get in our system to post and I was waiting until that happened. Before work today, I'm stopping to scan these photos in and will post them tonight.

Also, we have a replacement digital camera on the way, so hopefully all will be normal by this weekend. My cousin's husband Dan called last night and offered us the use of his digital until ours comes in, an offer which I appreciate and will be taking him up on (thanks Dan!)

As for the boys, all is well. My cousin Charlie and his wife Donna from Colorado were in Massachusetts for a wedding this weekend and the boys were lucky enough to receive a visit from them on Saturday night. Donna is an award-winning Children's author who published a book about twins called "Twin Tales" (http://www.donnamjackson.net/html/twin_tales.html) and gave Shane and Dylan their own autographed copy. I don't get to see my Colorado/Arkansas family nearly enough for my liking, so any visit from that branch of the family tree absolutely makes my day. We are all very grateful that Charlie and Donna took time out of a very hectic weekend to spend time with boys - it shows how great family is and I love them for it.

Yesterday, a team of the highly qualified nursing staff at South Shore Hospital worked in conjunction with my determined wife and put Shane and Dylan together (the first time since being evicted from Mommy's belly,) for a Christmas photo. This is very important because the rest of us because we got our family picture taken Saturday morning and it just didn't feel right because the boys weren't there. Truthfully, it still doesn't feel right, though after seeing the boys' picture, I feel a lot better. It may be the cutest picture EVER taken, and I'm not just saying that because they're my boys (ok, maybe I am.) Anyway, this is one of the pics I am going to scan this morning and will post later. I have a copy with me, so anyone at my work will be forced into looking at it this morning.

Healthwise, all is well. The boys are both now above their birth weight and are gaining every day. Dylan, as seems to be the norm, has been faced with some minor health "stuff," though nothing serious and nothing that the staff at SSH seems overly concerned about. Shane's spells of apnea have decreased from several a day to one or two a day, and he is now self-correcting those spells. The boys are now up to about 1.5 ounces of Mommy's Milk per feeding (six times a day) and will attempt to breastfeed sometime in the coming week or so.

There's still no really accurate estimate of a "coming home" date, which is fine with us since we're still operating on the "one day at a time" philosophy which has, to date, not let us down.

See you soon and check back in about 12 hours or so if you want to see the cutest Christmas photo ever taken anywhere by anybody of anyone. The pictures of Charlie and Donna are a bonus.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Damn Technology...

Ok, so our digital camera is dead. Two days ago I put my car into the shop and it cost $800 to get 2/3 of the problems fixed, with another $300 in work necessary. Then our trusted Canon S230 crapped out. Not good news.

Luckily, we found an S230 on eBay and won it, so we should have a replacement soon. We were thinking of upgrading to a newer model instead of paying for an older S230, but a new model would mean new batteries, new chargers, new memory cards, etc. while I have a ton of stuff for the 230...so old camera it is.

What this means to you all is no new pictures until we can get the Canon into our hands. Hopefully shipping will be quick.

I'll update about the boys a bit later - they had some more first-time visitors, which was quite exciting for us all...

Friday, December 8, 2006

New Home For The Wee Ones

So the boys got their new home at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. They were moved Wednesday evening and Michelle and I got to see them yesterday. South Shore has a great NICU and was much easier for us to get to, since the horrible Expressway and Mass Pike were removed from the equation, leaving just a short jaunt down Route 3 South to Weymouth. Easy and a nice early Christmas present for us.

Not much new happened. Dylan got his IV removed and Shane should have his taken out today or tomorrow, leaving them to feed exclusively on Mother's Milk. Besides that, no news is good news. The boys continue to put weight on and grow, so that they may be strong when they get home.

We both got to kangaroo the boys yesterday, this time switching off so that I got Dylan and Mom got Shane. Here's a pic of Mom and the older boy (pardon the bra,):

And, of course, two updated pics of the boys. This time I'll put Dylan first because my wife is becoming convinced that Shane is my favorite and I don't want Dylan to develop an early resentment against me. So here's Dylan looking quite tired from all the movement and interruption to his routine:

And Shane, glancing up from his isolette:

See y'all soon.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

I Have No Clever Headline...

Today was an altogether GREAT day for the Grier family. First off, some fine folks at my work took me and Michelle out to a nice lunch and presented us with a plethora of gifts for the boys. Everything from clothes to blankets to stuffed animals - all needed and all appreciated. It made me realize that I work in one of the best places possible and our family sends the most sincere thank you to all of my friends at the Public Health Commission.

Then we went to see the boys and were amazed at how well they're doing. We were informed that the boys are stable enough to be transported from Saint Elizabeth's to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, which will save us the AGONY of travelling via Route 93 AND the Mass Pike during rush hour(s) to see the boys. It will require us to travel a little South, but the savings in time from travelling those two hellish roads make this a good move all over. We knew they would be transferred eventually, though the best guess was that it would occure around Christmas. We got an early present and it appears that the boys will be moved either today or tomorrow.

Then Michelle and I were allowed to begin "kangaroo care," which is when a newborn is placed skin-to-skin upon the chest of a parent. This practice was first implemented in Bogota, Columbia in the early 1980s and has become a popular treatment for preemie babies since then. Studies have shown that this contact can have a major, positive impact on the development of premature babies in the NICU. I can say that it definately had a positive impact on us! I "kangarooed" Shane while Michelle held Dylan and it was great. Our contact has been limited since the twins were born and this extended, intimate contact with our boys was incredible. I nearly fell asleep with my little Shane on my chest. Due to the nature of this treatment, Michelle was only able to get one picture of me and Shane after Dylan had been returned to his isolette:
We also managed a couple of pictures of the boys - it still amazes me how much newborn baby boys resemble old men!

Here's Shane:

And Dylan:

So, hopefully the next day or two will see a new temporary home for the boys. We bought Christmas-y hats and gloves for the boys, so we'll have some goofy Christmas photos up soon. Thanks again to everyone who has offered us gifts, thoughts or prayers during this time. All three are needed and appreciated equally.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Happy 1 Week Birthday To The Boys!

Everything's very stable right now with the boys. The murmur that Shane had was apparently taken care of by the treatments and both boys are doing quite well. When we went in on Saturday, both were receiving another round of phototherapy treatment, though the nurse was kind enough to remove the lights and masks and stuff so that we could all enjoy them unhindered by medical apparatus...

I'll lead off with a couple pics of the boys, who are beginning to look a lot alike.


And Dylan:

The boys also had two new visitors, Michelle's Mom ("Nini" and the second of three grandmothers to visit,) and oldest sister Nicole, who had been chomping at the bit to meet her new brothers. Here's Nini saying hello to Shane:

And here's a cute pic of Dylan holding big sis' finger through the isolette hole:

That's all for now, though I must say it's been great hearing from so many family and friends. I'm so happy that you all get to share in this with us and we look forward to introducing you to the boys in person.