Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nature vs Nurture

First of all, can I just say that I am really glad not to be pregnant anymore?  Now that I am back to normal I really appreciate all the things I took for granted before - like breathing, bending down to pick something up, going more than 15 minutes without going to the bathroom, sleeping, getting out of bed without the "roll and heave".... I could go on, but I won't.  I was cleaning up my room and found a purse that I quit using back in May because I found it to be too heavy.  The contents....
Ginger candy, sea bands, maalox, snacks, ginger tea...clearly I felt great
Today we had our first outing with all three babies.  It was only to the pediatrician and Jack went with us, so it actually was not bad at all.  I really was not prepared for all the stares and questions.  The babies were great and we had no diaper/spit up/screaming incidents, so I consider it a success.  Also, they are gaining weight really well.  Brooks is 7 lbs, Irene is 6 lbs 13 oz, and Anna is 5 lbs 3 oz. 
Getting ready to go - Irene on left (always yawning), Anna in the middle (sleeping soundly), Brooks on the right (wide awake). 
I am completely fascinated by the personalities we are starting to see with each baby.  A true nature vs. nurture study because we do the exact same thing for each baby but they are so different.

Brooks is the wild child.  She does not want to miss anything.  Very alert and active.  You can see it in her pictures - eyes almost always open.  When she is ready to eat she shakes her head back and forth rapidly trying to get the bottle in her mouth (which I find hilarious and I may or may not tease her with the bottle  just to make her do it).  And VERY expressive with her face and hands.  For example...
This is how she looks one second
And the next second.....

Brooks at the doctor today
Irene is the exact opposite.  Very laid back and she falls asleep doing everything.  One minute she is eating and the next she has gone completely limp and her head and arms just fall back.  Occasionally she gets worked up, but not very often and doesn't put too much effort into the cry.
This is pretty much Irene's pose 90% of the time.
Irene at the doctor today.
Anna is a mix between the two.  She is laid back and generally pretty calm, but occasionally she gets worked up fast and lets you know with her high pitched cat cry. 
Right before this picture Anna was asleep, then suddenly crying out
Anna at the doctor today.  She did not have to get a shot like her sisters, so she was hiding out in her car seat (no, the blanket was not suffocating her although it looks that way).
It will be interesting to see how their personalities continue to develop. 

Brooks left (wide awake), Anna middle, Irene right (Anna and Irene making their identical "sleep face")
I'm getting good at holding all long as I am sitting down.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December so far

I'm all about Christmas these days.  Below are some pics of December so far.

I like to make the girls where their matching gingerbread PJs all the time.  Here they are all set out during bath time.
Our tree.  Jack thought he was getting out of the tree thing this year.  I may have said that one day in October when I was in the hospital and was mad at the world, but surely he knew me better than that.
Jack and Anna.  About 2 seconds after this sweet picture there was a major diaper situation.
Anna (left) and Irene (right) napping in their PJs.
Still napping and still in the PJs.  Brooks (left), Anna (middle), Irene (right)
The scene when I woke up this morning.  So pretty and already gone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gang is Back Together

Finally Anna is home!  We are so excited.  The girls are one month old today.  Anna is about 4 lbs 3 oz and Brooks and Irene are around 5 1/2+ pounds each.  They are starting to show their different personalities.  It is funny how you can do the same thing for all three babies but they all respond in their own little ways.  I still can't believe they were all in my stomach just one month ago.  Crazy.  No wonder I could not breath.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

End of November??

I have no idea where the month of November went.  I feel like I am living in a time warp!  I am starting to get back to a few normal adult things which is helping to bring me back to the real world.  Yesterday I went to the grocery store for the first time since JULY.  I think I wouldn't hate the grocery so much if I could always go on a Monday morning instead of Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow I'm getting a haircut, also the first since July.  Jack says he can tell I'm getting back to my normal self because I am bossing him around.  And I am suddenly motivated to decorate for Christmas.  Three new babies or not, I will be getting into the holiday spirit.

I am sorry to report that we are now in the category of parents who do annoying things like talk about baby poop or breast feeding ad nauseum.  Trying to put a cap on that when talking to people outside of ourselves.  Without going into detail we even celebrated a baby going to the bathroom the other day.  Really, we celebrated (even though it was disgusting and Jack had to change it because I started dry heaving).  It reminded us of the time when Ginger was a puppy (about 9 years ago) and she ate a tube sock, and after 5 days finally puked it up on our white bedspread in the middle of the night.  We just about busted out the champagne.  (after reading that paragraph, you can add throw up to the list of annoying topics that we talk about now).

And before I leave gross topics, please look at the picture below.  That is a THERMOMETER.  How scary is that?  Jack got it at Walgreens and calls it the Honey Badger.  We have several thermometers that are normal looking but this is the one that doesn't go in the mouth or under the arm.  Jack threatens our kids with it.

Last week we had a great Thanksgiving with some visitors.  Anna Ruth is much better at taking and downloading pictures than I am, so for new pics of the girls and an update on Thanksgiving go visit her blog:

BIG NEWS - we are hoping that Anna is coming home Thursday or Friday this week!  She is now over 4 lbs and is doing well with her feedings, which are the two main criteria.  Thank you so much for all the prayers about the situation with her brain hemmorage/IVH.  They have been monitoring it and while it has not resolved yet, it has not gotten any worse which is great news.  The doctors seem to think that it happened in utero and now is just slowly resolving itself.  It is fairly confusing and I'm not sure they know exactly what it is doing, but the fact that it is not growing is really good.  We will have it monitored frequently once we have her home.

I cannot wait to have her here with us.  It will be crazy...but good crazy.  If we can keep this schedule thing going I think it will be manageable. 

Here are a few new pics of the girls: 
A little cuddle time for Irene and Brooks
Anna napping with Grump
Sweet Anna
Irene.  Can you see the resemblance with Anna in the previous picture?  Irene has bigger cheeks, but other than that they are really starting to show they are identical. 
Brooks.  Always making faces and crazy hands.
The typical scene in our den during the day time.  We were using a laundry basket for one baby but have upgraded.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let the Crazy Begin

What a week/past few days we have had.  Where to start?  We have TWO babies home with us for starters!  Irene came home on Friday 11/18 and Brooks came home yesterday, 11/20.  They are both doing great and are very sweet babies.

Little Anna is just growing and now is about 3 lbs 11 oz.  She is in the step down part of the NICU and has started taking some bottles which is huge progress.  We can't wait to have her home as well and hope that it will not be too long.  The NICU nurses are wonderful and are taking good care of her while she is there.  We have had one setback with our sweet girl that we hope is minor and will resolve soon.  They discovered last week that she has some bleeding on her brain (IVH is the technical term).  It is one of those wait and see situations - we are very hopeful that it will resolve on its own without any medical intervention needed.  They are scanning her every few days to try to determine if it is growing or shrinking.  Please keep her in your prayers.  We hope to know more this coming Thursday. 

Friday night was so exciting - our first night home with a baby!  And guess where we spent it....the emergency room (not for the baby).  Friday night in the emergency room on a game weekend in Oxford is not recommended, by the way.  Thank goodness Meme was here to keep Irene.  I've been having some issues with nausea the past few weeks that have now turned into pain and I can't really keep food down.  It looks like it may be gallbladder related (but not stones at least).   Not super fun, especially when I have new babies at home to take care of and one in Memphis I want to be with as much as possible.  Hopefully we can figure out what is going on and get it resolved soon.  I must say Jack is an incredible dad - not only doing his part but stepping in and doing a lot of my part also when I don't feel well, while he is still driving to Memphis to work every day.  I won't embarrass him any further but he is so sweet with the girls. 

Here are a few pictures.  More to come soon once I get them better organized.

Irene saying goodbye to Anna last Friday
Irene saying goodbye to Brooks last Friday
Brooks getting ready to leave the NICU Sunday
Hanging with Anna
Seriously, the NICU nurses are the greatest.  Kim, the nurse that often has Anna and Brooks made me a card with lots of cute pics of them since I didn't feel well enough to come up that day.  So sweet!
Brooks napping at home
Irene napping at home
It is amazing the progress they have made in less than three weeks.  When I look back at the first week of pictures they are full of IVs and tubes and wires - hard to believe how quickly they have grown and developed.  I'm so thankful for the NICU staff that has helped them get where they are (and on a schedule, too). 

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving this week and some visitors/helpers.  Meme is already here and helping out tons with the girls and around the house.  Anna Ruth and Fran are coming tomorrow, and Will and Dad will be here later this week.  It will be a chaotic but fun Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

8 Days

Hard to believe it has been 8 days since Anna, Irene, and Brooks arrived.  So much has changed (Jack told the nurse on Day 2 that they are growing up too fast). The girls have had a great week so far!  They are all making progress every day.  Below is a quick run down on each followed by some new pictures.

Brooks - a few days ago, Brooks started to tolerate small feedings and was on the biliruben lights blanket for jaundice.  As of today she was up to 30+ CCs per feeding and is off the blanket.  She may even have her IV taken out tonight which is really exciting.  She is still in a covered isolette bed for now, mostly because she sleeps more peacefully without all the noise of an open bed.  Brooks is almost back up to her birth-weight - weighing in about 4 lbs.  She loves to move around and break free of her blankets and molds.  Her hands are always in dramatic positions and she stretches and moves in all directions, making great facial expressions the whole time.

Anna - up until a few days ago Anna was unable to tolerate feedings, but now she has really started to make progress in this area.  She started with 2 CCs on Monday and is already up to 14 CCs per feeding tonight.  Hopefully she can keep up the trend!  She also was on the biliruben lights blanket for the last week and is now off of it.  Anna is back up to her birth-weight and close to crossing the 3 lb mark.  She is very peaceful and loves to snuggle up in her isolette.

Irene - Irene is the big eater.  She is up to 40 CCs per feeding and she got her IV out today!  That was a big surprise for us and really exciting because she is no longer constricted to just her area, so we got to hold her by one of her sisters today.  She was a little jaundice earlier this week but never had the blanket and that seems to be improving.  She likes to make dirty diapers.  Irene is also back up to her birth-weight, right at 4 lbs.  She is miss aware - frequently awake and moving her eyes all around.  We love those little peaks at her eyes. 

The big focus for all the girls this week will be working on feeding.  Right now they are getting most of their food via a tube, and so next we'll need to tackle the whole suck/swallow thing.

Now to the good stuff.  Pictures.

Brooks kicked back under the biliruben lights.
Holding Brooks
Brooks stretching out
"Feeding" Brooks
Holding Brooks (that IV is out of her head now!)
Anna all snuggled up
Anna enjoying a little holding in her isolette
Anna relaxing in Mom's arms
Anna's little hand and my huge swollen pale hand

Holding Irene
Irene taking in her surroundings
Irene wide awake
Irene snuggling with Dad after lunch
Irene with Honey (Jack's mom) and Meme (my mom) after a diaper change.
HUGE excitement of our day!  Irene got to come over and visit with Anna now that her IV is out.  This is the closest they have been to each other since they were born.  Hopefully Brooks will get her IV out tonight and she can come over and visit too.
Even more excitement....I got to hold both Irene and Anna at the same time!  I think Brooks would have fit perfectly in the middle.  Who needs more than two hands?

Life is crazy right now with the back and forth between Memphis and Oxford and making sure we get in all the NICU time we can, while I still try and make sure I recover as well.  I feel like I am in a time warp!  We are loving every minute that we have with the girls and cannot wait to get them home when the real craziness will begin.

The girls are loving meeting all of their family.  They got to spend some quality time with Honey today, who of course has been such a great help through this whole pregnancy and now while we are in this transition period.  Meme has been here since early last week and will stay through this week, and that has been unbelievably helpful in getting everything done.  Richard was here to meet them the day they were born, and Carolyn was also here for a long visit to help out and keep me and the girls company.  Anna Ruth, Will, and Frances are coming to see us this weekend which is always lots of fun.  I know they can't wait to meet another aunt and hopefully before long they can meet their cousin Frances, and cousins Lyndy and Kat.  They've met Aunt Melanie and soon will meet all the Beckham cousins also - Jack, Kathleen, and Sarah Beth, and of course Uncle Matthew can't wait for his turn. 

It is still hard to believe we have THREE daughters now....WOW.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And so it begins...

Finally, a few nights late, I am updating the blog.  Before the babies were born people kept asking when I would update, and I looked at them like they were crazy and replied "Tuesday night of course, right after they are born!".   Yeah right.

We are IN LOVE with our precious girls born on 11/1/11.

Anna Carolyn, 2 lbs 15 oz
Irene Margaret, 4 lbs
Elizabeth Brooks, 4 lbs 3 oz

Anna - she is LOVING having her own space.  She spent the last few months squished underneath her sisters and was ready to kick back and relax.  She has been the best breather of the three - I've heard that about the smallest babies, but I can say now that it is true.  She has only been on "room air" the whole time- never needed any additional oxygen.  Tonight they are going to try to start with a very small feeding for the first time.  We are praying that she takes well to the feedings and can start gaining some weight!
Irene - I love this sweet picture of her with her eyes open.  She is doing great.  The first day she had to be on oxygen for a little while, but now she is off the oxygen and has actually started some feedings which are going pretty well.  Anna and Irene are identical, and although the size difference makes it a little hard to tell right now their similar features are definitely starting to show.   They seem to have my coloring with a tint of reddish blond in their hair and the nurses think their features resemble me as well.  So hard to tell when they are so little though!

Brooks - I know it is hard to tell in the picture but she looks just like Jack which makes me so happy!   Brooks is doing great also.  She was on oxygen the longest.  Most likely since she never had to share anything in utero, she just took a tad bit longer to get the hang of it.  So funny how that works.  As of tonight she is off oxygen and they are going to start her feedings as well.  She is a wiggle worm.  Always kicking her feet free and moving her arms around, even in her sleep.  When we took this picture she was working hard to get her feet out.

The past few days have been a total whirlwind.  Tuesday morning was full of excitement, anxiety, nervousness, and about any emotion you can imagine as we prepared for the c-section, which was scheduled for around noon.  The c-section itself was fairly routine and the girls were out so fast!  I can't think of the right words to express how we felt when we saw them and heard their little cries (it sounded like a litter of kitties).  It felt amazing and I felt intense relief and happiness.  As they were putting me back together, I started to feel pretty awful physically.  A combination of things happened all at the same time - blood pressure went way down, blood sugar was very low, and from what I understand a fairly large amount of blood loss.  I can't really remember much about that part or the first few hours of recovery, but a few rounds of medicine and a few blood transfusions later I started to recoup.  The first night I was delirious and restless and sad because I couldn't see the girls but by the next morning I was feeling much better, and, finally, I was able to see my babies.  Today I feel even better and I'm sure it will just continue to progress each day.  I cannot wait to be able to hold them.  I was able to hold Anna for a few minutes yesterday which was wonderful.  Hopefully soon we'll be able to hold all three during our visits. 

Here are a few more pictures.  We have already taken a million so I tried to select just one more of each, for now....
Irene getting mad at the nurse for waking her up.  I don't blame her!  But I was happy because then she opened her eyes for a while.

Brooks finally gets her feet free!

Anna with my big pale hand cleaning her face.  This picture really shows her little size!  This afternoon she was alert and responding to our voices.  So sweet. 
Thank you to everyone for the prayers and sweet thoughts.  It is great to be surrounded by so much love and support.  We can't wait for these girls to get home and meet everyone!