Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple Picking...

What a better way to spend the day then picking your own fresh apples?

Apple pickin' is serious business...

I want that one...

And this one too..

Blake and his peck of apples

They had red apples too

Enjoying the tractor ride to the orchards

And what's a little apple pickin' with out tasting?

Addison loved the tractor ride and screamed "Wheee" the whole way to the orchard. Blake wasn't thrilled about it but he tolerated it. As soon as we got to the orchard though he demanded "I gonna walk." And "Apples. Apples." It was a nice and peaceful little adventure just the four of us. The weather was great, and we are aready planning to return to this farm on schedule to pick more fruits in season. Pumpkins are up next and then come spring it's berries and peaches!!!! I can't wait to take Blake berry picking. They might have to weight Blake before we leave though because I am sure he can eat his weight in berries.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

To the DC Zoo...

On a fall like Thursday we packed up the car and adventured to our Nation's Capital to visit the zoo with Grammy, Pop-pop, Aunt Na, Uncle R. I am pretty sure both babies were more then excited, because they woke up at 7 am (instead of their usual 9 am), and the first words out of Blake's mouth was "Bye bye get Poppy?"

Before we could leave we had to work thru OT with Addison first so we had a wait ahead of us. Blake would hear none of it. He insisted he need a "sirt" and "tants" and "sues". And threw a huge fit when I made him wait. But finally we were on our way. They napped in the car so they were ready to go when we arrived...

We saw cows that go "Mooooo"
And goats....
And wild boar too...
And otters (or maybe it was a seal?)
And the elephants too..

And tropical birds...

And a lizard (or gecko) too...

Lions (but no bears)

And alligators...
And who could forget about our Pop-pop...
And Grammy
And Aunt Na (and the turtles) too!
(Daddy & Uncle R dodged the camera most of the day...there's always next time.)
I am pretty sure we all enjoyed ourselves. The weather was perfect, not hot at all. We enjoyed a pinic lunch and the babies just loved their new wheels. The air was so nice out that they also enjoyed a nap in their stroller again. They talked most of the way home and while it wasn't in Adult English I am sure they were recounting the the adventures of the day and telling us just how much fun they had. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

19 months...and a cold.

It was bound to happen, but I really thought it wouldn't happen until later in the season. Either way we've got a cold. I am hoping it will be short lived. I noticed Addison was stuffy Saturday morning so I immediately started her on the nebulizer treatments 3-4 times a day. By Sunday she had shared her germs with Blake and what do ya know thanks to all the snot rubbing, Jake and I got it too. I am feeling better already I hope, and hope the rest of them aren't far behind me.

Let me tell you just how fun it is to convince two toddlers to stay still and not pull off the face mask for 15 minutes. Really fun. I don't recommend trying it at home lol. But its working and they seem to be on the mend too. I have been forcing two naps a day (or trying to) so they get enough rest too.

Anyway. All that being said, sometime overnight they turned 19 months old. Where has the time gone?

They are moving all over the place and CLIMBING on anything and everything. Still just a few steps here or there for Miss Addison, but Blake, man...whew. He is running everywhere. We have been trying to get to the park a few times a week and he enjoys chasing after the other kids and being "a big kid" or so he thinks. He is going so much that he literally wore holes in his "pre-walker" shoes. It was time anyway. Their feet are growing so fast. So we had to buy new shoes for both of them... SIZE 4...what in the world.

Recently Blake has mastered climbing on the couch and yelling.. "I jump" and trying to scare me buy pretending to dive. Today he did. And he cried, but he was ok. They both have figured out how to move their activity table and climb on to that to get a better look out the window.

And the sibling rivalry is in full swing. Heaven help me. Someone throws a tantrum 243542365426 times a day because the other has stolen a toy, cup, or Mommy.

I am really enjoying this age though. They are learning to communicate a little better everyday which helps A LOT. Blake also requested several times a day that I call Pop-Pop and he is actually starting to talk to him on the phone rather then just giggling and being silent. Addison, she is my Mom-Mom's girl and says "call mom momma" until I do and then she repeats "Hi momma, Hi Momma." Over and over. Tonight my grandmother said "Who is it?" And she answered "Adson" Melts my heart. I am blessed indeed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

100 Posts...

Its official we have reached 100 posts!

Thank you to each and every one of our followers who have read along and cheered us on. We wouldn't be here without your support. I am hoping you will continue to follow us for many many more as well.

Is there anything you want to hear me run my mouth about? Let me know what you want to know about us, and I might just fulfill your request.

With <3

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Check us out...

Head over to the Preemie Resource Blog and check out my recent contribution about an experience I had while out to lunch with my Grandmother and how I was able to share Addison's story with an inspiring grandmother.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Advocating for Your Children...

I cannot stress enough the importance of being your child's advocate.

It takes strength and courage to stand up and do what's right not only for yourself but for your child. They look to you as their parent to make choices for them when they can't. I can promise you that this will not be easy. I can't promise that your choices won't be questioned, challenged or judged; because sadly someone somewhere will do this.

Several times during both my pregnancy and the twins NICU stay, I had to make tough choices. Choices I wouldn't have been able to make on my own without the support of my husband because they effected us both. I will forever be thankful that he and I are on the same page on many things.

From that ultrasound on that cold January day where doctors confirmed our fear. My water had broken and both babies were in jepordy. This was the ultrasound that also revealed that Addison "elegedly" had an ASD (whole in her heart) and Micrognathia (recesed chin to put it simply). The same ultrasound that brought one of the High Risk Specialists to the conclusion that we should terminate Addison, deliver her and attempt to put in a cerclage to save Blake. First Jake declined before I could even speak and stood firm that we would fight as long as Addison's heart kept beating and in no way would we chose to terminate her. That doctor had no problem telling us how much she disagreed and though it was foolish to put myself and Blake at risk. Second, I thought my OB was going to go off the deep end on the specialist and told us there was no way he would do what she was suggesting because that in itself was risking to me and Blake, and was even greater risk to loose Blake. He did warn us though that we could still loose Addiosn "naturually" and may have a stillborn baby. Our hearts broke. All we could do at this point was start antibiotics and then I would be sent home because we hadn't even reached viablity.

Fast forward to 24 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital one more time for steriod shots for their lungs in hopes that IF they should come early they would be better off from a respitory standpoint.  I had several doctors, friends and family telling me that now I needed to stay until I delivered. But I couldn't there was just no way, I couldn't handle it. I had 5 weeks to wrap my head around it and prepare myself but I knew in my heart that the stress of being "alone" in the hospital would cause me to go into labor. Jake understood my fears and we listened to each doctor give their reasons. While none of them could give me "the ok" to go home, one of them was brutally honest and told me that I was also right in thinking I was more at risk for infection by staying in the hospital and that going home could give us the best chance at survival. But legally he had to tell me to stay. We dissappointed a lot of people when we made the call to come home. Do I regret it... not really. Would I do it the same way all over again? I can't honestly say. But I do believe that staying home is what helped me get to 26 weeks. Had they kept me at 20 weeks, I do believe I wouldn't have made it that far.

In the NICU, most choices were not up to us. It was all about survival. Our first choice was "How far to go." Our answer was simple, do all you medically can and leave the rest to God. After that things were out of our hands again until it was time to think of alternate options for Addison who struggled to come off the vent. Our first MAJOR choice was did we want to give our daughter steriods to help get her over the hump. This came with the possiblity of increasing her risk for CP and developmental delays, the alternative was a Trach, increased lung damage and death. We opted for steriods.

After that, we were faced with the G-tube and Nissin surgery. Yes, No, Maybe, Give it more time? I armed myself with knowledge of it all and asked a million questions. Peds Surgery wanted to do one more test "just to be sure" because ofcourse the fact that formula oozing out her nose and mouth constantly wasn't enough, that was one test we refused. Why? Because it posed a huge risk for aspiration which could damage her already fragile lungs or worse. Surgery went well but recovery didn't.

Again Addison was struggling to be extubated. Her NEO at the time did not want to hear what I had to say about it and told me that her "45 years of medical expeirence as a doctor would not let me make decisions like that." I pushed back and so did she. This NEO was hell bent on Trach-ing her no matter how we, her parents, felt about the matter. (Keep in mind this NEO had only known Addison for 2 weeks and was not one of her "regular" NEO's. IMO, those 2 weeks didn't over rule the 4 months I had been her mother and watched all she went through.) I made phone calls, had the other NEO's consult, and made myself clear that this was not a button she wanted to push or a decison she wanted to make without our permission. If it meant I had to pay out of pocket for a transfer to another hospital I would do it. In the midst of this Addison had a MRSA flare up and this infection was raging through her body. I knew in my gut that if they cut another hole, in her airway at that, we'd loose her. And we felt like she had been through enough and if this was really the end she would give up. We were making peace with that, but we wouldn't torture her anymore, she suffered enough and had been in enough pain. Also worth noting that Addison was in a room with a handful of other babies, that all had Trachs...something didn't sit right about this. (Disclaimer..... this is just our situation and our story, I am not saying other's should make the same choice. This was the best choice for us.) At the same time they also wanted to surgically place an ART line (similar to a PICC line) to finish out a few short doses of antibotics, because she kept loosing veins. Nope, not happening, find another alternative it was too risky for us at this point.

Fortunatly the other NEO's were able to give a better history for Addison and educate this NEO. A few days later she informed me that she "just didn't know all that had to be done to extubate her before". I couldn't be kind at that point and I told her point blank, "There is a reason Addison was transferred with a chart and you at the very least could have read the cliff notes. Not to mention I told you this, not once but twice. I am sorry but I don't take well to being told what to do or that you will just do it anyway. That doesn't work for me and I honestly hope the next time you have an expeirence with a sitaution like this, you handle it a little better and professionally." Yes I was THAT MOM. And guess what, a week later Addison was off all oxygen, she went from the ventilator to a low flow cannula in less then an hour and she was being discharged a week and a half after that. The NEO was baffled. NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF A PREEMIE. Just sayin'.

The day of discharge she wouldn't even enter the room to have me sign the paperwork. She had one of the residents to it and she must have thought she escaped me, but we met in the hallway on the way out. And had the nerve to tell me "Well mom WE made it." I kept quiet and kept walking with my baby in her stroller, on our way to freedom. I later found out this doctor was notorious for making parents cry and walking all over them. It's sad it really is. And I can't imagine where we'd be today if we had given in and just let her do what she wanted. I know that things could have ended totally differently even with the choices we made, but the fact of the matter is that things are the way they are for a reason.

I don't regret advocating for either of my children and we have always done what we thought was best for our children and our family.

Friday, September 14, 2012

RSV Season...Chapter 2

Cold/Flu and RSV season is rapidly approaching. For a preemie and their family this time of year can be stressful and fearful. RSV is a huge deal for a preemie, because of their fragile immune system and their premature lungs that are still developing they are not as well equiped to handle this virus. A common cold for me or you can cause actually be RSV and the symptoms can be so much more severe for a preemie.

According to the CDC, "When infants and children are exposed to RSV for the first time, 25% to 40% of them have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5% to 2% will require hospitalization. Most children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6 months of age." (Source:  ) These numbers are likely even higher in high risk groups like preemies.

If you are preemie parent and this is your first RSV Season, precautions should be discussed in detail with your child's Peditrician and the NICU follow-up team (if you are a part of that at your NICU). Be prepared for some of the worst cabin fever you can imagine. These next few months could arguably be as stressful and nerve racking as that time spent in the NICU.

And if you are the family member of a preemie, please respect whatever precautions the parents are following. I cannot stress this enough. It's going to be tough on the parents, please don't try and make them feel guilty about protecting their preemie. Preemie's are different, exposing them to germs is not the way to build their immune system at such a young age. Their medical team will advise on the best situation to keep the baby healthy.

In our case last year the babies were home from the NICU for just a few short months before RSV season hit and we were advised by the NICU Clinic and our Peditrician to avoid crowded places, public or otherwise, stay away from anyone who was sick/had been sick or around someone who was sick within the last 5 days. We were told that we could go for walks outside but to keep the babies well covered and restrict contact from strangers or anyone who hadn't washed their hands or sanitized. They also got Synagis vaccines once a month for several months (Synagis is an RSV vaccine for very high risk infants/toddlers). I am sure a lot of people thought we were nuts but after seeing all they had went thru in the NICU I would have done it a million times more if it meant keeping them healthy and out of the hospital.

We asked their grandparents and anyone else who would be in close contact with the babies through their first winter to get a Flu shot and their Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccine, we made sure we were vaccinated too! No vaccine = no getting close to the babies (yes we were that serious). Their grandparents were amazing and made sure they were protected too. I cannot stress enough the importance of their support in all of this.

We limited visitors throughout the winter and avoided school aged children as well. Holidays were a quiet and small affair that was limited to Grandparents and their Aunt and Uncle A & R only. We even missed church services on Christmas Eve.

Oh did I have days where I thought I would go insane and looked for any reason to go the store or get out of the house when Jake came home from work. I think I actually resented him just a little tiny bit because he got to get out of the house every single day. I read books on Kindle during naps, tried to catch up on all my favorite tv shows, I am sure the house was cleaner then it had ever been, laundry never fell behind, but still sometime around December I was still bored out of my mind and going crazy. We moved the beginning of December and I am pretty sure I hold the record for unpacking and decorating... after all, all I had was time on my hands.

For their 1st Birthday, we branched out just a little bit and had a few people over to celebrate, it was nice. But it was so hard not to invite anyone and everyone espeically after all the support we had while they were in the NICU, etc. Typically RSV season runs November to Mid April/May here. We had to be extra viligent with Addison those last few months because she was having surgery for her Cleft Palate repair and she had to be healthy with no cold symptoms, etc for a few weeks prior, plus a cold that spread into more could damage her lungs and make being intubated/extubated challanging. As the weather got nicer we would take small, quick trips to Target or the grocery store, but I always tried to plan this for times when it wouldn't be crowded and often I took my own grandmother with me because she was the baby Nazi and NOBODY was touching her great grandbabies, she made sure of that. But it wasn't until the end of May before we finally felt "safe" enough to break free and start getting out, going to the park and hanging out with our friends.

Even taking these precautions the babies still got a handful of colds but they were short lived and thankfully never caused any major issues. But it goes to show how weak their immune system is. Just things like Jake carrying home germs from work or the few visitors, or heck even sitting in the Peditrician's office. They likely will still get sick but the hope is that with the right precautions we can limit the severity.

This year we won't be on such a strick lockdown. Our Peditrician said his reccomendations are for the twins to get their flu shot and try to avoid contact with anyone who is sick, try not to worry too much about public places. Basically we'll behave just like we have this summer with few exceptions. Some preemie's need more time or have other issues that warrant taking another RSV season lockdown, so again talk to you Peditrician.

For more information about RSV visit the CDC website:
For more informaiton about Pertussis visit the CDC website:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday...

I am thankful for all the moments.

That's huge huge HUGE. I am hopeful Addison won't be far behind.

Here's a peak at what we've been up to:

Blake Dancing out front of our house. Silly Boy.

Playing at the park.

Ball, Truck, Boy

Don't be fooled. She is the boss.

Cheering for Daddy to throw the ball. Jake loves when she does this.