Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Letter to our Friends and Family

Dear Family & Friends,

We want to start by saying thank you for the outpouring of support we have received from everyone. We are experiencing the biggest challenge of our lives, and we’re very lucky to be surrounded by so many family members and friends who have shown us love and support.

Some people have offered to help in the future, whether it's helping bring meals, laundry, playing with Tyler, feeding babies, or coming over to help watch babies so that mom and dad can get some rest, and we appreciate these offers, however we would like to find a way to organize volunteers ahead of time so we don’t end up with extra volunteers one day and not enough the next. As far as the feedings go, we are planning on having a small group that we can rely on consistently to help with the feedings. If you are interested in being a part of this group, let us know. We are hoping we can get people that can consistently fill a small period of time (approx. 2-4 hours) on the same day each week so we can get some kind of routine going.

To assist us with scheduling, our church is appointing a person to help us with scheduling and an internet calendar will be set up to sign up to help. We will let you all know who that person is and the information on the calendar when we have it.

We will also be bringing the kiddos home right at the beginning of RSV season and want to do everything to prevent the babies from getting this. We don't want to be rude to anyone but our babies health is our number one priority, especially this first winter. If you are not aware of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), you are among the majority. Most people have not heard of RSV, even though nearly every child has had the virus by age two. For full-term babies, RSV typically is not any worse than the common cold, but for preemies, the virus can be quite different. Babies born earlier then 36 weeks are at the highest risk for serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other sometimes fatal complications. Our babies were born prematurely, are multiples, and have low birth weights. These are among the highest risk factors for contracting RSV and developing serious complications. 
You may ask, “Can’t they fight it off and build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?” The simple answer is NO. Since our babies are pre-term, their immune systems are not strong enough to fight off infection. If they contract RSV, they could be hospitalized and develop serious complications.  For this reason we will not be attending many events this coming winter, including church with the babies. The picture below demonstrates the difference between a full term and pre-term babies lungs.
                         LUNGS OF NORMAL BABY                    LUNGS OF PREEMIE BABY
While we appreciate and are thankful for each and every offer of help, we do want to maintain some privacy and control in our home and family. We will be requiring all visitors and volunteers, including family, to follow a few requirements to help make this transition easier for all involved.
1 – When you arrive, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before touching the babies, as well as in between handling babies.
2 – Get your flu shot, as well as update your TDaP (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis) vaccine. This needs to be renewed every ten years anyways. No time like the present.  You can get the vaccine from the health department, or at your doctor’s office.
3 – Please don’t come over if you are currently sick, or have had symptoms in the last 5 days, if you live with someone who is sick, or have been in contact with someone else who is sick.
4 – If you smoke, we ask that you change your clothes, and refrain from smoking while visiting, as preemies lungs are very sensitive to smoke. Persons smelling of smoke will unfortunately miss out on holding the babies.
5 – If you are parents to a baby/children, please leave them at home during RSV season, however, we would love to hang out after.
6 – When coming to our home, please take a moment to greet and spend some time with our son Tyler first. It is very important to us that he not feel left out.
Please understand that this letter is not meant to offend anyone, just simply to provide explanations and to set expectations. We hope you understand, and we appreciate your help in keeping our babies safe.
With love,

Allen, Katie, Tyler, Alexis, Allison, Daniel, and William
Friday, November 9, 2012

Our New Additions

Well, most of you probably know that our quadruplets were born last week. It was rather unexpected, but went very smoothly. On Halloween I began having contractions late at night, and despite the discomfort I didn't alert the nurse immediately. Finally after about an hour or more of uncomfortable, close contractions I decided I ought to let the nurse know. After 15 minutes on the monitor it became evident that I was having contractions every 2-4 minutes.

Fortunately, my OB was on that night and she came in and checked me out. I was dilated to a 1 or so. After a couple more hours of contractions, she checked me again and I was up to a 3. At that point, they got an IV in (barely) to give me some Mag to slow contractions as well as give the babies the added benefit of brain protection from the Mag. They called in the general surgeon to put in my central line and started prepping for the delivery that was scheduled for 11:45 in the morning.

Hubby showed up around 5:45 am and we waited for what seemed like forever for our turn in the OR. 11:45 came and went as we got bumped by an emergency c-section...and then another. We were finally walked into the OR at 1:30 in the afternoon and the fun got started.

Beginning at 1:53 our babies were born. They all came out crying! It was such a relief! Another relief was that I didn't have any complications from the surgery. They didn't have to give me blood and my uterus began contracting and retracting immediately.

Our babies were born smallest to largest:

Alexis 2lb6oz and 14.75" long
Allison 3lb2oz and 16" long
Daniel 3lb7oz and 16" long
William 4lb10oz and 16" long

And they are doing AWESOME!

Lexie has never had any breathing assistance. She was breathing room air from the start. She went on light therapy a day or two after birth for jaundice, but that was only for a day and a half. She takes most of her feeds by bottle/breast and is well on the way to an open crib in spite of how little she is. As of today she is up to 2lb7oz...the first one back up to and over birth weight.

Allison was on vapotherm by nasal cannula for 2 or 3 days, but came off of it quickly. She also had to have light therapy for jaundice for a day. She also takes almost all of her feeds by bottle/breast and will soon be in an open crib as well. As of today she was one ounce from birth weight!

Daniel was on vapotherm as well for about 3 or 4 days. He also did light therapy for a day. He is so close to getting his gavage tube out as he takes the majority of his feeds by bottle/breast. He is still a few ounces short of birth weight, but is packing it on fast! He is really close to being in an open crib.

Will also was on vapotherm for 2 or 3 days, but came off quickly. He never had light therapy and no longer has his feeding tube as he gulps his feeds from bottle/breast with enthusiasm and often follows up with a big burp. He is close to birth weight, but not quite there yet. He will likely go in an open crib in the next day or two and is all signed up for his circumcision. The nurses think he will be coming home in the next few days!!

Big brother Tyler is so excited about his babies. Unfortunately he has only seen them once because he got a cold and had to go back to granny's house to get better so that mommy doesn't get sick and so that he can get the care and attention he needs to get better.

Mom and Dad are doing well, too! Dad got a little bug this week too, but fortunately it passed quickly and he is able to come back to the hospital and help out! This mom is feeling the pain! I am recovering well from my c-section, but my feet and legs have been extremely swollen and I am exhausted. Nevertheless, I have been to the hospital everyday thanks to my dad who has been taking good care of me! He feeds me, drives me to the hospital, and helps me and the nurses get all the babies fed. It is quite a job!

I will have more updates and some photos soon, but right now my feet are up and the camera is across the room, so stay tuned! Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes! Without them we wouldn't be in as good of a position with the babies' health and progress. Keep em coming! :P