James is Home!!

After 151 days in the NICU we finally got to bring James home on Friday!

I thought this day would never come! It’s been surreal really. Like, Brian and I have looked at each other several times and just said “Wow. We have 3 babies.” And they all live at our house!

The doctors and nurses – everyone really – warned us that the end is the most frustrating part of the NICU experience. That’s because the babies start off so sick, then just when they seem healthy, they have to learn how to eat. No one really understood this. People asked us why James was still in the hospital every day. Everyone said “he’s so big” and “he looks great” so he should be home, right? Logan and Mason just got it. James didn’t. And it bought him an extra month in the NICU. I kept telling the doctors and nurses that he liked it there. Maybe he did. They spoiled him!

James finally made a major turnaround once we thickened his feeds. Like night and day really. Special thanks to Andrea, James’s occupational therapist who worked with him every day, for noticing he was struggling and speaking up. That made all the difference in the world. We had 1 potential hiccup at the end. James wasn’t gaining weight (actually he was losing weight for about a week!) so he HAD to gain weight. Luckily he turned it around and started gaining again.

James has done great at home! He seems happy (most of the time). And I hope this doesn’t jinx it, but he’s gone along with Mason and Logan’s schedule, which allows us to sleep! I’ll write about our schedule later this week. The boys turn 5 months on Monday September 29 (tomorrow for me, today for most people reading this), so I’m going to post again this week for that and I’ll give a complete update! This post is just about James!
Here’s some pics of James at home!!

 

Laying in his bed with his giraffe

 

Sleeping in his bed (that’s right, he sleeps in his bed!!)

 

Playing with the bouncy seat

 

Sunday morning on the back porch with Dad

 

And a few of James with his brothers!
After church this morning. They did great!
Mason, Logan, James (Brian knows to put them in order for pics now!)
Mason, Logan, James

 

James and Mason

 

Mason and James
You know what’s really weird? We haven’t gone to the hospital the past 2 days. Yesterday I only left the house to go for a run (a slow run with some walking but still a run). And you know what’s weirder than that? I miss it! The hospital was like our second home for the past 5 months (almost). We grew close to our doctors and nurses. And we miss them already!
Here’s a picture of us with Gwen, one if our primary nurses, right before we left with James! She was so awesome!

 

Thanks Gwen! And thanks to our other primaries too! Thanks Audra, Sheila, Erin, Larissa, Lisa, and Lori (even though she left us to have her own baby!) We couldn’t have made it without you! We’ll miss seeing you every week!

2 Less Cannulas!!

Big day! Mason and James came off oxygen today! We can see their faces finally!

 
Mason without his cannula!
 
James (aka Superman) without his cannula
I can’t stop staring at them! They’re so cute! But we knew that already!
 
So let me back up. We’ve had a pretty busy week. James is still in NICU . . . But . . . We have a plan and we’re making major progress! Mason and Logan had their first appointment in the High Risk Newborn Clinic today so we have updates for them too!
 
Current stats:
Mason – 9 lbs. 8 oz. (10th percentile)
Logan – 8 lbs. 4 oz. (under 3rd percentile)
James – 9 lbs 8 oz. (also 10th percentile)
 
So like I said above, Mason and Logan had their first follow up in the High Risk Newborn Clinic this morning. I don’t know if all hospitals have this or not but the clinic follows up with NICU patients to make sure they stay on track. I’m pretty excited that we get to do this. And we got to see Dr. Peeples too! I know I’ve said it before but we love Dr. Peeples! (Side note: I found out recently that she would call the NICU to check on the boys when she wasn’t on service. So sweet!) 
 
Anyways, this appointment was basically just to make sure everything still looks good and to check on our oxygen. Mason and Logan did great! And they seemed to like the exam table. 
 
Logan looks tiny without clothes on!
We had to wait a while but they were so good! They both slept some:
 
Mason waiting for the doctor
 
Logan waiting for the doctor
 
No major issues today. We will get developmental screening done in another few months to see if we need any type of therapy. Right now their adjusted age is less than 2 months so they really shouldn’t be doing much. Which means they can’t really be much behind if at all. 
 
Biggest news from clinic is that Mason gets to lose the cannula!! We’re starting with no oxygen during the daytime then in a few weeks we’ll try no oxygen at night too. We get to keep the pulse ox monitor so we’ll know if he really needs it. I hope not! I love seeing his sweet face!
 
 
 
 
Here’s a few pictures from earlier this week:
 
 


And I got one of Mason and Addison with Mason smiling!

 
 
Logan is doing well too but he still needs his oxygen. In fact Dr. Peeples checked his blood gas today and it wasn’t great. So we’re going back to see her again Monday to make sure he’s ok. I think he probably is. He was acting up this morning and his o2 was all over the place around the time they drew the blood. So positive thoughts for Monday!
 
Logan has been a character this week. Here’s a few pictures:
 




James had had a great week! We’re finally going somewhere! Dr. Ross is back this week for a guest appearance at ACH and he decided it’s time to do something. James was doing ok with his feeds but he just wasn’t progressing like he should. And he would not take his entire bottle! And Andrea, James’s occupational therapist, noticed that he was coughing while taking his bottle so she recommended a swallow study. (Side note: we love Andrea too! And she’s leaving next week and we’ll miss her!) The swallow study is done in radiology. They put barium in the bottle and try different levels of thickness while they watch on X-ray. James didn’t fuss at all and he was very cooperative. I think he liked the chair! 
 
 
The swallow study showed that James aspirated on every thickness except “stiff honey,” which is really thick! That means he was getting milk into his airway when he swallowed. Not good. Kind of like when you drink something and it goes down the wrong pipe. Over time this can cause pneumonia or otherwise make his chronic lung disease worse.We were pretty disappointed that he didn’t do better. But it’s good that we know! James is a “silent aspirator” so we would have never known until it was too late.  So James will be drinking super thick (almost pudding like consistency) bottles. We’ll do a follow up swallow study in 3-6 months. The good news is that James seems to like his bottles super thick. He’s taken every single one in record time since we started the thickened feeds!
 
In other James news, I walked in this afternoon and found him without his cannula! (I know I said this before so it’s not that exciting a second time but it is to me). I’ve been asking to try him without it and Dr. Ross went for it! Thanks Dr. Ross! So far James is doing pretty well without it! Let’s hope it continues! Once he gets to full feeds by bottle, he’ll be tube free!
 
We haven’t heard the “h word” officially yet but it may be soon! James just needs to get to where he takes all 8 bottles and tolerates that much thickener (it can cause belly issues like constipation or diarrhea) then we should be good to go! Fingers crossed super tight!!
 
Here’s a few pictures of James. He’s a cutie!
 
Sitting up (and sleeping) in the Boppy
 
 
 
Oh and I’m a little sad this week because the boys are starting to outgrow their newborn clothes! I’ve had to retire a few things! So they’re starting to wear 3 month clothes. And size 1 diapers! So big!!
 
Hopefully James comes home soon! We miss him here!





 

 

 

Last Visit Before NICU Lockdown

 

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time of year when every kid, their parents, and anyone they look at funny, gets sick. It’s starting earlier this year too. I’m sure you’ve heard of Enterovirus 68 by now. Well it’s a nasty thing. I’ve heard it described as RSV on steroids. And RSV is really bad. Like we will end up back in the hospital and possibly reintubated if any of the boys gets it. So with that in mind, I really really really hope we don’t get this new virus! Because the boys have chronic lung disease, they’re at an increased risk. (Oh and the kicker, Addison is also at an increased risk because she has asthma). So if you or anyone in your house has had cold/flu symptoms recently, please stay away from us! Thanks in advance!

 
That being said, the NICU goes on lockdown tomorrow. That means no visitors under 12, including siblings. So Addison can’t even go back. While I completely understand and I’m glad they’re keeping the germs out as much as possible, I really hate it! Like really really hate it! James needs to see his brothers and his big sister and they need to see him. 
 
So I did what any triplet mommy would do and took Mason and Logan to the NICU today to visit James one last time. Mason and Logan were sooo good today too! (James wasn’t too happy). We only stayed about 30 minutes but they got to visit and that’s what matters. I only planned for a short visit because we are usually rushing out of there due to a meltdown! Then of course they were super good and I wished we had more time! And bonus – Mason got to see Cindy, one of his first nurses from UAMS who took such good care of him when he was super tiny and super sick. I wish we had more time and that we could see these special people more often!
 
Oh and I got a few pictures. I bet everyone can tell who is who!
 
We tried putting James in the middle but that didn’t work out. I think he knew the order was wrong! He was much happier once we got the order right! (Also if you’ll notice James switched wubbanubs). 
 
 
 
 
Here’s one of Logan and James:
 
And here’s one of Mason and Logan from this morning at home. They were talking to each other! Too cute!


And of course I took a few individual pics too:

 
 
 
 


 
Thanks Aunt Dot for the onesies! We love them! Everyone can tell us apart too when we have our names on our clothes!! (Our mom loves embroidered and monogrammed stuff too!)
 
So these will be the last group pics of all 3 together until James comes home! So that means he needs to hurry up! (He’s making progress so hopefully not much longer). They’re 4.5 months old and they won’t see each other again until James comes home or the NICU lockdown is over. It better be when James comes home because NICU lockdown continues until flu season is over. I can’t make it that long!

The Boys Are 19 Weeks (and I’m 32)

To say that this has been the craziest year of my life would be the understatement of the century. I don’t even know where to start. So maybe I won’t. I guess I’ve already shared most of the last year anyways. Let me just wrap up year 31 by saying that I’ve learned a lot about a lot of things I never knew I would need (or want) to know. And I met 3 amazing little boys who have changed my life forever.

Today was a mostly “normal” day. We got up at 6 for the 6 am feed. Then I had my coffee and got ready for work. Yummmm . . . Coffee. I love coffee. Guess who knows that? Brian and Addison. Here’s my gifts from the morning:
That’s right. Coffee, coffee cups, lemonheads, assorted candy (in the bag), and pictures of the boys for my office. They know me so well. Confession: I’m slightly addicted to lemonheads. I discovered them in the dollar section at Target a few months ago and now I always have a box in my purse (except for the day last week when I traded Addison a box of lemonheads for her healthy school snack when I forgot my breakfast. Mom of the year over here I know). I actually ate almost an entire box today. The flowers are from our sweet nanny!
For my birthday I got to feed James his bottle this morning and I got to visit him this afternoon. Then Brian took me out to dinner at Acadia (if you’re ever in little rock you should try it!). It was so good! Then back home for 9 pm feeds and bedtime. Now I’m pumping before the midnight feeds and my bedtime.
And now for a weekly update on the boys:
We took Mason and Logan on a field trip Sunday morning to see James (and Audra, one of our favorite nurses). This trip went much smoother than last time.
Here’s a few pictures of our trip:
Mason in his carseat ready to go (I know the chest clip isn’t in the right place before anyone tries to correct me. I fixed it before we left)

Logan in his carseat ready to go

 

 

Mason checking out James (he looks confused about yet another baby!)

 

Logan checking out James
Audra weighed Mason and Logan for us too so we know how much they weigh again! Thanks Audra!
Current weights:
Mason – 8 lbs. 15 oz.
Logan – 7 lbs. 13 oz.
James – 9 lbs. 1 oz.
James:
Mr. James is making progress this week. We changed formula again. The last 2 formulas helped with reflux but James had a hard time digesting them (and he pooped all the time). We tried adding rice to the last formula but it made him gain too much weight too fast (1 lb. in 1 week!) Now he’s on neocate, which is an amino acid based formula that is completely broken down. All James has to do is absorb it. So not much. Oh and he has to drink his bottle! James doesn’t really like to do that unfortunately!
Most people don’t understand why James isn’t home yet. We constantly hear “he’s so big why isn’t he home?” And “wasn’t he the healthiest?” And “he looks fine to me!” Well those are valid points I guess. But it doesn’t change the fact that James doesn’t know how to eat still. He’s taking maybe 30 mls 3 times a day. He needs to take 70 mls 8 times a day. So needless to say he’s got a ways to go still. OT is working with him though so we’ll get there (on James time though).
Here’s a few pictures from the past week:
My first time feeding James a bottle!

 

 

Mason:
Mason had a good week. He isn’t quite as angry and he’s calming down a lot easier. And he’s sleeping through feeds at night lots of nights too (like last night he slept through the midnight and 6 am feeds). We may start working on sleeping longer periods at night soon. For now we just take the long periods when we get them because Logan really needs all of his feeds still.
Mason also did this the other night:
I was breastfeeding Logan and Mason was throwing a fit in his crib. If course I couldn’t get to him so I had to let him CIO. This is usually unsuccessful and Mason usually only gets madder. But this time he calmed himself down and went to sleep. When I went to check on him I found him like this, cannula next to his face instead of on it. Good news: he was hooked up to his monitor the whole time and his stats stayed the same. Maybe he doesn’t need the oxygen. Keeping my fingers crossed!
Here’s a few pictures of Mason:

 

Mason loves this bouncy seat and the hoot owls.

 

Logan:
Logan has become a lot more alert over the past week. He will sit in his swing or bouncy seat and just look around for a long time! Logan has gotten a little fussier the last few days. But it’s mostly at night so I’m thinking that’s just his fussy time.
Here’s a few pictures of Logan from the last week:

 

Logan doesn’t really like the new tummy time mat we bought! Ha!
Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday today. I hope 32 is a much less hectic year with fewer big surprises!

We’re 4 Months Old!

Can you believe it? The Mann Triplets are 4 months old already!! Actually they turned 4 months old last Friday. I just made it to the hospital for their monthly photo tonight because we’ve been so busy.

I have been wanting to take Mason and Logan up to see James for a while and tonight we finally packed up the Mann Van and headed to the hospital. If you’ve never traveled with multiple babies (or with oxygen and monitors) you’re missing out! Ha! This requires a lot of patience! Especially because I wanted to take pictures too. We had a pretty uneventful start to the trip but it quickly went downhill once we got to the hospital. Logan started crying before we even got on the pink elevator (the one that goes up to the NICU). When we got up there, I had to get James dressed in outfit #1. And he peed everywhere! Luckily I “caught” it and saved his outfit (and mine too). We didn’t really get good pics of outfit # 1. They mostly looked like this:

 

Once again Mason did not want to cooperate in picture day. We had to work really hard to get the few good pictures we got! But it’s so worth it! Outfit #2 was more successful. The best ones are up top. We had lots of out takes too though. And lots of crying (mostly Brian). But overall successful considering I’m not a photographer and I’m trying to take pics of 3 newborns with my iPhone before Brian kills me. Note: I will get professional pictures done once the babies are all home if I can find a reasonably priced photographer with a lot of patience! I actually signed up to get free NICU photos through the Tiny Footprints Project but they haven’t been able to find a photographer in Little Rock.
Ok so enough about photos! Here’s an update on the babies (the real reason everyone reads my blog!)
James:
(I know it’s crazy to do James first but he earned it!) James is still in NICU but he’s doing so much better! He just finished a 9 day steroid for his lungs which has helped tremendously! He’s now on 1/2 liter oxygen like his brothers. And he hasn’t had any issues. Yay James! He did have a hard time with the steroid though and kept dropping his heart rate. So they moved him back to a pod (out of a private room) so he can be monitored more closely. He hasn’t had any episodes since he’s been off the steroid. And we got him moved to pod 9, which is the best pod. And our friends from East (the NICU room where they keep the tiny babies and where we started) are in pod 9 too!
We have been working to get James’s reflux under control lately (as I’m sure you probably remember) so we’ve been trying to find the right formula for him. First we tried pregestimil. That helped but made James poop like every hour. So now he’s on nutramagen, which is the nastiest smelling formula. But it’s working so far so I’ll take it. They’ve also taken James completely off breast milk. I’m not too happy about this. But I am ok with it. He got 4 months of breast milk which is more than I ever anticipated.
Big news for James this week. He got his first bottle!

 

He did great! They started him at 10 ml once a day and now he’s up to 20 ml once a day. Hopefully he’ll get on the oral feeding pathway soon!
Here’s some of pictures of James:

 

James weighs 8 lbs. 3 oz. now. And he’s in size 1 diapers! James can roll over from front to back AND back to front now! And he’s starting to smile, especially for Brian. Brian swears James likes his singing. I guess James doesn’t know any better!
James’s favorite things right now are his swing, books, his mobile (especially the lion), and his giraffe wubbanub.
Mason:
Mason is doing great at home! He’s our angry fussy baby. But we’re figuring out what he likes so that’s helping! Mason sleeps pretty well IF we can get him to sleep. Sometimes he’ll even sleep for 5-6 hours at a time! Although he is pretty fussy, I’ve discovered that he’s calmer if he’s swaddled, even during the day, so I think maybe he’s just overstimulated.
Mason’s favorite things right now are his bouncy seat with the hoot owls as our nanny calls them, being held (all the time!), and being swaddled, and his wubbanub (Mr. Monkey).
Mason has started rolling over (belly to back) and smiling (not very often). I can tell he’s beginning to be more alert and he loves looking around!
Here’s some pictures of Mr. Mason:
I wasn’t kidding when I said he didn’t like pictures!

 

Mason in the bouncy seat
Mason in the swing. Otis standing guard
Logan:
Last but not least (except in size!), Logan is doing great too! He’s a pretty happy baby for the most part. I think I can see the biggest progress with Logan. He’s starting to really check out everything around him. He loves to look around!  And he’s pretty social too. He seems to really enjoy being with his brothers!
Logan is starting to get stronger finally. He has rolled over front to back but I think it was an accident. He’s definitely making progress though! And he’s started smiling too! And it’s the sweetest smile ever!
A few of Logan’s favorite things: Sophie the Giraffe, swinging, his play mat, and his wubbanub (Mr. Floppy Ears). I think the Wubbanub company needs to pay us for an endorsement deal. If you can’t tell, my boys love the Wubbanubs! (They actually have 2 each but we haven’t tried the second set yet!)
Here’s a few pictures of Logan:
Brian caught a partial smile!

 

And here are some selfies the boys made me take. James was first, then Mason, then Logan (but he wasn’t too happy about it):

M
James’s selfie. He started the trend!

 

Mason’s selfie with Addison photobombing in the background
Logan says stop taking selfies Mom!

 

And here’s how I find Brian every night when I come home:

 

And a few pics of Mason and Logan:

 

 

And a few of Logan and James:

Sorry I took so long to post this week! I’ll try to post sooner next time!