Merry Christmas!

Sorry for the delay in updating the blog. As you can imagine, we have been soooo busy with the twins at home and Aiden still in the hospital. The boys are getting SO big.

At the top of the page you may have noticed our new temporary header – a Christmas version of 3 peas in a pod. Thanks to some very thoughtful friends at work for the adorable ornament!

Aiden is still having difficulty taking his feedings by mouth — he tries very hard, but is often in pain when he tries to swallow. The doctors have done a swallow study and an upper GI xray, but do not see whatever is causing the problem other than the reflux which was already being treated. They have been making a number of changes, trying everything from new reflux medications to switching to various formulas, etc. Earlier this week, they put him on a new reflux medication and changed him from breast milk to a very broken down form of formula used for babies that have difficulty metabolizing the proteins found in milk. One of the big concerns was his limited weight gain (he would gain weight one night and lose it the next), however, in just the past 3 days Aiden has gained a whopping 11 ozs. He now weighs 6 lbs., 9 ozs.! We hope that he will be able to come home soon.

They also performed a neural MRI to follow up on Aiden’s brain bleed (on the left side of his brain). The MRI shows that it is continuing to resolve, which is good news. However, the MRI did show a very small cystic encephalomalacia (fluid-filled area) in the white matter on the right side of his brain. This had not shown up on previous neural ultrasounds, and the doctors say that it is too early to know what impact it will have. Given how small it is, it may affect Aiden’s motor skills as he gets older or it may not have any impact at all — only time will tell.

Ethan and Evan are doing very well and also getting SO big! Ethan is up to 9 lbs., and (we think) Evan must be around 12 lbs. As you will see from the pictures below, they are not so tiny anymore.

We have some new pics and video below but we are working on some special Christmas pics which we will try to post next week. In the meantime, enjoy the ones below.

A special ornament from some good friends. This gift was “Just Right.”

Ethan is very alert and loves to look around

The “twins” sound asleep in their pack’n play

Sheriff Evan is in town

Poor little Ethan is upset

Aiden in his special little outfit

Close up of Aiden (he loves his pacifier)

Aiden in his little Christmas outfit

With his best friend in his mouth

The bib is bigger than him!

Aiden getting a little bath

What a cute little face!

Dad holds both boys

Evan is enjoying himself

Ethan is done for the night

Aiden has grown so much in just a few days!

So Thankful!

We have so much to be thankful for this year. It has been a long and tiring haul through the NICU these past three months, but God has been so good to us! We particularly appreciate all of your continued prayers for the babies. On Tuesday, Nov. 20th, Aiden had surgery on both hernias. The surgery went very well, and he has been healing well and has not experienced any more episodes or obstructions since. He had to be re-intubated for the surgery and of course was unable to eat for some time before and afterward. Although there was initially some minor difficulty weaning him from the ventilator, he is back on the nasal canula and doing well. He is now back on the South Side of the NICU with the “feeders and growers,” and although the doctors are proceeding very slowly and cautiously, he has re-started taking one feeding a day by mouth. (He must be taking all feedings by mouth before he can come home). Despite all of the difficulties he has had, Aiden continues to grow and is now up to 5 lbs., 4 ozs. We have posted some new photos of him below.

Ethan and Evan are doing very well! As of last week, Ethan is up to 7 lbs., 8 ozs. and Evan is a big boy at 8 lbs., 8 ozs.! Ethan is off oxygen and although he is still on the monitor, we have slowly started to wean some of his medications. Evan had a follow-up eye exam at the end of last week to follow up on a concern of some possible scar tissue that was developing behind his eyes; however, the doctor no longer sees anything and said that everything now looks good! Evan does have some acid reflux, so he has started taking medication to help with that. They both love to “talk” and play and “read” their books.

Please continue to pray for Aiden’s healing and for Ethan and Evan to continue to remain healthy and growing.

The boys are not always this fussy
Ethan is exhausted — being a preemie is hard work!

Ethan trying to hold his bottle

Peace and quiet at last!

Such a cute little “e-monster” (Evan)

Close-up of Ethan

Evan gets really focused when eating

Ethan loves to “talk” with his hands while he is eating

Poor little Aiden is so upset!

Aiden wakes up for a picture

What are you looking at, Aiden?

I knew he would smile sooner or later

What a cute little face

Aiden has such long eyelashes

Does he look more like Ethan or Evan?

Two Down, One To Go

Ethan and Evan are both home now! Ethan came home last Tuesday on oxygen and some meds, but he is doing well and we are going to try slowly weaning him from the oxygen later this week. (See new pictures and video clip below.) We are so glad to have them both home, but it has become very difficult to get into the hospital in Dallas to see Aiden, not to mention the basics like…sleep, which is at a premium! They are both the size of little new borns now — Ethan was up to 6 lbs., 14 ozs. as of last week, and Evan is nearly 8 lbs. Even Aiden has somehow more than doubled his birth weight: despite all of the difficulties he has experienced, he is up to 4 lbs., 15 ozs. They are all smiling now on a regular basis and Evan is even laughing.

The twins seem to have this language between each other which they start saying just before feeding time. Evan started it when he first got here and Ethan soon picked up on it. They are “I-O, I-O, I-O” and keep repeating it. In the video below, it happens with both of them at the end of the video; it is very loud and pronounced and they do it over and over until they get their food. We recently gave Evan a new nickname “E-Monster,” because he has grown so fast and is taking over.

Please continue to pray for Aiden. He was doing relatively well last week and they moved him back over to the South Side of the NICU, with the Feeders & Growers, finally increased him to full feeds and started having him try one feeding a day by mouth. This Saturday, however, he gave us another scare when the hernia becoming incarcerated again. Fortunately, we caught it early on, before it became as bad as last time, but of course they had to stop feeding him. They plan to do surgery early this week, probably tomorrow (Tuesday). We will know more in the morning. Please pray that God will guide the surgeon’s hands and give the doctors wisdom and give him the right nurses and doctors to care for him.

Also, below are some new pictures of the babies and a short video clip as well.

Evan and daddy spend some time together

Evan at home and in his “going-home” outfit

Little Aiden has grown so much!

The Two Teddy Bears

Ethan getting ready to come home

Face off!

Zzzzz time….

Already reading at such a young age!

Ethan looks like a little wizard

Aiden sticks his tongue out

Dad getting Evan ready for his first real bath

E-Monster smiles

No more pictures

Such twins!

Evan says a prayer before bedtime

Teddy Bear has arrived

Evan came home this past Saturday. One down, two to go. I have to say, if having one is this much work, we can not even imagine how much it will be when all three are here!

Some updates:
– Ethan is doing well and is ready to come home very soon. The only thing keeping him is he still required very small amount of oxygen to help him breathe. The hospital is under pressure from the insurance company to send him home an on oxygen tank. If it was just one child it would be on thing. But trying to manage Ethan on an oxygen tank with Evan already home and visiting Aiden in the hospital every day is a daunting task. Please pray that Ethan’s lungs would get strong enough and he could be weaned off any oxygen needs.

– Aiden is doing much better. His feedings have increased and he seems to be much happier. He is not doing too well with bottle feeding as he got a late start due to all his issues. Additionally, he did not have any bowel movements for nearly three days and they had to give him an enema to make him stool. Please pray that nothing is wrong with his intestines, etc. and that he starts bottle feeding as well.

We will try to get home pictures and video updates. Things have been so busy that we have just not had any time to do so. Hopefully, we will catch a break and get some updates.

Update on Aiden – October 30, 2007

On Saturday, we went to the NICU and Aiden did not look good at all. His stomach was very swollen and distended and he appeared very weak and lethargic. They had to put a special tube down his throat to remove the mixture of blood and bile that was backing up into his stomach, and even with the tube, it was still pouring out of his mouth. Although they had originally diagnosed him with NEC, the doctors did not seem to know exactly what was wrong as the bloodwork did not show any major problems or signs of infection as would be typical with NEC. Saturday night, we noticed that his condition seemed to have declined significantly and he seemed much worse than he was when we had arrived at the hospital earlier in the day. They quickly performed another xray earlier than planned, and the doctor went ahead and called the surgeon to get a consultation and see if they would be willing to go ahead and operate.

Late that evening, the surgeon arrived and examined him. Within seconds, he noticed that Aiden’s hernia had become incarcerated with his intestines and was very extended. He popped it back into place and told the nurses to continue to remove the contents out of Aiden’s stomach, hold feedings and watch him closely. The surgeon said that he thought it might still be possible that there was also something else going on (such as NEC) due to some of Aiden’s symptoms, some of which were still consistent with NEC; however, he thought that relieving the obstruction caused by the hernia would make a significant difference in his condition. Within the hour, the swelling and distention of Aiden’s stomach started to go down and his countenance began to look much better.

Throughout the weekend and on Monday, the swelling continued to diminish and Aiden started to act more like himself. Today, his stomach was back to its normal size. They performed another xray this morning and the doctor explained that it was the hernia that had obstructed the small intestine and caused all of the problems. Thus, Aiden did not have NEC and it was a false alarm.

All we can say is that this is an amazing testament to God’s grace and an answer to prayer. The surgeon who fixed Aiden, Dr. Hermann, shared his personal testimony with us and told us to keep praying for him. It was a reminder that God is always watching out for His children and that we can lean on Him for everything. Dr. Hermann was an answer to our specific prayers that God would send us the right doctor for Aiden.

Thanks for all so very much for your prayers through this scare! Aiden is doing much better and this afternoon, they have very slowly starting feeding him again with 2 cc’s every three hours.