aware // meet my preemies: Grayson & Audrey / Owen & Miles

So that's it.  Another month gone.  It seems that time is flying by quicker than I can say boo.  With the end of November upon us, I have one last day to introduce you to some more preemies.  But before I do, and believe me today is a treat with two sets of twins, I just wanted to send out a quick thank you.  

To all of you who have read my posts this month and shared them, you did your part in raising awareness.  Before A&R were born, I really had no clue how common it is or all the reasons for it.  But prematurity exists and it is a very big problem.  Sure, some kids go on to lead typical lives leaving their NICU journey deep in the past, but for many kids it isn't that simple.  They struggle daily, and for many years or even for their entire lives, with issues stemming from their birth.  And rarely is this made known.  Take for example this article that was published in Parenting magazine;  All the stories told have the happiest of endings with children having no lasting effects from their prematurity.  While success stories like these can give us all hope, the truth is that most premature babies don't have such happy endings.  As I complete the "Meet My Preemies" series, I'd like to mention that while we will never be able to leave the NICU behind, we are a success story.  I hope I did my part in bringing awareness to the very scary reality that is premature birth.  

Without further adieu, I bring you Grayson & Audrey.
Grayson and Audrey, 24w1d.  G was 1lb 8oz and A was 1lb 5oz.  They spent 109 days in the NICU and came home 2 days before their due date. They are now 20 months old, and they love swinging, story time, blocks, and bananas :)   

To learn more about G&A, please visit their mom's blog.

And last but not least, Owen & Miles.

Owen and Miles are identical twins born at 28 weeks gestation. Their early arrival was due to a serious condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. After many tense weeks on hospital bed rest a 100 miles from home, the Dr. felt it was no longer safe for them to remain inside because of Owen's lack of growth from his reversed cord flow. Owen was 2 lbs 13" and Miles was 2 lbs 7 oz 14.25" at birth.

They spent 10 weeks in the NICU facing the typical challenges of being born so premature. After 5 weeks of weaning off the vent and CPAP, Owen and Miles made the 100 mile journey to be closer to home. They spent the last 5 weeks as feeders and growers before they were discharged home together. One of my favorite NICU memories is of them sharing an open crib and them having one another to snuggle with when we weren't there.

They are now 16 months old weighing 18 lbs and 20 lbs. They are catching up in some milestones but we are still working hard to get Owen to eat - he is very stubborn! Both are running (and falling) all over and keep me very busy. Their favorite activities are going on walks, going to the playground and riding the swings, reading books, chasing the cats, running laps around the house, eating pancakes, and watching Baby Einstein. They are a true joy and not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful for how fortunate we are to have them.

Thank you momma Jessica and momma Alice for submitting photos and blurbs.


aware // meet my preemies: Jamison & Emma

After a short break from meeting my preemies, we are back today with Jamison & Emma.  Their complete story can be found here.  

About 2/3 of the way through my uneventful pregnancy I called my dad to take me to the ER when I felt what I learned was a “bulging bag” escaping my incompetent cervix.  Emma & Jamison were born at 25 weeks 0 days after patiently hanging tight for one week of hospital bed rest.  Jamison led the way and throughout his hospitalization seemed to be more ready than Emma who, although crying upon delivery with one eye open, had a significantly harder time in the NICU.  Jamison was born at 1 pound 11.5 ounces at 13 inches and Emma at 1 pound 7.5 ounces at 13 inches He stayed in the hospital for 105 days and she came home about a month later. 

I resigned from my job and immersed myself in everything I could related to Emma & Jamison and our new role as parents of preemies.  Jamison was only briefly intubated before CPAP and then seemingly quickly went to cannula then room air.  Once allowed to eat he did very well with the bottle.  Emma was on the jet ventilator for some time as the typical vent was damaging her lungs, and also experienced a pneomothorax or collapsed lung requiring a tube to be placed into her chest.  After a fairly typical PDA Emma became very sick with a significant infection with breathing difficulties, and erratic blood pressure.   I do not fully remember this time as my husband does, which I believe I have blocked out for now as this was the only time that we seriously believed that Emma may not survive.  She proved herself to be a fighter and has continued to show us her way each day.  There were many many feeding difficulties that delayed Emma’s homecoming including vocal cord paralysis, and our struggles continued at home as I track each milliliter she ate to feel some control over her growing. 

Jamison and Emma turned 10-months old this past week, are lovingly called my beef cake & small fry, and last weighed in at 17 pounds and 14 pounds respectively. Most days they can be found at home with me where they belly laugh at each other, happily eat sweet potatoes, & light up every time our dog enters the room (or when their dad gets home).  Jamison has kidney stones, and Emma is still on reflux medication & being monitored in hopes that a small hole in her heart naturally closes.   Those who do not know us cannot see the strength or frailty of these once micro-preemies, but it is there every day in my mind and heart as a constant reminder of how amazing they both are. 

Thank you momma Anna for submitting this post and photo!


14 and lately

Yesterday our little men turned 14 months old.  After the chaos that was Thanksgiving, I didn't even realize that yesterday was the 25th.  Sorry boys, momma is a day late. 

At 14 months we have 7 teeth between two boys.  Aiden has 4 and Ryan has 3.  I think we're at around 18 lbs. but I'm not sure since we haven't been weighed in a while.

We are on cold number 3 since September.  I really hope the boys get better soon and stay healthy for a little while this time. 

We have self feeders!  Yes, finally after what seemed like forever, A&R actually picked up what we put on they trays and ate it.  They will only self feed puffs, pirate's booty and sometimes bananas, but we are on the right track.  

 We have a crawling, almost standing baby.  This morning I walked into the boys' room to find this:

He looks like he is guilty of some random crime, no?
  And last but not least, we have a pretty cool hairdo!

You boys are becoming more handsome, more fun and more amazing each and every day.  We had such a great time celebrating Thanksgiving in our home, all under one roof, and we're so excited to watch you experience your first Christmas at home.  Here are two of my fave photos from Thanksgiving:

Thank you for teaching me what life is about.


give thanks.


noun \thaŋ(k)s-ˈgi-viŋ also ˈthaŋ(k)s-ˌ\
1: the act of giving thanks
2: a prayer expressing gratitude
3a : a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness
A year ago today, Seamus and I were hustling and bustling in the kitchen, cooking up a meal to bring to those who were taking care of our kids when we were incapable.  It was the least we could do for the strangers that were taking our children's lives into their hands and saving them.  While we were thankful for our blessings last year, we kind of just went through the motions of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Heck, the entire 4 1/2 months while the kids were in the NICU we were going through the motions.  It was like a limbo.  At this point when I think about my life, I think about life before the NICU and life after the NICU.  The in between is like a gray area that I can't quite comprehend yet. 
This year our boys celebrate their first Thanksgiving at home.  Excited is not even the word.  I can't wait for them to eat some turkey and mashed potatoes, cranberries and broccolli, sweet potato and pumpkin pie. 
While we live our lives every day appreciating what we were given in our boys, today is a special time to reflect on everything that has happened in the last year.  I'm thankful for so many things, and here are some of them, in no particular order.
I am thankful for coffee, as it allows me to function when I need to for my boys.
I am thankful for a good job and a warm home.
I am thankful for good food and wonderful friends & family to enjoy it with.
I am thankful for wine.  No explanation needed.
I am thankful for my mother and mother-in-law, who made it so that we don't have to pay for child care.
I am thankful for my sister, who will watch the kids at the drop of a hat.
I am thankful for health insurance, because we truly have million dollar babies.
I am thankful to live in a time when it is possible to save the tiniest of babies.
I am thankful for Early Intervention services, because they give our kids the chance to succeed in life.
I am thankful for the internet.  Yes, silly.  But the wealth of information and resources I have come across in order to advocate for my children is invaluable.
I am thankful for the power of prayer, as it gave me hope when I was hopeless.
And most of all, I am thankful for my wonderful husband and bright children.  They are and forever will be the light of my life.  Without them I would be a shell of who I am today.
Take a moment today to really think about what you're thankful for.  And it doesn't have to be deep and meaningful.  It just needs to be appreciated.
I hope you all enjoy this Thanksgiving with friends and family, and some warm pumpkin pie!
This morning, enjoying a banana!


aware // meet my preemies: Judith & Paddy

Hey folks!  Today you get a two for one deal.  Turns out I know a heck of a lot of preemies, and as you are aware November is quickly nearing an end.  So please allow me to introduce to you Judith and Paddy, not at all related except in that they are two pretty cool kids.  As always, their blogs will be linked on the right from today on, in case you ever wonder what they're up to.  Thanks for reading!

Judith was born at 29w2d due to severe pre-e and IUGR, weighing in at 2 lbs and measuring 14 1/4”. We were fortunate that she never needed to be placed on a ventilator, and was able to wean off of CPAP after she was 1 week old. She spent a few weeks on nasal cannula, then was removed from all respiratory support save for a couple days back on CPAP after developing a late-onset GBS/sepsis infection with possible meningitis. Doing so well respiratory-wise turned out to be a huge deal for us, because we later found out that she also has Cystic Fibrosis. The jury is still out there about some of the complications she had while in the NICU (extended time on humidity for elevated sodium levels, meconium ielius, and even the acquisition of the GBS infection), if they were preemie related, CF related, or a combination of both.

Judith is a peanut of a toddler who enjoys music, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, playing with our dogs, and being the center of attention! She will turn 2 in a couple weeks, on 12/3, and I’m excited that she is almost completely caught up to her actual age. We will stop adjusting her age at this point, and we’re nervous and excited at the same time. It’s a new territory for us!

We are blessed to have such a feisty girl who is doing so well, even though we realize that things can change at the drop of a hat. She has come so far, and we’re proud of her progress!

To learn more about Judith and her family, click here.

Paddy was born at 26w 4d and spent 128 days in the NICU with many typical preemie issues such as a PDA ligation, BPD, multiple suspected infections, and multiple blood transfusions.  He continues to have some lingering issues, most seriously Failure to Thrive and reflux.  Getting enough calories into him to gain weight is our greatest challenge.

Aside from his small stature (he weighs just 18lbs, 11oz and is 30.5" tall), Paddy is doing amazingly well.  He only stops moving when he's asleep - otherwise he climbs everything in sight.  Paddy loves Barney and frequently hums the Barney song.  He's also a great helper with household tasks:  sweeping, vacuuming, sort of putting things away.

Don't be fooled by his dour expression in the picture, he's rarely without a smile.  This was just the day after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs and he hadn't gotten over the loss yet.

To read more, please visit http://kateandaly.com/.

Photos and intros were submitted by momma Becca & momma Aly.


aware // meet my preemies: Drew, Tommy & Sammy

Today we have a very special treat from a triplet momma!  It's a bit of a different perspective, from someone who knew early on that she would be delivering preemies and would likely have some NICU time.  

Here are all three, plus big brother, Will!
"What are those three things?" I will never forget my husband saying those words as we were getting an ultrasound. I knew, right then, we were having triplets. I also knew that our world as we knew it was going to be very different. The doctor came in and started talking about what we could expect with the pregnancy. I would be the size of a full term pregnancy by 24 weeks and would be most likely on bed rest and they would try to keep me pregnant as long as possible, but to expect premature babies born around 30-33 weeks.

I started reading when we got home, that also made things real and scary. I knew my job was to try to do anything and everything to stay pregnant as long as I could. Somehow, luckily for me, I did not follow the norms. I was huge, I was uncomfortable, but I never had to be on bed rest and I made it to my scheduled c-section date at 36 weeks.

The boys were born in our hometown at 8:49, 8:50, and 8:51 am. Andrew Ross was born first weighing 5lb8oz and 19 inches long. Thomas Reid was born second weighing 6lb1oz and 19 inches long. Samuel Robert was born third weighing 5lb9oz and also 19 inches long. 

Drew was on oxygen for about an hour before he was moved to room air. Sammy and Tommy, however, did not do so well. They were both on CPAP and Tommy had surfactant also. By the next day, the pediatrician made the call that the babies needed to be transported down to Indianapolis to the NICU because Tommy needed to be put on the ventilator and Sammy may also need it. All 3 boys were to the St. Vincent's Carmel NICU. Tommy was placed on the ventilator immediately, Sammy stayed on CPAP, and Drew just needed to learn to eat.

Drew stayed in the NICU for 5 days, Sammy 6 days, and Tommy a week. We were very fortunate that their lungs matured quickly and all came home much faster than the doctors had originally told us. 

Today, the boys are all growing, and aside from Tommy's acid reflux, they are so healthy and exciting to watch grow and discover their world. At their recent four month check, Drew is now 23.75" long and weighs 10lb12oz, Tommy is 25" long and weighs 13lb4oz, and Sammy is 23.5" long and weighs 12lb8oz. They are all three working on their two bottom teeth. They love watching their big brother Will and playing on the floor with their toys and activity mats. They also recently got to sit in their exersaucer and are trying to figure their legs out. They are all very smiley babies and are learning to laugh. 

We are so blessed that they complete our family.

Blog post & photos submitted by momma, Sarah.  To follow this amazing family, click here.


aware // meet my preemies: Andrew & Elliot (and some other random updates)

Happy Monday to all and happy Thanksgiving week.  The holidays are almost officially upon us and I'm sure we all have so many things to be thankful for, but I'll leave that for Thursday.  

A few quick things I want to update you all on:

We saw A&R's neurosurgeon this past Friday.  These appointments always make me nervous because last Easter a simple follow up resulted in a shunt revision for Aiden.  But I'm happy to report that Dr. Mittler said the boys look great.  He said he is so pleased with their level of awareness and that he was so glad to see them and they really made his day.  I can't explain to you all what a feeling of relief washed over us.  We go back in six months, and in the meantime it is up to us to look out for signs of shunt malfunction.  At this point I think we're pretty confident that we'll be able to notice if something is off.  So cross your fingers and your toes, and anything else you can cross, and hopefully we won't be seeing Dr. Mittler until May.  

Remember when I asked you all to vote for A&R for Preemie of the Year?  Well, the results are in and sadly we did not win, but you can click here to read about this year's winners.  Thanks for voting anyway, and maybe we'll win next year!

Lastly, I blogged about the March of Dimes petitioning to have the White House lit up in purple.  Turns out they got enough signatures, and on January 3, 2013 the White House will be lit in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the MOD.  How cool is that?  So, thanks for signing the petition.  

Before I leave you, I want to introduce you to Kathy and her cutie pies Andrew & Elliot. 

Andrew spent 117 days in the NICU and is now 17 times his birth weight!
Loves to sing but doesn't like to dance.
Favorite toys are cars.
Favorite place is the Children's Museum Hot Wheels Exhibit.

Elliot would be happy sitting on the kitchen table and eating all day long.
Loves to look at pictures of Andrew while his brother is away at school.
Loves cats.
Obsessed with flowers, leaves, magnets, and light switches.

To read more about Andrew & Elliot, click here.

Photo & fun facts submitted by momma Kathy.  


world prematurity day

Today is World Prematurity Day.  At this time last year, we were in the thick of the NICU.  I am speechless in trying to express how good it feels to be on the other side.  But there are people who haven't made it here yet.  Please take a moment out of your busy day today to pray for all the families that are experiencing what we did last year.  And if you have some extra time to spare, watch this video.


aware // meet my preemies: JohnScott & Hilyer

It is my pleasure to introduce to you two of the most dapper preemies I know, JohnScott & Hilyer.  Just look at those gorgeous blue eyes!

JohnScott and Hilyer were born at 29w6d due to cord complications for Hilyer.  JS was 2lb 10oz, 13.5 in at birth, while Hilyer was 1lb 7oz, 11in.  

Although they are twin brothers, their stories could not be more different.  JohnScott was intubated, graduated to CPAP and breathing room air within the first 24 hours of his life.  Hilyer on the other hand was intubated for nearly 4 days, spent 5 months on and off CPAP and requires oxygen via nasal cannula at home.  

JohnScott had an uneventful 8 week stay in the NICU.  He had the occasional desat or brady, but nothing too concerning.  No infections.  No brain bleed.  No ROP.  No NEC.  He was mainly a feeder and grower.  
Hilyer had a very eventful 142 day NICU stay.  Though we are thankful for no brain bleed, NEC or ROP, I think Hilyer had every other complication possible – BPD, Pulmonary Hypertension, a heart murmur known as a PFO, multiple blood transfusions, multiple lumbar punctures and numerous rounds of antibiotics for infections.  On top of that, feeding was a huge issue for Hilyer.  A few months after coming home, Hilyer was diagnosed as Failure to Thrive (FTT) and had surgery to have a g-tube placed.  The decision to have the surgery was difficult at the time, but looking back it was the best decision for Hilyer.  

Today, JohnScott and Hilyer are healthy, active and thriving 20 month olds.  JohnScott enjoys food, baths, books, music, sleep, Yo Gabba Gabba and “talking” on the phone.  His dislikes include diaper changes, sharing, staying away from the fire place and wearing hats.  Hilyer enjoys bath time, music, snuggling, stealing toys from his brother and Mickey Mouse.  Dislikes include food, sleep, long car rides and staying away from the fireplace.

To learn more about JS & Hilyer, visit their mom's blog. 

 Photo & blurb submitted by JohnScott & Hilyer's mom, Bridgit.


aware // meet my preemies: Colton & Keltie

Today, I bring you handsome Colton & sweet, sweet Keltie, born at 26 weeks & 1 day.  Eek!  Twins!!  You know I love twins.  Ha!  Read on to find out how these two were brought into the world and what they faced during their lengthy stay in the NICU.   

On Thursday, January 19, 2012, I was lying in bed watching the news and I thought I peed my pants.  I literally got out of bed laughing because I couldn’t believe I was doing that kind of stuff already.  I took my pants off and noticed it was more than just a dribble – and then I went into the bathroom and I was gushing fluid.  I knew right then and there that this wasn’t urine and that my water had broke.

I called down to my husband and told him we had to go to the hospital.  He came running upstairs and couldn’t believe his eyes.  I was hysterical but he grabbed me my phone so I could call the OB's office and they told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  They started me on monitors for both babies' heartbeats and contractions and they did a test that confirmed it was, in fact, amniotic fluid.  I had suffered from preterm premature rupture of membrane (pPROM).  The OB came in and did an u/s which did little more than confirm both babies were still breech and she did a physical exam and found that my cervix was still closed.  I was apparently contracting, but didn’t feel them at all – I was 3-4 minutes apart when I came in!  I was immediately given a steroid shot (the first in a two shot series) and they started me on magnesium sulfate to stop the labor.  A neonatologist came in to talk with my husband and I and we were essentially told that at 25w3d gestation, the babies had a 50/50 chance of survival.  We were heartbroken.  But, the team of doctors (OBs, MFMs, etc…) were going to work as hard as possible to keep me pregnant for as long as they could.

I was then moved to a room in the birthing unit where I was monitored very closely.  I was given an u/s Friday morning that confirmed it was baby girl’s sac that had broken and it was a full rupture.  Her fluid level was considered “low”, but she wasn’t showing any signs of distress.  I was given goals to make it through the steroid series and to 26 weeks gestation - and I did, barely.

Sunday morning I was stable enough that they moved me to the maternity special care unit where I would stay until I delivered the babies.  We didn’t know if that would be a few days or a few weeks, but we were hoping for the latter.  So many friends and family visited with me throughout the days I was in the hospital and on Monday night my mom came to watch the Bachelor with me…the last show I would watch before becoming a mom.

Before my mom left the hospital for the night, at around 10:00pm, the amniotic fluid that was leaking turned pink.  The nurse came in and checked the babies and they sounded good and they hooked me up to the TOCO to check for contractions and there was nothing.  The nurse spoke with my OB and they said that it can happen where the fluid changes colors and it was considered “normal”.  At around 2:30am, I was having these lower abdominal pains – almost like I needed to have a bowel movement.  I got up to try and go a few times but nothing happened.  I finally called in the nurse and she checked the babies and both sounded good.  She put me on the TOCO and it wasn’t registering anything.  Then I was getting those lower ab pains more severely and I finally asked her to move the TOCO lower.  Well, I was registering large, sustained contractions and so she called my OB once again.  The OB came down to my room prior to her next c-section and did a “digital exam” to see if I was dilated and guess what?  She looked up at me and said, “I can say I feel two little feet”.  I about died.  I was approximately 6cm dilated and Baby Girl had essentially kicked her feet through my cervix!

It was then like a scene from a movie – while they were rounding people into my room, I called my husband and we both knew he’d never make it. They made one attempt at an IV in my room and my OB finally said something along the lines of “we don’t have time for this – she’s got to go NOW”. I was then flying through the hallways – I was so scared that I was physically trembling. I went right into the OR and there wasn’t even time to give me a spinal so I was put under general anesthesia and that’s the last I remember before waking up in excruciating pain in recovery.

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 3:19am, at only 26 weeks and 1 day gestation, I gave birth to two beautiful preemies:  Colton Christopher weighed 1lb, 13 oz and was 13 inches long and Keltie Grace weighed 1lb, 9oz and was 13 inches long.

Keltie spent 100 days in the NICU and was discharged 3 days after my due date.  She had a relatively "usual" NICU stay with breathing, feeding, and growing being her challenges.  Her biggest hurdles was a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) healed via a chest tube and nephrocalcinosis which is essentially build up in the kidneys which presents with high blood pressure.  She has since resolved all of that and only remains on a very small dose of a diuretic to keep things moving along through her kidneys. Keltie is 9 1/2 months old and is now approximately 15lbs and almost double her birth length.  She likes rolling, sleeping on her belly (no matter how many times we turn her), blowing raspberries, and yelling.  She's got a killer smile that can turn any frown upside down. 

Colton spent 142 days in the NICU and was discharged 6 weeks after his sister.  His course was about the same except he suffers from severe acid reflux which was making him stop breathing and thus the reason for his extended NICU stay.  Colton also had laser surgery in one tiny spot in his eye for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) but it shouldn't affect his vision much, if at all.  Colton is also 9 1/2 months old and now weighs approximately 18lbs and is an inch longer than his twin sister.  Colton likes rolling, playing with toys, eating, practicing sitting, and spitting up (in large quantities...still).  He is a ladies man and uses those big, beautiful giraffe eyes to catch everyone's attention.

So – that is the birth story of our twins…or, as we refer to it, Keltie deciding to break her sac and then sticking her feet where they don’t belong.  I can’t even begin to explain the amount of love I feel for these two peanuts.  It actually overwhelms me at some points.  They’re absolutely beautiful and fought as hard as they could to come out on top.  I’ve learned to appreciate the small things – things that “normal” parents likely take for granted.  They are true miracles and we celebrate them every day.

Feel free to learn more by visiting their blog:  http://project26weekpreemies.wordpress.com.  

Photo and story submitted by momma Krista.  


aware // meet my preemies: Nora

Today, my friends, you get a very special treat.  You get to meet Nora, the prettiest little flower there is.  This girl is sure to brighten your day.  I swear she is always smiling.  We could all learn a thing or two from Nora. 

Nora was born at 25 weeks 5 days weighing 1 lb. 14 oz. and 13 inches long.  She was born with a crazy amount of hair...all of which fell out after the NICU and is growing back in like wild fire!   She overcame a lot in her 97day NICU stay.  She had all the typical preemie stuff (anemia, multiple blood transfusions, Chronic lung disease, reflux, PDA, ROP, etc..) ...along with a few life threatening infections and a bilateral grade 3 & 4 brain bleed.  Nora is amazing and has defied all odds.  She loves to take walks in her stroller, being held, and kisses from her Momma.  She also loves to play on the ground with her toys.  She has just learned how to grab toys from me, so she is enjoying that new found independence of holding her toys herself!  She is very smiley and giggly, especially at her silly Momma and she loves to hear herself talk.  She also loves the colors pink and purple and is usually never seen without a headband of some sort!  Nora is now 9 months old and we are in PT and OT every week to help with bottle feeds and catching up on  her milestones.  She is getting better at lifting that head off the ground during tummy time!  She sees a number of specialists and is on the tiny side but she is one heck of a fighter. We are so proud at how far she has come...and so excited to see how far she will go!   She is the light of my life and the apple of my eye but you better not let this sweet girl get hungry ;)   As long as she is rested and her belly is full she is happy and sweet as can be! 
To learn more about Nora and her family, click here and be sure to check back often for updates and fun happenings!
Photo and facts about Nora were submitted by momma Renee.


aware // meet my preemies: Walker

Meet Walker.  (Love his name, by the way.)  He spent 172 long days in the NICU.  That is almost 6 months!  Love this little guy.  He really is just too cute for words. 

Walker is a former 25 weeker.  He graced us with his early appearance weighing in at 1 pound 14 ounces and 13 inches long.  He had a long list of complications in his first year of life such as: BPD, CLD, feeding issues, NEC, ROP, sepsis, short gut, and meningitis. 

Walker just turned a year old and is on the charts for both height and weight.  He loves being independent and feeding himself.  He loves cheerios, crackers, vegetables, meat, really any thing.  He's trying to crawl and to clap his hands.  He looks adorable in his glasses! He's doing wonderfully!

To read more about Walker and his amazing journey, click here 

Photo and blurb submitted by Mrs. Emery.  


movin' on up in the world

At 10 months adjusted, momma finally decided it was time to let the boys try to self feed.  You see, momma is sort of OCD and really hates messes, so up until now she decided that it would be much easier, much cleaner, and much more efficient to just feed them herself. 

Well, that only got us so far.  And after a brief struggle with myself I succumbed to my children's needs - to learn and to grow.  I knew that putting a bowl in front of them would just lead to a disaster and possibly a yogurt covered momma.  So I sanitized their trays and put a few dollops of yogurt on them.  I gave the boys each a spoon and left them to their own devices. 

It amazes me that A&R will put every damn thing in their mouths, but when I actually give them something they are supposed to eat, they don't.  Boys will be boys?  Or maybe that's just how all babies roll.  Who knows...I haven't the time nor the energy to figure this one out. 

They did have a blast though.  Surprisingly, Ryan was the messier one.  They played with the yogurt, got it in their eyes, threw their spoons all over the kitchen.  They even managed to get some food into their mouths.  It was a grand ole time!  

And don't worry, I followed it up with some momma fed beets so they got enough in their bellies.  

Also, this happened:

Aiden has been trying to crawl FOREVER.  Poor kid was losing sleep over it.  Well, last night, he finally crawled six steps towards his bottle.  Yes, we waved it in front of him to motivate him.  Poor kid was starving.  Don't judge.  Then, this morning he just took off.  And yes, I took away all his toys to get him to go the distance.  

This is the boy who was born at under two pounds.  The boy who spent almost 5 months in the hospital, 2 of which he was hooked up to a ventilator breathing for him.  The boy who, according to his doctors, would have such a hard life due to his disabilities that we were asked if we wanted to withdraw care.  The boy who, at one point was so sick I wasn't sure we would take him home.

You know what this boy is?  He is ABLE.  He is able to do it all.  And he will.  We're so proud of you little buddy.    


aware // meet my preemies: Sebastian & Samuel

This next (guest)  post is brought to you by a very special preemie momma, Nicole.  Both her sons were born premature.  As far as I am concerned, she is my hero.  To endure the NICU twice is something I'm not sure I could do.  And she did it with courage, fortitude and grace.  Her second son, Sammy, came home this week.  Welcome home little man!  

The Brothers P

The Brothers P live in Minnesota. They should have been 15 months apart if we lived in a perfect world but things don’t go as you imagine. I learned that with both of these boys, as they were both preemies. Even being preemies they both have lived completely different experiences. Here’s a bit about the Brothers P and what they are all about.

Sebastian aka Baz is the older more outspoken brother. He came into this world at 34 weeks and 1 day and weighing in at 5 pounds 12 ounces back in August of 2011. During my pregnancy he was dubbed,” Baby P” before we knew he was a he.  He spent 3 weeks in the NICU. He had some jaundice issues and took awhile to learn the whole suck, swallow breath while eating.


So what is he is up to these days?

Baz is 14 months old and learning to love everything except mashed potatoes.  He flirts with all of his Momma’s friends. Many love his big expressive eyes and long eyelashes, so he is learning quickly how to use those to his advantage.  He enjoys hanging out with his Daddy during the day while Momma works. During the day the boys watch Sponge Bob, Bubble Guppies and Dora the Explorer or stealing Daddy’s Xbox controller. He is quite the fan of the Law and Order theme song. If he hears it on the TV everything comes to a halt and he watches the TV intently. As soon as it is done it’s back to chasing Goldfinger and Guinness the cats around or playing with his toys or being inquisitive as he is discovering the world around him.

He has many sides to him. He can go from being serious to laughing and excited then to serious again in a matter of minutes.

You can follow the life and times of the big brother Baz here: http://librababy.wordpress.com/

In August of this year at 26 weeks and 3 days and 2 pounds 12 ounces, the younger Brother P arrived with a lot of worry and a kick to the doctor (yes Momma kicked the doctor during delivery).

Samuel aka Sam aka Sammy aka Baby P2 aka Baby P The Sequel is just over 3 months old and finally at home after a 97 day NICU stay at two hospitals. He dealt with a lot of things in his 97 day stay and has been one heck of a little trooper.

He has a few other nicknames as well but the one I love the most is Chunky Cheeks given to him by one of his nurses. The boy has cheeks and great hair, which totally got him his Daddy.

He enjoys being cuddled but doesn’t seem too thrilled when the older brother wants to give loves. Sam enjoys eating which he totally got from Mommy.  He eats about every 3 hours then spends a lot of time sleeping in his Danny Sling.

Sammy has come along way from August 1st when he was born and you can follow the life and times of Baby P The Sequel here: http://scorpiobaby.wordpress.com/

 Photos and post written by Sebastian & Samuel's momma, Nicole.


aware // meet my preemies: Grace (& Maxwell)

On today's edition of "Meet my Preemies", I give you Grace (& Maxwell).  Their mom, Pattie, was nice enough to write an intro so that I don't have to :)

Meet my former 27w3d micro preemie, Grace.  Grace is a twin, who's brother we unfortunately lost after 4 days.  Grace's will to live is admirable!   She has been through so much in her little year of life..she is one determined little girl.  Please read more to hear about Grace's story & let her story be an inspiration to us all!!   Love you baby Girl!

Grace spent 125 days in the NICU.  Click here to learn more about Grace and her family!

Photo & intro submitted by Grace's mom, Pattie.

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