Saturday, January 27, 2007

Something Current

Okay, I'm taking a little break from the history of us to tell you how our week has been. Let me start out by saying there is nothing more heartbreaking than a sick baby, except two sick babies. I desperately dread the day I have to face four sick babies. Hopefully that day will never come, or at least it will wait until they're old enough to tell me where it hurts.

Yes, the kids have been sick. Zachary and Thomas started running a temperature last Sunday. It was low, so I thought it was probably just teething. The fevers were higher on Monday, with Zachary getting the highest at 101.6. This seemed high for teething so I called the pediatrician. I was told to give it some time and see what happened. Long story short, Thomas got better, but Zachary continued to have a fever. I took him to the doctor on Wed. and he had an ear infection! It's our first one! Antibiotics were started, his fever went away, and finally today he was back to normal. During that time Jonathan also started running a temperature, but luckily his went away in a couple of days, like Thomas' had. Throughout the whole thing, Reagan remained fine, another blessing!

I send my deepest thanks to everyone who came to help me nurse my sick babies, especially those of you who pulled double shifts! Thank you!
By the way, the picture is not current. It was taken during the 2-month-old photo shoot. It is, however, very similar to the face I had to look at fairly often this week.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Fifth Month

On Oct.26 we had our official 4-month checkup. At that time, the kids weighed: Zachary 14lb 14.5oz, Reagan 13lb 8.5oz, Jonathan 13lb 7.5oz, and Thomas 11lb 1.5oz. This had Zachary and Reagan at 50%, Jonathan at 25%, and Thomas still at 3%. They got another good checkup, and the pediatrician said we could now start stage 1 baby food! This was a lot of fun, but very messy! I would say their favorite foods are sweet potatoes, carrots, and applesauce. Their least favorites are peas and plain rice cereal. They liked the cereal a lot better once I started adding fruit to it!
Feeding Jonathan

Feeding Zachary

Feeding Reagan

Feeding Thomas

Feeding Everyone!

My parents returned on the 28th and stayed through Halloween. I took Jonathan and Thomas on their first trip to South-Doyle on the 30th. And then it was Halloween!

Michelle helped me make costumes for the kids for Halloween! They turned out great! Unfortunately, the kids did not enjoy wearing them. I think they were too hot, or they were just tired and cranky. Who knows?

Crying Candy Corn





Granny Pam came for a visit on Nov.3 and spent the whole day with us! Michelle's mom also stopped by that night to see the babies. I have a very hazy memory of her coming to see me in the hospital when they were born, but she had never seen the babies.

Nov.8 we had RSV shots again. This was an exciting visit because the doctor told us that Thomas didn't need to have Xopenex anymore! He would still get Pulmicort twice a day, but with only one medicine, the treatments were significantly shorter!

On Nov.18 we had a huge shindig at the house. What started as a small get-together with a couple of friends turned into a pre-Thanksgiving bonanza. That Sat. we were joined by Uncle Clay and Aunt Carey; Granny Pam, Great-granny Kat, and Great-aunt Jayne: Michelle, Judah, David and Abby; Bryon and Darlene; Jason and Blake; and Josh, Cris, ans Carter! It was a very full house! But we had a blast and managed to sneak in a surprise baby shower for Clay and Carey!

Uncle Clay and Jonathan

Aunt Carey and Reagan

Granny Pam and Jonathan

On Nov.20 the babies turned 5 months old! We used these pictures for our Christmas cards. (My apologies to any who didn't get one. You can see it in the top right-hand corner of the blog.) Here are a few we didn't use:
(orange-Thomas, pink-Reagan, blue-Zachary, green-Jonathan)

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Fourth Month

In October, Thomas started receiving visits from Kim through TIPS (Tennessee Infant Parent Services). All the kids had been evaluated by Tennessee Early Intervention, and none of them showed any significant delays, but because of the issues Thomas had when he was born, he qualified for services. Kim began coming once a week to work with Thomas and encourage his development. I think it was more fun for her than work since he wasn't really having any issues.

Also in October we started getting RSV shots. Because they were premature, our insurance paid for them to get the shots to help keep them from getting RSV, an illness that is highly contagious and can land victims in the hospital. Thank goodness our insurance pays for the shots! The kids get them once a month from October to April and each shot costs around $1700! That's $1700 per child per month! They better work!

At RSV shots on Oct.9, their weights were: Zachary 14lb 1oz, Reagan 12lb 11oz, Jonathan 12lb 9oz, and Thomas 10lb 2oz.

On Oct.17 we experienced our first real illness. Reagan came down with a mild case of croup. Luckily, she didn't spread it to any of the other kids!

On Oct.20, the babies turned 4 months old! Here are the results of Michelle's photo shoot:



We timed the photos kind of poorly and were unable to finish individual shots before the kids started getting cranky. I finished them later, but of course mine aren't as good!



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Third Month

On Aug 21, Thomas returned to the pediatrician, and happily this time they let us keep him!

On Aug 30, we all returned to the pediatrician for our official 2-month checkup.Zachary weighed 11lb 12oz, Reagan weighed 10lb 7.5oz, Jonathan weighed 10lb 4oz, and Thomas weighed 8lb 2oz. This put Zachary and Reagan both at 50%, Jonathan at 25%, and Thomas at 3%. They all got great checkups, and nobody had to go to the NICU!

Addendum to last month: We were finally able to find a permanent night nanny. It wasn't easy. I don't know why so few people wanted to stay up all night with crying babies! Nevertheless, we were blessed to find a generous soul to take on our challenging job. Bradley started working for us August 14 and did a fabulous job!


Aunt Jodie, Uncle Jeff, and Cousin Kinley came for a visit over Labor Day weekend. Jeff's wonderful sister Julie graciously allowed them to borrow her camera, and Jodie launched quite a photo shoot of her own with fantastic results! We had a great time with them! (PS--Thanks to Jarra for the adorable outfits with their names on them!)

With Cousin Kinley

The next week we had another visit from Granny Pam and Great-granny Kat. They brought with them pictures of Aunt Carey and our new cousin -to-be!

On Sept. 20 the babies turned 3 months old! It was a big day full of pictures and visitors! My friend Stacey from Harding came with Michelle to help out with the photo shoot. It was great to see her again! She was in town on a recruiting trip for Harding. We had a really great picture day, getting good ones of all the kids and of me and Jim too! Hurrah for Michelle again!





Me and Stacey with the kids

Also that day we had a surprise visit from Jim's Aunt Jayne and Cousin Caleb. What a treat to have them come by!

The Second Month

During the second month, we started receiving daily help from the wonderful people at our church, in preparation for the day when extra family members would not be living with us. Ladies from church came Monday through Friday in three shifts: the morning shift from 7:30-12:00, the afternoon shift from 12:00-5:00, and the evening shift from 5:00-10:00. We received help from both our home congregation of West End Church of Christ and from a new congregation, Parkway Church of Christ, that had just been started by former members of West End. We consider them both to be our church family, and we have been amazed and humbled by all the help they've given us. Thank you West End and Parkway!

On July 29, Jim's mom and grandmother went home to Jasper, leaving us without extra family for the first time. We found that the babies now outnumbered us, and I admit it was a little scary. We'd never had them by ourselves before. In fact, we were scared enough that Michelle ended up staying that first night with us to help care for and feed them all night. We were quite relieved!

The next night was the first night of our first night nanny. Dear, wonderful Jean! She was so sweet to help us! She basically took time off from her real job to be our night nanny for two weeks to give us some time to find someone more permanent! She was wonderful, and the babies loved her! She worked for us from 10:00 at night to 6:00 in the morning, Sunday night to Thursday night for two weeks. Here is another place where we owe many thanks to our generous church family. They made donations to a fund set up especially for us that we were able to use to pay for our night nanny. Without this, I don't know how we would have made it! I know I would have been a walking zombie! If I had had the energy to walk! We owe a special thanks to Scott and Nikki for all their help in finding a night nanny!

August 4 was a big day for us. Jonathan, Zachary, and Reagan had their official 1-month checkup that morning, and Thomas came home that afternoon! At this doctor's visit, Zachary weighed 9lb 3oz, Reagan weighed 8lb 3.5oz, and Jonathan weighed 7lb 15oz. This put the boys at 20% and Reagan at 25%. (The rate is different for girls and boys.) That afternoon, Thomas' discharge weight was 6lb 5oz. This was the beginning of the dramatic weight difference between Thomas and the other kids. His acid reflux formula had fewer calories than the others' special preemie formula, and he ate a lot less of it than they did, having gotten a much slower start at eating. My parents came back this day too!

We had a great time that weekend taking pictures of all four kids together! It was so great to have Thomas home with us! I didn't get much sleep though. We kept Thomas in a bassinet in our bedroom and he was pretty noisy.

Zachary, Reagan, Jonathan, and Thomas

August 7, Zachary and Reagan made their first trip to South-Doyle! Fun times!

Thanks for burping me, Miss Angie!

August 8 was Thomas' first trip to the pediatrician, and an unhappy day for me! They checked his oxygen saturation and the numbers were dipping into the 80s, lower than they were comfortable with. So they called an ambulance! And back to the NICU we went. I totally lost it at the doctor's office, bursting into tears and making everyone feel horrible. It was just so completely unexpected and disappointing to have to take him back to the hospital after just a few days. And I was so tired! My poor dad was there with me. Sorry I put you through all that! And it was all so dramatic! We had to strap him into his carseat and then they strapped that to the gurney to wheel him out to the ambulance. I had to ride up front and sobbed the whole way there, but the EMTs were really wonderful. One of the guys in the back stuck his head up front to tell me that Thomas was doing just fine. I continued crying after we got to the NICU. They put me in one of the breastfeeding rooms to wait, and I just sat in there and cried. I couldn't seem to get control of myself. I kept telling myself that Thomas was fine. He wasn't dying! But I just couldn't stop. In the end, Thomas spent another week in the NICU, and this time he came home on breathing treatments. He got two a day.

In the meantime, my parents went to Pigeon Forge for the weekend, while we were joined by Granny Pam, Uncle Clay, and Aunt Carey. They spent the weekend with us. It was good experience for Clay and Carey since they were expecting their first child.

Thomas came home again the following Monday, and my parents returned to Memphis, having come back to our house after Jim's family left on Sunday.

August 20 the babies turned 2 months old! This time Thomas got to join us for the photo shoot! Again, we thank Michelle for the pictures!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The First Month

Jonathan, Zachary, and Reagan in their crib

Jonathan, Zachary, and Reagan came home from the hospital July 6, 2006. My parents and sister were there to help out. Great-aunt Nancy and Great-uncle George came from Memphis to see them the very next day.
Me, Daddy Bud, and KayKay feeding the babies

Great-aunt Nancy holds all three!

The following Monday, we went to the pediatrician for the first time. At that time, Zachary weighed 6lb 2.5 oz, Reagan weighed 5lb 9.5 oz, and Jonathan weighed 5lb 5oz. Compared to other babies theri age, Zachary was at 5% and the other two were at 3%. This means that only 3-5% of other babies are smaller than they were. Tiny, little things! Back in the NICU on this same day, Thomas weighed 5lb 3oz. All three kids had a good checkup.

Jodie and Kinley flew back to Memphis on the 13th. On the 16th my parents returned to Memphis, and Granny Pam and Great-granny Kat (Jim's mom and grandmother) joined us to help out for the next couple of weeks. They had been to visit the day the babies were born and at least one other time while I was still in the hospital. (I'm pretty's a little hazy in my memory..)

Granny Pam and Great-granny Kat getting some love

On July 20 the babies turned one month old! My wonderful friend Michelle came over to do the first of many Harris baby photo shoots.

Jonathan, Reagan, and Zachary--One month old
It was sad to have only three babies in those one-month pictures, but little Thomas was still in the NICU.

Thomas--One month old