Jun 26, 2016

Update on the Twins

Julie, Graham and I really appreciate all of the kind words after the arrival of Harris and Ellen. Since we touched on their first day with us, the route to the NICU has become a very familiar path. I would like to say that Harris and Ellen have receive tremendous care in Grandview Medical Center's NICU and we know that we're very fortunately to be relying on the staff there for very routine care.

We've received calls, texts, emails and messages from all circles of our lives. A big outpouring of support came from our church family at Covenant Presbyterian. This has been a wild year for our Sunday school class - we've collectively welcomed 17 babies since January and 6 more are on the way. Our class has been one big team, assisting each other with baby showers, meals and prayer. Covenant as a whole has been supportive of us with prayers and help with Graham. The morning after the twins were born, Pastor Danny Giffen visited us at the hospital. Danny is a very knowledgeable and sharing person. Julie and Danny have known each other for a long time so having him come pray with us was extra special!

The next few days in the hospital were spent making more trips to and from the NICU to check on the twins. and to help with feeding, when possible. 

Harris spent a little more time under his hood, which helped with his oxygen levels. 

And Ellen stayed warm and comfortable in her incubator. 

And we continued to host special visitors, including Grandma Jane

and big brother Graham!

The twins have shown improvement each day. Soon, Harris no longer needed his hood and both babies were eating enough that their IVs were removed, which made it easier for us to hold them and feed them. We also realized that they really like their pacifiers.

A couple of interesting observations during our stay in the hospital included...

Lots of red plate covers on light switches and outlets. They're everywhere. I was told that the color red indicated that these sources of electricity were supported by the emergency generator. I have no idea if that's true.

Also, Grandview Medical Center has wheelchairs wide enough for two people.

We noticed that Ellen has really long fingers...

and Auntie Elle helped us get a good side-by-side comparison of Graham and Harris. With his hat on, Harris looks a lot like Graham. Harris is on the left here:

But I'm not so sure without his hat. We've said all along that he looks like Julie's Uncle Ray. Here he is after a bath:

Ellen looks a lot like Graham to me.

Eventually, Julie started to feel better and it was time for us to leave the hospital. The night before we left, the hospital treated us to a candlelight dinner in our room!

It was great! Julie had steak and I had salmon. They even gave us some bubbly. 

And if you're wondering how a candle works in a hospital, they're very realistic but not an actual flame.

It wasn't easy but Julie left our babies in the NICU and headed home the next day. Fortunately, we live very close to the hospital and can visit as frequently as needed. We celebrated Father's Day with no children in the house (Graham went to Camden to spend time with my parents). Harris and Ellen gave me this cool shirt:

The following week - the week after the twins were born - saw even more improvement from Harris and Ellen. They were both eating a lot and with fewer lines and tubes connected to them, Julie got to hold the twins together. I think this was the first time they've been side-by-side since their birthday. Harris is on the left here:

Towards the end of the 2nd week, both babies were meeting benchmarks and we were told that they would likely come home together with just a little more time in the NICU. Knowing that, Julie and I were asked to complete some infant CPR training and spend some extended time with both babies in a "halfway room". That's my term. From what I determined, it's like a hotel room in which families can adjust to life with their new babies before transitioning home. The room has a big bed, a TV and a shower in the bathroom.

Julie fed Harris and he showed that he is a good burper.

The infant CPR training consisted of practicing chest compressions on a doll while following along with video instructions.

The training couldn't have some at a better time as Julie showed that she had no clue which end of a baby to even administer CPR.


So here we are...Sunday, June 26th...the night before the twins are scheduled to come home. We've made sure to spend lots of special time with Graham this weekend and explained that Harris and Ellen are coming home soon. He seems ready and so are we!

Julie and I will be sure to keep everyone posted - thanks again for your prayers and support!

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