Wow! I knew it was awhile since I posted anything, but reading through it obviously so much has changed!! Where to start!! I guess discharge is as good as any!.....
Wednesday November 14th I went to visit the girls and we had a new nurse. She said they were working on getting Anabell discharged tomorrow and if we were interested they had a room open in the wing so we could all stay together in one room. I called Jim and told him to pack our bags we were moving back into the hospital! Anabell was discharged the 15th and we were allowed to stay in the hospital another week when Isabell was discharged on the 21st. On the 15th we started attempting to give Isabell her med bottles by mouth so she could get ready for discharge as well. Everytime we gave her a med bottle she choked and would turn blue and quit breathing. Over that weekend it turned into almost every bottle she was choking on which gave us a lot of practice since we were in the wing with only 1 nurse for 5 babies and they were stationed down the hall with a phone that should go off when their alarms did but for whatever reason never worked for Isabell. It was very stressful and on Monday after having a long chat with the doctor and the occupational therapist Holly, Holly went to fight for us and got us a swallow study. Unfortunately it came back normal and there was nothing they could do except thicken her med bottles. So we went home the day before Thanksgiving mixing her meds with formula and rice cereal. Apparently there is an enzyme in breast milk that breaks down rice cereal and it won't thicken so she had to have straight formula. At the time meds meant pear juice due to her constant constipation and a multi vitamin. It was the scariest thing in my life having these two tiny infants at home with no monitors to tell me if something was wrong! We moved into Jim's parents house because we were still waiting to close on our house and didn't want the girls around cigarette smoke at my parents. Jim's brothers came home from college for the weekend so we had lots of hands to help out! The first month they were home I had a nightmare every night that I fell asleep with them in my bed and they ended up suffocating in my pillow case and I would wake up tearing my pillows apart trying to get my baby out of them! I realized quickly I just had to look over and check their cribs to know they weren't in my pillows, but over the weekend I woke up like that and Anabell wasn't in her crib and Jim was next to me! I freaked out and Jim woke up to me tearing the bed apart trying to find my baby! I yelled where is Anabell and he jumped out of bed and ran to the living room. When he came back he said Dave had her. I was so relieved and after I calmed down realized she was due to eat anyways and went to get her. Dave was laying on the couch with her and I said I would take her and he didn't move... I said again I can take her and he just looked at me and said uh, I don't know how to move her! Apparently he had been stuck there for awhile because Jim went to bed and he didn't know how to move a baby! It was so sweet and hopefully he doesn't get mad for me sharing this!
Currently the girls are doing amazing! They are both almost caught up in weight to where a 6 month old should be, Anabell weighs over 16 pounds and Isabell is over 13 pounds. Its been a couple weeks since they were weighed so I don't have exact numbers. We have a follow up appointment at the NICU tomorrow so hopefully that goes well! We had an eye appointment for Isabell a couple months ago and her level 1 retinopathy of prematurity had cleared up and gone away. We have another eye appointment in May so hopefully it is all still good. They will likely end up with glasses someday, but that was likely to happen anyways since Jim has glasses and everyone in my family except me does. They are smiling ALL the time and occasionally you can get a giggle out of them. They struggle with tummy time but recently it started clicking and they are pushing up and looking around. I almost cried the first time Anabell pushed all the way up because all I could think is she will be crawling anyday!! Ah! They are starting to figure out toys and like things that make noise. Anabell is still protective big sister and always wants a hand on Isabell and for the most part Isabell wants nothing to do with that. But lately when we have been somewhere new Isabell can be found reaching for her sister! They haven't started solid foods yet but they have their 6 month appointment with their pediatrician next week and will probably start soon then! They are both on Zantac for acid reflux and a multi vitamin. Isabell is off the pear juice now and doesn't need her bottles thickened anymore either. Unfortunately I ran out of breast milk when they were about 3 months old and it was too hard to pump at work so they switched to formula. I wish we would have lasted longer, but I'm proud we lasted as long as we did!
On December 18th we closed on our house and made a mad dash to move in! We couldn't wait to have our own space and did a rushed paint job, got the carpets cleaned and started scrubbing the house. When we bought it you could smell the previous owners must have chain smoked inside, but we didn't realize how bad it was until we started scrubbing! 1 window took me over 12 paper towels to clean all the smoke off of! There were blinds on 2 windows that Jim wanted to clean and I said heck no, get rid of them asap!! I pretty much scrubbed everything I could find to scrub, including taking every outlet cover off and heating vent cover and throwing them in the dishwasher! (neat trick I learned from a friend that moved into a smokers house not long before us, thanks Steph!) I am still finding things now that I have to scrub, but its made major improvements! Unfortunately the carpet cleaning didn't do nearly as good as we hoped and someday when we have the money will definitely need to be replaced, but being we aren't long to toddlerhood and dumped sippy cups and food all over we might as well wait at this point. Our house has 3 finished bedrooms and 1 unfinished. A mostly unfinished basement, except the 1 bedroom, and pipes for a second bathroom in the basement. It is a split level in Big Lake in what looks to be a nice neighborhood but being we moved in winter we haven't met much of the neighbors. When we first saw the house we drove through the neighborhood and there were kids all over the yards and streets so we are hopeful the girls will have friends! It has a door upstairs for a walk out deck and a door in the basement for a walk out patio, but no patio or deck yet. We have a large backyard with a little hill and ditch but the other side is the very busy county road 5. Jim wants to put a fence up in front of the hill but I think it might make a nice little sliding hill for the girls in a year or 2 so we are still debating where the fence should actually go. Definitely don't want the girls to be able to run onto that road though!!
I went back to work 2 weeks after the girls came home but was able to take a part time position at our group home and only work weekends. Its nice because I'm still getting 24 hours in a week since I can work a double and a single shift in on Saturdays and Sundays. I love being home with the girls all week and love getting a break from the girls, but its hard to have to work when everyone else is enjoying family time. We don't have a lot of family time since Jim doesn't get home until 6 and I am usually running around after he gets home. I try to get out of the house a couple times a week with the girls because I want them to learn early how to behave in public and I feel the more we do it the easier it will get. Our popular place to go is the Mall of America. I actually haven't even spent any money, its just a nice place to get out of and be able to walk around. The girls love all the sights, sounds and smells and are all smiles the minute we get there. I love the covered parking lot so I don't have to worry about the extreme winter attacking my girls! Plus the exercise is nice and we usually get stopped 100 times so I get to use social skills once in awhile! I'm definitely looking forward to the summer so we can go to the zoo like everyday and other outdoor activities! I have cabin fever to the extreme!!
On Christmas Eve we decided to attempt and take the girls to the late service at church. There weren't a lot of people there but I was near tears when a lady came up to us and went "Oh my, there they are! (Looked at an older lady nearby) Do you know who these girls are!? They are the twins we have been praying for for weeks!! They are so beautiful! I prayed so hard for you guys EVERY DAY, and here you all are!" I was so shocked to see someone had so faithfully prayed for us and cried the whole way home. On Ash Wednesday we decided we had taken the girls out enough we could figure out church. So off we went and at 1 point we were surrounded by over 20 people oogling the girls! It was so overwhelming but heartwarming to see all the love and support we had. Since then we have made more of an effort to go to church as often as we can, which can be difficult when I don't have a set work schedule and only work weekends. Every time we go another person comes up to see them and tell us how they prayed for us and were so glad we are still doing so well. Pretty much every Sunday and Wednesday I drive home sobbing because I am so amazed by God's power and what he has provided us with. Going to church every Sunday has become more than just an act, it is something we look forward to and we look forward to teaching the girls about God and Jesus and their love. It has become so much more meaningful because we are there for more than just us, we are there for our girls that have brought us closer to God than any other thing we have been through. The girls are getting baptized this Sunday and we are so grateful to have this opportunity since we had so many days we never knew if we would make it this far. We got cake for the coffee hour to thank everyone at our church that prayed for us but that doesn't seem enough. I know so many of you prayed for us and I wish there was some way we could thank you all, there is nothing we needed more and you all provided us that. Thank you.
Love always; Heather, Jim, Anabell and Isabell