Happy 2 week birthday girls!! Two weeks; 14 days; 336 hours; 20,160 minutes; 1,209,600 seconds. I haven’t gotten to spend all of that time with you, but there hasn’t been one minute that I haven’t thought about you both! It’s amazing how much has changed in a couple weeks. It’s amazing how much strength and fight you both have shown us. It’s also amazing how much love you can have for two tiny humans that you just officially met 336 hours ago! You two are so loved by your mommy and daddy and many more people!
Over the past two weeks Knox and Lenox have thoroughly impressed the doctors and nurses at Methodist. Knox went from a CPAP to breathing with Vapotherm at a setting of 21 percent oxygen at 2.0 liters of flow, Lenox went from being intubated at birth to CPAP assistance to now breathing with Vapotherm at a setting of 25 percent at 2.0 liters of flow. The vapotherm machine is a non-invasive high-flow respiratory support system that will force air through their nose cannula. The next few goals for the girls are:
Respiratory-- breathing on their own with no adverse side effects to their stats (heartbeat, oxygen saturation levels, and blood pressure)
Tolerating feeds via feeding tubes-- this will allow for the PIC Lines to be removed from their legs as they will be obtaining all nutrition and hydration via their feeding tubes
Maintaining body temperature in room air
Mastering suck, swallow, breathe
There are other checkpoints along the way but these are the main ones coming up. In addition to these goals there are other things they must master before they will be released from the NICU.
The NICU is an entirely new experience from the maternity floor. While I had stresses and things to worry about in the maternity center nothing really compares to a day in the NICU. There are constant beeps- slow beeps, fast beeps, different pitches of beeps, flashing lights on the girls monitors, and they all serve a very specific and important purpose. In addition, since the girls are so little they had a stop light system inside and outside of their room for the first 10 days. This is to track the noise volume. Green is good, yellow means you need to lower your voices, and lastly red will flash at you and make yet another- different sounding beep. They are still trying to keep the room very much womb-like for the girls to continue to grow and develop. It is usually dark and quite in their room, and if they are in their isolettes the isolettes are completely covered.
The girls both caught a little infection last week but seem to be recovering nicely. The doctors have kept them on a longer dose of antibiotics to treat it and to stay ahead of anything new that might have been brewing. That is one thing about premature babies… they have zero immune system. Newborn, full-term babies have very little immune system, but preemie babies have zero. The nurse told me yesterday that one little boy had been working on going home and passing all of his test, he was breathing room air, taking his feeds, passed his car seat test, all of it… was looking to be discharged the next day, and he got a “bug”. He couldn’t fight it off and went back on breathing assistance while he tried to get healthy again. Something so minor that you or I could easily get over or brush off to being “run down” turned this little guy into having a longer NICU stay and starting over on passing his dismissal tests. As much as we would LOVE for these little girls to meet you all… it will have to come in time. I never thought I’d be that parent… but here I am, killing it. I grew up on a farm, ate dirt, loved being outside (and probably not bundled up properly)!! I always said I want my kids to grow up getting a little dirty and building their immune systems… but that just can’t happen right now. While the farm-life and dirt eating days will come for Knox and Lenox it won’t be for many, many years!
I have tried to keep somewhat of a normal routine since the girls have arrived. We are so thankful to live close to Blank and luckily can be downtown within 10 minutes. I have had driving restrictions due to my c-section and have had wonderful family, friends, and John taxiing me around! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! **Drum Roll** Today marks the day I finally get to drive!! Yippee! And you know what I did besides be with the girls….I drove to Target. It might not seem super fun, but I haven’t driven for almost a month and who doesn’t love Target?
As I was planning out my day, I thought about all the things I want for Knox and Lenox and all the things they have already endured. They are so strong and such amazing fighters. I pray that they always know they are loved, they are brave, and they are strong. I pray they find peace, love, and joy in this crazy world. I pray that they always love themselves and are willing to help others when they can.
I pray that I am the best mom that I can be. And like Rachel Hollis said, I can’t fail at a job God made me for. I also read this week that we as parents need to remember that our kids just want us to care. “You only have to care. Not only about them, but also about yourself. You cannot properly take care of your children or teach them how to be whole and happy people if you are miserable and harsh with yourself.”
So now some harsh reflection… I am AWFUL to myself sometimes!! In the last 14 days I have beaten myself up because I am not producing much milk. Well, I had twins at 29 weeks and my body has no idea what I’m asking it to do…. So I need to find a little grace for myself. On Sunday Pastor Jesse touched on this topic. Paraphrasing he said, “God told us to love thy neighbor as thyself… but some of you don’t treat yourself very nice so please don’t treat me the way you treat yourself.” What???? And even though this is the second commandment we somehow skip the part of loving thyself. I am in no ways meaning in a selfish way, but we treat our friends better than we treat ourselves. When was the last time you did something and complemented yourself? Or looked in the mirror and instead of focusing on the post-pregnancy bump, embraced it. If we are truly honest with ourselves we do talk to others better then we talk to ourselves.
The other part of Sunday’s sermon…. Don’t cross the street. If God has you going down a path and someone ends up on your sidewalk, don’t cross the street to get away from them. Embrace them and their situation. Embrace where they are at and bless them. If you can make someone's day better… then DO IT! And at a minimum pray for them.
These two things I pray for my girls: I pray that they grow up loving themselves and always be willing to help others around them. Knox and Lenox I pray you are the best of friends and always learn to lean on each other. I vow from this moment forward to be the best self I can be! I promise to use positive self-talk and use grace upon grace upon grace with you both and myself. I pray that you know your worth, you are child of God and loved by so many! I also pray that when someone else is in need you try to help, or at least pray for them. You both will do big things in this life. You already have. You have changed me.