Author: Lala
•Thursday, August 26, 2010
So it's now a waiting game: the babies are eating fine and doing everything they should, except sometimes they drop their heart rates.  Once they aren't doing that any more, they come home. Mikelle is over 2100 grams, and Rianne is under 1800 still. They are both in an open crib.

Lala's been going in and getting them used to nursing.  They don't have enough energy to get very much of their food that way yet, but sometimes they get 10 or 15 milliliters.  The total feeding is about 40-60, every three hours.

They definitely have different personalities.  When Rianne is hungry, she lets you know.  Mikelle usually just looks around when she's awake.

These posters were made by the nurses in the NICU. We think Rianne's expression here is pretty entertaining. It was before her feeding, so we think that's what was on her mind.

Author: Lala
•Monday, August 16, 2010
We are glad that Mom Ellen came last week from Chicago to visit us and meet the girls. She came at a perfect time since the day after she left, the NICU implemented a new rule that no one would be allowed to visit the babies but the parents alone. That is for additional health safety precautions following incident of MRSA infection in one of the NICU's room.

Here are Grandma Ellen's bonding moments with Rianne:

 Very precious...

 Isolette and equipments for monitoring heart rate, oxygen saturation (level), body temperature, lung capacity and others.

 Sleepy Rianne

 Inside the isolette 

Dad and Rianne holding hands

And below is Dad feeding Mikelle.

Author: Lala
•Thursday, August 12, 2010
Mom (Ellen) Sorenson flew from Illinois to see our girls last Wednesday. We were so happy to find out that both of our babies were moved to the Intermediate Room 200 that day. Babies that are well and are close to going home are transferred into this room from the NICU. Both Mikelle and Rianne are off of the nasal cannula and didn't need breathing support anymore. Though I was happy to know that they were both feeding by mouth now, I was thankful that they put Rianne's feeding tube back in. Feeding by mouth/bottle alone is pretty exhausting for them. I felt really bad to stimulate Rianne and wake her up many times when I fed her the other day. She looked so tired and kept her eyes closed, panted and rested a number of times while she finished 25ml of milk. I am hoping that with the feeding tube back in, she will be able to gain more weight and have some more rest.

Mikelle was alert and ready to eat when we came. I fed and held Mikelle and Grandma Ellen held Rianne. Mikelle now weighs around 4 lbs and Rianne is a little behind at 3lbs, 6oz. Today, the lactation consultant came to teach me how to nurse both our girls. It was very precious, I loved and enjoyed it. Having them so close to me and be able to provide food for them is such a very special experience. Erin, the lactation consultant, was surprised to see how good our girls were at nursing. "Most babies don't do this good", she said. They both latched, sucked hard and swallowed some milk on their first try. After a few minutes, they were tired and so we bottle fed them. We met with LaToya, PT, as well. We learned how to properly secure and hold our babies for tummy time and burping. It was a little intimidating and scary since they were very little and fragile. We are now expected to be more involved with our babies in taking their temperatures, changing diapers, feeding, burping, and giving them a bath. I really liked being able to participate and gain confidence in taking care of them as a preparation for their coming home. The Nurse Practitioner told me that they might probably be home before the end of the month, that is if everything goes well.

We are glad that Grandma Ellen can come for a visit and meet the girls. Here are some of their pictures:

 MIKELLE'S Pictures:

Mikelle with Dad and Grandma Ellen

Mikelle's first ribbon, her nurse made this cute ribbon

Mikelle with her cute eyes and dimple

Mikelle got tired after feeding

Grandma Ellen changing Mikelle's diaper

RIANNE'S Pictures:

Rianne's first ribbon

Grandma Ellen's visit with Rianne. (Better and more pictures to follow)

Now with Mikelle and Rianne together, can you tell who's who?


Author: Lala
•Sunday, August 08, 2010
(From Carl)
The Bible says that we love God because he first loved us.  I think that a similar dynamic works in relationships.  When I look at this woman, who has set aside so much so that she can focus on raising a family with me, it makes me want to work very hard to make sure she is glad she made that decision.  Lala has left her family and native land to stay with me.  She is quick to extend an olive branch and continually serves me and our daughers.  She is beautiful and pleasant and good.

While I knew that quick romances can be risky, we were able to see a lot of the things we liked and didn't like fairly clearly during our short time dating before we got married.  We could see things in the relationships of people around us that we talked about, and I could tell that we had the same ideals and goals for a spouse and a life.  We are well suited for each other.  Now that we have been married one year, our love is much deeper and stems from shared experiences that provide a foundation of trust and appreciation.

Lala, I love you and your willingness to take a chance on me.  You are the one for me, always.
Author: Lala
•Sunday, August 08, 2010
Our girls are definitely thriving! Mikelle is off the cannula since yesterday. She weighed 1840 grams (about 4lbs, 1oz). Rianne is a little behind at 1459 grams (about 3lbs, 4oz). They are both feeding by bottle and are doing great with it. I always look forward to feeding and cuddling them. Carl did his first bottle feeding with Rianne yesterday. 

 Here are some of Mikelle's pictures:

Mikelle didn't like the flashing light from the camera

And here are Rianne's: With her cute hand.

Like her sister, Rianne did not like the flashing light as well.

Dad holding Rianne after bottle feeding.


A chubbier Rianne.
Author: Lala
•Friday, August 06, 2010
This was Lala's first time bottle feeding Mikelle, taken a week or two ago.  She's had a feeding tube almost from the minute she was born, but they have been introducing the babies to the whole suck-swallow-breathe routine.  Our daughters are very good at this, and have generally drained the bottles of the tiny amounts (5-10 mL) within minutes.

This collage was put together by the nurses at the NICU, who also took the pictures.
Author: Lala
•Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Here are a few pictures of Rianne.  They aren't very high quality, as we are discovering that my Blackberry is wholely inadequate as a camera, and we didn't have Lala's phone with us. 
Author: Lala
•Sunday, August 01, 2010
(Update from Carl)

We'll post more info and some pictures in a bit.  Here's how everyone's been doing, for now.  About a week and a half ago, Rianne developed an infection.  She was lethargic (no crying when they poked her for a blood sample) and had bradycardia spells (heart rate low).  Those are common in preemies, but if there are a lot that's not good and can indicate a problem.  Once she was on antibiotics for a few hours, she started getting better, though.  She's been doing fine ever since.  It was pretty scary for Lala, though.  Mikelle had some brady spells yesterday, but they cleared up and she didn't seem to have an infection.

Both have hit some milestones.  Rianne is off the nasal cannula, so she's breathing room air (or more accurately, isolette air).  She has occasional spells, so she's not totally ready to breath, but she's doing a pretty good job.  Mikelle was put in an open crib for a while.  She did not succeed in keeping warm enough, so they put her back in an isolette, but that's not uncommon.  It's progress that she made it to that point, even if she isn't quite ready yet.

Mikelle is over 1500 grams (136% of her birth weight) and Rianne is over 1400 (126% birth weight). Mikelle is getting 8 milliliters per hour through her tube, and Rianne is getting 5.5.  She is a bit behind in that and in weight because they stopped the feedings for a few days when she got the infection.  Lala has fed both babies with a bottle (small amounts - less than 10 milliliters).  She reports that they are good at burping.  I can say that they've been trying to suck since they were born, so I'm not surprised that they've done a good job with the feedings.