Author: Lala
•Saturday, September 25, 2010
Yes, it is sometimes pretty tiring having two babies at home to take care of but they can be pretty entertaining too. Having to wake up a number of times during the night for feeding, changing diapers, or to calm crying babies is not very fun but seeing their smiles and eyes staring at me is all worth it. I love having our babies at home. It is so much fun and rewarding to be close to them at any time. I pretty much enjoy not wearing a yellow gown anymore (we did during Rianne's stay in the NICU because she had an infection). I especially love having them by each other and watch them interact. I am glad I caught this on cam to share with you.

Mikelle loves her pacifier..and I am sure she loves (or will love) her sister too. Sometimes, she just is having a hard time telling them apart.

She eventually started sucking on Rianne's little finger. Below, Mikelle is trying to get the pacifier back into her mouth. Please don't hate us for laughing while taking this video - she was immediately fed afterward.

Author: Lala
•Thursday, September 23, 2010
We've had the girls home for 11 days and 16 days, and they've each had at least one pediatrician appointment and a visit to the pulmonologist.

These girls are doing quite well and growing and changing.  Remember how we said that Mikelle just looked around the room when she got hungry?  Well, she turned into a little rooting piglet.  By the end of her hospital stay she apparently was waking up a half hour before feeding time, screaming.  The discharge instructions were to give her 60 mL of food every three hours, but we quickly raised it to 110 to 140.  It wasn't too complicated: baby cries, we give food, she stops crying.  She was obsessed with food - when I give her the first 60 of a feeding and put her down to get more, she screamed bloody murder because she was still hungry.  She's calmed down a bit, but she was pretty funny making noises and rooting around for the bottle. 

Rianne hasn't been so vocal, but her feeds were quickly increased from 50 (discharge instructions) to 70-110.  Rianne has had more trouble eating (choking and spitting up), which I long suspected was due to the fact that she wasn't getting thickened milk like Mikelle.  The pulmonologist today said he thought the same and we should go ahead and try the thickener.  Lala reports that she isn't dribbling so much during feeds already.

Apparently a lot of the bradycardia spells that the monitor picked up where essentially spurious.  Mikelle's record was just fine, and Rianne's was pretty much ok.  So we can take the monitor off when they're up and we're with them (for feedings, for example), since the monitor won't tell us anything that our eyes can't.  That will be kind of nice.

The doctor also said that there is zero concern about them eating too much.  The more calories, the better.  They are supposed to gain about 30 grams per day (that's about an ounce).  They've been gaining a little more than that: 400-500 grams since they came home.  Mikelle is nearly 3 kg (6lbs 5oz) at this point, and Rianne as always is a few hundred grams less at 2.6 kg (5lbs 13oz).

Here is some of Mikelle and Rianne's bonding moments.

Author: Lala
•Tuesday, September 14, 2010
As you can imagine, it's been busy here.  We've finally managed to get this video out.  Here it is in three parts. (I do call her Rianne in the first few seconds - it just sounds like Riannah on the recording for some reason.)

Author: Lala
•Sunday, September 12, 2010
Rianne kept us both up until about 3 AM last night, but we eventually figured out she was just very hungry. The amounts she'd been getting (60-70 mL every three hours) were not enough anymore.

After getting some sleep this morning, I (Carl) went to the hospital and got Mikelle. She got home about 3 PM, and was finally reunited with her sister after more than two months. We aren't sure if they really remember each other, but they did seem to find another baby interesting.

The beautiful and talented Lala made the following montage of our journey to this point. Tomorrow we'll post the full video of the sisters' reunion.

(I suggested that we use "Over My Head" by Lit as the song for this, but Lala said no for some reason.)
Author: Lala
•Saturday, September 11, 2010
After two long months in the hospital, Rianne is finally home! She was discharged on the 7th of September, Tuesday at 3:30 in the afternoon. She was sent home on an apnea monitor because of some brief, recurring problems with her heart rate (which should clear up with more time). She weighs 4lbs 10oz (2105 grams). She is on acid reflux medication as well.

Before they send her home, Rianne had to pass the car seat challenge. She was put on the car seat, and watched to see if she could maintain her heart rate and breathing at normal levels for 90 minutes. Babies that fail the test are sent home in a car bed. Here is a part of the video of her car seat challenge and some pictures:

The car seat challenge. Vitals are being monitored closely.

Rianne cuddling with Dad after her last feeding at the hospital

Rianne with her apnea monitor

Rianne is finally home

 Rianne and Mom after her first pediatrician appointment
Author: Lala
•Monday, September 06, 2010
(From Carl)

So ever since we had two kids, we've had much more leisurely and fun-filled days.  Really.

Obviously that's because we have some highly-paid people to take care of them night and day, and Lala's no longer pregnant and sick.  She had a pretty rough time for nearly the whole first half of the year.  Given that, and because we know that having the babies at home will be very demanding on our time and energy for a long time, we've been making a point of going out and doing fun stuff as much as we can.  We're not naturally high-energy people, so our fun days may see pretty tame, but we're keeping quite busy by our reckoning.

We figured that Saturday the 28th would be our last Saturday, so we went to DC and saw the new exhibit at the Natural History Museum about human origins (which I'd been wanting to see).  Then we took Fairfax Connector route 505 to Reston where they had a Beatles impersonation band playing that night.  Lala really liked that concert.  We've been going out to restaurants a lot (partly for fun and partly for convenience and because we're out a lot).

This past Saturday  we thought we might have Rianne come home, but that morning she had a little spell. So that afternoon while Lala rested I ran errands (four short bus trips in 2.5 hours and a ton of walking or even running between stores).  Then we went to a party and talked to people for several hours.  Yesterday Lala's friend Christine came over for a while (which I think was good for both of them).

Today we did some cleaning and rearranging, visited the hospital, and then from that area took the train over one stop to Vienna, where we walked to Nottoway Park.  Lala wasn't really feeling great, but she pushed through enough for a lot of walking.  We rested on the grass under a perfect sky, then set up the badminton set she got for Christmas.  It was the first time we'd actually set up the net, because of all the things going on.

She's been resting this evening (she's sound asleep right now), and I treated myself to one more green curry dish at the restaurant here by our apartment.  On the way back I was really dragging because my feet and legs are so tired.

The reason we've been doing so much today is that this afternoon the doctor told us that if Rianne behaves tonight, she'll be out the door in the morning (Mikelle may or may not follow a few days later). This afternoon  may have been our last chance for badminton of the season, for all we knew.

If Rianne comes home in the morning, I will probably not be going in to work at all this week.  This whole pregnancy and birth and such really leaves things uncertain, so I'm glad that I have a very flexible job.
Author: Lala
•Friday, September 03, 2010
(From Carl)

"Congratulations, Rianne, on hitting the big two kilogram mark! Now you know that if you ever get in a fight with a two-liter pop bottle, at least you'll be evenly matched!"
Author: Lala
•Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Both Mikelle and Rianne still drop their heart rates and oxygen levels once in a while, so the doctors are keeping them in the hospital for now. The doctors put them on acid reflux medications hoping to help lessen if not eliminate heart rate drops. They are considering of sending them home with apnea monitors. They both are gaining weight. Mikelle is now 5lbs 1oz (2275 grams) and Rianne is 4lbs 4oz (1930 grams). Both passed their hearing tests. They are now 38 weeks gestation, 8 weeks old today. I love visiting them everyday to feed them and do the routine of taking body temperatures, changing diapers and of course cuddling and singing to them. We get to give them baths sometimes as well. I can't wait and I'm looking forward to finally have them home.

Our babies love to make faces, mostly before and after feeding. We tried to catch them on camera. Rianne is in isolation and it is not very easy to take videos. I promise to get some more videos of her to share.

This is Mikelle before bath. Pacifier helps calm her down.

This is Mikelle after her bath and ready for her food.
She normally wakes up 10 minutes before her feeding schedule and does a little crying.
The nurse was warming her milk and so she had to wait a little while. This is her hungry-look.

This is Dad feeding Mikelle.

This is Rianne crying for food. She normally wakes up 15 to 20 minutes before
her feeding schedule. She does know how to tell us that she needs food.