Author: Lala
•Sunday, July 18, 2010
Having my Mom with us during these difficult time was one of the most wonderful blessing we've had. She literally saved many of my days. Eating was quite challenging for me while on bed rest at the hospital. Having the pleasure of Filipino foods for meals made me feel a lot better. I very much appreciate my Mom's emotional and physical support and company when even getting up from my bed and walking to the restroom was such a difficult task to do. She took care of me like when I was her little girl. I am so glad she could be here and celebrate with us the beautiful addition to our family. I couldn't ask for more. She is such one proud Lola Rose!

I have been blessed with so much love from people around me. Moms are especially amazing. Mom Ellen with Jenny and Leah, Carl's sister and niece, sent us a package of mom and baby stuffs. The text messages and phone calls from family, friends and the Relief Societies in our ward and their well wishes and support were uplifting. Grandma Helen and Aunt Nancy came to visit as well with Christopher and Marc, Carl's nephews. We as well received well wishes cards from Carl's nieces and nephews. My pregnancy was definitely not an easy one but the love of those of you and your prayers and support made things bearable.

I especially appareciate the love and support of my dear husband. He is amazing and wonderful. He was always beside me and provided the needed support and love and much more. Whether with combed or uncombed hair, swollen face and unshowered days, he still thought I was beautiful. I and our daughters are lucky and blessed to have him.

With my Mom one day after I deliver

Lola Rose with baby Mikelle

Taken after visiting the NICU

Package from Mom Ellen with books and others
(I already ate most of the chocolates but there were many in the package)
Author: Lala
•Sunday, July 18, 2010
Last night's visit at the NICU was a bit special because we were able to hold Mikelle in our arms. The nurse swaddled her in a blanket and put a cute little pink hat on her to keep her at a comfortable body temperature. It was an amazing feeling. With the yellow light off, we can now enjoy looking at her face without the eye patch. I especially love it when she looks at me when I speak. I used to sing the primary song "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" while they were still inside me and it is such  a wonderful feeling to be able to sing to them that song again now that I can see and hold them. I look forward to every visit to the NICU and hear about their progress. I think they are really cute and we feel really blessed to have them in our family. It was a special feeling to see Mikelle in his Dad's arms last night, that was precious. We are looking forward to be able to hold Rianne tonight. Here are some of the pictures that we took:

Mom and Dad holding baby Mikelle:



Baby Mikelle upclose:

Dad changing Rianne's diaper (we think it was her anyway):
Author: Lala
•Sunday, July 18, 2010
More updates from Lala (ghostwritten by Carl):

I'm home!  I came home from the hospital on Tuesday, and we're now getting into our routine of pumping and  visiting the hospital every day.  Since my daughters are in the NICU and I can't be there with them all the time, I'm happy I am making some progress in providing them their milk.  They are still getting amino acids, lipids, and sugars from their central line, but they have a feeding tube through which they are getting fortified milk.  They started out at one milliliter in eight hours, and have progressed to 2.6 mL per hour.  They are pretty similar in how much they are taking.  Both are back above their birth weight (Rianne by 20 grams or about 2%, Mikelle by 120 grams or about 11%).

I am really happy that I can eat the foods I like again (I just had fried fish and sinigang for lunch) and that I feel so much better and can move around and take the bus to the hospital.  Today I went to church and people were surprised that I was back already and in such good shape.

I'm really grateful for all of you who prayed and fasted for me and sent cards and things.

Here's a picture of me a day after the birth and me only three days later when I was recovering and finally put on normal clothes:

Here is Rianne and then Mikelle:

And here is Rianne showing what she thinks about the nurse's idea of lying there on her belly:

Author: Lala
•Monday, July 12, 2010
Ok, I realize it's time for some updates.

Lala is doing vastly better.  Friday was not a pleasant day for her, but by Saturday she was really starting to recover.  On Friday she had an alergic reaction to an antibiotic, and her face swelled up enough that she could barely see.  Meanwhile, her blood pressure continued to be problematic.

That night she had a nurse that she really liked.  She told the nurse that she couldn't sleep with the cuffs squeezing her legs every few minutes, and the constant blood pressure monitoring was stressing her out.  The nurse stopped both of those (and had her do some walking instead of the leg cuffs), and also started her pumping.  Saturday she was rested, accomplishing something with the pumping, and the blood pressure medication was helping.  That day she got to see her babies for the first time (prior post).  Sunday, Lala put on some normal clothes and combed out her hair and began to really feel human.  Today, Monday, she's been walking to the NICU, she filled out birth certificate forms, and she should go home tomorrow.  Her mom has been staying here at the hospital the past few nights.

The babies are doing great.  They haven't needed surfactant, and their lung prognosis is officially "excellent".  They had a normal ultrasound of their brains this morning.  They are strong and like to kick their legs out and move around and generally make diaper changes and things more difficult.  But that's obviously good.  I think I've seen both of them sucking hard on pacifiers.  It seems like Mikelle is a bit more content to lie in the little containment beds they make for them, whereas Rianne tends to get her arms and legs out and not stay put.  The other day she had her rear sticking out over the wall of her bed!  Lala was saying that she's the one who's going to go to rallies with me.  I told her that Rianne and I would go to Def Leppard concerts, while she'd go to Celine Dion concerts with Mikelle.  We'll see!
Author: Lala
•Saturday, July 10, 2010
Rianne, above.
Then Mikelle.
Author: Lala
•Friday, July 09, 2010
I (Carl) left the hospital to go home and rest about 10:30, while Lala's mom stayed overnight (since we now have a private room on the delivery floor).  By the time I talked to her in the morning, she had had major problems with high blood pressure (and consequently vision abnormalities), she didn't sleep all night, the incision hurt, and she and her mom were both upset (contributing to the high blood pressure).

She sent her mom home as soon as I got in, both so that they could both sleep, and so they wouldn't make each other worried and stressed about each other.  Lala was happy to see me, and managed to calm down and rest while I found some relaxing music on the Church web site.  The nurse also gave her some medicine to lower the blood pressure.  All of that brought it down dramatically, from jaw-dropping to just fine.

She had a little food this morning, and she's off the magnesium sulfate.  If we can keep her blood pressure ok, we can go visit the kids soon, and she can be moved off of the post-op floor to a normal room.
Author: Lala
•Friday, July 09, 2010
Here are some pictures of Rianne on Thursday night (1 day born, 30w2d gestation):
That's the nurse's hand there.

Below, this is her under the phototherapy lights:
And now for some photos of Mikelle:
That's my (Carl's) hand for reference.  The tubes and wrappings and things might look scary, but I think the babies just want to be cocooned anyway.  The tubes and wires are keeping them monitored and fed, and I certainly feel better with all of those acoutrements there than I would without.  It helps knowing that the babies aren't so much sick (so far!), as just immature.
Author: Lala
•Thursday, July 08, 2010
We'd like to introduce you to our children.  Baby A, shown here in the OR minutes after birth, is named Mikelle Abril Sorenson.

Baby B, shown below shortly after, is Rianne Abril Sorenson.
The babies were born at 1554 on July 7, 2010 at Fairfax Hospital.

You can click on the pictures to see them at full size. I know this isn't much of a picture of Rianne, but I'll post more soon.
Author: Lala
•Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I will try to post more tomorrow, but here's a little for now.  I just got home from the hospital about 10 pm to get some rest.  

The babies were born this afternoon due to Lala's severe preeclampsia.  In the OR, the babies seemed to be in better shape than she was.  It has been taking some time for Lala to really stabilize (blood volume and pressure, electrolytes), but she's getting better.  Her kidneys are functioning, whereas they were not doing anything for a little while there, because the blood volume was low because fluid was leaking out into her tissues.  They needed to get the sodium up, the potassium down, and avoid pulmonary edema.  They're making progress.  For a while she was at risk of seizure.

They have kept her in the post-op recovery area for a while so they can monitor her closely, but they should give her a room tonight.  Her mom and I will be back in the morning.
Author: Lala
•Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Baby A - 1120 grams (Lala edit: 2 lbs, 8 oz.)
Baby B - 1110 grams (Lala edit: 2lbs, 7 oz.)

More info to follow.
Author: Lala
•Friday, July 02, 2010
(Friday afternoon update from Carl, plus evening update from Lala.)

So, Lala officially has preeclampsia, which they are watching closely.  There were 7 grams of protein in her urine in the 24-hour urine sample, so the doctor said that was her "ticket" for staying in the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy.

I talked to our doctor this afternoon, and she said that the blood pressure is elevated, but not apparently severe, and the blood chemistry doesn't look too bad.  They are going to watch the blood pressure very closely, and also look for signs of liver dysfunction or further kidney dysfunction.  At any point they could get a reading that says, "Operate now!" and they'll do it.  However, the doctor hopes they can go as long as a few more weeks.

Since I can't just take all of the next month off of work, I'm trying to get hours in day by day as I can.  That's difficult because the main thing on my list is to do two major site conversions/moves, which are kind of all or nothing.  But I think I have the easier job compared to Lala.

We have had lots of support and well-wishes.  The Relief Society President and her husband came over last night, and he helped me with a blessing.  We got an extensive care package from my family yesterday, and our Netflix DVD this morning.  Between cell phones and WiFi we are keeping sane and in communication, and with buses, trains, and cars, are keeping mobile (for me and my mother in law).

I think it is very good for Lala to have her mom here.  I must admit I'm kind of glad that I can focus on computer stuff and budgeting while someone else figures out how to cook cassava and things.  It is nice that her mom can keep her company when I'm not around.

They hook me up to the Stress test and Contraction monitoring apparatus every morning  for almost an hour. Routine includes Blood Pressure reading and babies' heartbeats monotoring 5 times/day, daily urine test, weight gain, bloodworks, ultrasound 3 times/week, medications and vitamin and daily visits from the Resident Doctor, my OB, and the High Risk Doctor. 

My best friend Pops came to visit me with David and brought some Filipino food.
My swollen left hand from being hooked up to IV
With internet connection available, Carl works from the hospital sometimes.
Author: Lala
•Thursday, July 01, 2010
(This post was started by Lala on Wednesday, and completed now.  I'll post an update after this one - Carl.)

I woke up Monday morning at two with a contraction and immediately went and emptied my bladder, drank water and lied down on my side. After 10 minutes, I had another contraction and decided to start recording them which followed by two more contractions that were 10 minutes apart. It was then followed by 5 more contractions that were 5 minutes apart. We decided to call the doctor and I was told to drink more water which I had already been doing, continue lying on my back and see what happens for another 30 minutes or so. We continued with the log and had more frequent contractions that were 5 to 3 minutes apart and so we decided to drive to the hospital. After filling out some papers, we were directed to Labor and Delivery Triage, where they hooked up sensors to watch the contractions and the babies' heartbeats. The babies were good but I was having contractions that were 2 minutes apart. A doctor came to check my cervix and the good news was that it was still closed. I was then given a shot called terbutaline to stop contractions and relax uterine muscles. That worked for almost 16 hours, and then I had another shot when the contractions started again. They as well continued monitoring my blood pressure which was initially high and periodically did urine screening for possible presence of protein.

The doctor told me that I had some protein in my urine. When protein is found in the urine, it can indicate that there is some sort of a problem going on with the kidneys. Along with other symptoms, high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine indicate pre-eclampsia.  They admitted me for at least 24 hours of observation.