Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Holding the babies!

On Monday the 28th the doctor allowed one of us to hold each of our little babies! Ann-Marie first held Gracie and I held Ruthie and then Ann-Marie held Annie.

Gracie and Ruthie still had the CPAP on, so it's difficult to see what they look like. However, Annie was off the CPAP so we got some good pictures of her face (she did have a little positioning tape on her nose for the CPAP-that was left on because it's a little painful to remove-which you will see in the picture).

Near the end of the day, the respiratory therapist decided to take Gracie off the CPAP for a little while and he took the positioning tape off her nose so you get a good look at her face. Her head, however, being so soft is a little flat on one side which is very common with babies this early. All the nurses need to do to avoid round out the head is rotate the babies.

On some of the pictures we included colored tape to help remind us which baby, this one is pink for Ruthie. Annie's color is Green and Gracie's is purple.
One happy daddy with his three wrist bands, one for each daughter

Ann-Marie anxiously awaiting the opportunity to hold Gracie, her first time!

Gracie in mommy's arms (CPAP is covering face)

A mother's heart

Gracie learning about her big brother Ellis from a mommy who's waited a long time to hold her and tell her how happy she is to have her in the family.

Mommy with Gracie (you'll notice AM's three pink wristbands as well)

Yeah!!! Gracie was so happy in her Mommy's arms

Daddy gets to hold Ruthie (Ruthie also is wearing the CPAP)

Ruthie is so much fun to hold!

Ruthie next to Daddy's Blackberry

Ruthie didn't make a peep the whole time I held her

Just measuring the foot (Ann-Marie's hand)

Annie (notice no CPAP, but she does have the positioning tape) is getting ready to be held

Annie often opens her eyes, to the surprise of us and the nurses, most 29 weekers are not opening their eyes; but Annie has done this from day 1.

Annie all bundled up comfortably!

Mommy and Daddy with Annie

Annie gets her turn with the sign as well. She opened up both eyes for the occasion and even appeared to be looking at Ann-Marie

Gracie even opened an eye to keep an eye on things!

Gracie's head is not quite round in this picture. The nurses just keep rotating her (and all the premie babies) and in the end they have nice round heads.

Everyone is doing well!

This is Erica, Ann-Marie's sister. I thought I would do a little update, since Ann-Marie and Anthony have been too busy or too tired to post. But we want to keep everyone informed of progress and what is going on. First of all, we appreciate so much everyone's prayers. We know it is because of your prayers and faith that so many miracles have occurred in the lives of Annie, Gracie, Ruthie, Ann-Marie, Anthony, Ellis, and others.

Ann-Marie was discharged from the hospital last night. She is doing very, very well. She walks around and has been able to spend more and more time up on her feet. I am absolutely impressed. So far she has been able to provide enough breast milk for all three girls. What a wonderful blessing! We pray that the milk supply continues to increase as the babies grow. This is a big sacrifice--but worth it--as she has to pump every 2-3 hours, night and day. So between going up to the NICU as often as they can and pumping, we can see how exhausting each day already is.

Ann-Marie and Anthony have been going up to the NICU for every (or at least almost every) feeding (even in the middle of the night). The nurses try to keep the girls on a schedule, because we want the babies to have as much deep, uninterrupted sleep as possible since that is when they grow. They feed them every three hours, starting at 7:00 am (7:00, 10:00, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, etc). During the feedings they get diaper changes, mouths swabbed out if needed, and are able to be touched. They get baths once a day, I believe in the evening feeding. To give the babies a bath, they use one cotton ball per body part (so they go through lots of cotton balls) and use water only. If it is not a feeding time and if they baby is asleep, no one should touch the baby.

Because the babies' nervous systems are still immature, we are careful how we touch the babies. No rubbing, but rather firm presses. It helps them feel secure. Their ears also haven't completely matured, so they don't filter out the noise like we do. They hear everything in the room the same (like for us, we can filter out background noise). So we try not to talk too loud and are sensitive to that. Their eyelids are also very thin, so they have a little cover for their eyes and also the nurses often cover their beds with a blanket or two when they're sleeping to keep the light out.

One thing I have learned is that these babies may be identical in their genetic makeup, but they are anything but identical. They are each so unique, and their personalities are already coming through. Amazing to see! I realized yesterday that I will never again compare them to each other. They are as unique and individual as Ann-Marie and I are, but they just happened to be born one minute apart from each other. They are fighters! Each has her own challenges right now. It is hard to watch their little bodies working so hard to grow and develop. But they're doing it! And we are so proud of them. Their bodies may be tiny, but their spirits are giants. We pray for them, each of them, and for Ann-Marie and Anthony and Ellis. They still need our prayers. We have seen miracles with these babies and with Ann-Marie. They are thriving. And we attribute it to the many prayers and faith of each of you. Thank you! We are grateful for the fantastic medical care they are receiving from very competent and well-qualified and prepared professionals. We will try to keep you updated (with pictures too) as often as we can, hopefully at least daily. On behalf of the Botts, we say thank you and we love you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Days 2 and 3 in the NICU (Sep 26 and 27)

With the flu season coming and H1N1 looming near the NICU has buckled down on visitors. The NICU only allows me and Ann-Marie and four visitors to see the triplets. We asked family that was close and able to visit the babies regularly to be our four visitors (Ann-Marie’s parents, Carissa Bott Briggs and Erica Krueger Groneman). So we are grateful for this blog that allows everyone to see pictures of the triplets since they will probably be in the NICU for two months and then in “quarantine care” at home until the flu season is over.

We're having a great time talking to the nurses about these special girls. The nurses are so surprised how the lab results on the triplets' blood samples are nearly identical. All three were slightly low in the same areas and slightly high in others (all three were slightly high in potassium for example). The nurses are now getting used to what happens to one usually happens to the other two. On Sunday, for example, the doctors checked for jaundice. Sure enough, all three showed small signs of jaundice at the same time and so now they are all under the light to help remove the jaundice.

We enjoy getting to tell the story to the nurses and others that we’ve shared on this blog of how these little angels came to be. When we tell people who have teenage children we often hear “Wait tell they’re sixteen and all wanting to drive”, or “Hopefully they all get asked to the Prom so one doesn’t get left out” etc. Who knows how it will be, but it’s fun to think about how their lives will be; we are sure excited to see them grow up and interact with our family and all of you. Thanks for sharing in with us and these little miracles!

Grandma and Papa Krueger visiting their three granddaughters on their birth day
Ellis in Ann-Marie's hospital room shortly after seeing his sisters for the first time

Ultrasound checking for Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) which is a condition for premies where blood is getting in the lungs. Ruthie had this so they put the CPAP on her. Annie and Gracie already had the CPAP on and didn't show any signs of it.

The machine used to check for Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Ann-Marie rotating the little one

Ruthie and Mommy

Mommy comforting Gracie

Ruthie's new name tag and cute foot!

Gracie's new name tag

Annie's new name tag


Aunt Erica seeing her new nieces

Aunt Carissa seeing her new nieces

Way to go Ruthie! Bowel systems on all three are working just fine

Ann-Marie checking Gracie's temperature with a thermometer placed in Gracie's armpit (temperature is checked every 6 hours)

Carissa and Ann-Marie held Ruthie a lot on Saturday to comfort her

Ann-Marie helping reposition Ruthie

Carissa with Annie

Carissa changing Annie's diaper

Carissa with Annie


Ruthie getting an X-ray to check for positioning of PICC line

Annie measured by Carissa's arm and hand

Carissa comforting Annie

Carissa and Annie

Mommy, Carissa, and Ruthie

Mommy and Ruthie

Mommy and Gracie

Gracie (eyes covered to help eye development and CPAP puffing air into Gracie's lungs)

Mommy and Ruthie

Mommy and Annie

Mommy with her three wrist bands for her three daughers. Hand placed on Annie

Annie under spot light (helps to remove jaundice)


Checking temperature

Diaper change (every three hours)