Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome Home!

Ellis, Papa, and Grandma Krueger gave Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie a wonderful welcome home. They did all the finishing touches to get their nursery ready and the girls love their room.

Our "new normal" with Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie home is wonderfully busy. The spirit they bring into the home is truly a piece of heaven. We are so grateful for all the miracles that have taken place in anticipation of their arrival.

We are so grateful for family! Grandma and Papa Krueger are absolutely amazing and help take care of every detail. Ann-Marie and I are so appreciative for all their help.

Ellis and Papa bought a pink, purple, and yellow balloon as well as a Welcome Home balloon for the arrival of Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie.
Ellis made this welcome home note for his sisters

Ellis's first chance to see his sisters since they were born. Here he is looking at Annie.

Ellis and Ruthie

Ellis's first chance to see Gracie

One happy big brother!

Ellis often is asked "So how does it feel to have three sisters?!"

Ellis and Ruthie

Daddy catching his breath from bringing the girls in from the van as well as their monitors and oxygen tanks. Annie is in the car seat with the green cover, Gracie with the orange cover, and Ruthie in the pink cover.

Ellis holding Ruthie

Ellis and Ruthie

Annie and Gracie

Ellis and Gracie

Ann-Marie's cousin made these cute cookies that we gave to the nurses at the NICU to say thank you for all their help. Thanks, Kim!

Papa with Ruthie

Mommy, Annie, Gracie, and Ellis

Ellis received a lego set as a gift from his sisters

Annie and Gracie

Mommy and Annie

Grandma and Papa Krueger with Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie

Thanks to Grandma Krueger the girls had their toenails painted to help in remembering which one is which.

David and Karen's chance to see and hold the girls

Ruthie with her nails painted

Pink for Ruthie, yellow for Annie, and purple for Gracie

Ruthie, Gracie, and Annie in their new crib. Aunt Erica made them these fun blankets with their colors on one side and matching fabric on the other.

Ellis and Annie the following day

Ellis's first chance to feed Annie

Daddy burping Ruthie

Grandpa and Grandma Bott came up and filled their arms full of their granddaughters!

Ellis, Mommy, Grandpa Bott, Ruthie, Gracie, Daddy, and Grandma Bott

We had to use duct tape to make the little halos for the girls' heads in an effort to maintain round heads. Grandma Krueger made name tags in helping remember where the girls are in the crib (we've had to rotate them in the crib so they don't keep sleeping on the same side of their heads).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leaving the NICU!

Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie passed all the hurdles to get out of the NICU like little champions, so we packed up from the NICU (our second home for the last two months) and headed home!

On Monday, November 23rd we were able to leave, but it took until 6p to have everything ready. We had to get oxygen tanks exchanged and see the eye doctor before we could leave. The eye doctor has to check for ROP development in the eyes of preemies to see if there is any irregular growth that can lead to blindness. This was their third check-up and this time the doctor said their eyes had developed properly and gave them the OK to not need additional check-ups. We also had to take lots of pictures of course!

Two of our primary nurses, Vicki (left) and Mary (right). We wheeled the crib down to the eye doctor's office as it was much easier than carrying the car seats, oxygen, and monitors.

Vicki, Annie, Gracie, Ruthie, and Ann-Marie

Vicki with Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie. For the last two months Vicki has watched our girls everytime she's worked except for 2 or 3 days.

Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie getting excited to come home!

Ruthie, Gracie, and Annie ready to ride!

Let's go!

By policy the nurses are required to carry the patients to the door and into the car; and we were sure grateful for their help!

Alene (another primary nurse), Ann-Marie, and Vicki saying farewell

Happy to leave the NICU, sad to say good-bye to the many friends made while being there.

Ann-Marie's brother and his wife, David and Karen, let us borrow their van to bring the girls home in one vehicle (we still just have a four door sedan). Despite the roominess of the van, the car seats, oxygen equipment, and monitors still managed to fill up the available space.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

The day after Ann-Marie's birthday, Annie ate from Mommy about 125% of her regular feeding. The next day Ruthie did the same thing. Gracie that day ate 100% of her feeding. With this great news the nurses started talking to us about what we had left to accomplish before we could leave the NICU.

So the last few days we have been going through all the hurdles needed to pass to leave the NICU. We first went from 3-a-day feedings to 4-a-day feedings, which meant we were at the hospital almost the entire day. Then we had to do two back-to-back feedings in one day. Following that we had to do 12-hour on demand feeding (basically four back-to-back feedings). And finally we had to pass the "Rooming In" test where it's just Mom, Dad, Annie, Gracie, and Ruthie for 24 hours in our own private room at the hospital.

We are currently doing the 24-hour "Rooming In" step and so far the girls have done great. If all goes well today we will be bringing the girls home tomorrow!!!!!! If there are any issues we will bring them home in the next few days.

Being so close to coming home and the imminent craziness that will ensue with triplets, Ann-Marie and me have often felt like saying, "Let the Wild Rumpus Start" (from Where the Wild Things Are).

We have made some friends with the parents of other preemie babies and they have really helped make our long stays at the NICU more bearable. A few of their pictures are included below.

With the girls possibly coming home on Monday, the NICU doctors have asked us to please request no visitors at the house until H1N1, regular flu, and RSV season have passed. Due to the fact they are preemies, their immune system is not as strong as it would be if they were born full term and if they get sick during this winter, they will likely need to be hospitalized again. We look forward to when they are strong enough so others can come and visit. Thank you in advance for your understanding!!

We have witnessed so many miracles as we have made this journey through the NICU. Every day we can count them. Today's miracle is that all three are likely to go home the same day. The nurses and Neonatologists have commented multiple times how rare it is for triplets to all go home the same day.

We are so excited for them coming home. They will be coming home on oxygen and heart monitors. Hopefully they won't have to have them too long, it is based on the pediatrician's decision.

We are so thankful for Grandma and Papa Krueger for getting the nursery ready. The time for the girls to see their room is quickly approaching!

November 18th, the day Annie (on the left) ate 125% of her feeding.

This is Lily, the daughter of friend we made while in the NICU, Chely. She is exactly one day gestational age earlier than our girls and was born one day before our girls. We are scheduled to go home the same day from the NICU.

Tim (father), Amy (mother), and Ezra are other friends we made in the NICU.

We sure got a lot of comments when parents and nurses saw our three car seats stacked up in the nursery at the NICU:)

Gracie (left) and Ruthie (right)

Kandis (one of our primary nurses) came by to see our girls before they left the NICU. She's holding Annie.

Tawny, our nurse practitioner has watched over our girls for the entire two months we've been in the NICU.

Ann-Marie with Gracie on bath night which was Saturday night

Ann-Marie and Gracie with Kristy and Ruthie getting ready to bathe the two girls at the same time.

Ruthie (left) and Gracie (right) loved every minute of their nice warm bath

Nice and relaxed:)

This is Annie Miller, an Occupational Therapist at the NICU that was incredibly helpful in getting the ball rolling for us to come home.

Annie (left), Gracie (middle), and Ruthie (right) on Sunday

The girls' crib with oxygen tanks in the "Rooming In" room