Monday, October 25, 2010

Brenna's tube is out...time for Paci!

Some new pics of the girls!


Greetings from the NICU. Well, here we are almost 8 weeks in. It seems like every day this week has been a day we have some laughs, shed some tears, and then start all over again. The girls continue to amaze, delight, confuse, worry, (and any other verb you want to throw in there) us, but every day we learn something new about who they are. 

We had a long week with Brenna.  Recovery from her PDA ligation has taken a little longer than we had anticipated. She hasn’t been herself; very swollen, easily agitated, and overall just not a happy camper. As if trying to recover from surgery wasn’t bad enough, the doctors discovered a small stress fracture in her left arm, just above the wrist. Babies usually get most of their calcium in the third trimesters, which we missed. And whatever she did get, she had to split three ways with her sisters. They have bumped up her calcium, and we just need to let it heal. The fractured wrist pared with the vent tube down her throat may explain why she’s been so cranky. Much to the relief of her mommy and daddy, her vent tube came out Saturday morning and she is back on Vapotherm (nose prongs) like her sisters. The first 3 hours we weren’t sure she was going to stay on it for long with some high CO2 levels, but we just needed to give her some time to adjust. Her color is looking very good, she’s tipping the scales at 3lbs 2oz,  and there is a night and day difference in her attitude. She seems like our sweet little Brenna again, we missed our little girl.  While she seems to be feeling okay, we've learned there may be some other issues that mis Brenna may be struggling with.  On Sunday, some routine tests came back and they suggested she may be getting an infection (a very scary word for such a little baby).  Preliminary cultures of her spinal fluid came back normal however we are still waiting for the blood and urine results.  Additionally, Brenna's tummy turned bright red early Monday morning.  X-rays were ordered and it appears her intestines aren't very happy right now.  We pray this isn't a return of her earlier stomach issues.  So again, Brenna has had the small amount of milk she was getting taken away until we can figure out what is going on.  Please pray for our tough little girl.  She has had to (and continues to) deal with far more than she deserves and mommy and daddy just want her to get a break from all the surgeries and illnesses so she can catch up with her sisters.  We will keep you posted on what we find out.  This tiny baby is absolutely amazing.

Brenna, now without vent tube!
I don’t know what to say about Anna and Lucy except WOW! During some of our conversations with nurses last week, it’s become apparent they are not acting like typical 25 week babies. Both girls have grown so much in such a short amount of time. Typically, once they hit 3lbs and are able to hold their body temperatures stable, they can move to cribs. Anna is weighing in at 3lbs even, Lucy at 2lbs 14, so they are both getting close. We’ve been dressing them in layers, and steadily decreasing the temperature in their beds to prepare them for jailbreak. Both girls are doing very well on their respiratory as well as feedings. Lucy has been given the go ahead to start nuzzling with Mommy to simulate breastfeeding, and so far she has done very well with it. She may have accidently got some of the “real deal” the other day. Feeding can be an issue with micro-preemie babies, so to see her interested already is a step in the right direction.
That’s where we stand for now. As always, all of your prayers are appreciated. Every time we sit down to write, something else comes up, so apologies on the gap between updates. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day between diapers, feedings, doctors and everything else that goes on here. Until next time, God Bless.

In His name,
Brad, Angie, Anna, Brenna, and Lucy Kamps

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surgery Update 10.12.10

Brenna had her PDA ligation surgery yesterday.  Everything went well although there was a little extra "oozing" at the site that they need to keep an eye on.  She was completely out of it all day yesterday but has started opening her eyes and looking around now.  She is one puffy little girl right now but the swelling should go down in a few days.  We are grateful that everything appears to have gone okay and we look forward to her catching up with her sisters now that the problem is fixed.  We are continually amazed at her strength...she has endured 3 surgeries in the first 6 weeks of her life!  What a little trooper we have in Brenna.  She makes her mommy and daddy very proud! Okay, off to do diaper changes...good night and God bless!

Brad, Angie, Lucy, Anna, and Brenna

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Pumpkin Time!

We decided to play dress up this morning with the help of nurses Steph and Anna...Here are a few pics from the photoshoot. Miss Brenna was a wee bit sleepy as you can see from the pics. Anna was her mellow self while Miss Lucy apparently had a lot to say! Enjoy!
On the left Brenna, on the right Anna...all is quiet.

The trio is complete.  Lucy is telling a tall tale to her sisters (from Left to Right: Lucy, Brenna, Anna)

The excitement builds...

Anna trying to look interested in her sister's story, Brenna is not impressed.

Is anybody listening to me???

Update 10.10.2010

Greetings from the NICU. Short update today. Overall it has been a pretty good weekend in the NICU. The girls are really starting to show their personalities now that they are getting bigger. Lucy is turning out to be quite the little jabber box, she always has something to say. Brenna is our little sweetie who takes things as they come, and never gets too upset about anything. Anna is our little thinker, always looking right at you with a studious look on her face. It's amazing how different they are at such a young age. They are also finally starting to put on some weight. Brenna is leading the pack at 2lbs 7oz, followed by Anna at 2lbs 5oz, and Lucy holding at 2lbs 4oz.

It was a a bittersweet day Friday. Our friends Ryan and Denielle got to take their two little boys, James and Joseph, home. It was hard to see them go, but we are so happy they were able to get their lives started as a family. We look forward to hearing from them with updates on their two little ones. We wish them all the best. Please keep them in your prayers as they start raising their boys.

As this week starts, it's going to include another surgery for Brenna. She had to move back to the vent this weekend after the doctors determined her heart valve is going to need to be closed. This is the same surgery her sisters had shortly after they were born. It's a fairly straight forward procedure, but it is invasive surgery none the less. Prayers are appreciated. Hopefully this is the last surgery for our little Brenna for a while.

We'd also like to congratulate Angie's cousin Ryan and his new wife Kayla. They were married on Saturday and we would like to say thank you for taking a moment on your day to remember our girls in the NICU. The prayer during the ceremony meant the world to us. If you heard sniffling in the back row, it was us. :)

We know Halloween is a few weeks away, but we thought we'd end this with something that made us smile, we hope it makes you smile too.

In His name,

Brad, Angie, Anna, Brenna, and Lucy Kamps

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10.6.10 Update

Greetings from the NICU. The girls are 5 weeks old today. Overall, our peanuts have been doing pretty well, but with each little victory, comes another challenge. But progress is progress and we’ll take it any way we can get it. It’s one day closer to going home.

Friday brought more surgery for Brenna. She had a reservoir inserted under the skin on her scalp to help make draining the fluid in her head easier for the neurosurgeon. Now instead of having to go through the brain, he is able to insert the needle through the skin to withdraw the excess fluid. Previously, all procedures had been done right in the NICU, but this time Brenna had to go on a little ride to the operating room. As scary as it was to watch our little trooper get wheeled into surgery, the operating room is a much more controlled, sterile environment and the very best option for this procedure. Brenna handled it all very well. She is still puffy from surgery, but we are continually amazed at how tough she is. She has been poked and prodded more than any little girl should require, but at this point she seems to say, “Bring it on, I can handle it” when it’s time for another needle stick. In fact, she handles it better than Mommy and Daddy do.

Many firsts took place this week. For the girls one month birthday, the evening nurses decided it was time for another photo shoot. We came the next morning to find our girls in clothes for the first time. It really puts it into perspective how little they are when you see them swimming in preemie clothes. But the fact they are well enough to be able to wear clothes now absolutely melts our hearts. It does however mean we are closer to starting our cycle of never-ending laundry. We can’t have our babies in loaner hospital clothes, so we immediately pulled all of the tags off our preemie clothes at home and got them washed and to the hospital. We may be a bit biased, but they are now the best dressed babies in the NICU.

The girls have been steadily increasing their feedings, with Brenna being the exception due to surgery, but she is slowly getting back into the swing of things. As we are learning, increased input does equal increased output. The girls are now out of the micro-preemie diapers and into modified preemie diapers. Like the onesies, you can really see how tiny our girls are as the preemie diapers are massive on them. But with some scissors and a little medical tape, we learned to fashion some in-betweens that work just fine for now. As of last night, all three girls have passed the 2lb mark, with Lucy and Brenna leading the way at 2lbs 2oz, and Anna right at 2lbs. It’s hard to believe how much of a difference 8-10oz can make on a little one; they look like they are starting to fill out a bit.

The weekly head ultrasounds continue, and we finally got a little good news. There has been no significant increase in any of the swelling on any of the girls, and Anna’s swelling is actually starting to decrease. There was concern she may have required tapping to drain like Brenna. With the decrease in swelling, the neurosurgeon is optimistic she may be able to avoid it all together. So far, there has been no reason to believe Lucy will require any medical intervention for swelling, as her soft spot has not felt full at all, according to the doctors.

Now for the best news we got this week: all three girls have had their breathing tubes removed. They are all on Vapotherm, which is a high-flow oxygen system, which only requires nose prongs. In a strange role reversal, Lucy was the first girl to try this machine out. Normally she waits for her sisters to try something first, then decides if it’s ok. She was extubated Friday about the same time Brenna was headed down for surgery, so we didn’t really get to celebrate this milestone like we had hoped. Anna followed on Sunday, and Brenna on Monday. Moving to this machine is a huge step for all of them. Any time they can have off assisted breathing is time for their lungs to develop and get stronger. Hopefully, we won’t be going back to the vents anytime soon. With all the tubes out, we get to see their faces, hear their first little cries, and really start to get to know their unique facial expressions and quirks. This may be the last time we say this, but hearing them cry for the first time was a feeling we can’t put into words, just phenomenal.

5 weeks in and we are still kicking. As stated before, progress is progress; no matter how little it may be at the time. There has been a lot of “one step forward, two steps back”, but our girls are getting those steps back, and that is all we can ask God for. We appreciate all the prayers, meals, gifts and help you all have provided. Just knowing how many of you are willing to take time out of your schedules to help out makes it possible for us to focus on our girls. We can’t wait until you can meet them. They are special girls. Thank you. God bless.

In His name,

Brad, Angie, Anna, Brenna and Lucy Kamps