Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two Weeks Old Already!

Today marks the two week anniversary of the birth of our babies! I keep telling Harper and Lily how easy they are making this for us! Reports continue to be very positive and uplifting. Harper is now weighting 2.1 and Lily is 2.6! Both babies are feeding on breast milk every three hours. Wednesday night they got baths and little tiny bows in their hair. Nick got to hold Lily and I held Harper. Today when we went for our afternoon visit both girls were wide awake and their eyes were wide open looking all around. They are beginning to look very much alike as Harper catches up to Lily's size. They are fraternal twins however we have been told that a very small percentage of fraternal twins can actually appear identical. We are continuing to pray for the girls but as I said this is really becoming so much easier than I would have every expected... we are rejoicing and giving thanks to God for how smooth their stay in the NICU is going and how peaceful we can rest at night knowing that the nurses and doctors are incredible at their jobs and so loving to all the babies. Tonight we expect more Kangaroo Care!

Grandma and Grandpa M. went with us to Storkland today to register Harper and Lily for gifts. They bought us the cutsie white wooden letters to spell out their names above their cribs. The nursery is really coming together and pictures will be posted soon. It is so nice to walk in and look around at all of the gifts that people have given and visualize what it will be like when they are home.

Here are a few recent photos:

(the nasal cannula's are just there to help concentrate the oxygen that each baby receives while breathing room air and the tape you see on their arms is called the "pick lines" which means that there is a tiny IV that is secured in their arms by this thin tape so that they don't have to keep sticking the girls which means they are comfortable :)

Sweet Harper

Precious Lily

Daddy and Lily

Mommy and Harper

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Morning Report

Another wonderful visit happened Sunday night. The babies are doing great! We did not get to hold the babies as originally thought because they were just too tired! With all the excitement from Saturday night and moving around on Sunday our wonderful Nurse Allyson suggested that we just sit this one out and let their little lungs rest from all of the commotion. We are glad to let them rest... so we just stood around and gazed at their beauty and took more pictures! I don't think that I have mentioned yet that their Auntie Mere is in town for the weekend from Memphis just to see them! So below are a few pictures of the girls with her.

Harper is up to 6 cc of breast milk every three hours! Lily is finished with her antibiotic and treatment for the heart murmur/unclosed valve Dr. N. prescribed on Saturday. When the nurse listened to her heart through the stethoscope Sunday afternoon she said she couldn't hear the murmur any longer which means the extra valve all newborns have (Harper's closed on it's own) has most likely closed by now and an echo cardiogram performed today will confirm results! It is probable that later today or early tomorrow Lily will be back on the clear liquids in prep. for breast milk. We continue to praise God for his awesomeness and how modern medicine and technology works absolute miracles! We plan on visiting at 9 this morning with Grandma and Grandpa M. and then later again this afternoon and evening.

Today we will be cooking out and hanging out with local friends and remembering all of the men and women who have defended our country. Kudos to the Lucas' for making their way down to us for the second annual Mem. Day cookout. Looking forward to doing what we all do best... cheers! I hope that everyone is well and thank you so much for the constant love, support, and prayers.

Auntie Mere and Lily

Auntie Mere reaching her finger our for Lily to grab.

Sweet sleeping Harper

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Amazing Visit to the NICU...

Saturday night's late visit included "Kangaroo Care" (Touch Therapy). The nurses explained that by putting the babies on our bare chests we were helping them stay warm and learn to tolerate touch (since they are still so young they are very sensitive) but we all laughed and agreed that this is WAY more therapeutic for the parents! I am holding Lily, Nick is holding Harper, and Sunday night we swap. Amazing!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Most Beautiful Faces I Have Ever Seen...

              Lily/div>              Harper


I want to blog like I used to but I can't right now. I have sat down probably ten times to try but I just sit and look at the screen. It is not something I enjoy right now. Although I do enjoy keeping up with other blogs. Also, I know that the most important topic right now is updates on Harper and Lily so that... I can gladly report on.

As of Thursday evening:

Harper was taking in small doses of milk through her feeding tube on Wednesday but at her evening feeding "residual" milk was found which means that her tummy was tired. So the nurses took the residual out and let her tummy rest. Today she started getting the small amounts of Pedialite again to get her stomach ready for milk again and she took it well with no residual. Dr. N. and the nurses said that feeding is finicky with preemies and that we may do this little dance 10 times before they come home so it isn't too alarming or disappointing. We just have to be patient and let her body tell us how much it can take and when :) She is still very reddish and is on and off of phototherapy however the last couple of visits her light has been off as well as her "ski mask" to protect her eyes and she looks beautiful and very peaceful.

Lily is not quite ready for the Pedialite according to her xrays but soon enough. Dr. N. also started an antibiotic with her to protect her from infection because of some lab results. Again, he assured me that there is no reason to be alarmed it is all part of the song and dance. She also has not been on her light my last few visits and looks beautiful and peaceful.

Both babies got their second head ultrasounds today to check for any bleeding. That sounds so harsh and kind of makes me sick to my stomach but it is reality and I am praying with confidence that their second ultrasound will be as perfect as their first that they had last week. Also, Dr. N. said that his goal is to see both babies feeding on my milk by this time next week. So brain ultrasounds and happy feedings are specific areas I ask for prayer.

This song and dance I will refer to is what every nurse and doctor has said comes with preemie territory: they make take one step forward, two steps back, 3 steps forward, 1 back and so on. The end prize is what is important to remember AND instead of getting nervous about words like "infection" I am praising God that they were born in this day in age when technology and knowledge and resources are so available to treat them.

I love 'em I love 'em I love 'em MMM MMM MMM I love 'em SO much :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day Home #3

We continue to receive all good reports about the babies. I am so amazed and so thankful for that. Also, with each visit to see them my heart falls so much more deeply in love with them and the bond I have with each is already individual. Nick and I have talked about that and he feels the same way. It is hard to explain but I'll just say that it is possible to love them so much equally but feel different vibes from each of them... I guess it is the difference in their personalities that will become more apparent as they grow. I truly love them so much it hurts.

It is really weird not to be pregnant... so suddenly and so abruptly. As I look in the mirror I can see my stomach being back to pre-pregnancy size fairly soon. I obviously did not get as big as I would have had I carried full term but the "empty" feeling is what is so overwhelming and partly saddening. They warned me of the "mommy blues" and I admit today I have been a little weepy...ok a lot.

And I have Mastitis which is an infection in one or two breasts, my case just one, but thankfully Nick was here as I complained and urged me to call the doctor. I reported fever, massive engorgement, swelling and pain and he called in a prescription for me, whew.

On a positive note: Nick JUST walked in the door and told me that Harper started receiving my breast milk today at 5p.m!!! I cried and cried tears of joy! That is the best feeling knowing that she is going to start receiving nutrition, building her immunity, and CALORIES!!! Grow baby grow! Lily will come around. They haven't started her clear liquids yet but I'm not worried.

I can't end my blog by topping better news than that!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I am Home...

What an 11 days this has been. I am home now and so relieved. I have a tremendous "thank you" to say to every single person who has helped us in any way, especially through prayer and encouragement. I appreciate all of the friends and family who understood and respected the fact that rest, darkness, and quietness is the only treatment for Pre-eclampsia, delivery being the only cure. It wasn't easy to turn loved ones away who wanted to come by and cheer us up but as Nick and myself explained, I had no choice but to lay in bed, be still, and ask my blood pressure to go down, essentially "buying time". There are no words that can be said enough times to express my feelings for every person on staff at Baptist East anti and post partums, labor and delivery, and NICU units. I have been saying that this has been the best worst experience of my life. Every doctor, nurse, technician, therapist, nutrition service provider, and house-keeper was nothing short of being among the kindest, most patient, professional, compassionate, encouraging, gentle, and energetic people I have EVER met. I told one nurse just before I left that I wish that I could be like Oprah and just give away every single thing that each person needed to meet their needs for the rest of their lives. My lactation consultant told me that if I mention names on my mail in survey that person would receive a candy bar from the hospital in appreciation. My breath literally left me when I heard her say that... a candy bar? These people saved my life and the lives of my two children.

I slept very well last night. Blood was drawn and vitals were checked for the last time around 6 this morning, I saw my doctor around 7, had breakfast at 8, showered at 9, visited Harper and Lily at 10:30 with my parents and left the hospital at 11:00a.m. After we dropped off all of my stuff at the house - and saw Ali Carrie for the first time in a while :) - me, Mama, and Dad went to Sinclair's just before the church crowd. They offered to take me to lunch and I was craving something green and leafy and nutritious. So I ordered the Shrimp and Avocado salad with olive oil and herb vinaigrette. I am looking forward to "de-toxing" from the hospital food - which I am not complaining about; it was very good but not whole or fresh - so anyway, lunch was great. Nick was home as soon as church let out and fortunately did not have to go back this afternoon! We went to the drugstore to get my prescriptions filled and then to Storkland to pick up the rental breast pump. Now don't get freaked out... only the electronic body of the breast pump is for rent... individuals supply your own tubings, cups, bottles, etc. The breast pump I am using is the exact same one as in the hospital and is worth around $1200. We are renting it for $54 a month for as many months as we want so it is worth it to rent at this point to see how breast pumping and later feeding works out before buying a less expensive model. So as of now I am beginning to swell a little again because the past two days I have been back on my feet more than in the last 10 days. I still have a lot of fluids to excrete. It is 5:37 p.m. I am on my own bed, the ceiling fan is on full blast, Nick is asleep beside me, Ali is at the foot of the bed, and I have blogs, emails, and Fbook information to check up on. My eyes are very heavy and the sound of silence is golden. I do also have to peace of mind from speaking with Sharon (NICU nurse with 35 years of experience) an hour ago who cheerfully reported that both Harper and Lily have had a great day :) We plan on going by tonight at around 8 just for a few moments to tell them good night. Right now I am going to close the laptop, let my head fall against the pillow, hold Nick's hand, and just see what happens. (deeeeep sigh)


There is a version of the Doxology sung by Nicole Nordeman that is running through my head right now. It is sung acapella and the words are very appropriate for the mood this afternoon:
"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Harper & Lily Day 2

**Editors note: Moms & Dads of newborn baby girls (especially ones that surprise their parents and come early) have lots of phone calls that they have to make/take. If we have not had the chance to talk to you yet it is not because you are not important it is because our brains have had the consistency of instant mashed potatoes for the last two days.

Mama is doing very well today. She is continuing to recover from her surgery and is completely off of all machines (IV's, BP monitors, etc...) and is even up walking some and getting to the bathroom and chairs on her own. We did have one brief scare this morning about ten minutes after nine, the very first time she tried to get up out of the bed. She blacked out in the bathroom. Fortunately for us she was sitting down already and the nurse and me were both there to help her out. The rest of the day was great and mama was able to see her baby girls for the first time (aside from the split second drive by as they were born).

Speaking of the baby girls...Harper and Lily are both doing wonderful. The neonatologist came and saw us this morning and as he was giving us the update on how they were doing you could tell that he was physically excited to be giving us this report. He used the word "PHENOMENAL" which is never bad when referring to babies who are born this early (they will be 28 weeks tomorrow/Saturday), and he said that for when they were born and all that they have going on if you were to put them on a scale of 1 to 10 they would be a 9!! How about that? Harper is not on any breathing apparatus of any kind she is strictly breathing room air, and Lily is off of her CPAP (the big breathing tube) and is now on the smaller breathing tube hopefully she will be off that as well very soon.

Below are a couple more pictures taken today. Enjoy and please continue to keep Laura, Harper, and Lily in your prayers!

(Harper is the first picture, Lily is the second)

(This post was written by Dad)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Harper & Lily

That’s right! At 8:41 & 8:42 a.m. this morning, Thursday May 15, 2008, Harper Elizabeth Mielke and Lily Martin Mielke were born. Harper was 1 lb. 13 oz. 13 inches long and Lily was 2 lbs. 5 oz. 14.5 inches long. Both girls are already breathing ‘room air’ and are on limited assistance in the NICU but doing very well. Mom is rocovering from her C-Section surgery and will hopefully be home in about 4 days. Dad is a wreck but its a good kind of wreck so no worries. Here they are:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bedrest Blog #2

May 10, 2008

Last night I had a little trouble actually falling asleep. It has been the routine lately for me to shower before bed, play cards and watch t.v. with Nick, and then lights out at 10p.m. Because rest is so important and I am woken up 3 times a night for vitals I think it is important to establish a disciplined routine. My best sleep was between 4a.m. and 8 a.m.-after my 4 a.m. vitals were checked. It is still really quiet in those hours and also my uterus and stomach are most relaxed at these hours making almost all positions pretty comfortable.

I had breakfast at 8 and afterwards while I showered the nurses and housekeeping changed the linens and swept the floors. The staff here is wonderful! Everyone I have met is so kind and personal. Nick came at 10:00a.m. and brought me some goodies-glade plugins for my room, loose cotton black capris with a loose hip hugging waist, 2 new shirts, and tweezers. Yesterday he brought me pink and white marble mini roses. They are sitting in the window. In that same window there is a piece of tint that has been torn from the pane and the random shape looks like “Beast” with his wild air and big cape. I put the pink roses just below the spot so it looks like he is gazing at Belle- reminds me of the movie how this experience is both a beauty and a beast! LOL :)

Blood pressure 1/2 hour ago was a smidge high (151/82) so a nurse will be here to retake in a moment. There is a new little boy across the hall that has been quiet all today but hollered all day yesterday. I heard he 10 pounds and every bit adorable. I have also heard about another P.E. mother on bed rest who has been here for 4 weeks and just received doctor’s orders to stay another 6 weeks.

Today my attitude is that if I need to stay 6 weeks (till thrilling 34 weeks) I will be glad to do so. As I said earlier, I want Harper and Lily to stay in me as long as I am healthy and able to carry them. I had the second steroid shot this morning so at the end of this 24 hours we can all know a huge milestone in their lungs has been reached!

I miss my house and I miss Ali Carrie too! But I know she is taken care of and will be there when I get back. The only view I have of outside is a brick wall so appreciate walking to the mailbox or browsing through Publix! Between 8 and 10 today I had only eaten, showered, and gotten back in bed. But as I was putting on my lotions and eye creams, some makeup, and brushing my hair I thought-it has taken me two hours to do what I normally take 35 minutes to do before work in a rush! It is actually really nice to slow and down enjoy little things.

I am starting James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces that I borrowed from JMIII. I am a little behind the times starting this one but at least I’ve already heard all the controversy and different sides now and can just read it for pleasure to gain my own opinion. The ten pounder just squealed :)

4:05 p.m.
I napped from 2-3 and when the nurse woke me up for BP it was 132/67 yay! And I have not had one contraction today! I worked an easy crossword puzzle without cheating and only missed 4. Nick is coming at 5p.m. to eat and watch movies. He rented “American Gangster” and “Atonement.” I haven’t mentioned how good the food is here! I mean really good! Chicken and Dumplings, turkey sandwiches, white rice with beef tips and gravy, salads, and fresh fruit to mention a few. I’m living like a queen!

Continue to pray from healing and mental/physical comfort. Also, if anyone knows of someone who would be willing to train me in Pilates when all this is said and done that would be great! For now change my name to LMushy! Haha!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Bedrest Blog #1

(Mr. M here, I will be posting on the Mrs.' behalf for a while. She is writing her posts the old-fashioned way and I am transcribing them here onto the internets. Please enjoy and keep her, Harper, and Lily all in your prayers. --Thanks NM)

May 9, 2008
This is my 3rd in the hospital. I have been diagnosed with PIH & mild Preeclampsia. Many of you know about the swelling I have been complaining about. Also, a couple of times I mentioned "tightening" in the uterus or lots of baby rolling. Well it turns out that my BP has been a little too high, the swelling is due to too much activity that my body carrying twins doesn't want to deal with, and the tightening are contractions-sometimes steady and patterned and sometimes sporadic. I have not gotten out of bed except to use the bathroom for 4 days and the swelling and BP have decreased /improved dramatically! The amounts of protein in my urine is still high and doctors will collect another 24 hours of samples beginning Monday. The first 24 hour sample was collected upon my entry to the hospital on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. 0-168 units of protein in the urine is 'normal'- my outcome was 354. Doctor said this was high but not call for emergency delivery-just the highest level of bedrest until the end of term. About that: on Saturday I will be 27 weeks. Doctor says developmentally for the babies he would be "satisfied" to deliver at 32 weeks and "thrilled" at 34 weeks.

Specifically pray right now that:
1) God would heal the PIH & Preeclampsia completely
2) Protein levels in my urine would decrease and/or maintain at levels non-toxic to me or the babies.
3) That my body will stay healthy enough to carry the babies the longest possible term-34 weeks would be "thrilling"

This morning the nurse gave me 1 of 2 steroid shots that will help prepare the babies lungs for whenever they get here. This drug has been solidly used for 10 years and, according to the neonatal doctor, is a miracle drug. In essence, this shot will lubricate the lungs and strengthen them so that in case they come early the chances of breathing trauma are far less, especially the more days we gain in utero.

Medically that about covers it.

I feel good. I'm actually not bored at all. I enjoy the lights being off and most of the time the TV is off. My routine has been wake up and give blood at 4:30 a.m. Doze until I see the doctor at 7:00 a.m. Breakfast at 8:00 a.m., TV morning shows until about 9:00. Turn off TV and lights, pray, be still. About 10:00 people start calling and I am updating/visiting until lunch. After lunch lights off and rest again. I have journaled today from 1:00-2:00. Nurses check my BP and the babies heartbeats every 4 hours. Dr. Phil 3:00-4:00, Oprah 4:00-5:00 Dinner at 5:00 and shower at 6:00. TV and visiting with Nick from dinner until 10:00 then I get a sleeping pill and get ready to start the next day.

You guys read Matthew 6:25-34 and 7:7-12. These are the scriptures that I am clinging to and reading daily. You would not believe the peace I have about this. I'll update as I am able. Nick is my rock. Lily & Harper are beautiful.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday's Thoughts

I slept until 11:00 today. When I say slept... I mean was in a self induced coma from 11pm till 11am. I did get up at 7:15 to take Ali outside. On Saturday's Ali will come and kiss my face almost to say, "you are usually up by now, wake up and make sure you aren't supposed to be up, and can you let me outside?" So, after we went outside I got back in bed and fell asleep for another three hours and dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. My hands were above my head and when I woke up they were asleep and heavy. I literally tapped my fingers on my face because it was amusing to me that I could feel my hands on my face but not my face on my hands.

I am retaining water severely. The swelling in my hands, feet, and face almost make me unrecognizable to myself. Everyone tells me "oh you look great pregnant" but because of the weight I FEEL from the babies and from the swelling I have a hard time believing it. I chaperoned a dance at school last night and wanted to wear shoes other than what I wear everyday, black Teva flip flops. So I asked Nick to get the Merril Shoe Box off of the top shelf of the closet, in the box were the cute "nicer" "dressier" white thong flip flops from last summer... I could not squeeze my feet into the things. I was shocked. Then I wanted to wear my red bangle bracelet that I have worn almost everyday for the past 4 years and I could not get it past my knuckles. My fingers are so swollen that I feel stiffness when I bend my hands. Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult, I feel one thousand years old and hear 1000 pops and cracks.

Regardless of my complaining about the swelling, this week I have been SO excited and anxious to meet the babies. Every little piece of clothing that I hold up when I am in their room I get choked up. I drape the clothing over my shoulder or lay the piece over my knee and try to imagine the little body that will fill it up in three months. I just can't wait to touch them, and smell them, and kiss them. And, to watch nick with them. At night, I can feel them moving and for the second night in a row Nick has felt 5-6 kicks. They are not only kicking but rolling now. Hard bumps and pressure can be felt one moment and then the next back to squishy. I'm 26 weeks this weekend. 3 weeks left to work.

My mom came over this morning. We had coffee and time to just talk. She just gave me updates on what's going on her life and I was able to update her on us. Wishing my sister did not live so far away (Memphis). I am happy for her success and social life where she is but wish she were here with us.

My brother Will is in basic Marine training at Parris Island, SC. He is who I was referring to in my poem earlier this week. I have not heard anything from or about him as he is having to "earn" contact with the outside world. I pray for him spiritually, physically, mentally and all. From what I have read and heard about this place it isn't easy... but no pun intended, it is what he signed up for. He left behind a beautiful dog named Simba. Simba is 4 years old, part boxer, part pit bull, and one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met. But in 3-4 weeks Simba will be homeless. Currently he is staying my other brother Walt in Will's old apt. but that lease runs out at the end of May and my dad is getting re-re-married in June and can't take the dog with him. Which of course puts HUGE pressure on me and Nick to foster Simba. I am so torn because I really love animals and want him to have a comfortable safe home but at the same time really don't want to take on that pressure. We already have one dog and have two babies on the way. I don't want Ali to go into some PTS syndrome with all of the new changes. I don't want another somebody to clean up after this summer. I need to house to be as clean and sanitary as possible for the babies. And I do not know how this big dog will be around babies. So this is something else I am feeling led to pray about.

It is 2:30pm and I want to get up and get moving so that Nick can enjoy the rest of the day before going back to class.
Happy Saturday everyone.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Writer's Block

I am sick of seeing my poem/previous post but don't know what to write about.

So I'll just be straight up and say what's on my mind.
My children - I am approaching 26 weeks. The babies are moving around a lot - especially at night, after I eat, when I am sitting on the couch with my feet up. I will feel acute pressure in my abdomen and can feel a really hard bump on my tummy and then the pressure will subside and that same spot will be squishy again.
Being off work in 3 weeks until November 1, seriously, OMG, 5 months of not working: a blessing I don't even know how huge it is yet.
What job I want to work when it is time to go back... I'll give you a hint, it's not for MPS but that's all I know right now.
I am relieved that I tackled 2 "to do's" that I have been dreading/procrastinating on at work, and of course facing it wasn't as hard or painful as I thought it would be.
Tomorrow is Friday. I am glad the weekend will be here.
Question for people who love or even like their jobs: Do you look forward to the weekend desperately or are you as happy during the work week as you are on the weekends?
I was never a cereal person until I got pregnant and now I eat Special K with strawberries at least once a day.
I am afraid my blogging may not get better than this until I have the comp. early Sat. morning with my coffee and am feeling more inspired... watching 30 Rock now and not feeling it so much.

Have a great Friday everyone!

My sister sent me a FedEx package today that really brightened my day. Two adorable newborn gowns, two adorable onesies, three adorable sleeper suits, and two shirts for me. I have the best sister for real. What a shhhweetie. And, my in laws came by today and brought us 2 crib mattresses, pampers, a baby bath tub, and a rubber ducky... shhweet. So thoughtful and I am so grateful! OH AND we ordered out second set of crib bedding today (the first was a gift from my uncle) and when we signed on line to make the purchase we discovered the set was on sale! Saved $35. Thank you Lord!