Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Rasa was up every half an hour last night so we're running on just a few hours of sleep. Put a slight crimp in our plans for the day so we've been taking turns napping! The twins do much better than Royce and I on little sleep : )

Hope everyone has a fun and safe day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My loves

I have so much I need/want to write about but keep feeling guilty sitting and writing when there's so much that needs to be done around here! I'm not going to cram everything in tonight, or even write about the new things the girls are up to right now.

I just spent the day with my Mom (Gramma) and the twins walking a bit along the St. Croix River and shopping and dining in Stillwater, MN. Love everything about Stillwater! It was so neat to be there with the girls because last year at this very time my Mom and I went there for lunch and shopping when I was pregnant and picked up some darling things for the girls. At this time last year I felt the presence of their spirits and knew a lot more about them than I gave myself credit for. Thinking of that tonight gave me an overwhelming warmth in my heart because my life has changed so dramatically in the past year and my heart has exploded with love, admiration, joy and affection for my two precious gifts.

Rasa I love your beautiful big smile that makes your little nose wrinkle, your little toes and fingers that never stop touching, feeling and studying everything. The smell of your hair when you tuck your head under my chin and hold me tight. Your eyes are blue and deep like the ocean. Your soul is pure and affectionate. When you reach your arms up to me I scoop you up and never want to let you go, ever.

Adia you warm my soul. When I feel weary I look and you and you give me everything I need in your bright eyes and big smile. You are so brave. You yell for me to look, stop, smile and laugh with you. Your eyes are blue like the summer sky and your soul radiates warmth and love. I delight in your belly laughs, your tiny legs and feet that never stop walking, exploring, jumping and dancing. Your hair is golden with curls that feel like silk and pop out of nowhere. You make my heart so full.

Our lives are so rich and full because of you both. Everyday is an adventure and even with challenges that we face each day, at the end of the day my reflections feel the same. I'm completely absorbed in love for you.

camera phone pictures
Adia and Gramma in Stillwater

Rasa and Momma standing along the St. Croix river

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This weeks results....

This morning we had our follow up hemoglobin tests and the results are (drum roll please)......Adia 9.4 and Rasa 7.6!!!!(applause). We were told by the Hematologist we saw last week that if things went "well" they would go up 1/2 to 1 full point a week. Adia and Rasa refused to be status quo and just to show it they were up TWO POINTS ;)!!!! Adia doesn't need testing for six months now and Rasa will likely only need testing for one or two more weeks. We feel like this is the last of the whole anemia thing we'll have to deal with and thankful it's been such a quick and easy fix.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October weekend

Royce and I are the MASTERS of easy weekends. We know how to enjoy our time and make it last by s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. It's a learned skill we plan on teaching the girls. It's important to us. We hear friends and family talk of busy this and running here and gotta do's and it's enough to make our heads spin. It's easy to get wrapped up in a crazy schedule you've created for yourself and not take time to stop and smell the baby powder. It took me a while to learn to live in the moment and when or if you learn to do it - it's life changing. It will make you appreciate moments you probably would have missed, it will teach you to get past the most stressful situations in your life with more ease and it will allow your life to move at a speed that lets you take in every little moment.

Yesterday we brought the girls to The Green Barn to see some pumpkins for the first time. They loved them - how could they not. That bright orange is something only nature could perfect!

Today we strolled around the park and took in the warm sun and changing leaves. The girls got their fill of fresh air and slipped into an oxygen induced slumber half way through our walk. I bet napping while out in the stroller is kind of like napping while camping. Those are the best naps.

Here are some pictures from this afternoon. Our friends have said the twins are becoming memorable for all of their critter hoodies and hats.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Long but good day!

Yesterday afternoon we got a call from Children's Hospital saying the Hematologist wanted to see both girls right away and that she didn't have any openings in her schedule so she was willing to come in early to see them. YES no waiting! I was impressed and anxious to get it.

We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis last night because it's linked via skyway to Children's and we heard snow was in the forecast. We couldn't risk missing or being late to the appointment and that way we didn't have to get the girls up nearly as early. It was 8pm when we arrived and we all snuggled in the king size bed together. I brought a pile of toys and the girls had fun playing for a couple hours before we all went to sleep. The girls slept well but Royce and I were nervous and anxious about the appointment which kept us up off and on most of the night.

We took the shuttle over to Children's at 7:30 am since that was faster than walking the skyway. After the nurse took their vitals we saw the Hematologist who we both really liked. She said she knew which baby was Rasa because she is a lot more pale than Adia but told us she looks good for being a 4 on the iron scale (average iron is 15 - severely low is 8) since most babies/children that low are ghostly white. She told us if Rasa was any younger than she is they would do a blood transfusion on her because of her low levels. She took all of our family history and sent us off to the lab for blood draws.

We had a long wait at the lab but they had fun stuff for the girls to play with. Adia loved crawling on the rug that was printed with a stream and flowers. Rasa loved the huge blow up dinosaur and poked it and gigggled like it was the best thing she'd ever seen before. The Pediatric Nurse doing the labs was really sweet and the girls both liked her. She got both of their veins in their arms right away and it only took five minutes for both girls! It took an hour and a half last Friday so this was awesome! Neither girl cried or flinched. Strong little beauties :)

Our results came back relatively quickly and Rasa's points went up 1.6 which was excellent news! Her white blood counts are also now in the low normal range. Adia's points remained the same - 7.6 but the theory is that since she wasn't as severe it might take her body longer to respond. We have to go weekly now for hemoglobin testing until both girls numbers reach 9 so it could take anywhere from four to eight weeks. If things continue to rise and stay there we will do testing every six months. If at anytime levels drop again we have to go back to Children's for testing to determine if they are losing iron or not absorbing it. Right now it's believed both girls just suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

It's good to feel like we have a handle on this and that we're doing everything needed to manage it. The girls are doing so well even though they likely don't feel well. Levels like theirs would leave an adult laid out but babies manage it a lot better.

Rasa after her fearless blood draw (Don't let Royce fool you - I hold each girl during painful procedures, he plays the good guy):

Adia playing peek-a-boo on my lap as we're waiting for results after her blood draw:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Test results

Test results indicate more tests needed.
Adia's results came back consistent with that of low iron so we'll keep her on the supplement for a month and do a recheck with her weigh in.

Rasa's results came back that there are some inconsistencies in her red and white blood cells and after her Pediatrician consulted a Hematologist at Children's Hospital they want to see her. We should be getting a call from scheduling this afternoon to go down there to have her looked at and for testing.

Rasa has grown and developed ahead of where she should be so there is no reason for us to believe there is something seriously wrong.

Please keep her in your prayers as the appointments themselves can be upsetting for her...well, and us too!

Monday, October 12, 2009

9 month well check

I actually love going to the well baby check ups because it's fun to see how much the twins have grown and it's always nice to hear your baby's Pediatrician tell you that your kids are doing great.

It's cold and flu season early here now so we were a little paranoid about the clinic and all the flu germs. Since it's a Pediatric clinic I'd estimate that 99% of the kids there are there because they're sick. Our clinic puts all the sick kids in face masks and shuffles them into rooms quickly so the waiting room is non-contagious kids which we of course appreciate. To me the only thing that's worse than a sick baby is two sick babies! The clinic was running behind about twenty minutes so Royce and I bounced around the lobby with the babies on our hips and tried to distract them with the enormous fish tank. Finally a room!

Adia was terrified by the male nurse that weighed her in (she must have a sixth sense)and screamed on the scale - very unlikely for her but we were warned at our six months check up that the girls would develop "stranger anxiety" as part of the 6-9 month milestones. Adia was 17lbs 8oz and Rasa was 18lbs 5oz. This is the biggest gap in weight they've ever had. They've always been within 4oz of each other but we guess that's because Adia NEVER stops moving. They're still 1/2 inch of each other in height but that 1/2 inch is the difference between the 25% and 50%. Adia dropped down to the 25% for both height and weight and Rasa maintains the 50%. We're instructed to up the solids for Adia since she's burning so many calories and she's happy to oblige.

Dr. Manney came in and examined both girls and we talked about any concerns we had. We were happy to hear that they're right on track with milestones of that with normal 9 months olds even though the girls are 7.5 months corrected age (they were 6 week premies so their development is based on their age as if they would have been born on their due date up until they are 2 years old). Adia has taken her first steps almost a month ago and can creep across the floor as fast as Lucy can run. Rasa's not as mobile but she gets her knees up and can hold her body up on her arms. She can sit for hours and has excellent verbal and fine motor skills. We said our goodbyes, Dr. Manney tells us the girls look great and are doing excellent and we waited for the nurse to come in for the finger prick blood draws. Both girls did great and didn't cry a tear over that. It went quickly and we were told to wait 7 minutes for hemoglobin results.

Fifteen minutes later Dr. Manny came back in. Whenever you say goodbye to the doc and they come back you know it's not because they just want to see you again. He tells us normal iron levels for 9 month old babies is between 10 and 13. Adia has an 8 and Rasa a 4! Both considered severe anemia. Apparently this is very common with premature babies because they get all of their iron reserves at the end of the third trimester - which the girls never had. Dr. Manny wants to re-run the hemoglobin tests through the veins in the arms because those show the most accurate results and he also wants to send specimens off to Children's Hospital to make sure the hemoglobin counts are actually low iron and not something else but he's not concerned. Adia's worst fears relived - here comes that male nurse again!! Forty-five minutes on each daughter to get the blood draws (I will spare you the traumatizing and gory details involved with collecting blood for teeny tiny baby arms where veins are not visible!). Dr. Manney comes back after it's all over and apologizes because he's been listening outside the door feeling horrible (in his words) because all he could hear were the girls screaming!

We leave the clinic almost three hours after arriving - the girls are clutching onto us like koala bears and almost completely asleep from overload as we walk through the lobby. Nap time was missed, dinner was missed and all faith in mankind lost!

We're expecting results today but in the meantime having to supplement the girls with iron drops mixed in their three solid meals a day.

(The picture above was taken right after the finger pricks but before we subjected them to the other tortures and yes I feel horrible "mom guilt" seeing the smile on Rasa's face in the picture because I know what happens next!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An apple a day

Apple Orchard day with the twins and my parents! It was sunny and brisk outside which made for the perfect day to be celebrating fall. When we got to the orchard it smelled like apples (what did you expect?) until you walked a little ways down the trail and then the smell of apple cider donuts filled the air. I tried my best to ignore it but part of me wanted so badly to grab a half dozen or so and eat them right then and there! I love donuts more than I love fall. The reason I can't is because Rasa was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy at about four months of age and donuts have milk in them. Yep - every single kind from every single bakery. Apparently kids can sometimes grow out of food allergies so we're having her tested again tomorrow (fingers crossed!). I'm still breastfeeding and milk protein carries through so that's why I can't eat it in case I lost you there.

After shopping around the bakery we took the trail up to the pumpkin patch. It's gravel and uphill so my Dad was stuck on stroller duty. I brought the buggy instead of the jogger thinking it would be paved....ok I'm a city slicker, what do I know about apple farms.

We pulled off the trail to take a few pictures and get behind the crowd.

The girls were excited to get out of the stroller when we got to the pumpkin patch. It's such a delight to watch them experience all of these firsts. They're too little to remember this stuff now but it's fun for me to start thinking about the traditions I want to carry on with them. It's also a little overwhelming to think I'm responsible for a lot of these childhood memories - better make them good! They sure are great for those of us that get to share in these times with them.

Rasa's in melt down mode - TIME TO GO!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

9 months and counting!

Officially the girls have lived a few weeks longer in the world than they did in my belly! Nine months here we are! These past few months especially Rasa and Adia's personalities have really developed. It's been a joy to watch them turn from newborns into little people filled with so much personality. They both have a great sense of humor and show frustration and affection. They love to give us kisses and each other on a daily basis. Nothing is more sweet to me then to see my babies scoot over to each other and lean into a kiss while squealing and smiling at each other. To me their love for each other is almost as beautiful and amazing as our love for them. Their bond is one I plan to foster as they grow so they can understand the importance of each other in each of their lives and have a friend, a support, a sister to always be there.

Rasa Bea:

Four more teeth! My goodness this baby is going to have all of her teeth before her first birthday! I'm hoping she'll get a teething break soon for her sake poor baby.

Rasa LOVES to be read to. She looks closely at the pictures and loves to turn the pages. Her favorite book is Baby Animals (pop and touch book). She loves to feel the textures of the fake animal fur and has us reading it over and over to her while she wiggles her arms and legs on our laps. She also "reads" along with us while pointing to the animals.

She babbles almost non stop and loves to stare at our mouths when we're talking to her. When Royce calls I put the phone on speaker and yesterday she squealed "DADDA!". She smiles and waves her arms when she hears his voice.

Yesterday I taught her to give me five and she gets really exited when I praise her.

She's getting more independent but still loves to be in our arms the most. When she's tired she gets fussy but she just melts when I pick her up, cradle her in my arms and sing to her the Rasa song.
Oh my precious Rasa Bea I love you with every fiber of my being.


You will be hard pressed to find Adia without a mischievous smile on her face. She delights in...well, herself! She's got a huge sense of humor and loves to giggle. Last week I saw her scoot off and out of sight into the dinning room so I called her back to me. Nothing. I called her back again and walked over behind the chair where I see her watching my feet from under the chair smiling and when she sees me she roars into a belly laugh. She was hiding from me!

Adia's into EVERYTHING! She ends up under the jumpers, excersaucer, coffee tables, dinning room table and anywhere else she can crawl under. She crawls over Rasa constantly (despite Rasa's objection) and loves it when we set up little obstical courses for her out of pillows.

She's always trying to get at the dogs and protests every baby gate in the house by yelling and banging on them with her hands.

When I'm talking to company and we laugh Adia will join in out of nowhere. She's very social and likes to be the center of attention.

I'm enjoying that she's starting to take more breaks from her busyness to cuddle. She really enjoys being close to Rasa all the time and lately her favorite thing to do with Royce is lay on top of his belly while he teases and tickles her. I still have Adia nap on me after I put her to sleep in my arms because we both seem to look forward to it so much.

Adia you are my adventurous beauty. I love you so much it hurts.

Adia & Rasa ready for a trip to the coffee shop...caffeine has become a necessity for this Mommy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

We celebrated Royce's Birthday on Friday and had a wonderful time. It was Royce's first birthday with Rasa and Adia so that alone made it special. Everything will forever be about them - even our birthdays and that's good with us. We gave the girls their first taste of homemade cake (hold the frosting). They of course like anything sweet.

Royce and I put the girls to bed and enjoyed a beer and some grown up conversation. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Happy Birthday Poppa!