Tuesday, December 30, 2008
They are changing more and more every single day.
Noticed last night that James has a cowlick that grows towards the right and John David has one that grows toward the left. They look so much alike, and I had been reading about "mirror image" twins. Usually one can tell by looking at cowlicks, dental x-rays, and birthing marks. These boys look exactly alike. James is a bit peachy right now compared to John David because his billirubin is a bit higher, but other than that, they look like the same baby.
Both boys have been using the bathroom on their own without any problems. PRAISE!!! They are also eating right at 25 cc's (30cc's is 1 ounce). PRAISE!!!! Bottle feeding has not increased because they are struggling with that right now. They are working really hard to feed from a bottle (instead of the OG tube that goes to their belly). The doctors don't want them trying super hard to feed from a bottle and burn extra calories. So, until they prove to be really strong feeding from a bottle, they won't increase the number of bottle feeds. Right now it is just one feed per day. The other feeds go directly to their belly from the OG tube.
Tonight, we were able to see them in their first "clothes". Mamaw bought them their first preemie outfits. They look super cute in their puppy dog jammies.
I had a super great visit today with my three best buds from Auburn. Valerie, Tonya, and Noelle spent the day with me. We visited the boys and ate lunch together (Dale's Southern Grill...yummy country food) and spent some time together at the house chatting. They brought me two outfits with angel wings on the back, one says: Little Miracle and the other one says: Tiny Wonder. I can't wait to take their pictures in them. I will post pictures soon. I appreciate them coming up for a visit and spending time seeing these precious miracle babies.
Please continue to pray for safety and health right now. Especially growth as they are trying to gain weight, grow bigger and become stronger. Thank you all so very much for your daily prayers. Please remember to scroll down and remember the friends I have mentioned on the prayer wall. These dear friends need prayer right now. If you know someone else who needs to be prayed for right now, please email me at email@example.com so I can post it.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
John David after he nursed for the first time! Happy boy!
Daddy changing James' diaper for the first time.
Another blessed day, thank you Father God for another awesome day with our sons.
Today the boys had their first chance to breast feed! What an amazing experience. James was first (after all, he is the big brother by 1 min.) and he did really well. If his mouth wasn't he size of an M&M and my nipple wasn't the size of a walnut shell, he may have latched on. It was so precious though. He did really good for about 15 min. but it was just too much work. I don't think he will have a problem figuring it out once he is a bit bigger.
John David was a bit more vigorous and actually did latch on for a short moment, he just about drowned taking in the mammoth drops of milk that spewed everywhere. He gulped, burped twice and then started to hiccup after drinking a tiny amount. After he ate, I layed him on my chest and savored the feeling of his soft, delicate skin against mine. Purely wonderful and the memory will never leave me.
When the nurse weighed him after I nursed him for about 10 min., the scale showed an increase of 30 cc's. That is yet amazing again, that the 3 lb stinker can belly 30 cc's of breast milk. The nurses are amazed at my milk production. I decided tonight that bottle feeding them my breast milk is best for right now (maybe another week or so) and then we can try the breast again. I really think they won't have a problem "figuring" it out because they did it so naturally today. But I do feel that they are being fed well with the bottle and it is easier to control what they take in. We just need a better size fit between the three of us, and when they grow a little bigger, I will try to breast feed them again. I do however, thank God that He is allowing my body to respond so well with making enough milk for them both. Last count in the deep freeze was, 68 two and a half ounce bottles and 75 four ounce bags. That equivalents to 470 ounces of milk. SO in 16 days, my body has produced nearly 60 cups of milk!!!
Here are some more PRAISES!!! James has pooped on his own twice now. John David had his picc line taken out tonight and the nurse said "it looked good". Both boys are feeding well, no residuals. Both boys aren't receiving any fluids through IV's anymore, only taking breast milk. They are still on about 28-30% oxygen through the nasal cannula.
Here are our prayers: Keep them safe from infection, sickness, health problems. Grow them stronger, allow them to eat more and gain weight each and every single day. Rest well so they grow well. Strengthen lungs to breath without any oxygen help.
These boys are purely amazing to watch grow and thrive. Every time I visit them and watch them wriggle around, suck their fingers, kick their legs, open their eyes to look around, even cry out in discomfort, I envision GOD with his vast hands and super power all around them. I feel HIM close to me each time I walk into that NICU and gaze at my beautiful, fragile, miraculous baby boys HE so graciously, and undeserving blessed Rob and I with. It is almost the feeling you have when someone has done something wonderful for you and you just want to give them back a tiny portion of what they have given to you...only difference is that the "someone" is not a "person" who did me a favor, it is GOD, Creator of the Universe and all that is in it, who allowed us to be a part of HIS miracle here on Earth for all the world to witness and see. To watch HIS might and power and abundant love shine through our babies to all of you. If you have never experienced the pure peace of GOD and seen for yourself one of HIS many miracles here on this Earth, please call me so I can take you to the Brookwood NICU and show you what HE has done in the lives of these baby boys!
" Now to HIM wo is able to do immeasuralby more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS power that is at work within us. To HIM be the glory!"
"So that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on GOD's power!"
1 Corinthians 2:5
Friday, December 26, 2008
Today, after the hospital visit, Rob and I enjoyed lunch together and I actually had a nap on his mom and dad's couch while he jogged 4 miles. Many people ask me how I am feeling lately, and honestly I feel completely exhausted, almost like a drug-induced coma, I feel like I am at the mercy of an outlet and breast pump 8 times a day, I feel overwhelmed trying to be "supermom" to my three precious girls, but I also feel completely overjoyed to have James and John David here in this world doing really well. If ever I find myself having a "bad day" I instantly recall the "storm" I endured for many months and I find a renewed spirit and thank my GOD for the exhaustion, chaos, even the fat belly and incision pain! I truly do thank HIM for the simple blessings in each day. Whether it be a big poopy from John David or watching Jenna give Ellie a big hug and say "sorry" for scratching her in the face. And yes, my house is completely turned upside down and is covered in dirt and clutter, I don't have any sense of "control" with all that is going on in our lives right now, but I (Dana Pate, control freak with the best of them) is enjoying every minute of it...!
Here is some video of our boys taking their first bottle today. A MONUMENTAL moment for the boys, and us!
James drinking his first bottle.
John David drinking his first bottle.
Please continue to pray for health and growth for our miracle boys!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Here is the latest on the boys: Think of how AMAZING our GOD is as I give you this update.
- Both boys are eating well and tolerating their feeds, they are up 15 cc's every 3 hours. Tonight we saw John David take his milk and then instantly fall asleep. It was memorable and adorable,not to mention absolutely precious.
- Both boys have gained weight in the last day and a half.
- Both boys will have blood taken in the morning to check their hemoglobin levels. John David was at 10 yesterday so he will probably need some blood tomorrow.
- Both boys are breathing well on their nasal canulas. About 30% oxygen (sometimes less, or more).
-Still waiting to hear back from the brain scans. Please pray for clear results.
- Active, growing, healthy, thriving, pretty and peachy! AMAZING HE has done this for us!
Monday, December 22, 2008
My amazing dad finally arrived from Utah, after a two day lay over in Las Vegas, and we have been busy with visiting him. The girls of course LOVE my dad and they are completely rotten when he is around. Oh well, we will allow some of it and just detox them after he leaves on Jan. 11. My step mom is on her way Christmas Day, so please remember her, Rose, in your prayers to get here safely. We also had my Great Uncle Charlie and Aunt Edna from LadyLuck, Florida stop by for a visit as well. Rob and I had an opportunity to Christmas shop (start and finish it ALL) two nights ago. Thanks Dad for babysitting all three girls! We were on a rampage through Justice and Wal-mart, I wish you could have seen Rob pick out Claire's new wardrobe at Justice...it was really cute watching him! Rob had a birthday yesterday, December 21st, and turned 30 years old.. We had a surprise party for him at Cosina Superior and our family and close friends were there to wish him well as he enters the new decade! So, with all of the excitement around the house, I have not updated like I should.
Daddy's Birthday Cake! Happy 30th Daddy!
Daddy with all of his girls at his birthday party!
14 ounces of milk~ from this morning pumping session!
I think it was a record for me. Just for some perspective, it takes about 80 cc's to equal 2.5 ounces. So I am making about 320 total combined cc's at an average 3-4 hour pumping session. The boys are taking a combined 10 cc's every three hours, so for one feeding right now, I am pumping 320 cc's and they are taking 10 cc's....TRANSLATION: MY FREEZER IS COMPLETELY FULL OF BREAST MILK! Rob has decided that we are buying a deep freezer for our Christmas gift this year.
Rob and I visited the boys tonight (before his surprise birthday party at Cosina Superior) and they looked pretty good. Both are becoming jaundice again, so they will more than likely be sunbathing tomorrow. James had to receive blood today because his count was low. They have both been having decelerations in their heart rates, but seem to recover on their own without doctor or nurse intervention. They have increased their feeds daily and are almost up to 5-7cc's. The goal at this point would be 18cc's. Brain scans will occur Monday morning, as well as a full report of blood work. Please be in prayer for their head scans to be clear, hemoglobin count to be up for James, And of course that they are both tolerating their feeds and will hopefully begin gaining some weight.
James sleeping after his lunch of 3cc's of breas milk!
John David sleeping after his lunch of 3 cc's of breast milk!
As Christmas Day approaches, I wish you and your family a wonderful, loving, memorable time together with each other. I pray for all of my sweet "blog followers" to be safe, healthy, and happy as we praise our Savior on His birthday. Don't forget Christmas morning, after the Santa rush, that you acknowledge our Savior on His birthday, maybe even sing happy birthday to HIM. We as a family do that, and even sometimes make a birthday cake for Jesus. This year will definitely be a memorable one for our family. Obviously we have so much to be thankful for as the end of 2008 approaches.
My heart is so full of appreciation to God for sparing the lives of these beautiful baby boys, for keeping them safe and healthy as they grow and develop in the NICU, for my family that worked together to take care of all of our family's needs while I was hospitalized, for all of our precious friends who have helped with meals and meal cards. I promise thank you notes are on the way, I just need a personal secretary that can scribe.
Please continue to pray for our miracle babies. Remember to always first THANK GOD for what HE has already done in their precious lives thus far. Thank you so much for your love and support and prayers daily.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
James Daniel on the left and John David on the right. Notice who is asleep and who is wide awake...
The precious nurse caring for James and John David tonight, told me she had twin girls that were 9 years old and they spent 88 days in the NICU at Brookwood, 9 years ago when they were born at 26 weeks....very comforting to know the nurse caring for our babies tonight has definitely "been there, done that before" in her own personal life.
The doctors and nurses that work in the NICU at Brookwood are incredible. We have found not only are they extremely skilled and knowledgeable, they are compassionate and patient and speak of the wonderful works of GOD. The respiratory therapist said tonight that the boys were doing so well with their breathing. I made mention of the many people praying for them and he said, "Well, it is definitely working!" I couldn't agree with him more. A former neighbor stopped by today and congratulated me on our recent delivery. She asked, with a grimace on her face, "Are they okay?" And I responded, with a smile on my face, "They are doing remarkably well because GOD is so GOOD and people from all around are PRAYING for them."
Thank you so much for remembering our boys in your daily prayers. It means so much to us.
Rob is sensing that I am probably being a teeny bit "over protective" of the boys and they are only a week old. He asked me if I felt different with them than the girls. Well, duh? Yes, it is totally different. There is a really good chance that I might be extremely over protective of them and they just might be an itty bitty bit SPOILT Rotten!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tomorrow the boys will have their heart scans. Please be in prayer that their hearts are doing well, they tolerate their feedings, and they continue to strengthen daily in their breathing. Also on Monday, the boys will both have brain scans to check for bleeding in the brain. A very scary diagnosis in premature babies. SO I would appreciate prayer for both boys to have clear head scans. Thank you all so much for your prayers. It is such a remarkable feeling to know that other people are praying for our very premature babies.
Mommy holding John David for the first time!
John David looking around.
James Daniel holding onto his Daddy's finger...does it get any better than that!!!
Here is video of James Daniel. He was sound asleep AGAIN! This little man is always sleeping! He looks so peaceful.
Here is video of John David. He was stirring around when we arrived. This wild man is always moving around, even in his sleep!
James Daniel Pate "sleeping of course"
Mommy holding John David.
John David looking around.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Rob and I visited the boys tonight and they both seem to be at the same status as yesterday. Doctors plan do cardiac ultrasounds tomorrow on both boys. They have both been off the dopamine and caffeine all day and tonight as well (if blood pressure is stable). If the heart scans look okay tomorrow, they won't have to go back on the dopamine/caffeine. Please be in prayer for the heart scans to be clear and their hearts to be functioning strong and stable.
The pictures posted are of John David tonight. James was totally sleeping. John David, however, was putting on quite the show....Notice the first picture is of his eyes open and him settling back down after being extremely stirred up after a diaper change. During his diaper change, he was screaming and crying (actually had tears), flailing his arms and kicking his legs, grabbing his feeding tube. Rob and I just laughed and stood amazed at how strong his two and half pound body looked as he pitched his fit. The next picture is of him holding my finger. I was able to take his temperature (not a big deal to most mommies, but it made me feel great just to touch him). The last picture is of his hand snuggled next to his face, but notice the position of his "finger"...hahaha!
I want to thank you all for your daily comments and e-mails of love and support. It is truly uplifting to feel the compassionate support we receive from so many of you. I told a friend of mine today that in a bad situation, it is important to find "good". Of course it is easy to talk it, but sometimes hard to walk it! Some good must come out of some bad, whatever the situation one may be facing. But during my quiet time this afternoon, I began thinking of the "good" I could find in the "bad" I am dealing with. SO here is my quick list:
I don't have my babies to hold, snuggle with, nurse, kiss, rock, sing to, bathe, clothe, and smell; but I have them, Praise God....and that is GOOD!
I don't know the future for these precious miracles, but I rest in my Faith that GOD does...and that is GOOD!
Having my babies live in an Intensive Care Unit at the hospital is heart wrenching, but it has allowed me extra time to rekindle a special Mommy and daughter bond with my girls....and that is GOOD!
Pumping around the clock reminds me of not having them to nurse and hold close which makes my heart ache each time, but I am able to supply them with "liquid gold" once they are ready...and that is GOOD!
I received an email today from an old church friend and it made so much sense. No matter what you are dealing with in your own life or have dealt with in the past think about this:
Our emotions during difficult times are very curiously intertwined. We must endure sadness to appreciate joy, and both sadness and joy reveal what is really important to us. Conflicting emotions like terror and elation are also strangely connected. I understand elation better because I have experienced terror. Webster’s Dictionary defines terror as "Overwhelmingly intense fear" and elation as "Filled with great joy."
I can't tell you how many times in the past months throughout this experience I have been face to face with both terror and elation. Amazing what God has taught me through it all. My prayer for anyone enduring the pain of an uncertainty and the joy that comes after the terror, is that you find yourself surrendered to God and in a real place of TRUST in knowing HE has it all planned out according to HIS purpose for your life.
As always, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for praying for our family and our little miracles God has blessed us with.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I really don't have words to describe what my heart felt in the surreal moment of holding James Daniel for the first time. I will say, that embracing his delicate, perfectly formed, two pound body in my hands, and feeling his tiny back breathe in and out, confirmed for me more so now than ever, that I have been given the chance to be a part of GOD's miracle HE is unfurling before us all. I have said many times in the course of this experience, that GOD was performing a miracle before my eyes. I stand by that now, more than ever.
Dr. Mena said once a baby can breath comfortably on their CPAP machine with less than 30% oxygen, it is safe to hold them without causing distress in any way. Hopefully tomorrow or soon after, we will be able to hold John David. He, by the way, is doing well on his CPAP machine and we are so thankful for God's blessing there. The nurse even said, "He has done exceptionally well for just coming off the VENT yesterday."
Other moments from the day: Daddy was able to touch James and rub his face. Both boys had their first bowl movement (it was a wonderful moment). John David was tanning in his Billi lights and had one arm posed behind his head and both legs completely extended out as if he were the center of attention. Rob seems to think that he is going to be a bit of a "wild man". When Daddy was leaving the parking deck, he told the attendant he was here visiting his "DAUGHTER" in the NICU. I asked him if he corrected himself and he said no, because he felt like an idiot for saying daughter and not sons..hahah! I think the horomones are getting the best of him as well!
Please continue to pray for our little miracles and make sure you first THANK HIM for the amazing things HE has already done for James Daniel and John David.
James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is given to us from our Father in Heaven"
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Here's a picture of the boys' diaper.
We went to visit our babies last night around 8:30 PM. As we walked around the corner in the NICU, a very obvious difference was immediately noticeable...John David was off his ventilator! PRAISE GOD! The nurses said they took him off at 4:00 PM and he was breathing well with his CPAP assistance.
We met with the neonatologist for about 5 minutes. He told us the renal ultrasound came back on James..."looked good." The head scans came back on both boys..."looked good." The heart scans which were the most critical at this time..."looked much better!!!" They started decreasing the dose of caffeine and dopamine they've been giving that increases the force of the heartbeat.
The doctor explained they were progressing slowly, but he was comfortable with where they were right now. What a relief and positive visit it was. We were very thankful.
Dana cried as soon as she saw John David without the tube down his throat. She had said she wasn't going to cry when we visited, but that was the very first thing she did.
Both babies lost a little more weight today which is normal. They've begun swabbing their mouths with Q-tips soaked in Dana's breast milk. They mentioned something about giving 1 mL of breast milk through a port to see how their GI system tolerated it......but really at that point, I wasn't listening as well as I should have been. Just so happy to see them both breathing, for the most part, on their own.
We are going to visit this morning. Dr. Greg Hively gave me the morning off to with Dana and to visit the boys. We'll report back later. Thank you all again for your continued love and support.
Dana says, "Please keep praying for our babies!"
Monday, December 15, 2008
My emotions are completely out of whack. Last night after we were home and settled, Rob brought the girls home from Mamaw's and they were elated to see Mommy. I wanted to run and pick them up and squeeze them tight but I just wasn't able to due to the excruciating pain in my tummy. We ate supper and watched Christmas Story and then off to bed for everyone. Ellie asked me several time if I was going to leave again or stay forever. I cried every time she asked me that because it confirmed for me just how much my children were aware Mommy was gone. Jenna would stop herself in the middle of play and run over to see me on the couch and say Mommy, Mommy,Mommy and laugh out loud. Claire of course understood Mommy was home and not leaving again and seemed so at peace to go to sleep after Mommy and Daddy tucked her in. My heart was flooded with joy to be home, to see what an amazing job my husband did to our home and with our children while I was gone. It warmed my heart to see the bond they had with their daddy and how "in charge" Daddy was. But as the night became quiet my heart began to ache. I tried to prepare myself leaving the hospital, knowing I would be back soon to check in and see my babies. But the reality of how critical our babies are and how helpless I am began to sink in. I began to cry and physically ache within my chest at the thought of my babies being so far from their mommy and I not being able to just reach out and touch them or help them in any way. I remember being pregnant with them and thinking what a relief it would be to have them out and "safe". But being on the other side of that thought makes me want to tuck them back inside of me and protect them from everything they are enduring on the outside.
James is still on the CPAP with 30% oxygen and John David is still on the VENT with 21% oxygen. Both boys had brain scans this morning and both were clear. Praise God for that report. James also had his renal ultrasound and it came back normal. Dr.Mena did say he had some fluid on his kidneys but he wasn't alarmed by that because it is typical to see that in newborn babies. They will re-scan in a couple of weeks to check the fluid. Both boys are still under the Billi lights. Both boys are having heart ultrasounds today and we will hopefully have the reports for those tonight. Dr. Mena said he was comfortable with where both boys are right now. He said they are progressing slowly but doing pretty good.
I have to constantly remind myself of one very important truth during all of this uncertainty and emotional pain I am enduring every single second of the day, and that is My All Powerful and All Knowing GOD is in control of it all. I feel myself just cry out to HIM in Praise and Pain. I thank HIM from the bottom of my soul for protecting me and them throughout that unbelievable scary pregnancy. I thank HIM for delivering them in the crucial hours in which we could have lost them. I remember Dr. Gonzalez telling me on the Monday before they were born,"I will see you Thursday or Friday for the next Doppler scan". My soul quivers to think of "what if" he had not come Thursday and waited until Friday. So I know in my heart God has an amazing plan for these babies' lives and I am so overcome with gratitude to HIM and honor to HIM for choosing me to be the carrier of HIS miracles and the Mommy to love and care for them.
I will never be able to express to all of you who have kept in touch with us and our story over these past few months how much I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. My heart feels peace at times that I know has been prayed for and God has granted. Please do keep praying for our miracle babies, James Daniel and John David, to grow strong and thrive well and be healthy in every possible way.
Psalm 139:13-14 "For you created my innermost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We saw the doctors this morning and he basically said he had no new news which was great news. Both babies still prefer to rest on their bellies and seem to breathe much easier this way. James was still doing well on the CPAP, no news on the renal ultrasound, and was tanning under the billirubin light. John David was doing better on the ventilator (Doctor says may try to come off tomorrow), and he was also under the bili light.
Dana was able to touch John David for the first time this morning which was special to witness. She said his skin felt paper thin, but he just lied there and let her rub his arm and cheek. He was fidgeting with the ventilator tube in his mouth and Dana asked the nurse if he was trying to suck. She went and got a pacifier and the little guy actually sucked the pacifier with a ventilator tube down his throat. It was unbelievable.
The nurses continue to tell us that John David is "fiesty" and will be a handful. He does not like to be jostled around and lets the nurses know this. On the other hand, James has a laid back disposition and always looks so peaceful when we visit.
Please be praying for my wife as she is home for the first time in 3 weeks for comfort and peace for being away from our babies. As always, I can not be any more thankful for you all lifting our family up in your prayers.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
James is off the ventilator and on CPAP. His head ultrasound was clear. Renal ultrasound still pending. Has gained a little weight today. Is under a billi light for jaundice. Looks peaceful.
John David is still on ventilator. He was rotated to his belly and looks much more comfortable that way (probably not, but we can't see his chest collapse and contract with each breath, so it's more comforting to us). His head ultrasound was clear. He gained some weight today as well. Also jaundiced and under the billi light. His breathing is the concern right now, as well as both boys' hearts needing to pump more strongly.
I was comforted by a dad of an infant next to our boys. They've been here for 2 months with a baby born 4 months early weighing 1/2 of what our sons weighed. He marveled over how much bigger his girl has gotten (doubled in size) and commented on how good our boys looked. He stated, "They do a great job in here, and this will be a second home for you." Very promising to hear from someone in your shoes.
Dana is receiving the best nursing care an optometrist can give! She's getting around a little better, but hurts pretty bad when standing. I told her what I was told when I was a player at Auburn with injuries, "Just put some ice on it!"
My girls are spending time with my parents. Thank you Mom and Dad for taking care of our kids.
I'm still figuring out how to add photos. Will get them up as soon as possible. Thank you, thank you all for everything.
From a screening perspective, both boys had an ECG with the cardiologist. A problem was noted with both, with John David being more pronounced. The way the doctor explained it the contractility of the heart was diminished in both boys, meaning the heart wasn't pumping as well as it should be. I asked if that was normal in preterm babies and if this was a minor or major problem...He says it is not normal, but it is not something to be worried over at the moment. It was treatable with medication (dopamine and caffeine) which was started while we were there. An additional ECG will be performed today or Monday.
Renal ultrasound was done on James because of his 2 vessel cord. Both have had normal urine outputs which was a good sign. Brain ultrasounds were done as well. Results haven't come in yet so we're waiting for them.
They are also on preventative antibiotics to prevent infection. Both received central lines yesterday to receive medications and nourishment through. They get lipids, electrolytes, and minerals through their ports and I believe they are swabbing Dana's breast milk in their mouths.
We wish the communication was faster.....but realize the NICU is a busy, dynamic place and would rather time be spent caring for our babies than explaining to us what they are doing and why they are doing it. Please pray for patience and understanding on my part with this.
The girls saw the babies yesterday for the first time and were beside themselves. They fell in love in an instant with them. Ellie said, "He's a tiny baby!"
When we hear from the doctors and nurses this morning, we will update then. Hope to add more pictures if I can figure out how. Thank you all for your unwavering support. We love you all!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Hello world, We want to thank all of you who are praying for us. We have a long road ahead of us and appreciate all of you guys praying. We will forever be known as the "miracle babies" because our Mommy is convinced that we are pure miracles from GOD! (John David and James Daniel)
We just visited the NICU at 10:15 to see the babies. They are both doing very well. James was born first weighing 2lbs 9 oz is rocking right along. He is on 25% O2 which is very good (almost no additional O2 at all). His lab work has been fantastic and we just wait now for further lung development. John David requires more O2 supplementation. He's on 38% O2 and his breathing is obviously more labored. Interestingly he weighs more at 2lbs 14 oz.
The nurses in the NICU have been sensational.....caring, compassionate, easy to approach and eager to answer questions. While we were there this morning, both babies were receiving their breathing treatments (artificial surfactant to help with lung elasticity). This was their fourth and final treatment.
Both will undergo head ultrasounds today. James Daniel will also undergo renal ultrasound because he had a 2 vessel cord (meaning in development that was not normal and other things that develop at the same time include the kidneys). The nurses did comment that both urine outputs have been great.
The babies can not feed right now.....1. because of the ventilators in their mouths, 2. because they have yet to develop the suck and swallow reflex.....that comes along around 32 weeks. Dana is pumping however, and they plan to take the initial breast milk to swab the babies mouths with.
We will let our children see the babies this afternoon after school and look forward to that. Dana will be here until Sun. or Mon. and then will be released. I'll try and post some pictures when I have better connectivity.
Thank you again for all your prayers and support. It's truly inpirational to see the power displayed by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. When you look at your babies so small and fragile in incubators, unable to be touched, there is a peace knowing they are being held ever so close by their Creator, and being showered with prayers around the clock. Thank you for those prayers.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Dana did great! Definitely a new experience with the c-section delivery........16 people in the delivery room!
I'll do my best to keep posting as often as possible. We send you our sincere thanks for your prayers and thoughts. They've without a doubt been felt and certainly heard. Please continue to pray that these boys fight hard to breathe on their own and to be healthy.
We praise God for all of you, and thank you for your help and prayers to get to this point.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Thank you sweet, dear friends for praying so long and so hard for us. There is no doubt in my mind, God heard them all and has honored our requests!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Pray: John David is showing signs of stress. Basically, Doctor G looks at the velocity in which the blood flows through the belly and brain. He compares the numbers of each to make sure the brain is not compensating for the belly. Thus far, the brain numbers have always been double what the belly numbers are, which is good. Today, though, John David's numbers were even. This is really not good because what essentially happens is for him to continue to "survive" his brain blood flow will be sacrificed for his belly blood flow. Obviously you don't want to sacrifice your brain nourishment and growth for your belly. Many times this problem occurs earlier around 20 weeks or 22 weeks and parents are left with not much to do. We of course want to grow them in the womb as long as possible, however, it may be that we have to take them out to prevent something terrible from happening in the womb within the next week.
Dr. G will scan again on Thursday or Friday and make a decision then. He said if the numbers were even and stabilized, he would come back in a few days and scan again. If John David's numbers decrease in his brain anymore, he feels certain we should take them out.
I asked what usually causes this, and he said probably pinched cords and lack of blood flow.
We are on a mission for the next two days...PRAY GOD USE HIS POWER TO STABILIZE JOHN DAVID AND ALLOW US AT LEAST ANOHTER WEEK OF GROWTH.
Everything we have prayed for thus far has been answered. I want to make that point very clear. I said from the very beginning of this journey, that "if " these babies make it, God will be the one responsible for it. Our chances from the beginning were so bleak. Do you guys remember our 40% chance of surviving the pregnancy. And then all the "complications" along the way. Baby A's two vessel cord that "might" detach or not function properly, and then the two cords of each baby were tied together in a knot, and we were told at any moment one baby could turn and tug enough to tighten the knot and we'd lose them both instantly, and then the growth concerns that if one didn't thrive we couldn't save one without the other because they share blood throughout the cords and placenta. The list goes on and on....But look how far we have made it....Just wanted to give HIM glory because all of the concerns and risks were lifted up as prayers to HIM, and you know what, He took care of them.
I remember when they found the knot between the cords at 20 weeks, we prayed for no restriction and safe babies. I remember when twin to twin transfusion was a BIG worry and scare early on, and we prayed for babies to grow evenly. I remember when Baby A (James) appeared to be not growing as well as baby B (John David), so we prayed James would grow and catch up to John David. Isn't it awesome to witness HIS POWER???
2Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, MY POWER is made perfect in weakness."
Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears"
Please continue to pray for these miracle babies.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Since my "scripture wall" has become the talk of the hall here are Brookwood, I am thinking about creating another wall in my room, with prayer requests. I find myself with a lot of time on my hands and thought what better way to remember to pray for all of you, than to have your prayer request listed on my "other wall".
Shall we call this wall the "prayer request wall"??? I love to share our story with all the people that float in and out of my room, but I adore even more to share what amazing things God is doing in our lives on a daily basis. I know for me right now, I find peace and comfort in my verses that I read all day (literally). I also find comfort in hearing your stories of how God is working in your lives. I would love to post the prayer request and praises each week on the blog, probably Sunday night. I will keep your prayer request confidential if you'd rather me to. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your prayer request or your praise report and whether you would like for me to post it or keep it confidential and I will post them on my wall and also on the blog.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
We have an ultrasound scheduled for 9am tomorrow morning, we are praying for a good report. Dr. Gonzalez will do the growth report on both babies. I will definitely post an update tomorrow on what his findings are.
I think they are growing because I have finally reached the point where I sit in the bed with my legs hanging over the edge and my belly rests in my lap...I will post a new pic soon.
As always, I thank you all for you continual support, love, prayers and thoughts for us right now.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
As always, I thank you all so much for the daily prayers you say for our miracle babies. Next week, doctors will do growth scans. James seemed to be behind on growth last time by about 11%. Dr.Gonzalez said if there becomes a 20% difference then it becomes a concern. Please keep praying for safe, growing babies. I love you all!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
This is Claire typing. I am very excited about spending the night with my mommy in the hospital for the secnod time. It is very enjoyable to be here by myself and give company to my mommy. First I got there and I took a bath in mommys shower and used conut shampoo. Then we got setled and watched the Alabama and Florida game and in the background I was chomping my arms for the gators. Next we layed down in mommys bed and played fun brain games on the lap top. next I ate sherburt and play double solatare. I have a nikname for baby a and baby b. baby a is handsome and baby b is hiper. I can't wait to meet them. Keep praying for my brothers and I know Jesus Christ will save them if we keep praying.
claire mckinley pate
Friday, December 5, 2008
My two dearest friends, Aimee and Jill came by to visit me today. They were able to sit in on my ultrasound and see the two tiny miracles growing inside of me. It was very special to share that moment with them.
Today was a great day. Babies had a positive day on the monitors, I felt peaceful and rested, my best friends and husband and girls came to visit me, my principal stopped by for a visit, we had another ultrasound, a great friend from work stopped by and brought me dinner and a goodie bag. What more can a girl ask for.
In the quiet (quick) moment of seeing my husband and three precious girls piled on the couch in my room watching Elf tonight, I was reminded of how purely simple true happiness can be. Usually during this time of year, I am trying to do so much to involve my family in the "spirit" of Christmas. This year, I am just sincerely thankful to have an hour with my family in a hospital room watching a Christmas movie together on a tiny lap top computer. My Christmas tubs are still packed downstairs in the basement and I won't be able to do half of what I usually do during the holidays with my family, but that is alright, because I have realized all the "stuff" in the world will never come close to the pure happiness I feel just being with my family. Thank you Mighty God for the simple blessings you show me daily and the loving family you so graciously allowed me to be a part of.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
So it is apparent that God has a team with some key players out there that are taking care of me and my family. Meals, meal cards, goodie baskets, childcare help, prayers, emails of encouragement, letters of scripture and support, out pouring of love in offers to do anything to lessen our family's burden right now.
God's team is helping me endure this incredible challenge day to day. Of course the opponent is trying his best on a daily basis to break me down, plant the seeds of despair and pity and fear. He almost begins to take affect when God sends in His team for backup. So, I am thankful for my team, all of you out there, who just keep on uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging me every single day. God has definitely not left me nor forsaken me, cause I see HIM all the time through all of you. Please know that you guys are blessings to me and my family and we are so grateful.
Thank you Elizabeth and Amy for stopping by to visit and cheer me up and make me laugh. I am sure you will never think quiet the same of cranberry juice again.
Christopher, your comment last night made me cry.
Aimee, your shampoo makes me think of you when I wash my hair each morning.
Janet, I doodled with my stationary today.
Red Hall ladies, yall sent me 340 grams of fat in a basket..great job!
Meredith, Kerri, Tara, my girls are coming to my room tomorrow for us to do all the crafts you sent.
Linda, Lauren, Maggie, thank you for taking Claire Saturday to enjoy meaningful, fun Christmas crafts.
Mamaw and Nana, thank you for working two jobs right now (yours and mine)
Jill, I read your letter each day, your music is awesome.
Lee, I owe you extra hugs and snack foods.
Dad, I know your heart is aching, it won't be much longer...
Mandi, the movies are awesome.
Virginia and Patty thank you for the meals, you are nourishing my children. thank you.
OMIS office ladies; my dear husband is going to cry when he sees your deed. Yall are amazing.
Rob, Claire, Ellie, and Jenna: I long to hug you and kiss you.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So today you get pictures! Thanks to Christopher and Ms. Janet for stopping by and snapping some pictures to share with everyone. This picture is of my scripture wall. I read them all every single day, many times a day. I have the name of the loved one who sent it to me on the top right hand corner so I can think of you and pray for you as well. I am going to type them all into my storybook that I plan to write from this story, once the story is complete of course.
Here is a picture of the gorgeous flowers my fourth graders sent to me. They make me feel so happy!
I had a great visit today from the love of my life, my husband. Thank you honey for the clean laundry, yet another smell I really enjoy, Gain and Downey (yall probably think I have gone completely crazy as much as I mention the "smells" I miss and love so much.) I was overjoyed today to also have a visit from two very best "mom" friends, Linda and Lauren. They brought me some yummy sesame chicken and fried rice, a beautiful wooden decor with Psalm 46:10 Be still,and know that I am GOD..., and even a fun girly devotional for the girls and I to do together when they come to visit. Here are some more pictures from this past weekend:
Mommy and her Auburn girls watching Auburn lose to Alabama (very badly) but these girls didn't care a bit, we sang the Auburn Fight Song after each Bama touchdown!
Claire the morning after our "spend the night party". She had such a blast, and I did too.
This is the Peace Lily my dad and stepmom sent recently. The "blue" bow and bears kinda caught me off guard because I am still thinking pink and girly.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Tomorrow, I am hoping to see my dear sweet husband. I warned the nurses that I might begin to show signs of withdraw this week from not seeing my husband very much. He is doing such a great job with the girls. It saddens my heart to think of all the daily, nightly, routine tasks that he is having to handle by himself. When I called this afternoon, he was trying to hurry and put up some Christmas decorations for the girls. It is hard to think of the "moments" I am missing with them during this festive, fun time of the year, but I love him and appreciate him so much that he is trying to make it as best he can for the girls.
Christopher Martin (my personal photographer, haha) is going to swing by and take some more pics to share with you guys. I really want to show off my scripture wall, it is most definitely my favorite decor in the room.
As always, please continue to pray for our miracle babies to be safe and grow healthy, and don't forget to praise and thank God for carrying us this far.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I can't write an update and not praise my God in some way. Today, I have to praise HIM for simply keeping me healthy and pregnant another day, keeping these babies safe another day, taking care of my family and showing me HIS love through the family and friends we have helping us and supporting us through this time. I have said it before and you have heard it many times, but "joy in trials will bring perseverance in the testing of your faith". I have the peace in my heart knowing that we have made this journey thus far only because HE has allowed it.
I will end with a thank you...I am so thankful first to my mighty GOD for taking care of me and these babies, my precious husband who has assumed the responsibility of being mommy and daddy for our girls (he even sounded a little sassy on the phone giving orders to the kids..great job honey! haha!), for my dear sweet family that calls me every single day (usually more than a couple of times), for my friends who are helping my family with meals and kid care. My dad and stepmother for sending me a beautiful Peace Lily with two matching blue bears attached, my mother for transporting and keeping kids all weekend, my mother-in-law and father-in-law for taking care of our kids and bringing me PF Changs, my brother for comfort and Milo's, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for taking care of our kids and bringing me books and a movie, my amazing friends at school for sending me books and goodies to help comfort my stay here, my best friends for hanging out in a boring hospital room to just keep me company when they have so many other things to be doing. God has truly shown me the sweet compassion of family and friends during this storm. I will never be able to thank you all enough. For those of you who have been praying for me and these babies, I can't offer anything more than the most sincere thank you from the depths of my heart. Just to think that so many people take a moment of their own time to whisper to our Mighty, Sovereign God a prayer for our babies, floods my eyes with tears. Thank you so much.
Here are the latest lyrics I have from a song that was given to me from a friend,:
When I call out your name, something inside awakens in my soul. How quickly I forget, I am yours and I am not my own,I have been carried by YOU all my life. Everything rides on HOPE now. Everything rides on FAITH somehow. When the world has broken me down, YOUR love sets me free.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Babies are doing well today. We had a little scare about 10:00 after I had been off the monitors for about 2 hours, the nurse couldn't find baby A's heart beat...she could have picked mine up though because it was beating 200 beats a minute it felt like. She had to bring the ultrasound machine in to find him. He is very low and therefore sometimes hard to pick up on the external monitors. Anyway, they both monitored well for 2 hours so they took me off to eat lunch and take a break for about an hour. I will hook back up at 2:00 and stay on until 4:00. We are already half way through ANOTHER day. Remember dear friends, every single day at this point is so important. I am demanding an ultrasound tomorrow morning, (a real ultrasound with my specialist, the high resolution one that can update us more on Baby A's status)and give us some insight as to why he seems to be showing a little stress at times. More than likely the cords are being compressed at this point (very typical) and of course that is the major risk in losing them. So, we are praying all waking moments now. I will share some news hopefully tomorrow from the ultrasound.
Keep praying! Thank you all who sent me verses for my scripture wall. I will post a picture of it as soon as my husband (who is working overtime being mommy and daddy right now)brings me my transfer cord.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Yesterday morning, Baby A began having heart decelerations. This is common to see and isn't too worrisome unless a pattern persist or the baby's heart rate becomes dangerously low. At first, I thought, great we are only 5 days into this madness and we already have something to "worry" about. Throughout the day, the heart decelerations worsened. The doctor on call ordered the steroid shots, "just in case" and last night I spent two hours talking to the head neonatal intensive care doctor. Of course, during the conversation with the NICU doctor, they give you 100 more reasons to "worry". I did however really like this doctor and he ended our conversation with how doctors really are only able to do so much for these preemie babies, and the rest lies in God's hands. He even said, babies that are prayed for tend to do better. He said miracles happen around him all the time. I can't help but know this man believes in the power of our Mighty God.
Fast forward to midnight, I am preparing to go to sleep when all of a sudden the strong steady sound of a galloping horse (baby A's heart beat)begins to slow down (as it had earlier in the day) but this time it stayed down for a significant amount of time.Slowly it came back up and then immediately dropped again. The second time it dropped to 90 and very slowly crept back up to 110. Of course alarms started going off and my nurse rushed in here immediately. She had me turn and readjust my position, it didn't help. Then she began pushing around on my abdomen to arouse the baby and eventually the heart rate stabilized. Well, after a scare like that, drifting off into a deep sleep is the last thing on my agenda. This process continued several more times between 1am and 4am. Needless to say, there was NO sleep and ALOT of "worry" all night. So, here is where God sends me His angel.
6:00am Nurse Eva arrives. She can obviously tell I am a complete wreck of nerves and beyond exhaustion. After she talks to me about the course of events from yesterday and last night, she says, "Can I pray with you?" Her prayer was completely God speaking to me through her. I have no doubt about it. I wish you all could have been in the room with us. Purely amazing. She prayed the most amazing prayer of peace and of hope and faith in our Mighty God. She held my hands tightly, prayed so genuinely, cried with me and she had only introduced herself to me 5 minutes earlier. This woman was sent to me for a very real purpose. God sent her to reassure me that HE has it under control. I shouldn't have a reason to doubt that He doesn't. I felt the Holy Spirit in my room this morning, and God sent Eva to me at just the right time. He says, "Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged,for I am your God, I will protect you and hold you in My right hand" I know that worry is a lack of Faith and I don't' want my God to think that I don't have Faith. Please pray for me, I am so weak and powerless, He is so strong and powerful.
As always, I will never be able to thank everyone who is praying for us and our miracle babies. Please continue and make sure to thank GOD for what He has done already.
Friday, November 28, 2008
The doctor on call visited and said she believes the deceleration happens in just about everyone that's monitored constantly...that it's from the babies rolling onto the cords and compressing blood flow.
Contractions have been much better the last 2 days. No more medicine has been given to subside them.
We appreciate everyones help, phone calls, rides to and from, meals, and prayers. Please continue to pray for safe, growing babies...for peace and patience for Dana...for wisdom for those making critical decisions...and thanks for allowing us to make it this far.
Psalm 66:5 Come and see what our awesome God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people.
Please comment back to me your favorite verse, so I can create my scripture wall. Or just e-mail it to me at email@example.com
Thursday, November 27, 2008
James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from above" This of course our family believes to be very true!
The other two men in our lives we value and honor and love so much are Michael David Pate and Mose John Howa. Our dads are both incredible men of strength and compassion, and even possess a little fiery disposition (which I can relate to) , so therefore, Baby B, will be named John David after our fathers.
So, please keep our boys, James and John David in your daily prayers.
Update time: We did speak with Dr. Gonzalez yesterday and he has ordered continuous monitoring of heart rates. What does that mean for me, I am totally bed ridden ( I am allowed to come off for bathroom and one shower a day). Is anyone laughing yet at the fact that I, Dana Pate, am confined to a bed!!!! I obviously am not sleeping at night, also started having contractions every two minutes last night and had a shot of something that made me pure crazy, my muscles are so sore from not moving around, my back begins to ache and cramp within an hour of being in the same position, I generally have to stay flat in order to keep the babies on the monitors....I can't even get up to get my own junk food off the top of my fridge. I have to call a nurse to come in here just for that feat! And guess what else...I AM SO THANKFUL FOR ALL OF IT! I will endure whatever discomforts I need to for these babies.
I am going to try and eat my breakfast now...I will share names of the babies on the next update.
As always, please keep praying for GROWING, SAFE babies. Thank you!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So far, the monitoring hasn't been too terrible. I enjoy listening to two precious heartbeats throughout my day. I will have more updates tomorrow after our ultrasound hopefully.
Keep praying for GROWING, SAFE babies. I am so thankful to have so many people praying for our miracle babies.