Cash, Zane, and Cade

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Rough Trail

I don't think that I can accurately describe the feeling of total helplessness that you feel when your child is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. You can't do anything to make the time go faster. You can't change a thing about what is going on. The emotional roller coaster is exhausting. My mind is currently going a million miles an hour and I can barely hold a thought for more than a few seconds. I have over a million things to do at any given moment, so it feels like a constant battle to keep my head above water. We were up at the hospital until late last night and Carrie is getting ready to head up there again.

We had a really great week. My mother was here and got to meet the boys for the first time. She got to hold them and bottle feed them. That was very nice and things went very smoothly. Earlier I described the whole thing as a roller coaster and that's exactly what it is despite how cliche' the roller coaster analogy may be.

First of all, during the past week we have reached some excellent milestones. All of the boys are receiving one bottle feeding per day. They are very good at bottle feeding. Feeding them their bottles is really fun and exciting. They work so hard to suck, swallow, and breathe all at the same time. After a bottle feeding they are exhausted. I think it's like running a marathon for them. They must go back to bed. They are fed 8 times in a 24 hour period. Each feeding they receive around an ounce of milk. All three of them are gaining weight.

This brings me to the next milestone. Cash was the first to get out of his isolette. The isolette is what they have been in since the day they were born. This unit maintains a constant temperature and helps them maintain their body temperature. When they gain enough weight, they can move onto a regular crib. This means they are out in the open and forced to regulate their own temperature. Mr. Cash was the first to do this. He is totally off any sort of cannula or breathing support. Cade quickly followed and they put them together for the first time.

This was awesome. I was at work and Carrie sent me some pictures. Here is the very first picture of Carrie and two of her boys. Cade is on the left, and Cash is on the right. Zane was still in his isolette at this point.



The boys got very excited and started laughing and Cade was making noises like he was trying to talk to Cash. Cash would giggle in return. I think Cash knew exactly what Cade was saying. Here is another one of them. Cade is in the black hat.



Zane got out of his isolette yesterday. We didn't have time to take any pictures or put him with his brothers, but here is Mr. Zane.



After all this celebration and excitement, the roller coaster dropped. On Tuesday they discovered some puss filled red spots on Zane's cheek and ankle. They could be from the tape and his ID band, but we don't know yet. They took cultures and we have to wait and see. He also was having trouble maintaining his temperature, so he is back in the isolette as of this morning. It was a bit much too soon for Zane.

Last night, we went to give Cade his bottle, and his stomach looked pretty large and full. He wanted nothing to do with his bottle and was very lethargic. We called for Dr. Cipriani, and she ordered a battery of tests and X-Rays. This part was absolutely the worst part.

The X-Rays were painless of course. However, the needles to draw blood and insert an IV drew screams from Cade and tears from Mom. I sat in a chair and tried to read my book. I would look at Carrie and see the tears and listen to my boy scream bloody murder. At least he was screaming. This is a good sign. If he wasn't, that means that he was really sick and didn't care what anyone did to him. He was fighting and that is a good thing. However, the sound of your child screaming in pain may very well be the worst sound on earth. I have heard some bad bands in my life that I thought would kill me, but I would rather listen to an entire concert of every bad band in Texas than hear a second of any of the boys scream. Combine that with Carrie crying and I can't describe the feeling of helplessness. I have always handled trouble and I am a problem solver. Look at a situation. Figure out a solution. Act on said solution.

Not in this case.

Sit there and feel helpless. It is very hard to find the veins of a premature baby, so he had to be poked quite a bit. I tried to give him a pep talk.

Me: Come on boy. If you are going to be born early, you need to expect to get poked on a bit. There is no crying in baseball, and there is no crying in the NICU.

I said the words, but my heart wasn't in it. After a while they got the samples they needed and Carrie held him for a long time. He calmed down quite a bit and went to sleep. His X-Rays showed that he just had a lot of air in his stomach and intestines. This is normal with premature babies. He just started on the bottle, and took in a lot of air while he was doing this. Now he is back on an IV to feed him and one for antibiotics. He is also back in his isolette. One step forward, two steps back. I just heard from the nurse and the X-Ray from this morning reported nothing more than air, but less of it. There is a tube down his throat to remove this air.

Cash is rolling along. He is still in his crib and maintaining his temperature. His weight last night was 3 lbs 14 ounces. Zane is 3 lbs 10 ounces, and Cade was 3 lbs 12 ounces on Monday night, but we didn't get his weight last night because of all the excitement.

As a whole they are doing great. No real unexpected problems. They push the boys to do whatever they can, and back off when they can't handle it. With Zane and Cade we are just backing off a bit. This is all part of the process. The process is painful, frustrating, scary, exciting, happy, horrible, sad, maddening, and very joyful. We are on a rough trail and we are seeing all kinds of country and running in to all types of weather. The destination is home and we will get there.

Here are some other pictures from the past week. Thank you for all your prayers and support. I'm sorry I don't have anything funny to say. Next time I'm sure the blog will be hysterical. Let's hope.

Here is Cade.



Here is a picture of Mom feeding Zane.



Here is one of Cash.





Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Final Chapter in the Triplet Mobile Saga

As you know, the very thought of purchasing a vehicle makes me insane. You see, the whole vehicle thing is a racket in this country. Apparently our entire economy is based around automobiles, oil, and the housing market. As long as people are buying and building houses, purchasing cars, and burning oil, the world marches on. If one of these things falters, the stock market takes a huge dip and people stop spending money. This means no one is buying cars, buying houses, or burning oil. It really is that simple.

A house doesn't bother me. A house can last a very long time. Just do some simple upkeep and you can stay in a house for your whole life. A vehicle on the other hand is a very different thing. They are designed so that they are impossible to work on. You have to take it to the dealer or a mechanic to do anything on modern vehicles besides air up the tires. A vehicle also becomes completely worthless and starts to fall apart after a maximum of five years no matter how good you take care of it. Vehicles are the only item that we as human beings purchase that we know are completely overpriced and designed to break. Do you know how I know this is true? There are several reasons.

First of all, they first started building Hummers for the United States Military. Later on, they became something ridiculous for civilians to buy. The vehicles designed for the military could be driving along and lose an entire wheel and keep going on three wheels. My buddy had a bomb go off under his Hummer in Iraq. They just kept driving and no one inside was injured. This is proof that vehicles can be built to withstand a whole lot. On normal vehicles, you can't hit a curb without bending the frame or throwing the whole front end out of alignment.

For my next example, I point at the Space Shuttle. These units fly through the earth's atmosphere withstanding extremely high temperatures. Then they fly out into space and orbit the earth. Later, the come back into the atmosphere of the earth and land. You are trying to tell me that the human mind can come up with this stuff, but they can't make a vehicle that they are willing to give more than a 100,000 mile warranty?

This is because they (the man) want every person on earth to have a car payment. Car payments mean the banks are happy. Vehicle purchases make the automobile manufacturers happy. All of this makes the oil companies happy cause that's what we are going to burn in these little overpriced pieces of junk. In other words, you are literally paying people to screw you over.

However, I am not an expert. You are not here to read my opinions about the nation's economy. You are here because I got a woman pregnant with triplets, and let me tell you people, that was easy. Talking myself into buying a vehicle for them has not been near as fun.

So, here we are on Tuesday morning. I knew it was coming down. Carrie's old car was long gone. We were using Carrie's mother's car until we found the right vehicle to purchase. I knew this couldn't work for long. Carrie found a 2007 Chevy Tahoe online in Marble Falls, Texas. I looked at it and my heart sank.

It looked good and the price was very good. Low miles and it came with a warranty. I called the number and talked to Matthew Shaw the sales rep.

Mike: You still have that 2007 Tahoe?

Matthew: Yes we do.

I told him what I wanted to pay. He was very nice and we haggled for a while.

Mike: You should throw in the extended warranty.

Matthew: I can't do that.

Mike: Yes you can.

Matthew: Come on in and check it out.

Mike: I'm not easy to deal with.

Matthew: You sound reasonable.

Mike: I'm not reasonable at all. Wait until you meet me.

Matthew: Just come test drive it.

So, we drive out there and Matthew is waiting for us and has the vehicle all washed up and ready to drive. It looks great. Carrie is happy. I'm getting nervous. I may have to actually purchase this thing.

We drive it, and I like it. I crawl underneath it and make a big show about looking at every detail. I try and give Matthew as much trouble as possible. I poke and prod at him. He deflects my barbs like a pro. He actually ignores most of them. You see, Matthew is a smart guy. He took one look at Carrie and I and knew instantly that if Carrie liked it and wanted the Tahoe, she was going to get it. He knew good and well that I would have little to do with any decision, and any show I put on was simply for my own entertainment.

I like the Tahoe for several reasons. First of all, it's on a truck frame. Lots of metal between my family and the outside world. The vehicle is super clean and it even has DVD screens in each head rest. There were three, yes three wireless headsets to listen to this DVD system. Three. Nice touch Matthew. I told him about the triplets on the phone. I was hoping for some sympathy. He played that one like a total pro. I don't know what standard is, but he made sure there were three.

We go into his office and talk for a while. The deal is good, and we can actually afford the vehicle which was a real bonus. We head over to the finance office and wait for that guy. While we are waiting Carrie and I have an interesting conversation.

Mike: It's still a lot of money.

Carrie: Yes, but it's not much more than the old car payment.

Mike: That doesn't help.

Carrie: Besides, I'm saving us $2400 a month by taking care of our kids so we don't have to spend that much on day care.

Mike: Well with that logic, I'm saving us $1,000 a day by NOT having a massive cocaine problem.

Finally, after a bit of a wait, we go to sign the papers on our Tahoe.

I start to sweat and feel light headed.

The finance guy reads the numbers and starts printing out papers for me to sign. I try to sign quickly. My vision is all blurry and sweat is dropping on the purchase forms and loan documents. I feel like I'm going to pass out. I just don't want him to say the purchase price out loud again. Just say the monthly payment. That's easier to think about. I can pretend I'm renting the car for that much money. I sign my name without reading anything. I could have signed away one of my kidneys or my liver for all I know. Just before I vomited on his desk, it was over.

We get the keys and I put Carrie behind the wheel, and she looks good. I feel safe with her in the Tahoe. I will feel safe with my boys in the Tahoe. We head back to Austin and I have to admit, the ride to the hospital that day was really nice. I feel like we did good.

Wanna see it?



This is a photo of it from the dealer's page. I would recommend buying a vehicle from Matthew Shaw. He knew the score and worked it to his advantage. I couldn't even bother him, and I really tried. The real victory here is this:

Carrie is happy.

That's all that matters.

How are the boys? They are awesome. Cash and Zane have been eating a bit from the bottle. Cade should start soon. They are all gaining weight and have no problems. I can't believe how lucky we are. Cade still weighs the most followed by Cash, and then Zane. They are really close to one another. It won't be long and they will all be out of their incubators. I enjoy every second I can with them, and I try hard not to look too far into the future. I want to live in the moment and just be happy with how they are doing everyday.

Today, their grandmother (my mother) got to meet them for the very first time. She got to help give Cade a bath, and then she got to hold him. I don't know who enjoyed it more, Mom or Cade. She is here for a week and will no doubt hold both Cash and Zane next time.

Carrie is doing awesome too. She is just the best Mom. Her thoughts are always with her boys and she works very hard for them everyday. For me, watching Carrie take care of her boys is like watching Picasso paint or Mozart compose music. She does it with a grace and elegance that astounds me. You could just set her actions to music. It's so natural to her, she doesn't even know how great she is at being a mother. She just seems to float from one boy to another with a level of love and caring that I can't describe. I just watch with a sense of contentment that I have never known.

Here is Mom with Cade. If that boy only knew the things his Grandma has given and will give him. These are lucky lucky boys.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Ongoing Saga of the Triplet Mobile

Yesterday was my very first Father's Day. I got to the hospital at 9:15 a.m. We had played in Tulsa the night before and the guys dropped me off in Temple on the way back to Austin. The nurses had a neat Dad poem on a sheet of paper with the boys' footprints on them. That was pretty cool. Apparently, taking their footprints for this was about all they were willing to give for Father's Day. When I went to each boy I asked each one if they had anything to say to me. You know, like "Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you." Nope. Nothing. Cade looked up at me and tried to stick his whole hand in his mouth. Zane stared at me for a second and fell asleep. Cash messed his drawers and screamed while I changed his diaper. I got to hold everyone and it was a great Father's Day. I guess they must be a little short on money, cause they didn't even get me a tie. I did get a card from them, but I think their mother might have signed their names. They are pretty advanced for their age, but I haven't seen them do any writing or even any reading yet. I received plenty of "Happy Father's Day" texts from all over the country. Not one single text from any of the boys. They didn't even post on my Facebook page. Maybe next year.

In other news, we finally sold Carrie's 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante. The whole thing happened so fast, I didn't really have time to think about it. I put it on Craig's List and within 15 minutes we started receiving all types of calls. We ended up selling it to a very nice guy from South Austin who bought it for his son who is going to law school. Perfect car for that. The car was fine except that when you got it above 60, the wind whistled through the rear windows. Actually it sounded like you were in a wind tunnel. The guy didn't care. He knows the car has at least another 75,000 miles in it. Anyway, the car is now gone. As soon as it was sold, I realized that my excuse for not getting the proper Triplet vehicle had vanished.

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you have probably ascertained that I hate spending money. I can't stand it. It drives me nuts because I always feel that somehow I'm getting screwed in whatever deal is going down. This is especially true for buying vehicles. Carrie and I have decided that we are not getting a mini-van. We are not mini-van people. I also want to have my family inside a very substantial vehicle. I want something with a truck frame and a lot of metal between them and the outside world. We started looking again and I would like to say that the price of cars is completely out of hand. I mean a new suburban with any options at all is around $50,000. That is completely insane. That is roughly one third of the cost of the house that I am currently sitting in. If they built a vehicle to last 30 years, then I would be happy to spend that kind of money. However, after 36,000 miles you know that the transmission will fall out of it, or the engine block will crack, the A/C will break and the repair bill will be around $7,000. Combine this with the fact that on new vehicles they have made it next to impossible for a shade tree mechanic like myself to even attempt to repair. I drive a 1991 Chevrolet half ton pick-up. I can fix anything on that for next to nothing. I love that truck and so does the dog. I wont' be able to haul even ONE of my boys around in it, but that's the only downside to that truck. New vehicles on the other hand are just the worst investment on earth. The second you drive a new vehicle off the lot, you lose money. I mean like lots of money. When I think about this, my head hurts and my arms start to feel weird. I can't explain it. Things have to make sense to me. I always have a similar feeling when I'm washing socks. You know, you get all the socks out of the dryer, and you have 15 socks. How do you only have 15? You look back in the dryer and there is nothing in there. You check the floor to see if you dropped any. You know there wasn't a day when you only wore one sock, so something is wrong. You have 7 pair of socks plus this one sock. One sock all by itself. Where is the other sock? You look in the clothes hamper, maybe you forgot to wash it. No socks there either. This sock has simply disappeared into the ozone. Perhaps it was sucked to the center of the earth. Perhaps it was lost in a swirling vortex of despair. I bet that somewhere in this universe there is a huge black hole full of socks, and there are plenty of MY socks in that black hole. So, now you have this one sock. Totally and completely useless by itself. This drives me nuts cause it makes no sense. Just like buying a car makes no sense. We must have a reliable vehicle that will haul the boys, the dog, all of our baby gear, and I personally will not travel anywhere without a guitar. The vehicle must hold all these things. We are looking, and we will find one. We will spend the money and it will eat at me. It will gnaw away at the inside of my brain until one day I snap and hopefully I will find a place where I can feel at ease. A break with reality might do me some good.

How are the boys? Well, they are awesome and Carrie and I are so thankful how truly blessed we are to have three boys that only need to grow. Cannula. Cannula is the name of the breathing thing they have on. They are turned way down, and after today or tomorrow Cade and Cash will no longer need theirs. Zane is right behind them and he won't need his for long. Then we will get to look at our boys without tape and tubes on their faces. Cade gets his PICC line out today which will mean all three of them are solely on mother's milk. They will still be fed with a tube, but as early as this week or next, they will start to bottle feed them. We are truly fortunate.

There is another little girl in the NICU that is in the same room as our boys. She has been there for over five months. Her mother is so positive and upbeat it is amazing. This little girl has had a very rough time of it. I don't want to say her name or anything, cause it's not my kid, but if you have a minute today please say a prayer for her. She is having surgery today and we are hoping it goes well. She is a little fighter and we are hoping for the best for her.

Now for some photos:

This is Cash. He wanted to play some guitar with the old man on Father's Day. He looks like he is crying, but he is actually singing the chorus to "Paradise City" by Guns 'n Roses. He was getting way into it. He had thrown down his guitar and was just singing away. I mean he was really rocking.



Next is Zane, who took the outro guitar solo on "Paradise City" while Cash was singing. You can't see the guitar, but at this moment he held out one note and closed his eyes. He held the pick up in the air and threw it into the audience of NICU nurses that were cheering him on.



This is Cade totally worn out after the performance. He had just smashed his guitar on the NICU room floor and was basking in glory of the roar of the crowd which was deafening.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visits

It is 59.6 miles from our house to the hospital. I have driven on I-35 countless times with the band, but I now have this particular stretch of road memorized. Carrie leaves in the morning and makes sure she is with the boys as much as possible throughout the day. I get done with work, head home, take a shower, and jump in the car. I want to be there by 7:30 so that I get to do "hands on" with every boy. They have these "hands on" things every three hours and I want to do at least one with them. The road passes relatively quickly. I blast the music on the stereo or return phone calls. I try not to speed although it is difficult not to. Thanks to Carrie's text messages, I know exactly what is going on with the boys and I can't quite explain how anxious I am to just be in the same room with them. I take the final exit and make the right hand turn, and then the left hand turn and finally I pull into the parking lot. My feet seem to glide over the parking lot and through the huge glass doors. I get on the elevator and ride to the NICU floor. I pass Labor and Delivery and through the NICU waiting room which is usually full of expectant families. Grandparents wait with the kids while Mom and Dad are in the back having a baby. It creates a certain type of excitement and there is always a slight adrenalin rush as you pass this part of the hospital. Thankfully, the NICU is a secured area. The people at the desk who buzz you in know us very well. No words are necessary as they let me in and I head up the hallway to the giant sink. The sink is where you scrub your hands up to your elbows. I scrub vigorously. The last thing I want to do is bring the boys some sort of illness via their idiot father. Next to the sink is a cabinet full of hospital gowns. You are required to wear one and I grab the one on the top and throw it over my clothes. Rumor has it that there are maternity gowns in there with holes for milk producing breasts. I always hope I pick one of those at random just for the sheer humor that would certainly come from that. It hasn't happened yet. I then step over to the door that can only be opened from the inside or with the combination code that is required on the outside. I wait until someone notices me, and then I'm let in.

I see Carrie who is generally hovering over one of the boys or just sitting and watching the monitors. Every time I walk in, I see the relief wash over her and there is a look of contentment on her face. This is the time when her whole family gets to be together even if it is in a hospital in a sterile room. We walk from boy to boy looking in on them. Usually the are sleeping quietly, but sometimes they are kicking their legs or waving their hands around. Today, I start with Cash. I try and remember who I started with the time before and do someone different to be fair. Being exactly fair with them has become an obsession with me and I think it has with Carrie also. We don't want to show favoritism even at this early stage.

Cash is on his back and kicking around a bit. He got his PICC line out and is receiving all his nourishment from mother's milk. His air is on a level 2. It is difficult to keep it in his nose. All three of them are always pulling it out, and it has been a full time job for the nurses making sure that the two little prongs are in their little noses. I reach into the incubator and touch his head. He always grabs for my finger or hand and I can't quite explain how good it feels to have them latch onto you with all their might.

Zane is laying in his incubator and is chewing on his air tube. It's no where near his nose. Earlier in the day he managed to pull out his feeding tube. All three of them like to kick and stretch out. I'm sure they enjoy the extra space they now have. Zane has his air level set at 2 also. His PICC line will come very soon.

Cade is back under the blue lights. His bilirubin count was high again, and he will be under there for 24 hours. They have to wear a blindfold during this time and Cade is trying to rip his off. His air is set at 2.5 and he is just a little behind Zane in getting his PICC line out. He is also no fan of his air tube and oftentimes both prongs will be up one nostril as he tries to free himself from the awful contraption.

Now it's time for hands on. We open the incubator and get started. First you take their temperature and they hate this. The thermometer is placed under their arms and it takes a minute to get a good reading. Next we change the diaper. I thought this part would bother me, but it doesn't at all. Dirty diapers mean that the body wearing said diaper is working properly. The boys fuss and yell a bit during this process, but even the nurses remark at how calm our boys are. Today I will hold each boy as they receive their food. I hold the syringe that is connected to the feeding tube and watch the milk go down the line into their little mouths. They like this part and suck on their pacifiers for all they're worth. This is a good sign. I can tell all of them are ready to eat on their own. They are gaining over an ounce a day at this point and they should be eating on their own next week. Next, they wrap Cade up like a football and I hold him for 30 minutes.

This is when the entire world outside that room ceases to exist. Cade opens his eyes and looks at me. He yawns and then closes them. You can feel him relax as he goes to sleep. However, he is fighting it. He tries hard to open his eyes and look up at me. He does this over and over, but sleep is calling. Simply being alive wears these boys out. I stare down at his little face. This is our kid. Ours. Mine and Carrie's. This little helpless human being is ours. I say this over and over to myself. I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around it.

After Cade goes back into his unit, we move onto Zane and Cash and do the same things. They both try to look up at me for a while, but soon the desire to sleep is too overwhelming. Cash gets so relaxed he has a heart rate drop that sends me into a panic that I can't describe. He remembers to breathe on his own and the moment passes quickly.

After all the boys are safely tucked back into their little units, Carrie and I go back and forth from one to another checking and re-checking their tubes. We stare at the monitors and watch their heart rates, oxygen levels, blood pressure ect. on the screen.

Now comes the difficult time. It's time to leave. The boys do the most growing when the are asleep. They've had a big day including being held by both Mom and Dad. There is really nothing left for us to do. We talk to the nurses a bit and say goodbye to our boys. We tell them how much we love them and how we can't wait to take them home.

We walk outside the door and put our gowns in the little hamper that is right by the sink. I look at Carrie and try to gauge how bad she is feeling. The very first time she left the hospital without them was a very very rough night. She has gotten a bit more used to it at this point, but it is never easy.

We have both told ourselves and each other that they are in the best place for them. They need to be here. They need the monitors, the wires, the tubes, and the around the clock care. We tell ourselves that our house is not equipped for them. We remind each other how lucky we are that they are all doing so well. Things could be so much worse. Our boys could be having real serious problems, and the fact is, they aren't. We talk about how great the nurses are and how secure we feel. We tell ourselves that this time will pass quickly. We talk about the day we get to take them home. The day. The best day is coming.

It doesn't matter.

In the end, a mother is leaving her babies. No amount of positive thinking and rationalization can change this. A mother and a father are getting in a vehicle and leaving their boys. They are leaving them in the care of others and driving 60 miles away. This goes against nature. This is not supposed to happen.

I don't say anything when Carrie is sad. Even I don't possess the words to make her feel any better. A mother being away from her babies is about the most unnatural thing in the world. It goes against the stars and the gravitational force of the earth and moon. The earth itself doesn't spin quite right. The wind blows a bit off kilter and the force of the universe seems completely at odds with itself.

We get into the car and we reach for the hand of the other. Tonight Carrie is driving. We head South back to Austin. Back to the empty house that isn't even yet aware that it is empty. Back to the dog who knows something is up.

Carrie curses as she passes the member of the Texas Highway Patrol.

He is instantly behind us with his lights on.

More cursing.

The speed limit is 70 on I35 in Texas. At night however, it is posted 65. This rule is never followed. Carrie was doing 75 when she passed the officer.

We pull to the side of the road.

Mike: Do we do it?

Carrie: Do what?

Mike: Play the triplet card.

Carrie: Yep.

The officer comes to my side and we immediately hand him Carrie's license and proof of insurance.

Officer: Good evening. I pulled you over for speeding. It's 65 at night here and I clocked you at 75, Where are you headed?

Mike: We are headed home to Austin.

Officer: From where?

Mike: We have three babies in intensive care in Temple.

Officer: Three?

Mike: We had triplets two weeks ago. We drive back and forth to visit them. I guess we were in a bit of a hurry to get back home.

Officer: Okay.

He walks to the front of the car and checks the stickers in the window. He looks at the front plate and comes back to us.

Officer: I'll get you your warning and you can be on your way. It will just take a minute.

YES!!

A warning.

The officer returns after a few minutes.

Officer: Did you know that your license plate in back is covered up a bit? You can't see the Texas part of your plate.

Mike: I'm sorry sir. I will take that cover off as soon as we get home.

Officer: Sounds good. I have issued you a warning. This won't go on your record. You have a safe night and good luck with those babies.

Mike: Thank you officer.

Carrie: Thank you.

We drive into the night and celebrate the bullet we just dodged.

Thanks little guys.

Cash



Zane



Cade

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is it Possible?

Before we get started with a new report and update, I have a request. First of all, Carrie and I are amazed at the number of people that visit this blog on a daily basis. The outpouring of support has been astounding. We have so many people pulling for us, how could things not go our way? You have done so much for us with your good thoughts and prayers and we greatly appreciate it. At this point, Carrie and I want to help out one of our friends and help pay a bit of our good fortune forward. So, I'm just going to lay it out there.

My friend Paul Soroski is in a band called Podunk. He is one of my best buddies in the whole world. He and his wife Jessica have been very supportive of Carrie and I and we are lucky to have both of them in our lives. We would like to do something for our friend Paul, and we need your help. Paul is a giant KISS fan. He loves the band KISS with such passion and fervor that it's actually a little scary. In his studio he has photos of all the band members as well as all types of KISS memorabilia. He has had a dream his whole life to open for KISS and play with his hero Gene Simmons. Paul is a bass player. Gene is a bass player. You get the idea. His band Podunk is currently in a contest to get the opening slot for KISS on their upcoming tour at their show in Houston, Texas. It's sponsored by Guitar Center. Now, this is where we need your help. Directly below is an icon with a picture of Podunk. My buddy Paul is on the far right. Actually, I'm friends with everyone in the whole band, but Paul is on the right. Here is what I would like you to do.

1. Click on "Demand It!"

2. Follow the instructions.

3. Enter Your E-Mail and click to make sure you won't receive the newsletter they offer

4. Once you receive the confirmation e-mail, then open it to confirm your vote for Podunk.

You won't receive any SPAM or anything like that. You will just make a little boy's dream come true. Granted this little boy is now all grown up, but you will still help him make his dream come true. Imagine how cool it will be for him to rock out onstage right before KISS. I just checked and they are about 400 votes out of first place. They are number 7 right now, and they only need to get into the Top 5 for KISS to hear them and ask them to be on the show. I know that our readers here at Rolling for Trips will come through for us. After all, 2400 people visited this site on the day the boys were born. That's amazing. We just need everyone who comes here to vote. It will just take a second. Every vote from everywhere counts. You don't have to be from or living in Houston. Have your friends vote. All you need is an e-mail address. The icon is right below. Go ahead. I'll wait.




Okay, you're back and Thank You for voting!

What's up with the Triplets? Cade, Zane, and Cash are doing awesome. They have increased their feeds and they are slowly turning down the pressure on their air tubes, which I can never remember the exact name of. They are having less and less heart rate drops everyday. Cade did have one tonight while I was holding him. Thanks for the scare there buddy. You're going to put the old man in an early grave. Soon they will be totally off the air tube and onto bottle feeding. The nurse tonight was talking about how Cash will probably be the first to try this. The fact is, they could not be doing any better than they are. We are very very fortunate. Carrie has been up there every single day with her boys, and I have only missed two days. It's very hard and very strange to leave them up there. As you can imagine, Carrie has a very difficult time with this. It's strange to be here at the house without them. We have a long way to go until they come home, but hopefully it will go by fast. Neither one of us can wait until the day that we get to bring them through the front door. That first night, we won't be able to sleep because we will be out of our minds with worry. We will check on them over and over until they are sick of it. I wish everyone could see them. They are just beautiful, tough, amazing little guys, and I still can't believe they are ours. I just hold them and look at them and I'm in awe. They are these little humans that are HERE. They don't fuss or cry much and if they do, you just talk to them and hold them for a second and they instantly stop. I could go on and on about them. They already have their Social Security Cards. I am going to apply for credit cards in their names starting tomorrow.

Anyhow, since they got here, I find myself thinking about certain things that I am going to have to explain to them. I realize that these explanations are a long way off. However, if the world could do some changing between now and then, not only would I not have to explain these things to them, but the world would be a better place.

1. I do not want to explain to my boys that in the year 2010 people still have wars over maps, religion, and money.

2. We really need for the original line up of Guns 'n' Roses to re-unite and do a tour that I can take the boys to see. I do not want them to grow up in a world where G'N'R is still broken up.

3. I do not want to explain to them why it rains oil, the ocean is black, and why they can't swim in lakes, rivers, or streams. It's time the people who are wrecking the earth are held accountable.

4. Major League Baseball really needs to do something about their black-out rules. I do not want to tell my boys that we can't watch the Red Sox play the Texas Rangers on television when the game is in Boston and we are in Austin, Texas. This makes absolutely no sense.

5. My Father taught me that all a man has is his word. I will teach my boys the same thing. I want them to live in a world where this matters.

6. The automated phone systems of this world have to go. There needs to be enough people answering phones that we actually get to speak to someone who knows what's going on immediately without any hold times or punching numbers for options. This goes triple for AT&T who about gave me a brain aneurysm the other day when they kept me on hold for 37 minutes to tell me that the IPHONE wasn't really compatible with the AT&T Network, and that is why calls were being dropped between Carrie and I while I was at work, and she was in the NICU. People need jobs. AT&T needs operators. I just solved a major part of the unemployment problem. You're welcome.

7. We need new celebrities. A celebrity used to be someone who did something really cool and did it well to become famous. Frank Sinatra sang and acted. Elvis was a talented singer. James Dean was great. Aretha Franklin, Patsy Cline, Roy Rogers, Fred Astaire, the list goes on and on. Now we have three brain dead kids from New Jersey in a show called "Jersey Shore" who are famous for absolutely nothing. Some poor girl named "Snookie" was on Jay Leno the other night. This was my first brush with this train wreck of a person who somehow has been made famous. Reality television is signal that our society has been on the downward slide for some time. I do not want to have to explain to my boys why some women in New York have their own television show about how rich they are. Bring back Starsky and Hutch or BJ and the Bear. I really liked watching Quantum Leap. Whatever happened to Quantum Leap?

8. People need to stop hating other people just because they are different. I want to be able to tell my boys how intolerant we used to be and how things have gotten so much better.

9. MTV must start playing music videos again. It's called MUSIC TELEVISION. The M is for Music. It's not for showing "Jersey Shore". I still can't get past this whole "Jersey Shore" thing. I can't believe these people have a show. I thought about it for like four hours today until I finally passed out while driving. I don't want to have to tell my boys that Music Television doesn't really mean Music.

10. Youth sports leagues MUST start keeping score before my boys start playing. Somehow, this country lost its mind and quit keeping score for games kids play such as baseball, soccer, ect. This is so wrong. Learning to lose and lose with dignity is an important part of life. Keeping score is important. If you did win, be gracious. If you didn't, that's perfectly okay, learn from it and do better next time. I promise that they keep score in the real world.

There are lots of other things I would like to improve about the world, but that's enough for now. Besides, I can't be too upset. Carrie and I have three healthy baby boys that will be home soon. It's going to be so much fun. This time in the NICU has made me realize that the sound of three boys yelling and running through the house will be music to my ears. If they tear an entire wall of the house down, I will just smile. That will mean that they are healthy. Well, maybe I won't smile, but I won't be THAT mad.

Here are some photos from the weekend......

Cash waving HI



Zane working on a pacifier



Cade doing the same (different pacifier)



Thank you for checking in and thanks for all of your comments. Carrie and I read every one.

Stay Tuned......

Soon we will have live video of our boys.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NICU Day Seven

The boys turned one week old yesterday. This milestone was of course marked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. We will talk about the hospital and its wonderful staff later.

First of all, how are the boys? The boys are great. They are doing fantastic. Having said that, I want to explain to you what happened yesterday. The NICU can be a scary place. The boys aren't scared there, it's all they know. Mom and Dad are generally the ones that can be petrified in the NICU. You hear really scary terms like "heart rate drop". Heart Rate Drops happen when a baby who was born premature literally forgets to breathe. Why? Well, up until they were born, they had to do nothing on their own. Now that they are here, they have to breathe, make sure their heart is beating, digest food, and perform all of their bodily functions on their own. This can be tough on a little guy. Sometimes they get so relaxed, they just skip a breath. Here is what happens.

Everything is going along smoothly. Heart Rate is normal. Oxygenation level is great. Blood pressure is fine.

BAM!

An alarm goes off. The nurse heads over to the baby's unit and one of two things happen.

In the case of our boys, they usually remember what's going on and start breathing again. If they don't, the nurse reaches her hand in the incubator and flicks the boy's foot. This kicks them back into gear and we resume normal activity.

Since they were born, I have only missed one day in the NICU. Carrie's hasn't missed any. I didn't see my first heart rate drop until yesterday. Carrie hasn't seen very many of them either, but more on that later. They probably happened, I just wasn't aware of them, and they must have been very infrequent when we were around.

They happen so fast that you really don't have time to get scared. There is no warning, they just do it. When I witnessed one yesterday, my heart ended up falling out of my chest and down into my stomach. After it was over, I coughed it back up into my chest and tried to continue on with my life without passing out on the NICU room floor.

The good news is, they are perfectly normal and they happen to babies that are our babies age all the time. They grow out of it, which can't happen too soon as far as their Mother and I are concerned.

Cash has had one heart rate drop his whole life which took place about 90 minutes after he was born. Cade and Zane on the other hand have had several. I spoke to each of them yesterday and explained to them exactly why we needed to get past these heart rate drops. I told them that their heart rate drops were going to give their parents a heart rate heart attack.

The next scary term we got to deal with is Infant Brain Hemorrhage. Before the boys were born, Dr. Jones warned us that this is a real possibility in preterm births. On the day they were born, their current Doctor, Dr. Cipriani told me that after one week they would do a brain scan to figure out if their was any bleeding on our triplets brains. She told me that there are four grades of hemorrhaging. They are classified in grades 1-4. She told me that a 1 or a 2 is something they don't worry about. A 3 or a 4 can be very bad. They do a brain scan after one week to see what happened. Basically, the little arteries in their brains aren't completely formed and bleeding can happen.

So, yesterday they did these scans on our boys and Dr. Cipriani came to give us the results.

Zane had a Zero. He had none which is great.

Cash had a 1. This is minor.

Cade had a 2. This is also minor.

However, the fact that there was any at all made Carrie and I very upset.

Here is what the Doctor said;

Dr. Cipriani: I didn't just give you bad news. We don't get too concerned about a 1 or a 2. The bleeding will usually take place in the first few days after birth. The fact that Cade was just at a 2 means that his has stopped. If it was at a 3 or 4 we would assume that it has continued and would take steps to stop it. They are all perfectly normal at this point, and odds are that a 1, 2, and a 0 will all develop the same way. The blood will usually just be absorbed and things will roll along like nothing happened. I wouldn't worry about it.

After she left, I am immediately on my phone reading as much as I can find about it. This pretty typical for a 29 week birth. The fact that Cade was first means he had a bit more pressure on him from his brothers pushing on him, so that may explain his. Cash had a collapsed lung and was pretty stressed that first day, so this might explain why he had a 1.

At the point we found out, Carrie's was having some Kangaroo time with little Zane. Soon it was time for Cade's hands on time where we take his temperature, change his diaper, and feed him. They are going to watch Cade to see if his head swells which means more bleeding. Once again they doubt this is the case. They put it at an 85% chance that he is fine. I myself am convinced he is. When we opened his unit he immediately looked up at me. I gave him his pacifier which he started sucking on like crazy. This is a great sign. They he took both his little hands and reached up and grabbed two of my fingers and squeezed until his knuckles were white. He wouldn't let me go. He looked right up into my eyes and sucked on his pacifier why they fed him milk through his feeding tube. This is also good because they associate getting fed with sucking. I know what he was trying to tell me and I got the message.

Cade: Don't worry Pop. I am good. Look how hard I can squeeze and I'm sucking on this plastic purple pacifier for all I'm worth. By the way, I really like it when you and Mom are here.

This brings me to my next point. They don't have these heart rate drops when Carrie and I are there. I mean both Cade and Zane have had several and I only saw my first one yesterday. I know that they know we are there, and they like it. They love it when their mother and I hold them, and yes I have done Kangaroo time too. During this time, their heart rate is completely normal and regular. Their breathing is perfect and their temperature comes up when they are being held. They open their eyes and look around at us. It's the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I just wish I could be there every second of every day to help them through all of this. Their mother does too, and we are very fortunate that Carrie can go and spend as much time with them as she likes, which means she is pretty much there all the time.

Now for some photos:



These are three of the NICU Nurses. On the left is Laura. Jaylee is in the middle. She has been with the boys for the last several days. Brittney is on the right. All three of them are amazing people who care about our boys in a way that astounds me. There are lots of other nurses that we meet all the time. Each one is wonderful and once again their existence restores my faith in humanity.



This is Cade after he is all clean and fed. He is always looking around and is happy when his Mom and Dad are in the room.




This is Cash in his first outfit. He is rocking pretty hard.


This is Zane throwing up the sign of Rock. He can't wait to go home and listen to some Metal with the old man.

Having three boys in the NICU is tough. It's especially tough when it's 60 miles away. Carrie and I can't imagine doing it without the Doctor's, Nurse's, and Nurse Practitioners at Scott and White in Temple. In fact one of the Nurse Practitioners made us feel so much better about Cade with just a few nice words. His name is Alex:

Alex: Oh he had a 2? No big deal. That just gets absorbed and off he goes. I thought he might be getting sick. Cool. That makes me feel better.

Every day is a victory, and everyday the boys get better and stronger. They are gaining weight and changing everyday.

We would like to thank everyone for their kinds words, thoughts, and prayers. The NICU is a roller coaster, but our boys are going to be fine. We just think positive and don't dwell on any of the negative stuff that might happen. Please do the same.

Everyone has been asking what they can do to help, and I will tell you. If you really want to do something, make a donation to the Scott and White Children's Hospital. A lot of the equipment they buy is bought through private donations. The units the boys are in cost around $70,000. They are amazing people who do amazing work. This is an unbelievable cause. Every single dollar helps. If you would like, make it in the name of Cade, Zane, and Cash Krug. Here is the address.

Children's Miracle Network at Scott and White
2401 S. 31st Street
Temple, TX
76508

If you prefer to donate online, visit this link:

Children's Miracle Network at Scott and White

It will take you to a form that will allow you to donate directly.

Visit this link to find out more information:

Scott and White

We will obviously be up at the NICU a lot. We will post more pictures and keep everyone up to date on how they are doing. The blog is great because I can explain things in detail and only have to do it once. Thanks again for all the support all of you give our boys.

"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."

Our boys are BOLD.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Breast Milk Voodoo

The boys are really doing great. Carrie and I are having a blast holding them and watching them change daily. They are opening their eyes and yelling a lot. Zane laughs and smiles when he is being held and laughs more when he hears another baby cry, which is pretty funny. Cash is off his CPAP and just has that breathing thing that his brothers have. They hate it. They are always pulling it off and their nurses have to reposition them. Cade is especially bad about ripping his off his head. They love it when they are being held and they especially love it when Carrie has Kangaroo time with them. They are all three on breast milk which is fed to them through a feeding tube that goes straight to their stomach. Hopefully they will be on a bottle in 3 or 4 weeks. They suck on pacifiers, so they are getting better at that. I know that everyone wanted to know their exact size at birth, so here it is;

Cade - 3lbs 5.9 ounces and 15.75 inches long

Zane - 2 lbs 15 ounces and 15.5 inches long

Cash - 3 lbs 4.8 ounces and 15 inches long

They are long and skinny. Their hands are really big. Apparently, these boys are really good size for triplets born at 29 weeks. One nurse told me that oftentimes a single baby will weigh this much at 29 weeks. That's really good news.

Speaking of breast milk.

I pretty much knew nothing about this process. I knew that women fed their babies with breast milk either directly or by pumping. That's about all I knew. After finding out a bit more about breast pumping and breast milk in general, I am absolutely petrified. I mean I am scared to death. This breast milk motherhood thing is tied directly into the entire force of the universe, and I feel like I could be crushed by it in an instant.

Allow me to explain.

The day the boys were born, a lactation consultant came by Carrie's room. She explained that Carrie would need to pump every three hours. She said that not much would be there at first and not to get discouraged. More would come after Carrie held the boys and heard them cry.

What?

Hold on?

Stop.

Seriously.

I thought a woman got pregnant, her breasts filled up with milk, she had the baby or babies in our case, and fed them. End of story. The end.

No! Not so fast. There is voodoo that goes into this thing. Many might call it mother nature. Okay. I can handle nature having a hand in it, but I have some questions.

I have asked these questions to Doctors and Nurses. First I will write the question and give the answer I heard from medical science. After that will be my own personal answer that I believe is closer to the truth.

Q=Question
MSA=Medical Science Answer
MT=Mike's Theory

Q: Why when a woman hears a baby cry, why does she immediately start lactating?

MSA: The cry of the baby triggers something in the brain that makes the woman produce milk. It's the instinct of the mother kicking in.

MT: This is pure voodoo. I would think the milk would already be there because the woman just gave birth. I think that women are tied to some weird gravitational pull that allows them to have super powers that I believe will eventually destroy me.

Q: Why when a mother holds her child does it help the milk come in?

MSA: Once again, the contact with the baby triggers things in a woman's brain helps milk productions.

MT: The woman has the ability to hold things and make her body do whatever she wants it to. She can hold a knife for a while and later on, a man using that knife will slip and cut himself with it, simply because the woman was upset with him and wanted him be punished for some transgression. Once again as a man I don't stand a chance against this strange power.

Now, after learning all this, I was totally freaked out. I realized that most men are just stronger physically than women to make us feel better. It coaxes us into a feeling of superiority that is just false. A man who is paying attention will notice a deep change in his wife after she gives birth. It is the sort of change that all of a sudden you know that your wife will pounce on someone and chew their entire head off in 16 seconds if they mess with her babies. It's a powerful thing.

If all this wasn't enough I got more crazy voodoo information. We were in the NICU and Carrie was talking about breast milk with one of the nurses. I was talking to Cash, and they were over by Zane. I heard what they said, even though I don't think I was supposed to.

Nurse: You are doing great with your milk.

Carrie: I sure hope so. I'm worried cause there are three of them.

Nurse: Don't worry. There is plenty so far. I've seen women have a very hard time.

Carrie: Holding them and hearing them really helps.

Nurse: Oh yes. Also, I knew one woman who would smell the urine in her babies diapers, and this would help a lot also.

STOP! Shut up right now. What is this madness? I don't need to hear any more. This is what they LET me hear. What do they talk about when the guys aren't around.

This brings me to my next point. I have always been very leery about the power a woman has and her tie to the earth, moon, wind, rain ect.

Allow me to explain.

Pagans used to worship women. They worshiped what they referred to as the "Divine Feminine". Women gave life and were the start of it all as far as they were concerned. This is a good point. After the pagan religion was pretty much stamped out, later religions always have women in more of a backseat role.

I have had several questions about women my whole life.

1. Why when women start hanging out or living together they sync up on the same cycle?

No one has EVER been able to explain this one to me. This one scared me pretty bad when I first found out about it when I was in high school. I had no sisters, so I had no experience with this. When I found out, I didn't speak for about ten days. It was all I could think about. Then my buddy Andy told me something that his Dad told him.

Andy's Dad: Son, if it bleeds for seven days and doesn't die, you don't want any part of it.

All of these things that I have mentioned about women are amazing. Women are tied to the earth and moon. With this I believe they possess powers that men simply can't interfere with.

What else did the nurse tell Carrie after I was out of ear shot?

I imagined this conversation taking place;

Nurse: You can make your husband have a heart attack.

Carrie: What? How?

Nurse: Sure. You hear about guys dropping dead all the time right?

Carrie: Yes.

Nurse: You know, perfectly healthy guys dropping dead for no reason.

Carrie: Yes.

Nurse: It's usually their wives.

Carrie: How?

Nurse: You know how I just told you about smelling the babies urine will make your milk come?

Carrie: Uh huh.

Nurse: Well, if your husband ever makes you mad, you can give him a heart attack. You can make it as bad as you want. Some women just give their husbands a mild heart attack to make them appreciate what they have.

Carrie: How?

Nurse: Wait until your husband goes to sleep. Put your hand on his chest so you can feel his heart. Smell his hair. It might be dirty, but just do it. When your hand is on his heart and you are smelling his hair, repeat these words to yourself "FLOCKA FLOCKA HOY DOY"
That's it.

Carrie: Flocka Flocka Hoy Doy?

Nurse: Yep. That's all you need to do. Heart attack the next day. Say FLOCKA once for a mild heart attack and four times to really hurt him. That' how you dial it in.

Carrie: Wow. That's great. He's doing good right now, but if he ever gets out of line.....

That's just my take on the whole thing. I can't prove any of this, but it does concern me.

Finally, I am amazed by motherhood. This is my first real experience with it. I know that it is super powerful. Watching Carrie with my boys is unreal. There is a transformation that happened. Many husbands get a little jealous. I'm not because I understand it as much a a male can understand such things. She is the best Mom. Her thoughts are always with the boys. The first time she left them to come to Austin was very hard for her. I felt a little guilty because I didn't feel as bad as she did. I then realized that I am not able to. We have two different roles to play and we have to do it as a team. We are very committed to doing so and I have my best friend to do this with.

Besides, I am scared of her.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pictures

We took a bunch of pictures today of the boys in the NICU. I got to hold Zane for the first time. Carrie has gotten to hold Cade and Zane and have what is called Kangaroo time with them. This is when they put the babies directly on her skin. It's absolutely amazing how they get so calm. Their vital signs get perfect and their heart rates stabilize. They start to breathe very steadily. Apparently, they take their breathing cues from Mom. They also get to listen to that heartbeat that they heard for so long. It's a beautiful thing.

Cash got his respirator tube out today and is back on CPAP. Cade and Zane started on Mother's Milk today which is great. They are so far ahead of schedule and doing amazing. We should be able to hold Cash tomorrow. I'm really excited. He opened his eyes and looked up at us a lot today. These boys love attention.

This is a picture of two of the NICU Nurses that are taking care of the boys. This is them with Cash. They are Jayne and Mela. I doubt I just spelled their names right, but they are very cool.



This is Cade. He is off of CPAP and on just
a breathing thing that I can't remember
the name of. It's like what old people or
people with breathing trouble use.
It's just room air.



This is me holding my boy Zane for the first time ever.



This is when I told Zane a good joke. He laughed.
This is the first time that I got to see him smile.
Wouldn't you smile if you had me for a Dad?



This one is of me changing Cash's diaper. At least
I think it's Cash. I can't tell them apart just yet.



These next two are of Carrie doing the Kangaroo
care thing with Zane.





Finally, we have Mr. Cade with his eyes open.
What an awesome little guy he is. The boys are
doing amazing. Everyone is very impressed.
They go on and on about how tough and strong
they are. It's very cool to be a Triplet Mom and
Dad. Carrie and I can't imagine it any other way.



We don't know how to thank everyone for their
support, prayers, calls, and good thoughts. I have to
say thank you to Jan and Lisa Creasey for being
absolutely amazing this week. They are one set
of Triplet Grandparents that the boys have. They
were amazing. Carrie's mother Ethel drove from
Austin to Temple several times and helped her
daughter in a way that only a mother can. We are
so lucky to have such a great family unit around us.
The boys will understand someday how truly blessed
they are to have landed in such a place. The old man may
be a poor guitar player, but he sure knew how to
pick the girl with the best family.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Birth (Part One)

I didn't get to go into much detail about the birth in the last blog, so I will do so now. This is part one only because I don't know how far I will get before I have to cut it off and make a part two. This is pretty much how it went down from my perspective.

As you know, Carrie was admitted to the hospital on June 1st at around 11:30 a.m. We had gone to see Dr. Jones, and he checked out the boys and then told us that Carrie was dilated 1 cm. We took off to the hospital. She wasn't having any more contractions than the two or three per day she had been having, so we thought everything was good. This wasn't the case of course, so we thought she would have to spend a bunch of time in the hospital. At 7:00 p.m. Dr. Allen told us that things had pretty much stabilized and nothing was changing. He thought we would be okay for a while. After that we watched some baseball and I typed a blog about our hospital room that I came to regret later. Hold on. I'm getting ahead of myself. We were both pretty tired, so we went to sleep at around 9:00 p.m. At midnight Carrie woke up and was having intense contractions. The Dr. on call came in and said Carrie was at 3 cm. They hit her with some medication to stop the contractions, pumped some steroids in, and hoped for the best. We hoped it would work and we all knew better. I was watching the contraction monitor screen and it was peaking out pretty good. The Dr. came back in at 3:00 a.m. and Carrie was at 5 cm.

Game On.

I knew it was happening right then, so naturally I put my shoes on and my Boston Red Sox Hat. That was my lucky hat that I had worn to every appointment up until the one that day. Why did I put my shoes and hat on? I have no idea. Carrie didn't put a hat on. She didn't bother with shoes. The conversation was quick. The Dr. told us that we needed to deliver before we were in an emergency situation. We had made it to 29 weeks which was awesome. They boys were big for triplets and were doing great.

This was about 3:20 a.m.

Everyone left the room and we had like two minutes alone together. For some reason we both got really calm. I don't know why. We aren't calm people. We haven't been calm ever before. Why then? Who knows. We even took some pictures that I will post later. That's when we started to meet everyone from the team that would be delivering our boys.

There were two anesthesiologists that we met first. They were awesome. They told Carrie exactly what would happen. Next the NICU team came in and told us where the boys would go and what they would do. Then the surgeons came in and told us what was going to happen. Someone brought me my suit, hat, and things to cover my shoes that I had on. They whisked Carrie's entire bed out of the room with her in it of course. Then I was alone. I was pretty calm. I typed a quick blog which was another conversation between God and his Assistant. I went out a mass text to some family and friends. I put up a message on Facebook. I put up another on Carrie's Facebook. Then I sat down.

So this was it? All the wondering about how it was going to happen was now over. I was minutes away from meeting the boys. How would it go? The good thing about it all, was we didn't have much time to be afraid. We didn't have time to think. After a few minutes, they came and got me. I walked into the delivery room and naturally, I opened up with a joke;

Mike: Okay...Where's MY Scalpel?!

Everyone in the whole room laughed but Carrie. She was a little out of it. I sat in a stool beside her and we got things rolling. How many people does it take to deliver triplets? The answer is 18. That's right, 18 people were in that room. 18 of the most beautiful awesome people that are on this earth. They are the best. They all know their job and they all love their job. They are amazing. I do not have words to thank them. I can't think of anything I could do to show them our gratitude, and I had a whole bunch of amazing people yet to meet.

There was a blue sheet between us and doctors who were making the incision and pulling out the boys. This is so you and your wife don't see the huge hole, all the organs, all the blood, and the babies being harvested from the uterus. Did I look? Did Mike with the weak stomach glance over the sheet and peer inside? Absolutely. Did it bother me? Not at all. It was so clinical, clean, and perfect that there was nothing to freak out about.

Carrie was so brave and so tough. I am so proud of her. She is a giver of life in the truest sense of the word. She is amazing and I love her so much for doing what she did and how she did it. Awesome. Never one complaint. Never one negative word. She just held my hand and we waited for our boys.

At 4:41 a.m. we heard a cry from our boy Cade. He is Triplet A and the first to come out. He was whisked by us and out to a team of people that were waiting to warm him and take care of our boy. I saw his black hair and his little body as he passed. He was yelling. It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard.

Next up at 4:43 was Zane. Our little Zane went flying by in the same manner as his brother. I asked the Doctors how it was going. They said perfect. One more to go.

At 4:45 our little Cash came out and went to a team with a baby warmer unit that was in our room. He was crying and I watched as the did what they do to newborns. I looked at Carrie.

Carrie: We're a family now.

Mike: Yes we are baby. Yes we are.

I walked over to the Saints that were taking care of Cash. He was breathing on his own. They were giving him a little air and had him in a warming thing. I looked down at him. So this is what you look like? This is what we waited for. He was so absolutely perfect. I fell in love with him in a way that there aren't words to describe. Until that moment I wasn't a parent. Parents had told me about that moment, and I didn't get it. You can't get it. It's not anyone's fault, you just can't until it happens to you. They said Cash was doing great, so I kissed Carrie and told her I was going to check on Cade and Zane. I walked out of the room and saw the teams that were taking care of them. I went to each one and they were doing good too. At this point, they were sewing Carrie up, and I went into a hallway and made a couple of phone calls. I then went and thanked the Doctors and anyone else I could find that was there. Everyone was pumped. This went great and they were excited. The boys were then whisked to the NICU, and I went somewhere and did something, then I went somewhere else, and it's pretty much a blur. Then I went back to find Carrie and we were moved to another room. After I was there for a while we decided that I should go check on the boys. I then went to the door that leads to the NICU. They told me to just pick up the phone and tell them who I was. Someone would open the door and take me to the boys. I was a little nervous. I picked up the phone on the wall. It instantly just started ringing.

Operator: NICU

Mike: Uh.....hi....uh...this is Mike....uh.....Krug.....and I wanted to see if....uh...I could see my boys..they are the...

Operators: Hi Mr. Krug. The triplets. Let me ring your nurse.

Mike: Uh....okay.....

Nurse: Hi Mr. Krug we will come get you.

Mike: I don't know where I am exactly.

Nurse: I do. I'll be there in a second.

I hang up the phone and wait. About one minute later a nurse opens the door.

Nurse: Hi! I'm Katy and I'm taking care of Cash.

The first person to refer to him as Cash. He had his own nurse? What was this?

Me: Oh...uh...okay. How is he?

Katy: He's great. He is so cute. They all are.

I wanted to buy her a car. I wanted to do something nice for her. I felt like I owed her a HUGE debt of gratitude. She was taking care of our Cash.

Katy: Follow me.

We walk down the hall and I'm told to wash up and put on a gown. I do as I'm told and then off we go into a locked room. I see three units and a nurse by each one. Katy goes over to the far left unit and tells me that Cash is in that unit. On the far right is Cade, and in the middle is Zane. They are hooked up to all kinds of monitors and wires. There were buzzers and lights going off all the time. I was told that they were all doing very well for triplets born at 29 weeks. I go to each one and my heart aches for my boys. I'm so worried and out my head. I watch their little bodies work as they breathed. I watched the machines and the numbers.

I had to sit down.

That' s when Rachel, who was Zane's nurse told me what everything did and what everything meant. These people know their stuff. I feel great about where they are and what is happening. I even get to take a few pictures which I posted as you know. I took them back to show Carrie. She couldn't get up to see them until that evening. The major surgery along with the loss of 2 liters of blood had put a dent in her energy level. I hung out in the NICU for a while and talked to and touched all of our boys. I have no words for how all that felt.

Later that day, Carrie and I went together and I got to change my very first diaper on Cade. I later changed Zane and Cash. It was awesome. I actually did pretty good. It didn't bother me at all. I realized that I would do literally ANYTHING for any of them. Diapers are easy.

Carrie and I touched their little bodies and told them how much we love them. It was hard. It's tough to see the little guys all strapped down and wired up. However, they are getting the best care possible. This NICU is rated in the top 3% of all NICUs in the world or the country or something. Their survival rate is unbelievable.

I would like to take a moment to say something about the NICU Nurses. These girls are unbelievable. They work 12 hour shifts where they sit right beside the boys and watch the monitors. They take blood samples. They fix their wires and their little CPAP units. They touch them and talk to them. It is the opinion of Carrie and I that they are Angels sent specifically by God to this earth to take care of babies that are born early or have difficulties. They are amazing, caring, special people who love their job. They make little signs for the boys with their names on them. They print out pictures of guitars and color them. They answer any questions and are so upbeat and positive, you can't help but feel good about where your boys are. I know that we will never be able to show them or tell them how much their work means to Carrie and I. Since the boys are going to be there for a long time, I know they will become our friends and we will all be so excited and shed many tears of joy when the boys get to come home. We are just starting our NICU journey and we could not possibly feel better about where the boys are.

This is why I feel like an idiot for complaining about the remote controls and the art in the various rooms. The hospital spent the money where it should have. They spent it on the equipment and on the people that are going to get our boys the best start on life that you could imagine. I don't know what these people make, but they should triple it and add 400%.

How are the boys right now?

They are good. Cash got in a little trouble. One of his lungs collapsed and he had to be put on a respirator. This happened on his first night, and Carrie and I were very scared for him. Turns out this was expected and the staff wasn't surprised. They thought they might all need respirators. As of this moment at 2:05 p.m. on Friday June 4th Cash is doing great. Carrie called and said he is not using the respirator and after an X-Ray they may take it out today or tomorrow, which is ahead of when they thought. Cade and Zane are in those blue light jaundice blankets, which is to be expected. All in all they are doing awesome. They are big boys for triplets and everyone keeps telling us how good they are doing.

Carrie JUST called me and told me Cash is opening his eyes and looking around. I am crying right now. My little Cash Buddy is going to be okay. I had a serious talk with him this morning and told him this respirator stuff wasn't going to work and he needed to get past it. Apparently he listened. This morning he squeezed my finger and I figured he was trying to tell me this;

Cash: I'm trying Dad. I'm trying. I may be little but I'm tough. Don't worry about me.

Our boys are so tough and they are doing so good. Every day is a victory and we will get further. We may have some set backs, but in the end, our boys will be just fine. We owe literally thousands of people for their prayers and good thoughts. We also owe the Angels at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. It's a debt we won't ever be able to repay.

I am going to take a bunch of pictures tomorrow and post them soon. I showed the NICU Nurses the blog and hopefully they will post some comments and tell you all how the boys are, so watch the comments on the various blogs.

On a final note, if you want to communicate with Carrie, please do so on Face Book by leaving a comment on her page. She is getting out of the hospital tomorrow and is still sore and recovering from the ordeal. She has received literally thousands of text messages and phone calls. I told her not to answer her phone or return any texts for a while, so she hasn't been doing so. She appreciates everyone's support so much and she wants to talk to everyone, but she just can't. Her job is to be a milk machine and a Momma and this is going to take all of her energy for a while. I will keep everyone updated here as often as possible.

I guess I didn't need a part 2.

More later....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hello World

Starting at 4:41 a.m. on June 2nd 2010 The Krug Boys began to arrive in this world.

First up was Cade Richard Krug



















Next was his brother Zane Chad Krug



















Very shortly after that Cash Dean Krug joined his brothers.



















They made it to 29 weeks and one day. They were all in the same placenta so they are most likely identical triplet brothers. They were big boys for triplets and very big for how early they were. They were immediately breathing on their own. What you see in the photos is CPAP which aids their breathing so they don't have to labor. They are hooked up to all kinds of monitors and what not. They came sooner than we would have liked but they are doing great.
Here is how it went down.

7:00 p.m.- Dr. Allen says Carrie is still at 1 cm and things seem to have stabilized.
12:00 a.m. - Carrie is having intense contractions 3 and 4 minutes apart. She is now at 3 cm. Things are serious. Medication is given to stop the contractions.
3:00 a.m. - The contractions are not stopping. They are worse. Carrie is now at 5 cm and a decision has to be made.

If her water breaks we are in an emergency situation. The Doctors along with us decided to go ahead with the delivery.

The next part is a whirlwind. She is taken from the room and taken into delivery. They give her the epideral and then I got in. Very shortly after that, the first baby is here, then another, and then another. Hearing them cry was probably the best sound we have ever heard. They were then put in the NICU where they are right now and will remain for at least six weeks.

How is Carrie? She is feeling "out of it". She handled the whole thing like a champ. She is laying in bed her and receiving numerous text messages, e-mails, and facebook comments. She tired, but extremely happy.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. We will need them in the weeks to come as our boys get strong enough to go home.




Send Them In

God's Assistant: Uh...Hey....God.

God: It's 3:00 a.m. I'm watching Family Guy. What?

God's Assistant: It's the Krug's. Carrie is in labor and contractions are about 4 minutes apart.

God: What?! It's early.

God's Assistant: They are at 29 Weeks. They are big boys for triplets. I know you are upset with the whole world right now...but we need to make a decision.

God: I gave them one earth. One. Now they have oil all over the Gulf. The greed heads refuse to stop wrecking the earth. I gave them one. It should be obvious.

God's Assistant: I know. I know.

God: Besides that, they continue to fight in my name. Since the beginning of time. They use ME of all people as a reason to fight. I made it real simple. Just love one another. Don't use me to judge each other. I just don't get it.

God's Assistant: I don't either. Listen, these triplets started another fire in the waiting room. They just won't sit still. We've had two people quit.

God: I know they are a hand full. You've seen their parents. They need a hand full. They deserve it.

God's Assistant: What do we do?

God: Well, I have a place for the CEOs and the rich people who take advantage of the earth and the poor and I will smite them with the full force of all my power and...

God's Assistant: No...about the boys. What do we do?

God: Send them in. Send them in. June 2nd 2010. Send them in......

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hospitals Suck

As you know, we are in the hospital. Since there is not a whole lot to do, I will write. First of all, I'm glad that nothing is happening right now. Carrie isn't having contractions like she was a few hours ago. That is a good thing. I'm also happy because the boys are above average in size.

Having said that, I would like to say that hospitals suck. I have to admit that this time around things are better. I brought an Ethernet cable so we have Internet. Our room is bigger than last time which is also good. There are a few things that could be better.

First of all, we are in a delivery room. The bed that Carrie is lying in is meant to deliver babies, or a baby if you are normal, which we most certainly are not. The mattress on the thing is like two inches thick. It's not even shaped like a normal bed, as it sort of gets narrower as you go down towards the foot of it. It has every sort of stirrup and leg holder thing you can imagine. This is for obvious reasons. My point is, the bed is not made for sleeping. It's made for labor, which thankfully, Carrie is not in. She is having trouble getting comfortable which is understandable. We are in this delivery type unit just to be on the safe side. They say they will move her to a normal room if things continue to stay stable.

She is also hooked up to two IVs and a contraction monitor. Each time she has to get up we have to go through a giant production of unplugging the contraction monitor and unplugging the power to the IV unit. It switches to battery power automatically. This unit is pretty high tech. Speaking of high tech, what is not high tech is the cable television system. I think that the remote control unit is a leftover from something that was popular during the Richard M. Nixon administration. It takes like two years to switch channels or turn the volume up and down. The lone speaker for the television is on this remote control unit that I am currently staring at. On second thought, I think that the remote control might have been on the Mayflower with the pilgrims. Yep, I bet the pilgrims used this remote to watch football during the first Thanksgiving. It's one of those remotes that is attached to the wall with a big thick cable. There isn't quite enough slack in it to pull it over to where I am. It's all analog. Don't they know about touch screen technology? It makes me wonder if they are going to use a hacksaw for the C-Section and a ball peen hammer to knock her out. Right behind Carrie I can see the contraction monitor screen. The contraction monitor itself looks like something made by Fisher Price. I think that Fisher Price also made the fetal heart beat monitors. They tried to use those earlier. They can only use two of those at a time, and it was impossible to tell if they were getting the heartbeat of Triplet A, B, or C. Actually at times the fetal heart monitor would pick up Carrie' heartbeat and sometimes I think it was picking up mine and I wasn't even near it. They finally gave up after they swore they got good readings on all the boys. I don't know how this was possible because on the sonograms they were all doing back flips and giving each other high fives.

Carrie said her food was good. I went down to the cafeteria where I had some pizza that wasn't bad and they had good coffee. I have my guitars here which is good. They won't let the dog in the hospital which I think is bunk. She is clean and she just lays there. Besides, Carrie really loves the dog and I think that having the dog here would extend this pregnancy by at least two weeks. Hospitals are notorious for having staff infections and all kinds of other diseases running rampant up and down their hallways. What's one dog going to do to contribute to that? Not much as far as I'm concerned.

I'm also staring at the couch/foldout bed that I am going to be sleeping on. People stay overnight at hospitals all the time. You think they would be prepared and have something slightly comfortable. This thing look like a torture device they would use in a Turkish prison to keep a person up all night during interrogation. They just gave me a pillow which is a one inch thick cotton pad wrapped in blue paper. This thing has about as much in common with a pillow as a chunk of oak. The couch thing is also very short. I'm not very tall, and my legs will hang off the end. The chair I'm sitting in has a leg rest that will not stay up. I can't really lean it back or I will tip over and slam my head into the wall behind me. It's sort of a strange balancing act to sit in it at all.

Hospital art is another thing that is weird. Where do they get these paintings? The one on the wall in Carrie's room is of a house with some roses in the front. It looks like it was painted by a frustrated hack who bought a paint by numbers kit and tried his best to be Monet. The painting is so bland and ridiculous that I am offended every time I look at it, and I'm not even really into art.

The fact is, we have to hunker down here for quite a while. I mean quite a while if we are lucky. I will be driving back and forth from Austin to Temple with great regularity. It's pretty much 50 miles from our house to this hospital. I have driven I-35 countless times and I already know the road well. That didn't stop us from getting lost on the way to the hospital this morning. Why wouldn't we get lost? It makes total sense that we would. I thought I remembered what exit to take, and it turns out I didn't. Hopefully I will remember my way back to Austin tomorrow.

Finally, our Doctors are great. They come in and I know that they really care about us. Having said that I am amazed about how perplexed they look when they are talking to us.

Doctor: Have the contractions gotten more intense?

Carrie: Yes, today they have been different.

Doctor: (stares at ceiling) Hmm. Well.....it could mean one of two things. One, you could be in pre-term labor. Or you are not in pre-term labor.

Wow! It took 8 years of college and 4 years of residency to come up with something so profound?

In all honesty, there is no way of knowing what is going on. Each body is different and no matter how much they know, anything can and will happen. They call it practicing medicine for a reason. I know we are in the right place no matter how much the beds suck, no matter how bad the art is, and no matter how much the remote controls suck. Carrie is willing to do ANYTHING to make sure the boys are safe. I will be more than happy to drive that stretch of I-35 as many times as it takes.

I promise you one thing. If this goes on for more than a week or two, I WILL try and sneak the dog into see Carrie.