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.
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
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.