Nine Month Pictures

For those of you who have not seen them yet here are the triplets nine month pictures.

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Here comes autumn

Ah, summer time.Okay.  I know it has been two months.  I think I was subconsciously resting in anticipation of the coming autumn season.  I probably thought it would be good to lay low in the heat of the summer, you know, stay cool.  Well, the summer weather couldn’t have been nicer.  If it got above ninety we complained.  The kids did not stay dormant during this nice summer.  They got out to meet friends.  They went out to dinner.  They learned to crawl.  They learned to get into things.  They learned to climb over and on each other.  They went on their first “long” road trip.  They grew up a lot.

July saw Abby, Max and Daniel going to the baptism of cousin Audrey.  They showed off for everyone.  They melted down early in the afternoon.  They went home and went to bed. 

What are you looking at?Max and Daniel suffered their first colds (along with Dad) early in late July/early August.  It lasted a few weeks for all of us.  Max sounded like a lawn mower.  Daniel’s nose ran like a river.  We all recovered.  Summer colds are no fun.

Our old friend and neighbor Neil and his eleven month old son, Landon, came to play on one of my days off.  At that time Daniel and Max were just Abby, Landon, Daniel, and Maxpracticing their crawling.  They were in the rocking phase of the crawling.  When Landon came over he must have inspired them.  He was lightning fast.  I think our guys were in awe.  They had some lunch.  They played together as much as a bunch of eight and ten (at the time) months old kids could.  Then it was time for Landon to go home and take a nap.  We hope to see Landon—and Neil—again soon. 

Grandma and Grandpa Whitaker came to stay with us one weekend.  Everybody had fun.  Grandma and Grandpa were going to stay with Uncle Justin and Aunt Rachel, but Uncle Justin turned out to have a wicked throat infection that put him out of commission for a few days. 

The next weekend Grandma and Grandpa Poorman came to visit.  We were playing in the yard when they arrived and I think it kind of freaked AbbyGrandma, Grandpa and the grandkids out.  I think between the last time they stayed with us seven weeks earlier and the middle of August the triplets were developing longer memories.  They might not have had an immediate memory of them.  That soon changed.  After a few minutes everybody was smiling again.  It was a fantastic weekend.  The kids played.  The grandparents played.  Everybody went to eat at O’Dowd’s Little Dublin.  We ate at the street side tables.  The kids behaved marvelously and just watched the people and cars go by in the beautiful weather.  I think Max was flirting with the ladies at the next table.  He tried to grab a Guinness off the table.  They slept hard that night. Daniel at O'Dowd's

Labor Day weekend was something new for them.  And it was not the same old road trip to Davenport for us either.  The weekend started Thursday night when I picked up our mini van rental from the airport.  We left at about 8 am Friday morning.  We arrived just in time for a nap Friday afternoon.  Their nap, not ours.  Then came the first wave of friends and family to meet the triplets.  They did so well.  They smiled and played and then went to sleep like good babies. 

Stopping in Newton, IAThe next day they went for a walk in the nearby park.  They met an old teacher of mine and her son with whom I attended grade school and high school.  I better get my grammar correct because she taught English and literature in junior high.  The rest of the day was spent napping and playing while Julie and I got ready for my high school reunion that night. 

Jenny Heuer and AbbyI will now devote a paragraph to something other than the triplets.  My old high school buddy, Ryan, Julie and I went to Kelly’s Irish Pub.  Anybody who knows the history of public watering holes in the Quad Cities knows that the name Kelly holds a certain cache.  It was a wonderful night on the patio.  It was really good to see friends that I had not seen since the first reunion ten years ago.  People asked about the triplets and we were obliged to tell them everything about life with triplets.  It was a good thing we brought some pictures. 

Chaos at the old homesteadSunday was wave two of family and friends.  Mostly family this time.  Again, the triplets did not have any trouble making friends.  My Aunt Rita did a wonderful job of giving Abby her bottle before it was time for her nap.  That night we went to our friends’, Russ and Cathy’s, house.  They have four year old twin daughters.  They gave us some good advice in the beginning before we knew what to expect.  They made some more friends and Mom and Dad had some good brats and hot dogs courtesy of Russ and Cathy.  The cookie cake was supplied Ryan.  The jokes were supplied by Brad.  It was a good way to finish up the trip.

We got back Monday afternoon.  The last two hours of the car ride were not the best.  Max and Daniel did not want to sleep and they let us know that they were tired of being in their car seats.  For the last two hours.  Non-stop. 

Now, we are looking at one weekend leading to the next weekend.  We are looking forward to taking the triplets to a KU football game or two.  In Kansas City, as it is in a lot of cities around the country at this time, there are fall festivals coming out our ears.  If we get to one of them they will have a wonderful time and we will be lucky.  Soon it will be time for some birthdays (grandma’s and Julie’s first).  Then comes Halloween.  If you see three shady characters knocking on your door do not be afraid.  Do not make any sudden moves, but do not be afraid. 

After some birthdays, football games, Halloween, and visits from grandparents, it is time for a visit from Uncle Steve, Aunt Jen, cousins Meghan and Nicholas.  Next comes their first Thanksgiving.  And it culminates with their one first birthday!  You can see what I mean when one thing leads into the next thing, and the next thing, etc.  After that, the holiday season will be upon us.  We kind of skipped Christmas last year.  We were a little busy.  I think we can consider this their first true Christmas. 

Hopefully, I can keep up with the blogging.

So long for now from Abby!

So long for now from Abby!

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Abby’s surgery explained

A month ago Abby was getting ready to have her heart surgery.  These days you would not know she had that kind of surgery (or any surgery, for that matter) if you did not see her scar.  I told you I would explain her surgery, and finally I am getting around to it.

 It all basically goes back to the fact that because her tricuspid valve that should pump blood from her right atrium to her right ventricle grew together in the early stages of her development that whole process is skipped.  The important thing to remember is that the right ventricle pumps used blood returning from her body to the lungs to be re-oxygenated.  Because of her heart defect good blood (oxygen-rich) mixes with the oxygen-poor blood causing her heart and lungs to work less efficiently than they should.  This surgery corrected the problem, at least the upper half of it.

 The bi-directional Glenn Procedure, as it is called, uses gravity as an aid.  Instead of having the used blood return to the heart through the superior vena cava and mixing with the recently oxygenated blood, the used blood does not return to the heart.  Instead it goes directly to the lungs.  This is accomplished by tightening the band on the pulmonary artery which was put on during her first procedure in December.  Then the two main veins (left and right, the bi-directional part) that feed into the superior vena cava, along with the vena cava are surgically altered to feed directly into the lungs.  That is it. 

 Of course, this was done by opening up the chest, so we were on pins and needles for a few hours that day.  To give you an idea of how well this worked, prior to her surgery her oxygen/blood saturation level was at 63%.  That is not horrible for someone with a heart defect.  You and I have a saturation level pretty much set at 100%.  A couple of days after her surgery her saturation level was consistently in the upper eightieth percentile.  This, obviously, gives her so much more energy. 

There you have it—two down, one to go.

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Fourth of July part 2

Well, here I am at 9:30 in the morning.  Max actually went down for a nap and so did Abby.  Daniel is entertaining himself for the moment.  He is good at that sort of thing.  I thought I would take this opportunity to update everyone on the Triplets’ trip to the pediatrician yesterday.

Dr. Roger’s was very impressed.  Max weighed in at a whopping twenty one pounds one ounce.  Daniel was not far behind at 20 pounds and a 1/2 ounce.  Dainty Abby weighed in at 14 pounds and  10 ounces.  That does not sound like much, but she is now in the 10th percentile on the growth chart, and that is not taking into account her premature birth and heart condition.  With those factors taken into account she is more in the 30th percentile.  That is some real progress.

Lenghtwise, Abby is twenty five inches, Daniel is 28 inches, and Max is 27 inches.  The boys got a round of shots–not very fun–but Abby did not.  She is not allowed to be vaccinated for at least one month after surgery.  It was not quite a month.  Although Abby did not get any shots, she felt really  badly for Max and Daniel and cried right along with them.  It only took them a minute to perk up though.

And now for pictures.

Max driving his boat.

Max driving his boat.

Cousin Audrey at the pool.

Cousin Audrey at the pool.

Group Photo

Group Photo

Max and Daniel loungin.

Max and Daniel lounging.

Adventures in Green Beans

Adventures in Green Beans

More Adventures in Green Beans

More Adventures in Green Beans

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Fourth of July part 1

Well, it has been three weeks (almost four) since Abby’s surgery. and she is much better than we ever thought was possible.  She smiles a lot more.  She laughs a lot more.  She interacts a lot more.  She eats more.  She has not shown many signs of being uncomfotable or in pain during the past month.  I think her cheeks have doubled in size.  She is just the sweetes litte thing with red hair now.  I will get into detail with all of that, including exactly what her surgery did for her, hopefully tomorrow. 

In the meantime, this past weekend was a long holiday weekend.  I am sure you were all aware of it.  We made a late decision to go to Wichita to visit Julie’s parents for the Fourth.  It was a chance to swim and get away from all of the annual neighborhood explosions.  Julie’s parents’ live in a quiet neighborhood where most of the residents are above a certain age and do not do well with loud noises.  Oh–I almost forgot–it was also Uncle Justin’s birthday.  Anyway, we were there with Uncle Justin and Aunt Rachel, Cousin Audrey, and four dachschunds.  It may have been relatively quiet outside, but inside was another story. 

We feasted on delicious ribs and birthday cake mostly, with an occasional Corona and Guinness in the mix.  The weather was great.  We got to see Great Grandma Whitaker who is moving around smashingly since her hip surgery. 

Today I will leave you with this video of Max’s first foray into the pool.  He was the only to make it as the other two were napping like good children.  He did not know quite what to make of it, although he did not seem to mind.  I do not think this made it on to the video, but later on he went under the water (supervised, of course) and seemed to enjoy it, or at least tolerate it.

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Quick update

Just wanted to let everyone know Abby is doing superbly!  She may go home tomorrow–definitely on Tuesday.  She doe  not have any IVs.  She is only hooked up to her pulse oximeter held on her toe by a little tiny band-aid thingy, and her heart rate and respiratory rate leads.  She is eating very well.  She practically played all day with a half hour nap around 5.  She is sleeping soundly now.

Posted in Abby, Congenital Heart Defects | 4 Comments

Giving thanks (an Abby update)

I am sitting in the PICU at Children’s Mercy writing in a relieved mood.  Abby is in her crib next to me.  She is sleeping right now.  Every once in a while she wakes up because she is hungry or needs to cough or she just wants to look around. 

On Wednesday her disposition was not so sweet.  We arrived bright and early at the hospital for her pre-admission testing.  She did not mind that they took her vitals–her blood pressure, her O2 saturation levels, height, and weight–but the drawing of the blood did not go according to plan.  They could not find a sufficient vein to draw blood from, and for this procedure they needed a lot of blood for testing.  They tried at the lab.  They brought in a vascular access team.  Finally, one of the anesthesiologists helped out by lending her expertise in finding veins.  After all of the poking and prodding they ended up with blood that clotted and could not be used, although they did not tell us this until after surgery the next day.  They ended up drawing enough blood while she was out from anesthesia before surgery.  The whole pre-admission testing went several hours beyond the  scheduled time.

The day of surgery, yesterday, went very well considering she underwent open heart surgery.  I would like to thank Dr. Lofland and his team for a speedy and well done job. 

We arrived at seven AM.  We checked her in, spoke to her nurses and surgeons and anesthesiologists.  They took her to pre-op around eight.  At nine they informed us that she was under anesthesia and that they were starting surgery and about to put her on the heart-lung machine.  A couple of good news updates and two and a half hours later they let us know that they were finishing up and we would be able to see her in an hour to an hour and a half.  It went quickly and without any complications.

We were able to see her around one and she did not look a lot different than when she went in to surgery save for a few IVs and a big bandage down the middle of her chest.  At 8:30 last night they took her off the ventilator.  For her first surgery they did not do this for three days.  She is, of course, uncomfortable at times.  I guess that would go without saying.  They warned us  that she would be cranky for a couple of days due to the new circulation path that her body is learning.  Basically, blood is slowly moving through her upper body until her body adjusts.  We were told the blood pools at times causing a reddish to purplish tint to her upper body and also causing headaches.  This would make me cranky too.

She is sleeping now.  She had  a couple of ounces of milk.  Resting peacefully.  She  still looks good for having open heart surgey yesterday.  Earlier they removed her central line (IVs).  Slowly she is becoming less attached to monitors and IVs.  They will move her to a non-intensive care floor tomorrow.  They expect her to be ready to go home Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday next week.

I just want to say thank you  for all your thoughts and prayers.  She will be home to join her brothers in no time.

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