Day 26 - Monday, July 30, 2007

Today began with a lot of anticipation and a bit of fear, well maybe more than a bit. Ciaran was to get another ultrasound today and it would tell us a lot about what is going on with him. He seems quite stable and happy with everything - eating, sleeping, and going potty. But we know that there are still some lingering issues that stem from that fateful Saturday. Unfortunately, at the end of the day we are left with no more information than we had when the day started. The ultrasound was performed but it was much later than usual and the results won't be known until tomorrow morning.

Shay had a big day today...they have been talking about removing him from the ventilation machine that has been helping him breathe until this point. Well, today it was removed and he was put on the "sipap" machine. This machine gives Shay a bit of pressure to keep his lungs open but does not breathe for him. He is breathing on his own!!!!! We are hoping he can keep it up as this means he will be using a lot more energy now. As this is the 2nd time he has tried this machine we are hoping he can make it through the night and from here on out. Go SHAY!

Thanks for continuing to keep Ciaran and Shay in your thoughts and prayers. We will report back tomorrow once we know more about the ultrasound, until then Liza and I will have our fingers and toes crossed.

Good night!
Cris, Liza, Ciaran and Shay

Day 25 - Sunday July 29, 2007

It was a year ago today that Cris and I got married. Who would believe that exactly a year later we would be blessed with two fine strong young sons? I always dreamed of getting pregnant with twins and hoped so much to be blessed with children early in our marriage...and here I am - with my dreams answered. Perspective (which I need often)...we are so very blessed and lucky - we will get through this.



Both boys remained stable today. Again, it was quite a quiet today. Saying that, it was also quite an emotional day. Concerns continue regarding Ciaran following his episode three weeks ago. The doctors are monitoring a number of different measurements closely to see if intervention is necessary for him. This is where we are looking at fear in the face everyday. We are hoping that the things they are monitoring will work themselves out - although at the same time, we are aware that timely intervention is necessary to avoid further complications. Tomorrow there is another head ultra sound and the doctors will review potential next steps based on the evidence. We are praying that Ciaran will work things out on his own - he never ceases to amaze either or us...so hopefully he has another trick up his sleeve.


Both boys are looking really healthy. They are getting bigger everyday...we are so proud and pleased of their progress to date. Thanks for your continued positive vibes and prayers - please say a little extra prayer for Ciaran today - we would appreciate it :)



with love and gratitude,

cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 24 - Saturday July 28

A few pics, more to come!

Shay in all his glory!


Ciaran


Shay


It was another quiet day for Shay and Ciaran- thank God! Everywhere else in the NICU today was quite intense. There were a number of very sick babies and you could feel the extreme stress among all of the hospital staff - surely not a pleasant feeling. There were also a number of very young babies coming into the NICU today - a set of 25 week old twins and 24 week old triplets. My heart goes out to the new parents coming in - no one can prepare them for what they are in for...

It is crazy to see how many premature births there are - at the moment all of the NICU's in Ontario are full - there are not hospital beds to meet the needs of the premature babies... how sad it that!

So here are the updates for today - Shay continues to do well with being weaned off his current ventilator. The RT (Maureen - who is amazing!) told us that she felt Shay was trying to tell us that he is ready to have the tube removed from his throat as he keeps on biting down on the tube causing the alarms to go off and the oxygen to stop reaching its destination - she told us earlier today that she planned on continuing to wean him for the next few days - as she did not want Cris and I to be disappointed with a setback. Later on in the day, she told us that there was a good chance they would try pulling the tube tonight as Shay is telling them that he wants it out...moving on to the CPap will be another huge milestone - our fingers are crossed that he will be strong enough to handle this transition.

I picked up Shay today in his incubator as he had wet his blanket - he was fiesty as ever - squirming like mad and crying his little eyes out - speaking of which - another beautiful thing about Shay being on his CPap is that we will be able to hear him cry as there will be nothing obstructing his vocal cords. I may regret saying this later - but I can't wait to hear him cry!!!

They continue to wean Ciaran of his ventilator slowly which is good. He continues to tolerate his feeds and will be up to full feeds tomorrow. He continues to sleep and gain strength. He is quite swollen at the moment from some of the medications he was on last week - they are increasing nutritional intake in hopes that this will rectify the situation. Ciaran has his next follow up head ultra sound on Monday - these days are always full of fear and anxiety. Please say an extra prayer that we hear good news.

That is all for now. Thank you to everyone for your comments and emails. Your interest and thoughts are appreciated more than you know! One day we will be sure to share these with Ciaran and Shay - it would be impossible to describe the amazing support that we have received from our family and friends. These two little miracles are truly blessed to have so many supporters.

love to all!
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 23 - Friday, July 27

It has been a pretty calm day today. Both boys had a good day - hence I will keep this brief as I am exhausted. We actually left the hospital by 5:30 tonight and came home for a nice homemade meal and a glass of wine (the nurses recommended the wine to assist with milk production and to assist with decreasing stress levels :)

The respiratory therapist's continue to work on weaning Shay off his ventilation system. Today they changed the type of ventilation to conventional - which means that the air pumped into his lungs is more similar to a normal breath - he did well with the transition which is encouraging - I am thinking after some success on this system - they will attempt trying him on the C PAP again which I am excited about as once he is on the CPap ventilation, we are able to hold him everyday... he is looking really good...and we are really impressed with his progress!

Ciaran also had a good day today. They are talking about moving him off the specialized ventilation machine they put him on when his lung collapsed three weeks ago (they only have four of these machines in the entire NICU) this weekend. This is also an encouraging step and it is a step in the right direction - I think he will be a week or two behind Shay when it comes to the weaning process...as long as he continues to make progress...we are happy! So far he has responded to his feeds - he is 2/3's there to full feeding already...he should be on full feeds by Sunday if he continues to tolerate. His bowels are starting to work and he is digesting his food...he has come such a long way already...at the moment, he is quite swollen as he gained a significant amount of weight in a two or three day span - hopefully, we will continue to get rid of this water retention - as the swelling is interfering with some of the measurements that they are tracking following his collapsed lung epsiode - which is a bit worrisome for me.

The nurses are constantly telling us how tough and strong our boys are. They really have put up a good fight! Today the boys were assigned to the same nurse which has never happened before as they have always been considered higher needs babies...this is a good sign as it is an indication that they are not as needy as they once were!

This whole ordeal has emphasized how lucky we are to be living in Canada! If we were living in the States - we would likely be bankrupt by now! I would say that it costs at least 3000 dollars per day for each baby to stay at the hospital - again a reminder that we are blessed!

A note to Carly - I know we need more pictures up...Cris has promised that he will get some up by the end of the weekend if the boys are up for a photo shoot this weekend! Thanks for the reminder!

Well that is it for now - I can't believe that it is nearly the end of July - the past month has just flown by!

have a good weekend everyone!
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 22 - Thursday July 26

Another day to celebrate...the boys are three weeks old today! It is crazy how fast the past three weeks have gone by. The hours put in the hospital are catching up with us - we are both exhausted. I did not go to the hospital until 2:00 ish today. Even though this was extremely hard for me to do - I believe it did me a world of good to get some extra sleep and relaxation time!

Nothing overly eventful today. Both boys continue to sleep a significant amount of the day away - which is helping them grow bigger and stronger every day.

Shay is up to full feeds and tolerating his food well. He is becoming a bit more feisty lately (he can't have his brother getting all of the attention :) He has pulled out his intubation tube twice in the last few days. He does this by trying to lift his head up and turn it - he is surprisingly strong already. The nurses have placed weight pillows around his head to keep his head stable and secure. He is looking good - it is so nice to see the Pic line out of his arm...as he looks so much more comfortable! They are weaning him off his ventilator - we are hoping that he may graduate to the CPap in the next week ..

We had good news today re: Ciaran. He had a heart echo done (heart ultra sound to check out his murmur as it was getting louder and they were concerned he might have the valve litagated (tied). Thank goodness the murmur will not need this surgical procedure - they are going to try to close the valve with one more round of medication - keep your fingers crossed! He has been stable for the past few days...continues to be much calmer and sleepy - the nurses assure me that this is because he is feeling less agitated and likely is in less pain than he was in the early days of his life...so reassuring to hear!

Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and positive vibes...by looking at the boys progress - they are benefiting from these prayers and positive affirmations!

love to all!
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 21 - Wednesday July 25, 2007

Hi everyone,
Today one of the boys reached an important milestone. Shay has had his 'pick' line removed from his right arm. This is a huge step forward and it helps to reduce the possibility of infection. The 'pick' line is an IV line that is put in after the first 4-5 days of life and is inserted directly into a vein in the arm. It's primary purpose is to provide nourishment to the child. Shay doesn't need this extra boost anymore. He is taking in 14ml of breast milk every 2 hours now and it is increasing as he grows. This is considered to be fully feeding! A huge milestone!!!

So what about his brother, Ciaran. Well, he is also taking in breast milk and he is finally tolerating it quite well. It has taken a few tries but all seems well now. He is up to 4ml every 2 hours and they are quickly increasing him by 1ml every 8 hours. Once he reaches what is considered to be full feeding for him and as long as he is not on any medication, they will be looking to remove the 'pick' line for him as well. Based upon his current feeding, we could see this as early as Monday / Tuesday of next week but we'll see.

A few other things happened today. First, Liza got to hold Shay for 2 HOURS! YEAH! It was awesome to see. He was so calm (as usual) and he looked like he loved it. Second, Ciaran started to pass some more urine and poo and that is important as he had gained way too much weight over the last couple of days and he looked like a puff ball with multiple chins. Third, Ciaran continued his more settled ways and his ventilation requirements were quite stable. Overall, the kids had a wonderful day. Now we just have to keep hoping that this stays this way and we might actually get some sleep - haha as if that will happen for the next 6 months.

Take care,
Cris, Liza, Ciaran and Shay

Day 20 - July 24, 2007

Sorry we are posting so late again...the days tend to be pretty jam packed lately.... The last few days I have spent with my mom which have been perfect...perfect because I am with my mom and I feel so comfortable and safe when she is with me...the thing that I love about being with my mom is that I can sit with her for hours...not needing to say anything...but knowing that she is there for me...funnily enough, every day she has been with me at the hospital so far on this journey - it has been a good day...

That being said - today was a good day. Both boys spent most of their day sleeping which is soo important as they are conserving their energy and allowing themselves to grow. It is so nice to see that Ciaran is finally beginning to settle a bit...he has been calm and much less agitated for the past three or four days...this is a good sign ...Shay continues to sleep...he has been good at this right from the get go...

Not much to report today. Both boys are inching towards 3 lbs - they are getting bigger and stronger every day. Shay is up to full feeds and he is likely going to get his pick line (IV) taken out tomorrow which is definitely something to celebrate - as this is often a source of infection for preemies...the less wiring they have connected to them - the less likely they are to catch an infection.

Ciaran is being fed every two hours - and so far so good. He is digesting his food and had his first bowel movement without a suppository which is a good thing. He is looking better every day...hopefully we can get him up to full feeds in the next week...we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Cris' friends came by the hospital tonight and we all went our for a bite to eat. It was great to spend time with them - as they are very close to Cris and have been a source of support for him during the past few weeks..

take care!
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 19 - Monday July 23, 2007

Today began much like yesterday...anxiety filling our hearts - today we would get some more information about Ciaran. We arrived just in time for the daily rounds, headed up this week by Dr. Eugene Ng but we didn't the full information we were so worried about. We would have to wait until later in the day so I took off to the office and tried to get some work done (yeah right!).

So while at the office we got some good news. It would appear that Shay is heading towards the removal of his 'pick' line as he nears what they consider to be full feeding on 'boobie milk' (those are Orla's words LOL). This is huge news as it is one of the critical things they look at when evaluating him for needing Level 3 care! It means he is getting stronger every day. It would also appear they are going to try and get the kids off the ventilation within 2 weeks. Another huge milestone. They are both doing well right now and their need for assisted ventilation are definitely dropping. Ciaran appears to be tolerating his feeds right now and they will slowly increase him to full feeds over the next week. He is a bit behind but still heavier than Shay. He hit 1286 grams tonight, this puts him at 2lbs 14oz. We didn't get a weight on Shay tonight but he is close to 1200 grams himself :)

Anyway, back to the information we were waiting for. I arrived back at the hospital around 3:45 and we went to go see Dr. Ng. He has a relaxed, informal style that is quite nice. He basically gave us a positive outlook and even though it does not diminish the potential repercussions that Liza mentioned in her last post, it does give us reason to look forward and not be as stuck as we have felt the last few days. It was good news and topped off an overall good day for both kids and Liza.

The last 2 days are exactly what the staff of the NICU keep talking about.. a rollercoaster. One day, you could not feel more worried and anxious and the next day, the pressure seems a bit off and the kids make strides. It reminds you that you can never get too high and you can never get too low even though it is quite easy to ride the wave as it goes up. I'm just holding on as tightly as I can and I'm not about to let go of anything or anyone.

Ciaran and Shay are a true blessing. They fight and fight for everything and they will succeed in life for it. I refuse to accept any suggestion that being 'preemie' means anything more than they were born early. Time will tell its tale.

Good night and take care,
Cris

Day 18 - July 22, 2007

Sorry for only getting to this now - yesterday was a tough day - feeling extremely tired and emotionally drained - it is hard having to face fear in the face on a daily basis - we try our best to be positive and strong, but sometimes the feelings are overwhelming and they get the better of us...the overwhelming days often are the days where one of the babies takes a few steps back in their progress, or they are days that we anxiously await results back from X rays or ultrasounds. We recognize that this sense of fear and anxiety will continue well into our future - however, we hope that as we become more knowledgeable and the babies become more stable, we (or maybe I should refer to I - as Cris is coping quite well) - will become less anxious and overwhelmed by this sense of fear.


Shay took a few steps back yesterday. He had difficulties with his ventilator last night - it appeared that there was a leak in the ventilator causing his oxygen requirements to go up - they did an x ray and found that some of his aveloi had collapsed in his lungs (quite a common thing for preemies). They ended up reintubating him (changing the size of his oxygen tube) and hopefully he will catch up to where he was in the next few days.

We are also tracking some of the possible repercussions from Ciaran's episode two weeks ago on Saturday. It will be a long time before we are fully aware of the potential outcomes...that being said, the unknown is definitely scary... and one that creates a great deal of anxiety and emotions on a daily basis...

As I have mentioned, the past week has been absolutely exhausting. As a result, we have not been able to keep with with all of the phone calls. Please forgive us if we have not been able to get back to you... on the difficult days, we are trying to conserve our energy for the boys...as phone calls from our dear friends tend to lead to emotional releases quickly....and this release tends to be draining...I hope everyone understands and realizes how thankful we are for your interest and calls...

Anyhow, that is all for now...thank you again to all of our family and friends...the staff at the NICU have mentioned how lucky we are to have such a phenomenal network of people in our lives...how right they are!

love to all,
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 17 - July 21, 2007

Another very, very special day...today I got to hold my little miracle Ciaran for the first time. This moment was possible because of the amazing nurse assigned to Ciaran the last few days (Bev) and the respiratory therapist named Maureen. They both knew how important it was for me to hold the babies and made sure that it happened. Ciaran is on a much larger and more complicated ventilator than Shay and hence being able to take babies out on such ventilators is difficult...I am so thankful for their efforts and empathy...I am sure that I have already mentioned this already, but the staff at the NICU is second to none...they are skilled, knowledgeable, kind, caring, empathetic and dedicated...each day we count ourselves lucky for being here.

Both babies remain stable. Ciaran did really well when I held him. He was quite calm and slept most of the time. I got to hold him for an hour...another hour that I will never forget. I will admit that I was a bit nervous holding Ciaran...I am sure over time and as he becomes more and more stable...I will feel more comfortable.

We took our first evening off from the hospital tonight to celebrate my parents' fortieth anniversary. We went to Church at Holy Rosary in Milton where my Mom and Dad were recognized for 40 years of marriage. We then went back to my parents house and had dinner with our immediate family..it was not the night we had originally expected, however, it was a great night recognizing a very special bond that all of the Sneyd children hope to emulate in their own relationships in our future...

It is late...I am absolutely exhausted...
night!

Day 16 - Friday July 20, 2007

Sorry for the delay in posting today - it as been a busy one...

Today was such a special day...I held one of my babies for the first time. Unexpectedly, one of the nurses asked if I would like to hold Shay. I was delighted and of course, took her up on the offer. My little miracle was calm, quiet and cooperative. As I held my little one, the tears flowed freely...it was the first time since the birth of Ciaran and Shay that I truly felt like a Mom...what a beautiful feeling that was...a feeling that I will cherish forever...

Today I realized that whatever becomes of our situation...we can handle...our boys are beautiful and they are loved...unconditional love and support are the most important things that we can provide for them...and we are completely committed to them...

Cris has been my rock in the past two weeks...each day, I am overcome by his strength and positivity...I am so very lucky ...

Both babies remain stable. The doctors are a bit concerned about Ciaran's stomach as it is quite swollen and loopy...they took him off food for 48 hours and are giving him antibiotics just in case he has an infection - once his blood work comes back in 48 hours - they will determine whether further treatment is necessary - or whether we can try him on food again. It often takes a baby's gut some time to get digestion down.

That is all for now...I am absolutely exhausted...and am heading to bed...we are in our own house for the weekend after spending a week at my sister's in TO...we will return to Camilla's on Sunday night...

love to all,
liza

Day 15 - Thursday July 19, 2007

Something to celebrate - today the boys are two weeks old (or 29 weeks corrected age)! Both boys tolerated feeds well yesterday, so they increased feeding by 1 ml every two hours. Both boys continue to become more stable with breathing. Ciaran pulled out his ventilation tube again yesterday - he is extremely active - always moving around. He is looking stronger every day as you can see from the picture posted below. He absolutely loves his soother - sucks away at it all day. Shay on the other hand is a lounger - tends to enjoy his sleep during the day. Already they are so different!

We're praying for another good day today!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

This is Ciaran with his preemie soother in his mouth



This is Shay relaxing in his isolette

Day 14 - July 18, 2007

Conor (my nephew) created a card for me yesterday entitled Baby Magic...being only 8 years old...he sure did get it right. Ciaran and Shay are truly magic!

Both boys continue to make steady gains. Yesterday as a result was a good day. The boys are looking stronger and healthier as each day passes. Both of them are continuing to develop their tiny little lungs and hence are requiring less and less oxygen. This being said, they still require significant support with their breathing, however, we have decided to celebrate every small thing - and we believe the improvements in this area is something to celebrate.

We got the results back this morning of one of the big tests that I had mentioned earlier in the week. The cardiologist came in and did echos on both boys' hearts to see how their murmurs (duct opening on the heart) were doing. Another celebration - both boys still have slight murmurs - but nothing that requires further intervention at this point. The results of this test are a huge relief...and definitely a couple of steps forward!

Still some bigger tests to be done...anticipation and worry accompany the days prior to these tests...but in the meantime, it is very clear that we have much to be thankful for! Hopefully, we will be able to continue to take small steps forward in the upcoming days.

At this point, they are going to become a bit more aggressive with the boys' feeding - as we are starting to prepare for some weight gain in the next few weeks.

Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts...we truly think that our prayers are being heard!

lots of love to everyone,

cris, liza, ciaran and shay

Day 13 - Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good day everyone,

Today started off pretty early, around 5:30am, when Liza was doing her pumping thing. We called the hospital to get an update on how the boys were doing and it seems they had a pretty uneventful day except for one thing: Ciaran got tired of his oral ventilation tube and so he did what anyone would - HE PULLED IT OUT OF HIS MOUTH!! Let's just say that this would be a serious thing if it were not for the amazing nurses and respiratory techs at the hospital. They basically hand ventilated him for a few minutes until they got a new tube in, this time in his nose where it is not likely to be removed by an active baby!

Not much else to report otherwise. Ciaran is slightly above his birth weight now and is having a very nice day with the ventilation. Shay has still been quite good (he is at birth weight again) but he has had a few swings in terms of ventilation but overall pretty good! I hope you enjoyed the pics and I'll post more soon.

Thanks for reading,
Cris


More Pictures

Hey folks, some more pics for everyone!

Ciaran relaxing in his Isolette



Ciaran with a napkin on him (that's my hand changing his diaper)


Liza with Orla, Ciara and Conor outside the hospital


Shay's footprints! The nurses had a slow night!


Ciaran's footprints


Shay's wrinkled butt, isn't it cute!


Ciaran's foot!


Liza with the boys' cousin Eamonn

Pictures

OK - It's picture time. Here are a few and I will endeavour to get the rest up shortly.

Thanks
Cris

This is Ciaran - Pic1


Ciaran Pic2



This is Shay - Pic1


Shay Pic2

Day 12 - July 2007

Perspective...sometimes people need to put things into perspective to allow you to move forward or to enable you to let things go. In dealing with the premature birth of Ciaran and Shay, we are constantly questioning the impact that day to day situations will have today, tomorrow, next week, next year, ten years from now, etc. Did the rounds today, and both boys remain stable. Cris and I always have a number of questions, and they most often than not, refer to Ciaran as he has run into more difficulties at this point in time. Today on rounds, I questioned a number of indicators that we are tracking that resulted from Ciaran's episode last Saturday. This week the Chief of the NICU is working with Ciaran (- he too was there last Saturday when Ciaran starting experiencing difficulties. Upon seeing my state in the waiting room last week, he joined the Team working on Ciaran and assisted in stabalizing him at the time). Today when we questioned his progress - which does not involve significant improvements, however, does involve the fact that he remains steady day to day - the Doctor poignantly reminded me that Ciaran is one week older and this fact is extremely significant. His response reminded me of the fact that each day is a gift and that whatever the outcomes/repercussions may be from day to day interventions, Cris and I can not only handle them but more importantly, we can and will celebrate them which is far more productive.

That being said, I will be honest in saying that my background in Special Education and Speech and Language is both a blessing and a curse. It is a huge blessing in that I am informed - I know what questions to ask and I recognize the importance of tracking Ciaran's and Shay's development and milestones. Paradoxically, it is a curse because again I am informed - in being informed, I remain on edge and filled with worry. Shay's nurse reinforced to me today that the only thing that we can worry about are those things that we can control - and many of the things that we have already experienced early on in our journey are things that we cannot control. For those of you who know me well, I am a strong advocate of the belief that everything happens for a reason - at this point in time, Cris and I need to stand by and embrace this belief and accept that our situation is not a test - instead it is a life circumstance that will only develop our sense of knowledge, empathy, compassion and faith....we have two beautiful baby boys...we are truly blessed and we have to much to look forward to!

So, enough of me rambling - Ciaran weighed in today at 1130 grams (a gain of 40 grams) which is quite a bit. He is retaining water and is not having consistent bowel movements which the staff are currently working on rectifying. He was stable all day yesterday and had a good night last night. He has a few big tests later in the week - we are hopeful that the news will be good as he is looking better everyday. Yesterday, he had a really good day.

Shay weighed in at 1072 grams. He is looking really good and is making nice progress. He is surprising fair which you will see when Cris posts the pictures in the next hour or two (Cris - that is a hint :)

That is about it for now. Hope all is well on your end...and thanks for your continued interest and support!

love,
cris, liza, ciaran and shay

ps good on ya auntie phyllis for figuring out how to send a comment - very impressed!

Day 11 - Sunday July 15, 2007

We missed the rounds today for only the second time. We don't like to miss them as they are an opportunity to ask all of the doctors, respiratory techs, dieticians, etc a question and have it answered. But we had a good excuse. We decided to go to Church and do a little extra praying for the kids...I think it's working so please everyone KEEP PRAYING and thinking of Ciaran and Shay. All the good vibes are helping them out a lot!

We arrived today around 12:30pm and went to see them. Ciaran is back under the light, still has a bit of trouble with his tummy (they think) but he is honestly looking better every day! he is eating like a bird still but that's ok, they are just being cautious so he doesn't have any more setbacks. Shay is still steady as he has been to this point. He is not eating 100% of the food they are feeding him so they are just going to back him off a bit until his tummy and gut gets used to digesting. Both are doing well in terms of being on the ventilation and Ciaran will get his 'pick' line today hopefully. This is the 'permanent' IV that helps reduce risk of infection, etc and it is more difficult for him to pull on. They are surprising strong for such little guys! The doctor on staff today is Irish from Dublin so it was definitely interesting to hear her accent.

Not much else to say at this post... the ships are sailing on a steady course and that is always a good thing.

Thanks for the comments on the last post, please keep them coming as we love to hear from you all.

Cris

ps Cris will get pictures on site by tomorrow - if he doesn't, he will be in big trouble!

Day 10 - Saturday July 14, 2007

Went home last night...it was extremely difficult to leave the hospital, however, it definitely did me good to be home away from the alarms and machines. It provided me an opportunity to get a good nights rest and relax. Cris was talking in his sleep all night about the different machines - obviously too feeling the stress or dreaming that he was a practioner .

Shay weighed in at 1074 grams today. He is getting bigger and looking better. He had a difficult night on the new ventilation machine - it required too much work from him and after 12 hours he was too tired to continue breathing on his own s0 the nurses reverted back to the original ventilator - an intubator. A little step back - but one that we can handle. He is feeding well and has already turned his day around today - as he is again stable and happy.

Ciaran weighed in at 887 grams. He has lost a bit of weight - which is normal. He is not responding to food as well as Shay, but we continue to try. Ciaran has had a decent two days. He is looking better everyday and appears stronger. All of the nurses that work with Ciaran describe him as feisty...and aggitates easily - he definitely has Sneyd genes in him! Shay on the other hand is calm, cool and collected. Nothing seems to bother him - very much like Cris!

Crazy thing happened today. I was just visiting the boys and saw a guy that I thought I recognized. Sure enough, it was who I thought it was. It was Ernie - a guy from our prenatal class for twins. His wife Marta was 2 weeks behind me and had delivered early - basically at exactly the same time in our trimester. He quickly reminded me of where we were at but a short week and a half ago - he too is completely in shock and has not absorbed their reality. He too is awaiting his wife to come as she is still at the hospital in Mississauga. I got to see their babies - they are a tiny bit smaller than Ciaran and Shay. It made me realize how much the babies have changed in such a short time...it really is crazy!

That is all for now. A sincere thank you to all of our family and friends who are reaching out and praying for us. The support and love that has been sent our way is sooo overwhelming - these feelings of support and love are sometimes as overwhelming as where our boys are at. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts - we both are aware of how truly fortunate we are!

Liza

Day 9 - Friday July 13, 2007

Emotionally, today has been a difficult day. We had to check out of the family room today and hence it will be our first night being away from the boys. It will likely help with the exhaustion factor, as the past week has involved being up to 12 or 1 in the morning and then visiting the NICU twice before 7 am.

I made the mistake this morning of going to a Breast Feeding class. I obviously was living in my own world and assumed that everyone partaking in the class would be in a similar situation. I was shocked to walk in to approximately 10 brand new moms with big beautiful hungry babies in their arms ready to be fed. Needless to say, this class was not for me.

Ciaran weighed in today at 908 grams which is approximately 2 pounds. He is eating 1 ml every six hours which is a drop or two out of a dropper...his stomach is learning to digest his food which is a positive thing. He has completed his last round of treatment for his heart murmur and we await the next steps in the next few days. He was under the lights yesterday to assist with his jaundice. Already he is off, as his levels have stabalized.

Shay weighed in this morning at 1074 grams which is approximately 2 lbs 3 oz. It was an exciting day for Shay as he graduated from his ventilator (down his throat) to a C PAP which provides oxygen through his nose and which is more comfortable for him. Hopefully, he will manage...otherwise, we will have to revert back to the ventilator until he is able to better breathe on his own.

My friend Brendan came to visit today. He is my friend that drove me to the hospital and stuck around for the delivery. It was great to see him and it was awesome that he finally had a chance to finally meet Ciaran and Shay as he did not have a chance to meet them last Thursday.

That is all for now...will touch base again tomorrow. Looking forward to a good night sleep!!! Pictures to come tomorrow...


Liza

Day 8 - Thursday July 12, 2007

Things having been steady the past few days. Ciaran had the tube removed from his lung as they were able to get most of the air that was trapped out. The last few days he has remained generally stable. He still requires a lot of support to breathe and will continue to do so for quite some time.

Shay is doing quite well. Yesterday they thought he may have had an infection, so he has been on antibiotics until blood work comes back - which it did indicating no infection (one step forward - hurray!) He is breathing mainly room air and we are hoping that he may be moved off his ventilator to oxygen nose plugs in the next week.

I got to change both babies diapers today which was really exciting (who would ever have thought!) and I picked up Ciaran just to be weighed. Ciaran actually peed all over me today...the nurses describe him as fiesty and determined - he tends to be more of a Sneyd...


Tonight Shay's incubator needs to be changed so I had my first opportunity to hold one of my babies...it was short...but amazing! It will be awhile before I am really able to hold both boys..as they have to be off certain machines in order to make that happen. Shay would be described by the nurses as laid back - he is always calm, steady and collected - very much like Cris. Funny how personalities begin to form so early in life!

We had a priest come in today to bless both babies. We are sure that his blessing will only make them stronger. The support available at the hospital is unbelievable. We are so lucky to be here!

The ride here is often referred to as a rollar coaster...there are good days where the babies make tiny steps forward...and not so good days when setbacks arise and we take quite a few steps backwards. We remain hopeful however, and are praying that we will get our boys home in the next two or three months.

The hospital allowed us to stay in a Family Room all week which has been great as I was not ready to leave the hospital yet (I still am not, however, the boys becoming more and more stable everyday, it may be a bit easier now). Tomorrow we will be discharged and will prepare for travelling. A good friend of mines (Tamara) brother (Tommy) has a condo downtown that he has graciously offered as he is working in Calgary at the moment...so we likely will be taking him up on his offer.

So many people have reached out to us. We are so blessed to have the people that we do in our lives. It is difficult to get back to everyone, as a lot of our days are spent in the NICU and hence we do not have access to phones and computers. For this reason, we are working on setting up a blog that will provide brief updates on where we are at.


Liza

Day 7 - Wednesday July 11, 2007

Ciaran weighed in at 984 grams. He is up and down with oxygen levels on Ventilator. Drug treatment for heart murmur starts today. He will have 3 rounds of treatment - every 12 hours. We are praying that this will be all that he needs to rectify the situation. Jaundice is a bit of an issue - he will receive phototherapy today. This is a common condition for preemies...as well as for full term babies.

Shay weighed in at 929 grams today. He was quite lethargic today. Ended up having a permanent IV put him which likely tired him out. The nurse was cautious and asked that testing be done to ensure that he did not have an infection - he didn't - another step forward!
Cris and I went to a support meeting tonight. It provided us an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings as well as gain valubable insight from staff and parents who have been on a similar journey...it was therapeutic!

The nurses are unbelievable here. Tonight they created foot stamps of Ciaran and Shay's feet. They are so cute...apparently neither of the boys thought the idea was cute...as both shared with the girls that they were not impressed. Both will be amazing keepsakes...we will post a picture of each on the weekend...

That is all for today...until tomorrow!


Liza

Days 4, 5 and 6 - Sunday-Tuesday July 8-10

Not much to report here, we have seriously reduced visitors after our scare on Saturday and the kids, especially Ciaran, are starting to get stronger again. Ciaran is a true fighter and has a wonderful spirit. They have lost a bit of weight as expected and they are starting to use less ventilation. Shay is doing particularly well at this point.

Cris

Day 3 - Saturday July 7th, 2007

Saturday begins quite nicely and the boys seem to be doing well. I arrive back at the hospital around 11am as I had to run some errands, do a bit of laundry and make sure the house was ok. When I get in, I go and see the kids. Ciaran is doing great and Shay is on the same steady course he was on yesterday. Liza is moving around a bit more today and things are looking better every hour. They told us to take it that way - hour by hour and we are trying our best to do so.

But then it happened...

Around 3pm, my parents arrived at the hospital to see Liza, Ciaran, Shay and I. A few minutes after they arrived I took them over to the NICU to see their new grandkids. Little did I know that Ciaran was having a really bad day. There were 6 people around him and they didn't look too happy but they were calm. I hurried my mom (only one person at a time can go into the NICU) out the door and took them back to the room where Liza was staying. I grabbed Liza and went back to the NICU. One of the nurses came over to explain what was up and our stress levels went through the roof. Ciaran was having a lot of problems with breathing. He didn't seem able to keep the CO2 in his blood from rising and his O2 was dropping. A very bad combo. After an hour and a X-ray, it was determined that Ciaran needed a chest tube to get rid of some air that got out of his lung and was stopping the left lung from working properly. At the end of it, the chest tube really helped and Ciaran started to recover within hours. It was a scary time for Liza and I. We weren't sure if we were going to lose him. We did find out though that he a fighter and strong boy for his age! He's great and we love him very much.

During this crisis we basically put ourselves in lockdown and took no visitors. Tomorrow will be a tough day again, watching him recover and so we asked everyone to stay away until we had some news. There wasn't much sleeping this night. That's for sure!


Cris

Day 2 - Friday July 6th, 2007

Well, it is now day 2 in the lives of Ciaran and Shay. The boys have begun to settle in at the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Women's College hospital. Liza is still recovering from the C-Section in room 311 bed 3. We met the neonatalogist today that is taking care of the entire NICU, Dr. Robert Jankov. A very nice man originally from Australia. He was very helpful and took the time to talk to us about how things are going and what we can expect. I think it is around this time that we learn about the NICU rollercoaster. This is one ride that no one wants to be on.

The day for the boys is mostly uneventful and to be honest we are still in a bit of shock so even if something did happen I have no idea if we were equipped to deal with it. We've started to receive lots of visitors, flowers, calls, etc. There are so many great people in our lives and we have a lot to be thankful for.

The NICU is a scary place I have to say. It is intimidating as well. Our boys are in a pretty cramped room with between 12-14 other babies. The whole room can't be more than 800 sq ft (someone who was there can correct me!). There are so many machines and tubes and sounds. It is quite noisy actually considering the quiet the babies were used to in mommy's belly. We learned lots of things that we honestly didn't want to know. Things like blood oxygen saturation levels, IVs, ventilators and more. But despite all of that we have also met some of the most caring and dedicated people.

The day ends with me going home for a night of sleep - Liza trying to get some rest at the hospital. By the end of the day we are both a bit worse for wear and we need to sleep!
Welcome to Ciaran and Shay's blog!

We have started this blog to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of our two miracles, Ciaran and Shay. Ciaran and Shay were a bit anxious to come into the world and were born on July 5, 2007 at 12:28 and 12:29 by C-Section at the St. Catherines General Hospital. Ciaran weighed in at a hefty 2lbs 6.5 oz and Shay came in at 2lb 4.5 oz. A bit big for their 'age' and that is a good thing!

Here is a brief synopsis of their first day.

Liza was at school, the 3rd day of her PhD at Brock University when she started to have some pains 'down below'. She was unsure of what it was but the director of the PhD program knew something was up. Liza thought it wasn't so bad and was insisting that she would head back to Oakville Trafalgar hospital to get things checked out. Eventually it was agreed that she would go to the St. Catherines hospital. Her friend and the former vice-principal at the school she teaches at, Brendan, took her to the hospital. She gave me a call at that point and I was immediately worried but she said it was no big deal and she will call me after she was assessed. Well, 45 tense minutes later I got the call and on the road I went down to St. Kitts.

Liza was actually quite near show time when she arrived at the hospital and after the initial assessment it was decided that she had to have a C-Section. One of the boys, Shay, had his feet in his brother's face. It was too risky for a regular birth. So about an hour after checking in at the hospital, Liza and I welcomed our first two sons. I missed it all. By the time I arrived at the hospital the boys had already entered the world.

Excited, scared, worried and more we waited tensely for the boys to be examined. We knew that St. Catherines would not be able to handle preemies of that age and we waited for the arrival of the team from McMaster to arrive. We weren't sure what was going to happen at that point. Liza's parents joined us and helped us through those first few hours. We were both in a bit of shock and things happened soo fast!

After about 2 hours of examination and stabilization, the kids were ready to be moved to their new 'home' - Women's College Hospital. This is a Level 3 facility that is considered one of the best in the country. We knew the kids would be in the best hands and that made us feel a lot better! A few hours later Liza was transferred to Women's College hospital and our family was together again.

Cris