Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birthday update, the Girls are 2

Last week was a very busy week with birthdays. Wednesday was the twins' younger brother's 1st birthday. Liam is growing into quite the little boy, already learning how to annoy his big sisters. 

Then on Saturday the 9th the girls celebrated their big 2nd birthday. It was quite an emotional week for me as the day approached in which they arrived into this world far too early. But I found comfort in knowing that so many things would not be possible has it not been for their miraculous birth. Of course I'd love to have carried them full term to save the delays and struggles they currently have. However, we are blessed beyond measure with how wonderful they are doing and all that they overcame in those 11 weeks in the NICU.

We had a fun day as cupcakes, balloons, and fun celebration as a family. I could not have asked for a better day to celebrate their birthdays.

Jillian on the left and Britian on the right, they are getting so big! 

 Flowers for my big girls

 Balloons for Liam, Britian, and Jillian

 Beautiful Jillian

Pure joy in Jillian

The girls and Liam had their well baby check up today. Liam and Jillian are both just under 22# and Britian is just a bit over 23#. The girls are the same height at 34" and Liam is 29".

In other news, the end of January we had a big appointment for Jillian. After waiting nearly 4 months for an appointment she was evaluated for her developmental delays. We've been expecting this day for quiet a long time but my nerves were still on edge when the time came. For speech, occupational, and physical she was evaluated at 12-15 months. Physical was so low because she is not walking. Her developmental pediatrician made the diagnosis that she has dyskinetic cerebral palsy. I knew that diagnosis was coming but I will still never forget the moment she uttered those words. Praise God however, that her case is very mild and will still be able to lead an independent life including walking and higher education if she chooses. The type of CP she has does not typically involve cognitive abilities which we have experienced already. Jillian understands everything we say to her and ask her to do, her body just doesn't want to cooperate with what she wants it to do. This may cause frustration in the future as she gets older and more active, we will take it as it comes though and do our best to teach her to cope and adapt.

My irish triplets are all miracles, I thank God each and every day for them!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Thank you for continuing to follow Britian and Jillian's story. They are true miracles and we are blessed each and everyday to have them in our lives. We pray that 2013 is a blessed journey for you and your family.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Praise Report

Lots of big milestones in our house these past couple of weeks, so much to give praise for.

Britian is walking full time, no crawling from her whatsoever. Seems like just as I posted the last update she set out to prove me wrong and stopped crawling.

Jillian is climbing on anything and everything that she can. Her latest is on top of the foot stool to our glider. Not only is the foot stool 18" or so off of the ground, but it moves. She has mastered climbing on top of it and happily sits there rocking herself and having a the greatest time of her life. She also now uses a walker around the house to encourage her walking. What a blessing it is to see her up and walking and also with the motivation to walk. Not long ago, just earlier this year, she wasn't crawling nor did she have the self motivation to go anywhere on her own. I know my baby girl will be up and walking without the walker very soon, she is so determined and loves to be up with Britian racing around the house.

Liam is also mobile. He started crawling finally this week. His first destination was the pantry of course because that boy loves to eat. So now everyone in our family is up and moving.

How long before I have to chase them in 3 different directions? :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Major Milestones for the Girls

Britian (left) and Jillian (right), 22 months
Britian and Jillian have been accomplished some major developmental milestones lately. As you can see from the picture, they are growing wonderfully and before we know it will be celebrating their 2nd birthday.

Britian is now walking nearly full-time. She will crawl to be silly or if she thinks she can get somewhere faster. I still catch myself doing a double take when she comes walking into a room, watching her walk makes my heart swell with excitement. She has come so incredibly far from that little girl in the NICU isolette. Not only is she walking but she has also become our little daredevil. And dare I say she is the most adventurous of our children thus far. She climbs into and onto anything and everything she can get ahold of. Tonight she discovered that she can get onto our dining room chairs which means nothing on the kitchen table is safe nor is my computer desk which has one of our dining rooms chairs for it's seat. We will all have to be more diligent about putting stuff away so her little fingers stay safe.

Jillian is also making great strides. Everyday she is getting stronger and more stable in her standing. Her Daddy has really been working with her on standing independently and her progress has been tremendous. She also now can stand up on her own in the middle of a room without assistance. This week she has also started pushing around a walk behind push toy. Also earlier this week she took her first 4 cruising steps along our coffee table. Not only did she take 4 steps on her own to get a toy she took these steps to her weaker side. After physical therapy this past week we now have a walker to use here at home. Brit had the same one to help her transition into an independant walker and we are hoping it will work the same for Jillian. She is so motivated to walk and is so happy when she is up and walking, I am hopeful that in very little time we will have 2 new walkers in the house.

Thank you again to all of you who continue to follow our journey and lift us up in prayer. We've come so far in the past 2 years, seems like just yesterday sometimes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grieving for a Special Needs Child

There are times in our lives when we ask ourselves "how did I get here?" or wonder "I never thought I would be in this situation."

If you have a child that others describe as having "special needs" you know exactly what I am referring to. I can almost guarantee that like myself, you never imagined yourself the parent of a "special needs" child. I know I certainly never did, not in a million years. Having a child with uniquely beautiful blessings was one of those things I always thought happened to other people.

But here I am, immensely blessed with my amazing little Jillian.

Realizing, accepting, and embracing your special child is a process though. Most of us don't come by it naturally and must go through an emotional roller coaster much like the process of grieving. I must admit that I suspect I am early in my grieving process. During the day I happily embrace Jillian for all that she offers our family. But at night when I am alone, sometimes I cry. I cry because it is overwhelming, I cry for my worries, I cry for a whole host of other reasons. I need that release, that emotional opening of the pent up worries from the day. I know there will be more crying, more worrying, and more questions as we walk down this road with our beautiful Jillian. After all, we don't even have a diagnosis yet.

January 29th is the day. I know I will be a mess. . .I'll keep it together during the marathon appointment but eventually I will have to cave and cry and cry and cry some more. Then I will be ready to continue advocating for Jillian like I have from the very beginning.

Jillian is a huge blessing and an overwhelming joy to our family. We wouldn't be complete without her. But until you are the parent of a beautifully blessed child you won't fully grasp what that means. Just like you don't know unconditional love until you are a parent. Likewise, you don't know how joyful a child with unique needs is until they are your own flesh and blood. From the outside these children may look like a stress and a burden. But please, I implore you, do not ever think that when you see a unique needs child. They are a joy! A pure, innocent, beautiful blessing to their family and everyone that comes to love them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Halloween

Ever wonder how hard it is to get 6 kids to all smile and look at the camera for a simple photo? 15 attempts at a picture before trick-or-treating and this is the best one. It is all about the memories right? :)

We were blessed to be able to spend Halloween in San Diego this year. It has been over 2 years since were "home". It was a fast 10 days but we had so much fun and had amazing weather.

Our 6 beautiful blessings: L-R Irelynn as Ariel, Jillian the Ladybug,
Alex the pirate, Britian the ladybug, Tyler the pirate and Liam the Iowa Hawkeye football player. 
I didn't get a good one of the girls by themselves but here is my little hambone grinning for the camera.

This was the first year that the twins got to go out trick-or-treating. While they didn't go door to door they did ride along while we took the older 3 out. It was a ton of fun and they enjoyed watching all of the activity.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 2012 Update

Look at how my 3 preemies have grown!! What a blessing they are.

Britian and Jillian are now 20 months old and Liam is 8 months.

The girls had an appointment last week with high risk infant follow-up in Iowa City. They were each assessed on their adjusted age of 16 months.

The results were much like I expected. Both girls continue to grow wonderfully and stayed the same on their growth charts or bumped up a bit. Our next appointment with infant high risk will be to assess Britian at the magical "all caught up" 2 year birthday mark. The girls were due mid-May so our appointment will be late April or May sometime. Jillian's delays are too much for her to continue with high risk so she has been referred to a specialist to assess her situation. I have a sense of ease with her upcoming assessment though because I know her and see all of the progress she is making.

7 months ago my little Jillian couldn't even get up on her hands and knees in a crawling position. Today with the help of our wonderful physical therapist she is not only crawling but she crawls over objects, onto boxes, pulls up on anything and everything including flat walls (huge milestone) but today she also took 3 steps toward me cruising on the couch. Praise the Lord!!!

I know in my heart that even if Jillian has lifelong delays they won't hinder her living a full and active life. Will she be diagnosed with cerebral palsy? I'm not sure. But if she does have CP then her case will most likely be a very mild one. She is a blessing and a joy to our family each and every day regardless of what doctors think or what is written in her medical charts.

Britian: 32", 22#6oz
Jillian: 31.5", 20#14oz

And even though this blog is about the girls, I should add that Liam is 21 pounds. Yes, their little brother who entered this world at 6lbs is now heavier than Jillian and quickly catching up to Britian.