Monday, April 18, 2011

Many More Milestones!

Apparently, one weekend of milestones wasn’t enough for our babies. They’ve continued to make drastic improvements over the last week! This whole post is milestone after milestone, so bear with me as I start listing everything going on!

The NICU at St. Luke’s is overflowing, so our kids were moved to the North Nursery Saturday morning which makes this whole quadruplet thing all the more real. Because they’ve been moved, it means that they are much better and are considered to be “Feeder Growers.” The main thing holding them back is learning to eat and gaining weight. It’s very reassuring to know that our kids aren’t considered critical or very sick anymore. At the same time though, it was a complete shock to walk into the North Nursery (which used to be the old NICU and is only open when there are too many babies to keep on the new unit) and see all four of our kids in the same spot in the same room. It probably sounds funny, but I didn’t realize until Saturday that I hadn’t actually seen them all together before.

Clockwise from left: Caleb's Crib, Abby's Crib, Sean, Ellie's Isolette, Eli's Crib

Caleb now weighs 4 lbs. 13 oz. As of Sunday, he is no longer on anything offering breathing assistance-he’s not even on oxygen anymore! Other than a feeding tube through his nose, he no longer has tubes on his face! They have removed the beneprotein supplements from his feedings and have started slowly replacing the donor breast milk he was receiving with formula since he now weighs over 2 kilos. They are working on a Home-Going Feeding Plan that we can maintain with just my breast milk and formula. On Friday evening, he started the process of learning how to nurse. So far, our biggest challenge is keeping him awake long enough for him to even try it! This morning he had a PH study to look at whether or not all of his spit ups are due to reflux. Hopefully we get some answers when the results come back.

Abby now weighs 4 lbs. 14 ½ oz. She is also no longer getting beneprotein, her donor milk is being slowly replaced by formula, and they are working on a Home-Going Feeding Plan for her as well. Like Caleb, she had a PH study this morning to look at what is causing her spit ups. She is still on 24 hour nasal cannula, and we’ve been told that she will most likely come home still on it.

Eli now weighs 4 lbs. 11 oz. Officially, on Friday morning, Eli managed to keep his temperature up high enough to be moved to a crib! Since then, he has been keeping pace with Caleb and Abby. He was the first to come off of his oxygen on Saturday and is doing well with that! He is also working on a Home-Going Feeding Plan with donor milk being replaced by formula and beneprotein being taken out of his feedings. We are hoping that they will decide to do a PH study with him since he seems to have as many spit ups as his siblings.

Ellie now weighs 3 lbs. 6 oz. We are mainly just waiting on Ellie to get a little bigger. She is still in her isolette and on 24 hour nasal cannula. They haven’t started weaning her from the donor breast milk yet as she is still too little.

Caleb, Abby, and Eli are all learning how to nurse now. They get tired pretty quickly and generally only have the stamina to try nursing once a day. With them being so small and technically, not supposed to start nursing for another 5 weeks (if they had been full-term) we have a really hard time getting them to stay awake and practice their new skill. The other difficult thing is that they all have a groove in the roof of their mouth where their vent line sat for several weeks. With the groove there, they can’t feel the nipple as well and can’t figure out how to make good sucks. The lactation consultants come in everyday to work with them on latching and sucking, so hopefully they will figure out how to nurse in the next week or so.

This weekend, we also had all of the grandparents up to hold the babies for the first time. They are finally stable and big enough to share the love. I think all of the grandparents had a great time with that! For my parents (Grandparents Stolberg) these are their first grandchildren. For Sean’s parents (Grandparents Ishum) our kids are the 2nd-5th grandkids.

Grandpa Stolberg and Caleb, Grandma Stolberg and Abby, Grandpa Ishum and Ellie, Grandma Ishum and Elijah


Grandpa Stolberg and Caleb


Grandma Stolberg and Abby


Grandma Ishum "Ma" and Elijah


Grandpa Ishum "Pa" and Ellie

Last week we also talked to the discharge nurse to start lining up things for home coming. On this week’s agenda is: find a pediatrician, get an appointment to install car seats, and continuing working on oral feedings. She gave us a list of area pediatric offices that might be a good fit. Do any of you have any experience with any of the following offices? If so, which doctor did you work with and did you like him/her? Please leave a comment if you can weigh in on this issue! We want the best doctor we can find for our little preemies!

  • Pediatric Care Specialists (Overland Park, KS)

  • Pediatric Associates (Kansas City, MO and Lee's Summit, MO)

  • Lee's Summit Physicians Group (Lee's Summit, MO)

  • Raintree Pediatrics (Lee's Summit, MO)

  • Pediatric Professionals (Lee's Summit, MO)

As you can see, everything is really starting to roll along at a face pace! Which leads me to the big news that we had this weekend:

Saturday, the doctor said that we could see the first of the babies (not sure which one will be first) start to come home in as early as two weeks! It’s contingent on several things, but it’s amazing that we might be that close to having our family start to come home. Sean and I are pretty sure that Caleb, Abby, and Eli will come home close together since they are all at about the same spot developmentally. It will be a little longer for Ellie since she is not as advanced. We’ve been told that all four will probably come home on monitors, and at least, Abby will be on oxygen. It’s too early to tell if Ellie will come home on oxygen. I’m not looking forward to dealing with cords and monitors here at home, but at least we won’t be driving back and forth to the hospital anymore!

Oh my word! That’s enough milestones to make your head spin! I’m so excited and yet absolutely terrified at the same time. This seemed so much more manageable when I was only seeing the babies two at a time. I’m struggling with feelings of being completely overwhelmed again, much like those that I had when we found out how many we were having in the first place. The idea of them coming home has always seemed like such a far off moment in time. Now that there is a more defined time frame, I’m realizing that this next chapter is right around the corner. I don’t know that I’m ready for this. I suppose it’s just one of those things that you jump in and do. Such a mix of emotions: Our family will finally be all together but we will be taking care of four preemie infants complete with monitors and oxygen. Yikes!

Please be praying for all six of us as we start to look toward transitioning home and learning a new way of living our daily lives. Our babies coming home is a big milestone for all of us!

--Posted by Rebecca


  1. Wonderful update! You'll do great!!!!!

  2. Thats all good news, they are growing and moving through the milestones pretty quickly. Hopefully they'll pickup the feeding milestone. That was our biggest issue was trying to get them to take all their feeds via bottle, once they could do that and have no brady's for 48hrs they were released to come home. We also hope your babies don't have to come home on equipment.

  3. God is going to provide the loving, caring crew you need to assist. He never calls us to a "Mission" without providing everything we need for the mission.
    How awesome that he found the two of you equal and faithful to the task of raising FOUR children for Him.
    Look around you for evidences of Grace.

  4. Oh, such amazing news! It is overwhelming, isn't it? You are already a wonderful mother and father and the babies will make their place in your lives. The anticipation of things is often harder than the reality. Once they are home it is one thing at a time and then the day is over... it really is just that way. You'll be tired, yes, but a pattern will set up after some weeks and one day you will find yourself saying to yourself, "I've got this quad-mommy thing down!" I know you will have more help than you know what to do with. Take people up on their offers and don't hesitate to tell them what you really need from them. They want to help, but only know how under specific direction. You will be able to do it. You are stronger than you know! All of us that love you know that! All my love to your family!

  5. Such a wonderful update! As a grandparent, I really enjoyed seeing the grandparents get a turn to love on the babies...especially Tom and Rosie whom I know. May the progress just keep rolling on until all are home and your life takes on a new "normal."

  6. We use Raintree Peds. They are part of Lee's summit physicians group so you have access to both urgent cares 7 days a week including evenings. Both Doctors at Raintree Pediatrics are wonderful. I strongly recommend Dr. Yannette. He has been wonderful! Dr Henshal is really good too.
    Your babies are beautiful! Keep up the good work!!!

  7. I believe Dr. Jeff Yanette is at one of the Lee's Summit groups you have listed. He is an amazing pediatrician. He was at the practice we are currently at and then left. We did not stay with him because of the distance/drive. All three of my kiddos loved him. He is gentle, kind, knowledgeable, and does not rush you.

  8. Swwww-eet!! Ah, it's al so amazing, isn't it?? God will never lead you where His grace won't keep you :-) You'll have to remind yourself of that MANY times, but it's so very true! Both sets of parents look radiant getting to hold their grandbabies!
    Obviously, I know diddly squat about the Peds there, BUT...having 5 babies...I'd for sure keep, at the top of my list, the Peds as Erin mentioned that of course are highly recommended, but also the ones where you have the MOST access to one of the Dr.s and like she said, the urgent cares 7 days a week including evenings! Kids have a way of waiting till all offices are closed or for the weekend to get sick! I love you! You two are doing such a great job!

  9. Pediatric Assoc. are awesome. They have hours from 8-9 walk-ins, 9-5 normal hours, 5-6 walk-ins, 6-9 urgent care everyday seven days a week. They have several Dr.'s at the Plaza office, the Lee's Summit office is only one or two Dr's and only has the normal office hours. We go to the Plaza and see Dr. Natasha Burgert, her and her husband Dr. Kevin Burgert both work at the practice. We love them both. We have not had a bad expierence with any of the Dr's at the plaza office (we haven't gone to the Lee's Summit office).

  10. I wasn't in KC long enough to have a ped. for Juliet, but a good friend of mine uses Raintree Pediatrics and she RAVES about them. I wish I was still in KC to offer my help to you! I know God will bring the right group of people to help you with the babies. Praying for you all!

  11. Hi Rebecca! My name is Jenny husband Van and I got to know Laurel M. years ago working on the Ron Freeman campaign. That is how I found out about you and your family. I have a special place in my heart (we do) for preemies as we did foster care for years and took care of medical babies. We let our license lapse in 2001 when we adopted Jerry, he was a drug-exposed preemie, who ended up having to have surgery to save his life at Childrens Mercy. He is known as a "short-gut" child. He spent the first 7 months of his life at CMH downtown! We met him about a month before we brought him home in medical foster care, then we were able to adopt him when he was 2. We have two biological kids, Lauren, 21, and Carl 16. All that to say, I've really enjoyed following your story. I would love to help sometime by just coming over to hold them/feed them,etc...down the road if that would be ok with you. I am starting classes on May 10 to become a CNA. (certified nurse assistant) but I'm sure I could squeeeeze in time for a baby fix! Oh, almost forgot, I highly recommend Lee's Summit Physicians Group. I've known Barbara Trites personally since I was a teenager (church).. she and Dr. Lisa Goppert are my favorites in the group. Dr. Trites has taken care of Lauren and Carl since they were babies. Dr. Goppert has also cared for them that long. I'd have to say the only one in the group that I didn't really care for his bedside manner has been Dr. Phillips. I know they have continued to grow, so I'm not familiar with all the newer doctors. Dr. Trites, Dr. Goppert and Dr. Veenstra I believe were the three original founders of the group. Oh, as for Raintree Pediatrics, they are actually an offshoot of Lee's Summit Physicians Group. The main doc I know there is Dr. Yanetta. He has a great bedside manner, and is very good..he specializes in Asperger's Syndrome....he was the one that diagnosed Jerry with that and helped us alot. Within the last year I switched Jerry back to Dr. Trites though, as they have now opened an office right here in Blue Springs! On the outer road....Blue Springs Pediatrics...and Dr. Trites does some days out this way. Sorry this is so long, but wanted to give you my input, as we have a long history with them...and I know it's a big decision. Write me back whenever you are able. So happy things are progressing well... Warmly, Jenny :)

  12. Rebecca and Sean,

    I was so wanting an update over the weekend, so glad its here. I'm beyond excited the babies are doing so well. I'm sure you are feeling overwhelmed again and will so at home too, just pick a routine that works for you guys and stick with it. Routine does make life easier. We use Leawood Pediatrics which was a group at Childcare Limited. I'm not sure if they take Medicaid, but I love them. I know that Raintree Pediatrics is really good some of the girls I used to work with go there. Just make appointments and check them out or see if they have websites, plus see which ones have walk in hours through the week and weekends. Good Luck!!! Praying everyone well and to come home soon.

  13. Congratulations! I came to your blog from the Murray blog. Your posts bring back such sweet memories for me. My quints were born at 27 weeks 6 days. 2 of the boys are in heaven but the other 3 will be starting K in the fall and are doing great. God is faithful! Please let me know if you have any questions!

  14. We take Jillian to see Dr. Henschel at Raintree Pediatrics and she's great! I've heard good things about the doctors at the main Lee's Summit Physicians Group office too. This was a really exciting post! They're all so precious.

  15. Love watching the progress. What an exciting weekend. We go to Pediatric Associates and love them. The hours are wonderful, they are very accommodating and it's a big enough practice that if our dr is out, they can always fit us in with someone else. We've seen several doctors there and have been happy with them all. Good luck!

  16. How wonderful! This is absolutely amazing that the babies will be coming home soon. Seems to me that each grandparent has a baby to take care of and not have to share! That works great!
    Remember that your church family wants to help you just tell us when and what to do. Do NOT hesitate to call Tommy and let him know as there are plenty of loving and working arms that can help.
    God is so good and has answered many prayers for your family.

  17. I'm so happy for your good news. Will continue to pray for all of you & your big job ahead but with God ALL things are possible.

  18. You're so close to going home! Sounds odd, but hopefully they won't all come home at once. Easing into it one baby at a time really helped me.

  19. thank you for all the sharing and info--praying for you all every day!! we have been with Lee's Summit Physician group since 1997 and have been very pleased with the care we have received. available to help when you need it--xoxo

  20. Hi Rebecca. I'm from the KC twins club so I've been keeping up with your progress. So glad that things are going so well! We were in the Nicu at St. Luke's on the plaza for 18 days and used your obs so your blog has brought back so many memories for me! Our twins are now 14 months old and we just graduated from the developmental follow-up clinic.

    We came home on monitors and were on them for a few weeks at home. A good part to them? They made coming home less scary. It was hard to transition from all the beeps and flashes to nothing. How was I going to know if they were breathing while they were sleeping or if I was driving them to an appt? =)

    I know it's so easy to get overwhelmed and you're right, a lot of this you just have to jump in and do once you get home. You are already a great mom and will continue to be one when you get home.

  21. Hi Rebecca, I am a friend of Michelle's and have been following this amazing journey. Ped Associates on the plaza are wonderful, Dr. Waters is my favorite, but I have been thrilled with many of the others. Good luck!

  22. We use Child Care Limited out of St. Joseph hospital, and they are wonderful. Our doctor is Rick Espe, but they have several great ones - Drs. Rosenburg and Stein have also been good to have in the group. We'd definitely recommend them to anyone!

  23. Wow, wow, wow! I hope those babies keep progressing and I hope you get to ease into taking them home just a couple at a time! They are so precious with their chubby cheeks! They look SO much bigger now! I love the pictures with your parents. Your dad has the PERFECT grandpa beard and your mom could not look happier. What a blessing to have such wonderful grandparents! I don't know how we'd survive without our families' help!!

  24. So excited about the newest updates! We use Preferred Pediatrics in Lee's Summit(Chipman rd). We love them and use both of the Dr. there(McEntire and Graham). They are so patient, kind, thorough. They have never pressured me about vaccinations and completely leave it up to me if and when I do vaccinate. There office is always on time too, I've never waited more than 5 min. after arriving. Good luck searching!

  25. Hi there,
    I have never commented before, but have been wanting to for some time. A friend sent me the link to your blog when you were on bedrest, I read the one entry and forgot to follow up. Last month, I went to get my hair cut and I overheard an adorable couple talking to the stylist while I waited about their babies. We talked and after they left, Lauren and I talked a bit more and she mentioned their blog. For some reason, I had that feeling that they were the couple from the blog I had once read when I got home. I looked it up again and sure enough, it was your growing family.
    I wanted to chime in real quick about pediatricians. We also take our girls to Preferred Pediatrics in LS. We see Dr. Graham and he has been nothing but wonderful with our 2 yr olds since his first visit with us in the hospital when they were born. Like another comment has already stated, we never have a long wait, unlike many other offices. The staff has always been excellent, they have two seperate wait rooms, one well and one sick, to help limit the germs. That was one of the major selling points for us.
    Anyways, good luck in the coming weeks and years to come. Being a mother of multiples (altough, twins is nothing at all like quads) I will tell you, that I still look at my girls on a daily basis and find it unreal that I was blessed with two babies at once. Every day is a while ride and I wouldn't trade one crazy second of it for the world.

  26. We came home with two monitors for the twins and it was reassuring to have those after being in the hospital all hooked up to them. They are a pain in some ways though. There are so many false alarms and you have to make sure that the band is just right around their chests and when you drive in the car if the monitor is too close to the radio you will get false alarms.


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