Introducing Ana and Dorothy

Ana Gonzalez Kraft & Dorothy Gonzalez Kraft were born today at 3:32 pm and 3:37 pm, weighing 5 lbs, 9 ounces and 5 lbs even, respectively.

Mom did great and is well. The twins are doing fantastic, but since they were born a bit early, they’re required to be guests of the NICU.

Being early, we weren’t packed yet and I left the cable to connect the DSLR camera, so just cell phone pictures for now.

More Pictures!

With just shy of a day under their belts, the twins are doing great. V is on track to be released from postpartum tomorrow. The twins are still looking good, being supplied by a combo of IV and mom’s milk. Breathing, glucose, and all that jazz look good with no signs of infection or anything else negatively noteworthy.

Daily Status Update Report

Today, V was given her discharge orders, so we’ll be leaving the 2nd floor soon.

The twins are progressing well. They have continued to meet their feeding goals (e.g. food via mouth), so they have reduced their IV intake. Their glucose levels will be monitored the remainder of today and early morning tomorrow. If all goes well, they continue to meet their feeding goals and the glucose levels are sufficient, they could possibly lose the IVs soonish.

Once they lose their IVs, they’ll work on ensuring they can self-regulate their temperatures, meaning attempting to ditch the infant warmer bed and progressing to the “normal newborn” blanket swaddle.

In short, all good news. They’ve been pretty easy as far as NICU stays go.

Since they want Vanessa attempting to feed them or pumping every three hours (give or take) and we’re being evicted from postpartum, NICU arranged for us to keep a bed warm in an empty overflow wing as long as they’re not needed for patients. While the twins have their own challenges to meet, we’re going to figure out the balance between supporting the NICU twins and supporting the three still at home. I’ve stayed overnight with the oldest girls during O’s asthma admit and MC’s tonsillectomy; this will be V’s first stay in the hospital without the staff support of being a patient.

Yadda, yadda, where are the pictures? Here:

Day 4: No More IV

A quick update in case you’re on the edge of your seats 🙂

Both girls’ lab workups were good, so they lost the IVs and are taking in all of their nutrition by mouth. With their IVs coming off, they can start wearing real clothes and being swaddled. While they’re still living in the infant warming beds, they haven’t been used since being shut off (yesterday?) and are looking like normal, in-hospital babies.

We’re happy to see what feels like quick progress, though still a bit clueless on any reasonable timeline for going home if all things continue on this track. I think a nurse or NNP said they would want to see them start gaining some weight (as all newborns lose some of their initial birth weight after birth) before being considered for discharge.

In any event, forward progress, one step at a time.

We’re now in the “nesting room”, an unused hospital room in a currently unused overflow wing that allows us to have a home base within the hospital. The window has a beautiful view of downtown.

Three topics we’ll write more about later: 1. great nurses and a small world, 2. the nesting room, 3. I already hate monitor alarms.

Time for a nap, but before we go… pictures!

Day 5: Snuggle Up by the Fire

A small step back today: The girls were working too hard to keep their temperatures up and not quite getting there, so they’ve been stripped down and under the infant warmer again.

Dorothy’s bilirubin levels are borderline, but the team thinks she’ll keep them under control. Another check tomorrow.

It has been a good day though. I slept a bit and V is sleeping now. I give off a good amount of body heat, so I took the girls skin-to-skin for awhile—turns out I’m more effective than the infant warmers :). It has been a nice, peaceful afternoon so far—their first “Daddy Date”, so to speak.

The NICU staff has been great at encouraging us to do the parent duties—feeding, changing diapers, etc. The first diaper of Dorothy that I changed yesterday… well, let’s say she has figured out how to wiggle out of her diaper so her first load of dirty clothes is waiting to be washed.

Thanks for everyone for their kind words, help, prayers. We haven’t been worried about anything except the girls thanks to you all.


Day 6: Siblings!

Wow! What a day! It was a bit of a whirlwind.

On the medical front, slow and steady. The docs have increased the allowed intake. Dorothy has slowed her post-birth weight loss and Ana actually increased one whole gram. They’re still under the warmers, though frankly, I’m in no rush to take them out. They seem to be doing better without them trying to keep their heat up on their own, so we’re fine deferring that until they’ve bulked up a bit.

Fr. Paul with Dorothy
Fr. Paul with Dorothy

Fr. Paul from St. Ignatius stopped by to say meet and bless the girls. It was a nice visit and great to feel the presence of the community praying for all of us. Earlier in the day, Vanessa and I took a few moments in the hospital chapel just in silence.

With the whirlwind of the last few days, between the chapel and the visit from Fr. Paul, it was great to pause a bit.

In Seton’s NICU, they generally have an open visitation policy for siblings, but they’ve locked it down with this year’s flu season. The twins are allowed a weekly visit from the older sisters, which we exercised today so the girls were finally able to meet them.

Teresa had a bit of a cough a couple of days ago, so she stayed in the waiting room with Mom while I took Olivia and Catalina in. Olivia, our rule follower, was very proper and formal answering the health screening questions, taking her temperature, and scrubbing in “like a doctor!” as she said.

Catalina was so excited to meet the twins. Once meeting them, she was disappointed that she couldn’t see all of the babies in the NICU! Catalina was ready to head out after a short time; Olivia, I think, could have stayed there all day.

After a lovely dinner, we’re about to head upstairs for the first night shift. Earlier today, another set of twins and another premie were admitted into our “bay” in the NICU, so it was rather hectic. I’m looking forward to being able to hold them for a couple of hours tonight in relative quietness.

With that, more pictures!

Day 7: The Day of Setbacks

Today was a hard day.

The day started with the girls having another bath and their bedding changed. The purple and pink blanket trick to tell them apart is no more.

Ana was sleeping with her arm over her face reminding me a picture we took of Olivia around the same age that is extremely slow to find on the hospital wireless.

During rounds, the neonatologist prepped us concerning Dorothy. While Ana had been eating up to her allowed amount and started ever-so-slightly gaining weight, Dorothy hadn’t been eating up nor stopped her initial weight loss. If she didn’t make some gains in the next 24 hours, they would add a feeding tube to send milk straight to her stomach.

Ugh. Damn it.

Alright, that’s fine. If it helps her bulk up and turn the corner, sure thing.

Later in the day, V and I took off for a couple of hours to swap out dirty clothes for clean ones and take a shower. After a frustrating experience between insurance and a vendor trying to get a quality breast pump that could support our needs when, in a first, the insurance company telling me they covered something when the vendor said insurance wouldn’t. I should defer all insurance conversations until after we’re out of NICU.

We head back to the hospital to find…

What? They were cleared from bilirubin checks? Labs weren’t being sent off anymore. It had only been a couple of hours since we left without jaundice being on the table to phototherapy?

Their nurse noticed their coloration was deteriorating and requested the neonatologist confirm and request labs. Sure enough, their bilirubin levels were high enough to merit intervention, including VISOR-style stickies.

The day ranged from the doctor suggesting we wouldn’t be here when he returned on Monday to our nurse telling us we’ll see him next Thursday when he’s next on duty.

We’re emotionally drained after today.

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