100th Post & A Homecoming Delayed

Wow - so this is my 100th post. When I started this blog back in March of 2009, I never dreamed I would keep up with it like this. Of course, there have been weeks where I have fallen silent, uninspired to write much -- but here we sit at 100. This blog has followed our journey from a mission trip to Brazil, to our infertility struggles, to a blessed pregnancy and now the birth of our children. Quite the year and a half. I am so glad to have a documented version of our story. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

And the unexpected.

Today is one of those unexpected days. Tonight we were supposed to be preparing ourselves to pick up our daughter and bring her home where she belongs. Yet here I sit, writing a blog and thinking mindlessly about what I am going to do tomorrow. Because we won't be picking her up after all. I had wanted my 100th post to be about celebrating the babies' one month birthday and Quinn's homecoming. But my wishes aren't always God's plan.

Quinn had a pretty good apnic episode this morning. When the doctor called to tell me, my heart just sank. Strangely enough, as I was getting ready this morning, I just had a feeling that something was not right today. Call it mother's intuition. At any rate, our princess won't be joining us at home for at least a few more days. After the doctors pow-wowed to discuss her condition, it was decided that no decision would be made about release until at least the end of the week. Something tells me, with as conservative as they have been with her care thus far (thankfully), she won't even be considered for release until next Monday or Tuesday.

I am so grateful that the episode did not happen at home and instead occurred while she was in the care of such excellent nurses. It was a long episode, at least 30 seconds, and she had to be stimulated to come out of it. If that had happened at home, who knows what we would have done. I am not that eager to show off my newly found infant cpr and nursing skills. Leave that to the professionals. Yet, I cannot help but be sad. I just wanted to have my little girl home with us. I want to be a family of four under one roof. But here we are, waiting once again.

I know that in the grand scheme of Quinn's life with us, these extra few days are not a huge deal at all. Yet, my selfishness for wanting her with me trumps that sort of reasoning in most moments. Last week I ordered this precious 4th of July onesie and red/white/blue tutu for her, confident that she would be home on the 4th of July with us. Now it looks like that she'll have to wear that in the NICU. But that's ok. The nurses are just going to have to figure out how to change her diaper around all of that colorful tulle - because my little princess will be wearing her outfit!

In positive news, she is 5lbs 1oz now! Growing girl. This morning she took a GREAT bottle with me which made me smile. She was such a sweet thing in her little pink onesie --- and that little sweet thing attacked that bottle with all of her might! She sucked down 3oz in no time flat and totally kicked her brother's butt in the feeding department. The nurse told me that they all joke about Quinn and how you can just hear this tiny little thing smacking her lips during her feeds clear across the nursery :) That image makes me laugh because it's so true!

And such a fun thing - we have decided that Quinn's little mouth and lips are an identical match to that of my father. It's such a trip to see his features in her. I am so comforted by that because it's like he's watching out for her daily, even when we can't be there. Too cool.

So anyway - homecoming will have to wait but I know the timing is God's, not ours. He obviously knew what He was doing when He encouraged the staff to keep her an extra few days and not discharge her early as some doctor's may have been tempted to do. Thank you, God, for always watching out for us. Even when we don't understand, we do know that Your plan is perfect.

Next up, the twin's 1 month birthday on Saturday, July 3rd. Where did the last month go??? I already get nostalgic looking back at their earliest pictures. In a way, it's already hard to remember them being that small - isn't that crazy??!! Ryan goes for his check up on Thursday and I fully expect that kid to be well over 6lbs. He's not my teeny tiny tot anymore -but that's ok because I know it means he is as healthy as a horse.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for the twins. God is good.

In Him,

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R&Q Update - 3 weeks old

Where did the last 3 weeks go??? They have just sped by. If the next 18 years go by this quickly, I am going to be so sad!

Ryan @ 2 1/2 weeks.

Anyway, we are all doing well around here. This past week, Matt's mom Barbara came to stay with us for a few days. It was great having her here and I know Ryan enjoyed spending time with his grandma. It also turned out to be a really good week to have someone to watch the little man, as we had several appointments we had to take care of for Quinn.

Quinn @ 3 weeks - this picture makes me smile :)

First up was Car Seat Education to make sure we knew how to get Quinn in and out of the car seat and to ensure it was safe enough for her. Unfortunately, it looks like we may need to purchase a new car seat -- the minimum on our car seat is 5lbs and little princess hasn't quite reached that mark yet. Plus, the straps on ours are not adjustable enough to fit her small little shoulders. I could tell the woman doing our education felt terrible for asking us to buy a new one, but if that's what we need to do -- what choice do we have? We'll try again this week to fit her in the seat and see if she has grown enough to make our existing one work. Then she'll have to pass a car seat test, which is basically a stress test for all babies born under 36 weeks. They make the baby stay in the car seat for an hour and a half and place them on heart rate monitors to make sure they continue to breathe okay.

Next up was Infant CPR... we had wanted to take some sort of class before the babies were born but just kind of kept putting it off. Now it's a requirement for us to pass before we can bring Quinn home. Anyway, it was a fast and furious tutorial session and hopefully we will remember some of it in case we ever need it. I was really emotional in the class just thinking about actually having to use any of the skills on our children. Talk about a reality check.

Then of course, I had my own doctor's appt to check out my c-section incision and make sure all was healing correctly. Honestly, I am just so surprised by how much this surgery has actually hurt. It's not debilitating pain, but I am definitely aware of it. I thought I had a pretty high pain tolerance after all the surgeries and procedures I've undergone, but this was a whole new level. Anyway, all is fine in that department, thank goodness. Cannot wait until the 6 week appt when I am actually cleared to do some exercise (assuming I have the energy) and other fun things (wink, wink - and assuming I have the energy. ha)

Ryan is really thriving and is such a great little baby. He's up to taking almost 3oz every feeding and is acquiring a couple of new chins :) So precious. I love our little man so much and look forward every morning to kissing his sweet little face.

Quinn is really growing now that they are letting her eat however much she wants. She is also up to about 3 oz every feeding and our doctors are amazed that she can fit all of that food in such a tiny little body! (I'm not that surprised - she is my child after all!) She is up to about 4lbs 12oz and is starting to really fill out. I may be biased, but I think she is gorgeous. Most importantly, she has not had an apnic episode since this past Wednesday! Yay! This means we can start planning our homecoming. The doctors are gearing for a mid-week release I believe, assuming she behaves herself. By then, little girl should be above 5lbs :)

I will be so immensely grateful when we can break her out of that place. I am so ready to have my family under one roof. This past week has been really difficult --- I've consciously tried to keep a positive attitude, knowing that was best for Ryan and our life at home. But this is starting to wear on me. I miss my little girl. I don't want to have to leave her every day.

Before the kiddos were born, I thought I had prepared myself adequately for the potential of a NICU stay. But I never dreamed it would go on this long. Next Thursday will mark the babies' one month birthday. My hope and prayer is that we can take her home before then. I just want my family together. I want Ryan to start interacting with his sister. I want to have 2 babies in my arms.

Yet, having said all of that and my somewhat selfish wants and desires -- I know she has been in the best place to get her healthy and ready to come home. I am so thankful for the team of people who have been caring for her so she can grow. I know they have her best interests at heart.

And prayers are being answered. Last week, I asked for prayers that her levels would stabilize so we could put off her open heart surgery for as long as possible. Well, I spoke to the cardiologist on Thursday and her levels have not made anymore downward drops. He feels that where she is now (in the mid to high 80's pulse ox) is probably where she will stay for a few months. And he is more than comfortable letting her hang out there. She's not struggling to breathe or turning a bluish color (signs that would point to more immediate surgical intervention), so he's very pleased. God is good! Please pray that they will remain stabilized until we can get her little body stronger for surgery.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. We are so grateful. The outpouring of love we've received around here as been nothing short of incredible. I think out of the 3 weeks we have been home, we have only cooked dinner twice. The rest of the meals have been provided by our awesome church family and great friends. Wow! Truly blessed.

Will you join me in praying that Quinn comes home next week if it's in her best interest? Momma has an ADORABLE 4th of July onesie & tutu waiting for her :)

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Little Princess Update

Just wanted to give y'all a little princess update. After tonight's weigh in, she is about 4lbs 6oz!This is GREAT news --- one of the condition of her release is that she must weight about 2 kilos, which is approximately 4lb 6-7oz. So check one for that.

The other condition is that she cannot have had an apnic episode in at least a week. Unfortunately, she is still having these fairly regularly, at least 1 or 2 a day. The last one was a 3:00pm today when Matt was giving her a feeding. The hope is that as she draws nearer to her original due date (July 3rd) and gains more weight, these will disappear. The babies would have been 38 weeks this past Saturday so we have a couple of more weeks of gestation to go, although it may not take that long. Please pray that these apnic episodes will cease so we can fully focus on her weight gain & getting her home as soon as possible.

We also need your prayers for one other thing. Matt met with the cardiologist on Friday to receive an update on her heart care. They are continuing to keep her fluids fairly low (meaning she only takes about 41cc per feed) so that her system is not too flooded with fluid, which can put more stress on her heart. That is why her weight gain has been somewhat stunted up until now - they haven't wanted to overfeed her and make the situation worse. As she grows, she will be able to tolerate more in her feedings. The cardiologist was pleased with her feeds and her growth, all good news. However, one area of concern was that some of her stats are starting to make a downward trend. Specifically her pulse ox levels, which measures the amount of oxygen flowing in her blood. It could be the first sign that her heart is beginning to have trouble and could potentially indicate that we will need to intervene sooner rather than later surgically to begin the heart repairs.

Having the surgery does not necessarily indicate more danger for her or her prognosis to lead a normal life. However, having the surgery earlier means that most likely they will not be able to do the complete repair as hoped. Instead, she will likely need 2 surgeries to complete the entire repair -- the first one for a temporary fix & the second to completely take care of the problem.

Obviously, the better option for Quinn is that we are able to put off surgery as long as possible - hopefully to 4 to 6 months of age. So will you please pray that her stats are able to reverse and her little heart will begin pumping more efficiently? We just want our little girl home for as long as possible before she has to undergo any other medical intervention.

Despite the stress of having a newborn at home and one in the NICU, Matt and I do realize how immensely blessed we are. I read a blog yesterday of a little boy who was being treated in Dallas for a devestating congenital heart defect (CHD). They found out at about 21 weeks about his issue (around the same time we found out about Quinn) and knew that the prognosis wasn't great. They made all the same calls and had the same appointments that Matt & I had. They even actually looked into TCH just as we did and eventually settled on treatment in Dallas. Their little boy was born about 4 days after Ryan & Quinn and in 5 days, had at least 4 surgeries to attempt repair on his precious heart. This weekend, their little boy lost his battle and went to be with Jesus. I cried as I read that blog last night and heard the news. So as bad as we may feel that Quinn is going through her issues, and even knowing that her survival is not 100% guaranteed, we know that the situation could be much much worse. Please pray for the family of this sweet baby boy as they grieve through what has to be one of the most painful losses anyone should have to endure.

Thank you, God, that our sweet little princess is doing well despite having a "different" heart. Thank you that she is gaining weight and continuing to maintain her spunky attitude. Thank you that her big brother continues to thrive and grow at home. Thank you for the entire medical team that has worked to assist our daughter - every single neonatologist, cardiologist, attending physician, pediatrician, nurse, and volunteers who rock her when we can't be up there. We are so grateful. She is in the best hands possible, and in Your Arms ultimately.

Oh --- and a little fun fact for the day...everyone keeps asking me if we have seen Jen from TLC's "The Little Couple". (If you haven't seen that show, you really should watch one night. It's about a "little couple" in Houston and they have to have one of the sweetest & most genuine relationships I have seen.) Anyway, Jen is a neonatologist at Texas Children's and works in the NICU there. Ironically, the first day we were in the hospital, Matt was going down to the NICU to see Quinn and saw a little figure in a white lab coat get off of the elevator right in front of him. He quickened his pace to catch up to her and asked her how she was doing :) Now, my husband has seen seriously maybe one episode of the show just in passing, but even he knew about her. Anyway, she was very sweet and said she was doing great that day & in conversation Matt told her about Quinn. She said that where she was located was not in her rotation but assured him that everyone would do what they could to keep Quinn safe and sound. What's really cute is that all around the NICU they have these hand sanitizer dispensers about 18 inches off the ground for her - and have a couple of little stations with low-lying sanitizers, a step stool and purple gloves. Pretty fun. At least it takes some of the sadness out of going to the NICU - we can be on "Jen Watch" :)

Anyway, thank y'all for your continued prayers. Here's our little princess picture for the day!

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Happy 1st Father's Day

Dear Matt,

Happy 1st Father's Day!! You have already blown me away with your natural-born fathering instincts. You are so wonderful with both babies and it makes my heart smile to see you talk and coo (yes, coo!) with our children. You never complain about diaper changes, feedings, cleaning bottles, or lack of sleep. You have been such a trooper in helping me out with late-night feedings and allowing me to nap when I need to.

I love seeing how you have grown as a person, husband, and father these past 2 weeks. I feel like I truly won the lottery to have such an amazingly supportive partner in this roller coaster ride called parenthood. Thank you for letting me lean on you for support the past 9 months. You never once told me to be quiet when I complained for the 1,000th time that my back hurt, or my belly itched, or that I had heartburn, or couldn't sleep. And now that the babies are here, you have been here 150% as I have recovered from the c-section.

Your father would be SO proud of you - and proud to see what a great father you have become. I know he is smiling down on you today. May you remember him with a fond heart today and have tears of laughter instead of sadness. I know all of the "firsts" (1st birthday without dad, 1st father's day, etc) are not easy. I hope you find comfort in life coming full circle, and where there can be death and sadness, inevitably new life and happiness always follows. I am so glad that Ryan seems to have some resemblance to your dad & I hope you find that comforting as well. His legacy lives on, as does the love he had for you.

And of course, today we remember my father -- this will be the fourth Father's Day without him. Yet I remember his last Father's Day with us like it was yesterday. Forever grateful for the memories. I was blessed to have him as a father and I pray that he is tickled looking down on us and see us stumbling through the parental maze. If we can be half of the parents that our dads were to us, our kids will be immensely blessed. May we always share memories of our dads with Ryan and Quinn so they will know how special their grandfathers were and how powerfully they loved.

Love you, honey. Hope you have a wonderful 1st Father's Day. Thank you for being the man that you are and helping our dreams of parenthood come true.

All my Love,

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Quinn @ 2 Weeks

Quinn: What You Are Up to @ 2 Weeks Old
- You are such a beautiful, sweet girl. All of the NICU nurses comment on how pretty you are when they see you. You have completely perfect features, such beautiful skin, a little sweet nose, and big, bright eyes!
- You have a very sweet personality and are pretty content with just sleeping and eating. When you are ready to eat, though, you let everyone in the NICU know!
- You are a very alert little girl for being so small and a preemie. You love to look around with your big eyes and check everything out. I love when you find my face with your eyes.
- You are an extremely brave and strong little girl. You have been poked and prodded and undergone multiple exams from multiple doctors. We are so proud of your fiestiness because we know that is what will help you get through all of this medical stuff.
- You finally got your feeding tube out today and now you are taking all of your feeds by yourself. Way to go, little girl! You are still only allowed to have about 34 cc per feed because the cardiologists want to make sure not to flood your system with too much fluid.
- You finally are over 4lbs! You lost quite a bit of weight after birth, but the feeding tube did it's job and now you weigh 3 more ounces than you did when you were born! Keep growing, kiddo!
- Most preemie clothes are still a little big for you but that doesn't stop Mommy from bringing you all sorts of outfits to wear at the hospital. We found some Carter preemie onesies that seem to fit well so you wear those all the time. You also have quite the assortment of pink socks but most of them slip right off your tiny feet (don't feel bad - most socks do not fit your brother as well!)
- You are eating well and much faster now. You used to be so sleepy and fall asleep during most of your feeds. But now that you are getting bigger, you stay awake to have the good stuff! You can be a little stubborn with your bottle though and when you are done eating, nothing can penetrate that little mouth of yours.
- You've had 2 visits now from your brother and so far you guys seem unimpressed with each other :) I am sure that will change once we get you both under the same roof and close to each other in the same bassinet.
- Your daddy and I switch off days to come see you at the hospital. Everytime we see you, our hearts are full. We wish so much we could spend every waking hour with you. Mommy cries almost every time she has to leave you in that hospital crib all alone. But we know that the nursing staff at TCH is taking such excellent care of you. We are able to call and check on you 24/7 and often call a few times a day to get a report on you.
- You are such a special little girl who has already brought us much joy. We look forward to the day where all four of us can be under the same roof and that darn NICU will just be a distant memory. You still have a battle in front of you with your heart condition, but we know you will be such a fighter and come through all of these trials with flying colors.
We love you, Baby Girl :)

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Ryan @ 2 weeks

Ryan - What You Are Up To @ 2 weeks old:

- You are really a good baby and mostly just sleep and eat these days. I think you are still pretty "sleepy" since you would have only been technically about 38 weeks gestation.

- You are starting to open your eyes a lot more and focus on mommy & daddy. You also are becoming really observant in looking around and seeing what is new. My heart melts when our eyes lock.

-You had your 2 week newborn screen and now weight 5lbs 4oz. You eat like a champ and are up to 60-70 ccs per feed (every 3 hours). You gained 9 oz from your last doctor visit just 6 days ago and Dr. B gave you a high five.

- You have been to the pediatrician twice now since you are a preemie. You actually are such a trooper for Dr. B and hardly cry when you are there being examined. Dr. B is very gentle with you and called you a "very handsome guy" yesterday. Mommy & Daddy happily agree :)

-You have only had 2 rough nights where you were off your routine and didn't go to sleep until 4am. Not bad for 10 days of being home. Last night was a bad night, but I blame myself because I dragged you to the pediatrician office for your appt, you had your blood drawn, then we went to go visit your sister and you were an hour late on your feeding. On our way home, we got stuck in traffic and you were again 30 minutes late on eating. So it was mommy's fault. :(

- You love to lay in Daddy's lap and he loves to hold you. When he gets home from work, the first thing he looks for is you.

- You are not a huge fan of sponge baths and fuss almost the entire time. We don't like to bathe you every day because we are afraid that your skin will start to dry out. I hope that once your cord falls off & you can have a "regular" bath, then you will start to like it!

- Everyday you look more and more like a "Clanahan" and you don't seemingly have a lot of Anderson in you. That's ok though. You and your sister are looking more and more alike as well, especially as she gains weight. I love that you guys will look alike and can't wait to play dress up with you both. Although you probably won't think it's as fun as Mommy does.

- You really only cry during diaper changes or when we have to take off your clothes. But as soon as it's over, the tears are finished and you just snuggle up to Mommy.

- You are quite the snuggler - you are starting to grab my shirt & my hair to hold onto me and it just makes my heart smile.

- You do not like pacifiers and almost always refuse one when I try to give it to you. You will, however, suck on your hand forever.

- You finally are sleeping in a little cradle during the day instead of a laundry basket. You were too small for us to put in the swing & vibrating seat & all the rest of the fun stuff we bought you. So GiGi recommended the laundry basket. And it definitely worked and you loved it. However, Mommy finally needed it back to catch up on the loads of laundry I do every day.

-You like to be swaddled at first but then sometime during the night we will hear little grunts and find that our Houdini again escaped from the best swaddle job Mommy could do. Most of the time after you do that, I just give up and let you do what you want.

- Your favorite comfort position is to have both of your hands up against each ear and holding them slightly. I love it because it reminds me of the pictures I have of you while you were in utero.

- You are a wonderful little boy & I can't wait to see you grow!

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Our First Week - Quinn

Our little beauty, Quinn

Our beautiful little Quinn arrived at 6:56pm on Thursday, June 3rd. Because the babies were considered high-risk, I wasn't even able to see them once they were born. Usually they lift them up over that screen and are able to give you a brief glimpse. But my babies were immediately whisked away to the waiting arms of the team of specialists that had gathered for their arrival. Luckily, the nurses had prepped me for this so it wasn't totally unexpected, thank God. They also had warned me that I may not get to see them even after the team did their initial work up - just in case they had to rush them down the hallway to Texas Children's. They told me if they were stable, they would try to bring them in their little incubators for me to see.

However, they did let Matt go outside and take pictures while they worked on our babies. He left just minutes after they were born to go take a peek. I have to say that was probably the worst time in the whole c-section. I had no knowledge of what was happening outside and because the babies were delivered via c-section, I didn't even get to hear them give a reassuring cry, as it takes most c-sections babies a little while to get their lungs and airways clear to give a good shriek. As much as I would have loved to have Matt with me, I was so grateful he was out there with our babies during their first minutes in this world.
Honestly, I have no clue how much time passed before Matt came back in with pictures --- right after he left, I politely asked the anesthiologist (ie my new best friend) to go ahead and give me a shot of Valium so I didn't have a freak out, full on panic attic laying there. It did it's job because I certainly felt nothing but peace :)

And then Matt came back with the reports on our kiddos and their little pictures. It was such a sweet moment to share, even in my slightly drugged out state. And then, they whisked in my little Quinn, all settled in her incubator. Tears sprung to my eyes because I knew that meant for the moment she was stable enough to say hello to momma. I saw her for that brief moment and then out the door she went again. Ryno came in next to say hello and then again, he was out the door all too quickly. Matt then followed them to the NICU and I was once again alone getting sewn up.

However, once I got to recovery, I had the best nurses ever who took amazing care of me while Matt and my mother were over at Texas Children's. Almost every 5-10 minutes I had someone else coming to give me a report on the babies and how they were doing, especially providing updates on sweet Quinn.

That night, she did not require any extra intervention except I believe just oxygen for a short time. That evening and into the next day, they began doing a full work up of her heart situation to see how much the defects would affect her in the coming days. It was determined that she could avoid the medication intervention, as well as the stint or shunt. Her 3 little defects actually seem to be working together for her at this moment. Eventually that won't be the case. The defect was determined to be just as we expected and will require surgery at a later date, they are still estimating 4-6 months. However, every child is different so she will be watched very, very closely for signs that the right side of her heart is beginning to fail. Scary words, huh :(

Yet, we have much to be grateful for. Besides the heart condition, she is virtually healthy. She was a lot smaller than even the doctor anticipated -- it really was a shock to all especially since we were expecting almost a 5lb baby like Ryan. Currently, her main goal is just to gain weight. They had to place a feeding tube about 5 days after birth. She was doing ok with her feedings but was getting very sleepy towards in the end of each feeding. Plus, she was exhausting all of her energy to feed so she was almost taking in negative calories by the time she finished her bottles. Now, they have upped her bottle feeds to 6 per day and only 2 tube feedings a day -- and she's been doing great with her bottle feeds. She currently weighs almost 4lbs so she has regained all of the weight she lost after birth.
We still don't have a date for her to come home - they approximated perhaps another 10-14 days once she was moved to Level 2 care, which was this past Thursday. But it will all depend on her weight gain, as well as getting rid of her sleep apnea (basically where she forgets to breathe while she sleeps --- completely unrelated to her heart & typical of preemies her age).
So now Matt and I are switching off dates of when we visit Quinn. I wish I could go every single day, but it's almost impossible with another newborn at home. They do allow twins to visit the NICU so I can bring Ryan, but it's stressful for us all to get him up there so going every day would be difficult. We just can't wait until we get her home and have our little family of four under one roof.
Yesterday I did bring Ry up there and got my first experience of holding both of my babies in my arms. Whoa - talk about a wave of emotion... I was just bawling when they handed them over to me. Joy just filled my heart. It's really amazing how much they look like each other -- Quinn is just a skinnier version of him - but I am sure she will catch up soon.

Momma's 1st time to hold both Ryan & Quinn

We love our little girl soooo much and can't wait until we can spend every waking moment with her. I just want to grab those monitors off of her and just run out of the door with her. And mny heart breaks a little everytime I have to leave her bedside. But I know she is getting the care she needs in the best pediatric care unit in the country. And we fully trust that God is watching over her even when we can't be there to hold her hand or watch her breathe.

More to come on our little blonde beauty later... she's a fiesty one!

Thank you for all of the prayers for her heart. They are being heard.


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Babies Birthday Pictures - June 3, 2010

Here are a few pics of Ryan and Quinn's birthday. Unfortunately, we didn't have as many of Quinn because she was busy entertaining a team of neonatologists and cardiologists. But more pics to come of her when she doesn't have tubes everywhere! What an amazing day. Honestly, after looking at these pictures for the hundredth time, I totally get how moms say that they would do it all over again - because I would. Maybe not anytime soon, but would totally endure it all to hold these precious little ones again. :)
**Many of these pictures were taken by my very close friend Kendra who happens to be a very talented photographer. We were so blessed to have her share this special moment with us and capture these amazing shots. Thank you, Kendra, for being there!**

Daddy, Mom, & Ryan (Quinn was already in the NICU and I wasn't allowed to hold her until the following day)

Ryan and Daddy's aggie ring

Tired, tired Mommy & Ryan

Proud Daddy

Three out of the four Clanahan Fam

My precious little girl

Quinn being checked out

Fiesty from the start :)

Quinn, 3lbs 13 oz

Ryan all bundled up
Oh, I just love this little face

Daddy with Ryan after birth

My little brunette - I really thought he would have blonde hair like his Daddy --- but Quinn is the blonde instead.
He was a lot happier once they put clothes on him

Best day of my life!!!

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Our First Week - Ryan

My babies are one week old today (Thurs, June 10th)! I really can't believe the week has passed by so quickly. I just keeping thinking back to their delivery and what an amazing, awesome, scary, surreal experience that was. The joy I have in my heart is unmatched by anything I have ever known. I feel privileged that I was able to carry these precious little ones, and I am humbled that God has entrusted Matt & I to be their parents.

Week one has been such a ride. My time in the hospital from Thursday to Monday evening was actually so pleasant. I didn't really want to leave for a number of reasons, main one being that I knew we couldn't see our little Quinn whenever we wanted. Now that we are home, we are a good 35-45 minutes away from her and the logistics of getting down there while caring for Ryan is a little hairy.

On Monday when we were discharged, I was filled with so many emotions...sadness, joy, nervousness, gratefulness, and overwhelming love. We got home and it was like, "ok, so what the hell do we do now??" :)

Gigi (my mother) was waiting at home to greet us and we immediately plopped Ryan down in her lap for some grandmother loving time. I think she seriously sat and just looked at him for a good 45 minutes. After ravaging some Chinese food and introducing Ry to our neighbors, it was time for Matt & I to face the night on our own.

We had big plans for the little guy --- in the hospital, we had a pretty good routine going and R was so easy going, I was NOT prepared for the night that was instore. We got him fed, dressed, and tucked him into the twin pack & play bassinet in our bedroom. Our optimism for the evening turned out to be short-lived to say the least. Ryan immediately had a breakdown in his bed so we did everything we could think of to soothe him. Skin to skin, another bottle, warm cuddles, diaper change -- nothing worked. And the kiddo just screamed. Something about nighttime and a wailing newborn just jangles your nerves. I never thought crying like that could bring me to my knees - but I was praying that God would send me the answer on how to soothe my poor little boy. After wading through what seemed like hours of consoling and more crying, he finally passed out at about 4:30am -- so mom and dad got about 2 hours of sleep before his 6am feeding.

We woke up that morning and just looked at each other in disbelief --- I mean, we knew it would be hard, everyone tries to prepare you, but until you are actually in it, you can't get it. Wow, I get it now :) We were questioning everything about our parenting skills and whether we were truly up for this task. This was just one -- what were we going to do when we had 2 of these wailers going?

However, on Tuesday, even in our bleary-eyed, exhausted state - Ry managed to have a great day...feeding every 3 hours and sleeping pretty much the rest of the time. We had a little bottle drama trying to figure out what he would like out of the 18 choices I had registered for. Thankfully, he settled on one (the least expensive of them all, I must add!) and we carried on.

Of course, nighttime inevitably rolled around and we had to face the situation again. After much discussion, it was concluded that I would do the 10:30 and 1:30am feedings and let Matt take the 4:30 and 7:30am while I slept. And it really worked out great. Ryan did wonderfully and by 2:30am, I had him all snuggled in his pack and play and I was able to crawl into a real bed and catch a few zzz's.

And Weds night was pretty much the same. I think this routine really works for us --- Matt gets up early for work anyway and he tends to hit a wall at 10pm, so this just makes sense. When he goes back to work, he'll be able to help with at least the 4:30 feeding before he leaves. What a blessing. We decided that Monday night was probably just a little overwhelming for Ry -- too much stimulation and nothing that he was used to like in the hospital. But now, I think he is pretty cozy and who wouldn't prefer a nice, comfy bassinet as opposed to a plastic bin that the nursery had for him in the hospital.

And of course, as soon as I type "plastic bin", I realize that I am the mom who lets her child sleep in a modified laundry basked during the day. Nice. The babies have oodles of fancy equipment to play/sleep in - bouncy seats, swings, vibrating chairs, the works. And my kid sleeps in a laundry basket. The main problem is since Ryan is only 5lbs, he is really too small for any of the "heavy equipment". He slips down into the swing and bouncy seat and his poor little head just can't stay upright. Not safe or cozy. So for now, he chills in a laundry basket and it works for us.

On Wednesday, we had our first little check up at the pediatrician. It wasn't the full newborn screen but the doctor just wanted to check him out since he was a preemie. The doctor was great with him and Ryan barely cried during the whole exam. We were given a clean bill of health and away we went. Whew.

Thursday was mostly a rest day for us. Ryan and I just stayed at home and hung out while Matt went to go see Quinn. I was even able to grab a shower in the morning and toss on a little makeup. The simple pleasures in life.

Friday was a big day for me - my first real day of driving and getting out of the house. I had planned to leave the house by 9am to get down to the med center to see Quinn, but wow - babies really slow down your getting ready routine! I wasn't ready to leave until almost 10am but it worked out fine. Made it down to the hospital and through the maze of the crazy parking garages down there by myself. I was so proud :) (If you knew what a poor sense of direction I have, then you would understand why I was patting myself on the back). I was able to hold Quinn for almost a good hour today which was wonderful. I just sat and stared at her and all of her perfect little features. Love that little girl. And miss her like crazy.

All in all, I would have to rate our first week home as A+. I feel more at peace with my life than I ever have before. I finally feel purpose. And seeing my husband become a father -- well, I just fell in love with him all over again. So cliche I know, but very true.

We have been so immeasurably blessed through this whole experience. So many people have offered assistance, brought food, sent emails, called - the outpouring of support has just warmed my heart. Many of these people prayed for these children before they were even a twinkle in our eyes, so to see those prayers answered just continues to reaffirm my faith and God's plans for our lives. I don't always understand God and the mysterious ways that He answers prayers. But I do understand that even when I think He's not listening, He hears all. And during this process, I could almost hear Him whisper, "my child, in due time I will answer your prayers -- and the blessings that flow from them will be far more amazing than you can even imagine." It could not have been more true.

**Quinn's first week post to follow soon, plus pics! I have to go feed a child now :) ***

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Happy Birthday, Ryan & Quinn (6.3.10)

Ryan David Greenwood Clanahan - born at 6:55pm on June 3rd, 2010, weighing 5lbs 2oz, 16 3/4 inches long.
Quinn Eugenie Clanahan - born at 6:56pm on June 3rd, 2010, weighing 3lbs 13 oz and measuring 17 inches long.

Ryan was checked out by the pediatric unit at birth and given a clean bill of health. Because he was so strong, he has been able to stay with us since the first night. What a huge blessing. He is a joy and such a great baby so far. He loves to cuddle with his mommy and daddy and HATES having his diaper changed. He has been eating well and sleeping great.

Quinn, as we anticipated, was whisked away to the NICU after birth. I was able to see her for one minute in the operating room while she was in her incubator. Matt followed her to the NICU with my mom to get her settled and find out a quick report. She obviously was much smaller than we thought -- but still very strong. She was stable almost immediately and has been watched very closely by the cardiac team since her birth. She has not required any surgery/stints/oxygen or meds for her heart condition. This was a big victory for her! She was started on formula yesterday (Friday) and has done pretty well with it -- although by nightime, she gets pretty lazy and falls asleep before the feeding is over. She is fiesty in every other way, always moving and squirming just like she did in the womb. Ry is much more content to lay there and Quinn just wants to see everything that's going on! She LOVES her huge green paci they gave her and she's so tiny that it takes up much of her face. She is precious and we look forward to her being able to head home with us - perhaps as soon as 2 weeks!

After running back and forth between the NICU and our regular room, both Matt & I are pretty tired but we are THRILLED to be parents. It blows me away that these kiddos were the same ones I carried for almost 36 weeks. Matt is such an awesome dad, changing most of the diapers and handling the first feedings. He has been so amazing and I couldn't ask for a better partner in all of this. I have to say that these have been some of the sweetest days of my life. Just spending time rocking and loving on my kids makes my heart almost burst with joy. I could stare at them forever and very often do :) I honestly was scared to death that I wouldn't know ohow to feel "motherly" towards these 2 little babies --- and while it's such a cliche to say, it just comes naturally. I haven't done everything perfect, that's for sure (just ask Ry and his backwards diaper) but I feel like I know what they want and what will soothe them. What a cool thing.

And while these have been sweet days for sure, it still has been agony on my heart to only be able to hold little Quinn for short periods of time and then to have to leave her behind in a totally separate building. I hate that my kiddos are separated from each other and from us. Tonight I couldn't stop crying when I saw her --- I hadn't been able to see her all day and I felt incredibly guilty. Here I had spent all this time with Ryan but hadn't even been able to even say good morning to my daughter. I just prayed that she would remember me as her momma and even though we have to spend a lot of time apart right now, I just pray she will instictively know us. It's going to be a tough couple of weeks, having to leave her behind constantly -- but I thank God that the doctors have taken such awesome care of her and made it even possible for her to come home with us until she needs surgery.

We are so blessed. God has answered so many prayers and moved in so many amazing ways in our lives these past 3 days. Thank you all who have been praying for my little ones. They are precious and perfect in every way. Pics to come soon - the hospital internet connection makes it difficult to even get one picture uploaded.



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Babies are coming!!!

So today we had a dr's appt - R & Q are doing well but have run out of room. They maybe grew an ounce this past week and their fluid is getting low. So we are officially scheduled for a c-section tomorrow night at 6pm! So excited but getting nervous. Ready to meet my little ones for sure :) Please keep them in your prayers!

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