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Oh what a year it has been. An amazing life-changing year. Since I have not done a very good job keeping my blog updated, here is a year in review.

Feb 1, 2013- The phone rings in my hospital room, it is my doctor. After further review, she and the high risk doctors agreed that although I past my morning tests {barely}, they didn’t think I would make it through the weekend… Super Bowl weekend; a weekend many take off or call in. She wasn’t willing to risk an emergency situation with a skeleton crew. So, we welcomed Landon and Nolan into the world at 3:37 and 3:39pm. I had made it 30 weeks and 5 days.

It was right around midnight when I finally got to go to the NICU and see my boys. I was on a lot of medication, so it is bit of a blur. They were so tiny with lots of tubes and wires. I found out their official weights; Landon 3lbs and Nolan 2 lbs 8 ounces.

Feb 3rd – We finally got to see Landon’s face. The CPAP and jaundice mask had covered all but his chin.

First time seeing Landon's face.

First time seeing Landon’s face.

Feb 5th- Landon rolled over for the first time. Preemies total body weight vs. muscle allows them to do things other babies won’t do for months.
Feb 9th – After 8 long days, I finally got to hold Landon for the first time.

First time holding Landon

First time holding Landon

Feb 10th – Chris got to hold Nolan for the first time.

Chris Holding Nolan

Chris Holding Nolan

Feb 11th- I got to hold Nolan for the first time. Only one of us can hold each baby for 30 minutes to an hour, and then they have to go back into the incubator. Also, Chris held Landon for the first time.

First time I held Nolan

First time I held Nolan

Feb 12th – The first VERY SCARY day in the NICU. We had just been warned the “honeymoon phase” was ending and risk of infection was setting in. Nolan had NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). It was a very serious infection that ‘kills’ the small intestine. It can require surgery, and in severe cases it can be fatal. They were treating him with high doses of antibiotics and suctioning everything out of his stomach. He looked Grey we knew it was not good, but the NICU felt they were ahead of the infection.



Feb 13th- Nolan was working to hard to breath, so he got put on a ventilator and also got a PIC line put in his scalp. (this was also Nolan’s first haircut since they had to shave his pretty blonde hair) Much of the day was spent debating about moving him to Children’s Hospit al of Atlanta. The doctors still felt they were ahead of it, so for now he stayed.
Feb 18th- Nolan came off of the ventilator and Landon came off of oxygen support for 5 hours.
Feb 19th – We finally started to work on the nursery. Better late than never.

Feb 22nd- Nolan got to eat again for the first time since his infection began.
March 9th- The boys became roommates once again. They had been living in incubators in individual rooms and are now large enough and healthy enough to share a room. This was also the first time I got to hold both of my babies at the same time.

First time holding both babies at the same time.

First time holding both babies at the same time.

March 18th- The boys first tornado warning. The NICU had to move all the babies to a more secure location.
March 20th- Landon got to come home! While this was great news it was also a new challenge, Landon could not come back to the NICU to visit his brother. One baby home, one baby in the hospital. Never have I wanted to clone myself so badly.

March 22nd- Nolan removed his own feeding tube (not the first time, but this time it stayed out).
March 23rd- Nolan was removed from Oxygen support
March 26th- To everyone’s surprise Nolan came home. We had expected him to be weeks behind his brother, and I am not going to pretend like I was not apprehensive about him coming home so soon after coming off of oxygen.

Life at home as a family was so much easier, although I quickly realized it was almost impossible to get anywhere on time. I mostly kept the boys in a bubble not taking them out in public except for doctor appointments. And, there were plenty of doctor appointments. I had interviewed several doctors to try and find the one that was the right fit for our family. The first pediatrician we saw was not going to work out. After a lecture from him about Nolan being small and not gaining weight after leaving the NICU and him telling me I could not breastfeed he had to be on formula, I knew it was time to find someone else. He wanted to do weight checks every other day and when I refused to schedule a follow up appointment, the front desk girl read between the lines. She offered to schedule us with another doctor in the practice, the one her daughter sees. I reluctantly agreed.

Two days later we met Dr. Smiley. She walked into the room with a page of notes and the complete NICU files she had ordered. I noticed they were highlighted and notes were written on them. I immediately felt like the right decision had been made.

Mid May we held a “Home Coming party” for the boys. Until this point very few people had met them. We didn’t allow friends to come to the NICU (for the most part), so this was a great way to introduce them to everyone at once. I was surprised how many people were reluctant to hold the boys because they were still so small. Nolan was not even 6 lbs and Landon was just under 8 lbs. I understand they were little, but they were so big to me.

May 14th I was at my OB’s office following up on some post partum complications {did you know you can have a post partum hemorrhage 10 weeks after giving birth?} My doctor had been holding Nolan and feeding him while we talked. She handed him back to me and was about to leave the room when he spit up. I was very accustomed to his spit ups so while I did think they were excessive, I was not alarmed; embarrassed since it covered my doctor, the wall, and the floor, but not alarmed. My doctor on the other hand was very alarmed. She stated while she was not a pediatrician, she would have him evaluated. Spit ups should not projectile 5 feet across a room. Taking her advice, I called the pediatrician. She said she would take my OB’s word for it being abnormal and asked me to take him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She was going to call ahead and let them know we were coming… Our first trip to the hospital.

The ER doc thought we were likely dealing with Pyloric Stenosis. It is where the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach doesn’t drain properly. If that was the diagnosis we would be looking at surgery to correct it. Lots of tests, and one long night in the ER later, we found out it was in fact just really bad reflux. I was relieved that he wouldn’t need surgery, but annoyed when the doctor told me it was more of a laundry problem than a medical problem.

May 28th Nolan’s reflux had been getting worse, every now and again he would get choked on it. About an hour after his 9 PM bottle, he began spitting up. Typically we would have put him in his crib, but this night he fell asleep in his swing down stairs and since he would still eat a midnight bottle we let him stay put. I grabbed a cloth to go clean him up and realized he was not only choking he was turning blue. I grabbed him turned him over and shoved my fingers down his throat to check his air way. Chris grabbed the bulb syringe and began to suction his throat. Moments later he got his color back, but was extremely pale. We debated a return trip to CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) but decided just to watch him all night instead. The next morning we called the doctor and I can’t say I was surprised when she asked us to head back to the hospital. This time he would be admitted for a life threatening event.

We spent 3 days at CHOA and during that time they must have run every test under the sun. The diagnosis…. Reflux! This time they felt it was a bit more than a laundry problem and sent us home on monitors. I had hoped we were done with wires when we left the NICU, but they did give me some peace of mind.

My days were filled with so many doctors that at times it was hard to keep them all straight.
• Pediatric Cardiologist – Nolan had a heart murmur which eventually closed on its own.
• Pediatric Brain surgeon- Both boys had a grade 1 brain hemorrhage at birth; it sounds scary but is fairly normal for preemies. During a brain scan to be sure the hemorrhage resolved they discovered Landon had a cyst on his brain. It was basically declared a freckle, nothing to lose sleep over.
• Pediatric General surgeon- In the NICU Nolan had a hernia. It was reduced and has since been a non-issue. No point operating on a non-issue.
• GI Specialist – Reflux!!!
• Pulmonologist – Nolan was diagnosed with chronic lung disease. He doesn’t use his whole lung capacity, draws hard, and has a high respiratory rate. Nolan gets monthly synergist shots that will protect him from RSV. The shots (one in each leg) are live antibodies. They also follow Landon due to being a preemie.
• Pediatric Ophthalmologist- Landon had tear ducts that never opened. He will be having a minor surgery to correct that soon. Nolan has perfect vision.
• Occupational Therapist- Due to being so preemie they both have had some expected developmental delays. The Therapist comes once a month to work with them on achieving milestones.

July 9th – Landon made it on the growth chart for weight at 13lbs and 3.5 oz and the 4th percentile. Nolan made to double digits.
July 12th – Both boys slept through the night
July 26th – Mommy’s first business trip since they were born; 4 nights away from my babies. Did I mention I was still nursing? Explaining frozen breast milk to TSA agents at the airport security was… um…interesting. (I will write a blog post about this at some point.)
Sept. 14th- Landon would sit all by himself

Sept. 26th Nolan will not let Landon get too far ahead, so he started sitting up by himself too.

Oct. 17th – We had a first word and it was MAMMA from Nolan!!!!
Oct. 29th – The boys first cold. It started with Landon, he gave it to Nolan, then Daddy, then Mommy, and then it circled a second time.
Early Nov. – We started introducing solid food. (And, Nolan started vomiting a lot) Also, Landon started to crawl!
Mid to late Nov. – Nolan gets diagnosed with a wheat allergy. I am very thankful for the Gluten free trend. It gives us some options but is still hard at times to figure out what to feed them. Also, Nolan started to crawl.

Nov. 26th- Landon was not feeling well, he was fussy, sleepy and running a fever. I had strep the week before so I was sure he must have caught it. We head to the doctor only to find out he does have strep, and scarlet fever, and an ear infection complete with a ruptured ear drum. My poor baby!
Dec 1st- The boys see Santa and there were no tears!
Dec 24th/25th- The boys first Christmas was so much fun! They liked the bows and tissue paper the best.

Before I knew it, I was planning their first birthday. They were my super babies so they had to have a superhero party. The whole year went by so fast. They have filled our home with laughter and smiles. When they were only a few pounds, I wanted them to get bigger; now they are growing up too fast.