Monday, March 31, 2008

Pinkeye... Again

"I'm Popeye the Sailor baby...." (-Francis)

It's Sharon...Yesterday we noticed Gavin's eyes were watery and red in the morning, but then it went away after lunch. He had no fever so we hoped he was fine. Well, today his right eye was red and puffy and watery again, and it didn't go away. I took him to the doctor and sure enough - pinkeye.
You may remember he had this when he was 6 days old. The doctor said it's common and babies get it from rubbing their eyes. We have a prescription for eye drops and they worked well before, so I hope they'll work just as fast this time. Poor Gavin is just not himself!

Luckily Evie is happy to smile and play with Elmo! She had fun with Uncle David while I was at the doctor's office with Gavin.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Fun Week

It's Sharon... the twins and I had a fun week (except for Evie throwing up a few times). Francis and I decided to stop fortifying her formula because we think that is why she keeps barfing. This is the same formula she was on before, and she didn't spit up / throw up. She has done better since we adjusted it, and hopefully her weight gain will still be good (her home health care nurse comes out once a week to check on her).

Gavin has just been rolling all over the place. I have to put them on separate activity mats now, because Gavin will kick Evie (accidentally) and grab her ear/hair/bib/sleeve/feeding tube... you get the idea! Evie is doing tummy time and doesn't hate it completely, which is a step in the right direction. Here's a video of her on her tummy (she loves the flower lights!):

Here are the twins, who, I guess, are waiting for me to entertain them! They watch me all day long, wherever I go. I have four little eyes on me all the time!

"We're bored... try the Discovery channel Mom."

Then Gavin decided it was absolutely HYSTERICAL when I shook up my Gatorade bottle:

Auntie Di and Uncle Kevin gave the kids a jumper for Christmas, and Gavin is finally tall enough for it. He loves it! Here is he jumping around:

Here is a series of photos of Gavin rolling over at the end of his morning nap. He was not expecting me to walk in with the camera!

Caught in the act!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All About Me... by Gavin

Hi! My name is Gavin, and I will be doing the blog for today! How can a 5 month old baby do a blog, you ask? Well, Mommy sits me on her lap when she works on the blog and drinks her Starbucks, and I have been paying attention to everything she does. Also, Daddy got me an old keyboard to play with and I have been learning the letters. They thought I was just drooling and cooing!

I have been doing a lot of new fun things lately. Like rolling from my tummy onto my back - I first did that on February 2, but I didn't feel like doing it every day. Then Mommy & Daddy were very busy when Evie had her surgery and they did lots of updates just about her. I can also roll from my back onto my tummy! I even surprised Mommy by rolling over in my crib when she picked me up from my nap the other day. Look at my videos below:

I also started eating cereal. With a spoon! Mommy gave me rice cereal first, and that was OK, but it was kinda bland. Then she gave me oatmeal cereal and I really like that one! I don't have to work too hard yet - I just have to open my mouth and Mommy spoons it in. She tries to feed me my cereal close to bedtime because she thinks it will help me sleep longer (ha!) but sometimes she cuts it too close to my bedtime and I fall asleep in the middle of my dinner.

Here I am eating my favorite, oatmeal cereal. I eat 7 tablespoons each night now! Daddy says I am growing like a weed. I don't know what a weed is - can I eat it?

I also love to laugh - especially with my Daddy!

Another fun thing I like to do with Daddy is to read the Sunday ads. When he's not looking I taste them too! They aren't as good as oatmeal cereal though!

Well, that's all the really big stuff I have been doing lately. Maybe one day I will write a post about Evie. She didn't do anything interesting today - all she did was barf all over the floor and on Mommy! Maybe I'll help her write her own blog update! Watch this space for my future adventures!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hooray for Grandparents!

Evie and Gavin are so happy that they get to see their grandparents frequently!

Evie & Nana Cermak (and Many Kisses Elmo)

Grandpa Vic with the twins,

Nana & Grandpa Cermak read "Avocado Baby" to Gavin; one of Francis' favorite books when he was a little boy.

Grandma Cordes and Gavin with his cow woobie.

Evie & Grandpa Vic

Gavin & Grandpa Cermak read Gavin's first St. Patrick's Day card.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bumbo Seats

The twins just love their new Bumbo seats! They are made of some kind of hard rubbery foam, so they are easy to clean. The kids cannot quite sit up on their own yet, but these seats have enough support for them. Evie & Gavin are so glad that their twin friends Pierre & Felix blogged about their own Bumbo seats and gave us the idea to get them!

"Hey Evie, I've got an idea. Now that you're home, let's figure out how to update the blog while Mommy and Daddy are sleeping! I've already seen that keyboard thingy - I drooled on it and even deleted part of Mommy's blog post the other day!"

"Mom, can you pick up my football?"

All that tape on Evie's face is to hold her feeding tube in place. The antibiotics in her system still make her a bit nauseous and her appetite hasn't come back yet, so she doesn't take a bottle well.

"Our new favorite thing to do is to put as many fingers in our mouths as possible."
"Where's Mommy with our lunch?"

"I am so happy to be home!"

"Does anyone want a hug?"


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evelyn's New Business

It's Sharon... Evie is very happy to showcase her namesake line of fragrance and bath products (available at Crabtree & Evelyn stores). And you thought she was just sitting around recovering from surgery! Not this little girl - look out world, Evelyn Rose Cermak has big plans!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More baby model pictures!

It's Sharon...I have wanted to post another set of photos of the twins in their new clothes - but just have not found the time until now. Most of the pictures below were taken before Evie's surgery. Can you believe her surgery was 3.5 weeks ago? Some of these outfits have already been outgrown!

Evie is doing really well. We are giving her a high calorie formula to help her gain weight - she is up to 11 pounds! She still has the feeding tube in because she is just not really interested in her bottle. Last night was her last dose of antibiotics, so I really hope she gets her appetite back soon. The antibiotics make her tummy upset, and she has thrown up her entire meal at least once per day this week.

She has pulled her feeding tube out twice since coming home, so yours truly has had to put it back in. Add this to the list of things I NEVER thought I would do in my lifetime! (I have had a lot of these moments in the last 5 months.) Inserting the tube is quite easy, by the's taping it down on her cheek that is the big challenge!

Here are the "models" taking a break while the wardrobe department ( aka Mom) gets their next outfits ready!

You'll see Gavin and Evie wearing two bibs in a lot of photos - double coverage is needed to catch all that drool!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tough Week

Hi everyone, very sorry about the lack of updates the last couple of days but the last 7 days have been some of the toughest so far. As you loyal readers know, Evie finally came home from the hospital last Wednesday, but she also had a blood infection that we're treating. Unfortunately, the antibiotics make her nauseous and leave her with no appetite, so all feeding needs to be done through though the NG feeding tube (which takes quite a bit of time for every 3 ounce feeding). Even more unfortunate, she often spits up a large portion of the formula (all over my arm before leaving for work yesterday!). There are a lot of meds to keep in order, and it's been very stressful.

On top of that, Sharon wrenched her back last Saturday when picking Gavin up, and has been greatly incapacitated at quite possibly one of the worst times ever in our whole lives, so I've covering most of the nightly feedings so that Sharon can rest and take several meds that make her sleepy and a little dizzy. Sharon's strength amazes me though, and I constantly have to remind her to take it easy because she fights throught he pain, walking around half-hunched over, and still tries to care for the twins so much.

Then Gavin got some immunizations on Monday that gave him a fever and the poor little guy was so fussy that he couldn't sleep in his crib and would only sleep when being held (he needed cuddles). So, I spent most of Monday night sleeping in the nursery rocker with him (lucky that Uncle David got us a good one that reclines!), and last night I held him the entire night while we both dozed on and off on the couch.

Luckily, we are blessed to have such wonderful family members who have been visiting almost daily to help us out. Everyone is pitching in, and I don't know how we'd have made it through these past few days without their help.

Some good news is that despite Evie's nausea, she seems to be doing quite well nearly 3 weeks after the surgery. Her personality is different (for the better). She's not as fussy all the time when she is awake and seems to be calmer over all, now that her body is getting more oxygen.

About blogging through: I've been going to bed very early because I've been covering the night feedings and caring for Gavin, and just haven't had a chance to post until this short missive during lunch. Evie's last day of antibiotics are Saturday, so hopefully she'll get her appetite back and we can ditch the feeding tube and spit-ups. We'll probably be taking a short respite from blogging the rest of the week, but we have been taking lots of pictures so be sure to stop by next week!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Road to Recovery

Today was Evie's first full day home from the hospital and she is doing great! She slept a solid 12 hours straight last night and took a 3 hour nap during the day. Sharon gave her two feedings during the night through her NG tube and so Evie didn't wake up and didn't even know she was being fed! Nurse Nancy stopped by early in the morning and went over the PICC line meds administration once more, and also weighed Evie (10 lbs!).

She was very calm throughout the day, but there are few a still nagging issues. She has a horrible diaper rash that we are treating with a prescription cream. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to bother her too much except for when we're wiping her. She also had a bit of spit-up reflux today during two of her NG feedings. Not really sure what's causing that, but I think we do have a reflux med (we have meds for everything else; why not reflux?).

Evie was even talking a bit today and we had a lot of fun as a family just playing around, taking some pictures and laughing a lot.

Evie says, "I'm so much happier at home!"

When she gets a bit older, that smirk on her face in the photo above will mean trouble!

Below is a photo of Evie in her new Rainforest Take-Along-Swing. She enjoyed being in a similar sized swing the hospital so we picked one up for her, since she doesn't typically like being in swings, we'll take whatever we can get! We really like Fisher-Price's Rainforest collection of stuff, if only because the songs they play aren't annoying!

Gavin says, "Hey Evie, I think I found a spot on you that doesn't have any needle pricks!"

In the photo above you can see the pump that administers the antibiotics for Evie's blood infection through the PICC line in her arm. The thing takes about 8 "D" batteries, weighs a ton and looks like its design hasn't changed from the '70s. You lock-in the syringe and the machine slowly pushes in the plunger. One of the meds takes 20 minutes, the other one take 30 minutes.

We do this twice a day now, but luckily, she only needs to take the 30 minute med for another three days. We'll continue with the 20 minute med for another two weeks. After the main antibiotic meds are in, Sharon needs to connect two more syringes directly to the PICC line (no machine) and pumps them in manually.

It will be just the four of us on Friday, so hopefully Evie will sleep well again tonight, and we'll have a good day on Friday. Make sure you keep scrolling down and check out my second post of the day today, which is an adorable sequence of Gavin and Grandpa Vic that deserved its own post!

Gavin & Grandpa Vic

Sharon's father, Grandpa Vic, visits on Thursdays and he was a big help today during Evie's first full day home from the hospital. Gavin was in a very playful mood with Grandpa Vic around lunch time, and I just had to post this whole sequence of shots because he's just so darn cute!

Gavin just started holding onto things like rattles in the last day or so (and learning that he can make a lot of noise by banging them on the table!). It's a good thing that the football rattle he has in his hand is so soft because he would often hit himself in the head with it!

Baseball or football, Gavin's ready to cheer!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Evie is Home!

Today was a great day, because little Evelyn Rose is finally home! After a long and trying 14 day hospital stay, Evie is sleeping snugly and soundly in her Boppy bouncer as I type this. I'm looking at her right now in the video monitor; snug as a bug! She seemed a lot more like herself, and was exceptionally calm for most of the day and evening. Sharon and I hope that this is because she feels more comfortable with more oxygenated blood running through her system. Here little hands and feet were a beautiful (normal) pink color for the first time!

Yesterday her PICC line was inserted, and I saw it today for the first time. It was much smaller than the pictures of ones I had seen online, but it's still longer than her arm. She didn't seem too bothered by it though. The good news with the PICC line is that she'll only have to have it in for 10 days, and not 4 weeks like we were originally told. Sharon also learned how to insert her her NG feeding tube, which she'll have to have in for a while (you can see it in the photos below).

Sharon and I were on the road home with Evie at 5:00PM and six prescriptions for various meds that needed to be filled. Around 7:00, we met the home-health care nurse from Advocate Hospital (Nurse Nancy), who was a wonderful woman and Evie smiled at her a lot. She showed us how to administer all of the medications Evie needs through her PIC line, and gave her a short check up. Nurse Nancy will be coming by every two days to lean the PIC line dressing and check on how Evie's doing.

Here's Evie right before she was unhooked from her monitors and IV lines. You can see the tip of the PIC line on her right arm there. The blue end cap is where we attach the meds to treat her blood infection.

This is Evie's scar from the surgery, 14 days later; it's about 6 inches long. It looks a lot better than it did when we first saw it just a few days after the surgery. The small scab below the scar is where the chest tube was inserted.

All dressed up and ready to head home! Nanna Cermak had bought a few new outfits last weekend for Evie this one was extra soft, with violets and little faux shoes.

Here I am feeding Evie though the NG tube. She was a little lethargic and not too interested in a bottle today, so we hit the tube. I have to hold it up fairly high so that gravity and physics take over. It takes about 30 minutes to feed her 3 ounces this way. I told Sharon that I felt a bit like the Statue of Liberty (substitute book and torch for baby and formula; you get the idea). Evie needs to gain a little weight, so the nice thing about the NG tube is that we can feed her at night without waking her up!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been keeping little Evie and our family in your thoughts and prayers, and who have been reading and posting comments! Sharon and I are truly to blessed to have so many supportive family, co-workers and friends. We sincerely appreciate all of your support. Only three more surgeries to go....