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Archive for March, 2013

It’s that time of year again!  We are working on building our 2013 March for Babies team that honors Colton and Keltie and helps provide money towards research that helps other babies like them.  Their team, Half Baked Crusaders, was small but mighty last year and we are hoping to make it even bigger and better!

Last year, they were itty bitty.  Colton was just released from the NICU after 142 days.  We had to bring his SpO2 monitor and portable oxygen with us just in case he had a spell.  Those days seem like so long ago as we see him now big, strong, and mobile!  I also got to kick off the March for Babies efforts with my employer, Sears Holdings Corporation, by telling our story and inspiring all of the associates at Kmart to ask our customers for donations.  It was an honor and something I was proud to do.

So – what are you doing on Sunday, June 23rd?  Please consider joining our team and walking with us along the beautiful Cape Cod Canal in support of the March for Babies.  You can easily join our team by visiting the team website:  http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1947387

If you don’t live near us and can’t walk, please consider donating to our team through the website shown above.  All of your donations are tax deductible.  Honor Colton and Keltie and all they have overcome to be the thriving little people that they are today by donating to a cause that will forever be important to them and our family.  If you own or know someone who owns a business in the South Shore of MA or Cape Cod area – please contact me about being a family team sponsor and the advertising opportunities that come with donations of $100, $250 $500, $750, or $1000.  These family team sponsor donations help our team reach our goals, as well as helping to promote your business locally. Each sponsorship will receive a 18×24” sign to display along the walk- with your business name, level of sponsorship, and our Family Team name.  A great way to support a great cause- and get some advertising around the community!

Please consider supporting Half Baked Crusaders – and we’d love to have our local friends and family join us on Sunday, June 23rd!

2012 Half Baked Crusaders Team!

2012 Half Baked Crusaders Team!

Mother's Day Kmart

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According to the Milk Maid app I still have on my phone even though it’s been around 7 months since I stopped pumping, I had the following stats over the 6 month period I exclusively pumped for the twins:

– 561 pumping sessions

– 14.64 gallons of milk pumped

– 3.34 oz average pumped per session

That is a lot of time and a lot of milk.  Yet, it was still the HARDEST decision made to stop pumping.  I couldn’t keep up with the demand between having Colton in Boston and then back at SSH and Keltie home – my body just shut down its production.  I had dreams of breastfeeding but those dreams didn’t include learning how to do so in front of nurses in a hospital setting.  There are things I learned I had to let go of when my plate got too full – and pumping was one of them.  Colton couldn’t have the breastmilk because of his reflux / thickened feeds requirement so it was just Keltie and she got it exclusively for the first six months of her life (fortified with things for extra calories).  I would say that is a win and hope that both of their health this winter is attributed to the antibodies they got from my pumping efforts.

But, let’s be honest – pumping sucked.  You feel like a cow and it’s annoying and it hurts.  But it was the one thing I could give them that no one else could – so I did it.  Many women, however, don’t have that opportunity.  Many women try so very hard to produce milk and it simply doesn’t happen.  Those women typically feel defeated, like a failure – especially when your baby is in the NICU and there is so much pressure to give them that “liquid gold”.  With technology these days, though – there are options and new products being developed and I want to talk about two of them.

First – local milk banks.  Just like how I make an effort to support local farms and businesses, I also think first about local options.  Some NICUs work with local milk banks that moms donate their excess breast milk to for use by babies in need.  I suggest those thinking about milk donation options to consider local donation first.  For those in the New England area, there is the Mother’s Milk Bank of New England.  The Mothers’ Milk Bank of New England is a non-profit community milk bank operating under the guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).  From their website:  Our goal is to provide donated, pasteurized human milk to babies in fragile health throughout the New England area.  Many mothers of ill and premature infants are unable to provide enough milk for their babies. The gift of human milk can mean the difference between life and death for these infants. MMBNE is proud to be part of this tradition.

If local donation isn’t an option for you, there is another option.  Let me rewind a bit – Colton and Keltie were the first babies at SSH to use a human milk fortifier called Prolacta.  You can read more about it here.  It was explained to me that this relatively new product, and very expensive one at that, dramatically reduced the risk of NEC in preemies, which can be a life threatening condition.  Colton and Keltie tolerated it very, very well and we were happy to be the first to have it at SSH.  A freelance writer who works for Prolacta Bioscience Emailed me a few months ago about discussing milk donation for Prolacta on my blog.  After doing some research and thinking about how I wanted to present the information, I asked her to write a guest post.  Prolacta is a for-profit, privately held company – unlike the local milk banks in your area that a non-profit organizations.  I feel it is important to put that out there so you can be informed and make the best decision if you’re trying to decide what to do with your excess milk.  I have not been compensated by Prolacta for this blog post – I am simply a happy mom of two of their “consumers” who knows how important lowering risk odds is when in the NICU.  Again – my motto in life is to always support your local community, when able.  But, if that is not an option, take a minute to read Kylie’s guest post below:

Thank you for letting me share this message with your readers! I am happy to be working with Prolacta to help spread awareness about the need for donor breast milk to help micro preemies all around the country.

I was a NICU mom for 4 days. After two years of infertility, on what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, my perfect baby boy was born with a collapsed lung. As I stood there watching him struggle for breath in his little incubator, I felt completely helpless. I couldn’t hold him, or change him, or even breastfeed him. After years of waiting and longing and preparing to care for my child, I wasn’t able to provide him with the breast milk that I knew he needed.

I have nothing but respect and empathy for parents who spend days, weeks, or months in the NICU. Like most moms and dads, they worry over their children. Unlike most moms and dads, much of their children’s well being is out of their control. That’s why the Helping Hands Milk Bank collects breast milk for preemies – in select hospitals; parents now have a choice about what to feed their babies.

Prolacta Bioscience uses the milk donated through Helping Hands to create a fortifier for premature infants that is added to their mother’s milk in a concentrated form so they get all the nutrition they need. This is the first commercially available milk fortifier made from 100% human milk.

Nursing moms can register to donate their excess breast milk through the Helping Hands Milk Bank online in about 15 minutes. Helping Hands provides all of the supplies and pays the shipping costs. I love the fact that busy new mothers can do something this awesome without ever leaving home!

I was so lucky to be able to take my baby home a few short days after he was born. Our nursing relationship took some time to establish, but eventually we both grew to love it. He is now an active, happy 20-month-old. I’m so thankful I could provide his nutrition for him. Some moms never have that option, but now there is a way that the rest of us can help.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help premature babies by donating breast milk, click here to visit the Helping Hands Milk Bank site.

All content provided on this project26weekpreemies.wordpress.com blog is for informational purposes only.  The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. 

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Gosh – it’s been busy but, like a broken record, you’ve heard that here before.  So, let’s get into the details!

Colton and Keltie turned one on January 24th.  What a day it was – I spent it working and Chris spent it carting the celebrities around to visit various family members.  They had cake.  Three times.  And I cried myself to sleep.  An odd sensation of “we did it” came over me and it was a nice release. 

They had great 12 month check ups at the pediatrician about a week later.  I didn’t get the actual age percentages but I know both are on the actual charts for everything except length!
Keltie: 17lbs, 10oz (43% adj), 27″ long (30% adj), and 17.25″ head (50% adj).  She’s pretty proportionate.
Colton: 20lbs, 4oz (65% adj), 27″ long (9% adj), and 18″ head (75% adj).  He’s basically a big bowling ball.

The pedi is very happy with where they are at! And clearly so are we considering when they were born, their stats were –
Keltie: 1lb, 9oz and 13″ long
Colton: 1lb, 13oz and 13″ long

We did have a bit of a scare – both of them came down with pneumonia.  Luckily we were able to treat from home and didn’t have a hospitalization.  It was scary, especially with the coughing and wheezing, but they were strong and some antibiotics and nebulizer treatments helped immensely.  If we get out of this winter only having pneumonia I will say it has been an extremely successful seclusion!  As much as we are going a bit batshit crazy from not being able to take them anywhere and spending 99% of our time at home, keeping them healthy is much more of a priority and it is clearly working. 

Developmentally, they’re doing amazing.  SIMPLY AMAZING for being born so early and going through so much.  We have PT coming once a week for them both, in addition to our developmental specialist (OT).  PT has been an incredible boost for their gross motor skills!  Keltie is now crawling on her hands and knees, pulling to a stand, and is starting to cruise some furniture.  I think she’ll be walking shortly (watch out world)!  She has ZERO fear – so a lot of what we’re working on with her is safety.  Colton is army / belly crawling.  He is bearing weight through his legs but doesn’t pull to a stand yet.  Just this weekend he has been seen rocking on his hands and knees so I think he’s working on some advancement to kneeling / crawling on hands and knees.  Both are clapping – especially when you sing “Patty Cake”.  Grammie and Grandy worked on that with them!  Lots of babbling but no words yet.  We transitioned them to milk – so no more formula!  And they’re eating three meals a day and loving all the different foods they’re trying.  Colton’s favorite is still yogurt and he likes pot roast.  Keltie’s favorite are carbs and crunchy things.  Both love pasta – they are Italian.  🙂 

Oh and *drumroll please*:  for the first time ever, in their entire 13+months of living, they are not on ANY medication!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keltie had an appointment with her nephrologist two weeks ago and her nephrocalcinosis has resolved and now we have only annual visits with her!  No more Diuril!  And we started weaning Colton’s First Omeprazole (Prilosec) once he was transitioned to milk and he’s doing awesome with barely any reflux at all!  I NEVER thought the day would come and it seriously makes me so proud.  I was in Florida on business when Chris brought Keltie to her appointment – he text me about her nephrocalcinosis and I had to fight back tears.  Such strong, strong little people!

And – we have teeth!  Well, Colton has teeth and I think tonight I might have felt one for Keltie.  Colton literally got 4, yes FOUR, teeth in about 48 hours.  Not exaggerating.  I put him to bed one night and he woke up with two more teeth.  It’s insane!  And they’ve been tolerating it really, really well – not much of a demeanor change and just some Tylenol or Motrin here and there and that’s it.  Thankfully. 

I think that’s about it – they make me smile (and cringe haha) every day!  Their personalities are hilarious and now that they’re on the move it’s a whole new challenge.  We are getting excited for Easter – last year, it was the one “family” holiday they spent in the hospital and that was a hard day for both Chris and I (he worked and had a tough time leaving the hospital to go to work).  I got out their Easter baskets and they could have slept in them this time last year.  Easter has always been a tough holiday as I lost my Grampy on Easter many years ago – so the NICU memories of it don’t help.  But what we are trying to focus on is how far we’ve come from last year and how exciting it will be to celebrate the Easter Bunny with them and dress them in their Easter Sunday best (bonnet optional haha)!

I’ll leave you with some pictures –

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

Handsome guy!

Handsome guy!

Pretty lady!

Pretty lady!

Sassy and Coy

Sassy and Coy

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