Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day For Giving Thanks

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday today, April and I would like to take a moment to reflect on all that we have been blessed with and all that we are thankful for.

We are thankful for the following:

An awesome God!

A wonderful marriage!

Two healthy and beautiful babies!

An unbelievable support system of family and friends!

An incredible group of doctors and nurses!

Our Health!

Patrick's Job!

The Power of Prayer!

The soldiers that protect our country!

Our Freedom in America!

The miracle of birth!

There are so many other things that we are thankful for on a daily basis but there is not enough time to list every single item.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and had a chance to reflect on all that you are thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

20 Day Progress Report

Patrick and Savannah will officially be 20 days old tomorrow and they have made such amazing progress over these initial 3 weeks.

We spent a good amount of time at the hospital this afternoon as April Kangarooed with Savannah and we just hung out with Patrick. We continue to be amazed by the progress that they have made since they were born and especially over the past week.

Patrick began receiving food 9 days ago and initially received 1 ML every 12 hours. Today, he was receiving 120 ML over the course of the day. At this point, they are increasing the amount of milk he receives every 8 hours and that will continue to happen as long as he continues to tolerate his feeds. Patrick has gained 13 ounces since birth and now weighs about 2 Lb 4 ounces. He still has the PICC line hooked into his arm as well as a feeding tube in his nose but besides that is free of any other tubes. His digestive system and intestines seem to be working much better as of late but the doctors will continue to keep an eye on that area just in case. Overall, Patrick is doing very well and just needs to keep putting on the weight. Oh yeah, the doctor gave us the OK to Kangaroo Care with Patrick so April will be doing that tomorrow.

Savannah has made some new strides over the past few days. First off, the nurses have started to use a bottle to feed her a very minimal amount of food two or three times a day. This is done to begin to stimulate her feeding mechanism more than actually provide her with food. Secondly, she is now able to wear clothes because of her weight so April and I will be bringing her a shirt to wear tomorrow. Finally, the nurses have turned off the device in the incubator that adjusts the temperature up and down because Savannah is now able to regulate her own body temperature. They still continue to check her temperature every few hours just to be sure but she is doing a good job of keeping it where it needs to be. Savannah has gained a total of 10 ounces and now weighs 3 Lb 5 ounces. She is now receiving about 248 ML of milk every day and continues to tolerate all of her foods. The PICC line has been removed and the only tube that Savannah has is the feeding tube in her nose. Overall, Savannah is also doing well and like her brother, needs to continue to gain weight.

We are hoping that the long holiday weekend will give us some time to finally get some pictures up so thanks in advance for your patience.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Daddy and his little girl

As my first post to this wonderful blog Patrick created, I wanted to share with you the first time Patrick "kangarooed" with Savannah. The moment the nurse put Savannah on Patrick's chest my heart melted. The entire time Savannah was on Patrick's chest she slept, which made me realize that she knew she was protected and would always be protected in his arms. As you will see in the video Patrick is already understanding the love between a father and his little girl.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Love, April
video

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brain Scan Results & 2 LBS

First off, this week was unfortunately slow with the blog and I apologize for that to all of the faithful readers that check this out daily to see how Patrick & Savannah are doing. This is not the norm.

In regards to Savannah and the brain scan that was completed earlier in the week, it appears that April and I will need to wait 2 more weeks for a definitive answer. The doctors see something in her brain, however, they can not accurately diagnose it at this time. This is obviously frustrating but at the same time at least we know that this is not a Grade 4 or 5 bleed. The doctors do not seem overly concerned considering that Savannah is responding and acting as any 2 week old child would. We will continue to pray for a good outcome and that in two weeks we will have resolution to this issue.

In the good news department, we received word this morning that Savannah now weighs 1502 grams or 3 Lb 5 ounces. The significance of today's weight is that we can now bring her some clothes that she can wear so we will be doing that this afternoon. She is continuing to handle her feeds well so the doctor will also be removing the PICC line that has been in her arm for the past 15 or 16 days. For more info on the PICC line, check out my post from November 8 titled "2 Days Old." Finally, I am going to have my first opportunity to hold Savannah this afternoon as I partake in a little Kangaroo Care. I am very excited to hold my daughter for the first time and can not wait to see what it feels like.

As far as Patrick is concerned, he now weighs over 2 Lbs. 2 Lbs and 1/2 an ounce to be exact. GOOD JOB PATRICK!!! He has been eating well and tolerating the feeds and they continue to increase his foods about every other day. Over the past few days, Patrick has had some minor issues and concerns with his belly being slightly bigger than it should. The doctor's continue to keep an eye on his intestines and digestive system and today's X-Ray revealed no concerns. The doctors did inform us today that Patrick is anemic and will need to receive a 2nd blood transfusion and they feel that this could be the cause of his digestion issues. Overall, Patrick is doing well and spends most of his day sleeping and just hanging out.

Also, we are trying to find a way to get more pictures on this blog and will be experimenting over the next few days so bare with us as we work through our options.

Finally, April and I want to thank everyone again for all of your continued prayers, support and thoughts. We could not have made it this far without your support and we want you to know how important you have been to us.

Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quick Progress Report

Just a quick progress report on Patrick and Savannah.

Savannah continues to eat and digest all of her food even with the daily increases that she is receiving. She is now eating on a regular schedule of on for 1.5 hours and then off for 1.5 hours so she receives 8 meals over the course of a 24 hour period. She also continues to gain weight and is now at 1410 grams or 3 lb 1.75 ounces. When she reaches 1500 grams, they will allow us to finally put clothes on her so hopefully that will be in the next few days. The majority of time that we spend with her she is sleeping but she is always as adorable as can be. April will be spending some time with her this afternoon for their 2nd session of Kangaroo Care which I know April is looking forward to. Finally, Savannah received her 2nd brain scan yesterday to determine if the Grade 1 bleed in her brain has resolved itself. We will have the official results today and have been praying that this issue has passed.

As for Patrick, he is becoming quite the attention getter. All of the nurses love him and think that he is the cutest thing that they have seen. We have been told that he gets a constant stream of nurses that like to look in on him, which is fine with us. Patrick has also been gaining weight and has gained about 200 grams since birth. He now weighs 850 grams or 1 lb 14 ounces and we will be celebrating when he reaches the 2 lb mark. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Patrick began feeding on milk over the weekend and has been doing well at it. He started receiving 1 ML per 12 hours but is now up to 2 ML every 3 hours and that will most likely increase over the next few days as well. Patrick's intestines and digestive system are still developing and that is why the doctors are taking such a slow and deliberate approach to his feedings. As long as he continues to make progress the doctors will continue to increase the amount and frequency of food that he receives.

Both Patrick and Savannah continue to breathe on their own which still amazes me every day. They are both little fighters and I can not wait until the day that we can hold them in our arms and shower them with kisses.

I will update this later today once we have the results from the brain scan.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kangaroo Care.......Finally

Today was a pretty cool day. First, we received word that Savannah is now over 3 lb which is a nice little milestone. Secondly, the doctor also told us that Patrick has tolerated his feeds over the past few days so they are increasing the frequency with which he is fed. He is now receiving 1 ML every four hours and that amount will most likely increase soon as long as he continues to digest his food.

Finally, April and Savannah had some true mother/daughter time as April got to hold Savannah for one full hour. This practice is called Kangaroo Care and April held Savannah to her chest skin on skin and just soaked it all up for a good 60 minutes. April's smile was bigger than words can describe. This method is supposed to be very therapeutic for both April and Savannah and I am sure that is was.

Below is a picture of April holding Savannah during their Kangaroo Care and then a picture of Patrick which was also taken today.




















Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Busy Weekend

April & I had a very busy weekend, with the majority of our time spent trying to get the room in order for when Patrick & Savannah come home. In addition, to all the work we have been doing around the house, our cat Tyson decided to escape from the house last night and was missing in action for a few hours. Unfortunately, I was searching for him outside with a flashlight instead of updating this blog. In the end he did make it back to the front door and into the house.

In my last post, I hinted at some possible Kangaroo Care with April and Savannah but the doctors have advised us against that at this time. Kangaroo Care is basically, skin on skin contact with either April or myself and Patrick or Savannah for at least one continuous hour. This is very therapeutic and encouraged by the staff, however, the doctors want them both to be feeding more and to be stable for a while longer. We believe that this could happen with Savannah as soon as the end of this week.

The weekend's developments were good with both Patrick and Savannah. Patrick got his first taste of real food as they began to feed him 1 ML or (CC) of milk every 12 hours. He digested the milk fine so they increased his feedings to 1 ML every 6 hours as of 6:00 this evening. The process of getting him adjusted to food is going to be a very slow and deliberate process but it worked with Savannah and I am sure it will work with Patrick. We are just glad that after 10 days of IV nutrients, he is finally getting some food through his feeding tube. We hope that the milk will help him gain some weight as he is still around 800 grams (1 lb 12 ounces). His jaundice levels are still down where they should be and at this time there is nothing else to report.

Savannah made some major steps over the past 24 hours including the decrease of her jaundice levels which allowed the nurses to turn off the lights and remove her goggles. Today was the first day that April and I have really seen her entire face and she is more beautiful than we remember. I am sure that the goggles were not comfortable so we are glad that she does not have to wear them anymore. Of course, we do realize that her Jaundice levels could increase again but we hope they don't.

In regards to her feedings, Savannah is now up to 7.5 ML's per hour for a 3 hour period. They feed her for 3 hours and then take a 1 hour break and repeat this 6 times a day. The math equals 135 ML's per day which is a ton compared to what he brother receives every day. At this point she is still receiving milk and some other outside nutrients but they are slowly increasing the milk and decreasing the other nutrients at every feeding period. Savannah has really put on some weight over the past few days and is now at 1300 grams (2 lb 14 ounces). She could hit the 3 lb mark in the next few days. The other major item regarding Savannah is the Grade 1 bleed in the left side of her brain that was discovered last Monday. We hope to have the 2nd X-Ray completed on Monday or Tuesday to find out if the bleed resolved itself. Please say a prayer that this bleed is gone for good.

Finally, as predicted on Friday, my days of never changing a diaper have come to an end. After some strong encouragement from April and the nurse, I changed Savannah's diaper this afternoon. Considering that I had to put my hands through two little holes in the side of the incubator I think I did a decent job.

I can guarantee that this will be the first of many diapers that I change over the next 3-4 years

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good News This Morning

Every morning sometime between 9:00 - 11:30, April's cell phone rings and we know exactly who is calling even before looking at the phone. It is at this time that we receive our daily updates on Patrick & Savannah from the Neonatologist. In the beginning, the updates were provided in person because April was still in the hospital and I can not explain to you in words how uncomfortable these conversations were. The doctor would just show up out of nowhere, say what he needed to say and then disappear before we even realized what had happened.

The doctors are all incredibly smart and great at what they do but it is difficult to read their emotions and we were always waiting for the doctor to "break the bad news" to us. Fortunately, this has not happened and every day these phone calls get a little easier to answer for a few different reasons. First, we now have a small rapport with the doctors and are not just another parent with a child in the NICU, second, we are slowly becoming educated on what Patrick and Savannah are going through which allows us to be proactive and ask questions and lastly, Patrick and Savannah have made such great strides over the past week that they are kind of just moving forward at a slow and steady pace.

Now about the good news that this post was supposed to be about.

As you may recall from a post a few days ago, Patrick had a small vessel near his heart that did not close upon birth like it should have and the doctors were treating it with ibuprofen in the hopes of getting it closed. Well, this morning the doctor confirmed that the medication worked and that the hole is now closed. How amazing and cool is that? Also, I know that I have anticipated that Patrick would be getting some formula or milk by now but that has not happened as of yet. We are still holding out hope that they will begin to feed him this weekend.

In addition to Patrick's good news, the doctor also said that Savannah was doing well as usual and that she gained a whopping 2 ounces yesterday which is incredible. She is eating and digesting her food so well that the nurses are continuously increasing the amount of milk that she consumes every few hours. Also, her Jaundice levels have decreased over the past two days so there is a good chance that she will not need the photo therapy in a few more days. We did get to spend about 10 minutes with her today when her goggles were off and she just kept looking around to see what was going on. It was one of many surreal moments that we have had over the past 8 days.

One last interesting thing that happened today was that April had the privilege of changing Patrick's diaper for the first time. The nurse was completing her "hands on" or checkup when we were visiting and asked April if she wanted to help and of course April jumped at the chance. As for me, in my 30 years of existence on this planet I have yet to change a diaper but I have a feeling that my streak is coming to an end very soon.

We are looking forward to some possible Kangaroo Care tomorrow with Patrick so April and I are both excited about that. If you are not sure what Kangaroo Care is then you may want to check back in tomorrow evening or Sunday morning for an exciting update and some pictures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Doodlebug & Heavenly Gift

Yesterday, we walked into the NICU to see Patrick & Savannah and were met with a pleasant and uplifting surprise. The night shift nurses created personalized nameplates for both of them to place on their incubator along with some unique nicknames.





















They decided that Savannah is a "Heavenly Gift" which we absolutely agree with. She is doing well today and there have been no major changes with the exception of her increased food intake which is a good thing.





















The nurses picked the nickname of "Doodlebug" for Patrick. We are still trying to get to the bottom of where they came up with that. I may try to persuade them to change Doodlebug to Tank:) but I am sure that April will want to have a say in that. Patrick is becoming a favorite of the nurses and we are looking forward to him actually beginning to receive formula over the next day or two.

Every visit is sweeter than the previous one and we love spending time with both of them even if it is for just a little while.

Finally, today we celebrate one week that Patrick and Savannah have been on this earth with us and we could not be happier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prayer for Expectant Mothers

Today's post is dedicated to all expectant mothers!

When April and I married in January of 2006 we immediately began to try and start a family because that was one thing that was very important to us. For some reason, God had other plans and it was not his will for us to get pregnant right away. During our challenges, however, we leaned on our faith and relationship with God as well as our relationship with each other.

In the months leading up to April getting pregnant we would consistently say a prayer for expectant mothers in anticipation of a successful pregnancy and would also pray to Saint Gerard who is the Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers. Once we were pregnant, I found a specific prayer for expectant mothers that we really came to like and which I have provided below. Of course, we did alter it to reflect the fact that we were having twins.

"O Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of Your tender Mother, Our Lady of La Leche, who bore You close to her heart during those long months before Your birth, I place my baby and myself entirely in Your Hands. Free me, I beseech You, from useless and consuming worry. Accept the sacrifice of my aches and pains, which I unite to Your sufferings on the Cross. Above all, most merciful and loving Jesus, protect this child You have given to me from all harm, bestowing the health and vigor every baby needs. Implant in my heart and on my lips the words and prayers of Your Mother and mine, our Lovely Lady of La Leche. All this I ask that my child and I may live to praise forever Your Holy Name. Amen."

Every time that this prayer was said, and it was said alot, especially during April's hospital stay I felt that God was protecting April and our children. This is not to say that we never got discouraged or frustrated but we always knew that whatever was happening was bigger than just the two of us and was out of our hands.

Not everyone has a strong faith or a religious background and that is their choice but there is no way that April and I could have made it through our challenges without putting our complete trust and faith in GOD.

Please keep the following expectant mothers and their unborn children in your thoughts and prayers!

Wendy
Meghan
Denise
Allisun
Shannon
Jen
Kym
Janne
Sarah
Allison
Holly
Shieloh

If you know of anyone else that is expecting, feel free to leave their name in the comment section of this post and I will add them to this list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Five Day Progress Report

Today, Patrick and Savannah are five days old and I am going to review their progress report as of this afternoon.

Patrick, (on the left) now weighs 1 lb 11 ounces for a total weight gain of 4 ounces. Much of this weight gain is attributed to the fluids that he is getting so we are not considering it a true weight gain but it is better than losing. In the good news department, his Jaundice levels have decreased enough to allow the nurses to remove the light from his incubator and he no longer needs to wear those funny looking sunglasses. We are aware that the Jaundice may return and that is OK as long as it remains under control. In the better news department, Patrick also received a brain scan today to determine if there was any bleeding in the brain and that came back completely negative, which is amazing!!!!! GO PATRICK! April and I were somewhat concerned with the possibility of bleeding of the brain with Patrick due to his size but now we do not need to worry about that. The doctor says that if the bleeding does not show up on the first scan that it most likely is a moot issue moving forward. They will, however, perform a follow up scan in a few weeks as a matter of procedure.

At this point, Patrick has not received any formula or milk and he continues to receive all of his nutrients via a feeding tube through his nose. These nutrients consist mostly of electrolytes and sugars along with a combination of about 8 other supplements that I can not name let alone spell. Finally, Patrick has a small vessel near his heart that has not closed as it was supposed to at birth or within the first few days. I am not educated enough to go into any type of detail about this vessel but the doctors are treating it with a three day dose of ibuprofen and are optimistic that this vessel will close itself over the next 7-10 days. Overall, we are very pleased with Patrick's progress up to this point and are looking forward to the day that he begins to feed on formula and milk.

Savannah (on the left) has lost about 1/3 of an ounce and now weighs 2 lb 10 2/3 ounces. She is still experiencing high enough levels of Jaundice to require the photo therapy to be continuously applied, hence, the fancy glasses that she is wearing. Savannah is currently being fed through a feeding tube via her mouth and at this time is receiving all of her nutrients through breast milk alone and her digestive system is working properly so it looks like the doctors will continue to increase the amount of food she receives every few days. Savannah also had a brain scan today and the doctor discovered a Grade 1 bleed in the left side of her brain. Grade 1 is the lowest grade so that is good but it is still an area of concern and something the doctors are going to look at again next week. Bleeding of the brain can result in dysfunctional delays but the doctors say that the majority of premature babies with Grade 1 bleeds turn out fine. April and I were obviously disappointed to hear this news but at the same time we are relived that it is not a Grade 4 or 5. Savannah is a real active sleeper and is always moving her arms and legs which is adorable. Overall, Savannah is doing well and we are pleased with her progress as well.

In the BIG news department, April was able to hold Savannah yesterday for the first time and they were able to spend about 15 minutes together in a true mother/daughter moment. It was a very exciting time for both April and myself.

Finally, for those of you wondering why Patrick always comes first in these updates I wanted to clear the air:) Patrick has always been referred to as Baby A and Savannah as Baby B simply because of their positioning in April's womb and therefore he naturally came first. Also, Patrick is officially the older of the two by one minute so again he comes first. I would like to point out though, that as the moderator of this blog, I do have the authority to make changes that I deem necessary and one day we may switch their names around just to see how it sounds and to keep things interesting.

I hope everyone has a great night and thanks for reading today!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Going Home Is Harder Than We Thought!

April is being discharged today, finally! While this is an exciting moment for us and a long time coming we have also found that it is a very emotional time. Last night we were packing up the majority of our belongings and were discussing how weird it was going to be for April to actually be home in her own room and bed.

For the past 10 weeks, this room and it's four walls decorated in 1980's wallpaper, along with the one window and tiny bathroom have been April's home. She has cried in this room, laughed in this room, prayed in this room, yelled in this room and most importantly fought for her children's life in this room and these are only the things that I saw. Only April and the walls know what else took place in this little room during the middle of the night and in the hours that I could not be here.

Room 325 will forever hold a special place in the Emrich's heart. Initially, this room witnessed a pregnant woman at 21 weeks but soon saw her blossom into a mother with unconditional love for her children and watched as the mother took on the battle of her life and kicked it's ass. This room, plain and simple, witnessed a miracle.

In addition to the room, the staff has been so wonderful and April has built strong relationships and bonds with many of the nurses. It is tough to just walk away from those friendships and think that we will most likely not see these individuals that cared for April and the babies hand and foot for the past 10 weeks. There is an emotional attachment from both sides that is hard to fathom unless you have gone through this ordeal. We plan on keeping the 3rd floor staff aware of Patrick and Savannah's progress as much as possible but know that there will come a day when we show up on the 3rd floor and not recognize any of the nurses. That is life, and in life people move on and change jobs. We know that tomorrow there will most likely be someone new in OUR room that is facing a battle of her own and we can only hope that this individual has the courage, drive and inner strength that April had and walk out of this hospital successful when her time comes.

Finally, today is emotional, because we are leaving our babies behind. Patrick and Savannah must stay here in the NICU to get bigger and stronger. We know that this is the best place for them and that God will continue to take care of them but is still hurts to leave them as we see other parents taking their children home. Our time will come, and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later, but until we have our children home safe with us, our family will not be complete.

We are leaving very soon and after 1,776 hours or 74 days my hero is finally coming home to where she belongs.

Our journey is not over yet, in fact it is just beginning, but the first leg of the journey has been completed and we are excited to see what is ahead in the coming months.

Welcome Home April!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy First Birthday Aidan

Above is Aidan on Halloween dressed as a monkey.

Happy Birthday to our nephew Aidan. My brother Chris and his wife Laurie celebrated their first son's FIRST birthday yesterday, November 8, 2008. I tried to get this posted yesterday but somehow the day got away from me.

Aidan is a bundle of joy and has grown so much in the first year. April and I are looking forward to Aidan paving the way and being the leader of the Emrich cousins.

Congratulations to Chris, Laurie & Aidan for a successful and fun first year.

We love you A-Dawg!!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

2 Days Old

Patrick hanging out getting some sun!


Savannah settling down for bed with her night goggles on!

Patrick & Savannah are officially 2 days old and are both doing "reasonably well" per the neonatologist. To me, reasonably well means they are doing great considering how early they were born and how little they weigh.

Patrick has gained about an ounce or so but that is mostly fluids that are being injected into him for the nutrients that he needs. He is still breathing on his own which is a huge plus and his blood work is consistently coming back in the normal and acceptable ranges. He has a slight case of Jaundice and that explains the goggles and light. At this time, the Jaundice is not a major concern and is typical for babies his size. Patrick also has a feeding tube in his mouth that goes directly to his stomach which is providing him and will continue to provide him with the nutrients that he needs for the next 3-5 weeks until his sucking mechanism kicks in and he can begin to feed from a bottle. Lastly, this evening they inserted a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC). Believe me, this sounds much worse than it is. The PICC is basically a long term IV and will relieve the nurses from finding a new vein every two days to start a new IV. The PICC will stay inserted for a number of weeks or months or until they release him from the hospital. Moving forward, the PICC will be used to provide any needed fluids and or medicine. Overall, the majority of work that is being done on Patrick is proactive instead of reactive.

Savannah also continues to breathe on her own and is quite comfortable. We have learned and heard that she has quite the little voice and the majority of time that we see her, she is sleeping peacefully. She likes to keep her little arms and legs close to her body at all times. Savannah, like Patrick, is also going to have a PICC inserted this evening to allow the nurses to provide any medicine or fluids that are needed. As of this morning (Saturday) she began to receive a very small dose of formula (2CC's) per every 6 hours. This is a good sign because that means that the doctors are confident in her digestive system. She will continue to receive formula until April can provide her with some milk and then it will be a combination of milk and formula. She also has a feeding tube through her nose and this will stay in until she is able to feed from a bottle which is usually around 34 or 35 weeks. As like Patrick, all work being completed on Savannah is proactive.

April and I are both very proud of our two little fighters and they continue to amaze us more every day. The highlight of our day is when we make our trips down to see them and just sit there admiring how cute they are. They both move around frequently while they are sleeping and have both opened their eyes and looked around while we were there. The entire NICU staff has been great and spend a good amount of time answering any questions that we have. As of this writing, there have not been any discussions or timetables set on how long we can expect them to stay in the NICU.

April is doing better today, however, she is dealing with some major muscle atrophy issues. It is very painful for her to stand on her own and walk but she is doing the best that she can. This evening, she took a lap around the 3rd floor with the help of a walker and that is a great beginning. This is going to be a long recovery process for her but I know that she is going to attack the physical therapy just like she attacked the challenge of bed rest. The doctors have stated that she will most likely be released on Monday and she is very excited about that. We will have to plan a little welcome home party for her as it would have been 75 days since she walked out the front door to that fateful OB appointment.

More updates to come in the next few days.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Patrick & Savannah!!!!

What a glorious day today was! April and I will go into details later bur for now I am proud and honored to announce the birth of Patrick and Savannah early this afternoon.

Patrick Christian Emrich was born at 12:34 PM and weighed in at 1 lb and 7 ounces and measured 12.5 inches long.

Savannah Grace Emrich was born at 12:35 PM and weighed in at 2 lb and 11 ounces and measured 15 inches long.

Patrick and Savannah are both in the NICU resting peacefully and are breathing on their own which is awesome. They do have IV'S hooked up to them through their stomach so they can be fed and have blood drawn when necessary.

April is feeling OK considering all that she has been through over the past 10 weeks. She is looking forward to going outside tomorrow and getting some fresh air.

The next 5-7 days are crucial for the long term health of Patrick and Savannah and we are expecting them to stay in the NICU for a number of weeks if not longer. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

THANK YOU to everyone for all of your unwavering support!!!!

Below are some pictures in the following order:

Patrick shortly after birth.
Patrick in the NICU.
Savannah shortly after birth.
Savannah in the NICU.














It's Time

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. - Matthew 17:20

To all - Thank you for your continued prayers on April and the twin's behalf. As of 11:45 AM today April is on her way for a C-section to deliver the babies. Please keep April, Patrick, and Savannah in your thoughts and prayers and continue to ask for God's hands to work through the doctors during the coming hours, days, and weeks.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. - Deuteronomy 31:6

Please check back for more information as it becomes available.

If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believeth. - Mark 9:23

Friends.....that we don't even know!!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord.
~Jeremiah 29:11-14


This evening while April and I were eating dinner she received a phone call at the hospital from a friend of a family friend that we have never met or spoken to. This individual has been kept up to speed from our family friend and has read the emails that we have sent out over the past two months as well as this blog. She called just to check in on April to see how she was doing and to let us know that her and members of her church were praying for us. What an unbelievable act of kindness!

We have received numerous emails from people we do not even know letting us know that they are praying for us on a daily basis. We have church groups in Florida, Georgia, Texas and New York praying for us on a regular basis and those are only the ones that I actually know about. April and I strongly believe in the power of prayer and the support that we have received has been absolutely amazing.

Although, April and I may be in the front seat of this ride, all of you are on board and the passenger list keeps getting bigger everyday. All of you are a part of this miracle and I can not thank you enough for your continuous prayers and support but I do want you to know that God is hearing your prayers.

If anyone has a prayer request, please leave a comment on this post and I will make sure that they are included in all of my daily prayers. After all, the more people praying the better.

Blog Addiction & A Good Day

April seems to think that I am now addicted to this blog and she may be onto something considering that I should be sleeping instead of blogging:)

I have been wanting to start this blog for a while and am glad that I have but wish that I would have started it sooner so I could have truly captured the miracle that is currently taking place in April & I's life. Over the past few days, I have been wondering if this blog would even exist if April had a "normal" pregnancy without any complications, but I cannot say for sure that it would.

This blog has given me an easy and efficient way to communicate everything that is taking place on a daily basis but more importantly it has provided me with a sense of calmness and comfort. I enjoy and take pleasure in writing about my incredible wife and future children and am looking forward to being able to read this in the coming months and years and reflect on everything that we have overcame.

Onto the day's events. April felt much better today (Wednesday) and overall it was a great day. The two tracings that we had to monitor the babies went perfect and both Patrick and Savannah showed good accelerations in their heartbeats as expected.

On Tuesday evening, the nurses drew some blood from April because they were concerned with possible preeclampsia but the results came back negative. This will be an area that is closely monitored for the remainder of the pregnancy because preeclampsia can be harmful to both April and the babies.

Overall, today was a very successful day and we are glad that we have had another day for Patrick and Savannah to continue to grow and get stronger.

As of this writing, we are officially 31 weeks so I am psyched. One more week to our next major milestone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Afternoon Update and Yesterday's Sonogram

April's monitoring went well this morning and the contractions have pretty much stopped with the exception of a small one here and there.

Now that things have calmed down a little bit I can update everyone on the sonogram that was performed yesterday. As I mentioned over the weekend, we have a sonogram performed every Monday and Thursday to check on the babies blood flow and to check on their breathing and movement.

Yesterday's sonogram went as well as it could have with both Patrick & Savannah scoring an 8 out of 8 on their Bio-Physical Profile (BPP) and the blood flow staying status quo for both of them.

Patrick is still experiencing restricted blood flow and has been for the past 8 weeks or so. At this point, that is acceptable to both us and the doctors so overall we are happy with yesterdays results.

The doctor did speak to us about scheduling a planned delivery sometime between 32-34 weeks if the babies do not come before that on their own. Currently, both babies still need to continue to grow and that is best done in the womb even if Patrick is not receiving all of the nutrients that he needs due to his restricted blood flow. At some point though, the benefits of bringing Patrick and Savannah into this world (especially so Patrick can begin to receive all of the nutrients that he needs) will outweigh the risks of an early delivery. April and I are confident in the specialist and trust them to make the best decision for both Patrick and Savannah while also keeping the health of April in mind as well.

Bottom line is, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that we will have two healthy children by November 27 at the latest. November 27 just happens to be Thanksgiving and what a way to celebrate and give thanks than with the birth of Patrick and Savannah.

Early Morning Contractions

April began to feel more contractions this morning sometime between 4:00 and 4:30 and was placed on the monitor from around 4:30 - 6:00. At 6:00 she was given a shot of Tributaline which temporarily stopped the contractions. Tributaline is used to stop contractions but it is only a temporary solution so we may have to look at some other options in the coming hours and days.

Around 8:15, April began to feel what she felt were contractions again so they just placed her back on the monitor to see if she is actually having contractions.

At this point, both Patrick and Savannah are still doing great so it is a matter of keeping April out of labor for as long as possible. One option that the doctors may decide to use is giving April Magnesum Sulfate. This is the same drug that was used when April was originally admitted to the hospital at 21 weeks. It is very strong and is not at all pleasant for mothers to be on but it works very well to stop contractions.

We will see how the monitoring goes and then consult with the doctors on the next step.

Please continue to pray that we can hold off on delivery until 32 weeks which is still 10 days away.

Monday, November 3, 2008

False Alarm and The Gunslinger

Wow, three hours later and we are back in our room and away from Labor & Delivery (L&D).

Apparently, the new doctor that April saw for the first time today is a little on edge and quite the gunslinger. Within five minutes of her checking in on April around 6:30 or so, she had me convinced that we were going to be delivering two babies sometime this evening.

Prior to leaving for L&D, the nurse hooked April up to an IV to provide her with some additional fluids and gave her a shot of Tributaline which is used to help stop any contractions that she may be having.

Once we arrived in L&D, the nurse hooked April up to the monitor to track Little P's and Savannah's heart beats as well as to track any contractions that April may be having. As usual, the babies were doing great and showing awesome heart rates. As for contractions, they were non-existent.

About an hour after we went down to L&D, another doctor that April has been working with for the entire pregnancy came in to check on her and take a look at the monitor. After a brief conversation, the doctor suggested that everything was fine and that April can be released back to her normal room upstairs. So here we are. April just got finished eating and is glad to be back in HER room and back to her familiar surroundings.

We do realize that the babies could come at any time and we are prepared for that but we are praying that they can stay inside of April for at least 10 more days. In 10 days, we will hit the 32 week mark and that is a major milestone.

Thanks for checking in and have a good night.

Heading to Labor and Delivery

It is almost 6:45 PM and April has been feeling some serious abdominal discomfort all day. She has been hooked up to the monitor for an hour or two and the doctor has decided to send her down to Labor and Delivery for further evaluation.

We will keep you posted throughout the night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two Positive Meetings

On Friday, one of the specialist (Dr. Morales) stopped by unexpectedly to check in with April to see how she was doing. He was very upbeat and stated that the all of the specialist are very excited and satisfied with our progress so far.

April commented to the doctor that her and I were excited for the next sonogram to take place so we can see how much the babies have grown but he said that at this point, the babies weight is not as important as how many weeks we can go. Dr. Morales said that 30 weeks (which we just passed) is a huge milestone for the babies. At 30 weeks, the risk for bleeding of the brain is less of an issue and at 32 weeks is rarely seen in pre-mature babies so that is a big relief to us.

April also met with the founder of her OB group this morning and she was also very happy and pleased with our progress. She said that at this point "every day is sweeter" and that what has taken place over the past 9 weeks is basically a miracle.

April and I completely agree with the doctor's miracle statement and we have both felt the presence of God throughout this entire ordeal. Thank you to all of our family and friends for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts. We could not have made it this far without you.